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What is Behind Algeria’s Severance of Diplomatic Ties with Morocco?

By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 29.08.2021

“Algeria has decided to sever diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco as of August 24,” Algerian Foreign Minister Ramdan Lamamra told a news conference, accusing the neighboring kingdom of “hostile actions.” Although the termination of diplomatic relations has already taken effect, consulates in each country will nevertheless remain open, Ramtane Lamamra said. Algeria is considering suspending air traffic with Morocco, according to the newspaper Algérie Patriotique.

Algeria accused Rabat (capital of Morocco) of threatening stability and security at the instigation of Israel. Morocco is increasing its military presence on the borders, and some regional observers have assessed that tensions could lead to military clashes.

Morocco’s foreign ministry said it regretted the “unjustified decision” and said it would remain a “reliable and loyal partner” to the Algerian people.

Relations between Algeria and Morocco have been tense for the past few decades, with the border between the countries closed since 1994. One of the reasons for the tensions is disagreement over Western Sahara: Morocco considers this territory its own, and Algeria has supported the Polisario Front for decades, insisting on the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). This dispute is also reflected in the current history of the breakdown of diplomatic relations: Algeria has also accused official Rabat of failing to honor its bilateral commitments on the Western Sahara issue.

Further escalation of tensions between the two states over this issue largely occurred late last year for two reasons. In November, after years of relative quietness, the pro-independence Polisario Front announced that it was re-arming. In December 2020, the United States recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Saharain exchange for improved relations between Rabat and Israel.  The problem of Western Sahara is now challenging to solve, as both countries have strong positions. Algeria’s capacity to assist Polisario Front remains. This conflict will last for many years, and this should be the starting point.

Moreover, in mid-August, Algeria accused Morocco of “supporting two terrorist movements” operating on Algerian territory: the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia (MAK) and the opposition Rashad movement. Algerian authorities believe the activists of these organizations were involved in the forest fires last month in northern Algeria. These fires have already killed about 90 people, and the country’s government has repeatedly claimed that arson was the cause of the disaster. Algeria had previously reported the arrest of 61 people on suspicion of involvement in the fires in the country, stressing that the detainees belong to two specified terrorist groups backed by Israel and Morocco. According to local media reports, some of those arrested admitted their membership in the MAK. Algeria had already recalled its Ambassador from Rabat in July after a Moroccan diplomat in New York expressed support for the right of the Kabylian people to self-determination. For those reasons, Algeria’s Supreme Security Council had already considered reviewing relations with Morocco on August 18.

Overall, the Israeli factor has played a significant role in the current context of deteriorating relations between the two countries in North Africa. Last year, Morocco became one of the Arab countries that concluded peace agreements with Israel under Washington’s influence. As part of an agreement to normalize relations, the US, which mediated the talks, agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, which caused resentment in Algeria and increased criticism of Washington. At the end of July this year, Algeria opposed Israel’s accession to the African Union as an observer country for the first time since 2002, carried out with Morocco’s support. Earlier, in 2002, Israel was expelled from the union on the initiative of Libya.

Moreover, the Algerian authorities, who do not officially recognize Israel, reacted negatively to the remarks of the Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during his recent visit to Morocco. He expressed concern about the role of Algeria in the region, “veiled threats” to Algeria, and pointed out his fears about Algeria’s rapprochement with Iran.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramdan Lamamra has also accused Morocco of using Pegasus spyware to spy on several Algerian officials. According to him, “Morocco has massively and systematically committed acts of espionage against Algerian citizens and officials.”

But behind all these accusations, there is a clear opposition of the current Algerian authorities to Washington’s attempts through Israel and Morocco to prevent Algeria from strengthening its leading role in the Maghreb and cause political instability in the country. An undoubtedly real impetus for the aggravation of Algeria’s relations with Morocco was the African Lion 2021, a military exercise conducted by the US command in North Africa from June 7 to June 18, 2021. Military Watch, an American magazine specializing in military analysis, reported that these ground and air maneuvers simulated an attack in Algerian territories on two fictitious countries, Rowand and Nehone.

Therefore, the British publication Rai Al Youm noted for a reason that these military exercises were undertaken in preparation for an invasion of Algeria. The US believes that Algeria threatens its influence in Africa because it has gas, oil, water, and areas suitable for agriculture. In addition, Algeria covers an area of 2 million square kilometers, has extensive reserves of mineral resources, and its control of the Sahel region of Africa and its people is hard to beat. A European military expert said this in an interview with Rai Al Youm.

Under these circumstances, the Algerian leadership learned lessons from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s fatal mistakes. It became more critical of the policies towards Algeria on the part of the United States, Israel, Morocco, and several other states that had supported Washington’s plans to overthrow the Gaddafi regime it hated in the past. For this reason, Algeria has made it an absolute priority to create a strong army equipped with advanced land, air, and naval weapons and to develop military cooperation with Russia. As Rai Al Youm noted, the Algerian authorities have not trusted the West since the victory of the revolution over French colonialism. They are well aware of the plots being prepared against them. Algeria does not want to be the next target after Syria. Especially, according to Algeria, in the context of the ongoing preparations for the invasion and destruction of the countries in the League of the Arab States and the Persian Gulf countries. The United States, Great Britain, and France, which previously stood behind the conspiracies against Libya, Syria, and Iraq, sent NATO aircraft to bomb these countries, hiding behind loud statements about the “protection of democratic values.”

August 29, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hezbollah grows stronger in Lebanon amid energy crisis, arranging oil shipments from Iran

By Uriel Araujo | August 28, 2021

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamist organization Hezbollah has announced more Iranian ships are bringing fuel to Lebanon. The country is under an unprecedented political and economic crisis and is facing massive gasoline shortages – even after the first vessel arrived on August 19. Some worry Iran-funded Hezbollah could thus take the place of the almost collapsing Lebanese state or companies. Others worry the US could impose sanctions on Lebanon due to its relation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US Ambassador to Lebanon in fact stated, hours after Hezbollah’s statement, that Washington was in talks with Jordan and Egypt to find solutions to Lebanon’s fuel crisis, which has affected businesses, hospitals, and homes.

Riad Toufic Salameh, the Governor of Lebanon’s central bank claimed two weeks ago that Beirut simply lacks the foreign reserves needed to release dollars to import fuel. On August 12, Salamesh announced Lebanon decided to change the exchange rate used as a base for importing fuel, thus sharply increasing retail prices. Gasoline prices may rise up to 66% as subsidies were cut in an attempt to ease shortages. This central bank measure clashed with outgoing Prime Minister Hassand Diab’s government, which pledged to keep the subsidies in an ongoing dispute. Diab described Salamesh’s decision as illegal and irresponsible. Several roads were closed by protesters the same day and the demonstrations are still going on. It is in this context that Hezbollah and its network of Shia businessmen arranged for the shipments of oil. This move was criticised by  former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and other political figures as an infringement on the Lebanese state’s sovereignty.

According to the Iranian semi-official Nour News agency, the first fuel shipment was bought by a group of Lebanese Shiite merchants. The same agency reported that the shipment should be considered Lebanese property “from the moment it is loaded”, and described the fuel dispatch as a “strong action taken by Iran and Hezbollah to break the economic siege of the Lebanese people by a western-Arab-Israeli axis”.

According to Laury Haytayan, a Middle East gas and oil expert and a Natural Resource Charter Senior Officer, Hezbollah’s announcement in itself could place Lebanon in danger of being sanctioned for the ships bringing fuel from Iran are carrying a product that is under US sanctions and thus anyone engaging with such product could also be sanctioned under the current regime that targets third parties buying Iranian oil or merely interacting with the Iranian financial sector.

The Lebanese government could of course ask for a waiver of these sanctions (such as the ones that were granted to Iraq pertaining to Iranian gas imports) but the hard truth is that Lebanon today barely has a government. Any political void always invites political entrepreneurship and Hezbollah seems to be showing itself capable of doing what the government can’t.

Furthermore, there have been Israeli attacks on shipments of Iranian fuel to Syria, which neighbors Lebanon. If such were to happen with a shipment heading to Lebanon, this would obviously further increase anti-Israeli sentiment in a country where tensions are already escalating. Some see Hezbollah’s move as a part of a kind of a deterrence equation, that is, the Shia organization would retaliate in case Israel attacks any ship bringing fuel during a major energy crisis.

Nasrallah also said Hezbollah could help bring an Iranian company to drill, if necessary. These remarks were made during his televised speech for Ashura, an Islamic holiday of particular significance for Shias. With the current crisis, Hezbollah is showing itself to be the only faction that can organize the country. This means Iran’s influence on the Levant is to increase which will worry many actors, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year Iran and Saudi Arabia started a series of talks, urged by Qatar, but they have been suspended. The new Iranian President  Ebrahim Raisi has claimed his foreign policy priority now is to improve relations with the Persian Gulf Arab countries, which are led by Saudi Arabia. The current war in Yemen is a point of contention, though, for Tehran supports the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Riad leads a major military intervention in the country against the Houthi rebels (in a coalition that includes Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan). This makes the conflict in Yemen a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. If Tehran and Riad could put such differences aside they could help bring peace and stability to the region. But this is not an easy task, as the two rivals still seem to compete in Iraq and Lebanon and might further compete in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.

Washington and the European powers are losing their influence in the Lebanese political game. Solving the energy crisis in Lebanon is first and foremost a humanitarian issue and if the US chooses to act in terms of sanctioning Lebanon this would greatly harm US President Joe Biden’s narrative of the United States as a champion of human rights worldwide. The current crisis after all is also about Iran – whose economy has been hit hard by sanctions and today has a 45% inflation rate and has reached the highest price for food products.

If the US does not sanction Lebanon, such will serve Hezbollah as a kind of a show of force. If Washington does sanction the country, Hezbollah also wins somehow for it would corroborate its narrative of Lebanon under siege. Under such a scenario Lebanon should further enhance its relations with Iran. Thus, no scenario is good for the US.

August 28, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Lawyer Speaks Up

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • AUGUST 17, 2021

America’s foreign policy is a funny thing, except for the fact that it is no laughing matter. Given the recent sentencing of whistleblower Daniel Hale for revealing to the media that the US military’s drone program kills innocent civilians including many children 90% of the time, one has to wonder what the “humanitarian” Joe Biden Administration is up to. Hale will presumably serve 45 months in a federal prison though the actual time in the slammer might be closer to 18 months if he behaves and submits to counseling.

Biden’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama was equally a plague on whistleblowers while also attacking a non-threatening Libya and Syria and overthrowing an elected government in Ukraine, so one has to suspect that there must be something in the Democratic Party’s DNA that induces megalomania. Or maybe there is a hallucinogenic chemical additive in the White House’s water supply, secretly placed by those damned Russians, which produces delusions of grandeur.

The central problem is that for the federal government in Washington, just killing people is not per se a crime as long as it is “bad” people being killed. As long as some government approved procedure is adhered to, it is apparently an intrinsic right of the United States to go to some faraway country that does not threaten America and with which the US is not at war and kill someone in response to some vaguely stated policy. That is what the Global War on Terror backed up by the Authorization to Use Military Force is all about. No one in the government is ever punished for killing people, even including Obama’s offing of American citizens like the Awlaki father and son, droned to death in Yemen. Indeed, within recent memory the only two soldiers who were imprisoned for war crimes in Afghanistan were pardoned subsequently by Donald Trump.

Joe Biden certainly is doing the long overdue right thing by virtue of his withdrawal from Afghanistan and through his agreement to bring home all American combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. But what about Syria, a continuing US presence for which there is no justification at all in the form of any threat to American interests beyond a contrived argument that President Bashar al-Assad must go to make way for “democracy”?

Indeed, one might argue that the belligerent impulse that has prevailed driven by the so-called neocons and neoliberals persists in the Biden Administration. The top three officers in the State Department are Zionists, one of whom, Victoria Nuland, was the architect of the overthrow of the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich in 2013. The shift by the neocons to the Democratic Party could have been foreseen as many leading figures in the movement did not trust Donald Trump to be belligerent enough and rallied against him behind the #NeverTrump banner. And one should recall that the neocon movement’s founders were hardline and pro-Israel Democrats, several, including the notorious Richard Perle, serving on the staff of Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson of Washington back in the 1970s.

The transition to a neoconnish foreign policy has also been aided by a more aggressive shift among the Democrats themselves, largely due to “foreign interference” being blamed for the party’s failure in 2016. Given their mutual intense hostility to Trump, the doors to previously shunned liberal media outlets have also now opened wide to the stream of neocon-ish self-proclaimed foreign policy “experts” who want to “restore a sense of the heroic” to US national security policy. Eliot A. Cohen and David Frum are favored contributors to the Atlantic while Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss were together at the New York Times prior to Weiss’s resignation last November. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote in 2016 that “It is time for some moral straight talk: Trump is evil incarnate,” is a regular columnist for The Washington Post together with Max Boot, while both she and William Kristol appear regularly on MSNBC.

The fundamental unifying principle that ties many of the mostly Jewish neocons together is, of course, unconditional defense of Israel and everything it does, which leads them to support a policy of American global military dominance which they presume will inter alia serve as a security umbrella for the Jewish state. As a result, the leitmotif of the neocon movement has consisted of its repeated calls for the United States to attack Iran. Every major Jewish foundation that expresses foreign policy views sees Iran as the enemy and that viewpoint has also prevailed among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who have been corrupted by Israel Lobby money.

One never sees in the mainstream media any analysis of why and how the Iranians actually threaten the United States or a vital American interest, unless one defines protecting Israel as such. And on that issue, there has been no one more assiduous in “protecting Israel” within the US government that Dennis Ross, who is currently a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Ross was a fixture in senior national security positions relating to the Middle East under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. As an ardent Israel firster, Ross was dubbed “Israel’s lawyer” by colleagues and was once admonished in a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who interrupted him when he was arguing in extenso on behalf of Israel. She said that in the future when she wanted the Israel-Likud position from him she would ask for it. Ross is inevitably co-author of an Israel puff piece book “Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny.”

Ross has recently written an article for Bloomberg Opinion that demonstrates just how demented some high level Israel promoters are while also showing that there are no limits when it comes to advancing the perceived interests of the Jewish state. It is entitled “To Deter Iran, Give Israel a Big Bomb” with the subtitle that “The best way to ensure Tehran doesn’t gain the capability to make a nuclear weapon is for the US to empower its ally.”

Ross is not optimistic about the chances that the US will rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015, which Donald Trump, in a major pander to Israel, withdrew from in 2018. Indeed, Ross has been against the agreement since the git-go, parroting the Israeli argument that it was a diversion whereby Iran would be able to secretly develop a weapon. The Biden Administration, led by Secretary of State Tony Blinken and his deputy Wendy Sherman, have persisted in in their drive to add new restrictions to expand the agreement, including restraining Iran’s alleged threatening behavior in the region and its ballistic missile program.

Ross’s article was written before the recent drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker in international waters off Oman. Both Washington and Jerusalem have attributed the incident to Iran with little in the way of evidence and coordinated their response, demanding that the United Nations take action. Biden has sent the CIA Director William Burns to Israel for “discussions” and both he and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have also independently promised an appropriate harsh response, so Ross is almost certainly right that there remains little common ground for a renewal of the JCPOA. That should please the Israeli government and its powerful domestic lobby in the US. It also suggests that the attack itself might have been an Israeli “false flag” to bring about that result and possibly trigger an American attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

But Ross goes well beyond tit-for-tat responses to presumed Iranian actions and wants to see something more decisive. He argues that “With negotiations paused until a new hardline administration takes office in Tehran, the chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal anytime soon are not bright. Moreover, even successful talks might not stop Iran’s leaders from pursuing nuclear weapons. The Biden administration needs to find a better way to deter them.”

Ross concludes that “If the US cannot persuade Iran to temper such ambitions using carrots… the Biden administration… must make the costs of pursuing a threshold capability far clearer [by] providing Israel the GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound mountain-buster, as some in Congress have advocated. Such a weapon could be used to destroy Fordow, the underground Iranian enrichment facility, as well as other hardened nuclear sites… Being prepared to provide Israel with such a fearsome weapon and leasing the B-2 bomber to deliver it would send a powerful message. The Iranians may doubt whether the US would follow through on its threats; they won’t have any trouble believing the Israelis will.”

Such a move would be seen by Ross and others in the administration as an inducement for Iran to surrender on all issues at the current negotiations to restore JCPOA taking place to in Geneva. It would send a signal that the US is “serious.” On the contrary, however, one might argue that providing the Israelis with such a devastating weapon and also the means of delivering it is a green light for the new Israeli government to do something completely reckless to establish its own bona fides on national defense without any regard for existing American interests.

The Ross proposal is yet another indication that both Democrats and Washington in general have become completely unprincipled and even unhinged players on the world stage, prepared to lash out in all directions with threats and bombs and unprepared to deal with other nations with even a modicum of respect. Dedicated Israel firster Dennis Ross is one of the worst of these denizens of the dark side of Washington, but he is far from alone. His desire to “protect Israel” by giving it the means to start a major regional war that would likely escalate to include direct US involvement is insane to say the least but one has to believe that his suggestion for what to do about Iran is being read in the White House and State Department and taken seriously. That such an option could be considered at all is a measure of just how “rogue” our nation has become.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 3 Comments

Was the Tanker Attack an Israeli False Flag?

By PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • AUGUST 10, 2021

In the United States we now live under a government that largely operates in secret, headed by an executive that ignores the constitutional separation of powers and backed by a legislature that is more interested in social engineering than in benefitting the American people. The US, together with its best friend and faux ally Israel, has become the ultimate rogue nation, asserting its right to attack anyone at any time who refuses to recognize Washington’s leadership. America is a country in decline, its influence having been eroded by a string of foreign policy and military disasters starting with Vietnam and more recently including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. As a result, respect for the United States has plummeted most particularly over the past twenty years since the War on Terror was declared and the country has become a debtor nation as it prints money to sustain a pointless policy of global hegemony which no one else either desires or respects.

It has been argued in some circles that the hopelessly ignorant Donald Trump and the dementia plagued Joe Biden have done one positive thing, and that has been to keep us out of an actual shooting war with anyone able to retaliate in kind, which means in practice Russia and possibly China. Even if that were so, one might question a clumsy foreign policy devoid of any genuine national interest that is a train wreck waiting to happen. It has no off switch and has pushed America’s two principal rivals into becoming willy-nilly de facto enemies, something which neither Moscow nor Beijing wished to see develop.

Contrary to the claims that Trump and Biden are war-shy, both men have in fact committed war crimes by carrying out attacks on targets in both Syria and Iraq, to include the assassination of senior Iranian general Qasim Soleimani in January 2020. Though it was claimed at the time that the attacks were retaliatory, evidence supporting that view was either non-existent or deliberately fabricated.

Part of the problem for Washington is that the US had inextricably tied itself to worthless so-called allies in the Middle East, most notably Israel and Saudi Arabia. The real danger is not that Joe Biden or Kamala Harris will do something really stupid but rather that Riyadh or Jerusalem will get involved in something over their heads and demand, as “allies,” that they be bailed out by Uncle Sam. Biden will be unable to resist, particularly if it is the Israel Lobby that is doing the pushing.

Perhaps one of the more interesting news plus analysis articles along those lines that I have read in a while appeared last week in the Business Insider, written by one Mitchell Plitnick, who is described as president of ReThinking Foreign Policy. The article bears the headline “Russia and Israel may be on a collision course in Syria” and it argues that Russia’s commitment to Syria and Israel’s interest in actively deterring Iran and its proxies are irreconcilable, with the US ending up in an extremely difficult position which could easily lead to its involvement in what could become a new shooting war. The White House would have to tread very carefully as it would likely want to avoid sending the wrong signals either to Moscow or Jerusalem, but that realization may be beyond the thinking of the warhawks on the National Security Council.

To place the Plitnick article in its current context of rumors of wars, one might cite yet another piece in Business Insider about the July 30th explosive drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the northern Indian Ocean, which killed two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian. The bombing was immediately attributed to Iran by both Israel and Washington, though the only proof presented was that the fragments of the drone appeared to demonstrate that it was Iranian made, which means little as the device is available to and used by various players throughout the Middle East and in central Asia.

The tanker in question was the MT Mercer Street, sailing under a Liberian flag but Japanese-owned and managed by Zodiac Maritime, an international ship management company headquartered in London and owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer. It was empty, sailing to pick up a cargo, and had a mixed international crew. Inevitably, initial media reporting depended on analysis by the US and Israel, which saw the attack as a warning or retaliatory strike executed or ordered by the newly elected government currently assuming control in Tehran.

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who could not possibly have known who carried out the attack, was not shy about expressing his “authoritative” viewpoint, asserting that “We are confident that Iran conducted this attack. We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming.”

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) also all too quickly pointed to Iran, stating that “The use of Iranian designed and produced one way attack ‘kamikaze’ UAVs is a growing trend in the region. They are actively used by Iran and their proxies against coalition forces in the region, to include targets in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.”

Tehran denied that it had carried out the attack but the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was not accepting that and threatened to attack Iran, saying predictably that “We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran. The world needs to take action against Iran now… Now is the time for deeds — words are not enough. … It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds. Otherwise the attacks will continue.” Gantz also confirmed that “Israel is ready to attack Iran, yes…”

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also made the same demand, saying Israel could “…act alone. They can’t sit calmly in Tehran while igniting the entire Middle East — that’s over. We are working to enlist the whole world, but when the time comes, we know how to act alone.” If the level of verbal vituperation coming out of Israel is anything to go by, an attack on Iran would appear to be imminent.

After the attack on the MT Mercer Street, there soon followed the panicked account the panicked account of an alleged hijacking of a second tanker by personnel initially reported to be wearing “Iranian military uniforms.” The “… hijacking incident in international waters in the Gulf of Oman” ended peacefully however. The US State Department subsequently reported that “We can confirm that personnel have left the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess… We believe that these personnel were Iranian, but we’re not in a position to confirm this at this time.”

So, the United States government does not actually know who did what to whom but is evidently willing to indict Iran and look the other way if Israel should choose to start a war. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan is right to compare the drone attack on the Mercer Street to the alleged Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which was deliberately distorted by the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and used to justify rapid escalation of US involvement in the Vietnam War. Buchanan observes that it is by no means clear that Iran was behind the Mercer Street attack and there are a number of good reasons to doubt it, including Iranian hopes to have sanctions against its economy lifted which will require best behavior. Also, Iran would have known that it would be blamed for such an incident in any event, so why should it risk going to war with Israel and the US, a war that it knows it cannot win?

Buchanan observes that whoever attacked the tanker wants war and also to derail any negotiations to de-sanction Iran, but he stops short of suggesting who that might be. The answer is of course Israel, engaging in a false flag operation employing an Iranian produced drone. And I would add to Buchanan’s comments that there is in any event a terrible stink of hypocrisy over the threat of war to avenge the tanker incident. Israel has attacked Iranian ships in the past and has been regularly bombing Syria in often successful attempts to kill Iranians who are, by the way, in the country at the invitation of its legitimate government. Zionist Joe Biden has yet to condemn those war crimes, nor has the suddenly aroused Tony Blinken. And Joe, who surely knows that neither Syria nor Iran threatens the United States, also continues to keep American troops in Syria, occupying a large part of the country, which directly confront the Kremlin’s forces. Israel wants a war that will inevitably involve the United States and maybe also Russia to some degree as collateral damage. Will it get that or will Biden have the courage to say “No!”

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

August 10, 2021 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 8 Comments

A Tonkin Gulf Incident in the Gulf of Oman?

BY PAT BUCHANAN • UNZ REVIEW • AUGUST 6, 2021

A week ago, the MT Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned tanker managed by a U.K.-based company owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, sailing in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman, was struck by drones.

A British security guard and Romanian crew member were killed.

Britain and the U.S. immediately blamed Iran, and the Israelis began to beat the war drums.

Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said action against Iran should be taken “right now.”

Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Israel could “act alone.” “They can’t sit calmly in Tehran while igniting the entire Middle East — that’s over,” said Bennett. “We are working to enlist the whole world, but when the time comes, we know how to act alone.”

Wednesday, Gantz ratcheted it up, “Now is the time for deeds — words are not enough. … It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds. Otherwise the attacks will continue.”

Thursday, Gantz went further: “Israel is ready to attack Iran, yes. … We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran. The world needs to take action against Iran now.”

And what do the Americans say?

“We are confident that Iran conducted this attack,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming.”

Iran, however, has repeatedly denied that it ordered the attack.

What makes the attack puzzling is its timing, as it occurred just days before the inauguration of the newly elected president of Iran, the ultraconservative hardliner Ebrahim Raisi.

Query: Would Raisi have ordered a provocative attack on an Israeli-owned vessel, just days before taking office, when his highest priority is a lifting of the “maximum pressure” sanctions imposed on his country by former President Donald Trump? Why?

Would Raisi put at risk his principal diplomatic goal, just to get even with Israel for some earlier pinprick strike in the tit-for-tat war in which Iran and Israel have been engaged for years? Again, why?

If not Raisi, would the outgoing president, the moderate Hassan Rouhani, have ordered such an attack on his last hours in office and risk igniting a war with Israel and the U.S. that his country could not win?

Could the attack have been the work of rogue elements in the Iranian Republican Guard Corps? Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid claim that Saeed Ara Jani, head of the drones section of the IRGC, “is the man personally responsible for the terror attacks in the Gulf of Oman.”

Or was this simply a reflexive Iranian reprisal for Israeli attacks?

For years, Israel and Iran have been in a shadow war, with Iran backing Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the Shia militia in Syria and Iraq.

Israel has both initiated and responded to attacks with strikes on Iranian-backed militia in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and by sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program and assassinating its nuclear scientists.

But whoever was behind the attack in the Gulf of Oman, and whatever the political motive, the U.S. was not the target, and the U.S. should not respond militarily to a drone strike that was not aimed at us.

No one has deputized us to police the Middle East, and we have not prospered these last two decades by having deputized ourselves.

With America leaving Afghanistan and U.S. troops in Iraq transiting out of any “combat” role, now is not the time to get us ensnared in a new war with Iran.

Lest we forget. It was in an August, 57 years ago, that the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred, which led America to plunge into an eight-year war in Vietnam.

President Joe Biden’s diplomatic goal with Iran, since taking office, has been the resurrection of the 2015 nuclear deal from which former President Donald Trump walked away. In return for Iran’s reacceptance of strict conditions on its nuclear program, the U.S. has offered a lifting of Trump’s sanctions.

Whoever launched the drone strike sought to ensure that no new U.S.-Iran deal is consummated, that U.S. sanctions remain in place, and that a U.S. war with Iran remain a possibility.

But, again, why would Tehran carry out such a drone attack and kill crewmen on an Israeli-owned vessel — then loudly deny it?

Since he took office, Biden has revealed his intent to extricate the U.S. from the “forever wars” of the Middle East and to pivot to the Far East and China. By this month’s end, all U.S. forces are to be out of Afghanistan, and the 2,500 U.S. troops still in Iraq are to be repurposed, no longer to be designated as combat troops.

Those behind this attack on the Israeli-owned vessel do not want to reduce the possibility of war between the United States and Iran.

They want to make it a reality. We ought not accommodate them.

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Washington’s Terrorist Friends: Prominent Americans Continue to Support a Murderous Cult

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 5, 2021

One might ask if Washington’s obsession with terrorism includes supporting radical armed groups as long as they are politically useful in attacking countries that the US regards as enemies? It is widely known that the American CIA worked with Saudi Arabia to create al-Qaeda to attack the Russians in Afghanistan and the same my-enemy’s-enemy thinking appears to drive the current relationships with radical groups in Syria.

Given the fact that Iran continues to be the Biden Administration’s enemy du jour, it is perhaps not surprising to observe that the US also supports terror groups that are capable of attacking targets in the Islamic Republic. To that end, recently a number of former senior government officials and politicians were involved in cultivating their relationships with the Iranian terrorist group Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK), which held its most recent annual international summit in Paris for three days starting on July 10th. The event was online due to French COVID prevention guidelines and the featured speaker was Michele Flournoy, former US undersecretary of defense for policy under President Barack Obama. Flournoy was once considered a front runner to be President Joe Biden’s defense secretary and she currently heads a consulting firm WestExec Advisors that she co-founded with current Secretary of State Anthony Blinken which has had considerable influence over staffing and other issues in the White House. In her talk, she accused Iran of posing a danger to the security of the Middle East, the United States, and to its own people, elaborating how “Since 1979, every US administration has had to deal with the threat posed by Iran’s revolutionary regime and the Biden administration is no different. Iran is one of the most urgent foreign policy issues on the president’s desk.” She called for an “internal regime change” in the Islamic Republic.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers also spoke before the online gathering. Speakers included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. Also participating were Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida and both Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile also spoke as did former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that the MEK should be “blessed and protected.”

The summit self-described as “the largest-ever online international event dedicated to liberating Iran” with the objective of “inciting uprisings against the government in the Islamic Republic.” Though it would be charitable to suggest that the congressmen and former officials were largely involved to pick up the generous fees paid to speakers, it must also be noted that knowledge of MEK and its history is readily available on the internet and elsewhere. Flournoy in particular should have known better but even she, after the fact, claimed implausibly that she did not know that she was speaking to a former terrorist group that had killed Americans.

It should also be observed that the participating Congressmen all have extremely close ties to Israel and its domestic lobby, which have been assiduous in their efforts to vilify Iran as America’s designated enemy. To be sure, no one at the summit even mentioned Israel’s use of MEK operatives to carry out assassinations of scientists and sabotage operations inside Iran.

MEK is a curious hybrid creature in any event in that it pretends to be an alternative government option for Iran even though it is despised by nearly all Iranians. It is considered to be both irrelevant and ineffective but Iran hatred is so prevalent that it is greatly loved by the Washington Establishment which would like to see the Mullahs deposed and replaced by something more amenable to US and Israeli worldviews.

MEK is run like a cult by its leader Maryam Rajavi, with a number of rules that restrict and control the behavior of its members. One commentary likens membership in MEK to a modern-day equivalent of slavery. A study prepared by the Rand corporation for the U.S. government conducted interviews of MEK members and concluded that there were present “many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and limited exit options.”

The group currently operates out of a secretive, heavily guarded 84 acre compound in Albania that is covertly supported by the United States intelligence community, as well as through a “political wing” front office in Paris, where it refers to itself as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). MEK is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, which enables it to stage events in the United States and in Europe where it generously pays politicians to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. It’s bribing of inside the Beltway power brokers and its support by Israel proved so successful that it was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Hillary Clinton even though it had killed Americans in the 1970s.

As indicated above, MEK made the transition from terrorist group to “champions of Iranian democracy” by virtue of intensive lobbying of Iran haters. A Guardian article also describes how “A stupendously long list of American politicians from both parties were paid hefty fees to speak at events in favor of the MEK, including Rudy Giuliani, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Elaine Chao and former Democratic party chairs Edward Rendell and Howard Dean – along with multiple former heads of the FBI and CIA. John Bolton, who has made multiple appearances at events supporting the MEK, is estimated to have received upwards of $180,000. According to financial disclosure forms, Bolton was paid $40,000 for a single appearance at the Free Iran rally in Paris in 2017.”

It apparently has never occurred to the congressmen and senior officials that the MEK group had a whole lot of history before it appeared on the scene in Washington and began buying American politicians. MEK, which consisted of a group of dissident students having Marxism inspired anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist roots, had a bloody falling out with the Iranian revolution leaders in 1979, forcing it to resettle at Camp Ashraf, near Baghdad. It was protected by Saddam Hussein and used to carry out terrorist attacks inside Iran. It was also fiercely anti-American beginning back in the 1970s when it was still in Iran, to include attacks on US businesses and denunciations of the United States presence in Iran under the Shah. In 1979 it supported executing the US Embassy hostages rather than negotiating their release. One of its songs went “Death to America by blood and bonfire on the lips of every Muslim is the cry of the Iranian people. May America be annihilated.”

Within the US government, MEK was notorious for its assassination of at least six US Air Force officers and civilian defense contractors. One particularly audacious ambush in which two air force officers were murdered by MEK while being driven in from the airport was reenacted for each incoming class at the Central Intelligence Agency training center in the late 1970s to illustrate just how a perfectly executed terrorist attack on a moving vehicle might take place.

Given how currently nearly every news cycle includes stories about fake news on social media, it is surprising that MEK is never mentioned. Its current Albanian operational center uses banks of computers manned by followers, some of whom are fluent in English, who serve as bots unleashing scores of comments supporting regime change in Iran while also directing waves of criticism against any pro-Iranian pieces that appear elsewhere on social media, to include Facebook and Twitter. By one account, more than a thousand MEK supporters manage thousands of accounts on social media simultaneously. The objective of all the chatter is to convince the mostly English-speaking audience that there is a large body of Iranians who are hostile to the regime and supportive of MEK as a replacement.

It is an indisputable fact that over the past ten years, members of both major parties in Congress have either traveled to the group’s compound in Albania or spoken via video messages or live appearances in exchange for hefty speaking fees. The support provided by prominent officeholders and policymakers to include effusive praise of a terrorist group that is viscerally anti-American and has killed US officials is a disgrace. It is also a symptom of deeper problems in terms of how our foreign policy has been developed through the ascendancy of special interests. That America’s Iran policy should lead to praise of a radicalized extremist cult that is funded by authoritarian Saudi Arabia and politically supported by apartheid Israel ignores US actual interests at our peril.

August 5, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

No indication of Iran’s involvement in Israeli tanker attack: Russia

Press TV – August 2, 2021

A senior Russian foreign ministry official strictly rejects existence of any indications pointing to Iran’s likely involvement in a recent attack on an Israeli oil tanker off the Omani coast.

“We have not the slightest reason to believe [that Iran was involved in the attack],” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Director, Zamir Kabulov told Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Monday.

In a statement on Friday, Zodiac Maritime, the Israeli-owned firm managing the tanker, said that two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian, had been killed in the assault.

The Israeli regime and its sworn allies, the United States and the UK, rushed to accuse Iran of having a role in the incident, without providing any evidence. The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also alleged that the attack was deliberate and coordinated by Tehran.

Kabulov, however, reiterated Russia’s stance, saying Moscow’s refusal to corroborate such accusations was because “we have no facts.”

“When there are facts, then we will work out our position,” he added.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Britain’s chargé d’affaires and Romania’s ambassador to convey Tehran’s strong protest, reminding the envoys that the source of instability in the Persian Gulf was not the Islamic Republic, but actually extra-regional presence.

Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has also refuted such accusations as “absolutely groundless,” saying they feature “contradictory,” “hollow,” and “provocative” claims.

The official also sounded a strong warning against any act of adventurism targeting the Islamic Republic’s interests based on the unfounded claims.

August 3, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Foreign Ministry: Any adventurism will be met with Iran’s immediate, powerful response

Press TV – August 2, 2021

The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry has warned against any possible act of adventurism against the country’s interests, pledging “immediate, powerful, and serious” response to any such move.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate, even for a moment, to defend its security and national interests, and will answer any possible adventurism with immediate, powerful and serious action,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday.

The Iranian ministry’s spokesman was reacting to recent statements by US and British top diplomats about Iran’s role in the Thursday attack on an Israeli tanker off the coast of Oman.

Without providing any proof, foreign ministers of both the United States and the UK accused Iran of having a direct role in the attack, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken alleging “we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs.”

His British counterpart, Dominic Raab, also reflected on the matter, saying that the “unlawful and callous” attack had highly likely been carried out by Iran using one or more drones.

“Their coordinated statements contain contradictory phrases. They first accuse the Islamic Republic without providing any evidence and then speak of the ‘possibility’ [of Iran’s role in the attack],” Khatibzadeh said in reference to Raab saying, “UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”

The foreign ministry spokesman stressed that Iran is a country that supports safe and secure marine traffic in the Persian Gulf and international waters, which enjoys the longest water border in the strategic region.

Noting that Iran is always ready to work with regional countries to provide maritime security, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “Tehran considers the presence and interventions by transregional forces in the Persian Gulf waters and its littoral countries as detrimental to regional stability and security.”

“It is regrettable that these [Western] countries, which have been supportively silent in the face of terrorist sabotages and attacks on Iran’s commercial ships in the Red Sea and international waters, are now leveling politically-motivated baseless accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, if they have any proof to back their baseless claims they must offer them,” the Iranian spokesman said.

Khatibzadeh’s remarks came after earlier on Monday, an informed Iranian source said that Iran will give a strong and crushing response to any measure taken against its national interests and security, blaming Britain and the US for the consequences of such moves against Tehran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also talked to media on Sunday, saying that recent accusations leveled against Tehran by Israel and the United States about attacking an Israeli-owned merchant ship in the Sea of Oman are “childish” and influenced by the Zionist lobby in the United States.

“The illegitimate Zionist entity must stop leveling baseless charges against Iran. This is not the first time that this regime brings up such accusations [against Tehran],” he added.

Khatibzadeh noted that such accusations are leveled by the well-known lobby of the Zionist regime in the United States, adding, “The Zionist regime’s officials must know that such projectionist moves will not help them in any way.”

In recent months, several other Israeli-managed ships have come under attack on various maritime routes across the world.

The attacks come against the backdrop of the Israeli regime’s unrelenting assaults on cargo ships across the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere.

August 2, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 8 Comments

UK Media Report on ‘Iranian Secret Cyber Files’ Casts More Doubt Than Confidence

By Daria Bedenko – Sputnik – 27.07.2021

The authenticity of the alleged “Iranian secret cyber files” cited by Sky News, on how cyber attacks could be used against civilian infrastructure objects, is debatable, experts said, shortly after the UK media outlet published so-called ‘classified documents’ said to have been acquired from Iranian intelligence.

According to the Monday Sky News report, Iran has been conducting “secret research” into how cyber attacks could affect cargo ships and petrol stations, along with other civilian infrastructure entities. The outlet, citing an unnamed source, attributes the alleged intelligence to the Islamic republic’s clandestine Intelligence Team 13 – a cell described as “a sub-group within the IRGC Shahid Kaveh unit”, which is reportedly under an individual named Hamid Reza Lashgarian.

The anonymous source who shared the documents with the outlet said he was “very confident” in their authenticity.

Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran, does not, however, appear to share that confidence, saying that the publication of the so-called classified documents could be “an attempt to ratchet up tensions, especially since they gave it to Sky News.”

Marandi noted that the documents do not appear to have a “date or file number”, and neither there is an IRGC logo on the cover page, saying that it makes the report look “inauthentic”.

Dr. Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian analyst and professor at Strayer University in the US state of Virginia, agreed with the suggestion, underlining a “lack of professional format” in the document.

“The document is not dated, not stamped with security device, it is not typed on especially made papers with transparent emblem. The content is also debatable. It seems more like a dry run for a likely scenario of action. It is not surprising at all if The Islamic Republic of Iran tries to investigate possible cyber interventions, replicating what others have been doing to it for over a decade”, Nafisi pointed out.

The so-called classified documents appeared in the UK media ahead of the possible resumption of the Vienna negotiations for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian nuclear deal. The talks that initially started in April were postponed and could resume after the inauguration of the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, set to take place on 5 August. The UK is among the sides involved in the negotiations.

Not everyone is happy about the plausible revival of the nuclear deal with Iran, however. Israel continues to be a vocal opponent of the restoration of the JCPOA, claiming that the accord would pave the way for Iran to create a nuclear weapon – something that the Islamic republic has consistently denied, insisting that its nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.

When asked about reasons to attempt to dismantle relations between the UK and Iran by the publication of the unverified documents, Marandi suggested that it could be connected with activities of the “pro-Israeli lobby”.

“The Pro-Israeli lobby is working hard to push the two sides towards confrontation. It makes sense for some entity connected to them to be involved in the manufacturing of such a document”, he said, noting that “that’s a possibility” that the intention of the “leak” is to disrupt plans to resume the JCPOA negotiations.

What’s in the ‘Iranian Secret Cyber Files’?

The documents cited by Sky News make five reports, each of them said to be marked as “very confidential”.

Most of the reports are also said to feature a quote that “appears to be” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, reading: “The Islamic Republic of Iran must become among the world’s most powerful in the area of cyber.”

The first report, named “Ballast Water”, allegedly has six pages dedicated to the research of the complex systems on large cargo ships that remotely control infrastructure including filtration and ballast water. Sky News estimated that the document contains open-source research, rather than “privileged information”.

The report adds that “any kind of disruptive influence can cause disorder within these systems and can cause significant and irreparable damage to the vessel.”

Another report, also six pages long, is said to address “a system called an automatic tank gauge that tracked the flow of fuel at a petrol station.” Particularly, the research name-checked fuelling equipment produced by a US firm, Franklin Fueling Systems.

The report allegedly ponders the possible impact of “problems” with the systems, including cutting off the fuel supply, changing its temperature and even mulling the effects of an explosion.

“[An] explosion of these fueling pumps is possible if these systems are hacked and controlled remotely”, the report allegedly said.

Services providing maritime communications are addressed in what was said to be a 14-page report which studies two types of satellite communications used at sea – Sealink CIR and Seagull 5000i, noting that the latter is offered by such companies as Wideye in Singapore and Thuraya in the United Arab Emirates.

While the majority of the report is said to “repeat facts” from open sources about the two systems, there was also a chart in the end, Sky News said, showing the results of something commonly known as “Google dork” – conducting internet searches with certain key phrases enclosed in quotation marks that improve the accuracy of a search.

According to the screenshots from the report, the findings referred to devices from the United Kingdom, France and the United States.

Sky News described two other reports, the only ones marked with dates, that are claimed to be dedicated to building management systems and electrical equipment.

The first, allegedly compiled on 19 November 2020, had nine pages about “computer-based systems that control lighting, ventilation, heating, security alarms and other functions in a smart building”. Among other things, it listed companies that provided such services, including US firms KMC Controls and Honeywell, along with the French electrical equipment group Schneider Electric and the German company Siemens.

The second appears to be the longest of all five, consisting of 22 pages exploring electrical equipment made by the German company WAGO, and reportedly compiled on 19 April 2020.

This piece of purported research explored vulnerabilities in PLCs – “programmable logic controller” – with the findings saying, however, that it would not be possible to use them.

“Continuing the investigation, in order to use these processes, we noticed the vulnerabilities within these systems are irreparable, if there is an attack, damage will not easy to fix,” the report said. “Therefore, compared to other PLC brands, this brand is impenetrable once connected online. When online, the infrastructure and intelligence on engineering cannot be reached and cannot be lost.”

Although neither the Sky News ‘source’ nor British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace could confirm the authenticity of the “classified documents”, the latter nevertheless declared that they could pose “a threat to our way of life”, since they allegedly demonstrate that Western countries currently vulnerable to cyber attacks could see much worse than simple ransomware and DDoS exploits.

“They [Iran] are among the most advanced cyber actors,” claimed General Sir Patrick Sanders, the top military officer overseeing the UK cyber operations,” adding, “We take their capabilities seriously. We don’t overstate it”.

Tehran has not yet officially commented on the allegations made by Sky News.

Iranian trace?

This is not for the first time that Iran, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in particular, have been accused by a Western country of being involved in hacking activities.

Earlier in July, Facebook alleged that “Iranian hackers” presenting themselves as “recruiters, employees of defense contractors and young, attractive women” on the social media platform had tried to hack into the PCs of US military personnel.

Another set of accusations came from the FBI and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in October 2020, when the two entities accused Iran of obtaining “voter registration data in at least one state”, referring to the 2020 US presidential election.

The unsubstantiated claims by the two US agencies followed accusations by Microsoft that “Iranian hackers” targeted candidates in the 2020 US presidential elections – claims that were denied by Iran, which asserted that “unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country’s elections”.

While being constantly accused of conducting hacking operations, Iran is known to be a frequent target of hacker attacks. The latest came in early July and was conducted against the nation’s rail service, leading to a brief shutdown of the website for the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

House committees pass $20 mill per day on behalf of Israel

By Alison Weir | Israel-Palestine News | July 12, 2021

Congressional committees recently passed two bills that contain provisions to disburse a total of over $7 billion on behalf of Israel in the year 2022. This works out to almost $20 million per day.

These provisions were included in the bills despite the fact that Israel just committed another onslaught against Gazan men, women, and children; despite Israel’s many actions that harm Americans; despite the fact that most Americans think the U.S. already gives Israel too much money; and despite the fact that aid to Israel is illegal under U.S. laws.

On June 30th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense approved a bill that gives Israel half a billion dollars, and on July 1st the House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill that disburses nearly $6.4 billion on behalf of Israel.

APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE BILL

The latter bill, currently called the “2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations” bill, includes a measure that would give Israel $3.3 billion in military aid. The Committee’s press release on the bill, however, does not mention the funding for Israel.

In addition to this $3.3 billion, the bill includes the following funding that benefits Israel:

• An additional $58 million on related programs for Israel, which AIPAC points out in a series of proud tweets that list them.

• The bill provides $1.65 billion to Jordan and $1.4 billion to Egypt stemming from previous agreements with their governments to desist from advocating for Palestinian rights.

• It also contains a section to provide $225 million for alleged assistance to Palestinians. In reality, such funding is largely intended to benefit Israel, and is often proposed and/or receives support from Israel partisans such as Nita Lowey.

Rationales given in the bill for this funding are that it would “advance Middle East peace” (i.e. lead Palestinians to accede to Israeli demands); “improve security in the region” (be used by the Palestinian Authority to continue to round up resistance fighters – the Palestinian Authority is known as Israel’s “day-to-day partner in governing the West Bank”); and to “address urgent humanitarian needs” (but doesn’t mention that these needs are caused by Israel’s ongoing military attacks and financial policies against Palestinians).

Portions of the aid are used as a combination threat and bribe; the money will not be provided if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

Such ‘humanitarian’ funding for Palestinians is considered important for Israel, as two prominent Israel advocates explain:

“Funding for Palestinian assistance programs has always flowed with bipartisan support because it was determined to reinforce Israel’s security and provide a measure of U.S. leverage and influence.

This logic was ratified by the support of the Israeli government for these programs. Israeli authorities understood that a breakdown in security, an economic collapse or a humanitarian crisis in the West Bank would place an enormous burden on Israel.”

These additional provisions bring the total amount of Americans’ tax money to be disbursed on behalf of Israel in the Appropriations Committee bill to at least $6.7 billion.

Added to that is the half billion in the defense subcommittee bill passed on June 30th, making the total amount of money to be disbursed on behalf of Israel approximately $7.2 billion. 

These provisions were passed despite the fact that most voters would likely oppose them, since, as mentioned above, surveys indicate that the majority of Americans don’t support such large funding to Israel. However, very few Americans know about the proposed funding, since mainstream U.S. news companies almost never report on such legislation (unlike Israeli and Israel-focused U.S. media).

EVEN MORE MONEY FOR ISRAEL…

And there are numerous additional expenditures on behalf of Israel throughout the bill that are not included in the above tabulation.

Among these are funding for operations to dismantle the Arab League boycott of Israel; millions of dollars provided for Jews resettling in Israel; portions of the $20 billion to “Democracy Programs” and the $4.5 billion to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that are used to oppose support for Palestinian rights as allegedly ‘antisemitism’; funding to countries such as Bahrain, UAE, Moroccoand others resulting from enticements to procure their ‘normalization‘ policies with Israel, etc. A thorough examination of such additional programs could quite possibly add another billion dollars to be disbursed for Israel.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before House Appropriation Subcommittee hearing on 2022 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill on June 7, 2021. (Blinken had helped give Israel millions of additional dollars during its 2014 massacre of Gazans.) (C-Span)

AIPAC IS PLEASED

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) – possibly the most famous of the hundreds of pro-Israel groups in the U.S. – applauded Congressional leaders for their action in passing the measures:

This money to and for Israel is not new. Over the years, Israel has received far more U.S. tax money than any other country on earth: on average over 7,000 times more per capita than anyone else.

And in addition to all of this are the lives destroyed and the multi-trillion dollar cost of the Iraq war, a tragic and disastrous quagmire promoted by Israel and its American partisans.

And on top of this are the costs, in both lives and treasure, of Israel-influenced policies regarding Syria, Iran, and others.

It’s time to end Israel’s strangle hold over American politicians. To tell your Congress members to vote against this massive funding for Israel, go here.

(And to tell them to enact legislation that protects Palestinian children, go here.)


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

July 12, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 7 Comments

Documents reveal US pressure on ex-Yemeni regime to agree on normalizing ties with Israel

Press TV – July 12, 2021

The interior ministry of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has released a series of confidential documents detailing the United States pressure on the administration of former Yemeni dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to normalize relations with Israel and lift the blockade on products made in the Israeli occupied territories.

According to the documents, the US embassy in Sana’a had asked then-Yemeni authorities to end the economic embargo on Israeli goods, and not to participate in any activities deemed harmful to the Tel Aviv regime, the official Yemeni news agency Saba reported.

The papers expose the level of Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s discontent and frustration with the blockade, and how US officials left no stone unturned to force former Yemeni officials into opening the Arab country’s market to Israeli businesses and their products.

The former US ambassador to Yemen, Thomas C. Krajeski, called on Saleh’s regime to lift sanctions on companies with first-, second- or third-degree ties to Israel, which was not turned down by the Yemeni side.

Then-Yemeni foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, later told the US ambassador that the so-called embargo on US and Israeli goods was not actually being enforced.

The documents go on to reveal that the US embassy urged the Yemeni foreign ministry not to dispatch representatives to an anti-Israel event at the University of Damascus in Syria.

Moreover, the American diplomat described Yemen’s removal of boycott of Israeli products as the fundamental prerequisite for the Arab state’s membership in the World Trade Organization, and its access to free trade and international investment.

Last month, Spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced that Yemeni security forces had arrested a man involved in espionage activities on behalf of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

Saree said in a tweet at the time that more details on the matter will be provided in a documentary entitled “The Spy of Mossad in Yemen.”

The documentary will shed light on part of Israel’s intervention in the country and “the plan to target Yemen militarily, and other secrets revealed for the first time,” the senior Yemeni military figure pointed out.

The developments come as earlier reports said that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have been working to establish a spy base on Yemen’s strategically-located island of Socotra.

The UAE has also been accused of constructing an air base on the Mayyun Island, situated off the Yemeni coast in the Bab el-Mandeb.

Both activities have drawn strong condemnation from the Yemeni government, which has described them as violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and international law, especially following the illegally-run tours to Socotra from Abu Dhabi, some of which included Israeli tourists.

“The transfer of tourists to the Socotra Island reveals the plans and programs of the occupying UAE, which are in line with the Zionist schemes to dominate Yemeni islands as well as the steps towards normalization with the regime,” a statement read back then.

Yemen’s popular Ansaullah resistance movement has previously threatened to attack Israel if it was “involved in any action against Yemeni people.”

The Israeli regime took the threats seriously, and deployed its Iron Dome and Patriot missile systems around the southern city of Eilat early this year.

July 12, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment