Once Again, Neo-Nazis Publicly March through the Streets of Lithuania

Feb. 20 2015

February 16 is Lithuanian independence day. Since 2008, an organization with openly pro-Nazi sympathies has used the date for its annual march through the city of Kaunas (Kovno). Efraim Zuroff writes:

Instead of celebrating Lithuania’s freedom from Soviet oppression, the Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth annually organizes a march through the center of the city which expresses enmity toward minorities and seeks to rewrite their country’s bloody Holocaust history by glorifying those who collaborated with the Nazis and actively participated in the mass murder of their Jewish fellow citizens.

The gathering place for the [march] is right across the street from the Lietukis garage, the site of a particularly appalling murder of dozens of Jewish men from Kaunas during the initial days of the Nazi occupation in late June 1941, which has become a symbol of the zealous participation of numerous Lithuanians in Holocaust crimes. . . .

Several hundred people participated in this march, with nary a word of protest from the official Jewish community or any of the embassies, including Israel. Perhaps it is the inertia engendered by repeated marches, perhaps it is a desire not to rock the boat, or a sense that in a country so busy rewriting the narrative of World War II and the Holocaust [in order] to hide the crimes of local collaborators and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes, what difference does a march like Monday’s really make? I beg to differ, however, since I believe that, despite Lithuania’s small size and population, the campaign that it has been pursuing so energetically has already reaped dangerous results, which ultimately threaten not only the country’s minorities but the accepted narrative of World War II and the Holocaust as well. And both these issues represent a real and present danger.

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More about: Eastern Europe, Holocaust, Lithuania, neo-Nazis, Politics & Current Affairs

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey