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Trump Gives Away What Is Not His or Israel’s

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | March 22, 2019

Hubris grips Israel. Absolute power has had its usual effect of absolute corruption, of morality, legality, and justice as well as the money deals that have enriched corrupt Israeli politicians.

No one dares stop Israel. Not the UN and not western governments. They can but they don’t or they won’t. Israel can kill Palestinians on the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in Gaza, without any meaningful intervention by the ‘international community.’

On the West Bank, a corrupt Palestinian Authority has done much of its dirty work, administering the occupied territory on behalf of the occupier, not the occupied. In East Jerusalem, it has acted as the conduit for the sale of Jerusalem properties to Zionist settlers, with straw men, Palestinians, and bogus companies set up to transfer properties without owners knowing that the real purchasers are Zionist settlers.

Most of the money for these purchases comes from the US, where Donald Trump has now followed up his “recognition” of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with his “recognition” of the occupied Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.

He did this in a tweet, without telling the relevant arms of his own administration beforehand. The State Department was taken by surprise and so was everyone else, except the Israeli government. It knew because Trump had passed on the word. Behind the scenes, John Bolton and the US ambassador to Israel, David Freedman, effectively Israel’s American ambassador to Israel, worked to set this up.

The parallel to Trump’s unilateral White House action is US recognition of Israel in 1948. Because of the probability of extreme bloodshed, early in 1948 the US had backed away from the 1947 partition plan and was seeking a UN trusteeship over Palestine. That was the policy followed until Truman upended it on May 14 by recognizing Israel de facto, without informing the State Department or the US delegation at the UN.

The UN Secretary-General had been informed, and it was in the wastepaper basket in his office that the screwed-up ticker tape message sent to him was found. The US delegation ’s head, Warren Austin, was so disgusted he walked out of the UN building and left it to his deputy to make the formal announcement of recognition. The enraged Cuban delegation threatened to pull Cuba out of the UN.

The US has never been an honest broker but at least in the 1940s and 1950s, there were sensible people who recognized the great dangers for the US in supporting Zionism and the state of Israel.

Loy Henderson, a senior State Department official, responsible for Middle Eastern policy, wrote that support for a Jewish state would violate US policy of allowing a majority vote by the population of any territory to determine its form of government.

He warned that support for Israel would involve the US “in international difficulties of so grave a character that the reaction throughout the world as well as in this country will be very strong.”

Secretary State George Marshall opposed partition and wrote that if Truman recognized Israel, he would vote against him in the next elections.

Truman’s double-dealing was to repeated by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s when he told the Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Rabin, that he need not worry about being forced into signing the nuclear-non proliferation treaty in return for the supply of US planes and tanks.

Johnson would make sure they would be provided without any conditions, blindsiding his own officials, who thought they were going into negotiations with a strong hand, only to be treated with discourtesy by Rabin.

Israel got the lot then, the tanks and the planes and the freedom to develop nuclear weapons without having to sign the NPT, and it has got the lot ever since. Military and economic grants have now reached unprecedented levels. On top of the $3.8 billion aid, Israel will receive for 2019 it is now the beneficiary of a ten-year $38 billion ‘defense’ package, signed into law in August 2018.

These sums of money, enabling the occupation of Palestine and the killing of Palestinians, are augmented by smaller grants, $50 million here or $50 million there, the icing on an enormous and very tasty cake. Israel still has the freedom to develop nuclear weapons without US interference.

In December 2017, Donald Trump “recognized” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on the same day that Zionist snipers were killing unarmed Palestinians along the Gaza fence line.  He has now followed this by “recognizing” the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.

The banality of the man is summed up in the means of communication, not a White House press conference, not a State Department communique, but a tweet, the same conduit he uses for talking about his children or abusing his political opponents or telling the world how great the Mexican wall will be.

Of course, there can be no “recognition” because both East Jerusalem (‘at least’ as there is no good reason to separate the occupation of the east in 1967 from the occupation of the west in 1948) and the Golan Heights are occupied territories in fact and under international law.

With these two announcements, the US has finally ruled itself out as any kind of honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. It never has been, of course. Some presidents tried hard to bring balance into the relationship – Jimmy Carter for example – but all eventually caved in.

The Golan Heights is part of Syria. In 1967 it was seized by Israel during its war against Egypt and Syria. This was no “pre-emptive” attack as the Zionists have claimed ever since but a blitzkrieg aimed at destroying Arab military capacity, destroying Egypt’s leader, Gamal Abd al Nasser and seizing the rest of Palestine.

The seizure of the Golan involved the expulsion of 90,000-130,000 Syrians and Palestinians. Some fled, others were driven out but, just like 1948, no one was allowed back. About 100 villages were destroyed and ploughed over.

In 1974, after a war which Egypt and Syria would have won on the battlefield had not Anwar al Sadat betrayed the Syrian president, Hafez al Assad, new lines of demarcation were drawn up on the Golan, leaving about 70 percent in the hands of the Zionists.

Before withdrawing from some of the territories they had occupied, Zionist units deliberately destroyed the city of Quneitra. It was never rebuilt, the ruins standing as testimony to the complete bastardry of the army which had occupied it.

Since that time Israel has filled the occupied Golan with about 30 settlements and 25,000 settlers. Archaeological relics are plundered, the Golan’s vital water resources are drained off and Israeli and foreign tourists contribute to the economy of occupation.   In recent years the occupied Syrian communities, mainly Druze, have had to put up with wounded terrorists being transported across their land from Syria to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.  On occasion, they have attacked these convoys.  Most Druze remain committed to their Syrian identity.

In his tweet, Trump wrote that the “recognition” of the occupied Golan as Israeli is important to “regional stability.” The opposite is true, of course. ‘Regional stability’ is even more seriously threatened. With these announcements, Trump has put his administration entirely in Israel’s pocket.

Trump may well give Netanyahu’s election prospects a boost by turning his tweeted intention into a formal policy statement before the Israeli elections in early April. Both the Jerusalem and the Golan declarations, however, are a sign that Israel and its lobbyists in the US have seriously overplayed their hand and that in buckling to their pressure, Trump has worsened Israel’s standing in the US.

The US groveling to Israel over many decades would now seem to have reached its apogee. All that remains is the plan being cooked up by Trump, John Bolton, Jared Kushner, and David Freedman, in continuous consultation with the Israeli government, to bury the Palestinian question forever.

Americans are aware more than ever of how Israel dictates US foreign policy. Jewish Americans know it in increasing numbers, especially on university campuses. They have the same moral consciousness as anyone else and are appalled by Israel’s atrocious record over many decades. They are distancing themselves both from Israel and Zionism and of course, they completely abhor the Netanyahu government and Israel’s even more openly racist and fascist parties.

Two Muslim members of Congress have recently sharpened the debate with exposure of the lobby’s vote-buying political influence. Senior Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have declared they will not be attending the annual AIPAC conference in Washington on March 24-26. In years gone by, such defiance by a US politician would be regarded as suicidal but not now. This is partly the measure of how the wind is blowing in the US.

Trump’s two declarations end all illusions. Even in the minds and the hearts of those who desperately cling to the hope of a genuine peace process, there can surely be no hope left. One would have to be completely deluded to see something in nothing. What is left is surrender or resistance. Either you or us. Not a peace of the brave as pronounced on the White House lawns in 1993 but a peace of the grave.

Many Palestinians never thought peace with Israel was possible. They have been proven right. Those who continued to place their trust in the “international community” or in the application of international law or the bona fides of the Israeli government have been proven wrong. George Habash read the situation correctly back in the 1950s and 1960s. Hasan Nasrallah reads it correctly now.

The abandonment by the US of the remnants of a peace process that was never a peace process in the first place creates grave dangers, not regional stability, especially when taken in the context of a possible Israeli war with Hizbullah or Iran or on both of them.

The US has left the supporters of a genuine peace process with nothing in their hands. There is no two-state solution in sight, only a bogus one-state ‘solution’ which turns all of Palestine into Netanyahu’s apartheid Jewish state.

If Palestine, any part of it, is to be redeemed, only the option of force seems left for those who will not surrender. After more than seven decades of chicanery, lies, and brutality from Israeli governments, this conclusion would be self-evident.

It is not a question of wanting it or wishing for it.  Force is abhorrent but there has never been a time in history when an occupied people have not resisted the occupier to the utmost limits of their endurance.

Both the Palestinians and the Zionists conform to the historical pattern, one as the occupied and the second as the occupier. Israel thinks it can break the Palestinians down by the application of brute force but after more than seven decades it has still not succeeded. Instead, in the minds of many, it has only strengthened the lesson that what has been taken by force, ultimately can only be taken back by force.

When there is no peace, no remote possibility of peace, the pendulum must swing back to war. When it comes, and sooner or later it will come, Israel is going to take such punishment that it might finally see reason, if by then it is not too late to see reason. It would be better to see reason before the event but that is not going to happen.

Hizbullah has the capacity to inflict great damage on Israel. The Iron Dome and the Arrow anti-missile ‘defense’ systems will stop only a fraction of the volume of missiles that will pour into Israel in the event of war with Hizbullah or the war with Iran which Netanyahu has wanted for years. Even Hamas now says it has rockets that can reach any part of Israeli territory. Even if Israel ‘wins’, a nebulous concept in the context of such a destructive war, it will be seriously wounded.

Israel’s greatest defense system would have been to reach a generous settlement with the Palestinians long ago but what it has actually settled for is ideology, the fulfillment of the Zionist dream that is a Palestinian nightmare, and the continued theft of Palestinian land over the security of its Jewish citizens.

They are in the Middle East and want to stay there. They want a future for their children, but what kind of future is on offer from Israel’s racist politicians, settlers and rabbis? The answer? The same kind of violent future that is on offer for the Palestinians. Is this the choice any sane person would want to make?

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Human Rights as Seen by the White House: Concessions to Israel Are Notable

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | March 22, 2019

The State Department’s just issued annual Human Rights Report for 2018 is a disgrace, a document so heavily politicized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his crew of hardliners that it might be regarded as a model in how to make something that is black appear to be white. Which is not to say that it is not cleverly composed, quite the contrary, but it uses its choice of words and expressions to mitigate or even dismiss some actual human rights abuses while regarding as more grave other lesser offenses to make political points. And then there is what it does not say, deliberate omissions intended to frame situations in terms favorable to America and its dwindling number of friends in the world.

Not surprisingly, the region that has received the most massaging by the authors of the report is the Middle East, where an effort has been made to depict Israel in a positive light while also denigrating the Palestinians and Iranians. The language used regarding Israel’s occupation of much of the West Bank and the Golan Heights has been particularly welcomed by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also by the Israeli media. The word “occupation” or “occupied” to describe the status quo of those areas administered by the Israeli military has been dropped in favor of “Israeli controlled.” The difference is important as occupation has specific legal implications defined by the Geneva Conventions in terms of what the occupying power can and cannot do. To starve and dispossess the Arab inhabitants of the occupied area, as the Israelis are doing to build their settlements, is a war crime. Also, an occupation must have a terminus ante quem date whereby the occupation itself must end. It cannot be permanent.

The new language is a gift to Israel on the eve of its April 9th election and it allows incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu to claim that he is the candidate best able to obtain concessions from Washington. America’s so-called Ambassador to Israel is a former Trump bankruptcy lawyer named David Friedman who is more involved in serving up Israeli propaganda than in supporting the actual interests of the United States. He probably believes that what is good for Israelis is good for Americans.

Friedman personally supports the view that the illegal Jewish settlements are legitimately part of Israel, choosing to ignore their expansion even though it has long been U.S. policy to oppose them. He has also long sought to change the State Department’s language on the Israeli control of the West Bank and Golan Heights, being particularly concerned about the expression “occupied” which has previously appeared in U.S. government texts describing the situation in the Israel-Palestine region. Friedman now appears to have won the fight over language, to the delight of the Netanyahu government.

And the elimination of “occupied” will apparently be only the first of several gifts intended to bolster Netanyahu’s chances. Senator Lindsey Graham, who also boasts of his close ties to the Israeli Prime Minister, recently stated his intention to initiate legislative action to go one step further and compel the United States to actually recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory that was annexed after fighting in 1967, but which has not been recognized as part of Israel by any other country or international body.

Last Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that the Senate vote promoted by Graham would not be necessary, that he would order the State Department to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.  This will hugely benefit Bibi and further damage America’s standing in the Middle East and beyond. Some sources are already predicting that recognition of the annexation of the Golan Heights will soon lead to U.S. government recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over much of the West Bank, both ending forever any prospect for a Palestinian state and making it clear that the United States is running a foreign policy to benefit Israel.

There is, of course, much more in the Human Rights Report. The executive summary and first section on Israel and Palestine include text that could easily have come from an Israeli government press release or been featured as an editorial in the New York Post, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal: “Human rights issues included reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including Palestinian killings of Israeli civilians and soldiers…From March 30 to December 5, Palestinian militant groups launched more than 1,150 rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip toward arbitrary or civilian targets in Israel. Gaza-based militants shot and killed one Israeli soldier, and a rocket launched by Gaza-based militants killed one Palestinian laborer in Ashkelon. More than 200 Israelis required treatment from these attacks, mostly for shock. Beginning on March 30, Israeli forces engaged in conflict with Palestinians at the Gaza fence, including armed terrorists, militants who launched incendiary devices into Israel, and unarmed protesters. This occurred during mass protests co-opted by terrorist organization Hamas and dubbed a ‘March of Return.’ The government stated that since March 30 it had been ‘contending with violent attempts led by Hamas to sabotage and destroy Israel’s defensive security infrastructure separating Israel from the Gaza Strip, penetrate Israel’s territory, harm Israeli security forces, overrun Israeli civilian areas, and murder Israeli civilians.’”

A separate report section on Gaza adds “On March 30, Palestinians in Gaza launched the ‘March of Return,’ a series of weekly protests along the fence between Gaza and Israel. The protests, some of which drew tens of thousands of people, and included armed terrorists, militants who launched incendiary devices into Israel, and unarmed protesters, continued throughout the year. Hamas took control of the weekly protests, and many of the protests were violent as encouraged by Hamas.”

Interestingly, the Report does not even have a dedicated section on Iran, only providing a link to a separate document: “Read the State Department’s new report detailing the magnitude of the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior at home and abroad. The report covers Iran’s support for terrorism, its missile program, illicit financial activities, threats to maritime security and cybersecurity, human rights abuses, as well as environmental exploitation.” A second link is to a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo given before the neocon group United Against Nuclear Iran: “The Iranian regime’s track record over the past 40 years has revealed it as among the worst violators of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions – perhaps, indeed, the worst violator. It is truly an outlaw regime.”

Exonerating perpetual victim Israel of all its misdeeds and blaming the Israel-Palestine problem on the Palestinians while also labeling them as “terrorists” is both delusional and propaganda, not responsible analysis. Nor is damning Iran when speaking before a partisan group and falsely calling it a “worst violator of the U.N. Charter and U.N. Security Council resolutions” exactly informative. It is actually Israel that is the worst violator of U.N. Security Council resolutions, a fact that is not mentioned in the Human Rights Report.

One might well question why to write a Human Rights Report at all, but that is something that can be blamed on Congress, which ordered the State Department to prepare it. And one should note the key omission in the document: there is no admission of causality. The United States foreign and national security policies over the past twenty years have created a “human rights” disaster mostly in Asia but also elsewhere, a virtual tsunami rolling over ruined countries that has killed millions of people while also displacing millions more. In reckoning the terrible circumstances being endured by many in so many places there is no mention of the American role. And, unfortunately, there is no section in the Human Rights Report for “United States of America.

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hassan Nasrallah: US Sanctions against Hezbollah are Last Resort, Resistance Axis Triumphs

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on March 8, 2019, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance.

Transcript:

[…] The US sanctions and financial siege that we currently experience, along with being added to the list of terrorist organizations, and lately, the British decision to add Hezbollah’s political wing to their own list of terrorist groups, and the consequences of all these measures – because in the past, they have already added our military branch, as they say, on the list of terrorist organizations, and a few days ago, they added the political branch, according to their (purely artificial) distinctions… In this respect, when we speak of US sanctions, we should expect them to become even more severe, both against those who support us and against us, that is to say against the Islamic Republic of Iran, against Syria, and against all Resistance movements and the Resistance Axis, and against us (Hezbollah).

In Lebanon, they intervened on the issue of the banks (operating here), and they have imposed a siege and severe restrictions on them. They made a list of merchants, businesses, associations and groups considered as terrorists, and prohibiting any financial or bank transaction with them. They also included a number of Lebanese personalities and traders on the sanctions list. And this can continue. We’ll (probably) see the names of new people and organizations (on the sanctions list), new restrictions, etc. (Our enemies) will continue on this path.

This is in regard to US sanctions.

On the other hand, we will also be faced with a proliferation of lists of terrorist organizations. For example, since when the Gulf countries have a list of terrorist organizations? It is only in recent years that they have created such lists. Elsewhere too, there are countries that come to create their list of terrorist organizations, or who already had such a list, and add us on it, as did Britain, and we must also expect that other countries do the same, and place Hezbollah on its terrorist list and describe it as such. Therefore, it is a trend that will continue.

But how should we consider this trend and these measures? We can think of them as specific acts unrelated to the past or the future, or we can consider them as a global and continuous process, embracing the present, past and future. The second perspective is the right one.

Why? Because it allows us to understand precisely what these measures mean, in what context they fit and what are their goals, which allows us to face them and not allow these objectives to be achieved. And this is the responsibility of all members and supporters of the Resistance (Hezbollah). It is the responsibility of the Resistance, its members and their families, its masses, its popular base and its supporters, anyone who is part of this historic humanitarian movement in our region, not only in Lebanon.

In what context (do such sanctions fit)? We must understand that we are (indeed) oppressed (by these unjust sanctions), (but it is because) we are the strongest (that they were imposed on us). We are not weak and oppressed: (rather), if they attack us (that way), it’s because we are the strongest. We are oppressed and triumphant. How is that?

Since 1982 and to this day, the United States and Israel, which have their US-Zionist hegemony project on our region, our country, our choices and our sovereignty throughout the region, since 1982, they suffered defeat after defeat, successive defeats for their projects and greed. It is a clear reality, and we talked about it a lot in the past. As a brief reminder, without stopping on each point, let us recall for example:

1/ The 1982 invasion was within the framework of a US-Israeli plan for Lebanon, Palestine, (all of) the region and the (final) settlement of the (Arab-Israeli conflict). Who curbed, neutralized and frustrated this project by inflicting it a (stinging) defeat? The movements of Resistance in Lebanon, and I don’t mean only Hezbollah: Hezbollah, the Amal movement, patriotic parties, Islamic movements, the various factions of the Resistance, with support from Syria and Iran.

2/ From 1982 to 1985, and with all the events that occurred afterwards, this project collapsed.

3/ In 2000, the (historic) defeat of Israel in Lebanon.

4/ After that, the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

All this has destroyed the project and dream of Greater Israel. I have already spoken in detail of all this, and there is no need to say it all again.

5/ In 2006, and even before, with the arrival of the Neo-conservatives in power in the United States, there was a massive US plan to regain control of the entire region. They began with the invasion of Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq, the attempt to besiege Iran and isolate Syria, to liquidate the Palestinian cause and deal a fatal blow to the Resistance in Lebanon and eradicate it in 2006. The successful steadfastness of Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, of the factions of the Resistance in Gaza in 2008, and of Syria and Iran, have thwarted this huge and dangerous project that threatened our region.

6/ In 2011, the project of destruction of what I call the backbone of the Resistance camp in our area, namely Syria and the Syrian state.

7/ A few years after that, they returned to Iraq via ISIS and have targeted the entire Resistance Axis.

8/ They continued their pressure on Lebanon, Palestine and the Palestinian people.

9/ They launched an atrocious war against our brothers in Yemen.

10/ Not to mention the occupation of Bahrain, etc.

All this is part of the American-Israeli hegemony project. I have already said in the past that many regional countries were instruments in this project (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Qatar…).
Once again, the Resistance Axis, the countries of the Resistance and the parties of the Resistance stood up against this war and faced this project. We won the battle decisively in Iraq, we are about to do in Syria and we completely triumphed in Lebanon. In Yemen, (our brothers) still resist victoriously against the continued aggression. Gaza continues to resist against all forms of aggression and blockade. And it’s the same for the Islamic Republic (of Iran) and its endurance against the (US) sanctions. Thus, this project also failed.

I want to say, regarding the current situation and also the future, that what Trump and his son-in-law Kushner hope, that is to fulfill an historic achievement in the region through the ‘Deal of the century’ (to finally liquidate the Palestinian cause), who faces (this project and fights to defeat it)? It is the Resistance Axis, the Resistance movements, the countries of the Resistance and the Palestinian people in the first place.

Israel, in all its (strategic) annual assessments, considers Iran as an existential threat, Hezbollah as the essential and primary threat, and all the Resistance Axis, from Gaza to Syria, including Yemen, which they begin to fear (seriously), all this Axis is a subject of concern and an (existential) threat to this entity.

Therefore, we are in this context, my brothers and sisters. When they put us on their lists of terrorist organizations, when they take measures and sanctions against us, it is because we have defeated them, because we beat them, because we have foiled all their projects, because we are stronger (than them), because we are more worthy and glorious, because we are capable, because we successfully defend our choice, our sovereignty, our people, our country and our states. This is the framework. This is the framework (of these sanctions). This is by no means a framework of weakness (of the Resistance). It is not at all a framework of weakness (for us).

Today, after the failure of all these wars (against our region), it is because they are unable (to conduct other wars that they impose sanctions on us, it is their last resort)… What else could they do?

The United States came themselves (with all their strength) in our region (in Afghanistan and Iraq) and they were defeated. They came (massively) in our region in the early 2000s, they remained (many years), but they were defeated. They were defeated by the Resistance in Iraq, and today they are defeated in Afghanistan. They were defeated in Syria, and they are overcome every day in Yemen. Are they able to launch a new war?

Israel is afraid and is (even) terrified to launch any war. And we hear every day (in the Israeli media) that the Israeli army is not ready, that their ground forces are not ready (for war), etc., etc., etc. And lately, just a few days ago, what did they do? They installed the American THAAD anti-missile system. This is proof that they have no confidence in their own systems, despite their propaganda morning and evening with lots of drums and boasting, claiming for years that (the Iron Dome) was perfectly capable of protecting their home front.

Therefore, faced with their failure, and with their inability to launch a war or any other military choice, and also because their security operations and murders have not achieved their objectives – on the contrary, we became stronger, more experienced, more lucid and more determined, as indicated by this quote from Imam Khomeini repeated tirelessly by Sayed Abbas (Musawi, Nasrallah’s predecessor murdered by Israel): “Keep killing us, because it awakens the conscience of our people!” The Resistance has become stronger, more determined, the people embraced it increasingly and massively and sympathized with it, when he discovered that (even) its leaders were killed and fell martyrs (Sayed Abbas Musawi was assassinated by Israel with his wife and 5 year old son).

What is the (only option) left to our enemies? Their last resort (is sanctions). Sanctions and inclusion on the list of terrorist organizations are thus a (new kind of) war in this context (of successive defeats of our enemies). And we, my brothers and sisters, those present and those who listen to us, we have to face it as if we were in time of war. Because it is indeed a form of war. Just as there are military wars, security wars, wars of information, political wars and culture wars, (sanctions) are part of the economic, financial and psychological war (aiming to break our) morale. And therefore, we have to face this war.

Today, when we consider the (Hezbollah) situation here or there… I’ll be honest and clear, and I will tell you what I said during our internal meetings, in small committee or with thousands (of Hezbollah members by videoconference), I’ll say it today on TV (so that everyone knows it). When (Hezbollah) is having some financial difficulties because of these measures and sanctions, it must be clear to us that this is part of the war. This has nothing to do with mismanagement, negligence or (arbitrary) budget restriction here or there. This is a consequence of the (economic and financial) war that is launched against us and that continues.
And this war is not only waged against us (Hezbollah). Today, the sanctions against Iran are heavier, and the United States asked the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran. The United States exert the greatest pressure in this respect, and follow this matter very closely. Similarly, sanctions against Syria are heavier, and what they were unable to get through military war, (the US and its allies) want to get it by economic pressures, by hurting living conditions and livelihoods (of the Syrian people), by imposing hardships to the Syrian people in all aspects of his personal, social and economic (daily) life. The siege imposed on the Palestinians in Gaza and even in the West Bank (is harsher than ever): the destruction of houses, obstruction of wages, blocking (humanitarian) aid, etc., all this continues (and is intensified). In Yemen, people have been subjected to famine, financial, economic and port blockades, and all this continues. Sanctions and inclusion on the list of terrorist organizations are ongoing against all of us (Resistance Axis).

Yesterday, Netanyahu considered the (Palestinian) channel Al-Aqsa as a terrorist organization. A TV channel! The United States also added the factions of the Iraqi Resistance on the terrorists list, one after the other. The last faction concerned is that of our brothers in Al-Nujaba movement in Iraq. These sanctions therefore extend to anyone involved in this historic Resistance movement in our region. Yes, historic! The countries, governments, movements and peoples of the Resistance Axis.

Because (our enemies) strive to weaken us, to break our will, to impoverish us, to starve us, hoping to see us collapse, disperse and submit to their will (they strive for our complete surrender). Those who are unable to crush us by war, fighting and assassinations imagine that by impoverishing us, starving us, besieging us financially and draining our funding sources, they’ll manage to break us and to destroy our (Resistance) movement.

We have to face this (economic and financial) war.

First, we must hold on, stay stronger (than them), and not allow these measures to affect our will, our determination and morale. That’s the first point.

Second, despite all that is happening and everything that is said, their hopes will be bitterly disappointed, because they’ll never manage to impoverish us, to starve us nor to besiege us. Those who support us will continue to support us, in all certainty, be it States, peoples or our own (Lebanese) people and the masses of the Resistance in Lebanon.

These sanctions will continue. Yes, we will perhaps face some difficulties and certain restrictions. But I can assert, from the position of the leader who manages this question every day and in all its details, that we will continue our actions, our infrastructure will remain strong, sustained and rooted, and they won’t succeed in preventing our blood from flowing in our veins, nor the determination (to stay rooted) in our will. Be absolutely sure.

Certainly, as I said, we may face some difficulties and restrictions, but by patience, endurance, by reorganizing and wise and careful management, organizing our priorities, we will face this (economic and financial) war and we will overcome it (triumphantly).

When we fought during the war of July (2006), some people and political forces (in Lebanon and the region) stood by the river, waiting to see our dead bodies (washed away by waters); but their hopes were shattered, and we came out victorious (of this war). When we went (to fight) in Syria as forces participating in this global war, similarly, some in the world, the region, and unfortunately also in Lebanon, stood by the river, waiting to see our dead bodies (washed away by waters) and our defeat, but we came out victorious (of this war), as part of the great victory in Syria.

I tell you, both to those who love us, who are sincere and fair, and to those who stand by the river, waiting to see our bodies (washed away by waters) and hope that (Hezbollah) will collapse because of lack of money, poverty and hunger: I assure you that your hopes will be shattered, and not only that this Resistance will not fade or lose its high spirits, but it will gain strength, in numbers and equipment, in existence, in presence, in determination, in influence, in action and in shaping more victories in this region.

[Greetings from the audience on the Prophet Muhammad and his family.]

The days, (months and years) to come will confirm it. For it is the time that settles matters (among opponents) and reveals (the identity of the winner).

Of course it is necessary to mention again the action of the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance, and to emphasize that we need active efforts from our brothers and sisters, as well as a renewed and growing solidarity.

Remember that from 1982 to 2000, then to the years before 2006, we had a constant need (of financial aid). After 2006, due to the tremendous support that has been given us, especially by the Islamic Republic of Iran, I stated during certain (internal) meetings that even if we did not need money, we should continue our (fundraising) efforts to allow those who want to contribute financially to the action of the Resistance to do so.

Today we are in between. We are in between. The Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance should continue its work and its efforts to enable (those who wish) to fight (by financial donations), and also to help us in this ongoing battle.

And I know (the generosity) of our people and of our families, despite the very difficult living conditions in Lebanon. I will publicly reveal something which I mentioned during internal meetings, which must be known: just a few weeks ago, two months at most, I didn’t appear on television to call people to make donations (for our campaign) to help Yemeni children because I did not want to impose on people a greater burden than they could bear. For I know that our people reacts (massively to my calls), despite their hard living conditions, and social and financial (difficulties). That is why neither I nor Hezbollah leaders or any responsible (called to participate in this fundraising for Yemen).

Our brothers and sisters inside the Lebanese regions took care of that within the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance and other Islamic charities, voluntary brothers and sisters, on social networks, Radio Al-Nour, who propagated (this appeal for donations for the children of Yemen). Within a few weeks, two million dollars were collected. In Lebanon alone, this small (and poor) country which is in a very difficult (economic) situation. I was given this money, and I have dispatched it to our brothers in Yemen. Such is our people! Such is our people! Such is their level of commitment.

I have many testimonies about the generosity of the sons, daughters and wives of martyrs (who are themselves in need), young and old, how they put aside part of their salary, of their life (livelihood), of what they collect for the future of their children, and they give it to the Resistance (Hezbollah).

That is why today, (I appeal to) this support and this popular momentum, and I declare that the Resistance (Hezbollah) needs them. The Resistance needs them. And the Foundation to Support the Islamic Resistance must work earnestly, as it did before 2000. Because today, we are in the middle of such a battle (economic and financial).

Of course, everything that is said in Lebanon about Hezbollah, who, because of these financial pressures, would grab the money of the State, and money from the Ministry of Health (devolved to Hezbollah), I responded (to these calumnies) and I repeat that these false accusations are unfounded. Our theological, religious and moral position about money of the State is clear (it is illegal to use it for purposes other than its intended ones).

And today, we call on everyone to make sure that the Ministry that is the most scrutinized, controlled and inspected, be the Ministry of Health. Go for it! Control the use of every penny! And you will discover a total transparency on the part of the Ministry, and absolute clarity in the use of every penny spent and every pound in strict accordance with the law for the Lebanese people. […]

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With eye on US, Iran revs up ‘resistance front’

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | March 19, 2019

A new phase is beginning in Iran’s approach to the situation since last May when the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran had thus far prioritised the consolidation of Western opinion against President Trump’s decision with a view to effectively counter the US sanctions. But with hindsight, it appears that Europeans might posture against the US sanctions, but business interests ultimately prevail and the hard reality is that European companies that have exposure to the American market will not risk US sanctions.

Certainly, the drop in oil income following the US sanctions has hurt the Iranian economy and Tehran admits it openly. The Trump administration now plans to unveil an even harsher sanctions regime in May. According to reports, Washington aims to bring down Iran’s oil exports further.

Meanwhile, the US-Israel-Saudi-UAE nexus against Iran is actively working to create instability within Iran, weaken the regime and incapacitate it from playing a regional role. Saudi money is challenging Iran’s towering multi-dimensional presence in Iraq.

Although the US is notionally withdrawing troops from Syria, the efforts continue to roll back Iran’s presence in Iraq and Syria. Iran mentors the battle-hardened Shi’ite militia forces numbering tens of thousands in Iraq and Syria, which fought against the ISIS. Iran’s continuing presence in Syria poses an insurmountable obstacle to Israel’s designs to weaken and dominate Syria and to legitimise its illegal occupation of the Golan Heights.

Suffice to say, Tehran finds itself besieged. Of course, Iran’s regime has lived through dangerous periods through the past 4 decades and there is no question of capitulation. But an inflection point has been reached and a new trajectory has become necessary in terms of Iran’s political economy as well as to overcome the geo-strategic challenges.

There have been incipient signs change in the most recent months — in various statements by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in particular — indicative of a new pathway that would jettison the earlier obsession with the Western countries and abandon the strategy to put eggs in the EU basket. Khamenei repeatedly stressed Iran’s inner strength and the resilience of ‘resistance’.

Without doubt, the unannounced visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran on February 27 augured that a Syrian-Iranian alliance with far-reaching geopolitical significance is taking shape. Khamenei stated during his meeting with Assad: “The Islamic Republic of Iran regards helping the Syrian government and nation as assisting the Resistance movement, and genuinely takes pride in it… Syria, with its people’s persistence and unity, managed to stand strong against a big coalition of the US, Europe and their allies in the region and victoriously come out of it… Iran and Syria are strategic allies and the identity and power of Resistance depend on their continuous and strategic alliance, because of which, the enemies will not be able to put their plans into action.”

Khamenei repeatedly used the metaphor of the resistance to characterise the Iran-Syria alliance. The charismatic commander of the Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani neatly summed up that Assad’s visit was a “celebration of victory” for the resistance front.

Indeed, Khamenei has since decorated Soleimani with Iran’s most prestigious medal of honor, the Order of Zulfiqar. There is much symbolism here, since Soleimani happens to be the first Iranian commander to receive the Order of Zulfiqar after the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran is applauding Soleimani’s profound contribution to the resistance. To be sure, Iran is returning to its revolutionary moorings.

Thus, the meeting between the top commanders of the armed forces of Iran, Iraq and Syria which took place in Damascus on Sunday was geared to flesh out a coordinated plan to meet the challenges in regional security. Some reports mentioned that Soleimani too was in Damascus on Sunday.

While receiving the three army commanders in Damascus, Assad reportedly said that the blood of Syrians, Iranians, and Iraqis “have mixed in the battle against terrorism and its mercenaries, who are considered as a mere façade for the countries that support them.”

Equally, Iranian president Rouhani’s recent visit to Iraq can be put in perspective. As a senior Chinese expert on West Asia has noted, Rouhani’s visit has “long-term geopolitical implications” in terms of expansion of Iran’s regional influence, apart from giving traction to the “resistance” politics (against US and Israel.)

The Chinese expert wrote that Iraq is refusing to be part of US’ containment strategy against Iran and Rouhani’s visit consolidates Iran’s influence in Iraq, which in turn also enhances its capacity to offer a “stark counterbalance” to US influence over Iraq. Again, Iran sees Iraq as a gateway to bust the US sanctions. Geopolitically, the expert underscored,  the new dynamic strengthens Tehran’s strategy to create a regional axis between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which would have an edge over Saudi Arabia. Incidentally, Rouhani is likely to visit Syria as well in the near future.

Clearly, resistance politics creates strategic depth for Iran to push back at the US. But there is also a bigger dimension to it. Tehran plans to step up its participation in Syrian infrastructure construction. Ultimately, Iran’s economic relations with Iraq and Syria will be further strengthened in addition to its political and strategic relations with the two countries.

Very few details of yesterday’s meeting of army commanders in Damascus have emerged but one concrete outcome is the reopening of the Syrian-Iraqi border in the “coming days”, which of course, will facilitate a road link connecting Iran with Syria and Lebanon via Iraq. This is a major development insofar as a direct road link becomes possible connecting Iran with Syria and Lebanon. One main objective of the US military presence in Syria was to thwart such a transportation route that would significantly boost Iran’s influence and presence in the Levant. There have been reports that Iran may use Latakia port in Syria to access the world market.

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

The US is pushing Lebanon into the arms of Iran and Russia: US sanctions affect the local economy

Lebanese disputed blocks with Israel
By Elijah J. Magnier – 18/03/2019

Lebanon is expecting the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week at a time when the Lebanese economic-political map is being redrawn and while Lebanon is suffering its most serious economic downturn in recent history.

Reasons for the deterioration of the local economy include not only the corruption of Lebanon’s political leadership and lower level administration but also US sanctions imposed on Iran. The latest sanctions are the harshest ever imposed. They will also dramatically affect Lebanon so long as President Donald Trump is in power if Lebanon does not follow US policy and dictates.

If, as anticipated, Washington declares economic war on Lebanon, the sanctions will leave Lebanon few alternatives. They may force Lebanon to fall back on Iranian civilian industry to overcome US economic pressure, and to rely on the Russian military industry to equip Lebanese security forces. This will be the result if Pompeo insists on threatening Lebanese officials, as his assistants have done on previous visits to the country. The consistent message from US officials has been: you’re either with us or against us.

Politically, Lebanon is divided between two currents, one pro-US (and Saudi Arabia) and another outside the US orbit. The economic situation may well increase internal division to the point that the local population reacts angrily in order to exclude the US and its allies from influence in Lebanon.

Such a scenario may still be avoided if Saudi Arabia injects enough investment to reboot the agonising local economy. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia fears that those who are not aligned with its policies and those of the US could benefit from its support. To date, Riyadh has not fully understood the internal Lebanese dynamic and what it is possible or impossible to achieve in Lebanon. The kidnapping of the Prime Minister Saad Hariri was the most flagrant indication of Saudi ignorance of Lebanese politics. The Saudis’ lack of strategic vision in Lebanon will likely prevent any serious support to the failing economy and may lead the country into serious instability.

Before 1982, one US dollar was equivalent to 3 Lebanese Lira. This was in part because the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was spending tens of millions of dollars in the country on its own people and on Palestinian families living in Lebanon. Moreover, United Nations organisations (UNRWA) and other NGOS were also distributing financial support to Palestinian refugees whose homes had been taken by Israel forcing them to leave their country.

Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the PLO was forced to leave the country. Not much later, one US dollar reached an exchange rate of 3000 Lebanese Lira, later devalued to stabilise at the current rate of 1$ for 1500 L.L. Iran entered the scene to support local Lebanese fighters (the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, i.e. Hezbollah) to recover their territory from Israeli occupation. In the year 2000, Iran began to make a serious investment in Hezbollah as the group managed to force the Israelis out of most Lebanese territory. Iranian financial investment had reached a very high level by the 2006 war when Israel was prevented from disarming Hezbollah to keep its rockets and missiles out of range of Israel.

In 2013, the Syrian government asked Hezbollah to support the Syrian Army to prevent disintegration of the country and to keep Takfiri militants from taking over. Iran pumped billions of dollars to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda and to prevent them from overwhelming Syria and Iraq, aware that Iran would be the next target. The budget for Hezbollah troops went sky high. Support for movements of troops, logistics and daily allowances given to fighters, contributed to boosting the Lebanese economy. Hezbollah’s monthly budget went much beyond $100 million per month.

But after the arrival of Donald Trump in power and his rejection of the Iran nuclear deal, the US government has imposed the severest sanctions on Iran and halted donations to the United Nations organisations supporting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Sanctions on Iran have forced a new budget on Hezbollah, a five-year austerity plan. Forces have been reduced to a minimum number in Syria, movement of troops are slowed accordingly and all additional remunerations are suspended. Hezbollah reduced its budget to a quarter of what it had been without suspending any militants or contractors’ monthly salaries and medical care as stipulated by a personal order from Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General.

This new financial situation will affect the Lebanese economy as cash flow and foreign currency dry up. The consequences are expected to be more noticeable in the coming months, leading to a plausible domestic reaction from the local population that will feel the weight of the failing economy.

The US and Europe are imposing strict controls on any monies transferred to and from Lebanon. The country is on a financial blacklist and there is tight scrutiny on all transactions. Religious donations from abroad are no longer possible since they expose donors to serious accusations of support for terrorism by western countries.

As long as Trump is in power, Hezbollah and Iran believe the situation will remain critical; they estimate that the US President will most probably enjoy a second term. The next five years are expected to be hard on the Lebanese economy, particularly if Pompeo’s visit brings messages and dictates that Lebanon cannot obey.

Pompeo wants Lebanon to give up on its demand to redraw its disputed water borders with Israel, compromising on blocks 8, 9 and 10 to the benefit of Israel. This request will not be granted and Lebanese officials have said on several occasions that they are relying on Hezbollah’s precision missiles to stop Israel from stealing Lebanese water.

Pompeo also wants Lebanon to give up on Hezbollah and its role in government. Again, the US establishment seems ignorant that Hezbollah is almost a third of Lebanon’s population, enjoying the support of more than half of Lebanese Shia, Christian, Sunni and Druse, with official members in the executive and legislative authorities of the country.

What then is the alternative? If Saudi Arabia moves in, Lebanon doesn’t need one or two or five billion but tens of billions of dollars to resuscitate its economy. It also needs a hands-off policy from the US establishment to allow the country to govern itself.

The Saudis are already suffering from Trump’s bullying, and their funds are drying up. If Saudi decides to invest in Lebanon, it will seek to impose terms not much different from US demands. Saudi Arabia engages in wishful thinking when it aims to expel Iran’s influence and Hezbollah supporters from Lebanon, an impossible goal to fulfil.

Lebanon’s remaining choices are few. Lebanon can move closer to Iran to lower its expenditures and the cost of goods, and it can ask Russia to support the Lebanese army if the West fails to do so. China is preparing to move in and can be a positive alternative for the country, using Lebanon as a platform to reach Syria and later Iraq and Jordan. Otherwise, Lebanon will have to prepare to join the list of poorest countries.

A shadow is hanging over the land of the cedars, a country that has already had to fight for survival in the 21stcentury. Hezbollah, now subject to US and UK sanctions, is the same force that protected the country from ISIS and other takfiri fighters who threatened to expel Christians from the country, in accordance with French President Sarkozy’s advice to the Lebanese patriarch that Lebanese Christians abandon their homes. The takfiri jihadists and NATO shared the same intentions for Lebanon. The failure of the US establishment’s plan to divide Iraq and create a failed state in Syria as part of a “new Middle East” woke the Russian bear from its long hibernation. Today Russia competes with the US for hegemony in the Middle East, obliging Trump to pull out all the stops in an attempt to break the anti-US front.

It is a battle with no taboos where all blows are permitted. The US is pushing Lebanon into a bottleneck with no alternatives to closer partnership with Iran and Russia.

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolton blasts Turkey for maintaining ‘very bad’ relations with Israel

Press TV – March 18, 2019

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has not ruled out that Turkey is a “foe” of the United States, blasting Ankara for maintaining a “very bad” relationship with Washington’s close ally Israel.

When asked by AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday whether Turkey was a “friend or foe” to the US, Bolton refused to give a straight answer and instead cited several major stumbling blocks in ties.

“Well you know they’re still a NATO ally; we’re trying to work with them, but they’ve got a very bad relationship with our close friends in Israel. That’s something we need to look out on,” Bolton said.

A war of words began between Turkey and Israel recently, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau said the occupied territories only belong to the Jewish people and not all citizens.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin strongly condemned Netanyahu’s “blatant racism and discrimination.”

In response, the Israeli premier called Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “dictator” who jails journalists and judges.

Erdogan, however, called Netanyahu a “thief” and a “tyrant who massacred seven-year-old Palestinian children.”

The war of words continued Friday when the Turkish president rebuked Netanyahu’s son for suggesting the city of Istanbul was under “Turkish occupation”.

“You occupied the whole of Palestine!” Erdogan fired back at Netanyahu’s son, saying it is actually the Tel Aviv regime which has occupied the entire Palestinian land.

Elsewhere in his Sunday comments Bolton said that disagreements “with respect to the conflict in Syria” were another issue affecting bilateral ties between the US and Turkey.

He said US President Donald Trump “would like to have a good relationship with Turkey; he’d like to see US trade with Turkey increase, but we need them to help us out in some of these other problems in Syria and elsewhere in the region.”

US support for YPG militants, whom Ankara views as terrorists and their group an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has angered Turkey.

The US has been arming and training Kurdish militants under the banner of helping them fight Daesh, but Syria and several other countries see ulterior motives behind the deployment.

President Trump’s decision last year to leave Syria has exposed the Kurdish group to possible Turkish attacks.

Fears of a Turkish assault have led the Kurds to strike an agreement with the Syrian government to leave Manbij in exchange for military support in case they come under attack from Turkey.

Turkey, a key US ally in the region, has repeatedly questioned Washington’s deployment of heavy weapons in Syria despite the defeat of Daesh in much of the Arab country.

Bolton slams Turkey over S-400 deal

In his talks to AM 970 radio, Bolton further blasted Turkey for refusing to abandon a deal to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia, a major obstacle to US-Turkish relations.

“We’re concerned about their purchase of the Russian air defense system called the S-400 – that’s a big problem,” Bolton said.

The United States has warned Turkey of “grave consequences” if Ankara goes ahead with the plan to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems.

Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 missile systems in December 2017.

Last April, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery which could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.

Washington has reportedly proposed to deliver one US-made Patriot missile battery by the end of 2019, on the condition that Ankara abandons the deal with Moscow.

The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.

Turkey is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkey’s border with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Exxon Plans Foray Into Israel Gas Exploration

By Irina Slav | Oilprice.com | March 14, 2019

Exxon has plans to enter the Israeli natural gas exploration industry despite the country’s tense relations with its Arab neighbors where Exxon has an established presence, Reuters reports, citing a source with knowledge of the plans.

According to the source, Exxon officials had talked with Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on the sidelines of CERAWeek in Houston, focusing on an offshore oil and gas auction that Israel has scheduled for this June.

Israel made several major gas discoveries offshore during the last decade, but only one of them, Tamar, is already producing. Another large field, Leviathan, is close to completion, with first gas flowing into the market in late 2019, according to a November 2018 Reuters report.

The Tamar field contains an estimated 281 billion cu m of natural gas and some 13 million barrels of condensate, according to field operator Delek Group. Delek partners on Tamar’s development with Noble Energy, which holds a 25-percent stake.

Delek and Noble Energy are also the lead partners on the Leviathan project, which Steinitz earlier this year called “the greatest natural treasure that has been discovered in Israel.” The field holds about 535 billion cu m of natural gas as well as 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

Israel has grand ambitions in the gas industry thanks to these discoveries and has been eager to tap more reserves. It has already struck a sizeable gas export deal with an Egyptian firm, but it may just be the start of its growth as a regional factor to reckon with in gas.

This may put Exxon in an interesting position with its partners from the Arab countries, but the risk is relatively small: local oil and gas producers have benefited from the know-how supplied by Exxon and the other Big Oil majors for long enough to risk losing it.

However, there is no certainty there will be another Leviathan-sized discovery any time soon. The 2017 oil and gas block tender that Tel Aviv held was disappointing and hopes are now that the next round, to cover 19 blocks, will have better results.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Iranian official rejects US secretary of state’s ‘fabricated’ allegations

Press TV – March 14, 2019

A senior Iranian official has dismissed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent claims about Iran’s regional role as “fabricated,” saying the United States practices fear-mongering in order to sell more arms to the countries in the region.

“Certain US officials, influenced by the Zionist lobby, have been making utmost efforts to intoxicate the atmosphere against Iran,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday.

In a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, Pompeo expressed concerns over what he called Iran’s “destructive and disruptive activities” across the Middle East region.

Qassemi said US officials were making up allegations against Iran in order to sustain an appearance of crisis in West Asia and thus increase American arms sales to the region.

The Iranian official also censured remarks made by Pompeo in the CERAWeek conference — an annual US oil and gas industry forum — regarding relations between the Islamic Republic and Iraq.

Addressing the conference in Houston on Tuesday, Pompeo had said, “Iran uses its energy exports to exert undue influence all across the Middle East, most particularly today on Iraq.”

Qassemi said Pompeo was angered by the close relations between Iran and Iraq.

“The relations between Iran and Iraq have been established totally based on the will of the two countries’ leaders and nations and [have been] based on mutual respect and trust and shared interests,” he said, adding that neither of the two countries was seeking to impose its will on the other.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Iraq at the head of a high-ranking delegation. The state visit featured several meetings between President Rouhani and Iraq’s top leadership, and the signing of memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral ties in various fields, including the energy sector.

On Wednesday, President Rouhani traveled to the Iraqi city of Najaf to meet with senior religious leaders there, including most prominently with Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Rouhani was the first Iranian president ever to meet with Ayatollah Sistani, signifying the depth of bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad.

Qassemi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, pointed to the deep-rooted relations between Iran and Iraq and said the two countries had stood by each other during “tough times.”

Earlier, US President Donald Trump had made an unannounced and very brief trip to Iraq in the dark of the night and landed at a military base where he only met US soldiers and no Iraqi officials before he left the country.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Trump’s Hawks Dare to Risk Israel?

By Alastair CROOKE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.03.2019

It was the eleventh, and perhaps the most important meeting between President Putin and PM Netanyahu on 27 February, writes the well-informed journalist, Elijah Magnier: “The Israeli visitor heard clearly from his host that Moscow has no leverage to ask Iran to leave – or, to stop the flow of weapons to Damascus … Moscow [also] informed Tel Aviv about Damascus’s determination to respond to any future bombing; and that Russia doesn’t see itself concerned [i.e. a party to such conflict] ”.

This last sentence requires some further unpacking. What is going on here is the mounting of the next phase of the Chinese-Russian strategy for containing the US policy of seeding hybrid disorder – and of pouring acid in to the region’s ‘open wounds’. Neither China nor Russia wish to enter into a war with the US. President Putin has warned on several occasions that were Russia to be pushed to the brink, it would have no choice but to react – and that the possible consequences go beyond contemplation.

In short, America’s recent wars have clearly demonstrated their political limitations. Yes, they are militarily highly destructive, but they have not yielded their anticipated political dividends; or rather, the political dividends have manifested more as an erosion of US credibility, and of its appeal as a ‘model’ for the world to mimic. There is now no ‘New’ Middle East that is emerging anywhere that casts itself in the American mold.

Trump’s foreign policy-makers are not old-style ‘liberal’ interventionists, seeking to slay the region’s tyrannical monsters’, and promising to implant American values: that wing of US neo-conservatism – perhaps unsurprisingly – has assimilated itself to the Democratic Party and to those European leaders desirous of striking (a supposedly morally ‘virtuous’) pose in contra-distinction to Trump’s (supposedly amoral) transactional approach.

Bolton et al however, are of the neoconservative school that believes that if you have power, you use it, or lose it. They simply do not trouble themselves with all those frills of promising democracy or freedom (and like Carl Schmitt, they see ethics as a matter for theologians, and not a concern for them). And if the US cannot, any longer, directly impose certain political outcomes (on their terms) on the world as it used to, then the priority must be to use all means to ensure that no political rival can emerge to challenge the US. In other words, instability and bleeding open-wounds become the potent tools to disrupt rival power-blocks from accumulating wider political weight and standing. (In other words, if you cannot ‘make’ politics, at least disrupt others’ attempts so to do.)

So, how does this play out in President Putin’s messaging to Netanyahu? Well, firstly this meeting occurred almost immediately following President Assad’s visit to Tehran. This latter summit took place in the context of increasing pressures on Syria (from the US and the EU) to try to undo the Syrian success in liberating its land (obviously with much help from its friends). The explicit aim being to hold future Syrian reconstruction hostage to the political reconfiguring of Syria – in the manner of America and Europe’s choosing.

The earlier Tehran summit took place, too, against the back drop of a crystallising mindset for confrontation with Iran in Washington.

The Tehran summit firstly adopted the principle that Iran represented Syria’s strategic depth; and concomitantly, Syria is Iran’s strategic depth.

The second item on the agenda was how to devise a scaffolding of deterrence for the northern tier of the Middle East that might contain Mr Bolton’s impulse to disrupt this sub-region, and attempt to weaken it. And through weakening it, weaken Russia and China (the latter having a major stake in terms of security of energy supply and of the viability of an Asian trading sphere).

President Putin simply outlined the principles of the putative containment plan to Netanyahu; but the Israelis had already got the message from others (from Sayyed Nasrallah and from leaks from Damascus). Its essentials are that Russia intends to stand above any regional military confrontations (i.e. try not get pulled in, as a party to it). Moscow wants to keep ‘doors open’. The S300 air defence system is installed in Syria (and is ready), but Moscow, it seems, will preserve constructive ambiguity about its rules for engagement for these highly sophisticated missiles.

At the same time, Syria and Iran have made plain that there will henceforth be a response to any Israeli air attack on “significant strategic” Syrian defences. Initially, it seems, that Syria likely would respond by launching its missiles into occupied Golan; but were Israel to escalate further, these missiles would be targeted on strategic military targets in the depth of Israel. And if Israel escalated yet further in response, then the option would exist for Iranian and Hizbullah’s missiles to be activated too.

And just to tie the pieces together, Iran is saying that its advisers effectively are everywhere in Syria where Syrian forces are. Which is to say that any attack affecting Syrian forces may be construed by Iran as an attack on Iranian personnel.

What is being constructed here is a complex, differentiated deterrence, with ‘constructive ambivalence’ at all levels. At one level, Russia deploys full ambiguity over the rules of engagement for its S300s in Syria. At another level, Syria maintains some undefined ambiguity (contingent on the degree of Israeli escalation) over the geographic siting of its response (Golan only; or the extent of Israel); and Iran and Hizbullah maintain ambiguity over their possible engagement too (by saying their advisors can be everywhere in Syria).

Netanyahu returned from his meeting with Putin saying that Israel’s policy of attacking Iranian forces in Syria was unchanged (he says this every time) – despite Putin having made it plain that Russia is not able to enforce an Iranian departure on the Syrian government. It was – and is – Syria’s right to choose its own strategic partners. The Israeli PM has however now been formally forewarned that such attacks will be met with a possible reaction that will badly disconcert his public (i.e. missiles landing in the depth of Israel). He knows too, that the existing Syrian air defence systems, (even absent S300 support), are operating with a very high degree of effectiveness (whatever Israeli commentators may claim). Netanyahu knows that Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ and ‘David’s Sling’ missile defences are not highly rated by the US military.

Will Netanyahu risk further significant attacks on Syrian strategic infrastructure? Elijah Magnier quotes well-informed sources saying: “It all depends on the direction the Israeli elections will take. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimates his chances are high enough to win a second term, then he will not venture any time soon into a new confrontation with Syria and its allies. The date of the next battle will be postponed. But, if he believes he will lose the election, then the possibility of his initiating a battle becomes very high. A serious battle between Israel on one hand, and Syria and Iran on the other hand, would be sufficient enough to postpone the elections. Netanyahu doesn’t have many choices: either he wins the election and postpones the corruption court case against him; or, he goes to jail”.

This thesis may sound compelling, but the calculus on which it rests may prove to be too narrow. It is clear that the differentiated deterrence ploy, outlined by Putin – though framed in terms of Syria – has a wider purpose. The present language used by the US and Europe signal plainly enough that they are largely finished with military operations in Syria. But, in parallel to the disavowal of further military operations in Syria, we have also seen a consolidation of the US Administration mindset towards some sort of confrontation with Iran.

Whereas Netanyahu was always vociferous in calling for confrontation with Iran, he is not known in Israel as a military risk taker (calling for ‘mowing the Palestinian grass’ carries no political risk in domestic Israeli politics). And too, the Israeli military and security establishment have never relished the prospect of outright war with Iran, unless conducted with the US fully in the lead. (It would always be highly risky for any Israeli PM to launch a possibly existential war across the region, without having a sound consensus within the Israeli security establishment.)

Yet Mr Bolton too, has long advocated ‘bomb Iran’ (i.e. in his NYT op-ed of March 2015). Until recently, it was always assumed that it was Netanyahu who was trying to coat-trail the Americans into leading a ‘war’ with Iran. Is it sure that these roles have not become reversed? That it is now John Bolton, Mike Pence and Pompeo who are seeking not all-out war, but to put maximum hybrid pressures on Iran – through sanctions, through fomenting anti-Iranian insurgencies amongst ethnic minorities in Iran, and through Israel regularly poking at Iran militarily, in the hope that Iran will overreact, and fall into Mr Bolton’s trap for ‘having Iran just where he wants it’?

This is the point of the deterrence package – it is all about ‘containing’ the US. The initiative is constructed, as it were, with all its deliberately ambivalent linkages between actors, to signal that any US attempts to foster chaos in the Greater Levant or in Iran, beyond a certain undefined point, now risks embroiling its protégé, Israel, in a much wider regional war – and with unforeseeable consequence. It is a question not so much whether Netanyahu ‘will risk it’, but will Bolton dare ‘risk Israel’?

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 4 Comments

Arms Sales to Middle East Have Increased Dramatically: US Top Exporter

Al-Manar | February 11, 2019

Arms flows to the Middle East have increased by 87 percent over the past five years and now account for more than a third of the global trade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Sunday.

The defense think-tank’s annual survey showed that Saudi Arabia became the world’s top arms importer in 2014-18, with an increase of 192 percent over the preceding five years. Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq also ranked in the top 10 list of global arms buyers. Sipri measures the volume of deliveries of arms, not the dollar value of deals. The volume of deliveries to each country tends to fluctuate, so it presents data in five-year periods that offer a more stable indication of trends.

The new report shows how the United States and European nations sell jets, jeeps and other gear that is used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman told Middle East Eye.

“Weapons from the US, the UK and France are in high demand in the Gulf, where conflicts and tensions are rife. Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years,” Wezeman said.

The growth in Middle Eastern imports was in part driven by the need to replace military gear that was deployed and destroyed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, he said, adding that it was also driven by political tensions and a regional arms race.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and ‘Israel’ are readying for a potential conflict with Iran, the 12-page report said. Also, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others have been involved in a diplomatic crisis with Qatar since 2017.

In 2014-18, Saudi Arabia received 94 combat jets fitted with cruise missiles and other guided weapons from the US and Britain.

Over the next five years, it is set to get 98 more jets, 83 tanks and defensive missile systems from the US, 737 armored vehicles from Canada, five frigates from Spain, and Ukrainian short-range ballistic missiles.

In 2014-18, the UAE received missile defense systems, short-range ballistic missiles and about 1,700 armored personnel carriers from the US as well as three Corvettes from France, the report says.

Qatari weapons imports increased by 225 percent over the period, including German tanks, French combat aircraft and Chinese short-range ballistic missiles. It is set to receive 93 combat aircraft from the US, France and Britain and four frigates from Italy.

Iran, which is under a UN arms embargo, accounted for just 0.9 percent of Middle Eastern imports.

For Wezeman, “the gap is widening” between Iran and its foes across the Gulf, which have obtained more advanced weapons.

US remains top arms seller

The US has retained its position as the world’s top arms seller. Its exports grew by 29 percent over the past five years, with more than half of its shipments (52 percent) going to customers in the Middle East.

British sales grew by 5.9 percent over the same period. A total of 59 percent of UK arms deliveries went to the Middle East – most of it combat aircraft destined for Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Arming governments in the turbulent Middle East is increasingly controversial in the West, said Patrick Wilcken, an arms control specialist with Amnesty International, a UK-based rights watchdog.

He pointed to cases where sales are merited – such as re-tooling Iraq’s army after it lost much of its hardware and territory in the ISIL group’s attack in 2014.

Still, Western arms more often end up being used in human rights abuses, he said, pointing to Egypt’s crackdown on political opponents, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

He blasted the “hypocrisy” of Western governments not following their own rules by continuing to supply authoritarian leaders who commit wartime abuses or violations against their own people.

In addition, “a critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like ISIL”, Wilcken told MEE.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Whose Interests Are Served by the US Occupation of East Syria: America’s or Israel’s?

By Mike Whitney • Unz Review • March 11, 2019

What is Israel’s stake in east Syria? Has Israel influenced Washington’s decision to maintain a long-term military presence in Syria? How does Israel benefit from the splintering of Syria into smaller statelets and from undermining the power of the central government in Damascus? Did Israel’s regional ambitions factor into Trump’s decision to shrug off Turkey’s national security concerns and create an independent Kurdish state on Syrian sovereign territory? What is the connection between the Kurdish independence movement and the state of Israel?

The Pentagon does everything in its power to conceal the number and location of US military bases in a war zone. That rule applies to east Syria as well, which means we cannot confirm with absolute certainty how many bases really exist. Even so, in 2017, a Turkish news agency, “Anadolu Agency published an infographic on Tuesday showing 10 locations in which US troops were stationed. Two airbases, eight military points in PKK/PYD-controlled areas.”

According to a report in Orient.Net : “The 8 military sites, according to the agency, host military personnel involved in coordinating the aerial and artillery bombardments of US forces, training Kurdish military personnel, planning special operations and participating in intensive combat operations.” (“AA’s map of US bases in Syria infuriates Pentagon”, orient.net )

The location of these bases is unimportant, what is important is that there has been no indication that Washington has any plan to close these bases down or to withdraw American troops. In fact, as the New York Times reported just weeks ago, the number of US troops has actually increased by roughly 1,000 since Trump made his withdrawal announcement in mid-December. We think that is especially significant in view of Trump’s surprising comments last week, that he now agrees “100%” with maintaining a military presence in Syria. His sudden reversal shows that the opponents of the “withdrawal plan” have prevailed and the US is not going to leave Syria after all. It’s also worth noting that Trump administration has made no effort to implement the “Manbij Roadmap” which requires the US to coordinate its withdrawal with the Turkish military in order to maintain security and avoid a vacuum that could be filled by hostile elements. Ankara and Washington agreed to this arrangement long ago in order to expel Kurdish militants (who Turkey identifies as “terrorists”) from the area along the border. It appears now that Trump will not honor that deal, mainly because Trump intends to be in Syria for the long-haul.

But, why? Why would Trump risk a confrontation with a critical NATO ally (Turkey) merely to hold a 20 mile-deep stretch of land that has no strategic value to the United States? It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Now in earlier articles we have argued that influential think tanks, like the Brookings Institute, have played a critical role in shaping Washington’s Syria policy, and that indeed is true. Just take a look at this short excerpt from a piece by Brookings Michael E. O’Hanlon titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:

“… the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria…. the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able…. Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad or ISIL….

The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones… The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force… to help provide relief for populations within them, and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.” (“Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)

Strategic planners and think-tank pundits have long sought to break up Syria, that’s old news. What’s new is the emergence of powerful neocons operating in the White House and State Department (John Bolton, Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo) who, we suspect, are using their influence to shape policy in a way that is sympathetic to Israel’s regional ambitions. It’s worth noting, that Zionist plans to dismember surrounding Arab states to ensure Israeli superiority, date back more than 30 years. The so called Yinon plan was a fairly straightforward strategy to balkanize the Middle East’s geopolitical environment to enhance Israeli regional hegemony while “A Clean Break” was a more recent adaptation which emphasized “weakening, containing or even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” In any event, many right-wing Israelis seem to think that chopping up sovereign Arab states into smaller bite-sized pieces, governed by tribal leaders or Washington’s puppets, will unavoidably boost Tel Aviv’s power across the Middle East.

But how does the US military occupation of east Syria fit in with all this?

Well, the US occupation effectively creates an independent Kurdish state in the heart of the Arab world which helps to weaken Israel’s rivals. That’s why some have referred to emerging Kurdistan as a “second Israel”. Here’s how Seth Frantzman, a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs in Herzliya, explains it:

“Israel would welcome another state in the region that shares its concerns about the rising power of Iran, including the threat of Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq,” says Frantzman. “Reports have also indicated that oil from Kurdistan is purchased by Israel.” (“Why Israel supports an independent Iraqi Kurdistan”, CNN)

While its true that Kurdish oil may provide an added incentive for long-term occupation, the real goal is to block a “land corridor” from opening (that would connect Beirut, to Damascus, to Baghdad to Tehran) and to further undermine Iran’s growing influence in the region. Those are the real objectives. In fact, US military operations in Syria are actually part of a broader campaign directed at Iran, a campaign that undoubtedly has the full support of neocons Pompeo and Bolton.

Check out this lengthy quote from a piece by Rauf Baker at The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies which helps to put the whole Israel-Kurdistan issue into perspective:

“Since declaring “Rojava” in northern and northeastern Syria in 2013, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), both of which are linked to the PKK, have built a uniquely viable entity amid the surrounding bedlam. (Note: The PKK, is on the State Departments list of terrorist organizations and has been conducting a war on Turkey for more than 3 decades.)

The ancient proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” could be useful to Israel in this grim scenario. The Syrian regime continues to uphold its traditional anti-Israel stance, and is in any case largely dependent on Iran, Hezbollah, and the other Shiite militias, all of which want Israel destroyed….

The Syrian Kurdish parties opposing PYD are openly linked to Ankara, which is ruled by a president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is obsessed with power and whose ideology considers the entire State of Israel to be illegitimately occupied by Jews. Moreover, he has recently established a rapprochement with Tehran – a worrying development…

Iran is now closer than ever to securing a land corridor that will connect it to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This corridor will expand its sphere of influence from the Strait of Hormuz in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and will ensure that Israel is surrounded by land and sea

Should Israel strengthen its relationship with the Syrian Kurds, its gains would extend beyond strategic, political, and security benefits. Rojava’s natural resources, especially its oil, can contribute to Israel’s energy supply and be invested in projects such as an oil pipeline through Jordan to Israel. US troops are stationed at several military bases in Rojava, which could offer an alternative to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey...

It appears abundantly clear that the Kurds are the most qualified, if not the only, candidate in Syria on which Israel can count for support… Israel should act swiftly to support the emerging Kurdish region in Syria...

It is very much in Israel’s interest to have a reliable and trustworthy friend in the new Syria. If Jerusalem hopes, together with its ally in Washington, to prevent Tehran from establishing its long-sought land corridor, it will need to strengthen its influence in the Syrian Kurdish region to serve as a wall blocking Iran’s ambitions.” (“The Syrian Kurds: Israel’s Forgotten Ally”, Rauf Baker, BESA Center)

So, the question is: Whose interests are really served by the US occupation of east Syria: America’s or Israel’s?

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Is The UK Prepared To Add Iran to Its List Of Terrorists? Tightening The Noose Around The Neck of The Community That Supports Hezbollah

By Elijah Magnier | American Herald Tribune | March 5, 2019

The UK government has added the political and military branches of Lebanese Hezbollah to its terrorist list following a decision initiated by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and approved by Parliament. Hezbollah, or the “Party of God” is now one of the 74 foreign groups and 14 other groups related to Northern Ireland on the list. Any support to this organisation falls under the Terrorism Act of 2000. In the same act, under the rubric of fund-raising, offences, article 15, it clearly states that any person commits an offence if he invites others to provide money or other property to a proscribed group. Since the General Secretary of Hezbollah Sayed Hassan Nasrallah and the government of Iran both overtly acknowledge the financial, military, technical, intelligence and other social services support that Iran provides to the organisation, a clear question arises for the UK government: Will the Iranian government be included on its terrorism list, or is the UK government ready to violate its own law? What is the real purpose behind the UK decision?

The point is not to identify Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The goal is rather to prevent donations from reaching Hezbollah at a time when Iran is under heavy sanctions meant to limit its cash flow and, consequently, impede its financial support to groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Syrian government, and other groups in Iraq and Yemen. This is what the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid meant by “secret intelligence” during his last intervention at the House of Commons. Time will tell if this secret intelligence has been correctly understood and will serve the UK’s desired objectives.

The Terrorism Act of 2000, under funding arrangements, article 17 (a) and (b), states as follows: “A person commits an offence if he enters into or becomes concerned in an arrangement as a result of which money or other property is made available or is to be made available to another… that will or may be used for the purposes of terrorism”.

Article 12, under the rubric “Support”, is explicit: “A person commits an offence if he invites support, provision of money for a proscribed organisation, and arranges a meeting to support or encourage support for a proscribed organisation, or participates in a private meeting…”

The text of the articles is unambiguous: anyone who supports or meets with Hezbollah individuals or commanders is subject to a maximum of 10 years of prison. These clauses cannot but apply to Iran, the first and utmost supporter of Hezbollah.

Iranian officials, beginning with Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, can no longer visitSayed Nasrallah and then go to the UK or meet UK officials without risk of imprisonment, now that the UK officially classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

Hezbollah’s yearly budget to operate in Syria and Lebanon and to support any other group with weapons or transfer of expertise is provided by the Iranian government, together with additional funds that Sayed Ali Khamenei provides from donations to the Imam Reza shrine. Thus, in accordance with the 2000 legislation, the UK can be expected to cut its relationship with Iran at once.

Politically speaking, Hezbollah meets in private and overtly with all political leaders of Lebanon. These meetings begin with the Christian President Michel Aoun, the Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Shia Speaker Nabih Berri, and the Ministers of Foreign affairs Joubran Basil, Defence Elias bu Saab, Health Jamil Jabq and Finance Ali Hasan Khalil, and most political leaders of the country. This imposes – theoretically – on the UK government the obligation to reject any entry visa to all these politicians and to prevent any meetings with their diplomats after March the 3d, 2019.

What if the UK breaks its own laws and its officials meet with Hezbollah officials or those who hold private meetings with its leaders, in defiance of the UK Terrorism Act of 2000? If this happens, it will be difficult for any UK court to uphold a solid case against any Hezbollah supporter since UK officials regularly meet with their Iranian counterparts, who are responsible for funding Hezbollah.

The “Party of God” has no offices or representatives in any city around the world, even among the millions in the Lebanese community living abroad. Of course, there are thousands of Hezbollah supporters in the Lebanese Diaspora, notably Christians from the Tayyar al-Watani party led by President Aoun and his son-in-law the Foreign Minister Basil. And there are many more supporters among Shia in the diaspora who originate from the south of Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, Beirut and its suburbs. They have family members or cousins who operate within Hezbollah or at least support the organisation; some of these “Diaspora Shia” have adopted overtly Hezbollah’s cause on their own personal initiative.

Most of these Lebanese consider the cause of Hezbollah as their own because the group defended their Christian villages and cities from al-Qaeda and ISIS when these groups were based on the borders with Lebanon and in the Lebanese city of Arsal, with plans to expand into Lebanon. They consider Hezbollah the only force capable of protecting their homes in the south of Lebanon from any future Israeli aggression, in the face of daily Israeli violations of Lebanese sea, air and ground sovereignty.

There is no doubt that these enthusiastic Lebanese will be the favourite targets of Britain’s domestic security forces who are looking to register “a security achievement” of any kind. The problem was on the table in many cities around the world when Lebanese Shia sought to fulfil their Islamic tithing duty by donating 20% of their year-end profits. According to some Fatwas (Shia are free to follow the highest religious authority in accordance with their understanding of Islam), this 20% can be donated to the “Islamic Resistance”, i.e. Hezbollah. From now on anyone sending money for this Islamic purpose that ends up in Hezbollah coffers must be considered a financer of a terrorist organisation.

This same issue was a serious problem for Lebanese in the USA who were obliged to stop sending money back to Lebanon except for family members. Lebanese communities in many countries voluntarily observed the same restrictions in order to avoid severe penalties or jail in the west, causing a reduction in donations to Hezbollah. Thus, Hezbollah today relies exclusively on Iranian support.

The new measures in the UK do not aim to interfere with Hezbollah’s “non-existent” presence in the West and equally non-existent bank accounts abroad, nor do they aim to close Hezbollah offices that do not exist abroad. The new measures have the goal of tightening the noose around the neck of the community that supports Hezbollah.

The West began this process inside Lebanon by going after Lebanese banks and the accounts of wealthy Shia. Even exchange offices who change Hezbollah’s euros into dollars were included on the terrorist list. Wealthy Shia businessmen who sympathise with Hezbollah and who were involved in projects in Iraq saw their assets frozen by Iraq’s former Prime Minister Haidar Abadi in response to an official US request.

The western measures may succeed in making life more difficult for pro-Hezbollah Christians and Shia around the world. Nevertheless, the majority of Lebanese cannot renounce Hezbollah any more than they can renounce their own families, because Hezbollah is integral to their existence; nor is it confined to their homes and family members. Its ideology of Resistance informs their creed and world view, and this is the case whether or not they believe in Islam.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment