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Israel Directing Policy Through US Treasury: Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Political Allies in Lebanon

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | September 12, 2019

Nearly three years into the Trump administration, one thing is clear: as it struggles to wage any new direct shooting or proxy wars, Washington has instead relied on economic warfare against its perceived enemies, and largely on behalf of the state of Israel.

Through the U.S. Treasury Department and its own openly pro-Israel agents of influence, namely Secretary Steve Mnuchin, along with his Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal P. Mandelker, Israel has been able to attack and undermine all of its own geopolitical enemies and region rivals. The chief mechanism for achieving this is by directing the US government to label any person, politician or state agency – as a “terrorist,” or as a terrorist entity, thus allowing the US government to apply sanctions against any person or entity which Israel designates as its enemy, or even potential enemy. As a result of this runaway policy, the list of sanctioned persons and organisations by the Trump administration is the most in history.

Firmly in its crosshairs is Lebanon’s well-established political and military wings of the Hezbollah organisation. There is a fundamental flaw in the West’s framing of Hezbollah though, starting with its origins. It is a fact of history that Hezbollah was born out of Israel’s illegal occupation of southern Lebanon. Had Israel not invaded and occupied this region, or prosecuted its long and violent military campaign during and after the Lebanese Civil War, then it’s possible the Hezbollah movement may never had formed. It was born out of Israel’s occupation. Indeed, Iran has been traditional supporter of the group – which has drawn the ire of Washington and Tel Aviv who view both Iran and Hezbollah as a joint obstacle to US-Israeli strategic security objectives in the Middle East. In order to elevate Hezbollah to ‘most targeted status,’ US officials have had to repeatedly fabricate claims that Hezbollah is acting as major global terrorist organisation. In the same breath, US officials, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will enthusiastically drift out the well-worn fable that ‘Iran is the world’s number state-sponsor of terror’.

Earlier this year, the US also announced that henceforth, Iran’s leading military divisions, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force – would now be designated as a “terrorist organisation.” The cold irony of course, is that Hezbollah militias are presently fighting (and defeating) actual terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and ISIS (both of who have been created, as well as armed and financed by numerous western and gulf states, including the United States) in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Since 2013, Hezbollah militia have played a pivotal role in ejecting al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists from their enclaves in Syria, thus thwarting the regime change objectives of US, UK, France, NATO member states, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and also Israel too. Likewise for IRGC and Quds special military advisors deployed in Iraq and Syria to help subdue the invading terrorist brigades. The same is true for Iranian-backed militias in Iraq like the Hash’d Shaabi (People’s Mobilization Units), predominantly Shia, who were pivotal in Iraq’s ultimate victory over ISIS in 2017. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn summed it up when he concluded that the greatest threat to building peace in Iraq was not ISIS, but rather, Donald Trump determined to pick a fight with Iran. Documentation on the number of casualties is still difficult to determine, but on the aggregate, between Hezbollah, Hash’d, Iranian forces, the losses sustained in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda number in the tens of thousands – and likely far more than the combined US soldier death tolls in 18 year-long War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. Regardless of general western ignorance of what has actually transpired in Syria since 2011, and in Iraq since 2014, the people who actually live in the Middle East know the severity of this largely foreign-backed terrorist usurpation.

Regardless of the facts on the ground, neconservatives and war hawks in the Beltway are still happily pressing ahead with their policies. With Tel Aviv carefully leading from behind, Washington has successfully pressured many of its allies to obey its geopolitical dictates, with the UK, Argentina and Paraguay all falling into line this year by designating Hezbollah – both its political and military wings – as a terrorist organisation, as well as pressuring Brazil to follow suit.

Of deeper concern for Washington though, is that Hezbollah is defending Lebanon’s borders from what is undoubtedly the region’s most prolific aggressor – Israel. In just the last few weeks, Israel has attacked no less than 4 of its neighbours, including unprovoked military strikes against Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and of against Palestinians living under illegal Israeli occupation in Gaza. Hezbollah also poses another threat to Israeli hegemony in the region because of its unflagging support for Palestinian resistance against Israel’s violent occupation and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people. Similarly, the Islamic Republic of Iran also supports the Palestinian resistance cause, which is also a predicate for Israel’s various and sundry fabricated claims about a ‘secret Iranian nuclear arsenal,’ and imagined conspiracy that ‘Iran is occupying Syria’ – all of which are designed to garner leverage in Washington whereby US officials can view Hezbollah an accomplice to “Iran’s threat world peace.” This is the sort of geopolitical gymnastics which Israel is attempting to perform on a daily basis in order to justify the longest-running, most brutal and inhumane apartheid regimes in modern history – being waged against Palestinians and Arabs in the Middle East.

Targeting Hezbollah’s Political Allies

Still, Washington insists on basing its international relations on these numerous fabricated claims about Iran and Hezbollah drafted by Israel’s J Street lobbyists and the Prime Minister’s office in Tel Aviv. Now the Trump administration is taking this method a step further by threatening to sanction any political allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon. With military options practically off the table, this is the only remaining option for Washington and Tel Aviv to try and undermine Hezbollah which is now a political force in Lebanese politics, forming a working majority in the Lebanese Parliament along with its allies, as well as holding key ministerial and cabinet positions. But will it work?


Future Sanctions Will ‘Absolutely’ Target Hezbollah Allies in Lebanon: US Envoy

Al-Manar – September 13, 2019

US envoy said on Thursday that future sanctions could target allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“In the future we will designate, because we have to, individuals in Lebanon who are aiding and assisting Hezbollah, regardless of their sect or religion,” the new US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Schenker, said in an interview with local LBCI television.

When asked by the interviewer if this means sanctions will target allies of Hezbollah, Schenker said “absolutely,” adding that the US is constantly reviewing its sanctions lists.

Earlier on Tuesday, US State Department announced it has issued sanctions against four alleged Hezbollah members, Ali Karakeh, Mohammad Haydar, Ibrahim Aqil and Fouad Shukr.

The administration of Presdient Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions on Hezbollah and other resistance groups since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

Last month, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on the Lebanese Jammal Trust Bank, claiming the bank “brazenly enabling” Hezbollah’s financial activities. And in June, the Treasury took the unprecedented step of sanctioning two sitting Hezbollah MPs, Amin Sharri and Mohammad Raad, alongside security head Wafiq Safa.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: Hezbollah has no more ‘Red Lines’ Against Israel, all Occupied Palestine can be Targeted

Hezbollah footage of the strike (English subtitles):

Report about Israeli dummy soldiers:

According to Israel’s military censor, there were no Israelis so much as scracthed by Hezbollah’s Kornet missiles, but only 2 days later, an Israeli soldier was severely injured and almost died because of an alledged ‘rock-throwing game’. Sounds like the lousiest cover-up ever…

Nasrallah: Hezbollah has no more ‘Red Lines’ Against Israel, all Occupied Palestine can be Targeted

Political section of the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on September 2nd, 2019, on the occasion of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (‘Ashura), and the day after Hezbollah’s retaliation against an Israeli armored vehicle.

Transcript: 

The (political) part of my speech will be devoted to the latest developments, that is Hezbollah’s retaliation, the different reactions to it and (everything that happened yesterday and today).

First, we express our thanks to God Most High and Exalted for the success, the victory, and the accomplishments He has bestowed upon us, because all the benefits we enjoy come from His beneficence, His goodness, and His mercy. We praise Him and implore His forgiveness.

I must then address, at the beginning of my speech, the Resistance, the Mujahideen (fighters in the way of God), be they leaders, soldiers or persons in charge, who since 8 days, since Sunday (August 25) to this day, until last night or until this morning at least, were on the battlefield, at every time, along the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine, and ready (to hit the first valuable target). It is by their presence, their state of alert, their courage, their efficiency and their sacrifices that we realized and confirmed all the equations that dissuade the enemy and protect our country.

These brothers, since the first hours after my Sunday (August 25) speech, whether under the sun or under the stars, in the heat of daylight or the freshness of the night, and in spite of the maximum alert of the Israeli enemy, of his radars and (surveillance) drones, as well as all his (ultra-sophisticated) technical means, remained in front of the enemy, exposed (to strikes), present on the ground (and not hidden in bunkers), ready to give their blood. After God the Most High and the Exalted, it is they whom we must thank, these noble and very dear brothers.

In the same way, I must thank the Lebanese army, which remained vigilant on the whole length of the border, ready to face any aggression. I also express our thanks to our beloved people, our kith and kin, and our beloved families, especially those who are in the villages and regions closest to the border, who have spent all these days living their daily & normal lives, and who have followed, supported and congratulated our retaliation, and expressed their joy and pride in the success of the Resistance.

Likewise, we naturally thank anew the (Lebanese) Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Parliament) and government officials, and all those who have clearly and firmly taken a stance (alongside the Resistance). I declare in truth that they have followed the events until the last moments, and have assumed their national responsibility.

I particularly thank the media, who have made great efforts to follow the evolution of the situation, supporting the actions of the Resistance and showing the situation as it really was, thwarting the enemy’s attempts to hide the facts (claiming that Hezbollah didn’t cause any casualties). As I will explain, our operation did not take place only yesterday in the afternoon, but extended from my speech (on August 25) to the military operation itself. All of this has been closely monitored by the media, and I thank them all, especially the reporters on the ground, who sometimes put themselves in danger in order to show the situation in a strong and eloquent way [the Israeli Army had completely deserted the area, allowing some Al-Manar, Al-Mayadeen and Russia Today Arabic journalists to infiltrate Israeli territory and even enter abandoned military bases]. We also thank all the analysts and commentators who provided the public with truthful, relevant and eloquent explanations.

I did not prepare a list of all those I had to thank, so in advance, I apologize to all those I may have forgotten, which will dispense me from mentioning them later [Laughter]. We thank everyone.

Secondly, I will quickly assess what has happened so that I can draw clear conclusions. What happened started during the night from Saturday to Sunday (August 25), and consisted of two events. The first event was the Israeli airstrike against the city of ‘Aqraba in the suburbs of Damascus, which led to the martyrdom of our dear brothers Yasser Dhaher and Hassan Zbib. And a few hours later, the second event was the operation of the two suicide drones in the southern suburbs of Beirut. I want to clarify something in this regard: it is common knowledge that the first suicide drone was neutralized (pelted with stones) and fell to the ground, and therefore failed to achieve what it was sent for. I add today that the second suicide drone, which was also sent to destroy a target, also failed in its mission: the target that this drone tried to destroy was not hit. The Israelis know well what they have come to strike, and I have no reason to reveal it, but I announce to the enemy that this operation failed. And it is also a blessing of God the Most High and Exalted.

Since the first moments, we have announced, especially in my Sunday speech, that we would not remain silent about these two aggressions, that we would not accept that new equations are imposed (to our disadvantage), and that we wouldn’t let the achievements of our July 2006 victory be squandered. And that’s why we said we would retaliate with certainty to these two attacks.

Our response has taken two aspects. The first aspect of our response took place on the ground, and across the international border with occupied Palestine, with the territory of Palestine occupied in 1948. And the second aspect of our response concerns Israeli drones in the skies of Lebanon.

Regarding the first aspect, the direct operation on the ground, we have stated publicly and clearly… I will present the overall situation to highlight our strengths, the strengths of Lebanon, and the points of weakness, humiliation, fear and failure of the enemy. We announced publicly that we would retaliate from Lebanon, from anywhere on the Lebanese border (with occupied Palestine), and perhaps even in the depths (of Israel). We warned the enemy that he had to expect us (any time) from now on. This is a strength point of the Resistance. We could have remained silent, refrained from threatening (Israel of an imminent retaliation), not revealing our intentions, keeping quiet as we say, for 1, 2 or 3 days, then hit them by surprise. The military know that one of the most important aspects of a military operation is the element of surprise. But we have not done so, because our fight against the Zionist entity has a major psychological component, affecting the morale and soul of the enemy (which we strive to undermine). So we told them from the beginning to wait for us, because we were coming. In itself, it is an enormous challenge issued by the Resistance, (but the enemy did not dare to take up the gauntlet).

If we consider the overall situation, in our eyes, everything that has happened since my (August 25) speech until yesterday, and which I will detail, is a (humiliating) punishment inflicted on the enemy, a deterrence of the enemy, a (successful) confrontation with the enemy. It is an operation composed of several layers that add up. Part of it is psychological, part of it touches the morale, part of it takes place on the battlefield, a part consists of an (anti-tank) missile launch, but all this is part of the same operation of a multiple punishment of the enemy, consisting of different layers.

If we consider the situation since last Sunday, since my August 25 speech, and briefly summarize the facts, what happened?

1 – The border has been deserted throughout its length. For Israel, there was no longer any distinction between the blue line, the international border, and this or that disputed piece of land in one direction or the other: the entire border, whether it is indicated by a wall or barbed wire, was completely abandoned by Israel, and it was impossible to find any soldier on the whole length of the border. Neither soldiers, nor these vehicles that regularly move on the dirt tracks or asphalt could be seen along the border. We did not see anyone nor anything. It is only today that they began to reappear, our operation having ended yesterday.

2 – All positions close to the borders have been completely abandoned. They did not even hole up in their bases, no, they completely abandoned them. They escaped. By God, it’s more than we expected. I told them to hole up, but they literally fled.

Entire barracks were abandoned, like the one whose name has now become famous, the barracks of Avivim. A large military base, including a command center occupied by a large number of officers and soldiers, etc., etc., etc., was completely deserted, as a journalist (from Russia Today) showed: she went in and walked the premises, finding them completely empty. There was absolutely no one! Several barracks and military positions have been abandoned at the border, and sometimes even in the depths (of Israel).

3 – At a depth of 5 kilometers in some areas, and 7 kilometers in others, special measures, severe restrictions, evacuations and travel bans have been put in place. Even in the settlements, as we saw on television, cameras roamed the settlements from morning till night and did not meet a soul: no pedestrians, no motorists, no motorcyclists, no bicycles, no open shops, nothing. Everyone stood still. They were all holed up in their houses, and the doors of the shelters were open.

4 – Very severe (security) measures were taken everywhere in Israel, with an unprecedented state of alert. All the Iron Dome units that they could find and bring to the North, they brought and deployed them to face (possible) missile fire. All their anti-aircraft defense capabilities were activated, as well as all their means of dealing with the missiles or drones that Hezbollah could have launched towards occupied Palestine. Of course, we have drones (in quality and quantity), it’s not a secret and they know it well.

5 – During these 8 days, their combat units were on alert, on a war footing and deployed: I speak of several divisions, several air bases, several naval bases, etc.

If we consider the general situation that prevailed on the Israeli side during these last days, it was clear that this Israel, which to this day presents itself as endowed with the most powerful army of the region, the first army of the region, this arrogant, despotic, infatuated and tyrannical state, which once terrorized millions and hundreds of millions of people (through its wars and threats of aggression), for eight days, the whole world saw it frightened, fearful, hidden, holed up, and having completely deserted the Lebanese border on a width of at least 5 kilometers. It’s an absolute shame and humiliation. It is a demonstration of weakness. This is one manifestation of the fact that Israel is weaker than a spider’s web. And that’s part of the punishment (we inflicted on Israel). Before we retaliated with our military operation, some people were (ironically) asking: where is your response? But (this terror situation on the Israeli side) was already a punishment and a retaliation.

On the other hand, on our side, the Lebanese army has not left the border anywhere, remaining in all its positions. Likewise, the Resistance was present everywhere it was supposed to be. Our good Lebanese people were normally moving in border areas, whether in villages or fields [Israeli settlers were forbidden to approach “their” fields in occupied Palestine], and led a completely normal life.

So we have a scene (of normal life) on our side, on our territory and in our villages, a scene of endurance, strength, assurance, confidence, certainty, dignity and nobility, be it Lebanon, its people, its army, its State or its Resistance. Such was the scene on our side, (compare it with the spectacle of terror and desolation on the other side).

Similarly, to properly assess the situation, it should be noted that yesterday, the Resistance conducted its operation in broad daylight. The military is well aware of what it means to conduct an operation in broad daylight (risk of detection, of elimination, etc.), so close to the border, while the (Israeli surveillance) drones were flying in the sky, and while their combat helicopters were ready to come and hit us. Our fighters were exposed to danger in broad daylight because we did not act at night. It is a deliberate choice we made not to act at night, for reasons that I will not bother to mention (show of force, etc.). We made the decision to act imperatively by day, and we communicated it to the brothers in charge of the operation on the ground, and it is also one of the reasons for the delay of the operation, because if we had acted at night, we would have had more targets and opportunities.

This Resistance did not hit directly at the border – anyway, there were no targets at the border – but at some depth (2 kilometers). And despite all the Israeli measures, despite all their precautions and despite all the dummy targets they have scattered everywhere (empty vehicles or occupied by dummies dressed as soldiers), a considerable amount of military vehicles and tanks placed here and there, which were all calling for our strikes to put an end to this unbearable wait for the enemy, despite all this, the Resistance has patiently waited, watched and monitored, ensuring the validity of information and checking all the data, and when a valuable target finally showed up, we hit it and touched it with certainty. Today, the whole world was able to see the video of the operation broadcast in the media. What happened clearly demonstrates our boldness, our courage, our precision and our sense of responsibility.

O my brothers and sisters, one of the most important points about what happened yesterday, and whatever the Israeli attempts to minimize its losses, is the very fact that the operation was conducted. The most important aspect of the operation, even before its success and its results, is to have been accomplished! We had the courage to do it! For the past 7 days, in the media, there is not a single Israeli official who has not said that if we opened fire, shot a missile, killed, wounded or attacked, the reaction would be devastating and could lead to war, etc. We have heard all conceivable threats. And the most severe are those that were expressed through the diplomatic channels: if one was to believe them, Israel would not tolerate the slightest shot in its direction, would respond disproportionately and destroy the country, returning it to the Stone Age. A considerable operation to terrorize us was conducted by the media and diplomatic channels (United States, Great Britain, France, etc.). But I assure you, O my brothers and sisters, and in all sincerity: not only has Hezbollah not flinched, but none of the Lebanese officials with whom we spoke trembled! Nobody flinched! And Lebanon remained strong in its attachment (to its right to defend itself), and its faith in our retaliation response and the legitimacy of our retaliation. The very fact that we made this operation is a success in itself!

I come to the most important point to which all should pay attention, because it is on it that I will base the conclusion of this whole episode of confrontation, and the new equation in force. In the past, when we were attacked, where did we respond? In the Shebaa Farms, inside the Shebaa Farms. Because there are Israeli military positions inside the Shebaa farms. The traps we laid for Israeli tanks and vehicles were placed on occupied Lebanese territory. The rest of the border, that is to say the border of Lebanon with the territory of Palestine occupied in 1948, and which the enemy considers as its official and indisputable border, its usurping State and its entity, the very fact of touching this border was considered by the enemy for decades as one of the largest red lines. Israel could not tolerate anyone allowing himself to touch the barbed wire delimiting the border, sending any drone flying over its territory, firing in the air, or throwing a grenade at it. No way! Israel responded violently to any such violation, for it was a red line in their eyes! What happened yesterday is that the main red line of Israel for decades has been shattered by the Islamic Resistance! That’s what happened yesterday.

It’s not a red line anymore. It’s over. This period is well and truly over, regardless of what the Israelis can say and claim.

And even tastier, this Israel, which normally [Laughter] responds to any shot, any projectile and any grenade by air strikes, assassinations and massive destruction, yesterday, Israel has made considerable efforts to absorb the blow at all costs. And even their incendiary and phosphorous strikes (against empty lands and forests) were mostly defensive, and aimed at building a smokescreen to protect themselves from further strikes, as they imagined that the Resistance was going to strike again the barracks of Avivim and other positions. But they wanted to get over with it and especially not escalate, being ready to conclude a truce at any price.

What is the result of all this? First, we confirmed and even reinforced the deterrence equation. If Netanyahu wanted to change the equation in his favor, we confirmed it and even reinforced it in our favor. Our deterrent force is now greater. We have increased it by one step. He feared a retaliation from us, but thought we would respect some red lines. But we said and demonstrated that we no longer have any red line. Since Netanyahu tried to change the rules of engagement, our response was to break absolutely all the red lines (of Israel). We have passed from a stage where our responses were launched exclusively against (a thin band of) occupied Lebanese territory, namely the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Chouba Hills, to a stage where our response directly strikes the territory of occupied Palestine! It’s something new. It’s completely new. And we do not have to hit the border area. We can strike at 1, 2 or 5 kilometers, or, if need be, far more distant points, in the full depth of occupied Palestine.

What is the message we sent? This is where our accomplishment and success lie. The message is clear: if you attack us, all your borders, all your soldiers and all your settlements, whether at the border, deep or at the very extremity of your entity, will be threatened and may be targeted by our response, absolutely and categorically. This does not pose any problem for us. And the courage and boldness demonstrated by the Resistance yesterday will be found in the future by actions much more courageous, bolder, stronger and more important. Such is the new equation.

Today, I want to say this to the Israelis: Listen carefully to what Netanyahu did by his imbecility and pettiness, and remember this date, September 1, 2019. Sunday, September 1, 2019 is the beginning of a new stage of the situation on the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine: as regards the defense of Lebanon, its sovereignty, its dignity, its security and its people, there is no longer any red line!

I now come to the second point. I already started to mention it on Sunday (August 25) when I declared that from now on, we would work on a new file on which we had avoided to intervene during all the past years, namely the Lebanese skies and its permanent violation by Israeli drones. I explained that it was only internal Lebanese considerations that led us to leave this issue aside, and that we constantly called upon the Lebanese State to solve this problem. But it has not been resolved. We have therefore established, and it is now irrevocable in the deterrence equation, that the Lebanese have the right to defend their territory, their skies, their waters, their people, their security and their sovereignty, and that we would take care of defending them. And so we opened a new field of action, namely to confront the Israeli drones in our skies. I say nothing more than that. I speak of the Lebanese skies. We have established and announced it clearly. The decision is made, and implementing this choice is now in the hands of our fighters on the ground, as for the first point. Since August 25, the decision to retaliate against Israel was taken and was in the hands of the fighters on the ground, to whom we announced that we were in no hurry: we wanted a clean operation, without any loss on our side, and that would restore the deterrence equation in our favor. The opportunity arose, they seized it and we re-established and strengthened the deterrence equation.

Today, with regard to the fight against Israeli drones, the same is true: the decision is made, and everything is now in the hands of our combatants on the ground. And I already explained how we would behave, what was our vision, etc., so I do not need to repeat myself [Hezbollah does not commit to shooting down all the drones, because that may disclose and / or exhaust all of its anti-aircraft defenses, but will act wisely and judiciously depending on the circumstances]. Tomorrow, someone will tell us, when the first drone is shot down – and this can happen at any time –, that we are putting the stability of the country in danger, pushing the situation towards a military escalation, etc. But it will be useless. Whoever wants, within the international community, especially the countries that contacted us before Sunday, Sunday and during the Sunday operation, I say to them now: whoever cares about the stability of Lebanon and the region must speak with the Israelis and tell them that the time of the violation of Lebanon’s skies with impunity is over. This time is over. There will be no more tolerance and we will no longer look the other way. Hezbollah will no longer allow the sovereignty and the skies of Lebanon to be violated. As for how we deal with it, it’s a decision that’s in our hands. But it’s our right. No matter how long it takes, it’s our right, and the way we act is just a detail. Of course, that’s part of our response.

