Politics

The Caliphate vs. Everyone Else

Immanuel Wallerstein, August 15, 2014

In the endless geopolitical realignments of the Middle East, the Caliphate of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS or ISIL) seems to have frightened just about everyone else involved in Middle Eastern politics into a de facto geopolitical alliance. All of a sudden, we find Iran and the United States, the Kurds (both in Syria and Iraq) and Israel, Turkey and Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government, western Europe (Great Britain, France, and Germany) and Russia all pursuing in different ways the same objective: stop the Caliphate from expanding and consolidating itself.

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Behind Obama’s ‘Chaotic’ Foreign Policy

An Article by Robert Parry published at Consortiumnews.com on August 21, 2014

The chaos enveloping U.S. foreign policy stems from President Obama’s unwillingness to challenge Official Washington’s power centers which favor neoconservatism and “liberal interventionism” – strategies that have often undercut real U.S. national security interests.

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Terror against Christians in Iraq

Statement by the Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, August 14, 2014

The tragic events caused by the unprecedented terror employed by militants against Christians in Iraq urge the Russian Orthodox Church again to raise her voice in their defence.

About 1,5 million Christians lived in Iraq before 2003. Religious radicalism, banditry, continued terror attacks, killings and discrimination against Christians, which began spreading as far back as ten years ago, have led to a situation in which most Christians have had to leave the country.

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Modi Rewrites India’s Tryst with Destiny (II)

By Melkulangara Bhadrakumar, Strategic Culture Foundation, August 8, 2014

During his visit to New Delhi last week, United States Secretary of State John Kerry was asked at a media interaction where India would stand in Washington’s scheme of things as regards its recent sanctions against Russia.

Kerry accepted that he was disappointed but appeared resigned to India’s stance. “We would obviously welcome India joining in with us with respect to that [sanctions]. But it is up to them. It is India’s choice.”

It does not need much ingenuity to figure out that the SCO is taking the decision to admit India at a defining moment in the post-cold war era politics.

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Whose Security?

How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector.

By Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch, July 1st, 2014

As we are all surely aware, we now face the most ominous decisions in human history. There are many problems that must be addressed, but two are overwhelming in their significance: environmental destruction and nuclear war.

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Christians Under Fire in the Middle East

An Article by Dr. Saliba Sarsar published at Catholic News Agency on August 1st, 2014

The international community has a moral obligation to become more concerned about the plight of Christians and others in the Middle East. It must condemn and help stop the acts of violence and terrorism perpetrated against innocents.

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MH 17: Who Stands to Gain?

By Chandra Muzaffar, President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST), July 26, 2014

From Tonkin to Ghouta there is a discernible pattern when it comes to the fabrication of evidence to justify some nefarious agenda or other. As soon as the event occurs before any proper investigation has begun, blame is apportioned upon the targeted party. This is done wilfully to divert attention from the real culprit whose act of evil remains concealed and camouflaged.

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Europe Awake!

Fred Dallmayr, Co-Chairman, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”

In this year, 2014, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, that ferocious war in which “Old Europe” - the Europe of the “Belle Epoque”, the Europe of traditional monarchies and dynasties - was destroyed. For the peoples of Europe it was an immense bloodletting, epitomized by trench warfare and the battle of Verdun. The war also laid the foundation for subsequent catastrophes. While dubbed “the war to end all wars”, the concluding treaties of Versailles and Trianon ushered in a “peace to end all peace.” The conditions imposed on the vanquished in these treaties were so harsh and ill-conceived that resentment was bound to flare up and, after barely two decades, erupted in an unprecedented paroxysm of mayhem and destruction on a global scale.

The commemoration of the great European war should not be the occasion for finger-pointing and posthumous recriminations - an exercise which, although dear to some historians, can only stir up nationalistic resentments. The much more fruitful and beneficial outcome of the commemoration is (or should be) the determination to keep Europe in the future free from warfare on its soil. This is the basic purpose of the European Union and the Council of Europe and of the whole process of European integration during the past half century. This means that Europe should be a zone of peace.

Unfortunately, there are developments which threaten to undermine the role of Europa as a peace zone. The greatest danger is that Europe might become the victim of "great power" rivalry. There are ominous danger signals in the present crisis in the Ukraine. Although the solution of the crisis is patently simple and obvious - the “federalization” of the country (which has repeatedly been proposed) - there are forces at work seemingly opposed to a peaceful solution and bent on pushing the country into civil war, and even into an all-out war between West and East. Given the latter horizon, the crisis takes on the character of another “proxy war” between big powers - similar to the proxy war which has raged in Syria, but now much closer to the European heartland. In some political circles, one already talks about a possible war between America and Russia, even though this may result in nuclear war (a possibility that is now openly accepted in the same quarters).

In this situation, one has to ask: who is going to be the most likely and most immediate victim? Given its location between America and Russia, Europe is bound to be the site of the most direct and immediate nuclear devastation. This means: it is time for Europe to wake up from its slumber and from its pliant submission to great power politics. As Juergen Habermas rightly pleaded some time ago: Europe has to develop its own foreign policy. The first step should be to bring pressure to bear on all sides to stop the proxy war in Ukraine. Europe should do everything possible to induce contestants in the Ukraine to assemble around a table and to negotiate fair terms of peace. This would be the proper European way to commemorate 1914.

Endorsed by:

Vladimir Yakunin, Founding President, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”
Chandra Muzaffar, President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia
Vladimir Kulikov, Executive Director, World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”
Hans Köchler, President, International Progress Organization, Austria
Paolo Raimondi, Economist, Editorialist of the Economic Daily ItaliaOggi, Rome
Yasien Mohamed, Professor, University of the Western Cape
Dimitri Kitsikis, Honorary President, The Dimitri Kitsikis Public Foundation; Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa, Canada