What Obama Owes Putin—And Why Donald Trump is Left Holding the Bag

Is Donald Trump a Russian secret agent? Did he pay FSB hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz in Moscow, overlooking the Kremlin? It’s silly season, so any drunk on a fat oppo-research expense account can write down any crazy foolishness they want and Buzzfeed will let you decide if it’s true because that, as Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith, solemnly explained to The New York Times, is where American journalism is at in 2017. Duly noted, Buzzfeed. Enjoy the golden showers.

What’s being obscured by this grotesquerie is the origin and the actual substance of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, which in turn affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Or, to put it another way: Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sure, Obama recently sent 35 Russian diplomats packing and shuttered Russian diplomatic facilities in Maryland and New York, but this was after seven years of looking the other way while Russia seized Crimea, then Donbass; waged cyberattacks on the Baltic countries; brought down a passenger jet over Ukraine; sheltered Edward Snowden; and bombed schools and hospitals in Syria. All of these actions threatened global stability and American interests, yet Obama only puffed his chest after the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails—long after it mattered, and after the moving vans have already started to haul his stuff out of the White House.

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Legacies . . .His and Ours

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Yes, Aleppo is Part of Obama’s Legacy

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So now, maybe, it’s time to think about OUR legacy. Yours and mine.

As you know, my Dry Bones cartoons fight against antisemitism and BDS. I distribute these Dry Bones cartoons through many channels, at no charge to you and to my other readers, but the operation costs me an annual $100,000. So how, I wondered, can I find this annual $100,000? I then thought of “the 36”. The Lamed Vavnikim.

Let me explain. Medieval Jewish mystics wrestled with a baffling question; “Given the wickedness of humanity and the cruelty of the world, why doesn’t an angry Creator simply destroy his creation?” Pouring over both Biblical and “hidden” texts they deduced that in every generation there are 36 people, hidden from view, whose righteousness prevents the divine destruction of our world. In the Hebrew numerological system, the two Hebrew letters Lamed and Vav, written as a word, represents the number 36. And so the hidden righteous “thirty-sixers” who save the world are called the Lamed Vavnikim.

So how will I raise our annual budget of $100,000?

The answer is simple. But the search is difficult. I need to find my Thirty Sixers. . . . my “Lamed Vavnikim”. Thirty Six righteous people who would each give $3,000 a year to help turn this often wicked world into “a better place” (Tikun Olam).

It’ll be YOUR legacy.

If you can and will become one of my Dry Bones 36 (Lamed Vavnikim) by joining this special group, just click on this Link.
http://drybonesproject.com/36/

If you are unable to join the 36, please give what you can.

http://drybonesproject.com/give/

Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973

We are watching Aleppo burn in real time. And just like in Bosnia and Rwanda, we do nothing

Every time a massacre happens, we say “never again”. Now, “never again” is happening in Aleppo, as I write.

The government’s operation to recapture the rebel-held eastern part of the city is in its final stages and reports of atrocities are coming in.

The Syrian army is reportedly going from house to house and executing residents on the spot. At least 82 civilians, including women and children, were shot on Monday, according to a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Residents fear summary executions, forced disappearances, torture, and rape – a grim litany of war crimes. Meanwhile, the Syrian regime and the Russian government are ignoring calls for the safe passage of civilians from war-torn Aleppo, as more than 100,000 terrified people are still trapped inside the city.

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‘We Are About to Die’: The End Comes for Aleppo

The fate of tens of thousands of civilians and rebel fighters is at stake as forces supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad stand poised to retake the last neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo.

Both the ordinary people and the gunmen trapped in the rebel-section of the city are all that stands between the Assad regime and what would be one of its most important victories in more than five and a half years of revolution and war. Aleppo was Syria’s largest city before the war emerged from the uprising that began in 2011. Since 2012 Aleppo has been a key battleground in the fight between the regime and armed opposition groups. The recapture of the city would signal a potentially decisive shift in the conflict, cementing the government’s hold on a strategic swath of the country and rousting the opposition from its signature stronghold.

People living in the shrinking rebel sector of the city face an impossible choice: stay and face death or capture, or attempt to flee. Those who run risk their lives traversing a war zone, and face an uncertain fate if they manage to reach a government-controlled section of the city. East Aleppo residents fear they could be detained, tortured or disappeared by the security forces over their support, real or perceived, for the rebels. Hundreds of men aged 30 to 50 have already gone missing after entering government-held areas, according to reports gathered by the United Nations.

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Making Sense of the Mess in Syria

On July 30, 1970 a squadron of Israeli air force F-4E Phantoms and Mirages laden with bombs and missiles took off from their airbase in Sinai and flew westward toward Egypt. Their target was an Egyptian radar station.

The action occurred during the height of the War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptians were faring badly and their armed forces had suffered a series of public humiliations at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces. As a consequence, the Soviets stepped into the fray to save their client state and deployed 10,000 military personal and technical experts to the theater. The Soviets also assumed full control of Egypt’s air defenses. Surface-to-air missile batteries were manned by Soviet personnel and Soviet piloted MiG 21Js – the Soviet Union’s latest MiG-21 variant – patrolled Egyptian airspace. A direct clash between the Soviet Union and Israel was inevitable.

As the Israeli fighters zeroed in on their target, 16 Soviet MiGs moved in to intercept. In the melee that followed, five MiGs were shot down for no Israeli losses. The remaining 11 MiGs beat a hasty retreat. The Soviets were simply no match for the seasoned Israeli pilots.

The clash brought regional tensions – already heightened after one year of near constant border clashes – to a boiling point but neither side wanted an escalation. A ceasefire was eventually brokered by the superpowers and tensions deescalated.

Russia’s present military deployment in Syria is not dissimilar to its deployment in Egypt 46 years ago but the chances of an Israeli-Russian aerial clash today is virtually nil. There are some salient differences between the two circumstances. Israel and Russia are no longer bitter enemies and currently maintain cordial relations. Lines of communications between the two nations are good. Potential misunderstandings – to the extent that any exist – are channeled through liaisons to prevent accidental confrontations.

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The Soviet-Palestinian Lie

The recent discovery that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), was a KGB spy in Damascus in 1983, was discarded by many in the mainstream media as a “historical curiosity” — except that the news inconveniently came out at the time that President Vladimir Putin was trying to organize new talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Predictably, the Palestinian Authority immediately dismissed the news. Fatah official Nabil Shaath denied that Abbas was ever a KGB operative, and called the claim a “smear campaign.”

The discovery, far from being a “historical curiosity,” is an aspect of one of many pieces in the puzzle of the origins of 20th and 21st century Islamic terrorism. Those origins are almost always obfuscated and obscured in ill-concealed attempts at presenting a particular narrative about the causes of contemporary terrorism, while decrying all and any evidence to the contrary as “conspiracy theories.”

There is nothing conspiratorial about the latest revelation. It comes from a document in the Mitrokhin archives at the Churchill Archives Center at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Vasily Mitrokhin was a former senior officer of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence service, who was later demoted to KGB archivist. At immense risk to his own life, he spent 12 years diligently copying secret KGB files that would not otherwise have become available to the public (the KGB foreign intelligence archives remain sealed from the public, despite the demise of the Soviet Union). When Mitrokhin defected from the Russia in 1992, he brought the copied files with him to the UK. The declassified parts of the Mitrokhin archives were brought to the public eye in the writings of Cambridge professor Christopher Andrew, who co-wrote The Mitrokhin Archive (published in two volumes) together with the Soviet defector. Mitrokhin’s archives led, among other things, to the discovery of many KGB spies in the West and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the history of the full extent of the KGB’s influence and disinformation operations is not nearly as well-known as it should be, considering the immense influence that the KGB wielded on international affairs. The KGB conducted hostile operations against NATO as a whole, against democratic dissent within the Soviet bloc, and set in motion subversive events in Latin America and the Middle East, which resonate to this day.

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Putin’s Puritan Piety: The Ideological War against the West

During the Cold War, American conservatives used to label the Soviet Union “the godless nation” on the verge of collapse because it had purged religion from the Russian society. Two decades later, the Kremlin is occupied by a former officer of the KGB, secretly baptized, who launches the same accusation of atheism at the United States and the West.

Welcome to “Putin’s covert war on Western decadence“, as The Spectator defined it:

“Putin’s Russia is fast becoming a very puritan place. Ever since returning to the presidency in 2012, Putin has pursued an increasingly religious-conservative ideology both at home and abroad, defining Russia as a moral fortress against sexual licence and decadence, porn and gay rights”.

Recently, Russian officials censored porn websites. When the largest pornography site on the internet, PornHub, offered the Russia’s official communications and media watchdog a premium account in exchange for lifting the ban, Russian officials replied: “Sorry, we are not in the market and the demography is not a commodity.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ideological war against the West is getting cocky and self-confident. In a televised speech from a Kremlin hall, Putin declared that Russian traditional family values are a bulwark against the West’s “so-called tolerance — genderless and infertile.”

“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have abandoned their roots, including Christian values,” said Putin. The patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Kirill, echoed Putin by charging the West of being engaged in a “spiritual disarmament” of the Russian people, and by criticizing the European laws that prevent wearing religious symbols in public. “We have experienced an era of atheism and we know what it means to live without God”, Kirill said.

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