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The Only Strategic Rationale for America’s Involvement in Syria Finally Revealed

By Elias Samo | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 6, 2019

“Washington lacks a clear strategy in Syria “; those were the recent words of Robert Ford, the last American ambassador to Syria who served prior to and during the first few years of the Syrian uprising from 2010 to 2014. A man of Ford’s intricate knowledge of the Syrian/American political dynamic is surly knowledgeable enough to assess America’s policy towards Syria. He goes on to say, “It is hard to explain the fundamental American mission in Syria… Is it to fight Daesh? Or is it to help promote a Kurdish autonomous district in Northeastern Syria… Or is it to resist Iranian encouragement?” It is partially all three; however, oddly enough, Mr. Ford avoids the obvious top priority and strategic rationale for America’s involvement in Syria: The Protection of Israel.

To alleviate this dereliction by the executive branch for not presenting a clear strategy in Syria, as the former ambassador asserts, the Congress took it upon itself to identify American strategic interests in Syria and make recommendations to Trump. However, it is legitimate to ask: what do American congressmen know about Syria to qualify them to determine American strategic interests in the country? It is very unlikely for American congressmen to know much about Syria; they are dictated the Israeli narrative and that is all they need to know.

Irrespective of who or what motivated the congressmen to seek information to develop a framework for American strategic interests in Syria and eventually send a letter signed by nearly four hundred congressmen- roughly seventy five percent of the total number of congressmen from both chambers and both parties- to the president about their findings and their recommendations, the congressmen called upon United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to establish a Syria Study Group (SSG) to provide them information about Syria to comprehend the situation and formulate recommendations to Trump.

The SSG was established in February 2019 and gave its interim report to Congress May 1, 2019; the report consists of detailed seven single-spaced typewritten pages.

Subsequent to the SSG submitting of its interim report to Congress on May 1, the four hundred congressmen Letter was sent to the president on May 20. It would be natural to assume that the Letter is a condensed reflection of what the interim report contained and recommended; that was not the case. The elaborate and detailed interim report dealt with a multitude of issues centered around American national security. Ironically, the Letter to the President focused on the sources of threats to Israeli security: terrorism, Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iran, Turkey and Russia. Just a note regarding the difference in emphasis in the two documents. In the seven – page single spaced interim report Israel is mentioned nine times, it is mentioned twenty one times in the two page Letter.

The first paragraph of the Letter states “[…] we recommend several specific steps to advance our regional security priorities, including assisting our ally, Israel, in defending itself in the face of growing threats, including on its northern border.” The reference to northern border is Syria and Lebanon. As for Syria, it suffices to note that Israel occupied the Syrian Golan for fifty two years and annexed it recently with Trump’s blessings. Syria has not fired a shot at Israel in decades while Israel has fired hundreds of shots at Syria just recently; there are no Syrian boots on the ground in Israel, while there are Israeli boots on the ground in Syria. So much for the threat to Israel emanating from Syria. As for the Lebanese scenario, it is similar to that of Syria, albeit on a smaller scale, with one addition: Hezbollah which Israel views as a source of imminent threat. However, it suffices to note that it is Israel which has been the source of violent onslaughts against Hezbollah. The Letter, in the succeeding paragraphs, elaborates further on the acquisition by Syria and Hezbollah of large and more threatening sophisticated weapons to threaten the security of the regional, nuclear super power: Israel. Need one point out the ridicule?

In the third paragraph, the Letter asserts: “While our nation has encouraged more stable and inclusive political systems in the Middle East, the regime in Tehran has spread its influence and destabilized its neighbors for its own gain.” To say this is an outrageous distortion of the truth would be an understatement. There is not a sane Iraqi, Syrian, Lybian, Yemeni and most Muslim Arabs who would vouch to such a distortion. In fact, internationally, the US and Israel are viewed as sources of threat to international peace and security; both have boots on foreign ground but no foreign boots on their ground.

Russia receives a jab at the fourth paragraph for its role “[…] to ensure the survival of the Assad regime.” It adds “Furthermore, in providing Damascus with advanced weapons like the S-300 anti-aircraft, Moscow is complicating Israel’s ability to defend itself from hostile action emanating from Syria.”

The last part of the Letter contains three recommendations which are interrelated and converge on the core of the Letter; the security of Israel:

  • Underscore Israel’s right to self-defense.
  • Increase pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to activities in Syria.
  • Increase pressure on Hezbollah.

Beyond any conceivable doubts, the Letter was dictated by Israelis or their advocates in Washington, signed and submitted by the 400 congressmen to Trump; the height of hypocrisy. What is dismaying is that hardly any voices of protest were raised in American society at large or the political or intellectual segments about the fact that four hundred congressmen, who are elected by Americans to serve American interests, at a time when the US is bogged down in the Arab region, sign and submit a letter to the US President concerned almost exclusively with Israel’s Security.

These congressmen had an opportunity to make a coherent recommendation on US policy in the Arab region in the interest of American National Interest, but instead chose to make recommendations to safeguard the wellbeing and security of a foreign state: Israel.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Sanctions Hezbollah Elected Parliamentarians

Al-Manar | July 9, 2019

The US Treasury placed two Hezbollah members of Lebanon’s parliament on its sanctions blacklist on Tuesday — the first time Washington has taken aim at the party’s elected politicians.

The Treasury named the head of the Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc Hajj Mohammad Raad and MP Amin Sherri to a ‘terror-related’ blacklist, claiming that Hezbollah uses its parliamentary power to advance its alleged ‘violent’ activities.

Also placed on the blacklist was Hajj Wafiq Safa, Hezbollah top security official.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese resistance group that defends the nation against the Israeli and takfiri enemies. Because of its huge popular representation, it managed to have a 13-member parliamentary bloc, mainly tasked with securing the socioeconomic rights of the citizens and advocating the resistance political principles.

The US administration, which supports the Zionist entity and the Arab dictators against the will of most of the Muslims and Arabs, has always viewed Hezbollah resistance as an enemy, blacklisting both its military and political wings.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: Zionist Axis Defeated, We Have Enough Missiles to Redraw the Map of the Middle East

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday, May 31, 2019, on the occasion of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Day.

Transcript:

[…] Another element indicating (the improbability of a war against Iran) is the field data, and I mean the (triple) Summit which I have just mentioned. And we are now entering the (4th section of my speech devoted to the triple) Arab Summit (in Mecca on May 30-June 1). The Summit was convened in emergency. Why? There are two reasons, two clear reasons that are mentioned in the (final) statements (of the Summit).

The first reason… The first reason… I remember that during the first days of the war of aggression against Yemen, His Eminence the (Supreme) Leader, Sayed [Khamenei], said that the young (fighters) of Yemen would rub the Al-Saud’s noses in dirt. Some days ago, the Saudi (army) bit the dust (once again). That’s what happened.

The first reason (for the improbability of war against Iran), that I mentioned earlier, is that Saudi Arabia has recognized the fact that there was no way out against the missiles of the Yemeni army and Popular Defense Committees, which they call the ‘Houthi’ missiles, and against their drones, and my proof is what happened in Yanbu’ (strikes of a Yemeni drone against oil installations in Saudi Arabia). It is a failure, a complete disaster. On the technical, military, security levels, and on every other level, it is a colossal failure. And it is a great success for our Yemeni brothers.

And that’s why in the joint statement at the conclusion of the Arab Summit, from the first line, points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 only speak of Houthis, Houthis and yet again Houthis, as well as Iran. This clearly shows how much the issue of our Yemeni brothers is present and is the main cause for convening this triple Summit.

The second reason (indicating the improbability of a war against Iran) is that the Saudi regime and its allies understood with certainty that there will be no US war against Iran. You are dreaming (O Saudis), you spend your money for nothing and you incite for war to no avail. Trump will not fight for you, while it was your greatest hope. The last thing the Saudis had left was this hope (on which they have staked everything). Is there anything they can do? Do the Saud have alternatives (to prevail)? Who will go to war against Iran? The Saud themselves? While in Yemen, according to the information of the Saudis themselves, these young Yemeni fighters who have no army, no huge capacities, who are besieged, isolated, hungry, sick, whatever you want, but Saudi Arabia fails, is defeated and broken against them! And you (the Saudis) would go to war against (such a formidable power as) Iran? Who (will dare attack Iran)? Will they hire Netanyahu to launch a war against Iran? Let him first take care of his own problems (electoral and with Israeli justice)!

It’s the end of the road (for the Saud)! All their plans and hopes rested, in recent weeks, on Trump, on Trump’s incitement (to war), on Bolton, on Pompeo and all their fellow evil men in b or p, who were threatening to attack Iran and devastate this country. But it’s over. All their hopes were dashed.

That is why this Summit was convened in Mecca, as I said, to call the Arab and Muslim worlds and the Gulf countries for help. ‘Hasten therefore (to our help), O Arabs’ (cried the Al-Saud dynasty)! I wrote here… Where is this paper?… I wrote (a summary about it)… “Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart…” For who is responsible for the crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council? Saudi Arabia! “(Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit) to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart, of the Arabs it has crushed…” Is there a single Arab country left where Saudi Arabia has not created discord and division? And until now, up to this very day, there are Arab countries torn with civil wars, and Saudi Arabia is (the main) responsible. And there are Arab countries under threat of falling into civil wars (Algeria, Sudan…), and we must look (for the hand of) Saudi Arabia (behind it). “(Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart), of the Arabs it has crushed and of the Muslims among whom it has spread the sedition of takfir.”

See Pakistan: Saudi Arabia wants to become stronger by getting the support of this country, while it propagated its takfiri ideology there among the Taliban, who created innumerable problems for the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people. Today, Saudi Arabia is calling on all these countries to save it (and get it out of the Yemeni quagmire).

First, regarding the Summit… I will conclude my remarks with a few words. Regarding the (Mecca) Summit, such is the context that explains it. It is a call for help, a cry for help, an intercessory request… You know it’s Ramadan (where all wishes can be fulfilled), so the Saudis make prayers, express wishes, cajole (the Arab governments) so that they’d fulfill their wishes, because of their failure and powerlessness, and because their hopes were dashed. The opposite Axis (United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia) isn’t in any case in a position of strength. It is in a position of weakness and failure, desperate, greatly confused and completely discouraged. This is the truth.

Second, let us consider the Joint Statement issued after the Summit. We see that it is composed of 10 points, which speak only of Iran and the “Houthis”, as they call them, but in the end of this Statement, as we commemorate the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), at the very end of this Statement, really the last two lines, we read: “And about the Palestinian cause, the main cause of the Arabs, the Summit has confirmed its commitment to the resolutions of the 29th Arab Summit (of April 2018) in Dhahran (Saudi Arabia), or Al-Quds Summit, and the resolutions of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis (in March 2019).” Period. They did not even devote two lines to Palestine! They gave it only a line and a half of their final Statement! That’s the importance of Palestine for the Arab Summit. I do not even know if they actually talked about it (during their discussions), I just read the final Statement.

And about the Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, there is a really funny thing, the 4th point. Listen to the 4th point (of the final Statement) of the Summit of the Council of the Gulf Cooperation: “Confirms the strength, harmony and resolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the unity of its members around a common line to face these threats.” And they say that while they are besieging Qatar! They have been besieging the State and the people of Qatar for over a year! It’s really hilarious, Uncle! By God, some people really don’t realize that they have become the laughing stock of the world! The whole world mocks them, demeans and humiliates them!

Another point about the Arab Summit, we have a duty to praise the position expressed by Iraq and the President of the Republic of Iraq. It’s a remarkable position, courageous and excellent. What a shame that the rest of the Arab Presidents, Kings and Emirs did not talk the same way! And the Iraqi delegation has not said that they wanted to wage war against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or anyone, nothing like it! They spoke in a balanced manner (without taking sides with Iran nor Saudi Arabia). You could do the same thing (and display a conciliatory neutrality). What prevented you from doing so, O Arabs? What a pity that (the participants of this) Summit, in spite of the failure, powerlessness and confusion (of Saudi Arabia), and the economic exploitation of the situation by the United States, have not talked in conciliatory terms about Iran, when Iran itself, a few days ago, said via its delegates that they were ready to talk with the Gulf states, and conclude pacts of non-aggression with them! Why did they not adopt the same open and conciliatory diplomatic language? If they had done so, their money, their safety, their security, their interests and even their dignity would not be violated by Trump morning and evening.

On the Arab Summit, I have one more thing to say: as a Lebanese party who participate in the government of Lebanon, we (Hezbollah) consider that the position of the official Lebanese delegation to the Arab Summit contradicts the Ministerial Declaration (of the Hariri government) and violates the commitments and promises of the Lebanese government, who received the confidence of the Parliament on the basis of this Declaration. Where is the promised neutrality, O official Lebanese delegation to the holy city of Mecca? You could have said… It was not even required that you take a position similar to that of Iraq. You could simply have said that the Lebanese government was committed to neutrality (in regional conflicts) and that such a stance was required in the national interest of Lebanon, which had to remain neutral, as it had done in previous Summits.

That is why we reject this position (expressed by the Lebanese delegation), which we consider unacceptable and condemn because it does not represent Lebanon. It represents only the members of the delegation (as individuals) or the political parties they belong to. It is impossible that this be the official position of Lebanon, a position which publishes a Statement with 10 paragraphs condemning Iran and only dedicates a line and a half to Palestine, the whole Statement expressing support for an Axis (US-Saudi-Israeli) against another (the Axis of Resistance).

Of course, the Future party could have made a statement of their own supporting eloquently the Final Statement of this Summit held in Holy Mecca, it is their natural right. We wouldn’t mind at all because (it is common knowledge) that we have opposite stances (on regional issues). We have already said that neutrality is not required of political forces. And we are the first not being neutral (and strongly and publicly announcing our stances against the US, Israel, the Saud…). But we agreed that the Lebanese government would remain neutral. The Lebanese State must remain neutral (because it is composed of both pro-American and pro-Iranian forces). And what happened in Mecca is contrary to the commitments and promises (made by the Future Alliance heading the government), and to Lebanon’s national interest.

This brings me to the last point (of my speech). (I’m sorry) for being so long, on this night of Ramadan, but it is a sensitive issue whose mention cannot be postponed. Regarding the delimitation of the (land and sea) borders (between ​​Lebanon and Israel), as I have said repeatedly, as a Resistance, we have no problem and we comply with the decisions of the State. And for all that is happening at the borders, we leave everything in the hands of the State, whether what is happening is good or bad, right or wrong. Regarding the demarcation of our land and sea borders, we will respect all the decisions of State, (and we do not have a say).

And by making these statements, I do not exaggerate. Some brothers think that my words are conciliatory but do not coincide with reality, but no, I tell the strict truth when I say that we in Hezbollah trust the Lebanese officials who are in charge of this issue, and who are committed to upholding all Lebanon’s rights to land and water, in terms of maritime (space), oil and gas (resources present in the Mediterranean). We have (full) confidence in them, and that’s why we do not intervene in this issue. So much for the positive points, for I will now turn to a very different point.

On this issue, what is the United States striving to achieve through (its envoy) Mr. [David] Satterfield and his ilk? The USA is very strong to exploit all things, and exploit (all situations) in an evil way (in their interests and to our detriment). Since Lebanon needs a rapid delineation of borders, especially at sea, to (be able to exploit) oil and gas (resources at sea), and since Lebanon needs a calm situation in order to get financial loans —for we speak mainly about loans, not grants—, in this context, the United States come to… I hope that all the Lebanese will listen to me.

The United States wants to exploit the (indirect) negotiations (between Lebanon and Israel) on the demarcation of land and maritime borders to solve another adjacent, unrelated problem in the sole interest of Israel, and that Israel has been unable to resolve for years, namely precision missiles and the manufacture of precision missiles.

For over two years, (we have been contacted constantly by) ambassadors, embassies, foreign intelligence services, including those countries that consider us officially as terrorists, it does not bother them. They asked us the following questions, or (rather) addressed us the following messages: you have precision missiles, and this is something that Israel will not tolerate, and when Israel will learn their place (of storage), they will bomb them. That’s the message that we kept receiving for over two years. That’s (the first point).

The second point was the accusation that we’d have precision missile factories in Lebanon, which is (allegedly) a red line for Israel that will not be tolerated, and the warning that if Israel gets to know their location, they will bomb them. We hid this matter to the public for two years so as not to worry anyone, and to settle this matter behind the scenes. But some things happened during this week that lead me to speak out today because I think this whole issue will soon be discussed in the media, this topic being debated today in wider circles. I prefer to publicly state our position on this issue, rather than let the (State) officials being responsible for sending messages or answering questions (about this topic), and it is better that these answers come directly from me so that the United States, Israel and others receive them distinctly. (That’s better), isn’t it? That’s why I mention it.

Regarding the first point, the precision missiles issue, we are people who always tell the truth, we never lie. We can of course not reveal the truth without lying, or tell only part of the truth, but we never lie. That’s why when they asked us (if we had precision missiles), we answered that yes, we had precision missiles, and then you remember that two years ago, the tenth day (of ‘Ashura), I announced quite clearly that we have precision missiles able to hit all the targets required in the Zionist entity.

And today, on this (International) Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem),on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of this Day, I say to the world that yes, we have in Lebanon enough precision missiles to change the face of the region and (upset) all equations!

But I say nothing new. That’s what I said for ‘Ashura two years ago. And to all those who have asked us, we said yes, we had precision missiles. And to all those who said or transmitted messages (Israeli threats), we said that there was no problem… It’s been 1, 2 and 3 years that these messages circulate, and that our response has been given and reached Israel: any time they tried to intimidate us by speaking of Israel, of red lines, of unacceptable things, of bombing, of (a violent) reaction, etc., our answer was clear, and I then repeated it publicly (in an interview) with Al-Mayadeen TV and then in a live speech. And I’ll repeat it again: we said that against any aggression, any Israeli strike against any target related to the Resistance in Lebanon, be it missiles or anything else, Hezbollah will retaliate immediately, directly and with (great) force! 

And that’s why for 1 year, 2 years and 3 years now, they never bombed (Lebanon). And even more, Israel is going to the UN to (complain) that under the Al-Ahed football stadium, there would be missiles, and at such other place as well, (and then the UN) asks the government to verify if missiles are present at a given location, etc. It is not out of manners or decency that Israel does not strike our missiles. It is because we are strong that they don’t dare to do so (because they fear our retaliation), and that we will respond to any aggression by a similar attack, if not more! 

The issue of precision missiles was therefore over (with a dead end for Israel). No one can do anything against it. So the issue has been upgraded with the accusation of possession of precision missile factories (in Lebanon). A few months ago, a (Lebanese) official said that the United States had contacted him to tell him this and this. I replied: “My dear official —I do not say anything specific to protect his identity—, this information is false. We do not have —and I speak with complete frankness— we have no precision missile factory in Lebanon.” He asked if the Iranians had such factories in Lebanon. I told him that the Iranians had no factory in Lebanon, be it for precision missiles or other missiles, or anything at all.

So far —I say so far, until tonight, until this International Day of Al-Quds—, there are no precision missile factories (in Lebanon). So the Americans left and came back later (with new charges), saying that there were such factories in such and such place, until what they said recently, namely that the process of delimitation of maritime borders was obstructed by the fact that in such region, there were precision missile factories. Again, several Lebanese officials asked me about it, and I said that it was not true. In this region, there are military facilities, supplies and equipment of Hezbollah, but no precision missile factory. That’s all.

What is my point? These (false accusations) have been accompanied by various threats. I will not say what the threats were because there is no reason for me to reveal them, but several threats were made, so that Lebanon settles this issue (precision missile factories) and destroys such and such installations, razes them to the ground and terminates them. But my dear (US) friends, do you know who you are dealing with? In what world do you live (to believe that your threats can frighten Hezbollah)? It is absolutely inconceivable for us.

In addition, we, in Hezbollah, are more trustworthy and reliable than the Americans and their predecessors, and more trustworthy and reliable than the Israelis and their predecessors. When I tell you that there is no precision missile factory, this means that there is none. And if there were such a factory, I would have said this evening on TV that there is such a factory, as I’ll prove in a moment.

I will explain my problem with this question and conclude my speech. My problem is that… That’s why I did not want to discuss this issue only with Lebanese officials, but I wish that we all (Lebanese) take part in it. The very discussion of such issues with the United States, merely allowing them to ask us about (our weapons), this door should be in my opinion closed. It is not their business, they have no right to inquire about our weapons. The US does not have any right to meddle in it. Whether there are precision missile factories in Lebanon or not, it is not their business. Israel, which is right next to us, manufactures missiles, warplanes, tanks, nuclear and chemical weapons. Let them go there and make the same requests! As for us, it is our right —and that’s what I want to add this evening—, it is our absolute right to possess any type of weapons to defend our country. And it is our absolute right to manufacture any type of weapons, because to have weapons, there are only three possibilities: either you buy them, or someone gives them to you, or you manufacture them.

In Gaza, what do they do? They make them. In Yemen, what do they do? They make them. But the Saudi mentality is unable to conceive that Yemenis can manufacture their own missiles and drones (and they accuse Iran of supplying them). What do you want me to do about it? In Iran, what are they doing? They manufacture their own weapons! And we absolutely have the right to do the same. I affirm that the United States do not have the right to debate with us on this right. That’s the first point. How does it concern you? Whether we have such factories or not, it’s none of your business. I assure you that there are no such factories yet, but you have no right to ask me in the first place! Whether there are such factories or not, mind your own business! We have every right to have all the weapons that allow us to defend our country, whether we buy them, they are given to us or we manufacture them. That’s the first point.

Second, if the United States continues to bring up this issue, I tell them this: we have all the technical and human capacity, thanks to our youth, to manufacture precision missiles, and we are perfectly able to import in Lebanon all the equipment required to open such factories. I declare tonight that if the United States continues to bring up this issue, let the whole world know that we will open precision missile factories in Lebanon! 

So far, we have no such factories (in Lebanon), but if they continue to bring up this issue, they will convince us to do so! Then, the government talks about many problems of the Lebanese industry. Today, one of the greatest evils in the world is arms sales… Why are you laughing, I’m serious! We are able to manufacture precision missiles and sell them to the world, and thus help the Lebanese Treasury. Is that okay with you?

This is why I advise Satterfield to stay calm and do the job he is asked to do (without encroaching on our business), since he claims to be there to help… But who does he (really want to) help? Because you know that in general, the United States are not intermediaries. They are only there to lobby and defend the interests of Israel, and God help our Lebanese brothers responsible for these negotiations. Let Satterfield close this file and not waste his time in (idle) threats, and stop exerting himself. He should stop exerting himself (in vain).

This is our natural right (to have all the weapons required), we will remain attached thereto, and threats lead to nothing with us. These threats are not new, but date back to 2 or 3 years. I have answered them, and I do not want to have to repeat myself, okay? Be it now, before or after, our position remains the same.

In conclusion, O my dear and noble brothers, on this Day of Al-Quds, on this 40th year of the celebration of this Day, our (Resistance) Axis is in a position of strength, as is our front (the battlefield). It is true that in recent years we have made many sacrifices, but by the grace of the blood of martyrs, we got out of all these sacrifices stronger and more present. And it is full of strength, determination, faith and confidence that I tell you all that we can defeat the Deal of the Century and make it fail, and at the forefront the Palestinian people: when Palestinians are unanimous in their sovereign position, as I called it, about the Deal of the Century and the Conference in Bahrain (which are condemned by all factions), nobody can impose anything, neither to Palestinians nor to the region.

When the Syrian people refuse to cede the Golan, Golan will never become Israel’s, even if Trump redraws maps and signs below, as announced by Netanyahu yesterday. Let them sign anything they want, do what they want, and say whatever they want, (it will be futile). If we stay present in the field, on all battlefields, if we remain attached to our rights, and above all, before, after and with everything, if we trust in God and in His promise of victory, if we believe in Him, in our peoples, in our generation, in our men, in our women, in our brains and in our minds and willpower, the future belongs to Al-Quds, and not to Trump or to all the insignificant midgets who work for Trump.

Peace be upon the soul of the great Khomeini, who founded this Day, happy (al-Quds) holiday, and may God grant you victory and glory.

See the previous parts of this speech translated in full: 

Resistance Axis, Arab & Muslim Peoples will Never Forsake Palestine

In the Next War, Missiles from Lebanon, Gaza, Syria & Iran will Strike Israel, Trump’s Deal of the Century Doomed to Fail 

A War against Iran would Destroy Israel, the Saud and US Hegemony

Translation: resistancenewsunfiltered.blogspot.com

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel Looks to Bolster Diplomatic Cover for New Level of Civilian Bombing in Lebanon

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | June 28, 2019

During a conference hosted on Tuesday by the Mossad-linked Shurat HaDin or Israel Law Center (ILC), Israel’s Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan demanded that international laws on warfare be amended because current international law pertaining to warfare “serves terrorists.”

Erdan claimed that groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah use existing international laws of war “to destabilize the ability of democracies to defend their citizens” and “force [democracies] to fight against terrorists with their hand chained behind their backs.” The ILC’s director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, seconded Erdan’s claim but argued that changing international law is difficult, thus making it more practical to change how existing laws of war are interpreted, a task she suggested be performed by military prosecutors.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the laws currently governing international warfare are aimed specifically at reducing the suffering of civilians and, as the Post article suggested, Erdan wanted to change these measures aimed at protecting civilians prior to the “next war” between Israel and Lebanon because in that war “Israel will have no choice but to harm Hezbollah rocket sites and Lebanese infrastructure.” Erdan’s argument hinges on the commonly repeated accusation by Israeli officials that Hezbollah uses civilians as cover for military operations, but a comprehensive 249-page study by Human Rights Watch found that not to be the case. In fact, the study found that even “a simple movement of vehicles or persons – such as attempting to buy bread or moving about private homes – could be enough to cause a deadly Israeli airstrike that would kill civilians.” 

Bolstering diplomatic cover for a coming war

As MintPress previously reported, Israel’s government has been preparing for an imminent war with Lebanon and specifically Hezbollah — which is a strong political force in Lebanon, with the coalition of which it is part holding a legislative majority in Lebanon’s parliament — for well over a year. It has warned prominent U.S. Senators not only that it planned for a “bloody” war against Lebanon, but that the Israeli military planned specifically to target Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure, including residential areas.

During a visit to Israel last March, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a close ally of the Trump administration, stated that Israel’s Likud-led government was requesting “ammunition, ammunition, ammunition” from the U.S. government, as well as diplomatic support for when Israel strikes civilian targets — such as “civilian apartment buildings, hospitals, and schools” — because Hezbollah has become “integrated” into these structures.

Israel Lebanon International law

A school building destroyed by Israeli bombs in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, Aug. 27, 2006. Sergey Ponomarev | AP

Prominent Israeli politicians have also made the case for targeting Lebanese civilians in the coming war between Israel and Lebanon. For instance, Naftali Bennett, who until recently was Israel’s minister of education, told Haaretz in 2017 that civilians “must” be targeted the next time Israel and Lebanon go to war:

The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases –- they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out… This will mean sending Lebanon back to the Middle Ages.”

Past impunity expands to cover new atrocities

Under existing international law, the bombing of residential buildings, hospitals and schools is a clear war crime, though this hasn’t stopped Israel’s government from bombing these same structures in Gaza with regularity in recent years. In addition, during the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Israel’s military killed at least 1,109 civilians, injured over 4,000 and displaced an estimated 1 million according to figures compiled by Human Rights Watch. The staggering civilian death toll sparked condemnation from international human-rights groups.

Thus, Erdan’s recent comments suggest that Israel’s government, in a war against Lebanon it plans to instigate under the guise of “preventative” defense, is planning to commit war crimes on a much larger scale than what was done in 2006 and is thus pushing for international law to be changed to accommodate those plans. However, Israel has long been able to avoid accountability for war crimes, especially following the U.S. adoption of the “Negroponte doctrine” to protect Israel from criticism as well as any punitive action taken by the U.N. Security Council in relation to war crimes committed by Israel.

This makes it more likely that this current push led by Erdan to alter international law is aimed more at global public opinion, by redefining international law so that Israel could avoid being accused of war crimes for such attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in a future war.

Israel Lebanon International law

A man repairs a home, in the background buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 27, 2006. Photo | AP

Part of the strategy in targeting Lebanese civilians specifically appears to be Israel’s strong desire to win a “decisive victory” against Hezbollah in this future war, as opposed to the humiliating defeat its military suffered in 2006. It appears that key figures in Israel’s government believe that the grand scale of planned attacks on Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure will result in so much destruction and death that it will help to ensure an Israeli victory.

Though it is unlikely Israel’s effort will succeed in changing international law, it may change how its government interprets such laws — as Darshan-Leitner recently suggested — and use such interpretations to secure even more robust diplomatic cover from its more influential allies such as the United States and to more easily avoid the war crime label from international media outlets and foreign governments. Such a move may also prompt the Trump administration in the U.S. to do the same, particularly given the slew of recent pardons given to accused and convicted U.S. war criminals by President Donald Trump.

US troops “prepared to die for the Jewish state”

In addition, the U.S. military itself is likely to quickly become embroiled in this coming Israel-Lebanon war, given that head of U.S. Central Command (CentCom), Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, told the Jerusalem Post last year that IDF leadership (as opposed to American military leadership) would “probably” have the last word as to whether U.S. forces would join the IDF during a future war and that U.S. troops were “prepared to die for the Jewish state.” IDF Brigadier General Zvika Haimovitch responded to Clark’s comments by stating: “I am sure once the order comes we will find here U.S. troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel.”

While much media attention has focused on the possibility of an imminent U.S. war with Iran, it is important to point out — especially in light of Israel’s comments — that Israel has been planning for over a year to go to war with Lebanon. Indeed, last year, Israeli officials told U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Coons (D-DE) that “Southern Lebanon is where the next war is coming.”

Yet, the push for war with Iran and the planned war against Lebanon may be related, given that Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated the following late last month:

Any attack on Iran will not remain confined to Iran’s borders. The entire region will burn, leading to all U.S. forces and interests in the region being annihilated.”

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

June 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Nasrallah Vows to Confront US Middle East Plan

Al-Manar | June 1, 2019

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed on Friday that the axis of resistance is stronger than ever before, while ‘Israel’, despite its military strength, is weaker than ever.

During a ceremony held by Hezbollah to mark Al-Quds International Day in Dahiyeh, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the Palestinian resistance was advancing and developing immensely and it “became able to control large areas in occupied Palestine in any future war, at a time when the image of ‘Israel’ was destroyed after the defeat of its ground army who couldn’t stop the resistance rockets.”

Sayyed Nasrallah rejected the US conditions for mediating a border and maritime dispute with the Zionist entity, saying Washington, through its envoy who was tasked to negotiate the land and maritime border demarcation between Lebanon and the Zionist entity, was using the talks to the Israeli benefit, bringing up an Israeli claim that Hezbollah has precision missiles factories. “The US wants to blackmail the negotiations on border demarcation in order to open the issue of Hezbollah’s precision rockets arsenal,” he said, but warned that [David] Satterfield should focus on the border demarcation issue and only that.

The Hezbollah leader acknowledged that Hezbollah has the weapons but do not produce them. However, he said Hezbollah may consider setting up such factories if Washington continues to use the talks on border demarcation to discuss the resistance capabilities since it is Lebanon’s right to defend itself. “We have in Lebanon precision rockets that are able to target direct posts in ‘Israel’ and that would change the face of the region,” he said, but warned that Hezbollah will respond to any Israeli aggression on any resistance target in Lebanon quickly, directly and strongly.

His Eminence said that ‘Israel’ fears the resistance in Lebanon and that Israeli officials talk about resistance deterrence and capabilities, pointing out that Hezbollah has “accurate missiles that can reach all the targets required in ‘Israel’ and that are able to change the face of the region.

“The US attempts to control Iraq have failed, the Iraqi stance from regional issues is totally different and uncontrolled,” he said. “Iraq today returned to its regional role and has a capable, struggling and influential people in the region’s issues,” He said.

Sayyed Nasrallah gave the so-called Deal of the Century the lion’s share in his speech, assuring that the US was mistaken by betting on regional people’s weariness to impose the deal. “The main challenge today in front of Palestine and Al-Quds is the deal of the century, or Trump’s deal, and it’s our duty to confront it.”

“We have a deep hope that we, the people of this region, can stop the ‘crime of the century’,” he said, indicating that the US administration and ‘Israel’ are working day and night with Arab regimes to realize the deal.

The US, he said, was able to “contain the Arab Spring popular protests and derail it towards a wrong way, however, Syria overcame the scheme of destroying it, and it remained pro-resistance.”

“Yemen, which is an essential part of the resistance axis, rejects the deal of the century and protests in support for Al-Quds,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. “American tools in the region are unable to protect themselves and some regimes are concerned of implementing the deal of the century,” he said, pointing out that the three summits in Mecca were a proof of the Saudi failure and weakness.

The S.G. said the Zionist entity and the US were no longer as strong as before. “‘Israel’ fears missiles from Lebanon, Gaza, Syria and claims the existence of rockets in Iraq,” he said, adding there’s no leadership in ‘Israel’ and total reliance on US support. However, he said the US was no longer the same as before 20 years after it sent its troops to the region and came out of it defeated.

Sayyed Nasrallah detailed the reasons why the possibility of an upcoming war against Iran was remote. “One reason that there’s no war is that Iran is strong, otherwise the war could have been launched. The other reason is that the CIA knows that a war on Iran will set the region on fire and won’t stop behind its borders.”

“The whole region will ignite and the US troops and interests will exterminate if a war on Iran was launched,” Hezbollah leader warned.

A war on Iran will make ‘Israel’ and Al Saud pay the price, his eminence indicated, wondering how Saudi Arabia, which failed and was defeated in Yemen, would be able to wage war on Iran.
“Trump fears own interests and is only after an economic war against Iran and other states,” he went on to say.

While he hailed the balanced Iraqi stance in the emergency summit that convened Arab leaders in the Saudi city of Mecca overnight Thursday, Sayyed Nasrallah rejected and condemned the Lebanese delegation participation in the summit, saying the Lebanese official stance was inconsistent with the dissociation item in the ministerial statement and violated it.

Sayyed Nasrallah began his speech by saluting the participants and demonstrators across the world to mark this special day. “I thank you, this audience, for reviving this jihadi-moral occasion that is linked to our fate, our pride, our freedom and our sanctities.”

“Attempts to make this day as for a certain sect have failed,” the S.G. said, adding that “the sincerity of all those who walk on the road to restore Al-Quds could be stronger than any siege.”

“Throughout 40 years, Al-Quds enemies bet that this day will be forgotten, but they were mistaken,” he said. “We have been commemorating the week of Al-Quds in many cities of the world. Al-Quds Day protests in Bahrain confirm that the Bahraini people and scholars are innocent of the Deal of the Century’s summit.”

“Al-Quds rallies in Iran serve as a message to US and regional regimes,” his eminence said, adding that Trump will wait for a long time before receiving a phone call from Iran.

The ceremony marking Al-Quds day, with its main emblem “Towards Al-Quds”, was held in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh) Friday overnight gathering a huge public and political participation. During the ceremony, organized by Hezbollah, a symbolic military parade was held in which Hezbollah fighters chanted “Oh Quds, we shall march towards you” during the parade. Hezbollah fighters also recalled the oath of allegiance to resistance leaders, Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, Sayyed Ali Khamenei & Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

In July 1979, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Ruhollah Al-Khomeini, announced Al-Quds International Day, voicing a complete support to the Palestinian cause against the Zionist enemy.

Although this Day is marked annually every last Friday of the Holy Islamic Month of Ramadan, Imam Khomeini has deliberately given it an international attribute in order to be the day of all the oppressed worldwide.

June 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel and US disputed intelligence for assassination targets

Lebanese men inspect the damage done to their homes after Israel carried out attacks in Beirut, Lebanon on 22 July 2006 [PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images]

Lebanese men inspect the damage done to their homes following Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006 [PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images]
MEMO | May 30, 2019

Leaked documents published by whistle-blower Edward Snowden have exposed a deep rift between Israeli intelligence officials and their counterparts in the US National Security Agency (NSA) over the sharing of intelligence which the Israelis requested to carry out assassinations during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

Details of the rift were laid out in the NSA’s internal newsletter known as SIDtoday under the heading “The Israel-Hizballah [sic] Crisis — Perspectives from an Acting SLO Tel Aviv”. In the document, an American liaison officer, who is tasked with managing relations with counterparts in Israel, recounted a dispute with the Israelis over intelligence that was to be used for “targeted killings”.

The Israeli demand, the US liaison wrote, “centred on requests for time sensitive tasking, threat warning, including tactical ELINT” — electronic intelligence — “and receipt of geolocational information on Hizballah elements.”

“The latter request was particularly problematic,” he continued, adding that he “had several late-night, sometimes tense, discussions with ISNU,” the elite Israeli equivalent of the NSA. The US official rejected the demand, and said that he provided details of “NSA’s legal prohibition on providing information that could be used in targeted killings.”

The acting SLO officer pointed out that, “Even with his full understanding of the US statutes, [ISNU Commander] BG Harari sought assistance from NSA for an exemption to this legal policy. To ISNU, this prohibition was contrary not only to supporting Israel in its fight against Hizballah but overall, to support the US Global War on Terrorism.”

The account, published by The Intercept — which has released four years’ worth of SIDdtoday material in batches — goes on to suggest that the NSA ultimately reached a compromise with the Israelis by working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and that in the end it was the Israeli team that defined the parameters and methods of what could and could not be shared with them.   

According to The Intercept, the episode recounted by the US liaison officer raises “questions of what intelligence the United States can legally share with a foreign government.” This, it said, is a “notoriously murky” area.

READ ALSO:

Israel assassinates more people than any Western country, concludes new book

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

NYT Parrots US Propaganda on Hezbollah in Venezuela

Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz | FAIR | May 24, 2019

Judith Miller and Michael Gordon published their now infamous New York Times article on September 8, 2002, falsely claiming on the basis of unnamed “American officials” that Iraq had acquired “aluminum tubes” with the aim of producing “an atomic bomb.”

Disgraced by her regurgitation of bogus claims, Miller left the Times in 2005, but her spirit is “alive and well” at the “paper of record.” Nicholas Casey follows faithfully in Miller’s footsteps, authoring dubious, anonymously sourced stories that coincidentally happen to further US regime-change objectives.

In a recent piece headlined “Secret Venezuela Files Warn About Maduro Confidant” (5/2/19), the Times’ Andes bureau chief claimed, on the basis of a leaked Venezuelan intelligence “dossier” that only his paper has seen, that Venezuela’s Industry minister and former Vice President Tareck El Aissami has active links to Hezbollah and drug trafficking. Casey wrote:

The dossier, provided to the New York Times by a former top Venezuelan intelligence official and confirmed independently by a second one, recounts testimony from informants accusing Mr. El Aissami and his father of recruiting Hezbollah members to help expand spying and drug trafficking networks in the region.

Unsurprisingly, the article has been endorsed by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, widely considered the point man for Trump’s Latin America policy, and whose zeal for regime change in Caracas appears unperturbed by elementary facts or international law. In a May 16 tweet, Rubio openly celebrated the fact that Venezuelan President Maduro “can’t access funds to rebuild electric grid,” thereby dispensing with any pretence that US sanctions are not directly aimed at the Venezuelan population.

The claims of an alleged relationship between Caracas and Hezbollah are, however, entirely unoriginal, having been repeated by corporate journalists and national security pundits without evidence for years.

The Hill: Meet Venezuela's new VP, fan of Iran and Hezbollah

Attempts to tie Venezuela to Hezbollah are not new (The Hill, 1/13/17)

“Hezbollah has a long and sordid history in Venezuela,” wrote Foreign Policy (2/2/19) earlier this year. Newsweek claimed in a 2017 article (12/8/17) that the Lebanese political party “was involved in cocaine shipments from Latin America to West Africa, as well as through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States,” while The Hill (1/13/17) labeled El Aissami a “fan of Iran and Hezbollah,” rehashing US allegations going back to 2008.

Likewise, corporate media claims about Hezbollah presence in Latin America have not been exclusive to Venezuela, with similar baseless rumors circulating about the Lebanese political party operating in the so-called Tri-Border Area of Paraguay (Extra!, 9–10/07).

Such stories just happen to buttress similar unsupported claims by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Hezbollah has “active cells” in Venezuela. Pompeo and other senior administration officials have repeatedly warned that a military option to remove the Maduro government is “on the table,” while self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó has requested “cooperation” from the Pentagon’s US Southern Command.

Casey himself has a long-established track record in dodgy Venezuela reporting, ranging from ludicrous stories about Cuban doctors (FAIR.org, 3/26/19) to false claims that private media like Globovision and El Universal “toe a government line.” (See FAIR.org, 5/20/19.)

Suspect sources

According to Casey’s “dossier,” Tareck El Aissami conspired with his father, Carlos Zaidan El Aissami,

in a plan to train Hezbollah members in Venezuela, “with the aim of expanding intelligence networks throughout Latin America and at the same time working in drug trafficking.”

We should begin by recognizing that Casey provides no proof of the authenticity of the alleged documents, and there is no reason why readers should take the assurances of unnamed “former top Venezuelan intelligence official[s]” at face value, especially those currently outside Venezuela collaborating with Washington. Similar sources were used to craft the fraudulent case for war in Iraq.

For instance, former Venezuelan intelligence czar Hugo “El Pollo” Carvajal, who broke with the Maduro government in 2017, is facing extradition to the US from Spain on cocaine-smuggling charges. In February, the ex-general gave an interview to Casey and the Times (2/21/19) in which he accused El Aissami of similar drug trafficking and Hezbollah links. Nowhere in the article did Casey think it relevant to mention that Carvajal plans to cooperate with US authorities, and thus has reasonable motive to fabricate information that improves the conditions of his plea bargain.

Taking refuge in anonymity, which the Times’ own handbook describes as a “last resort,” Casey leaves open the question of whether his source is Carvajal or another ex-official collaborating with the US who authored the dossier after leaving Venezuela, since no date is provided. From “Curveball” to North Korean defectors, corporate media have been consistently guilty of not examining sources’ motives so long as their “information” bolsters US foreign policy interests, even at the cost of tens or hundreds of thousands of lives.

Urea-gate?

Beyond the issue of sourcing, the alleged “dossier” has a troubling number of logical and factual inconsistencies. A case in point is the alleged testimony from an unnamed National Guard officer about a 2004 raid near the border with Brazil, which reportedly found more than 150 tons of urea in a warehouse. Casey disingenuously refers to urea as a “precursor substance used to make cocaine,” when in fact over 90 percent of industrially produced urea is used for fertilizer. Casey does concede later on that urea has non-cocaine purposes, but cannot conceive of the possibility of the substance being stored in a given location only to be used elsewhere.

The narrative function of the urea bust, which for some reason was not reported until a mysterious dossier was handed to the New York Times 15 years later, is to provide a link to Walid Makled, allegedly the owner of the urea warehouses, and a drug trafficking kingpin of sorts. Even assuming that the urea was meant for cocaine production, and not for more mundane agricultural purposes, a key fact is that Makled is currently serving a jail sentence in Venezuela for drug trafficking. This inconvenient reality, noted but not explained by the Times, on its face seriously undermines the idea that the current Industry minister, supposedly a close associate of Makled, is a powerful figure running a drug ring at the heart of the Venezuelan state.

That aside, it’s worth reviewing the “links” that Casey presents between Makled and El Aissami:

  • According to the “dossier,” El Aissami’s brother, Feraz, went into business with Makled.
  • The government gave “contracts” to a company “tied to Mr. Makled.” (Casey doesn’t think it relevant to explain the nature of these “ties” or “contracts”)
  • The US government offered a similarly vague level detail regarding El Aissami’s alleged “ties” to drug-running when it sanctioned the then-vice president in 2017, and even Casey admits that Washington “never revealed the evidence.”
  • “Two people familiar with [El Aissami’s] family” identified Haisam Alaisami as being El Aissami’s cousin, with Alaisami supposedly telling prosecutors he was a legal representative of Makled’s company. Beyond the anonymous genealogy, no concrete evidence is presented linking El Aissami to Alaisami, and hence to drugs.

In the absence of any externally verifiable evidence, what Casey presents as bombshell revelations of solid links to drug trafficking come out looking like 15-year-old gossip from unnamed sources.

Hezbollah hysteria

While Casey’s story provides very questionable allegations on links to drug trafficking and to Hezbollah, the connection between both is even more dubious.

The dossier concludes with informant testimony on the family’s ties to Hezbollah…. One of the sources of the information was the drug lord, Mr. Makled, who described Mr. El Aissami’s involvement in the scheme, according to the intelligence memo.

After establishing highly questionable ties between Tareck El Aissami and Walid Makled, largely based on their shared Syrian ancestry, Casey’s “dossier” then claims it is none other than Makled who “reveals” El Aissami’s supposed Hezbollah plot.

According to the alleged “documents,” El Aissami and his father were “involved in a plan to train Hezbollah members in Venezuela, ‘with the aim of expanding intelligence networks throughout Latin America and at the same time working in drug trafficking.’”

The unspoken assumption is that Hezbollah, which is a resistance movement and political party that forms part of the the elected Lebanese government, would be interested in conducting such illicit activities halfway around the world. Here Casey displays a geopolitical illiteracy on par with top Trump administration officials since, according to Middle East expert As’ad AbuKhalil, “there is no agenda or reason for Hezbollah to have an international presence.”

“For what purpose? Doesn’t the party have enough on its plate in Lebanon itself?” he asked, while acknowledging that the party does have sympathizers and supporters worldwide.

On the assertion that Hezbollah is engaged in drug trafficking, the University of California at Stanislaus professor is equally skeptical. “There has been no credible story in Arabic or in Western languages about Hezbollah’s involvement in drugs,” he stressed:

Hezbollah publicly and organizationally took a stance against drugs and issues fatwas against drugs not only among members but even in Shiite areas of Lebanon.  Hezbollah has even allowed Lebanese government agencies to penetrate deep into its strongholds [this year] to search for drug traffickers.

Casey and his editors cleverly shield themselves from any reputational damage over the ludicrous nature of these allegations with a rather significant proviso buried in the 14th paragraph of the article:

Whether Hezbollah ever set up its intelligence network or drug routes in Venezuela is not addressed in the dossier. But it does assert that Hezbollah militants established themselves in the country with Mr. El Aissami’s help.

In other words, what was originally presented as anonymously sourced claims about Hezbollah spying and drug trafficking in Venezuela turn out to be little more than speculation about intent to carry out such activities.

In giving credence to these allegations, the Times repeats the propaganda of top Trump administration officials and the Israeli government about the “global terrorist ambitions” of Iran/Hezbollah, which is in league with Venezuela’s socialist “narco-dictatorship.”

Having played a key propaganda role in recent US regime change operations in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, corporate media outlets like the New York Times are all too eager to beat the drums of war once again. With Washington actively threatening military force in both Iran and Venezuela, Nicholas Casey lends a hand in manufacturing public consent for not one but two illegal wars.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-Israeli official admits 2015 assassination of Kuntar after tip-off from Syria militants

Press TV – May 27, 2019

A former Israeli army officer has admitted that Israel’s military, with the help of militants in Syria, assassinated Samir Kuntar, a commander of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, during air raids in 2015.

According to UK-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, the ex-army officer Marco Morno said the operation was carried out with information from “one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition factions.”

The attack was conducted by two warplanes that bombed a building with four long-range missiles in Jaramana, near Damascus, in late 2015.

Back then, Kuntar was in Syria helping government forces and Hezbollah fight back foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists in the Arab country.

“Samir Kuntar, the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israeli jails, was killed in a terrorist rocket attack targeting a building in the southern parts of Jaramana, Damascus countryside,” the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported at the time.

He had spent about 30 years in Israeli prisons and was released in 2008 as part of a swap deal between Tel Aviv and Hezbollah in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2006 war.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-militant monitoring group, Kuntar had been the target of various failed Israeli assassination attempts in Syria.

Morno, who was responsible for communicating with militants in Syria, revealed the details of Kuntar’s assassination during an interview with an Israeli news site on Thursday. The information he disclosed was allowed to be published under military censorship.

Hezbollah has been effectively helping the Syrian government in its fight against terrorists.

In May 2016, Mustafa Badr al-Deen, another Hezbollah commander, was killed in an Israeli air raid on the Syrian-Lebanese border.

Tel Aviv frequently attacks military targets inside Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up Takfiri terrorist outfits that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

Numerous reports have also emerged of the discovery of Israeli-made weapons and military equipment during clean-up operations by the Syrian army.

The occupying regime has been providing medical treatment to extremist elements wounded in Syria.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies have been aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Turkey is one of the main backers of anti-government militants in Syria.

On Saturday, senior militant sources said Turkey has equipped an array of terrorists with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Syrian assault.

The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kafr Nabudah, one senior militant figure said.

Syria’s SANA news agency reported on Sunday that Syrian army troops had established full control over Kafr Nabudah in Hama province after eliminating the last remnants of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as Nusra Front.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: If It Weren’t for Liberation in 2000, Trump Would Grant South to ‘Israel’

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah
Sara Taha Moughnieh | Al-Manar | May 26, 2019

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah delivered a speech Saturday 25th of May on the anniversary of Resistance and Liberation day.

Sayyed Nasrallah tackled regional and internal files including the upcoming Bahrain Summit, localizing the Palestinians in Lebanon, strength of the resistance axis, return of the Syrians to their country, and internal files.

His eminence called for a wide participation in Al-Quds day which is held annually on the last Friday of the Holy Month of Ramadan, stressing that this day is of great significance this year because of the efforts being made to put an end to the Palestinian cause, specifically during the upcoming Economic Conference in Bahrain.

He greeted the Palestinian’s united stance to boycott and refuse this conference and praised the Bahraini people, scholars, and political powers’ stances that condemned the country’s decision to be the first to embrace “the deal of the century” which aims at putting an end to the Palestinian cause.

25/May/2000: Resistance and Liberation Day

Sayyed Nasrallah greeted everyone who was part of this victory through sacrificing, staying patient, supporting and aiding.

“We should remember the families of the martyred and injured, Lebanese factions, Security Forces, Army, Palestinian factions and the Syrian Army and keep in mind that Iran and Syria are the ones who stood by our side and they are our companions in victory,” he said.

Hezbollah SG assured that one of the major outcomes of this victory was the “Equation of Strength” in Lebanon because the Israeli enemy had to pull back without any victories or conditions.

“Lebanon was no longer regarded as the weak ring in the Arab/Israel conflict, and today the Israeli enemy states that in Lebanon there is a “strategic or central threat against Israel”, he noted; adding “just like the enemy is aware of this strength, the Lebanese people should be aware of its importance in order to sustain their country’s sovereignty and safety and in order to protect it. This is what forms the Golden Equation “Army, people and Resistance”.”

“If it weren’t for the resistance and liberation in 2000, Trump would’ve granted the south of Lebanon or other parts of it to Israel, just like he did with Al-Quds and the Golan,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, reassuring holding on to “Shabaa Farms, Kfarchouba hills and the Lebanese part of Al-Ghajar village.”

Localization in Lebanon

Concerning localizing immigrants in Lebanon, his eminence said: “we suspect that the economic summit in Bahrain will be opening the door for the localization of immigrants in Lebanon and other countries. The Lebanese agree on refusing localization politically and constitutionally, and the Palestinians as well agree on refusing localization and holding on to their right of return.”

Sayyed Nasrallah called for “a meeting between Lebanese and Palestinian officials to put a joint plan on how to face the danger of localization because the threat is approaching and statements are no longer enough”.

Syrian Refugees’ Return

Hezbollah SG pointed out that “the real reason behind delaying the return of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon to their country is political and it is related to the presidential elections in Syria because the presidency of Bashar Al-Assad will end in 2020 or 2021, and there is an American, Western, and Gulf insistence on keeping the refugees away from their countries until then. There are no humanitarian or security reasons behind postponing the refugees’ return to Syria and claims about that are just rumors.”

Sayyed Nasrallah further stated that “Assad has confirmed to me that he supports the return of everyone to Syria and is ready to offer facilitation, but the obstacle is political. Should Lebanon submit to this political obstacle only because the US, west and Gulf want that?”

Battle against Corruption Files

His eminence stressed Hezbollah’s commitment to fight corruption, reiterating that this needs time and patience, and it is even harder than the battle of liberating the south.

He indicated that the ministers are doing their jobs and have not found corruption in the Ministries of health and sports, and called on everyone who has information or data against these two ministries to propose them so that action would be taken.

On another hand, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “budgeting discussion has been our priority because it is a major point in the process of fighting corruption and stopping financial waste.”

May 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Amazon Pulls Hezbollah Deputy Leader’s Book After Israeli Media Outcry

Deputy leader of Hezbollah Gen. Naim Qassem, via Reuters.
By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 05/23/2019

This week Amazon pulled a controversial book being sold through its website after Israeli media led an outcry against it, charging the US retail giant with hosting Hezbollah propaganda containing incitement to violence against Israelis written by the group’s second in command.

“Hezbollah: The Story from Within” was published in 2010 by Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, who is a designated international terrorist by the United States. The rare “insider account” of Iran-backed Hezbollah has been translated into several languages and had reportedly long been available in English through Amazon.com.

According to the Israeli national Hebrew-language daily newspaper Maariv, “a reporter found that the English edition of the book was being offered for sale on the Amazon site,” and was alarmed at “a clear instance of breaking sanctions and helping to finance terrorism” on the part of Amazon.

“A Maariv reporter contacted Amazon with findings in the book and Amazon subsequently decided to immediately remove the book from its sales sites in the United States and around the world,” a rough English translation of the Maariv story said. The Hebrew-language report said the book was filled with anti-Semitic statements and questioned Israel’s right to exit.

Though it had apparently been offered by Amazon for years, the book was spotlighted this week after controversy erupted between Israel and a United Nations official, after the official called it “necessary reading”.

On Tuesday Israel slammed the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis for holding a high level meeting with Qassem after which the UN official publicly praised the senior Hezbollah official.

Kubis had confirmed on Twitter that he not only met with Qassem, but received a copy of his most well-known book, which he also praised.

The Times of Israel reported of the statement:

Kubis was likely referring to “Hizbullah (Hezbollah): The Story from Within,” a 464-page tome first published in English a decade ago. The book, published by the London-based Saqi Books, is available on Amazon.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman went so far as to denounce the meeting via Twitter, saying “You know what else is ‘necessary reading’? U.N. Resolution 1701” — in reference to a resolution intended to resolve the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Within two days following the incident, the initial link through which the book had been sold on Amazon led to an error page, in apparent confirmation that Amazon banned the book at the request of the Israeli reporter.

On Thursday, Middle East and Iran analyst Matthew Levitt confirmed that the “Hezbollah deputy Secretary General’s book [is] no longer available on Amazon after journalist points out its anti-Israel incitement to violence & sanctions implications of selling it.”

The fresh controversy comes following new efforts by Israel to convince the UN to officially recognize Hezbollah as a terror group — an effort which has reportedly failed to gain traction.

The Trump administration has also of late taken more aggressive sanctions measures on Hezbollah leadership amid the ongoing heightened tensions with Iran. Hezbollah has long been seen as an arm of the Ayatollahs in Lebanon and Syria.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 6 Comments

Israel’s influence on US foreign policy leads to increased tensions with Iran

By Sarah Abed | InfoRos | May 22, 2019

In order to understand the role that Israel plays in the increased tensions between Washington and Tehran, I reached out to Press TV Correspondent, Ali Musawi.

Sarah Abed: What role, if any, does Israel play in the increased tensions between the United States and Iran?

Ali Musawi: We don’t need to go far to see Israeli fingerprints over a US war in the region. Leading up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Israel and more specifically its current Prime Minister Netanyahu led the choir about Iraq’s WMD and threat to peace and security.

Now, if we look at Netanyahu’s antics concerning Iran, we will see a similar pattern, whether  it was the bomb sketch at the UN General Assembly, his almost regular videos about the Iranian threat and the push by Netanyahu to end the “bad deal” between P5+1 and Iran over its nuclear program. Israel doesn’t play a role; Israel clearly orchestrates US war policies.

Sarah: To your knowledge has Israeli intelligence provided any information to the United States that supports the idea of an increased “Iranian threat”?

Ali: As of this moment, no one knows what this sudden “threat” posed by Iran is. We can speculate about anything, from increased Iranian war drills in the Persian Gulf to its military commanders’ typical aggressive tone when addressing the US and allies’ behavior towards the Islamic Republic. And I think before we even try to address any kind of “Iranian threat” we should acknowledge the boy who cried wolf. Is the US administration being truthful? We need evidence, where is Washington’s proof? We should always remember the non-existent WMD used to rally the world against Iraq.

Sarah: Is Israel advocating for a military response by the United States against Iran?

Ali: It is in Israel’s best interest that the US engages in a direct war with Iran. Israel has been threatening attacks against Iran for years simply because Tehran’s support for resistance movements in Palestine and elsewhere threatens the Zionists’ plan to control the region. Israel with all their access to weapons and blank cheques provided by the US and allies, is simply not a match to Iran. By using the US and the excessively armed Gulf countries, Israel is hoping that, at best, a war will weaken Iran, or at worst, a buffer of countries who will sever Iranian support for the resistance movements.

Sarah: What impact would a war between United States and Iran have on Israel?

Ali: Such a war will impact, not only the countries in the region, but the rest of the world. But from a military prospective, if there is a war between the US and Iran, those resistance movements, from Iraq to Palestine, through Yemen and Syria will respond. They will either attack US and allies’ bases in the region or directly attack Israel. We can say that having such resistance movements has been the real deterrent against what can only be a hugely destructive conflict, probably the worst in our lives.

Sarah: Is a full-fledged military confrontation between Israel and Iran likely?

Ali: This is a definite no. While Israel still plays the role of a superpower in the region, it has not been so in over a decade. The 2006 defeat against Hezbollah in Lebanon and the bravery we see from the Palestinians in Gaza, whenever Israel launches wars on the besieged strip, have destroyed its invincibility myth and shown that Israel and its supposed advanced weaponry are only so on paper.

Sarah: How would that scenario play out and what do you suppose would be the outcome?

Ali: Only if the US is directly involved against Iran, will there be a war.

Sarah: What impact could a war between Israel and Iran have on the neighboring countries, primarily Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq?

Ali: If the US is involved of course. All these three countries have been directly impacted by US/Israeli wars over the past few decades. So, the people as well as politicians are aware of the devastation of such conflicts. This is why they will back Iran and even fight alongside Iran simply because the majority of people in these countries oppose US hegemony. The Middle East is divided. There are countries who are controlled by the US/Israel and there are those who are not. No one will sit idly by if a war breaks out. Everyone has something to lose and gain. Such wars don’t usually have winners and will be very expensive to all sides. This is why we are seeing the US backtracking on some of its threats and will continue to do so because the US has become a bully who is afraid of being hurt.

Sarah: Ali, makes some great points that should put the wheels in motion in everyone’s mind, and in particular those who live in the United States. I will pose one more question to our readers, are we willing to go to war with Iran to benefit Israel?

May 22, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dissecting The Unfathomable American-Iranian War

By Ghassan Kadi | The Saker Blog | May 21, 2019

As the American military build-up continues around the Strait of Hormuz, and as a potential American-Iranian war looms, many analysts are convinced that war is imminent. I beg to differ.

Ever since the “War on Syria” started, I kept reiterating that America would never launch a full-on attack on Syria, and for very good reasons, and not long ago, I finally felt compelled to write a series of articles explaining that in as much as America would love to be able to pillage Syria, it is unable to do so.

Those predictions, which stood the test of time, were made long before the Russian involvement in Syria, and now, after Syria’s triumph, the chances of a decisive victory that America is able to score by way of a military gamble anywhere in the Middle East have been shrinking and reduced to the level of zero chance. If anything, the “War on Syria” was the surrogate war that America could not launch directly either on Syria or on Iran, and even by turning its war into a war by proxy, America was still unable to win.

To recap briefly, some obstacles that stood against an all-out American NATO-led assault on Syria back in 2013, I argued that America would never risk a retaliatory attack against Israel by both Syria and Hezbollah.

An American attack on Iran will not eliminate the risk of a Hezbollah retaliatory attack on Israel, and if anything, it will bring in a new risk; the risk of a retaliatory Iranian attack on Saudi soil.

Whether or not an American-Iranian show down will directly involve Saudi troops, given that Saudi Arabia is still unable to win in its war against Yemen, even though it has the third largest military budget after the USA and China, a direct Saudi role will have little in effecting any significant input. However, with or without a direct Saudi intervention, an American attack on Iran will immediately put American interests in Saudi Arabia under the Iranian target list.

In the event of such an attack, the first thing that Iran will do is close marine traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. As a result, the whole world will be affected and the price of a barrel of oil may jump to $200 and beyond, but the relevant issue here is the impact on the feasibility of American military success.

An American attack on Iran cannot be seen as an event that is independent from the wars on Syria and Yemen. It will be seen as an upscaling that directly involves Iran. Any such turning point will sooner or later involve Saudi Arabia directly. And given that Iran will more than likely close the Strait of Hormuz and thereby putting all Saudi oil exports to halt, whether or not Iran intended to intimidate America alone, the Saudis will see it as an act of war; and they will be “forced” to retaliate.

But the moment the Iranians see that Saudi forces are involved in military action against them, they will have a huge array of critical soft Saudi targets to hit; all the way from oil wells, ports, and more importantly perhaps, water desalination plants that are all scattered on the east coast of Saudi Arabia; ie across the gulf from Iran.

Those sites are undoubtedly protected by ground to air defence shields, but in the face of thousands, tens of thousands of cheap rockets fired from Iran, much more expensive and harder-to-come-by Patriot missiles will not be able to totally stop waves and waves of Iranian rockets.

The Saudi desalination plants feed all cities in the east; including the capital Riyadh. Without them, Saudi citizens will have no water. And without oil exports, they will also lose their income.

Power stations are also in the east, if they get hit, eastern Saudi Arabia will plunge into darkness, and as summer approaches, without air-conditioning, today’s Saudis who are not any longer attuned to the harsh climate of the desert, will suffer greatly from heat exhaustion; especially without water and fuel.

America may not give a damn about Saudis, but it cannot afford to lose Saudi revenue.

But this is only on the eastern front.

On the southern front, a weaker Saudi Arabia will have to relent in its attack on Yemen. Where will this leave the battle front?

On the western front however, an all-out American attack on Iran will be seen as a bigger existential threat to Hezbollah than the “War on Syria”. Hezbollah will retaliate by hitting back at Israel; not only using its rocket power in a retaliatory manner, but also for leverage and the ability to trade-off a cease fire against Israel by an American one against Iran. A scenario like this can become a game of playing chicken and seeing who blinks first; and more than likely, faced by potential civilian casualties, Israel will be the party to relent.

An onslaught of Hezbollah rockets on Israel has been something that the USA has thus far managed to avoid; despite its deep role in the “War on Syria”. But if the carnage eventuates, America will be “forced” to supply Israel with a massive number of Patriot missiles. But these cost more than a million dollars each at least. Such figures are easy to estimate even according to sources such as Wikipedia. But the question is, who is going to fork out the cost? Furthermore, Hezbollah is estimated to have over 150 thousand rockets poised at Israel. Does America have enough Patriots to intercept them? And if THAAD missiles are to be used here and there, the economy becomes more daunting with batteries costing over a billion dollars each, according to Wikipedia again.

This of course brings in the bigger question of economy; ie the economic front. If the invasion of Iraq has cost the American treasury something between 2 and 4 trillion dollars, how much will a war with Iran cost? With the American economy on the brink, can America financially afford a new war with an enemy that it hasn’t tested the fighting prowess of?

Trump was quoted saying that a war with Iran will be the official end of Iran. But the United States of America has thus far lost all of its post WWII wars, even though they were all launched against foes of seemingly much less military readiness than Iran. As a matter of fact, if one looks at the regional strategic risks, the military risks, plus the economic risks, an American war against Iran could well become the straw that breaks America’s back.

The above analysis does not even take into account the economic impact of such war on the EU and/or the possibility of Russian, Chinese and Indian roles.

As an energy exporter, Russia may gain from inflated petrol and gas prices, but strategically, it is not going to sit idle as America wreaks havoc and imposes superiority in an area that is of high interest to Russia. But China and India, and the EU, are highly dependent on fuel that has no way out of its origin to their ports other than via the Strait of Hormuz. Some EU nations may give America some grace if convinced by big brother that the attack will only last a matter of days, but what if it takes weeks, months, or years? What if the norm becomes a $200 oil barrel? Which world economy can survive such a calamity?

The only logical scenario here is that not unless America is able to incinerate Iran in a single knockout blow, any attack on Iran will result in a series of independent repercussions that have the potential of turning the attack into a nightmare for America.

The days of bottomless pockets that allowed America to launch wars on Korea and Vietnam under the guise of fighting Communism are no more.

The days of the so-called “New World Order” of the post-USSR period and which gave America a carte-blanche to attack Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again and Libya was put on hold in Syria, and Russia has marked her redlines for any such future offensives.

Without international impunity, without a successful military track record, without the risk of retaliation against Israel, with the prospect of losing EU support, with the prospect of turning the Saudi war on Yemen in favour of the Houthis, destroying the Saudi economy and leaving Saudis without power and water, and above all, without enough funds to fight a war that can last a very, very long time, and finally, without being able to hit Iran with a single knockout blow that can avoid all of the above, how can America enter this venture?

Hawks like Bolton may think that any military action is a walk in the park, but the top brass in the American military know better. Love him or hate him, Trump is a pragmatic man, financially pragmatic perhaps, but this is alone enough reason for him not to take stupid financial decisions; and any war against Iran will be judged by Trump on its financial merits.

On paper, Trump will see that this war is impossible to win, and just like his White House predecessors who have eyed Syria in the hope of being able to attack it, he will be the chicken who will blink first and find a face-saving exit. At the end of the day, if on the scale of one to ten, America’s decision to not attack Syria scored eight, the decision not to attack Iran will score ten.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments