UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is to vote today on a resolution assigning the holiest site in Judaism status as a Moslem holy site. If the resolution passes, the imprimatur of the United Nations will be given to the efforts of Moslems to deny the historical reality that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the site of the First and Second Temples of Judaism, only to be conquered by Moslems, and appropriated as their holy site, through the construction of the Dome of the Dock.
The Western Wall, sometimes called the “Wailing Wall,” is the holiest site in Judaism, the remnant of the First and Second Temples, the first destroyed by the Babylonians, and the Second destroyed by the Roman legions in 70 C.E. following a revolt against Roman rule. Six centuries later, following the conquest of Jerusalem by the Umayyad Caliphate, the holy site was appropriated by Muslims as the place from which their tradition asserts that Mohammed launched his Night Journey, a spiritual and physical round trip in the course of one night to the “farthest mosque,” where he speaks with the prophets, and to heaven, where he speaks with Allah. On the ruins of the Second Temple, the Umayyads constructed the Dome of the Rock, which still stands on the original site of the First and Second Temples.
The proposal to recognize the adjoining Western Wall as a Muslim holy site was submitted by six Muslim countries on behalf of the Palestinians, according to a Ynet news report.
The proposal also calls for the international community to condemn Israel for urging “its citizens to bear arms in light of [the] recent terror wave,” as well as for recent actions by Israel and the Israel Defense Forces in Jerusalem. The document, a copy of which was obtained by Ynet, refers to Jerusalem as “the occupied capital of Palestine.”
In addition, the Palestinians seek condemnation of ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as of the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely denounced the bid on Monday.
“This shameful and deceitful Palestinian attempt to rewrite history will fail the test of reality,” Hotovely said.
The Likud lawmaker said her ministry is making every effort to see that the bid is voted down by UNESCO on Tuesday.
The proposal is largely expected to pass, as most of UNESCO’s 58 members traditionally support the Palestinian cause.
When the global economy is doing well, the amount of stuff that is imported and exported around the world goes up, and when the global economy is in recession, the amount of stuff that is imported and exported around the world goes down. It is just basic economics.
Governments around the world have become very adept at manipulating other measures of economic activity such as GDP, but the trade numbers are more difficult to fudge. Today, China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the entire planet, and we have just learned that Chinese exports and Chinese imports are both collapsing right now. But this is just part of a larger trend. As I discussed the other day, British banking giant HSBC has reported that total global trade is down 8.4 percent so far in 2015, and global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4 percent. The only other times global trade has plummeted this much has been during other global recessions, and it appears that this new downturn is only just beginning.
For many years, China has been leading the revolution in global trade. But now we are witnessing something that is almost unprecedented. Chinese exports are falling, and Chinese imports are absolutely imploding…
Growth of exports from China has been dropping relentlessly, for years. Now this “growth” has actually turned negative. In September, exports were down 3.7% from a year earlier, the “inevitable fallout from China’s unsustainable and poorly executed credit splurge,” as Thomson Reuters’ Alpha Nowputs it. Most of these exports are manufactured goods that are shipped by container to the rest of the world.
And imports into China – a mix of bulk and containerized freight – have been plunging: down 20.4% in September from a year earlier, after at a 13.8% drop in August.
This week it was announced that Chinese GDP growth had fallen to the lowest level since the last recession, and that makes sense. Global economic activity is really slowing down, and this is deeply affecting China.
So what about the United States?
September is in the early phase of the make-or-break holiday shipping season. Shipments usually increase from August to September. They did this year too. The number of shipments in September inched up 1.7% from August, according to the Cass Freight Index.
But the index was down 1.5% from an already lousy September last year, when shipments had fallen from the prior month, instead of rising. And so, in terms of the number of shipments, it was the worst September since 2010.
It has been crummy all year: With the exception of January and February, the shipping volume has been lower year-over-year every month!
The index is broad. It tracks data from shippers, no matter what carrier they choose, whether truck, rail, or air, and includes carriers like FedEx and UPS.
What major retailers such as Wal-Mart are reporting also confirms that we are in a major economic slowdown. Wal-Mart recently announced that its earnings would fall by as much as 12 percent during the next fiscal year, and that caused Wal-Mart stock to drop by the most in 27 years.
And of course this is going to have a huge ripple effect. There are thousands of other companies that do business with Wal-Mart, and Reuters is reporting that they are starting to get squeezed…
Similar things are going on at some of the other biggest companies in America as well.
For instance, things have gotten so bad for McDonald’s that one franchise owner recently stated that the restaurant chain is “facing its final days”…
All of the numbers are screaming at us that we have entered a major economic downturn and that it is accelerating.
CNBC is reporting that the number of job openings in the U.S. is falling and that the number of layoffs is rising…
Job openings fell 5.3 percent in August, while a 2.6 percent rise in layoffs and discharges offset a 0.3 percent gain in hires. Finally, the amount of quits — or what Convergex calls its “take this job and shove it” indicator because it shows the percentage of workers who left positions voluntarily — fell to 56.6 percent from 57.1 percent, indicating less confidence in mobility.
These numbers that I write about every day are not a game. They affect all of us on a very personal level.
Just like in 2008 and 2009, millions of Americans that are living a very comfortable middle class lifestyle today will soon lose their jobs and will end up out in the streets.
In fact, there will be people that will read this article that this will happen to.
So no, none of us should be excited that the global economy is collapsing. There is already so much pain all around us, and what is to come is beyond what most of us would even dare to imagine.
Russia’s Sukhoi Su-25, Su-24M and Su-34 attack aircraft, with the support of Su-30 jets, launched precision airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria on September 30, following a request from President Bashar Assad. Moreover, Russia launched 26 sea-based cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea targeting ISIL positions in Syria on October 7.
“The result of the operation [in Syria] confirms that Russia is ready to accurately and effectively respond to terrorist or any other threats to our country,” Putin said during a ceremony in the Kremlin with top military brass who have just received command ranks.
Terrorists have created a springboard in Syria in order to expand and destabilize entire regions, Vladimir Putin added.
“Having created a springboard in Syria and a number of other countries in the Middle East, terrorists have made and continue to make plans on expansion and the destabilization of entire regions. They have recruited and continue to recruit into their ranks militants from many states, including from Russia and CIS countries, unfortunately.”
Russia in the few days it has been of fighting terrorism in Syria has achieved far more than the US coalition. According to the New York Times, Russia’s fighter jets are conducting nearly as many strikes in a typical day as the American-led coalition has been carrying out each month this year, a number which includes strikes conducted in Iraq – not just Syria.
Whilst the US has been bombing ISIS for over a year, ISIS has only grown and gained more ground in Syria. A few months ago ISIS took over the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, a UNESCO world heritage-listed site.
In spite of the fact that the US government acknowledged ISIS cannot be defeated without ground troops, they have refused to work with the Syrian military, the only force on the ground commanded by the only UN-recognized government in the country, and the only force capable and willing to fight ISIS.
On the other hand Russia is coordinating with the Syrian military on the ground, assisting Syrian troops in gaining ground against terrorism. The discrepancy shows a lack of honesty on the part of the US when it comes to its real agenda in Syria vs its proclaimed goal of fighting terrorism. The US is capable of more, the US military is the most powerful and technologically advanced force in the world. It is logical to conclude that they are willfully throwing the fight against terrorism in Syria and the reasons for that should be examined.
ISIS Serves US Geopolitical Interests, Threatens Russia’s
It has become clear that the US’s main objectives in Syria is not their expressed goal of ‘fighting ISIS’, but regime change, isolating Russian influence, the Balkanization and the creation of failed states. US presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself stated that ‘removing Assad is the top priority”.
The US sees the Syrian state as one of the last spheres of Russian influence beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union, and a threat to its Israeli ally in the region. The presence of ISIS and other terrorists groups serves these interests. The US has a history of using terrorism to topple governments friendly to Russia. Al Qaeda itself was borne of the US objective to topple the Soviet friendly government of Afghanistan. The dismemberment of Russian-friendly Serbia and the creation of Kosovo was done via the same means.
More recently ISIS was a direct result of the US’s intervention in Iraq, and have only arrived in Libya and Syria in the wake of overt US-backed regime change efforts there. Although Libya and Iraq did not have relations with Russia as strong as Syria’s, Russia was still their main weapons supplier. It is therefore not surprising that since Russia entered the war in Syria, Saudi clerics and the Muslim Brotherhood – both US state assets – declared ‘jihad’ on Russia.
The former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Chief Michael Flynn said in an interview that he believed the US had made a willful decision to allow ISIS to grow in Syria. A 2012 declassified DIA report, wrote if the US and its allies continued to destabilize Syria by arming extremist insurgents “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”
The CIA had trained thousand of ‘rebels’, not to fight ISIS, but admittedly to fight the Assad government and Syrian military – showing once again that the real objective behind the US’ involvement is regime change. Media across the West has even admited this, including the Washington Post which would report:
…the CIA has since 2013 trained some 10,000 rebels to fight Assad’s forces. Those groups have made significant progress against strongholds of the Alawites, Assad’s sect.
The US bombing of ISIS has been mostly nominal, an exercise in perception management. Although the US Defense Intelligence Agency makes regular claims to have bombed specific targets, rarely is video evidence of the bombing strikes published. On the other hand the Russian military regularly releases video of most of the strikes on Russia Today. It was also leaked that the US had forbade its fighter jets from targeting a long list of ISIS training camps, which turn out thousands of fighters a month.
Award winning journalist Robert Fisk told the Australian program Lateline that the US could have bombed a convoy of ISIS militants who were taking over Palmyra, but instead allowed them to take over a Syrian military post as well as the ancient City which they have now begun to destroy. When the US has dropped bombs on ISIS run territory they have used the opportunity to primarily destroy Syria’s oil infrastructure. Likewise the US has largely avoided bombing ISIS and Al Qaeda targets in the Syrian district of North Hama in an attempt to prevent Syrian troops from gaining ground.Russia is now striking these targets long the benefactors of US-granted impunity.
Perhaps the most ironic development of Russia’s involvement in Syria’s fight against terror, is the anger expressed by the US government and its media at Russia’s bombing of Al Qaeda (Jabhat Al Nusra) targets.
Former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man largely responsible for the creation of Al Qaeda, expressed his frustration with the fact that Russia was targeting Al Qaeda as well as ISIS through his twitter account. Pro-NATO media has all but forgotten its war with Al Qaeda, and avoids any mention of its existence preferring to concentrate on ISIS instead. They have especially tried to avoid bringing to light the fact that Russia is bombing Al Qaeda in Syria where the US has largely avoided doing so including Homs, Hama, Idlib, and around Aleppo.
In the same CNN article which accuses Russia of not targeting ISIS but rather‘Syrian rebels”, two maps displayed from the Institute for the Study of War shows a very telling story. The first shows the areas in which Jabhat al Nusra controls or jointly controls with its allies – the so called moderate rebels receiving US-backing – but on a map showing locations of Russian strikes, Jabhat al Nusra territory can scarcely be seen, obstructed by highly concentrated Russian strikes – in other words – it is finally being wiped out of these areas.
Al Qaeda is not the only terrorist group the US has been accused of arming. This month, footage filmed by the Iraqi military of an oil refinery that had been captured by ISIS, shows US supply crates full of food and weapons having been delivered to Islamic State militants by parachute. In 2014, footage of another US supply drop to ISIS in Kobane Syria also emerged online. Only a few days ago the US airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into Hasake region of Syria, where there has been a lot of ISIS activity. Most of the weaponry used by ISIS is US made. In January this year, an Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui publically accused the US of supplying ISIS with weapons through airdrops.
The Iraqi government has become increasingly suspicious of the US’ lack of real commitment in fighting ISIS. On the other hand, Russian strikes have thus far been so effective against ISIS that the Iraqi government has asked Russia to take on a bigger role against ISIS than the US.
Russia has in turn signaled that it may start bombing ISIS in Iraq as well as Syria, with the permission of the Iraqi government. Unlike the US, Russia has not broken international law and has sought permission to enter Iraq and Syria from each respective state’s legitimate government.
With these actions Russia has called the US’ bluff on fighting ISIS, and is effectively forcing the US to do a better job of convincing the Iraqi government that it is truly fighting ISIS. If Russia does enter Iraqi airspace, it will more easily cross into Syrian airspace to provide supplies to the Syrian government, since the US has bullied many countries in the region to close their airspace to Russian aircraft. Furthermore, if Iraq asks Russia to enter, it is a scenario that would reverse any of the influence the US had gained in Iraq throughout its lengthy occupation of the country since 2003.
The US has been backed into a corner, and in doing so, has exposed itself and its allies as the source of terrorism, not champions truly fighting it. Terrorism has always been a means by which the US has sought to deconstruct Russian spheres of influences. Ironically over the last decade it has also simultaneously perpetuated the myth that it is actually fighting a war against terror. However as its allied states grow increasingly tired of this game, how long can the US continue to juggle this duplicity, before the entire deck of cards crumbles?