Archive for July, 2018

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Written by Labib Nahhas: Rather than luxury, ambition or idealism we have to understand undoubtedly that there is no other option left in front of us.

(1) Some believe that the revolution – from early on – had to open proper channels of communication with the Russians and build the right discourse to deal with them and their interests, but the reality is that Russia never thought of a political solution in Syria. If we take a closer look at Russia’s history and its experiences, and if we consider Putin’s czarist character and his own experience in Chechnya and closely follow his speech to the West about the Syrian issue and his focus on combating “Sunni terrorism”, we will reach a definite conclusion that the policy of the Russian regime in Syria would not change, especially in the absence of a clear and appeasing alternative. Just as the Assad regime has resorted to the “Hama model” in dealing with the Syrian revolution as a successful model from his point of view, it is logical that Russia resorts exclusively to the “Grozny model,” which openly boasts of being an ideal example of dealing with “insurgencies.”

Russia has taken all necessary military steps to impose a new political reality in Syria, and has established political tracks alternative to the Geneva process, arriving at the Sochi Conference, which resulted in the idea of the so-called Constitutional Commission, through which the Russians plan to obtain the legitimacy of “the opposition” and its joining in a political process that ensures the continuation of the Syrian regime (and perhaps Bashar himself) and gives the green light to the international community to open the door for the reconstruction in Syria and the flow of funds for this purpose, to be equal to a reward for the regime for its criminality and success of the Russian project in Syria in a conclusive way. Then, if Syria is without big economic and financial support it will remain a ‘failed state” threatened by a new explosion under the influence and corruption of the Assad regime and Iranian intervention and its penetration of the heart of Syrian society. For the knowledge: The cost of the reconstruction in Syria is estimated at between $ 250 billion to about $ 1 trillion; the regime does not possess from it any proportion and Russia is not able to contribute in it. Even those countries that support Russian military action in Syria in secret will only be able to support the reconstruction process with an international green light and existence of a political solution with Syrian and international legitimacy.

(2) The path of the Constitutional Commission will undoubtedly lead to a complete end to the revolution militarily, tame it completely politically, and consolidate Assad’s rule. Therefore, a fundamental question arises: What is the interest of the revolution and the Syrians in the participation of those who claim to represent the revolution in the so-called constitutional committee? The answer is: there is no interest, not partial nor total, neither in the near term nor in the long run, and there is no possibility of achieving any gain (unless there is someone who trusts the Russians as guarantor and the regime as an executor), or if we would consider the installation of some associated with the “opposition” in a future government under the rule of the regime to be a positive thing or would recognize that such “achievement” is the ceiling of the current revolution and the most achievable under the new political “realism.”

There is a fundamental problem in the existence and composition of the political “opposition” and the parties that run the political process and the so-called negotiating process in the name of the revolution: most of these are not revolutionaries at all, but traditional opponents at best under the cover of a fancying reality and they are incapable of acting (or even imagining) outside the frame of regional and international understandings (no matter how fragile). They never understood the true meaning of being a revolutionary for the sake of freedom and dignity against a criminal regime. They were engulfed in the concepts of “realism” and political “experience”, and became part of a system that they supposedly rebelled against one day, because it deprived them and their people of their rights and freedom (we don’t mean the Assad regime).

We have to ask and answer with all frankness and clarity: What is the constitution that will be written under the auspices of the Russian occupier?! What is the reference and legitimacy of the names that are presented as political “opposition”, and how have they been reached (to clarify: the satisfaction of the regional and international parties about persons or their performance does not give legitimacy)? What is the experience of these names in writing constitutions? In the name of whom this “opposition” negotiates? What are the papers of this “opposition” to negotiate in accordance with its current structure and its relationship with the interior (or lack thereof) and its defeatist speech? Do these “politicians” have a clear road map of milestones and results for what they are doing? Do they tell their people what is happening?

The most important question: Do they really think that this path will lead to the writing of a constitution that protects the rights of the Syrians and weakens the powers and authorities of the regime! And provides a safe environment for the return of the displaced and the preservation of their property! But more importantly: who will force the regime to implement this presumed constitution! Is there among these “opponents” (with the exception of the hired ones) whomever will be safe to go to Damascus to work within the future government of Assad and under the supervision of his security services?

(3) The logic of these “politicians” depends on two basic ideas: First, what is happening in Syria is an international and regional agreement, and political “experience” and “realism” require identification with this agreement. The second point is that we have no choice but to follow the path of the Constitutional Commission, and those who do not like this path: “Let him suggest another option!!!” Of course, the previous speech is based on big fallacies and miserable logic and refuted, and lacks the minimum degrees of desire for change and revolutionary spirit.

As for this international and regional agreement that is dealt with as sure, unavoidable destiny; what must be understood is that the international and regional community has not yet reached a final solution or agreement on Syria (although there is – at present – greater acceptance of the continuation of the regime in some form with cosmetic modifications considering the absence of a real, acceptable alternative.) However, the complexity of the Syrian issue has made the countries behave differently with different allies according to each region of Syria, and in general, we are still far from the comprehensive solution. But the Russian political momentum on the ground and in diplomatic corridors began to bear fruit, especially in the absence of any effective and counter political activity by the revolution.

Even if there was an international tendency towards a solution or concept against our interest as revolution and Syrians, the least we can do is to refuse and say “no” and, most importantly, to strive to impose a reality on the ground, militarily and socially (and this is of highest importance) hindering any solution that does not achieve our minimum interests. The “international decision” regarding the speech and mentality of the political upheaval about the revolution has changed into a self-fulfilling prophecy, into a pretext for their failure and inability to perform or deliver anything outside the bureaucratic routine of their work of attending meetings and conferences and then marketing what they are doing and justifying and suppressing those who disagree. However the reality is opposite to what they think, and the new reality that we need as Syrians and revolution is possible despite its extreme difficulty, but it needs hard work and great sacrifices, and breaking into fields outside their “comfort zone” and this is what they do not want to do.

(4) As for the alternative to the “Constitutional Committee”: I did not hear of someone who was offered poison then drank it voluntarily, rather exhausted himself in drinking it and justify that in front of people, rather he calls them to it! The alternative exists and is available but is not ready and requires work by everyone because there is no other option.

The alternative is to cling to the Liberated Land in the Syrian north under a unified civil authority and a revolutionary army, in which the factions will dissolve permanently as the only option to continue, and to strive to build the military, political and popular environment necessary for the success of the project, and develop the patch of this project in the near future to include the east of Syria completely within a regional-international frame that preserves the minimum of our interests as Syrians and takes into account the interests of the countries closest to us.

Our speech must be absolute rejection of any process collaborative with the criminal regime and the occupation forces, because we as Syrians reject the foreign occupation and refuse to be under the rule of a collaborator regime that brought the occupation forces and committed war crimes against our people, because we cannot live under the authority of these criminals preserving our lives and the lives of our people and the next generations. If millions of Syrians inside and outside Syria need a safe haven where they can live in freedom and dignity, enjoying their full rights as citizens and human beings, this will not be achieved under the rule of the Russian-Iranian occupation and their lackey the Assad regime.

Syria is divided – for those who did not realize that yet – and the Russian and Iranian occupation forces created their own spheres of influence and gave the Assad regime a “useful Syria” homogeneous socially and politically according to their perception. Our goal in the near future is to create a safe haven for Syrians in Syria outside the regime and occupation control, and starting from these areas through military, security, political and popular work to build a new model and reunite Syria.

(5) This regional-international framework that we need in the north and east of Syria depends mainly on the return of the Turkish-American relations and the attaining of agreement regarding its minimum borders between the two sides on the Syrian file in general and northern and eastern Syria in particular, which is a crucial semi-decisive matter in dismantling the Astana-Sochi system, that carries the largest part of the calamities we are living today (without ignoring the evil of the dealing and handling of the factions and political “opposition” with it). There is no doubt that the Western policy toward Turkey in recent years has played a major role in the induction of the change – maybe historical – in the context of Turkey’s foreign relations. However, this change is not permanent, and the Turkish side knows well that Russia is not a party to build a long-term alliance with (and there is a long history confirming that) especially since the experience of recent years proved that the commitment of the Russians to the agreements is very low, and Turkey knows that Russia will gradually squeeze it in a narrow corner after stripping it from as much of its papers in Syria as it can to force it to accept a comic solution that does not realize its ambitions.

Turkey has been and remains the most important ally of the revolution, the strategic depth of the Syrians, as Syria is Turkey’s strategic depth, geopolitically, demographically and economically. Now, more than ever before, and despite the difficulty, the revolution must rebuild the relationship with Turkey on the basis of common interests (which are many) and through a long-term perspective. Turkey is living under a great threat, internally and externally, and in fact does not have a true ally to rely on from the regional or international powers (with which a relationship of competition and cold war prevails), and here comes the role of the emergence of a revolutionary political-military leadership with real legitimacy emanating from the real strategic depth of the revolution, the Syrian interior, capable of presenting various bold visions based on real common interests with Turkey and, most importantly, providing the tools capable of implementing these visions and proposals.

(6) The realization of a safe haven (homeland) for free Syrians within Syria including the north and east of the country will have acceptance at regional and international parties (and there are movements on the ground in this direction) if posed in the right context and provided the tools necessary to achieve it, and the most important from that is that it is suggested by a Syrian party possessing credibility and legitimacy. It is a must to stop talking in the language of humanity and international law, and speak in the language of interests and in the name of the real will of the people, and what this people really wants and what realizes their interests. The preservation of the lives and dignity of civilians is not achieved through processes of reconciliation with the criminal regime with Russian guaranty, nor with surrender of heavy weapons, nor keeping civilians at the mercy of a regime that has proved to be closer to animals in its conduct. Saving civilians is with ensuring a safe haven and safe environment for them. And it is a must that it is the goal of the revolution in the next phase. It is a must to impose a new reality within Syria, and building regional and international support in any way possible.

The negotiating bodies that have spearheaded the political revolution do not possess any ability in negotiating and have been made heavy with sticky gelatinous individuals looking for their own role and personal interest. The time has come to overthrow these figures or the entire bodies. The Revolution is in need of categorizing new leaderships and open the way for the real “generation of the revolution”, and collect the military, political and popular capital of the revolution in one project and one front, even if this requires the execution of a revolution within the revolution itself, because most of the current “leadership” individuals are no longer susceptive to reform or development, and the revolutionary bodies need to be re-produced within new frameworks radically different from what preceded.

Some will say that this is an impossible project or that previous attempts to achieve it have not worked, but we have to understand undoubtedly that there is no other option left in front of us, and that achieving this solution is a matter of existential necessity rather than luxury, ambition or idealism. It is impossible to continue with divided factions and straying political leaderships that are unable to carry out the present duty. Owners of personal or factional projects need to realize that even the success of their projects requires the success of the greater project of the revolution. It is a must to freeze the participation of any party representing the revolution (or claiming to do so) in the trajectory of the “Constitutional Committee” and all efforts must be focused on a new speech and vision and real project that will serve the country and its people instead of running behind the mirage in a scene in which Syria is destroyed.

Arabic https://twitter.com/LabibAlNahhas/status/1016726029505875971
THE VOICE OF THE ARAB SPRING #Syria #Idlib#Aleppo
https://twitter.com/TNTranslations

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It could be slightly cruel to snicker at a narcissist when his delusions of personal infallibility crumble in a public way, but I have to admit, I’ve been laughing at the turn of events of the Gilad Atzmon libel suit.

Atzmon is a public personality (an Israeli, NOT a former Israeli) who seems to enjoy the fact that he is a “controversial” figure, and he’s really seriously concerned about his popularity and actually boasts about how many notifications he has on Google. As long as people have an opinion about him and take notice of him, he’s good. He loves to write and speak about himself as much as he seems to love pushing the envelope and riling people up, because he has an ironclad and indestructible sense of his own worth.

He referred to himself as a “self-hating ex Jew” but the truth is that it’s hard to find anyone who loves himself to the levels he does. He might be the only person you will hear tell you, and expect you to agree with him, that he is the “most clever person you know” and that all of his books and records are “best sellers”. He actually believes (despite evidence) that no one has ever “really” debunked or challenged any of “his” ideas. The debate would certainly be open further if anyone cared about the originality of them, given that he borrows “a lot”, particularly from his brilliant mother. But he also claims that he is a warrior for “truth” and “free speech”, concepts that go beyond the personal and indicate a sort of self-sacrifice and integrity that means one will fight to the bitter end for what they believe in. In his libel case, he tends to give the spin that “his” fight is also “your” fight, as shall be examined further on.

Atzmon’s political critique began in the typical way to garner audiences, an Israeli looking daring by stating the obvious about the injustice of the occupation of Palestine, but over the years the critique began to focus much more on “ethnic Jews” than on “Israeli nationals”. To illustrate his points, he finds minor figures in the Anglo-American panorama and decides his public speaking and his essays are best suited for making battles against them, where he considers himself a sort of David vs Goliath. By doing that (provincial) sort of “bait and shift”, he takes the heat off of the Israelis. He’s basically ignored the pleas of many Palestinians who, early on, appreciated that there was a growing number of Israelis who were claiming to be in solidarity with them.

Running blogs and sites on Palestine where Atzmon and other Israelis also contributed, I often received direct requests from Palestinians that these Israelis use the benefits they had of information to assist them in THEIR battle, to be free of occupation and to return to the homeland that was so viciously stolen from under their feet. I had suggested many times to Atzmon that he delve into this subject and respond to the requests. The Palestinians who wrote to the blogs or who attended events thought he might share some secrets of IDF and Israeli indoctrination, and I couldn’t agree more that this could be an important contribution. Since Gilad Atzmon’s father actually designed weapons that killed Palestinians, there’s no doubt he’d have some information that would be very useful in the struggle. But Atzmon chose instead to keep the personal tuned exclusively to his very own story (turning it into a part of his nightclub act) about his time in the IDF band… The story of those days was supposed to be a humorous and entertaining romp about young guys who ended up (somehow) in the IDF, just playing music and suddenly witnessing by accident the oppression of Palestinians in Lebanon, but they weren’t real “IDF soldiers” in the way his storytelling goes. And, since he had to develop his act to folks who wanted a fun night out, that slapstick register does seem fitting.

However, it seems he never felt any inclination to actually undermine Israeli oppression by exposing things only an Israeli in his situation could know, and instead, he investigated “Jewish identity politics” and “Jewish tribalism” as if Golder’s Green were the umbilical of the world. His current audience is very different from the original audience, back then. Its interests are different and so is its obsessions.

But, hey! Lots of us were disappointed when we realised he was not going to help the Palestinian cause because his writing got farther and farther away from topics that could possibly be interesting to the liberation cause, and, admittedly, the repetitiveness of his discourse became boring. It has been 10 or 11 years since I “broke ties” with Atzmon. At that time I was busy with my own struggle of dealing with debilitating chemotherapy whilst listening to ridiculous demands by him to edit something he’d written as if it were so important that everything else must be pushed to the margins. I was already beyond tired of the situation, and he provided me with an opportunity on a silver platter to make a definitive cut and be quite certain that not even the tiniest favour I would be asked to do was worth my time. When I said I was finished, that I no longer was interested, no longer had time, making it clear that I was ill and was doing all I could to keep a Palestine solidarity site running with new content daily, he pulled a card out of his sleeve and tried to push “as an editor” of my site someone that a Palestinian journalist who collaborated on the site identified as a known Zionist. That was indeed the last straw. He fought very hard for the guy and claimed he was not a Zionist, saying “I’m Israeli, I’d know!” Who should one believe?  Because one has to make a choice and believe one of the two people making statements of which they both are certain. An Israeli or a Palestinian? My choice was made and the connection was severed, with a sigh of relief, even with a tinge of sadness and bitterness.

That Atzmon has to lose a libel case to a British Zionist, and that a Zionist has to win a court case about reputation is a pity. But, it’s certainly not unexpected. Atzmon possesses enviable self-confidence as well as a less attractive narcissistic idea of his own infallibility. It would only have been a matter of time until someone would challenge his hyperbole and it would happen in court. So certain of victory was Atzmon that he wrote this response to a supporter:

gilad will defend and win

In order to not get ahead of myself, here is the story. Gilad Atzmon wrote an article, published on his blog and presumably on other sites that pick up his writing and even some that translate it. In this article, entitled. “Antisemitism is merely a Business Plan“, he makes these statements:

“We are asked to choose between two versions of the truth, that delivered by Falter who leads the Campaign Against Antisemitsm (CAA) and basically makes his living manufacturing antisemitic incidents and the judicial approach of the CPS: a public body, subject to scrutiny and committed to impartiality. This is hardly a difficult choice.

Falter and the CAA obviously fabricate anti-Semitic incidents.”

“Since Falter makes a living out of the ‘rise of anti-Semitism’, it shouldn’t surprise us that he himself propels such a rise.”

“Falter and the CAA employ the same method. A decrease in anti-Semitic incidents or Jews being loved and cherished could have fatal consequences for Falter and his CAA’s business plan. They need anti-Semitism and a lot if (sic) it. When it isn’t there, they just invent it.”

“Falter and the CAA need the Jews to be hated so they can collect more and more British taxpayer money.”

Apparently, in the alternative reality of Gilad Atzmon, none of these statements are libellous or could even be interpreted in that direction. Just a quick peek at the text, not even by a lawyer, but by someone who watches court dramas, would quickly reveal that these statements are presented as fact, not “opinion” and therefore, when they can be demonstrated as factual and true, they aren’t libellous, so a day in court could even be an opportunity to pull veils off what is hidden. Otherwise, they are prime material for someone who wants to sue. By the way, the article in question had been preventively removed, but you can still find it online if you want to. I read it for the first time today while doing a search of the title. It was on a White Power site called Anglo-celt.com, just in case you haven’t figured out the strange bedfellows of Atzmon, here is an excerpt from their introductory page:

“We intend to keep the flame of White racial nationalism burning, and play a part in ensuring that the Anglo Celtic nations survive the deadly threat of race-mixing and internationalism now facing them.

And thirdly, we aim to provide an online forum for all Anglo-Celts of like mind to come together and share experiences and ideas, to meet with each other and organise to start turning the tide in the fight for our survival.”

Master race stuff, no problem!

After the notification of the impending legal procedure, Atzmon had his plea for help and money spammed in an article entitled: Gilad Atzmon Needs Your Immediate Support! I will fight and win this court case, but I need your support…”

Tasty quotes include:

“I have made the decision to fight this crucial battle for freedom of expression even though this fight poses a real risk of bankrupting me and my family.

I choose to fight their suit because I believe that the CAA and its chairman and its use of libel laws pose a danger to freedom of speech and the future of this country as an open society. Enough is enough!”

I think the decision to go to court was “forced” on him, as half the cases in the world are, but he somersaults to turn it into a freedom of speech issue. He’s going to be the (literal) White knight to fight this crucial battle because after all, “Enough is enough!”

“I can not fund my defence alone.  I am obliged to ask every peace loving human being who cares about freedom and ethics for funds to help me defend this case. Fighting  this battle may cost tens of thousands of pounds. I am going to need some four figure donations to find the ludicrous amount required. But every single penny mounts up and please do give something.

If you have ever enjoyed my writing – join the fight. If you don’t agree with me yet support freedom of speech – my fight is your fight. If you support the right to point at the truth without being labeled ant-Semitic – this lawsuit is the battle ground,   my fight is your fight.”

Wow! The best-selling author is asking the plebes for FOUR FIGURE DONATIONS, framing it as if it is YOUR fight. Stick the words “truth” in there and mention how damaging it feels to be labelled as ant-Semitic (sic) make it sound like the guy is going to really be the avenging angel for “Freedom of Speech”, and don’t forget the Paypal donation to give your four figure donations so that he can win.

Well. You know the end of the story already. Atzmon released a statement with a very neutral name “Falter vs. Atzmon: Update”. Apparently, Atzmon’s flag of truth wasn’t being unfurled and instead, he had his lawyer read a public apology. Explaining this choice Atzmon says:

“I did not (and do not) believe that Mr. Falter was motivated by fraud and I do not think that there is anything I said that suggested it. However, I have to accept the ruling that the court made.

Even taking the case to this point had been costly on both a financial and personal level, and after this ruling it was clear to me that I had no option but to apologise and settle the case.

The overall battle for free speech has been very expensive and it is probably far from over.

The case has re-confirmed to me the crucial importance of freedom of expression and the restrictions imposed on it by the libel courts in this country.

Despite what has been suggested earlier today by Mr Falter in a press release, the court didn’t make any finding that I myself am an anti-Semite.”

… and he again asks for money.

Evidently, his defence must have been that what the words do not mean what they are actually saying in very explicit terms, but whatever they actually mean inside the mind of Atzmon and his preferred readers. Saying that “Falter obviously fabricates anti-semitic incidents” must mean something else than that he fabricates anti-semitic incidents, obviously. That Atzmon is relieved that he’s not found to be an anti-Semite by the court (as if that were on trial… oh, Gilad, even when you’re involved, it’s not always all about “you”!) However, to recoup some of the losses, maybe Atzmon could change his tack on not suing for libel in the same way that he changed his tack in relinquishing the fight for free speech, because “Enough is enough!” Enough people call him Anti-Semitic, so his lawyers could still make money even if they lose by all the cases he could bring forth. Sounds like a Business Plan to me!

The content of the “sincere” (LOL!) apology on court record contains the acknowledgement that the allegations he raised were false. Here’s an excerpt:

atzmon apology

Naturally, in his own statement the victorious Claimant gloats over the humiliating defeat that Atzmon underwent:

“After just two hours of argument, High Court Justice Matthew Nicklin issued a preliminary ruling stating that Mr Atzmon had deliberately accused Mr Falter of: “dishonestly fabricating antisemitic incidents; deliberately exaggerating the prevalence of antisemitism and antisemitic activity (including being too ready to characterise as antisemitism legitimate criticism of Israel); by doing these things Mr Falter therefore risked increasing antisemitism; Mr Falter’s motive was to obtain funds (including funds from the British taxpayer) to support the activities of the CAA and to provide his own income; the funds obtained by this fabrication and misrepresentation were consequently obtained by Mr Falter’s fraud; and Mr Falter is guilty of hypocrisy – he campaigns against antisemitism but he is content with its continued prevalence (even resorting to the manufacture of incidents) because his income and that of the CAA depend upon it.”

Faced with the impossible task of substantiating these libels, Mr Atzmon instead capitulated and agreed to settle the case, admitting that all of the claims were false and agreeing to pay substantial damages and costs. Mr Atzmon did not show his face in court, instead sending his solicitor to read an apology on his behalf.

The defeat is a humiliation for Mr Atzmon.”

So, please, keep on clicking that Paypal and sending money to fill the coffers of the Zionists and the lawyers. Apparently, that’s Gilad Atzmon’s idea of YOUR fight!