Sunday is always a day for reflection and commentary and today is no exception. The first three articles are very revealing and interesting and all reveal where we are today on the prophetic timeline and how recent events are shaping the near-term future.
The first article describes the situation between the U.S. and Ukraine, and is the best analysis of this situation to date:
Foreword by the Saker:
The analysis below is, by far, the best I have seen since the beginning of the conflict in the Ukraine. I have regularly posted analyses by Ishchenko on this blog before, because I considered him as one of the best analysts in Russia. This time, however, Ishchenko has truly produced a masterpiece: a comprehensive analysis of the geostrategic position of Russia and a clear and, I believe, absolutely accurate analysis of the entire “Putin strategy” for the Ukraine. I have always said that this conflict is not about the Ukraine but about the future of the planet and that there is no “Novorussian” or even “Ukrainian” solution, but that the only possible outcome is a strategic victory of either Russia or the USA which will affect the entire planet. Ishchenko does a superb overview of the risks and options for both sides and offers the first comprehensive “key” to the apparently incomprehensible behavior of Russia in this conflict. Finally, Ishchenko also fully understands the complex and subtle dynamics inside Russian society. When he writes “Russian power is authoritative, rather than authoritarian” he is spot on, and explains more in seven words than what you would get by reading the billions of useless words written by so-called “experts” trying to describe the Russian reality.
We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Denis, Gideon and Robin for translating this seminal text, which was very difficult to translate. The only reason why we can read it in such a good English is because the innumerable hours spent by these volunteers to produce the high quality translation this analysis deserves.
I strongly recommend that you all read this text very carefully. Twice. It is well worth it.
What does Putin want?
Translated from the Russian by Denis, Gideon, and Robin
It’s gratifying that “patriots” did not instantly blame Putin for the failure to achieve a full-scale rout of Ukrainian troops in Donbass in January and February, or for Moscow’s consultations with Merkel and Hollande.
Even so, they are still impatient for a victory. The most radical are convinced that Putin will “surrender Novorossiya” just the same. And the moderates are afraid that he will as soon as the next truce is signed (if that happens) out of the need to regroup and replenish Novorossiya’s army (which actually could have been done without disengagement from military operations), to come to terms with the new circumstances on the international front, and to get ready for new diplomatic battles.
In fact, despite all the attention that political and/or military dilettantes (the Talleyrands and the Bonapartes of the Internet) are paying to the situation in Donbass and the Ukraine in general, it is only one point on a global front: the outcome of the war is being decided not at the Donetsk airport or in the hills outside Debaltsevo, but at offices on Staraya Square and Smolenskaya Square, at offices in Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Because military action is only one of the many components of the political quarrel.
It is the harshest and the final component, which carries great risk, but the matter doesn’t start with war and it doesn’t end with war. War is only an intermediate step signifying the impossibility of compromise. Its purpose is to create new conditions whereby compromise is possible or to show that there is no longer any need for it, with the disappearance of one side of the conflict. When it is time for compromise, when the fighting is over and the troops go back to their barracks and the generals begin writing their memoirs and preparing for the next war, that is when the real outcome of the confrontation is determined by politicians and diplomats at the negotiating table.
Political decisions are not often understood by the general population or the military. For example, during the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, Prussian chancellor Otto Von Bismarck (later chancellor of the German Empire) disregarded the persistent requests of King Wilhelm I (the future German Emperor) and the demands of the Prussian generals to take Vienna, and he was absolutely correct to do so. In that way he accelerated peace on Prussia’s terms and also ensured that Austro-Hungary forever (well, until its dismemberment in 1918) became a junior partner for Prussia and later the German Empire.
To understand how, when and on what conditions military activity can end, we need to know what the politicians want and how they see the conditions of the postwar compromise. Then it will become clear why military action turned into a low-intensity civil war with occasional truces, not only in the Ukraine but also in Syria.
Obviously, the views of Kiev politicians are of no interest to us because they don’t decide anything. The fact that outsiders govern the Ukraine is no longer concealed. It doesn’t matter whether the cabinet ministers are Estonian or Georgian; they are Americans just the same. It would also be a big mistake to take an interest in how the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) see the future. The republics exist only with Russian support, and as long as Russia supports them, Russia’s interests have to be protected, even from independent decisions and initiatives. There is too much at stake to allow [Alexander] Zakharchenko or [Igor] Plotnitzky, or anyone else for that matter, to make independent decisions.
Nor are we interested in the European Union’s position. Much depended on the EU until the summer of last year, when the war could have been prevented or stopped at the outset. A tough, principled antiwar stance by the EU was needed. It could have blocked U.S. initiatives to start the war and would have turned the EU into a significant independent geopolitical player. The EU passed on that opportunity and instead behaved like a faithful vassal of the United States.
As a result, Europe stands on the brink of frightful internal upheaval. In the coming years, it has every chance of suffering the same fate as the Ukraine, only with a great roar, great bloodshed and less chance that in the near future things will settle down – in other words, that someone will show up and put things in order.
In fact, today the EU can choose whether to remain a tool of the United States or to move closer to Russia. Depending on its choice, Europe can get off with a slight scare, such as a breakup of parts of its periphery and possible fragmentation of some countries, or it could collapse completely. Judging by the European elites’ reluctance to break openly with the United States, collapse is almost inevitable.
What should interest us is the opinions of the two main players that determine the configuration of the geopolitical front and in fact are fighting for victory in the new generation of war – the network-centric Third World War. These players are the United States and Russia.
The U.S. position is clear and transparent. In the second half of the 1990s, Washington missed its only opportunity to reform the Cold War economy without any obstacles and thereby avoid the looming crisis in a system whose development is limited by the finite nature of planet Earth and its resources, including human ones, which conflicts with the need to endlessly print dollars.
After that, the United States could prolong the death throes of the system only by plundering the rest of the world. At first, it went after Third World countries. Then it went for potential competitors. Then for allies and even close friends. Such plundering could continue only as long as the United States remained the world’s undisputed hegemon.
Thus when Russia asserted its right to make independent political decisions – decisions of not global but regional import – , a clash with the United States became inevitable. This clash cannot end in a compromise peace.
For the United States, a compromise with Russia would mean a voluntary renunciation of its hegemony, leading to a quick, systemic catastrophe – not only a political and economic crisis but also a paralysis of state institutions and the inability of the government to function. In other words, its inevitable disintegration.
But if the United States wins, then it is Russia that will experience systemic catastrophe. After a certain type of “rebellion,” Russia’s ruling classes would be punished with asset liquidation and confiscation as well as imprisonment. The state would be fragmented, substantial territories would be annexed, and the country’s military might would be destroyed.
So the war will last until one side wins. Any interim agreement should be viewed only as a temporary truce – a needed respite to regroup, to mobilize new resources and to find (i.e., to poach) additional allies.
To complete the picture of the situation, we only need Russia’s position. It is essential to understand what the Russian leadership wants to achieve, particularly the president, Vladimir Putin. We are talking about the key role that Putin plays in the organization of the Russian power structure. This system is not authoritarian, as many assert, but rather authoritative – meaning it is based not on legislative consolidation of autocracy but on the authority of the person who created the system and, as the head of it, makes it work effectively.
During Putin’s 15 years in power, despite the difficult internal and external situation, he has tried to maximize the role of the government, the legislative assembly, and even the local authorities. These are entirely logical steps that should have given the system completeness, stability, and continuity. Because no politician can rule forever, political continuity, regardless of who comes to power, is the key to a stable system.
Unfortunately, fully autonomous control, namely the ability to function without the president’s oversight, hasn’t been achieved. Putin remains the key component of the system because the people put their trust in him personally. They have far less trust in the system, as represented by public authorities and individual agencies.
Thus Putin’s opinions and political plans become the decisive factor in areas such as Russia’s foreign policy. If the phrase “without Putin, there is no Russia” is an exaggeration, then the phrase “what Putin wants, Russia also wants” reflects the situation quite accurately in my opinion.
First, let’s note that the man who for 15 years has carefully guided Russia to its revival has done so in conditions of U.S. hegemony in world politics along with significant opportunities for Washington to influence Russia’s internal politics. He had to understand the nature of the fight and his opponent. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have lasted so long.
The level of confrontation that Russia allowed itself to get into with the United States grew very slowly and up to a certain point went unnoticed. For example, Russia did not react at all to the first attempt at a color revolution in the Ukraine in 2000-2002 (the Gongadze case, the Cassette Scandal, and the Ukraine without Kuchma protest).
Russia took an opposing position but did not actively intervene in the coups that took place from November 2003 to January 2004 in Georgia and from November 2004 to January 2005 in the Ukraine. In 2008, in Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia used its troops against Georgia, a U.S. ally. In 2012, in Syria, the Russian fleet demonstrated its readiness to confront the United States and its NATO allies.
In 2013, Russia began taking economic measures against [Victor] Yanukovych’s regime, which contributed to his realization of the harmfulness of signing an association agreement [with the EU].
Moscow could not have saved the Ukraine from the coup because of the baseness, cowardice, and stupidity of the Ukraine’s leaders – not only Yanukovych but all of them without exception. After the armed coup in Kiev in February 2014, Russia entered into open confrontation with Washington. Before that, the conflicts were interspersed with improved relations, but at the beginning of 2014 relations between Russia and the United States deteriorated swiftly and almost immediately reached the point where war would have been declared automatically in the prenuclear era.
Thus at any given time Putin engaged in precisely the level of confrontation with the United States that Russia could handle. If Russia isn’t limiting the level of confrontation now, it means Putin believes that, in the war of sanctions, the war of nerves, the information war, the civil war in the Ukraine, and the economic war, Russia can win.
This is the first important conclusion about what Putin wants and what he expects. He expects to win. And considering that he takes a meticulous approach and strives to anticipate any surprises, you can be sure that when the decision was made not to back down under pressure from the United States, but to respond, the Russian leadership had a double, if not a triple, guarantee of victory.
I would like to point out that the decision to enter into a conflict with Washington was not made in 2014, nor was it made in 2013. The war of August 8, 2008, was a challenge that the United States could not leave unpunished. After that, every further stage of the confrontation only raised the stakes. From 2008 to 2010, the United States’ capability – not just military or economic but its overall capability – has declined, whereas Russia’s has improved significantly. So the main objective was to raise the stakes slowly rather than in explosive fashion. In other words, an open confrontation in which all pretences are dropped and everyone understands that a war is going on had to be delayed as long as possible. But it would have been even better to avoid it altogether.
With every passing year, the United States became weaker while Russia became stronger. This process was natural and impossible to arrest, and we could have projected with a high degree of certainty that by 2020 to 2025, without any confrontation, the period of U.S. hegemony would have ended, and the United States would then be best advised to think about not how to rule the world, but how to stave off its own precipitous internal decline.
Thus Putin’s second desire is clear: to keep the peace or the appearance of peace as long as possible. Peace is advantageous for Russia because in conditions of peace, without enormous expense, it obtains the same political result but in a much better geopolitical situation. That is why Russia continually extends the olive branch. Just as the Kiev junta will collapse in conditions of peace in Donbass, in conditions of world peace, the military-industrial complex and the global financial system created by the United States are doomed to self-destruct. In this way, Russia’s actions are aptly described by Sun Tzu’s maxim “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
It is clear that Washington is not run by idiots, no matter what is said on Russian talk shows or written on blogs. The United States understands precisely the situation it is in. Moreover, they also understand that Russia has no plans to destroy them and is really prepared to cooperate as an equal. Even so, because of the political and socioeconomic situation in the United States, such cooperation is not acceptable to them. An economic collapse and a social explosion are likely to occur before Washington (even with the support of Moscow and Beijing) has time to introduce the necessary reforms, especially when we consider that the EU will have to undergo reform at the same time. Moreover, the political elite who have emerged in the United States in the past 25 years have become accustomed to their status as the owners of the world. They sincerely don’t understand how anyone can challenge them.
For the ruling elite in the United States (not so much the business class but the government bureaucracy), to go from being a country that decides of the fate of inferior peoples to one that negotiates with them on an equal footing is intolerable. It is probably tantamount to offering Gladstone or Disraeli the post of prime minister of the Zulu Kingdom under Cetshwayo kaMpande. And so, unlike Russia, which needs peace to develop, the United States regards war as vital.
In principle, any war is a struggle for resources. Typically, the winner is the one that has more resources and can ultimately mobilize more troops and build more tanks, ships, and planes. Even so, sometimes those who are strategically disadvantaged can turn the situation around with a tactical victory on the battlefield. Examples include the wars of Alexander the Great and Frederick the Great, as well as Hitler’s campaign of 1939-1940.
Nuclear powers cannot confront each other directly. Therefore, their resource base is of paramount importance. That is exactly why Russia and the United States have been in a desperate competition for allies over the past year. Russia has won this competition. The United States can count only the EU, Canada, Australia, and Japan as allies (and not always unconditionally so), but Russia has managed to mobilize support from the BRICS, to gain a firm foothold in Latin America, and to begin displacing the United States in Asia and North Africa.
Of course, it’s not patently obvious, but if we consider the results of votes at the UN, assuming that a lack of official support for the United States means dissent and thus support for Russia, it turns out that the countries aligned with Russia together control about 60% of the world’s GDP, have more than two-thirds of its population, and cover more than three-quarters of its surface. Thus Russia has been able to mobilize more resources.
In this regard, the United States had two tactical options.
The first seemed to have great potential and was employed by it from the early days of the Ukrainian crisis.
It was an attempt to force Russia to choose between a bad situation and an even worse one. Russia would be compelled to accept a Nazi state on its borders and therefore a dramatic loss of international authority and of the trust and support of its allies, and after a short time would become vulnerable to internal and external pro-U.S. forces, with no chance of survival. Or else it could send its army into the Ukraine, sweep out the junta before it got organized, and restore the legitimate government of Yanukovych. That, however, would have brought an accusation of aggression against an independent state and of suppression of the people’s revolution. Such a situation would have resulted in a high degree of disapproval on the part of Ukrainians and the need to constantly expend significant military, political, economic, and diplomatic resources to maintain a puppet regime in Kiev, because no other government would have been possible under such conditions.
Russia avoided that dilemma. There was no direct invasion. It is Donbass that is fighting Kiev. It is the Americans who have to devote scarce resources to the doomed puppet regime in Kiev, while Russia can remain on the sidelines making peace proposals.
So now the United States is employing the second option. It’s as old as the hills. That which cannot be held, and will be taken by the enemy, must be damaged as much as possible so that the enemy’s victory is more costly than defeat, as all its resources are used to reconstruct the destroyed territory. The United States has therefore ceased to assist the Ukraine with anything more than political rhetoric while encouraging Kiev to spread civil war throughout the country.
The Ukrainian land must burn, not only in Donetsk and Lugansk but also in Kiev and Lvov. The task is simple: to destroy the social infrastructure as much as possible and to leave the population at the very edge of survival. Then the population of the Ukraine will consist of millions of starving, desperate and heavily armed people who will kill one another for food. The only way to stop this bloodbath would be massive international military intervention in the Ukraine (the militia on its own will not be sufficient) and massive injections of funds to feed the population and to reconstruct the economy until the Ukraine can begin to feed itself.
It is clear that all these costs would fall on Russia. Putin correctly believes that not only the budget, but also public resources in general, including the military, would in this case be overstretched and possibly insufficient. Therefore, the objective is not to allow the Ukraine to explode before the militia can bring the situation under control. It is crucial to minimize casualties and destruction and to salvage as much of the economy as possible and the infrastructure of the large cities so that the population somehow survives and then the Ukrainians themselves will take care of the Nazi thugs.
At this point an ally appears for Putin in the form of the EU. Because the United States always tried to use European resources in its struggle with Russia, the EU, which was already weakened, reaches the point of exhaustion and has to deal with its own long-festering problems.
If Europe now has on its eastern border a completely destroyed Ukraine, from which millions of armed people will flee not only to Russia but also to the EU, taking with them delightful pastimes such as drug trafficking, gunrunning, and terrorism, the EU will not survive. The people’s republics of Novorossiya will serve as a buffer for Russia, however.
Europe cannot confront the United States, but it is deathly afraid of a destroyed Ukraine. Therefore, for the first time in the conflict, Hollande and Merkel are not just trying to sabotage the U.S. demands (by imposing sanctions but not going too far), but they are also undertaking limited independent action with the aim of achieving a compromise – maybe not peace but at least a truce in the Ukraine.
If the Ukraine catches fire, it will burn quickly, and if the EU has become an unreliable partner that is ready if not to move into Russia’s camp then at least to take a neutral position, Washington, faithful to its strategy, would be obliged to set fire to Europe.
It is clear that a series of civil and interstate wars on a continent packed with all sorts of weapons, where more than half a billion people live, is far worse than a civil war in the Ukraine. The Atlantic separates the United States from Europe. Even Britain could hope to sit it out across the Channel. But Russia and the EU share a very long [sic] border.
It is not at all in Russia’s interests to have a conflagration stretching from the Atlantic to the Carpathian Mountains when the territory from the Carpathians to the Dnieper is still smoldering. Therefore, Putin’s other objective is, to the extent possible, to prevent the most negative effects of a conflagration in the Ukraine and a conflagration in Europe. Because it is impossible to completely prevent such an outcome (if the United States wants to ignite the fire, it will), it is necessary to be able to extinguish it quickly to save what is most valuable.
Thus, to protect Russia’s legitimate interests, Putin considers peace to be of vital importance, because it is peace that will make it possible to achieve this goal with maximum effect at minimum cost. But because peace is no longer possible, and the truces are becoming more theoretical and fragile, Putin needs the war to end as quickly as possible.
But I do want to stress that if a compromise could have been reached a year ago on the most favorable terms for the West (Russia would have still obtained its goals, but later – a minor concession), it is no longer possible, and the conditions are progressively worsening. Ostensibly, the situation remains the same; peace on almost any conditions is still beneficial for Russia. Only one thing has changed, but it is of the utmost importance: public opinion. Russian society longs for victory and retribution. As I pointed out above, Russian power is authoritative, rather than authoritarian; therefore, public opinion matters in Russia, in contrast to the “traditional democracies.”
Putin can maintain his role as the linchpin of the system only as long as he has the support of the majority of the population. If he loses this support, because no figures of his stature have emerged from Russia’s political elite, the system will lose its stability. But power can maintain its authority only as long as it successfully embodies the wishes of the masses. Thus the defeat of Nazism in the Ukraine, even if it is diplomatic, must be clear and indisputable – only under such conditions is a Russian compromise possible.
Thus, regardless of Putin’s wishes and Russia’s interests, given the overall balance of power, as well as the protagonists’ priorities and capabilities, a war that should have ended last year within the borders of the Ukraine will almost certainly spill over into Europe. One can only guess who will be more effective – the Americans with their gas can or the Russians with their fire extinguisher? But one thing is absolutely clear: the peace initiatives of the Russian leaders will be limited not by their wishes but their actual capabilities. It is futile to fight either the wishes of the people or the course of history; but when they coincide, the only thing a wise politician can do is to understand the wishes of the people and the direction of the historical process and try to support it at all costs.
The circumstances described above make it extremely unlikely that the proponents of an independent state of Novorossiya will see their wishes fulfilled. Given the scale of the coming conflagration, determining the fate of the Ukraine as a whole is not excessively complicated but, at the same time, it will not come cheap.
It is only logical that the Russian people should ask: if Russians, whom we rescued from the Nazis, live in Novorossiya, why do they have to live in a separate state? If they want to live in a separate state, why should Russia rebuild their cities and factories? To these questions there is only one reasonable answer: Novorossiya should become part of Russia (especially since it has enough fighters, although the governing class is problematic). Well, if part of the Ukraine can join Russia, why not all of it? Especially as in all likelihood by the time this question is on the agenda, the European Union will no longer be an alternative to the Eurasian Union [for the Ukraine].
Consequently, the decision to rejoin Russia will be made by a united federated Ukraine and not by some entity without a clear status. I think that it is premature to redraw the political map. Most likely the conflict in the Ukraine will be concluded by the end of the year. But if the United States manages to extend the conflict to the EU (and it will try), the final resolution of territorial issues will take at least a couple of years and maybe more.
In any situation we benefit from peace. In conditions of peace, as Russia’s resource base grows, as new allies (former partners of the United States) go over to its side, and as Washington becomes progressively marginalized, territorial restructuring will become far simpler and temporarily less significant, especially for those being restructured.
The White Media claims, and has claimed since February 2014, that there are Russian tanks and troops in Ukraine. Putin has pointed out that if this indeed was the case, Kiev and Western Ukraine would have fallen to the Russian invasion early last year. Kiev has been unable to defeat the small breakaway republics in eastern and southern Ukraine and would stand no chance against the Russian military.
Recently a brave news organization made fun of the White Media’s claim that Russian tanks have been pouring into Ukraine for 14 months. The parody pictured Ukraine at a standstill. All traffic on all roads and residential streets is blocked by Russian tanks. All parking places, including sidewalks and people’s front and rear gardens have tanks piled upon tanks. The entire country is immobilized in gridlock.
Although a few have fun making fun of the gullible people who believe the White Media, the situation is nevertheless serious as it concerns life on planet Earth.
There is little sign that Washington and its vassals care about life on Earth. Recently, the largest political group in the European Parliament–the European People’s Party–expressed a cavalier opinion about life on Earth. We know this, because, if we can trust Euractive, an online EU news source, the majority EU party believes that declaring the EU’s readiness for nuclear war is one of the best steps to deter Russia from further aggression. The aggression to be stopped by Europe’s declaration of its readiness for armageddon is the alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the “further aggression” is Putin’s alleged intention of reestablishing the Soviet Empire.
It must be disappointing to the Russian government to see that leaders of the European Union prefer to endorse nuclear war than to challenge Washington’s propaganda.
When I read that the governing party in the European Parliament thought non-existent aggression had to be stopped by a declaration of readiness for nuclear war, I realized that money could buy any and every thing, even the life of the planet. The European People’s Party was speaking on behalf of Washington’s propaganda, not on behalf of Europe. Europe’s nuclear war with Russia would end instantly with the destruction of every European capital.
The crazed vice-president of the European People’s Party, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski revealed who the real aggressor is when he declared: “Time of talk and persuasion with Russia is over. Now it’s time for a tough policy.”
Clearly, the European Parliament is a great danger to life on the planet. Is it realistic to think that Russia will allow herself to become a concubine of Washington?
The subject of my talk is Israel, but it is really about America as well. Israel is the canary in the coal mine. When you watch Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, lead tens of thousands of Muslims in Lebanon in chants of “Death to America! Death to Israel!” you understand the fates of the two are linked. When you hear Iran’s dictator, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, lead similar crowds in chants of “Death to Israel! Death to America!” you see that they are linked. The coiner of the slogan linking them as enemies of Islam (and also the secular left) was the Ayatollah Khomeini, father of the modern jihad against the West, who called America “The Great Satan” and Israel “The Little Satan.”
But if people had understood or correctly read Hitler’s intentions in the 1930s, 70 million lives might have been saved. Hitler systemati- cally violated the international peace agreements that were meant to keep Germany from re-emerging as a major aggressive power. Then he took Austria and a major piece of Czechoslovakia, fore- shadowing his designs to take on the world. But there were always people in the West, leaders in the West, who said, “We can do busi- ness with Hitler, we can negotiate with him, we can appease his appetites short of war.” And they were wrong.
The Jews, too, misread Hitler’s intentions. There would be a lot more Jews in the world today if the Jews had understood the intentions of the Nazis. There were five hundred thousand Jews imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto. But they didn’t think the Germans were going to kill them. Even when the Germans put them in these ghettos which they were not allowed to leave, the Jews didn’t wake up. They formed governing councils and organized themselves, identifying all their inhabitants as though they were citizens of a normal state. And this simply made it easier for the Germans to ship them out to the concentration camps and the gas chambers. They thought they were going to work- camps. All in all, they made it easier for the Germans to kill them because they thought the Germans were too civilized to commit such heinous crimes. The Jewish communities of Europe misread the intentions of the Germans, and now they no longer exist.
So I want to begin this talk tonight by reading some statements made by Palestinian leaders, which express their intentions towards the Jews. Mahmoud al-Zahar is a founder of Hamas and one of its current leaders. This is what he has said: “There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation.” Ahmad Bahar, who is acting chairman of the Gaza parliament and a member of Hamas, has said: “Be certain that America is on its way to disappear. Allah take hold of the Jews and their allies. Allah take hold of the Americans and their allies. Allah count them and kill them to the last one, don’t leave even one.” On the official Hamas website, there is a video of a Hamas suicide bomber who can be seen saying this: “My message to the Jews is that there is no god but Allah. We are a nation that drinks blood and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews. We will not leave you alone until we have quenched our thirst with your blood and our children’s thirst with your blood.”
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brother- hood, spoke not long ago to millions of reverent Muslims on Al Jazeera TV and said this:
“Throughout history Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler by means of all the things he did to them—even though they exaggerated this issue— he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.”1 In other words, Islam intends to finish the job that Hitler started—or Muhammad, for that matter. The prophet Muhammad has said, as recorded in a holy hadith: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”2 This genocidal saying of the prophet is quoted in the Hamas Charter, which also says: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”3
On American campuses across this country, members of Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association chant: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The river is the Jordan, which is Israel’s border to the east; the sea is the Mediterranean, which is Israel’s border to the west. “From the river to the sea” is Israel. What Students for Justice in Palestine are chanting, what members of the Muslim Students Association and their leftist allies are chanting, is a statement of intention to oblit- erate the state of Israel.
What is “Palestine”? The name is not Arabic. It is a name that was given to Judea and Samaria, which is now called the West Bank, and which is the historic homeland of the Jews. In 66 AD the Jews had the bad judgment to rebel against the Roman Empire; they were defeated, and a million Jews were killed. To humiliate the Jews of Judea still further, the Romans renamed their home- land after their enemies, the Philistines. There were no Arabs in the region at that time. The Philistines were red-headed Aegean sailors, not Arabs. For 2000 years after that, there was no people calling itself Palestinian. In fact, there was no people calling itself Palestinian until 1964, fifteen years after the state of Israel had been created, which is one of the reasons that Newt Gingrich recently observed that the Palestinians are “an invented people.” Palestine is the name of a region, like “New England.” If you were talking about Palestinians in 1948, you would have been talking about Jews. We inhabit a kind of surreal universe now, particularly in universities, which are the most conformist institutions in our country, which is why these facts might seem strange. The university has become a one-party state where people on the left talk to each other and nobody challenges them, which is why everything I’m going to say tonight will probably seem strange. But if you can overcome your emotions and look at the facts, you’ll see that everything I’m saying is accurate.
The, Big Lie repeated by Hamas and the PLO, by everyone on the political Left and by all supporters of the Palestinian cause, is the claim that Israel occupies Palestinian land, or that it occupies Arab land. In fact, the land that Israel was created on, which is the same land that Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan were created on, belonged to the Ottoman Turks for 400 years prior to that. Turks are not Arabs. The Turks joined the losing side in the First World War, and when the war was over the Ottoman Empire was dismantled. This accorded with international law and international tradition. After the war, the European victors were given mandates over the conquered empire, and they carved out these five nations. The “Palestine Mandate” was a piece of the defeated empire, a region and not a people. Along with the Jews, there were Arabs living in the Mandate, but there was no “Palestinian people.” In 1922, Churchill assigned 80 percent of the Palestine Mandate to a state he named “Trans-Jordan,” which is now the state of Jordan. Seventy percent of the people living in this area were Arabs who inhabited the region called “Palestine.” In other words, 70 percent of Jordan is “Palestinian.” But you never hear anybody complain that Jordan is “occupied” Palestine. Jordan is 80 percent of the landmass of the original Palestine Mandate. Where is the movement for self-determination of Jordan’s Palestinians? There is none. There is none because the agenda of the Palestinians and their leftwing supporters is not to create a Palestinian state but to push the Jews into the sea.
[At this point about 40 members of the audience, most of them members of the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine, and supporters of Hamas—some wearing keffiyehs, the terrorist symbol created by Yasser Arafat— marched out of the room on a prearranged cue.4]
Goodbye, everybody. These are supposed to be college stu- dents, supposed to be at this school to learn.
To continue, the British and the United Nations divided the remaining 20 percent of the original Palestine Mandate between the Jews and the Arabs. They divided the remaining 20 percent equally, except that they gave the Jews three slivers of land, not exactly contiguous, and 60 percent of that land was an arid desert. The Arabs were awarded the west bank of the Jordan River, which is the historic homeland of the Jews. But the Arabs rejected their share of the land, and on the day Israel was created in 1948, eight Arab dictatorships attacked the Jews with the stated intention of pushing them into the sea. That war has never ended. It is the Arabs’ aggression against the state of Israel, their desire to push the Jews into the sea, that is the cause—the sole cause—of the con- flict in the Middle East.
Following their victory in the 1948 war, the Israelis offered to sign a peace with the Arabs and live side by side with an Arab state. But the Arabs did not want a Palestinian state, then or for the next sixty years. They rejected a state every time it was offered to them because that has never been their goal. Their goal is to expel a non-Muslim people from the region, and make it Muslim. Islam is—and has always been—an imperial religion that expands by force. No one can leave Islam. For apostates, the sentence is death. Similarly, once an area is Muslim, it has to remain Muslim. That is the creed.
When the war ended in 1949, Egypt annexed Gaza and Jordan annexed the West Bank. There was not a peep out of the entire Arab world about the annexation of Gaza or the annexation of Jordan, or the fact that the so-called Palestinians not only lacked a home, they didn’t have the land they had been promised to build on. Why was there no protest? Because the war was not about self- determination for the Palestinians or the Arabs. It was, and still is, about getting rid of the Jews.
As a result of Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, the West Bank and Gaza were liberated from Egypt and Jordan. That war was the second Arab aggression in 20 years whose stated purpose was to destroy the Jewish state. When Israel won the war, it offered to return Gaza and the West Bank to Arab rule in exchange for a peace treaty that would recognize Israel’s right to exist. The Arabs rejected the offer. The aggressors all met in Khartoum in 1967 and issued a joint statement which is generally referred to as “The Three No’s”—“No recognition of Israel; No negotiation; No peace.” That is the reason Israeli troops continued to occupy Gaza and the West Bank. Their purpose was to prevent further aggressions by the Arab states through these corridors, and also to prevent their use as terrorist launching pads by the PLO and Hamas.
Israel cannot just unilaterally withdraw from these territories and allow those who seek its destruction to attack again. They need to have a peace treaty that recognizes their right to exist, and they need to redraw their borders to make their territory more defensible.
It is the internationally recognized procedure for dealing with aggressors, when they lose, to redraw the map so that the victims have a greater ability to defend themselves the next time.
Germany attacked Poland twice in the 20th century, so in 1945 the Allies took the entire region of East Prussia, which was the industrial heartland of Germany, and gave it to Poland. How many Germans do you think had to be resettled? Twelve million. Twelve million Germans were uprooted from places they had inhabited since the Middle Ages. And nobody complained. If the Jews had acted the way other nations act, they would have annexed the West Bank in 1967 and they would have moved all the Arabs into Jordan, which is a majority Palestinian state. But they didn’t do that. The Jews tried to be nice. They thought: if we’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us. No, they won’t. They hate you, and want to push you into the sea.
In the years preceding the 1993 Oslo accords, when Israel was the ruling authority in the West Bank and Gaza, the Israelis poured hundreds of millions of dollars into these territories and created universities; the economy of the West Bank grew at a rate that was the fifth-fastest in the world. Then came the so-called “Oslo peace process,” which established the Palestinian Authority, brought the terrorist Arafat back from Tunisia and gave him control of the West Bank and Gaza. Within six months of Palestinian rule, the standard of living in Gaza had declined by 25 percent and the unemployment rate went from 10 to 40 percent. These are the real oppressors of Palestinians: the PLO and Hamas.
The malicious intentions towards the Jews are not extraneous to this struggle. They are the struggle. The father of Palestinian nationalism is Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who led massacres of the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s because they were Jews—well before the creation of the state of Israel. Al-Husseini was a Nazi—literally—who went to Berlin to serve Hitler. Al-Husseini was a protégé of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He recruited an Arab legion to fight for Hitler, and also drew up his own plans to create a death camp for Jews in the Middle East. The only reason his plan wasn’t implemented was that Montgomery defeated Rommel in the ba tle of El Alamein. Today, al-Husseini is honored on the West Bank with a holiday as the founder of the Palestinian cause.
Israel is in a very hard place. A significant portion of its plight is its own doing—not reading the intentions of its enemies. The Oslo peace accords were a disastrous mistake. When Oslo began, the terrorist Yasser Arafat was in exile in Tunisia. For the sake of peace with people who wanted to push them into the sea, the Jews brought Arafat back to Ramallah and armed his terrorist “police force” with 40-thousand weapons. Instead of sowing the seeds of peace, this offering was taken as an opportunity by Israel’s enemies to begin a new phase in their war of extermination, one in which the Hamas Nazis are dictating the tactics—suicide bombing in particular, and now rocket attacks from the territory of Gaza, which Israel had evacuated in order to give peace a chance.
Why do people fall for these illusions? Why would they think that other people, having stated quite clearly their goal to obliterate them, might be persuaded by appeasement and withdrawal to give up that goal? It’s the “hopey-changey” thing in all of us. The wish is father to the thought. We want things to be better; we don’t want to face the fact that there is evil in the world, and that it has to be contained by superior force. People don’t want to hear that. On our college campuses today, you can’t even inform people about the threats we are facing. Our Freedom Center has produced a pamphlet, written by Dan Greenfield, about Muslim hate-groups on campuses; it describes in great detail the malevolent activities of the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine.5 I tried to place an ad for that pamphlet in thirty college papers. Only one, Ohio State, agreed to print it—a paid advertise- ment, mind you. Of course, there was a big eruption when it appeared in the Ohio State paper.
Don’t tell me that Palestinians in their majorities, and through their elected governments, support suicide bombers because they are desperate; that “the Israelis have tanks, we have suicide bombers.” People have been oppressed in many places for thou- sands of years, horribly oppressed; but never in the entire history of mankind has an oppressed people strapped bombs on its own children and sent them to blow themselves up and kill other children, telling them that if they do, and they are lucky enough to be male, they will go to heaven and receive 72 virgins as a reward for their good deed. That is sick. Gaza is a death-cult created by Hamas. A similar cult exists in the West Bank, run by Hamas’s ally the Palestine Liberation Organization, which lionizes the murderers of children, makes national heroes of terrorists who set out to target children. Who does this but psychopaths? The Palestinian regimes have institutionalized psychopathic behavior. You can see it on the Web—the preachers preaching “death to Jews,” the little kids dressed up as suicide bombers, the children’s television cartoons encouraging them to murder Jews.
There’s a natural affinity between all movements for an earthly redemption. That’s why the Islamists have been able to make common cause with progressives and have learned to talk in the language of the left—the totalitarian language of social justice. It’s a noble idea, but it is also an impossible—and therefore horribly destructive — dream.
On April 27, the media quoted Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman -- the foreign policy wizard who engineered the fiasco of the North Korean nuclear deal under Pres. Clinton and who is now working her diplomatic legerdemain on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran -- threatened Israel. She said that if Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new coalition government does not pledge allegiance to the Two-State Solution (TSS), the U.S. will “find it difficult” to back Israel in the U.N. Security Council as U.S. administrations have in the past scores of times by casting a veto.
With the U.N’s roster of member-states almost one-third officially Muslim, if not for the United States the Council would long ago have crippled Israel with sanctions like those passed against Apartheid South Africa that helped bring that racist system down. In 1975, the General Assembly judged Zionism in UNGA Resolution 3379 to be “a form of racism” too. That resolution was repealed in 1991 but not the fifty-three other General Assembly resolutions passed over the years that explicitly liken Israel to Apartheid South Africa.
Fortunately, the General Assembly is a powerless, hot air factory. In its lifetime since 1945 it has drafted and voted on thousands of resolutions on world issues that are no more than opinion pieces that have no enforcement power.
Not so the Security Council. And now President Obama is warning Netanyahu that he had better not follow through on what he said on election eve, March 16, about not allowing on his watch the emergence of a so-called “Palestinian” state.
Obama is functionally threatening to throw Israel into the lions’ den that is the Security Council if he does not support the TSS, which, as we will show, is a prescription for a catastrophe as horrendous as the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. On July 30 of that year, hundreds of thousands fled either on foot westward into Portugal or eastward to Spain’s Mediterranean ports to hire boats to take them to another country. To remain in Spain after that day, a Jew could be legally murdered by any pious Roman Catholic.
The “Two-State Solution” is, as we will see, a euphemism for the creation of a “Palestinian” state on the hills of Biblical Judea and Samaria whose birth would dwarf for Jews the misery of the Spanish Expulsion. As imagined by the PLO and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, the TSS will require the eviction of all Jews currently living and working in those hills and the transfer of all political authority on the ground to the government of a new, Jew-free State of Palestine.
This vision thus calls for driving some 500,000 from their homes. That is a rough estimate of the size of the Jewish population on this real estate captured from Jordan in June 1967, territory Jordan had overrun in 1948 and formally annexed in 1950. At that time, Jordan gave citizenship to the Arabs there and for the next nineteen years neither King Abdallah nor his successor, grandson King Hussein, ever considered these Arabs to be members of “Palestinian” nation different from “Jordanians” who were entitled to their own independent state.
This contrasts with the Two-State Solution that does see them as a separate nation entitled to self-rule in their (allegedly) ancient homeland. It demands that Israel hand over these territories captured in self-defense to this “Palestinian” nation that is their real, legitimate, authentic, national owner -- and never mind that the Hashemite kings of Jordan, direct descendants of the Hashemite Prophet Muhammad, never thought so.
Not to worry, for no Israeli leader of any party will ever agree to such a “two-state solution” if only for the most mundane of reasons. Where would such a prime minister move these 500,000 Jews? Where in the rest of tiny Israel are they going to be resettled? Israel isn’t what it used to be terms of available land, and who is going to pay for the building of new homes for them, schools for their children, synagogues and places of employment and livelihoods to re-settle this fresh batch of a half-million Jewish refugees?
No Israeli leader is ever going to propose driving this twelve per cent of the Jewish population of Israel from homes they have every legal and moral right to continue living in; houses they paid for, gardens they cultivated, the synagogues they pray in.
Neither will any Israeli strategic thinker ever argue that Israel’s security will be enhanced by surrendering the high ground overlooking the center of the country and its one major airport.
The Two-State Solution is one of those abuses of language that George Orwell warned us about in 1984 when he skewered the abysmal verbal dishonesty of the Soviet Union and its apologists. Read as well his famous essay “Politics and the English Language.” The TSS points to a “solution” to the violence that foresees Israel retreating to being once again 9-15 miles wide, from the Mediterranean seashore to the hills of Samaria.
It calls for Israel to, so to speak, bare its throat to its savage Arab neighbors with their head-choppers and sex-crazed suicide freaks dreaming of eternal, drunken orgies in Muslim paradise with 72 virgins that the martyr gets to violently deflower again and again, for after each rape the virgins reconstitute their hymens. To such people, according to the TSS, Israel should turn over this land.
The plan is plainly inhuman, even anti-Semitic for dehumanizing Israel’s Jews by demanding that they behave as no other human beings would in their predicament. Israel evacuated Gaza in 2005 and turned 10,000 of their own people into refugees inside their own country in the belief that this would please the Arabs. Israelis were told that the evacuation would make the Arabs smile on them and become grateful and good neighbors.
Instead, since then, the Arabs in Gaza have launched literally tens of thousands of rockets into Jewish neighborhoods, smashed into apartments, sent thousands of people to the hospital in shock. These projectiles have landed in children’s playgrounds, destroyed businesses, forced their owners to go on welfare, seen their families fall apart; parents divorce, kids get into drugs. Last summer for fifty days, hundreds of thousands of people in Israel heard air raid sirens several times daily and had to run for shelter. And now the TSS says Israel must turn over Judea and Samaria as well to these same people.
Obama, Sherman, Kerry & Co and much of the media tell Israelis that they should inhumanly not learn from the experience of leaving Gaza. Obama tells Netanyahu he must evict hundreds of thousands from their homes and turn all the roads, supermarkets, gas stations, power lines, cell phone towers built and paid for by Israel, and hundreds of synagogues destined to be turned in mosques, over to the Arabs.
This is the Orwellian “Two-State Solution” in practice.
For Israel, it is no solution. It is a death sentence.
Doesn’t it often seem as if “Crisis in the Middle East” has been painted on our TV screens? Can anyone remember the last time we had goodnews from that perennially troubled region?
Yet , for once, there actually is good news from the Mideast. Israel’s Air Defense Force chief, Gen. Amir Eshel, has calmly reassured concerned citizens of the Jewish state -- and millions of friends of Israel throughout the world -- that his pilots have the ability to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities if it should come to that. Gen. Eshel hastens to add that the use of military force should only be “a last resort.” Still, it is a great encouragement to know that someone has Israel’s back -- and front -- and not incidentally, America’s too.
No one should underestimate the dangers that would come in the wake of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The mullahs of Tehran are the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism. There is no reason why they, like Saddam Hussein, would confine themselves to their immediate enemy, Israel. In 1991, Saddam Hussein sent Scud missiles against Israel even though Israel was not taking part in Operation Desert Storm. Saddam was hoping to fracture the U.S.-led coalition, which included even Syria, and the Saudis, but not Israel. Israel then exercised incredible restraint at the urgent request of the administration of the elder George Bush. Israel did not respond with force to the unprovoked attacks from Iraq’s dictator.
We can certainly expect that Iran would hit American targets in the event of an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) strike on its nuclear weapons facilities. Recall the anthrax attacks that occurred in Washington and elsewhere in the wake of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings of 2012. Americans might see a repetition of these and other yet unimagined terror tactics by Tehran’s mullahs if and when Israel is forced to strike Iran’s nuclear weapons project. Still, the knowledge that someone can effectively prevent Iran from “breaking out” should calm unsteady nerves throughout Europe and North America.
The unfortunate thing about President Obama’s laudable goal is that he has chosen the wrong means to achieve it. He wanted to stop Iran’s lurch toward nuclear weapons without a war. That goal should have our enthusiastic backing. But the means he has chosen -- stripping the U.S. defenses, turning a blind eye to Iran’s persecution of Christians, showing “passion” for our military only as a forum for radical social experimentation, and allowing nuclear negotiations to degenerate into a shouting match between Iran’s foreign minister and our hapless Sec. of State John Kerry -- invite failure.
Despite Mr. Obama’s coolness toward Israel’s elected leadership, we Americans remain supportive of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tumultuous reception as he addressed a joint session of Congress in March and his thumping re-election in Israel later that month show that there remains a deep reservoir of U.S. friendship for the only democracy in the Middle East.
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