This is how the Dahyeh does the World Cup. Some friends noted the absence of the Iranian flag, which must have been sold out at this particular stand, given the Islamic Republic flag’s high visibility in Dahyeh. Nonetheless, If i was a western journo i would totally write a story on how Iran’s inability to beat Nigeria in this week’s match has led to a rift between Hizbullah and Iran, using this scene from a “Hizbullah stronghold”. I would then ask the juice vendor next to the flags why there is no Iran flag. He would merely shrug his shoulders in response because I am a suspicious looking white man, but i would go on to quote him as a “Hizbullah commander”/”Hizbullah source” depending on how stupid my editor is.
Rouhani’s full statement on Iranian cooperation with the US on Iraq, with English subtitles. The full text reveals that the Iranian president was clearly dismissive of the US’ intent to clamp down on ISIS given that it was funding it in Syria. Also, note his chuckle. Priceless.
Watching mainstream media get into a tizzy about the prospect of "groundbreaking military cooperation" between Iran and the US, is quite pathetic. Aside from US official statements, the basis of this misplaced enthusiasm is the much trumpeted Rouhani press conference where he declared that “If we see that the United States takes action against terrorist groups in Iraq, then one can think about it [cooperation]”. What is omitted in most news reports is the specific context in which the Iranian President made this statement.
According to the Telegraph’s translation, Rouhani was asked if Iran was prepared to cooperate with America in Iraq. He replied that “All countries need to embark on joint effort regarding terrorism. At the moment, it’s the government of Iraq and the people of Iraq that are fighting terrorism. We have not seen the US do anything for now. Any time the Americans start to take action against terrorist groups, we can consider that.” He then blamed the US for funding ISIS in Syria:"Where did these terrorist groups emerge from? They came from Syria," he said. "The problem is, why should Western countries, why should America, support terrorist groups? We warned them a year ago that these terrorist groups were a danger for the whole region. [But] they sent them arms – or their colleagues in the region sent them arms."
A closer reading reveals that Rouhani was both dismissive and suspicious of the US’ declared intent to strike in Iraq the very organization it had spent millions arming and funding in Syria via its Arab allies. This explains his assertion that the US wasn’t doing anything to combat terrorism “We have not seen the US do anything for now”. When Rouhani affirmed “Any time the Americans start to take action against terrorist groups, we can consider that,” he was challenging the Obama administration to give up support for ISIS, not inviting it to co-stage a military attack on the group. In other[less diplomatic] words, you will be a great help if you simply stop supporting ISIS.
Rouhani’s appointee, National Supreme Security Council chief Ali Shamkhani said as much when he dismissed any US-Iran cooperation over Iraq: “That is part of a psychological war, and is totally unreal,” Shamkhani said, denouncing “information published in the West’s media. As we have already said, if there is an official Iraqi request we will be ready to study it under the framework of international rules, and this concerns no other country.” Moreover, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, was quoted by ISNA as rejecting US military intervention in Iraq: “Iraq has the capacity and necessary preparations for the fight against terrorism and extremism. Any action that complicates the situation in Iraq is not in the interests of the country nor of the region,” Afkham said.
Rouhani’s diplomatic language reflects not so much a desire for ingratiating Iran with the US, but a means of leveraging the Islamic Republic’s influence in Iraq for political concessions in the nuclear talks with the West. The US clearly needs Iran’s help, but this is need is hardly mutual. To assume that Iran’s security concerns require military cooperation with America is downright absurd. In the first place, any cooperation with the US which transcends the political level would be tantamount to political suicide on Iran’s part and a violation of the anti-imperialist, justice-seeking principles which the Islamic Revolution constitutionalized and institutionalized in its foreign policy. Secondly, US military support for Iraq’s Shia can only backfire on both Iraq and Iran (not to mention the US itself), insofar as it would incite even mainstream Sunnis against the region’s Shia and plunge it further into the sectarian abyss. Third, in practical terms, US aerial bombardment will achieve little militarily beyond killing scores of Iraqi civilians who happen to reside in areas controlled by ISIS and its allies. The unconventional nature of ISIS’ militia-cum-terrorist warfare requires unconventional tactics which is the forte of Iran’s Quds Force.
Any military cooperation or coordination with the US would be an act of folly for Iran, which is much better served strategically and in terms of its security by supporting the Iraqi army with Quds Force advisers and trainers, while facilitating a political settlement between aggrieved Sunnis and the Maliki government. And by serving its own interests in this manner, Iran can score political points with the US assuming the latter is indeed genuine about stamping out ISIS and stabilizing Iraq. Dialogue with the US on Iraq will most likely provide Iran with a means for uncovering the latter’s intentions.
There is no doubt that ISIS’ takeover of Mosul and Tikrit requires an Iraqi-Iranian coordinated military response to prevent the fragmentation of Iraq, secure Iran’s borders, and ensure that none of the hard-won military gains made by the Syrian Army and Hizbullah in neigbouring Syria are reversed. But any security strategy is doomed to fail so long as we remain oblivious to the fact that the Maliki government is little more than a mirror image of its Syrian opposition nemesis: sectarian, weak, corrupt, divided, treacherous, and above all, eager for the US to drone its enemies into submission. That 75 per cent of of Lebanese Shia respondents did not view the Shia- dominated government in Iraq as a legitimate national entity, according to an opinion poll I conduced with the reputable Beirut Center for Research and Information in 2007, testifies to this perception. If we are to learn anything from the circumstances which enabled 1500 ISIS fighters to overun a 52 000 soldier garrison, it is that Sunni (Baathist and Nashqabandi) sympathies for the attackers, both within and outside the army, can no longer be ignored nor can their long-held grievances, irrespective of the sectarian machinations of ISIS’ Saudi backers. Just as Maliki squandered away Sunni tribal [Sahwa] support with his sectarian discourse and negligence, he has succeeded in alienating Sunni officers in the US-funded and trained army, and antagonized mainstream Sunnis with his oppressive rule and aggrandizement of power. At the end of the day, we in the Resistance Axis are strategically aligned with a regime born of the very same invasion and occupation we are attempting to thwart in Syria. While we can rationalize this alliance on strategic and pragmatic grounds, we need to call for its drastic reform, beginning with a new social contract between Sunnis and Shia, as Nasrallah proposed in the midst of the US invasion of Iraq. In the absence of such a contract, any military offensive risks degenerating into a full-scale civil war which will drag our region even further into the sectarian morass so desired by the US-Israel-Arab Gulf.
Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah introduced a new strategic and political motivation behind Hizbullah’s involvement in the war on Syria, which goes beyond its defense of Syria’s territorial integrity and the Syrian state’s support for resistance movements, and even beyond the existential threat takfiri-jihadis pose to Syria and Lebanon; Hizbullah’s defense of the Syrian Arab Republic today aims at preventing a repetition of the imperialists’ creation of Israel, only this time in Syria and the region as a whole: “the spectre of Palestine’s usurpation is being repeated today”. By arming and supporting takfiri groups (Nasrallah even drew parallels between their deployment and mobilization throughout the region and the mass migration of Jews to historic Palestine) the imperialists seek to fragment Syria and destroy the Resistance Axis, and in so doing, protect Israel. Basically, Hizbullah will never allow Syria to become a second Israel or a neo-colonialist outpost in the region designed to protect the first Israel.
I have to say say I am extremely disappointed with RT for publishing this clearly bogus story which is based on a DEBKAfile report no less. DEBKA is an Israeli military intelligence website/propaganda machine which is considered right wing even byIsraeli standards, and was criticized by Yedioth Ahronoth for using politicized [usually anonymous] sources. To give you an example of just how ludicrous this report is: “But expectations of the Hizballah track are high and strongly guide the actions of President Obama, John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and CIA Director John Brennan. And so, in early March, the first secret rendezvous took place in Cyprus between CIA officers and Hizballah intelligence and security operatives.” Does RT seriously believe Hizbullah’s security people met with the CIA? Or even the American government for that matter? I mean why would it need to if Iran is already talking to the Americans? If you read the full DEBKA article it is obvious that the agenda behind the piece was to lump Hizbullah together with Fatah and Hamas: “Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ initiation of a unity pact with the Hamas extremists last week did not come out of the blue. It was prompted by the direct contacts the Obama administration has secretly established with the Lebanese Hizballah. Abbas reasoned that if Washington can start a dialogue with a terrorist organization, so too can his own PLO and Fatah.” Equally disappointing was RT’s use of the metaphor “top dog” to describe a leader as revered and respected as Nasrallah. Forget Arab cultural sensitivites associated with the term “dog”, could RT think of nothing more suitable and commensurate with Nasrallah’s stature in the region than to refer to him as “one of Hezbollah’s top dogs”?
Der Spiegel has just published a report on the funneling of Ukranian arms to jihadists in Syria via Germany. The following is a translation of the German text by Emily-Dische Becker:
"According to information obtained by Der Spiegel, a Ukrainian state enterprise is delivering rifles to Germany. The German federal government allegedly doesn’t know what is happening with the weapons. Are they being used in the war in Syria? According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, the Ukraine is apparently doing arms deals through Germany. As the German Foreign Office acknowledged in response to a request by Die Linke (the Left party), the Ukrainian state company Ukroboronprom has been exporting semi-automatic rifles of the SKS Simonov variety to Germany. These imports were approved by the responsible government agencies.
The Foreign Office however is concealing where the weapons are ending up in Germany: The delivery terms of the German contract partner are “a business and a trade secret.” The rifles, it says evasively, are being delivered to Germany “for the purpose of modification.” The American Jamestown Foundation think-tank, which is said to enjoy strong historical ties to U.S. intelligence agencies, believes that the weapons are being delivered from Germany to Syrian rebels. Jamestown estimates the delivery of 54,000 small arms in the years 2011 and 2012. These could have been used for ” covert operations ” in Syria. The federal government is aware of the suspicions of the Americans, but does not want to investigate them. As stated in their response to the Left party’s inquiry, they have “no findings of [their] own on this matter.” Neither the German army, nor the military counterintelligence agency, nor the federal intelligence service (BND) are involved in the purchase of weapons [the federal government claims].
The Left party’s expert for foreign affairs, Sevim Dagdelen, is alarmed by the government’s ignorance: “It is scandalous that the federal government can not convey anything about the whereabouts of these weapons. ” To make matter worse, Berlin “can not dispel the suspicion that these weapons have been passed on to Islamist holy warriors to cause a regime change in Syria. “
A YEAR ago, following a string of victories, Syria’s rebels fought their way so close to the capital, Damascus, that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime appeared doomed.
Many commentators predicted his fall within days; others gave him only weeks to survive. Yet 12 months later the tide has turned dramatically in favour of the Syrian president, who has outmanoeuvred his opponents both at home and abroad.
In the past few days, a string of villages and towns in the strategically important Qalamoun region have fallen to government forces — among them the Christian town of Maaloula, northeast of Damascus, where Aramaic, the language of Christ, is still spoken.
Homs, once known as “the capital of the revolution”, is on the verge of falling to a Syrian army offensive. Trapped in the last rebel redoubt in the old city, only about 1,000 rebel fighters remain.
Last week, accompanied by the Syrian army, I walked through Maaloula’s battle-scarred streets after it was returned to government control having been seized by the rebels last November.
The previous day, Assad predicted that the main battles could be over by the end of the year. “This is a turning point in the crisis,” he predicted.
Assad’s closest ally, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, went further, saying the Syrian leader no longer faced the prospect of being overthrown.
What has changed in the course of the year? Based on extensive interviews with senior sources close to Hezbollah’s military command in Syria and briefings from high-ranking army officers, I am convinced the answer lies in the decision by Nasrallah and Assad to throw Hezbollah into the fray, thus changing the course of the war.
Until 2012, Hezbollah’s involvement had been minimal. The Iranian-backed group, a mix of fighting force and Lebanese political party, had only a single unit in Syria to guard a Shi’ite shrine in Damascus. At the time hardline rebels, many of them from abroad and affiliated to al-Qaeda, were gaining territory and influence and had sidelined the more secular fighters of the Free Syrian Army.
For Shi’ite Hezbollah, the largely Sunni rebel fighters posed a danger by threatening to undermine Assad. Syria, the group’s closest ally, stored on its behalf the vast quantities of munitions supplied to it by Tehran.
There was further danger to Hezbollah as jihadist rebels began to discuss the prospect of extending their holy war to Lebanon. This would have put them in a powerful position to strangle the group by severing its supply lines from Syria. As a source close to Hezbollah described it to me recently: “Syria is Hezbollah’s lungs.” He added: “It doesn’t matter how many weapons Hezbollah keeps in Lebanon. In any war with Israel, their stocks would be depleted. Resupply is vital.”
By early last year, 70% of Syria’s territory had slipped from Assad’s control.
Day after day, Damascus was being rocked by car bombs, and the regime had been shaken when the rebels succeeded in launching an assassination attempt on key members of his inner circle.
Assad had been leaning heavily on the advice of his generals, who were trained in conventional warfare, and were ill-suited to a guerrilla struggle. It was time for a wholesale change of tactics, he decided, and that could come only from Hezbollah.
Nasrallah went to Tehran to seek religious guidance from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who gave his blessing to sending fighters. Khamenei said it was a religious obligation to fight the jihadist rebels.
Nasrallah’s military advisers insisted that Syria’s army, reinforced by his men, had to go on the offensive. With the backing of Russia and Iran, a strategy was formulated to drive the rebels out of Damascus and win back control of the strategic corridor that links the Syrian capital to the Mediterranean coast. Nasrallah went to Tehran to seek religious guidance from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who gave his blessing to sending fighters. Khamenei said it was a religious obligation to fight the jihadist rebels.
Initially Hezbollah said its intervention would be confined to retaking the Syrian border city of Qusair and defending the Lebanese villages bordering Syria.
But Hezbollah’s fighters had underestimated their enemy. They soon found themselves in danger of being bottled up by rebel forces and realised they needed to capture far more territory than they had envisaged. This was now a full-scale war for them.
First, Qusair had to be taken in order to block the flow of rebels and weapons from Lebanon into rebel-held Homs.
Hezbollah sent several thousand fighters to the front while the Syrian army provided artillery and air support. In a sign of how closely they were now working together, Hezbollah was granted access to Syria’s military command operations centre for the first time.
Qusair proved a vital learning curve for Hezbollah, fighting far from its own terrain. The organisation was taken by surprise by the rebels’ prowess. In the first few days of battle, it took heavy casualties and was forced to regroup and change tactics.
After three weeks of heavy fighting, in which much of the town was destroyed by shell and rocket fire, Qusair was finally taken back into the hands of the regime last June.
The scale and ferocity of the battle persuaded Hezbollah’s commanders they needed to widen their strategic objectives. Homs, a rebel stronghold, had to be captured in order to choke off the rebels’ supply lines into Lebanon.
Today Homs no longer poses a threat to either Hezbollah or the regime, although it has a rump of rebel fighters, blamed for a car bomb outside a mosque on Friday that killed at least 14 people.
Control of the city was vital for Assad, as it links Damascus to the coastal towns of Latakia and Tartus, both parts of his Alawite heartland. The Alawite sect, to which Assad and his family belong, represents about 12% of the Syrian population.
In the next stage of their plan, the Syrian army and Hezbollah moved their attention to Qalamoun, the region where it made significant gains last week. Its harsh, mountainous terrain close to the Lebanese border had for months provided a base for rebel fighters to launch suicide attacks in Lebanese villages in revenge for Hezbollah’s support for Assad. Dozens have been killed by the bombs in recent weeks, most of them civilians.
“Ensuring the recapture of Qalamoun was becoming critical for Hezbollah,” the source close to the group explained.
Hezbollah fighters spearheaded the attack after the Syrian army had softened up the rebels by pounding their positions with artillery, rocket launchers and mortars.
Once Hezbollah won control of a village or town, it was handed over to Syrian troops or the pro-government militiamen known as the National Defence Force.
Despite the triumphs at Maaloula and Qalamoun, an all-out victory for Assad is still far from assured. Rebel brigades have made significant inroads in the north in recent weeks. Last month they captured Kassab, the sole remaining government-controlled border post with Turkey, cementing their hold on Syria’s northern border.
Though Kassab has little strategic importance, the well co-ordinated attack appears to have taken Assad’s military by surprise. Within 10 days, the rebels occupied a large area running down to the Mediterranean.
Despite the setbacks, Hezbollah has emerged as a bigger and more influential player in the region as a result of its intervention.
“There will be no limit for Hezbollah’s role and no boundaries,” said the Hezbollah source. “They’ll stay as long as he [Assad] needs them. When he considers Hezbollah’s presence is no longer needed, they’ll pull out immediately from all fronts,” he added.
Geostrategic and political considerations aside, crude economic motives drive the imperialist campaign to prolong the war on Syria. In parallel with the mega-profits reaped by the corporate media and its army of information warlords, and the “War on Terror” military industry which thrives on the expansion of the al-Qaeda franchise, is another kind of war profiteering. In the true spirit of capitalism, the humanitarian aid and development— a.k.a. “White Saviour Complex”— community has turned crisis into opportunity. State and corporate funded NGOs have found in Syria’s 2.5 refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced, a veritable goldmine of collective misfortune. Every refugee represents a career opportunity for procuring project funds and extracting exorbitant fees for consultancies, training, workshops etc. And despite the colossal proportions of the refugee crisis, most aid work is driven by donors’ agendas and bureaucratic imperatives, rather than the immediate needs of the displaced and deprived. Just as Big Business tries to whitewash its public health and environmental crimes with “Corporate Social Responsibility” schemes, western governments think they can arm and support the rebels, while sugarcoating the innumerable crimes they have committed against the Syrian people with their humanitarian interventions. NGO-imperialism is just another way the Empire “kills the victim and walks in his funeral procession”, as goes the Arabic saying. Only in this case, he makes a profit out of the funeral as well.
Cool. A French-Algerian reader kindly informed me that I have the dubious honour of being quoted by the IDF’s French website (http://tsahal.fr/2013/07/15/hezbollah-parti-politique-ou-organisation-terroriste), and also on the IDF’s special English language website for Hizbullah linked below: "As explained by Lebanese writer Dr. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, these efforts may strengthen the social contract between Hezbollah and its followers, though “it would be a mistake, however, to think this is the main reason why Hezbollah’s followers are attracted to [the movement].” The organization’s message of resistance against Israel is what resonates the most among Hezbollah’s supporters." In other news, death to Israel soon Inshallah.
I was watching “12 Years a Slave” with my almost 11 year old son yesterday, and within minutes of watching the movie he begged me to switch it off, specifically, during the scene where the lead character, Solomon Northup, wakes up to find himself shackled and whipped into enslavement. Although my son has a higher tolerance for TV violence than I do, he was particularly distressed by this scene, or to quote his words “disturbed because he was being forced against his will and I put myself in his place. I can handle violence but not slavery”.
It got me thinking about how justice is not merely experienced rationally, but also originates in our emotions and intuition which we express as moral outrage. It also reminded me how justice-seeking, compassion and outbursts of moral indignation are defining features of childhood which society—capitalism specifically—tries to control and harness as we grow up through various mechanisms. Emotional/intuitive justice is eclipsed by purely rational, western liberal notions of justice as “fairness” as found in “procedural” justice.
The mechanisms capitalism employs to enforce this shift include western theories of “human nature” which perpetuate the myth that the default human character is one marked by aggression, the hunger for power and self-interest, and is hence, naturally disinclined to social and economic justice, and requires hegemonic political power to restrain it.
Another mechanism is the psycho-pathologization of justice-seeking behaviour and the refusal to submit to domination, by branding them “disorders” like “anti-social personality disorder” and “oppositional defiant disorder,” whose hallmark “symptoms” are the “failure to conform” to social and political norms and in the case of the latter, “arguing” and “anger”.
The mainstream media is also guilty of disabling our gut reaction to injustice. Western media coverage of imperialist military aggression and political domination serve to at once justify and rationalize these injustices while desensitizing us to the suffering of their victims. It also achieves this by dismissing anti-imperialist leaders as demagogues who command “personality cults”, and in so doing, reducing the just causes they represent to the irrational impulses of the raucous mob.
Our inherent sense of justice is also stifled by western academic standards which require “emotional distance/detachment” in the social sciences, so that we are forced to adopt neutral positions in the face of gross social and political injustices. Thus for example, intellectuals who decry the injustices of American and Israeli aggression and occupation are discredited as “emotional”, while those who publish papers on how best to secure US “national interests” are deemed “scholarly”. In this manner, works guided by notions of naked self-interest and brute power are elevated to the status of “knowledge” while those guided by a social conscience are stigmatized as irrational rambling.
As people who pursue justice, we should always strive to naturalize moral outrage, by inculcating it in our children and refusing to be stigmatized medically or professionally for expressing it. We must work hard to retain those child-like outbursts of moral outrage which are the essence of our humanity.
Get your stomachs ready for the latest addition to the mainstream media handbook of terms which have been so drastically redefined as to lose all meaning: Russian “imperialism” vs. western “globalization”. LOL. Talk about distortion of the century meets euphemism of the millenium . I mean even if non-Marxists choose to ignore Lenin’s definition of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, conventional, bourgeois liberal definitions of imperialism refer to economic domination and exploitation as the defining features of imperialism. I vividly recall the text book we studied in history class in my London state-funded school identified natural resources, cheap labour and new markets as the primary motives of imperialism. But according to this new lexicon, imperialism can be reduced to territorial expansion and irredentism, which quite comically renders states like Ethiopia imperialist and more comically still, suggests that the US is anti-imperialist in so far as it rejects Russian territorial expansion. Meanwhile, the US’ military expansion across all corners of the globe via military bases, installations and occupation forces can be chalked up to “globalization”, much like its domination of the world economy. But by all means, lets all stand united in the face of “rampant” Russian imperialism which “threatens the vision for a more global world economy.”
As I watch Putin’s standing ovation today in the Russian parliament, and read news about Hizbullah’s latest attack on Israeli occupation troops in the Golan, I can’t help but think how terrifying it is to have an enemy as quintessentially stupid as the US and its allies. Just 3 weeks ago, an NYT headline penned by the head of Carnegie’s Moscow Center, boldly declared “Why Russia Won’t Interfere.” Such myopia is reminiscent of the “Assad’s days are numbered” mantra, and predictions about how “Hizbullah won’t respond [to Israel]” . Time and time again, we find that US intelligence services, think tanks and policy makers misread their enemy’s intentions and willingness to respond militarily to US/NATO/Zionist destabilization and aggression campaigns. The problem lies in their very rationality which is based on the deeply flawed premise that only imperialist powers will dare act militarily in puruit of their “security interests” (a euphemism for imperialist designs) while other nations can be sanctioned, destabilized and even bombed into submission, without standing up for their rights, security and very existence . And when anti-imperialist forces do strike back in self-defense, the US & co appear genuinely shocked by their digression from this “rational actor” model and are consequently branded as irrational (Assad is “delusional”, Putin is “in another world”, etc.) pariahs who can only be restrained by means of further sanctions, destabilization and bombing campaigns. What can be more terrifying than an enemy who possesses such a rationality?
So Erdogan is threatening to ban Facebook and Youtube because of leaked audio recordings which expose his corruption. I really don’t understand why he can’t follow the example of the leaders of other NATO democracies who have also been exposed on audio. I mean, when Victoria Nuland’s audio clip was leaked where she issued directives on the type of puppet Ukrainian regime the US wanted installed, what did the Obama adminstration do? Nothing. It never happened. And when the Paet-Ashton audio was leaked where the former admitted that the snipers who shot at protesters and police were hired by Maidan leaders, what did the EU do? Nothing, because who cares about evidence which contradicts the mainstream narrative of a democractic and peaceful opposition? And when the whole world almost vomited when they heard Kerry audaciously declare “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” as he conveniently brushed under the carpet decades of US invasions and aggression against other countries, was the US remotely embarassed? Of course not because when it comes to the Empire the aphorism “might makes right” becomes “might makes reality itself”. Erdogan has a long way to go before his government becomes a bona fide NATO democracy. He needs to restrain the urge to suppress the truth in favour of a more NATO-friendly approach whereby he simply ignores it and mocks his detractors for being “out of touch with reality.”
So now, thanks to the Ukraine crisis, we need to revise our current understanding of the concepts “coup d’etat”, “invasion”, and “occupation”. See, when the US invades countries thousands of miles away from it, countries whose non-English speaking populations are overwhelming anti-American and vehemently opposed to US aggression against their land, it’s sanctioned internationally as “humanitarianintervention” and “R2P”, and justified domestically as “defending” US “national security”. But when Russia steps in to protect a region literally at its doorstep, a region which would have remained part of Russia today had Khrushchev not transferred it to his native Ukraine in 1954, a region whose population is close to 60% ethnic Russian, and hence, is calling for Russia’s protection, a region which hosts Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and for all these reasons has great symbolic value for Russia and is part of its national identity, it is not considered a national security issue or protection of a population, but is branded an “invasion”/”coup d’etat”/”occupation”. Got it?