Saturday, 31 December 2016

Lebanese Writer Answers Netanyahu’s Bogus Claim About Christmas

[ Ed. note – The writer of the piece below is Elie Fares, who maintains the blog A Separate State of Mind. The language he uses is a bit “colorful” in places, but he makes some good  points about a bogus claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made yesterday. In a diatribe against Secretary of State John Kerry–and given in response to a speech Kerry made earlier in the day–Netanyahu claimed, falsely, that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas.”
I put up a post about the Israeli leader’s rant yesterday entitled Spitting Vitriol. ]
No Netanyahu, Israel Isn’t the Only Middle Eastern Place Where Christians Can Celebrate Christmas
In his increasingly childish bitchfit against the international political establishment that saw his country’s transgressions through settlements on Palestinian land finally made illegal with a UN resolution banning Israel – yeah, right – from building more of them, the Israeli PM is lashing out at his country’s closest ally and the reason Israel has been off the hook in everything it’s done for years, the United States.
As part of a rant aimed at US Secretary of State John Kerry whose tone was very moderate towards the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with him recognizing the plight of Palestinians and their refugees, the land grab they’ve been victim of, among other things, Netanyahu figured it best to remind Kerry, and by extension of his buzz words that you know will circle Fox News for months to come, other Americans and Westerners who see Israel as the only worthy beacon of civilization in the Middle East that – and I quote:

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Bahrainis Rally in Rejection of Regime’s Normalizing Relations with Zionist Entity

December 30, 2016
Rallies in Bahrain
Thousands of People rallied in Diraz area in rejection of the regime’s steps to normalize relations with the Israeli entity after a Zionist delegation visited the capital Manama.
The protesters held the photos of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Issa Qassem and chanted slogans which reject normalizing Bahrain’s ties with the Zionist entity, burning the Israeli flag and highlighting their support to the Palestinian cause.
A number of Bahraini figures condemned the regime’s act of facilitating the entrance of the Israeli delegation to the Bahraini territories, denouncing the attempts to establish a closer relations with the Zionists.
A circulated video showed a group of Zionist extremists chanting and dancing with Bahraini businessmen during their visit to Manama.
The slogans they chanted asserted their intention to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque to build the alleged Solomon’s Temple, according to the video.

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Syria: Another Pipeline War

اتمنى لهذا الفيديو ان ينتشر بسرعة شديدة كما انتشر الطاعون في جيش نابليون بونابارت

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The Shameful Netanyahu Government

“The 500,000 Israeli West Bank settlers are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should not be living where they are and should be removed, immediately.”


All  Israelis are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should return to the countries they came from

The Shameful Netanyahu Government
MATTHEW JAMISON | 28.12.2016

The Shameful Netanyahu Government

The recent resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council condemning the growth of the illegal colonial Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land of East Jerusalem and the West Bank was a necessary reprimand for the Netanyahu Government. What made it all the more remarkable was the fact it passed the Security Council without being vetoed by the United States. Historically the United States has shielded Israel from censure by the UN Security Council but this time the Obama administration rightly abstained.
Now, I am about as pro-Israel as they come and feel very protective of Israel. I strongly believe in Israel’s right to exist and I am a huge admirer of the State of Israel and the Israeli and Jewish people. All my closest friends at university were Jewish and I attended meetings of the Cambridge University Jewish Society as well as speaking in defence of Israel at the Cambridge Union. It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to visit the great State of Israel back in November 2013. It was one of the most poignant and memorable trips of my life. My group were taken to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as the Israeli-Lebanese border and the Israeli-Syrian border up in the Golan Heights. We got to visit the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament where we had consultations with various Israeli MPs from the Labor Party, Kadima and Likud. We also visited the inspiring Shimon Peres Peace Centre as well as Galilee and Yad Vashem. I would one day love to live in Israel. A magnificent country, only the size of Wales, yet extremely dynamic, innovative, cultured and intellectual with a prodigious output and work ethic. Truly an amazing country and people. But it was not just Israel we visited. We went into the West Bank to Ramallah and met with the de facto Palestinian Foreign Minister as well as Palestinian peace activists.
My meetings in Israel and Palestine made a profound impression upon me and confirmed my belief that one can be at the same time both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. I have always believed that Israel must relinquish the land it conquered in the 1967 Six Day War and return the West Bank to Palestinian rule while sharing Jerusalem. I have absolutely zero tolerance for the Israeli West Bank settlements. It really is a very simple proposition. Israel’s proper, internationally recognised legal borders are what they were prior to the Six Day War. The West Bank settlements are not only illegal but they are a transparent policy of crude imperialism. The 500,000 Israeli West Bank settlers are colonists, colonizing other peoples land, and they should not be living where they are and should be removed, immediately. The West Bank is Palestinian land, not Israeli land. End of story. If the illegal Israeli colonists on the West Bank what to remain there and will not go or be forcibly removed then they will have to live under Palestinian rule, not Israeli. 
My visit to Israel and my work on attempting to revive the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative also reinforced my contempt for Binyamin Netanyahu and his extremist right wing Likud Government. Netanyahu is a terrible man and has done a great disservice to Israel. He is full of hate. He does not believe in the rights and dignity of Palestinians and does not want a State of Palestine living side by side with a State of Israel.
One of my greatest Israeli political hero’s was the late, great Yitzhak Rabin. While Rabin was showing the greatest of visionary statesmanship, strength and courage in the early 1990s striving to make peace with the Palestinians, the odious Netanyahu was out protesting on the streets against Rabin’s efforts and helping to incite and whip up the atmosphere that would eventually contribute to the assassination of Rabin.
Netanyahu has done everything in his power to frustrate peace between Israelis and Palestinians, including making the viability of a Palestinian State seriously problematic given his horrible Governments unrelenting, enhanced and accelerated colonial settlement building activity in occupied Palestinian land of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu called the passage of the UN Security Council resolution as «shameful». What is shameful is not the resolution but Netanyahu himself and his inbred, disgusting Government, which brings continual shame on Israel. It was heartening to see America pull back from vetoing the condemnation though it would have been even better if it had of voted with Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom to support the resolution. In the end, to achieve a Two State Solution, which is the only possible path to secure long term, long lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians it could be that the United States and Russia will have to work together with peace loving Israelis and Palestinians to produce, finally, a Two State Solution.
It is only the United States and Russia who have the credibility and clout with Israel and the regional prestige and standing to help resolve this issue, even if it means imposing upon the Netanyahu Government a Comprehensive Final Peace Plan. Britain is but a very minor player in the Middle East and does not command the respect or attention of Israel. It has little credibility with Israeli Governments given the deep anti-Israel bias of its Foreign Office, media and populace. It is of no use in brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. Just as the United States and the late Soviet Union came together and cosponsored the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, so too should the new Trump administration and the Russian Government partner together to finally achieve a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and harmony with a secure State of Israel.

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Spitting Vitriol

 photo vitriolicneta_zps8facfl9o.jpg

Israeli leaders seem to be spitting a lot of vitriol these days over the recent UN vote. It’s almost as if they’re discharging their sputum into a revolving global fan blade. We don’t really know where the spittle is going to end up next.

On Christmas Day, the Israeli government summoned the ambassadors of ten different countries, presumably for a vitriolic dressing down over the resolution which passed the Security Council two days earlier. At a Cabinet meeting, later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu openly accused the Obama administration of being the prime impetus behind the resolution.

“According to our information, we have no doubt the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated the wording and demanded it be passed,” he said.

At least some of the spittle, however, seems to be catching a tailwind from the fan and blowing back into the Israelis’ faces. Nina Ben Ami, the Israeli ambassador to Uruguay (Uruguay is currently a member of the Security Council and voted in favor of the resolution), issued a public rebuke to top officials in that country but seems not to have chosen her words with care. (H/T Ariadna )

“Please allow me [to speak] a sincere word in this moment over a recent event,” said Ben Ami. “I have to say that we have been disappointed by the support that Uruguay gave to the resolution of the UN Security Council, which attacked Israel again, while other atrocities and territorial conflicts much more serious go on unnoticed.”

“Other atrocities…much more serious”? The implication (probably unintended) is that Israel commits its fair share of atrocities, they just tend to be somewhat less serious than those committed by other countries.

The ambassador also alluded to the other Security Council members in a manner which, considered in a certain light, might be construed as menacing–although gratefully she seemed somewhat more forgiving toward Uruguay.

“El primer ministro habló de cosas que quiere hacer con quienes votaron la resolución. Pero no todos los países están en la misma situación. De Senegal y Nueva Zelanda que hicieron la propuesta ya hemos removido al embajador. No es el caso acá en Uruguay asi que buscamos como salir de esa situación pero es complicado”, concluyó Ben Ami.

Which according to our interpreter, Ariadna, translates to:

“The Prime Minister [i.e., Netanyahu] talked about what he wants to do with those who voted the resolution. But not all countries are in the same situation. From Senegal and New Zeeland — who proposed it — we have already recalled our ambassadors. It is not the case of Uruguay, so we are looking to see how we can get out of this situation but it is complicated,” concluded Ben Ami.

Yes, of course. Everything always becomes “complicated” whenever anyone gets to justifying the longest occupation in world history.

The spitting continued on Wednesday in a response to a speech given by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington. Attempting to lay out the administration’s reasons for not vetoing the UN resolution, Kerry said, “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and reiterated his belief that current Israeli policies are contravening that goal.

“The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements,” Kerry said.

“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by world leaders. No one wants peace more than the people of Israel,” Netanyahu riposted.

He also accused Kerry of “attacking the only democracy in the Middle East” and laid claim that Israel is the “only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas,” insisting at the same time that “all of this doesn’t interest the US Secretary of State, unfortunately.”

If it was a spitting contest between Kerry and Netanyahu, it looks like Netanyahu is hands down the winner.

In fact, the Obama administration now seems to be crying uncle. Following Netanyahu’s response, Ben Rhodes, White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, went on CNN to assure the world that the US will veto any further resolutions critical of Israel which may come up during the remainder of the president’s term in office.

It is a shame we have officials in what is purportedly the most powerful nation on earth succumbing so easily to intimidation from a foreign leader, but it looks like top brass in the Obama administration will be carrying umbrellas whenever venturing outdoors between now and January 20.

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A nationwide Syrian ceasefire started last night with a major-scale offensive of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jund al-Aqsa against government forces in northern Hama. The so-called “opposition” seized the hill of Bijo and aimed to take seize the town of Mahardeh, mostly populated by Christians. If Islamist militants were able to success in this, there would be a massacre of civilians in the area. However, the Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) rebuffed the attack and retook control of the Bijo Hill. The situation in the area remains tense.
The night incident clearly showed existing gaps in the ceasefire agreement signed by the Syrian government and a number of armed groups and brokered by Turkey and Russia. While the document allegedly states that the only sides excluded from the ceasefire are Jabhat al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and ISIS, only 7 groups officially signed the deal.  Their total manpower is estimated from 52,000 to 62,000 fighters. The total number of militants in Syria, excluding ISIS members, is estimated by experts as 120,000 – 130,000. So, only about a half of the so-called “opposition” claimed its adherence to the ceasefire.
On December 29, the Syrian army, the NDF and Hezbolalh secured an important hill top – Tell Shurifah – at the Al-Qaryatayn-Tyas road in the province of Homs.
Government forces engaged ISIS forward detachments and as result of a series of firefights were able to entrench in the area. Until December 29 the hilltop had been vulnerable for ISIS raids and posed a threat to government forces movement.
Clashes were also reported near the Shurifah village west of the Tyas Airbase. Government forces were clashing there with ISIS raid units aiming to annoy the Syrian army and its allies and prevent them from an offensive operation along the Tyas-Palmyra road.
Pro-ISIS sources claim that the terrorist group has destroyed up to 11 battle tanks belonging to the Syrian army and its allies near the Tyas Airbase since on December 28 and December 29. Pro-government sources claim that ISIS lost up to 50 fighters and about 5 units of military equipment.
On December 29, various Turkish media outlets reported, citing anonymous military sources and Turkish officials, that the Russian Aerospace Forces had started to target ISIS terrorist near the ISIS-controlled town of al-Bab, providing an air support to Turkish forces in the area. The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the issue.
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U.S. Pushed Out of Middle East by Russia-Iran-Turkey Pact

Published on Dec 26, 2016
In the twelfth edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor, Professor Filip Kovacevic discusses the front-page articles from four Russian newspapers: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Komsomolskaya Pravda. He focuses on the Polish-Ukrainian relations within the anti-Russian geopolitical bloc, the aftermath of the brutal assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey Andrei Karlov and four versions of who might be behind it, the dethronement of the U.S. as the dominant Great Power in the Middle East by the Russia-Iran-Turkey pact, and the interview with Paul Craig Roberts prominently featured in a Russian daily newspaper.
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Friday, 30 December 2016

Maria Finoshina: Merry Christmas from Damascus!

Published on Dec 26, 2016
Maria: Merry Christmas from Damascus!
Santa told us he brought Peace for Syria this year.
Let’s all pray for this Christmas to be the last one in war.
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Al-Moallem: Cessation of hostilities agreement reflects the Syrian State’s confidence in victory

Syrian War Report – December 29, 2016: YPG Withdrawing From Aleppo City?
On December 29, preliminary reports appeared that an evacuation agreement were made between the Syrian military and militants operating in Syrian Ayn al-Fijah, Baseema and Dayr Qanoon in the Wadi Barda region northwest of Damascus. Local sources reported that militants are divided over the withdrawal issue. So, most likely, the Syrian military will be pushed to make a series of separate of withdrawal agreements until the whole region is liberated.
A day before, on December 28, the Syrian army and Hezbollah, backed up by the Syrian Air Force, continued to storm Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham defense lines. Clashes were reported at the villages of Souq Wadi Barada, Kafr al-Awamid, al-Husyaniyah and Baseema. As a result, the Syrian army and Hezbollah entered Baseema and seized a number of buildings there. According to local sources, a part of militants holding a defense line there just fled to Dayr Qanoon and Kafr Az Zayt where no clashes were reported. About 20 militants were reportedly killed in the operation.
Kurdish YPG forces are withdrawing from the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo city, according to reports circulating in YPG- and rebel-linked media outlets and social media accounts. The Ara News press agency reported on Tuesday that about 50 YPG fighters had already left the neighborhood and headed towards the northern countryside of Aleppo. Nonetheless, this report cannot be confirmed independently.
Earlier in December, information appeared that the Syrian government was going to demilitarize Sheikh Maqsoud after the YPG or the SDF how the mainstream media prefers to call Kurdish forces allegedly decided to accept into its ranks a group of 250 Fatah Halab militants that had fled from eastern Aleppo. If this decision is confirmed, the real reason of possible tensions between YPG/SDF units and pro-government forces in Aleppo will be exposed.
On December 28, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported that Turkey and Russia had agreed for a nation-wide ceasefire effort in Syria that was set to be launched at midnight local time on December 29. After Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the agreement, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was pushed to clarify that the two countries had only prepared a text of the truce accord to be presented to the warring parties. On December 29, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that the Syrian government and armed opposition groups have reached an agreement on a ceasefire in Syria and on readiness to start peace talks.

ISIS Terrorists Lost 12 Units Of Military Equipment In Desperate Attacks On Tyas Airbase
ISIS terrorists have continued desperate attacks against Syrian government forces at the Tyas Airbase and nearby points.
Since December 27, ISIS has launched 3 attacks against the Syrian army and its allies in the area, but failed to achieve any sucess.
2 battle tanks, 7 armoured vehicles and 3 vehicles equipped with machine guns belonging to the terrorist group were destroyed, according to pro-government sources.
The ISIS advance in the area is in a dead-lock. Terrorists failed to encircle the Tyas Airbase and are not able to break government defenses there.
The Syrian military has continued to deploy reinforcements to the battlefront against ISIS terrorists near the Tyas Airbase in the province of Homs. Pro-government sources say that the government is set use a 10,000-strong offensive force led by the Tiger Forces, the Desert Hawks Brigade and Hezbollah in the expected military operation to retake the ancient city of Palmyra. While local sources confirm the fact of deployment of additional fighters, it’s hard to expect that a major-scale military operation to retake Palmyra can be started in the nearest future. Most likely this will be a goal for 2017.
Clashes between ISIS and US-backed YPG forces continued on December 27 and 28 north of the Tabqa dam in the province of Raqqah. ISIS attacked YPG units near the vilalges of Jabar, Suwaydiya Saghirah and West Tareq. As a result terrorists stopped the YPG advance on the Tabqa dam but were not able to prevent Kurdish forces from expanding their zone of control along the Khirbat al-Sharafat-Widyan road.
ISIS-linked ‘Amaq’ news agency reported on Tuesday that the US-led coalition airpower accidentally hit YPG forces near Jabar. Nonetheless, no photo or video proofs were provided. YPG-linked media outlets and activists ignored the report.
Syrian government forces repelled an ISIS attack in the area of Deir Ezzor. Last night ISIS units advanced on Syrian army positions in the Rashidiyah Neighborhood but failed to overrun government forces defenses and retreated. Over 20 ISIS terrorists were killed.
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan said at a press conference on Tuesday that Turkey has evidence that the US-led coalition providing support to terrorist groups in Syria, including ISIS and Kurdish militias linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” he said.
Earlier this week, Turkey blamed the US-led coalition for a lack of air support after the Turkish Army and pro-Turkish militants had repeatedly failed to break ISIS defenses near al-Bab.
Commenting on Ankara’s accusations, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Erdogan’s claims were “ludicrous.” Toner added that Washington is “100 percent behind the defeat and destruction of Daesh [ISIS], even beyond Syria and Iraq.”
A major problem with these statements aiming to show that Washington and Ankara are deeply involved in the battle against ISIS is that they don’t answer to a question: Why had US and Turkish forces been allowing the ISIS oil smuggling business in Syria and Iraq until Russia launched a wide-scale campaign to destroy it in 2015?
On December 26 and December 27, the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force were delivering massive airstrikes on Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) targets in the Idlib-Aleppo countryside, according to local sources. The activity of the Syrian-Russian air power in the area was synchronized with reports about deployment of a high number of Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters for an operation in the area of Hader and Qarassi.
Mass graves of torture victims have been uncovered in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on December 26.
“Mass burial sites of many dozens [of Syrians], who had been subjected to brutal torture and [then] murdered, have been found,” Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said. The Russian general said that the cases are being thoroughly recorded as heavy war crimes to be put to maximum publicity “so that European backers of the so-called opposition in London and Paris are well aware of who their wards actually are.”
Konashenkov added that militants of the “moderate opposition” mined in eastern Aleppo nearly everything: streets, entrances to premises, and cars.
Russian engineers are working to demine the city.
Earlier reports appeared that government forces seized large stocks of ammunition and weapons in the liberated parts of Aleppo: missiles, mortar shells, assault rifles, various kind of munitions and humanitarian aid.
Tensions among various militant factions on more time erupted in the province of Idlib where Jabhat Fatah al-Sham raided houses and arrested a number of Liwa Suqur al-Jabal militants that had returned to Idlib after participation in the Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Aleppo. The event took place in Kansafra and followed sporadic reports that Liwa Suqur al-Jabal had been redeploying fighters to Idlib to oppose the expected government offensive in the area.
Kurdish YPG forces have been continuing to develop the momentum against ISIS in the province of Raqqah. The YPG is working to secure the area north of the Tabqa Dam, controlled by ISIS. When it’s done, Kurdish forces will likely attempt to retake this strategic site from the terrorist group. Especially heavy clashes are now ongoing in the area of Jabar.
A high number of militants has laid down arms and joined the reconciliation process with the Syrian government in the province of Daraa. The event took place in the government-held town of al-Sanamyen north of the provincial capital. The total numbers of Free Syrian Army members that had laid their arms and took the amnesty were estimated from 150 to 250. Local sources argue that this was a prelude to a wider reconciliation agreement in the province that will allow government forces to set control over all parts over the city of Daraa.
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President Assad: EU Must Recognize Syrians Determine Solution of Country’s Crisis

President Assad receiving EU parliamentary delegationPresident Assad receiving EU parliamentary delegation
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received on Thursday a joint delegation comprising MPs from the European Parliament and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia.
Members of the delegation affirmed the importance of this visit to get acquainted with the reality of situation in Syria and to show support to the Syrian people in the war against terrorism as well as to congratulate Syrians on the victory achieved in the city of Aleppo, stressing their rejection of any foreign interference in the Syrian internal affairs.
During the meeting, President al-Assad briefed members of the delegation on the developments in Syria, answering their questions in this regard. The President considered that as this delegation includes MPs from a number of European parties and from Russia, it is an important signal that Russia and the European countries have common interests, stressing the important role played by parliamentarians to express the interests of their people.
As for the role that could be played by the European countries to reach a solution in Syria, President al-Assad considered that if the European countries want to help Syrian people, they must first stop supporting terrorists and lift the unjust blockade which affects the basics of Syrians’ life, affirming that the European officials have to recognize that the solution in Syria would be through the Syrian people only.
President al-Assad stressed that the Western officials must admit that the terrorist attacks taking place in their countries are a result of their wrong policies, therefore, they have to ask themselves if their policies, they adopt, were in the interest of their own people or against it.
On the fight against terrorism, President al-Assad considered that this operation is carried out through the military track which is progressing well because of the Russian support and drying the financial resources through which terrorists can recruit people, most importantly, is how to deal with terrorism as an ideology, adding that the Wahhabi mentality should be eliminated for the success in any operation of the fight against terrorism.
President al-Assad also considered that while Russia supports Syria, it is not only defending the Syrians’ security, but it also defends the security of its people and the European peoples too.
Source: SANA

President Assad: Syrians Don’t Need Humanitarian Aid, Just Stop Supporting Terrorism

President Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said foreign support provided for Takfiri terrorist has been prolonging the Syrian crisis.
“You cannot talk about the war being over until you get rid of the terrorists in Syria,” Assad said in a Thursday interview with Italian TG5 channel.
“And those terrorists unfortunately still have formal support from many countries including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and many Western countries,” the Syrian leader said, noting that terrorists are inspired by Wahhabi dark ideology.
President Assad slammed European countries for supporting terrorism and imposing embargo on Syria.
Assad stressed that the Syrian people, especially the refugees in Europe, don’t need the European countries’ humanitarian aids but what they need is to stop supporting terrorism and to halt the embargo imposed on Syria.
“They don’t need your support in your country; they need your support in our country. They need to stop supporting terrorists, they need to lift the embargo that pushed many Syrians to go to Europe because of the embargo, not only because of the terrorism. Because of the embargo, they cannot live anymore in their country,” the Syrian leader addressed the European countries as saying.
Assad meanwhile, said that the European governments are working against interests of their own people.
“They are working against the interest of their own people. They are supporting the terrorists. How can I help them if they are supporting the terrorists in our region, in order to halt terrorism attack in Europe?”
On the other hand, President Assad stressed that Syria have a wide spectrum of religious diversity, calling Syrians to unite and to learn from the lessons of the war.
“This war has brought many Syrians together. They learned the lessons – so many lessons – that if we don’t accept each other, if we don’t respect each other on every level of this word, you cannot have unified society. Without this unified society, Syria cannot be reborn. So, I think, not only to talk about the rebirth of Syria, I can feel today that if you don’t have terrorism, the social society is going to be much stronger than the society that you knew before the war, because of the lesson that we’ve learned.”
Source: Agencies
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2016: the year of Russia’s triumph

2016: the year of Russia’s triumph
December 28, 2016
This column was written for the Unz Review
Just like European maps place Europe in the center of the planet, so do most western commentators look at the past year from a US/Europe-centered perspective.  Which is fair enough.  Furthermore, the AngloZionist Empire has just suffered two major disasters, the Brexit and the election of Trump, so there is truly much interesting to focus on.  Still, what I want to do today is to look at the year which is ending from a Russian perspective.  The following were the major challenges Russia faced in 2016:
  1. The Nazi regime in Kiev
  2. The civil war in the Donbass
  3. Ukrainian attempts to blockade Crimea
  4. The rabid hostility of the US Administration
  5. NATO’s policy of military confrontation in Europe
  6. The united European front against Russia
  7. Western sanctions, the subsequent drop in investments and credit and the low oil prices
  8. The growing dissatisfaction of the Russian people with the economic polices of the government
  9. The struggle against the “liberal” 5th column inside Russia
  10. The international aggression against Syria
  11. The demonization of Russia in general and of Vladimir Putin in particular
  12. Terrorist attacks against Russia
Let’s take these one by one now and score them:
The Ukraine 5/5
The Nazi occupied Ukraine is in free fall.  In fact, it has been in free fall for a while already, but just like somebody jumping from the 40th floor of a building is doing “okay” passing by the 20th floor, so did the Ukraine still have the possibility to say “so far so good” and look halfway credible to the superficially informed.  Now, however, it is becoming rather obvious that the so-called “Revolution of dignity” (which is how the Neonazis call the coup against Yanukovich) is an abject failure and that the “Independent Ukraine” is simply beyond rescue.  The ruling class which came to power now is falling apart, everybody is fighting everybody else and there is no other discernible policy left beyond personal enrichment and survival.  As for the “Joan of Arch of the Ukraine” and “Hope of the Ukraine” – Nadezhda Savchenko – she is now denounced as a traitor and FSB agent.  Forbes is now running an article entitled “Corruption is killing Ukraine’s economy” while a former Ukrainian lawmaker has passed recordings of Poroshenko taking bribes to the FBI.  As for the Ukrainian military, which Poroshenko has recently advertised as one of the 5 best in the world, it has only mustered enough forces to send one company size infantry force supported by 2 tank platoons to attack the Novorussian positions near Debaltsevo before getting them all killed.  The situation of the Ukrainian military is so bad that they are now forced to use private cars to get to the frontlines and to evacuate the wounded.  Yes, on paper the Ukrainian military is huge, but in reality it is a force which has a hard time surviving even before going into battle.  Last but not least, the entire Nazi ruling elite has thrown its fully political weight behind Hillary while pouring scorn and vitriol against Trump.  To say that they are now screwed would be an understatement.  Hence the wind of utter panic now taking over Kiev.
The Donbass 3/5
The Russian policy in the Donbass (non-occupation combined with overt and covert support) was clearly the correct one: the DNR and LNR are getting stronger while the Nazi occupied Ukraine is going down the tubes, vide supra, as they say.  There have however also been clear failures and the two main ones are the Russian inability to stop the constant shelling and attacks on civilians from the Nazis and the Russian failure to establish security inside the two republics.  If the first failure can be excused (there is no magic recipe to make that happen), the second one is inexcusable as seen by the murder of several key Novorussian figures.  Furthermore, the situation in the Donbass remains very difficult and potentially dangerous.  In the big scheme of things, Russia did very well, but as soon as you look down to the more detailed level many mistakes and failures become apparent.  Still, it is now obvious to any decently informed person that time is now (and has always been, really) on the side of the Novorussians as every passing day makes them stronger and the Ukronazis weaker.
Crimea 5/5
The Urkonazis tried everything, from blockading the peninsula, to cutting off water and electricity, to sending terrorist infiltrators.  This gave Russia the opportunity to “save” Crimea from the Ukraine over and over and over again.  It is pretty darn clear that the Ukronazis have long given up of ever getting back Crimea and that all that is left to them are mostly ineffective ways to try to make the people of Crimea miserable thereby, of course, only strengthening their resolve.  Initially there were some people in Crimea who where not quite convinced that the nightmare was really over and that Russian truly meant business (especially with all the rumors about “Putin selling out”).  But now that the Russians have to put major efforts in shielding Crimea from the Ukronazi attempts at blockading it those doubts have disappeared.  Crimea’s future looks extremely bright: not only is the Russian state pouring in billions of Rubles for huge infrastructural improvement and the deployment of a very large and advanced military force, but the prospects for tourism and trade are also excellent.
The United States 5/5
The credit for the election of Donald Trump goes first and foremost to the American people to whom I sincerely believe the entire planet owe a heartfelt and loud “THANK YOU!!!!!”.  I will never be able to prove that and, thank God, we will never know if I was right, but up to the last minute I was convinced that there was a very strong probability that Hillary in the White House would have meant war, probably nuclear, with Russia.  I am still undecided about Trump, but I view his upcoming term with cautious optimism and while I would never say never, I really very strongly feel that with Trump in the White House the risks of war with Russia have fallen to a dramatically low level and that barring some stunning provocation or disaster, a war between the USA and Russia has now become exceedingly unlikely.  Glory be to God for His immense mercy towards us!
That being, said, I will dare to speculate that Russia did play a role in the election of Trump.  No, not by hacking emails or by recruiting Ron Paul (!!!) as an agent of Russian propaganda, but by openly and firmly confronting the USA on all fronts and showing that Russia would not bend her knee before the AngloZionist Empire.  As I have written many times, Russia has been preparing for war for years now and while Russians were (and still are) afraid of war, they are also ready and willing to fight it if forced to do so.  In his latest press conference Putin specifically referred to the will of the Russian people as a key element in Russia’s ability to defeat any aggressor when he said,
We are stronger than any potential aggressor. I have no problem repeating it. I also said why we are stronger. This has to do with the effort to modernise the Russian Armed Forces, as well as the history and geography of our country, and the current state of Russian society
and he is absolutely right.  Sure, Hillary was probably stupid enough to try to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, but the 200 or so generals and admirals who expressed their support for Trump probably understood what that kind of folly would entail.  Furthermore, it appears that quite a few Americans are sympathetic to Russia and Putin himself.  Again, in his latest press conference Putin referred to this and made some very interesting comments:
I do not take support for the Russian President among a large part of Republican voters as support for me personally, but rather see it in this case as an indication that a substantial part of the American people share similar views with us on the world’s organisation, what we ought to be doing, and the common threats and challenges we are facing. It is good that there are people who sympathise with our views on traditional values because this forms a good foundation on which to build relations between two such powerful countries as Russia and the United States, build them on the basis of our peoples’ mutual sympathy. (…)  It seems to me that Reagan would be happy to see his party’s people winning everywhere, and would welcome the victory of the newly elected President so adept at catching the public mood, and who took precisely this direction and pressed onwards to the very end, even when no one except us believed he could win.
Putin puts it down to values, common values, between the Russian and the American people.
[Personal sidebar: for whatever this is worth, I regularly interact with Americans who support Putin on the grounds that “he stands for American values unlike the SOBs in Washington”].
But how did the Americans become aware of what values Putin and Russia stood for if not for the ceaseless efforts of Putin himself and the alternative media to convey these values to the general public?  I think that by OPENLY denouncing the total hypocrisy of the AngloZionist Empire and by OPENLY offering a different civilizational model, Putin and Russia did have an impact on the public opinion in the West.  To put it simple: Russia has scored an ideological victory over the AngloZionist imperialists.  In other words, the Russian policy of standing firm against the Empire while openly challenging it on its ideological foundation was the correct one and it probably did have an impact upon the outcome of the election in the USA.
NATO 4/5
Russia has defeated NATO on two levels: a purely military one and a political one.  On the military level Russia has taken all the asymmetrical measures she promised to negate both the US anti-missile system in Europe and the deployment of threatening military power in eastern Europe: Russia deployed the Iskander missile, doubled of the size of her Airborne Forces, and initiated the creation of a Tank Army in the western strategic direction (to read more about how Russia prepared to fight and defeat NATO see “How Russia is preparing for WWIII” and “The EU’s suicide by reality denial“).  On the political level there can be little doubt that all the European leaders who favored confrontation with Russia are now unpopular and in a political crisis except maybe Merkel, but Germany alone can’t do anything meaningful (at least one “positive” side effect, so to speak, of the EU integration).  As for the election of Trump, it has resulted in a NATO-wide panic, especially in those countries which had prostituted themselves to the Empire with special enthusiasm and zeal (Poland, the three Baltic statlets, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and our “Orthodox brothers” in Romania and Bulgaria).  I don’t see Trump dumping NATO, there would be too much opposition against that, but with Trump in the White House all the nonsense about the “Russian bear is about to invade Latvia or Poland” is going to come to a crashing end and the poor folks in eastern Europe will come to realize that neither Russia nor the USA gives a damn about them.  Trump will probably put the financial squeeze on NATO and force its member states to purchase even more US gear, but that will be a purely financial operation and not an attempt at surrounding Russia will military forces.  Russia’s ultimate goal, the replacement of NATO by a European-wide common defense agreement from Portugal to the Urals has not happened, but the election of Trump is a huge step in the right direction.
The EU 5/5
Poor “EUans” (my own word for the European zombies who believed in the Bilderberger’s European Union): they are now, how shall I put it politely, totally “frigged”?  Not only did the British people defy the Empire and vote for a Brexit, but now the Imperial Homeland had “backstabbed” them by electing a patriot who is not interested in maintaining the global empire (or so he says, at least for the time being).  At the same time, the so-called “refugee crisis” is bringing several crucial EU nations to the brink of a civil war (France for example) while all the efforts of the elites to blame Russia for it all end up in abject failures.  Just check out this hilarious article in the British Sun which accuses Russia of, I kid you not, “organizing sex attacks in Germany“!!  True, we already had the “Serbian Chetniks using rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing” and “Gaddafi distributing Viagra to his soldiers to rape opposition supporters” but Putin ordering refugees to rape women in Germany is the best, so to speak.  And just in case the unthinkable happens in Germany, the Germans have already warned that Russian hackers might steal the election in Germany.  If this was not so utterly disgusting it would be hilarious.  The bottom line is this:  the entire EU project is morally completely bankrupt, each EU member state is now in a deep political crisis and the so-called “elites” are scrambling to find a response to what appears to be an inevitable collapse of the EU-order over Europe.  The European militaries are a joke, all of them, and when, say, the Swedes go on “Russian sub hunting” they always end up embarrassing themselves.  If there are any extra-terrestrials observing us from space, the EU is beyond any doubt their laughing stock.  As for the Russians, far from fearing the Europeans, they don’t even take them very seriously and they look at them with either pity or scorn for their apparently infinite lack of spine and dignity.  Of sure, as soon as mentally sane leaders return to power in the various EU countries Russia will be more than happy to trade with the EU, send and receive tourists and generally have friendly relations.  But after over three centuries of trying to sheepishly imitate the Europeans and be accepted as European themselves, the Russian have finally lost all interest in emulating Europe, at least in a cultural or political way.  Of course, the Russians will still love German cars, French wines or Italian music, but the myth of the European cultural superiority has truly died.  Good riddance!
The Russian economy 3/5
The main external factors influencing the Russian economy have been Western sanctions, the subsequent drop in investments and credit and, especially, the low oil prices.  Almost exactly as Putin had predicted it, it took Russia two years to overcome the combined effect of these factors, so says not me or a Kremlin spokesman, but the IMF (see here). What matters here is not this or that figure for GDP or inflation, but the fact that all the key indicators for the Russian economy point to a gradual recovery and good prospects for growth.  I personally think that the policies of the “economic block” of the Medvedev government made the effects of this crisis even worse than they had to be, but I have to admit that despite the major mistakes committed by the Russian government the Russian economy is recovering.  If I had to score the performance of the Russian government’s policies I would have given it a maximum of 2/5, but since what I am looking at is the state of the economy I have to give it an objective 3/5.  I just think that a 5/5 would have been possible.  One small point here: some have made a great deal of noise around the planned reduction in Russian defense spending but what they are missing is that reduction has been made possible by the spending over the past couple of years and that the Russian defense program by 2020 has not been in any way amended, nevermind reduced.  In other words, the Russian military can afford to use less money for a couple of years and there will be no cuts in defense programs as planned by 2020.
The Russian public opinion 4/5
In spite of the still strong grip the “IMF-types” in the Russian government have over the key economic decisions in Russia there are some signs that things are getting better and that the Russian public is getting some of the heads it wanted to see rolling: here I am, of course, referring to the arrest of the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexei Uliukaev.  Of course, the list of candidates for termination and arrest is much longer (see here) but Uliukaev was definitely one of the most influential and toxic member of the Atlantic Integrationists and the hysterical reaction of the Russian liberal press clearly shows how painful this arrest is for the Russian 5th column.  As for right now, the arrest of Uliukaev has not been followed by more sackings or arrests, but it is quite possible that Putin did with Uliukaev what he already one did with Berezovsky: hit at the one “big guy” and therefore force the rest of his gang to play ball and give up any hopes of confronting him.  Only time will tell if sacking and arresting Uliukaev will be enough to finally re-sovereignize Russia, but it sure is a very good beginning.
Russian russophobes 4/5
Sounds weird, does it not?  “Russian russophobes”.  Reminds me of the “self-hating Jew” category.  And yet they exist, at least nominally.  I say nominally because being Russian has never been about speaking Russian, or about living in Russia or even about some hypothetical “Russian ethnicity” (which really does not exist).  One definition of what it is to be Russian was given by the philosopher Vasilii Rozanov who wrote the following prophetic words in 1913: “To love a happy and great Motherland is really not a big thing.  We have to love her when she is weak, small, humiliated, finally, stupid, finally, even filled with vices.  It is when our “mother” is drunk, lying and all entangled in her sins that we must not depart from her.  But even that is not enough: when she finally dies, eaten up by Jews, and when only her bones remain – he will be truly “Russian” who will weep over her useless skeleton, abandoned by all.  He truly shall be… “.  Needless to say, Rozanov is hated by the Russian “liberals”.  Contrary to Rozanov, these russophobic “liberals” rejoice in every Russian failure and they can barely contain their joy when some tragedy befalls the Russian people which they hate and despise for supporting a “tyrant” like Putin instead of them, the self-perceived “intellectual elites” of Russia.
When Putin came to power, these 5th russophobic columnist were literally everywhere since their families were usually members of the Soviet elites and since during the infamous 1990s they literally took control of every single lever of power in Russia from the mass media to the Kremlin.  First, Putin got rid of the oligarchs, especially the “Seven Bankers“.  Next, he gradually pushed most of them out from of mass media (that is when their colleagues and patrons in the West began speaking of the lack of a free press in Russia).  And then he began the slow and outright dangerous process of getting rid of them, one by one, from inside the Russian government, including the Kremlin.  But Putin’s biggest achievement this year has to be his extremely successful campaign to delegitimize this 5th column.  He did that no by “cracking down” on them, nor did he murder any journalist or opposition figure, and he did not fill the “new Russian Gulag” with thousands of liberal dissidents.  He (by “he” I mean not only Putin himself, but also his supporters) did the exact opposite: he gave them a platform and he made darn sure that their views would be freely aired on an almost daily basis.  Those interested about this can read my analysis “Counter-propaganda, Russian style“.  This was pure genius: instead of silencing the russophobes, Putin gave them a completely disproportionate amount of airtime (keep in mind that less than 5% of the Russian population supports these freaks) and let them hang themselves by being wrong on just about everything: they were wrong on Crimea, wrong on the Ukraine, wrong on the economy, wrong on social and civil rights, wrong on corruption, wrong on so-called “gay rights”, wrong about NATO, wrong about the EU, wrong about Clinton (they loved her), wrong about Trump (they hate him), wrong about terrorism and wrong about Syria.  As a result, these “liberals” (in the Russian meaning of the word) are now universally seen as traitors, russophobes, snobs, racists, 5th columnists, CIA puppets, etc.  They now are absolutely hated and desperate.  As a result, during the recent elections, we saw the amazing sight of Russian “liberals”, including Jews, allying themselves with Nazisand organizing joint protests against Putin.  Needless to say, that only served to further discredit them.
There are still plenty of 5th columnists in Russia, but they are mostly laying really low, hoping for better times and trying to remain out of the public eye as much as possible.  Their main remaining center of power is the Russian Central Bank and the “economic bloc” of the Medvedev government, but since both Kudrin and Uliukavev have been kicked out, the rest of them are being very careful in their actions and statements.
All in all, 2016 has been an absolutely catastrophic year for the russophobic 5th column which is now in a state of total despair and which seems to have no future whatsoever.
Syria 5/5
Russia’s success in Syria is nothing short of amazing.  Not only did an extremely small Russian military force succeed in turning around the course of the war, but it has held an essentially indefensible position long enough to deter Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and the USA from overtly attacking the Syrian forces or government.  The Russians succeeded in this despite numerous, ugly and bloody provocations and despite having to operate in an extremely hostile environment (the region “belongs” to NATO and CENTCOM).  One of the most amazing successes what how the Russians managed to save Erdogan in extremis from a US backed coup and convince him to work with Russia and Iran to solve the Syrian crisis.  The liberation of Aleppo could not have happened had Turkey continued to support al-Nusra & Co at any price.  At the very least it would have taken much more time.  By the end of 2016 the Russians own the Black Sea, control, at least for the time being, the eastern Mediterranean and they are working with the three biggest powers on the ground: the Syrians, of course, but also Iran and Turkey.  As for the United States, they seemed to have lost the entire region and their only “achievement”, so to speak, has been to alienate both the Israelis and the Saudis.  As for President Elect Trump, he has clearly indicated that his number one priority will be to smash Daesh & Co. which happens to be exactly what Russia, Iran and Syria want too.  If Trump really manages to kick the Neocon crazies to the cockroach filled basement where they belong, we could see something quite amazing happening: a joint Russian-US effort to destroy Daesh.  The big problem here will be the totally counter-productive and, frankly, idiotic anti-Iranian rhetoric of the Trump campaign.  However, there must be enough good brains around Trump to make him understand that nothing in the region can happen without Iran’s approval and that the US and Iran don’t need to love each other to agree on a common objective.  Trump strikes me as a realist much more than as an ideologue.  Hopefully, he will learn how to separate AIPAC-pleasing rhetoric with serious foreign policy (the crash of the Obama Administration ought to teach him that lesson).
What is certain is that Russia is now running the show in Syria and that without US or Turkish support, Daesh will be facing an existential crisis.  Of course, the situation remains fluid, complex and dangerous. And I would never put it past the US or Turkey to do yet another 180 and to resume their support for Daesh.  The Kurdish factor, Israeli policies and Erdogan’s inherent unpredictability all serve to make sure that the Syrian crisis will continue well into 2017.  However, I think that the Neocon’s crazy rampage is reached is apogee and that things should begin to improve from now on.  Russia alone simply could not save Syria, and yet she appears to have done just that.
The russophobic hysteria in the West 3/5
There was simply no way that the AngloZionist could be defeated on all fronts without screaming “oy veh!” to high heaven and screaming they did.  All year long.   Their allegations ranged from Russia wanting to invade Latvia to Russian hackers stealing the US election.  And to make absolutely sure that there was no doubt at all as to the identity of these hackers, the AngloZionists informed us that these hackers called themselves “fancy bear” and “cozy bear”, that they used the alias “Felix Edmundovich” (the first name and patronymic of Felix Derzhinskii, the founder of the Soviet secret services) and that they worked during Moscow time office hours and they took breaks during Russian holidays.  And least you think that this kind of nonsense was made up in an mental institution or a kindergarten, here is the link to the article in the article in the New York times quoting “security experts”.  Amazing, no?  But then again, when I see the Neocons seriously calling Ron Paul a Russian agent I realize that there is nothing, no matter how stupid, that these guys would not dare say.  Chutzpah in action, I suppose.  And while the left side of the Bell Curve appears to have fully internalized the message, there is a growing segment of the population which realizes how silly all these accusations are.
[Personal sidebar: while I am sure that there are some Americans who believe that the Russkies are a dangerous enemy of the USA, I have yet to met even one such American.  In my day to day interactions I see *no* hostility towards Russians even when I openly speak Russian with my family in stores or restaurants or when I say that I am Russian.  Maybe this is because I am in Florida and not New York, but I have yet to see a single example of anti-Russian hostility].
The Russian treatment by the Western-controlled WADA at the Rio Olympics was an absolute outrage, a farce and and crime all wrapped into one.  And Russia is very much to blame for having allowed the key world organizations become so controlled by the West.  However, let’s also see that the USA failed to have Russia completely banned from Rio and that Russian hackers (yes, they do exist) have uncovered convincing evidence which discredits WADA and the entire system behind it.  I would call that “growing pains” for the post-Soviet Russian sport: Russia now needs to “clean house” in the very real cases of doping while, at the same time, wrestling the control of the key international organizations from the West.  A tough task for sure, but Russia has an immensely powerful ally in this (and many other) struggles: China.  But yes, all in all, the partial ban and subsequent Russia-bashing campaign is a black eye for Russia.
In the case of Europe, russophobia has always been a northern European thing.  Mediterranean countries were only dragged into imposing sanctions under very strong pressure from the north.  It now appears that France will soon be ruled either by one or the other generally pro-Russian parties which are competing for the Presidency.  The Brexit took out probably the single most anti-Russian country in the EU and now Germany and Poland are more or less on their own in trying to desperately revitalize the anti-Russian front.  The problem for them is that they are also both subservient US colonies and that while they can fancy themselves the next in line to defend the western civilization against the revanchist Mongol hordes from the East, the reality is that they will do whatever the hell Uncle Sam tells them to do.
From now on, the only bastion of true rabid russophobia will remain in the most thoroughly “Zionified” segment of society: the media, the so-called “intellectuals”, the “liberal interventionists” and all the “tribe of minorities” who have a beef with Russia on account of the different civilizational model she represents (gender differentiated parents, religion, patriotism (but not nationalism!), etc.).  These will continue to pour a steady stream of filth against Russia in general and Putin in particular.  Putin will not be their only target, however, and Donald Trump will be the recipient of whatever hatred remains after Putin.  Frankly, taking on Putin AND Trump at the same time is a futile and possibly risky business, no matter who you are in the AngloZionist “jet set”, especially when you also have little traction with the general public whom you have regularly insulted, demeaned and dismissed.
There could be a gigantic return of the pendulum happening before our eyes against those who have produced the lion’s share of the hate-propaganda in the West: these guys might well end up finally reaping what they have sown and become the object of hate themselves.
Terrorism 4/5
This year as been tough on Russia.  A recent anonymous comment posted on this blog made a good list of the tragic murder of Russians this year including the bombing on the Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, the Su-24 shootdown involving US AWACS, the murder of the Russian medics in a precision strike, the murder of the Russian Ambassador and the probable murder of the Red Army Choir (the latest news out of Russia seems to point with a malfunction of the wing flaps, not a terrorist attack).  To this list I would add the Novorussian commanders assassinated in the Donbass.  That is a lot of innocent Russian victims.  But compared to the number of innocent Syrians or Turks this number is relatively small.  It is outright tiny of compared to the kind of mass horror the Wahabis managed to organize in Chechnia.  Let’s remember that Russia is a country at war with state-sponsored transnational terrorism and that many millions of dollars of “aid” are going towards the various Nazi and Wahabi organizations with have the murder of Russians as their main goal.  I would say “so far, so good” but I cannot do that because I believe that Russia is still not ready to face the kind of terrorism which is likely to hit her in the next year.  There is one specific type of target which is currently completely undefended and which the terrorists can strike with quasi-impunity: Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia.
The Russians need to revisit the kind of terror campaign the Palestinians waged in the 1970s against the Israelis when they attacked not only Israeli cultural centers, but also Jewish daycare centers, schools, and synagogues.  Russian Orthodox churches are now facing the very same threat including bombings and hostage taking.  As somebody who has attended Russian Orthodox churches all my life and all over the planet I know that the number of potential targets are in the *hundreds* and that they are all completely unprotected.
The Israeli example is crucial here because the Israelis rapidly realized that they simply could not count on the local police forces to protect them.  This is why they organized various local organizations directly attached to a synagogue or school staffed by volunteers who could do many very useful and fully legal things to protect Israeli/Jewish targets such as, for example, begin to occupy all the parking spaces around a synagogue 48 hours before any religious holiday to make sure that no VBIEDs (aka “car bombs”) could be placed next to the synagogue.  There is *a lot* a well educated group of volunteers can do to legally protect an exposed civilian target.  They can do even better when they work with the locals cops and the security specialists at the embassy.  The Russians urgently need to study the Israeli experience in dealing with a kind of threat which they will soon face.  Remember, the Palestinians also began by attacking diplomats, officials and aircraft, but as soon as these targets were “hardened” they turn to daycare centers, schools and synagogues.
I believe that inside Russia the FSB has a good control of the situation.  But outside Russia the amount of specialized personnel fully dedicated to security is woefully inadequate and needs to be dramatically expanded.  During the Soviet era few government dared to openly attack Soviet targets, the fearsome (and very much exaggerated!) reputation of the KGB probably helped, while during the Eltsin years there really was no point in attacking Russia as she was internally collapsing.  But now that Russia is very strong internally, and the Russian military personnel hard to get at, diplomats, children and clergy are probably going to be the next targets of the Wahabis.
The one good news about this issue that the the Soviets/Russians have been fighting the Wahabis since the 1970s and that they are acutely aware that there is no such thing as a non-state sponsored terrorism.  The Russians know where the money, training and weapons come from and they know that terrorism can only be defeated by strong counter-intelligence and and intelligence operations, especially human intelligence.  The foreign intelligence branch of the KGB, the PGU or First Chief Directorate, had a (very much deserved) reputation for being able to infiltrate agents pretty much anywhere, including the top echelons of the CIA and NSA, and we can be confident that the SVR today is slowly rebuilding is capabilities worldwide and, especially, in the countries which sponsor Wahabi terrorism.  Just the way the Russian special services saved Erdogan and thereby “flipped” Turkey – one of the absolutely worst sponsors of Wahabi terrorism – is already a huge success.  God willing, the Saudis will be next.
Simply put – 2016 has been a fantastic year for Russia.  Putin’s policy of slow, low-key and deliberate move and counter-move has proven to be extremely effective.  While to some “hurray patriots” it did appear that Putin was being passive and doing nothing, the outcome of this year has been a Putin victory on all fronts, including the most dangerous and difficult ones.  Remember all the nonsense these Putin-haters wrote about “Putin selling out the Donbass”, “Putin unable to reply to the Turkish shoot-down of the SU-24”, “Putin disarming Syria” or “Putin betraying Assad”?  These “hurray patriots” have been predicted doom and gloom for years now and they have been proven wrong every single time.  Did that silence them?  Somewhat.  I notice that most of the “Putin is selling out the Donbass” blogs are posting very little and when they do, it is mostly stuff unrelated to their previous Putin-bashing campaign.  The same goes for the Ukronazis commentators on sites which allow them to post: they seem to have thrown in the towel and given up convincing the world about how democratic the junta in Kiev is, about how there are hundreds of Russian tanks in Donetsk and how the Ukraine will join the EU and become Germany-like overnight.  The only ones who are keeping up the Putin-bashing campaign are the western presstitutes, but they are doing that for pay and to keep their jobs.  Besides, that is all they know how to do anyway.  But all in all, there is a general lack of energy and enthusiasm in the Russia hating camp which is a real joy for me to see.
2017 could be an amazing year for the world, or it could be a big disappointment.  Right now this depends mostly on what Trump will do after he assumes his official capacity.  To me the single most important fact will remain that with Hillary in the White House our planet risked a major thermonuclear war.  There is no reason any more to believe that this is going to happen.  As for the list of all the good things which *could* happen in 2017 if Trump does the right thing for his country, it will be the topic of a future analysis.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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