An Israeli military commander says Tel Aviv is prepared to carry out an attack on Syria if the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad collapses.
On Wednesday, Israeli Major General Amir Eshel said the Tel Aviv regime might launch a sudden war on Syria should Damascus fall.
“We have to be ready for any scenario, at a few hours’ notice,” Eshel stated.
He also said that the Israeli regime would even prepare for a “protracted” war with a “post-Assad Syria.”
The recent Israeli threat is seen as part of the Western-backed efforts to set up the scene for a military intervention in Syria.
The Tel Aviv regime has already carried out three air strikes on Syria.
On May 5, Syria said the Israeli regime had carried out an airstrike targeting a research center in a suburb of Damascus, following heavy losses inflicted upon al-Qaeda-affiliated groups by the Syrian army. According to Syrian media reports, the strike hit the Jamraya Research Center. The Jamraya facility had been targeted in another Israeli airstrike in January.
The May 5 Israeli aggression was Tel Aviv’s second strike on Syria in three days.
Turmoil has gripped Syria for over two years, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the foreign-sponsored militancy.
Western powers and their regional allies including the Israeli regime, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are partners in supporting the militant groups in Syria.
Israeli President Shimon Peres says no “compromise” should be made with Iran in the course of the negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of world powers.
At a Friday meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle – whose country is a member of the P5+1 – in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), Peres once again accused Iran of building a nuclear weapon and called for the escalation of pressure against the Islamic Republic in the run-up to the country’s presidential election on June 14.
“Iran is near elections and the sanctions may be having an impact. The sanctions and pressure should be continued in the buildup to the Iranian elections,” the hawkish Israeli president said.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran vehemently denies the allegations, citing religious prohibitions and a firm commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The German foreign minister, for his part, echoed the nuclear accusations against Iran, saying, “I assure you that we stand by our friends, our Israeli friends, and we look forward to continuing this deep and trustful relationship.”
Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – Russia, China, France, Britain, and the US plus Germany – have held several rounds of talks, mainly over the Iranian nuclear energy program. The latest rounds of the negotiations between the two sides were held in the Kazakh city of Almaty on April 5-6 and February 26-27.
On Thursday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Sa’eed Jalili, who represents the Islamic Republic in the talks with the P5+1, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing the other side, held talks in Istanbul, Turkey, regarding the negotiations.
Using the nuclear allegations as pretext, Washington and the European Union have imposed a series of illegal unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The bans come on top of four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran under the same pretext.
- Canada not to attend UN disarmament talks under Iran presidency (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US obstructing global disarmament: Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Why the failure in Almaty is a big deal (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Ankara – While all options are said to be still on the table, Barack Obama is clearly backing away from any deeper involvement in Syria now that it is clear that nothing but direct intervention is going to bring down the government in Damascus. In the past few months alone the armed groups have lost thousands of men. Although the conflict will grind on for some time yet, the Syrian military is steadily closing down the insurgency.
The sponsors of this adventure are in complete disarray. Like the Syrian National Council before it, the Syrian National Coalition has imploded. Muadh al Khatib is now a voice from the margins. Ghassan Hittu is the only person in the world who is the prime minister of a committee. These people are a completely lost cause.
In the real world and not the world of delusions there is horror at the video showing a ‘rebel’ commander cutting the heart out of the body of a dead soldier and biting into it. Perhaps it was the lungs or the liver. The media seems to be uncertain but somehow getting the organ right seems to be important. Far from denying this gory act, its perpetrator owned up to it before boasting of how he had sawed the bodies of captured shabiha into pieces.
Cannibalism appears to be a first but otherwise there is not much that the psychopaths inside the armed groups have not done in Syria. Or are people who can do such things not to be called psychopaths? They are the best people, after all, to fight such a vicious conflict. The self-styled Free Syrian Army says it will hunt down the man who cut out the soldier’s heart. Good. It can also hunt down the throat-cutters and the ‘rebels’ who have cut people’s heads off. It can hunt down the men who killed public servants before flinging their bodies from the top of the post office building in Al Bab. It can hunt down their comrades in arms who deliberately target civilians with car bombs. It can hunt down the murderers of the imam and 50 worshipers in the Damascus mosque and it can hunt down all the rapists and kidnappers, including the Chechens who abducted the two bishops still being held in Aleppo while the Christian leaders of western governments look the other way. In its hunting for all the individuals who have tainted its glorious reputation, the FSA won’t have to look far because many come from its own ranks. There is no shortage of evidence. The media is awash with gory mobile phone and video footage of the handiwork of these men because they take pride in their bravery and want the world to see. These are the people Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been arming and funding to take over Syria.
This is the reality behind the false narrative spun by the media for the past two years. It has regurgitated every lie and exaggeration of ‘activists’ and the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, according to which the Syrian ‘regime’ was about to fall any minute and every atrocity was actually the work of the Syrian military. With the exception of a few reports filed recently by Robert Fisk, virtually no one in the media mainstream has reported the fighting from the perspective of the Syrian government and army. Reporters were moved across borders by the armed groups and reported only their version of events. This is like relying on reporters embedded with the US army for an accurate account of what was happening in Iraq. And, again like Iraq, the same propaganda is being repeated about chemical weapons.
Finally, reality has had to take hold. It is not the ‘regime’ or the army which is on the point of collapse but the insurgency. Only direct armed intervention is going to save it and against the successes of the Syrian army and solid Russian support for the Syrian government this is extremely unlikely. Obama is being pushed to ‘do more’ but is showing no inclination to be sucked any deeper into this mess. The others will do nothing without the US taking the lead. Germany is against involvement and Austria has said that supplying arms to the ‘rebels’, which Britain has wanted to do, when the EU embargo ends on May 31 would be a violation of international law.
This week the spotlight has been on Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his trip to Washington to discuss Syria with Barack Obama. Turkey’s role in the unfolding of the Syrian conflict has been central. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya supplied the money and arms but it was Turkey whose territory was opened up to the mobilization of armed men crossing the border to bring down the ‘regime.’ Erdogan has not stepped back an inch from the position he took against Bashar al Assad more than two years ago. The only clear case of a chemical weapons attack has been the chlorine-based compound packed into a warhead and fired at a Syrian army checkpoint at Khan al Assal, killing a number of soldiers and civilians. Erdogan, however, is maintaining that it is the Syrian army that has used chemical weapons and by doing so has crossed Obama’s ‘red line. ’ Asked shortly before he left for Washington whether he would support a no-fly zone he replied: ‘Right from the beginning we would say yes.’
Last week cars packed with more than one ton of C4 and TNT were exploded in the Hatay province border town of Reyhanli. At least 51 people were killed. The destruction was massive. The municipality building and dozens of shops were obliterated. In the aftermath, cars with Syrian number plates were smashed and Syrian refugees attacked by enraged local people. As they milled around the destruction they cursed Erdogan. The atrocity followed a pattern that is familiar to Syrians: one bomb going off and then others exploding after people had gathered around the site of the first one, maximizing the death toll.
Notwithstanding the accusations of the Turkish government that this was the work of a terrorist group collaborating with the Syrian mukhabarat (intelligence), only the armed groups or one of the governments backing them would have a clear reason for setting up this outrage. The Syrian army is rolling up the insurgency, the ‘traitors’ council’ based in Doha has imploded and the Americans and Russians are sitting down to talk. The attack was very clearly designed to pull Turkey directly into the conflict across the border.
The attack on Reyhanli came a week after Israel launched a series of savage air attacks on Syria. This was not a one-off missile strike. Two attacks in three days, lasting for hours and with massive ordinance being dropped around Damascus, suggest that the aim was to provoke a Syrian response, opening the door to a general war in which Iran could be attacked. Israel claimed that the target was a shipment of missiles bound for Hizbullah but while a research station and a military food production plant were hit there was no evidence of any missiles being destroyed. The attacks appear to have been a strategic and political failure. In the aftermath Putin gave Netanyahu a dressing down and punished him either by supplying or threatening to supply Syria with advanced S300 anti-aircraft missiles. It is a measure of Israel’s arrogance that it insisted that it would launch further attacks if necessary and would destroy the Syrian government if it dared to retaliate.
Obama is now under pressure at home to ‘do more’. In Washington the same people who called for war on Iraq are now calling for widening the conflict in Syria. Senator Bob Menendez, a strong supporter of Israel, like virtually all congressmen and women, has introduced a bill calling on the administration to supply the ‘rebels’ with arms (as if it were not already doing that covertly or through support for arms being supplied by Saudi Arabia and Qatar). Former New York Times editor Bill Keller supported the war on Iraq and also wants the US to arm the ‘rebels’ and ‘defend the civilians being slaughtered in their homes’ in Syria. He is not talking about the civilians who have been slaughtered by the armed groups, of course.
The Washington Post has been forced to admit that the Syrian army is winning this conflict but is still nonplussed at the unfavorable turns of events. ‘What if the US doesn’t intervene in Syria?’ it asks, before providing the answers. Syria will fracture along sectarian lines, with Jabhat al Nusra taking over the north and ‘remnants of the regime’ taking strips of the west. Sectarian warfare will spread to Iraq – as if it has not already as a consequence of US intervention – and Lebanon. Chemical weapons would be up for grabs, ‘probably forcing further interventions by Israel in order to prevent their acquisition by Hizbullah or Al Qaida’. If the US does not intervene to prevent all of this Turkey and Saudi Arabia ‘could conclude that the United States is no longer a reliable ally.’
There are other more likely answers to ‘what will happen’. This is that the Syrian army will eventually drive the surviving ‘rebels’ out of the country and Bashar will come out of this more popular than ever because he saw off the greatest challenge to the Syrian state in its history. Elections will be held in 2014 and he will be elected president with 75 per cent of the vote. This at least is what the CIA is predicting.
Erdogan came to Washington also wanting Obama to ‘do more’, but clearly the US president does not want to do much if anything more. The Turkish media reported that Obama said Assad ‘must’ go but this was not what he said. He chose his words carefully. In his press conference with Erdogan he did not say that said Assad ‘must’ go but that he ‘needs’ to go and ‘needs’ to transfer power to a transitional body. The difference is all-important. Personally, Obama will not want to end his presidency stuck in an unwinnable and unpopular war, one, furthermore, that could quickly shift from regional to global crisis. A recent Pew poll shows that the American people have had enough of wars in the Middle East and the talks between Kerry and Lavrov indicate that this time, having allowed the Geneva agreement of July, 2012, to fall flat, the US is serious about reaching a negotiated end to this crisis even if others aren’t. If there is any danger of the US position being derailed, it will mostly likely arise within the ranks of its friends and allies.
- Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.
Iraq Then, Syria Now?
During the run-up to the Iraq War, the New York Times amplified erroneous official claims about weapons of mass destruction (FAIR Action Alert, 9/8/06). Looking at the paper’s coverage of allegations of chemical weapons use by Syria, some of the same patterns are clear: an over-reliance on official sources and the downplaying of critical or skeptical analysis of the available intelligence.
In “Syria Faces New Claim on Chemical Arms” (4/19/13), the paper told readers that, according to anonymous diplomats, Britain and France had sent letters to the United Nations about “credible evidence” against Syria regarding chemical weapon use. On April 24, the Times reported that Israel had “evidence that the Syrian government repeatedly used chemical weapons last month.”
The next day (4/25/13), the Times reported that, according to an unnamed “senior official,” the White House “shares the suspicions of several of its allies that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons.” The article spoke of the “mounting pressure to act against Syria,” adding, “Some analysts say they worry that if the United States waits too long, it will embolden President Bashar al-Assad.”
And then on April 26, under the headline “White House Says Syria Has Used Chemical Arms,” the Times reported:
The White House, in a letter to Congressional leaders, said the nation’s intelligence agencies assessed ”with varying degrees of confidence” that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had used the chemical agent sarin on a small scale.
The story included a source, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.), who presented the intelligence as more definitive: She “said the agencies actually expressed more certainty about the use of these weapons than the White House indicated in its letter.”
An April 27 Times report warned that there were dangers in waiting too long to respond to the charges that Syria has used chemical weapons:
If the president waits for courtroom levels of proof, what has been a few dozen deaths from chemical weapons–in a war that has claimed more than 70,000 lives–could multiply.
In following days, the accusations of chemical weapons use were presented uncritically as the premise for political stories: pondering how the White House would “respond to growing evidence that Syrian officials have used chemical weapons” (4/28/13) or noting Republican attacks on the White House following “revelations last week that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is believed to have used chemical weapons against his own people” (4/29/13).
On May 5, the Times was again weighing in on the political ramifications:
Confronted with evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, President Obama now finds himself in a geopolitical box, his credibility at stake with frustratingly few good options.
Then, on May 5 came an unusual shift: Carla Del Ponte, a member of a United Nations team investigating human rights abuses in the Syrian civil war, claimed that the UN had collected evidence that chemical weapons had been used in Syria–but by the rebels, not by the government.
After running a Reuters dispatch on May 6, the Times published its own piece on May 7, a report that talked about “new questions about the use of chemical weapons.” But the emphasis was clearly on rebutting the charges: The paper reported that the White House had “cast doubt on an assertion by a United Nations official that the Syrian rebels…had used the nerve agent sarin.” The piece included three U.S. sources–one named, two unnamed–who questioned the Del Ponte claims.
The article went on to reiterate that the White House was weighing other options based on “its conclusion that there was a strong likelihood that the Assad government has used chemical weapons on its citizens.”
Outside the New York Times, though, doubts about the evidence pointing to Syrian use of poison gas were evident from the very start. McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay (4/26/13) reported that one source characterized the U.S. intelligence as “tiny little data points” that were of “low to moderate” confidence.
An April 30 report from GlobalPost noted that a “spent canister” at the scene of one attack “and the symptoms displayed by the victims are inconsistent with a chemical weapon such as sarin gas.” A subsequent GlobalPost dispatch (5/5/13) reported that blood samples tested in Turkey were not turning up evidence of sarin exposure.
NBC reporter Richard Engel (5/8/13) traveled to Syria with rebel forces to examine evidence they had collected. He seemed to concur with the GlobalPost reports that the chemical exposure could very well have been from a type of tear gas.
By May 7, McClatchy was reporting that the case was looking weaker, noting that
no concrete proof has emerged, and some headline-grabbing claims have been discredited or contested. Officials worldwide now admit that no allegations rise to the level of certainty…..Existing evidence casts more doubt on claims of chemical weapons use than it does to help build a case that one or both sides of the conflict have employed them.
It is clear that the Times has promoted a storyline that treats the chemical weapons claims as more definitive than they are, and has given scant attention to subsequent revelations about the evidence.
In a recent column (5/5/13), Times public editor Margaret Sullivan argued that the paper still faces problems with its credibility based on its reporting about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction over 10 years ago. The Times “pledged more skeptical and rigorous reporting” going forward, and Sullivan argues that the Times “has taken important steps” in that direction.
But does the paper’s handling of the Syria chemical weapons stories demonstrate that the paper has learned lessons? Or is it repeating the same mistakes?
Ask the New York Times public editor to evaluate the paper’s reporting on Syria and chemical weapons.
New York Times
Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor
By once again blowing the chance to close a nuclear deal with Iran, the U.S. and its western partners have set themselves up for escalating the conflict with the Islamic republic
The most recent round of nuclear talks between the P5+1 were, by any meaningful measure, a failure. Even as she sought to put the best face possible on the non-outcome in Almaty, Kazakhstan last month, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton had to acknowledge that western members of the P5+1 and Iran “remain far apart on substance.”
Western officials blame the failure either on the Islamic Republic’s upcoming presidential election or on that old fallback, Iranian “intransigence.” In reality, talks failed because America and its western partners remain unwilling to recognise Iran’s right to enrich uranium under international safeguards.
U.S. strategic culture
As a sovereign state, Iran is entitled to enrich, if it chooses; as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is entitled to do so under safeguards. The NPT explicitly recognises signatories’ “inalienable right” to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. That this inalienable right includes the right to enrich is clear from the NPT itself, its negotiating history, and decades of state practice, with at least a dozen non-weapons state parties having developed safeguarded fuel-cycle infrastructures potentially able to support weapons programmes.
If Washington recognised Iran’s right to enrich, a nuclear deal with Tehran could be reached in a matter of weeks. As long as Washington refuses to acknowledge Tehran’s nuclear rights, no substantial agreement will be possible.
Yet the Obama administration is no closer than its processor to accepting safeguarded enrichment in Iran. This is partly due to pressure from various allies — Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France — and their American supporters, who expect Washington somehow to defy legal principle along with political reality and compel Tehran to surrender its indigenous fuel-cycle capabilities.
But the real reason for U.S. obstinacy is that recognising Iran’s nuclear rights would mean accepting the Islamic Republic as a legitimate entity representing legitimate national interests. No American administration since the Iranian Revolution — not even that of Barack Hussein Obama — has been willing to do this.
Washington’s unwillingness is grounded in some unattractive, but fundamental, aspects of American strategic culture: difficulty in coming to terms with independent power centres (whether globally or in vital regions like the Middle East); hostility to non-liberal states, unless they subordinate their foreign policies to U.S. preferences (as Egypt did under Sadat and Mubarak); and an unreflective but deeply rooted sense that U.S.-backed norms, legal rules, and transnational decision-making processes are meant to constrain others, not America itself.
Because these attitudes are so fundamental, it is unlikely that Obama will invest the political capital required to bring America’s Iran policy in line with strategic reality before his presidency ends. And so the controversy over Iran’s nuclear activities will grind on.
The world has experienced such diplomatic stasis before. In 2003-2005, Britain, France, and Germany worked (ostensibly) to prepare a nuclear settlement with Tehran; Iran suspended enrichment for nearly two years to encourage diplomatic progress. The initiative failed because the George W. Bush administration refused to join the talks unless Tehran was willing to abandon pursuit of indigenous fuel-cycle capabilities.
In 2009-2010, efforts to negotiate the exchange of most of Iran’s then-stockpile of enriched uranium for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor collapsed for similar reasons. In the May 2010 Tehran Declaration brokered by Brazil and Turkey, Iran accepted all of Washington’s terms for a fuel swap, yet the Obama administration rejected the Declaration because it openly recognised Iran’s right to enrich. Three years later, the administration is once again undermining chances for diplomatic success with its inflexibility regarding Iran’s nuclear rights.
The world has also seen what happens when America and its European partners demonstrate such bad faith in nuclear diplomacy with Tehran — Iran expands its nuclear infrastructure and capabilities. When Iran broke its nearly two-year suspension of enrichment in 2005, it could run less than a thousand centrifuges; today, it has installed 12,000 centrifuges, more than 9,000 of which process uranium gas to produce enriched uranium. In February 2010, Iran began enriching uranium to the near-20 per cent level needed to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) after the U.S. and its partners refused to sell the fuel; Iran consistently offered to suspend near-20 per cent enrichment if it could obtain an adequate fuel supply for the TRR. After the Obama administration torpedoed the Tehran Declaration, Iran accelerated its production of near-20 per cent uranium and began indigenously manufacturing fuel plates for the TRR.
With America and its European partners once again blowing an opening to accept Tehran’s nuclear rights and close a nuclear deal, we are likely to see another surge of expansion in Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Certainly, Iran will continue enriching, at the three to four per cent level needed for power reactors and at the near-20 per cent level needed for the TRR, and installing more efficient second-generation centrifuges. Iran also appears to be on track to commission a heavy water reactor at Arak next year.
Although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) consistently certifies that no nuclear materials have been diverted from Iran’s safeguarded nuclear facilities, all of these steps will be cited by Israel, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, and other constituencies in the U.S. hankering for military action as evidence that time for diplomacy with Tehran has run out. Additionally, it is possible that the Islamic Republic will find legitimate reasons to begin enriching above the 20 per cent level. While such higher-level enrichment would be done under IAEA safeguards, this would also be interpreted in the U.S. and Israel as provocative Iranian “escalation.”
Pressure on Obama
Obama would prefer to avoid another U.S.-initiated war in the Middle East. But his unwillingness to revive America’s deteriorating regional position through serious nuclear diplomacy with Tehran will increase pressure on him to order U.S. military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities before the end of his presidency.
Rather than openly abandon the delusion of U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, Obama will try to placate more hawkish elements by escalating America’s ongoing “dirty war” against the Islamic Republic — including economic warfare against civilians, threatening secondary sanctions against third countries in violation of U.S. WTO commitments, cyber-attacks, and support for groups doing things inside Iran that Washington elsewhere condemns as “terrorism,” stoking sectarian tensions, and fuelling further violence in Syria to prevent Tehran from “winning” there. But that, too, will only further destabilise the Middle East and bring American and Iran ever closer to the brink of overt confrontation.
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are authors of Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, New York: Metropolitan, 2013. They teach international relations, he at Penn State, she at American University.
- Nuclear Iran: What’s at Stake for the BRICS (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Flynt Leverett: U.S. Is Engaged in A Dirty War against Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
UKIP leader Nigel Farage
The UK Independence Party has gone from being a joke in the British political landscape to the fourth – or even third – best-supported party after their gains in the recent local elections, where they won a quarter of seats they had sent out a candidate to seize.
Here is a review on the newly-emerging far-right party, which has been repeatedly accused of racism, anti-Islamic bias and lobbying in favor of the Zionists in the British establishments and internationally.
UKIP has been a pro-Israeli regime propagandist and has been lobbying for an end to what it claims to be a despicable anti-Semitism in European history.
The party considers the regime as a victim versus the Palestinian and Middle Eastern resistance movements and considers the Israeli regime’s frequent aggressions against Palestinian civilians in line with Tel Aviv’s right to defend itself.
The party also frowns on the idea of punishing the regime through sanctions or cancellation of trade ties for disproportionate use of force against Palestinians and war crimes in the Gaza Strip, including the 2008 Gaza War in which the regime massacred over 1,000 Palestinians.
The party has also claimed that “Israel has maintained an impeccable human rights record” and has set up a “Friends of Israel” fan club in a bid to secure “true friendship” with Tel Aviv.
This is while, the party’s secretary Michael Zuckerman has boasted of “tremendous support for Israel within UKIP”.
In return for its efforts, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has earned the title of “a good friend of Israel” from Zionist media.
On the other hand, UKIP is understandably an outspoken enemy of Iran, against which it is prepared to use “military means”, and its Commons Norwich North once candidate Glen Tingle has said Britain “should blow them [Iran] up”.
UKIP European Parliament member Gerard Batten has also leveled accusations of terrorism and non-civilian nuclear work against Iran, labeling the country as “barbaric, pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic”.
UKIP has also pledged to provide strategic military support to any party that enters a conflict with Iran over its nuclear program, if the party comes to lead the British government.
This is while, Farage almost u-turned on that attitude in an interview in October 2012 saying Britain needs to sit down and talk with Iran over its nuclear program.
Farage has criticized the Iraq war, because of the waste of money and British soldiers’ lives to destabilize a Middle Eastern country, and also, because the invasion served Iran by removing Iraq’s former dictator Saddam, who had fought an imposed war against Iran between 1980 and 1988.
In the same interview on Iran, he also went on to describe the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq as achieving absolutely “nothing”.
UKIP has been probably most notorious in its Islamophobic attitudes.
Back in May 2012, a candidate for UKIP compared Islam’s holy book Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s political manifesto Mein Kampf, saying Muslims are “Fascist”.
This comes as Fascism has been the word used by UKIP opponents to describe its political creed especially after UKIP parliament candidate Steve Moxon embraced Norwegian mass-murderer Andres Breivik as a sensible and “convincing” anti-Islam “scholar”.
Meanwhile, UKIP’s former leader Lord Pearson notoriously invited Dutch MP Geert Wilders to the House of Lords to show his sacrilegious anti-Islam film to the British peers while the party’s 2011 candidate for Leicester South parliamentary by-election, Abhijit Pandya, once labeled Islam as “morally flawed and degenerate”.
Farage, himself, was one of the lead campaigners in 2010 for imposing a ban on the Islamic veil, known as burqa, also dismissing the application of Islamic Sharia Law in British major cities as “most certainly … not desirable”, though he has recently tried to distance himself from such comments, considering future expediency.
While the UKIP’s direct attacks on Islam have decreased recently in a bid to appeal to more British voters, the party’s continued Islamophobic approach was exposed by the militant English Defense League back in April after the EDL revealed on Facebook that they enjoy a mutual stance with UKIP on hatred of Islam.
EDL leader Tommy Robinson also explicitly said in an interview on April 4 that he supports UKIP and would vote for them, laying bare UKIP’s true anti-Islam nature.
And finally on Falklands, there is nothing to choose between UKIP and other major British political parties as they welcomed the result of the recent Falklands Islands referendum, with deputy party leader Paul Nuttal saying it led to a “resounding” result that “should surely put an end to Argentina’s frankly arrogant and unfounded claims” over the South Pacific territory.
People like myself who are either paleoconservatives or libertarians generally base their opposition to Israel and its Lobby on the costs of the de facto alliance, both financial and in terms of the wars and political chaos it has triggered. We try to demonstrate how damage to rule of law and actual U.S. interests has been a byproduct of the relationship and seek to explain what a sane U.S. foreign policy might actually look like, end of story. But it is different sensibility coming from the more humanitarian inclined political left of the spectrum, which one would assume to have a natural inclination to oppose purveyors of oppression and human suffering. With that in mind, I would observe it is remarkable how ineffective the left has been in mobilizing any serious opposition to Israel’s policies.
There is a kind of groupthink that might provide an explanation for the lack of results in spite of what sometimes appears to be frenzied activity on the part of the cluster of liberal groups that focus on the Middle East. Gatherings to “Expose AIPAC” often focus on strategy and training, hardly discussing or challenging the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at all. They also frequently fail to confront the full array of predominantly Jewish groups actively promoting Israel to include The Hudson Institute, WINEP, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, MEMRI, the American Enterprise Institute’s foreign policy wing, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The plethora of well-resourced and actively engaged Jewish groups involved in foreign policy and more particularly Israel promotion is a fact of life inside the Beltway and a critical element supporting the interventionist narrative in spite of the country as a whole becoming decidedly war weary.
At the same time, most American Jews are actually either cool or even hostile to the policies of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Peter Beinart has called for a boycott of goods produced in the Israeli settlements while Jeffrey Goldberg has denounced a coalition partner in Netanyahu’s government, writing “The Jewish Home party advances an ideology that will bring about the destruction (the self-destruction) of Israel.” This reaction to the Israeli drift rightwards politically speaking probably explains why most organizations on the political left that are critical of Israel are themselves led by American Jews and, to their credit, they are very outspoken regarding Israel’s human rights violations and its policies towards the Palestinians. But it sometimes seems that they are restrained in their critiques, something that might be attributed to what could be referred to as Jewish identity politics. Instead of biting the bullet and confronting the fact that it is leading Jewish organizations and their in-the-pocket politicians that have quite plausibly been the sine qua non in unleashing a series of actual and impending wars against the Muslim world, they instead sometimes serve as gatekeepers to frame and divert an uncomfortable truth while looking for alternative explanations.
Part of the problem is that even though major Jewish organizations’ support of interventionism represents what is only a minority opinion among Americans in general, they pretend to represent everyone who is Jewish and have successfully sold that canard to both congress and the media. And make no mistake, it is the financial and political muscle of Jewish groups like Anti-Defamation League, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, The American Jewish Committee, and the AIPAC that have given the green light to the hard line Israeli governments that have done so much damage to U.S. interests over the past decade. Christian Zionists are highly visible and are frequently cited to demonstrate the diversity of the Israeli Lobby, but they are largely irrelevant in terms of the actual dynamics of the pro-Israel effort. The reality is that no other national lobby can gather 13,000 of the faithful to its convention and count on the enthusiastic presence of numerous politicians from both parties as AIPAC does every year. But in spite of the quite visible power of the Jewish organizations it is sometimes more convenient and less troubling to look instead for other reasons to explain Tel Aviv’s misbehavior.
Progressives who are nervous about mentioning the shameless politicking of Jewish organizations frequently parrot what I call the Noam Chomsky rationalization, engaging actively in criticizing Israeli behavior while at the same time blaming the Middle East farrago on outside forces like American imperialism, capitalism, or oil. This approach largely exonerates Israel from actual blame for what it does and it also by extension minimizes the role of the Jewish groups that constitute the core of the pro-Israel lobby because it is claimed that Washington drives the Israeli government’s behavior based on its own self-interest not vice versa. As a result, the critics seldom question the legitimacy of the self-defined Jewish state and they are sometimes reluctant to support any measures that would actually do damage to Israel and its perceived interests.
Norman Finkelstein, a reliable progressive critic of Israeli actions, is of the Chomsky persuasion. He believes that the United States would have attacked Iraq anyway based on its own interests whether or not the fervently pro-Israel neocons had occupied key positions in the Pentagon, National Security Council, and White House. Finkelstein, in an article on the Israel Lobby, maintains that “fundamental U.S. policy in the Middle East hasn’t been affected by the Lobby,” rejects the view that Israel is a liability for U.S. national interests and states instead that it is a “unique and irreplaceable American asset.” He describes American Jewish elites as only “’pro’ an Israel that is useful to the U.S.” He insists that the neocons do not “generally have a primary allegiance to Israel [or] in fact, any allegiance to Israel.” The evidence, however, suggests otherwise: even agreeing that the Iraq war had a number of godfathers, the folks in the Pentagon and White House who cooked the books and led the charge had extremely well documented strong personal and even financial ties to Israel, so much so that several of them were accused of passing classified information to the Israeli Embassy.
The shaping of the narrative to minimize the role of organizations that are demonstrably Jewish – albeit unrepresentative of Jewish opinion in America -has also been very effective in some media circles. An April 2007 ninety minute presentation on PBS’s Frontpage with Bill Moyers “Buying the War,” a critical look at the genesis of the Iraq invasion, did not mention Israel’s supporters even once. And one only has to consider the recent Obama trip to Israel as well as the interrogation at the Chuck Hagel nomination, which was driven by organizations like AIPAC from behind the scenes, to realize that the United States government is no free agent when it comes to Middle Eastern policy. Ignoring the dominant role of “Jewish leaders” and the well-funded organizations that they head which falsely pretend to represent their entire community is a convenient obfuscation if one does not want to address causality, a bit like being concerned about global warming without looking at the actual science.
President Obama recognizes the power represented by Jewish groups acting as a cohesive and focused political entity when he meets with them collectively in the White House, so why the reluctance in recognizing and confronting their persistent pro-war, pro-intervention agenda? At a March 7th session, shortly before his trip to Israel, Obama met with Alan Solow, Lee Rosenberg and Michael Kassen of AIPAC; Barry Curtiss-Lusher of the Anti-Defamation League; David Harris of the American Jewish Committee; Jerry Silverman of Jewish Federations of North America; Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz; former Congressman Robert Wexler; Dan Mariaschin of B’nai B’rith; Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street; and Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Admittedly the linking of Jewish organizations’ easy access to policymakers with their possible role in launching a string of failed wars in Asia and still more in the offing on behalf of Israel makes many people uncomfortable because it invites the dual loyalty critique and even more extreme commentary that is ultimately racist in nature, but there you have it. The president knows who is pulling his strings and so should the rest of us.
Americans can either confront the ugly realities of what has been going on for the past twelve years or they can pretend that what they are seeing is not really there. The gatekeepers are understandably concerned lest Washington’s next war be blamed on American Jews so it is far better to suggest against all evidence that Israel is a pawn of American imperialism or that recent wars have been about oil or capitalist exploitation. The reality is that if progressives (and the rest of us) really want to stop a proxy war against Syria followed by a catastrophic conflict with Iran we have to take the blinkers off and be willing to confront Jewish groups like AIPAC and the ADL directly and persistently.
- Israel’s Fraying Image (nationalinterest.org)
- AIPAC Bill Runs Into Unusual Resistance In Congress (alethonews.wordpress.com)
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of weapons moving around or being utilized.” — Obama Threatens Force Against Syria, The New York Times, August 21, 2012
When President Obama spoke these words last August he might have dug himself a hole twice as deep as the one he was in last week.
As four NYT journalists reported on Sunday’s front page article “Off-the-Cuff Obama Line Put U.S. in Bind on Syria”: “Confronted with evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, President Obama now finds himself in a geopolitical box, his credibility at stake with frustratingly few good options.”
If there will be any effort to hold Mr. Obama’s feet to the fire the heat just got hotter.
Buried on page A9 of Monday’s edition of “the paper of record” was a statement by Carla del Ponte, a United Nations human rights investigator looking into the claims that chemical weapons were used in Syria:
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces using chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said Carla Del Ponte, a commission member.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals,” Ms. Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television. “According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated.”
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.
Question: Will President Obama hold the rebels accountable for crossing his red line?
In his own words he did say that he has “been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground” [emphasis added] that the use of chemical weapons is a red line that even the Times saw last summer as a threat of force.
The question is not likely to be answered in the affirmative. This is the politics of war. For more than two years the rebels have been carrying out terrorist bombings, grisly executions, and other assorted attacks that would likely have had Washington and its allies foaming at the mouths were it the Assad regime who was the perpetrator.
Washington has failed to join the Syrian government in their own War on Terror, even though al Qaeda is active in the country. And it just goes to show as one more example: when al Qaeda is used as a boogeyman for war we should not take the pretext seriously, as in the case of Mali. If al Qaeda is on the same side as Uncle Sam, as they were in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Balkans in the 1990s, Libya in 2011, and now Syria, then there will be no drone attacks on the terrorists.
And now we see al Qaeda-linked terrorists suspected of using chemical weapons. Don’t look for the U.S. to come to the defense of the Syrian government.
Already we can see the change of attitude reflected at The New York Times.
Not two weeks ago, on April 26, 2013, it was front page news at the NYT that “White House Says It Believes Syria Has Used Chemical Arms.”
From that moment the story became a sensation. It fit well into the parameters of the propaganda system. An official enemy who we are actively trying to overthrow may have used chemical weapons and provided a clear pretext for force. Here comes the march to war.
But when UN investigators looked into the matter and reported that “Syrian Rebels May Have Used Sarin,” the story fell from grace and was pushed to page A9.
This differential treatment signals the death of the “red line” story, which is too bad because it would have been interesting to see The New York Times, or anyone in the mainstream media, investigate how Syrian rebels could have gotten a hold of sarin, especially considering a former Bush official has openly considered the idea of Israel being behind the attack.
The differential treatment may possibly throw a wrench in the drive to war . . . for now. Because, also on page A9 of Monday’s edition of The New York Times is “Attacks on Syria Fuel Debate Over U.S.-Led Airstrikes,” a report of an Israeli attack in Syria:
WASHINGTON — The apparent ease with which Israel struck missile sites and, by Syrian accounts, a major military research center near Damascus in recent days has stoked debate in Washington about whether American-led airstrikes are the logical next step to cripple President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to counter the rebel forces or use chemical weapons.
That option was already being debated in secret by the United States, Britain and France in the days leading to the Israeli strikes, according to American and foreign officials involved in the discussions. On Sunday, Senator John McCain, who has long advocated a much deeper American role in the Syrian civil war, argued that the Israeli attacks, at least one of which appears to have been launched from outside Syrian airspace, weakens the argument that Syria’s air defense system would be a major challenge.
“The Israelis seem to be able to penetrate it fairly easily,” Mr. McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”
While attacks in Syria might be easier than previously suspected, the justifications for war received a setback. But if history is any guide this is only a minor and temporary one.
Once again we see a familiar pattern: our united ‘progressives’ — a veritable synagogue, a collective of great humanists — lend their support to the oppressed. This time it is the ‘Syrian people’ whom they wish to liberate and their enemy is obviously Bashar Al-Assad.
It is a pattern we know only too well by now. Ahead of the ‘War Against Terror’ we witnessed years of intensive progressive Feminist and Gay rights groups campaigning for women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Progressive type also disapproves of the current state of the Iranian revolution. Too often he or she would insist that we must liberate the Iranians. This week, once again, we see a united front made by Tariq Ali, Ilan Pappe, Fredric Jameson, Norman Finkelstein and other very good people. They clearly want us to ‘liberate the Syrians’.
They campaign openly to topple Bashar al-Asad’s regime. They call the ‘people of the world’ to pressure the Syrian regime to end its oppression of and war on the ‘Syrian people.’ “We demand,” they say, that Bashar al-Asad leave immediately without excuses so that Syria can begin a speedy recovery towards a democratic future.”
So here we are. Ali, Jameson, Pappe, Finelstein & Co, in light of recent Israeli attacks on Syria, will you be kind enough, gentlemen, to tell us whom you support? Is it Assad or Netanyahu you side with?
One may wonder how it can happen that our progressives, in spite of their good will and humanist credentials, have managed once again to end up in bed with Bibi?
The answer is actually embarrassingly simple. The progressive philosophy is the latest and most advanced form of ideological choseness. Calling yourself a progressive obviously entails that someone else must be a ‘reactionary’. It is a self-appointed elitist standpoint that is inherently intolerant and supremacist.
Progressiveness is a precept devoted to the Tikun Olam (fixing the universe) ideology. It is premised on the idea that those who uphold progressive ideas ‘know better.’ They know what is right and who is wrong. The Progressive knows how to differentiate between the Kosher and the Taref. The progressive voices in this case somehow turn a blind eye to the embarrassing fact that it is actually the Syrian army, largely Sunnis, that is fighting the so-called ‘Syrian rebels’ who are a motley gathering of foreign mercenaries.
Perhaps our progressive interventionists could do with reading Robert Fisk more often — after all, Fisk may as well be the only reliable English-speaking reporter in the region. “The word ‘democracy’ and the name of Assad do not blend very well in much of Syria.” Fisk reports, but he continues, “I rather think that the soldiers of what is officially called the Syrian Arab Army are fighting for Syria rather than Assad. But fighting they are and maybe, for now, they are winning an unwinnable war.”
Bearing that in mind, I would expect progressive intellectuals, amongst them respected historians and political scientists, to be slightly more sophisticated and ponder a bit more before providing Israel with a moral green light to launch a new global conflict.
I would tend to believe that it is about time our progressive humanists engaged in a preliminary ethical investigation. They should find out, once and for all, what it is that constitutes moral grounds for any form of intervention. I believe that before you preach ‘Tikun Olam’ and claim to ‘fix the world’ in the name of the usually cited ‘civil society’ and ‘international law,’ you may want to consider fixing yourselves first.
Despite recent findings of a UN probe team that foreign-backed insurgents in Syria have used chemical agents in the country, a top US senator has introduced a bill requiring the Obama administration to supply lethal weapons to the anti-Damascus militant gangs.
Democratic Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menedez, well known for his pro-Israeli views and positions, introduced the legislation to his committee on Monday, which would explicitly allow Washington to provide arms and military training to the militant gangs that include al-Qaeda-linked terrorist elements.
The move came on the heels of unprovoked Israeli aerial and missile attacks against Syria in recent days, in a flagrant violation of international law, and a report by a UN investigation team that pointed to “strong, concrete suspicions” of chemical weapons use by foreign-backed Syrian opposition forces that are engaged in a US-led move to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN commission probing the alleged use of the nerve gas sarin in Syria, announced on Sunday that the country’s opposition forces, and not the Assad regime, were behind the use of chemical weapons.
There are “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” of sarin gas being used “on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she reportedly told a Swiss-Italian television outlet.
Meanwhile, Menendez, a New York Democrat who was recently investigated for ties and accepting campaign funds and bribes from a criminal enterprise in Florida, claimed in a statement that “the Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options.”
He further called for clear measures by Washington to tip the military balance in favor of the anti-Damascus militant gangs in line with the recent aggression by the Zionist regime.
“The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the US must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria,” Menendez further claimed.
Such remarks come while Menendez, along with several other pro-Israeli Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US Congress have been urging the Obama administration to intervene in Syria in support of the insurgents and in a bid to remove President Assad from power.
Furthermore, Menendez is also among those American lawmakers that recently pushed a resolution calling for US backing of the Tel Aviv regime in case it decides to wage a military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This is while the Iranian authorities have made clear that in case the Zionist regime dared to attack the country in any way, major Israeli cities will be “razed to the ground” in response and retaliatory measures against US interests would extend far beyond the immediate region.
The US Senate is to consider the draft bill introduced by Menendez next week. In order for the bill to become law, it has to first be approved by the committee, win passage on the floors of the House and the Senate and then signed by President Barack Obama.
Made in the USA. (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)
While the United States peddled the threat of chemical weapon use to justify its arming of the ‘opposition’ in Syria, Israel destroyed a chemical research facility near Damascus which was allegedly developing such weapons – thus unleashing every single potentially-poisonous particle on the Syrian public.
Thus guaranteeing that regardless of whether there actually were chemical weapons being developed or manufactured, regardless of whether the Assad regime actually was intending to use them against the Syrian people, the Syrian people now HAVE been exposed – and in a totally uncontrolled fashion – to not only the known toxic effects of whatever was in the facility, but also to the unknown effects of the random mixing of such chemicals under conditions of extreme heat, and their dissemination who knows how far, causing who knows what extent of environmental and health damage.
Assad mustn’t be permitted to do it – but Israel can – and with US blessing.
Israel’s “right to defend its interests,” Obama immediately called it.
Others would call it a cold-blooded murderous attack on the Syrian civilian population.
Others would call it terrorism.
Since the Twin Towers attacks in 2001, the use of pre-emptive strikes by both the US and Israel to ‘counter terrorism’ or ‘defend security interests’ have escalated to become the single most potent military threat to civilians anywhere on the planet.
Massacre after massacre of civilians by drones, by rockets, by misguided ‘targeted assassinations’ in Afghanistan, Gaza, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan – the list goes on. The list of perpetrators, however, is short – only two. The United States and Israel.
Are such peremptory attacks permissible in international law?
No – international law is very clear on this. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter only allows military actions in self-defence when under direct attack.
Did Syria attack Israel?
Did Syria make any kind of threatening military action towards Israel?
Israel carried out an indefensible-in-international-law military strike in Syria causing direct – and very real – harm to a large civilian population.
A more clear – and potent – case of state terrorism would be hard to find.
Did the US condemn this act, which exposed Syrians to the very harm Obama was trumpeting around the world his intention to protect them from?
He defended Israel’s attack.
A more clear – and potent – case of abject hypocrUSAy would be hard to find.
If the world is not to degenerate into a complete USraeli military dictatorship, the international community must act immediately to curtail this latest slide down the slippery slope of human rights derogation, where notions such as international law and due process are merely quaint antiquities, and self-determination a notion reserved solely for Yanqui and Zionist imperialists – or it won’t just be the end of the alphabet we have reached.
And for those in the US who doubt your country’s role in Israeli military activities, take a look at where your tax-dollars are going. Take a look at this photograph (above) of the remains of the rocket fired by an Israeli military plane at a building housing media agencies in Gaza in November 2012, destroying civilian property and persons. YOU are financing these atrocities. Yes, YOU.
You – and the United Nations – should be reminded of the UN General Assembly’s Measures to prevent and combat terrorism contained in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of 2006, where it stated its resolve to “… find, deny safe haven and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle of extradite or prosecute, any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts…”
The world is waiting – especially all the Syrians just exposed to the cocktail of chemicals the US was claiming to protect them from, while defending Israel’s right to toast them.
- Julie Webb-Pullman is a New Zealand activist and writer currently based in Gaza. She has written on social and political justice issues for New Zealand Independent News website SCOOP since 2003, as well as for websites in Australia, Canada, the US, and Latin America, and participated in several human rights observation missions.
Bush Era’s Good-Ol’ Familiar Faces Resurface again on Operation Syria
With the approaching Finale for Syria’s Assad the Uber-Neocon architects of US foreign policy have been hard at work. Assuming (albeit knowingly) the certainty of the soon-to-come end for Assad’s government, the neocon architects are drafting and crafting their objectives for the Post-Assad regime in Syria. I know the mainstream and pseudo-alternative media use the term “Neocon” loosely and willy-nilly, but I can assure you this is not the case with my usage of “Uber-Neocons’ here. You will see that clearly after reading the following facts.
Yesterday I found this ‘interesting’ article in the Turkish newspaper Zaman [All Emphasis Mine]:
A group of US foreign policy analysts called on President Barack Obama and his government to work towards drawing a common road map with Turkey that will help ensure the formation of a democratic, impartial government in a post-conflict Syrian.
The US think-tank Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently formed its Turkey Task Force, co-chaired by former US Ambassadors to Turkey Mort Abramowitz and Eric Edelman. The task force released on Thursday its first report, which points to a critical need for Turkey and the US to cooperate to ensure the formation of a “stable and decent post-Assad Syria.”
The report also analyzes the differences between Turkish and the US interests in a post-Assad Syria, explaining why it is imperative that the US immediately engage with Turkey in establishing joint principles and plans after a possible ouster of the Assad regime.
Do you notice how many times the term “Post-Assad” is used? Also, pay attention to the analysts named in the article and note that we are looking at architects rather than analysts.
Immediately after reading the above article I went to Bipartisan Public Center’s website, and found that the Zaman article had missed the highly-important third name of the architects aka analysts who have already moved to phase 2, Post-Assad regime building, obviously due to their confidence of the soon-to-come fall of the current regime [All Emphasis Mine]:
Ridding Syria of President Bashar al-Assad has been the goal of the United States for almost two years. Should this objective be achieved, however, an enormous challenge will still remain: stabilizing and rebuilding Syria in a way that advances U.S. strategic goals and values. However, this will require the cooperation of Turkey—a U.S. ally with keen interests in Syria. Ankara’s interests, however, do not perfectly match Washington’s, posing the challenge for policymakers of finding the right tools to align more closely the two countries’ visions of Syria’s future.
Join BPC as it announces the creation of its Turkey Task Force, co-chaired by former Ambassadors to Turkey Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman, and releases a paper on the opportunities and obstacles to U.S.-Turkish cooperation towards a post-Assad Syria.
And then, at the bottom, BPC lists the task force principals which includes a third name:
Panel discussion and report release featuring
Co-chair, BPC Turkey Task Force
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Ambassador Eric S. Edelman
Co-chair, BPC Turkey Task Force
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Senior Professional Staff Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
That’s right. We get an additional name: Alan Makovsky.
Now, let us quickly check out the importance of these three personalities and what they have in common:
Those of you who have been following the Uber-Neocon circle and its Uber-Players should immediately recognize Morton Abramowitz. [All Emphasis Mine]:
Morton Abramowitz, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, establishes a number of blue-ribbon commissions, headed by a select group of foreign policy elite, to create a new post-Cold War foreign policy framework for the US. Some of the group’s members are Madeleine Albright, Henry Cisneros, John Deutch, Richard Holbrooke, Alice Rivlin, David Gergen, Admiral William Crowe, Leon Fuerth, as well as Richard Perle and James Schlesinger, the two token conservatives who quickly resign. The commission will issue a number of policy papers recommending the increased use of military force to intervene in the domestic conflicts of other countries.
After six years as the Carnegie Endowment’s president, Morton Abramowitz moves on to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Morton Abramowitz writes a column in the Wall Street Journal calling for a drastic change in US policy toward Kosovo. Abramowitz is highly influential with the US foreign policy elite (see 1991-1997). He argues that the US should support full independence for Kosovo and outlines options the US should consider including bombing Serbia, removing Milosevic, arming and training the KLA, and turning Kosovo into a NATO protectorate through the use of ground forces.
I guess you all would agree with me on Abramowitz’ status as one of the crusty Uber-Neocon architects of our dirty foreign policies and even dirtier foreign operations.
Edelman has close ties to Vice President Cheney and several other administration hardliners. He served under Cheney, then Secretary of Defense, in the first Bush administration. At that time, Cheney set up a “shop” to “think about American foreign policy after the Cold War, at the grand strategic level.” The project also included Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby. [New Yorker, 4/1/02]
From 2001-2003, Edelman served as a national security adviser to Cheney. In 2003, he was named as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, attempting to convince Turkey to cooperate with the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iraq. Turkish columnist Ibrahim Karagul noted, “Edelman is probably the least-liked and trusted American ambassador in Turkish history.”
A good thing this was written by staunch Democrats pre the Obama Administration. Considering Edelman’s current roles under the Obama administration we won’t be hearing much from that same group- the beauty of partisanship in the dumb-ification of Americans. Okay, let’s read more from commentaries and articles written by partisans way-back-when it was okay to expose and criticize Neocons:
But now I discover it was Eric Edelman, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. That makes a whole lot more sense–and really dictates the proper response. You see, Edelman is kind of a poor man’s Dougie Feith. A total shill–and Cheney asset–though apparently with less flair for propaganda. He’s the bright guy who first suggested leaking Plame’s identity to rebut Joe Wilson. And, as it turns out, he realized after he suggested to Libby that the information in question may have been classified.
After a June 2003 article about Iraq and the uranium issues that caused concern to Edelman and Libby, Edelman asked Libby whether information about how the Wilson trip came about could be shared with the press to rebut allegations that the Vice president sent Wilson. Edelman testified that Libby responded by indicating that there would be “complications” at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly. Ambassador Edelman indicated that he understood that he and Libby could not further discuss the matter because they were speaking on an open telephone line and Edelman understood that this might involve classified information.
I guess the above facts on Eric Edelman suffice in establishing him as one of the second-generation Uber-Neocons. Are you with me, so far? Good.
Now, let’s move to the down-played third name: Alan Makovsky. Since WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) shows up as one of the common denominators among the long-term Uber-Neocons, we’ll start with Makovsky’s role there:
The Turkish Research Program is one of the centers of the institute. The program was founded in 1995. Under the leadership of founding director Alan Makovsky and interim director Helena Kane Finn, the center introduced the Washington policymaking community to Turkey’s leading political, diplomatic, military, and academic figures.
More general background information on Alan Makovsky:
Alan O. Makovsky, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is a specialist on Middle Eastern and Turkish affairs. He joined The Washington Institute in May 1994 after eleven years in the U.S. Department of State, where he had served in a variety of capacities, most notably as Special Advisor to Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross in 1993 and in 1992 as State Department liaison officer and political advisor to Operation Provide Comfort.
And here are a few words on his long-term role in the Turkish-Israeli lobby from an article in NYT:
Probably the most important development in Turkish foreign policy in the last year has been the rapid improvement of its ties with Israel, and this newly strengthened relationship was a topic of much discussion among Turks and Americans at the conference. Alan Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Middle East Politics called the speed with which Turkey and Israel have drawn together ”truly breathtaking” and described it as ”probably the most dramatic strategic development in the Middle East since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty ended the prospect of a multi-front Arab assault on Israel.”
Makovsky as an ever-present figure in the infamous Turkish-Israeli Lobby ATC:
Speaking at the ATC meetings, Makovsky argued that the most serious problem between Turkey and the United States may stem from the Greek Cypriots’ possible membership in the EU. Indicating that Greece would tell the EU that if the Greek Cypriots are not admitted into the club, Athens would veto enlargement, Makovsky said Washington would have to make a choice: either support the Greek Cypriots’ membership at the expense of Turkey’s anger or oppose the membership. He stressed that the United Sates should not support the Greek Cypriots’ EU membership bid. He also said that he thought the new administration would endorse the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project.
I have to reluctantly include an excerpt from a site and an author I truly dislike. The only reason I am including this is to show you the gang Alan Makovsky is an integral part of, so forgive me for the source:
The new Israeli-Turkish partnership is a great fit internationally as well. Foiled by human rights groups in Europe, and the Greek and Armenian lobbies in the United States, Turkey needs a reliable source of high-technology military equipment. The Israelis, always the odd man out in their region, are now not so much alone. As for the Turks, always relative strangers in Washington, they now have a well-connected ally, of whom they expect a great deal… And Ankara relies not just on Israelis; to make its case, it also counts on American Jews such as Morton Abramowitz, Douglas Feith, Alan Makovsky, Richard Perle, and Harold Rhode, and on institutions such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
Now, let me point out another major commonality between Eric Edelman and Alan Makovsky. Last week I wrote an article on the CIA’s Graham Fuller and his role in US BlackOps in Central Asia & the Caucasus, his intimate connections to the Boston Terror Attack, and very importantly, his presence in my State Secrets Privilege Gallery since 2008. It is time to revisit my SSP Gallery again: Click Here
Alan Makovsky and Eric Edelman have both been present together with Graham Fuller in that gallery since 2008.
When we check further we’ll see that Graham Fuller and Morton Abramowitz have also been intimately connected, including their partnership in books and policy paper projects.
There are not many political and intelligence related subjects where I publically engage in and declare ‘absolutism.’ However, there is one point in these areas that has achieved an ‘absolute’ status for me, and that is: There are no coincidences when it comes to the CIA and our foreign policy black deeds. Whether it is CIA’s Graham Fuller’s intimate connections to the Boston Terror Attack, or, Syria-Russia, or the same-old Uber-Neocon architects’ foot-prints and work in the background, a declaration of ‘simple coincidences’ is nothing short of denial.
I have been writing, analyzing and talking about the connections between the Boston Terror, CIA, Graham Fuller, Syria, Russia, and Caucasus-Central Asia. You can read my previous analyses at Boiling Frogs Post, and I encourage you to listen to my recent interview, and watch this video. The operatives and Uber-Neocon architects are now busy preparing the second phase for Syria.