Today, I declare that because of the death of our two brothers killed in Syria, and the two suicide drones in Beirut, our response began on Sunday, continued yesterday and will continue via the fight against drones. That’s what we decided. Naturally, we come out stronger from this episode of confrontation, with a stronger position. Netanyahu wanted to overturn the rules of engagement in Israel’s favor, and we stopped him. He wanted to break the balance of deterrence, and we strengthened it in our favor. This is the result, and that is the conclusion.

Anyway, the Israelis must know that all this was caused by the stupidity of this man, who has only one idea in mind, to win the elections at all costs in order to escape justice for the many corruption cases in which he is involved.

So we can say that this new stage of confrontation is over from the point of view of the new equation that it has founded. And in the future, the fight against drones will continue. And in case of aggression against Lebanon, there will no longer be any red line at the international borders and in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948, to which will henceforth extend all our retaliations, which will no longer be confined to the Shebaa farms. All the limits have been removed, and everything is now clear.

I renew my thanks to God and to our fighters, whose response has confirmed and strengthened the equations, prevented the rules of engagement from being violated in favor of the enemy, preserved the achievements of the July 2006 war, as well as the dignity, the honor and the pre-eminence of Lebanon vis-a-vis Israel.

So much for this topic. I’m done with the political section of my speech. Pray upon the Prophet and his family.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Whimpers at the First Kornet Fired by Hezbollah

By Marwa Osman | American Herald Tribune | September 4, 2019

In the past few days, Hezbollah’s retaliatory attack and destruction of a small Israeli Wolf combat vehicle in the upper Galilee has made headlines in both Arab and international media. The attack was in response to the Israeli aggression on Damascus on August 24 resulting in the killing of two Hezbollah engineers and also to an Israeli drone attack on the capital Beirut, the first of its kind since August 2006, in violation of the “rules of engagement” that have been established between the two sides.

When the decision was taken by the leadership of the resistance to respond to the aggressions against Damascus and the capital Beirut, the Israeli regime was the first to consider that retaliation as inevitable. No one in the world believes Hezbollah’s promises more than Israel does.

Within a few hours, Israeli occupation soldiers embarked on a previously trained plan to evacuate all of its positions and bases along the area believed to be a supposed target for insurgents. However, there was no need to intensify pressure on soldiers and settlers to abide by orders, since it was enough for them to hear the words of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah about Hezbollah’s promise to retaliate, prompting them to act impulsively, in line with their leadership’s decision and completely disappear.

The Israeli decision to evacuate all their military posts along the border, varying in depth from five to seven kilometers, effectively stole the life from territories on the borderline with Lebanon. The illegal colonial settlers, whose presence had declined sharply over the past decade in these bordering areas, were shocked to see that the soldiers who were supposed to protect them had fled their positions, leaving the settlers for their own fate.

Moreover, just as these settlers understood from their army’s actions that Hezbollah was preparing for a strike, they understood that Hezbollah ended its operation when the soldiers were seen returning to their original duties.

This is what happens to someone who has been struck by deterrence. To be deterred means to be afraid of everything around you. Not to trust yourself or those who are close to you or anyone who is supposed to protect you. To be deterred means to be aware that your margin of error is narrowing day by day. To be deterred means that you are fixated in front of your TV, waiting for an official statement from your enemy, to tell you when it is time to get out into the sun.

The Israeli occupation forces’ plan did not succeed in hiding the “real” targets from the resistance fighters who were monitoring the Israeli movements, from ground control points and via drones.

Despite the adherence of the occupation army formations deployed in the northern region to the orders of their command to evacuate positions along the border with Lebanon and freeze all inspection patrols, the Resistance managed to select the appropriate area of operations, and waited for the target.

At approximately 4 pm on Sunday, September 1, the Israeli Wolf multi-purpose vehicle was traveling on route 899 medium speed. The vehicle came from the eastern side of the settlement of Avivim, from the side of the Malikiyah settlement, to cross the back road down behind Avivim, and then turn around the area known as “Magayer Salha”, and up to the road next to the settlement of Yeron, which was the point of impact between the Wolf and the Kornet.

Hezbollah’s planned and precise response revealed the weakness of the Israeli fortifications and defense engineering, and the sterility of its plans, which it had intensified in recent years, with the aim of reassuring the inhabitants of border settlements and raising the morale of its occupation soldiers along the northern front.

Anyone who witnessed how strange the evacuation of the Avivim border military base was, which is responsible for the protection of the west within the area of ​​responsibility of the Galilee Division (91) deployed in the occupied Galilee and whose area of ​​responsibility extends almost 20 km from the borderline, would definitely be shocked to know that it is that same brigade that announced earlier this year the formation of a new reserve battalion, called the “gates of fire,” in order to defend the border area against what it called “the risk of Hezbollah fighters storming” the Galilee.

This time, perhaps, they did not have the opportunity to test the capabilities of the new battalion, because they had already fled, leaving the settlers to their fate, before any crossfire even began.

Marwa Osman is a PhD located in Beirut, Lebanon. University Lecturer at the Lebanese International University and Maaref University and former host of the political show “The Middle East Stream” broadcasted on Al-Etejah English Channel. Member of the Blue Peace Media Network and political commentator on issues of the Middle East on several international and regional media outlets including RT, Press TV, Al Manar and Al Alam. Writer in several news websites including Khamenei.ir, Modern Diplmacy, Shafaqna, Italian Insider.

September 6, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 7 Comments

Hizbullah Reminds Israel of Its Power

By Helena Cobban | Lobe Log | September 5, 2019

On September 1, Hizbullah fighters on Lebanon’s border with Israel fired two precision-guided missiles over the border, apparently hitting an Israeli “Wolf” armored personnel carrier (APC) and inflicting casualties of unknown severity on its occupants (see below). The strike came a day after Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah warned that the organization would retaliate for Israel’s killing, a few days earlier, of two Hizbullah fighters in Syria and Israel’s deployment of explosive drones against Hizbullah-related targets in eastern Lebanon and the capital, Beirut.

The Israelis responded to the attack on the Wolf by firing a number of rockets and artillery shells, seemingly at random, into uninhabited parts of southern Lebanon, with no casualties reported.

On September 2, Hizbullah released a video of the attack on the Wolf, which took place in broad daylight. The video shows Hizbullah operatives launching two guided missiles against a military vehicle, each of which causes a large explosion. Hours later, Nasrallah told his supporters that this cross-border action—the first since the extremely destructive Hizbullah-Israel war of 2006—represented a new stage in the struggle against Israel. He warned, too, that his fighters would henceforth feel free to bring down any of the scores of military drones that Israel deploys in Lebanese airspace each month.

Taken together, the events of late August through September 1 underscored that the situation of reciprocal (if highly asymmetrical) deterrence that has existed between Israel and Hizbullah since the end of the 2006 fighting remains in place.

This situation has significant impact not only for the peoples of Lebanon and Israel but also in the broader regional arena, in which the Israel-Hizbullah balance plays a key role. For though Hizbullah has always, since its emergence in 1985, been an authentic, indigenous Lebanese movement, it is also a key ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran. So if Israel, some parts of the U.S. government, and other regional actors such as Saudi Arabia are considering launching any significant military attack against Iran, then Hizbullah’s ability and willingness to join the battle by counter-striking against high-value targets inside Israel is a factor that anti-Tehran war planners have to take into account.

Iran does have, as I wrote here recently, a broader network of regional allies, of which Lebanon’s Hizbullah is only one part. But Hizbullah is unique by virtue of the special role its conflict with Israel plays in affecting strategic thinking and decision-making in Israel and elsewhere. Hizbullah, as everyone in the Middle East is aware, is the only body, governmental or non-governmental, that has been able to inflict significant military defeat on Israel—and not just once, but twice.

The first defeat became clear in May-June of 2000, when the Israeli military that had been occupying a strip of Southern Lebanon since 1978 simply pulled up its stakes and withdrew. The decisive earlier battle against Hizbullah that led PM Ehud Barak to take that decision had actually happened four years earlier. In 1996, Israel launched a scorched-earth attack against Lebanon that failed to either destroy Hizbullah or turn the Lebanese population against it. When Barak became PM, he judged, quite sensibly, that the casualties that Israel’s occupation force had continued to take in Lebanon since 1996 were all for naught.

In 2006, another Israeli PM, Ehud Olmert—who had far less military experience and military savvy than Barak—thought he would try his hand at diminishing the considerable amount of military and political power that Hizbullah had continued to accrue in Lebanon. With huge support from President George W. Bush and most European governments, Olmert launched another scorched-earth attack against Lebanon, once again aimed at either destroying Hizbullah or turning the Lebanese public against it. In the two years prior to 2006, there had been quite a lot of (Saudi-supported) anti-Hizbullah agitation in Lebanon, so perhaps Olmert hoped to gain advantage from that. If so, he failed miserably. Lebanese from all political and religious persuasions rallied strongly around Hizbullah.

That was not the only thing that went wrong with the war from Olmert’s point of view. Some three weeks into the conflict, it became clear that even the Israeli air force’s destruction of critical Lebanese infrastructure (gruesomely celebrated in Israel thereafter as the “Dahiyeh Doctrine”) could not force Hizbullah to cry “uncle.” Olmert and his advisors decided to send in Israeli ground forces. But the ground units all proved woefully ill-prepared for their task. It soon became clear that neither they nor the air force could stop Hizbullah’s well-trained rocketeers from continuing to fire missiles deep into Israel’s interior.

Thirty-three days into the campaign, both leaderships agreed it was time to stop. They negotiated a ceasefire through the mediation of the Lebanese government and the United Nations. The ceasefire’s basic structure was a return to the status-quo ante. All the Israeli troops recently deployed into Lebanon had to immediately withdraw. All hostilities and cross-border military actions had to cease. The United Nations beefed up its southern Lebanon peacekeeping force, which since 1978 had been a fairly ineffective presence along the border.

For Israel, the 2006 war was a crushing defeat—and for its ground forces, in particular, a humiliation. (One explanation for the three vicious assaults Israel launched against Gaza in 2008, 2012, and 2014 was that the country’s military leaders sought to regain from Israel’s citizens the high esteem they had always previously enjoyed—esteem that had been very badly dented in 2006.)

For Hizbullah, the 33-Day War of 2006 was unquestionably a victory, though one bought at a high price in the human and material losses suffered by all the Lebanese people.

The essential victory that Hizbullah won in 2006, as in 1996, was that it faced down Israel’s extremely hi-tech military and survived with its core military and political networks and its ability to inflict significant destruction inside Israel all intact—and without having made any political concessions. This is, of course, why Israel and its acolytes and supporters in the West all hate it so deeply.

In the limited military exchange that Hizbullah and Israel engaged in on September 1, the underlying facts about the reciprocal deterrence that has existed between them since 2000 were on full display.

For some years now, the Israeli military has been taking advantage of the chaotic situation in Syria to mount sporadic attacks against various targets there, including some that they claim are connected to Hizbullah or the Iranian military. At periodic meetings that Israeli officials have conducted with their counterparts in Russia, which has long been allied with the Syrian government, the two sides have sketched out rudimentary “rules of engagement” for such raids. In July, the Israelis extended their campaign to interrupt Iran’s export of weapons and advisors yet further, sending F-35s to attack two locations in Iraq that were allegedly being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In July, and again in late August, it struck at Hizbullah operatives inside Syria, killing at least two of them.

Of all the targets thus attacked, only Hizbullah retaliated directly against Israel. It did so in a measured and limited way that nonetheless served to remind Israelis of their continuing vulnerability to Hizbullah’s military muscle and military/political smarts.

Israel’s reaction to the announcement Nasrallah made on August 31, that Hizbullah “would retaliate” for Israel’s killing of its operatives in Syria, was intriguing. As was widely reported in the (always military-censored) Israeli media, the Israeli military ostentatiously announced that it would pull troops back from front-line positions facing Lebanon, in what seemed like a deliberate move to de-escalate tensions.

Israel’s responses to the Wolf attack, which happened the very next day, were also intriguing. Firstly, in the military sphere, its retaliation against Hizbullah/Lebanon was notably restrained, a fact that could perhaps be attributed to PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s reluctance to get Israel into yet another complex imbroglio in Lebanon with his country’s next general election coming up September 17—except that, in the context of, say, Gaza, Israeli leaders have often seemed to judge that launching an attack could be a valuable part of an election strategy.

Secondly, in the informational sphere, Netanyahu went out of his way to deny that the attack on the military vehicle had caused any casualties. The video that Hizbullah made and distributed of the incident seemed clearly to show that the vehicle was an APC, and that the two missiles that struck it caused massive explosions. Other news footage from inside Israel showed injured soldiers being carried out and evacuated to a nearby military hospital. But Israeli spokesmen, faithfully parroted by reporters from the local and foreign media—all of whom are subject to Israeli military censorship– described the vehicle as merely a military “jeep” and said the footage showing apparent medevac operations had been faked by the military, using dummies.

This strange claim seemed aimed either at reassuring Hizbullah that its operation had already “succeeded” enough that it need not launch any follow-on attacks—or, perhaps more plausibly, at damping down any desire Israelis might have had for a large-scale retaliation.

But throughout this whole episode, Israel’s leaders were still clearly signaling that they agree that “You don’t mess with Hizbullah.”

This has wider implications for the regional balance between Israel and Iran. One essential fact in that balance is that the alliance between Hizbullah and Iranian leadership goes far deeper than any mere coalition of convenience and is, in practice, unbreakable at this point. Another is that Hizbullah’s home turf and principal area of operations directly abuts Israel—and it cannot be defeated there. Remember, after all, that Hizbullah first emerged in the mid-1980s under the difficult circumstances of a harsh Israeli occupation of one third of Lebanon—and that it showed first, that it could successfully organize to throw off that occupation and, then, that it could repel the next big attempt Israel made, in 2006, to destroy it.

Much about the regional balance has changed since 2006. The biggest change has been the heartbreakingly protracted civil war in Syria, a conflict that weakened the Syrian government which had long been a key part of the Iran-led coalition and considerably weakened Damascus’s ability to protect the Syrian homeland from incursion by all manner of hostile foreign forces, including those of Israel, the United States, and Turkey. (Syria’s civil war has, however, provided Hizbullah and the IRGC with valuable opportunities to act and train in complex urban-conflict environments.) Another change has been a considerable weakening of U.S. military-political power in Iraq, with the diffusion of some U.S. military capabilities into Syria. All these changes—along with others that have taken place in the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere in the region—undoubtedly affect the balance of power between Israel and Iran. But the inescapable facts, that Hizbullah can cause wide damage within Israel’s heartland and withstand the strongest counter-attacks that Israel can launch against it, still remain.

Veteran Middle East analyst and author Helena Cobban is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the CEO of both Just World Books and the nonprofit Just World Educational. JWE’s website Justworldeducational.org makes freely available to the public a variety of resources on war, peace, justice, and the Middle East.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Netanyahu Does Something Stupid Again

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to review an honor guard with his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed in Jerusalem September 1, 2019. Credit: Ronen Zvulun/ Reuters/ Twitter)
By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | September 2, 2019

With general elections coming up on September 17, Benyamin Netanyahu made a calculated gamble last week and lost.

The attempt to assassinate someone by drone in Beirut failed. Two drones were sent into the largely Shia suburb of Dahiya, where Hizbullah’s political, media and welfare offices are based. The first drone, for surveillance, crashed on to the roof of a Hizbullah media office, causing damage inside but no human casualties. This forced the Israelis to abort the entire mission. They themselves destroyed the second drone, for assassination, according to the veteran Middle East correspondent Abdul Bari Atwan. The target for murder was clearly a senior Hizbullah figure or – as some have speculated – a representative of the Iranian government.  Israel certainly did not send a drone to Beirut just to put a hole in the roof of a building.

As this was the first attack on Beirut since 2006, when Israel jets pulverized Dahiya day after day, Hizbullah threatened retaliation. It never says when, how or where it will strike back but this time it retaliated almost immediately, destroying an Israeli APC (armored personnel carrier) at a military outpost across the armistice line.

That Netanyahu would launch such an attack without taking precautions to ensure the safety of civilians and military personnel in the north would have played badly before the public had not the government covered its tracks by firing a flurry of missiles into Lebanon and claiming in a media barrage that while the APC was indeed hit by the ‘terrorists’ no-one suffered even a scratch, as Netanyahu eventually claimed.

It may be some time, it may be never, that the truth comes out but the story pitched by the Israeli government and military has all the elements of high comedy, not sophisticated, more Bud Abbott and Lou Costello than Lenny Bruce. First the Israelis said the vehicle that was struck was a military ambulance, with no-one inside it. Then they admitted it was an APC, but again no-one was inside, as they had all gone somewhere else half an hour earlier, whether for a smoke, a meal or a pee we don’t know.

Likud minister Yoav Galllant said no-one had been hurt in the missile strike, even as footage was being shown of wounded soldiers being flown by helicopter to an army hospital but he was speaking out of turn, so the government said.

In fact, noone had been hurt. This was no more than a decoy operation. Israel wanted Hizbullah to think it had scored some kind of victory, so it dressed up store dummies as soldiers and had them carried away on stretchers. It turned out that Israel just wanted to fool Hizbullah. That was the point of the whole exercise. Ha ha, Hasan, the joke’s on you. Noone had been hurt after all. “The staged evacuation seems to have worked” wrote the veteran Zionist propagandist David Horowitz.

The fact that settlers in the north had been sent scurrying into their bomb shelters by the Hizbullah missile strike was soon overtaken by glowing reports of farmers back in the fields and children back in the classroom as usual now that the cross-armistice line missile fusillade had died down.

Readers will decide how much of this malarky they can believe. For most, probably none of it. Behind the propaganda smokescreen lies a core truth, which is that Netanyahu, Israel’s nincompoop-in-chief, launched a failed mission into Beirut, rather reminiscent of his failed attempt to kill the senior Hamas figure Khalid Mishael in 1997. The would-be assassins were arrested, and the panicked, sweating Netanyahu, close to nervous collapse, saved from his own folly only by the intervention of the Jordanian king.

The drone attack in Beirut was designed to deliver an election victory but backfired badly and had to be covered up as quickly as possible with what seems on the surface to be a complete cock and bull story.

The APC held eight men.  If they had been inside when it was struck by Hizbullah’s missile, all would have died or would have been badly wounded, as Hizbullah claimed they were. If they were killed or wounded, Netanyahu, approaching the end of an election campaign, would have had to prevent the public from knowing, even to the ludicrous extent of telling it that the wounded soldiers shown in video footage were actually store dummies dressed up as wounded men. The truth – if there were casualties – would have doomed his re-election prospects.

The drone attacks on Beirut included a strike on a PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) base in the Bika’a valley. Other drone attacks on the same day were launched against Hashd al Sha’abi (Popular Mobilization Forces) units and regular Iraqi army bases in north Iraq close to the Syrian border. Iraqi intelligence believes the attacks were launched from the Kurdish region of northeastern Syria, controlled by the largely Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US puppet militia. In the same time frame, the Zionists also attacked a military position close to Damascus.

These simultaneous attacks on three countries call to mind the rabid dog running around snapping at anyone who comes close. There was no immediate provocation for any of these missile strikes and drone attacks but in Israel’s case there never has to be. The Israelis say Hizbullah’s missile retaliation brought the two sides to within 30 minutes of another war,  and they say another one is coming anyway. This can hardly be news to anyone. Hizbullah has enough precision missiles to devastate Israel and the longer the Israelis wait the more it will have, so unfortunately another war is only a matter of time and perhaps a much shorter time than people might think.

Even though Israel has been flying drones over Lebanon for decades, an attack in central Beirut is unusual. It might not be the first, however: Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, may have been assassinated in 2005 by a missile fired from an Israeli drone, and not killed by a car bomb, the generally accepted explanation. The UN investigation into Hariri’s death was grossly prejudicial, especially in the case of the reports filed by the first lead investigator, Detlev Mehlis, and came to nothing anyway. The charges against Lebanese suspects were dropped, at which point the UN tribunal switched its suspicions to Hizbullah, without having any prior evidence. This investigative route has ended in a dead end as well. The one chief suspect never investigated, even though standing out above all the others because of its long track record of murder and mayhem in Lebanon, is Israel.

In 2010 Hasan Nasrallah revealed that Hizbullah had intercepted Israel’s electronic communications and had captured images of an Israeli drone tracking Hariri across Beirut and into the mountains every day for three months. Along with an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) plane, an Israeli drone was hovering over the precise point on the corniche road when Hariri was assassinated.

Looking at the evidence, Thierry Meyssan has argued that a highly refined missile fitted with a warhead based on a ‘nano’ amount of enriched uranium may have been used rather than a car bomb (‘Revelations on Rafik Hariri’s Assassination,’ Voltaire Network, November 29, 2010).

However, whether drone missile or car bomb, Nasrallah implicated Israel in the murder. If the question cui bono is to be asked the answers are clear. It was immediately assumed in the ‘west’ that Syria must have been responsible, given the often difficult relationship between Hariri and the Syrian government, but the only beneficiaries of the assassination were Israel and its rightwing proxies in Lebanon.

Israel violates Lebanon’s air space as a matter of course. Over the years it has overflown Lebanon many thousands of time. It frequently flies across Lebanon to attack Syria. At the international level, no sanctions have ever been introduced to stop it, just as no sanctions have ever been introduced to stop it doing anything it wants to do. This will continue until the big war comes along, and then all those who could have done something to head it off but did nothing will be throwing up their hands in horror.

Apart from flights aimed at bombing targets in Lebanon or Syria, Israel’s aerial intrusions would have other purposes, including intimidation of the Lebanese civilian population and the unrest this might generate.

Most probably it would also want to draw Hizbullah out and, through retaliation to one of its attacks, see if it has missiles capable of bringing down its aircraft. A lost plane and pilot would be worth the cost of knowing. As the neutralization of Israeli air power must be a primary objective of Hizbullah and Iran, Hizbullah probably does have such weapons, but Israel is going to have to wait until the next war to find out.

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Israeli artillery shells southern Lebanon, drone drops incendiary devices along border

Press TV – September 1, 2019

Israeli artillery units have struck the southern part of Lebanon shortly after an Israeli drone violated the Lebanese airspace, and dropped incendiary material that sparked a fire in a forest at the border.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported that Israeli forces launched several 155-millimeter shells on the Jabal al-Rous area in the occupied Shebaa Farms and Kfarshouba Hills on Sunday afternoon.

The report added that the Israeli forces opened fire from their posts in the al-Zaoura area in Syria’s occupied Golan Heights.

An Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle, meanwhile, dropped incendiary devices on a forest in the border area of Bastara.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that the drone entered Lebanese airspace at 11:15 a.m. local time (0815 GMT) on Sunday, and dropped an unspecified number of devices, causing fires in some areas.

It added that the army would continue to follow up on Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Images published by the private LBCI television network showed smoke rising from a tree-covered hill, reportedly caused by the weapons.

Tensions have been high recently between Israel and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah in connection with the Israeli attacks on August 25 in Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah has pledged to retaliate.

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday evening that the resistance movement was determined to give a response to Israel over its recent drone incursion into Lebanon.

“The need for a response is decided,” he said during a televised speech ahead of the Islamic lunar calendar month of Muharram – the 10th day of which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam and Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

The Hezbollah chief added that the response was about “establishing the rules of engagement and… the logic of protection for the country. Israel must pay a price,” he said.

“Israel should know that the Lebanese air space is not open to her,” Nasrallah said, adding that the Israel attack could open the door to assassinations if left unanswered.

Nasrallah noted that the response to the Israeli attack could come from anywhere in Lebanon and not only from the Shebaa Farms south of the country, where Hezbollah normally stations most of its military equipment.

“The response will come from Lebanon. We will choose the place and time,” he said.

On August 26, Hezbollah said Israel had sent two drones into Lebanon on a bombing mission the previous weekend.

According to the resistance movement, the first drone had fallen on a building housing Hezbollah’s media office in the suburb of Dahieh. The second drone, which appeared to have been sent by Israel to search for the first one, had crashed in an empty plot nearby after being detonated in the air, it added.

Following the drone raids, Nasrallah vowed in a televised speech that fighters of the resistance movement would counter any further violation of the Lebanese airspace by Israeli drones.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Behind Israel’s Bombing in Iraq’s Heartland

By Giorgio Cafiero – Consortium News – August 28, 2019

Iraq has felt the heat from escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran this summer as the White House moves ahead with its “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic. Also clear is that Israel and Iran’s proxy wars in the region have spilled into Iraq too. Last month, Israel carried out its first attacks on targets in Iraq since Operation Opera on June 7, 1981.

On July 19, Israel struck a target in the Salahuddin governorate, three days before another attack against Camp Ashraf, located within close proximity to Iran. According to al-Ain, the attack against Camp Ashraf killed 40 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian-sponsored Iraqi Shi’a militiamen. On Aug. 12, a blast occurred at a Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) arms depot in the Iraqi capital, allegedly carried out by an Israeli aircraft and resulting in one death and 29 injuries. Other Israeli attacks followed on the 19 and 25 of August. Several days ago, U.S. officials confirmed that Israelis were indeed behind the July 19 attack in Salahuddin governorate, which was suspected from the beginning.

Such actions highlight how Israel seeks to expand its theater of confrontation with the Iran to Iraq. Put simply, the Israelis are reacting with increasing aggression against the extent of Iranian-sponsored militias in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East that provide Tehran greater leverage vis-à-vis Israel.

Pompeo: Not against further Israeli strikes. (YouTube)

Important questions surround the U.S. role in these Israeli attacks against PMU targets in Iraq. It is difficult to imagine how the Trump administration could have not given Israel the green light to carry out these attacks. As Karim al-Alwei, an Iraqi parliamentarian, explained, “the U.S. controls Iraqi air space” thus “no planes, including Iraqi jets or helicopters, can overfly the area without U.S. knowledge or permission.” Only seven months ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly raised the topic of Iranian missiles in the hands of PMU forces in Iraq while meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, stating that Washington would not be against any future Israeli military operations targeting such facilities.

Unclear is whether the Israelis used Syrian, Turkish, or Saudi airspace to reach their targets in Iraq. Regardless, it is a safe bet that the Saudi leadership, which maintains a tacit partnership with Israel largely based on a common  perception of Tehran as a threat to its interests, welcomes such Israeli action in Iraq. As Saudi and Israeli officials see Iranian-sponsored Shi’a militia in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as a major threat, the Israeli strikes in Iraq will likely push the Israelis and Saudis even closer together.

 Other Targets of Israel

Tel Aviv has dramatically increased the intensity and reach of its military campaign to weaken Tehran-backed militias in the region, waging attacks not only in Iraq, but also in Syria and Palestine too, as well as recently sending two drones into Lebanon. Into the chaos of Syria the Israelis have carried out many strikes against Iran-related targets since the civil war began in 2011. Yet by attacking targets in Iraq, Israel is showing its determination to expand the theater of its proxy war with Iran.

Although difficult to predict the long-term ramifications of these blasts in Iraq, their impact will likely be destabilizing, given Iraq’s fragile security. A major concern for officials in Baghdad is that in the days, weeks, and months ahead Iraq—as well as its airspace—could be the location of intensified violence as the U.S., Israel, and Iran challenge each other’s actions. Iraq will have a difficult time staying neutral between Washington and Tehran.

Netanyahu: More coming. (Wikimedia Commons)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Aug 19, “Iran has no immunity, anywhere… we will act and currently are acting against them, wherever it is necessary.” Three days later the Israeli leader went further, suggesting his country was perhaps involved in these attacks in Iraq, declaring, “We are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us.”

By making such bold moves, Israel is taking major risks. If such attacks continue in Iraq against Tehran-sponsored non-state actors near the Iranian border, Iran will likely respond. Perhaps the Iranians will put air defense capabilities in the hands of Iraqi Shi’a militias to enable such factions to fend off future Israeli attacks. Also possible is that Tehran would  carry out limited strikes in retaliation at a time and place of the Iranian leadership’s choosing, perhaps targeting Israeli positions in the occupied Golan Heights of Syria.

Israeli strikes, which constitute a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, may come with major costs for U.S. interests in Iraq. Given that an influential Iran-based Shi’a cleric, Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri, reacted to such Israeli attacks with a fatwa forbidding America’s military presence from continuing in Iraq, and the fact that many in Iraq and other Arab countries see the U.S. as responsible for Israeli actions against PMU targets, the roughly 5,000 American troops in the country could find themselves in the crosshairs of what has quickly become an escalating Israeli-Iranian proxy war waged in Iraq.

Israel’s bombing of Iraq will have major implications for the Washington-Baghdad relationship too, particularly given that the Iraqi government is attempting to bring the heavily armed Shi’a militias under its control. If the U.S. administration fails to prevent Israel from turning Iraq into more of a battleground in Tel Aviv’s proxy wars with Tehran, Iraq’s fragile stability will be further undermined. Under such circumstances, Iran could quickly capitalize on such conditions to bring Baghdad closer to Tehran at a time in which U.S. influence in Iraq—and the region at large—continues to wane.

Unquestionably, perceptions across Iraq that the U.S. is to blame for Israel’s actions will push more Iraqis to the conclusion that the White House’s “maximum pressure” agenda against Iran is directly undermining Iraq’s basic interests in upholding sovereignty and moving toward a more stable future in which the country is not implicated in greater regional crises involving multiple nations.

Giorgio Cafiero (@GiorgioCafiero) is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics (@GulfStateAnalyt), a Washington-based geopolitical risk consultancy.

August 28, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nasrallah: Netanyahu is Campaigning with the Blood of his People

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on August 25, 2019, on the occasion of the annual commemoration of Lebanon’s Second Liberation against the takfiris terrorist groups, which was finalized on August 25, 2017.

 

 

Transcript: 

[…] I now turn to the question of Israel. Pray upon Muhammad and his family.

What happened last night is very dangerous, and I’ll explain why, because (the firmness of) our position must be at the height of the event and the danger. Let no one minimize what happened and consider it offhandedly. I will offer my analysis (after recalling the facts).

This is what happened: on the night of yesterday, in the skies of the southern suburbs of Beirut, a very modern drone came —I can say it is very sophisticated because this drone is in our hands, and we may show it to the media; later we will agree on that with the official security bodies; we also have the remains of the second (suicide) drone. It is not at all the type of drone that one can rent in towns or villages to film weddings and celebrations, not at all. This is a very modern military drone, which is almost two meters wide, a very sharp military technology.

The first drone came at night in the targeted region, namely some street of the Ma’wad neighborhood in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The first was a surveillance drone that had no other role but to collect information because it contained no explosive device. It descended very low, ending up between the buildings. This means it was filming its target very accurately, or at least trying to do so.

As announced by Hezbollah media relations, we have not shot down the drone. Young people in the neighborhood, seeing this two meters long drone flying so low, between buildings… The more I speak frankly and clearly, the easier it will be to understand, because we have to base our stance on truth, not on illusions or assumptions. These young people started to throw stones at this drone, which then fell. Either it fell because of a technical failure, either due to stone throwing, and it is clear that the drone was damaged by a stone. The drone therefore fell to the ground.

After a very brief moment, that is to say, a maximum of one or two minutes, another drone came aggressively and hit a certain place. So it is not a drone that was there to watch, and that they would have detonated because of an incident, not at all. What happened last night is an attack by a suicide drone against a target located in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. This is the precise description that can be done from the field data.

Why do we say it’s dangerous? The fact that there was no killing and no injuries, by the grace of God, does not make this incident less dangerous. Sure, buildings were hit, their windows and facades were damaged, as well as furniture of apartments, offices… There was property damage. By the Grace of God Almighty and Exalted, the attack occurred during the night from Saturday to Sunday, and you know that on Saturdays and Sundays, you can play soccer on the main roads of the southern suburbs of Beirut (the streets are empty) because most people spend (weekends) in the south and in the Bekaa. It is a blessing of God Most High and Exalted. For without Him, surely, there would have been martyrs and wounded. God Almighty has bestowed His kindness upon us last night.

There was a loud explosion, which many residents of the southern suburbs of Beirut were able to hear. It was not a small explosion. This suicide drone attack against a target in the southern suburbs of Beirut is the first act of aggression since August 14, 2006. For in regard to the strikes which took place against Jenta a few years ago (in February 2014), we can say that this point was located at the Syrian-Lebanese border. But today there was a clear and open aggression (against Lebanon).

Of course, all the Israeli media speak of two suicide drones or one suicide drone that struck the southern suburbs of Beirut. Now if someone in Lebanon or in the Arab world, or on satellite TV channels, wants to pretend it is only a local (minor) incident, concerning only Lebanon, with drones that anyone can buy, it’s absolutely false. We will show you this drone with the grace of God, and you’ll know for sure that this is not a drone that can be bought on the market.

In fact, Israel itself recognizes, through its official statements and everything we read in the media, that they have perpetrated this air raid. This is a flagrant violation of the rules of engagement that were established after the war of 2006. It is the first clear and major violation. I will not mention other violations, whether against our airspace, our territory, all this could be tolerated (temporarily). But this is a major and dangerous violation, and it is God who, in His Benevolence, prevented any victims.

As for us, Netanyahu and those who took this decision really are deluded if they believe we can ignore such an attack. Some may say that there are no martyrs or injuries, only property damage, and that therefore we should forget about it. But that is not the question. The bottom line is that this incursion…

Listen to me, let the Lebanese people listen carefully: if we stay silent on this violation, it will open the way for a dangerous scenario for Lebanon. For every two or three days, we will see a car bomb… Excuse me, we’ll see a drone bomb, a suicide drone target such building, such place, such field, such land, such mosque, such hall… Under the pretext that it is a drone strike, and that we cannot know (for sure) where it comes from, (we would be condemned to do nothing). In other words, it will be a repetition of the scenario that is taking place in Iraq.

Now let the whole world listen to me carefully. I will speak very precisely. There is a scenario implemented in Iraq in recent weeks. In different regions, weapons stockpiles of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are identified by drones, and right after, explosions happen right there. Whether the drone has fired a missile or whether it was a suicide drone, that’s what the investigation will show. One explosion, two explosions, three explosions, four explosions… And at the very least, they are implicitly claimed by Israel, who brags about them. For Netanyahu needs such operations now, I will speak about it in a moment. This process has run its course in Iraq: a first weapons depot, a second one, a third, a fourth, a fifth… And they continue on this path.

Now how Iraq will deal with this, be it the government, the army, the PMU or the Iraqi people, it is their problem, and I do not interfere in their decisions. But as for us in Lebanon, we do not allow such a scenario to be imposed on us. We do not accept to undergo the same thing. It’s absolutely impossible. And we will do… You’re used to such statements from us (and you know we are serious). We absolutely will do whatever is necessary to prevent such a scenario being imposed on Lebanon. All that needs to be done to prevent it, we will do it (without any hesitation, and whatever the consequences).
 
All this is in our hands, and we are perfectly capable of preventing that. The Lebanese State took its responsibilities and condemned (Israel’s attack), it is good. The State considers that what happened is an attack, that’s good. She complained to the UN, that’s good. She speaks to the US and to Europe (asking them to put pressure on Israel), that’s good. But this alone will not end the dangerous process that can destroy Lebanon again, returning it to the situation before 2000 (the Liberation). We, the Islamic Resistance (Hezbollah), will never allow such a scenario, regardless of the price (we have to pay to stop it).

The time when Israeli planes could strike anywhere in Lebanon while the entity usurping Palestine was safe, in any area of the entity, is well over. It’s the past, it is ancient history. Today, I read that the Israeli army told the people of the north (of Israel) that there is no danger, and that they can live their lives normally. Today, from the village of al-Ain in the Bekaa, in this second annual commemoration of the Second Liberation (of Lebanon against the terrorist groups), after we defeated Al-Nosra and ISIS in Lebanon, which are the US’ groups and Israel’s, I declare to all the inhabitants of northern Israel and everywhere in occupied Palestine: do not live (normally), do not be in peace, do not feel safe, and do not think for one second that Hezbollah will accept such a scenario (where he would suffer such attacks in his neighborhoods without retaliating against settlers).

And our first response… Our first response… Again, listen to me. Here is our first response, which needs a little explanation. Since 2000, and then since 2006, we have lived with the (constant) presence of (Israeli) drones in Lebanese skies. We had the ability to shoot them down, but we did not, so that nobody in Lebanon comes with us to philosophize, accusing Hezbollah of creating problems, of leading the country to war, of hindering tourism and the economy, etc., putting on us the blame for everything. Ok my brother, (we waited patiently) despite the fact that the presence of Israeli observation drone is not only a violation of Lebanese sovereignty, but is endangering our security. (The Israeli drones are) here, over the southern suburbs of Beirut, above (the presidential palace) of Baabda, above all Lebanese regions, in the south, where people in their villages hear (every day) the annoying noise of Israeli drones over their heads, but no one did anything about it! Since 2000 and until 2019, we did not stop asking the State and the government (to do something), and you remember that I raised this issue in many speeches, saying that a solution should be found. The UN resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war prohibits Israeli violations: why don’t they stop?

Now, I declare that Israeli drones that enter Lebanon will not be considered as drones (merely) violating our sovereignty or gathering information, but as suicide, attack drones planning to conduct assassinations. And therefore, we have every right to shoot them down. The implementation of this right depends on the circumstances: we may not do it every day or every week, maybe we’ll do it at every hour, it’ll depend on our tactics. But I say to you very clearly, although I know some people will be angry, but let them get angry! Let them get mad! From now on, we will confront the Israeli drones in the skies of Lebanon! We will work to shoot down the Israeli drones entering Lebanese airspace! Let the Israelis know it from today! We won’t wait for anyone (to solve this issue for us), no one around the world. We will not allow our towns and villages to be a shooting range, a hunting or murdering ground, or a space where our security can be violated with impunity. That time has passed. And if someone in Lebanon is anxious to avoid any problems, let him speak to the Americans, who will speak to Israel, and they will make themselves scarce! They will disappear!

The second point I have to mention is what happened in Syria. I mention these two points, and I will conclude with Netanyahu and a message to the Israelis who head towards (parliamentary) elections (in September).

Yesterday, in Syria, there have been air strikes against a house in the village of Aqraba in the suburbs of Damascus. Netanyahu boasted of what he had done, announcing with the enemy’s army that the target was Iranian Al-Quds forces, etc., etc., etc., posing as a courageous and fearless national hero.

Netanyahu lies to the Israeli people, if we can talk about a people. He lies to the (Zionist) settlers who occupy Palestine. He lies to his kin, he lies to his people. He sells them meaningless and empty words. He misrepresents the truth and the realities of the ground.

Yesterday, Israeli strikes have not targeted the Al-Quds forces, but a Hezbollah position. Those who were in… It is a simple house, it’s not even a military position. It is a simple house in which our youth rested. In the place that was hit, there are only young Lebanese Hezbollah members. And in this place last night, two martyrs fell: the martyr Hassan Yousef Zbib, and the martyr Yasser Ahmad Dhahir.

You know, O Netanyahu and the Israeli army, that we mean business, and that during all the past years, we were not kidding. After our dear brothers have been killed in Quneitra (in January 2015), our martyrs, you saw that we were not kidding (Hezbollah immediately retaliated by striking an Israeli convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven). And (in my speech) just a few days ago, I was not joking. We said that if you kill the least of our brothers, our brothers of Hezbollah, Lebanese… I say this so no one tells me that they strike Syrians, Iranians or Iraqis, and that we come and make problems in Lebanon, no: all (the fighters of these countries) are our dear brothers, but those who were killed (in Syria) are our (Lebanese) children, from our villages, our families, our youth!

You know (O Netanyahu) that we have made a clear commitment, and I will remind this commitment to the world: if Israel kills the least of our brothers in Syria, we will retaliate for the killing in Lebanon, and not on the (occupied) Shebaa farms! We will retaliate from Lebanon, and not from the Shebaa farms!

I declare to the Israeli soldiers at the border tonight: wait for us against the (separation) wall (standing) on one foot and a half (be ready to flee for your lives)! Wait for us on one foot and a half! Wait for us (because we’ll certainly come at you)! In one day, two days, three days, four days… Just wait for us!

And I say to the Israelis, not just those at the border, because the two issues (drone strikes in Beirut and Damascus attacks) are linked. Both attacks are actually a single question. Ultimately, if we forgot about what happened in Damascus, the first point would be enough for us to act differently (because Israel violated the rules of engagement). That is why we will not forget about what happened during last night. With us, you can not wipe the slate clean (so easily).

What I want to say to the Israelis is that Netanyahu runs his electoral campaign. The various Israeli political parties (always) conducted their election campaigns by pouring the blood of Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and the peoples of the region. But O Israelis, this time, Netanyahu campaigned with your own blood. It’s your very lives that he puts at risk.

He attracts towards you fire from all sides. For what is he doing in Iraq? Why does he strike arms depots of the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq? He brings to you Iraqi strikes, Syrian strikes, and now Lebanese strikes. As for the Palestinian attacks, they are persistent because of your siege against Gaza, your aggression against the West Bank and your arrogance against the Palestinian people. This man who fears the election results, against whom charges of corruption are pressed, and who is expected by the courts, has only one alternative before him: becoming Prime minister, or going to jail. And he has no problem to conduct his election campaign with the blood of people, (even his own). Netanyahu takes you to the edge of the abyss, O Israel. And it is possible that he’ll throw you into the abyss, if he continues to act the way he does, and with this mentality.

O my brothers and sisters, in this commemoration that is dear and precious, we the Lebanese, the Army, the People, the Resistance, the security bodies, the State, the political forces, the people, the religious components, the regions, the families, the tribes (of Lebanon), we have shaped with our own hands our security in the Bekaa, in the South and throughout Lebanon. We shaped our security with our own hands, by the blood of our soldiers and our Resistance. We carried heavy burdens for all of Lebanon to be united, in peace and security, in the heart of this region that the US and its (terrorist) groups are destroying. We will not allow the clock to turn back. We will not allow Lebanon to be open to all intrusions, whether strikes, murders, terrorist attacks or any violation whatsoever. As for us, this is a red line, and we must all assume our responsibilities. We work so that there is a united national position, strong, bold and courageous. Going back to the old (sectarian) divisions would serve no purpose, but it would hurt the country. This would harm the country.

Thanks to the benefits of all these victories, and from a position of strength, clarity and conscience, we will defend our country on all boundaries: south, east, north, at sea, and now we will start to defend our airspace, doing our best, and in the manner required by wisdom, sense of responsibility and our interests. This is the new phase that the enemy has imposed. We will be up to the task, and you (the Lebanese people) too.

If Netanyahu imagines that we are in a position of weakness or numbness here and there, and rejoices about the financial and economic siege (imposed on us by Trump), he does not know us. He does not know us. We are prepared to endure hunger to remain dignified. That’s how we’ve always been throughout history. We sell our houses in order to (get the means to) fight. But we do not allow anyone to touch our dignity, our sovereignty, our honor and our presence in Lebanon and the region.

This is the message of the martyrs today, the message of martyr Sayyed Abbas al-Mousawi, our master and teacher; the message of our martyrs of the Bekaa, of the town of al-Ain (where is celebrated this anniversary), the Bekaa martyrs who carried our flag on all battlefields. Today, it is in your name that I proclaimed this clear and glorious message, that doesn’t need any analysis or comment. We are in a new phase. Let everyone assume their responsibility in this new phase, and we first.

I congratulate you in this commemoration. Happy Liberation and Victory Day to all.

Peace be upon you O people of the good, and God’s mercy and blessings.

Translation: http://resistancenewsunfiltered.blogspot.com

See also:

Nasrallah: The Next War Will Devastate Israel and Decimate its Population, We Will Liberate Palestine and Pray in Al-Quds

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • August 27, 2019

President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran, after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone, to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a U.S. war with Iran. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu.

Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force to fly “killer drones” into Israel, an act of war.

Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon.

Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month’s attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias in Iraq.

Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria’s civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Understandably, Israel’s weekend actions have brought threats of retaliation. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has warned of vengeance for the death of his people in the Syria strike.

Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani reportedly tweeted from Tehran, “These insane operations will be the last struggles of the Zionist regime.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the alleged Israeli drone attack on Beirut a “declaration of war.”

Last Friday, in the 71st week of the “Great March of Return” protests on Gaza’s border, 50 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire. In 16 months, 200 have died from gunshots, with thousands wounded.

America’s reaction to Israel’s weekend attacks? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Netanyahu to assure him of U.S. support of Israel’s actions. Some Iraqi leaders are now calling for the expulsion of Americans.

Why is Netanyahu now admitting to Israel’s role in the strikes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Why has he begun threatening Iran itself and even the Houthi rebels in Yemen?

Because this longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, having surpassed David Ben-Gurion, is in the battle of his life, with elections just three weeks off. And if Netanyahu falls short — or fails to put together a coalition after winning, as he failed earlier this year — his career would be over, and he could be facing prosecution for corruption.

Netanyahu has a compelling motive for widening the war against Israel’s main enemy, its allies and its proxies and taking credit for military strikes.

But America has a stake in what Israel is doing as well.

We are not simply observers. For if Hezbollah retaliates against Israel or Iranian-backed militias in Syria retaliate against Israel — or against us for enabling Israel — a new war could erupt, and there would be a clamor for deeper American intervention.

Yet, Americans have no desire for a new war, which could cost Trump the presidency, as the war in Iraq cost the Republican Party the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

The United States has taken pains to avoid a military clash with Iran for compelling reasons. With only 5,000 troops left in Iraq, U.S. forces are massively outmanned by an estimated 150,000 fighters of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces, which played a critical role in preventing ISIS from reaching Baghdad during the days of the caliphate.

And, for good reason, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, with its crew of 5,600, which Trump sent to deter Iran, has yet to enter the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf but remains in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman, and, at times, some 600 nautical miles away from Iran.

Why is this mighty warship keeping its distance?

We don’t want a confrontation in the Gulf, and, as ex-Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, says:

“Anytime a carrier moves close to shore, and especially into confined waters, the danger to the ship goes up significantly. … It becomes vulnerable to diesel submarines, shore-launched cruise missiles and swarming attacks by small boats armed with missiles.”

Which is a pretty good description of the coastal defenses and naval forces of Iran.

Netanyahu’s widening of Israel’s war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq — and perhaps beyond — and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both of us.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Saker Interviews Professor Marandi

The Saker • Unz Review • August 22, 2019

Introduction: first, several friends recently suggested that that I should interview Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi; then I read this most interesting text on Moon of Alabama and I decided to ask Professor Marandi to share his views of the current situation in Iran, the Persian Gulf and the rest of the Middle-East who very kindly agreed to reply to my question in spite of his most hectic and busy schedule. I am most grateful to Prof. Marandi for his time and replies. Crucially, Prof. Marandi debunks the silly notion that Russia and Israel are allies or working together. He also debunks that other canard about Russia and Iran having some major differences over Syria. Prof. Marandi, who is currently in Iran, is superbly connected and informed, and I hope that with this interview some of the more outlandish rumors which were recently circulated will finally be seen for what they are: utter, total, nonsense. Enjoy the interview!

The Saker: It is often said that there is an “axis of resistance” which comprises Syrian, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia and China. Sometimes, Venezuela, Cuba or the DPRK are added to this list. Do you believe that there is such an “axis of resistance” and, if yes, how would you characterize the nature of this informal alliance? Do you think that this informal alliance can ever grow into a formal political or military alliance or a collective security treaty?

Professor Marandi: I definitely believe there is an Axis of Resistance that currently includes Iran, Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, parts of Afghanistan, and Yemen. I do not think that we can include the DPRK in any way or form. I believe that Russia could be considered to a certain degree as aligned or affiliated to this resistance, but that this is not something many would feel the need to acknowledge. At certain levels, there is a lot of overlap between Russian and Chinese policy and the policies of the countries and movements in this region that are affiliated to this Axis of Resistance. The same is true with countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, which I do not consider to be similar to North Korea at all. Just as almost everywhere else, American policy in the Korean Peninsula is ugly, hegemonic and malevolence, but the nature of the DPRK government is fundamentally different from that of Venezuela or Cuba, whether the Americans or Europeans like to acknowledge that or not. Others can interpret the Axis of Resistance to include or exclude certain countries, but it is pretty clear that Iran and Russia have similar policy objectives when it comes to certain key issues. Nevertheless, Russia has a close relationship with the Israeli regime whereas Iran considers it to be an apartheid state, almost identical to that of apartheid South Africa. Or for example the Syrian government position regarding Israel is different from that of Iran’s. The official Syrian position is that the West Bank and Gaza Strip must be returned to the Palestinians, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, and that the occupied Golan Heights have to be handed back to the Syrian people, which are legitimate demands. But the Iranian position is different, Iran firmly believes that Israel is a colonial and apartheid regime and that it is morally unacceptable for it to exist in its present form. Therefore, at least officially, there are substantial differences. So people can interpret the Axis of Resistance in different ways. It is important to keep in mind that despite Syria, Iran, Turkey and Qatar are also moving closer together partially thanks to US, Saudi, and UAE hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood. What is important is that there is a growing consensus about key issues in this region and what the major problems are, and I think that as time goes on this loose alliance of countries and movements is growing more influential and more powerful. I cannot say whether there will be a formal or open collective security treaty or military alliance created by any of these countries in the near or foreseeable future and I do not see such a necessity. However, I think this convergence of ideas is very important and I think that the formal and informal links that exist between these countries is in many ways more important and more significant than formal political or military alliances or security treaties.

The Saker: In recent months a number of observers have stated that Russia and Israel are working hand in hand and some have gone as far as to say that Putin is basically a pawn of Netanyahu and that Russia is loyal to Israel and Zionists interests. Do you agree with this point of view? How do Iranian officials view the Russian contacts with the Israelis, does that worry them or do they believe that these contacts can be beneficial for the future of the region?

Professor Marandi: That is nonsense. The US and Israeli regimes are culturally and ideologically bound to one another, whereas the Americans have a deep antipathy towards Russia. That is why the Russians have a very different position on Syria than do the Americans and Israelis. The Israelis alongside the US, the EU, the Saudis, and some of Syria’s neighboring countries, supported ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other extremist entities and attempted to tear Syria apart. As explained earlier, the Russian view of Israel is different from Iran. There are many Russian Jewish immigrants in Israel and they constitute a large segment of the colonists in Palestine and they are largely utilized for the further subjugation of the Palestinian people and ethnic cleansing. Generally speaking, Russian interests are in sharp conflict with those of the United States, Israel’s strongest ally. In addition, Russia’s close relationship with Syria dates back to the cold war and the relentless US pressure on China and Russia has also acted as a strong catalyst to quicken their convergence with one another as well as with Iran on key issues. The Chinese and Russians know quite well that the United States, the Europeans, and regional countries have extensively used extremists in Syria to undermine the state and that those forces could later be used to undermine security in Central Asia, Russia, and China. A large number of Russian, Chinese, and Central Asians have been trained to fight in Syria, and this is a major threat to their collective security. The United States could use these and other extremists in an attempt to impede the potential success of the Belt and Road Initiative or other plans for Asian integration. Thus, there is a sharp and growing conflict between the Russians and the Americans.

The Israeli regime constantly tells the Russians and the Chinese that they are the gateway to Washington and that if they maintain strong ties with Israel, the Israelis can help them solve their problems with the United States. I do not think there is much truth to that, because this growing conflict is about the fate of US global dominance and there is nothing the Israelis can do to change that. Nevertheless, this has been used as an incentive for the Russians and the Chinese to maintain better relations with the Israeli regime.

In any case, Russia does not have to maintain identical views with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Iraq, or Yemen. Differences exist, but strong relationships exist nevertheless. All of these countries recognize that if the Americans are able to undermine any of them, whether it is Syria, Iran, Russia, or China, then that would only encourage the United States to be more aggressive towards the remaining countries that impede US foreign policy objectives or exist as potential rivals whether regionally or globally. So even though their political structures are different, even though their foreign policies are different, the similarities that exist are quite striking as well as the common threats. Again, to a large degree this coalition is a result of US and Western foreign policy, which has strong undercurrents of Eurocentricism, tribalism, and racism.

Not only has this pressure brought these countries and movements closer to one another, but it has also created a deeper understanding among them. The Russians understand Iran better today than they did 5 years ago, partially as a result of their cooperation in Syria. This greater understanding enhances the relationship, and helps to dispel many of the misunderstandings or myths that may exist about one another due to Eurocentric narratives and orientalism.

Hence, Iran is not concerned about Russian-Israeli relations. Obviously, in an ideal world Iran would like Russia to break relations with the Israeli regime for its apartheid nature. But reality is reality, and Iranian relations with Russia are very good and at times I am sure the Iranians send certain warnings to the Israelis through the Russians.

The Saker: How is Russia viewed in Iran? Are most Iranians still suspicious of Russia or do they believe that they have a viable and honest partner in Russia? What are the main reservations/concerns of patriotic Iranians when they think of Russia?

Professor Marandi: Historically, the Iranians have had serious problems with the Russians. The Russians and the Soviet Union interfered extensively in Iranian internal affairs and they undermined Iran’s sovereignty. But ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union the image of Russia has changed. Especially since Russia began fighting alongside Iran in Syria in 2015, Russia’s image has improved significantly. When we look at polls, Russia’s image is pretty good compared to Western countries.

Western governments own or fund dozens of Persian language media outlets These outlets, such as VOA and BBC Persian among others, are constantly spouting anti-Russian propaganda. Obviously they have an impact and that couples with historical Iranian concerns about Russia, but despite all that, the Russian image is relatively favorable and that says a lot.

The Saker: How about Turkey? Iran and Turkey have had a complex relationship in the past, yet in the case of the AngloZionist war against Syria, the two states have worked together (and with Russia) – does that mean that Turkey is seen as a viable and honest partner in Iran?

Professor Marandi: Iran’s relationship with the Turkish government is complicated, especially, because of the constant policy changes that have occurred IN TURKEY over the past few years. This has made the government seem unreliable in the eyes of many. Having said that, Turkey is very different from Wahhabi influenced regimes in the Arabian Peninsula. Turkish Islamic tradition has striking similarities with Iran’s Islamic culture and because of its strong Sufi tradition, Turkey is much closer to Iran than it is to, for example,Wahhabi Saudi Arabia.

The global Wahhabi menace has grown as a result of Saudi financial support, as well as the support of other countries in the Persian Gulf region. Turkish society has been more resistant, although ever since the military conflict in Syria and due to extensive funding from the Persian Gulf, there has been growing concern about growing sectarianism in Turkey, not unlike what happened in Pakistan in the 1980s.

Ironically, before the conflict in Syria President Erdogan had a closer personal relationship with President Assad than did the Iranians. They and their families would spend vacations together.

In any case, Turkey has a very strong economic, political, and cultural relationship with Iran, and some of the rising anti-Shia and takfiri sentiments that have been on the rise in Turkey were stunted by the Saudi and Emirati support for the attempted coup in Turkey. Subsequently, their open antagonism towards the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar, their support for the coup in Egypt, their policies in Sudan and Libya, and of course the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, have all had a beneficial impact on Iranian-Turkish relations. As a result, Turkey has grown much more distant from Iran’s regional antagonists, while Turkish support for the Palestinian cause is another element that brings Iran and Turkey closer together. American support for PKK terrorists in Syria has also angered the Turks adding push to Turkish-Iranian convergence. Even Turkish policy towards Syria is evolving, although it is impossible for the government to make a radical change, because of years of attempts at regime change.

The Saker: Next, turning to Iraq, how would you characterize the “balance of influence” of Iran and the USA in Iraq? Should we view the Iraqi government as allied to Iran, allied to the USA or independent? If the Empire attacks Iran, what will happen in Iraq?

Professor Marandi: The relationship between Iraq and Iran is significantly more important than the relationship between Iraq and the United States. Iran and Iraq are allies, but this alliance does not contradict the notion of Iraqi independence. Iraq’s regional policy is not identical to Iran’s. But the two countries have very similar interests, a very close relationship, many Iraqi leaders have spent years in Iran, and the bulk of the Iraqi population lives close to the shared border of over 1,200 km between the two countries. So trade, pilgrimage, and tourism are key to both countries. The religious similarities and the holy sites that exist in Iran and Iraq are a huge incentive for interaction between the two countries. There are many Iraqi students studying in Iran and many Iranian’s working in Iraq. The fact that Iranians made many sacrifices when fighting ISIS in Iraq and many Iraqis were martyred in the war against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria is a strong indication of where things stand despite US pressure.

The Arba’een pilgrimage that takes place every year where millions of Iranians and Iraqis make the walk towards Karbala, side by side, with tens of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian volunteers helping pilgrims along the way is, I think, a further sign of the close relationship.

While the U.S presence in Iraq continues to be hegemonic, Iran has not sought to prevent Iraq from having normal relationships with other countries. However, the U.S continues to seek control over Iraq through the world’s largest embassy, its military presence, and its influence over the bureaucracy. The United States continues to have much say over how the country’s oil wealth is spent.

Still, despite the US colonial behavior, its continued theft of Iraqi oil wealth, and its thuggish behavior, the Iraqis have been able to assert a great deal of independence. In the long run, this continued US behavior is only going to create further resentment among Iraqis. The empire rarely takes these realities into account, they seek to accumulate influence and wealth through brute force, but in the long term it creates deep-rooted anger and hostility which, at some point, will create great problems for the empire, especially as this anger and unrest is growing across the region, if not across the globe.

It is highly unlikely that the regime in Washington will attack Iran, if it does it will bring about a regional war, which will drive the United States out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Syria. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates would, swiftly collapse and the price of oil and natural gas would go through the roof, leading to a global economic meltdown even as millions of people will be streaming towards Europe.

The Saker: It is often said that Russia and Iran have fundamentally different goals in Syria and that the two countries regularly have tensions flaring up between them because of these disagreements. Is that true? In your opinion, how are Russian and Iranian goals in Syria different?

Professor Marandi: The news that we sometimes hear about serious tensions existing between the Iranians and the Russians in Syria is often nonsense. There are clear reasons for people to exaggerate small incidents or to fabricate them altogether, but the relationship is quite good. Iran does not intend to have any military bases in Syria, whereas the Russians do feel the need to preserve their military presence in Syria through long-term agreements.

But ultimately, Iran would like to help enable Syria to acquire the military capability to retake the occupied Golan Heights. Iran does not intend to initiate any conflict with the Israeli regime inside Palestine. That is not an objective in Lebanon and that is not an objective in Syria. As in Lebanon, where the Iranians supported Hezbollah to restore the country’s sovereignty and to drive out the Israeli aggressors and occupiers, the Iranians have the same agenda in Syria. They want to support the Syrians so that they will be able to restore full sovereignty. I don’t believe the Golan Heights is a priority for the Russians.

The Saker: For a while, Iran let the Russian Aerospace Forces use an Iranian military airfield, then when this became public knowledge, the Russians were asked to leave. I have heard rumors that while the IRGC was in favor of allowing Russian Aerospace Forces to use an Iranian military airfield, the regular armed forces were opposed to this. Is it true that there are such differences between the IRGC and the regular armed forces and do you think that Iran will ever allow the Russian military to have a permanent presence in Iran?

Professor Marandi: That is a myth. The Russians were not asked to leave. There were no differences between the IRGC and any other part of the armed forces. This was a decision made by the Supreme National Security Council and the President and all the major commanders in the military were involved in this decision. Actually, the airbase does not belong to the guards it belongs to the air force and a part of the base was used for Russian strategic bombers that were flying to Syria to bomb the extremists. This cooperation ended when the Russians were able to station adequate numbers of aircraft in Syria, because the flights over Iran were long and expensive, whereas the air campaign launched from bases inside Syria was much less expensive and much more effective. Iran was very open about its relationship with the Russians, and openly permitted the Russians to fire missiles over Iranian airspace. There were those who were opposed to the Russian presence in the Iranian airbase. A small segment of Iranian society that is pro-Western and pro-American complained about it in their media outlets, but they had absolutely no impact on the decision-making process. According to polls, an overwhelming majority of Iranians supported Iran’s activities in Syria, and the Supreme National Security Council was under no pressure to its decision. However, Iran does not plan to allow any country to have permanent bases in the country and that is in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The revolution in Iran was about independence, dignity, sovereignty and indigenous values, and the removal of American hegemony over Iran was very much a part of that. The Iranians will not give any bases to foreign powers in future, and neither the Russians nor the Chinese have ever made such requests. There are absolutely no differences regarding Iran’s regional policies between the IRGC and the rest of the military, both were a part of the decision-making process when the Russians were allowed to fire missiles over Iranian territory and both were part of the process in allowing Russian aircraft to use Iranian airspace. The Russian bombers were providing air support for Iranian troops and Iranian affiliated troops on the ground.

The Saker: Both Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah have made repeated statements that the days of the racist ZioApartheid regime in occupied are numbered. Do you agree with their point of view and, if yes, how do you see such a regime change actually happening? Which of the One State solution or a Two State solution do you believe to be more realistic?

Professor Marandi: I do not believe the two-state solution is possible because the Israeli regime has colonized too much of the West Bank. Actually, through acts of selfishness and petty short-term gain, the regime has damaged itself enormously. As a result of the colonization of the West Bank, even the European elites and diplomats who would privately admit that the Israeli regime pursues apartheid policies and who would always speak of hope for a two-state solution, admit that the two state solution is dead. All Palestinians are treated as sub humans, whether they reside in the West Bank or not. They are a subjugated nation, whether they are Israeli citizens or not. However, there is no longer any hope that those who live in the occupied West Bank will gain freedom, even though we predicted the Israelis would never voluntarily relinquish the West bank. This is the most important challenge that the regime faces in the future. By colonizing the West Bank and despite official western media and government narratives, it is increasingly seen by the international community as the apartheid regime that it is. It is delegitimizing itself in the eyes of larger numbers of people.

In addition to that, it can no longer behave with impunity. The 2006 war in Lebanon where the Israeli armed forces were defeated by Hizbullah was a turning point. Before then, the Israelis had created an image that they were invincible. But now even in Gaza, they are unable to carry out their objectives when they periodically attack the territory and its civilians. The Israelis are now more easily contained especially since the Syrian government has been able to restore order and expel ISIS and al-Qaeda from areas neighboring Israeli forces on the occupied Golan Heights, despite the Israelis supporting the extremists. The Israelis have been contained regionally, at home they are increasingly seen as an apartheid regime. Its regional allies are also on the decline and regionally. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the only countries that can be considered as effective allies and they are facing a potential terminal decline. Therefore, regionally the regime is becoming more isolated. I do not believe that under such circumstances, the Israeli regime can last for very long. Just as the apartheid regime in South Africa collapsed under the burden of its own immoral existence, the Israeli regime will not last. There will be no two-state solution, the only realistic and moral solution is for Palestine to be united and for the indigenous population to have its rights restored, whether they are Palestinians, Jews or Christians or anyone else who is indigenous to the land.

The Saker: Iran is an Islamic Republic. It is also a majority Shia country. Some observers accuse Iran of wanting to export its political model to other countries. What do you make of that accusation? Do Iranian Islamic scholars believe that the Iranian Islamic Republic model can be exported to other countries, including Sunni countries?

Professor Marandi: I do not think that there is any validity to that accusation. Iran has a very excellent relationship with Iraq, but it has not imposed its model on the country. In fact, Iran helped create the current constitution of that country. The same is true for Lebanon and Yemen. Iran is constantly accused by its antagonists, but in the most inconsistent ways. Elsewhere they claim that Iran is afraid of their model being exported because they are fearful of rivals. Iran has always been attacked from all sides often using self-contradictory arguments. On the one hand, the so-called regime is allegedly immensely unpopular, it is corrupt, it is falling apart, and it is incapable of proper governance. Yet on the other hand, Iran is a growing threat to the region and even the world. This is paradoxical, how can Iran be incompetent and collapsing on the one hand, yet a growing threat to the whole world on the other hand? This simply does not make sense. Nevertheless, I have seen no evidence that Iran has tried to impose its model on other countries or on movements that are close to it. If it was not for Iran’s support, ISIS and al-Qaeda would have overthrown Syria with its secular government and secular constitution. Iranians firmly believed that the terrorist forces supported by Western intelligence services as well as regional regimes were the worst case scenario for the Syrian people. Did they impose their model?

The Saker: thank you for all your answers!

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Cluster Bomb Kills Lebanese Child in South Lebanon

Eight-year-old Ali Abbas Maatouk was martyred when a cluster bomb submunition detonated (Wednesday, August 14, 2019).
Al-Manar | August 15, 2019

A bomb left over from Israeli 2006 July War on Lebanon exploded Wednesday, killing a child in south Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Eight-year-old Ali Abbas Maatouk was martyred and another child injured when the cluster bomb submunition detonated as they played in the village of Toul in Nabatieh.

They were rushed to Toul’s Sheikh Ragheb Harb Hospital.

Maatouk succumbed to his wounds upon arrival, Hasan Bourgi, an emergency room doctor, told The Daily Star.

“His head injury was too severe, despite resuscitation attempts,” Bourgi said. He added that the other child suffered shrapnel wounds to the stomach but was in stable condition.

The tragedy struck on the 13th anniversary of the end of the 33-day war, during which the Israeli warplanes “rained an estimated 4 million submunitions on south Lebanon, the vast majority over the final three days,” a Human Rights Watch report said.

It called Israel’s use of cluster bombs “indiscriminate and disproportionate, in violation of [international humanitarian law], and in some locations possibly a war crime.”

Some 40 percent of the munitions did not explode, NGO Mines Advisory Group said.

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Nasrallah: Banned in the West but Mandatory Viewing in Israel

By Tim Anderson | American Herald Tribune | July 22, 2019

In his speech on the 13th anniversary of the defeat of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Tel Aviv of the consequences of its constant urging of war against Iran. The Zionist state would be swept up in any such
war and would suffer “a terrible defeat”, he said.

In the upside-down world of western war propaganda, Nasrallah’s warning is portrayed as a ‘terrorist threat’, while Israel’s repeated attacks on Syria and constant urging of war against Iran are presented as self-defense. In this way, war in the entire Middle East region is normalized, for western audiences.

In an apparent paradox, Nasrallah’s voice of resistance is banned in many western countries. Facebook, for example, will automatically block any link to the Hezbollah news site, al Manar. However, in Israel Nasrallah’s words are carefully reported and studied.

There is a good reason for this. The USA and Britain, in particular, want to prohibit Nasrallah’s clear and insistent logic of resistance to the colony in Palestine; while Israel wants colonists to remain up to date on the latest detail from their northern nemesis. Of course, Nasrallah’s speeches carry a fair degree of morale-building rhetoric, of his confidence in victory and so on. But he speaks with the unique credibility of a commander in chief, as well as that of a strategic analyst. When he speaks of inflicting damage on Israel, his southern neighbors know that Hezbollah has done that before, driving zionist forces out of Lebanon throughout the 1990s and again in 2006.

No other resistance commander speaks so plainly and in such detail. Iran’s legendary General Qasem Soleimani, for example, rarely makes any public statements.

This latest message led with the warning over the war against Iran, and specified the vulnerabilities of Israel. Showing a map of occupied Palestine, Nasrallah emphasized the capabilities of the Lebanese resistance and the close proximity of all Israel’s military, logistic and industrial facilities. Hezbollah now has tens of thousands of accurate missiles and its retaliation would focus on the north and on the north coast.

Zionist leaders, recognizing that Hezbollah is now well embedded in the Lebanese government, seem to have abandoned any attempt to distinguish the resistance party from Lebanon. On more than one occasion Minister Yisrael Katz has threatened to send Lebanon back “to the stone age”. This is part of Israel’s (obsessive but futile) campaign to remove Iranian presence from both Syria and Lebanon. In December 2017 Katz threatened “This time, all of Lebanon will be a target … we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age.” Nasrallah responded in kind. Al Manar’s summary of the long speech (‘Sayyed Nasrallah confident of victory: we will pray in al Quds!’, 16 July) emphasized the devastating impact of Hezbollah’s retaliation against Israel.

Lebanon’s resistance forces are prepared for a counter-invasion of Galilee (northern Palestine) and would focus attacks on the coastal strip from Netanya to Ashdod, which included the main airport, arms depots, military facilities, petrochemical plants, power facilities and ports. Israel would suffer a “terrible defeat” and would be “on the verge of vanishing”. Nasrallah repeated his earlier statements about the weakness of Israeli ground forces. In other themes, Nasrallah said the Kushner plan for Palestine was doomed to failure, that with looming victory, Hezbollah had withdrawn many of its forces from Syria and, in Lebanon, the resistance backed internal de-escalation and stability.

In her report on the speech, Dr. Marwa Osman (‘Nasrallah’s surprises for Israel’, 21 July) pointed out that the resistance leader’s central message was a deterrence to the Netanyahu regime’s drive for war on Iran. The Zionist fear of Iran is logical. A bloc led by Tehran remains the main existential threat to Israeli expansion and apartheid.

Iran has told Washington that any attack on its territory will lead to counter attacks on US forces and proxies in the region. The Hezbollah leader has now made explicit the scope of the response of the Lebanese
resistance, on multiple targets in occupied Palestine.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments