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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

By Federico PIERACCINI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.01.2019

The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pompeo Turns Reality Upside Down

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.01.2019

The speech made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the American University in Cairo on January 10th deserves more attention than it has received from the US media. In it, Pompeo reveals his own peculiar vision of what is taking place in the Middle East, to include the impact of his own personal religiosity, and his belief that Washington’s proper role in the region is to act as “a force for good.” The extent to which the Secretary of State was speaking for himself was not completely clear, but the text of the presentation was posted on the State Department website without any qualification, so one has to assume that Pompeo was representing White House policy.

Pompeo immediately set the stage for what was to follow, asserting in his first several paragraphs that “This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian… In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth. And it’s the truth, lower-case ‘t,’ that I’m here to talk about today. It is a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world, but because I’m a military man by training, I’ll be very blunt and direct today: America is a force for good in the Middle East.”

Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence are quite likely the two most prominent Evangelical Christians in the Donald Trump Administration. Further, the two are Christian Zionists, which means that the return of the Jews to the Middle East is an essential precursor component of their belief that certain steps must be taken to bring about the second coming of Christ. Some Christian Zionists believe that the second coming is imminent, but whether or not that is true of Pence and Pompeo, they nevertheless share the conviction that the state of Israel must be protected at all costs, a view that certainly shapes their policy recommendations regarding the Middle East. And that view also has an impact on policy towards Israel’s neighbors, with Iran in particular being vilified as the purely evil foe, a “cancerous influence,” that will be destroyed in the great battle of Armageddon which will lead to the second coming and the rapture of all good Christians into Heaven.

Beyond that, Pompeo sought in his speech to disparage the Middle Eastern policy of Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama and to make clear that something fresh and exciting has arrived in its place. He said that the United States had been “absent too much” to help friends in the Middle East. “Why? Because our leaders gravely misread our history, and your historical moment. These fundamental misunderstandings, set forth in this city in 2009, adversely affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people in Egypt and all across the region. Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology. He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed, quote, ‘a new beginning,’ end of quote. The results of these misjudgments have been dire.”

Along the way Pompeo trots out a lot of half-truths and even completely fabricated lies, saying that America’s “timidity” had let to the rise of ISIS, had enabled Iran’s government to crush the “Green Revolution,” had freed Tehran to interfere all over the region, had allowed Hezbollah to accumulate a massive arsenal to threaten Israel, and had permitted Bashar al-Assad to kill his own people with chemical weapons. And worst of all, there was a false desire for peace that led to “a [nuclear] deal with Iran, our common enemy.”

Pompeo concludes from the record of calamities that “So today, what did we learn from all of this? We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance… The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering. Now comes the real new beginning. In just 24 months, actually less than two years, the United States under President Trump has reasserted its traditional role as a force for good in this region.”

Apart from the histrionics, the speech was clearly intended to deliver a simple political message to the audience and particularly to the Egyptian and Gulf governments. By asserting a “force for good” mandate, Pompeo was actually telling all the autocratic regimes in the Middle East that they can do whatever they want as long as they hate Iran.

To be sure, Pompeo’s speech contained a number of lines that might be considered attempts at humor given the absurdity of some of the claims being made. He said “For those who fret about the use of American power, remember this: America has always been, and always will be, a liberating force, not an occupying power. We’ve never dreamed of domination in the Middle East. Can you say the same about Iran?” Actually, you could say exactly that about Iran, which hasn’t occupied anyone since the seventeenth century. It is the US that has land, sea and air power based all over the region while also fighting wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It is America’s best friend and ally Israel that is occupying Palestine.

But the best line was towards the end, “And in Yemen, we will continue to work for a lasting peace. And I think this is clear, but it is worth reiterating: The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against the Iranian regime’s aggressive adventurism. We will continue to ensure that Israel has the military capacity to do so decisively.”

As Yemen is achieving peace through American bombs supplied to the Saudis while “ally” Israel is the most persistent aggressor in the Middle East second only to Washington, it is ludicrous to think that America in some way has become a “force for good.” Tell that to the Libyans whose prosperous state was reduced to anarchy by American bombing and support of terrorist groups. Visit Fallujah or Raqqa, or what’s left of them. US forces and sanctions have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. By one estimate, as many as 4 million Muslims have died as a direct or indirect consequence of America’s wars in Asia since 1990. US ally Saudi Arabia meanwhile bombs Yemeni schools, buses, and hospitals, starving children as part of a major humanitarian catastrophe, while Israel attacks Syria nearly on a daily basis.

It should be terrifying to learn that Mike Pompeo has an open Bible on his desk, particularly as he seems disinclined to read the New Testament part with its message of love and forgiveness. Now the White House appears to be entering into a new America as a “force for good” phase that relies on naked aggression and collective punishment for those who do not choose to submit. And, per Pompeo, God is on our side.

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Bolton’s Radical Reshaping Plan for Mideast Included “Mind Boggling” Strikes on Iran, Syria, and Iraq

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | January 14, 2019

WASHINGTON — In 2017, less than a year before he became national security advisor, John Bolton promised a gathering of the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK) that:

The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. … The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself. … And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

While some may have thought Bolton’s statements of regime change in Iran before 2019 were just more bellicose rhetoric from a well-known Iran hawk, a report published Sunday in the Wall Street Journal has revealed that Bolton did everything within his power to push for President Donald Trump to launch a military attack on Iran.

According to the Journal, Trump’s national security team – which is led by Bolton – requested that the Pentagon develop “far-reaching military options to strike Iran” last September after Shia militias in Iraq fired three mortars at the U.S. embassy and diplomatic compound in Baghdad. As the report noted, the shells “landed in an open lot and harmed no one,” but the group that fired them is alleged to have ties with Iran.

This incident, though minor, notably took place amid considerable unrest in the Iraqi city of Basra and during competing efforts by the U.S. and Iran to influence the formation of Iraq’s next national government.

Nevertheless, the minor nature of the incident was apparently the perfect pretext for Bolton and others on the national security team – which Bolton has been stocking with war hawks for much of the past year – to push for a military strike on Iran, something Bolton himself has long sought, as evidenced by his numerous speeches and editorials calling for preemptive bombing of the Islamic Republic.

For instance, in one meeting, Mira Ricardel – then serving as Bolton’s ultra-hawkish deputy national security advisor – described the attacks in Iraq as “an act of war” and said the U.S. had to respond decisively. Ricardel is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former executive of U.S. weapons-maker Boeing but left her post last November as result of friction with First Lady Melania Trump.

In addition, during those meetings, the Journal noted that Bolton did not even attempt to hide his real motivations, as he “made it clear that he personally supports regime change in Iran, a position he aggressively championed before joining the Trump administration, according to people familiar with the discussions.”

As a result of those meetings, the Bolton-led National Security Council pushed for an attack plan on Iran so brazen that it deeply concerned Pentagon and State Department officials. One former senior U.S. administration official told the Journal that the request “definitely rattled people” and added that “people were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

In other words, using a remarkably minor incident as a pretext, the Bolton-led group of hawks that compose the majority of Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) was preparing to launch a full-scale regime-change war on Iran. To make matters worse, the Journal also reported that the Pentagon had “complied with the NSC’s request to develop options for striking Iran,” meaning that Bolton and his team now have a range of Pentagon-developed strategies for bombing Iran at their fingertips.

Bolton’s obsession and unkept promise

Bolton‘s push to bomb Iran last September over such a minor incident may seem strange, but Bolton’s history makes it clear that he has long sought any excuse – from the minor to the non-existent – to justify waging war against Iran’s current government.

As MintPress reported last year, Bolton’s past indicates a near obsession with clearing the way for U.S. military action against Iran. As journalist Gareth Porter has noted, while Bolton was the Bush administration’s key policymaker on Iran, he — by flouting State Department protocol and taking several unannounced trips to Israel — “actively conspired … to establish the political conditions necessary for the administration to carry out military action” against Iran.

Not only that, but Bolton’s behind-the-scenes dealings — using fabricated evidence, provided to him by an Iranian terrorist group that Bolton still openly supports, to convince the United Nations that Iran was secretly developing a nuclear weapon — led Iran’s nuclear program to become a matter overseen by the United Nations Security Council, as opposed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Since becoming national security advisor, Bolton has continued to make this claim — as recently as last week — despite its having been rejected by the U.S. intelligence community repeatedly since 2007.

The terror group relied on by Bolton, Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), was listed as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the United States government from 1997 and 2012 and, in the past, has conducted terror acts to accomplish its goals, killing Iranians as well as Americans in the process. More recently, MEK has worked with Israeli Intelligence to murder Iranian scientists. Since its removal from the government’s terror group list after an extensive lobbying effort that targeted prominent U.S. politicians, MEK has sought to reinvent itself as a “moderate” Iranian opposition group even though it has next to no support within Iran and has consistently been characterized as both “cultish” and “authoritarian.”

It was to this very group that Bolton had promised regime change in Tehran in 2019, a promise he ultimately failed to keep, but not for lack of trying.

“Sunni-stan,” partition, and a Middle East rebuilt to suit

Another highly significant revelation of the Journal’s report, which has been largely overlooked, is that the plans for “military options” that Bolton and his team requested from the Pentagon also included strategies for launching strikes, not just in Iran, but in Syria and Iraq. As the report noted, “the National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria as well, according to people familiar with the talks.”

Bolton’s willingness to bring Syria and Iraq into the fray betrays the fact that he is not just seeking regime change in individual countries but seeking to remake the Middle East as a whole. Indeed, both Syria and Iraq have long been in Bolton’s crosshairs, as evidenced by his 2015 editorial in the New York Times where he calls for the partition of both countries in order to benefit the United States, Israel and “friendly Arab” states like Saudi Arabia.

Bolton’s partition plan involves the creation of a Sunni state out of northeastern Syria and western Iraq, which he nicknames “Sunni-stan.” He asserts that such a country has “economic potential” as an oil producer, would be a “bulwark” against the Syrian government and “Iran-allied Baghdad,” and would help defeat Daesh (ISIS).

Bolton’s mention of oil is notable, as the proposed area for this Sunni state sits on key oil fields that U.S. oil interests, such as ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers, have sought to control if the partition of Iraq and Syria comes to pass. Also notable is the fact that the area of Syria Bolton mentions is the area currently being illegally occupied by the United States. This could well be a driving factor in Bolton’s desire to delay or prevent the U.S. troop withdrawal in northeastern Syria.

However, the most notable part of the Bolton’s editorial calling for the creation of “Sunni-stan” is that he mentions exactly who would benefit from this partition, and it certainly isn’t the Syrians or the Iraqis. “Restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders,” Bolton writes, “is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests.” In other words, allowing the Syrian government to return to its former borders is “contrary” to the interests of the nations that Bolton supports and that he seeks to make the dominant powers in the Middle East through his aggressive policy for the region.

With Bolton and his team on the National Security Council armed with the tools to bomb both Syria and Iran, it’s only a matter of time before Bolton finds the perfect pretext to begin enacting his vision for a “new” Middle East, most likely starting with Iran.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon and Progressive Alliance to Destroy Donald Trump

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | January 14, 2019

The Roman poet Ovid’s masterful epic The Metamorphoses includes the memorable opening line regarding the poem’s central theme of transformation. He wrote In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora, which has been translated as “Of shapes transformed to bodies strange, I purpose to entreat…”

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative. The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

The neocons initially found a home with Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, but they moved on in the 1970s and 1980s to prosper under Ronald Reagan as well as under Democrat Bill Clinton. Their ability to shape policy peaked under George W. Bush, when they virtually ran the Pentagon and were heavily represented in both the national security apparatus and in the White House. They became adept at selling their mantra of “strong national defense” to whomever was buying, including to President Obama, even while simultaneously complaining about his administration’s “weakness.”

The neoconservatives lined up behind Hillary Clinton in 2016, appalled by Donald Trump’s condemnation of their centerpiece war in Iraq and even more so by his pledge to end the wars in Asia and nation-building projects while also improving relations with the Russians. They worked actively against the Republican candidate both before he was nominated and elected and did everything they could to stop him, including libeling him as a Russian agent.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawk Richard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

Meanwhile, the neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald reports that, based on polling of party supporters, the Democrats have gone full-Hillary and are now by far more hawkish than the Republicans, unwilling to leave either Syria or Afghanistan.

The neocon survival and rejuvenation is particularly astonishing in that they have been wrong about virtually everything, most notably the catastrophic Iraq War. They have never been held accountable for anything, though one should note that accountability is not a prominent American trait, at least since Vietnam. What is important is that neocon views have been perceived by the media and punditry as being part of the Establishment consensus, which provides them with access to programming all across the political spectrum. That is why neocon standard-bearers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have been able to move effortlessly from Fox News to MSNBC where they are fêted by the likes of Rachel Maddow. They applauded the Iraq War when the Establishment was firmly behind it and are now trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency because America’s elite is behind that effort.

Indeed, the largely successful swing by the neocons from right to left has in some ways become more surreal, as an increasing number of progressive spokesmen and institutions have lined up behind their perpetual warfare banner. The ease with which the transformation took place reveals, interestingly, that the neocons have no real political constituency apart from voters who feel threatened and respond by supporting perpetual war, but they do share many common interests with the so-called liberal interventionists. Neocons see a global crisis for the United States defined in terms of power while the liberals see the struggle as a moral imperative, but the end result is the same: intervention by the United States. This fusion is clearly visible in Washington, where the Clintons’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is now working on position papers with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

One of the most active groups attacking President Trump is “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” founded by Bill Kristol in January 2018, as a component of Defending Democracy Together (DDT), a 501(c)4 lobbying group that also incorporates projects called The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin. Republicans Against Putin promotes the view that President Trump is not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin” and calls for more aggressive investigation of the Russian role in the 2016 election.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causes in the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Last week, the Omidyar-Kristol connection may have deepened with an announcement regarding the launch of the launch of a new webzine The Bulwark, which would clearly be at least somewhat intended to take the place of the recently deceased Weekly Standard. It is promoting itself as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance” and it is being assumed that at least some of the Omidyar money is behind it.

Iranian-born Omidyar’s relationship with Kristol is clearly based on the hatred that the two share regarding Donald Trump. Omidyar has stated that Trump is a “dangerous authoritarian demagogue… endorsing Donald Trump immediately disqualifies you from any position of public trust.” He has tweeted that Trump suffers from “failing mental capacity” and is both “corrupt and incapacitated.”

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. Kristol hates Trump because he threatens the war agenda while Omidyar despises the president for traditional progressive reasons. That hatred is the tie that binds and it is why Bill Kristol, a man possessing no character and values whatsoever, is willing to take Pierre Omidyar’s money while Pierre is quite happy to provide it to destroy a common enemy, the President of the United States of America.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tehran calls on Paris to ‘stop repeating irresponsible claims’ on Iran’s missile program

Press TV – January 12, 2019

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has criticized the French Foreign Ministry’s provocative comments about Iran’s ballistic missile program, urging Paris to avoid repeating such “irresponsible and incorrect” claims regarding the Islamic Republic’s defensive programs.

“It is expected from France to stop echoing incorrect claims made by those who are against the JCPOA,” the senior diplomat further said, referring to Iran’s nuclear deal with world power in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and in a clear reference to the United States that unilaterally withdrew from the landmark accord last year.

The Iranian diplomat made the remarks on Friday, hours after French Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll called on Tehran to “immediately cease all ballistic missile-related activities designed to carry nuclear weapons, including tests using ballistic missile technology.”

“Contrary to the French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman’s claim, Iran’s missile program has neither been established for non-conventional purposes, nor the country’s natural right to strengthen its scientific and defensive capabilities as developed in the form of missile program is in violation of [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231,” said Qassemi.

The statement from the French ministry came just a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran’s domestically-manufactured rockets would carry two new satellites into orbit in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Iran’s planned launch of space rockets and missiles breaches Resolution 2231 that endorsed the JCPOA.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed Pompeo’s claim, saying Washington has already violated that resolution and thus cannot “lecture” Tehran on it.

“We strongly believe that any attempt to induce and impose a wrong interpretation of Resolution 2231 regarding Iran’s missile program is an irresponsible act,” Qassemi further said, stressing that in any part of the resolution the Islamic Republic has not been prevented from developing defensive and conventional missile program and those with scientific application.

He also reiterated that Iran’s home-grown missile program is defensive, national and conventional, adding that it is not only legitimate but also “the Iranian nation’s natural right.”

Since its JCPOA exit in May, the administration of US President Donald Trump has unleashed its “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran. It has also warned of severe penalties for companies that evade the bans and engage in business dealings with the Islamic Republic.

January 12, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

A Clinton Memo That Killed Half a Million People

By Daniel Lazare | Consortium News | January 11, 2019

A Hillary Clinton memo that Wikileaks made public in 2016 has not gotten the attention it deserves.

It takes us back to 2012 and the early phase of the Syrian war.

At that point, it was largely an internal affair, although Saudi arms shipments were playing a greater and greater role in bolstering rebel forces. But once the Obama administration decided in favor of intervention, the conflict was quickly internationalized as thousands of holy warriors flooded in from as far away as western China.

The 1,200-word memo by then-Secretary of State Clinton begins with the subject of Iran, an important patron of Syria.

She dismisses any notion that nuclear talks will stop Iran “from improving the crucial part of any nuclear weapons program—the capability to enrich uranium.” If it does get the bomb, it goes on, Israel will suffer a strategic setback since it will no longer be able to “respond to provocations with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon, as it can today.” Denied the ability to bomb at will, Israel might leave off secondary targets and strike at the main enemy instead.

Consequently, Clinton argues that the U.S. should topple the Assad regime so as to weaken Iran and allay the fears of Israel, which has long regarded the Islamic republic as its primary enemy. As the memo puts it:

“Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted.”

This document making the case to arm Syrian rebels may have been largely overlooked because of the dates, which appear to be inaccurate.

One line gives the time as “2001-01-01 03:00” even though Clinton was still a New York senator-elect at that point. That date is also out of synch with the timeline of nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

Another contains a State Department case and document number and a date of Nov. 30, 2015. But that’s incorrect as well since it postdates Clinton’s resignation as secretary of state by better than two and a half years.

Central to the Great Debate

Consequently, anyone stumbling across the memo in the Wikileaks archives would have no idea of how its rather loopy logic figures in the great debate about whether to use force to bring down Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.  But textual clues provide an answer. The second paragraph refers to nuclear talks with Iran “that began in Istanbul this April and will continue in Baghdad in May,” events that took place in 2012.  The sixth invokes an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour conducted with then-Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak “last week.” Since the interview took place on April 19, 2012, the memo can therefore be dated to the fourth week in April. This is shortly before Clinton joined forces with then-CIA Director David Petraeus to push for an aggressive program of rebel military aid.

Needless to say, Clinton’s skepticism about negotiating with Iran proved to be unwarranted since Iran eventually agreed to shut down its nuclear program.  The memo thus illustrates her hawkishness along with her conviction that Israeli security trumps all other considerations even if it means setting fire to a region that’s been burned over more than once.

But the memo illustrates much else besides: Clinton’s recklessness, her lack of realism and her almost mystical belief that everything will fall neatly into place once the United States flexes its muscle. Overthrowing Assad would be nothing less than “transformative,” she writes:

“… Iran would be strategically isolated, unable to exert its influence in the Middle East. The resulting regime in Syria will see the United States as a friend, not an enemy. Washington would gain substantial recognition as fighting for the people in the Arab world, not the corrupt regimes. For Israel, the rationale for a bolt from the blue attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be eased. And a new Syrian regime might well be open to early action on the frozen peace talks with Israel. Hezbollah in Lebanon would be cut off from its Iranian sponsor since Syria would no longer be a transit point for Iranian training, assistance and missiles.”

It was “a low-cost high-payoff approach,” she writes, that would eliminate one enemy, weaken two more, and generate such joy among ordinary Syrians that peace talks between Damascus and Tel Aviv will spring back to life. The risks were nil. Since “the Libyan operation had no long-lasting consequences for the region,” the memo says, referring to the overthrow of strongman Muammer Gaddafi six months earlier, the Syrian operation wouldn’t either:

“Some argue that U.S. involvement risks a wider war with Russia. But the Kosovo example [in which NATO bombed Russian-ally Serbia] shows otherwise. In that case, Russia had genuine ethnic and political ties to the Serbs, which don’t exist between Russia and Syria, and even then Russia did little more than complain. Russian officials have already acknowledged they won’t stand in the way if intervention comes.”

So, there was nothing to worry about. Sixty-five years of Arab-Israeli conflict would fall by the wayside while Russia remains safely marginalized.

How it Turned Out

Needless to say, that’s not how things turned out. At that moment, Libya seemed under control. But three or four months later, it would explode as Western-backed Islamist militias blasted away at one another, imposing strict Sharia law, re-instituting slavery and rolling back decades of social progress. Once President Barack Obama approved a modified version of the Clinton-Petraeus plan, Syria would plunge into the same abyss as jihadis funded by Saudi Arabia and the other oil monarchies spread sectarian violence and fear.

Clinton’s assumption that the U.S. could neatly and cleanly decapitate the Syrian government without having to worry about broader consequences was little short of deluded.

The notion that ordinary Syrians would fall to their knees in gratitude was ludicrous while her disregard for the intricacies of Syrian politics was astonishing.

Then there’s the memo’s blithe suggestion that Washington “work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to organize, train, and arm Syrian rebel forces.”

In late 2009, Clinton wrote in another diplomatic memo made public by Wikileaks that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” So what made her think two years later that the kingdom would not fund Syrian jihadis of precisely the same ilk?

The 2009 memo slammed Qatar for allowing Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups to use the sheikdom “as a fundraising locale.” So what made her think that a pro-Al Qaeda autocracy would now help Syrians “fight for their freedom,” as the memo puts it? Wouldn’t Qatar be more likely to remove what little freedom Syrians had left? Of course, it would.

There is a remarkable continuity between the Syria policy that Clinton was proposing and earlier policies in Afghanistan and Libya. In the first, U.S. military aid wound up flowing to the notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a religious sectarian and raging anti-western xenophobe who nonetheless was “the most efficient at killing Soviets,” as Steve Coll put it in “Ghost Wars,” his bestselling 2004 account of the CIA’s love affair with jihad.

Hekmatyar’s cutthroats wound up with the lion’s share of American arms. More or less the same thing happened in Libya once Clinton persuaded Qatar to join the anti-Gaddafi coalition. The sheikhdom seized the opportunity to distribute some $400 million to various rebel militias, many of them Islamist. The Obama administration said nothing in response.

British Fighters with International Freedom Battalion in northern Iraq. (Wikimedia)

British Fighters with International Freedom Battalion in northern Iraq. (Wikimedia)

Once again, U.S. arms and materiel flowed to the most reactionary elements. The same would happen in Syria where U.S. and Saudi arms went to the local Al Qaeda affiliate, known as Jabhat al-Nusra, and even to ISIS, as a meticulous report by Conflict Armament Research, a Swiss and EU-funded study group in London, has shown. (See “Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?” Consortium News, Dec. 21, 2017.)

Insurgency Mix  

By August 2012, a secret Defense Intelligence Agency report found that Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda were already “the major forces driving the insurgency” and that the U.S. and Gulf states backed them regardless. Speechwriter Ben Rhodes summed up the problem of “moderate” rebels who were indistinguishable from Al Qaeda in his White House memoir, “The World As It Is.” In that, he writes that “Al Nusra was probably the strongest fighting force within the opposition, and while there were extremist elements in the group, it was also clear that the more moderate opposition was fighting side by side with al Nusra. I argued that labeling al Nusra as terrorists would alienate the same people we want to help, while giving al Nusra less incentive to avoid extremist affiliations.”

The problem was how to separate the “good” Al Qaeda fighters from the “bad.” Rhodes later complained when Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he and his fellow Obama officials were “trying to climb a spruce tree naked without scratching our ass.” This was “smug,” Rhodes says. But Putin was merely using a colorful expression to say that the policy made no sense; which it didn’t.

The cost, half a dozen years after the Clinton email, is staggering. As many as 560,000 people have died, half the population has been displaced, while the World Bank has estimated total war damage at $226 billion, roughly six years’ income for every Syrian man, woman, and child. A cockeyed memo thus unleashed a real-life catastrophe that refuses to go away. It’s a nightmare from which President Donald Trump is struggling to escape in his confused and deluded way and that the Deep State – everyone from arch-neocon John Bolton to “liberal” Nancy Pelosi– is determined to renew.

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

With Golan at Stake, Netanyahu, Bolton Set Trump Straight on US Syria Withdrawal Plan

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | January 7, 2019

The state of Israel seems to share at least some of the responsibility for the latest shift of U.S. Syria policy — as National Security Adviser John Bolton announced on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s call to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria would now be “coordinated” with Israel, after meeting with top Israeli officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s main motivation in preventing a swift U.S. exit from Syria was also made explicit by Netanyahu, who openly stated on Twitter that Israel’s push to obtain sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights – which is internationally recognized as part of Syria – was the driving factor behind Israel’s recent efforts to dramatically slow down Trump’s plan for an “immediate” withdrawal of U.S. troops currently occupying Syrian territory illegally.

As MintPress noted at the time of Trump’s withdrawal announcement, Israel’s influence on Trump’s Middle East policy and Israel’s push towards containing “Iranian influence” in Syria would mean that Trump’s plan to withdraw troops over the alleged defeat of ISIS would likely never materialize if it was opposed by Tel Aviv.

This was apparently and not surprisingly the case as, soon after Trump’s announcement that he planned to bring U.S. troops home from Syria last month, Israel’s government announced that it would dramatically rev up its direct involvement in the Syrian conflict in the U.S.’ absence. That involvement had so far been limited to hundreds of unilateral airstrikes on Syrian government and military targets over the course of the nearly eight-year-long war. Israel’s threat of escalation revealed Israel’s unwillingness to see foreign pressure on Damascus reduced.

Israel’s military — currently headed by Netanyahu, who is also serving as Israel’s defense minister — made good on this promise to increase its military involvement in Syria soon after, using civilian airplanes as cover to launch airstrikes on Syria on Christmas Day.

However, Israel’s reaction to Trump’s announcement appears to have been much more extensive than its decision to increase its airstrikes targeting Syrian territory. After meeting with Netanyahu and the director of Israeli intelligence, Bolton noted on Twitter that the “U.S. drawdown in Syria” would now be “coordinated” with Israel. Also on Sunday, Bolton announced that the U.S. had no timetable for troop withdrawal from Syria and that the troop withdrawal was also conditional.

This is just the latest indication that the state of Israel is acquiring unprecedented influence over U.S. troop deployments in the region, as the commander of U.S. European Command (EURCOM) noted last year that Israeli generals — not American generals — have the power to deploy U.S. troops to Israel to fight on Israel’s behalf. Now, Bolton — after meeting with Israeli officials — has stated that Israel’s government will also wield tremendous influence over whether or not U.S. troops will be leaving Syria.

Spotlight on the Golan Heights

In publicly discussing his meeting with Bolton on Twitter, Netanyahu noted that a key topic of ongoing discussion with Bolton regarding Syria would involve Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights, a plateau bordering Israel, Lebanon and Syria that Israel has occupied since 1967 and later annexed in 1981.

Netanyahu announced that he and Bolton would be traveling together to the area on Monday and added:

The Golan Heights is tremendously important for our security. When you’re there you’ll be able to understand perfectly why we’ll never leave the Golan Heights and why it’s important all countries recognize Israel’s sovereignty over it.”

As MintPress has noted in the past, understanding the significance of the Golan Heights is in many ways key to understanding why the Syrian conflict was engineered by foreign powers in the first place. This is because, with the Golan Heights in mind, Israel hatched a plan in 2006 to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by creating sectarian strife in the country with the hopes that whoever succeeded Assad would be willing to relinquish Syria’s claim to the territory.

Yet, this plan was never designed to be enacted by Israel but instead by the United States. The U.S. eventually adopted the plan and the communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed it was a driving factor in U.S. policy leading up to the genesis of the Syrian conflict. One of her leaked emails, published by WikiLeaks, stated that “the best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

That same email also noted that “a successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States.” It added that “arming the Syrian rebels and using Western air power to ground Syrian helicopters and airplanes is a low-cost high-payoff approach.”

Unsurprisingly, official recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan was prominent among the regime-change promises touted by Syrian “rebels.” Over the course of the war, rebels have,  in their bid to overthrow Assad, offered to “trade” or sell the Golan Heights to Israel in exchange for military aid or an Israeli-imposed “no-fly zone.”

This also helps explain why Israel was so eager to fund, arm and aid “rebel” groups along the Syria-Israel border, as it offered the justification for the Israeli occupation of a “buffer zone” that, according to Syrian opposition sources and Israeli-American NGOs, was “intended to keep the Syrian army and its Iranian and Lebanese allies as far away from Israel’s border as possible, as well as solidify Israel’s control over the occupied Golan Heights.” However, the success of the Syrian military’s efforts in southern Syria forced Israel to abandon its buffer zone and seek other means to strengthen its claim to the territory.

The Golan: What’s in it for Israel?

Israel created this plan to weaken or overthrow the Syrian state largely because it is eager to cement its claim to the Golan Heights. In order to accomplish that, regime change in Syria is essential, as the international community still refuses to recognize Israel’s seizure and continued occupation of the Golan as legal. This bars Israel from commercially developing the area’s rich resources, which explains Israel’s willingness to go to war over a seemingly small and insignificant tract of land. However, a new Syrian government, one more “friendly” to Israeli interests, could officially relinquish Syria’s claim to the Golan, paving the way for the complete and official annexation of the territory by Israel.

At the time the plan was created, the main motivator for Israel was the Golan’s freshwater reserves, as the Golan is one of three sources of freshwater available to the Israeli state — and is the largest in size and most abundant, as it includes the mountain streams that feed Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and the headwaters of the Jordan river.

This makes this area even more important to Israel, given that Israel is in its sixth year of a drought so massive that a NASA study called it the worst drought in the region in nearly 900 years. Thus, the water resources of the Golan Heights are essential to Israel’s existence as well as its expansionist ambitions.

Though recent Israeli investment in desalination plants have since reduced its dependence on Golan water resources, the discovery of oil in the Golan in 2015 dramatically strengthened Israel’s resolve to gain complete sovereignty over the occupied territory.

The oil reserve discovered in the Golan Heights is estimated to contain “billions of barrels” of crude oil that could turn Israel – which currently imports the vast majority of its fuel – into a net oil exporter. Yet, because the Golan Heights are internationally recognized as being under occupation and not an official part of Israel, the commercial extraction and export of this vast oil reserve cannot move forward — until this status changes.

As a result, only exploratory wells have been drilled, mostly by a division of Genie Energy Co., a U.S.-based oil company connected to Rupert Murdoch, Jacob Rothschild, Dick Cheney and former CIA Director James Woolsey, among other powerful individuals in the U.S. and the U.K. The involvement of such influential figures in future oil extraction endeavors in the Golan Heights – dependent as they are on Israel acquiring sovereignty over the territory — likely explains why the U.S., as well as the U.K., has been so willing to help initiate and then perpetuate the Syrian conflict, which is soon to enter its eighth year.

Geopolitics First: The America-Israel Mideast axis

While Netanyahu’s statements show that the Golan Heights is a key driver for Israel in its refusal to let the Syrian conflict wind down, it is important to note that Israel and its allies abroad are also interested in the partitioning of Syria in order to keep the country weak and conflict-ridden for the foreseeable future. This call to partition Syria as well as other countries in the region, such as Iraq, dates back to the Yinon Plan that was developed in 1982 and seeks to partition and weaken other regional states through the engineering of sectarianism, in order to allow Israel to emerge as the region’s sole superpower.

This is worth pointing out, given Israel’s recent effort to take control of the U.S. troop pull-out (or lack thereof) from Syria, as the U.S. State Department is also promoting a plan as of this past weekend that would push for the partition of northeastern Syria were U.S. troops to begin to withdraw from Syrian territory.

Thus, the announcement that the troop “withdrawal” will now be coordinated with Israel and that the U.S.’ new policy for northeastern Syria will involve partition shows that another “America First” Trump policy has quickly morphed instead into an “Israel First” plan.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

EU agrees sanctions against Iranian intelligence service over ‘assassination plot’ – Danish FM

RT | January 8, 2019

The European Union has agreed to enact sanctions against the Iranian intelligence service over its alleged “assassination plots on European soil,” the Danish foreign minister has tweeted.

Specific details in relation to potential new European sanctions against Iran are unclear; nor is it known whether they are close to being implemented. Foreign ministers of EU member states had reportedly agreed to consider sanctions in response to the supposed Iranian plot at a meeting in mid-November.

In late October, Danish security forces said they had arrested a man who was allegedly plotting to assassinate the leader of the Danish branch of an Iranian Arab separatist movement. Tehran denied the accusations as “hostile” and said they were in line with the “enemies’ plots” to undermine Iranian-European relations.

The European Commission, while backing Denmark’s accusation and condemning Tehran, has urged member states to not let it impact the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal of 2015. The US, which unilaterally pulled out of the agreement in May 2018, simply praised Denmark for arresting an “Iranian regime assassin.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been cracking down on Iran, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and violating international obligations. It has repeatedly warned the EU against maintaining trade with Tehran, but Europe has so far been determined to keep JCPOA alive, and is working on a mechanism to bypass American sanctions.

The target of the alleged plot was a local leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), the Danish Foreign Ministry said at the time. ASMLA, pushing for a separate Arab state within Iran, is classified as a terrorist organization by Tehran.

Tehran has blamed ASMLA for the September 28, 2018 attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, which left 30 people dead and 70 injured. ASMLA denied responsibility, blaming the attack instead on a splinter group within the movement.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

First Senate bill of 2019 would give Israel billions of dollars, combat BDS, and rebut Trump’s Syria withdrawal

Marco Rubio’s career has been funded by pro-Israel billionaires such as Normal Braman, Paul Singer, Sheldon Adelson, and Larry Ellison. (Photo from Politico )
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | January 6, 2019

According to Marco Rubio, the first bill the 2019 U.S. Senate will take up is one that is focused on Israel. His twitter announcement shows a number of people suggesting that he should instead focus on getting the U.S. government running.

The four-part bill, designated S.1, is composed of measures on behalf of Israel that Congress tried and failed to pass in 2018. Some were pioneered by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The first component is the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2019” – the 2018 text can be seen here. This would give Israel $33 billion over the next ten years in addition to the $5.5 billion enacted in last year’s defense spending bill. This is reportedly the largest military aid package in U.S. history. The bill was held up by Senator Rand Paul, who threatened a filibuster against it. Most Americans feel the U.S. already gives Israel too much money.

Unlike the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the Obama administration negotiated with Israel in 2016, this would make the $38 billion a floor rather than a ceiling and cements it into law (an MOU is non-binding). It also provides Israel additional perks, including calling for NASA to work with Israel’s space agency, despite Israel’s alleged acquisition of classified U.S. research.

Another component of the bill is the “Combatting BDS Act of 2019” (the text of the previous version is here). This allows state and local governments to prohibit contracting with any entity that participates in BDS, the boycott of Israel over Israel’s violations of human rights and international law. Many groups and individuals oppose the bill on the ground that it violates freedom of speech. AIPAC is a strong supporter of such legislation.

A third component is “The United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act,” which would provide money to Jordan. Israel has long used U.S. aid packages to Mideast governments to enable Israel’s regional divide-and-conquer strategies.

Similarly, the fourth component is the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019” (2018 version here), which imposes sanctions on Syria. Roll Call reports that the bill “could serve as a rebuttal” to President Trump’s recent announcement that he was going to withdraw troops from Syria. NBC reports: “They can’t make Trump keep troops in Syria. They’ve asked for increased sanctions on Syria instead.”

Bill being fast-tracked

According to Roll Call, the composite bill, entitled “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019,” is being “expedited through a Senate procedure that allows for bypassing the committee process, and the new chairman of the committee of jurisdiction for most of the bills is on board with the approach.”

The chairman is Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. According to Open Secrets, one of Risch’s main sources of campaign donations is the pro-Israel lobby.

Image from video of Risch’s speech at AIPAC convention; view it here

It appears that none of the U.S. news reports on the legislation inform voters how much U.S. tax money the bill will give to Israel; many reports don’t even mention that aspect of the bill. This continues the media omission on this subject.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 9 Comments

Senate’s First Act: “An Implicit Rebuke” Of Trump’s Syria Draw Down

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 01/05/2019

The Republican-held Senate’s first order of business as it reconvened on Friday for 2019 was to push back against President Trump’s planned Syria withdrawal, as the first bill Republican leadership introduced, led by hawk Marco Rubio, is being described as “an implicit rebuke” of the president’s Syria policy.

Senate Bill 1, expected to be one of the first pieces of legislation under consideration of the new Senate, was introduced Thursday by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is being co-sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and incoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch of Idaho. Sen. McConnel subsequently announced this means Congress is finally set to debate Syria policy; however ironically at the very moment Trump is attempting a “full” and “immediate” pull out of some 2,000+ US forces. This after US officials reiterated on Friday that “no fixed deadline” for troop withdrawal has been given and they would seek to ensure “no power vacuum” in previously occupied northeast Syria would remain.

NBC describes the proposed legislation, which focuses on a new round of sanctions against Damascus, as follows:

Although Congress can’t force the commander-in-chief to keep troops in Syria, Senate aides say the move is designed to illustrate the need for a strong, continuing U.S. presence in the Middle East and re-assert the role of Congress on national security. It comes as many of Trump’s GOP allies have joined Democrats in deploring his announcement of a Syria withdrawal without consulting allies and lamenting the subsequent resignation of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Senate is moving quickly to assert its point-of-view on U.S. policy regarding Syria and in the broader Middle East, and it could serve as a rebuttal to the decision by President Donald Trump to pull back U.S. forces from Syria.

Of note is that Congress is only attempting to “re-assert” its role on national security the moment a US president is seeking to pull out of the Middle East.

Statements by the bill sponsors referenced consulting “steadfast” allies first. While naming Israel and Jordan specifically, Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch said, “This package of legislation is an important step toward finishing the work of the last Congress. Israel and Jordan have been steadfast allies of the United States that deserve this support.”

Also noticeable was the complete lack of appeal to American self-defense and the unpopularity among the American public of remaining in Syria, according to recent polls.

Sen. Risc continued to cite foreign allies first and foremost as necessitating the bill: “Also, it is vital to confront Syrian government atrocities and end discrimination against Israel,” he said while calling for it to move forward rapidly.

And well-known Iran hawk Sen. Rubio echoed the same:

It is in America’s national security interests to ensure that our allies in the Middle East like Israel and Jordan remain secure amid the region’s growing destabilizing threats posed by Iran and Syria’s Assad regime… This important bill will also impose new sanctions against the Assad regime and its supporters who continue to commit horrific human rights violations against the Syrian people.

On Wednesday President Trump altered his language after immense pushback in Washington, saying the US will get out of Syria “over a period of time” and in such a way that will protect America’s Kurdish partners on the ground, at a moment pro-Turkish forces backed by Turkey’s army are set to invade and annex Kurdish enclaves in the north of the country.

Notably, Trump also told reporters on Wednesday: “Syria was lost long ago. we’re not talking about vast wealth. we’re talking about sand and death,” while also noting: “It’s not my fault. I didn’t put us there.”

But it appears senators like Rubio, McConnell and Risch want to come keep the US there indefinitely, continuing what’s unfortunately becoming an American tradition of “forever wars” and quagmires.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Who Runs Our World?

Netanyahu addresses US Congress | Photo from Al Jazeera
By Richard Hugus | January 4, 2019

Our world is run by oligarchs, the holders of vast wealth from monopolies in banking, resource extraction, manufacturing, and technology. Oligarchs have such power that most of the world doesn’t even know of their influence over our lives. Their overall agenda is global power — a world government, run by them — to be achieved through planned steps of social engineering. The oligarchs remain in the background and have heads of state and entire governments acting in their service. Presidents and prime ministers are their puppets. Bureaucrats and politicians are their factotums.

Who are politicians? Politicians are people who work for the powerful while pretending to represent the people who voted for them. This double-dealing involves a lot of lying, so successful politicians must be good at it. It’s not an easy job to make the insane agenda of the powerful seem reasonable. Politicians can’t reveal this agenda because it almost always goes against the interests of their constituents, so they become adept at sophistry, mystification, and the appearance of authority. For example, wars for Israel have been part of the agenda of the powerful for years. Since 2001, wars for Israel have been sold as “the war on terror” and lots of lies had to be made up as to why the war on terror was a real thing. The visible faces promoting the war on terror were neoconservatives in the US, almost all of whom were advocates for Israel, or Zionists. Zionists are not the only members of the oligarchy, but they seem to be its lead actors.

With this perspective we may judge all kinds of world events, such as the many false flag terror attacks which have been perpetrated in one country after another to bring about political objectives. False flag attacks range from Operation Gladio to demonize leftists, 9-11 to demonize Arabs and Muslims, and the shooting down of the MH-17 airliner to demonize Russia. Under an atmosphere of terror, with citizens clamoring for revenge, all kinds of political goals can be achieved.

Propaganda is also vital. Control of information through a likewise controlled media has facilitated mass brainwashing. To control the narrative, whistle blowers and truth tellers must be isolated and destroyed, preferably in the open, so as to warn others away. This is what is happening with Julian Assange.

The attack on Gilad Atzmon is an other example. Atzmon has been a major critic of the role of Jewish political power in our world — not just in Palestine, but all over the western world. When he says “we are all Palestinians” he is making the observation that Europe and North America are being Israelified. For example, some police in the US go for training in Israel, where they learn to view the US public, particularly African Americans, the way the Israeli military views Palestinians — as enemies to be shot in the streets and abusively treated. In the US, people are not allowed to question or discuss Jewish power, when it is evident that AIPAC, the lobby for Israel, completely controls both houses of the US Congress. We recall the members of Congress giving Benjamin Netanyahu 29 standing ovations during his denunciation of Iran in 2011. In Britain, mass insanity has taken hold, at least in the media, in the demonization of Russia via the Skripal affair and Luke Harding’s MI6 journalism in The Guardian. This is taking place solely because of Russia’s thwarting of Israel in its attempt to destroy Syria. For the neocons, the agenda is always war — the stick to bring recalcitrant states in line with the New World Order. This behavior is so dangerous that it would be crazy if we did not speak about who is doing this, and why.

In December 2018 Atzmon was banned from playing a jazz gig in Islington, north of London, because a powerful entity — the Zionist Herut Likud UK — initiated a character assassination and attack on his livelihood through Richard Watts, leader of the Islington Town Council. The Council created the lie that in banning Atzmon it was protecting the citizens of Islington from “antisemitism.” In fact, it is only protecting organized Zionists — supporters of the racist state of Israel — from one of their most effective critics.

Two paid staff for the Council — Ian Adams and Martin Bevis — were assigned to carry out the bureaucratic part of the job. They defended the assassination in the name of political correctness. They responded to Atzmon’s appeal of the Council ruling by citing almost entirely Zionist and Israeli sources to back up the claim that Atzmon is an “antisemite.” These sources include the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Haaretz, the Times of Israel, and The Forward. When Atzmon countered these sources with a list of well-known academics who have supported his work — Richard Falk, John Mearschimer, Ramzy Baroud, Paul Craig Roberts, Cynthia McKinney, James Petras, Francis Boyle, among others — Ian Adams responded by saying, “I have found that the majority of them would appear to have also been subject to significant controversy or allegations of being anti-Semitic themselves.” To Adams, representing a town in Britain, the only valid authorities are in the media run out of Israel, with its blatant record of discrimination and genocide against Palestinians, which all those media support.

Power likes to cover up its crude manipulations with a veneer of reason and legality. Islington based its original decision on Atzmon’s banning on a clause in the town’s books having to do with events at the Islington Assembly Hall. The clause states:

“You must not, in connection with any Live Event, use, provide or display any material, whether written or spoken, or allow behaviour that constitutes direct or indirect discrimination or harassment, victimisation of, villification of, any person or group of persons on grounds of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or age.”

In their letters, Adams and Bevis provide no response to the fact that Atzmon was to appear at the December 21, 2018 event as a saxophone player with a jazz group called The Blockheads. There was no logical way to assume that his saxophone playing would discriminate against, harass, victimize, or vilify anyone at this event. The banning was therefore not backed up by law; it was illegal in itself, as it discriminated against Atzmon.

The only thing one can say about the bureaucrats’ defense of Islington’s decision is that they and the town officials, and indeed much of Britain’s political class, seem to be unaware that Zionism is the water in which their boat is floating. When the entire mainstream narrative is dictated by Jewish identity politics, of course all criticism of those politics must be heresy. Britain was once a sovereign nation, not a colony of Israel — much like the US. Much like Canada, Germany, France, and so on. These countries were not invaded by tanks and infantry; they were invaded by dogma. Political dogma, political “correctness,” and the totalitarian policing of our thoughts and words, are the things which Gilad Atzmon has pointed to in western culture and held up for us to examine. Zionists have made criticism of Israel “antisemitic” by definition. There is no way to win the argument. The word no longer has any meaning. This is aside from the fact that ‘semitic’ refers to a language group which includes Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew and that the majority of the settlers claiming rights to the Holy Land did not come from areas, like Palestine, where semitic languages were spoken.

Atzmon has asked the most basic questions: Israel defines itself as “the Jewish state” — what then is the Jewish state? What are Jewish identity politics? And why are we not allowed open discussion and debate on these questions? This is the reason for the attempt to denounce him. The bureaucrats and politicians of Islington say they’re fighting bigotry, but because they are part of a system which bigotry built, they’re actually speaking on behalf of it. Once again, the oligarchs have put through a dirty scheme under cover of benevolence and human rights.

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , | 9 Comments

Senior Israel official in ‘shock’ over Trump’s Iran policy

MEMO | January 3, 2019

US President Donald Trump has been rebuked by a senior Israeli official for giving mixed messages over Iran and Syria. The unnamed official cited in the Times of Israel, is said to be “in shock” after Trump implied that Iran “can do what they want” in Syria.

The controversial remark was made during a cabinet meeting where Trump is reported to have said: “They [Iran] can do what they want there, frankly,” while suggesting Tehran was removing its troops from the country.

Explaining his comments, Trump said that Iran had been weakened by the US’ decision to leave the 2015 nuclear deal and the reintroduction of fresh sanctions. “Iran is no longer the same country,” he said. “Iran is pulling people out of Syria. They can do what they want there, frankly, but they’re pulling people out. They’re pulling people out of Yemen. Iran wants to survive now.”

His comments were rebuked in Tel Aviv. “It is sad that he is not attentive to intelligence materials,” the unnamed Israeli source said. “I am quite simply in shock,” the source continued. “Trump simply does not know what is happening in Syria and the Iranian entrenchment there.”

Israel has made no secret of the fact that it sees Iran as a major threat to its security. They have repeatedly warned that America’s absence would open the door for Tehran to create a so-called “land bridge” from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, into Lebanon and to the Mediterranean Sea.

Trump however spooked his Israeli allies by announcing his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. His surprise announcement was met with shock and resignation of members of his administration.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to explain Trump’s decision to Israel by insisting that cooperation with Israel over Syria and Iran will continue. Even Trump appeared to back down from his earlier comments saying that there was no time frame for US exit from Syria. Explaining his decision, which appears to be a retreat, he said the US will get out of Syria “over a period of time” in order to protect the US-backed Kurdish fighters in the country.

 

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments