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Turkey and Israel Reconcile Amid PKK Peace Promise

Al-Akhbar | March 25, 2013

What will a Turkish-Israeli reconciliation mean for Syria? As Israel concedes wrongdoing on the Mavi Marmara, does this signal further alignment on Syria aims? Throw PKK head Abdullah Öcalan’s recent announcement to halt armed activities against Turkey in the mix and the ramifications for Syria are tremendous.

Last week was full of dramatic events, which will continue to impact the situation in Syria and the region. Two days following the election of Ghassan Hitto, a Kurd with a US passport, to head the “interim Syrian government,” the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan announced the cessation of armed activities against Turkey. His move is further indication of the strategic and tactical link between the events.

It seems that PKK fighters, whom Öcalan asked to leave Turkey under formal guarantees from Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be heading to Syria to support the Kurdish militias.

Erdogan was quick to reconcile and ally himself with Öcalan to achieve more of his regional aims. These actions prompted confusion on behalf of Turkish nationalists who could not find a logical reason for the reconciliation between Erdogan and Öcalan.

Erdogan and his foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu wanted to leave behind all these complex calculations by strengthening their alliance with the US. This meant a reconciliation with Tel Aviv, according to the conditions set during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest visit to Ankara.

This could be the reason behind last week’s backtracking by Erdogan on his former statements on Zionism, announcing that he had not meant what he said and that he is neither against Judaism nor Zionism, but opposed to the policies of Israel concerning the rights of Palestinians.

This new position was enough for US President Barack Obama to convince Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to call Erdogan and apologize for the Israeli army’s actions against the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010. But Netanyahu only gave verbal promises about lifting the siege on Gaza, which was the third fundamental condition set by Turkey for reconciliation with Israel.

However, these indicators are not the only reason for Israel’s apology to Turkey. Ankara does not hide its dire need for the support of the Jewish Lobby in the US, which had threatened to sabotage Erdogan’s visit to Washington at the end of this month unless he reconciles with Tel Aviv.

It is expected that the reconciliation will be reinforced with a surprise visit to Ankara by Netanyahu very soon and before Erdogan’s visit to the US.

It has now become clear that, in the next few days, the Syrian regime will be facing more political and military pressures on the Arab, regional, and international levels, as a result of the Turkish-Israeli-US alliance and its Qatari and Saudi extensions. Erdogan will attempt to include Syrian Kurds in the mix, based on his deal with Öcalan, whose terms of agreement are still unknown.

Turkish media, meanwhile, are discussing some dramatic scenarios, including an agreement between Ankara and Washington to redraw the map of the region, like the British-French 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement. This will give the Kurds a regionally independent entity through a federation of Kurdish regions in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran. It might even be under the protection of the Islamic Ottoman Erdogan, as mentioned by Öcalan in his statements commemorating Nowruz, when he spoke about the Ottoman Islamic brotherhood.

March 25, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israelis spray ‘Skunk’ at Palestinian homes

Middle East Monitor

… Israeli forces have sprayed Palestinian homes in the village of Nabi Saleh with Skunk as a punishment for organizing weekly protests against the Apartheid Wall built on occupied land. …

March 25, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

US, Israel cyber attacks on Iran act of force: NATO

Press TV – March 25, 2013

NATO’s cyberwarfare center says cyber attacks launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the US and Israel constituted “an act of force” and were illegal under international law.

According to The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, commissioned by NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Estonia, “Acts that kill or injure persons or destroy or damage objects are unambiguously uses of force,” The Washington Times reported on Sunday.

Michael D. Schmitt, the manual’s lead author and professor of international law at the US Naval War College in Newport, said the group of researchers who wrote the manual all agreed that the use of Stuxnet virus, that attacked Iran’s cyber structures in 2009, was an act of force.

Washington and Tel Aviv are believed to have jointly developed the malware, although neither has accepted responsibility for the attack.

Iran has been the target of several cyber attacks over the past few years.

In June 2012, a report by the Washington Post said the US and the Israeli regime had cooperated in creating the computer virus Flame to spy on Iran. US National Security Agency, the CIA and the Israeli military worked together to create the Flame virus, the paper added.

In addition, the New York Times also revealed in the same month that US President Barack Obama secretly ordered a cyber attack with the Stuxnet computer virus against Iran in 2010 to sabotage the country’s nuclear energy program.

“From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyber weapons,” the report said.

In response to such attacks, Iran launched a cyber defense headquarters tasked with preventing computer worms from breaking into or stealing data from the country’s maximum security networks, including nuclear facilities, power plants, data centers, and banks.

March 25, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US to Up Military Aid to Israel to $4 Billion

By Richard Edmondson | War and Politics | March 24, 2013

We are now beginning to get the fallout—that is to say, we are beginning to discover what Obama’s recent trip to Israel has cost America. Yesterday I put up a post entitled American Taxpayers to Take it on the Chin in Gaza Flotilla ‘Apology’ in which I discussed an apparent agreement reached between Obama and Netanyahu for the latter to issue an apology to Turkey over the killing of nine people aboard the Turkish vessel the Mavi Marmara in 2010. I openly suggested that in order to wrangle such an apology, some sort of backroom deal must have been worked out that would cost US taxpayers. What I speculated was that the money Israel is to pay into a victims compensation fund would in reality be supplied by America. But it seems we may be footing an even much larger bill than that.

The following was published today at the website DefenseNews.com. The story makes clear that Obama has “doubled down on U.S. security support” for Israel” and also informs us he intends taking steps to ensure there will be “no interruption” in US aid to Israel’s missile defense system, this in spite of the fact that we are facing sequestration-mandated budget cuts. In fact, it appears US assistance to the Jewish state is headed upwards—from the present level of $3.1 billion a year up to $4 billion.

Alert readers will recall, of course, that at the AIPAC policy conference, held just a few weeks ago, a top priority was pushing for aid to Israel to be exempted from sequestration. This is discussed here in an article by blogger MJ Rosenberg, and I also discussed it in a post here. In my own article I supplied a link, here, to a site listing Congress members accepting money from pro-Israel PACs and actually ranking them in terms of how much money they raked in over a six-year period spanning 2006-2012.

One House member who scored relatively high on the list—and I mention this as a follow-up to the article I posted a couple of days ago on what appears to have been a chemical weapons attack in Syria—was Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Well, guess what? Just today Rogers appeared on CBS Face the Nation claiming that the proverbial “red line has been crossed” in Syria and calling for a US military intervention.

March 25, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Syria Opposition in Disarray: Khatib Resigns, Hitto not accepted

Al-Manar | March 25, 2013

Syrian opposition is facing turmoil as the head of the opposition coalition Moaz al-Khatib resigned on Sunday and the so-called “Free Syrian Army” rejected the group’s appointment of an interim prime minister.

“I announce my resignation from the National Coalition, so that I can work with a freedom that cannot possibly be had in an official institution,” Khatib said in a statement published on Sunday on his Facebook page.

He had also objected to last week’s coalition appointment of American-educated businessman Ghassan Hitto as an interim prime minister for the areas controlled by the armed groups.

Shortly after Khatib announced his resignation, the so-called “Free Syrian Army” refused to recognize Hitto as prime minister, spokesman Louay al-Mekdad said.

Al-Mekdad told Western news agencies that Hitto was not properly elected because there was no consensus on his candidacy.

Other rebels have said they do not need a prime minister because they already are governing areas under their control. These moves left the US-backed efforts to forge a united front against the Syrian opposition in tatters.

“The coalition is on verge of disintegrating,” Amr al-Azm, a history professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio said.

There seems to be little doubt that an initiative launched last fall in the Qatari capital, Doha, to create an inclusive and representative opposition body is falling apart, added Azm.

March 25, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Journalists detained in Hebron, leading to two arrests and threats to restrict Palestinian movement

International Solidarity Movement | March 24, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In the afternoon of the 24th March, two Palestinian Al Jazeera journalists arrived into Hebron to interview a Palestinian family living near the illegal Israeli settlement in the area of Tel Rumeida. When they arrived, settlers called the Israeli military and police, who arrived and confiscated the journalists’ ID cards, despite having seen their press credentials. The Al Jazeera reporters had their ID cards returned after around an hour, but two Hebron Palestinians who attempted to intervene on their behalf with police were arrested and removed in a police car. Their status is currently unknown and no reason was given for their arrest.

After the journalists were apprehended, police and settlers arrived into the area with rolls of barbed wire, informing another Palestinian resident that his primary access to the main road would be closed. Hashem Azzeh and his family live underneath the Tel Rumeida settlement, with their access to the main road running directly next to the settlement. This path has been repeatedly closed by the Israeli authorities since 2000, and was only opened most recently in late 2012 after extensive legal battles in the Israeli courts.

The police and settlers claimed today that the path would be closed because unapproved people had been walking along it. According to the Israeli authorities, only Hashem, his family and guests walking with them have permission to use the path. Hashem states that he has no knowledge of strangers using this route to access his house.

Without the path, Hashem and his family have to travel a much longer, rock-strewn and hazardous route to leave their home. Hashem said today, “I think they will close my access now, they will say it is for security reasons.” He thinks that the settlers used the arrival of the journalists and the subsequent confusion as a pretext to close his path and restrict his family’s movement, in further attempts to drive them from their home – they already face regular hassle from Israeli authorities and attacks from the settlers, including on Hashem’s young children.

March 25, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment