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NYT: ‘Iran-Backed Militia’ Attack That Provoked Soleimani Killing Was Possible ISIS False Flag

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 02/06/2020

The initial major rationale and justification the US administration offered for the drone assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani and commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was the Dec. 27 rocket attack on K1 camp in Kirkuk, which houses coalition forces.

That attack involving surface-to-surface missile strikes killed an American contractor and reportedly wounded several US troops. Washington immediately blamed the Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group Khataib Hezbollah, with Mike Pompeo saying of the attack: “We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy,” after he briefed President Trump. But top Iraqi military and intelligence officials are now calling this entire narrative into question.

A new lengthy New York Times investigative report cites multiple top Iraqi officials who go on record to say of their analysis of the Dec.27 Kirkuk incident: “These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say.”

The Pentagon says it has evidence decisively pinning it on Khataib Hezbollah, known for its closeness to Tehran; however, the paramilitary group itself has denied that it was behind the operation. US officials have from the start been scant on details and have not made public any evidence or intelligence.

This led some analysts in the days after the attack to question whether ISIS cells, still known to be active in the area, might have been behind it — given also it would be to the Sunni terrorist group’s benefit to sow a major rift between US and local Iraqi Shia forces, which is precisely what happened (Trump has recently gone so far as to threaten “very big sanctions” on Baghdad if US forces are kicked out). Alternately the White House perhaps appeared ready to manufacture a justification to take out Soleimani.

Further, as detailed in the Times report, the white Kia pick-up from which the rockets were launched was found near a known ISIS execution site, in a heavily Sunni area not known to have had a Shia paramilitary presence since 2014:

But Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started the spiral of events, saying they believe it is unlikely that the militia the United States blamed for the attack, Khataib Hezbollah, carried it out.

… Iraqi officials say their doubts are based on circumstantial evidence and long experience in the area where the attack took place.

The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah.

Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014.

The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces.

And the abandoned Kia pickup was found was less than 1,000 feet from the site of an ISIS execution in September of five Shiite buffalo herders.

The NYT further says this single event set off “a chain of events that brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war” which President Trump confided at a private luncheon this week was “closer than you thought”.

Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the Iraqi chief of intelligence for the federal police at K-1, told the NYT : “All the indications are that it was Daesh.” He said further: “I told you about the three incidents in the days just before in the area — we know Daesh’s movements.”

“We as Iraqi forces cannot even come to this area unless we have a large force because it is not secure. How could it be that someone who doesn’t know the area could come here and find that firing position and launch an attack?” he questioned.

Anonymous US officials, however, claim that evidence from within the Kia pickup points to Khataib Hezbollah, and also cited “multiple strains of intelligence” though without making it known.

Interestingly, amid a general breakdown in trust between Baghdad and Washington, a top Iraqi general has said the US side hasn’t even shared its claimed evidence that Khataib Hezbollah was behind the Kirkuk attack:

“We have requested the American side to share with us any information, any evidence, but they have not sent us any information,” Lt. Gen. Muhammad al-Bayati, the chief of staff for former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, said in an interview.

The director general of Iraqi Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Abu Ali al-Basri, said the United States did not consult Iraq before carrying out the Dec. 29 counterattacks on Khataib Hezbollah.

“They did not ask for my analysis of what happened in Kirkuk and neither did they share any of their information,” he said. “Usually, they would do both.”

The bombshell NYT report further collects eyewitness accounts and other Iraqi official statements, all of which strongly suggests the chain of events which led to Soleimani’s Jan. 3 killing, which in turn led to an Iranian ‘revenge’ attack with ballistic missiles on Ain al-Asad Air Base, wounding scores of troops (we later found out as part of an ever growing number of solders with ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’ from the blasts), was a possible ‘false flag’ event undertaken by ISIS meant to be pinned on the Islamic State’s Shia enemies backed by Iran.

February 7, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Fatal Mistake in Iraq and Beginning of End for US Occupation

Iraqi PMU commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad following their defeat of ISIS in 2017 (Photo: Patrick Henningsen 2017©)
By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | January 3, 2020

The United States may have just worn out its welcome in Iraq. Whatever comes next will be laid at the feet of the Trump Presidency.

As a result of a series of disastrous moves by US central command, the region now faces the very real prospect of another multinational conflagration in the Middle East, which could include a direct military confrontation between the US and Iran.

How It Began

This past Sunday December 29th, just before the New Year rang in, President Donald Trump gave the order to bomb an Iraqi military base, killing and wounding a number of Iraqi military personnel, including Iraqi Army officers, Iraqi police, as well as soldiers belonging to the People’s Mobilization Unit (PMUs). US Air Force F-15E fighters struck five targets located in Iraq and along the Syria-Iraq border, all said to be controlled by an ‘Iranian-backed paramilitary group,’ according to the Pentagon.

According to Washington defense spokespersons, Sunday’s US airstrike was supposedly in response to a rocket attack which struck the “K1” joint US-Iraqi military base located in Kirkuk in north Iraq, which happened just two days before on Friday December 27th, killing one U.S. defense contractor, and one Iraqi police officer, as well as wounding a further 4 US defense contractors, and 3 Iraqi Army officers. US officials claim they had intelligence which confirmed  that Friday’s rocket attack near Kirkuk was the work of “Iranian militia,” therefore holding the Islamic Republic of Iran responsible. However, no evidence was presented by the US in relation to the claim.

In response to the US bombing its facility on Sunday, Iraqi protesters, including friends and family of fallen soldiers killed in the US bombing raid, and led by Iraqi PMU members and their supporters, stormed the outer perimeter of the US embassy in Baghdad located inside the infamous US-controlled Green Zone. Many US embassy staff were evacuated or airlifted from the compound, and an additional detachment of 100 US Marines were called in as reinforcements, along with an additional 750 troops from fast battalion 82nd Airborne Division sent to Kuwait preparing to go into Iraq. US combat helicopters circled overhead, as well as around the entire Green Zone and over civilians neighborhoods in Baghdad. This move was not received well by the Iraqi government who forbid such US military patrols as part of their status of forces agreement for the country. The siege lasted until News Years Eve on December 31st, before the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Mukhabarat internal security eventually arrived to disperse the angry crowds.

Following the embarrassing scenes at the US embassy on New Years Eve, Washington promised retribution. What followed could very well be the trigger for a renewed war in Iraq, and which may likely result in US forces and personnel eventually being asked (or forced) to leave the country. On Wednesday January 2, 2020, the US launched another airstrike, targeting an access road leading to Baghdad International Airport, and reportedly killed Iranian Quds Force leader, General Qasem Soleimani, as well as senior Iraqi PMU commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, according to reports by Iraqi TV.

Both Soleimani and al-Muhandis are considered to be among Iran and Iraq’s most revered military figures, and their targeted assassinations by the US government will certainly be viewed as an act of war by a large portion of the Iraqi and Iranian populations, as well as their respective military and security apparatuses. In particular, al-Muhandis is regarded by many a hero in Iraqi’s hard-fought victory over ISIS in 2017.

Iraqi cabinet officials and parliamentarians have been meeting over the last 48 hours to discuss reviewing the status of their cooperation agreement with the United States which allows for intelligence sharing and US training and technical assistance for Iraqi military divisions. Whether this escalates into officials calling for the US military and its 20,000 troops and defense personnel to pack up and leave the country – remains to be seen.

It should go without saying that this provocative military action by the United States means that US troops and personnel may no longer be safe operating in Iraq.

Questioning US ‘Intelligence’

In order to grasp the full gravity of what the Trump Administration has just done, it’s essential to consider these events in historical context, as the latest reckless move in a long line of US failures in Iraq.

According to veteran Middle East correspondent Elijah Magnier, “The United States of America has fallen into the trap of its own disinformation policy, as exemplified by the work of one of its leading strategic study centres, a neocon think tank promoting war on Iran.”

Magnier adds, “Analysts’ wishful thinking overwhelmed their sense of reality, notably the possibility of realities invisible to them. They fell into the same trap of misinformation and ignorance that has shaped western opinion since the occupation of Iraq in 2003. The invasion of Iraq was justified by the presence of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ which never existed.”

According to Iraqi officials, at the time of the initial rocket attack on Dec 27th, it was not clear who had actually fired on the K1 joint base. Regardless, a number of data points strongly indicate that the US had already decided who it would be targeting.

According to the New York Times, “President Trump was briefed by Defense Department leaders on Saturday, and allowed the strikes to proceed. Senior officials including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Sunday for discussions with the president, American officials said.”

The US had already taken the decision to bomb Iraq before any joint investigation could be conducted between the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the US authorities. Soon after the Mar-a-lago meeting, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called acting Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to inform him the US was not interested in working with Baghdad to find out what happened and who had fired the rockets. Esper told the Iraqi PM that Washington had already received “intelligence” from its trusted sources which said the rocket attack was carried out by a branch of the Iraqi PMUs known as Katiab Hezbollah (no relation to Lebanon’s Hezbollah defense force). It should be noted that these PMU brigades are composed of Iraqi citizens who serve under the official Iraqi military command headquartered in Baghdad. Because this PMU division’s membership is composed of Shia Muslims, United States officials and the US mainstream media have taken the liberty of labeling them as “Iranian militia” – a blatant falsehood, but one which has been disseminated by US officials in order to infer these are somehow ‘Iranian proxies’ and proceeded to pin the alleged responsibility of the initial rocket attack on Iran, in effect, justifying the heavy-handed US retaliation on Sunday, and Washington’s targeted assassinations of Qasem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 2nd.

To date, US officials have provided no evidence to support their claim that the rocket attack on Dec 27th was carried out by Katiab Hezbollah PMUs, nor has the US given any specifics as to the provenance of its ‘intelligence’ which attributed blame to PMUs. If this was indeed a rush to judgement, it would not be the first time the US has perpetrated an act of war against a sovereign state based on faulty, and less than credible intelligence. The recent OPCW leaks have demonstrated beyond any doubt that the US-led airstrikes against Syria in April of 2018 were based on misinformation of a supposed ‘chemical attack’ just days earlier in Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018.

Upon closer review, it’s now clear that what the US claimed it was doing, does not actually match the actions which it had undertaken on Dec 29th. In addition, the US bombing raid on Dec 29th will also have aided ISIS. Magnier explains the obvious US disconnect here:

Mr Abdel Mahdi asked Esper if the US has “proof against Kataeb Hezbollah to share so Iraq can arrest those responsible for the attack on K1”. No response: Esper told Abdel Mahdi that the US was “well-informed” and that the attack would take place “in a few hours”.

In less than half an hour, US jets bombed five Iraqi security forces’ positions deployed along the Iraqi-Syrian borders, in the zone of Akashat, 538 kilometres from the K1 military base (that had been bombed by perpetrators still unknown). The US announced the attack but omitted the fact that in these positions there were not only Kataeb Hezbollah but also Iraqi Army and Federal Police officers. Most victims of the US attack were Iraqi army and police officers. Only 9 officers of Kataeb Hezbollah – who joined the Iraqi Security Forces in 2017 – were killed. These five positions had the task of intercepting and hunting down ISIS and preventing the group’s militants from crossing the borders from the Anbar desert. The closest city to these bombed positions is al-Qaem, 150 km away.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that the US and allies have targeted an Iraqi PMU facility and tried to label it as “Iranian.” Back in September, 21WIRE reported how Israel and Saudi Arabia were reported to have launched supposed ‘retaliatory’ airstrikes against “pro-Iranian militias” stationed along the border between Syria and Iraq. This was reported by the Jerusalem Post at the time:

“Saudis, Israel attack pro-Iran militias on Syria-Iraq border,” and adding that,“Saudi fighter jets have been spotted along with other fighter jets that have attacked facilities and positions belonging to Iranian militias.”

21WIRE also noted how the Jerusalem Post had compiled their report citing multiple sources, including pieces of information from the Independent Arabia, Lebanese outlet Al Mayadeen and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They reported air strikes hitting targets over the course of that week, killing 31, after hitting what they called “Iranian-backed” Iraqi Hash’d Shaabi (PMUs) positions along the Iraqi-Syria border.

“On Wednesday, five people were killed and another nine were wounded in an airstrike carried out by unidentified aircraft that targeted positions of the Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces militia in Albukamal, according to Sky News Arabia.”

Why this is crucial, is because it demonstrates previous form by Israel and Saudi Arabia – against near identical targets which the US bombed on Dec 29. It stands to reason then, that the ‘intelligence’ source for both attacks, on Sept 19th, and Dec 29th, seem to be related, deriving from either Israel or Saudi Arabia – both of which are heavily biased against Iran, and viewed it as an existential threat to their own regional geopolitical and military hegemony. In the case of Israel, it has played a visible role in directing US policy regarding Iran since the onset of the Trump Administration. It was Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu who boasted about his role in convincing the White House to unilaterally withdrawal from the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

It’s also important to note with the US bombing raid on Sunday Dec 29th, the Iraqi bases hit along the Syrian-Iraqi border are located approximately 540km from Kirkuk, far away from where the US claim that Kaitab Hezbollah PMUs had fired the initial rocket attack on Dec 27th – which means that those US targets played no role in Friday’s rocket attack on K1, and more likely had already been selected in advance of Dec 27th, and the US was simply waiting for the right ‘incident’ to green-light a military attack on what it claims to be “Iranian” military targets.

Again, the fact that the US insists on mislabeling its supposed enemy means that nothing productive can come out of the latest series of events – unless Washington considers another full-scale war in Iraq a productive endeavor – a proposition which many would not find that far-flung considering America’s tawdry record in the region.

Iraqi PMUs Defeated ISIS in 2017

In order to properly understand the Iraqi military and PMU’s reaction to this ham-fisted US attack on Iraqi soil, it is important to understand who are the Iraqi People’s Mobilization Units (PMUs), aka the Hash’d al-Shabbi, or ‘Hasheed’ for short. This is the new national militia of Iraq and are the very same soldiers who have fought and died against ISIS for ultimately defeating their terrorist occupation in late 2017. The PMUs were formed in response to the emergence of ISIS and the fall of Mosul in June 2014. The Grand Ayatollah Sistani issued a fatwa in the summer of 2014, which called on all able-bodied men of fighting age to form a coalition of national militias, roughly 130,000 strong, to fight back against ISIS after it had routed the Iraq Army during ISIS’s summer blitzkrieg which saw several key cities taken by the terrorist army, as they headed dangerously close to the capital city Baghdad.

Based on the rhetoric and media coverage we are seeing this week, it’s painfully obvious that few, if any, within the ranks of American foreign policy ‘experts’ and national security journalists, are really aware of this reality on the ground in Iraq. It is widely acknowledged in Iraq, and in the region, that the PMUs played the decisive role in defeating ISIS and securing liberated communities in the latter stages of the country’s terrorist ordeal. It’s important to note also that tens of thousands of Iraqis, including Iraqi Army, Police, Iraqi civilians, and Iraqi PMUs – including these very same PMU units who the US has killed this week – have all died, sacrificing their lives for their country in the fight against the foreign-backed terrorist menace. For the United States political leadership and mainstream media to crassly label them as “Iranian militias,” is to rob Iraqis of an important national victory and strip them of their agency.

As we can now see from the incredible scenes at the US embassy on Tuesday, Washington’s ignorance of the reality on the ground in Iraq has come at a heavy price.

Since its opening in 2008, the new US embassy has not faced any serious challenge to its structural integrity. It is not just any embassy either – it is the world’s largest and most expensive embassy ever constructed, covering a total of 104 acres which is roughly the size of Vatican City, and houses 5,000 embassy staff, military and intelligence personnel. Iraqi protesters breached its outer security walls and main gate, and proceeded to lay waste the embassy’s periphery structures, before pinning down US Marines guarding the compound inside the foyer of one of the outer reception buildings. Now that this facility has been compromised, it can no longer be relied on as the ‘fortress America’ and forward operating station it has been for the past decade.

Trump and Washington’s Fundamental Error

Another important takeaway from all of this is for Americans to realize that Iran posed no national security threat to the United States, but Washington’s insistence on framing every incident in the region as “the work of the Iranian regime” means that forces in Washington desperately want war, and now they can’t hide their agenda. This drive is most certainly being spurred on by US allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia. From an imperialist standpoint, the US and its allies do benefit geopolitically by keeping Iraq divided and weak – ensuring that it can never get back on its feet economically or politically to become influential in the region, and can never become close partners with its two most important neighbors Syria and Iran.

For Washington and Tel Aviv, the road to Tehran has always been through Baghdad, only we’re not in 2003 anymore, and the Middle East playing field has changed dramatically since that time, mostly as a direct consequence of US military and proxy aggression in the region.

Besides this, Iraqis are well aware by now that it is the United States and not Iran, who has already ruined their country for generations to come.

If Washington continues down this path, it could also lead to Trump’s downfall politically.

Unfortunately, Iraq is set again to become the pitch for another ugly geopolitical grudge match between the West and Iran. By showing its ugly hand, Washington has left its adversaries with little choice but to fight back this time.

***

Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting in the Middle East including work in Syria and Iraq. See his archive here.

January 3, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US uses ISIS as ‘scarecrow’ to intimidate others, while secretly backing them, Syrian FM tells RT

RT | December 25, 2019

Despite claiming to fight jihadists in Syria, the Americans are gladly using them to further anti-Damascus policies and occasionally giving them a helping hand, the Syrian foreign minister told RT.

“The Americans are using ISIS as a scarecrow,” Minister Walid Muallem said in an interview with RT Arabic. “At the same time they are feeding ISIS, [they] encourage them, protect ISIS leaders and help them move from one area to another.”

“The US policy is aimed at investing into terrorism.”

The Syrian government has long accused the US of fueling groups of foreign Islamist fighters, even those bragging of committing atrocities in Syria, as long as they were willing to fight against the forces loyal to Damascus. Washington claimed its illegal deployment of troops in Syria was aimed at destroying IS, but even after the group was declared defeated the American boots remain on the ground.

The latest public justification coming from the US is that oil in northeastern Syria needs to be “secured” from the defeated jihadists. In practice, the US denies the internationally recognized government of Syria of using the country’s national resources.

Muallem also said the US continues its attempts to topple the government he serves with various measures, including by targeting Damascus with economic sanctions. A new round of those is expected after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier this month.

Part of the NDAA orders punishment of companies who would help the Syrian government in rebuilding infrastructure and the energy sector – which presumably should not be allowed to happen while President Bashar Assad remains in power.

“All nations that were victimized by this system need to join forces and resist those sanctions,” the Syrian official said.

December 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 5 Comments

West’s Relations with the White Helmets have gone Stale

By Jean Perier – New Eastern Outlook – 30.07.2019

At long last, Western sponsors of the so-called “humanitarian group” White Helmets have woken up to the fact that their love affair with those pseudo-humanitarianists is more damaging that beneficial, which in turn invoked a number of problems.

The White Helmets which have been exposed as a propaganda operation launched by Washington and London to feed the international community with fake videos depicting false-flag chemicals attack in Eastern Ghouta started experiencing its first difficulties last year when the White House decided to stop sponsoring them. For sure, their activities have been pretty beneficial for the US as it provided Washington with a pretext to attack Syria, but then Washington has never had much concern over the well-being of its minions once they are no longer useful.

Even though Donald Trump would have a change of heart in mid-summer 2018, ordering the US State Department and US Agency for International Development to allocate another 6.6 million dollars to sponsor the activities of this organization, at this point nobody had any doubts about the provocative and untruthful nature of the reports that would be released by the White Helmets.

A well-known British journalist, Vanessa Beeley has already exposed the ties between the British intelligence agencies and the White Helmets and through them to the Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist group. According to her revelations, the White Helmets branch in Eastern Aleppo was once established by Abdulaziz Maghribi, who previously headed a local Al-Nusra-affiliated militant group. Further still, this individual had also been an armed member of the Turkish-backed Al Tawhid brigade which invaded East Aleppo in 2012

The ever growing awareness of the Western public about the deceptive nature of the White Helmets and their activities has rendered them useless in any future anti-Russian or anti-Syrian provocations. Therefore, Washington had to take some sort of decision about their future, musing over the possibility of turning them into a purely British local propaganda vehicle, as the group was created back in 2013 by a retired British servicemen, the head of the Mayday Rescue Foundation NGO – James Le Mesure, or scrap this project altogether. Under these circumstances it became clear even for Washington that it had to find much more credible partners on the ground to carry on advancing its agenda.

As the number of Syrian towns under control of pro-Western jihadi fighters has been dwindling steadily, Jordan’s intelligence agencies in cooperation with the Mossad launched a withdrawal operation, transporting a total of 98 White Helmets activists together with their family members to Jordan from south-western Syria, on July 22, 2018. Some publications claim that they’ve evacuated 422 people, while others state that there was over 800 people transported in total. Initially, it was planned that those so-called activists would dwell for some time at the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base before heading to a number of western countries.

Initially, it was announced that the resettlement of the White Helmets wouldn’t take more than three-four weeks, with the UK, France, Canada, and Germany claiming that they would be delighted to become a new home for those “brave souls”, but it’s been over a year now. No more than three hundred out of the initial 800 have found their new homes, as reported by Reuters, but now the process of resettlement has come to a screeching halt.

In particular, as it’s been reported by Canadian media sources, there’s still White Helmets members dwelling with their family members in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp, including those that were supposed to be moved to Canada. In total, there’s over 42 people that have been waiting for resettlement to Canada for almost a year now. However, after the initial security check, including an “interview” conducted in the camp, Ottawa realized that it had no intention of providing asylum to the much-touted “human rights champions,” seeking a pretext to send them some place else instead. The situation is getting even more peculiar due to the fact that Amman gave permission of transit to those individuals, but didn’t say a word about their right for permanent residence. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau hopes that the Nazi-ridden Ukraine would develop a taste for hosting pro-Western “human rights activists,” after all the newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to pay his dues after the warm welcome he received in Ottawa and Canada making a promise to deliver its old armored vehicles to Ukraine.

As for Canada itself, in spite of its relatively relaxed migration legislation, it’s in no hurry to grant refuge to those representatives of the White Helmets that are stuck in Jordan. It is equally reluctant to grant entry permission to those Canadians who were fighting against the legitimate Syrian government in the ranks of ISIS militants together with their family members. In total, the latter group consists of 32 individuals (6 men, 9 women and 17 children). According to the information leaked to the media, Canadian intelligence agencies are currently collecting evidence to identify the role they might have played in committing various war crimes.

In general, as Canadian observers note, the flow of Syrian refugees to Canada has been put on halt once Ottawa faced a number of difficulties with their integration into the local society. After all, Justin Trudeau couldn’t care less about Syrian refugees, since they were only beneficial to him during the initial years of his stay in power, when he could score a number of political points talking about them. It is obvious that Western governments have no stomach for hosting those individuals they were praising as heroes, since such a move could result in a spike of xenophobic moods and a wide-spread panic over the possibility of terrorist attacks. And besides, the White Helmets have already played their propaganda role, so they are no longer needed.

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

MSM Mourns Death Of CIA-Backed Syrian Al-Qaeda/ISIS Ally

By Caitlin Johnstone | June 8, 2019

On Wednesday the alternative media outlet Southfront published an article titled “New Video Throws Light On Jaysh Al-Izza High-Tolerance To Al-Qaeda Ideology” about newly discovered footage showing the leader of a “rebel” faction in Syria cozying up with a militant who was wearing a badge of the official flag of ISIS.

“The video shows Jaysh al-Izza General Commander Major Jamil al-Saleh congratulating a group of his fighters on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr in a underground bunker,” Southfront reports. “One of the fighters greeted by Saleh was wearing a batch of the Islamic Black Standard with the Seal of Muhammad. This is a well-known symbol of al-Qaeda and the official flag of ISIS.”

Today, mass media outlets are mourning the death of a well-known Jaysh al-Izza fighter named Abdel-Basset al-Sarout with grief-stricken beatifications not seen since the death of war criminal John McCain. An Associated Press report which has been published by major news outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS and Bloomberg commemorates Sarout as a “Syrian soccer goalkeeper” who “won international titles representing his country”, as “the singer of the revolution”, and as “an icon among Syria’s opposition”.

Remember Major Jamil al-Saleh from two paragraphs ago? AP features his glowing eulogy in its write-up on Sarout’s death:

“He was both a popular figure, guiding the rebellion, and a military commander,” said Maj. Jamil al-Saleh, leader of Jaish al-Izza rebel group, in which Sarout was a commander. “His martyrdom will give us a push to continue down the path he chose and to which he offered his soul and blood as sacrifice.”

Other mainstream outlets like BBC, The Daily Beast and Al Jazeera have contributed their own fawning hagiographies of the late Jaysh al-Izza commander.

“Formed in 2013, Jaysh al-Izza was one of the first Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in northern Syria to benefit from U.S. support through the CIA’s ‘Timber Sycamore’ train and equip program, which had been approved by then U.S. President Barack Obama,” Southfront reports in the aforementioned article. “The group received loads of weapons from the U.S. including Grad rockets, as well as Fagot and TOW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).”

“Jaysh al-Izza received this support under the pretension of being a ‘moderate group’ led by a known Syrian Arab Army (SAA) defector, al-Saleh,” Southfront adds. “However, the group’s acts were not in line with these claims. Since its formation, Jaysh al-Izza has been deeply linked to al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. The group became one of the main allies of al-Nusra when its changed its name to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in 2017.”

“Western thought leaders are lionizing Abdel Baset al-Sarout who was killed fighting the Syrian army,” tweeted journalist Dan Cohen of the mass media response to Sarout’s death. “They conveniently omit that he fought in a militia allied with al-Qaeda and pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Cohen linked to an excerpt from his mini-documentary The Syria Deception featuring footage of Sarout holding an ISIS flag, leading chants calling for the extermination of the Alawite minority in Syria, and announcing his allegiance to ISIS.

Other publicly available video footage includes a speech by Sarout urging cooperation between his own faction, ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise), saying “we know that these two groups are not politicized and have the same goals as us, and are working for God.”

“God willing we will work with them shoulder-to-shoulder when we leave here,” Sarout has been translated as saying in the speech. “And we are not Christians or Shiaa to be scared of suicide belts and car bombs. We consider these things as strengths of ours, and God willing they will be just that. This message is to the Islamic State and our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra, that when we come out of here we will all be one hand to fight Christians and not to have internal fights among ourselves. We want to take back all the lands that have been filthied by the regime, that were entered and taken over by Shiaas and apostates.”

This bloodthirsty terrorist warmongering was taken by the aforementioned AP hagiography and twisted into the single sentence, “He repeatedly denounced rebel infighting and called on Syrians to unite against government forces.”

The Atlantic’s Hassan Hassan framed Sarout’s unconscionable agendas as mere “flaws” which actually add to his inspiring and heroic story, tweeting, “Some individuals celebrated as heroes make you doubt all stories of heroes in history books. Others, like Abdulbasit Sarout, not inspire of but despite his flaws, make those stories highly plausible. He’s a true legend & his story is well documented. May his soul rest in peace.”

Yeah, come on, everybody’s got flaws. Some people suck at parallel parking, some people team up with ISIS and Al-Qaeda on genocidal extermination campaigns. We’ve all got our quirky little foibles.

We can expect more and more of these mass media distortions as Syria and its allies draw closer to recapturing Syrian land from the extremist forces which nearly succeeded in toppling Damascus just a few short years ago.

As these distortions pour in, keep this in mind: all of the violence that is still happening in Syria is the fault of the US and its allies, who helped extremist jihadist factions like Jaysh al-Izza overrun the nation to advance the preexisting goal of effecting regime change. The blame for all the death, suffering and chaos which ensues from a sovereign nation fighting to reclaim its land from these bloodthirsty factions rests solely on the government bodies which inflicted their dominance over the region in the first place.

You will see continuing melodramatic garment-rending from the US State Department and its mass media stenographers about “war crimes” and “human rights violations” as though the responsibility for this violence rests somewhere other than on the US-centralized power alliance, but they will be lying. What these warmongering propagandists are doing is exactly the same as paying a bunch of violent thugs to break into a home and murder its owner, then standing by and sounding the alarm about the way the homeowner chooses to fight off their assailants.

After it was discovered that the US and its allies armed actual, literal terrorist factions in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change, the only sane response would have been for the public to loudly and aggressively demand that all governments involved to take immediate action to completely rectify all damage done by this unforgivable war crime at any cost, and for there to be war crimes tribunals for every decision maker who was a part of it. Instead, because of propaganda circulated by the same mass media narrative management firms who are sanctifying the memory of Abdel-Basset al-Sarout today, the public remains asleep to the depravity of its rulers. This dynamic must change if we are to survive and thrive as a species.

June 10, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New US Ambassador to Tajikistan Seems to be Up To the Task

By Martin Berger – New Eastern Outlook – 29.03.2019

To this day Central Asia remains an arena of struggle for a number of major international players, namely Russia, China and the United States. In this struggle, Washington has now started losing its influence, which resulted in a series of desperate attempts to establish a sound foothold in this region, which could serve as a bulwark against both Russia and China. Against this backdrop, it’s no coincidence that the so-called private intelligence service known as Stratfor would reveal in its forecast for this year that the United States is planning to step up its efforts in Central Asia, especially in those countries that share a common border with Afghanistan, namely Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This service won’t go into much detail about the efforts it’s referring to, but it’s hardly a secret that Washington has been busy redeploying radical Islamists from Syria, where they are getting defeated by the government forces and its allies, to Afghanistan, while making claims about its devotion to the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

In this situation, a relatively small regional player – Tajikistan found itself at the forefront of Washington’s attempt to push Moscow and Beijing out of the region. The US is particularly interested in influencing the foreign policy pursued by Dushanbe due to the two following reasons.

First of all, Tajikistan is not just an immediate neighbor of Afghanistan, but it shares the longest common border with this country out of all of the former Soviet republics – 800 miles in total. Secondly, Dushanbe has been enjoying close ties with Russia, which resulted in Moscow establishing its largest overseas military installation in Tajikistan – the 201st Military Base.

Due to the negligible size of its economy and its relative geographic isolation, Tajikistan can hardly be described as a promising trade partner of the United States, as Western oligarchs would have a hard time justifying investments in this country. So, the only approach that Washington can take in influencing Tajikistan into those decisions that it’s not willing to make is to complain about Dushanbe undermining democratic values, while pursuing closer military cooperation with it. For instance, as it’s been reported by a number of media sources, last year the Pentagon handed out 8 million dollars worth of military equipment to Dushanbe.

However, the situation on the ground may change rather abruptly and unexpectedly at any given moment. For instance, on the back of a long list of complaints Washington has made about Dushanbe being “not democratic enough” the West may decide to pursue a regime change in this country, which will result in the CIA and the Pentagon cutting costs on the illegal transit of opiates from Afghanistan.

That is why, in order to achieve its goals, the United States has been actively promoting the notion of establishing a regional young leadership network in Central Asia, under which young activists from Central Asian states would be able to receive education in Western universities together with the offspring of the regional elites. It goes without saying that after returning home those youngsters would promote Western neoliberal ideas, pedaling American interests like there’s no tomorrow. That is why Washington spends hundreds of millions of dollars on sponsoring various non-governmental organizations in Tajikistan.

In recent years, a large network of various organizations has been working for American money in the country, including, among others, the Soros Foundation, the Aga Khan, the Institute of War and Peace, and so on. In fact, there’s there’s well over 3,000 non-profit organizations registered in Tajikistan, with most of them being involved in the promotion of Western interests, including news agencies and law firms.

Back in the early 90s the United States and Tajikistan signed a deal on mutual attempts to facilitate the promotion of humanitarian and technical assistance. It’s hard to say how much money Washington has spent so far while promoting its narrative in Dushanbe, but it’s clear that USAID alone spent some 450 million dollars on such activities in the last three decades alone.

However, a series of “color revolutions” that Washington staged across the globe resulted in a considerable tightening of anti-NGO legislation in Tajikistan, which means that Dushanbe has been steadily increasing its ability to shape the internal situation within the country.

Now the US is testing a new strategy of coercion developed at the Pentagon for Venezuela and a number of other countries that dare to disagree publicly with Washington. It involves the use of a number of leverages, including financial sanctions and offensive online operations against the target country, along with the support of the political opposition and continuous threats of imminent military aggression.

There’s every reason to believe that the United States is going to test this new approach in Tajikistan, combining anti-government street protests with armed “revolutionary” jihad mounted by radical forces and, quite possibly, supported by a rebellion of local criminal groups. At the same time, Washington’s calculations of such developments clearly suggest that the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, Muhiddin Kabiri would be advertised as the new leader of Tajikistan, while the prominent Badakhshan drug dealers would be tasked with fielding militants to support the runaway Tajik commander of the special forces who defected to ISIS, Gulmurod Khalimov. The Tajik portal Akhbor, in particular, has already announced that the United States initiated the transfer of elite ISIS fighters from Afghanistan that are being led by Halimov, with Saudi Arabia footing the bill for this operation.

Against this background, the arrival of the new US ambassador to Dushanbe, John Pommersheim can only be regarded as a troubling development. Pommersheim is considered to be one of the best experts on Russia in the entire State Department, as he would study Russian in Moscow after obtain scholarship from the US Department of Defense. The man who made a career at the US Information Agency (USIA) back in the 1980s is being transferred to Tajikistan from the US embassy in Kazakhstan. Moreover, Pommersheim is reverted as an expert on Central Asia and the Caucasus. His appointment in Tajikistan further demonstrates Washington’s growing interest in Central Asia. By using Tajikistan as a bridgehead, the United States can inflict extensive damage to both Russia and China, that are being described as the strategic opponents of Washington. In particular, should it succeed in destabilizing Central Asia, Washington would render the entire concept of the One Belt One Road initiative senseless, which implies China reorienting its trade routes to Europe from sea to land.

Of course, it would be naive to assume that John Pommersheim will start staging a “color revolution” in Dushanbe on the day of his arrival. As of now, the US cannot build enough momentum to force Russia or China out of Tajikistan. Instead it’s going to support all sorts of anti-Chinese and anti-Russian sentiments, taking advantage of the network of NGOs, the tactics that Pommersheim managed to master a long while ago.

We are going to follow the achievements of Pommersheim in Dushanbe rather closely, as it seems unlikely that Washington would have sent such a figure to Tajikistan for him just to enjoy the view.

March 29, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Starts a War? Congress Yawns. Threatens to End One? Condemnation!

By Ron Paul | February 11, 2019

Last week’s bipartisan Senate vote to rebuke President Trump for his decision to remove troops from Syria and Afghanistan unfortunately tells us a lot about what is wrong with Washington, DC. While the two parties loudly bicker about minor issues, when it comes to matters like endless wars overseas they enthusiastically join together. With few exceptions, Republicans and Democrats lined up to admonish the president for even suggesting that it’s time for US troops to come home from Afghanistan and Syria.

The amendment, proposed by the Senate Majority Leader and passed overwhelmingly by both parties, warns that a “precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from the on-going fight…in Syria and Afghanistan, could allow terrorists to regroup.” As one opponent of the amendment correctly pointed out, a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is hardly “precipitous” since they’ve been there for nearly 18 years! And with al-Qaeda and ISIS largely defeated in Syria a withdrawal from that country would hardly be “precipitous” after almost five years of unauthorized US military action.

Senators supporting the rebuke claim that US troops cannot leave until every last ISIS fighter is killed or captured. This is obviously a false argument. Al-Qaeda and ISIS did not emerge in Iraq because US troops left the country – they emerged because the US was in the country in the first place. Where was al-Qaeda in Iraq before the 2003 US invasion the neocons lied us into? There weren’t any.

US troops occupying Iraqi territory was, however, a huge incentive for Iraqis to join a resistance movement. Similarly, US intervention in Syria beginning under the Obama Administration contributed to the growth of terrorist groups in that country.

We know that US invasion and occupation provides the best recruiting tools for terrorists, including suicide terrorists. So how does it make sense that keeping troops in these countries in any way contributes to the elimination of terrorism? As to the “vacuum” created in Syria when US troops pull out, how about allowing the government of Syria to take care of the problem? After all, it’s their country and they’ve been fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda since the US helped launch the “regime change” in 2011. Despite what you might hear in the US mainstream media, it’s Syria along with its allies that has done most of the fighting against these groups and it makes no sense that they would allow them to return.

Congress has the Constitutional responsibility and obligation to declare war, but this has been ignored for decades. The president bombs far-off lands and even sends troops to fight in and occupy foreign territory and Congress doesn’t say a word. But if a president dares seek to end a war suddenly the sleeping Congressional giant awakens!

I’ve spent many years opposing Executive branch over-reach in matters where the president has no Constitutional authority, but when it comes to decisions on where to deploy or re-deploy troops once in battle it is clear that the Constitution grants that authority to the commander-in-chief. The real question we need to ask is why is Congress so quick to anger when the president finally seeks to end the longest war in US history?

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 11 Comments

Yemen: Hodeida Truce in New Hands as UN Replaces Biased and Ineffective Monitor

By Ahmed Abdulkareem – MintPress News – February 5, 2019

SANA’A, YEMEN — The newly-appointed head of the United Nations mission to monitor Yemen’s truce agreement between the Houthis and the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition, Danish Lt. Gen. Michael Anker Lollesgaard, arrived in Yemen’s capital Sana’a on Tuesday, along with a five-member team, to assume his duty in the country’s Red Sea port city of Hodeida. Lollesgaard succeeds retired Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert.

The development comes after MintPress News revealed on January 24 that the United Nations promised to replace Cammaert, who was leading a UN joint committee tasked with overseeing the truce in Hodeida, a conduit for the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid. The replacement of the joint committee’s head was promised in order to save the fragile truce after the Houthis accused Cammaert of pursuing an agenda favoring the Saudi-led coalition, according to a high-ranking Houthi official.

Prior to his replacement, the Houthis boycotted a meeting chaired by Cammaert in Hodeida, accusing him of pushing the Saudi coalition’s agenda after he requested that Houthi forces withdraw eight kilometers outside of Hodeida while asking Saudi coalition forces to withdraw only half a kilometer — giving the coalition an opportunity to quickly occupy Hodeida unopposed, according to a source in the negotiating committee.

In an attempt not to portray the change as a victory for the Houthis, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who announced Lollesgaard’s appointment on January 31, said Cammaert was on a temporary one-month contract and did not resign. However, the decision to appoint a new monitoring chief in Yemen’s key port may give UN envoy Martin Griffiths a chance to succeed, according to observers who spoke to MintPress.

Monday on a UN-hired ship off Hodeida, Cammaert held his final meeting between the Houthis and coalition representatives in an effort to end a month-long stalemate over the implementation of a mutual troop withdrawal from the port city.

Yemenis still see the agreements reached in Sweden as the best chance yet of ending the Saudi war against the poorest country the Middle East, a war that has killed thousands of people since it began in 2015 and pushed 14 million to the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

In the view of Yemeni analysts who spoke to MintPress, if Saudi Arabia persists in its behavior, no UN envoy or monitor will be able to help reach a peace agreement in Yemen; and, without pressure on the Kingdom, the UN will go on playing a feeble role. Accordingly, the replacement of the head of the UN monitoring mission is regarded as effectively meaningless by many Yemenis.

The Saudi-led coalition appears willing to commit to war as a solution and further fighting will give rise to more disease, famine, and lack of access to humanitarian aid and food commodities. The repercussions will be fast and conspicuous across Yemen.

“Hanging in the balance”

Representatives of the Saudi coalition and the Houthis met in Jordan on Tuesday for a new round of UN-brokered talks on a troubled prisoner-swap deal that was initially agreed on in Stockholm last December. UN envoy Griffiths said the new talks aim to finalize the lists of prisoners and detainees to be released or exchanged.

A source on the negotiation committee told MintPress that the Houthis proposed releasing 400 prisoners from both sides as an initiative to get the talks going. There was no comment from Saudi Arabia on the proposal.

Last week, representatives from the coalition and the Houthis had held a round of UN-brokered negotiations in the Jordanian capital city of Amman to hammer out details of the prisoner exchange. The two sides met separately with the mediators and submitted lists of prisoners they wanted to be released.

Both sides have said repeatedly they remain committed to the agreement, which could see thousands of prisoners released by each side, including hundreds of al-Qaeda and ISIS members who were fighting on behalf of the coalition. So far, however, no breakthrough has been made.

Fears linger that failure of the prisoner exchange would have a knock-on effect on the next round of peace talks, owing to the nature of the list of prisoners made by both sides. Each side presented a list of up to 8,000 detainees to be freed, but many of those detainees on the list are not able to be accounted for, according to a senior official from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The prisoner swap would, therefore, involve a significantly lower number of prisoners, an outcome likely to draw the ire of both sides.

A senior International Committee of the Red Cross official, which will oversee the deal’s implementation, said on Monday that the prisoner exchange was “hanging in the balance,” with trust among the parties “insufficient.” He also indicated that “there is a lot of disappointment on both sides,” adding: “What we now see on both sides is that they don’t have them all [i.e., the listed prisoners] because a lot of them, they probably died during the conflict.”

There are positive signs, however. In a move that could boost ongoing UN-led efforts to save the deal, the Houthis released an ailing Saudi prisoner, Musa al-Awaji, on humanitarian grounds at the end of January. The Saudi coalition also released seven Houthi prisoners who were not part of the negotiated exchange.

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

US Caught Helping ISIS Commanders Escape from Prison in Afghanistan

Tasnim News Agency | January 28, 2019

Kabul – A large number of prisoners, all of them senior members of Daesh (also ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group, broke out of a Taliban prison in northwest Afghanistan after US troops helped them escape through a covert operation.

According to Tasnim dispatches, American forces operating in Afghanistan carried out a secret military operation in the northwestern province of Badghis two weeks ago and helped the Daesh inmates escape the prison.

The report added that 40 Daesh ringleaders, all of them foreigners, were transferred by helicopters after American troops raided the prison and killed all its security guards.

Abdullah Afzali, deputy head of Badghis provincial council, confirmed the news.

Informed sources have given a detailed account of the US operation to rescue the Daesh forces and the developments that helped Americans pinpoint the location of the prison in the mountainous areas.

Aminullah, a man from Uzbekistan, was one of the Daesh commanders held captive in the Taliban prison. His success to escape from the prison led to the dismissal of the Taliban prison guard and his punishment.

January 28, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas 2018: Iran and Syria show respect, Israel and Saudi Arabia don’t

By Neil Clark | RT | December 29, 2018

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all men. Or at least it should be. But while the West’s Middle East ‘bad guys’ Iran and Syria, showed the Yuletide spirit, its closest allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, failed to do so.

Iran is demonized by Western neocons and we’re meant to see the country as an evil, ‘monster‘ regime of foaming-at-the-mouth religious fanatics who hate everyone.

So it goes against the dominant narrative somewhat that Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted a Christmas message and wished ‘peace and joy to all in 2019’, on Christmas Eve.

It also goes against the narrative, that Zarif, back in September, wished Jews, in Iran and across the world, “a very Happy New Year filled with peace and harmony.”

We’re told repeatedly that the Iranian ‘regime’ is ‘anti-Semitic’, but do ‘anti-Semites’ wish Jews a happy ‘Rosh Hashanah’? If so, it’s a rather strange definition.

The Iranian Foreign Minister also tweeted on December 26 a message of goodwill to Iran’s Zoroastrian community.

Contrast this consideration to people of different faiths from Tehran, with the lack of congratulations on other religious holidays from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A week before Iran’s Foreign Minister was tweeting positively about Jesus, the KSA’s Customs Authority was also on the social media platform, confirming that Christmas trees were banned from entering the Kingdom for the festive season.

In fact, despite the large number of Christians from other countries who work in the country, including many Britons, the holding of any Christmas-related services or commemorations in Saudi Arabia is strictly banned. “The Christmas season – often a season where Christians around the world are most visible – is a tense time for Christians in Saudi Arabia, who have to celebrate the holiday in secret, risking arrest and deportation,” said Jeff King, President of the International Christian Concern, in 2016.

Imagine being a Christian and not being able to openly celebrate the birth of Christ. It happens in Saudi Arabia, yet Western leaders, so keen to lecture others about ‘human rights’ and ‘religious freedom’ stay silent, preferring to pick on Iran – where Christmas can be openly celebrated.

Syria is another country ‘monstered’ by the endless war lobby but where, against all the odds, the Christmas spirit is still maintained. Big seasonal celebrations were held this year in Aleppo and Damascus. Remember Aleppo?

It was recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army from Islamist ‘rebels’ two years ago this month, and the neocon/’liberal interventionist’ commentariat, and most of the political class portrayed it as a most terrible thing. Ian Austin MP said that people in Aleppo faced ‘slaughter’.

John Woodcock MP called the Morning Star newspaper ‘traitorous scum’ for referring to the recapture of Aleppo by Syrian forces of their own territory, as a ‘liberation’. But if you look at the pictures of Christians celebrating Christmas there once again, which they were forbidden to do under the western-backed head-chopping ’rebels’ you can see that the ‘L’ word was indeed appropriate.

This year in Damascus though, the festive celebrations were defiled by another act of aggression against Syria from a Western-supported-country, one which incidentally Ian Austin and John Woodcock have been Parliamentary ‘Friends’ of.

On the evening of December 25, loud explosions could be heard seven miles from the center of Damascus. Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Israel’s Christmas Day F-16 strikes endangered two civilian flights – as well as injuring three personnel at the logistics compound.

Whatever your stance is on Middle Eastern affairs – and leaving aside the illegality of the operation whenever it took place – the question is: did Israel really have to bomb Syria on Christmas Day?

Would Israel’s ’security’ have been lessened if the raid had taken place on December 28 and not the 25th? Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did tweet Christmas greetings out to ‘Christian friends’ in Israel and around the world on December 24, but why did his forces attack a country where Christians were celebrating one day later?

Just imagine the enormous outcry if Russia had carried out air strikes on Ukrainian targets on the evening of 25th December. In fact, the US magazine Newsweek, doing its best to ratchet up East-West tensions still further, predicted such an event only last week. They published an article on Christmas Eve which began with the words “As people in Western Europe and the United States get comfortable for the holidays, the chances increase that Russia will take advantage of the distraction to launch attacks against its neighbor Ukraine, experts said.”

And who are these ’experts’, I hear you ask. Well, guess what, they were all from the Atlantic Council.

The ‘experts’, surprise surprise, were wrong. The ‘monster’ Russia did not launch attacks on Ukraine over Christmas. But Israel did attack Syria – and there was silence from those who would have screeched very loudly (and be calling for RT to be taken off the air immediately) if the Kremlin had ordered such a sacrilegious act.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) were also busy bombing on Christmas Day. The genocidal group carried out suicide bomb attacks on Libya’s Foreign Ministry in Tripoli on Tuesday morning, killing three and leaving over half-a-dozen injured.

One doesn’t expect IS to respect Christmas, but you would expect Western leaders – of predominantly Christian nations to regard the group as public enemy number one. Yet in Syria, the US and its allies welcomed the group’s growth precisely because it threatened the secular, Christian-protecting government of Bashar al-Assad. A declassified US intelligence report from August 2012 predicted the establishment of a “Salafist principality in Eastern Syria” and said that this is “exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Furthermore, in a leaked tape recording the former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the US allowed IS to expand its territory to threaten Damascus.

At the same time, those fighting IS, and other al-Qaeda-linked death squads in Syria, namely the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have been ‘monstered’ by the West and its regional allies’ propaganda machines.

Reflect on this: It wasn’t Syrian, Russia, Iranian or Hezbollah forces or followers who slaughtered British and other Western holiday-makers on the beach in Tunisia in 2015 – but an IS terrorist who is thought to have trained at a jihadist camp in neighboring Libya and whose government had been forcibly toppled by NATO powers four years earlier. Similarly, it wasn’t Syrian, Russian, Iranian or Hezbollah forces or followers who carried out murderous attacks against civilians in Paris, Nice, Brussels, and London, or at Christmas markets in Berlin and Strasbourg.

Respecting Christmas and what it stands for is an important litmus test, as it tells us a lot about the actors involved, especially if they are not themselves Christians.

The ‘monstering’ of those who do show the proper ‘Yuletide spirit’, and the turning of a blind eye to those that don’t, highlights the spectacular hypocrisy of those in power in the West who profess to support ‘Christian values’ but in fact do everything possible to subvert them.

If anyone needs an Ebenezer Scrooge-style epiphany this Christmas, it’s the ‘monster-slayers’ themselves.

Read more:

Christmas in Aleppo: Syrians celebrate as city recovers from years-long bloodshed (VIDEOS)

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obama, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 25.12.2018

There is a great uproar over the recent decision by US President Trump to pull US troops out of Syria, announcing his reason for doing so is that ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, has largely been defeated. What lies behind the decision and more important, what was behind the surprise emergence of ISIS across Syria in 2014 brings the spotlight to yet-classified documents of the Obama term. If the reorganized Justice Department is compelled to make these documents public in lawsuits or Freedom of Information requests, it could rock organizations such as the CIA and many in the Obama camp.

In 2010 the US Administration under President Barack Obama developed a top secret blueprint for the most ambitious and far-ranging series of US-backed regime change across the Islamic Middle East since World War I and the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot agreement. It was to set off a wave of wars and chaos, of failed states and floods of war refugees unimaginable to the most cynical veteran diplomat, and beyond the belief of most lay persons in the world.

In August, 2010, six months before Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution was launched by the Washington NGOs including the NED, the Soros Foundations, Freedom House and others, President Obama signed Presidential Study Directive-11 (PDS-11), ordering Washington government agencies to prepare for “change.” The change was to be a radical policy calling for Washington’s backing for the secret fundamentalist Islamic Muslim Brotherhood sect across the Middle East Muslim world, and with it, the unleashing of a reign of terror that would change the entire world.

According to US Congressional testimony of Peter Hoekstra, former Chairman of the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Obama Administration PSD-11 directive–as of March 2017 still classified Top Secret–“ordered a government-wide reassessment of prospects for political reform in the Middle East and of the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in the process.”

A Grandiose Task Force

To draft the contents of PSD-11, a top secret task force was established within the Obama National Security Council (NSC), headed by Dennis Ross, Samantha Power, Gayle Smith, Ben Rhodes and Michael McFaul.

The PSD-11 Task Force members were remarkable in many regards. Samantha Power, who would go on to become Obama’s UN Ambassador and lead the demonizing of Russia after the CIA’s Ukraine Color Revolution coup in 2014, was to play an instrumental role in convincing President Obama that Libya’s Mohammar Qaddafi must be militarily removed for what she called “humanitarian reasons.” Dennis Ross, accused by Palestinian opponents of being “more pro-Israeli than the Israelis,” co-founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-sponsored Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). He was Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the NSC for the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia when he was part of the PSD-11 task force.

Gayle Smith would later go on in 2015 to head the USAID, the CIA-linked State Department agency that funneled US taxpayer millions to finance the NGOs of the Arab Spring and other Color Revolution regime changes. Michael McFaul, who once described himself as a “specialist on democracy, anti-dictator movements, revolutions,” was later named Obama’s Ambassador to Moscow where he coordinated opposition protests against Putin.

The Top Secret PSD-11 report that the Task Force drew up was partially revealed in a series of legal Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department. Released official documents revealed that the NSC Task Force had concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “viable movement” for the US Government to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East. A resulting Presidential directive ordered American diplomats to make contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active support to the organization’s drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria, at the 2011 outset of the “Arab Spring.” The PDS-11 secret paper came to the bizarre conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islam, combined with its fervent nationalism, could lead to “reform and stability.” It was a lie, a lie well known to the Obama PSD-11 Task Force members.

The True Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan–Arabic for The Brotherhood–is a secret masonic-like organization with a covert  or underground terrorist arm and a public facade of “peaceful doing of charity.” It was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna who developed the cult’s guiding motto. The credo of his Society of Muslim Brothers was incorporated into a chant of six short phrases:

Allah is our goal; The Prophet is our Leader; The Qur’an is our Constitution; Jihad is our Way; Death in the service of Allah is the loftiest of our wishes; Allah is Great, Allah is Great.

Al-Banna created a secret or hidden arm of the Ikhwan in Egypt and later worldwide, known as the Special Section (al-nizam al-khass), or, as it was referred to by the British in Egypt, the Secret Apparatus (al-jihaz al-sirri). That was the military wing of the Brotherhood, in effect, the “assassination bureau.” Al-Banna taught his recruits, exclusively male, that “Jihad is an obligation of every Muslim.” He preached the nobility of “Death in the Service of Allah,” and wrote, Allah grants a “noble life to that nation which knows how to die a noble death.” He preached a death cult in which “Victory can only come with the mastery of the ‘Art of Death.’” For the Brotherhood that “mastery” was perfected in the killing of “infidels” in Jihad or Holy War in the name of Allah. The infidels could be other Muslims such as Shi’ite or Sufi who did not follow Al-Banna’s strict Sunni practice, or Christians.

Hasan Al-Banna called for adoption of the very strict Islamic Shari’a law, the complete segregation of male and female students, with a separate curriculum for girls, a prohibition of dancing, and a call for Islamic states to eventually unify in a Caliphate.

During World War II, leading Muslim Brotherhood figures spent exile from British-controlled Egypt by fleeing to Berlin where, among others, Al Banna’s close Muslim brotherhood ally, Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, worked intimately with the SS and Heinrich Himmler to create special Muslim Brotherhood terror units of the SS, so-called Handschar SS, to kill Soviet soldiers and Jews. In the 1950’s the CIA discovered the Nazi Muslim Brotherhood recruits in exile in postwar Munich and decided they could be “useful.”

Virtually every major Jihadist terrorist organization and leader has come out of the Muslim Brotherhood. Osama bin Laden, who worked for the CIA in Pakistan recruiting Jihadist Mujahideen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, was a Muslim Brotherhood member who was recruited by the CIA and Saudi Intelligence head Prince Turki al-Faisal, to create what came to be called Al Qaeda. Other known terrorist members of the Ikhwan were Al Qaeda’s Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and the blind Sheik Omar Abdul-Rahman who recently died in a US prison serving time for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Sheikh Omar was accused of conspiring to assassinate Egypt’s Mubarak and masterminding the Muslim Brotherhood assassination of Anwar Sadat in addition to the bombing of the World Trade Center.

The members of the Obama Administration National Security Council PSD-11 Task Force that recommended a US Government embrace of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic countries of the Arab Middle East, knew very well who they were dealing with. Since the 1950’s the CIA had worked with the Ikhwan around the world. Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq and in Syria, al Nusra Front in Syria, as well as the so-called Islamic State or ISIS all were created out of Muslim Brotherhood networks, changing names as a chameleon lizard changes color to suit its surroundings.

The origins of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and later of ISIS , the murderous wars and chaos sweeping across the Arab Middle East and into Western Europe since 2010, could all be directly traced back to those Washington Obama policies, their so-called Arab Spring, coming from that August 2010 PSD-11 Presidential Task Force directive. This is what threatens to come out with declassification of US Justice Department files in the coming months. Some in Washington speak of treason, a strong word.

December 28, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel and the Jihadi Connection

Israel’s complex game with Jihadi terror groups pays off as more and more African states look to Israel for protection

By Richard Galustian | The Duran | November 28, 2018

Earlier this year, with little publicity, the official position of Israel on terrorism was explained by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon:

“I would like to see ISIS rule all of Syria (by inference, the whole region – RG); ISIS and its offshoots do not pose a threat to the Israeli State. Iran remains the main enemy!”

Ya’alon was being disingenuous, but the thinking behind his words is actually clear enough from the words themselves. Put simply, Israel’s relentless emphasis on the supposed threat from Iran is simply a diversionary tactic intended to conceal the continuing realisation of the ‘Greater Israel’ Project.

Ya’alon added:

“Iran is a rogue regime with designs on a regional hegemony. Hezbollah is Iran’s proxy, with the ability to declare war. Iran currently has terror infrastructure in place in five continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and both in South and North America.”

Ya’alon’s last comment refers to Iran as a rogue regime. However experienced Middle East observers will no doubt hesitate after reading the totality of his comments, and will wonder whether in light of them it is actually Israel and the US which should be considered the rogue regimes rather than Iran or indeed anyone else,  other than obviously Israel’s and the US’s staunch ally,  the odious Saudi regime.

Many similar comments of this nature  have been made by senior Israeli officials, but one in particular stands out. This is a speech made at the Herzliya Conference by Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy.  He took Israel’s long-standing position that it “prefers ISIS” over the Syrian government to a whole new level, declaring openly that Israel does not want to see ISIS defeated in any war. As quoted in the Hebrew language NRG site, owned by the Maariv Newspaper conglomerate, Major Gen. Halevy actually expressed worry about the recent offensives against ISIS, expressing concern that military offensives in the last three months had placed ISIS in the “most difficult” situation it has known since its inception or at least since its declaration of a caliphate.

Needless to say most people are not aware that Major Gen. Halevy has in effect become a  spokesperson for ISIS.

So what is going on? 

The short answer is that the real ‘game’ in the region is being played out by and on behalf of Israeli interests. An indirect but nonetheless highly revealing clue has just been provided by the recently developing relationship between Israel and Chad. Chad, located south of Libya in the Sahara, faces a mountain of difficulties which Israel can help it deal with. These range from extreme water scarcity to Chad finding itself on the front line in Africa’s fight against Islamist terrorism, be it in the form ISIS, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram. This supplies the reason for Chadian President Idriss Déby recent visit to Israel, which has taken place 46 years after Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi pressured Chad into breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972, a step which Chad took even before the big wave of African countries severing diplomatic ties with Israel took place, which happened after the 1973 Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War.

Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972 because it believed that it would gain more by forging close ties with Gaddafi’s Libya than by retaining ties with Israel. Obviously since the fall of Gaddafi that calculation has changed.

However another – obviously unacknowledged – reason is almost certainly Chad’s worry that it might find itself facing the same sort of Islamist terrorism in Chad that Syria has recently experienced. After all if Israeli officials can publicly admit to Israel’s de facto support for Islamist terrorism in Syria why should it be any different in Chad?

So the bottom line is that Chad – and no doubt plenty of other countries in the region – find themselves needing Israel’s help to protect themselves from the Frankenstein’s monster of worldwide Islamist terrorism which Israeli and US policies have conjured up. It amounts to the classic protection racket, with countries like Chad looking to Israel to ‘protect’ them from the very Islamist threat Israeli and US policies are themselves creating.

Given that this is so, and given the extent to which the spread of Islamist terrorist groups across the Middle East and North Africa actually serves Israeli and US interests, there is simply no point looking to Israel and the US for a ‘solution’ to the problem caused by them. Certainly no such solution is going to be found in Palermo, site of the latest Libya peace talks. No such solution is going to be found whilst the ‘protection racket’ serves Israel’s regional interests so well. Indeed Déby’s visit to Jerusalem, as does the rush of other African countries restoring relations with Israel, shows the spectacular success of the ’protection racket’.

In view of this it should come as no surprise that all attempts to change it are furiously resisted. Thus in the US “The Stop Arming Terrorists Act” proposed in early 2017 by Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Rand Paul, which sought to prohibit use of US government funds from providing assistance to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, and the rest, and to those countries which support these organizations, predictably ran into a wall of opposition. As of November 2017 only 14 out of 435 members of the US House of Representatives were prepared to co-sponsor the bill with Gabbard,  whilst in the Senate Rand Paul could find no co-sponsors at all. 

Given the extremely close ties between the US and Israel, there is in fact no possibility of the bill – at least in the form proposed by Gabbard and Rand Paul – being passed.

Given the strong feelings many in the US have about Islamist terrorism – with memories of 9/11 still fresh – one might suppose that this would be an enormous scandal. However – predictably enough – neither the US media nor the global media seem at all interested in it.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment