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Bolton blasts Turkey for maintaining ‘very bad’ relations with Israel

Press TV – March 18, 2019

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has not ruled out that Turkey is a “foe” of the United States, blasting Ankara for maintaining a “very bad” relationship with Washington’s close ally Israel.

When asked by AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday whether Turkey was a “friend or foe” to the US, Bolton refused to give a straight answer and instead cited several major stumbling blocks in ties.

“Well you know they’re still a NATO ally; we’re trying to work with them, but they’ve got a very bad relationship with our close friends in Israel. That’s something we need to look out on,” Bolton said.

A war of words began between Turkey and Israel recently, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau said the occupied territories only belong to the Jewish people and not all citizens.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin strongly condemned Netanyahu’s “blatant racism and discrimination.”

In response, the Israeli premier called Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “dictator” who jails journalists and judges.

Erdogan, however, called Netanyahu a “thief” and a “tyrant who massacred seven-year-old Palestinian children.”

The war of words continued Friday when the Turkish president rebuked Netanyahu’s son for suggesting the city of Istanbul was under “Turkish occupation”.

“You occupied the whole of Palestine!” Erdogan fired back at Netanyahu’s son, saying it is actually the Tel Aviv regime which has occupied the entire Palestinian land.

Elsewhere in his Sunday comments Bolton said that disagreements “with respect to the conflict in Syria” were another issue affecting bilateral ties between the US and Turkey.

He said US President Donald Trump “would like to have a good relationship with Turkey; he’d like to see US trade with Turkey increase, but we need them to help us out in some of these other problems in Syria and elsewhere in the region.”

US support for YPG militants, whom Ankara views as terrorists and their group an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has angered Turkey.

The US has been arming and training Kurdish militants under the banner of helping them fight Daesh, but Syria and several other countries see ulterior motives behind the deployment.

President Trump’s decision last year to leave Syria has exposed the Kurdish group to possible Turkish attacks.

Fears of a Turkish assault have led the Kurds to strike an agreement with the Syrian government to leave Manbij in exchange for military support in case they come under attack from Turkey.

Turkey, a key US ally in the region, has repeatedly questioned Washington’s deployment of heavy weapons in Syria despite the defeat of Daesh in much of the Arab country.

Bolton slams Turkey over S-400 deal

In his talks to AM 970 radio, Bolton further blasted Turkey for refusing to abandon a deal to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia, a major obstacle to US-Turkish relations.

“We’re concerned about their purchase of the Russian air defense system called the S-400 – that’s a big problem,” Bolton said.

The United States has warned Turkey of “grave consequences” if Ankara goes ahead with the plan to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems.

Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 missile systems in December 2017.

Last April, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery which could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.

Washington has reportedly proposed to deliver one US-made Patriot missile battery by the end of 2019, on the condition that Ankara abandons the deal with Moscow.

The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.

Turkey is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkey’s border with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Iranian official rejects US secretary of state’s ‘fabricated’ allegations

Press TV – March 14, 2019

A senior Iranian official has dismissed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent claims about Iran’s regional role as “fabricated,” saying the United States practices fear-mongering in order to sell more arms to the countries in the region.

“Certain US officials, influenced by the Zionist lobby, have been making utmost efforts to intoxicate the atmosphere against Iran,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday.

In a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, Pompeo expressed concerns over what he called Iran’s “destructive and disruptive activities” across the Middle East region.

Qassemi said US officials were making up allegations against Iran in order to sustain an appearance of crisis in West Asia and thus increase American arms sales to the region.

The Iranian official also censured remarks made by Pompeo in the CERAWeek conference — an annual US oil and gas industry forum — regarding relations between the Islamic Republic and Iraq.

Addressing the conference in Houston on Tuesday, Pompeo had said, “Iran uses its energy exports to exert undue influence all across the Middle East, most particularly today on Iraq.”

Qassemi said Pompeo was angered by the close relations between Iran and Iraq.

“The relations between Iran and Iraq have been established totally based on the will of the two countries’ leaders and nations and [have been] based on mutual respect and trust and shared interests,” he said, adding that neither of the two countries was seeking to impose its will on the other.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Iraq at the head of a high-ranking delegation. The state visit featured several meetings between President Rouhani and Iraq’s top leadership, and the signing of memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral ties in various fields, including the energy sector.

On Wednesday, President Rouhani traveled to the Iraqi city of Najaf to meet with senior religious leaders there, including most prominently with Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Rouhani was the first Iranian president ever to meet with Ayatollah Sistani, signifying the depth of bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad.

Qassemi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, pointed to the deep-rooted relations between Iran and Iraq and said the two countries had stood by each other during “tough times.”

Earlier, US President Donald Trump had made an unannounced and very brief trip to Iraq in the dark of the night and landed at a military base where he only met US soldiers and no Iraqi officials before he left the country.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Talking About Israel

The relationship with Israel is poison for the United States

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | March 11, 2019

A recent article by Andrew Sullivan in the New York magazine considers how one might discuss the issue of Israel and its powerful domestic lobby without being accused of anti-Semitism. Sullivan is a keen observer of the dynamics of American political power and the article pretty clearly lays out why the relationship with Israel is poison for the United States, but he cautions that words matter and one has to be careful about the packaging surrounding any critique of the Israel Lobby and its American Jewish supporters.

Sullivan begins with: “Let’s get this out of the way first: Using the phrases ‘all about the Benjamins’ and ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ when referring to the Israel lobby in D.C., as freshman Democratic representative Ilhan Omar recently did, is anti-Semitic. It should be possible to criticize Washington’s relationship with Israel without deploying crude and freighted language like this.”

And that is precisely where some critics of the Israel-America relationship might have a problem with observers like Sullivan as what for him passes as “crude and freighted” is for others frankness. Okay, “all about the Benjamins” is slang and the implication is that Jewish money is what has corrupted American politics and the media to stifle any honest discussion on Israel-Palestine and to skew U.S. government activity in the Middle East so that it favors what Israel perceives to be its own interests. This process operates right out in the open with Israel-firster Jewish billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban respectively serving as principal donors for the Republican and Democratic parties.

This flood of Jewish money into foreign policy generation has done incalculable damage to the actual interests of the United States as Sullivan, to his credit, makes clear in his article. The point is that politics in America is all about money and Ilhan Omar was quite right to make that connection. Most congress-critters do not love Israel because they honestly like the hordes of lobbyists that it is able to send their way. In fact, many of them privately complain about the pressure, but they do love the campaign donations and the lucrative sinecure jobs in the financial services industry that come with their retirements. And they also know that if they cross Israeli interests while in office they will soon be unemployed.

And as for the “allegiance to a foreign country,” how else does one describe doing everything possible to favor a foreign state at the expense of the nation where one lives? Sullivan himself provides ample evidence in his article that the one-way relationship with Israel inflicts major damage on the United States and that the enabling of that process comes from a disciplined and well-funded lobbying effort that operates at all levels of government and also through the media. Is that not allegiance to a foreign country?

After expressing the “thou shalt nots” regarding Israel, Andrew Sullivan pulls no punches in his article, which should be read in extenso. He writes “The basic facts are not really in dispute. A very powerful lobby deploys the money and passions of its members to ensure that a foreign country gets very, very special treatment from the U.S.” and then goes on to detail exactly how Israel is a major liability to America. He discusses the $3.8 billion it receives annually in spite of the fact that is a wealthy country, its failure to support U.S. foreign policy objectives, its unwillingness to curtail a brutal occupation of the West Bank, its humiliation of President Obama because he entered into an agreement with Iran, and its nearly complete subjugation of Congress, congressional leaders and the White House.

Sullivan fails to mention how Israel also spies on the United States, steals U.S. developed technology and benefits hugely from beneficial trade agreements that kill American jobs. And there are also the “suspected but not proven” issues like Israel’s role in 9/11, its apparent manipulation of Jewish American officials in the Pentagon to start the disastrous 2003 war with Iraq, and its current clandestine agitation for Washington to attack Iran. Jewish billionaires also are the prime sources of “charitable” contributions that feed the illegal settlement outposts on the West Bank populated largely by fundamentalist Jews whose prime mission is to make the lives of their Palestinian neighbors so miserable that they will emigrate. That is sometimes referred to as ethnic cleansing. Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and David Friedman, the key components of the Trump Administration Middle East “peace” team, are all passionate about Israel and have all supported the illegal settlements. Friedman, in particular, has sought to eliminate the word “occupation” from official U.S. government descriptions of the Israeli activity in Palestinian areas.

And then there is the Israeli predilection to use unarmed Palestinian demonstrators for target practice and to bomb schools and vital infrastructure in Gaza, which once upon a time most Americans would have considered war crimes or crimes against humanity. Sullivan does mention how Congress is willing to pass legislation to restrict freedom of speech if such speech involves criticism of Israel, noting that the very first bill to come up in the Senate after the recent shutdown was supporting the punishment of those who advocate nonviolent boycotting of Israel. He might have added how Israel’s friends at state and local levels are pushing to rewrite world history texts to eliminate any references to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. And holocaust study is becoming mandatory in many U.S. school systems without any suggestion that the standard narrative might be in large part bogus. And then there are the holocaust museums springing up like mushrooms at the taxpayers’ expense. Is it all driven by money and enabled by the power that money buys to propagandize for Israel? And is it maybe just a bit of allegiance to a foreign country? Yes indeed, thank you, Ilhan Omar, for saying so.

All of this warm and fuzzy feeling about Israel did not happen by magic. By one estimate there are 600 Christian and Jewish organizations in the United States that have at least part of their agendas the promotion of the relationship with Israel. Christian Zionists are formidable in numbers but the money, as well as the political and media access that drive the so-called Israel Lobby process, is Jewish. The directors and presidents of those organizations meet regularly and discuss what they can do to help Israel. How does one describe such collusion? Some might prefer to call it a conspiracy.

So how should one view the dystopic nature of the relationship with Israel? No one has ever described it better than America’s first president George Washington. In his Farewell Address he wrote:

“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest… So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”

Andrew Sullivan concludes with some optimism and also a warning, which should be heeded: “Can our current controversy lead to a less inhibited debate? I sure hope so. Will that actually happen? All I can say is that AIPAC will wield all the power it can muster to prevent it.” It is, to be sure, AIPAC versus all decent Americans and one has to hope that this time the voice of the people will be heard in defense of the actual interests of the United States of America rather than those of Israel.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Whose Interests Are Served by the US Occupation of East Syria: America’s or Israel’s?

By Mike Whitney • Unz Review • March 11, 2019

What is Israel’s stake in east Syria? Has Israel influenced Washington’s decision to maintain a long-term military presence in Syria? How does Israel benefit from the splintering of Syria into smaller statelets and from undermining the power of the central government in Damascus? Did Israel’s regional ambitions factor into Trump’s decision to shrug off Turkey’s national security concerns and create an independent Kurdish state on Syrian sovereign territory? What is the connection between the Kurdish independence movement and the state of Israel?

The Pentagon does everything in its power to conceal the number and location of US military bases in a war zone. That rule applies to east Syria as well, which means we cannot confirm with absolute certainty how many bases really exist. Even so, in 2017, a Turkish news agency, “Anadolu Agency published an infographic on Tuesday showing 10 locations in which US troops were stationed. Two airbases, eight military points in PKK/PYD-controlled areas.”

According to a report in Orient.Net : “The 8 military sites, according to the agency, host military personnel involved in coordinating the aerial and artillery bombardments of US forces, training Kurdish military personnel, planning special operations and participating in intensive combat operations.” (“AA’s map of US bases in Syria infuriates Pentagon”, orient.net )

The location of these bases is unimportant, what is important is that there has been no indication that Washington has any plan to close these bases down or to withdraw American troops. In fact, as the New York Times reported just weeks ago, the number of US troops has actually increased by roughly 1,000 since Trump made his withdrawal announcement in mid-December. We think that is especially significant in view of Trump’s surprising comments last week, that he now agrees “100%” with maintaining a military presence in Syria. His sudden reversal shows that the opponents of the “withdrawal plan” have prevailed and the US is not going to leave Syria after all. It’s also worth noting that Trump administration has made no effort to implement the “Manbij Roadmap” which requires the US to coordinate its withdrawal with the Turkish military in order to maintain security and avoid a vacuum that could be filled by hostile elements. Ankara and Washington agreed to this arrangement long ago in order to expel Kurdish militants (who Turkey identifies as “terrorists”) from the area along the border. It appears now that Trump will not honor that deal, mainly because Trump intends to be in Syria for the long-haul.

But, why? Why would Trump risk a confrontation with a critical NATO ally (Turkey) merely to hold a 20 mile-deep stretch of land that has no strategic value to the United States? It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Now in earlier articles we have argued that influential think tanks, like the Brookings Institute, have played a critical role in shaping Washington’s Syria policy, and that indeed is true. Just take a look at this short excerpt from a piece by Brookings Michael E. O’Hanlon titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:

“… the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria…. the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able…. Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad or ISIL….

The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones… The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force… to help provide relief for populations within them, and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.” (“Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)

Strategic planners and think-tank pundits have long sought to break up Syria, that’s old news. What’s new is the emergence of powerful neocons operating in the White House and State Department (John Bolton, Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo) who, we suspect, are using their influence to shape policy in a way that is sympathetic to Israel’s regional ambitions. It’s worth noting, that Zionist plans to dismember surrounding Arab states to ensure Israeli superiority, date back more than 30 years. The so called Yinon plan was a fairly straightforward strategy to balkanize the Middle East’s geopolitical environment to enhance Israeli regional hegemony while “A Clean Break” was a more recent adaptation which emphasized “weakening, containing or even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” In any event, many right-wing Israelis seem to think that chopping up sovereign Arab states into smaller bite-sized pieces, governed by tribal leaders or Washington’s puppets, will unavoidably boost Tel Aviv’s power across the Middle East.

But how does the US military occupation of east Syria fit in with all this?

Well, the US occupation effectively creates an independent Kurdish state in the heart of the Arab world which helps to weaken Israel’s rivals. That’s why some have referred to emerging Kurdistan as a “second Israel”. Here’s how Seth Frantzman, a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs in Herzliya, explains it:

“Israel would welcome another state in the region that shares its concerns about the rising power of Iran, including the threat of Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq,” says Frantzman. “Reports have also indicated that oil from Kurdistan is purchased by Israel.” (“Why Israel supports an independent Iraqi Kurdistan”, CNN)

While its true that Kurdish oil may provide an added incentive for long-term occupation, the real goal is to block a “land corridor” from opening (that would connect Beirut, to Damascus, to Baghdad to Tehran) and to further undermine Iran’s growing influence in the region. Those are the real objectives. In fact, US military operations in Syria are actually part of a broader campaign directed at Iran, a campaign that undoubtedly has the full support of neocons Pompeo and Bolton.

Check out this lengthy quote from a piece by Rauf Baker at The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies which helps to put the whole Israel-Kurdistan issue into perspective:

“Since declaring “Rojava” in northern and northeastern Syria in 2013, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), both of which are linked to the PKK, have built a uniquely viable entity amid the surrounding bedlam. (Note: The PKK, is on the State Departments list of terrorist organizations and has been conducting a war on Turkey for more than 3 decades.)

The ancient proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” could be useful to Israel in this grim scenario. The Syrian regime continues to uphold its traditional anti-Israel stance, and is in any case largely dependent on Iran, Hezbollah, and the other Shiite militias, all of which want Israel destroyed….

The Syrian Kurdish parties opposing PYD are openly linked to Ankara, which is ruled by a president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is obsessed with power and whose ideology considers the entire State of Israel to be illegitimately occupied by Jews. Moreover, he has recently established a rapprochement with Tehran – a worrying development…

Iran is now closer than ever to securing a land corridor that will connect it to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This corridor will expand its sphere of influence from the Strait of Hormuz in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and will ensure that Israel is surrounded by land and sea

Should Israel strengthen its relationship with the Syrian Kurds, its gains would extend beyond strategic, political, and security benefits. Rojava’s natural resources, especially its oil, can contribute to Israel’s energy supply and be invested in projects such as an oil pipeline through Jordan to Israel. US troops are stationed at several military bases in Rojava, which could offer an alternative to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey...

It appears abundantly clear that the Kurds are the most qualified, if not the only, candidate in Syria on which Israel can count for support… Israel should act swiftly to support the emerging Kurdish region in Syria...

It is very much in Israel’s interest to have a reliable and trustworthy friend in the new Syria. If Jerusalem hopes, together with its ally in Washington, to prevent Tehran from establishing its long-sought land corridor, it will need to strengthen its influence in the Syrian Kurdish region to serve as a wall blocking Iran’s ambitions.” (“The Syrian Kurds: Israel’s Forgotten Ally”, Rauf Baker, BESA Center)

So, the question is: Whose interests are really served by the US occupation of east Syria: America’s or Israel’s?

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Pakistan Must Resist Demands From “Friends”

The Perfectionistas | March 9, 2019

Someone needs to send the Pakistani government a copy of the picture book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

In it, a pestering mouse asks a boy for a cookie, and after he obliges, the rodent gets pushier with his demands until he’s moved into the exhausted boy’s house.

Similarly, Pakistan is surrounded by a nest of mice, actually wolves in sheep’s clothing, pressuring the nuclear-armed country through a carrots-and-sticks policy to oblige to their demands to join the anti-Iran coalition. These countries include America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, all bent on waging war with Iran and aware they can’t do it without cooperation from Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has so far resisted pressure to join the war path but future prospects look precarious, unfortunately, as the government shows signs of capitulating under stress and altering policies to oblige outsiders.

This week, for example, under global pressure to reign in terrorists, the government seized hundreds of institutions run by banned outfits and apprehended their leaders. That’s the right thing to do, of course, but should be done on principle not under pressure.

Buckling under pressure sends signals to others that, if enough force is applied, Pakistan will come around and do as told.

High on the American-Israeli-Saudi axis to-do list for Pakistan right now is normalizing relations with Israel, something most Arab countries have done de facto but are waiting for 200-million strong Pakistan to do first so they can declare it officially. Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah refused to recognize Israel in 1947, and that has remained the country’s policy.

While getting Pakistan to change course on Israel is a tall order, especially with Pakistani officials accusing Israelis of involvement in India’s foiled attacks on Pakistan last month, the pressure is on nonetheless, and has been intensified since Khan, whose ex-wife has Jewish roots, took office last year.

Khan insists normalization with Israel is not on the table but some in his government have already succumbed to the normalization narrative.

Last month Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told an Israeli news portal that “Pakistan is interested in advancing its relations with Israel,” according to media reports, and in November MNA Asma Hadid tried coaxing colleagues to support Israel during a meeting of the National Assembly. The media also claims that the Pakistani government allowed a plane carrying a senior Israeli official to fly into Islamabad from Tel Aviv last fall. And although the Pakistani passport says it is “valid for all countries of the world except Israel,” a Pakistani Jew was allowed to fly to Israel for the first time in January.

Others pushing Pakistan to establish diplomatic ties with Israel include:

  • Military men: Pakistan’s former President Retired General Pervez Musharraf told reporters in Dubai last month that “there is no harm to establish a relationship with Israel” as it will help “counter India,” buttressing the arguments of those who say India’s attacks were the “sticks” to get Pakistan to normalize relations with Israel.

  • Media: Pakistan’s English-language newspaper Daily News editorialized last week that Pakistan should explore ties with Israel as the two “are not enemies.”
  • Lobby: The Pakistan Israel Alliance (PIA) of London “seeks to build bridges and better understanding between Israelis and Pakistanis,” according to its Facebook page. PIA offers ways of “maintaining relations” off-the-record, including the pre-revoluton Iranian model (recognize Israel secretly like the Shah of Iran), Jordanian model (close political and military ties without official recognition), or Chinese model (establish military contacts before political relations), according to a February 2018 post on its Facebook page.
  • Literature: PIA’s publishing arm Pak Israel News releases books in Urdu celebrating Zionism, such as “Zionism, Israel, and  Palestinians” and “The State of Israel: In War and Peace and Islamic Terrorism.”

Even if Pakistan does sell its soul and recognizes Israel, demands on the country–like those on the boy in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie–will not stop until Pakistan too is weakened to the point of collapse. These demands include helping the American-Israeli-Saudi axis wage war on Iran and the nuclear disarmament of Pakistan. Scholar Syed Jawad Naqvi predicts Pakistan will eventually be pressured to shut its nuclear program and sell its technology to Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan can learn from the disastrous affects of capitulating to outside pressures from Iran. Iran’s economy is in shambles after agreeing to curb its nuclear program under a 2013 deal with the US and five other countries. Not only did the the US start putting demands on Iran’s missile program next but it then backed out of the agreement altogether and imposed stringent sanctions on the Iranian nation.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Imam Ali Khamanei had warned its politicians that acquiescence to demands will lead to attempts to “bring the country’s decision-making… centers under their control.”

“The point is Iran doesn’t follow arrogant powers,” Khamanei said in 2016. “In this war, willpowers are fighting. The stronger willpower will win.”

Pakistan, too, must strengthen its resolve and resist outside pressures. That is the only way to fail the best-laid schemes of mice and men.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Is The UK Prepared To Add Iran to Its List Of Terrorists? Tightening The Noose Around The Neck of The Community That Supports Hezbollah

By Elijah Magnier | American Herald Tribune | March 5, 2019

The UK government has added the political and military branches of Lebanese Hezbollah to its terrorist list following a decision initiated by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and approved by Parliament. Hezbollah, or the “Party of God” is now one of the 74 foreign groups and 14 other groups related to Northern Ireland on the list. Any support to this organisation falls under the Terrorism Act of 2000. In the same act, under the rubric of fund-raising, offences, article 15, it clearly states that any person commits an offence if he invites others to provide money or other property to a proscribed group. Since the General Secretary of Hezbollah Sayed Hassan Nasrallah and the government of Iran both overtly acknowledge the financial, military, technical, intelligence and other social services support that Iran provides to the organisation, a clear question arises for the UK government: Will the Iranian government be included on its terrorism list, or is the UK government ready to violate its own law? What is the real purpose behind the UK decision?

The point is not to identify Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The goal is rather to prevent donations from reaching Hezbollah at a time when Iran is under heavy sanctions meant to limit its cash flow and, consequently, impede its financial support to groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Syrian government, and other groups in Iraq and Yemen. This is what the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid meant by “secret intelligence” during his last intervention at the House of Commons. Time will tell if this secret intelligence has been correctly understood and will serve the UK’s desired objectives.

The Terrorism Act of 2000, under funding arrangements, article 17 (a) and (b), states as follows: “A person commits an offence if he enters into or becomes concerned in an arrangement as a result of which money or other property is made available or is to be made available to another… that will or may be used for the purposes of terrorism”.

Article 12, under the rubric “Support”, is explicit: “A person commits an offence if he invites support, provision of money for a proscribed organisation, and arranges a meeting to support or encourage support for a proscribed organisation, or participates in a private meeting…”

The text of the articles is unambiguous: anyone who supports or meets with Hezbollah individuals or commanders is subject to a maximum of 10 years of prison. These clauses cannot but apply to Iran, the first and utmost supporter of Hezbollah.

Iranian officials, beginning with Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, can no longer visitSayed Nasrallah and then go to the UK or meet UK officials without risk of imprisonment, now that the UK officially classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

Hezbollah’s yearly budget to operate in Syria and Lebanon and to support any other group with weapons or transfer of expertise is provided by the Iranian government, together with additional funds that Sayed Ali Khamenei provides from donations to the Imam Reza shrine. Thus, in accordance with the 2000 legislation, the UK can be expected to cut its relationship with Iran at once.

Politically speaking, Hezbollah meets in private and overtly with all political leaders of Lebanon. These meetings begin with the Christian President Michel Aoun, the Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Shia Speaker Nabih Berri, and the Ministers of Foreign affairs Joubran Basil, Defence Elias bu Saab, Health Jamil Jabq and Finance Ali Hasan Khalil, and most political leaders of the country. This imposes – theoretically – on the UK government the obligation to reject any entry visa to all these politicians and to prevent any meetings with their diplomats after March the 3d, 2019.

What if the UK breaks its own laws and its officials meet with Hezbollah officials or those who hold private meetings with its leaders, in defiance of the UK Terrorism Act of 2000? If this happens, it will be difficult for any UK court to uphold a solid case against any Hezbollah supporter since UK officials regularly meet with their Iranian counterparts, who are responsible for funding Hezbollah.

The “Party of God” has no offices or representatives in any city around the world, even among the millions in the Lebanese community living abroad. Of course, there are thousands of Hezbollah supporters in the Lebanese Diaspora, notably Christians from the Tayyar al-Watani party led by President Aoun and his son-in-law the Foreign Minister Basil. And there are many more supporters among Shia in the diaspora who originate from the south of Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, Beirut and its suburbs. They have family members or cousins who operate within Hezbollah or at least support the organisation; some of these “Diaspora Shia” have adopted overtly Hezbollah’s cause on their own personal initiative.

Most of these Lebanese consider the cause of Hezbollah as their own because the group defended their Christian villages and cities from al-Qaeda and ISIS when these groups were based on the borders with Lebanon and in the Lebanese city of Arsal, with plans to expand into Lebanon. They consider Hezbollah the only force capable of protecting their homes in the south of Lebanon from any future Israeli aggression, in the face of daily Israeli violations of Lebanese sea, air and ground sovereignty.

There is no doubt that these enthusiastic Lebanese will be the favourite targets of Britain’s domestic security forces who are looking to register “a security achievement” of any kind. The problem was on the table in many cities around the world when Lebanese Shia sought to fulfil their Islamic tithing duty by donating 20% of their year-end profits. According to some Fatwas (Shia are free to follow the highest religious authority in accordance with their understanding of Islam), this 20% can be donated to the “Islamic Resistance”, i.e. Hezbollah. From now on anyone sending money for this Islamic purpose that ends up in Hezbollah coffers must be considered a financer of a terrorist organisation.

This same issue was a serious problem for Lebanese in the USA who were obliged to stop sending money back to Lebanon except for family members. Lebanese communities in many countries voluntarily observed the same restrictions in order to avoid severe penalties or jail in the west, causing a reduction in donations to Hezbollah. Thus, Hezbollah today relies exclusively on Iranian support.

The new measures in the UK do not aim to interfere with Hezbollah’s “non-existent” presence in the West and equally non-existent bank accounts abroad, nor do they aim to close Hezbollah offices that do not exist abroad. The new measures have the goal of tightening the noose around the neck of the community that supports Hezbollah.

The West began this process inside Lebanon by going after Lebanese banks and the accounts of wealthy Shia. Even exchange offices who change Hezbollah’s euros into dollars were included on the terrorist list. Wealthy Shia businessmen who sympathise with Hezbollah and who were involved in projects in Iraq saw their assets frozen by Iraq’s former Prime Minister Haidar Abadi in response to an official US request.

The western measures may succeed in making life more difficult for pro-Hezbollah Christians and Shia around the world. Nevertheless, the majority of Lebanese cannot renounce Hezbollah any more than they can renounce their own families, because Hezbollah is integral to their existence; nor is it confined to their homes and family members. Its ideology of Resistance informs their creed and world view, and this is the case whether or not they believe in Islam.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Washington’s War on Syria

By Elias SAMO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 05.03.2019

I was recently asked to participate and give a presentation at a closed, and invitation-only, conference in Washington, DC, on February 6th, 2019. The topic was: “Strategic Implications of Recent US Decisions on Syria”. I attended the conference and gave a presentation. The following is a summary of some of the things I said.

Upon my introduction, I informed the audience that I hold dual nationality, Syrian by birth and American by choice. In over five decades of academic work, I was always plagued by a nightmare of a war between the US and Syria, my two countries; unfortunately, this eventually become a reality. However, I should qualify; the ongoing war in Syria is not between the US and Syria, for there is no conflict between the Syrians and the Americans. It is a war waged by Washington against Syria in the service of Israel and some regional powers; Washington is waging a proxy war on Syria.

I briefly introduced Syria and its historic and religious importance. Syria is the cradle of civilization and home of the three monotheistic religions, where they started or flourished. I also reminded the audience that Syria is an archeological treasure; of the five oldest and continually inhabited cities, three are in Syria: Aleppo, the oldest, Damascus, the third and Latakia, the fifth. Following this introduction, I moved to the subject of the conference, dividing it into two sub topics:

  1. Trump Decisions to serve American interests in Syria; and
  2. Strategic Implications for Syria.

1. Trump’s Decisions

The first important decision taken by Trump was the establishment of the Zionist band in his administration made of five senior officials responsible for the formulation of American foreign policy. At no time in American history has there been such a concentration of Zionist power in the top echelon of a presidential administration. At the top of the Zionist band is Trump, the Commander-in-Chief; followed by Jared Kushner, his son in law and senior advisor; then comes John Bolton, national security advisor, Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel and lastly, the recently departed US Ambassador to the UN, ‘Nikki’ Haley. The formation of this Zionist band has had an adverse effect on Syria with further negative implications for Arabs and Muslims.

As for decisions to serve specific American interests in Syria, the White House, and a variety of American officials, have emphasized four American interests in the ongoing crisis in Syria: fight terrorism, protect the Kurds, roll back and contain Iran and Israel’s security.

Regarding the American ‘War on Terrorism’; people worldwide are skeptical of the American contention of waging a war on terrorism. When the uprising began in Syria in March 2011, America, and its regional allies, activated their many sleeper cells and opened their borders for swarms of tens of thousands of terrorists from all over the world to descend upon Syria. Once in, they were organized, equipped and financed to start their mission of rampage for ‘Regime Change’ and to render Syria a failed state. The plan failed and the terrorists became superfluous and a burden. They had to be eliminated and thus the American War on Terrorism in Syria which will conclude soon, says Trump.

As for the Kurds, they are Syrian citizens, who may have been discriminated against at one time or another. With the Syrian uprising, some of the Kurds were seduced by Washington. Unfortunately for them, and for Syria, they took the American bait. Washington will eventually drop them; it has already started the process with Israeli acquiescence. Israel originally supported the Kurdish plan to establish an autonomous state in the Arab region which would legitimize the existence of a Jewish state in the region. However, in view of the ongoing normalization process between Israel and some Arab states, a Kurdish state has become superfluous. Ultimately, Kurds will return to the Syrian fold where they belong. The modern history of the Kurds is victimization, partly due to their own doing; they are divided, prone to making bad decisions and ‘bit more than they can chew’. I recall a meeting I had with a politically active Kurdish group at the start of the Syrian uprising. After a brief introduction, the leader of the group unfolded a map of Kurdistan and put it on the table. I looked at the map and I was shocked at its contents. The western part of Kurdistan on the map, the Syrian Hasakah province, a northeastern province of Syria, in which the Kurds are a minority, was renamed ‘West Kurdistan’. I remember remarking that West Kurdistan is Syria’s Hasakah province, Syrian territory. The leader’s answer was “it is no more Syrian”. The Kurds, some of whom are relatively newcomers to Syria escaping Turkish mistreatment during the early decades of the last century, are a component of the Syrian society. For the Kurds to have special consideration in a united and unitary Syria may be possible, but secession or autonomy are fantasies.

The last two presumed American interests in Syria, rolling back and containing Iran and securing Israel, are interconnected. As for rolling back and containing Iran, it is to prevent Iran from establishing a land corridor connecting Iran with Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. In 2004 King Abdullah of Jordan warned the Arabs of the development of such a corridor and dubbed it a ‘Shiite Crescent’, a rather unfortunate provocative sectarian concept. It should be noted that most of this land corridor is known since ancient times as the Fertile Crescent. An appropriate name for the Shiite Crescent could have been the Levant Crescent or better yet, the Levant Cooperation Council, similar to the Gulf Cooperation Council, a pact of four states, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon facing common domestic, regional and international threats.

While the misnamed Shiite Crescent has been well covered and debated among Western intellectual, political, and military circles, another developing crescent, the Zionist Crescent, has escaped conversation and debate. The essence of the Zionist Crescent is the neutralization of Egypt to the West of Israel, Syria to the North and Iraq to the East, the three major historic Arab centers of power, which form a crescent around Israel and constitute the thrust of security threats to Israel. Egypt, the first segment of the Zionist Crescent, was neutralized in the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Iraq, the second segment, was neutralized during the American invasion in 2003. Israel hoped Syria, the last segment of the Crescent, will be neutralized during the uprising in Syria; it was not to be.

Washington claims that rolling back and containing Iran and Israeli security constitute essential American interests; they are not – they are, essentially, Israeli interests. Washington is merely an instrument to serve Israeli interests and even potentially wage a war against Iran in the service of Israel, a la the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iran is not a threat to America but could conceivably be a threat to Israel. However, Israel and behind it Washington, constitute a clear and present danger to Iran.

2. Strategic Implications for Syria

The original plan Washington and its allies sought was regime change and if successful, Syria a mosaic of religious, sectarian, and ethnic components, would become a failed state divided into Sunni, Alawite, Druse and Kurdish substates fighting continuous wars. Thus, the completion of the third and last segment of the Zionist Crescent. The plan failed, thanks to the persistence of the Syrian leadership, the Syrian people, and the help of genuine allies, Russia and Iran. Syria lives and the third segment of the Zionist Crescent is void, for the time being.

March 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Bush Neocons and Israel

By Bill Christison – Kathleen Christison, Former CIA political analysts

This is a slightly revised version of essay that originally appeared in CounterPunch in December 2002.

Since the long-forgotten days when the State Department’s Middle East policy was run by a group of so-called Arabists, U.S. policy on Israel and the Arab world has increasingly become the purview of officials well known for tilting toward Israel. From the 1920s roughly to 1990, Arabists, who had a personal history and an educational background in the Arab world and were accused by supporters of Israel of being totally biased toward Arab interests, held sway at the State Department and, despite having limited power in the policymaking circles of any administration, helped maintain some semblance of U.S. balance by keeping policy from tipping over totally toward Israel. But Arabists have been steadily replaced by their exact opposites, what some observers are calling Israelists, and policymaking circles throughout government now no longer even make a pretense of exhibiting balance between Israeli and Arab, particularly Palestinian, interests.

In the Clinton administration, the three most senior State Department officials dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli peace process were all partisans of Israel to one degree or another. All had lived at least for brief periods in Israel and maintained ties with Israel while in office, occasionally vacationing there. One of these officials had worked both as a pro-Israel lobbyist and as director of a pro-Israel think tank in Washington before taking a position in the Clinton administration from which he helped make policy on Palestinian-Israeli issues. Another has headed the pro-Israel think tank since leaving government.

The link between active promoters of Israeli interests and policymaking circles is stronger by several orders of magnitude in the Bush administration, which is peppered with people who have long records of activism on behalf of Israel in the United States, of policy advocacy in Israel, and of promoting an agenda for Israel often at odds with existing U.S. policy. These people, who can fairly be called Israeli loyalists, are now at all levels of government, from desk officers at the Defense Department to the deputy secretary level at both State and Defense, as well as on the National Security Council staff and in the vice president’s office.

We still tiptoe around putting a name to this phenomenon. We write articles about the neo-conservatives’ agenda on U.S.-Israeli relations and imply that in the neo-con universe there is little light between the two countries. We talk openly about the Israeli bias in the U.S. media. We make wry jokes about Congress being “Israeli-occupied territory.” Jason Vest in The Nation magazine reported forthrightly that some of the think tanks that hold sway over Bush administration thinking see no difference between U.S. and Israeli national security interests. But we never pronounce the particular words that best describe the real meaning of those observations and wry remarks. It’s time, however, that we say the words out loud and deal with what they really signify.

Dual loyalties. The issue we are dealing with in the Bush administration is dual loyalties — the double allegiance of those myriad officials at high and middle levels who cannot distinguish U.S. interests from Israeli interests, who baldly promote the supposed identity of interests between the United States and Israel, who spent their early careers giving policy advice to right-wing Israeli governments and now give the identical advice to a right-wing U.S. government, and who, one suspects, are so wrapped up in their concern for the fate of Israel that they honestly do not know whether their own passion about advancing the U.S. imperium is motivated primarily by America-first patriotism or is governed first and foremost by a desire to secure Israel’s safety and predominance in the Middle East through the advancement of the U.S. imperium.

“Dual loyalties” has always been one of those red flags posted around the subject of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, something that induces horrified gasps and rapid heartbeats because of its implication of Jewish disloyalty to the United States and the common assumption that anyone who would speak such a canard is ipso facto an anti-Semite. (We have a Jewish friend who is not bothered by the term in the least, who believes that U.S. and Israeli interests should be identical and sees it as perfectly natural for American Jews to feel as much loyalty to Israel as they do to the United States. But this is clearly not the usual reaction when the subject of dual loyalties arises.)

Although much has been written about the neo-cons who dot the Bush administration, the treatment of the their ties to Israel has generally been very gingerly. Although much has come to light recently about the fact that ridding Iraq both of its leader and of its weapons inventory has been on the neo-con agenda since long before there was a Bush administration, little has been said about the link between this goal and the neo-cons’ overriding desire to provide greater security for Israel. But an examination of the cast of characters in Bush administration policymaking circles reveals a startlingly pervasive network of pro-Israel activists, and an examination of the neo-cons’ voluminous written record shows that Israel comes up constantly as a neo-con reference point, always mentioned with the United States as the beneficiary of a recommended policy, always linked with the United States when national interests are at issue.

The Begats

First to the cast of characters. Beneath cabinet level, the list of pro-Israel neo-cons who are either policy functionaries themselves or advise policymakers from perches just on the edges of government reads like the old biblical “begats.” Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz leads the pack. He was a protégé of Richard Perle, who heads the prominent Pentagon advisory body, the Defense Policy Board. Many of today’s neo-cons, including Perle, are the intellectual progeny of the late Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a strong defense hawk and one of Israel’s most strident congressional supporters in the 1970s.

Wolfowitz in turn is the mentor of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, now Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff who was first a student of Wolfowitz and later a subordinate during the 1980s in both the State and the Defense Departments. Another Perle protégé is Douglas Feith, who is currently undersecretary of defense for policy, the department’s number-three man, and has worked closely with Perle both as a lobbyist for Turkey and in co-authoring strategy papers for right-wing Israeli governments. Assistant Secretaries Peter Rodman and Dov Zackheim, old hands from the Reagan administration when the neo-cons first flourished, fill out the subcabinet ranks at Defense. At lower levels, the Israel and the Syria/Lebanon desk officers at Defense are imports from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank spun off from the pro-Israel lobby organization, AIPAC.

Neo-cons have not made many inroads at the State Department, except for John Bolton, an American Enterprise Institute hawk and Israeli proponent who is said to have been forced on a reluctant Colin Powell as undersecretary for arms control. Bolton’s special assistant is David Wurmser, who wrote and/or co-authored with Perle and Feith at least two strategy papers for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996. Wurmser’s wife, Meyrav Wurmser, is a co-founder of the media-watch website MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), which is run by retired Israeli military and intelligence officers and specializes in translating and widely circulating Arab media and statements by Arab leaders. A recent investigation by the Guardian of London found that MEMRI’s translations are skewed by being highly selective. Although it inevitably translates and circulates the most extreme of Arab statements, it ignores moderate Arab commentary and extremist Hebrew statements.

In the vice president’s office, Cheney has established his own personal national security staff, run by aides known to be very pro-Israel. The deputy director of the staff, John Hannah, is a former fellow of the Israeli-oriented Washington Institute. On the National Security Council staff, the newly appointed director of Middle East affairs is Elliott Abrams, who came to prominence after pleading guilty to withholding information from Congress during the Iran-contra scandal (and was pardoned by President Bush the elder) and who has long been a vocal proponent of right-wing Israeli positions. Putting him in a key policymaking position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is like entrusting the henhouse to a fox.

Pro-Israel activists with close links to the administration are also busy in the information arena inside and outside government. The head of Radio Liberty, a Cold War propaganda holdover now converted to service in the “war on terror,” is Thomas Dine, who was the very active head of AIPAC throughout most of the Reagan and the Bush-41 administrations. Elsewhere on the periphery, William Kristol, son of neo-con originals Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb, is closely linked to the administration’s pro-Israel coterie and serves as its cheerleader through the Rupert Murdoch-owned magazine that he edits, The Weekly Standard. Some of Bush’s speechwriters — including David Frum, who coined the term “axis of evil” for Bush’s state-of-the-union address but was forced to resign when his wife publicly bragged about his linguistic prowess — have come from The Weekly Standard. Frank Gaffney, another Jackson and Perle protégé and Reagan administration defense official, puts his pro-Israel oar in from his think tank, the Center for Security Policy, and through frequent media appearances and regular columns in the Washington Times.

The incestuous nature of the proliferating boards and think tanks, whose membership lists are more or less identical and totally interchangeable, is frighteningly insidious. Several scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, including former Reagan UN ambassador and long-time supporter of the Israeli right wing Jeane Kirkpatrick, make their pro-Israel views known vocally from the sidelines and occupy positions on other boards. Probably the most important organization, in terms of its influence on Bush administration policy formulation, is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Formed after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war specifically to bring Israel’s security concerns to the attention of U.S. policymakers and concentrating also on broad defense issues, the extremely hawkish, right-wing JINSA has always had a high-powered board able to place its members inside conservative U.S. administrations. Cheney, Bolton, and Feith were members until they entered the Bush administration. Several lower level JINSA functionaries are now working in the Defense Department. Perle is still a member, as are Kirkpatrick, former CIA director and leading Iraq-war hawk James Woolsey, and old-time rabid pro-Israel types like Eugene Rostow and Michael Ledeen. Both JINSA and Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy are heavily underwritten by Irving Moskowitz, a right-wing American Zionist, California business magnate (his money comes from bingo parlors), and JINSA board member who has lavishly financed the establishment of several religious settlements in Arab East Jerusalem.

By Their Own Testimony

Most of the neo-cons now in government have left a long paper trail giving clear evidence of their fervently right-wing pro-Israel, and fervently anti-Palestinian, sentiments. Whether being pro-Israel, even pro right-wing Israel, constitutes having dual loyalties — that is, a desire to further Israel’s interests that equals or exceeds the desire to further U.S. interests — is obviously not easy to determine, but the record gives some clues.

Wolfowitz himself has been circumspect in public, writing primarily about broader strategic issues rather than about Israel specifically or even the Middle East, but it is clear that at bottom Israel is a major interest and may be the principal reason for his near obsession with the effort, of which he is the primary spearhead, to dump Saddam Hussein, remake the Iraqi government in an American image, and then further redraw the Middle East map by accomplishing the same goals in Syria, Iran, and perhaps other countries. Profiles of Wolfowitz paint him as having two distinct aspects: one obsessively bent on advancing U.S. dominance throughout the world, ruthless and uncompromising, seriously prepared to “end states,” as he once put it, that support terrorism in any way, a velociraptor in the words of one former colleague cited in the Economist; the other a softer aspect, which shows him to be a soft-spoken political moralist, an ardent democrat, even a bleeding heart on social issues, and desirous for purely moral and humanitarian reasons of modernizing and democratizing the Islamic world.

But his interest in Israel always crops up. Even profiles that downplay his attachment to Israel nonetheless always mention the influence the Holocaust, in which several of his family perished, has had on his thinking. One source inside the administration has described him frankly as “over-the-top crazy when it comes to Israel.” Although this probably accurately describes most of the rest of the neo-con coterie, and Wolfowitz is guilty at least by association, he is actually more complex and nuanced than this. A recent New York Times Magazine profile by the Times’ Bill Keller cites critics who say that “Israel exercises a powerful gravitational pull on the man” and notes that as a teenager Wolfowitz lived in Israel during his mathematician father’s sabbatical semester there. His sister is married to an Israeli. Keller even somewhat reluctantly acknowledges the accuracy of one characterization of Wolfowitz as “Israel-centric.” But Keller goes through considerable contortions to shun what he calls “the offensive suggestion of dual loyalty” and in the process makes one wonder if he is protesting too much. Keller concludes that Wolfowitz is less animated by the security of Israel than by the promise of a more moderate Islam. He cites as evidence Wolfowitz’s admiration for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel and also draws on a former Wolfowitz subordinate who says that “as a moral man, he might have found Israel the heart of the Middle East story. But as a policy maker, Turkey and the gulf and Egypt didn’t loom any less large for him.”

These remarks are revealing. Anyone not so fearful of broaching the issue of dual loyalties might at least have raised the suggestion that Wolfowitz’s real concern may indeed be to ensure Israel’s security. Otherwise, why do his overriding interests seem to be reinventing Anwar Sadats throughout the Middle East by transforming the Arab and Muslim worlds and thereby making life safer for Israel, and a passion for fighting a pre-emptive war against Iraq — when there are critical areas totally apart from the Middle East and myriad other broad strategic issues that any deputy secretary of defense should be thinking about just as much? His current interest in Turkey, which is shared by the other neo-cons, some of whom have served as lobbyists for Turkey, seems also to be directed at securing Israel’s place in the region; there seems little reason for particular interest in this moderate Islamic, non-Arab country, other than that it is a moderate Islamic but non-Arab neighbor of Israel. Furthermore, the notion suggested by the Wolfowitz subordinate that any moral man would obviously look to Israel as the “heart of the Middle East story” is itself an Israel-centered idea: the assumption that Israel is a moral state, always pursuing moral policies, and that any moral person would naturally attach himself to Israel automatically presumes that there is an identity of interests between the United States and Israel; only those who assume such a complete coincidence of interests accept the notion that Israel is, across the board, a moral state.

Others among the neo-con policymakers have been more direct and open in expressing their pro-Israel views. Douglas Feith has been the most prolific of the group, with a two-decade-long record of policy papers, many co-authored with Perle, propounding a strongly anti-Palestinian, pro-Likud view. He views the Palestinians as not constituting a legitimate national group, believes that the West Bank and Gaza belong to Israel by right, and has long advocated that the U.S. abandon any mediating effort altogether and particularly foreswear the land-for-peace formula.

In 1996, Feith, Perle, and both David and Meyrav Wurmser were among the authors of a policy paper issued by an Israeli think tank and written for newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that urged Israel to make a “clean break” from pursuit of the peace process, particularly its land-for-peace aspects, which the authors regarded as a prescription for Israel’s annihilation. Arabs must rather accept a “peace-for-peace” formula through unconditional acceptance of Israel’s rights, including its territorial rights in the occupied territories. The paper advocated that Israel “engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism” by disengaging from economic and political dependence on the U.S. while maintaining a more “mature,” self-reliant partnership with the U.S. not focused “narrowly on territorial disputes.” Greater self-reliance would, these freelance policymakers told Netanyahu, give Israel “greater freedom of action and remove a significant lever of pressure [i.e., U.S. pressure] used against it in the past.”

The paper advocated, even as far back as 1996, containment of the threat against Israel by working closely with — guess who? — Turkey, as well as with Jordan, apparently regarded as the only reliably moderate Arab regime. Jordan had become attractive for these strategists because it was at the time working with opposition elements in Iraq to reestablish a Hashemite monarchy there that would have been allied by blood lines and political leanings to the Hashemite throne in Jordan. The paper’s authors saw the principal threat to Israel coming, we should not be surprised to discover now, from Iraq and Syria and advised that focusing on the removal of Saddam Hussein would kill two birds with one stone by also thwarting Syria’s regional ambitions. In what amounts to a prelude to the neo-cons’ principal policy thrust in the Bush administration, the paper spoke frankly of Israel’s interest in overturning the Iraqi leadership and replacing it with a malleable monarchy. Referring to Saddam Hussein’s ouster as “an important Israeli strategic objective,” the paper observed that “Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly” — meaning give Israel unquestioned predominance in the region. The authors urged therefore that Israel support the Hashemites in their “efforts to redefine Iraq.”

In a much longer policy document written at about the same time for the same Israeli think tank, David Wurmser repeatedly linked the U.S. and Israel when talking about national interests in the Middle East. The “battle to dominate and define Iraq,” he wrote “is, by extension, the battle to dominate the balance of power in the Levant over the long run,” and “the United States and Israel” can fight this battle together. Repeated references to U.S. and Israeli strategic policy, pitted against a “Saudi-Iraqi-Syrian-Iranian-PLO axis,” and to strategic moves that establish a balance of power in which the United States and Israel are ascendant, in alliance with Turkey and Jordan, betray a thought process that cannot separate U.S. from Israeli interests.

Perle gave further impetus to this thrust when six years later, in September 2002, he gave a briefing for Pentagon officials that included a slide depicting a recommended strategic goal for the U.S. in the Middle East: all of Palestine as Israel, Jordan as Palestine, and Iraq as the Hashemite kingdom. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld seems to have taken this aboard, since he spoke at about the same time of the West Bank and Gaza as the “so-called occupied territories” — effectively turning all of Palestine into Israel.

Elliott Abrams is another unabashed supporter of the Israeli right, now bringing his links with Israel into the service of U.S. policymaking on Palestinian-Israeli issues. The neo-con community is crowing about Abrams’ appointment as Middle East director on the NSC staff (where this Iran-contra criminal has already been working since mid-2001, badly miscast as the director for, of all things, democracy and human rights). The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes has hailed his appointment as a decisive move that neatly cocks a snook at the pro-Palestinian wimps at the State Department. Accurately characterizing Abrams as “more pro-Israel, less solicitous of Palestinians” than the State Department and strongly opposed to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Barnes gloats that the Abrams triumph signals that the White House will not cede control of Middle East policy to Colin Powell and the “foreign service bureaucrats.” Abrams comes to the post after a year in which it had effectively been left vacant. His predecessor, Zalmay Khalilzad, has been serving concurrently as Bush’s personal representative to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban and has devoted little time to the NSC job, but several attempts to appoint a successor early this year were vetoed by neo-con hawks who felt the appointees were not devoted enough to Israel.

Although Abrams has no particular Middle East expertise, he has managed to insert himself in the Middle East debate repeatedly over the years. He has a family interest in propounding a pro-Israel view; he is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, one of the original neo-cons and a long-time strident supporter of right-wing Israeli causes as editor of Commentary magazine, and Midge Decter, a frequent right-wing commentator. Abrams has written a good deal on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, opposing U.S. mediation and any effort to press for Israeli concessions. In an article published in advance of the 2000 elections, he propounded a rationale for a U.S. missile defense system, and a foreign policy agenda in general, geared almost entirely toward ensuring Israel’s security. “It is a simple fact,” he wrote, that the possession of missiles and weapons of mass destruction by Iraq and Iran vastly increases Israel’s vulnerability, and this threat would be greatly diminished if the U.S. provided a missile shield and brought about the demise of Saddam Hussein. He concluded with a wholehearted assertion of the identity of U.S. and Israeli interests: “The next decade will present enormous opportunities to advance American interests in the Middle East [by] boldly asserting our support of our friends” — that is, of course, Israel. Many of the fundamental negotiating issues critical to Israel, he said, are also critical to U.S. policy in the region and “require the United States to defend its interests and allies” rather than giving in to Palestinian demands.

Neo-cons in the Henhouse

The neo-con strategy papers half a dozen years ago were dotted with concepts like “redefining Iraq,” “redrawing the map of the Middle East,” “nurturing alternatives to Arafat,” all of which have in recent months become familiar parts of the Bush administration’s diplomatic lingo. Objectives laid out in these papers as important strategic goals for Israel — including the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the strategic transformation of the entire Middle East, the death of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, regime change wherever the U.S. and Israel don’t happen to like the existing government, the abandonment of any effort to forge a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace or even a narrower Palestinian-Israeli peace — have now become, under the guidance of this group of pro-Israel neo-cons, important strategic goals for the United States. The enthusiasm with which senior administration officials like Bush himself, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have adopted strategic themes originally defined for Israel’s guidance — and did so in many cases well before September 11 and the so-called war on terror — testifies to the persuasiveness of a neo-con philosophy focused narrowly on Israel and the pervasiveness of the network throughout policymaking councils.

Does all this add up to dual loyalties to Israel and the United States? Many would still contend indignantly that it does not, and that it is anti-Semitic to suggest such a thing. In fact, zealous advocacy of Israel’s causes may be just that — zealotry, an emotional connection to Israel that still leaves room for primary loyalty to the United States — and affection for Israel is not in any case a sentiment limited to Jews. But passion and emotion — and, as George Washington wisely advised, a passionate attachment to any country — have no place in foreign policy formulation, and it is mere hair-splitting to suggest that a passionate attachment to another country is not loyalty to that country. Zealotry clouds judgment, and emotion should never be the basis for policymaking.

Zealotry can lead to extreme actions to sustain policies, as is apparently occurring in the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Feith Defense Department. People knowledgeable of the intelligence community have said, according to a recent article in The American Prospect, that the CIA is under tremendous pressure to produce intelligence more supportive of war with Iraq — as one former CIA official put it, “to support policies that have already been adopted.” Key Defense Department officials, including Feith, are said to be attempting to make the case for pre-emptive war by producing their own unverified intelligence. Wolfowitz betrayed his lack of concern for real evidence when, in answer to a recent question about where the evidence is for Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, he replied, “It’s like the judge said about pornography. I can’t define it, but I will know it when I see it.”

Zealotry can also lead to a myopic focus on the wrong issues in a conflict or crisis, as is occurring among all Bush policymakers with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The administration’s obsessive focus on deposing Yasir Arafat, a policy suggested by the neo-cons years before Bush came to office, is a dodge and a diversion that merely perpetuates the conflict by failing to address its real roots. Advocates of this policy fail or refuse to see that, however unappealing the Palestinian leadership, it is not the cause of the conflict, and “regime change” among the Palestinians will do nothing to end the violence. The administration’s utter refusal to engage in any mediation process that might produce a stable, equitable peace, also a neo-con strategy based on the paranoid belief that any peace involving territorial compromise will spell the annihilation of Israel, will also merely prolong the violence. Zealotry produces blindness: the zealous effort to pursue Israel’s right-wing agenda has blinded the dual loyalists in the administration to the true face of Israel as occupier, to any concern for justice or equity and any consideration that interests other than Israel’s are involved, and indeed to any pragmatic consideration that continued unquestioning accommodation of Israel, far from bringing an end to violence, will actually lead to its tragic escalation and to increased terrorism against both the United States and Israel.

What does it matter, in the end, if these men split their loyalties between the United States and Israel? Apart from the evidence of the policy distortions that arise from zealotry, one need only ask whether it can be mere coincidence that those in the Bush administration who most strongly promote “regime change” in Iraq are also those who most strongly support the policies of the Israeli right wing. And would it bother most Americans to know that the United States is planning a war against Iraq for the benefit of Israel? Can it be mere coincidence, for example, that Vice President Cheney, now the leading senior-level proponent of war with Iraq, repudiated just this option for all the right reasons in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991? He was defense secretary at the time, and in an interview with the New York Times on April 13, 1991, he said:

“If you’re going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go to Baghdad. Once you’ve got Baghdad, it’s not clear what you will do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Ba’athists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists. How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?”

Since Cheney clearly changed his mind between 1991 and today, is it not legitimate to ask why, and whether Israel might have a greater influence over U.S. foreign policy now than it had in 1991? After all, notwithstanding his wisdom in rejecting an expansion of the war on Iraq a decade ago, Cheney was just as interested in promoting U.S. imperialism and was at that same moment in the early 1990s outlining a plan for world domination by the United States, one that did not include conquering Iraq at any point along the way. The only new ingredient in the mix today that is inducing Cheney to begin the march to U.S. world domination by conquering Iraq is the presence in the Bush-Cheney administration of a bevy of aggressive right-wing neo-con hawks who have long backed the Jewish fundamentalists of Israel’s own right wing and who have been advocating some move on Iraq for at least the last half dozen years.

The suggestion that the war with Iraq is being planned at Israel’s behest, or at the instigation of policymakers whose main motivation is trying to create a secure environment for Israel, is strong. Many Israeli analysts believe this. The Israeli commentator Akiva Eldar recently observed frankly in a Ha’aretz column that Perle, Feith, and their fellow strategists “are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments and Israeli interests.” The suggestion of dual loyalties is not a verboten subject in the Israeli press, as it is in the United States. Peace activist Uri Avnery, who knows Israeli Prime Minister Sharon well, has written that Sharon has long planned grandiose schemes for restructuring the Middle East and that “the winds blowing now in Washington remind me of Sharon. I have absolutely no proof that the Bushies got their ideas from him . But the style is the same.”

The dual loyalists in the Bush administration have given added impetus to the growth of a messianic strain of Christian fundamentalism that has allied itself with Israel in preparation for the so-called End of Days. These crazed fundamentalists see Israel’s domination over all of Palestine as a necessary step toward fulfillment of the biblical Millennium, consider any Israeli relinquishment of territory in Palestine as a sacrilege, and view warfare between Jews and Arabs as a divinely ordained prelude to Armageddon. These right-wing Christian extremists have a profound influence on Bush and his administration, with the result that the Jewish fundamentalists working for the perpetuation of Israel’s domination in Palestine and the Christian fundamentalists working for the Millennium strengthen and reinforce each other’s policies in administration councils. The Armageddon that Christian Zionists seem to be actively promoting and that Israeli loyalists inside the administration have tactically allied themselves with raises the horrifying but very real prospect of an apocalyptic Christian-Islamic war. The neo-cons seem unconcerned, and Bush’s occasional pro forma remonstrations against blaming all Islam for the sins of Islamic extremists do nothing to make this prospect less likely.

These two strains of Jewish and Christian fundamentalism have dovetailed into an agenda for a vast imperial project to restructure the Middle East, all further reinforced by the happy coincidence of great oil resources up for grabs and a president and vice president heavily invested in oil. All of these factors — the dual loyalties of an extensive network of policymakers allied with Israel, the influence of a fanatical wing of Christian fundamentalists, and oil — probably factor in more or less equally to the administration’s calculations on the Palestinian-Israeli situation and on war with Iraq. But the most critical factor directing U.S. policymaking is the group of Israeli loyalists: neither Christian fundamentalist support for Israel nor oil calculations would carry the weight in administration councils that they do without the pivotal input of those loyalists, who clearly know how to play to the Christian fanatics and undoubtedly also know that their own and Israel’s bread is buttered by the oil interests of people like Bush and Cheney. This is where loyalty to Israel by government officials colors and influences U.S. policymaking in ways that are extremely dangerous.

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He is a contributor to Imperial Crusades, CounterPunch’s new history of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kathleen Christison, a former CIA political analyst, is the author of Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy and Wound of Dispossession: Telling the Palestinian Story.

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Don’t ‘feel the Bern’ if you don’t want to get burnt

By Neil Clark | RT | February 27, 2019

The news that Bernie Sanders is going to stand for president again was met with cries of joy by those who should really know better. It’ll all end in tears, as the US system doesn’t allow a genuinely transformative president.

When will they ever learn? Even after the latest reality check, with Donald Trump, the president who was going to ‘drain the swamp‘ and sideline the neocons, appointing a whole host of swamp dwellers to his team – and hardline pro-Iraq War hawk John Bolton to be his National Security Advisor – there are still, quite incredibly, a lot of people who are getting very excited about the 2020 presidential race.

This time, Bernie will do it, we’re told. And what a difference this true ‘Man of the People’ will make! Then there’s Tulsi, who’s pledged to oppose ‘regime change’ wars. She’ll stick it to the neocons, all right.

But going by past history, it ain’t going to happen. Neither Sanders or Gabbard are likely to make it to the White House. Even if they did, the odds are they’d follow much the same policies as their predecessors – as Obama did after Bush, and Trump after Obama.

One loses count of the number of presidential candidates who were billed as ’game changers’. People who were going to shake the system up. Take on Wall Street and the special interest groups. Give ‘the little people’ a voice in the White House. Stop the Wars. But it never happened.

The system was simply too strong.

Anyone remember when Howard Dean threw his hat into the ring? The governor of Vermont was one of the front-runners for the Democratic nomination in 2004. He opposed the Iraq War. Yipee! He built a grassroots campaign based on small donations. Yipee! But it all ended in tears. We can blame that ‘scream’ if we like, but there were powerful forces in the Democratic establishment against him and his campaign fizzled out like Bernie’s did twelve years later. But would President Dean have made much of a difference? Seeing how he morphed into a foreign policy hawk afterwards, the answer is not very likely. In 2016, Dean, the ‘insurgent‘ of 2003 backed Hillary Clinton over Bernie.

The system has various mechanisms for (a) preventing  candidates who want to change the status quo from becoming president and (b) making them toe the line if they are elected.

First and foremost there’s money. As Danielle Ryan detailed in a previous OpEd, it’s not Russia that’s damaging American ‘democracy’– it’s  the billions of dollars that have to be raised.

It sounds so thrilling to build a presidential campaign on small donations, but the sad truth is that the big donors will always hold a sizeable advantage. America really is the best ‘democracy’ money can buy.

Linked to this there are the very powerful lobby groups, the most powerful of which in foreign policy, is the pro-Israel lobby which expects – and indeed demands – loyalty towards Israel and hostility towards foreign actors Israel doesn’t like.

Then there’s the role of the corporate media, ownership of which is highly concentrated in enforcing pro-Establishment narratives.

Consider the way the ‘anti-war’ candidate Tulsi Gabbard went on the back-foot when being aggressively questioned on Syria on ABC’s the View by the daughter of the late neocon Senator John McCain.

“You have said that the Syrian president, Assad, is not the enemy of the United States yet he’s used chemical weapons against his own people 300 times,” McCain said.

Instead of responding to this by asking for McCain’s sources for the ‘300 times claim’ and reiterating that Assad was not an enemy of the US, which he clearly isn’t, Gabbard said there was “no disputing the fact that Bashar Assad and Syria is a brutal dictator” who has “used chemical weapons and other weapons against his people.”

In other words she caved in. The system 1 Tulsi Gabbard 0.

On foreign policy, Bernie surrendered a long time ago. He’s the classic example of a ‘licensed radical’, namely he’s allowed some leeway to slam the gross iniquities of American turbo-capitalism, but knows the score when there’s an external ’official enemy‘ to be demonised.

The system needs someone like him to give it a  ‘democratic’ veneer, but again appearances can be very deceptive. As ever, Venezuela is a good litmus test.

The self-declared ’democratic socialist’ Bernie, the man so many leftists in America and worldwide are pinning their hopes on, in 2015 referred to democratic socialist Hugo Chavez, probably the most elected man in the world, “a dead communist dictator”– having praised Venezuela and its greater income equality, years earlier.

While he hasn’t called Nicolas Maduro a ‘dictator’ yet, he did parrot a ruling class trope by saying that the last Venezuelan election “was not free or fair.”

He also called on the Venezuelan government not to use violence against protesters. That sounds reasonable enough, but what if protesters themselves use violence against government supporters, as when a black man was burnt alive in Caracas? Is the government still not allowed to respond forcefully to protect people?

On foreign policy Bernie is the ’good cop’, to John Bolton’s ‘bad cop’. He won‘t support direct military action against the target state, but he’ll undermine its legitimacy all the same. Look at how since 2016 he’s indulged in evidence-free Russophobia like the most rabid neocon.

Only last July Bernie introduced a ‘Resolution to protect American Democracy from Russian Meddling’.

“If President Trump won’t confront Putin about interference in our elections and his destabilizing policies, Congress must act. Tweets and speeches are fine, but we need more from Republican senators now,” Sanders said.

Senator Joe McCarthy would have been proud of him.

Bernie supporters will argue that toeing the line on foreign policy means their man can prioritise on domestic reforms, but how can he really change things at home if military budgets are not significantly cut and the wars continue?

The idea that any meaningful change comes through the present system in America is at best over-optimistic and at worst, hopefully naive. Only when we accept that the US is not a ’democracy’ but a regime, when everyone who stands for high office – however well-intentioned – is pulled towards promoting pro-imperialist, pro-neoliberal, elite-friendly policies, then we can make some real progress. Continuing to participate in the ’elections are so very important’ charade only prolongs the agony. And in case anyone thinks this is just an American problem, it most certainly isn’t.

Look at Britain and how Jeremy Corbyn, who did promise something really different when first elected as Labour leader in 2015, has been brought into line. Corbyn’s main problem was that he was taking over as leader of a party whose parliamentary representatives were overwhelmingly opposed to any real change. But rather than move against them Corbyn chose to compromise and his party is down to 30 percent in the polls. The one-time anti-war radical, who was going to transform Britain ’for the many not the few’ now looks a shadow of his former self.

If voting changed anything they’d abolish it. That might sound glib, but as we look at how the system operates, we can see that there’s so much truth in it.

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

Attacking Iran

Fake news about a terrorist connection could serve as a pretext for war

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • February 26, 2019

Observers of developments in the Middle East have long taken it as a given that the United States and Israel are seeking for an excuse to attack Iran. The recently terminated conference in Warsaw had that objective, which was clearly expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it failed to rally European and Middle Eastern states to support the cause. On the contrary, there was strong sentiment coming from Europe in particular that normalizing relations with Iran within the context of the 2015 multi party nuclear agreement is the preferred way to go both to avoid a major war and to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation.

There are foundations in Washington, all closely linked to Israel and its lobby in the U.S., that are wholly dedicated to making the case for war against Iran. They seek pretexts in various dark corners, including claims that Iran is cheating on its nuclear program, that it is developing ballistic missiles that will enable it to deliver its secret nuclear warheads onto targets in Europe and even the United States, that it is an oppressive, dictatorial government that must be subjected to regime change to liberate the Iranian people and give them democracy, and, most stridently, that it is provoking and supporting wars and threats against U.S. allies all throughout the Middle East.

Dissecting the claims about Iran, one might reasonably counter that rigorous inspections by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirm that Tehran has no nuclear weapons program, a view that is supported by the U.S. intelligence community in its recent Worldwide Threat Assessment. Beyond that, Iran’s limited missile program can be regarded as largely defensive given the constant threats from Israel and the U.S. and one might well accept that the removal of the Iranian government is a task best suited for the Iranian people, not delivered through military intervention by a foreign power that has been starving the country through economic warfare. And as for provoking wars in the Middle East, look to the United States and Israel, not Iran.

So the hawks in Washington, by which one means National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and, apparently President Donald Trump himself when the subject is Iran, have been somewhat frustrated by the lack of a clear casus belli to hang their war on. No doubt prodded by Netanyahu, they have apparently revived an old story to give them what they want, even going so far as to develop an argument that would justify an attack on Iran without a declaration of war while also lacking any imminent threat from Tehran to justify a preemptive strike.

What may be the new Iran policy was recently outlined in a Washington Times article, which unfortunately has received relatively little attention from either the media, the punditry or from the few policymakers themselves who have intermittently been mildly critical of Washington’s propensity to strike first and think about it afterwards.

The article is entitled “Exclusive: Iran-al Qaeda alliance May Provide Legal Rationale for U.S. military strikes.” The article’s main points should be taken seriously by anyone concerned over what is about to unfold in the Persian Gulf because it is not just the usual fluff emanating from the hubris-induced meanderings of some think tank, though it does include some of that. It also cites government officials by name and others who are not named but are clearly in the administration.

As an ex-CIA case officer who worked on the Iran target for a number of years, I was shocked when I read the Times’ article, primarily because it sounded like a repeat of the fabricated intelligence that was used against both Iraq and Iran in 2001 through 2003. It is based on the premise that war with Iran is desirable for the United States and, acting behind the scenes, Israel, so it is therefore necessary to come up with an excuse to start it. As the threat of terrorism is always a good tactic to convince the American public that something must be done, that is what the article tries to do and it is particularly discouraging to read as it appears to reflect opinion in the White House.

As I have been writing quite critically about the CIA and the Middle East for a number of years, I am accustomed to considerable push-back from former colleagues. But in this case, the calls and emails I received from former intelligence officers who shared my experience of the Middle East and had read the article went strongly the other way, condemning the use of both fake and contrived intelligence to start another unnecessary war.

The article states that Iran is supporting al Qaeda by providing money, weapons and sanctuary across the Middle East to enable it to undertake new terrorist attacks. It is doing so in spite of ideological differences because of a common enemy: the United States. Per the article and its sources, this connivance has now “evolved into an unacceptable global security threat” with the White House intent on “establishing a potential legal justification for military strikes against Iran or its proxies.”

One might reasonably ask why the United States cares if Iran is helping al Qaeda as both are already enemies who are lying on the Made in U.S.A. chopping block waiting for the ax to fall. The reason lies in the Authorization to Use Military Force, originally drafted post 9/11 to provide a legal fig leaf to pursue al Qaeda worldwide, but since modified to permit also going after “associated groups.” If Iran is plausibly an associated group then President Trump and his band of self-righteous maniacs egged on by Netanyahu can declare “bombs away Mr. Ayatollah.” And if Israel is involved, there will be a full benediction coming from Congress and the media. So is this administration both capable and willing to start a major war based on bullshit? You betcha!

The Times suggests how it all works as follows: “Congressional and legal sources say the law may now provide a legal rationale for striking Iranian territory or proxies should President Trump decide that Tehran poses a looming threat to the U.S. or Israel and that economic sanctions are not strong enough to neutralize the threat.” The paper does not bother to explain what might constitute a “looming threat” to the United States from puny Iran but it is enough to note that Israel, as usual, is right in the middle of everything and, exercising its option of perpetual victim-hood, it is apparently threatened in spite of its nuclear arsenal and overwhelming regional military superiority guaranteed by act of the U.S. Congress.

Curiously, though several cited administration officials wedded to the hard-line against Iran because it is alleged to be the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” were willing to provide their opinions on the Iran-al Qaeda axis, the authors of the recent Worldwide Threat Assessment issued by the intelligence community apparently have never heard of it. The State Department meanwhile sees an Iranian pipeline moving al Qaeda’s men and money to targets in central and south Asia, though that assessment hardly jives with the fact that the only recent major attack attributed to al Qaeda was carried out on February 13th in southeastern Iran against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a bombing that killed 27 guardsmen.

The State annual threat assessment also particularly condemns Iran for funding groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are, not coincidentally, enemies of Israel who would care less about “threatening” the United States but for the fact that it is constantly meddling in the Middle East on behalf of the Jewish state.

And when in doubt, the authors of the article went to “old reliable,” the leading neocon think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which, by the way, works closely with the Israeli government and never, ever has criticized the state of democracy in Israel. One of its spokesmen was quick off the mark: “The Trump administration is right to focus on Tehran’s full range of malign activities, and that should include a focus on Tehran’s long-standing support for al Qaeda.”

Indeed, the one expert cited in the Times story who actually is an expert and examined original documents rather than reeling off approved government and think tank talking points contradicted the Iran-al Qaeda narrative. “Nelly Lahoud, a former terrorism analyst at the U.S. Military Academy and now a New America Foundation fellow, was one of the first to review documents seized from bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. She wrote in an analysis for the Atlantic Council this fall that the bin Laden files revealed a deep strain of skepticism and hostility toward the Iranian regime, mixed with a recognition by al Qaeda leaders of the need to avoid a complete break with Tehran. In none of the documents, which date from 2004 to just days before bin Laden’s death, ‘did I find references pointing to collaboration between al Qaeda and Iran to carry out terrorism,’ she concluded.”

So going after Iran is the name of the game even if the al Qaeda story is basically untrue. The stakes are high and whatever has to be produced, deduced or fabricated to justify a war is fair game. Iran and terrorism? Perfect. Let’s try that one out because, after all, invading Iran will be a cakewalk and the people will be in the streets cheering our tanks as they roll by. What could possibly go wrong?

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

UK to impose full ban Lebanon’s Hezbollah as terrorist group, Israel urges EU to follow move

Press TV – February 25, 2019

The British government is to impose a full ban on activities of the Lebanese Resistance Movement Hezbollah as London becomes increasingly irritated by the group’s political and military success in the Middle East.

UK Home Secretary (interior minister) Sajid Javid said on Monday that the government will designate the entire Hezbollah organization as a terrorist entity as of Friday subject to the approval of the parliament.

Javid, an extreme right-wing politician of the Pakistani origin, said the UK government was no longer able to maintain a distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military activities and thus will include the group’s political unit in its blacklist.

“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party,” said Javid, adding, “Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety,” he added in a statement.

Britain has become increasingly angered by Hezbollah’s role in an anti-militancy campaign in Syria, where London has for the past eight years supported terrorist groups opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah has played a major role in helping Assad purge the Syrian territory from terrorist groups. The intervention, once criticized inside Lebanon, has helped the resistance movement increase its political clout as the group now controls three ministries, a first on the history of the Lebanese government.

The Israeli regime swiftly welcomed Javid’s announcement with Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan saying in a tweet that the European Union, which unlike the United States has opposed designation of Hezbollah as terrorist entity, should follow suit.

There was no official reaction from Hezbollah although lawmakers representing the group in the Lebanese parliament said UK decision was a “violation of sovereignty”.

UK’s move to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety would mean that anyone expressing support for the religiously-oriented organization could end up in UK jail for up to 10 year.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Zionist Media Cites Bin Salman’s Failure to Provoke Pakistan, India & China against Iran

Al-Manar | February 23, 2019

The Pakistani State-run TV Channel muted the broadcast of the speech delivered by the Saudi state minister for the foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir while he was tackling the Iranian cause, one Zionist political analyst said.

The Israeli media channels cited the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s failure to provoke Pakistan, India and China against Iran, adding that India rejected his offer to sell it the same amount of oil it purchases from Tehran for a lower price.

The Zionist analysts considered that Bin Salman tried to build more political partnerships and alliances in order to improve his conditions in his relation with the United States.

February 23, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment