It is painful to watch Iraq die a million times before its penultimate death. Between 1990 and the present day, there have been more years when Iraq has been bombed by the US and its partners, than years during which the opposite was true.
No other country can say the same in respect of that 27 year time frame. When Iraq wasn’t being bombed by the US, it was being sanctioned to death, while pirates plundered the profits from the inherently inhumane Oil For Food programme.
Seeing the recent images from Mosul, where more people have died in a day of bombing than during the entire Battle of Aleppo, including those killed in Aleppo by Al-Qaeda and other terrorists, one can only weep for Iraq. In spite of this, some Iraqis are challenging the clear evidence of war crimes. It is as though they refuse to believe that an Iraq which only a few years ago showed some small signs of resurgence, could stoop to this. But the reality exposes a gap between such wishful thinking and the facts on the ground.
This can be contrasted sharply with Syria.
The air forces of Syria, Russia and Iran could have easily flattened every terrorist occupied city and town in Syria. They could have then salted the earth. It would have taken less than a single week given the combined fire-power of the three countries. But then there would be nothing left.
Syria has taken time to rid itself of this evil. Sadly, many brave men have died to do this.
By contrast, the US led war on ISIS in Mosul has become more than a war on ISIS. It has become another war on Iraq, with the full compliance of the Iraqi government that formed in the aftermath of the toppling of the last fully legitimate government Iraq, which was illegally destroyed in 2003. I say this not as an enemy of Iraq but as an old friend of Iraq. But so many, including many Iraqis have been brainwashed into thinking their oppressors are their allies.
Legally speaking, the current US led war on Iraq is legal because the government in Baghdad has approved it. But this government, however technically legal and however well meaning certain members of it are, is ultimately a dis-unified government whose composition was the outgrowth of the illegal regime change of 2003. Even without the presence of the barbaric ISIS, Iraq would almost certainly have not fully recovered this invasion by 2017.
Ron Paul has shared articles and spoken out against America’s aggressive new war on Iraq. Sergei Lavrov, while supporting the war on ISIS in Iraq, has criticised the methods of the US. Not even the most fervent neo-cons could accuse Dr. Paul or Mr. Lavrov of being individuals who worship Saddam Hussein. Yet much of the propaganda coming from the west and from certain quarters of Iraq, says that anyone who questions the legitimacy of the campaign is somehow a pro-Saddam Hussein nostalgia junkie. This is simply false. Others say that criticising the attacks on Mosul is somehow an apologist for ISIS. This is not only false, but it is deeply insulting.
I am a great admirer of Ba’athism and to that end, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was the best leader of Iraq’s Ba’ath government and the best modern Iraqi leader in history. Saddam Hussein was not, he had as man flaws as he had virtues. But even many of his old opponents admit that things were better even under him and even under sanctions, than they have been under almost constant war.
The fact of the matter is that you do not beat ISIS by becoming ISIS. Indeed you cannot beat ISIS by becoming ISIS. When heads are severed from effective carpet bombing rather than by a rusty blade, when women are imprisoned by men in Iraqi uniforms rather than in ISIS costumes and when bodies are mutilated by ‘liberators’, it is hard to see the difference.
Where the Syrian Arab Army is made up for Sunnis, Shi’a and many denomination of Christian Syrian men and women, the Iraqi army is almost all Shi’a men. Iraq has become the sectarian, Balkanised state that both Bush Presidents wanted it to ultimately be.
Prior to the phrase being co-opted and molested by barbaric savages, the Arabic phraseالله أكبرالله أكبر (Allahu Akbar), meaning ‘God is great’ was spoken by Muslims to remain humble in times of joy that may have otherwise become frivolous. The flag of Iraq has those words inscribed on it. Never before has a nation been so humiliated, yet still ought to behave more humbly.
Where Syria is rapidly rising from the ashes, Iraq is fast becoming a sectarian ash-heap.
Many right wingers in Eastern Europe pretend that their left-wing post-war governments were not-legitimate in the long term. This is said in spite of the sustained peace these governments brought their people. The truth is that, the modern Iraqi government is technically legitimate, but technically so too is the bombing of Mosul. Tell that to the families whose children were killed by ISIS and whose other living relatives are now being bombed to death by the armed forces of their own country and its American ‘ally’.
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told a rally on Sunday that the European Union will disappear. Le Pen promised to protect France from the evils of globalisation, four weeks before voting gets underway in what will be historic elections in France.
The National Front (FN) party leader, told the rally in Lille that the French election would be the next step in what she called a global rebellion of the people…
“The European Union will die because the people do not want it anymore … arrogant and hegemonic empires are destined to perish.”
“The time has come to defeat globalists.”
Le Pen accused her rivals, centrist Emmanuel Macron and conservative Francois Fillon, of “treason” for their pro-EU, pro-market policies.
Opinion polls forecast that Le Pen will do well in the April 23 first round of the presidential election only to lose the May 7 run-off to Macron.
But the high number of undecided voters means the outcome remains unpredictable and motivating people to go to the polling stations will be key for the top candidates.
Its opposition to the EU and the euro currency underlines an anti-establishment stance that pleases the FN’s grassroots supporters and attracts voters angry with globalisation. But it is also likely to be an obstacle to power in a country where a majority oppose a return to the franc.
Le Pen has over the past few months tried to tackle this by criticizing the unpopular EU while telling voters she would not abruptly pull France out of the bloc or the euro but instead hold a referendum after six months of renegotiating the terms of France’s EU membership.
On Sunday, while predicting the EU’s demise, she was careful to say she would seek to replace it with “another Europe,” which she called “the Europe of the people”, based on a loose cooperative of nations.
“It must be done in a rational, well-prepared way,” she told Le Parisien daily in an interview. “I don’t want chaos. Within the negotiation calendar I want to carry out … the euro would be the last step because I want to wait for the outcome of elections in Germany in the autumn before renegotiating it.”
Reacting to Le Pen’s comments on the death of the EU, France’s ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, tweeted: “That’ll be the real significance of the French elections: the survival or the demise of the EU. A quasi-referendum.”
Some 72 percent of French voters want to keep the euro, an Ifop poll published in Le Figaro newspaper showed.
But unlike voters overall, a large majority of FN voters back a euro exit, the poll showed.
“I’m convinced it will explode anyway, so she is right to anticipate it and prepare for an intelligent and organized exit from the euro before we head for even more of a disaster than we are in now,” 56-year-old bank employee Marie-Dominique Rossignol said after the rally.
The Duran readers: What do you think?
Because the mainstream media have both an unrelenting neo-liberal/globalist/post-cultural agenda as well as a tendency to speak simplistically about deeply manifold subjects, there will be plenty of gloating form the likes of CNN and state owned British broadcaster BBC, over the fact that The Dutch Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders came second and secured far fewer seats than many had predicted.
As Alexander Mercouris explains, much of this is due to the way seats in the Dutch Parliament are allocated. However, in the international context there is a wider issue at play. Just because one is opposed to the establishment, it does not signify ideological or even strategic unity.
During the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries, Anarchists and various nationalist groups, all opposed the old Tsarist status quo, but they also opposed each other.
Today, some reports out of Syria confirm that various jihadist groups, each of who wish to topple the legally legitimate government of Syria, are fighting and killing each other.
Therefore, it should not surprise anyone that anti-establishment candidates and parties in Europe are also as diverse as the aforementioned groups.
Take for example two prominent western European anti-establishment figures: Marine Le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of The Netherlands.
Le Pen is a French civic nationalist and a statist who believes in the supremacy of the French state and the Laïcité implied there in, above any and all sectarian groups, including peaceful and otherwise integrated groups.
By contrast, Wilders seems not to mind any group unless they are Muslims. He even oddly said that he has no problem with Muslim people, only the Muslim faith which he disparages as an ideology rather than a religion.
In foreign policy, Le Pen is both a French patriot and a believer in multi-polarity. She has demonstrated an unequivocal respect Russia’s role as a re-emergent superpower far more than almost any other major western European politician and has condemned European officials for their provocative and illogical stance on both Crimea and Donbass.
Likewise she has stated her support for secular Arab regimes like the one of President Assad in Syria.
By contrast, Wilders is the darling of US and UK neo-cons. He seems to have a detestation for all majority Muslim nations, secular or theoretical and is a staunch supporter of Israel.
It is true that both have opposed Angela Merkel’s open border policy, but so has Nigel Farage who has distanced himself from both leaders, but especially from Marine Le Pen.
Both western European politicians are different from Donald Trump.
Trump does not seem to share Le Pen’s concrete views on foreign policy, preferring a broader and rather undefined America First policy that still hasn’t seen the light of day.
Likewise, Trump and Le Pen’s protectionist manta on employment and imports doesn’t match Wilders and his Thatcherite views on free trade and a deregulated market.
When Brexit won and then Trump won, many in the mainstream media tried to paint such events as unrelated and isolated incidents, contingent only upon the immediate concerns of the constituents involved in the respective votes.
Now they’re already talking about the fact that Wilders coming second is the end of the anti-establishment movement in the west.
Both sides are wrong. It is true that Brexit voters didn’t go to the polls wanting to ‘make America great again’ nor did Trump voters go to the polls thinking ‘here’s one for our anti-EU cousins in England’. Brexit voters were sick of an ultra-pro-EU elite in London and Trump voters were tired of the identity politics, anti-traditional cultural policies and free trade dogmas of Trump’s opponents.
At the same time, many on both sides felt that the abject failure of the monolithic liberal elite throughout Europe and North America, had given all outsider candidates, including the left-wing Bernie Sanders, a chance that in previous years they never would have had.
This last theory is true. The old establishment seemed so entrenched that for a long time it felt as if no outsider whether left or right and the many varieties of each, could ever break through.
But now people know that it is possible to break through. The liberal agenda is still going strong in many places, including in much of Washington, but the liberals are now beatable and they will no longer be able to take their vested position for granted, much though their allies in the mainstream media appear to still treat anti-establishment figures with contempt and disdain.
They will have to debate and face their anti-establishment opponents with seriousness. Calling them insane, deplorable or inconsequential will only make them stronger.