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Iraqi fighters: Hezbollah not to be left alone in war

Press TV – December 15, 2018

An Iraqi anti-terror paramilitary group has pledged to stand by Hezbollah in the event of a war following recent Israeli operations near the Lebanese border.

“In the event of any war against Hezbollah, the movement is not going to be alone,” Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba spokesman Hashim al-Mousawi told Iran’s Tasnim news agency on Friday.

The group, simply known as Nujaba, is part of Hashd al-Sha’abi which is an umbrella counter-terrorism force gathering volunteer fighters from Iraq’s various ethnic groups, including Shias, Sunnis and Christians.

In the event of an attack on Lebanon’s Hezbollah, “all, including Nujaba, will be standing by its side,” Mousawi said.

Israel has recently launched an operation to destroy what it claims tunnels dug by Hezbollah into the occupied territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned that Hezbollah would be dealt “unimaginable blows” if it confronted the operation.

Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general Sheikh Naim Qassem warned last week that there is no spot across Israel outside the range of the Lebanese resistance movement’s missiles.

“Israel is not capable of confronting Hezbollah’s missiles. The Palestinian resistance is also advancing day by day. The resistance’s missile power is increasing,” Mousawi said.

He said a recent botched intelligence operation in the Gaza Strip in which a ranking Israeli officer was killed in clashes with Palestinian fighters showed Israel’s “obvious incapability.”

The incursion saw Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups fire nearly 500 rockets into Israel during a two-day flare-up, forcing Tel Aviv to accept a hasty declaration of a ceasefire.

’US destabilizing Iraq-Syria border’

Al-Mousawi also said the United States is trying to create instability on the Iraqi-Syrian border by keeping the corridors used by terrorists open.

Washington, he said, keeps supporting terrorists along the passageways leading from its military base at the hugely-strategic al-Tanf border crossing.

The crossing lies at the intersection of Iraqi, Syrian, and Jordanian borders as well as the Wadi Hauran valley in the western Iraqi Anbar Province, where the US has built a sprawling military base.

Thousands of militants are trained at the base with the ultimate goal of toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“The US does not seek Daesh’s defeat and elimination. It seeks to keep Daesh as part of its international plans to target any country that opposes its policies,” Mousawi said.

“Daesh is a recruit and employee of the United States which uses the group for its special plans,” he added.

The Nujaba spokesman touched on the Syria developments, saying the US is “the main obstacle” to the Syrian army’s liberation of the last major terrorist bastion in the northwestern Idlib Province.

Idlib holds the largest concentration of militants and Takfiri terrorists, where Russia and Turkey have created a buffer zone to help end the violence there after the US prevented Syria from taking back the province.

Mousawi said the US is exploiting terrorist and armed groups depending on its own interests, adding whenever Washington perceives a political resolution is near, it resorts to obstructive efforts and stonewalling right away.

The US, he said, is pursuing its own political agenda in Syria, but American forces will not be able to remain in the country forever.

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkey threatens to pull the plug on US

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | NewsClick | December 14, 2018

An impression has been gaining ground lately that the Trump administration is making overtures to Ankara to revive the original US-Turkish project on regime change in Damascus. The recent visit to Ankara by James Jeffrey, the US special representative to Syria, was seen in that light.

Prior to his trip to Ankara, Jeffrey openly suggested at a briefing at the US state department on December 3 that the Astana process on Syria (involving Russia, Turkey and Iran) should be wound up since it failed to advance the political process. As he put it, “US view … is let’s pull the plug on Astana.” In essence, Jeffrey ’s game plan was to somehow break up the Russian-Turkish-Iranian axis in Syria so that the US can tackle each of these three protagonists from a position of advantage.

However, the contradiction here is the US’ alliance with the Kurds, which is anathema to Turkey. Jeffrey tried to fudge this contradiction by saying, “Our policy is to work with the people of the northeast first of all to defeat ISIS… We have no political agenda either with the Kurdish groups, with the Arab groups, or with any other groups inside Syria. Our position is (a) the territorial integrity of Syria under its present borders; (b) we will work with all political forces that are willing to recognize and accept the UN political process and the basic criteria of all of these UN initiatives since 2012 on Syria, which is no threat to the neighbors, no threat to the population, no use of chemical weapons, no support for terrorism, no mass slaughter of one’s own civilians, and accountability for war crimes. That’s our position with everybody and anybody.”

But Turks refuse to be taken for a ride. If anything, the Turkish suspicions regarding the American intentions in northern Syria have only deepened. Two recent developments contributed to this:

One, the US move to establish observation posts next to Turkey’s border. Washington claims that these OPs will prevent possible terrorist threats against Turkey. But Turks are not duffers and they understand perfectly well that the real reason behind this Pentagon decision (announced innocuously almost as an aside by Defence Secretary James Mattis two weeks ago) is to prevent any Turkish operation against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

Two, the US disclosure (by the outgoing chairman of joint chiefs of staff Gen. Joseph Dunford) that “35,000-40,000 local forces need to be trained to provide stability” in the territories occupied by the US in northeast Syria. Without doubt, the alarm bells must have rung in Ankara that the US is moving in the direction of creating security underpinnings for an autonomous Kurdistan in Syria similar to what it achieved in Iraq following the Gulf War in 1990-91.

Taken together, Turkish leadership realizes that unless Turkey forcefully acted to thwart the US strategy before it is too late, Ankara may face the stark choice of an independent Kurdish entity appearing along its border with Syria, which of course would imperil Turkey’s own security, territorial integrity and even threaten its unity. Thus, President Recep Erdogan had no option but to announce on Wednesday that Turkey proposes to launch a military operation against the Syrian Kurdish groups in a “few days”.

Erdogan said, “It is time to realize our decision to wipe out terror groups east of the Euphrates. We will start the operation in east of the Euphrates in a few days to save it from the separatist terrorist organization. Turkey’s target is never the US soldiers, but rather the members of the terror group.”

Erdogan rejected outright the US move on setting up OPs along Turkish border, saying, “It is clear that the purpose of US observation points in Syria is not to protect our country from terrorists but protect (Kurdish) terrorists from Turkey.” Meanwhile, other Turkish officials have cast aspersions on the US plan to train 40000-strong local militia and Jeffrey’s diatribe against the Astana process.

Conceivably, Turkish officials conveyed to Jeffrey Ankara’s plans to launch military operations against Syrian Kurds. At any rate, no sooner than Erdogan spoke on Wednesday, Washington reacted sharply, expressing “grave concern” and warning that any such Turkish military operations in Syria will be “unacceptable.”

However, all indications are that preparations are complete on the Turkish side of the border for the military strike. A Turkish daily close to the ruling circles reported that the operation will be carried out with “point shots” – namely, precisely targeting concentrations of the Syrian Kurdish militia. Some 200 such targets have been reportedly identified. Indeed, the Turkish armed forces have the capability to shoot at these targets from the air and ground without entering Syrian airspace and territory. One possibility is that Turkish jets can strike the Kurdish targets from a 30-kilometer depth in the air, while the howitzers can strike up to a depth of 40 kilometers on the ground.

Other reports have claimed that over the past fortnight, there have been significant military deployments to the Syrian border with armored vehicles, tanks and personnel deployed from Şanlıurfa to Akçakale. The plan seems to be that strategic targets of the Kurdish forces will be hit initially with a view to rapidly clear a swathe of Syrian territories so that fighters of the so-called Free Syrian Army (Syrian opposition groups aligned with Turkey) can move into the area.

Indeed, if Erdogan carries out his pledge, it will put the US in an unenviable position of having to watch passively when its allies get pulverized by the jets and artillery. It will be a huge loss of face for the US and, importantly, it will render the best-laid American plans for an open-ended occupation of Syria nonviable and senseless.

Without doubt, Moscow and Tehran will be pleased with Erdogan’s resolve to frustrate the US game plan to divide Syria. Around 30 percent of Syrian territory is presently under American occupation. Some US analysts have openly estimated that if only Turks could be brought on board, that would increase the area to around 40 percent of Syrian territory and eventually help provide an outlet for that land-locked enclave (which also contains Syria’s oil fields) to the Eastern Mediterranean coast and access to the world market.

The heart of the matter is that other than rhetorically, Russia shies away from challenging the US occupation of Syria lest it led to military confrontation, which Moscow has been scrupulously avoiding, no matter the provocations from the American side (eg., drone attacks on the Russian bases in Syria.) As for Iran, it is fighting an existential battle to counter the US sanctions and a confrontation with the US in Syria is not the priority today. Damascus cannot hope to confront the US by itself, either.

Thus, unsurprisingly, a note of triumphalism had lately crept into the US stance – all but implying that the Americans are salvaging victory out of the jaws of military defeat in the Syrian conflict and that it is a matter of time before Russia finds itself in a quagmire, keeping afloat the regime in Damascus out of its own meager resources and increasingly feeling the financial crunch, with Washington effectively plugging any help for Syria’s reconstruction coming from the western allies by making all such aid conditional on the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power.

No doubt, the simmering US-Turkish tensions in northern Syria over the Pentagon’s alliance with Syrian Kurdish groups have surged. It will be hard landing for the Pentagon if the long-awaited Turkish crackdown begins against the US’ Kurdish allies in Syria.

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Pentagon: Turkish Unilateral Action in Northeast Syria Would Be ‘Unacceptable’

Sputnik – 13.12.2018

WASHINGTON – A Turkish unilateral military operation in northeast Syria if launched would be unacceptable and Ankara should consult with the United States to address the security situation, Defense Department spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson told Sputnik.

Earlier, Ankara announced that the Turkish military would launch an operation against Kurdish forces.

“Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern,” Robertson said on Wednesday when asked about Turkey’s announcement. “We would find any such actions unacceptable… coordination and consultation between the US and Turkey is the only approach to address issues of security concern in this area.”

The United States believes that the High Level Working Group on Syria with its Turkish partners is the only way to secure the northeastern border area in a sustainable manner, Robertson said.

Uncoordinated military operations will undermine the shared US-Turkish interests in Syria, Robertson said. As a NATO ally and key partner in the Global Coalition against Daesh terrorist group*, both countries have solemn obligations to each other’s security, he added.

The United States remains committed to Turkey’s border security, he said.

US-Turkish relations have suffered a setback amid Ankara’s concerns over US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Ankara has also repeatedly accused Washington of failing to fulfil its promises regarding the withdrawal of the YPG from Syria’s Manbij.

Ankara regards YPG as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), outlawed in Turkey.

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

US erects ‘observation posts’ on Syria-Turkey border despite Ankara’s dissent

Press TV – December 12, 2018

The US military says it has established “observation posts” in northern Syria with the purported aim of preventing clashes between Turkish forces and US-backed Kurdish militants, despite Ankara’s strong opposition to the plan.

“At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the US established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our NATO ally Turkey,” Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said in a press release on Tuesday.

This is while Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had, during a Friday meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey in Ankara, called on Washington to lift the so-called observation posts in northern Syria, along parts of Turkey’ border.

Akar also said earlier that Turkey had expressed its concerns about US plans to set up several observation posts in Syria, a move, which according to him, could lead to a perception that Washington is “somehow protecting terrorist YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Units] members.”

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu this month lambasted as a “big mistake” the US support for the YPG militants in Syria, a thorny issue in ties between the two allies.

Cavusoglu made the remark while meeting with Turkish citizens at the Turkish consulate in New York.

The YPG forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants supported by the US.

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

The Pentagon’s Tuesday release further said that the US military would coordinate with Turkey its security efforts in the border region.

“We take Turkish security concerns seriously and we are committed to coordinating our efforts with Turkey to bring stability to northeastern Syria,” Manning said in the press release.

Washington infuriated Ankara by announcing a plan for the formation of a Kurdish militant force in Syria near the Turkish border.

The plan prompted Turkey to launch a cross-border military operation on January 20 inside the Arab country, code-named Operation Olive Branch, with the declared aim of eliminating the YPG militants from northern Syria, particularly the Afrin region.

Turkish troops captured Afrin in March, and threatened to take the battle to nearby Manbij. Ankara and Washington agreed a roadmap on Manbij, which would see the city cleansed of US-backed Kurdish militants.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has expressed indignation at photos showing US troops dining with Kurdish militants near the Turkish border in Syria.

Mattis said last month that Washington wanted the so-called observation posts to help minimize tensions between the Turks and US-backed SDF forces in the purported fight against the Daesh terrorist group.

The Syrian government has given a degree of authority to Kurdish regions to run their own affairs. The US, however, has used the power vacuum to establish a foothold in those regions with the help of militants.

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

Syria has strongly denounced the presence of both Turkish and US troops around Manbij.

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Deploys Carrier Strike Group to Middle East Amid Iran, Syria Tensions

Sputnik – December 8, 2018

A carrier strike group led by the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS John C. Stennis has arrived in the Middle East, ending an eight month period during which a US carrier wasn’t based in the region, the US Navy has reported.

Earlier, the Pentagon announced that the US and its allies in eastern Syria would train an additional 35,000 to 40,000 local militia to “provide stability” in the region following the defeat of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists.

The carrier group will be based with the 5th Fleet, which is responsible for US naval activity in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and will be stationed in the region for at least two months.

According to the US government-funded news service Voice of America, the carrier strike group is being deployed to “help in the fight against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria and the war in Afghanistan.”

Furthermore, a US Defense Department official confirmed earlier reports that the US was beefing up its presence in the region as a “message” to Tehran, telling VOA that “just being there is a show of force to Iran.”

The carrier group’s presence is expected to have a similar effect to the US base in at-Tanf, southern Syria, the official added.

The US established an illegal garrison at at-Tanf in 2016, justifying the deployment as part of its war against Daesh. Damascus and its allies have repeatedly accused the US of using the base to retrain and reequip former Islamist militia to continue the war against the Syrian government. On Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said that the US would have to train 35,000 to 40,000 more “local forces” to “provide stability” in eastern Syria, where US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces took control following Daesh’s expulsion from the region.

Washington, which originally justified its presence in Syria by citing the war against terrorism, has altered its reasoning for remaining in the country following Daesh’s decline. In September, Trump national security adviser John Bolton said that the US military would stay in Syria until alleged Iranian-backed militias had also left the country.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated in May, after the US unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal and slapped Iran with a series of strict sanctions.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Washington on Syria: Hidden Agendas, Interests and Objectives

By Elias SAMO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 04.12.2018

In the search to find exactly what American policy, interests and objectives are in Syria, one can refer to the United States Institute of Peace (“USIP”), which was established by Congress in 1984. According to Mona Yacoubian, a USIP Senior Advisor on Syria, the Middle East and North Africa, the USIP seeks “to prevent and resolve violent conflicts abroad, in accordance with US national interests and values”.

On September 27th, 2018, Ms. Yacoubian testified at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa hearings on “US policy Toward Syria: Part I”. Given her role, one can reasonably assume that Ms. Yacoubian’s testimony at Congress reflects, if not represents, and summarizes the Trump administration’s policy towards Syria. In the first paragraph of her testimony, Ms. Yacoubian says “Implications of Assad’s Survival. The regime will stop at nothing to ensure its survival, […] Assad’s survival could also upend the regional order, embolden Iran and its allies and posing new threats to Israel.” This one short paragraph by a senior American Advisor encompasses several critical issues which constitute a general framework of Washington’s Syria policy.

First, the reference to “Assad regime” is pejorative and denies the legitimacy of both, Syria’s political system – which is based on Syria’s 2012 Constitution – and the re-election of President Assad in 2014. Ms. Yacoubian might object, claiming that the elections were rigged. I would tell her to “see the log in her eye before she sees the speck in my eye”; I would remind Ms. Yacoubian of the rigged Senate election of Lyndon Johnson in Texas in 1948, the rigged presidential election of John Kennedy in Chicago in 1960 by the Daley Machine and the rigged presidential election of George W. Bush in Florida in 2000.

Second, Ms. Yacoubian says; “The regime will stop at nothing to ensure its survival…” This fickle statement was pedaled by multiple opponents of the Syrian ‘regime’. President Assad had to use all the available means at his disposal, in addition to outside help, to ensure not only his survival and the survival of the Syrian political system, but more importantly and ultimately the survival of Syria as a sovereign state. I would remind Ms. Yacoubian that President Abraham Lincoln used means at his disposal to ensure the survival of the Union during the American Civil War. Lincoln’s success in preserving the Union, in which roughly 620000 Americans lost their lives and taken as a percentage of today’s population, the number would be 6 millions American lives, made him an American legend. By comparison, Assad fought hordes of Islamists, terrorists, warlords, criminals who had come from all over the world, with the financial and military help of a host of foreign countries (US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar amongst others) for the single purpose of destroying Syria. Had they succeeded, Syria would have disintegrated into hundreds of cantons, headed by a multitude of terrorists, Islamists, Ameers, mafias, warlords in every neighborhood fighting each other indefinitely for supremacy. Assad, along with the Syrian people and institutions, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, should be thanked for the survival of a Sovereign Syria.

Third, she says “Assad’s survival could also upend the regional order, emboldening Iran and its allies and posing new threats to Israel”. Addressing each component of her statement separately:

“Upend the regional order”: Assad has been in power since 2000 and during his eleven-year rule prior to the uprising, the regional order was not upended. It was rather stable, particularly the Syrian-Israeli relations.

“Emboldening Iran”: Syrian-Iranian warm and friendly relations started with the fall of the Shah and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. During the uprising, Syria needed Iranian help which Iran provided. Once the uprising in Syria is over, relations between the two countries will return to normal, like relations between any sovereign allies.

Assad’s survival, she notes, “posing new threats to Israel”: I would just note that during many Syrian-Israeli Track II Diplomacy meetings in the 1990’s and the first decade of the present century, in which I participated, I often heard Israelis repeat the saying “If it is not broke don’t fix it”. The reference was to the Syrian-Israeli relations in which no bullets were fired across the disengagement line in decades.

Ms. Yacoubian moves on to note that “Meanwhile, the Assad regime vows it will reassert control over Idlib province…[which] harbors a significant al-Qaeda presence…” She further notes that “The regime could seek to retake critical hydrocarbon facilities currently under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.” A shocking and presumptuous statement, implying foreign governments shall not uphold their sovereignty if it interferes with American interests. President Assad, took the Presidential oath to defend and protect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Therefore, it is his constitutional duty to reassert control over Idlib, a Syrian province which “harbors a significant al-Qaeda presence”, and retake Syrian critical hydrocarbon facilities. I will just remind the Senior Advisor, once again, to remember the legacy of President Lincoln.

Finally, Ms. Yacoubian asserts that “The Assad regime repeatedly has transgressed international norms and laws governing armed conflict.” It is the height of irony for Ms. Yacoubian to consider Assad’s attempts to reclaim occupied Syrian territory a violation of international legal norms. Th US has spearheaded an uninvited military occupation in Syria alongside Turkey and particularly Israel, which has occupied and annexed the Syrian Gholan plateau in violation of numerous United Nations resolutions and, as Ms. Yacoubian notes, “has undertaken 200 military attacks against Iranian targets in Syria over the past two years”.

Overall, an assessment of American policy, interests and objectives in Syria exposes deep flaws and inconsistencies and underlies a much likely “private agenda”; one where American-Israeli geo-political regional interests are at the center.

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Over 14,500 Syrian Deserters Granted Pardon by Assad’s Decree – Russian MoD

Sputnik – 04.12.2018

More than 14,500 Syrians who evaded the duties of military service, including among refugees and former members of illegal armed groups, were granted amnesty in Syria as of December 2, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian reconciliation Lt. Gen. Sergei Solomatin said on Sunday.

“As part of the implementation of the decree of the President of the Syrian Arab Republic B. Assad dated November 9, 2018, the Syrian authorities continue to work on amnesty for those who evade from military service, including those among refugees and former members of illegal armed groups. As for December 2, 2018, in total 14,522 were granted amnesty,” the statement says.

Solomatin also said that one ceasefire violation had been registered in the Idlib de-escalation zone over the past 24 hours, adding that militants attacked the village of Hifsin in the province of Hama.

The center calls on the commanders of the illegal armed groups to abandon armed provocations and take the path of peaceful settlement in the areas under their control, he added.

As the Syrian government has regained control over most of the country’s territories that were seized by terrorists, it is now focused on creating favorable conditions for repatriating refugees. Moscow is assisting Damascus in this, along with providing humanitarian aid to civilians and being a guarantor of the ceasefire.

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | Leave a comment

Hamas condemns recent Israeli aggression on Syria

Palestine Information Center – December 1, 2018

GAZA – Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on Saturday condemned the latest Israeli aggression on Syria.

Member of the Hamas Political Bureau Khalil al-Hayya said in statements to the PIC that the world should realize that Israel is the real threat to the region and international peace.

Al-Hayya called on the world countries to put an end to Israel’s aggression before it destroys the whole region.

“We condemn in principle any Israeli aggression on an Arab or Muslim land, because it comes from an occupying state that sees itself above the law,” he added.

Israeli warplanes on Thursday launched several airstrikes on different targets in Damascus countryside and southern Syria.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

UN once again urges Israel to withdraw from entirety of Syria’s Golan Heights

Press TV – December 1, 2018

The majority of the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution urging the Israeli regime to withdraw from the entirety of the Syrian Golan Heights it occupied some half a century ago.

The resolution, titled The Syrian Golan, was adopted by a record vote of 99 in favor, 10 against and 66 abstentions on a Friday session, declaring that the Israeli controversial move to extend its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied mountainous plateau is null and void and calling on the Tel Aviv regime to pull out from the strategically-important territory.

In 1967, the Israeli regime waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, including those of Syria, and occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan Heights.

In 1973, another war, known as the Arab-Israeli War or the Yom Kippur War, broke out between the Israeli regime and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. A year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which the Israeli regime and the Syrian government agreed to separate their troops, and create a buffer zone patrolled by the UN Disengagement and Observer Force (UNDOF).

In late 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law that extended the regime’s “laws, jurisdiction and administration” to the Golan Heights, effectively annexing the territory to Israel.

A few days after the law’s passage in Israel’s Knesset, UN Security Council Resolution 497 determined the law as “null and void and without international legal effect.”

The assembly on Friday also denounced Israel’s non-compliance with the UNSC 1981 resolution.

The so-called Israeli law is not recognized by the international community.

“Israel continues to occupy a precious part of our land, and our people there continue to suffer because of this occupation,” said Syria’s permanent delegation at the world body, Munzer Munzer, adding, “We are the legitimate owners.”

He also stressed that Syria would not forfeit its right to its land and that its share of Golan Heights are non-negotiable.

The fact that most UN member states continue to support these resolutions shows that they are committed to the goals and purposes of the UN Charter, and that they reject foreign occupation and support Syria’s right to reclaim the entirety of its Israeli-occupied lands, Munzer added.

Back in July, the Israeli military said that it had deployed artillery and armored reinforcements to the occupied mountainous plateau, claiming that the move was the result of a situation assessment “in light of developments on the Syrian Golan Heights.”

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 5 Comments

Syria shoots, downs ‘hostile targets’ following Israeli attack

Press TV – November 30, 2018

Syria has shot down “hostile targets” following an Israeli attack south of the capital Damascus and foiled its goals despite the “intensity of the aggression,” state media said on Friday.

A military source did not specify the targets but dismissed earlier reports that an Israeli war plane had been downed.

Syrian air defenses responded to the attack aimed at the town of Kiswah, south of the capital Damascus Thursday night, destroying at least five missiles.

They “were able to foil its goals despite the intensity of the aggression,” state media said.

Israeli media claimed that Iranian military advisers as well as fighters from Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah were the main target in the attack.

Israel claims that Iran’s presence in Syria as part of an advisory mission requested by Damascus poses a threat to the regime’s security. Using this pretext, Tel Aviv has struck alleged positions of Iranian and Iran-backed forces across Syria over the course of the seven-year conflict.

The attacks are usually viewed as attempts to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

Israel and the US have even put pressure on Russia, another close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war against terrorist groups, to force Iran out of Syria.

Russia says Iran’s presence in Syria is at the official request of the Syrian government and other parties are not in a position to interfere with this issue.

In October, Moscow equipped Damascus with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles, days after Israeli fighter jets attacking Syrian targets used a Russian surveillance plane flying nearby as a shield and misled the Syrian air defenses to shoot it down.

Since then Israel has been very careful with its operation over Syria.

It is not yet clear whether the S-300s were among the air defense systems used in the Thursday night counterattacks.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport

By Rick Sterling | Rabble | November 26, 2018

In the Fall of 2012, a young man from Calgary Alberta, Damian Clairmont, received a new Canadian passport. He received this despite the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been secretly monitoring Damian and several others in Calgary and knew the young men were planning to join an armed extremist organization in Syria. At least five youth from Calgary did travel to Syria and Iraq where they all died with one becoming a suicide bomber reportedly killing 46 Iraqis.

In a bizarre contrast, in the spring of 2016, the Canadian government forced Damian’s mother, Christianne Boudreau, to surrender her Canadian passport. This article examines the strange circumstances and seeming irrationality.

Christianne Boudreau Countering Extremism

Unlike her son, who had been indoctrinated then recruited to join a terrorist group, Christianne Boudreau has worked with other parents internationally to create and promote educational programs to counter extremism. She converted her grief at the loss of Damian to help educate others how to prevent the same thing happening again.

Dr. Daniel Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies, described her role:

Christianne Boudreau was one of the first mothers to speak out publicly against violent radicalization with her own painful personal experience of losing her son Damian. Together with Christianne, I built up a network of affected parents around the world: the Mothers for Life Network, which currently includes about 150 families from 11 countries. It is the only international parental self-help group addressing the needs of those parents. I also trained Christianne to be a family counsellor to help other parents of children undergoing violent radicalization.

Mothers for Life works with the important goal of countering extremist ideology and violence which has exploded in the West as well as the Middle East. It uses human connections and sharing among families who have experienced radicalization, not just lectures and lofty seminars.

Christianne Boudreau has travelled and spoken at many places across Canada and internationally. She says the problem is not Islam or religion. A writer documented Chris’s visit to the Islamic Institute of Toronto in an article titled “Christianne Boudreau’s visit to Toronto left us inspired.” The writer reported:

Chris was asked, ‘Do you blame Islam and Muslims for the death of your son?’ Everyone held their breath. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. ‘No, I don’t blame Muslims or Islam for what happened to my son. I blame misguidance and bad choices. It is ideology similar to that of gangs and cults. It is the same. They prey on young impressionable adolescents and exploit them.

In addition to this organizational work, Chris Boudreau has been exceptional in another way: she has dared to criticize the intelligence security service of her native Canada. When CSIS agents first contacted her in January 2013 and told her they had been monitoring Damian for nearly two years, she asked why they had not warned her about his real intentions. Why did they not prevent him from getting a new Canadian passport?

CSIS “Research” 

After Damian’s death in January 2014, Chris Boudreau said she thought CSIS had some responsibility for his actions and death. In May 2014 she wrote a letter to CSIS politely expressing her questions and complaints. “We as a family have a right to know what has happened, and how our system has failed us.” She described her efforts to get answers over the previous year, how a CSIS agents had asked her to stop speaking out and asking questions. Finally, almost one half year later, CSIS Director Michel Coulombe responded to Chris’ inquiries. He did not answer her specific questions yet concluded that “the Service acted professionally and within its legislated mandate.” Regarding the warning of a CSIS agent, Director Coulombe evaded the issue by saying,“We have found no indication of an attempt to interfere in your relationship with other parties.” Regarding the disturbing consequences of radical indoctrination and violence, Coulombe said that CSIS “is conducting research to better understand this phenomenon in Canada.” This “research” is small comfort to a woman whose son was misled into joining a violent terrorist group, perhaps killing innocent Syrians and being killed himself.

Canada Takes Away Christianne Boudreau’s Passport

Fifteen months later, in February 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada acted in a way which definitely restricted and interfered with “her relationship with other parties”. While Chris and her son Lucas were visiting family in France, the Canadian government ordered her to surrender her Canadian passport. Christianne and her son were stuck in France, dependent on the generosity of family, for the next eighteen months. Chris was without income or ability to return home. Finally in November 2017, when Lucas’ father was dying of cancer, the Canadian embassy in France provided temporary emergency documentation so that Chris and her son could return home to Calgary.

The Official Reason Canada Took Away her Passport

Chris Boudreau has tried repeatedly to get her passport back. The official reason it was taken away and cannot be returned is that she provided “false or misleading information” in the passport application for her son Lucas. The “false and misleading” information was that she did not include the name of Lucas’ father on the passport application and did not disclose court orders from 2004-2007 which had defined the father’s visiting rights with baby Lucas (born in 2004).

In fact, Ms Boudreau was never married to the father, they did not live together when Lucas was born and Lucas’ birth certificate did not include the father’s name because the father wanted no responsibility. The applications for Lucas’ previous passports in 2007 and 2010 were filled out just the same way with no question or objection by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In addition, there was a court order and signed agreement between Ms. Boudreau and the father in January 2016 which confirmed a summer visit with the father.

Ironically, Lucas was unable to visit the father as specified because CIC took away the passports of him and his mother in the spring of 2016. Ms. Boudreau and Lucas were unable to return to Canada until November 2017 when they received emergency travel documents as the biological father was in a terminal stage of cancer.

“Very few people have been denied passports”

Ray Boisvert, former head of CSIS counter-terrorism was previously asked why CSIS did not prevent Damian Clairmont from receiving a passport if CSIS knew about his radicalization and intentions. Boisvert responded that denying a passport to a Canadian citizen was an infringement on freedom of movement and required solid evidence. “There have been very few people who have been denied passports because the threshold is so high. And rightfully so.”

If Boisvert’s assertion is true, then why has CIC acted so harshly against Christianne Boudreau? The violation in the passport application caused little or no harm. The complaint by the biological father was resolved in the January 2016 court order and agreement. This was not an issue of parental joint custody because Christianne Boudreau had been the sole parental custodian for Lucas since his birth.

Christianne Boudreau’s Effectiveness in Countering Extremism

This extreme decision is not only harming Christianne Boudreau and her children. It is also hurting the international campaign against extremism and violent radicalism.

Dr. Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies says:

Christianne’s work depends on her ability to travel, meet with other parents, participate in workshops, educate about the threat of violent radicalization and help affected families around the world. She was a main driving force behind the Mothers for Life Network and her absence from these important activities have caused serious harm to global issue of helping families in need.

Dr. Amar Amarasingam, Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society at University of Waterloo has said:

Since the loss of her son Damian, Christianne Boudreau has been tirelessly working to try and prevent other young men and women from traveling abroad to fight. She traveled around the world to meet with other parents and families, gave talks and conducted workshops. Especially now, with ISIS fighters and families being captured by Kurdish forces and parents in Western countries trying to get in touch with them, Chris’s activism is much-needed. She is trusted by families the world over and would be an invaluable resource today. I’m not too familiar with the particulars of her case, but her ability to travel is fundamental to her work and I hope it gets sorted out soon.

In 2016, as Christianne Boudreau was having her Canadian passport revoked, CBC produced a documentary describing her good work. The producer Gail McIntyre and director/writer Eileen Thalenberg have recently written:

Christianne Boudreau was the focus of our film, A Jihadi in the Family, which was broadcast on CBC – TV in 2016. Over a period of two years, we covered her important work as founder and driving force behind the movement Mothers for Life. This organization was set up to support families and to inform educators, the public and policy makers about the early signs of radicalization and how to prevent it. Her work in this area was far-reaching – uniting mothers in North America and Europe…. Without her passport, she is unable to continue with her high profile work.  This not only impacts anti-radicalization efforts, it severely affects her ability to support her herself and her son.

Public Appeal to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Passport!”

Chris Boudreau, born in Toronto, is still being denied a Canadian passport. She has the anguish of knowing her son died in a foreign land. She has the pain of not knowing what he might have done with others in the terrorist group. She has difficulty finding a job when employers easily see and identify her as the “jihadi’s mother”. She was punished and impoverished by being left in a foreign country without a passport for a year-and-a-half.

Why is Canada denying this woman her right to travel, guaranteed to all citizens under the Canadian Charter? Most importantly, why is Canada preventing this brave woman from continuing her effective work countering international extremism?

A petition to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Canadian Passport!” has been launched and can be seen here.

Rick Sterling can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

With Azov Sea Events Stealing Spotlight, US Gathers Huge Military Force in and Around Syria

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

While the world attention is riveted to the situation in the Azov Sea and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, US forces are getting prepared for a large-scale military operation in Syria.

US President Donald Trump announced this past March that the military personnel would be leaving Syria “very soon.” Looks like he has changed his mind since then. The five-ship strong Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has recently entered the Mediterranean Sea. American, British, French and Israeli aircraft are conducting round the clock flights across Syria’s airspace under the pretext of holding an exercise. The US-led anti-ISIS coalition aircraft are constantly on patrol. French Dupuy de Lome intelligence gathering vessel is also there, coordinating its activities with the American ships.

The US Army has rushed another 500 Marines to the Al Tanf base straddling the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq. 1,700 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which operates under US command, have also moved to reinforce the garrison. There are over a dozen US military locations in northeastern Syria, including at least four air strips stretched from Manbij in the vicinity of the Turkish border to Al-Hasakeh, the hub of the pro-American Kurds-dominated SDF forces located in northern Syria.

US soldiers started to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border earlier this month. The move is seen as offering a kind of protection to Kurdish forces from Turkey, probably because their support would be crucial if shooting starts. Russia warned the US twice in September about possible consequences in case Syria starts an operation to free its territory from foreign troops but the warning fell on deaf ears.

According to the Washington Post, the US is preparing to strike Iran in Syria under the pretext of being a target of unprovoked attack.

There are other signs an operation is a possibility. “Russia has been permissive, in consultation with the Israelis, about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria. We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” James Jeffrey, Washington’s special representative to Syria said in early November. Back then, the ambassador noted that forcing Iran to leave Syria was an objective of Trump’s economic pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. With the Islamic State reduced to insignificance and holding no territory to control, it would be a large order to find a legal pretext for a military action but the administration appears to be unfazed. With no threat to national security or strategic interests to justify getting embroiled in a conflict, it is adamant to stay.

The Arab nations, which are candidates for the “Arab NATO” membership, held a joint large-scale military exercise dubbed Arab Shield 1. It ended on Nov.16. The training event was seen as a preparation for a joint military operation. Tamer al-Shahawi, a member of the parliamentary National Defense and Security Committee and a former Egyptian military intelligence officer, said “There is close cooperation between the Gulf states, Egypt and Israel against Tehran. Arab countries are trying to benefit from any possible support against the Iranian influence.”

To increase the effect of sanctions, Iran should be separated from the Mediterranean Sea. The route across Iraq, Syria and Iran-friendly Lebanon should be made inaccessible. If Israel decides to strike what it calls Iranian targets, it would badly need US backing. Another reason to stay in Syria is making sure the nation would be divided in case the reconciliation and restoration process starts to gain momentum. Separating the SDF-controlled areas from the rest of the country is the only way to achieve it. Rebuilding rebel forces and controlling a vast chunk of land is the way to deny Syrian President Assad the international legitimacy he so desperately strives for. The ongoing American presence at Tanf and elsewhere demonstrates Washington has no intention to leave the Middle East as President Trump promised it would do. Neither would it pull out from Syria until a security situation in the region meets its goals.

The concentration of US military in the region is a worrisome sign. This huge force has gathered for something much more serious than just training. With the events in Europe grabbing public attention, the situation creep in Syria is staying under the radar. It shouldn’t be. Something is definitely being cooked up.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments