Sunday, 21 June 2015

Greece, the Frontline of Putin's New Cold War

Oxford, 21st June, 2015

(An edited version of this article appeared in the Mail on Sunday)

With all eyes on Athens watching to see if Greece’s left-wing government blinks tomorrow in its stand-off with the EU over its debt mountain, let’s not lose sight of the bigger political picture.

 Greece’s cash crisis is a moment of opportunity for Vladimir Putin’s Russia. As Athens’ EU partners weary of subsidising Greece, energy-rich Russia is eyeing the Balkans as a  strategic route to weakening the links between Europe and Russia. Putin is offering the region the carrot of a lucrative gas pipeline and other incentives to draw countries like Greece and Turkey away from the West.

Manoeuvring for position for any “Grexit” from the Euro is part Russia’s deepening rift with the West over everything from Ukraine to the Middle East. Greece has become one of  the exposed nerves in the New Cold War between Washington and Moscow. Remember Greece’s civil war in 1947 sparked the old Cold War as President Truman took one side and Stalin  the other. Today, Greece is at the heart of renewed East-West rivalry as well as the Eurocrisis.

On Friday,the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, dropped a meeting with the EU’s current President, Poland’s Donald Tusk,  to travel to Russia’s old imperial capital,  St. Petersburg, to meet President Putin instead.

There, in a highly symbolic tribute, Tsipras laid a wreath at the statue of Kapodistrias, the ethnic Greek who acted as Imperial Russia’s foreign minister and did much of the diplomatic spadework which would eventually bring about a pan-European intervention on the side of the Greeks during their war for independence after 1821. Another ethnic Greek, Ypsilantis, an officer in the Imperial Russian army actually ignited Greece’s War for Independence in 1821. He was the forerunner of today’s Russian “volunteers” in the Donbas. Tsipras was paying homage to the idea that Russia not the West has been Greece’s true patron. Putin himself emphasised Russia’s deep ties of culture and religion with neighbours like Ukraine and Balkan countries like Greece.

Of course, Britain has been at odds with Russian imperial ambitions in the region before.The Crimean War was fought to stop them. In 1878, jingoism got its first outing when  London’s music halls echoed to the sentiment “We don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do”  before listing what the Russians wouldn’t be allowed to grab in the Balkans. But the current standoff between Moscow-backed rebels in the south-east of Ukraine and the US-supported government in Kiev is why relations between East and West are so tense now.

Ukraine seems to be a reversion to the kind of Cold War proxy conflict between the Kremlin and the West which was normal in the decades before 1989. Then each superpower engaged in a hardly covert struggle for influence backing their local allies from Africa via Vietnam to Afghanistan, and trying to undermine the other side’s allies.

But let’s not be seduced too easily by old Cold War stereotypes. Of course, Vladimir Putin’s much publicised early career in the KGB has been to give him a sinister glamour, at home as well as abroad, but he long abandoned any commitment to Communism.

The old Cold War was a clear rivalry between Communism and Capitalism. Capitalism won hands down – not least in Russia itself. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Putin  and his close circle of ex-KGB ministers, advisers and cronies have abandoned any allegiance to Marxist ideas. Their Russia is not a socialist state any more. If anything post-Communist Russia has had a more cut-throat capitalist economy than anything seen in the West since well before the First World War.

Putin is often misquoted - or at least incompletely quoted – as promoting nostalgia for the USSR and a desire to restore it when he said that Russian who did not regret the break up of the state and society into which they had been born lacked a heart, but he added – something usually overlooked - that anyone who wanted to recreate the Soviet
Union lacked a brain. His preferred historical models are to be found among people and  policies before the Bolshevik Revolution.

It is to pre-1914 Imperial Russia and its culture and traditions that Putin most often looks for symbols to bolster his politics today. So he has declared the last tsar's reforming prime minister, Stolypin, his political hero, not Stalin. Of course, he  savoured the anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over Hitler in 1945, still the biggest badge of pride for Russians from their tarnished Communist past, but he by the Soviet Communists. Strikingly, even his defence minister, a Russian Buddhist by has committed himself to the country’s Orthodox Christian heritage so despised origin, nonetheless made the sign of the cross in the Orthodox way on the spot where the renegade seminarian, Stalin, had celebrated Hitler's defeat. 

Imperial Russia’s Nicholas I prefigured Putin’s hostility to “People Power” revolutions, seeing the upheavals of his day – Poland in 1831 or Central Europe in 1848 – as the result of liberal machinations promoted from Paris and London as Putin sees Washington's hand behind the crisis in Ukraine.  Nicholas I made an exception in his support for Orthodox Christians in Greece rebelling against the Muslim Sultan.

For many Greeks and Russians being an Orthodox Christian is essential to their national identity. Putin’s emphasis on traditional values puts him at odds with the West, where  tolerance and individual rights are now sacrosanct. Putin’s government has put a lot of  effort into rallying cultural conservatives in the West to Russia’s side as the bastion of family values. Cynical propaganda it may be but it is very different Soviet Communism’s anti-Christian diatribes.

Putin emphasises Russia’s the thousand-year old ties with the Greek Orthodox  Church which brought Christianity first to Ukraine then Russia itself. In 1947, Greek Christians were anti-Communist and so anti-Moscow. Not any more.

As in the early nineteenth century, Graeco-Russian solidarity is based on religion which was very different from British sympathy for the Greeks then which was a liberal cause.

Britain’s most famous contribution to Greek independence was Lord Byron’s quixotic  sacrifice of his own life fighting to revive the glories of  ancient pagan Athens. Byron was no friend of Christianity, Orthodox or Anglican. Imperial Russia backed the Orthodox Christians who actually lived in modern Greece. Today Putin plays up his role as a born-again Orthodox Christian to Greeks, though let’s remember George Bush liked that in him too. (Another Western born-again Christian, Tony Blair made the pilgrimage to Putin in St. Petersburg on the same day as Tsipras but whether as acolyte or to spy out any weaknesses in the Russian government for his rival patrons in Kiev has yet to be revealed.)

But Putin backs up appeals to cultural solidarity with incentives in hard cash.

If Putin  dreams of a revived Orthodox Christian alliance reaching deep into Europe’s backyard in the Balkans, this is because he calculates that Greece is where Moscow could split the EU and NATO.

Russia’s vast energy resources are the tool to prize apart NATO states from America. Already, Russia has signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline to Turkey. On Friday, Tsipras added Greece’s signature to the project. Both Turkey and Greece are attracted by a gas pipeline supplying them with energy at a favourable price and giving them a share in the profits of transporting it further West, ultimately to energy-hungry Italy, the big prize at the heart of the West from Russia's point of view. No-one needs reminding that Greece could do with a few billion euros in transit fees, whether there is a Grexit or not.

Tsipras may calculate that he can use the Russian bogey to frighten Brussels into  continuing the bail-out, but if the Germans refuse to pay up, Russia can at least tide Athens over for a while it sorts out an orderly  return to the drachma.

Putin has not, however, got limitless resources to play with. Oil and gas prices are well below where the Kremlin needs them to have the tens of billions to throw around which would really buy friends and influence throughout the Balkans if the West plays tough.  
Brussels and Washington see the Russian-sponsored pipeline as a Trojan Horse. They have  already twisted Bulgaria’s arm not to participate in Putin’s project. Orthodox Bulgaria had had the reputation as the most pro-Russian country  in the region so its backing away from Putin’s embrace shows the limits of cultural traditions in the Balkans. In neighbouring Macedonia, street protests against the government where only quietened when the prime minister said his country would not join Russia's pipeline project without the consent of Brussels

But Greece has had a long history since 1945 as the most truculent member of both NATO and then the EU, so it could prove a tough nut for Western pressure to crack. Greece's obstinate refusal to acknowledge "Macedonia" as its neighbour's name and therefore the  country's candidacy to either the EU or NATO is just one symptom of Athens' ability to block its allies when it chooses to.

Today’s Russia does not have the resources of the West but nor is it the basket-case  which the Soviet Union had become by the 1980s. Putin is playing on the economic realities which make the New Cold War so different from the past. During the Cold War  alliance with Washington was the high road to prosperity for Western Europe. After 1948, America’s Marshall Plan helped lift post-war Europe out of misery. Communism’s inability to match the West’s economic boom from the 1950s sealed its unpopularity in Eastern  Europe and Soviet Russia itself. 

But today the White House is asking its European allies to make economic sacrifices to counter the Kremlin.  

For four decades, Western Europe had a free-ride on Washington’s coat-tails. Now  sanctions on Russia hit European businesses hard. Particularly in rural Greece and the ex-Communist states of the new EU members, losing agricultural sales to Russia has bee a  body-blow. But big German and Italian manufacturers have taken heavy hits too.

Putin plays up the argument that President Obama is setting the anti-Russian sanctions policy but the price is paid by austerity-hit Europeans. Gnawing away at European support for sanctions on Russia over Ukraine are the losses of valuable exports to their vast eastern neighbour. Greece is least able to afford such losses.

Putin is able to sit out the sanctions because ordinary Russians blame the West rather than him for growing hardship. That is a very different state of affairs than the cynical attitude towards the Kremlin in the last years of Communism.  He hopes to chip away at EU solidarity. Let’s face it, there are a lot of divisions inside the EU and not just over Russia. Newly-elected governments here in Britain and in Denmark want to cut back the rights of migrant workers flooding west from Poland and the Baltic States which see themselves as the frontline of the New Cold War.  In Warsaw, plans in London to change migrants’ rights to benefits are seen as a stab in the back of NATO’s eastern allies.

Greeks demand solidarity from NATO allies in cash. As that dries up, Greece could be the first domino to fall. Turkey could follow as its own political and economic crisis is pushing President Erdogan eastwards.

Nothing in history is every exactly a repetition of past patterns. The New Cold War has different dynamics from the one before 1989, but, by jingo, it seems that traditional British fears of Imperial Russia’s dream of dominating the region could have life in them yet.

Mark Almond is Director of the Crisis Research Institute, Oxford (CRIOx). 


Monday, 16 February 2015

UK supplies Saxon APCs to Ukraine which promptly sells them

There are times when even Jonathan Swift's sense of satire would be silenced by reality. After a lot of huffing and puffing by the "Arms for Ukraine Now!" neo-cons like General Sir Richard "Helmand" Dannatt over the weekend ridiculing Britain for only supplying Saxon Armoured Vehicles, a Kiev-based company is already offering them for sale! For the specifications: But remember it is a cash-only transaction (NO Western Union or ProCredit drafts) on the normal terms offered by Kameron, Klegg & Krony (Kyiv) Ltd.

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Oxford Honours Blair with his own College

Passers-by along Woodstock Road on Saturday, 14th February, 2015, were delighted to see that Oxford University's long love affair with Tony Blair had been consummated on St. Valentine's Day by the re-naming of St. Antony's College in his honour.

Ever since Tony Blair dazzled the assembled scholars with his Romanes Lecture in March, 1999, with  his stimulating and complex argument, "Education, education, education - That's what I'm about" which echoed around Wren's Sheldonian like no ideas before, despite being otherwise preoccupied preparing to bomb Yugoslavia on the basis of "the best intelligence available at the time", Britain's most entrepreneurial prime minister since Walpole has seemed the kind of intellectual colossus to give Oxford the reputation for Shock & Awe that the University's provincial past left it sadly lacking.

But it has taken sixteen long years for slow-witted dons to immortalise their greatest graduate in stone - or to be precise composite, concrete and steel.

Originally founded by an arms dealer, Antonin Besse, who had a strong claim to have facilitated more deaths in the Middle East than any other College benefactor before Tony Blair, ex-St. Antony's makes the natural scholarly forum for Blair studies. The soon-to-be completed Blair Building designed by the exciting and innovative Baath-Likud Partnership will combine elements of the architecture close to the patron's heart. Above ground, a striking glass exterior epitomising Blair's commitment to open government will provide a dramatic sound-proofed covering  for the padded and double-locked underground Enhanced Tutorial Room in which elite students will be able to learn some of Tony Blair's innovations in intelligence gathering and peace-making.

Visitors are welcome to come and see the newest Oxford College as soon as possible before Tony Blair's popularity requires the installation of reinforced concrete bollards, steel security fences, and non-transparent smoked bullet-proof screens around the site.

CCTV and drone surveillance are for your own security and the tranquillity of the scholars working in the bunkers beneath St. Tony's College.  Photography not allowed - except by College security (provided by Mukhabarat & Mossad plc as quid pro bono service).

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Turks won’t do the West’s dirty work & Beware our allies in MidEast as much as IS enemy

From The Daily Telegraph (9th October, 2014)

Turkish military intervention against Isil in northern Syria looks like a neat solution to the West’s dilemma in dealing with the threat from jihadi terrorists. In London, Washington and European capitals we want to destroy Isil – but without getting our feet dirty. Boots on the ground are taboo for President Barack Obama and David Cameron, so all eyes are turning to our old ally in Ankara to solve the problem. As a neighbour to both Iraq and Syria, our leaders ask themselves, hasn’t Turkey got a direct national interest in stability across its borders?
What’s more, with Nato’s second largest army, Turkey could easily strike a deadly blow against Isil in what is no-go terrain for her Western partners. But for days the serried ranks of Turkish tanks have been marshalled a few hundred yards from the bitter fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani, like Stalin’s Red Army outside Warsaw in 1944. Despite repeated pleas for action from John Kerry, Ankara’s troops remain spectators to the crisis.
Kobani is a Kurdish town. That’s the nub of the matter. Kurds, both in Turkey and across Europe, have been demanding action: the Dutch Parliament has been besieged by Kurdish-led protests (which were promptly followed by the Dutch Air Force joining Nato attacks on Isil in Iraq); meanwhile, as many as 14 Kurds have been killed in confrontations with the Turkish police. But still Ankara watches and waits.
The reasons are clear. For Turkey’s Nato allies, Isil is the problem and arming the Kurds part of the solution. For Turkey, however, Kurdish ambitions for a state are a mortal threat. Nor do Sunni adversaries of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria want to see a Kurdish state carved out of their country. And the reality is that, although a long-term Nato ally, Turkey has been diverging in key respects from its Western allies since 2002.

For 12 years, Turkey has been ruled by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its roots in an Islamic reaction to the tide of secularism that swept the country after Ataturk abolished the Ottoman caliphate 90 years ago. Ironically, since being elected president in August, AKP leader Recep Tayip Erdogan has achieved a political dominance unparalleled since Ataturk’s death in 1938. But Erdogan is the antithesis of modern Turkey’s father-figure.
Ataturk wanted to distance the new Turkey from the Ottoman Empire’s involvement with Arabs and Muslims. Europe is the future, forget the past was his motto. Yet neo-Ottomanism is the grand name of Erdogan’s foreign policy today. Although AKP leaders have publicly remained loyal to Turkey’s application to join the EU, the lure of religious solidarity with Sunni Arab movements from Hamas in Gaza to the Muslim Brothers of both Egypt and Syria has had a stronger emotional pull.
Since 2011, when the civil war began in Syria, Erdogan has called for the fall of Assad, an Alawite ally of Shia Muslims, and backed Sunnis in Syria who are no friends of the local Kurds. For those Kurds, the Turkish president’s demand that they subordinate themselves to his Sunni allies in Syria if they want the Turkish Army to advance south has been an unacceptable ultimatum. They are well aware that Sunni fundamentalist violence against Kurds in Syria predates 2011. Isil’s actions today have simply exaggerated it.
All of which is further complicated by the fact that the sectarian splits brutally on display in Syria and Iraq, are festering below the surface in Turkey, too. Roughly a quarter of Turks are Alevi Muslims, with the majority Sunnis. Although scholars remind us that Turkey’s Alevis should not be confused with Syria’s ruling Alawites, the AKP has routinely dismissed Erdogan’s critics as sectarian Assad-lovers, so that poisonous confusion does exist. Turks of Alevi background, including in the army, find intervention in Syria against Isil fundamentalists one thing; but pushing on to Damascus against Assad’s Alawite regime quite another.
That might be one reason that Erdogan has been slow to act in Syria. But given his almost messianic sense of mission, which has overcome every obstacle on his way to the pinnacle of power, it is more likely that he’s pursuing another strategy – bargaining with the West.
What will he be demanding in return for a decisive Turkish strike at Isil? He is sure to insist that Kurds remain not only stateless but also defenceless. Meanwhile, will European members of Nato swallow their opposition to Turkish entry into the EU? Even so, without being allowed to replace Assad with a Sunni regime not in the least friendly to Kurds, Erdogan still may not act.
His is a tempting offer, though. Turkish military intervention would solve the West’s immediate problem while avoiding discontent over casualties in Britain and the US. But any Turkish action would, in effect, be unilateral. Ankara – not Washington or London – will dictate the outcome of this diplomatic dance. For though the Isil problem might well disappear under the weight of Turkish firepower, the Middle East’s snake-pit of conflicting rivalries will remain. Will Israel, for instance, be happy to see allies of Hamas brought to power in Damascus by Turkish troops?
We must be clear about this deal. Leaping at the possibility of crushing Isil, and quickly, via Ankara, will seem cause for celebration today. After the party is over, however, we will wake up with a new Middle Eastern headache.
On 27th September, 2014, The Mail on Sunday  published:
How can we win this war when our allies despise everything we stand for?: recent experience of building democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq is not encouraging."

No government could refuse the challenge after the bloody provocations of Islamic State. But having decided by a huge majority to embark  on what David Cameron warned would be a long campaign, the House of Commons vote on Friday did not make clear what the endgame would be.

Without knowing what victory will look like, have we embarked on a war we cannot win?

Our model of victory is what happened at the end of the Second World War when the West successfully established democracy in defeated Germany and Japan.

But recent experience building new democracies from faction-ridden Afghanistan to disintegrating Iraq is not encouraging.The US Army thought it had kept George W. Bush’s promise to bring democracy to Iraq. But ‘winner takes all’ at the polls in countries riven by bitter religious rivalries means democracy has a sour taste for losers.

Things went wrong in Iraq despite the presence of so many US and British troops and billions of dollars in aid, training and equipment.

Now David Cameron tells us to ‘forget’ the last Iraq war. This time things will be different. No ground forces. Just air power to back up local and regional allies who share our hostility to IS.

That all seems straightforward enough. The enemy is obvious, almost a caricature of evil. But though knowing your enemy is vital in war, knowing what your allies’ real aims are is equally important. 

It is our allies who frighten me almost as much as IS.

On the ground, the West has friends who have daggers drawn with each other. And they have contempt for our values.
Even leaving aside the oil-rich Arab despots who have signed  up for the anti-IS campaign for their own reasons, inside Nato, its key regional member, Turkey, is not fully on board.
Turkey borders both Iraq and Syria and has Nato’s  second-largest armed forces after America.

But precisely because Turkey is right in the thick of the Middle East, its government has a very different take on the crisis.
In London and Washington, the Kurds of the region seem natural allies against the common IS enemy. Arming the Kurds to fight the jihadis seems a neat way to get local boots to do the fighting on the ground in Northern Iraq and Syria.

But to Turkey, Kurds are not natural allies.

With so many Kurdish people living in Turkey itself, Ankara fears arming Kurds to fight IS today will provide them  with the weapons to fight for independence from Turkey tomorrow.
Given how much expensive American weaponry fell into IS hands earlier this year as the Iraqi Army disintegrated, is Turkey unreasonable to harbour suspicions that defeat of IS by the Kurdish Peshmerga guerrillas could be the signal  for a well-armed war for independence by its Kurds?

But the Islamic-led Turkish government has been drifting away from the West in any case. President Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Israel and his open border policy to Syria has let foreign fighters, including hundreds from Britain, flow into the ranks of the jihadi forces fighting the Assad regime, but also taking Western aid workers hostages.

Syria’s civil war is key to the crisis. But there, too, Western values and the West’s allies are  in conflict.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbours say they support the American-led alliance but they don’t want the victory of Western democracy in the Middle East. What we see as the best way to guarantee a future for peace and freedom, our Arab allies see as a mortal threat.

The Sunni fundamentalist monarchs tolerated their rich subjects funding IS-style  jihadis to fight Assad and other allies of Shia Iran, which they hate and fear.

But when upstart jihadis like the self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, began to get too big for their boots, the ruling sheikhs were happy to join in cutting him down to size.

But promoting democracy, human rights, respect for women and religious minorities are not their war aims.

Chaos breeds enemies like IS. It is not the solution.

If anarchy is the problem, and democracy doesn’t take root easily, is dictatorship the answer?
Given how unsavoury and unreliable some of our allies in the Middle East are, it is remarkable how reluctant Western leaders have been to  join up with the regimes of Syria or Iran, who have very good reasons of their own for hating and fearing IS.
David Cameron, like Barack Obama, has pronounced Assad beyond the pale. So it looks like the West is undertaking a three-sided war in the Middle East, fighting Assad and his allies as well as his enemies.

This may be consistent, but is it wise?

If the West isn’t prepared to cooperate with the forces fighting IS in its main strongholds in Syria, then mission creep by our troops seems inevitable.
A case exists for special forces operations against specific targets, like ‘high value’ IS targets or safe houses where hostages are held.

But large-scale deployment of Western soldiers on the ground would be an admission of failure.

This is a war which we cannot win for the locals. Maybe they can’t win it for themselves. Barring a lucky strike which knocks out the IS leadership and demoralises their supporters, air power is not going to produce rapid results.

Nobody should anticipate a Victory in the Middle East Day 1945-style.

The crimes of IS give us the right to fight it, but the war cannot be won by the West without local support.

Tragically for us, the enemy and our dubious allies will decide the terms of victory or defeat.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Arab governments alarmed by crackdown on British Summertime protests

AliBababa News Agency (10.30 am Mekka/ 10am GMT) –

“Londonistan in Flames – People overpower Bourgeois Police State.”

Londonistan – The bourgeois minority regime of Cameron, Clegg and Crony has been shaken by widespread People Power demonstrations across Britain for a third night running. Summertime protests have sent a chill wind of hope through Britain's long repressed people. "Fear of the police has gone," dissident youth leaders claim. "It's a free for all society now or never."

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has broken his silence by warning the regime not permit rioting to reach Saudi sovereign territory in the Mayfair district of the British capital and to introduce reforms at once. Other world leaders have joined the chorus of condemnation of the increasingly isolated Cameron clique. The Syrian foreign minister, Walid Haged, has welcomed the joint condemnation of Cameron's regime by the Arab League and African Union and suggested the UN Security Council should authorise all necessary means to stop repression by regime thugs of the street protests. Analysts expect the ban on heroin exports to Britain announced jointly by Afghanistan and Burma could add to the pressure-cooker atmosphere in Britain which is 100% dependent on narcotics imports.

The regime has pinned its hopes for international legitimacy on next year's Londonistan Olympic Games which were controversially awarded to bourgeois Britain despite signs that its economy was overheating and popular anger against the regime rising. Threats of a boycott by the highly-regarded Omani-burka clad beach volley ball team could be a humiliation too far for Cameron's clique.

Reports of foreign interference in the British crisis have been rejected by expert analysts. Instead domestic tensions are seen as the only cause .The Yemeni professor of protestology, Bahce Kewi, explains "The ruling Consumerist Party finds that thirty years of its strict ideological dominance has not bred a docile youth. Young people are aware of a cyber-world beyond Britain where values like free access to the internet are normal. They can't wait to join the cashless society and get their hands on stuff for nothing."

Rejecting the empty slogans “You Can’t Buck the Market” and “There is No Alternative,” indignant youth across Britain have stormed the ruling regime’s local headquarters setting fire to symbols of Consumerist dominance and removing telecommunications and internet monitoring equipment from branches of the feared Curry’s organization in towns across the country.

With unverifiable but plausible reports of more than a thousand deaths in the Arsenal district of north Londonistan where a crowd estimated at a million strong overwhelmed the hated Met riot squads to occupy the Consumer Electronic Outlets Center, its seems likely that the popular protests could spread from the simmering suburbs even to previously loyal uptown areas like Kensington and Cholsey where many regime supporters have their luxurious barricaded villas.

Recognising the growing unrest, the secular Consumerist regime has tried to ban the traditional hoodie and mask outfit worn by the nation’s discontented youth as a rejection of the tie-less suit-wearing “official” style. This has only inflamed the mood of desperation in the capital’s teeming suburbs like Cronydon, where uncollected garbage is piled up for two weeks at a time.

AliBaba’s reporters are not allowed into Britain but using social networking sights and videophone images uploaded via MagiKarpit internet portal, our team of experienced journalists supported by expert analysts have put together a clear picture of the crisis in Britain.

Analysts report that the British regime’s claim to democratic legitimacy masks the reality that it is drawn from the minority bourgeois tribe, and especially from the Etonian clan with its headquarters west of London overlooking the country’s main airport at Heathrow.

Dissidents inside Britain as well as reform-advocates outside the country at the Damascus-based British Underground Liberty League have provided international media with 24/7 updates via Foxglove and the Gaggle-website Rumors with an exhilarating insight into a popular uprising by brave young people in their millions who have exposed the hollowness of the Consumerist ideology.

The regime’s own media like the Bourgeois Broadcasting Corporation try to portray the popular protests as outbursts of criminality and refer to the occupations of Consumerist branches as looting, AliBaba’s satellite channel has been able to contact one Twitteringham resident via Blackberry outside a “liberated” shopping center. To protect his identity, Alibaba is calling him “The Finger.” Using a brand-new handset to outwit secret police surveillance, The Finger told Alibaba that “We ain’t dun nuffin wrong. The doors was open and we are protecting the property in our own way.”

This kind of spontaneous organisation at grass-roots level has baffled the previously all-powerful Consumerist regime. Unable to rely on the Army for crowd control because of the large Oik majority in the ranks, the bourgeois regime is floundering as its levers of power no longer react to commands.

Desperate measures are being used in some areas according to reliable tweets. The sinister silence of veteran bloggers like the Mosside community organiser, The Spliff, shows the extremism of the hardliners according to human rights observers who are increasingly concerned that Manchester's failure to rise in revolt alongside nearby Liverpool suggests that the regime's widely-reported use of chemical weapons there is true.

Expert analysts suggest that deep-seated socio-economic resentments are at the root of the protest movement as a tiny elite is suspected is ripping off state revenues to fund lavish lifestyles at the expense of the People. Corrupt bourgeois-run banks have been bailed out with billions taken from the country’s oil revenues while queues of the unemployed waiting for famine relief outside hospitals wait for months on an end for the chance of a drip-feed.

Fears of a sectarian split in Britain have also been voiced by some foreign academic observers. They point out that shops owned by the widely-hated bourgeois minority were attacked across the country and fear that if the Cameron regime fell, then isolated bourgeois communities could face copy-cat revenge attacks for their decades of profiteering at the expense of the long-suffering people.

Signs of internal dissent within the Consumerists have been detected. Defections from the regime have been reported. The finance vizier, George Osborne, has been sighted in California where Alibaba’s internet sources suggest he has stashed the regime’s gold reserves. Meanwhile Defence Minister, Liam Fox, is in Spain, though the regime insists that he remains loyal and “is directing operations from his hotel.” However, the fact that the Prime Minister’s own wife, Samantha and children have been flown to safety in Italy suggests that David Cameron himself is not confident of the regime’s survival.

Increasingly isolated, Cameron and his fellow Etonian clan member, Boris Johnson, who runs the City, have turned to the snakeheads of the regime, the so-called COBRA group. [COBRA = Coordinating Bourgeois Reaction Army – AliBaba editorial] Along with the Specials, a bourgeois militia who form the regime’s Reactionary Guards, COBRA are threatening to flood the streets of Britain’s cities with merciless politically-correctional “volunteers.”

With the stock-market in free fall and international sanctions in the offing, the economic basis of the Consumerists’ ability to buy off protest and pay off loyalist thugs masquerading as policemen and Specials is waning fast.

Banning popular sports like soccer threatens to put more youth onto the streets while formerly regime-backing footballers like David Beckham have gone into exile in Los Angeles rather than play the beautiful game in a Wembley stadium converted into a make-shift prison.

If Consumerism falls in Britain how long can it last in its hardline center, the United States, is a question being asked by analysts. Despite its clandestine nuclear weapons programme and mercenary militias called Contractors, even Washington’s hold over its own long-suffering people looks shaky. With flash mobs reported in Philadelphia and Newark, the ayatollahs of Wall Street are having to devote all their security resources to protecting the bourgeois heartland.

This leaves Cameron's dictatorship desperately exposed. The British regime’s only hope to keep the masses off the streets for a fourth night of protests is the weather forecast. Loyalists are praying for a rain of terror to come in from the Atlantic coast and keep the people power movement indoors. God-willing the cloud of Consumerism will be lifted from the long-suffering Britons before the end of Ramadan.

AliBaba Breaking News - Britain's puppet-parliament recalled for emergency session. After decades of docility rumors of a Westminster Palace putsch are spreading as are reports of a new tough state security law. Cameron says Olympic Games to go ahead over dead bodies.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

NATO helps Gaddafi look Libyans in the eye

After Buckingham Palace was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz, the present Queen’s mother is supposed to have said, “Now we can look the East End in the eye.” In a war any sense that the rulers are immune to the risks and privations affecting ordinary folks is damaging to their leadership. Britain's royal family was grateful to Hitler for targeting their palace. Colonel Gaddafi must be feeling the same after NATO killed his youngest son and three grandchildren late on Saturday night.

His spokesman emphasised that the “Brother Leader” now shared the sacrifices made for forty days and forty nights by other Libyan families. By missing the Colonel and killing the kids, NATO has given the Colonel a huge boost just as trouble was growing on the Tunisian front as well as carrying on in Misrata and in the east beyond Brega. The man who outlived Reagan’s onslaught in 1986 has done it again.

Only the perverted predatory mentality of NATO’s target-selectors could locate a harmless son of Gaddafi as well as his children, and then think it was a smart move to kill them. It would be bad enough if this blunder was simply what some Nevada-based geek-in-uniform assumed would make a neat kill, but it is obvious that frustration with the failure of Gaddafi to fall after a few cruise missile strikes six weeks ago has led the NATO leaders to think that de-capitation is the way out of the war which they launched with gay abandon.

Until 30th April, the logic of NATO’s air campaign was to concentrate its fire on Gaddafi’s foot soldiers while endlessly repeating the demand that the Colonel and his sons leave Libya. This seemed a crude ploy to get ordinary Libyans to ask why their boys were dying while the Gaddafi clan were unharmed. Splitting your enemy is a time-honoured tactic in warfare. Instead of wearing down Libyan morale and undermining the regime’s legitimacy by leaving the Gaddafi clan free to chat to Western channels, while ordinary soldiers died, NATO has given Gaddafi’s clan a blood bond with its supporters.

Generals are often accused of fighting the last war. The humanitarian bombers are repeating the propaganda from their Kosovo intervention in 1999. Mass murder, government organised rape camps with mercenaries fired up on Viagra, and so on are the staples of Washington’s increasingly hysterical denunciations of Gaddafi as it turns out that his family has more support than the glib proponents of hellfire missiles as humanity’s preferred way to protect civilians would have had us believe.

The UN Security Council resolution 1973 made not distinction between the obligation to protect unarmed civilians in Libya. But NATO's interpretation is that Gaddafi’s civilian supporters are collateral damage under the guise of “command and control centres” in short trousers.

No strategist in their right mind would do what the witches sabbath of Hilary Clinton, Susannah Rice and Samantha Powers has cooked up for fighting Gaddafi. But the male chorus in this tragedy is no more worthy of respect. Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron are the new Bill Clintons as promiscuous in their use of high-tech weapons as he was, only not yet caught in flagrante with an intern. Attributing rational military motives to these posturing humanitarian warmongers in Washington, London and Paris is obviously a mistake. They clearly live on another planet from the humanity whom they claim to protect.

Maybe they hope to draw the Gaddafi family out for Saif al-Arab’s funeral. Remember the Western elite is devoted to The Godfather. It is the template of their style – look at the hoods who surround them for security and the black-windowed armoured limousines in which they travel – as well as their international policy-making. As Francis Ford Coppola demonstrated on celluloid funerals make a good place to eradicate rival clans. Their advisers will have told them that Arab culture requires a public burial with father and brothers in attendance. Vultures used to haunt desert graves, now predators hover above them.

Just as George W. Bush deliberately sought to exterminate the male members of Saddam Hussein’s family in Iraq, killing not only his odious sons but other junior members of the clan as well as executing the former dictator, so now the same logic is at work in the Obama-Cameron-Sarkozy mindset. Of course, the mirror-image of that familicidal mentality would be for a Libyan to target Queen Elizabeth and her sons, grandsons and other male relatives, all in uniform for the wedding of Flight-Lieutenant Wales on 29th April. Michelle Obama and the kids live in America’s command-and-control HQ and mobile missile-launching communications accompany her husband even when he is spending quality-time with his daughters so they are collateral damage in-waiting by Dad’s definition. As for Carla Bruni…

The Duke of Wellington rounded on an officer at Waterloo for suggesting that Bonaparte was within range: “Generals of armies have more important things to do than shoot at each other.” But since then Obama-Cameron-Sarkozy axis has rewritten the rules of war: family members are now fair game. When it comes to decapitating a regime, the kids are included too.

No normal person would wish the families of Western leaders to face the kind of brutal evaporation which their fathers and power-moms direct at humanity’s enemies, but the West itself is no longer ruled by people with normal humane values. The rhetoric of humanitarian war blinds them to any common humanity with anyone on the enemy side of whatever age or infirmity. Who can doubt that a colour-blind and morally-blind person would see no reason to spare the Cameron kids if firing on Downing Street anymore than Cameron baulks at sacrificing Gaddafi’s grandchildren?

Little wonder, the royal newly-weds’ honeymoon was suddenly cancelled on Saturday. So much of William and Kate’s nuptials was choreographed around their parents’ and grandparents’ weddings that it was a fair guess that like Princess Elizabeth and Philip they were going to fly to Malta to start their honeymoon before going on to Kenya where three generations of Windsors have enjoyed cementing their relations. Malta is too close to Libya for comfort and Kenya’s Muslim minority might not be too friendly to a serving NATO officer.

William Wales has been put in the firing line not only by his uniform but by his prime minister. David Cameron could defend himself by saying that he has willingly put Sam Cam and their “kids” at risk for the humanitarian cause but instead tried to weasel out of his responsibility by denying that NATO was targeting Gaddafi and sons. It is peculiarly distasteful that our humanitarian warriors want to claim the credit for their high-sounding motives but never to carry the can for the blood shed in pursuit of them. Their inability to take responsibility is the worm gnawing away at any remaining naïve public faith in their sincerity.

Ironically, Gaddafi would have been regarded as the embodiment of bombastic mendacity without rival until Sarkozy, Cameron and the Nobel Prize-winning predator Barak Obama opened their mouths to explain their actions. Suddenly the Colonel has serious rivals for the status of least credible statesman of the age. Is there any indictment of these gentlemen’s humanitarian bloodletting than that a Libyan government spokesman’s account of the death of three children is more credible than their sleazy denials, obfuscations and shifting of responsibility? The proponents of humanitarian intervention constantly insist that they want an end to political leaders using force with impunity. Doesn’t making rulers responsible for civilian casualties begin at home?

Of course, Tony Blair’s Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, explained after Kosovo, there is no question of Western leaders going to Hague for any innocents killed by their order. Command responsibility did not apply to them. The “end of impunity” is for weak wogs, not nuclear-armed fops like Cameron, Sarkozy or Obama. But that reality of power can only fuel the rage of people belonging to lesser races subject to international law. Terrorism not freedom is the likely outcome of NATO’s stupid determination to make a martyr of Gaddafi. Sadly, with their armoured cars, blast-proof walled homes and swarms of security hoods, any anti-Western terrorism will not hurt the Western elite. Only little people will pay the price of our rulers’ folly. From Pakistan to the shores of the Mediterranean the predator has become the promoter of terrorism not its nemesis.