Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What’s Behind the “Growth” of Whites in United States Cities?
Census data substantiates policies designed to forcefully remove oppressed peoples from urban areas

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

A recently released census report indicates that white populations are starting to increase in United States urban areas.

Although showing signs of a slight growth in white persons living in cities where many fled decades ago, does not necessarily translate into the improvement of the social conditions of the African American and Latino communities inhabiting municipalities, the numbers in fact reflect a further lessening of commitment to the maintenance and well-being of people of color communities which are being forced to re-locate.

This phenomenon was played up in the Detroit News daily publication which has been a major proponent of the restructuring of the city based upon the interests of the banks and multi-national corporations. Detroit and other large urban areas fell-victim to decades of job losses, predatory lending and hostile racist public policies which have closed schools and forced greater numbers of people into poverty and political marginalization.

Since Detroit was railroaded into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history during 2013-2014, the “re-building” of the city which is championed by the ruling class press is based upon the notion in part of a reverse migration of whites coupled with measures forcing African Americans, Latinos and poor people in general out.

Even the Washington Post took notice of the corporate media articles related to the growth in whites living in cities. In collaboration with William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, the census data was analyzed in light of migration patterns over the last sixty plus years in major urban areas.

The International Business Times said of this shift that “The media has covered white populations moving to cities individually in the past, often writing about the trends on an individual basis as certain neighborhoods change due to gentrification. Especially with the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August, many outlets wrote about the changing demographics in New Orleans.” (September 25)

The reports goes on saying “But now that this looks like a broader trend, Frey told the Washington Post he doesn’t believe that means it will be a long term pattern in the same way white flight was in the 1950s. ‘It’s not something to say we’re going to move 180 degrees in the other direction,’ Frey said. And the white population isn’t growing as rapidly as it used to anyway. But it is an indicator that whatever kind of city revival — whether it's short-term or long-term that we’re seeing – is involving whites.’"

The Poorest City Being “Revitalized”

The city of Detroit was cited as an example where it was said that 8,000 more whites have moved into the municipality. However, just the week before another report was issued noting that the city, which has an African American population of over 80 percent, is also the most economically underdeveloped and deprived through impoverishment of the people.

The same Detroit News which cheers and advocates on a daily basis the disempowerment and exploitation of the majority population in the city, was forced to report on September 16 that despite all of the ruling class propaganda of a revival, that Detroit remains the poorest large city in the country. This is the case despite the bankruptcies of two of the automakers in 2009 and the city itself over the last two years.

An article published in the News said “Michigan is among 12 states that saw a decline in the percentage of people living in poverty in 2014 though the state’s poverty rate remained higher than the national average, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday.
Detroit was the most impoverished major city in America with 39.3 percent living below a poverty line of $24,008 for a family of four. But Flint topped the list of Michigan’s poorest cities with 40.1 percent of residents living in poverty.”

Both Detroit and Flint were hubs of the automotive industry during the 20th century where the UAW and various labor unions fought battles to win recognition for bargaining rights and other concessions granted by the corporate owners and bosses. During the latter decades of the 20th century hundreds of thousands of jobs within the industry were lost to automation and capital flight. Other sectors of the economy related and non-related to auto shed millions of jobs as well creating ongoing instability within the labor market and a drastic decline in household income and wealth among the working class, particularly among African Americans and other oppressed communities.

Making matters even worse during the last years of the 1990s a deliberate program of predatory lending by the banks targeted African Americans and Latinos draining their limited wealth obtained through home equity and meaningful employment. Working people were forced to bail out the banks and insurance magnates in 2008. Nonetheless, the world capitalist system remains unstable as evidenced by the precipitous decline in oil and commodity prices along with the volatility of the various stock markets internationally.

The rebuilding of the cities on a sound basis will take much more than the migration of thousands of whites from the suburbs. Infrastructural improvements in power systems, bridges, roads, streets, public transportation, senior services, healthcare, public education, housing, water services and other areas are required and these developments would necessitate the investments by the federal government and the corporate community to the tune of trillions of dollars.

Political Impact of Demographic Shift Towards Urban Migration and Mass Poverty

The question is what are the social, racial and class implications of this emerging demographic shift? Corporate media interests suggest that the whites moving back into the cities are from higher socio-economic stratums and this is necessary for redevelopment.

Whereas in Detroit and in other cities, African American and Latino populations have been systematically disempowered by the banks and corporations through job losses, predatory mortgage and municipal lending, tax increases, water shutoffs, utility terminations, property tax foreclosures, state repression, attacks on public education and other services. Access to bourgeois democratic reforms is being rapidly eroded in favor of corporate and bank-led municipal governments which routinely ignore the needs and aspirations of the workers and the poor.

In order to reverse this trend of coercive removals and impoverishment there must be an alliance of popular forces led by the working class among the oppressed to reclaim their rights to the cities. The banks must be compelled along with the federal government to rebuild the cities based on the interests of the people who live there.

Under capitalism the system of profit maximization fueled the outmigration of whites from the urban areas during the post-World War II period. Government funding and insuring of mortgage lending, so-called “slum demolitions programs”, and massive highway construction ripped apart African American and oppressed neighborhoods taking away housing, schools, small businesses, churches, community centers and burgeoning political bases.

Ultimately the construction of socialism provides the only sustainable solution to the crisis of the cities. Resources which are wasted on prestige projects built largely through the expropriation of public funding can be utilized for the purpose of genuine revitalization where youth, workers, seniors, people living with disabilities and others are given priority over banks and real estate investors.  
Burkina Faso Coup Makers Refusing to Disarm
Can the popular movement push ahead with the Sankaraist revolutionary program?

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a former intelligence chief for the President Security Regiment (RSP), was forced to release interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida by the last full week of September.

These developments were in response to the public rejection of the coup which was led by Diendere designed to derail the elections that grew out of the rebellion in late October 2014.

The rebellion stemmed from the desire of ousted military-turned-civilian President Blaise Compoare’s efforts to extend his tenure 27-year tenure in office.

A division within the military based upon the allegiance to the presidential guard and the broader military forces proved to also be a key element in the resolving the crisis that unfolded in September. The presidential guard was founded by Compaore during the period after the coup staged against the revolution between 1983-87.

Nonetheless, the presidential regiment was accused of refusing to disarm on September 28.

The Reuters press agency reported that “Burkina Faso's government on Monday (September 28) accused the military general who was the leader of this month's failed coup of derailing the disarmament of his supporters. For his part, Gen. Gilbert Diendere said his soldiers are under threat and need their arms for protection.”

This same article goes to say “The setback for reconciliation in this West African nation comes just days after the international community applauded the reversal of the coup when Diendere agreed under heavy pressure to return power to the civilian president he had overthrown.”

Public opposition to the coup was represented through demonstrations and other forms of resistance. During the course of the NCD brief reign, 11 people were killed and more than 270 injured.

African Union (AU) sanctions and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediation efforts resulted in the release of Kafando, with a tentative agreement on Sunday September 20 and the subsequent freeing of Zida. Leading up to the putative agreement, units of the Burkinabe military threatened to march on the capital of Ouagadougou and overthrow the NCD junta.

A Legacy of Right-Wing Coups in Burkina Faso

Diendere was close to Compaore during the period of 1987-2014. Despite the ostensible relieving of the former intelligence director of his duties after the uprising of October 2014, he reportedly participated in a leading manner in Pentagon military maneuvers with other West African defense forces in early 2014, known as Operation Flint Rock.

Compaore, the leader of the counter-revolution which toppled and assassinated revolutionary Socialist and Pan-Africanist leader Capt. Thomas Sanakara, has never been compelled to account for his actions. His supporters within the RSP are concerned that he and others may be forced to stand trial for their crimes against the Burkinabe people.

Sankara also came to power through force of arms but from a left-wing perspective. He had become introduced to Marxist thought while undergoing military training in France during the 1970s.

During the course of the Sankara government, emphasis was placed on breaking links with the transnational corporations and the neo-colonial legacy of economic dependency on the former imperialist powers and the dominant western regime in the United States. Although Burkina Faso has become the fourth largest producer of gold in Africa, the masses of workers, farmers and youth remain impoverished decades after the Sankara government was overthrown.

This latest coup beginning on September 17 led by National Council for Democracy (NCD) was announced over national radio and television saying that the new regime was committed to elections but not under the conditions of the upcoming October 11 poll. Millions were looking forward to the elections where several parties claiming the legacy of Sankara are contesting for parliamentary and administrative positions.

In the early hours of the coup the Interim President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Isaac Zida were held under house arrest. Obviously they were taken captive in an attempt to derail the elections that were scheduled for Oct. 11 in this West African state.

Elections Designed to Derail Popular Political Will

The elections grew out of a mass uprising in late October 2014 when longtime neo-colonial puppet leader Blaise Compaore, who had ruled the underdeveloped country for 27 years, was for over 27 years.

The masses rejected the coup prompting action from the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the continental African Union (AU). After several days a section of the broader army threatened to remove the junta headed by Diendere by force.

Burkina Faso underwent a socialist-oriented revolutionary process between 1983-87 under Capt. Thomas Sankara, a proponent of African unity, social justice, women's equality and youth empowerment.  Sankara was assassinated in October 1987 by Compaore and Deindere at the aegis of France and other imperialist-allied leaders in West Africa.

However, the movement of October-November 2014 was not capable of seizing power in the name of the workers and farmers in Burkina Faso. The interim regime was a compromise with neo-colonialism in the sense that a figure such as Isaac Zida was appointed as prime minister.

Zida, like Diendere, had developed close ties with U.S. and French intelligence agencies and military commands. Burkina Faso has been a base for the so-called “war on terrorism.”

These coordinated efforts between the imperialist military forces and African governments have not led to any genuine economic stability and growth on the continent. Inside Burkina Faso the majority of people remain in poverty and unemployed.

Military Coups and African Development

Army and police units in colonial Africa were of course established by the European imperialist states in an effort to maintain the economic interests of the ruling classes. African military forces were geared towards repressive measures against the masses in any rebellious or revolutionary movement towards independence and socialism.

Nearly 50 years ago, on February 24, 1966, renegade police and military forces coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. State Department overthrew the revolutionary First Republic of Ghana led by President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) which took transitional power during 1951-57 leading the independence government after 1957 to 1966. The revolutionary process in Africa suffered a tremendous blow after the coup against Nkrumah while the actual history of the Ghana Revolution became a source of contention even within the West African state itself.

Subsequent coups within Africa have largely maintained the same right-wing political character, although there have been some exceptions such as in Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam during the mid-to-late 1970s and in the 1980s under Sankara. The developments in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso were led by lower-ranking officers within the military and relied on the workers and youth for the maintenance of political power.

Both revolutionary movements in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia recognized the necessity of creating a Marxist-Leninist Party. In Ethiopia, the Workers’ Party was formed during the 1980s.

However, in Burkina Faso the process was reversed after the assassination of Sankara in 1987.

Even in Ethiopia, with the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist states in Eastern Europe, material and diplomatic support for the Mengistu government was withdrawn leading in part to its dissolution under imperialist pressure. Mengistu took refuge in Zimbabwe in Southern Africa which is still under the leadership of the national liberation movement turned political party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

These historical lessons must be studied by the current generation of revolutionaries in Africa and around the world. The total political and economic bankruptcy of imperialism illustrates that socialism and anti-imperialism is the only viable solution to the periodic crises of underdevelopment and economic exploitation.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Press TV World News: 'West Eyes South Sudan Oil Industry'
Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:15PM
presstv.ir

To watch this interview just click on the website below:
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/09/30/431410/Sudan-Africa-US-Riek-Machar-Salva-Kiir-IGAD-ceasefire

Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire in Detroit, to discuss the ongoing violence in South Sudan.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Well there seems to be no end in sight to the bickering between South Sudan’s president and rebel leader. What is going on in South Sudan and what is at stake if the two sides don't put aside their differences and help restore peace in the country?

Azikiwe: There is a lot at stake both for the West as well as for the African continent. It was the United States along with its western allies that pushed for many years for the partition of the Republic of Sudan. Now since they are two countries since 2011, it still has not resolved the internal problems.

The eruption of violence in December 2013 stemmed from unresolved issues that have gone back many years in South Sudan. There was a split within the ruling Sudan’s People Liberation Movement and Army. Riek Machar, who was the former vice president, is now in the New York City at the United Nations. The African Union held talks over the weekend to try to bring about some form of implementing the peace agreement which was signed last month. The President Salva Kiir did not attend the United Nations General Assembly. He spoke via a video streaming technology.

So the differences are still there. There has been fighting in Unity State over the last several days. As you mentioned there are accusations on both sides in regard to violating the ceasefire agreement.

Press TV: Well there were reports of the UK deploying troops to Somalia and South Sudan to help restore peace in that area. How much do you think foreign players have a role in the whole conflict?

Azikiwe: They were instrumental in supporting the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement in its fight over many years to break away from Sudan which is the largest geographic nation state in Africa prior to the partition four years ago.

They do not want South Sudan to disintegrate because South Sudan is the product of US and western foreign policy in Central Africa. Also both the Republic of Sudan in the north and the Republic of South Sudan in the south are oil producing states and there is a lot at stake for the western oil companies who want to of course have a stake in the South Sudanese oil industry. China also is heavily involved in both the Republic of Sudan in the north as well as the Republic of Sudan in the south.

So it is an international conflict. It has regional dimensions. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, the East African regional organization. has been working now for nearly two years to bring about some type of political settlement. So it can be done but both sides have to thoroughly commit themselves to a cessation of hostilities and there needs to be an intensified international monitoring mechanism. The African Union could be involved in that. They are going to release a report any day now, it has been said, that deals with a lot of the atrocities that have been committed in South Sudan since December of 2013. The report has been held up for several months. This report could lead to the formation of a hybrid court to deal with the crimes committed during the war. So there is a lot at stake for both the domestic as well as international players in this conflict.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on RT Worldwide Satellite News Network: 'US Foreign Policy to Blame for Crisis in Syria'
Watch this RT worldwide satellite television news interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, discussing the shift in rhetoric by the United States in regard to the political and military situation in Syria.

The interview can be viewed by clicking on the website below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ESXjB9WN9g&feature=youtu.be

Azikiwe points to the US role in the destabilization of states throughout the Middle East, with specific reference to Syria.

On Saturday September 26 when this interview was delivered to RT based in Moscow it had already been announced that Russia was intervening in a major way to defend the government led by President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

United States imperialism and its allies have attempted to topple the Assad government since 2011 when they backed an attempt to generate mass demonstrations calling for his removal. Later an insurgents were supported and coordinated to attack government targets and personnel.

The developments in Syria created the conditions for the strengthening and expansion of the Islamic State (IS) which soon spread into Iraq and declaring a caliphate between both countries.

With the beginning of Russian air strikes on ISIS positions on Monday September 30 the situation has further exposed the failures of the Obama administration and its cohorts within the imperialist world and their surrogates. 
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sunday September 27, 2015--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to this special edition of the Pan-African Journal hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this broadcast just click on the website below:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2015/09/27/pan-african-journal-special-worldwide-radio-broadcast

This broadcast features our regular PANW reports with dispatches on the current power shortages in the Southern African nation of Zimbabwe where the government is attempting to resolve the crisis along with a burgeoning income gap among executives and the majority of working and poor people; the United States supported regime in Somalia faced another attempt to impeach the current president in Mogadishu; a political analyst suggests that Kenya is not a middle-income state which poses huge economic challenges for the future; and fighting continues among internecine rebel groups in the North African state of Libya where in Benghazi, the birthplace of the 2011 counter-revolution, people are being killed even under a curfew imposed on the city recently.

In our second and third hours we conclude the month-long focus on race relations in the U.S. and internationally.

An examination of the slave burial grounds discovered in New York City reveals a profound history of African people in that region of the country.

Also the so-called "Tulsa Riot" of 1921 is reviewed as one the worst acts of mass slaughter and destruction in the U.S. directed against African Americans.

Finally a retrospective on the South African Revolution is presented through an audio documentary championing the heroic role of the masses in that country.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Saturday September 26, 2015--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to this edition of the Pan-African Journal hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this program just click on the website below:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2015/09/26/pan-african-journal-worldwide-radio-broadcast

We feature our regular PANW reports with dispatches dealing with the recently defeated military coup in Burkina Faso where domestic and international pressure forced the presidential security regiment to relinquish power after one week when the elite unit allied with ousted dictator Blaise Compaore attempted to derail elections scheduled for October and to maintain the existence of the dreaded apparatus; there is reportedly no end in sight to the flood of migrants into Europe from the Middle East, Africa and Asia while the European Union states remain divided over how to deal with the crisis stemming from imperialist wars of regime-change and the global economic crisis; there have been more children killed in Yemen due to the United States supported war against the people than in any other country worldwide; and the police in Wilmington, Delaware have shot dead a disabled African American man in a wheelchair.

The second and third hours continues the examination of race relations in the U.S. and internationally with an audio documentary on the making of the Autobiography of Malcolm X and another archived file on the history of the human rights act in Australia.

This program is brought to you by the Pan-African Radio Network and airs on a weekly basis. In addition to this broadcast there are more than 500 others available dating back to October 2010.
Putin Taught America a Lesson of Multipolarity
30.09.2015
Pravda.ru

The US refused Bashar al-Assad's removal, as John Kerry claimed. He also admitted that the White House's policy failed. Boris Mezhuev, political scientist and Professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences told Pravda.Ru in an interview whether it can be considered as Putin's triumph.

According to him, Russia's consistency played an important role in the Syrian issue. "Russia yielded to no persuasions of stupid advisers concerning the Assad's surrender. It maintained unity with Assad, and that is the only guarantee to establish relationship with the US," Mezhuev noted.

The expert added that there can be traced the methodology of Russian victory, which is not to surrender anybody and not to discard trumps in any case.

"It is clear that one should keep to hard, strong stance. Moreover, there could be observed predictability of the allies. Russia maintained its legal relations with everyone it wanted to and did not quarreled with any of the influential players in the region. It fell out neither with the Saudi Arabia, nor Israel, Turkey, Egypt.

Such a diplomacy showed that Russia is the most compromise force. With China such an alliance is not possible. Putin showed manliness and persuasiveness, as proving his point of view," Boris Mezhuev told Pravda.Ru.

He also noted that the policy of pulling chestnuts out of the fire had failed.

The main issue now is not to let the IS enlargement. An alternative coalition of former IS sponsors may wait in the wings, and launch a great war in the Middle East after the threat, i.e. the IS leaves.

It was a striking lesson of multipolarity for the US, a lot of things will happen in America, and they will be amazed. It will be just another world, that will remind of the state of war, but specifically in this region. That is, peace is based on multipolar relations but not on the fact that "we have friends in the Saudi Arabia, and we listen only to them," the political scientist concluded.

Pravda.Ru


There is no military solution to Syrian crisis

28.09.2015

The crisis in the Middle East has brought tens of thousands of refugees from Syria, Libya and Iraq to Europe. Syria is the main hotspot in the Middle East today. A military solution to the Syrian conflict does not exist - Bashar Assad's army would have destroyed all militants long ago otherwise, Orientalist Said Gafurov said in an interview with Pravda.Ru.

Refugee crisis in Europe triggered by Turkey

"Current TV reports are all about the refugee crisis in Europe. Crowds of refugees in European countries, piles of garbage in the streets and frightened Europeans who, in fact, have never been able to protect themselves. Is it a new wave of the great migration of people?"

"This is a very serious crisis, of course, but the the current amount of refugees is not dangerous to Europe yet. Some predict that their number may grow to one million people, though. In Russia, however, we have two million officially registered Ukrainian refugees."

"Don't you think that the refugees from Ukraine in Russia are very much different from the refugees that Europe is dealing with right now? It goes about language, their lifestyle and mentality. People have been migrating to Europe from those regions for decades. Today, there is a crowd of them migrating, and they do not know either local European traditions or European languages - they only want something."

"The Syrians say that the current events in Europe are a part of a deliberately organized action. All the refugees that have been flowing into Europe are coming from refugee camps in Europe. Most likely, it was the Turkish government who started all this. Turkey can not afford maintaining refugee camps. The Turks have actually started a war on two fronts: with the Islamic State and the Kurds. They do not need the problem of the refugees."

"Does Europe need this problem? People go to Europe without any belongings - they do not even have warm clothes."

"The Syrians, like all people, have their flaws. However, Syria has always been a "crossroads of the world." History has taught them how to be polite, how to learn to coexist with other nations, nationalities and religions. But I assure you, the Syrians quickly learn to adapt themselves to new conditions. According to official data, there are 100,000 Syrians living in Moscow today - does anyone notice that?"

"Against the background of the refugee crisis, everyone has suddenly discovered that "Europe without borders" is nothing more but a nice myth. In fact, Europe is fragmented, embittered, and everyone is blaming each other for what is happening."

"Migrants are cheap labor force. The Syrians and Libyans will certainly work for lower wages, without trade unions.

Does Russia take part in the Syrian conflict?

"A Ukrainian website has recently reported that Russia has already started receiving coffins with the bodies of Russian soldiers, who were killed in Syria. The Ukrainian media are in no way a reliable source of information. The question is - does Russia take part in the combat actions in Syria?"

"Someone said: "We are not crazy to go into Syria." There is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. The Syrian army, in its current state, is capable of destroying any city. Yet, this is not the goal for the Syrian leadership. The Syrian administration wants to solve the crisis by political means. A war in this case is a tool to create conditions for a political settlement.

"Of course, there are Russian specialists in Syria today. Russia has been cooperating with Syria for decades. Russian experts maintain Russian-made equipment in Syria and train the Syrian military. Still, there are no regular Russian troops in Syria. The rumors about the coffins appeared after the meeting with representatives of the Syrian opposition in Moscow. That was a breakthrough meeting. The UN set up four workgroups, in which all representatives of the current opposition will be represented. That was a huge diplomatic success of Russia, which, of course, they had to defame.

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asked his US counterpart Secretary of State John Kerry why Washington considered Bashar Assad an illegitimate president. For some reason, when the US was signing the treaty for the destruction of chemical weapons with Syria, Assad was a legitimate president for the US administration.

"The essence of the Syrian problem is that during a direct, open and honest election, Assad gets sixty or seventy percent of the vote and becomes the winner in the first round already. Yet, the remaining 30 percent do not want to see him as president at all. The split in the Syrian society is so strong that people are ready to shoot each other. The country needs reforms, and Assad does not deny it.

The following year, Syria will hold parliamentary elections, and the opposition demands the government should be formed by the parliament, but not the president. The Syrian leadership does not mind delegating a part of the powers of the president to the parliament and the government."

Interview conducted by Inna Novikova
Pravda.Ru 
China Sees Political Dialogue as the Only Way to Settle the Syrian Crisis
September 30, 20:51 UTC+3

The country suggests looking into possibility of conference on Syrian settlement without preconditions, the foreign minister says, noting the need to ensure participation of all interested parties

UNITED NATIONS, September 30. /TASS/--China urges the UN Security Council to look into the possibility of discussing convocation of Geneva-3 conference on the Syrian settlement without preconditions and with participation of all interested parties, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a UN SC session on Wednesday, referring to another United Nations-backed peace conference on Syria.

China saw a political dialogue as the only way to settle the Syrian crisis, the foreign minister said, noting the need to ensure participation of all interested parties. The foreign minister said "the golden mean should observed" in tackling that problem.

The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, earlier announced the setting up of working (expert) groups to advance preparations for Geneva-3 international conference.

Experts will begin their work in Geneva early in October, focusing on four directions: security and fight against terrorism, political and constitutional reforms, humanitarian situation and the process of economic restoration.
ISIS Militants in Iraq, Syria Have WMD Components, Lavrov Warns UN Security Council
30 Sep, 2015 15:00
Rt.com

"In the vast areas of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State has actually created an extremist quasi-state, which commands an efficient repressive apparatus, stable sources of income, well-equipped army and elements of weapons of mass destruction,” Lavrov said on Wednesday at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York.

UNSC foreign ministers gathered to debate issues of international security and terror threats, focusing on the Middle East and North Africa.

According to the Russian FM, the situation in the Middle East has “degraded even more” over the past year.

“The accumulation of crisis potential came close to the point where we can talk about the destruction of the political map of the region,” he said.

Lavrov stressed that Russia considers it necessary to put Islamic State on the UN Security Council's anti-terrorist sanction list as “a separate subject.”

"Any delay in settling this evident issue is becoming counterproductive from the point of view of effectiveness of UN activities in counteraction of terrorism," he said.

Moscow will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on a joint international effort against the Islamic State threat.

"Today, I present a draft resolution to the members of the Security Council. It is based on documents previously adopted by the Council, with an emphasis on coherent counter-terrorism actions based on norms and principles of international law," Lavrov told the gathering.

The Russian FM also pointed out that the migrant crisis in Europe can’t be solved without the creation of “a firm barrier to the aspirations of Islamic State to place the region under a medieval dictate."

"It is not refugees that must be stopped, but terrorists and wars and conflicts begetting them," he added.

The Russian Air Force conducted first airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Wednesday, with Lavrov saying that Moscow informed its Western partners of its actions.

"We have notified the US authorities and other members of the coalition created by the US and we are ready to establish permanent channels of communication to effectively combat terrorist groups," he said.

The FM stressed the Russia’s involvement in Syria will be “exclusively” limited by an air operation.

On Wednesday morning, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament unanimously gave formal consent to President Putin to use the country’s military in Syria to tackle Islamic State and other terror groups.

The Russian air campaign in Syria is commencing just a few days after Putin’s address at the UN, in which he called for an international anti-terrorist effort in the country.

The Russian president also met with US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly, with the two leaders agreeing that Moscow and Washington have common interest in Syria.


Lavrov: IS Has Created Extremist Quasi-state in Iraq and Syria

September 30, 21:56 UTC+3

IS cells are establishing themselves in Libya, Afghanistan and other countries and openly declaring they have plans for seizing Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, Russian Foreign Minister says

UNITED NATIONS, September 30. /TASS/. The terrorist group calling itself Islamic State has created what in fact is an extremist quasi-state on vast territories in Iraq and Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting of the UN Security Council’s session entitled Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Settlement of Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and Countering the Terrorist Threat in the Region.

"Rampage by Jabhat al-Nusra and Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb countries, the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda, Somalia’s Al Shabaab and Boko Haram and other groups have paled into insignificance against the expansion of the so-called Islamic State. On vast territories of Iraq and Syria the IS has in fact created an extremist quasi state having a well-oiled repressive machinery, stable sources of incomes, well-equipped army and elements of weapons of mass destruction. IS cells are establishing themselves in Libya, Afghanistan and other countries and openly declaring they have plans for seizing Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and spreading their ominous activities to Europe, Central and Southeast Asia and Russia," Lavrov said.

"The terrorists have been carrying out mass executions and atrocities. They jeopardize the very existence of various ethnic and confessional groups, including Christians, Kurds and Alawites. The IS has a professional propaganda machinery operating in a dozen languages," Lavrov said.

Fight against extremism in concrete countries over the head of their governments is inadmissible, it must be based on international law, Russian Foreign Minister went on to say.

"We believe it is as a matter of fundamental importance to see the initiative advanced in this sphere at the moment basing on a strong foundation of international law, respect for sovereignty and equality of the states, inadmissibility of interference in internal affairs," the foreign minister said.

"It is impossible to promote slogans of fight against extremism in concrete countries behind the back of their legitimate governments. We have already seen such attempts, and nothing good came of them as you know well," Lavrov added.

–°omprehensive approach to terrorism in Middle East needed

Problems of terrorism in the Middle East require a comprehensive approach while the attempts to cure separate conflicts independently are doomed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov continued.

"It was exactly a year ago that Russia raised the issue of a UN-sponsored all-round analysis of the problems related to a sharp surge of terrorism and extremism in the Middle East and North Africa," Lavrov said. "But over the past twelve months the situation degenerated further."

"Accumulation of the crisis potential has approached a line beyond which we would have to talk about the meltdown of the region’s political map that took shape decades ago," he said.

"One can state with assuredness today the attempts to tackle separate conflicts in an isolated way, without putting them into regional and historical contexts are doomed," Lavrov said. "Iraq received this kind of treatment sometime in the past and then came Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria and every time we tried to convince each other that everything would be in the proper places once we resolved a particular well-specified problem."

Along with it, Lavrov said solutions were most typically sought in a change of one or another regime at whatever price. "Little thought was given to the aftermaths and there was no all-embracing strategy or even short-term vision of two or three steps ahead," he said.

"As a result, the euphoria that filled many heads after the ‘Arab spring’ gave way to the horrors of a brisk spread of chaos, an escalation of violence, the shadow of religious wars looming over the region and, last but not least, an unprecedented terrorist threat," Lavrov said.
8 ISIS Targets Hit During 20 Combat Flights in Syria – Russian Military
30 Sep, 2015 17:28
Rt.com

“Today, Russian aerospace force jets delivered pinpoint strikes on eight ISIS terror group targets in Syria. In total, 20 flights were made,” spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said.

“As a result, arms and fuel depots and military equipment were hit. ISIS coordination centers in the mountains were totally destroyed,” he added.

Konashenkov said that all the flights took place after air surveillance and careful verification of the data provided by the Syrian military. He stressed that Russian jets did not target any civilian infrastructure and avoided these territories.

“Russian jets did not use weapons on civilian infrastructure or in its vicinity,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Russian military announced the start of air operations in Syria in order to help the goverment fight terrorist forces. Syrian state television named at least seven areas targeted by the air strikes.

They included areas around the cities of Homs and Hama, which are 44 kilometers apart, according to various media reports.

Moscow blasts ‘infowar’ following civilian deaths accusations

The statement by the Defense Ministry refuted earlier reports about civilian casualties that Russian air strikes allegedly led to.

Reuters reported that Russia targeted opposition rebel groups in Homs province instead of Islamic State forces. The agency cited Syrian opposition chief Khaled Khoja, who put the death toll of the bombardment at 36 civilians.

"Russia is intending not to fight ISIL [Islamic State], but to prolong the life of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad," Khoja said.

Similar claims were made by the BBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera and numerous other news outlets.

However, US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, said that Pentagon can’t confirm these allegations, though NATO declared it was concerned by the reports that targets other than ISIS could have been hit.

Moscow harshly criticized the reports, labeling them an information war.

“Russia didn’t even begin its operation against Islamic State… Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov didn’t even utter his first words at the UN Security Council, but numerous reports already emerged in the media that civilians are dying as a result of the Russian operation and that it’s aimed at democratic forces in the country (Syria),” Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told media.

“It’s all an information attack, a war, of which we’ve heard so many times,” she added.

Zakharova also said that she was amazed by the scale and speed of what she called “info injections” into social networks such as “photos of alleged victims” that appeared on the web as soon as the Russian operation began.

“What can I say? We all know perfectly how such pictures are made,” she said, remembering a Hollywood flick ‘Wag the Dog,’ which described the US media reporting on a fake war in Albania.

The spokesman urged the media, including, Western outlets “to turn to top officials in the [Russian] Defense Ministry press service to obtain all required information" about the country’s operation in Syria
Russia Begins Airstrikes in Syria; U.S. Warns of New Concerns in Conflict
Russia says it launched airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament's unanimous backing. Amateur video purportedly shot in the city of Homs shows military jets lying overhead and buildings reduced to rubble.

By Andrew Roth, Brian Murphy and Missy Ryan
September 30 at 1:08 PM
 
MOSCOW — Russian warplanes began airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, adding an unpredictable new element to a multi-layered war that has already drawn in the United States and allies, created millions of refugees and expanded the reach of the Islamic State.

Washington quickly criticized the airstrikes, which the Pentagon said apparently hit areas where Islamic State militants — ostensibly the intended targets — probably were not present. But U.S. officials said Moscow’s moves would not change a U.S.-led air campaign targeting Islamic State strongholds in Syria.

The Russian strikes also sharply raised the stakes over competing visions for Syria outlined earlier this week at the United Nations, with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin insisting that Syria’s embattled government is the key to stability, and President Obama saying the “status quo” cannot stand after more than four years of bloodshed.

The introduction of Russian air power — just hours after Russia’s parliament authorized the use of military force — is certain to deepen American concerns over possible escalations on Syrian battle fronts.

In addition, Russia now gives bolstered firepower to its longtime ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces are fighting both the Islamic State and rebel factions, including some backed by the West.

Assad’s forces are blamed for crackdowns and attacks that have forced more than 4 million people to flee the country, many of whom are now joining a wave of asylum seekers and migrants flooding Europe.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council, Secretary of State John F. Kerry drove home Obama’s message, saying the answer to Syria’s civil war cannot be found in a military alliance with Assad.

“But it can be found . . . through a broadly supported diplomatic initiative aimed at a negotiated political transition” that would “unite all Syrians who reject dictatorship and terrorism,” he said.

Kerry further put Russia on notice, saying the United States would have “grave concerns” if Russian airstrikes “should strike targets where [Islamic State] and affiliated targets are not operating,” and instead hit U.S.-backed moderate opposition forces fighting Assad.

He called on Russia and others to “support a U.N. initiative to broker a political transition” in Syria.

“Further delay is unconscionable,” Kerry said.

Speaking to reporters later at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said it appeared that the Russian airstrikes were carried out in areas where Islamic State forces were “probably” not present, “and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole approach.”

Carter said a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants intends to “continue our air operations unimpeded” despite the Russian intervention. He said meetings between U.S. and  Russian defense officials in the next few days would help to make sure there are no “inadvertent incidents” between coalition and Russian pilots who are flying combat sorties over Syria.

Carter said there was a “logical contradiction” in Russia’s aim of fighting terrorism in Syria while also supporting the Assad regime. He said the Russians were “seemingly taking on everyone who is fighting Assad,” as opposed to the U.S. approach of specifically targeting the Islamic State and like-minded extremists. “We believe at least some parts of the anti-Assad opposition belong as part of a transition going forward.”

At a White House news briefing Wednesday, press secretary Josh Earnest warned that “Russia will not succeed in imposing a military solution on Syria.”

In Moscow, a statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry said airstrikes were carried out “against positions held by the Islamic State in Syrian territory,” including military vehicles, communications centers, weapons caches, ammunition and fuel depots. The ministry did not note the locations.

But the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported that Russian aircraft took part in attacks near the western city of Homs to strike “dens” of the Islamic State, a heavily armed al-Qaeda offshoot that is also known as ISIS and ISIL.

Homs is a former hotbed of the popular revolt that began against Assad in 2011, and the city is still not fully in government hands. Some areas outside Homs have now become footholds for the Islamic State.

Assad’s forces have made holding onto parts of Homs province a strategic priority to link the capital, Damascus, with government strongholds on the Mediterranean coast, including the key port city of Latakia. Russia has a naval facility at Tartus, about 50 miles south of Latakia.

One opposition leader, Hisham Marwah, claimed that the Russian airstrikes “targeted civilians, not ISIS,” killing at least 37 people in the town of Talbiseh in Homs province.

“The people of this area are opposed to ISIS,” said Marwah, vice president of the Syrian National Coalition, speaking by telephone from the United States. His account could not be independently verified.

Separately, a U.S.-supported rebel group in Syria, Tajamu Alezzah, claimed in a Twitter post that it came under attack by Russian warplanes in Hama province, north of Homs.

Amid the fast-moving developments, Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the Russian airstrikes are “not helpful,” according to a senior State Department official speaking anonymously about the Russian military activity.

Kerry also told Lavrov the airstrikes run counter to Russia’s stated intention to cooperate on so-called “deconfliction,” or making sure that mishaps do not happen inadvertently in the air.

The official said Kerry insisted that deconfliction talks must begin immediately.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the Russian airstrikes “in no way will alter the United States or coalition missions against ISIL . . . particularly air missions.

Kirby confirmed that a Russian official informed a U.S. Embassy official Wednesday morning that Russia would be flying tactical missions over Syria. He said the Russian official requested that U.S. and coalition aircraft not fly at all over Syria.

“Russia will factually be the only country to carry out this operation on the legitimate basis of the request of the legitimate government of Syria,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told journalists after the parliament vote in Moscow.

The resolution came without warning in the Federation Council, Russia’s higher body of parliament, where 162 senators voted unanimously in support after a closed-door discussion — similar to a vote last year to green-light Russian military force in Ukraine.

In a brief statement, the Kremlin said Putin had requested the authorization to use force “on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law.”

“The atmosphere was entirely one of solidarity,” Oleg Morozov, a member of the Federation Council, said of the debate. “There were no questions that might have influenced this atmosphere.”

Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin chief of staff, said on national television that the resolution was strictly limited to the use of Russian aviation in Syria and that ground troops would not be sent into battle.

“We are not discussing achieving foreign policy goals or fulfilling the ambitions that our Western partners regularly accuse us of,” said Ivanov. “We are exclusively discussing the national interests of the Russian Federation.”

While Russia has supplied arms to Assad for years, a direct military intervention seemed unlikely until early this month, when Russian aircraft, tanks, artillery and troops were spotted in the port of Latakia, an Assad stronghold.

Putin continued to keep Western leaders off-balance by calling for a broad coalition with the Syrian government to fight the Islamic State, and by opening an intelligence-sharing hub in Baghdad with Iraq, Syria and Iran.

The moves led to a one-on-one meeting between Putin and Obama at the United Nations General Assembly this week, although Obama had shunned Putin over the Ukraine crisis.

Asked at the United Nations in New York on Monday whether he would consider using airstrikes in Syria, Putin said that “we do not rule out anything, but if we act, we will do it in strict compliance with the international law.” He did rule out the use of ground forces in Syria.

Critics say that the Kremlin is using the Syrian crisis to escape international isolation following its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, and to divert attention at home from the conflict in eastern Ukraine’s between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

Murphy and Ryan reported from Washington. Daniela Deane in London, Hugh Naylor in Beirut, Carol Morello and Karen DeYoung at the United Nations and Thomas Gibbons-Neff and William Branigin in Washington contributed to this report.
The Revolution Against ISIS and its Lessons for the World
By Caleb T. Maupin
http://journal-neo.org/2015/09/30/the-revolution-against-isis-and-its-lessons-for-the-world/

The word “terrorism” has an interesting history. In modern times it is a pejorative term, but it was originally a term used by a certain current among Russian radical intelligentsia to describe themselves. The “terrorists” were a political current that sought to overthrow the czar with isolated acts of violence designed to inspire a mass revolt.

The beliefs of the terrorists were that the overthrow of the existing order could be carried out by a small, isolated group. The isolated group would engage in extreme acts of violence which would be well publicized and seen by millions of people. The terrorists hoped they could generate fear among the rulers. In addition, the terrorists hoped they would they would garner support from the masses of people whose conditions drove them to long for some kind cathartic vengeance. With these isolated acts of violence the “terrorists” expected that they would be able to take power and impose their political vision on society.

The “terrorists” were not embraced by all of Russia’s radicals. A large percentage of the writings of Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin were devoted to polemicizing with the “terrorists” and explaining how their methods differed from the revolutionary strategy of the Bolsheviks.

Terrorist Methods in the 21st Century

Though the terrorists were discredited in Russia and elsewhere, and their tactics were highly unsuccessful, the strategy and methods developed by them did not fade away. Through the 20th and 21st century, the terrorist’s method has been widely utilized. While the original self-described terrorists sought to impose some sort of egalitarian socialist vision with their violence, since the Russian revolution, terrorist methods have primarily been used by other political currents.

The terrorist strategy was embraced by the fascist movements of Europe and the United States. The fascists of the 20th century refined the art of symbolically picking out an individual and then brutally murdering in them in most painful and public way possible. This would terrify their political opponents and win admiration for the fascists among angry and alienated people. The KKK’s lynchings, the mass waves of repression in the aftermath of Hitler and Mussolini’s seizures of power — all followed the tactical methods of terrorism.

In the current period, the ISIS organization has adapted the terrorist strategy and method, maximizing their effectiveness with modern communications technology. The “Islamic State” beheads and burns people alive, recording their actions in well produced videos that circulate the internet. ISIS commits these horrific acts of torture and murder to terrify people enough into bowing before them and allowing them to somehow recreate the Islamic empire of Mohammed’s time.

In the process of horrifying and terrifying most of society, ISIS has garnered a significant amount of admiration, and not only among isolated, oppressed, and confused Muslims. The US media has taken note of the fact that a number of western young people from places like Minnesota, Australia, and Colorado have been attempting to join the sect of deranged murderers in black informs.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Why wouldn’t young people — raised on a steady diet of shoot-em-up action movies and told to “support our troops” who destroy innocent civilians with cruise missiles — come to admire a group like ISIS? If one’s ethical system is based on “might makes right” or “peace through superior firepower,” ISIS has a lot going for them.

The writer Ayn Rand, whose personal diaries were full of admiration for individuals like William Hickman who strangled his wife, would undoubtedly have swooned in admiration for ISIS. What other individuals have terrified the entire world, “written their own moral code” and refused to “conform” more than the “Islamic State”? ISIS is the incarnate ideal of the western free market-oriented right-wing, as its members slaughter without compassion and market their terrorist brand like high-tech entrepreneurs.

No one can deny that the United States had a role in the creation of ISIS. Not only was the somewhat stable society of Iraq cast into complete chaos and ruin by US invasion, but Syria has also been destabilized. The United States along with European and Gulf State allies have poured billions of dollars into efforts to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. In the name of “human rights,” while demonizing Syrian President Bashar Assad, every effort has been made to fund violent extremist organizations.

Many ISIS fighters are red-haired Chechens. For decades the United States has funded Sunni takfiris to destabilize the southern parts of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. These forces have now found their way to Syria.

The majority of social media activity supporting ISIS originates within Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Jordan, all governed by US-aligned regimes. Turkey, a US-aligned regime and NATO member, currently allows trucks to cross its border every day and deliver supplies to ISIS-controlled territories.

While declaring “God has commanded us never to attack Israel,” ISIS has unleashed its terrorism against the Syrian Arab Republic, the Shia community in Iraq, and the revolutionary movement for independence in Yemen. While the US was able to very quickly topple the government of Saddam Hussein, aside from a few demagogic speeches, very little has been done by the United States to defeat the ISIS terrorists. US leaders are happy to publicize ISIS atrocities in order to demonize Islam and justify drone strikes. But while doing so, the Pentagon brass are basically sitting back and allowing ISIS to fight their enemies for them. They hope that ISIS can topple Assad and reduce Syria to the same kind of chaos that has overtaken Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

Unity to Achieve a Common Goal

When Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin debated the “terrorists” of the Russian intelligentsia about revolutionary methods, they put forward a tactical approach that was entirely opposite. While the terrorist sought to forge a small, isolated sect of dedicated bloodthirsty fanatics, the Bolsheviks sought to create a “united front.”

The Bolshevik organization began with a newspaper, Iskra (Spark). The newspaper circulated among all the best and brightest fighters for social justice in Russia, and called on them to form a “party of a new type.” The party of a new type included not just Vladimir Lenin, but Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev, and all kinds of brilliant, independent activists and leaders, who each had won the respect of thousands of workers and peasants from across the country.

The “party of a new type” had a method called democratic centralism in order to coordinate its activities and make decisions. Democratic centralism meant that the organization, eventually called the Bolsheviks, would have extensive debate and discussion about methods, strategy, and tactics in order to reach a decision. However, once a decision was made, all members of the organization would be obligated to carry it out in unison, despite whatever disagreements they may have.

For the Bolsheviks, democratic centralism was a necessity. The Central Committee that eventually formed contained many unique, brilliant, free-thinking, independent, and skilled revolutionary leaders. Democratic centralism made sure that all of them had the ability to argue for their position, but then ensured that the organization would be united its concrete activities. It was the only way to keep such a broad organization of radicals and rebels together.

The willingness to compromise and negotiate spread even beyond the Bolsheviks’ internal ranks. The Bolsheviks did not take power in 1917 by recruiting people to enact their egalitarian vision of a secular socialist society. The Bolsheviks took power in 1917 because many people who strongly disagreed with them went out to fight and die in order to bring them into power.

The demands that enabled the Bolsheviks to seize power in the October Revolution were expressed in the slogan “Peace, Land, and Bread.”  Russian peasants, workers, middle class people, and others supported the Bolsheviks because they were the only ones who would end Russia’s unpopular involvement in the First World War, take action to stop the mass starvation caused by the war crisis, and enact land reform in the countryside. No other party was willing to offer these things. Based on that, the people of Russia decided to give this huge organization of dedicated revolutionaries a chance at running the country.

The “united front” that Bolsheviks used to take power was based on people coming together despite huge differences. It was based on the Bolsheviks’ organizational strength and ability to bring very diverse forces of people together in order to achieve a common goal.

A Very Broad Coalition

Currently in Syria, there is an amazing alliance that is coming together to smash the ISIS terrorists. The US media isn’t reporting on it, but in recent battles, there have been combined attacks on ISIS bases by Syrian Baathists, Hezbollah Islamists, and Russian nationalists.

The unity of forces in Syria spreads even further beyond that. Near the Turkish borders in Syria, open Marxist-Leninist militias directed by the Syrian Communist Party are fighting to defeat ISIS. The Kurdish nationalist movement has a significant armed presence. Religious militias have been formed to protect historically Christian areas. The People’s Republic of China is now openly discussing sending its troops to fight ISIS as well.

In response to ISIS’ campaign of isolated terrorist killing, one of the broadest united fronts in the history of the world has been formed. Meanwhile, the US-supported “moderate Syrian rebels” who seek to overthrow the Syrian government are nowhere to be seen. The Al-Nusra Front, supposedly opposed to both ISIS and Assad, continues to receive funding from the Gulf State allies of the United States, though its vision for Syria is almost identical to ISIS, and its strength is dwindling.

What do the Christians, Islamic revolutionaries, communists, Baath Arab socialists, and Russian nationalists have in common? If one looks at their analysis of the world and their historical development, the answer is “not much.” However, if one looks at their vision and program at the current moment, especially in relation to economics, these forces are almost identical.

All the forces that are on the ground in Syria, fighting against ISIS in alliance with the Syrian government, denounce capitalism. They oppose the economic order where banking institutions in the United States and Western Europe dominate the world economy. All these forces call for an economy that functions in the interests of the people, and they reject neoliberalism. They call for corporate power to be restrained and controlled by governments, not the other way around. They call for international trade to be conducted on a non-predatory basis, and for an emphasis on construction in order to raise the global living standards.

All the forces in the anti-ISIS coalition have popular support among their respective populations. All these forces have a record of acting as populists, fighting against rich and powerful people on behalf of ordinary people.

The Global Revolution Against Terrorism

The battle that is currently taking place against ISIS in Syria is a battle between two vaguely defined economic visions and ethical systems.

ISIS, with its supporters from the US-aligned regimes in the Middle East, its horrific acts of publicized violence, and its goal of restoring the past, is really the armed detachment of western capitalism and imperialism.

Though the ISIS fighters do not know it, just like the Israeli settlers, they are only another tool in Wall Street’s toolbox. They are living and breathing cruise missiles that can be hurled at those who would resist the decaying global economic order. They may falsely believe that they are Muslims, but those who direct them worship no God other than money. Their ugly kidnappings and executions are done to perpetuate the dominance of global capitalism.

In opposition to them is a diverse coalition of forces that represent popular power. The united front that has formed is made up of common people, standing arm-in-arm to defend themselves and their communities from economic devastation and repression.

The forces who are aligned against ISIS do not have a unifying ideology, worldview, or perspective.

But they all can agree, like many revolutionaries in past times, that all human beings have basic inalienable rights. These inalienable rights are not limited simply to freedom of religion, and freedom of speech and the press. These inalienable rights also include the right to jobs, housing, medical care, and a decent life.

These forces may not agree about much, but they all agree that morality exists. They all recognize the eternal truth that the love of money is not “the motor of the world,” but that it is, in reality, the root of all evil.

As people study the world, seeking to discover deep political truths about justice, revolution, terrorism, and democracy, they should be closely studying the unfolding events in Syria. The answers that so many have been seeking will be found in this unfolding conflict, which is expanding to many different parts of the world.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Senate Begins Sitting Without Ministerial List
By Ismail Mudashir
Nigeria Daily Trust
Sep 30 2015 1:02PM

The senate began sitting on Wednesday without the much anticipated ministerial list from President Muhammadu Buhari.

Our correspondent reports that the tradition is that communication from the President is read before the commencement of proper legislative business but that did not happen.

The media was awash with reports that president Buhari through his special assistant on national assembly matters (senate) Senator Ita Enang on Tuesday transmitted the list to the leadership of the senate.

Nigerians have been waiting for the appointment of ministers by president Buhari since May 29 when he was sworn in but the president said he needed three months to select the best people possible into his cabinet. Buhari had set September 30 deadline for himself for the appointment of his ministers.

On Wednesday, the minority leader of the senate Godswill Apakbio raised a point of order that Senate President, Bukola Saraki had finished reading the announcement without the list.

“The President had promised to announce his ministerial nominees today and the Senate President has finished reading the days announcements without it, why?,” Akpabio  queried.

Bukola did not respond but Senate leader, Bala Ibn Na'Allah said the legislative day had not elapsed. He demanded the minority leader to be fair.

Saraki however ruled Akpabio out of order saying the explanation given by the Na’Allah was “explicit” enough.

The day’s sitting is still on.
Veep Calls for Increased Trade Between Ghana and Cuba
Ghana First Republic President Kwame Nkrumah with
Argentine-Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara in Ghana in 1965.
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has called for increased commercial and trade relations between Ghana and Cuba.

He said though Ghana and Cuba have had cultural and educational ties over the years, it is about time they deepen commercial and trade relations for the benefit of the people of the two countries.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur made the call when Mr Jorge Fernando Lebefre Nicolas, the outgoing Cuban Ambassador to Ghana called on him at his office at the Flagstaff House, in Accra on Tuesday.

Mr Jorge Fernando Lebefre Nicolas was at the Flagstaff House to bid farewell to Vice President Amissah-Arthur at the end of his four-year duty tour in the country.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur also commended the government of Cuba for its continuous support to Ghana, in terms of providing medical brigade and the training of Ghanaian technicians in Cuba.

He said Ghana still stands with Cuba in its campaign against the 50 year old embargo placed on the country by the United States of America.

He said Ghana is happy that Cuba has been able to restore diplomatic relations with the United States, adding that, this also brings new challenges to the country.

Mr Nicolas noted that Ghana over the years, had shown growth in its political maturity, and expressed delight that Ghana and Cuba have also collaborated on many issues including the training of Ghanaian students in Cuba and the Cuban medical brigade in Ghana.

He applauded the government of Ghana for the political support it gave to Cuba on many issues, especially on the economic blockade by the United States.

Mr Nicolas said Cuba would still need the support of its friends like Ghana for the total lifting of the economic embargo against his country.

He was grateful to Ghana for the support and the crusade for the release of the Cuban-five from United States prisons.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur presented a traditional stool to Mr Nicolas, who in turn presented a parcel to the Vice President to cement the relations between the two countries.

Earlier, Vice President Amissah-Arthur presented a 10-seater Hyundai bus to the RICHOFF Foundation, initiated by Mr Richard Offei, a physically challenged person at his residence.

The presentation of the Hyundai bus is in fulfilment of a promise he made to the foundation when he attended a fundraising and dinner of the organisation at the banquet hall.
Black Lives Matter Marathon Protest Plan Stirs Fear, Spurs Backlash
Potential clashes stir Black Lives Matter backlash

By Mary Lynn Smith
Star Tribune
SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 — 6:43AM

The start of the 2014 Twin Cities Marathon. Four days before more than 11,000 runners line up for the start of Sunday’s marathon, the threat by protesters to disrupt the 26.2-mile race has some on edge.

Four days before more than 11,000 runners line up for the start of Sunday’s Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, the threat by protesters to disrupt the 26.2-mile race has some marathoners on edge about their safety, while others are angry that months of training could be jeopardized as they approach the finish line.

The St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter says it’s planning on “shutting down” the annual October running event near the finish at the State Capitol to raise awareness of recent incidents involving St. Paul police and people of color.

St. Paul police and the marathon’s organizers declined Tuesday to discuss the protest, but issued statements saying they are working on plans to ensure the safety of runners, volunteers and spectators.

Thousands of those for and against the protest took to social media to voice their sentiments. Some who support Black Lives Matter said they opposed the group’s plan to disrupt a race that draws thousands of people who have trained months to run 26.2 miles, including many who are running to raise money for charitable causes.

Fear of violence

Tina Hauser, who runs about 12 marathons a year and is planning to run the Twin Cities race, said runners are very focused as they push to the end of the race and she’s concerned about potential conflicts.

“People are afraid of the worst-case scenario — violence,” she said.

But she said she doesn’t know anyone who isn’t going to run Sunday because of the protest. In trying to reach out to protest organizers, Hauser issued an appeal on Facebook.

“If you succeed in blocking our finish line, you are doing more than stopping human beings from crossing a rubber timing mat,” she wrote. “You are telling me that you do not value good citizens setting positive examples of perseverance and triumph.”

Hauser, of St. Cloud, said she refrained from commenting at first because she didn’t want to be perceived as being racist or unsympathetic to the Black Lives Matter cause. She merely wants organizers to better understand why disrupting the marathon isn’t a good idea.

“This isn’t just some dumb race or a bunch of vain people who want to go really fast,” she said in an interview. “At the end, as soon as I can catch my breath and sit down and get a piece of food, I’m happy to sit down with them,” she said. “Let’s get to know each other and talk as human beings. … A lot of my running friends have been talking about how we as a running community can help their cause.”

The St. Paul group’s spokesman, Rashad Turner, declined an interview request but sent a text quoting Martin Luther King Jr. saying that “the Negro’s great stumbling block to freedom…is the white moderate who is more devoted to order than justice…who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action.’ ”

The St. Paul chapter recently organized protests at the State Fair, the governor’s residence and on the Green Line light rail that have drawn crowds varying from dozens to hundreds.

Ashley Oliver, a member of Black Lives Matter-Minneapolis and the legal chairwoman of the NAACP in Minneapolis, also took to social media, speaking on her own behalf.

“It pains me to dissociate myself from this rally,” she said in an interview Tuesday. Although she’s been criticized by some for speaking out against the protest, she said disrupting the marathon is the wrong forum to get the Black Lives Matters message out. There’s no connection between the runners or the marathon to the injustices such as police brutality that she’s fighting against, she said.

“This puts the movement in an awful light,” Oliver said. “This is being done for publicity and for disturbance sake. I can’t get behind that. Our message will get lost.”

Oliver said some of the runners in this race sympathize with the Black Lives Matter cause. “Maybe they weren’t marching with us before, but they really aren’t now. … We can’t do this alone. Our communities intertwine. We have to allies in the community,” she said.

Perry Bach, part owner of Run N Fun, said some of his customers who are running the marathon are concerned about delays that the protest may cause. For some, a delay could prevent them from earning a qualifying time for the Boston marathon. For others, it’s about setting a personal best.

Bach said the runners he’s talked to are unified in their dismay about the protest at the marathon. “Many of the runners support their cause,” Bach said. “But they’re not making progress by doing this.”

Jeff Metzdorff, part-owner of Mill City Running, also is hearing from concerned runners. “We could end up with two masses of people heading in different directions, meeting head on,” he said. The protest could complicate getting medical help to a runner who may need help nearing the finish.”

St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders said Police Chief Tom Smith may address the protest issues on Wednesday.

“We are taking steps to ensure the event is safe and a success for all runners, spectators and everyone in the community who has put so much time and effort into the event,” Linders said. “We respect people’s rights to make their voices heard. But not at the expense of others.”

Staff writer Jim Walsh contributed to this report.
U.S. Strikes Taliban-Held Land Near Kunduz Airport as Afghan Crisis Deepens
Afghan army on patrol.
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
New York Times
SEPT. 30, 2015

KABUL, Afghanistan — American warplanes bombarded Taliban-held territory around the Kunduz airport overnight, and Afghan officials said American Special Forces were rushed toward the fighting. But by Wednesday morning, the crisis in northern Afghanistan had deepened, as the Taliban continued to surge outward from Kunduz, the major city that the militants captured on Monday.

The militants claimed critical stretches of highway and continued to threaten the area around the airport, where hundreds of Afghan soldiers and civilians have been holed up since the city fell.

Over the past three days, the Taliban have achieved what appears to be their largest military victory in a war that has gone on for more than a decade. Not only have insurgent forces captured a city of about 300,000 people — the first urban center the Taliban has held since 2001 — but as the reeling Afghan government struggles to respond, it has become clear that not only Kunduz but a large chunk of Afghanistan’s north is at stake.

In Baghlan Province south of Kunduz, Afghan reinforcements on their way to the city have been delayed or stopped altogether amid Taliban ambushes along the main highway. It appeared on Wednesday that before the Afghan government could launch a significant counteroffensive in Kunduz, it would first need to reclaim some of Baghlan.

Reinforcements in large numbers “will not be able to reach Kunduz without a big fight,” said Ted Callahan, a Western security adviser based in northeastern Afghanistan.

Abdul Shaker Urfani, a member of a community council in a northern part of Baghlan, said that more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers were stuck in the province. They were trying to reach Kunduz, “but they can’t break the Taliban resistance,” Mr. Urfani said.

Soon after Kunduz fell, Afghan military officials spoke of an imminent counterattack, using the airport five miles south of the city as a staging ground. But it has since become clear that the airport itself is imperiled, caught between the Taliban forces in Kunduz and the insurgents controlling the countryside in every other direction.

By Tuesday night, Taliban forces pressing south from Kunduz had pushed through the perimeter of the airport compound, threatening several hundred soldiers and at least as many civilians who had fled to the airport from the city. In fighting on Tuesday night, at least 17 members of the Afghan National Civil Order Police were wounded and one was killed defending the area around the airport.

The situation for the Afghan forces improved somewhat toward midnight: American warplanes conducted airstrikes at 11:30 p.m. and again at 1 a.m. on Taliban positions near the airport, an American military spokesman said. The Afghan Air Force also fired weapons.

Around the same time, soldiers with the American Special Forces headed out toward the city with Afghan commandos, according to Afghan government officials. Whether the Americans were there to take Taliban positions or to call in airstrikes was not known. By morning, the American forces appeared to have returned to the airport, according to people there who spoke by telephone.

An American military spokesman refused to discuss the matter.

But it appears that at least one American operation in the city of Kunduz failed. An Afghan security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that American forces had sought to resupply a group of beleaguered Afghan soldiers trapped in an ancient fortress north of the city.

For more than two days, the soldiers, at least 100 of them, had been fending off the encroaching Taliban. But American efforts to airdrop ammunition and weapons apparently failed, the Afghan official said.

“They missed the base and dropped the weapons in the river,” the official said, although it was not clear whether the weapons actually landed in the nearby Kalagaw River or simply missed the position by a long distance.

By noon on Wednesday, the fortress had fallen and about 60 soldiers had surrendered or been captured by the Taliban, although at least a few dozen managed to escape, the official said.

Questions about how thousands of army, police and militia defenders could continue to fare so poorly against a Taliban force that most local and military officials put in the hundreds hung over President Ashraf Ghani’s government and its American allies.

The number of Afghan government forces and militiamen defending Kunduz Province was said to be more than 7,000 when the city fell. Some fled to their homes, others retreated to the airport and still others are unaccounted for.

Jawad Sukhanyar contributed reporting.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sudan Reiterates Readiness to Send Ground Troops to Yemen
September 29, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has renewed its readiness to send troops to Yemen in support of the legitimate government there.

Sudan made the largely symbolic move last March of joining the Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi rebels who are accused by Riyadh of being a proxy to Iran in the region.

At the time it was reported that four Sudanese fighter jets were dispatched to Saudi Arabia during the airstrikes launched by the alliance in Yemen which is made up mainly of Arab Gulf states. However it is not clear if Sudanese planes actually took part in the aerial bombardment.

Last week, the Sudanese first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh confirmed that his government is poised to send the equivalent of a full brigade to confront the Houthis in Yemen.

Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo and permanent representative at the Arab League (AL) , Abdel-Mahmood Abdel-Haleem, on Tuesday reiterated Sudan’s readiness to meet the military demands of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

He told the Dubai based News24 website that his country is ready to deploy ground forces whenever requested to do so by the coalition, adding “however there is no Sudanese ground troops [in Yemen] at the moment”.

Earlier this month, media reports quoted sources as saying that 6,000 Sudanese troops have joined the fight inside Yemen but Sudan’s military spokesperson later said the troops are at the ready but not yet been sent.

“The martyrdom of several soldiers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain indicates that victory is imminent and the restoration of the legitimacy is only a matter of time”. Abdel-Haleem pointed out.

He stressed that there would be no retreat from the military campaign ably led by Saudi Arabia to restore the legitimacy in Yemen, noting that Khartoum is ready to meet the entire demands of the coalition.

Observers believe that economic pressures faced by Sudan caused by multiple military conflicts, US sanctions and the loss of oil due South Sudan’s secession in 2011 prompted the government to reconsider its regional alliances particularly with Iran.

Late last year, Sudanese authorities ordered the closure of the Iranian Cultural Centre in the capital Khartoum and other states and asked the Iranian cultural attaché to leave the country in a move seen as a gesture of goodwill towards the Arab Gulf states.

(ST)
South Sudan’s Kiir to Retain Key Ministries in Transition Period: Official
September 28, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s leader Salva Kiir will, for purposes of effectiveness, maintain key ministries during the proposed Transitional Government of National Unity (GoNU), the country’s cabinet affairs minister revealed on Sunday.

Martin Elia Lomoro told a local daily that the South Sudan leader would not allow ministries of defence, foreign affairs and interior go to the armed opposition.

“The agreement says the president is the chief foreign relations officer – that means he is the top diplomat,” Lomoro was quoted in Monday’s edition of The Stance newspaper.

“So how can he give the foreign affairs to someone else? The agreement the president is the commander in chief of the SPLA and the head of other organized forces. How can he give the ministry of defence to the opposition forces?” asked the minister.

According to the Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCRSS) signed by President Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar and Pagam Amum, the head of former political detainees, the executives will be shared among the parties of government (53%), armed opposition (33%), former detainees (7%), and other opposition political parties (7%) under the National Alliance. There thirty ministries are organized into three groups of Governance Cluster, ten (10) Ministries. The ministries are Cabinet Affairs; Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Defence and Veterans’ Affairs; Interior; Justice and Constitutional Affairs; National Security; Parliamentary Affairs; Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services; Ministry of Federal Affairs; Minister in the Office of the President.

There is the Economic Cluster, thirteen (13) Ministries of Finance and Planning; Petroleum, Mining; Agriculture and Food Security; Livestock and Fisheries; Trade and Industry; Energy and Dams; Transport; Roads and Bridges; Environment and Forestry; Land, Housing and Urban Development; Water Resources and Irrigation, Wildlife Conservation and Tourism. Then we have Service Delivery Cluster, seven (7) Ministries: Higher Education, Science and Technology; General Education and Instruction; Health; Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development; Gender, Child and Social Welfare; Culture, Youth, and Sports; Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.

“There is no government in the world where the president will come and say okay, I will take this ministry [and] you take this [ministry]. A government by definition is a team selected by elected president to serve in his government to achieve his objectives or policies as stated during the elections,” said Lomoro, contradicting what the accord says.

According to last month’s peace deal, signed last month, “each Party shall nominate TGoNU Ministerial portfolios on a rotational basis.” Government will first select its members from any of the clusters before the other parties to the peace agreement.

Lomoro, however, reiterated that government is committed to the peace deal, mediated by the Intergovernmental Authorities on Development (IGAD) and international partners.

The TGoNU is expected by end of December after first vice president, Riek Machar has been sworn in. The selection of ministries is seen as a test for two parties to the accord.

Lomoro said the “hard-liners” in both government and the opposition have a hard choice.

“Generally speaking, the program of our government is peace although you will find some people who are hardliners because they want to achieve the maximum,” he said.

The minister earlier called for dissolution of the mediation team his group, which allied to president Kiir’s government, was blocked from participating in the final round of talks.

OPPOSITION REFUTES INTERPRETATION

But the armed opposition faction, SPLM-IO, led by first vice president designate, Riek Machar, said the president has no power to control selection of the ministries, saying it will depend on whether they will be lucky to select ministries of foreign affairs, defence and interior.

“The peace agreement is very clear on the selection process of the ministries. Definitely, the government will have the opportunity to make the first selection from any of the three clusters of the ministries. If for instance they select ministry of defence first, they will not have power to also retain others such as foreign affairs and interior. The other three factions in their chance may take any of the ministries including the two,” explained Machar’s press secretary, James Gatdet Dak.

Dak predicted that in the first two rounds of selections of eight ministries which will involve the government, SPLM-IO, former detainees and political parties, the government may get two key ministries and lose six to the other three factions.

He also said the government will be a coalition of the four factions but with president and his two deputies, arguing that even if defence of foreign affairs went to one of the opposition factions wouldn’t mean president Kiir will not preside over such institutions.

He said holding some ministries as untouchable in the selection process would be a grave violation of the provision of the power sharing agreement.

(ST)