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‘Declare war on Lebanon, take out Syria’s S-300s’: Outgoing Israeli general on handling neighbors

RT | April 20, 2019

Israel has the full arsenal needed to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon and eliminate the Iranian threat in Syria, the outgoing IDF Northern Command chief boasted, warning Damascus against using S-300s to protect its sovereignty.

“If our freedom of movement is threatened, we will remove the threat. We know how to do that,” General Yoel Strick told Ynet News, adding that Israel will soon introduce “advanced weapons systems” to ensure it can continue to violate neighboring states’ airspace and to strike targets in Syria with impunity.

If the Syrians employ Russian S-300s against our planes, and we take them out, it will be seen as a legitimate move on our part.

While acknowledging that such a drastic move might damage Tel Aviv’s relations with Moscow, Strick expressed hope that it wouldn’t come to that. Moscow had supplied the Arab Republic with S-300 air defense systems following the downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane with 15 airmen on board in mid-September, during an Israeli raid.
Also on rt.com Israel took out ‘Iranian missile site’ in Syria… or something like that

Moscow also warned Israel that it will suppress all satellite navigation, radars and communications systems of combat planes over the Mediterranean Sea if their maneuvers threaten Russian forces. Since then, Israel has been staging its intrusions via Lebanon, where the Jewish State is trying to keep Hezbollah in check.
Also on rt.com Netanyahu confirms Israeli military shelled Syrian province to prevent ‘Iran entrenchment’

Hezbollah is inseparable from Lebanon as a country, due to the militant group’s strong political presence, the general argued. Thus, he claimed, “if it were up to me, I would recommend declaring war on Lebanon and Hezbollah” – not out of bloodlust but only to thwart the group’s alleged plot to “invade” Israel.

I have no doubt what the outcome will be… It will be a decisive victory.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Damascus should take control over northeast Syria: Russia FM

Press TV – April 18, 2019

Russia says the legitimate Syrian government should immediately take control over the country’s northeastern region, including the East Euphrates River, which is held by US-backed Kurdish militants.

“There is a need to resolve the issue concerning the country’s northeast and the left bank of the Euphrates River in order to achieve one of the priority tasks and ensure the restoration of the legitimate government’s control over the region,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The top Russian diplomat underlined the need to build dialog with Kurdish groups and secure the interests of Turkey “as far as security in Syria’s border areas is concerned.”

Northeastern Syria is currently controlled by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-Damascus alliance of mainly Kurdish militants, which include the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

The United States is a key advocate of autonomy for Syrian Kurds which Damascus has roundly rejected.

Many observers believe Washington plans to carve out a foothold in the region through supporting Syrian Kurds.

In February, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flatly rejected the idea of giving Syrian Kurds a measure of autonomy, saying such a move would open the door to the partition of the country.

The Kurdish-led authority that runs much of north and east Syria has presented a roadmap for a deal with Assad in recent meetings with Russia.

Also in February, President Assad called on SDF militants to return to the Syrian army, warning them against reliance on the United States.

“We say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not protect you. The Americans will put you in their pockets so you can be tools in the barter, and they have started with it,” he said.

Russia has been helping Syrian forces in their fight against foreign-backed Takfiri militants. The military assistance began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government.

Foreign-backed militancy, supported by the United States and many of its Western and regional allies, erupted in Syria in 2011.

The militants and Takfiri terrorists overran large swathes of Syria’s territory.

The Daesh terrorist group, which once held large swaths of land in Syria, has now been completely defeated in the Arab country and has lost almost all of its occupied territories.

Syria has now reestablished its reign over nearly its entire expanse.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 4 Comments

Sitting on Syria’s Oil, US Cuts Lifeline From Iran, Plunges Syria Into Fuel Crisis

By Marko Marjanović | Checkpoint Asia | April 17, 2019

Syria produced 325,000-385,000 barrels of oil per day before the war. Now it produces 25,000. Partly because of war damage, and partly because the majority of its oil fields are to the east of the Euphrates and occupied by the US and its Syrian Kurdish proxies. (The Kurds are happy to sell but the US won’t let them.)

It used to consume over 200,000 barrels of oil domestically, but that has gone down to 100,000 or less, with majority of that being shipments from Iran on a credit line that both nations understood was unlikely to ever be paid back in full.

Now the US has succeeded in cutting off that lifeline as well. It is blacklisting tankers which deliver the Iranian fuel and having Egypt block them from ever crossing the Suez.

This has caused a huge fuel crisis in government-controlled Syria with extreme rationing and cars lining up for miles in order to pump their allowed maximum of 20 liters every five days.

In Syria’s case the US really did “steal its oil”. It has forced an oil-producing nation into a fuel crisis. It has seperated Damascus from its oil fields (which BTW are in the ethnically Arab part of the country) and then cut its oil from abroad as well.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Iran, Iraq and Syria considering transnational railway project: Report

Press TV – April 13, 2019

Iraq says negotiations are underway with Iran and Syria to develop a transnational railway line linking the three countries.

Iraqi Republic Railways Company chief Salib al-Hussaini said a summit will be held between the countries to further discuss the matter, the Arabic-language al-Sumeria news website reported on Friday.

The comments made on the sidelines of the joint Syrian-Iraqi committee held in Damascus came a week after Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri spoke of an initiative to link the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.

“We will connect the Persian Gulf from Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean via railway and road,” said Jahangiri, making reference to the construction of a railway linking the Iranian Shalamcheh border region to the Iraqi city of Basra.

The Shalamcheh-Basra railway project is estimated to cost 2.22 billion rials and can link Iran to Syria via Iraq.

Speaking last December, Director General of the Railway and Technical Structures Department at the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) Mohammad Mousavi said Iran was planning to build a movable railway bridge over the Arvand river as part of the Shalamcheh-Basra project.

Mousavi said the project would effectively link the Iranian cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan along with the Imam Khomeini Port to the Iraqi city.

The railway project was agreed to last month when Iran and Iraq signed five memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors.

Observers have described the new agreements as a sign of Baghdad’s serious intention of not being “party to the system of sanctions against Iran” as Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said earlier in February.

Iraq heavily depends on Iran for everything from food to machinery, electricity, natural gas, fruits and vegetables.

Last year, Iran exported $8.7 billion worth of commodities to Iraq, overtaking Turkey with $7.3 billion of exports.

President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Iran and Iraq had plans to expand bilateral trade volume to $20 billion in the future.

Iran and Syria also signed a series of “historic” agreements earlier this year, including a “long-term strategic economic cooperation” deal described as a sign of changing realities in the Middle East.

Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis said the “historic” agreements covered cooperation in fields of industry, trade and agriculture. He called the agreement “a message to the world on the reality of Syrian-Iranian cooperation.”

Iraq and Syria have been expanding political and economic ties with Iran as they seek assistance in the post-war reconstruction of their countries which had large swathes of their territories overrun by foreign-backed terrorist outfits in the past years.

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Iraq and Syria at the request of their governments, enabling their forces to speed up gains on various fronts against the terrorist groups.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

3 people injured in Israeli rocket attack on Syria’s Hama province – reports

RT | April 13, 2019

Syria has shot down several missiles launched by Israel and targeting the city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria, Syrian state media reported. Three people have been wounded and several buildings destroyed in the attack.

The rockets were launched by Israeli warplanes from Lebanese airspace at about 2.30am on Saturday, SANA reported. In response, Syria activated its air defenses and intercepted several missiles, the agency said. The alleged Israeli raid hit a military post in the city and destroyed several buildings. Three people have been reported wounded.

Lebanese Al-Masdar News reported, citing a military source on the ground, that Israeli rockets damaged a number of sites near the Masyaf National Hospital.

While Israel has not commented on the reported attack, it is presumed that Tel Aviv has made another incursion into Syrian territory to take on alleged Iranian elements there.

Israeli media reported in February that three of the four S-300 surface-to-air defense systems delivered by Moscow to Syria in October last year and stationed in Masyaf were photographed in an “erect” position, prompting speculation that they might be soon deployed into combat.

According to the Al-Masdar source, the Russian-made systems had no role in fending off Saturday’s attack.

Israel routinely rains down missiles on Syrian territory under the pretext of engaging Iranian targets there. In late March, the Syrian missile defense forces responded to an attack by Israel that reportedly targeted a civilian airport and caused a blackout in Aleppo.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Over 450 Refugees Left Syria’s Rukban Camp in Past 24 hours – Russian Military

Sputnik – 11.04.2019

MOSCOW – More than 450 refugees have left the Rukban camp in Syria through the humanitarian corridor in the past 24 hours, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, head of the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation, said Thursday.

“A total of 459 refugees left the Rukban camp through provided humanitarian corridor in the past 24 hours”, Kupchishin said at a daily news briefing. The Russian general added that almost 2,300 people have been able to leave the camp and reach the territory controlled by the Syrian authorities since 19 February 2019.

Russia and Syria have repeatedly tried to draw the attention of the international community to the deplorable conditions at the camp, which houses more than 40,000 internally displaced people, mostly women and children. Both Moscow and Damascus have criticized the United States over its reluctance to allow people to leave the camp, which lies in a US-controlled zone near its unauthorized military base in At Tanf.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Moscow intends to continue negotiations with the United Nations, the United States and Jordan on the Rukban refugee camp.

Nebenzia pointed out that tens of thousands of internally displaced persons in the camp are being kept on “humanitarian drip” in unacceptable conditions and the vast majority of them wishes to leave the settlement and return to their places of origins.

Russia, the ambassador noted, had already opened up two humanitarian corridors to allow the passage of refugees from Rukban to chosen places of residence, including Latakia, Homs, Palmyra, suburban Damascus and Aleppo, among others.

On Sunday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Amman is ready to cooperate both with Russia and the United States in a bilateral and trilateral format in order to reach an agreement on the resettlement of the inhabitants of Rukban camp.

April 12, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

US decision on Golan Heights violates UN Security Council resolutions – Putin

RT | April 8, 2019

The US’ decision to recognize Tel Aviv’s sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights region violates UN Security Council resolutions – a position that Moscow has already made clear, Russia’s president said.

Following a meeting between Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow on Monday, the Russian leader was asked by reporters about Moscow’s stance on the US move.

“Regarding recognition of the Golan Heights as a part of Israel, you already know Russian stance. It’s been presented in a statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry. The [US] move violates respective UN Security Council resolutions,” Putin stated.

Syria’s Golan Heights region has been occupied by Israel since 1967 and later Tel Aviv unilaterally proclaimed sovereignty over it. US President Donald Trump announced the decision to recognize Tel Aviv’s sovereignty over it in late March, gaining praise of Israel – and sparking world-wide outrage. Trump’s move has received no support outside of Israel, getting rejected even by the closest allies of the US.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

The US’ Plans To Designate The IRGC As “Terrorists” Aren’t Just For Show

EurasiaFuture | April 8, 2019

From Farce To Tragedy

Alt-Media is making a mockery out of the US’ reported plans to designate the IRGC as “terrorists”, giddily quoting the Iranians who spun this rhetoric around and announced that they’ll reciprocate by doing the same to the US military if that happens. The “chattering class” is having a field day using this opportunity to highlight the many abuses that America has committed across the Mideast and the world in general over the decades, seemingly not caring one bit for the possible consequences that could transpire if the US actually goes through with the unprecedented move of designating part of a foreign military as “terrorists”. That’s a mistake because the US’ plans need to be taken much more seriously than they are since they’ll likely herald a new escalation of the Hybrid War on Iran through the possible commencement of direct strikes against the IRGC and its Hezbollah allies in Syria.

“Sitting Ducks”

Like I wrote back in April 2017 after the US’ first conventional strike against Syria,  “Trump’s Cruise Missile Message To Iran” was that his country won’t hesitate to hit it and its non-state allies there next, though provided that America was prepared for the inevitable backlash that this would undoubtedly unleash. In hindsight, the US preferred to “play it safe” and not “up the stakes” to the point of potentially triggering a larger Mideast war, but nowadays it appears as though Bolton has convinced Trump that now is the perfect time for striking Iranian positions in Syria due to the Islamic Republic’s refusal to agree to the dignified but “phased withdrawal” that Russia has been pressing them to commence for most of the past year as part of its broader “balancing” strategy. In addition, sanctions have finally begun to bite and a sudden increase in the physical and financial costs of Iran’s Syrian deployment might be all that’s needed to get it to begin the “phased withdrawal” process.

The US insists on maintaining a troop presence in Syria despite Trump’s promised “withdrawal” last year precisely because of its desire to “contain” Iran, so it’s not inconceivable that it will seek to intensify the pressure that it puts on its rival to the point of striking the IRGC and its Hezbollah ally if Washington “officially” regards them both as being “terrorists”. Iran has no air defense assets in the country and Russia is extremely unlikely to allow its Syrian partners to have full and independent control of the much-touted S-300 in order to avoid the scenario of Damascus escalating the situation by shooting at American warplanes and possibly dealing Moscow enormous embarrassment if Washington manages to destroy its surface-to-air missile systems in response. Simply put, Iranian forces are practically “sitting ducks” if the US decides to strike them.

A Likely Ultimatum In Latakia

It should be taken for granted that Iran has many asymmetrical means through which it could likely respond, whether in Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf, or even in “Israel”, but one also shouldn’t over-exaggerate its capabilities either since Tehran has yet to unleash the devastating consequences that it regularly promises every time “Israel” hits its forces in Syria. One can only speculate whether this is a prudent move to patiently wait until the “right moment” or if everything was nothing more than one big bluff to begin with, but whatever the case, the US evidently thinks that it can manage whatever response Iran might have to the potential bombing of the IRGC and Hezbollah by American forces in the event that the former is designated as “terrorists” and Trump wants a dramatic headline-grabbing news event to follow this development.

In fact, the US might even issue an ultimatum to Iran to withdraw from Syria or be militarily driven out after reports recently emerged that the country is about to clinch a deal for operating the Mediterranean port of Latakia just a few hundred kilometers from “Israel“, something that’s sure to set off alarm bells in both Washington and Tel Aviv because of speculation that this economic agreement might  have military implications. The reason why an ultimatum might be issued in this case instead of just “bombing first and making demands later” (as is the usual US modus operandi) is because of how close Russia’s Hmeimim airbase is to the port, meaning that any possible strike against Iran’s assets there would be extremely complicated to pull off without coordinating with Russia otherwise another September-like midair tragedy might transpire.

Russia: An Ally To Whom?

“Israel” certainly doesn’t want to repeat the events of that fateful day, nor would the US be willing to risk the outbreak of World War III if a few missiles carelessly veered off course and either hit the Russian base or its assets, so it should be assumed that those two are already in secret talks with Moscow (likely facilitated by Netanyahu’s “shuttle diplomacy” between their two capitals) in order to agree upon a “solution” to this scenario. Syria and Iran should have anticipated that something of the sort was in the works because of Russia’s lengthy track record “passively facilitating” “Israeli” strikes against the IRGC and Hezbollah, so both of them probably predicted that their port deal might force Moscow to stop “balancing” and finally pick a side once and for all.

The “surprise”, however, is that Russia is completely disinclined to pick Iran over “Israel” because it derives enormous strategic benefit in Syria by removing its “friendly competitor” and strengthening its increasingly monopolistic control over the country in the economic, political, and military domains. Furthermore, Iran’s relative weakening is advantageous for Russia because it makes the Islamic Republic more desperate to agree to whatever “sanctions relief” deals Moscow might offer it irrespective of the possibly unfavorable conditions. “Israel”, meanwhile, is poised to become Russia’s top military-strategic partner in the Mideast, and Moscow believes that the comprehensive benefits of this relationship far surpass whatever Iran could provide for it. As such, it can be expected that Russia will silently work to avert the scenario of direct US strikes on the IRGC and especially the Latakia port by more actively encouraging Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria.

Concluding Thoughts

The US’ very probable designation of the IRGC as a “terrorist” group in the near future would open up the Hybrid War floodgates by providing the “justification” that the Pentagon needs to commence strikes against its rival’s special forces or at least issue the threat thereof as part of a series of forthcoming escalations designed to trigger Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria. The IRGC has reportedly suffered many casualties  already because of Russia’s “passive facilitation” of “Israeli” strikes against it over the years but has yet to make either of them pay, so the likelihood of Iran doing anything real dramatic in response to the US possibly striking its special forces too is low.

In any case, Russia — as the undisputed hegemonic power in Syria — would prefer for the US and “Israel’s” issues with Iran’s military presence in the Arab Republic to be settled as peacefully as possible without posing a danger to its Aerospace Forces, fearful as it is of a repeat of last September’s tragedy in the event that either of those two bomb the Latakia port facilities near its Hmeimim airbase that Iran is on the brink of possessing. Therefore, the US’ reportedly impending designation of the IRGC as “terrorists” will probably cause Russia to cooperate more closely with it behind the scenes (possibly via “Israeli” mediation) to ensure Iran’s dignified but “phased withdrawal” from Syria.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela FM takes Middle East tour, set to meet Nasrallah

Press TV – April 3, 2019

Venezuela’s foreign minister has embarked on a Middle East tour taking him through Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria, amid US measures to prop up the Latin American country’s opposition figure and self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido against President Nicolas Maduro.

Jorge Arreaza arrived in Turkey on Monday and was assured by his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu of Ankara’s support for the Latin American nation in the face of US pressure. “It should not be in a way that ‘I am a big country and I can determine entire rules,’” Cavusoglu said, referring to Washington’s sanctions against Venezuela and its efforts to oust Maduro, Turkish paper Hurriyet reported.

On Tuesday, the top Venezuelan diplomat traveled to Lebanon on a two-day visit. Lebanese President Michel Aoun received him at the presidential Baabda Palace in Beirut. Arreaza, who conveyed a message from Maduro to Aoun, also met with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil.

He was also slated to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, Lebanese news portal Naharnet reported. According to Lebanese daily al-Joumhouria, he will also be holding a meeting with the Hezbollah resistance movement’s Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Back in January, Hezbollah conveyed its support for Maduro amid mounting US pressure for him to resign and hand over power to Washington-backed Guaido. Hezbollah-associated lawmaker Mohammad Raad was cited by Lebanese TV channel Al Manar as saying at the time that “Nasrallah stands with the Venezuelan people and with its free leadership.”

The Venezuelan foreign minister, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the visits to the countries in remarks to Prensa Latina. “They are two countries that respect international law and with which there are friendly and fraternal relations,” the Cuban news agency cited him as saying.

The visit to Lebanon “opens a new stage in bilateral ties with the possibility to expand economic cooperation, especially Venezuela’s advisory in the country’s energy sector,” the agency added, citing the top diplomat.

Also in January, the US took the lead in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s president after the head of the opposition-ruled Congress named himself the country’s interim chief executive. Washington has been pressuring other countries into following suit and has not ruled out using the military option to oust Maduro’s government.

Many countries, including Iran, Russia, China, and Cuba, however, back Maduro, spurning the subversive American efforts targeting Venezuela’s sovereignty.

Arreaza is next to travel to Syria, with which Caracas has similarly warm relations.

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah on the End of US Hegemony: Trump will Leave the Middle East, Region Already Reshaping – PART I

Interview of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary General, with Ghassan Ben Jeddou, founder of the pan-Arab and anti-imperialist Al-Mayadeen channel, January 26, 2019.

Transcript:

[…] Ghassan Ben Jeddou: But I want to return to the United States, as a fact of utmost importance just occurred, Eminent Sayed, on the general and strategic perspective: Trump said he would withdraw (US troops) from Syria, saying that the country was nothing but “sand and death”. My specific question is this: is it (just) a tactical withdrawal, meaning that the United States will withdraw (just) a part of their forces to leave you in a quagmire? Or is it a true (and full) withdrawal, which means a defeat for the United States?

Hassan Nasrallah: I think whenever Trump talks about his intention to withdraw US forces, he is true and sincere. The word “sincere” (applied to Trump) makes you laugh? I mean he is honest with himself (he says what he thinks). During his campaign, he made election promises, and after two years there will be new presidential elections. And everything he has promised to do, he wants to do it. In fact, he already achieved some of his election promises.

One of those promises was: “Why are we sending our children (to fight) abroad and die in a far away region to defend it, to be killed and spend (huge sums of) money?” He stated that the United States spent 7 000 billion…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: 7 trillion dollars.

Hassan Nasrallah: 7 trillion equals 7 thousand billion. And a few days ago, he said: “We spent 7 000 billion, we sent our armed forces, we made all these sacrifices (in the Middle East), and in the end, I have to go to Iraq in secret, at night? This clearly indicates our failure!” So every time (he talks about his desire to withdraw, he is sincere). Even when he said: “If we continue to defend, for example, Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states, they have to pay for that. If we defend Europe, Europe must pay. If we defend Japan, Japan must pay.”

Obama… sorry, Trump is a charming person! When we listened to Obama, he spoke about human rights, democracy, (free) elections, etc. His attitude and his words were steeped in hypocrisy.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: When he spoke of the Arab Spring…

Hassan Nasrallah: We’ll come back to this point. From day one, all we hear from Trump is “millions, billions, dollars…” I’m relearning English (thanks to him), you see… And “They have to pay, they have to pay, there are both rich and poor people among them, etc.” Very well. That is why he hasn’t respected anyone in his statements. He was very insulting to Saudi Arabia, and in respect to the Gulf countries in general, including his closest allies, such as Europe, Japan and South Korea, (he didn’t spare anyone). As we say in Lebanese, he buried them alive (under his torrent of abuse). He wants everyone to pay all the US expenses, rightly or wrongly, he makes them (spit) money (forcefully), even as he (already) plunders their resources, raw materials, their future, he confiscates their political freedom and imposes them (US) companies, etc., but he doesn’t pay attention to all this. All that matters to him is that he protects them, so they have to pay billions of dollars for this protection. Thus, he is committed to bring his forces out (of Syria, etc.).

What is happening today in Afghanistan? Even today, to prove that we are broadcasting live – but it should be enough that you say so, without need for additional evidence –, the Taliban announced that they and the US delegation led by Khalil Zad Zalmai had met in Doha and had reached a draft agreement, which may be renegotiated if necessary, and which stipulates that within 18 months, all foreign forces should have left Afghanistan. That’s (what) Trump (is doing)! And we must keep this in mind and remind it to the others when addressing Lebanon and the peoples of the region, so they know that the days of US hegemony in our region (are counted).

As I see it, since the day he became President, Trump intends to withdraw the modest US forces present in Syria under the pretext of the international coalition (against ISIS) since the time of Obama. But the advisers surrounding Trump dissuaded him from doing so because of the growing power of Iran, Russia and President Assad (which would be exacerbated if US withdrew), etc. And they started all over again, and the guy (Trump) stood with patience. He gave them time (to make progress in Syria) but he saw that it was useless. That is why 7 months ago, or so it seems to me, in a speech, he said: “We will leave Syria soon, very soon.”

We are at a time when we must be careful with translations, and ensure that they are accurate, so I asked a (Hezbollah) brother who had the text of the speech in English to send it to me and highlight the passage where he said “soon, very soon”. (And this passage was indeed saying) “soon, very soon” (quote in English). So the media had faithfully translated his remarks.

Everyone went beserk after this statement, with protestations from Mattis, the former Defense Secretary (who resigned in December 2018), and other people denouncing this US withdrawal, which would represent a victory offered free of charge to Iran in the first place, to Russia and to President Assad, a wrong decision, an (ill-advised) visceral reaction, etc. They went to see him. These are important facts that I must relate to you, it is sound information and I could even give you the source. (Mattis, Bolton and others of their ilk) went to see Trump and told him to give them some time. If he was keen to get out of Syria, he should at least give them time to gain (something in the field) in exchange for the withdrawal. Trump said he had no problem with the idea, and asked them how long it would take them. They said 6 months. These 6 months have not been officially announced, but CNN and other US media reported that Trump had given 6 month to his Defense Secretary to prepare the withdrawal from Syria.

The Americans went to the Russians and told them… I am sorry to mix the Lebanese dialect and literary Arabic. The United States told Russia that they were ready to get out of all Syria and leave absolutely no soldier behind – I convey their words accurately –, and they were even ready to leave the Al-Tanf region, which has a special significance. Yesterday, a US official said they would leave Syria, but remain at Al Tanf (American base at the Syrian-Iraqi and Syrian-Jordanian border), but back then, they said they’d even leave Al-Tanf, but on condition that Iranian forces leave Syria, and Hezbollah also of course. The United States asked the Russians to go talk to the Iranians and with President Assad to tell them about this agreement proposal, namely an Iranian withdrawal would be carried out together with a full US withdrawal from Syria. And the Americans asserted they were quite ready to conclude such an agreement.

Trump was determined to withdraw his troops even without this bargain, but those around him told him to wait a bit for them to get this deal. The Russians have therefore communicated this proposal to the Iranians, and President Putin informed President Rouhani, who informed me myself. Similarly, the Russians sent a high level delegation to Damascus who met with President Assad and conveyed this proposal to him. The Russians waited a response from Iran and a response from Syria.

On the Iranian side, I am one of the people they have consulted on this issue, and I told them (that in my opinion), the United States would withdraw from Syria in any case, whether the Iranians remained or left; the US try to get something in return to save face and cover their withdrawal (because in truth, they are defeated), to pretend they leave after scoring a big victory, namely the withdrawal of Iranian forces – because ISIS was not eradicated –, to be presented in the United States as a huge success for Trump, and as an even greater success by Netanyahu in the Israeli entity.

Iran has categorically rejected this proposal, saying that they were present at the request of the Syrian government to combat terrorism and takfiri groups, which were still present in Syria. The reason for their presence being still valid, there was no reason to leave. Final point. End of the discussion. President Assad made the same answer, saying he refused that Iran leave Syria – talking about Iranian forces may not be entirely fair, but there are generals, officers, consultants, logistics, etc. President Assad refused on principle to put on the same footing Iranians and Americans, because the first came at his request, and the second are occupants. “The first are friends and the latter are supporting my enemies, (he said). The battle is not over, and even if the Iranians wanted to leave, I would not accept it, and I would ask them to stay.” This US project has failed.

To be honest, it should be noted that the Russians haven’t put any pressure on Assad (for him to accept this proposal), they only conveyed the message. For you know that in the media, there is much talk about the Russian-Iranian issue (to present an alleged divergence or opposition in Syria). It is true that the Russians sometimes exaggerate (in their demands, and exert too much pressure), but to be fair and accurate, (this time), the Russians have only transmitted a message, and in an appropriate (and respectful) way. They said that there was this proposal, and asked (Iran and Syria) their opinion. And when both answered no, this response was forwarded to the US. End of story.

Trump was informed that the attempt had failed, and he began to ask them to work seriously to liquidate ISIS because they had only 6 months. This is why recently, operations and bombings against ISIS intensified and real massacres were committed to end ISIS in this last pocket of the Deir Ezzor region where they are present.

When 6 months have passed, Trump surprised no one (when announcing the US withdrawal from Syria). Mattis, the Defense Secretary, and other officials, had known for 7 months that they only had 6 months before them. You got nothing, you’ve done nothing, so the guy (Trump) decided to leave Syria. Why does he leave Syria? I’m coming to it. He said there was only sand and death (there), nothing else, and that he had no reason to stay. In his eyes, the Syrian people has no value, he couldn’t care less about the future of Syria – and there is even a positive aspect to this. Neither elections, nor freedom, nor democracy, nor any of this interests him. Ultimately, what does he care about in Syria? He cares about Israel, and perhaps about some red lines, some limitations and some (armed) groups. And he believes that he can guarantee his interests through the political hegemony, the political resolution (of the conflict in Syria), pressures, etc.

And he also said something (important): the US Air Force retains its undisputed presence in the Syrian skies. When Trump bombed Damascus after the chemical masquerade, where did his aircraft come from? It came from Qatar and the Mediterranean Sea, from their Al Udeid base (in Qatar) or whatever. Trump does not need to have a military presence in Syria (ground troops) to pursue his military pressure (and stay active and influential). He can do it from his other bases. So he can get out of the Eastern Euphrates region and thus achieve one of his election promises.

But this withdrawal also reflects a failure. The idea to withdraw troops from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, the reduced number of troops, reconsideration (of their doctrine) are in fact a new strategy. This is what I call the Trump version of the American (hegemony) project. 

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

THE VETO: Exposing CNN, Al Jazeera, Channel 4, western media propaganda war in Syria

Vanessa Beeley | March 21, 2019

I met journalist and friend Rafiq Lutf and cameraman Abdul-Mun’aim Arnous in January 2018 and I was honoured when Rafiq asked me to work with him on his film project, The Veto.

As Dr Shaaban said to me in August 2016, “Western propaganda is paid for in Syrian blood”. This is true. The horrifying bloodshed and loss of life in Syria could never have happened without the colonial media manufacturing consent for another illegal war against a Sovereign nation.

The Veto tracks the evolution of the propaganda campaign waged by Western media against Syria. From Baba Amr in Homs 2011/2012 until the modern day “propaganda construct” – the NATO-member-state funded White Helmets.

It honours Russia and China’s vetoes that have consistently defended Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the UN.

George Orwell said “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Western media has been tasked with writing the history of the Syrian conflict to serve the aggressors in the US Coalition of terrorism. As Dr Shaaban also told me:

“The US alliance and its media are focusing on our history, material history, cultural history, identity, our army. Any power that keeps you as an entire state, or any statesman that represents strength or unity will be demonized and destroyed.”

The Veto exposes the criminal intentions of Western media and it archives the progression of the propaganda war waged by the West against Syria. Syrians are writing the history of the Syrian conflict because Syria and her allies have courageously resisted the Imperialist machine.

As Rafiq has said so eloquently “ we are the Veto” and we must use it against the Industrial Media Complex in the West.

Syria’s history belongs to the Syrians and Syria’s final victory must ensure that Western media is never again given the power to destroy a nation, divide its people and promote international terrorism both military and economic.

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Golan Declaration Another Own Goal

Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.03.2019

Hardly a week goes by and the United States falls deeper into global disrepute. This week was a bonanza of own goals for the self-declared “leader of the free world”.

The debacle over the ridiculous “Russiagate” scandal finally imploding was spectacular.

Then there were more horrific reports of US air strikes killing civilians simultaneously in four countries – Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

That was followed by Washington’s ludicrous lecturing to Russia about the US-imposed humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

And then, to top all those own goals, we saw President Donald Trump declaring that Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights is not, in the warped US view, illegal after all. Can you possibly keep score of the mind-boggling inanities and insanities?

Switching metaphors for a moment – because you can hardly just use one when it comes to grappling with American asinine policy – Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova got it right when she likened the US to a “cowboy shooting up the Louvre museum” in its free-wheeling, double-dealing foreign conduct.

Where to begin in dissecting the US and its descent into madness and mafia-style foreign policy? It truly is a brain-wrecking, train-wrecking challenge. Is there a wicked genius to its Mephistophelean madness? Perhaps it is simply down to Washington becoming an absurd circus of incompetence, accelerated under the administration of a former real-estate magnate and reality TV star, President Donald J (for Joker) Trump.

On the Golan issue, Trump’s proclamation this week of recognizing the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as under Israeli sovereignty is a flagrant subversion of international law and the United Nations Charter. Israel has been forcibly occupying Syrian southern territory since the 1967 Six Day War. It formally annexed the strategic plateau in 1981, which was ruled as illegal by the UN Security Council – including a vote from the US at that time.

Trump’s declaration is thus a brazen repudiation of international law and a glaring green light to aggression. Can anything this president says or does be taken seriously? What’s that about Venezuela, or Ukraine?

His declaration this week undermines gravely the foundation of international law in a shocking, reckless affront. It completely demolishes any pretense the US claims to have as a world leader and upholder of international law.

Washington has been slamming Russia for the past five years over alleged “annexation” of Crimea – and then Trump this week turns around and endorses Israeli theft of Syrian territory.

At a UN Security Council meeting called this week by Syria in protest to Trump’s proclamation, the US was seen as a pariah state. All 14 other members of the council (including non-permanent members) slammed the US policy on Golan. They included US allies Britain and France.

Outside the UNSC, other US allies also condemned Washington’s declaration of complicity in Israeli annexation of Golan.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, among others, all slammed the US for daring to legalize the theft of Syrian territory by Israel.

Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, put it aptly. He said that the US move was not only an audacious violation of international and the UN Charter. “This only exacerbates the situation in Syria and complicates the establishment of a political process, but it also creates serious obstacles to normalizing the relations between Israel and the Arab states.”

We will come back to that profound point in a moment. But first, let’s throw out a few other motives for Trump’s outrageous violation of international law regarding Golan and Israel’s annexation.

Trump is no doubt giving his family friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a timely electoral boost ahead of Israeli state elections scheduled for April 9.

There is also the issue of American oil interests being pursued by designating the Golan as Israeli territory. The mountainous region overlooking the Jordan Valley is reputed to hold untapped reserves on par with those of Saudi Arabia, which US-based Genie oil company has been exploring for years.

But still a more strategic motive is the objective of keeping the Middle East and Syria in particular in perpetual turmoil. By annexing Syrian territory, the US-Israeli move furthers the objective of controlling the wider Arab region.

Syria’s envoy to the UN, Bashar al Jaafari, made that very point at the UN Security Council meeting this week. He said the US-backed annexation of Golan was a part of the US-sponsored covert war against his country. The move is a way to keep Syria and the region in turmoil, said al Jaafari.

This gets back to what the Russian envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, said. The whole point is for Washington to prevent any political settlement to the eight-year war in Syria and to impede any normalization of relations in the region. The US and its client Israeli regime only stand to benefit from perpetual chaos and conflict in the region.

So far so good, as Washington may calculate – albeit fiendishly. But in the final analysis, the US is ending up looking like a complete rogue state without any respect, even among its supposed allies.

The presumed global leader, Washington, is losing foes and allies alike through its disgraceful duplicity and disregard for any pretense of probity. The Golan Heights is another nail in the coffin for Washington’s over-rated self-regard.

In a week of other American absurdities and own-goals, the Golan debacle may turn out to be the moment when Washington is finally seen in the eyes of the world as the utter laughing stock that it surely has become. It’s a laughing stock, but in the creepiest, macabre sense.

March 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments