We all thought the Cold War was over when the Berlin Wall fell and communist countries overthrew their corrupt dictatorships. Well, it appears we were wrong. Following is is a quick round-up of Putin’s latest shenanigans and interference in the Middle East:
If even the ever-delusionally optimistic Shimon Peres is warning that Assad cannot be trusted in his agreement with Russia to give up his regime’s chemical weapons, then you know things are looking bad.
Compounding these doubts and scepticism about Russia’s opportunistic deal to disarm Syria of its WMD , there is still an awful lot of conventional weaponry in the hands of Assad’s regime, and these will now be augmented by even more weapons shipped by Putin:
Russia is stepping up weapons supplies to Syria’s President Bashar Assad, to help him prevail in the civil war, as part of the arrangements under which the Assad regime has agreed in principle to have its chemical weapons stockpiles placed under international supervision, Israel television reported on Tuesday night.
Russian President Vladimir Putin … essentially ordered Assad to submit to international oversight of his chemical weapons stocks, the report said.
In return, Putin promised bolstered conventional weapons shipments, “some of which are already on their way” to Syria from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The TV report did not specify which weaponry Putin is supplying to Assad, but noted that the Syrian regime needs more fighter planes for use to quash rebel forces, spare parts for tanks, and all kinds of other military equipment to replenish stocks depleted during the two-and-a-half years of fighting that have left well over 100,000 Syrians dead. An estimated 1,600 Syrians have died in the three weeks since the alleged August 21 attack.
Last summer, Russia said it would not deliver weapons including 24 MiG-29 fighter jets ordered by the Syrian Air Force until the Syrian crisis ended. But in May, Russian officials said a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss a new contract to supply combat aircraft.
To aggravate matters even further, the Russians have announced their plans to sell anti-aircraft systems and … wait for it… a nuclear reactor to Iran:
Kremlin sources have reportedly confirmed that Russia will supply Iran with five state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries and a new nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
After calling off a transfer of five S-300 missile batteries to Iran three years ago, Russia is now interested in renewing the agreement and in setting up a civilian nuclear reactor for its long-time ally as part of a deal worth $800 million, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Wednesday.
The two countries initially signed the S-300 missile system deal in 2007, but it was called off three years later as part of UN Security Council sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The cancellation of the agreement led to tensions between the two countries, including a $4 billion Iranian lawsuit against Russia.
Israel and the West have expressed concern in the past over Iran obtaining the state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missiles, as they could severely affect the outcome of an airstrike against Iran’s nuclear reactors.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet Friday with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in Kazakhstan, where the two leaders are expected to discuss the deal in further detail, the report said.
Rouhani on Tuesday stated that his country “will not give up one iota” of its nuclear program, despite recent hopes that the new president, widely considered a relative moderate, would cooperate with United Nations inspectors on his country’s nuclear facilities.
In further bad news for Israel, the new head of the Olympics Committee heads the Arab-German boycott committee. That is the boycott of Israel committee in case you weren’t sure:
The newly elected president of the International Olympic Committee heads a German-based organization that helps companies to guarantee that their products do not contain anything from Israel.
Thomas Bach, a German who was elected Tuesday for an initial eight-year term at an IOC session in Buenos Aires, is chairman of Ghorfa, the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was set up in the 1970s by Arab countries to boycott trade with Israel.
“It betrays the principles of sportsmanship and fair play for the IOC to be headed by someone who actively participates in ongoing Israel boycott campaign measures,” said Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee Berlin Ramer Institute.
Ghorfa helps German companies ensure that products meet the import requirements of Arab governments, some of which ban products and services from Israel.
The Guardian said Bach had long coveted the presidency, and “ran a sophisticated lobbying campaign in which the Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah played a controversial role.” It said al-Sabah, an influential figure in IOC circles, “admitted to lobbying on Bach’s behalf in a breach of the IOC’s rules.”
He supported the refusal of the IOC, led by Jacques Rogge, to hold a moment of silence during the 2012 Summer Olympics for the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 members of the Israeli athletics delegation by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games.
To conclude this litany of bad news, where would we be without the UN Human
Wrongs Rights Council? UN Watch roundly condemned the UNHRC for ignoring the atrocities being carried out in Syria while yet once again having one sole country on the agenda. Israel. Here are the words of Hillel Neuer of UN Watch this week:
… three weeks have passed since Syria gassed to death hundreds of its own men, women, and children — and still the council closes its eyes, refusing our call for an emergency session.
The world deserves to know: Are innocent civilians attacked by their own government with chemical weapons not human rights victims? Is the most horrific crime of the 21st century not an urgent situation?
Yes, the council will discuss Syria next week, but that was scheduled months ago. And yes, High Commissioner Pillay mentioned Syria, yet she avoided any condemnation of its murderous regime.
Can a human rights body that ignores this atrocity be deemed credible, effective, or in any way relevant?
The United Nations, which constantly demands accountability, must ask itself:
Why were the killers of Damascus time and again promoted by this organization to key positions, awarded a legitimacy they never deserved?
When Assad murdered 20,000 in 1982, why was Syria sitting here, as an elected member of the Human Rights Commission, and then reelected? What message did that send?
And even after the current massacres began, why was Syria elected in 2011 to UNESCO’s human rights committee? Why is Assad still there, despite our repeated appeals?
Finally, why is it, that of the 10 Agenda Items for this session, only one specific country is listed, and it’s Israel — whose hospitals, as we speak, are quietly treating dozens of Syria’s injured victims?
Let us state the truth: if the UN allocated just one-hundredth of the moral outrage it uses against the only democracy in the Middle East, murderous dictators like Assad might have been shamed, isolated and weakened, instead of elevated, celebrated and strengthened as champions of human rights.
Here’s the video of Neuer in action:
Hillel Neuer should save his breath. It’s a waste of time and effort. The UN and all of its institutions should be ignored and even boycotted. They do more harm than good, promote dictatorships and totalitarianism instead of democracy and liberalism, and as for human rights – they are enforced only against Israel.
May the New Year bring much better news. I’ve had enough of the old one.