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Assad renews Syria’s bonds with Iran

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MAY 9, 2022 

The unannounced arrival of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran on Sunday makes yet another wrinkle to the geopolitics of West Asia. In a short trip of a few hours, Assad had meetings with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raeisi and returned to Damascus. 

This is only the second trip by Assad to Iran in the past 11 years since the conflict erupted in Syria. The last occasion was in 2019, when he came accompanied by the charismatic commander of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force late Qassem Soleimani to mark Syria’s “victory” in the conflict. Much water has flowed down down the Euphrates and the Tigris since then. 

There is some speculation that Russia may redeploy its forces in Syria. The Israeli intelligence website DebkaFile reported cryptically on Friday that “Russian units deployed to Syria are assembling at the air bases of  Hmeimim, Qamishli, Deir e-Zor and T4, ready for some to transfer to the Ukraine warfront. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russians are handing over key bases to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah.” 

Prima facie, this is kite-flying, so to speak. There is no independent word from Moscow. Iran will be certainly in the loop on any big Russian troop withdrawal from Syria. The Turkish air space is closed to Russian [military] planes since April and on February 28 Ankara had restricted the passage of Russian warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits (unless they are returning to their bases in the Black Sea.) 

Analysts have interpreted the Turkish decisions as “anti-Russian” but they come under the ambit of Montreux Convention (1936) and on closer look, may even work to Moscow’s advantage since the door is also closed to any NATO naval build-up in the Black Sea. Russian papers have pointed out that Moscow has been using the air corridor via Iran and Iraq to supply its troops in Syria. 

Indeed, Turkey is doing a delicate trapeze act vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine, being a Black Sea power with overlapping security concerns, while also a NATO power. Turkey has deftly created space to manoeuvre since NATO is technically not at war with Russia, and since Turkey is not a EU member country, it isn’t obliged to sanction Russia, either. 

Turkish leadership has actively nurtured contacts with the Kremlin, and the economic partnership continues, including over the construction of the massive $20 billion Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (comprising four 1,200 MW VVER units), which is expected to meet ten percent of Turkey’s electricity demand when it is completed in 2025. 

Again, Russian carrier Aeroflot has just resumed flights to Turkey in anticipation of the tourist season. Believe it or not, Turkey has found an ingenuous formula to allow Russian tourists to travel to Turkey bypassing the suspension of Visa and Mastercard by making it possible to access their funds through Russia’s homegrown payments system called Mir! Some 4.7 million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year, accounting for 19% of the total tourist arrivals, fetching an annual income exceeding $10 billion. 

When it comes to Russian-Iranian relations too, the picture is broadly similar to India’s — neither supporting Russia nor opposing it while refusing to censure Russian intervention and counselling ceasefire and dialogue as the only solution. 

According to Iranian media reports, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak is due to visit Iran shortly in connection with the session of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee. The discussions are expected to focus on “strengthening financial cooperation and resolving transit problems” between the two countries as well as cooperating in the fields of oil and gas and promoting trade and tourism. Tehran knows that such camaraderie with Moscow is contrary to the spirit of Western sanctions.   

Moscow has every intention to remain actively involved in Syria. Special Russian Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov disclosed to Tass last week that Russia is working on scheduling the next international meeting on Syria in the Astana format for the end of May in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Does that look like Russia washing its hands off Syria? To quote Bogdanov, “We already discussed this with partners Iran and Turkey as the guarantors of the Astana process plus with the Syrian government and opposition delegations.” 

The official Syrian news agency Sana described Assad’s trip to Tehran as a “working visit.” It quoted Assad as stressing to Khamenei about “the importance of continuing cooperation in order not to allow America to rebuild the international terrorist system that it used to harm the countries of the world,” adding that the US “is weaker than ever.”

There are four main takeaways from Assad’s talks with the Iranian leadership. First, Assad made it clear in no uncertain terms that no matter Syria’s normalisation with the UAE (or other Arab countries involved in the conflict), he continues to attribute the highest importance to Syria’s alliance with Iran. Assad underscored that Syria is ready for broader coordination with Iran in security, political and economic fields.

Second, Damascus needs Tehran’s help for finally freeing Syria from foreign occupation. Raisi told Assad, “The whole of the Syrian land must be liberated from foreign occupiers. This occupation should not be subject to the passage of time, and the occupying forces and their mercenaries should be expelled.” Sana cited Khamenei as stressing that Iran will “continue to support Syria to complete its victory over terrorism and liberate the rest of the country’s lands.” 

Third, the two countries have a consensus on the effectiveness and vibrancy of the resistance front. Assad acknowledged that the weakening of the US’ influence in West Asia and the end of Israel’s military supremacy regionally is a direct outcome of the strategic relations between Iran and Syria, “which must continue with strength.” 

Interestingly, Khamenei recalled that Soleimani had “a special liking towards Syria and literally sacrificed his life” for that country and viewed the issue of Syria as a “sacred duty and obligation”. Khamenei reminded Assad poignantly, “This bond is vital for both countries and we should not let it weaken. On the contrary, we should strengthen it as much as possible.” Raisi called Assad “one of the figures of the Resistance Front” like his father Hafez al-Assad.

Fourth, Assad sought and obtained assurances from the highest level of Iranian leadership that Iran will help Syria overcome its difficulties. This is particularly crucial at a juncture when regional politics is in flux and Russia is preoccupied in Ukraine. 

A resuscitation of the US-led regime change project in Syria is not to be expected and Washington no longer wields commanding influence over its Persian Gulf allies or Turkey to get them to act as its surrogates. But Assad’s challenge is that Syria is getting relegated to the back burner as new hotspots and topical issues draw the region’s attention — such as JCPOA, Yemen, Iran-Saudi normalisation, OPEC+, etc. 

Although the conflict has ended, Syria still remains under foreign occupation and its economy is in ruins. A frozen conflict may legitimise the status quo. Meanwhile, Israel is waiting in the wings. Assad’s visit to Tehran signals that Iran remains the mainstay of Syria’s future strategy to avoid such a dismal fate. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed on Monday that Assad’s visit was held in an atmosphere of “fraternity and friendship,” and it opens a new chapter in the strategic ties.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nasrallah: Those pushing for disarmament of Hezbollah want to sell Lebanon to US

Press TV – May 9, 2022

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, speaks in a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on May 9, 2022.

The secretary-general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has denounced calls by some political parties for the disarmament of the movement in the run-up to next week’s parliamentary elections, saying the demand comes amid those parties’ utter disregard for the worsening economic crisis in the country.

“I want the entire Lebanese nation to know that those who are calling for the disarmament of the resistance are unaware of what the southerners went through since 1948,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Monday evening.

“Some political forces have unfortunately turned Hezbollah’s disarmament into the main topic of their electoral campaigns,” Nasrallah said, stressing that the parties that are “pushing for the handover of Hezbollah’s weapons want to sell Lebanon to US and make it susceptible in face of Israel.”

“Those who are calling for Hezbollah’s disarmament disregard its achievements as to liberation of the occupied Lebanese territories and freedom of prisoners” from Israeli detention centers, Nasrallah said.

“Does Israel dare bomb any area in Lebanon today?” Nasrallah asked, attributing the deterrence to the presence of Hezbollah forces.

“We respect the army. It has a national creed as well as competent officers and soldiers. The Lebanese army, however, cannot shoulder the responsibility on its own at the moment, and cannot confront the Israeli enemy alone,” the Hezbollah leader said.

Nasrallah went on to emphasize that his movement is ready to discuss a national defense strategy, because it has “reason and evidence.”

He added that those making demands for Hezbollah’s disarmament have not yet offered “an alternative” in the face of Israeli acts of aggression.

“Who will protect southern Lebanon if the resistance abandons its duties? Hezbollah is the strong force protecting Lebanon today,” Nasrallah said.

He went on to lament that some Lebanese politicians “do not view Israel as an enemy” and do not believe that “the regime has ambitious plans for Lebanon’s territorial waters and gas reserves.”

Nasrallah highlighted that the May 15 parliamentary elections will be a “political war” and that Hezbollah “will practice political resistance in the polls.”

“Those who want to defend Lebanon, extract its oil resources and protect its waters must vote for the resistance and its allies,” he pointed out.

“Some people are saying that they won’t vote for the resistance due to the economic crisis. We tell that the resistance will guarantee extraction of natural gas and crude oil from Lebanon’s territorial waters in order to resolve the crisis,” Nasrallah added.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars are present in our waters,” Nasrallah said of Lebanon’s potential oil and gas reserves.

The Ansarullah chief went on to call on the Lebanese government to start investment in the country’s offshore oil reserves.

Nasrallah said the United States wants Lebanon to recognize Israel, and naturalize the Palestinian and Syrian refugees.

He finally made a reference to the Israeli military’s drills near the border with Lebanon, emphasizing that Hezbollah resistance fighters will not hesitate to respond to any aggression against their homeland.

“We are not afraid of your drills and your deployment. We are the ones who coined the expression ‘Israel is weaker than a spider web’ more than 20 years ago,” Nasrallah concluded.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Leaked files expose Britain’s covert infiltration of Palestinian refugee camps

By Kit Klarenberg | The Cradle | April 13 2022

In February, Lebanese journalist Mohammed Shoaib was arrested on suspicion of collusion with Israel’s Mossad spy agency. The writer who worked for Al-Jaras, confessed that the notorious spy agency secretly paid him to author “dozens” of anti-Hezbollah articles, receiving a paltry $30 to $70 per article.

In particular, Shoaib was tasked with writing hit jobs on the “Iranian occupation” of Lebanon, and falsely linking Hezbollah with the August 2020 Beirut port blast, drug trafficking, and murder of political activists.

It is also alleged that Mossad specifically requested his work incite hostility towards Palestinian refugees in the country who number almost 300,000. In all, Lebanon hosts more than 1.7 million refugees and has the largest per capita population of refugees in the world.

Roughly half inhabit camps administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they endure abysmal living conditions, overcrowding, poverty, unemployment, lack of access to justice, and other unspeakable hardships. The 11-year, foreign-backed crisis in neighboring Syria has also prompted Palestinian refugees there – and Syrian citizens – to seek sanctuary in Lebanon.

Given Israel’s track record of multifaceted crimes against the Palestinian people, that they are targeting an already vulnerable refugee population for propaganda purposes is hardly surprising. Nonetheless, Israel is not the only hostile foreign country resorting to these tactics.

Leaked files reviewed by The Cradle reveal the British Foreign Office has for many years secretly meddled in Lebanon’s refugee camps, courtesy of ARK, a shadowy intelligence cutout run by probable MI6 operative Alistair Harris. London’s agenda is rather different than Tel Aviv’s, however – it seeks to subtly stir up revolutionary fervor, and exploit them as unwitting foot soldiers in its ongoing clandestine war against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

‘Community Engagement’

The documents indicate ARK has been operating in all 12 camps since 2009, implementing British-funded “programming” of various kinds. This experience has granted the company “granular understanding” of their internal political, economic, ideological, religious and practical dynamics, and led to the establishment of a “diverse delivery team” and array of “local contacts” with “access throughout all camps and gatherings,” meaning community-level discussions and activities of residents can be spied upon and influenced.

This intimate, insidious insight is reinforced by “daily monitoring of neighborhood-level WhatsApp groups,” with “any new information, such as affiliation between a local group and a faction, or conflict between factions” documented by ARK’s in-house “stakeholder tracker.”

Typically, ARK has engaged in small-scale initiatives in the camps, including the restoration of streets and cemeteries, recycling initiatives, assisting in the launch of small businesses, providing income to disadvantaged and disabled residents, creating nurseries and daycare centers, and even launching a community hub, Sawa Coffeeshop. It serves to this day as “a popular place for youth to gather and promote civic engagement in their community and a shared Palestinian identity that bridges factional differences.”

In submissions to the Foreign Office dating to May 2019, ARK proposed ramping up these activities significantly. It pledged to create “Community Leadership Committees” in each camp, composed of hand-picked “stakeholders” – including NGOs, youth activists, women’s organizations, and representatives of neighborhood armed groups – to identify “quick impact projects” that could be implemented therein. These projects aim to “counter threats to social stability in the camps, create or improve livelihood opportunities, and provide better access to services.”

A social media platform created by ARK, Nastopia – which boasted 20,000 “highly invested” followers on Facebook at the time, a figure that has almost doubled since – was forecast to be fundamental to these efforts.

The page, run by a 24-strong team of ARK-trained “youth reporters”, would be used to recruit local participants, increase awareness and demand for “community engagement and improved conditions” among camp residents.  Other activities include the promotion of Foreign Office-financed projects and to publicize “success stories” generated by them, while “promoting Palestinian culture and a sense of belonging, and tackling social injustice.”

Nastopia was “already [an] effective voice for connecting Palestinian communities, particularly youth” by that point. ARK cited a recent “Camps Films Festival” organized by the platform, covered by Al-Jazeera, which showcased “films portraying life in the camps and what it means to be Palestinian,” and in the process provided “positive examples of a shared identity.”

All along, the Nastopia page was to be monitored with “community feedback” on the assorted initiatives gauged to identify areas in which these activities “could be adapted to maximize impact.” Specialist training provided to its staff meant the platform could also serve “as a forum for online and offline discussion about social injustices [and] virtual space to talk about topics considered taboo in the camps,” allowing ARK to burrow even deeper inside the heads of refugees.

‘Active Citizenship’

If the obvious surveillance and manipulation dimensions of ARK’s project weren’t troubling enough, it takes on an acutely sinister character when one considers a key objective of “highlighting successful initiatives” in the camps was to “[enhance] the audience’s confidence in their own ability to contribute to social change.”

A Foreign Office-commissioned Target Audience Analysis conducted by ARK in March 2019 sought to pinpoint a segment of Lebanon’s population that could be mobilized to “affect positive social change,” and methods by which tensions between sectarian communities could be reduced, in order to unify them in opposition to the country’s ruling elite. Reading between the lines, it gives every appearance of a blueprint for the overthrow of the Lebanese government.

An ideal audience was duly identified, representing 12 percent of the population, who disavowed violence but did not reject “other forms of contentious politics,” and could be “influenced” to engage in “behaviors leading to positive social change,” such as protests and community initiatives.

The only questions for ARK were: “What might be done to enable other Lebanese to have similar confidence in their potential to contribute to positive social change?” and “how might this segment of the population … be grown to include a larger fraction of the public?”

The answer, ARK proposed, was to both covertly and overtly promote the message that “change is possible and ordinary citizens have a role to play in achieving change,” by way of propaganda campaigns and civil society initiatives “[highlighting] where change has been achieved or where threats to Lebanon’s stability have been countered.” This would demonstrate to the country’s diverse population that “barriers” to reform can be overcome, by taking matters into their own hands.

Providing evidence of “responsive government at local levels” was crucial for reinforcing “principles of active citizenship” among Lebanon’s population – and the analysis specifically cited Syrians and Palestinians, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, as representing an “important part” of the country’s demography, to be motivated in this manner.

In other words, Foreign Office activities in the refugee camps form just one fragment of a wider, clandestine, multi-channel assault on public perceptions in Lebanon that Britain has been waging against its democratically-elected government.

A mobilized force

One can judge these efforts by their fruits. In October 2019, seven months after ARK’s Target Audience Analysis was supplied to the Foreign Office, large-scale protests engulfed the streets of Beirut, which have ebbed and flowed ever since, and generated enormous amounts of western media coverage along the way.

The extent to which ARK’s Foreign Office-funded meddling in Lebanon influenced this incendiary unrest may never be fully quantifiable, but it may be significant that in July that year, thousands of refugees across several camps began demonstrating in unison, demanding the government immediately reform employment laws barring them as “foreign workers” from numerous professions.

This turmoil was arguably the spark that ignited the entire “October Revolution” – and in one of its Foreign Office submissions, ARK refers to how it “takes pride” in ensuring refugees recruited to its illicit schemes receive “annual leave, sick leave, and health insurance,” despite this not being “legally necessary” due to local legislation “discriminating against Palestinians.”

Who benefits?

The influence of ARK on Lebanon’s impending general election in May, the country’s first since the riots began, is even more unambiguous. Several news outlets have hailed the unprecedentedly high profusion of young candidates vying for office – 80 in total, many of them women.

A clandestine Foreign Office project influenced by the aforementioned Target Audience Analysis sought to enlist Lebanese youth as “agents of change”, fostering among them a culture of active political participation, in order that they could better “hold political institutions and individuals accountable,” and increase “electoral participation” in favor of opposition parties.

Under its auspices, ARK convened “boot camps” in “priority areas” of Lebanon, cultivated “a national group capable of pushing for greater change” composed of young women, and created social media assets and youth-focused websites featuring political interviews, question-and-answer sessions, coverage of boot camp meetings, “calls to action,” and “humorous messaging campaigns.” Activity on these assets was scheduled to ramp up ahead of the 2022 elections.

Clearly, irrespective of the outcome of the Lebanon May elections, the ultimate victors won’t be the parties and candidates that secure office, or the average Lebanese citizens who elected them, but Britain – for whatever form the next government takes, one way or another, it will serve London’s financial, ideological, military, and political interests.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah Denies Hezbollah Fighting in Ukraine alongside Russian Forces

Al-Manar | March 18, 2022

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Friday categorically denied the media reports which alleged that a number of Hezbollah fighters and military experts are fighting in Ukraine alongside the Russian Forces.

Addressing Al-Mahdi Scouts Anniversary Ceremony, Sayyed Nasrallah said that Arab Channels circulated rumors, alleged to be quoting Ukrainian Military Staff, claiming that Hezbollah dispatched fighters and military experts who are professional at street battles.

“I categorically deny such rumors. These are baseless lies and rumors. Hezbollah did not dispatch any fighter or expert to Ukraine.”

Sayyed Nasrallah warned against similar media rumors about the alleged Hezbollah participation in Ukraine war, confirming that they are false.

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government to form an emergency committee to cope with the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine, pertaining mainly the prices of the basic commodities.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

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