The Saker: I will begin with a historical question. Many years ago I had the privilege to work with a most interesting Syrian lawyer whose father had been an influential Syrian personality. Here is what this friend of mine told me one day:
Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular, was the creation of the European Masonic elites who used their local Masonic brethren to stir up various kinds of nationalisms, including artificially created one such as the anti-Syrian Lebanese nationalism. The main purpose of this plan was to prevent the emergence of a common Arab identity, especially a Muslim-Arab one. By stirring up local nationalisms the European colonial powers were implementing the old “divide and rule” policy. Furthermore, by putting Baathists into power, the Europeans could make sure that the nationalist Arab leaders would be secular and pliable to Europeans demands thanks to the Masonic backchannels of communication and pressure.
Is this summary correct? Is the Baathist version of Arab nationalism really a Masonic ploy to keep control over the Middle-East? Is it true that while Michel Aflaq was nominally a Greek Orthodox Christian, that in reality he was a Freemason?
Ghassan Kadi: Quite frankly, I find your friend’s statement both inaccurate and charged.
To begin with, there is no real difference between Baathism and any other Pan-Arab movement including Nasserism. They are all based on uniting Arabic language speakers. In reality, this argument is quite thin and does not have any historic and/or demographic foundation to underpin it.
Secondly, an Arab identity and a Muslim-Arab identity are two different things that are also ideologically and philosophically at odds. This is needless to say that the term Muslim-Arab identity is oxymoronic because, among other things, it excludes Arab Christians as well as non-Arab Christians (such as Aramaics) who and by virtue of the name of Muslim-Arab identity, do not have a place in which they can be included.
Furthermore, if the Baathist version is indeed a “Masonic ploy”, which I don’t believe it is, how does this make other versions of Arab Nationalism any different?
It is possible that the manner in which your friend perceives Arab nationalism as a conspiracy (and the Arab World is indeed full of conspiracy theories) is indeed explained in his subtle remark that sees Muslim-Arab identity as the “real deal” and that anything else short of this is a diversion from truth. His negative and almost derogatory inference to leaders such as Baathist leaders as being “secular and pliable” to the West implies some covert Islamist mindset.
We must not forget that Arab Nationalism, Syrian Nationalism (as per the Syrian Socialist National Party [SSNP] doctrine), even the Lebanese Nationalism have all emerged in the first half of the 20th Century at a time when nationalism was at its peak in Europe. Nationalism was the then flavour of the month.
I cannot but be an incurable pacifist, and I do not make any apologies about it. Humanity has to rise above what divides it and look at different ways of binding people together rather than creating reasons for them to fight. But when people are drowning, they clutch at straws and they try to find strength in unity and this, I believe, is how passions like nationalism arise, especially when there is an “enemy” to fight and a reason to unite against him.
Back to your friend’s statement, Arabs and Muslims must stop the blame game and take responsibility for their failures without having to blame others. If indeed the Masonic movement plotted against Arabs and turned them against each other, Arabs must look inwardly at the seed of hatred they harbour for each other.
In summary and to put it in very simple terms, I find your friend’s letter to be typical of Islamist rhetoric when trying to take the guise of rationality, deep knowledge and comprehensive vision. This letter is of high significance because it elaborates the charged sentiments that Muslim youth are bombarded with when attempts are made to recruit them.
This letter clearly conveys the message that any political doctrine that is not based on seeking Muslim identity and unity is a deviation from the truth and is part of an anti-Muslim Western plot. And even though it refers to the identity it seeks as Muslim/Arab, the message is very clear.
When Islamist recruiters approach younger and less educated Muslim youth, among fundamentalist teachings and many other charged messages they give them, they often fill their heads with conspiracy theories and stories of injustice that has been inflicted upon them, thereby inflaming anger and hatred for every non-Muslim. This is their guaranteed recipe to send people in the pursuit of revenge.
The Saker: Now that Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein have been overthrown and that only Bashar al-Assad remains in power, with great difficulty, do Arab nationalism, secularism and Baathism have any future, or will they be replaced by religious movements?
Ghassan Kadi: To begin with, to the displeasure of the West, we cannot put President Bashar Assad in the same basket as that of Saddam and Gaddafi. The fact the Bashar is still standing is a testimony of this difference. Unlike Saddam and Gaddafi (whom I shall not totally demonize because they were not the be all and end all of evil as the West describes them), Bashar has huge popular support, both among his civilians and the armed forces.
When Iraq was invaded, few Iraqis stood by Saddam and the same happened with Gaddafi. However, Bashar enjoys a very high popularity rate, and according to reliable estimates, the figure stands at least at 70% and is on the rise. It was that support first and foremost that gave him the longevity that his enemies did not expect him to have.
That said, to say that the age of Arab Nationalism in Syria now is on the decline would be a gross understatement. With all the let downs from Arab “brothers” and conspiracies to destroy Syria and kill its people, the word “Arab” is regarded as synonymous to traitor and enemy of Syria.
The same applies to Islamists. However, we have to be realistic. Without a proper reform of Islam, a reform that will see that all forms of violence are alien to its true message, there will be no guarantee that ISIS will not be able to resurrect itself in one form or another sooner or later. On the short term however, the Syrian Government and its army of loyal citizens hopefully will not allow any over-the-top and politically-correct freedom given to religious zealots that can be abused and allowed to be turned into another disaster.
When Syria rises victorious, if anything at all, this war is bolstering the passion for Syrian nationhood and the unity of Greater Syria. The ideology that is shaping up as the biggest winner is no doubt that of the SSNP.
The Saker: What is the real role and function of the Lebanese Army today? Does it still have a purpose or has Hezbollah become the de-facto Army of Lebanon?How much cooperation, if any, is there between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army today? Can the latter still be of some use to defend the country against external (Israel) or internal (Daesh) enemies?
Ghassan Kadi: The real role of the Lebanese Army is, in practical terms, an ever-changing one. It all depends on who is at the helm. Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, its role seemed to be restricted to curbing the PLO as well as street riots.
Historically, the Lebanese Army was seen as the apparatus that protected the elite “Maronite Political Entity”, but it took a neutral side during the Civil War up until the then Army Chief Michel Aoun took it upon himself to fight both Syria and the “Lebanese Forces” in the mid 1980’s.
Many things have changed since, and right now March the 14th Coalition sympathizers allege that the Lebanese Army takes its orders from Hezbollah because at the present time it has good relationships with Hezbollah. On the other hand, “Internal Security” (ie the Police Force) is loyal to Hariri and its ex-chief, Current minister of justice Ashraf Rifi is openly a Hariri man who headed the Sunni militia in Tripoli when those militia were clashing with Alawite militia loyal to Hezbollah.
In any event, the Lebanese Army is not well-equipped, and as a regular army, it is only trained for conventional wars. It does not have an effective air force and it can never win against the far more technologically-advanced “Israeli Defence Force”.
With that said, the Lebanese Army displayed quite a bit of resilience and determination in its small wars against Fateh Al Islam (at the Al-Bared Palestinian camp) back in 2005 and later on against Ahmed Al-Assir’s gang and some Islamist gangs in Tripoli in 2014 and 2015, respectively. It can definitely hold ground against any ISIS incursions and possibly even gain ground from ISIS, but this will all depend on what warfare technology ISIS brings into the battle.
I believe that given its current stature and capabilities, the Lebanese Army can at best have a supportive role to the much more mobile and stealthy Hezbollah who specializes in asymmetrical warfare.
The Saker: Who killed Rafik Hariri and why?
Ghassan Kadi: In a recent article that was published on The Saker titled “War On Syria; Not Quite According to Plant, Part 2, The Plot, I have provided my take and analysis of this assassination.
Murder needs motive and potential gains. Syria had all to lose and none to gain in killing Hariri. To begin with, it was a slap in the face for Syria given that Syrian forces were still in Lebanon at that time and considered to be the custodians of law and order.
The Hariri murder carries the hallmarks and fingerprints of Mossad and the CIA, not to totally vindicate the Saudis. After all, they are all the biggest beneficiaries.
The murder led to a speedy and unplanned withdrawal of Syria from Lebanon, and in more than one way, paved the road for the “War On Syria”.
After all and immediately following the murder, the demonizing of President Bashar Assad took a level akin to the demonizing of Saddam prior to the invasion(s) of Iraq. Secondly, many parts of Lebanon, especially in the North and North East became open game for anti-Syrian fighters and sympathizers, and those groups played a huge role later on in capturing the very strategic Qalamoun region and linked terrorist in the northern parts of Syria with the South.
Whilst the link of the USA/Israel/Saudi Arabia with the assassination of Hariri is something I cannot prove as such, the pieces of the puzzle fit in very well if we look at them all in their entirety.
The Saker: Who killed Bachir Gemayel? Do you believe that it was really Habib Shartouni or was this a carefully staged provocation?
Ghassan Kadi: All indications are that Shartouni singlehandedly planned and killed Bachir Gemayel. As a matter of fact, at the outset, Inaam Raad the then president of the SSNP of which Shartouni is a member, denounced Shartouni and stated that he acted solo. Later on of course, Shartouni was considered as an SSNP hero.
Gemayel had many enemies, and it happened that Shartouni had access to the building where a meeting was going to be held, and the rest is now history.
But once again, just like in the case of Hariri’s murder that happened more than two decades later, the question is about who was set to gain from Gemayel’s assassination? Definitely not Israel, not America, and none but the “Axis of Resistance”. So whether Shartouni indeed worked alone or not, his action played a significant role in changing the course of events that followed the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and perhaps was significant in turning Israel’s military success on its head.
The Saker: I have always believe that the Israelis had very high level accomplices inside the Syrian government and that they could never have killed Imad Mughniyah without such assistance. Mughniyah’s widow make exactly the same accusation from her refuge in Iran. Do you agree with this thesis and, if yes, do you know who was involved and why? And why has Hezbollah not avenged the murder of Mughniyah yet?
Ghassan Kadi: There is no doubt that corruption was rife in Syria during the days of father Assad. Many corrupt officials and army personnel however were from the old and faithful guards. Hafez Assad was able to wield them to a certain extent, but he could not get rid of them out right without risking political instability.
When Bashar took the reins in the middle of 2000, he tried to clean up, and he did, but neither fast nor deep enough. If there was any reason for a popular uprising in Syria and demands for reform, that was it but that was not at all the case as the West tried to portray the “War On Syria” to be.
It is highly likely that the assassination of Mughniyah involved corruption and a hefty Mossad bribe, but if this was the case, then the culprit would have been very close to President Assad. In such an event, Hezbollah had two choices; either to seek revenge and risk its relationship with the President, or bite the bullet. Nasrallah chose the latter.
That said, it is rumoured that a corrupt official was eventually and conveniently “punished” at the right time without any questions raised.
The Saker: If Syria prevails in this war against Daesh and their AngloZionist sponsors, do you expect Syria and Lebanon to become one country and fully reunite, or will the Syrians only remain a military presence for the protection of Lebanon from the Zionists and Takfiris?
Ghassan Kadi: If the Syrians and Lebanese wake up and realize that the differences that separate them are a whim and that they are much better off united and seriously wish to unite, then no one can stop them.
Any serious opposition to such a prospect will come from Lebanon, not from Syria. Syrians are taught from as early as school days that Lebanon was snatched away from Syria by the Sykes-Picot Accord that saw Syria divided. In Lebanon however, and a hundred years later, and even though Lebanon has turned into a virtual failed state, there are still many elements that would staunchly stand against any such union and remain strongly adherent to an independent Lebanon.
The Lebanese opposition to any union with Syria will mainly come from what is left of the “Maronite Political Entity” and Hariri’s Future Movement and/or the “Sunni Political Entity” in general.
However, if after Syria prevails and the March the 8th Coalition rises victorious, the dissenting elements will end up as huge losers to the extent that their voice may not have much clout left at all.
In reality, even though the modern history of Lebanon has always been founded on reconciliation and the principle of “No winners and no losers”, the 1975-1989 Civil War did end up with losers, and the losers back then were the “Lebanese Forces” and their leader Samir Geagea was imprisoned for ten years. As a matter of fact, the whole “Maronite Political Entity” was disempowered for the whole ten year period during which Geagea was in jail.
Is it possible to see a much more dramatic repeat of this? I cannot say that it would be too far-fetched.
Any possible reunification between Lebanon and Syria may not happen in one hit, as it were. It may become a work-in-progress. What is important here is for citizens of both states to realize that it is time to lift off the remnants of the big French lie that there is indeed such a thing as an independent Lebanese nation.
The Saker: I am very puzzled and most uncomfortable with the Russian policy towards Egypt. Why are Putin and Russia so supportive of a regime which came to power by means of a bloody takeover and which has jailed and killed thousands of Egyptian Muslims? Is this a case of Realpolitik trumping morals?
Ghassan Kadi: Mursi hijacked the Egyptian Revolution, whatever the initial nature of that revolution was, and headed the only party (ie Muslim Brotherhood) that was organized enough to campaign for elections.
His one-year reign was wrought with decisions and decrees that were very quickly turning Egypt into a theocratic state. There were even talks about whether or not the Sphinx and the Pyramids should be levelled. This is needless to say that he allowed Islamist zealots to attack and kill Christian Coptics even inside their places of worship.
Al-Sisi has kept his cards close to his chest for a long time, but he seems to be slowly coming out now. He clearly did not agree that his ancient country should be run by fanatic zealots, and if he imprisoned hundreds of them, then he did what was needed to be done.
There are now some unconfirmed reports that Sisi has decided to send some troops to help the Saudis fight the Houthis, but even if he is, he may just sent a token army unit as he has thus far refused to partake in the Saudi offensive against Yemen despite heavy Saudi pressure and threats of funding cuts. Last but not least, during his recent visit to Moscow, he has finally agreed that he and Assad have a common enemy in ISIS and its affiliates.
Egypt, especially in Sinai, is suffering from almost daily terrorist attacks, and this according to Sisi, as like any other responsible president, is something that ought to be stopped. If Putin managed to bring Sisi and Assad together, then this in my view is a great achievement; one that is not to be seen as a mark against Russia and Putin.
The Saker: I am having great difficulties making sense of the position of Turkey and the KSA. For starters, how stable do you consider these regimes to be? Aren’t they playing with fire when they try to use Daesh against Syria. Conversely, why do Turkey and Syria hate Assad so much? Did he not comply with the Turkish demands to cease supporting the Kurds? As for the Saudis, why would they care so much about Syria? What are Turkey and the KSA trying to achieve right now and how sincere are their overtures towards Russia?
Ghassan Kadi: You have raised many issues in this question and I cannot give them all enough justice in one single response, but I will try.
The stability of the status of Erdogan is highly likely going to be thrown off balance in the upcoming November parliamentary elections. He has already lost the first round back in June 15, and because neither of the opposition parties was prepared to work with him, his AKP was not able to form government, and hence the need for fresh elections.
After several attacks on Turkish outposts, a declining economy, and Turkish Army attacks on Kurds in both northern Syria and Iraq, he is likely to lose more seats which will turn him into a lame duck president.
The Saudis are not in a much better shape. With the oil price being where it is and a very costly war in Yemen, the Saudis are in deep trouble and there are rumours of dissent within the ranks of the royals themselves.
Certainly, both the Turks and the Saudis have played with fire in using ISIS, and as ISIS declared mutiny, the monster they fed is turning back to bite them.
Erdogan sees in Assad a secular patriot who stands in his way of attempting to reclaim the Ottoman Islamic Empire with him (ie Erdogan) as its head. He may not be planning a military takeover of the Levant, but he certainly wants to be the Muslim Father image and the unrivaled leader in the Muslim World. The Saudis feel the same about Bashar, and more so that they see he turned Syria into an Iranian (ie Shiite) satellite.
But here’s one dividing aspect of the “Anti-Syrian Cocktail”. Each on his own; that is the Turks and Saudis each want to be the unrivaled leader of the Muslim World. United they were when the “War On Syria” took off more than four years ago, but today, they are standing at opposite dipoles each trying to make as many gains as possible before it is all over. But even if they ended up winning the “War On Syria”, their rivalries were going to surface at some stage.
Moreover, Assad did not and would not appease Erdogan by ceasing to support Syrian Kurds who are defending the Syrian homeland.
If indeed Turkey and Saudi Arabia are sincere in their overtures towards Russia now, it would only be out of desperation and the knowledge that America gives promises that it does not honour.
The Saker: What about Iran? Iif Daesh becomes enough of a threat to the Syrian government, do you see the Iranian overly intervening in Syria? What about Bahrein and, especially, Yemen. Do you think that the Iranians have the means, the rationale and the resolve to openly intervene in these countries? Finally, do you believe that a full scale war between the Islamic Republic and the Saudi Wahabi monarchy is possible? Likely?
Ghassan Kadi: As far as Syria and Iran are concerned, the two countries have a mutual defence treaty which can be put into action at any time. With the Iran nuclear deal done and dealt with, Iran would be more than able to do this now as it is no longer seen as a rogue state.
Having said that, Iran has been supporting Syria directly and indirectly via Hezbollah as well as on-the-ground military advisors.
Bahrain and Yemen are a totally different story as Iran does not have mutual defence treaties with either.
As far as Saudi Arabia itself is concerned, if push comes to shove and there is no other alternative left, I cannot see that Iran will run away from a fight. Yes, they do have the means, the rational and the resolve.
My guess however is that Iran will sit back and watch the KSA implode. With every month, every week and every day, the Saudis are increasingly coming under many types of pressures and their collapse may be closer than anyone thinks. If things remain unchanged for a while, then short of the KSA making a direct attack on Iranian soil, I cannot see any direct combat between the two powers. Iran knows well that time is on its side and the post-nuclear deal Iran is more powerful than ever.
The Saker: Most commentators are suggesting that there can be no military victory in the war in Syria and that some kind of political agreement between Assad and the so-called “moderate” (non-Daesh) opposition must be made. But how relevant is this moderate opposition nowadays? Is this moderate opposition only a fig leaf to save Uncle Sam’s face in this bloody debacle and is there anybody with some credibility out there Assad could negotiate with?
Ghassan Kadi: Assad has always said that he will debate any genuine reform agenda with any party that is not involved in killing and destruction. This proviso singles out all militants without any exception. Assad’s acceptance to this is not any different from expressing preparedness to call for an early election; an election that he knows he is going to win with flying colours. Will this indeed be America’s face saver and consolation prize? Time will tell.
The Saker: the examples of Syria and Yemen see to indicate that most of the Arab world is hopelessly submitted to the Saudis, and their US and Israeli patrons. Is there really no hope of an anti-imperial resistance outside the so-called “Shia crescent”. Is it possible that a truly progressive Sunni resistance to Empire could emerge which would be much more aligned with the values and ideas of a Sayyid Qutb then of the kind of reactionary Wahabism the Saudis have been trying to export?
Ghassan Kadi: One of Nasser’s biggest mistakes was the execution of Sayyid Qutb because he martyred him and turned him into a hero.
Qutb was a mildly spoken scholar and a highly principled man who faced death very courageously, but underneath this personal façade of his, he was a fundamentalist and one of the founders of what directly and indirectly led to the creation of ISIS et. al. and let us not make a mistake about this.
Put the violence of Daesh (ISIS) and Wahhabis aside for a while and just consider their theological doctrine in detail and you will find that it is identical to that of Qutb.
But the force standing against that fundamentalist form of Islam is not the so-called “Shia Crescent”. This term is a furphy that has been invented and coined by Sunni fundamentalists in order to portray themselves to be in the position of the defensive in a sectarian war they did not chose to have. It is exactly the opposite that is true.
The term “Shia Crescent” is not any different than the term “Russian intervention in Ukraine”. It is a vexatious, malicious, unfounded termed designed to spark sectarianism.
Furthermore, the force that has been at the forefront of fighting Daesh more than any other is the Syrian Army in which Sunnis account for 70%. This is not to discount the fact that Daesh has been actively involved in killing Sunni citizens, Sunni clerics and destroying Sunni Mosques. The term “Takfiri” literally means classifying anyone who does not fully agree with one’s doctrine as a heretic and hence his blood becomes forfeit.
Daesh is therefore not essentially an army of Sunnis intended to protect Sunnis. It is an army of Takfiris trying to convert the whole world, including Sunnis to their doctrine under the pain of death.
If the Muslim World is serious about providing a philosophical anti-thesis that is going to effectively stop and eradicate Sunni fundamentalism, then it cannot be based on a Shiite doctrine otherwise it would defeat its purpose.
The only way to combat ISIS and its doctrine is by reforming Islam on a spiritual level, and forming a secular front to fight it on a military level.
The Saker: what role do you see for Russia in the Middle-East and Arab world? What can and should Russia do to try to preserve the Syrian government and prevent a US/EU/NATO/Israeli attack on Syria and Iran?
Ghassan Kadi: Syria and Russia need one another in the fight against ISIS as partners. The threat of ISIS is of global reach, and Russia, just like any other state, is not immune to this threat.
Furthermore, both Russia and Syria have a vested interest in a multipolar world that sees the end of American hegemony.
Russia has helped Syria to a great extent and at many levels and capacities. I am not a military expert, but from what I gather, the extra help Syria needs is in the fields of satellite surveillance data, smart bombs and advanced bombers.
Furthermore, whilst it is obvious that Syria has not yet used all of its power, and whilst its arsenal of rockets has not yet been used, little is known about its air defence capabilities. Personally, among many interested parties that I discuss this subject with, there is a consensus that Assad is keeping his defence capabilities close to his chest despite a number of recent Israeli air raids in the last few years. Israel is luring him to show what he has got up his sleeve, but he wants to keep the element of surprise for the big battle, if and when it happens.
To that effect, I would like to think and believe that the Syrian Army has an effective air defence capability that it can effectively use in the event of an all-out escalation with Israel.
Whilst some pundits argue that Syria does not have such advanced ground-to-air missiles and that Russia has let Syria down in this regard, I only need to look back at the surprise element that the Syrian and Egyptian armies presented to the Israeli Airforce when they unleashed their Soviet-built SAM-6 missiles back in the October Yum Kippur war of 1973. If the Soviets were prepared then to supply SAM-6 batteries to Syria and Egypt in 1973 after both countries suffered a humiliating defeat in the 1967 war, I don’t see why Putin’s Russia would not do the same for Syria in 2015 after Syria has gallantly stood tall after more than four years of an 83-nation vicious assault.
As far as directly defending Syria and Iran, Russia does not operate under the American gung-ho modus operandi. Just like Iran will sit back and watch the KSA implode. Russia is not asked to give more than what is required in helping modernize and equip the Syrian Army. And guess what? Syria has enough men to fight for her integrity, and honourable Syrians will die standing before they ask anyone to come and fight their fight.
The other role that Russia can playing and has been playing is one that is diplomatic. Even though the recent Russian inroads towards initiating talks between Saudi Arabia and Syria have not gone further than a one-off meeting, Russian diplomacy is on the rise. Last but not least, Russia has played a big role in the UNSC and thwarted several Western attempts to impose different forms of sanctions on Syria.
If anything, Russia is not escalating its support to Syria at all of the above levels.
As a Lebanese/Syrian, I have one word to say to Russia and her leader; Spasiba.
The Saker: last question – what do you think will happen to the Zionist entity “Israel”? Do you think that they will succeed in creating their ethnically pure state, the last openly and officially racist state on the planet, or do you believe that Ayatollah Khomenei was correct when he predicted that “this occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time”?
Ghassan Kadi: This is a difficult question to answer simply because what I would personally like to happen is one thing and that what I believe will happen is something else.
As I said earlier, I am an incurable pacifist and I will not make any apologies about it. To this effect, I do not believe that children should pay for the crimes of the parents. Israelis born in the land of Palestine to Zionist migrants are not culpable for the displacement of Palestinians any more than today’s Americans are accountable for the massacres of indigenous American tribes.
However, if second generation onwards Israelis continue to refuse Palestinians the “right of return”, other civil rights and land restitution, then they will need to be forced to comply militarily perhaps, as this would most likely would be the only means. But for certain anti-Israeli leaders and ideologues to talk about “cleansing” and “throwing Jews out in the sea” does not make them morally any better than the Haganah gangs who did the same to the Palestinians in the 1940’s.
That said, there is little doubt in my mind that time is not on Israel’s side and there are many reasons to base this statement on. When the tides turn the other way, and this is only a question of time, given Israel’s history of violence and inhumane treatment of Palestinians, the “revenge” is likely to be immense.
Ideally, the best resolution for any state is for an all-inclusive state, one state, in which all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law.
Jews have always been part-and-parcel of the Levant’s history and they should remain as such. Any attempt to keep them out of the equation is equally wrong as is any Zionist attempt to keep Palestinians (both Muslims and Christians) out of the same yet opposite equation.
With Israeli obstinacy and the allegedly God-given superiority that underpins Zionism, it is highly unlikely that we will see a one-state solution.
As a matter of fact, it is possible that one day the Israelis may accept the one-state solution when it is too late for them to dictate any terms. But they haven’t even yet accepted the two-state solution!!! In any event, a two-state solution is an admission of failure and acceptance that people of different religions cannot live on the same land, when in fact Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived together in peace for many centuries. It was only the introduction of Zionism that created the conflict.
Israel has got to realize that the more it inflicts pain and suffering on Palestinians, the more powerful the retaliation will one day be. But Israel seems to always want to thrive on the false principle that is based on the assumption that if a certain amount of force will not achieve the required objective, then more force will.
Israel is digging itself in, and the more it does, the more enemies it is creating.
If Islamists ever take control of the Levant, God forbid, they will eventually turn against Israel and vow to kill every Jewish man woman and child. To be realistic here again, if Islam is not reformed, and if its violent aspect that is based on misinterpreting its message is not properly and adequately dealt with, then it will be a matter of time before Islamists do achieve this control.
If on the other hand secularism and rationality win and Syria rises victorious and turns into a shining beacon of civility and progress for the entire region, then it will not be able to co-exist with Israel in its present form. Israel will either have to be integrated and thereby losing its Jewish majority (which it will never accept), or it will have to face massive wars and very dire consequences when it is no longer in a militarily superior position.
The Saker: thank you!
Many thanks, an excellent interview, much information and food for thought.
Israel is digging itself in, and the more it does, the more enemies it is creating.
Correct, the more they do, the more will be undone – Lao Tze.
Engdahl here tonight says Russia may get membership in OPEC?
Russia in OPEC?
In an interview with the London Financial Times, Russia’s most important oilman, Igor Sechin, CEO of the state-owned Rosneft, confirmed rumors that Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is seeking a formal market-share agreement with Russia, even going so far as offering Russia membership in OPEC, to stabilize world oil markets. In the interview, Sechin, considered one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, confirmed the Saudi offer. The Financial Times (FT) is an influential media owned until this past July by the Pearson Group an asset tied to the Rothschild family who historically also dominate Royal Dutch Shell.
I believe Russia declined he invitation, to date.
The BBC’s Credibility Crisis is Terminal
bbc propagandaTND Guest Contributor: Ulson Gunnar |
The BBC is seeking to establish a Russian version of its World Service. It claims it must do so to counter the well-funded “propaganda” of Russia’s RT. The UK Independent’s article, “BBC to face down Vladimir Putin with plan for new World Service Russian TV channel,” claims:
The BBC is proposing to set up a new World Service satellite news channel for Russian speakers, in a direct challenge to Russia Today, the Kremlin-funded television service found guilty of impartiality breaches.
“When Iraq was invaded, few Iraqis stood by Saddam and the same happened with Gaddafi. However, Bashar enjoys a very high popularity rate, and according to reliable estimates, the figure stands at least at 70% and is on the rise. It was that support first and foremost that gave him the longevity that his enemies did not expect him to have.” ????
In comparing Syria to Iraq and Libya, Syria has not been directly bombed by the US. I would guess that by now Syrians have the benefit of hindsight in seeing what happened to Iraq and Libya and realize that they are under direct attack by US proxy forces.
Because Syria has not been directly attacked by the US military I don’t think it can be compared to Iraq and Libya.
Otherwise, a great interview.
Yeah, I thought Gaddafi was tremendously popular. Free medical care, free education thru university for both sexes, interest-free $25k loan for each pair of newly-weds. Free electricity. Gasoline under $1/gallon, sometimes half that.
He had built a tremendous artificial river & underground aquifers & the largest irrigation project in the world– across the whole country.
Each time a Libyan woman gave birth she was given $5k for her & the child. If someone wanted to start a farm, they were given land, a home on it, and livestock.
The State bank was completely independent of the IMF/Fed system & provided interest-free loans to its citizens. Libya had no external debt.
How is it possible that no one supported Gaddafi when Libya was attacked? I think he just didn’t have a huge military, advised other countries against militancy. Gaddafi offered to step down rather than have Libya bombed, but this was suppressed & bombing started.
I would have thought Khadaffi had a much higher level of support when the Libyan war started as opposed to the support of Assad when the Syrian war began. There were somewhere between 10-15% of the population marching in support of the government before the Western bombing. How many were marching for Assad in 2011?
Useful interview in any case.
@ Mr. Ghassan Kadi and The Saker,
A big thank you to both of you, for this very nuanced and insightful article.
Here’s to secularism, rationality and Syria!
An excellent interview. Learned important things I didn’t know before. Many thanks to you both..
a wonderful interview. Thanks so much Saker for all you do ! I was wondering which country Ghassan Kadi is from…perhaps it has said somewhere but I missed it. And I liked it that he is hard of the Islamists and Arabs for not getting over their divides. As long as they can be used by the Empire, they will be. So very sad for all the pacifists in the Middle East to have to live by the violent doctrines.
He declares himself a Lebanese/Syrian at interview’s end.
You can google his name, quite simply, and find answers and information. Which, although not always utilizing google, is the first effort I make when an individual I know little or nothing about is a source of information. Educating oneself in today’s electronic age takes minimal effort.
Thanks to the Saker and Ghassan Kadi for this interesting interview. I have one question for Ghassan Kadi – or anyone else who is informed. I previously had a pretty positive view of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. Whether it was accurate or not, it seemed to me that they sincerely wanted to build some kind of welfare society, looking after the poor and so on – and not at all like the militant Islamist variety, even if I know that Qutb by the end of his life became very extreme. So what happened? Were there no positive sides of the short period of MB government after Mubarrak? Was Morsi himself of the militant theocratic sort (not at all my impression)? Was he not rather a Social-Conservative, an “Islam-democrat” similar to European Christian democrats? Were the MB under his rule really discussing whether the Pyramids and Sphinx should be levelled?? Was this not simply a concern of fringe extremists outside the government? What kind of decisions in direction of theocracy were implemented by the MB government?
I found that issue the only area where I have really significant disagreement with Mr. Khadi. My impression of the Muslim Brotherhood government wasn’t particularly positive, but certainly the talk about the Sphinx and Pyramids is not credible. It’s just scaremongering to try to put the MB in the same category as IS or the old-line Taliban, which they clearly are not. And the key for me is that Morsi showed no signs of trying to undermine Egypt’s fresh new fragile system of democratic governance.
Countries all over the world have votes where it turns out they voted to put a jerk in power. Normally what you do is you have demonstrations against their worse policies to try to pressure them not to go ahead, you go to court to try to block any policies which seem illegal, and above all you vote for some other jerk next time and try to fix the damage they did. Whatever Morsi was, I don’t think anything he was doing bad rose to the level where a military takeover, massacres, kangaroo courts and suppression of dissent make things better.
Now, we have another jerk, but the Egyptian people can’t demonstrate, or go to court, or vote him out. And in my opinion he’s deliberately escalating the situation in the Sinai, partly to give himself a better excuse for helping Israel close the border with Gaza, partly to give himself a nice Bush-style War On Terra, the better to keep on clamping down on all dissent as terrorist. Meanwhile, his economic policies seem to distinguish themselves largely by their nonexistence. He’s a nasty piece of work and I see no sign that he gives a damn about the Egyptian people; he’s just a case of “Meet the new Mubarak, same as the old Mubarak”.
Overall, I think here Mr. Khadi is allowing his secularism to blind him–Morsi stood for a variety of political Islam, general whatshisface is secular, therefore general better than Morsi and no need to look carefully at what is going on. I’m secular myself–atheist, in fact–but there are other considerations; practising religion is no crime, and even bringing it into public life, while it worries me, is just one issue.
Purple Library Guy,
You had no way of knowing the truth about Morsi & the MB from the Western media coverage. Elsi’s Spanish link translates pretty well & here’s a bit from it, naming a few of Morsi’s sins:
The suspension of the judiciary after the elections.
The suspension of the Lower House of Parliament.
The subsequent amendment of the Constitution, favoring Islamic parties and organizations, while discriminating against organizations and secular parties.
On July 1st, 4 million Egyptians came into the streets in protest. There was a danger of an actual popular revolution. I’m sure Sisi, as a more-or-less continuation of rule by the army was less dangerous to the West. Neverthe less, he is a vast improvement over Morsi.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/morsi-and-the-muslim-brotherhood-challenged-in-egypt/5313143 Tony Cartalucci
I didn’t rely on “the Western media coverage”, thanks all the same. You’ve seen enough of my posts I’m surprised at you making such an assumption. Although since the West didn’t like Morsi, it seems odd that they would have spun in his favour.
Morsi did not “suspend the judiciary after the elections”; to the contrary, he was having endless trouble with the judiciary throughout his tenure. The judiciary, incidentally, were hardly neutral, rather a corrupt bunch well ensconced in the military-dominated Egyptian “deep state”. Suspending them might have helped his position a lot, but he didn’t do it. On a quick browse through the interwebs, what I find is that in fact, a ways into his presidency, the judiciary suspended themselves–went on strike in protest at a presidential decree. Now I’m a union man, I have no objections to people going on strike. But when they do I don’t claim they were sacked–the two things are different.
The decree involved is certainly a potentially dangerous one. On the other hand, it seems clear that if he hadn’t done something of the sort the judiciary would have nobbled the constituent assembly, blocking the creation of a constitution.
I’ll certainly agree that the current guy has no need to suspend any judiciary. They are after all part of the Mubarak-era system–totally corrupt and completely under his thumb. That’s why you get trials of 300 people at a time with all of them found guilty despite no real evidence being brought forward. Wait, wait a minute, I appear to be wrong:
Looking through outlines of the sequence of events at the time, I can find no reference to the existence of more than one House of Parliament. And the only references I can find to suspension of Parliament are exactly the reverse of your claim: The SCAF, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, suspended parliament with some help from the judiciary, and Morsi put it back again.
“The subsequent amendment of the Constitution, favoring Islamic parties and organizations, while discriminating against organizations and secular parties.” I can find no record or reference to any such subsequent amendment. I’m quite sure Morsi worked to influence the framing of the 2012 constitution–of course he did, he was a politician with an ideology and surely had strong ideas about what the constitution should be like. Everyone else did too. And I’m sure that some of the things he wanted in there, or things he succeeded in getting in there, are things I wouldn’t like. But there’s nothing illegitimate about that. That constitution passed a referendum, with 64% of Egyptians in favour. It’s perfectly OK to tell the Egyptian people they’re wrong about stuff, but it’s not OK to stage a coup to countermand them.
Finally, 4 million people? I think it’s not me who’s been relying on . . . excited . . . Western press releases. I’ve never seen anything like corroboration of those figures; they got thrown around in glorious fantasy by the Western media, but the areas in which those protests were happening couldn’t possibly have held that kind of numbers. I’ve seen high aerial shots of Chavista demonstrations in the 100,000+ size; they are amazingly huge. Ain’t never seen anyone providing wide area footage of the anti-Morsi stuff.
If Morsi were as bad as general whatsis, those anti-Morsi protesters would have been machine-gunned down like the pro-Morsi ones were shortly thereafter. But that didn’t happen. The whole thing frankly stinks of “Colour revolution” tactics, although probably not by foreigners, but by Egyptians in the “deep state”, particularly but not wholly the armed forces.
Morsi was, it is true, a man who believed in a role for Islam in government, and I disapprove of this. But that’s what he was elected for; seems the Egyptian people disagreed with me. More fool they, but that’s how it works. He seems to have been pretty genuine throughout in his intentions to have some kind of constitution which allowed for democratic rule and follow up with further elections. If the people hated his guts, he would then have gone down to defeat. But that didn’t happen because there was a coup and I’m sorry, I’m not going to support a Pinochet against a democratically elected president who was doing his best against considerable opposition to continue having a democratic state.
Side note: Neither Morsi nor the current guy made any real attempt to break with neoliberalism (combined with highly corrupt crony-capitalism), which was at the time creating and continues now to create massive poverty in Egypt. This was a particular failing for Morsi since the Muslim Brotherhood do seem to have an ideological strand that points to some kind of opposition to neoliberal hypercapitalism. Sooner or later, I suspect this failure will bring down general whatsisface too, because the problems of the Egyptian people are just getting worse.
Do you possess “on-the-ground” sources providing you with information to support your assertions? Or are your statements merely your own conjecture?
I can honestly state I possess a highly credible source of information concerning the current situation in Egypt. Which certainly does not validate your assertions about the Brotherhoods agenda.
“Why they are processed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt”.by Mikel Itulaín.
Very, very, very interesting interview, Saker. Thanks for posting int.
I have one question: What is the difference between Nasserism and Baathism? Ia have never urdestood that, as long as both are Secularist, Pan-Arabist and non-Marxist Socialist. Could anyone explain, please?
About uniting Syria and Lebanon in one State, this would have been the historically right option, but today I do not see possible that. The only chance of reuniting both States is a victory of the March 8th coalition, and this is only witha Hezbollah victory. There are a ot of anti-Hezbollah sectors on Lebanese society, and besides that, although the cosmology of Hezbollah and Baath is similar, the “inner-ideology” is not: Hezbollah is Revolutionary Shiism (akin to Iranian ideology) and Baath is secularist. I cannot imagine how this two ideologies can coexist in a country (both seek the political hegemony, and this is not a critique, is the natural development of rvolutionary ideologies), one will have to submit to the other (just as Communists or other ideologies are legal but submited to Baathist ideology in Syria now).
Another great interview by the Saker.
Thoughtful, insightful, heartfelt answers by Ghassan Kadi.
Excellent article in Counterpunch about Russia in Syria
Brilliant as ever from Ghassan Kadi and the Saker. Thanks both of you for your professionalism. As a westerner still struggling to understand the historical complexities in Lebanese/Syrian and ME history, commentators of your quality as well as Sharmine Narwadi are a rare breed. On perplexing quote from Ghassan which appears to run contrary to the broad sweep of his analysis is this, which i suspect may simply be a typo:
“Conversely, why do Turkey and Syria hate Assad so much. Did he not comply with Turkish demands to stop supporting the Kurds….?”
I’ve never, ever heard Ghassan claim that Syria hates Assad. In fact the contrary. So it’s a typo, right?
Keep up the great work folks.
A quick correction to my earlier comment. It was not Ghassan’s reply where the suspected typo about “Syria hating Assad” happened. It was in the Saker’s question. Apologies.
Arab nationalism in general, and Baathism in particular, was the creation of the European Masonic elites who used their local Masonic brethren to stir up various kinds of nationalisms …
Did the Arab Secular-Nationalist governments even permit Masonic lodges?
… including artificially created one such as the anti-Syrian Lebanese nationalism.
Masons? I thought those were the Maronites.
Great interview. I’m shocked that some commenters still do not understand what the Muslim Brotherhood and his genocidal maniac Morsi are. They are a FREEMASONRY British project, like many others (Saudi Wahhabi kingdom, Israel) created for political and resource control.
Hamas is its Palestinian branch and anyone can see how much “divide and conquer” is associated with them.
Of course AKP and the butcher Erdogan in Turkey are MB. Usually they recruit from middle classes, educated strata of the society, and manage lower echelons of more primitive, barbarian, stupid hordes for the “wet job”. Many believe in “doing God’s work”, thus they all fell into an old trap set up by the “illuminated elders of Zion” and whatnot. Latest Thierry Mesyan, great as always, points out that all the islamist terrorist groups in the ME are headed by the Brotherhood people.
That’s how the top PTB operate many groups inflicting so much pain on humanity – they recruit “useful idiots” who are eager do something good for the world population, and gradually are turned into tools supporting mass massacres because “it’s need to be done” to “achieve greater good”.
Germans fell for it with the Nazis, Russians with the Bolshevics, Jews with zionists and Bnai Brith (freemason lodge), Muslims with the Brotherhood (i.e. uprising in Hama against Hafaz Assad in the 80.), mormons and their mafia.
Known famous freemasons:
Mazzini – created MAFIA (Mazzini Autorizza Furti Incendi Avvelenamenti)
Albert Pike – created Ku Klux Klan
Josph Smith, Brigham Young – created mor(m)onism (a lot of freemason symbols, even on undergarments)
Charles Taze Russell – created Jehovah’s Witnesses
Just various implementations of the same template.
Just before Morsi was deposed he called for a war against Syria and all Shias which resulted in a brutal murder of a known Shia cleric in Egypt, almost signed an agreement selling off the Suez Canal to the bloody Wahhabi Arab monarchies, negotiated cruel and catastrophic agreement with the IMF to turn Egypt into their destitute colony.
There is evidence that the elections that Morsi “won” were a fraud.
In order to undermine Sisi position zionist abomination propaganda in different ways conveys that “Israel likes him”, also that Egypt contributed in any meaning fulway to the ani-Yemen coalition, and so on.
There are MB dissidents, some were killed on Mavi Marmara raid, set up for murder by Erdogan, who also creates from time to time “smokes and mirrors” to deny the fact that they’ve been cahoots with the zio-terror state for along time.
I recommend reading Christoph Lehman on Egypt and Turkey and other topics and i.e. “The Muslim Brotherhood is a NWO pawn” at redmoonrising/Ikhwan.
thanks for info Prosperous Peace…interesting facts about Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses…weird stuff although very popular for some unknown reason.
Excellent interview providing additional personal and historical insight. Spasiba Bolshoi!! I look forward to the remaining parts of Mr Kadi’s essay.
A question for Mr Kadi: Another longstanding problem is providing the Kurdish peoples with a homeland/state of their own incorporating most of the regions the various “tribes” (Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, Turkish, Azeri) now occupy; it seems if they aren’t allowed to pursue their attempt at state-building that they will continue to be a lever used to destabilize the region. Will this problem see a solution once Daesh’s routed from the region and peace restored?
Thank you Saker and Ghassan Kadi for an interesting interview.
I was especially interested in the view that Islam is in need of revision. Previously I had only heard that the extremist Takfiri view was a distortion of real Islam. Had there been other modern outbreaks of violence relating to Islam I wonder? I assume that the Muslim Brotherhood violence in Egypt is from a similar doctrine?
This is also the first time that I have heard Sisi defended & I agree with that. I think the reason elections were pushed forward so fast was so that others wouldn’t be able to organize properly. There was also the question of who had funded so many candidates that they split the vote, thus allowing Morsi to win. Morsi tried to make changes to the election law or to the constitution (can’t remember which) which wd have virtually excluded non-religious candidates. He was also consolidating power in his own hands by illicit means.
He tried to send Egyptian forces to fight against Syria, too. I have read several accounts that claimed more people came into the streets against him than against Mubarik. In Morsi’s defense it must be said that the army put obstacles in the way of his legitimate successes, so that control of Egypt & so many business enterprises could remain with them.
One can’t be generally in favor of changing govts by non-electoral means (ala color revolution), but living in the US where all the political levers of power are monopolized by servants of the NWO it can be useful to remember that sovereignty belongs to the people.
Thanks for all the comments and constructive criticisms. I cannot respond to them all, and some have more or less common questions, so I will try my best to respond to as many questions as possible in a logical sequence. Please bear with me.
My criticism of the Egyptian MB is not so much of its actions per se. It is rather of its theology and doctrine which is not at all different from that of ISIS. They would both for example give identical definitions to Jihad, Fateh and Shahada; and these are the three most significant and most grossly misunderstood concepts in Islam and which are used to recruit young men to fight.
So whilst the Egyptian MB is far less violent than its Syrian counterpart, they all propagate the same theology which can eventually lend itself to violence. You only need to look at Ayman Zawahiri. He is an ex-Egyptian MB.
And not everything that goes on within the Muslim world gets published in English. There were indeed talks about levelling the Pyramid and Sphinx. In fact, this has been a debatable issue for centuries, but the rise of MB made it surface again:
During that same Mursi era, there were also some rather morbid and embarrassing discussions that were held in Parliament, one of them was in regard to permitting men to have the final “farewell intercourse” with their wives up to six hours after the wife’s death:
Nasser was very shrewd in his outlook towards the Egyptian MB. In this short clip, he explains that back in 1953 he genuinely wanted to cooperate with the MB and met with their leader. He added that the discussion fell over when the MB man wanted to impose Sharia dress on women, and Nasser responded by saying how could a female medical student perform her work if wearing a “Ghutra”? The laughter of the audience is heard loud and clear:
In this very intelligently-put story, Nasser gave a clear message that there is no place for MB’s in modern Egypt and that no one can negotiate with them because what they want is clear and not debatable.
This is why Nasser believed that Pan Arabism is an all-inclusive ideology that gave all citizens equal rights before the law. Once again, there is really no difference between Nasserism and Baathism. They both have the same principles. Nasserism was created in Egypt by Nasser, and Baathism was created in Syria by Michel Aflaq. They were political rivals perhaps, but ideologically, they had no difference at all.
Even though Hezbollah is an Islamic organisation, and Shiite to be specific, its approach to the “War On Syria” had been secular. Will this change on the long-run? No one can categorically say yes or no. Enemies of Hezbollah argue that the moment Hezbollah gets the real upper hand, it will expose its true nature as being sectarian Shiite, and their former secular friends will be shocked by this revelation when it is too late.
No one can dismiss any future scenario. Hezbollah can continue to coexist with a secular Levant if it keeps its religious aspect to itself and its members. This is what the Nasrallah leadership is doing now. If this changes in the future, conflict can be created. However, Syria and Hezbollah are united against Israel, and there is little chance and possibility in the foreseeable future that this will change.
Thanks Ghassam Kadi for your kindness answering the quoestion.
I have one more question: if is not abusing of you.
What is the paper of the Kurdish movement?
In wester4n Europe, a lot of “neo-Trot” Left, the sequel of the 68-movement, uses the Kurds as qthe excuse for their traditiona “No-nor” policy: “No NATO, nor Assad”, a policy thei repeated in Libya, Serbia, Maidan-coup, which criminaly equate Imperialism with antiImperialism. For them Kurds og YPG are the perfect excuse to “non position-taking” in the main fight in Syria: sovereign Syria vs Imperialism (there are also the second-rder reasons, but I will not mention all of them). Of course, this makes the Kurds being over-exposed in our press.
Kurdish movement is also very dividedd: the Barzani-KRG is fully sided with Imperialists, while traditionally PKK in Turkish Kurdistan fought against Imperialists. But now they are allied to YPG (Syrian Kurdistan) which occassionally made alliances with FSA (which was justified as “necessary for supervivence”).
So what is the ppaper of the Kurdish forces in Syria? Are they an ally of sovereign Syria or are they the reserve card of Imperialism to “democratize” (de-Baathify) Syria? Are them an united movement or are they divided?
What fo you think?
Very interesting interview. Thanks a lot Saker and Ghassan Kadi.
His forecast for Israel seems quite likely.
Being Syrian /Lebanese honor him his pacifist attitude and it is true that new generations must not be guilty of what did those before them, but the Zionist regime in Israel, like every fascist regime, cares very well in brainwashing new generations. We can all see, day in and day out, all those young soldiers acting like mindless against Palestinian children and women. I do not know Israel or any Israeli person, but I wonder what is the mood among young people there, and among young people in the military, and what remains of those socialist experiences so called kibbutz.
Time ago I saw a documentary where someone said that since people started working out and earning more money than others, the initial communal solidarity project fell apart, as who earned much wanted to keep for himself. Well, that we could say that neoliberal economics killed the kibbutz.
I had no chance to meet it, but it seemed a beautiful project.