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Iraq’s anti-terror fighters will never surrender to US: PMU chief

Press TV – July 30, 2020

The chairman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi has highlighted the role of the counter-terrorism force in defending the Arab country against the Daesh Takfiri terror outfit, stressing that it will never give in to the US.

Speaking on Wednesday, Falih al-Fayyadh described the PMU as an Iraqi military institution that is one of the main arms of the country’s national defense system.

The group, he added, abides by the strategy of the national army in its counter-terrorism response.

Fayyadh further said that the PMU is the manifestation of the Iraqi nation’s will, and that those rejecting the anti-terror group are actually seeking to weaken Iraq.

Hash al-Sha’abi made many sacrifices to defend Iraq and would in no way capitulate to the US or any other party, he added.

The PMU is an Iraqi government-sponsored umbrella organization composed of around 40 factions of volunteer counter-terrorism forces, including mostly Shia Muslims besides Sunni Muslims, Christians and Kurds.

In the early days of the Daesh’s reign of terror, PMU fighters played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks against the Takfiri elements.

In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament voted to integrate the PMU into the military in amid US efforts to sideline the group.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Fayyadh referred to the US assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the PMU’s second-in-command, and called for the continuation of the path pursued by the commander.

Muhandis was killed, alongside top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, in a fatal US drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump near Baghdad airport on January 3.

Two days later, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

The PMU leader emphasized that the Iraqi parliament’s decision is fundamentally linked to the assassination operation, and that the government’s position is in line with that of the legislature on the expulsion of American troops.

Daesh’s back is broken and its self-proclaimed caliphate is destroyed, he said, noting that the Takfiri group’s resurgence in Iraq as an effective force is no longer possible.

Iraq cooperates with all its neighbors, especially Syria, in the fight against terrorism, and attaches great importance to its historical relations with Damascus, Fayyadh pointed out.

He also said that Iraq’s ties with Iran are at their best, adding that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s recent visit to Tehran and his meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows the depth of bilateral bonds.

Iranian military advisers — led by General Soleimani — aided Iraqi Armed Forces on Baghdad’s request to reverse Daesh’s gains and ultimately liberate their entire homeland in December 2017.

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Quincy Rides Again

New think tank needs an Israel reality check

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 28, 2020

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft think tank launched last November. It has recently issued a roughly 15,000 word manifesto entitled “Ending America’s Misguided Policy of Middle East Domination.” For those who would find ten thousand words plus intimidating, the paper includes a more digestible 1,221 word executive summary which fairly accurately summarizes the document’s conclusions.

I have written about Quincy before, here and here and here. In short, while I would applaud a restrained foreign policy, particularly for the Middle East, I find Quincy unconvincing. It claims to promote “ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace” and further takes some pride in being non-partisan, though bipartisan might be a better description. To be sure, Quincy’s two major donors have been reported to be the highly controversial George Soros on the globalist left and the equally notorious Koch Foundation on the libertarian-lite right.

Soros in particular has been much in the news of late given his alleged propensity to fund and otherwise support groups and organizations that many would regard as conspiratorial or even violently radical, to include black lives matter and Antifa. Soros, a Hungarian Jew who is now a U.S. citizen, has been especially engaged in interventions to bring about “regime change” through “democracy movements” in Eastern Europe and he has exhibited a particular animosity towards Russia, making one suspect that his cash will influence what Quincy is allowed to say about the Kremlin.

The new Quincy report was co-authored by Paul Pillar, Andrew Bacevich, Trita Parsi and Annelle Sheline. I am not familiar with Sheline’s work, but Pillar, Bacevich and Parsi are all highly respectable and very knowledgeable about both national security and developments in the Middle East. To be sure, the paper includes a lot of useful information and insights into how various policies have evolved plus some very positive suggestions for extricating the U.S. from the Asian quagmire. But one should also accept that what is included in its agenda and how it is framed might be shaped by outside considerations, to include how Quincy is funded. It is not so much a matter of what the contributors write, but rather how it is spun and what is either minimized or not even addressed at all.

The ability to write about the Middle East in an even-handed “realistic” fashion, which is what the new article seeks to do, is based on the premise that there is equivalency among all of the players involved. That is, of course, nonsense. Many observers would note that the United States currently is in the Middle East and playing the role that it does mostly due to the immense power of Israel and its domestic lobby operating largely out of Washington and New York City.

Israel’s ability to make American presidents and the U.S. Congress do what it wishes is clearly visible wherever one chooses to look. The American people have gained nothing from giving Israel hundreds of billions of dollars and an endless supply of weapons while also looking the other way as Israel stole nuclear secrets and spied on the U.S. more than any other “friendly” country. What did the U.S. gain in recently moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, in allowing Benjamin Netanyahu to annex the Golan Heights, in approving the bombing of Syria and Iran, or in permitting the systematic Israeli dehumanizing of the Palestinians?

A recent article by Professor Bacevich entitled “President Trump, Please End the American Era in the Middle East” appears to a precursor study to the current longer Quincy report. It is a good example of how self-censorship over Israel by authors works. The article particularly focused on the foreign policy pronouncements of Bret Stephens, the resident neocon who writes for The New York Times. Stephens, per Bacevich, has been urging constant war in the Middle East and worrying lest “we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the American era in the Middle East.” Bacevich correctly described how “in the Middle East, the military power of the United States has played a large part in exacerbating problems rather than contributing to their solution.”

The overall message is sound, but in this case, it is interesting to note what Bacevich left out rather than what he included. He cited Iran seven times as well as Saudi Arabia, but, strangely enough, he never mentioned Israel at all, which a number of commenters on the piece noted. It rather suggests that there is a line that Bacevich is reluctant to cross. The omission is particularly odd as Israel is absolutely central to and might even be described as driving American policy in the Middle East and Bret Stephens, whom Bacevich excoriates, is a notable Israel-firster who once worked as the editor of the Jerusalem Post.

Bacevich also has produced an op-ed entitled “Foreign governments are messing with our elections the old-fashioned way” in the Boston Globe. It again fails to mention Israel at all in spite of that country’s enormous influence over the U.S. electoral process through the political donations provided by dual loyalty billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban to Republicans and Democrats respectively. In fact, Bacevich has clearly indicated that there will be red lines, that the Quincy Institute won’t focus on “highlighting pro-Israel organizations or donors.” In other words, it will not criticize Israel’s Lobby as a key driving element in America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Bacevich is a smart man who knows perfectly well what Israel and its lobby represents but he also knows that anyone who wants to be a player in Washington DC has to avoid the Israel hot wire. The Quincy report includes, for example, lengthy separate sections on Iraq, Syria, Iran and Yemen but nothing similar on Israel. I have, however, excerpted all the citations of Israel in the full text. They are:

“U.S. military assistance—most prominently to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, but also to armed proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—exacerbates abuses that contribute to instability… Unconditional U.S. military support for Israel has facilitated its continued occupation of Palestinian territory (potentially culminating in the annexation of the West Bank) and reduced incentives to pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The bombing of the U.S. “embassy in Beirut, [was] a direct response to U.S. military intervention in Lebanon, which, in turn, was an attempt to deal with the consequences of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon a year earlier.”

“The Israel–Palestine conflict has been an especially salient example of such an issue, as underscored by how Palestinians opposing the Israeli occupation were in the forefront of the wave of international terrorism that began in the late 1960s. International terrorism sponsored by Palestinian organizations abated once the U.S. and Israel began engaging the Palestinians in the late 1980s.”

“In other cases, U.S. support for a militarily superior partner has tended to reduce that country’s incentives to resolve conflicts and instead opt to safeguard a status quo favorable to its interests but not to regional stability and U.S. interests. As the only state in the region with nuclear weapons and as a highly effective conventional military power in its own right—and with a qualitative edge conferred over many years by the U.S. and effective weapons development and manufacturing capacities—Israel no longer needs the U.S. to guarantee its security. Yet the U.S. sends Israel $3.8 billion in military aid annually. As of 2019, Israel had received $142.3 billion from the U.S. since 1949 —significantly more than any other nation.40 American military aid is sent regardless of whether Israel tries to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. By persistently bolstering Israel’s qualitative military edge no matter what direction Israeli policy takes, U.S. assistance as currently structured does not incentivize Israel to pursue compromise, whether with the Palestinians or other neighbors.”

“… persistent U.S. antipathy creates a security dilemma for Iran. U.S. military support for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE causes Iran to perceive itself as under threat and to respond by trying to enhance its own security, partly by investing in paramilitary groups beyond its borders.”

“In Israel, where the well-reinforced assumption that unquestioning U.S. support will continue no matter what Israel does, it has long been evident that this has encouraged destructive Israeli practices such as the continued building of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.”

“Such a rights-respecting policy would include making military assistance to Israel—for decades (and still) the largest recipient of such assistance—conditional on Israel ending its routine violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These offenses include ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and attacks in Gaza that have failed to fulfill obligations to protect civilians. Israel is a nuclear and military superpower in the region that does not need American military aid to defend itself. As such, it should arguably not be a candidate for military aid in the first place. To the extent military aid should be provided to Middle Eastern states, priority should be given to those at risk of becoming failed states. If Washington decides to continue aid to Israel, it should be conditioned on changes to Israeli policies that advance stability and U.S. interests.”

“A consistent rights-respecting policy embedded in a broader approach to the region, one that emphasizes core U.S. interests, problem-solving diplomacy, and engagement with all relevant regional actors, would have consequences for how the U.S. has traditionally managed the Israel–Palestine conflict. The shortcomings of the U.S.–led peace process have become increasingly evident, all the more so as the Trump administration has abandoned any pretense of serving as an honest broker. It is a process that ill-serves U.S. interests as well as Israel’s long-term well-being, let alone its failure to help the Palestinians.”

“… there would be greater space for advancing negotiated and diplomatic solutions to various conflicts in the region, notably in the Saudi–Iran and Israel–Palestine cases.”

“For the United States, this means a significant reduction of arms sales, primarily to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE.”

Some of the citations regarding Israel are bundled with other countries, most particularly as related to arms sales and regional conflicts. Other excerpts correctly note that the status quo with Israel serves no American interests and is not even good for Israel, but the problem is that the solution is lame, or to describe it more properly, irrelevant. Distancing the U.S. from the region’s quarrels depends solely on disengaging with Israel first as American hostility towards an unthreatening Iran, Lebanon and Syria is a result of successful advocacy by the Jewish state. And serving as an “honest broker” vis-à-vis the Palestinians is sheer fantasy as it has never been the case for any U.S. administration due to effective Israeli pressure. If the Quincies were being honest, they would concede up front that the so-called peace plan currently being floated is a complete sell out to Israel. Any kind of shift in policy also assumes that Israelis want peace with the Palestinians, but opinion polls suggest otherwise, with many Israelis routinely referring to the Arabs as “terrorists.”

The only suggestion with any teeth to it is making military assistance to Israel conditional on its human rights record towards the Palestinians, but that in turn exposes the fundamental flaw in the arguments being made. The problem for the U.S. is not Israel per se but rather the enormously powerful domestic Israel Lobby which will make sure that nothing will be done to alter the status quo. The American government and media are completely dominated by Jewish billionaire-funded organizations that have repeatedly demonstrated that they have sufficient clout to stop any defections, witness the recent affirmation of the U.S./Israel relationship in the Democratic Party electoral platform and Joe Biden’s proud declaration that he is a “Zionist.” Quincy is delusional if it thinks that it can reorder the Middle East based on “realism and restraint” without the cooperation of Congress and the White House, which are bought and paid for and totally resistant to change.

So, Quincy has a lot of interesting ideas and the basic premise of non-interventionism is sound. But regarding the real fly in the ointment, Israel, it is pointless to urge “realism” in a situation that has not been realistic since 1947. Unfortunately, in America everything has a price and Jewish groups have been canny enough to buy Congress, the White House and much of the media at bargain prices to make sure that Israel stays protected. If you are not addressing that issue out in the open you are wasting your time. Not surprisingly, it would seem that any concerns over the reorganization of the Middle East as proposed by Quincy are most definitely not going to keep Benjamin Netanyahu awake at night.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

July 28, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Ebb and flow of Iran’s influence in Iraq

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 27, 2020

Getting caught between a rock and a hard place is an unenviable situation for a politician. A tragic case in modern times was that of Hafizullah Amin, the Cold War era Afghan communist politician who tried to reduce his country’s dependence on the former Soviet Union. The predicament of the present Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has some similarities. Kadhimi’s political dexterity lies in his ability to find his limits and his prudence from going too far.

Kadhimi has strong affiliations with the US and British intelligence dating back to his years in exile, which continued to be nurtured during his 4-year stint as spy chief in Baghdad, which ended in May when the pro-US Iraqi president Barham Salih, a Kurdish politician, nominated him as prime minister.

Kadhimi continues to receive political, security, intelligence, and logistical support from Washington. Kadhimi also enjoys personal rapport with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The strong American backing did help Kadhimi to secure the job of prime minister in May, but essentially, he emerged as a compromise candidate of warring Iraqi political blocs who settled for him as interim arrangement until parliamentary elections take place in coming months.

Through last year, Washington shrewdly fuelled chaotic street protests in Iraq by exploiting the people’s disenchantment with the corruption and venalities of the established political blocs and widespread social and economic discontent. This put the Shi’ite political blocs and Tehran on the back foot and in turn created conditions for Kadhimi’s transition as prime minister.

The big question is how Kadhimi figured as chief of Iraqi intelligence when the US assassinated the head of Iran’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani and the deputy chief of Tehran-backed deputy chief of Popular Mobilisation Committee at Baghdad airport on 3rd January in drone attacks ordered by President Trump.

Beyond doubt, the US had prior tip-off about Soleimani’s arrival in Baghdad. The Iraqi militia factions have accused Kadhimi of complicity and claim to have compelling evidence. At any rate, the US expects Kadhimi to crack the whip on the Iran-backed militia forces in Iraq. Equally, Washington encourages Kadhimi to reduce Iraq’s economic dependency on Iran and instead seek help and investments from the GCC countries.

Kadhimi is moving in this direction. On June 26, Kadhimi ordered a raid on the headquarters of one of the prominent Iran-backed militia factions south of Baghdad — Kata’ib Hezbollah, whom US officials have accused of firing rockets at bases hosting US troops. Thereby, he displayed his intention to be ‘tough’ on the Iran-backed militia groups.

On July 19, an Iraqi ministerial delegation arrived in Riyadh headed by Finance Minister Ali Allawi and comprising the ministers of oil, planning, electricity, agriculture, and culture, amongst others. Saudi Arabia has expressed willingness to help Kadhimi’s government.

The bottom line is that the US hopes to consolidate a long-term military presence in Iraq and counts on Kadhimi to overcome the resistance to the American occupation from the Iraqi political blocs, popular opinion and, of course the Iran-backed militia groups. But the paradox here is that Washington bets on Kadhimi who lacks a political base to perform as a ‘strongman’.

Why did Tehran acquiesce to Kadhimi’s elevation as Iraq’s prime minister? The US analysts’ narrative is that Iran’s influence in Iraq is on the wane in the recent months after the murder of Soleimani who used to handle Tehran’s security dossier in Iraq. The Iraqi parliament’s confirmation of Kadhimi’s appointment has been touted as a sign of Tehran’s loss of clout in Baghdad.

However, this narrative reflects a self-serving American mindset — ‘You are either with us, or against us’. Whereas, Iran’s regional strategies in Iraq are not one-dimensional. True, Kadhimi couldn’t possibly have been an ideal Iranian candidate for Iraqi prime ministership. Tehran apparently had no intimate history with him. Possibly, Tehran also knew about Kadhimi’s well-established connections with the American and British intelligence.

But having said that, the fact of the matter is that Tehran never really worked to install a proxy in power in Baghdad in all these years since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Iran’s focus is on Iraq’s stability and security, as evident from the alacrity with which it rushed to act as a provider of security when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched its stunning offensive on Mosul and Tikrit in June 2014. Iran worked in tandem with the US in its anti-ISIS campaign.

The point is, Tehran views Iraq through the prism of its own national security. Tehran had the means to block Kadhimi’s appointment on the floor of the parliament but it chose not to. For, Kadhimi kept lines of communication open to Tehran too, and Iran drew appropriate conclusions from the American experience in Iraq that creating a puppet in Baghdad is an exercise in futility and can only be counterproductive.

Tehran preferred to cast its net wide in the Iraqi society and create organic relationships — not only among the Shia majority but also among Sunnis and Kurds — which explains the spread of its influence, ensuring that no security threats emanate from Iraqi soil as in the Saddam era.

Second, make no mistake, Iraq all along served as a buffer for Iran — a turf where the Americans would get a better understanding of Tehran’s motivations and potentials to be a factor of regional stability.

Third, Tehran sees interesting potentials in Kadhimi being a ‘balancer’ in Iran-Saudi relations.

Indeed, below the radar, the regional security situation is radically transforming. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Moscow last week during which he “delivered an important message (from President Rouhani) to President Putin,”  and held “extensive talks” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global coordination.

Two days later, Putin discussed Iran’s nuclear program in a phone conversation with President Trump. The influential Tehran Times newspaper since estimated in a lengthy resume that “Putin hasn’t said how he intends to save the Iran nuclear deal. But his nascent efforts highlight a possible revival of diplomatic initiatives between Iran and the U.S., ahead of the expiration of the UN arms embargo on Iran in October.”

Against this backdrop, Kadhimi’s visit to Iran last week, his first as prime minister, marks a defining moment. Kadhimi’s refrain while in Tehran has been that “Iraq would not allow any threat to Iran coming from its territory.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was rather explicit when he told Kadhimi that the Popular Mobilisation Units (which Iran supports) are a “great blessing for Iraq, and they should be safeguarded.”

Khamenei’s lengthy discourse against the US’ regional policies all but signalled to Kadhimi that Tehran’s support for his government is predicated on the belief that he will not act as a surrogate of Washington. To be sure, Kadhimi has come under pressure to reshape Iraq’s strategic partnership with the US.

Kadhimi has two choices — seek a complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (or at least significant drawdown), or alternatively, expect the wrath of the Iraqi political system. The choice that Kadhimi makes will determine his own political future. The recent killing of an expert of the Iraqi security establishment suggests that the tide that brought him to power is turning.

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia: Ambitious Plans and Facts on the Ground

By Viktor Mikhin – New Eastern Outlook – 20.07.2020

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to implement an ambitious $800 billion initiative aimed at increasing the size of Riyadh in the next decade, and at transforming the capital into an economic, social and cultural hub in the Persian Gulf region.

The ambitious strategy was presented by Fahd Al-Rasheed, the President of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, ahead of this year’s key high-level meetings between leaders of G20 and of the commission responsible for the urban, economic, social, and cultural development of the capital city of Saudi Arabia. “Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” Fahd Al-Rasheed told Arab News. “We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens,” he added. In the next few years, 7 million trees will be planted in Riyadh, despite its arid climate, and once completed, King Salman Park is expected to be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

All of these plans sound really promising and it would be easy to share in the enthusiasm of our Saudi partners in the oil industry. Unfortunately, the current reality is not as rosy and “plots of the folk tales One Thousand and One Nights” often change to reflect the stark facts on the ground. Although Fahd Al-Rasheed talked about Saudi Vision 2030, few in the Kingdom appear to concern themselves with the strategy. And it is not that the Saudi leadership does not wish to transform the Kingdom into a heavenly place, but that they simply lack money for even the nation’s basic necessities and have to save money in every sphere. Hence, it is far more sensible to forget the unrealistic plans for the time being. Of course, it is pure joy to live and not to worry about a thing, but to do so a country needs to have a robust economy and high earnings, as it did earlier.

The poorly thought through and formulated oil strategy, which Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud has been trying to implement, has had a strong negative impact on all the oil producing nations, and especially on Saudi Arabia. As a result, the Saudi leadership was forced to come back down to Earth and start saving money in every possible sphere. So for now, Saudi Vision 2030 appears all but forgotten.

To cope with the hardship, Saudi Arabia tripled its value-added tax (VAT) rate starting on July 1, and suspended a cost of living allowance from June as part of cost-cutting programs to counter the severe economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the sudden fall in oil prices. Approximately 1.5 million state employees are affected by the latter measure. The cost of living allowance was a monthly payment of 1,000 riyals ($267) introduced by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2018 “to help offset increased financial burdens, including VAT and a rise in the price of petrol”. The Kingdom’s “central bank foreign exchange reserves fell in March at their fastest rate in at least 20 years”, reaching their lowest levels since 2011, while Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit hit $9 billion in the first quarter of 2020 as oil revenues collapsed. The news outlet Middle East Eye reported that in January 2015, when Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became king, the country’s “foreign reserves totaled $732 billion”. According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, these reserves had been diminished to $499 billion by December 2019, and they have since continued to decrease. The Kingdom has sustained considerable financial losses and damage to its reputation, because it was forced to temporarily suspend entry for foreigners for pilgrimage to the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan ruefully said that “the global economic crisis associated with the Coronavirus pandemic” had led to three major shocks to the Saudi economy. The first was the unprecedented fall in oil prices “leading to a sharp decline in” the kingdom’s revenues. The second stemmed from “the preventive measures taken to curb the spread of Covid-19, leading to the suspension of many economic activities”, which in turn took a toll on non-oil revenues. The third shock was caused “by the rising expenditure on the health sector to deal with the rising number of Covid-19 patients”. “The challenges combined have led to a decline in government revenues and pressure on public finance to levels that are hard to counter without harming the kingdom’s macroeconomics and public finances in the medium and long term,” Mohammed Al-Jadaan said. “Therefore, a further reduction in expenditures is a must, along with measures to stabilize non-oil revenues,” added the Minister of Finance.

Incidentally, Mohammed Al-Jadaan appears to have forgotten to mention the vast sums of money the power-hungry Crown Prince has wasted. Seemingly on autopilot, he spent enormous amounts to oust the democratically elected President of Syria Bashar al-Assad. Even nowadays, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud allegedly continues to provide financial support to militants occupying Syria’s Idlib Governorate, thus contributing to the delay in finding a resolution to the complex Syrian conflict. It was at the Crown Prince’s initiative that Saudi Arabia spearheaded a coalition that intervened in the civil war in the brotherly nation of Yemen, resulting in death and destruction in this impoverished nation. Such a military undertaking requires a considerable amount of money, something that the Kingdom’s budget is in dire need of. Even now, Riyadh continues to stoke tensions with Iran, seemingly failing to comprehend the simple fact that the West, while appearing to support Saudi Arabia, is actually following its favorite divide and conquer strategy and thus strengthening its position in this important region of the world. In addition, outdated US weapons are being sold for too high a price to the Kingdom. In fact, Saudi Arabia has accumulated more military equipment and arms than its army needs. And do Saudi “falcons” really expect to emerge victorious from a confrontation with Iran, while they continue to suffer defeats at the hands of poor Yemeni inhabitants, who are still mainly fighting with Soviet armaments? Plus another question arises: “Why did Saudi Arabia spoil its relationship with Qatar and impose tough sanctions (as Americans are prone to do) against this small nation?” It appears that the answer is “Just for the fun of it.”

Consequences of Crown Prince’s poorly thought through policies are being felt even today. In fact, there is still a risk of new tensions arising in the global oil market and further financial losses for everyone and especially the Kingdom. Media outlets and experts have been reporting about yet another rivalry on world markets. Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell its oil at a discount to undercut Nigeria and Angola for their non-compliance with production cuts, agreed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies. The tough stance taken by the Kingdom, with its world’s largest crude oil production capacity, may lead to yet another oil price war, which is bound to have serious consequences. “We know who your customers are,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy reportedly told the representatives of Nigeria and Angola, which count China and India as their biggest clients. However, India is still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, hence its economy has not recovered as yet. Riyadh’s only hope is China, which receives unlimited supplies of cheap oil and gas from Russia via pipelines. It is quite clear that Moscow has no plans to reduce supplies of these fossil fuels in the current tough climate. The Saudi leadership, therefore, has no other choice but to stop and think long and hard before taking any rash decisions. The world has changed and Saudi Arabia is no longer the only leader on the global oil market.

Still, Riyadh’s officials are free to continue talking about their ambitious plans, but realizing them requires vast sums of money, which the Kingdom simply does not have in its budget at present. And without financial backing, all of these hopes and dreams are nothing more than a mirage in the Arabian Desert, which disappears as soon as one tries to take a closer look at it.

Victor Mikhin is a member-correspondent of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

How an Israeli Spy-Linked Tech Firm Gained Access to the US Gov’t’s Most Classified Networks

By Whitney Webb | Unlimited Hangout | July 15, 2020

If the networks of the U.S. military, the U.S. intelligence community and a slew of other U.S. federal agencies were running the software of a company with deep ties, not only to foreign companies with a history of espionage against the U.S. but also foreign military intelligence, it would — at the very least — garner substantial media attention. Yet, no media reports to date have noted that such a scenario exists on a massive scale and that the company making such software recently simulated the cancellation of the 2020 election and the declaration of martial law in the United States.

Earlier this month, MintPress News reported on the simulations for the U.S. 2020 election organized by the company Cybereason, a firm led by former members of Israel’s military intelligence Unit 8200 and advised by former top and current officials in both Israeli military intelligence and the CIA. Those simulations, attended by federal officials from the FBI, DHS and the U.S. Secret Service, ended in disaster, with the elections ultimately canceled and martial law declared due to the chaos created by a group of hackers led by Cybereason employees.

The first installment of this three part series delved deeply into Cybereason’s ties to the intelligence community of Israel and also other agencies, including the CIA, as well as the fact that Cybereason stood to gain little financially from the simulations given that their software could not have prevented the attacks waged against the U.S.’ electoral infrastructure in the exercise.

Also noted was the fact that Cybereason software could be potentially used as a backdoor by unauthorized actors, a possibility strengthened by the fact that the company’s co-founders all previously worked for firms that have a history of placing backdoors into U.S. telecommunications and electronic infrastructure as well as aggressive espionage targeting U.S. federal agencies.

The latter issue is crucial in the context of this installment of this exclusive MintPress series, as Cybereason’s main investors turned partners have integrated Cybereason’s software into their product offerings. This means that the clients of these Cybereason partner companies, the U.S. intelligence community and military among them, are now part of Cybereason’s network of more than 6 million endpoints that this private company constantly monitors using a combination of staff comprised largely of former intelligence operatives and an AI algorithm first developed by Israeli military intelligence.

Cybereason, thus far, has disclosed the following groups as lead investors in the company: Charles River Ventures (CRV), Spark Capital, Lockheed Martin and SoftBank. Charles River Ventures (CRV) was among the first to invest in Cybereason and has been frequently investing in other Israeli tech start-upsthat were founded by former members of the elite Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 over the last few years. Spark Capital, based in California, appears to have followed CRV’s interest in Cybereason since the venture capitalist who co-founded Spark and led its investment in Cybereason is a former CRV partnerwho still has close ties to the firm.

While CRV and Spark Capital seem like just the type of investors a company like Cybereason would attract given their clear interest in similar tech start-ups coming out of Israel’s cyber sector, Cybereason’s other lead investors — Lockheed Martin and SoftBank — deserve much more attention and scrutiny.

Cybereason widely used by US Government, thanks to Lockheed

“A match made in heaven,” trumpeted Forbes at the news of the Lockheed Martin-Cybereason partnership, first forged in 2015. The partnership involved not only Lockheed Martin becoming a major investor in the cybersecurity company but also in Lockheed Martin becoming the largest conduit providing Cybereason’s software to U.S. federal and military agencies.

Indeed, as Forbes noted at the time, not only did Lockheed invest in the company, it decided to integrate Cybereason’s software completely into its product portfolio, resulting in a “model of both using Cybereason internally, and selling it to both public and private customers.”

Cybereason CEO and former offensive hacker for Israeli military intelligence — Lior Div — said the following of the partnership:

Lockheed Martin invested in Cybereason’s protection system after they compared our solution against a dozen others from the top industry players. The US firm was so impressed with the results they got from Cybereason that they began offering it to their own customers – among them most of the top Fortune 100 companies, and the US federal government. Cybereason is now the security system recommended by LM to its customers for protection from a wide (sic) malware and hack attacks.”

Rich Mahler, then-director of Commercial Cyber Services at Lockheed Martin, told Defense Daily that the company’s decision to invest in Cybereason, internally use its software, and include the technology as part of Lockheed Martin’s cyber solutions portfolio were all “independent business decisions but were all coordinated and timed with the transaction.”

How independent each of those decisions actually was is unclear, especially given the timing of Lockheed Martin’s investment in Cybereason, whose close and troubling ties to Israeli intelligence as well as the CIA were noted in the previous installment of this investigative series. Indeed, about a year prior to their investment in the Israeli military intelligence-linked Cybereason, Lockheed Martin opened an office in Beersheba, Israel, where the IDF has its “cyberhub”. The office is focused not on the sales of armaments, but instead on technology.

Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin’s CEO, said the following during her speech that inaugurated the company’s Beersheba office:

The consolidation of IDF Technical Units to new bases in the Negev Desert region is an important transformation of Israel’s information technology capability… We understand the challenges of this move. Which is why we are investing in the facilities and people that will ensure we are prepared to support for these critical projects. By locating our new office in the capital of the Negev we are well positioned to work closely with our Israeli partners and stand ready to: accelerate project execution, reduce program risk and share our technical expertise by training and developing in-country talent.”

Beersheba not only houses the IDF’s technology campus, but also the Israel National Cyber Directorate, which reports directly to Israel’s Prime Minister, as well as a high-tech corporate park that mostly houses tech companies with ties to Israel’s military intelligence apparatus. The area has been cited in several media reports as a visible indicator of the public-private merger between Israeli technology companies, many of them started by Unit 8200 alumni, and the Israeli government and its intelligence services. Lockheed Martin quickly became a key fixture in the Beersheba-based cyberhub.

Not long before Lockheed began exploring the possibility of opening an office in Beersheba, the company was hacked by individuals who used tokens tied to the company, RSA Security, whose founders have ties to Israel’s defense establishment and which is now owned by Dell, a company also deeply tied to the Israeli government and tech sector. The hack, perpetrated by still unknown actors, may have sparked Lockheed’s subsequent interest in Israel’s cybersecurity sector.

Soon after opening its Beersheba office, Lockheed Martin created its Israel subsidiary, Lockheed Martin Israel. Unlike many of the company’s other subsidiaries, this one is focused exclusively on “cybersecurity, enterprise information technology, data centers, mobile, analytics and cloud” as opposed to the manufacture and design of armaments.

Haden Land, then-vice president of research and technology for Lockheed Martin, told the Wall Street Journal that the creation of the subsidiary was largely aimed at securing contracts with the IDF and that the company’s Israel subsidiary would soon be seeking partnership and investments in pursuit of that end. Land oversaw the local roll-out of the company’s Israel subsidiary while concurrently meeting with Israeli government officials. According to the Journal, Land “oversees all of Lockheed Martin’s information-systems businesses, including defense and civilian commercial units” for the United States and elsewhere.

Just a few months later, Lockheed Martin partnered and invested in Cybereason, suggesting that Lockheed’s decision to do so was aimed at securing closer ties with the IDF. This further suggests that Cybereason still maintains close ties to Israeli military intelligence, a point expounded upon in great detail in the previous installment of this series.

Thus, it appears that not only does Lockheed Martin use Cybereason’s software on its own devices and on those it manages for its private and public sector clients, but it also decided to use the company’s software in this way out of a desire to more closely collaborate with the Israeli military in matters related to technology and cybersecurity.

The cozy ties between Lockheed Martin, one of the U.S. government’s largest private contractors, and the IDF set off alarm bells, then and now, for those concerned with U.S. national security. Such concern makes it important to look at the extent of Cybereason’s use by federal and military agencies in the United States through their contracting of Lockheed Martin’s Information Technology (IT) division. This is especially important considering Israeli military intelligence’s history of using espionage, blackmail and private tech companies against the U.S. government, as detailed here.

While the exact number of U.S. federal and military agencies using Cybereason’s software is unknown, it is widespread, with Lockheed Martin’s IT division as the conduit. Indeed, Lockheed Martin was the number one IT solutions provider to the U.S. federal government up until its IT division was spun off and merged with Leidos Holdings. As a consequence, Leidos is now the largest IT provider to the U.S. government and is also directly partnered with Cybereason in the same way Lockheed Martin was. Even after its IT division was spun off, Lockheed Martin continues to use Cybereason’s software in its cybersecurity work for the Pentagon and still maintains a stake in the company.

The Leidos-Lockheed Martin IT hybrid provides a litany of services to the U.S. military and U.S. intelligence. As investigative journalist Tim Shorrock noted for The Nation, the company does “everything from analyzing signals for the NSA to tracking down suspected enemy fighters for US Special Forces in the Middle East and Africa” and, following its merger with Lockheed and consequential partnership with Cybereason, became “the largest of five corporations that together employ nearly 80 percent of the private-sector employees contracted to work for US spy and surveillance agencies.” Shorrock also notes that these private-sector contractors now dominate the mammoth U.S. surveillance apparatus, many of them working for Leidos and — by extension — using Cybereason’s software.

Leidos’ exclusive use of Cybereason software for cybersecurity is also relevant for the U.S. military since Leidos runs a number of sensitive systems for the Pentagon, including its recently inked contract to manage the entire military telecommunications infrastructure for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In addition to maintaining the military telecom network, Cybereason is also directly partnered with World Wide Technologies (WWT) as of this past October. WWT manages cybersecurity for the U.S. Army, maintains DISA’s firewalls and data storage as well as the U.S. Air Force’s biometric identification system. WWT also manages contracts for NASA, itself a frequent target of Israeli government espionage, and the U.S. Navy. WWT’s partnership is similar to the Lockheed/Leidos partnership in that Cybereason’s software is now completely integrated into its portfolio, giving the company full access to the devices on all of these highly classified networks.

Many of these new partnerships with Cybereason, including its partnership with WWT, followed claims made by members of Israel’s Unit 8200 in 2017 that the popular antivirus software of Kaspersky Labs contained a backdoor for Russian intelligence, thereby compromising U.S. systems. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the alleged backdoor but did not mention the involvement of Unit 8200 in identifying it, a fact revealed by the New York Times a week later.

Notably, none of the evidence Unit 8200 used to blame Kaspersky has been made public and Kaspersky noted that it was actually Israeli hackers that had been discovered planting backdoors into its platform prior to the accusation levied against Kaspersky by Unit 8200. As the New York Times noted:

Investigators later discovered that the Israeli hackers had implanted multiple back doors into Kaspersky’s systems, employing sophisticated tools to steal passwords, take screenshots, and vacuum up emails and documents.”

