Russia’s Recent Moves in the Caucasus Are Part of Its Strategy to Keep Ukraine, the Middle East, and Other Areas in a State of Crisis

Nov. 29 2021

Earlier this month—just a year after the end the 2020 conflict—a short period of intense fighting broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the long-disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Once again, Vladimir Putin, who has inclined toward the Armenians, stepped in to broker an “interim solution.” It’s worth noting that Baku has important security ties to Israel, while Yerevan retains warm relations with Iran. Amir Taheri examines what the latest flair-up says about Russia’s strategy in the region, and beyond:

[Putin’s] “interim solution” makes the regimes in both Baku and Yerevan dependent on Russian power for at least the next five years. It also keeps Turkey out, thus depriving Azerbaijan of a powerful regional ally. On the opposite side, Armenia is deprived of an opportunity to seek meaningful support from potentially sympathetic powers in Europe and North America. Moscow also benefits from its new military presence in the region by gaining control of borders with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Is the situation that has developed in Transcaucasia a model of Russian behavior in the international arena? Several examples could be cited in support of a “yes” answer.

By keeping [various] nations in a state of crisis with their neighbors, Putin achieves one of his two geostrategic goals: preventing NATO expansion to Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia. Because no country in conflict with its neighbors would be allowed to join the U.S.-led coalition, it is important for Russia to keep all those wounds open with its knife in them.

Russian activism in Syria and Libya, and its strange alliance with Egypt in the Libyan theater, are also calculated to exert pressure on the EU. . . . At another level, the openly pro-Russian path taken by the Khomeinist leadership in Tehran gives Putin another card to play with minimum, not to say zero, actual political and/or economic investment by Russia.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Middle East, Russia, Vladimir Putin, War in Ukraine

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority