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Iraq frees 14 PMU members detained in ‘US-dictated’ raid

Press TV – June 29, 2020

Iraq has released more than a dozen members of Popular Mobilization Units, better known as Hashd al-Shaabi, a few days after an unprecedented raid on the headquarters of Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is said to have been dictated by the US.

The PMU members were released on Monday and all charges against them were dropped, Kata’ib Hezbollah’s military spokesman Jaafar al-Husseini told AFP.

“The judge ordered their release due to a lack of evidence. The arrests shouldn’t have happened,” the spokesman said.

He said they had appeared at a Hashd military tribunal, as Iraq’s various security forces each have their own court system.

Kata’ib Hezbollah is a military unit operating under the PMU – an Iraqi umbrella group which includes more than 40 militia groups fighting Takfiri terrorism.

Iraqi counter-terrorism forces detained the Kata’ib Hezbollah members late Thursday for allegedly planning a rocket attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the US and other embassies as well as state buildings are located.

Despite Washington’s accusations, Kata’ib has never claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Thursday raid on Kata’ib headquarters raised serious questions about Iraq’s direction under the new government, as Iraqi leaders describe it as an attempt dictated by the US occupiers.

“The late Thursday night’s operation against Hashd al-Sha’abi had been dictated by the United States. There are foreign interventions and bids to harm the PMU,” Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq which is part of the PMU, said in a statement released on Friday.

He advised Iraqi officials not to engage in a confrontation with Hashd al-Sha’abi as the anti-terror group represents people from all strata of the Iraqi society.

“No one can prevent the resistance fighters from battling US forces in order to drive them out of Iraq if they do not withdraw through peaceful means,” Khazali pointed out.

He stressed that no resistance faction has ever targeted Iraqi government institutions inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

A senior official with Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba also called upon Iraqi authorities not to play into the hands of US military forces, warning against further raids on PMU headquarters.

Nasr al-Shammari, the deputy secretary-general and official spokesman of the movement, touched on numerous sacrifices made by Kata’ib Hezbollah in the campaign against Daesh terrorists, saying members of the group must not be targeted.

Shammari cited efforts by certain parties in Iraq to stoke sedition in Iraq, saying the Thursday raid was “a desperate attempt” that would have “unpredictable consequences for its planners”.

In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament recognized Hashd al-Sha’abi as an official force with similar rights as those of the regular army, therefore legally establishing it as part of the National Armed Forces.

The PMU has long rejected Washington’s military presence in the country as an obstacle impeding long-lasting security and stability in Iraq.

In January, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Iran’s top military commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with a parliamentary order calling for the expulsion of US troops following the assassination.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

Israel’s ambitions in south Yemen increase risk of conflict with Houthis

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | June 29, 2020

Israel’s involvement in the Yemen war throughout its five year duration is an open secret. In 2015, when the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the capital Sanaa was seized by the Houthi forces in retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition’s aggression, a large cache of Israeli-made weapons and ammunition was discovered, in addition to documents detailing intentions by the US to establish a military base on Perim Island near the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, “to protect [America’s] interests and ensure the security of Israel”. The island has been under the coalition’s control since it was wrested from the Houthis in the same year. Foreign mercenaries fighting on behalf of coalition-partner the UAE were also said to have been trained by the Israeli military at camps in the Negev Desert.

Amid the ever-growing normalisation of relations between Israel and Gulf states, it should come as no surprise that it was reported last week that Israel and the Emirati-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) are “secret friends” with meetings facilitated by the UAE.

The STC’s vice-chairman, Hani Bin Briek, confirmed that relations with Israel are “very good” while Tel Aviv reacted positively to the prospects of a “new autonomous state in Yemen”. The fragmentation of Arab states is, of course, consistent with Zionist strategies in the region; support for separatism in the south of Yemen echoes Israel’s decades-old policy of backing Kurdish statehood.

Covert Israeli interventions in Yemen are not without precedent. During the 1962-1970 civil war Israel airlifted arms and money in support of the royalist Mutawakkilite dynasty — ironically the predecessors of the Houthis — against the Nasserite republicans. The Saudis also supported the Zaydi monarchs who ultimately lost out in the war.

Securing Israel’s southern port of Eilat and a shipping lane which grants access not only to the Suez Canal but also the Red Sea and through Bab Al-Mandab to the Indian Ocean and beyond is of vital interest to Tel Aviv, especially as a gateway to the Far East and China, which is a major trading partner. The wars with Arab neighbours in 1956, 1967 and 1973 all involved blocking Israeli shipping. In the latter, Yemen closed off the Bab Al-Mandab Strait and blockaded the Red Sea. Ever since, Israel has viewed any attempt to block access to the Red Sea as an act of war and has threatened to deploy all branches of its military in the event of Iran doing so.

As with every other party involved in the current conflict in Yemen, access to all seaways leading to the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean play a significant part in the underlying agendas. It is certainly one of the charges levied against the UAE over its involvement in the recent STC “coup” of Socotra Island.

However, the revelation of Israeli support for the STC is a worrying development for the prospects of maintaining a unified Yemen, however elusive that appears to be. Any attempts by Tel Aviv to back the emergence of a break-away “independent” state in the region should be treated with suspicion. The STC has made it clear that it intends to expand further beyond its current control of Aden and parts of the Dale and Lahj provinces. Clashes continue in the Abyan province with the Saudi-backed militia and there have been calls for solidarity with the STC in Hadhramout.

The Houthi-aligned government in Sanaa is committed to the territorial integrity of Yemen and is well-aware of Israel’s destructive ambitions. “The Israeli enemy sees Yemen as a threat to it, explained Information Minister Dhaifalla Al-Shami, “especially in its strategic location, so it has worked to find a foothold in Yemen through the UAE’s role.”

Earlier this month, the leader of the Houthi movement, Sayyid Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, criticised Saudi Arabia and the UAE for siding with “the chief enemy of the Muslim world,” Israel.

“The US and Israel seek to enslave Yemeni people,” Al-Houthi said in a televised speech. “Their plots target the entire Muslim community, and are meant to ‎disintegrate Islamic nations from within through sowing the seeds of discord and division.” He has stated previously that the Houthis are ready to support the resistance factions in Lebanon and Palestine against Israel.

Moreover, the Houthis, who are supported by most of the Yemeni armed forces, have threatened Israel once before with “revenge” over its known involvement in the Yemen war of aggression. The Defence Minister in the National Salvation Government (NSG), General Mohammed Al-Atefi, said late last year that a “bank of military and maritime targets” have already been identified and that they will not hesitate to attack them when the leadership decides to do so.

These are security challenges that Israel takes seriously, especially with the long-range ballistic missiles and armed drones in the Yemeni army’s arsenal, which cross-border offensives against Saudi have shown to be very accurate. Israel has also expressed a willingness to attack Houthi targets near Bab Al-Mandab.

The Houthis also have a consistent stance on supporting the Palestinian cause. Al-Houthi even went as far as to offer to exchange captured Saudi pilots for the release of prominent Hamas members imprisoned in the Kingdom.

Direct military confrontation between Israel and the Houthis is unlikely and unrealistic for the time being, although both sides have voiced a willingness to take action if necessary. However, Israel is playing a dangerous game; should it become more embedded in the war in Yemen it runs the risk of conflict with the Houthis. Just as Israel has securitised its access to the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, it should not be surprised if the Houthi authorities decide to react to Israeli attempts to sow further discord and break up the already fragile Yemeni state. The chief-backer of the STC, the UAE, has also been threatened by the Houthis. “Abu Dhabi can be attacked at any time,” claimed a pro-Houthi military spokesperson.

At the moment, the main focus of the Houthis is to take control of Marib city from the Saudi-backed militia fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government-in-exile, which is increasingly proving to be an irrelevant mouthpiece of Riyadh. The NSG, which controls most of Yemen in terms of population density, will turn its attention to the south once Marib has been secured. When the inevitable clash with the STC comes, we will see the indirect confrontation with Israel come out into the open.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?

By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo | Palestine Chronicle | June 29, 2020

In the past, there have been many attempts at holding accused Israeli war criminals accountable. Particularly memorable is the case of the late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, (known, among other nicknames, as the ‘Butcher of Sabra and Shatila’) whose victims attempted to try him in a Belgian Court in 2002.

Like all other efforts, the Belgian case was dropped under American pressure. History seems to be repeating itself.

On December 20, the International Court of Justice (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, resolved that she had sufficient evidence to investigate alleged war crimes committed in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The ICC’s unprecedented decision concluded that there were “no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice”.

As soon as Bensouda made her decision, although after much delay, the US administration swiftly moved to block the Court’s attempt at holding Israeli officials accountable. On June 11, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order slapping sanctions on members of the global judicial body, citing the ICC’s investigations of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

Will the US succeed, once more, in blocking another international investigation?

On June 19, we spoke to Dr. Triestino Mariniello, a member of the legal team representing the Gaza victims before the ICC. Mariniello is also a Senior Lecturer at the John Moore University in Liverpool, UK.

There has been much doubt about whether the ICC was serious, willing or capable of pushing this case forward. Later, technical questions arose regarding the ICC’s jurisdiction over occupied Palestine. Have we moved beyond these doubts?

Last December, the Prosecutor decided to ask the Pre-Trial Chamber the following question: “Does the ICC have jurisdiction, that is to say, is Palestine a State under the Rome Statute –  not, in general, under international law, but at least under the founding Statute of the ICC? And, if yes, what is the territorial jurisdiction of the Court?”

The Prosecutor argued that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. This request to the Pre-Trial Chamber was not necessary, for a very simple reason: because the situation is being referred by the State of Palestine. So, when a State party refers a situation to the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor does not need authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber. But let us analyze things within a wider context.

The formal engagement of the State of Palestine with the ICC began in 2009, following the Gaza war (“Operation Cast Lead”). At the time, Palestine had already accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC. It took more than two years for the former Prosecutor to decide whether Palestine was a State or not. After three years, he said: We don’t know if Palestine is a State, so we don’t know if we can accept the jurisdiction of the ICC. Thereafter, this question was raised before the UN General Assembly and the Assembly of State Parties. In other words, they delegated the answer to political bodies, and not to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

That investigation was never conducted and we never had justice for the victims of that war.

In 2015, Palestine accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, and it also became a State Party. Still, the Pre-Trial Chamber decided to involve a number of states, civil society organizations, NGOs, scholars and experts to ask them the question: Is Palestine a State under the Rome Statute? The response was, The Pre-Trial Chamber will decide on this, after it receives the views of the victims, of states, of civil society organizations … and it will decide in the next few weeks or months.

Aside from the Trump Administration, other Western countries, such as Germany and Australia, are lobbying at the ICC to drop the investigation altogether. Will they succeed?

There are at least eight countries that are openly against an investigation of the Palestinian situation. Germany is one. Some of the others came as a surprise, to be honest, for at least four other countries, Uganda, Brazil, Czech Republic, and Hungary had explicitly recognized that Palestine is a State under international law, yet are now submitting statements before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber saying that this is not true anymore.

Of course, the issue is a little bit more complex, but the substance is, these countries are raising political arguments before the ICC which have no legal basis. It is surprising that these states, on the one hand, claim to be supportive of an independent International Criminal Court, but on the other hand, are trying to exercise political pressure (on that very legal body).

On June 11, Trump signed an executive order in which he imposed sanctions on individuals associated with the ICC. Can the US and its allies block the ICC investigation? 

The answer is “no”. Trump’s administration is putting pressure on the ICC. By pressure, we mainly refer to the Afghanistan situation, and also to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. So, every time there is a statement by Trump or Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in relation to the ICC, they never forget to mention the Afghanistan case.

In fact, the Prosecutor is also investigating alleged war crimes committed by CIA members and US soldiers. So far, this pressure has not been particularly effective. In the case of Afghanistan, the Appeal Chamber has directly authorized the Prosecutor to start an investigation, amending a decision taken by the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Successive US administrations have never been very supportive of the ICC, and the major problem in Rome when the Statute was drafted in 1998 was specifically regarding the role of the Prosecutor. The US opposed, from the beginning, an independent role of the Prosecutor, where the Prosecutor could start an investigation without the authorization of the UN Security Council. This opposition goes back to the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations.

Now, though, we are witnessing an unprecedented situation, with the US administration willing to issue economic sanctions and visa restrictions to individuals associated with the ICC and, perhaps, to other organizations as well.

Article 5 of the Rome Statute – the founding document of the ICC – has an extended definition of what constitutes ‘serious crimes’, that being the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.  It could be argued, then, that Israel should be held accountable for all of these ‘serious crimes’. Yet, the ICC opted for what is known as the ‘narrow scope’, thus the investigation will only be looking at the single component of war crimes. Why is that?

If we look at the request by the Prosecutor to the Pre-Trial Chamber, particularly paragraph 94, surprisingly, the scope of the investigation is quite narrow, and the victims know that. It only includes (as part of its investigation into war crimes) some incidents related to the Gaza war of 2014, crimes committed within the context of the ‘Great March of Return’, and the (illegal) Jewish settlements.

It is surprising not to see any reference to the alleged committing of ‘crimes against humanity’, which, as victims say, is widely documented. There is no reference to the systematic attacks put in place by Israeli authorities against the civilian population in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem or in Gaza. The ‘narrow scope’, which excludes crimes against humanity, is something the Prosecutor should look back into. The overall situation in Gaza is largely ignored; there is no reference to the 14-year long siege; there is no reference to the overall victims of the Gaza war in 2014.

That said, the scope of the investigation is not binding for the future. The Prosecutor can decide, at any moment, to include other crimes. We hope it will happen because, otherwise, many victims will never get justice.

But why is Gaza being excluded? Is it because of the way that the Palestinians presented the case or the way the ICC has interpreted the Palestinian case?

I do not think that the blame should be placed on the Palestinians, because the Palestinian organizations submitted (a massive amount of) evidence. I think it is a prosecutorial strategy at this stage, and we hope this will change in the future, particularly with reference to the situation in Gaza, where even the overall number of victims has been overlooked. More than 1,600 civilians were killed, including women and children.

In my personal opinion, there are several references to the concept of conflict itself. The word ‘conflict’ relies on the presumption that there are two parties that are fighting each other on the same level and there is not enough attention given to the Israeli occupation itself.

Additionally, all the crimes committed against Palestinian prisoners have not been included, such as torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. Also not included is Apartheid as a crime against humanity. Again, there is massive evidence that these crimes are committed against Palestinians. We hope that there will be a different approach in the future.

Walk us through the various scenarios and timelines that could result from the ICC investigation. What should we expect? 

I think if we look at the possible scenarios from the perspective of the Rome Statute, of the law which is binding, I do not think that the judges have any other option but to confirm to the Prosecutor that Palestine is a State under the Rome Statute and that the territorial jurisdiction includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

I would find it very surprising if the judges reach any other conclusion. The Palestinian State was ratified in 2015, so you cannot go back to the Palestinians and say: No, you are not a member anymore. Meanwhile, Palestine has taken part in the Assembly of State Parties, is a member of the Supervisory Committee of the ICC, and has participated in important decisions.

The likelihood is that the Prosecutor will receive a green light by the Pre-Trial Chamber. If this does not happen, the Prosecutor can (still) move forward with the investigation.

Other possible scenarios can only be negative ones because they would prevent the victims from getting any justice. The reason that the case is at the ICC is because these victims have never received any justice before domestic courts: the State of Palestine is unable to try Israeli nationals, while Israeli authorities are unwilling to try individuals who have committed international crimes.

If the ICC judges decide not to accept the jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestine, this would prevent victims from having access to the only possibility of getting justice.

A particularly dangerous scenario would be the decision by the judges to confirm the ICC jurisdiction over some parts of the Palestinian territory while excluding others, which has no legal ground under international law. It would be very dangerous, because it would give international legitimacy to all the unlawful measures that Israeli authorities – and now even the Trump Administration – are putting in place, including the (illegal) annexation plan.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

 – Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation. 

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

US and its allies are leading an arms race in Middle East, not Iran: Scholar

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook has said that lifting a UN arms embargo on Iran will trigger an arms race in the Middle East region.
Press TV – June 29, 2020

The United States and its allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are leading an arms race in the Middle East region, not Iran, an American scholar has said.

Kevin Barrett, an author, journalist and radio host with a Ph.D. in Islamic and Arabic Studies, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday, after US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said that lifting the arms embargo on Iran will trigger an arms race in the Middle East.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Monday, Hook said lifting the ban would “only embolden” Iran and destabilize the region.

“This is not an outcome that the UN Security Council can accept. The council’s mandate is clear: to maintain international peace and security,” Hook added.

Barrett said that “Brian Hook is the US Special Representative to the United Nations and he’s trying to extend the UN weapons embargo on Iran, and he’s claimed to be doing so under provisions of the JCPOA, which the US has withdrawn from.”

“So, this is quite mind-boggling. Why he thinks the US has the right to invoke the JCPOA after it exited the JCPOA is a mystery. Likewise, it’s a mystery why he thinks that the lack of an arms embargo on Iran would lead to an arms race in the Middle East region,” he stated.

“Clearly, the regimes that are arming themselves and initiating an arms race in the region are the US allies, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, and Iran is far from leading an arms race in the region. If we look at population, and so on, Iran is actually relatively under-armed, although it seems to be doing okay despite the fact that it’s essentially been embargoed and so it has to do everything itself, make its own rockets, and it’s managed to put satellites into space despite all of these sanctions, and opposition from other countries including sabotage,” he said.

“We just saw an explosion in Iran maybe some form of sabotage; certainly, we know that Iran’s enemies have been supporting terrorism in Iran, and elsewhere in the region. They’ve killed nearly 20,000 innocent civilians in Iran, through support for some of the world’s worst terrorist groups,” he noted.

“So, this is of course absurd, but it just goes to show that the US Empire is still in its arrogant phase. It has not yet been fully humbled although its reputation in the world has certainly taken a hit after the coronavirus pandemic, which many suspect is a US biological attack, or perhaps a biological attack by the Western international bankers who largely own the US and dictate policy in the US, that the US has had such a terrible response to it,” the analyst said.

“The US now has the worst coronavirus caseload in the world per capita, and it’s still growing here. And yet the US pretends that it’s going to be running around the world dictating policy and telling people what they can do in each region. And of course, if Brian hook really wants to end the arms race in the Middle East, the first thing he should do is stop selling the weapons that Saudi Arabia is using to commit genocide in Yemen and stop handing the Israelis billions of American taxpayer dollars to commit genocide in occupied Palestine,” he said.

“If the US did those two things there would be a much more peaceful Middle East or Muslim east as a result, but don’t hold your breath because decadent empires often become rabid before they die. And that seems to be what’s happening here in Washington,” he concluded.

Washington has stepped up calls for the extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran, which will expire in October under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Trump administration has threatened that it may seek to trigger a snapback of all sanctions on Iran if its attempts to extend the arms embargo fail.

Tehran, however, has firmly rejected Washington’s plans as the US is no longer a party to the nuclear deal ever since it withdrew from the multilateral agreement in 2018.

China and Russia, which are both signatories to the JCPOA, echoed Tehran’s position in their recent statements.

“US failed to meet its obligations under Resolution 2231 by withdrawing from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” China’s UN mission said.

Also noting that Washington is in gross violation of Resolution 2231, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed that “no one is allowed to implement UNSC Security Council resolutions selectively and extremely fragmentarily”.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Rewriting History and Rehabilitating George W. Bush

By Nat Parry · ESSENTIAL OPINION · June 25, 2020

The liberal rehabilitation of George W. Bush is now virtually complete, with his successor Barack Obama declaring this week that the 43rd president was committed to the rule of law, despite all evidence to the contrary. In an online fundraiser for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden Tuesday night, Obama stated that Bush “had a basic regard for the rule of law and the importance of our institutions of democracy.”

Obama, who ran for president in 2008 with promises to restore habeas corpus and uphold the rule of law, went on to claim that when Bush was president, “we cared about human rights” and were committed to “core principles around the rule of law and the universal dignity of people.”

Obama’s comments surely came as a shock to anyone who still has a functioning memory of the Bush years and hasn’t succumbed entirely to the effects of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Rather than being a champion of democratic principles, when Bush left office, he left behind a shameful legacy of upended human rights norms including due process and the legal prohibition against torture.

If 2008 Obama could speak today with 2020 Obama, he might remind himself that Bush had started a “dumb war” in Iraq in violation of the UN Charter, launched a warrantless surveillance program of Americans and that he had established a penal colony in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

As Obama himself said in 2013, during the Bush years, “we compromised our basic values – by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

At the heart of Bush’s approach to the “rule of law” was the rejection of any independent court evaluation of its detentions. Without judicial review, the U.S. government didn’t need to present any evidence to show that a person actually had ties to al-Qaeda or was otherwise guilty of a crime. The Bush position also held that once designated as al-Qaeda members, individuals have no legal protections against torture.

He dismissed provisions of the Geneva Conventions as “quaint” and offered legal rationales that justify torture in cases of “military necessity.”

Bush’s approach to the “war on terror” was in fact a steady descent into the “dark side,” as Vice President Dick Cheney had called it. A subsequent Senate investigation found that the torture program instituted by the Bush administration following 9/11 employed gruesome techniques such as near drowning, forcing detainees to stand on broken legs, threatening to kill or rape detainees’ family members, forced “rectal feeding” and “rectal hydration.” It also offered disturbing details on a medieval “black site” prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit, where at least one detainee froze to death.

The brutal interrogation sessions lasted in many cases non-stop for days or weeks at a time, leading to effects such as “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation,” and produced little to no useful information. CIA agents had illegally detained 26 of the 119 individuals in CIA custody, and the interrogation techniques used on detainees went beyond the methods that had been approved by the Bush Justice Department or CIA’s headquarters (guidelines that were likely overly permissive in the first place).

When the Senate torture report was released in late 2014, it was met with calls for accountability from around the world. The United Nations, the European Union, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as numerous governments, all demanded that those responsible for the illegal torture program face justice. The U.S. was reminded that as a matter of international law, it was legally obligated to prosecute the perpetrators of the torture program.

Some of the strongest words came from the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson, who stated unequivocally that senior officials from the Bush administration who sanctioned crimes, as well as the CIA and U.S. government officials who carried them out, must be brought to justice. “It is now time to take action,” the UN rapporteur said.

Needless to say, no one was ever prosecuted by the Obama administration’s Justice Department. And now, Obama not only excuses these abuses, but he actually claims that Bush was committed to “the rule of law and the universal dignity of people.” A charitable explanation for Obama’s comments is that he was trying to draw a distinction between the Trump administration and every other president, and to draw this distinction, he made a clumsy attempt to draw an exaggerated contrast.

But considering that six in 10 Americans now have a favorable view of Bush, almost twice as much as the 33% who gave him a favorable mark when he left office in 2009, it should be appreciated how impressionable Americans are and how damaging comments such as Obama’s can be. Much of Bush’s ascent to popularity has come from Democrats, 54% of whom now approve of the Bush presidency. Democrats’ change of heart appears to be primarily motivated by Bush’s opposition to Trump, which apparently has absolved him of his many failings while president.

This historic shift in attitudes was abetted by many liberals who have helped refurbish Bush’s image, including daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

To hear Barack Obama now making the claim that Bush was committed to the rule of law and human rights is just the latest betrayal of a Democratic Party that has systematically prevented a reckoning for the crimes of the 43rd president, a party that is clearly uninterested in truth or accountability, and is more than willing to rewrite history to advance its political goals.

Only time will tell how America is affected in the long term by this rewriting of history.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

The Escalating Crisis Over Iran’s Nuclear Inspections

By Scott Ritter | Consortium News | June 29, 2020

The Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration pulled out of last year is on the verge of collapse.

The National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament last Tuesday ratified a motion that required the Iranian government to cease its voluntary implementation of its Additional Protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The motion, if turned into law, would represent a death knell to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), the groundbreaking agreement between Iran and the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union to end the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.

There is still time before the matter could be brought up for a vote; indeed, the committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on July 6, and has invited Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and Nuclear Chief Ali-Akbar Salehi to testify.

IAEA Resolution

The current crisis over Iran’s nuclear program was triggered by the IAEA Board of Governors, which on June 19 passed a resolution expressing its “serious concern” over Iran’s refusal to provide “access to the Agency under the Additional Protocol to two locations.” The resolution said that “discussions engaged, for almost a year, to clarify Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear related activities in Iran have not led to progress.”

The Board of Governors resolution required that “Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner” with the IAEA in implementing its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, including “by providing acces.” The resolution reaffirmed that such “cooperation and implementation are essential for the IAEA to reach the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.”

The First Three Years of the Deal

The Board of Governor’s June 19 resolution did not occur in a vacuum. For the first three years of the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran was repeatedly certified as being in full compliance with all of its obligations, including granting IAEA inspector’s access to facilities and locations mandated by the additional protocol.

The protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access between Iran and the IAEA. It assists IAEA inspectors to confirm that states are using nuclear material for solely peaceful purposes. The protocol is a voluntary agreement and is independently constructed between a state and the IAEA.

Iran negotiated its additional protocol with the IAEA in 2003, which was signed but never ratified. Nevertheless, Iran implemented the protocol on a voluntary basis from 2003 to 2006 before ending its cooperation in the face of allegations that Iran was cheating.

Iran and the IAEA then entered a decade-long confrontation, which was only resolved with the implementation of the JCPOA nuclear deal, which was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231 on July 20, 2015. That made the JCPOA binding under both international and U.S. constitutional law.

The nuclear deal established a road map, framed by mutually binding commitments, that took Iran from zero tolerance over nuclear enrichment, to a time when Iran would be able to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes without restriction, as long as the IAEA confirmed that Iran’s entire nuclear program had no military intentions. According to the deal, Iran would be subjected to stringent safeguards inspections that included the additional protocol.

Iran Reacts to Trump’s Move

When the Trump administration, acting on President Trump’s belief that the JCPOA was a “bad agreement,” withdrew from the JCPOA and began re-imposing U.S. economic sanctions, which had been lifted under the terms of the deal, Iran indicated that it would reconsider its participation.

For the time being, Iran continued to abide by its obligations under the deal, accepting European Union and the other JCPOA nations’ guarantees that regardless of what the U.S. did vis-à-vis sanctions, the other nations would not follow suit, and thereby fulfill their commitments to Iran under the terms of the JCPOA.

A year after the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, however, Europe collectively reneged on that commitment, succumbing to the threat of U.S. secondary sanctions, which threatened any European business that engaged in commerce with Iran.

In response, Iran invoked Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. Article 26 holds that if new nuclear-related sanctions are imposed on Iran by any party to the deal it will constitute “grounds (for its authorities) to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”

Article 36 states that if actions by parties to the JCPOA “constitute significant non-performance, then (Iran) could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part and/or notify the UN Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance.”

Iran stressed at the time that its retaliatory measures would be reversible as soon as Europe ignored the threat of secondary U.S. sanctions and fulfilled its obligations regarding sanctions-free trade with Iran.

Initially, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms limit set by the JCPOA. When the Europeans continued to balk, Iran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.

Next, when Europe failed to meet a 60-day deadline to fulfill its commitments, Iran began to operate advanced centrifuges capable of boosting its enriched uranium stockpile, as well as activating advanced centrifuges for research and development purposes.

Lastly, in November 2019, Iran began injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its Fordow plant, something which, while prohibited under the JCPOA, was conducted under IAEA inspection.

Interestingly, the IAEA Board of Governor’s June 19 resolution did not address these actions in any depth. Instead, the focus of attention was on the issue of Iran’s implementation of the additional protocol.

As noted, Iran had entered into voluntary compliance with the IAEA of an additional protocol agreed in 2003, but withdrew in 2006 in the face of allegations derived from intelligence provided to the IAEA by Israel of Iranian cheating [see: article published today in Consortium News, “Israel Leverages Dubious ‘Nuclear Archives’ to Re-Enlist IAEA in Campaign Against Iran.“]

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to implement its additional protocol on a “provisional” basis for up to eight years before it became legally binding.

Iran insisted on these terms in order to prevent the kind of scenario that is, in fact, playing out today, where the United States has re-imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Iran, and is seeking to trigger so-called “snap-back” sanctions that would return Iran to the regimen of measures previously imposed by the Security Council, but terminated upon the council’s endorsement of the nuclear deal.

Israeli Allegations

The Board of Governor’s resolution mentions two sites that are alleged to be engaged in ongoing, undeclared nuclear activity. Normally, these sites would be ideal candidates for the kind of inspections envisioned under the protocol, and indeed Iran has a history of providing similar access to other sites.

What separates these sites from the others is that Iran claims the allegations about them are a product of Israeli intelligence, and as such are deemed to be fabrications designed to provoke Iran. “No country,” Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador told the Board of Governors before its vote on the June 19 resolution, “opens its territory to the inspections only based on continuous allegations provided by its own enemy, even if it is evident that the result of which will prove those allegations to be false.”

Iran’s position on the two sites does not appear to be out of fear over what would be discovered—indeed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations in September 2019 that, “If the U.S. Congress ratifies the JCPOA and lifts all sanctions permanently, Iran is ready to pursue the immediate ratification of the Additional Protocol in the Iranian parliament as a permanent law.”

‘Nothing to Hide’

Rather, it is a matter of principle for Iran. Indeed, Foreign Minister Zarif noted in a tweet that “an agreeable solution is possible” for the IAEA’s request for access to the two nuclear sites in the country—but not if Iran was subjected to pressure in the form of a Board of Governor’s resolution predicated on Israeli intelligence.

“We’ve nothing to hide,” Zarif tweeted. “More inspections in Iran over last 5 yrs than in IAEA history. An agreeable solution is possible, but Res will ruin it.”

Zarif’s warning was of no avail. Shortly after the Board of Governors passed its resolution, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement declaring that:

“Iran’s denial of access to IAEA inspectors and refusal to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about what Iran is trying to hide. Over the past months, Iran has not only continued its nuclear escalation and extortion, but it has also stonewalled the IAEA. These actions are unacceptable and underscore the continued threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program to international peace and security.”

The battle lines have been drawn. By caving in to pressure from the United States to force a resolution by the Board of Governors, the European nations who are party to the JCPOA have done great harm to that agreement.

Having forced a showdown with Iran over the issue of access to sites based upon intelligence of questionable provenance, the IAEA has once again opted to take the world to the brink of a crisis with Iran which could ultimately see that nation withdraw not only from the JCPOA, but also the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Not only would such an outcome undermine the issue of global nuclear nonproliferation, but also more than likely put Iran on a path toward the kind of decisive military confrontation that would spell ruin for the Middle East and, by extension, the entire world.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 16 Comments

John Bolton – Traitor to Common Decency

By Tom Luongo | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 29, 2020

There are few men in modern American history more venal than Former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Calling Bolton a relic of the Cold War in his outlook on foreign policy is a kindness.

Bolton is a dangerous and pathetic creature whose entire life is an example of how incomplete men with a talent for violence can rise in a late-stage cesspit of political corruption.

He is simply someone who has never been in a fight in his life who lusts for the power to kill, maim and destroy anyone who dares challenge him. A pathology he’s had the dubious distinction of being able to act out in the real world on more than one occasion.

This will, hopefully, be the last article I write about this cretin because once his last fifteen minutes of fame are used up attacking President Trump in slavish interview after interview supporting his book, Bolton will be finished in Washington D.C.

This book is his gold watch for being a lifelong soldier in the service of the American empire and the neoconservative/neoliberal dream of global conquest. $2 million, a handful of residuals and a final victory lap for a life spent in pursuit of the subjugation of those he considers sub-human.

President Trump’s recent tweet about Bolton is a masterful bit of brevity being the soul of wit:

“I gave John Bolton, who was incapable of being Senate confirmed because he was considered a wacko, and was not liked, a chance. I always like hearing differing points of view. He turned out to be grossly incompetent, and a liar.”

And while Bolton spent the balance of his career in D.C. working nominally for Republicans, his lust for war served both parties equally well. That war lust was in service of the empire itself when Bolton was fired, and he turned against President Trump.

He was welcomed as a Hero of the Resistance by Democrats intent on impeaching the President after he was fired last year, one of the few good moments in Trump’s nearly four years at the helm of U.S. foreign policy. Given his involvement with Fiona Hill and Eric Chiaramella, the whistleblower whose testimony created the impeachment charges, Bolton really could be thought of as the architect of that process.

So, it’s no surprise that his book is welcomed as the gossip event of the summer by the media. But remember, this is a guy who refused to testify against Trump for Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff and that’s because he would have never stood up to cross-examination.

This is because, ultimately, John Bolton is a coward. And he’s the worst kind of coward. He’s the kind of man who deals underhandedly while hiding behind rhetoric in controlled environments to pursue his fever dreams of suppressing the Untermensch.

What we know now, thanks to Bolton’s unwillingness to keep his trap shut, is that things were as we suspected while he was in the White House. Every event that occurred was an excuse for Bolton to tell Trump to go to war. And every time Trump was led up to that trough to drink, he backed away causing Bolton’s mustache the worst case of sexual frustration.

Worse than that, Bolton sabotaged any hope of détente with Russia, North Korea and improving the situation in the Middle East. While he was right to hate Jared Kushner’s Deal of the Century for Israel/Palestine, he was instrumental in getting Trump to stay in Syria rather than turn over what’s left of its suppression to the people who actually want it to continue – Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In the end Bolton is really the best example I can come up with for the monolithic thinking that permeates D.C. Despite his best instincts, Trump took Bolton on because the potential talent pool is so thin.

Anyone with original ideas, such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, are more valuable in their current position rather than coming into an administration that is hamstrung by a permanent bureaucracy unwilling to change, or in open revolt.

There’s no profit for them to make the jump even if they wanted to.

This point has been in effect since before Trump took office when he wouldn’t stand behind his first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who is still embroiled in the worst The Swamp can throw at a person.

Progressives, liberals and anti-imperalists I implore you to stop allying with this creature of The Swamp in his quest to do damage to a president you hate. Because by doing so you are strengthening the very people who are the architects of the empire you believe you are fighting against.

Because that’s who John Bolton wrote this book for.

He didn’t write it for you.

Bolton will ultimately be a foot note in the history books. A man whose only claim to fame was failing to allow a president to make some peace with North Korea and set the U.S. on a path to complete alienation with the rest of the world.

Because of the neoconservatives’ intense war lust, as embodied by Bolton, it pushed Trump, already an arch-mercantilist, even farther along the path of using economic pressure to force change on the world stage.

But, as I’ve been saying for years now, that is a strategy just as ruinous in the long run for the U.S. as Bolton’s cowardice urging use of a military — which he refused to serve in — to do his dirty work for him.

These are both expressions of an empire which refuses to accept that it is in decline. And it has invited the chaos now evident in cities all across the U.S. as our wealth has been squandered on endless wars for regime change overseas while building a regulatory police state at home.

That helped pushed the militarization of our local police, further putting them in conflict with a domestic population growing more desperate and reactionary on both sides of the political aisle.

Bolton’s projection of all the U.S.’s ills onto countries with no real ability to harm us physically ultimately was not only his undoing with Trump but the U.S.’s undoing as a leader of the post-WWII order.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | | 1 Comment

Philanthropists, British politicians and international organizations unite for new global project after pandemic

By Lucas Leiroz | June 29, 2020

The new coronavirus brought a fierce dispute of narratives about the measures necessary to contain the infection and to build a new world after the end of the global pandemic. There are two main narratives, one calling for the strengthening of National States, for the delay of globalization and for the end of the process of dissolving borders; another, in an absolutely opposite sense, calling for the strengthening of international organizations, for the advancement of the globalist project and for the reduction or even dissolution of States in favor of a global governance system of open borders. Both speeches grow and clash in a great race that seems to be far from over.

The defense of National States and the discourse against political and economic globalization seemed to be winning the race, with the closure of borders and airports in the largest countries, however, recent events demonstrate a turn in this race, pointing to a possible victory for globalism. A group formed by organizations and individuals from around the world for 20 years now appears to be gaining more and more prominence. This is the case of GAVI – Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

GAVI has been around for many years, having been founded in 2000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The group emerged with the goal of starting a global mass vaccination campaign, mainly on the African continent, due to the accelerating decrease in access to vaccines by poor children in emerging countries. The Alliance brings together governments from developed and developing countries, in addition to WHO, the World Bank and UNICEF. The group was responsible for creating the International Funding Mechanism for Immunization, a project that brings together donations from several countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Norway, and which has already raised billions of dollars for global vaccination campaigns.

Although it has existed for a long time, it is only now that GAVI has taken on a truly outstanding role on the international stage, becoming a major player in global governance. Bill Gates, founder of GAVI and one of the biggest names in global philanthropy, has been gaining great attention from the global media for his recent campaigns to create a vaccine against the new coronavirus. In 2020, Gates’ donations reached the $ 1,560 million mark, raising him to the level of the world’s greatest medical philanthropist. Its philanthropic crusade against the new coronavirus pandemic has turned into a true industry, moving a gigantic amount of capital, materials and people in an unprecedented global campaign.

In fact, there are currently two international organizations leading efforts to create the coronavirus vaccine, GAVI and WHO. Considering that WHO is one of the entities that make up GAVI, it can even be said that GAVI leads the world in the fight against coronavirus. Obviously, there is apparently no harm in a philanthropic entity initiating research campaigns for a major medical discovery. The problem lies in all the other factors surrounding the issue. GAVI is an organization politically committed to unrestricted globalization. Its theory and praxis are all based on the liberal globalist ideal. All its members are equally fully committed to the establishment of a rigid regime of global governance where National States are reduced to a minimum and public-private management partnerships assume a major role in civil society.

An interesting point with GAVI and its plans for the post-pandemic world is the British participation. One of the main players in all these projects is Gordon Brown, a former British “socialist” prime minister and representative of GAVI. Brown recently made a controversial speech at a virtual G-20 meeting calling for the creation of a provisional world government to tackle the coronavirus, asking for help from the G-20 members for the realization of his – and GAVI’s – project to overcome the crisis generated by the pandemic, valued at more than 2.5 billion dollars. In a similar tone, Tony Blair, also a former prime minister and associated with GAVI, on the pandemic of the new coronavirus, has spoken out several times in favor of using high technology to establish a new global surveillance system.

Another point in this link between the globalist philanthropists of GAVI and the United Kingdom is the World Economic Forum and the controversial project of the “2021 Great Reset”, which intends to realize a series of changes in the structure of international society to face the crisis generated by the pandemic – interestingly, a plan announced by the Prince of Wales, once again showing the British prominence. In summary, at the next international meeting in Davos, the main globalist leaders will discuss the direction of a major project to restructure the world economic and political order, with projects focused on recovering from the effects of the pandemic and on the “green agenda”, with a strong insertion of the sustainability issue.

Finally, what do all these maneuvers mean? What unites the interests of globalist billionaires like Bill Gates with the main UN bodies, British politicians and the World Economic Forum? Many other questions can arise from there. We see yet another chapter in the complex war of agendas and civilizational projects in the contemporary world. The United Kingdom is designing its new worldwide projection outside the European Union. What will be the role of the UK in a new and more multipolar geopolitics? Apparently, it will be trying to regress the axis of global capitalism to the Old World and lead a new globalism, based on an agenda committed to the vital points of globalism: control of epidemics and environmentalism – masked under the farce of “green capitalism”.

What we can see is that the world is still far from contemplating the return of States or the establishment of a new multipolar world order. Globalism is a complex project, with several aspects and different authors and agents, which can be reinvented at any time. In the same way that globalization has never been so threatened, the project of a World State was never so close. We are currently at a zero point whose distance to both destinations is the same.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Сriminal roots of Kosovo further exposed by Thaçi’s indictment in The Hague

By Paul Antonopoulos | June 29, 2020

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić was due to meet Kosovo leader Hashim Thaçi on Saturday at the White House. This was at the behest of US envoy for Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Richard Grenell, after his much-publicized success in organizing the meeting. However, his success was short lived after Thaçi became indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity on June 24 by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.

The US meeting has been put on hold until further notice, but as Vučić revealed, the EU will take over discussions between Belgrade and Pristina at a later date. It appears that France and Germany specifically will spearhead these meeting with the French Embassy in Kosovo saying on Thursday that “France and Germany expect Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia to resume soon. Together with Chancellor Merkel, President Macron remains ready to host a Summit in Paris.” German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt tweeted: “Our governments stand ready to be helpful with [a] proposed meeting in July.”

Due to prosecutors in The Hague indicting Thaçi’s alleged war crimes during the 1998-99 Kosovo war, Kosovo’s new prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, said he could not travel to Washington to conduct talks with Serbia.

“Thank you, Prime Minister Hoti. We understand your decision and we look forward to rescheduling the meeting soon,” Grenell wrote on Twitter.

US President Donald Trump was hoping for a foreign policy victory just before the upcoming elections, but rather, the Kosovo experiment created by Bill Clinton in the 1990’s is beginning to crack. Thaçi in 1993 became a prominent member of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA) and became responsible for the finances and armaments of the terrorist organization. The KLA financed its activities by turning Kosovo into a drug smuggling hub to distribute heroin and cocaine throughout Europe.

A 2008 report by German intelligence service BND accuses Thaçi of having deep involvement in organized crime, saying that “The key players (including Thaçi) are intimately involved in inter-linkages between politics, business, and organised crime structures in Kosovo,” and that Thaçi is leading a “criminal network operating throughout Kosovo.”

The charges laid against him by the prosecutor’s office in The Hague include murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture. He has also been accused of organ harvesting and drug trafficking by other reports and institutions. Although he has not been found guilty, it is well established that the KLA engaged in such activities, putting a mockery to the Albanian and Serbian Caucuses of US Congress suggestion in 2014 that Thaçi be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Geneva School of Diplomacy giving him a Doctor Honoris Causa degree as a Doctor of International Relations, and the Montenegrin town of Ulcinj giving him the title of Honorary Citizen of Ulcinj.

Before the scheduled meeting, Vučić said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed him about worrying information concerning various Western plans and ideas regarding the solution to the Kosovo crisis. Vučić pointed out that he exchanged opinions with Lavrov on a number of issues but that the key topic was the relationship between the two countries and Russia’s support for the integrity of Serbia and the situation in Kosovo.

“We received certain assessments from the Russian Federation […] which worried me. They concern various plans and ideas regarding the solution to the Kosovo crisis. I do not want to deceive anyone and hide from the public: obviously we are facing a difficult period, in which we will face great pressure to realize some plans that we did not officially or unofficially get, but based on the assessments of our Russian friends, it seems that we will have to be very careful in following every idea that is presented to us,” Vučić said at the press conference after their meeting.

Thanking Russia for supporting Serbia in the United Nations and in all international forums, Vučić said that it had been agreed that Serbia would consult with Russia on an almost daily basis, emphasizing that one thing was clear: “If at any time and in any place a solution is reached, any solution requires the consent of Russia. We do not want everyone else to be consulted without anyone asking Russia anything.”

He added that Russia supported the dialogue under the auspices of the EU, while Serbia is ready to listen to all other political actors and their ideas. He emphasized that Serbia will be able to protect its vital national interests, regardless of the price it will have to pay.

It begs the question whether the Trump administration now has the willingness to come up with a solution for Kosovo, especially as it is evident that the Albanians are connected with the Democrats in the U.S. and the criminal roots of Kosovo’s independence are being further exposed. The indictment against Thaçi is a major embarrassment for Washington as they have been the main backers of the illegal separation of Kosovo from Serbia. If Thaçi’s allegations are proven true by The Hague, it would mean Washington would have always known about the criminal activities of the KLA and the ongoing criminality in Kosovo’s government, but chose to ignore them to carve out a pro-US state from a pro-Russia Serbia.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , | Leave a comment

Senator Schumer calls for ‘tough sanctions’ against Moscow amid new wave of anti-Russian hysteria… again

RT | June 28, 2020

The US Senate minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, seemingly got on his hobby-horse once more as he demanded new sanctions against Moscow amid reports about Russian agents putting ‘bounties’ on US troops in Afghanistan.

“We need, in this coming defense bill, which we are debating this week, tough sanctions against Russia,” Schumer told journalists while emphatically gesturing to apparently add more weight to his point.

The reason for the “tough sanctions” is a report by The New York Times that cites some “interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals” and accuses the Russian military intelligence, the GRU, of literally offering bounties to the Taliban for every American soldier killed in Afghanistan.

The report was dismissed by both Russia and the Taliban, which denied any such bounties ever being offered. Even the Director of the US National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, came out to say that neither President Donal Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were ever briefed on anything like this. These facts, however, left The New York Times undeterred as the paper followed up with another piece on the issue, this time citing some “officials briefed on the matter.”

Schumer, however, admitted that he does not really know anything about the situation since he “was not briefed on the Russian military intelligence,” unlike The New York Times’ mysterious sources. That did not stop him, however, from claiming that this supposedly real data “shows” new sanctions against Moscow are desperately needed.

In fact, calling for sanctions against Russia has been the senator’s favorite pastime for quite some time now. Since the start of this year, he has managed to demand new restrictions against Moscow twice – in February and March. He has also sought to press the EU into imposing some as well.

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 4 Comments

Nasrallah: Syria triumphs, Israel is waging an imaginary war

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 13, 2020, in commemoration of the martyrdom of Hezbollah Commander Mostapha Badreddine, killed in Syria in May 2016.

Summary:

  • Syria has already won the war, even if there are still some minor battles to be fought
  • Having failed militarily, the enemies of Syria strive doubly hard in their diplomatic, economic and psychological warfare
  • There is no dissension between the allies of Damascus, nor a struggle for influence between Iran and Russia
  • News of Bashar al-Assad being sidelined is just propaganda
  • There are no Iranian armed forces in Syria, just military cadres and advisers
  • Having bet everything on the terrorists, Israel sees its defeat and fears the recovery of Syria and the threat it will pose to the occupation of the Golan and the very existence of the Zionist entity
  • The so-called Israeli campaign against the Iranian presence in Syria is nothing but window dressing aimed at reassuring Israeli opinion and providing cover for attacks on the Syrian ballistic power
  • Israel presents as a victory a simple redeployment of forces due to successive victories over almost the entire Syrian territory, and a reduction in air movements between Iran and Syria due to the coronavirus
  • Iran, Hezbollah and other Resistance movements will never leave Syria
  • Israeli incursions into Syria are caused by worry, fear and adventurism, but can lead to uncontrolled escalation and regional war

This video only subtitles the last section of the transcript below, ‘Israel in Syria

Transcript:

Syria won the world war against it

[…] Today we can say that Syria won this war. In previous battles, when great achievements were made, such as after the liberation of Homs, Damascus, the South and even Aleppo, it was said that Syria had won the war, and analysts and specialists in strategic issues said no: Syria had won one (or more) battles, but had not (yet) won the war. Because a war is made of many battles: you can win a battle, lose another, win a third, lose the fourth, but all that does not (necessarily) mean that the whole war is won, or that the whole war is lost.

Today, in all simplicity, and via an objective and genuine assessment (of the situation), whoever goes to Syria and travels there —except for the politicized Arab (and Western) media—, whoever goes to Syria, in its provinces, in its cities, in its villages and boroughs, in all the regions currently in the hands of the State, anyone who observes the overall situation in Syria can easily affirm that Syria won the war, although there are still some battles going on. It should not be said that Syria has won one, two or three battles, and has lost one or two others, and that the war is still going on, without it being clear whether Syria will win it or not, no. The fair and accurate strategic assessment is that the Syrian leaders, the Syrian army, the Syrian State and the great majority of the Syrian people who stood firm in this struggle won this war.

Of course, there are still a few battles left, military or political, which require persistence and continuity of action, whether in Idlib, East of the Euphrates or certain areas North of Syria, but this is only a partial, limited and circumscribed part (of Syria). Syria has triumphed over partition projects, Syria has won this war, and suffice it to say that the objectives of this world war (against Syria) for which, according to their own admission, hundreds of billions of Arabian dollars have been spent —the dollar is American, but it is the Arab (countries) that have paid the bills; if this money had been spent for the good of the Arab peoples of our region, they would have extricated them from ignorance, poverty, misery, illiteracy, diseases, and the said funding countries (Saudi Arabia, etc. ) would not face financial incapacity in the face of the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic as they do now—, thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition, tens of thousands of terrorists and takfiris who were brought from all over the world, dozens of international conferences, etc., etc., etc. They have deployed everything, done everything, absolutely everything, to achieve their objective in Syria: sectarian or political slogans, incitement (to racial or religious hatred), everything that the front of Arrogance (imperialism) and its instruments were able to mobilize in terms of resources and ideology, everything they could do against Syria, they did. And Syria, through the perseverance of its leaders, its army, its people and the State, and thanks to the presence and perseverance of its allies by its side, managed to win this war.

And that is why today, when we talk about our martyr leader, Sayed Mustapha Badreddine, and our other martyrs in Syria, we feel, in addition to the consequences for their afterlife and their (eminent) position close to God the Most High and the Exalted as martyrs, we have the feeling that their blood has borne fruit and enabled these results to be achieved, and that the objective for which they went to fight and for which they sacrificed their blood, their peace and their life, and for which they made unremitting efforts night and day, this goal was achieved and it is before our eyes today.

Economic, diplomatic & psychological warfare

I will now raise some points (concerning Syria). The first point is that naturally, what (the enemies of Syria) have been unable to achieve militarily, they have been trying for the past few years to obtain it politically, through political pressure on the Syrian leaders, on the allies of Syria, on Iran, on Russia, on those who stand alongside Syria, through international relations, through the UN Security Council, through intimidation, threats and tempting promises, so that the allies of Damascus will abandon Syria. But all of this has failed so far. And we know that sometimes the political battle is just as intense as the armed struggle. And sometimes its dangers are even greater, and require all of our vigilance and attention. Syria is still plunged into political war and is facing political pressures which, so far, have failed to achieve any of their goals.

Naturally, and I come to the second point, after the failure of the military war and the impotence and the ineffectiveness of the political war and the political pressures in achieving any objective at all, the front of Arrogance (imperialism), the American despots and their Allies resorted to other means, namely psychological warfare on the one hand, and sanctions and blockade on the other. With regard to psychological warfare, a very broad front has been open for years against Syria, and lately there has been an intensification of psychological warfare, some aspects of which I will touch on in a moment. Likewise, the sanctions and the state of siege against Syria are increasing, and they are betting on the economic consequences (which they hope will become unbearable for Syria and its allies). The coronavirus has added to these pressures, but this pandemic is not specific to Syria: the pressures of the coronavirus are weighing on the whole world. Today, those who besiege Iran, Syria, Venezuela and other countries, Gaza, Yemen, etc., are starting to suffer the economic consequences of the coronavirus themselves. We have all seen the catastrophe hitting the United States, the countries of Western Europe, as well as certain countries in our region (Saudi Arabia, etc.). In any event, it is also a means of attacking Syria, namely economic pressures, sanctions, the state of siege against Syria.

With regard to the sanctions and the blockade, we place our hopes on the endurance of the Syrian leaders, the Syrian State and the Syrian people, just as they persevered in the face of the military and political war. What gives us hope is that Syria is a country endowed with human capital and colossal possibilities; the Syrian people are full of liveliness, the wealth and innate means of Syria are many and huge. Before the crisis, Syria was not a debt-ridden or weak country, nor was it a country brimming with wealth, but its economy was entirely viable. In some Arab countries, millions of people live in cemeteries, but no family lived in a cemetery in Syria. Anyway, in the economic battle, the livelihood battle, the financial battle, we have good hope in the endurance and initiative of Syria, just as we trust Syria to succeed against the psychological battle.

Tensions between Syria’s allies ?

With regard to the psychological battle, I would like to give an example, before addressing my last point concerning Syria. Part of the psychological battle concerns the situation of the allies, and we often hear that the allies of Damascus have started to abandon Syria. (According to these rumors), Iran would be entangled in its internal situation and would prepare to abandon Syria. Russia, because of the pressures, its internal situation, such pressures or such problems or I don’t know what other rubbish, would abandon Syria. All these words express only dreams and hopes that we have been hearing for years, and some have been disseminated as if they were information, etc., but they were only aspirations (US / Israeli / Saudi wishful thinking).

Among the talking points of the current psychological warfare, let us quote again the recurrent remarks that we find in the media of the Gulf and certain Western media —the Western media are more reluctant to diffuse these reports, because they try to preserve the (little) credibility they still have— about an Iranian-Russian power struggle in Syria. There is no hint of truth in it. I said at the beginning of my speech that I was going to talk about Iran again. In the two points that remain for me to address (on Syria), I will clearly point out certain sensitive points which concern the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Neither the Islamic Republic of Iran, nor Hezbollah, nor the Resistance factions from different countries —Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. ; yes, Resistance movements came from these countries and fought in Syria alongside the Syrian Arab Army, the Syrian people and the Syrian popular forces, and are still present there… The Islamic Republic of Iran is not fighting for influence against anyone in Syria. Neither against Russia —regardless of what Russia is doing— nor against anyone. The position of the Islamic Republic in Syria was clear from the beginning: its (only) goal was to prevent the fall of Syria under American-Israeli control, and under the control of the instruments of Arrogance (imperialism), our common enemy. This was Iran’s goal, and nothing else. The Islamic Republic does not seek any influence in Syria, it has no aims and no greed in Syria, and has no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria. Iranian interference in Syria has never existed, does not exist and will never exist with regard to internal Syrian issues, whether in the form of the regime, government, laws, the State… Iran will never do anything that some other States (especially the imperialist and neo-colonialist West) do, in any case. All that mattered and still matters for the Islamic Republic of Iran is that Syria remains in its (pro-) Arab, (pro-) Islamic, (pro-) Resistance position, that it preserves its identity, its independence, its sovereignty, its unity, that Syria remains a noble and dignified, persevering fortress, does not submit to American and Zionist hegemony, and does not compromise on its rights (over the Golan). This is all that Iran wants in Syria, no more no less. And that does not enter into any struggle for influence with anyone.

Certainly, to be completely frank and sincere, there may be differences between the allies as regards the definition of certain military or ground priorities, political questions, at the level of negotiations, etc. But this in no way leads to a struggle for influence, because the decisions of the Islamic Republic are categorical as regards the position alongside the Syrian leaders (who have the final say on all matters), Iran complying with what they determine and accept. The Islamic Republic has a position of support towards the endurance, the persistence, the maintenance and the independence of Syria, and its resilience in the face of projects of hegemony and control over it, and of liquidation of the Axis of Resistance in the region. In this regard, I would therefore like to reassure the masses & supporters of the Resistance in the Arab-Islamic world: in Syria, there is no struggle for influence between Iran and Russia. So could we say that the front of the allies and supporters of Damascus is plagued by internal strife or is in withdrawal? This is absolutely not true.

Israel in Syria

The other point I also wanted to talk about concerning Syria and Iran in Syria, and the Israeli enemy in Syria, is the Israeli aggression and the Israeli project in Syria. Especially in the past few weeks, the Zionist Israeli Minister of War (Naftali Bennett) is trying to brag and present (false victories) to the Israeli masses, lying to them and misleading them, and also to the public opinion in the Arab-Muslim world —and there are also Arab media that spread these lies and falsifications—, in order to highlight the imaginary victories and achievements of Israel in Syria at the expense of Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Axis of Resistance. I want to talk about it a bit, and it may be the first time that I do it in such a frank and detailed way, even if it will be synthetic.

During the first years (of the war in Syria), from 2011, Israel bet on the (terrorist) armed groups. The relations of the armed groups —especially in the south of Syria— with Israel are absolutely undeniable: exchange of information, financing, supplies, medical care, aid and support of all kinds, up to transit, all this is well known and obvious. Israel has been active in the war in Syria since 2011, and has counted & invested heavily on those who fight the regime in Syria. Israel had a whole set of objectives, the highest of which was the fall of the regime and the liquidation of the current administration (of Bashar al-Assad). But there were several other lesser goals.

When this war against Syria failed, and the Zionists understood that their instruments and the horse on which they had bet had failed in Syria, and that they had lost the war… They are still fighting in Syria, but they lost the war, as I just explained. The proof is that all of southern Syria, the vast majority of which was under the control of armed groups, which cooperated with Israel, was assisted by Israel and were Israel’s allies both openly and secretly, they all left, and some left Syria via the Zionist entity. We don’t forget their buses at night.

The Israelis therefore understood that their objective (to bring down the regime) had failed. They therefore aimed at a new objective, namely to fight against a new danger which appears to them, new dangers which will emanate from the situation and the victory in Syria. What are these new dangers? Some reside in the Syrian Arab forces themselves, in the Syrian army and in the Syrian military capabilities, especially with regard to ballistic capability and the manufacture of precision missiles. And that’s why we see that Israel is attacking everything related to the production of missiles in Syria, because he considers that the ballistic capacity and the manufacture of missiles constitute a (enormous) force for Syria, and obviously also for the Axis of Resistance.

Israel therefore considers Syria as a future threat, Syria which has stood firm during all these years in the face of a universal war waged against it: if Damascus regains its strength and regains its health, and develops its military, human and material capabilities, this will give Syria prevalence in the region and in the Arab-Israeli struggle. Therefore, Israel considers Syria as a threat, a future threat: Syria may not be a current threat, because it remains entangled in its internal situation and the few battles that remain to be fought. Likewise, Israel views the presence of Iran and Resistance factions in Syria as a threat. Israel is worried about Syria, Israel is afraid. Israel is terrified of what the future holds for it in Syria. This is the true description of the situation.

So look at the way Israeli officials express themselves about the Golan Heights, claiming that in southern Syria, for example, Hezbollah has a certain presence and a certain activity, and is trying to create a structure (of Resistance), with the help, silence or complicity of the Syrian authorities, cooperating with young Syrians (combatants) in order to recover the Golan and attack the Israeli occupation in the Golan. And all this while nothing important has happened yet. But this simple assumption, this simple fact created an atmosphere of terror within the Zionist entity, and sometimes pushes it to escalation measures which can lead to unforeseen and dramatic consequences (an open regional war). This indicates that Israel behaves towards Syria from a position of worry, fear and terror in the face of the consequences of the great victory in Syria. You have to keep that in mind in the first place.

Israel has therefore announced a goal in Syria. He cannot declare that he strikes Syria and the Syrian army, even if that is what he is doing concretely. Israel has therefore announced a goal linked to the Iranian presence in Syria, and the presence of Hezbollah, even if he insists above all on the Iranian presence. So they launched a campaign under the slogan “We want to expel Iran from Syria.” And their stupidity is such that it prompted the Israeli Minister of War, Naftali Bennett, to go so far as to set a timetable, promising that before the end of 2020, he would have ended the Iranian presence in Syria. So remember this deadline and count the months that we have before the end of the year to see what will happen to the promise of this stupid minister.

Israel has therefore worked to achieve this goal. What did they do, apart from the international, regional and domestic incitement, and the attempt to present the Iranian presence in Syria —which I will describe in detail— as having gone from a factor of assistance to a burden for Syria, which is a gross lie? They began with airstrikes and air operations which occasionally hit means of transport, warehouses or certain locations in Syria. This has been happening for years, and I never talked about it (in detail).

What is new? The new thing is that Israel goes astray, tricks its people and deceives the opinion in our region (and in the world) —and we are always fighting this battle to raise public awareness by revealing the truth—, trying to present certain details like the proofs of his victory in Syria and the beginning of the defeat of the Axis of Resistance or the Islamic Republic of Iran, the beginning of our exit and withdrawal (from Syria).

What are the clues and evidence that Israel puts forward? For several weeks, certain Israeli officials, media and analysts have been propagating these statements, even if other Israeli analysts say that these statements are inaccurate and just for show —and the latter are the ones who are right. Israel has spoken of several points (put forward as evidence of an Iranian withdrawal from Syria):

1/ the number of troops: the “Iranian (armed) forces”, to use their expression, would have greatly decreased in Syria;

2/ certain bases that have been evacuated, returned (to the Syrian authorities) or abandoned;

3/ the concentration of efforts on eastern Syria and the presence in the region of al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, etc.

The conclusion of all of this, (if we are to believe the Zionist enemy), is that the result of intelligence operations, military actions and aerial bombardments carried out by Israel, have largely fulfilled their objectives: Iran would leave Syria, the Iranians would be in full withdrawal, Hezbollah would retreat, and this moron (Bennett) believes he achieved an historic exploit which he trumpets  at every occasion, predicting the full achievement of this objective before the end of 2020. Just see how he spreads these lies and fools public opinion.

Let me show you the real situation. First, regarding the situation on the ground, Israel keeps talking about the presence of “Iranian (armed) forces”, but in Syria there have only been Iranian military advisers and experts since 2011. I would like to say that they were present even before 2011 alongside the Syrian Arab Army and alongside the Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah), and after 2011, they remained, and due to the events, their number increased. But there are no Iranian military forces in Syria. When we talk about Iranian military forces, we mean one or more battalions, one or more units, legions, etc. That is what we are referring to when we talk about the armed forces.

There are a number of military advisers and experts in Syria, the number of which has increased with the events (since 2011). They had and still have a very important role:

1/ providing support and advice to the Syrian armed forces;

2/ managing groups of Syrian, Arab and Islamic popular forces which they train, arm and lead in the various battles in progress;

3/ coordinating operations with Resistance movements, including Hezbollah;

4/ coordinating the logistical support operations provided by the Iranian defense ministry to the Syrian defense ministry.

These Iranian advisers are not Iranian (armed) forces. It is not an Iranian armed presence.

You see, the Israelis announced a nonexistent, illusory, imaginary goal, similar to the objective of successive American administrations to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons, while the Iranians do not have nuclear weapons and do not want to obtain nuclear weapons. In Syria, Israel is waging an imaginary battle to prevent Iranian forces from being present in Syria. While in Syria there are only Iranian military advisers and military experts. Despite all the difficulties, the situation in Syria in no way requires the arrival of Iranian (armed) forces in Syria.

To be frank and honest, at one point, a real discussion took place on this subject with the Iranian leaders, and at one point, for a few months, certain Iranian armed forces came to Aleppo, for 2 or 3 months. But apart from this exceptional case, there have never been Iranian forces in Syria, and I say and repeat that there are only advisers, in the number required by the situation: there may be more or less according to the needs of the field, and many of them fell martyrs —some could put forward this argument as proof of an armed presence; but it’s because these advisers were on the front lines alongside the Syrian Arab Army and Resistance factions, fighting and participating in battles, in the manner of the school of their commander of the al-Quds Forces, the martyr Qassem Soleimani, may God the Most High be pleased with him. This is therefore the real and precise description of the situation.

Secondly, naturally, as the battles were won, whether for the Iranians or the factions of the Resistance, and sometimes even for the Syrian army, when the battle or the threat ended in a region, there was no longer any reason to maintain a presence of combatants or military bases, nor our positions on combat axes and front lines. At one time, the fighting was taking place (simultaneously) in Homs, in the rif of Damascus, in Damascus, in the East of Homs, in the suburbs of Aleppo and in Aleppo itself, in Idlib, in the south of Syria, Badiya, al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, etc. It was therefore natural to have a presence (of the armed forces) in all these regions. While on the coast, there were no battles, and there was therefore no reason to have this presence.

When the province of Homs was liberated, this presence ceased. Same thing when the battles in Damascus and in the rif of Hama ended, as well as in southern Syria, in Palmyra and in the Badiya. If the Syrian army, of which it is the country, wanted to maintain a certain presence in certain barracks, to take the necessary precautions (to face a possible resurgence of the terrorists), that made sense; but as for the auxiliary forces, whether Iranians, Hezbollah or other factions of the Resistance, it is quite natural that they left this region, maintaining only the minimum of personnel, of combatants and of material there as a precaution. There would have been no reason to maintain the same number of forces, the same bases, etc.

For about two years, when this victory became clear, especially after the liberation of the Badiya and the opening of the highway to Aleppo, and the end of the battle in Damascus, in the rif of Damascus and in the south, the (Syrian & allied) forces gathered (in the last places of activity of the terrorists). The presence of many Iranian advisers was no longer required, and so they returned to Iran. Likewise for a number of Hezbollah fighters and cadres in Syria, whose presence was no longer useful, so they returned to Lebanon. Many of our Iraqi brothers and other nationalities were no longer required, so they returned home.

The situation in Syria having become very good, (what would have been the point of maintaining all this presence)? Some bases and barracks have always remained empty, and had been prepared in case there was a need for additional manpower. Many bases and barracks were no longer useful because there were no more fights, and were therefore abandoned. It all started two years ago or more, and has nothing to do with Israeli operations and attacks in Syria. It has nothing to do with the Israeli strikes in Syria. And that has nothing to do with the martyrdom of brother commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani. It started under his leadership, and the current leadership of the Al-Quds Forces (IRGC) continues the same program it began operating over two years ago.

Likewise, Hezbollah and the rest of the factions of the Resistance have started to do the same for more than two years, namely to decrease the troops, decrease the number of (active) bases, decrease the presence, because Syria begins to recover, Syria has won, the Syrian Arab Army has won, many frontlines no longer exist, the battles having been definitively won there. This is the truth.

Today, when anyone talks about a downsizing of foreign forces in Syria… Let me give you an example for Lebanon. At some point I announced that on the whole axis of Qalamoun, we ended our presence (that used to be massive), keeping only one or two positions. Same thing for the whole axis of Zabadani. All was done in coordination with the Syrian army. Is this an Israeli success? Or is this fact explained because the Syrian army and the Resistance won all the battles in these regions, as well as in the rif of Damascus, in the rif of Homs, etc. What would be the point, once the fighting is over, of staying on the mountains, in the cold, in the heat, what good is it to mobilize and use resources, etc. All that would be useless, it would be a waste of material and human resources. When the fighting is over, all we have to do is pack up and return to our main front, namely southern Lebanon (facing Israel).

The pseudo-evidence put forward by Israel today, namely the issue of the reduction of troops in Syria, the total or partial evacuation of certain places, bases or positions, this is only due to the fact that the presence there would no longer make any sense, as for example in Damascus or around Damascus, where the fighting has stopped. It is quite natural that the military presence should go to al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Idlib, because the front lines are there, and there is no more fighting elsewhere. The remaining battles are there, so those who want to help must go there and not sit (arms crossed) in Damascus.

The pseudo-evidence advanced by Israel in no way proves Israeli successes, but proves the victory of Syria, the victory of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the victory of Hezbollah, the victory of the Axis of Resistance in Syria. This victory in the war involves, as with any army and any military force in the world, a redeployment of forces in accordance with new responsibilities and new challenges, in the light of our achievements and victories.

More so, a sign of the imbecility and lies of the Israeli media is that they have tried to explain the fact that for example, lately, the movements between Syria and Iran have decreased somewhat —air freight, the movement of airplanes—, and this has also been put forward as evidence of the Israeli military successes in Syria, while these claims are nothing but lies and falsifications. The cause is the coronavirus. The covid-19 which impacted the US military, European armies, and even the army of the Israeli enemy itself, which canceled maneuvers, training, and large military parades planned to celebrate the anniversary of the victory of 1945, and it is only natural that the pandemic also affects Syria, the Islamic Republic, ourselves and everyone.

To summarize this point, by way of synthesis before evoking the internal situation in Lebanon in the minutes that I have left, I would like to address the Israeli public to invite them to check their information and not to believe the lies of their leaders, who put forward imaginary victories in Syria, whether against Syria or against Iran. Admittedly, Syria suffers prejudice, just as Iranian advisers, Hezbollah and the Resistance in Syria are affected by the Israeli aggressions, which the Syrian, Iranian and Resistance leaders consider as they should —I don’t have time to speak in detail about our point of view on the issue, I will do it another time if necessary—, but the Israelis need to know that what their leaders are saying is only lies, deception and illusions, purely imaginary achievements. And if Israel continues on this path, they can make a mistake or a blunder that would blow up the whole region.

As for the announced objective, namely to expel the Iranian presence —the military advisers, and not the pseudo Iranian forces, as I explained— or even to expel Hezbollah and the Resistance from Syria, this objective will never be achieved, o Zionists. This objective will never be achieved. These advisers are present following a joint decision by Syria and Iran, and the Resistance movements are present at the request of the Syrian leaders and in accordance with the will of the Resistance movements themselves, and all those who, since 2011 to date, have sacrificed thousands of martyrs and suffered thousands of injuries, will not be defeated or deterred by an air strike or an assassination here and there. They will remain firmly on their positions, and will not abandon the battlefield or the place under any circumstances. This goal is unachievable.

These are just illusions that you live in your imagination; you are engaging in sheer adventurism, and at any moment, you can make a serious error in Syria that you will regret bitterly. […]

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2112

Translation: resistancenews.org

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

American taxpayers’ money funds MKO terrorist group: Iran Foreign Ministry

Press TV – June 28, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has lambasted both Europe and the United States for aiding and abetting the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Iranian ministry said the MKO “is by all means a terror cult,” adding that while European countries are sheltering the terrorist members of this group, the United States is funding their anti-Iran activities.

“Europe is home to this rogue entity & American taxpayers’ money has funded the atrocities of this corrupt grouplet,” it said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry concluded by saying that as a result of their full support for the MKO, Europe and the US “both have [their] hands in the massacre of innocent Iranians” by this terrorist organization.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, had already condemned Western countries for their unbridled support for this terrorist cult, saying the MKO supporters have the blood of thousands of Iranians on their hands.

Mousavi made the remarks in a tweet on Saturday, which marked the 39th anniversary of a deadly attack by the MKO terrorists, which killed scores of Iranian officials, including then head of Supreme Judicial Council Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti.

The MKO has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials since victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks over the past four decades, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.

Washington and the European Union have removed the MKO from their lists of terrorist organizations. The anti-Iran terrorists enjoy freedom of activity in the US and Europe, and even hold meetings with American and EU officials.

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment