46 thoughts on “Putin, Erdogan, Netanyahu Unite Their Nations Via Ethnic Conflict – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “The three leaders are Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bibi Netanyahu ”

    Why not also add Iran’s Ayatollah Ali iKhameni. He fits the bill as well.

    1. @Barbar: Iran does not have a history of provoking wars with its neighbors. Iraq started the Iran-Iraq war.

      Rather, Israel exploited ethnic conflict within Iran by promoting terror by Jundallah & ethnic Kurds (this is what Meir Dagan himself claimed as Israeli policy).

        1. “Oh really, now?!”

          Oh wow! We’re really into historical revisionism, aren’t we? I don’t think anybody’s ever denied that Saddam openly invaded Iran. He even said it himself at the time. But you feel the need to deny well-known facts. I suppose because you’re out to do down Iran.

          1. @Laguerre

            The causes of the Iran-Iraq war are not as simple as you make out.
            Did Iraq invade Iranian territory first? Yes.
            But which country’s acts were a casus belli?

          2. “The causes of the Iran-Iraq war are not as simple as you make out.”

            I’m well aware of that situation. No political situation ever is simple, but an actual open invasion of another sovereign country is a pretty definitive act, which can’t be excused just because you think Iran had been annoying.

        2. What this is all about, is that Barbar is bent on defending pre-emptive wars. You know, the ones that Israel always wages, in its ‘defense’, because the other guy is always out to get them.

          1. Iran’s mullah’s supported al Dawa before the Iran-Iraq War.

            Be that as it may. Richard. You often come across as an Iran apologist. You remind me of those prominent British socialists who could never bear to criticize Stalinism in the 1930’s.

          2. @ Barbar: You remind me of those prominent British fascists who could never bear to criticize Hitler in the 1930s.

            As for your history, you need lessons: British socialists weren’t necessarily Communists or Stalinists in the 1930s and many of them did criticize Stalin. What you meant to say was British Communists who indeed did not criticize Stalin.

            As for your equating Iran with Stalin, that’s quite adept (I guess). A bit awkward, but daring. Historically idiotic, but whatever.

          3. @Richard

            No. My history is quite good, thank you.
            H.G. Wells, Bernard Shaw and Beatrice and Sidney Webb were all British Socialists in the thrall of Stalin, circa 1930’s.

            None of them were communists.

            If you bothered to read the chronology of the Iran-Iraq war, Iran MAY have started shelling Iraq before Iraq’s attempted invasion. How much Iran supported al-Dawa’s assassinations on Saddam’s regime is not certain. What is certain is that the Ayatollah Khomeini called for Iraqis to rise up and revolt and overthrow Saddam; which would understandably pique Saddam.

          4. @ Barbar: You’re simply not reading comments you don’t want to read. Invasions are what start wars, not propaganda, not stem-winding speeches, not even shelling of a village. Troops physically crossing a foreign border and entering another country’s territory to conquer it is what constitutes a war.

            Last comment in this thread for you.

            As for apologists for Stalin in the 1930s, I have never extolled Iran’s clerical regime. I have criticized the policies of external players like Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia toward Iran. That is different than defending the internal domestic policies of the Iranian regime, which I’ve never done. Sorry, but your analogy, which was dopey to begin with, fails on this ground as well.

            In hasbaro-bizarro-world, anyone who criticizes the policies of those who seek regime change against Iran are Stalinist apologists. What a strange world you live in.

    2. @Babar:

      I know that it’s fun for pro-israel “advocates”– hasbara “artists” in other words– to try and accuse Iran or those in Iran of everything under the sun per the Israeli campaign to try and undo the ongoing process of detente– but the fact remains that Khameini has to be some kind of ethnic inciter or otherwise at least there has to be evidence of his trying to do as much.

      I see no evidence of this. Khameini is a lot of things that aren’t particularly good, but ethnic inciter he is not.

      He’s not even particularly sectarian from what I understand of him, at least not in the confines of Sunni/Shia relations within Iran itself.

      1. “I see no evidence of this. ”

        Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy, and Hezbollah car bombed and murdered former Sunni Lebanese Prime Minister Harari, and a dozen others. The UN Tribunal on the Hariri assassination, came close to indicting Ayatollah Khameini for murder.

        1. @ Barbar: That’s utter nonsense. There has never been any credible report that Khamenei was “close” to being indicted. At any rate, you’re WAY off topic. No more comments in this thread for you.

  2. Two of the three support and enable ISIS, dealing in the looted oil that finances them. The other is fighting to destroy ISIS.

    1. Who’s “the other is fighting to destroy ISIS” ?
      By deduction it must be Putin, if that’s the case, I’d rather say that he’s fighting to save the Syrian regime.

  3. This characterization of Putin is a simple regurgitation of Western propaganda. Putin most certainly did not stoke the conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine. In each case he responded to ethnic conflicts that were left overs from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Georgia and Ukraine the United States and NATO exploited these conflicts to expand NATO well into Russia’s legitimate sphere of national interest. In Georgia forces in the US encouraged Saakavilli to attack Osetian and in Ukraine our own State Department helped back a coup that overthrew a legally elected, proRussian government. Both countries were being actively prepared by NATO to join . In Chechnya an Islamic terrorist organization was in the process of seizing the country. The Russians reacted in a prudent manner in all three countries.

    It is also absurd to describe Putin as an absolute dictator. He was elected to office in open elections by margins of 60%. His current approval ratings are in the 80 to 90% range. The Russian presidency could honestly be called authoritarian since it is granted powers that are unimaginable in say the US. This happens to be a form of government that has the support of a large majority of the Russian people.

    1. @ Toivo: Yes, and Israel’s form of anti-democratic government has the support of a large majority of the Israeli people. That doesn’t grant it any real legitimacy unless you wish to compare to other similar authoritarian governments in the world, rather than democratic governments.

      Putin is a thug, plain & simple. He’s a smooth thug. But a thug nonetheless.

      Your arguments are completely unpersuasive. I didn’t realize you were a Putin apologist.

      1. Hello Richard,

        I find great value in your journalism, and your blog, and I thank you for activism. However, please stick to all things Israel. Your comments on Putin and Russia are amateur at best, and smack of ignorance. Does Andrew Sullivan or the Huffington Post give you your opinion on world events? It certainly looks that way.

        Be better. Do your homework.

        1. @Mario hoppe: Your prejudices don’t disqualify my views despite what you may believe. Disagreeing with you doesn’t make my views “amatuer” or “ignorant.” But you’re calling them that is rude & condescending.

        2. @Mario Hoppe:

          No. Putin and Russia are undeniably at fault in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Chechnya. It’s as plain as the fact of Israel’s guilt and responsibility when it comes to Israeli actions in Palestine and Lebanon.

          Russian (or Russo-Serbian) apologia is as bad as pro-israel apologia in those two cases, as far as I see it.

      2. Richard, “A Putin Apologist” is a red herring of an argument, of the ‘shoot the messenger’ variety. Putin is no saint (they almost never are) but the statements you made about Georgia and Ukraine are overstated and factually incomplete to the point of gross inaccuracy. With all due respect – of which I have a lot for you- you need to do more unbiased research on this subject. You can start with protocols from the April 2005 NATO meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania and the “NATO Freedom Consolidation Act” of 2007 which lay the ground work to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO – and NATO troops and ABMs (Bush unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty before hand)- right up to Russia’s border. The 2008 events in Georgia as well as the 2013/14 events in Ukraine are not chance occurrences nor are they unrelated. Fingerprints are everywhere if one looks: for example in 2015 the man appointed Governor of Odessa Oblast in Ukraine was none other than Mikheil Saakashvili -the (post 2008 events) democratically deposed ex-President of Georgia – who was not even a Ukrainian citizen.

        1. @ Al Moanee: Putin is “no saint.” That’s a massive understatement. He’s a Mafia don. Admittedly, not a ruthless or bloodthirsty as Stalin, thank God. But thoroughly corrupt and amoral.

          Stalin murdered tens of millions. Putin only tens of thousands.

        2. [comment deleted–I’ve asked politely for commenters to stop debating with me about whether Putin is a fiend or merely a champion of the Great Russian People. No more comments defending Putin’s greatness please. Or explaining to us your theory of Russian relations with its vassal states or CIA conspiracies or whatever.]

        3. Yawn. Putin is still a reprehensible autocrat at best and the people who side with the Russo-Serbian camp in the context of Eastern and Southern Europe are morally reprehensible. Same thing when it comes to Russian and particularly Putinite depravity in the context of the Caucasus and the Chechen wars.

          Saying as much doesn’t indicate in the slightest, as pro-Putin characters will instantly allege, some kind of carte blanche support for American designs in Eastern Europe or anywhere else, for that matter. Condemning the both of them for what they do wrong or reprehensibly makes me morally superior to someone who plays the apologist for either America or for Putin.

      3. I prefer to call myself a Russophile. Putin just happens to be the current leader. Should he die tomorrow there would not be a radical change in Russian foreign policies and if there was it would probably be more aggressive than Putin’s policies. The demonization of Putin is an effort to attribute to a single person policies that have very broad support among both the Russian people and the elite that run the country. Yeltsin managed to discredit those elements who wanted Russia to be like the West — their political parties pol around 10% today. If you think Putin is the problem you are wrong — by Russian standards Putin is a moderate. He and Lavrov are working very hard to avoid war with the West while at the same time defend Russian national interests along her borders. You might not think they have that right but I doubt you have ever questioned the Monroe doctrine. This is a common US-centric view that only the US has interests that lie beyond her legally recognized borders. Sorry, but both China and Russia beg to differ and they will contest the US whenever the US encroaches on their borders.

        1. @ ToivoS:

          Should he die tomorrow there would not be a radical change in Russian foreign policies

          You have no way of knowing this. If Putin dies you have no idea who will take his place. All you know is that it will be the same sort of strongman rule as Putin. The decisions of his successor will reflect the idiosyncrasies of the individual.

          As for Putin’s policies having “broad support.” That’s debatable. We have no way of knowing this because he suppresses all opposition. Anyone who threatens him in any way is beaten up, arrested or imprisoned.

          I doubt you have ever questioned the Monroe doctrine.

          Are you insane? Of course I & all American progressives reject the Monroe DOctrine. How much do you know about American politics. From this statement, precious little.

          I do not want to get into a huge tangent debating how evil Putin is. So don’t go there. Let’s move on.

          1. I do not want to get into a huge tangent debating how evil Putin is. So don’t go there. Let’s move on.

            Right after saying Putin suppresses all opposition. Anyone who threatens him in any way is beaten up, arrested or imprisoned.. which is a highly misinformed comment. In any case this is your blog and you have the right to control subject but you did bring up the subject.

          2. @ ToivoS: It’s not “misinformed.” It’s quite well-informed. I should’ve added to his list of crimes, assassinations as well, though they’re conducted at a once-removed distance by his allies in Chechnya.

            Again, I want this to be the last comment on the subject. Please respect that.

      4. Hello Richard,

        I am a regular reader of Tikun Olam because of the excellent quality of your work (and because I have family in Israel). However, ToivoS, Mario hoppe and Al Moanee are entirely correct in what they write here.

        I would like to add that the president of France has what should be qualified as dictatorial powers as stated in the French Constitution, for example the parliament has no say in matters of defense or foreign policy. A few months ago BDS was outlawed by a court decision (freedom of expression is now extremely limited), and several minorities (especially gypsies) are denied basic rights. France’s military interventions in the Muslim world and Africa resemble those of Bush and Obama (and Mrs. Clinton of course). As a French citizen I am revolted.

        I shall continue to read Tikun Omam because mostly you are informative and on target. And best wishes.

      5. That’s one problem when it comes to some in the far leftist crowd. You will get thinks like apologia for Russia in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine and so on.

        From what I can see of that guy’s post, it’s especially blatant when it comes to Chechnya. The pro-Russian narrative is that Russia DIDN’T turn that nation into a slaughterhouse in 1994-95, and that the clumsy, brutal Russian army was actually some kind of Cassandra fighting against “jihadists” or the likes of Al Qaeda- – which is how they attempt to slander people who were overwhelmingly motivated by Chechen nationalism.

        Apologia for the actions of the Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo isn’t too far away when it comes to these kinds of people as well.

          1. And it’s ridiculously shameful. It’s one of the main reasons that I don’t consider myself to be a “leftist” in the sense that some of these people do.

            But then again, the Palestine issue isn’t a left-right thing, or otherwise shouldn’t be– it’s a common sense issue. You look at the facts and you can’t throw the Palestinians and the Lebanese people under the bus, that much is certain.

  4. Kyle you don’t seem know that much about Chechnya. In 1994 Russia was run by Yeltsin when the war began. Putin inherited that conflict 7 years later. Yes it was shockingly violent.conflict and many Russians were critical of the actions of the Russian army. By the time Putin was in charge the moderate forces had been completely pushed aside. Surely, you should know that the Chechan rebels that were driven out today are fighting with ISIS and al Qaida in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

    1. @ ToivoS:

      many Russians were critical of the actions of the Russian army.

      During the first Chechen war, when there was still a semblance of democratic debate under Yeltsin, there were opponents. Anyone today who is an opponent is liable to assassination as Anna Politskaya’s case shows. That’s thanks to your pal, Putin.

      1. There is zero evidence that Politskaya was killed by the Russian FSB. That story originated in a British newspaper and was supported by nothing.

        1. @ToivoS: Do you think smart tyrants and murderers tell their immediate subordinates to kill in their name? Of course not. That’s why they have odious toadies like Kadyrov who do their work for them. Nemtsov was the same.

          You really give your pal far too little credit for ingenuity & conniving depravity.

    2. @ToivoS:

      ” Kyle you don’t seem know that much about Chechnya. In 1994 Russia was run by Yeltsin when the war began. Putin inherited that conflict 7 years later. ”

      I’m well aware that Putin only took over in 2001. Putin was especially bad but that doesn’t excuse the antics of the drunken butcher, or “bloody Boris”. I certainly don’t think so.

      Knowing about Chechnya certainly makes his dancing around washington scuppered in his undies a lot less endearing, don’t it?

      At least if you’re not sacrificing your morals on Chechnya and the Caucasus, that is.

      ” By the time Putin was in charge the moderate forces had been completely pushed aside. ”

      Wrong. Putin played up the presence of the foreign muja element to be sure, but Mashkadov the nationalist president lasted to 2005 and the war was still rooted in Chechen nationalism to no small degree.

      ” Surely, you should know that the Chechan rebels that were driven out today are fighting with ISIS and al Qaida in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.”

      This is largely a canard. The existence of Chechen fighters in any of those theaters doesn’t “prove” that the Chechen cause in general was or is “extremist” or “jihadist”. by any standard.

      I won’t deny that there are some Chechens who may have been taken in by extremist wahhabi-takfiri ideology, but that’s another issue in itself, and really one that has nothing to do with the wars that occurred in Chechnya, outside Kremlin and Putinite propaganda of course.

  5. I do not know ToivoS, but judging from his comments here I do not think it is correct to call him a pal of Putin. I am not a pal of Putin either.

    I see a great variety of opinions including a good number opposing the actions of the Russian government on the site RT which is funded by the government. It is clear that opposing views and demonstrations are not repressed in Russia.

    I am sceptical about the Russian intervention in Syria, but in general I judge Russian foreign policy and military actions much more prudent than those of either the U.S. or France. I consider it legitimate for the Russians to be concerned about NATO troops conducting manoeuvres in countries immediately adjacent to Russia.

    Concerning information about Russia today, I consider Stephen F. Cohen, professor at NYU, well informed and worth reading. In France there is the economist Jacques Sapir who knows Russia well, and some of the stuff on his site is done in an English version.

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