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Iran issues sober warning to US: Action will be met with counteraction

Press TV – September 18, 2019

Iran has warned the United States via Switzerland that any action taken against the country over the false accusation that Tehran was behind the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities will be met with an immediate response.

In an official note passed to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents American interests, Iran reiterated that it was not behind the Saturday attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

It condemned and rejected claims by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Iran had been involved.

The note was handed to the Swiss Embassy on Monday evening, shortly after the US accused Iran of involvement in the attacks, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

In the note, Iran said that any action taken against the country would be met with immediate counteraction, which would not be limited to the source of the act of aggression.

Last Saturday, Yemeni armed forces conducted a large-scale operation against Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil installations in response to the Saudi-led war on their country, causing a partial halt in crude and gas production from the world’s top oil exporter.

The Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement immediately took credit for the attacks.

Yet, Pompeo swiftly blamed Iran.

A short while later, Trump said the US was “locked and loaded” for a response at the behest of Saudi Arabia, although he later said that he wanted no conflict with any country. Still later, the Pentagon reportedly prepared “response” options for the US president.

Tensions have significantly risen as a result of the accusations, which Iran has denied, and there has been speculation that the US may take military or other forms of action against Iran or Iranian interests.

Iran’s defense minister warns of decisive response

In another development, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami on Wednesday also dismissed the US accusations about Iran’s involvement in the attacks in Saudi Arabia.

“If a threat is posed to Iran, there will be the same decisiveness with which we responded to the American drone’s minimal incursion [into Iranian skies],” he said, referring to the shooting down of a US drone that had intruded into Iranian airspace on June 20.

Hatami also reiterated Iran’s position that the Yemeni attacks on the Saudi oil facilities were a legitimate act of self-defense.

“It’s pretty clear: there has been a conflict between two countries (Yemen and Saudi Arabia). One party to the conflict is the Yemenis, who have said explicitly that they have done this.”

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Oil Attacks: Time to Back Off on the Threats

Saudi Arabia Feels Some Pain

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | September 17, 2019

Attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil facilities on Saturday reportedly reduced the production of Aramco, the state oil company, by one half. It was a devastating demonstration of just how vulnerable the Kingdom’s oil economy actually is. Initial reports suggested that the damage had been caused by explosive drones launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who claimed responsibility, but there has been considerable skepticism regarding whether the drones available to the Houthi could actually have carried out the attack.

Inevitably, the United States and the Saudis are blaming Iran, which has often been accused of being the Houthi’s sponsor. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly claimed there was no evidence that the attacks emanated from Yemen and blamed Tehran, tweeting predictably that “amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

As is often the case, Pompeo strung together some lies and half-truths. That Iran was the culprit was and still is unproven and the attack was on Saudi Arabia, which has been subjecting the Houthis to brutal bombardment that has produced famine and introduced cholera to Yemen, not on the “world’s energy supply.” Pompeo’s language is intentionally seeking to broaden the conflict by depicting Iran as a rogue nation seeking to do damage to everyone and preparing the audience for a possible counter-strike.

U.S. and Saudi officials have indeed been investigating whether the attacks involved cruise missiles fired from Iraq or Iran and would love to come to that conclusion, whatever the actual facts might be. The Iranians are believed to have a locally developed cruise missile that goes by the name Hoveyzeh, which is very mobile and can be fired from improvised sites. It is capable of flying at low altitudes to evade radar and has a five-hundred pound conventional warhead that would be more than capable of doing the reported damage to the oil facilities, much more so than would be possible using the missiles and drones that the Houthis are known to possess.

President Trump has also added his two cents, tweeting ominously on Sunday that “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Trump, who called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to assure him of American support, also overreacted in his usual fashion, authorizing access to the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move has nothing to do with any real shortage of oil, particularly in the U.S., which imports little from the Middle East, and is clearly rather intended to stabilize oil prices during the two or more weeks it will take the Saudis to repair the damage to their facilities.

The attacks have forced Saudi Arabia to suspend production of 5.7 million barrels of oil a day, which is half of its normal output and over 5 percent of the global supply, so there will be considerable impact on global crude prices. The Saudi stock market felt the pain immediately, declining by 3 percent on Sunday with the expectation that crude prices will increase sharply over the next few days.

The damage to the facilities comes at a particularly bad time for the Saudis, perhaps by design by whoever carried out the attacks. Aramco will soon be floating an initial public offering (IPO) that could be one of the world’s largest. Potential foreign investors in particular will inevitably be concerned about the long-term security of the country’s reserves from future attacks by rebels or neighboring states, to include Iran.

Officials in Iran both and Iraq have denied allegations that the attacks had come from their respective territories, but that would be expected in any case. What is certain is that the success of the attack, from whatever source, has changed the calculus for what is taking place in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has been waging a pitiless war in Yemen, but it now finds itself far more vulnerable than it deemed to be possible. Iran for its part, benefits from the Saudi knowledge that it’s oil production can be hit and hit hard, possibly even put out of business, meaning that Riyadh will now be much more careful in how it proceeds.

The United States and possibly even Israel will also be reading the tea leaves. In a recent interview Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said that Iran had been prepared to attack American bases in the Persian Gulf region if the U.S. had attempted to retaliate after Iranian forces recently shot down its intruding spy drone over the Straits of Hormuz. He said: “… if they wanted to attack, we would have attacked U.S. bases with missiles, and we were ready, and we would have targeted the U.S. base in al-Udeid in Qatar or al-Dhafra in the Emirates or their ships in the Gulf of Oman or Arabian Sea, and if they had hit us, we would have hit them back.”

Missile warfare has created a new reality. The presumed use by poorly armed Houthis of relatively cheap and available weapons to defeat multi-billion dollar defenses sends a message not only to the Saudis but also to Washington and Jerusalem, who have similar defensive configurations. The Saudis and Americans will be forced to rethink their options while Israel, for its part, has already clearly recognized that its air defenses would be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of missiles that opponents like Hezbollah would be able to send its way. It has called off several planned major attacks on Lebanon for that reason.

The final question has to be what will Washington and Riyadh do if they come to the conclusion, whether true or false, that Iran carried out the attack. President Donald Trump is, as usual, talking tough and threatening with his favorite “locked and loaded” metaphor, but he is basically unstable and this time he might actually be intending to pull the trigger. If he does, the Iranian response would undoubtedly be both serious and sustained. Many people on both sides would die.

The correct response would be for the Saudis, the U.S. and Israel to realize that more adventurism in the Persian Gulf region could easily spin out of control. Iran or its presumed proxies have sent the message that the consequences of continued provocations could be devastating for all involved. Time to back off on the threats and it is past time for the U.S. to stop knee-jerk support of the reckless actions undertaken by both the Kingdom and Israel.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Saudi officials detain another Hamas leader in crackdown on Palestinian movement

Press TV – September 16, 2019

Saudi authorities have reportedly arrested another senior Hamas leader, as the conservative kingdom steps up its crackdown and repressive measures against the Palestinian resistance movement as well as those seeking to collect donations for people living in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Palestinian political and family sources told Arabic-language al-Khaleej Online news website on Sunday that Saudi officials have detained Saudi Arabian citizen Abu Ubaydah Khayri Hafiz al-Agha – the son of one of the most prominent founders of Hamas, identified as Khayri al-Agha, who died of natural causes in Saudi Arabia in 2014.

The source added that Saudi authorities had put Agha in Dhahban Central Prison, which is a maximum security prison facility located near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

The director general of al-Zaytouna Center for Studies and Consultations, Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh, told Khaleej Online that Agha is being kept behind bars for more than a year and a half, without any specific information about the reason for his detention.

On Saturday, Hamas called on Saudi authorities to immediately release its high-ranking official Muhammad al-Khudari, who was detained in the country five months ago without any clear charges.

Khudari, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years, represented Hamas between mid-1990s and 2003 in Saudi Arabia. He has held other important positions in the Palestinian resistance movement as well.

Back on June 3, Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Akhbar, citing informed sources who requested anonymity, reported that Saudi officials had been holding dozens of Saudi nationals and Palestinian expatriates in detention for months over affiliation to Hamas.

The report added that the most prominent figure among those arrested was Dr. Khudari.

Al-Akhbar went on to say that the campaign of arrests coincided with the closure and tight control of bank accounts, and a ban on sending any money from Saudi Arabia to the Gaza Strip.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting Hamas financially, politically or through social networking sites.

The Riyadh regime has imposed strict control over Palestinian funds in Saudi Arabia since the end of 2017.

All remittances of Palestinian expatriates are being tightly controlled, under the pretext that these funds could be diverted indirectly and through other countries to Hamas.

Money transfer offices are asking the Palestinians to bring forward strong arguments for conversion, and do not allow the ceiling of one’s money transfer to exceed $3,000.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike?

By Ron Paul | September 16, 2019

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, “It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries…” Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years.” True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they’ve created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran’s role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Iran should respond in kind to Canada’s sale of diplomatic properties: MP

Press TV – September 15, 2019

A senior member of the Iranian parliament has called for a decisive response to Canada’s sale of Iranian diplomatic properties in Ottawa and Toronto, saying Canadian shipments crossing the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf should be confiscated in response to the move.

“An order should be issued to confiscate ships and goods that set off from the Hormuz region to the destination of Canada,” said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh on Sunday, adding, “This measure should be adopted as soon as possible.”

The comments came two days after Iranian Foreign Ministry warned Canada that the country should await consequences if it does not revoke a decision to sell Iranian diplomatic properties worth tens of millions of dollars in an alleged bid to compensate so-called victims of terror.

In a Friday statement, the ministry strongly condemned the move as “a clear breach of the international law,” and urged the Canadian government to immediately return the properties.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Tehran will take action by itself to restore its rights based on international regulations if Ottawa fails to immediately revoke the unlawful decision and compensate the damages.

Falahatpisheh, a senior member of parliament’s committee on national security and foreign policy, said that courts in Iran should also be authorized to seize Canadian government properties in Iran.

He said, however, that responding in kind to the ruling issued in August by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to sell the two Iranian-owned buildings would not suffice as Canada has not enough assets in Iran that could be subject to a similar court verdict.

The lawmaker, who made the remarks in an interview with the parliament news service, said Iran had a duty to decisively counter the sale of the properties in Canada, a move which he said was clearly influenced by political lobbies who seek to “plunder” Iran’s wealth.

September 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Iran Was Ready to Attack US Bases in Case of Retaliation after US Drone Downing, Says IRGC General

By Nader Talebzadeh | American Herald Tribune | September 15, 2019

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), says Iran was ready to attack US bases in the region if the country tried to retaliate after Iran downed its intruding spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

“As was mentioned in previous interviews, if they wanted to attack, we would have attacked US bases with missiles, and we were ready, and we would have targeted the US base in al-Udeid in Qatar or al-Dhafra in the Emirates or their ships in the Gulf of Oman or Arabian Sea, and if they had hit us, we would have hit them back,” General Hajizadeh said in an interview with the Nader’s Show, hosted by Nader Talebzadeh.

During the interview, General Hajizadeh answered some questions from former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi, journalist and author Pepe Escobar and former Pentagon officer and political analyst Michael Maloof.

“Of course, they knew and had intelligence and were aware of the consequences of that eventuality,” he said. “But if that incident had occurred, the conflict would have continued and intensified.”

US busy spying 12,000 kilometers away from own borders: Hajizadeh

He pointed out that the US presence in the Middle East is not justified.

“If we take a look at the map of the world, if free-thinking people around the world and in America take a look, they will see that the distance between Iran and the United States is around 12,000 kilometers. Twelve thousand kilometers between us and America, and America has covered this distance and has come close to our borders, it builds bases and is busy spying,” he remarked.

In other words, the general continued, the issue of America’s security is not necessarily relevant to this region, and if a nation wants to defend itself it can invest in its neighboring area, but “12,000 kilometers away” cannot be viewed seriously.

“Their numerous spy planes are busy flying around outside of Iran’s borders and everybody knows that their intelligence activities and collection with manned or unmanned planes is of a significant magnitude,” Hajizadeh said, adding, “In this recent incident, we actually defended ourselves. The MQ-4C, an advanced US spy plane, entered into Iranian airspace. Yes, it is correct, it only entered into [Iran] a few kilometers, but in any case, we don’t tolerate even a few meters.”

He emphasized that his forces warned the US drone four times before shooting it down “but they did not pay any attention.”

The top Iranian general noted that the IRGC forces could also shoot down an American P8 spy plane, which had a crew of approximately 35, but decided not to do that.

Hajizadeh said the US has no reason to build military bases in the Middle East and will be driven out of the region inevitably, because “we in the region witnessed nothing but insecurity and enmity so far.”

He stated that the US spends American taxpayers’ money in a “very destructive” way in the region. “We witness civil war in Afghanistan, mass killings occurred in Iraq in these years, insecurity in the region, disease, environmental destruction. With this money that has been spent by the Americans, militant groups like Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda were created. People around the world have now realized that America has spent this money and is now supporting Saudi Arabia whose crown prince murdered [journalist Jamal] Khashoggi.”

‘Would Americans tolerate if we sent our drones to their coasts?’

The IRGC general asked the American people what their reactions would be if Iran sent its drones along the US coasts. “In other words, if we send our drones and began doing these things, would the US tolerate it? Naturally, they wouldn’t tolerate it.”

He also rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that the US had been “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran but he decided to call off the mission.

“Well, let me say that this is not true,” said General Hajizadeh, adding, “This is contrary to reality. Look, it’s possible that within the US military, among politicians’ discussions might have occurred, but they didn’t reach that decision. Why? Because we defended ourselves and downed the US spy drone. With what excuse did they want to attack?”

General Hajizadeh: Nobody wants war or conflict

The chief of the IRGC aerospace unit also said one of the things that “we and the Americans have in common is that nobody wants war or conflict, but if an unintentional conflict occurs, it is possible that it results in a war.”

“Because of the tensions and the sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” he cautioned. “When these contacts become too close, when forces come in contact with one another, it is possible that a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.”

“In other words, it’s possible that the leaders in Iran and in the US do not want war, but the forces and troops that are in contact with one another in the region enter into an unintentional war. So, logic dictates that America keeps its distance.”

Asked by Mr. Maloof about the decision-making process of downing the American drone and whether it was ordered at the highest levels, General Hajizadeh said Iranian forces at any level have specific directives on how to act in different circumstances.

“Look, we have directives that we issue to our units,” he explained. “For example, we specify that if a plane in these circumstances, with these conditions, is closing in within a certain distance, you give a warning. But if it goes beyond certain conditions, you confront and shoot it down.”

Defensive units possess higher authority compared to offensive units, says Hajizadeh

“Naturally, we have sets of authorities at various levels of the Guards, some at the command level and some at the unit level at the borders. In other words, they have a set of authorities. For example, it could be that launching a missile requires higher level authority, which is the case everywhere around the world. If for example, an airplane wants to bomb a location, a decision has to be taken. However, on matters of defense and air defense, it could be that a junior officer manning his post, when he identifies a situation and discovers something and sees that it is not a friendly force, has the duty to confront. He has this directive.”

He further explained that offensive units require authority at higher levels compared to defensive units, in which authority is granted to lower levels.

Hajizadi continued, “For instance, I’m the commander of the Aerospace Force, and I was informed only after the drone was targeted and downed. It was not the case that I was informed previously and it wasn’t the case that I stayed up and was ready to give orders. No, those units are at the border and decide themselves and have authority.”

The general noted that a similar incident occurred a few years ago, when Iranian forces shot down an Israeli spy plane which was over Natanz in the central part of the country, emphasizing, “There as well, they had the authority because it had entered their area. Naturally, they confronted it and downed it.”

Asked whether his forces identified the intruding American drone before they shot it down, Hajizadeh said, “Yes. The units in the area identified the aircraft. The difference between the Global Hawk RQ4 and the MQ4 is very slight, and the units there identified it but the units that publicized it didn’t make that distinction, but after it was downed, the precise model was established. And after it was downed and they informed me, they informed me that it was a MQ-4 drone, a very large spy aircraft.”

‘Probability of a US retaliation was very low’

Hajizadeh argued that the probability of a US response was very low after the incident “because we had warned them four times, we didn’t do it over their base, we did it over our space.”

Considering the fact that Iran was capable of targeting the P-8 but refrained from doing so, the Americans understood that it was a warning to the US, the Iranian commander said.

“Yes, it is true that they lost a very large aircraft, but nobody was killed and this was a warning that Mr. Trump also acknowledged and thanked us for choosing to [only] strike the unmanned aircraft,” he added.

He reiterated that the incident could have easily turned into a war should the Americans decided to retaliate.

Asked by Mr. Escobar whether the 3rd Khordad air defense system and its parts were produced domestically, General Hajizadeh said “We have been under an arms embargo for the last 40 years, including the eight years of the war and the last 30 years as well. We haven’t been able to buy anything from the world to bring here.”

He said Iran is even banned from purchasing automotive spare parts, and that France and some other countries with which Iran has contracts, don’t deliver automotive spare parts to the Islamic Republic.

The same goes for aircraft parts and even in very trivial things we are sanctioned, he said.

“So naturally, the import sector for weapons is very limited and we didn’t have many options. Over these years we couldn’t even import simple things like radars which every country needs for its defense. We can’t attack anybody with that radar, but it can detect if an aircraft is passing or not, and even this they wouldn’t sell to us and this had dire consequences.”

Sanctions made Iran self-sufficient: IRGC aerospace unit chief

The general highlighted that Iran became self-sufficient as a result of the sanctions which inflicted heavy losses on Iran, especially during the eight-year war which was imposed by Iraq.

Noting that Iran’s military achievements are incredible, Hajizadeh said, “Our domestic systems are not just one or two examples. Thousands of weapons systems are manufactured domestically and this would be impossible with imports and bringing things from abroad. We are self-sufficient and our dynamism will continue.”

Asked by Mr. Maloof if a conflict between Iran and the US-backed terrorist groups such as ISIS is on the horizon, General Hajizadeh said “Look, we’ve been fighting them in the last seven-eight years now, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and even in Iran and now we are continuing to fight with their remnants and the vast majority of them have been destroyed and they scattered around the region.”

“We know that they are being supported by America and at various times during the conflicts they conducted airdrops for them, supplied them, transported their commanders and they supported them. They would smuggle Iraqi oil under US protection and they would sell the crude oil. They are being supported by America and in Afghanistan this is also the case.”

“But the fighting is not going to be larger than the fighting that happened in the past and the majority of them have been eradicated and destroyed,” he added.

‘U.S. leaders, commanders not having the will for a war’

Asked Mr. Giraldi about the possibility of an Iran-US conflict, the IRGC general said, “We do not see the American military or the American political leaders having the will for a war. But all of this comes down to a decision and ultimately, it’s possible that a decision will be taken in the future.”

He went on to say, “We do not see such situation in America, US bases, the state of the US military or the morale of American officers and soldiers being on that level. But we ourselves have a duty, and with the management of the Supreme Leader, we always view the future with skepticism and we say that a big war will occur. That is, in the military we are always preparing ourselves for a war.”

“In other words, if a rational nation wants to avoid war, it has no option but to prepare itself for war,” he argued. “Therefore, it’s on this basis that we are permanently preparing ourselves, developing our capabilities, and fulfilling our intelligence and operational duties.”

General Hajizadeh also stressed that the possibility of an incident or misunderstanding which could lead to a war is higher than a pre-planned war.

Mr. Escobar asked what is the key message that the IRGC wants to American officials and more importantly global public opinion to be aware of, to which Hajizadeh responded, “We don’t have much to say to American officials because American officials are not committed to anything nor do they have any firm beliefs, nor are they concerned about the American people nor do they care about the people of the region.”

Hajizadeh: Zionists determine U.S. policies, actions

“They care about the one percent rich people in America and we believe that the American people are captives of the politicians and rulers who constitute a tiny minority who themselves are captives of the Zionists,” he noted.

“It’s the Zionists that determine who the president of the United States will be and it’s them who determine his policies and actions,” the general added.

He said America’s power is declining because of the pervasive corruption of its rulers, who “support a murderer and because of the Saudi money they are supporting Daesh and al-Qaeda which developed with the support of this same Saudi Arabia. They have really fallen and declined morally.”

According to a new report, US Army soldiers are being exposed to a deck of playing cards depicting Iranian weaponry to get a better sense of Iran’s weapons stockpile. General Hajizadeh was asked to comment on the report. He said the American troops really know and understand and they are making fun of their own officials.

“We monitor their tweets, they curse their own officials, nasty curses,” he said.

“Just imagine a few thousand people have to bear the circumstances of being on the sea for months. For rest and recreation, they take them to a barren and dry place. They are really under pressure and the troops can’t really fight with this morale.”

“I also want to say something so that the whole world hears this,” the general continued. “In addition to the US bases in various regions like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Emirates and Qatar, we can target all naval vessels up to a distance of 2,000 km and we are constantly monitoring them.”

Iran of today not comparable to Iran of 30 years ago: Hajizadeh

Hajizadeh noted that the Iran of today is not the Iran of 30 years ago, when an aircraft would fly to the center of the country like in the Tabas incident, and Iran didn’t have the equipment, the radar and the air defense systems to respond.

“They shot down our Airbus passenger plane with 290 people on board and we couldn’t respond, he said, adding, “But today it is very different. Today we are powerful and our response will be very powerful and crushing.”

Asked to comment on the impact of Iran on the defensive power of the region, General Hajizadeh said, “According to Islamic teachings, we must help Muslims around the world. If in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Yemen they (Muslims) are being attacked by enemies that are being supported by America and European countries, it is our duty to support them to the best of our abilities and to stand with the Resistance Front.”

The general said Iran will definitely help Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. in spite of the blockades and restrictions that exist.

While concluding his remarks, the Iranian commander said, “It’s not like in the past when they were alone… We are definitely interrelated and are standing beside each other and the era of hit-and-run is over. We will not allow them to oppress us and we stand united against America.”

September 15, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Justin Trudeau’s Subordination to Israel, USA and Saudi in Joining the Attack on Iran and China

By Prof. Tony Hall | American Herald Tribune | September 14, 2019

The US and Israeli governors of occupied Canada have authorized their current puppet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to complete an anti-Iranian initiative commenced by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Trudeau government completed the process of selling off about $28 million in property seized from the government from which the Harper government withdrew the Canadian embassy in 2012.

The seizure and redistribution of Iranian assets in Canada has beneath it a ruling by Judge Glenn Hainey of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Judge Hainey’s heavily politicized ruling in this case in 2016 has been deemed “an embarrassment both to Canada and the legal profession.”

The enactment that helped set in motion this fiasco is Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act passed into law in 2012 (JVTA). This legislation of the Harper government together with the ruling by Judge Hainey have imported into Canada the results of a series of US court rulings. These US rulings gave a green light to sue Iran on the basis of the Foreign Sovereign immunities Act. By following the US lead in the treatment of Iran

Canada became the second state in the world to proclaim predatory jurisdictions against states that it lists on the basis of ideological criteria, contrary to the established international-law principles of state sovereignty, state immunity, and equality of states. Canada’s list contains solely Iran and Syria, two states opposing the ongoing US geopolitical machination for “regime change” by a covertly supported mercenary war against Syria.

Ottawa’s Prof. Denis Rancourt has explained that the 2012 legislation, including amendments to Canada’s own Sovereign Immunity Act, has been used

as a pretext to enforce the US rulings, while additionally making absurd interpretations of the text of the JVTA in order to enforce rulings that have nothing to do with Canada and that are limitation barred. There was not even a civil cause of action for “terrorism” in Canada at the distant time when the claimed acts occurred. Judge Hainey did not consider and misrepresented valid legal arguments of Iran.

Dr. Rancourt goes further, pointing out the joint Canada-US initiative in mounting economic warfare against Iran violated a UN Convention in a fashion that has become tragically common in the era of the Global War on Terror. Dr. Rancourt indicates, “Canada’s new laws are explicit violations of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (ICSFT).” The UN Convention was ratified by Canada in 2002. The Convention

delimits the conditions under which domestic-court jurisdiction can be established, defines the types of funds that can be seized, and constrains the state parties to carry out their obligations “in a manner consistent with the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States and that of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other States”.

Canada is currently in the midst of a federal election campaign with a vote to take place on October 21st. How many will remind Justin Trudeau in this season of vote chasing that in his last election campaign he promised to re-establish normal diplomatic relations with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What is the worth of Prime Minister Trudeau’s political promises? In September of 2016 Stéphane Dion, Canada’s first Foreign Affairs Minister under the new Justin Trudeau government, initiated a move to return to normal diplomatic relations with Iran. Trudeau’s half-hearted attempt to resume diplomatic relations with Muslim-majority country ran into the concerted opposition of his handlers in Canada’s Israel Lobby.

Prof. Rancourt observed. “The Israel lobby has made it clear to Dion and to the Liberal Party that there will be a heavy price to pay for détente with Iran… The Israeli lobby’s wishes against Iran are bad for Canada and bad for the world.” As often happens with Justin Trudeau, Pierre Trudeau’s son chose to serve the war-mongering agenda of the Israel government over a peace agenda for Canada and the world. Trudeau has adopted from the previous Harper government the main outlines of the pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian platforms that have prevailed in Canada especially since the Harper neoconservatives took over in 2006.

When it comes to allowing the Israeli and US governments to prevail in determining Canada’s foreign policy, Prime Minister Trudeau is turning out to be a major liability. The failure to sort out a more productive relationship with Iran is not an isolated phenomenon. Trudeau has also carelessly sabotaged the health of Canada-China relations by agreeing to the US request to arrest in Vancouver Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei electronics.

Much like the politics underlying the federal government’s unilateral seizure of Iranian properties in Canada, the arrest of Meng Wanzhou came about based on an accusation that one of the Huawei family of companies had somehow violated US sanctions by doing business with an Iranian entity. Why did the government of Justin Trudeau order the arrest at the Vancouver airport of the high-profile Chinese businesswoman? Why did Canadian officials apprehend Meng Wanzhou based on US accusations she violated a US sanctions enactment never approved by Canadian parliamentarians as far as I know?

Trudeau’s decision to allow himself to become one of President Trump’s and John Bolton’s main enforcers on Iranian sanctions has had major implications for Canadian farmers and manufacturers. The products that these Canadians produce are gradually being shut out of larger and larger portions of the Chinese market. Trudeau’s responsibility for this commercial mess forms a marker of his political ineptitude when it comes to the highest order of international relations. To describe his police action as some sort of requirement of “the rule of Law” is very deceptive to put in kindly.

Justin Trudeau is entering this national election with a major scandal in the mix of issues he must navigate. Since January of 2019 Trudeau has had to respond to revelations by Canada’s former Attorney General and others that he and his office partnered with a large international engineering firm, SNC Lavalin, to change the law so that the company could avoid a host of criminal prosecutions.

According, for instance, to the investigations of the World Bank, SNC-Lavalin and related companies have broken international records for bribery and corruption. The array of criminal prosecution directed at SNC-Lavalin still has yet to be explained clearly and comprehensively to the Canadian electorate.

Trudeau has attempted to defend the Liberal Party from revelations that Canada’s criminal justice system is being corrupted in the effort to gain Deferred Prosecution Agreements for SNC-Lavalin’s many proven violations of law. Trudeau regularly tries to defend his political coziness with the corporate serial offenders by proclaiming his intention to protect 9,000 Canadian jobs, many of them in SNC’s Montreal headquarters. Never does Justin Trudeau mention that SNC-Lavalin also has 9,000 employees in Saudi Arabia.

While Trudeau has sometimes been pointed in his criticisms of Saudi human rights violations, the fact remains that Canada is in bed commercially and politically with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royal dynasty is Israel’s closest ally in the Arab world. The Trudeau government goes along with the rest of the West in looking the other way when it comes to, for instance, Saudi attacks on Yemen or to Saudi violations of human rights including the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Jamal’s Uncle, Adnan Khashoggi, was a CIA asset and an “arms dealer.” He was one of the primary figures who helped to set up another notoriously corrupt Canadian company, Barrick Gold, on the Toronto stock exchange.

Saudi Arabia, of course, has been a major source of funding, arms, drugs, and ideology establishing mercenary proxy armies like ISIL/Deash. The Iranian government has consistently fought to defend its own citizenry from ISIL/Daesh. The Saudi government often uses its own notorious approach to manipulating Islamic discontent to advance its own religious, ideological and foreign policy initiatives. Moreover, Iran has had to defend itself from MeK terrorists nowadays supported by many influential American and European politicians. About 35 MeK thugs attacked the Iranian embassy in Ottawa in 1992 as part of a larger effort of destructive intervention throughout the West.

Iran has been the subject of Stuxnet cyber-attacks emanating from the US National Security Agency in partnership with Unit 8200 of the Israeli Defense Force. Other facets of these attacks have targeted for assassination Iranian nuclear scientists. Why is Justin Trudeau siding so pointedly with Saudi Arabia against Iran just as he has been siding so strongly with the United States over China? Iran is a country with far more viable programs of regular national elections, women’s rights and minority rights than the Frankenstinian regime of Saudi Arabia.

As we head into this election campaign in Canada, it is not very likely that we will hear the word “Palestinian” from politicians seeking our vote. As in many Western Countries, the Israel Lobby not only closely controls the policies of governing parties. The Israel Lobby also has great influence over the policies of the opposition parties including Canada’s New Democratic Party as well as the Green Party. The Green Party’s Elizabeth May, who emigrated to Canada from the United States, fought off a bold effort from within her group to institute BDS. In doing so she basically saluted the anti-Palestinian objectives of the Israel Lobby in Canada.

The result of all this is that we have little meaningful debate in our Canadian Parliament between political parties all of whom are tightly controlled by groups like B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the CIJA. This pattern prevails as well in Canada’s mainstream media where discussion of Israel-Palestinian relations is intellectually and politically impoverished.

I was reminded of the biases of the largest part of the Canadian media by the prejudices and convenient blind spots in the article that alerted me to the latest anti-Iranian moves of the Canadian government. That article by Stewart Bell appeared in a Global Television news report today, Friday Sept. 13.

Bell’s article includes the following propaganda statement without even the slightest hint of proof, explanation or background. Quoting Danny Eisen representing something called the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, Bell and Global Television assert, “The Iranian regime unwaveringly and unabashedly provides tens of billions of dollars for terrorist organizations that have destroyed innocent lives across the globe, including those of Canadians.”

This kind of journalistic excess is indicative of the dishonesty that drives much mainstream media reporting in Canada. Bell’s emphasis on the unexplained accusations of an entity calling itself the Canadian Coalition Against Terror quite clearly embodies the worst kind of propaganda aimed at instigating the ultimate terror of aggressive warfare against Iran, a country of 80 million citizens.

Such a bellicose threat on behalf of war hawks can be described as the kind of provocation Justin Trudeau might very well embrace if he thinks it will serve his personal quest for expanded power. I sincerely hope I am wrong in this assessment and that Trudeau shows his dovish side as a proponent of peace in this national election campaign.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

EU’s $15bn Credit Line Has Nothing to Do with Sanctions Relief: Oil Minister

Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh

Al-Manar | September 14, 2019

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Saturday that the France-proposed $15 billion credit line for Iran has nothing to do with easing of US sanctions on the country.

“In the eye of the country’s oil industry, sanctions relief means selling oil,” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters on Saturday.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a deal between Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) and Petropars Company for developing Belal Gas Field in the Persian Gulf.

“The point was for the oil sanctions to be lifted so that we could freely sell our oil. This credit line will put Iran in debt in the future,” he added, according to Mehr news agency.

The $15 billion credit line has been proposed by the French side in a bid to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the wake of US’ unilateral withdrawal and Iran’s countermeasures in reducing commitments to the agreement.

The package is meant as an incentive to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement in the face of US’ efforts to drive the country’s oil exports to zero.

The sum is said to account for about half the revenue Iran normally would expect to earn from oil exports in a year.

Elsewhere, Zanganeh maintained that the development of the phase 11 of South Pars has not yet been exempted from US sanctions.

He then refused to confirm data of Iran’s oil reserves or answer any questions regarding Iran’s measures to bypass US sanctions.

He noted, however, that Iran is in talks with China to peacefully resolve the issue of the East Asian country’s decision to leave the SP11 development project.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel Directing Policy Through US Treasury: Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Political Allies in Lebanon

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | September 12, 2019

Nearly three years into the Trump administration, one thing is clear: as it struggles to wage any new direct shooting or proxy wars, Washington has instead relied on economic warfare against its perceived enemies, and largely on behalf of the state of Israel.

Through the U.S. Treasury Department and its own openly pro-Israel agents of influence, namely Secretary Steve Mnuchin, along with his Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal P. Mandelker, Israel has been able to attack and undermine all of its own geopolitical enemies and region rivals. The chief mechanism for achieving this is by directing the US government to label any person, politician or state agency – as a “terrorist,” or as a terrorist entity, thus allowing the US government to apply sanctions against any person or entity which Israel designates as its enemy, or even potential enemy. As a result of this runaway policy, the list of sanctioned persons and organisations by the Trump administration is the most in history.

Firmly in its crosshairs is Lebanon’s well-established political and military wings of the Hezbollah organisation. There is a fundamental flaw in the West’s framing of Hezbollah though, starting with its origins. It is a fact of history that Hezbollah was born out of Israel’s illegal occupation of southern Lebanon. Had Israel not invaded and occupied this region, or prosecuted its long and violent military campaign during and after the Lebanese Civil War, then it’s possible the Hezbollah movement may never had formed. It was born out of Israel’s occupation. Indeed, Iran has been traditional supporter of the group – which has drawn the ire of Washington and Tel Aviv who view both Iran and Hezbollah as a joint obstacle to US-Israeli strategic security objectives in the Middle East. In order to elevate Hezbollah to ‘most targeted status,’ US officials have had to repeatedly fabricate claims that Hezbollah is acting as major global terrorist organisation. In the same breath, US officials, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will enthusiastically drift out the well-worn fable that ‘Iran is the world’s number state-sponsor of terror’.

Earlier this year, the US also announced that henceforth, Iran’s leading military divisions, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force – would now be designated as a “terrorist organisation.” The cold irony of course, is that Hezbollah militias are presently fighting (and defeating) actual terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and ISIS (both of who have been created, as well as armed and financed by numerous western and gulf states, including the United States) in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Since 2013, Hezbollah militia have played a pivotal role in ejecting al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists from their enclaves in Syria, thus thwarting the regime change objectives of US, UK, France, NATO member states, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and also Israel too. Likewise for IRGC and Quds special military advisors deployed in Iraq and Syria to help subdue the invading terrorist brigades. The same is true for Iranian-backed militias in Iraq like the Hash’d Shaabi (People’s Mobilization Units), predominantly Shia, who were pivotal in Iraq’s ultimate victory over ISIS in 2017. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn summed it up when he concluded that the greatest threat to building peace in Iraq was not ISIS, but rather, Donald Trump determined to pick a fight with Iran. Documentation on the number of casualties is still difficult to determine, but on the aggregate, between Hezbollah, Hash’d, Iranian forces, the losses sustained in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda number in the tens of thousands – and likely far more than the combined US soldier death tolls in 18 year-long War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. Regardless of general western ignorance of what has actually transpired in Syria since 2011, and in Iraq since 2014, the people who actually live in the Middle East know the severity of this largely foreign-backed terrorist usurpation.

Regardless of the facts on the ground, neconservatives and war hawks in the Beltway are still happily pressing ahead with their policies. With Tel Aviv carefully leading from behind, Washington has successfully pressured many of its allies to obey its geopolitical dictates, with the UK, Argentina and Paraguay all falling into line this year by designating Hezbollah – both its political and military wings – as a terrorist organisation, as well as pressuring Brazil to follow suit.

Of deeper concern for Washington though, is that Hezbollah is defending Lebanon’s borders from what is undoubtedly the region’s most prolific aggressor – Israel. In just the last few weeks, Israel has attacked no less than 4 of its neighbours, including unprovoked military strikes against Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and of against Palestinians living under illegal Israeli occupation in Gaza. Hezbollah also poses another threat to Israeli hegemony in the region because of its unflagging support for Palestinian resistance against Israel’s violent occupation and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people. Similarly, the Islamic Republic of Iran also supports the Palestinian resistance cause, which is also a predicate for Israel’s various and sundry fabricated claims about a ‘secret Iranian nuclear arsenal,’ and imagined conspiracy that ‘Iran is occupying Syria’ – all of which are designed to garner leverage in Washington whereby US officials can view Hezbollah an accomplice to “Iran’s threat world peace.” This is the sort of geopolitical gymnastics which Israel is attempting to perform on a daily basis in order to justify the longest-running, most brutal and inhumane apartheid regimes in modern history – being waged against Palestinians and Arabs in the Middle East.

Targeting Hezbollah’s Political Allies

Still, Washington insists on basing its international relations on these numerous fabricated claims about Iran and Hezbollah drafted by Israel’s J Street lobbyists and the Prime Minister’s office in Tel Aviv. Now the Trump administration is taking this method a step further by threatening to sanction any political allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon. With military options practically off the table, this is the only remaining option for Washington and Tel Aviv to try and undermine Hezbollah which is now a political force in Lebanese politics, forming a working majority in the Lebanese Parliament along with its allies, as well as holding key ministerial and cabinet positions. But will it work?


Future Sanctions Will ‘Absolutely’ Target Hezbollah Allies in Lebanon: US Envoy

Al-Manar – September 13, 2019

US envoy said on Thursday that future sanctions could target allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“In the future we will designate, because we have to, individuals in Lebanon who are aiding and assisting Hezbollah, regardless of their sect or religion,” the new US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Schenker, said in an interview with local LBCI television.

When asked by the interviewer if this means sanctions will target allies of Hezbollah, Schenker said “absolutely,” adding that the US is constantly reviewing its sanctions lists.

Earlier on Tuesday, US State Department announced it has issued sanctions against four alleged Hezbollah members, Ali Karakeh, Mohammad Haydar, Ibrahim Aqil and Fouad Shukr.

The administration of Presdient Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions on Hezbollah and other resistance groups since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

Last month, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on the Lebanese Jammal Trust Bank, claiming the bank “brazenly enabling” Hezbollah’s financial activities. And in June, the Treasury took the unprecedented step of sanctioning two sitting Hezbollah MPs, Amin Sharri and Mohammad Raad, alongside security head Wafiq Safa.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A False Accusation of Antisemitism from Where You Would Least Expect It

By Jeff Blankfort | Dissident Voice | September 12th, 2019

I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.

— Benjamin Netayahu, 2001, quoted in Ha’aretz, July 15, 2010

It is not uncommon, of course, to be labeled “anti-Semitic” for calling attention to the inordinate power of the Israel Lobby over our political processes or suggesting that the Iraq War was launched on Israel’s behalf. The last place that I would expect to find such an allegation, however, was on the CounterPunch website to which I have contributed a number of articles on the subject over the years.

On August 2nd in an opinion piece by Ron Jacobs, headlined, “Israel—The Largest US Aircraft Carrier in the World,” those, like myself, who have described, in detail, on CounterPunch and elsewhere, the manner in which the Israel Lobby controls both Congress and the White House on issues relating to Israel, were accused of propagating “what is an essentially anti-Semitic argument concerning the nature of the Washington-Tel Aviv alliance.”

That Jacobs, a veteran of the Sixties as long of tooth as myself, a prolific writer and frequent contributor to Left publications, would make such an allegation, after what we have learned about the role of pro-Israel Jewish neocons in fomenting the Iraq War and following that, implementing crippling sanctions on Iran while agitating against the nuclear agreement with Tehran, is as mind boggling as it is insulting.

Jacobs did this under the cover of what purports to be a review of a new book by historian Stephen Gowans, Israel: A Beachhead in the Middle East, which Jacobs contends is “a necessary and forceful rebuke of those on the left and right who insist that Washington is Israeli-occupied territory.”

First, a book review it is not. One cannot do justice to any serious book in just 764 words which is the length of Jacobs’ piece, although whether Gowans’ book which amplifies the charge of antisemitism can be taken seriously is open to question.

If not a book review then, what is it? Let’s start with the title, a quote from the late general and Secretary of State Alexander Haig whose very sanity came into question following the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan when Vice-President George HW Bush was away from the capital. At that point, as the New York Times described it, Haig “raced upstairs [to the press room] and went directly to the lectern before a television audience of millions. His knuckles whitening, his arms shaking, Mr. Haig declared to the world, ‘I am in control here, in the White House.’ He did not give that appearance.”

In any case, Gowans use of Haig’s quote in his book turned out to be hearsay from a dubious source.

From Jacobs’ opening sentence, it seems clear that his intention was to provide “damage control” for the plethora of predominantly Jewish organizations whose primary raison d’etre is pushing the agenda of the Netanyahu government on Capitol Hill whose activities, not to mention, existence, have been largely ignored or dismissed by others on the “Left” who share Jacobs’ aversion to blaming even a segment of American Jews for anything. (Think Noam Chomsky, Phyllis Bennis, Stephen Zunes).

“The Israeli government does not control the foreign policy of the United States.,” is how Jacobs began his article. True, but none of those he is criticizing argue that it is and Jacobs must surely know this. They affirm, with considerable evidence to back it up, that supporters of the Israeli government are largely responsible for shaping US policies in the Middle East and nowhere else. In other words, Jacobs has created a straw man.

If we restrict ourselves to this millennium, one only has to look at the appointees from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) that George W Bush brought into his administration, and particularly to the Pentagon and who became activated, like sleeper cells, after the events of September 11.

From PNAC, came a troop of 20, foremost among them, Dick Cheney, Dubya’s Vice-President, Donald Rumsfeld, (Secretary of Defense), Paul Wolfowitz, (Deputy Secretary of Defense), Richard Perle, (Defense Advisory Board), Doug Feith, (Under Secretary of Defense for Policy), Lewis (Scooter) Libby (Cheney’s Chief of Staff), and John Bolton who received a recess appointment as UN ambassador when it was clear he wouldn’t get Senate approval. (Bolton would later be hailed by Israel’s UN ambassador, Dan Gillerman, as “the sixth man in our office” and last year, after replacing H.R. McMaster as Trump’s National Security Adviser, he received the “Defender of Israel” award from the Zionist Organization of America).

Launched in 1997 by neocons Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol, (son of Irving Kristol, the neocon movement’s co-founder), PNAC drew attention on Capitol Hill the following year when it sent a letter to then President Bill Clinton, calling on him to overthrow Saddam. Among its signatories were Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. Legislation was passed, the Iraq Liberation Act, in 1998, which stated that it was US policy to oust Saddam but no action was taken or contemplated.

What makes the Israeli connection indisputable was that PNAC was preceded a year earlier by a policy paper prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” Its authors were a study group led by Perle which included Feith, David Wurmser and his Israeli wife Meyrav Wurmser and called for the removal of Saddam Hussein, highlighting Iraq’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction.” Wurmser would go on to become a Middle East Advisor for Vice President Cheney and with Feith, help set up the Office of Special Plans to produce evidence of Iraq’s WMDs when the CIA failed to come up with it.

What those who insist that the 2003 war on Iraq was just a continuation of traditional US imperialist policies refuse to acknowledge is that the invasion of Iraq marked a 180 degree break with what US Middle Eastern policy had been up to that point, namely, to maintain stability in that oil rich region.

That is why former president George HW Bush, his Secretary of State, James Baker and his National Security Advisor, former general, Brent Scowcroft, publicly opposed the war and why Bush Sr resisted demands from the neocons and Israel’s allies in the media, to have US troops march to Baghdad and remove Saddam from power after ousting Iraqi troops from Kuwait a decade earlier.

When this fact was pointed out to George W Bush by Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet the Press, Dubya responded, “I answer to a higher father.”

Before the war went south, Perle and Wolfowitz were competing in the media for credit for the great victory over Saddam. Both men, along with Cheney, Feith, and Bolton, were also members of JINSA’s Advisory Board, an influential but little known neocon operation that came into existence in 1976, apparently in response to President Gerald Ford having suspended a shipment of US jet fighters to Israel for six months upon Israel’s refusal to give up land in the Egyptian Sinai that it had captured in the October 1973 war.

Moreover, Ford sent a private letter to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin warning him about a likely re-evaluation of US-Israel relations, hinting that he might call for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders. Rabin made the letter public which alerted AIPAC to respond. It struck back against Ford by getting 76 senators, three-quarters of that body, to sign a letter to the president, warning him that the US-Israeli bond was sacrosanct and should not be meddled with. Ford quickly backed off and over the years, many more such letters, drafted by AIPAC, would reach the desk of our presidents.

JINSA saw its goal as making sure that the US and Israeli militaries would become so entwined that no future president would ever contemplate or be able to disentangle the armed forces of both countries. To ensure that, it created a large advisory board composed of former generals and admirals and a few police chiefs while arranging programs to take newly retiring generals and admirals on all expense paid trips to Israel. There are currently 57 former generals and admirals on the JINSA advisory board. The first and last article about JINSA in a national publication appeared in The Nation in 2002 and like PNAC, its existence has been ignored by those engaged in damage control on Israel’s behalf.

Even Colin Powell’s attribution of the war to Donald Rumsfeld’s embrace by “the JINSA crowd,” in Karen DeYoung’s biography of Powell, Soldier, did not stir any of the latter to reconsider their positions.

Going back to the first US war on Iraq, all of the sanctions put in place against governments viewed by Israel as its enemies, have largely been the work of AIPAC and its sister organizations such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. WINEP or TWI (its current acronym) was spawned by AIPAC in 1985 in order to make the step from lobbying for Israel to actually making policy itself. It has become arguably the most influential of the Beltway think tanks whose “experts” routinely appear before Congressional committees and whose op-ed pieces invariably find their way into the opinion sections of our leading newspapers and the inboxes of members of Congress.

To enforce the sanctions, after 9/11, President Bush set up a special department in the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence which, beginning with the appointment of pro-Israel zealot, Stuart Levey, became the exclusive provenance of pro-Israel Jews, the latest of whom, Sigal Mandelker, is actually an Israeli. It is this department, in essence, an arm of the Israeli government, that determines what countries and companies are adhering to or breaking sanctions on Iran and Syria and which organizations should be placed on the terrorist watch list.

When Obama took office, the Israeli press reported that Levey had made a special trip to Israel to assure Netanyahu that under the new president, nothing would change.

Were there not sanctions on Iraq and on Iran, the major US oil companies would have been more than happy to do business with both countries. The last company that tried, Conoco, was obliged to cancel a deal it had made with Tehran in March, 1995.

The only way the Obama Administration was able to sign the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with Iran and the other members of the UN Security Council plus Germany was to declare it to be an agreement, not a treaty, thus avoiding having a vote on it by the Senate where it would surely have been defeated. Not to be denied, Israel’s friends in Washington had the Senate pass a bill requiring Obama and succeeding presidents to ratify US participation in the agreement every 90 days. This was the equivalent of a poison pill and a perfect set-up for Donald Trump.

There is far too much evidence of Israel’s control of Washington to include in this short article but two more items should seal the debate.

The first begins in 2015 in Las Vegas when Jewish multi billionaire Sheldon Adelson held two auditions for prospective Republican presidential candidates at his Venetian Hotel to determine which one would be the best for Israel. Adelson was at the time and still is the owner of the most widely read newspaper in Israel, Israel Hayom, which is provided free and has been seen, until recently, as a mouthpiece for Netanyahu. On the day he opened his newspaper, he apologized to his Israeli audience for having “worn the uniform of the US army and not the Israeli Defense Forces,” a clip of which can still be seen on You Tube.

Adelson’s choices after the auditions were first Ted Cruz and then Marco Rubio. When both failed to attract the voters, Adelson switched to Trump, pumping tens of millions of dollars into his campaign and, judging from Trump’s gifts to Israel, not the least of which was moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, it is safe to say that Adelson bought himself a president.

Cut now to last December, in Florida, at the annual convention of the relatively new Israeli American Council, the major funder of which happens to be Adelson. On the stage as the host was Israeli-American Haim Saban, one of the Democratic Party’s major funders who once boasted to a New Yorker writer that he was a “one issue man and that issue is Israel.”

It was shortly after the November mid-term elections and Saban was interviewing the returning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer, the Senate’s top ranking Democrat. As Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) described it on Dec. 2:

Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat who likely will be speaker of the new US House of Representatives, listed pro-Israel lawmakers she plans to name to key committee positions and said her party remained fundamentally pro-Israel.

’We have people very well placed to share our values,’ Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in addressing the final event Sunday of the annual Israeli-American Council conference, after listing planned assignments.

Pelosi said she would name Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York, to chair the Appropriations Committee; Eliot Engel, D-New York, to chair the Foreign Affairs Committee; Ted Deutch, D-Florida, to chair the Middle East subcommittee; Adam Schiff, D-California, to chair the Intelligence Committee; Alcee Hastings, D-Florida, to chair the human rights-monitoring Helsinki Committee; Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, to a key Appropriations Committee position; and Lois Frankel, D-Florida, to a key Foreign Affairs Committee position.

All have longstanding pro-Israel records and all but Hastings are Jewish.”1

Pelosi’s exchange with Saban can still be viewed on You Tube but don’t look for any report on that conference outside of the Jewish press. The corporate media, like Congress, is under the thumb of the Israel Lobby.

Notes

  1. Wasserman-Schultz had been the chair of the DNC who was forced to resign after the release by WikiLeaks of the DNC’s emails exposed the DNC’s efforts to sabotage Bernie Sanders on Hillary Clinton’s behalf. Obviously, that did not hurt her in Pelosi’s eyes.

Jeffrey Blankfort can be reached at: jblankfort@earthlink.net.

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Zarif reminds Trump: Did you know Netanyahu pushed you into Afghan war, too?

Press TV – September 10, 2019

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reminds the United States that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contributed to the launch of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan before he tried bringing about the Washington-spearheaded war on Iraq.

“Did you know, realDonaldTrump (the name of the US president’s Twitter account), that Netanyahu was also instrumental in pushing the US into the Afghanistan quagmire?” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday.

The tweet incorporated a video showing the Israeli premier’s promoting the Afghan invasion before its realization in 2001 during a congressional hearing in the US.

“His (Netanyahu’s) motto since 1986: Fight to the last American soldier,” Zarif added. He was citing a remark made by the Israeli politician in a book written by him that year, to which Netanyahu himself is seen referring during the hearing.

About 18 years on, Zarif said, the United States is now bogged down in Afghanistan and unable to “get out,” referring to Washington’s inability to strike a peace deal with the Afghan militant group Taliban, which the US overthrew through the invasion but failed to eliminate.

On Monday, Zarif had posted another tweet indicating Netanyahu’s influence in realization of the US-led invasion of Iraq two years after the invasion of Afghanistan.

In that tweet, he pointed to Netanyahu’s remarks back in 2002, during which the Israeli premier promoted a US-led military aggression against the Arab country by claiming that it would hugely benefit the region.

The United States led its allies in the invasion a year later. The war was ensued by devastating chaos in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. The tumultuous aftermath also paved the way for the emergence of Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East.

“Remember his “GUARANTEE” of “positive reverberations” in ’02?” the tweet read, and also incorporated a video of Netanyahu’s giving the pledge.

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Damascus strongly condemns US-Turkish joint military patrols in northeastern Syria

By Sarah Abed | September 10, 2019

On Sunday, six military vehicles from Akcakale district in southeast Sanliurfa in Turkey, crossed the border into Syria and joined a US military convoy in carrying out joint military ground patrols from Tel Abyad, Al Raqqa governorate to Ras Al Ain, Al Hassaka governorate. Two helicopters flew overhead, and unmanned aerial vehicles were also used according to Turkey’s Defense Ministry.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are leaving areas on Turkey’s border and uprooting fortifications as part of the US-Turkey “safe zone” agreement, which was the result of relentless pressure from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had threatened to unilaterally proceed with his plans if the US dragged its feet. Turkey also threatened to carry out a military operation last month, against Kurdish militias east of the Euphrates, but US officials stopped the operation.

Under the “safe zone” initiative Erdogan wants to establish a “peace corridor” through which he can send back a million of the four to five million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey. Refugees would be forced to resettle in northern Syria on Turkey’s borders to create a buffer zone thereby changing the demographics of the area. It’s worth noting that many of these displaced refugees are not from the northern Syria.

Erdogan has threatened to “open the gates” and allow millions of refugees currently residing in Turkey to flood Europe and specifically Greece, if his requests are not met in Syria. Some have noted that these refugees are not even Syrian and came from dozens of other countries to fight alongside foreign-funded extremist groups in Syria.

Ankara has also been looking into Russian military equipment and threatened to build nuclear weapons.

In a statement made to the Syrian national news agency SANA an official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry stated, “The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms launching joint patrols by the US administration and the Turkish regime in the Syrian al-Jazeera region in a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Syria sees this as a form of aggression which is aimed at complicating and prolonging the crisis in Syria and to hinder significant progress made by the Syrian Arab Army against the remaining terrorist groups. Syria absolutely rejects the creation of a “safe zone” and affirms its determination to counter any attempts that put its safety and territorial integrity at risk.

The Syrian government has highlighted previously that Erdogan’s true intentions include “expansionist ambitions” and reviving the Ottoman empire, under the façade of protecting his borders from Kurdish terrorist groups.

In January 2018, Erdogan carried out Operation Olive Branch by invading Afrin and effortlessly defeating the YPG. In a matter of months more than 150,000 Kurds were displaced when they fled to neighboring areas and were replaced with refugees that had fled to Turkey. The demographics were changed and many of the residents who did stay complained about living under harsh extremist conditions enforced by the Turkish-aligned resettled refugees.

At that time, the Kurdish population in Afrin realized that the US will not defend them against an onslaught by NATO ally Turkey and had left them to fend for themselves. The mistake that separatist Kurds have made for the past four years during this war is relying on the United States to save and protect them. Thinking that Washington cares about their independence or political ambitions has put them in several embarrassing situations, including the one they are in now, east of the Euphrates river.

Ultimately, separatist Kurds are responsible for the illegal presence of foreign armed forces from the United States, France, Britain, and coming in at the eleventh hour, Denmark in northern Syria. Had they not turned against the Syrian government and sold their dignity for weaponry, training, and funds from the US led coalition, Turkey would not have had an excuse to invade. This does not take away from the blame that should be placed on all other parties that are impeding the Syrian military progress.

Before the war, Kurdish minorities lived peacefully alongside their fellow Syrian brothers and sisters and many were enlisted in the Syrian army fighting against terrorists. It was only when the United States started backing and providing them with funds, supplies, training, etc. did they turn to treason and treachery. This sort of behavior is not uncommon, Kurds with separatist ambitions have previously been used to create division and instability in the region, including during the Iraq/Iran war. They are closely allied with Israel and have worked with several terrorist groups during the eight-year war in Syria.

The SDF/YPG are seen by Turkey as the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) with whom they have been in conflict for over three decades.

The hostile environment created by the self-declared autonomous Kurdish administration has been rejected by not only the Syrian government and the non-Kurdish Syrian majority in Al Hassaka governorate but by Russia, Iran, and Turkey who’ve issued joint statements declaring their opposition to the autonomous regions set by the Kurdish-led SDF and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northern Syria saying they “reject… all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism.” On Sunday, Syrians held a massive rally in Deir Ezzor against the US-backed Kurdish militias calling for their expulsion from the area.

Last December, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, separatist Kurds turned to Damascus for talks, but when Washington didn’t follow through with the withdrawal, the talks turned stale. There has been mention that talks are now resuming but as long as the Kurdish militias and their political mouthpieces continue receiving handouts from Western nations and direction from the US/Israel, negotiations will be futile.

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and analyst.

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments