11-Jan-17 – Who Forced Russia to Intervene in Syria?

by Valentin Vasilescu

Translated by Alice Decker

Attempting to deduce the reasons behind Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Syria, we run into a number of unknowns. First, why were Russian planes in Syria that could have been equipped with 8–24 missiles or bombs furnished with only two bombs or missiles, all of them “smart” (KAB-250 S/LG, KAB-500 L/Kr, KAB-KAB-1500 L, 1500 K, Kh-29 L/T, Kh-25 T), guided by laser beam, GPS and TV/IR? These weapons are accurate to within 2–5 m. It is also unknown why the Russian fighter-bombers were sometimes kept in the air for an hour until the last Syrian civilian was removed from the target area. Don’t forget that the American B-52 bombers carpet bombed Vietnam, burying combatants along with the inhabited localities around them, and the US A-1 Skyrider, F-100, F-105, F-4, F-8, a-4, a-6, a-26 and B-57 planes dumped thousands of loads of napalm on Vietnamese villages. The procedure used by the Russians in Syria is one that is only used by an air force defending its own territory.

It’s also unclear why Russia decided to intervene only in October 2015, almost four years after the war began in Syria, when 75% of the territory of the nation had been occupied by Islamist rebels. In February 2014, the coup d’état took place in Ukraine, supported by the West and dubbed “Euromaidan,” followed by Crimea’s accession to Russia by referendum in March 2014 and the outbreak of the civil war in eastern Ukraine. The US, the EU and nations loyal to the United States instituted an economic embargo against Russia. In September 2014, during the summit in Wales, NATO decided to develop new defensive capabilities on the border with Russia. This took the form of relocating Brigade 3 tanks from the American 4th Division, to the Baltic countries and Poland (87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 self-propelled M109A6 Paladin howitzers, and 136 M2 Bradley infantry fighting machines). To this is added the 10th Aviation Brigade (50 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 10 heavy transport CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 24 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters).

In the Gulf War, the Americans formulated a new seek-and-destroy algorithm to penetrate into the strategic depth of the enemy’s defenses. After American aviation secured aerial superiority, American fighter-bombers shifted to neutralizing, with high precision, Iraqi armored vehicles along the fortified lines for counterattack and the armored vehicles along the counteroffensive lines, using the second tier and the reserve of large tactical-operative units. Simultaneously with this, the attack helicopters of the American Army and Marine Corps succeeded, together with the batteries of 155mm caliber Paladin M109A6 self-propelled howitzers, in neutralizing brigade artillery groups, divisions, and formations of the first echelon of the Iraqi army.

The precise location of Iraqi targets was obtained via the American Army’s complex reconnaissance program based on — in addition to satellite data — four levels of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance), collecting and processing data in order to formulate a complete picture of the theater of operations on the ground. The first, strategic, level consisted of the RQ-4 A/B Global Hawk long-range unmanned surveillance aircraft and later the RQ-170 Sentinel, as well as the U-2, E-8C, and RC manned surveillance planes. The second level of ISR was represented by the RQ-7 Shadow, RQ-5 Hunter, MQ-1 Predator, and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned medium- and short-range surveillance planes. The third level of ISR consisted of manned prop planes, like the Cessna Caravan 208B, C-23A Sherpa, C-12R Horned Owl and the C-12 MARSS-II King Air. The fourth level was made up of a fleet of helicopters from the 12 aviation brigades of the US Army (OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and AH-64 Apaches).

Through the combined action of the American seek-and-destroy             systems, the Iraqi combat structure was disrupted, creating large corridors permitting the penetration of mechanized or tanks units. To pierce deep within the defenses and surround the flanks, they used not so much the M1A2 Abrams tank, M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, or AAV-7A1 marine infantry fighting vehicle — all slow-moving tracked vehicles — but rather gave preference to LAV-25 Stryker motorized units equipped with armored personnel carriers (which can reach a speed of 100km on the highway) made up into Stryker brigades.

The model Stryker Brigade has 135 Stryker armored personnel carriers and three infantry battalions (3 companies), a reconnaissance squadron (3 companies) with 33 Stryker armored personnel carriers and 12 HMMWV, an artillery division (3 batteries of towed howitzers, 155 mm caliber) and a battalion of special operations troops. Starting in 2012, the Russian army converted 7–10 motorized brigades in accordance with the American Stryker model, based on BTR-80 and BTR-82A amphibious armored personnel carriers. Over the next 2–3 years, the BTR-80/82A will be replaced with new the VPK-7829 Boomerang.

In Syria, the Russian Su-25, Su-24, and Su-34 fighter-bombers and those of the Syrian air force created breaches in the rebel battle formations, striking their ammunition and fuel reserves and mobile combat equipment (such as tanks and towable artillery pieces), and also their armored fortifications. Russian Mi-24V and Mi-28N attack helicopters eliminated from the rebels’ defense arsenal Toyota pick-up trucks armed with machine guns, rocket launchers and portable anti-tank rockets (from the counter-offensive arrays) and vehicles loaded with explosives for suicide attacks. Through these breaches they brought in Russian BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, considered to be highly advanced given their great maneuverability in unobstructed terrain, and their fire power from turret-mounted 30mm cannons. For their protection, along with the BTR-82As there were some Russian T-90A tanks equipped with the Shtora active defense system which renders useless the American TOW-2 anti-tank missiles. And it can’t be ruled out that Russia will also send Syria its new types of armored vehicles (the T-14 Armata tank, the T-15 and Kurganets-25 IFVS), which are in the test phase now — the most advanced tanks as of today.

In Syria, the Russian army has created a strong component of C4I reconnaissance (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Interoperability) for its search-and-strike system. The collection and processing of data has been stratified on many levels, just as it is in the US Army. These levels comprise, in addition to satellite data, Il-20M1 and Tu-214R manned reconnaissance planes (which can carry out missions lasting 12 hours or more), Zala, Yakovlev Pchela-1T and Orlan-10 short-range unmanned planes (UAVs), Dozor 600 long-range unmanned flights, and also Mi-35 and Ka-52 reconnaissance and attack helicopters.

Since the anti-Islamic State coalition led by the US (which includes NATO and the Arab Gulf States) had aircraft operating in the airspace of northern, central and eastern Syria, according to statements by General Philip Breedlove, the former NATO commander in Europe, the Russian air and land forces created an exclusion zone (A2 / AD bubble) in western Syria, barring NATO forces. Within the exclusion zone, Russia implemented a set of security measures by which it secured primacy in the radio-electronic war (Electronic warfare – EW) against the land, air and space reconnaissance systems of the anti-Islamic State coalition.

The area became opaque to the Coalition’s reconnaissance due to the Russian Krasukha-4 equipment, which jams radar surveillance from American spy satellites of the Lacrosse / Onyx families, ground based radars, AWACS and other airborne radar systems like the E-8C, RC135, Sentinel R1, and those mounted on unmanned planes such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-1 Predator, and the MQ-9 Reaper. The Russian planes were equipped with SAP-518/ SPS-171 and L-175B Hibini jamming pods, while the Mi-8AMTSh helicopters were outfitted with Richag-AV jamming systems. Other jamming equipment that Russia has sent to Syria can disrupt and cancel flight commands, from a distance, to drones executing reconnaissance in the airspace of western Syria, or it can generate countermeasures, in the visible spectrum, infrared or laser, against the Americans’ electro-optical aerial or cosmic surveillance (imagery intelligence, IMINT). Inside the zone of exclusion in Syria, Russia has also deployed Su-30 SM and Su-35 intercept jets along with S-400 long range anti-aircraft missiles.

Thus, the deployment of the Russian air and land forces in Syria was also a consequence of the Obama Administration’s measures with regard to Russia, especially the increased NATO aggression close to Russia’s borders. It has not only served to support Bashar Al Assad’s regime but has spurred Russia’s military preparation with a view to repelling the eventual NATO invasion of Russia desired by the Obama Administration. But it also served to test certain essential components of the new strategic search and strike system of the Russian army. This system had not been tested until now, under field conditions, in combat. The system that was copied from the American one has been adapted to the specific needs of the Russian army, and that is to defend Russia in the event of a NATO invasion.

11-Jan-17 World View — China threatens Trump with ‘revenge’ over one-China policy

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Taiwan president Tsai Ing-Wen meets with Senator Cruz in Texas
  • China threatens Trump with ‘revenge’ over one-China policy

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-Wen meets with Senator Cruz in Texas

Tsai Ing-wen (standing) meets with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday
Tsai Ing-wen (standing) meets with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday

Ignoring demands that the US forbid Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen from making “transit stops” in Houston and San Francisco en route to and from meetings with Central American leaders, Tsai met with both US Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott during a stopover in Houston.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman made this statement about the visit:

“I have taken note of relevant reports. I want to reiterate that we are firmly opposed to the Taiwan leader’s contact with any US officials in any form and engagement in actions that disrupt and undermine China-US relations during the so-called transit. We once again urge relevant people from the US to abide by the one-China policy and the principles of the three Joint Communiqués, and cautiously handle Taiwan-related issues so as not to harm the overall interests of China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.”

As I’ve said before, it really amazes me that the US is supposed to bow to demands from China not to speak to or meet with people that China tells us not to speak to or meet with, and yet we’re supposed to accept without question China’s right to build military bases in the South China Sea, in clear violation of international law as decided by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague in July of last year, while annexing other countries’ territories as Hitler did just prior to World War II.

Prior to the meeting, China’s Consul General Li Qiangmin of Houston sent a letter to Cruz:

“For U.S. leaders in administration and legislature, not to make any contact with Taiwan leaders nor send any implication of support of ‘Taiwan Independence’ are in the interests of China, the U.S. and the international community. So, dear Senator, I sincerely hope that you will neither meet, nor have any contact with Tsai during her upcoming visit to Houston, and continue to play a significant role in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples of China and the U.S.”

After the meeting, Cruz issued a statement saying the US doesn’t dictate to China whom its leaders can meet with, and China should not dictate to the US:

“Shortly before our meeting, the Houston congressional delegation received a curious letter from the Chinese consulate asking members of Congress not to meet with President Tsai, and to uphold the ‘One-China policy’.

The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves. This is not about the PRC. This is about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend. The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit.

The US-Taiwan relationship is not on the negotiating table. It is bound in statute and founded on common interests. I look forward to working with President Tsai to strengthen our partnership.”

Governor Abbott said, “It was an honor to meet with President Tsai and discuss how our two economies can expand upon our already prosperous trade partnership.” Houston Press and China’s Foreign Ministry

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China threatens Trump with ‘revenge’ over one-China policy

The “One-China Policy” states that there is one China, not two, but leaves ambiguous exactly what that means. Beijing interprets it to mean that Taiwan is province of China, to be completely governed one day by Beijing. Taiwan interprets it to mean that they are the official government of all of China. By not speaking these interpretations out loud, everyone is supposed to get along by saying “there is only one China.”

China’s politicians have made it clear that they will use military force against Taiwan and the United States if there is any threat that Taiwan will declare independence. In 2005 Beijing passed an “anti-secession law” requiring China to take military action even if Taiwan’s leadership simply makes plans or gives speeches about independence. President Tsai has refused to confirm the “1992 consensus” which is the vehicle that reaffirms the One-China policy.

Under these circumstances, it’s not surprising that China is becoming increasingly belligerent towards Taiwan. Arguably, Taiwan has already met the conditions set forth in the anti-secession law.

The reaction from China’s Foreign Ministry, quoted above, states China policy, but is fairly non-belligerent. However, an editorial in the state run Global Times promises revenge if Donald Trump abandons the one-China policy after taking office:

“The US passed bills that allow serving officers to visit Taiwan, while Chinese fighter jets patrolled around Taiwan and China’s aircraft carrier passed the island. It is widely expected that the mainland will impose further military pressure. Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes.

Trump is yet to be inaugurated, and there is no need for Beijing to sacrifice bilateral ties for the sake of Taiwan. But in case he tears up the one-China policy after taking office, the mainland is fully prepared. Beijing would rather break ties with the US if necessary. We would like to see whether US voters will support their president to ruin Sino-US relations and destabilize the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Beijing does not need to feel grateful to Trump for not meeting Tsai. The one-China policy is the basic principle reiterated in the three Sino-US joint Communiqués. It is also the foundation of the profound bilateral relationship. Sticking to this principle is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific. If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.”

This article threatens to break relations with the US if Trump does not reaffirm the one-China policy, and hints at unspecified military action against Taiwan.

Trump has said that his administration will review the one-China policy, but in view of the real possibility that China will end diplomatic relations, I’m going to assume that Trump will adopt the one-China policy, or some close variant.

But completely apart from anything the US administration does, it’s the attitude of the Taiwanese people that is most important. Time is not on China’s side, and Chinese officials know it, as the Taiwan’s population become more pro-independence every year. The Chinese people are highly nationalistic with regard to Taiwan, and it won’t be too much longer before Chinese officials decide that time has run out. Global Times (Beijing) and Xinhua

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, China, Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, Li Qiangmin, United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration, PCA, Anti-secession law
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

10-Jan-17 World View — Thousands of migrants trapped in deep freeze temperatures in Greece and Balkans

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Thousands of migrants risk freezing to death as deep freeze spreads across Europe
  • Migrants in eastern Europe trapped in deep freeze temperatures
  • European Commission resettlement plan appears to be a disaster

Thousands of migrants risk freezing to death as deep freeze spreads across Europe

Screen grab from viral video showing migrant tents on Lesvos island
Screen grab from viral video showing migrant tents on Lesvos island

Europe’s migrant crisis has been mostly out of news since March 18 of last year, when the EU and Turkey signed their migrant deal, in which Turkey agreed to police the flow of migrants from Turkey across the Aegean Sea to Greece.

Even though it’s been out of the news, severe problems still remain. There are about 60,000 migrants still in Greece. When migrants travel from Turkey across the Aegean Sea, they usually stop at Greece’s Lesvos Island, because it’s close to Turkey, and because they’ve been welcomed by the Lesvians in the past. There are over 6,000 migrants at the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos Island, far over its capacity of 3,500, and the number is still increasing by a few dozen every day, since the Turkey blockade isn’t completely effective. About 1,000 are living in tents covered with snow.

There are 15,600 migrants on all the Greek islands put together. Last week, Greece’s Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said:

“There are no refugees or migrants living in the cold anymore. We successfully completed the procedures for overwintering.”

So a volunteer worker posted a video showing migrants on Lesvos living in extremely harsh conditions, with no heat and their tents buckling under the heavy snow.

European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud called the situation “untenable,” but that the Commission was ready to help:

“We can no more dictate policy in Greece than we can in any other member state.

I have to be quite clear here, the commission is aware that the situation is untenable but we also have to be clear as I was saying that ensuring adequate reception conditions in Greece is a responsibility of Greek authorities. …

We are pursuing a dual strategy of political pressure and financial and technical support to the Greek authorities to improve the situation.”

She explained that by “political pressure,” she meant a continued series of recommendations by the EC in its reports to Greece. Greek Reporter and EU Observer and EurActiv

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Migrants in eastern Europe trapped in deep freeze temperatures

When the so-called “Balkan route” was closed to migrants last year, it left thousands of them stranded. More than 7,500 people are currently stranded in Serbia, living in overcrowded camps and informal settlements. In Belgrade, around 2,000 young people, mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria are currently sleeping in abandoned buildings in the city center, while temperatures plummet to as low as -20°C (-4°F). Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Deutsche Welle and Reuters

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European Commission resettlement plan appears to be a disaster

During the first week of 2017, 373 refugees and migrants crossed the sea from Turkey to Greece, an average of 53 per day. Most arrivals were from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Most arrived on the islands Chios and Lesvos.

During the same week, 1,080 people arrived by sea to Italy, mostly as a result of Italian and European search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Most arrivals were from Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, and Gambia, with lesser numbers from . Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Somalia and Bangladesh.

In September 2015, the European Commission adopted an “emergency relocation scheme,” whereby 160,000 refugees, mostly in Greece and Italy, were supposed to be relocated to other EU countries.

However, the program has been something of a disaster. Out of the 160,000, only 8162 people were relocated since the beginning of the scheme. Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Poland have refused to take any migrants at all. The Czech Republic has taken 12, and Slovakia has taken 9.

With the rise of far-right, anti-migrant and even anti-EU populism growing in Europe, it seems unlikely that any of these problems will be resolved soon. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and European Commission (PDF) and Daily Sabah (Turkey)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Greece, Turkey, Lesvos Island, Aegean Sea, Yiannis Mouzalas, Natasha Bertaud, Balkan route, Serbia, Belgrade, Hungary, European Commission, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Bangladesh, emergency relocation scheme
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

9-Jan-17 World View — Iran’s ‘moderate pragmatist’ Hashemi Rafsanjani dies at age 82

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Iran’s ‘moderate pragmatist’ Hashemi Rafsanjani dies at age 82
  • Is Rafsanjani’s death a victory for Iran’s hardliners?

Iran’s ‘moderate pragmatist’ Hashemi Rafsanjani dies at age 82

Hashemi Rafsanjani (L) shares a laugh with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, under a photo of the original Supreme Leader, Rouhollah Khomeini.  All three fought together in the 1979 revolution.
Hashemi Rafsanjani (L) shares a laugh with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, under a photo of the original Supreme Leader, Rouhollah Khomeini. All three fought together in the 1979 revolution.

Iran is mourning the death of 82 year old Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, born in 1934, and a key figure in Iran’s Great Islamic revolution of 1979. He was jailed several times by the Shah of Iran during the 1960s-70s for his political activism, and then after the revolution he became the second most powerful man in Iran, behind Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, who ruled Iran as Supreme Leader until his death in 1989.

Khomeini’s chosen successor was Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader. After Rafsanjani was passed over for Supreme Leader, his star began to fade, although he was elected to the presidency from 1989 to 1997.

Politicians in Iran are generally categorized into three groups:

  • At one extreme are the extremely hard-line “principlists,” who insist on adhering to the “principles” of the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution. Khamenei and the other old geezer survivors of the 1979 revolution are ususally principlists. Generally, they represent the older generation, the survivors of the 1979 revolution and the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. They impose strict social laws, such as requiring headscarves, forbidding unrelated male-female couples in public, no street music in public, and so forth. Many are opposed to the nuclear deal, and want to resume nuclear weapons development. Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also in this group.
  • At the other extreme are the “reformists,” who are usually members of the younger generations that grew up after the revolution. They are willing to accept the religious precepts of the revolution, but they are demanding that the social restrictions like those described above be reversed. Internationally, they can be described as pro-Western and even pro-American. They like Western clothes and music, and they have nothing against Israel. However, some anti-Americanism is increasing because they believe that America has reneged on its promises to remove all sanctions after agreement was reached on the nuclear deal.
  • In the middle are the “moderates” or “pragmatists,” who are often as hardline as the principlists, but who are in favor of gradual reforms. Internationally, they are opposed to Western and American values, but they believe that it’s necessary to make some minimal concessions, as necessary, to make Iran less isolated. Rafsanjani was a moderate, and so is Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani.

There was a serious split between Rafsanjani and Khamenei after the 2009 presidential elections, when young people were protesting, and there was blood running in the streets because Iran’s security forces were massacring students and other protesters. Khamenei wanted the security forces to be completely unleashed, so they could kill, torture, rape, jail and bash anyone they wanted, with impunity. Rafsanjani wanted to permit peaceful protests, and wanted the jailed protesters to be released. As a result of the split between Rafsanjani and Khamenei, two of Rafsanjani’s children were jailed on separate charges. Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, got herself into even more legal trouble while on leave from prison by visiting a leader of Iran’s persecuted Bahai religious minority. Mehr News (Tehran) and BBC (28-May-2016)

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Is Rafsanjani’s death a victory for Iran’s hardliners?

Many analysts are calling Rafsanjani’s death a victory for Khamenei and the hardline principlists, because he will no longer be able to exert moderating pressure on them. That’s one way of looking at the situation.

The other way of looking at it is that it’s a victory for the young reformists, because he will no longer be able to exert a moderating pressure on them. In other words, in this view Rafsanjani was a powerful buffer between the two extremes, and without him they will both be free to pursue more radical policies. His death might even be the trigger for an Awakening era climax.

Generational Dynamics cannot predict short-term politics, but in many cases it can predict long-term trends, and in this case the long-term trend is clear. The old hardline geezers are dying off, and the young reformists are growing in number and gaining power.

As I’ve pointed out many times, Iranian college students started holding pro-Western and pro-American protests in the late 1990s, and continuing into the 2000s. These protests were quashed by Khamenei, who ordered the security forces to bash any students that expressed any opposition opinions.

But by the year 2017, those students are now 30-40 years old, and they’re increasingly in positions of power, making reformist decisions and implementing reformist policies. And by the way, this is also true within the ranks of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

By contrast, the old geezer hardliners are dying off or are becoming senile, and are less and less able to exert decisions as they used to. Rafsanjani was a moderate and a pragmatist, but he was also well-respected by everyone, and could influence moderation in both extremes. Without his moderating influence, we can expect the generational differences between the reformists and the principlists.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Iran is in a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s, characterized by a “generation gap,” and a generational clash between the hardline survivors of the last generational crisis war (WW II in America’s case) and the generations growing up after that war. This political clash almost always ends up in a victory for the younger generation, as the older generation retires and dies off. In America, the Awakening era climax was the resignation of Richard Nixon, which signaled a victory of the Boomers over the GI and Silent generations that had survived WW II. In Iran, no such Awakening era climax has not yet occurred, but it’s 100% certain that it’s coming.

As I’ve been writing for years, Iran, will be the West’s allies during the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, the US, Japan, India, Iran and Russia will be allied again China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. Mehr News and Guardian (London)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hassan Rouhani, Faezeh Hashemi, Bahai, principlists, moderates, reformists
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

8-Jan-17 World View — Violent protests in Sri Lanka over China’s takeover of Hambantota seaport

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Britain’s hospitals run out of beds as Red Cross declares NHS in ‘humanitarian crisis’
  • Violent protests in Sri Lanka over China’s takeover of Hambantota seaport

Britain’s hospitals run out of beds as Red Cross declares NHS in ‘humanitarian crisis’

About 6,000 patients per week are being left in ambulances because the hospital is too crowded to admit them (Evening Standard)
About 6,000 patients per week are being left in ambulances because the hospital is too crowded to admit them (Evening Standard)

The British Red Cross is declaring the National Health Service (NHS) to be in “humanitarian crisis,” because 6,000 patients per week are being left in ambulances outside of hospitals that have run out of beds. When patients are left in ambulances, then the ambulances can no longer be used to transport new patients in medical emergencies. So the NHS has asked the Red Cross to help out by providing volunteers and use Land Rovers to transport patients.

Red Cross chief Mike Adamson said:

“The British Red Cross is on the front line, responding to the humanitarian crisis in our hospital and ambulance services across the country.

We have been called in to support the NHS and help get people home from hospital and free up much-needed beds.

This means deploying our team of emergency volunteers and even calling on our partner Land Rover to lend vehicles to transport patients and get the system moving.

We call on the UK government to allocate immediate funding to stabilize the current system and set out plans towards creating a sustainable funding settlement for the future.”

Not surprisingly, a politician like Adamson is simply calling for more money. I’ve been writing about the NHS for years, and the problem is that there’s no more money.

As we reported a year ago, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is facing an existential crisis, with a huge and accelerating deficit expected to reach 22 billion pounds ($32 billion) by 2020.

The system is corrupt, with doctors falsifying records, claiming for work that was never done, or putting in for bogus overtime. Dentistry services are so bad that people are buying “do-it-yourself (DIY) dentistry kits” to take care of their whole families, as was done centuries ago.

In desperation to save money, many hospitals have had bed cuts, or have closed their Accident & Emergency departments (known in America as Emergency Rooms). Many maternity units have also been targeted for closure.

One of the biggest farces of the 2016 was perpetrated by the “Leave European Union” camp of the Brexit campaign. They promised that if the UK left the EU, then £350m-a-week that is currently being sent to Brussels would not be invested in the NHS. It was a total lie, and it was retracted soon after the referendum passed, but it’s typical of the lies we hear from politicians on a daily basis.

It would be nice if it were possible to give free health care to everyone, but it isn’t. In America, both the Veterans Administration and Obamacare are financial disasters. At least the NHS was designed carefully enough that it was financially healthy for fifty years of its life, but Obamacare was so poorly designed that it’s a financial disaster within five years of its life. Jonathan Gruber said that Obamacare passed because of “the stupidity of the American voter,” and that same stupidity is continuing, in both America and Britain. London Evening Standard and Reuters and British Red Cross and Guardian (London, 10-Sep-2016)

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Violent protests in Sri Lanka over China’s takeover of Hambantota seaport

Thousands of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist monks and anti-government protesters held demonstrations on Saturday that turned violent, protesting China’s takeover of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota seaport by the Chinese in repayment of a debt to the Chinese incurred by the government.

In 2009, China invested $1.2 billion in the port as part of its “string of pearls” strategy to surround India. Sri Lanka had expected to repay the debt through profits earned by the port, but the slowdown in trade throughout the entire region in the last few years has meant that Sri Lanka has been unable to repay the debt.

Now Sri Lanka’s government has been forced to give China a 99-year lease to take over the port. In addition, China will lease 15,000 acres in the region for an industrial zone for Chinese factories. China is expected to invest another $5 billion in Sri Lanka for industrial development.

At least 21 people were injured on Saturday in violent clashes between government supporters versus those opposed to the plan, the latter led by Buddhist monks. The two groups threw rocks at each other, and police responded with water cannon.

Opponents of the plan say that thousands of people will lose their homes because of the project. They say that China will establish a “Chinese colony” on Sri Lankan soil that will grow and can never be removed.

Supporters of the plan say that China will invest $5 billion in the region, and the new industries will generation 100,000 new jobs.

There are other international implications. China will have responsibility for security at the port, which means that it the port will host the Chinese military, including warships and submarines.

China already has similar seaports in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and India is concerned that it’s being surrounded by China’s military and warships. Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) and AP and News First (Sri Lanka) and BBC

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Britain, National Health Service, NHS, British Red Cross, Mike Adamson, Brexit, Veterans Administration, Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber Sri Lanka, China, Hambantota, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

7-Jan-17 World View — The Gambia’s president prepares for war with Senegal on January 19

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • The Gambia’s president prepares for war with Senegal on January 19
  • Congo’s president Joseph Kabila refuses to step down after losing election

The Gambia’s president prepares for war with Senegal on January 19

The Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh (Reuters)
The Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh (Reuters)

The Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh is joining the ranks of national leaders, mostly African, who refuse to give up power after their terms are up, violating their national constitutions, and inflicting violence by the country’s armies and security forces on any opposition figures that protest.

Yahya Jammeh came to power through a military coup in 1994. Jammeh’s reign was authoritarian, intolerant and violent, with executions of political opponents. There were subsequent elections, and Jammeh always won them, but suspicions were great that Jammeh had rigged the elections.

So it was with some surprise that Jammeh lost the recent presidential election last month on December 1 to Adama Barrow, a businessman.

An even more shocking event occurred: Jammeh called Barrow and conceded the election, congratulating Barrow on his victory. Jammeh said that Barrow would become president on January 19, as called for in the constitution. This concession caused dancing in the streets in the capital city Banjul, and enormous relief in the international community, particularly among The Gambia’s neighbors in West Africa.

A week later, Jammeh reneged on his concession, declared that the election had been a fraud, and said that there would have to be a new election.

ECOWAS is the Economic Community of West African States, with 15 member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte D’ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

ECOWAS is meeting on Saturday to decide what to do. Senegal in particular has vowed that ECOWAS must do all it can to enforce an orderly succession of power on January 19, and has put forces on alert.

In a New Year’s statement on January 1, Jammeh called the ECOWAS statement a “declaration of war”:

“‘‘What is clearly incontrovertible is the decision of ECOWAS to implement the results of the December 1st 2016 election results by whatever means possible. It is totally illegal as it violates the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, which is an entrenched clause in the ECOWAS treaty.

It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution. It is therefore absolutely unacceptable. This blatant, impartial and one-dimensional approach clearly indicates that the role of ECOWAS is not predicated on the pursuit of justice in the resolution of this stalemate.”

According to Alexander Yearsley, Managing Director of Martello Risk, with 20 years of experience conducting field and forensic investigations across Africa, Jammeh is recruiting mercenaries to fight in a possible with ECOWAS. Yearsley refers to Charles Taylor, the former dictator of Liberia, who was convicted of war crimes during the Sierra Leone civil war for terror, murder and rape. Yearsley says that the same people who fought for and against Charles Taylor are now being recruited as mercenaries by Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia (my transcription):

“From what we’re being told by people who are attending some of these recruitment meetings, a senior figure who used to be in the Taylor fighting setup – they will phone their own contacts, their networks, and they will explain the situation, how much money will be offered on a daily rate, what fighters they need. And they’re recruiting across the boards – their former enemies – they are happy down differences and for $100 a day, they will be getting some very experienced fighters that know how to operate.”

Yearsley’s claims are supported by a former Liberian army commanded who used to fight for Charles Taylor: “Jammeh is ready to fight to the teeth and spend money to stay in power.” Reuters and Africa News and Jollof News (The Gambia) and Deutsche Welle

Congo’s president Joseph Kabila refuses to step down after losing election

Joseph Kabila became president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2001, when his father was assassinated. He’s been reelected to office, but his final term in office ended last month on December 19.

Joseph Kabila pulled a stunt that can only be described as mind-boggling. He claims that he can’t step down because there haven’t been any elections to select a president to replace him. There were supposed to be elections in November but they weren’t held. His political opponents said that they weren’t held because Kabila refused to budget the money to hold the elections.

So that’s the situation. He’ll do everything he can to prevent elections from being held, and so he won’t have to step down because there’s no replacement.

African leaders are always complaining the Europeans and Americans don’t take them seriously, but they have only themselves to blame when you see this kind of nonsense occurring almost every week. Whether in Zimbabwe, Burundi, South Sudan, or The Gambia — and let’s not forge Syria, which is not an African country — leaders use everything from torture and rape and jailing to wholesale genocide to stay in power.

In DRC last month, there was a threat of civil war, but the Catholic Church intervened and brokered an agreement: Elections will be held in December of 2017 to choose Kabila’s successor, and this time, Kabila will really, really, really, really have to step down. This farcical agreement was signed by members of Kabila’s government, but it wasn’t even signed by Kabila himself. All Africa and Daily News (Zimbabwe)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, Adama Barrow, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Senegal, Alexander Yearsley, Liberia, Charles Taylor, Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Joseph Kabila, Zimbabwe, Burundi, South Sudan, Syria
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

6-Jan-17 World View — New armed militia emerges in Central African Republic: Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R)

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • New armed militia emerges in Central African Republic: Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R)
  • Central African Republic crisis war continues to spin out of control

New armed militia emerges in Central African Republic: Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R)

A UN convoy with Moroccan peacekeepers like this one was attacked on Wednesday
A UN convoy with Moroccan peacekeepers like this one was attacked on Wednesday

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been riven since 2013 by a civil war mainly between the Muslim Séléka militias and the Christian anti-Balaka militias. However, there are numerous other ethnic militias, including vigilante groups made up of nomadic, predominantly Muslim Fulani herders, as well as others specializing in highway robbery. All of these groups have been guilty of massacres, rapes, scorched earth attacks, and other atrocities, often in revenge for similar attacks by a militia on the other side.

One of the Muslim Fulani herder groups, the Peul tribe, has emerged as a relative new militia group inflicting horrors on civilians in the northwest of CAR, particularly near the borders of Cameroon and Chad. Although they have been mainly allied with the Muslim Séléka militias, fighting against the Christian anti-Balakas, they also claim on occasion to have fought against Séléka militias for the protection of their own Peul tribe.

The Peul armed militia is calling itself “Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation” or “3R”. The group appeared in December 2015, and throughout 2016 they burned down villages, causing tens of thousands of civilians to lose their homes. They’ve killed and raped civilians, and committed other atrocities.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) conducted interviews in November, and documented numerous atrocities and murders. One 30-year-old woman said that 3R fighters broke into her home:

“One said, “Where is your husband?” I said that he was not there. … One of them cocked his gun and pointed it at me and said, “We are going to have sex with you.” He threw me on the ground and [one of them] raped me. Another was waiting for his turn, but there was shooting outside while the first one was finishing, so when he was done they both left. … [M]y two younger children were right beside me, crying.”

I wish that I could tell you, Dear Reader, that this kind of atrocity was rare, but it’s common fare during a generational crisis war, such as the war in Central African Republic. Rape and extermination of opponents is part of the human DNA, and all people of all races and religions are susceptible, often in a cycle of escalating tit-for-tat revenge. Human Rights Watch and Reuters

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Central African Republic crisis war continues to spin out of control

On Wednesday, a convoy of United Nations peacekeepers in Central African Republic near the Cameroon border was attacked unknown assailants who killed two Moroccan peacekeepers and then escaped. It’s not known whether the attackers were from the 3R militias, but this attack shows that the UN peacekeepers have almost no control in the country outside the capital city Bangui.

A month ago, Ban Ki-moon, the outgoing Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that he was “deeply concerned over renewed violence last week in the Central African Republic.” A UN Special Adviser Adama Dieng added, “Given the country’s recent history, this kind of targeted violence is extremely dangerous and must be stopped.”

It’s good to hear UN officials making the hard-hitting statements, which are sure to convince both the Muslims and the Christians in CAR to put down their weapons, because other actions by the UN have been useless, and in a sense may have made things worse.

After a coup in March 2013, Muslim Séléka militias began committing atrocities, particularly targeting the Christians. In December 2013, French Foreign Legion peacekeeping troops arrived to disarm the Séléka militias.

The actions of the French troops backfired. When the Muslim Séléka troops were disarmed, the Christian anti-Balaka militias “rushed into the vacuum,” and began committing atrocities in 2014, for revenge against the Sélékas. Since then, both Christians and Muslims have been committing atrocities, and it’s become a full-scale generational crisis war. Thousands have been killed, and millions have been displaced.

The French peacekeepers were supposed to remain in CAR for just six months, until a United Nations force could take over. However, they remained in CAR for much longer than six months, and their withdrawal was only announced in October of last year, after several years of almost total failure. In addition, some of the French peacekeepers were charged with raping some of the CAR civilians that they were supposed to be protection. There is now a UN peacekeeping force of 12,500 troops known as MINUSCA, but as Wednesday’s attack illustrates, it hasn’t been any more successful.

Actually, I’ve written about this many times in the last four years. CAR’s last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion (“War of the Hoe Handle”), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era, where a new crisis civil war has already started.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, a generational crisis war cannot be stopped by “peacekeeping troops.” It begins when the traumatized survivors of the previous crisis war are no longer around, and are no longer able to prevent the younger generations from starting another crisis war. Massacres and atrocities by both (or all) sides continue to grow and worsen on a tit-for-tat basis, usually for five years or more, until there’s an “explosive climax,” some genocidal massacre that’s so horrific that it brings the war to an end, and causes the traumatized survivors, both winners and losers, to vow that they will never let such a war occur again.

UN peacekeeping forces have been more or less successful in minimizing the violence in one city, the capital city Bangui, but everything outside of Bangui is completely lawless, and completely out of control of the peacekeepers. The rise of the 3R militias, and the new atrocities that it’s perpetrating show how far the CAR civil war has yet to go. United Nations and International Business Times and RFI

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Central African Republic, CAR, Bangui, Séléka, anti-Balaka, Fulani, Peul, Cameroon, Chad, Return – Reclamation – Rehabilitation, 3R, Human Rights Watch, Ban Ki-moon, Adama Dieng, France, French Foreign Legion, MINUSCA, Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, Kongo-Wara Rebellion, War of the Hoe Handle
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

5-Jan-17 World View — Israel polarized over conviction of soldier for manslaughter

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Israel polarized over conviction of soldier for manslaughter
  • Protesters clash with police to protest the verdict
  • Comparison to Pakistan murder of Salman Taseer

Israel polarized over conviction of soldier for manslaughter

Screen grab from video of March 4, 2016.  Israeli soldier reloads his gun just before shooting dead the Palestinian lying wounded and bleeding (AP)
Screen grab from video of March 4, 2016. Israeli soldier reloads his gun just before shooting dead the Palestinian lying wounded and bleeding (AP)

Israelis appeared to be deeply polarized in reaction to a verdict handed down by a military court on Wednesday convicting an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, of manslaughter, for having shot and killed a Palestinian who was lying on the ground wounded.

On March 24 of last year Abdel Fattah al-Sharif and Ramzi Qasrawi Tamimi, two 21-year-old Palestinians, stabbed an Israeli soldier in Hebron, a majority Palestinian city in the West Bank. Tamimi was shot and killed immediately.

Al-Sharif was also shot. The shot did not kill him, but left him wounded and bleeding, lying on the ground. Almost 15 minutes later, one of the soldiers, Elor Azaria, shot al-Sharif in the head, killing him. The entire situation was videoed, and the video was posted on the internet and went viral.

In Wednesday’s court hearing before three military judges in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The lead judge, IDF Col. Maya Heller, spent almost three hours reading the decision that concluded with a conviction on a charge of manslaughter. Azaria had claimed in his defense that he felt he was in danger because al-Sharif might be wearing a concealed explosive vest. The judges rejected that claim, and pointed to the testimony of Azaria’s friend, who testified that Azaria originally said Sharif needed to be killed out of revenge for stabbing a fellow soldier. 24-Mar-2016 and Jerusalem Post

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Protesters clash with police to protest the verdict

Some 400 protesters clashed with police to protest the guilty verdict. One protester wore a shirt saying, “The people of Israel don’t abandon a soldier during battle.” Others referred to him as a hero.

A number of protesters threatened violence by chanting, “Gadi, Gadi beware, Rabin’s looking for a friend.” The protesters were threatening to assassinate IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister of Israel until November 4, 1995, when he was shot dead by an Israeli nationalist who opposed Rabin’s support of a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah said that Palestinians don’t expect anything to change as a result of the verdict:

“[The verdict is] divisive in Israel because there is a widespread view that Israeli soldiers should be able to kill Palestinians with complete impunity. ,,,

Thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the past 15 years by the Israeli army and there has been no accountability. I think, if you ask practically any Palestinian, they will tell you that even though there was a guilty verdict in this case, in all likelihood he will receive a very light sentence.”

The sentence will be handed down on January 15. The maximum sentence that Azaria could receive for manslaughter is 20 years. However, because of the circumstances — al-Sharif had just stabbed an Israeli soldier before being shot — it’s expected that the sentence will be considerably lighter than 20 years. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the military to grant Azaria a pardon. Ynet and Radio France Internationale

Comparison to Pakistan murder of Salman Taseer

As we described yesterday, Mumtaz Qadri was showered with roses and treated as a hero in 2011 after brutally murdering Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Elor Azaria was also treated as a hero after murdering a wounded Palestinian who lay bleeding.

The circumstances are different in that the Palestinian had just stabbed another soldier. But what both cases have in common is that they both show how polarized societies around the world have become in this generational Crisis era.

As I’ve been saying for several years, nationalism, xenophobia and racism have been growing in countries around the world. Those who suffered the horrors of World War II and survived realized that nationalism, xenophobia and racism had been the core reasons for the war, and vowed to make sure that they were permanently extinguished. But now, with the survivors of WW II almost gone, and young generations having grown up after WW II not understanding the dangers, nationalism, xenophobia and racism are returning and are a strong as ever. Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a new world war, the worst war in world history, and the rise of nationalism, xenophobia and racism is one of the reasons that war occur. Vice News

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, West Bank, Hebron, Elor Azaria, Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, Ramzi Qasrawi Tamimi, Maya Heller, Gadi Eisenkot, Yitzhak Rabin, Ali Abunimah, Pakistan, Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

4-Jan-17 World View — Pakistan’s bizarre blasphemy laws lead to death threats for son of slain governor

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Pakistan’s bizarre blasphemy laws lead to death threats for son of slain governor
  • Pakistan’s Imran Khan forced to apologize after being accused of blasphemy

Pakistan’s bizarre blasphemy laws lead to death threats for son of slain governor

Shaan Taseer, threatened with death for Christmas greeting (Pakistan Daily)
Shaan Taseer, threatened with death for Christmas greeting (Pakistan Daily)

Shaan Taseer, the son of governor Salman Taseer, who was brutally murdered in 2009 for questioning Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, is receiving death threats for, again, questioning Pakistan’s blasphemy.

Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, was shot 28 times in broad daylight in an open marketplace on January 4, 2011. The killer was his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. The motive, as described by Qadri, was to punish Taseer for objecting to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and for calling for the release of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was in jail facing execution for violating the blasphemy laws.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are totally bizarre and are almost completely meaningless except as a political weapon, similar to sexual harassment laws in the United States, but with much greater consequences. In Pakistan, a politically connected person can manufacture a charge of blasphemy to have a political enemy or hated former friend put into jail or even executed.

In the case of Asia Bibi, there was an altercation between her and another woman in 2010. Bibi drank water from a Muslim cup (whatever that is), and since the other woman was politically connected, Bibi was charged with blasphemy and thrown into jail, scheduled for execution.

Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, spoke out in defense of Bibi, and criticized the blasphemy laws. This triggered mass hate rallies against Taseer and Bibi, with many religious clerics calling for the immediate execution of Bibi. Finally, Mumtaz Qadri, Taseer’s bodyguard, shot and killed Taseer. He shot Taseer in the back 28 times just to make sure.

Qadri immediately became a national hero. The next day, when Qadri was brought to court to face charges of having assassinated Taseer, the other lawyers in the court showered him with roses. A statement by 500 Pakistan religious scholars praised Qadri for keeping alive a “tradition of 1,400 years in Islam” which they claim requires the killing of anyone committing an act of blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed.

Qadri was convicted of murdering Taseer, and much to everyone’s surprise, Qadri was put to death by hanging on February 29 of last year. This triggered new violent protests across Pakistan. One terror group, Sunni Tehreek, demanded the immediate execute of Asia Bibi, and demanded that all five million members in Pakistan of the Ahmadi branch of Islam be expelled from the country.

So now, on Christmas, the Shaan Taseer, the son of the murdered Salman Taseer, posted a video message on his Facebook page, wishing a happy holiday to Christians, and calling for prayers for Asia Bibi and for others victimized by blasphemy laws.

One can reasonably question Shaan Taseer’s sanity for doing this, but if his objective was to be threatened with death, he got his wish, and now says that he’s received “very credible death threats,” adding:

“They are sending me Mumtaz Qadri’s photos with messages that there are several Mumtaz Qadris waiting for me.”

It’s expected that we will hear more about this story. Daily Pakistan and Reuters and Daily Pakistan (29-Feb-2016) and BBC

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Pakistan’s Imran Khan forced to apologize after being accused of blasphemy

Imran Khan was one of Pakistan’s greatest cricket players of all time, and was once voted as the “Sexiest Man of The Year” by Australia Magazine Oz. He turned to politics in the 1990s, and has become an extremely colorful and extremely anti-American politician. He refers to Pakistan’s relationship with America as “client and master.”

Now the same cleric that’s threatening Shaan Taseer death for blasphemy is also demanding apology from Imran Khan because one of Khan’s speeches contains “blasphemous sentences for the Prophet Mohammed,” adding:

“If the state fails to execute Imran Khan, it wouldn’t be a crime if any ‘aashiq-e-Rasool’ (lover of prophet P.B.U.H) kills him. He will be exempt from Qisas and Diyat (blood money).”

I’ve read several news stories trying to find out exactly what Khan is accused of saying, but I can’t find it anywhere. I suspect that Pakistani editors are afraid to quote him, for fear of being targeted for death themselves.

It’s ironic that Khan is being charged with blasphemy, because he’s used charges of blasphemy against others when it was politically convenient. At any rate, Khan apologized, saying, “It was a mistake, and I assure that it won’t happen ever again.” Daily Pakistan and Daily Pakistan

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pakistan, Shaan Taseer, Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri, Asia Bibi, Sunni Tehreek, Imran Khan
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

3-Jan-17 World View — Syrian opposition groups suspend negotiations of peace talks

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Video emerges from Burma (Myanmar) showing police beating Rohingya Muslims
  • Syrian opposition groups suspend negotiations of peace talks

Video emerges from Burma (Myanmar) showing police beating Rohingya Muslims

Screen grab from video. Dozens of Rohingyas on the right are being forced to watch the beating
Screen grab from video. Dozens of Rohingyas on the right are being forced to watch the beating

For months, Burma (Myanmar) police and soldiers have been committing ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State by scorched earth attacks, burning down their villages, and committing massacres, rapes and other atrocities that have forced tens of thousands to flee for their lives across the border into Bangladesh.

Burma has forbidden any journalists or humanitarian groups from entering Rakhine State to investigate, which many people consider to be an implied admission of guilt by Burma’s government.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented the ethnic cleansing through a series of “before and after” satellite images. Burma’s government agrees that the satellite images show that Rohingya villages are being burned down, but they make the laughable claim that the Rohingyas are burning down the villages themselves in order to embarrass the government. There have also been dozens of videos showing Burma’s police beating and raping Rohingya civilians, but Burma’s government claims that all of these videos are phony and have been fabricated.

So now a new video has emerged showing police beating and kicking a civilian, and forcing dozens of other Rohingyas to watch as the beating takes place. The video was taken by a policeman smoking a cigarette. Other policemen obviously knew that he was taking the video, suggesting that taking videos of policemen beating, killing and raping Rohingyas is some kind of standard procedure.

The mystery is how this video became public. It’s thought that some dissident official with access to the video, and shocked by the behavior of his fellow policeman, published the video on the internet surreptitiously, where it has gone viral.

The second remarkable thing, beyond the fact of the video itself, is that Burma’s government is acknowledging that the video is portraying a real event. The policemen appearing the video have been arrested, and the government says that there will be an investigation for police brutality.

Nobody seriously believes that anything will change. The investigation may lead to the conviction of one or two policemen, but the Buddhist xenophobic hatred of Muslims in Burma goes very deep. The root of the violence is xenophobic attacks by Buddhists led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu and his “969 movement,” against the Rohingya Muslims, including rapes, torture and other atrocities committed by Buddhists, targeting the Rohingyas. The Rohingyas have a darker skin than Burmese, and they speak a Bengali dialect.

There are about a million Rohingyas living in Rakhine State, where they have lived for generations, but Burma’s government refuses to recognize them as citizens. They are, for all practical purposes, a stateless ethnic group, living on the Bangladesh-Burma border for generations, but rejected by both countries. In fact, Burma refuses to identify the Rohingya as a unique ethnic group, preferring to call them Bengali, and referring to them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. In the last few years, large mobs of Buddhists have massacred entire neighborhoods of Muslims in various regions of the country, mutilating, raping and killing hundreds, and displacing thousands from their homes. We’re used to hearing about atrocities committed by Muslim jihadists in the Mideast, but in Burma the situation is reversed — it’s the Buddhists who are committing the atrocities, while the Muslims are, for the most part, innocent victims. Russia Today and Bangkok Post and YouTube: Rohingya beating video

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Syrian opposition groups suspend negotiations of peace talks

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), a coalition of “moderate” groups opposing Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, have suspended peace talks because of repeated ceasefire violations by al-Assad’s warplanes and by al-Assad’s ally, the Iran-backed Lebanon militia Hezbollah.

The ceasefire was announced last week, brokered by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and was to lead to peace talks soon, taking place in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. The United States, the United Nations, and the European Union were all excluded from negotiations about the ceasefire and peace talks, which presumably was supposed to make them more likely to succeed.

Al-Assad has always been the most volatile of the participants in any of these discussions. Al-Assad started the civil war in 2011, when his bombers started targeting innocent women and children, including Palestinians in a refugee camp near Latakia, which drew young jihadists from around the world to Syria to fight al-Assad, resulting in the formation of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

So the question that I’ve asked repeated for months and years is how can any “peace deal” ever succeed in view of al-Assad’s evident determination to exterminate as many Sunni women and children as he can?

The FSA has issued its statement suspending its participation in the peace talks because his warplanes have been bombing civilian targets in a region near Damascus in which the city’s water supply is located. Hezbollah and Syrian army troops are also headed for the same region. According to the FSA, “Any (advance) on the ground goes against the (ceasefire) agreement and if things don’t return to how they were before, the accord will be considered null and void.”

It’s been assumed that Russia and Iran would control al-Assad and force him by any means necessary to honor the ceasefire, but it appears that assumption is wrong. Unless Russia and Iran find a way to control al-Assad, then the “ceasefire” will collapse completely within a few days. France 24 and VOA

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Burma, Myanmar, Rohingyas, Rakhine state, Bangladesh, Syria, Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Free Syrian Army, FSA, Latakia, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.