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Colombia, the death squads & the US’ human rights double standard

Dan Kovalik | RT | June 7, 2018

Nearly every day, we are bombarded with “news” about problems in Venezuela. And certainly, there are problems, such as food and medicine shortages and skyrocketing inflation. But there is something that is downplayed.

What the press downplays, if it mentions it at all, is the very real and significant ways that US sanctions have contributed to these problems facing Venezuela and how these sanctions are making it nearly impossible for Venezuela to solve these problems.

What the press also fails to mention is the even greater humanitarian issues confronting Venezuela’s next-door neighbor, Colombia – the US’ number one ally in the region and, quite bizarrely, the newest “global partner” of NATO from Latin America. And, the US is very much responsible for these issues as well, but in quite different ways.

The fact is that, by a number of measures, Colombia has one of the worst human rights situations on earth, but you would never know this from watching the nightly news.

First of all, Colombia has the largest number of people forcibly disappeared in all of the Americas – even more than all of the Southern Cone countries combined during the infamous ‘dirty war’ years – at over 60,000.

In addition, Colombia has one of the largest internally displaced populations on earth at well over 7 millionsecond only to Syria. And, a disproportionate number of these internally displaced are indigenous and Afro-descendants.

Moreover, Colombia ranks 5th in the world for the number of children internally displaced by conflict, with two million boys and girls internally displaced. Quite shockingly, Colombia ranks 3rd in the world for the number of children murdered, with 715 children murdered just last year. Such statistics have led Save The Children to conclude that Colombia is “one of the worst countries to be a child and adolescent in the world.”

Colombia is also one of the worst countries in the world to be a social leader, such as a human rights defender, union leader, indigenous or Afro-Colombian leader. Thus, even after the signing of a peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas in 2016, social leaders are being murdered at an alarming rate. Indeed, over 200 social leaders have been killed just since January of 2017. Last year was in fact the worst year on record for human rights defenders in Colombia, with 120 killed in 2017.

Of course, the US has a large responsibility to bear for this awful situation in Colombia, as it has been the intellectual author behind Colombia’s brutal, decades-long war against its own people and has provided billions of dollars of material aid to this war effort. Indeed, since 2000, the US has given Colombia $10 billion in mostly military assistance as part of its counter-insurgency program known as ‘Plan Colombia.’ During the Plan Colombia years, the Colombian military attempted to boost US military assistance by murdering civilians in cold blood and passing them off as left-wing guerillas. It is now believed that the military killed 10,000 civilians in this grisly “false positive” operation.

But the US is also behind an even darker force than the Colombian military – that is, the Colombian paramilitary death squads. While those who live in the more remote parts of Colombia are painfully aware of the paramilitaries’ presence and brutality, the paramilitaries are now a well-kept secret in the more well-to-do parts of Colombia’s big cities and even more so outside of Colombia. Indeed, the Colombian and US governments deny the very existence of these paramilitary groups, and the compliant press is happy to oblige in keeping this dirty secret.

Recently, Colombia’s most prominent human rights defender, Father Javier Giraldo, S.J., spoke about the paramilitary phenomenon of which he is an expert. As he explains, “There are clandestine or semi-clandestine arms of the State, which are the paramilitary groups. Today, it is not tolerated that you refer to them as such, but I still call them paramilitaries, because that is the appropriate term.”

Father Giraldo describes the origin of the paramilitary death squads, a force developed by the United States before the left-wing guerrillas even came into existence in 1964. As Father Giraldo explains:

“In 1962, when Guillermo León Valencia was president, a mission of the North American army, of a special school of war in North Carolina, created after the Second World War to maintain the security of the United States, arrived in Colombia… They analyzed the situation in Colombia and left secret instructions, ordering the Colombian government to begin training mixed groups of civilians and the military, and preparing them for paramilitary terrorist activities to combat the sympathizers of communism.”

“… President Valencia, on Christmas day of the year 1965, issued Decree 3398 with which he changed the name of the Ministry of War to [the Ministry of] Defense, and authorized forming groups of civilians as auxiliaries of the armed forces, the legal basis of paramilitarism.”

“… The United States began to direct the entire security apparatus in Colombia and its agencies… first with 400 officers of the US Army; today there are at least 800. The paramilitarism that was created at that time, with all the legal support, has been reaffirmed.”

Of course, as Father Giraldo has explained on numerous occasions, the ostensible “sympathizers of communism” targeted by the paramilitaries are trade union leaders, human rights defenders, peasant leaders, and Catholic priests who advocate on behalf of the poor. As for Catholic priests, over 80 have been murdered since 1984 for the crime of advocating on behalf of the poor.

It is now becoming more evident than ever from the fact that there is now a rise in the murder of such social leaders, as well as mass forced displacement, after the disarming of the FARC guerrillas, that it, is the paramilitaries which are responsible for the lion’s share of such human rights abuses in Colombia. But again, you would have no idea about this from reading the newspapers or watching the nightly news. And, Colombians who are suffering at the hands of the paramilitaries are painfully aware of the conspiracy of silence around this issue.

Indeed, when I was recently in Colombia for the first round of the presidential elections, our delegation met with a number of residents of the small town of Suarez (Cauca Department) which had just lost three members of their community to paramilitary violence. One of the members of the community desperately asked us, “what can we do to let the world know of the continued existence of the paramilitaries?” I answered that we have been trying to do just that for many years, though few will hear us out on this issue.

While we were in Colombia, a campaign coordinator for Gustavo Petro, a Colombian presidential candidate, was murdered by paramilitaries the day before the election, and the paramilitary group known as ‘Aguilas Negras’ (Black Eagles) issued a general threat against the supporters of Petro for president just a few days before the May 27 vote.

© Dan Kovalik

If Colombia’s very real human rights and humanitarian crises were given nearly the attention that the problems in neighboring Venezuela receives, the US and Colombian government would at least have some incentive to improve the situation in Colombia and to go after the paramilitary groups which continue to haunt that country. The near complete silence about the staggering violence in Colombia is critical in allowing that violence to continue. Indeed, the paramilitaries have always depended upon being able to operate in the shadows, and the US press is more than happy to oblige them in this effort.

Dan Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is the author of ‘The Plot to Attack Iran.’

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

US media openly calling for Venezuela military coup

RT | June 7, 2018

If you’ve followed American media in recent times, you will have probably heard that meddling in affairs of foreign nations is a bad thing — but it seems that view changes dramatically when the US is the one doing the meddling.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was reelected in May in what Washington wrote-off as a “sham” election. In response, the Trump administration slapped new sanctions on the South American country and seemingly won’t be happy until Maduro and his socialist regime packs up and disappears.

Confirming that it’s Washington’s way or the highway, a former US official who worked as assistant administrator for Latin America at the US Agency for International Development, under the Bush administration, has openly called for a military coup — and Foreign Policy magazine has obligingly published his thoughts.

José R. Cárdenas has argued that “dialogue or diplomacy cannot bring a resolution” and insists that a military coup is a more attractive option. It is up to the US, he writes, to convince the Venezuelan military that they “bear a unique responsibility to rescue their country from the abyss” and that they must stand up and get rid of Maduro by force. It is the military, he writes, that are best placed to “restore a legitimate constitutional democracy.”

So concerned with the plight of the Venezuelan people, Cárdenas also touts the benefits of “diplomatic and economic isolation” which surely would do wonders for ordinary citizens. Graciously, Cárdenas accepts that such a plan “entails risk” but argues that it is “unlikely” that the military would seek to govern permanently.

But Cárdenas’ calls for a coup could hardly come as a surprise. It’s far from the first time current or former US officials have publicly called for the ousting of the Venezuelan president.

In February, Florida Senator Marco Rubio publicly called for a military coup in Venezuela on Twitter, saying that the “world would support” the armed forces if they rose up to remove Maduro.

Rubio’s comments followed similar ones from then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who hinted at a military coup during an appearance at the University of Texas — without actually using those explicit terms.

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” Tillerson said.

But it’s not just government officials. Even the New York Times has gotten in on the action, publishing an editorial about how Maduro “must go” and discussing how best to “get rid of” him — although the paper of record managed to restrain itself slightly and did not call for an outright coup.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Medical Aid for Palestinians attacked by pro-Israel lawyers’ groups

MEMO | June 7, 2018

UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has described allegations of anti-Semitism made by two pro-Israel advocacy groups as an “appalling smear”.

According to a report in the Jewish News, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and the US-based Lawfare Project this week submitted a 17-page complaint against MAP to the Charity Commission.

The complaint claims that the respected humanitarian NGO is guilty of “racial hatred of Jews”, and claims MAP has “links to Palestinian terrorist groups”.

A MAP spokesperson told the paper: “This appalling smear appears to be part of a wider pattern of attacks on legitimate NGOs. Should the Charity Commission raise points with us, we would be pleased to respond.”

The article says that the pro-Israel activists accuse MAP of giving a “false impression” about the health of Palestinians. UKLFI’s Jonathan Turner said: “Readers of its misleading website would no doubt be surprised to hear that life-expectancy in Gaza in fact compares favourably with Glasgow.”

Turner added that MAP was “abusing its position as a charity to spread false information about Israel”, and using “the halo of its status as a charity to disguise its racial hatred of Israelis and Jews.”

Lawfare Project direct Brooke Goldstein said “it is incumbent on the Charity Commission to take action against MAP’s sinister abuse of charitable funds”.

The timing of the attack on MAP is no coincidence, coming after an appeal by the charity raised more than £1 million following Israel’s mass killing of Palestinian protesters.

MAP medics have been on the ground in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, and the charity’s social media accounts have given vital insights into Israel’s brutal crackdown.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian MEMO cartoonist detained by Israel forces

MEMO | June 7, 2018

Tapestry narrative cartoon

Acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh was detained by Israeli forces last week as he tried to return to his Ramallah home following a trip to Europe, according to his contracted publishing house Just World Books.

Sabaaneh, who regularly draws cartoons for MEMO, was returning from the international cartooning festival in Bastogne, Belgium, on 31 March when Israeli border-control forces held him for five hours at the Allenby Bridge, intimidated him, and confiscated one of his key works, a cartoon in the form of a tapestry narrative.

The cartoonist has used his talent to raise awareness of Israel’s ongoing and illegal occupation of the West Bank and is the Regional Representative in the Middle East for the Washington DC-based Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI).

Last year, Sabaaneh was also honoured as a special guest by the UN at a festival celebrating Palestinian culture, and earlier in 2017 conducted a 15-city speaking tour of America.

This was not the first time Sabaaneh has been detained. In 2013, when trying to return from a trip to Jordan, he was arrested at the border and imprisoned for five months. This particular experience informed a chapter of his recently published book “White and Black: Political cartoons in Palestine” which detailed the plight of Palestinians taken from their loved ones.

Sabaaneh is regularly harassed by both Israeli and Palestinian officials when attempting to cross the border. Israel uses arrest as a means of intimidation, often holding Palestinians for weeks without charge or access to a lawyer.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps are also a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, during which many of the detentions occur.

Yesterday, human rights groups revealed that Israeli occupation forces arrested more than 600 Palestinians in the occupied territories and besieged Gaza Strip last month, including 94 children and nine women.

Read also:

Palestinian activist threatened with death for exposing Israel crimes

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Israel seals Palestinian family’s home with them inside

Front door of the Zahida family home
Ma’an – June 7, 2018

HEBRON – A Palestinian family was trapped inside their home and forced to leave through a broken window after Israeli forces welded their front door shut and temporarily detained them inside their home in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Thursday morning.

The incident took place on the al-Shuhada street in the Old City of Hebron, one of the most heavily militarized streets in the occupied West Bank.

Samer Yusri Zahida told Ma’an that Israeli forces broke into his brother’s house at 8 a.m. on Thursday, forcing him and his three other family members into one room in the house.

After detaining the family for a brief period of time, Israeli forces broke one of the windows in the house and exited through it, allegedly telling the family that if they want to leave the house they must also exit through the window. Israeli forces then sealed the front door to the family’s home.

Zahida noted that the window that was broken did not lead to the main road, but to the neighbor’s house.

Coordinator of the Human Rights Defenders Association in Hebron, Imad Abu Shamsieh, told Ma’an that Israeli forces have been trying to force out the family since they moved in two weeks ago, in what he said was an “attempt to empty the al-Shuhada street of all Palestinian residents and provide it to Israeli settlers as a new residence.”

Palestinian residents of Hebron’s Old City face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 20 checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets, as well as the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque itself.

Additionally, Palestinians are not allowed to drive on al-Shuhada street, have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and in some areas of the Old City, are not permitted to walk on certain roads.

Meanwhile, some 800 notoriously violent Israeli settlers in Hebron move freely on the street, drive cars, and carry machine guns.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s red card and own goal

By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | June 7, 2018

Rotem Kamer, the vice president of the Israeli Football Association, has accused Palestinians of waging “football terror” after Argentina called off a friendly match in Jerusalem. Argentina’s move came after global protests fuelled by the killing and wounding of thousands of Palestinians taking part in the Gaza Strip’s Great Return March protests.

“We are seeing it as crossing a red line and we cannot accept it,” blustered Kamer, without a hint of irony. He and other key figures in the Zionist regime are outraged at the cancellation, especially after tickets for Saturday’s match against Israel sold out within 20 minutes. Criticising human rights and pro-Palestinian protesters, IFA Chairman Ofer Eini stormed, “The aim was to harm our country through soccer.” In fact, the aim of such civil action is to reverse Israeli apartheid and colonial oppression of the people of Palestine.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin described the news as “a sad morning for fans” and added his concern about the “politicisation” of Argentina’s decision. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, tried in vain to salvage the game in a telephone call to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. His appeal was unsuccessful. Far-right Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Argentina of folding to “Israeli-hating anti-Semitic terrorist supporters.”

Netanyahu’s government is fuming after being denied the chance to showcase Jerusalem as its “undivided capital”. The decision by Netanyahu to switch the game from Haifa to the Teddy Kollek Stadium built on the site of an ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village, Al-Malha, clearly backfired. It was the switching of venues that many believe prompted Argentina to step back and cancel the match. Culture and sports minister Miri Regev lashed out at critics by claiming ludicrously that, “This is the same terrorism that caused the Munich massacre.”

However, Hugo Moyano, Second Vice President of Argentina’s Football Association (AFA), called the cancellation positive: “It was the right thing to do, it was not worth it,” he told Argentina’s Radio 10. “What happens in these places where so many people are killed cannot be accepted by any human being.” The decision was also welcomed by Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, one of the country’s highest-profile players, in an interview with the ESPN television network on Tuesday.

It must now be sinking in with Netanyahu, Rivlin, Eini, his sidekick Kamer and Regev that the Zionist State’s murderous policies have created this massive own goal. Furthermore, their self-righteous indignation and the absurd description of the cancellation as “terrorism” (Israel crying wolf again) conveniently overlooks the fact that Israel has itself crossed many red lines and introduced real terror on many levels when it comes to football, no matter whether it’s the professional game we are talking about, amateur matches or simply a knockabout among friends on the beach. Its murderous acts deserve much more than a paltry red card.

Here are just a few incidents to refresh Israeli memories of what real terror in football means:

13 January, 2009: Three Palestine national team players were killed in separate attacks during Israel’s military offensive against civilians in Gaza called Operation Cast Lead. Targeted within 72 hours of each other, Ayman Alkurd, who also played for his club Falasteen Al-Ryadi, was the first to be killed. Like his team-mates, his home was hit in an air strike. Fellow footballers Wajeh Moshtahe and Shadi Sbakhe, were killed in later Israeli strikes.

30 January 2013: Dzhabrail Aslanbekovich Kadiyev and Zaur Umarovich Sadayev were signed by the notorious Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem. Angry racist fans who regularly chant “Death to all Arabs” torched the club’s offices in protest at the Muslim signings. The club’s fans boast loudly that it has no Arab players. It has also changed its name to “Beitar Trump Jerusalem” in recognition of the US President’s controversial decision to move the US Embassy to the city and recognise it as the capital of Israel.

31 January 2014: Adam Jamous and Jawahar Halbiyeh live in Abu Dis in occupied Jerusalem. As they headed home after football practice they were shot in the legs without warning. Jawahar was shot seven times in his left leg, three times in his right leg, and once in the hand, while Adam was shot three times: twice in his left thigh, and another in his right. Doctors confirmed that neither of them will ever play football again.

9 July 2014: Avid football fans gathered at a beachside cafe in the Al-‘Izbeh area of Khan Younis to watch a FIFA World Cup qualifier between Argentina and the Netherlands. Israel had launched yet another war on Gaza two days earlier, blitzing 750 targets, but this area was not classed as a military zone and the young Palestinians settled down to watch the match in the belief that they were safe. Half an hour later, at 11.30pm, the cafe was shelled. Those killed were: Ahmed Astal, 18; Suleiman Astal, 16; Musa, 16, a cousin of the Astals; Mohammed Ganan, 24; Ibrahim Ganan, 25; Hamdi Sawalli, 20; Ibrahim Sawalli, 28; Salim Sawalli; 23 and Mohammed Fawana, 18.

16 July 2014: Just after 4pm and in the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing football on the beach in Gaza City were killed after an Israeli gunboat fired two shells at them. Aged between seven and 11, two were named Mohammad, one was Zakaria and the youngest was Ahed. All were members of the extended Bakr family. Three others were also injured and given first aid by international journalists who witnessed the atrocity. Hamad Bakr, aged 13, had shrapnel in his chest; his cousin Motasem, 11, suffered head and leg injuries; and Mohammad Abu Watfah, 21, was hit by shrapnel in his stomach.

31 March 2018: This was the day when Israeli snipers killed 17 peaceful protesters at the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip and injured hundreds more. Those wounded included Palestinian footballer Mohammad Khalil whose career was ended after he was shot by an Israeli soldier in both legs. A player for Al-Salah FC, he was shot in his knee by a so-called butterfly bullet which exited one leg and hit his other knee, breaking the bone. He will never play another game of football again and is likely to be bedridden for months.

13 April 2018: Young footballer Attallah Fayoumi, 17, suffered a devastating leg injury after being shot. The wounds required urgent surgery but Israeli forces refused him permission to leave Gaza for a West Bank or Israeli hospital. As the seriousness of his condition worsened doctors were forced to amputate his leg, shattering his dreams of ever becoming a professional footballer.

There are those who believe that Israel deliberately targets Palestinian footballers and other athletes who draw favourable, international attention to Palestine as ambassadors of their sport. Whether traveling abroad from Gaza or moving across the West Bank they are subjected to Israeli interrogations at checkpoints and boundary crossings. In addition to movement restrictions, Israeli forces are suspected of deliberately targeting Palestinian footballers with live ammunition; the evidence is, indeed, mounting.

The Israel Defense Forces boasted during the Great Return March that, “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.” The army then quickly deleted its incriminating tweet as more evidence of war crimes by its soldiers came to light, but not before a copy was made by the human rights group B’Tselem.

According to Sami Abu Sneima, head of surgery at the European Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, footballer Attallah Fayoumi is not the only case of a leg amputation since the peaceful protests began at the end of March. “Many people who were shot with live ammunition have had to have their upper or lower limbs amputated,” he explained.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza says the majority of injuries being attended to are in the lower limbs, and while most of the wounds are considered serious, hospitals run on a case-by-case basis. So far, 123 protesters have been killed, with more than 14,000 wounded, according to Palestinian hospital staff. At least 32 people, many of them below 25 years old, have had limbs amputated.

So while Israeli FA chief Ofer Eini claims that the move to get the Argentinian match cancelled was a deliberate attempt to harm the Zionist State he should reflect that no one was killed or injured in the process, unlike the heroic Palestinians taking part in the peaceful resistance of the Great Return March. If he and the thousands of Israeli football fans who’ve lost out really want to vent their anger and frustration at anyone at all, it should be Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Putin Really Ready to “Ditch” Iran?

The Saker • Unz Review • June 7, 2018

The topic of Russian actions in Syria still continues to fascinate and provoke numerous polemics. This makes sense – the issue is exceedingly important on many levels, including pragmatic and moral ones, and today I want to stick strictly to the pragmatic level and set aside, just for a while, moral/ethical/spiritual considerations. Furthermore, I will also pretend, for argument’s sake, that the Kremlin is acting in unison, that there are no Atlantic Integrationists in the Russian government, no 5th column in the Kremlin and that there is no Zionist lobby exerting a great deal of influence in Russia. I will deal with these issues in the future as there is no doubt in my mind that time and events will prove how unfounded and politically-motivated these denials are in reality. But for the purpose of this analysis, we can pretend that all is well in the Kremlin and assume that Russia is fully sovereign and freely protecting her national interests.

So what do we know about what is going on in Syria?

I submit that it is obvious that Russia and Israel have made some kind of deal. That there is an understanding of some kind is admitted by both sides, but there is also clearly more happening here which is not spelled out in full. The Israelis, as always, are bragging about their total victory and posting articles like this one: “In Syria, Putin and Netanyahu Were on the Same Side All Along” with the subheading reading “Putin is ready to ditch Iran to keep Israel happy and save Assad’s victory.” Really?

The chaotic world of contradictory declarations and statements

Let’s look at that thesis from a purely logical point of view. First, what were the Israeli goals initially? As I have explained elsewhere, initially the Israelis had the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces, and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Break up Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and force the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all centers of Shia power in the Middle-East.

Now let’s stop right here and ask a very simple question: if Putin and Netanyahu were on the same side all along, what should Putin have done to aid the Israelis? I submit that the obvious and indisputable answer is: absolutely nothing. By the time the Russians initiated their (very limited but also very effective) intervention in Syria those plans were well under way towards full realization!

The undeniable truth is that Putin foiled the initial Israel plan for Syria.

In fact, Hezbollah and Iran had already intervened in Syria and were desperately “plugging holes” in a collapsing Syrian front. So, if anything, Putin has to be the one to be credited for forcing the Israelis to give up on their “plan A” and go to plan “B” which I described here and which can be summarized as follows:

Step one, use your propaganda machine and infiltrated agents to re-start the myth about an Iranian military nuclear program. (…) If Trump says that the JCPOA is a terrible deal, then this is so. Hey, we are living in the “post-Skripal” and “post-Douma” era – if some Anglo (or Jewish) leaders say “highly likely” then it behooves everybody to show instant “solidarity” lest they are accused of “anti-Semitism” or “fringe conspiracy theories” (you know the drill). So step one is the re-ignition ex nihilo of the Iranian military nuclear program canard. Step two is to declare that Israel is “existentially threatened” and (…) and let the dumb Americans fight the Iranians.

As I have explained it in great detail here, Russia does not have any moral obligation to protect anybody anywhere, not in the Middle-East and most definitely not Syria and/or Iran. I have also explained in great detail here why Putin also has a lot of pragmatic internal reasons for not getting Russia involved in a major war in the Middle-East.

Finally, as I have explained here, the Israelis are clearly baiting Iran by striking Iranian (or, more accurately, Iranian-linked or Iranian-supported) targets in Syria. They hope that Iran’s patience will come to an end and that the Iranians will retaliate with enough firepower to justify not only an attack on (relatively low value) Iranian-linked targets in Syria but on Iran proper, thus leading to a guaranteed Iranian retaliation on Israel and The Big Prize: a massive US attack on Iran.

Now let’s look at Russian actions once again. If Putin was “on the same side with Netanyahu all along”, he would be helping the Israelis do what they are doing, that is baiting the Iranians, right? But what did Putin really do?

It all began with a statement by Foreign Minister Lavrov who declared that all foreign forces must leave Syria. It is my understanding that no direct quote exists from Lavrov’s initial statement, only interpreted paraphrases. Lavrov also made some clarifying comments later, like this one. But let’s not get bogged down in trying to decide which was an off-the-cuff comment and which one was “official”, let us begin by noticing this: even before Lavrov’s comment on “all foreign forces” the same Lavrov also said that “all US forces must leave Syria after the defeat of the terrorist forces.“ May I also remind everybody here that Israel has been illegally occupying the Syrian Golan for years and that the IDF exactly fits into the definition of “foreign force in Syria”? It gets better, according to the Syrians and, frankly according to common sense and international law, the Syrians say that all foreign forces must leave Syria except those legally requested to stay by the Syrian government. So when the Russians say that all foreign forces including Iranians (assuming Lavrov really said that) must leave Syria they have absolutely no legal or other authority to impose that, short of a UNSC Resolution endorsing that demand. Considering that the Israelis and the USA don’t give a damn about international law or the UNSC, we might even see a day when such a resolution is passed, enforced on the Iranians only, and ignored by the Israelis. The trick here is that in reality there are rather few Iranian “forces” in Syria. There are many more “advisors” (which would not be considered a “force”) and many more pro-Iranian forces which are not really “Iranian” at all. There is also Hezbollah, but Hezbollah is not going nowhere, and they are Lebanese, not Iranian anyway. No doubt the Israelis would claim that Hezbollah is an “Iranian force” but that is basically nonsense. And just to add to the confusion, the Russians are now being cute and saying: “of course, the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces must be carried out on a mutual basis, this should be a two-way street.“ I suggest that we can stop listing all the possible paraphrases and interpretations and agree that the Russians have created a holy (or unholy) mess with their statements. In fact, I would even submit that, what appears to be a holy (or unholy) mess, is a very deliberate and crafty ambiguity.

According to numerous Russian sources, all this rhetoric is about the southern part of Syria and the line of contact (it ain’t a border legally speaking) between Syria and Israel. The deals seem to be this: the pro-Iranian forces and Hezbollah get out of the south, and in exchange, the Israelis let the Syrians, backed by Russian airpower and “advisors” regain control of southern Syria but without any attempts to push the Israelis out of the Golan which they illegally occupy. Needless to say, the Syrians are also insisting that as part of the deal, US forces in southern Syria must pack and leave. But, frankly, unless the US plans to have tiny (and useless) US enclaves inside Syrian controlled territory I don’t see the point of them staying. Not only that, but the Jordanians seem to be part of this deal too. And here is the best part: there is some pretty good evidence that Hezbollah and Iran also are part of the deal. And, guess what? So are the Turks.

This sure looks like some kind of major regional deal has been hammered out by the Russians. And if that is really the case, then that would also explain the tense denials in Israel and Iran, followed by more confirmations (also here) And, just to make things even more confused, we now have Stoltenberg (of all people!) saying that NATO would not assist Israel in case of an Iranian attack which, considering that the NATO Secretary General has no power, that NATO is about 80%+ made up of the USA and that the US now has a permanent “tripwire” force inside Israel and could claim to be under attack, is utter nonsense, but still amusing to note as “adding to the chaos”.

And then there is the apparent Syrian plan to kick out the US from northern Syria which, predictably, Uncle Sam doesn’t like too much. So the two sides are talking again.

If all this looks to you like evidence for the thesis that “Putin and Netanyahu were on the same side all along”, then I wonder what it would take to convince you otherwise because to me this looks like one of three things:

  1. some kind of major regional deal has been made or
  2. some kind of major regional deal is in the process of being hammered out or
  3. some kind of major regional deal has been made but nobody trusts anybody else and everybody wants to make that deal better for itself

and, of course, everybody wants to save face by either denying it all or declaring victory, especially the AngloZionists.

So let’s ask the key question: is there any evidence at all that Putin and/or Assad is/are “ditching Iran”?

Away from the realm of declarations and statements and back to the world

Let’s begin with a simple question: What does Iran want above all else?

I submit that the overwhelming number one priority of Iran is to avoid a massive US attack on Iran.

Conversely, triggering such an attack on Iran is the number one objective of the Israelis. They are rather open about that too. The latest idea is to create a “military coalition against Iran” while trying to please NATO by joining anti-Russian exercises in Europe.

Not because of a non-existing Iranian nuclear program threatening Israel, but because Iran offers a most successful, and therefore dangerously competing, alternative civilizational model to both the AngloZionist Empire and the Saudi-Wahabi version of Islam. Furthermore, unlike (alas!) Russia, Iran dares to openly commit the “crime of crimes”, that is, to publicly denounce Israel as a genocidal, racist state whose policies are an affront to all of civilized mankind. Finally, Iran (again unlike Russia, alas!) is a truly sovereign state which has successfully dealt with its 5th columnists and which is not in the iron claws of IMF/WB/WTO/etc types (I wrote about that last week so I won’t repeat it here).

I also submit that Iran also has as a top priority to support all the oppressed people of the Middle-East. Resisting oppression and injustice is a Quranic imperative and I believe that in its Iranian interpretation this also extends to non-Shia Sunnis and even Christians and Jews, but since I know that this will trigger all sorts of angry accusations of being naive (or even a Shia propagandist) I will concede that helping the oppressed Shia in the region is probably more important to the Iranian leaders than helping all the other oppressed. In secular terms, this means that Iran will try to protect and assist the Shia in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and I see absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, considering the amazing mercy shown by Hezbollah to the SLA in southern Lebanon in 2000, and the fact that currently, the Syrian security forces are acting with utmost restraint in the parts of Syria which have accepted the Russian deal (this even has some Russian analysts outright worried) I think that Iranian-backed forces liberating Syria from Daesh are the best thing which anybody could hope for.

Furthermore, the truth is that for all its other faults, the Ba’athist regime in Syria was tolerant of minorities and that Hezbollah has always been protective of absolutely all the Lebanese people regardless of confession or ethnicity (others might disagree with me, but having studied Hezbollah and Iran for several decades now I come to the conclusion that they, unlike most other political actors, are actually truthful when they state their intentions).

So who is the biggest threat to the Shia and, I would argue, to all the people of the Middle-East? The Takfiris of Daesh of course.

And what do all the variants of the possible “big regional deal” have in common? The elimination of Daesh & Co. from Syria.

So how is that against the Iranian interests?!

It isn’t, of course.

The truth is that I see absolutely no evidence at all for “Putin and Netanyahu working together all along”. What I do see is that some kind of deal is being worked out between numerous parties in which everybody is probably trying hard to cheat everybody else, Realpolitik at its worst and most cynical – yes. But hardly a betrayal of Iran by Russia.

What everybody seems to be doing is what blacksmith Vakula did in Gogol’s Christmas Story “The Night Before Christmas“: to trick the devil. In Russia, the devil is known as “лукавый” which does not just mean “evil” but also sly/wily/deceitful/wickedly clever. To try to trick the devil is a very, very dangerous and difficult task and I also find it morally very questionable. But in keeping up with our modern value-neutral “realistic” Zeitgeist, we can also debunk the “Putin betrays Iran” on purely cynical and “pragmatic” reasons with no need to appeal to any higher values at all.

For those who have not seen it yet, I highly recommend this (English subtitled) video of Ruslan Ostashko discussing what Israel can, or cannot, offer Russia and Putin:

Ostashko is absolutely right. The truth is that Israel, unlike Iran, has very little to offer Putin or Russia. This does not mean that Israel does not have influence over the Kremlin, it most definitely does, but that influence is all “stick”, no “carrot” (which is one of the conceptual flaws in the position of those who deny the existence of a Zionist 5th column in Russia – they are denying the existence of the “stick” while producing no “carrot” thus making Russian policies appear both contradictory and inexplicable: hence a need for all sorts of mental contortions to try to explain them).

But Israel’s “stick”, while undeniably big, is dwarfed by Iran’s “carrot”: not only immense resources and billions of Dollars/Rubles/Rials/Euros to be made in energy and weapons and also many sectors of the economy. There is also the fact that Iran is truly the number one regional power in the entire Middle-East: maybe not big enough to impose its will on all others, but definitely big enough to bring down any major plan or policy it does not approve of. Furthermore, now that the international sanctions against Iran have been officially lifted (the USA’s reneging on its signature notwithstanding), Iran can join and become an influential member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (along with, possibly, other Middle-Eastern countries). All this makes the Iranian “carrot” very attractive to Russia. There is also a conceptual Iranian “stick”: if Israel gets its way and Iran is massively and viciously attacked by the AngloZionist Empire, and either chaos or a severe crisis result, what would be the impact on Russia and her allies? And, while I don’t think for a second that this is possible, let’s say the Empire overthrows the Islamic Republic and puts a pro-AngloZionist regime in power in Tehran – what would that do to Russian national security? It would be an absolute nightmare, wouldn’t it?

Look at the relationship between Russia and Turkey before the coup attempt against Erdogan. Surely that relationship was much worse than the relationship currently enjoyed between the Islamic Republic and Russia, right? And yet, when the US attempted to topple Erdogan, what did Russia do? Russia gave Erdogan her fullest support and even, according to some rumors, physical protection during a few key hours. If Russia sided with Erdogan against the Empire, why would Russia not side with the Islamic Republic, even if we consider only arguments of Russian self-interest?

For an excellent Iranian analysis of the Russia-Iran alliance, check out this article by Aram Mirzaei.

Conclusion

The simple truth is that regardless of declarations and political statements, China, Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are all dependent on each other and cannot afford to truly betray anybody lest the Empire take them out one by one. To use Franklin’s expression – they all must hang (i.e. stand) together or most assuredly they will all “hang separately”? That does not mean that they all love each other, or always share the same goals? They might also play against each other to some degree, and even try to get some sweet deal “on the side” with the AngloZionists (remember, Assad used to torture for the CIA!), but the facts on the ground and the correlation of forces in the Middle-East will limit the scope of such “mini-betrayals”, at least for the foreseeable future.

True, there is the Saudi factor to take into account. Unlike the Israelis, the Saudis are offering a lot of “carrot”. But the Saudis are way too arrogant, they are already messing with Russian interests not only in Syria, but also in Qatar, and their brand of Islam is truly a mortal danger for Russia. Right now the Atlantic Integrationists and Eurasian Sovereignists have achieved somewhat of an equilibrium in the Kremlin. One is trying to split the EU from the USA and make lots of money, while the other is left in charge of national security issues, especially towards the South, but this equilibrium is inherently unstable and would be immediately threatened by any meaningful AngloZionist attack. So yes, there is a Zionist Lobby in Russia and yes, it does act as a 5th column, but not, most emphatically no, it is not strong enough to completely disregard the financial interests of the Russian business elites or, even less so, fundamental Russian national security interests. That is the biggest difference between the USA and Russia: Russia, while only partially sovereign, is far from being an Israeli protectorate or colony. And as long as Russia retains her even partial sovereignty she will not “ditch” Iran, regardless of Israeli whining and threats.

My personal evaluation is that Putin is playing a very complex and potentially dangerous game. He is trying to trick not one, but many “devils,” all at the same time. Furthermore, if the US Americans have been недоговороспособны (“not agreement capable”) already since Obama, Trump and his Neocon masters have made that even worse. As for the Israelis, they would make Satan himself look honest and are ideologically incapable of honesty (or even decency). Frankly, I don’t trust Erdogan one bit and I don’t think that the Russians will ever trust him either. Call me naive, but I think that Assad has been changed by this war and even if he did, indeed, collaborate with the CIA in the past, I think that he will be a pretty good ally for Russia in the future. As for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah, I see them both as men of honor who will uphold any alliance they formally enter into (informal understandings and temporary mutual interests are a different deal). I also see them as brilliant and wise geostrategists: they fully realize that Iran and Hezbollah need Russia to survive. So Putin’s policy, while dangerous, is not doomed to failure at all: he is trying to save Syria from the AngloZionsts while avoiding a regional war. Time is on his side as Trump’s erratic (and that is putting it mildly) policies (or, really, lack thereof) are inflicting tremendous damage on the Empire on a daily basis (see Dmitri Orlov’s excellent analysis here).

I honestly don’t know if Putin’s dangerous strategy will work or not. I don’t think anybody else does either (except ignorant cheerleaders, of course). But I do know that even if the sight of Bibi Netanyahu in Moscow with a Saint George ribbon was nauseating to my conscience, this absolutely does not indicate that Netanyahu and Putin are working together or that Russia is “ditching Iran”. As always, the Israelis feel almighty and brazenly display their arrogance. Let them. Just remember the inevitable outcome from that kind of Zionist hubris in the past and wait for the inevitable “oy vey!“.

Finally, there is the single most important fact: the AngloZionist Empire and Russia remain at war, and have been so for at least four years or more. That war is still about 80% informational, 15% economic and 5% kinetic, but it is a very real war nonetheless, and it is escalating. As long as Russia will retain even partial sovereignty and as long as she will offer an alternative civilizational model, even an imperfect one, she will remain an existential threat to the Empire and the Empire will remain an existential threat for the entire Russian civilizational realm. While hugely important to Israel, the entire Iranian issue is just a sideshow to the transnational leaders of the Empire who see Russia and China as the real main competitors, especially when joined in a symbiotic relationship as they are today. Hence the crises in the Ukraine and on the Korean Peninsula, hence the constant warnings of a possible full-scale nuclear war (see Eric Zuesse latest article here or Paul Craig Roberts numerous article on his website; also check out Dan Glazebrook’s excellent analysis of Trump’s attempt to repeat the “Rambouillet ruse” in Korea here). Even if Putin succeeds in moving the EU closer to Russia and away from a (clearly insane) USA, and even if he succeeds in preventing the AngloZionists from directly attacking Iran, this will only further convince the AngloZionist leaders of the Empire that he, Putin, and Russia, are the ultimate evil which must be eliminated. Those who hope for some kind of modus vivendi between the Empire and Russia are kidding themselves, because the very nature of the Empire makes this impossible. Besides, as Orlov correctly pointed out – the Empire’s hegemony is collapsing, fast. The Empire’s propaganda machine denies and obfuscates this, and those who believe it don’t see it – but the leaders of the Empire all understand this, hence the escalation on all fronts which we have seen since the Neocons re-took power in the White House. If the Neocons continue on their current course, and I don’t see any indication whatsoever that they are reconsidering it, then the question is only when/where this will lead to a full-scale war first. Your guess is as good as mine.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putin pledges help to unrecognized Donbass republics, warns Ukraine against attack

RT | June 7, 2018

Vladimir Putin has said that any aggravation of the military conflict in Ukraine would “inflict a tremendous damage” to the country’s statehood and added that Russian support for the Donbass republics will continue.

During the Thursday televised Q&A session Putin faced a question from Russian journalist and writer Zakhar Prilepin, who is currently a voluntary advisor to the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the DNR.

Prilepin asked the president if he considered it possible that pro-Kiev forces would launch a major offensive operation in the war-ridden south-east of Ukraine during the 2018 World Cup in Russia which begins in one week.

Putin said that he personally hoped that such thing would not happen and noted that such a development would “inflict a tremendous damage to the Ukrainian statehood” adding that he personally believed that it was impossible to intimidate the people from the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

“It is impossible to intimidate the Donbass people. We see how they endure all these hardships, we send them help and we will continue doing this,” Putin stated.

Putin also asked a rhetorical question – how was it possible that Kiev authorities attempt to solve the problems of Donbass and consider this region Ukrainian territory while at the same time destroying the republics’ economies with blockades and openly robbing their residents. The Russian leader added that Ukrainian officials kept their personal fortunes in offshore bank accounts.

Earlier this week the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, said that he personally participated in reconnaissance missions on the frontline and got an impression that the Ukrainian side was preparing for a major offensive. “This is connected with the football World Cup, Ukraine will attempt to use this event. There is such a threat I would not conceal this fact. Ukraine cannot wage a full-pledged war, but they can launch several major armed provocations in three parts of the frontline maximum,” he said.

A few days ago, Putin said in an interview with Austrian television that, in order to stop internal conflict in Ukraine, Kiev authorities could grant special status with broader powers to the republics of Donbass, just as Russia had done with Chechnya.

“Russia had to make a very complicated decision and grant the Chechen Republic and many other federation subjects such status that gave them a great degree of independence within the Russian Federation … the same thing could be done in Ukraine in regards of the Donbass republics and I wonder, why have not they done it yet?

“Under such scenario there is no necessity to restrict the usage of ethnic minorities’ languages in Ukraine, I mean not only Russian but also Romanian, Hungarian and Polish. There is little talk about it in Europe but these are the today’s realities,” the Russian president said.

In September 2017, Putin called for a UN peacekeeping mission to be sent to the war-torn eastern regions of Ukraine. The mission would have been deployed to the line of demarcation to protect the OSCE mission, which monitors the ceasefire.

Moscow’s initiative was welcomed by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the US and Ukrainian delegations refused to discuss it at the UN Security Council, bringing about a stalemate.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Forever AUMF Stalls at Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“War is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.”

By Renee Parsons | OffGuardian | June 7, 2018

As the Forever AUMF 2018 (SJRes 59) (Authority for the Use of Military Force) continues to await action by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one can only imagine the extent of the behind-the-scene efforts underway to sway those few wavering Senators who may be reluctant to go down in American history as voting to eliminate Congress’ sole, inviolate Constitutional authority ‘to declare war’. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11.

The law would remove Congress from its statutory authority as it transfers “uninterrupted” authority on “the use of all necessary and appropriate force” to one individual, allowing the President of the United States to pursue the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and other ‘associated forces” including a proverbial too little-too late report to Congress 48 hours after the use of military force in a “new foreign country,” presumably in the Middle East (other than Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya).

In addition to pressure within the Committee itself, it can be expected that those who will benefit most from a Forever State of War are currently pounding the Senate’s marble halls, perhaps even stalking members of the Committee as lobbyists from the MIC, AIPAC and other enthusiasts for war, will do whatever it takes to bring adoption of the AUMF to a favorable committee vote.

Since more than half the Committee, fourteen of its twenty one members received a grand total of $3,397,755 from pro-Israel PAC’s as identified by the Center for Responsive Politics, whenever and if ever the final vote comes, it will be positively titillating to compare the vote and the money.

In an interesting reversal of common legislative procedure, the House of Representatives has, as yet, no pending AUMF comparable to the Foreign Relations Committee version while the Senate Committee appears eager to act; perhaps at the behest of one of those aforementioned aficionados of war. If we assume that the Senate Committee adopts the AUMF with the next logical step being a vote by the full Senate, will the Senate create an awkward legislative conundrum without a comparable Forever AUMF 2018 being on a legislative track in the House?

One factor in pushing for speedy AUMF approval might be that there is some new military escapade about to unfold with the need for an unwieldy Constitutionally mandated Congressional debate and vote too onerous, requiring too much effort and consuming a colossal amount of time whereas the Section 8 clause might better inform the American public whether their tax dollars are being efficiently used to improve their lives or might even threaten a halt to the steady drumbeat of war.

Perhaps the delay may be attributed to ongoing negotiations of the finer points in an attempt to create a more perfect air-tight vehicle. Whether there is a sunshine date or some i’s are not dotted or t’s not crossed makes little real difference in the final outcome since the ultimate goal is to allow war to go forward without meaningful Congressional participation while failing to provide the pesky public with information about why their sons and daughters are losing their limbs or lives in some far-away country that is no threat to our national security.

It is difficult to recognize a more ill-considered, reactionary vote of enormous global consequences as adoption of a Forever AUMF which will surely hasten the Final Chapter of the American Empire.

As if the Constitutional violations are not sufficient reason for opposition and while Congress has been less than attentive to its Section 8 duties, a functioning AUMF will not only deny a full and thorough public Congressional debate and roll call vote on the merits of military action but will prevent creation of a historic Congressional record, a journal of which began in 1789 as necessary to providing a formal documentation of all official parliamentary proceedings essential to any operative democracy.

In mid April when the AUMF 2018 draft was introduced, retiring Committee Chair Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) was optimistic that the AUMF would be approved within a few weeks indicating that a potential Senate floor vote depends on the strength of AUMF support within the Committee. Corker suggested that a wide margin in favor would facilitate Senate floor passage which makes it curious that approval appears to have stalled and brings us back to question why the haste for rapid adoption of a new AUMF.

During the May 24th Committee hearing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) who was HRC’s running mate in 2016, serves on the Senate Armed Service Committee and is a driving force in favor of the AUMF, referred to adoption as little more than a ‘necessary update’ repealing AUMF 2001 and AUMF 2003.

Kaine, who apparently sees no contradiction with an active-service son in the Marines and adoption of the Forever AUMF, stated that there is ‘near unity” on the Committee regarding a bi-partisan effort, military engagement against ISIS and the desire to do a ‘good job,’ none of which should be confused with real-time support for adoption of the AUMF.

While Kaine and other members of the Committee may be untroubled by the discomfort of a contradictory, cognitive dissonance belief system as necessary qualities in order to function as a Senator, the US has become the most violent country on the planet as its legislative representatives exhibit the lack of any functioning global consciousness.

Renee Parsons served on the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Iran Prepares to Start Uranium Enrichment

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 07.06.2018

Iran has launched preparations to boost its uranium enriching capacity. The decision is the result of the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JPCOA). Tehran has begun work on infrastructure to build advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility. It also plans to secure nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power plant. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed of its plans to increase the enrichment within the limits of the 2015 deal with world powers.

This is a signal that Iran will not comply with the JPCOA if it collapses. Tehran wants European banks to take the risk and safeguard trade. Oil sales must be guaranteed and the losses resulting from US sanctions must be compensated by Brussels. The demand for new negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional policy must be abandoned as these issues are not related to the JPCOA.

The EU is trying to preserve the agreement but it’s hard to see how private companies could be convinced to deal with Tehran running the risk of American punitive measures. Peugeot, Total, and Italy’s Danieli have already halted or are preparing to halt their ties with Iran.

Actually, the chances that Europeans would be able to protect their companies dealing with Iran from the effects of US sanctions are slim at best. If so, Iran has no reason to comply with the deal anymore. Why should it? It was not Iran who tore it up. If it’s not working, then why should Tehran observe its part of it? True, formally the agreement is still effective. Iran said the enrichment will be within the agreed limits but the US and Israel are likely to say it is not. Washington and Jerusalem will raise hue and cry over the announced enrichment to describe it as a breach of the JPCOA, whether the limits stipulated in the deal are exceeded or not. They will cite “intelligence sources” or invent something to justify their claims, no matter what the UN watchdog says.

The trouble is that the US decision to pull out from the deal was not an element of a well-defined policy, there was no plan B. The hope to have the JCPOA renegotiated was a pipe dream from the start. An agreement is an agreement. Iran complied with it. Other controversial issues, such as ballistic missiles, could have been subjects for separate talks. If not, it’s still preferable to have the JPCOA in effect to make sure there will be no nuclear warheads installed on delivery means. But Washington chose the language of ultimatums to spoil it all.

In April, President Trump warned Iran of “big problems” if it resumes the nuclear program. Iranian Bavar-373 air defense systems have already been deployed to protect the related infrastructure. In late May, Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said Israel is the first country in the world to carry out an operational mission with the F-35 stealth fighter, which flew over Beirut undetected. In March, two Israeli F-35s were reported to fly over Iranian air space unnoticed. This was a clear warning to Iran that the resumption of nuclear program would be responded to with force.

In 2012, Israel was ready to strike but was held back by the US. With President’s Trump’s tough stance on Iran, it may be different this time. On the contrary, the US may find the idea to use force against Iran too tempting before the June 12 summit with the North Korean leader in Singapore.

Actually, a war between Israel and Iran is already waged as Israeli aviation regularly strikes what it says Iran’s forces in Syria. The recent success of pro-Iranian Hezbollah in Lebanon brings an armed conflict even closer. The unsettled maritime dispute over the natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean makes it almost inevitable as the profits to be received by the Lebanese government will inevitably enrich Hezbollah. The Hamas attacks in Gaza are also viewed by Israel as a conflict ignited by Iran. It strikes the eye that Israel has changed its tone demanding complete withdrawal of Iran from Syria not just keeping away from the Golan Heights.

There are unconfirmed reports that the US military is building an outpost in the Sinjar mountains of Ninawa province to secure the Syria-Iraq border and prevent Iran from establishing a land corridor linking Iran’s western border to the Mediterranean. If the reports are true, the US is evidently preparing for a military operation. It will not have NATO by its side. America and Israel are on their own. They may be supported directly or indirectly by some Sunni Arab nations.

For instance, Saudi Arabia’s threat to use force against Qatar is another sigh of preparing a multinational war against Iran. The deal to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense systems is used as a pretext though it’s hard to see how these defensive weapon systems could pose a threat to the kingdom. Riyadh is in talks with Moscow on purchasing the systems, why can’t Doha do the same? The real reason is probably the refusal of Qatar to break ties with Iran.

There are very disturbing signs that a war waged by Israel, the US, and probably its Persian Gulf allies is close at hand. The tensions could be eased if diplomacy were given a chance but the US unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA appears to turn such scenario into a very remote possibility.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iraq receives dozens of advanced T-90 battle tanks from Russia

Press TV – Jun 7, 2018

The Iraqi military has received dozens of more advanced T-90 battle tanks from Russia under a major deal struck between Moscow and Baghdad last year.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry, in a statement released on Thursday, announced that it had taken delivery of 39 tanks, adding that the armored fighting vehicles had been distributed between two battalions of an army brigade.

The statement said that Iraqi military personnel had already been trained by Russian experts on how to operate the battle tanks.

Iraqi Army Chief of Staff General Othman al-Ghanimi said on February 19 that his country’s army had received 36 Russian-made T-90 battle tanks.

The T-90 is a third-generation Russian battle tank built upon the time-proven Soviet T-72 design.

It is among the best-selling tanks in the world, and known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility.

The T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun, which can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles.

The advanced tank also features sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend it from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles.

Indian, Algerian and Azerbaijani militaries have purchased hundreds of T-90 battle tanks in past years. Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt have also expressed strong interest in buying the tank.

The Iraqi military plans to reinforce its fleet of M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks with T-90s. A large number of American M1A1 Abrams tanks have been damaged in the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Putin: WWIII may be end of civilization, and that should restrain conflicts

RT | June 7, 2018

A new world war could become “an end of civilization,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a live televised call-in show. Awareness of this should restrain international powers from engaging in global conflict, he added.

While giving his take on the risks of a new global conflict, Putin recalled Albert Einstein. “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones,” he quoted the world renowned physicist and a Nobel Prize winner.

He went on to say that “understating of the fact that World War III could be an end of the modern civilization” should deter the world “from any radical and highly dangerous actions that could [threaten] the modern civilization.”

In a reference to the Cold War era, Putin said that “it was a fear of mutual destruction” that has always prevented the international actors from any radical moves and forced them to respect each other.

The Russian leader then pointed out that recent US actions – in particular its unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed with the Soviet Union – are nothing but an apparent “attempt to disrupt this strategic parity.” He argued that Russia needs to develop its own state-of-the-art weapons systems to retain this condition.

Putin also said that the ongoing policy of sanctions and endless accusations of the West against Russia is “counterproductive” and harms the West’s own interests just as it harms Russia’s. Western leaders believe it is a “means of deterring Russia’s development,” he said, adding that he believes “this policy is flawed.”

“One should not ‘deter’ anyone, including Russia, but should develop constructive cooperation instead,” the president said. This would in turn benefit everyone, and Western nations are becoming “gradually aware” of this fact.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment