At least two members of the Syrian Armed Forces have been killed in an Israeli drone strike in a village in Syria’s strategic southwestern province of Quneitra, located on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, Lebanon’s al-Manar TV says.
The official television station of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah said on Wednesday that “two members of Syria’s National Defense Forces (a branch of Syrian Armed Forces) were killed when an Israeli drone targeted their car at the entrance of Hader, in Quneitra Province.”
However, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people in total were killed in the airstrike.
The UK-based group said an Israeli plane had hit a car, killing two men from the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, and three men from pro-government popular committees in the Druze town.
The Israeli military has not yet commented on the attack.
Hader borders the line separating Syria’s side of the Golan Heights from the Israeli section, occupied since the war of 1967.
The Druze town has been witnessing clashes between militants and members of pro-Syrian government groups in recent weeks.
The attack in Syria on Wednesday is not the first to be carried out by Israel.
Back in January, an Israeli attack claimed the lives of six Hezbollah fighters near Quneitra.
The Tel Aviv regime has carried out at least five airstrikes against the region over the past year.
Along with Syrian forces, Hezbollah fighters are fighting ISIL and other foreign-backed militant groups, which have been operating in Syria against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, acting like the coach of a football team, instructed congressional Republicans to “leave everything on the field” in the fight to defeat the international agreement with Iran over its nuclear energy program, a sign of how openly Israel now feels it controls the GOP.
Israel wants the Iran deal killed so it can keep open options for bombing Iran and imposing “regime change.” And, immediately after Dermer’s locker-room-style pep talk, Republican members of Congress began falling into line, lashing out at Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials who negotiated the agreement reached earlier this month between six world powers and Iran.
John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)
House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would “do everything possible to stop” the deal. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Kerry that he’d been “fleeced.” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for president, said the next president – presumably meaning himself if he’s successful – could overturn the deal because it’s not a binding treaty.
All this was remarkable even to The New York Times, which usually looks the other way when Israel flexes its muscles in Official Washington. A Times article by Jonathan Weisman noted the extraordinary image of the Israeli ambassador using sports analogies to rile up Republican congressmen to overturn a key foreign policy initiative of the U.S. president.
“Mr. Dermer’s plea — which is widely expected to be followed by a mail, television and radio assault in Democratic districts during the August recess — demonstrates the power that the Israeli government and supportive interest groups in Washington maintain over congressional Republicans,” Weisman wrote.
Obviously, some of this Republican opposition is driven by a deep-seated animus toward President Barack Obama, but the confidence that Dermer, a onetime aide to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, showed in rallying Republicans to Israel’s foreign policy priority of hostility toward Iran reveals the degree to which the GOP as a party now ties its agenda in the Mideast to Israel.
Connections between Republicans and right-wing Israelis have grown tighter since the presidency of George W. Bush who began implementing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of “regime change” against countries on his enemies list, starting with Iraq in 2003. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]
Since then, wealthy Israeli backers, such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, have funneled huge sums of money into Republican campaigns. In 2012, Netanyahu virtually endorsed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And, on March 3, House Speaker Boehner invited Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress that was remarkable in its overt appeal to American lawmakers to embrace Israel’s foreign policy regarding Iran – over the head of the sitting U.S. president.
Clearing the Bench
In its current pull-out-all-the-stops to show who controls the U.S. political/media process, Israel also is throwing other key assets into this high-stakes fight. For instance, Steven Emerson, who has long posed as a professional journalist and then as a terrorism expert, was a featured speaker at a Times Square rally urging not only death to the nuclear deal but death to Iran.
“So now we have the situation that unless Congress acts, I believe ultimately, it’s going to be left up to a military strike to take out the Iranian capabilities to take out the world,” Emerson told a cheering crowd of a couple of thousand. “If we don’t take out Iran, they will take out us. … Because if you don’t your children will never forgive you – never forgive you for not protecting this country from a holocaust. For not protecting the state of Israel from a holocaust that will occur assuredly just as it did 70 years ago.
“Rarely in our lives do we have an opportunity to change history. Now is the time to do it, and it’s your responsibility all of ours, to go do it.”
Earlier this year, Emerson, who has longstanding close ties to right-wing Israeli officials, was caught in a blatant falsehood – and slur – about British Muslims. Appearing on Fox News as a “terrorism expert,” claimed that Birmingham, England, is now a “Muslim-only city” and that in parts of London “Muslim religious police … beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”
Emerson asserted that Muslim areas have become “no-go zones” for non-Muslims and cited as an example “actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” Yet, Birmingham, Great Britain’s second-largest city of more than one million people, is nearly half Christian, with the Muslim population less than one-quarter and with significant numbers of Sikhs, Hindus, Jews and non-religious.
As Emerson’s Muslim-bashing remarks drew criticism from the media watchdog group FAIR and ridicule across the United Kingdom, he acknowledged that his “comments about Birmingham were totally in error” and vowed not to blame someone else for his slander.
“I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful,” Emerson said in an apparent attempt to do exactly that, shift the blame to some unnamed source for supposedly misleading him. [For more on Emerson’s history of distortion, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Sorry Record of a Muslim Basher.”]
The heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal is bringing out of the woodwork other longstanding alarmists about Iran’s nuclear program, which has not produced a single bomb, even as some of these same “experts” have studiously ignored the reality of Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal.
For instance, David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security (with the now unfortunate acronym ISIS), is back in the pages of the mainstream media warning about possible gaps in the Iranian nuclear deal.
Albright was sought out for comment by the Times’ neocon national security writer Michael R. Gordon, who co-authored the infamous “aluminum tube” story in 2002 that was used to frighten Americans about “mushroom clouds” if they didn’t support an invasion of Iraq. On Thursday, Gordon’s latest story quoting Albright was entitled, online, “Verification Process in Iran Deal Is Questioned by Some Experts.”
An Iraq War Reunion
At times, this Israeli-driven battle to stop the Iran deal almost seems like a reunion of discredited journalists and “experts” who helped guide the United States into the disastrous Iraq War. In 2002, around the same time Gordon, along with Judith Miller, was penning his “aluminum tube” story, Albright and his ISIS were key figures in stoking the hysteria for invading Iraq around other false allegations of its WMD program.
At the end of summer 2002, as Bush was beginning his advertising roll-out for the Iraq invasion and dispatching his top aides to the Sunday talk shows to cite Gordon’s “aluminum tube” article and warn about “smoking guns” and “mushroom clouds,” Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts?” – which declared:
“High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility … This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. … This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”
Albright’s alarming allegations fit neatly with Bush’s propaganda barrage, although as the months wore on – with Bush’s warnings about aluminum tubes and yellowcake from Africa growing more outlandish – Albright did display more skepticism about the existence of a revived Iraqi nuclear program. Still, he remained a “go-to” expert on other Iraqi purported WMD, such as chemical and biological weapons. In a typical quote on Oct. 5, 2002, Albright told CNN: “In terms of the chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has those now.”
After Bush launched the Iraq invasion in March 2003 and Iraq’s secret WMD caches didn’t materialize, Albright admitted that he had been conned, explaining to the Los Angeles Times : “If there are no weapons of mass destruction, I’ll be mad as hell. I certainly accepted the administration claims on chemical and biological weapons. I figured they were telling the truth. If there is no [unconventional weapons program], I will feel taken, because they asserted these things with such assurance.” [See FAIR’s “The Great WMD Hunt,”]
Albright may have been “mad as hell” for being “taken” but he suffered little, especially compared to the nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of slain Iraqis, not to mention the millions of others who have suffered from the chaos that the likes of Emerson, Gordon and Albright helped unleash across the Middle East.
In recent years, Albright and his institute have adopted a similarly alarmist role regarding Iran and its purported pursuit of a nuclear weapon, even though U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran terminated that weapons project in 2003.
Nevertheless, Albright transformed his organization into a sparkplug for a new confrontation with Iran. Though Albright insists that he is an objective professional, his ISIS has published hundreds of articles about Iran, which has not produced a single nuclear bomb, while barely mentioning Israel’s hundreds of bombs.
An examination of the ISIS Web site reveals only a few technical articles relating to Israel’s nukes while Albright’s ISIS expanded its coverage of Iran’s nuclear program so much that it was moved onto a separate Web site. The articles have not only hyped developments in Iran but also have attacked U.S. media critics who questioned the fear-mongering about Iran.
A few years ago when a non-mainstream journalist confronted Albright about the disparity between his institute’s concentration on Iran and de minimis coverage of Israel, he angrily responded that he was working on a report about Israel’s nuclear program. But there is still no substantive assessment of Israel’s large nuclear arsenal on the ISIS Web site, which goes back to 1993.
Despite this evidence of bias, mainstream U.S. news outlets typically present Albright as a neutral analyst. They also ignore his checkered past, for instance, his prominent role in promoting President Bush’s pre-invasion case that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.
However, since Albright and these other propagandists/operatives were never held accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, they are now rushing back into the game to try to block the Iran nuclear deal – and potentially turn the ball over in pursuit of another Mideast war. Netanyahu and his team appear to be clearing the bench for a goal-line stand.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
A group of pro-Israel protesters have held a rally in New York City against the recent nuclear conclusion between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
The pro-Zionist protesters gathered in Times Square on Wednesday to demand that Congress veto the proposed agreement with Iran.
The organizers of the rally had advertised heavily in recent weeks and had hoped for a much larger turnout. The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel.
The demonstrators said the nuclear deal is a threat to Israel and global security, but even the staunchest allies of Israel in the West see it as a step toward a more secure and peaceful world.
Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14 in the Austrian capital of Vienna following days of intensive talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fiercely opposed any nuclear agreement.
Israel pressed lawmakers on Wednesday to block the deal, with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer meeting privately with a group of about 40 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
The nuclear accord does not need Congressional approval to take effect, but Republicans are expected to try and add provision with legislation that would block President Barack Obama from removing anti-Iran sanctions imposed by Congress.
The nuclear conclusion reached last week has been praised by world leaders, leaving Tel Aviv isolated.
The dust has settled and the long-awaited agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) called “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) is now a reality. The JCPOA curtails Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Also real is the UN Resolution 2231, which terminates all the previous sanctions resolutions against Iran passed by the United Nations Security Council. We can now announce the winners and losers in the 36-year battle between Iran and its adversaries.
Let us start with the biggest loser in this battle, the colonial regime in Palestine called Israel. Since the 1990s Israeli leaders, particularly Benjamin Netanyahu, had been trying to wage a war against both Iraq and Iran, the twin pillars standing in the way of Eretz Yisrael. But they tried to do this on the cheap, sending American boys and girls to kill and get killed. They were successful in the case of Iraq, but had a difficult time getting the US to wage a war against Iran. They could not even convince George W. Bush to go along with bombing Iran, even though they had planted their “neoconservative” allies around a president who was not known for his immense intelligence and had visions of talking to God before invading Iraq. The work became harder when Barack Obama became president. Once again, Israel planted some of its best lobbyists, such as Dennis Ross, in the highest positions in the White House and charged them with the task of formulating and implementing the policy of “tough diplomacy,” a policy designed to wage a military attack on Iran after a series of steps beginning with imposing the most severe sanctions on the country. Yet, however hard Israeli leaders tried, they could not get President Obama to take the last step and start a war with Iran. The job became even tougher when some of the Israeli lobbyists left the Obama Administration and Secretary of State John Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton, a sycophant who often mimicked Netanyahu when it came to Iran. In the end Israel not only could not get the US to attack Iran, it had to witness the entire policy of “tough diplomacy” wither away.
The failure to make the US wage a war on Iran is, indeed, one of the greatest losses that Israel has ever suffered. Ironically, the dim-witted Prime Minister of Israel played a role in this loss. Netanyahu’s bizarre behavior was, indeed, instrumental in making the P5+1 take Israel’s demands and threats not too seriously. His insane and incessant comparison of Iran to another Nazi Germany intent to commit Holocaust, his silly and continuous warnings that an Iranian nuclear bomb awaits not only Israel but Europe and the US, his ridiculous spectacle at the UN holding a cartoon of an Iranian bomb—mocked by some as “Bibi’s Wile E. Coyote UN speech”—his behind the scene maneuvers with some like mined looney-tunes in the US to defy Obama and speak before a joint session of the US Congress, all helped to isolate Israel and prevent it from playing a major role in the final P5+1 negotiations with Iran. We should all be grateful to Bibi for helping to prevent another war in the Middle East on behalf of Israel!
Israel’s loss is, of course, also the loss of its surrogates in the US. The gambling and “investor” tycoons allied with Israel, the congressmen and women who owe their seats and survival in the US Congress to these moguls, the lobbyists who are nourished by these magnates, the “neoconservatives” whose existence depends on the benevolence of these tycoons, all and all have suffered a colossal loss. The Adelson and Sabans of this world, the Cottons, Kirks and Menendezs, the AIPACs, WINEPs and UANIs, the Kristols, Boltons and Dubowitzs, have all lost big with the conclusion of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231. We should give them an “A” for effort and an “F” for the final outcome.
All this, of course, does not mean that the colonial regime of Israel and its allies are finished with trying to do to Iran what was done to Iraq. They still have a few weeks left to try to kill the US part of the bargain. But even if they muster all the needed votes against the JCPOA in the Congress, the agreement between Iran and the rest of the P5+1 will not go away. Neither will the UN Resolution 2231. That ship has already sailed!
Other big losers in the decades-old battle between Iran and the West are the medieval regimes in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf, that are nurtured and nourished by the West, especially by the Unites States. A common argument, originally manufactured in Israel, is that if Iran is allowed to enrich uranium, Arab regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, will try to develop nuclear weapons of their own. But this argument only shows how backward and reactionary these regimes are. Why didn’t these sheikhdoms try to acquire nuclear weapons when a colonial power in their midst acquired hundreds of nuclear warheads? Is it because the existence of these regimes is interwoven with colonialism? Is it because they fear resistance to colonialism? Is it because they see Iran as assisting the anti-colonial forces? Is it because they, too, had been working for decades to maintain sanctions against Iran and were hoping that one day the US or Israel or both would attack Iran? Well, the medieval regimes did not get what they wished for.
Who was the main winner in the 36-year old battle? It is tempting to say Iran. But, for reasons explained below, that would not be my first choice. My answer is actually the international corporations! As I once explained, the battle in the US over sanctioning Iran, particularly during the Clinton’s presidency, was fought between two forces, Israel and its lobby groups that were the underwriters of the sanctions, and the corporate lobby that fought to remove the sanctions. Needless to say that the corporate concern was with profit and not with the ethics of trying to starve a nation.
Over the years the corporate lobby, led particularly by the aerospace, energy and agricultural industries, lost all hopes of ever defeating its much stronger foe. Starting in the second half of the Clinton Administration foreign corporations, too, became increasingly fearful of dealing with Iran. Eventually most ties between Iran and the capitalist world economy were severed. Now, after the JCPOA, both the American and foreign corporations are salivating over the prospect of returning to Iran. Like vultures that see a fresh carcass, the capitalists of the world see a large “market” ahead of them, a country with nearly 80 million people who are mostly young and thirsty to possess commodities. Even before the final agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1, delegation after delegation of corporate leaders started to visit Iran to reserve their seats at the forthcoming auction. But they might be jumping the gun. The sanctions that would eventually be removed are only related to the nuclear dispute. All the other sanctions, related to such things as Iran’s putative “support for terrorism” and “violations of human rights,” will remain in place.
But did Iran have a victory? I was asked this question after a talk I gave following the April Lausanne agreement. My answer was that the battle between Iran and the P5+1 is analogous to the fight between a lightweight and a heavyweight. Even before the fight begins you know who will get clobbered. The question, however, is if the lightweight will still be standing after the fight. If so, that might be construed as a victory for the lightweight. Using that analogy one can say that President Rouhani’s negotiators were victorious. They entered the talks from a position of weakness and yet they were standing at the end. In the process they crossed many of their own “redlines,” to use a favored expression of both sides of the negotiation. The redlines that were crossed by Iran included, among others, the demand that the agreement be reached in one stage rather than different stages, that military sites not be inspected at all and that sanctions be removed on the day of the agreement and not gradually. The UN Resolution 2231 also includes many concessions by Iran, such as a “snap-back” mechanism, a mechanism that would effectively trigger sanctions on Iran if one of the parties to the nuclear deal, such as the US, contends that Iran is not fulfilling its commitments. In addition, the resolution keeps in place an arms embargo and a ban on ballistic missile technology for many years to come. When examined closely, the concessions made by Iran in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 appear shocking to those who have followed these negotiations from the very beginning.
Some “principalist” opponents of Rouhani in Iran have compared the concessions made by his team of negotiators to those made in the past by Iran in its struggle against imperialist forces—for example, the 1828 Turkmanchai Treaty with tsarist Russia, or the 1890 Tobacco Concession and, subsequently, the 1919 “Anglo-Persian Agreement” signed with the British, or the 1988 “poison chalice,” which forced Iran to accept a cease-fire demanded by the United Nations Security Council to end the war imposed by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and his supporters, particularly the U.S. But what the “principalists” ignore is that making concessions did not begin with Rouhani and his team. It started a long time ago, in 2003, during the presidency of the “reformist” President Khatami, when Iran entered negotiations over its enrichment of uranium with E3 (France, Britain, and Germany), while contending at the same time that it has an “inalienable right” under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium. Only a country in a weak position negotiates with others over its “inalienable right.” But this weakness was not associated solely with Iranian reformists. President Ahmadinejad, who was considered to be an ally of the principalists, also negotiated with the P5+1 over Iran’s enrichment of uranium. Thus, both the reformists and principalists negotiated with the biggest powers in the world from a position of weakness. This, however, was unavoidable, given the circumstances. When your whole existence is threatened, you might make a Faustian bargain, and, if you are still standing, you might call it a victory.
The biggest victim of 36 years of sanctions and threats against Iran was the Iranian working class who had to live not only under conditions of deprivation and austerity but under continuous fear of being bombed by the US, Israel or both. Let us hope that Iran’s “victory” brings about some relief for these workingmen and women, rather than merely translating into a bonanza for the Western corporate elites and their counterparts in Iran. Let us also hope that with lessening of daily threats of war, the fear of the “enemy”—a common phrase in the parlance of Iranian leaders—lessens and a greater freedom descends upon the people of Iran.
Sasan Fayazmanesh is Professor Emeritus of Economics at California State University, Fresno, and is the author of Containing Iran: Obama’s Policy of “Tough Diplomacy.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, July 14, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared on a television program called “Good Life in Germany” in which she spoke to local teenagers. Among the audience was 13-year old Reem, a Palestinian refugee who fled their camp in Lebanon four years ago.
In a shaky voice of fluent German, young Reem said, “I have goals like everyone else…I want to go to university.” But, she explained, she and her family are facing deportation. “It’s very unpleasant to see how others can enjoy life, and I can’t myself,” she said, “I want to study like them.”
Chancellor Merkel responded with the standard western fear of immigrants. She said if Germany allows her to stay, there would be thousands of Palestinian refugees, then thousands from “Africa” [that singular large country] who will flood into Germany. “We can’t cope with that,” she said. Young Reem crumbled into sobs and the footage of her interaction with Chancellor Merkel went viral.
Headlines and political analyses across Europe and the US spoke of Merkel’s dry response to a brave young girl, desperate for an education, for a stable life, for something other than lingering fear and uncertainty to frame her life. I read at least 15 opinion pieces on the subject and most of them couched this incident in the much discussed “immigration crisis” across Western Europe. Leftist pundits decried the chancellor as heartless, insisting on Europe’s humanitarian responsibility toward the wretched of the earth. Right leaning pundits reflected Merkel’s sentiments that Europe has enough to worry about and should not be expected to shoulder the world’s problems. Others were simply pragmatic, echoing the words of Eva Lohse, president of the German association of Cities, who cautioned, “we’re reaching the limits of our capacity.”
All these analyses missed the most important point.
Not one of them touched on the fact that Reem is a refugee directly and indirectly because of German actions. Reem, and “thousands upon thousands of Palestinian refugees,” as Merkel put it, are stateless precisely because Germany, along with other western nations, continue to support zionist colonialism that expelled, and continues to expel, native Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.
Reem would not need German “charity” were Germany to insist that the massive military and financial aid it gives to Israel were contingent upon Israel’s adherence to basic tenets of morality and international law that explicitly provide for Reem’s right to live in her native homeland. Reem might not be lost in the world were Germany to make the many lucrative European economic and trade incentives with Israel subject to the dismantling of zionist Apartheid that deems Reem a lesser human, unworthy of her own heritage, home and history.
More than the enormous material support is the favor that Germany provides for Israel to continue its entrenchment of the structural and institutional racism that offers state privilege and entitlement to citizens in accordance with their religion. It because of the political cover that Germany offers Israel to destroy Palestinian life, society and culture with impunity that Reem remains a refugee. Last summer, for example, after Israel slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza from land, air, and sea, the UN Human Rights Council urged the UN to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations [of international law] in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014.” Despite the horrors that Palestinians endured in the course of 51 days, Germany could not muster the most minimal affirmation of Palestinian humanity to vote in favor of such an inquiry.
Watching the footage, those of us with a sense of history seethe at such a spectacle of western paternalism. Merkel’s response to Reem was a perfect display of the breathtaking willful denial of western governments, which are, indeed, creators of refugees. The truth is that our part of the world lay in ruin, fear, and devastation largely because of imperialist western “operations” in pursuit of a hegemony that holds our lives in contempt, utter disregard and disrespect. From Iraq to Palestine to Libya, Germany has played a terrible and pivotal role in the evisceration of us. Together with her western allies, they have made beggars of our mothers, doctors and teachers, and produced generations of traumatized, illiterates into what were once high functioning populations. They destroyed our societies down to their foundations, vanquishing the social mechanisms that marginalize extreme elements, such that into the chaos and gaping misery of our lives now runs amuck a powerful organization of ghoulish fanatics.
So, to the leftist, the right wing, and the pragmatic pundits, I say spare us, please, the self-serving blather about whether you should or should not “help” others. It would be enough to cease the harm caused and perpetuated by the west. At a minimum, try to inject a kernel of honest self-reproach into your discourse on immigration. Examine your role in creating the crises around the world that bring desperate human beings to your shores. Ask why is Reem a refugee, perhaps third or fourth generation, and what is Germany’s role in the boundless tragedy that continues to befall Palestine.
Bill Kristol is the epitome of the neocon mindset: cultivating a staid and urbane image while writing the most unhinged and mendacious claptrap. In his utterly predictable denunciation of the successful Iran nuclear talks, Kristol frames the issue in the crudest terms: if the deal goes through on the US end it will mean the return of $150 billion that was seized from the Iranians by the United States — and that money will be used to commit terrorism against the United States!
Writes Kristol: “How can we debate [the deal] without attending to the $150 billion that is going to a regime with American blood on its hands?”
Kristol cites the National Review which makes the fatuous claim (first made by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, which is headed by a close advisor to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu) that Iran has killed 1,000 Americans since 9/11. It turns out any weapon used in Iraq or Afghanistan against an invading US military that might have Iranian manufacturing origins means that the Iranians are responsible for that kill.
Do they want to extrapolate that methodology to include every bullet sold by the US military-industrial complex to every despot overseas?
But you can see how this works: A Netanyahu think tank makes an outlandish claim, it is picked up by the National Review and thus laundered from its biased foreign origins, and then recycled and further laundered by Kristol in his publication. Cute trick.
And Kristol’s objection to foreigners with American blood on their hands is highly selective. The Marxist-jihadist death cult Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MeK) has plenty of American blood on its hands, but Kristol’s own magazine joined other neocon voices in urging the US to remove the terrorists from the US list of terror organizations. Why? Because they are Kristol’s kind of terrorists: they infiltrate Iran to assassinate civilians and foment unrest, while passing off laptops with Mossad-fabricated data made to look like Iranian nuclear weapons activity.
The other thing that has Kristol up in arms over the deal is what he calls the “notorious” Annex III.D.10 of the agreement, which he claims will “help the Iranian regime fight off attempts by others to slow its nuclear program, and more.”
But what does that annex really say?
10. Co-operation in the form of training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems;
10. Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems.
In other words, the parties to the agreement will help Iran protect against attempts to attack and sabotage Iran’s peaceful and legal nuclear program. Recall the Israeli/US cyberattack on Iranian nuclear facilities and simultaneous programs to assassinate Iranian scientists. Kristol is furious that anyone would find such illegal and murderous activity to be objectionable. After all, blood on one’s hands doesn’t count if it is Iranian or other Muslim blood.
Oh, and, writes Kristol: “Munich!!!” That is obligatory any time diplomacy supplants neocon lust for war.
That Kristol remains a favored foreign policy “expert” on stations like FoxNews and ABC says very little about the quality of his analysis and much more about his saying what the mainstream media want their audiences to hear.
And so, despite his doubts and dithering, President Obama is taking us to war in another Muslim country. Good for him. … Our invasions have in fact been liberations… in our own national interest, of course, but also to protect Muslim peoples and help them free themselves. Libya will be America’s fifth war of Muslim liberation.
Ah yes, that glorious liberation of Libya!
Indeed the timeline of his faulty predictions would no-doubt span the equator. Imagine any other profession where one can be so consistently wrong and still be considered (and handsomely remunerated as) an expert. Imagine your doctor was wrong in his diagnosis 95 percent of the time. Imagine your financial advisor consistently lost 95 percent of anything you invest with him. Yet Kristol continues to drop his golden turds from the hallowed heights of the foreign policy firmament. What a country…
MOSCOW – Western countries expect changes in Iran’s policy in the Middle East following a nuclear deal concluded between Tehran and the international negotiators, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and the United States, concluded a historic agreement to ensure the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program.
“I spoke to [Iranian] President Rouhani yesterday and I said that we want to see a change in an approach that Iran takes to issues like Syria and Yemen and to terrorism in the region and we want the change in [Iran’s] behavior,” Cameron said on NBC News’ Meet the Press.
The prime minister added that the nuclear deal with Iran could lead to this change and was “so much better than the alternative,” since without the deal Iran would obtain nuclear weapon and Western countries might have to begin military action in the region against Iran.
The P5+1 international negotiators have been attempting to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran that would insure the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program since November 2013, when an interim was signed.
According to the final text of the nuclear agreement, Iran will under no circumstances seek to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon and, in exchange, will receive sanctions relief. The text details how the final treaty will positively contribute to regional Middle Eastern security.
On Saturday, the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would not change its rigid stance on defense capability and regional policy in light of the agreement with the international negotiators.
In an insane Machiavellian screed, American-Jewish archaeologist and Zionist propagandist Alex Joffe has suggested that the nascent West-Iran rapprochement in the form of the nuclear deal be used as an opportunity for criminal subversion and sabotage now that Tehran will ostensibly open up its economy to Western business investment.
In a July 14, 2015, column for the Times of Israel titled “The Deal with Iran: How to Make Lemonade out of Lemons,” the Zionist extremist outlines a plethora of ways that Iran can be undermined and destabilized. Joffe called upon “those interested in the two goals of an Iran free of nuclear weapons and free of religious fascism” to heed his words, insisting that the West-Iran nuclear deal is perhaps “a moment of opportunity” to infiltrate and destroy the Persian nation from within.
Joffe explained that the P5+1-Iran nuclear accord recently signed in Vienna would result in Iran “undergo[ing] a kind of opening to the world. Taking advantage of that is now a vital goal for Western intelligence and public diplomacy. It is the art of the making lemonade out of lemons.”
Joffe’s “making lemonade out of lemons” scheme to overthrow the Iranian government entails using business investment prospects as a cover for “Western intelligence agencies to gather information and to subvert the Iranian regime.” He specifically encourages an intense campaign of cyber and psychological warfare:
“One simple method are thumb drives, containing viruses to disrupt computer networks, encryption tools to evade official Iranian surveillance and firewalls, and perhaps even Western music, literature, and movies to subvert repressive traditional values, and classics of Western political thought to inspire Iranian society toward a liberal democratic future. Jazz and rock, blue jeans and samizdat literature played roles in the collapse of communism; their 21st century analogs should be enlisted to help Iranian society reform itself.”
On top of those subterfuges Joffe champions the introduction of “cyberweapons such as Stuxnet into Iran’s strategic computer systems. Stuxnet and its variants were designed to slow and damage computer controlled systems in Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, apparently with success.” He goes on:
“New cyberweapons aimed at Iran’s nuclear program, along with missiles, military radars and aviation, regime communications and record-keeping, and much more, are all likely under development in the West — or should be. Certainly Iran is developing its own cyberweapons, and has virtually unlimited access points to introduce them. But its weapons are aimed Western banks and critical infrastructure, such as electric grids. It is in everyone’s interest that more targeted cyberattacks on the Iranian regime and its weapons systems succeed first.”
“Openness should have a high price for Iran, both real and imagined,” writes the deranged Zionist. He calls for Western (read: Zionist) spies to front as businessmen and stir unrest in the Islamic Republic. “Access to Iran’s people also raises the potential to eventually inspire them to overthrow the repressive theocratic fascist regime,” he ponders with glee. Additionally he advocates stoking up ethnic minorities in Iran such as the “Ahwaz Arab tribes in the southwest, ethnic Baluch and Pashtun in the east, and Azeris and Kurds in the northwest” to revolt against Tehran.
“But putting the regime under stress is an important means to bring about its transformation or demise,” Joffe proclaims, openly inciting for sabotage and crimes within a sovereign state. Increasing alienation between Iranian youth and the Islamic government should be a “paramount strategic goal” for the Zionist-led West, he concludes.
Joffe’s provocative screed seems to mimic a little-known 2009 strategy paper produced by the Brookings Institution (a US-based neocon, pro-Israel think tank) entitled “Which Path to Persia?” That paper, co-authored by former high-level American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) member Martin Indyk, likewise outlined duplicitous strategies for out-and-out regime change in Iran including cyber warfare, terrorism, inciting internal ethnic and religious strife, provoking rebellion among minority groups, a military coup, and overt military invasion. The Brookings neocons weighed the pros and cons of each “option” and even went so far as to call for “goading” Iran into retaliating to US covert operations as a pretext for war.
Copyright 2015 Non-Aligned Media
Halliburton and Schlumberger, both among the world’s largest oilfield services companies, are waiting in hopeful anticipation that Iran will ramp up oil exports, US media have said.
The Houston-based giants have “a well-established presence” in the Persian Gulf region and given the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)’s vast oilfield service needs, the US firms are positioned to benefit, the Houston Business Journal said.
“They are the quiet beneficiaries,” Randall Grace, lead energy analyst at Houston-based Chilton Capital Management, told the publication.
“Schlumberger is the Western company with substantial expertise in Iran, operating for several decades until sanctions forced their departure in 2013,” said Grace.
Schlumberger’s commitment to Iran is so strong that one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries forked over $232.7 million in penalties to the US Department of Justice in March, the Journal said.
“And let’s not forget the incentives. Iranian revenue was $418 million for Schlumberger in 2012, with operating margins north of 50%, more than double the corporate average of about 20%,” it added.
“The profitability potentials are huge,” said Grace, according to the Houston Business Journal.
Non-US affiliates of Schlumberger continued to work for the NIOC and its subsidiaries after the American company ceased operations in Iran in 2013.
According to Schlumberger’s Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard, cited by the media, the company was awaiting the lifting of sanctions on Iran to return to the country.
“When the sanctions are lifted and when it is permissible, we will evaluate going back in,” he was quoted as saying.
Iran’s energy officials have said the country would raise oil output by 500,000 barrels per day after two months and by 1 million bpd after six months when the sanctions were lifted.
On Wednesday, NIOC Managing Director Rokneddin Javadi said Iran’s oil production could reach its pre-sanctions level of 4 million bpd within six to 12 months if there is enough demand. He said NIOC had tested a production increase and been ordered to raise output in all fields.
Am I laughing. As Peace Prize Obama lectures us and the Republicans and Neocons have a cow, maybe we should pause to contemplate the full fraudulent spectacle in progress and analyze what we are being told about the just-concluded nuclear negotiations with Iran.
First of all, I’ve been wondering what in the world the phalanx of negotiators could possibly have been talking about behind closed doors all these many months, busting through multiple deadlines, in view of the fact that Iran possesses no nukes and has no nuclear weapons program, is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and that Iran’s Mullah leadership has denounced and outlawed nuclear weapons from day one.
In the second place, it is amazing that any deal at all was arrived at, since Obama & Company, following in the footsteps of Bush and Clinton, has allowed the incredible demonization of Iran to go unchecked and unchallenged. The demonization continues and may yet blow up the agreement on Capitol Hill.
Both the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini (who ignited a revolution which terminated the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979) and the current supreme leader, the Grand Ayatollah Hosseini Khamenei, issued Fatwas which prohibit the manufacture and/or use of nuclear weapons by Iran.
On top of that, the U.S. intelligence community has itself informed the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the Congress of the non-existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program in no uncertain terms in 2007. These conclusions were reiterated in 2011. The information was contained in National Intelligence Estimates compiled by Washington’s 16 intelligence agencies.
Alas, no one at the White House or on Capitol Hill dares mention these important documents, or cares to inform the ignorant American public about the facts. Why? Do the beltway politicians want the average American to remain in the dark? Hmm. What is going on here?
What is going on is blatant extortion and blackmail by the Obama White House, with Tehran on the receiving-end. President Obama has done a very effective job of it, building upon the hysteria, insanity and wholesale mendacity of the Cheney Regency, aka, the G.W. Bush Presidency. Obama does indeed deserve a prize for taking the targeting of Iran to the next level.
The non-existent Iranian nuke program and the purported, much-hyped Iranian race to build a nuclear weapon have been used as a stick to try to beat Iran into the ground, or at least to its knees, via all-encompassing economic and financial sanctions. The injustice and dishonesty of this undertaking is breathtaking. Europe stood by and watched. No, it did more. It joined in. The hapless leadership in Tehran had no choice at the end of the day but to deal with the extortionists. Tehran wanted to reunite with the world economy.
Here it gets tricky. Because Tehran had no nukes and Tehran knew that Washington knew that Tehran had no nukes, what exactly could Tehran do to prove a negative–thereby eliminating the purported “threat”–which negative was already well known to be a fact by the sanctimonious, stone-faced extortionists sitting across the table? Tehran concluded, nevertheless, it should go along with this charade, and not embarrass Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In short, Tehran decided the best tactic was to humor the bullying White House.
All that mattered for Tehran was an abatement of economic warfare and, most importantly, renewed access to European markets and to the international banking system. To achieve this, Tehran has agreed, under the current document, to amazingly intrusive, and redundant intervention into its nuclear energy program. This amounts to a de facto foreign takeover of the Iranian civilian nuclear program. It is an insult to Iran’s sovereignty, but what has Iran actually lost? It had nothing to lose to begin with.
One might ask as this point: what was the motivation for Washington’s peculiar conduct? Well, here it is. In the United States, as in Europe, there is something called domestic politics, which has now degenerated into a self-perpetuating business, dominated by special interest groups and lobbies, all largely driven by cash, to wit, campaign contributions. It is big business.
Since the general public does not have the time nor inclination to figure out which politician is relatively honest and which is an outright charlatan, advertising is most important to clarify the issue. Brainwashing or, if you like, spin and PR, costs money. It requires enormous campaign contributions and media support.
To achieve that, Washington politicians, if they want to hold onto their jobs, must pander to what is called the Israel Lobby, the most powerful lobby in Washington. In this direct way and by this simple method, domestic politics gets translated immediately into foreign policy. At least with respect to the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy has nothing to do with what is right and wrong, reasonable or ridiculous, or even about what is in the best interests of the United States or the American people.
All that is secondary. First and foremost are the dictates of the U.S. Israel Lobby, whose apparatchiki receive their cue from Tel Aviv, currently run by Likud and its leader, the charming con man Benny Netanyahu whom some consider to be a war criminal. That’s it in a nutshell.
I realize that the above scenario might appear outlandish and grotesque, but it actually conforms to business as usual. For confirmation, you might study chapter 10–“Iran in the Crosshairs”–of The Israel Lobby (2007) by Professors John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt. It should be on the desk of every Senator and Congressman in Washington, if only to give them a second chance to mend their ways.
In the meantime, please read the up-to-the-minute article by Professor William O. Beeman, titled “Iran Won the Vienna Accords By Agreeing to Stop What It Never Was Doing”. Beeman is an Iran expert, curiously unfazed by establishment propaganda.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the ongoing sectarian and tribal wars have been imposed on the Middle East region to deflect Muslims’ attention away from the atrocities of the Israeli regime.
The Leader made the remarks in a Saturday meeting with senior Iranian officials and ambassadors of Muslim countries posted in Iran on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“If the Islamic Ummah were united and relied on their own commonalities, they would certainly be a unique power in the international political scene but big powers have imposed such divisions on the Islamic Ummah to pursue their own interests and safeguard the Zionist regime [of Israel],” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader added that certain incompetent officials in Muslim countries support the “illegitimate” Israeli regime, noting that arrogant powers created “criminal” terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the ISIL.
“Iran has no trust in the US because American politicians are completely dishonest and unfair,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
He stressed the importance of reinforcing unity among Muslim nations, and said Shia and Sunni Muslims have long coexisted peacefully in the region.
“With regard to regional issues like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not pursue its own interests but it believes that the main decision-makers in these counties are the nations and others have no right to interfere and make decisions,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to arrogant powers’ policies on Yemen, saying the US is supporting the Arab country’s fugitive former president who left the country at a sensitive juncture.
He added that arrogant powers also seek to overthrow a popular government in Iraq, sow discord among Muslims and divide the country, but the Islamic Republic’s policy vis-a-vis its western neighbor is based on supporting a democratic government, resisting factors of civil wars and defending Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Arrogant powers intend to oust the Syrian government which is strongly resisting the Israeli regime, the Leader said, adding that Iran considers an anti-Zionist country as useful for the Muslim world.
Ayatollah Khamenei once again reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Lebanese resistance movement due to its bravery and genuine resistance against aggressive powers.
“The Americans dub the Lebanese resistance as terrorist and regard Iran as a supporter of terrorism because of its support for the Lebanese Hezbollah, while the Americans, themselves, are the real terrorists who have created Daesh [ISIL] and support the wicked Zionists,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei further pointed to the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in Vienna, and called on the Iranian nation to remain united because the negotiators are pursuing national interests.
The US has offered to increase military aid to Israel by another $1.5 billion per year to ease tensions over the nuclear deal with Iran, media has reported. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is expected to make the offer during next week’s visit to Tel Aviv.
The proposed increase would see Israel getting an additional squadron of F-35 fighter jets, funding for research and development of missile defense systems, and ammunition to replenish the stocks used in last year’s bombing of Gaza, Israeli sources told Jerusalem Post.
Under the current arrangement, Israel is receiving $3 billion a year, most of which is used to purchase US military hardware such as fighter jets and missile defense systems. Israeli and US officials have been discussing increasing the amount of aid to anywhere between $4.2 and $4.5 billion per year, sources familiar with the talks told the New York Times.
The new arrangement would go into effect in 2018 and last for a decade. Secretary Carter is expected to present the offer to his Israeli counterpart and good friend Moshe Ya’alon, Israeli sources said.
Netanyahu is reportedly reluctant to discuss US aid “at this juncture,” since that would mean giving tacit approval to the agreement the US and five other countries reached with Iran earlier this week.
The Israeli PM called the deal a “historic mistake” and may be hoping that the US Congress will refuse to endorse it before it goes into effect.
Iran and the “P5+1” group – including five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany – signed an agreement on Tuesday to curtail Iranian atomic research over the next 15 years in exchange for lifting nuclear-related sanctions and embargoes.
Israel has already negotiated the purchase of two F-35 squadrons, totaling 33 jets. The first delivery is scheduled for 2016. Much of the rumored increase in US aid may be in the form of additional F-35s, notorious for cost overruns and plagued by performance problems.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Air Force is expected to hold a number of exercises with US and European countries for the first time in six years. They will be aimed at “dealing with long-range missile attacks and flights to distant countries.”
However, the paper’s sources noted the US would likely require assurances from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would not launch any military operations without first informing Washington.
Meanwhile, Isaac Herzog, leader of the Israeli parliamentary opposition, said Tuesday that he would soon be traveling to the US to “advance a package of security measures to suit the new situation,” according to the New York Times.
Netanyahu won a fourth term as PM in a closely contested election in March, defeating Herzog’s Zionist Union coalition. Sources close to his Likud party have accused the Obama administration of funneling money and advice to Herzog in order to defeat Netanyahu, whose relations with US President Barack Obama have been chilly for years.