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Middle East

Kayhan interview: US elections and Iran

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1) Which element plays a more critical role in US presidential elections--the pursuit of the people's vote or of special interest money?

The simple answer is: both, but with a strong advantage to special interests. The electoral process costs billions of dollars, with candidates (except the socialist Democrat Bernie Saunders) relying on Political Action Committees, which receive unlimited donations from corporations. It is TV ads and TV coverage that dominate the electoral system. Democracy is 'democracy of dollars'. So while it is ultimately the people's votes that count, there is little room for a genuine people's candidate to win. If there is a tie, as happened in 2000, the Supreme Court decides. Saunders is the first genuine populist candidate for president since Roosevelt in the 1930s, and his chances are slim.

2) What do you think about this statement: "It is the ruling elite that elects the president rather than the people"?

That is true, but this time the field is weak. There are no outstanding charismatic hopefuls, with the possible exception of the Republican Donald Trump. The sorry state of the US economy, and the failed wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria, have discredited the ruling elite's efforts to construct a 'New World Order'. For the first time in over 50 years, socialism as a viable alternative to capitalism is being talked about by disillusioned Democrats. Despite winning the New Hampshire primary, the socialist candidate, Bernie Saunders, has little chance of winning (Clinton was given 429 'soft delegates' to Saunders' 14 by the party elite before the primaries started), his strong criticisms of US warmongering are widely heard and respected. Despite being Jewish and a supporter of Israel, he supports Obama on better relations with Iran, and is not supported by the Israel Lobby, showing that the Zionist elite is bankrupt in ideas, leaving room for realism on the Middle East, and a growing consensus against more wars.

Al-Quds interview: The axis of the Islamic Revolution and the struggle with Israel

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Remarks in an interview with the Qods NEWS Agency (Qodsna) a few days ahead of the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Walberg in the interview reviews the role of the Islamic Revolution in promoting the Palestinian issue.

Qodsna: How do you consider the direct and indirect effects of the Islamic Revolution on the Palestinian issue?

Walberg: The 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution is an appropriate moment to focus on the role that Iran has played and will continue to play in the unending struggle to set up a free Palestinian state. The struggle to free Palestine has been at the top of Iran's international agenda from the first year of the revolution. The government inaugurated al-Quds Day in 1979, and al-Quds Day rallies are now held across the globe, including the Arab and Muslim world, Europe and North America. The popularity of al-Quds Day shows Iran's positive effect as the only country fully committed to helping Palestine.


NoLies Radio Interview 25/1/16

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Eric Walberg on the false flag paradigm shift – and Erdogan’s mistakes

Turkey vs ISIS: Where's the new caliphate now? Part II

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In Part I, Erdogan's mounting dilemmas—ISIS terrorism, Kurdish resistance, Assad's Syria alive and well—showed how his bid for regional hegemony has gone awry. His pact with the ISIS devil, as long as they target Kurds, just made things worse. Davutoglu's dream of a "common history and a common future" for the Middle East under Turkish guidance is now in history's dustbin. The Turkish plan for a "global, political, economic and cultural new order" in the Middle East remains in the hands of the US and, of course, Israel.

Israeli rationale

Israel has been noncommittal about Syria since the uprising in 2011, not joining the western chorus for Assad's head. Israeli indifference to the outcome can be explained easily enough. First, Israeli public support for anyone would be a kiss of death for the beloved. On the other hand, the Assads have been the biggest thorn in Israel's side since 1971 when Hafiz Assad consolidated power, and Israel would be delighted to see the last of Bashar. But Israel was worried about what might emerge from a post-Assad Islamic state.

With Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's bold call for an independent Kurdish state, a radical new claim for regional hegemony is unfolding, not by a neo-Ottoman Turkey, but by the Jewish state. “We must openly call for the establishment of a Kurdish state that separates Iran from Turkey, one which will be friendly towards Israel,” Shaked told the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv. This sounds novel, but it really only reflects age-old plans for a Jewish state to control the Middle East which have been on the drawing board since Lord Shaftesbury first made it a British imperial objective in 1839. 1948 got the project off to a savage start, 1967 added the entire Holy Land to the map, and let the settler state move into high gear.


Turkey vs ISIS: Where's the new caliphate now?

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Under intense pressure from the United States--not to mention Russia--Turkey has begun to reassess its support for anti-Assad groups. ISIS's third attack in six months in Turkey has pushed it where it did not want to go. The first two attacks were against Kurds (one killed 33 outside a Kurdish cultural center in the border town of Suruc in July, another killed more than 100 in Ankara in October).

The poor Kurds have no friends anywhere. The West betrayed them at Versailles in 1919. They are a Turkish thorn and ISIS's mortal enemy, so those attacks did not raise much protest either abroad or in Turkey. But the latest was in the heart of Istanbul against foreign tourists. ISIS broke its devil's pact with the Turkish government as a sort-of ally, undermining Erdogan's rationale to let them carry out attacks as long as they target Kurds. Pacts with the devil usually go wrong and this is one of those.

Erogan's wild scheme in Libya and Syria

The Turkish political scene has changed dramatically since the Arab Spring five years ago. At that time, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was the golden boy, with his "zero problem" foreign policy with neighbours, and the ability to square the circle--to have good relations with Russia, Iran and NATO. Even the Kurds got an olive branch, with a peace process in 2013, after Ocalan, from his prison cell, called on his fighters to abandon their armed struggle in return for political reforms.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html