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How a US-led Unholy Alliance is Preventing Syria’s Normalisation

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 14.04.2021

If there is major stumbling block to Syrian unification and normalisation back to the pre-war years, it is the continuing presence of foreign forces inside Syria and the support they continue to provide to jihadi elements and militias that continue to seek to overthrow Assad’s government. Their presence, therefore, not only dovetails pretty closely with the underlying logic of the US and Turkish military interventions in Syria, but they continue to be the main instruments of a geo-political game the interventionist force, being led by the US, are playing in Syria against Syria and its principal allies, Iran and Russia. This was recently confirmed by a former US ambassador and special representative for Syria engagement, James Jeffrey, in an interview given to the US government’s Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) channel, where he was quoted to have said that militant and jihadi outfits like Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham remain an “asset” for America’s overall Syria strategy, currently territorially focused on Idlib, against Iran and Russia.

“They are the least bad option of the various options on Idlib, and Idlib is one of the most important places in Syria, which is one of the most important places right now in the Middle East,” Jeffrey said in an interview on March 8.

It is also a well known fact that Turkey has been supporting such elements in Syria with the sole objective of denying Assad regaining complete control of his country.

Nicholas Heras, Senior Analyst and Program Head for Authoritarianism at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy recently said in an interview that “HTS cannot survive without Turkish support, it’s that simple,” adding that “Turkey’s significant military investment to protect Idlib is the key factor that protects that region from collapsing back into the control of Assad and his allies.” Accordingly, were Idlib to fall back to Assad, this will fundamentally shake Turkish position in Syria, and further curtail the US ability to use its military forces to control parts of Syrian territory.

To avoid this eventuality, the US continues to send reinforcements and fully loaded trucks with weapons to the Syrian region of Jazirah in northeast. That these weapons could be used to strengthen jihadi outfits is entirely possible, given that the US continues, as mentioned above, to treat groups like HTS as “assets.”

In a separate interview given to the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the head of HTS, Abu Mohammad Jolani, confirmed how the group continues to work to overthrow Assad, and how it repeatedly engages the Syrian and the Russian forces. Jolani confirmed that his group poses no threat to the US.

The PBS report also noted that that for the last couple of years, Idlib has come under attack from Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces, with Turkey backing opposition groups, including, sometimes, Jolani’s.

Turkey’s support for HTS explains why it has so far refrained from targeting the group in a region that has been under its control for quite some time. The US calculations are crude & simple: benefits that emerge from a direct support for groups like HTS outweigh the benefits that more regular and non-radical militias like the Syrian Democratic Forces/Kurdish militias can yield. Maintaining strong ties with groups like the HTS also prevents the US-Turkey alliance from falling into hot water, since Turkey has its own reservations with respect to the presence of Kurdish militias closer to its border regions.

In addition, given the fact that the US-Turkey alliance aims to turn Syrian into a quagmire for Iran and Russia, support for such radical groups remains the key.

In other words, it remains that the Biden administration intends to stick to the erstwhile policy of weakening Damascus in favour of its “assets” based in Idlib. This is evident from the sudden flurry of US establishment media interest in the HTS and Abu Mohammed al-Jolani and the way he and his outfit are not only been appropriated, but also being presented as a “non-threatening” entity that could actually serve the US interests better than other available options.

Controlling the Economy

Whereas the US is using these “assets” to prevent Syria’s territorial unification and its return to normalisation, it also continues to control about 90 per cent of Syria’s oil and other economic resources to hurt its economic recovery as well.

The Syrian oil minister recently said that “The oil sector has been targeted chiefly because it is the main source of income for the Syrian economy.”

Continuing economic crisis, as it stands, makes it easier for outfits like the HTS to find fresh recruits from within the rank and file.

As irony would have it, Syria’s oil that was previously stolen by Daesh is now being stolen under the aegis of an occupying power, causing the Syrian state to lose billions of dollars in revenue.

By controlling 90 per cent of Syria’s oil production, the US not only aims to keep the war-torn country impoverished, but also prevent Russia from stepping into the oil exploration industry in Syria and thus establish itself firmly in the Middle East. Last year in September 2020, Syria’s parliament approved contracts for oil exploration with two Russian companies in an effort to boost production hit industry and generate revenue for post war reconstruction.

However, the fact that the US forces in combination with Kurdish militias continue to control most of the oil means that Syria’s post war recovery through locally generated, albeit scant, resources cannot be possible.

In many ways, therefore, the US & its allies continue to play the same sinister “regime change” game that had actually caused the war to start in Syria in 2011.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 16, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran reports ‘NUCLEAR terrorism’ attack at Natanz facility – day after uranium enrichment began

RT | April 11, 2021

Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility was hit by a “terrorist” attack on Sunday, the country’s nuclear chief said, hours after reports of an electrical “accident” – and a day after new uranium enrichment centrifuges were started up.

Iran reserves the right to “take action” against those behind the incident at the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facility in Natanz, the head of the nation’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told state TV on Sunday.

He called the incident at the plant an act of “nuclear terrorism.”

Iran “condemns this heinous act,” Salehi said, calling on the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in particular to “deal” with the act of “nuclear terrorism.”

The incident at the plant was earlier described as an “electricity problem” at a power grid in Natanz. “Fortunately, the incident did not cause any human injuries or pollution,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), said earlier on Sunday.

A member of the Iranian parliament’s Energy Commission, Malek Shariati Niasar, also described the incident as “very suspicious,” and said he had assumed it might potentially be “sabotage and infiltration,” since it took place around the National Day of Nuclear Technology.

The event reportedly caused a blackout in the electricity distribution network of the Shahid Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility in Natanz. Further details have not been made public and the causes of the incident are currently “under investigation.”

Natanz is key to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which Tehran says is strictly peaceful. In early February, it said that hundreds of advanced centrifuges with a higher capacity for uranium enrichment were installed there.

The events also took place just a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran has begun using new advanced IR-5 and IR-6 centrifuges to enrich uranium at the Natanz site.

Israeli media reported that the incident was likely caused by a cyberattack, while the Times of Israel has openly claimed, citing “Western intelligence sources,” that Mossad was “behind” the power cut in Natanz. There have been no official statements from Israeli officials so far, however.

Iran’s nuclear program was significantly limited under the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It included caps on uranium purity and the amount Iran is able to produce.

After then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the deal, despite the IAEA repeatedly confirming Iran’s compliance, Tehran said that it would no longer be meeting its obligations in full. Washington has since launched a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions on Iran.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said the nation had already produced 55 kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium this year, adding that it exceeded the enrichment capacity achieved before the JCPOA. All of Iran’s nuclear aspirations are “peaceful and civilian,” President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday.

Recent talks in Vienna on the nuclear deal, which saw Washington and Tehran negotiating indirectly, have not resulted in any major breakthrough.

April 11, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Iranian merchant vessel Saviz struck by blast in Red Sea, suffers minor damage: Official

Press TV – April 7, 2021

Iran says one of its merchant vessels has been targeted by an explosion of unknown origin in the strategic Red Sea, in the second such incident in less than a month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatizadeh told reporters that the Saviz ship was struck by the blast at around 6 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) on Tuesday, April 5, near the coast of Djibouti, and sustained minor damage.

“Fortunately, no fatalities were caused by the incident, and technical evaluations on how the incident occurred and its origins are underway,” he added.

The Iranian official said Tehran will take all the necessary measures regarding the case through international bodies.

Rejecting media claims, Khatibzadeh said the Saviz is a non-military vessel, whose specifications and mission have been formally registered with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

He said the ship acts as Iran’s logistic station in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, protects naval routes and provides security for merchant vessels and tankers against pirates.

A New York Times story published on Wednesday quoted an anonymous US official telling the newspaper that the Tel Aviv regime notified the United States that Israeli forces had attacked an Iranian ship in the Red Sea.

The unnamed US official said Israel called the strike a retaliation, and that the ship had been hit below the water line.

In a similar incident last month, an Iranian cargo ship was damaged after it was targeted by a terrorist attack en route to Europe in the Mediterranean Sea.

Tehran said back then that such acts of terror are a clear example of naval piracy and run counter to international law on the safety of commercial vessels.

On February 25, an explosion struck Israeli-owned and the Bahamas-flagged ship, the MV Helios Ray, in the Sea of Oman near the strategic mouth of the Persian Gulf.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastily accused Iran of attacking the ship. Iran categorically rejected the charge.

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi, in a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on March 5, warned of consequences of any possible miscalculated measure by Israel over the explosion.

“The incident has all the characteristic of a complicated false flag operation carried out by actors in order to pursue their malign policies and to advance their illegitimate objectives,” Takht Ravanchi wrote.

April 7, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Russian senator slams Europe’s silence on Donbass attack as green light to Kiev

Press TV – April 5, 2021 

Deputy speaker of Russia’s upper house Federation Council has slammed European silence over a recent attack by Ukrainian forces on a Russian-speaking eastern area as a green light for a renewed military operation in the pro-independence region.

Kiev will interpret Europe’s silent position “as carte blanche for a military operation in Donbass and restoring territorial integrity by force,” said Konstantin Kosachev on Sunday, reacting to a joint statement by German and French foreign ministers on the Donbass attack, Russia’s official TASS news agency reported.

Top French diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, have expressed concerns over the deteriorating situation on the contact line in Donbass but then voiced support for Kiev’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The joint statement issued on Sunday further said the two countries were carefully monitoring the situation, particularly Russian troop movements in the region, while urging restraint and abrupt defusing of tensions.

The Russian senator, however, reminded the two European diplomats that a child was killed by a Ukrainian drone strike on Saturday in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

“Yesterday, for the first time since July 2020 a Ukrainian shelling of the DPR was conducted and a six-year-old child died, but there is no word about this” in the European statement, Kosachev said. Instead, he noted, the West accused Russia of troop movements.

“Russia says there must be no force, but only a direct dialogue between the conflicting states. The statement of the two ministers does not include this, and in this sense, it has no added value and only adds fuel to the flame of the conflict,” he added.

The development came as Moscow on Sunday urged the European Union to demand an explanation from Kiev following the drone attack on Donbass, amid an escalation of armed clashes between the pro-Russian forces and Ukrainian troops in the restive region.

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin also called on the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) to demand an explanation from Kiev about the incident.

Also on Sunday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky enforced sanctions against Russian humanitarian cooperation agency, Volga Dnepr Co as well as 77 more companies.

Reacting to the news, Volodin said, “We will discuss with the Russian foreign ministry’s and the agency’s senior officials measures that are to be taken in this situation in order not to leave our compatriots and Ukrainian nationals who want to preserve relations with Russia without support.”

Ukraine’s sanctions are an “example of defiance of international law and common sense,” Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel, adding, “Ukraine is seeking to mock its patrons as much as it can. Sanctions against a state institution – Rossotrudnichestvo, with its mission of developing international humanitarian cooperation – constitute an unprecedented case.”

Meanwhile, the EU vowed its “unwavering” support for the Western-backed Ukrainian government on Sunday, with its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, voicing major worries about what he called Russian troop movements.

“Following with severe concern the Russian military activity surrounding Ukraine,” Borrell wrote online after a phone call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. “Unwavering EU support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Borrell said he would hold further talks on the issue with Kiev’s top diplomat and foreign ministers from the EU’s 27 nations at a meeting later this month.

Other Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have also stated that they are standing by Ukraine, which has blamed Russia for amassing thousands of troops on its northern and eastern borders.

While Moscow has not denied the troop movements amid the increasing military activities near its borders by the US-led NATO alliance, it has insisted that the move was “not threatening anyone.”

Donbass has been the scene of a conflict between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces since 2014. It has so far claimed more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN.

The armed confrontations began when a wave of protests in Ukraine overthrew a democratically-elected pro-Russia government and replaced it with a pro-West administration. The majority in those areas refused to endorse the new administration.

That new government then began a crackdown on the mainly ethnic Russians in the east, who in turn took up arms and turned the two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk — collectively known as the Donbass — into self-proclaimed republics.

April 5, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Luhansk Military Says Civilian Wounded in Ukraine’s Drone Attack

Sputnik – 04.04.2021

LUHANSK – A civilian man has been hospitalized with multiple shrapnel wounds after an explosive device dropped from a drone by Ukrainian forces detonated in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the LPR forces said on Sunday.

The report comes amid the rise in ceasefire violations in Ukraine’s breakaway region of Donbass. On Saturday, Donetsk People’s Republic reported that a pre-school child was killed and a woman was injured in a Ukrainian drone attack in Oleksandrivske on Saturday. After the tragedy, Russian lower house speaker Viacheslav Volodin suggested that it is time to expel Ukraine from the Council of Europe.

According to the Luhansk forces, the fresh attack took place on a bank of the Siverskyi Donets River near the village of Mykolaivka. The explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicle is said to have been launched by servicemen of the 80th brigade of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The wounded man was taken to a hospital.

The militia specified that since additional ceasefire measures took effect in Donbas in late July, it has registered six cases of Ukraine’s combat drone launches into the breakaway region. As a result, two members of the people’s militia were injured.

The militia went on to call on international observers and the global community to “pay close attention to the terrorist actions of the Ukrainian side, which amount to a violation of the Geneva convention.”

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Papers reveal US-backed Brazil’s role in installing and supporting Pinochet in Chile

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | April 1, 2021

Washington’s involvement in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Chile in September 1973 is by this point well known. The pivotal role played by Brazil has not been as clear until now.

On the anniversary of the 1964 US-backed coup that led to Brazilian President Joao Goulart being replaced by a military junta, the National Security Archive has published a trove of previously classified documents showing the role that junta later played in subverting democracy in Chile, and its subsequent support of General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal repression of political opponents.

The file trail begins September 22, 1970, 18 days after Salvador Allende of the Popular Unity alliance narrowly won the Chilean presidency. A document, prepared for General Emilio Garrastazu Medici – then the third president of Brazil’s military dictatorship – summarizes a recent meeting between the US ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, and his Brazilian counterpart.

Following Allende’s victory, Korry, a veteran diplomat during the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, vowed that “not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile” under the socialist’s rule, and if and when he took office in November that year, the US would “do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”

Accordingly, the summary makes clear US plans to undermine Allende were well underway by the time the two ambassadors met.

“Following direct orders from the White House,” Korry was said to be “insinuating to all relevant sectors” that Chile would have “difficulties” – including a shortage of foreign credit and military aid – should the country’s Congress confirm Allende as leader. He also noted the US Embassy was distributing written material warning of the dangers of an Allende government to Chilean military commanders, the very elements that would brutally take power three years later.

Korry’s message was clearly received loud and clear, for in March the next year – five months after Allende’s confirmation – Chilean ambassador to Brasilia Raul Rettig submitted a troubling report to his foreign ministry, titled ‘Brazilian Army possibly conducting studies on guerrillas being introduced into Chile’.

Rettig – who, two decades later, chaired the country’s first ‘truth commission’, which investigated human rights abuses during Pinochet’s rule – had heard from multiple sources that the Brazilian regime was extensively evaluating how to instigate violent insurrection in Chile and overthrow the Allende government via an “armed movement.”

Plans were well developed already, with the military having established a dedicated ‘war room’, with maps and models of the Andean mountain range along the Chilean border, to plan infiltration operations. A number of Brazilian secret agents had also reportedly “entered the country as tourists, with the intention of gathering more background on possible regions where a guerrilla movement might operate,” Rettig’s report revealed.

Brasilia was highly confident of success. In a November 1971 meeting at the White House, President Medici assured Richard Nixon that Allende “would be overthrown for very much the same reasons that Goulart had been,” and Chile’s military was up to the task. He added that Brazil had been “exchanging many officers with the Chileans, and made clear that Brazil was working towards this end.”

In return, the US president pledged “to be helpful in this area,” such as providing “discreet aid,” on the basis that “we must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try, where possible, to reverse these trends.” A contemporary CIA intelligence memorandum noted that, to Brazilian military top brass, Washington “obviously” wanted Brasilia to “do the dirty work” in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America.

By July the next year, Brazil had established back-channel communications with Chilean army officers, covertly flying them into the country to meet with high-ranking authorities and begin plotting the downfall of Allende. An August 1973 Brazilian intelligence report details a summit at an airbase in Santiago, at which high-level Chilean military officials were given extensive briefings on Brazil’s own military coup nine years earlier, in the process learning “useful” lessons for their own impending action.

So, it was that, on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military stormed the presidential palace and took power by force. Ground troops were assisted by British-made Hawker Hunter aircraft, which bombed the building and suppressed rooftop snipers. Allende also died in the fighting, and while investigators have ruled it was suicide, some still question that conclusion, arguing that he was in fact murdered.

In the process, Chile – hitherto an aberrant beacon of democracy and stability in a region typified by dictatorships – became a military junta, led by General Pinochet. Death squads immediately set about rounding up thousands of known or suspected Chilean leftists in the country, imprisoning up to 40,000 people in the country’s National Stadium.

The new files make it clear that Brazil moved very quickly to legitimize the new regime, racing to become the first country to officially recognize Pinochet’s despotism, and drafting speeches for the government’s representatives at the United Nations General Assembly to palliate the bloodshed unfolding in Santiago.

Plainclothes Brazilian intelligence agents also secretly assisted Chilean officials in conducting interrogations, torture, and executions at the National Stadium. Among those detained were US citizens, and Brazilians residing in Chile, at least three of whom were of such interest to Brasilia that officials were attempting to arrange their return home.

Comparable hands-on support persisted for many years thereafter. In August 1974, Colonel Manuel Contreras, chief of Chile’s Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), requested official passports for 12 officers for a trip to Sao Paulo, in order that they might receive training from their Brazilian counterparts.

Humberto Gordon, who later headed DINA, is named among the officers, as are individuals later involved in the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington DC, which was directly ordered by Pinochet.

In the wake of the coup, Letelier – a Chilean economist, politician, and diplomat during Allende’s presidency – was held for 12 months in several concentration camps, along the way being severely tortured, being released only due to international diplomatic pressure. He fled the country and took refuge in the US, becoming Pinochet’s most prominent overseas critic.

On September 21, 1976, Letelier was killed via car bomb – much of his lower torso was blown away and his legs severed. Documents previously unearthed by the National Security Archive indicate that US officials had foreknowledge of the assassination, but transmission of a State Department communiqué warning the Chilean government against carrying it out was blocked by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. … Full article

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US-Backed Fighters Seize US-Made Missiles Heading To Other US-Backed Fighters In Syria

South Front | March 28, 2021

In an unusual turn of events in Syria, militants once backed by the US have seized a shipment of US-made missiles that was heading to fighters currently backed by the US.

The missiles, US-made TOWs, were seized on March 28 by the Syrian Task Force, a joint force of the Turkish Police, Counterterrorism Unit and the National Syrian Army (SNA), near the Turkish-occupied town of Azaz in the northern Aleppo countryside.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Interior, the smugglers confessed that they had been trying to transfer weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the town of Manbij in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo.

Beside two TOW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), the weapons shipment included 24 AK-type assault rifles, a designated marksman rifle, two gun tubes and ammunition.

Most SNA factions were once backed by the US, which supplied them with TOW ATGMs until late 2017. The YPG and the PKK, one the other hand, are the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which still receive US support.

Between 2012 and 2017, the US shipped loads of weapons and ammunition to rebels in Syria in an attempt to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon led these efforts to arm the Syrian rebels with a direct support from US allies in the Middle East, first and foremost Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

US efforts didn’t only fail to topple the Damascus government, but also ended up turning Syria into a large black market for advanced weapons. Many of the weapons supplied by the US and its allies found their way to the hands of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. Some of these weapons were found in Iraq and even Lebanon.

Today, weapons like TOW ATGMs, are being used by militants once supported by the US against Washington’s current proxies in Syria and vice versa.

The US plans to arm Syrian rebels inflamed the war, threatened neighboring countries and even ended up turning Washington’s tools against each other. Some not very tolerant social media users would call these great achievements a brilliant example of “clusterfuck.”

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Israel seizes Palestinian foreign minister’s travel permit after visit to International Criminal Court over war crimes probe

RT | March 21, 2021

Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, who was returning to the West Bank from a meeting at the International Criminal Court (ICC), was held up at a border crossing and got his VIP travel permit revoked by Israel.

Senior Palestinian official, Ahmed al-Deek, said that agents of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service have questioned al-Maliki for around 30 minutes at the Allenby crossing from Jordan into the West Bank on Sunday. Members of the FM’s entourage were questioned for around an hour, he added.

Al-Maliki’s special travel permit has been revoked and he left the border crossing without it. The VIP pass allows top Palestinian officials to move freely through the Israeli-operated checkpoints. It was unclear if the FM will be getting the papers back, al-Deek added.

An Israeli official has confirmed the development to the Times of Israel, but declined to name the reason for the cancellation of the minister’s pass. However, al-Deek insisted that the move by the Israeli authorities was retaliation for Maliki’s visit to the ICC in The Hague earlier this week.

“Israel is unable to solve cases through the law, but instead resorts to a policy of intimidation, sanctions and threats,” he told Palestinian WAFA news agency.

Al-Maliki, who was on European tour, met with ICC lead prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on Thursday. Earlier this month, Bensouda announced a probe into war crimes carried out in the Palestinian Territories since June 13, 2014.

According to al-Maliki’s office, he spoke to the prosecutor about “the importance of expediting investigations into the crimes committed in the territory of the State of Palestine, in a manner that ensures justice for the victims and their families among the Palestinian people.”

On Friday, Israeli and Palestinian administrations both received notifications from the ICC of the opening of a war crimes probe against them.

While welcomed by the Palestinians, the investigation has angered the Israeli authorities, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeling it “the epitome of anti-Semitism and hypocrisy.”

March 21, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Rights group slams exclusion of Israel, Saudi-led coalition from UN’s children-in-conflict blacklist

Press TV – March 19, 2021

A group of child rights experts has strongly criticized the UN secretary-general for excluding eight parties, including the Israeli regime and the Saudi-led coalition, from a global blacklist of parties accountable for harming children during conflicts.

In a report, experts from Watchlist on Children, an international child rights group, said at least eight parties to conflicts were found responsible for killing and maiming more than 100 children in a single year but were excluded from the blacklist.

There were “numerous discrepancies and omissions in listing decisions, as well as unwarranted delisting decisions,” the report said, noting that the UN Security Council’s 2001 resolution establishing the list to protect children from the horrors of war “is being seriously undermined” and could result in “putting children at even greater risk.”

“The secretary-general’s 2015 annual report acknowledges that the number of children killed by Israel in 2014 was the third highest in the world and the number of schools damaged or destroyed was the highest anywhere in the world that year, and yet Israel has not been listed in the report’s annexes,” the report said.

It added that at the time the news media reported that Israel and the United States conducted intense lobbying to prevent the regime’s blacklisting.

The child rights experts also cited annual reports that have repeatedly found Israeli forces responsible for high levels of Palestinian child casualties, including over 1,525 killed and maimed in 2020 alone.

“Yet Israeli forces have yet to be included in the annexed list of violators,” they added.

According to the AP, co-author Yanghee Lee, former chair of the committee that monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, said: “We are calling on the secretary-general to urgently address these problems and commit to hold all countries and groups responsible for violations against children accountable without fear or favor.”

In response to the report, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stands by the report’s conclusions, expressing willingness to engage with relevant partners in how to improve the system.

Benyam Dawit Mezmur, another co-author of the report urged the UN to ensure that the list of perpetrators it issues is “more credible, accurate, complete, and evidence-based, or risk pulling apart this unique tool for the protection of children caught in war.”

The report also said the Saudi-led war coalition against Yemen was delisted in 2020 for killing and maiming children in the Arab country, despite being responsible for a documented 222 child casualties during the reporting period.

“With this delisting, the Saudi-led coalition has been removed from the Secretary-General’s list altogether,” it noted.

Citing the Secretary-general’s reports that said the Saudi-led coalition was delisted due to a “sustained significant decrease” in the number of violations they committed, the rights experts said such argument runs counter to the established delisting criteria.

“This runs counter to the delisting criteria established in 2010 and the Security Council’s stated expectations that listing is based on whether or not grave violations against children took place in violation of international obligations,” they maintained.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Saudi war on Yemen has killed a quarter of a million people, including women and children, since it was launched in March 2015 with the aim of restoring the Riyadh-friendly government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US Reinforces Military Presence in Syria

teleSUR | March 18, 2021

The U.S. forces present in Syria, without the authorization of the country’s legitimate government, intensified their destabilizing actions and sent more reinforcements to their illegal enclaves, in addition to transferring thirty Daesh terrorists to the east of this Arab nation, according to local news agencies.

According to state television, the Kherab Jir area base in the northeastern province of Hasakeh received in the last hours a caravan of 40 trucks loaded with weapons, ammunition, and war and logistic equipment and Sanaa agency.

The caravan is said to have entered Syrian territory through the illegal Al-Walid crossing with northern Iraq, which is often used by U.S. troops for their movements. Similarly, another column of several armored vehicles and trucks moved towards the Ionian gas field’s newly established base in the northeastern Deir Ezzor province.

Meanwhile, Syrian news agencies reported the transfer in two helicopters of about 30 members of the Islamic State (Daesh, in Arabic) to the illegal U.S. base in Tanef, on the border with Iraq and Jordan.

According to the data revealed, the terrorists were being held in one of the prisons of the separatist militia Syrian Democratic Forces, a force close to Washington’s interests, which arms these terrorists and uses them in the service of its destabilizing plans in Syria, the agencies said.

The government of Bashar Al Asad denounced that the recent attacks of Daesh against military and civilians in the desert are planned and facilitated by the U.S. occupation forces, who offer them support with weapons and intelligence information to prolong the war in this Middle East nation.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Israel to displace 1,550 Palestinians to build park in Jerusalem

MEMO | March 18, 2021

More than 100 Palestinian homes face demolition and about 1,550 residents, including more than 800 children, will be made homeless at the hands of Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, Arab48 reported yesterday.

This comes as the Israeli municipality cancelled all agreements with the Palestinian residents of the Silwan neighbourhood.

According to Arab48, the Israeli municipality rejected plans it had requested as an alternative to the demolition of the Palestinian homes, instead it is set to demolish the Palestinian homes and turn the area into The King’s Garden, claiming that it was a garden for Israeli kings thousands of years ago.

The municipality had agreed to provide Palestinians with land in other areas to build new homes, but it suddenly backtracked on this decision.

The legal battle has cost the Palestinian community more than $500,000.

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement that the “massive destruction and displacement operation against the population may amount to ethnic cleansing and a war crime.”

March 18, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Video evidence of ‘massacre’ by UK special forces in Afghanistan mysteriously VANISHES

RT | March 14, 2021

Video allegedly showing a “rogue” SAS unit committing war crimes in Afghanistan has supposedly disappeared, as an investigation into the squad’s alleged “massacres” has been plagued by missing evidence and silence from witnesses.

Saifullah Yar was just 19 when his family were shot dead in an SAS raid on their Afghan village in 2011. When British military investigators flew to Kabul in 2017 to investigate the raid, he told them he was handcuffed and led away from his father, brother and two male cousins. He heard two sustained bursts of gunfire, and when the Brits departed, his relatives were dead, their bodies riddled with bullets.

Video footage of the raid was apparently captured by US air support overhead, but according to a new Sunday Times report, American authorities mysteriously lost the footage, and were unable to provide it to a British court, where Saifullah has brought a judicial review into the fatal raid.

The mysterious disappearance isn’t the first time that key evidence from the raid has gone missing, or been intentionally hidden. The Royal MIlitary Police (RMP) investigators’ 2017 visit to Kabul was one of their last tasks in a three-and-a-half year probe into allegations of war crimes against the SAS unit, during which they found that the British operators doctored mission reports to implicate Afghan special forces in similar killings, dozens of which took place between 2011 and 2013.

The investigators interviewed 42 soldiers who said they were unable to remember the mission. Court documents reported on by the Times stated that a judge termed this a case of “collective amnesia.” The weapons used in the raid on Saifullah’s village were destroyed the same year the RMP opened its investigation.

However, evidence against the SAS troops has piled up. Investigators found that British 5.56mm bullets, rather than the 7.62mm rounds used by the Afghan commandos, were used to kill the victims. Additionally, they examined reports that weapons were planted on the bodies of these victims, in order to justify the killings later.

The reports that followed the 2011 raid on Saifullah’s village stated that his family were killed when they reached for weapons as the SAS searched their property. These reports were met with skepticism by senior commanders, who in a chain of emails seen by the British court, described the raid as “the latest massacre,” and expressed disbelief at the idea of four overpowered prisoners reaching for hidden grenades and rifles during the raid.

“And finally they shot a guy who was hiding in a bush who had a grenade in his hands. You couldn’t MAKE IT UP!,” one senior noncommissioned officer wrote.

The British government closed down the investigation in late 2017 without prosecuting a single case. The same year, another wide-ranging investigation into alleged war crimes, the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), was shut down, also without prosecuting a case.

With the SAS typically exempt from parliamentary oversight, the courts are now Saifullah’s best hope of finding justice. “Our client is seeking a fresh investigation into the deaths of his loved ones and he wants to find out whether their deaths were part of a pattern of unlawful killings of Afghan civilians,” his lawyer, Tessa Gregory, told the Sunday Times.

March 14, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments