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Trump Dances to Israel’s Tune

More wag-the-dog means war for America

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • April 16, 2019

So newly reelected Israeli monster-in-chief Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted, with a grin, that America’s President Donald J. Trump followed through on his proposal to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group. Bibi was smiling because the timing of the move, one day before the Israeli election, strongly suggests it was done to assist him against what had become a very strong opposition challenge. That Trump likely colluded with Netanyahu to blatantly interfere in the election has apparently bothered no one in Israel or in the tame American media.

The gift from Washington came on top of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, threatening members of the International Criminal Court if they try to prosecute Israel for war crimes, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, removing the word “occupation” from the State Department’s assessments of human rights infringements on the West Bank, eliminating relief funding for Palestinian refugees, leaving the U.N. Human Rights Council because it was too critical of Israel, and looking the other way as Israel declared itself a state only for Jews. Washington also ignored the bombing of hospitals, schools and water treatment infrastructure in Gaza while Israeli army snipers were shooting unarmed demonstrators demanding their freedom.

The labeling of the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group is particularly disturbing as it means that the United States military by virtue of the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) now has a mandate to attack the IRGC wherever it appears, including in Syria or even in the waterway the Straits of Hormuz, where the guard has regular patrols in small boats. It is a de facto declaration of war and it comes on top of a number of deliberate provocations directed against Iran starting with the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) one year ago, which led to the unilateral imposition of harsh sanctions directed against the Iranian economy to bring about a popular uprising as well as regularly repeated false claims that Iran is the leading “state sponsor of terrorism.” Next month, the U.S. will begin enforcing a unilaterally declared worldwide sanction on any and all Iranian oil sales.

Netanyahu pledged to annex Israeli settlements on the largely Palestinian West Bank if elected, which is undoubtedly a move cleared in advance with the Trump team of foreign policy sociopaths as it de facto puts an end to any delusional speculation over a possible two-state negotiated solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. It will also lead to a massive upsurge in violence as the Palestinians object, which is neither a concern for the White House or Netanyahu, as they are assuming that it can be suppressed by overwhelming force directed against an almost completely unarmed civilian population.

And Trump will no doubt expect Bibi to return the favor when he is running for reelection in 2020 by encouraging American Jews who care about Israel to support the Republicans. Trump is focused on his own electability and is absolutely shameless about his betrayal of actual American interests in the Middle East, possibly because he has no inkling of the actual damage that he is doing. His speech last week before the casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson-hosted Jewish Republican Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas was a disgusting pander to a group that includes many key players who have little or no concern for what happens to the United States as long as Israel flourishes. The only good news that came out of the meeting was that Adelson himself appears to be “gravely ill.”

Trump at times appeared to be speaking to what he thought was a group of Israelis, referring to “your prime minister” when mentioning Benjamin Netanyahu and several times describing Israel as “yours,” suggesting that deep down he understands that many American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. At another point, Trump declared that “The Democrats have even allowed the terrible scourge of anti-Semitism to take root in their party and their country,” apparently part of a White House plan to keep playing that card to turn American Jews and their political donations in a Republican direction before elections in 2020.

Trump also told the Republican Coalition audience how he came to a decision on recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He described how “he’d been speaking to his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, as well as U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his Israel adviser, Jason Greenblatt, over the phone about an unrelated issue when he suddenly brought up the Golan Heights.” Trump shared how “I said, ‘Fellows, do me a favor. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I’m working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie.’ After the advisers filled him in, Trump said he asked Friedman: ‘David, what do you think about me recognizing Israel and the Golan Heights?’ Friedman, apparently surprised by the suggestion, reacted like a ‘wonderful, beautiful baby,’ Trump said, and asked if he would ‘really … do that.’ ‘Yeah, I think I’m doing it right now. Let’s write something up,’ Trump said he responded, prompting applause and cheers from his audience in Las Vegas. ‘We make fast decisions and we make good decisions.’”

Putting the Trump story about the Golan Heights in some kind of context is not really that difficult. He wanted an answer to please Netanyahu and he went to three Orthodox Jews who support the illegal Israeli settlements and have also individually contributed financially to their growth so he was expecting the response that he got. That he was establishing a precedent by his moves on Jerusalem and the Golan apparently did not occur to him as his administration prides itself on having a foreign policy vision that extends no longer than the beginning of next week, which is why he hired Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams. And then there is always the doleful Stephen Miller lurking in the background as well as the three musketeers of Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman for really serious questions relating to why acceding to the wishes of parasite state Israel should continue to be the apparent number one priority of the government of the United States.

Donald Trump neither poses nor answers the question why he feels compelled to fulfill all of the campaign pledges he made to the Jewish community, which by and large did not vote for him, while failing to carry out the promises made to those who actually did support him. The absurd Jewish Republican Coalition narrative about how Trump gave Israel the Golan Heights should have resulted in a flood of opprobrium in the U.S. media about his profound ignorance and fundamental hypocrisy, but there was largely silence.

The nonsense going on in Las Vegas in front of a lot of fat cats who regard the United States as little more than a cash cow that they control as well as in the White House itself unfortunately has real world consequences. America is being led by the nose by a well-entrenched and powerful group of Israeli loyalists and this will not end well. The U.S. doesn’t even have a Middle Eastern foreign policy anymore – it has a “to do” list handed by Netanyahu to whomever is president. The fact that the current man in charge in Washington is either so ignorant or so deluded as to allow the process to escalate until the U.S. is drawn into yet more catastrophic wars is beyond regrettable. U.S. foreign policy should not depend on the perceptions of Kushner and company. It should be based on real, tangible American interests, not those of Israel. Someone should explain that to the president.

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

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Zarif Slams EU over Not Fulfilling Nuclear Deal Commitments

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamamd Zarif
Al-Manar | April 14, 2019

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif slammed the EU on Sunday over delays in the implementation of the new mechanism for non-dollar trade with the Islamic Republic.

In comments on Sunday, the top Iranian diplomat deplored the European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal for failing to fulfill their commitments under the agreement, saying it is long overdue.

The Europeans are far behind on fulfilling their commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Zarif said, adding: “They (EU) should not assume that the Islamic Republic of Iran will be waiting for them.”

Describing INSTEX -a payment channel that the three EU signatories to the JCPOA have set up to maintain trade with Iran- as a preliminary measure, Zarif said the Europeans need to work hard for a long time to honor their commitments.

The Iranian minister further noted that Iran has maintained close ties with its neighbors and has launched mechanisms similar to the INSTEX with many other countries.

“While the European countries have proposed INSTEX to maintain business ties with Iran in defiance of the US sanctions, the payment channel has not been put into practice yet,” he added.

On the other hand, Zarif said Iran will ask the international community to take a position on the US designation of its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

“Today … we will send messages to foreign ministers of all countries to tell them it is necessary for them to express their stances, and to warn them that this unprecedented and dangerous U.S. measure has had and will have consequences,” Zarif was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

The Iranian diplomat said he had also sent letters to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the United Nations Security Council to protest against “this illegal U.S. measure”.

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Iran, Iraq and Syria considering transnational railway project: Report

Press TV – April 13, 2019

Iraq says negotiations are underway with Iran and Syria to develop a transnational railway line linking the three countries.

Iraqi Republic Railways Company chief Salib al-Hussaini said a summit will be held between the countries to further discuss the matter, the Arabic-language al-Sumeria news website reported on Friday.

The comments made on the sidelines of the joint Syrian-Iraqi committee held in Damascus came a week after Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri spoke of an initiative to link the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.

“We will connect the Persian Gulf from Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean via railway and road,” said Jahangiri, making reference to the construction of a railway linking the Iranian Shalamcheh border region to the Iraqi city of Basra.

The Shalamcheh-Basra railway project is estimated to cost 2.22 billion rials and can link Iran to Syria via Iraq.

Speaking last December, Director General of the Railway and Technical Structures Department at the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) Mohammad Mousavi said Iran was planning to build a movable railway bridge over the Arvand river as part of the Shalamcheh-Basra project.

Mousavi said the project would effectively link the Iranian cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan along with the Imam Khomeini Port to the Iraqi city.

The railway project was agreed to last month when Iran and Iraq signed five memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors.

Observers have described the new agreements as a sign of Baghdad’s serious intention of not being “party to the system of sanctions against Iran” as Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said earlier in February.

Iraq heavily depends on Iran for everything from food to machinery, electricity, natural gas, fruits and vegetables.

Last year, Iran exported $8.7 billion worth of commodities to Iraq, overtaking Turkey with $7.3 billion of exports.

President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Iran and Iraq had plans to expand bilateral trade volume to $20 billion in the future.

Iran and Syria also signed a series of “historic” agreements earlier this year, including a “long-term strategic economic cooperation” deal described as a sign of changing realities in the Middle East.

Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis said the “historic” agreements covered cooperation in fields of industry, trade and agriculture. He called the agreement “a message to the world on the reality of Syrian-Iranian cooperation.”

Iraq and Syria have been expanding political and economic ties with Iran as they seek assistance in the post-war reconstruction of their countries which had large swathes of their territories overrun by foreign-backed terrorist outfits in the past years.

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Iraq and Syria at the request of their governments, enabling their forces to speed up gains on various fronts against the terrorist groups.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Egypt pulls out of anti-Iran alliance envisioned by US, allies: Report

US President Donald Trump meets with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, at the White House in Washington on April 9, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)
Press TV | April 11, 2019

Egypt has reportedly turned its back on a US-led initiative to establish a NATO-style alliance of Arab countries primarily aimed at countering Iran out of concerns that such a coalition could increase tensions with the Islamic Republic, among other reasons.

Four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that Cairo had informed the US and the members of what is to be called the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) of the withdrawal plan ahead of their Sunday’s meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

One of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Egypt had not sent a delegation to the Riyadh event.

An Arab source stressed that Egypt had pulled out of the so-called “Arab NATO” because of its doubts about the seriousness of the proposal as well as the danger that such an Arab front would increase tensions with Tehran.

Other reasons were uncertainty about whether US President Donald Trump will win a second term in 2020 and whether his successor may scrap the initiative to form an anti-Iran alliance, the Arab source added.

Reuters described Cairo’s move as a blow to the Trump administration’s anti-Iran strategy.

A Saudi source also confirmed problems with the plan, saying, “It’s not moving well.”

Meanwhile, two other sources emphasized that the remaining MESA members were moving ahead with the initiative and would press Egypt diplomatically to revoke its withdrawal from the anti-Iran group.

“We all want them back,” said one of the sources.

The Arab source, however, noted that Egypt could not be convinced to return to the so-called “Arab NATO,” which is comprised of Jordan and six Persian Gulf Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Egyptian officials have not yet commented on the report.

The alliance was first proposed by Saudi Arabia back in 2017 in a bid to counter Iran as well as Russia and China, according to a classified White House document reviewed by Reuters last year.

It has, however, faced several obstacles such as a diplomatic standoff between Qatar and a Saudi-led quartet of countries and the fallout of the state-sponsored killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The problems have delayed a summit in the United States, which would feature the signing of a preliminary accord on the anti-Iran alliance.

The report about Cairo’s withdrawal plan came following a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Trump in Washington.

Before the meeting, Trump had said he would exchange views with Sisi on security issues, but it was not clear whether they discussed the MESA issue.

The US and its allies in the Persian Gulf view regional powerhouse Iran as a common “threat.” They constantly accuse the Islamic Republic of “regional interference,” a claim Tehran vehemently rejects.

Trump – who came to office in early 2017 with a highly belligerent anti-Iran agenda – has been pressing its Arab allies to act on the Saudi initiative and move to form the NATO-like military alliance.

In parallel, the US president has also been encouraging the Arabs to step up their attempts towards normalization with the regime in Israel in favor of a coalition against Iran.

In February, a controversial US-organized summit in Warsaw, Poland, brought together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives from a number of Arab states, including Oman, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Kuwait, among other participants.

On the sidelines of that event, Netanyahu said the Arab countries participating in the Warsaw forum were “sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

Tehran has also repeatedly warned the Persian Gulf littoral states against the US’s divisive policies in the Middle East, saying the planned Arab alliance would merely be a tool for the US to fuel tensions in the region and advance its own agenda there.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t expect US-Iran war before 2021

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 10, 2019

There is no reason to disbelieve the boast by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming credit personally for US President Donald Trump’s decision to designate Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organisation” under American law. It is common knowledge that all major decisions and most minor decisions by Trump regarding the West Asian situation are dictated by Israel’s interests.

Deep-pocketed Jewish billionaires such as Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, far-right Christian evangelicals and the well-known Israeli lobby wield enormous influence over Trump whose son-in-law Jared Kushner is also known to be an ardent Zionist who has funded West Bank settlements. Both decisions by Trump in recent weeks — granting US recognition to the illegal Israeli annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights region as well as yesterday’s move against Iran’s IRGC — are to be seen as motivated by the desire to bolster Netanyahu’s campaign seeking a fresh term in Israel’s parliamentary election on April 9.

The Pentagon and the State Department had reportedly expressed misgivings over Trump’s decision branding IRGC as a terrorist organisation. Indeed, Trump’s announcement on April 8 says clearly that the US state department will take the lead role in implementing this decision. Trump avoided voicing any intention to confronting the IRGC militarily and instead underscored his decision is to impose economic sanctions against the Iranian security organisation.

Considering that the IRGC has a long reach in the economic arena, especially in vital sectors such as energy, telecommunications, etc., in effect, Trump’s decision amounts to an extension of the US sanctions against Iran. Therefore, as Trump put it, the decision becomes a template of his “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran, which has been under implementation.

Tehran’s reaction has been surprisingly restrained under the circumstances. To be sure, Tehran has retaliated by naming the US Central Command (which is headquartered in Doha and covers the so-called Greater Middle East stretching from the Levant to Central Asia) as a terrorist organisation. Interestingly, Iranian reports highlighted that it is a “tit-for-tat” measure — that is, a move Iran had no choice but to make. The overall mood is one of resignation that the Trump administration is under the Israeli spell and has taken a step that is not exactly in American interests.

There have been no threatening statements from Tehran directed at the US, either. In a highly nuanced remark, the influential chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh hastened to clarify that Iran’s measures against the US Central Command, in response to US anti-IRGC move, is defensive, not a declaration of war.

Again, Iran’s powerful Supreme National Security Council, which is the apex executive body on foreign and security policies, has also restricted itself to saying in a statement, “Undoubtedly, the US regime will bear all the responsibilities for the dangerous consequences of its adventurist move.” This must be noted carefully as a signal to the US defence and security establishment.

Most important, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei estimated Trump’s move as only to be expected, given the IRGC’s pivotal role in countering Iran’s enemies. He said the US move will fall flat. The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying, “This U.S. move was quite laughable since the Revolutionary Guards are in people’s hearts … The Revolutionary Guards will increase its defensive and offensive capabilities in coming year.”

On the political plane, however, Tehran will step up its “resistance”. More Iranian support for Hamas can be expected. Similarly, the US move, coming hot on the heels of recognising the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, will only further further consolidate the “resistance”. The known unknown is going to be the impact on Afghanistan. Tehran has links with the Taliban. But it has been voicing strong backing for President Ashraf Ghani’s insistence that the peace talks should be “Afghan-led, Afghan-controlled.” Iran’s overriding concern is the stability of Afghanistan and the welfare of the Shi’ite communities. Conceivably, the US must be factoring in the imperative need to discourage Iran from playing a spoiler role in Afghanistan.

Among the Iranian security agencies, it is the IRGC that is in the driver’s seat in steering policies in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The point is, the US Central Command and the IRGC (plus various Iran-backed militia forces) “co-habitate” these theatres. It is inconceivable that the US would precipitate any hostile moves against the IRGC that draw forth retaliation and jeopardise the safety and security of American personnel. Iran has the capacity to infect pain and give sleepless nights to the US personnel deployed under the Central Command and, to be sure, the Pentagon and the CIA are well aware of that.

We may, therefore, expect a tacit understanding by the two antagonistic parties to stay out of each other’s path. Of course, that is easier said than done, since these are high kinetic theatres witnessing acute confrontation. But then, the US-Iran tango has a 40-year history of shadow boxing.

Some shrill rhetoric can be expected from the US side, especially from US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton. Both are stridently “anti-Iran”. Bolton had been in the payroll of Iranian dissident groups based in the West. Both Pompeo and Bolton are passionately devoted to serving Israeli interests. But, in the final analysis, it is Trump — and Trump alone — who matters.

Quite obviously, Trump will be extremely wary of getting into a shooting war with Iran. Trump knows only too well that a war with Iran will have regional ramifications and can hurt his presidency. His game plan through this year and the next will be to ensure that his “maximum pressure” strategy deters Iran from causing any serious political embarrassment during his campaign, which is due to start later this year, for his re-election bid in 2020.

Suffice to say, Trump’s IRGC designation is unlikely to lead to any shooting war with Iran — till end-2020, at least. Having said that, there will be no let-up in Tehran’s pursuit of “resistance” in Syria and Iraq. And, given the pivotal role of the IRGC in Iran’s foreign and security policies, any form of direct engagement politically or at the diplomatic level between Washington and Tehran can be ruled out. Having said that, make no mistake that the US’ regional strategies in Syria and Iraq will come under severe challenge. To be sure, a strategic stalemate is Israel’s objective too as the guarantee against US retrenchment from the Middle East.

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Trump’s Designation of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps as Terrorist Organization a Set-Up for War?

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | April 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite group of that country’s military, as a foreign terrorist organization early Monday, confirming a report published last Friday in the Wall Street Journal that suggested that such a move was likely to occur in a matter of days. In a statement released Monday, the White House stated:

This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”

While most reports on the subject have interpreted the move as aimed at pressuring European countries and others from conducting business with Iran while also making the Iran nuclear deal much more difficult to revive, the move would further allow the Trump administration to conduct more “robust” combat operations against Iran’s military, all without congressional approval.

As was noted by the WSJ and other outlets, the Trump administration’s upcoming move to label the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization would mark the first time that any element of a foreign state is officially labeled as a terrorist group. The Bush administration had previously blacklisted the Quds Force, the IRGC unit in charge of foreign operations, in 2007 “for its support of terrorism,” and further described the group as Iran’s “primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.” However, unlike the Trump administration, they stopped short of labelling the IRGC, or any of its elements, as foreign terrorist organizations themselves.

Reports from last month indicate that current Secretary of State and former CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, was one of the administration’s top officials behind the move. At the time, the New York Times noted that many officials in the Pentagon and the CIA opposed the move, given that such a designation against the IRGC could have profound repercussions for U.S. troops stationed abroad, particularly in the Middle East. Indeed, soon after the recent WSJ piece was published, IRGC’s commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned that U.S. troops in the Middle East would “lose their current status of ease and serenity” and that Iran’s government would make a “reciprocal move” against the U.S. military — labeling it a terrorist group — were the Trump administration to go forward with its latest move to target the IRGC.

Where’s Trump going with this designation?

Several reports have mulled over the likely motives behind the move to label the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization, with some suggesting that the move would be used as a threat to dissuade other countries from conducting business with Iran, while others asserted that the move was aimed at curbing the ability of any future U.S. president — particularly if a Democrat takes the White House in 2020 — from resurrecting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, know broadly as the Iran nuclear deal. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, a move which earned him strong praise from long-time Iran hawks as well Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump’s most powerful political donor, billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Yet, upon more careful consideration, an economic motive seems unlikely in light of the fact that the Trump administration has already imposed draconian sanctions on almost every sector of Iran’s economy and government, including the IRGC. In addition, making such a drastic move now to prevent a future president in 2020 or beyond from reviving the Iran deal also seems rather unrealistic given that the 2020 challenger to Trump is still unknown.

A much more likely reason for the designation is the fact that labeling any group a foreign terrorist organization allows that group to be targeted by the U.S. government by means of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Past reports on other groups labeled as terrorist organizations have noted that “though the CIA can gather intelligence on terror groups regardless of their status on a State Department list, official designation unlocks more robust means to combat them since it triggers the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

Notably, the CIA opened a new “mission center” on Iran in June 2017 — when Pompeo was CIA director — aimed at “turning up the heat” on Iran and making the country a “higher priority” for American spies. Now, just under two years later, the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group allows those clandestine operations to become “more robust” and more overt thanks to the years-long expansion of the 2001 AUMF.

Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, noted on Sunday that the move amounts to a “declaration of war” against Iran’s military, writing:

The official designation as “terrorist” of the IRGC, which is a 125,000 man army with its own navy and air force, makes it legal for the U.S. Armed Forces to attack the IRGC and its people wherever they are found and under any circumstances that may occur.”

Other echoes Lang’s concerns, including Wendy Sherman, former under-secretary of state and current director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. Sherman told Reuters on Sunday:

One might even suggest, since it’s hard to see why this is in our interest, if the president isn’t looking for a basis for a conflict. The IRGC is already fully sanctioned and this escalation absolutely endangers our troops in the region.”

Stretching the AUMF

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was originally passed in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks and its text authorizes the president:

[T]o use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

Despite being expressly aimed at groups believed to be responsible for September 11, the AUMF has been expanded under the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations to justify military action in dozens of countries against dozens of groups, many of them with no links to al Qaeda.

Trump, since his first year in office, has been building a case to link the IRGC to al Qaeda, a case entirely devoid of evidence and one that has long seemed aimed at triggering military conflict between the United States and Iran, particularly by means of the 2001 AUMF. In remarks delivered on October 13, 2017, Trump made the following claims:

Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.

The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden’s son. In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.”

Though Trump’s claims are demonstrably false, the fact that he is surrounded by many long-time Iran hawks does not bode well for the current state of affairs following the administration’s declaration of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

Setting up a new war?

Another point of concern is the fact that the 2002 AUMF, regarding the president’s ability to authorize the use of military forces in Iraq — which borders Iran — is still on the books. That AUMF, which gave the president authority to send U.S. military troops to Iraq in the lead-up to the Iraq War in order to defend “the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,” still provides the executive branch with the ability to order military action in Iraq without approval either from the U.S. Congress or from Iraq’s government.

Dr. Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Council during the George W. Bush administration, noted in 2014:

[The 2002 AUMF] gives the President the discretion to determine when the use of the U.S. Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq (not the government of Iraq, not Saddam Hussein, but Iraq), and authorizes the President to use those forces in that circumstance.”

This AUMF is important now in light of the recent designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group and the fact that IRGC-aligned militias are present and active in Iraq, with many of them collaborating with U.S. troops stationed in Iraq in efforts to target terrorist groups like Daesh (ISIS). This declaration not only undermines that collaboration, it also would give Trump authority — per the 2002 AUMF — to send U.S. troops to Iraq without congressional approval in response to the supposed “national security threat” posed by the now-”terrorist” IRGC-aligned militias in the country. Notably, this declaration comes soon after the current Iraqi government called to expel all U.S. troops from its territory.

Not only that, but the new declaration of the IRGC as a terrorist group could also have consequences as far away as Venezuela. Indeed, the U.S. government has claimed for over a decade that the IRGC is “active” in Venezuela and accused them of involvement in Venezuelan intelligence operations, the training of left-wing Colombian paramilitary groups and security assistance to the Venezuelan government. With the IRGC now officially labeled a “terrorist organization”, the provisions of the AUMF now triggered following Trump’s declaration could have very real, troubling consequences for his administration’s regime change efforts in the oil-rich South American country.

With the IRGC now officially labeled a “foreign terrorist organization” by the U.S. government, the march to war with Iran — long a goal of top Trump administration officials — is closer than ever. With more overt and robust military and intelligence operations targeting Iran and the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs now triggered to allow the deployment of U.S. ground troops in and near Iran, the U.S. is just steps away from triggering what could turn into not just a regional war in the Middle East but a global one.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to explain the potential consequences of Trump’s decision to label the IRGC a terrorist group in relation to the Trump administration’s current campaign to topple the Venezuelan government.

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.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The US’ Plans To Designate The IRGC As “Terrorists” Aren’t Just For Show

EurasiaFuture | April 8, 2019

From Farce To Tragedy

Alt-Media is making a mockery out of the US’ reported plans to designate the IRGC as “terrorists”, giddily quoting the Iranians who spun this rhetoric around and announced that they’ll reciprocate by doing the same to the US military if that happens. The “chattering class” is having a field day using this opportunity to highlight the many abuses that America has committed across the Mideast and the world in general over the decades, seemingly not caring one bit for the possible consequences that could transpire if the US actually goes through with the unprecedented move of designating part of a foreign military as “terrorists”. That’s a mistake because the US’ plans need to be taken much more seriously than they are since they’ll likely herald a new escalation of the Hybrid War on Iran through the possible commencement of direct strikes against the IRGC and its Hezbollah allies in Syria.

“Sitting Ducks”

Like I wrote back in April 2017 after the US’ first conventional strike against Syria,  “Trump’s Cruise Missile Message To Iran” was that his country won’t hesitate to hit it and its non-state allies there next, though provided that America was prepared for the inevitable backlash that this would undoubtedly unleash. In hindsight, the US preferred to “play it safe” and not “up the stakes” to the point of potentially triggering a larger Mideast war, but nowadays it appears as though Bolton has convinced Trump that now is the perfect time for striking Iranian positions in Syria due to the Islamic Republic’s refusal to agree to the dignified but “phased withdrawal” that Russia has been pressing them to commence for most of the past year as part of its broader “balancing” strategy. In addition, sanctions have finally begun to bite and a sudden increase in the physical and financial costs of Iran’s Syrian deployment might be all that’s needed to get it to begin the “phased withdrawal” process.

The US insists on maintaining a troop presence in Syria despite Trump’s promised “withdrawal” last year precisely because of its desire to “contain” Iran, so it’s not inconceivable that it will seek to intensify the pressure that it puts on its rival to the point of striking the IRGC and its Hezbollah ally if Washington “officially” regards them both as being “terrorists”. Iran has no air defense assets in the country and Russia is extremely unlikely to allow its Syrian partners to have full and independent control of the much-touted S-300 in order to avoid the scenario of Damascus escalating the situation by shooting at American warplanes and possibly dealing Moscow enormous embarrassment if Washington manages to destroy its surface-to-air missile systems in response. Simply put, Iranian forces are practically “sitting ducks” if the US decides to strike them.

A Likely Ultimatum In Latakia

It should be taken for granted that Iran has many asymmetrical means through which it could likely respond, whether in Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf, or even in “Israel”, but one also shouldn’t over-exaggerate its capabilities either since Tehran has yet to unleash the devastating consequences that it regularly promises every time “Israel” hits its forces in Syria. One can only speculate whether this is a prudent move to patiently wait until the “right moment” or if everything was nothing more than one big bluff to begin with, but whatever the case, the US evidently thinks that it can manage whatever response Iran might have to the potential bombing of the IRGC and Hezbollah by American forces in the event that the former is designated as “terrorists” and Trump wants a dramatic headline-grabbing news event to follow this development.

In fact, the US might even issue an ultimatum to Iran to withdraw from Syria or be militarily driven out after reports recently emerged that the country is about to clinch a deal for operating the Mediterranean port of Latakia just a few hundred kilometers from “Israel“, something that’s sure to set off alarm bells in both Washington and Tel Aviv because of speculation that this economic agreement might  have military implications. The reason why an ultimatum might be issued in this case instead of just “bombing first and making demands later” (as is the usual US modus operandi) is because of how close Russia’s Hmeimim airbase is to the port, meaning that any possible strike against Iran’s assets there would be extremely complicated to pull off without coordinating with Russia otherwise another September-like midair tragedy might transpire.

Russia: An Ally To Whom?

“Israel” certainly doesn’t want to repeat the events of that fateful day, nor would the US be willing to risk the outbreak of World War III if a few missiles carelessly veered off course and either hit the Russian base or its assets, so it should be assumed that those two are already in secret talks with Moscow (likely facilitated by Netanyahu’s “shuttle diplomacy” between their two capitals) in order to agree upon a “solution” to this scenario. Syria and Iran should have anticipated that something of the sort was in the works because of Russia’s lengthy track record “passively facilitating” “Israeli” strikes against the IRGC and Hezbollah, so both of them probably predicted that their port deal might force Moscow to stop “balancing” and finally pick a side once and for all.

The “surprise”, however, is that Russia is completely disinclined to pick Iran over “Israel” because it derives enormous strategic benefit in Syria by removing its “friendly competitor” and strengthening its increasingly monopolistic control over the country in the economic, political, and military domains. Furthermore, Iran’s relative weakening is advantageous for Russia because it makes the Islamic Republic more desperate to agree to whatever “sanctions relief” deals Moscow might offer it irrespective of the possibly unfavorable conditions. “Israel”, meanwhile, is poised to become Russia’s top military-strategic partner in the Mideast, and Moscow believes that the comprehensive benefits of this relationship far surpass whatever Iran could provide for it. As such, it can be expected that Russia will silently work to avert the scenario of direct US strikes on the IRGC and especially the Latakia port by more actively encouraging Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria.

Concluding Thoughts

The US’ very probable designation of the IRGC as a “terrorist” group in the near future would open up the Hybrid War floodgates by providing the “justification” that the Pentagon needs to commence strikes against its rival’s special forces or at least issue the threat thereof as part of a series of forthcoming escalations designed to trigger Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria. The IRGC has reportedly suffered many casualties  already because of Russia’s “passive facilitation” of “Israeli” strikes against it over the years but has yet to make either of them pay, so the likelihood of Iran doing anything real dramatic in response to the US possibly striking its special forces too is low.

In any case, Russia — as the undisputed hegemonic power in Syria — would prefer for the US and “Israel’s” issues with Iran’s military presence in the Arab Republic to be settled as peacefully as possible without posing a danger to its Aerospace Forces, fearful as it is of a repeat of last September’s tragedy in the event that either of those two bomb the Latakia port facilities near its Hmeimim airbase that Iran is on the brink of possessing. Therefore, the US’ reportedly impending designation of the IRGC as “terrorists” will probably cause Russia to cooperate more closely with it behind the scenes (possibly via “Israeli” mediation) to ensure Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran, Iraq ‘agree on aerial defense cooperation’

Press TV – April 7, 2019

Iran’s top military commander says the country and its neighbor Iraq have agreed to cooperate in the area of air defense to fend off the challenges facing their respective air spaces.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri made the announcement to reporters following a meeting in Tehran with his visiting Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi, Tasnim News Agency reported on Sunday.

The cooperation, Baqeri said, will be aimed at confronting aerial threats.

The meeting addressed “the integrated defense of Iran and Iraq’s skies, because we might sense threats coming from the direction of [our] western borders,” he added.

“Accordingly, it was agreed that the countries’ air defense sectors work together and more coordination be made in this regard,” the Iranian commander said.

Baqeri said the two sides also agreed on potential training cooperation, the transferring of Iran’s defensive experiences to Iraq, and joint military exercises. Agreements on these, he added, will be finalized during a future visit by the Iraqi military chief.

Ghanimi was in the Iranian capital as part of a delegation accompanying Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi. On Saturday, the delegation met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Baqeri cited the Iraqi commander as saying that Baghdad would be exercising stricter control on the United States’ military presence on its soil.

The American forces are only there to train Iraqis and their activities are under the Iraqi Army’s oversight, Baqeri added, citing al-Ghanimi.

In his meeting with Ghanimi, Ayatollah Khamenei had stressed that the Iraqi government should make sure that US forces leave Iraq as soon as possible.

April 7, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah on the End of US Hegemony: Trump will Leave the Middle East, Region Already Reshaping – PART II

Interview of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary General, with Ghassan Ben Jeddou, founder of the pan-Arab and anti-imperialist Al-Mayadeen channel, January 26, 2019.

Transcript:

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: (The US forces withdrawal from Syria announced by Trump) is therefore not a mere tactical maneuver. You say he is serious and sincere in his desire to withdraw, but this reflects a failure, if not a defeat, not for Trump especially but for the American (hegemony) project in general.

Hassan Nasrallah: Obviously this is all at once a failure, a dead end and a defeat. Currently, the cause of his hesitation is that (his advisers) tell him that the Kurds are their allies (and that they should not abandon them). I’ll explain why we saw these hesitations recently (as regards the US withdrawal from Syria).

When Trump said that US troops would withdraw and that there was only sand and death in Syria, he also said something even more important: “Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East? Do we want to be there forever?” With this statement, he hinted, and even more than hinted (this is an explicit indication), that all these US forces in the Middle East were not to stay, and that in time he would conduct (a full) withdrawal. What effect did this statement produce in the region, Professor Ghassan? Let us leave the question of Israel for later.

This statement caused, within the Saudi regime, in a number of Gulf countries enemies of Syria, and among all the allies of the United States in the region, – be they organizations, parties or personalities, not to mention the States – an immense feeling of fear and despair. And Trump knows them well (and he knew the effect that his statement would cause). When he says (to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries) that “You would not last two weeks (in power) without American (military) support”, or “Without us, your planes would get off the ground but couldn’t land”, “Without us, you Saudis would speak Persian.” He tells them all this, and adds “We will not remain the (Middle East’s) policeman, we will leave the region.” This caused a state of confusion, despair and fear in the region. That’s the first point.

That is why all the countries and groups (who rely on the US), starting with the Kurdish parties, came to Beirut and asked to meet with Hezbollah. We met them. Then they went…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Who are you talking about ?

Hassan Nasrallah: Kurdish parties, who are responsible for negotiating on behalf of the Kurdish units. They came to talk to us, and from there they went to Moscow and then to Iraq to request that Iraq serves as an intermediary with President Bashar al-Assad. Today, the Kurds and the Kurdish movements are (hopelessly) seeking…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Who are you talking about exactly? The Syrian Democratic Forces?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes, the Syrian Democratic Forces, Kurd bodies and representatives in charge of negotiating. Very quickly, they rushed to Moscow, to Iraq, to Lebanon. Why? Because Trump has abandoned them, he forsake them, he betrayed them. This is regarding the East of the Euphrates.

Regarding the (US-aligned) countries, (they panicked at the idea of being abandoned), and they all began to think (intensely and reconsider their positions). They review their stances and try to strengthen their relations with Russia, they reconsider their relations with Iran. Even in Syria, the priorities of some countries are not the same anymore. And now we can talk about the issue (of the relations between) Arab (countries) and Syria. You want me to tell you this story now, or later?

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Please, go ahead.

Hassan Nasrallah: According to my information, all that we saw in recent weeks, namely the Emirates reopening their embassy in Syria…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: And before that, the President (of Sudan) al-Bashir (coming to Syria).

Hassan Nasrallah: Indeed. The President al-Bashir came to Syria. Did he come on his own?

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: What is your information?

Hassan Nasrallah: He got a green light from Saudi Arabia.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: This is your information?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes. A green light from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.

At the end, lately, President al-Bashir rallied them. And the fact that (an Arab President) meets Bashar al-Assad is something of vital importance to (Saudi Arabia and the Emirates).

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: So this visit was not an arrangement of Russia that would have angered Saudi Arabia and the UAE (as some media have claimed)?

Hassan Nasrallah: No, under no circumstances. The current problem between President al-Bashir and Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with his visit to Syria. It concerns the fact that Saudi Arabia has not kept its promises and financial commitments made to President al-Bashir in return for his sending brigades of the Sudanese army to fight in Yemen – and Sudan’s involvement in this war is very unfortunate. This issue has nothing to do with Syria.

Anyway, the visit of President al-Bashir (to Syria), the reopening of the UAE embassy, the announcement of the Foreign Minister of Bahrain – and by the way, his statement was false, he was lying – who claimed that their embassy in Syria had always remained open, etc. But this is not true. Anyway, we started to see an Arab atmosphere (different with regard to Syria), we see Saudi advances, (Syrian) delegations visited Cairo, and there is talk about the coming of President al-Sissi and others to Damascus, etc. What is the reason ? And here I also speak basing myself on sound information that come from more than one (trustworthy) source.

In light of the decision of Trump to withdraw, and after the resignation of Mattis, who was seen as a guarantee by many, and because of the visible concern within the US administration, there was a great wave of panic in Saudi Arabia and the UAE – and with all their allies and instruments, but especially these two countries in particular. They met in Abu Dhabi to assess the situation – and their options – at a very high level. They assessed their situation in Syria and said:

“The battle against President Bashar al-Assad is over, and our groups have failed. All the movements we financed are now with Erdogan, isn’t it? All those who fought in Syria, in southern Syria, which were financed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel, have gradually retreated (following their consecutive defeats) and are now all in the North, that is to say (in the hands of) Erdogan. The battle against President Assad is over as regards the armed factions, groups and parties that we supported, as well as our various networks of influence: our whole project collapsed. Assad will certainly remain in office, the Syrian State won, the opposing Axis triumphed in Syria. There remains (only) one danger (that we can prevent): Erdogan –sorry, I mean Trump– made the decision to withdraw (his troops from Syria), and therefore, the only refuge of the Kurds is Assad and Damascus, (to avoid) the invasion of the East of the Euphrates by Turkey.”

Trump told Erdogan that Syria is his. If Syria is (abandoned to) Erdogan, if Turkey wants to invade Syria, it is a very dangerous project for Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Imagine that their analysis reached this conclusion: the main danger in Syria is not Iran…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: This is the conclusion reached by the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes. (The main danger in their eyes) is not Iran. The main danger (today) is Turkey. Iran comes in second position. President Assad, whose position is fully consolidated in Syria, is third, and (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are even willing to have relations with him. They may also agree with Russia and get some guarantees from her, etc. Russia is less problematic in their eyes. They consider that the main danger is Turkey.

You know, (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) always think in sectarian terms. Ultimately, (in their eyes), Iran – and do not blame me for my frankness – is a Shiite country, and therefore may only have limited influence in Syria, etc. On the other hand, Turkey is a Sunni country, which has a certain presence in Syria, historical relations with that country, is a neighboring country and has a common border, so if Turkey enters (permanently) in Syria, it will be the end and no one will be able to get them out. (That’s how they see things).

Is it because their heart burns for Syria (that they fear a Turkish invasion)? Certainly not. Never. They couldn’t care less about the fate of Syria (and Syrians). But they believe that the advance of the Turkish project in Syria would be the advance of the (opponent) Axis, namely Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. And that would revive this project, which targets, according to them, the Saudi regime, the UAE regime, the Egyptian regime, etc.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: And this is the reason of their opening (towards the Syrian regime)?

Hassan Nasrallah: That is why they decided to get closer to Syria and to restore relations with President Assad and the Syrian State, while remaining in their hostility towards Iran, but trying to agree with Russia in order to put obstacles in the way of any progress of Erdogan’s (neo-Ottoman) project in Syria and therefore in the region.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: But what happened to them so that they’d interrupt their rapprochement with Damascus?

Hassan Nasrallah: The opening (towards Syria) began, and they started talking about the return of Syria in the Arab League. President al-Bashir visited President Assad and told him about it. And Assad’s position did not surprise me.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: What have they offered? What is your information?

Hassan Nasrallah: They asked Syria to submit a written request indicating that given the new circumstances in the region (end of the war in Syria, etc.) and their concern for the Arab States and Arab Unity  & Cooperation, they wanted to regain their statute of member of the Arab League.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: This is the message they gave him?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes. Of course, I refer to the substance of their proposal, and I do not quote it by heart.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: And then?

Hassan Nasrallah: (Assad’s) answer (was as follows): “Syria has never walked out of the Arab League (voluntarily), so we cannot request to come back to it. We never submitted a resignation that we should now withdraw. It is up to those who have kicked us out to ask us to come back.” And this is a noble and dignified position, and perfectly predictable. It is not a surprise. If Arab regimes think that they merely have to tell President Assad that their doors are open and that Syria can come back (to the Arab League), to see him feel a huge relief and run with joy in their arms, they are deluded. Syria will resume its place in the Arab world, and it is in its interest. But she will come back with all her dignity (and not slavishly).

What is new is that the US has made an assessment of Trump’s accomplishments, “But what have you done? Where are our allies?” So-and-so is (getting closer to) Russia, so-and-so is with President Bashar al-Assad, so-and-so considers that now, the main danger in Syria is Turkey (major NATO member) and not Iran, while the US want their (main) enemy to remain Iran. What to do (in this situation of dramatic decline of US influence in the Middle East)?

Allow me to say, about Lebanon and all the Lebanese political forces that were betting on the fall of the Syrian State and regime, that you can imagine in what state they found themselves when they heard Mr. Trump declare that he would withdraw from Syria.

Therefore, the US decided to ask Mr. Pompeo to tour the region to boost the morale of all States and groups who are devastated by the announcement of the US withdrawal from Syria (and the Middle East), and began to reconsider their choices, their relationships and their future and to grab on to their thrones (in a fit of panic). (This Pompeo visit aimed to) try to put them back on their feet, to boost their morale and to assure them that the US supports them and won’t give up on them, that they do not intend to leave the region, and as a proof, he invited them to participate with the United States to a conference in Warsaw meant to deal with Iran, its influence and its threat, (in an attempt) to put them back in confrontation with Iran, at least in terms of appearances.

(Pompeo) sent David Hill to Lebanon – for Pompeo (feels) too important to come himself to Lebanon – with the same message, to reassure those who felt frightened, demoralized, anxious and lost by the US policy in the Middle-East.

But since we have arrived at this point of our discussion, I want to conclude this presentation with this statement: the United States will not manage to do more than they have already done. I declare to the governments of the region, to their leaders, to their peoples, to their movements and to Israel – because we will finally come to Israel –, that the US are deserting our region. They will flee Syria – it may take several months, but the decision is taken.

O my brothers, they are fleeing from Afghanistan. And do you know who they leave (in charge of) Afghanistan? They leave the Taliban! Because in the agreement, Trump won the Taliban’s commitment not to allow Al Qaeda and ISIS (to settle) back in Afghanistan. Trump considers that the Taliban represent the government of tomorrow, who can (already) provide guarantees to the US government. Isn’t it a humiliating defeat for the US in Afghanistan? Especially since the Taliban are officially considered as a terrorist organization (by the US), and Washington claims to never negotiate with terrorists.

The United States will flee. There will be no more US forces waging war in our region. Trump won’t launch a war for the eyes of Mohammad Bin Salman (Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia), nor for the eyes of Mohammed bin Zayed (UAE Crown Prince), not even for Netanyahu’s eyes – and clearly, Netanyahu’s eyes are much more valuable to Trump. Not even for the eyes of Netanyahu! Trump, the US and the situation of the United States, either inside at the level of the economy, etc., etc., etc., do not allow them to launch a new war in our region. There will be no US war in the region.

What does Trump want then? (For him), it is from their own pocket that States, regimes and forces (allied to the US in the Middle East must fight), with their own money, their own media, their own blood… Trump wants to bring them together again to put them (alone) against Iran. And if, against Iran, for 40 years – we are at the 40th anniversary (of the Islamic Revolution) –, the United States and all the tyrants on Earth have been unable to do anything to bring down this regime and this blessed Islamic Republic, then (what could the Arab States do by themselves)?

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: But Eminent Sayed, relatively, (the United States), haven’t they won? You just revealed a very important information, namely that the Saudis and Emiratis gathered and concluded that the major strategic change that you just presented will occur (inevitably). But it seems that Trump still won. First, he slowed down the rush of Arab countries to Damascus, and secondly, today, we hear a new discourse from the Arab countries, namely that…

Hassan Nasrallah: The fact that he stopped the momentum of the Arab countries is natural. He can keep them in check easily. Do you think that these countries are courageous, independent, that they have an independent process of decision, and may rebel against their American master? Never. That is why…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: What I mean is that the US managed to put all their allies –Saudi Arabia, the UAE and all others– into line.

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes, but this is not a success. Trump only prevented that everything collapses quickly. But (it is mere damage control and) the collapse process is still ongoing.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Has he stopped or only slowed down the process of opening the Arab countries towards Syria?

Hassan Nasrallah: What we have heard and what was reported to us is that they are undecided. There is no clear choice to maintain the absence (of relations with Damascus) or stay in a completely negative attitude (against Syria). I give you a proof of that. Two days ago, there was a meeting between a UAE economic delegation and a Syrian delegation. I do not remember if it was held in Damascus or in the Emirates. This means that at least, at an intermediate level, these relations will continue. (Sooner or later), it will be revealed that very important people in Arab countries secretly came to Damascus, although these meetings were not made public. But it is for the Syrian leadership (to reveal this issue). And I speak of meetings at the highest level.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: At the political or security level?

Hassan Nasrallah: At least at the security level.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: For example heads of intelligence services?

Hassan Nasrallah: For example.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Policymakers?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: From these (most) influential Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia and UAE)?

Hassan Nasrallah: Let’s just say from Arab countries, (don’t try to force me) to reveal more about their identity or titles – whether Sheikh or Sayed, Professor or Hajj, Doctor or Engineer, etc. What I have revealed is enough (I will say no more).

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Influential and active Arab countries?

Hassan Nasrallah: Currently, the United States wants and strives to retain forcefully these Arab countries back (to prevent them from making a step towards Damascus, Moscow, etc.) But of course, so far, they haven’t brought anything substantial to convince them and reassure them (that this is the right choice), and that the United States have not abandoned Syria to Turkey. For this is what Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, President al-Sissi and Egypt, and all the others, want to hear clearly.

That is why we will perhaps see, on the Arab question, a slowdown or coldness in the momentum towards Syria, but I exclude that this movement can be completely stopped. Therefore I conclude this point by saying that the United States failed in Syria. Of course, after this fiasco, the one who loses the most and who is in the greatest distress is Netanyahu.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Yes. […]

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

March 31, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Now It’s Official: God, Not the Russians, Elected Trump

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 28.03.2019

Governments that pride themselves on being either democratic or republican in nature claim that they are empowered by the will of the people, but the sad reality is that most regimes come to power based on promises that they have no intention of honoring after the election is over. In the United States we have seen President Donald Trump quite plausibly enjoy a margin of victory that was due to his pledges to end America’s involvement in senseless Middle Eastern wars and to mend relations with Russia. Neither has occurred, quite the contrary, with a serious threat that war with Iran on behalf of Israel is imminent and a relationship with Moscow that is worse than it was in the latter phases of the Cold War. Whether all of that is due to Trump’s own character and intellectual failings or instead the fault of the advisors he has chosen to listen to remains somewhat unclear.

Even when something emerges that might provide clarity over specific issues, some leading government official inevitably steps in and says something that suggests that the politicians are incapable to dealing with anything outside the scripted responses that they are accustomed to rely on.

The recently released long-awaited Mueller report on the 2016 election did not find any evidence that senior members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to change the outcome, a proposition that has largely been promoted by Hillary Clinton and her supporters. The full report, if it ever surfaces unedited, may or may not determine that there was some “influencing” activity by Moscow on the peripheries of the electoral process, but everyone agrees that the result was not materially influenced by any foreign government. Nevertheless, the wily but brain-dead Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the report with “I welcome the announcement that the Special Counsel has finally completed his investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections. Many Republicans have long believed that Russia poses a significant threat to American interests. I hope the Special Counsel’s report will help inform and improve our efforts to protect our democracy.”

Mitch’s apparent belief that the Kremlin was the target may surprise some who thought that the purpose of the investigation was to uncover possible collusion by the Trumpsters, something that apparently was not demonstrated in the case of Russia but was revealed regarding Israel’s overtures to National Security Advisor designate Michael Flynn. However, while it is perfectly acceptable or even expected to say nasty things about Russia, doing the same about Israel is a no-no, so McConnell was being politically astute in failing to take the bait.

But the conclusion of the Mueller inquiry should be welcomed by everyone because it frees up resources that can now be used to determine whether God had a hand in electing Donald Trump. In a story reported by the BBC and elsewhere, dispensationalist Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded oddly to a question regarding the Jewish Purim holiday, which commemorates the alleged rescue of the Jewish people by Queen Esther from the Persians. When Pompeo, at the time in Israel, was asked if “President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from an Iranian menace” he answered that “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”

So, Pompeo is “confident” that God elected Trump to protect the Jews from Iran. It is an interesting observation, particularly as the biblical Purim-Esther story has the Jews killing 75,500 Persians and then feasting to celebrate the event.

One must consider that the theory that there was a possible divine intervention to bring about the result of the 2016 election to save the Jews is possibly the most frightening bit of commentary to come out of the entire feckless Trump national security team. Pompeo, by virtue of his office, has great power to do good or ill and he has clearly chosen to make decisions relating to the conduct of United States diplomacy based not on American interests but rather on his own personal religiosity as reflected in his interpretation of a religious text. Has Pompeo never heard of “separation of church and state?”

Further, Pompeo is promoting American interference in an election in Israel which might have led to a rejection of the extreme right-wing philosophy that guides its current government. The recent White House move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was clearly part and parcel of a plan to promote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the candidate who would be best able to secure unlimited support from Washington. More might be coming in the form of some additional recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian West Bank prior to the April 9th election or even some military action against Iran. Pompeo clearly believes that this is all part of some divine plan.

Anyone who persists in thinking that nations should pursue policies that are proportionate, rational and based on genuine interests should be appalled by the Pompeo comments and fearful of what the consequences might be.

Given the awfulness of the Pompeo remarks, one might wonder where is the condemnation of them on the editorial pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post? Surely there should be a demand for his resignation as he is suggesting that the United States should be fighting a divinely mandated war against Iran to protect Israel which is, for what it’s worth, not actually threatened by the Iranians while even the Pentagon has declared Iran to be a “rational actor” in foreign policy. But one hears mostly silence. The Washington Establishment clearly believes that one can and should condemn Russia without any evidence, but one cannot investigate or even challenge a Secretary of State who believes that he is receiving his guidance directly from God.

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

An Iran-Syria ‘Belt & Road’: A Far-Reaching Geopolitical Strategy Unfolds

By Alastair CROOKE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.03.2019

As the US tries to consolidate its strategy for weakening and confronting Iran, the contours of an important geo-political strategy, launched by Syria and Iran, are surfacing. On the one hand, it consists of a multi-layered sewing together of a wide ‘deterrence’ that ultimately could result in Israel being pulled into a regional war – were certain military trip wires (such as air attacks on Syria’s strategic defences) – to be triggered. Or, if the US economic war on Iran crosses certain boundaries (such as blockading Iranian tankers from sailing, or putting a full stranglehold on the Iranian economy).

To be clear, the aim of this geo-political strategy is not to provoke a war with the US or Israel – it is to deter one. It sends a message to Washington that any carelessly thought-through aggression (of whatever hybrid nature) against the ‘northern states’ (from Lebanon to Iraq) might end by putting their ally – Israel – in full jeopardy. And that Washington should reflect carefully on its threats.

The deterrence consists at the top-level of Syrian S300 air defences over which Russia and Syria have joint-key control. The aim here, seems to be to maintain strategic ambiguity over the exact rules of S300 engagement. Russia wants to stand ‘above’ any conflict that involves Israel or the US – as best it can – and thus be positioned to act as a potential mediator and peace-maker, should armed conflict occur. In a sense, the S300s represent deterrence of ‘last resort’ – the final option, were graduated escalation somehow to be surpassed, via some major military event.

At the next level down, deterrence (already well signalled in advance) is focussed on halting Israeli air attacks on either Iranian or Syrian infrastructure (in either state). Initially, air attacks would be countered by the effective (80%) Syrian, Panzir and BUK air defence systems. More ‘substantive’ attacks will be met with a proportionate response (most probably by Syrian missiles fired into the occupied Golan). Were this to prove insufficient, and were escalation to occur, missiles are likely to be fired into the depth of Israel. Were escalation to mount yet further, the risk would be then of Iranian and Hizbullah missiles entering into the frame of conflict. Here, we would be on the cusp of region-wide war.

Of course Hizbullah has its own separate rules of engagement with Israel, but it is a partner too, to the wider ‘resistance movement’ of which the Supreme Leader spoke after his meeting in Tehran with President Assad. As Israel knows, Hizballah possesses ‘smart’ cruise missiles that can cover the length and breadth of Israel. And, it has well experienced ground-forces that can be directed into the Galilee, as well.

But were we to leave matters there – as some responsive deterrence plan – this would be to miss the point entirely. What has been happening at these various meetings amongst military and political leaders in the north is the unfolding of a much wider, forward looking, strategy to frustrate US objectives in the Middle East.

What has emerged from the key visit of President Rouhani to Iraq is something much larger than the military alliance, alluded to above: These states are unfolding a regional ‘Belt-and-Road’ trading area, stretching from Lattakia’s port on the Mediterranean (likely contracted out to Iranian management) across to the border with Pakistan (and perhaps ultimately to India, too).

What is so significant arising from Rouhani’s recent visit to Iraq is that Iraq, whilst wanting to keep amicable relations with Washington, rejects to implement the US siege on Iran. It intends to trade – and to trade more – with Iran, Syria and Lebanon. One major strand to the agreement is to have a road and railway ‘belt’ linking all these states together, for trade.

But here is the bigger point: This regional ‘Belt and Road’ is to be unfolded right into the heart of the Chinese BRI project. Iran always has been envisaged as a – if not ‘the’ – key pivot to China’s BRI in the region. As China’s Minister of Commerce, Zhong Shan, underlined this week: “Iran is China’s strategic partner in the Middle-East and China is the biggest trade partner and importer of oil from Iran”. A senior Chinese expert on West Asia plainly has taken note: Rouhani’s visit has “long-term geopolitical implications” in terms of expansion of Iran’s regional influence.

And here is a second point: The unfolding of this ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, effectively marks the end of the Belt & Road members’ looking to Europe as a principal trading partner. EU equivocation with the US over the JCPOA by trying to tie conditions to their SPV, and by holding reconstruction aid for Syria hostage to their ‘transition’ demands, has back-fired. Together with the US, the EU has become tainted through its efforts to mollify Washington – in the hope of avoiding being tariffed by Trump.

How will the US respond? Well, Secretary Pompeo is about to arrive in the region to threaten Lebanon (as it has already threatened Iraq) with tough sanctions. Russia, Iran and Syria, of course, are already under harsh sanction.

Will it work? Mr Bolton presently is trying to weaken Iran – surrounding it with US special forces hubs, placed in proximity to Iran’s ethnic minority populations, in order to de-stabilise the central authority. And Pompeo is about to land in the Middle East threatening all around with sanctions, and still ‘talking the talk’ of reducing Iranian oil sales to zero, as US oil waivers expire on 1 May.

Of course, zero waivers were never likely, but now with the new trade ‘Belt and Road’ alliance unfolding, the stakes for US foreign policy are doubled: Syria will find investors in its reconstruction precisely because it – like Iran – is a pivotal ‘corridor’ state for trade (and ultimately for energy). And Iran will not be brought to capitulation through economic siege. What Pompeo risks, through his belligerency, or clumsiness, rather, is to lose both Iraq and Lebanon.

In the former, ‘losing Iraq’ could entail the Iraqi government demanding US troops leave Iraq. In the latter case, ‘loosing’ Lebanon, translates into something more sinister: To sanction Lebanon (in order to ‘hurt’ Hizbullah) actually means putting Lebanon’s entire economic stability into play (as Hizbullah is an integral part to Lebanon’s economy – and the Shi’a compose some 30-40% of the population. They cannot be somehow ‘filtered out’, as if some stand-alone sanctions target). Instability in Lebanon is never far away, but to induce it, is crazy.

Wherever Pompeo travels on his journeys through the region, he cannot fail but to notice that US policies – and the constancy of such policies – are not trusted (even this week, ‘old US ally’ Egypt has turned to Russia for the purchase of military aircraft).

It is against this background, that the earlier intelligence service quotes in the NY Times, and its Editorial (i.e. not an op-ed article): Shedding Any Last Illusions about Saudi Arabia, might be understood. US policy across the entire Middle East, and by extension, much of its leverage over Russia and China, stands on extremely weak foundations. The débacle of the US-sponsored Warsaw conference, which was supposed to consolidate support for America’s anti-Iranian ‘war’ – and the silence with which VP Mike Pence’s address at Munich was received – provide clear evidence for this.

Well, the pivot for countering this unfavourable US conjuncture rests on one man: MbS. America’s entire foreign policy, and that of its ally, Israel, has pivoted around this erratic, highly-flawed, psychologically-impaired figure. The NYT leak from CIA officials, with its unqualified endorsement through a NYT board editorial, suggest that the CIA and MI6 have concluded that US global interests cannot be left in such unreliable, unsafe hands.

What this ultimately might mean is unclear, but such a leak would suggest that it stems from a concerted CIA professional assessment (i.e. that it is not just a partisan party warfare). Trump may not concur, or like it much, but the CIA when it does form such a definitive view, is no force to be lightly trifled with.

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hassan Nasrallah: US Sanctions against Hezbollah are Last Resort, Resistance Axis Triumphs

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on March 8, 2019, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance.

Transcript:

[…] The US sanctions and financial siege that we currently experience, along with being added to the list of terrorist organizations, and lately, the British decision to add Hezbollah’s political wing to their own list of terrorist groups, and the consequences of all these measures – because in the past, they have already added our military branch, as they say, on the list of terrorist organizations, and a few days ago, they added the political branch, according to their (purely artificial) distinctions… In this respect, when we speak of US sanctions, we should expect them to become even more severe, both against those who support us and against us, that is to say against the Islamic Republic of Iran, against Syria, and against all Resistance movements and the Resistance Axis, and against us (Hezbollah).

In Lebanon, they intervened on the issue of the banks (operating here), and they have imposed a siege and severe restrictions on them. They made a list of merchants, businesses, associations and groups considered as terrorists, and prohibiting any financial or bank transaction with them. They also included a number of Lebanese personalities and traders on the sanctions list. And this can continue. We’ll (probably) see the names of new people and organizations (on the sanctions list), new restrictions, etc. (Our enemies) will continue on this path.

This is in regard to US sanctions.

On the other hand, we will also be faced with a proliferation of lists of terrorist organizations. For example, since when the Gulf countries have a list of terrorist organizations? It is only in recent years that they have created such lists. Elsewhere too, there are countries that come to create their list of terrorist organizations, or who already had such a list, and add us on it, as did Britain, and we must also expect that other countries do the same, and place Hezbollah on its terrorist list and describe it as such. Therefore, it is a trend that will continue.

But how should we consider this trend and these measures? We can think of them as specific acts unrelated to the past or the future, or we can consider them as a global and continuous process, embracing the present, past and future. The second perspective is the right one.

Why? Because it allows us to understand precisely what these measures mean, in what context they fit and what are their goals, which allows us to face them and not allow these objectives to be achieved. And this is the responsibility of all members and supporters of the Resistance (Hezbollah). It is the responsibility of the Resistance, its members and their families, its masses, its popular base and its supporters, anyone who is part of this historic humanitarian movement in our region, not only in Lebanon.

In what context (do such sanctions fit)? We must understand that we are (indeed) oppressed (by these unjust sanctions), (but it is because) we are the strongest (that they were imposed on us). We are not weak and oppressed: (rather), if they attack us (that way), it’s because we are the strongest. We are oppressed and triumphant. How is that?

Since 1982 and to this day, the United States and Israel, which have their US-Zionist hegemony project on our region, our country, our choices and our sovereignty throughout the region, since 1982, they suffered defeat after defeat, successive defeats for their projects and greed. It is a clear reality, and we talked about it a lot in the past. As a brief reminder, without stopping on each point, let us recall for example:

1/ The 1982 invasion was within the framework of a US-Israeli plan for Lebanon, Palestine, (all of) the region and the (final) settlement of the (Arab-Israeli conflict). Who curbed, neutralized and frustrated this project by inflicting it a (stinging) defeat? The movements of Resistance in Lebanon, and I don’t mean only Hezbollah: Hezbollah, the Amal movement, patriotic parties, Islamic movements, the various factions of the Resistance, with support from Syria and Iran.

2/ From 1982 to 1985, and with all the events that occurred afterwards, this project collapsed.

3/ In 2000, the (historic) defeat of Israel in Lebanon.

4/ After that, the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

All this has destroyed the project and dream of Greater Israel. I have already spoken in detail of all this, and there is no need to say it all again.

5/ In 2006, and even before, with the arrival of the Neo-conservatives in power in the United States, there was a massive US plan to regain control of the entire region. They began with the invasion of Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq, the attempt to besiege Iran and isolate Syria, to liquidate the Palestinian cause and deal a fatal blow to the Resistance in Lebanon and eradicate it in 2006. The successful steadfastness of Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, of the factions of the Resistance in Gaza in 2008, and of Syria and Iran, have thwarted this huge and dangerous project that threatened our region.

6/ In 2011, the project of destruction of what I call the backbone of the Resistance camp in our area, namely Syria and the Syrian state.

7/ A few years after that, they returned to Iraq via ISIS and have targeted the entire Resistance Axis.

8/ They continued their pressure on Lebanon, Palestine and the Palestinian people.

9/ They launched an atrocious war against our brothers in Yemen.

10/ Not to mention the occupation of Bahrain, etc.

All this is part of the American-Israeli hegemony project. I have already said in the past that many regional countries were instruments in this project (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Qatar…).
Once again, the Resistance Axis, the countries of the Resistance and the parties of the Resistance stood up against this war and faced this project. We won the battle decisively in Iraq, we are about to do in Syria and we completely triumphed in Lebanon. In Yemen, (our brothers) still resist victoriously against the continued aggression. Gaza continues to resist against all forms of aggression and blockade. And it’s the same for the Islamic Republic (of Iran) and its endurance against the (US) sanctions. Thus, this project also failed.

I want to say, regarding the current situation and also the future, that what Trump and his son-in-law Kushner hope, that is to fulfill an historic achievement in the region through the ‘Deal of the century’ (to finally liquidate the Palestinian cause), who faces (this project and fights to defeat it)? It is the Resistance Axis, the Resistance movements, the countries of the Resistance and the Palestinian people in the first place.

Israel, in all its (strategic) annual assessments, considers Iran as an existential threat, Hezbollah as the essential and primary threat, and all the Resistance Axis, from Gaza to Syria, including Yemen, which they begin to fear (seriously), all this Axis is a subject of concern and an (existential) threat to this entity.

Therefore, we are in this context, my brothers and sisters. When they put us on their lists of terrorist organizations, when they take measures and sanctions against us, it is because we have defeated them, because we beat them, because we have foiled all their projects, because we are stronger (than them), because we are more worthy and glorious, because we are capable, because we successfully defend our choice, our sovereignty, our people, our country and our states. This is the framework. This is the framework (of these sanctions). This is by no means a framework of weakness (of the Resistance). It is not at all a framework of weakness (for us).

Today, after the failure of all these wars (against our region), it is because they are unable (to conduct other wars that they impose sanctions on us, it is their last resort)… What else could they do?

The United States came themselves (with all their strength) in our region (in Afghanistan and Iraq) and they were defeated. They came (massively) in our region in the early 2000s, they remained (many years), but they were defeated. They were defeated by the Resistance in Iraq, and today they are defeated in Afghanistan. They were defeated in Syria, and they are overcome every day in Yemen. Are they able to launch a new war?

Israel is afraid and is (even) terrified to launch any war. And we hear every day (in the Israeli media) that the Israeli army is not ready, that their ground forces are not ready (for war), etc., etc., etc. And lately, just a few days ago, what did they do? They installed the American THAAD anti-missile system. This is proof that they have no confidence in their own systems, despite their propaganda morning and evening with lots of drums and boasting, claiming for years that (the Iron Dome) was perfectly capable of protecting their home front.

Therefore, faced with their failure, and with their inability to launch a war or any other military choice, and also because their security operations and murders have not achieved their objectives – on the contrary, we became stronger, more experienced, more lucid and more determined, as indicated by this quote from Imam Khomeini repeated tirelessly by Sayed Abbas (Musawi, Nasrallah’s predecessor murdered by Israel): “Keep killing us, because it awakens the conscience of our people!” The Resistance has become stronger, more determined, the people embraced it increasingly and massively and sympathized with it, when he discovered that (even) its leaders were killed and fell martyrs (Sayed Abbas Musawi was assassinated by Israel with his wife and 5 year old son).

What is the (only option) left to our enemies? Their last resort (is sanctions). Sanctions and inclusion on the list of terrorist organizations are thus a (new kind of) war in this context (of successive defeats of our enemies). And we, my brothers and sisters, those present and those who listen to us, we have to face it as if we were in time of war. Because it is indeed a form of war. Just as there are military wars, security wars, wars of information, political wars and culture wars, (sanctions) are part of the economic, financial and psychological war (aiming to break our) morale. And therefore, we have to face this war.

Today, when we consider the (Hezbollah) situation here or there… I’ll be honest and clear, and I will tell you what I said during our internal meetings, in small committee or with thousands (of Hezbollah members by videoconference), I’ll say it today on TV (so that everyone knows it). When (Hezbollah) is having some financial difficulties because of these measures and sanctions, it must be clear to us that this is part of the war. This has nothing to do with mismanagement, negligence or (arbitrary) budget restriction here or there. This is a consequence of the (economic and financial) war that is launched against us and that continues.
And this war is not only waged against us (Hezbollah). Today, the sanctions against Iran are heavier, and the United States asked the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran. The United States exert the greatest pressure in this respect, and follow this matter very closely. Similarly, sanctions against Syria are heavier, and what they were unable to get through military war, (the US and its allies) want to get it by economic pressures, by hurting living conditions and livelihoods (of the Syrian people), by imposing hardships to the Syrian people in all aspects of his personal, social and economic (daily) life. The siege imposed on the Palestinians in Gaza and even in the West Bank (is harsher than ever): the destruction of houses, obstruction of wages, blocking (humanitarian) aid, etc., all this continues (and is intensified). In Yemen, people have been subjected to famine, financial, economic and port blockades, and all this continues. Sanctions and inclusion on the list of terrorist organizations are ongoing against all of us (Resistance Axis).

Yesterday, Netanyahu considered the (Palestinian) channel Al-Aqsa as a terrorist organization. A TV channel! The United States also added the factions of the Iraqi Resistance on the terrorists list, one after the other. The last faction concerned is that of our brothers in Al-Nujaba movement in Iraq. These sanctions therefore extend to anyone involved in this historic Resistance movement in our region. Yes, historic! The countries, governments, movements and peoples of the Resistance Axis.

Because (our enemies) strive to weaken us, to break our will, to impoverish us, to starve us, hoping to see us collapse, disperse and submit to their will (they strive for our complete surrender). Those who are unable to crush us by war, fighting and assassinations imagine that by impoverishing us, starving us, besieging us financially and draining our funding sources, they’ll manage to break us and to destroy our (Resistance) movement.

We have to face this (economic and financial) war.

First, we must hold on, stay stronger (than them), and not allow these measures to affect our will, our determination and morale. That’s the first point.

Second, despite all that is happening and everything that is said, their hopes will be bitterly disappointed, because they’ll never manage to impoverish us, to starve us nor to besiege us. Those who support us will continue to support us, in all certainty, be it States, peoples or our own (Lebanese) people and the masses of the Resistance in Lebanon.

These sanctions will continue. Yes, we will perhaps face some difficulties and certain restrictions. But I can assert, from the position of the leader who manages this question every day and in all its details, that we will continue our actions, our infrastructure will remain strong, sustained and rooted, and they won’t succeed in preventing our blood from flowing in our veins, nor the determination (to stay rooted) in our will. Be absolutely sure.

Certainly, as I said, we may face some difficulties and restrictions, but by patience, endurance, by reorganizing and wise and careful management, organizing our priorities, we will face this (economic and financial) war and we will overcome it (triumphantly).

When we fought during the war of July (2006), some people and political forces (in Lebanon and the region) stood by the river, waiting to see our dead bodies (washed away by waters); but their hopes were shattered, and we came out victorious (of this war). When we went (to fight) in Syria as forces participating in this global war, similarly, some in the world, the region, and unfortunately also in Lebanon, stood by the river, waiting to see our dead bodies (washed away by waters) and our defeat, but we came out victorious (of this war), as part of the great victory in Syria.

I tell you, both to those who love us, who are sincere and fair, and to those who stand by the river, waiting to see our bodies (washed away by waters) and hope that (Hezbollah) will collapse because of lack of money, poverty and hunger: I assure you that your hopes will be shattered, and not only that this Resistance will not fade or lose its high spirits, but it will gain strength, in numbers and equipment, in existence, in presence, in determination, in influence, in action and in shaping more victories in this region.

[Greetings from the audience on the Prophet Muhammad and his family.]

The days, (months and years) to come will confirm it. For it is the time that settles matters (among opponents) and reveals (the identity of the winner).

Of course it is necessary to mention again the action of the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance, and to emphasize that we need active efforts from our brothers and sisters, as well as a renewed and growing solidarity.

Remember that from 1982 to 2000, then to the years before 2006, we had a constant need (of financial aid). After 2006, due to the tremendous support that has been given us, especially by the Islamic Republic of Iran, I stated during certain (internal) meetings that even if we did not need money, we should continue our (fundraising) efforts to allow those who want to contribute financially to the action of the Resistance to do so.

Today we are in between. We are in between. The Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance should continue its work and its efforts to enable (those who wish) to fight (by financial donations), and also to help us in this ongoing battle.

And I know (the generosity) of our people and of our families, despite the very difficult living conditions in Lebanon. I will publicly reveal something which I mentioned during internal meetings, which must be known: just a few weeks ago, two months at most, I didn’t appear on television to call people to make donations (for our campaign) to help Yemeni children because I did not want to impose on people a greater burden than they could bear. For I know that our people reacts (massively to my calls), despite their hard living conditions, and social and financial (difficulties). That is why neither I nor Hezbollah leaders or any responsible (called to participate in this fundraising for Yemen).

Our brothers and sisters inside the Lebanese regions took care of that within the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance and other Islamic charities, voluntary brothers and sisters, on social networks, Radio Al-Nour, who propagated (this appeal for donations for the children of Yemen). Within a few weeks, two million dollars were collected. In Lebanon alone, this small (and poor) country which is in a very difficult (economic) situation. I was given this money, and I have dispatched it to our brothers in Yemen. Such is our people! Such is our people! Such is their level of commitment.

I have many testimonies about the generosity of the sons, daughters and wives of martyrs (who are themselves in need), young and old, how they put aside part of their salary, of their life (livelihood), of what they collect for the future of their children, and they give it to the Resistance (Hezbollah).

That is why today, (I appeal to) this support and this popular momentum, and I declare that the Resistance (Hezbollah) needs them. The Resistance needs them. And the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance must work earnestly, as it did before 2000. Because today, we are in the middle of such a battle (economic and financial).

Of course, everything that is said in Lebanon about Hezbollah, who, because of these financial pressures, would grab the money of the State, and money from the Ministry of Health (devolved to Hezbollah), I responded (to these calumnies) and I repeat that these false accusations are unfounded. Our theological, religious and moral position about money of the State is clear (it is illegal to use it for purposes other than its intended ones).

And today, we call on everyone to make sure that the Ministry that is the most scrutinized, controlled and inspected, be the Ministry of Health. Go for it! Control the use of every penny! And you will discover a total transparency on the part of the Ministry, and absolute clarity in the use of every penny spent and every pound in strict accordance with the law for the Lebanese people. […]

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments