Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

The proxy-war against Iran is under way in Iraq and has just entered a new phase

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | October 14, 20017

The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia have yet to demonstrate that they have the “courage” to attack Iran directly and it is still conventional wisdom among most observers that none of Iran’s self-defined adversaries will ever develop an appetite for a hot war on Iranian soil any time soon.

One of the reasons for this reticence to attack Iran directly, especially where more moderate members of the Pentagon are concerned, is that such an operation would be suicide from a military-strategic point of view. Ultimately, the US would likely lose any war on Iranian soil that was not a nuclear war. The latter option would of course be a cataclysmic disaster for the planet.

This is one of the reasons that the US continues to construct a totally nonfactual narrative about “Iranian terrorism”. Because no such thing exists (on the contrary Iran both fights and is a victim of Takrifi jihadism), the US along with Israel continues to peddle the narrative that the Lebanese party Hezbollah is an ‘Iranian terrorist group’, even though Hezbollah’s latest accomplishment has been destroying ISIS and al-Qaeda in Lebanon while continuing to help the secular Syrian government fight jihadists.

While many pundits highlight the fact that if a US politician articulates the name of any group with an Arabic or Farsi name, it is easy to pass off such a group as a terrorist organisation, this simplistic explanation for Washington’s continued attacks on Hezbollah as an “Iranian terrorist group”, in spite of the fact that Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party and security force, actually bears a far more sinister explanation.

Because many in the US and Israel are in fact afraid of taking on Iran directly, they are actively working to undermine Iran by attacking its smaller allies. The continual demonisation of Hezbollah is clearly defined by the US as an attempt to weaken the appeal of Hezbollah in Lebanon, in order to convince Lebanese Shi’a Muslims to withdraw electoral and moral support for the party, thus eliminating the power of an Iran friendly group in the heart of the Levant.

This is not speculation or conjecture, but a reference to an important US policy document, drafted as a ‘gift’ for Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. The document known as “A Clean Break” was authored by the future Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee in the Bush administration, Richard Perle. The document was meant to provide guidance for the future of US-Israeli policies in the Middle East.

At the time, it was reportedly dismissed by Neyanyahu as being too extreme, even by Israeli standards, but since 9/11, many of the proposals have either been executed or attempted, including regime change in Iraq and Syria, aggression against Shi’a factions in Lebanon and an increasingly militant approach to Palestine.

Perle’s proposals for Hezbollah make for a reading that is one part frightening and another part laughable. Perle suggests a full-scale campaign to weaken and demonise Hezbollah, something which has clearly failed as Hezbollah’s popularity, even among Christians and Sunnis has only risen since the 1990s, as many Lebanese see Hezbollah as an insurance policy against both Israeli aggression as well as against jihadist terrorism of the ISIS and al-Qaeda variety. The laughable part is when Perle suggests that the Sunni Hashemite Jordanian regime could somehow fill the void left by a would-be weakened Hezbollah, because of alleged latent sentimental attachments among Levantine Shi’as towards the Hashemite dynasty. Such an enlargement would have been far flung even in the 1920s and in 2017, the following segment from “A Clean Break” reads like a bad script to a would-be sequel to Lawrence of Arabia.

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria’s regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the ‘natural axis’ with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.

Since Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah (sic), Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein”.

Of the many things an overzealous Richard Perle got wrong. The most staggering are as follows:

–Underestimating the non-sectarian popularity of the Ba’athist government in Syria

–Not accounting for the Shi’a majority in Iraq who would be politically unleashed in a post-Saddam society

–Overestimating the appeal of the hereditary Jordanian regime to Arabs living in republican states

–Overestimating Jordan’s desire to be anything more than a parking lot for western military hardware

Of course, failing to realise Turkey’s contemporary pivot away from NATO could not have reasonably been foreseen in 1996, but the statements on Turkey still make for perplexing reading with the benefit of  hindsight.

Fast forward to the present day when jihad has failed in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah is more popular than ever in Lebanon (while its opponents are in many ways weaker than ever) and where Iraq has a Shi’a dominated government with openly warm relations with Iran.

Iraq’s present geo-political position is that of the only country in the world where the two most influential countries inside its borders are the United States and Iran. To put this in perspective, imagine a country where the two most influential powers, each with its own troops working with various factions of such a state’s army, were Japan and North Korea.

But this is the awkward reality of modern Iraq, a country whose armed forces coordinate airstrikes with the USA and where in other parts of the country, on the same day, members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, train Iraqi troops and Popular Mobilization Units  to fight terrorism. What’s more is that Iraq has recently approached Iran to sign a wide ranging military security pact. All the while, the US maintains multiple military bases in Iraq, in addition to an embassy in Baghdad that is better described as a military fortress.

If the US was intent on ‘containing’ Iran at all costs or even maintaining a power in the Middle East with a track record of not being afraid of Iran, the US could have simply continued to fund and arm Saddam Hussein. In rejecting Saddam and engaging in illegal regime change, the US severely underestimated the potential of a post-Ba’athist Iraq not to devolve into a battle ground of identity politics, one in which sheer mathematics would dictate more pro-Iranian factions than any other.

Now, the US is stuck in the rut that is contemporary Iraq. On the one hand, Iraq has been a major material investment for the US. This is one of the leading explanations for why the US condemned the recent Kurdish secession referendum in northern Iraq. Where Iraqi Kurds were once the go-to faction in Iraq for the US to undermine the old Ba’athist government and since 2003, a faction that the US exploited to promote a so-called ‘Iraqi success story’, today, the US wants to have its Kurdish cake and eat it too. In other words, while the US does not intend to publicly defame Iraqi Kurds, they also seek to preserve the unity of their investment called Iraq.

At least, this is what the US says in public, but privately, this may have already changed. Kurdish secessionists in Iraq decided to include the oil rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk on the map of a would-be Kurdish state, as part of the widely condemned secession referendum process. This has infuriated the Arab and Turkomen population of Kirkuk who see Kurds as attempting to annex a city which is not part of the existing autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.

Over the last 24 hours reports from Kirkuk detailing intense fighting between the Iraqi military and the Kurdish Peshmerga militia have been flowing in, albeit under the radar due to the media focusing more acutely on Donald Trump’s anti-Iran speech. While most Arab sources describe the battles as being fought between Iraqi Troops and Peshmerga, Kurdish outlets speak of clashes between a “foreign backed Iraqi army” along with Shi’a forces versus Peshmerga.

Thus one sees that generally pro-western and clearly pro-Israel Kurdish writers are proliferating a narrative where a foreign power, meaning Iran, is backing Shi’a Iraqis in a fight against Kurds.

The clear intention is to send the world a false message that the current fight in Kirkuk is an Iranian proxy battle against ‘wholesome Iraqi Kurds’. In reality, when reading between the lines, even in Kurdish propaganda outlets, one realises that the majority Shi’a Iraq army, the Sunni Arabs and Sunni Turkomen of Kirkuk, are all united behind the Iraqi flag against the Kurdish flag. In this sense, a battle which Kurds are trying to paint as a proxy sectarian war, is actually a rare example of Iraqi unity between Arabs and Turkomen, Shi’a and Sunni.

Thus, one sees the blueprint as well as the folly of the US and Israel’s real proxy war against Iran. Having failed in Syria and Lebanon, Iraq is the place where anti-Iranian forces will continue and likely ramp up their long-term anti-Tehran proxy war.

Whereas ISIS failed to destroy Iraq and also failed to limit Iranian influence on Iraq, the Kurds in Iraq will likely be the next proxy force used to attempt and draw Iran into a new conflict in Iraq. In the coming weeks and months, the headlines in fake news outlets warning of an ‘Iran/Hezbollah plot to take over Syria’, will likely be replaced with stories of ‘Iranian terrorists committing atrocities against Iraqi Kurds’. Of course, the more this strategy fails on the battle field, the more absurd the fake news stories will get, just as fake stories about Syrian chemical weapons tend to appear every time Damascus scores a substantial victory against al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The problem with the new plan for more proxy wars with Iran in Iraq, is that in the process, many Iraqi Arabs, as well as Iraqi Turkomen, may revive a pan-Iraqi identity in the process. Furthermore, if pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq begin fighting for the rights of Sunni Arabs and Turkomen against Kurds, it could actually help to reconcile Iraqi Sunnis with Iraqi Shi’as.

This is the real game-plan against Iran and while it is a dangerous one, it ultimately will not be an effective one. In many ways, it may even be less effective than the attempt to use ISIS and other Takfiri groups to draw Iran into a losing war in the Arab world. Here, the opposite has happened, Iran has worked with legal state partners to cooperate and ultimately secure victory against Takfiri jihadists.

When and if the conflicts in Iraq finally end, the only question remaining will be: What to do with the deeply unpopular US bases in Iraq? There are only two options:

1. Perpetual stalemate

2. A 1975 Vietnam style withdrawal

The United States plans to end Iranian power in Iraq, but it is becoming increasingly likely that Iraq will instead be the graveyard of US hegemony. In many ways, it already is.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia ready to mediate talks between Saudi Arabia & Iran – deputy FM

RT | October 11, 2017

Russia is ready and willing to mediate in establishing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has stated.

“We tried several times and offered [to help Iran and Saudi Arabia sit down at the negotiating table], but we do not impose our intermediary role,” Bogdanov told reporters.

“But we have always told our partners in both Saudi Arabia and Iran that we are ready to provide both a platform for contacts and friendly services.”

Bogdanov added that Moscow has always highlighted the need to resolve the issues between the two countries.

“Many problems would have been much easier to resolve had there been mutual understanding and trust between Tehran and Riyadh,” Bogdanov said.

He added that the situation in the entire region, especially regarding antiterrorism efforts, depends on mutual understanding and cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Bogdanov stressed that Russia always tells Saudi Arabia and Iran that it is ready to report something from one side to another or to organize their bilateral contacts. “These proposals remain on the table both with our Saudi and Iranian partners,” he said.

In May, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism and seeking confrontational policies in the region. He was responding to comments by the Saudi deputy crown prince, who earlier ruled out dialogue with Tehran. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, the kingdom’s defense minister, said it was impossible to mend relations between his country and Iran due to Tehran’s “extremist ideology” and ambitions to “control the Islamic world.”

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, following the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister responded by accusing Iran of setting up “terrorist cells” inside the kingdom. Iran then issued a warning that “divine vengeance” would come to Saudi Arabia as a punishment for Nimr’s execution as well as for Riyadh’s bombings in Yemen and support for the Bahraini government.

In February of this year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while on a visit to Saudi ally Kuwait, said that Tehran would like to restore relations and improve ties with all its Gulf Arab neighbors.

One area where Moscow and Riyadh disagree is Iran’s involvement in Syria.

Riyadh, a main backer of the Syrian opposition, is against the actions of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Hezbollah group in Syria. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, these groups influence the situations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf countries, and Yemen, and have no place in Syria or any other part of the world. Riyadh’s primary objective has been to put an end to Iran’s involvement in the region.

Meanwhile, Russia has argued that Iran and Hezbollah are operating in Syria at the official request of President Bashar Assad.

“We don’t see Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. We believe that both of them [Iran and Hezbollah] – like Russia’s air forces – came to Syria following the request of the legitimate government,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed in April.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

US offers $12 mln bounty on two Hezbollah leaders, cites ‘homeland’ threat

RT | October 10, 2017

The US has offered a total of $12 million in rewards for the capture of two senior Hezbollah officials, saying the Iranian-backed group is plotting attacks inside the US. The announcement comes as Washington mulls canceling the Iran nuclear deal.

A $7 million bounty applies to Talal Hamiyah, head of Hezbollah’s external operations. Another $5 million is being offered for Fuad Shukr, the group’s senior military official, accused of masterminding the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 US Marines.

Hezbollah is “focused on US interests, including here in the homeland,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen told reporters at the State Department Tuesday.

While he declined to comment on any specific, credible or imminent threats, Rasmussen said the US intelligence community continues to see “activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland.”

“It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook,” he added.

The FBI arrested two Hezbollah operatives in June, one in New York and another in Michigan, said Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan A. Sales.

Asked whether this would affect Washington’s financial support to the government of Lebanon, which includes several Hezbollah members, Sales replied that it will not. He added that the US does not recognize any distinctions within the group.

“Hezbollah has no political wing. It is a single organization, a terrorist organization, and it is rotten to its core,” Sales said, pointing to Iran as the group’s chief sponsor.

The State Department designated Hezbollah – or Hizballah, as the US government spells it – as a foreign terrorist organization in October 8, 1997. In February this year, the US offered a $5 million bounty for Mohammed Ali Hamadei, a Hezbollah member who allegedly took part in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in which US sailor Robert Stethem was killed.

Although the bounties were officially announced Tuesday, news of their existence was reported Monday by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv. … Full article

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Hezbollah chief says US helps Daesh, does not allow it to be eliminated

Press TV – October 8, 2017

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah says the United States does not want Daesh Takfiri group to be destroyed and is providing Takfiri terrorists with assistance through its bases in Syria.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks while delivering a speech at a ceremony held in al-Ain town in North Bekaa region to commemorate two martyred members of the resistance movement.

The ceremony was held after Hezbollah commander, Ali al-Hadi al-Asheq, and Hezbollah fighter, Mohammad Nasserdine, were killed, along with five other fighters, while fighting the Takfiri terrorists in Syria last week.

“It is only the United States, which does not let Daesh be totally annihilated,” Nasrallah said in his speech.

The Hezbollah leader added that the US was helping Daesh through its base in the Syrian city of Raqqah and also through a base it runs near Syria’s border with Jordan where Daesh terrorists are trained.

“US Air Force does not allow the Syrian army and resistance groups to advance toward positions occupied by Daesh,” he added.

Stressing the need to continue the ongoing fight against Daesh despite efforts made by the US, Nasrallah said, “If we do not continue the war against Daesh, the Takfiri group will hit again and resume its campaign of massacre and terror.”

Nasrallah emphasized that Daesh would return to all areas it had lost if the fight against the group stopped, because Daesh was like a malignant cancer, which must be uprooted.

Nasrallah stated that the US did not want the Lebanese army to fight Daesh in those areas, which had been occupied by the Takfiri group, and to achieve this goal, it even stopped its aid to the Lebanese army for a period of time.

The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah stated that the “Wahhabi Takfiri Daesh” group was only present in small parts of Iraq and Syria, but the group must be totally annihilated, because if not, it would continue to threaten Iraq and Syria.

He noted that the main strategy followed by Daesh was to extend its existence, so that, it could launch new battles to reclaim liberated towns and villages.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah noted that the Middle East region was facing a new scheme devised by the United States and Saudi Arabia, which was mainly aimed at Iran.

He stated that Washington and Tel Aviv kept lying about Tehran’s nuclear program as they were outraged by the Islamic Republic’s influential role in the Middle East.

The Hezbollah chief said the main problem between the US and Iran was that the Islamic Republic had caused the Saudi-US plot to crash across the region.

He added that the Riyadh regime’s policies would eventually fail in Syria despite the fact that the Saudi authorities were funneling huge sums of money and munitions to Takfiri terrorists there.

Nasrallah then stressed that Hezbollah was a popular movement, which enjoyed great support both inside Lebanon and across the Middle East, noting that US policies and sanctions would fail to change the group’s positions.

October 8, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel calls for US to be more active in Syria

RT | October 3, 2017

The Israeli defense minister has urged Washington to engage more in Syria, where President Bashar Assad “is winning.” The official has asked for increased US involvement, saying Israel is struggling to deal with the “Russians, Iranians, and also the Turks and Hezbollah.”

“We hope that the United States will be more active in the Syrian arena and in the Middle East in general,” Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview with Israel’s Walla news on Tuesday.

“In the northern arena, we are faced with the Russians, Iranians, and also the Turks and Hezbollah. The public does not know everything and it’s a good thing, but it’s an investment and an effort 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The minister went on to express his apparently grave concerns that “in spite of everything, Assad is winning the battle.” He also called the situation in Syria “one of the greatest absurdities.”

“The United States has quite a few challenges of their own, but as a trend, the more active the US is, the better,” Lieberman said.

According to the right-wing Israeli official, “suddenly everyone is running to get closer to Assad,” including countries in the West “queuing” to win the Syrian president’s favor.

In another unfortunate scenario for Israel, the situation in Syria has led to widespread Iranian consolidation, according to Lieberman, who is known for his harsh statements and anti-Iranian stance.

Despite Israel generally not being involved in the Syrian war, there has long been a concern that the situation would see some of its main foes – Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant organization designated as a terrorist group by Israel and the US – gain a foothold of power in Syria.

Claiming “errant projectiles” from Syrian territory have reached Israel, the IDF has on several occasions targeted positions of the Syrian Army and allied forces. The Israeli military have also targeted military convoys within Syria, claiming they were carrying weapons for Hezbollah.

In a recent development in the region, Israel endorsed a referendum on the creation of an independent Kurdish state, despite a number of other nations having condemned the vote. Having warned that the Kurds’ independence drive is a threat to the whole region, the Hezbollah chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has called the referendum a part of the US-Israeli plot to carve up the Middle East, saying that those nations are back on course to plunge the region into chaos by sowing division.

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah offers incredibly balanced view on Kurdish referendum

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | October 1, 2017

The leader of the Lebanese party Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has articulated a defence of territorial unity across the Arab world while also calling for respecting the human rights of all non-Arab minorities across the region. In a speech which invoked the ideals anti-imperialist Arab nationalism, Nasrallah made it clear that the opposition to the recent referendum by Kurds in Northern Iraq among those calling for Arab unity, is based on considerations regarding political survival and one that rejects ethno-nationalism in all its forms.

Hezbollah’s official news outlet Al-Manar reports the following (Nasrallah’s quotes are indicated by bold lettering)

“Following the defeat of ISIL, the region is before a dangerous scheme of division, Sayyed Nasrallah said, warning that such scheme is represented in the secession of Kurdistan region in Iraq.

“We say to our beloved Kurds that the issue is not about deciding your fate, but about dividing the region according to sectarian and ethnic belonging.”

The Lebanese resistance leader called on people of the region to confront such scheme which echoes the “New Middle East”, which was plotted by former US president George W. Bush.

“The people of this region bear responsibility of confronting this scheme of division.”

His eminence also called on people of the region to refrain from resorting to ethnic bias.

“There should not be ethnic bias between Arabs, Kurds or Iranians, the problem is not with Kurds, it’s political one.”

Sayyed Nasrallah in this context warned that wars in the region are in favor of ‘Israel’ and US along with the latter’s arms companies”.

This view which embraces an all encompassing anti-imperialist Arab nationalism, one that rejects the ethno-nationalism of any one group, is consistent with the traditions of the great secular Arab nationalists movements including Ba’athism, Nasserism and Gaddafi’s Third International Theory. While Hezbollah is a religious party, it is careful to reject faith based sectarianism let alone ethno-nationalism.

As I wrote yesterday in The Duran,

“The 20th century witnessed the birth of Arab nationalism, a series of movements and political parties which aimed to restore independence and unity in the Arab world after centuries of Ottoman rule, as well as more recent decades of western imperialist occupation and aggression.

Arab nationalists were anti-tribal, progressive and anti-sectarian. Arab nationalists sought to retain the traditional harmony in which Arab Muslims lived with one another as well as with their Christian and Jewish neighbours. Likewise, Arab nationalist parties did not favour discrimination against ethnic minorities. In many cases, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians welcomed Arab nationalism as a progressive respite against late Ottoman realities that were increasingly ethnocentric and genocidal.

The progressive realities of Arab nationalism contrast with the aggression of western imperialism, the backwardness of Wahhabism, the settler colonialism of Zionism and the ethno-nationalism of present day Kurdish secessionists.

In this sense, while the Kurds have spun a narrative that they are oppressed freedom fighters, the reality is rather different. Iraqi Kurds are attempting to break apart the unity of the Arab world and in so doing, threatening the survival of what remains of the Arab nationalist ideal. If the Kurds got their way, many Arabs and other minorities such as Turkomen would find themselves becoming refugees in their own country as a result of Kurdish ethno-nationalism. By contrast, in the modern Arab world, Kurds are not threatened. One could say that they are fact, in a privileged position.

Furthermore, with many Arab nationalist governments being the victims of neo-imperialism from the west, Wahhabi terrorism from Saudi Arabia and its allies, in addition to Israel occupation and intimation, one can easily see why Arab states like Iraq have clearly stated their opposition to a further dagger in the heart of the Arab world”.

October 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

US & Israel back to plot to carve-up region after ‘failure of ISIS project’ – Hezbollah leader

RT | October 1, 2017

The leader of the Lebanese based Hezbollah has said that Israel and its allies are worried over the imminent defeat of the Islamic State terrorist “project,” and are back on course to plunge the region into chaos by sowing division, starting with Iraqi Kurdistan.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned against the partitioning of Iraq in the wake of this week’s Kurdish independence referendum, arguing that its secession from Iraq will set off a chain reaction and lead to more endless wars in the region.

“It will open the door to partition, partition, partition,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah emphasized, according to Reuters. He added that “partition means taking the region to internal wars whose end and the time frame is known only to God.”

On Monday, the Iraqi Kurdistan region held a non-binding referendum, where some 3.45 million ballots were cast. Over 92 percent of those who voted opted in favor of independence, according to local authorities.

The Iraqi parliament condemned the vote and has imposed a number of trade and economic restrictions on the region. Neighboring Turkey, Iran and Syria also oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan, mainly over concerns that it may spur separatist sentiment in their own Kurdish-populated areas.

On Saturday, the Hezbollah chief warned that the Kurds’ independence drive is a threat to the whole region. Nasrallah called the September 25 referendum a part of the US-Israeli plot to carve up the region, a policy, which according to Nasrallah, is driven by arms companies.

“We say to our beloved Kurds that the issue is not about deciding your fate, but about dividing the region according to sectarian and ethnic belonging,” the Hezbollah leader noted, according to Almanar news.

“After the failure of the ISIS project, it’s now back to the project of dividing up the region, first from the area of Kurdish Iraq,” he added, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The leader of the militant organization, designated as a terrorist group by Israel and the US, believes the threat of partitioning the region increases with the looming defeat of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL terrorist group).

“Daesh is at its end. It is a matter of time in Iraq and Syria,” Nasrallah, whose Hezbollah forces are actively fighting ISIS in Syria said. “ISIL is incapable of regaining territory. The group is trying to exhaust the Syrian army in order to delay its end. However, this plan is ineffective because the decision to wipe out ISIL has been taken.”

At the same time, he called on all people of the region to confront any efforts to sow the seeds of division.

“The people of this region bear the responsibility of confronting this scheme of the division,” Nasrallah noted. “There should not be an ethnic bias between Arabs, Kurds or Iranians, the problem is not with Kurds, it’s political one.”

Most world powers have criticized Monday’s referendum. Moscow said it respects the desire of Kurds to have a national state but underlined that autonomy should be pursued only through peaceful dialogue and within a unified Iraqi state.

Washington, which has been reliant on Kurdish forces fighting against IS and other terrorist groups both in Iraq and Syria, has called on Iraq to maintain its territorial integrity.

“The United States does not recognize the Kurdistan Regional Government’s unilateral referendum held on Monday. The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said Friday.

October 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel is struggling to adapt to the end of the Syrian conflict

By Mahan Abedin | MEMO | September 26, 2017

As the Syrian conflict gradually winds down it is becoming easier to identify the winners and the losers. At a global level the conflict is seen widely as a big win for Russia, and by extension a loss for the United States.

However, despite their significant differences, Russia and the US have established an uneasy accommodation in Syria, as demonstrated by a succession of local ceasefire deals. The same logic applies to Turkey and Iran, two major regional powers which are setting aside their differences to focus on the bigger picture in post-conflict Syria.

However, there is one clear loser in the conflict which is unable to reach an accommodation with its regional foes: Israel. The Zionist state has failed to achieve its core objective, namely to weaken the Syrian state by what it deems to be a sufficient degree.

On the contrary, the Syrian government is increasingly strident and confident of its victory. By extension, the so-called “Axis of Resistance” – the regional alliance led by Iran – has had a shot in the arm, as evidenced by Lebanese Hezbollah’s growing regional clout.

This outcome has increased tensions significantly between Hezbollah and Israel, as demonstrated by frequent Israeli air strikes on alleged Hezbollah-related targets inside Syria. These strikes are a harbinger of what may be just around the corner, namely a major war initiated by Israel to redress the balance of power.

Unlike some Western powers, Israel did not want Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to be overthrown, just sufficiently battered and permanently embattled. As part of this policy Israel has extended significant support to some Syrian rebel groups, particularly in Quneitra province close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

This support, though, does not necessarily constitute sympathy for the rebels’ ultimate aim, notably the overthrow of Assad, if not the Syrian government in its entirety. Israel does not trust Syrian rebels and its attitude toward the president is informed by the old adage of better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

At the strategic level, Israel has made two major miscalculations. First and foremost, it failed to anticipate Russia’s forceful entry into the war in late September 2015. The Russian air force rolled back rebel gains and the wider Russian presence in Syria signalled a firm determination to maintain the political status quo. This placed Israel at a disadvantage in so far as it enabled the Syrian government to go on the offensive against its armed enemies.

Second, Israel underestimated the extent of Iran’s ability to influence the outcome of the conflict. This miscalculation centres on capability as opposed to motivation, as the Israelis were under no illusions that Iran is committed wholeheartedly to the current regime in Damascus. Israeli intelligence and defence chiefs also underestimated Iran’s military and intelligence prowess, particularly the latter’s ability to mastermind a highly effective multinational paramilitary force in Syria dominated by Shia Afghani fighters.

Whilst Iran’s human losses in Syria are considerable, in terms of what has been at stake – namely its ability to project decisive influence in the Levant region – these losses are more than tolerable. Furthermore, the blood spilt in Syria means that Iran is more than ever determined to safeguard its investment by keeping a substantial military force in the country on a long-term basis. This outcome is simply intolerable for the Israelis.

In the past 35 years, beginning with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, the cycle of conflict between the Zionist state and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah has undergone several distinct phases, marked by short periods of sharp escalation and a much longer period of uneasy peace. The former has occurred roughly every ten years, as demonstrated by the sixteen-day Grapes of Wrath operation in April 1996 and the longer and more intense war of summer 2006.

Israel is understood widely to have lost the 2006 war, at least in terms of asymmetric warfare, an outcome that has had a decisive influence in containing Israeli aggression towards Lebanon. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah goes beyond the region and has a truly global dimension. Both sides spy on each other around the world, a fierce intelligence war that occasionally escalates into the assassination of Hezbollah commanders and alleged bombings in retaliation.

In terms of the next major conflict, there are two factors that weigh heavily on Israeli strategists. First is the psychological requirement to exorcise the ghosts of 2006 and restore – albeit partially – Israel’s image of military invincibility. Second, there is a growing realisation that Israel’s containment strategy is failing to stem Hezbollah’s military capability, which reportedly includes an arsenal of 120,000 rockets.

Whilst unable to influence the course of the Syrian conflict at a strategic level, at tactical and operational levels Israel has conducted dozens of air strikes against alleged Hezbollah targets in Syria – and occasionally against purely Syrian targets – with the declared goal of preventing the transfer of sensitive weapons systems to the Lebanese militant group.

There is a growing acknowledgement by prominent Israeli analysts that these strikes have failed to achieve their objective, namely to contain Hezbollah’s growing military clout. This failure is used by these analysts to push the warped idea that in the next war Israel has to raise the stakes significantly by declaring war on Lebanon, as opposed to just Hezbollah. This strategy necessitates the wholesale destruction of Lebanese infrastructure.

There are now growing signs that a conflict may break out sooner than expected, with the Israelis carefully preparing a Western audience for a major war. The trigger for this war could come in any shape or form, with the repeated Israeli violations of Syrian sovereignty – in the form of air strikes – likely to elicit a credible response from either Hezbollah or Syria at some point. In this arena – as in other conflict arenas involving the Zionist state – it is the Israelis who control the provocation game.

The next war is likely to prove more devastating than the last, even if it is not longer, as Israel will mobilise all its resources to compensate for its loss in the Syrian conflict and, by extension, to change the balance of power with its most potent enemies. As it struggles to adapt to the end of the Syrian conflict, others must get ready to pay the price.

Read: Israel’s new occupation zone in Syria

September 26, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Iran checkmates US, Israel

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | September 24, 2017

The announcement in Tehran on Saturday regarding the successful test of a ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers and capable of carrying multiple warheads to hit different targets phenomenally shifts the military balance in the Middle East.

Israel and the roughly 45,000 US troops deployed to the Middle East – Jordan (1500 troops), Iraq (5200), Kuwait (15000), Bahrain (7000), Qatar (10000), UAE (5000), Oman (200) – fall within the range of the latest Iranian missile. Iran has demonstrated a deterrent capability that deprives the US and Israel of a military option.

The missile test signals Tehran’s strategic defiance of the US, after President Donald Trump’s outrageous remarks against Iran in his address to the UN GA. From this point, Trump has to be very careful about tearing up the Iran nuclear deal. Any such rash act by Trump or the lawmakers in the Congress (imposing new sanctions) can be seized by Tehran to resume its previous nuclear program, which would have far-reaching implications, given its missile capabilities.

President Hassan Rouhani took a tough line after returning to Tehran from New York. He warned that if Trump violated the nuclear deal, “we will be firm and all options will be before us.” Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told New York Times tauntingly that if the US wanted to re-negotiate the nuclear deal, Tehran too will insist on re-negotiating every single concession it made – “Are you prepared to return to us 10 tons of enriched uranium?”

Rouhani made a strident speech at a military parade on Friday in Tehran underscoring that Iran did not need any country’s permission to bolster its missile capability. He added, “The Iranian nation has always been after peace and security in the region and the world and we will defend the oppressed Yemeni, Syrian and Palestinian people whether you like it or not.”

“As long as some speak in the language of threats, the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities will continue and Iran will not seek permission from any country for producing various kinds of missile,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a statement Saturday.

What emerges is Iran’s determination to consolidate its influence in Syria. The US will have to carefully weigh the repercussions before making any intervention (which Israel is pressing for.) Again, Iran may establish a long-term presence in Syria. The Iran-supported battle-hardened Shiite militia fighting in Iraq and Syria is a veritable 100,000-strong army and Iran is in a position to force the eviction of US forces from Iraq and Syria.

The Trump administration must take with the utmost seriousness the thinly veiled threat by the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari on Wednesday (while reacting to Trump’s UN speech) – “The time has come for correcting the US’ miscalculations. Now that the US has fully displayed its nature, the government should use all its options to defend the Iranian nation’s interests. Taking a decisive position against Trump is just the start and what is strategically important is that the US should witness more painful responses in the actions, behavior and decisions that Iran will take in the next few months.”

The ballistic missile test followed within 3 days of Gen. Jafari’s threat. Equally, the timing of the missile test can be seen against the backdrop of the referendum being planned for September 25 by the Kurds of northern Iraq, seeking an independent Kurdistan. Tehran is in no doubt that the Kurdistan project is a US-Israeli enterprise to create a permanent base in the highly strategic region with the objective of destabilizing Iran and undermining its regional surge in Syria and Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, Israel is furious about Iran’s missile test. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called it a “a provocation and a slap in the face for the United States and its allies — and an attempt to test them.” Clearly, Israel is in panic that Iran is steadily, inexorably outstripping it as the number one regional power in the Middle East. However, beyond rhetoric, Israel cannot do much about Iran’s surge.

Israel foolishly instigated Trump to provoke Tehran just at this juncture when he is barely coping with the crisis in Northeast Asia. A containment strategy against Iran is no longer feasible. Wisdom lies in the Trump administration engaging Iran in a constructive spirit to influence its regional policies. Threats never worked against Iran. Time and again they’ve proved to be counterproductive.

September 24, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

6 MAJOR US foreign policy failures of the post-Cold War era

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 14, 2017

In the 1990s, US officials, all of whom would go on to serve in the George W. Bush White House, authored two short, but deeply important policy documents that have subsequently been the guiding force behind every major US foreign policy decision taken since the year 2000 and particularly since 9/11.

These documents include the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (more commonly known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine). This document, as the name implies was authored by George W. Bush’s deeply influential Deputy Defense Secretary  Paul Wolfowitz as well as I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who served as an advisor to former US Vice President Dick Cheney.

The other major document, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, from 1996 was authored by former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee in the administration of George W. Bush, Richard Norman Perle.

Both documents provide a simplistic but highly unambiguous blueprint for US foreign police in the Middle East, Russia’s near abroad and East Asia. The contents of the Wolfowitz Doctrine were first published by the New York Times in 1992 after they were leaked to the media. Shortly thereafter, many of the specific threats made in the document were re-written using broader language. In this sense, when comparing the official version with the leaked version, it reads in the manner of the proverbial ‘what I said versus what I meant’ adage.

By contrast, A Clean Break was written in 1996 as a kind of gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who apparently was not impressed with the document at the time. In spite of this, the US has implemented many of the recommendations in the document in spite of who was/is in power in Tel Aviv.

While many of the recommendations in both documents have indeed been implemented, their overall success rate has been staggeringly bad.

Below are major points from the documents followed by an assessment of their success or failure.

1. Regime change against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (A Clean Break)

This objective is in many ways both the clearest initial success and also the most strident overall failure.

In 1996, Richard Perle suggested that removing Saddam Hussein from power would be good for the US and Israeli interest because it would weaken a powerful, large Arab state that had poor relations with the US since 1990 and historically poor relations with multiple regimes in Tel Aviv. While Iraq’s President was removed from power by illegal force in 2003, that which happened subsequently, did not deliver the outcome Perle had desired.

A Clean Break suggests that a post-Saddam Iraq could and should be ruled by a restored Hashemite dynasty, which was originally overthrown in 1958. Perle continues to suggest that Jordan, the last remaining Hashemite state in the Arab world, could work with Israel and the US to make this happen. Even more absurdly, Perle suggests that a Hashemite would-be union between Jordan and Iraq would be able to command more loyalty from Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon than Iran.

The realities could not be more different. After the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, the idea of restoring the Hashemite dynasty was never again floated in any serious forum, as the idea would be simply impossible to implement. There was no will among any major faction in Iraq to restore a monarchy that was overthrown in a revolution in 1958 that many Iraqis continue to look back on with national pride.

Ironically, the biggest Arab bulwark against a resurgent Iran was Saddam Hussein. In the 1980s, the future neo-cons realised this, though they seemingly ignored what they once knew, as early as in 1992.

Since Saddam Hussein’s removal from power and violent execution, Iraq’s majority Shi’a population have generally rallied around Iran politically, militarily and spiritually. Iraq has recently signed a defensive military pact with Iran and it is well known that many of the Shi’a volunteer brigades which are fighting ISIS in Iraq have received training and advice from Iranian experts.

While the US bases in Iraq make a US military presence closer to Iran than it was prior to 2003, by the same token Iran’s influence in the Arab world, especially in Iraq has grown substantially. In any case, the desired illegal ‘regime change’ war against Iran will likely never happen for two reasons. First of all, many in the Pentagon and in Washington moreover, realise that such a war would be an unmitigated disaster for the US and secondly, Iran has many influential international partners that it did not have in the 1990s, primarily Russia. Russia as well as China would not stand for a war on Iran in 2017.

In this sense, the US got very little of what it claimed it wanted in overthrowing Saddam apart from the weakening of a united Iraq.

2. ‘Containing’ Russia and China by preventing them from becoming superpowers (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

This policy has failed on every front. Since the rise of George W. Bush, the first White House adherent to the Wolfowitz Doctrine, Russia and China have risen to a status which means that there are three global superpowers, not the lone American superpower dreamt of by Wolfowitz and Libby.

China’s economic rise has fuelled a more robust stance from Beijing on global affairs. China now vigorously defends its claims in the South China Sea, has continually outflanked the US on the Korean issue, is engaged in the building of One Belt–One Road, the most wide reaching trade and commerce initiative in modern history and has opened its first military base overseas.

At the same time, the People’s Liberation Army continues its modernisation programme, making it as formidable a force which for all practical purposes, is as battle ready and capable as those of the US and Russia, countries which during the Cold War, had far superior armed forces to China.

Likewise, Russia’s return to superpower status, has been equally crushing in respect of the goals of Wolfowitz and Libby. Russia has not only strengthened old alliances but is now an important ally or partner to countries which were former Cold War opponents or otherwise non-aligned countries. This is true in respect of Russia’s alliances and partnerships with China, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Philippines and increasingly Indonesia. Russia is also becoming ever closer to South Korea and even Japan.

With Russia’s military now boasting modern defence systems which can rival those of the US and in many cases are objectively superior to those of the US, the idea that the US would prevent Russia from re-attaining super-power status and China emerging as a super-power has become a patent absurdity.

3. Containing Syria via Turkey and Jordan (A Clean Break)

For a while, this plan was implemented with some degree of success by the Obama administration. While Jordan never played a substantial part in the proxy wars on Syria, apart from being a NATO transport corridor, Turkey did help to undermine Syria’s sovereignty with its armed forces and its own proxies.

While relations between Turkey and Syria remain poor, relations between Turkey and the rest of its NATO ‘allies’ is also poor.

Turkey has quietly ceased its support for terrorist groups (aka the opposition) in Syria, is participating in the Astana Peace Process with long time Syrian allies Russia and Iran and is engaged in multiple trading and commercial deals with Russia, including the purchase of the Russian made S-400 missile defence system.

The overall result of Turkey’s participation in the Syrian conflict has been a strengthening of Turkey’s relationship with historical adversaries, Russia and Iran, something which has happened simultaneously to Turkey’s essentially dead relationship with the EU and its incredibly weakened relationship with the US.

All the while, Ba’athist Syria has emerged from the conflict victorious with its commitment to the Palestinian cause as strong as ever.

Far from being “contained”, Syria is now more admired throughout the wider world than at any time in the last three decades.

4. Molesting Russia’s borderlands (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

In the original text of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, there was a provision stating that the US must work to make sure that places like Ukraine and Belarus became part of the US  economic and geo-political orbit, maintaining both “market economies” and “democracies”.

The 2014 US engineered coup against the legitimate government in Kiev was a knee-jerk US response to the fact that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an economic association agreement with the EU, under the guise that the Ukrainian economy cannot afford to cut itself off from Russia.

Yanukovych was subsequently overthrown in a violent coup, and a neo-fascist pro-western regime was installed. However, this can hardly be considered a success as the sheer violence and incompetence of the current Kiev regime has made it so that Ukraine, a place whose borders were always dubious to begin with, will almost inevitably fracture into something unrecognisable.

Already, much of Donbass has been incorporated into the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics that will never go back to Kiev rule and Crimea, whose relationship with Kiev was even more tenuous is now happily reunited with the rest of the Russian Federation.

Seeing the coup in Kiev, Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko has pledged to crack down on any would be trouble-makers, all while remaining a committed albeit tantrum prone ally of Russia.

The only part of this element of the Wolfowitz Doctrine which has not been a failure has been the weaponisation of eastern Europe. The reason this has succeeded is due to the fact that Russia has no interest in invading eastern Europe. Russia has merely responded by building up its defences against NATO’s provocative weaponisation of Poland and the Baltic States.

5. Weakening Hezbollah (A Clean Break)

In 2017, Hezbollah is not only more popular than ever, but its militarily might is stronger than at any time in its history. Hezbollah’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria has won the party praise from groups in Lebanon that previously were never keen on Hezbollah, as well as individuals in the wider world who seek to build a genuine anti-terrorist coalition.

The conflict in Syria has drawn Iran, Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon (the heartland of Hezbollah) closer together than they have ever been. This has in many ways been a result of the common cause of fighting groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda that bound them all together.

In 2006, Hezbollah dealt Israeli forces a major defeat in South Lebanon. Today, Hezbollah is even stronger and everyone in Israel is all too aware of this.

This was a major failure in respect of implementing the ‘destruction’ of Hezbollah advocated by Richard Perle.

6. North Korea not to be allowed nuclear weapons (Wolfowitz Doctrine)

The fact that North Korea just tested what is widely believed to be a hydrogen bomb, is a clear indication that this major goal of Wolfowitz and Libby has failed.

Beyond this, while Russia has condemned both North Korea and US led provocative acts on the Korean peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that North Korea does have the right to self-defence, something which has become even more prescient after North Korea witnessed the destruction of Iraq and Libya which did not have weapons capable of deterring a US invasion.

Russia and China have clearly seized the initiative on the Korean issue. Apart from launching a disastrous war on North Korea, the US can now do little to change the realities in Pyongyang.

CONCLUSION: 

The aggregate effect of this analysis indicates that the US is still highly capable of starting wars and igniting conflicts throughout the world, but that it is likewise hardly ever capable of winning these conflicts or even achieving a majority of its own stated goals.

As the two most revealing foreign policy documents from the US in the post-Cold War era, both the Wolfowitz Doctrine and A Clean Break have been abject failures. In many cases, in attempting to achieve the goals of these documents, the United States has ended up achieving the opposite.

The US is militarily strong, but strategically, diplomatically and geo-politically, it is actually close to impotent.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Israel is flexing muscles at Hezbollah

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | September 7, 2017

The Israeli armed forces began a massive fortnight-long military exercise on Tuesday, billed as the biggest in the past 19 years, simulating a war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post reported that “thousands of soldiers and reservists from all different branches of the IDF (cyber, intelligence, ground forces, the air force and the navy) are going to coordinate their operations as during wartime.”

Hezbollah has reacted with disdain, a top official taunting Israel, “we are ready for any attack or Israeli stupidity.” He added, “The Israelis won’t succeed in surprising us, because Israel knows full well [what] Hezbollah’s capabilities are after the loss it suffered in 2006 [in the Second Lebanon War], which deterred the IDF.”

Israel’s advantage will be that Hezbollah is embroiled in other conflicts, in particular the Syrian conflict. Hezbollah’s capability, on the other hand, has vastly increased since 2006 and there is some merit in its claim of being “the second largest military in the Middle East,” apart from having at least 100,000 rockets aimed at Israeli targets. Logically speaking, a war is improbable but then, nothing is beyond the realms of possibility in the Middle East region.

Israel will be sorely tempted to test Hezbollah’s increased capabilities now rather than later, because a point of no return may be reached soon and will have a hard time holding itself back. The fact of the matter is that Israel is coming face to face with a new security paradigm that would have seemed incredible even six months ago. The spectre that haunts Israel today is that for the first time since the 1967 war, the balance of forces is shifting adversely.

Sharmine Narwani, a seasoned Beirut-based analyst of Middle East politics (and a personal friend of mine) has written an insightful piece in the American Conservative connecting the dots and explaining how a once-favorable balance of power has suddenly shifted in a direction that clips Israel’s wings.” She analyses that for a start, Israel is failing spectacularly in its attempt to dictate the limits to Iran’s presence in post-conflict Syria.

Israel knocked on the doors of the Trump White House to get the US troops to take on the responsibility of the so-called de-escalation zone in southern Syria bordering Golan Heights. But the Pentagon cold-shouldered the idea. Thereafter, three weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Sochi to meet President Vladimir Putin to convey a veiled threat that Israel may choose to intervene if Russia did not rein in Iran’s influence in Syria. Putin, it seems, was also unimpressed.

In fact, the magnificent victory this week by the Syrian government forces in breaking the ISIS’ 840-day siege of the eastern Syrian city Dier Ezzor in the Euphrates Valley was possible only with the participation side-by-side by the Russian Special Forces, Iranian militia and Hezbollah. Moscow may have sent a strong signal to Netanyahu when RT, which is closely identified with the Kremlin, featured an unprecedented interview with the Hezbollah leader Sheikh Naim Kassem on Tuesday where he thoroughly denounced Israel’s “main part in Syria’s destruction” having been “an important supporter of the armed opposition, especially in the southern part of Syria.”

But there are other dimensions to the emergent security scenario as well that are worrying Israel. One, Hezbollah has successfully cleaned up the border regions separating Lebanon and Syria, where there was a big presence of the extremist Syrian opposition groups, including ISIS (some of which had enjoyed covert Israeli backing.) That has “freed up Hezbollah forces for deployment on other fronts – including its southern border with Israel.” It is a matter of time now before Hezbollah goes for the jugular veins of the extremist groups, especially the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front, which are ensconced in the border of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (with Israeli support.) If and when that happens, Hezbollah (and Iran) would be Israel’s next-door neighbor in the Golan Heights.

Additionally, Jordan, which used to be Israel’s main staging post for operations in Syria, is showing signs of “defecting” to the Russian side. This is not surprising because Jordan sees the writing on the wall, especially after the Gulf Arab states began distancing themselves from the Syrian cauldron in the most recent months. Russia has been quietly cultivating Jordan. The Saudi establishment media organ Al-Arabiya carried a report on Monday to the effect that Jordan is edging toward re-opening relations with Syria and that Damascus is reciprocating the sentiment. It quoted a Syrian official as saying, “Hearts in Syria and Jordan still beat for each other and this reflects the Arab people’s longing for the project of reawakening and liberation.”

Meanwhile there are signs that Turkey may mediate a normalization between Jordan and Iran, too. What Israel is unlikely to overlook is that Hamas is also re-establishing links with Tehran. The new Hamas leader Yehiyeh Sinwar was quoted as saying on Monday that Iran is now “the largest backer financially and militarily” to Hamas’ armed wing. (Fox News)

So, we get here an interesting regional line-up of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Jordan, Iraq and Iran which have a shared antipathy toward Israel for one reason or the other. Paradoxically, the recent spat within the Gulf Cooperation Council has erased the sectarian divide in the regional politics, which of course has a multiplier effect on Iran’s regional influence. Equally, Israel is viewed as a key patron of the Kurdish separatist movement in Iraq, while Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran have congruent interest in preventing, no matter what it takes, the emergence of an independent Kurdistan on the regional map. All in all, therefore, the victory in the Syrian war greatly boosts Iran’s regional standing and gives it land access to the East Mediterranean coast.

Read Sharmine Narwani’s article Israel’s Geopolitical Gut Check, here.

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hassan Nasrallah: Hezbollah is a danger to the Israeli occupation, Israel’s appetites

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on 31 August 2017, on the occasion of the commemoration of Lebanon’s “Second Liberation” against terrorist groups

Transcript:

[…] We need to know, O my (dear) brothers and sisters, that the opposing (US-Israeli) project in the region is crumbling and falling apart, and that US and Israeli dreams that were built on Daesh and its sisters and fellow takfiri and terrorist groups, these dreams and hopes collapse, and that the Axis of Resistance is the one who inflicted a defeat on this project, with the help of Russia, to be quite frank and honest.

And as with any victory, there is a price (to pay). If you lose, the price (to pay) is clear. But even when you win, there is a price to pay (but way less than when you lose). It is natural that the victorious Lebanon will be subjected to pressures. And the same for the Resistance, which certainly is subject and will be subject to (even more) pressures.

Today, a huge (propaganda) machine works (day and night) to present Hezbollah as a threat, a destructive group, a problem (you), the Lebanese, the Lebanese people must try to resolve. Tomorrow, they will create you a (new artificial) problem now that we are done with Daesh and Al Nosra. Someone cynical might say: so that your turn does not come, you should let Daesh and Al-Nosra (stay in Lebanon); why are you in a hurry (to finish them off and become thus again the main target of USA)? If one wants to think cynically. But if we think about the national interest, people’s safety, our loved ones’, their happiness and their tranquility, we think differently.

So the Americans will return once again and say for the benefit of Israel: “O government, State, parties and people of Lebanon, you have a (major) problem called Hezbollah. How are you going to solve it? Hezbollah’s power increases (by the day), the accumulation (of weapons)… ” It is you who are talking about the increase of our power. “His power grows, he can do well and prepare, etc. This is a (big) problem. We must solve it.” But they want to resolve it in the interest of whom? In the interest of Israel. Certainly not in the interest of Lebanon.

Hezbollah does not represent a danger, neither for Lebanon nor the Lebanese people, nor the Lebanese State. Certainly, Hezbollah is a danger to the Israeli occupation, Israel’s appetites, and American hegemony and the takfiri project. So we will be under pressure. And we will be presented as the danger, when in truth it is indeed the United States that constitute the danger today. It is this administration, the Trump administration that is the danger.

Who is it who is currently bringing the world to the brink of a global nuclear war with North Korea? Today (the fate) of the world is suspended between two people, regardless of what one thinks of the one and the other: Trump and Kim-Jong-Un. The fate of the world lies in the hands of these people. God knows what they will do. How will they act, where will they lead the world, God only knows. This is the real danger.

Today, the Trump administration led the relations with Russia at the worst level, and relations with China at the worst level, they are on the brink of war with China, as a result of tensions in the South China Sea. The continuous threats of war against Venezuela, the relaunch of the war in Afghanistan, threats to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran, rekindling the inter-Arab disagreements… Are there people (gullible enough) to believe that the crisis between the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, the UAE (and Bahrain also) on one hand, and Qatar on the other hand, the United States are not able to resolve it? By God, they can resolve it in an hour, half an hour, a wink from Trump or his entourage, and the crisis would be resolved. No ! The United States wants these struggles, these wars, etc.

They are the ones who represent the danger. This administration, this mentality that wants to reinstate the hegemony and monopolize the oil, money and gas, and to protect Israel, (who is now) worried and scared. It is they who are a danger, not Hezbollah.

Today, the continuation of the war against Yemen, and the intensification of the assault, especially in recent weeks, the horrible massacres committed by the Saudi air force against unarmed Yemeni civilians, and we can only condemn it. This war is an American war par excellence. If the United States wanted this war to stop, it would stop in half an hour. This is not an issue for them.

Those who represent a threat to the region today are the United States. Even Pakistan, a US historic ally, this administration has lobbied hard on them, insulted their army, insulted their people and insulted their State, and that’s why they demonstrated by the millions in the last few days to protest against US policy, American bullying and insults against Pakistan and the Pakistan Army.

Who is giving free rein to Israel in the region, if not the US? And more dangerous, we may be faced with the formulation of a new American policy to impose a new model after the end of Daesh, a new model of terrorism, under new titles, new names and new slogans.

We must face these pressures, whatever they are and wherever they come from. How to cope as Lebanese? It is through steadfastness, convergence and unity that we will overcome this stage. […]

Translation: http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment