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Horror in Helsinki: Trumputin Strikes Again

By Michael Howard | American Herald Tribune | July 18, 2018

Something very extraordinary has just taken place—something unprecedented in American history. A sitting president, one Donald J. Trump, has committed treason against the United States. Don’t take my word for it. This is being documented by our nation’s most important political thinkers. New York Times headline from regular columnist Charles Blow: “Trump, Treasonous Traitor.” Quote from a column by regular New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: “There is overwhelming evidence that our president … is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior.” Tweet from former CIA Director John Brennan: “[Trump’s meeting with Putin] was nothing short of treasonous.”

And for those whose tastes are a bit more lowbrow (not that the brows of the NYT and the CIA are especially high), here’s a front page headline from the venerable New York Daily News : “Open Treason: Trump Backs Enemy Putin Over U.S. Intel.” Not only treason, then, but open treason. The worst kind.

I know it’s trendy nowadays to play fast and loose with the Constitution, but—call me pedantic—it might be instructive to consult the much-cited document on this particular subject. Article III Section 3 states the following: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Note the use of the word “only”—the Founders had very specific ideas in mind about what constituted treason, namely waging war against the U.S. and/or aiding and abetting its enemies. “Enemy” meaning a state with which we are at war, and the U.S. is, despite routinely bombing seven countries (probably the number is higher now; it’s hard to keep track), not officially at war with anyone, least of all Russia. Therefore, charges of treason in the context of Trump’s Helsinki gambit are rather untenable, and more than a little hysterical. But don’t tell that to Charles Blow’s Twitter followers.

There’s no point singling out one of the hundred manic articles about the Trump-Putin summit to pick apart: they’re all exactly the same. In a nutshell: Trump refuses to acknowledge the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia “attacked” our country by hacking into the DNC’s emails; Trump refuses to say anything negative about Vladimir Putin; Trump is helping Moscow to splinter NATO; Trump refuses to condemn Russian aggression; Trump is a Kremlin puppet doing Moscow’s bidding; and so on and so forth.

Needless to say these are all specious arguments. Asked recently about America’s collective panic over Russia’s alleged interference in our presidential election, Noam Chomsky responded: “That has most of the world cracking up in laughter.” It doesn’t take a scholar to understand why. The United States is the world champion when it comes to meddling in the domestic affairs of foreign countries. But we don’t just meddle: we engineer military coups and install mass-murdering dictators or, when that’s not feasible, simply overthrow undesirable governments using unilateral military force. Examples abound. In 1953 the CIA, in tandem with MI6, orchestrated a coup against Iran’s first democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had intolerable plans to nationalize his country’s oil industry. The coup was a success, restoring the despotic shah to his erstwhile throne where he remained until 1979, when he was chased into exile by the Islamic Revolution. The following year, Guatemala’s leftist president Jacobo Arbenz was deposed by another CIA-authored coup, Operation PBSUCCESS, paving the way for a series of ultraviolent dictatorships.

A mere three months into his presidency, and acting in accordance with the imperialist Monroe Doctrine, Jack Kennedy went after Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government in Cuba using CIA-sponsored militants. The Bay of Pigs failed miserably, but Uncle Sam was not to be deterred: “Operation Mongoose” was soon set in motion, and countless attempts on Castro’s life were made, all unsuccessful.

Sensing that CIA black ops might not be sufficient to neuter the movement for independence in Vietnam—and, more importantly, to discourage other countries in the region from adopting similar dangerous ideas—the U.S. government opted for full-scale military invasion, killing over three million people and decimating most of the country.

Skipping ahead a couple decades, the CIA armed, trained and financed the Contras, a terrorist gang in Nicaragua whose duty it was to take down the leftist Sandinista government. This particular affair is notable for the fact that, in 1986, the U.S. government was found by the International Court of Justice to be, inter alia, “in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State” and “in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another State.” It was thus ordered by the court to pay an “interim award” of $370.2 million to the Republic of Nicaragua, with the total sum of reparations to be determined at a later date. The U.S. simply ignored the court’s ruling and continued supporting the terrorists.

Nicaragua to this day isn’t free from U.S. harassment. The country’s current political crisis, characterized by violent neoliberal opposition to President Daniel Ortega’s popular leftist government (Ortega won the 2016 election with over seventy-two percent of the vote), is supported by U.S. policy, with the National Endowment for Democracy—funded by the U.S. Congress—channeling millions of dollars to Ortega’s political opposition over the last five years. The reason for this is simple. As Kevin Zeese and Nils McCune wrote in Counterpunch:

Nicaragua has set [an example] for a successful social and economic model outside the US sphere of domination. Generating over 75% of its energy from renewable sources, Nicaragua was the only country with the moral authority to oppose the Paris Climate Agreement as being too weak…. The FMLN government of El Salvador, while less politically dominant than the Sandinista Front, has taken the example of good governance from Nicaragua, recently prohibiting mining and the privatization of water.

If the oligarchs in Nicaragua manage to pull off a coup, you can bet your bottom dollar Trump and co. will offer their full-throated support, as Obama and co. did following the 2009 military coup in Honduras, now one of the most dangerous and repressive countries in the world, and a leading source of those pesky migrants flooding the southern U.S. border.

Simply put, Washington is incapable of minding its own business. Cambodia, Laos, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran … they all know it all too well. If you step out of line, you get whacked. Iraq, Libya and Syria have been taught the ultimate lesson—they’ve all been pulverized. Iran may yet receive the sledgehammer treatment as well, given that various non-military means of destabilization and subversion have failed to bear fruit, and especially given that the hawkish theocrats governing Israel, along with their mouthpieces in Washington, would like nothing more than to see the mullahs blown to bits.

So yes, it’s easy to see why, in Chomsky’s words, “Russia-gate”—even if we grant that its core allegations are factual—“has most of the world cracking up in laughter.”

Nearly as laughable is the claim, made over and over again, that Trump is a “Russian asset.” Anyone leveling this charge is either a fool or a demagogue. Those amenable to it should put on their thinking caps for a moment. Would a Russian asset impose a series of damaging sanctions on Russian companies and individuals, including those accused of human rights abuses, as Trump has done? Would a Russian asset expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S. in retaliation for a nerve agent attack on a former double agent in Britain that may or may not have been ordered by Moscow, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset twice order the (illegal) use of military force against the Syrian government, Russia’s ally, risking direct military confrontation with Russia, in retaliation for dubious chemical weapons attacks, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset void the Iranian nuclear accord of which Russia is strongly in favor, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset approve the sale of missiles to Ukraine’s stridently anti-Russian government, knowing those weapons will likely be used against pro-Russian counterrevolutionary fighters in the east, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset demand that NATO member states, most if not all of them adversarial toward Russia, increase their defense spending, as Trump did?

Ah, yes, but Trump has never said anything mean about Putin! True enough, but then has he ever criticized el-Sisi, whose security forces massacred over eight-hundred political protestors in the streets of Cairo in 2013? How about Mohammed bin Salman, whose air force daily bombs hospitals, weddings, funerals, mosques and schools in Yemen? Rodrigo Duterte, whose drug war includes widespread summary executions? George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et al, who invaded two countries and instituted torture centers around the world? Trump has never had an unkind word for any of the forgoing thugs. Most strikingly, he’s offered only fulsome praise for “Bibi” Netanyahu, whose crimes are too numerous to record here. If Trump’s an “asset,” he’s plainly Israel’s.

All in all, the media delirium over Trump’s humdrum meeting with Putin pushes us ever further into the political Twilight Zone. Soon a fanatical opposition to all things Russian will serve as a litmus test for Democratic presidential candidates. Just as the GOP uses gays and guns to energize an otherwise disaffected base, so the Democrats will use this new and more dangerous form of McCarthyism. All this is by design: they understand they can’t rely on their actual policies, created for and by our corporate masters, to secure votes. Hence the diversionary tactics, all of which are beginning to merge into a rabid Russophobia—one that, if allowed to inform policy-making at the highest levels of government, may well get us all vaporized. In the words of Allen Ginsberg: America this is quite serious.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

While His Opponents Cry Treason Trump Sues for Peace

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.07.2018

For the second time in as many months President Trump went against the grain of US foreign policy.

I will not mince words. I was hoping for more from the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki; something concrete. Even a small agreement about a quid pro quo in Syria would have been welcome.

But, given the level of histrionics on display in the US media and on the left I guess I should have tempered my expectations. Cries of Trump being guilty of ‘treason’ and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ are rampant.

And they aren’t going to stop.

Crying treason for opening up diplomatic contact with a foreign leader whom we are not at war with is beyond hyperbole. It is the height of insanity. And I don’t use that term lightly.

Trump’s opponents both from members of the Deep State and media as well as those citizens supporting ‘The Resistance’ are so unhinged they have become indistinguishable from Colonel Jack T. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove.

I swear I saw a tweet from Obama Administration CIA Director John Brennan discussing bodily fluids, but I may have misread it.

They have nurtured their own angst and denial at having lost an election they have erected a bogeyman in Vladimir Putin as the only way in which the disgusting Trump could possibly have won.

And the Deep State of permanent government has cultivated this psychological poison perfectly. Now there are truly millions of otherwise normal people frothing at the mouth about everything Trump does is proof that he is the puppet of Putin, his evil master.

This has placed them firmly in the camp of wanting perpetual, undeclared war with everyone Trump wants peace with.

All because they don’t have the emotional maturity to accept reality.

And Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to twist the knife, in a moment of near sublime statesmanship during the post-summit press conference declared, “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. I will not make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, the media, or Democrats who want to resist and obstruct.”

That statement won his candidates the mid-term elections and likely won him re-election in 2020. It’s a statement that he can campaign on and give not only his base a boost but convince even more of the political center to reject the insanity of the left and side with him.

After all, he just put something above politics and that something is the very thing that got him elected in the first place, peace.

And that is eternally to his credit.

It is also in stark contrast to his ill-conceived bombing of the Al-Shairat airbase while hosting Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in April of 2017. This was an act of pure political optics, designed to appease his virulent critics.

But, as he learned from that act and many others since then, nothing will appease these people than his removal from the office. The Resistance needs it to vindicate their descent into madness. The Deep State needs it to ensure the gravy train keeps flowing.

There are too many cozy relationships at risk, too many think tank jobs on the block, and too many weapons contracts at stake and too many more taxpayer-funded junkets to attend for Trump and Putin to remake the post-WWII political order.

Putin, for his part, was obviously firm in his dealings with Trump. There were many rumors of offers being made which were rejected. As myself and many others have pointed out, Trump didn’t have much to offer Putin in concrete terms on many of the outstanding issues of the day.

I believe the only thing they can agree on is that Syria is nearly settled in Assad’s favor and all that needs to be done now is convince the Israelis and Iran to behave themselves. In all of the furor over Trump’s meeting with Putin this tweet from uber-hawk and MIC-mouthpiece, Senator Lindsay Graham is the most telling.

“It is beyond absurd to believe that Russia will ‘police Iran’ or drive them out of Syria. Iran is Assad’s biggest ally – even more so than Russia. Russia policing Iran makes about as much sense as trusting Russia to police the removal/destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.” — Lindsay Graham, July 16th

No one that I know of other than myself and a very small handful of equally obscure political commentators have broached the subject of Russia policing Syria after the US picks up and leaves as any Grand Bargain for Middle East Peace.

Remember, Graham was just in Syria trying to drum up further support for Kurdish independence in a clear attempt to undermine what he just told everyone Trump’s plan was.

So, to me, this signals strongly that peace in Syria is what Trump and Putin discussed at length in their meeting and why the Deep State has so thoroughly gone off the deep end. Graham just told everyone what the plan is, folks.

And the plan is peace in the Middle East.

Trump and Putin both referenced working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to craft a post-Civil War plan of action in Syria. Putin mentioned restoring Syria to the 1974 border of the Golan Heights while Trump made it clear he no longer wants our people there.

Moreover, Trump sent an envoy from the US to sit down and talk peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan, putting paid Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion that the US is ready to talk. Lindsay must be shaking in his thigh-highs over the prospect of this as well.

Remember, the US only negotiates when it knows it is losing. Empires dictate terms, they don’t sue for peace.

And that is exactly what Trump is beginning to do with Russia on a number of fronts across Central Asia. And for this he is being vilified by his opponents for being a traitor. A traitor to what?

Chaos.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Is Israel’s “Useful Idiot”

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald tribune | July 16, 2018

The claim made by many neoconservatives that Israel and the United States are partners in the Middle East because their strategic interests are identical is belied by the fact that the Israelis are more than willing to ignore Washington when its suits them to do so. The claim of identical interests has always been false, promoted by the Zionist media and an intensively lobbied Congress to make the lopsided relationship with an essentially racist and apartheid regime more palatable to the American public, but, in wake of the slaughter in Gaza and pending legislation in the Knesset empowering Israeli communities to ban non-Jewish residents, it completely lacks any credibility.

It would probably surprise most American friends of Israel to learn that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Moscow three times so far this year, particularly as Russia has been getting vilified in the U.S. mainstream media on an almost daily basis. There is a reason for the Russophobia beyond what Moscow might or might not have done in the 2016 election. Russia has become a particular target of hostility for the burgeoning number of neoconservative foundations, also closely linked to Israel, whose funding from defense contractors depends on having a powerful enemy. The ability of Israel and its supporters to play both sides regardless of what the accepted perception of what American interests might be should therefore be an issue of some concern.

The United States military is deeply engaged in Syria, in part due to Israeli pressure, seeking to depose the existing government of President Bashar al-Assad and replace it with a Syria composed primarily of fragmented local jurisdictions representing tribal and religious groups rather than a unified state. Israel believes that a shattered Syria would not pose any threat to its continued possession of the occupied Golan Heights and might even offer an opportunity to expand that occupation.

In response to Israeli interests, the U.S. has sought regime change in Syria and has toyed with the creation of mini states within the country controlled by the Kurds and the so-called moderate rebels. It would mean the end of Syria as a nation, which has been an Israeli objective since 1967. Israel has been contributing to the turmoil by attacking targets inside Syria. The targets are generally described as either “Iranian” or “Hezbollah,” but they have also included Syrian Army installations. One such attack took place last week after a drone allegedly entered Israeli territory.

Israel has also collaborated with rebel groups inside Syria, to include al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS, which puts Washington in an awkward position as it claims to be in Syria primarily to defeat ISIS and other terrorists. In one bizarre episode, ISIS actually apologized to Israel for inadvertently attacking Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. There have also been reports of Israeli hospitals treating wounded terrorists.

The Israeli willingness to play all sides in the Syrian conflict recognizes that Russia rather than the United States has assumed the pivotal role in determining what the ultimate political outcome of the fighting is likely to be. Apart from weakening and fragmenting Syria itself, Israel’s clearly stated objective has been to reduce or, even better, eliminate Iranian presence in the country, which Netanyahu describes hyperbolically as “… very important for the national security of the state of Israel.”

Benjamin Netanyahu’s visits to Russia can be seen as efforts to get Moscow’s backing to push back against Iran, admittedly a Sisyphean task as both Russia and Iran are in Syria by invitation of the legitimate government and both have been critical to the success of Damascus’s successful counter-offensive. There are, however, differences in perception, as Moscow’s role has been limited and largely high-tech while Iran has supplied as many as 80,000 of the foot soldiers in the conflict. Russia would prefer that Syria not become an Iranian satrapy after the fighting is over.

With both Iran and Israel courting Russian favor, President Vladimir Putin hosted last week back-to-back visits by Netanyahu and Iranian senior foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati. Netanyahu was open about his desire to explain to Putin why a significant Iranian presence in Syria post-war would be undesirable and even dangerous. He pushed for restoration of a United Nations monitored demilitarized zone along the Golan Heights and also for complete withdrawal of Iranian forces from the country. In return, the Russians suggested that they would support an Iranian military presence “tens of kilometers” away from the Israeli border, but Putin also made clear that Syria would be reunited under its government in Damascus and that the Iranians should have a role in the country’s reconstruction and defense. Netanyahu did not get what he wanted but the conversation with a basically friendly Russia will continue. Expect more visits.

The Iranians, for their part, were dealing with the broader issue of impending United States sanctions on the Iranian oil industry. They obtained a commitment from Putin to continue investment in Iranian oil development and also to continue cooperation to stabilize Syria and drive out the last of the so-called rebels. As Russia is an energy exporter, the issue of buying Iranian oil was irrelevant, but Velayati was reportedly on his way to China to press for a commitment from Beijing to continue purchases of oil in spite of the threat of sanctions from Washington after November 4th.

Whatever one believes about the Syrian conflict and Washington’s role in it, the adherence to Israeli points of view in framing policy has made the United States largely irrelevant and has handed control of the situation to enemy du jour Russia. The Israelis have found the new administration in Washington to be what Lenin once described as a “useful idiot,” prepared to support whatever Netanyahu proposes while at the same time so clueless that the Israeli government can freely and openly simultaneously cut deals with Moscow that undermine the U.S. continued presence in the country.

Donald Trump’s recent comment that the United States might move to get out of Syria completely by the end of the year suggests that he might actually be figuring things out and is no longer willing to be the Israeli patsy in developments in that country. It just might also be that the White House has finally realized that continued engagement in Syria is a lose-lose no matter how it turns out.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Saudi Arabia arrests Islamic scholar over criticism of Bin Salman’s ties with Israel

MEMO | July 13, 2018

According to unofficial Saudi sources, the authorities have arrested the Islamic scholar, affiliated to Sahwa Movement (Awakening movement), Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, along with a number of his sons because of his position towards the ruling family’s policies in the country.

A Twitter account named “Moatqali Al-Ray” (Prisoners of Conscience) published a tweet in which it said that the arrest of Sheikh Al-Hawali, 68, came a few days after he published his book Muslims and the Western Civilisation in which he attacked the ruling family in Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed.

Prisoners of Conscience Twitter account said that the security forces raided Al-Hawali’s house. They covered his eyes and tied him and his son Ibrahim up. They also frightened children in the house and confiscated mobile phones and electronic devices.

Sheikh Al-Hawali’s newly published book is a 3000-page publication in which he wrote that the ruling family “has been wasting funds on fake projects.”

Sheikh Al-Hawali attacked the crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman and his ties with Israel, calling it a “betrayal”. He called to move away from what he described as “bin Zayed’s approach in the UAE.”

According to Arab media outlets, Sheikh Al-Hawali holds a doctoral degree in religions and beliefs. He is considered the most important scholar of Sahwa Movement in the 1980s and 1990s, which is the largest religious movement in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hawali is also one of the strongest opponents of the US and Israeli presence in the region. The Saudi authorities imprisoned him in the mid-1990s along with a large number of advocates of Sahwa Movement because of their opposing position against US forces entering to Saudi Arabia.

Since September last year, the Saudi authorities have launched an anti-Sahwa-Movement arrests campaign that included Islamic scholars Salman Al-Ouda, Ayed Al-Qarni and others.

July 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

Neocons Panic As Trump-Putin Meeting Could Mark Close Of Syrian Proxy War

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | July 13, 2018

When multiple op-ed pieces appear in the pages of the New York TimesWashington Post, and the CFR-owned Foreign Affairs authored by neocons simultaneously pleading with Trump Don’t Get Out of Syria(!) all within the same week, this is typically an indicator that the president is about to do something good.

Trump is set to meet with Putin one-on-one this coming Monday in Helsinki after a contentious NATO summit and a sufficiently awkward visit with Theresa May, and mainstream pundits’ heads are exploding.

The Post’s Josh Rogin warns, Trump and Putin may be about to make a terrible deal on Syria, and Susan Rice suddenly emerges from obscurity and irrelevance to say in the Times that Trump Must Not Capitulate to Putin while urging the administration not to “prematurely withdraw United States forces [from Syria], thus ceding total victory to Russia, Mr. Assad and Iran.” From North Korea to Afghanistan to Syria to Ukraine, Rice advises the typical regime change script of “harsh additional sanctions” anywhere the dictates of Washington are not strictly adhered to.

Similarly, Eli Lake links together the main regime change wars begun under Obama while lamenting their potential winding down as a result of Putin and Trump meeting as indicative of living in “some alternate universe.” “The price of Russian cooperation in Syria cannot be U.S. capitulation on Crimea,” Lake writes, and further calls such a possibility “the most dangerous possible outcome.”

The Kagan-led neocon think tank ISW, meanwhile, is outraged(!) the administration appears to lack “the will to use” America’s military might to counter Assad, Iran, and Russia, saying “the United States should invest now in building leverage for future decisive action.”

And then there’s Senator Lindsey Graham’s meltdown on Twitter this week in reaction to both the Syrian Army victoriously raising the national flag over Daraa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling President Vladimir Putin during a summit that Israel has no problem with Assad staying, so long as Israel can preserve “freedom of action” if attacked.

In a significant change of posture toward Damascus, Netanyahu told reporters in Moscow, “We haven’t had a problem with the Assad regime, for 40 years not a single bullet was fired on the Golan Heights.”

This was enough to send Graham’s head spinning: “Radical Sunni groups will say – correctly – that Assad is a proxy of Iran and the Ayatollah. It means the Syrian war never ends and ISIS comes back,” he said in a strange twist of logic that gives credence to the arguments of terror groups.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper featured Sen. Graham’s reaction:

‘Without Assad’s blessing, the flags of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would not be on Israel’s front door,’ Graham tweets in response to Netanyahu claiming Israel has no problem with Assad.

As Trump readies for Putin summit, saying “He’s not my enemy,” interventionistas are raging:

In the past months there’s been widespread reporting on a “secret” deal brokered between Russia, Israel, and Syria, which reportedly involves the Syrian Army agreeing to keep Iranian forces away from the ongoing successful campaign along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, especially the contested Golan Heights.

Netanyahu now says, fresh off his Moscow visit, that Putin agreed to restrain Iran in Syria, but that ultimately Assad will take back all of Syria.

The New York Times reports this hugely significant acknowledgement and surprising change of tune from the Israeli PM:

Israel, he said, did not object to President Bashar al-Assad’s regaining control over all of Syria, a vital Russian objective, and Russia had pushed Iranian and allied Shiite forces “tens of kilometers” away from the Israeli border.

The NYT continues:

But a commitment to keep Iranian forces tens of kilometers from Israel was a far cry from ejecting them completely from Syria, which Mr. Netanyahu has been lobbying Mr. Putin to do. And even that commitment was not confirmed by Russian officials.

… So a willingness to accept Mr. Assad’s resumption of control over all of Syria is no small concession, said Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“Nobody can these days destabilize the Assad regime,” he said. “The only one who can do it is Israel. And the Russians know that very well. So to get a commitment from Israel not to destabilize Syria is something that Russia will value very much.”

The neocon pundits’ last hope for military intervention in Syria has remained Netanyahu, and to see him fold must feel like a swift unexpected punch in the stomach, but more crucially the Syrian diplomatic cards have fallen in place just days before Monday’s Trump-Putin meeting.

President Assad has long vowed to liberate “every inch” of sovereign Syrian territory, something which but two years ago appeared impossible, yet which now looks increasingly inevitable. Should the Trump-Putin summit result in a green light that ensures Moscow and Damascus remain in the driver’s seat and set the terms for Syria’s stabilization, we could be witnessing the final diplomatic chapter in this dark seven-year long proxy war.

However, Trump continues to be urged from various corners of the beltway foreign policy establishment to salvage and preserve what he can of the open-ended US troop presence in eastern Syria: the US must “preserve its interests in the conflict, namely… constraining Iranian influence in the country” as one Foreign Policy essay argues.

For months now, Trump has talked of US military withdrawal from the country — which the Pentagon in public statements has put at over some 2,000 troops — a proposal which hawks within his administration have pushed back against every time.

And then there’s the clearly observable pattern that seems to repeat whenever the administration announces it is poised to pull out of Syria. Indeed it seems to occur every time the Syrian Army is on a trajectory of overwhelming victory: an ill-timed and strategically nonsensical mass chemical attack on civilians supposedly ordered by Assad — inevitably giving the West an open door for military intervention, new rounds of crippling sanctions, and yet more international media condemnation heaped on Damascus.

Precisely this scenario occurred just days after President Trump declared in the last week of March of this year that he wanted a complete US military pullout from Syria. What then immediately followed was the April 7 “chemical attack” provocation in Douma  just the thing that brought Trump’s planned pullout to a grinding halt, instead resulting tomahawk missiles unleashed on Damascus.

Should Trump and Putin ultimately come to a lasting settlement on the Syria issue which results in US troop withdrawal from Syria, will the international proxy war come to a close?

Or will we witness yet another last minute “mass casualty event” or other other provocation that pulls the US, Israel, and Russia into yet deeper direct military confrontation?

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dr. Mohammad Marandi: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE Have Been Cooperating Closely for Many Decades Now

American Herald Tribune | July 13, 2018

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is the immediate impact on the Iranian people of the Trump administration’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal?

Dr. Mohammad Marandi: Obviously, it is going to have a short term negative impact. People are concerned about the effect it will have on the economy and Iranian currency has dropped significantly. However, I believe that in the midterm the economy will stabilize, and as Iran reorientates its economy, trading partners and strategic partnerships things will stabilize. In the long term, I think Iran will probably even benefit because the US will no longer have any leverage that it can use against the country and its people.

Are not the economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration intended to provoke disturbances within the Iranian population in order to change the power in Iran?

Without a doubt. Actually, just recently in a speech in France to the MEK terrorist organization, a cult group which has killed 17 thousand Iranians through assassinations and bomb attacks and has also fought for Saddam Hussein, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer and close friend, admitted that the disturbances in Iran are not spontaneous and that they are carried out by their people. That does not mean there are no ordinary people who protest here and there, but the foreign role is obvious and we can see it through the western, Israeli, and Saudi, funded Persian media outlets like BBC Persian and VOA among others that attempt to create tensions and fear among Iranians.

Do you think there is a special program to assassinate Iranian scientists as was the case with Iraqi scientists where some sources have spoken of the existence of a special CIA unit responsible for assassinating scientists?

I have no idea about that, but we do know that Mohammad bin Salman has said in public that he wants to take the war into Iran and after that we saw the terrorist attacks on Tehran and an increased number of attacks alongside the Pakistani-Iranian border as well as the border between Iran and Iraq Kurdistan.

What is the exact role of the Zionist entity of Israel and its services in the assassination of Iranian scientists?

Israeli intelligence and the MEK terrorist organization worked together in this regard. In addition, Western intelligence agencies have in the past passed on IAEA information on Iranian scientists to the Israelis thus helping them carry out a number of murders.

What do you think of the alliance between the Saudis and the Israelis? In your opinion, is it tactical or strategic?

The alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE among others is not new at all. They have been cooperating closely for many decades now, but these Arab regimes have always been afraid to make this alliance public. However, Trump is putting a lot of pressure on these regimes to come out of the closet, especially because he wants to impose his so called deal of the century on the Palestinian people in order to destroy the Palestinian nation.

In your opinion, can Europe play a role in maintaining the nuclear agreement?

It’s possible. However, I am skeptical about the EU’s intentions and I am even more skeptical about their ability to grow a backbone in face of persistent American violations of their sovereignty and threats against their businesses and citizens.

In your opinion, why is it that Israel that massacres the Palestinian people has never been subjected to sanctions?

I think it is widely known that the Israeli regime is allowed to implement apartheid policies, carry out ethnic cleansing and colonization, the bombing of neighboring countries, the killing of civilians, the arrest children, and the confiscation of land.Western countries will give them blanket support no matter what the regime does.

What is your analysis of the situation in Syria? Can we say that Daesh is defeated definitively or is it moving towards reorganization?

The extremist groups including Daesh that were supported by western intelligence services and regional client regimes have been severely weakened and the Syrian Arab army and government have gained the upper hand. But the war is not over, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups continue to get foreign support and Western countries and media outlets have been trying to give cover to these extremist groups by calling them “moderates” and “rebels”, whereas in reality their ideologies are very similar to ISIS.

What do you think of the position of Morocco that has just cut off its relations with Iran by accusing Hezbollah of having armed the Polisario Front? Don’t you think that this maneuver bears the signature of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans?

I think it is quite clear especially taking into account the timing of the accusations that the Saudis and probably countries like the US and the UAE are behind this. But I do not have any specific information.

Why do you think Westerners are silent, both the media and the political institutions, in the face of the carnage that Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen?

It is because of Saudi oil wealth, and because the destruction of Yemen is in the interest of the Saudi and Israeli regimes. Therefore, Western governments and western media outlets will not do anything meaningful to prevent the massacres or starvation. This is just one example of many. They did the same thing in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen

Who is Dr. Mohammad Marandi?

Born in 1966 in Richmond, Virginia, Mohammad Marandi is the son of Professor Alireza Marandi, a former Iranian Minister of Health and a former member of the Iranian Parliament. Mohammad Marandi lived until he was 13 in the United States before joining Iran. He is a political analyst and expert on American studies and postcolonial literature. Dr. Marandi is a graduate of the University of Tehran and the University of Birmingham where he received a PhD in English Literature. He teaches English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran where he is head of the graduate program in North American Studies.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Globalist Elite Fears Peace, Wants War

By Federico PIERACCINI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.07.2018

The announced meeting between Trump and Putin has already produced a good result by revealing the hypocrisy of the media and politicians. The meeting has been branded as the greatest danger to humanity, according to the Western globalist elite, because of the danger that “peace could break out between Russia and the United States”.

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. The following so stretches credulity that sources will have to be cited and exact quotations given to be believed.

A case in point is the following title: “Fears growing over the prospect of Trump ‘peace deal’ with Putin.” The Times does not here fear a military escalation in Ukraine, an armed clash in Syria, a false-flag poisoning in England, or a new Cold War. The Times does not fear a nuclear apocalypse, the end of humanity, the suffering of hundreds of millions of people. No, one of the most authoritative and respected broadsheets in the world is fearful of the prospect of peace! The Times is afraid that the heads of two nuclear-armed superpowers are able to talk to each other. The Times fears that Putin and Trump will be able to come to some kind of agreement that can help avert the danger of a global catastrophe. These are the times in which we live. And this is the type of media we deal with. The problem with The Times is that it forms public opinion in the worst possible way, confusing, deceiving, and disorienting its readers. It is not by accident the world in which we live is increasingly divorced from logic and rationality.

Even if the outcome of this meeting does not see any substantial progress, the most important thing to be achieved will be the dialogue between the two leaders and the opening of negotiation channels for both sides.

In The Times article, it is assumed that Trump and Putin want to reach an agreement regarding Europe. The insinuation is that Putin is manipulating Trump in order to destabilize Europe. For years now we have been inundated with such fabrications by the media on behalf of their editors and shareholders, all part of the deep state conglomerate. Facts have in fact proven that Putin has always desired a strong and united Europe, looking to integrate Europe into the Eurasian dream. Putin and Xi Jinping would like to see a European Union more resistant to American pressure and able to gain greater independence. The combination of mass migration and sanctions against Russia and Iran, which end up hurting Europeans, opens the way for alternative parties that are not necessarily willing to [obey] Washington’s marching orders.

Trump’s focus for the meeting will be to convince Putin to put even more pressure on Europe and Iran, perhaps in exchange for the recognition of Crimea and the ending of sanctions. For Putin and for Russia it is a strategic issue. While sanctions are bad, the top priority for Moscow remains the alliance with Iran, the need to further strengthen relations with European countries, and to defeat terrorism in Syria. Perhaps only a revision of the ABM treaty and the withdrawal of these weapons from Europe would be an interesting offer for Putin. However, reality shows us that the ABM treaty is a pillar of Washington’s military-industrial complex, and that it is also Eastern European countries that want such offensive and defensive systems in their own countries, seeing them as a deterrents against Russia. Are they victims of their own propaganda, or are billions of dollars pouring into their pockets? Either way, it does not really matter. The most important point for Moscow will be the withdrawal of the Aegis Ashore ABM systems as well as military ships with the same Aegis system. But this is not something that Trump will be able to negotiate with his military leaders. For the military-industrial complex, the ABM system, thanks to maintenance, innovation and direct or indirect commissions, is a gravy train that too many interests intend to keep riding.

From the Kremlin’s point of view, the removal of sanctions remains necessary for the restoration of normal relations with the West. But this would be difficult to achieve, given that Moscow would have little to offer Washington in exchange. The strategists at the Pentagon demand a withdrawal from Syria, an end to support for Donbass, and a cessation of relations with Iran. There is simply too much divergence to reach a common position. Moreover, Europe’s sanctions against Russia benefit Washington, as they hurt the Europeans and thereby undermine what is a major trading competitor to the US. The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be looked at in the same light, blocking US allies from doing business with Iran.

Putin will keep faith with his commitments to Syria and with his allies, unwilling to betray his word even for the recognition of Crimea. On the other hand, as already mentioned, the priority remains the removal of the ABM; and while Crimea is already under the control of the Russian Federation, Syria remains an unstable territory that risks propelling Islamist terrorism to Russia’s soft underbelly in the Caucasus. For Moscow, involvement in Syria has always been a matter of national security, and this certainly remains the same now, even with Donald Trump’s unrealistic offers.

It should be kept in mind that Putin is aiming for a medium- to long-term strategy in the Middle East, where Iran, Syria and the entire Shiite arc serves to counter Saudi and Israeli aggression and hegemony. This strange alliance has emerged as the only way to deter war and dial down the heat in the region, because the crazy actions from Netanyahu or Mohammad bin Salman are deterred by a strong Iranian military. Preventing a confrontation between Iran and Saudis/Israelis also means not making Tehran appear weak or isolated. Such considerations seem beyond the strategists in Washington, let alone in Tel Aviv or Riyadh.

While it is difficult to achieve a positive outcome from the meeting between Trump and Putin, it is important that there is a meeting in the first place, contrary to what The Times thinks. The media and the conglomerate of power that revolves around the US deep state fear diplomacy in particular. The same narrative that was proclaimed weeks before and after the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un is being repeated with regard to Trump’s meeting with Putin.

Washington bases its power on force, both economic and military. But this power also rests on the posture assumed and image projected. The United States and its deep state considers negotiating with opponents to be wrong and counterproductive. They consider dialogue to be synonymous with weakness, and any concession is interpreted as surrender. This result of 70 years of American exceptionalism and 30 years of Unipolarity, has allowed the US the ability to decide unilaterally the fate of others.

Today, in a multipolar world, the dynamics are different and therefore more complex. You cannot always employ a zero-sum mentality, as The Times does. The rest of the world recognizes that a dialogue between Putin and Trump is something positive, but we must not forget that, as in Korea, if diplomacy does not bring significant progress, then the hawks surrounding Trump will again be in the ascendant. The tasks for Rouhani, Putin and Kim Jong-un are complex and quite different from each other, but they share in common the belief that dialogue is the only way to avoid a catastrophic war. But apparently, peace is not the best possible result for everyone.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan intelligence chiefs discuss Daesh threat in Afghanistan’

Press TV – July 11, 2018

Moscow says the heads of intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan have sat down in Islamabad for talks on the rising threat of Daesh in Afghanistan after the Takfiri terrorist group lost its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Sergei Ivanov, the chief of the press bureau of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, told the TASS news agency on Tuesday that the officials had stressed the need for “coordinated” measures against the Daesh relocation to Afghanistan.

The quadripartite discussions in Islamabad “focused on the dangers arising from a buildup of Daesh on the Afghan territory,” he said.

“The conference reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to prevent the trickling of IS (Daesh) terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan where from they would pose risks for neighboring countries,” he added.

Ivanov also noted that the intelligence chiefs, among them Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, had underlined the need for more active regional cooperation to settle the conflict in Afghanistan.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror. Some 17 years on, the Taliban militant group has only boosted its campaign of violence across the country, targeting both civilians and security forces in bloody assaults.

More recently, Daesh has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.

The Takfiri group has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn state despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops on Afghan soil.

Recently, there have been reports suggesting that the US military is allowing Daesh elements to infiltrate into Afghanistan following their defeats in Syria and Iraq.

In February, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that by transferring Daesh to Afghanistan, Washington was seeking “to justify the continuation of its presence in the region and to create security for the Zionist regime.”

Daesh started a campaign of terror in Iraq and Syria in 2014, occupying territory in the two Arab countries and establishing a self-proclaimed “caliphate” there.

Soon, the Iraqi and Syrian armies galvanized to retake Daesh-held territory and the terror outfit was gradually stripped of all the land it had occupied in the two Middle Eastern states.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

A Neoconservative Plan for Punishing Iran

No understanding in the White House of what might come next

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 10, 2018

President Donald Trump makes a point of insisting that he has nothing against the Iranian people and is only interested in opposing what he regards as the dangerous activities of their government, but his own record in office belies that claim. It is clear that what he is trying to do is put pressure on the people of Iran to rise up and force a change in government, a process otherwise referred to as regime change. Indeed, if one is to believe Trump confidant Rudy Giuliani, the White House is now committed to “bring down the Iranian regime.” He added that “The collapse of the Islamic Republic of Iran is around the corner.”

Giuliani was addressing a Paris meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran at the end of June, the political front group for the terrorist Mujahideen-e-Khalq, for which he has been a frequent paid speaker. This dream of an abrupt transition in government is a fantasy project that is widely held within neoconservative and pro-Israel circles in Washington, to include Giuliani, and it very often is invoked as part of what is sometimes referred to as the “Obama betrayal,” which posits that if President Barack Obama had actively supported so-called “green” reformers in the Iranian election of 2013, they might have actually won. That supposition greatly inflates the actual support for the reformers at that time and also currently, confusing a largely civil rights movement with a unified political party.

Obama then went on to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran, which has been a target of joint Israeli and neocon wrath ever since. Trump, of course, has risen to the bait and has withdrawn the United States from the deal, also reintroducing both general and targeted sanctions as well as seeking to ban the sale of Iranian oil worldwide.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, Trump and his advisers, certainly to include National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senior Adviser for Policy Stephen Miller, are engaging in the wrong tactics to bring about any what might reasonably be regarded positive changes to moderate the grip of Iran’s Supreme Religious Council and are instead hardening domestic popular support for the government through the threats and sanctions which ultimately accomplish little more than punishing the Iranian people.

Oddly, the White House seems unaware of the fact that Iran is neither Libya nor Iraq. It has a strong and historic national identity that means that it does and will resist being bullied by outside powers, including the “leader of the free world” United States. The neocon and pro-Israel script that has evidently taken control of Trump pushes all the wrong buttons as it basically employs an increasing number and severity of sanctions to seek to wreck the economy and create discord in Iran that will eventually bring people out into the streets in large numbers. That means in practice using not only sanctions that selectively targeting “bad guys” like the Revolutionary Guards but also benign institutions that exist to maintain social stability inside the country.

Reports from inside Iran suggest that the renewed and additional sanctions are already hurting the Iranian people while at the same time having little impact on the government commitment to remain in Syria, which is the principal bone of contention at the moment vis-à-vis the joint U.S./Israeli/Saudi grossly exaggerated and self-serving assessment of what Iran may or may not be doing to destabilize the Middle East.

Two organizations which have recently come under sustained attack by the neocons and their allies are the “Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order” (EIKO) and its associated Barakat Foundation. The EIKO’s principal mission is to help poor families in Iran and to perform other charitable works, but it has been assailed as a major economic resource controlled by the Supreme Religious Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s office, which misrepresents how the foundation is organized and functions.

Leading the charge against EIKO, inevitably, has been renowned neocon Canadian import and Iranophobe Mark Dubowitz, Chief Executive of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), who has described how the Iranian leadership controls a vast business empire which must be targeted with U.S. sanctions to punish the government and strip it of the resources available to make mischief.

This campaign, spearheaded by Dubowitz and his associate Saeed Ghasseminejad, has been going on since Trump was elected, with the folks at FDD confident they had a friend in the White House.

Other outlets in the pro-neocon-inclined and friendly to Israel media have also picked up on the theme that Iran must be the target of what amounts to economic warfare. The National Interest recently ran an article advocating the imposition of oil sanctions on Iran in general while also targeting EIKO in particular in order to “change Iran’s behavior,” which is presumed by the authors to be very bad though without any real explanation of why that is so.

And the U.S. Congress is also in on the act. As is nearly always the case, the U.S. House of Representative’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s subcommittee on National Security sought expert testimony on how to punish Iran but only looked for speakers who were inclined to take a hard line. They received that kind of enlightenment from the FDD’s own Richard Goldberg, who is hardly a disinterested observer on the subject.

Goldberg begins by making his case for bipartisan ire directed against Tehran, gushing about how “[he] had the privilege to work with many talented people – Democrats and Republicans – who shared a passion for keeping America and our allies safe from the long list of threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Together, we put forward numerous bipartisan bills to increase the pressure on Iran. … It is my sincere hope that we can find a way to resuscitate the bipartisan spirit that once infused this important national security issue.”

Goldberg, who is a bit vague on exactly what kind of “long list of threats” Iran represents, was senior foreign policy adviser to Israel-firster hawk former Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. He celebrates in his FDD bio how “[he] was instrumental in the deployment of a U.S. missile defense radar to the Negev Desert – the first-ever full-time deployment of U.S. forces in Israel. In the Senate, Rich emerged as a leading architect of the toughest sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was the lead Republican negotiator for three rounds of sanctions targeting the Central Bank of Iran, the SWIFT financial messaging service and entire sectors of the Iranian economy.”

There has been some pushback against the war-by-sanctions approach currently being advanced by the Trump Administration. Robert Fontina of Counterpunch has rejected the depiction of EIKO as anything but a charitable foundation. The truth is that EIKO engages in major social projects, including rural poverty alleviation, empowering women, home and school building, and provision of healthcare. American sanctions against it and similar entities hit ordinary Iranians’ lives by producing food insecurity while also restricting the supplies of needed medications. Ahmad Noroozi of the Barakat Foundation claims that numerous Iranians have already been affected by U.S.-initiated sanctions directed against his country, restricting access to cancer treatments and other pharmaceuticals. And it is all aimed at fomenting social unrest and ultimately regime change.

Iranian writer Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, no friend of the Iranian government, has declared that American sanctions directed against the Iranian economy and people are little more than “sanctioned terrorism.” Her assessment is undeniably correct.

It is indeed disturbing that the abandonment of the rule of law by the Trump Administration and its allies in the media has meant that Washington is resorting more and more to sanctions as an extreme form of punishment in order to enforce its geopolitical demands. Countries that oppose Washington’s policies are now routinely subjected to financial and trade penalties. Cuba, North Korea, and Iran have recently been joined by Russia and Syria as targets of the U.S. Treasury Department. Even America’s European allies and friends are being threatened if they seek to buy Iranian oil or cooperate with Russian energy initiatives.

The sad fact is that the pretense of U.S. global leadership now consists of a basket of new “rules” that are both arbitrary and basically illegal supported by pretexts that are essentially fabricated. Consider the frequent fallacious designation of Iran as “the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism” and the repeated false assertions from U.S. and Israeli government sources that Tehran is secretly building a nuclear bomb. Trump has become effectively the mouthpiece of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, with the latter calling the shots. Shortly after Trump had announced American withdrawal from JCPOA, Israel mounted a series of deadly air strikes against Syria, specifically targeting Iranian military personnel present by invitation in the country to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups. It was an incident that could have rapidly escalated into a broader war, which was clearly the Israeli intention.

There are deadly consequences to following the Israeli and Saudi lead into a possible major war with Iran. If sanctions produce desperation inside Iran, an apparent breakdown in order could easily invite a hypocritical U.S. and Israeli “humanitarian” intervention, possibly escalating into an international conflict, something that the White House appears to not understand. As is often the case, the Trump Administration has not developed sufficient maturity to appreciate that if one pushes hard against a certain country or group of countries there will be an equally strong reaction, and the results might not be pretty. Punishing the Iranian people without any real understanding of what might emerge in pursuit of nebulous political objectives just might not be a good idea.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

US targets Iran’s tourism; airlines halt service

Press TV – July 10, 2018

The US government says it has sanctioned a Malaysia-based tourism agent for Iranian private airline Mahan Air which is already under American sanctions.

The blockade comes as the US prepares to unleash “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw Washington from a landmark nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd that are or come within US jurisdiction are blocked,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Monday.

The first group of unilateral US sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, gold trade, and other industries will “snap back” on August 4. Further sanctions on oil and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.

Trump has given companies 180 days to wind down their businesses in Iran or have their trade severed with the US.

Dutch airline KLM said on Saturday it had decided to suspend its direct flights to Tehran “for commercial reasons.”

“As a result of the negative results and financial outlook for the Tehran operation, the last flight will take off from Amsterdam on 22 September 2018 and land at Schiphol on 23 September,” it said in a short statement on its website.

KLM resumed flights to Tehran in 2016 when the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world countries came into effect. The Dutch airline had ceased its Iran operations in 2013 after the West intensified sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Austrian Airlines also announced on Friday that it will stop service to the Iranian cities of Isfahan and Shiraz, starting in September, but will continue its flights to Tehran.

“The underlying reason for these changes in the route network is a realignment of the airline’s portfolio,” a statement said on the official website of Austrian Airlines which is owned by the German airline company Lufthansa.

Austrian Airlines announced its expansion of flights to Shiraz and Isfahan in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The exodus of European companies is a blow to their governments’ efforts to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement.

Europe has pledged to put together an economic package for Iran so that the country benefits from staying in the deal but France said on Friday the offer was unlikely to come by before November.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said the Europeans would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new US sanctions.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Hassan Nasrallah: Resistance victorious in Gaza, Syria & Iraq, Hezbollah Ready to fight Saudi-US Coalition in Yemen

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on June 29, 2018

[…] Regarding the situation in the Middle East, I also have some issues to address, in a quick and synthetical way as well.

The first point is the Palestinian issue. It is clear that the developments, as we say in the Lebanese political language, the advances (meant to prepare the success) of the ‘Deal of the century’ began to be implemented with force. [Jared] Kushner has roamed the region for a long time, as well as Trump’s special envoy (in order) to (prepare) the peace initiative, what is known as the peace initiative. It is clear that serious US and Israeli efforts to ensure the success of the ‘Deal of the century’ are actively deployed. It is no longer empty words, mere expectations of journalists or such. We may be very close to the official US announcement on this agreement and on this really infamous step.

This is why at the stage where we are, all political leaders and all people who care about the Palestinian cause must of course follow these movements and developments to see what can be done (to neutralize them), and this, according to me, on several fronts.

Today, it is through this prism that we must consider what is happening in Palestine, as well as what is happening in the region, what has happened and is happening in Jordan, and also, as regards Lebanon, the disputes about the border, discussions on the Shebaa Farms (occupied Lebanese territory), on land and sea borders (with Israel): sometimes, these issues are not related to the ‘Deal of the century’, but sometimes they fit into what is known as the ‘Deal of the century’, and we must then be more careful and precise about it, of course with the strong commitment of all Lebanese to recover all their territories and get all their rights over our territorial waters.

Similarly, what is happening in Syria, when we will discuss it in the next step, we must consider it partly in this context, along with the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the continued pressure on Iran, whether political pressure, psychological warfare, economic pressure, threats of sanctions, the fact that Iran and Iranian oil (are embargoed) worldwide… All this, we must interpret it within one frame, the frame of the major US project in our region today, to which they will give (absolute) priority, ie the ‘Deal of the century’ which means the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

This project should be followed closely and with vigilance, and that’s why everyone concerned must think about what to do, how they will fight, face and resist, and we already talked about it in detail (it is important that no Palestinian sign this agreement).

Also on the Palestinian issue, we must pay tribute, especially now, during these hours (of Friday afternoon), to all the men, women, young and elderly who gather (massively) on Friday afternoon on the border strip which separates Gaza from the remainder of Palestine occupied in 1948. These demonstrations of the March of Return prove the determination and perseverance of the Palestinians, and the continuity of this determination and of this (Resistance) movement. Because during all the past weeks, as should know those who follow these events, Israel has made every possible effort in psychological warfare, security pressure, mobilizing all its military and security capabilities towards the Gaza Strip, up to striking the young throwing kites, in addition to various regional pressures on the Palestinians to get them to despair and make them give up the March of Return. The March of Return represents a great challenge which is one of the few remaining opportunities for the Palestinian people.

And the third point is that we must pay tribute to the courage and boldness of the leadership of the Resistance in Gaza, the leaders of the (different) factions of the Resistance, and to the audacity and courage of the Resistants who demonstrated, during these last days and in recent weeks, that the equation of retaliation against any aggression was well in place.

This Israel who thinks he can bomb and kill (with impunity), and in return, he will not suffer any retaliation whatsoever, the Palestinian Resistance, during the past few days, has passed that stage and demonstrated the reality of this equation. We can truly say that they have demonstrated it, and this is the result of their boldness, their courage and their wise and just planning.

Anyway, whether it be the confirmation of this equation, the support to the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, for the March of Return to continue, or a firm stand alongside the Palestinian people to deal with concrete measures being implemented today for the ‘Deal of the century’, everyone must assume his responsibility for everything that was said during the last weeks and months.

My second point about the regional situation is Syria. I have two points about it.

First point, the developments in southern Syria in recent days and today. I was in contact with the brothers (from Hezbollah) present there just a few moments ago, and (I can confirm that) the data that you hear in the media (on the dazzling success of the Syrian Arab Army) are true, and what is not public yet is even more important.

All data indicate a total collapse of the armed groups, which are completely abandoned by their (popular) base, in case they ever had one, with a strong impetus of the people to return to the State and to the bosom of the State, as has been expressed by a large number of towns and villages. And it may even be that data confirms that it is not only the western part of the Deraa region (whose liberation) must end today or tomorrow, but the entire southern region, whether in Deraa or Quneitra: all armed groups are in a state of collapse and defeat, and there are no prospects for more fighting (from them).

And anyway, the data also indicate that many of these (armed) groups have begun to review their calculations and to head towards the search for agreement and reconciliation. And in this region, only the darkest and the most obscurantist part controlled by ISIS will remain, whose fate (defeat) will in any way be clear and inescapable during the next step.

In a nutshell, in the south of Syria, we are facing a significant development and a great victory against all the armed organizations that were led and protected by the United States, and assisted and supported by Israel, those organizations who received all possible forms of support from some regional countries.

And what is happening in southern Syria, and happened in recent weeks in Manbij with the Kurdish-Turkish-American question, has many major and eloquent evidences of which we will talk (in detail) another time, because I do not have time today. And I believe it is in our interest that the battle in southern Syria comes to an end first before we talk about this evidence and these lessons of which we must all benefit in the light of this great decisive battle that is being waged in Syria for over 7 years.

The second point about Syria is that at the Syrian-Iraqi border, just a few days ago, enemy aircraft struck positions of factions of the Iraqi Resistance that operated there. The faction that was targeted is the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq, which suffered many martyrs and wounded. Of course, this is an important and dangerous event, even if some may think (wrongly) that it is (already) in the past and that there will be no consequences.

First, I would like to extend to the families of those noble and dignified martyrs my congratulations (for the blessings and honor conferred by) this martyrdom and my condolences for the loss of loved and beloved ones, as well as to my brothers, dear and beloved leaders of the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq and all their mujahedeen (fighters). And we also have to extend our congratulations and condolences to all the factions of the Resistance in Iraq to honor their martyrs, because martyrs of each faction are the martyrs of all.

And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their assistance and support in Syria (to fight terrorists). In Iraq, there is no doubt that all these factions, gathered behind the Hachd al-Cha’bi (popular mobilization), have had a real and important role of auxiliary force in defeating ISIS, the obscurantism of ISIS, the darkness and barbarism of ISIS, and the international and regional powers that stand behind ISIS. But ultimately, in Iraq, they were defending themselves, their holy places, their people and their nation. We must remember the jihad (struggle) of these Iraqi brothers, their sacrifices, their martyrs, their wounded, their perseverance, determination and presence in Syria, which continue until today, especially those who are present at the border between Syria and Iraq, to eradicate the last throes of life in this monstrous body shaped by the United States and Israel in the region and called ISIS. And we thank them for the extent of their support, their help and their presence, because as we have said during these 7 years, the battle in Syria is not only the battle of Syria, but it is the battle of Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, the Middle East and the future of this region.

Also, our brothers in the Hezbollah Brigades and in the rest of the factions of the Iraqi Resistance announced that they are investigating to ascertain which part (USA? Israel?…) hit these positions and caused so many martyrs and wounded, and that when the identity of this part shall be established with certainty, the attackers will be punished. This is a wise and natural position, and we pledge our support for any decision that these Resistant factions of Mujahideen (fighters) will make.

Yes, dear and noble brothers, yes, I declare to all peoples of the region: to our brothers in Palestine, in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen, across the whole region. Wherever the Resistance is struck and its blood is shed unjustly in acts of aggression, this aggression must not remain unanswered, without retaliation and without punishment. Because our enemies only understand this logic. This is what experience teaches us.

We can not count on either international law or on any moral principle, whether in Yemen, Palestine and in all that is happening in the region, and even in the United States. The image of immigrant children separated from their fathers and their mothers, their isolation clearly shows the monstrous reality of President Trump and his administration. Then they backed off because of pressure, but it does not change the truth of his being. If people could see the true face — in religious terms, we speak about the appearance of the (Divine) Kingdom (the reality of our soul, to be unveiled in the afterlife) —, the true appearance of Trump, they would see a ferocious beast (instead of a human being). Who can do such things?

Anyway, we are in a region and in a world where if we do not defend our people, if we do not avenge our martyrs, if we do not chastise our enemies, their aggression will never cease. If we remain inactive in front of this aggression, it will happen again and again, and we will suffer more attacks and lose many more martyrs and wounded.

I hope that by the grace of God, our brothers from the Hezbollah Brigades and other factions of the Iraqi Resistance will quickly manage to establish the identity of the aggressors and to take the (retaliation) measures they deem necessary. It is their decision that no one can impose on them.

Hezbollah is ready to fight Saudi-US coalition in Yemen

I will address my final point about the regional situation, (Yemen), through (what was reported by) the media in recent days.

A few days ago, what we used to refer to as the Arab alliance, and is now referred to as the Saudi-Emirati alliance, but for our part we refer to it as the Saudi-American aggression against Yemen, the forces of the Saudi-American aggression against Yemen… These forces announced two news items, broadcasted by (official Saudi) channel Al-Arabiya, some Arab satellite channels, [Western news agencies & mainstream media] and also some Lebanese media have followed suit, considering these news sources as very reliable.

The first is that because of the bombing in a specific region of Saada, Hezbollah would have lost 8 martyrs, including commanders of Hezbollah. At the same time, they announced another piece of information – do consider these two pieces of information (together) – according to which 8 Hezbollah members were captured. That is to say that the liar who disseminates these news items claimed at one point that 8 members of Hezbollah were killed, and at another time said they were taken prisoner. 

Anyway, after a few hours, they backtracked on the announcement of 8 prisoners, to which they preferred the announcement of 8 martyrs, because if there were prisoners, they should show them on television. And with certainty if there were prisoners, now or in the past…

You know that in recent years, in recent months, they have repeatedly claimed that they had captured a Hezbollah or Iran members (in Yemen), etc., good for them. Some time ago, they considered that they had got hold of a gem and made a fuss claiming they captured an Iranian in a region of Yemen. But it was later revealed that it was simply a Pakistani worker who had come to work in Yemen to earn his livelihood, and they got confused, being unable to distinguish Urdu from Persian.

Anyway, the information concerning prisoners died out of itself, and they stopped talking about it, but during 48 hours, they have not stopped talking about the martyrdom of eight Hezbollah members, including several commanders. I want to comment this information (to draw lessons) for both the past and the future, and I will also say a few words about the situation in Yemen.

First, throughout the past period, and until today, for various reasons and interests, we have not disclosed if we had a presence in Yemen or not. We have not addressed this issue. It is true that one day, I clearly said that we did not send fighters to Yemen, because our brothers in Yemen do not need fighters. Is there something else (counselors, military aid…)? We do not confirm it nor deny it, due to a number of interests. That’s the first point.

Second, whether we are present or not (in Yemen), I categorically deny this information that there would be martyrs of Hezbollah in Yemen, not during these last days nor during the past years.

Third, this is not the first time that the Saudi media evoke (falsely and without any evidence) Hezbollah martyrs or prisoners in Yemen.

Fourth, if we assume that one day this happens, and that members of Hezbollah are martyred in Yemen, I tell you frankly that we would not hide it, we would not be ashamed of it: on the contrary, we would be very proud and honored, and we would raise our head high because of these martyrs, if this was to happen one day. And on the contrary, we consider that we do not have to be ashamed if Hezbollah members fall martyrs in Yemen. We should rather be ashamed if we do not bring them the necessary assistance, if we do not provide what we hope or even dream of offering to the Yemeni mujahideen (fighters) and to the oppressed people of Yemen.

Therefore, let no one imagine that in Yemen or elsewhere (we hide our martyrs). If we have a martyr in Iraq, we acknowledge it. If we have a martyr in Syria, we acknowledge it. If a brother is arrested anywhere in Egypt or elsewhere, as has happened in the past, we are never ashamed of our actions, and we do not abandon our martyrs nor our prisoners. We are proud of them, proud of what they do, and we always declare it publicly. (I say this) as a basis for the future.

And so this question does not require that whenever news are spread about Hezbollah alleged martyrs or prisoners, the media contact us to get our denial. As long as we have not published a press release, that we have not talked ourselves of our martyrs to take pride in them, it means that there was nothing of the sort, and any such (propaganda) is fundamentally false and does not even need to be denied (as far as we are concerned). Let it be an established base for the future.

Fifth, about the situation in Yemen, anyway, they may have needed (false) information of this type that could go along the press campaign of Saudi media and of all those who are with them, whether the American media, the Gulf, etc, through recent weeks. Because what we have seen during the Battle of Hodeida, at the airport, around the town and in adjacent villages, and on the west coast of Yemen, is two scandals (humiliations). We witnessed two disgraces. A military disgrace in the field, and a media disgrace following military disgrace on the battlefield.

Regarding the military disgrace on the battlefield, for months, the United States and even, unfortunately, some European countries participating in this aggression – information evoke British, French and other Western countries’ participation – alongside the forces and states of the (Saudi) coalition, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the group of Abd Rabbo Mansour, mercenaries from all around the world, aviation, a huge number of military vehicles, tanks and armored vehicles (were preparing for an attack). Military vehicles seem even more numerous than the soldiers themselves, from what we see on television. The preparations took place for months, and a fierce psychological warfare, pressures, bribery, intimidation, terror…

And despite all that, when they went down to the battlefield, they suffered a humiliating defeat. A defeat in every sense. And what happened on the western coast of Yemen in recent weeks and so far is actually, even by military standards, truly miraculous. Because the fighting there takes place between on the one hand the most powerful aviation, extremely powerful intelligence agencies, leading-edge technical and technological equipment, experienced commanders, mercenaries, armies, forces, against a fighting people with modest abilities, but with enormous faith and considerable confidence in God the Almighty and Exalted.

These Resistants are, truly, from what we saw in this fight, an incarnation of (the recommendations of Imam Ali to his son before the Battle of the Camel): “Plant your feet firmly on the ground. Lend your head to God (be ready for the ultimate sacrifice). Mountains may move from their position (because of the multitude of enemies), but you should not move from yours.” They are a model (of courage and victorious Resistance).

And that is why I am one of those who can talk about this in full knowledge because me and my brothers have a similar experience. We know what war is, we know what it is to fight against a powerful aviation, violent, ferocious, having unlimited direct capabilities, we know what Resistance, endurance and perseverance are.

And that’s why when considering the war in Yemen, and especially this last experience on the west coast, in Hodeida Airport and everything around this region, me, all my brothers and any Resistant in the world and anyone who knows the military equations and has military experience, we must bow our heads with respect and humility before these fighters, these Resistants, these heroes and their wise, courageous, firm and steadfast leaders. This is the truth, this is not an exaggeration, I do not aim to cheer, no.

And I say to these fighters: myself, with others, I am embarrassed not to be at your side. In my heart, when I see videos (of the fighting) on ​​TV, these heroic acts, this legendary endurance, I keep telling myself: “If only I could be with you.” And I know that all my (Hezbollah) brothers feel exactly the same. And any dignified man in this world thinks the same thing: “If only we could fight alongside you. If only we could be with you. If only I could be one of your fighters, under the banner of your noble and courageous leader.” This is the truth. This faith and determination have inflicted this defeat (to the Saudi-US alliance).

And this is a great lesson that adds itself to the lessons of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Iraq. This is a lesson to all Arab and Muslim peoples: through faith, perseverance and determination, relying on the people and the brave, faithful and noble youth, we can face the most powerful tyrants, the most powerful armies and the most powerful arrogant bullies of this world, armies and security forces.

And there is also the media scandal: how many times have they said they took and occupied Hodeida Airport? But they could not provide any pictures, while we could see every day videos showing the presence of leaders of AnsarAllah (Houthis attacked by Saudi Arabia) in the airport. How many times have they said that they had arrived inside the city, inside the harbor before it was revealed that they did nothing of the sort?

Weeks of lies to the peoples of the region, the Saudi people, the people of the Gulf countries, the peoples of the world, before it was revealed that these victories had no reality outside the Al-Arabiya channel, nothing more, nothing less. And this is the yardstick with which we must measure the credibility of these media [Western press agencies & mainstream media included] that are completely detached from reality, both for Yemen and for everything else. [Such an AFP report was deleted but still appears in cache]

Along these lines, we must also add our voice and our thanks to the new Malaysian government, the new head of the Malaysian government, Mahathir Mohamad, and to the government and to the Malaysian Defense Minister who announced yesterday the withdrawal of Malaysia from this infamous alliance. And we hope that the rest of the Muslim and Arab countries, at least, will follow suit.

And I particularly call on the Sudanese President, the government of Sudan, the Parliament of Sudan and the people of Sudan. It is sad, really sad that the forces of the Sudanese army fight alongside those tyrants. It is truly appalling that the forces of the Sudanese army are engaged in a battle alongside the US, the West, the takfiris, Israel, allied to Saudi Arabia and others. It’s really disgraceful. Sudan, which had a significant presence and a strong commitment to the causes of the region, the Palestinian cause, many causes of the (Muslim) Community. I also insist on Sudan because of the spectacle of young Sudanese who are abandoned in the deserts, valleys and mountains of Yemen, without protection, without defense and without any support or assistance. Why are they killed? For what cause are they dying?

Anyway, we call for this and we hope that all (the countries of the Saudi coalition) will reconsider things (and withdraw). And we hope that the experience of the last battle on the western coast and all these open frontlines will allow Saudi Arabia, the UAE and those who stand by their side to learn the lesson, and understand that they face a people who will never surrender, who has a very high capacity of Resisting and shaping victories, that your battle has no horizon, and that you must answer all Yemeni, Arab, Muslim and international calls to end the war and aggression, to declare a cease-fire and direct you towards dialogue and national reconciliation, and to save Yemen and the Yemeni people, all the people of Yemen, all the tribes of Yemen and all Yemeni political forces of the consequences of this devastating and destructive war.

I’ll stop there, and as for the rest, if necessary, I will speak shortly.

May the peace of God be upon you, and His mercy and His blessings.

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan (RSS)

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July 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia and UAE Return to Afghanistan

By Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.07.2018

The 17-year old Afghan war is entering a new phase, as the Pentagon co-opts as allies the two Gulf Arab states that used to be the Taliban regime’s friend, guide and philosopher in the 1990s – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It’s a double whammy for Pentagon – sheikhs usually carry moneybags, and secondly, the exasperating war is getting outsourced.

A conference of the ulema (religious scholars) drawn from 30 Muslim countries is taking place in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina on July 9-10. The host is notionally the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), who is not known to act except at the bidding of Saudi Arabia.

The agenda is to issue a fatwa effectively de-legitimizing the Taliban’s ‘jihad’, sowing seeds of ideological disarray amongst the insurgents and encouraging defection from their ranks. The tantalizing idea to hold such conferences in various Muslim countries was an American brainwave, which took shape during the visit by US Defence Secretary James Mattis to Riyadh in February when he sought a proactive Saudi role in Afghanistan after a prolonged period of absence since 2001.

Mattis reached an understanding with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the latter’s visit to the US in end-March. Alongside, Washington hosted a meeting in March of top security officials of the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Afghanistan to draw up a coordinated strategy whereby NATO will also be inducting Emirati military contingents to join the operations against the Taliban. Kabul has duly given formal approval.

Prima facie, all this is packaged as a new resolve on the part of the two Gulf Arab regimes to fight international terrorism. This is the first time that the Emiratis will be wading into the killing fields of the Hindu Kush. It is a poignant moment since Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the only two countries (other than Pakistan) to recognize the Taliban regime in the 1990s.

Curiously, this time around, their compass is reset to counter the Taliban’s expansion in Afghanistan. But appearances can be deceptive in the Hindu Kush. A deep American game plan could be unfolding with multiple objectives in view.

The US commanders cannot be unaware that if the stalemate in the war cannot be broken and sooner rather than later, a clamor will begin in Washington to disengage from the futile war and withdraw troops.

But then, they visualize open-ended military presence and preservation of the bases in Afghanistan as imperative for the US’ global strategies.

Hence the innovative approach to try to fragment the Taliban and buy off the reconcilable elements through the Saudis and Emiratis. The Saudi imprimatur is useful, given the prestige of the office of the Custodian of Holy Places. The UAE is already a battle-scarred veteran of hybrid wars.

Of course, there are sub-plots. It is a masterstroke that the OIC stamp is put to de-legitimize the Taliban’s ‘jihad’. This will put Pakistan in some quandary, but that is also the US intention. The Taliban has reacted strongly to the conference in Mecca and Medina, branding it as another “absolute anti-Islamic” plot by Washington, which has not only mooted this idea but also handled “logistical support and implementation”.

A Taliban statement on July 7 said, “The US wants through these conferences to find justification for their military occupation, legitimize their stooge Kabul Administration and thus weaken the Jihadic resistance of Afghan Muslim nation being put up against them. But, Americans and their allies should understand that as they have failed in fighting, political sphere and in the field of propaganda, likewise, Allah, the Almighty will stymie this scheme of invaders as well.”

It will be interesting to see how the Emirati special forces hunt down Taliban fighters under NATO supervision. On a broader plane, though, the Gulf regimes’ formal partnership with the NATO’s war carries much symbolism.

The disconcerting part of this new American enterprise is that the very same Gulf states, which have been responsible for fuelling the Syrian conflict, are being cast in a revamped role in a new theatre where the Islamic State of Khorasan is steadily expanding its presence. Ironically, Afghanistan is beckoning both the fighters who were defeated in Syria and their mentors for new adventures.

No doubt, Washington hopes to pit the two Gulf Arab regimes against Pakistan with a view to pressure the latter to cave in to the American demand to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. Although the kinship between the Saudi regime and Pakistani ulema is deep-rooted, there is only scant representation from Pakistan at the conference in Saudi Arabia. On July 5, Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman rejected the US call that Pakistan should take “sustained and decisive action” to bring the Taliban to peace talks.

Equally, it is in US interest to trigger a vicious proxy war on Afghan soil between these two Sunni Arab states and Iran, which fits in perfectly with Washington’s containment strategy against Tehran. The Islamic State’s Afghan wilayat, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan, is an enigma wrapped in mystery. But that may not remain so for long if Iran enters the fray.

NATO has been notably passive toward the vanquished IS fighters from Syria regrouping in Afghanistan. There have been accusations that NATO’s remarkable passivity reflected a deliberate policy to justify its long-term occupation of Afghanistan. All in all, therefore, the return of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in a newfound role to weaken the Taliban looks an ominous development for regional security and stability.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment