Taking stock – Gaza and Ukraine

9 Nov

I’ll be in London on Saturday, inshallah, for a pro Palestinian demo which PM Rishi Sunak, Home Secretary Suella Braverman – who calls it a “hate march” – and other senior members of the UK government wanted Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley to ban. Sunak professed on Monday his concerns for public safety but followed with a second reason sure to alarm civil rights defenders regardless of their views on this issue …

Rowley says he can keep the public safe. We’ve asked how. I’ll be meeting him to discuss this. My view is that these marches are disrespectful.

That ‘disrespectful’  refers to the event coinciding with Armistice Day. Of which I said this in the run up to its 2021 commemoration:

… the bombs will continue to rain on impoverished, brown-skinned men, women and children in Yemen. Each bomb will chalk up a profit for those with shares in Britain’s high-tech and highly lucrative death sectors.

… in the South China Sea, those on the warships of Australia, Britain, Canada and the USA will stand in sombre silence as the pieties are intoned. Then they’ll go back to patrolling the Taiwan Strait in the name of Standing Up To Beijing Bullying.

(If you don’t deem that provocative, imagine Chinese and Russian warships doing similar in the Gulf of Mexico.)

Hypocrisy is mandatory for high office. More disturbing is the attempt to pressure a top cop into banning a march on the ground that the PM deems it disrespectful.

Counterproductive too. What the PM didn’t factor into his calcs is that such crude strong-arming would only stiffen the resolve of steel city scribe to be in London Town on Saturday.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it,  Rish!


While I’m still gathering my thoughts for part 2 of A way forward for Palestine, here are some of the texts I’ve been consulting. Too numerous for single session consumption, I offer them in a ‘something for the weekend’ kind of way.

First Scott Ritter, who lays out, in the course of a blistering but focused 42 minute gallop to the inevitability of a two state solution he says Israel will be powerless to stop, just how serious a defeat the latter sustained on October 7. Not just militarily, though that’s huge. With the Arab world, Iran and Turkey united as never before, an inexperienced conscript force sent like lambs to the slaughter by politicians and generals discredited on October 7 would fight on demolished urban terrain overwhelmingly favourable to any defender, let alone one as battle-hardened as Hamas. That’s before we consider the prospect of a second front should Hezbollah, against its leaders’ will, be drawn in. In sum, this former US Marine Intelligence Officer says talk of a full-on ground invasion of Gaza is as divorced from reality as it is monstrous. But if all out assault is a non starter, so is any return to the business as usual Containment Of The Palestine Problem in the open air concentration camp which is Gaza, and a balkanised West Bank …

… far less the criminally insane project of a Greater Israel, its Deeds of Entitlement the books of Genesis through to Deuteronomy.

Hence, says Scott, the inevitability of a Palestinian state Tel Aviv pays lip service to while doing all in its power to keep on permanent ice. I’m not sure I share his conviction on everything he says. Such as that, long or even medium term, the US will be pivotal to Israel’s bowing to what I agree (Armageddon aside) is the inevitable. Has he noted the shambolic performance of Team Biden? He doesn’t go into that, ditto the hit to US prestige in Middle East and Ukraine. Perhaps he is looking further ahead, to a Trump Administration in waiting.

Or perhaps no American, even one as radicalised as this gamekeeper turned poacher, can fully let go of the notion of America as the indispensable nation. Whatever. Scott’s eloquence, verve and command of the facts are a wonder to behold. Thanks to Geoff for alerting me to this one.


Recommend 2 is another from the Duran. I’m super appreciative of Alexander Mercouris but do wish his interlocutor, the astute Alex Christoforou, would say more. Watch his body language. It speaks volumes.

Gripe aside, Alexander is cogent as ever in an again highly informed delivery. He assuredly does not overlook the shambles on offer from Biden, Blinken, Austin, Sullivan et al. More importantly he links it to the nuclear scenario, figuratively if not literally, 1 of Iran being drawn in. For now all parties are keen to avoid that. With this in mind, the Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah’s speech last Saturday, replicated here with Andrew Korybko’s helpful summary, is noteworthy.

But at this acutely perilous moment in history – echoes of August 1914, when even at so late an hour none of the belligerents-to-be had wanted war – we can’t discount minor factors serving as tipping points. On balance, and the man’s glaring defects notwithstanding, Alexander sees hope in a Trump victory. He notes that while the tangerine narcissist did pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and did greenlight the murder of General Quassem Suleimani, unlike Sleepy Joe he also picked up the phone to speak with Iran – and kept his own mad dogs in check; not just the rabid John Bolton but God’s warrior types like Mike Pompeo too. In the likely event of the Donald once more lowering chubby cheeks to padded chair in the Oval Office, January ’25, he will do so with a stronger deck of cards than in January ’17 – better placed to see off deep state opposition to his talking seriously with Moscow and Tehran.

This, for the benefit of Liberal Brainwashed and Far Left Fundamentalist alike, would – all things considered – be A Good Thing. 2 But while Washington’s crazies are no Einsteins, they too can do the sums well enough to conclude that Biden disarray makes now a great time to realise a decades old wet dream of war on Iran. Like those Likud lunatics 3 raised up and emboldened by the limited options for a PM staring at serious jail time, Washington’s own crazies may sense, in this most perfect of storms, now or never conditions for their decades old plans for Iran.

Nobody sensible is saying this will happen, mind. It’s just that nobody sensible is ruling it out either.

Over to Mr Mercouris …


For my third recommend – fourth if we count Hasan Nasrullah’s important speech last Saturday – I make a long overdue return to the bloodbath on Russia’s southwest border. Ukraine stands exhausted and mortally bleeding, its leadership on the verge of civil war. Having made the fatal calculation that Uncle Sam would stand by it come what may, Kiev will lose swathes of Russian speaking territory in the east and south, with a worst case scenario – though the video doesn’t go into this aspect of the matter – of losing Odessa and all access to the Black Sea (and with it the Mediterranean) to become a landlocked state. Goodbye Odessa; goodbye every other grain exporting port. Hello a rump Ukraine, its streets the fiefdom of fascists aggrieved, armed to the teeth and baying for the blood of ‘traitors’. From sick man of Europe to basket case in two short years which saw a nation’s youth – and its not so young – cut down in hundreds of thousands. 4

And for what? This is a war that need not and should not have happened but which Washington – on the back of its own hubristic calculations – moved heaven and earth to provoke and keep going. Here to take stock of the “terrible situation” confronting Ukraine is an icily magisterial – do check out his profile – Jeffrey Sachs.

In a shade over half an hour the professor lays out both the background and likely end game, before listing the four things he says now need to happen:

  1. NATO enlargement must stop.
  2. Kiev and the collective west must accept Ukraine will lose territory. (Clearly, the longer Kiev delays talking to Moscow, the greater the loss.)
  3. USA and Russia must – just so we don’t lose the big picture amid all the detail – re-enter the nuclear treaties Washington walked so arrogantly away from.
  4. A return to the principle of collective security, with a jettisoning of the fantastical notion that any nation may enter any alliance she chooses, regardless of the threat to any other nation – except where that other nation is America.


A good weekend to one and all. Mine begins today, as I steer the van gently southwards to the capital, by way of a couple of overnight venues to be determined en route …

* * *

  1. It’s very hard to see how, in the event of an all out attack on Iran by the US and/or Israel, China and a Russia showing signs – says the excitable but always factually grounded Pepe Escobar – of distancing itself from Israel could sit it out. The future of BRICS and BRI, and with it that of global south leadership – and with that  an emerging multi-polar world all sane and informed people long for – would be in jeopardy.
  2. I choose my words with care but to be absolutely clear, I neither welcome nor dread Mr Trump’s return to the US presidency. To do either would be to buy into the myth that the US is a democracy in any meaningful sense of that word. My remark is confined to what should be the non controversial claim that a Washington capable of real dialogue with Moscow and Tehran would be A Good Thing.
  3. On Israel’s own mad dogs, see Kit Klarenberg’s Zionist think tank publishes blueprint for Palestinian genocide. It links to a Likud white paper a week after the Hamas attacks. Far from concurring with Scott Ritter’s assessment of October 7 as a defeat – or, worse, precisely because it does concur – the Greater Israel zealots see a huge opportunity, also of the Now or Never kind.
  4. For light on how the end game might play out in Ukraine, see yesterday’s post from the pen of Andrew Korybko. It notes on the one hand that Washington and Moscow are most likely, given the failed counter-offensive, holding talks behind Kiev’s back; on the other a now open clash between President Zelensky and his C-in-C, General Valerii Zaluzhny.

2 Replies to “Taking stock – Gaza and Ukraine

  1. Thank you for this brilliant, timely, and essential analysis of the current situation. And as usual, Jeffrey Sachs is poignantly correct.

    Everyone with any concern about the future of our world should read this and try to stop mad America from trying to save its failing war-economy-based dollar through a world war.

    • Thanks Elizabeth. Naturally I agree!

      (I hope your visit from Canada to Ireland has been/continues to be enjoyable. The Emerald Isle is stunningly beautiful but a tad on the damp side!)

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