Erdogan, Openly Supporting ISIS, Provokes Russia with Washington’s Approval

By Joshua Tartakovsky, November 25, 2015 Truth be told, ever since the Russian-Turkish agreement declared during the Putin-Erdogan meeting on the construction of the TurkStream, many wondered how long the relationship would last. It seemed that it could. After all, Erdogan may have his conflicting interests with Putin in Syria, with the latter openly supporting the Islamic State and the former supporting the secular republic of Syria and President Bashar al Assad. Still, one could have engaged in a wishful thinking of sorts, that conflicting interests in one region need not negatively affect cooperation in another region. However, the shooting down of the Russian military jet in Syrian skies by the Turkish army may complicate things. Russia is unlikely to go to war with Turkey, at least not now.  It knows better than to fall into provocations and responding to the shooting down of the jet will likely bring about the third world war, under NATO’s article 5. NATO has been actively preparing for a war against Russia quite openly recently. But it is still in a difficult position. Since by not responding, it sends the message that it is a nation whose planes can be toppled without an appropriate response. American readers, long accustomed to the demonization of Russia by the US media,  will not be too distraught by the occasional news headlines announcing that yet one more Russian plane has been downed. For some, Russians are less worthy of life and dignity than Europeans. At the same time, Russia punishing Turkey by military means is too dangerous to consider. Russia may therefore respond by announcing a boycott of Turkish...
The Russian Plane in Sinai: Preliminary Thoughts

The Russian Plane in Sinai: Preliminary Thoughts

Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky (C) All Rights Reserved 2016 By Joshua Tartakovsky, November 4 2015 It is too early to draw definitive conclusions about the tragic plane crash of the Russian civil airliner 7K9268 in Sinai in which at least 224 people lost their lives. But that does not mean that one should refrain from drawing a preliminary analysis already. We live in a time when the corporate media intentionally obscures the facts and when US-supported terrorists in Syria place women in large cages above buildings in order to avoid Russian bombings. This leaves us with little choice but to try to make sense of events ourselves. It was a mere several hours after the tragic air crash of the Russian airliner, that Debka File, an Israeli right-wing website with a mixed record, run by a former Israeli intelligence operative, claimed that the plane was shot down by a missile fired by ISIS. Debka also claimed that Russia sought to obscure the location of the crash and falsely claimed that the plane went missing near Cyprus. This seems unreasonable. Firstly, it would make little sense for Russia to obscure a fact that can be easily discovered. Secondly, Russia would have every interest in exposing the truth about the crash as soon as possible and not working to further disinformation. At that stage, it was equally probable that the crash was an accident or a terror attack. However, it was later discovered that the pilot did not call to report an accident. This indicates that the event likely caught the pilot by surprise, leaving no time for response. Most accidents...
Israeli Strikes in Syria: An End to the Russian-Israeli Agreement?

Israeli Strikes in Syria: An End to the Russian-Israeli Agreement?

By Joshua Tartakovsky 3 November 2015 The recent Israeli air strikes in violation of Syria’s sovereignty raise the question of whether Russian-Israeli collaboration is coming to an end or whether it was part of a mutually accepted agreement.  On October 31, Israeli planes attacked two military facilities, which Haaretz claimed belonged to the Syrian Arab Army and to Hezbollah, in the two separate areas of Ras al-Ein and al-Qatifa in the Al-Qalamoun mountains. This was the first Israeli airstrike in Syria following the launching of Russia’s military operations against Western-backed terrorists in the country. In September 21, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rushed to meet with Russian President Putin, with three senior defense figures after he realized that Russia will intervene in Syria. Initially, Netanyahu may have tried to dissuade Putin, but the latter explained that Syria does not pose a danger to Israel as it is currently fighting for its survival.  Some have argued that in the meeting Israel agreed to share intelligence with Russia on jihadist groups in Syria and that in return Russia agreed to turn the other way when Israel bombs arms which were may be transferred to Hezbollah.  And yet, several days ago, Israel struck bases of the Syrian Arab Army. Does this mean that the Israeli-Russian agreement collapsed or is Israel operating within the agreed parameters? The Middle East Monitor reported that Netanyahu and Putin agreed to “allow the Israeli air force to carry out operations freely in Syria, even in areas where the Russian army is stationed on the Syrian coast”.  But the problem is that in this case Israel attacked arms...
Can Israel Find A Way Out of Its Corner? The Potential Lies in the Axis of Resistance

Can Israel Find A Way Out of Its Corner? The Potential Lies in the Axis of Resistance

The reemergence of violence in Israel has been a nightmare for many Israelis By Joshua Tartakovsky, October 21, 2015   Palestinians in the West Bank are accustomed to being occupied on a regular basis. For them the difference between one day or another is the difference between the degrees of heat to be found in burning flames but not in their very existence. Israelis, on the other hand, have been exposed to unexpected violent outbursts of stabbings that can come from anywhere as lone Palestinians attacked Israelis with knives.  The degree of cruelty needed to stab a civilian bystander from a close range has left many Israelis in shock and panic. So far, the youngest stabber was 13 years old.  Needless to say, Jerusalemites have been looking over their shoulder more than once and several central streets of the city have been empty for several days. The fact that many of the stabbers were Israeli Arabs who attack Israelis within Israel’s formal borders, rather than Palestinians from the West Bank, places Israel in a very difficult position. In previous uprisings, it has been all too convenient for Israel to blame Palestinian Authority President Abbas for an outbreak of violence and to demand an end to official incitement. In fact, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has been often justified in terms of security. What is one to do, however, when Arab citizens of Israel who reside throughout the country, engage in stabbings of civilians and unleash a wave of terror? These attackers are citizens or residents of Israel proper, not Palestinians in the West Bank. How may such attacks...
Joyful Determination

Joyful Determination

The Soul of the East,  October 10, 2015, by Joshua Tartakovsky Even if Russia is a mystery to practically everyone, including Russians themselves, my recent time in Moscow left me with greater optimism regarding this nation’s future. The ongoing sanctions against the country; attempts by the West to cripple the economy; a campaign of demonisation of Russians and of President Putin by the Western corporate media (which goes at great length to distort and obscure facts while presenting Russians in a very negative light, relying on subconscious but now legitimate Russophobia); the decline of the ruble against the dollar and Western support for the pro-fascist regime in Kiev – all have failed to foster a spirit of melancholy, depression or fear. That is not to say that life in Russia is perfect or that Moscow is necessarily indicative of the rest of the country. Indeed, in rural areas of the country, people have been affected to a much larger degree by the economic decline than in Moscow, and yet, over 80% of the population supports the course taken by President Putin. Indeed, those who take issue with Putin, and advocate that Russia bend backwards to please the US, are generally part of a small, affluent, but politically irrelevant liberal minority, one which resides in the large cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In a trip to Moscow prior to this one, taken at the end of April 2015, I was left with a different impression. The mass suffering and destruction I witnessed in Donetsk seemed to escape the notice or attention of many Muscovites, who seemed more interested in living a luxurious life style than in the...