Unit 8200’s claims ultimately led the U.S. government to abandon Kaspersky’s products entirely in 2018, allowing companies like Cybereason (with its own close ties to Unit 8200) to fill the void. Indeed, the very agencies that banned Kaspersky now use cybersecurity software that employs Cybereason’s EDR system. No flags have been raised about Cybereason’s own collaboration with the very foreign intelligence service that first pointed the finger at Kaspersky and that previously sold software with backdoors to sensitive U.S. facilities.

SoftBank, Cybereason and the Vision Fund

While its entry into the U.S. market and U.S. government networks is substantial, Cybereason’s software is also run throughout the world on a massive scale through partnerships that have seen it enter into Latin American and European markets in major ways in just the last few months. It has also seen its software become prominent in Asia following a partnership with the company Trustwave. Much of this rapid expansion followed a major injection of cash courtesy of one of the company’s biggest clients and now its largest investor, Japan’s SoftBank.

SoftBank first invested in Cybereason in 2015, the same year Lockheed Martin initially invested and partnered with the firm. It was also the year that SoftBank announced its intention to invest in Israeli tech start-ups. SoftBank first injected $50 million into Cybereason, followed by an additional $100 million in 2017 and $200 million last August. SoftBank’s investments account for most of the money raised by the company since it was founded in 2012 ($350 million out of $400 million total).

Prior to investing, Softbank was a client of Cybereason, which Ken Miyauchi, president of SoftBank, noted when making the following statement after Softbank’s initial investment in Cybereason:

SoftBank works to obtain cutting edge technology and outstanding business models to lead the Information Revolution. Our deployment of the Cybereason platform internally gave us firsthand knowledge of the value it provides, and led to our decision to invest. I’m confident Cybereason and SoftBank’s new product offering will bring a new level of security to Japanese organizations.”

SoftBank — one of Japan’s largest telecommunications companies — not only began to deploy Cybereason internally but directly partnered with it after investing, much like Lockheed Martin had done around the same time. This partnership resulted in SoftBank and Cybereason creating a joint venture in Japan and Cybereason creating partnerships with other tech companies acquired by SoftBank, including the U.K.’s Arm, which specializes in making chips and management platforms for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

SoftBank’s interest in Cybereason is significant, particularly in light of Cybereason’s interest in the 2020 U.S. election, given that SoftBank has significant ties to key allies of President Trump and even the president himself.

Indeed, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son was among the first wave of international business leaders who sought to woo then-president-elect Trump soon after the 2016 election. Son first visited Trump Tower in December 2016 and announced, with Trump by his side in the building’s lobby, that SoftBank would invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 jobs. Trump subsequently claimed on Twitter that Son had only decided to make this investment because Trump had won the election.

Son told reporters at the time that the investment would come from a $100 billion fund that would be created in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund as well as other investors. “I just came to celebrate his new job. I said, ‘This is great. The US will become great again,’” Son said, according to reports.

Then, in March of 2017, Son sent top SoftBank executives to meet with senior members of Trump’s economic team and, according to the New York Times, “the SoftBank executives said that because of a lack of advanced digital investments, the competitiveness of the United States economy was at risk. And the executives made the case, quite strongly, that Mr. Son was committed to playing a major role in addressing this issue through a spate of job-creating investments.” Many of SoftBank’s investments and acquisitions in the U.S. since then have focused mainly on artificial intelligence and technology with military applications, such as “killer robot” firm Boston Dynamics, suggesting Son’s interest lies more in dominating futuristic military-industrial technologies than creating jobs for the average American.

After their initial meeting, Trump and Son met again a year later in June 2018, with Trump stating that “His [Son’s] $50 billion turned out to be $72 billion so far, he’s not finished yet.” Several media reports have claimed that Son’s moves since Trump’s election have sought to “curry favor” with the President.

Through the creation of this fund alongside the Saudis, SoftBank has since become increasingly intertwined with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), a key ally of President Trump in the Middle East known for his authoritarian crackdowns on Saudi elites and dissidents alike. The ties between Saudi Arabia and SoftBank became ever tighter when MBS took the reins in the oil kingdom and after SoftBank announced the launch of the Vision Fund in 2016. SoftBank’s Vision Fund is a vehicle for investing in hi-tech companies and start-ups and its largest shareholder is the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. Notably, Son decided to launch the Vision Fund in Riyadh during President Trump’s first official visit to the Gulf Kingdom.

In addition, the Mubadala Investment Company, a government fund of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), gave $15 billion to the Vision Fund. UAE leadership also share close ties to the Trump administration and MBS in Saudi Arabia.

As a consequence, SoftBank’s Vision Fund is majority funded by two Middle Eastern authoritarian governments with close ties to the U.S. government, specifically the Trump administration. In addition, both countries have enjoyed the rapid growth and normalization of ties with the state of Israel in recent years, particularly following the rise of current Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and Jared Kushner’s rise to prominence in his father-in-law’s administration. Other investments in the Vision Fund have come from Apple, Qualcomm and Oracle’s Larry Ellison, all tech companies with strong ties to Israel’s government.

The Saudi and Emirati governments’ links to the Vision Fund are so obvious that even mainstream outlets like the New York Times have described them as a “front for Saudi Arabia and perhaps other countries in the Middle East.”

SoftBank also enjoys close ties to Jared Kushner, with Fortress Investment Group lending $57 million to Kushner Companies in October 2017 while it was under contract to be acquired by SoftBank. As Barron’s noted at the time:

When SoftBank Group bought Fortress Investment Group last year, the Japanese company was buying access to a corps of seasoned investors. What SoftBank also got is a financial tie to the family of President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.”

According to The Real Deal, Kushner Companies obtained the financing from Fortress only after its attempts to obtain funding through the EB-5 visa program for a specific real estate venture were abandoned after the U.S. Attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission began to investigate how Kushner Companies used the EB-5 investor visa program. A key factor in the opening of that investigation was Kushner Companies’ representatives touting Jared Kushner’s position at the White House when talking to prospective investors and lenders.

SoftBank also recently came to the aid of a friend of Jared Kushner, former CEO of WeWork Adam Neumann. Neumann made shocking claims about his ties to both Kushner and Saudi Arabia’s MBS, even asserting that he had worked with both in creating Kushner’s long-awaited and controversial Middle East “peace plan” and claimed that he, Kushner and MBS would together “save the world.” Neumann previously called Kushner his “mentor.” MBS has also discussed on several occasions his close ties with Kushner and U.S. media reports have noted the frequent correspondence between the two “princelings.”

Notably, SoftBank invested in Neumann’s WeWork using money from the Saudi-dominated Vision Fund and later went on to essentially bail the company out after its IPO collapse and Neumann was pushed out. SoftBank’s founder, Masayoshi Son, had an odd yet very close relationship with Neumann, perhaps explaining why Neumann was allowed to walk with $1.7 billion after bringing WeWork to the brink of collapse. Notably, nearly half of SoftBank’s approximately $47 billion investments in the U.S. economy since Trump’s election, went to acquiring and then bailing out WeWork. It is unlikely that such a disastrous investment resulted in the level of job creation that Son had promised Trump in 2016.

Given that it is Cybereason’s top investor and shareholder by a large margin, SoftBank’s ties to the Trump administration and key allies of that administration are significant in light of Cybereason’s odd interest in 2020 U.S. election scenarios that end with the cancellation of this year’s upcoming presidential election. It goes without saying that the cancellation of the election would mean a continuation of the Trump administration until new elections would take place.

Furthermore, with Cybereason’s close and enduring ties to Israeli military intelligence now well-documented, it is worth asking if Israeli military intelligence would consider intervening in 2020 if the still-to-be-decided Democratic contender was strongly opposed to Israeli government policy, particularly Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. This is especially worth considering given revelations that sexual blackmailer and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who targeted prominent U.S. politicians, mostly Democrats, was in the employ of Israeli military intelligence.

Notably, Cybereason’s doomsday election scenarios involved the weaponization of deep fakes, self-driving cars and hacking Internet of Things devices, with all of those technologies being pioneered and perfected — not by Russia, China or Iran — but by companies directly tied to Israeli intelligence, much like Cybereason itself. These companies, their technology and Cybereason’s own work creating the narrative that U.S. rival states seek to undermine the U.S. election in this way, will all be discussed in the conclusion of MintPress’ series on Cybereason and its outsized interest in the U.S. democratic process.

July 15, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran oil revenue dips but future holds bright promises

Press TV – July 15, 2020

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says Iran’s revenue from total crude oil exports and oil products in 2019 was just over $19 billion, less than a third of the previous year.

According to the organization’s annual report, Iran’s income from selling oil and oil products amounted to 60.5 billion in 2018, while it was $110 billion in 2011.

Iran’s average daily crude oil exports last year were 651,000 barrels per day, of which about 60,000 barrels went to Turkey and the rest to Asia, it said. In 2018, the figure was 1.85, and in 2017 more than 2.1 million barrels per day.

Iran’s oil industry is at the forefront of an economic war with the United States which has pledged to bring Tehran’s crude exports down to zero. The Islamic Republic exported around one million bpd until May 2019, when the United States tightened its sanctions, banning all oil exports from Iran.

The Iranian economy has been carrying on at a relatively steady clip after a period of turmoil when the Trump administration unleashed its most ferocious economic attack on the country in November 2018 with a pledge to sink its oil exports to zero.

According to OPEC, Iran also exported about 285,000 bpd of oil products including diesel and fuel oil last year.

Barring oil products, revenues from Iran’s crude oil exports last year were less than $9 billion, government officials have said.

The OPEC report said Iran’s total oil and non-oil exports reached $69 billion last year, down about a third from 2018.

Early this year, Industry Minister Hossein Modares Khiabani, then a deputy, told an exports quality summit in Tehran that Iran had exported $32 billion of non-oil goods in the 10 months up to January, shoring up its economy amid the unprecedented US sanctions.

“This is like a miracle in the current economic situation of the country,” he said. “Non-oil exports have almost replaced oil exports, and the country is governed by the revenues of the non-oil sector,” he added.

The Trump administration is tweaking the contours of its sanctions regime to put more aspects of the Iranian economy under strain.

In recent months, the US Treasury Department has announced new sanctions against Iran’s air and maritime transport industries, construction, manufacturing, textiles, mining, aluminum, copper, iron and steel industries to hit much of Iran’s economy as well as Chinese companies that have conducted business with Iran.

Iran-China partnership

China has long been Iran’s largest trading partner and the Islamic Republic is one of its major suppliers of oil. US officials have reportedly been working behind the scenes to pressure China into halting all its oil and condensate imports from Iran.

But recent reports of an imminent finalization of a roadmap for strategic partnership have put the kibosh on those reports.

On Sunday, The New York Times said the sweeping economic and security partnership would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.

The paper said it had obtained details of an 18-page proposed agreement that would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years, it said.

The partnership — first proposed by China’s leader Xi Jinping, during a visit to Iran in 2016 — was approved by President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet in June, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week.

The deal “represents a major blow to the Trump administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran since abandoning the nuclear deal reached in 2015 by President Obama and the leaders of six other nations after two years of grueling negotiations,” The Times said.

Renewed American sanctions, including the threat to cut off access to the international banking system for any company that does business in Iran, have prompted Tehran to turn to China, which has the technology and appetite for oil that Iran needs.

China gets about 75 percent of its oil from abroad and is the world’s largest importer, at more than 10 million barrels a day last year.

The Chinese investments in Iran would reportedly total $400 billion over 25 years. China will invest $280 billion developing Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors. There will be another $120 billion investment in upgrading Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure.

Such an infusion would certainly help to revive Iran’s economy and create more jobs, according to Shireen Hunter, an affiliate fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

“A major reason for Iran’s shift towards China and other Asian countries, known locally as the ‘pivot to the East’, has been the failure of Iran’s repeated efforts, beginning with the administration of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, to expand economic relations with the West as a prelude to better political ties,” she wrote on the Middle East Eye news website.

Hunter cited the latest of Iran’s offers after the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015, including for buying Boeing and Airbus aircraft and welcoming American and European companies such as Total into the country – to which the West responded negatively.

“If the Iran-China agreement is implemented, it would revive Iran’s economy and stabilize its politics. Such an economic and political recovery would improve Iran’s regional position and perhaps incentivize adversaries to reduce tensions with Tehran, instead of blindly following US policies. Arab states could rush to make their own special deals with China,” she wrote.

“By pursuing an entirely hostile policy towards Iran, the US has limited its strategic choices in Southwest Asia and thus been manipulated by some of its local partners, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. China’s more pronounced interest in Iran should alert the US to review its past approach towards Tehran,” she added.

July 15, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s ambitions in south Yemen increase risk of conflict with Houthis

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | June 29, 2020

Israel’s involvement in the Yemen war throughout its five year duration is an open secret. In 2015, when the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the capital Sanaa was seized by the Houthi forces in retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition’s aggression, a large cache of Israeli-made weapons and ammunition was discovered, in addition to documents detailing intentions by the US to establish a military base on Perim Island near the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, “to protect [America’s] interests and ensure the security of Israel”. The island has been under the coalition’s control since it was wrested from the Houthis in the same year. Foreign mercenaries fighting on behalf of coalition-partner the UAE were also said to have been trained by the Israeli military at camps in the Negev Desert.

Amid the ever-growing normalisation of relations between Israel and Gulf states, it should come as no surprise that it was reported last week that Israel and the Emirati-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) are “secret friends” with meetings facilitated by the UAE.

The STC’s vice-chairman, Hani Bin Briek, confirmed that relations with Israel are “very good” while Tel Aviv reacted positively to the prospects of a “new autonomous state in Yemen”. The fragmentation of Arab states is, of course, consistent with Zionist strategies in the region; support for separatism in the south of Yemen echoes Israel’s decades-old policy of backing Kurdish statehood.

Covert Israeli interventions in Yemen are not without precedent. During the 1962-1970 civil war Israel airlifted arms and money in support of the royalist Mutawakkilite dynasty — ironically the predecessors of the Houthis — against the Nasserite republicans. The Saudis also supported the Zaydi monarchs who ultimately lost out in the war.

Securing Israel’s southern port of Eilat and a shipping lane which grants access not only to the Suez Canal but also the Red Sea and through Bab Al-Mandab to the Indian Ocean and beyond is of vital interest to Tel Aviv, especially as a gateway to the Far East and China, which is a major trading partner. The wars with Arab neighbours in 1956, 1967 and 1973 all involved blocking Israeli shipping. In the latter, Yemen closed off the Bab Al-Mandab Strait and blockaded the Red Sea. Ever since, Israel has viewed any attempt to block access to the Red Sea as an act of war and has threatened to deploy all branches of its military in the event of Iran doing so.

As with every other party involved in the current conflict in Yemen, access to all seaways leading to the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean play a significant part in the underlying agendas. It is certainly one of the charges levied against the UAE over its involvement in the recent STC “coup” of Socotra Island.

However, the revelation of Israeli support for the STC is a worrying development for the prospects of maintaining a unified Yemen, however elusive that appears to be. Any attempts by Tel Aviv to back the emergence of a break-away “independent” state in the region should be treated with suspicion. The STC has made it clear that it intends to expand further beyond its current control of Aden and parts of the Dale and Lahj provinces. Clashes continue in the Abyan province with the Saudi-backed militia and there have been calls for solidarity with the STC in Hadhramout.

The Houthi-aligned government in Sanaa is committed to the territorial integrity of Yemen and is well-aware of Israel’s destructive ambitions. “The Israeli enemy sees Yemen as a threat to it, explained Information Minister Dhaifalla Al-Shami, “especially in its strategic location, so it has worked to find a foothold in Yemen through the UAE’s role.”

Earlier this month, the leader of the Houthi movement, Sayyid Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, criticised Saudi Arabia and the UAE for siding with “the chief enemy of the Muslim world,” Israel.

“The US and Israel seek to enslave Yemeni people,” Al-Houthi said in a televised speech. “Their plots target the entire Muslim community, and are meant to ‎disintegrate Islamic nations from within through sowing the seeds of discord and division.” He has stated previously that the Houthis are ready to support the resistance factions in Lebanon and Palestine against Israel.

Moreover, the Houthis, who are supported by most of the Yemeni armed forces, have threatened Israel once before with “revenge” over its known involvement in the Yemen war of aggression. The Defence Minister in the National Salvation Government (NSG), General Mohammed Al-Atefi, said late last year that a “bank of military and maritime targets” have already been identified and that they will not hesitate to attack them when the leadership decides to do so.

These are security challenges that Israel takes seriously, especially with the long-range ballistic missiles and armed drones in the Yemeni army’s arsenal, which cross-border offensives against Saudi have shown to be very accurate. Israel has also expressed a willingness to attack Houthi targets near Bab Al-Mandab.

The Houthis also have a consistent stance on supporting the Palestinian cause. Al-Houthi even went as far as to offer to exchange captured Saudi pilots for the release of prominent Hamas members imprisoned in the Kingdom.

Direct military confrontation between Israel and the Houthis is unlikely and unrealistic for the time being, although both sides have voiced a willingness to take action if necessary. However, Israel is playing a dangerous game; should it become more embedded in the war in Yemen it runs the risk of conflict with the Houthis. Just as Israel has securitised its access to the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, it should not be surprised if the Houthi authorities decide to react to Israeli attempts to sow further discord and break up the already fragile Yemeni state. The chief-backer of the STC, the UAE, has also been threatened by the Houthis. “Abu Dhabi can be attacked at any time,” claimed a pro-Houthi military spokesperson.

At the moment, the main focus of the Houthis is to take control of Marib city from the Saudi-backed militia fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government-in-exile, which is increasingly proving to be an irrelevant mouthpiece of Riyadh. The NSG, which controls most of Yemen in terms of population density, will turn its attention to the south once Marib has been secured. When the inevitable clash with the STC comes, we will see the indirect confrontation with Israel come out into the open.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Escalating Crisis Over Iran’s Nuclear Inspections

By Scott Ritter | Consortium News | June 29, 2020

The Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration pulled out of last year is on the verge of collapse.

The National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament last Tuesday ratified a motion that required the Iranian government to cease its voluntary implementation of its Additional Protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The motion, if turned into law, would represent a death knell to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), the groundbreaking agreement between Iran and the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union to end the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.

There is still time before the matter could be brought up for a vote; indeed, the committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on July 6, and has invited Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and Nuclear Chief Ali-Akbar Salehi to testify.

IAEA Resolution

The current crisis over Iran’s nuclear program was triggered by the IAEA Board of Governors, which on June 19 passed a resolution expressing its “serious concern” over Iran’s refusal to provide “access to the Agency under the Additional Protocol to two locations.” The resolution said that “discussions engaged, for almost a year, to clarify Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear related activities in Iran have not led to progress.”

The Board of Governors resolution required that “Iran shall cooperate fully and in a timely manner” with the IAEA in implementing its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, including “by providing acces.” The resolution reaffirmed that such “cooperation and implementation are essential for the IAEA to reach the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.”

The First Three Years of the Deal

The Board of Governor’s June 19 resolution did not occur in a vacuum. For the first three years of the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran was repeatedly certified as being in full compliance with all of its obligations, including granting IAEA inspector’s access to facilities and locations mandated by the additional protocol.

The protocol is an expanded set of requirements for information and access between Iran and the IAEA. It assists IAEA inspectors to confirm that states are using nuclear material for solely peaceful purposes. The protocol is a voluntary agreement and is independently constructed between a state and the IAEA.

Iran negotiated its additional protocol with the IAEA in 2003, which was signed but never ratified. Nevertheless, Iran implemented the protocol on a voluntary basis from 2003 to 2006 before ending its cooperation in the face of allegations that Iran was cheating.

Iran and the IAEA then entered a decade-long confrontation, which was only resolved with the implementation of the JCPOA nuclear deal, which was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231 on July 20, 2015. That made the JCPOA binding under both international and U.S. constitutional law.

The nuclear deal established a road map, framed by mutually binding commitments, that took Iran from zero tolerance over nuclear enrichment, to a time when Iran would be able to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes without restriction, as long as the IAEA confirmed that Iran’s entire nuclear program had no military intentions. According to the deal, Iran would be subjected to stringent safeguards inspections that included the additional protocol.

Iran Reacts to Trump’s Move

When the Trump administration, acting on President Trump’s belief that the JCPOA was a “bad agreement,” withdrew from the JCPOA and began re-imposing U.S. economic sanctions, which had been lifted under the terms of the deal, Iran indicated that it would reconsider its participation.

For the time being, Iran continued to abide by its obligations under the deal, accepting European Union and the other JCPOA nations’ guarantees that regardless of what the U.S. did vis-à-vis sanctions, the other nations would not follow suit, and thereby fulfill their commitments to Iran under the terms of the JCPOA.

A year after the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, however, Europe collectively reneged on that commitment, succumbing to the threat of U.S. secondary sanctions, which threatened any European business that engaged in commerce with Iran.

In response, Iran invoked Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. Article 26 holds that if new nuclear-related sanctions are imposed on Iran by any party to the deal it will constitute “grounds (for its authorities) to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”

Article 36 states that if actions by parties to the JCPOA “constitute significant non-performance, then (Iran) could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part and/or notify the UN Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance.”

Iran stressed at the time that its retaliatory measures would be reversible as soon as Europe ignored the threat of secondary U.S. sanctions and fulfilled its obligations regarding sanctions-free trade with Iran.

Initially, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms limit set by the JCPOA. When the Europeans continued to balk, Iran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.

Next, when Europe failed to meet a 60-day deadline to fulfill its commitments, Iran began to operate advanced centrifuges capable of boosting its enriched uranium stockpile, as well as activating advanced centrifuges for research and development purposes.

Lastly, in November 2019, Iran began injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its Fordow plant, something which, while prohibited under the JCPOA, was conducted under IAEA inspection.

Interestingly, the IAEA Board of Governor’s June 19 resolution did not address these actions in any depth. Instead, the focus of attention was on the issue of Iran’s implementation of the additional protocol.

As noted, Iran had entered into voluntary compliance with the IAEA of an additional protocol agreed in 2003, but withdrew in 2006 in the face of allegations derived from intelligence provided to the IAEA by Israel of Iranian cheating [see: article published today in Consortium News, “Israel Leverages Dubious ‘Nuclear Archives’ to Re-Enlist IAEA in Campaign Against Iran.“]

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to implement its additional protocol on a “provisional” basis for up to eight years before it became legally binding.

Iran insisted on these terms in order to prevent the kind of scenario that is, in fact, playing out today, where the United States has re-imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Iran, and is seeking to trigger so-called “snap-back” sanctions that would return Iran to the regimen of measures previously imposed by the Security Council, but terminated upon the council’s endorsement of the nuclear deal.

Israeli Allegations

The Board of Governor’s resolution mentions two sites that are alleged to be engaged in ongoing, undeclared nuclear activity. Normally, these sites would be ideal candidates for the kind of inspections envisioned under the protocol, and indeed Iran has a history of providing similar access to other sites.

What separates these sites from the others is that Iran claims the allegations about them are a product of Israeli intelligence, and as such are deemed to be fabrications designed to provoke Iran. “No country,” Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador told the Board of Governors before its vote on the June 19 resolution, “opens its territory to the inspections only based on continuous allegations provided by its own enemy, even if it is evident that the result of which will prove those allegations to be false.”

Iran’s position on the two sites does not appear to be out of fear over what would be discovered—indeed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations in September 2019 that, “If the U.S. Congress ratifies the JCPOA and lifts all sanctions permanently, Iran is ready to pursue the immediate ratification of the Additional Protocol in the Iranian parliament as a permanent law.”

‘Nothing to Hide’

Rather, it is a matter of principle for Iran. Indeed, Foreign Minister Zarif noted in a tweet that “an agreeable solution is possible” for the IAEA’s request for access to the two nuclear sites in the country—but not if Iran was subjected to pressure in the form of a Board of Governor’s resolution predicated on Israeli intelligence.

“We’ve nothing to hide,” Zarif tweeted. “More inspections in Iran over last 5 yrs than in IAEA history. An agreeable solution is possible, but Res will ruin it.”

Zarif’s warning was of no avail. Shortly after the Board of Governors passed its resolution, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement declaring that:

“Iran’s denial of access to IAEA inspectors and refusal to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about what Iran is trying to hide. Over the past months, Iran has not only continued its nuclear escalation and extortion, but it has also stonewalled the IAEA. These actions are unacceptable and underscore the continued threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program to international peace and security.”

The battle lines have been drawn. By caving in to pressure from the United States to force a resolution by the Board of Governors, the European nations who are party to the JCPOA have done great harm to that agreement.

Having forced a showdown with Iran over the issue of access to sites based upon intelligence of questionable provenance, the IAEA has once again opted to take the world to the brink of a crisis with Iran which could ultimately see that nation withdraw not only from the JCPOA, but also the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Not only would such an outcome undermine the issue of global nuclear nonproliferation, but also more than likely put Iran on a path toward the kind of decisive military confrontation that would spell ruin for the Middle East and, by extension, the entire world.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 16 Comments

Nasrallah: Syria triumphs, Israel is waging an imaginary war

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 13, 2020, in commemoration of the martyrdom of Hezbollah Commander Mostapha Badreddine, killed in Syria in May 2016.

Summary:

  • Syria has already won the war, even if there are still some minor battles to be fought
  • Having failed militarily, the enemies of Syria strive doubly hard in their diplomatic, economic and psychological warfare
  • There is no dissension between the allies of Damascus, nor a struggle for influence between Iran and Russia
  • News of Bashar al-Assad being sidelined is just propaganda
  • There are no Iranian armed forces in Syria, just military cadres and advisers
  • Having bet everything on the terrorists, Israel sees its defeat and fears the recovery of Syria and the threat it will pose to the occupation of the Golan and the very existence of the Zionist entity
  • The so-called Israeli campaign against the Iranian presence in Syria is nothing but window dressing aimed at reassuring Israeli opinion and providing cover for attacks on the Syrian ballistic power
  • Israel presents as a victory a simple redeployment of forces due to successive victories over almost the entire Syrian territory, and a reduction in air movements between Iran and Syria due to the coronavirus
  • Iran, Hezbollah and other Resistance movements will never leave Syria
  • Israeli incursions into Syria are caused by worry, fear and adventurism, but can lead to uncontrolled escalation and regional war

This video only subtitles the last section of the transcript below, ‘Israel in Syria

Transcript:

Syria won the world war against it

[…] Today we can say that Syria won this war. In previous battles, when great achievements were made, such as after the liberation of Homs, Damascus, the South and even Aleppo, it was said that Syria had won the war, and analysts and specialists in strategic issues said no: Syria had won one (or more) battles, but had not (yet) won the war. Because a war is made of many battles: you can win a battle, lose another, win a third, lose the fourth, but all that does not (necessarily) mean that the whole war is won, or that the whole war is lost.

Today, in all simplicity, and via an objective and genuine assessment (of the situation), whoever goes to Syria and travels there —except for the politicized Arab (and Western) media—, whoever goes to Syria, in its provinces, in its cities, in its villages and boroughs, in all the regions currently in the hands of the State, anyone who observes the overall situation in Syria can easily affirm that Syria won the war, although there are still some battles going on. It should not be said that Syria has won one, two or three battles, and has lost one or two others, and that the war is still going on, without it being clear whether Syria will win it or not, no. The fair and accurate strategic assessment is that the Syrian leaders, the Syrian army, the Syrian State and the great majority of the Syrian people who stood firm in this struggle won this war.

Of course, there are still a few battles left, military or political, which require persistence and continuity of action, whether in Idlib, East of the Euphrates or certain areas North of Syria, but this is only a partial, limited and circumscribed part (of Syria). Syria has triumphed over partition projects, Syria has won this war, and suffice it to say that the objectives of this world war (against Syria) for which, according to their own admission, hundreds of billions of Arabian dollars have been spent —the dollar is American, but it is the Arab (countries) that have paid the bills; if this money had been spent for the good of the Arab peoples of our region, they would have extricated them from ignorance, poverty, misery, illiteracy, diseases, and the said funding countries (Saudi Arabia, etc. ) would not face financial incapacity in the face of the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic as they do now—, thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition, tens of thousands of terrorists and takfiris who were brought from all over the world, dozens of international conferences, etc., etc., etc. They have deployed everything, done everything, absolutely everything, to achieve their objective in Syria: sectarian or political slogans, incitement (to racial or religious hatred), everything that the front of Arrogance (imperialism) and its instruments were able to mobilize in terms of resources and ideology, everything they could do against Syria, they did. And Syria, through the perseverance of its leaders, its army, its people and the State, and thanks to the presence and perseverance of its allies by its side, managed to win this war.

And that is why today, when we talk about our martyr leader, Sayed Mustapha Badreddine, and our other martyrs in Syria, we feel, in addition to the consequences for their afterlife and their (eminent) position close to God the Most High and the Exalted as martyrs, we have the feeling that their blood has borne fruit and enabled these results to be achieved, and that the objective for which they went to fight and for which they sacrificed their blood, their peace and their life, and for which they made unremitting efforts night and day, this goal was achieved and it is before our eyes today.

Economic, diplomatic & psychological warfare

I will now raise some points (concerning Syria). The first point is that naturally, what (the enemies of Syria) have been unable to achieve militarily, they have been trying for the past few years to obtain it politically, through political pressure on the Syrian leaders, on the allies of Syria, on Iran, on Russia, on those who stand alongside Syria, through international relations, through the UN Security Council, through intimidation, threats and tempting promises, so that the allies of Damascus will abandon Syria. But all of this has failed so far. And we know that sometimes the political battle is just as intense as the armed struggle. And sometimes its dangers are even greater, and require all of our vigilance and attention. Syria is still plunged into political war and is facing political pressures which, so far, have failed to achieve any of their goals.

Naturally, and I come to the second point, after the failure of the military war and the impotence and the ineffectiveness of the political war and the political pressures in achieving any objective at all, the front of Arrogance (imperialism), the American despots and their Allies resorted to other means, namely psychological warfare on the one hand, and sanctions and blockade on the other. With regard to psychological warfare, a very broad front has been open for years against Syria, and lately there has been an intensification of psychological warfare, some aspects of which I will touch on in a moment. Likewise, the sanctions and the state of siege against Syria are increasing, and they are betting on the economic consequences (which they hope will become unbearable for Syria and its allies). The coronavirus has added to these pressures, but this pandemic is not specific to Syria: the pressures of the coronavirus are weighing on the whole world. Today, those who besiege Iran, Syria, Venezuela and other countries, Gaza, Yemen, etc., are starting to suffer the economic consequences of the coronavirus themselves. We have all seen the catastrophe hitting the United States, the countries of Western Europe, as well as certain countries in our region (Saudi Arabia, etc.). In any event, it is also a means of attacking Syria, namely economic pressures, sanctions, the state of siege against Syria.

With regard to the sanctions and the blockade, we place our hopes on the endurance of the Syrian leaders, the Syrian State and the Syrian people, just as they persevered in the face of the military and political war. What gives us hope is that Syria is a country endowed with human capital and colossal possibilities; the Syrian people are full of liveliness, the wealth and innate means of Syria are many and huge. Before the crisis, Syria was not a debt-ridden or weak country, nor was it a country brimming with wealth, but its economy was entirely viable. In some Arab countries, millions of people live in cemeteries, but no family lived in a cemetery in Syria. Anyway, in the economic battle, the livelihood battle, the financial battle, we have good hope in the endurance and initiative of Syria, just as we trust Syria to succeed against the psychological battle.

Tensions between Syria’s allies ?

With regard to the psychological battle, I would like to give an example, before addressing my last point concerning Syria. Part of the psychological battle concerns the situation of the allies, and we often hear that the allies of Damascus have started to abandon Syria. (According to these rumors), Iran would be entangled in its internal situation and would prepare to abandon Syria. Russia, because of the pressures, its internal situation, such pressures or such problems or I don’t know what other rubbish, would abandon Syria. All these words express only dreams and hopes that we have been hearing for years, and some have been disseminated as if they were information, etc., but they were only aspirations (US / Israeli / Saudi wishful thinking).

Among the talking points of the current psychological warfare, let us quote again the recurrent remarks that we find in the media of the Gulf and certain Western media —the Western media are more reluctant to diffuse these reports, because they try to preserve the (little) credibility they still have— about an Iranian-Russian power struggle in Syria. There is no hint of truth in it. I said at the beginning of my speech that I was going to talk about Iran again. In the two points that remain for me to address (on Syria), I will clearly point out certain sensitive points which concern the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Neither the Islamic Republic of Iran, nor Hezbollah, nor the Resistance factions from different countries —Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. ; yes, Resistance movements came from these countries and fought in Syria alongside the Syrian Arab Army, the Syrian people and the Syrian popular forces, and are still present there… The Islamic Republic of Iran is not fighting for influence against anyone in Syria. Neither against Russia —regardless of what Russia is doing— nor against anyone. The position of the Islamic Republic in Syria was clear from the beginning: its (only) goal was to prevent the fall of Syria under American-Israeli control, and under the control of the instruments of Arrogance (imperialism), our common enemy. This was Iran’s goal, and nothing else. The Islamic Republic does not seek any influence in Syria, it has no aims and no greed in Syria, and has no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria. Iranian interference in Syria has never existed, does not exist and will never exist with regard to internal Syrian issues, whether in the form of the regime, government, laws, the State… Iran will never do anything that some other States (especially the imperialist and neo-colonialist West) do, in any case. All that mattered and still matters for the Islamic Republic of Iran is that Syria remains in its (pro-) Arab, (pro-) Islamic, (pro-) Resistance position, that it preserves its identity, its independence, its sovereignty, its unity, that Syria remains a noble and dignified, persevering fortress, does not submit to American and Zionist hegemony, and does not compromise on its rights (over the Golan). This is all that Iran wants in Syria, no more no less. And that does not enter into any struggle for influence with anyone.

Certainly, to be completely frank and sincere, there may be differences between the allies as regards the definition of certain military or ground priorities, political questions, at the level of negotiations, etc. But this in no way leads to a struggle for influence, because the decisions of the Islamic Republic are categorical as regards the position alongside the Syrian leaders (who have the final say on all matters), Iran complying with what they determine and accept. The Islamic Republic has a position of support towards the endurance, the persistence, the maintenance and the independence of Syria, and its resilience in the face of projects of hegemony and control over it, and of liquidation of the Axis of Resistance in the region. In this regard, I would therefore like to reassure the masses & supporters of the Resistance in the Arab-Islamic world: in Syria, there is no struggle for influence between Iran and Russia. So could we say that the front of the allies and supporters of Damascus is plagued by internal strife or is in withdrawal? This is absolutely not true.

Israel in Syria

The other point I also wanted to talk about concerning Syria and Iran in Syria, and the Israeli enemy in Syria, is the Israeli aggression and the Israeli project in Syria. Especially in the past few weeks, the Zionist Israeli Minister of War (Naftali Bennett) is trying to brag and present (false victories) to the Israeli masses, lying to them and misleading them, and also to the public opinion in the Arab-Muslim world —and there are also Arab media that spread these lies and falsifications—, in order to highlight the imaginary victories and achievements of Israel in Syria at the expense of Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Axis of Resistance. I want to talk about it a bit, and it may be the first time that I do it in such a frank and detailed way, even if it will be synthetic.

During the first years (of the war in Syria), from 2011, Israel bet on the (terrorist) armed groups. The relations of the armed groups —especially in the south of Syria— with Israel are absolutely undeniable: exchange of information, financing, supplies, medical care, aid and support of all kinds, up to transit, all this is well known and obvious. Israel has been active in the war in Syria since 2011, and has counted & invested heavily on those who fight the regime in Syria. Israel had a whole set of objectives, the highest of which was the fall of the regime and the liquidation of the current administration (of Bashar al-Assad). But there were several other lesser goals.

When this war against Syria failed, and the Zionists understood that their instruments and the horse on which they had bet had failed in Syria, and that they had lost the war… They are still fighting in Syria, but they lost the war, as I just explained. The proof is that all of southern Syria, the vast majority of which was under the control of armed groups, which cooperated with Israel, was assisted by Israel and were Israel’s allies both openly and secretly, they all left, and some left Syria via the Zionist entity. We don’t forget their buses at night.

The Israelis therefore understood that their objective (to bring down the regime) had failed. They therefore aimed at a new objective, namely to fight against a new danger which appears to them, new dangers which will emanate from the situation and the victory in Syria. What are these new dangers? Some reside in the Syrian Arab forces themselves, in the Syrian army and in the Syrian military capabilities, especially with regard to ballistic capability and the manufacture of precision missiles. And that’s why we see that Israel is attacking everything related to the production of missiles in Syria, because he considers that the ballistic capacity and the manufacture of missiles constitute a (enormous) force for Syria, and obviously also for the Axis of Resistance.

Israel therefore considers Syria as a future threat, Syria which has stood firm during all these years in the face of a universal war waged against it: if Damascus regains its strength and regains its health, and develops its military, human and material capabilities, this will give Syria prevalence in the region and in the Arab-Israeli struggle. Therefore, Israel considers Syria as a threat, a future threat: Syria may not be a current threat, because it remains entangled in its internal situation and the few battles that remain to be fought. Likewise, Israel views the presence of Iran and Resistance factions in Syria as a threat. Israel is worried about Syria, Israel is afraid. Israel is terrified of what the future holds for it in Syria. This is the true description of the situation.

So look at the way Israeli officials express themselves about the Golan Heights, claiming that in southern Syria, for example, Hezbollah has a certain presence and a certain activity, and is trying to create a structure (of Resistance), with the help, silence or complicity of the Syrian authorities, cooperating with young Syrians (combatants) in order to recover the Golan and attack the Israeli occupation in the Golan. And all this while nothing important has happened yet. But this simple assumption, this simple fact created an atmosphere of terror within the Zionist entity, and sometimes pushes it to escalation measures which can lead to unforeseen and dramatic consequences (an open regional war). This indicates that Israel behaves towards Syria from a position of worry, fear and terror in the face of the consequences of the great victory in Syria. You have to keep that in mind in the first place.

Israel has therefore announced a goal in Syria. He cannot declare that he strikes Syria and the Syrian army, even if that is what he is doing concretely. Israel has therefore announced a goal linked to the Iranian presence in Syria, and the presence of Hezbollah, even if he insists above all on the Iranian presence. So they launched a campaign under the slogan “We want to expel Iran from Syria.” And their stupidity is such that it prompted the Israeli Minister of War, Naftali Bennett, to go so far as to set a timetable, promising that before the end of 2020, he would have ended the Iranian presence in Syria. So remember this deadline and count the months that we have before the end of the year to see what will happen to the promise of this stupid minister.

Israel has therefore worked to achieve this goal. What did they do, apart from the international, regional and domestic incitement, and the attempt to present the Iranian presence in Syria —which I will describe in detail— as having gone from a factor of assistance to a burden for Syria, which is a gross lie? They began with airstrikes and air operations which occasionally hit means of transport, warehouses or certain locations in Syria. This has been happening for years, and I never talked about it (in detail).

What is new? The new thing is that Israel goes astray, tricks its people and deceives the opinion in our region (and in the world) —and we are always fighting this battle to raise public awareness by revealing the truth—, trying to present certain details like the proofs of his victory in Syria and the beginning of the defeat of the Axis of Resistance or the Islamic Republic of Iran, the beginning of our exit and withdrawal (from Syria).

What are the clues and evidence that Israel puts forward? For several weeks, certain Israeli officials, media and analysts have been propagating these statements, even if other Israeli analysts say that these statements are inaccurate and just for show —and the latter are the ones who are right. Israel has spoken of several points (put forward as evidence of an Iranian withdrawal from Syria):

1/ the number of troops: the “Iranian (armed) forces”, to use their expression, would have greatly decreased in Syria;

2/ certain bases that have been evacuated, returned (to the Syrian authorities) or abandoned;

3/ the concentration of efforts on eastern Syria and the presence in the region of al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, etc.

The conclusion of all of this, (if we are to believe the Zionist enemy), is that the result of intelligence operations, military actions and aerial bombardments carried out by Israel, have largely fulfilled their objectives: Iran would leave Syria, the Iranians would be in full withdrawal, Hezbollah would retreat, and this moron (Bennett) believes he achieved an historic exploit which he trumpets  at every occasion, predicting the full achievement of this objective before the end of 2020. Just see how he spreads these lies and fools public opinion.

Let me show you the real situation. First, regarding the situation on the ground, Israel keeps talking about the presence of “Iranian (armed) forces”, but in Syria there have only been Iranian military advisers and experts since 2011. I would like to say that they were present even before 2011 alongside the Syrian Arab Army and alongside the Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah), and after 2011, they remained, and due to the events, their number increased. But there are no Iranian military forces in Syria. When we talk about Iranian military forces, we mean one or more battalions, one or more units, legions, etc. That is what we are referring to when we talk about the armed forces.

There are a number of military advisers and experts in Syria, the number of which has increased with the events (since 2011). They had and still have a very important role:

1/ providing support and advice to the Syrian armed forces;

2/ managing groups of Syrian, Arab and Islamic popular forces which they train, arm and lead in the various battles in progress;

3/ coordinating operations with Resistance movements, including Hezbollah;

4/ coordinating the logistical support operations provided by the Iranian defense ministry to the Syrian defense ministry.

These Iranian advisers are not Iranian (armed) forces. It is not an Iranian armed presence.

You see, the Israelis announced a nonexistent, illusory, imaginary goal, similar to the objective of successive American administrations to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons, while the Iranians do not have nuclear weapons and do not want to obtain nuclear weapons. In Syria, Israel is waging an imaginary battle to prevent Iranian forces from being present in Syria. While in Syria there are only Iranian military advisers and military experts. Despite all the difficulties, the situation in Syria in no way requires the arrival of Iranian (armed) forces in Syria.

To be frank and honest, at one point, a real discussion took place on this subject with the Iranian leaders, and at one point, for a few months, certain Iranian armed forces came to Aleppo, for 2 or 3 months. But apart from this exceptional case, there have never been Iranian forces in Syria, and I say and repeat that there are only advisers, in the number required by the situation: there may be more or less according to the needs of the field, and many of them fell martyrs —some could put forward this argument as proof of an armed presence; but it’s because these advisers were on the front lines alongside the Syrian Arab Army and Resistance factions, fighting and participating in battles, in the manner of the school of their commander of the al-Quds Forces, the martyr Qassem Soleimani, may God the Most High be pleased with him. This is therefore the real and precise description of the situation.

Secondly, naturally, as the battles were won, whether for the Iranians or the factions of the Resistance, and sometimes even for the Syrian army, when the battle or the threat ended in a region, there was no longer any reason to maintain a presence of combatants or military bases, nor our positions on combat axes and front lines. At one time, the fighting was taking place (simultaneously) in Homs, in the rif of Damascus, in Damascus, in the East of Homs, in the suburbs of Aleppo and in Aleppo itself, in Idlib, in the south of Syria, Badiya, al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, etc. It was therefore natural to have a presence (of the armed forces) in all these regions. While on the coast, there were no battles, and there was therefore no reason to have this presence.

When the province of Homs was liberated, this presence ceased. Same thing when the battles in Damascus and in the rif of Hama ended, as well as in southern Syria, in Palmyra and in the Badiya. If the Syrian army, of which it is the country, wanted to maintain a certain presence in certain barracks, to take the necessary precautions (to face a possible resurgence of the terrorists), that made sense; but as for the auxiliary forces, whether Iranians, Hezbollah or other factions of the Resistance, it is quite natural that they left this region, maintaining only the minimum of personnel, of combatants and of material there as a precaution. There would have been no reason to maintain the same number of forces, the same bases, etc.

For about two years, when this victory became clear, especially after the liberation of the Badiya and the opening of the highway to Aleppo, and the end of the battle in Damascus, in the rif of Damascus and in the south, the (Syrian & allied) forces gathered (in the last places of activity of the terrorists). The presence of many Iranian advisers was no longer required, and so they returned to Iran. Likewise for a number of Hezbollah fighters and cadres in Syria, whose presence was no longer useful, so they returned to Lebanon. Many of our Iraqi brothers and other nationalities were no longer required, so they returned home.

The situation in Syria having become very good, (what would have been the point of maintaining all this presence)? Some bases and barracks have always remained empty, and had been prepared in case there was a need for additional manpower. Many bases and barracks were no longer useful because there were no more fights, and were therefore abandoned. It all started two years ago or more, and has nothing to do with Israeli operations and attacks in Syria. It has nothing to do with the Israeli strikes in Syria. And that has nothing to do with the martyrdom of brother commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani. It started under his leadership, and the current leadership of the Al-Quds Forces (IRGC) continues the same program it began operating over two years ago.

Likewise, Hezbollah and the rest of the factions of the Resistance have started to do the same for more than two years, namely to decrease the troops, decrease the number of (active) bases, decrease the presence, because Syria begins to recover, Syria has won, the Syrian Arab Army has won, many frontlines no longer exist, the battles having been definitively won there. This is the truth.

Today, when anyone talks about a downsizing of foreign forces in Syria… Let me give you an example for Lebanon. At some point I announced that on the whole axis of Qalamoun, we ended our presence (that used to be massive), keeping only one or two positions. Same thing for the whole axis of Zabadani. All was done in coordination with the Syrian army. Is this an Israeli success? Or is this fact explained because the Syrian army and the Resistance won all the battles in these regions, as well as in the rif of Damascus, in the rif of Homs, etc. What would be the point, once the fighting is over, of staying on the mountains, in the cold, in the heat, what good is it to mobilize and use resources, etc. All that would be useless, it would be a waste of material and human resources. When the fighting is over, all we have to do is pack up and return to our main front, namely southern Lebanon (facing Israel).

The pseudo-evidence put forward by Israel today, namely the issue of the reduction of troops in Syria, the total or partial evacuation of certain places, bases or positions, this is only due to the fact that the presence there would no longer make any sense, as for example in Damascus or around Damascus, where the fighting has stopped. It is quite natural that the military presence should go to al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Idlib, because the front lines are there, and there is no more fighting elsewhere. The remaining battles are there, so those who want to help must go there and not sit (arms crossed) in Damascus.

The pseudo-evidence advanced by Israel in no way proves Israeli successes, but proves the victory of Syria, the victory of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the victory of Hezbollah, the victory of the Axis of Resistance in Syria. This victory in the war involves, as with any army and any military force in the world, a redeployment of forces in accordance with new responsibilities and new challenges, in the light of our achievements and victories.

More so, a sign of the imbecility and lies of the Israeli media is that they have tried to explain the fact that for example, lately, the movements between Syria and Iran have decreased somewhat —air freight, the movement of airplanes—, and this has also been put forward as evidence of the Israeli military successes in Syria, while these claims are nothing but lies and falsifications. The cause is the coronavirus. The covid-19 which impacted the US military, European armies, and even the army of the Israeli enemy itself, which canceled maneuvers, training, and large military parades planned to celebrate the anniversary of the victory of 1945, and it is only natural that the pandemic also affects Syria, the Islamic Republic, ourselves and everyone.

To summarize this point, by way of synthesis before evoking the internal situation in Lebanon in the minutes that I have left, I would like to address the Israeli public to invite them to check their information and not to believe the lies of their leaders, who put forward imaginary victories in Syria, whether against Syria or against Iran. Admittedly, Syria suffers prejudice, just as Iranian advisers, Hezbollah and the Resistance in Syria are affected by the Israeli aggressions, which the Syrian, Iranian and Resistance leaders consider as they should —I don’t have time to speak in detail about our point of view on the issue, I will do it another time if necessary—, but the Israelis need to know that what their leaders are saying is only lies, deception and illusions, purely imaginary achievements. And if Israel continues on this path, they can make a mistake or a blunder that would blow up the whole region.

As for the announced objective, namely to expel the Iranian presence —the military advisers, and not the pseudo Iranian forces, as I explained— or even to expel Hezbollah and the Resistance from Syria, this objective will never be achieved, o Zionists. This objective will never be achieved. These advisers are present following a joint decision by Syria and Iran, and the Resistance movements are present at the request of the Syrian leaders and in accordance with the will of the Resistance movements themselves, and all those who, since 2011 to date, have sacrificed thousands of martyrs and suffered thousands of injuries, will not be defeated or deterred by an air strike or an assassination here and there. They will remain firmly on their positions, and will not abandon the battlefield or the place under any circumstances. This goal is unachievable.

These are just illusions that you live in your imagination; you are engaging in sheer adventurism, and at any moment, you can make a serious error in Syria that you will regret bitterly. […]

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2112

Translation: resistancenews.org

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New York: 16-Term Israeli Warmonger Defeated By Black Leftist In Democratic Congressional Primary

By Eric Striker | National Justice | June 24, 2020

Eliot Engel, a Zionist warmonger who has been in Congress since 1989, has been crushed at the ballot box by Bernie Sanders and Ilhan Omar endorsed black leftist Jamaal Bowman in New York’s majority non-white 16th District.

The outcome is a stunning blow for the Zionist lobby. The Israeli Engel is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who voted for the Iraq war and advocates extreme neo-conservative policies. While Engel is a Democrat, he is considered to be an important AIPAC asset in Washington.

Engel touted high powered endorsements from Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and even the bought out Congressional Black Caucus over his black insurgent opponent.

Nevertheless, Bowman’s unexpected momentum prompted a massive avalanche of Jewish money to Engel, including from Republican Party Super PACs, in an attempt to try and save his seat.

While Engel and his Super PACs outspent the underdog many times over, Bowman is currently leading him by 25 points with 670 of 732 precincts reporting.

Bowman, who is supported by the Justice Democrats, was able to win an endorsement from the New York Times after moderating his tone and coming out as a supporter of Israel and opponent of BDS, but with the caveat that he does not believe aid to Israel should be unconditional or BDS should be illegal.

Bowman’s campaign made a simple pitch to constituents: spend more on the Bronx, less on foreign wars. This has drawn ire from leaders in the Jewish community, who have chastised him for not being sufficiently concerned with the well-being of Israel.

Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman is an anti-white demagogue who supports a number of culturally destructive policies. Yet, on this question, Rep. Engel was significantly worse.

In 2018, Engel and fellow Jew Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led efforts to extradite and imprison Julian Assange for the crime of journalism.

In March 2019, Engel used his position at the House Foreign Affairs Committee to compel the State Department to begin arbitrarily classifying nationalist groups around the world as “White Nationalist International Terrorists.” This absurd new policy uses measures meant to fight ISIS and Al Qaeda to open up any American citizen who has knowingly or unknowingly contacted legitimate political organizations like the Russian Imperial Movement to terrorism charges.

It goes without saying that a black man from Yonkers ranting about how the white man is the devil is less dangerous to our rights and freedoms than an asset of the state of Israel with the power and connections to do innocent people harm.

Engel’s departure is welcome news.

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | 5 Comments

Bolton claims Iran had yellowcake uranium, echoing bogus claims that led to Iraq war

RT | June 22, 2020

Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton has claimed Israeli agents found “yellowcake uranium” in Iran in 2018, channeling the discredited intelligence used by the George W. Bush administration to justify invading Iraq.

Israel’s Mossad retrieved “human-processed uranium” that was “perhaps yellowcake (uranium oxide in solid form)” during a “daring raid on Iran’s nuclear archives” in 2018, the mustachioed warmonger declared in his controversial Trump administration memoir, ‘The Room Where It Happened’. The discovery, Bolton alleged, was substantiated when the International Atomic Energy Agency subsequently conducted an inspection of Iran’s Turquzabad site. Israeli media trumpeted the vague, unverified claim over the weekend, publishing selected quotes from the book.

Bolton insisted the discovery “could well be evidence that Iran kept alive its ‘Amad plan’ for nuclear weapons after it was supposedly ended in 2004.” However, despite the wild claims leveled against Tehran by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in his theatrical speech following the raid, the IAEA denied Tel Aviv had uncovered any evidence that would change the international understanding of Iran’s nuclear activities. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, meanwhile, accused Netanyahu of deliberately tailoring his speech to give the Trump administration a rationale for withdrawing from the JCPOA nuclear deal – which it did, much to Bolton’s delight.

While the Trump administration has thus far stopped short of bombing Iran, hope springs eternal – Bolton has pushed for war with the Islamic Republic for years. So has Netanyahu, who has claimed since 1992 that Iran’s nuclear bomb was right around the corner and has been trying to convince the US to share his view ever since.

The former Trump official’s yellowcake claims – tellingly couched in qualifying words like “perhaps” and “could be” – carry disturbing echoes of the phony intelligence used by Bush’s administration to justify the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. Bolton himself had pushed to have unsubstantiated allegations that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was trying to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger as part of a top-secret nuclear weapons program included in a ‘fact sheet’ on Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” drafted by the administration in 2002. Even after US diplomat Joseph Wilson traveled to the African nation and found no factual basis for the yellowcake claims – a conclusion backed by French intelligence, the CIA, and the US Embassy in Niger – the neoconservative core of the Bush administration, including Bolton, clung to the yellowcake story. No WMDs were found after the US invaded Iraq the following year – not that Bolton ever apologized.

The Iraqi yellowcake story is widely agreed to have been the result of a skilled forgery pushed by regime-change enthusiasts who wanted Iraq’s government toppled and didn’t care how much they had to mangle the truth to get it. Neocon hawks like Bolton and fellow Bush administration heavyweights Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle had been championing war with Iraq for over a decade, repeatedly and unsuccessfully pushing then-president Bill Clinton to invade before they finally got their wish with Bush in 2003.

As CIA analysts at the time explained, refining yellowcake into the material used in nuclear bombs requires extensive processing and sophisticated technology Iraq did not have – never mind the logistical difficulties inherent in moving the 500 tons Hussein was supposedly purchasing out of Niger. Additionally, Iraq was already sitting on over 550 tons of uranium oxide. So why, they wondered, would Baghdad risk arousing international suspicions by buying more if it was embarking on a clandestine nuclear program? But Bolton and his cohort were known for their persistence; “Stick that baby in there 47 times, and on the 47th time it will stay” was how the Pentagon’s Larry Wilkerson described their modus operandi to Vanity Fair. Even after the IAEA itself declared the Niger documents to be forgeries, the Bush administration plunged ahead with the war that has turned the Middle East into a chaotic quagmire of political instability, terrorism, and human suffering.

Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA deal has been repeatedly certified, even as Bolton and his fellow hawks attempted to discredit the inspection process. With the ink on the deal scarcely dry in 2015, Bolton was already claiming Iran was operating “secret nuclear facilities” and calling for the Obama administration to bomb the country. He then spent much of his time as Trump’s national security advisor advocating for a military response to any perceived slight – especially after the US exited the JCPOA. At the same time, Israel continues to push “bombshell” reports alleging violations of the deal, with the most recent coming earlier this month and based on data Tehran claims was supplied by Mossad.

Bolton has been industriously milking his 15 minutes of fame, heralded by the media as a #Resistance hero ever since his book skewering the Trump administration was copiously leaked to mainstream outlets, over the president’s protestations. The tome contains a number of questionable revelations, including that Trump thought Venezuela was “really part of the US” and invading it would be “cool” until Russian President Vladimir Putin bent his ear, discouraging the idea. Trump slammed the book as the fictional musings of a “sick puppy.”

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Topple the Statues, But Ignore the Modern-Day Oppressors?

By Gavin O’Reilly | American Herald Tribune | June 21, 2020

Following last month’s murder in the United States of George Floyd, an unarmed black man suffocated by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin during what should have been a routine stop, what would initially begin as protests against police brutality and systemic racism in the US state of Minneapolis would soon spread nationwide before developing into an international phenomenon.

Major cities across the United States and Europe all found themselves taking part in solidarity protests as a result of Floyd’s death, with each protest receiving extensive coverage by the mainstream Western media, and the public support of figures from the highest level of sport, media, entertainment and business.

One of the most distinguishing features of these protests so far however, has been the targeting of statues and monuments by anti-racist activists of historical figures who engaged in colonialism and slavery.

In the British city of Bristol, a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by protesters before being thrown into the town’s harbour, while in the United States a similar fate would befell statues of 19th century Confederate figures, Charles Linn and Robert E. Lee. The phrase ‘Churchill is a racist’ was also painted upon a statue of the early-20th century British Prime Minister in London, owing to his white supremacist and Imperialist views.

However, while the anti-racist and anti-Imperialist sentiment behind such actions is surely one that must be applauded, it also begs the question of why a similar ire isn’t reserved for the modern day oppressors and Imperialists; in this case, it being the military industrial complex and war lobbies of both the United States and Britain.

With both nations being the world’s leading exporters of arms, it has been this exact military industrial complex which has played an integral role in the world’s current foremost humanitarian crisis; Western-allied Saudi Arabia’s now five year long war on Yemen, one in which upwards of 85,000 Yemeni children have now lost their lives as a result of the US and British-made bombs.

Military advisors from both countries are also on hand to help direct Riyadh on where to direct its air strikes, with the agricultural sector of the impoverished Arab nation being a favoured target in particular of the Royal Saudi Air Force, resulting in widespread famine in what is already the poorest country in the Arab Peninsula.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, US and British occupation forces still remain in northern Syria and Iraq; with the air forces of both countries on hand to help carve out a Kurdish ethnostate in line with the 1982 Tel Aviv-authored Oded Yinon plan, intended to balkanise Arab states hostile to Israel.

Closer to home, the neo-Nazi junta of Ukraine has also received political and military support from the US and Britain since the 2014 coup seen the government of Victor Yanukovich ousted over his rejection of an EU-trade deal in favour of closer ties with Russia; similar to the situation in Yemen, military advisors from both countries have also been on hand to assist Kiev forces in their war on the breakaway pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and the Trump administration has approved the sale of heavy arms to Ukraine since 2018.

However, despite the litany of war crimes this modern-day imperialist foreign policy has resulted in, from the Donbass to the Middle East, the Pentagon, the Ministry of Defence and the factories of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and BAE Systems have so far remained untouched by the current protesters – their anger seemingly reserved for imperialists and oppressors who passed away generations ago instead.

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment