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Australia slaps ‘terrorist’ label on all of Hezbollah

RT | November 24, 2021

Australia has designated all of Lebanon’s influential Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization, expanding the earlier ban on its armed units to the political wing.

Hezbollah poses a “real” and “credible” threat to Australia, Karen Andrews, the country’s home affairs minister, said on Wednesday.

The Lebanon-based group “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organizations,” Andrews added.

The move means that Australian citizens are now forbidden from becoming members of Hezbollah or providing funds for its operations. The group’s military wing has been on Australia’s terrorist list since 2003.

People from Lebanon make up the largest Middle Eastern community in Australia – estimated at around 230,000, mainly in the Greater Sydney area and Melbourne. Immigration to Australia peaked during the Lebanese Civil War between 1976 and 1981, but has declined significantly since then.

Hezbollah operates in various fields in Lebanon, acting as a political party, a military organization, and a provider of basic services to the population.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who reportedly asked his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison to ban Hezbollah’s political wing during the UN climate summit in Glasgow in early November, thanked Canberra for the move. He said the two countries will continue “to act in every way possible against terrorism, including in the international arena.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also expressed his gratitude that Australia, which he described as “a close friend of Israel,” joined 17 other nations that realize “there are no separate wings to terrorist organizations.”

Israel, which waged a war against Hezbollah in 2006, considers the group, which has strong links to Iran, a threat to national security.

Hezbollah has been labeled a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and the Arab League. The EU and many individual European nations have banned its military wing, but were reluctant to act against the political party over concerns it could further destabilize the situation in Lebanon.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 5 Comments

Let’s Arm the Gazans!

Victims of aggression need America’s help!

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

Well, here we go again. The Israelis, in collusion with no less than 420 criminals in the US Congress, have again ripped off the US taxpayer. I stop short of calling the congresscritters “traitors” because the US Constitution, which defines the word, requires that one actually be cooperating with a declared enemy of the United States to be so described. Israel is not yet an enemy as defined by a declaration of war from that same Congress, which is instead intent on showering our goods and even our freedoms on the Jewish state. Indeed, Israel has so corrupted our political system that it receives far more in benefits from the federal treasury than does any American state. And it is all done with a wink and a nod from the Jewish dominated media and through the agency of a grossly disproportionate number of Zionist Jews in high office and government aided and abetted by a host of pigshit ignorant Christian Zionists who are incapable of seeing or understanding what is best for their own country.

To be sure, many of those in Congress who pander to Israel as a top priority are not Jewish. But they know that that the Jewish state can be a harsh master if they deviate in any way from providing their enthusiastic support for the Greater Zionist project outlined in the Yinon Plan of 1982. This has led to America’s own interests being sacrificed and a continuous cash flow of many billions of dollars from Washington to Jerusalem, even though Israel is one of the ten wealthiest countries in the world per capita and its citizens enjoy free top level medical and educational benefits that many Americans cannot afford.

This is what happened last week, revealing yet again the US government’s total subjugation by Israel: Congress was preparing to vote on a multi-billion stopgap bill to pay for continuing government functions through December since a comprehensive budget has not yet been agreed to. Democratic Party friends of Israel had inserted an amendment into the bill only days before, consisting of a $1 billion gift to Israel so it could rearm its Iron Dome defense system, which ran low on missiles during the recent “Operation Guardian of the Walls” slaughter of Gazans, as well as for the purchase of other munitions. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama defended the arrangement, saying “Importantly, our legislation includes funding for the Iron Dome, making good on our commitment to a historic and significant ally.” He explained that the money would “bolster Israel’s defense capacity and protect against Hamas attacks.”

Hamas attacks? Inserting freebies for Israel in such a fashion is routine in Congress as it allows money to flow without any debate or context, but this time there was a problem. A number of Democratic Party progressives in Congress objected and made an issue of it, in part because procedurally the move was an obvious attempt to hide what was being done, so the amendment was withdrawn. The Israel friendly media, tv talking heads from both parties, and leading congressmen all immediately went to bat for poor little defenseless Israel and a new bill was quickly drafted up to give the Jewish state the money without delay. Representative Josh Gottheimer complained in a tweet how “The Iron Dome protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it. We must stand by our historic ally – the only democracy in the Middle East.”

One might suggest that Gottheimer go to live in Israel as he appears to like it so much and he might well fact-check his comment. It is not possible to be an apartheid state and occupying power as well as a nation where only one religion constitutes full citizenship if one aspires to be a democracy.

In spite of continued objections by “the squad” progressives, including this by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents, who said “I will not support an effort to enable and support war crimes, human rights abuses and violence. The Israeli government is an apartheid regime,” the new bill passed by 420 votes to 9. It did not mention that Israel had previously used its US-provided weapons to kill more than 250 Palestinian civilians, including 60 children. The nine brave Congressmen, who will now be targeted for non-re-election by Israel and all its friends, consisted of Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN.), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), André Carson (D-IN), Marie Newman (D-IL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Chuy Garcia (D-IL). Massie was the only Republican, who tweeted that “Foreign aid is the result of foreign influence exerted on US politicians at home.”

It is interesting to note some of the media comments that surfaced supportive of giving the Israelis another billion dollars on top of the $11 billion or so it already gets annually in direct military assistance, trade agreements and support for its illegal settlements coming from fake charities. The conservative Washington Times described Iron Dome, somewhat bizarrely, as “relied on against Islamist efforts to kill its [Israel’s] civilians.” A New York Daily News editorial last Thursday reads in part “A small claque of far-left House Democrats thought on Tuesday that they had torpedoed a $1 billion replenishment for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system by threatening to vote down a larger package, forcing the Israeli assistance to be stripped out of it. On Thursday it all backfired, when 210 Democrats joined with 210 Republicans to approve the money in a brand new, standalone bill, the Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022. Exposed and alone, no shield to protect them, just eight Dems voted no, along with an always cantankerous Republican… So that’s the vote, on the record: almost unanimous support in the House for the Jewish state’s right to defend itself from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets.”

Bret Stephens, over at the New York Timeshas this to say about anyone who would dare oppose funding Israel’s war machine: “It would behoove Democrats in the honorable majority to start treating their Israel-hating members not as parliamentary nuisances or social media embarrassments but as the ill-intended bigots they well and truly are.” Sure Bret, it all comes down to anti-Semitism, like always, doesn’t it? Bret is of course Jewish and reliably Zionist. He lived in Israel where he was editor of the Jerusalem Post.

The Republicans inevitably had accused the Democrats of having gone wobbly on Israel, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeting “While Dems capitulate to the antisemitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik also tweeted that Democrats “do NOT support Israel. Instead they choose to side with the Hamas Caucus wing of their Party.”

Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, provided pushback as she enthused after the vote: “This bill demonstrates Congress’s commitment to our friend and ally Israel is bipartisan and ironclad.” What she should have said was the Israel’s grip on the US Congress and theft of taxpayer money is shameful, but somehow she must have misspoke. And the Daily News piece is, of course, bullshit unless one actually believes that snipers shooting children and warplanes blowing up apartment buildings is defense against home-made rockets and balloons.

And there was also plenty going on behind the scenes between Capitol Hill and Jerusalem. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, possibly the most rabidly pro-Israel partisan in Congress, said “There are some few that won’t support [the new bill], but the overwhelming majority of this Congress — not in a partisan way but in an American way — will support defending the Democratic state of Israel.”

Hoyer seems to be saying that all good Americans must support Israel. He should know as he was negotiating with the Israelis on the deal to bring about a quick vote to approve the Iron Dome funding. His maneuvering was in response to Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who had watched developments in Washington with alarm and telephoned Hoyer who, in turn, assured Lapid that what had occurred was no more than a “technical delay.” He quickly moved to bring the new bill to a vote. Of course, one might also note that Lapid had not hesitated to contact Hoyer and state clearly Israel’s demand that something be done. He felt himself empowered to put pressure on a foreign legislative body to take action that would result in considerable benefit to his own country precisely because he knew that Hoyer would be on his side. One wonders if bottom dwellers like Hoyer might be indicted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) since he is clearly no longer working for the United States, nor defending its Constitution as he is required by oath to do.

So it is a done deal once again. Israel has its money, as always, and has bent American politicians to its will. Unfortunately, the denizens of Congress were all too willing to be bent. The stooges on Capitol Hill and in the media are largely to blame for this shameful behavior, to be sure, but Alison Weir of If Americans Knew has proposed that those who object to the use of US taxes to support a rogue state might well begin to put pressure on their congresscritters to encourage the wealthy Israelis to pay for their own missiles. Beyond that, as it is the Gazans, West Bank Palestinians and Lebanese who have borne the brunt of Israel aggression, the US can finally seize the high ground on a major human rights issue by ponying up another billion to improve their defensive capabilities for the next time the Jewish state comes calling. It is a wonderful idea and it just might convince Israel that there are consequences for bad behavior. And, by the way, it would be an antidote to some very bad behavior by the United States of America, which has been funding and encouraging Israel and emboldening its apologists ever since the Suez Crisis in 1956, which was the last time a US President actually successfully defied Israel.

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 28, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Government Spent $334 Million to Destabilize Lebanon In 2019

By Eric Striker | National Justice | September 4, 2021

A new report by Arab news outlet Al-Khanadeq has confirmed what many have suspected: the October 17th movement was an attempt to destabilize the Lebanese government.

The protest group suddenly appeared on the scene in 2019, when they took to the streets demanding the government disarm Hezbollah, one of Israel’s most powerful foes in the region, and replace the carefully designed sectarian balance of the state with liberal “technocracy.” They remain active, launching sporadic riots that are openly supported by US figures as diverse as neo-conservative former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Senator Bernie Sanders.

According to an investigation by journalists at Al-Khanadeq, 32,000 activists working for US-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were spread out throughout the country and tasked with organizing and seeding the October 17th movement. The network of NGOs are a front for American intelligence services and are openly run out of the US embassy, with controversial ambassador Dorothy Shea serving as their spokeswoman.

Under the auspices of the US State Department and the Agency for International Development (USAID), 60 “civil society” groups that in 2016 were combined under the “NGOs Are Stronger Together” project by agents of the United States were utilized to help spur unrest. According to Lebanese state records, an estimated 12,000 protesters were full-time paid activists belonging to this coalition, while approximately 20,000 were volunteers recruited and utilized by them.

A USAID report released in 2020 reveals that there are over 8,000 NGOs officially operating in Lebanon, but Lebanese intelligence officials believe the number is closer to 14,000.

US-funded NGOs received a massive influx of cash in the run up to the protests. 259.7million was injected into these groups in the first few months of 2018, which increased to 334.5 million during the same time frame.

Aside from rioters and phony journalists, the US has also been funding the political vehicle for October 17th, the Sabaa Party, which in spring 2018 was able to elect a single parliament candidate, the TV news celebrity Paula Yacoubian, who immediately supported the protesters when they arrived on the scene, including leading a theatrical storming of the parliament.

Yacoubian and her party have been defensive when asked about the opaque funding for Sabaa. According to the party’s leadership, it is bankrolled by a Gulf businessman. Al-Khanadeq disputes this, citing evidence that it is in fact financed and directed by Washington.

It appears that ultimately, the attempt to use “soft” power to turn the Lebanese against Hezbollah and liberalize their society further has failed. Various Jewish and American sponsored regime change operations related to the October 17th movement have fizzled out. Last July, US diplomat David Hale decided to give the Lebanese state a more direct ultimatum: reform or face further economic decline.

September 4, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a 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

Footage Confirms Islamic Resistance Positioned Rocket-Launcher in Woodlands, Not Residential Areas, to Strike Israeli Enemy

Al-Manar | August 6, 2021

Al-Manar TV Channel broadcast a footage which shows how the Islamic Resistance positioned the rocket-launcher, it used to strike the Israeli-held Shebaa Farms, in woodlands away from the residential areas.

Hezbollah had earlier stressed that the rockets which hit occupied Shebaa Farms in retaliation to repeated Israeli aggression were fired from woodlands which are far from residential areas.

In a statement, Hezbollah War Media Center said a vehicle belong to the Resistance was intercepted by a group of citizens in Hasbayya’s town of Shwayya.

The Islamic Resistance voiced keenness to preserve safety of the Lebanese citizens.

“At 11:15 a.m. on Friday, the Islamic Resistance responded to the Israeli aggression by targeting vicinity of Israeli enemy posts in Shebaa Farms with dozens of rockets fired from woodlands that are far from residential areas,” the statement read.

It added, however, that Resistance fighters as they were returning from their mission their vehicle was intercepted by several citizens in Shwayya in Hasbayya province.

“The Resistance has been and will stay keen to ensure the safety of its people,” the statement added.

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

It’s Time to Say ‘No’ to US Blockade on Lebanon

By Marwa Haidar | Al-Manar | July 8, 2021

US officials have repeatedly made it clear that it will prevent Lebanon from receiving crude oil from Iran, tightening the noose on the Middle Eastern country which has been facing the harshest economic crisis in decades.

A year ago, in July 2020, former US Secretary of State Mile Pompeo said taking oil from Iran would be “unacceptable.”

“It would be sanctioned product for sure, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that Iran cannot continue to sell crude oil anywhere, including to Hezbollah in the region…,” the ex-diplomat said in remarks on July 8, 2020.

Pompeo’s remarks were in response to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah who said at time that the Lebanese Resistance group was in discussion with the government about Iran supplying refined oil products to Lebanon in exchange for Lebanese pounds to ease pressure on the plummeting currency.

This year, and amid the increasingly severe fuel shortages that brought long queues at service stations in recent months, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed the Iranian offer to sell Lebanon oil in exchange for Lebanon pound.

Responding to Sayyed Nasrallah, US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said that importing fuel oil from Iran “is not a practical solution.”

“What Iran is looking for is a sort of dependent state that it can use to carry out its agenda. There are much better solutions than turning to Iran,” the US envoy said in remarks earlier last month.

Nearly a month after renewing the Iranian offer, it seems that no Lebanese official “has the courage” to press for importing fuel supplies from the Islamic Republic, with many parties and figures fearing Washington’s sanctions.

In his latest speech last week, Sayyed Nasrallah Lashed out at the US over tightening the blockade on Lebanon by preventing Lebanon from approving deals with any Eastern country, including China and Iran.

His eminence said that the US ambassador “sheds crocodile tears and deceives the Lebanese by providing some masks,” stressing that Washington has been the main supporter of the corrupts and money embezzlers in Lebanon.

Turning to Lebanese statesmen, Sayyed Nasrallah made it clear: that they have to make some sacrifices for their country and override the fear of the US sanctions.

The Hezbollah S.G. said that saving the country from the socioeconomic crisis deserves courageous decisions by several Lebanese figures and parties, hinting out that now it’s time to say ‘no’ to Washington.

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 6 Comments

Illegal settlers may drag Israel into a war it cannot handle

By Robert Inlakesh | RT | June 28, 2021

Israel’s illegal settler population is driving the country’s government towards miscalculated violence, putting the entire state at risk, and last month’s 11-day conflict with Gaza may just be the beginning.

Currently, roughly 700,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem. Although Israel’s ever-growing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) are in violation of international humanitarian law, causing great strife in the United Nations, the state continues to support expansion activities in the OPT.

The UN is not, however, the only place where Israel is suffering due to its unhinging support for its illegal settlers, many of whom carry hardline religious fundamentalist beliefs and are also leading Israel into violent confrontations it does not know how to deal with.

Last month, the then Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, launched an 11-day military operation entitled ‘Guardian of the Walls’ against the illegally blockaded Gaza Strip. The military operation was largely viewed as an astounding failure, even acknowledged as such by the Israeli media, whilst Palestinians celebrated the triumph of their armed groups upon the announcement that the ceasefire had been held.

The difference this time, when it came to Israel’s announced war on Gaza, was that it had been fought on the terms of the Palestinian armed factions. Hamas, unlike in previous wars back in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, fired first and dictated the course of the battle, even commanding the respect of Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who revolted in sync with the rocket fire of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.

The reason Israel was dragged into this conflict was in large part the fault of Israeli settler extremists who had provoked an uprising throughout historic Palestine. The initial rocket fire from Gaza was triggered by a planned Israeli settler march which had been aimed at storming Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem.

Weeks of settler provocations, including the infamous “death to Arabs” marches during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, helped to stoke tensions. Netanyahu, in a bid to keep on side his hardline, settler-supporting allies in the Religious Zionism Party, refused to take de-escalatory measures in order to deter the likes of Hamas from responding to the violence in Jerusalem.

At the time, the leader of the Religious Zionism Party, Bezalel Smotrich, along with far-right Otzma Yehudit front man Itamar Ben Gvir, had both appeared in Jerusalem with religious extremist settlers. Otzma Yehudit, or the Jewish Power Party, is closely connected with extremist settler organisations, such as Lehava. Lehava’s current leader, Bentzi Gopstein, even tried to run for election to the Israeli Knesset as part of Otzma Yehudit, but was banned due to racist comments he had made. Just days ago, some of the same members of Knesset who previously appeared provocatively in Jerusalem, did so again in a delegation supporting illegal settlers.

Despite there having been a change in the government, with the far-right Yamina Party leader, Naftali Bennett, now taking over as prime minister, very little seems to have changed on the ground. One of the biggest provocations in the build-up to last month’s 11-day war was the court effort of an Israeli settler organisation to seize the homes of Palestinians, in order to uproot them and replace them with Jewish settlers in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

“By continuing to pursue this court case – after the outcry over the planned forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem – Israel is fanning the flames of the latest upsurge in violence and perpetuating the same systematic human rights violations against Palestinians that are at the root of the latest violence,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Saleh Higazi said.

The settler violence, also dealt out by Israel’s occupation forces, against Palestinian demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah has only intensified since the formation of Israel’s new coalition government. In addition to this, settlement activity in the Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem has erupted into a second flashpoint for similar violent crackdowns against peacefully demonstrating Palestinians who face expulsion from their homes.

Israel’s political scene is now almost entirely right-wing, with only a handful of parties claiming the title of left-wing or centre-left. And this is not working well for Israel’s image on the international scene. For instance, the current Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely, believes – like PM Naftali Bennett – that the bible gives Israel the right to take over the West Bank. She said before that her “dream is to see the Israeli flag flying over the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound].” During her tenure at the Committee on the State of Women and Gender Equality in 2011, Hotovely affiliated with the racist Lehava group, inviting them to a Knesset discussion on activities to prevent romantic relationships between Arabs and Jews.

Such political figures as Tzipi Hotovely, who openly espouse their racist and pro-settler views to a Western audience are an additional problem for Israel as it begins to lose legitimacy in the eyes of the global public.

Israeli settler violence is increasing in the West Bank and the government has just approved further settlement expansion. Recent threats of settlement expansion in the village of Beita (south of Nablus), sparked violence and calls for up to 100,000 Palestinians to join in the protests. The illegal settler outpost Evyatar is considered illegal even by Israeli law, yet despite this, Bennett is so far refusing to dismantle the settlement and defuse rising tensions which have led to the killing of seven Palestinians.

Last Tuesday, the Israeli government also allowed for a right-wing settler protest group to march into a Palestinian-majority area in Jerusalem again. Illegal settlers chanted “Death to Arabs” and made several other racist remarks. The settlers came close to provoking another large-scale Palestinian response, which the Israeli government demonstrated it would rather confront than upset their settlers.

The Israeli government’s support for settlement expansion may have seemed like a good idea as a strategy that could work to usurp Palestinian land. However, the problem that is now arising seems to be that Israel is becoming overrun by the settlers and being forced into irrational and dangerous moves as a result. The leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has pledged that attacks on Al-Aqsa should lead to a regional war against Israel – not a threat to be taken lightly. Yet, Israelli settler groups continue to come dangerously close to replicating last month’s events.

Settlers used to be under the complete control of the government, but if Israel does not check itself, soon those settlers – many of whom carry extremist views – may end up seizing more control over them and forcing Israel into a war that it cannot handle.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News and Press TV.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 11 Comments

The Palestinians’ Inalienable Right to Resist

By Louis Allday | EBB Magazine | June 22, 2021

We remembered all the miseries, all the injustices, our people and the conditions they lived, the coldness with which world opinion looks at our cause, and so we felt that we will not permit them to crush us. We will defend ourselves and our revolution by every way and every means.

George Habash (1926-2008)

A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

In December 1982, following Israel’s devastating invasion of Lebanon six months earlier, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/37/43 concerning the ‘[i]mportance of the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination’. It endorsed, without qualification, ‘the inalienable right’ of the Palestinian people to ‘self-determination, national independence, territorial integrity, national unity and sovereignty without outside interference’, and reaffirmed the legitimacy of their struggle for those rights ‘by all available means, including armed struggle’. It also strongly condemned Israel’s ‘expansionist activities in the Middle East’ and ‘continual bombing of Palestinian civilians’, both said to ‘constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and independence of the Palestinian people’. In the four decades since then, Israel’s violence against the Palestinian people and its colonisation of their land has not ceased. Up to the present moment, all over historical Palestine, from the Gaza Strip to Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians are still under that same occupation, subject to suffocating control over virtually every aspect of their lives – and the sadistic, unaccountable violence of the Zionist state.

In addition to its endorsement by the UN, the Palestinians’ right to resist their occupation is also guaranteed by international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to protect the ‘status quo, human rights and prospects for self-determination’ of occupied populations, and as Richard Falk – an expert in international law who later went on to be appointed the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – has explained, Israel’s ‘pronounced, blatant and undisguised’ refusal to ever accept this framework of legal obligations constitutes a fundamental denial of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and engenders their legally-protected right of resistance. Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and its flagrant disregard for international law through the construction of illegal settlements and other daily violations has continued unabated since Falk’s assessment was made during the al-Aqsa Intifada. In fact, the occupation has only become further entrenched since then with the collaboration of the comprador Palestinian Authority.

Furthermore, regardless of what is mandated by international law, the Palestinians possess a fundamental moral right to resist their ongoing colonisation and oppression through armed resistance, and that right must be recognised and supported. The multi-generational suffering of the Palestinians, perhaps none more so than those who live in the besieged and bombarded Gaza strip, is unremittingly cruel and has one central cause: Israel and the perpetual belligerence, expansionism and racism that is inherent to its state ideology, Zionism. Moreover, contrary to the Western media’s narrative that, without fail, portrays Israel as acting in ‘retaliation’, it is the actions of the Palestinians which are fundamentally reactive in nature, because the violence that Israel inflicts upon them is both perpetual and structural, and therefore automatically precedes any resistance to it. ‘With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun’, said Paolo Freire; ‘[n]ever in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed’. In Palestine, as Ali Abunimah recently wrote, ‘the root cause of all political violence is Zionist colonisation’.

Given that the Palestinians’ legal and moral right to pursue armed resistance is clear, endorsement of this position should be uncontroversial and commonplace among supporters of their cause. Yet in the West, such a position is rarely expressed – even by those who loudly proclaim their solidarity with Palestine. On the contrary, acts of Palestinian armed resistance, such as the firing of missiles from Gaza, are condemned by these ostensible supporters as part of the problem, dismissed condescendingly as ‘futile’ and ‘counter-productive’, or even labelled ‘war crimes’ and ‘unthinkable atrocities’, said to be comparable to Israel’s routine collective punishment, torture, incarceration, bombardment and murder of Palestinians. This form of solidarity, as Bikrum Gill has argued, is essentially ‘premised upon re-inscribing Palestinians as inherently non-sovereign beings who can only be recognized as disempowered dependent objects to be acted upon, either by Israeli colonial violence, or white imperial protectors’.

To sit in the comfort and safety of the West and condemn acts of armed resistance that the Palestinians choose to carry out – always at great risk to their lives – is a deeply chauvinistic position. It must be stated plainly: it is not the place of those who choose to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians from afar to then try and dictate how they should wage the anti-colonial struggle that, as Frantz Fanon believed, is necessary to maintain their humanity and dignity, and ultimately to achieve their liberation. Those who are not under brutal military occupation or refugees from ethnic cleansing have no right to judge the manner in which those who are choose to confront their colonisers. Indeed, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause is ultimately meaningless if that support dissipates the moment that the Palestinians resist their oppression with anything more than rocks and can no longer be portrayed as courageous, photogenic, but ultimately powerless, victims. ‘Does the world expect us to offer ourselves up as polite, willing and well-mannered sacrifices, who are murdered without raising a single objection?’ Yahya al-Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, recently asked rhetorically. ‘This is not possible. No, we have decided to defend our people with whatever strength we have been given.’

This phenomenon speaks to what Jones Manoel calls  the Western left’s ‘fetish for defeat’ that predisposes it towards situations ‘of oppression, suffering and martyrdom’, as opposed to successful acts of resistance and revolution. Manoel continues:

People become ecstatic looking at those images – which I don’t think are very fantastic – of a [Palestinian] child or teenager using a sling to launch a rock at a tank. Look, this is a clear example of heroism but it is also a symbol of barbarism. This is a people who do not have the capacity to defend themselves facing an imperialist colonial power that is armed to the teeth. They do not have an equal capacity of resistance, but this is romanticized.

As a result, large swathes of the Western left express solidarity with the Palestinian cause in a generalised, abstract way, overstating the importance of their own role, and simultaneously rejecting the very groups who are currently fighting – and dying – for it. All too often, those who have refused to surrender and steadfastly resisted at great cost, are condemned by people who, in the same breath, declare solidarity with the cause. Similarly, it is common for these same people to either ignore or demonise those external forces that materially aid the Palestinian resistance more than any others – most notably Iran. If this assistance is acknowledged, which is rare, the Palestinian groups that accept it are typically infantilised as mere ‘dupes’ or ‘pawns’, for allowing themselves to be used cynically by the self-serving acts of others – a sentiment that directly contradicts Palestinian leaders’ own statements.

A specific criticism of Hamas that is frequently deployed in this context is the ‘indiscriminate’ nature of its missile launches from Gaza, actions which both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Intentional regularly label ‘war crimes’. As observed by Perugini and Gordon, the false equivalence that this designation relies upon ‘essentially says that using homemade missiles – there isn’t much else available to people living under permanent siege – is a war crime. In other words, Palestinian armed groups are criminalised for their technological inferiority’. After the latest round of fighting in May 2021, al-Sinwar stated clearly that, unlike Israel, ‘which possesses a complete arsenal of weaponry, state-of-the-art equipment and aircraft’ and ‘bombs our children and women, on purpose’, if Hamas possessed ‘the capabilities to launch precision missiles that targeted military targets, we wouldn’t have used the rockets that we did. We are forced to defend our people with what we have, and this is what we have’.

This failure to support legitimate armed struggle is a part of a wider problem with the framing used by many supporters of the Palestinian cause in the West, that obscures its fundamental nature and how it must be resolved. Palestine is not simply a human rights issue, or even just a question of apartheid, but rather an anti-colonial fight for national liberation being waged by an indigenous resistance against the forces of an imperialist-backed settler colony. Decolonisation is a word now frequently used in the West in an abstract sense or in relation to curricula, institutions and public art, but rarely anymore in connection to what actually matters most: land. And that is the very crux of the issue: the land of Palestine must be decolonised, its Zionist colonisers deposed, their racist structures and barriers – both physical and political – dismantled, and all Palestinian refugees given the right of return.

It should be noted that emphasising the importance of supporting the Palestinians’ right to carry out armed struggle in pursuit of their freedom does not mean that their supporters in the West should recklessly call for violence or fetishize and celebrate it unnecessarily. Nor does it mean that non-violent efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) are inconsequential or unimportant. Rather, BDS should be considered part and parcel of a broad spectrum of resistance activities, of which armed struggle is an integral component. Samah Idriss, founding member of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon has stated: ‘[b]oth forms of resistance, civil and armed, are complementary and should not be viewed as mutually exclusive.’ Or, as Khaled Barakat has stressed: ‘Israel and its allies have never accepted any form of Palestinian resistance, and boycott campaigns and popular organizing are not alternatives to armed resistance but interdependent tactics of struggle’.

Nelson Mandela’s analysis is relevant in this context, when he wrote that, ‘[n]on-violent passive resistance is effective as long as your opposition adheres to the same rules as you do’, but if peaceful protest is met with violence, its efficacy is at an end’. For Mandela, ‘non-violence was not a moral principle but a strategy’, since ‘there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon’. Clarifying the rationale behind the African National Congress’ decision to adopt armed resistance, Mandela explained that it had no alternative course left available: ‘[o]ver and over again, we had used all the non-violent weapons in our arsenal – speeches, deputations, threats, marches, strikes, stay-aways, voluntary imprisonment – all to no avail, for whatever we did was met by an iron hand’. This standpoint is reflected in the words of al-Sinwar, who  when referring to the Great March of Return protests in 2018-19, during which Israeli snipers shot dead hundreds of Gazan protestors and seriously wounded thousands more said: ‘we’ve tried peaceful resistance and popular resistance’, but rather than acting to stop Israel’s massacres, ‘the world stood by and watched as the occupation war machine killed our young people’.

Mandela’s reference to efficacy is crucial. Despite what many Western supporters seem intent on implying, although it comes at a huge cost, the Palestinian armed resistance in Gaza is not ‘futile’ and has grown enormously in effectiveness and deterrent capacity. This was already evident after Israel’s failure to win the 2014 war on Gaza and has been underlined by the recent success of the resistance in May 2021, during which it launched an unprecedented number of missiles that can now reach deep inside historical Palestine. In spite of its devastating aerial bombardment of Gaza, Israel was unable to stop the launch of these missiles and, after the losses it experienced in 2014, is now too fearful of launching another ground invasion of the strip – notably as the resistance is now equipped with greater numbers of Kornet missiles previously used to such deadly effect against Israeli tanks in Southern Lebanon. The ceasefire that was declared on May 21st was widely seen in Israel as a defeat, and was celebrated by Palestinians across historical Palestine as a victory. The military balance has changed, and although Israel is still vastly more powerful by every conventional measure, the resistance is in a stronger position now than it has been for years. It has built upon the successes of Hezbollah against Israel in 2000 and 2006 and with the support, training and further aid of the Lebanese group and others in the Resistance Axis, it has taken its capabilities to a higher level. This change is reflected in the fact that since 2014, Israeli arms sales have stagnated and its aggressions against Gaza no longer lead to an immediate rise in the stock price of its arms companies that use Gaza as a training ground and stage for its latest technologies. Shir Hever has noted that after Israel’s failures in Gaza beginning in 2014, customers of its arms companies began to ask ‘What is the point of all this technology? If you cannot pacify the Palestinians with these missiles, why should we buy them?’.

In addition to its practical impact, armed struggle has significant propaganda value. The reality is that Palestine would not have dominated global news headlines in May 2021 in the way that it did were it not for the armed resistance in Gaza that – contrary to the Western media’s singular focus on Hamas – is composed of a united front of various factions including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP is a case in point in this regard, for it was their actions throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, most notably a series of plane hijackings (in which passengers were released unharmed), that implanted the Palestinian cause in the consciousness of millions of people for the first time and marked a key turning point in raising awareness of the Palestinians’ plight globally. Indeed, the Palestinian writer and PFLP spokesman, Ghassan Kanafani, believed that armed struggle was the ‘best form of propaganda’ and that in spite of the ‘gigantic propaganda system of the United States’, it is through people who fight to liberate themselves in armed struggle ‘that things are ultimately decided’.

In 1970, after the Western-backed regime in Jordan had shelled Palestinian refugee camps in the country, the PFLP – under the leadership of Kanafani’s comrade (and recruiter) George Habash – took hostage a group of nationals from the US, West Germany and Britain (Israel’s primary supporters) at two hotels in Amman. In return for their safe release, the PFLP demanded that ‘all shelling of the camps be ended and all demands of the Palestinian resistance movement met’. Shortly before the hostages were eventually released, Habash addressed them apologetically and said:

I feel that it’s my duty to explain to you why we did what we did. Of course, from a liberal point of view of thinking, I feel sorry for what happened, and I am sorry that we caused you some trouble during the last 2 or 3 days. But leaving this aside, I hope that you will understand, or at least try to understand, why we did what we did.

Maybe it will be difficult for you to understand our point of view. People living different circumstances think on different lines. They can’t think in the same manner, and we, the Palestinian people, and the conditions we have been living for a good number of years, all these conditions have modelled our way of thinking. We can’t help it. You can understand our way of thinking, when you know a very basic fact. We, the Palestinians… for the last 22 years, have been living in camps and tents. We were driven out of our country, our houses, our homes and our lands, driven out like sheep and left here in refugee camps in very inhumane conditions.

For 22 years our people have been waiting in order to restore their rights, but nothing happened… After 22 years of injustice, inhumanity, living in camps with nobody caring for us, we feel that we have the very full right to protect our revolution. We have all the right to protect our revolution…

We don’t wake up in the morning to have a cup of milk with Nescafe and then spend half an hour before the mirror thinking of flying to Switzerland or having one month in this country or one month in that country… We live daily in camps… We can’t be calm as you can. We can’t think as you think. We have lived in this condition, not for one day, not for 2 days, not for 3 days. Not for one week, not for 2 weeks, not for 3 weeks. Not for one year, not for 2 years, but for 22 years. If any one of you comes to these camps and stays for one or two weeks, he will be affected.

You have to excuse my English. From the personal side, let me say, I apologize to you. I am sorry about your troubles for 3 or 4 days. But from a revolutionary point of view, we feel, we will continue to feel that we have the very, very full right to do what we did.

Habash’s words should be listened to carefully. The urgency that underlines his message is even more palpable half a century later, for the Palestinians – consistently refusing passive victimhood – have now lived in the wretched conditions Habash depicts for 73 long years, not 22.

Revolution, Mao Zedong once remarked, ‘is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle’. The same is true of decolonisation, in which although past struggles have been multi-faceted, armed resistance of some kind was almost invariably an integral component of the struggle. Palestine is no exception. Beyond endorsement of BDS and other civil society campaigns, the Palestinians’ unassailable right to pursue armed struggle must be supported by those who choose to stand in solidarity with them and their righteous cause.


June 23, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestine: Hamas Defeats Israel

THE SAKER • MAY 25, 2021

Just like in 2006, when both Ehud Olmert and George Bush declared that the “invincible IDF” had, yet again, achieved a “glorious victory” and the entire Middle-East almost died laughing hearing this ridiculous claim, today both the US and Israeli propaganda machine have declared another “glorious” victory for the “Jewish state of Israel” cum “sole democracy in the Middle-East”. And, just like in 2006, everybody in the region (and in Zone B) knows that the truth is that the Zionist entity suffered a huge, humiliated, defeat. Let’s try to unpack this.

First, a few numbers. The combat operations lasted two weeks. All other missile numbers are in dispute. Rather than trust this or that source, I will simply say that Hamas fired many thousands of missiles into Israel. Some, probably less than 50%, were truly intercepted by the Israeli air defenses, others hit in no man’s land, and some actually landed and caused plenty of destruction and at least 12 deaths. The Israelis executed hundreds of artillery and airstrikes causing massive destruction in the Gaza strip and killing about 250 Palestinians. Again, these numbers are guesstimates and they don’t really tell the full story. To understand the story, we need to forget about these numbers and look at what each side was hoping for and what each side achieved. Let’s begin with the Israelis:

The Israeli scorecard

To understand Israel’s goals in this war, we first need to place this latest war in its context, and that context is that Israel was comprehensively defeated in Syria. To substantiate this thesis, let’s remember the goals of the Zionists when they unleashed a major international war against Syria. These objectives, as listed in my July 2019 article “Debunking the Rumors About Russia Caving in to Israel” were:

The initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want). Doing this would achieve the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces, and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone,” but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Break up Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and force the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert, and eventually attack Iran with a broad regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all centers of Shia power in the Middle-East.

As we all know, this is what actually happened:

  1. The Syrian state has survived, and its armed and security forces are now far more capable than they were before the war started (remember how they almost lost the war initially? The Syrians bounced back while learning some very hard lessons. By all reports, they improved tremendously, while at critical moments Iran and Hezbollah were literally “plugging holes” in the Syrian frontlines and “extinguishing fires” on local flashpoints. Now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).
  2. Not only is Syria stronger, but the Iranians and Hezbollah are all over the country now, which is driving the Israelis into a state of panic and rage.
  3. Lebanon is rock solid; even the latest Saudi attempt to kidnap Hariri is backfiring. (2021 update: in spite of the explosion in Beirut, Hezbollah is still in charge)
  4. Syria will remain unitary, and Kurdistan is not happening. Millions of displaced refugees are returning home.
  5. Israel and the US look like total idiots and, even worse, as losers with no credibility left.

Seeing their defeat in Syria, the Zionists did what they always do: they used their propaganda machine to list an apparently never-ending victorious strikes on supposed “Iranian targets” in Syria. While a few civilian simpletons with zero military experience did buy into this nonsense, the truth about Israeli operations in Syria is simple: the Syrian air defenses have successfully prevented the Israelis from striking at important, sensitive, targets, and the Israelis have been forced to declare as major victories the destruction of empty barns as “destruction of important IRGC headquarters” thereby “proving” to a few naive folks in Zone A and to themselves (!) that the IDF is still as “invincible” as it “always was”. As for the Neocons, they doubled-up on that and declared that 1) Russian air defenses are useless 2) that Russia and Israel work hand in hand and 3) that the Israelis are still invincible. Yet if any of that was true, why has Israel failed to achieve a single one of its goals? And why are both the Russians and the Iranians still in Syria where the Russians just finished a 2nd runway at Khmeimim and they have just deployed a group of Tu-22M3 at that air base from where they can now threaten any ship sailing in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. In their otherwise “free time” they can drop tons of bombs and missiles on the remaining Takfiri forces in Syria.

As I have been saying for many years now, the truth is that the IDF is a poor fighting force. Why? First, they have the exact same problem as the USA (and the KSA, for that matter): they rely on expensive technology, but don’t have good combat-capable “boots on the ground”. That is now how modern wars are won (see here for a list of popular misconceptions about modern wars).

In its recent history, the entire gamut of Israeli “elite” forces (including the air force, the navy, the artillery and even the Golani Brigade) got its collective butt handed to them by about 1000 and only lightly armed regular Hezbollah fighters in 2006: keep in mind that the elite Hezbollah forces were deployed only north of the Litani river to protect Beirut against a possible land invasion by Israel. Instead of taking Beirut or “disarming Hezbollah” (that was an official goal!), the Israelis could not even control the small town of Bint Jbeil located right across the official Israeli border! So much for being “invincible”!

What the IDF is very experienced at is terrorising Palestinian civilians and executing what could be called a slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people. The problem with Gaza now is the same that the failed invasion of Lebanon in 2006 has revealed: just like the Lebanese in 2006, the Palestinians of 2021 are not afraid of the Zionists anymore. Furthermore, with a great deal of help from Iran and others, Hamas in Gaza is now much, much better armed than in the past. True, some of its missiles are decidedly low tech and not very effective (low accuracy, small warheads, simple trajectory, limited range), but Hamas also has shown some pretty decent UAVs too. Most importantly, from now on for Hamas it is only one way: up the “quality ladder” (just like the Houthis did in Yemen, starting with modest drones but eventually getting very capable ones).

The other major goal of the Israelis in this war was to prove to the world (and, even more importantly for the always narcissistic self-worshipping Israeli cowards, to themselves!) that their “Iron Dome” air defense network was the “super-dooper most bestest” in the world (no doubt, due to the famed “Jewish genius”!). It now appears that at best, the Israelis intercepted somewhere around 30-40% of the Hamas missiles. The way the Israeli hid this is by claiming that their fancy shmancy Iron Drone did not even try to engage missiles which were not deemed dangerous. But in the age of the ubiquitous smartphone, that kind of silly nonsense can easily be debunked (including by showing the total chaos in the Israeli skies or, for that matter, the missile strikes on Israeli military objectives). While the full Iron Dome air defense system probably works marginally better than the quasi-useless US Patriot, the Israeli air defenses are clearly at least a generation behind the Russian ones, including the S-300s the Russians sold to Syria (again, in the age of of the ubiquitous smartphone, this is not hard to prove).

It is crucial to remember that Hamas’ missiles are much inferior to those of the Houthis and the Syrians, and even more inferior when compared to Hezbollah or Iranian drones and missiles! In other words, the “invincible” IDF can’t deal with even its weakest, least sophisticated enemies (Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and the grotesquely expensive Iron Done cannot protect the Zionists from any determined missile attacks by the Resistance coalition (Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia).

In their utter despair, the Zionist entity did what the AngloZionists always do when they fail to defeat a military force: they will turn their wrath on the civilian infrastructure and murder as many as they can. They will also strike highly symbolic targets such as the International Press Center in Gaza or a Red Crescent hospital (under the pretext that Hamas, which is the democratically elected local government) has offices there (this is clearly a F-you to those who condemn Israel for violating international law). To a normal human being, this sounds both obscene and ridiculous. But remember, the Israelis are first and foremost narcissists and they have no means of imagining how normal human beings think or feel. All these guys can feel is self-worship and hatred for all “others”.

We could say that in this war, the Palestinians defeated both military high tech and truly medieval type of genocidal hatred.

In other words, far from showing how “invincible” the Zionist entity is, this latest war against the Palestinians has shown beyond reasonable doubt that the IDF cannot deal with any of its enemies.

Besides missiles and bombs, the Israelis love to use terror, as their ideology has convinced them of two things: the Arabs only understand force and we, the Israelis, are invincible. But this begs the question of why the Israelis did not dare to move into Gaza, not even symbolically. Yeah, I know, the official doxa of Zone A is that “Biden called Netanyahu and told him to stop”. As if “Biden” could give orders to the Israelis!

The truth is that even with a casualty rate of 10:1 in the IDF’s advantage and no armor or artillery, the Palestinians are much more willing to engage in street battles than the IDF. Would the IDF eventually win a ground battle against Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Maybe, probably, the objective advantages in everything (except courage!) for the Israelis is so huge that no amount of skills and courage can forever negate the immense superiority in means of the Israelis.

However, as most people in the West tend to forget, wars are but means towards a political goal. If the IDF decided to basically flatten Gaza and kill many thousands of Palestinians at the cost of casualties probably in the hundereds, then this would be politically suicidal for the Zionist regime. This is why I offer this very basic conclusion:

During the latest Gaza war, deterrence did work. But only in the sense that the Palestinians successfully deterred the Israelis from launching a ground attack against Gaza.

There is another crucial political development which should also be noted: while both Iran and Hezbollah did give their full political support to Hamas+Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the latter did not request any assistance. In other words, not only did the Palestinians defeat the Israelis, but they did so absolutely alone, with no help from the other Resistance members.

Again, those Zone A civilians who believe that Israel is scoring huge victories in Syria on a quasi daily basis won’t get it, which is par for the course. But you can be darn sure that at least most of the IDF top commanders know the true score and for them it is yet another huge disaster.

There is also a political factor to consider. While there have been coordination resistance actions by the Palestinians in Israel (proper, as defined by the UN), this is the first time when the Palestinians from Gaza, those from the Occupied Territories and those in “Israel” truly fought, if not side by side (yet!), then at least at the same time and in a common cause. This is a major political victory for Hamas+Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a major problem for Fatah and the Zionists. Now let’s look at the rest of the Palestinian scorecard:

The Palestinian scorecard:

Let’s start by the obvious one: the Palestinians were not defeated. This victory can be further subdivided in the following:

  • The Palestinian leadership has mostly physically survived, it still exists as a local authority. Plenty of Palestinians were murdered, but that did not affect the operational capabilities of the Palestinian forces (any more than the IDF succeeded in affecting Iranian operational capabilities in Syria).
  • The Palestinian leadership has also survived politically. It was not blamed by the “Palestinian street” for starting the war, nor was it blamed for how it executed it. As for Fatah, it is now, by all accounts, lost somewhere in a political no man’s land which, admittedly, it richly deserves for its incompetence, corruption and subservience to Israel and the USA.
  • Militarily speaking, the Palestinian missile strikes were not nearly as effective as, say, Hezbollah (nevermind Iranian!) strikes would have been, but, hey, they made huge progress and we can all rest assured that the Palestinians of Gaza will, sooner or later, catch up with the Houthis and, further down the road, maybe even Hezbollah.
  • By many accounts, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have made major political inroads into the Palestinian political scene outside Gaza. Even in spite of a truly immense hasbara effort by the Israelis, the international public opinion was blaming Israel for the orgy of violence.

It is interesting to note here that the famous Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has written an article for Ha’aretz entitled “Israeli Propaganda Isn’t Fooling Anyone – Except Israelis” which was further subtitled “’Hasbara’ is the Israeli euphemism for propaganda, and there are some things, said the late ambassador Yohanan Meroz, that are not ‘hasbarable.’ One of them is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.” This is how Levy’s article began:

And propaganda shall cover for everything. We’ll say terrorism, we’ll shout anti-Semitism, we’ll scream delegitimation, we’ll cite the Holocaust; we’ll say Jewish state, gay-friendly, drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, aid to Nepal, Nobel Prizes for Jews, look what’s happening in Syria, the only democracy, the greatest army. We’ll say the Palestinians are making unilateral moves, we’ll propose negotiations on the “settlement bloc borders,” we’ll demand recognition of a Jewish state and we’ll complain that “there’s no one to talk to.” We’ll wail that the whole world is against us and wants to destroy us, no less.

Now comes the best part: Levy wrote this on Jun. 4, 2015 and updated it on Apr. 10, 2018 – years before the current disaster! Since then, things have only gone south for the IDF and the Israelis in general. Just the blowback from the war in Syria is, for the IDF, a true disaster.

Of course, “Israel” is still worshipped and faithfully served by many ruling classes worldwide (that is one of the functions of the Empire, to enforce this), but that officially lauded Israel is viewed with disgust and revulsion on most of the planet. Hence the inevitable failure of the truly galactic PR effort to brainwash the regular people into believing that Israeli is a polyyanish country, a “place without people for a people without country”, etc. etc. etc. This “Ziolatry”, if you wish, was effective when the PLO was blowing up Jewish grade schools in Western Europe, but today it has lost almost all of its traction, especially amongst thinking people.

The sad and disgusting reality about the Zionist entity is truly coming out, seeping under the propaganda walls of the Empire, and slowly but inevitably resulting in a common reaction of outrage and utter disgust for what is nothing else but the last officially racist country on the planet, the only country with an open air concentration camp it surrounds on all sides, the only country which truly, openly and sincerely does not give a damn about international law or about the lives of non-Jews (while calling their own lives sacred, of course!). This is a state which constantly repeats the mantra about the supposedly “sacred” blood of Jews while, at the same time, committing a slow motion (but very real) genocide of the Palestinian people while using non-stop terrorist attacks against any country daring to defy the order of the latest, and hopefully last, wannabe “superior race” in human history. This is also why the “crime of crimes” for politically correct and successfully brainwashed people is to declare that Israel has no right to exist. This is such a major crimethink that I want to conclude by committing it right now and asking others to join me in this “crimethink”!

Israel has no right to exist whatsoever first and foremost because it is an artificial creation of West European imperialist powers. Second, it is a country which has always engaged in atrocities and massive violations of international laws and norms. Instead, Israel is based on a racist ideology which is, for all practical purpose, indistinguishable from Hitler’s Nazi ideology (both National Socialism and Zionism have the same roots in both time, space and culture, both being products of European secularism and nationalism). For these reasons, Israel, and the Zionist ideology which supports it, are both a clear and present danger for international peace and stability (for details on Zionism as an ideology and its toxicity, please see here). Furthermore, the only possible way for the Palestinian people to ever recover their land and their rights under international law is that the Zionist “regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” (to quote the often mistranslated sentence by Ayatollah Komenei). By the way, this awareness also presupposes a clear understanding that the so-called “Two State Solution” (2SS) is an impossibility. Yes, I know, the 2SS is currently the only one under international law, but that is hardly surprising since the state of Israel was created with not only many of the trappings of “being an internationally recognized state” but also with the shameful complicity of the country which won WWII. There is one thing which Israel has in common with the so-called “Republic of Kosovo”: they will be the very first to be liberated as soon as the AngloZionist Empire finally crashes visibly (of course, it has already crashed, hence the many disastrous outcomes for the USA and Israel on the international scene, but that is still denied officially in Zone A and, of course, by the AngloZionist propaganda and those who pay attention to it.

In truth, there is only one true “solution” to this war: the so-called “One State Solution”, meaning that those who live in this land will get to choose their leaders and lifestyles according to the old “one person, one vote” principle. All other “solutions” simply perpetuate the current genocide!

As for those Jews who still want an ethnically pure state of Israel, they can either grow up and get real, or they can choose to colonize some other planet. As long as they don’t persecute local lifeforms, that might work. But if they do this will all happen again, over and over.

Conclusion: “Gaza” and the future of the Zionist entity

I want to end here with what I believe is a glance at the future (or lack thereof!) of Israel. The website Islamic World News Analysis Group (which I highly recommend!) recently posted what it claims to be a video of a new Iranian combat drone named “Gaza” described as so: “The Gaza drone, capable of carrying 13 bombs and 500 kilograms of equipment, as well as 35 hours of flight up to a radius of 2,000 kilometers, is capable of carrying out a variety of combat and intelligence operations. According to the published images, it seems that the Gaza drone uses the Rotary Bomb Launcher mechanism under its fuselage, which can carry up to 5 bombs. This is the first Iranian drone to use this mechanism. 8 bombs are also installed under the wings and in total this drone is capable of carrying 13 bombs”. Here is the footage of this new drone. Take a look for yourself and imagine what the next round of this campaign to liberate Palestine might look like.

May 26, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Countering the American Way of War – Proof of Concept

By Patrick Armstrong | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 23, 2021

The American Way of War is founded on three assumptions. Ever since 1945 the USA has assumed that it would have air superiority: it knew that it would have to fight for it against the Soviets but assumed that it would be able to gain it, at least in the areas where needed (local air superiority). In Korea there was some resistance but the USAF was able to bomb pretty freely. Wikipedia informs us that it dropped more bombs on Korea than it did in the entire Pacific Theatre and about half as many as it did in the European Theatre in 1941-1945. North Korea was obliterated: “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another, and some in South Korea, too.” Which, of course, is the principal reason why North Korea has nuclear weapons today.

Bombing became the American Way of War par excellence with ever greater tonnages dropped: Cambodia received about the same amount as Korea, Laos about three times as much, Vietnam about six times as much. And the bombing continues today throughout Washington’s forever wars. Officially it is precise, surgical, carefully selected: “The targets I’m assigned to destroy have been vetted through the most professional members of our armed services, and (I know) that others are taking their jobs as seriously as I am“. But U.S. Precision Bombing is a “Persistent Myth” and the reality is quite different:

Since World War II, the U.S. Air Force has loosened its definition of “accuracy” from 25 feet to 10 meters (39 feet), but that is still less than the blast radius of even its smallest 500 lb. bombs. [Here’s one.] So the impression that these weapons can be used to surgically “zap” a single house or small building in an urban area without inflicting casualties and deaths throughout the surrounding area is certainly contrived.

In the end, there is no difference from random carpet bombing: “precision strike” after “precision strike” after “precision strike” – even assuming the intelligence that guides the “precision” is accurate, which it isn’t – leaves nothing but rubble:

If you want a single word to summarize American war-making in this last decade and a half, I would suggest rubble. It’s been a painfully apt term since Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, to catch the essence of such war in this century, two new words might be useful — rubblize and rubblization.

Here are pictures from Raqqa in SyriaAmnesty International calculates that 30,000 artillery rounds were fired and the New Yorker estimates 10,000 bombs dropped; given an assumed population of 300,000 that’s one for every seven or eight people; “precision” or not, what would your neighbourhood look like after that?

Doing war from the air is pretty cost-free especially if your targets have weak air defence. The 1998 NATO operation in Kosovo had two accidental NATO deaths and two aircraft shot down. The 2011 NATO operation in Libya cost one soldier and two aircraft from accidents and one helicopter captured. It’s engagingly technical and allows much talk of precision. To say nothing of the opportunity to smugly accuse others of just tossing bombs around: “Putin’s modern Air Force choosing devastating dumb bombs over precision strikes“. (In this puff piece the authors do not understand that the Russians actually have figured out a cheap way to make “dumb” bombs “precise”. The process is explained here. Also note the familiar American boast “We’re able to do very precise weaponeering in order to strike and then also minimize civilian casualty”.)

The second assumption of the American Way of War is a prerequisite of the first – assured communications. The American way of precision bombing requires that the bomb or missile “talk” continually to its guide, whether that be a laser designator, a signal to the target and back or GPS satellites. This “talking” must be free, unrestricted and continuous – if it is stopped, the “smart” missile or bomb immediately becomes “stupid”. (Another advantage of the Russian way, incidentally, is that the “talking” is unnecessary once the bomb is dropped.)

U.S. warfighting doctrine depends on air power operating and communicating freely.

The countries on Washington’s target list are well aware of this and that is why they are continually improving their air defence and electronic warfare capabilities. Conversely, the reason why NATO members have feeble air defence and limited EW capability is that they’ve never thought they needed to have them. Years of beating up countries with trivial air defence and EW has left them complacent. (Even a wake-up call like the shooting down of the F-117 is soon sent down the Memory Hole.)

Great strategists have always known that victory is found in avoiding the enemy’s strength and attacking his weakness and that one should “fight the enemy with the weapons he lacks.” Russia, China and Iran cannot expect to win a naval battle in the South Pacific against the U.S. Navy: there will be no second Battles of Leyte Gulf, Midway or Coral Sea. That would be to attack U.S. strengths. Missiles to take out aircraft carriers are the answer: do not attack the enemy’s strength, fight him with the weapons he lacks. Neither would they attempt to invade and conquer the USA itself. Defence is what they want and these are the principles that guide them.

But there is a third assumption of the American Way of War and that is simply this:

the air raid sirens will sound somewhere else.

Everything that I have said above applies to Israel. Just like the USA, Israel has grown accustomed to using air power, “precision strikes” and all the rest of it. In 1973 it had a hard ground fight but since its 2006 repulse by Hezbollah in Lebanon it has relied ever more on air strikes. Like the U.S., it is confident that it has air superiority and secure communications. Being so much closer to its enemies, it is not as confident that the air raid sirens will always scream somewhere else, but confident that it can inflict, via its air power, unacceptable damage on its enemy, Israel proceeds. Hezbollah and Hamas would be fools to try – even if they could – to build an air force to fight Israel, neither can they expect to have air defence and electronic warfare assets to seriously challenge Israel’s air superiority. Because they cannot attack the two assumptions of air superiority and communications, they must therefore attack the third assumption of invulnerability. Not the enemy’s strength but his weakness.

The last big U.S. ground operations, the Iraq wars of 1990 and 2003, were preceded by months of unimpeded transportation of immense quantities of supplies across the Atlantic. Baghdad never interfered and the complacent supposition that the air raid sirens would sound only in the enemy’s skies was further strengthened. But, should NATO be so suicidal as to provoke Russia to war, this will not be the case: the Iskanders will come calling and there will be no uninterrupted buildup. NATO bases will not be safe sanctuaries and the convoys will have to fight their way through.

We see, today, the proof of concept. In May Gaza fired hundreds of simple, cheap rockets at Israel. The Israeli air defence system, Iron Dome, was reasonably effective but it will run out of missiles long before Gaza, to say nothing of Hezbollah, will. Iron Dome suffers from the weakness that it is far more expensive than the simple rockets Hamas is using. Debris rained down on Israeli cities, the odd rocket got through (probably more than we were told). The air raid sirens were continuous and Israelis were in bomb shelters. It’s true that Israel’s air force obliterated buildings in Gaza but that’s not the point: everyone knew they could do that, it’s the continuous rockets that are new. This went on for eleven days with no diminution of fire from Gaza. A piece in the NYT, not a noticeably Israel-hostile outlet, quotes an estimate of 30,000 rockets in Gaza; only about ten percent were fired. Hezbollah has at least four times as many. The myth of Israel’s invincibility has been broken: gravely diminished in 2006 on land, its skies are no longer safe. Fight the enemy’s weakness (its home morale – how many dual citizens are already packing their suitcases?) and use weapons it does not have.

A ceasefire was announced after eleven days; we’ll see if it holds: Israeli police have again stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque which was the trigger in the first place. The Jerusalem Post attempts a summing up; and a very pro-Israeli one it is: so many commanders, headquarters, launching sites claimed destroyed. Most important though is its recognition that Hamas “increased its volume and range” of rocket launches. And “Hamas took credit for redrawing the equation of power in the region in its battle with Israel, asserting that Israel is now in a state of decline”. A claim to be sure. But one with some reality. Hamas struck with greater numbers and deeper into Israel than ever before and there were also disturbances in the Arab population in Israel proper. Hamas is claiming a victory and it is not wrong to do so.

Air superiority, assured immediate communications and security of the home front. Gaza and Hezbollah present the poor man’s solution to the problem – lots of cheap rockets to challenge the assumption of a secure home front: Israel’s “illusion of normality” is gone.

Richer and more industrially-based entities can counter the first two assumptions and challenge the third with more sophisticated answers. Perhaps the greatest challenge to the complacency that other countries will be the amphitheatres for American wars is the Russian Poseidon; this weapon, a sort of giant autonomous underwater cruise missile, is designed to create a tsunami to wipe out U.S. ports and coastal areas. Iran, in its retaliatory attack on the U.S. base in Iraq last year, showed that U.S. forces were not safe in their bases. China and Russia are both creating weapons systems to attack the USA where it is weak using weapons it does not have. U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups, rather than projections of mighty power, are mere targets to hypersonic missiles. Russian EW capability has been described by at least one U.S. general as “eye-watering“, able to turn off U.S. systems; and one may be sure that the Russians are saving their best for later. (Can they blind an entire warshipNot at all! Disinformation! Nonsense! Information Warfare! A little too much protesting?) Russia and China can do this because they are not lost to fantasies of “power projection” or “full spectrum superiority“; they defend themselves with weapons the aggressor does not have that are directed at his weakness. Enough and not too much is their guide.

Gaza vs Israel represents the proof of the concept.

May 23, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Certain groups attempt to create civil war in Lebanon, Hezbollah chief warns

Press TV – March 18, 2021

The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has warned against attempts by certain groups to foment a civil war in the cash-strapped country on economic, racial, and religious grounds, emphasizing that the movement will not allow anyone to realize such a fiendish plot.

Those, who become frustrated in the face of the country’s resistance, could resort to the option of trying to ignite such an internal conflict, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday evening.

“I have information that there are outside forces and some internal ones that are pushing towards civil war … They are looking for the fuel to add to the fire,” he said.

“The chaos in Lebanon is aimed at driving Lebanon into a civil war and this is a red line,” he, however, added.

Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices are skyrocketing and more than half of the population is now living below the poverty line.

Nasrallah’s remarks came as the country’s major cities are hosting fresh protests at the situation afflicting the economy that is falling apart at the seams. He, therefore, entitled the high point of his address to the domestic woes.

“Lebanon is at the heart of a true and great national economic, livelihood, financial, and also political crisis,” he said, noting, “It can also be described as a crisis of the establishment.”

Nasrallah categorically dismissed that his movement harbored any intention to exacerbate the already explosive situation.

“Some say that Hezbollah is the party, which has weapons [and may start a civil war]. This rhetoric is wrong since the civil war can be waged by light arms and such arms are found everywhere in Lebanon and are in the hands of many people,” the Hezbollah chief said.

Hezbollah has no intention to resort to its weapons in a bid to form a government or to deal with the economic and financial crisis.

Since the Lebanese government formally resigned after a massive explosion in Beirut port last August, domestic political divisions and pressure by some Western states have hindered the formation of a formal cabinet.

‘US pressure main factor behind crisis’

Nasrallah pointed to the pressure that the United States was applying to Lebanon as a main principle driving the country’s crisis.

The United States wants for Lebanon to “be placed in the US-Israel axis” in the same way that such regional countries as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did by normalizing their relations with the Israeli regime through Washington’s facilitation, he stated.

Nasrallah questions dependence on IMF

Without a formal cabinet, the country cannot resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for potential bailout packages.

Even if the country was to be thrown such a lifeline, it would be required by the IMF and the West to enact certain “reforms” in its political structure. The reforms entail introduction of stringent austerity measures, the biggest part of whose burden falls on the people.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri alleged earlier that the only way to stop the country’s economy from total collapse was to re-engage with the IMF.

“The main priority of any government is to prevent the collapse that we are facing today… that we proceed to start halting the collapse with the IMF and regain the trust of the international community,” Hariri said at a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda.

Nasrallah, however, asked whether the Lebanese nation could bear the burden of the IMF’s conditions, including subtraction of subsidies from staples.

He considered the country’s economic policies, including the policy of borrowing money from others, to be one of the reasons that Lebanon had ended up this way.

The American pressure, he added, was aimed at forcing Lebanon into “resorting to certain economic options.”

It was this very fear of Washington that was scaring some inside the country from strengthening its ties with China.

Hezbollah agrees to a technocratic-political government

The Hezbollah leader, meanwhile, signaled his movement’s approval of the formation of a government composed of technocrats and politically influential elements at the same time.

He said if Hariri and President Michel Aoun reached an agreement on formation of such a ruling structure, Hezbollah would agree to it too.

US apparatuses freeing Daesh ringleaders in Iraq

Nasrallah also said there is evidence pointing to US intelligence and security apparatuses establishing contact with the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh’s ringleaders in Iraq’s prisons before enabling their release.

“With every day that goes by, the truth that lies behind the armed Takfiri terrorist groups and the nature of their handler and supporter comes further to light,” he said.

Nasrallah, however, announced, “We stand up to the terrorist groups that are shaped, run, supported, and armed by the American intelligence apparatuses.”

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trade-Off ahead on Syria and Yemen

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog | March 16, 2021

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will be no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectedly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted.

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment