We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Realism in Astana: The Prequel to a Decade of Peace in the Middle East [Updated on 9/23/2017]

Click here to access article by Ollie Richardson from Oriental Review
America and its European vassals now find themselves neck-deep in the consequences of their own idiotic decisions. The new reality involves a bloc involving both Iran and Turkey deciding not only the outcome of the Syrian war, but also the next 10 years in the Middle East.
This offers the best political analysis I have seen of the current conditions in the Syrian conflict and the future of the nearby region. 

"Astana" refers to the recent talks between Russia, Turkey, and Iran at Astana, Kazakstan. Notice that the US and its coalition partners were excluded as participants (although observers from US, UN, etc were allowed) in the 4th (May 2017), 5th (August), and 6th (September) talks held there in which "de-escalation zones" (he refers to them as "deconfliction zones") were decided. 

Updated information on 9/23/2017: The above information may not be entirely accurate. A much more plausible description of the meeting participants was written by Alexander Orlov who writes:
From September 14 to September 15, Astana held its sixth round of talks on Syria, in which the delegations of the guarantor countries Russia, Turkey and Iran, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian opposition, as well as the UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, took part. The United States and Jordan were present as observers.
I'm waiting with great anticipation to see how the US-backed Kurds and the area under their control in northern Syria is resolved.