Lindsey Graham Lies About The ‘New Syria,’ Which Is Now Safe For Christians & Way More Secular

Christianity, Islam, Jihad, Middle East, Propaganda, Russia

On just about every issue he ran on, candidate Trump was in opposition to Sen. Lindsey Graham. Including Russia. Now Graham, whose popularity as a presidential candidate in 2016 was around 0%, is advising President Trump.

Forty eight seconds in to his July 10 segment on Fox News’ The Story, Graham says, “Putin is not doing anything good in Syria.”

You lie, Lindsey.

The Economist is a superb news magazine—its reporters do old fashioned shoe-leather reporting, rather than rely solely on what the Anglo-American Deep State dishes. Which is how Lindsey gets his news.

More fundamentally, the Economist is liberal and vehemently anti-Trump. Under an ostensibly dim headline, the magazine relays some very promising news about the new Syria, what with the Alawites and their allies having consolidated power, once again.

Remember, “The country has been led by Alawites since 1966, but Sunnis held senior positions in government, the armed forces and business. Even today many Sunnis prefer Mr Assad’s secular rule to that of Islamist rebels.”

“How a Victorious Bashar al-Assad is Changing Syria: Sunnis have been pushed out by the war. The new Syria is smaller, in ruins and more sectarian”:

the Christian quarter is reviving. Churches have been lavishly restored; a large crucifix hangs over the main street. “Groom of Heaven”, proclaims a billboard featuring a photo of a Christian soldier killed in the seven-year conflict. In their sermons, Orthodox patriarchs praise Mr Assad for saving one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

Homs, like all of the cities recaptured by the government, now belongs mostly to Syria’s victorious minorities: Christians, Shias and Alawites (an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam from which Mr Assad hails). These groups banded together against the rebels, who are nearly all Sunni, and chased them out of the cities. Sunni civilians, once a large majority, followed. More than half of the country’s population of 22m has been displaced—6.5m inside Syria and over 6m abroad. Most are Sunnis. …

“We lived so well before,” says a Christian teacher in Homs. “But how can you live with a neighbour who overnight called you a kafir (infidel)?”

For the warring factions, this is a regional conflict . The local powers want “the Iranian-backed Shia militias” to go back whence they came. Russia, seemingly, is urging the same.

Mr Assad’s men captured the last rebel strongholds around Damascus in May. He now controls Syria’s spine, from Aleppo in the north to Damascus in the south—what French colonisers once called la Syrie utile (useful Syria). The rebels are confined to pockets along the southern and northern borders (see map). Lately the government has attacked them in the south-western province of Deraa.

Government departments are functioning. In areas that remained under Mr Assad’s control, electricity and water supplies are more reliable than in much of the Middle East. Officials predict that next year’s natural-gas production will surpass pre-war levels. The National Museum in Damascus, which locked up its prized antiquities for protection, is preparing to reopen to the public. The railway from Damascus to Aleppo might resume operations this summer. …

Syrians are experienced construction workers. When Lebanon’s civil war ended in 1990, they helped rebuild Beirut. But no such workforce is available today. In Damascus University’s civil-engineering department, two-thirds of the lecturers have fled. “The best were first to go,” says one who stayed behind. Students followed them. Those that remain have taken to speaking Araglish, a hotch-potch of Arabic and English, as many plan futures abroad.

Sunni states, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, should also give up on the John McCain-Lindsey Graham style Sunni regime change.

Early on, minorities lowered their profile to avoid being targeted. Women donned headscarves. Non-Muslim businessmen bowed to demands from Sunni employees for prayer rooms. But as the war swung their way, minorities regained their confidence. Alawite soldiers now flex arms tattooed with Imam Ali, whom they consider the first imam after the Prophet Muhammad (Sunnis see things differently). Christian women in Aleppo show their cleavage. “We would never ask about someone’s religion,” says an official in Damascus. “Sorry to say, we now do.”

The country’s chief mufti is a Sunni, but there are fewer Sunnis serving in top posts since the revolution. Last summer Mr Assad replaced the Sunni speaker of parliament with a Christian. In January he broke with tradition by appointing an Alawite, instead of a Sunni, as defence minister. …

… A decade ago Mr Assad toyed with infitah (liberalisation), only for Sunni extremists to build huge mosques from which to spout their hate-speech, say his advisers. He is loth to repeat the mistake.

Now, “Mr Assad sees no reason to make concessions.” But “UN mediators and his Russian allies,” whom Graham maligns, have been pushing for inclusive solutions.

Is this ideal? Of course not. But it’s better than the alternative promoted by the diabolical duo, McCain and Graham and the rest of the Anglo-American foreign-policy establishment: rule by fundamentalist rebels.

Russia has called on all “foreign forces to leave Syria,” including Iran, which has stationed “80,000 foreign Shia militiamen” in Syria.

Skirmishes between the [Iranian] militias and Syrian troops have resulted in scores of deaths, according to researchers at King’s College in London. Having defeated Sunni Islamists, army officers say they have no wish to succumb to Shia ones. Alawites, in particular, flinch at Shia evangelising. “We don’t pray, don’t fast [during Ramadan] and drink alcohol,” says one.

All share a wish for the Iranians to depart, but Turkey, Israel and America would also do well to stay out of Syria, too.

THE ARTICLE IS: “How a Victorious Bashar al-Assad is Changing Syria: Sunnis have been pushed out by the war. The new Syria is smaller, in ruins and more sectarian.”

UPDATED (7/10): Kavanaugh Questions

Constitution, Federalism, Justice, Law, The Courts

Brett Kavanaugh, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has been nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh comes from Administrative Law—was he good at fighting the Deep State?—was appointed and recently praised by George W. Bush, who gave us John Roberts, and George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, who approved of Neil Gorsuch, suggests Kavanaugh is not an intellect of Gorsuch’s order.

For his part, libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (R­–Mich.) is openly unhappy. He tweets:

Kavanaugh is not another Gorsuch—not even close. Disappointing pick, particularly with respect to his 4th Amendment record. Future decisions on the constitutionality of government surveillance of Americans will be huge. We can’t afford a rubber stamp for the executive branch.

Randy Barnett, on the other hand, approves.

I don’t know that libertarians want “big fierce nominees,” but I see what Turley, an interesting thinker himself, is saying in the must-read op-ed, “Why ‘big fierce’ nominees are rare.”

An original thinker is always a good thing (and how few of those there are).

Supreme Court nominees. Most are not especially remarkable in their prior rulings or writings. They are selected largely for their ease of confirmation and other political criteria. Big fierce minds take too much time and energy to confirm, so White House teams look for jurists who ideally have never had an interesting thought or written an interesting thing in their increasingly short careers. … The last nominee was a remarkable departure from this judicial ecology rule. As I testified at his confirmation hearing, Neil Gorsuch was an intellect of the first order with a long list of insightful and provocative writings as both a judge and an author. …The history of Supreme Court nominations is largely one of planned mediocrity. The influential legal minds of a generation often are avoided for more furtive minds. … There is a difference between fierce ideology and fierce intellect. Many on the list of 25 judges stand out for commitment to conservative values but are not particularly distinguished in contributions to legal thought. Most fall closer to the mold of Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, as opposed to Antonin Scalia and Gorsuch.

Confirmations tend to reward young lawyers who avoid controversies to advancement on the Supreme Court.

Jonathan Turley cites Richard Posner and Robert Bork as examples of “big fierce minds,” which simply could not be countenanced on the mediocrity-necessitating SCOTUS.

Brilliant piece. Turley is brilliant.

UPDATE (7/10):

John G. Roberts Jr.? Please no.

Will Putin Save South-African Farmers? The US Government Certainly WON’T …

Colonialism, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Russia, South-Africa

If only the lovely Russian TV anchor dropped the old Soviet habit of calling white South Africans “colonists.” The rest is all good, for Russia, for beleaguered South Africans.

Via RT:

A delegation of 30 South African farming families has arrived in Russia’s farmbelt Stavropol region, Rossiya 1 TV channel reports. The group says it is facing violent attacks and death threats at home.

Up to 15,000 Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, are planning to move to Russia amid rising violence stemming from government plans to expropriate their land, according to the delegation.

“It’s a matter of life and death — there are attacks on us. It’s got to the point where the politicians are stirring up a wave of violence,” Adi Slebus told the media. “The climate here [in the Stavropol region] is temperate, and this land is created by God for farming. All this is very attractive.” ….

… MORE.

READ “Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa,” Chapter 8, “Saving South Africans S.O.S.”

UPDATED (7/9): Chile Is No ‘Shithole Country’: When There is A Drought, Chileans Catch Water In Nets

Human Accomplishment, Nationhood, Technology

Chileans are turning the mist into usable water with the aid of fog nets.

In Chile’s Coquimbo region, farmers “try to grow wheat and raise sheep and goats on 2,800 hectares (7,000 acres) of semi-arid scrubland. A decade-long drought has made that harder. Hilltop springs where the animals once drank have dried up. As herds shrank and yields fell, farmers’ children moved away to take jobs in cities or at copper mines.”

Hope for Los Tomes comes in the form of three 60-square-metre (646-square-foot) nets stretched between poles on a ridge above the community. These atrapanieblas capture droplets from the fog that rolls in from the sea 4km (2.5 miles) away. They trickle down to a pipe, which channels the water to two troughs at the foot of the ridge, from which livestock drink. The banner-like nets can harvest 650 litres (140 gallons) of water a day. “We’re content: it’s produced the results we wanted,” says José Ossandón, the child’s father and the president of the co-operative.

Chile has been investigating fog capture since the 1950s. The dense fog that arises from the Humboldt current, called the camanchaca, can be harvested with the help of a coastal mountain range and strong winds. Earlier attempts to turn the mist into usable water failed. In 1990 fog nets at Chungungo, a fishing village north of Los Tomes, captured 8,000 litres a day.

At Majada Blanca, a goat-herding community north of Los Tomes, three 150-square-metre fog catchers feed a plantation of young olive trees, a splash of green in the brown scrub. When the trees mature they will produce 750 litres of organic olive oil a year, which the comuneros will be able to sell for about $12,000. They reckon the water source will be a big selling point. “We’ll be pioneers in the production of quality olive oil made with fog water,” says one of them, Ricardo Álvarez. A privately owned brewery in Peña Blanca was quick to spot fog water’s marketing appeal. It is the main ingredient of its artisanal beer, called Atrapaniebla. …

Less communal arrangements and the introduction of private investment would go along way to accelerate this remarkable, but workable, fog-catching experiment.

… MORE in “Making Money from Mist: The Feisty Fog-Catchers of Chile,” courtesy the Economist.

UPDATE (7/9):  Facebook thread. (And why do I bother?)

John Paterson I think one of qualifications of shithole country is having to.catch your own water.

Reply · 21h

Ilana Mercer How incisive. Let’s see, if your country has no water and you remedy it, you’re from a shithole country. nice. better to ask for foreign aid. maybe the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has some bottled water. but first say, “please sir can I have some water?”

 

Irving Rynning: Come again? Do you like or dislike the brilliance and simplicity of the nets? I love the low-tech way to get water, no pollution or great expense, but a rather high yield.