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Saudi Arabia meddling in Lebanon’s affairs, pitting people against each other: Hezbollah official

Deputy Chairman of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sheikh Nabil Qaouq (Photo by al-Manar television network)
Press TV – March 17, 2018

A senior official of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has accused Saudi officials of interfering in Lebanon’s domestic affairs and pitting people from various walks of life against each other.

“Saudi Arabia’s latest interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs is embodied in meddling in the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections. Saudi interventions are pitting the Lebanese against each other, and creating divisions and political tensions among them,” Deputy Chairman of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sheikh Nabil Qaouq said on Saturday.

He added, “Saudi Arabia wishes to change Lebanon’s political equations through interfering in the elections, collecting information about composition of future electoral lists and supporting candidates that could challenge Hezbollah.”

Commenting on the ongoing military drills between the US and Israeli armies in the southern areas of occupied Palestinian territories, the senior Hezbollah official pointed out that “the maneuver officially documents Israel’s recognition of the fact that Hezbollah can reach the depth of Israel, and that Israel has no ability to confront the resistance movement’ rockets.”

He stressed that Hezbollah is now the main obstacle to Israel’s expansionist policies in the Middle East region.

On October 30 last year, Saudi Minister of State for Persian Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan issued threats against Lebanon’s government as well as Iran and Hezbollah via Twitter, stating that the movement needed to be “toppled” in Lebanon.

The Saudi minister also warned in an interview with Lebanese MTV television station that there would be “astonishing” developments to “oust” Hezbollah.

He also said that Saudi Arabia would deal with Lebanon’s government as a hostile administration because of Hezbollah’s power-sharing role in it.

On November 4, 2017, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement from Saudi Arabia, citing many reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision. He also said that he sensed a plot being hatched against his life.

He returned to Beirut on November 21. All political factions in Lebanon had called on him to return back home.

Top Lebanese officials and senior politicians close to Hariri had earlier said that he had been forced to resign, and that Saudi authorities were holding him captive.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had also refused to accept Hariri’s resignation.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Commander: ‘US Troops Prepared to Die for Israel’ in War against Syria, Hezbollah

Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war against Syria, Hezbollah and Gaza for which Israel is actively preparing — a war likely to erupt within the coming months.

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press | March 12, 2018

Last Sunday, the largest joint military exercise between the United States and Israel began with little fanfare. The war game, dubbed “Operation Juniper Cobra,” has been a regular occurrence for years, though it has consistently grown in size and scope. Now, however, this year’s 12-day exercise brings a portent of conflict unlike those of its predecessors.

Previous reports on the operation suggested that, like prior incarnations of the same exercise, the focus would be on improving Israeli defenses. “Juniper Cobra 2018 is another step in improving the readiness of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and the IAF [Israeli Air Force] in particular to enhance their operational capabilities in facing the threat posed by high-trajectory missiles,” Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division head, told the Jerusalem Post.

However, this year’s “Juniper Cobra” is unique for several reasons. The Post reported on Thursday that the drill, set to end on March 15, was not only the largest joint U.S.-Israeli air defense exercise to ever happen but it was also simulating a battle “on three fronts.” In other words, Israel and the U.S. are jointly simulating a war with Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine – namely, the Gaza strip – simultaneously.

What makes this last part so concerning are Israel’s recent statements and other preparations for war with all three nations, making “Juniper Cobra” anything but a “routine” drill. It is instead yet another preparation for a massive regional conflict, suggesting that such a conflict could be only a matter of months away.

As MintPress recently reported, Israeli officials recently told a bipartisan pair of U.S. Senators that it needed “ammunition, ammunition, ammunition” for a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon — a war that will expressly target Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. The alleged motive for the invasion is the presence of Iranian rocket factories. However, this allegation is based solely on the claims of an anonymous deputy serving in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was first reported on by a Kuwaiti newspaper known to publish stories planted by the Israeli government.

In addition, Israel has been laying the groundwork for an invasion of Syria since last year and is largely responsible for the current conflict in Syria that has raged on for seven years. Israel’s current push to invade Syria is also based on flimsy evidence suggesting that Iran is establishing bases in Syria to target Israel.

Israel has also been preparing for a conflict on the embattled Gaza strip, which – owing to the effects of Israel’s illegal blockade and the devastation wrought by past wars – is set to be entirely uninhabitable by 2020. Reports have quoted officials of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which governs the Gaza strip, as saying that they place the chances of a new war with Israel in 2018 “at 95 percent” and that war games, like Operation Juniper Cobra, were likely to be used to plan or even initiate such a conflict. This concern was echoed by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who stated that another Israeli invasion of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, was “likely” to occur this year. Eizenkot ironically framed the imminent invasion as a way to “prevent a humanitarian collapse” in Gaza.

U.S. lights match, prepares troops

Such a war is likely to be ignited by the unrest destined to follow the U.S.’ imminent move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move, set to take place in May, led Hamas to call for a third intifada, or uprising, in response to the U.S.’ unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in defiance of the international consensus.

Beyond the fact that Israel is preparing to go to war with several countries simultaneously is the fact that U.S. ground troops are now “prepared to die for the Jewish state,” according to U.S. Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark. “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties. But we accept that, as in every conflict we train for and enter, there is always that possibility,” Clark told the Post.

However, more troubling than the fact that U.S. troops stand ready to die at Israel’s behest was Clark’s assertion that Haimovitch would “probably” have the last word as to whether U.S. forces would join the IDF during war time. In other words, the IDF will decide whether or not U.S. troops become embroiled in the regional war for which Israel is preparing, not the United States. Indeed, Haimovitch buoyed Clark’s words, stating that: “I am sure once the order comes we will find here U.S. troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel.”

Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war for which Israel is actively preparing, a war likely to erupt within the coming months. In addition to overtly targeting civilians, these preparations for war — as Juniper Cobra shows — directly involve the United States military and give the war-bent Israeli government the power to decide whether or not American troops will be involved and to what extent. This is a devastating giveaway of national sovereignty by U.S. President Donald Trump.

While the potential involvement of the U.S. forces in such a war is being framed as limited in scope, there is no indication that such a war will be so in practice. Indeed, the U.S. is currently occupying 25 percent of Syria and the Trump administration has economically attacked Palestinians living in Gaza by withdrawing crucial aid, as well as Hezbollah by enforcing new sanctions against the group. Furthermore, Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the fact that Iran — and even Russia — could become involved in such a conflict means that it could quickly spiral out of control.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, and 21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

US curbs bid to take Iran off FATF financial blacklist

Press TV – February 24, 2018

The world’s financial watchdog has extended a waiver for punitive measures against Iran for another six months but refused to remove the country from its blacklist.

The Paris-based the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had been weighing Tehran’s request for the lifting of so-called countermeasures for some time but a flurry of recent visits by a top US official to France and other European countries thwarted the bid.

Change of heart

Iran’s removal from the blacklist had gained support in European capitals in recognition of the steps Tehran has taken in recent years to enact legislation barring terrorist financing and money laundering.

However, the US sent the official to France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium ahead of a plenary meeting of the task force Friday to warn that keeping Iran on the FATF blacklist was a top priority, and that Washington would aggressively pursue that policy.

As a result, the FATF decided to continue the suspension of countermeasures, taking into account the fact that Iran has draft legislation currently before Parliament, but did not remove the country from the list in a decision which many believe is political.

The FATF suspended its punitive measures for a year in 2016 when Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal and promised to step up its fight on money-laundering. The task force extended the waiver last July and again on Friday.

The Iranian government hopes that the exit from the FATF blacklist would remove one hurdle to foreign investment. Critics of the government, however, say membership in the Financial Action Task Force has not only failed to attract investment, but it has also exposed various institutions to extraterritorial regulations and penalties.

Iranian institutions targeted

In its Friday decision, the FATF threatened Iran with new penalties in June if it doesn’t bolster oversight of alleged terrorism financing and money laundering within its borders.

Some in Iran believe the US is using the FATF to target key organizations such as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) which has both a role in the Iranian economy and supports groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah regarded as legitimate “resistance” entities by the Islamic Republic.

The FATF cited nine “action items” which Iran had to fully address before the body considers its bid for removal from the blacklist.

“Until Iran implements the measures required to address the deficiencies identified in the Action Plan, the FATF will remain concerned with the terrorist financing risk emanating from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system,” it said.

“The FATF, therefore, calls on its members and urges all jurisdictions to continue to advise their financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence to business relationships and transactions with natural and legal persons from Iran, consistent with FATF Recommendation 19,” it added.

Countries that do not follow FATF are often labeled as high-risk or uncooperative jurisdictions by the West, making international trade costly and difficult.

US threats

Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear energy program in return for the lifting of sanctions which would facilitate business with the world and pave the way for foreign investment. However, US pressures on bodies such as FATF and its threats have driven away banks, investors and companies.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Tehran will withdraw from the nuclear deal if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic.

Big banks are afraid of falling foul of remaining US sanctions.

Araqchi said even if US President Donald Trump relents and issues fresh “waivers” to continue suspending sanctions on Tehran, the existing situation is unacceptable for Iran.

“The deal would not survive this way even if the ultimatum is passed and waivers are extended,” Araqchi, Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, said in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London.

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

US carrot-and-stick policy to Lebanon could push it into abyss

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson waits at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon February 15, 2018. © Mohamed Azakir / Reuters
By Martin Jay | RT | February 19, 2018

Rex Tillerson’s visit to Beirut didn’t resolve Lebanon’s persistent war threat from Israel, or Hezbollah’s perceived threat to Washington. The US has its own agenda for this country, which is spooking Lebanon’s president.

It might have been just a miscalculation, rather than a diplomatic faux pas, as Rex Tillerson did in fact arrive early for his meeting with Lebanese dignitaries, but he had to wait a few minutes before a door at Baabda Palace was opened and he was greeted by President Michel Aoun. It couldn’t have been an easy moment, shaking hands with Lebanon’s Hezbollah-supporting President, but Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil both viewed the visit by Trump’s own envoy with some suspicion. And they were right to.

The day before, in Jordan, Tillerson appeared to have gone off message while recognizing Hezbollah’s political role both in Lebanon and the region, but few in Lebanon held out any real hope that the 65-year-old Texan was going to either resolve Lebanon’s gas and oil dispute with Israel, or for that matter its border spat, following Israel’s land grabbing as it carries out construction of a wall. Tillerson said that Lebanon’s own security was compromised by Hezbollah, which he referred to more than once as a “terrorist” organization when he met Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The latter pointed out that Israel’s constant threats of attack and encroaching on Lebanon’s sovereignty were making a permanent ceasefire hard; earlier, Aoun had asked the US to “play an effective role” in resolving the tension.

But both Aoun and Hariri know that the US has plans for Hezbollah of its own, which will make a mockery of Tillerson’s endearing comments about wanting to help Lebanon “prosper.” There are two critical plans by Washington that are likely to cause chaos in Lebanon if enacted upon that may come into play at the backdrop of the US pouring money into supporting Lebanon’s army, which it believes is the key to redressing the power balance in Lebanon between the state and Hezbollah.

Lebanese banks cleaned up their act for Congress

One, is how far the US goes in targeting Hezbollah’s finances. In January, it ratcheted up its sanctions on the Shiite group’s key money people. This recent move follows Obama’s ‘Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act,’ which was expected to both destabilize the Lebanese banking sector and impact Hezbollah, which the US accuses of using Lebanese banks to launder money.

In fact, it did neither – and now the US is eager to find new ways of blocking the flow of Hezbollah’s money both inside and outside of Lebanon, as it has yet to find a way of preventing Iran’s $800 million dollars from circulating in the banking system. The US money laundering crackdown, aimed at Hezbollah and Shias in general, has actually resulted in Lebanese banks cleaning up their act, with some analysts even going as far to say that Hezbollah knows it can no longer even use the banks. And, given that the US has provided $1.5 billion USD to Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian conflict (through the banking system), and Lebanese expatriates are sending less money back to make up the $8 billion USD annually that the central bank receives, Lebanon is more committed than ever to working with the US.

But now, with reports in January that Iran’s military budget is about to rise, Washington may be planning another ruse which could destabilize Lebanon and direct anger towards Hezbollah. While Aoun asked Tillerson to assist in the return of almost a million Syrian refugees, he also hinted that he knows Washington is always the ultimate threat to Hezbollah’s led government, which is to cut aid to both Syrian refugees and the Palestinians. Such a move could have seismic implications in Lebanon, as an ‘intifada’ against Israel and the West could easily be carried out in Lebanon itself with 175,000 Palestinians who live in camps that Lebanese security forces fear to enter.

The carrot and stick of Washington – increase military spending to Lebanon’s army, while at the same time causing widespread insecurity – seems like a nefarious tactic. But Washington is facing tough challenges when it comes to reigning in Hezbollah. Aoun wants help with repatriating Syrians and the US wants Hezbollah to reduce its regional intervention. Is there a deal there to be made?

Aoun knows that if the US cuts aid to Lebanon, it would be a catastrophe in terms of (local) crime rates, not to mention many turning to terrorism. The situation in the Palestinian camps is at breaking point and there have been a number of ugly incidents in recent months. Lebanon has a lot to lose as the terrorism in Tripoli, which was dealt with in 2014 with the number of key arrests, might return, as hardcore extremist groups already exist in the Palestinian camps. Or, if Palestinians want to fight Israel, they have Fatah and Hamas inside Lebanon who can organize and train them. This is Aoun’s worry about the US cutting aid to UNRWA, which he says so far only affects Palestinians in Gaza.

It’s a similar situation in the Syrian refugee camps, where this year has been dire, as a funding shortfall was the biggest yet. Most years, the UN falls short of its requests from member states, but this year it was at an unprecedented low, so refugees, in general, are suffering like never before. If a Palestinian-led insurgency got off the ground in Lebanon, many from Syrian camps might join it, as there was evidence in recent years that some from the camps have joined ISIS.

But Tillerson is not the deal maker for this. He is not respected by all the main players, so the Lebanese leaders know he is not the one to cut a deal. But, they also know that, even within Lebanon, Washington’s carrot-and-stick game is idiotic at best and dangerously ill-conceived at worst. The more the Americans interfere, the stronger Iran and Hezbollah get. Washington’s meddling in the Syria war has allowed the fatuous Tillerson and others to whine about Iran’s presence in Syria, rather like an old man complaining about how ungrateful the younger generation is these days. And Aoun and the political elite in Lebanon know only too well that, just as it was in Iran and Hezbollah, in Syria, which wiped out most of the Sunni extremist groups there, the same is the case along Lebanon’s border with Syria. Tillerson mentioning Hezbollah as a stoic political entity is what is important about this trip, as it is a coded message that the Americans are ready to talk, which is a milestone in itself. The US program to destabilize Hezbollah and the Lebanese banking system has simply backfired, as Congress under-estimated the resilience of the Lebanese and its formidable central bank governor. It seems Tillerson is going to have to get used to waiting.

February 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran or US? Who is behind instability in Syria?

Press TV – February 14, 2018

As Syria is effectively emerging from more than seven years of conflict by successfully purging its territory of militants, the United States and allies are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticism of the governments who helped Syria clear the mess.

In comments dealing with a recent escalation of events in Syria’s border with the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has blamed Iran for the continued bloodshed in Syria, saying Tehran should end its “destabilizing” presence in Syria and allow peace to be restored to the Arab country.

However, many wonder who is really destabilizing Syria. Is it Iran, a country that has gone to any length to protect the legitimate government of Syria, or was it the US, which from the onset of war in March 2011 began to designate the heavily-armed militants and military defectors as the so-called moderate opposition of Syria and continued to generously support them through providing weapons, funding and training.

Washington cannot hide its anger at Iran and Russia becoming the saviors of Syria after an all-out war, which in the beginning was to change the political and security equations in the Middle East. For a long time, Syria was a major front in regional confrontation with Israel. It openly supported governments and fighters that countered Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its violation of the sovereignty of countries such as Lebanon.

The fall of Syria, as it was envisaged in the West, could mean an end to Damascus’ anti-Israeli policies and could create a sense of relief for the regime in Tel Aviv. That dream actually failed to materialize and after more than seven years, Israel and the US, as its main ally, feel more insecure than ever as Syria is regaining control over many parts of its territories. Moreover, Syria has established stronger military and political ties with Iran and Russia, the two countries that backed it in the war on terror, and it has become more engaged with the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, an arch enemy of Israel.

Now, US officials are becoming more fearful about Israel’s grim future and what could happen to it in adjacency of a revitalized Syria. To offset those concerns, they now try to highlight Iran’s continued presence in Syria as a threat, pretending that Tehran is fueling the violence.

Tillerson said on Wednesday that Iran should withdraw from Syria, saying Tehran was responsible for a recent escalation on Syria’s borders with the occupied territories. He even accused Iran of hampering the United Nations’ efforts to restore peace in Syria.

“We are quite concerned about the recent incident involving Israel and Iranian assets inside of Syria. And I think this again illustrates why Iran’s presence in Syria is only destabilizing to the region,” Tillerson said, adding “Iran needs to withdraw its military, its militia from Syria, and allow a hope for the peace process to take hold in Geneva.”

Tillerson made the comments in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a kingdom which borders Syria’s province of Dayr al-Zawr, where government forces have managed to liberate key cities and towns relying on Iranian and Russian support. Russia, which unlike Iran, has a direct military presence in Syria, has repeatedly accused the United States of trying to hamper Syria’s full victory against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. Moscow has released evidence showing that US forces stationed in Dayr al-Zawr’s border regions and in Jordan have been collaborating with Daesh and other militants through providing intelligence about Syrian and Russian forces.

Tillerson’s comments came just days after the US military admitted it had carried out heavy bombardments on Syrian pro-government forces in Dayr al-Zawr, an attack that reportedly killed more than 200 people, including private Russian military contractors.

Russia is in Syria based on an official request by the government. Iran also helps Syria through its military advisors based on similar demands by Damascus. Lacking such a mandate and authorization, the US has operated around and inside Syria’s borders over the past years and reports show that it is increasing its deployment in the Jordanian border, a clear sign it is wary of the turn of events in the region.

So, the question is who is really behind the protracted violence in Syria and who is really destabilizing the country now that it is back on its feet?’

Syria has on several occasions called on the UN to force Washington to stop its aggression against on the Arab country’s sovereignty. It has designated as a violation of Syria’s territorial integrity the US airstrikes that are as part of a so-called campaign against Daesh, which began four years ago in neighboring Iraq and then expanded into Syria. US warplanes have targeted civilians in hospitals and schools as part of their alleged fight against Daesh. They are now becoming increasingly involved in attacks against government forces and allies in Dayr al-Zawr, where Iran played a huge role in bringing Daesh to its last legs.

Iran has officially called on the US to end its military adventures in Syria and allow the country to re-establish authority on its territories. Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister and a senior foreign policy adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday that it was Washington, in fact, that was an unwelcome guest and a destabilizing force in Syria.

“Those should leave Syria who are there without the permission of the legal Syrian government,” said Velayati while reacting to Tillerson’s latest comments.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel gets bloody nose in Syria. What next?

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | February 12, 2018

On Saturday, when Israeli jets undertook yet another bombing raid – this time an audacious attack on a drone base at the T4 airbase in Homs province deep inside Central Syria – a nasty surprise awaited them. They were confronted by the Russian-made S-200 air defence system. One Israeli F-16 jet was shot down; a second jet was hit but managed to make it home; and, two pilots parachuted – one heavily injured and in serious condition.

The last time an Israeli jet was shot down was in 1986 in Lebanon. The incident on Saturday is a humiliating experience for Israel. But, more importantly, it contains a stark message – namely, that Israeli air attacks from now onward on Syria may come only at an unacceptable cost.

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani summed up the message to Israel this way: “There is an important point in the recent events and in targeting an Israeli fighter jet: the Syrian army showed to the Zionists that the era of hit-and-run has ended.” In political terms, Tehran has justified the retaliation by the Syrian forces. The influential senior advisor on foreign policy to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Akbar Velayati said today, “If the Zionist regime wants to make aggression against Syria or any other state’s airspace, the regional countries are entitled to use their space and the Syrian government and nation was entitled to respond to the Zionist regime’s aggression to make them regret.”

The same sentiments are echoed in the remark by the Deputy Secretary-General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Resistance Movement Sheikh Naim Qassem lauded the Syrian army and said “Shooting down the Israeli fighter jet means that the era of unanswered attacks has ended.” He warned that henceforth, Israeli aggression will be met with counter-attacks.

The impression becomes unavoidable that the rules of engagement in the Syrian conflict have changed and Israel has been duly notified of the change. It is inconceivable that the Syrian air defence system would have opened up without the knowledge of the Russian forces in Syria. Russia controls the Syrian air space. On the other hand, neither Moscow nor Tehran has hyped up the incident on Saturday. In effect, they are letting the message to Israel to sink in.

The reset of the rules of engagement has become inevitable now that the Syrian government and its allied forces are registering more successes in the conflict. Israel has been so far acting with impunity, having conducted air attacks on Syrian territory more than a hundred times during the conflict. Interestingly, Israel can only expect verbal support from the US, since American presence is very thin on the ground in Syria and the Trump administration has its hands full at the moment what with the cascading tensions with Turkey that may lead to a nasty confrontation.

The pro-Israeli US media, which is heavily under the influence of the Jewish lobby, is conjuring up the spectre of a massive Israeli retaliation against Iran. But the fact of the matter is that the Israelis are hardcore realists. They’d have no difficulty to grasp the message that their plans to insert themselves into the Syrian endgame to extract concessions in terms of legitimizing their illegal occupation of Golan Heights as part of any settlement might as well be abandoned now.

Equally, the Israeli game plan to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran is simply not working. It comes as no surprise that amidst all this, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has chosen to defend Iran’s ballistic missile program. The Russian news agency Sputnik quoted Lavrov as saying in an interview with Russian TV, “There are other countries in the (Middle East) region with such programs. We must look at it as a whole. It is hardly justified to mix nuclear affairs with human rights and put the issue on the agenda that Iran should stop taking certain steps in the region… to my mind, a frankly discriminatory, biased and unjustifiably captious approach can be seen behind these US actions.”

All in all, as the veteran Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri says, “What happened (on Saturday) is larger than a battle and a little less than a war. It will create new balances and rules of engagement in the region. This event is the first of its kind in tens of years. However, no escalation is expected. Things will end here; they will not develop into an all-out war.” If Berri says so, they must be words of wisdom. The shrewd politician after all has been holding the post of parliament speaker in Beirut continuously since 1992.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lebanon accepts lawsuit against Saudi minister over sowing discord

Press TV – February 7, 2018

A Lebanese judge has accepted to look into a lawsuit against Saudi Minister of State for Persian Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan, who was in charge of the Lebanon file during Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s shock resignation late last year.

Lebanon’s state-owned National News Agency (NNA) reported on Wednesday that Beirut First Examining Magistrate Ghassan Oueidat had decided to accept the court proceedings against the 50-year-old Saudi politician on charges of “sowing discord among various strata of the Lebanese society, provoking communal violence and disrupting Lebanon’s ties with a foreign state.”

The report added that veteran Lebanese inmate Nabih Awada ,who has served time in Israeli prisons and is close to Hezbollah, filed the lawsuit on January 31 through his lawyer Hassan Bazzi, stressing that Judge Oueidat will soon set a date for Sabhan’s questioning.

On October 30, Sabhan issued threats against Lebanon’s government as well as Iran and the resistance movement of Hezbollah via Twitter, stating that the movement needs to be “toppled” in Lebanon.

The Saudi minister also warned in an interview with Lebanese MTV television station that there would be “astonishing” developments to “oust” Hezbollah.

He also said that Saudi Arabia would deal with Lebanon’s government as a hostile administration because of Hezbollah’s power-sharing role in it.

Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement from Saudi Arabia on November 4 last year, citing many reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision. He also said that he sensed a plot being hatched against his life.

He returned to Beirut on November 21. All political factions in Lebanon had called on him to return back home.

Top Lebanese officials and senior politicians close to Hariri had earlier said that he had been forced to resign, and that Saudi authorities were holding him captive.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had also refused to accept Hariri’s resignation.

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

US deploys troops to occupied territories for joint war games with Israel

Press TV – February 2, 2018

The US has deployed military forces to the Israeli-occupied territories ahead of a joint war game with Tel Aviv as the regime ramps up its threats of a new war against Lebanon.

Israeli media outlets announced the arrival of the American troops on Thursday in preparation for the so-called Juniper Cobra biennial military drills, which will start next week.

The last edition of the drills enlisted more than 3,000 forces from the two sides.

The sources said the maneuvers simulate engagement with the countries lying to the north and south of the occupied territories, including Lebanon.

Israel and Lebanon are technically at war since 1967 when the regime occupied the country’s Shebaa Farms.

Israel staged two wholesale wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006 to defeat the country’s resistance movement of Hezbollah, which is Lebanon’s de facto military power.

Tel Aviv fell short of the ambition in both cases in the face of strong resistance by Hezbollah, backed by the national army, and instead saw its myth of invincibility being dealt a serious blow.

On Wednesday, the Israeli minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, renewed the threat of a new war against Lebanon, saying Beirut would “pay the full price” for its ties with Tehran in a future military offensive.

Lieberman also warned companies not to engage in oil and gas exploration activities with Lebanon.

Hezbollah responded by saying the group would “decisively confront any assault on our oil and gas rights.”

Prime Minister Sa’ad al-Hariri and other Lebanese statesmen also reacted, with Hariri saying Lieberman’s remarks were one of several “threatening messages” from Israel over the previous days.

Hariri had on January 25 called Israel the greatest threat to Lebanon’s stability amid similar indications that the regime could be contemplating new military offensive against his nation.

“The only threat I see is Israel taking some kind of action against Lebanon, out of a miscalculation,” Hariri told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And this is the real threat, I believe. I think the other issues are challenges, yes … But when Israel decides to launch a war against Lebanon, this is something that is unexplainable,” he added.

Lieberman suggested that a war with Lebanon would also likely involve Syria.

“Israel’s northern front extends to Syria; it is not just Lebanon. I am not sure that the Syrian government can resist Hezbollah’s attempts to drag them into a war with Israel,” he said.

Hezbollah and Syria enjoy years-long experience of counter-terrorism cooperation. Hezbollah has been successfully lending battleground support to Syria during the latter’s operations against Takfiri militants.

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Destroying Syria

Why does Washington hate Bashar al-Assad?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • January 23, 2018

The Donald Trump administration is planning to install a 30,000 strong armed “security force” in northern Syria along the borders with Turkey and Iraq. This presumably will tie together and support the remaining rag-tags of allegedly pro-democracy rebels and will fit in with existing and proposed U.S. bases. The maneuver is part of a broader plan to restructure Syria to suit the usual crop of neocon geniuses in Washington that have slithered their way back into the White House and National Security Council, to include renewed demands that the country’s President Bashar al-Assad “must go,” reiterated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last Wednesday. He said “But let us be clear: The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge.” Tillerson also claimed that remaining in Syria would prevent Iran from “reinforcing” its position inside Syria and would enable the eventual ouster of al-Assad, but he has also denied that Washington was creating a border force at all, yet another indication of the dysfunction in the White House.

A plan pulled together in Washington by people who should know better but seemingly don’t is hardly a blueprint for success, particularly as there is no path to anything approximating “victory” and no exit strategy. The Syrians have not been asked if they approve of an arrangement that will be put in place in their sovereign territory and the Turks have already bombed targets and sent troops and allied militias into the Afrin region, also a U.S. supported Kurdish enclave on the border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated clearly that Ankara will disrupt any U.S. devised border arrangement. From the Turkish point of view the border security force, which reportedly will largely consist of Kurdish militiamen, will inevitably work in cooperation with the Kurdish terrorist group PKK which is active on the Turkish side of the border, in seeking to create an autonomous Kurdish state, which Turkey reasonably enough regards as an existential threat.

And then there is one other little complication, which is that the United States presence in Syria is completely illegal both under international law and under the U.S. government’s War Powers Act. Syria is a sovereign state with a recognized government and there is no U.N. or Congressional mandate that permits Washington to station its soldiers, Marines and airmen within the country’s borders. The argument that the recent Authorizations to Use Military Force (AUMF) permitted the activity because groups linked to al-Qaeda were active there and the local government was unable to expel them is only thinly credible as the U.S. has also attacked Syrian Army forces and the militiamen linked to Syria’s ally Iran. That constitutes a war crime.

Trump can under the War Powers Act take military action to counter an imminent threat, which was never the case from Syria in any event, but after 60 days he has to cease or desist or go to Congress for authorization up to and possibly including a declaration of war. The military offensive against Syria began under President Barack Obama and it is far beyond that two-month window already, so egregiously in violation that some Congressmen are actually beginning to take notice. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has demanded that no military initiatives in Syria be undertaken without a Senate vote. He said on Thursday that“I am deeply alarmed that yet again, the Trump administration continues to raise the risk of unnecessary war, disconnected from any firm policy objectives and core national security interests. To be clear, neither the 2001 or 2002 AUMFs provide authority to target Assad or Iranian proxies in Syria, and it is unacceptable for this action to be taken absent a vote and approval of Congress.”

The animus against Syria runs deep, to include questionable claims from generally hostile sources that al-Assad has deliberately massacred hundreds of thousands of his own people as well as dubious assertations about the use of chemical weapons that led to a U.S. cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase in Shayrat. A perfect example of how brain dead the western media is over the issue was provided by last week’s article by David Brunnstrom of Reuters on the Tillerson speech, where he wrote “U.S. forces in Syria have already faced direct threats from Syrian and Iranian-backed forces, leading to the shoot-down of Iranian drones and a Syrian jet last year, as well as to tensions with Russia.” The uninformed reader would assume that Americans were the victims of an attack and aggression by Moscow whereas the reality is quite different. Iran and Russia are allies of the legitimate Syrian government that are in the country by invitation to help in its fight against groups that everyone acknowledges to be terrorists. The United States is there illegally and is as often as not using its proxies to fight the Syrian Army.

Syria-phobia goes back to the George W. Bush Administration in December 2003, when Congress passed the Syria Accountability Act, House Resolution 1828. Syria at that time was already in the cross-hairs of two principal American so-called allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both were actively working to destabilize the regime, though for different reasons. The Saudis were fearful of Iranian influence over Damascus but also had a religious agenda in that the secular Syrian regime was protective of religious minorities and was itself an offshoot of Shi’a Islam referred to as Alawites. The Saudis considered them to be heretics.

The Israelis for their part were enamored of the Yinon Plan of 1982 and the Clean Break proposals made in 1996 by a team of Jewish American neocons. Their intention was to transform most of Israel’s neighboring Arab states into warring tribes and ethnicities so they would no longer be a threat. Israeli leaders have stated openly that they would prefer continued chaos in Syria, which remains a prime target. Israel is, in fact, currently bombing Syrian Army positions, most recently near Damascus, while also supporting the ISIS and al-Nusra Front remnants.

The Syrian Accountability Act does indeed read at times like the completely bogus indictment of Saddam Hussein that had led to the invasion of Iraq earlier in 2003. It cites development of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, but its main focus is related to the alleged support of terrorist groups by Damascus. It “Declares the sense of Congress that the Government of Syria should immediately and unconditionally halt support for terrorism, permanently and openly declare its total renunciation of all forms of terrorism, and close all terrorist offices and facilities in Syria, including the offices of Hamas, Hizballah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.”

One might note that the groups cited by name are not identified as being a threat to the United States. Rather, they are organizations hostile to Israel, which suggests that the motivation for the bill was the usual dominant pro-Israeli sentiment in Congress. The bill’s sponsor was Eliot Engel of New York, a passionately pro-Israeli legislator.

Be that as it may, the drive to “get” Syria has remained a constant in American Foreign Policy to this day. When the U.S. still had an Embassy in Damascus, in December 2010 President Barack Obama maladroitly sent as Ambassador Robert Ford. Ford actively supported the large demonstrations by anti-regime Syrians inspired by the Arab Spring who were opposed to the al-Assad government and he might even have openly advocated an armed uprising, a bizarre interpretation of what Ambassadors are supposed to do in a foreign country. He once stated absurdly that if the U.S. had armed opponents of the regime, al-Qaeda groups would have been “unable to compete.” Ford was recalled a year later, after being pelted by tomatoes and eggs, over concerns that his remaining in country might not be safe, but the damage had been done and normal diplomatic relations between Damascus and Washington have never been restored.

The desire to bring about regime change in Damascus gathered considerable steam in 2011. Harsh government efforts to repress the demonstrations that did take place inevitably led to violence in both directions and the United States, Saudis and the Gulf States subsequently began to arm the rebels and support the formation of the Free Syrian Army, which Washington assured the American public consisted of only good people who wanted democracy and fundamental rights. To no one’s surprise many of the fledgling democrats accepted U.S. training and weapons before defecting to the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front or to ISIS.

Currently, the reconstruction of Syria is proceeding. The Syrian Arab Army is wiping out the last few enclaves controlled by ISIS in Idlib Province and the so-called Syrian Civil War will soon be over but for the mopping up. Many internal refugees have returned to their homes after the government reasserted control and also thousands who fled overseas have reportedly come back. Note that they are returning to areas where the al-Assad government is firmly in charge, perhaps suggesting that, while there were legitimate grievances among the Syrian people, the propaganda insisting that most Syrians were opposed to the regime was grossly overstated. There is considerable evidence that Bashar al-Assad is actually supported by a large majority of the Syrian people, even among those who would welcome more democracy, because they know the alternative to him is chaos.

One would like to think that Syria might again be Syria but Washington is baying for blood and clearly would like to see a solution that involves a fragmentation of the state enabling containment and rollback of Iranian influence there while also satisfying both its clients Israel and the Saudis as well as creating a possible mini-state for the Kurds. The destruction of Syria and the Syrian people will just be regarded as collateral damage while building a new Middle East. Hopefully the Syrians, backed by Iran, Russia and China will prevent that from happening and as the U.S. did not directly engage in much of the hard fighting that destroyed ISIS, it thankfully has little leverage over what comes next.

Whether it is Riyadh or Tel Aviv leading Washington by the nose is somehow irrelevant as the blame for what is taking place is squarely on the White House. The United States has no coherent policy, nor any actual national interest in remaining in Syria, but the strange political alignments that appear to be playing out in and around the Oval Office have generated a desire to destroy a country and people that in no way threaten the U.S. Someone should remind the president that similar scenarios did not turn out very well in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. No one should expect that Syria will be any different.

January 23, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hassan Nasrallah answers Trump on Hezbollah’s drug trafficking

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on January 19, 2018, on the occasion of the commemoration of the death of Fayez Moghniyeh, father of martyrs Jihad, Fouad and Imad Moghniyeh

In case this video is censored by Youtube, find it on Dailymotion, Vimeo or Rutube. See Kafka 2.0: How Youtube’s Political Censorship is Exercised

Hassan Nasrallah answers Trump on Hezbollah’s drug trafficking from Sayed Hasan on Vimeo

Transcript by Sayed Hasan | January 21, 2018:

In recent weeks, US accusations were made. They are not new but they are taking a new dimension. The US Department of Justice created a commission of inquiry that will come to Lebanon – I do not know if it is already there, the media have not made it clear – to meet with officials and Lebanese parties and to investigate. About what ? The Hezbollah links with drug trafficking.

A story was concocted in the US, that Obama would have prevented any investigation on the issue of Hezbollah drug trafficking, but Trump, being more intransigent, formed this Inquiry. The same approach is being carried out by France, and it seems there have been arrests of people linked to drug trafficking, money laundering, etc.

Anyway, I will not dwell at length on this subject, but I want to remind our unchanging position of principle. I want to tell you and all the spectators, categorically, that these are fabrications and false accusations which are not based on any fact and have no truth. Hezbollah, regarding this issue, has a clear religious, legal and ethical position. For us, the drug trade is illegal, prohibited, and is even among the major sins. And we prohibit drug trafficking even in the society of the enemy. Perhaps someone will say what is wrong with selling drugs to Israeli society to destroy it (from within)? Even the drug trade with Israeli society to destroy it is illicit in our view. The drug trafficking and spread are by principle illicit (whatever the circumstances) even to an enemy society. This has nothing to do with (warfare). Such are our ethics, such is our commitment, which stands absolutely.

And therefore, all (the accusations) have no basis of truth. The real question is: in what framework are these accusations made? I have already said and I repeat: as regards trade, and not just the issue of drugs, I have already reminded on more than one occasion, O people, that even the legal trade, we in Hezbollah are not doing. Even legitimate trade. All kinds of commercial or lucrative activity, we are completely detached from them. It is not by asceticism or because it would be illegal, I speak of legitimate trade. On the contrary, trade is a recommended action. Trade, from the standpoint of the (Islamic) law and rulings, is a recommended action. But as regards Hezbollah as a party, as a peculiar political and jihadist entity, we took the decision to make no trade.

And this decision is motivated by the sanctions, so that they will not harm the Lebanese traders, otherwise tomorrow all Lebanese traders would be accused of having Hezbollah money or of making it fructify. We conduct absolutely no lucrative activity. We do not invest our money (neither by trade, loans, bank interest …). The money we have at our disposal is only one that is sufficient for us, for our expenses on the various fields where we are, primarily the armed battles we lead. And therefore, we have no money fructifying, we have no business, and we do not have any member or office making any benefit from our money.

And also, incidentally, I have said it before and I repeat it today, for now, thanks God, after the victory in Iraq and the almost complete victory in Syria, the return of peace and reconstruction, there are companies and Lebanese traders who go to work in Iraq, Syria and other countries, I want to say to everyone: there is no one, no action project of this type belonging to Hezbollah. Hezbollah has nothing (like it). Hezbollah has nowhere any money invested, and is not involved nor a partner in any profit or commercial project.

Of course, we do not ban it. There are traders who are on the line of Hezbollah, who are our brothers, there may be rich, people who have abilities, but they work individually. We do not prohibit the Lebanese people to trade. If someone has money and does business, it is as as an individual, with his own money. These are individual companies. Hezbollah as Hezbollah hasn’t designated nor authorized anyone to speak in his name and conduct personal profit projects. For there is no such lucrative action. I say that to confirm this point.

On the issue of drugs, it is clearly an (unlawful) question for us, as I said, but (such accusations) are part of the war against us. It is part of the war being waged against us. And that’s a natural thing. When (former US ambassador) Feltman acknowledged that the US Embassy in Lebanon alone spent 5 billion – sorry, 5 million to sully the image of Hezbollah and keep young people away from it. This is part of the (enemy) effort to discredit us.

The Americans have done their best to convince the world that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Some countries went along, others not. And even some countries that have agreed to register us officially on the list of terrorist organizations, behind the scenes, they contact us and work with us and would (almost) be willing to die to preserve their relationship with us. The idea to (identify us as a) terrorist organization did not work. It is not logical.

Hezbollah has proved, especially in recent years, that it is one of the most important forces – not the largest, but one of the most important forces – fighting against terrorism and terrorist groups in the region. How could they describe us as terrorists while we fight the terrorists? Those that the world unanimously designates as terrorists (ISIS)?

This is why the Americans are trying something else. They want to present Hezbollah as a criminal organization. I hope that the public will pay attention to this. There’s designation as a terrorist organization and designation as a criminal organization. What is a criminal organization? An organization that makes drug trafficking, steals cars, made of gangsters, mercenaries and assassins, etc. They try to describe us as a criminal organization.

Very good. If they want to make an inquiry in Lebanon, they are welcome. I invite the Commission of the US Ministry of Justice to come do their investigation in Lebanon. And we hope that the Lebanese who will meet the members of this Commission will tell the truth and be honest. Let no one lie to incite against us. There are (unfortunately) people like that in Lebanon. In Lebanon, it is well known who has a tough stance on drug trafficking, drug traffickers and all of this. It’s well known. If someone has something against us, let him come forward. We hope they will tell the truth, even if I know that the Americans are not looking for the truth. They will look for anything to support that accusation and place Hezbollah on the list of criminal organizations.

Anyway, I said enough on this topic and I declare that we reject this accusation. On this issue, our position is firm and unchanging. We accept no charge. There is nothing dirty inside Hezbollah. Instead, they should first consider their own situation, investigate how the Americans, the CIA, the security agencies (FBI,  etc.) themselves are trafficking drugs and destroying societies by spreading drugs there. So you should rather make a Commission on your own actions, investigate drug trafficking of your own officials and security agencies. […]

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Is A “Great War” on Israel’s Horizon?

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | January 21, 2018

After more than a century the Zionists seem poised to deliver the coup-de-grace to Palestine, by annexing the West Bank. Limited in the first place to the settlements, it would be the forerunner to the annexation of the entire territory. The status of the Palestinian population would continue to be held in limbo until a permanent solution appears. After annexation, some might leave. The greater the number the greater the satisfaction for Israel, but two mass expulsions have taught the Palestinians that they must stay. There could still be a third wave of expulsions, with war again providing the smokescreen and, again, war is beckoning.

The Zionist founders never wanted anything less than all of Palestine. From the start they knew they would have to eject the indigenous population. The ‘binationalism’ of Martin Buber was a nice idea that had no traction in the political class. The intentions of the Zionist leadership had to be hidden until the colony had reached the point where it had the physical force to take Palestine over.

Weizmann and others proclaimed nothing but good intentions, nothing but wanting to live alongside the Palestinians and as for wanting a Jewish state, that was the furthest thing from their mind. Only in their diaries did they record what they really wanted, from Herzl’s wish to spirit the ‘penniless population’ out of Palestine to the conclusion in 1940 of Yosef Weitz, the director of the land settlement department of the Jewish National Fund that there was no room in Palestine for the settlers and ‘the Arabs’. The latter would have to go. These intentions were not anomalous but representative of what the Zionist leadership realised would have to be done if Palestine was to be theirs.

As the Palestinians would fight to the last, the land could be taken only by force. Step by step the Zionists were able to move forward towards this objective. The British helped by suppressing the Palestinian uprising in 1936-39, the first intifada, decapitating  the populist leadership that would have led the struggle against the Zionists in the 1940s. Thousands were killed and many more arrested.

The partition plan of 1947 did not represent the genuine wishes of UN members. It was imposed on the General Assembly by threats made to vulnerable members by the US and would never have passed otherwise. Israel benefitted from it politically but had no intention of adhering to its provisions, which would have left the Palestinians intact, three times the size of the Zionist settler community. The war of 1948 was a war of necessity: without the ethnic cleansing of Palestine there could have been no Israel.

The mass expulsions of 1948/49 were followed by a second bout of expulsions in 1967, followed by the slow strangulation of the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza, with Israel using all means possible, military, economic and pseudo-legal. There were other wars, all aimed at consolidating and expanding the Zionist hold on Palestine and destroying Israel’s enemies: Suez 1956, Lebanon 1978, 1982 and 2006, Gaza on numerous occasions, along with innumerable border ‘incursions’ taking, altogether, the lives of tens of thousands of Arab civilians.

There was also a ‘peace process’, an initiative of the PLO, which Israel only followed up to see what it could get out of it. Launched in 1993 it was clearly finished as early as 1995, although the corpse continues to pulsate to the present day. The ‘peace process’ was a diplomatic ruse giving Israel more time to strengthen its hold on the territories taken in 1967. Yasser Arafat was accepted as a negotiating partner and when there was nothing more he could or would give, Israel turned the peacemaker back into a terrorist and killed him. Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen of revolutionary days) followed Arafat, taking on the role of Israel’s tribune in the West Bank, also only to be discarded once Israel no longer had any use for him.

On the back of endless settlement-building and Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (rejected by virtually the rest of the world), along with a subsequent cut in US aid to UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees), the PLO is now threatening to ‘derecognize’ Israel. If this takes the ‘Palestine problem’ back to 1948, that is only appropriate, because Israel has never left it.

The time taken up from 1993 until now has allowed Israel to plant hundreds of thousands more settlers on the West Bank, whom it says cannot be removed without the risk of civil war. That might be true but the state put them there to stay, as they are bringing the Zionist project closer to fulfilment, and has never had any intention of removing them. Israel now intends to ‘legitimize’ what until it has called illegal settler ‘outposts’, as if there is any difference in international law between the complete illegality of the settler presence on the West Bank, whether in the settlements or in the outposts set up by the ‘hilltop youth’, running amuck whenever and wherever they please, beating, burning and destroying.  They are protected by the state and no wonder, as this is a state which has run amuck for more than seven decades.

The bellwether of the Zionist flock now is Naftali Bennett, the education minister, who has just spoken of ‘the end of the era of the Palestinian state and the beginning of the era of sovereignty’, by which he means Israeli annexation of the West Bank and sovereignty over all of Palestine. If there is a difference between Bennett, a likely next Prime Minister, and Netanyahu, it is only that the former speaks more plainly about his intentions. The glib Netanyahu, still seeing benefit in talking of a ‘peace process’, has others in his party to speak as openly as Bennett does. Tzipi Hotovely, for example, the Deputy Foreign Minister, also speaks of annexation: she can’t wait to see the Israeli flag flying over the Haram al Sharif and regards the former soldiers belonging to the protest movement Breaking the Silence as ‘war criminals.’

Bennett is only pointing in the direction Israel will be taking sooner or later. From the Zionist point of view the next substantial move has to be annexation. The peace tactic has been played out to the end, the two-state solution is dead (insofar as it ever lived), there is nothing more to be squeezed out of the Palestinian Authority and in Washington Israel has a friend, Donald Trump, who is delivering as much and more (recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital) than any previous US president going back to 1948: only Truman’s recognition of Israel the moment the state was declared compares. What can come next now but annexation? Bennett thinks the tide is turning in Israel’s favour and insofar as backroom dealings with gulf governments and even more lavish support from the US, he is right.

But is this enough to think the game is over and Israel has won, game, set and match? Perhaps not: perhaps not at all. This issue is not just about the Palestinians and never was. It is an Arab issue, a Muslim issue, a human rights issue and a world issue. It has not gone away and it will not go away. Ahed Tamimi, slapping an Israeli soldier on the face after he struck her (did anyone notice? Certainly not the mainstream media) and now locked away indefinitely for this heinous crime, is the latest example of Palestinian fortitude in the face of oppression.

From the beginning, however brave and steadfast, the Palestinians faced forces which no small group of people could overcome on their own: the British, the Zionists, the United States and the enormous resources they have poured into the occupation of Palestine over the past century. However, Palestine is not just a Palestinian issue and not just a broader human rights issue: it is an issue that goes to the heart of Arab history and identity. The road back to Palestine would always have to run through the Arab world. That was clear virtually from the beginning. So far, two Arab governments (Egypt and Jordan) have signed ‘peace’ treaties with Israel. These paper arrangements between governments have no popular support in either Egypt or Jordan: it is not that their people do not want peace, but that they are not prepared to sacrifice Palestine to get it. There is a slumbering giant here which Israel seems to think will slumber forever. The people are the dynamite at the end of the wick. In the right circumstances and by the right leaders they can be mobilized, as they have been before.

As a racist state Israel has a long history of treating ‘the Arabs’ with contempt or thinking them not capable of doing what they ended up doing. The prime example is 1973 when the Egyptians launched a brilliant cross-canal operation and caught the Israeli troops completely by surprise. They broke and ran and had not Sadat betrayed Hafiz al Assad, by calling the Egyptian offensive off after a week, Israel could have been driven out of the Sinai and off the Golan Heights as well. Only further US intervention (it was already directly intervening by airlifting military supplies directly into Sinai) could have prevented an Israeli defeat. In occupied southern Lebanon, Israel suffered shock after shock. It was outthought and outfought by Hezbollah, and effectively cut and run in 2000. It had another go in 2006, and was humiliated again, which is why Israel is determined to destroy Hezbollah next time, even if Lebanon has to be buried with it.

Naftali Bennett was one of Israel’s soldiers in Lebanon. He projects a tough guy persona. ‘I have killed lots of Arabs in my time and there’s no problem with that’, he has said.  Among ‘the Arabs’ he has helped to kill were the more 100 Lebanese civilians, many of them children, who had taken refuge in the UN compound at Qana, southern Lebanon, when it was shelled by an invading Israeli force in April, 1996. One man lost 31 members of his family, including nine children. Bennett was a member of the so-called ‘elite’ Maglan unit.  When his detachment was caught in an ambush by Hezbollah he called for help from an artillery unit. According to another officer, when he came on the line, Bennett was hysterical, but the shells came in and saved him, 13 exploding in the UN compound. Israel’s claim that it was a mistake was belied by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, who filed a report with the Security Council showing that the bombing was unlikely to have been an error, given that the compound had been under reconnaissance by Israeli drones and helicopters. He lost his second term in office as a result, the US refusing to support him and backing Kofi Annan instead.

Bennett regards himself and his former military comrades as warriors. This is not an opinion shared by Hasan Nasrallah, on the basis of all the experiences Hezbollah has had with the Israelis. In a recent interview on Al Mayadeen television station Nasrallah derided the fighting capacity of Israeli soldiers. In his eyes the achievements of the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine had shattered the myth of Israeli invincibility (a myth actually shattered at least as far back as the war of 1973). Hezbollah and allied forces had fought the takfiris for more than seven years in Syria and more than three years in Iraq. This was an enemy going into battle with squads of suicide bombers, an enemy ready to die ‘without limit’, compared to the Israelis whom, Nasrallah said, do not move forward unless they are preceded by armor, followed by ambulances and protected by fighter jets and helicopters overhead. ‘Such a soldier is defeated beforehand. He is a coward with no will to fight.’  Fighting the Islamic State was much more difficult than fighting Israel, which it was possible to defeat ‘bila shaq’ (without doubt). It was the human factor that gave the resistance the edge.

Nasrallah referred repeatedly to the coming ‘great war’ with Israel, which would involve not just the ‘axis of resistance’ (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and all organizations in the Arab world ‘that support this path’) but hundreds of thousands of Arab volunteers. Nasrallah said Sayyid Abd al Malik al Houthi had promised to send tens of thousands of fighters volunteers even if the Saudi-Yemeni war continued. This war, which Nasrallah has frequently said Hezbollah would carry across the armistice line into Galilee, and would stretch along the whole Lebanese and Syrian front with Israel, has been the central theme of all his recent interviews.

Israel’s strategy from the start will be the total destruction of Hezbollah as quickly as possible and as much of Lebanon as is needed to destroy Hezbollah. Air power will be the crux of Israel’s war strategies, as it has been in the past. This is what Hezbollah and its allies will have been working on for years to neutralize. That Israel is actively preparing for war is clear from the air and ground exercises it has held in the past six months, combining air, naval and ground forces, robotics, fighting in tunnels and the evacuation of civilians from the northern region up to the armistice line with Lebanon. The Israeli general staff has effectively acknowledged the poor performance of troops on the ground, in Gaza or in Lebanon in 2006 by increasing the ratio of soldiers and officers from a religious settler background, more strongly motivated to fight, it thinks, than young men from a secular background.

There is no doubt that the Israeli general staff analyses every word Nasrallah utters, takes him seriously and has respect for him on the basis of Hezbollah’s military achievements but little of what he says reaches the ‘western’ mainstream media. He is just the bushy-bearded cleric regularly presented as Iran’s proxy in Lebanon as if he has no mind of his own, rather than having one of the most impressive minds in the Middle East. Nasrallah never indulges in loose talk and talks only of the ‘possibility’ of a coming great war, so as not to alarm people, when clearly in his mind it is not just a probability but a war that will bring the historical confrontation with Israel to an end point. By inflicting a crushing defeat on its enemies, this is certainly what Israel will have in mind. Hezbollah is prepared and Nasrallah thinks it can win.

The very idea that Israel could be defeated on the battlefield has no place at all in a ‘western’ discourse built as it has been on media bias and centuries of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias. It would be regarded as unthinkable, nonsensical, and laughable. Israel has setbacks but it does not lose wars: the possibility does not exist in minds conditioned by endless media bias. Such a war should be regarded with dread: as Nasrallah says, no-one could say where it might not lead, but with all options for peace destroyed, the pendulum inevitably swings in this direction. Has Hasan Nasrallah drifted away from reality, talking of victory and the hundreds of thousands of fighters who will join this coming war, or does he know something that we don’t? He obviously knows many things that we don’t but to defeat Israel, its offensive and defensive air power would have to be neutralized. Have Hezbollah and Iran worked out how to do this? Is this the source of his confidence? We will have to wait for the war to find out.

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kafka 2.0: How Youtube’s Political Censorship is Exercised

Five years of archives of resistance to Zionism and imperialism deleted by Google

By Sayed Hasan | January 13, 2018

Someone must have been telling tales about Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested.” Thus begins The Trial, Franz Kafka’s 1925 work, in which Joseph K., ordinary bank employee, is arrested at his home by mysterious agents and notified of legal proceedings against him. He is not informed of the offense or crime of which he would allegedly be guilty – he is only given to understand that he must have broken some unknown law – and is notified of a summons to court a certain day, without knowing the exact time or place. The protagonist is dragged into a completely absurd circle, wavering between inspectors, bailiffs, lawyers and judges, and not knowing at any time for what or against whom he must defend himself. He is finally executed by three distinguished executioners who, with “odious politeness”, plant a butcher’s knife in his heart.

The procedure by which Youtube deletes videos and even the entire content of a channel is comparable to this Gothic novel in more ways than one. As I mentioned in a previous article, my channel Sayed Hasan, which, for more than five years, has subtitled in French and English speeches of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, as well as Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Sayed Ali Khamenei (in addition to interviews with Norman Finkelstein, content about revolutionary Latin America, etc.), was given two strikes by Youtube in less than one month because of two Hassan Nasrallah speeches, on the pretext of a “violation of the rules concerning violent or graphic content on Youtube”. The total suppression of the channel did not take long, since it occurred on December 20th, 2017, after a third and last strike announcing the guillotine, still because of a Hassan Nasrallah speech published in… 2014 – there is no prescription on Youtube, nor half measure. Thus, 400 videos, more than 6 million views and soon 10,000 subscribers have vanished, at the time of the greatest growth in their history. Youtube strives to hide its censorship behind a pseudo-legalistic procedure, but in fact, as we will see, all creators are under the constant threat of its political blade that drastically restricts tolerated contents.

The first strike is dated October 24, 2017, and concerns a February 2015 speech titled “Hassan Nasrallah: ISIS is Israel’s ally and aims Mecca and Medina”. Its complete transcript is available here: As we can see, this speech only denounces the terrorist group ISIS, characterizing it as a danger for Islam, Muslims and all humanity, and recalls its collusion with Israel. It contains absolutely nothing legally reprehensible (call to hatred, murder, etc.). Youtube does not in any way indicate where or how such a video would have violated the “rules regarding violent or graphic content”, probably relying on the acumen of the accused – who finds himself de facto convicted. I have found absolutely nothing wrong with it, even by the strictest standards – unless, of course, any negative mention of Israel is unsustainable for the good souls of the IDF, who are tirelessly and relentlessly striving in this work of cyber-denunciation (their soldiers and mercenaries are more enterprising on the Internet than facing real fighters), and find in Google, Facebook and other giants of the Web a particularly complacent ear. We will come back to this point in more detail.

In good faith, I immediately appealed this decision – shockingly, Youtube does not grant more than 200 characters for this “procedure” (spaces included), but true, it is difficult to be loquacious in the face of an unknown crime – and to date, I have received no response. It is a sort of witchcraft trial, where, in violation of the most elementary principles of law, it is up to the accused to prove his innocence in the face of an unspecified violation, and where the mere fact of being suspected by (or denounced to) the all-powerful “Google” Inquisition entails an automatic conviction, without at any time the grievances being clearly stated, the defense, even muzzled, being heard, a semblance of reasoned judgment being rendered or the pseudo-appeal procedure being taken into account, even formally. “We don’t answer questions like that,” opposes a police officer to Joseph K.’s requests regarding the reason for his indictment. “But in general we don’t proceed with trials we’re not certain to win.”

The second strike came on December 14, and concerns a December 11, 2017 speech entitled “Hassan Nasrallah: We are about to liberate Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and all of Palestine,” which only stayed online half an hour before its suppression. Its transcript is available here: Again, beyond the title of the offense regarding “violent or graphic content”, Youtube has not provided any details to justify its decision. It is true that in this extract, Hassan Nasrallah supports the dismantling of the racist, terrorist and colonialist state of Israel, world champion of human rights abuse and international law violations, and invites Palestinians and all the Resistance Axis to take up arms in defense of Palestine and the holy places of Islam and Christianity (he is joined by the Neturei Karta, an orthodox Jewish group that publicly burns Israeli flags in the heart of Jerusalem, as can be seen on its YouTube channel). And it turns out that the rallying slogan “Death to Israel” is spoken by Hassan Nasrallah and echoed by thousands of protesters participating in an opposition rally to Donald Trump and his decision to recognize Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. But beyond the fact that armed resistance to an occupier is perfectly legal according to international law (United Nations Resolution 37/43 of December 3, 1982 reaffirming “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”), the right to information must prevail, because without this, no political speech in a warlike context could be published on Youtube. However, Google does not consider in any way problematic statements much more “violent or graphic” like Donald Trump threatening to “completely destroy” North Korea, the Israeli bragging about bombing Iran and toppling its regime, assassinating Hassan Nasrallah or even General de Gaulle’s June 1940 appeals, or Aimé Césaire’s speeches, which should be banned on Youtube according to a purely literal application of the regulation concerning violent content or call for violence (in these cases, calls to resist against Nazism or colonialism). But obviously, with Kafka, Youtube seems to have also integrated Orwell: “All [contents] are equal but some are more equal than others.” Only videos hostile to imperialism and Zionism are subject to censorship and banishment.

With two strikes in less than a month, the life of my Youtube channel was hanging by a thread: it is true that after 3 months, a warning is removed, but three successive warnings on an account lead to outright removal of the channel and all its content, not just the videos concerned. And it was clear to me that these two unjustified and unprecedented warnings would soon be followed by a third and a complete suppression of my channel. To make a judicial analogy, it is as if a conviction for defamation (which, in any body of law, cannot be held from 3 months to 1 year after the offense, but Google seems to have opted for imprescriptibility) resulted in the removal not only of the passage incriminated (for example, in Zola’s “J’Accuse”, the two incriminated words “by order”, Zola obviously not having the means to prove materially that the second War Wouncil had been forced to acquit Esterhazy by the military hierarchy), but of all the work of the journalist, author – or producer of Youtube content. Without conviction, I conducted the Orwello-Kafkaesque 200-character appeal, protested to Google by email and published an article denouncing this censorship and the announced deletion of my channel. This time, I received a response from Youtube in 12 hours, which showed me, if any doubt still remained, that these procedures are nothing more than a masquerade meant to conceal the totally arbitrariness, or rather political orientation of Google’s censorship: indeed, the answer was in three lines in which Youtube thanked me for having made this appeal procedure, informed me that after a closer examination of the content of my video, they determined that it did not respect the Community rules, and addressed me cordial greetings. Can we conceive of a judgment, let alone an appeal procedure, which dispenses with all argumentation? Google has completely automated the pseudo-legalistic process of deleting content, which is done for the unfortunate victim without any human interlocutor and therefore without any possibility of defense.

As expected, the third warning, which was but a mere formality, came soon: it occurred on December 20, 2017 and concerns a 2009 speech published in 2014 (re-sic) entitled “Hassan Nasrallah: the next war will change the face of the region.” In this excerpt, Hassan Nasrallah considers the hypothesis of an Israeli aggression against Lebanon, and asserts that this threat can be turned into an opportunity if the enemy army is crushed on Lebanese soil, after which even Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) could be liberated, as was southern Lebanon in 2000. This video does not even include the slogan “Death to Israel”. The formulation of the very hypothesis of the liberation of Palestine after an Israeli aggression (many empires collapsed because of their external military expeditions, as recalled by Hassan Nasrallah) would therefore constitute a taboo. Once again, one would be right to wonder why Netanyahu can for its part freely threaten Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or Iran with invasion/destruction, without Youtube considering they should remove these videos. One understands that when Youtube wants to delete a channel, it will use the meanest pretexts and fatally plant its “butcher’s knife” in the heart of its victim.

It is necessary to specify, to the credit of Youtube, that an appeal procedure also exists against the suppression of a channel, and this time, not 200 but 1000 characters are allowed, about 180 words. It may seem light for a job of several years (maybe the work of a lifetime), completely destroyed in a few clicks by Google, but legalistic to the end, I followed this pseudo-procedure the same day. The response was quick – to the credit of Youtube, let us quote again this particularly expeditious and recurrent judicial time: 12 hours, against several years for the traditional justice system. It seems obvious that the appeal procedures are systematically rejected by a mail-type sent automatically after 12 hours. This answer is worth quoting in its entirety, its brevity lending itself willingly:


Thanks for appealing the suspension of your account. We decided to maintain the suspension, in accordance with the Community Guidelines and our Terms of use. For more information, see


Youtube Team

This is the epilogue – and the only epitaph – of a Youtube channel that dared publish anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist content. Denouncing the muzzling of the Internet is now a cliché, but it is always good to illustrate it with concrete examples, this process being known only to its victims.

There is no doubt that all videos broadcasting the point of view of the Resistance Axis (Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq) are being stalked by IDF cyber-soldiers. The fact that this video was flagged and deleted as soon as it was published would even suggest that a soldier or paid – not just zealous – agent of “the most moral army in the world” was on the alert, especially in this hot context following Donald Trump’s recognition of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. Social networks, following the dominant media, tend to integrate and anticipate government directives through a process of self-censorship well described by Noam Chomsky, so it is quite possible that employees of Youtube themselves take care of this task, especially at the time of the official hunt against the so-called “fake news” – which is only an attempt to preserve the monopoly of mainstream patented liars in the service of power and major economic interests, put in mortal danger by the freedom of the Internet. The voice of Hassan Nasrallah in particular is targeted by this censorship, because he is the only Arab leader who inflicted two – humiliating – defeats to Israel (2000 and 2006), and whose fighters played a leading role in the defeat of ISIS: if irreducible agents still dispute the quality of terrorists of the “Jewish jihadists” of Israel, nobody dares to do it anymore for the “Wahhabi jihadists” of ISIS. More than ever, the voice of the Secretary General of Hezbollah is able to find an echo in the Arab-Muslim world and beyond, and cannot be tolerated. After the multi-removal of channels such as Pure Stream Media or Anti-Zionist Party, the main channel translating Hassan Nasrallah’s speeches into French and English was unlikely to escape censorship for long.

Google claims to stick to political neutrality, respect for freedom of expression and the right to information and transparency. But its Transparency Report published every year is singularly lacking in transparency: it evokes (very succinctly), as regards the deletions of content, only those concerning 1 / Copyright, 2 / The European law upholding the right to be forgotten and 3 / Formal requests for deletion by States – the United States and Israel are in a good position. But what about other deletions, especially due to “individual” flagging or Google initiatives, which certainly represent the majority of these deletions? “Individual” flagging apparently only, as many emanate from governmental agencies or from State propaganda. The IDF cyber-soldiers or “Hasbara trolls” have already been reported for their active and paid propaganda at the highest levels on Wikipedia, Facebook, and other social networks. The Netanyahu government just gave 37 million dollars to such an agency, Kella Shlomo. The New York Times itself has revealed that “Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider [hatred/violence] incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.” Glenn Greenwald, who published the Snowden case, just revealed that Facebook is coordinating with the Israeli and American governments the suppression of anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist voices, as recently shown by the removal of Ramzan Kadyrov’s Facebook account. It goes without saying that Israel’s propagandists are also particularly active on YouTube, the world’s leading online video-sharing platform (and the main source of content whose suppression is requested by States according to the Transparency Report), conferring a kind of near-monopoly on Google, who, in its hubris, allows itself to flout the right in its decisions to delete content.

Such decisions do not spare anyone on Youtube, and the biggest names of this platform have complained about the utmost contempt with which it treats its creators. This is the case of PewDiePie, the number 1 of Youtube, whose channel of Gaming / Vlogs itself (nearly 60 million subscribers and 17 billion views) has recently suffered the (pro)-Zionist wrath which clearly spares nobody. The Wall Street Journal itself took care of this odious witch hunt, engaging in slanderous accusations against PewDiePie to Youtube and his own sponsors, Disney in particular, presenting him as an anti-Semite and admirer of Hitler (sic). The WSJ failed to have his channel closed, but Disney broke their contract with PewDiePie, and YouTube excluded him from their paid programs, causing him to lose considerable sums (he does not even appear in Youtube Rewind 2017). PewDiePie had already denounced the arbitrary demonetizations of videos, including all those containing any kind of political content. This censorship policy was formalized in June 2017, with Youtube announcing that “Video content that features or focuses on sensitive topics or events including, but not limited to, war, political conflicts, terrorism or extremism, death and tragedies, sexual abuse, even if graphic imagery is not shown” are not suitable for ads, and therefore demonetized. This is how YouTube keeps its creators at bay, forbidding them to merely speak about “Controversial issues and sensitive events” by this more discreet form of censorship, namely demonetization, and confining them exclusively to simple “entertainment”, in the most restrictive sense of the word. Youtube obviously dares not remove all videos or channels that do not comply for fear of the harm that it would cause them, given the notoriety of some creators, and is content with a pecuniary sanction just as crippling, but has absolutely no scruples for channels with a modest audience like mine, which are suppressed without qualms. As we can see, freedom of expression stops at the (eternally extensible) borders of Israel and its exacerbated “sensitivity”.

This is obviously a significant loss for the individual who has spent hundreds or even thousands of hours translating and subtitling these videos, and who sees five years of effort erased with a stroke of pen – or rather an ax. The impact that these videos have been able to have for five years is not reduced to nothing, but it is the possibility of seeing it grow which is indeed destroyed, and the public acquired for the next videos reduced from ten thousand to the unit. But is this censorship a sign of strength on the other side? Certainly not. The fact that the voluntary work of a private individual in his free time can disturb to this point is only a telling indication of the monumental failure of the billion dollar Zionist propaganda, supported by the mainstream media and by most political forces in the West. But despite all the efforts of Israel and its omnipresent “Thought Police”, its mercenaries and other rabid guard dogs mercilessly sent against any form of criticism of Israel (CRIF or LICRA in France, ADL, AIPAC and others), the Zionist entity remains widely regarded as a criminal state and pariah by the majority of the populations, principal threat for the peace in the world even in Europe, and cannot bear that the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah reach the Western public, considering that they endanger its security and its very existence. Let us remember that Israel is the only state in the world to claim a “right to exist”, aware that its existence is factitious – and temporary. In his last speech at the UN, Netanyahu, striving to demonstrate that Israel has support all around the world, expressed his wish to visit Antarctica, because it was reported to him that “penguins too are enthusiastic supporters of Israel.” There is no need for the defenders of Palestine to flag Zionist videos for censorship, Israeli leaders and their sycophants doing an excellent job of discrediting themselves – and that is certainly why Hezbollah does not engage in targeted operations to avenge its leaders murdered by Israel, relying on their “wisdom” and “charisma” to help destroy the Zionist entity from within.

This incessant and fierce censorship demonstrates, as the Secretary General of Hezbollah has asserted, that the Zionist state is “weaker than a spider’s web”, and that its days are numbered, just like those of the monopoly of the dominant social networks – Youtube, Facebook, and others Twitter, which owe their success to their universalist policy of openness, but dig their own grave with their policy of censorship and submission to governments, imperialism and Zionism. Day after day, the giants of the Web are unveiled more and more like simple agents of the power, whether political or economic, and will be progressively deserted by those who look for authentic and unfiltered information. Freer, parallel platforms are emerging and will continue to emerge, gradually ending their monopoly. Hassan Nasrallah does not even lose anything: while at the beginning of my channel, only specialized or even marginal alternative information sites relayed his speeches (Al-Manar, AlAhed News, …), today, the whole mainstream press is forced to do so to avoid being on the margins of international news and its main actors (New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Mail, Le MondeLe Figaro,…). Youtube, yesterday precursor, is today an exception.

January 14, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment