Sniegoski on the Empire
Dr. Stephen J. Sniegoski is a historian who still believes that the truth is trumps. He is the author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (Enigma Editions, 2008), which I praised as "sober and devastating" in my review at Amazon.
Dr. Sniegoski is an indefatigable investigator of the lies, contradictions, and crimes of the American Empire and its courtiers, at home and abroad.
While setting up this article for publication, I told Dr. Sniegoski that for a scholarly essay I was finding it pretty blood-curdling. Before reading it I'd been able to more easily avoid dwelling on the possibilities of war with Russia. The prospect gets more blood-curdling as it becomes ever more likely that the crazy-evil witch of war will become empress.
"Trump, his mainstream critics, and Putin's Russia"Posted October 8, 2016.
There's something pretty peculiar hulking right there in plain sight, under the sun, that you may not have noticed. Well, of course you're not supposed to! And you're not likely to, since Minitrue has done its best to smudge it out. Once again the irrepressible, indefatigable Dr. Sniegoski comes to the rescue. Get a load of this:
"Russia and Israel: the unmentioned relationship"Posted August 27, 2016.
Dr. Sniegoski continues investigating Donald Trump and his enemies in a second essay:
"Ironic, to say the least / The media's indictment of Trump as an anti-Semite"While detailing the peculiar habits of mind infecting our informal Ministry of Truth, Dr. Sniegoski also looks into some provocative affiliations and declarations on Trump's part. Trump fans who are anti-interventionists should read and ponder.
Posted July 17, 2016.
Many people think that Donald Trump is very special. And that goes for his harshest critics as well as his most fervent fans. The man is different, that's for sure. But looking a little more closely at American history than those critics are wont to do, Dr. Sniegoski isn't so sure about Trump's specialness when it comes to one big accusation. Also, it seems that Dr. Sniegoski opposes getting hysterical and making stuff up. (I know that's radical, but this is TLD, after all.)
"Trump and the 'fascist' charge"
Posted June 11, 2016.
There's a certain novel, published in 1912, that you almost certainly have not read. You may not even have heard of it. But as Dr. Sniegoski shows, the utopian fantasy by Woodrow Wilson's close advisor reveals all too much about the Progressive mentality shared by many movers and shakers of a century ago: "Philip Dru: Administrator: The authoritarian utopia of Colonel Edward M. House."
Posted April 9, 2015.
You're probably up to speed on the Hoover Myth the notion that he was a paladin of laissez faire. And maybe you're aware that Franklin Roosevelt ran as an economizer in 1932. But there are depths and textures to the story that I'll bet you haven't explored, and they extend into Roosevelt's first years in power. Dr. Sniegoski investigates not only what That Man in the White House said but also what he did, in "The unknown conservative: Roosevelt's original New Deal."
In addition to plumbing original sources, Dr. Sniegoski has waded into the writings of several pro-New Deal liberals. A nasty job! all in our behalf.
Posted January 7, 2015.
The neocons are still very much around, alas, and they have another plan for the Middle East. It looks as if it's one of the most peculiar ones they've come up with yet, and that's saying something. In his latest article, Dr. Sniegoski has quite a few somethings to say about it: "Here come the Kagans / Their war plan to defeat the Islamic State."
The wee emperor doesn't emerge unscathed here: Dr. Sniegoski writes, "The only positive thing that can be said about Obama's plan is that it is not as disastrous as the Kagan alternative." That'll give you an idea of what to expect. Hold on to your hat.
Posted September 25, 2014.
Isolationism! The imperialists' war frenzy has naturally led to a parallel frenzy of name-calling against the less frenzied, and, yes, it's the same old smear, straight from the '30s and early '40s. Dr. Sniegoski, for his part, has remained calm. And as always astute:
"The American establishment combats the resurgent 'isolationist' threat."
One question Dr. Sniegoski examines is how far the war party can exploit Americans' natural outrage at the atrocities of ISIS.
Posted September 12, 2014.
The fear-mongering about ISIS has now conjured up Hollywood-blockbuster visions of the jihadi flag flying over the White House and the outright destruction of the city of Chicago. (Sad to say, the latter hobgoblin has actually evoked some applause in the fever swamps of Facebook.) But as you might have expected, Dr. Sniegoski has generously stepped forward to talk us off the ledge:
"The mainstream media, ISIS, and Iraq War déjà vu."
Along the way and I know that this is radical Dr. Sniegoski takes a look at the war hawks' record of accomplishments so far.
Posted August 23, 2014.
Confronted some years ago with the messy fact that Bush's War had opened up Iraq to
"The unfolding of Yinon's 'Zionist plan for the Middle East': The crisis in Iraq and the centrality of Israel's national interest"
Posted July 12, 2014.
What's going on with Russia, Ukraine, and the United States? And what is Israel's part? (You are unlikely to have heard about that.) Dr. Sniegoski has penned another of his astute examinations of the world scene, undistorted by fantasy, hysteria, or jingoism in favor of any country. I heartily recommend it to your attention:
"The Ukrainian Crisis: The United States, Russia, and Israel"
Posted May 5, 2014.
Eleven years later, it still lives! that is to say, a certain idea about why the U.S. regime attacked Iraq. The intrepid Dr. Sniegoski has prepared a sharp stake, and now he throws open the coffin. Let the hammer descend!
" 'War for oil' the notion that will not die
Iraqi oil and the Cheney Energy Task Force"
Posted March 3, 2014.
With the Winter Olympics looming, Dr. Sniegoski has detected something odd in the American media's coverage that suggests they don't believe in that old saw about the goose and the gander:
"The doublethink games: Russia's wasteful Olympics vs. necessary U.S. Government spending."
Posted February 5, 2014.
Dr. Sniegoski checks in again, this time with a succinct assessment of what the empire's foreign minister and the regime he serves have been up to recently at the United Nations with respect to Syria. Our writer seems to think that the unfettered pursuit of facts and investigation of evidence do not feature prominently on our supervisors' agenda: "The gassing, the UN, and Kerry's game."
Posted September 21, 2013.
It would be a piquant novelty if our supervisors would at least obey their own purported rules. Our indefatigable scholar of foreign and war policy, looking at imperial behavior both at home and abroad, warns that things seem to be moving in the opposite direction: "The National Security Agency, Snowden, and the U.S. Constitution."
Posted August 31, 2013.
Expertly establishing the background behind the headlines, Dr. Sniegoski shows how the disorder in Syria serves Israeli interests and comports with an Israeli strategy of long standing: "The Yinon thesis vindicated: Neocons, Israel, and the fragmentation of Syria."
Posted August 16, 2012.
Whatever happens on
"Would Romney pursue a neocon war agenda?"Posted July 27, 2012.
The Squirrel Monkey has long since scampered back to Texas; Darth Cheney has long since relinquished his official post to Bozo Biden; but our friends the neocons just keep spinning, spinning, spinning ...
Our expert on empire has authorized me to post an apropos observation that he circulated to his correspondents recently. Its supertitle is "The push for war against Syria: James Morris dares to mention the taboo history."
Main title: "The Lobby's humanitarianism once again in doubt"Posted February 22, 2012.
I've told Dr. Sniegoski that he has written enough good stuff on the neocons apart from The Transparent Cabal to fill a companion anthology. The only difficulty, of course, would be finding a publisher. (Enough said about that.) In any case, here's the latest installment of his continuing campaign to replace evasion with reason on the subject: "More neocon contortions: A review of Maria Ryan's Neoconservatism and the New American Century."
Posted August 1, 2011.
From this article, I gather that the Respectable Citizen is no longer required to place the neocons in the same category as the Yeti and the Loch Ness monster. But as he confronts some recent criticism of his book, Dr. Sniegoski shows that some taboos remain hardy and resilient: "The sanitized version of neoconservatism."
Posted July 15, 2011.
None of us at TLD has more personal experience than Dr. Sniegoski with how dissent is informally kept System-safe, here in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. He recounts an incident in May 2011 that will enrich our own education in the subject: "Rejected! No place at anti-AIPAC conference for the author of Transparent Cabal."
Posted June 29, 2011.
Israel has a favorite marketing slogan, if you will, that has served it well in squeezing all kinds of support out of the U.S. leviathan. It's always been misleading, but as popular uprisings convulse the Muslim Middle East, it could start looking downright threadbare.
In his latest important essay, Dr. Sniegoski provides keen analysis and commentary of a kind that's hard to find in the mainstream media:
"Zionism contra democracy."
Posted February 24, 2011.
The High Anarchs of TLD hold no brief for democracy, of course, but the neocons are big
on it, or at least they've said they are. Now, however, some democracy unguided
by them is threatening to break out in the Muslim Middle East, and Dr. Sniegoski has noticed that a whole lot of finessing, nuancing, and outright
skepticism is issuing from Neocon-land: "The neocons cool off."
Posted February 4, 2011.
Men sometimes pay a steep price for courage and intellectual honesty. Dr. Sniegoski examines the fate of one such man, a great man whom many of us knew and whose passing we now mourn: "Joe Sobran: Martyr for truth."
Posted October 13, 2010.
Military Genius David Petraeus has now succeeded Military Genius Stanley
McChrystal in Afghanistan, provoking Dr. Sniegoski to produce a gem of
analysis about the rivalrous
machinations of both Palace and Bunker: "The duel of the Machiavellians: Obama vs. Petraeus."
Posted July 11, 2010.
Opening this incisive commentary on imperial policy as influenced by one of the world's tiniest countries Dr. Sniegoski writes: "As the United States berates Iran for its nuclear program though there is no substantial proof that the latter country even intends to develop nuclear weapons Washington intentionally overlooks Israel's existing nuclear arsenal so that the latter country will remain free from international inspection."
"Obama, nuclear-arms reduction, and the power of the Israel Lobby"Posted October 19, 2009.
Having lost their position in the official regime, the neocons surely cannot hope to manipulate the genius-hero-king who now inhabits the Presidential Palace, yes? Dr. Sniegoski isn't so sure; and when he sounds a warning about the neocons, we'd better get vigilant and stay that way: "Afghanistan: Back door to war on Iran."
Posted September 15, 2009.
Dr. Sniegoski sent us this report on a major review of his book, The Transparent Cabal, that appeared in the spring of 2009.
One might reasonably have feared that the System's blackout of this splendid book would have been totally successful. That has not come to pass, and the failure of our supervisors in this is heartening.
Posted April 19, 2009.
On March 12, The Washington Post fell victim to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in its coverage of "Chas" Freeman's knifing as the new head of the National Intelligence Council. The case also featured a frightening chutzpah outbreak. Not to worry Dr. Sniegoski was on call in the ward, and he provides his expert diagnosis in "Chas Freeman and the imaginary Lobby / Memo to Post editorialists: Please turn to page one."
Posted March 15, 2009.
When you see the title "First black president of the United States?" you may expect to be reading a lot about that thin beige fellow whose middle name it is hateful to mention. In fact you will find only one reference to the Imam in this fascinating piece by Dr. Sniegoski, and instead you'll be reading about a man for whom I've long reserved a warm space in my cold little anarchist heart. Get ready for another bracing dose of TLD revisionism: Dr. Sniegoski's supertitle is "Two cheers for Harding."
Posted August 9, 2008.
From time to time over the past few decades libertarians and Old Rightists have felt frustration at the Left's reputation as the antiwar, anti-imperialist tendency. But of course that reputation is hollow, and leftists are not to be trusted. Now, having focused on some other critics of the Mearsheimer-Walt approach, Dr. Sniegoski turns to an examination of one leading left-winger's analysis. As you'll see, we've gone a little Victorian in the title department: "Israel-lobby denial: The bankruptcy of the mainstream Left as illustrated by Stephen Zunes, or, On the issue of the Israel lobby the Left is no more courageous than anyone else."
Posted June 18, 2006.
With John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's "Israel Lobby" essay continuing to be a hot topic, Dr. Sniegoski takes a close look at the current state of play: "The second wave against Mearsheimer and Walt: A well-tempered smother-out as a new war looms."
I most highly recommend this article to your attention. It is a worthy companion piece to Dr. Sniegoski's original, longer piece on the "Israel Lobby" controversy (see below, April 20); and it is yet another piece that I am proud to publish. As you may deduce from the title, in this masterly follow-up investigation Dr. Sniegoski takes account of the neocons' saber-rattling at Iran.
Posted May 25, 2006.
I'm excited to be able to report Dr. Sniegoski's return to the TLD trenches. In this magnificent essay, he turns his keen analytical talents to exploring a certain scandal in academia that you may have heard about: "Israel lobbying: The attack on Mearsheimer and Walt."
Posted April 20, 2006.
Have you noticed? One moment, our rulers pretend to take seriously the law they lay down, and the next moment, they openly dispense with it: as soon, that is, as it threatens to inconvenience them. Dr. Sniegoski has noticed: "The Downing Street memos and Nuremberg: The illegality of the war on Iraq."
No respectable citizen, of course, is supposed to notice any of it. If many of them did notice, why, Our System of Self-Government would just break down!
Posted July 13, 2005.
Dr. Sniegoski reviews an essay at CounterPunch: "Michael Neumann's 'Left Behind: Victory and Recruitment.'"
Posted June 27, 2005.
Uzbekistan may strike many of us as a terminally obscure venue, but it's in just such venues that the post-1945 U.S. Empire has perpetrated much of its worst deviltry. It's likely that in 1962 most Americans could not have run to a world map and plopped their finger on the terminally obscure country of Vietnam. That said, I strongly recommend to your attention this major article by Dr. Sniegoski: "Idealistic democracy, total hypocrisy, and Israel: America's man in Uzbekistan."
Posted June 22, 2005.
Crude propaganda is what we're usually fed, but
we don't often learn all that much from it. More sophisticated
efforts may be more educational, especially when expertly
dissected. Dr. Sniegoski does the honors with a recent article by a former
Mossad chief that has garnered considerable attention in some circles: "When the Mossad speaks, people listen: Truth and deception in Halevy's 'The Coming Pax Americana.'"
Posted May 23, 2005.
Dr. Sniegoski, who has already done extremely important work in this area, now offers us "A closer look: The Israeli origins of Bush II's war." The evidence for his thesis seems overwhelming, especially in comparison with the evidence that is deemed sufficient to settle certain other historical controversies.
Posted April 24, 2005.
In Part Three of his three-part series "Gulf War 1991: Prefiguration and prelude to the 2003 Iraq debacle," Dr. Sniegoski explores the legacy of that imperial adventure.
Posted March 8, 2005.
In Part Two of his three-part series "Gulf War 1991: Prefiguration and prelude to the 2003 Iraq debacle," Dr. Sniegoski takes us through the war itself.
Posted February 24, 2005.
I know this is terribly un-American, but once again we're posting a historical piece. In fact, we're about to commit sedition three times in quick succession: today's posting is the first part of a three-part series by Dr. Sniegoski, who reaches back into the murky ancient past i.e., the 1980s and 1990s in his "Gulf War 1991: Prefiguration and prelude to the 2003 Iraq debacle."
Posted February 18, 2005.
Just what was the deal with that Inaugural speech so grandiloquent, so ineloquent that Little Bush was assigned to read in order to kick off his second regime? Our congenitally undeceived Dr. Sniegoski fills in the background for us, and it doesn't make for a pretty picture: "Sharansky, Weissglas, and the Inaugural address: The Israeli connection continues."
Posted February 2, 2005.
I am proud and pleased once again to present a major essay by Dr. Sniegoski, this time dealing with "the oil argument," which is popular among leftists and others but which we haven't yet confronted at TLD, at least not head on: "War on Iraq: Not oil but Israel."
Posted October 22, 2004.
The spectacle of all those millions of undecideds agonizing over whether to vote for Statesgod Bush or Statesgod Kerry looks even more fantastically absurd in the brilliant light of Dr. Sniegoski's most recent major essay: "The future of the global War on Terror: Next stop, Iran."
Posted October 14, 2004.
If one were inclined to be excessively polite, one might describe John Kerry as a protean figure. But in a major article, Dr. Sniegoski argues that there really is a skeleton under all that rubbery protoplasm. It is a tricky collection of bones, though: "The contradictions of Kerry: Internationalism and Zionism."
Posted September 24, 2004.
Dr. Sniegoski comments briefly on two articles one at CounterPunch and one in the Washington Post on how Bush's War may turn into "Kerry's War."
Posted June 8, 2004.
"Bush as the lesser imperialist evil," Dr. Sniegoski's analysis of a piece by Gabriel Kolko, the left-wing revisionist historian who is familiar to many libertarians. Kolko believes the Squirrel-Monkey-in-Chief may be preferable to the looming alternative.
Posted April 17, 2004.
"Questions you'd better not ask in Canada," a timely warning.
Posted April 17, 2004.
"Prankster-in-Chief: Joking about the WMDs," wherein Dr. Sniegoski reviews the latest stand-up routine to hit the banquet circuit.
Posted March 30, 2004.
"Finally, a WMD: Richard Clarke's bombshell," wherein Dr. Sniegoski deftly assesses the import of the latest exposé by a former Bushite official.
Posted March 23, 2004.
"George W. and the uses of stupidity," Dr. Sniegoski's brief summary and comment on two reviews of George W. Bush's performance on "Meet the Press" for February 8.
Posted February 11, 2004.
Dr. Sniegoski supplies trenchant commentary about two timely pieces he came across at other forums:
"Dean's demise relieves pro-Israel Democrats," on an item from E.J. Kessler at the Forward.Posted February 8, 2004.
"Chutzpah and the memory hole," on a piece by Jim Lobe at TomPaine.com.
"WMDs: Burning away the fog," wherein Dr. Sniegoski takes apart the war party's latest cluster of lies do they really think everyone suffers from amnesia?
Posted February 3, 2004.
"The Dean derailment," wherein Dr. Sniegoski lays out what he thinks is probably going on with the Democrats.
Posted February 3, 2004.
"Realpolitik, not psychopathology," wherein Dr. Sniegoski distinguishes his own approach to analyzing the neocons from that of another writer whose demeanor is not so cool.
Posted January 30, 2004.
"200-proof Perle," wherein Dr. Sniegoski explains that Richard Perle and David Frum's book An End to Evil doesn't quite qualify as a manifesto of peace and noninterventionism, and in fact doesn't even have much to do with U.S. interests.
Posted January 16, 2004.
"Almost everything about neocons," Dr. Sniegoski's little revision of Justin Raimondo's January 9 column "Everything You've Always Wanted To Know about Neocons."
Posted January 12, 2004.
"Absolved of crimethink!" wherein we learn to our relief that Dr. Sniegoski's one-way trip to Guantanamo may be postponed, at least as far as South African authorities are concerned.
Posted December 29, 2003.
"Godfather of war," in which Dr. Sniegoski comments briefly on Time magazine's designation of Paul Wolfowitz as "godfather" of the Iraq war. Dr. Sniegoski cites two other articles as well.
Posted December 24, 2003.
"Double standards and worst enemies," Dr. Sniegoski's take on an article at the Christian Science Monitor about Israel's "number one enemy" Iran.
Posted December 3, 2003.
"Iraq: Instability intended," prompted by an article by Michael Doliner at Antiwar.com. Dr. Sniegoski assesses what most experts feared and what the neocons really wanted from the conquest and occupation of Iraq.
Posted November 30, 2003.
"Perle's confession," in which Dr. Sniegoski comments on warhawk Richard Perle's admission that the Iraq war was an illegal act.
Posted November 22, 2003.
"Francophobia: How to foam at the mouth while keeping your job" Dr. Sniegoski's comments on an anti-French eructation by Ralph Peters of the New York Post and its significance.
Posted October 9, 2003.
"A self-chosen people?" Dr. Sniegoski's review-essay on Kevin MacDonald's first book on the Jews, A People That Shall Dwell Alone. Strakon says: "I highly recommend MacDonald's three books on this subject, and I highly recommend Dr. Sniegoski's review of the first volume. It is a typically acute and thoughtful assessment." The essay first appeared in Whole No. 19 of The Last Ditch (December 1997).
Posted September 19, 2003.
"The WMD lies" about which Strakon says, "When I first read this major essay, I told Dr. Sniegoski that he'd done 'a terrific job of recording Who Said What When battling the mental darkness that's always encroaching here in the United States of Amnesia and a terrific job also of exploding the illogic of the Imperial shills.'"
Posted August 4, 2003.
"Evil weapons and that all-virtuous country" commentary reprinted from the April 1998 issue of TLD. Sidebar to David T. Wright's "Weapons of mass distraction."
Posted June 11, 2003.
"Richard Cohen and the war liberals" commentary on the phenomenon of war liberalism, on the occasion of Cohen's May 7, 2003, column, "Never Mind the Weapons."
Posted May 16, 2003.
Sharing a page with Ronn Neff (who has comments of his own), Dr. Sniegoski has something to say about Patrick Buchanan's column of May 7 on the war lie and the honor of George W. Bush.
Posted May 14, 2003.
As thousands perish in Iraq, Dr. Sniegoski analyzes the frantic defensive scrambling of the War Party and blows away "The neoconservative smoke screen."
Posted April 4, 2003.
"The war on Iraq: Conceived in Israel" a landmark five-part article examining the drive for war and the accompanying transmogrification of American imperialism. This masterwork by Dr. Sniegoski offers a plethora of intellectual ammunition and deserves to be cited by foes of imperialism and criminal war all around the world.
Posted February 10, 2003.
"Back door to war, reopened" brief but important commentary on a piece by Ahmed Rashid in The Nation. Dr. Sniegoski revises his original analysis of the Terror War, as suggested by the subtitle of his piece: "Afghan chaos shows Middle East to be Empire's primary goal."
Posted October 12, 2002.
"Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?" brief commentary on an article in the Scottish Sunday Herald, concerning the long-standing plan to demolish Iraq.
Posted September 21, 2002.
The exchange of views between Dr.
Sniegoski and Ronn Neff on Objectivists' support for Israel and for the United State, inspired by Mr. Neff's "The Peace of Objectivism."
Posted August 16-30, 2002.
"Be silent; they see it, if we don't" commentary on an article in the Christian Science Monitor.
Posted August 30, 2002.
"The Nuremberg game (Rules may not apply to your local empire)".
Posted August 7, 2002.
"The Roberts Commission, redux: Investigating 9/11 in light of 12/7" a sixth update to "September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted July 5, 2002.
"Alibis and new revelations" a fifth update to "September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted June 12, 2002.
"The United States: God's instrument or God?"
Posted June 4, 2002.
"Translating the shock of Michael Kelly into the comfort of the Establishment"
Posted June 2, 2002.
"Ye shall know them by their fruits" a fourth update to "September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted May 28, 2002.
"The changing story and the conspiracy of inaction" a third update to "September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted May 20, 2002.
"September 11 and the war in Palestine" a second update to "September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted April 23, 2002.
"The Israeli spy ring and September 11" an update and afterword to "September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted April 14, 2002.
"Keep your eyes on the Caspian, or, None dare call it imperialism."
From The Last Ditch, Whole Number 18, September 22, 1997.
Posted April 14, 2002.
"September 11 and the origins of the 'War on Terrorism': A revisionist account."
Posted in four parts March 11 through 22, 2002. Now accompanied by six updates (July 2002).
"Deadly enemy, deadly friend" a review-essay on Benjamin Ginsberg's The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State.
From the October 1995 issue of The Last Ditch.
Posted July 26, 2001.
"Pearl Harbor: facing facts"
June 11, 2001
On Desperate Deception by Thomas Mahl
Jan. 11, 2000
"Einstein the humanitarian"
Jan. 7, 2000
"Good Jesus; hateful Christianity"
Jan. 6, 2000
"What does Podhoretz mean by 'anti-Semitism'?"
Nov. 29, 1999
A letter to oppressive rulers abroad
Oct. 25, 1999
"Buchanan's new book and the Empire's rejoinder"
Oct. 13, 1999
"Why the Danforth investigation will be a whitewash."
Sept. 15, 1999
"NATO bombing: The morality of 'collateral damage'"
Sept. 13, 1999
"Three articles on Waco"
"Large-scale attack on Iraq coming"
"America's justifiable genocide?"
"It's their war"
"The next war: Azerbaijan or Abkhasia"
Sept. 7, 1999
August 28, 1999
August 28, 1999
June 21, 1999
June 21, 1999
"Large-scale attack on Iraq coming"
"America's justifiable genocide?"
"It's their war"
"The next war: Azerbaijan or Abkhasia"