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Neocons Panic As Trump-Putin Meeting Could Mark Close Of Syrian Proxy War

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | July 13, 2018

When multiple op-ed pieces appear in the pages of the New York TimesWashington Post, and the CFR-owned Foreign Affairs authored by neocons simultaneously pleading with Trump Don’t Get Out of Syria(!) all within the same week, this is typically an indicator that the president is about to do something good.

Trump is set to meet with Putin one-on-one this coming Monday in Helsinki after a contentious NATO summit and a sufficiently awkward visit with Theresa May, and mainstream pundits’ heads are exploding.

The Post’s Josh Rogin warns, Trump and Putin may be about to make a terrible deal on Syria, and Susan Rice suddenly emerges from obscurity and irrelevance to say in the Times that Trump Must Not Capitulate to Putin while urging the administration not to “prematurely withdraw United States forces [from Syria], thus ceding total victory to Russia, Mr. Assad and Iran.” From North Korea to Afghanistan to Syria to Ukraine, Rice advises the typical regime change script of “harsh additional sanctions” anywhere the dictates of Washington are not strictly adhered to.

Similarly, Eli Lake links together the main regime change wars begun under Obama while lamenting their potential winding down as a result of Putin and Trump meeting as indicative of living in “some alternate universe.” “The price of Russian cooperation in Syria cannot be U.S. capitulation on Crimea,” Lake writes, and further calls such a possibility “the most dangerous possible outcome.”

The Kagan-led neocon think tank ISW, meanwhile, is outraged(!) the administration appears to lack “the will to use” America’s military might to counter Assad, Iran, and Russia, saying “the United States should invest now in building leverage for future decisive action.”

And then there’s Senator Lindsey Graham’s meltdown on Twitter this week in reaction to both the Syrian Army victoriously raising the national flag over Daraa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling President Vladimir Putin during a summit that Israel has no problem with Assad staying, so long as Israel can preserve “freedom of action” if attacked.

In a significant change of posture toward Damascus, Netanyahu told reporters in Moscow, “We haven’t had a problem with the Assad regime, for 40 years not a single bullet was fired on the Golan Heights.”

This was enough to send Graham’s head spinning: “Radical Sunni groups will say – correctly – that Assad is a proxy of Iran and the Ayatollah. It means the Syrian war never ends and ISIS comes back,” he said in a strange twist of logic that gives credence to the arguments of terror groups.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper featured Sen. Graham’s reaction:

‘Without Assad’s blessing, the flags of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would not be on Israel’s front door,’ Graham tweets in response to Netanyahu claiming Israel has no problem with Assad.

As Trump readies for Putin summit, saying “He’s not my enemy,” interventionistas are raging:

In the past months there’s been widespread reporting on a “secret” deal brokered between Russia, Israel, and Syria, which reportedly involves the Syrian Army agreeing to keep Iranian forces away from the ongoing successful campaign along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, especially the contested Golan Heights.

Netanyahu now says, fresh off his Moscow visit, that Putin agreed to restrain Iran in Syria, but that ultimately Assad will take back all of Syria.

The New York Times reports this hugely significant acknowledgement and surprising change of tune from the Israeli PM:

Israel, he said, did not object to President Bashar al-Assad’s regaining control over all of Syria, a vital Russian objective, and Russia had pushed Iranian and allied Shiite forces “tens of kilometers” away from the Israeli border.

The NYT continues:

But a commitment to keep Iranian forces tens of kilometers from Israel was a far cry from ejecting them completely from Syria, which Mr. Netanyahu has been lobbying Mr. Putin to do. And even that commitment was not confirmed by Russian officials.

… So a willingness to accept Mr. Assad’s resumption of control over all of Syria is no small concession, said Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“Nobody can these days destabilize the Assad regime,” he said. “The only one who can do it is Israel. And the Russians know that very well. So to get a commitment from Israel not to destabilize Syria is something that Russia will value very much.”

The neocon pundits’ last hope for military intervention in Syria has remained Netanyahu, and to see him fold must feel like a swift unexpected punch in the stomach, but more crucially the Syrian diplomatic cards have fallen in place just days before Monday’s Trump-Putin meeting.

President Assad has long vowed to liberate “every inch” of sovereign Syrian territory, something which but two years ago appeared impossible, yet which now looks increasingly inevitable. Should the Trump-Putin summit result in a green light that ensures Moscow and Damascus remain in the driver’s seat and set the terms for Syria’s stabilization, we could be witnessing the final diplomatic chapter in this dark seven-year long proxy war.

However, Trump continues to be urged from various corners of the beltway foreign policy establishment to salvage and preserve what he can of the open-ended US troop presence in eastern Syria: the US must “preserve its interests in the conflict, namely… constraining Iranian influence in the country” as one Foreign Policy essay argues.

For months now, Trump has talked of US military withdrawal from the country — which the Pentagon in public statements has put at over some 2,000 troops — a proposal which hawks within his administration have pushed back against every time.

And then there’s the clearly observable pattern that seems to repeat whenever the administration announces it is poised to pull out of Syria. Indeed it seems to occur every time the Syrian Army is on a trajectory of overwhelming victory: an ill-timed and strategically nonsensical mass chemical attack on civilians supposedly ordered by Assad — inevitably giving the West an open door for military intervention, new rounds of crippling sanctions, and yet more international media condemnation heaped on Damascus.

Precisely this scenario occurred just days after President Trump declared in the last week of March of this year that he wanted a complete US military pullout from Syria. What then immediately followed was the April 7 “chemical attack” provocation in Douma  just the thing that brought Trump’s planned pullout to a grinding halt, instead resulting tomahawk missiles unleashed on Damascus.

Should Trump and Putin ultimately come to a lasting settlement on the Syria issue which results in US troop withdrawal from Syria, will the international proxy war come to a close?

Or will we witness yet another last minute “mass casualty event” or other other provocation that pulls the US, Israel, and Russia into yet deeper direct military confrontation?

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dr. Mohammad Marandi: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE Have Been Cooperating Closely for Many Decades Now

American Herald Tribune | July 13, 2018

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is the immediate impact on the Iranian people of the Trump administration’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal?

Dr. Mohammad Marandi: Obviously, it is going to have a short term negative impact. People are concerned about the effect it will have on the economy and Iranian currency has dropped significantly. However, I believe that in the midterm the economy will stabilize, and as Iran reorientates its economy, trading partners and strategic partnerships things will stabilize. In the long term, I think Iran will probably even benefit because the US will no longer have any leverage that it can use against the country and its people.

Are not the economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration intended to provoke disturbances within the Iranian population in order to change the power in Iran?

Without a doubt. Actually, just recently in a speech in France to the MEK terrorist organization, a cult group which has killed 17 thousand Iranians through assassinations and bomb attacks and has also fought for Saddam Hussein, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer and close friend, admitted that the disturbances in Iran are not spontaneous and that they are carried out by their people. That does not mean there are no ordinary people who protest here and there, but the foreign role is obvious and we can see it through the western, Israeli, and Saudi, funded Persian media outlets like BBC Persian and VOA among others that attempt to create tensions and fear among Iranians.

Do you think there is a special program to assassinate Iranian scientists as was the case with Iraqi scientists where some sources have spoken of the existence of a special CIA unit responsible for assassinating scientists?

I have no idea about that, but we do know that Mohammad bin Salman has said in public that he wants to take the war into Iran and after that we saw the terrorist attacks on Tehran and an increased number of attacks alongside the Pakistani-Iranian border as well as the border between Iran and Iraq Kurdistan.

What is the exact role of the Zionist entity of Israel and its services in the assassination of Iranian scientists?

Israeli intelligence and the MEK terrorist organization worked together in this regard. In addition, Western intelligence agencies have in the past passed on IAEA information on Iranian scientists to the Israelis thus helping them carry out a number of murders.

What do you think of the alliance between the Saudis and the Israelis? In your opinion, is it tactical or strategic?

The alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE among others is not new at all. They have been cooperating closely for many decades now, but these Arab regimes have always been afraid to make this alliance public. However, Trump is putting a lot of pressure on these regimes to come out of the closet, especially because he wants to impose his so called deal of the century on the Palestinian people in order to destroy the Palestinian nation.

In your opinion, can Europe play a role in maintaining the nuclear agreement?

It’s possible. However, I am skeptical about the EU’s intentions and I am even more skeptical about their ability to grow a backbone in face of persistent American violations of their sovereignty and threats against their businesses and citizens.

In your opinion, why is it that Israel that massacres the Palestinian people has never been subjected to sanctions?

I think it is widely known that the Israeli regime is allowed to implement apartheid policies, carry out ethnic cleansing and colonization, the bombing of neighboring countries, the killing of civilians, the arrest children, and the confiscation of land.Western countries will give them blanket support no matter what the regime does.

What is your analysis of the situation in Syria? Can we say that Daesh is defeated definitively or is it moving towards reorganization?

The extremist groups including Daesh that were supported by western intelligence services and regional client regimes have been severely weakened and the Syrian Arab army and government have gained the upper hand. But the war is not over, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups continue to get foreign support and Western countries and media outlets have been trying to give cover to these extremist groups by calling them “moderates” and “rebels”, whereas in reality their ideologies are very similar to ISIS.

What do you think of the position of Morocco that has just cut off its relations with Iran by accusing Hezbollah of having armed the Polisario Front? Don’t you think that this maneuver bears the signature of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans?

I think it is quite clear especially taking into account the timing of the accusations that the Saudis and probably countries like the US and the UAE are behind this. But I do not have any specific information.

Why do you think Westerners are silent, both the media and the political institutions, in the face of the carnage that Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen?

It is because of Saudi oil wealth, and because the destruction of Yemen is in the interest of the Saudi and Israeli regimes. Therefore, Western governments and western media outlets will not do anything meaningful to prevent the massacres or starvation. This is just one example of many. They did the same thing in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen

Who is Dr. Mohammad Marandi?

Born in 1966 in Richmond, Virginia, Mohammad Marandi is the son of Professor Alireza Marandi, a former Iranian Minister of Health and a former member of the Iranian Parliament. Mohammad Marandi lived until he was 13 in the United States before joining Iran. He is a political analyst and expert on American studies and postcolonial literature. Dr. Marandi is a graduate of the University of Tehran and the University of Birmingham where he received a PhD in English Literature. He teaches English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran where he is head of the graduate program in North American Studies.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syria by admissions. Who was behind this dreadful war?

HANDS OFF SYRIA | July 7, 2018

Who created al Qaeda and DAESH? Who drove the fake stories of chemical attacks and WMDs? A compilation by Tim Anderson for Hands Off Syria.

NOTE. YouTube’s 9/7/18 response to this video: “Dear Hands Off Syria … After further review we have determined that, while your video does not violate our community standards, it may not be appropriate for a general audience. We have therefore age-restricted your video.”

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

‘Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan intelligence chiefs discuss Daesh threat in Afghanistan’

Press TV – July 11, 2018

Moscow says the heads of intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan have sat down in Islamabad for talks on the rising threat of Daesh in Afghanistan after the Takfiri terrorist group lost its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Sergei Ivanov, the chief of the press bureau of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, told the TASS news agency on Tuesday that the officials had stressed the need for “coordinated” measures against the Daesh relocation to Afghanistan.

The quadripartite discussions in Islamabad “focused on the dangers arising from a buildup of Daesh on the Afghan territory,” he said.

“The conference reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to prevent the trickling of IS (Daesh) terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan where from they would pose risks for neighboring countries,” he added.

Ivanov also noted that the intelligence chiefs, among them Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, had underlined the need for more active regional cooperation to settle the conflict in Afghanistan.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror. Some 17 years on, the Taliban militant group has only boosted its campaign of violence across the country, targeting both civilians and security forces in bloody assaults.

More recently, Daesh has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.

The Takfiri group has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn state despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops on Afghan soil.

Recently, there have been reports suggesting that the US military is allowing Daesh elements to infiltrate into Afghanistan following their defeats in Syria and Iraq.

In February, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that by transferring Daesh to Afghanistan, Washington was seeking “to justify the continuation of its presence in the region and to create security for the Zionist regime.”

Daesh started a campaign of terror in Iraq and Syria in 2014, occupying territory in the two Arab countries and establishing a self-proclaimed “caliphate” there.

Soon, the Iraqi and Syrian armies galvanized to retake Daesh-held territory and the terror outfit was gradually stripped of all the land it had occupied in the two Middle Eastern states.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

Hassan Nasrallah: Resistance victorious in Gaza, Syria & Iraq, Hezbollah Ready to fight Saudi-US Coalition in Yemen

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on June 29, 2018

[…] Regarding the situation in the Middle East, I also have some issues to address, in a quick and synthetical way as well.

The first point is the Palestinian issue. It is clear that the developments, as we say in the Lebanese political language, the advances (meant to prepare the success) of the ‘Deal of the century’ began to be implemented with force. [Jared] Kushner has roamed the region for a long time, as well as Trump’s special envoy (in order) to (prepare) the peace initiative, what is known as the peace initiative. It is clear that serious US and Israeli efforts to ensure the success of the ‘Deal of the century’ are actively deployed. It is no longer empty words, mere expectations of journalists or such. We may be very close to the official US announcement on this agreement and on this really infamous step.

This is why at the stage where we are, all political leaders and all people who care about the Palestinian cause must of course follow these movements and developments to see what can be done (to neutralize them), and this, according to me, on several fronts.

Today, it is through this prism that we must consider what is happening in Palestine, as well as what is happening in the region, what has happened and is happening in Jordan, and also, as regards Lebanon, the disputes about the border, discussions on the Shebaa Farms (occupied Lebanese territory), on land and sea borders (with Israel): sometimes, these issues are not related to the ‘Deal of the century’, but sometimes they fit into what is known as the ‘Deal of the century’, and we must then be more careful and precise about it, of course with the strong commitment of all Lebanese to recover all their territories and get all their rights over our territorial waters.

Similarly, what is happening in Syria, when we will discuss it in the next step, we must consider it partly in this context, along with the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the continued pressure on Iran, whether political pressure, psychological warfare, economic pressure, threats of sanctions, the fact that Iran and Iranian oil (are embargoed) worldwide… All this, we must interpret it within one frame, the frame of the major US project in our region today, to which they will give (absolute) priority, ie the ‘Deal of the century’ which means the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

This project should be followed closely and with vigilance, and that’s why everyone concerned must think about what to do, how they will fight, face and resist, and we already talked about it in detail (it is important that no Palestinian sign this agreement).

Also on the Palestinian issue, we must pay tribute, especially now, during these hours (of Friday afternoon), to all the men, women, young and elderly who gather (massively) on Friday afternoon on the border strip which separates Gaza from the remainder of Palestine occupied in 1948. These demonstrations of the March of Return prove the determination and perseverance of the Palestinians, and the continuity of this determination and of this (Resistance) movement. Because during all the past weeks, as should know those who follow these events, Israel has made every possible effort in psychological warfare, security pressure, mobilizing all its military and security capabilities towards the Gaza Strip, up to striking the young throwing kites, in addition to various regional pressures on the Palestinians to get them to despair and make them give up the March of Return. The March of Return represents a great challenge which is one of the few remaining opportunities for the Palestinian people.

And the third point is that we must pay tribute to the courage and boldness of the leadership of the Resistance in Gaza, the leaders of the (different) factions of the Resistance, and to the audacity and courage of the Resistants who demonstrated, during these last days and in recent weeks, that the equation of retaliation against any aggression was well in place.

This Israel who thinks he can bomb and kill (with impunity), and in return, he will not suffer any retaliation whatsoever, the Palestinian Resistance, during the past few days, has passed that stage and demonstrated the reality of this equation. We can truly say that they have demonstrated it, and this is the result of their boldness, their courage and their wise and just planning.

Anyway, whether it be the confirmation of this equation, the support to the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, for the March of Return to continue, or a firm stand alongside the Palestinian people to deal with concrete measures being implemented today for the ‘Deal of the century’, everyone must assume his responsibility for everything that was said during the last weeks and months.

My second point about the regional situation is Syria. I have two points about it.

First point, the developments in southern Syria in recent days and today. I was in contact with the brothers (from Hezbollah) present there just a few moments ago, and (I can confirm that) the data that you hear in the media (on the dazzling success of the Syrian Arab Army) are true, and what is not public yet is even more important.

All data indicate a total collapse of the armed groups, which are completely abandoned by their (popular) base, in case they ever had one, with a strong impetus of the people to return to the State and to the bosom of the State, as has been expressed by a large number of towns and villages. And it may even be that data confirms that it is not only the western part of the Deraa region (whose liberation) must end today or tomorrow, but the entire southern region, whether in Deraa or Quneitra: all armed groups are in a state of collapse and defeat, and there are no prospects for more fighting (from them).

And anyway, the data also indicate that many of these (armed) groups have begun to review their calculations and to head towards the search for agreement and reconciliation. And in this region, only the darkest and the most obscurantist part controlled by ISIS will remain, whose fate (defeat) will in any way be clear and inescapable during the next step.

In a nutshell, in the south of Syria, we are facing a significant development and a great victory against all the armed organizations that were led and protected by the United States, and assisted and supported by Israel, those organizations who received all possible forms of support from some regional countries.

And what is happening in southern Syria, and happened in recent weeks in Manbij with the Kurdish-Turkish-American question, has many major and eloquent evidences of which we will talk (in detail) another time, because I do not have time today. And I believe it is in our interest that the battle in southern Syria comes to an end first before we talk about this evidence and these lessons of which we must all benefit in the light of this great decisive battle that is being waged in Syria for over 7 years.

The second point about Syria is that at the Syrian-Iraqi border, just a few days ago, enemy aircraft struck positions of factions of the Iraqi Resistance that operated there. The faction that was targeted is the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq, which suffered many martyrs and wounded. Of course, this is an important and dangerous event, even if some may think (wrongly) that it is (already) in the past and that there will be no consequences.

First, I would like to extend to the families of those noble and dignified martyrs my congratulations (for the blessings and honor conferred by) this martyrdom and my condolences for the loss of loved and beloved ones, as well as to my brothers, dear and beloved leaders of the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq and all their mujahedeen (fighters). And we also have to extend our congratulations and condolences to all the factions of the Resistance in Iraq to honor their martyrs, because martyrs of each faction are the martyrs of all.

And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their assistance and support in Syria (to fight terrorists). In Iraq, there is no doubt that all these factions, gathered behind the Hachd al-Cha’bi (popular mobilization), have had a real and important role of auxiliary force in defeating ISIS, the obscurantism of ISIS, the darkness and barbarism of ISIS, and the international and regional powers that stand behind ISIS. But ultimately, in Iraq, they were defending themselves, their holy places, their people and their nation. We must remember the jihad (struggle) of these Iraqi brothers, their sacrifices, their martyrs, their wounded, their perseverance, determination and presence in Syria, which continue until today, especially those who are present at the border between Syria and Iraq, to eradicate the last throes of life in this monstrous body shaped by the United States and Israel in the region and called ISIS. And we thank them for the extent of their support, their help and their presence, because as we have said during these 7 years, the battle in Syria is not only the battle of Syria, but it is the battle of Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, the Middle East and the future of this region.

Also, our brothers in the Hezbollah Brigades and in the rest of the factions of the Iraqi Resistance announced that they are investigating to ascertain which part (USA? Israel?…) hit these positions and caused so many martyrs and wounded, and that when the identity of this part shall be established with certainty, the attackers will be punished. This is a wise and natural position, and we pledge our support for any decision that these Resistant factions of Mujahideen (fighters) will make.

Yes, dear and noble brothers, yes, I declare to all peoples of the region: to our brothers in Palestine, in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen, across the whole region. Wherever the Resistance is struck and its blood is shed unjustly in acts of aggression, this aggression must not remain unanswered, without retaliation and without punishment. Because our enemies only understand this logic. This is what experience teaches us.

We can not count on either international law or on any moral principle, whether in Yemen, Palestine and in all that is happening in the region, and even in the United States. The image of immigrant children separated from their fathers and their mothers, their isolation clearly shows the monstrous reality of President Trump and his administration. Then they backed off because of pressure, but it does not change the truth of his being. If people could see the true face — in religious terms, we speak about the appearance of the (Divine) Kingdom (the reality of our soul, to be unveiled in the afterlife) —, the true appearance of Trump, they would see a ferocious beast (instead of a human being). Who can do such things?

Anyway, we are in a region and in a world where if we do not defend our people, if we do not avenge our martyrs, if we do not chastise our enemies, their aggression will never cease. If we remain inactive in front of this aggression, it will happen again and again, and we will suffer more attacks and lose many more martyrs and wounded.

I hope that by the grace of God, our brothers from the Hezbollah Brigades and other factions of the Iraqi Resistance will quickly manage to establish the identity of the aggressors and to take the (retaliation) measures they deem necessary. It is their decision that no one can impose on them.

Hezbollah is ready to fight Saudi-US coalition in Yemen

I will address my final point about the regional situation, (Yemen), through (what was reported by) the media in recent days.

A few days ago, what we used to refer to as the Arab alliance, and is now referred to as the Saudi-Emirati alliance, but for our part we refer to it as the Saudi-American aggression against Yemen, the forces of the Saudi-American aggression against Yemen… These forces announced two news items, broadcasted by (official Saudi) channel Al-Arabiya, some Arab satellite channels, [Western news agencies & mainstream media] and also some Lebanese media have followed suit, considering these news sources as very reliable.

The first is that because of the bombing in a specific region of Saada, Hezbollah would have lost 8 martyrs, including commanders of Hezbollah. At the same time, they announced another piece of information – do consider these two pieces of information (together) – according to which 8 Hezbollah members were captured. That is to say that the liar who disseminates these news items claimed at one point that 8 members of Hezbollah were killed, and at another time said they were taken prisoner. 

Anyway, after a few hours, they backtracked on the announcement of 8 prisoners, to which they preferred the announcement of 8 martyrs, because if there were prisoners, they should show them on television. And with certainty if there were prisoners, now or in the past…

You know that in recent years, in recent months, they have repeatedly claimed that they had captured a Hezbollah or Iran members (in Yemen), etc., good for them. Some time ago, they considered that they had got hold of a gem and made a fuss claiming they captured an Iranian in a region of Yemen. But it was later revealed that it was simply a Pakistani worker who had come to work in Yemen to earn his livelihood, and they got confused, being unable to distinguish Urdu from Persian.

Anyway, the information concerning prisoners died out of itself, and they stopped talking about it, but during 48 hours, they have not stopped talking about the martyrdom of eight Hezbollah members, including several commanders. I want to comment this information (to draw lessons) for both the past and the future, and I will also say a few words about the situation in Yemen.

First, throughout the past period, and until today, for various reasons and interests, we have not disclosed if we had a presence in Yemen or not. We have not addressed this issue. It is true that one day, I clearly said that we did not send fighters to Yemen, because our brothers in Yemen do not need fighters. Is there something else (counselors, military aid…)? We do not confirm it nor deny it, due to a number of interests. That’s the first point.

Second, whether we are present or not (in Yemen), I categorically deny this information that there would be martyrs of Hezbollah in Yemen, not during these last days nor during the past years.

Third, this is not the first time that the Saudi media evoke (falsely and without any evidence) Hezbollah martyrs or prisoners in Yemen.

Fourth, if we assume that one day this happens, and that members of Hezbollah are martyred in Yemen, I tell you frankly that we would not hide it, we would not be ashamed of it: on the contrary, we would be very proud and honored, and we would raise our head high because of these martyrs, if this was to happen one day. And on the contrary, we consider that we do not have to be ashamed if Hezbollah members fall martyrs in Yemen. We should rather be ashamed if we do not bring them the necessary assistance, if we do not provide what we hope or even dream of offering to the Yemeni mujahideen (fighters) and to the oppressed people of Yemen.

Therefore, let no one imagine that in Yemen or elsewhere (we hide our martyrs). If we have a martyr in Iraq, we acknowledge it. If we have a martyr in Syria, we acknowledge it. If a brother is arrested anywhere in Egypt or elsewhere, as has happened in the past, we are never ashamed of our actions, and we do not abandon our martyrs nor our prisoners. We are proud of them, proud of what they do, and we always declare it publicly. (I say this) as a basis for the future.

And so this question does not require that whenever news are spread about Hezbollah alleged martyrs or prisoners, the media contact us to get our denial. As long as we have not published a press release, that we have not talked ourselves of our martyrs to take pride in them, it means that there was nothing of the sort, and any such (propaganda) is fundamentally false and does not even need to be denied (as far as we are concerned). Let it be an established base for the future.

Fifth, about the situation in Yemen, anyway, they may have needed (false) information of this type that could go along the press campaign of Saudi media and of all those who are with them, whether the American media, the Gulf, etc, through recent weeks. Because what we have seen during the Battle of Hodeida, at the airport, around the town and in adjacent villages, and on the west coast of Yemen, is two scandals (humiliations). We witnessed two disgraces. A military disgrace in the field, and a media disgrace following military disgrace on the battlefield.

Regarding the military disgrace on the battlefield, for months, the United States and even, unfortunately, some European countries participating in this aggression – information evoke British, French and other Western countries’ participation – alongside the forces and states of the (Saudi) coalition, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the group of Abd Rabbo Mansour, mercenaries from all around the world, aviation, a huge number of military vehicles, tanks and armored vehicles (were preparing for an attack). Military vehicles seem even more numerous than the soldiers themselves, from what we see on television. The preparations took place for months, and a fierce psychological warfare, pressures, bribery, intimidation, terror…

And despite all that, when they went down to the battlefield, they suffered a humiliating defeat. A defeat in every sense. And what happened on the western coast of Yemen in recent weeks and so far is actually, even by military standards, truly miraculous. Because the fighting there takes place between on the one hand the most powerful aviation, extremely powerful intelligence agencies, leading-edge technical and technological equipment, experienced commanders, mercenaries, armies, forces, against a fighting people with modest abilities, but with enormous faith and considerable confidence in God the Almighty and Exalted.

These Resistants are, truly, from what we saw in this fight, an incarnation of (the recommendations of Imam Ali to his son before the Battle of the Camel): “Plant your feet firmly on the ground. Lend your head to God (be ready for the ultimate sacrifice). Mountains may move from their position (because of the multitude of enemies), but you should not move from yours.” They are a model (of courage and victorious Resistance).

And that is why I am one of those who can talk about this in full knowledge because me and my brothers have a similar experience. We know what war is, we know what it is to fight against a powerful aviation, violent, ferocious, having unlimited direct capabilities, we know what Resistance, endurance and perseverance are.

And that’s why when considering the war in Yemen, and especially this last experience on the west coast, in Hodeida Airport and everything around this region, me, all my brothers and any Resistant in the world and anyone who knows the military equations and has military experience, we must bow our heads with respect and humility before these fighters, these Resistants, these heroes and their wise, courageous, firm and steadfast leaders. This is the truth, this is not an exaggeration, I do not aim to cheer, no.

And I say to these fighters: myself, with others, I am embarrassed not to be at your side. In my heart, when I see videos (of the fighting) on ​​TV, these heroic acts, this legendary endurance, I keep telling myself: “If only I could be with you.” And I know that all my (Hezbollah) brothers feel exactly the same. And any dignified man in this world thinks the same thing: “If only we could fight alongside you. If only we could be with you. If only I could be one of your fighters, under the banner of your noble and courageous leader.” This is the truth. This faith and determination have inflicted this defeat (to the Saudi-US alliance).

And this is a great lesson that adds itself to the lessons of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Iraq. This is a lesson to all Arab and Muslim peoples: through faith, perseverance and determination, relying on the people and the brave, faithful and noble youth, we can face the most powerful tyrants, the most powerful armies and the most powerful arrogant bullies of this world, armies and security forces.

And there is also the media scandal: how many times have they said they took and occupied Hodeida Airport? But they could not provide any pictures, while we could see every day videos showing the presence of leaders of AnsarAllah (Houthis attacked by Saudi Arabia) in the airport. How many times have they said that they had arrived inside the city, inside the harbor before it was revealed that they did nothing of the sort?

Weeks of lies to the peoples of the region, the Saudi people, the people of the Gulf countries, the peoples of the world, before it was revealed that these victories had no reality outside the Al-Arabiya channel, nothing more, nothing less. And this is the yardstick with which we must measure the credibility of these media [Western press agencies & mainstream media included] that are completely detached from reality, both for Yemen and for everything else. [Such an AFP report was deleted but still appears in cache]

Along these lines, we must also add our voice and our thanks to the new Malaysian government, the new head of the Malaysian government, Mahathir Mohamad, and to the government and to the Malaysian Defense Minister who announced yesterday the withdrawal of Malaysia from this infamous alliance. And we hope that the rest of the Muslim and Arab countries, at least, will follow suit.

And I particularly call on the Sudanese President, the government of Sudan, the Parliament of Sudan and the people of Sudan. It is sad, really sad that the forces of the Sudanese army fight alongside those tyrants. It is truly appalling that the forces of the Sudanese army are engaged in a battle alongside the US, the West, the takfiris, Israel, allied to Saudi Arabia and others. It’s really disgraceful. Sudan, which had a significant presence and a strong commitment to the causes of the region, the Palestinian cause, many causes of the (Muslim) Community. I also insist on Sudan because of the spectacle of young Sudanese who are abandoned in the deserts, valleys and mountains of Yemen, without protection, without defense and without any support or assistance. Why are they killed? For what cause are they dying?

Anyway, we call for this and we hope that all (the countries of the Saudi coalition) will reconsider things (and withdraw). And we hope that the experience of the last battle on the western coast and all these open frontlines will allow Saudi Arabia, the UAE and those who stand by their side to learn the lesson, and understand that they face a people who will never surrender, who has a very high capacity of Resisting and shaping victories, that your battle has no horizon, and that you must answer all Yemeni, Arab, Muslim and international calls to end the war and aggression, to declare a cease-fire and direct you towards dialogue and national reconciliation, and to save Yemen and the Yemeni people, all the people of Yemen, all the tribes of Yemen and all Yemeni political forces of the consequences of this devastating and destructive war.

I’ll stop there, and as for the rest, if necessary, I will speak shortly.

May the peace of God be upon you, and His mercy and His blessings.

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan (RSS)

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July 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NATO’s Dead?

If so, who killed it: Obama, Putin, Or Trump?

By Andrew Korbyko – InfoRoss – 06.07.2018

NATO, as the world knew it, is dead, and the organization’s demise is attributable to the combination of President Putin’s deft diplomacy in advancing the Russian-Turkish rapprochement and his American counterpart’s revolutionary reconceptualization of the very essence of the alliance, both of which wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Obama.

NATO, as it was previously conceived of for decades, is dead, and while it might be reborn in a different format sometime in the future, its previous model has exhausted its purpose and is entering into the dustbin of history. The organization still officially exists, but everything about it is changing to the point where it might soon become unrecognizable. The consistently anti-Russian driving force behind the bloc has been decisively neutralized by President Putin’s deft diplomacy in winning over its second-largest military member, Turkey, as Russia’s newest strategic partner, while Trump’s revolutionary reconceptualization of the alliance as an equal collection of states combating the asymmetrical security challenges of terrorism and illegal migration will fundamentally transform what it means to be a NATO member.

The Shadow Of Obama

Before going through the post-mortem in detail, it’s worthwhile to describe how Obama’s shadow hangs heavy in the sense that he orchestrated the three greatest mistakes that inadvertently led to NATO’s demise. The 2011 NATO War on Libya has the chance of being seen in hindsight as the final flash of a fast- fading star, with its “shock-and-awe” destruction of the former Jamahiriya going down in history as perhaps the last real instance of the bloc’s members working in coordination with one another to conventionally wage war against a targeted state. The self-congratulatory pomp that followed this brief military campaign has since been proven to have been premature because of the country’s ongoing civil war and role as a transit state for facilitating the flood of hundreds of thousands of migrants into Europe, which sparked its own crisis that has since led to the rise of EuroRealist populists in the continent.

In addition, the Libyan model of Hybrid War destabilization was also applied to Syria, albeit minus the final conventional warfare form, and this exacerbated the Migrant Crisis to the point of no return in guaranteeing the inevitable rise of right-wing politicians in Europe. Taken together, the Wars on Libya and Syria, waged in different manners but nevertheless following the same neo-imperialist regime change form, generated unprecedented humanitarian blowback to the point of triggering far-reaching political changes in NATO’s EU members, making many of them reconsider the official anti-Russian purpose of the bloc when it could be better put to use in defending the organization’s southern shores from swarms of migrants. For as “constructive” of an idea as this may have been, it led to deep divisions within the EU itself between the pro-migrant Western countries, the anti-migrant Central & Eastern European ones, and the anti-Russian Baltic States, Poland, and Romania.

While these intra-NATO disagreements were percolating, Obama made another massive mistake in giving the greenlight for the failed pro-American coup attempt against Turkish President Erdogan in the summer of 2016, and the blowback from this sloppy operation was almost instantaneous in making the bloc’s second-largest military deeply suspicious of US intentions from then on out. Although Turkey had hitherto been mostly focused on facilitating American strategic objectives in the Mideast (which for the most part were disadvantageous to Russia’s long-term regional vision), its unchanging geopolitical position as an irreplaceable part of NATO’s anti-Russian “containment” policy was thought to have retained a consistent function that had been taken completely for granted up until that point. That was a huge error, as will be seen, because President Putin’s deft diplomacy succeeded in its judo-like maneuver to flip Turkey from an enemy into a partner.

Putin’s Judo

Taking advantage of President Erdogan’s understandable distrust of what he had presumed was his country’s closest ally, President Putin reached out to extend his support for the embattled Turkish leader in demonstrating which of the two Great Powers really had Ankara’s best interests in mind. It shouldn’t be forgotten that unconfirmed reports also alleged that Russian intelligence might have tipped President Erdogan off right before a fighter jet flown by one of the coup conspirators was set to bomb his residence, therefore saving his life and sealing a new bond of friendship between both countries. It might never be known whether that actually happened or not, but in any case, the Russian-Turkish rapprochement that followed soon thereafter was swift and even saw Moscow passively accepting Ankara’s limited “Euphrates Shield” incursion into northern Syria later that summer, something that would have been utterly unthinkable just a few months prior.

The revival of the Turkish Stream pipeline project and a related agreement on nuclear energy cooperation served as physical testimonies to the strength of the Russian-Turkish Strategic Partnership, which went one dramatic step much further in officially including a military dimension per Ankara’s desire to buy Moscow’s state-of-the-art S-400 air & missile defense system despite Washington’s threats to sanction it if the deal goes through. In the course of less than two years, President Putin’s deft diplomacy flipped the tables on the previous US-Turkish Strategic Partnership by replacing America with Russia and totally changing the overall dynamics of Mideast geopolitics. The de-facto removal of NATO’s second-largest military force from the organization, which is essentially the true state of affairs at the moment given Ankara’s planned S-400 military cooperation with Moscow and Washington’s CAATSA sanction threats, dealt a heavy blow to the bloc from which it has yet to recover.

Decades’ worth of strategic planning that went into using Turkey as a bulwark against the spread of Russian influence towards the Mediterranean are now worthless after Ankara has for all intents and purposes turned its back on the bloc out of protest of the US’ role in the failed summer 2016 coup attempt. The organization can no longer count on the cornerstone of its Mideast, Black Sea, and Eastern Mediterranean policies, and this has inevitably led to the alliance having to reinvent itself. As it happened, this took place concurrent with the rapid politicization of the Migrant Crisis and its resultant intra-NATO/-EU disputes about how best to respond to this civilizational challenge, further exacerbating divisions within the West and making Turkey’s “defection” (brought about through President Putin’s masterful diplomacy) all the more impactful of a destabilizing move for the already confused alliance.

Trump’s Turnaround

The last and most powerful factor that contributed to the death of NATO was Trump himself, who decided to turn everything around and reorient the bloc from its official anti-Russian purpose by transforming it into something entirely different. It’s true that some of the anti-Russian functions will still remain because of the Baltic States, Poland, and Romania’s membership as “frontline states”, but Trump’s vision is to use NATO as a platform for responding more to asymmetrical security threats such as terrorism and illegal immigration instead of conventional ones like Russia was portrayed as being since the organization’s inception. Words are one thing, but transforming them through action is another, and it’s here where Trump is “walking the walk” much more than “talking the talk” like his predecessors did in visibly pressuring his “allies” to contribute their required 2% of GDP towards defense like they were always supposed to do to begin with.

Trump, being the successful businessman that he is, can’t fathom why the US should subsidize the EU’s “socialist welfare states” especially given that the “foreboding challenge” of a “Soviet invasion” no longer makes that necessary like it may have once. Seeing world affairs from an economic perspective and therefore perceiving the EU to be America’s rival in this respect, Trump knows that the best way to “level the playing field” and “get a better deal” is to put pressure on America’s military underlings by compelling them to pay more for defense in order to advance their interests in a reconceptualized NATO, with this being coordinated alongside the US’ campaign to get the EU to lift its anti-American tariffs. The knock-on effect of this “double whammy” could hit the Europeans’ economic growth and possibly compel them into “cutting a deal’ of some sort for relief, one which can only be speculated upon at this time but which would undoubtedly strengthen American influence.

Far from representing the “united” West that NATO did during the Old Cold War and the brief period of unipolarity that followed, the New Cold War has seen the bloc weakened from within because of the blowback caused by Obama’s disastrous Wars on Libya & Syria as well as the failed pro-American coup attempt against President Erdogan in summer 2016.

President Putin skillfully exploited the latter in rapidly turning Turkey into a close partner and convincing it that its future interests are best served by keeping the bloc at arm’s length, while Trump dealt the deathblow against the alliance for his own reasons mainly having to do with a different view on contemporary security challenges and his economically driven vision of foreign affairs. While the shell of NATO still exists, its functional capacities are now divided into different regional blocs mostly constituting the new anti-migrant European Intervention Force in Western Europe and the remaining anti-Russian forces in the East, though Turkey’s de-facto “defection” means that the organization will never be the same as before.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran will import goods only from countries that buy its oil – MP

RT | July 4, 2018

The Energy Committee of Iran has announced that Tehran will buy goods only from those nations which purchase Iranian oil. This follows the US demand from its allies to stop buying Iranian crude.

“We will carry out barter exchange of oil and goods, which means the purchase of goods will depend on the sale of oil,” representative of Iran’s Energy Committee Asadollah Karekhani told ILNA news agency.

“We want to inform our target markets and countries that buy oil from us that we’ll purchase goods from them only if they purchase our oil,” he said, noting that a working group is being formed on barter deals.

Last week, a senior US State Department official told reporters that Washington would try to convince its allies to completely stop buying oil from Iran by early November. Discussions are also being held with other countries, including China.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that if the country’s crude oil exports were threatened, the rest of the Middle East’s would be as well.

“Assuming that Iran could become the only oil producer unable to export its oil is a wrong assumption … The United States will never be able to cut Iran’s oil revenues,” he said.

Iran is OPEC’s second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day.

Rouhani is currently in Europe to gather support ahead of a meeting later this week between Iran and the five global powers that are still party to the 2015 nuclear deal.

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Occupation Forces Appoint First Iran ‘Project Director’

Israeli Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon
Al-Manar | July 3, 2018

Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has appointed Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, who recently left his role as head of the military’s Operations Directorate, as the first director of a special project to coordinate all issues related to Israeli battle against Iran.

Alon accompanied Eisenkot on his recent trip to the United States last weekend and participated in meetings with American military leaders, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford.

This is the first time that Israel has appointed a “project director for Iran issues,” who is meant to coordinate all areas of Israeli battle against the Islamic Republic: with respect to its nuclear program, coordinating intelligence gathering with other countries, and in countering Iran’s presence in Syria, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In the past, the head of the Mossad Meir Dagan was responsible for the “Iran file” under Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, but at that time the battle was restricted to intelligence spheres.

Now that the war between the Zionist entity and Iran has come into the open and includes military confrontation, the appointment of a “special project head” underscores the overwhelming importance that Tel Aviv sees for these developments, according to the Israeli paper.

July 3, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bill Kristol Has Always Wanted to Rape Iran

By Caitlin Johnstone | American Herald Tribune | July 1, 2018

One year after the CIA escalated covert operations in Iran, the protests across that nation are reportedly beginning to get more violent. This is happening on the same day the Iranian terror cult MEK hosted Rudolph Giuliani and Newt Gingrich in a pro-regime change rally that was so sparsely attended that half the audience consisted of bused-in Europeans unaffiliated with the cause.

“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” said Giuliani, who earlier this year infamously led a “Regime change! Regime change!” chant at a related MEK event.

“The Mullahs must go, the Ayatollah must go, and they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents,” Giuliani said in reference to MEK cult leader Maryam Rajavi.

“Freedom is right around the corner,” added Giuliani, who is currently serving as President Trump’s lawyer. “Next year I want to have this convention in Tehran!”

So things appear to be escalating. We saw very similar situations in the lead-up to both Libya and Syria, right up to and including the shady ties with the suspiciously well-funded extremist group. We can expect the CIA operations, propaganda and psyops to combine with the effects of starvation sanctions in a way which leads to widespread chaos, which we can expect to see erupt into violence of disputed origin, which we can then expect to see blamed solely on Tehran, which we can then expect to see elicit calls for humanitarian interventionism. Just like Libya and Syria. If the formula ain’t broke, why fix it?

And the bloodthirsty warmongers of Washington couldn’t be more thrilled.

“A democratic Iran not only would free Iranians from repressive theocracy but produce closer ties between our two countries; real security, economic , and moral benefits for both Iranians and Americans,” contributed Michael McFaul, an ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration.

“Very true,” tweeted Iraq war architect and PNAC founder William Kristol. “And great to see a bipartisan consensus for regime change in Iran! (It would be happily ironic if, totally inadvertently, tough sanctions followed by the JCPOA followed by withdrawal from the deal caused so much whiplash that the regime crumbled.)”

The word “bipartisan” is a popular buzzword in establishment politics, because since the two-headed uniparty has worked so hard creating the illusion of opposition among its leaders and very real hatred across America’s fake political divide, the sight of these two groups getting together on something can be spun to give the impression that it must be a very commonsense and important pro-human agenda. Really, though, what it generally means in practice is neoconservative Republicans and neoconservative Democrats getting together to do something horrible.

Bill Kristol used his influence in the Bush administration to advance the agenda that his Project for the New American Century think tank had laid out several years earlier for US military-enforced planetary domination. It began with the catastrophic and unforgivable invasion of Iraq, but according to US General Wesley Clark the plan once if got through to the Pentagon was to take out six more governments after that: Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and, finishing off, Iran.

Kristol lost some credibility as the actual horror of what the Iraq invasion had unleashed upon the world began to really sink in to social consciousness, but since 2016 he has rehabilitated his image by forming a close anti-Trump alliance with the birthplace of neoconservatism: the Democratic Party. Kristol is now one of #Resistance Twitter’s most popular pundits and a regular guest analyst on liberal cable TV due to his staunch support for neoconservative policies that this administration claims to oppose, including escalations against Russia.

Bill Kristol wants to rape Iran. Bill Kristol has always wanted to rape Iran. Bill Kristol has advocated disastrous regime change intervention after disastrous regime change intervention throughout his entire corrupt, blood-soaked career, and he has always been wrong. Every single time. If the regime change cheerleading of this virulent Never-Trump neoconservative failmeister doesn’t tell Trump supporters that they’re on the wrong side of this issue, I don’t know what will.

July 1, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Syria Is Now Like the Balkans in 1914

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | June 30, 2018

The war in Syria has returned to where it was started in 2011, in Dara’a, close to the Jordanian border and therefore easily accessible to takfiris and weapons shipped in to be used behind the façade of ‘peaceful protests.’ The template had been used in Latin America and the Middle East on many occasions and here it was being used again, with the enthusiastic support of the corporate media.

Having failed in its attempt to overthrow the Syrian government the US is now abandoning those groups described in the corporate media as its ‘allies.’ One such group is the takfiri collective fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, which has been told to expect no help from the US in its collapsing attempt to hold ground in southwestern Syria. Another is the Kurdish SDF-YPG collective in the north, which the US betrayed when signing an agreement with Turkey over Manbij. The Kurds, as an administrative and military force, have been forced out. The town is now being patrolled by Turkish and US military units.

The Kurds can’t say they were not told to distrust the US. They have played their cards hopelessly just about everywhere. When Turkey invaded north-western Syria early this year the Kurds rejected an offer of military assistance from the Syrian government, apparently thinking they could hold their ground against the Turkish army, only to be routed by it and to be driven out of Afrin city.

The US had warned Turkey that Manbij was a red line. However, when the Turks insisted, the US gave in. The YPG is now reconciling with the Syrian government, just as some at least of the betrayed takfiris in the southwest, along the border with Jordan and the armistice line with the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, have been accepting an amnesty offer. Israel is still doing its best to throw the Syrian military off balance, by bombing near Damascus airport and striking at Syria’s Iraqi allies along the eastern border, but to no avail. The army is making a clean sweep and all the southwest will soon be back in the hands of the Syrian government.

Syria’s next target is likely to be the base the US has set up at Al Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi border. At Al Tanf the US has been retraining and rebranding takfiris into its Maghawhir al Thawra (Commandos of the Revolution) proxy force. Backed by US air power, this force has been attacking Syrian forces outside the ‘deconfliction zone’ the US has unilaterally set up within a 50 km radius of Al Tanf.

The US is still arguing that its forces are needed in Syria to fight the Islamic State. In fact, if the Islamic State continues to exist, it is because of tacit support from the US. The heavy work in destroying the Islamic State was done by the Syrian military and the Syrian and Russian air forces, not the US and not the Kurds, as the corporate media would have its gullible consumers believe. The latest example of a helping hand is the helicoptering of two IS leaders from Twaimin on the Syrian-Iraqi border to the US base at Al Shaddadi, south of al Hasaka.

From Tanf the US continues to attack the Syrian and Iraqi militaries, with air support from Israel. The aim seems to be to control the border and prevent the war in Syria from ending. Donald Trump has blown hot and cold over Syria and even Americans should be asking what their forces are doing there. The US has reached none of its set goals. The Syrian government is still in power and the proxy forces armed and paid by outside governments are being routed. The Kurdish card was played, with the apparent intention of linking up the occupied northeast, predominantly Kurdish, with the Kurdish governorate in northern Iraq, in 2011 only a few steps short of statehood. That is now not going to happen, following the collapse of the independence movement in northern Iraq and the loss of all territory taken by the peshmerga since 2014. The US betrayal of the Kurds in favour of an agreement with Turkey puts the final nail in the coffin.

The US is now staying in Syria to prevent the war from ending. Its withdrawal would signify the complete and humiliating failure of the policy of intervention. The US would be signalling that Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have won and the tripartite axis of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel have failed. The US is now isolated and vulnerable in Syria. It is opposed on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border by military and tribal forces, whose resistance to foreign occupation is being coordinated/monitored by a joint command centre set up in Baghdad by Iraq, Syria and Russia.

If Trump does one of his familiar back flips and announces the withdrawal of US forces from Syria it will be Turkey’s turn to be left isolated and vulnerable not just in north-western Syria or Manbij where the government has repeatedly refused to withdraw its troops, but from Bashiqa, near Mosul, despite the repeated demands of the Iraqi government. Turkish occupation of north-western Syria extends to the town Al Bab, northeast of Aleppo, where an industrial zone is being created. Throughout the occupied region the Turkish flag is being flown, a police force trained and proxy town councils set up. Turkish forces are now present in Manbij, further to the west, and Idlib, where under the ‘deconfliction’ arrangements set up under the Astana negotiations Turkey has set up at least 12 ‘observation’ posts.

Bashar al Assad has said Syria intends to liberate the entire country, as is his constitutional duty, and that all occupying forces that do not voluntarily withdraw will be driven out by force. The Turkish government has said it will not return occupied territory to the Syrian government: to whom it would return this territory is not clear. Following his recent election victory Tayyip Erdogan said he would continue to take measures to ‘liberate’ Syria. As these completely polarized positions indicate, open armed conflict between Syria and Turkey would seem inevitable sooner or later. The main Turkish opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), strongly opposed to intervention in Syria, had said it intended to repair the relationship with the government in Damascus, a process that would inevitably have entailed the withdrawal of Turkish forces but that exit route has now been closed off.

Syria is now a cross between the Balkans in 1914 and Europe 1930-39. The combination of irresponsible outside powers and the violent groups they are backing inside Syria but cannot necessarily control have created a tinderbox. One more spark and the entire region could be blown sky high.

Jeremy Salt has taught at the University of Melbourne, Bosporus University (Istanbul) and Bilkent University (Ankara), specialising in the modern history of the Middle East. His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.)

June 30, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legacy and Fallacies of Bernard Lewis

By As`ad AbuKhalil | Consortium News | June 29, 2018

There is no question that Bernard Lewis was one of the most politically—not academically—influential Orientalists in modern times.

Lewis’ career can be roughly divided into two phases: the British phase, when he was a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and the second phase, which began in 1974, when he moved to Princeton University and lasted until his death on May 19. His first phase was less overtly political, although the Israeli occupation army translated and published one of his books, and Gold Meir assigned articles by Lewis to her cabinet members.

Lewis knew where he stood politically but he only became a political activist in the second phase. His academic production in the first phase was rather historical (dealing with his own specialty and training) and his books were then thoroughly documented. The production of his second phase was political in nature and lacked solid documentation and citations. In the second phase, Lewis wrote about topics (such as the contemporary Arab world) on which he was rather ignorant. The writings of his second phase were motivated by his political advocacy, while the writings of the first phase was a combination of his political biases and his academic interests.

Shortly upon moving into the U.S., Lewis met with Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the dean of ardent Zionists in the U.S. Congress. He thus started his political career and his advocacy, which was often thinly hidden behind the title of superficial books on the modern Arab world. Lewis not only mentored various neoconservatives, but he also elevated the status of Middle East natives that he approved of. For instance, he was behind the promotion of Fouad Ajami (he dedicated one of this books to him), just as he was behind introducing Ahmad Chalabi to the political elite in DC.

Lewis: A questionable legacy

Furthermore, Lewis was also behind the invitation of Sadiq Al-Azm to Princeton in the early 1990s (as Edward Said told me at the time) because Lewis always relished Al-Azm’s critique of Said’s Orientalism. Sep. 11 only elevated the status of Lewis and brought him close to the centers of power: he advised George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other senior members of the administration.

In the lead-up to the Iraq war, he assured Cheney (relying on the authority of Ajami) that not only Iraqis, but all Arabs, would joyously greet invading American troops. And he argued to Cheney before the war, using the dreaded Zionist and colonial cliché, that Arabs only understand the language of force. (Lewis would later distort his own history and claim that he was not a champion of the Iraq invasion although the record is clear).

Lewis was not only close to the higher echelons of the U.S. government, but in addition to his long-standing ties to Israeli leaders, he was close to Jordanian King Husayn and his brother, Hasan (although Lewis would mock what he considered a Jordanian habit of eating without forks and knives, as he wrote in Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian, on page 217).

Lewis was also close to the Shah’s government, and to the military dictatorship in Turkey in the 1980s. Kenan Evren, the Turkish general who led the 1980 military coup, had a tete-a-tete with Lewis during one of his visits to D.C. Lewis had contacts with the Sadat government, and Sadat’s spokesperson, Tahasin Bashir, in 1971 sent a message through Lewis to the Israeli government regarding Sadat’s interest in peace between the two countries.

Distorted View of Islam

There are many features of Lewis’s works, but foremost is what French historian Maxime Rodinson called “theologocentrism”, or the Western school of thought which attribute all observable phenomena among Muslims to matters of Islamic theology.

For Lewis, Islam is the only tool which can explain the odd political behavior of Arabs and Muslims. Lewis used Islam to refer not only to religion, but also the collection of Muslim people, governments ruling in the name of Islam, Shari`ah, Islamic civilization, languages spoken by Muslims, geographic areas in which Muslims predominate, and Arab governments. A review of his titles show his fixation with Islam. But what does it mean for Lewis to refer to Islam as being “the whole of life” for Muslims, as he does in Islam and the West?

Lewis also began the trendy Islamophobic, Western obsession with Shari`ah when he wrote years ago in the same book that for Muslims religion is “inconceivable without Islamic law.” There are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world who live under governments which don’t subscribe to Shari`ah. No Muslim, for example, questions the Islamic credentials of Muslims who live in Western countries under secular law. Lewis even notes this fact, but it confuses him. In Islam and the West he states in bewilderment: “There is no [legal] precedent in Islamic history, no previous discussion in Islamic legal literature.”

Lewis could have benefited from reading James Piscatori’s book, Islam in a World of Nation States, which shows that Shari`ah is not the only source of laws even in countries where Islam is supposedly the only source of law. But Lewis was stuck in the past, he could only interpret the present through references to the original works of classical Islam.

His hostility and contempt for Arabs and Muslims was revealed in his writings even during the British phase of his career, when he was politically more restrained. He was influenced by the idea of his mentor, Scottish historian Hamilton Gibb, regarding what they both called “the atomism” of the Arab mind. The evidence for their theory is that the classical Arabic poem of Jahiliyyah and early Islam was not organically and thematically unified, but that each line of poetry was independent of the other. I remember back in 1993 when I discussed the matter with Muhsin Mahdi, a professor of Islamic philosophy at Harvard University, when I was reading the private papers of Gibb at the Widener Library. Mahdi said that their ideas are completely out of date and that recent scholarship about the classical Arabic poem refuted that thesis. (Lewis would resurrect the notion about the “atomism” of the Arab mind in his later Islam and the West).

Other writings of Lewis became obsolete academically. In his The Muslim Discovery of Europe he recycles the view that Muslims had no curiosity about the West because it was the land of infidelity and that they suffered from a superiority complex. A series of new scholarly books have undermined this thesis by Lewis largely by scholars looking into Indian and Iranian archives. The Palestinian academic, Nabil Mater, in his books Britain and the Islamic World, 1558-1713, Europe Through Arab Eyes, 1578-1727, and Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery, paints a very different—and far more documented—picture of the subject that Lewis spent a career distorting.

Relished in Disparaging Arabs

In addition, the tone of Lewis’ writings on Arabs and Muslims was often sarcastic and contemptuous. Lewis did the work of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which was started in 1998 by a former Israeli intelligence agent and an Israeli political scientist,before MEMRI existed: he relished finding outlandish views of individual Muslims and popularizing them to stereotype all Arabs and all Muslims.

In the early editions of Arabs in History, Lewis remarked that none of the philosophers of the Arab/Islamic civilization were Arab in ethnic extraction (except Al-Kindi). What was Lewis’s point except to denigrate the Arab character and even genetic makeup? In the same book he cites an Ismaili document but then quickly adds that it “is probably not genuine.” But if it is “probably not genuine” why bother to cite it except for his fondness for bizarre tidbits about Arabs and Muslims?

The Orientalism of Lewis was not representative of classical Orientalism with all its flaws and shortcomings and political biases. His harbored more of an ideology of hostility against Arabs and Muslims. This ideology shares features with anti-Semitism, namely that the whole (Muslims in this case) form a monolithic group and that they pose a civilizational danger to the world, or are plotting to take it over, and that the behavior or testimony of one represents the total group (Islamic Ummah).

In writing about contemporary Islam, Lewis spent years recycling his 1976 Commentary magazine article titled, “The Return of Islam.” What he doesn’t answer is, “return” from where? Where was Islam prior? In this article, Lewis exhibits his adherence to the most discredited forms of classical Orientalist dogmas by invoking such terms as “the modern Western mind.” He thereby resurrected the idea of epistemological distinctions between “our” mind and “theirs”, as articulated by the 1976 racist book, The Arab Mind by Israeli anthropologist, Raphael Patai. (This last book would witness a resurrection in U.S. military indoctrination after Sep. 11, as Seymour Hersh reported).

An Obsession with Etymology

For Lewis, the Muslim mind never seems to change. Every Muslim, regardless of geography or time, is representative of any or all Muslims. Thus, a quotation from an obscure medieval source is sufficient to explain present-day behavior. Lewis even traces Yaser Arafat’s nom de guerre (Abu `Ammar) to early Islamic history and to the names of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, though `Arafat himself had explained that the name derives from the root `amr (a reference to `Arafat’s construction work in Kuwait prior to his ascension to the leadership of the PLO).

Because `Arafat literally embraced Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran when he first met him, Lewis finds evidence of a universal Muslim bond in the picture. But when Lewis revised his book years later, he took note in passing of the deep rift which later developed between `Arafat and Khomeini and said simply: “later they parted company.” So much for the theory of the Islamic bond between them. Lewis must not have heard of wars among Muslims, like the Iran-Iraq war.

Lewis read the book Philosophy of Revolution by the foremost political champion of Arab nationalism, Nasser of Egypt, as containing Islamic themes. He must have been the only reader to come to that conclusion.

Another feature in Lewis’s writings is his obsession with etymology. To compensate for his ignorance of modern Arab reality, Lewis would often return to the etymology of political terms among Muslims. His book, The Political Language of Islam, which is probably his worst book, is an example of his attempt to Islamize and standardize the political behavior of all Muslims. His conclusions from his etymological endeavors are often comical: he assumes that freedom is alien to the Arabs because the historical meaning of the word in an ancient Arabic dictionary merely connoted the absence of slavery. This is like assuming that a Westerner never engaged in sex before the word was popularized. He complains that some of contemporary political terms, like dawlah (state), lost some of their original meanings, as if this is a problem peculiar to the Arabic language.

In his early years, Lewis was close to the classical Orientalists: he wrote in a beautiful style and his erudition and language skills showed through the pages. His early works were fun to read, while his later works were dreary and dull. But Lewis was unlike those few classical Orientalists who managed to mix knowledge about history of the Middle East and Islam with knowledge of the contemporary Arab world (scholars like Rodinson, Philip Hitti and Jacques Berque). Lewis’s ignorance about the contemporary Arab world was especially evident in his production during the U.S. phase of his long career. His book on the The Emergence of Modern Turkey, which was one of the first to rely on the Ottoman archives, was probably one of his best books. There is real scholarship in the book, unlike many of his later observational and impressionable works.

In his later best-selling books, What Went Wrong? and The Crisis of Islam, one reads the same passages and anecdotes twice. Lewis, for example, relishes recounting that syphilis was imported into the Middle East from the new world. His discussion of Napoleon in Egypt appears in both books, almost verbatim. The second book contains calls for (mostly military) action. In The Crisis of Islam, Lewis asserts: “The West must defend itself by whatever means.” The book reveals a lot about his outlook of hostility towards Muslims.

Al-Ghazzali: Lewis thought bin Laden was like him

Misunderstood Bin Laden

One is astonished to read some of his observations on Muslim and Arab sentiments and opinions. He is deeply convinced that Muslims are “pained” by the absence of the caliphate, as if this constitutes a serious demand or goal even for Muslim fundamentalist organizations. One never sees crowds of Muslims in the streets of Cairo or Islamabad calling for the restoration of the caliphate as a pressing need.

But then again: this is the man who treated Usamah Bin Laden as some kind of influential Muslim theologian who is followed by world Muslims. Lewis does not treat Bin Laden as the terrorist fanatic that he is, but as some kind of al-Ghazzali, in the tradition of classical Islamic theologians. Furthermore, Lewis insists that terrorism by individual Muslims should be considered Islamic terrorism, while terrorism by individual Jews or Christians is never considered Jewish or Christian terrorism.

In his retirement years, his disdain for the Palestinian people became unmasked. Although in his book The Crisis of Islam he lists acts of violence by PLO groups—curiously, only ones that are not directed against Israeli occupation soldiers—he lists not one act of Israeli violence against Palestinians and Arabs. To discredit the Palestinian national movement, he finds it necessary to tell yet again the story of Hajj Amin Al-Husayni’s visit to Nazi Germany, apparently seeking to stigmatize all Palestinians.

He is so disdainful of the Palestinians that he finds their opposition to Britain during the mandate period inexplicable because he believes that Britain was, alas, opposed to Zionism. Lewis is so insistent in attributing Arab popular antipathy to the U.S. to Nazi influence and inspiration that he actually maintains that Arabs obtained their hostility to the U.S. from reading the likes of Otto Spengler, Friederich Georg Junger, and Martin Heidegger. But when did the Arabs find time to read those books when all they read were their holy book and Islamic religious texts—as one surmises from reading Lewis?

While he displays deep–albeit selective–knowledge when he talks about the Islamic past (where his documentation is usually thorough), his analysis is quite simplistic and superficial when addressing the present (where he often disregards documentation altogether). For instance, he sometimes produces quotations without endnotes to source them: In Islam and the West he quotes an unnamed Muslim calling for the right of Muslims to “practice polygamy under Christian rule.” In another instance, he debates what he considers to be a common Muslim anti-Orientalist viewpoint, and the endnotes refer only to a letter to the editor in The New York Times.

Lewis once began a discussion by saying: “Recently I came across an article in a Kuwaiti newspaper discussing a Western historian,” without referring the reader to the name of the newspaper or the author. He also tells the story of an anti-Coptic rumor in Egypt in 1973 without telling the reader how he collects his rumors from the region. On another page, he identifies a source thus: “a young man in a shop where I went to make a purchase.”

Lewis was not shy about his biases in the British phase of his career, but be became an unabashed racist in his later years. In Notes on a Century, he did not mind citing approvingly the opinion of a friend who compared Arabs to “neurotic children”, unlike Israelis who are “rational adults.” And his knowledge of Arabs seems to decrease over time: he would frequently tell (unfunny) jokes related to Arabs and then add that jokes are the only indicator of Arab public opinion because he did not seem to know about public opinion surveys of Arabs. He also informs his readers that “chairs are not part of Middle Eastern tradition or culture.” He showers praise on his friend, Teddy Kollek (former occupation mayor of Jerusalem) because he set up a “refreshment counter” for Christians one day.

The political influence of Lewis, who lent Samuel Huntington his term, if not the theme, of “the clash of civilization”, has been significant. But it would be inaccurate to maintain that he was a policy maker. In the East and the West, rulers rely on the opinions and writings of intellectuals when they find that this reliance is useful for their propaganda purposes. Lewis and his books were timely when the U.S. was preparing to invade Muslim countries. But the legacy of Lewis won’t survive future scholarly scrutiny: his writings will increasingly lose their academic relevance and will be cited as examples of Orientalist overreach.


As’ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998), Bin Laden, Islam & America’s New ‘War on Terrorism’ (2002), and The Battle for Saudi Arabia (2004). He also runs the popular blog The Angry Arab News Service. 

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ayatollah Khamenei slams West’s ‘shameless’ human rights posture

Press TV – June 27, 2018

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has strongly denounced the Western states for their pretense of advocating human rights while in reality supporting terrorist groups and acts of terror.

Addressing the staff of Iran’s Judiciary at a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei made reference to human rights violations committed by the United States in various parts of the world as well as France and Britain’s crimes of the past decades which took place in Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

The Leader added that the West’s support over the past years for the Daesh terror group in Syria and the atrocities being committed in Myanmar and elsewhere “is indicative of the repeated lies of the shameless fake human rights advocates.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said when it comes to the issue of human rights, it is actually the Islamic Republic that stands in the position of the true advocate of human rights as opposed to “the criminal Western pretenders.”

The Leader expressed satisfaction with the Judiciary’s work in restoring the Iranian nations’ rights in the face of bullying powers.

Separately, Ayatollah Khamenei advised the judicial officials to work closely with the government towards resolving the country’s economic problems.

‘Systemic corruption a lie’

The Leader criticized certain people who seek to create the impression among the public that there is “systemic corruption” within Iranian state institutions.

Corruption does exist in a number of governmental and commercial enterprises, “but the existence of systemic corruption is not true,” the Leader said. “This wrong impression should not be allowed to affect the public opinion.”

Ayatollah Khamenei further stated that foreign enemies and certain oblivious elements at home have made the Judiciary the target of the most severe propaganda and media pressure.

In order to effectively confront this massive propaganda campaign, the Leader suggested, the judicial system needs to develop a strong and skillful media arm.

June 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment