Monday, June 17, 2013
Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a$39.7 milliondebt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured debt, but those who visitmy site on a regular basis were probably not too surprised. Anyone with half a brain and a calculator could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard.
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has submitted a proposal that would pay unsecured creditors about 10 cents on the dollar. Similar haircuts would be made to underfunded pension and health benefits for retirees. Orr is hoping that the creditors and the unions that he will be negotiating with will accept this package, but he concedes that there is still a "50-50 chance" that the city of Detroit will be forced to formally file for bankruptcy. But what Detroit is facing is not really that unique.
In fact, Detroit is a perfect example of what the future of America is going to look like. We live in a nation that is rotting, decaying, drowning in debt and racing toward insolvency. Already there are dozens of other cities across the nation that are poverty-ridden, crime-infested hellholes just like Detroit is, and hundreds of other communities are rapidly heading in that direction. So don't look down on Detroit. They just got there before the rest of us.
The following are some facts about Detroit that are absolutely mind-blowing...
1 - Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.
2 - Over the past 60 years, the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.
3 - At this point, approximately 40 percent of all the streetlights in the city don't work.
4 - Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 miles on them.
5 - 210 of the 317 public parks in the city of Detroit have beenpermanently closed down.
6 - According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.
7 - Approximately one-third of Detroit's 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.
8 - Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.
9 - If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
10 - According to one very shocking report, 47 percent of the residents of Detroit are functionally illiterate.
11 - Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.
12 - Ten years ago, there were approximately 5,000 police officers in the city of Detroit. Today, there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.
13 - Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.
14 - The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.
15 - Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to "enter Detroit at your own risk".
16 - Right now, the city of Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.
As Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr noted last week, it took a very long time for Detroit to get into this condition...
“What the average Detroiter needs to understand is that where we are right now is a culmination of years and years and years of kicking the can down the road,” said Orr, adding that his proposal should not be seen as a “hostile act” but as a step in the right direction.
Does that sound familiar?
U.S. politicians have also been kicking the can down the road for "years and years and years".
But eventually you can't kick the can down the road anymore.
Sometimes it is helpful to step back and look at what we have done to ourselves over the past several decades.
For example, back in 1980 the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, it is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars.
And our debt binge has greatly accelerated under Barack Obama.
During Barack Obama's first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
Isn't that insane?
In fact, if you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
The following are a lot more facts about our exploding national debt from one of my previous articles entitled "55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know"...
#1 While Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in.
#2 During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. government took in2.449 trillion dollars but it spent 3.538 trillion dollars.
#3 During fiscal year 2011, over a trillion dollars of government money was spent on 83 different welfare programs, and those numbers do not even include Social Security or Medicare.
#4 Over the past four years, welfare spending has increased by 32 percent. In inflation-adjusted dollars, spending on those programs has risen by 378 percent over the past 30 years. At this point, more than100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Once again, these figures do not even include Social Security or Medicare.
#5 Over the past year, the number of Americans getting a free cell phone from the federal government has grown by 43 percent. Now more than 16 million Americans are enjoying what has come to be known as an "Obamaphone".
#6 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans were on food stamps. Now, 47 million Americans are on food stamps. And this has happened during what Obama refers to as "an economic recovery".
#7 The U.S. government recently spent 27 million dollars on pottery classes in Morocco.
#8 The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently spent $300,000 to encourage Americans to eat caviar at a time when more families than ever are having a really hard time just trying to put any food on the table at all.
#9 During 2012, the National Science Foundation spent $516,000 to support the creation of a video game called "Prom Week", which apparently simulates "all the social interactions of the event."
#10 The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the largest snack food maker in the world (PepsiCo Inc.) a total of 1.3 million dollars in corporate welfare that was used to help build "a Greek yogurt factory in New York."
#11 The National Science Foundation recently gave researchers at Purdue University $350,000. They used part of that money to help fund a study that discovered that if golfers imagine that a hole is bigger it will help them with their putting.
#12 If you can believe it, $10,000 from the federal government was actually used to purchase talking urinal cakes up in Michigan.
#13 The National Science Foundation recently gave a whopping$697,177 to a New York City-based theater company to produce a musical about climate change.
#14 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $666,905 to a group of researchers that is studying the benefits of watching reruns on television.
#15 The National Science Foundation has given 1.2 million dollars to a team of "scientists" that is spending part of that money on a study that is seeking to determine whether elderly Americans would benefit from playing World of Warcraft or not.
#16 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $548,731 to a team of researchers that concluded that those that drink heavily in their thirties also tend to feel more immature.
#17 The National Science Foundation recently spent $30,000 on a study to determine if "gaydar" actually exists. This is the conclusion that the researchers reached at the end of the study
#18 Back in 2011, the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
#19 The U.S. government spends more on the military than China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined. In fact, the United States accounts for 41.0% of all military spending on the planet. China is next with only 8.2%.
#20 In a previous article, I noted that close to 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#21 In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year. Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do.
#22 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#23 During 2010, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
#24 The U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more back in 2005. When Barack Obama became president, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more. By June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.
#25 During 2010, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#26 If you can believe it, close to 15,000 retired federal employees are currently collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#27 During 2010, the federal government spent $33,387 on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators.
#28 During 2010, U.S. Senators pulled $72,370 out of the "Senate Restaurant Fund".
#29 During 2010, an average of $4,005,900 of U.S. taxpayer money was spent on "personal" and "office" expenses per Senator.
#30 In 2013, 3.7 million dollars will be spent to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
#31 During 2011, the federal government spent a total of 1.4 BILLION dollars just on the Obamas.
#32 When you combine all federal government spending, all state government spending and all local government spending, it comes toapproximately 41 percent of U.S. GDP. But don't worry, all of our politicians insist that this is not socialism.
#33 As I have written about previously, less than 30 percent of all Americans lived in a home where at least one person received financial assistance from the federal government back in 1983. Today, that number is sitting at an all-time high of 49 percent.
#34 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America. This year, it is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States.
#35 The number of Americans on Medicaid soared from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#36 In one of my previous articles, I discussed how it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#37 If you can believe it, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
#38 In the United States today, more than 61 million Americansreceive some form of Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to a whopping 91 million.
#39 Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
#40 When Barack Obama first took office, the U.S. national debt was about 10.6 trillion dollars. Now it is about 16.7 trillion dollars. That is an increase of 6.1 trillion dollars in a little more than 4 years.
#41 The federal government has now run a budget deficit of more than a trillion dollars for four years in a row.
#42 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
#43 If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#44 Some suggest that "taxing the rich" is the answer. Well, if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
#45 If the federal government used GAAP accounting standards like publicly traded corporations do, the real federal budget deficit for 2011 would have been 5 trillion dollars instead of 1.3 trillion dollars.
#46 The United States already has more government debt per capitathan Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain does.
#47 At this point, the United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.
#48 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.
#49 Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.
#50 The U.S. national debt is now more than 37 times larger than it was when Richard Nixon took us off the gold standard.
#51 The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
#52 The U.S. national debt jumped more on the very first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined.
#53 Historically, the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has averaged 6.68 percent. If the average interest rate on U.S. government debt rose to that level today, the U.S. government would find itself spending more than a trillion dollars per year just on interest on the national debt.
#54 A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.
#55 Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff is warning that the U.S. government is facing a gigantic tsunami of unfunded liabilities in the coming years that we are counting on our children and our grandchildren to pay. Kotlikoff speaks of a "fiscal gap" which he defines as "the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue". His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the federal government is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. We are in the process of committing national financial suicide and time is rapidly running out to do anything about it.
Just like Detroit, a day is rapidly approaching when America will not be able to kick the can down the road anymore.
Sadly, our politicians don't seem inclined to do anything about it and most of the population seems to think that our exploding national debt is not a significant problem.
By the time it becomes clear how wrong they were, it will be far too late to do anything about it.
MOSCOW, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - A new attack missile craft will start sea trials with Russia’s Caspian Flotilla in early July, the Southern Military District said on Monday.
The Grad Sviyazhsk Project 21631 missile corvette is due to join the Flotilla after completing all trials and state tests before the end of the year, the district's press service said.
The corvette has a displacement of 949 tons and maximum speed of 25 knots. It is armed with Kalibr (SS-N-27) anti-ship missiles, 100-mm and 30-mm guns, as well as Igla-1M air defense missiles.
In addition to the Grad Sviyazhsk, the Caspian Flotilla will also take delivery of an Uglich missile corvette, a Grachonok-class high-speed patrol boat, several Serna class landing craft, and three tugboats in the near future, the strategic command’s press service said in March.
The Serna class landing craft can carry either one tank or two infantry fighting vehicles (or armored personnel carriers), or a 92-man landing party.
The Caspian flotilla already has several Serna class vessels, the Navy confirmed earlier, without giving a specific figure.
|We ended the last entry pointing out how former Sirhan Sirhan attorney, Day Williams, believed Charleston, South Carolina at the thirty third parallel, was perfect for the sacrifice and parallel ceremony described by Malachi Martin because, “If a life is taken close to the…33rd Parallel, this fits with the Masons’ demonic mythology in which they demonstrate their worldly power by spilling human blood at a predetermined locale.”|
Martin added additional reasons for the South Carolina location:
Such unobtrusive elements as the Pentagram and the black candles and the appropriate draperies could be part of the Ceremonial in Rome. But other Ruberics—the Bowl of Bones and the Ritual Din, for example, the sacrificial animals and the victim—would be too much. There would have to be a Parallel Enthronement. A Concelebration could be accomplished with the same effect by the Brethren in an Authorized Targeting Chapel. Provided all the participants in both locations “targeted” every element of the Event on the Roman Chapel, then the Event in its fullness would be accomplished specifically in the target area. It would all be a matter of unanimity of hearts, identity of intention and perfect synchronization of words and actions between the Targeting Chapel and the Target Chapel. The living wills and the thinking minds of the Participants concentrated on the specific Aim of the Prince would transcend all distance.[ii]
Martin’s chilling description in Windswept House of the methodical profanation of everything virtuous and innocent during the “Parallel Enthronement” between the Targeting Chapel and the Target Chapel included indescribably foul Invocations, sadistic animal sacrifices, and repeated violations of a young “Ritual Victim” on an altar. For the uninitiated, the very idea this happened strains credulity. Yet when John F. McManus (for The New American, June 9, 1997) asked Father Martin if the Black Mass in South Carolina had actually occurred, it led to an enlightening Q and A:
McManus: Your book begins with a vivid description of a sacrilegious “Black Mass” held in 1963 in Charleston, South Carolina. Did this really happen?
Martin: Yes it did. And the participation by telephone of some high officials of the church in the Vatican is also a fact. The young female who was forced to be a part of this satanic ritual is very much alive and, happily, has been able to marry and lead a normal life. She supplied details about the event.…
McManus: In addition…you depict numerous other cardinals and bishops in a very bad light. Are these characterizations based on fact?
Martin: Yes, among the cardinals and the hierarchy there are satanists, homosexuals, anti-papists, and cooperators in the drive for world rule.[iii]
Even more explosive, near the end of Windswept Housethere is an often overlooked section providing explicit details of the enthronement ceremony and its true purpose to create a Final Pope under the control of Satan. Martin provides details of the “Roman Phalanx,” another name for the Vatican satanic cult, as well as describing their ultimate goal:
As a body, they had sworn “the Sacred Oath of Commitment” administered by the Delegate. Then each man had approached the Altar to give “Evidence” of his personal dedication. With blood drawn by the prick of a golden pin, each had pressed his fingerprint beside his name on the Bill of Authorization. Henceforth, the life and work of every member of the Phalanx in the Roman Citadel was to be focused on the transformation of the papacy itself. No longer was the Petrine Office to be an instrument of the “Nameless Weakling” [Jesus]. It was to be fashioned into a willing instrument of the Prince [Satan], and a living model for “the New Age of Man.”[iv]
Thus, it appears frighteningly evident that, like in the movieRosemary’s Baby and in the visions and fears of so many Catholic seers, a ceremony for invoking the incarnation of Satan’s seed—or installing it ritualistically inside a chosen priest—was indeed performed, and a blood oath of dedication enacted for its goals by highly placed Satanists inside the Roman Catholic Citadel did take place a little less than fifty years ago.
Whether Martin was killed and his death covered up for revealing this satanic scheme to use the Catholic Church as a launching pad for a luciferic novus ordo seclorum may never be known. One year before he died, however, Martin’s very good friend, Father Alfred Kunz, was brutally murdered at his St. Michael Catholic Church in Dane, Wisconsin. Kunz had been investigating the same Satanism among priests that Martin had warned about, and had told Martin in the weeks before his murder that he feared for his life.
When Kunz was found dead with his throat slit, Martin claimed in various media that he had “inside information” that the Vatican “luciferians” had murdered him because he was getting ready to blow the lid off their conspiracy. The satanic animal sacrifice described by Martin in Windswept House as part of the “enthronement of the Fallen Archangel Lucifer in the Vatican” seems eerily comparable to what was indeed discovered in Dane County during the first hours of the murder investigation, including a calf which had been found sacrificed on a farm near St. Michael’s Church exactly twenty-four hours before Kunz was last seen alive. According to police reports, the calf’s throat was slit, as was the throat of Father Kunz, and its genitals cut off. There are details we will not discuss in this series due to their horrific nature, but deep within occultism there are reasons for removing the genitals of a sacrifice having to do with blasphemy of the Old Testament description of animals being accounted unworthy as offerings to the Lord if their testicles are bruised, crushed, torn, or cut (Leviticus 22:24).
According to survivors of ritual satanic abuse (including Egyptian-Masonic Satanism), human sacrificial victims are sometimes laid on a table and their genitals likewise removed in order to make them “unworthy” or unfit for salvation (though versions of such abuse in South Africa are called “muti” murders, and some people pay large sums of money for genitalia from these human sacrifices in the belief it will bring them fertility, health, and good fortune). Then there is the ancient occult idea that decapitated persons cannot partake in the resurrection, thus dark rituals can include mutilation of the head, throat, and genitals where damnation of the victim is meant as a magical curse. In the case of the Dane County murder, was a black ritual performed between the hours of 10 p.m. on March 2, and 4 a.m. on March 3, 1998, to “target” Father Kunz and to “mark” him unfit for redemption?
During our investigative research for the book Petrus Romanus [a movie based on the book to be available in a few weeks], we made formal requests of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for pertinent case files (DCSO Case # 98011295) pertaining to the ongoing investigation of the Father Kunz homicide. After first being told the files we requested would be given us, on December 15, 2011 we received a letter from the office of Lieutenant Mark Twombly signed by Sheriff Mahoney that the District Attorney would need to approve the release of the files (in other words it would take a court order) and therefore the request had been denied. Since this is an active, ongoing case, the sensitive records are not to be made public at this time and this is understandable. In filing a second request for less delicate documents, we were able to obtain a packet of files, but none of these provided solid clues to the larger question of conspiracy related to the murder of Father Kunz—specifically, was evidence discovered at the crime scene that his murder was somehow connected to his conservative position on Vatican II and, more importantly, that he had information on certain pedophile priests and Satanists (that had earned him fierce enemies within the Church) reaching all the way to the Catholic hierarchy in Rome involved in ceremonies or behavior related to the enthronement of Lucifer and a ritual conducted for the purpose of transmigrating a particular spirit into Petrus Romanus?
“In the absence of an arrest, the Kunz case has developed into a sinister religious Rorschach for many—certainly among those close to the case who consider themselves traditionalists within the troubled Roman Catholic Church,”[v] wrote Chuck Nowlen in the 2001 cover story forLas Vegas Weekly, “The Devil and Father Kunz.” At that time, Nowlen had interviewed Peter Kelly, a Monroe, Wisconsin attorney and master’s divinity student who had produced Kunz’s weekly radio show. Given that Kelly was a good friend of Kunz and had spent substantial time with him in private conversations, his response to Nowlen’s questions reveal a lot about what Kelly personally believed lay at the root of the murder: “This is a time of major crisis within the church, and the breakdown tends to be along traditional and conservative versus liberal lines. I think it’s getting almost to the point of complete collapse. And, yeah, I know: Some people delve into a so-called satanic influence in the church, and everybody sort of rolls their eyes and laughs. But, I tell you, the nexus is really there.”[vi]
Still, Nowlen wondered, could someone within the Church really have killed Kunz—or ordered him killed?
“Absolutely,” the lawyer confirmed, “as unbelievable as that might sound to some people.”[vii]
Finally, from the the Q and A with McManus, Martin revealed the end-game behind those who may have murdered Father Kunz and infiltrated the Catholic Church:
McManus: Your book claims that subversive influences in the highest clerical positions of the Church are working to bring it into the New World Order. What do you mean by “New World Order?”
Martin: In its completely planned form…the governments of the world will be directed by those who have climbed their way into the capstone.
McManus: What do you mean by the “capstone”?
Martin: The underlying force I have written about in Windswept House is structured very much like a pyramid. It is wide at the bottom where many individuals work for its goals and hope to be elevated to a higher place. There are fewer and fewer inhabitants in each of the ascending steps in the structure. Only a very few form its ultimate directorate, the capstone of the pyramid.[viii]
Long before popular author Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol) characterized an Illuminati scheme to destroy the Vatican, Malachi Martin had pointed to the familiar pyramid symbolism from the Great Seal of the United States associated with the New World Order and had accurately directed investigators toward the conspirators, as well as to the prophetic references of thenovus ordo seclorum as arriving when the capstone would be figuratively filled and fitted atop the unfinished pyramid. Whether Martin perceived the year that the conspirator’s plan would reach its zenith is uncertain, but the occult elite have always had their date, which, as the reader of the upcoming book Zenith 2016 will discover, is cleverly encoded alongside the other details of the complete cipher in the Great Seal of the United States. It indicates that something began in 2012 and will reach its zenith in 2016. Is it thus coincidental that the Vice President of the United States just called for the creation of “the New World Order”?[ix]
Washington’s decision to arm Syria’s Sunni Muslim rebels has plunged America into the great Sunni-Shia conflict of the Islamic Middle East, entering a struggle that now dwarfs the Arab revolutions which overthrew dictatorships across the region.
For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East.
The Independent on Sunday has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years. Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.
In years to come, historians will ask how America – after its defeat in Iraq and its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for 2014 – could have so blithely aligned itself with one side in a titanic Islamic struggle stretching back to the seventh century death of the Prophet Mohamed. The profound effects of this great schism, between Sunnis who believe that the father of Mohamed’s wife was the new caliph of the Muslim world and Shias who regard his son in law Ali as his rightful successor – a seventh century battle swamped in blood around the present-day Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala – continue across the region to this day. A 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbott, compared this Muslim conflict to that between “Papists and Protestants”.
America’s alliance now includes the wealthiest states of the Arab Gulf, the vast Sunni territories between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey and the fragile British-created monarchy in Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – flooded, like so many neighbouring nations, by hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – may also now find himself at the fulcrum of the Syrian battle. Up to 3,000 American ‘advisers’ are now believed to be in Jordan, and the creation of a southern Syria ‘no-fly zone’ – opposed by Syrian-controlled anti-aircraft batteries – will turn a crisis into a ‘hot’ war. So much for America’s ‘friends’.
Its enemies include the Lebanese Hizballah, the Alawite Shiite regime in Damascus and, of course, Iran. And Iraq, a largely Shiite nation which America ‘liberated’ from Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority in the hope of balancing the Shiite power of Iran, has – against all US predictions – itself now largely fallen under Tehran’s influence and power. Iraqi Shiites as well as Hizballah members, have both fought alongside Assad’s forces.
Washington’s excuse for its new Middle East adventure – that it must arm Assad’s enemies because the Damascus regime has used sarin gas against them – convinces no-one in the Middle East. Final proof of the use of gas by either side in Syria remains almost as nebulous as President George W. Bush’s claim that Saddam’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
For the real reason why America has thrown its military power behind Syria’s Sunni rebels is because those same rebels are now losing their war against Assad. The Damascus regime’s victory this month in the central Syrian town of Qusayr, at the cost of Hizballah lives as well as those of government forces, has thrown the Syrian revolution into turmoil, threatening to humiliate American and EU demands for Assad to abandon power. Arab dictators are supposed to be deposed – unless they are the friendly kings or emirs of the Gulf – not to be sustained. Yet Russia has given its total support to Assad, three times vetoing UN Security Council resolutions that might have allowed the West to intervene directly in the civil war.
In the Middle East, there is cynical disbelief at the American contention that it can distribute arms – almost certainly including anti-aircraft missiles – only to secular Sunni rebel forces in Syria represented by the so-called Free Syria Army. The more powerful al-Nusrah Front, allied to al-Qaeda, dominates the battlefield on the rebel side and has been blamed for atrocities including the execution of Syrian government prisoners of war and the murder of a 14-year old boy for blasphemy. They will be able to take new American weapons from their Free Syria Army comrades with little effort.
From now on, therefore, every suicide bombing in Damascus - every war crime committed by the rebels - will be regarded in the region as Washington’s responsibility. The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration. This terrible irony can only be exacerbated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adament refusal to tolerate any form of Sunni extremism. His experience in Chechenya, his anti-Muslim rhetoric – he has made obscene remarks about Muslim extremists in a press conference in Russian – and his belief that Russia’s old ally in Syria is facing the same threat as Moscow fought in Chechenya, plays a far greater part in his policy towards Bashar al-Assad than the continued existence of Russia’s naval port at the Syrian Mediterranean city of Tartous.
For the Russians, of course, the ‘Middle East’ is not in the ‘east’ at all, but to the south of Moscow; and statistics are all-important. The Chechen capital of Grozny is scarcely 500 miles from the Syrian frontier. Fifteen per cent of Russians are Muslim. Six of the Soviet Union’s communist republics had a Muslim majority, 90 per cent of whom were Sunni. And Sunnis around the world make up perhaps 85 per cent of all Muslims. For a Russia intent on repositioning itself across a land mass that includes most of the former Soviet Union, Sunni Islamists of the kind now fighting the Assad regime are its principal antagonists.
Iranian sources say they liaise constantly with Moscow, and that while Hizballah’s overall withdrawal from Syria is likely to be completed soon – with the maintenance of the militia’s ‘intelligence’ teams inside Syria – Iran’s support for Damascus will grow rather than wither. They point out that the Taliban recently sent a formal delegation for talks in Tehran and that America will need Iran’s help in withdrawing from Afghanistan. The US, the Iranians say, will not be able to take its armour and equipment out of the country during its continuing war against the Taliban without Iran’s active assistance. One of the sources claimed – not without some mirth -- that the French were forced to leave 50 tanks behind when they left because they did not have Tehran’s help.
It is a sign of the changing historical template in the Middle East that within the framework of old Cold War rivalries between Washington and Moscow, Israel’s security has taken second place to the conflict in Syria. Indeed, Israel’s policies in the region have been knocked askew by the Arab revolutions, leaving its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, hopelessly adrift amid the historic changes.
Only once over the past two years has Israel fully condemned atrocities committed by the Assad regime, and while it has given medical help to wounded rebels on the Israeli-Syrian border, it fears an Islamist caliphate in Damascus far more than a continuation of Assad’s rule. One former Israel intelligence commander recently described Assad as “Israel’s man in Damascus”. Only days before President Mubarak was overthrown, both Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Washington to ask Obama to save the Egyptian dictator. In vain.
If the Arab world has itself been overwhelmed by the two years of revolutions, none will have suffered from the Syrian war in the long term more than the Palestinians. The land they wish to call their future state has been so populated with Jewish Israeli colonists that it can no longer be either secure or ‘viable’. ‘Peace’ envoy Tony Blair’s attempts to create such a state have been laughable. A future ‘Palestine’ would be a Sunni nation. But today, Washington scarcely mentions the Palestinians.
Another of the region’s supreme ironies is that Hamas, supposedly the ‘super-terrorists’ of Gaza, have abandoned Damascus and now support the Gulf Arabs’ desire to crush Assad. Syrian government forces claim that Hamas has even trained Syrian rebels in the manufacture and use of home-made rockets.
In Arab eyes, Israel’s 2006 war against the Shia Hizballah was an attempt to strike at the heart of Iran. The West’s support for Syrian rebels is a strategic attempt to crush Iran. But Iran is going to take the offensive. Even for the Middle East, these are high stakes. Against this fearful background, the Palestinian tragedy continues.