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Report: US plans Arab-Israeli maritime unit in Persian Gulf for proxy missions

Press TV – September 11, 2021

A new report says a recent decision by the US Navy’s 5th Fleet to launch a drone task force is a step towards the establishment of a joint maritime unit comprising Persian Gulf Arab countries and Israel for proxy missions in the region.

On Wednesday, the 5th Fleet based in Bahrain announced that it will launch the new task force that incorporates airborne, sailing and underwater drones after years of maritime attacks linked to ongoing tensions with Iran.

US Navy officials declined to identify which systems they would introduce from their headquarters in Bahrain, but said the coming months would see the drones stretch their capabilities across the region.

“We want to put more systems out in the maritime domain above, on and below the sea,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, who leads the 5th Fleet. “We want more eyes on what’s happening out there.”

“These measures are in line with the launch of a joint maritime unit between Persian Gulf Arab countries and the Zionist regime. Using the equipment announced, the unit is supposed to play a role in proxy missions thanks to the support of the United States,” Iran’s Nour News agency wrote on Saturday.

“Successive failures in costly military campaigns in West Asia have led to a new US national security strategy, under which the American military focus in the region will change in favor of the development of presence in East Asia and the Chinese Sea,” it added.

According to the report, Washington is expected to hand over part of the missions of its military units in West Asia to Arab states and Israel to make its absence in West Asia and the Persian Gulf not conspicuous.

On September 1, the Tel Aviv regime officially moved into the US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, taking over from the European Command (EUCOM).

Nour News said the move paved the way for Israel to design and implement evil acts in the region with the help of some of the Persian Gulf Arab states.

“The new strategy, which lays the ground for the pursuit of the new national security doctrine, began by creating artificial tensions in the region based on a pre-designed scenario,” it added.

In late July, the US, the UK and Israel blamed Iran for a deadly drone attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker, the Mercer Street, off the coast of Oman.

A few days later, Reuters claimed that “Iran-backed forces” were believed to have seized the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Associated Press, citing information from MarineTraffic.com, reported that four tankers – the Queen Ematha, the Golden Brilliant, Jag Pooja and Abyss – broadcast over the Automatic Identification System (AIS) that their vessels were “not under command.”

Later, however, it emerged that all those contradictory reports of maritime incidents were circulated by the Zionists to justify their own evil acts in the region and portray Iran as the country that is causing insecurity, Nour News said.

“The depth of the Zionists’ lies became more evident after the Golden Brilliant docked at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port days after rumors about its possible hijacking.”


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September 11, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Killing Revolution in Bahrain, U.S.-UK Plotted Regime Change in Libya, Syria

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 19, 2021

Ten years ago this month, the Middle East and North Africa were convulsed by uprisings and subterfuges. The Arab Spring is generally thought of as a single wave of pro-democracy movements that swept the vast region. Far from it, however, the events were a mixed bag in which Western powers were not on the right side of history, as Western media would portray. Indeed, these powers played a nefarious role to ensure that the Arab Spring was kneecapped in order to cripple any progressive potential.

A look at the contemporaneous events in Bahrain, Libya and Syria shows the baleful role that the United States, Britain and other European NATO powers actually played. The Arab Spring certainly encompassed many more nations, but the specific events in those three mentioned Arab countries highlight the pernicious agenda of the Western powers which has left an ongoing legacy of misery, failure, conflict and terrorism for the entire Middle East and North Africa region.

As reported in a previous commentary, the American and British governments played an instrumental role in suppressing a popular revolution in Bahrain, which began on February 14, 2011, against a despotic but pro-Western monarchy – the Khalifa regime – which is also a surrogate for the richer and more powerful House of Saud regime in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were given a green light by the Americans and British to invade the Persian Gulf island on March 14, 2011, to brutally put down a month-long uprising by a majority of Bahrainis who were demanding free and fair elections, human rights and independent rule of law.

The irony is that Washington and London were claiming to support these same democratic values in other Arab countries which were undergoing unrest.

On March 15, 2011, Western governments and media hailed what they called was the beginning of a “pro-democracy” uprising in Syria against the government of President Bashar al Assad. Then on March 19, the United States, Britain and other NATO powers began a military intervention in Libya said to be in the name of “protecting human rights” from the armed forces under control of the head of that state Muammar Gaddafi.

The Americans and British were compelled to move quickly to suppress the Bahraini revolt because it potentially threatened the entire chain of absolute Gulf Arab monarchies. If democracy were to emerge in Bahrain that would be destabilizing for the other oil-rich Gulf states whose authoritarian rule is vital for sustaining the global petrodollar system and Western imperial interests in the Middle East, not least of all lucrative military exports. Sacrificing Bahrain’s democratic aspirations was the price that Washington and London were all too willing to pay, without a qualm.

To this day, Bahrain’s democratic aspirations are violently repressed by the monarchy in league with Saudi rulers, as well as American and British complicity, including media silence.

When the Saudis received the green light for invading Bahrain on March 14, 2011, the quid quo pro, according to Pepe Escobar, was that American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got assurance from the Gulf monarchies that they would ensure no objection among the 22-nation Arab League for the imminent NATO military intervention in Libya. Thus the suppression in Bahrain paved the way five days later for the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya, a relentless eight-month aerial bombing campaign that culminated in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi on October 20.

Subsequently, Libya would precipitously descend from the foremost developed nation in Africa into a war-torn failed state riven by civil war, jihadist warlords and human trafficking which has plagued Europe to this day. It is grotesque that the Americans, British and other NATO powers justified their criminal aggression on Libya in the name of protecting human rights and promoting democracy as part of the Arab Spring events.

What’s even more reprehensible, the failed state of Libya would soon become a supply route for the CIA and British MI6 to deploy jihadist mercenaries and weaponry for the NATO and Arab sponsored regime-change operation unfolding in Syria.

On March 15, 2011, one day after the Anglo-American sponsored operation to kill the democracy movement in Bahrain, events took on a sinister development in Syria. In the southern Syrian city Daraa on the border with Jordan, rooftop snipers killed security forces and anti-government protesters. The Western media immediately hailed the beginning of a pro-democracy movement in Syria against the central Assad government in Damascus. But scarcely reported then or since was that the snipers were covertly deployed by NATO powers in what would ignite a regime-change war. That war, which lasted for nearly 10 years and continues to destabilize Syria’s northern border, was cynically and disingenuously portrayed by Western media as a pro-democracy uprising when in reality it was a covert war of aggression by NATO powers, financed by Gulf Arab regimes and involving jihadist mercenaries recruited from dozens of countries.

Libya was a key link in the CIA and MI6 operation know as Timber Sycamore which funneled terrorist fighters and weapons to Syria to propagate the secret NATO war to overthrow President Assad. That operation eventually failed largely because of the military intervention in late 2015 by Russia in support of the Syrian government. Support from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah was also vital in defeating the Western powers’ regime-change plan.

The legacy from events a decade ago still reverberate to this day. Several members of the current Biden administration bear responsibility for the destruction, including the present Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Libya is a divided nation racked by economic collapse despite its vast oil wealth. Syria is war-torn with a death toll of perhaps 500,000 and struggling with reconstruction because of American and European sanctions against the Assad government. The terrorism that was spawned in those countries for the Western objective of regime change continues to haunt the Middle East and beyond.

And, as for Bahrain, a long-suffering people who simply demanded democracy were and continue to be brutally suppressed by despotic Arab regimes at the behest of the United States and Britain – two nations that claim to be exemplars to the rest of the world for democracy, human right and rule of law.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Arab Spring – A Personal Story

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 21, 2021

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring uprisings. Two previous commentaries this week have dealt with the geopolitics of those momentous events. This third part below is a personal reflection by the author who found himself unexpectedly embroiled in the maelstrom. It was life-changing…

I had been living in Bahrain for two years before the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring exploded in early 2011. Before that turmoil ignited, I was working as an editor on a glossy business magazine covering the Gulf region and its oil-rich Arab monarchies. But in many ways, I hadn’t a clue about the real social and political nature of Bahrain, a tiny island state nestled between Saudi Arabia and the other big Gulf oil and gas sheikhdoms of Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman.

During my corporate media employment I enjoyed a charmed life: a hefty tax-free salary, and a swanky apartment with rooftop swimming pool, jacuzzi and gym, which overlooked the sparkling Gulf sea and other glittering buildings that seemed to sprout up from reclaimed spits of land off the coast.

It was all weirdly artificial, if not hedonistically enjoyable. The luxury and glamor, the opulence. Unlike the other Gulf states, Bahrain had a distinctly more liberal social scene – at least for the wealthy expats. There were endless restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world. There were bars that freely sold alcohol which is “haram” in the other strictly-run Gulf Islamic monarchies. There were loads of nightclubs and loads of pretty hookers, most of them from Thailand and the Philippines. It all had the atmosphere of Sin City and forbidden fruit for the picking.

I later realized that Bahrain was not “cosmopolitan” as the business magazines and advertisements would gush about. That was just a euphemism for a vast system of human trafficking. All the service businesses were worked with menial people from Asia and Africa who were cheap and indentured labor. Where were the ordinary Bahrainis? What did they do for a living? In the cocooned expat life, the ordinary Bahrainis didn’t exist. Rich expats were there to enjoy tax-free salaries, glamorous glass towers, loads of booze and, if desired, loads of cheap sex.

My wake-up call came when my so-called professional contract was terminated after two years. That was in June 2010. Like a lot of other expats, my job came a cropper because of the global economic downturn that hit after the Wall Street crash during 2008. Advertising revenue failed to materialize for the magazine I was employed on. The British owners of the publishing house – Bahrain is a former British colony – told me, “Sorry old chap, but we can employ two Indians on half your salary.”

So that was it. I was out on the street. Going back to Ireland was not a realistic option. The economy was crap there too and job prospects dim. So I decided to hang in there in the Gulf and apply for jobs across the region. I downsized to a more modest apartment and lived off some savings. The job hunting was the usual wearying, self-debasing grind. “There’s nothing more that I would desire than to work as editor on your prestigious oil and gas trade magazine in Dubai.” Copy and paste as required for countless emailed job applications.

Then came the Arab Spring. The entire region of North Africa and Middle East erupted at the end of 2010, first in Tunisia then in the new year spilling over to Egypt and beyond. Watching TV news was like watching a satellite map of a cyclone sweeping across countries. It was an unstoppable force of nature. There were protests flaring up in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the Emirates, and they soon arrived in Bahrain. The rallying call among the masses was for more democratic governance, for free and fair elections, for economic equity.

Little did I know during my earlier charmed expat existence, but Bahrain was a particularly explosive powder-keg. Later, however, I was an unemployed journalist who suddenly found himself in the middle of a storm. It was only then that I began to really understand what Bahrain was all about. I mean the ugly, brutish nature of this “kingdom”.

To be honest, I wasn’t looking for work as a freelance reporter. I had done that in a previous life in Ireland. I was still a journalist, but reporting on political news wasn’t appealing anymore.

During my fruitless job-hunting period for a “dream number” in Dubai, I filled in my time and tried to earn a bit extra by hawking around bars in Bahrain with a guitar and microphone. I had done a bit of that in my previous life in Ireland, not very successfully mind you. But I thought I’d give it a go in Bahrain. On February 14, 2011, I was doing a gig at Mansouri Mansions hotel in the Adliya district of Manama, the capital. It was Valentine’s night. There’s me singing cheesy love songs – Elvis’ ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ – and there were hardly any customers. The place was dead.

Then the word came around. “We’re closing early. There’s trouble on the streets.” The whole city was eerily quiet. The Bahrain uprising had begun, not in the capital, but in the outlying towns and villages. On February 14, a young Bahraini man Ali Mushaima was shot dead by state security forces during protests. I was still oblivious to the extent of what was happening.

Overnight the atmosphere in Bahrain was changing to a much more menacing, volcanic one. There was immense popular anger over the young man’s killing.

I was in a taxi in the Juffair area of Manama going to enquire about doing a music gig at another bar. My petty concerns were shattered by the young taxi man who was animated about the protests and the death of Ali Mushaima the night before. The taxi man – Yousef, who I got to know – explained to me about Bahrain’s history. About how the majority of the people are Shia muslims who have lived for centuries under a despotic Sunni monarchy. The Al Khalifa royals were originally from the Arabian Peninsula, a clan of raiders and bandits. They invaded Bahrain as pirates in the 18th century and were made the rulers over the island by the British who wanted a strong-arm regime to look after their colonial possession and sea routes to India, the so-called jewel in the British imperial crown. The Khalifa clan would later become obscenely wealthy after oil was discovered in Bahrain in the 1930s, the first such discovery of oil in the Gulf, predating that of Saudi Arabia. Over the decades, the Bahraini majority would be marginalized and impoverished by their British-backed rulers.

I asked Yousef, the young taxi man, “So what do you make of all these wealthy high-rise buildings and the glamor of Bahrain?” He replied, “It means nothing to us – the Shia people of Bahrain. We are strangers in our own land.”

Yousef appealed to me to attend a protest that night. It was at the Pearl Roundabout, a major intersection and landmark sculpture in Manama. The protesters were taking their grievances right to the very capital, not confining themselves to the outlying squalid towns and villages where the Shia majority were forced to live in ghettoes by the Khalifa regime.

What I encountered was a revelation. Suddenly I felt I was finally meeting the people of Bahrain. Tens of thousands were chanting for the regime to fall. The atmosphere was electric but not at all intimidating for me. People were eager to explain to this foreigner what life was really like in Bahrain, as opposed to the artificial images that plaster business magazines and Western media advertisements for rich investors.

Then I knew right there that there was a story to be told. And there I was ready and willing to tell it.

The protests were quickly met with more violence from the Bahraini so-called Defense Forces. “Defense Forces”, that is, for the royal family and their despotic entourage. The protesters were unarmed and non-violent, albeit passionate in their demands for democracy.

The Pearl Roundabout became a permanent encampment for the protesters. Tents were set up for families to rest in. Food stalls were teeming. A media center was operated by young Bahraini men and women. There was an exhilarating sense of freedom and of people standing up for their historic rights.

For the next three weeks, the Khalifa regime was on the ropes. The police and army were overwhelmed by the sheer number of protesters. At rallies there were easily 200,000-300,000 people at a time. For an island of only one million, there was a palpable sense that the long-oppressed majority had awakened to demand their historic rights against the imposter Khalifa regime. People were openly declaring, “the Republic of Bahrain”. This was a revolution.

In a lucky break, I was filing reports for the Irish Times and other Western media. The money was much appreciated, but more importantly there was an edifying, inspirational story to be told. A story about people overcoming tyranny and injustice.

All that would change horribly on March 14 when the Saudi and Emirati troops invaded Bahrain. The invasion had the support of the United States and Britain. What followed in the next few days was brutal repression and killing of peaceful protesters. The Pearl Roundabout was routed by indiscriminate state violence. Its sculpted monument was demolished to erase the “vile” memory of uprising. Men, women, medics, opposition thinkers and clerics were rounded up in mass detention centers. People were tortured and framed up in royal courts, sentenced to draconian prison terms. To this day, 10 years on, many of the Bahraini protest leaders – many of whom like Hassan Mushaimi and Abduljalil al-Singace I interviewed – remain languishing in jail.

However, a strange thing happened. Just when the story was becoming even more interesting – if not heinous – I found the Western media outlets were no longer open for reports. Some of my reports to the Irish Times on the repression were being heavily censored or even spiked. The editors back in Dublin were telling me that the news agenda was shifting to “bigger events” in Libya and Syria.

The corporate news media were shifting their focus to places where Western governments had a geopolitical agenda. Genuine journalistic principles and public interest didn’t matter. It was government agendas that mattered. The Irish Times and myriad other derivative media outlets were following the agenda set by the “majors” like the New York Times, CNN, the Guardian, the BBC and so on, who were in turn following the agendas set by their governments.

For Washington and London and other Western governments, the Arab Spring became an opportunity to foment regime change in Libya and Syria. The protests in those countries were orchestrated vehicles to oust leaders whom Western imperial states wanted rid off. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was murdered in October 2011 by NATO-backed jihadists. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad nearly succumbed but in the end managed to defeat the Western covert war in his country thanks to the allied intervention of Russia and Iran.

All the while, the Western media were telling their consumers that Libya and Syria were witnessing pro-democracy movements, rather than the reality of NATO-sponsored covert aggression for regime change.

A person might be skeptical of claims that Western media are so pliable and propagandist. I know it for a fact because when I was reporting on the seismic events in Bahrain – which were truly about people bravely and peacefully fighting for democracy – the Western media closed their doors. They weren’t interested because there were “bigger events elsewhere”. Bahrain, like Yemen, would be ignored by the Western media because those countries didn’t serve the Western geopolitical objectives. Whereas Libya and Syria would receive saturation coverage, saturated that is with Western imperial propaganda.

Bahrain was and continues to be ignored by Western media because it is an integral part of the Saudi-led Gulf monarchial system which serves Washington and London’s imperial objectives of profiteering from oil, propping up the petrodollar and sustaining massive weapons sales. Democracy in Bahrain or in any other of the Gulf regimes would simply not be tolerated, not just by the despotic rulers therein but by their ultimate patrons in Washington and London.

I continued to report on the regime’s atrocities in Bahrain. My reports would be taken by alternative media sites like Global Research in Canada and indie radio talk shows in the United States. The money wasn’t great, but at least I could try to get the story out. In June 2011, four months after the Arab Spring began in Bahrain, the regime copped my critical reporting. I was summoned over a “visa irregularity” to the immigration department but instead was met by surly military police officers who told me I was “no longer welcome in the kingdom of Bahrain”. I was given 24 hours to leave “for my own safety”.

I returned to Ireland where after a few months I would relocate to Ethiopia in September 2011 to work as a freelance journalist for Global Research, initially. Later I began to work for Iran’s Press TV and Russian media. I first started working for this online journal, Strategic Culture Foundation, in late 2012. And my best move? I married an Ethiopian woman whom I had met in Bahrain during the Arab Spring.

Witnessing the struggle for democracy and justice in Bahrain was a privilege, one that I hardly expected or even wanted initially. But it fell to me. I witnessed such bravery and kindness among long-suffering Bahraini people who shared their grievances with generosity and graciousness despite the horror and oppression around them. Their struggle continues in spite of the lying, conniving Western governments and their media lackeys.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

US designates anti-govt. Bahraini group as ‘terrorist’ after Manama inks peace deal with Israel

Press TV | December 16, 2020

The administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump has designated Bahraini opposition group Saraya al-Mukhtar as a “terrorist” organization, months after the Manama regime agreed to a Washington-brokered normalization with Israel.

In a statement released on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his office had blacklisted the group as “a Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” claiming that it was “posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

He alleged that Saraya al-Mukhtar receives “financial and logistic support” from Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and seeks to depose the Bahraini government.

“The group has plotted attacks against US personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials,” Pompeo further claimed.

The designation freezes any of the group’s US assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with it.

Iran has not commented on the claims so far.

The Bahraini government welcomed the US blacklisting of Saraya al-Mukhtar.

The Bahraini Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “commends” what it called “the relentless efforts undertaken by the United States of America in combatting all extremist terrorist organizations.”

Bahraini courts have already sentenced suspects allegedly linked to Saraya al-Mukhtar to years in prison and revoked their citizenship.

Several Bahraini groups have faced accusations of ties to Iran since 2011, when an uprising began in the kingdom against the ruling Al Khalifah regime. Tehran has, however, dismissed such allegations as false.

Analysts see the blacklisting as an American reward to Manama, months after it reached a US-brokered normalization deal with the Israeli regime.

The agreement sparked several angry street protests in Bahrain, with the participants slamming the regime in Manama for turning a deaf ear to the nation’s calls against making peace with the occupiers of Palestine.

In addition to Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan and Morocco have also reached similar agreements with Israel.

Joe Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC, told the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal that “the activities of Saraya al-Mukhtar have significantly diminished since 2018 but the Trump administration is standing by those Arab allies who normalized with Israel.”

“While Morocco got US recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara and Sudan was delisted as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Trump administration is showing support for Bahrain in a designation that has no real impact whatsoever,” he added.

Bahrain — home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet — has seen anti-regime protest rallies since the onset of the uprising. The major demand has been the ouster of the Al Khalifah dynasty and the establishment of a just and conclusive system representing all Bahraini nationals.

In an attempt to stifle those calls, the Manama regime has been pressing ahead with a heavy-handed crackdown against the protesters and persecution of human rights campaigners and political dissidents.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-normalization Protests Erupt in Bahrain despite Security Restrictions

MEMO | October 24, 2020

Anti-normalisation protests erupted in the streets of the Bahraini capital of Manama after Friday prayer yesterday.

Protesters held up banners denouncing normalisation, with the unified slogan “Anti-normalisation Friday”, along with a photo of a masked Palestinian militant.

Bahrain’s normalisation agreement with Israel was met with widespread anger, despite tight security restrictions, as well as the summoning of the demonstration organisers and participants, forcing them to sign an order to stay off the streets and not to engage in disruptive activities.

The protesters expressed their rejection of normalisation by carrying banners with the slogans: “Normalisation is treason”, “We reject submission, humiliation and surrender to the instructions of the US and Britain” and “Israel is a cancer that must be eradicated, and we will”. Other slogans stated: “We will never surrender” and “Normalisation is shameful, it is a betrayal”.

After Bahrain announced normalising relations with Israel, the hashtag “Bahrainis against normalisation” was widely circulated by Bahraini activists on Twitter.

The Emirati and Bahraini normalisation agreements with Israel were categorically rejected by the Palestinian authorities and factions, who considered the decision as a betrayal of Al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause.

October 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

95% of Bahrainis against normalization deal with Israel: Opposition tells UN

Press TV – October 18, 2020

Bahrain’s largest opposition group calls on the United Nations to intervene in the kingdom’s unbridled push to deepen its relations with the Israeli regime, saying the move falls short of the general population’s consent.

The Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society released the statement on Sunday, as the two sides are expected to sign a “joint communique on establishing peaceful and diplomatic relations” during a visit by Israeli and US delegations to the Bahraini capital Manama.

The move marks a major step forward in formalizing Manama and Tel Aviv’s ties after a September 15 event at the White House during which Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed “normalization” deals with the occupying regime.

All the Palestinian factions besides countless independent Muslim figures and bodies have unanimously blasted the détente as a stab in the back of the Palestinian nation and a US-facilitated attempt at betraying the Palestinian cause of ending the Israeli occupation and aggression.

The opponents of the rapprochement say the move that has been taken by a handful of unelected authorities in Manama and Abu Dhabi never qualifies to represent the opinion of the world’s millions-strong Arab and Muslim community.

“More than 95% are against the agreement and the normalization with the Zionists and the absence of any authority representing the people” in the push towards cementing the détente, al-Wefaq said, addressing UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“We call on the secretary-general and the international community to ask the Bahraini regime to allow Bahrainis to give their final word on the agreement between the Bahraini regime and the Zionist occupation,” it added.

“The people of Bahrain need to express their opinion about this illegal agreement,” the statement read, calling the deal unconstitutional and contrary to “patriotic and national values.”

The movement said another reason for the agreement’s illegality was that Manama was going ahead with it while stifling all instances of opposition at home.

Since 2011, Bahrain has been witnessing near-daily peaceful rallies against Manama’s routine practice of heavily discriminating against its Shia Muslim majority. The state has come down hard on the protests, killing scores of people and jailing hundreds of others.

October 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Peace Deal Like No Other

Much ado about nothing, but Act 2 is coming up

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 22, 2020

It is odd that the White House is gloating over its claimed peace agreement in the Middle East at the same time as one of the signatories is bombing Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. It all suggests that peace in the region will exclude designated enemies and the friends of those enemies, since the ties among the three parties – Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – is transparently in part an offensive alliance directed against Iran and its friends, to include Syria and Lebanon. A significant amount of the horse trading that preceded the gala signing ceremony in the White House involved who would get what advanced American weapons down the road. The UAE wants F-35 fighter bombers while Israel is already asking for $8 billion for more top-level weapons from the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative edge” over its new found friends.

For the more sagacious readers who chose to ignore what took place, a short recap is in order. Last Tuesday President Trump hosted a White House signing ceremony during which Israel established formal ties with the two Arab states. The agreement was dubbed the Abraham Accord because it purports to build on the foundation provided by the fraternity, as one might put it, of the three Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. More specifically, it created the mechanism for diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties between Israel and the two Arab countries. It should be observed that both the UAE and Bahrain are close to being client states of the U.S. Bahrain is in fact the home port of the U.S. Fifth Fleet that operates in the region and it also hosts headquarters of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). Both countries have long had de facto semi-secret relations with Israel on security issues and Israelis have been able to travel to them as long as they do not do so on an Israeli passport. And they both also know that the road to improving already good relations with Washington passes through Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally attended the ceremony, together with the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain. Trump enthused “We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history” and presented a replica gold key to the White House to Netanyahu. It is not known if the two Arab ministers received anything beyond a “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”

The president observed that the two Arab nations were the third and fourth to normalize relations with Israel, following on Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, and predicted that five more Arab countries might soon also recognize Israel. Oman and Qatar, which hosts the major U.S. airbase at Al-Udeid, are likely to be next in line as both have close ties to the United States and have never exhibited much hardline anti-Israeli fervor. The claim made before the signing, that Israel would stand down on its plan to annex much of the Palestinian West Bank as a quid pro quo for the agreement was not discussed at all, nor was it part of the document. It is generally believed that Israel will wait until after the U.S. election to make its move.

The Palestinians, who have been on the receiving end of Israeli nation-building were not invited. There were some demonstrations by Palestinians in Gaza and Ramallah denouncing the signing as it took place, together with chanting that “Palestine isn’t for sale.” Indeed, Palestinians are more-or-less invisible in Washington, having had their representational office closed by Trump in 2018 after he had been shown a fabricated video by Netanyahu in which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to be calling for the murder of children. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also viewed the video and informed the president that it was an obvious fabrication, but Trump was convinced by it.

The U.S. media, always inclined to applaud anything that advances Israeli interests, registered its approval of the agreement. And there were calls for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Trump for his miraculous achievement, not as ridiculous as it sounds as it is at least as well deserved as the one that was given to Barack Obama. Trump the peacemaker has a nice ring to it, and it quite possibly would pay off for the president in terms of votes and political contributions. Indeed, if one looks at the White House ceremony dyspeptically, it becomes clear that the whole event was staged for political purposes to advance GOP interests in the upcoming election. If it changes anything on the ground at all it actually worsens the chances for peace in the region. The UAE and Bahrain are now locked into a unified effort to oppose Iran by military force if necessary, with open support from Israel plus covert aid from Saudi Arabia as well as the full backing of the United States.

One might reasonably argue that the agreement was a win for Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, as they have succeeded in obliging the U.S. to support their own regional security interests for the foreseeable future. The media, defense contractors and politicians bought and paid for by Israel will be able to assert that the U.S. must retain significant forces in the region to defend Israel and friendly Arab states against the largely fictitious “Iranian menace.” It is unfortunately a major setback for United States efforts to limit its exposure to any and all political developments in an increasingly unstable Middle East. If the White House had really wanted to disengage from the quagmire that it has found itself in, it was an odd way to go about it.

And the Palestinians are left with nowhere to go, the presumption being that with lessening Arab support they will be reduced to begging Israel (and the U.S.) for a deal that will reduce them to the status of helots. That conclusion just might make them desperate and could trigger a new and even more bloody intifada.

The downside of the agreement is already beginning to play out as the United States is preparing to unilaterally impose sanctions on Iran that will include possible seizure of Iranian ships in international waters, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also warned Russia and China against trying to sell weapons to Tehran. One might well ask, how exactly does Pompeo propose to do that? Will he shoot down Russian transport planes or sink Chinese and Russian flagged ships? How does one go from being crazy to being batshit crazy, and what about all those Americans and others who would prefer not to be on the receiving end of a nuclear exchange?

Trita Parsi, who follows the situation in the Middle East closely, has suggested that Pompeo might even be planning an October Surprise, which might amount to some kind of provocation or even a false flag operation that would result in open conflict with Iran with the U.S. arguing that the fighting is both lawful and defensive in nature.

Such a suggestion might be considered insanity, but there are signs that the U.S. is heightening its delegitimization campaign against Iran. Unconfirmable allegations from anonymous U.S. government sources are surfacing about an alleged Iranian plot to kill the U.S. Ambassador in South Africa. And, as of Saturday, Washington is now implementing its new sanctions regime and there is a distinct possibility that an Iranian vessel in the Persian Gulf might be seized, forcing Iran to respond. The U.S. Navy has already intercepted four Greek flagged tankers in the Atlantic Ocean on their way to Venezuela, claiming they were carrying Iranian petroleum products, which were then confiscated. Given the demonstrated propensity to use armed force, anything is possible. The thinking in the White House might be that a containable war against a recognized enemy might be just the ticket to win in November. Of course, once the fighting starts it might not work out that way.

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.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PLO: Normalisation prepares for formation of military alliances led by Israel

MEMO | September 14, 2020

Secretary-General of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said yesterday that the UAE and Bahraini normalisation deals with Israel prepare for the formation of military alliances in the region led by Israel, Anadolu reported.

In a press conference held in Ramallah, Erekat said: “Israel will never be a tool to protect the security of Arabs, but a tool to undermine the security of the Arab states.”

“The Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalise relations is now part of a bigger package in the region. It is not about peace, it is not about relations between countries. It is a military alliance being created in the region led by Israel.”

On Friday, Bahrain joined the UAE in normalising ties with Israel, a move that caused outrage among Palestinians.

“Normalisation does not serve the Palestinian or the Arab interests,” he said, “whoever depends on Israel commits a strategic mistake.”

He also noted that the normalisation deals did not include any indications to the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and a just solution for refugees.

“What happened was an implementation of the US deal of the century,” he said, stressing that these deals will not achieve peace if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved first.

 

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bahrain civil society groups reject normalisation agreement

MEMO | September 14, 2020

Civil society groups in Bahrain have rejected the government’s normalisation agreement with Israel which is expected to be signed formally in Washington DC on Tuesday. Seventeen organisations have issued a joint statement to this effect, with signatories including the General Federation of Workers’ Trade Unions in Bahrain, the Bahraini Bar Association and the Bahrain Women’s Association.

“We adhere to the constants of the Bahraini people regarding the just Palestinian cause and the provisions of the constitution that criminalise normalisation with the Zionist entity, in accordance with the official and popular Arab and Islamic consensus rejecting normalisation with this criminal entity,” said the groups. “All forms of normalisation with the Zionist entity initiated by some countries have neither produced peace nor restored the usurped rights of the Palestinian people, but have, rather, encouraged the enemy to commit more crimes against Palestine and the holy Arab and Muslim sites, foremost of which is Holy Jerusalem.”

The statement added that “what is known as a peace treaty between Bahrain and the Zionist enemy under the auspices of the US administration has brought about tremendous shock, resentment and widespread popular rejection among the Bahraini people, their political forces, civil society institutions, and all national actors and personalities.”

As a result, the signatories pointed out, nothing arising from the normalisation deal will have any popular legitimacy. “Generations of Bahrainis have believed in the just nature of the Palestinian cause,” they concluded.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Normalisation with Israel means RIP international law, it’s been nice knowing you

By Ibrahim Hewitt | MEMO | September 12, 2020

The news that Bahrain has followed the UAE, Jordan and Egypt into Israel’s criminal embrace was no surprise; nor will it be shocking to hear that Saudi Arabia is following suit, as it almost certainly will. The raising of the Israeli flag in Riyadh will happen sooner rather than later. The groundwork for this has already been prepared by what passes for a government in the Saudi capital, with Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, a state-controlled Imam in Makkah, doing a 180 degree U-turn on peace with Israel in a recent sermon.

These deals have been written in the blood of the people of occupied Palestine. Recognition of the colonial state of Israel is acceptance of the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians by the nascent state and its terrorist militias in and around 1948, and the subsequent death and destruction that the “Israel Defence Forces” have rained down on Palestinians ever since. It is also the acceptance of the death of international law, which surely has no place left to hide if the world accepts what is going on in the name of “peace” in the Middle East.

Once again, the Palestinians are the fall guys in all of this, but what should they do? What can they do? It is tempting to think that they have been backed into a corner and will now be expected to roll over and die, metaphorically or literally; or possibly both. The fact is, though, that they still have some cards to play, but it will require a major shift in the strategy that has dominated Palestinian politics for more than a quarter of a century.

The rot started when the Palestine Liberation Organisation under Yasser Arafat gave up on “liberation” as a goal and signed the Oslo Accords. Palestine and its people have paid a heavy price ever since, with their leaders making concession after concession while Israel has conceded nothing. On the contrary, the occupation has become even more entrenched during the farce of “negotiations” which have now been on hold for years.

Is there any other place in the world where the victims of criminal activity have been told to negotiate with the criminals in order for justice to be served? Or where justice has never actually been on the agenda of such talks because it would expose the criminals and their allies for what they really are?

Is there any other conflict in the world where the aggressors claim “self-defence” every time they bomb civilians “back to the stone age”, and where this is accepted by the international community even though an occupation state has no such legitimate claim under international law? Or where the legitimate right to resist military occupation by every means at your disposal is regarded as “terrorism”, as it is when you are a Palestinian resisting Israel’s brutal occupation of your land?

We can and should argue that the Palestinian Authority hasn’t got a leg to stand on with complaints about the UAE and now Bahrain doing a deal with Israel, for the simple reason that not only has it been happy to rely on support from Egypt and Jordan for decades, both of which have peace treaties with the Zionist state, but it has also continued to protect Israel and Israelis through its “security cooperation” with Tel Aviv. This cooperation — a euphemism for collaboration — has been described as “sacred” by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, probably because he knows that his Palestinian No Authority Whatsoever was created to serve Israel’s interests, not the interests of the people of occupied Palestine, and is funded accordingly. No collaboration, no funds.

Abbas and his PLO-Fatah-PA cronies can complain as much as they like about “normalisation”, but they know that their words can only ever serve as rhetoric unless and until real changes are made. As my colleague at MEMO Motasem Dalloul wrote this week, such complaints are all for media consumption.

It is surely time for the PA to call it a day and dissolve itself. Abbas should step aside; his “ministers” should clear their desks; and the “Palestinian security apparatus” should be disbanded. Annexation is going to happen no matter what the PA or anyone else says or does, so let Israel declare its sovereignty over the whole of the occupied Palestinian territories. Such a move will still be illegal, if international law has any meaning left at all, and the status quo won’t really change as far as those living under occupation are concerned. Oppression is still oppression whether your jailers wear Israeli or Palestinian uniforms.

With no PA as its lapdog, Israel will have sole responsibility for security and the civilian infrastructure for everyone living within its as yet undeclared borders (alone amongst all UN member states, Israel has never said where its borders lie), Jews and Arabs alike. That will place a huge financial and logistical burden on Netanyahu and his increasingly far-right government, a burden which it is unlikely to be able to cope with if it wants to retain the mirage that it is “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

Not that Israel has ever really cared what the rest of the world thinks as long as its lobbyists are able to make Western governments dance to their tune. This has allowed Israel to act with impunity and treat international laws and conventions with contempt for more than 70 years, and its leaders have been and remain war criminals and guilty of crimes against humanity. And yet those ostensibly democratic governments in the West, for reasons known only to themselves, continue to declare their undying loyalty to what is, by any measure, a rogue state.

The guardians of international law at the UN are toothless and have acquiesced with Israel’s occupation and presence in the Middle East simply by not acknowledging that it is a settler-colonial state which rides roughshod over Palestinian rights, including the refugees’ right of return. UN agencies provide essential services to the refugees but have to labour under the constraint which has turned Palestine into a humanitarian rather than a political issue.

Moreover, the absurdity of the Security Council veto afforded to the post-World War Two nuclear states means that nothing will happen at the UN if any one of the US, Britain, Russia, China or France disagrees. The rest of the world can have opinions and even majority opinions but that tiny exclusive club will always carry the vote and then apply undue pressure on other countries to do as they are told.

The normalisation of Arab states, therefore, doesn’t really mean “peace” as we are being led to believe; it simply means that they too are displaying contempt for international law; that they too condone the Nakba and the Naksa; that they too condone the ongoing colonisation of Palestine and the oppression of its people; and that they too are bowing to Zionist hegemony in the region, and perhaps the rest of the world as well. Normalisation with Israel actually means RIP international law, it’s been nice knowing you.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bahrain and Palestine: At the Heart and Front of the Struggle Against US and Zionist Occupation

By Julia Kassem | American Herald Tribune | February 18, 2020

Nine years ago, on February 14 of 2011 to the date, massive anti-government protests swept Bahrain.

Yet the common narrative of Bahrain’s uprising as on the backburner of the failed Egyptian movement downplayed the real significance of Bahrain in struggle. Rather than writing it off as a failed after effect of the 2010-2011 Arab Spring protests, Bahrain should be recognized as a struggle of liberation against Western imperialism and occupation on par with the Palestinian struggle.

With a long, established root in history, and as the Resistance Axis scales up the regional call to expel US occupation following the assassination of IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, Bahrain deserves increasing attention.

Bahrain is a Persian Gulf island under the monarchist rule of the Al-Khalifa clan that had ruled Bahrain over two centuries, soon receiving the support of Britain following an 1820 treaty with the Al-Khalifa monarchs.

Post-Cold War, the United States would eclipse Britain as the main imperialist backer of Bahrain’s monarchy in the Middle East. As Britain tightened its relationship with Bahrain in 1919, it had also carved out the blueprint for the occupation of Palestine in 1917 under the Balfour Declaration.

The movement in Bahrain was brutally suppressed not just because of its uprising against one monarchy, but because of the unrelenting popular consensus by demonstrators for a government that is anti-Zionist, anti-American, and democratic. These calls were met with a brutal crackdown by Saudi-backed authorities that intervened a month later to quell the popular revolt.

Western media narratives had cast Bahrain’s uprising in the shadow of Egypt’s failed ‘revolution,’ relegating it to the backburner of a co-opted Arab “Sting.”

Bahrain may not have the highest number of American troops occupying the tiny island, with just neighboring Kuwait and Qatar hosting up to 13,000 US occupying forces each. Yet the tiny island, packs over 7,000 US troops, stationed, as of January 2020, in a tiny 765 km2 area.

It also has been made home to a US naval base since 1947, the oldest of its kind in the Middle East, established one year before the 1948 Nakba, the year the illegal Zionist occupation was made legitimate in the eyes of the so-called “international community.”

The United States’ Navy 5th Fleet, established in Bahrain in 1944 as the largest combat fleet in the world was only reestablished in 1995 after being inactive for 48 years. Yet it has situated itself as the useful output of US regional hegemony in the Persian Gulf, where the “area of responsibility for American fleets shuttling aircraft carriers and destroyers include pretty much every West Asian nation along the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, and some of the Indian Ocean.

Poised for the US to have an easier shot at a number of nations under its threat, occupation, or watch, from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, or Yemen, to a station to safeguard its the regimes it backs, like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE, its positionality is becoming even more critical in light of the US’s assaults, sea and land alike, against Iran.

History: Previous uprisings

To understand the reason behind the Western/Gulf insecurity behind popular uprisings in Bahrain, historically, one must draw upon the history of resistance against the monarchist elite in Bahrain.

An approximately 5-year uprising that began in 1994, the “uprising of dignity” by a coalition of both Shia and leftist factions against the ruling regime.

In 2006, the Al Bandar report revealed Saudi plans of sowing the seeds of sectarian tension in Bahrain, where a nearly $3 million financing of secret cells in the Bahraini government and its intelligence apparatuses, government-operated cover-NGOs, and sectarian propaganda was aimed at an intentional targeting of Bahrain’s more than 70% Shia majority.

That same year, Sheikh Abdul Amir al-Jamiri, a main spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia, passed away after decades of commitment and leadership to bringing justice to Bahrain. Al-Jamiri, the main leader of the mid-90s uprising, was credited for bringing secular leftist and Shia factions together in a unified call against a regime that, in its monarchy, was in service of capitalism, imperialism, and Zionism.

Yet al-Jamiri’s passing would later inspire the unified call for reform and revolt 17 years later. Unfortunately, Bahrain’s opposition coalition would accept the concessions put forth by the then-new emir Hamad al-Khalifa, enshrined in Bahrain’s 2001 National Action Charter.

Like the many agreements and negotiations handed to the Palestinians, this agreement, while bringing the country back to some provisions in the previous constitutional rule the monarchy clan stamped out in 1975, had the effect of doing little to curtail the economic and political supremacy of the monarchy and its systematic oppression of its majority population.

The Bahrain-Palestine connection

Both the oppressed of Bahrain and occupied Palestine have suffered for decades under the US’s ambitions to use their lands as military bases, supporting and backing neo-colonial regimes to help instill their political, economic, and military hegemony.

The illegitimate governments of both countries continue to US hegemony by, obviously, their military role as US-military bases but also for their benefits for US-dominated capitalism. For example, the Zionist entity’s tech sector has found its footing and high dependency on the U.S. economy. According to a December 2019 report by the ‘Israeli’ Ministry of Finance, US investments accounted for 35% of those in ‘Israeli’ tech in 2018, with the total amount of Israeli investors being lower at 30%. In Bahrain, the royal family has amassed at least $40 billion alone from 2000 to 2010 from land-grabbing schemes for development, both buying properties from the UK and brokering free-trade agreements with the US.

The result, in taking the lion’s share of land available for people’s commerce and trade, has caused a hike up in land and property prices, compounding the existing and intentional economic conditions of high native unemployment (at 35%) that afflicts the local youth. The Bahraini regime has accomplished essentially what the Israeli regime has in its occupation of Palestine: the weaponization of land grabbing as a regime-building tool as well as flooding the country with cheap, foreign labor effectively barring the native underclass from any economic agency or access.

More significant is the tactic and prevalence of arbitrary and forced detention endemic to the preservation of both US-backed regimes. Bahrain is the top country globally for political prisoners, with over 14,000 cases of arbitrary detention between 2011 and 2019 alone. This includes the detention of over 1,700 children. The Zionist entity, similarly, replicates this tactic and these projections: since 1967, the occupation has arrested over 800,000 Palestinians, including 50,000 children, with over 1,250 minors under arbitrary detention between 2011 and 2018 alone.

Characteristic of the Zionist and Bahraini regimes, in addition to their routine arbitrary detention of civilians and children, is their brutal imprisonment and torture of movement leaders and dissidents; especially those that have played vital roles in uniting the opposition.

This is exemplified by the detention of Marwan Barghouti or Khalida Jarrar in occupied Palestine or Ayatollah al-Qassem and Ebtisam el Sayegh in Bahrain. These are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of leaders and activists that have endured torture, repeated arrests, in order to quell the rich ideological leadership committed to resistance to occupation and oppression in both the Bahraini and Palestinian nations.

Both the Deal of the Century and the recent uptick in torture against Bahraini prisoners of conscience can give their thanks to the acceleration of support and reinforcement from the United States under the Trump administration.

The Obama administration did no more than offer a trickle of lip-service criticism against the Zionist and Bahraini regimes in his time in office, countered anyway by his first-term Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warm embrace of both: Clinton has always considered herself a “strong supporter” of the Occupying Entity as she did commend Bahrain’s king.

While the US’s arms sales to Bahrain had somewhat halted under Obama’s term, which had otherwise undergone the steady increase of bombings and drone warfare in the Middle East, due to human rights concerns, the Trump administration had carried out $5 billion in sales of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jets to the monarchy in 2017.

In 2009, the Bahraini government had planned to spend a billion on security and defense in the country, looking to several Saudi and American defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, for its purchases.

Just as Trump unveiled and greenlit his development-oriented “Deal” for Palestine, he had also, greenlit massive torture, along with arms sales, to the Zionist, Saudi, and Bahraini regimes.

As one torturer famously said to el Sayegh: “Do you know that we have a green light from Trump?”

Similar to how the Zionist entity employs its handsome security packages–a 2018 gift of $38 billion over 10 years–towards brutal neighborhood raids in the West Bank, its next site of total mass expulsion thanks in part to the Deal, Bahrain too has put Trump’s generous donations and pledges to mass raids.

Like the Zionist entity, the Bahraini regime regularly engages in mass-raids. Shortly after the 2011 uprising, over 430 members of the opposition Al-Wifaq party, also teachers, clinicians, and day-laborers were violently arrested in night raids.

The largest and most brutal case came shortly after Trump’s May 2017 “green light.” Bahrain’s security forces raided Sheikh al-Qassem’s home, shot and killing five demonstrators and arrested 286.

As Sondoss Al Assad, a Lebanese journalist who focuses especially on Bahrain wrote in a recent article for American Herald Tribune:

“Blessed by Trump’s Green Light, Manama has intensified its brutal measures, which also met out collective reprisal against scores of peaceful opposition figures and human rights advocates.”

Just last June, the convening to pass the Zionist-American “Deal of the Century” was hosted in Bahrain, signifying the tight-knit connection both the Zionist and Bahraini regimes have in extending their influence in the Levant and Persian Gulf fronts, transforming the lands they occupy into development enterprises as well as American military bases.

A Bahraini man Monday was sentenced three years for burning the flag of the illegal Zionist entity at an anti-’Israel’ demonstration last May. Bahrain, through history and in its present, is truly emblematic of, as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a February 16th speech, ‘a treachery platform conspiring against the Palestinian cause.”

For this reason, it is imperative that both Bahrain and occupied Palestine be at the heart of the Middle East’s liberation struggle. It is expected that the Deal will ignite an intifada and regional rejection that has been consistently brewing in occupied Palestine. At the same time, a regional consensus amongst the resistance axis to expel American presence and forces from all Arab and Muslim soil, particularly in Iraq, will be crucial in Bahrain, and draw the curtains of occupation on both these two birth-sites of US and British imperialism in the region.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Will Iran’s ‘Total War’ on the US Look Like?

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 11.01.2020

There is a growing threat of Iran launching ‘total war’ on the US in the case of the US resorting to attacking Iran and targeting its cultural locations. While such an act will in itself amount to war crimes, this will most certainly produce the necessary conditions for Iran to start a war on the US in the region. Soleimani’s funeral and the emotions that have engulfed Iran show that the Iranians are looking to implement Khamenei’s vow of “severe revenge.” The questions, in this context, are: what will Iran’s execution of ‘severe revenge’ look like, what options does Iran have in the region and how this will happen? What appears most likely—and given the nature of asymmetry between the US and Iran—Iran’s preferred option would most likely be a calculated activation of the “Axis of resistance” against the US in Syria, Iraq and even Lebanon. This might also include targeting US military establishments in the region—Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar etc.

America’s scattered military options, whilst it gives the US a military advantage, also give Iran plenty of options for sidestepping US military advantage by striking at the weak points of its various infrastructures in the region. While such an act may also pit these regional states against Iran, these states, as of now, are more interested in preventing hostilities for obvious reason: an Iranian total war will consume the tiny Arab states.

In other words, by following this strategy, Iran will make sure that the war that Trump sees as a quick punitive strike spreads in the region, reaching well within the borders of US allies. What this means is that Iran’s position in the region is qualitatively different from that of Iraq. Iran’s political and military landscape is also altogether different from Iraq and even Syria, making it too complex a country for a punitive strike to cut to size.

On the other hand, by spreading the war in the region and by attacking US infrastructure, even though this will invite strong US reaction, Iran will be able to inflict enough damage on the US to turn the public opinion against Trump who is already facing impeachment in the final year of his first term as US president.

At the same time, however, the threat of Iran resorting to a ‘war in the region’ scenario has already led many Arab officials to coordinate with the US to prevent such a scenario. Whereas the Saudis have hurried to Washington, meeting US foreign and defence secretaries, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani (who belongs to the royal family) were in Tehran and were received by President Hassan Rouhani. The Gulf states are obviously seeking their own assurances from both Iran and the US to avoid a war that engulfs them in its wake. Imagining a straight Iran-US war is, however, difficult, given that the US military establishments are in these very states, and these states have no capacity on their own to defend against an Iranian onslaught.

Targeting US bases in the region also shows that Iran’s objective, at the most, will be to drive the US out of the region. As Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in his recent speech, a fair response to Soleimani’s assassination will be “ending the American military presence in our region.” The message, in other words, is that all US military personnel in the region….in tiny Arab states…. will be on their toes, watching their backs, full time.

As of now, the US has 5,000 troops in the UAE; 7,000 in Bahrain; above 13,000 in Kuwait; 3,00o in Jordan; 3,000 in Saudi Arabia; 10,000 in Qatar; 5,000 in Iraq; around 1,000 in Syria—all of course well within the range of Iranian missiles, making them an extremely attractive targets for the Iranian forces.

Only in Iraq, about 5,000 US troops could very well be sitting ducks if the Popular Mobilisation Forces were to launch a war of attrition. If history is any guide to the future, it might be unrealistic to completely rule out a replay of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings — the attack on a Marine compound in Beirut on the night of October 23 in which 241 US personnel were killed, forcing Reagan to order the withdrawal of troops from Lebanon.

This strategy would work to Iran’s advantage. Notwithstanding the scale of damage that the US can inflict on Iran by targeting its naval and other military installations, Iran would make sure to spread chaos in the Middle East in ways that make the regional states, apart from the war-weary US public, impress upon the US to deescalate. What might add to this chaos will be a simple blockade of the Strait of Hormuz.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

January 11, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 4 Comments