The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

British Intelligence Says Russian Casualties Up 90% + Palestine Update

I love this sort of thing.

Russian offensive military campaigns in eastern Ukraine have been partly behind a 90% increase in Russian casualties recorded by Ukraine, according to an intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence.

Russia has been carrying out offensive operations in the area of Avdiivka, a small city just to the north of Donetsk.

We’ll note first that UK intelligence has been just a wee bit biased. So if they say 90%, well, take it with a tablespoon of salt.

But let’s assume this is true. What that means is that on shifting to offense from defense, while attacking one of the most heavily fortified areas in Ukraine, Russian casualties have slightly less than doubled.

Which is dog bites man. It’s what you’d expect.

The question is advancement. Maps are quite different from different sources and so are casualty lists but it’s clear that this is slow work.

The bottom line is that Avdiivka is more heavily fortified than Bakhmut. Russia isn’t going to take it easily or quickly unless there is a Ukrainian collapse. Understand clearly that the US and NATO are running out of arms to send to Ukraine, and that artillery shells and missiles intended for Ukraine are now being sent to Israel.

The Palestinian/Israeli war is turning out to be a big plus for Russia and if the war expands, especially if the US becomes more directly involved, Ukraine may find itself out of equipment and ammunition. America is particularly like to go to war if Iran declares.

Without equipment, even the best fortifications won’t stand.

Meanwhile, in Palestine, the 17 trucks of relief were not, in the end, let in. Most Palestinians are down to about a liter of water a day, and not clean water either. Food is running out. The Israeli army has still not invaded Gaza. I would guess they are waiting for deprivation to do its work, and reluctant to allow any aid in because some of it would be used by Hamas fighters.

Israeli morale appears to be shaky, and they are very wary of invading a built up urban area with 40K entrenched fighters. Since they don’t feel they can win that battle as it stands (at least without shattering casualties) they are engaging in siege warfare. Unfortunately, there are 2 million civilians.

All hospitals in Gaza have been told they must evacuate, and are refusing. Anaesthetics are almost entirely out, so operations are being carried out without anaesthesia. Vinegar is being used as a disinfectant in some cases.

To call this a humanitarian disaster is to understate the case, but at least the Israelis have managed to make Russia look civilized.

I would expect massive breakouts of disease given the water and sanitation issues, especially if this goes on for weeks to months, as seems likely.

The Israeli end game appears to be genocide or full ethnic cleansing. We’ll see if they stick it out and if other forces allow it. Even US friendly states like Qatar and Jordan are becoming restive: Jordan’s King straight up refused to meet with Biden, which is amazing.

At least one Iraqi militia is moving to the border with Israel, and I expect many are. Hezbollah is being held back, I suspect, by a reluctance to have Lebanon subject to full bombing again, but have forced Israel to create a five mile DMZ on their border and to evacuate settlers.

I still think an OPEC embargo would be the simplest way to force an end to this, but if a military solution is desired, I’m sure Hezbollah and other potential antagonists want a simultaneous declaration of war.

The joker remains Israel’s nuclear weapons, with threats to glass Iran, and so on. The simplest solution would be to get a nuclear umbrella from Pakistan or Russia, but even that might not work if Israel thinks it is about to lose. To avoid that, a reciprocal threat would have to be made: a promise to not kill Israeli civilians unless nukes are used. Ugly, but Israel is, at least, acting like a mad dog.

This seems likely to drag out for quite some time, which is very bad for the civilians in Gaza.

If you ever wondered what you would do if a genocide was likely or occurring, you now know.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 22, 2023


The Lost Chance For Peace In Ukraine & What It Will Cost


  1. Poul

    I don’t know if Israel is not willing to accept large casualties in this war as long as they can kill a lot more Palestinians.

    The blind rage in this senior Likud leader, Amir Weitmann, is something to behold. Israeli soldiers are going to be influenced by their leaders. A lot of bridges are being burned.

  2. Tallifer

    According to analysis of Russian milbloggers and visually confirmed kills, the Russians have indeed suffered the loss over a hundred armoured vehicles and over a thousand soldiers in the past week, but unfortuanetly their meat grinder tactics appear to be having some effect, trading lives and equipment to deplete Ukrainian ammmunition and to exhaust defenders: even the pro-Ukrainian channel Reporting from Ukraine admits that the latest costly push secured a foothold on the intimidatingly high slag heap on the edge of the front line. 🙁

    Ukrainian supplies and ammunition might indeed deplete in proportion to Russia’s, because the dictatorships of China, Iran and North Korea are more willing to support their ally than the democracies of the West, who are undermined by the disproportionately-influensive MAGA Republicans and nostalgic-for_Sovieticum Eastern Europeans.

  3. Willy

    The most plausible reason for NATO’s “munitions supply deficiencies” would be if greedflation was involved. As in, Big Military-Industrial now wants much, much more money per unit because ya know… “supply chain problems”. This would be one advantage of authoritarianism. Dear Leader can quietly imply that if munitions don’t arrive timely and cheap then people get whacked. Or have resources cut off. And so Putin can produce more for less.

    Hmm. Since we’re 600+ days into this thing, would it be implausible to imply that Putin is in the very same biz as NATO Big Military-Industrial?

    No doubt Trump knows this and will promise an end to endless wars all Americafirst-like, while allowing endless wars all America-like, for public reasons of “That plays great before the election — now we don’t care, right?” and private reasons of too much influence money involved. Chaos creates cash and all. So we’re left with Biden tight-roping these messes once again internationally, while trying to whip up his wee taxpayers into more spending frenzies, to “save freedom and stuff”.

    I don’t pity Israeli fighters. You moved there, you sign up for that shit. Just like we Americans remaining in late-stage-capitalism America.

  4. Soredemos

    Any claims of British intelligence can be easily ignored. Remind me again, has ‘Putin run out of missiles’ yet? Tanks? Fuel? Food?


    This is your mind on propaganda.

    First, there’s nothing unfortunate about it. Ukraine deserves to lose.

    Second, Russia doesn’t rely on meatgrinder tactics. This is such a tired meme at this point. Russia has overwhelming artillery and air superiority, and is running this war as a sideshow with a main goal of minimizing its losses so it can keep most of its military in reserve to counter any overt NATO moves. Meanwhile it’s Ukraine that is scrapping together every kid and old man it can find to try and make up for a now near complete lack of heavy equipment.

    And third Russia isn’t being kept afloat by supplies from allies. This is again projection: Russia actually has a robust military infrastructure, while it’s the US and NATO that has depleted their own stores and produces only enough shells in a month for at best a couple days of fighting.

  5. Daniel Lynch

    get a nuclear umbrella from Pakistan or Russia, but even that might not work if Israel thinks it is about to lose. To avoid that, a reciprocal threat would have to be made: a promise to not kill Israeli civilians unless nukes are used.

    Last I heard, the current government in Pakistan takes orders from the U.S..

    Russia will look after Russia’s own interests, which means providing some support for Syria and Iran, but not a direct confrontation with the U.S. or Israel.

    Aleks at Black Mountain Analysis recently posted that he believes Iran has accepted the risk of being on the receiving end of a few Israeli nukes. Worth a read. But, is Israel even capable of delivering nukes to Israel? It’s 1000 miles away, and Iran has decent air defenses. I tend to agree with Aleks that Iran may be willing to take that chance.

  6. Mark Level

    Just responding to 2 of your most salient points, Ian–

    1. As to a 2nd OPEC complete shutdown of the West, I completely agree– I don’t see why they haven’t done it already. And this is why Russia is a natural ally of some of the more unsavory (Saudi, e.g.) Arab regimes. I don’t understand why it’s not a fait accompli. Even announcing it would be check & mate in one move!! (Let all of Europe freeze this winter.)

    2. As to your closer, “If you ever wondered what you would do if a genocide was likely or occurring, you now know.” Absolutely!! Caitlin Johnstone made this point recently, quoted someone who was openly advocating genocide (by Israel, of course) of civilians on “X”/ Twitter . . . will there be war crimes trials when the Unipolar NeoCon order destroys itself? We can only hope– the genocide crew are right out in the open.

    Oh, & thanks to all those who respond to Tallifer’s absurd Agitprop. Some people have brain damage from imbibing too much propaganda. Too bad they weren’t around as press attache to Napoleon’s troops on the glorious expedition to conquer Russia to announce all the brilliant “winning” the French did. I’m sure as the remnants of the army were retreating and freezing to death & dropping dead on the way, there could’ve been some great spin about how this proved the Empire’s sagesse et gloire.

  7. Purple Library Guy

    Tallifer actually has a point this time around. Not the stuff about supply from various countries, although Russia does indeed have a deal with NK for artillery shells, something North Korea has a lot of, and they do get a fair amount of parts from China. Go figure, China’s the world’s factory floor. Russia’s military industry is robust, and sure, they produce their own artillery shells . . . but that doesn’t mean they can’t want a few more.

    But it does seem to be true that Russia has taken quite a few casualties and lost quite a lot of armoured vehicles around Avdiivka–maybe not a hundred, but a bunch. And it does indeed seem to be mainly to try to take this one high point to the northwest of Avdiivka that totally commands the area. The thing is, Russia does not usually use “meatgrinder tactics”, but they may figure that if they can take this one point it will pay off in the long run. That is, they lose a bunch today, but then once they have that commanding strong point they can save a lot of casualties over the whole operation, because they’ll be able to see and bombard every move by the defenders all over the area.

    In fact, it seems likely that if they can take and hold that point, Avdiivka will go a lot faster than Bakhmut; it’s very much a key to the area.

  8. Curt Kastens

    RE: Palestine/Iran
    I read that Iran has called for an oil embargo of Israel. Yet I have not read about even one Arab country seconding that proposal. Though I do have to wonder if any Arab country sells oil directly to Israel in any case.
    That apparent lack of entusiasm for Iran’s proposal could be taken as strong evidence of the Arab world’s weakness and indecision about where to run and hide.
    India is making a fuss about China sending 6 warships to the Middle East. I would guess that they are going to show the Chinese Flag for Iran. But I have to really wonder if the Chinese think that they can have any effect what so ever. The US and its allies outnumber the Chinese and Russians in Aircraft Carriers 19 to 1. Wikipedia says that China has 3 carriers. But the first two did not even have a catapult launch system. Therefore they can not count for anything.
    This is my guess at how things will play out from this time. Though the mere fact of making a prediction public could theoretically cause a change in what side or the other decides to do.
    The Israelis will continue to massacre Palestinians. Eventually Hezbollah maybe with the support of some Iraqi shia militias launch a big enough attack on Israel that the US attacks Hezbollah, and maybe even at the same time. But assuming that it is only Hezbollah, Iraqi militias will then attack US occupation forces in Iraq. At that point the US will definately attack Iran claiming that Iran was beind the attacks in Iraq. Then Iran will launch missles against Israel. If the Iron Dome prevents any major damage the Iranian regime may look for a way out of further conflict. But if the Iranian missile attacks are some what effective that is going to is going to give the hawks in DC(the Pentagon) the green light to try to achieve regime change in Iran. And Iran will also be happy with further escelation because they will be confident that they can inflict serious harm on Israel at a minimum. The hawks in DC will be delighted because they do not care anymore about Israeli lives, that they do Ukrainian, or German lives. Hell these hawks do not even care about American lives.
    So now a lot of people are going to get screwed by war. This is likely to turn in to a world war of the US and its allies against Russia and China and its allies. The war is a prequel to getting screwed by climate change. I think that the balance of power still rests with the US. I guess that is why they are in such a hurry to take on Russia, China, and Iran all at the same time. The hawks in DC want to fight the war while the balance of power is still on their side. Considering how environmental collapse is going to wash away any US achievments like a sand castle getting washed away by the tide the whole desire to fight a war seems incredibly stupid when viewed from the point of view a reasonable western leader, if there was such a thing.
    The Russian, Chinese, and Iranian leadership could of course surrender which would avoid a war. But no one likes to be pushed around by a bully. And these people have been pushed around for decades if not centuries. I do not blame them for fighting rather than surrendering. In fact if the result is that humanity goes extinct due to nuclear war. I am Ok with that. I would much prefer that than to have Biden or Trump in office for even one more day. Because that would mean that the US MIC is still running the USA(includes Israel) and Europe, Japan, Australia, and Canada.
    But I do not think that a global nuclear war is likely to happen. Once one side or the other collapses it will no longer have to power to maintain control over its nuclear arsenal. (not to mention the secret US Space Command Program that prevents a Russian or Chinese strategic nuclear attack)((And who knows maybe the Russians and Chinese have developed an equivelent program)) The odds that side A collapses first are 40%. That leaves the odds of a side B victory at 40%. I know I know that is a funny way to state it.
    over and rout

  9. bruce wilder

    “a 90% increase in Russian casualties recorded by Ukraine,according to an intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence”

    so UK military repeats what the Ukraine armed forces tell them, based on what? field reports?

    Body count is damn silly idea to begin with, reducing the barbarity of war to a score, as if that “score” determined the outcome as it would in a football game.

    It is part of the war of narratives — another silly notion, as if winning a war was a matter persuading journalists to repeat your talking points. But, here we see it: journalists faithfully report a press release from British military public relations as if it was a report from military intelligence gathering via objective measures or observations, even though they flat out say that they are repeating reports from UAF public relations. Fog of war, I guess.

  10. Carborundum

    Many opinions, little knowledge. Amazing how narrow the soda straw has become in the new media landscape of the past decade. We really are in the time of pick the facts you like.

  11. NR

    It’s always darkly amusing when people here decry Western propaganda and then regurgitate Russian propaganda in the same breath.

    Over the last year and a half, I’ve seen multiple instances where armchair generals here stated with absolute conviction that Russia was going to win the war in two to three weeks. One would think that this would make them read the social media influencers they follow a little more critically, but alas, it doesn’t seem that’s happened.

  12. what is to be done

    The blind rage in this senior Likud leader, Amir Weitmann, is something to behold. Israeli soldiers are going to be influenced by their leaders. A lot of bridges are being burned.

    Indeed. Here it is again:

    So, Israel and the Zionists are lashing out at the entire world, per usual. The RT host did a nice job in simply allowing Amir Weitmann’s insanity to shine for all the world to see.

    Incidentally, the twitter user who posted this tweet – “Meagan Brown” – is all-in on the Zionist project. She is not posting this to unveil to the world Weitmann’s insanity. She is posting this because she agrees with it and is rooting it on – thus unveiling her own insanity in the process.

    Israel’s economy minister, Nir Barkat, recently threatened to wipe Iran off the face of the earth.

    I guess detente isn’t good for Israel’s economy. War is the health of the state. And beyond:

    “Zionism has in reality revealed itself as one of the varieties of the theory and practice of the most aggressive imperialistic circles striving for world supremacy. In this respect it is similar to fascism. The only difference between them is that Hitler’s Nazism was performing under the guise of German nationalism and sought world supremacy openly. And Zionism, performing under the guise of Jewish nationalism, is operating stealthily, using other people’s hands.

    We have never put an equation mark between the notions of a ‘Jew’ and a ‘Zionist.’ The spread of Zionist ideology among the Jewish people is by far not the fault, but a misfortune of the Jewish people.” – Gennady Zyuganov

    The following excerpts are from an article entitled “Palestine and Zioinism: The Whole Truth” by author, Middle East Chief Correspondent for Independent Television News, and BBC Panorama host, Alan Hart.

    Hart begins the article with some background:

    “The following is the text of a presentation I made last week to audiences in Sardinia on the occasion of the publication of Volume One of the Italian edition of my book ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS. (It and the German edition are being published by Zambon, a publishing house owned and led by a very brave and courageous German Jewish gentlemen. Giuseppe Zambon).

    Brainwashed and idiotic Zionists in Sardinia tried and failed to have some of my lectures and debates cancelled by accusing me of being an anti-Semite who is inciting anti-Semitism. They knew nothing about my book and its contents and were reading from Zionism’s script. Their efforts resulted in increased sales of my book!”

    Alan Hart then goes on to describe his close relationship with Golda Meir Mabovitch over the years. Meir was fourth the prime minister of Israel, and the first and only woman to date.

    The article is well worth reading in its entirety. But I want to skip to Hart’s closing, in which Golda Meir’s words bring us full circle to what is going on in the Middle East right now. Alan Hart concluded his presentation in Sardinia by saying:

    “But I have a caution. Even if the day comes when the governments of the major powers are prepared to confront Zionism it could not be taken for granted that Israel’s leaders would say: ‘Okay. We’ll do what you want.’

    My reason for saying that is a statement Prime Minister Golda Meir made to me in one of my interviews with her for the BBC’s Panorama programme in 1972. At a point I said to her:

    ‘Prime Minister, I want to be sure I understand what you have just said… You did mean that in a doomsday situation Israel would be prepared to take the region and the world down with it?’

    Without a pause for reflection Golda replied: ‘Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.’

    That interview was broadcast on BBC 1 at eight o’clock on a Monday evening. An hour later The Times of London, then a seriously good newspaper, changed its lead editorial to quote what Golda said to me. It then added its own opinion – ‘We had better believe her.’

    I did then and I still do.”

    The other day, former Air Force pilot and current geopolitical risk analyst Chuck Watson spoke to former Lehman banker and current big picture oil/energy/materials systems thinker Nate Hagens on Nate’s podcast “The Great Simplification.” Chuck Watson has decades of experience in both civil defense and military and nuclear strategy. In short, he runs wargames scenarios.

    Nate: “Just to time stamp this since world events are quite dynamic, this is Wednesday October 18, 2023 at eight in the morning, my time.

    You and I talk quite often. You were one of my very first podcast guests, our first conversation was almost two years ago, recorded in December 2021, before the Russia-Ukraine-Nato incursion.

    And I asked you on that podcast, what was the biggest risk facing humanity, and you immediately mentioned nuclear war possibilities in the next twenty four months. You said, and I quote,

    ‘I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to reduce the level of geopolitical tensions.’

    So at the time this was not something on my radar, and looking through the transcript of that podcast we talked about Ukraine, Taiwan, Africa and the Middle East. Two months later the war in Ukraine broke out, there have been revolutions in Africa. War has broken out between Israel and Hamas with the risk of spreading through the region and possibly going nuclear. Tensions with China are high.

    It feels like we are on the verge of a tectonic shift and perhaps World War III. Are things really falling apart, and why. Can you give us a big picture update.”

    Chuck: “I think the big picture is that things are falling apart. And part of the reason is that the international order, the systems where countries deal with each other, talk with each other, has just pretty well broken down.

    And that’s a tough place to be because once you start breaking up into these different camps that not only don’t talk to each other but fundamentally don’t share values. and by values I don’t mean moral or ethical values. They don’t…you look at how BRICS solves problems, you look at how the US, the west solves problems – they’re radically different approaches to international problem solving. And so the UN system is completely broken down.

    Yeah, it does feel like things are worse.”

    Nate: “And how does Israel complicate this situation?”

    “Gosh, the Israeli situation Nate, and a little on my background, I basically lived in Israel for two years, I ran secure satellite communications for the US-Middle East diplomatic missions, guys like McFarland and Rumsfeld.

    I can give you just one little snapshot, to put it in context. Everyone is so upset with the Russia-Ukraine, about civilian casualties. Well, there have been more civilian casualties in ten days of the war between Hamas and Israel than there have been in two years of high intensity conventional warfare between Ukraine and Russia.

    More specifically:

    Palestinian death toll 5,087 (5,087 in Gaza (including at least 2,055 children and 1,119 women, and at least 95 in the West Bank); 17,332 injured (15,898 in Gaza – 70% of them women and children – and over 1,434 in the West Bank).

    It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties. About 1.4 million people have been displaced, more than 1,000 missing and presumed to be under rubble.

    Israeli death toll remains near 1,400 (1 killed in West Bank, 1 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and 4,562 injured.

    “Now, think about that. The level of brutality in the Middle East is really phenomenal, and the question is why. And here in the west we tend to not like to talk it about that much because we tend to think of things in more secular terms, we tend to think that religion and those kinds of things are something you do on Sunday. But it’s a way of life in most of the world, and I think that’s one of the areas that in US foreign policy we don’t appreciate the depth of feeling, of hatred, of animosity and of resentment, and of history that is involved in this conflict.

    The whole concept of periodization, where do you start history. Well, okay, if you’re going to start it on October 7, then your sympathies are going to be with Israel. But if you start it two days earlier, even, on October 5, then you go wow, the Israelis were encouraging rabbis to do prayers within the Muslim compound on Temple Mount. And so that was a trigger maybe for Hamas. And so you start going back more and more in time until eventually you realize this is a lot of complex history, with a lot of blood and the level of brutality, I think, is something that people don’t really appreciate in the west so much.”

    The Israeli Strike on Al Ahli Hospital days BEFORE the famous blast.

    Ethnic Cleansing Returns to Israel’s Agenda

    “The point is that, and that’s another reason why, the fear is that crossing that nuclear threshold is much easier now because of precision targeting and you can convince yourself well, I can hit just what I’m after, and not cause a lot of collateral damage. Ah, again though, you’re right, the psychological threshold of okay, now you have used a nuclear weapon, does the other side now feel freer to use a nuclear weapon against your troop concentrations, against a port maybe.

    Do you start to, and that’s where, as we discussed in the previous podcast, the whole “Proud Prophet” exercise and this whole attitude of, once you cross that nuclear threshold, where’s the bright line where you stop? And once you’re at war and once you’re starting to sling these things around, I’m not sure there’s a place where one side or the other’s going to be willing to stop.

    You have to be willing to lose.

    Again, I keep coming back to, what line are you not willing to cross? At what point are you willing to lose, rather than cross some line.

    I don’t think the Israelis have a line when it comes to that. Does the US? I have fears about that. I don’t believe that Russia does, in the sense that, if it becomes existential, I think that they would result in a strategic exchange in order to maintain some semblance of the Russian Federation.”

    Nate: “Let’s talk about Russia and Ukraine briefly…How does the Middle East situation change the Russia-Nato situation?”

    Chuck: “I think it increases the risk of the Ukrainians doing something really stupid in the short term. Of course, the US has been secretly shipping them these advanced tactical missile systems – ATACMS – that they started using for longer range missiles. That sort of happened under the radar here with everything going on with Hamas.

    The problem is that the money is drying up. You can already see many of the pro-Ukrainian twitter bots are starting to disappear because the money’s dried up. So, you can see, I think that Ukraine is going to get desperate and they’re likely to try to do something. I think we’re going to have a radiological event within the next few months unless Russia’s very careful and pulls this thing to a close in the short term.”

    Nate: “What’s a radiological event?”

    “So, blowing up a reactor and causing a mass casualty event within Ukraine. I think that has a very high likelihood right now. Because they’re desperate. They need to try to reengage western attention which right now is entirely focused on Israel and the Middle East.

    And, the US in particular, if it’s a choice between Ukraine and Israel…well, Ukraine goes under the bus.

    So, I think they realize that and they’re desperate. So, the question is, are they desperate enough to negotiate, or are they desperate enough to try to do something to reengage western attention. Unfortunately, I think it may well be that latter thing.

    Now, I think the chances of US intervention just got a lot smaller. You know, we’re having to redeploy forces to the Middle East. If this does start to involve where the US is protecting Israel’s northern flank with Hezbollah, and I think you’re going to see a massive US intervention in Syria, to try to block the Iranian pipeline supplies getting to Hezbollah, so I think if it goes that route then we actually will have a lower chance of any kind of direct war with Russia. I think it’ll be very messy and ugly what happens in Ukraine but it’ll bet sorted out without us. And then, unfortunately, there’s the higher risk of tactical exchange in the Middle East of some kind.”

    Chuck Watson: Nuclear War: All the Questions You Were Afraid to Ask


    “I don’t understand your optimism. Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault?

    They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it’s simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipe us out.”

    – David Ben Gurion speaking to Nahum Goldmann, as recounted in the latter’s memoirs

    A Practical Appraisal of Palestinian Violence:

  13. Jessica

    Aleks at Black Mountain Analysis

    This site engages in Israeli/Zionist propaganda. From the “Israel-Genesis” section:

    “Israel was founded by the Victors of WW2, with the help of the United Nations. The goal was to give Jewish people a common home at a place with historic value for the Jewish people. Given the persecution and genocides suffered by the Jewish people throughout the centuries, it was the right thing to do.”

    This is straight Zionist propaganda. The all-too-familiar historical persecution complex and narrative, coupled with a nod to Palestine’s “historic value for the ‘Jewish people.'”

    The Zionist goal for Palestine well predates WWII, going back to the mid 1800’s – and much earlier if one considers its intimate ties to aspects of the Judaic canon.

    That one paragraph blurb, sans any historical substance, and ending with the definitive statement “it was the right thing to do” – as if ethnically cleansing/genociding the native population isn’t even open to debate here, let alone being condemned for the terror and war crime they are.

    The paragraph is intentionally crafted so as to leave the reader with the exact impression I just described. It’s Hasbara.

  14. Carborundum

    Regarding the movement of PMU elements towards Syria, it may well be that they are intended to pressure US forces in Syria (manufacturing diplomacy-chips). Multiple source reporting within the last 24 hrs of multiple US bases there being attacked.

  15. Willy


    So Russia didn’t win within a couple weeks? Well obviously, that could only mean that the war is just a sideshow while Putin tends to far more important matters. I wonder what the real goal for Putin propagandists could possibly be?

    The best way to ruin “the left” is to make them seem like petty, self-important petulants who continuously squabble amongst themselves due to a lack of principles and yet, demand power. Why don’t they focus on the people who never actually soldier, the elites who cause it all?

  16. NR


    I’m not sure that most of the Russia boosters are on “the left” in any meaningful way. But then again, it’s hard to say because the definition of “the left” is hard to nail down these days. For decades now, the left has been defined mostly by the right, which is probably where the root of the problem lies.

  17. Soredemos

    @Curt Kastens

    Iron Dome is of extremely limited use. It can just about mostly keep up with Hamas’s shitty homemade rockets, but even that rapidly, and expensively, depletes it. Hezbollah has better, and many more, rockets, and Iran, an actual nation-state with an industrial complex, has even better. If two or three of those were to properly coordinate Hamas would deplete the defenses before one or both of the others went to town with their better munitions. In fact even if fighting Iron Dome by themselves it’s likely a lot of Hezbollah or Iranian attacks would get through.

    @bruce wilder

    It’s crude and ugly, but body counts matter. When one side is on wave twelve or something of conscription and is having to pass laws allowing it to deploy regional militias of old men to the front lines, while the other side…isn’t, one side is clearly much worse off.


    I don’t know who these people were supposedly predicting the war would be over in weeks, but it’s no one I pay attention to.

    @what is to be done

    Israel has completely lost its mind. Whatever happens, however this plays out, hasbara is dead. Israel is in pure ‘might makes right’ mode, and going forward it might as well just lean into that as justification. Senior Israeli officials seem to all be completely feral now in both their words and actions. The latest as of today is the foreign minister throwing a hissyfit and demanding the Secretary General of the UN resign because Israel doesn’t like what he’s been saying. It’s completely absurd. I want to say it’s outrageous, but it’s more just petulant and goofy. It’s an extremely bad, dumb look.

  18. Willy

    Some are probably disgruntled “leftists” of the anti-anything-west, cool-to-be-a-rebel, kind. I’ve seen the leftist sites out there which simplify anything “western” as always evil and talk up BRICS authoritarians and mullahs as being always-benevolent.

    But many do seem to be dissembler MAGAs, BRICS bots, paid plutocratic tools trying to divide and divert for purposes of maintaining and enhancing their status quo.

    I try to keep it simple and question everything “elite” without hopefully, straying into too much doubt. It’s so easy to imagine elites of any stripe or persuasion becoming so insulated and isolated that they lose touch with common reality.

  19. bruce wilder

    I definitely heard some “experts” give an impression that Russian military forces at the beginning of the “SMO” were efficient and formidable, while Ukraine was weak.

    It was a cacophony amidst competing narratives, with few voices anchoring facts before narrative. Critical facts like the weakness of Russian forces – the main body of the Army being one-year conscripts legally unavailable. The motley crew of militias and mercenaries were described by pro-Ukraine voices as “elite” when convenient and the pro-Russian voices did not dispute them. That Ukraine had the Russians outnumbered was overlooked frequently when Ukraine had to seem the underdog.

    The morons in the Biden Admin that are so determined to provoke war on all fronts certainly did not want to admit that Russia had practically demilitarized prior to being given a wake up call by the neocons. And those invested in being Cassandras warning against the provocation wanted to make the case that Ukraine could not win and Russia was to be feared.

    It is ridiculous that we are in the narrative prisons constructed by these evil zealots and moral pygmies. But that is where we are.

  20. Ian Welsh

    I think the main mistake which was made about Russia-pre war was actually about Ukraine. They did a huge buildup and had massively fortified the East. Most people, myself included, to my embarassment, didn’t realize that and expected strength ratios to be similar to 2014.

    The war was planned by NATO for a long time, and they put a ton of work into getting Ukraine ready.

    Still, without all-out continued NATO support, they would have been pushed steadily back after the initial failure at Kiev, I suspect.

    Nonetheless, I think Bruce is right: Russia was largely demilitarized, at least compared to its potential, and almost everyone underestimated just how much they were able to turn on the taps, vastly increasing military production even without full mobilization or a full wartime economy.

    The alliance/purchases from Iran were no surprise, nor was Chinese support, but the renewed ties with North Korea, while making 100% sense once the sanctions hit, were also something most people missed.

  21. Soredemos

    The IDF’s official Twitter account just mocked the UN asking for fuel to keep Gazan hospitals running by telling them to go ask Hamas for fuel.

    I’m at a complete loss for words. Israel has lost its fucking mind.

  22. VietnamVet

    @what is to be done
    I agree with the rational discussion of the basic irrational decision to become nuclear kamikazes rather than lose top dog status and the BRICS nations (a third of the world’s economy). Instead, sign a UN armistice, build a new Iron/Bamboo Curtain, and not invade Gaza. Armageddon is avoided.

    The death of 70 million Americans in a nuclear war is acceptable to the Neo-cons to remain the global hegemon. Corporate state propaganda continues to ignore this. The 2024 US Presidential candidate who promises peace is under federal and state criminal proceedings and facing jail time. The Georgia Indictment is because of the Trump Camp’s belief that the 2020 election was stolen; they took apart a DeKalb county’s electronic voting machine which is against the law.

    It is not just me, isolated in suburbia due to the endemic omicron variant, things are falling apart. Five Republican Congressmen can bring down the US federal government with a debt of 33 trillion dollars by the end of November. Violence could well be, again, the only way to preserve the USA’s secular Constitutional Union or this time cause its destruction.

  23. Curt Kastens

    The World’s MSM reports on events in Palestine as if it is the Israeli cabinet that will determine Israeli behavior. That is of course reporting on events as if the orthodox view of politics represents reality.
    One variation of this view is that the American Israeli Political Action Committee is such a powerful lobbying group in the United States that it controls US foreign policy.
    Another variation is that Israel is America’s defacto 51st state. Under this version the leader of Israel is has no more power over US foriegn policy, including what Israel does or does not get from the United States than, Strom Thurmand, or any other member of the KKK does.
    If the Israel as 51st state version is true the Israeli MIC is a subsiderary of the US MIC.
    That means that every atrocity that the Israelis committ is by extension an atrocity that the US MIC committs. It should be obvious that the US MIC would not want that Israel as 51st state version gain wide public acceptance. It should be obvious that the US MIC would have taken many many actions over the decades to ensure that the 51st state version does not gain wide public acceptance.
    To bad that the US MIC has been so successful in its public manipulation. No one will in the USA will ever be held accountable. This lack of a balance of power will lead to more and more atrocities until environmental collapse causes a great silence. Ok theoretically the Russians and Chinese could sack Washington DC and occupy the entire US and they could appoint me as their puppet governor so I could execute millions of confederates for treason. (Remember confederate is a euphamisism for counterfit.) And I would not forget to slowly torture to death the highest ranking ones before they were then executed.
    For years I have maintained that the United States Government is controlled by a continuing criminal enterprise. But I have to start recognizing that the United States has really devolved into a continuing criminal sociopathic society. Perhaps there was a time back in the late 60s or early 70s when America could have been salvaged by placing 10,000 or so powerful people on death row or in prison for a very long time. But that was never done. Over the past 60 years or so those 10,000 people and their successors have corrupted almost the entire nation.
    I would like to encourage the Chinese and Russians to carry this war out to its final conclusion. I really mean that.
    In that requards I think that pakistan should join in the endevor. And I think that China should push for making the Indian currency the currency that will be used for international oil and natural gas payments (coal too). This will make it easier for India to firmly join the anti imperialist camp.
    And if all of this conflict results in just changing a set of old corrupt bosses for a set of new corrupt bosses that will still be a welcome view of new scenery.

  24. StewartM

    Vietnam Vet

    The 2024 US Presidential candidate who promises peace is under federal and state criminal proceedings and facing jail time.

    Trump’s verbiage about him being for peace is just about as reliable as his verbiage about taxing Wall Street hedge fund managers, giving everyone ‘great health care’, or promising to stop the hemorrhage of US industries (the tax cut of 2017 he signed made it *EASIER* to offshore industries, not harder). No sane person should trust him.

    Indeed, Trump has publically said at his rallies that we should “just take their oil” in regards to the Middle East, speaking of Iraq and Iran, which I don’t think can ever be done peaceably.


    But then again, it’s hard to say because the definition of “the left” is hard to nail down these days.

    That’s because the left is split between people of principle vs people who play interest politics. For examples:

    Everyone agrees that the Holocaust was horrific, and that Jews have been the victims of waves of persecution throughout European history.

    Some draw from this that ethnic cleansing and genocide must be forever opposed. Others draw from it “we must always support the Jews” (meaning here, Israel).

    This goes with domestic politics too. Everyone should agree that women have historically been treated as second-class citizens and less than equal in our history. Some draw from this that treating anyone as a second-class citizen is wrong and should be a opposed. Others draw “we must always support women’s issues” including the Me Too-ism of “women [and children] must always be believed in sexual misconduct cases”. The latter appear to have forgotten their history, of–say–the Scottsboro case of the 1930s, where two white women accused nine black young men of raping them, getting them convicted and facing death, only later admitting that they had indeed lied about the whole affair.

  25. Stephen Bobb

    NATO is losing in Ukraine to a superior military force.

  26. Carborundum

    Let’s save some critique for those who systematically over-estimated Russian capabilities. They borked their coup de main pretty badly (good strategy, though) and their administrative movement to contact was truly a thing to behold. In fairness, one could argue that no observer could plausibly expect *that* much of a goat rope, but it does speak to the systematic nature of the bias.

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