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West Bank IED Attack Kills And Injures Israelis- A Closer Look

By Robert Inlakesh | 21st Century Wire | August 23, 2019

Earlier this Friday morning an IED attack, conducted inside the occupied West Bank, killed one Israeli and injured two others.

The incident has been blamed on unidentified Palestinians, who were said to have planted the IED the night prior to the incident, before detonating it upon the arrival of the Israeli settlers to the location.

The attack took place at the site of the Ein Buben Spring, located in between the Palestinian village of Deir Ibzi and the illegal Israeli settlement of Douleb.

A female Israeli has been confirmed dead, with two men injured, one currently on life support in critical condition and the other suffering moderate wounds. The three Israelis had originated from Lod – formerly the Palestinian towns of Lydda and Ramle – and had reportedly been visiting the spring, entering it from the ever expanding neighboring settlement.

As usual, the Israeli and Western press are treating this incident as if it has no link to anything occurring in the area prior to the attack.

Back in 2017 I lived in the occupied West Bank and visited the spring of Deir Ibzi many times. I remember being driven there with Palestinians friends to hang out. The first time I went I was confronted by Israeli soldiers who stopped our car and pointed guns in our faces and continued to linger in the area, watching us, for hours after the incident.

Another time I had visited, we had to quickly leave as armed settlers emerged over the hills and were heading in our direction.

I was told by people in the village of Deir Ibzi, that they fear the day when the Israelis will completely take the site for themselves.

The site, of course being home to a fresh water spring, has been a part the lives of those living in Deir Ibzi and the neighboring villages for generations. Until now, there has been no violent resistance like this recent attack, despite the illegal settlement expansion on the area and the violent forcing of the native population from their land.

Israel considers of all the West Bank as simply being part of Israel and call the land Judea and Sumaria. To Israel, there are no illegal settlers or illegal land grabs, they simply consider their actions as being reasonable expansion on God given Jewish land.

The eldest of the Israelis injured in the attack, currently being treated in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, is a Rabbi and was reported to be a decorated occupation force veteran.

Due to the constant Israeli settler and occupation force attacks upon Palestinians, in the West Bank, as well as a rise in attacks upon the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, we now see a string of violent attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.

This year so far, approximately 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and with the lack of action from the international community, to end the violations of international law, the siege, the occupation etc. Palestinians now have their backs to the wall.

No peace talks or peaceful demonstrations have worked. So now, due to the lack of action taken for the Palestinians, the Palestinian people are resulting to the last and only option left for them, violent resistance.

The mainstream media will paint these attacks as horrid terrorist incidents, but the reality is, this is what happens when a people have no other options.

Today, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, 152 Palestinians were injured in Gaza’s Great Return March protests, 60 were shot with live ammunition. Over 310 Palestinians have been killed in these marches since the 30th of March, 2018, with around 40,000 people being injured. So why aren’t these acts of mass murdered labelled terrorism? Are only Arabs and Muslims able to commit a terrorist act, should this perhaps be the new definition for the word?

Under international law, the Palestinian people reserve the right to armed resistance. So why is it always a terrorist attack, in the eyes of the so-called objective mainstream media, when a Palestinian decides to resist? And why isn’t Israeli settler terrorism reported as such, when 6 year old Palestinians are run down and murdered by Israeli religious fanatics?

***

Author Robert Inlakesh is a special contributor to 21WIRE and European correspondent for Press TV. He has reported from on the ground in occupied Palestine.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Will the DNC Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory Yet Again?

By Thomas L. Knapp | Garrison Center | August 23, 2019

President Donald Trump faces an exceedingly narrow path to re-election in 2020. In order to beat him, the Democratic nominee only needs to pick up 38 electoral votes. With more than 100 electoral votes in play in states that Trump won narrowly in 2016 — especially Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida — all the Democrats have to do is pick a nominee ever so slightly more popular than Hillary Clinton.

That’s a low bar that the Democratic National Committee seems determined, once again, to not get over. As in 2016, the DNC is putting its finger on the scale in favor of “establishment” candidates, the sentiments of the rank and file be damned.

Last time, the main victim was Bernie Sanders. This time, it’s Tulsi Gabbard.

Michael Tracey delivers the gory details in a column at RealClearPolitics. Here’s the short version:

By selectively disqualifying polls in which Gabbard (a US Representative from Hawaii) performs above the 2% threshold for inclusion in the next round of primary debates, the DNC is trying to exclude her while including candidates with much lower polling and fundraising numbers.

Why doesn’t the DNC want Gabbard in the debates? Two reasons come to mind.

Firstly, her marquee issue is foreign policy. She thinks the US should be less militarily adventurous abroad, and as an army veteran of the post-9/11 round of American military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia, she’s got the credentials to make her points stick.

Foreign policy is a weak spot for the increasingly hawkish Democratic establishment in general and the front-runner and current establishment pick, former vice-president Joe Biden, in particular. As a Senator, Biden voted to approve the ill-fated US invasion of Iraq. As vice-president, he supported President Barack Obama’s extension of the war in Afghanistan and Obama’s ham-handed interventions in Libya, Syria, and other countries where the US had no business meddling. The party’s leaders would rather not talk about foreign policy at all and if they have to talk about it they don’t want candidates coloring outside simplistic “Russia and China bad” lines.

Secondly, Gabbard damaged — probably fatally — the establishment’s pre-Biden pick, US Senator Kamala Harris, by pointing out Harris’s disgusting authoritarian record as California’s attorney general. Gabbard knows how to land a punch, and the DNC doesn’t want any more surprises. They’re looking for a coronation, not a contest.

If the DNC has its way,  next year’s primaries will simply ratify the establishment pick, probably a Joe Biden / Elizabeth Warren ticket, without a bunch of fuss and argument.

And if that happens, the Democratic Party will face the same problem it faced in 2016: The rank and file may not be very motivated to turn off their televisions and go vote.

Whatever their failings, rank and file Democrats seem to like … well, democracy. They want to pick their party’s nominees, not have those nominees picked for them in advance. Can’t say I blame them.

Nor will I blame them for not voting — or voting Libertarian — if the DNC ignores them and limits their choices yet again.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | | Leave a comment

‘Crime does pay’: CNN hires disgraced ex-FBI director Andrew McCabe

RT | August 23, 2019

What does one get for leaking to the media, lying to federal investigators about it, and allegedly participating in a plot to derail an American election? If you answered jail time, too bad. The correct answer is a job at CNN.

That is at least the case for Andrew McCabe, the former acting FBI director and one of the people deeply involved in the ‘Trump-Russia’ investigation before it was taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CNN announced on Friday it was hiring McCabe as a contributor.

Just a day earlier, however, the network was in full meltdown over former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders getting hired by Fox News, and her predecessor Sean Spicer appearing on Dancing With the Stars – arguing that both were liars who did not deserve gainful employment.

Yet they have no problem with McCabe, who was fired from the FBI in March 2018 – just days before he could claim a $60,000 annual federal pension – because an internal report found that he “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.”

“Lacking candor” is the federal government euphemism for lying.

McCabe going to CNN is “truly a match made in FakeNews heaven,” declared Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, adding that CNN has long stopped being a news organization. “They’re now a fully integrated anti-Trump propaganda network and they don’t even try hiding it anymore.”

A number of Republican lawmakers, including Senators John Cornyn (Texas), Josh Hawley (Missouri), and Representatives Lee Zeldin (New York) and Mark Meadows (North Carolina) also weighed in on CNN’s employment choice and journalistic standards.

“I guess crime does pay,” added Matt Wolking, a spokesman for the Trump2020 campaign.

Meanwhile, left-wing journalist Aaron Mate offered a reminder that the gullible #Resistance raised over half a million dollars on GoFundMe for McCabe after he was fired.

McCabe joins nine other former national security officials already on CNN’s payroll, including ex-top spy James Clapper. MSNBC has hired five more, including former CIA chief John Brennan. The one thing they all have in common is outspoken opposition to President Trump.

As James Comey’s right hand at the Bureau, McCabe was intimately involved with investigating both Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the so-called ‘Trump-Russia collusion’ that later spawned a special counsel probe – as well as spying on the Trump campaign under questionable pretexts. His name was brought up on several occasions in text messages between agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page, including the exchange about an “insurance policy” in case Trump got elected.

The president and his supporters have long argued that this was the real scandal about the 2016 election, calling it ‘Spygate,’ and demanding a reckoning. However, no charges have been leveled – yet – against any of the officials involved, including McCabe and his boss Comey.

Yet it is McCabe who is demanding a reckoning in court, arguing that his firing was politically motivated and part of Trump’s “ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel” to investigate his ties with Russia. That Robert Mueller delivered his report months ago and found nothing doesn’t seem to faze him in the slightest.

In other words, he’ll fit right in at CNN.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Turkey’s Syria Convoy Stopped in Its Tracks

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | August 23, 2019

On August 19 Turkey sent a military convoy across the border in the direction of Khan Shaikhun, in southern Idlib province. It informed Russia beforehand of what it intended to do. From what followed, it can be assumed that Russia warned Turkey not to go ahead, but it did and suffered the consequences.

South of the town of Ma’arrat al Nu’man, 20 kilometres north of Khan Shaikhun, the lead vehicle in the convoy was destroyed from the air in a Syrian missile strike. The action had the clear support of the Russian government. The destruction of the lead vehicle was a warning that if the convoy went any further it also would be bombed. It was brought to a halt and remains parked somewhere north of Khan Shaikhun.

The convoy included tanks being carried on transporters, ammunition and personnel carriers as well as an unknown number of soldiers. Turkey claimed that three civilians were killed in the attack. In fact, from reports, the ‘civilians’ in the destroyed vehicle included the commander of Faylaq al Sham, a faction integrated into the Turkish-backed ‘National Liberation Front.’

Syrian military units were already infiltrating Khan Shaikhun, held since 2014 by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), formerly Jabhat al Nusra, formerly Al Qaida in Syria, and by August 21 they had fully liberated the city. Turkey said the convoy was bound for its military observation post near the town of Murek. Syria claims the weaponry was being sent to the beleaguered takfiris in Khan Shaikhun.

As the M5 highway runs through Murek all the way from Aleppo to Damascus, Turkey’s access to its observation post is now cut off and can only be restored through Russian mediation. The M5 runs north to Saraqib before branching off to Idlib city, which has been occupied by HTS since 2015.

Turkey has another observation post near Ma’arrat al Nu’man, which it claims has come under harassing fire from the Syrian army. It insists, however, that all its 12 observation posts in Idlib will remain open.

Further Syrian advances south of Khan Shaikhun have scattered takfiris from northern Hama, which borders southern Idlib. Others remain trapped. The Syrian military has opened a humanitarian corridor around the village of Suran for civilians to leave the region. Many are already pouring out of Idlib and northern Hama.

Turkey claims the attack on the convoy breached the understanding it had reached with Russia and Iran on the ‘de-escalation’ of conflict in Idlib, which it was supposed to manage. However, as Vladimir Putin pointed out after the aerial attack, when Turkey signed the ‘de-escalation’ agreement in August, 2018, HTS controlled 50 per cent of Idlib but within months it had taken control of 90 per cent.

Even by the US and Turkey HTS is designated as a terrorist group. Nevertheless, in the fighting for Khan Shaikhun, units from the ‘National Liberation Front’ and the ‘National Army’, founded in January, 2018, and also backed by Turkey, formed a common front with HTS against the Syrian army’s advance.

The liberation of Khan Shaikhun has been a major victory for the Syrian army, which is now positioned for an offensive north towards Ma’arrat al Nu’man, held by the ‘Syrian Liberation Army’ (SLF), originally an amalgam of two terrorist groups, Ahrar al Sham and Nur al Din Zinki, but eventually expanded to include numerous other takfiri factions.

Early in 2018 heavy fighting between the SLF and HTS took the lives of hundreds of takfiris, but the SLF captured Ma’arrat al Nu’man and has held it ever since. In August, 2018, the SLF joined the ‘National Front for Liberation,’ which is also backed by the Turkish government.

While the Syrian army is now positioned to move rapidly northwards from Khan Shaikhun, its advances in the past have been frequently stymied by ceasefires called as part of the chess game played under the heading of ‘diplomacy.’

Russia has yet to respond to Turkey’s request for a ceasefire in Idlib but this time, with its air base at Khmeimim coming under frequent attack and with Putin remarking that the takfiris in Idlib are spreading out globally, it may prefer to see the province cleared without any further delay.

The compartmentalization of interests on both sides suggest that neither Russia nor Turkey will allow developments in Idlib, including the attack on the military convoy, to jeopardize the overall relationship. Apart from diplomatic and trade considerations, Turkey is now purchasing Russian weaponry, with the delivery of the second batch of S400 missiles expected in September. On September 18 Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan will discuss Syria at a conference in Ankara.

Nevertheless, however many twists and turns ‘diplomacy’ takes, Russia stands firmly behind the Syrian government in its drive to liberate Idlib and restore its authority over all territory held by the takfiris and foreign forces, Turkish in the northwest and American in the northeast.

At odds over the status of the Syrian Kurds, Turkey and the US have now agreed to cooperate in the establishment of a ‘safe zone’ along the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border. Erdogan wanted to establish a ‘safe’ or ‘buffer’ zone inside Syria from the moment he decided to intervene in 2011 by supporting the so-called Syrian National Council and the so-called Free Syrian Army against the Syrian government.

The decision to intervene in Syria is unprecedented in the history of the Turkish republic. While a Turkish government intervened in Cyprus in 1974 to forestall the annexation of the island by the Greek military junta, and while the Turkish military has frequently campaigned against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in northern Iraq, no Turkish government has ever actively intervened to bring about the downfall of another government, let alone one in a neighboring country, let alone one with which it had good ‘brotherly’ relations at the very moment it decided to intervene.

Apart from other dire consequences, the destruction of the Syrian government’s authority in the north created the very problem which Erdogan is now determined to solve, the perceived ‘national security’ threat from the YPG (People’s Protection Units), the Kurdish militia.

Before 2011 the Syrian government had supported Turkish military action against the Kurds in northern Iraq. It had also cracked down on the YPG’s parent political organization, the PYD (Democratic Union Party), breaking up demonstrations and sending leading activists for trial before security courts. Syria was just as strongly opposed to Kurdish separatism as the government of Turkey.

It was the US, Turkey’s partner in the collective calling itself ‘The Friends of the Syrian People,’ which enhanced opportunities for the Syrian Kurds, irrespective of Turkey’s interests. It established military bases in the predominantly Kurdish northeast and created a largely Kurdish militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces. It refused to accept Turkey’s designation of the YPG as a ‘terrorist’ group and by all of its actions, it fostered Kurdish attempts to set up autonomous enclaves along the Turkish border. Had the Syrian government not come under such a ferocious attack from 2011, none of this would have happened.

Apart from the widespread destruction in Syria caused by foreign intervention, the consequences for Turkey have included an influx of 3.6 million refugees. According to opinion polls, the Turkish public now regards their presence as a problem second only to the faltering state of the economy.

The ‘safe zone’ or ‘peace corridor’ as it is now being called allows Turkey to aim at two targets simultaneously. One is the YPG, whose presence Turkey is determined to remove from the border area. The second is rising public disquiet inside Turkey at the visible presence of so many Syrians, the cost of maintaining them and their impact on daily life. According to press reports, large numbers of the refugees will now be resettled in this ‘safe zone’, easing domestic pressure on the Turkish government. Whether Syrians who come from other parts of their country will want to stay, if conditions in their home towns and villages are safe, is doubtful. The influx of so many Syrian Arabs into this strip of territory would water down the Kurdish population and inevitably lead to accusations of demographic engineering.

How Turkey and the US will ‘police’ this safe zone is far from clear. They have been wrangling over it for months. The ‘safe zone’ would run from Jarabulus in the west to the Iraqi border. Turkey wants (or wanted) a zone 32 kms deep, while the US argued for 14 kms, the first five kilometres a DMZ, patrolled jointly by Turkish and US forces, the remaining nine kilometres only to be cleared of heavy weaponry and not necessarily the YPG. The two sides say they have now agreed and have launched the first phase of this operation but no details apart from air coordination are known.

Joint patrols would take Turkish troops deep into the Syrian Kurdish heartland, just across the border from the Kurdish heartland in Turkey’s southeast and not far from Kurdish northern Iraq. This latest initiative is fraught with many dangers, including the likelihood of Kurdish resistance to the Turkish presence. How the US intends to balance out its strategic support for the Kurds against its strategic relationship with Turkey is only one of many unknowns.

In the domestic Turkish background the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered a major blow in the March local elections when it lost control of Istanbul and Ankara as well as other major cities. Its situation since then has only deteriorated. Senior figures in the party, including former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Ali Babacan, a co-founder of the AKP and former Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, have broken away and are forming their own political parties. These are certain to make inroads into the AKP inside and outside parliament. In short, Tayyip Erdogan’s domestic base, for the first time in 18 years, is beginning to fracture.

The recent dismissal of Kurdish mayors in the southeast – the latest in a long line of such dismissals – and their replacement by government trustees has attracted widespread public criticism, well beyond the ranks of the predominantly Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP). The domestic political climate is changing rapidly and the arrests are being openly criticized as further blows to an already severely weakened democratic base. The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is totally opposed to Turkey’s intervention in Syria, where the Syrian army is now encircling Turkey’s observation posts in Idlib, heightening the danger of direct clashes.

Were the CHP to take government, it could be counted on to withdraw from Syria without delay. However, elections are not due until 2023 and while there have been unfavourable shifts on the domestic landscape, Erdogan is wily and resilient and perfectly capable of reversing these setbacks. Syria is a different picture. It is full of dangerous variables which he can neither avert nor necessarily control but it is not his style to back off. Rather, he is more likely to double down and seek victory in his public’s eyes, whatever the risks this will involve.

Jeremy Salt has taught at the University of Melbourne, Bosporus University (Istanbul) and Bilkent University (Ankara), specialising in the modern history of the Middle East. His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.)

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 2 Comments

Israel tech ‘facilitating press freedom abuses around the world’

MEMO | August 23, 2019

Israel has been charged with enabling attacks on media freedom around the world by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), after export controls on surveillance technology were eased.

Citing a Reuters report, CPJ noted that Israeli officials have confirmed that – thanks to a rule change by the Defence Ministry – Israeli surveillance companies “are able to obtain exemptions on marketing license for the sale of some products to certain countries”.

According to Reuters, “the change took effect about a year ago”.

CPJ stated that:

Israeli-exported technology undermines press freedom globally by allowing authorities to track reporters and potentially identify their sources.

One example given by the press freedom watchdog was the Mexican government deploying Pegasus malware, sold by Israeli firm NSO Group, to infiltrate the mobile phones “of at least nine journalists”.

Pegasus was also used by Saudi Arabia to spy on the associates of journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was murdered in the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey in October last year.

“Over and over again, we see Israeli technology facilitating press freedom abuses around the world, by lending a hand to governments that want to track and monitor reporters,” said CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch in Washington, D.C.

“An unregulated surveillance industry is bad for press freedom. The Israeli government should heed the UN Special Rapporteur’s call to respect human rights in its export policies.”

UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye described Israel as “a major player in the surveillance technology market” in a June 2019 report which urged “a global moratorium on such exports until a human rights compliant regime was put in place”.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli cluster bomb from 2006 war kills Lebanese man in south

Ali Nehme Hamzeh, who was killed on August 22, 2019 in an explosion of an Israeli cluster bomb left over from the 2006 war on Lebanon. (Photo by National News Agency)
Press TV – August 22, 2019

A young Palestinian man has lost his life when a cluster bomb dropped during Israel’s military aggression against Lebanon in the summer of 2006 detonated in the country’s south.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported that the man, identified as Ali Nehme Hamzeh, was working on a bulldozer in a field near the village of Majdal Selm on Thursday, when the bomb exploded.

He was taken to the nearby Tibnin Governmental Hospital, but succumbed to his wounds.

Southern Lebanon is littered with hundreds of unexploded Israeli cluster bombs, and the Lebanese army together with the UN and other international organizations are working to purge the area of the deadly ordnance.

According to the United Nations, the Israeli army dropped some four million cluster bombs on Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war, mostly during the last 48 hours of the conflict.

More than 400 people, 90 percent of them civilians and a third under the age of 18, have been killed by the munitions, while dozens more have been maimed.

Cluster bombs are a type of explosive weapons that blow up in the air and scatter dozens of sub-munitions over a large area.

Cluster munitions are banned in most countries due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapons.

About 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, lost their lives during Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon back in the summer of 2006.

According to a 629-page report of the Winograd Commission, appointed by the Israeli regime itself, Hezbollah fighters involved in defending Lebanon against the Israeli war defeated the enemy, and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives.

The Winograd Commission was set by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in September 2006 to examine the events during Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon. It was chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd.

The commission was formed in the wake of public criticism and protest over the fact that the Israeli military had effectively lost the war by failing to achieve its aim of freeing two soldiers captured by Hezbollah fighters.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the 2006 war, calls on Israel to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

US officials confirm Israel behind Iraq air strikes

MEMO | August 23, 2019

US officials have confirmed that Israel was behind recent airstrikes on alleged weapons depots in Iraq, which were ostensibly being used by Iran to transfer arms to Syria.

Senior US officials yesterday told the New York Times that Israel has carried out “several strikes [in Iraq] in recent days”, the most recent of which took place on Monday near the Balad Airbase, north of Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The US-based newspaper also quoted a “senior Middle Eastern intelligence official” who said that Israel had struck a separate base north of Baghdad on 19 July. The official claimed that the base was being used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) to transfer weapons to Syria, where Iranian-backed groups are engaged in the country’s protracted civil war.

He added that a “cargo of guided missiles with a range of 125 miles” was destroyed during the attack.

The same official also revealed that the 19 July strike was launched from “within Iraq”, raising questions as to how Israeli aircraft were based in a country with which they currently have no formal diplomatic relations.

The US officials’ comments confirm weeks of speculation that Israel was responsible for the multiple attacks on Iraqi targets which have taken place in recent months.

In the past three months, four attacks on weapons depots have taken place. Three of these bases were being used by the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an umbrella organisation of Shia paramilitary groups technically under the authority of the Iraqi Security Forces, though many operate semi-autonomously.

Meanwhile the fourth was being used by Iraq’s federal police, the New York Times explained.

On Wednesday the PMF blamed the US and Israel for attacking its bases in Iraq, saying in a statement that the US had allowed four Israeli drones to enter Iraq. The statement added that the group has “accurate information” which proves the US brought the Israeli drones into Iraqi territory to work as part of the US fleet stationed in the country.

The US Pentagon, however, strenuously denied its involvement in the affair, dismissing the PMF’s statement entirely.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu further added to speculation of US-Israeli involvement yesterday, saying that he had given the armed forces a “free hand” to deal with the alleged Iranian threat.

In an interview with Israel’s Russian-language outlet Channel 9, Netanyahu was asked whether Israel would operate against Iranian targets in Iraq if needed. The prime minister replied: “We are operating – not just if needed, we are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us. Of course, I gave the security forces a free hand and instructed them to do anything necessary to thwart Iran’s plans.”

The attacks represent a new front for Israel, having previously focused on targeting Iranian positions in Syria. Though Israel has maintained an official policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war and often remained silent in the face of air strike accusations, in January then Chief of Staff of the Israeli army Gadi Eisenkot admitted Israel had in fact struck Syria “thousands of times”.

Israel’s military intelligence threatened in February to expand its operations to Iraq, claiming “Iran may use Iraq as a launching pad to target Israel” after its positions in Syria were destroyed. This, Israel claimed, “would call for a response from Tel Aviv”. US President Donald Trump also expressed similar ideas, telling American news station CBS that he would keep US personnel in Iraq to “keep an eye” on Iran.

Former Iraqi prime minister Haider Al-Abadi slammed these suggestions, stressing that “Iraqi sovereignty must be respected [since] we are not proxies in conflicts outside the interests of our nation”. Iraq’s President Barham Salih echoed this sentiment, calling on the US not to pursue its own policy priorities because “we live here”.

READ ALSO:

Iraq slams Israel participation in Gulf naval mission

August 23, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

USS Liberty Veterans Association BANNED FOREVER From the American Legion National Convention

By Joe Meadors | USS Liberty Veterans Association | August 22, 2019

“You will not discuss the attack with anyone. Once the Court of Inquiry findings are released you will not contradict them. This order will remain in effect after you are discharged from the Navy. If you violate this order you will be prosecuted and will spend a considerable amount of time in a Federal Prison.”

This order was repeated every day at quarters while we were in drydock in Malta.

If anyone tells of witnessing the deliberate machine gunning of our life rafts in the water, he runs the risk of doing time in a Federal prison.

If anyone tells of witnessing the use of unmarked aircraft or of the jamming of our radios on both US Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies, he runs the risk of doing time in a Federal prison.

We cannot talk about this among ourselves. We cannot talk about this with our family. We cannot talk about this with any counselor. We cannot talk about this at a meeting of any veterans group we may become involved with. We cannot talk about this with our Congressional Delegation. We cannot talk about this at The American Legion National Convention.

We cannot talk about this with anyone.

If we do, we risk Federal prison.

But we defy the Federal Government and speak about the attack anywhere we can.

But now we cannot talk about it at The American Legion National Convention.

In an email to the USS Liberty Veterans Association, Kevin J. Bartlett, J.D., National Judge Advocate of The American Legion (and US Navy Veteran) writes:

I understand that your organization would like to submit an application for a booth at The American Legion National Convention in August.

The USS Liberty Association is not allowed to rent a booth at national conventions and have them staffed because one of your members committed assault and battery on one of our staff and was convicted of his crimes. In addition, members of your organization have attempted to set up in the national convention exhibit hall without renting a booth.

The American Legion has a 100-year track record of helping veterans and their families. Unfortunately, we’ve had a long and unpleasant history with the USS Liberty Veterans Association, and we have chosen not to do business with them.

The American Legion has known for decades the constraints we have had place on us. Do they care? No.

Instead of offering us the honor, support and compassion they routinely offer their members, they have chosen to take a relatively minor issue that was largely of their making, blow it all out of proportion, accuse someone they claim to be a USS Liberty survivor of trying to set up an unauthorized booth and ban us from their National Convention forever.

All without the opportunity of appealing their decision. And without any reference to their Constitution and bylaws or Resolution that allows them to take the action they did.

This action by the hired help of The American Legion National Headquarters wasn’t taken in a vacuum. The National Organization has a long record of trying to stifle USS Liberty survivors in our effort to tell the story of what happened on a US Navy ship. Given the tremendous support we have from the rank and file of The American Legion, it is clear that The American Legion National Headquarters is governing by fiat instead of by the rule of its membership as reflected in Resolutions initiated by its local posts.

An extensive and heavily footnoted telling of the history between The American Legion and the USS Liberty Veterans Association is available here.  We are indebted to If Americans Knew for the effort they made to so expertly outline the history between the two veterans groups.

IAK writes:

Legion bigwigs have torpedoed American Legion members’ resolutions supporting the Liberty; prevented dissemination of information about the attack; refused to allow a booth by the Liberty Veterans Association at its 2013 national convention; and privately attempted to convince the Veterans of Foreign Wars to similarly prohibit a Liberty booth at its national convention.

In 2002 the Washington DC Legion delegation introduced a resolution calling for an investigation of the attack to a foreign relations subcommittee at the national convention. This was the first step towards procuring an American Legion resolution.

I was present at this convention and witnessed most of what subsequently transpired. I had begun to investigate Israel-Palestine in fall 2000, a topic I had never previously studied. I was astonished at much of what I discovered, including the Israeli attack on the Liberty, which I had never heard about despite growing up in a military family.

When I heard that a resolution was going to be introduced at the national convention, I went with the delegation to observe what happened.

When the DC group introduced the resolution to the subcommittee, every American Legion delegate who addressed it spoke in favor of it. Delegate after delegate from diverse parts of America supported the resolution, and it was passed without objection.

The DC delegates were jubilant. When a resolution is passed at this level, they explained, it is virtually assured of adoption. Typically, the resolution is then rubber-stamped by the next committee, and passed along to the general membership, which then normally passes all such committee recommended resolutions by one simple voice vote.

This resolution, however, was to be different.

The next day, American Legion staff told the Convention Committee on Foreign Relations that there was no need for such a resolution since the Legion already had passed resolutions on the Liberty. The staff and chair neglected to state that not a single resolution on the USS Liberty was live, and that therefore it was both necessary and appropriate to pass this one.

This communication succeeded in killing the resolution. The main staff member for this committee had served in Israel; it is possible he is an Israeli citizen. The Committee chairman was Thomas Bock, of Colorado.[29] Three years later Bock was American Legion National Commander.

That evening, back in D.C., Admiral Thomas Moorer (USN retired) heard about the scuttling of the resolution. Outraged, he wrote an open letter to the American Legion Commander requesting that the resolution be put before the general membership.

Admiral Moorer was chairman of an association of admirals and generals who want the US government to conduct a hearing on the USS Liberty. He was also the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — the highest ranking military officer in the U.S. military — and a retired 4-star admiral who was once in charge of both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets. He was a Naval aviator and World War II hero; the Navy’s Tomcat fighter jet was named after him.

Moorer had long been outraged at the cover-up on the Liberty attack. In a 1997 memo, he called it a “wanton, sneak attack,” writing: “What is so chilling and cold-blooded, of course, is that they could kill as many Americans as they did in confidence that Washington would cooperate in quelling any public outcry.” Many of the crewmembers, Moorer wrote, were from “small country towns, probably a lot like Eufaula, Alabama, where I grew up, and they represent the basic core of America …. “

One has only to look to their reference to the USS Liberty in their Leadership FAQ to learn that they have chosen to support a Revisionist version of the attack instead of one supported by evidence and facts.

What is The American Legion doing about the USS Liberty tragedy?

The tragic mistaken identity attack by Israelis on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967 provoked a great deal of controversy among surviving members of the crew and family members. Though residual anger and suspicions remain, the incident was the subject of ten US investigations and three by the Israelis. In the American investigations, the full weight of the US Government allowed access to all of the relevant security information. Though some accusations were made suggesting the reports sought to hide facts or protect Israel, no credible evidence for these charges has been produced at the US Government level.

The Foreign Relations Convention Committee of The American Legion reviewed the action taken by OSD and Congress on this incident and they voted to reject Resolution 235 submitted by the Department of District of Columbia at the 84th Annual National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, August 2002.

This position is a gross misrepresentation of the evidence currently available – a fact that we have made The American Legion aware of but they are obviously not interested in acknowledging.

In the first place, there is no “controversy among surviving members of the crew and family members.”

Second, the incident was NOT “the subject of ten US investigations and three by the Israelis.” Prove that for yourself by emailing your Congressional Delegation and ask them to send you a copy of the Congressional investigation of the attack. They won’t be able to send you one because it doesn’t exist.

Third, Congress hasn’t taken any action on this “incident” so what the Foreign Relations Convention Committee reviewed is in question. A question The American Legion refuses to (i.e., cannot) answer.

Why would the leaders of a Federally chartered veterans association claiming a mission “To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” “To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism,” and “To make right the master of might” ban a group of American veterans who are the victims of War Crimes committed by our “best ally and only friend in the Middle East” from attending any American Legion National Convention forever?

Did I just answer my own question?

Are the leaders of The American Legion afraid that their members will learn about the War Crimes Israel committed during the attack and are blowing up this relatively minor event to prevent our relating the history of the attack during their National Convention?

This unilateral action by The American Legion was not taken in a vacuum. The American Legion and the USS Liberty Veterans Association have a long history. That history, in our opinion, shows a concerted, illegal and borderline treasonous effort by The American Legion National Organization to deny its members the right of hearing first-hand accounts of the attack on the USS Liberty.

To be perfectly clear, no one is denying the seriousness of a charge of assault and battery. Nobody is denying the fact that a USS Liberty survivor was convicted of assault and battery on a staff member of The American Legion.

What happened that resulted in the assault and battery being committed? It all takes place as we were attempting to register at the 2012 National Convention.

Due to a communications error on our part, our delegation intending to staff our booth at the 2012 American Legion National Convention was unaware that payment for that booth and information about the requisite insurance had not been submitted to The American Legion prior to their arrival.

Upon learning that the payment had not been made, our representatives inquired if payment could be made while they were there.

Instead of responding to the inquiry, the registration desk called their security personnel who asked that our delegation be removed from the premises. The security personnel were obviously expert in intimidation – which was in full flower during the one-sided confrontation.

Having survived not only the attack and the US government’s disinterest in investigating that attack, but the history the USS Liberty Veterans Association has had with the higher-ups of The American Legion, one of our representatives out of frustration, took out his American Legion membership card and flicked it to no one in particular. He just wanted to be rid of it.

As luck would have it, it landed softly on the blouse of one of the ladies manning the registration desk. So soft that I doubt she felt a thing.

The American Legion called the police and had our representative arrested for assault and battery. He was taken to jail and released after receiving a court date.

When the date arrived to face the judge, our guy showed but The American Legion victim was nowhere to be found.

No doubt out of embarrassment that the very people The American Legion was established to help were being treated so poorly.

Which brings up the question, “What is the purpose of The American Legion” and why in the past 52+ years has The American Legion treated the survivors of the USS Liberty as an exception to that purpose?

Why has The American Legion National Organization shown more concern for the forces who attacked the USS Liberty than it has for their own countrymen?

Why has The American Legion National Organization felt it so important to stifle USS Liberty survivors that they have acted illegally to do so?

Let me suggest some reasons:

  1. We were attacked by Israel.
  2. We have insisted that The American Legion live up to its obligations as described in the Preamble to their Constitution.
  3. We were attacked by Israel.
  4. We have highlighted the hypocrisy of The American Legion in allowing its 1967 Resolution 508 to be ignored and unimplemented until it is finally rescinded in the 1990’s.
  5. We were attacked by Israel.
  6. During the many times we were allowed to purchase a booth at The American Legion’s National Convention we were welcomed with enthusiasm and support by the general membership of The American Legion.
  7. We were attacked by Israel.
  8. At their 2018 National Convention, the membership of The American Legion ignored the recommendation of The American Legion’s leaders and approved a resolution calling on the Congress of the United States to investigate the attack on our ship.
  9. We were attacked by Israel.

If you find the actions of The American Legion National Organization as disconcerting as we do, we urge you to submit two resolutions through your Post.

If nothing else, it will educate you on what The American Legion National Organization feels about the USS Liberty and USS Liberty resolutions.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 9 Comments

US Reprehensibly Inciting New Global Arms Race

Strategic Culture Foundation | August 23, 2019

Russia and China are right to condemn the testing this week of an INF-busting new missile by the US. Washington is brazenly jeopardizing global security under the usual cynical guise of “defense”.

Washington launched a ground-based cruise missile off the coast of California. It was reportedly a Tomahawk-type nuclear-capable warhead, but the Pentagon said it was conventionally armed. The projectile apparently succeeded in hitting its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. The testing of such a missile would have been banned by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty which the US officially withdrew from on August 2.

The INF, first signed in 1987, banned the testing and deployment of missiles within the range of 500-5,500 kms.

It is inconceivable that the latest weapon could not have been in the long-term works for development prior to the three-week period since the INF was abandoned. In others words, the abrogation of the treaty was long-anticipated by Washington, which belies US claims over recent months that it was crashing out of the INF due to alleged Russian violations. The US wanted out of the treaty. Now that it is freed from restriction, the prompt deployment of the cruise weapon off California seems to confirm the ulterior agenda.

Previously, Pentagon chief Mark Esper indirectly admitted this ulterior agenda when he told Senate hearings that the purpose for scrapping the INF was for the US to be able to confront China.

This week Esper said the missile testing was aimed at sending Beijing a message that the “US is capable of deterring China’s bad behavior”.

So, let’s have some honesty here. Washington just ripped up an important arms-control treaty for global security, not because of alleged Russian violations, but rather because the US wants to give itself a free hand to expand its short and medium-range arsenal to challenge China.

Indeed, Esper also remarked during a recent trip to Australia that the US intends to deploy INF-type ground-based missiles in Asia.

Admittedly, China is reckoned to have an arsenal of short and medium-range missiles. Beijing was not a party to the INF, so technically it is not in breach of its restrictions. But a crucial distinction is that such Chinese weapons do not pose a threat to the US mainland. Whereas US intentions of moving similar ballistic warheads to land bases in Asia do pose an imminent threat to China, as well as to Russia.

The US and its NATO allies claim they do not want to start a new global arms race. Washington says it is not planning to deploy INF-type warheads in Europe. However, the type of launcher used this week and which is already deployed in Romania and, it is believed, in Poland as well, could be used sometime in the near future to fire nuclear-capable missiles at Russia.

Washington is thus recklessly shifting the balance of power and undermining the global architecture for security against nuclear war.

Both Russia and China have deplored the risk of a new arms race being incited by the US.

Perhaps this kind of arms race is exactly what Washington is seeking, despite claims to the contrary. The nefarious calculation is that Russia and China will be diverted from economic development by being forced into responding in kind to new threats from the US.

After all, with its presumed license to rack up never-ending national debt, American strategic planners may feel that they can impose crippling economic costs on geopolitical rivals Russia and China.

The Chinese government said it best this week when it commented that the US “must give up its Cold War mentality”.

The endemic premise in Washington is that Russia, China and other states are mortal threats to the US. The official American view of the world is relentlessly paranoid about enemy states, which are allegedly harboring malign designs to the destroy the US.

Of course such cynical, nihilistic thinking is necessitated by the fundamental operating need of US capitalism and its addiction to the military-industrial complex. War is good, peace is bad, so goes the Orwellian American credo, albeit never outrightly stated as such. If the US were to somehow make peace with the world and enter into normal friendly international relations, then its $700-billion-plus annual spending on the military would cease to exist from lack of “justification”, and with that would follow the calamitous implosion of its militarized capitalist economy.

An arms race for the US state planners is like finding a drug-fix for a junkie. It is damnable that Washington is tearing up arms control treaties and jeopardizing global security in order to gratify its dysfunctional systematic dependence on insecurity, tension, conflict and ultimately war.

The undoing of arms controls treaties by the US, first the ABM in 2002, then the INF this year, next perhaps the New Start treaty expiring in 2021, is reprehensible. But what is more reprehensible is the underlying ideology that impels that. American citizens have to address that root ideological disease, otherwise the world will continually be in peril of war.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Multiple criminal investigations zero in on Poroshenko

By Padraig McGrath | August 23, 2019

As it currently stands, at least 13 different criminal investigations conducted by the Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigations (SBI), Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine (SAPO) and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) are focused on recently defeated former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. The various indictments issued by these bodies allege that Poroshenko is guilty of treason (in an indictment relating to the Kerch Strait incident last November), and that he has played roles in embezzlement, illegal abuse of authority, interference in judicial proceedings, forgery of documents and of lawmakers’ signatures, tax-evasion, money-laundering, and other corruption-schemes, including playing a role in illegal acquisitions of state-owned companies.

As succinctly as possible, it is necessary to break these allegations down into digestible units.

Firstly, let’s deal with the treason-investigation. It is alleged that Poroshenko deliberately provoked the November 2018 Kerch Strait incident, when 3 Ukrainian naval vessels were captured by the Russian coastguard and their combined crews detained after attempting to gain unauthorized entry to the Sea of Azov. The wording of the indictment suggests that Poroshenko is guilty of treason on 3 distinct levels:

1. Knowing that the Ukrainian naval vessels would be captured and their crews arrested, Poroshenko sought to manipulate the incident to strengthen his own political position, perhaps as a pretext for an illegal power-grab (a postponement or suspension of the upcoming presidential election, which he knew that he was bound to lose). Martial law was declared in Ukraine following the incident.

2. Poroshenko therefore deliberately sacrificed 3 Ukrainian naval vessels and the freedom of 24 Ukrainian servicemen for his own personal political gain, most probably as a precursor to an attempted illegal usurpation of executive power.

3. In provoking the Kerch-Strait incident, Poroshenko was essentially acting in the strategic interests of another nation-state, insofar as the incident resulted in the instigation of the NATO “Sea Shield 2019” naval exercises and a more aggressive NATO posture in the Black Sea.

In addition, Poroshenko is named in criminal investigations relating to the embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars from various energy-companies in which the Ukrainian state has a controlling interest. The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine (SAPO) has revealed that it is conducting investigations relating to the embezzlement of the equivalent of $227 million from the Centerenergo company, the embezzlement of $83 million from the holdings of Nyzhnyodnistrovska Dam, the embezzlement of $48.4 million from Cherkassyoblenergy, and the embezzlement of $13 million from Zaporizhiaoblenergo. In most cases, it is alleged that Poroshenko used duress to guarantee the appointment of his associates to the Boards of Directors of these companies, thereby illegally abusing his authority, and that these appointees subsequently played key roles in the various embezzlement-schemes.

Another criminal investigation relates to the forgery of parliamentary documents and of lawmakers’ signatures to facilitate the formation of a coalition government during Poroshenko’s presidency. Relating to yet another investigation, the former head of the Kiev Court of Appeals, Anton Chernoshenko, has alleged that while Poroshenko was president, he coerced Chernoshenko into issuing legal judgments which were favourable to the president’s political and business-interests.

Then there is the scandal relating to corruption in Ukraine’s military procurement process, from which Poroshenko’s former business associates directly profited. NABU is investigating Bogdan Motors, a company formerly co-owned by Poroshenko. It is alleged that spare automotive parts smuggled from Russia were sold at radically inflated prices to UkrOboronProm, the Ukrainian state defense corporation. The son of Poroshenko’s former business-partner Oleh Hladkovsky is also named in the indictment relating to this investigation. An investigation is also being conducted into the award of a government contract to Bogdan Motors to supply military ambulances to the Ukrainian armed forces in 2016, despite the fact that Bogdan Motors had never previously produced ambulances or military vehicles of any description.

Some of the investigations pertain to the conduct of senior management of ICU, an investment-group which managed Poroshenko’s business-interests and investment-portfolio. Two weeks after Poroshenko assumed office as Ukrainian president in June 2014, ICU executive Valeria Gontareva was appointed governor of the Ukrainian National Bank, and ICU senior manager Dmytro Vovk was appointed chairman of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities.

Then we could also itemize the investigation of the sell-off of the Kiev-based Kuznya on Rybalsky shipyard, and Poroshenko’s role in the acquisition of the “Pryamyi” television channel, which it is alleged that he now secretly owns.

Poroshenko was summoned for questioning by the SBI on July 17th in relation to money-laundering and tax-evasion investigations, but failed to appear. On July 24th, Poroshenko visited SBI headquarters and made a request to Roman Truba, the head of the SBI, for a postponement of the interrogation. This request was denied. On July 25th, Poroshenko sent a written request for a postponement to the SBI. Somewhat bizarrely, Poroshenko had previously denied receiving summonses for interrogation from the SBI, while his lawyer had simultaneously been requesting postponements of these same interrogations.

My god, if he can’t even get his story straight with his own lawyer, then what comedy of errors can we expect in future?

In the most recent development, on August 21st a Kiev court ordered NABU to open another criminal investigation against Poroshenko and former Ukrainian foreign minister Pavel Klimkin on charges of abuse of authority.

I could go on and on, itemizing yet more investigations and more sordid details, encouraging you to gorge yourself on this delicious feast of corruption-porn, but maybe we’ve had enough fun for today.

Remember the days when people said they were tired of the economic parasitism of “the Yanukovych family?”

Remember when people said that they wanted the rule of law and an independent judiciary in Ukraine?

It’s so great to see that “European Values™” came to Ukraine.

Padraig McGrath is a political analyst with BRICS.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | | Leave a comment

Saudis failing to repel Yemeni drone strikes despite US-supplied Patriot system: UAE report

Press TV – August 23, 2019

Saudi Arabia has failed to repel Yemen’s retaliatory drone strikes despite relying on the US Patriot air defense system, a matter which has caused a slump in Saudi troop morale, according to a UAE intelligence report.

The UAE report revealed critical weaknesses in Saudi Arabia’s ability to thwart the retaliatory attacks, London-based Middle East Eye (MEE) news outlet reported.

The damning report, issued originally in May, had a limited publication intended for top Emirati leadership by the Emirates Policy Center (EPC), a think tank close to the Emirati government and its security services.

“Air defenses such as the Patriot are not capable of spotting these drones because the systems are designed to intercept long and medium range Scud missiles,” the report wrote.

The intelligence assessment highlighted an instance where Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Najran airport, which is used in Riyadh’s operations against Yemen, was hit by Yemeni drones despite the deployment of a Patriot battery.

Riyadh launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Houthis.

Yemen’s resistance, however, has pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces increasingly using sophisticated weaponry in retaliatory attacks against the Saudi-led coalition.

Referring possibly to a deadly Yemeni drone attack on a large air base occupied by Saudi mercenaries in the southwestern Lahij province in January, the EPC report highlighted the Saudi failure to thwart such attacks.

“The attack on the Lahij Military Base demonstrates a weakness in Saudi air defenses and the lack of capacity in electronic war if we take into account that these drones are basic and are not launched on tarmac,” it wrote.

The EPC reported that there had been as many as 155 Yemeni drone attacks against Saudi targets between January and May, a figure much higher than previously admitted.

Saudi attempts to destroy the drones have also failed, with the report noting that Riyadh has launched numerous airstrikes on caves allegedly used to store the drones, without any success.

Saudi ‘unprofessionalism’

The intelligence assessment also slammed what it described as a sign of Saudi “unprofessionalism”, as Riyadh quickly rushed to attribute attacks to Yemen’s Ansarullah movement without carrying out any investigation first.

The report compared Saudi Arabia’s “panicked” approach to that of Abu Dhabi which, according to the report, has a protocol of falsely denying the occurrence of such strikes when “serious” targets are attacked.

“This is a protocol which the Emiratis follow in time of serious attacks, such as the one that targeted Abu Dhabi airport (and claimed by the Houthis). It left the door open for the investigation to implicate Iran through evidence in these attacks,” the report read.

The July 2018 drone attack on the airport had been previously denied by UAE officials but was later corroborated by footage released by Yemeni forces this year.

Also referring to a mysterious and unclaimed attack on four oil tankers near the UAE’s port of Fujairah in May, the report said the “Emirati position emphasized the importance of completing investigations before taking any decision.”

“The Emiratis were careful not to give the Houthis any credit that may enhance their international status,” it added.

Despite the UAE report’s allegations, however, Saudi authorities are known to have covered and denied successful Yemeni retaliatory drone and missile strikes on numerous occasions.

‘Confused’ policies

The assessment said Riyadh had become extremely dependent on the United States’ “confused” policy with Iran.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who threatened in 2017 to take the “fight” to Iran, has pushed to form an alliance with the UAE and Israel against Tehran.

The US administration, however, is acting quite timidly on its vows to “counter” Iran and the stance is worrying Saudi Arabia, according to the EPC.

American analyst Stephen Walt said the US policy towards Iran is in a “confused” state, swinging between abandoning Washington’s regional allies and pushing for regime change in Iran.

The UAE recently announced the gradual withdrawal of its troops from the Yemen war, largely because it believes the war appears to have become “unwinnable“, according to US reports.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment