memri
June 2, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8774

Russian Reactions To The Riots: Government Gloats, Commentators Assess Political Fallout On US Presidential Elections

June 2, 2020
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8774
Russia's political establishment drew satisfaction at seeing American pretensions to lecture others on human rights punctured by the killing of George Floyd and the massive demonstrations that it triggered. This satisfaction was somewhat tempered by the knowledge that liberal voices in the United States, for example George Soros, were not Russia's friends and some commentators even endorsed the theory that the Democrats had instigated and were trying to capitalize on the riots. Russia's wariness about the Democrats was also reflected in the quick reaction to remarks by Obama's National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, that insinuated that Russia had a hand in the riots. Russian press commentary also speculated on how the disorders would impact on the November 2020 presidential elections in the United States. Below is a survey of Russian reactions to the events in the United States: Demonstrator confronts policemen (Source: Vesti.ru) Government Outlets: The US Is Getting A Taste Of Its Maidan Medicine Russian officials, surrogates and state-controlled outlets expressed satisfaction at America's discomfiture and the discomfiture of Russian liberals, who disdained their government and looked up to the US. Senator Alexey Pushkov tweeted: The US is starting to crumble. This is visible in Syria and Afghanistan, in the disaster with Covid-19 within the USA itself, in the [US'] inability to help its European allies at the peak of the pandemic, in the hysterical but sketchy accusations against China, in the racial rebellion, in the internal schism. The US has entered an era of turmoil.[1] Alexey Pushkov (Source: Mk.ru) Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  in a televised appearance claimed she was not gloating over the "terrifying and unimaginable" images an felt compassion for a nation "that is torn apart by such terrible contradictions." However, the events had revealed American hypocrisy on the human rights issue: "This national tragedy revealed something, what they [Americans] probably did not want to talk about or listen to, but on what they eagerly lectured the whole world. Namely [I’m talking] about a tragedy in the 'human rights' sphere, in the very field that Americans always considered to be resolved and problem-free for the US. The leadership in the human rights sphere, which they arrogated to themselves, turned out to be no leadership at all. "It was now clear why the United States withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2018. “Apparently, they understood what was happening inside their own state, and left the Human Rights Council. And now this 'abscess' has burst."[2] TV presenter Vladimir Soloviev, a major regime surrogate, posted on his Telegram channel: “So, the United States has not yet found the 'hand of Moscow' in the riots? What are they waiting for...And why are all our opposition members silent? [I guess] the US manual [on the issue] is delayed, and they are not accustomed to using their own brains. How is the [US] State Department doing? Have they already demanded to release all those detained by the police, and not to interfere with the will of the people? Has the [economic stimulus] 'Helicopter money' helped? Judging by the joy with which shops are being looted, people don’t feel prosperous…  Maybe the United States made a mistake in choosing the way to combat the coronavirus… The old recipe: racism and police lawlessness. 'Black Lives Matter' has turned into 'I Can't Breathe.'"[3] The Russian service of Russia Today (RT), the government-controlled outlet referred to the events as an American "Maidan". Maidan was the central square in Kiev where pro-Western demonstrators brought down the Kremlin-friendly government of Alexander Yanukovich. Putin has seen the US as the prime instigato. Now America was seeing how it felt RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said: "In almost any other country, such a Maidan, as is now occurring in the States, would very quickly lead to regime change. But in America it will not do so. Because America does not have a second America that would aid this Maidan. And over the past many years I can’t recall a single regime change that could have been accomplished without active American help."[4] Military correspondent Semyon Pegov amplified the Maidan theme in an opinion column for RT: "It would seem that the ideals by which the protesting Americans are driven are far from the worldview of Ukrainian radicals, but in this case, it does not really matter. In an ideological sense, the Americans received a 'Maidan in reverse', but, I repeat, this is not that important. The chaos factor itself is important, which is the fundamental active force in such events. I will expand this thought. "Over the past few decades (30, maybe 40 years), the United States has adhered to a 'controlled chaos' strategy, which it actively spread to state entities that broke away as a result of the USSR's collapse, and then to dozens of other countries of Eastern Europe (and with the beginning of the “Arab Spring” ”This American trend from the 1990s again found broad application in Egypt, Libya, Syria and other countries of the region). So, that in adhering to the strategy of 'controlled chaos', the States, unexpectedly for all, were themselves engulfed by it. The only question is how much it is controlled and by whom… "But along with sympathy for those who suffer from American chaos, I am grateful for these protests, inter alia for their wonderful lesson. [They provide] an illustrative lesson for those who considered and still consider Russia to be a police state. Those who compare the actions of the Russian National Guard at the [opposition] demonstrations almost to a massacre by African dictators. Against the background of how the American security forces work and disperse the protests, our Russian riot police seem like good boys with impeccable education received in high-school school. It suffices to track on which day of the rally the first shots were fired (no matter what weapon), and then recall what our Russian national guardsmen, who are sent to disperse unauthorized processions are usually armed with."[5] Semyon Pegov (Source: Gazeta.ru) The Maidan parallel was also invoked by Vladimir Vasiliev, the chief researcher at the US and Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in an interview with Izvestia.[6] on Monday, June 1. However, Vasiliev believes that the riots do not spring from economic malaise but are directly related to the American elections. He believes that a true threat exists that the party that loses these elections will refuse to recognize the results and then either the Democrats or the Republicans will appeal to the masses and try to settle the issue in the streets: "The Americans have rolled out this concept many times for other countries. When people in these countries were dissatisfied with the election results, 'color revolutions' took place there, the masses came out, demanding that the results should not be recognized and should be altered. I think this technology - the organization of the All-American Maidan - is being fully developed in order to influence the election results in the right direction if they do not suit the Democratic Party" observed Vasiliev. He believed that the protest rallies were coordinated and organized by the leadership of the Democratic Party's National Committee.  To support this thesis, Vasiliev claimed that the riots occurred in electorally important states. “The state of Minnesota is a pro-Democratic state with very progressive traditions in the struggle for the rights of the working class of workers. California, Texas, Washington. In the Republican states and cities, the situation is relatively calmer, they maintain order a bit better," concluded Vasiliev. Journalist Fillipov:  In America, Black Lives Do Not Really Matter Artyem Fillipov writing in vz.ru believes that the protests reflect the fact that there has been little progress in eradicating racism in the US: "Despite all the efforts of the federal government, the expert community and activists, the years of reform and millions of dollars, police violence is still an urgent problem for the United States. The incident in Minneapolis has once again demonstrated that the practice of ill-treatment of blacks by the US law enforcement agencies has not yet been eliminated. The criminal justice system is in many ways a modern embodiment of racial terror. It seemed that such an attitude towards the Negro population remained in the distant past of American history. However, as it turns out, today the life of African-Americans in the USA still does not have much significance. Not surprisingly, mass protests of blacks are sweeping across the country."[7] Researcher Blokhin: Unsolved Racial Problems And Depression-like Economic Conditions Behind Disturbances According to Konstantin Blokhin, a leading researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences Center for Security Studies, the United States is suffering from a racial problem caused by social stratification, which the American political establishment cannot solve. "Therefore, representatives of the US establishment are now trying to implicate Russia, although it was not the Russian police who killed George Floyd," Blokhin noted. He added that the current protests were fueled by the difficult economic situation and the rise in unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. "The situation in the United States today is comparable to the Great Depression."[8] Putin Spokesman Peskov Distinguishes Between Susan Rice, Who Blamed Russia For Instigating Riots And The Trump Administration That Did Not Do So Another issue, already touched upon above by Vladimir Vasiliev was who stood behind the riots and who sought to gain from them. Russian officials were quick to push back against a May 31, 2020 interview by Susan Rice, who served as Obama's national security adviser accusing Russia of complicity in the violence. Dr. Rice told CNN that Russia not only sought to disgrace the United States, but to pit Americans against each other: "We have peaceful protesters focused on the very real pain and disparities that we're all wrestling with that have to be addressed, and then we have extremists who've come to try to hijack those protests and turn them into something very different. And they're probably also, I would bet based on my experience, I'm not reading the intelligence these days, but based on my experience this is right out of the Russian playbook as well."[9] Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov responded: "Of course, we are very closely watching what is happening in the United States. But everything that happens there is an internal affair of this country…We have never interfered in American affairs and are not going to intervene now." Responding directly to Rice, Peskov said: "Any insinuations like the one you mentioned are, of course, completely wrong, erroneous. And, as far as we understand, such insinuations can in no way reflect the official point of view in Washington."[10] Dmitry Peskov (Source: Tass.ru) If Peskov was relatively diplomatic Zakharova slammed Rice on her Facebook account: "Former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice suggested in an interview (CNN) Sunday that the Russians could be behind the violent nationwide demonstrations following the in-custody death of George Floyd. "I did not believe it until i saw the interview. And now I want to react. "Dear Suzan (sic) Rice, "Some time ago your party colleagues made a fatal mistake when they decided to blame absolutely everything that was not to their liking on Russia. Hillary Clinton and the Obama team convinced themselves and tried to convince the world that the domestic problems in the United States were created and encouraged by an external force: Russia. "You are repeating this mistake today together with a CNN reporter, using dirty methods of information manipulation, such as fake news and absolutely no facts to prove your allegation. "Your interview with CNN is a perfect example of barefaced propaganda. "I would like to remind you that the social media, which you believe are being used by Russian agents to fuel protests in American cities, were registered in the United States, belong to Americans and are regulated by American laws. "Are you trying to play the Russia card again? You have been playing too long; please, come back to reality. Go out and face your people, look them in the eye and try telling them that they are being controlled by the Russians through YouTube and Facebook. And I will sit back and watch 'American exceptionalism' in action. "Not Yours, "Maria Zakharova, Russian MFA’s spokeswoman"[11] If Zakharova was outraged at Rice's attempts to impute responsibility to Russia, some Russian commentators were not shy about accusing the Democrats of complicity. The popular Boiler Room Telegram channel commented: "Inhabitants of African-American ghettos, Mexicans have always been the Democrats' strike force. The scandal with the murder of George Floyd by a white cop (who was photographed in a 'Trump cap') will certainly be used by the Democrats against Trump. The colored people along with the radical feminists were the strike force of the Democrats in the last US presidential election. The continuation of the riots, and widespread discussion of the tragic event on all television channels are in the interests of Trump's opponents.”[12] The conservative Tsargrad.tv in an article titled "Bandits on the Pay of Soros Torch Minneapolis the Protesters Are Not Local reached the same conclusion and cited a tweet by conservative activist Candice Owens: "The Minneapolis chief of police just confirmed that many of the protesters that are burning down the city are NOT FROM MINNEAPOLIS. My guess: As he did with Antifa, Democrat George Soros has these thugs on payroll. He is funding the chaos via his Open Society Foundation." [13] Russian Commentators: The Disorders Will Not Necessarily Hurt Donald Trump's Electoral Prospects Russian commentators believed that the disorders did not doom Donald Trump in November Tass Article: The Riots Will Frighten The Political Center Into Voting For Trump TASS conducted an interview with Andrei Korobkov, a professor of political science at the Middle Tennessee State University. Korobkov, a graduate of Moscow State University has maintained his ties with pro-Kremlin think tanks. Korobkov believes that the riots will push the Democratic Party further to the left and this will benefit Trump. "All this leads to the strengthening of ultra-leftist groups within the Democratic Party and in general on the left flank,". These political forces Korobkov, used the protests from their very outset to attack the Trump administration. According to Korobkov, the Democrats, in particular, are disappointed that the coronavirus pandemic did not produce the effect they were counting on. "It did not lead to a catastrophic drop in Trump's ratings," the professor said. At the same time, Korobkov predicted that riots and protests, while strengthening the left wing of the Democrats, will at the same time weaken the general position of that party in the long run. "Because, of course, the political center is always scared when outbreaks of violence occur, when it becomes really dangerous for itself." As a result, Biden’s position in the November elections will be somewhat weakened, while Trump will get stronger. [14] Andrei Korobkov (Source Valdai.com) Russian Think Tank Director Kortunov: Riots Will Not Decide The Presidential Race Andrei Kortunov, Director General of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, commented on the riots in the United States: “The outbursts of violence indicate the existence of a very deep [social] split in the United States. The situation is tense. Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, this tension is likely to remain.” According to Kortunov, the riots will not affect the final result of the presidential race. In the current situation, Trump will appeal to the blacks not as an ethnic group, but “to that category of blacks that can be considered to be traditional middle class…But It is hard to say yet how convincing this tactic will be, because the middle class has a choice: to return to jobs (this is what Trump wants), or to continue receiving social aid, which are guaranteed by the Democrats…The Democrats have long and consistently worked on the minorities. They lost their traditional working class electoral base to the Republicans, but the minorities are still voting for them. It is unlikely that Trump will be able to grab African-American votes, by focusing on ethnicity]. His strategy is to contrast ethnicity with all-American patriotism." [15] Andrei Kortunov (Source: Iz.ru) Alexei Fenenko, assistant professor of international security at Moscow State University’s faculty of world politics also believes the riots will not be a factor in the election. "Trump initially relies on the white states of the Midwest; he does not bet on states in which color minorities predominate. Therefore, just the opposite, the fact that Trump applies toughness can greatly increase his rating in the states he relies on."[16]   [1] Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, June 1, 2020. [2] Tass.ru, May 30, 2020. [3] T.me/SolovievLive, May 30, 2020. [4] Vz.ru, May 31, 2020. [5] Russian.rt.com, May 31, 2020. [6] Iz.ru, June 1, 2020. [7] Vz.ru, May 28, 2020. [8]  Russian.rt.com, June 1, 2020. [9] Cnn.com, May 31, 2020. [10] Tass.ru, June 1, 2020. [11] Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, June 1, 2020. [12] T.me/boilerroomchannel/7001, May 29, 2020. [13] Tsargrad.tv, May 29, 2020. [14] Tass.ru, June 1, 2020. [15] Vz.ru, May 29, 2020. [16] Ria.ru, June 1, 2020.

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May 30, 2020
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Iranian Analyst Mohammad Marandi: Blacks In The U.S. Are Deprived - They Live In Slums And Have The Literacy Skills Of Iranian Third-Graders; All They Have Left Is Sports

#8037 | 02:11
Source: Channel 2 (Iran)

Iranian academic and political analyst Mohammad Marandi said in a May 30, 2020 interview on Channel 2 (Iran) that black people in the United States oftentimes live in slums and have education so poor that it is comparable to second- or third-grade education in Iran. He said that the media tells blacks that they are violent, smugglers, dancers, and so forth. Marandi stated that the only thing most blacks have left is sports. Marandi also discussed former U.S. President Barack Obama, saying that Obama had joined the establishment, became "one of them," and spoke of the Founding Fathers, even though they had been slave owners and he would have been a slave if he had lived during the same period that they had lived in.

Mohammad Marandi: "A black person who grew up in a deprived city with no proper school... The schools there are a disaster. In general, the school system in America - with the exception of the top universities - is not good, but in the black areas, it is worse than everywhere else. People graduate high school without knowing how to read or write. Then this kid..."

Host: "Are you kidding? They graduate high school without knowing how to read or write?"

Marandi: "Is it not so?"

Host: "But the image of the American school system is so different."

Marandi: "In many of America's deprived cities and areas - they call them 'slums' - the schools are really bad and are not safe. Students simply move on to the next grade. Their reading and writing skills are at the level of second or third grade in Iran. They really cannot read properly. So they are poor and deprived. They cannot enroll in a university. They did not attend a proper school. The TV constantly tells them that they are violent smugglers, dancers, and so forth. Well, this is the result. All they have left is sports... Obviously, I am not saying that they are all like that. Some of the blacks are in the middle class, some have gotten rich, some have become university professors, and some of them become like Mr. Obama. But Obama himself has joined the establishment and become one of them. When Obama would make a speech, he would talk about 'our Founding Fathers' - that America's founders were like that. All of America's founders had been slave owners. If Obama lived back then, he would have been one of their slaves, yet he repeats their rhetoric."

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May 29, 2020
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Atlanta Islamic Scholar Soleiman Hamed On George Floyd Protests: Destruction And Violence Are Part Of A Quranic Model Applied By Muslims In Revolutions, Taking Over The World

#8036 | 02:53
Source: The Internet - "Masjid Al-Islam in Atlanta on Facebook"

On May 29, 2020, a Friday sermon by Atlanta Islamic scholar Soleiman Hamed was uploaded to the Masjid Al-Islam Facebook page. In the sermon, Hamed reacted to the protests following the death of George Floyd and he said that he will continue talking about revolution until the Muslims "achieve having the world look like Allah would have it." Saying that he does not "necessarily" advocate the violence in the recent riots, Hamed elaborated that Muslims are not "kumbaya" pacifists and that in revolutions, they should follow the Quranic examples of Abraham and Muhammad, who employed destruction and violence against polytheism and false worship. He added that this is the model that Muslims use when they "take over the world."

Soleiman Hamed: "So no one should be fooled, and no one should be beguiled, to think that Muslims are to be sitting around [all] pacifist [and] kumbaya when the revolution comes. That's not Quranic. 'Oh, there you go talking about revolution again, imam.' Well, you all know me and I am going to keep talking about it until we achieve having the world look like Allah would have it. So you don’t be afraid of that, because I am not afraid of it.

[...]

So they say: 'Well, imam, are you advocating violence?' That is what they ask me, talking about the riots and all that. 'Are you advocating violence, imam?' And I answer them: 'Not necessarily.'

[...]

"It irks me a little bit when they say: 'How could people be engaged in acts of destruction?' 'How could you be engaged in acts of violence?' 'Is that a religious thing?' Let me show you something, that I know we don't look at it like this. I want to first bring to your attention that the worst form of oppression is what? Polytheism, false worship.

[...]

"Let's talk about these acts of destruction that everybody is up in arms about. You look at Abraham. I know some of you... Because we read Quran like a fairy tale and we don't see the practical application int these things. This might go over my head. But look at Abraham and even Muhammad the Prophet, when they witnessed this form of oppression, polytheism and false worship, they engaged in an act that the 'kumbayas' and the people who don't understand that aggression and things like this happen in these cases - what did they do? They would both be guilty, by these people's standards, of engaging in acts of destruction and violence. Is that right? I am just showing you that in the midst of revolution, change - and take that word in the biggest sense of it - that sometimes, those things happen.

[...]

"Yes, it is what Quran says. Yes, it is what Muhammad did. That is the model. That's the model that we are using when we go out and engage in the world and take over the world and make the world like Allah wants it to be."

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May 30, 2020
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Iranian Researcher Dr. Sam Mehdi Torabi: Iran Would Be Willing To Help The Americans In Their Revolution; The American Oligarchs Must Be Annihilated

#8035 | 01:16
Source: Channel 2 (Iran)

Dr. Sam Mehdi Torabi, the Director of Iran’s Risalat Strategic Studies Institute, said in a May 30, 2020 interview on Channel 2 (Iran) that the United States is an oligarchy in which the power and wealth are controlled by one percent of the society, and that the legal processes and constitution in the U.S. cannot lead to reform. He said that the way to reform the United States, which he referred to as "Satan," is through a revolution that would annihilate America's oligarchs. Dr. Torabi added that Iran would help the American people if they have the courage to start a revolution, but that if they don't have the courage, someone from the outside will have to finish off the American oligarchs. For a related statement in which Dr. Torabi discusses the current unrest in the United States, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 8033.

Dr. Sam Mehdi Torabi: "The reality is that there is an oligarchy in America. There is no democracy. The existing legal process and the American Constitution are not supposed to reform America. Don't pin your hopes on reforms through the existing legal methods in America. So long as the power and the wealth are held by one percent of society, America will remain the same. If we want America to change, we must deal with those people - not in legal ways but through a revolution. I've said before that I don't pin much hope on the Americans carrying out a revolution, but the only solution that will bring an end to this Satan, in the words of Imam Khomeini, is for those oligarchs to be annihilated. If the Americans have the courage to do it - by all means. We will help them, too. If they do not have the necessary courage, someone from the outside must finish those [oligarchs] off."

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May 31, 2020
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Atlanta Islamic Scholar Soleiman Hamed On George Floyd Protests: Riots Have A Place In Bringing Down Oppressive Systems; Burning Down Businesses Hurts The Oppressors' Pockets

#8034 | 03:38
Source: The Internet - "Masjid Al-Islam in Atlanta on Facebook"

On May 31, 2020, Soleiman Hamed, an American-born Islamic scholar who was educated in Muslim countries, uploaded a video to the Facebook page of Masjid Al-Islam in Atlanta, GA in which he referred to the protests following the death of George Floyd. Hamed said that it is okay to fight and resist evil mentalities. He said that riots have a place in bringing down oppressive systems and explained that when corporate businesses such as Target are burned down the "people engaged in oppression" feel their pockets hurt. Hamed warned rioters against "agents provocateurs" and asked that his words are not to be "twisted". In addition, he criticized cross-training that he said has taken place between Atlanta's police force and Israeli forces.

Soleiman Hamed: "It is okay to fight - listen to my words - and resist and go against that evil mentality of people believing that they are God, presenting themselves as God, being against Allah, polytheism - yes, we fight against that.

[...]

"We are not just 'armchair revolutionaries' and not just talking on the computer. But we are involved and engaged and even being seen. So again, with these uprisings and these events that are happening - it is okay to be there.

[...]

"And be careful again, I will reiterate that. They twist my words up, [saying:] 'You said in the Friday sermon, that we should be out there burning stuff.' I didn't say that, you heard what I said. I said that I was advocating for the establishment of good - and we went over those things - and forbidding the evil. And I said that the engagement in those activities has a place in revolution, in change, and they have a place in bringing down oppressive systems. Yes, and I stand by that statement. But do you know that there are some agents provocateurs and that it is in the midst of these things. You all know who the police is and who the devil is, and don't be involved in that.

[...]

"Everybody has been throwing this quote around from Dr. Martin Luther King that riots are the voice of the voiceless. It has a place. It has a place. When... Let me relax... When people feel their pockets being hurt... When people feel their businesses... I am talking about corporations, Target is a corporation, right? These incorporated... I am just using that one for example because it was in the news... Make sure that you are listening very carefully and not twisting my words. [Saying:] 'There he is condoning this and condoning that.' Be careful, that is malarkey, and I will not go for it myself. But if we are asking the question on the level of understanding strategy in movements... OK, I am answering the question from that perspective. When people take to the streets and are in the streets and are disrupting the norm - it gets the attention of the people who are engage in the oppression, right? It wasn't until those white kids go out there, burning stuff up, that they arrested the officers in Kentucky - excuse me, in Minneapolis.

[...]

"Even using the words 'protests' and 'riots' - those words are loaded words, I said 'uprisings.' People are making themselves seen and making themselves heard and combating - actually combating - the oppressive system. The police department in Atlanta was receiving training and providing training - it may be both ways - with the Zionist regime in Israel, right? So actually, [you should be] engaging your political officials and law enforcement, ensuring that can't be done. You can't be using the same thing that the Zionists are using on our people."

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On TikTok, Hamas And Hizbullah Supporters Post Videos And Songs Glorifying Fighters And Qassem Soleimani, Bucking Guidelines That Forbid Promoting Terrorism

June 1, 2020

Hizbullah and Hamas supporters have been using TikTok, a popular short-form mobile video platform, to share videos, songs, and messages in support of the terror groups and the late general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force Qassem Soleimani and for Hamas's military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

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Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Releases Photos Showing Group's Fighters Celebrating Eid With Locals, Including Children

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June 1, 2020


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June 1, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8773

Palestinian Authority, Fatah Continue To Glorify Terrorists Who Carried Out Attacks Against Civilians

June 1, 2020
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 8773
In recent months, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Fatah movement have continued their tradition of glorifying terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis, including civilians. [1] This was manifested in reports and articles published in the PA media, and in official statements by Fatah, which lavished praise on terrorists, including Theresa Helsa, a member of the Black September cell who took part in the hijacking of the Sabena airliner from Brussels to Lod airport in May 1972, in which one hostage was killed, and Dalal Al-Mughrabi, a Fatah member who participated in the March 1978 Coast Road massacre, in which many Israelis were killed and wounded. The articles and statements described the two as courageous fighters and models for emulation. Fatah and PA officials and media also spoke in praise of Khalil Al-Wazir aka Abu Jihad, who was Yasser Arafat's deputy and head of Fatah's military wing and was responsible for the murder of dozens of Israelis in terror incidents in the 1970s and 80s. Another figure honored was 'Alaa Al-Din Al-Bazian, who was sentenced in 1986 to life in prison for the murder of an Israeli woman, was released as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange and was subsequently was arrested again.     The following are translated excerpts from the articles and statements. PA Mouthpiece, Fatah Eulogize Theresa Helsa, Who Participated In The Hijacking Of A Passenger Plane, As An Emblem And Role-Model Theresa Helsa, a Christian Jordanian of Palestinian origin who participated in the hijacking of the Sabena airliner, died on March 28, 2020 in Jordan, and was lavishly eulogized in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and in obituaries posted by Fatah and by its Shabiba youth movement. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: Theresa Helsa, An Icon Of The Palestinian Struggle, Wounded Binyamin Netanyahu Al-Hayat Al-Jadida devoted the front-page article of its March 29 issue to Theresa Helsa and the hijacking in which she participated. The article, headlined "Palestine Announces the Passing of Theresa Helsa, an Icon of the Struggle," said: “The fighter Theresa Helsa died yesterday in the Jordanian capital of Amman, aged 66… As a young Jordanian woman during the 1970s – in 1972 to be precise – she participated in the hijacking of the Belgian flight to Lod airport in occupied Palestine, which was [later] freed in an [Israeli] military operation… During the [Israeli] takeover of the plane, Theresa wounded the [current] prime minister of the occupation government, Binyamin Netanyahu, who was part of the Israeli military unit that was tasked with freeing the plane, [by] shooting a bullet that hit him in the hand.  Helsa, who sustained several bullet wounds, was arrested and sentenced to 220 years in prison, but was released 12 years later as part of a prisoner exchange deal with the enemy.       "Helsa was born in 1954 to a Christian Jordanian family in the old city of Acre in northern occupied Palestine… She decided to join the armed struggle as a Fatah member… On November 23, 1971 she left the 1948 territories without her family's knowledge, escaped to the West Bank and from there to Lebanon… She joined the Fatah movement and proved that women were entitled [to be part of] the resistance and [fight] on the front. On May 8, 1972, she was one of four fida'iyyoun [self-sacrificing fighters] who took part in the hijacking of the Belgian Sabena airliner [en route to] Lod airport in Israel."[2]  The article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: Palestine Announces Death Of Icon Of Struggle Theresa Helsa  Fatah: Helsa Was A Shining Example Of A Woman Who Joined The Path Of Struggle And Martyrdom An obituary for Helsa posted on Fatah's official Facebook page stated: "It is with sorrow and anguish that the Fatah movement mourns the fighter and released prisoner Theresa Helsa, Umm Salman, who was in charge of the injured dossier in Jordan.[3]  For those who do not know, Theresa is a Jordanian from Al-Karak and her mother was a Palestinian from Acre. She was the first female Arab fida'i. In 1972, when she was 17 years old, this Jordanian Christian hijacked a passenger plane carrying Israelis in order to demand the release of Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners. She was caught… and sentenced to two life sentences plus 40 years… [but] she was released in 1983 in a prisoner exchange deal…  [Helsa] was a shining example of a woman fighter and [in terms of] her position on the role of women at the forefront of the resistance…"[4]  An obituary posted by Fatah’s youth movement, the Shabiba, stated: "Helsa joined the military fida’i action on the front, and was an emblem and example of a fighting Palestinian woman who carried out resistance and joined  the arena of resistance and self-sacrifice. The path of the fighter Helsa will remain alive in the hearts and minds of the young generation and of all Palestinian generations. We know that today she left us in body, but she was and will remain alive in [our] memory for generations to come." [5]      Poster in memory of Helsa on the Fatah Facebook page. The gun cartridge is shaped like a map of Jordan and Palestine (Facebook.com/officialfateh1965/posts, March 28, 2020) Portrait of Helsa on the Fatah Facebook page: "Her fingers are candles of liberty and she is a legend the likes of which will never come again (Facebook.com/officialfateh1965/posts, March 28, 2020) Articles In PA Daily: Theresa Helsa Is A Heroine Who Proved That Women Have An Important Role In The Struggle Journalist ‘Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul devoted his April 1, 2020 column in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida to Helsa, writing: "When she arrived in Beirut and asked to join the Fatah movement, she confused the commanders she met, and some of them even suspected her of being a spy sent by the Israeli security apparatuses. But the heroic Theresa demonstrated and proved her [Palestinian] identity by training for the fida'i operation to which she was assigned along with four of her heroic comrades… [namely] the hijacking of the Belgian Sabena airliner... in order to exchange the Israeli and Zionist hostages with some imprisoned heroic freedom [fighters incarcerated] in the prisons of the colonialist Israel… "Theresa was sentenced to four life sentences, [but] spent [only] 10 years in jail, [since] she was released in a prisoner exchange deal in 1983. After her release she rejoined the struggle. She did not renege on the choice she had made in 1971, but remained on the front lines of the national struggle even after her marriage and the birth of her three children. In her pioneering action, this courageous woman proved several things, chiefly that women have an important role in life in general, and in the struggle [against Israel] in particular, and that their role is no less important than the men’s. She bolstered the national and pan-Arab positions, showing that nationality is above any consideration of gender, religion or ethnicity… [Being a Christian], she proved that religion has nothing to do with nationalism and pan-Arabism, since religion is for God and the homeland is for all…”[6] A March 31 article by ‘Issa Al-Hafiz in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida stated: "[Helsa] was a Jordanian flower whose roots grew in Karak in southern Jordan but reached all the way to northern Palestine, showing the entire world that the Arab nation is one and shares the same concerns, hopes and destiny. She was an icon of Palestine and Jordan, who embodied the glorious union between the two banks of the [Jordan] river, between the mosque and the church and between the sons of the Arab nation, saying 'Palestine is what unites us all'… May God have mercy on our martyrs and place them in Paradise. To Allah we belong and to Him we return [Quran 2:156]."[7]  Fatah, PA On Dalal Mughrabi: She Is A Legend That Will Never Die, A Heroine Renowned For Her Courage March also saw the 42nd anniversary of the death of Dalal Mughrabi, who participated in the March 11, 1978 Coast Road massacre in March 1978, in which 35 Israelis were killed and 71 were wounded. The PA and Fatah regularly mark this anniversary with laudatory reports and articles about her.[8] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an article on Dalal Al-Mughrabi, "The Legend That Will Never Die," outlining her biography and repeating the Palestinian version of the attack, which falsely describes it as an attack on soldiers rather than civilians. Describing the attack as a legitimate and heroic military action, the article stated: "Al-Mughrabi was born in 1958 in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, to a family from Jaffa that fled to Lebanon after the Nakba of 1948. She studied at the UNRWA primary and junior high schools in the camp, and already as a schoolgirl decided that she would join the ranks of the Palestinian revolution and the Fatah fighters. She took many lessons on fighting and guerilla warfare, and trained with various kinds of weapons. In these courses she stood out for her courage, bravery and intense patriotism… The article on Dalal Al-Mughrabi in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida  "Dalal and her team managed to reach Tel Aviv and hijack a bus full of soldiers, and waged a firefight with Israeli forces and others outside the bus. The action resulted in hundreds of killed and wounded on the Israeli side, and in light of these heavy losses, the Israeli government dispatched a special unit, under the command of Ehud Barak, to intercept the bus and kill or arrest those in it. [This unit] used planes and tanks to besiege the [Palestinian] fighters, prompting Dalal Al-Mughrabi to blow up the bus with everyone in it, killing the Israeli soldiers. When the [Palestinian fighters] ran out of ammunition, Barak ordered to spray them with machineguns, and all of them were killed."[9] Fatah’s spokesman in Europe, Jamal Nazzal, shared the article on his Facebook page, along with a portrait of Al-Mughrabi captioned "The martyred fighter Dalal Al-Mughrabi, heroine of the Coast [Road] attack, the fighter who founded the Palestinian Republic."[10] Portrait of Dalal Al-Mughrabi on Jamal Nazzal's Facebook page PA Mouthpiece, Fatah Praise Abu Jihad And Attacks He Planned Marking the 32nd anniversary of the assassination of Khalil Al-Wazir, aka Abu Jihad, Fatah and PA officials, and PA newspapers praised him and his activity. Abu Jihad, who was head of Fatah's military wing and deputy to Yasser Arafat, masterminded many attacks in the 1970s and 80s that killed dozens of Israeli civilians. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida Celebrates Abu Jihad's Terror Attacks On April 17, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a full list of the attacks planned by Abu Jihad. It stated: "The life of Abu Jihad, [aka] Khalil Al-Wazir, from his birth in Ramla on October 10, 1935 until the moment of his martyrdom on the morning of April 16, 1988 in Tunis, can be summed up as follows: 'Expelled, lived as a revolutionary, and died a martyr, in the path of the return to liberated Palestine...' "Among the military attacks planned by Abu Jihad were: blowing up the Zohar reservoir [in the western Negev] in 1955; blowing up the water pipeline – the Eilaboun tunnel [of the Israel National Water Carrier] – in 1965; the operation [to take over] the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in 1975 [in which 11 Israelis were killed]; the operation to blow up a booby-trapped refrigerator in Jerusalem in 1975 [killing 15 Israeli civilians]; the operation to murder top sapping expert Albert Levy and his aide in Nablus in 1976;[11] the Dalal Al-Mughrabi operation [Coast Road attack] in 1978; the operation to shell Eilat port in 1979, and the firing of Katyushas on the northern settlements in 1981. "Additionally, the occupation blamed the martyr Abu Jihad for the capture of eight Israeli soldiers in Lebanon, [who were later] exchanged for 5,000 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners. Likewise, he drew up the plan to attack and bomb the headquarters of the Israeli military governor in Tyre [Lebanon] in 1982 [in which 91 were killed] and in directing the war of attrition in southern Lebanon from 1982 through 1984 and the Dimona reactor operation in 1988 [hijacking a bus transporting employees of the nuclear research center, killing three Israelis]..."[12] Fatah: We Will Continue On Abu Jihad's Path Of Struggle And Sacrifice Fatah also published an anniversary announcement stating that it "stresses that the struggle will continue with the same determination and aggression as the path and principles of the leader and national symbol, the Emir of Martyrs Khalil Al-Wazir – Abu Jihad – and of all [Fatah's] first leaders and founders..." It continued: "The path of this leader, who from the very beginning stood alongside Abu Ammar [Arafat] in establishing the movement, is the path of struggle, sacrifice, absolute devotion, and abnegation of ego... The leader Abu Jihad, who stood fast alongside the historic leader Yasser Arafat and the leaders and founders in all the battles of the revolution, worked to establish the principles of martyrdom and sacrifice... The sacrifice of the Emir of Martyrs, of all the martyrs of the Palestinian people, and of the heroic prisoners will not be in vain. Fatah continues on the path of Abu Ammar, Abu Jihad, and Abu Iyyad,[13] until our people achieves its liberation, its national independence, and its sovereignty on the land of its historic homeland Palestine."[14] Fatah spokesman and National Palestinian Council member Osama Al-Qawasma dedicated a post on his Facebook page to Abu Jihad's memory, writing: "Khalil Al-Wazir Abu Jihad – the Emir of Martyrs – Peace be upon your pure soul. As long as we live, we will continue to espouse an honorable way of life full of struggle and giving, that we will learn and memorize. [This is] the path we learned, generation after generation, whose main tenets are the homeland, honor, sacrifice, and pride, and whose symbols are Khalil Al-Wazir and Fatah. May God have mercy on you..."[15] Al-Qawasma's Facebook post

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June 1, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8772

Visions Of The Post-Coronavirus World: Alexei Kudrin Sounds A Discordant Note – Russia Will Have To Decentralize Decision Making And Institute Checks And Balances

June 1, 2020
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8772
Alexei Kudrin, the head of Russia's Accounts Chamber, is Putin's chief in-house liberal, and due to his loyalty, his independent views are tolerated and sometimes solicited. As a member of the political establishment Kudrin has to pull his punches but in an article for Kommersant titled "We Need to Treat the Disease, and not Just the Symptoms", he pushes back against the argument that the coronavirus model justifies a centralized authoritarian regime. Kudrin claims that the crisis and the steep decline in oil prices point in the opposite direction and Russia will be forced to liberalize. Kudrin is not an independent columnist or an opposition activist, so he crafts his arguments carefully and with subtlety. Instead of flat out saying that Russia was unprepared and mishandled the coronavirus crisis he speaks of heroic doctors who battled the coronavirus with their bare hands, and calls for remedying that situation. Calls for innovation are cheap and plentiful but Kudrin slips in that Russia in order to innovate will require " a different institutional and regulatory environment" and greater decentralization. Russia needs public administration adequate for meeting contemporary challenges i.e. it does not have such an administration now. Kudrin even gently skewers Putin's pet national projects. These projects and the national goals they represent are all laudable of course, but some will have to be stretched out, suspended or even replaced. Most importantly, no project is important for its own sake, but must be judged by its ability to improve the living standards of Russia's citizens. Kudrin's article follows below:[1] Alexey Kudrin (Source: Rbc.ru) "The crisis that broke out in 2020, connected with the COVID-19 pandemic, has already provoked two types of reactions from states, societies, and experts. The first type of reaction is the anti-crisis one, it consists of government and business measures designed to mitigate its [the crisis'] impact. The second type of reaction is visionary one. Currently the finest experts are discussing how the 'world will never be the same as before'. In my opinion, there is currently an acute problem in the absence of practical 'links' between these two types of reactions, the anti-crisis and the strategic policies. If we focus purely on tactics, then we can deal with the symptoms, but we won’t be able to cure the pre-existing diseases of our economy. "Since the strategic guidelines should be given priority when determining measures of medium- and long-term policy, I would like to formulate sets of questions, answers to which will largely form a strategy [that should be implemented] after the acute phase of the crisis. "The first set of questions is devoted to the development of international economic and political relations. How will globalization change? Will national regulation be reinforced to the detriment of multilateral and supranational regulation - or will globalization and multilateral cooperation gain strength again after the crisis? Will the logic of confrontation, in the form of trade or resource wars, continue to grow - or will the mutual benefits of cooperation become paramount even if participants in the understandings will lose out in some areas? "Another important question is what will be the norm for the involvement of states, especially of superpowers, in processes that occur outside their borders? To what extent will spending on these external issues be supported domestically? Will traditional security issues become a key agenda item to the detriment of economic development? Will states increase military spending or will they devote more resources to economic development, realizing that recession is the main threat to state security? "The second set of questions is devoted to T-junctions in the field of economic policy. Will nationalization become an important element of anti-crisis and post-crisis state policies or will it affect only a few sectors [of the economy] for a short time? How will the private sector develop after the crisis (especially small businesses)? According to the monitoring data of business ombudsman Boris Titov from May 19, only 13% of small and medium-sized enterprises are certain that they will survive the crisis. In recent years, discussions about supporting private initiative have turned into a quasi-ritual: a genuine turnabout in support measures for private enterprises (despite frequent statements from the state authorities) has not occurred. But now there is an urgent need to do so without delay, and not only within the framework of the anti-crisis policy. Within the next three or four years, we must show real results in this direction." We Need More Freedom "First of all, we need to significantly reduce [state] regulation [of the economy]; we need more freedom. "How will the structure of the economy and the sectors most affected [by crisis] change? In order to maintain its influence, the only way out for Russia, given its demography and territory, lies in a manifold increase of productivity and the accelerated introduction of technological, digital, and managerial innovations. "And the introduction of innovations demands a different institutional and regulatory environment. "What will be the new consensus on health issues? Will citizens and governments be ready to spend much more on health care, to restructure policy in this area and a way of life? Nowadays the underfunding of this sphere is becoming obvious. The heroism of doctors and other industry workers in the fight against a pandemic is undoubted, but sometimes they had to fight with their 'bare hands' without equipment, drugs, or modern technology! What we need is a radically different approach, a leap in the direction of another [healthcare] model that ensures the citizens' health and longevity. "How will conceptual approaches to education change? Are we ready to increase investment in this area (in particular, by developing opportunities for free education)? What will be the approaches to quality of education in an era of broad digital opportunities for getting an education? How will such flexibility universities, colleges, schools? This is clearly not just a 'transition to online' that should happen to a reasonable degree and in the necessary proportion is also a focus on the development of 'soft skills'. This [means] a restructuring of the entire process of training and education [following] the logic of the lifelong education and constant retraining model." Russia Must Perform A U-Turn From The Oil Economy "I must mention the key question for our country: what will be the role of oil after the pandemic? "Even before the crisis, the role of hydrocarbons in the world was under review, due including to the climate change effect and the planet's future and now this issue is becoming still more relevant. Alternative energy is becoming more accessible. Oil production in Russia will not drop, but we will no longer have as high an [economic] rent, as was the case of the last 20 years. This is a major challenge for the entire economic policy, including fiscal policy, if the non-oil and gas sector not going to develop more actively. [Economic] 'rent' will now be provided by new technological and innovative solutions…but only if we lead the pack. The critical moment has come for a U-turn from the oil economy to the knowledge and technology economy. "In addition to the fact that the virus is less frightening to digital technologies, they also ensure revolutionary solutions. I’m talking about changing the face of entire sectors. Our regulation [policies] and public administration are lagging behind and cannot face these challenges. We have talked about this for a long time. Demand for a new quality of state regulation is extremely high now. After the arrival of a new government in January, it was obvious that this problem was recognized, and a new drive was outlined for changes in this direction (for example digitalization of public administration, emphasis on priority issues). I hope this vector will become even more prominent [in the government’s work] due to the crisis." The Coronavirus Crisis Showed The Need For Greater Decentralization "The third set of questions is related to the development of regions and cities. Will the federal center attempt draw off resources for itself [from the regions] claiming that it has better information resources distribution capabilities, or will the center agree 'it’s more visible on the ground [to see] what needs to be done' meaning the resources should stay in their place? The fight against the virus, that demonstrated hundreds of local solutions in the fight against the global challenge made it obvious that all regions had their special circumstances and that federalization, a greater variability of legislation and regulation are obviously indispensable. Today, out of 3% of the GDP in federal budget transfers to the regions, only about 0.7% of GDP are [in the form of] unconditional equalization grants, which entities are free to use based on their understanding of the situation. [Economic] development is impossible without expanding the independence of the regions and their resource base, coupled with a significant increase in unconditional transfers from the center.  A separate important issue is a strategy for the development of agglomerations and metropolises, that must ensure the health of their residents without losing the agglomeration effect, which associated with a high population density and contacts between people." Russia Needs A New Development Model "Finally, the fourth set of questions is related to the development of society. Can the state deal with the tempting possibility to monopolize the collection and use of information about its citizens? Could this lead to restrictions of freedoms in certain cases? And, most importantly, will we be able to move on to institutional regulation, which includes “checks and balances”, or will we continue to rely on the usual mechanisms of the administrative vertical [of power]? Low economic growth rates and stagnation of household income over the past decade give an obvious answer to this junction: without a new development model, based not only on hierarchical tools, but also on modern institutions, we will be unable to cope. "What actions would be logical in this situation? There is no doubt that we need various anti-crisis measures and a national plan for economic recovery, but these actions must be synchronized with a strategic course roadmap. There are only four years left until 2024 [the end of Putin's presidential term], during this time we must to overcome the consequences of the crisis (which might take us at least another year and a half). "It would be advisable in this situation to concentrate on a limited number of national goals I emphasize that all the national goals announced today are correct, but we need to focus on the most important ones and achieve precise results on them. For example, the pandemic has demonstrated to all of us, that there are four unconditional strategic objectives: 1. We want to be healthy and live long; 2. We don’t want to be poor and want our incomes to grow; 3. We need a growing innovative including a digital economy; 4. We need public administration and institutions adequate to the challenges of the times. "The other goals, of course, are important, but derived from the above. Accordingly, the tools for their achievement of these goals, should be devised. National projects should be linked to national goals; measures under national projects should directly influence the achievement of national goals, which is not happening today. "A smaller number of priorities will make it possible to focus depleting state resources on their achievement. At the same time, the rest of the tasks should be synchronized with the current context and should accordingly be extended or sidelined to 2026, 2028 or even to 2030. Part of the initiatives that are already being implemented, if they fit into the new logic (with appropriate changes and additions) may continue. Some should be suspended and postponed, in some cases – [they must be] replaced with other solutions that look more effective today. This is a normal practice of flexible public administration, focused on the main result – the citizens’ wellbeing. "In March 2018, I talked about the window of opportunities for structural reforms and about the fact, that it will be open for only two years. But the virus brought new challenges and pushed for a solution to all those issues that had been postponed for a long time."   [1] Kommersant.ru, May 25, 2020.

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