All posts by lucidaintervalla

History of the Ukraine conflict by Jacques Baud

The military situation in Ukraine, as seen by an ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence

Is it possible to actually know what has been and is going on in Ukraine? Jacques Baud is a former member of the Swiss strategic intelligence and specialist in Eastern countries. He takes a fact-driven down-to-earth approach to analyze the conflict and the role the West plays in it.


 Contributing Reporter


April 18, 2022

By Jacques Baud*

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL –  Part One: The Road To War – For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it. It is therefore not a question of justifying war, but of understanding what led us to it. [….]

Let’s try to examine the roots of the [Ukrainian] conflict. It starts with those who for the last eight years have been talking about “separatists” or “independentists” from Donbass. This is a misnomer.

The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in May 2014, were not referendums of “independence” (независимость), as some unscrupulous journalists have claimed, but referendums of “self-determination” or “autonomy” (самостоятельность).

The qualifier “pro-Russian” suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which was not the case, and the term “Russian speakers” would have been more honest. Moreover, these referendums were conducted against the advice of Vladimir Putin.

In fact, these Republics were not seeking to separate from Ukraine, but to have a status of autonomy, guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language–because the first legislative act of the new government resulting from the American-sponsored overthrow of [the democratically-elected] President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 that made Russian an official language in Ukraine.

A bit as if German-speaking ‘putschists’ decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages in Switzerland.

This decision caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population. The result was fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which was carried out beginning in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and some horrific massacres of the Russian population (in Odessa and Mariupol, the most notable).

At this stage, too rigid and engrossed in a doctrinaire approach to operations, the Ukrainian general staff subdued the enemy but without managing to actually prevail. The war waged by the autonomists [consisted in].… highly mobile operations conducted with light means. With a more flexible and less doctrinaire approach, the rebels were able to exploit the inertia of Ukrainian forces to repeatedly “trap” them.

In 2014, when I was at NATO, I was responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and we were trying to detect Russian arms deliveries to the rebels, to see if Moscow was involved.

The information we received then came almost entirely from Polish intelligence services and did not “fit” with the information coming from the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]—and despite rather crude allegations, there were no deliveries of weapons and military equipment from Russia.

The rebels were armed thanks to the defection of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units that went over to the rebel side. As Ukrainian failures continued, tank, artillery, and anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists. This is what pushed the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Agreements.

But just after signing the Minsk 1 Agreements, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko launched a massive “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO/Антитерористична операція) against the Donbass.

Poorly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat in Debaltsevo, which forced them to engage in the Minsk 2 Agreements.

It is essential to recall here that Minsk 1 (September 2014) and Minsk 2 (February 2015) Agreements did not provide for the separation or independence of the Republics, but their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine.

Those who have read the Agreements (there are very few who actually have) will note that it is written that the status of the Republics was to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the Republics, for an internal solution within Ukraine.

That is why since 2014, Russia has systematically demanded the implementation of the Minsk Agreements while refusing to be a party to the negotiations, because it was an internal matter of Ukraine.

On the other side, the West—led by France—systematically tried to replace Minsk Agreements with the “Normandy format,” which put Russians and Ukrainians face-to-face. However, let us remember that there were never any Russian troops in the Donbass before 23-24 February 2022.

Moreover, OSCE observers have never observed the slightest trace of Russian units operating in the Donbass before then. For example, the U.S. intelligence map published by the Washington Post on December 3, 2021 does not show Russian troops in the Donbass.

In October 2015, Vasyl Hrytsak, director of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), confessed that only 56 Russian fighters had been observed in the Donbass. This was exactly comparable to the Swiss who went to fight in Bosnia on weekends, in the 1990s, or the French who go to fight in Ukraine today.

The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, the chief Ukrainian military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, stated that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass: 891 from illnesses, 318 from road accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisonings (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of security regulations, 228 from murders and 615 from suicides.

In fact, the Ukrainian army was undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoyed the support of the population. According to a British Home Office report, in the March/April 2014 recall of reservists, 70 percent did not show up for the first session, 80 percent for the second, 90 percent for the third, and 95 percent for the fourth.

In October/November 2017, 70% of conscripts did not show up for the “Fall 2017” recall campaign. This is not counting suicides and desertions (often over to the autonomists), which reached up to 30 percent of the workforce in the ATO area. Young Ukrainians refused to go and fight in the Donbass and preferred emigration, which also explains, at least partially, the demographic deficit of the country.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense then turned to NATO to help make its armed forces more “attractive.” Having already worked on similar projects within the framework of the United Nations, I was asked by NATO to participate in a program to restore the image of the Ukrainian armed forces. But this is a long-term process and the Ukrainians wanted to move quickly.

So, to compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militias…. In 2020, they constituted about 40 percent of the Ukrainian forces and numbered about 102,000 men, according to Reuters. They were armed, financed, and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and France. There were more than 19 nationalities.

These militias had been operating in the Donbass since 2014, with Western support. Even if one can argue about the term “Nazi,” the fact remains that these militias are violent, convey a nauseating ideology, and are virulently anti-Semitic…[and] are composed of fanatical and brutal individuals.

The best known of these is the Azov Regiment, whose emblem is reminiscent of the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division, which is revered in the Ukraine for liberating Kharkov from the Soviets in 1943, before carrying out the 1944 Oradour-sur-Glane massacre in France. [….]

The characterization of the Ukrainian paramilitaries as “Nazis” or “neo-Nazis” is considered Russian propaganda. But that’s not the view of the Times of Israel or the West Point Academy’s Center for Counterterrorism. In 2014, Newsweek magazine seemed to associate them more with… the Islamic State. Take your pick!

So, the West supported and continued to arm militias that have been guilty of numerous crimes against civilian populations since 2014: rape, torture, and massacres….

The integration of these paramilitary forces into the Ukrainian National Guard was not at all accompanied by a “denazification,” as some claim. Among the many examples, that of the Azov Regiment’s insignia is instructive:

In 2022, very schematically, the Ukrainian armed forces fighting the Russian offensive were organized as:

  • The Army, subordinated to the Ministry of Defense. It is organized into 3 army corps and composed of maneuver formations (tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, etc.).
  • The National Guard, which depends on the Ministry of the Interior and is organized into 5 territorial commands.
  • The National Guard is therefore a territorial defense force that is not part of the Ukrainian army. It includes paramilitary militias, called “volunteer battalions” (добровольчі батальйоні), also known by the evocative name of “reprisal battalions,” and composed of infantry. Primarily trained for urban combat, they now defend cities such as Kharkov, Mariupol, Odessa, Kiev, etc.


As a former head of analysis of Warsaw Pact forces in the Swiss strategic intelligence service, I observe with sadness—but not astonishment—that our services are no longer able to understand the military situation in Ukraine. The self-proclaimed “experts” who parade on our TV screens tirelessly relay the same information modulated by the claim that Russia—and Vladimir Putin—is irrational. Let’s take a step back.

  • The Outbreak Of War
  • Since November 2021, the Americans have been constantly threatening a Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians at first did not seem to agree. Why not?
  • We have to go back to March 24, 2021. On that day, Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree for the recapture of the Crimea, and began to deploy his forces to the south of the country.
  • At the same time, several NATO exercises were conducted between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, accompanied by a significant increase in reconnaissance flights along the Russian border. Russia then conducted several exercises to test the operational readiness of its troops and to show that it was following the evolution of the situation.
  • Things calmed down until October-November with the end of the ZAPAD 21 exercises, whose troop movements were interpreted as a reinforcement for an offensive against Ukraine. However, even the Ukrainian authorities refuted the idea of Russian preparations for war, and Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukrainian Minister of Defense, states that there had been no change on its border since the spring.
  • In violation of the Minsk Agreements, Ukraine was conducting air operations in Donbass using drones, including at least one strike against a fuel depot in Donetsk in October 2021. The American press noted this, but not the Europeans, and no one condemned these violations.
  • In February 2022, events came to a head. On February 7, during his visit to Moscow, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed to Vladimir Putin his commitment to the Minsk Agreements, a commitment he would repeat after his meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky the next day.
  • But on February 11, in Berlin, after nine hours of work, the meeting of political advisors to the leaders of the “Normandy format” ended without any concrete result: the Ukrainians still refused to apply the Minsk Agreements, apparently under pressure from the United States.
  • Vladimir Putin noted that Macron had made empty promises and that the West was not ready to enforce the agreements, the same opposition to a settlement it had exhibited for eight years.
  • Ukrainian preparations in the contact zone continued. The Russian Parliament became alarmed; and on February 15 it asked Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the Republics, which he initially refused to do.
  • On 17 February, President Joe Biden announced that Russia would attack Ukraine in the next few days. How did he know this? It is a mystery.
  • But since the 16th, the artillery shelling of the population of Donbass had increased dramatically, as the daily reports of the OSCE observers show. Naturally, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government reacted or intervened.
  • It would be said later that this was Russian disinformation. In fact, it seems that the European Union and some countries have deliberately kept silent about the massacre of the Donbass population, knowing that this would provoke Russian intervention.
  • At the same time, there were reports of sabotage in the Donbass. On 18 January, Donbass fighters intercepted saboteurs, who spoke Polish and were equipped with Western equipment, and who were seeking to create chemical incidents in Gorlivka.
  • They could have been CIA mercenaries, led or “advised” by Americans and composed of Ukrainian or European fighters, to carry out sabotage actions in the Donbass Republics.
  • In fact, as early as February 16, Joe Biden knew that the Ukrainians had begun intense shelling of the civilian population of Donbass, forcing Vladimir Putin to make a difficult choice: to help Donbass militarily and create an international problem or to stand by and watch the Russian-speaking people of Donbass being crushed.
  • If he decided to intervene, Putin could invoke the international obligation of “Responsibility To Protect” (R2P). But he knew that whatever its nature or scale, the intervention would trigger a storm of sanctions.
  • Therefore, whether the Russian intervention was limited to the Donbass or went further to put pressure on the West over the status of Ukraine, the price to pay would be the same.
  • This is what he explained in his speech on February 21. On that day, he agreed to the request of the Duma and recognized the independence of the two Donbass Republics, and, at the same time, he signed friendship and assistance treaties with them.
  • The Ukrainian artillery bombardment of the Donbass population continued, and, on 23 February, the two Republics asked for military assistance from Russia. On 24 February, Vladimir Putin invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which provides for mutual military assistance in the framework of a defensive alliance.

In order to make the Russian intervention seem totally illegal in the eyes of the public, Western powers deliberately hid the fact that the war actually started on February 16. The Ukrainian army was preparing to attack the Donbass as early as 2021, as some Russian and European intelligence services were well aware.

In his speech on February 24, Vladimir Putin stated the two objectives of his operation: “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. So, it was not a question of taking over Ukraine, nor even, presumably, of occupying it; and certainly not of destroying it.

From then on, our knowledge of the course of the operation is limited: the Russians have excellent security for their operations (OPSEC) and the details of their planning are not known. But fairly quickly, the course of the operation allows us to understand how the strategic objectives were translated on the operational level.


  • ground destruction of Ukrainian aviation, air defense systems and reconnaissance assets;
  • neutralization of command and intelligence structures (C3I), as well as the main logistical routes in the depth of the territory;
  • encirclement of the bulk of the Ukrainian army massed in the southeast of the country.
  • destruction or neutralization of volunteer battalions operating in the cities of Odessa, Kharkov, and Mariupol, as well as in various facilities in the territory.


The Russian offensive was carried out in a very “classic” manner. Initially—as the Israelis had done in 1967—with the destruction on the ground of the air force in the very first hours.

Then, we witnessed a simultaneous progression along several axes according to the principle of “flowing water”: advance everywhere where resistance was weak and leave the cities (very demanding in terms of troops) for later.

In the north, the Chernobyl power plant was occupied immediately to prevent acts of sabotage. The images of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers guarding the plant together are of course not shown.

The idea that Russia is trying to take over Kiev, the capital, to eliminate Zelensky, comes typically from the West…. But Vladimir Putin never intended to shoot or topple Zelensky. Instead, Russia seeks to keep him in power by pushing him to negotiate, by surrounding Kiev. The Russians want to obtain the neutrality of Ukraine.

Many Western commentators were surprised that the Russians continued to seek a negotiated solution while conducting military operations. The explanation lies in the Russian strategic outlook since the Soviet era.

For the West, war begins when politics ends. However, the Russian approach follows a Clausewitzian inspiration: war is the continuity of politics and one can move fluidly from one to the other, even during combat. This allows one to create pressure on the adversary and push him to negotiate.

From an operational point of view, the Russian offensive was an example of previous military action and planning: in six days, the Russians seized a territory as large as the United Kingdom, with a speed of advance greater than what the Wehrmacht had achieved in 1940.

The bulk of the Ukrainian army was deployed in the south of the country in preparation for a major operation against the Donbass. This is why Russian forces were able to encircle it from the beginning of March in the “cauldron” between Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk, with a thrust from the East through Kharkov and another from the South from Crimea. Troops from the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) Republics are complementing the Russian forces with a push from the East.

At this stage, Russian forces are slowly tightening the noose, but are no longer under any time pressure or schedule. Their demilitarization goal is all but achieved and the remaining Ukrainian forces no longer have an operational and strategic command structure.

The “slowdown” that our “experts” attribute to poor logistics is only the consequence of having achieved their objectives. Russia does not want to engage in the occupation of the entire Ukrainian territory. In fact, it appears that Russia is trying to limit its advance to the linguistic border of the country.

Our media speak of indiscriminate bombardments against the civilian population, especially in Kharkov, and horrific images are widely broadcast. However, Gonzalo Lira, a Latin American correspondent who lives there, presents us with a calm city on March 10 and March 11.

It is true that it is a large city and we do not see everything—but this seems to indicate that we are not in the total war that we are served continuously on our TV screens. As for the Donbass Republics, they have “liberated” their own territories and are fighting in the city of Mariupol.


In cities like Kharkov, Mariupol and Odessa, the Ukrainian defense is provided by the paramilitary militias. They know that the objective of “denazification” is aimed primarily at them. For an attacker in an urbanized area, civilians are a problem. This is why Russia is seeking to create humanitarian corridors to empty cities of civilians and leave only the militias, to fight them more easily.

Conversely, these militias seek to keep civilians in the cities from evacuating in order to dissuade the Russian army from fighting there. This is why they are reluctant to implement these corridors and do everything to ensure that Russian efforts are unsuccessful—they use the civilian population as “human shields.”

Videos showing civilians trying to leave Mariupol and beaten up by fighters of the Azov regiment are of course carefully censored by the Western media.

On Facebook, the Azov group was considered in the same category as the Islamic State [ISIS] and subject to the platform’s “policy on dangerous individuals and organizations.” It was therefore forbidden to glorify its activities, and “posts” that were favorable to it were systematically banned.

But on February 24, Facebook changed its policy and allowed posts favorable to the militia. In the same spirit, in March, the platform authorized, in the former Eastern countries, calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders. So much for the values that inspire our leaders.

Our media propagate a romantic image of popular resistance by the Ukrainian people. It is this image that led the European Union to finance the distribution of arms to the civilian population. In my capacity as head of peacekeeping at the UN, I worked on the issue of civilian protection. We found that violence against civilians occurred in very specific contexts. In particular, when weapons are abundant and there are no command structures.

These command structures are the essence of armies: their function is to channel the use of force towards an objective. By arming citizens in a haphazard manner, as is currently the case, the EU is turning them into combatants, with the consequential effect of making them potential targets.

Moreover, without command, without operational goals, the distribution of arms leads inevitably to the settling of scores, banditry, and actions that are more deadly than effective.

War becomes a matter of emotions. Force becomes violence. This is what happened in Tawarga (Libya) from 11 to 13 August 2011, where 30,000 black Africans were massacred with weapons parachuted (illegally) by France. By the way, the British Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (RUSI) does not see any added value in these arms deliveries.

Moreover, by delivering arms to a country at war, one exposes oneself to being considered belligerent. The Russian strikes of March 13, 2022, against the Mykolayev air base follow Russian warnings that arms shipments would be treated as hostile targets.

The EU is repeating the disastrous experience of the Third Reich in the final hours of the Battle of Berlin. War must be left to the military and when one side has lost, it must be admitted.

And if there is to be resistance, it must be led and structured. But we are doing exactly the opposite—we are pushing citizens to go and fight, and at the same time, Facebook authorizes calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders.

Some intelligence services see this irresponsible decision as a way to use the Ukrainian population as cannon fodder to fight Vladimir Putin’s Russia…. It would have been better to engage in negotiations and thus obtain guarantees for the civilian population than to add fuel to the fire. It is easy to be combative with the blood of others.


It is important to understand beforehand that it is not the Ukrainian army that is defending Mariupol, but the Azov militia, composed of foreign mercenaries.

In its March 7, 2022 summary of the situation, the Russian UN mission in New York stated that “Residents report that Ukrainian armed forces expelled staff from the Mariupol city birth hospital No. 1 and set up a firing post inside the facility.”

On March 8, the independent Russian media, published the testimony of civilians from Mariupol who told that the maternity hospital was taken over by the militia of the Azov regiment, and who drove out the civilian occupants by threatening them with their weapons. They confirmed the statements of the Russian ambassador a few hours earlier. The hospital in Mariupol occupies a dominant position, perfectly suited for the installation of anti-tank weapons and for observation.

On 9 March, Russian forces struck the building. According to CNN, 17 people were wounded, but the images do not show any casualties in the building and there is no evidence that the victims mentioned are related to this strike. There is talk of children, but in reality, there is nothing. This does not prevent the leaders of the EU from seeing this as a war crime. And this allows Zelensky to call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

In reality, we do not know exactly what happened. But the sequence of events tends to confirm that Russian forces struck a position of the Azov regiment and that the maternity ward was then free of civilians.

The problem is that the paramilitary militias that defend the cities are encouraged by the international community not to respect the rules of war.

It seems that the Ukrainians have replayed the scenario of the Kuwait City maternity hospital in 1990, which was totally staged by the firm Hill & Knowlton for US$10.7 million in order to convince the United Nations Security Council to intervene in Iraq for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Western politicians have accepted civilian strikes in the Donbass for eight years without adopting any sanctions against the Ukrainian government. We have long since entered a dynamic where Western politicians have agreed to sacrifice international law toward their goal of weakening Russia.

Part Three: Conclusions

As an ex-intelligence professional, the first thing that strikes me is the total absence of Western intelligence services in accurately representing the situation over the past year…. In fact, it seems that throughout the Western world intelligence services have been overwhelmed by the politicians.

The problem is that it is the politicians who decide—the best intelligence service in the world is useless if the decision-maker does not listen. This is what happened during this crisis.

That said, while a few intelligence services had a very accurate and rational picture of the situation, others clearly had the same picture as that propagated by our media… The problem is that, from experience, I have found them to be extremely bad at the analytical level—doctrinaire, they lack the intellectual and political independence necessary to assess a situation with military “quality.”

Second, it seems that in some European countries, politicians have deliberately responded ideologically to the situation. That is why this crisis has been irrational from the beginning. It should be noted that all the documents that were presented to the public during this crisis were presented by politicians based on commercial sources.

Some Western politicians obviously wanted there to be a conflict. In the United States, the attack scenarios presented by Anthony Blinken to the UN Security Council were only the product of the imagination of a Tiger Team working for him—he did exactly as Donald Rumsfeld did in 2002, who “bypassed” the CIA and other intelligence services that were much less assertive about Iraqi chemical weapons.

The dramatic developments we are witnessing today have causes that we knew about but refused to see:

  • on the strategic level, the expansion of NATO (which we have not dealt with here);
  • on the political level, the Western refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements;and
  • operationally, the continuous and repeated attacks on the civilian population of the Donbass over the past years and the dramatic increase in late February 2022.

In other words, we can naturally deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (that is: the United States, France and the European Union in the lead) have created the conditions for a conflict to break out.

We show compassion for the Ukrainian people and the almost 5 million refugees. That is fine. But if we had had a modicum of compassion for refugees from the Ukrainian populations of Donbass massacred by their own government and who sought refuge in Russia for eight years, none of this would probably have happened.


Whether the term “genocide” applies to the abuses suffered by the people of Donbass is an open question. The term is generally reserved for cases of greater magnitude (Holocaust, etc.). But the definition given by the Genocide Convention is probably broad enough to apply to this case.

Clearly, this conflict has led us into hysteria. Sanctions seem to have become the preferred tool of our foreign policies. If we had insisted that Ukraine abide by the Minsk Agreements, which we had negotiated and endorsed, none of this would have happened.

Vladimir Putin’s condemnation is also ours. There is no point in whining afterward—we should have acted earlier. However, neither Emmanuel Macron (as guarantor and member of the UN Security Council), nor Olaf Scholz, nor Volodymyr Zelensky have respected their commitments. In the end, the real defeat is that of those who have no voice.

The European Union was unable to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements—on the contrary, it did not react when Ukraine was bombing its own population in the Donbass.

Had it done so, Vladimir Putin would not have needed to react. Absent from the diplomatic phase, the EU distinguished itself by fueling the conflict. On February 27, the Ukrainian government agreed to enter into negotiations with Russia.

But a few hours later, the European Union voted a budget of 450 million euros to supply arms to Ukraine, adding fuel to the fire. From then on, the Ukrainians felt that they did not need to reach an agreement.

The resistance of the Azov militia in Mariupol even led to a boost of 500 million euros for weapons.

In Ukraine, with the blessing of the Western countries, those who are in favor of negotiation have been eliminated. This is the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian secret service (SBU) because he was too favorable to Russia and was considered a traitor.

The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU’s main directorate for Kiev and its region, who was assassinated on March 10 because he was too favorable to an agreement with Russia—he was shot by the Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) militia.

This militia is associated with the Mirotvorets website, which lists the “enemies of Ukraine,” with their personal data, addresses, and telephone numbers so that they can be harassed or even eliminated; a practice that is punishable in many countries, but not in the Ukraine.

The UN and some European countries have demanded the closure of this site—but that demand was refused by the Rada [Ukrainian parliament].

In the end, the price will be high, but Vladimir Putin will likely achieve the goals he set for himself. We have pushed him into the arms of China. His ties with Beijing have solidified.

China is emerging as a mediator in the conflict…. The Americans have to ask Venezuela and Iran for oil to get out of the energy impasse they have put themselves in—and the United States has to piteously backtrack on the sanctions imposed on its enemies.

Western ministers who seek to collapse the Russian economy and make the Russian people suffer, or even call for the assassination of Putin, show (even if they have partially reversed the form of their words, but not the substance!) that our leaders are no better than those we hate—sanctioning Russian athletes in the Para-Olympic Games or Russian artists has nothing to do with fighting Putin. [….]

What makes the conflict in Ukraine more blameworthy than our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? What sanctions have we adopted against those who deliberately lied to the international community in order to wage unjust, unjustified, and murderous wars?

Have we adopted a single sanction against the countries, companies, or politicians who are supplying weapons to the conflict in Yemen, considered to be the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world?”

To ask the question is to answer it… and the answer is not pretty.

*Jacques Baud is a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, and specialist on Eastern countries.

He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in Sudan.

He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR.

Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine.

He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake news , L’affaire Navalny . His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

This post is mirrored. You can find the original in French here

Ukraine – Interview mit Generalmajor Baud

«Die Politik der USA war es immer, zu verhindern, dass Deutschland und Russland enger zusammenarbeiten»

05.04.22 – Thomas Kaiser für Zeitgeschehen im Fokus – Pressenza Zürich

Dieser Artikel ist auch auf Englisch verfügbar

Interview mit Jacques Baud* über die historischen, politischen und wirtschaftlichen Hintergründe des Ukraine-Kriegs.

*Jacques Baud hat einen Master in Ökonometrie und ein Nachdiplomstudium in internationaler Sicherheit am Hochschulinstitut für internationale Beziehungen in Genf absolviert und war Oberst der Schweizer Armee. Er arbeitete für den Schweizerischen Strategischen Nachrichtendienst und war Berater für die Sicherheit der Flüchtlingslager in Ost-Zaire während des Ruanda-Krieges (UNHCR-Zaire/Kongo, 1995-1996). Er arbeitete für das DPKO (Departement of Peacekeeping Operations) der Vereinten Nationen in New York (1997-99), gründete das Internationale Zentrum für Humanitäre Minenräumung in Genf (CIGHD) und das Informationsmanagementsystem für Minenräumung (IMSMA). Er trug zur Einführung des Konzepts der nachrichtendienstlichen Aufklärung in Uno-Friedenseinsätzen bei und leitete das erste integrierte UN Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC) im Sudan (2005-06). Er war Leiter der Abteilung «Friedenspolitik und Doktrin» des Uno-Departements für friedenserhaltende Operationen in New York (2009-11) und der Uno-Expertengruppe für die Reform des Sicherheitssektors und die Rechtsstaatlichkeit, arbeitete in der Nato und ist Autor mehrerer Bücher über Nachrichtendienste, asymmetrische Kriegsführung, Terrorismus und Desinformation.

Zeitgeschehen im Fokus: Herr Baud, Sie kennen die Region, in der im Moment Krieg herrscht. Welche Schlüsse haben Sie aus den letzten Tagen gezogen, und wie konnte es so weit kommen?

Jacques Baud: Ich kenne die Region, um die es jetzt geht, sehr gut. Ich war beim EDA [Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten] und in dessen Auftrag fünf Jahre abkommandiert zur Nato im Kampf gegen die Proliferation von Kleinwaffen. Ich habe Projekte in der Ukraine nach 2014 betreut. Das heisst, ich kenne Russland auf Grund meiner ehemaligen nachrichtendienstlichen Tätigkeit, die Nato, die Ukraine und das dazugehörige Umfeld sehr gut. Ich spreche russisch und habe Zugang zu Dokumenten, die nur wenige Menschen im Westen anschauen.

Sie sind ein Kenner der Situation in und um die Ukraine. Ihre berufliche Tätigkeit brachte Sie in die aktuelle Krisenregion. Wie nehmen Sie das Geschehen wahr?

Es ist verrückt, man kann sagen, es herrscht eine regelrechte Hysterie. Was mir auffällt und was mich sehr stört, ist, dass niemand die Frage stellt, warum die Russen einmarschiert sind. Niemand wird einen Krieg befürworten, ich sicher auch nicht. Aber als ehemaliger Chef der «Friedenspolitik und Doktrin» des Uno-Departements für friedenserhaltende Operationen in New York während zwei Jahren stelle ich mir immer die Frage: Wie ist man zu diesem Punkt gekommen, Krieg zu führen?

Was war Ihre Aufgabe dort?

Es ging darum zu erforschen, wie es zu Kriegen kommt, welche Elemente zu Frieden führen, und was man tun kann, um Opfer zu vermeiden bzw. wie man einen Krieg verhindern kann. Wenn man nicht versteht, wie ein Krieg entsteht, dann kann man keine Lösung finden. Wir sind genau in dieser Situation. Jedes Land erlässt seine eigenen Sanktionen gegen Russland, und man weiss genau, das führt nirgends hin. Was mich dabei besonders schockiert hat, ist die Äusserung des Wirtschaftsministers in Frankreich, man wolle die Wirtschaft Russlands zerstören mit dem Ziel, die russische Bevölkerung leiden zu lassen. Das ist eine Aussage, die mich äusserst empört.

Russlands Ziel der Entmilitarisierung und Entnazifizierung

Wie beurteilen Sie den Angriff der Russen?

Wenn ein Staat einen anderen angreift, dann ist das gegen das Völkerrecht. Aber man sollte auch die Hintergründe dafür ins Auge fassen. Zunächst muss klargestellt werden, dass Putin weder verrückt ist noch die Realität verloren hat. Er ist ein Mensch, der sehr methodisch, systematisch, also sehr russisch ist. Ich bin der Meinung, dass er sich der Konsequenzen seines Handelns in der Ukraine bewusst ist. Er hat – offensichtlich zu Recht – beurteilt, dass egal, ob er eine «kleine» Operation zum Schutz der Donbas-Bevölkerung oder eine «massive» Operation zugunsten der nationalen Interessen Russlands und der Donbas-Bevölkerung durchführte, die Konsequenzen gleich sein würden. Er ist dann auf die Maximallösung gegangen.

Worin sehen Sie das Ziel?

Es ist sicher nicht gegen die ukrainische Bevölkerung gerichtet. Das wurde von Putin immer wieder gesagt. Man sieht es auch an den Fakten. Russland liefert immer noch Gas in die Ukraine. Die Russen haben das nicht gestoppt. Sie haben das Internet nicht abgestellt. Sie haben die Elektrizitätswerke und die Wasserversorgung nicht zerstört. Natürlich gibt es gewisse Gebiete, in denen gekämpft wird. Aber man sieht einen ganz anderen Ansatz als bei den Amerikanern z. B. in Ex-Jugoslawien, im Irak oder auch in Libyen. Als westliche Länder diese angriffen, zerstörten sie zuerst die Strom- und Wasserversorgung und die gesamte Infrastruktur.

Warum geht der Westen so vor?

Das Vorgehen der westlichen Länder – es ist auch interessant, das von der Einsatzdoktrin her zu sehen – wird genährt von der Idee, dass es, wenn man die Infrastruktur zerstört, von der Bevölkerung einen Aufstand gegen den missliebigen Diktator geben wird und man ihn so los wird. Das war auch die Strategie während des Zweiten Weltkriegs, als man die deutschen Städte bombardiert hat wie Köln, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden etc. Man hat direkt auf die Zivilbevölkerung gezielt, damit es zu einem Aufstand kommt. Die Regierung verliert durch einen Aufstand ihre Macht, und man hat den Krieg gewonnen, ohne eigene Truppen zu gefährden. Das ist die Theorie.

Wie ist das Vorgehen der Russen?

Das ist völlig anders. Sie haben ihr Ziel klar bekannt gegeben. Sie wollen eine «Entmilitarisierung» und «Entnazifizierung». Wenn man die Berichterstattung ehrlich verfolgt, ist es genau das, was sie machen. Natürlich, ein Krieg ist ein Krieg, und bedauerlicherweise gibt es dabei immer Tote, aber es ist interessant zu sehen, was die Zahlen sagen. Am Freitag (4.3.) zog die Uno eine Bilanz. Sie berichtete von 265 getöteten ukrainischen Zivilisten. Am Abend hat das russische Verteidigungsministerium die Anzahl der toten Soldaten mit 498 angegeben. Das heisst, es gibt mehr Opfer beim russischen Militär als unter den Zivilisten auf der ukrainischen Seite. Wenn man das jetzt mit Irak oder Libyen vergleicht, dann ist es bei der westlichen Kriegsführung genau umgekehrt.

Das widerspricht der Darstellung im Westen?

Ja, in unseren Medien wird es so dargestellt, dass die Russen alles zerstören würden, aber das stimmt offensichtlich nicht. Auch stört mich die Darstellung in unseren Medien über Putin, dass er plötzlich entschieden habe, die Ukraine anzugreifen und zu erobern. Die USA haben über mehrere Monate gewarnt, es werde einen Überraschungsangriff geben, aber es geschah nichts. Übrigens, Nachrichtendienste und die ukrainische Führung haben mehrmals die amerikanischen Aussagen dementiert. Wenn man die militärischen Meldungen anschaut und die Vorbereitungen, dann sieht man ziemlich klar: Putin hatte bis Mitte Februar keine Absicht, die Ukraine anzugreifen.

Warum hat sich das geändert? Was ist geschehen?

Dazu muss man ein paar Dinge wissen, sonst versteht man das nicht. Am 24. März 2021 hat der ukrainische Präsident Selenskyj ein Dekret erlassen, dass er die Zurückeroberung der Krim beabsichtigt. Daraufhin begann er, die ukrainische Armee nach Süden und Südosten zu verschieben, in Richtung Donbas. Seit einem Jahr also hat man einen ständigen Aufbau der Armee an der südlichen Grenze der Ukraine. Das erklärt, warum Ende Februar keine ukrainischen Truppen an der russisch-ukrainischen Grenze waren. Selenskyj hat immer den Standpunkt vertreten, dass die Russen die Ukraine nicht angreifen werden. Auch der ukrainische Verteidigungsminister hat das immer wieder bestätigt. Ebenso bestätigte der Chef des ukrainischen Sicherheitsrats im Dezember und im Januar, dass es keine Anzeichen für einen russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine gebe.

War das ein Trick?

Nein, sie sagten das mehrmals, und ich bin sicher, dass Putin, der das übrigens auch wiederholt sagte, nicht angreifen wollte. Offenbar gab es Druck aus den USA.
Die USA haben an der Ukraine selbst wenig Interesse. Zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt wollten sie den Druck auf Deutschland erhöhen, North-Stream II abzustellen. Sie wollten, dass die Ukraine Russland provoziert und dass, wenn Russland darauf reagiert, North-Stream II auf Eis gelegt wird. Ein solches Szenario wurde anlässlich des Besuches von Olaf Scholz in Washington angetönt, und Scholz wollte klar nicht mitmachen. Das ist nicht nur meine Meinung, es gibt auch Amerikaner, die das so sehen: Das Ziel ist North-Stream II. Dabei darf man nicht vergessen, dass North-Stream II auf Anfrage der Deutschen gebaut worden ist. Es ist grundsätzlich ein deutsches Projekt. Denn Deutschland braucht mehr Gas, um seine Energie- und Klimaziele zu erreichen.

In einem Nuklear-Krieg wäre Europa das Schlachtfeld

Warum haben die USA darauf gedrängt?

Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war es immer die Politik der USA, zu verhindern, dass Deutschland und Russland bzw. die UdSSR enger zusammenarbeiten. Das, obwohl die Deutschen eine historische Angst vor den Russen haben. Aber das sind die beiden grössten Mächte Europas. Historisch gesehen gab es immer wirtschaftliche Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Russland. Das haben die USA immer versucht zu verhindern. Man darf nicht vergessen, dass in einem Nuklear-Krieg Europa das Schlachtfeld wäre. Das heisst, dass in so einem Fall die Interessen Europas und der Vereinigten Staaten nicht unbedingt dieselben wären. Das erklärt, warum in den 1980er Jahren die Sowjetunion pazifistische Bewegungen in Deutschland unterstützt hat. Eine engere Beziehung zwischen Deutschland und Russland würde die amerikanische Nuklearstrategie nutzlos machen.

Die USA haben immer die Energieabhängigkeit kritisiert?

Es ist eine Ironie, dass die USA die Energieabhängigkeit Deutschlands bzw. Europas von Russland kritisieren. Russland ist der zweitgrösste Öllieferant an die USA. Die USA kaufen ihr Öl hauptsächlich von Kanada, dann von Russland, gefolgt von Mexiko und Saudi-Arabien. Das heisst, die USA sind abhängig von Russland. Das gilt zum Beispiel auch für Raketenmotoren. Das stört die USA nicht. Aber es stört die USA, dass die Europäer von Russland abhängig sind.

Während des Kalten Krieges hat Russland, also die Sowjetunion, immer alle Gas-Verträge eingehalten. Die russische Denkweise ist diesbezüglich sehr ähnlich wie die schweizerische. Russland befolgt die Gesetze, es fühlt sich an die Regeln gebunden wie die Schweiz. Man ist zwar emotional, aber die Regeln gelten, und man setzt diese Regeln durch. Während des Kalten Krieges hat die Sowjetunion nie eine Verbindung zwischen Wirtschaft und Politik gemacht. Die Auseinandersetzung in der Ukraine ist eine rein politische Auseinandersetzung.

Die Theorie Brzezińskis, dass die Ukraine der Schlüssel zur Beherrschung Asiens sei, spielt hier auch eine Rolle?

Brzeziński war sicher ein grosser Denker und beeinflusst das strategische Denken der USA nach wie vor. Aber dieser Aspekt ist meiner Ansicht nach nicht so zentral in dieser Krise. Die Ukraine ist sicher wichtig. Aber die Frage, wer die Ukraine beherrscht oder kontrolliert, steht nicht im Zentrum. Die Russen verfolgen nicht das Ziel der Kontrolle der Ukraine. Das Problem für Russland mit der Ukraine ist wie auch für andere Länder ein militärstrategisches.

Was heisst das?

In der ganzen Diskussion, die im Moment überall geführt wird, wird Entscheidendes ausser Acht gelassen. Gewiss, man redet von Nuklearwaffen, aber etwa so wie in einem Film. Die Realität ist etwas anders. Die Russen wollen einen Abstand zwischen Nato und Russland. Das Kernelement der Nato ist die US-amerikanische Nuklearmacht. Das ist die Essenz der Nato. Als ich bei der Nato gearbeitet habe, hat Jens Stoltenberg – er war bereits mein Chef – immer gesagt: «Die Nato ist eine Nuklearmacht». Heute, wenn die USA in Polen und Rumänien Raketensysteme stationieren, dann sind das die sogenannten MK-41 Systeme.

Sind das Defensivwaffen?

Die USA sagen natürlich, sie seien rein defensiv. Man kann tatsächlich Defensivraketen von diesen Abschussrampen loslassen. Aber man kann mit dem gleichen System auch Nuklearraketen verwenden. Diese Rampen sind ein paar Minuten von Moskau entfernt. Wenn in einer Situation der erhöhten Spannung in Europa etwas passiert und die Russen aufgrund von Satellitenbildern merken, dass es bei den Abschussrampen Aktivitäten gibt und irgendetwas vorbereitet wird, werden sie dann abwarten, bis möglicherweise Atomraketen Richtung Moskau abgeschossen werden?

Wohl kaum…

…natürlich nicht. Sie würden sofort einen Präventivangriff starten. Die ganze Zuspitzung entstand, nachdem die USA aus dem ABM-Vertrag ausgetreten waren [Vertrag zur Begrenzung von Systemen zur Abwehr von ballistischen Raketen]. Unter der Gültigkeit des ABM-Vertrags hätten sie ein solches System nicht in Europa stationieren können. Wenn es um eine Auseinandersetzung geht, braucht man immer eine gewisse Reaktionszeit. Nur schon, weil Fehler passieren könnten.

So etwas haben wir während des Kalten Krieges auch gehabt. Je grösser die Distanz zu den Stationierungsorten ist, um so mehr Zeit hat man, um zu reagieren. Wenn die Raketen zu nahe am russischen Territorium stationiert sind, gibt es bei einem Angriff keine Zeit mehr, darauf zu reagieren und man läuft viel schneller Gefahr, in einen Atomkrieg zu geraten. Das betrifft alle Länder rundherum. Die Russen haben das natürlich realisiert, und auf Grund dessen den Warschauer Pakt gegründet.

Die Bedeutung der Nuklear-Waffen wird grösser

Zuerst war doch die Nato da…

Die Nato wurde 1949 gegründet und erst sechs Jahre später der Warschauer Pakt. Der Grund dafür war die Wiederbewaffnung der BRD und ihre Aufnahme in die Nato 1955. Wenn man die Karte von 1949 anschaut, dann sieht man einen sehr grossen Abstand zwischen der Nuklearmacht Nato und der UdSSR. Als die Nato durch den Beitritt Deutschlands weiter Richtung russische Grenze vorrückte, gründete Russland den Warschauer Pakt. Die osteuropäischen Staaten waren bereits alle kommunistisch, und die KP war in allen Ländern sehr stark. Fast schlimmer als in der UdSSR. Die UdSSR wollte einen Sicherheitsgürtel um sich herumhaben, deshalb kreierte sie den Warschauer Pakt. Sie wollte ein Vorfeld sicherstellen, um möglichst lang einen konventionellen Krieg führen zu können. Das war die Idee: so lange wie möglich im konventionellen Bereich zu bleiben und nicht unmittelbar in den nuklearen zu geraten.

Ist das heute auch noch so?

Nach dem Kalten Krieg hat man die Nuklearrüstung etwas vergessen. Sicherheit war nicht mehr eine Frage der Nuklearwaffen. Der Irak-Krieg, der Afghanistan-Krieg waren Kriege mit konventionellen Waffen, und die nukleare Dimension geriet etwas aus dem Blickfeld. Aber die Russen haben das nicht vergessen. Sie denken sehr strategisch. Ich besuchte seinerzeit in Moskau in der Woroschilowsk-Akademie den Generalstab. Dort konnte man sehen, wie die Menschen denken. Sie überlegen strategisch, so wie man in Kriegszeiten denken sollte.

Kann man das heute erkennen?

Das sieht man heute sehr genau. Putins Leute denken strategisch. Es gibt ein strategisches Denken, ein operatives und ein taktisches Denken. Die westlichen Länder, das hat man in Afghanistan oder im Irak gesehen, haben keine Strategie. Das ist genau das Problem, das die Franzosen in Mali haben. Mali hat hat nun verlangt, dass sie das Land verlassen, denn die Franzosen töten Menschen ohne Strategie und ohne Ziel. Bei den Russen ist das ganz anders, sie denken strategisch. Sie haben ein Ziel. So ist es auch bei Putin.

In unseren Medien wird immer wieder berichtet, dass Putin Atomwaffen ins Spiel gebracht habe. Haben Sie das auch gehört?

Ja, Wladimir Putin hat am 27. Februar seine Nuklearkräfte in den Alarmzustand Stufe 1 gesetzt. Das ist aber nur die Hälfte der Geschichte. Am 11./12. Februar fand die Sicherheitskonferenz in München statt. Selenskyj war dort. Er äusserte, dass er Nuklearwaffen beschaffen möchte. Das wurde als eine potenzielle Bedrohung interpretiert. Im Kreml ging natürlich die rote Lampe an. Um das zu verstehen, muss man das Abkommen von Budapest 1994 im Hinterkopf haben. Dabei ging es darum, die Atomraketen in den ehemaligen Sowjetrepubliken zu vernichten und nur Russland als Atommacht bestehen zu lassen. Auch die Ukraine übergab die Atomwaffen an Russland, und Russland sicherte als Gegenleistung die Unverletzlichkeit der Grenzen zu. Als die Krim zurück an Russland ging, 2014, sagte die Ukraine, sie würde sich auch nicht mehr an das Abkommen von 1994 halten.

Zurück zu den Atomwaffen. Was hat Putin wirklich gesagt?

Falls Selenskyj Nuklearwaffen zurückhaben wollte, wäre das für Putin sicher ein inakzeptabler Weg. Wenn man direkt an der Grenze Nuklearwaffen hat, dann gibt es nur sehr wenig Vorwarnungszeit. Nach dem Besuch von Macron gab es eine Pressekonferenz, und Putin sagte dort unmissverständlich, dass wenn der Abstand zwischen der Nato und Russland zu gering sei, dies ungewollt zu Komplikationen führen könne. Aber das entscheidende Element lag am Anfang des Krieges gegen die Ukraine, als der französische Aussenminister Putin drohte, indem er betonte, dass die Nato eine Nuklearmacht sei. Darauf reagierte Putin und versetzte seine Atomstreitkräfte in eine erste Alarmbereitschaft. Die Presse erwähnte das natürlich nicht. Putin ist ein Realist, er ist bodenständig und zielgerichtet.

Was hat Putin veranlasst, jetzt militärisch einzugreifen?

Am 24. März 2021 hat Selenskyj das Dekret erlassen, das besagt, dass er die Krim zurückerobern werde. Er hat Vorbereitungen dazu getroffen. Ob das seine Absicht war oder nur ein politisches Manöver, das weiss man nicht. Was man aber gesehen hat, ist, dass er die ukrainische Armee im Donbas-Gebiet massiv verstärkt und im Süden Richtung Krim zusammengezogen hat. Den Russen ist das natürlich aufgefallen. Gleichzeitig hat die Nato im April letzten Jahres ein sehr grosses Manöver zwischen Baltikum und Schwarzem Meer durchgeführt. Das hat die Russen verständlicherweise aufgeschreckt. Sie haben im südlichen Militärbezirk Übungen abgehalten, um Präsenz zu markieren. Danach ist alles etwas ruhiger geworden, und im September hat Russland schon lange geplante «Zapad 21»-Übungen abgehalten. Diese Übungen werden alle vier Jahre durchgeführt. Am Ende des Manövers sind einige Truppenteile in der Nähe von Belarus geblieben. Das waren Truppen aus dem östlichen Militärbezirk. Es wurde vor allem Material dort zurückgelassen, denn es war auf Anfang dieses Jahres ein grosses Manöver mit Belarus geplant.

Wie hat der Westen darauf reagiert?

Europa und vor allem die USA interpretierten das als eine Verstärkung der Angriffskapazität auf die Ukraine. Unabhängige militärische Experten, aber auch der Chef des ukrainischen Sicherheitsrats sagten, dass keine Kriegsvorbereitungen im Gange seien. Russland liess das Material vom Oktober für die Übungen mit Belarus zurück – das war nicht geplant für einen Angriff. Sogenannte westliche Militärexperten vor allem aus Frankreich bezeichneten das sofort als Kriegsvorbereitung und stellten Putin als verrückten Diktator hin. Das ist die ganze Entwicklung, die es von Ende Oktober 2021 bis Anfang dieses Jahres gegeben hat. Die Kommunikation der USA und der Ukraine zu diesem Thema war sehr widersprüchlich. Die einen sprachen von geplantem Angriff, die anderen dementierten. Es war ein ständiges Hin und Her im Sinne von ja und nein.

Die OSZE berichtet schweren Beschuss der Volksrepubliken Lugansk und Donezk im Februar durch die Ukraine

Was geschah im Februar?

Ende Januar scheint sich die Situation zu ändern und es scheint, dass die USA mit Selenskyj gesprochen haben, denn dann gab es eine Veränderung. Ab Anfang Februar haben die USA immer wieder gesagt, die Russen stünden unmittelbar davor, anzugreifen. Sie haben Szenarien von einem Angriff verbreitet. So hat Antony Blinken vor dem Uno-Sicherheitsrat gesprochen und dargelegt, wie sich der Angriff der Russen abspielen wird. Er wisse das von den Nachrichtendiensten. Das erinnert an die Situation 2002/2003 vor dem Angriff auf den Irak. Auch hier hat man sich angeblich auf die Analyse der Geheimdienste abgestützt. Das stimmte auch damals nicht. Denn die CIA war nicht überzeugt von der Präsenz von Massenvernichtungswaffen im Irak. Rumsfeld stützte sich also nicht auf die CIA ab, sondern auf eine kleine vertrauliche Gruppe innerhalb des Verteidigungsministeriums, die eigens für diese Situation kreiert worden war, um so die Analysen der CIA zu umgehen.

Wo kommen denn heute die Informationen her?

Im Zusammenhang mit der Ukraine hat Blinken genau das Gleiche getan. Man kann es daran feststellen, dass sich niemand aus der CIA dazu geäussert hat. US-amerikanische Analytiker haben gemerkt, dass die Nachrichtendienste in diesem Zusammenhang nicht in Erscheinung getreten sind. Alles, was Blinken erzählte, kam aus einer Gruppe, die er selbst zusammengerufen hatte, innerhalb seines Departements – ein sogenanntes Tiger-Team. Diese Szenarien, die man uns vorgelegt hat, kommen nicht aus nachrichtendienstlichen Erkenntnissen. Sogenannte Experten haben also ein gewisses Szenario mit einer politischen Agenda erfunden. So entstand das Gerücht, die Russen würden angreifen. Joe Biden sagte also, er wisse, dass die Russen am 16. Februar angreifen würden. Als er gefragt wurde, woher er das wisse, antwortete er, dass die USA gute nachrichtendienstliche Kapazitäten hätten. Er erwähnte weder die CIA noch den nationalen Nachrichtendienst.

Ist denn am 16. Februar etwas geschehen?

Ja, an diesem Tag sehen wir eine extreme Zunahme von Waffenstillstandsverletzungen durch das ukrainische Militär entlang der Waffenstillstandslinie, der sogenannten Kontaktlinie. Es gab in den letzten acht Jahren immer wieder Verletzungen, aber seit dem 12. Februar hatten wir eine extreme Zunahme, und zwar an Explosionen besonders im Gebiet von Donezk und Lugansk. Das ist nur bekannt, weil alles von der OSZE-Mission im Donbas protokolliert wurde. Man kann diese Protokolle in den «Daily reports» der OSZE nachlesen.

Was wollte das ukrainische Militär damit erreichen?

Es handelte sich sicher um den Anfang einer Offensive gegen den Donbas. Als der Artilleriebeschuss immer stärker wurde, begannen die Behörden der beiden Republiken, die Zivilbevölkerung zu evakuieren und nach Russland zu bringen. Sergej Lawrow sprach in einem Interview von 100 000 Geflüchteten. In Russland sah man die Anzeichen einer grossangelegten Operation.

Was waren die Folgen?

Dieses Vorgehen des ukrainischen Militärs hat im Grunde genommen alles ausgelöst. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt war für Putin klar, dass die Ukraine eine Offensive gegen die beiden Republiken durchführen will. Am 15. Februar hatte das russische Parlament, die Duma, eine Resolution angenommen, die vorschlägt, die beiden Republiken anzuerkennen. Putin reagierte zunächst nicht darauf, doch als die Angriffe immer stärker wurden, entschied er sich am 21. Februar, die Forderung der parlamentarischen Resolution umzusetzen.

Ursachen des Rechtsextremismus in der Ukraine

Warum hat Putin diesen Schritt vollzogen?

In dieser Situation hatte er kaum eine andere Wahl, als das zu tun, weil die russische Bevölkerung kaum verstanden hätte, wenn er nichts zum Schutz der russischstämmigen Bevölkerung im Donbas getan hätte. Für Putin war klar, dass, wenn er darauf reagiert und interveniert, der Westen mit massiven Sanktionen reagieren wird, ganz unabhängig davon, ob er nur den Republiken hilft oder die ganze Ukraine angreift. Im ersten Schritt anerkannte er die Unabhängigkeit der beiden Republiken. Am gleichen Tag schloss er mit den beiden Republiken ein Abkommen über Freundschaft und Zusammenarbeit ab. Dadurch hat er gemäss Kapitel 51 der Uno-Charta im Sinne der kollektiven Verteidigung und der Selbstverteidigung das Recht, den beiden Republiken zu helfen. Damit schuf er die rechtliche Grundlage, mit militärischen Mitteln den beiden Republiken zu Hilfe zu kommen.

Aber er hat nicht nur den Republiken geholfen, sondern die ganze Ukraine angegriffen…

Putin hatte zwei Möglichkeiten: Erstens mit der russischsprachigen Bevölkerung im Donbas zusammen gegen die Angreifer, also die ukrainische Armee, zu kämpfen; zweitens an mehreren Stellen die Ukraine anzugreifen, um die ukrainischen Militärkapazitäten zu schwächen. Putin hat auch einkalkuliert, dass es, egal was er macht, Sanktionen hageln wird. Deshalb hat er sich sicher für die Maximalvariante entschieden, wobei man ganz klar sagen muss, dass Putin nie davon gesprochen hat, die Ukraine in Besitz nehmen zu wollen. Seine Zielsetzung ist klar und deutlich: Entmilitarisierung und Entnazifizierung.

Was ist der Hintergrund dieser Zielsetzung?

Die Entmilitarisierung ist verständlich, denn die Ukraine hatte die ganze Armee im Süden zwischen Donbas und Krim zusammengezogen. Das heisst, mit einer schnellen Operation könnte er die Truppen einkesseln. Ein grosser Teil der ukrainischen Armee ist im Bereich Donbas, Mariupol und Saporoshje in einem grossen Kessel. Die Russen haben die Armee eingekreist und damit neutralisiert. Bleibt noch die Entnazifizierung. Wenn die Russen so etwas sagen, dann ist es meistens nicht einfach eine Erfindung. Es gibt starke Verbände von Rechtsradikalen. Neben der ukrainischen Armee, die sehr unzuverlässig ist, wurden seit 2014 starke paramilitärische Kräfte ausgebaut, dazu gehört zum Beispiel das bekannte Asow-Regiment. Aber es sind noch viel mehr. Es gibt sehr viele dieser Gruppen, die zwar unter ukrainischem Kommando stehen, aber nicht nur aus Ukrainern bestehen. Das Asow-Regiment besteht aus 19 Nationalitäten, darunter sind Franzosen, sogar Schweizer etc. Das ist eine Fremdenlegion. Insgesamt sind diese rechtsextremen Gruppen ungefähr 100 000 Kämpfer stark, laut Reuters.

Warum gibt es so viele paramilitärische Organisationen?

In den Jahren 2015/2016 war ich mit der Nato in der Ukraine. Die Ukraine hatte ein grosses Problem, sie hatte zu wenig Soldaten, denn die ukrainische Armee hat eine der höchsten Selbstmordraten. Die meisten Toten hatte sie wegen Selbstmord und Alkoholproblemen. Sie hatte Mühe, Rekruten zu finden. Ich wurde wegen meiner Erfahrung an der Uno angefragt, dort mitzuhelfen. In diesem Zusammenhang war ich mehrmals in der Ukraine. Der Hauptpunkt war, dass die Armee in der Bevölkerung nicht glaubwürdig ist und auch militärisch keine Glaubwürdigkeit besitzt. Deshalb förderte die Ukraine die paramilitärischen Kräfte immer stärker und baute sie aus. Das sind Fanatiker mit einem starken Rechtsextremismus.

Woher kommt der Rechtsextremismus?

Dessen Entstehung geht auf die 1930er Jahre zurück. Nach den extremen Hungerjahren, die als Holodomor in die Geschichte eingingen, bildete sich ein Widerstand gegen die sowjetische Macht. Um die Modernisierung der UdSSR zu finanzieren, hatte Stalin die Ernten konfisziert und so eine nie dagewesene Hungersnot provoziert. Es war der NKWD, der Vorgänger des KGB [sowjetischer Geheimdienst], der diese Politik umsetzte. Der NKWD war territorial organisiert und in der Ukraine hatten zahlreiche Juden hohe Kommandoposten inne. Dadurch vermischten sich die Dinge miteinander: der Hass auf die Kommunisten, der Hass auf die Russen und der Hass auf die Juden. Die ersten rechtsextremen Gruppen stammen aus dieser Zeit, und es gibt sie immer noch. Während des Zweiten Weltkriegs brauchten die Deutschen diese Rechtsextremisten wie die OUN von Stepan Bandera, die ukrainische Aufstandsarmee, und andere, um sie als Guerilla gegen die Sowjets einzusetzen. Damals betrachtete man die Streitkräfte des 3. Reiches als Befreier, so wird zum Beispiel die 2. Panzerdivision der SS, «Das Reich», die Charkow 1943 von den Sowjets befreit hatte, heute noch verehrt in der Ukraine. Das geografische Zentrum des rechtsextremen Widerstands war in Lwow, heute Lwiw, das ist in Galizien. Diese Region hatte sogar ihre eigene 14. SS-Panzergrenadierdivision «Galizien», eine SS-Division, die ausschliesslich aus Ukrainern bestand.

Die OUN ist während des Zweiten Weltkriegs entstanden und hat die Zeit der Sowjetunion überlebt?

Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war der Feind immer noch die Sowjetunion. Der Sowjetunion ist es nicht gelungen, diese antisowjetischen Bewegungen vollständig zu eliminieren. Die USA, Frankreich und Grossbritannien realisierten, dass die OUN nützlich sein konnte und unterstützten sie im Kampf gegen die Sowjetunion mittels Sabotage und mit Waffen. Bis anfangs der 60er Jahre wurden diese Organisationen vom Westen her unterstützt. Insbesondere durch die Operationen Aerodynamic, Valuable, Minos, Capacho, und andere. Seit dieser Zeit gab es in der Ukraine immer Kräfte, die einen engen Bezug zum Westen und zur Nato hatten. Heute ist es die Schwäche der ukrainischen Armee, die dazu geführt hat, dass man auf diese fanatischen Gruppierungen zurückgreift. Sie als Neonazis zu bezeichnen, stimmt für mich nicht ganz. Sie sympathisieren mit dem Gedankengut, sie haben die Abzeichen, aber sie haben weder eine politische Doktrin noch einen politischen Plan.

Nach 2014 wurden zwei Abkommen vereinbart, um die Situation in der Ukraine zu befrieden. Welche Bedeutung haben die Abkommen im Zusammenhang mit der jetzigen Auseinandersetzung?

Ja, das ist wichtig zu verstehen, denn die Nichterfüllung dieser beiden Abkommen hat im Grunde genommen zum Krieg geführt. Seit 2014 gäbe es eine Lösung für den Konflikt, das Minsker Abkommen. Im September 2014 war offensichtlich, dass die ukrainische Armee eine sehr schlechte Kriegsführung hatte, obwohl sie von der Nato beraten wurde. Sie hatte ständig Misserfolge. Deshalb musste sie in das Minsker Abkommen I im September 2014 einwilligen. Es war ein Vertrag zwischen der ukrainischen Regierung und den Vertretern der beiden selbsternannten Republiken Donezk und Lugansk mit den europäischen und russischen Garantiemächten.

Doppelspiel der EU und der USA

Wie kam es damals zu der Gründung dieser beiden Republiken?

Um das zu verstehen, müssen wir in der Geschichte noch etwas zurückgehen. Im Herbst 2013 wollte die EU ein Handels- und Wirtschaftsabkommen mit der Ukraine abschliessen. Die EU bot für die Ukraine eine Garantie für Entwicklung mit Subventionen, mit Export und Import etc. Die ukrainischen Behörden wollten das Abkommen abschliessen. Doch es war nicht ganz unproblematisch, denn die ukrainische Industrie und die Landwirtschaft waren bezüglich Qualität und Produkte auf Russland ausgerichtet. Die Ukrainer haben Motoren für russische Flugzeuge entwickelt, nicht für europäische oder amerikanische. Die allgemeine Ausrichtung der Industrie war Richtung Osten und nicht nach Westen. Qualitativ konnte die Ukraine im Wettbewerb mit dem europäischen Markt schwer bestehen. Deshalb wollten die Behörden mit der EU kooperieren und gleichzeitig die Wirtschaftsbeziehungen mit Russland aufrechterhalten.

Wäre das möglich gewesen?

Russland hatte seinerseits kein Problem mit den Plänen der Ukraine. Aber Russland wollte seine Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zur Ukraine behalten. Deshalb schlug es, mit einer trilateralen Arbeitsgruppe zwei Abkommen zu erstellen: eines zwischen der Ukraine und der EU und eines zwischen der Ukraine und Russland. Ziel war es, die Interessen von allen Beteiligten abzudecken. Es war die Europäische Union, in der Person von Barroso , die von der Ukraine verlangt hat, sich zwischen Russland und der EU zu entscheiden. Die Ukraine hat sich daraufhin Bedenkzeit ausbedungen und eine Pause im ganzen Prozess verlangt. Danach spielten die EU und die USA kein ehrliches Spiel.


Die westliche Presse titelte: «Russland übt Druck auf die Ukraine aus, um den Vertrag mit der EU zu verhindern». Das war falsch. Das war nicht der Fall. Die Regierung der Ukraine bekundete weiterhin Interesse an dem Vertrag mit der EU, aber sie wollte noch mehr Bedenkzeit und die Lösungen für diese komplexe Situation genau prüfen. Aber das sagte die Presse in Europa nicht. Am nächsten Tag tauchten Rechtsextreme aus dem Westen des Landes auf dem Maidan in Kiew auf. Was sich dort alles mit Billigung und Unterstützung des Westens abgespielt hat, ist grausig. Aber das alles aufzurollen, würde unseren Rahmen sprengen.

Was geschah, nachdem Janukowitsch, der demokratisch gewählte Präsident, gestürzt worden war?

Die neue provisorische Regierung – hervorgegangen aus der nationalistischen extremen Rechten – hat sofort, als erste Amtshandlung, das Gesetz über die offizielle Sprache in der Ukraine geändert. Das beweist auch, dass dieser Umsturz nichts mit Demokratie zu tun hatte, sondern es waren Nationalisten, und zwar Hardliner, die den Aufstand organisiert hatten. Diese Gesetzesänderung löste in den russischsprachigen Gebieten einen Sturm aus. Man organisierte in allen Städten des Südens, in Odessa, in Mariupol, in Donezk, in Lugansk, auf der Krim etc. grosse Demonstrationen gegen das Sprachgesetz. Darauf reagierten die ukrainischen Behörden sehr massiv und brutal, und zwar mit der Armee. Kurzfristig wurden autonome Republiken ausgerufen, in Odessa, Charkow, Dnjepropetrowsk, Lugansk, Donezk und weitere. Diese wurden äusserst brutal bekämpft. Zwei sind geblieben, Donezk und Lugansk, die sich zu autonomen Republiken erklärt haben.

Wie haben sie ihren Status legitimiert?

Sie haben im Mai 2014 ein Referendum durchgeführt. Sie wollten Autonomie, und das ist sehr, sehr wichtig. Wenn sie in die Medien der letzten Monate schauen, hat man immer von Separatisten gesprochen. Aber damit kolportierte man seit acht Jahren eine totale Lüge. Man sprach immer von Separatisten, – das ist völlig falsch, denn das Referendum hat ganz klar und deutlich immer von einer Autonomie innerhalb der Ukraine gesprochen, sie wollten sozusagen eine Schweizer Lösung. Sie waren also autonom und baten um die Anerkennung der Republiken durch Russland, aber die russische Regierung unter Putin lehnte das ab.

Der Unabhängigkeitskampf der Krim

Die Entwicklung auf der Krim steht doch auch in diesem Zusammenhang?

Man vergisst, dass sich die Krim für unabhängig erklärt hat, bevor die Ukraine unabhängig wurde. Im Januar 1991, also noch während der Zeit der Sowjetunion, hat die Krim ein Referendum durchgeführt, um zu Moskau zu gehören und nicht mehr zu Kiew. So ist sie eine autonome sozialistische Sowjetrepublik geworden. Die Ukraine hatte erst 6 Monate später ein Referendum durchgeführt, im August 1991. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt betrachtete die Krim sich nicht als Teil der Ukraine. Aber die Ukraine akzeptierte dies nicht. Zwischen 1991 und 2014 war es ein ständiges Tauziehen zwischen den beiden Einheiten. Die Krim hatte ihre eigene Verfassung mit ihren eigenen Behörden. 1995, ermutigt durch das Memorandum von Budapest, stürzte die Ukraine die Regierung der Krim mit Spezialeinheiten und erklärte ihre Verfassung für ungültig. Aber das wird nie erwähnt, denn es würde die heutige Entwicklung in einem ganz anderen Licht erscheinen lassen.

Was wollten die Menschen auf der Krim?

Sie verstanden sich tatsächlich immer als unabhängig. Ab 1995 wurde die Krim per Dekret von Kiew aus regiert. Das stand im völligen Widerspruch zum Referendum von 1991 und erklärt, warum die Krim 2014, nachdem durch den illegalen Putsch eine neue ultra-nationalistische Regierung, die total antirussisch war, in der Ukraine an die Macht gekommen war, ein erneutes Referendum abhielt. Das Resultat war sehr ähnlich wie 30 Jahre zuvor. Nach dem Referendum fragte die Krim an, ob sie in die Russische Föderation eintreten könne. Es war nicht Russland, das die Krim erobert hat, sondern die Bevölkerung hat die Behörden ermächtigt, Russland um die Aufnahme zu bitten. Es gab 1997 auch ein Freundschaftsabkommen zwischen Russland und der Ukraine, in dem die Ukraine die kulturelle Vielfalt der Minderheiten im Land gewährleistet. Als im Februar 2014 die russische Sprache verboten wurde, war das eine Verletzung dieses Vertrags.

Jetzt wird klar, dass man, wenn man das alles nicht kennt, Gefahr läuft, die Situation falsch einzuschätzen.

Zurück zum Minsker Abkommen. Es waren neben der Ukraine und den autonomen Republiken auch Garantiemächte anwesend wie Deutschland und Frankreich auf der Seite der Ukraine und Russland auf der Seite der Republiken. Deutschland, Frankreich und Russland haben das als Vertreter der OSZE gemacht. Die EU war daran nicht beteiligt, das war eine reine Angelegenheit der OSZE. Direkt nach dem Minsk I Abkommen löste die Ukraine eine Antiterroroperation gegen die beiden autonomen Republiken aus. Die Regierung ignorierte das Abkommen also vollständig und führte diese Operation durch. Aber es gab wieder eine totale Niederlage der ukrainischen Armee in Debaltsewo. Es war ein Debakel.

Fand dies auch mit Unterstützung der Nato statt?

Ja, und man muss sich schon fragen, was die Militärberater der NATO dort eigentlich gemacht haben, denn die Streitkräfte der Republiken haben die ukrainische Armee völlig besiegt.

Das führte zu einem zweiten Abkommen, Minsk II, das im Februar 2015 unterzeichnet wurde. Es diente als Grundlage für eine Resolution des Uno-Sicherheitsrats. Damit ist dieses Abkommen völkerrechtlich verpflichtend: Es muss umgesetzt werden.

Hat man das auch von der Uno her kontrolliert?

Nein, niemand kümmerte sich darum, und ausser Russland verlangte niemand die Einhaltung des Minsk II Abkommens. Man sprach plötzlich nur noch vom Normandie-Format. Aber das ist völlig unbedeutend. Das kam zustande an der Feier des D-Day im Juni 2014. Die Veteranen des Krieges, die Staatsoberhäupter der Alliierten waren eingeladen sowie Deutschland, die Ukraine und die Vertreter anderer Staaten. Im Normandie-Format waren nur die Staatschefs vertreten, die autonomen Republiken sind dort natürlich nicht dabei. Die Ukraine will nicht mit den Vertretern von Lugansk und Donezk reden. Wenn man aber die Minsker Abkommen anschaut, dann muss es eine Absprache zwischen der ukrainischen Regierung und den Republiken geben, damit die ukrainische Verfassung angepasst werden kann. Das ist ein Prozess, der innerhalb des Landes geschieht, aber das wollte die ukrainische Regierung nicht.

Aber die Ukrainer haben das Abkommen ebenfalls unterschrieben…

… ja, aber die Ukraine wollte das Problem immer Russland zuschieben. Die Ukrainer behaupteten, Russland habe die Ukraine angegriffen, und deshalb gebe es diese Probleme. Aber das war klar, es war ein internes Problem. Seit 2014 haben OSZE-Beobachter nie irgendwelche russischen Militäreinheiten gesehen. In beiden Abkommen ist ganz klar und deutlich formuliert: Die Lösung muss innerhalb der Ukraine gefunden werden. Es geht um eine gewisse Autonomie innerhalb des Landes, und das kann nur die Ukraine lösen. Das hat mit Russland nichts zu tun.

Dazu braucht es die festgelegte Anpassung der Verfassung.

Ja, genau, aber die wurde nicht gemacht. Die Ukraine hat keinen Schritt getan. Auch die Mitglieder des Uno-Sicherheitsrats setzten sich nicht dafür ein, im Gegenteil. Die Lage verbesserte sich überhaupt nicht.

Wie hat sich Russland verhalten?

Die Position von Russland war immer dieselbe. Es wollte, dass die Minsker Abkommen umgesetzt werden. Diese Position hat es während acht Jahren nie geändert. Während dieser acht Jahre gab es natürlich verschiedene Grenzverletzungen, Artilleriebeschuss usw., aber das Abkommen hat Russland nie in Frage gestellt.

Wie ist die Ukraine weiter vorgegangen?

Die Ukraine hat anfangs Juli letzten Jahres ein Gesetz erlassen. Es war ein Gesetz, das besagte, dass die Leute je nach Abstammung andere Rechte haben. Es erinnert sehr an die Nürnberger Rassengesetze von 1935. Nur die richtigen Ukrainer sind im Besitz aller Rechte, alle übrigen haben nur eingeschränkte Rechte. Daraufhin hat Putin einen Artikel geschrieben, indem er die historische Entstehung der Ukraine erklärt. Er hat kritisiert, dass man zwischen Ukrainern und Russen unterscheidet usw. Seinen Artikel schrieb er als Antwort auf dieses Gesetz. Aber in Europa interpretierte man das so, dass er die Ukraine als Staat nicht anerkennt. Das sei ein Artikel, um eine mögliche Annexion der Ukraine zu rechtfertigen. Im Westen wird das alles geglaubt, obwohl niemand weiss, weder warum Putin den Artikel geschrieben hat, noch was wirklich darinsteht. Es ist offensichtlich, dass im Westen das Ziel bestand, ein möglichst negatives Bild von Putin zu zeichnen. Ich habe den Artikel gelesen, er ist absolut sinnvoll.

Hätten die Russen nicht auch von ihm erwartet, dass er dazu Stellung nimmt?

Natürlich, es gibt so viele Russen in der Ukraine. Er musste etwas machen. Es wäre den Leuten gegenüber (aber auch völkerrechtlich, mit der Verantwortung zu schützen) nicht richtig gewesen, wenn man das stillschweigend akzeptiert hätte. Alle diese kleinen Details gehören unbedingt dazu, sonst versteht man nicht, was sich abspielt. Man kann das Verhalten Putins nur so einordnen, und man sieht, dass der Krieg immer mehr provoziert wurde. Ich kann nicht sagen, ob Putin gut oder schlecht ist. Aber so, wie er im Westen beurteilt wird, ist es falsch.

Schweiz verlässt den Status der Neutralität

Wie beurteilen Sie die Reaktion der Schweiz vom letzten Wochenende?

Es ist furchtbar, es ist eine Katastrophe. Russland hat eine Liste mit 48 «unfreundlichen Staaten» erstellt, und stellen Sie sich vor, die Schweiz ist auch darauf. Das ist jetzt wirklich eine Zeitenwende, die die Schweiz aber selbst zu verantworten hat. Die Schweiz war immer «the man in the middle». Wir haben mit allen Staaten den Dialog geführt und haben den Mut gehabt, in der Mitte zu stehen. Das ist eine Hysterie bezüglich der Sanktionen. Russland ist auf diese Situation sehr gut vorbereitet, es wird darunter leiden, aber es ist darauf eingestellt. Das Prinzip der Sanktionen ist aber völlig falsch. Heute haben die Sanktionen die Funktion der Diplomatie ersetzt. Das hat man bei Venezuela gesehen, bei Kuba, beim Irak, beim Iran etc. Die Staaten haben nichts getan, aber ihre Politik gefällt den USA nicht. Das ist ihr Fehler. Als ich gesehen habe, dass man die Behindertensportler bei den Para-Olympics gesperrt hat, fehlten mir tatsächlich die Worte. Das ist so inadäquat. Das trifft einzelne Menschen, das ist einfach gemein. Das gehört in die gleiche Kategorie, wenn der französische Aussenminister sagt, das russische Volk soll unter den Sanktionen leiden. Wer so etwas sagt, der hat für mich keine Ehre. Es ist nichts Positives, einen Krieg anzufangen, aber so zu reagieren, ist schlicht schändlich.

Wie sehen Sie das, dass die Menschen auf die Strasse gehen gegen den Krieg in der Ukraine?

Ich frage mich natürlich: Was macht den Krieg gegen die Ukraine schlimmer als den Krieg gegen den Irak, gegen Jemen, gegen Syrien oder Libyen? Hier gab es bekanntlich keine Sanktionen gegen den Aggressor, die USA oder diejenigen, die Waffen lieferten, die gegen die Zivilbevölkerung verwendet wurden. Ich frage mich: Wer macht Demonstrationen für den Jemen? Wer hat für Libyen demonstriert, wer hat für Afghanistan demonstriert? Man weiss nicht, warum die USA in Afghanistan waren. Ich weiss aus nachrichtendienstlichen Quellen, dass nie irgendwelche Hinweise existiert haben, dass Afghanistan oder Osama bin Laden an den Anschlägen des 11. Septembers 2001 beteiligt waren, aber man hat trotzdem Krieg in Afghanistan geführt.


Am 12. September 2001, am Tag nach den Anschlägen, wollten die USA Vergeltung üben und haben entschieden, Afghanistan zu bombardieren. Der Generalstabschef der US-Luftwaffe sagte, dass es nicht genügend Ziele in Afghanistan gebe. Daraufhin meinte der Verteidigungsminister: «Wenn wir nicht genügend Ziele in Afghanistan haben, dann bombardieren wir den Irak.» Das ist nicht von mir erfunden, es gibt Quellen, Dokumente und Menschen, die dabei waren. So sieht die Realität aus, aber wir werden mit Propaganda und Manipulation auf die «richtige» Seite gezogen.

Wenn ich nach diesem Gespräch resümieren darf, dann wurde durch Ihre Antworten klar, dass der Westen schon längere Zeit immer wieder Öl ins Feuer gegossen und Russland provoziert hat. Diese Provokationen finden aber in unseren Medien selten Niederschlag, doch die Antworten Putins werden nur teilweise oder verfälscht wiedergegeben, um möglichst das Bild des Kriegstreibers und Unmenschen aufrecht zu erhalten.

Mein Grossvater war Franzose, er war als Soldat im Ersten Weltkrieg und hat mir oft davon erzählt. Und ich muss feststellen, die Hysterie und die Manipulation sowie das unreflektierte Verhalten der westlichen Politiker erinnert mich heute sehr daran, und das macht mir tatsächlich grosse Sorgen. Wenn ich sehe, wie unser neutrales Land nicht mehr in der Lage ist, eine von der EU und den USA unabhängige Position einzunehmen, dann schäme ich mich. Es braucht einen klaren Kopf und die Fakten, die hinter der ganzen Entwicklung stehen. Nur so kann die Schweiz eine vernünftige Friedenspolitik betreiben.

Herr Baud, ich danke Ihnen für das Gespräch.

Das Interview wurde von Thomas Kaiser geführt und erschien erstmals auf Zeitgeschehen im Fokus. Wir bedanken uns für die freundliche Genehmigung zur Publikation.
Dieser Artikel ist copyrightgeschützt und darf nur mit ausdrücklicher Erlaubnis der Redaktion von Zeitgeschehen im Fokus übernommen werden.

Neukölln und Einwanderung

Neukölln und Einwanderung

1. Falko Liecke, Brennpunkt Deutschland. Armut, Gewalt, Verwahrlosung. Neukölln ist erst der Anfang. Quadriga. Bastei-Lübbe-Verlag, Köln 2022. 288 Seiten
2. Heinz Buschkowski, Neukölln ist überall. Ullstein-Verlag, Berlin 2012, 400 Seiten

Zwei Politiker meines Heimatbezirks Berlin-Neukölln, einer ist Mitglied der CDU, der andere Mitglied der SPD. Beim Lesen ihrer beiden Bücher könnte man auch annehmen Liecke wäre ein Sozialdemokrat bzw. Buschkowski ein Christdemokrat. Aus meiner Sicht sind sie beide politisch kaum unterscheidbare Vertreter echter Volksparteien, wenn es so etwas überhaupt gibt. Beide waren jahrelang Stadträte und Bürgermeister bzw. stellvertretener Bürgermeister in Neukölln.

Meine Eltern und Großeltern waren alles waschechte Neuköllner und ich bin im Neuköllner Stadtteil Britz aufgewachsen und habe nach Wilmersdorf, Kreuzberg und Palm Beach seit geraumer Zeit auch im Süden Neuköllns, in Rudow, eine Bleibe. Ich habe also eine ungefähre Vorstellung von dem, worüber die beiden schreiben. Wenn in Fünfzigern bei uns zu Hause davon die Rede war, „in die Stadt“ zu fahren, dann meinten die Erwachsenen Neukölln. Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf usw. wurden unter den Begriff Berlin subsumiert, der Rest war natürlich „der Osten“. Heutzutage ist von unserer „Stadt“ kaum noch etwas übrig, wenn man mal vom Rathaus und den „Arkaden“ absieht. Der Herrmannplatz war damals mit seinem Karstadt-Kaufhaus fast schon der Inbegriff von Luxus und Modernität. Heute ist er völlig runtergekommen, wo nur noch Alkis und Drogis rumhängen. Schlimmer noch, Kleingeister machen mobil gegen einen Großinvestor aus Österreich, der versprochen hat die alte Pracht wieder herzustellen.

Die Beschreibungen der beiden liegen 10 Jahre auseinander. Liecke beruft sich teilweise bei seinen Beschreibungen positiv auf Buschkowski, der auf seine schnoddrige Art die Missstände während seiner Amtszeit dargestellt hat. Buschkowski hat in seinem Buch Wege aufgezeigt, die beschritten werden müssten, um Abhilfe zu schaffen. Darauf geht Liecke leider nicht ein. Entweder sind Buschkowskis Ratschläge nicht befolgt worden, sind im Sande verlaufen oder dauern eben länger bis zu Erfolgen. Beide Autoren beschäftigen sich hauptsächlich mit den Folgen der ungeregelten Immigration in den Bezirk, wobei Buschkowski ein Hauptaugenmerk auf das Bildungswesen legt, von dem er meint, dass es wesentlich zur Integration der Neuankömmlinge beitragen müsse. Für Liecke sind die Clans ein Hauptanliegen.

Neukölln mit seinen 350 Tausend Einwohnern ist praktisch eine Großstadt für sich, aber hat keine fiskalische Unabhängigkeit und ist zB ohne Befugnisse auf das, was, wie und von wem in den Schulen gelehrt wird. Das obliegt der Stadt bzw dem Land Berlin. Neukölln ist also in seinen Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten sehr beschränkt. Verschärft wird die Situation dadurch, dass der Bezirk quasi zweigeteilt ist, dessen Grenze zwar keine Mauer hat, aber immerhin durch einen Kanal, den Teltowkanal, markiert ist. Nördlich des Kanals liegen die Problembereiche und südlich davon die eher normal-bürgerlichen Gebiete mit den Stadtteilen Britz, Buckow, Rudow und der Gropiusstadt. Beide Autoren beziehen sich hauptsächlich auf den Norden, wobei der Süden als Ausweichort dient für Leute, die es im Norden nicht mehr aushalten. Das ist allerdings nicht neu. Das war schon vor hundert Jahren so. Damals hatten die Stadtreformer Mies van der Rohe und Bruno Taut die Möglichkeiten mit der Hufeisensiedlung in Britz, die Möglichkeit geschaffen, Leute aus den dunklen und feuchten Hinterhöfen in die lichten Vororte zu bringen. Meine Familie hat davon profitiert. In den sechziger Jahren diente die neu gebaute Gropiusstadt demselben Zweck. Es waren also hauptsächlich soziale Gründe für die Veränderung. Die meisten dunklen Hinterhöfe wurden inzwischen abgerissen, aber es gibt neue Varianten der Verwahrlosung durch Überbelegung, Kriminalität und dergleichen, die im Zuge der ungeregelten Immigration entstanden sind. Im neuen Jahrhundert sind deshalb neue Faktoren für die Fluchtbewegung hinzugekommen, die von beiden Autoren als ethnische Segregierung beschrieben werden.

Beide Autoren sind sich einig, entschieden gegen Clan-Kriminalität auftreten zu müssen, beide sind sich auch einig, die Hartz-4-Mentalität bekämpfen zu müssen. Letztere machen sie für die Ausbreitung der Unterschicht, für das Verharren in Abhängigkeit, Opfermentalität und Deutschenhass verantwortlich. Bei Liecke nimmt die Drogenmisere breiten Raum ein. Die U-Bahnlinien 7 und 8 seien reine „Drogenlinien“. Die schlimmste Haltestelle sei der U-Bahnhof Schönleinstraße. Er fordert statt drei Druckräume (stationäre Konsumräume) für ganz Berlin mindestens drei allein für Neukölln. Als CDU-Mann nicht verwunderlich fordert er harte Repression für Dealer. Auch Cannabis will er nicht legalisiert sehen, da es allein in Neukölln jährlich „bis zu siebzig Menschen infolge ihres Cannabiskonsums wegen psychischer und Verhaltensstörungen stationär aufgenommen“ werden müssten. Desweiteren beschäftigt er sich mit Obdachlosigkeit und der aus ihr heraus resultierenden Todesfälle, für die inzwischen ein privater Verein Gedenkfeiern organisiert.

Beide Autoren schildern die Initiativen der „Stadtteilmütter“, der „Neuköllner Präventionskette“, der „Babylotsen“, „Schreibaby-Ambulanz“, die inzwischen auch in anderen Berliner Bezirken Eingang gefunden haben. Liecke macht Verwandtenehen, die erhöhte Konsanguinitätsrate, für Krankheiten und Missbildungen verantwortlich, die es in Immigrantenfamilien in höheren Prozentsätzen als in der Restbevölkerung gäbe. Beide Autoren nehmen eine spezielle Siedlung aufs Korn, die sogenannte High-Deck-Siedlung am südlichen Ende der Sonnenallee. Diese Siedlung wurde zu Zeiten des Finanzsenators Thilo Sarazin aus öffentlicher Hand an ein Privatkonsortium verkauft, weil der Staat angeblich eine nötige Renovierung nicht hätte bezahlen können. Das hat der Privateigentümer dann auch nicht gemacht und die Siedlung ist verkommen und zu einem ethnischen Sozialghetto degeneriert, in der Kriminalität endemisch ist. Die Bewohner beklauen sich einerseits nicht nur untereinander, andererseits halten sie mobmäßig gegen uniformierte und andere Außenstehende wie Feuerwehrleute zusammen. Das ist ihr Revier, da gilt nur ihr Recht des Stärkeren.

Liecke beschreibt die Ermordung zweier Polizisten durch Klan-Angehörige, den Tod von Babys durch Schütteltrauma, Bildungsmängel bei Immigranten (wesentlich kürzer als bei Buschkowsky) und die Probleme der Pandemiebewältigung. Resümierend stellt er fest, dass der Hass in den letzten drei Jahren gewachsen sei, unter anderem auch gegen ihn selbst online und offline. Dann geht es um sein Hauptthema, den Clans und der Kriminalität, die aus ihnen heraus erfolgen. Er beschreibt die Herkunft der Clans, der Al Zeins, der Remmos usw, ihre Strukturen, ihre Streitereien untereinander, die bis zu grausamen Morden gehen, ihre Geldwaschbemühungen und wie die Gesellschaft ihnen Einhalt gebieten könnte und sollte.

Buschkowsky und Liecke wenden sich gegen muslimisch-fundamentalistische Anmaßungen, wie das Recht auf Kopftuch oder Burka („Textilgefängnis“), egal wo, wann und von wem, gegen Homophobie bei Islamisten, den absurden Vorwurf der Islamophobie bei Kritik an der Religion, sowie bei der Durchsetzung gesetzlicher Normen, zB Kopftuchverbot für staatliche Amtspersonen mit Publikumsverkehr, und auch gegen grassierenden Antisemitismus unter muslimischen Milieus, wo „Jude“, neben „schwule Sau“ , „deutscher pic“ usw schon lange als Schimpfwort gilt. Buschkowsky sieht in dem Kopftuch („Bekennerutensilie“) einen „Sendboten der Geschlechterhierarchie und des Eigentumsrechts des Mannes über die Frau“. Deshalb sei im hoheitlichen Bereich der Verwaltung ein Kopftuchverbot notwendig. „Man kann sich nicht in Distanz zu einer Gesellschaftsform begeben und gleichzeitig ihr Vertreter sein.“ Die Burka würde er nicht, wie in Belgien oder Frankreich, generell verbieten, aber würde dem Rotterdamer Bürgermeister Aboutaleb folgen, der meint, Personen mit Burka würden zumeist ihre Arbeitslosigkeit damit selbst herbeiführen. Damit aber den Anspruch auf Unterstützung durch die Gemeinschaft verlieren.

Selbst nach Amtsaufgabe wurde Buschkowsky noch als „berüchtigter islamfeindlicher Demagoge“ beschimpft. Liecke nimmt dann die 2021 gegründete „Expert*innenkommission antimuslimischer Rassismus“ aufs Korn, deren Namen ein Erfolg der Islamistenlobby sei, denn die habe es „geschafft, einen reinen politischen Kampfbegriff in Politik und Verwaltung zu verankern“. Für ihn dann auch nicht verwunderlich, dass in dieser „Kommission“ mehrere Vertreter islamistischer Organisationen sitzen. Er kritisiert dabei auch die ehemalige Bürgermeisterin, Franziska Giffey und den derzeitigen Neuköllner Bürgermeister Martin Hikel (beide SPD), die Vertreter der Dar-As-Salam-Moschee hofieren, einer Moschee die den Muslimbrüdern hörig ist. Positiv hebt er hervor, dass ab Juni 2021 in Neukölln eine „Registerstelle für konfrontative Religionsbekundung“ eingerichtet worden sei.

Buschkowsky fängt mit den positiven Seiten Neuköllns an, mit der Einwanderung der Hugenotten und Hussiten ins Böhmische Dorf bzw nach Alt-Rixdorf, so hieß Neukölln noch im Kaiserreich, dem Bau der Hufeisensiedlung, dem Britzer Garten, dem Comenius-Garten, der Musikschule, den Erfindungen und Produkten, die aus Neukölln kommen und der in Neukölln von Kurt Löwenstein und Fritz Karsen angestoßenen Schulreform. Ende der 20iger Jahre sei die erste staatliche Gesamtschule Deutschlands dort entstanden. Heutzutage, also zur Buchveröffentlichung 2012, habe Deutschland nach den USA die zweitstärkste Einwandererpopulation der Erde. Der Anteil in der Bundesrepublik sei ca 20% und in Berlin 41%. Für Neukölln seien es 52% im Norden und 28% im Süden. Von den ca 130.000 Immigranten kommt ca die Hälfte aus islamischen Ländern. Bei seinen sozialen und demographischen Daten stützt er sich auf die Erhebungen von Hartmut Häußermann, dem ehemaligen SHB-Genossen aus Apo-Zeiten.

Besonderes Augenmerk setzt er auf die Auswirkungen falsch eingesetzter Transfereinkommen (Hatz-4, „Stütze“, „Sozialknatter“, „gesellschaftlicher Schnuller“) und der Klientel mit „multiplen Vermittlungshemmnissen“, umbenannt in „komplexe Profillage“, was er auf deutsch übersetzt in Menschen mit Überschuldung, Suchtproblemen, oder schlicht mit asozialem Verhalten. Wie nach ihm auch Liecke fordert er Sanktionen („Sanktionskeule“), auch finanzielle, wenn die Klientel sich nicht an die Bestimmungen hält. Er zieht auch gegen den von Grünen und partiell in Kirchen und seiner eigenen Partei verfolgten Kulturrelativismus und Parallelgesellschaften zu Felde. Was für Hinz gilt, muss auch für Kunz gelten. Die Grundsätze der deutschen Verfassung müssen von jedermann beachtet werden. „Wer sich nicht anpassen will oder kann, sollte nicht wandern. Integration und die Bereitschaft dazu sind an erster Stelle eine Bringschuld der Hinzugekommenen.“ Assimilierung ist für ihn eine mögliche Folge der Integration, aber nicht wie für Tayyip Erdogan ein „Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit“. Er ist für klare Ansagen und die Political Correctness sei häufig lediglich ein willkommenes „Alibi fürs Nichtstun, für das Schweigen und die Ignoranz“. Lehren zieht er von Beispielen aus Kopenhagen, Glasgow, Neapel und Rotterdam.

Er setzt sich relativ detailliert mit dem Islam auseinander, wobei er hervorhebt, dass die Aleviten, also ca 20% der türkischen Einwanderer, eine besondere, mit ihren Cem-Häusern (statt Moscheen) eher positive Rolle spielen. Positiv hierbei bezieht er sich auf den Islamexperten Johannes Kandel, Necla Kelek und Hamed Abdel-Samad, negativ auf die langjährige Berliner Auslandsbeauftragte Barbara John, die den Zuwanderern eine Opferrolle gegenüber den geschichtlich belasteten Deutschen zuerkannte. Thilo Sarazin widmet er ein eigenes Kapitel, in dem er von einem Gespräch der beiden berichtet.

Grundsätzlich spricht sich Buschkowsky für Einwanderung aus, schon aus demographischen Gründen, wobei er allerdings einen mehr pragmatischen, auf die Bedürfnisse der deutschen Gesellschaft gerichteten Kurs verlangt. In Zusammenhang mit muslimischer Einwanderung kritisiert er, dass in dieser Community vorhandene Risiko der mangelnden Bildung, Gewalterfahrung und Erziehung zur Machokultur. Wenn diese Faktoren, gepaart mit Geldmangel und religiöser Selbsterhöhung, vorherrschen, dann sei eine randständige Karriere wahrscheinlich. Er zitiert Prof. Pfeiffer, der zu dem Ergebnis kommt, „dass bei muslimischen Jugendlichen die Feindlichkeit gegenüber anderen Kulturkreisen und Verhaltensweisen oder Religionen wie zum Beispiel Deutschen, Homosexuellen oder Juden am stärksten ausgeprägt ist“. In der Kriminalitätsbekämpfung wünscht er sich unmittelbare Prozesse (das „Neuköllner Modell“), wie sie von der leider verstorbenen Jugendrichterin Kirsten Heisig befolgt wurden.

Im Bildungsbereich setzt er auf obligatorisch und freie Kindergärten ab 13 Monaten, da in den folgenden Monaten das Sozialverhalten entscheidend geformt werde. Die vom Berliner Senat herausgegebene Broschüre „Islam und Schule“ widerspreche unseren gesellschaftlichen Werten und versteht Schulleiterinnen, die diese Heftchen nicht verteilt, sondern in die Mülltonne geworfen haben. Gewaltexzesse erforderten die Beschäftigung von „Schwarzen Sheriffs“ in Schulen. Um Pünktlichkeit und Disziplin zu unterstützen wurden „Schulstationen“ eingeführt bestehend aus ethnisch gemischten Sozialarbeiterteams. Auch mit „Schulschwänzer-Internaten“ und einem „Mitmachzirkus“, sowie mit „Stadtteilmüttern“ wurden gute Erfolge erzielt. Mit der Schirmherrin Christina Rau wurde der Campus Rütli auf den Weg gebracht, ein inzwischen erfolgreiches Bildungszentrum. Einige Bemerkungen zu den immigrierten Sinti und Roma fügt er an, ohne jedoch auf deren historische Benachteiligungen näher einzugehen. Er verlangt für diese Volksgruppe ein spezielles Programm, für das der Senat aber kein Geld zur Verfügung stellen wolle.

Zum Schluss mahnt er die „Stadtviertel der Segregation“ (soziale Brennpunkte) nicht allein zu lassen. „Wer dies tut, versündigt sich an den Menschen, die dort leben. Er betrügt die nächste Generation um ihre Lebenschancen, er erhöht die Soziallasten, füllt die Gefängnisse und spaltet die Gesellschaft. Man kann individuell diesen Vierteln entfliehen, den gesellschaftlichen Folgen entgeht man dadurch allerdings nicht.“

Günter Langer, 1. Mai 2022

Promoter of “Liberal Imperialism”. Review of Richard Packard´s “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century” by Guenter Langer

As a high school student Richard Holbrooke developed the desire to become the Secretary of State. As it turned out he came close to that but he never got the real deal. His biography is centered around three different areas in the world: Vietnam, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. His interlude as ambassador in Germany was characterized by the author, George Packer, as uneventful and unimportant, thus hardly mentioned. However, his last mistress was a German woman from Munich, who even attended his funeral.

First part: Vietnam
As a young man he volunteered in 1962 to go to Vietnam, not for combat but for civil projects. In Vietnam he realized the follies of that war. He realized the illusions by the US-ambassador, who believed that the South-Vietnamese dictator, Ngo Dinh Diem, was popular with his people (p. 39). Thus, the US, including President JFK, were surprised about the unrest led by Buddhist monks, and Diem’s murder (p. 76). Diem’s successor, General “Big” Minh, expressed his willingness to negotiate with Hanoi, but was opposed in this desire by JFK and then by LBJ (p. 79). Consequently, Minh was replaced soon. Packer makes us believe that Holbrooke learned that George F. Kennan’s policy of containing communism in SE Asia was mistaken because “the enemy were nationalists” (p. 83), and that not the infiltration from the North was the problem in 1965 but “the threat came from the South Vietnamese people. A negotiated withdrawal was the only sane policy” (p. 99). Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead “Westmoreland’s killing machine” took its place (p. 102), the US “had taken the place of the French” as being the colonial power (p. 104). Packer reminds the reader that already “Dean Acheson persuaded Truman to fund the French war in Indochina, the beginning of America’s involvement in Vietnam” (p. 119). Holbrooke understood and told Dean Rusk that “this was a civil war in the South, not just an aggression from the North” (p. 131).
In the meantime Holbrooke tried to perform his private life, chasing women, playing tennis and smoking pot with his friend Anthony (“Tony”) Lake, the later head of national security (p. 120). Packer presents some other information as well, like Nixon’s collusion in 1968 with a foreign power, the South Vietnamese regime. His aim was to torpedo the negotiations with Hanoi to help him win the upcoming elections. LBJ and his Vice, Hubert Humphrey found out about this scheme but kept quiet (p. 138).
Of course, the war went on and the last American had to leave Saigon in 1975. The incursions by the Khmer Rouge regime into Vietnamese territory triggered the Vietnamese led ouster of this brutal regime from Pnom Penh in 1979. This went counter to Chinese interests who were aligned with the Khmer Rouge and started “a lesson” to the Vietnamese by waging a war against the northern frontier of Vietnam resulting in tens of thousands of death. Packer doesn’t forget to remind us that the then Democratic advisor to President Carter, Zbigniev Brzezinski, praised the Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, for this “lesson” (p. 193). Brzezinski even encouraged the Thai authorities to funnel Chinese weapons to the Khmer Rouge fighters in the refugee camps. The US continued to recognize the genocidal regime for its seat in the UN and refused to apply the term genocide for the murder of one sixth of the Khmer population (p. 198).
Under Reagan US policies changed: “Roll back communism through dirty little wars…. If you wanted to send troops into combat, do it in a country the size of Grenada” (p. 210), referring to Reagan’s intervention on this tiny Caribbean island.
During Republican administrations Holbrooke was employed by big banks who used his knowledge for their lobbying purposes. Holbrooke earned millions this way without any real work. His political convictions turned somewhat to the right. He thought Democratic activists were pulling the party too far to the left. Instead he criticized Reagan from the right by supporting to arm anti-Communists in Afghanistan and Nicaragua (p.210). Packer defines him as an “American exceptionalist, somewhere trying to position himself between the hawks and the doves” (p.211).

Part Two: Bosnia
In the early nineties with Bill Clinton in office, Holbrooke gets a new assignment oversees: Bosnia. In the internecine war in the former Yugoslavia Holbrooke takes the side of the Muslims and opposes the arms embargo endorsed by the UN. He wants the Bosnian Muslims being able “to defend themselves” (p. 298), asking for “NATO airpower and American ground troops” to intervene on the side of the Muslims (p. 302). That’s in line with his general support of NATO’s expansion into the former eastern bloc (p. 309), this despite his admiration for Kissinger who objected to the Eastern expansion fearing to provoke “old Russian paranoia” (p. 399). Packer concludes Holbrooke’s “doctrine risked becoming a kind of liberal imperialism” (p. 399).
For the Balkans Holbrooke favors “a wider war” in 1994 (p. 323). He sees his job as ending the war on mainly the Muslim terms. He meets all three presidents (Izetbegovic, Tudjman, Milosevic) and declares Milosevic, who he calls Slobo, “by far the most fun” (p. 327), although Packer describes Milosevic and his wife, Mira, as “monsters” (p.328). Izetbegovic, who Holbrooke calls Izzy, is described as a “moderate Islamist” (p. 353). Tudjman is described as a descendent of the Ustashe, the Croat fascists of the thirties aligned with the German Nazis.
Holbrooke’s hawkish advise finally convinced Bill Clinton “to punish the Serbs” (p. 354), and Milosevic relinquished, who disliked the Bosnian Serb leaders Karadcic and Mladic anyway: “They are not my friends. They are shit” (p. 356). Holbrooke had to deceive all three presidents “but he bluffed Milosevic more than the others” (p. 357).
Other details: Holbrooke had some favorite journalists he could leak information to, Roger Cohen of the Times and Christiane Amanpour of CNN. Bill Clinton disliked Madeleine Albright who he thought was “not up to the job. She’ll fuck me every time she can” (p. 403). Holbrooke liked Hillary Clinton because she was tougher than Bill, “more comfortable with military force” (p. 430), but he didn’t get along with Susan Rice, only with Samantha Power (p. 431). Holbrooke suffered from afib and had to be cardioverted several times (p. 423).

Part Three: Afghanistan
Holbrooke’s final assignment, now under President Obama, was the conflict in Afghanistan. One of his more dovish aids there was a former member of the leftist Students for Democratic Society (SDS), Barney Rubin, now a professor who once had been arrested while protesting Vietnam (p. 460). Rubin believed that peace required a settlement with the Taliban (p. 461). Both men believed that the experience of Vietnam should be applied to Afghanistan but neither Obama, who didn’t like competitive personalities, nor Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, wanted to listen. For Obama Vietnam was “ancient history” (p. 472). Hillary explained that “they don’t think they have anything to learn from Vietnam” (p. 473). Packer continues that Hillary “didn’t want to hear of peace talks, neither did the military, neither did the White House” (p. 498).
Holbrooke tried to work against the corruption of the Kabul regime under Karzai but to no avail, and in Washington he got nowhere either. He tried to establish a contact with a Taliban leader but in the middle of his efforts he suffered an aortic dissection. The ripped aorta triggered the force of his heart pounding blood under immense pressure through the stressed and weakened aneurysm tearing a whole in the aorta’s inner layer, and as blood streamed between the layers the torn flaps blocked the flow to the spinal arteries, and his lower half was cut off (p. 549). He was buried in December 2010.

The book is worthwhile reading despite its length of almost 600 pages. It reminds us of the follies with regard to the illegitimate war against Vietnam, the “liberal imperialist” involvement in the former Yugoslavia, and the failed attempt to pacify Afghanistan. It provides us with a lot of details of these conflicts, lets us understand the motivations of the acting politicians, including their love lives. Politically, the author seems to go along with his object’s course that led him to be Hillary Clinton’s best friend.

Tom Hayden: Ukraine – Anvil of the New Cold War

To understand the present crisis over downed Malaysian flight MH17, we need to look at the roots of the new Cold War.
Tom Hayden
July 21, 2014

The Cold War is perhaps not even remembered by this generation of Americans, beyond dim and distorted traces. Yes, the power alignments in the world have shifted, for example, by the rise of the BRICS and their opposition to Western finance capital. And yes, the rise of China offsets the demise of the old Soviet Union. The Vatican is no longer battling “godless communism.” Communism itself is a spent force.
But no new global paradigm has come to dominance and, in that vacuum, the old Cold War premises arise to fill the chatter-boxes of our media and cultural mentality.
Ukraine is the anvil on which the new Cold War thinking is heating up.
It’s impossible to understand the roots of the current Ukraine crisis over the downed airliner without understanding the past, but the past is remembered as cliché on all sides. We can agree, however, that the “new” Cold War began when Western strategists sought to expand their sphere of influence all the way eastward across the Ukraine to Russia’s border. That push, which seemed like the spoils of Cold War victory to the Western triumphalists, ignored two salient realities. First, eastern Ukraine was inhabited by millions of people who identified with Russia’s language, culture and political orientation. Second, since it was believed that the Soviet Union was “defeated”, the assumption was that Russia lacked the will and capacity to fight back. Though both assumptions were proven wrong on the battlefield in Georgia in 2008, the machinery of the West never stopped churning and expanding.
Eventually, Russia took back Crimea by force, in an offensive that was entirely predictable but seemed to shock the Western mind. Ukraine was broken along historic ethnic lines. For a brief moment, it appeared that a power-sharing arrangement might be negotiated. There was no reason that Putin would send Russian troops to war over the eastern Ukraine if peaceful coexistence was achievable. Putin accepted the ascension of a new pro-Western elected president in Kiev and called for a cease-fire and political settlement. But as often happens in proxy wars, the proxies drove the dynamics. Ukraine’s army marched east, claiming a sovereignty that the Russian-speakers refused to accept. Putin’s allies—the so-called “pro-Russian separatists”—refused to surrender and complained loudly that the Russians weren’t giving them enough support.
In the Western narrative, these Russian-speakers weren’t really Ukrainian at all, or they were Russians in disguise, or pawns of Moscow. That designation humiliated and angered them. In the Western PR offensive, the Russians trained them, advised them and perhaps even directed them to shoot down the airliner. And, of course, those alleged Russian agents were carrying out the orders of the Kremlin. Putin is hardly wrong when he says the catastrophe would not have happened if his calls for a cease-fire were heeded. Instead, a ten-day cease-fire was terminated by Kiev on June 10, surely with US support. No one has asked whether the US government lobbied with Kiev to extend the cease-fire instead of pressing their offensive eastward. The New York Times reported that “Ukraine’s President, Petro O. Poroshenko, let the latest cease-fire lapse and ordered his military to resume efforts to crush the insurrection by force.” If he had extended the cease-fire instead, the plane would not have been shot down.
It is insane for anyone to believe that Putin would want to shoot down a plane carrying over 200 hundred Europeans at a time when the European Union was debating whether to join the United States in imposing harsh sanctions on Moscow. What makes more sense is that no one in an official capacity anywhere wants to take the blame for an unplanned moral, political and diplomatic catastrophe. If Putin bears responsibility for the chain of escalation, so does Kiev and the West. In the meantime, the West will continue freezing its Cold War position and Ukraine’s armed forces will take their war towards the Russian border unless higher authorities restrain them. No one has asked if Western forces are advising or embedded with the Ukrainian military. Either way, the Kiev fighters can advance all they desire, but they cannot pacify the east or predict Russia’s next move. If they march into a trap, will the US feel obligated to dig them out?
Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!
The inevitable tightening of Western sanctions will push Russia to exploit the economic contradictions between the United States and European nations like Germany, and make Moscow increase its links with the BRICS countries, especially the Chinese powerhouse. As a sign of Russia’s trajectory, just before the airliner shootdown, Putin visited Latin America, where he promptly forgave 90 percent of Cuba’s $32 billion massive debt to the Russians, ending a two-decade dispute. Then Putin toured six countries and sat down to dinner with four Latin American presidents. The irony barely was noticed. The purpose of the 1960 US policy towards Cuba was to separate the island from the Soviet sphere of interest. Now it is the United States which is increasingly isolated diplomatically in its “backyard” while Cuba is secure in a new Latin America with Russian support. If Cold War thinking prevails, the Obama administration will continue funding illegal “democracy programs” aimed at subverting the Cuban state. That could persuade some in the Cuban leadership to resist normalization with the States, continuing a Cold War standoff of many decades.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, America’s heralded new “pivot” to China is stalled in deep contradictions. Lacking any alternative to the Cold War model, the US is dangerously close to fighting two.
The question for progressives is how to construct a compelling alternative to the Cold War model as much of the world slides towards a new Dark Age of class struggle, climate crisis and religious fundamentalism appearing on many continents.

Read Next: Stephen Cohen on the silence of American hawks about Kiev’s atrocities
Tom Hayden
July 21, 2014

Stephen Cohen: The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

The regime has repeatedly carried out artillery and air attacks on city centers, creating a humanitarian catastrophe—which is all but ignored by the US political-media establishment.
Stephen F. Cohen
June 30, 2014

Editor’s note: This article was updated on July 7 and July 17.
For months, the US-backed regime in Kiev has been committing atrocities against its own citizens in southeastern Ukraine, regions heavily populated by Russian-speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. While victimizing a growing number of innocent people, including children, and degrading America’s reputation, these military assaults on cities, captured on video, are generating intense pressure in Russia on President Vladimir Putin to “save our compatriots.” Both the atrocities and the pressure on Putin have increased even more since July 1, when Kiev, after a brief cease-fire, intensified its artillery and air attacks on eastern cities defenseless against such weapons.
The reaction of the Obama administration—as well as the new cold-war hawks in Congress and in the establishment media—has been twofold: silence interrupted only by occasional statements excusing and thus encouraging more atrocities by Kiev. Very few Americans (notably, the scholar Gordon Hahn) have protested this shameful complicity. We may honorably disagree about the causes and resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, the worst US-Russian confrontation in decades, but not about deeds that have risen to the level of war crimes.
* * *
In mid-April, the new Kiev government, predominantly western Ukrainian in composition and outlook, declared an “anti-terrorist operation” against a growing political rebellion in the Southeast. At that time, the rebels were mostly mimicking the initial Maidan protests in Kiev in 2013—demonstrating, issuing defiant proclamations, occupying public buildings and erecting defensive barricades—before Maidan turned ragingly violent and, in February, overthrew Ukraine’s corrupt but legitimately elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. (The entire Maidan episode, it will be recalled, had Washington’s enthusiastic political, and perhaps more tangible, support.) Indeed, the precedent for seizing official buildings and demanding the allegiance of local authorities had been set even earlier, in January, in western Ukraine—by pro-Maidan, anti-Yanukovych protesters, some declaring “independence” from his government. Reports suggest that even now some cities in central and western Ukraine, regions almost entirely ignored by international media, are controlled by extreme nationalists, not Kiev.
Considering those preceding events, but above all the country’s profound historical divisions, particularly between its western and eastern regions—ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural, economic and political—the rebellion in the southeast, centered in the industrial Donbass, was not surprising. Nor were its protests against the unconstitutional way (in effect, a coup) the new government had come to power, the southeast’s sudden loss of effective political representation in the capital and the real prospect of official discrimination. But by declaring an “anti-terrorist operation” against the new protesters, Kiev signaled its intention to “destroy” them, not negotiate with them.
On May 2, in this incendiary atmosphere, a horrific event occurred in the southern city of Odessa, awakening memories of Nazi German extermination squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics during World War II. An organized pro-Kiev mob chased protesters into a building, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty people, perhaps more, perished in the flames or were murdered as they fled the inferno. A still unknown number of other victims were seriously injured.
Members of the infamous Right Sector, a far-right paramilitary organization ideologically aligned with the ultranationalist Svoboda party—itself a constituent part of Kiev’s coalition government—led the mob. Both are frequently characterized by knowledgeable observers as “neo-fascist” movements. (Hateful ethnic chants by the mob were audible, and swastika-like symbols were found on the scorched building.) Kiev alleged that the victims had themselves accidentally started the fire, but eyewitnesses, television footage and social media videos told the true story, as they have about subsequent atrocities.
Instead of interpreting the Odessa massacre as an imperative for restraint, Kiev intensified its “anti-terrorist operation.” Since May, the regime has sent a growing number of armored personnel carriers, tanks, artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes to southeastern cities, among them, Slovyansk (Slavyansk in Russian), Mariupol, Krasnoarmeisk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk and Luhansk (Lugansk in Russian). When its regular military units and local police forces turned out to be less than effective, willing or loyal, Kiev hastily mobilized Right Sector and other radical nationalist militias responsible for much of the violence at Maidan into a National Guard to accompany regular detachments—partly to reinforce them, partly, it seems, to enforce Kiev’s commands. Zealous, barely trained and drawn mostly from central and western regions, Kiev’s new recruits have escalated the ethnic warfare and killing of innocent civilians. (Episodes described as “massacres” soon also occurred in Mariupol and Kramatorsk.)
Initially, the “anti-terrorist” campaign was limited primarily, though not only, to rebel checkpoints on the outskirts of cities. Since May, however, Kiev has repeatedly carried out artillery and air attacks on city centers that have struck residential buildings, shopping malls, parks, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, even orphanages. More and more urban areas, neighboring towns and villages now look and sound like war zones, with telltale rubble, destroyed and pockmarked buildings, mangled vehicles, the dead and wounded in streets, wailing mourners and crying children. Conflicting information from Kiev, local resistance leaders and Moscow, as well as Washington’s silence, make it difficult to estimate the number of dead and wounded noncombatants, but Kiev’s mid-July figure of about 2,000 is almost certainly too low. The number continues to grow due also to Kiev’s blockade of cities where essential medicines, food, water, fuel and electricity are scarce, and where wages and pensions are often no longer being paid. The result is an emerging humanitarian catastrophe.
Another effect is clear. Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” tactics have created a reign of terror in the targeted cities. Panicked by shells and mortars exploding on the ground, menacing helicopters and planes flying above and fear of what may come next, families are seeking sanctuary in basements and other darkened shelters. Even The New York Times, which like the mainstream American media generally has deleted the atrocities from its coverage, described survivors in Slovyansk “as if living in the Middle Ages.” Meanwhile, an ever-growing number of refugees, disproportionately women and traumatized children, have been desperately fleeing the carnage. In late June, the UN estimated that as many as 110,000 Ukrainians had fled across the border to Russia, where authorities said the actual numbers were much larger, and about half that many to other Ukrainian sanctuaries. By mid-July, roads and trains were filled with refugees from newly besieged Luhansk and Donetsk, a city of one million and already “a ghostly shell.”
It is true, of course, that anti-Kiev rebels in these regions are increasingly well-armed (though lacking the government’s arsenal of heavy and airborne weapons), organized and aggressive, no doubt with some Russian assistance, whether officially sanctioned or not. But calling themselves “self-defense” fighters is not wrong. They did not begin the combat; their land is being invaded and assaulted by a government whose political legitimacy is arguably no greater than their own, two of their large regions having voted overwhelmingly for autonomy referenda; and, unlike actual terrorists, they have not committed acts of war outside their own communities. The French adage suggested by an American observer seems applicable: “This animal is very dangerous. If attacked, it defends itself.”
* * *
Among the crucial questions rarely discussed in the US political-media establishment: What is the role of the “neo-fascist” factor in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” ideology and military operations? Putin’s position, at least until recently—that the entire Ukrainian government is a “neo-fascist junta”—is incorrect. Many members of the ruling coalition and its parliamentary majority are aspiring European-style democrats or moderate nationalists. This may also be true of Ukraine’s newly elected president, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko, though his increasingly extreme words and deeds since being inaugurated on June 7—he has called resisters in the bombarded cities “gangs of animals” and vowed to take “hundreds of their lives for each life of our servicemen”—collide with his conciliatory image drafted by Washington and Brussels. Equally untrue, however, are claims by Kiev’s American apologists, including some academics and liberal intellectuals, that Ukraine’s neo-fascists—or perhaps quasi-fascists—are merely agitated nationalists, “garden-variety Euro-populists,” a “distraction” or lack enough popular support to be significant. (A Council on Foreign Relations specialist even assured Wall Street Journal readers that these extremists are among Kiev’s “good guys.”)
Independent Western scholars have documented the fascist origins, contemporary ideology and declarative symbols of Svoboda and its fellow-traveling Right Sector. Both movements glorify Ukraine’s murderous Nazi collaborators in World War II as inspirational ancestors. Both, to quote Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok, call for an ethnically pure nation purged of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum,” including homosexuals, feminists and political leftists. (Not surprisingly, physical attacks on Kiev’s LGBT community are increasing, and on July 5 authoritieis in effect banned a Gay Pride parade.) And both organizations hailed the Odessa massacre. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was “another bright day in our national history.” A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, “Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Devils burn in hell.” If more evidence is needed, in December 2012, the European Parliament decried Svoboda’s “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.” In 2013, the World Jewish Congress denounced Svoboda as “neo-Nazi.” Still worse, observers agree that Right Sector is even more extremist.
Nor do electoral results tell the story. Tyahnybok and Yarosh together received less than 2 percent of the May presidential vote, but historians know that in traumatic times, when, to recall Yeats, “the center cannot hold,” small, determined movements can seize the moment, as did Lenin’s Bolsheviks and Hitler’s Nazis. Indeed, Svoboda and Right Sector already command power and influence far exceeding their popular vote. “Moderates” in the US-backed Kiev government, obliged to both movements for their violence-driven ascent to power, and perhaps for their personal safety, rewarded Svoboda and Right Sector with some five to eight (depending on shifting affiliations) top ministry positions, including ones overseeing national security, military, prosecutorial and educational affairs. Still more, according to the research of Pietro Shakarian, a remarkable young graduate student at the University of Michigan, Svoboda was given five governorships, covering about 20 percent of the country. And this does not take into account the role of Right Sector in the “anti-terrorist operation.”
Nor does it consider the political mainstreaming of fascism’s dehumanizing ethos. In December 2012, a Svoboda parliamentary leader anathematized the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis as “a dirty kike.” Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and militias have routinely denigrated ethnic Russians as insects (“Colorado beetles,” whose colors resemble a sacred Russia ornament). On May 9, at the annual commemoration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, the governor of one region praised Hitler for his “slogan of liberating the people” in occupied Ukraine. More recently, the US-picked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referred to resisters in the Southeast as “subhumans.” His defense minister proposed putting them in “filtration camps,” pending deportation, and raising fears of ethnic cleansing. Yulia Tymoshenko—a former prime minister, titular head of Yatsenyuk’s party and runner-up in the May presidential election—was overheard wishing she could “exterminate them all [Ukrainian Russians] with atomic weapons.” “Sterilization” is among the less apocalyptic official musings on the pursuit of a purified Ukraine.
Confronted with such facts, Kiev’s American apologists have conjured up another rationalization. Any neo-fascists in Ukraine, they assure us, are far less dangerous than Putinism’s “clear aspects of fascism.” The allegation is unworthy of serious analysis: however authoritarian Putin may be, there is nothing authentically fascist in his rulership, policies, state ideology or personal conduct.
Indeed, equating Putin with Hitler, as eminent Americans from Hillary Clinton and Zbigniew Brzezinski to George Will have done, is another example of how our new cold warriors are recklessly damaging US national security in vital areas where Putin’s cooperation is essential. Looking ahead, would-be presidents who make such remarks can hardly expect to be greeted by an open-minded Putin, whose brother died and father was wounded in the Soviet-Nazi war. Moreover, tens of millions of today’s Russians whose family members were killed by actual fascists in that war will regard this defamation of their popular president as sacrilege, as they do the atrocities committed by Kiev.
* * *
And yet, the Obama administration reacts with silence, and worse. Historians will decide what the US government and the “democracy promotion” organizations it funds were doing in Ukraine during the preceding twenty years, but much of Washington’s role in the current crisis has been deeply complicit. As the Maidan mass protest against President Yanukovych developed last November-December, Senator John McCain, the high-level State Department policymaker Victoria Nuland and a crew of other US politicians and officials arrived to stand with its leaders, Svoboda’s Tyahnybok in the forefront, and declare, “America is with you!” Nuland was then caught on tape plotting with the American ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt, to oust Yanukovych’s government and replace him with Yatsenyuk, who soon became, and remains, prime minister.
Meanwhile, President Obama personally warned Yanukovych “not to resort to violence,” as did, repeatedly, Secretary of State John Kerry. But when violent street riots deposed Yanukovych—only hours after a European-brokered, White House–backed compromise that would have left him as president of a reconciliation government until new elections this December, possibly averting the subsequent bloodshed—the administration made a fateful decision. It eagerly embraced the outcome. Obama personally legitimized the coup as a “constitutional process,” inviting Yatsenyuk to the White House. The United States has been at least tacitly complicit in what followed, from Putin’s hesitant decision in March to annex Crimea and the rebellion in southeastern Ukraine, to the ongoing civil war and Kiev’s innocent victims.
How intimately involved US officials have been in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” is not known, but certainly the administration has not been discreet. Before and after the military campaign began in earnest, Kerry, CIA director John Brennan and Vice President Joseph Biden (twice) visited Kiev, followed, it is reported, by a continuing flow of “senior US defense officials,” military equipment and financial assistance to the bankrupt Kiev government. Indeed, American “advisers” are now “embedded” in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Despite this essential support, the White House has not compelled Kiev to investigate either the Odessa massacre or the fateful sniper killings of scores of Maidan protesters and policemen on February 18–20, which precipitated Yanukovych’s ouster. (The snipers were initially said to be Yanukovych’s, but evidence later appeared pointing to opposition extremists, possibly Right Sector. Unlike Washington, the Council of Europe has been pressuring Kiev to investigate both events.)
As atrocities and humanitarian disaster grow in Ukraine, both Obama and Kerry have all but vanished as statesmen. Except for periodic banalities asserting the virtuous intentions of Washington and Kiev and alleging Putin’s responsibility for the violence, they have left specific responses to lesser US officials. Not surprisingly, all have told the same Manichean story, from the White House to Foggy Bottom. The State Department’s neocon missionary Nuland, who spent several days at Maidan, for example, assured a congressional committee that she had no evidence of fascist-like elements playing any role there. Ambassador Pyatt, who earlier voiced the same opinion about the Odessa massacre, was even more dismissive, telling obliging New Republic editors that the entire question was “laughable.”
Still more shameful, no American official at any level appears to have issued a meaningful statement of sympathy for civilian victims of the Kiev government, not even those in Odessa. Instead, the administration has been unswervingly indifferent, tacitly endorsing Kiev’s preposterous claims that its innocent bombing victims were killed by Russian or “separatist” forces, as it did again on July 15, when at least eleven people died in an apartment building. When asked again and again if her superiors had “any concerns” about the casualties of Kiev’s military campaign, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has repeatedly answered “no.” Even worse, the German, French and Russian foreign ministers having urged Poroshenko to extend the ceasefire, his decision instead to intensify Kiev’s military campaign was clearly taken with the encouragement or support of the Obama administration.
Indeed, at the UN Security Council on May 2, US Ambassador Samantha Power, referring explicitly to the “counterterrorism initiative” and suspending her revered “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, gave Kiev’s leaders a US license to kill. Lauding their “remarkable, almost unimaginable, restraint,” as Obama himself did after Odessa, she continued, “Their response is reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any one of our countries would have done.” (Since then, the administration has blocked Moscow’s appeal for a UN humanitarian corridor between southeastern Ukraine and Russia.)
Contrary to the incessant administration and media demonizing of Putin and his “agents” in Ukraine, the “anti-terrorist operation” can be ended only where it began—in Washington and Kiev. Leaving aside how much power the new president actually has in Kiev (or over Right Sector militias in the field), Poroshenko’s “peace plan” and June 21 cease-fire may have seemed such an opportunity, except for their two core conditions: fighters in the southeast first had to “lay down their arms,” and he alone would decide with whom to negotiate peace. The terms seemed more akin to conditions of surrender, and were probably the real reason Poroshenko unilaterally ended the cease-fire on July 1 and intensified Kiev’s assault on eastern cities, initially on the smaller towns of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, which their defenders abandoned—to prevent more civilian casualities, they said—on July 5–6.
The Obama administration continues to make the situation worse. Despite opposition by several NATO allies and even American corporate heads, the president and his secretary of state, who has spoken throughout this crisis more like a secretary of war than the nation’s top diplomat, have constantly threatened Russia with harsher economic sanctions unless Putin meets one condition or another, most of them improbable. On June 26, Kerry even demanded (“literally”) that the Russian president “in the next few hours…help disarm” resisters in the Southeast, as though they are not motivated by any of Ukraine’s indigenous conflicts but are merely Putin’s private militias. On July 16, Obama imposed more U.S. sanctions, which will be politically difficult to remove and thus will serve only to deepen and prolong the New Cold War. And the tragic shoot-down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, on July 17, makes everything even more perilous.

In fact, from the onset of the crisis, the administration’s actual goal has been unclear, and not only to Moscow. Is it a negotiated compromise, which would have to include a Ukraine with a significantly federalized or decentralized state free to maintain longstanding economic relations with Russia and banned from NATO membership? Is it to bring the entire country exclusively into the West, including into NATO? Is it a long-simmering vendetta against Putin for all the things he purportedly has and has not done over the years? (Some behavior of Obama and Kerry, seemingly intended to demean and humiliate Putin, suggest an element of this.) Or is it to provoke Russia into a war with the United States and NATO in Ukraine?
Inadvertent or not, the latter outcome remains all too possible. After Russia annexed—or “reunified” with—Crimea in March, Putin, not Kiev or Washington, has demonstrated “remarkable restraint.” But events are making it increasingly difficult for him to do so. Almost daily, Russian state media, particularly television, have featured vivid accounts of Kiev’s military assaults on Ukraine’s eastern cities. The result has been, both in elite and public opinion, widespread indignation and mounting perplexity, even anger, over Putin’s failure to intervene militarily.
We may discount the following indictment by an influential ideologist of Russia’s own ultra-nationalists, who have close ties with Ukraine’s “self-defense” commanders: “Putin betrays not just the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk but himself, Russia and all of us.” Do not, however, underestimate the significance of an article in the mainstream pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia, which asked, while charging the leadership with “ignoring the cries for help,” “Is Russia abandoning the Donbass?” If so, the author warned, the result will be “Russia’s worst nightmare” and relegate it to “the position of a vanquished country.”
Just as significant were similar exhortations by Gennady Zyuganov, leader of Russia’s Communist Party, the second-largest in the country and in parliament. The party also has substantial influence in the military-security elite and even in the Kremlin. Thus, one of Putin’s own aides publicly urged him to send fighter planes to impose a “no-fly zone”—an American-led UN action in Qaddafi’s Libya that has not been forgotten or forgiven by the Kremlin—and destroy Kiev’s approaching aircraft and land forces. If that happens, US and NATO forces, now being built up in Eastern Europe, might well also intervene, creating a Cuban missile crisis–like confrontation. As a former Russian foreign minister admired in the West reminds us, there are “hawks on both sides.”
Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!
More recently, Kiev’s stepped-up assaults on eastern Ukrainian citizens, the fall of Slovyansk and other small shattered cities, and the repeated shelling of Russia’s own bordering territory, which killed a resident on July 13, have fueled more outrage in Putin’s own establishment over his military inaction. The dean of Moscow State University’s School of Television, a semi-official position, even suggested that the Kremlin was part of “a strange conspiracy of silence” with Western governments to conceal the number of Kiev’s innocent victims. He warned that “those who permit murderers to win…automatically have the blood of peaceful citizens on their hands.” And the state’s leading television news network demanded that the Kremlin take immediate military action, repeating the call for a “no-fly zone.”
Little of this is even noted in the United States. In a democratic political system, the establishment media are expected to pierce the official fog of war. In the Ukrainian crisis, however, mainstream American newspapers and television have been almost as slanted and elliptical as White House and State Department statements, obscuring the atrocities, if reporting them at all, and generally relying on information from Washington and Kiev. Why, for example, have The New York Times, The Washington Post and major television networks not reported regularly from eastern Ukraine’s war-ravaged cities, instead of from Moscow and Kiev? Most Americans are thereby being shamed, unknowingly, by the Obama administration’s role. Those who do know but remain silent—in the government, media, think tanks, and universities—share its complicity.
Stephen F. Cohen
June 30, 2014

Karl Selent: Yasser Arafat und der Mufti von Jerusalem

Im Libanon ist der Großmufti schließlich am 4. Juli 1974 mit 77 Jahren gestorben. Als Haj Amin al-Hussaini begraben wurde, schritt Yasser Arafat auf dem Weg zum Friedhof hinter dem Sarg. Sein Gesicht war von Tränen feucht. Er bekannte sich zu diesem Mann.
Gerhard Konzelmann (1981, 20)
zitat”> Haben sie es fertig gebracht, unseren Helden (!) Amin al-Hussaini beiseite zu schieben? … Es gab zahlreiche Versuche, Haj Amin loszuwerden, den sie als einen Verbündeten der Nazis betrachteten. Und trotz alledem lebte er doch in Kairo, nahm am Krieg von 1948 teil, und ich war einer seiner Soldaten.
Yasser Arafat am 2. August 2002, Interview mit der palästinensischen Tageszeitung “Al Kuds”, hier zitiert nach Assistant Professor Francisco J. Gil-White, Fellow am Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, University of Pennsylvania (
Arafat hat al-Hussaini, den Alliierten der Nazis, kürzlich als einen Helden für die Massen bezeichnet. Die nationalistischen Führer, die aufgrund ihrer antijüdischen Ideologie Hitler nahe standen, werden nach wie vor verehrt und von der Autonomiebehörde idealisiert.
Itamar Marcus, Direktor von Palestinian Media Watch, am 29. Januar 2003 im Interview mit der linksliberalen Wochenzeitung Jungle World
Muhammed Abdul Rahman Abdul Raouf Arafat al-Kudwa al-Hussaini, genannt Yasser, so lautet der volle Name des heutigen Chef-Palästinensers auf Lebenszeit. Über seinen Vater gehört Arafat zur Familie der Hussainis aus Gaza, einem weit entfernten Zweig des einflußreichen Clans der Hussainis aus Jerusalem. Seine Mutter, eine geborene Abu Saud, stammte nicht aus Gaza. Ihre Familie gehörte zum Clan der Hussainis aus Jerusalem. Mit Haj Amin al-Hussaini stellte die althergebrachte Familie von Honoratioren den Großmufti der Stadt. Aufgrund des archaischen Familienclansystems der Araber Palästinas, in dem “die Loyalität dem eigenen Clan gegenüber weit vor der Loyalität zu Politikern oder Geistlichen kam”, darf angenommen werden, daß der junge Arafat in Haj Amin das Oberhaupt seines Clans gesehen hat, dem er verpflichtet war (Wallach, 80). Daß allerdings Haj Amin al-Hussaini der Onkel von Yasser Arafat gewesen sei, gehört ins Lexikon der populären Irrtümer. Nicht der Mufti, sondern dessen “enger Freund und Bundesbruder”, Scheich Hassan Abu Saud, war Arafats besagter Onkel. Das Oberhaupt einer prominenten religiösen Familie spielte “eine entscheidende Rolle in der Erziehung des jungen Arafat”, als der nach dem frühen Tod seiner Mutter einige Jahre in der Sawia der Abu Sauds in Jerusalem verbrachte (Wallach, 83). Unterkunft hatte der siebenjährige Yasser aber nicht bei Scheich Hassan, sondern bei einen Onkel, der kinderlos geblieben war, Salim Abu Saud. Das Viertel lag direkt neben der Klagemauer, und “die Kinder (konnten) dann und wann Streitereien zwischen den Moslems und den Juden beobachten”. Beim gemeinsamen Essen in der Sawia “wurden immer wieder die Geschichten von Haj Amins Arbeit für die Organisation der Araber und Scheich Hassans Anstrengungen diskutiert, die Juden an der Mauer in die Schranken zu weisen”. Während des arabischen Aufstands von 1936, als er die Verhaftung seines Onkels miterlebte, gab es für den kleinen Yasser “keine größeren Helden als seine Verwandten Haj Amin al-Hussaini und Scheich Hassan Abu Saud … Diese beiden … gaben Yasser Arafats Leben die Richtung” (Wallach, 86, 90, 65). In dem Heimatfilm vom kämpfenden Palästina, den uns Yasser Arafat hier vorführen läßt, spielt er das erste Steine werfende Urkind der Intifada: denn schon während jenes Aufstands von 1936 “streute Yasser auf den Straßen Nägel aus, zerschlitzte die Reifen der britischen Autos und warf Steine” (Wallach, 88). Arafats Aufenthalt in Jerusalem endete wahrscheinlich 1937. Der Vater holte ihn zurück nach Kairo, wo die Familie seit 1927 lebte, und wo Arafat laut Universitätsregister am 4. August 1929 geboren wurde. Nun darf geraten werden, wer seit 1946, als der Mufti von Jerusalem aus dem Dritten Reich zurückgekehrt und in Kairo Quartier genommen hatte, in dessen Haus ein und aus ging? “Der junge Arafat saß Freitags am Eßtisch und lauschte den Reden … über das Bündnis der Araber mit den Nazis”. Er “hörte gern die Geschichten vom Krieg”. Man diskutierte “über den arabischen Nationalismus, über islamische Bewegungen und geheime militärische Pläne … Arafats leidenschaftliches Interesse fiel dem Mufti auf, der ihn ermutigte, sich auf eine Führungsrolle vorzubereiten” (Wallach, 103, 106). Wegen seines ägyptischen Akzents sollte Arafat zunächst den Waffenschmuggel nach Palästina bewerkstelligen; die Organisation hoffte, der einheimische Arafat könne beim illegalen Waffenkauf niedrigere Preise aushandeln als die Agenten des Muftis aus Palästina, die in Kairo leicht an ihrer Aussprache zu erkennen waren. In jenen Tagen entschied sich, welchem Broterwerb der junge Mann sein Leben lang nachgehen sollte: Der ägyptische Staatsbürger Yasser Arafat wurde Berufspalästinenser. “Mehrmals erhielten Arafat und andere Studenten geheime Unterrichtsstunden von einem deutschen Offizier, der mit Haj Amin nach Ägypten gekommen war”. Der Mann aus der Wehrmacht besorgte Yasser Arafats “Ausbildung für militärische Kommandounternehmen” (Wallach, 107). Die deutsch-islamischen Verschwörer “rekrutierten nicht nur in Kairo lebende Palästinenser”, sie “wandten sich auch an die ägyptischen religiösen Fundamentalisten”, die zur “Muslimbruderschaft zählten” (106). Schon seit den dreißiger Jahren hatte der Mufti enge Beziehungen zu den Muslimbrüdern gepflegt. Dann, im ersten arabischen Krieg gegen Israel, 1948, als der Mufti von Jerusalem erneut zum “Jihad” gegen die Juden rief, “ging Arafat mit einem Kommando der Muslimbruderschaft nach Palästina” (Baumgarten, 63). In der Encyclopaedia of the Orient heißt es zu diesem Krieg: “Arafat fights on the side of the grandmufti of Jerusalem”. Nach der Niederlage von 1949 blieb Arafat den Muslimbrüdern in Ägypten verbunden. “Durch ihre Unterstützung” gewann er 1951 “die Wahlen zum Vorsitzenden der palästinensischen Studentenföderation” an der Universität von Kairo (Rotter, 59). Yasser Arafat “fühlte” sich von den “Doktrinen der Bruderschaft, Antiimperialismus und nationale Wiedergeburt durch den Islam, angezogen”. Er gebärdete sich als palästinensischer Nationalislamist, der z.B. Forderungspapiere, “die mit Blut geschrieben” waren, theatralisch an die ägyptische Regierung übergab. “Ohne Neigung, Bücher zu lesen oder Geselligkeit zu suchen, linkisch in der Gesellschaft von Frauen”, schien Yasser Arafat als Student und Parteigänger des Haj Amin al-Hussaini “kein wirklich anderes Interesse als Palästina zu haben” (Gowers, 13, 3, 38). Man könne ohne Übertreibung behaupten, meinte Danny Rubinstein in der FAZ, daß Arafat “seit seiner Jugend so gut wie kein Privatleben hat”. Er lebe “asketisch wie ein Mönch”.
“Sicher ist, er hatte weder Liebschaften noch Liebhabereien. Freundschaften privater Natur ging er offensichtlich aus dem Weg. … Er machte sich nichts aus gutem Essen und bevorzugte ein fast spartanisches Dasein” (Moshel, 36). Als gläubiger Muslim trank und trinkt Arafat keinen Alkohol, aß und ißt er kein Schweinefleisch. Selbstverständlich unternahm er irgendwann die Wallfahrt nach Mekka und Medina, weshalb er den Zusatznamen Haj (der Pilger) tragen darf. Schon als Schüler in Kairo ließ er “die Kinder der Straße in militärischer Formation antreten und dann mit Blechtellern auf dem Kopf auf und ab marschieren, wobei er sie mit Stockschlägen traktierte, wenn sie aus dem Gleichschritt kamen” (Gowers, 11). “Er schlug die Jungen und brüllte sie an, damit sie parierten. … Wenn sie nicht gehorchten”, so berichtet sein Bruder Fathi, habe er “sie mit einem Stock geschlagen” (Wallach, 103). Kurzum, Yasser Arafat war in seiner Schüler- und Studentenzeit ein nichtrauchender Entsager und Genußverächter, ein verklemmter Spaßverderber, der “den Frauen gegenüber eher scheu war” (Vogel, 110), ein brutaler Schleifer, ein Scheißkerl, der all die miesen Eigenschaften vereinte, mit denen er normalerweise zum Staatsverbrecher, zum Diktator und Tyrann geworden wäre, wenn ihn die Israelis nicht daran gehindert hätten.
Nach dem Attentat der Muslimbrüder auf den ägyptischen Präsidenten Nasser am 26. Oktober 1954 wurde auch Yasser Arafat – “nach eigenen Angaben” – verhaftet. “Als Sympathisant, wenn nicht als Mitglied der Ikwhan”, der Muslimbrüder, die immer noch eng mit Haj Amin al-Hussaini zusammenarbeiteten, “war sein Name fast sicher in den umfangreichen Akten von Nassers Geheimpolizei verzeichnet” (Gowers, 13, 24). Verhaftungsgrund war jedoch nicht allein die Nähe zu den islamischen Klerikalfaschisten, sondern auch der explizit palästinensische Nationalismus, der Yasser Arafat kennzeichnete. Den streng panarabisch orientierten Behörden Ägyptens war eine solche Haltung suspekt. Auch deswegen ging Arafat im Anschluß an das Studium der Ingenieurwissenschaften nach Kuwait und begann dort ab 1958 mit dem Aufbau von Al Fatah, der späteren Kernorganisation der PLO. Zu den Gründungsströmungen gehörten Arafats Studienfreunde aus Ägypten, die sich im Umfeld des Muftis, der Muslimbruderschaft oder der Studentenföderation bewegt hatten. Hinzu kamen unabhängige palästinensische Nationalisten sowie eine Gruppe von “Mitgliedern der muslimisch-fundamentalistischen Partei ‘Tahrir’, die 1952 von einem ehemaligen Schüler Haj Amins gegründet worden war” (Gremliza, 29). Die erste Untergrundzeitung der Fatah, Unser Palästina, ließ sich Arafat zu einem Teil von Haj Amin finanzieren. Wie der Schwiegersohn des Muftis berichtet, sei sogar “der größte Teil des Geldes” für Al Fatah von Haj Amin al-Hussaini gekommen (Wallach, 143). Mit dem Auftrag, einen Verleger für die geplante neue Zeitung zu finden, reisten Arafat und Abu Jihad 1959 nach Beirut. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt hatte Haj Amin al-Hussaini Ägypten bereits verlassen müssen und seinen Wohnsitz nach Beirut verlegt. “Zweifellos berichteten Arafat und Abu Jihad dem Führer der alten palästinensischen Nationalbewegung von der Resonanz”, die sie mit Al Fatah “in den Golfstaaten gefunden hatten. Wahrscheinlich vermittelte Haj Amin seinen ehemaligen ‘Schülern’ … den Kontakt mit Taufiq Huri”, einem Verleger und führenden Mitglied der islamischen Gruselorganisation “Die Diener Gottes”, der bereit war, formell als Herausgeber des getarnten Fatah-Blattes zu fungieren. Die Organisation verbreitete auf diese Weise “ihre Ideologie, die an zentralen Stellen mit der Haj Amins übereinstimmte” (Baumgarten, 139). Für die Mehrheit “der Gründergeneration Fatahs war Haj Amin der erste politische Mentor”. Er galt ihnen als “der einzig übrig gebliebene Repräsentant eines unabhängigen palästinensischen Nationalismus. Um jedoch der Verantwortung für die Niederlage von 1948 zu entgehen, mußten sie sich von ihm absetzen”. Nur so meinte die “Bewegung, Anerkennung in der palästinensischen Gesellschaft gewinnen zu können. Sie führten sich als neue Generation ein, die von den Fehlern der Väter gelernt habe. Daher blendete der neue palästinensische Nationalismus bis in die siebziger Jahre die Verbindungslinie zu Haj Amin aus” (Baumgarten, 313). Nun gab sich Al Fatah gerne auch das Image einer Befreiungsbewegung aus der Dritten Welt. Sprach Arafat vor internationalem Publikum, so redete er zeitgemäß vom bewaffneten Kampf oder von einem langen Marsch nach Jerusalem, befand er sich jedoch auf Pilgerreise nach Mekka und Medina, so redete er vom “Heiligen Krieg für die Befreiung von Palästina” (Küntzel, 118). Pragmatisch suchte man die finanzielle Unterstützung sowohl der kommunistischen Staaten als auch die der reaktionären arabischen Regime. Das Wort Genosse kam Yasser Arafat in Moskau genauso leicht über die Lippen wie der Titel Emir für den Beduinenkönig in Kuwait. “Neben nationalistischen und kommunistischen Elementen … fanden sich in PLO-Lagern zahlreiche arabische Broschüren mit Hitlerabbildungen – Übersetzungen von Mein Kampf” (Schiller, Bildzeile zu Abb. XIV zwischen S. 240 und 241). Hatte der Mufti von Jerusalem 1941 in Italien noch gehofft, Mussolini würde die Unabhängigkeit “eines arabischen Staates faschistischer Prägung” anerkennen (Lewis, 179), und hatte er im Gespräch mit Adolf Hitler noch betont, die Araber hätten “dieselben Feinde wie Deutschland, nämlich die Engländer, die Juden und die Kommunisten”, so lief die Brut der Alten, hier wie dort, politischen Modeströmungen hinterher, die sich mit den Bildern von Ernesto Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung oder Ho Chi-Minh schmückten. Als aber Fatah in der Schlacht bei Karameh ein Jahr nach der Niederlage der Araber im Sechs Tage Krieg von 1967 einen Achtungserfolg erreichte, so zur stärksten Gruppierung unter sämtlichen Palästinenserfronten avancierte, da war auch Haj Amin al-Hussaini bereit, die “Krone des Führers” an Yasser Arafat weiter zu reichen. Wieder erinnert sich der Schwiegersohn des Muftis an die Begegnungen Hussainis mit Arafat in der jordanischen Hauptstadt Amman: Haj Amin habe gespürt, “daß Arafat der richtige Führer für die palästinensische Nation nach ihm sein würde. Er fand, er sei fähig, die Verantwortung zu tragen” (Wallach, 331). Am 7. Juli 1974 wurde Haj Amin al-Hussaini auf dem “Friedhof für die Gefallenen der palästinensischen Revolution” in Beirut beigesetzt. Yasser Arafat gehörte zur Trauergesellschaft im Hause al-Hussaini und gab seinem alten Mentor das letzte Geleit. An der Spitze des Beerdigungszuges gingen die maßgebenden Führer der PLO. Es folgten bewaffnete Einheiten der Fedayin. Sie alle standen am Grab des Nazi-Kollaborateurs. Sie alle erwiesen dem Verfechter der “Endlösung” die letzte Ehre.

How Britain Organized anti-Jewish Terror in Palestine in 1948

Palestinian Arab leaders derive legitimacy from the belief that their predecessors fought a National Liberation war against British-backed Jewish colonists. A 1948 Nation magazine study proves the opposite happened.

How Britain Organized anti-Jewish Terror in Palestine in 1948

“The British Record on Partition”
Reprinted from The Nation, May 8, 1948
Comments by Jared Israel, Emperor’s Clothes

[Posted 26 July 2005]

Eye-opening Memorandum

1948 Report to the UN Explodes
the PLO’s Myth of National Liberation
by Jared Israel

Emperor’s Clothes here makes available, for the first time on the internet, the Nation’s 1948 UN Memorandum on British instigation of anti-Jewish terror. The memorandum is posted in full, in text form, following Jared Israel’s comments below, and also as a PDF file, scanned from the original.

Taught to use the language of National Liberation politics at Soviet bloc schools in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, today’s Palestinian Arab leaders employ the rhetoric of Third World anti-colonial struggle. This has given us the spectacle of Cuba, which has been the passion of leftist intellectuals from the 1960s until today, teaching Arabs to blow up Israeli Kibbutzim, which were the passion of leftist intellectuals in the 1950s.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli war plays a key part in the Arab National Liberation tale. The Israeli victory in that war is presented as the defining event, the nakba or catastrophe. In order to claim that the PLO and Fatah are fighting for National Liberation in 2005, their promoters argue that British imperialism, using Jewish proxies, crushed Palestinian Liberation in 1948. The corollary: if the Jews will just grant Arabs the National Liberation they were denied in ’48, Arab leaders will deliver on peace with Israel.

Of course, if this story is false, if in 1948 the Arab armies fought for genocide, not National Liberation, and if it was not the Jews but Arab leaders who were agents of imperial Britain, then it certainly suggests that their protégés are not fighting for National Liberation today.

Below is our text transcription of The Nation magazine’s 1948 memorandum on Britain’s role in the Arab attempt to kill Israel in the cradle. Based on British intelligence documents and written for the United Nations, the memorandum is significant today because it contradicts widely held views about the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including those put forward in today’s Nation magazine.

Just for starters, the memorandum proves the falsity of the common perception that the creation of Israel was a project of Western colonialism. The Nation shows that during the half year prior to the all-out Arab invasion on 15 May, Britain incited, micro-managed and did public relations work for a campaign of Arab troop infiltration and terror. And this at a time when Britain was responsible for security in its Palestine Mandate territory.

The intelligence documents cited below show that before the 15 May invasion, British intelligence knew that the Arabs terrorizing the future Israel were being led in part by Nazi advisers. These included Bosnian Islamist Nazis from the infamous Handzar Division of the Waffen SS. According to a French intelligence document published by The Nation seven months later, the British sent thousands of Nazi prisoners of war, including top war criminals, to assist the Arab attack. This was after the Arab invasion. [1]

Consistent with British tolerance for and apparent employment of Nazi war criminals against new-born Israel, the Nation memorandum shows that the British adopted a propaganda line reminiscent of the Nazis’ “Jewish-Bolshevik plot” motif. The British accused Jewish Holocaust survivors trying to get to Palestine of being Soviet Communist infiltrators. A 1948 article in the London Times shows that Arab leaders were saying the same thing:

From London Times, 8 May 1948

An Emperor’s Clothes researcher found the Nation memorandum, “The British Record on Partition,” in a bound volume of The Nation for 1948, while researching the Israeli War of Independence. It’s a good thing we looked there rather than The Nation’s online digital archives because the memorandum isn’t in the archives, which supposedly includes the full contents of every issue of The Nation. The Nation, today controlled by a Left of a different color, has reversed its position on the Arab-Israeli conflict, more or less adopting the Arab line. Could that be why this memorandum, which so powerfully attacks Arab myths about 1948, is not in the archives?

The Nation’s about-face on the Middle East is typical of current writers on the Left. They describe the Middle East conflict as an Arab struggle for National Liberation, and, to make this view credible, they accept (or invent) fables about what happened in 1948, thus obscuring politics then and now.

The politics of Arab leaders was the subject of a 7 December 1946 Nation column by Julio Alvarez del Vayo. Mr. Del Vayo, a socialist who had been Foreign Minister of the Spanish Republic before it was overthrown by Francisco Franco’s thugs, knew fascism first hand. He did not view Arab leaders such as Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, as heroes of National Liberation. That perspective was imposed after the fact, starting in the 1960s, when young leftists adopted a starry-eyed view of anything that smacked of Third World revolution. Rather, he saw them as fascists, experts in antisemitism and murder, offering their expertise to Big Power patrons. Observing that the British were utilizing notorious Nazi operatives such as Haj Amin al-Husseini in their divide-and-conquer strategy, del Vayo wrote that the Fascists did not then have a significant political base:

[Excerpt from Julio Alvarez del Vayo’s 7 December 1946 Nation column, “The People’s Front,” starts here]


But in general the strength of the [Arab] league is based on the suppression of all progressive movements and civil rights at home. Only last week an eminent Moslem liberal, Fawzi al Husseini, cousin and opponent of the Mufti [i.e., Haj Amin al-Husseini], was assassinated because he advocated friendly relations with the Jews.

The so-called irreconcilable conflict between Arabs and Jews is another bluff invented out of whole cloth by the big powers to serve their special interests. I remember the day at Geneva, in the early twenties, when at a private dinner Feisal [Emir Feisal, son of the leader of the Arab revolt against the Turks [2]] openly expressed himself in support of the Zionist cause. At that time the other Arab countries were much less concerned about Palestine. The “war” between Jews and Arabs started later, as a result of the work done by [Anglican] Bishop [Rennie] Macinnes, a notorious anti-Semite who was sent by the British to Jerusalem, and by Cardinal Barlassina, the Vatican representative. With the aid of General Storrs, who was then governor of Jerusalem, they brought the Mufti’s family to power, supplying funds and other forms of help in an effort to delay the logical solution of the Palestine problem.

To suggest that the Arab League is a British invention designed solely to combat Zionism would be to narrow the issue and ignore the great dangers involved. After all, the Palestine problem will sooner or later be solved. But there will remain the Arab states, which today, because of Anglo-Soviet rivalry in the Middle East, are playing an international role out of all proportion to their importance. Ultimately they may prove a nuisance to both the major powers. The present pro-British orientation of the Arabs is, to say the least, ephemeral; replying to the charge that the Arab League “speaks Arabic with a British accent,” Secretary General Accam [Azzam] Pasha said: “This suit is made of British cloth, but I am wearing it.” As for Russia, if it plays ball with the Arab states, it will come off no better than it did in Peron’s Argentina. Fascists remain fascists, and nothing can change them. –DEL VAYO [3]
[My emphasis]

[Excerpt from Julio Alvarez del Vayo’s 7 December 1946 Nation column, “The People’s Front,” ends here]

Prophetic words. The Soviets did indeed reverse themselves and play ball with Arab fascists, and it did not come off well. It is worth recalling that those fascists had no hesitation slaughtering Middle East Communists, just as they have been murdering independent-minded Arabs for more than 80 years. And they had no hesitation providing money and manpower for a Holy War against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, a war which played a part in the demise of the Soviet Union. A lesson for Leftists, in Israel and around the world: the PLO and other Muslim extremists will accept any and all help, and they will repay that help, but not with kindness.

Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor’s Clothes

Note on the text: We’ve made the text look as much like the original as we could. If you find any typos, please let us know at [email protected]



[2] Emir Feisal famously signed an agreement in 1919 with Chaim Weizmann, leader of the Zionist movement. To read the text of that agreement, go to
For a picture of Feisal and Weizmann together, go to

[3] Julio Alvarez del Vayo, “The People’s Front,” The Nation, Volume 163, Number 23, December 7, 1946


Table of Contents – British Record on Partition

[Below is The Nation’s 1948 UN Memorandum in text form. We have tried to make it an exact duplicate of the original Memorandum. For a PDF file of the Memorandum, go to –J.I.]

Introductory note from Freda Kirchwey, President,
The Nation Associates

I. British Pledge of
Cooperation not Carried out

II. The Intention behind British Policy in Palestine

III. British Representatives Present
when Arab League Projected Revolt

IV. British know every Arab invasion plan

V. Arab Legion cannot Move without British Signal

VI. The British “Protection” of Jerusalem

VII. Mufti [of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini]
Turned down Request that Haifa be Declared an Open City

VIII. Arab Governments
behind Invasion of Palestine

IX. [There is no Section IX]

X. Stringent Measures against the Jews

XI. British Pro-Arab Bias

XII. British Smear Campaign
Shown by Official Records

XIII. British Dissipate
Palestine’s Assets

XIV. The Breakdown
of Central Authority

XV. How the British Safeguard
their Interests in Palestine


The British Record on Partition
as revealed in
British Military Intelligence and other Official Sources

A Memorandum Submitted to the Special Session
of The General Assembly of the United Nations

April 1948

Published by
The Nation Associates
20 Vesey Street
New York 7, N.Y.

Volume 166 New York * Saturday * May 8, 1948 No. 19, Part II

The pages which follow present in condensed form a memorandum which was submitted by The Nation Associates to the General Assembly of the United Nations on April 30, [1948] covering the British record in Palestine since November 29, 1947. Deletions made in this version merely eliminate the less pertinent parts of certain documents and a section comprising photostat reproductions of documentary texts.

Additional copies of this supplement may be obtained from The Nation, 20 Versey Street, New York 7, N.Y., at the rate of twenty-five cents apiece.





The General Assembly of the United Nations, for the third time in twelve months, is meeting to discuss “the future government of Palestine.” Discussions are taking place in an atmosphere of violence which may touch off an explosion far beyond the boundaries of the Holy Land.

The question which the General Assembly must face, and world opinion as well, is this: was an inherent injustice in the November 29 resolution of the General Assembly responsible for the current explosion?

The Nation Associates presents the facts in this memorandum as essential to a wise and just decision. An examination of the facts will show that the present violence in Palestine results from:

1) British sabotage of Partition — This British sabotage was deliberately undertaken in order to insure British base rights in Palestine in perpetuity, as well as to safeguard British oil and trade and military interests in the Middle East.

2) British Alliance with Arab League — To achieve these ends, the British have embarked on an alliance with the Arab League, composed of the governments of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Transjordan, and Yemen. The Arab League, and not the Arab Higher Committee, controls the military and political developments among the Arabs of Palestine. Representatives of the British government were present at the meetings of the Arab League where the revolt was planned and organized and are in continuous connection with it. Within a month after the November 29th resolution, the Arabs were encouraged to believe partition would be substituted by a Federal State, and arms shipments continued to the Arab States despite their known use for Palestine warfare. On April 28 [1948] Foreign Minister Bevin was still refusing to halt them.

The facts will show, moreover, that:

The British have allowed 10,000 foreign invaders to enter Palestine, offering the feeble excuse that the British armed forces, consisting, at the outset, of over 80,000 men, could not adequately protect the border.

Although since December 11, 1947 the British have been promising to return to Transjordan the contingents of the Arab Legion brought to Palestine for police duty, they have allowed the members of that force to remain in Palestine and to attack Jewish communities. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the Arab Legion constitutes a major part of the effort to coerce the Jews into accepting less than the Jewish State granted by the United Nations.

At no time has the British government, in spite of its alleged impotence, requested any help from the United Nations; in fact, as the record shows, the British have continued to deprecate the situation, refused to identify the invaders, and have consistently denied that the Arab states as such are involved.

Through their action they have admitted into Palestine Arabs of known Nazi allegiance in command of the invading forces, and have even admitted escaped Nazi prisoners of war, now to be found in command of Arab detachments.

From secret British intelligence reports, which are quoted extensively in this record, it is clear that the British know and have always known of every single Arab troop movement in Palestine, and that their relations with the Arabs are such that they could ask Arab leaders to request the invading forces to remain unobtrusive.

British sabotage has resulted in turning Jerusalem into an armed camp, has permitted the Arabs to seize the Old City and to hold as hostages some 2000 Jews.

The British have failed to take any action to insure that Haifa should remain an open city, even though they were fully aware of the desire of local Arabs to achieve this and that the Jews wanted only to be safe from attack.

Their prejudice against the Jews has been clearly indicated in their refusal to allow the Jews to arm for defense against Arab attack, and their blowing up of Jewish defense posts; in their turning over to the Arabs – and to certain death – members of the Haganah; in their confiscation of Haganah arms; in their treatment of Jewish defense personnel as criminals. The British have connived at the starving of the Jewish population of Jerusalem by their failure to keep the highways open. They have refused armed escorts to the Jews.

Their attitude to the Arab community is quite different. By British admission, the Arab community has been armed by the British. Arab train robberies, which have been frequent, have been met with shooting over the heads of the robbers. Arab desertions from the police, for the purpose of joining the attackers, accompanied by the stealing of arms, have never been prevented, and Arab violators of the peace go unpunished.

To this record can be added the detailed facts concerning the fashion in which the British have destroyed central authority, and, under the guise of establishing greater local authority, turned over in largest part to the Arabs the various services of the Palestine government created and maintained chiefly by taxation of the Jewish community. Simultaneously, assets have been dissipated and vital communications disposed of to foreign agencies. The effect of this has been to seal the Jewish community in a limited area, cut off its access to the outside world by land and sea, and surround it by Arabs in order to create such a state of siege as would cause the Jews to send up a white flag.

By arrangement with the Arab League, if partition is shelved through any one of several schemes to assure Arab dominance in Palestine, the British are to receive base rights in Haifa, the Negev and Galilee.

But the British are not depending on Arab promises alone. They have already taken the necessary steps to assure the permanent rights in Palestine to air bases and land and sea communications. To be able to carry out this program, the Mandatory has required a free hand. That is why it has kept the United Nations Commission out of Palestine and refused it cooperation.

The facts contained in this document come for the most part from the confidential reports of British Intelligence.

So intent are the British upon destroying partition that they have shown themselves oblivious to the fact that with it they may destroy the authority of the United Nations, and even the peace of the world.

Freda Kirchwey, President
The Nation Associates


I. British Pledge of
Cooperation not Carried out


On November 13, 1947, Sir Alexander Cadogan, British delegate, told Sub-committee I of the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine, in reply to a question as to whether the United Kingdom would accept the recommendations of the General Assembly:

“If the Assembly by a two-thirds majority approves any solution, His Majesty’s Government would not take any action contrary to it.”

On December 11, 1947, Arthur Creech Jones, British Colonial Secretary, told the House of Commons:

“I could not easily imagine circumstances in which the United Kingdom would wish to prevent the application of the settlement recommended by the General Assembly.”

A day later, Foreign Minister Bevin told the House of Commons:

“I am not going and His Majesty’s Government is not going to oppose the United Nations’ decision. . . . There that decision is of that world organism whether we agree with it or not. It is on the statute book of that great organisation. May it be possible to implement it! If it is, and if my colleagues or I can render any assistance, with advice, with help, with our officials, with our administrative ability, with our historical knowledge, to smooth out the transition, to try to prevent the divisions from being widened – in other words to do anything possible to promote concord, friendship and amity between these peoples – we shall do it.”

British pledge to maintain peace and security

A specific promise that the British would maintain law and order in Palestine was made by Colonial Secretary Creech Jones. In the House of Commons on December 11, 1947, he said:

“So long as the British remained in any part of Palestine they would maintain law and order in the area of which they were still in occupation. . .. It has been made quite clear by the High Commissioner to the leaders of the Jewish and Arab communities that so long as the Mandate continues the Mandatory Government is responsible for law and order and will do its duty in protecting the life and property of citizens irrespective of race. . .. Between now and the termination of the Mandate, the British Government in Palestine will remain responsible for law and order.”

None of these pledges have been fulfilled.

Colonial Secretary Gives Preview of British Non-Cooperation

Actually, a preview of the form British non-cooperation would take was offered by Creech Jones on December 11, 1947, in the very same speech in which he assured the House of Commons of British compliance with the Assembly’s resolution. He then made clear that the primary objective would be an orderly withdrawal of the British from Palestine. Then he set down the following principles:

1. “In order that the withdrawal may be conducted in the most orderly manner and with the least destruction of the ordinary life of the country, it is essential that the Mandatory Power should retain undivided control of the country until the evacuation is well under way. It will be appreciated that Mandatory responsibility for government in Palestine cannot be relinquished piecemeal. The whole complex of governmental responsibility must be relinquished by the Mandatory Government for the whole of Palestine on an appointed day. . . . And the date we have in mind for this, subject to negotiations with the United Nations Commission, is 15 May”. . . .

2. “As His Majesty’s Government have made it clear that they cannot take part in the implementation of the United Nations plan, it will be undesirable for the Commission to arrive in Palestine until a short period before the termination of the Mandate. For reasons of Administrative efficiency, responsibility, and security, this overlap period should be comparatively brief.” . . . .

3. “Other matters on which negotiations with the United Nations Commission will have to be made include the proposal in the partition plan that an area situated in the Jewish state, including a seaport and hinterland, shall be evacuated by February 1, 1948. This presents considerable difficulty and must be studied further with the UN Commission in connection with the thorny problem of immigration. . . . If the traffic (immigration) is encouraged during the next few months a grave situation in Palestine will arise which will make an orderly withdrawal and transfer of authority extremely difficult. The camps in Cyprus also have to be emptied.

“The Government are aware of the strong resentment already expressed by the Arab States in regard to what may appear to them as encouragement to immigration for strengthening the Jewish State. It is essential to maintaining orderly life in Palestine, while at the same time, preparing, in accordance with international decision, to transfer authority.”

Bevin Refuses to Assign Port

The following day, December 12, 1947, Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary, made clear that there would be no consultations with the United Nations Commission, declaring: “that the date for the termination of the Mandate had been fixed.”

He told the House of Commons:

(1) “We have fixed, after the most careful consideration, the date of May 15. (2) We should have liked to have accepted the suggested date in February but we found it physically impossible to do so. [The reference being to the clearance of a port and area for Jewish immigration].

“I cannot agree to open a port until we lay down the Mandate. We cannot have two administrations at one time. Really, it is impossible.”

The security situation was further offered as an excuse for failing to open a port for Jewish immigration, for refusing to permit recruitment of a Jewish militia as provided in the Assembly’s resolution.

On March 10, 1948, Creech Jones again told the House of Commons:

“We have been unable on grounds of security to make a port available for the Jews from 1 February for immigration of men and arms. We could not thus render our authority over a part of Palestine while still retaining responsibility for law and order in the country.”

He said further:

“We were also asked whether we would agree to allow the provisional councils of the two successor states to recruit armed militias from their residents, leaving political and military control to the Commission. We have made it clear that we could not permit any authority other than our own to exercise governmental functions in Palestine before the end of the Mandate. To allow the recruitment of militias would involve two distinct authorities in the country at one time, one of them taking steps to implement the United Nations plan. Further, such a procedure could not fail to increase immeasurably the possibility of grave disturbances while the Mandate still ran. The suggestion did not take account of the realities of the situation. The possible result of an attempt to form a representative militia for the proposed Jewish State, which includes some 400,000 Arabs in its area, when the Arabs were strongly resisting the implementation of the partition plan, should be apparent to everybody. The objections to this step, of course, apply with even greater force to the Jewish request that the Commission should immediately start to establish a purely Jewish militia for the Jewish State, with full training facilities and the acquisition of the necessary equipment and stores.”

British Declare November 29 Resolution Unworkable

That same day, moreover, he told the House of Commons the decision was unworkable and forecast that the Commission would be unable to go to Palestine.

“The situation in Palestine has tragically deteriorated since the Assembly resolution. Consequently, the Assembly’s plan, conceived as it was in conditions of strong partiality, has in some respects proved impractical and unworkable. . . . It is possible that the Palestine Commission of the UN may find itself unable to proceed to Palestine because suitable arrangements have not been made either by the Security Council or by other organs of the United Nations for it to take up its duties there.”

On March 2, 1948, Creech Jones, in the Security Council of the United Nations, openly charged the partition plan with prejudice, declaring:

“It is not for me to comment on certain obvious defects in the partition plan which arose from its being conceived in conditions of strong partiality.

“The United States asks us to endorse the plan adopted by the General Assembly. For reasons which we have so often explained, we cannot do so. . .. We cannot participate in any way in the implementation of a plan which involves the coercion of one of the Communities, and in Palestine, that is the larger community.”

Small wonder that on April 10 the Palestine Commission reported to the General Assembly that:

(1) Security has not been maintained and that “unless security is restored in Palestine, implementation of the resolution of the General Assembly will not be possible.”

(2) That as a consequence of the non-cooperation of the Mandatory power:

“(a) The provisions of the Assembly’s resolution for a progressive transfer of administration from the Mandatory Power to the Commission have not been complied with. The Mandatory Power has insisted on retaining undivided control of Palestine until the date of termination of the Mandate and on relinquishing the whole complex of governmental responsibilities on that day, except for the areas still occupied by British troops. In the view of the Mandatory Power the progressive transfer of authority refers only to those areas.

“(b) The Commission could not proceed to Palestine until two weeks prior to the termination of the Mandate. The insistence of the Mandatory Power on this point, even though the Commission has been prepared to restrict its activities in Palestine prior to 15 May 1948, to preparatory work and would not attempt to exercise any authority there, made it impossible for the Commission to take the necessary preparatory measure to ensure continuity in administration after the date of termination of the Mandate.

“(c) The Commission could not take any measures to establish the frontiers of the Arab and Jewish States and the City of Jerusalem, since the Mandatory Power informed the Commission that it could not facilitate the delimitation of frontiers on the ground.

“(d) The refusal of the Mandatory Power to permit any Provisional Council of Government, whether Arab or Jewish, if selected, to carry out any functions prior to the termination of the Mandate, made it necessary for the Commission, in accordance with Part I, B, 4 of the resolution of the General Assembly, to communicate that fact to the Security Council and to the Secretary-General.

“(e) The refusal of the Mandatory Power to permit the taking of preparatory steps toward the establishment of the armed militia, envisaged by the resolution for the purpose of maintaining internal order and preventing frontier clashes, has made it impossible to implement the Assembly’s resolution in that respect.”


II. The Intention behind British Policy in Palestine


On December 29, 1947, exactly one month following the United Nations decision on partition with economic union, the Lebanese Envoy in London, reporting to the Foreign Minister of Lebanon on a meeting between himself and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, quoted Mr. Bevin as telling him the following: “Now that the question has reached this stage, we are determined to withdraw from Palestine so that Arabs and Jews should remain alone to face each other and the hard facts.”

British Aim: A Federal State

In the same report, the Lebanese envoy wrote: “Official circles here believe that if America. . .were to change its position. . .the Arabs and Jews would remain alone face-to-face with the facts. The result would then be the attainment of a solution of the question on the basis of a federal state.”

United States Minister to Beirut Tells About Federal Plan or Abdullah Conquest

On February 11, 1948, the United States Minister in Beirut, Mr. Lowell C. Pinkerton, informed the United States State Department of the plans being discussed in Lebanon for substituting the partition plan with a new scheme either in the form of a federal state or in the form of a Jewish state within a Greater Palestine. In his communication Mr. Pinkerton wrote:

“Many Lebanese feel that they have already shown an earnest of their intention to prevent partition at all costs, and that Jews now doubt their own ability to defend the territory allotted to them by the partition plan.

“Two proposals, at least, have been discussed, either of which might be acceptable to a sizeable number of the Arabs. If adopted, the first might be only prelude to the second:

“‘1. Revival of the eleventh hour Arab compromise suggestion at Lake Success – cantonisation, or a federal state.

“‘2. An autonomous Jewish state within a Greater Palestine, under King Abdullah, which would have all its own machinery of government. It has even been suggested that such a state might take all of the Jews now in displacement camps in Europe, since the question of a majority would not arise. This proposal would certainly meet widespread opposition in Syria, [Saudi] Arabia and possibly Egypt.’

“Visitors recently arrived in Lebanon from the United States are all eagerly questioned on the possibility of a change in the attitude of the United States towards partition, but no satisfactory reply has been received.”

British Knowledge of Abdullah Plan to Occupy Palestine

On April 17, a day after the Security Council had adopted a resolution calling for a truce between the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency, and upon the neighbouring states to refrain from activity which would upset the truce, King Abdullah of Transjordan let it be known that he would send the Arab Legion into Palestine to defend the Arabs allegedly against the Jews.

On January 31, The Nation had reported a plan whereby King Abdullah of Transjordan would be permitted to overrun Palestine in exchange for giving up his ambition to establish the Greater Syrian Federation through the annexation of Syria and Lebanon.

On February 13 the British Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 61 Hq. Palestine confirmed The Nation’s story and anticipated the April 17 declaration of Abdullah. British Intelligence reported that Musa Al Ami, head of the Iraqi-supported Arab Office, who had been living abroad for a year, had returned to the Middle East.

This is its explanation:

“Apart from the question of the Arab officers, there is reason to believe that Musa Al Ami’s visit had certain political implications. It has been rumoured that in return for the shelving of the Greater Syria scheme, Syria and the Lebanon may be asked to consent to King Abdullah’s occupying Palestine. Musa Al Ami’s recent visit to the King may well have something to do with this.”


III. British Representatives Present
When Arab League Projected Revolt


The Arab revolt was openly projected in the fall of 1947 at the very time when the United Nations were meeting in the regular Assembly session and discussing the Palestine issue. The decision to launch the revolt was made at a meeting of the Council of the Arab League in Sofar, Lebanon.

This meeting was attended not only by the heads of the Arab governments constituting the League, the Mufti and Fawzi Kawukji, later of the Arab liberation army in Palestine, but by Brigadier P. A. Clayton, the British representative in Egypt, and a number of his associates from Cairo and Jerusalem. It was at this meeting that the formation of a so-called volunteer force for the liberation of Palestine was decided upon, as against the use of regular troops of the Arab governments. The decision to substitute so-called volunteer forces for the regular armies was adopted under the influence of Brigadier Clayton and his associates. [My emphasis – J.I.]

The Arab League was in fact first projected in 1943 by Brigadier Clayton who was able to convince Anthony Eden, then Foreign Minister of England, of its usefulness. The League was formed in 1945 and Brigadier Clayton continues to be the only non-Moslem who regularly attends the meetings of the Arab League.

The participation of British representatives in Arab League meetings was confirmed by Richard H. S. Crossman, British MP in the House of Commons on December 11, 1947. He said:

“British diplomacy has, alas concentrated Arab attention to the Zionist issue. At meetings of the Arab League British representatives have been in attendance regularly even when the most violent anti-Jewish actions were approved. We are now suffering the consequences of creating the Arab League on the basis of a single programme of denying a Jewish state to the Jews.” [My emphasis – J.I.]

Arabs careful not to attack the British

On March 6, 1948, E. D. Horn, acting for the Chief Secretary of Palestine, addressed a communication to the District Commissioner of Jerusalem, copies of which were dispatched to all district commissioners, asking them to request Arab leaders to see to it that the foreign soldiers in Palestine remained as unobtrusive as possible. In this communication, numbered C.S.749 and marked “top secret,” Mr. Horn wrote:

“It is the opinion of the Committee that this development greatly increases the risk of clashes taking place between these persons and the security forces and I am to request that you will take whatever steps are possible to bring this danger to the notice of Arab leaders who would be well advised to secure that the foreign soldiers remain as unobtrusive as possible.”

British condone invaders

British Intelligence in Palestine is authority for the statement that the Arabs have careful instructions not to fight the British. Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 61 of February 13, 1948, issued by Hq. British Troops in Palestine, reported that the Arab irregulars are “anxious to avoid being involved with the British troops, in fact, they have orders to surrender rather than fight their way out if challenged by British troops.”

The Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 62, Hq. Palestine, dated February 27, 1948, further says:

“The Arab leaders are anxious not to aggravate the British in any way but the question is whether so many men, possibly ten thousand of them at present in this country, with their bitter hatred of the Jews and their excitable character, whose sole raison d’etre is the killing of Jews, can hold themselves in check until the British forces have quitted.”

In proof of this careful Arab attitude, the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 63 dated March 12, by the Hq. British Troops in Palestine, reported the following:

“18. On three different occasions, the GOC’s car and escort were attacked in the vicinity of Bab el Wad on the Jerusalem-Jaffa road. On the first occasion a Brigadier travelling from Sarafand to Jerusalem in the car was shot at and a bullet penetrated the bonnet. On the second occasion the car was hit three times, once through the door, once through the window and once through the petrol tank. Fortunately there were no passengers and no one was hurt. Two days later the car ran into the line of fire when at Kilo 21 on the same road a Jewish convoy was engaged by fire from Arabs. Doctor Hussein Khalidi of the Arab Higher Executive told an officer of this Headquarters that in his opinion the car had not been attacked by Arabs as they had been instructed to avoid conflict with the security forces. A phone call received by this Headquarters from a person who claimed to be Abdul Kadir el Husseini, denied that Arabs had fired at the GOC’s car. Arabs held great respect for the British and especially the GOC, the speaker claimed.”


IV. British know every Arab invasion plan


On April 10 the Palestine Commission of the United Nations, in its report to the General Assembly, stated that violence in Palestine as of April 3 has resulted in 6,187 killed and wounded, including 121 British dead, 309 wounded; 959 Arabs dead, 2,118 wounded; 875 Jews dead, 1,858 wounded.

The casualties were inflicted in the course of Arab attacks and Jewish reprisals. Responsibility for the violence rests in chief part on some 10,000 Arab invaders who have entered Palestine as members of the Arab Army of Liberation formed by the Arab League and representing incursions from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Transjordan, and upon members of the Transjordan Arab Legion, units of which are stationed in Palestine.

The British government, which maintains a number of liaison officers with the Palestine Commission, has reported to that Commission only six incursions involving small numbers. And it has offered as the excuse for not stopping these incursions the length of the frontier, the difficult nature of the terrain, and therefore the impossibility of one hundred percent frontier control.

Secret British Reports Give Full Data

The fact is, however, that the British are fully aware of every incursion of foreign invaders and their exact deployment. This is indicated in the reports of British Military Intelligence in Palestine and the Middle East. A few typical excerpts from these reports indicate as early as last January the full knowledge of British Military Intelligence, and therefore of the Palestinian administration, the British Colonial Office, and the British Foreign Office.

A report on Arab infiltration was offered on January 30, 1948, in the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 60 issued by HQ Palestine:

“19. The main item of interest is undoubtedly the arrival of Arab bands from outside Palestine. The figures have varied considerably, but it is thought that they can be put at between 1,000 and 1,500. They are almost certainly members of Fawzi Qauqji’s [Kawukji – EC] Yarmuk Division, to which reference has been made in previous newsletters. Contrary to numerous rumors, however, Fawzi himself has not entered Palestine. He has constantly stated that he has no intention whatever of returning to this country like a thief in the night as the head of a rabble, and that he will come when preparations are complete and he can do so openly as a soldier.”

On February 13, 1948, the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 61 issued by HQ British Troops in Palestine, reported:

“More and more Arab irregulars have crossed the Syrian and Lebanese borders and moved into villages in the Safed area and the Galilee hills.”

British Intelligence Reports Detailed Invasion Plan

On March 5, in a secret report entitled “Intelligence Summary No. 68” by the Sixth Airborne Division, a detailed record of the Arab invasion was presented:

“12. The infiltration of Arab bands from the neighbouring Arab States is continuing and an Arab source thought reliable has estimated the strength of the Arab Liberation Army in Samaria as being approximately 5,000, organised into four detachments:

“‘(a) The Yarmuk: This was the first to arrive and is now located in the Jenin sub-district with its Headquarters at Sir 179196.

“‘(b) The Huttein: (Named after the battle of the Horns of Huttin 1187), located in the Tulkarm sub-district and reported to be commanded by an Iraqi named Nashed Bey.

“‘(c) The Hussein: (Probably named after the Mufti), occupying the Tubas area but believed to be incomplete. This detachment is said to be equipped with a British type rifle, and to be about 800 strong at present.

“‘(d) The Circassian: Composed of about 300 men – a further draft of 300 is expected shortly. This detachment is commanded by an ex-Captain of the Syrian Regular Army, and is reported to be moving into the hills to the west of Nablus.’

“Whilst the main Arab forces are located in the Nablus-Jenin-Tulkarm area, it is known that a strong force is being built up in the Galilee hills and further reports have been received of the movement of small Arab bands across the Lebanese frontier into the villages of Upper Galilee.

“13. According to a reliable source, approximately 1,000 men crossed the Transjordan and Lebanese frontiers into Palestine on 25 February in 100 trucks. These Arab irregulars are reported to be dressed in American type battle dress with orange hattas. One detachment of some 500 men went to the Nablus area via Tubas and was received by members of the National Committee. A parade was held in their honour attended by Arab Scouts and Youth Organisations. More than 10,000 local Arabs are said to have been present and the Mayor of Nablus and the President of the National Committee both made short addresses to the assembly. Mohd Saffar, Arab Commander in the Nablus area, then lectured this detachment of newly-arrived irregulars in the Palestine Hotel, Nablus. Following this address which lasted for two hours, the group is reported to have left for the Beisan area where the report states, they will be used in attacks on Jewish colonies which are expected to take place in the near future.

“14. The second detachment, also of approximately 599, are reported to have crossed the Lebanese frontier in the area of Bint Jhall 190280 where they were met by high-ranking officers in the ‘National Liberation Army.’ This detachment later dispersed into villages in the Upper Galilee area. The report indicates that these two contingents are the most well-equipped to cross the frontier to date. They are armed with rifles, Brens and other automatic weapons, and heavier type gun of unspecified calibre for use in the hills. Each man is said to be carrying arms sufficient for two persons, as the band is hoping to be backed up by local guerillas who will be recruited throughout the area. The leader of the force is an Iraqi officer, who informed local leaders in the Acre sub-district that the detachment would remain in the villages in Galilee as a force available for defence, until orders are received from the Arab Liberation Army Headquarters in Damascus to start the offensive.”

British Reveal Kawukji’s ‘s Entry into Palestine

On March 12, Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 63 issued by Hq. British Troops in Palestine, supplemented his report with the following:

“13. The arrival in Samaria of Fauzi Qauqji [Kawukji – EC] is definitely confirmed, but he is believed to be paying a short visit only this time. He has indicated his desire not to embarrass the authorities in any way, but when in Transjordan recently it was reported that he talked about renewed activity against Jewish settlements, possibly with the intention of influencing the UN Security Council. It has not yet been confirmed which route he used to enter Palestine although strong rumor has it that he came across Allenby bridge at night.”

German Officers and Jugoslav Moslems Join Liberation Army

On January 19, C. T. Evans, the District Commissioner for the Galilee District, wrote to the Chief Secretary of Palestine, Sir Henry Guerney, that the training of the Arab Liberation army is by European volunteers and that, in fact, one of the incursions was led by a German officer. In this connection, Mr. Evans wrote:

“There is no doubt that well equipped volunteers are coming across the Lebanese frontier and bivouacking in Palestine in such inaccessibly places as Wadi Kurn. They appear to be bound mainly to Jaffa and that such local Arabs trying to join have been turned away. The volunteers are not coming down on the villages for provisioning.

“It is reported that European volunteers are being brought to Syria and the Lebanon as instructors and one of the parties who have crossed the frontier is stated to have been led by a German officer.”

On March 12, in the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 63, issued by the HQ British Troops in Palestine, the British revealed the presence in Palestine of non-Arab volunteers as members of the Arab Liberation army, including German officers and Yugoslav Moslems. The report declares:

“11. An observer of the Arab scene in Palestine has given an appreciation of the non-Arab volunteers who have been working with Arabs in Palestine owing to allegiance to the Mufti. Firstly there are the Jugoslav Moslems, estimated at less than a dozen in number who are attached to Abdul Qadir Al Husseini in the Jerusalem area. They have had experience in warfare and have expert knowledge of underground activities. Their number is almost certain to be increased later. Then there are three or four German Officers attached to Sheikh Hassan Salameh in areas around Jaffa and Lydda. One popular rumor has it that they are survivors of the Germans who parachuted down during the last war in the Jericho region to contact Salameh, with whom they have kept in touch ever since. These Germans refuse to meet any British volunteers. Thirdly, there are constant rumors of some British nationals, but little or nothing is known about them.” *A

“12. The infiltration of the Arab Liberation Army into Palestine continues, particularly in the Ras el Ain area *B and Jaffa, where the new commander, Abdel Bey Najin ed Din, who took over from Abdul Wahab Bey when the latter went to Syria, probably has some 1,500 regulars under his command. The Jaffa-Tel Aviv struggle has already entered a new phase, the Arabs having adopted a plan of attack as opposed to their former policy of defence.”

*A Despite this, Foreign Minister Bevin still says he has no knowledge of non-Arab fighters in Palestine.

*B Area of the water pipe line to Jerusalem, mined by Arabs on April 8.

British Know Every Detail of Invaders’ Deployment

On March 19, British Intelligence put out a document on the Arab liberation army detailing its location in every area of Palestine, its numbers, and its command as follows:


Information as at 19.3.48

General: – G.O.C. Gen. Ismail Safwat Pasha, formerly Deputy Chief of Staff to the Iraqi Army, H.Q. DAMASCUS

Commands in Palestine: –

North Pal: O.C. Fawzi Al Kaukji Bey.

2. i/c Mohd Bey As Safa.

[I assume this means that Fawzi Al Qauqji Bey was the Commanding Officer and Mohd Bey As Safa was his Deputy- Emperor’s Clothes
– Jared Israel ]

East Pal: O.C. Abdul Qadir Husseini.

West Pal: O.C. Sheik Hassan Salama.

2. i/c a German Engineer Officer.

South Pal: Acting O.C. Col. Tarik Bey, a Sudanese.

Detail –

North Pal:

Forces at present in this area are mainly concentrated in the Samaria district. They consist of four regiments, each of two or three battalions. Total strength is reported as about 4,000. The Safad-Nazareth-Acre area does not seem to be garrisoned by A.L.A. troops, but is used by troops in transit. Attacks in this area would appear to be the work of local gangs or troops on sorties from Syria.

Yarmuk Regt. – O.C. Mohd Bey As Safa, Lebanese.

Located in the Jenin area with an H.Q. at Sir 179176. Responsible for the attack on Tirat Tsevi on 16 February.

Huttein Regt. – O.C. Nashed Bey.

Located in the area south of Tulkarm, with a battalion 600 strong under an Iraqi at Ras Al Ain 144167. Responsible for the attack on Magdiel 141 174.

Hussein Regt. – O.C. Abdul Wahab.

Located north of Tulkarm, with an H.Q. at Attil 157197. Responsible for the attack on Marbata 15282070 on 28 February.

Circassian Regt. – O.C. Issan Bey.

Located in the Nablus area. Reported to have made no attacks as yet.

East Pal:

Forces are mainly in the Jerusalem area. They consist of Husseini gangsters and do not appear to be properly organised or disciplined.

West Pal:

Area corresponds to the Civil District of Lydda together with that part of the Gaza District North of a line Al Majdal 111119 to Falluja 126114.

Jaffa area – O.C. Lt. Col. Abdel Najn Ad Din Bey.

Strength reported to be more than 2,000 men, possibly part of the Yarmuk regiment. This garrison includes Yugoslavs trained in sabotage.

Ramle area

Strength two battalions of 500 men, each commanded by an Iraqi captain. One battalion H.Q. reported at 13671504; the other at Salama village.

South Pal:

H.Q. of the district is at Mughazi camp 091092.

Julis area.

1,000 men reported to be forming up at Julis camp 119122, which is at present commanded by Capt. Ibrahim Isdar, a Syrian. This area may be used as a base hospital.

Gaza area – Mustafa Al Wakil bn, an Egyptian unit, is at Gaza air field 199198. 200 men are reported at Maghazi.

A training camp is in the process of being established at Nabi Husein 108118.


V. Arab Legion cannot Move without British Signal


On December 12, 1947, Foreign Minister Bevin told the House of Commons that the units of the Transjordan Arab Legion would be withdrawn from Palestine. He said:

“I was asked a question about the Arab Legion. I should explain that this is a Force, which owes allegiance to the King of Transjordan, but units of it have, for some time, been serving under the orders of the British G.O.C. in accordance with a long-standing arrangement with King Abdullah. It has been decided that all these units will be withdrawn from Palestine at the same time as the withdrawal of the British Forces. That withdrawal will be completed when the withdrawal of the British Forces is completed.”

British Promise to Withdraw Arab Legion from Palestine

But on April 16, these units numbering some thousands were still in Palestine, encamped near the units of Arab invading forces, still engaged in a series of unprovoked aggressions on peaceful Jewish residents and passersby. On that date Sir Alexander Cadogan told the Security Council: “We have already announced that the units of the Arab League in Palestine will be withdrawn before the Mandate comes to an end.”

The following day, however, on April 17, King Abdullah of Transjordan announced that he would send his Arab Legion into Palestine to help the Arabs, and was seconded by his Foreign Minister, a threat which has since been repeated. On April 26, King Abdullah announced that on May 1st he would march into Palestine in personal command of the armies of Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Could King Abdullah carry out his threat without British knowledge and consent? The facts show that Transjordan is a military appendage of the British and could not act without their knowledge and consent.

The Arab Legion, regarded as the finest military force in the Middle East, is under the command of a Britisher, Brigadier J.B. Glubb. The Legion is organized, trained, officered, and paid for by the British government at a cost of more than $7,500,000 annually. Nonetheless, Foreign Minister Bevin told the House of Commons on April 28:

“I am not going to be drawn into promises and commitments about the Transjordan Force until I know the final decision of the U.N. on Palestine.”

Do the British Control the Arab Legion?

The first partition of Palestine took place in 1922 when the British separated Transjordan from it. In January 1946, Great Britain, without the consent of the United Nations, announced the independence of Transjordan which, since 1922, had been governed under the Palestine Mandate.

On March 22, 1946, the British Government announced the conclusion of a Treaty of Alliance with Transjordan, which recognized Transjordan as an independent Kingdom, and the Emir Abdullah as its sovereign. In an annex to the Treaty, provision was made for British bases in Transjordan and the training of the armed forces of that country by British military personnel.

On March 15, 1948 a new Treaty of Alliance was signed between Transjordan and Great Britain. Under the new Treaty, Britain continues its annual grant for the maintenance of Transjordan’s armed forces. Brigadier John Bagot Glubb, commander of the Transjordan Arab Legion, retains his post under King Abdullah. The British are responsible as well for equipping the Legion, and supply, in addition to Brigadier Glubb, more than 40 British senior officers.

Provisions of 1948 Treaty with Transjordan

Under the March Treaty, the British receive the right to maintain units of the R.A.F. in Transjordan. The British finance the maintenance and development of airfields, ports, roads and other lines of communication. The British undertake to train Transjordan Forces in the United Kingdom or in any British colony. In Transjordan joint training operations are to be maintained with the British providing training personnel. The British undertake to provide arms, ammunition, equipment, aircraft and other war materials; all Transjordan war materials to be standardized with that of the British. The British receive port rights. To carry out the military alliance a permanent Joint Defense Board has been set up.


VI. The British “Protection” of Jerusalem


On December 11, 1947 Arthur Creech-Jones, Secretary of State for the Colonies, told the House of Commons:

“Up to the date of the relinquishment of the Mandate the Palestine Government remains responsible for the security of Jerusalem and its Holy places.”

But not even the special position of Jerusalem has deterred the British from sacrificing it to its own plans for an Arab alliance.

To be sure, soon after the passage of the November 29 resolution, the British government did cooperate with the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations in drawing up a draft statute for Jerusalem establishing it as an international city under international trusteeship. But when the Arab Higher Committee objected to its efforts on the score that it was implementing one of the November 29 General Assembly resolutions, the line of cooperation was dropped and supplanted by the line of capitulation.

Under the guise of spurious neutrality it made possible a series of events initiated by the Arabs which have splattered the sanctity of the Holy City with blood.

Thus, thanks to British neutrality:

1. Ben Yahuda Street, the chief commercial center of Jewish Jerusalem, was bombed.

2. A band of the Mufti’s henchmen, calling itself the Arab National Guard, could seize and hold with impunity the Old City of Jerusalem, where the ancient shrines of all the religions are to be found; and keep 2,000 Jews as hostages. The British have even concluded an agreement with this band permitting passage to distribute food and other supplies.

3. Thus the Arabs could bomb the offices of the Jewish Agency on March 11, killing 13 and wounding forty-five.

4. The Arabs could on April 13, within full sight of a British army post, attack a Hadassah medical convoy flying a medical symbol in the course of which 76 persons were killed and 20 wounded. The casualties included the Director of the Hadassah Hospital, Dr. H. Yassky, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, as well as academic staff including scientists attached to the Hebrew University of Mt. Scopus.

This attack took place within two hundred yards of a British Army Post. Iraqi soldiers were among the Arab gangs which attacked the convoy. The attack lasted for six hours before the eyes of the British Military, who not only failed to halt the attack, but prevented the Haganah from coming to the rescue.

The April 13 attack was the climax of a series begun on December 30, 1947. Continuous complaints and a request for protection of the road, which leads to the Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University, had been made by the Jewish Community Council of Jerusalem and by Hadassah itself.

The area requiring protection was half a mile in length on the Scopus Road. Between March 26 and April 6 no incidents occurred. On December 27 the Arab Higher Committee, and on January 13 the Palestine Arab Medical Association issued memoranda asking the Arabs to refrain from attacking hospitals, ambulances, doctors, nurses. None the less, these attacks were accelerated. On March 17 Abdel Kadi el-Husseini, then the Arab Military Commander in the Jerusalem area (subsequently killed by the Haganah) publicly announced that he would occupy or even demolish the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center.

Despite the full evidence concerning this, no effective action was taken by the British.

On April 13 British soldiers watched the Arab onslaught, and instructed the Haganah not to send reinforcements. When Jewish reinforcements finally reached the scene, they were blocked by the British. When British troops ultimately intervened they fired mortar shells not only at the Arabs, but at Jews trying to defend themselves from the Arabs.

When Jacques de Reynier, representative of the International Red Cross, attempted to arrange a truce, it took the British five and one half hours to bring M. de Reynier to the scene of the attack, which is not more than a 10 minute ride from the heart of Jerusalem.

Not even the events of April 13 caused the British to safeguard the road, with the result that on April 24 the Hadassah Hospital had been, for a week, without food replenishments.

When on April 25, the Haganah attempted to insure safe passage on the road and captured a key Arab attacking post, Sheikh Jarrah village, the British in force encircled the Haganah and compelled their evacuation.

5. Though the Mufti’s Organization, the Arab Higher Committee, with its headquarters in Jerusalem is directing the whole operation, not one of its leaders has been arrested.

On the contrary, the British have refused permission to the Jewish population to organize their own defense.

They have blown up Jewish defense posts.

They have advised the Jews to evacuate the commercial section of Jerusalem.

The British authorities are conniving at the starving of the Jewish population of Jerusalem.

They have failed to protect the highways and refused to allow armed escorts and self-arming by the Jews.

British Attack Jews

When the Jewish Agency told the UN Palestine Commission that the Jews of Jerusalem were starving because of Arab road blocks on the road from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, and that the British Government had neither offered to escort food convoys nor stipulated conditions under which escort might be provided, J. Fletcher Cooke, British Liaison with the UN Commission, replied on April 12, 1948 with an attack on the Jews.

He said:

“It should be emphasized again that the problem is not one of food shortage in Palestine as a whole. The Government of Palestine has reported that there is food available in Palestine to maintain the necessary supplies for Jerusalem. The problem is entirely one of the transport of this food from the ports to Jerusalem.

“It may be added that transport by rail to Jerusalem is ruled out because, even if trains succeeded in escaping Arab attacks or sabotage en route, the railway station at Jerusalem is in a predominantly Arab area, and the Arabs would not permit off-loading of food destined for the Jews. Any attempt to do this would result in a major engagement.”

He then proceeded to place the blame on the Jews.

“(2) Very early in the disturbances which have occurred in Palestine since 29 November, 1947, attacks on traffic using this road were made by both Jews and Arabs. It is difficult to say who initiated these attacks, but it is fairly certain that firing action was first taken by the Jews after their vehicles had been stoned by Arabs in Ramleh.

“(3) The situation then developed into a fight for control of the road. The Arabs, no doubt in order to facilitate action by their troops, withdrew all their own vehicles from the stretch of the road in question and were then secure in the knowledge that any civilian traffic which they cared to attack must be Jewish.

“(4) The Jews then appealed for assistance. During December certain escorts were provided by the Army and the Police; but it became the Jewish practice to produce at the convoy rendezvous more vehicles than had been arranged for, with the result that the escort provided was insufficient. The blame for this was laid by the Jews on the Government of Palestine.”

He then charged the Jews with being responsible for the failure of their food convoys to get through because of “the employment by Jews of long slow columns of armored and unarmoured vehicles.”

The British representative also disclosed an attempt to get Arab permission for Jewish food convoys, “provided nothing but food was carried; that Jewish accompanying personnel were reduced to a minimum and that convoys were subject to search at some selected point.”

Mr. Fletcher Cooke was greatly surprised that Jewish Agency officials refused this offer of capitulation to the Arabs.

British Draft Capitulation Under Truce Guise

Last month the British were agents for another proposal for capitulation by the Jews. Mr. R. Graves, nominated by the Palestine government as the Chairman of the Municipal Commission of Jerusalem, drafted a peace project for Jerusalem, later amended by Sir Henry Gurney [Guerney – EC], the Chief Secretary of Palestine.

This peace project proposed that “all armed men should leave the portion of the Old City occupied by Orthodox Jews whose safety would be guaranteed by the Arabs if this were done. And the old Montefiore quarter should be similarly evacuated by all armed men and placed under the protection of British forces and the municipality.”

Other provisions of the plan were:

“(a) Each Community should for the time being restrict the movement of its members to its own areas which will be policed by its own members of the Municipal Police Force.

“(b) Each Community should solemnly undertake not to attack the other by sending armed men into that Community’s area or by firing from one area into another.

“(c) Each Community should bind itself to exercise the utmost self restraint and control the violent elements in its midst.

“(d) Each Community should refrain from retaliation and reprisals, which can only make it more difficult for the leaders of either Community to prevent further attacks and counter reprisals. This recommendation is the most difficult of fulfilment, but it is the most important of all.

“(e) Each Community should fully respect all vehicles carrying the Red Cross, Red Crescent or Red Shield, and should undertake that any such vehicle would not be used for any purpose not authorized by these signs.

“(f) Passage by members of one Community through the territory of the other would be permitted in the case of funeral parties or revictualling parties under a flag of truce. A minimum number of omnibuses should be permitted to operate.

“(g) No armed men should be permitted to live within any area reserved for the other Community.”

On March 9 Mr. Graves told the Chief Secretary, Sir Henry Gurney [Guerney]:

“I have the honor to inform you that I have handed copies of my Peace Project for Jerusalem as amended by you, and with a few minor additions, to Dr. Hussein Khalidi, Secretary of the Arab Higher Committee, and Mr. David Ben Gurion, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

“2. Dr. Khalidi was very polite and thanked me for my initiative, promising to submit the Project to his Executive. He has now sent me a letter, of which I enclose a copy, stating that he and the Higher Executive consider that the arrangements contemplated are premature at the present stage.

“3. I saw Mr. Ben Gurion yesterday and discussed the Project which had been in his hands for a few days.

“4. He disagreed with the number and the variety of the clauses, and would not accept the proposal that the Jews of the Old City should be guaranteed by the Arabs after the withdrawal of the Haganah which he said was insulting to Jewry, and considered that the proposed restriction of Jews to Jewish areas and Arabs to Arab areas was undesirable and offensive to both Communities.

“5. However, he said that he and the Yishuv were very anxious for the peace of Jerusalem and were prepared to undertake that not a shot would be fired by any Jew in the City for a specified agreed period – a week, a month or a year – if the Arabs would make and observe a similar undertaking. When I mentioned that he might have some difficulty in making Jewish dissidents comply with such an undertaking, he said that he would be able to do so.

“6. I promised to convey his views to the Arab Higher Executive.”

The Breakdown of the Jerusalem Water Supply

On April 8, 1948 an Arab mine blew up the main water pipeline to Jerusalem at Ras-el-Ain. For seven hours water flooded the fields. The line was finally repaired by the Haganah and British army engineers.

The British authorities claimed that the destruction of the pipeline was accidental and that the Arabs did not know that the pipeline passed under the road at the point where the mining operation took place. But the revelations of British Intelligence on March 12 contradicts the British assertion.

Until the end of World War I Jerusalem was dependent upon wells and cisterns. After World War I, Jerusalem began to bring its water from two nearby sources, Solomon’s Pools, south of Bethlehem, and the spring of Ein Farah, six miles from Jerusalem. In 1937, to meet the needs of a growing population, the Palestine government built a pipeline bringing water from the coastal plain, Ras-el-Ain, forty miles from Jerusalem, which was pumped through the hills to Jerusalem and supplies Jerusalem with 1,500,000 cubic meters of water annually.

The pipeline runs entirely through Arab territory. Part of the area through which the pipeline runs was captured by the Jews, but a 20-mile section from Ras-el-Ain to Bab el Wad remains under Arab control, exposing the pipeline to continuous danger of being cut.

The chief victim of an interruption of the water supply would be the Jewish community of Jerusalem. Most of the Arabs in Jerusalem have cisterns and wells.

But the fact of the matter is that the threat to the Jerusalem water supply has been so serious and constant that as far back as January 1948 negotiations were begun by the chairman of the Municipal Commission, Mr. R. N. Graves, in an effort to safeguard the water supply station. Ultimately the station at Ras-el-Ain was abandoned to Iraqi armed troops which took over the military camp there. And Mr. Graves withdrew his demands for protection when the Lydda District Commissioner and the military commander of the South Palestine District explained that security forces were not inclined to drive them out by force and the Haganah probably could not do so.

Today, the sole deterrent to another attack on the pipeline is the supposed desire of the Arabs to maintain the water supply for their own use.


VII. Mufti Turned down Request that Haifa be Declared an Open City


On April 22, the city of Haifa was captured by the Haganah and the Arabs sued for peace. That same afternoon the representative of Syria, Faris el-Khouri, complained to the Political Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations at Lake Success concerning what he called the massacre of Arabs. But the fact is that it was the Mufti, Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee, who prevented Haifa from being declared an open city. And it is the British Intelligence in Palestine which is the authority for that statement.

Nor did the British make any attempt to assure this even though as far back as December, Creech Jones in the House of Commons, anticipated disturbances in that city.

In its Fortnightly Newsletter No. 61, dated February 13, 1948, the British Intelligence reported the Arab effort to make Haifa an open city.

“Toward the end of January a delegation representing all classes of Arabs from Haifa, headed by Archbishop Hakim, visited the Mufti in Cairo with the intention, it was rumored, of obtaining support for a plan to declare Haifa an ‘open city.’ It was unsuccessful. (However, it is learned that all sections of the Arab community have been placed under the command of the Haifa Arab national committee, who feel that it is in their own interest to maintain peace in the city for as long as possible. This, and the fact that the moneyed Jewish community in Haifa wishes for peace, provides some grounds for the hope that order may be maintained there for some time. Both communities are well armed and tension of course exists. The situation depends entirely upon the control the leaders of both factions are able to maintain over their more irresponsible followers.)”

On April 24, Sir Alexander Cadogan told the Security Council that the Syrian charges were without justification and that in fact only about 100 Arabs had been killed.

From Jerusalem, Sir Allen Cunningham, British High Commissioner, informed the British Foreign Office that the attacks had been started by the Arabs and that the charges of massacre were untrue. The exoneration of the Haganah by the British represented the first such action in recent disturbances in Palestine.

The fact is that Haifa had been one of the areas in Palestine where the most friendly relations existed between Jews and Arabs, not only during the recent conflict, but as a matter of record even during the 1936 – 1939 disturbances.

The most recent disturbances in Haifa are due to the incursion of foreign Arabs. These foreign Arabs conducted a continuous warfare, attacking the Jewish residential area and Jewish traffic, inviting Jewish retaliation.

The Commander of the Haifa Legion, until he was killed, actually was a Lieutenant in the Transjordan Arab Legion and his identity card is produced elsewhere in this document. On March 9, 1948, an advertisement by him appeared in Al Urduni Amman daily. The advertisement declared:

“Muhammed Bay el Hamad, Commander of the Haifa region announces that he is prepared to accept volunteers of all ranks who have previously served in the Arab Legion or the Transjordan Frontier Force. The registration of such volunteers will take place in Haifa.”

The presence of Germans and Nazis in the Arab ranks in Haifa was revealed by the Haganah in the truce terms which it laid down. These truce terms asked for the deportation of all foreign Arab fighters from Haifa and the handing over to the British military authorities of all Germans and Nazis in Arab ranks. Five Nazis were handed over. The safety of all citizens was guaranteed by the Haganah which asked for the laying down of arms and the surrender of them to the Jews, as well as a 24-hour curfew in order to arrange for the disarming.

The presence in Haifa of well-armed foreign invaders, as far back as March 5, was verified in Intelligence Summary No. 68 of the Sixth Airborne Division. Reporting on the Haifa area, it said:

Haifa Area

“At a recent meeting of Arab Commanders in the Haifa area it was decided that a request be sent to Syria for the assistance of a further 100 trained street-fighters to assist in attacks planned against the Jews. Pending the arrival of these men, Mohd Bey El Hamed, the Arab Commander in Haifa, ordered that bomb attacks against the Jews were to be postponed for the time being, as he considered that such attacks would only provoke reprisals which the Arabs are not yet in a position to counter effectively. He, however, gave instructions for squads of nine men from the Munazzamat Fi Di’aya (Arab Commando Organization) to be formed to carry out attacks against Jewish traffic on the roads leading out of Haifa. Three taxis are reported to have been allocated for this purpose. The ‘Commandos’ are said to be armed with Stens, TMGs and grenades.

“Further supplies of arms and ammunition are known to be arriving in Haifa to replace those confiscated by the Army during searches in town. On 22 February, seven Bren guns together with 5,000 rounds of ammunition are reported to have arrived in Haifa from Damascus, and the following day 15 boxes of grenades and 3 machine guns were brought to Haifa by a Druze from Syria. Considerable quantities of explosives and ‘Molotov Cocktails’ are said to have recently arrived, together with five bomb experts from Syria. These bomb experts are stated to have already prepared three bombs of considerable size for use against Jewish targets. Several local Arabs have been attached to this group for instruction in the manufacture of bombs. A further report indicates that 25 Yugoslavian bomb experts are en route to Haifa from Damascus to assist in the preparation of bombs to be used in attacks on Jewish quarters in the town.”


VIII. Arab Governments
behind Invasion of Palestine


On February 16, in its first report on security to the Security Council, the Palestine Commission stated:

“(a) The security situation in Palestine continues to be aggravated not only in the areas of the proposed Jewish and Arab States, but also in the city of Jerusalem, even in the presence of British troops.

[. . .]

“(c) Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the general Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.”

If the activity of the Arab League, comprising the states of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Transjordan, all members of the United Nations except Transjordan, were not sufficient evidence that the Arab states as such are in revolt against the November 29th decision of the General Assembly, British Intelligence reports offer proof of the support by Arab Governments of the armed invasion of Palestine by the so-called Arab Army of Liberation.

Thus the Weekly Intelligence Report No. 45, issued on January 16, 1948 by the HQ British Forces in the Middle East (M. E. L. F.) reported: “The training of volunteers in Syria is with government help and the contribution of materials by the Lebanese government.” This report says:

[. . .]

“E. Syria

“The ‘Palestine Liberation Army’ is reported to be organized in four ‘divisions’, though as yet little is known of these beyond their names, which are the ‘Qiadet el Yarmuk’ (or Holy Battle Brigade), ‘Haj Amin’ (named after the Mufti), ‘Fawzi Kawukji’, and ‘Palestine Federation’. The Training centre at Qatana outside Damascus is working to capacity, and there is good reason to suppose that training is going on in other parts of the country as well, assisted by the Syrian Army. Volunteers from universities and schools, probably numbering some 5,000 in all, are being trained in elementary military subjects, though their supplies of arms and equipment are at present very limited. For the regular forces, the Government passed, in December, a conscription law, whereby all men over the age of 19 must do up to two years’ military service, followed by 18 years on the reserve. Exemption from this service is said to cost 1,000 pounds but it is not known how many have as yet taken advantage of the concession.”

“F. Lebanon

“The Lebanese contribution to the Palestine ‘war effort’ will, it appears, be confined to the provision of materials rather than men. Owing to the pro-Jewish attitude of the Lebanese Christians, who form a considerable proportion of the population, no training will take place in the country, but the best of those who wish to volunteer will be selected and sent to the Syrian centres. The government has ordered the C-in-C of the army to purchase a quantity of small arms and ammunition, tenders for which have been invited from both Czechoslovakian and Belgian companies, as was done in Syria a month ago.”

The press of the Arab countries has revealed that the recruiting regulations for the so-called Arab volunteers were issued by the Syrian Minister of Defense; that the Syrian Prime Minister himself supervised the training of troops for war in Palestine at the Qatana Barracks in Syria; that the President of the Syrian Republic presided over the meeting on February 5 at his official residence where the commanders were appointed of the Arab forces of invasion.

There is ample evidence, further, that the Egyptian government has made financial allocations for operations in Palestine, that it has allotted military barracks at Hilmiyeh and Helwan for the training of troops, and that the Lebanese Prime Minister announced on February 25 his government’s intention to supply Palestine with arms, money, and men.

On February 13, 1948, the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 61, issued by Hq. British Troops in Palestine, reported on the visit of the Mufti, who is chairman of the Arab Higher Committee, with the President of Syria, and on his meetings with the military committee of the Arab League. The report detailed the decisions reached with respect to the military campaign in Palestine as follows:

“Haj Amin el Husseini visited Damascus at the beginning of February and had talks with President Kuwatly. On 4-6 February he attended meetings of the Arab League Military Committee there, presided over by Taha el Husseini with Subhi el Hadra present. Further in the military organization of Palestine it was decided to divide the country into four major fighting zones. The Mufti proposed that each zone should have two commanders of equal status, one nominated by the Arab Higher Executive and the other by the Arab League military committee. Taha el Husseini, however, insisted on a single commander for each zone and finally it was agreed that under General Ismail Safwat as Commander in Chief, Abdel Kader el Husseini should command the Jerusalem zone, Hassan Salame the Jaffa-Jerusalem road areas, Fawsi Kawujki the Nablus Tulkarm area and that the southern sector should be operated under Egypt. A delegate of the Arab Higher Executive is to be attached to each Commander. The Mufti returned to Cairo in time for the ten-day Arab League Council meeting there on 7 February.”

How the Arab governments have gotten around the use of army regulars is further revealed in the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 62, HQ Palestine, dated February 27, 1948:

“20. In Jaffa, Colonel Abdul Wahab Bey arrived with 100 Iraqis who are said to be regular soldiers temporarily retired for the Palestine venture. The Colonel was formerly in an Iraq Tank Regiment and took part in the ‘Golden Square’ rebellion during the war, as a result of which he spent three years in prison. He speaks English fluently, is displaying a pro-British attitude and discourages any action that would bring the Arabs into conflict with the Security Forces. His presence has had a decidedly pacifying effect on the local population similar to that in the forces in Samaria. Naturally enough the ex-gang leaders of the 1936 Arab revolt accept his presence and what amounts to military governorship with considerable reluctance. Sheikh Hassan Salameh still remains in charge of the guerillas in the area.”

Thus British Intelligence challenges the claim on March 16, 1948 of Faris el Khouri, Syrian delegate in the Security Council of the U.N., that “The Arab States, including Syria, have not interfered by taking part in these encounters.”

On March 12, 1948, the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No.63 reported that:

“7. The Arab League’s Palestine Committee held a brief meeting in Damascus on 4 March to discuss the Palestine military situation. It is generally believed that as a result of this meeting the military situation will enter a new stage during the forthcoming weeks and this will be in the form of increased large-scale operations. In addition the committee discussed the first aid arrangements for Arab wounded, the construction of field hospitals on the Palestine Syrian frontiers and future administrative arrangements for Palestine. After this first session it was decided to postpone the meeting of the committee indefinitely.”


X. Stringent Measures
Against the Jews

[Note: There is no Chapter IX]


In contrast with the attitude of the British toward the Arabs and the Arab incursionists is the stringent measures undertaken to prevent the Jews from getting arms.

The following series of communications exchanged in the early months of 1948 are illuminating. As this correspondence indicates, the British were attempting to prevent any possibility of the Jews receiving arms at a time when no obstacles were being placed in the way of armed Arab incursions and attacks on Jewish Palestine:

“To S.P.* Haifa.

“Your attention is invited to the Defence (Emergency) Regulations published in Palestine Gazette 164 Supplement No. 2 providing powers for the Port Authority to control ships in the territorial waters of Palestine. The purpose of these regulations is to deal with the possibility of arms smuggling to Tel-Aviv Port where there are only Jewish Customs Staff. There is reason to believe that the importation of arms and explosives through Tel-Aviv Port will be attempted from U.S. and Yugoslav ports. It will therefore be desirable that ships from these ports should be required to discharge all cargo at Haifa only. If no approach has yet been made on the subject I feel that you should see the General Manager Pal. Rly., and perhaps the Port Manager to consider what steps will be necessary to implement the new legislation.

(Sgd) Fforde

[* S.P is Superintendent of Police
**AIG CID is Acting Inspector General Criminal Investigation Department]

“To: S.P. Haifa. 2.2.48

“I am writing about the implementation of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations H 48 published in Palestine Gazette 164, providing powers for the Port Authority to control ships in the territorial waters of Palestine. (This office letter of even number dated 19/1 refers).

“O’Sullivan tells me that he saw you about this matter last Thursday. The position, now, as I understand it, is that some ships, including American vessels, normally discharge at Breakwater and Stevedores are mixed Jews and Arabs. Customs normally examine any such cargo as is actually discharged. There does not appear to be much opportunity for the evasion of Customs examination though it is possible for a ship lying out (and a good many ships have to do this) to discharge illegal cargo by night on to small craft and so get it ashore. But it appears that some ships, for recent example the ‘Exporter’ are allowed to proceed to Tel-Aviv afterwards, after first being directed to Haifa, and so get an opportunity to discharge ‘hot’ cargo. The ‘Exporter’ discharged a quantity of apples at Tel-Aviv after first having been directed to Haifa. Of course there would have been ample opportunity to discharge illegal arms etc. and so defeat the whole object of the new legislation. Surely a ship is not being allowed to go to Tel-Aviv once it has been found necessary to direct if from there, unless steps have been taken to ensure that nothing is left on board which it is not desired should be landed (which I very much doubt).

“Would you please take up this aspect of the matter and let me know the outcome.

(Sgd) Fforde AIG CID”

“To: I.G. Secret No. CS/758

“I am directed to append the following extract from a letter received from the General Manager, Palestine Railways, regarding the enforcement of directions given by him as Port Authority under the Defence (Emergency) Regulations made on 10/1.

‘I should be grateful to know whether I should be in order in invoking the assistance of the R.N. [Royal Navy – EC] if any vessel should fail to comply with any order given by me prohibiting the vessel from entering any port or the territorial waters of Palestine.’

“The Naval authorities have been consulted and have indicated that in their view the primary responsibility for enforcing compliance rests with the Police to whom the Port Authority should apply for assistance, if he considers it necessary.

“Only in the event of the Police being unable to enforce compliance would the RN be prepared to intervene. The application for Naval assistance would be made by Police and NOT by the Port Authority.

“I am to request you to state whether you concert with the procedure suggested

G. G. Grimwood
For Chief Secretary”

British Attempt to Charge Jews with Responsibility for Violence

At the same time, in the United Nations, the British are making a concerted effort to involve the Jews on an equal plane with the Arabs in offensive violence in Palestine. Thus on January 21, 1948, the Mandatory power told the Palestine Commission, as regards Arabs and Jews in Palestine, that “elements on each side were engaged in attacking or in taking reprisals indistinguishable from attacks.”

This statement ignored the fact that only a month earlier, Creech-Jones, colonial secretary, told the house of Commons on Dec. 11: “There have been serious disturbances in Palestine since the United Nations’ decision was announced, do mainly to Arab incitement.”

The attempt to place blame on the Jews for the current violence was continued in the answers which the United Kingdom delegation gave to a series of questions asked by the four permanent members of the Security Council at an informal meeting on March 9.

On March 12, the answer submitted in behalf of Sir Alexander Cadogan, reveals the bias of the Mandatory power:

Question 6: “To what extent are disorders inside Palestine due to participation by armed elements from outside Palestine?”

Answer 6: “The present series of disturbances began in December last against a background of Jewish inspired disorder which had been going on for 2½ years. The Arabs implicated in this series of disturbances were originally all Palestinians. Since then both Palestinian and non-Palestinian Arabs have been engaged.”

Question 7: “To what extent are disorders inside Palestine attributable to incitement to violence from outside Palestine?”

Answer 7: “As far as the Palestine Arabs are concerned, their opposition to partition is spontaneous and universal. Inflammatory material has appeared in the press of the neighboring Arab countries, although the situation in this respect has recently improved. On the Jewish side, widespread propaganda has of course been conducted for some time in the press of the United States and other countries by persons and organizations3 inciting the Jewish community to violence and terrorism principally against the Mandatory power.”

Asked whether arms are flowing into Palestine from outside sources to individuals or groups unauthorized by the Mandatory power to possess arms, the United Kingdom gave the following answer:

“Both Arabs and Jews in Palestine are now receiving illicit consignments of arms from outside sources. While the Palestine Government have no exact knowledge of the quantity and description of arms possessed by either side, it is their opinion that the Jews are better armed than the Arabs. In this connection4 it will be recalled that there have recently been instances of the seizure in the United States by United States authorities of large consignments of high explosives destined for Jewish organizations in Palestine.

“As regards the possibility which has been suggested of illicit importation of arms by aircraft landing in the desert, the Palestine Government consider this unlikely. Such clandestine importation by air would, however, be easier for the Jews than for the Arabs, in view of the better facilities possessed by the former for wireless communication and for distribution of arms after receipt.”

In response to a question as to what measures, military and civil, the British took to prevent the movement of hostile elements in Palestine from outside Palestine, the British again tried to implicate the Jews, putting Jewish refugees seeking asylum on the same plane with armed Arab invaders:

“The principal points of entry by land are guarded by troops or police but owing to the length of the frontier and the difficult nature of the terrain, it is impossible for frontier control to be one hundred per cent effective. As regards the sea frontier, the measures taken by the mandatory authorities to prevent the entry of Jewish illegal immigrants are well known.”


XI. British Pro Arab Bias


Quite different is the attitude of the British to the Arabs. When asked by the United Nations whether the incursion of the Arabs from neighboring countries represents a threat to international peace, the representative of the British government replied that his government “would furnish all the facts available” and “the question of what constitutes a threat to the peace is for the Security Council to decide.” This despite the fact that Creech-Jones, anticipating trouble, told the House of Commons on December 11: “The Security Council may have to be evoked by the United Nations Commission if insurmountable difficulties occurred.”

And when the United Kingdom was asked to identify Arab personnel who have invaded Palestine, and to say whether the incursions were privately organized or are supported or encouraged by governments outside Palestine, the United Kingdom’s answer on March 12 was an attempted exoneration of the Arabs, as the following indicates:

Question 2: “Has the Mandatory Power been able to identify personnel involved in such incursions?”

Answer 2: “The information of the Palestine authorities regarding the origin of personnel involved in these incursions is derived from common knowledge available locally and from intelligence reports. As regards the character of these forces, they consist of irregular formations and not organized units of any national armed force.”

Question 3: “Are these incursions privately organized by individuals or unofficial groups, or are they supported or encouraged by Governments outside Palestine?”

Answer 3: “H.M.G. [the British government] have no special information on this point other than that given in the answer to question 2.”

British Praise Invaders

In fact in February, 1948, the British were finding praise for the Arab invaders as a stabilizing element, offering the following proof as reported in the Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 61:

“In Nablus itself the good behavior of the Arab invaders is having a stabilizing effect on the untrained and excitable Palestinians. A complaint was made to them recently that a lorry load of wheat had been stolen and 20 [pounds] robbed from the driver. In a very short time the lorry and load had been returned and also the 20 [pounds], together with a further 60 [pounds] which it was explained was the fine imposed on the thief. A local villager, a spectator to this transaction, became a little vociferous. Two hours later he was dead. Four Arab train robbers have recently been dispatched to Syria by Fawzi Kawukji’s men for execution.”

On March 10, 1948, Mr. Rees-Williams, Deputy to Arthur Creech-Jones in the British Colonial Office, replied to questions in the House of Commons as to whether he was aware (a) that Fawzi Kawukji had established field headquarters in Palestine; (b) whether he was aware that an Arab liberation force had declared martial law in Nablus; and (c) what the government was proposing to do with respect to the incursion of Fawzi Kawukji and his followers. He said:

“The High Commissioner has informed me of a local rumor that Fawzi Kuwajki recently arrived in Palestine and is in the Samaria district. . .

“The developments referred to by my hon. Friend in the Nablus area appear to be measure adopted by the leaders of Arab irregular forces to control their adherents and represent no attempt to replace or curtail the authority of the Mandatory power in this area. The District Commission of the Samaria District continues to reside in Nablus and his headquarters and sub-district officers are functioning normally. Palestinian members of the Police Force continue to perform their normal duties throughout the district under the supervision and control of British police officers. The District Commissioner is in a position to call for the assistance of such military forces as he may require to assert the authority of the civil power. The security forces in Palestine will continue to protect members of either community who may be threatened with attack.”


XII. British Smear Campaign
Shown by Official Records


The smear campaign conducted by the British against the Jews, since the Russian vote for partition in the Fall Assembly, has taken the form of charging Communist infiltration, with Jewish help, into Palestine.

A striking example of this was the charge which the British Foreign Office has allowed to be brought against the Jews in connection with the arrival in Palestine on January 1 of the Pan York and the Pan Crescent, two ships which sailed from Rumania at the end of December carrying unauthorized Jewish immigrants. The British Foreign Office first permitted Mr. Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times to charge that among the 15,000 immigrants were “many Communist agents, according to official British sources.”

The Times story dated London Jan. 31, charged that “one thousand of the 15,000 immigrants spoke Russian, belonged to militant organizations. Some may have been non-Jews and some had documents showing that they had served in the Soviet forces in WW II.”

The Times story said further that “the immigrants on these vessels and the number of others that sailed earlier from the Black Sea were collected and sent toward Palestine with the knowledge, and sometimes with the active connivance, of the Soviet Union and its satellites, according to British officials.”

Later the British Foreign Office said the same thing. When this story first appeared Sir Godfrey Collins, Commissioner for the Jewish immigration camps in Cyprus, said he had no information on the subject. Subsequently, on February 5, the British Foreign Office and Colonial Office queried Sir Godfrey, and a London dispatch to the Times on February 5 stated that Sir Godfrey had denied that he had stated that there were no Communist agents aboard the ships. But a few days later he repeated he had no information on Communist agents.

Actually the top secret report of the British representative Captain Linklater who supervised the disembarkment of the refugees at Cyprus said, [in a preliminary report – marked “preliminary” only because of the size of the disembarkment – dated January 2, 1948]

“If any large guerilla groups of Communists exist among the Russian speakers of this shipment, they are either still on board or else have arrived unarmed and without documentation.”

And Captain Linklater further explained:

“Extremely large numbers of private documents, related to individual points of the journey, were taken from the Jews as they passed through the security screen at the reception camp, thereby showing a high breakdown in Jewish security. In addition to this a number of passengers were willing to discuss details. . . No documents of outstanding importance were found.”

The Pan York, Pan Crescent story is revelatory of the lengths to which the British are prepared to go to smear the Jews. As soon as the boats had left Balkan waters, British officials sent a cable to their Intelligence officers in Palestine stating that the British surmise that Communists are aboard.

As a result, when the boats landed at Cyprus, for the first time in the history of Cyprus, baggage and documents of the refugees aboard the boats were searched.

The flimsy evidence on which the charges against the Jews was based is revealed in the following partial record of Captain Linklater:

[Captain Linklater’s report starts here]

Top Secret

Preliminary Report on the Disembarkation from the Pan Ships, York and Crescent


1. A peculiar disembarkation of some 15,300 Rumanian Jews began at about 1,000 hours on 1 January 48 in Famagusta Harbour when the 2 Panamanian vessels Pan York and Crescent, which had been bound for the shores of Palestine volunteered to discharge their passengers in Cyprus. . .


4. Rather like the previous illegal Jewish ships which sailed under Soviet auspices from a Bulgarian port, the Pan York and Crescent contained a load drawn almost entirely from Rumania and differed at least in this way from other illegal immigrant vessels which usually contain a mixed bag of European Jews. It is also noticeable yet once again that the passengers have apparently been evacuated from Rumania by complete families including aged grandparents and very young children. In many cases these families were split up between the 2 ships.

5. The highest proportion of children in the past year was contained in these ships and the load was almost equally divided between men, women and children, some of whom however may later be counted as adult by the Jewish Agency representatives. The Pan York alone carried 700 children under the age of 5.

6. The passengers were small businessmen, shopkeepers, professional lawyers and doctors, and they carried large quantities of baggage. The Haganah authorities in Rumania had allowed them to carry up to 20 kilos of baggage each, but there was no form of weight control and this allowance was frequently exceeded. They were well dressed. Only very few turned up in rags and empty-handed. Most of them were small, rather fat and complacent. They nearly all spoke Rumanian, Yiddish and French and German. Those who did not speak Rumanian, spoke Russian and claimed to come from Bessarabia. Owing to the speed at which the operation had to be conducted, it was not possible to make a detailed examination of the Russian speakers. It was noticed however that they were not physically of a characteristically Russian-type . . . .


25. An analysis of documents carried and political parties on board will be produced in the final report by 299FS Sec after scrutiny of documents held by them. . . .

Conditions in Rumania

29. Most of the passengers on the Pan Ships were agreed that there were still a large number of Rumanian Jews who wanted to leave the country for Palestine. In several cases they explained that these Jews would be awaiting the increased legal immigration quota which they hoped for as a result of partition. They thought therefore that there would not be any more large illegal shipments at least for the next month and they believed that their Communist Government will grant them exit visas to correspond with their certificates after May.


30. The following conclusions may be drawn from the above evidence:

a) That if any large guerilla groups of Communists exist among the Russian speakers of this shipment, they are either still on board or else have arrived unarmed and without documents.

b) That the movements, planning and administration of the final evacuation from Burgas at short notice was well and thoroughly carried out.

c) That the Moscow controlled Communist Government of Rumania intended at all costs to evacuate this shipment of Jews and came to an agreement with Bulgaria to use a Bulgarian Port for this purpose after the delay at Constanza due, probably, to British representations. The abdication of King Michael at this juncture may well be NOT coincidental.

Famagusta, Cyprus


2 January 1948

[Captain Linklater’s report ends here]

Actually, only five young men were taken off the boat by British Intelligence agents. All the remainder of the passengers were taken directly to the camps where no subsequent searches or interrogations took place. The five young men were interrogated by a member of the Palestine Criminal Investigation Department who had been sent to Cyprus in order to conduct the investigation. He told them outright that he was concerned only with information about Soviet activities in Bulgaria and Rumania, with particular reference to Soviet ship movements in the Black Sea and Soviet troop movements in Rumania and Bulgaria. When the questions failed to elicit any information the five immigrants were slapped and kicked and finally returned blindfolded from the interrogation center to the camp under escort. There were no further interrogations of passengers.


XIII. British Dissipate
Palestine’s Assets


On December 11, 1947, Arthur Creech-Jones told the House of Commons:

“. . .We certainly did not wish to leave Palestine in disorder after the tremendous and costly contribution Britain has made in developing Palestine and discharging our responsibilities under the Mandate. . . .I can assure the House that we shall wind up our affairs in Palestine in a fair and reasonable manner and, I hope, with little suspicion and ill feeling about the arrangements we make.”

This is a promise honored only in the breach.

The refusal of the Mandatory power to permit the Palestine Commission to reach the country until May 1st, two weeks before the scheduled termination of the mandate, was predicted on the intention, as the facts substantiate, to dismember the Palestine administration so as to have little or nothing to turn over to the Palestine Commission, and to take such action as would safeguard British interests after the end of the mandate.

Today, virtually all departments in the Palestine government have ceased to function. The exceptions are those like the Palestine Broadcasting Service, the Attorney General’s office and the Chief Secretariat, which serve the British primarily.

Railway and Port Services Collapsing

1. Typical examples of collapsing public services are the railways and the port services, so that it appears unlikely that after May 1 any operating system will exist. Yet this did not come as a sudden development. Actually the Chief Secretary had received a number of warnings concerning such an eventuality as early as December 17, 1947 from the manager of the railways, Mr. A. F. Kirby.

On that date Mr. Kirby wrote to Sir Henry Gurney as follows:

“If there is to be no satisfactory transfer of function through the U.N., I consider that a collapse of the services is likely to come about some time before the termination of the mandate.”

In the same letter, he expressed his anxiety concerning the disposition of the property of the railroads:

“If there is to be no handing over, what will be done with all the rolling stock on various parts of the system, who will take over the stations, buildings, valuable work shops, the permanent way, etc.; how will rolling stock on foreign railways be accounted for; what will happen to goods in transit, etc., etc. . . .There must obviously be some process of handing over – and an orderly handing over would take several weeks. . . .

“The railways outside the Haifa enclave cannot well be operated separately, in that the main locomotive running shed, workshops, and operational and maintenance headquarters are in Haifa. Withdrawal into the enclave and the operation of the railway therein only for military evacuation purposes would entail the most effective frustration possible to a succeeding authority. This course would also cut off the supplies of bulk oil and other essential supplies which are now distributed by rail to the main centers of population. The closing down of the main workshops and other activities of the railway following the termination of the mandate would probably mean that the railway would not be able to operate again for a prolonged period.”

Three days later, on December 20, 1947, Mr. Kirby again wrote to the Chief Secretary, this time about the port situation, declaring:

“There is nothing that this administration or the Director of Customs can do to ease the situation there. Pressure of financial interests is the only possibility of being effective in solving the present situation at Haifa port.”

Willing to Isolate the Jews

The Mandatory was willing to allow this breakdown on the assumption that Jewish need for supplies would force the Jews to keep roads open for themselves as well as the British. If the Jews failed, they could starve and for military purposes the British could make other arrangements. This was clearly indicated last November 27, two days before the General Assembly passed its partition resolution, in instructions issued by the Chief Secretary of Palestine to military commanders and heads of government departments. In his directive of that date, he stated:

“(a) Activism in Jewish areas is likely to be negligible. Jews cannot afford to close roads for supplies upon which they depend as their areas are not self-supporting. They will therefore do all they can to keep the roads open. Should, however, the situation develop adversely and supplies through Jewish areas not be possible, the following roads will be followed: Gaza-Haifa, Jerusalem-Haifa.

“(b) More serious will be Arab troubles, which may assume large proportions and likely constitute a serious threat, specially in the hilly country. Arab villages and towns are self-supporting and the populace can forego a great deal – Jews cannot – and can therefore hamper seriously without much harm to themselves. Serious troubles may not come about until the end of the citrus season.

“Military authorities will decide in concertation with government from time and time as to the methods which should be adopted to safeguard military supplies.”

Government Disposes of its Property

2. As early as April 1 the Land Settlement Department closed down its offices. This was done after the head of the department, R. F. Jardine, sold out the lands in the state domain to private persons, mostly Arabs. Parcels of land in the Haifa Harbor Estate were sold by him. All plans and documents relating to irrigation projects in Palestine were shipped by him to the United Kingdom. Water installations were handed over to the Arab town and village councils. Having closed his offices he secured release from his post and has now been named by the Iraqi government as its irrigation expert.

No Possibility of Handing Over Land Registry to U.N. Commission

3. The land registers have been distributed by the Palestine government among several centers while microfilms of these registers have been shipped to England. The effect of this is to create chaos in the event of any disputes arising on land questions.

This has been done despite the fact that on January 5, 1948, the Solicitor General of Palestine, M. J. P. Hogan, wrote to the Chief Secretary:

“Under the law at present, any disposition of land, which has not yet received the consent of the Director of Land Registration and is not perfected by the registration of a deed, is void. This means that if the land registries are closed, no valid disposition of land can be made.

“I understand that the Director of Land Registration has suggested that the land registries should be closed at least two weeks before the termination of the mandate, and, should the end of the mandate be followed by an interregnum in the whole or any part of Palestine, it will not be possible there to make any valid disposition of land during that time.”

Disruption of Postal Services

4. The disruption of the postal service has ensued as a result of instructions to create a vacuum. This is confirmed by Mr. Eric Mills, Commissioner of Withdrawals, who wrote:

“The Postmaster General is proceeding in circumstances of great difficulty with his plans for withdrawal, but his recommendations on important point[s]. . .have been made on the assumption of a vacuum.”

On December 3, 1947 Mr. Mills in a circular to heads of departments and district commissioners declared:

“You will observe that the information called for. . .makes no distinction between withdrawal leaving a vacuum or handing over to a UNO Commission. The reason for this lack of differentiation is that in either case a certain amount of derangement must be expected. . . .”

Artificial Deficit Produced

5. The Palestine Commission has charged the British government with deliberately inducing a deficit where a surplus existed and thus creating ensuing financial and economic difficulties. Four specific charges in this connection are made by the Commission in its reports submitted both to the Security Council and to the General Assembly.

It is stated that the deficit was created by the Mandatory power by charging against its funds what the Commission called “certain extraordinary items,” such as the maintenance of Jewish illegal immigration camps, and the payment of pensions to British civil servants. The commission objected to both these charges.

As a further means of creating a deficit the British paid out 300,000 pounds recently to the Supreme Moslem Council, knowing full well that the treasury of this organization represents the war chest of the Mufti.

The lack of a working fund, moreover, according to the Commission, has been created by the action of the Mandatory power on March 20, 1948 in freezing an unspent balance of 3,000,000 pounds remaining from three issues of bonds made in Palestine since 1947. This balance was invested in British securities, pending a general financial settlement, and the Mandatory power had decided not to make any disbursements from this total prior to the termination of the mandate. These transactions were brought to the notice of the Commission only after they had been arranged.

Discussing the disappearing surplus, the Commission charged on April 10, that “the disappearance of the existing treasury surplus is almost entirely due to special and extraordinary claims,” which the Commission feels “should not have precedence over securing essential food supplies and the provision of essential working funds.”

The Commission also expresses fears concerning the control of the Haifa dock by the mandatory power, pointing out that “the ordinary revenue of Palestine after May 15 will depend in a high degree on customs duties on imports. These imports will come in mainly through the port of Haifa. Hence the fiscal position. . .will depend partly on the manner in which the control of the Haifa dock will be shared with evacuating troops between May 15 and August 1.”

As a consequence of these acts, Palestine was in danger of suffering a famine as a result of food shortages, which would be created by the termination of the mandate. Although the Palestine Commission had been discussing this problem for months, and had even sent a special representative to London to take this matter up with the mandatory government, no agreement was reached. The excuse of the British government was that it could not undertake to make commitments for food after May 15 as it had no funds with which to do so. Moreover, it refused to advance the money to the Palestine Commission even on the promise that the United Kingdom would be reimbursed from the future revenue of Palestine.

On April 19 a private arrangement was agreed to by the importing firm of Steel Brothers in Palestine. The arrangement is with Steel Brothers, the Jewish Agency, and certain Arab Chambers of Commerce, and involves a transaction of about $5,200,000.

Under this arrangement Steel Brothers will guarantee to bring into Palestine until July 15 normal food supplies in the amount of some 30,850 tons. Steel Brothers will advance 80% of the cost of wheat, meat, and sugar to be imported. The Jewish Agency will pay for 20% of the food going to the Jews, and the Arab Chambers of Commerce, 20% for food going to Arabs. The food will be imported and delivered to the warehouses of Steel Brothers in Haifa. Distribution to the Arab and Jewish groups is left to the two communities.

Palestine Excluded from Sterling Area

6. The Palestine Commission also charged financial complication resulting from the action taken by the Mandatory power of February 22, 1948, without consultation or even information to the Commission, blocking the accumulated Palestine sterling balances held in London and excluding Palestine from the sterling area.

The Commission describes the effect of this act as creating uncertainty among Palestine importers, and says that it regards that the release of the sterling balances in particular is essential; otherwise, “sterling may become a scarce currency of Palestine, and imports from the sterling area may be difficult to obtain.”


XIV. The Breakdown
of Central Authority


A continuous transfer of authority to municipal corporations and local councils by the Palestine administration has been going on based, not on a desire to prevent chaos, but rather to destroy central authority, to undermine partition, and to pave the way toward a revival of a scheme for a federal Palestine, which is the real British desire.

Preparations for this transfer were made as far back as February 14, 1948 by Sir Henry Guerney, the Chief Secretary. In a communication on that date to heads of departments and district commissioners throughout Palestine, he proposed:

“I am directed to refer to the preliminary advice which has been given to you by the Commissioner on Special Duty to the effect that it is hoped that various government activities, buildings, stores, etc., will be transferred as it were in trust to local authorities until a new central authority makes other arrangements.

“Action in this direction has been taken in certain matters such as water supplies where experience is advisable and central government staff is still available to give advice and assistance. I am now to require you to communicate to the District Commissioner of the District concerned full information regarding all other activities, buildings and stores which you consider might be similarly placed with local authorities if the U.N. Commission in Palestine prove not to have the necessary powers and staff to perform all the functions of the Palestine Government.

“I am also directed to say that a decision whether each such activity or property will finally be handed over to a local authority will depend on consultation with the U.N. Commission; but, unless the necessary preparatory work is done on this provisional basis, there will be not enough time later to make definite arrangements under the general assumption which governs this direction.”

In February, 1948 a special law, to amend the Municipal Corporation Ordinance of 1937, was enacted empowering municipal corporations and local councils to collect property taxes due up to April 1, 1948, and thereafter, for the fiscal year 1948 – 1949.

The purposes of this new law were explained by the Attorney General in the following terms:

“It is anticipated that during the year 1948 – 49, the councils of municipal corporations and local councils will have to carry out many of the functions which would normally be carried out by Government, and consequently they will need additional sources of revenue. On the other hand, they may not be able to obtain from the Government the grants-in-aid which they have received in the past.

“Government has therefore decided to enable such councils to collect and recover arrears of urban property tax remaining due on the first day of April 1948, and urban property tax due in respect of the year 1948 – 1949, and this draft Ordinance is designed to give effect to that decision.

“Arrangements will be made for the handing over to such councils of the records relating to the house property and land in respect of which they will be entitled to collect and cover urban property tax, and such councils will be empowered to do such acts as may be necessary to ensure that those records will be kept up to date.

“Furthermore, in order that it will not be necessary to prepare during the year 1948 – 1949 valuation lists to replace those valuation lists which on the first day of April 1949 will have been in force for five years, the period of validity of valuation lists has been extended from five to six years.”

Anticipated No Successor Government

The draft law, it was explained in a communication by Mr. L. B. Gibson, Attorney General of Palestine, to Sir Henry Gurney, was in anticipation of the possibility of no successor government being named. He declared:

“My view is that it is not for this Government to legislate for things after the termination of the Mandate – at least if there is some other Government which enjoys legislative authority after that date. We should, however, make available our draft to the Commission, and there would be advantages in publishing it as part of the Bill so that any public comment would be available for the benefit of the Commission. We should, no doubt, inform the Commission that, although we had published the Bill in its entirety, we did not intend in fact to enact the Second Schedule ourselves, but there is a further question of whether we should tell the public the same thing when publishing the Bill for public information. On the whole I think it is unnecessary to do so, because in the event of there being no successor Government, we might enact the Second Schedule before we leave, but we do not want to discuss such possibilities in public notices.”

Arabs, Chief Beneficiaries of Transfers

As a result of this special legislation the three regions heavily populated by Jews, have been placed under Jewish control. All the remaining regions have been left to the Arabs. The exception are Jerusalem, Haifa, the valley of Ezdraelon, and Eastern Galilee.

Ceded to the Arabs were such important installations as the water plants at Ras-el-Ain and Safed.

In addition, the Arabs have received most of the government services including Health, Education, Social Welfare, Agriculture and Broadcasting Departments – services which are paid for by the taxes imposed on the population to which the Arabs, constituting two-thirds off the population of Palestine, contribute 26%, and the Jews, 74%.

In dividing the assets of the country the British allocated for themselves the Haifa enclave with all its services and installations.


XV. How the British Safeguard
their Interests in Palestine


While liquidating the mandate, the British have concentrated on safeguarding in perpetuity the British hold in Palestine in key areas, including Haifa and the Negev, and to insure uninterrupted lines of communication by air, sea and land.

New Laws to Assure British Airfields in Palestine

1. Thus on March 2, 1948 the Attorney General of Palestine drafted a law, the purpose of which is to establish the legal basis for transferring airfields or other lands now held in the name of the High Commissioner, to various British Ministries for War, Air, or to the President of the Air Council in London. In particular the new legislation aims to assure continued British control of the R.A.F stations in Aqir, Ramle, Gaza, as well as certain property in Jerusalem.

Preparations for this action began in October 1947 while the General Assembly for the United Nations was in session.

On October 19, 1947, in a secret dispatch cabled to the Air Ministry in London from Air Headquarters Levant, the Air Ministry was informed that, in view of the political situation, legal difficulties might arise with respect to the property bought by the Air Ministry in Palestine, held in the name of the High Commissioner, in trust for the R.A.F. In subsequent cables, in view of the pending liquidation of the Palestine government, warning was given that the British government might lose control of these assets, and that action was necessary. This is explained in the following exchange of cables:

From Air Headquarter Levant
To Air Ministry

“OX 303. Oct. 19. Secret. Subject – Registration of Properties acquired in Palestine on behalf of R.A.F. One. All property bought by Air Ministry in Palestine held in name of High Commissioner in trust for R.A.F. leases held name of High Commissioner in trust for R.A.F. held similar manner. Two. In view of political situation of entries in Land Registers appear to be open to objection from legal point of view. Three. Palestine Government request decision made into whose name this property and leases should be vested. Four. Request you advise.”


From Air Ministry London

“F. 7283/4 Nov. unclassified
Reference Levant Signal 0.303 October repeated to you on subject registration of properties acquired in Palestine on behalf R.A.F. Colonial Office had no knowledge of this question and we find it difficult to know precisely what is the tenor and purpose of Palestine Government’s suggestion. Request you investigate and advise us in greater detail what are Government’s proposals and why they are put forward. We are quite ready to consider them.”


From A.H.Q. Levant
To Air Ministry

“0.63 Nov 12. Secret. Your F.7283 Nov 4 and my 0.303 Oct 17. Subject – Registration of properties acquired Palestine on behalf R.A.F. One. On acquisition it has been customary to enter this property in the Land Registry in the name of the High Commissioner in trust for the President of the Air Council or in some cases the Secretary of State for Air. The position of trust in Palestine law is obscure and this form of registration may be open to objection on that account alone. In addition registration in name of High Commissioner might give rise to difficulties particularly when Government of Palestine is transferred from High Commissioner to Palestinian or to a U.N.O. authority and it seems desirable that the land should be registered directly in the name of whatever authority the Air Force considers most appropriate either the President or the Air Council, the Air Council or the Secretary of State for Air. Two. Legal advice is that if properties remain in name of High Commissioner there is risk that we may lose all chance of realizing value or of retaining control of these assets. Three. Main properties concerned are R.A.F. stations Aqir, Ramle, Gaza and certain property in Jerusalem.”

As the result of this exchange a draft law was prepared by the Attorney General transferring the land now registered in the name of High Commissioner to the British Secretary of State for War, the British Secretary of State for Air, or the President of the Air Council in London.

In submitting a draft of this proposed law to the Chief Secretary of Palestine the Attorney General stated:

“It is probable that when all parties concerned have approved the substance of the Bill, we shall convert it into an Order under the Palestine Order in Council, 1948. But I think that the first step is to get the earliest possible consideration by the parties concerned.”

The Transfer of the Hejaz Railway

2. Early in 1948 the Hejaz Railway linking Palestine, Transjordan, and Syria was transferred by the Palestine Government to the Government of Transjordan. The explanation given was that actually the British Government was the Mandatory power, initially for Transjordan as well as Palestine, and therefore was trustee for Transjordan.

Transfer of the El Kantara-Rafa line to the Egyptian State Railways

3. On April 1, 1948 the El Kantara-Rafa Railway Line was turned over to the Egyptian State Railways by the Palestine Government. The Egyptian Railways System is partially controlled by British capital. Moreover, the El Kantara-Rafa Line links with Rafa in the Southern Negev, now being transformed into a military base by the British.

By disposing of the El Kantara-Rafa Railway and the Hejaz Railway, the British government has attempted to seal off Jewish Palestine from access to the outside world.

The El Kantara-Rafa Railway is the principal Palestine railway connection to the outside world and consists of three sections: (1) The El Kantara-Rafa line which starts at El Kantara in the Suez Canal, continues across the Sinai Peninsula into Rafa, Palestine; (2) The Rafa-Lydda link to Jerusalem; (3) The Rafa-Haifa connection.

The Kantara-Rafa line, built by the British during World War I, was owned by the British government, with 12% share of the capital held by the Palestine government. Until its transfer it had been operated by the Palestine Railways in behalf of the British government. All profits have gone to the British government with the exception of 12%, the proportion to the Palestine government. The Rafa-Haifa line was sold to the government of Palestine after the establishment of the Mandate.

In disposing of the El Kantara-Rafa line to the Egyptian Railways, which British capital also owns, the British have assured themselves a continuous railway connection from the port of Haifa to Egypt where their soldiers are still stationed. They have also assured a railway link between their new military encampment at Rafa and their military encampment in Egypt. At the same time, by placing this railway link in the hands of the Arabs, they have placed the railway access of the Jewish community to the outside world at the mercy of the Arabs.

The Hejaz Railway, built by the Turks, has been under British control, although its ownership remains in dispute. In a survey of Palestine submitted to the Anglo-American Committee of inquiry by the Palestine administration, it is stated that the Hejaz Railway “is operated by Palestine Railways in behalf of His Majesty’s Government who hold it in trust.”

The Hejaz Railway runs from Damascus, Syria to Ma-an, Transjordan, from Ma-an to Haifa in Palestine. Two branch lines from Haifa run from Haifa to Acre and from Haifa to Zamakh in Palestine, which is just south of Lake Tiberias.

The effect of the transaction is to assure British rail connections from Haifa to Transjordan and uninterrupted military links between the military enclave in Haifa and the British military base in Transjordan, which continues to exist under the new British military Treaty with Transjordan.

British Establish Negev Foothold

4. A main military base has been established by the British at Rafa at the Southern border of Palestine.

To insure undivided control, the British authorities, three days after the passage of the partition resolution by the United Nations General Assembly, which gave the Negev to the Jewish State, invited the Jews to evacuate the area. The ostensible reason was the inability of the British to protect the Jews against Arab aggression. The real reason was the desire of the British to hold the whole of the Negev as a base for themselves.

Ask Jews to Leave Base Area

On December 2, 1947 the British Assistant District Commissioner for the Gaza District, W. F. M. Clemens, informed the representative of the Jewish settlements in the South, that he could not see how Jews could be protected against Arab attack. He suggested the Jewish settlement south of Gaza-Beersheba be transferred to the north of this road.

Two days later, on December 4, the Jewish representative was summoned by Brigadier Nelson, the Commanding Officer of Camp Julius, who reiterated the request for evacuation, again on the score that the Jews could not hold out against Arab attack even for a few minutes. The offer was declined.

Thus far the Jews have retained every settlement in the Negev, as elsewhere throughout Palestine.

British Government Grants New Concession to the Iraq Petroleum Company

5. In March, 1948 the British government granted a new concession to the Iraq Petroleum Company in the form of a right to build a second pipe line terminating at Haifa.

The Iraq Petroleum Company holds the exclusive concession to the oil fields of Iraq, Quatar, the Trucial Coast, Muscat, Oman.

A 23¾ % interest in the Iraq Petroleum is held by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, in which the British government owns 50% of the shares. Royal Dutch Shell, closely allied with British interests, holds a similar percentage. The French interests own 23¾ %, and American interests, (Socony Vacuum and Standard Oil of New Jersey) 25%. Five percent is owned by Participations and Investments, Ltd.

The excuse offered for the granting of this concession four months after the United Nations decision, without consultation with the United Nations or the Palestine Commission, is that it represented the conclusion of discussions entered into in March of 1947.

(C) The Nation, 1948 * This text is reprinted for educational purposes only

To read a pdf file of the memorandum, scanned from the original, please go to


‘Spawn of Israel’: Erdogan’s anti-Semitic obsessions

By Günther Jikeli and Kemal Silay

Catastrophes provide governments with an opportunity to present themselves as true leaders during a crisis. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan missed this opportunity in handling Soma’s coalmine disaster that led to more than 300 deaths. He downplayed the tragedy and insulted protesters, victims, and their families. And now a pro-Erdogan Islamist newspaper has
directly accused the Jewish-controlled media and Israel of responsibility for the tragedy.
One of his insults (“Why are you running away, spawn of Israel?”) against his fellow countrymen was a clear anti-Semitic slur.
This was not a coincidental but rather symptomatic of Erdogan’s views. Instead of tackling the problems, Jews or Israel are blamed. Despite some lip-service to international audiences the Erdoğan government not only tolerates but actively endorses anti-Semitism. A closer look shows that the anti-Semitic incidents of recent years are deeply rooted in the current AKP government and Erdoğan’s personality; they also have increasing resonance in the wider Turkish society.
Openly anti-Semitic hate propaganda is frequently published in the Turkish media, most prominently by the Islamist newspapers Yeni Akit and Millî Gazete. Journalists of both papers are part of Erdoğan’s regular journalistic entourage.
Instead of condemning their Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred of Jews, the Turkish PM has become known for his own anti-Semitism. Instead of fighting corruption, the Erdoğan government disseminates conspiracy theories and hatred against minorities.
In 2013, he ‘won’ second place on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of the year’s top ten anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist slurs (Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khameini took first place). Following mass protests in cities around the country in June 2013, Turkey’s financial markets were turbulent, and Erdoğan laid the blame on the “interest rate lobby”; his deputy, Beşir Atalay, specified:
“There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, and on one side is the Jewish Diaspora. You
saw the foreign media’s attitude during the Gezi Park incidents; they bought it and started broadcasting immediately.” These verbal attacks were followed by unprecedented demands against Istanbul traders to hand over all e-mail traffic with foreigners.
The obsession with Jews obscures his foreign policy. Partners and enemies are chosen for ideological reasons instead of national interests. His close ties to Gaddafi were founded partly on their common hatred of Israel. Erdoğan received Gaddafi’s Human Rights Awards of 2010 after deliberately provoking a crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations. When Muslim
Brotherhood’s Morsi was ousted, Erdoğan told party members: “Israel is behind the coup in Egypt, we have evidence.” What evidence did he have? A televised panel from 2011 in France with a “French Jewish intellectual” (later identified as Bernard-Henri Levy) who opined that even if the Brotherhood won at the ballot box, he would not personally regard this as democratic. In the mind of an anti-Semite the case is clear: In Erdogan’s words: “Who is behind this? Israel.“ In 2009, Erdoğan had insulted President Shimon Peres at Davos with a modernized blood libel, accusing Israelis of deliberately killing Palestinian children.
His bias translated into action in 2010 when he agreed to the departure of the Mavi Marmara vessel to breach the military blockade of Gaza, part of a flotilla run by the Islamist NGO IHH that has links to Hamas and to the Turkish government.
Apparently not entirely satisfied with media reports on the incident he added insult to injury: “When the word ‘media’ is pronounced, Israel and Israel’s administration comes to mind. They have the ability to manipulate it as they wish.” He subsequently made clear that he believes that not only the international press is run by Israel but also Turkish newspapers.
Erdogan’s “criticism” of Israel is, in fact, demonization. He accuses Israel of what British philosopher Bernard Harrison terms “utterly exceptional crimes” – that is, hyperbolized criticism of Israel whose exaggerated content does not reflect reality and is fed by anti-Semitism. In a CNN interview in 2011 he said: “We know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed” and accused “the Israeli people” of genocide.
Erdoğan initially had some success among his Islamist followers in Turkey and abroad by presenting himself as a strongman against Jews and Israel. His foreign policy, however, has been a disaster: Most of his former allies are either ousted or now enemies (such as Syria’s Assad). In Turkey, he remains still popular, although opposition is growing.
Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is generated and fostered by three factors. Firstly, anti-Semitism is part and parcel of Turkish Islamist ideology, which found political expression in the parties founded from the late 1960s onwards by Necmettin Erbakan – a fierce anti-Semite. Prominent anti-Semitic themes among Turkish Islamists are conspiracy theories about:
a) “Dönmes”, i.e. crypto-Jews and descendants of followers of Sabbatai Zevi, a 17th century Jewish kabbalist who claimed to be the Messiah and was then forced to convert to Islam;
b) the abolishment of the caliphate and the creation of modern Turkey as a Jewish plot; and
c) anti-Zionism and conspiracy theories about Israel.
Whereas Erbakan’s assessment that the European Union was a Zionist ploy has been forgotten, accusations that Israel has expansionist intentions – including Turkish soil – have gained popularity. On the basis of a Biblical verse it is claimed that Israel wants to expand from the Euphrates to Nile and thus supports the PKK terrorist organization. Conspiracy theories about the “Israel lobby” instigating an alleged coup against the Islamist government and conspiring for the “Ergenokon complot” are also disseminated.
Secondly, anti-Semitism is widespread in Turkey and opposition is low. According to the recent Anti-Defamation League survey, 69 percent of the population harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. This corresponds to a survey from 2008 when 68 percent had a “very unfavorable opinion of Jews,” up from 59 percent in 2006. Anti-Semitic books such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (published in Turkish 114 times between 1946 and 2012, mostly by Islamists) and Mein Kampf (that sold more than 100,000 copies within two months in 2005) are popular and easily available. Anti-Semitic movies and TV series such as the Valley of the Wolves and Ayrilik are endorsed by state media.

Israel and the Conservative Movement in America

A brief history

by ,
March 10, 2014

Editorial note: The following is the text of a talk given at the National Summit to Reassess the US-Israel “Special Relationship” held in Washington, D.C., on March 7.

As is the case in so many other ways, the conservative movement’s
position on the state of Israel isn’t what it used to be. Just as what
we call the Old Right,
the pre-[William F.] Buckley right was anti-interventionist and good on
civil liberties, so the conservatives of the 1940s and 1950s were
hostile to Israel. A good example of this is a letter from the
neoconservative guru Leo Strauss to the editors of National Review: he was objecting to an article in the November 17, 1956 issue of the magazine that contained the following sentence:

“Even the Jews, themselves the victims of the most notorious
racial discrimination of modern times, did not hesitate to create the
first racist state in modern history.” 

It is unimaginable that such a sentence would ever find its way into the National Review
of Rich Lowry, because he represents a movement that has been
thoroughly co-opted and corrupted by, first, the cold war, and secondly
our endless “war on terrorism.”

The conservative movement of the 1940s and 50s openly challenged the entire
conception of the Jewish state: this argument was made in several books published
by the pioneering conservative book publisher, Henry Regnery, who issued a whole
series of books reporting on the dispossession of the Palestinian people and
calling into question the whole Zionist project. Nejla Izzeddin’s The
Arab World
 (1953), is noted by the Kirkus Service as follows:

“The writer is also, if perhaps naturally, violently against the
creation of the state of Israel which she feels was prompted more by
international power politics than by humanitarian principles and
represents an American and British threat to the Arab world.”

Regnery also put out Freda Utley’s Will
the Middle East Go West?
which expressed a viewpoint just as fresh
today as it was back in 1957: “Freedom and justice for Israel,” she
wrote, “depend on freedom and justice for the Arabs.”

That same year Regnery even put out a book of photographs depicting life in
Palestinian refugee camps, entitled They
Are Human Too
, as well as a novel about Palestinian refugees. And then
there was What
Price Israel?
, by Alfred M. Lilienthal, which made what was back then
the mainstream Jewish argument against the idea of a specifically Jewish state.

On the other hand, we see the same reversal on the left, albeit in
the opposite direction. In the beginning, in 1948, the left was very
much pro-Israel. Henry Wallace made support for Israel a major issue in
his presidential campaign that year as the candidate of the leftist
Progressive party, which had the fulsome backing of the American
Communist Party.

The Soviet Union was initially sympathetic to the Israelis, with
Andrei Gromyko arguing at the UN in favor of the creation of a Jewish
state in Palestine. And this wasn’t just talk: the Soviet bloc provided
the arms that made the establishment of Israel possible. Indeed, the
Czech Communist government was single-handedly responsible for arming
the Haganah, and the Irgun. Soviet propagandists even commented
approvingly on the Stern Gang when they blew up the King David Hotel.
What’s more, 200,000 emigrants from socialist countries in Eastern
Europe and the Soviet Union came to Israel to fight the British in the
war for independence. A US arms embargo prevented all but a trickle of
aid from reaching the Israelis.

Harry Truman was not inclined to support Israel, but was persuaded by
the challenge coming from Wallace and the left to recognize its
existence. Yet the Soviets were the first to recognize Israel as a
specifically Jewish state: in the original copy of Truman’s declaration,
the word “Palestine” is still used and the phrase “Jewish state” is
crossed out.

What happened to change things into their exact opposite?

What happened was the cold war. When the arms embargo favoring the
Arabs was repealed by the US, the Israelis began to warm toward the
West. Although the Soviets had allowed Jews to emigrate to Israel, the
huge numbers of applicants from the Soviet Union itself made them
nervous: after all, who would want to leave their workers paradise? When
the Korean war broke out and the Israelis sided with the UN, the
Soviets dropped their support for Israel, started selling arms to Egypt
and Syria, and initiated a series of show trials targeting Jews in the
Soviet bloc: the infamous “Doctor’s Plot” and the Slansky trials in Czechslovakia

On the right, the big turnaround was also due to the cold war. The
shift can be seen as a tribal reaction to the left’s growing
anti-Zionism. It was also due to the incursion of a number of former leftists who gathered around National Review
magazine and later became known as the neoconservatives. The neocons,
as we affectionately call them, are partisans of Israel who have often
been accused – sometimes unfairly – of putting Israel’s interests over
and above American interests. The truth is that they see no dividing
line: as long as Israel’s interests are served, they believe, so are
America’s. This has become an increasingly hard position to defend since
the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent efforts by the US government to minimize the influence of Islamist radicals.

Another factor in the turnaround of the American right on the Israel
question has been the growth of the evangelical “born again” movement as
a force to be reckoned with among conservatives. Here is where theology
impacts politics – and this in turn has a direct effect on US foreign

The doctrine of premillennial dispensationalism,
which holds that the coming together of the Jews in Israel marks the
beginning of the end of days, has exerted a powerful attraction to
millions of evangelicals. Dispensationalists hold that the promises made
to Abraham and to the Jewish people have been held in abeyance but will
be fulfilled when the so-called “time of tribulation” comes to pass –
an era of wars and turmoil that will prefigure the end of history and
the return of Christ to earth. What this means, among other things, is
that the borders of the land supposedly given to Abraham and his
descendants – the Jewish people – will extend from the Nile to the
Euphrates. In the dispensationalist theology, Christ will return to a
Jewish kingdom, the epicenter of which will be a rebuilt Temple in

According to the theology, the “time of tribulation” is imminent: the rapture, the rebuilding of the Temple,
and the coming of the Antichrist will all signal the end of days – and
the final battle between good and evil on the plain of Armageddon. Many
dispensationalists explicitly state that this will be a nuclear war – another Holocaust, in which Israel and all mankind will perish, with only the pure of heart ascending to Heaven.

The single largest – and, arguably, the most effective – component of
the Israel lobby consists of a highly organized and very resourceful
Christian dispensationalist element. They have their own lobbying
organizations such as Christian United for Israel (CUFI), which is run by the Rev. John Hagee
and is very active. They are particularly active in the Republican
party and pose a mighty obstacle to any politician who seeks to restore
balance to American foreign policy in the Middle East.

There is hope, however: there is a resurgence of foreign policy
realism in the GOP and in the conservative movement generally: this is a
response to the general war weariness. Opposition to US intervention
overseas, embraced as a principled position by the increasingly
influential libertarian wing of the party, will tend to distance the
Republicans from a pro-Israel lobby that is perpetually trying to draw us into Israel’s wars.

For those of us who want to change American foreign policy and steer it in
a less interventionist direction, the road ahead is going to be hard, long,
and filled with many obstacles, not the least of which is the tremendous motivation
the pro-Israel lobby possesses in all its aspects. Yet the costs of maintaining
this “special relationship” have long since outweighed the gains,
and America is slowly but surely waking up to this fact. Let us hope this event
is going to be a milestone in that awakening.

source: 3/10/14