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George H.W. Bush’s Bitter Legacy in the Middle East

By As`ad AbuKhalil | Consortium News | December 12, 2018

Any sober assessment of late President George H.W. Bush’s political legacy was drowned last week by the avalanche of hagiography by the mainstream media. This served, in part, the role of catharsis. The more loudly the members of the media praised Bush, whose family has testy relations with President Donald Trump, the more it helped them vent their animosity towards the current president.

Lost in this anti-historical, fact-free binge was any possible discussion of Bush’s most important legacies, one of which is certainly his great fake-out of Arab interests in the Middle East. Almost every U.S. president since Harry S. Truman has been more pro-Israel than his predecessor. The sole exception to this was George H.W. Bush. But via the war against Iraq, his administration wound up embracing Israeli interests and regional hegemony to such a degree that it left lasting damage to peace and stability in the region.

H.W. Bush was adept at changing ideologies to suit the venue. The man who emerged from the “moderate” wing of the East Coast Republican Party became the political heir of President Ronald Reagan, who wooed the Religious Right and made abortion a litmus test for all Supreme Court nominees.

While Bush did not leave a presidential memoir, (he is the first since Franklin D. Roosevelt not to do so), he did coauthor a book with Brent Scowcroft, his national security advisor, “A World Transformed.” This offers evidence of Bush’s close ties with Arab Gulf despots and the deposed Egyptian strongman Husni Mubarak, who served as his chief advisor on the region.

Bush was obviously impressed by the fabulous wealth and hospitality of Arab potentates.  At one point in the book, during a stay in one of King Fahd’s marble guest palaces, he marvels at the chandeliers, the air conditioning and goes on at length about a lavish state dinner. “I had never seen so much—and of nearly every conceivable type of food.”

Wealthy Arab Friends 

Bush’s ties with wealthy Arabs served him well. Lebanese businessman Najad Isam Faris and Syrian businessman Jamale Daniel helped the business career of Bush’s son, Neil. With his network of Gulf associates, Bush served as a prized advisor to the Carlyle Group, the global, private equity firm based in Washington, D.C., with a specialty of investing in companies that depend on government contracts.

Bush’s footprints in the region begin with his oil-business years in Texas. At that point, in the 1950s, oil companies often served as a chief lobbying force for Gulf regimes against the Israeli lobby. This was not due to any humanitarian concern for the plight of the Palestinian people. It was due to the usual financial motivation. The Israel lobby opposed closer ties between the U.S. and all Arab countries, which compelled oil businesses to defend their Gulf suppliers. Since the Israeli lobby opposed U.S. arms sales to Middle East regimes, it had other big-business opponents as well.

Later in his life, Bush also dealt with the Middle East as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as director of the CIA. (The deputy chief of Saudi intelligence during Bush’s time at the CIA, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, was one of the few foreign dignitaries invited to attend the funeral).

When the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, paid tribute last week to Bush he concealed a long history of Israeli detestation for the man.

As Ronald Reagan’s vice president, Bush—along with James Baker, the White House chief of staff, and Caspar Weinberger, the secretary of defense—had the coolest attitudes towards Israel of any in the administration, which was otherwise loaded with ardent Zionists. Bush was vilified for his 1991 remark that he was a “one lonely guy” battling “a thousand lobbyists on the Hill.”

Nonetheless Bush toed the pro-Israeli line and championed the cause of Soviet Jewish dissidents and the sponsorship of the emigration of Jews from Ethiopia, Syria and the former Soviet Union to Israel. He also recruited ardent Zionists (Jack Kemp, Condoleezza Rice and Dennis Ross) for his administration.

As president, Bush was branded an anti-Semite in 1991 for “deferring” for 120 days $10 billion in loan guarantees to Israel. He did this to prevent Israel from putting the money toward settlements in the occupied lands of 1967. Bush was also trying to persuade Israel to join the U.S.-sponsored peace process.

Serious About Settlements

This was the only time the U.S. government treated the settlements and the Israeli role in the peace process as a serious matter. The Obama administration did voice mild protestations about the settlements, which violate international law. But after Bush, the settlements never again caused any serious irritation to U.S.-Israeli relations.

The Bush administration also, at one point, banned Ariel Sharon, the Israeli militarist and politician, from entering U.S. government buildings due to his statements against the U.S. role in the peace process. (When Jack Kemp, housing secretary at the time, wanted to meet with Sharon, James Baker instructed him to meet outside government offices).

But in Iraq, the Bush administration began the process of removing a regime that the Israel government had been complaining about for years. This was before Israel discovered the Iranian danger. It was also many years after Israel rid itself of the Egyptian danger thanks to the Camp David Accords between the despotic Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Israeli government under the auspices of the American human rights president, Jimmy Carter. Going forward, the U.S. bombed everything on Israel’s bombing wish list in Iraq.

Bush was intent on going to war against Iraq in 1990. He sent Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, and Colin Powell, then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to Riyadh to persuade the king that U.S. troops were needed on the ground in Saudi Arabia to protect the kingdom from an Iraqi invasion (U.S. ships had moved before Cheney stepped foot on Saudi soil).

Rallying Against Iraq 

The H.W.Bush administration rallied Arab despots against Iraq and established a regional tyrannical order. Even the Syrian regime rose above its previous conflicts with the U.S. and got on board. Together, they denied Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s president, the one condition that he sought for withdrawal. As Bush admits in the book he coauthored, that sole condition was access to the Persian Gulf.

From 1991 on, most members of the U.S. armed forces—especially the Air Force—began to train over (or on) Arab lands. Today that means bases and military activities in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Syria (illegally), not to mention other places where the U.S. maintains secret military and intelligence bases (it was leaked to the press a few years ago that Dubai hosts one of the largest CIA bases in the world).

Bush exploited the Gulf War to impose a security regime where the U.S.—and not the local despotic clients—called the shots. Furthermore, Bush introduced the misuse of the U.N. as “an added cloak of political cover for U.S. wars and actions,” as is described on page 416 of the book he coauthored.

In targeting Iraq, Bush began to eliminate the biggest (albeit exaggerated) Arab military power. He also pushed Arab governments to sit face-to-face with Israel in Madrid without securing any concessions from Israel at all.

The “peace process” under Bush was just as it had been under his predecessors and successors. It amounted to empty promises of U.S. rewards for Arab participation in the war on Iraq. It was a repeat of the “British betrayal” of World War I, when, in exchange for help fighting against the Ottoman Empire, Arabs thought they would earn  independence.

As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the “Historical Dictionary of Lebanon” (1998), “Bin Laden, Islam and America’s New War on Terrorism (2002), and “The Battle for Saudi Arabia” (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhalil

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

US Destabilizes Iraq for Decades, US House of Representatives Has New Plan for Stabilization

By Adam Dick – Ron Paul Institute – November 28, 2018

The United States attacked Iraq in the Gulf War in 1990, followed by years of US bombing of Iraq. Then, in 2003, the US invaded and conquered Iraq in the Iraq War. Since then, many US troops have been stationed in Iraq, along with a huge contingent of US government employees and contractors from a variety of agencies, seeking to mold the country to US wishes. Still, 28 years since all this began (and longer since the previous US assistance for the Iraq government it later overthrew), the US House of Representatives approved on Tuesday a bill titled the Preventing Destabilization of Iraq Act (HR 4591).

The only way this bill title would make sense given the long history of massive US intervention failing to improve the situation in Iraq is if the bill required the end of US intervention. Instead, the bill seeks more intervention.

In particular, the Preventing Destabilization of Iraq Act calls on the US president to impose sanctions on any foreign people he determines knowingly commit “a significant act of violence that has the direct purpose or effect of — (1) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; (2) undermining the democratic process in Iraq; or (3) undermining significantly efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.” Further, the bill charges the US Secretary of State to determine if listed individuals should be sanctioned and if people connected to certain organizations should be considered terrorists or sanctioned. In other words, the bill calls for ramping up proven destructive policies for reshaping Iraq.

Also included in the bill is a call for action that would help push for escalating the US government’s destabilization project in Iran. The bill says the Secretary of State “shall annually establish, maintain, and publish a list of armed groups, militias, or proxy forces in Iraq receiving logistical, military, or financial assistance from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps or over which Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps exerts any form of control or influence.” Thus, claims of Iran’s intervention in its neighboring country can be used to build the case for massive intervention in Iran, up to invasion and conquest of Iran, by a nation thousands of miles away. Not to worry, 28 years from now, the US Congress can approve a Preventing Destabilization of Iran Act.

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport

By Rick Sterling | Rabble | November 26, 2018

In the Fall of 2012, a young man from Calgary Alberta, Damian Clairmont, received a new Canadian passport. He received this despite the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been secretly monitoring Damian and several others in Calgary and knew the young men were planning to join an armed extremist organization in Syria. At least five youth from Calgary did travel to Syria and Iraq where they all died with one becoming a suicide bomber reportedly killing 46 Iraqis.

In a bizarre contrast, in the spring of 2016, the Canadian government forced Damian’s mother, Christianne Boudreau, to surrender her Canadian passport. This article examines the strange circumstances and seeming irrationality.

Christianne Boudreau Countering Extremism

Unlike her son, who had been indoctrinated then recruited to join a terrorist group, Christianne Boudreau has worked with other parents internationally to create and promote educational programs to counter extremism. She converted her grief at the loss of Damian to help educate others how to prevent the same thing happening again.

Dr. Daniel Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies, described her role:

Christianne Boudreau was one of the first mothers to speak out publicly against violent radicalization with her own painful personal experience of losing her son Damian. Together with Christianne, I built up a network of affected parents around the world: the Mothers for Life Network, which currently includes about 150 families from 11 countries. It is the only international parental self-help group addressing the needs of those parents. I also trained Christianne to be a family counsellor to help other parents of children undergoing violent radicalization.

Mothers for Life works with the important goal of countering extremist ideology and violence which has exploded in the West as well as the Middle East. It uses human connections and sharing among families who have experienced radicalization, not just lectures and lofty seminars.

Christianne Boudreau has travelled and spoken at many places across Canada and internationally. She says the problem is not Islam or religion. A writer documented Chris’s visit to the Islamic Institute of Toronto in an article titled “Christianne Boudreau’s visit to Toronto left us inspired.” The writer reported:

Chris was asked, ‘Do you blame Islam and Muslims for the death of your son?’ Everyone held their breath. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. ‘No, I don’t blame Muslims or Islam for what happened to my son. I blame misguidance and bad choices. It is ideology similar to that of gangs and cults. It is the same. They prey on young impressionable adolescents and exploit them.

In addition to this organizational work, Chris Boudreau has been exceptional in another way: she has dared to criticize the intelligence security service of her native Canada. When CSIS agents first contacted her in January 2013 and told her they had been monitoring Damian for nearly two years, she asked why they had not warned her about his real intentions. Why did they not prevent him from getting a new Canadian passport?

CSIS “Research” 

After Damian’s death in January 2014, Chris Boudreau said she thought CSIS had some responsibility for his actions and death. In May 2014 she wrote a letter to CSIS politely expressing her questions and complaints. “We as a family have a right to know what has happened, and how our system has failed us.” She described her efforts to get answers over the previous year, how a CSIS agents had asked her to stop speaking out and asking questions. Finally, almost one half year later, CSIS Director Michel Coulombe responded to Chris’ inquiries. He did not answer her specific questions yet concluded that “the Service acted professionally and within its legislated mandate.” Regarding the warning of a CSIS agent, Director Coulombe evaded the issue by saying,“We have found no indication of an attempt to interfere in your relationship with other parties.” Regarding the disturbing consequences of radical indoctrination and violence, Coulombe said that CSIS “is conducting research to better understand this phenomenon in Canada.” This “research” is small comfort to a woman whose son was misled into joining a violent terrorist group, perhaps killing innocent Syrians and being killed himself.

Canada Takes Away Christianne Boudreau’s Passport

Fifteen months later, in February 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada acted in a way which definitely restricted and interfered with “her relationship with other parties”. While Chris and her son Lucas were visiting family in France, the Canadian government ordered her to surrender her Canadian passport. Christianne and her son were stuck in France, dependent on the generosity of family, for the next eighteen months. Chris was without income or ability to return home. Finally in November 2017, when Lucas’ father was dying of cancer, the Canadian embassy in France provided temporary emergency documentation so that Chris and her son could return home to Calgary.

The Official Reason Canada Took Away her Passport

Chris Boudreau has tried repeatedly to get her passport back. The official reason it was taken away and cannot be returned is that she provided “false or misleading information” in the passport application for her son Lucas. The “false and misleading” information was that she did not include the name of Lucas’ father on the passport application and did not disclose court orders from 2004-2007 which had defined the father’s visiting rights with baby Lucas (born in 2004).

In fact, Ms Boudreau was never married to the father, they did not live together when Lucas was born and Lucas’ birth certificate did not include the father’s name because the father wanted no responsibility. The applications for Lucas’ previous passports in 2007 and 2010 were filled out just the same way with no question or objection by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In addition, there was a court order and signed agreement between Ms. Boudreau and the father in January 2016 which confirmed a summer visit with the father.

Ironically, Lucas was unable to visit the father as specified because CIC took away the passports of him and his mother in the spring of 2016. Ms. Boudreau and Lucas were unable to return to Canada until November 2017 when they received emergency travel documents as the biological father was in a terminal stage of cancer.

“Very few people have been denied passports”

Ray Boisvert, former head of CSIS counter-terrorism was previously asked why CSIS did not prevent Damian Clairmont from receiving a passport if CSIS knew about his radicalization and intentions. Boisvert responded that denying a passport to a Canadian citizen was an infringement on freedom of movement and required solid evidence. “There have been very few people who have been denied passports because the threshold is so high. And rightfully so.”

If Boisvert’s assertion is true, then why has CIC acted so harshly against Christianne Boudreau? The violation in the passport application caused little or no harm. The complaint by the biological father was resolved in the January 2016 court order and agreement. This was not an issue of parental joint custody because Christianne Boudreau had been the sole parental custodian for Lucas since his birth.

Christianne Boudreau’s Effectiveness in Countering Extremism

This extreme decision is not only harming Christianne Boudreau and her children. It is also hurting the international campaign against extremism and violent radicalism.

Dr. Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies says:

Christianne’s work depends on her ability to travel, meet with other parents, participate in workshops, educate about the threat of violent radicalization and help affected families around the world. She was a main driving force behind the Mothers for Life Network and her absence from these important activities have caused serious harm to global issue of helping families in need.

Dr. Amar Amarasingam, Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society at University of Waterloo has said:

Since the loss of her son Damian, Christianne Boudreau has been tirelessly working to try and prevent other young men and women from traveling abroad to fight. She traveled around the world to meet with other parents and families, gave talks and conducted workshops. Especially now, with ISIS fighters and families being captured by Kurdish forces and parents in Western countries trying to get in touch with them, Chris’s activism is much-needed. She is trusted by families the world over and would be an invaluable resource today. I’m not too familiar with the particulars of her case, but her ability to travel is fundamental to her work and I hope it gets sorted out soon.

In 2016, as Christianne Boudreau was having her Canadian passport revoked, CBC produced a documentary describing her good work. The producer Gail McIntyre and director/writer Eileen Thalenberg have recently written:

Christianne Boudreau was the focus of our film, A Jihadi in the Family, which was broadcast on CBC – TV in 2016. Over a period of two years, we covered her important work as founder and driving force behind the movement Mothers for Life. This organization was set up to support families and to inform educators, the public and policy makers about the early signs of radicalization and how to prevent it. Her work in this area was far-reaching – uniting mothers in North America and Europe…. Without her passport, she is unable to continue with her high profile work.  This not only impacts anti-radicalization efforts, it severely affects her ability to support her herself and her son.

Public Appeal to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Passport!”

Chris Boudreau, born in Toronto, is still being denied a Canadian passport. She has the anguish of knowing her son died in a foreign land. She has the pain of not knowing what he might have done with others in the terrorist group. She has difficulty finding a job when employers easily see and identify her as the “jihadi’s mother”. She was punished and impoverished by being left in a foreign country without a passport for a year-and-a-half.

Why is Canada denying this woman her right to travel, guaranteed to all citizens under the Canadian Charter? Most importantly, why is Canada preventing this brave woman from continuing her effective work countering international extremism?

A petition to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Canadian Passport!” has been launched and can be seen here.

Rick Sterling can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Iran, Iraq Can Ramp up Trade to $20bn: Rouhani

Al-Manar | November 17, 2018

Iranian President Rouhani said Saturday that the current economic transactions between Iran and Iraq stands at about $12 billion, which can be boosted to $20 billion with further cooperation.

President Rouhani made the remarks in a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih on Saturday in Tehran, which was held after their bilateral meeting earlier that day.

The Iranian president maintained that the two sides held talks on electricity and gas swap, as well as cooperation on petroleum products and oilfield exploration and extraction.

The Shalamcheh-Basra railway is ready to come on stream, and the Iranian side is ready to carry out its side of the project together with the help of measures taken by Iraq’s Ministry of Finance, said Rouhani, adding that the 35km-railway will facilitate transport for the people of both countries.

Rouhani said the two sides also talked about environmental issues, noting the dust storms in western and eastern borders that need joint cooperation to be resolved. He added that Iraqi President Barham Salih has vowed to follow up on those environmental issues.

We reached an agreement to establish a free trade zone between the two countries, Rouhani added.

He further maintained that the two sides conferred on regional issues, saying the two believed that stability and security in the region will benefit all people, and there is no need for foreign interference in regional affairs.

The Iraqi president, for his part, highlighted that Iraq would never forget Iran’s support in defeating terrorism in the country.

After the military defeat of ISIL, Iraq has ahead of itself the two important objectives of ‘reconstruction’ and ‘strengthening of political stability’, he added.

President Salih maintained that the realization of these two goals requires political and economic measures and reforms, as well as stable conditions in the region.

It is time for the formation of a new regional order which can be in the interest of all regional states, President Salih stressed, adding that Iraq attaches high significance to Iran’s role and place in this new regional order.

He further voiced hope that the implementation of joint projects such as railway connections between Iran and Iraq could provide the necessary condition for Iraq to play a more active role in the region, and allow other countries in the region to form relations based on mutual interests.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

US Budgetary Costs of the Post-9/11 Wars: $5.9 Trillion Spent and Obligated

Through FY2019

By Prof. Neta C. Crawford | Watson Institute, Brown University | November 14, 2018

The United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $5.9 trillion (in current dollars) on the war on terror through Fiscal Year 2019, including direct war and war-related spending and obligations for future spending on post-9/11 war veterans (see Table 1).

This number differs substantially from the Pentagon’s estimates of the costs of the post-9/11 wars because it includes not only war appropriations made to the Department of Defense – spending in the war zones of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and in other places the government designates as sites of “overseas contingency operations,” – but also includes spending across the federal government that is a consequence of these wars. Specifically, this is war-related spending by the Department of State, past and obligated spending for war veterans’ care, interest on the debt incurred to pay for the wars, and the prevention of and response to terrorism by the Department of Homeland Security.

If the US continues on its current path, war spending will continue to grow. The Pentagon currently projects $80 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending through FY2023. Even if the wars are ended by 2023, the US would still be on track to spend an additional $808 billion (see Table 2) to total at least $6.7 trillion, not including future interest costs. Moreover, the costs of war will likely be greater than this because, unless the US immediately ends its deployments, the number of veterans associated with the post-9/11 wars will also grow. Veterans benefits and disability spending, and the cost of interest on borrowing to pay for the wars, will comprise an increasingly large share of the costs of the US post-9/11 wars.

Table 1, below, summarizes the direct war costs – the OCO budget – and war-related costs through FY2019. These include war-related increases in overall military spending, care for veterans, Homeland Security spending, and interest payments on borrowing for the wars. Including the other areas of war-related spending, the estimate for total US war-related spending allocated through FY2019 is $4.9 trillion.[3] But because the US is contractually and morally obligated to pay for the care of the post-9/11 veterans through their lifetimes, it is prudent to include the costs of care for existing post-9/11 veterans through the next several decades. This means that the US has spent or is obligated to spend $5.9 trillion in current dollars through FY2019.[4] Table 1 represents this bottom-line breakdown for spent and obligated costs.

Table 1. Summary of War Related Spending, in Billions of Current Dollars, Rounded to the Nearest Billion, FY2001- FY2019[5]

Figure 1. US Costs of War: $5.9 Trillions of Current Dollars Spent and Obligated, through FY2019[10]

Further, the US military has no plans to end the post-9/11 wars in this fiscal year or the next. Rather, as the inclusion of future years spending estimates in the Pentagon’s budget indicates, the DOD anticipates military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria necessitating funding through at least FY2023. Thus, including anticipated OCO and other war-related spending, and the fact that the post-9/11 veterans will require care for the next several decades, I estimate that through FY2023, the US will spend and take on obligations to spend more than $6.7 trillion.

To read the full PDF report by Professor Neta C. Crawford, click here.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Plan: Why Israel Is Bent on Supporting Arab Division

By Elias SAMO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.11.2018

During many meetings with senior members of the Syrian opposition in various European cities in 2013-2014, I would remind them that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, amongst others, host and finance the opposition due to their own self-interest and agendas; and not out of love for Syria. I would note that there is no disagreement among us Syrians about the brutality, corruption and exploitation of the Ottoman Empire during its four-century rule of Syria; we don’t want history to repeat itself. As for Saudi Arabia, I would remind the opposition of the contributions Syrian professionals made in the development of the Kingdom in past decades. We say to the Saudis “Blessed be your Wahhabism for you, but not for Syria”; Syria is a cultural and societal mosaic of ethnic, religious and sectarian components. As for the United States, we all agree that Washington supports Israel and views Syria as an adversarial state. However, Israel is a totally different matter. Since its creation, Israel has pursued aggressive and expansionist policy towards its neighbors in pursuit of two primary objectives: I – Great Israel and II – No Arab Unity And Support Arab Division.

I – Great Israel:

Great Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Since the June 1967 War and the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israel has been in control of the land between the River and the Sea. Thus, Great Israel exists in reality, though not legally or officially until it annexes the West Bank and declares the Jewish Great Israel with Jerusalem its capital.

II –Supporting Arab division:

There are numerous documents and publications to that effect for the Arabs to read. Unfortunately, and according to international surveys, Arabs are amongst the least reading people in the world. This reminds me of the late Moshe Dayan, the Israeli Defense Minister during the June 1967 War. After the war, Dayan published some Israeli military strategies and tactics during the war. His colleagues criticized him for divulging military secrets to the Arabs. His response was not to worry; the Arabs don’t read. This problem is further compounded by the Arabs lack of interest in research or translation. Jointly, these three components form critical foundations for the development of societies and civilizations.

In the 1990’s, I participated in numerous Track II Diplomacy meetings with Israelis regarding the Syrian-Israeli Peace Process. During one of those meetings, attended by some Egyptians and Palestinians in addition to the Israelis, I gave a presentation in which I noted that the Arab region is divided into four sub-regions: The Fertile Crescent, The Arabian Peninsula, The Nile Valley and North Africa. Unlike the other three sub-regions, the Fertile Crescent faces national security threats being surrounded by three powerful and hostile neighbors: Turkey to the North, Israel to the South and Iran to the East. To deal with these multiple and omnipresent security threats, Syria and Iraq must agree to some form of unity; a joint population of 40+ million people, educated and productive endowed with natural resources including substantial oil reserves, and a large army. I emphasized the point that the purpose of such a unity is not aggressive; but defensive. I had hardly finished my presentation when the late Ze’ev Schiff, the military editor of the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a loud voice said “Do you think we will let you do that?”; meaning that any Arab initiative for unity must receive a prior Israeli approval which of course is not forthcoming. Mr. Schiff had previously published an article in Haaretz in 6/2/1982 proposing a plan for a future Iraq, in which he wrote that the best thing to serve Israel’s interest would be “the dissolution of Iraq into a Shiite State, a Sunni State and the separation of the Kurdish part.”

There were more comprehensive plans to break up a number of Arab states. In 1982, the Israeli journalist Oded Yinon proposed a more elaborate plan entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, published in the Hebrew Journal Kivunim. The plan called for the dissolution of several Arab states into smaller states. The author starts with “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces…” He continues “Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions…” Furthermore, “ The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as Lebanon…” His solution for the Palestinians is through “The termination of the lengthy rule of King Hussein and the transfer of power to the Palestinians…”

After Yinon, the neoconservatives in 1996 submitted a plan for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s consideration entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. Israel’s Western frontier is secured through the peace treaty with Egypt. The frontier with Syria could be secured “by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria.” As for Iraq, it starts with “removing Saddam Hussein from power…”

In 2007, General Wesley Clark, in an interview and a lecture, said that while visiting the Pentagon just a few days after 9/11, a General explained to him that a decision has been made “to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off with Iran.”

Iraq, the first on the Pentagon war list was invaded in 2003. The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit, in a Haaretz article on April 3, 2003, notes that “the belief in war against Iraq was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals…” Syria, next on the Pentagon war list, was “a ripe fruit ready for picking” However, the picking of Syria had to wait until the start of the so-called “Arab Spring”.

Had Syrians known what was planned for them by Washington and Tel Aviv, they might have avoided the death and destruction in Syria, for patriotism and wisdom call upon the various factions in the State to put aside their differences and confront the external threats.

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

European Parliament ‘Shocked’ at Amount of EU-Made Arms in Hands of Terrorists

Sputnik – 12.11.2018

This week, members of the European Parliament will gather in Strasbourg for the plenary session with a wide array of issues on the agenda, including arms exports.

A draft report on arms exports, which will be tabled at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg later this week, suggests launching an investigation into how EU-made weapons end up in the possession of terrorists in the Middle East.

One provision of the document, presented by German MEP Sabine Lösing, says that the European Parliament is “shocked at the amount of EU-made weapons and ammunition found in the hands of Daesh in Syria and Iraq.”

The same draft highlights that some EU member-states, including Bulgaria and Romania, have failed to apply the Common Position in relation to weapons’ retransfers, which contravenes end-user certificates.

The document further proposes making it obligatory for EU member-states to “deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be diverted.”

The European Parliament “calls on all Member States to refuse similar transfers in the future, notably to the US and Saudi Arabia,” the draft reads.

Syrian media have on multiple occasions reported that the country’s army had discovered large stocks of arms, ammunition, vehicles and other military equipment, made in the US, Europe and Israel, while conducting mop-up operations in regions liberated from terrorists.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah speech given on the first anniversary of the Liberation of Lebanon against terrorist groups

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

Transcript:

[…] I want to tell you, on this first anniversary of the (Second) Liberation (of Lebanon against terrorist groups in August 2017), that in these battles against the Al-Nusra Front on the one hand, and ISIS in the Jurd (Ersal) on the other hand, the number of our fighters was higher than what was required in numbers on both fronts. And I asked the military officials, “Why do you bring so many forces?” I was concerned above all by the preservation of the blood (life and health) of our brothers, and I also cared about the fact that each of them would open fire, and it would have a price in terms of ammunition and money, but my main concern was to preserve the blood of our brothers. They said that they could not prevent the youth (Hezbollah fighters) from coming (voluntarily and massively in Syria). Especially because it was summer and there was no school or university courses, which is why the majority of fighters were (Hezbollah) students in universities and high school, because our practice is not to allow young people under 18 to fight, and there was therefore a significant number of young people among our martyrs.

And today also, these same young people, the same generation (is fighting in Syria and elsewhere). Some may think that the generation of 1982 or 1985 was different (more heroic than today), as well as that which fought in 2000 or 2006, but not in any case! Today’s generation has all the momentum, enthusiasm, presence, consciousness and alertness (found in the earlier ones). And it proved it during all the past years.

But on the other side, when you look at Israel, for example, we see in studies of which the Israeli media are currently speaking that the real crisis of the enemy, of the Israeli army, is in the human element (the soldiers themselves). The leaders and staff of the Israeli army have great difficulty to attract young (Israeli soldiers) to the combat units and troops and to the special brigades (elite forces), because the young Israelis prefer to serve in other units than combat. They do not have any motivation, the spirit of sacrifice disappears and there is no cause in which they believe and for which they are ready to be killed. This is a real problem, which many studies are devoted to, but I do not have time to discuss them in detail.

And there is also another problem that was revealed a few days ago with precise figures, namely the increase of mental disorders among soldiers of the enemy, who are monitored by psychologists in the army. “During the year 2017 –I quote the Israeli media–, nearly 44,000 soldiers asked support from psychologists officers.” It is a figure quite significant for the Israeli army. Against 39 000 soldiers for 2003. Last year, 44,000 soldiers went to see who? Psychologists doctors. Psychologists doctors. And that’s why…

When they speak of the reasons (of their depression), they say they do not want to die, to sacrifice, to get tired, to get up at dawn, their morale is low or nonexistent, they want a more comfortable and better paid position, etc. That’s what they say themselves. And that is why the strategists of the enemy entity always say that this army is not ready to enter into a new war. Despite the fact that since 2006 to this day, they got new aircraft (F-35), new missiles and developed many of their assets and capabilities. We know this and monitor it (closely). But since 2006 and to date, they have not managed to change the spirit of defeat that swept over their officers, their soldiers, and their people. They have failed to remedy the state of doubt and suspicion (prevalent) between soldiers and officers, and they were unable to find historical leaders able to mobilize again.

As for us, today, our strength lies in our young generations of these true and sincere fighters, willing to sacrifice, loyal, ready to shed their blood, who believe in dignity, in glory and in honor, and for whom the dignity of their people, the glory of their country, the honor and life of their loved ones deserve from them all the sacrifices and all these gifts. And this is what has allowed the Second Liberation (of Lebanon in August 2017), as well as the First Liberation (in 2000). […]

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on September 20, 2018, on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.

Transcript:

[…] Sixth, regarding Israel, we must always stay on alert, my brothers and sisters. The Israelis are angry, the Israelis are worried. They are angry because their project in the region collapsed. The Israelis had high hopes on what was happening in Syria and Iraq. In the past, they had high hopes on what was happening in Lebanon. But all their illusions were scattered to the four winds. The Israelis know that the Resistance Axis will come back (to face them) stronger than ever. The Israelis know that new countries (Iraq, Yemen) are now part of the Resistance Axis, and that (whole) peoples who were outside the sphere of the struggle against the Israeli enemy are now within this sphere, in a strong, active and integrated manner. Israel is angry, Israel is worried, and that is why we must all stay on alert. I am not speaking of assumptions (of aggression) here and there, but I know that no one should allow himself to be reassured concerning this enemy, or even with the analyzes (about it), even if, as I have always confirmed to you, he fears any confrontation in the region, especially against Lebanon. And he knows well that any battle, any war he would launch could have a huge impact on the region. He knows he now has weaknesses that have become exposed (to everyone), and he knows very well our strengths.

Some days ago, (the Israeli Minister of War) Lieberman said on the occasion (of the commemoration) of the 1973 war: “We must understand that in the Middle East, two truly strategic changes have occurred: the first is that our enemies –meaning us (Hezbollah) and our allies– now have high-precision missiles and the second thing –of course, he still has no solution to these missiles, and logically, this will delay and repel the prospect of an Israeli war– and the second thing is that the home front (of the Zionist entity) has become the central front in any future war. If, during the 1973 war, the (Israeli) soldiers could fight on the front, while in Tel Aviv, people were (peacefully) sitting in coffee shops, reading newspapers, –during the 1973 war, the fighting took place on the front, at the borders, but the people who lived in Tel Aviv were quietly sitting in coffe shops, reading newspapers– but now everything has changed.” What he said about the current situation is a treat (to our ears). “Now everything has changed.” Yes, today everything has changed. We must also be conscious of this reality, just like the enemy is aware of it. The enemy knows (well) that major changes have occurred in this region, which he did not expect and that he had not anticipated.

As for the high-precision missiles and his attempts in Syria to cut the way for this power and this ability, today, I want to say something he already knows, but I want to say it publicly, for his people to be informed and take heed, and for our people to be informed and gain confidence. I say to Israel: Whatever you do to prevent the (weapons transfers), it’s already too late. Everything has already been done and completed, and the Resistance (in Lebanon) already has all the high precision missiles and such, all the capabilities and armaments it needs, so much that if Israel imposes a war in Lebanon, they will face a destiny and a reality they never anticipated.

This is the reality of the situation. And likewise, many things that have changed within their army. When I spoke at Hermel (on August 26), in commemoration of the Second Liberation (of Lebanon from terrorists), I talked about the situation with regard to the morale, spirit and psychological state of the Israeli army (disastrous according to recent studies in Israel). There is almost no one inside the entity that has not answered me. The President of the entity, the Head of government, the War minister, other ministers, MPs, journalists, etc., all have answered me, some by naming me and others without naming me, but it was clear that they were referring to me. Because I put light on a painful truth for them, for their people and for their future. And they know that now, technology alone is not enough to win in a battle, and that the decisive factor in a battle is the human element (soldiers). This is what experience has shown, whether in 2000, in 2006 or in recent years (Syria, Iraq, Yemen).Look how ridiculous these Israelis are: how did they answer me? With what facts did they answer me? They responded, and here you can see their weakness, by threatening Lebanon, but what did they say? Long ago, before 1982, they threatened to invade Beirut. But today, does anyone hear them speak about an invasion of Beirut? Did you hear such a thing? From 2000 to today, my brothers, (say) from 2006 to the present, did Israel ever claim that they were going to invade Lebanon and reach Beirut? It’s over! Why? Because an invasion of Lebanon up to Beirut requires ground forces (worthy of the name). This is not aviation, missiles and warships that can achieve such a thing. This army (able) to invade Lebanon and reach Beirut no longer exists! There is nothing like that in Israel, but in Lebanon, the situation is very different. Today, in Lebanon, something very different is found (real fighters, battle-hardened and in high spirits). And that’s why all the (Israeli) response consisted of threats to destroy and raze Lebanon to the ground. That is to say, they drew their strength (only) from their firepower, and dare not boast of the human element. […]

November 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iraq parliament calls for US forces to leave

MEMO | November 10, 2018

Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, revealed on Friday parliamentarian moves to pressure the Iraqi government to evict US forces from the country.

Al-Assadi said that the previous Iraqi parliament had started the calls, but now the new parliament was calling for a clear timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, Arabi21 reported. He added that US forces had entered the country at the request of the Iraqi government for training purposes and assistance in fighting Daesh.

Yet Al-Assadi stressed that: “After the big victory against these gangs [Daesh], the Iraqi government has the right to evaluate the need for American forces to remain on Iraqi soil”. He also said that the calls for US forces to leave would be doubled during the next parliamentary term, noting that the parliament was likely to accept the existence of advisors and trainers based only on the need specified by the authorities.

Regarding the position of the government, Al-Assadi said: “The government has the right to estimate its need for advisors and trainers. The parliamentary discussions, which called for revealing the number, places and need for the American forces were not closed”.

He stressed however that the parliament is entitled to make the final decision regarding whether US forces remain in Iraq or are asked to withdraw.

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Pentagon Report Questions US’ Own Legal Justification for Staying in Syria

Sputnik – November 7, 2018

The latest quarterly report by the Lead Inspector General on the status of Operation Inherent Resolve, the codename for the US military’s intervention against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, has paid extensive focus to Iran, mentioning it 105 times in 130 pages. However, while accusing Tehran of posing a growing threat to US forces, the report admits that the Department of Defense has “no evidence” that Iranian troops or Iranian-allied militia have actually attacked the US in Syria.

The report also hints at a confused US policy in Syria, pointing to Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton’s recent statement about keeping US troops in Syria so long as “Iranian troops” and “Iranian proxy militias” remain outside of Iran.

This sentiment, the report admits, has led to “questions about the legal justification of maintaining US troops in Syria, which currently relies on the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against those who ‘planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001,’ which has been interpreted as including [Daesh].”

Unlike the presence of the Russian military and Iranian military advisors, the US has no internationally recognized legal justification for its presence in Syria, with Damascus repeatedly condemning US operations in the Arab Republic and demanding a US exit from the country.

The DoD points out that in the wake of Bolton’s remarks, military officials have changed tack, paying lip service to the “enduring defeat” of Daesh while telling congressional committees about the “ancillary benefits” and “leverage” provided by the continued presence of US forces in Syria.

Pointing to shifting political goals, which now seem to include “removing Iran and Iranian proxies from the country, influencing the outcome of the Syrian civil war… and stabilizing areas of northeast Syria liberated from [Daesh],” the report warns that “these non-military goals could keep the US military involved in Syria after the defeat of [Daesh]” over an unspecified period.

Iranian ‘Security Threats’ to US in Syria

Mentioning the intensive US drilling at the Al-Tanf Garrison in southern Syria following calls by Iran to end the illegal US presence in the area, the report warns of “several Iranian-backed militias” operating in the same area, with “their presence creat[ing] the potential for violence with US troops and US-backed forces.”

At the same time, the DoD report admits that “neither Iran nor Iranian-backed militias had hindered counter-[Daesh] operations,” and says that the Pentagon has “no evidence” that ‘Iranian troops’ or Iranian-allied militia have actually attacked the US in Syria.

‘Iran-Backed Militias’ in Iraq

In neighboring Iraq, the report mentions elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Shiite militia groups which played a crucial role in defeating Daesh in Iraq, saying that they pose a similar threat to US interests, given what are said to be their “close ties to Iran.”

“The influence of these Shia militias in both the security sector and the political process –and their continued willingness to act independently of the [Iraqi Security Forces] – increases Iran’s influence in Iraq,” the report states.

Alleging that Iran has deployed some 100-150 Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel among the militia, the report accuses these “Iranian proxies” of being “likely responsible for two attacks targeting US facilities in Iraq,” including a mortar attack in the Baghdad Green Zone in early September and rocket attacks in Basra near the US consulate, which led to the diplomatic mission’s temporary evacuation later that month.

The DoD report makes no mention of the fact that Iran firmly condemned the September attacks on US diplomatic areas out of principle. In a statement, the Iranian foreign ministry accused the US of “propaganda and false allegations against Iran and the Iraqi forces,” and called the consulate closure a “suspicious move aimed at evading responsibility and pinning the blame on others.”

Ultimately, the report warns that so far as Iraq is concerned, “if left unchecked, Iranian-sponsored harassment of US forces could increase, and Iranian influence operations could increase as they vie for influence in the new government.”

The Trump administration has shifted its position on Syria several times, with the president saying the US would “be coming out of Syria like very soon” in March before launching airstrikes against Damascus two weeks later. In September, National Security Adviser John Bolton linked the withdrawal of US troops from Syria to the alleged Iranian presence in the country, prompting the Pentagon to change its tone on the purpose of the Syria mission being the defeat of Daesh.

See also:

Israeli Defense Chief: US Sanctions Deal a ‘Critical Blow’ to Iran in Syria

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | 4 Comments

US forces Iraq to award $15 billion contract to GE instead of Siemens

Press TV – October 21, 2018

Germany is angry after the US government intervenes in a multi-billion-dollar deal for Siemens AG to develop power stations in Iraq and forces Baghdad to opt for General Electric (GE) instead.

The American company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iraqi government earlier this week, outlining their cooperation in the fields of oil and gas production and power generation.

A person, who has seen the paperwork, told The Financial Times that Washington plans to offer financing and insurance for US firms doing business in the Iraqi power sector.

GE’s agreement with Iraq dashed Siemens’ hopes of winning a $15 billion contract to supply 11 gigawatts of power-generation equipment to Iraq.

Until the US intervention, Siemens was considered the front-runner after its Chief Executive Joe Kaeser traveled to Iraq in September and spoke with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi about the contract.

US officials, however, warned Abadi that awarding the contract to Siemens might jeopardize relations between Baghdad and Washington.

A top adviser to the Iraqi premier then told Siemens to give up because it was causing problems for Iraq given the US pressure.

“The US government is holding a gun to our head,” the adviser was quoted as saying by another person familiar with the incident.

According to people familiar with the negotiations, the US highlighted the number of American troops killed in Iraq and claimed that Iran had spurred Baghdad to pursue the Siemens deal.

“This is part of very strong campaign of engagement in Iraqi government formation and a very targeted effort to support the Iraqi government and minimize Iranian influence,” Garrett Marquis, a US National Security Council spokesman, claimed.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) complained on Sunday that the US pressure to quash the Siemens power deal with Iraq was unacceptable, blaming President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy for corroding business decisions.

“To implement the America First doctrine in this way in the global competition of multinational companies is not acceptable,” Joachim Lang, BDI managing director, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

He emphasized that governments and companies should make deals based on business interests.

The US, backed by the UK, invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

No such weapons were ever found, but the invasion plunged Iraq into chaos and led to the rise of terrorist groups which continue to plague the country to this day.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 5 Comments

United States Did It Again: Warplanes Use White Phosphorous Munitions in Syria

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.10.2018

The US-led coalition used white phosphorus (WP) munitions delivering air strikes in the Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor on Oct.13. The attack resulted in casualties among civilians. Last month, WP munitions were also used by two US Air Force (USAF) F-15s in an attack on the town of Hajin, Deir-ez-Zor. The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led coalition, which says the need to fight ISIS justifies its military actions while denying the fact it uses white phosphorous projectiles.

WP does not fall into the category of chemical weapons banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention but it is an incendiary weapon. As such, it cannot be used against non-combatants. Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons “prohibits the use of said incendiary weapons against civilians (already forbidden by the Geneva Conventions) or in civilian areas”. The substance ignites spontaneously upon contact with air, producing a dense white smoke. The heat could reach 800-900°C. No water will help. Severe injuries to internal organs could be caused when absorbed through skin, ingested, or inhaled. Burning particles of white phosphorus produce thermal and chemical burns if they come into contact with skin.

It’s not Syria only where the US used WP munitions. White phosphorous artillery shells were used in Iraq during the assault on Fallujah in 2004. The US admitted the fact. There have also been media reports about the WP use in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. Last year, the Washington Post published photographs of US Marines equipped with white phosphorus projectiles to be used in the battle for Raqqa. The source offered similar pictures showing WP munitions with US Army units outside Iraqi Mosul.

The Human Rights Watch has warned about dangers coming from the use of WP in urban areas. According to Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, “No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians.”

In 2015, the United States used depleted uranium (DU) in Syria. DU is not banned by an international treaty but its use runs counter to the International Humanitarian Law (IHW). Article 36 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions requires to ensure that “any new weapon means or method of warfare does not contravene existing rules of international law.” It says “General principles of the laws of war/IHL prohibit weapons and means or methods of warfare that cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, have indiscriminate effects or cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.” In 2012, the UN General Assembly tried to adopt a resolution restricting the use of DU. The move was supported by 155 states, with 27 abstaining and four, including the United States, voting against.

The American military has used cluster bombs against civilians in Yemen. The US is not one of the 102 states parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the weapons that open in the air, dispersing multiple bomblets or submunitions over a wide area. Many submunitions fail to explode on initial impact, acting like landmines for years. The Pentagon refuses to give cluster munitions and American field commanders are authorized to use them at their discretion.

The US continues to run biological programs, operating more than 20 laboratories around the world in blatant violation of the UN Biological Weapons Convention. An opinion paper published on Oct. 4 in the journal Science, written by an international group of researchers claims the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is potentially developing insects as a means of delivering a “new class of biological weapon.”

In 2011, US police used tear gas and other chemical irritants against Occupy protesters. Tear gas is prohibited for use against enemy soldiers in battle by the Chemical Weapons Convention but it’s all right with America’s law enforcement agencies using the dangerous substance against their own people.

There is no justification for using WP at the time ISIS has been reduced to insignificance in Syria but Washington did it again. It violated international law after having unilaterally imposed sanctions on Russia without any evidence to support the relevant accusations. It should also be remembered that, unlike Russia, the US has so far failed to meet its obligations and destroy the chemical weapons stockpile. The use of substances to harm civilians is a serious matter that should be addressed at the ongoing 79th session on UN General Assembly. America’s non-compliance with generally accepted norms is the most acute problem on the international security agenda.

October 14, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment