Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

UN rejects Israel claims of Hezbollah operating under cover of NGO

The picture released on June 22, 2017 shows an installation of the Lebanese environmental NGO Green Without Borders which Israel alleges to be used by Hezbollah fighters.
Press TV – June 24, 2017

The United Nations has dismissed Israeli accusations that Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement is setting up observation posts on the border under the guise of an environmental NGO.

Earlier this week, the Israeli military published photographs and footage showing what it claimed to be Hezbollah observation posts established on behalf of “Green Without Borders” near the frontier with the occupied territories.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon sent a letter of protest to the UN Security Council, denouncing the alleged “dangerous provocation” and accusing Hezbollah of carrying out undercover reconnaissance activities.

The council should “demand that the government of Lebanon dismantle these observation posts immediately, and prevent any future activity of Hezbollah and its affiliates in southern Lebanon, particularly near the Blue Line,” he said, referring to the UN-drawn boundary between Lebanon and the occupied lands.

On Friday, however, UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko rejected Tel Aviv’s allegation against Hezbollah and said that members of Green Without Borders had only planted trees in the area over the past years.

She stressed that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) “has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of [Security Council] Resolution 1701,” passed at the end of the 33-day Israeli war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

UNIFIL remains in contact with the Lebanese armed forces on monitoring the border to ensure there are no violations “and to avoid any misunderstandings or tensions that could endanger the cessation of hostilities.”

The 33-day war, which killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, ended on August 14, 2006, after a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect.

Since then, UNIFIL has also been charged with monitoring the cessation of hostilities.

Israel’s claims come while it frequently violates Resolution 1701 by invading Lebanon’s airspace.

The Lebanese army and Hezbollah have on numerous occasions reported border breaches by Israeli troops attempting to install espionage devices and tracking equipment in Lebanese territory.

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 4 Comments

US faces historic setback in the Middle East

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | June 23, 2017

The bloc of four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia that imposed an embargo against Qatar on June 5 has finally presented their charter of demands. An AP dispatch, lists the 13 demands. The most striking demands include Doha reducing ties with Iran, severing relationships with Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, closing a Turkish military base in the country, and shuttering state broadcaster Al Jazeera and several news outlets.

Interestingly, Qatar is also expected to “consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.” All this means that abject, unconditional capitulation by Qatar only will satisfy its ‘big brothers’ – nothing less. By the way, there is also a timeline to comply – within the next 10 days – or else the demands get ratcheted up.

To my mind, Qatar will have no difficulty to see this is nothing short of a thinly-veiled push for ‘regime change’. The regime’s response can only be that these Arab bigwigs can go and hang themselves.

What happens next? Simply put, the (Sunni) Muslim Middle East is about to split and the historic schism will have profound consequences for regional and international security.

Make no mistake, this latest development also signifies a slap on the face for the Trump administration. Only last Tuesday, US state department warned Saudi Arabia to resolve the standoff without any further delay lest direct US intervention became necessary, doubting the stance taken by Riyadh (which is widely regarded as carrying the imprimatur of the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) and showing broad empathy with Qatar (where the US Central Command is headquartered.) Curiously, the US spokesperson also had alluded to Saudi Arabia’s past involvement in terrorism “whether it’s through terror financing or other means”.

Evidently, Saudi pride has been touched to the quick and Riyadh has taken exception to the US censuring. Without doubt, these demands are a show of defiance at Washington, too. This is all now going to become a protracted crisis in all likelihood, which will seriously debilitate the US’ regional strategies – unless of course Qatar crawls on its knees — and weaken its war against the ISIS.

To be sure, Turkey will take great exception to the Saudi demand that its so-called military base in Doha should be shut down unceremoniously. President Recep Erdogan will see this demand as an intolerable affront to Ottoman legacy. The VOA reported on Thursday that Turkey has been moving food and troops to Qatar in a big way.

Quite obviously, the crux of the matter is that the virus of Arab Spring is hibernating in Qatar and it threatens to become an epidemic someday again, threatening the autocratic regimes in the Middle East. Only Turkey, Iran and Israel are immune to the virus of democratic empowerment. Evidently, Al Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood are driving the sheikhs crazy in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain and threaten the military dictatorship in Egypt.

The credibility of the US on the ‘Arab Street’ is now irreparably damaged. For President Donald Trump all this becomes a big political embarrassment domestically. (Bloomberg ) It remains to be seen how the US can afford to sustain its belligerent posturing in Syria and Iraq much longer without any regional allies from the Arab world.

The Trump administration’s containment strategy against Iran seems destined to collapse even before its launch and Trump’s pet project of the ‘Arab NATO’ looks a macabre joke. Can the US ever restore its hegemony over the Muslim Middle East? Doubtful. A big slice of modern history of the western hegemony over Arabs is breaking away and drifting toward the horizon. To be sure, Russians are coming!

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | June 20, 2017

The U.S. mainstream media’s near universal demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – along with similar hatred directed toward Iran and Hezbollah – has put the world on a path toward World War III.

Ironically, the best hope for averting a dangerous escalation into a global conflict is to rely on Assad, Putin, Iran and Hezbollah to show restraint in the face of illegal military attacks by the United States and its Mideast allies inside Syria.

In other words, after the U.S. military has bombed Syrian government forces on their own territory and shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday – and after Israel has launched its own strikes inside Syria and after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have financed and armed jihadists to overthrow Assad – it is now up to the Syrian government and its allies to turn the other cheek.

Of course, there is also a danger that comes from such self-control, in that it may encourage the aggressors to test the limits even further, seeing restraint as an acceptance of their impunity and a reason to ignore whatever warnings are issued and red lines drawn.

Indeed, if you follow The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other big U.S. news outlets, perhaps the most striking groupthink that they all share is that the U.S. government and its allies have the right to intervene militarily anywhere in the world. Their slogan could be summed up as: “International law – that’s for the other guy!”

In this upside-down world of American hegemony, Assad becomes the “aggressor” when he seeks to regain control of Syrian territory against armed insurgents, dominated by Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), or when he protests the invasion of Syrian territory by foreign forces.

When Assad legally seeks help from Russia and Iran to defeat these foreign-armed and foreign-backed jihadists, the U.S. mainstream media and politicians treat his alliances as improper and troublemaking. Yet, the uninvited interventions into Syria by the United States and its various allies, including Turkey and Israel, are treated as normal and expected.

Demanding Escalation

The preponderance of U.S. media criticism about U.S. policy in Syria comes from neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who have favored a much more ambitious and vigorous “regime change” war, albeit cloaked in prettier phrases such as “safe zones” and “no-fly zones.”

So, you have Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal editorial, which praises Sunday’s U.S. shoot-down of a Syrian military plane because it allegedly was dropping bombs “near” one of the U.S.-backed rebel groups – though the Syrians say they were targeting an Islamic State position.

Although it was the U.S. that shot down the Syrian plane over Syria, the Journal’s editorial portrays the Russians and Syrians as the hotheads for denouncing the U.S. attack as a provocation and warning that similar air strikes will not be tolerated.

In response, the Journal’s neocon editors called for more U.S. military might hurled against Syria and Russia:

“The risk of escalation is real, but this isn’t a skirmish the U.S. can easily avoid. Mr. Assad and his allies in Moscow and Tehran know that ISIS’s days are numbered. They want to assert control over as much territory as possible in the interim, and that means crushing the SDF [the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces].

“The Russian threat on Monday to target with anti-aircraft missiles any U.S. aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria is part of the same intimidation strategy. Russia also suspended a hotline between the two armed forces designed to reduce the risk of a military mistake. Iran, which arms and assists Mr. Assad on the ground, vowed further Syrian regime attacks against SDF, all but daring U.S. planes to respond amid the Russian threat.

“The White House and Pentagon reacted with restraint on Monday, calling for a de-escalation and open lines of communication. But if Syria and its allies are determined to escalate, the U.S. will either have to back down or prepare a more concerted effort to protect its allies and now U.S. aircraft.

“This is a predicament President Obama put the U.S. in when his Syrian abdication created an opening for Vladimir Putin to intervene. Had the U.S. established a no-fly or other safe zone to protect refugees, the Kremlin might have been more cautious.”

As senior U.S. commanders have explained, however, the notion of a sweet-sounding “no-fly or other safe zone” would require a massive U.S. military campaign inside Syria that would devastate government forces and result in thousands of civilian deaths because many air defenses are located in urban areas. It also could lead to a victory for Al Qaeda and/or its spinoff, Islamic State, a grisly fate for most Syrians.

Propaganda Value

But the “safe zone” illusion has great propaganda value, essentially a new packaging for another “regime change” war, which the neocons lusted for in Syria as the follow-on to the Iraq invasion in 2003 but couldn’t achieve immediately because the Iraq War turned into a bloody disaster.

Instead, the neocons had to settle for a proxy war on Syria, funded and armed by the U.S. government and its regional allies, relying on violent jihadists to carry out the brunt of the fighting and killing. When Assad’s government reacted clumsily to this challenge, the U.S. mainstream media depicted Assad as the villain and the “rebels” as the heroes.

In 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency, then under the direction of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, warned that the U.S. strategy would give rise to “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria.”

Flynn went further in a 2015 interview when he said the intelligence was “very clear” that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to back these jihadists in league with Middle East allies. (Flynn briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser but was ousted amid the growing Russia-gate “scandal.”)

Only in 2014, when Islamic State militants began decapitating American hostages and capturing cities in Iraq, did the Obama administration reverse course and begin attacking ISIS while continuing to turn a blind-eye to the havoc caused by other rebel groups allied with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, including many outfits deemed “moderate” in the U.S. lexicon.

But the problem is that almost none of this history exists within the U.S. mainstream narrative, which – as the Journal’s neocon editors did on Tuesday – simply depicts Obama as weak and then baits President Trump to show more military muscle.

What U.S. National Interests?

The Journal editorial criticized Trump for having no strategy beyond eradicating ISIS and adding: “Now is the time for thinking through such a strategy because Syria, Russia and Iran know what they want. Mr. Assad wants to reassert control over all of Syria, not a country divided into Alawite, Sunni and Kurdish parts. Iran wants a Shiite arc of influence from Tehran to Beirut. Mr. Putin will settle for a Mediterranean port and a demonstration that Russia can be trusted to stand by its allies, while America is unreliable. None of this is in the U.S. national interests.”

But why isn’t this in U.S. national interests? What’s wrong with a unified secular Syria that can begin to rebuild its shattered infrastructure and repatriate refugees who have fled into Europe, destabilizing the Continent?

What’s the big problem with “a Shiite arc of influence”? The Shiites aren’t a threat to the United States or the West. The principal terror groups – Al Qaeda and ISIS – spring from the extremist Saudi version of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism. I realize that Israel and Saudi Arabia took aim at Syria in part to shatter “the Shiite arc,” but we have seen the horrific consequences of that strategy. How has the chaos that the Syrian war has unleashed benefited U.S. national interests?

And so what that Russia has a naval base on the Mediterranean Sea? That is no threat to the United States, either.

But what is the alternative prescription from the Journal’s neocon editors? The editorial concludes: “The alternative would be to demonstrate that Mr. Assad, Iran and Russia will pay a higher price for their ambitions. This means refusing to back down from defending U.S. allies on the ground and responding if Russia aircraft or missiles attempt to take down U.S. planes. Our guess is that Russia doesn’t want a military engagement with the U.S. any more than the U.S. wants one with Russia, but Russia will keep pressing for advantage unless President Trump shows more firmness than his predecessor.”

So, rather than allow the Syrian government to restore some form of order across Syria, the neocons want the Trump administration to continue violating international law, which forbids military invasions of sovereign countries, and keep the bloodshed flowing. Beyond that, the neocons want the U.S. military to play chicken with the other nuclear-armed superpower on the assumption that Russia will back down.

As usual, the neocon armchair warriors don’t reflect much on what could happen if U.S. warplanes attacking inside Syria are shot down. One supposes that would require President Trump to authorize a powerful counterstrike against Russian targets with the possibility of these escalations spinning out of control. But such craziness is where a steady diet of neocon/liberal-hawk propaganda has taken America.

We are ready to risk nuclear war and end all life on the planet, so Israel and Saudi Arabia can shatter a “Shiite arc of influence” and so American politicians don’t have to feel the rhetorical lash of the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

Terrorism supporters in Washington and Riyadh close ranks against Qatar

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 13, 2017

The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington.

More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium.

So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington’s admittedly low standards of rectitude. On the 5th of June, Saudi Arabia led a gaggle of Arab and Muslim nations that included the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut off all diplomatic, commercial and transport links with Qatar, effectively blockading it. Qatar is currently isolated from its neighbors, subject to sanctions, and there have even been Saudi threats of going to war against its tiny neighbor. Salman al-Ansari, the president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, even tweeted: “To the emir of Qatar, regarding your alignment with the extremist government of Iran and your abuse of the Custodian of the two sacred mosques, I would like to remind you that Mohammed Morsi [of Egypt] did exactly the same and was then toppled and imprisoned.”

It is the second time the Saudis have moved against Qatar. Two years ago, there was a break in diplomatic relations, but they were eventually restored. This time, the principal allegation being directed against Qatar by Riyadh is that it supports terrorism. The terrorist groups that it allegedly embraces are Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s affiliation. Hezbollah and Hamas are close to Iran which is perhaps the real reason for their being singled out as many would call them resistance movements or even legitimate political parties rather than terrorists. And the Iran connection is critical as Qatar has been under fire for allegedly saying nice things about trying to respect and get along with Tehran, undoubtedly somewhat motivated by its joint exploitation with Iran of a vast gas field in the Persian Gulf.

Qatar’s ownership of al-Jazeera also has been a sore point with the Saudis and other Gulf states as its reporting has often been critical of developments in the region, criticisms that have often rankled the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptians. It has been accused of spreading propaganda for “militant groups.” One of the Saudi demands to permit Qatar to again become a “normal” Arab Gulf state would be to close down the network.

The terrorism claims by the Saudis are, of course, hypocritical. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are well known as sponsors of Salafist terrorism, including the funding and arming of groups like ISIS and the various al-Qaeda franchises, to include al-Nusra. Much of the money admittedly comes from private individuals and is often channeled through Islamic charities, but both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been extremely lax in their enforcement of anti-terror and money laundering regulations. In a 2009 State Department memo signed off on by Hillary Clinton it was stated that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” Qatar, meanwhile, has been described as a “permissive environment for terrorist financing.”

The Saudis also have considerable blood on their hands by way of their genocidal assault on neighboring Yemen. In addition, the Saudi Royal House has served as the principal propagator of Wahhabism, the virulently fundamentalist version of Islam that provides a form of religious legitimacy to terror while also motivating many young Muslims to join radical groups.

The falling out of two Gulf Arab regimes might be a matter of relatively little importance but for the unnecessary intervention of President Donald Trump in the quarrel. He has taken credit for the burgeoning conflict, implying that his recent visit to the region set the stage for the ostracizing of Qatar. His twitter on the affair, posted on June 6th, read “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” And he again came down on Qatar on June 9th during a press conference.

Trump’s tweets might well be regarded as simply maladroit, driven by ignorance, but they could also provide a glimpse of a broader agenda. While in the Middle East, Trump was bombarded with anti-Iranian propaganda coming from both Israel and the Saudis. An escalation of hostilities with the intention of starting an actual war involving the United States to take down Iran is not unimaginable, particularly as the Israelis, who have already endorsed the Saudi moves, have been arguing that option and lying about the threat posed by Tehran for a number of years.

A war against Iran would be very popular both with the U.S. congress and the mainstream media, so it would be easy to sell to the American public. The terrorist attack in Tehran on June 6th that killed 17 is being blamed in some Iranian circles on the Saudis, a not unreasonable assumption. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack but it must also be observed that both the Saudis and Israelis have good connections with the terrorist group. But if the possibility of a possible Saudi hand is true or even plausibly so, it guarantees a rise in tension and an incident at sea could easily be contrived by either side to escalate into a shooting war. The United States would almost inevitably be drawn in, particularly in light of Trump’s ridiculous comment on the tragedy, tweeting that Iran is“falling victim to the evil they promote.”

There is also other considerable collateral damage to be reckoned with as a consequence of the Trump intervention even if war can be avoided. Qatar hosts the al-Udeid airbase, the largest in the Middle East, which is home to 10,000 U.S. servicemen and serves as the Combined Air and Space Operations Center for Washington and its allies in the region and beyond. Now the United States finds itself squarely in the middle of a fight between two alleged friends that it doesn’t have to involve itself in, an intervention that will produce nothing but bad results. Backing Saudi Arabia in this quarrel serves no conceivable American interest, particularly if the ultimate objective is to strike at a non-threatening Iran. So the fallback position is to lie about what the support for the aggressive Saudi posturing really means – it is alleged to be about terrorism, which is always a popular excuse for government overreach.

And the ultimate irony is that when it comes to terrorism the United States itself does not emerge without fault. As early as 2011, the U.S. was arming Syrian dissidents from the arsenals in Libya, flying in weapons to Turkey to hand over to the rebels. Many of the weapons, as well as those provided to Iraqi forces, have wound up in the hands of ISIS and al-Nusrah. U.S. advisers training rebels have conceded that it is impossible to determine the politics of many of those receiving instruction and weapons, an observation that has also been made by the Obama White House and by his State Department.

So watch the lies if you want to know when the next war is coming. If the House of Saud, the Israelis and Donald Trump are talking trash and seem to agree about something then it is time to head for the bomb shelter. Will it be Iran or an escalating catastrophe in Syria? Anything is possible.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Britain’s Real Terror Apologists

By Finian Cunningham | Sputnik | June 11, 2017

Despite a vicious smear campaign to denigrate Britain’s Labour leader as a “terrorist sympathizer,” Jeremy Corbyn still pulled off an amazing achievement in the general election.

Hardly has a politician in any Western state been so vilified with character assassination, and yet he has proven to be most popular Labour leader in Britain since the Second World War.

After weeks of trailing his Conservative rival Theresa May in the polls, Corbyn’s socialist manifesto appealed to a record number of voters – closing the gap between the parties to only two percentage points behind the Tories.

This was in spite of a concerted media campaign to destroy Corbyn in the eyes of the British public as a “terrorist stooge.” The irony here is that the Conservative party is forming a governing coalition with a little-known Northern Ireland party whose history is steeped in British state terrorism. (More on that in a moment.)

For Corbyn, the election outcome was a stunning moral victory. For Prime Minister May it was a humiliating defeat. The Conservatives lost their overall majority in the British parliament and now they have to rely on this reactionary fringe party from Northern Ireland to form a government.

May called the snap election because she thought her party would increase its majority and also because she calculated that Corbyn’s socialist direction of Labour would be wiped out. Many Blairite naysayers in his own party thought so too.

The opposite happened. The British public largely rejected May and her neoliberal capitalist, pro-austerity, pro-NATO policies. They instead rallied behind Corbyn. Granted, the Tories still won the election – only narrowly – but the surge in support for Labour under Corbyn means that he has galvanized a party that stands a strong chance of winning if another election is called. And that could be soon, perhaps in the coming months owing May’s shaky ad hoc government collapsing.

Another riveting factor in all this is that Corbyn’s success came amid a torrential Tory and right-wing media campaign to denigrate him as a terrorist sympathizer. The propaganda onslaught was conducted for months since May called the election back in April. And it grew to a frenzy as election day approached last Thursday, especially when the opinion polls showed Labour steadily whittling away the earlier Conservative support.

The day before the public went to the polling booths, the Daily Mail ran the front page headline: “Apologist for terror,” with Jeremy Corbyn’s photo below. It looked like a “wanted poster” from the Wild West. The only thing missing was the subhead with the words: “Wanted dead or alive.”

The scurrilous allegation pounded over and over by the largely pro-Conservative British media that Corbyn is “soft on terrorism” stems from his otherwise principled history of campaigning on international justice and peace.

Over his 35 years as an MP, he has voiced consistent support for Palestinian rights under illegal Zionist occupation; he has supported Hezbollah resistance against Israeli and American aggression; and during the conflict in Northern Ireland, Corbyn gave a voice to Irish Republicans who were being assailed by British military violence.

Many other international causes could be mentioned, such as Corbyn opposing British government weapons dealing with the despotic Saudi regime which is propagating terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

He has also campaigned to abandon nuclear weapons and is critical of NATO’s reckless expansion in Europe, which have earned him the jingoistic pillorying by the British establishment of “being soft on Russia.”

Corbyn has never condoned terrorism. Rather he has always sought to properly put it in a wider context of other parties also, unaccountably, using terrorism and thus fueling conflict.

This brings us to so-called Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland whose 10 MPs Theresa May’s Tories are now relying on to form a government. This party was formed in the early 1970s by the firebrand Protestant preacher Ian Paisley. While Paisley mellowed in later years before his death in 2014, he spent most of his career preaching vile hatred against Catholics and Irish Republicans, whom he saw as a threat to the political union between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. In British-run Northern Ireland, it wasn’t acceptable to have a democratic aspiration for an independent Ireland. You were either a pro-British unionist or a “threat.” So much for British democracy.

Senior members of Paisley’s pro-British party played a crucial role in smuggling massive caches of weapons into Northern Ireland during the 1980s to illegally arm unionist paramilitaries. These paramilitaries went on to murder hundreds of innocent people simply because they were Catholics, who tended to be Republican. A favored tactic of these paramilitaries was to storm into pubs and homes and indiscriminately mow people down with assault rifles.

One notorious pro-British killer was Gusty Spence who belonged to the Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary. He later expressed remorse and deplored Ian Paisley, the DUP founder, as the person who incited him to murder innocent Catholics due to his sectarian hate speech.

The paramilitary murder gangs were not just supported covertly by members of the DUP. The British government of Margaret Thatcher – Theresa May’s predecessor and political heroine – orchestrated these same death squads in a covert policy of “dirty war.”

British military intelligence colluded with the pro-unionist militants to assassinate Republican politicians and ordinary Catholics alike in a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism. The objective was to terrorize people in submitting to British rule over Northern Ireland, rather than allowing the island country to become united and independent.

The British government provided intelligence and cover for the death squads and the unionist politicians had helped supply the AK-47 assault rifles and Browning handguns smuggled from Apartheid South Africa.

This secret dirty war policy of the British government and their unionist proxies in Northern Ireland has been uncovered by investigative journalists such as Paul Larkin (see his groundbreaking book “A Very British Jihad: Collusion, Conspiracy and Cover-up in Northern Ireland”); as well as human rights campaign groups like Belfast-based Relatives for Justice and Pat Finucane Centre.

Not even the present government of Theresa May can deny this murderous legacy in Ireland, although there is a determined silence now as she fights for her political survival in the wake of the British election disaster.

It is a proven fact that May’s Conservative party and the unionist politicians whom she is now partnering with to govern Britain were complicit in terrorism.

Northern Ireland has since gained a peace settlement in which unionist and republican politicians have been able to work together to form a local governing administration. The Irish peace process was possible partly because of the courageous and principled intervention by British politicians like Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn has never apologized for terrorism. He has sought to overcome it by making politics work. The same cannot be said for Theresa May’s Conservative party. It was an accomplice and an apologist for a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism during Northern Ireland’s recent 30-year conflict.

The very party whom she is now allied with for governing Britain – the DUP – were also apologists for paramilitaries who routinely smashed their way into family homes and slaughtered victims in cold blood in front of their loved ones.

The ongoing muted policy of May’s government and her unionist proxies about their murderous legacy in Ireland is a testimony to who the real apologists for terror are.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia warns US against attacks on Syrian forces

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | June 12, 2017

Diplomats dissimulate, journalists exaggerate, politicians waffle, but an army general has no reason to obfuscate the stark ground reality. Therefore, the rare remarks by the commander of Russian forces in Syria, General Sergey Surovikin, merit great attention. Excerpts are reproduced below:

  • The US-led coalition lets militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa instead of killing them… The US-led coalition enters into collusion with ringleaders of the ISIS, who give up their settlements without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active… The Russian force in Syria sees in the Raqqa area militants leaving the city and its suburbs unhindered. In early June, ISIS terrorists left the populated localities 19 kilometers southwest of Raqqa offering no resistance and headed toward Palmyra.
  • The Americans are using ISIS to robustly block the movement of government troops… The aviation of the US-led coalition is impeding the struggle of Syrian government forces against terrorists… They have blocked the way of government forces, who are eliminating ISIS militants and setting up border posts along the border with Iraq to the north-east of Al-Tanf.

The long and short of Gen. Surovikin’s chilling account is that although President Donald Trump vows to fight the ISIS with tooth and nail, Pentagon guys may have other ideas. They continue to use the ISIS with a hidden agenda where the Syrian government (and Iran) is the number one enemy. The US objective appears to be two-fold in Syria: a) create a buffer zone in southern Syrian regions bordering Israel and Jordan, which will be dominated by “good terrorists”; and, b) take control of the entire Syrian-Iraqi border on a North-South gradient so that Iran’s logistical capability to render help to the beleaguered Syrian government forces is sharply reduced.

Indeed, a ‘frozen conflict’ would effectively balkanize Syria. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank which is closely associated with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington), featured a commentary recently, entitled Growing Risk of International Confrontation in the Syrian Desert. It implicitly warns Moscow of dire consequences if Russian forces intervene to disrupt the efforts by the US to prevent a Syrian government consolidation in the Al-Tanf / Deir Ezzur — Palmyra region.

However, no matter what the pro-Israeli think tankers in Washington pontificate, General Surovikin’s remarks underscored that Moscow is seized of the strategic importance of the Syrian government forces succeeding in re-establishing control over the country’s border with Iraq. Russia had earlier adopted a wary approach vis-a-vis the scramble for control of the Syrian desert regions bordering Iraq. But that seems to be changing — although Russian priority is to work with the Americans.

On Saturday, Russia has put the US on notice that the Syrian government forces intend to advance on Al-Tanf itself. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that US air strikes on the Syrian government forces are unacceptable. He called for “concrete measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

A Syrian army statement went a step further to announce on Saturday their intent to advance to the Iraqi border north of Al-Tanf. It warned the western forces in the area against interfering — “The general command of the army and armed forces warn of the risks of repeated attacks of the so-called ‘international coalition’ and their efforts to block the advances of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in their war on terror.”

The planned Syrian operations north of Al-Tanf will scuttle the US plans to stage a ground operation with “good terrorists”, aimed at reaching Deir Ezzur city ahead of the government forces who are advancing in easterly direction from Palmyra. The Iranian reports suggest that Russian jets are actively backing the Syrian government operations in the region to the northeast of Palmyra.

Simply put, Iran is creating new facts on the ground in southeastern Syria, which the US (and Israel) will have to learn to live with. An Iranian war dispatch says thatthousands of (Syrian) army men and Hezbollah combatants entered the countryside of Palmyra city to resume a fresh phase of one of the army’s greatest operation in Homs (province) in recent years.”

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Congressman Praises ISIS Attack in Iran, Suggests US Should Support Terrorism

By Darius Shahtahmasebi – ANTIMEDIA – June 12, 2017

Following a recent ISIS attack in Iran in which at least 12 people were killed, a GOP lawmaker has suggested the attack could be a “good thing,” even indicating that the U.S. government should support ISIS in its attacks on other groups.

“As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think; isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us?”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” Rohrabacher said. “And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”

Thankfully, some sane voices emerged to express dissent. Matthew Levitt, the director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, stated the following in response:

“It’s never in our interest to support a terrorist group like the Islamic State… We should condemn the attacks in Tehran, as we would condemn any act of terrorism, even as we hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism.”

“So that’s like Joe Stalin was a horrible guy, we must never associate with horrible guys like that, even against Hitler,” Rohrabacher replied. “And so maybe it’s a good idea to have radical Muslim terrorists fighting each other. I’ll leave it at that.”

The United States security apparatus has made it abundantly clear that even voicing support for a known terrorist outfit is a very serious criminal offense – but apparently not if you are one of the nation’s lawmakers.

If Rohrabacher’s words are to be adopted into official policy, then Western countries should seriously consider accepting ISIS-inspired attacks on their own soil considering the U.S. continues to support the terror group in numerous ways. For example, a Russian general just accused the U.S. of colluding with ISIS to allow their fighters safe passage out of Raqqa, something that seemed to be the case in the Iraqi city of Mosul, as well. The U.S. also routinely attacks Syrian government-aligned fighters currently — and effectively — battling the Islamic State. America is cozying up to Saudi Arabia, providing the radical nation with billions of dollars in arms even though Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails show Saudi Arabia is one of the direct sponsors of ISIS.

As the Trump administration pushes harder in its fight to confront Iran, expect ISIS to grow even more as a useful tool of American foreign policy strategy – and expect this to be welcomed even further by the establishment.

Bear in mind, though, that if you or I issued statements like Rohrabacher’s, we would be arrested (in some cases, the FBI might even give us weapons first, just to make our impending arrest that much more grandiose).

June 12, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian Army, Hezbollah reaches border with Iraq for the first time in years

By Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News | 09/06/2017

DAMASCUS – Late on Friday afternoon, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah and allied Iraqi paramilitary contingents dashed through southeastern Homs and reached an Iraqi border point, thus slicing adrift the frontline between rebel forces based in the Al-Tanf region and ISIS militants in the neighboring Deir Ezzor governorate.

Unopposed by the US Airforce and its vetted Syrian proxies, the SAA and its allies drove through over 40 kilometers of abandoned desert territory and managed to link up with an Iraqi garrison across the border.

The advance was confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defense and an Hezbollah-linked outlet moments ago.

Effectively, the SAA is now able to reopen trade between Damascus and Baghdad. Government forces have not controlled any parts of the largely ISIS-controlled border with Iraq since 2014.

In addition, Hezbollah is now able to be supplied with weapons from Tehran via an all-important land route. Previously, the Lebanese group relied on complicated airlifts for new armaments.

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sheldon Adelson’s Crocodile Tears for Tillerson

Yet another round of Israeli political theater to perpetuate the victim mentality of Zionists

Sheldon Adelson 3250c

By Ali Salaam | American Herald Tribune | May 31, 2017

Due to a delay in the move of the US Embassy in the occupying Zionist entity from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Jewish Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reported to be angry with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson due to remarks he made in NBC’s “Meet the Press”suggesting President Donald Trump was deliberating the move in order to determine the cost/benefits it would have on the Israel/Palestine peace process.

Adelson donated tens of millions of dollars to Trump’s election campaign and another cool 5 mil to the Trump inauguration committee. Adelson’s friend, Jewish Zionist billionaire Haim Saban, donated heavily to the Hillary Clinton campaign. In 2016, the Zionists hedged their bets on both carefully groomed and predetermined major-party candidates, as usual.

A close look at the Trump administration’s policies towards the Zionist entity may deem Adelson’s fury egregious and unwarranted; a case of political theater to justify the perpetual victim complex needed to gain sympathy for the Zionist regime.

Let’s rewind to the Obama administration. Controversy after controversy surrounded the many times Obama ‘refused’ to meet with Netanyahu, officially due to scheduling conflicts. This political theater justified the neoconservative approach that Obama was ‘too weak’ on foreign policy.

The neocons knew their claims about Obama were false.

Before Obama’s election he was cozying up to the Zionist lobby. He had Rahm Israel Emmanuel, the son of a Zionist terrorist, as his Chief of Staff. Obama continued the Zionist wars in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, until the Iraqis forced Obama to leave, which was already in accordance with Bush’s time table. Obama helped the Israelis to coordinate the color revolution in Iran following the 2009 elections, otherwise known as the Green “Revolution,” which was revenge for Ahmadinejad’s role in securing the victory for Lebanon against Zionist aggression in the July 2006 invasion. Obama helped to kill Muammar Gaddaffi in 2011, a war which benefited the Zionists and the global central banking cartel, due to Gadaffi’s support for Palestine and for a gold-backed independent dinar that would have liberated Africa from the grips of crippling IMF debt. Obama turned a blind eye to the war crimes of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2009, in which Israel used white phosphorous chemical weapons against civilians in Gaza. Additionally, the US provided military aid to Israel in 2009, making the US and the Obama administration directly complicit in the war crimes.

And that is just Obama’s first term, where he proved his Zionist credentials through actions. Obama’s facade of diplomacy and peace was just that: an illusion. The media can play all they like with it to fool the American people into thinking that the Democratic party is the party that is against war (most wars since JFK were waged by Democratic administrations) and that the two-party system is something that the people can still rely on for change. The Democrats serve as controlled opposition for American’s anger at Republican policies, when in reality both parties are two wings of the same vulture.

In his second term, Obama supported arming takfiri Wahabbi rebels in Syria to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Bashar al-Assad, also as revenge for the victory of Lebanon over Zionist invasion in 2006, as Syria supports the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance with arms and other resources. Leaked cables reveal that after the July 2006 war, Israel and the US started to lay the groundwork for plans to overthrow Assad in Syria, using artificially inflated sectarian strife to achieve it. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and their sectarian media machine as well as financial support for terrorist networks served as the proxy army for the Israeli/American-backed coup attempt in Syria.

Obama and Clinton, along with their Republican doppelgangers John McCain and Joe Lieberman, armed and trained the Free Syrian Army, which had zero grassroots ties to the Syrian people and had many foreign fighters among their ranks. Many FSA generals expressed their alliances with the Al Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. The Pentagon knew that they were arming al-Qaeda-linked terrorists, but that was part of their plan. Out of this toxic concoction, ISIS was born. After the 2013 chemical false flag in Ghouta, Syria, which UN inspector Carla Del Ponte correctly placed blame on the Syrian rebels, the American people were not willing to support overt US involvement in Syria, though many were not aware of the covert involvement in the arming of takfiri mercenaries and falsely dubbing it a “revolution” against “dictator” Bashar al-Assad. ISIS was the perfect pretext to sneak into Syria and to turn it from a war against ISIS to a war against Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran, a war that America has wanted since 2001, and a war that Israel has wanted since the 1980s with the Oded Yinon “Greater Israel” strategy of dividing neighboring Arab countries along ethnic/sectarian lines.

Obama’s creation of the takfiri proxy army that serves the Zionist and American imperialist agenda is the greatest gift to Israel as it has helped to tear apart the Middle East, widen sectarian gaps, and provide a path to weakening Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Though of course, due to the resilience of the Axis of Resistance (Syria, Palestine, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, Yemen) the destructive Zionist agenda hasn’t had much success. It has only increased what the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei refers to as the “Islamic awakening.”

Add to that the cherry on top: Obama fully supported and backed Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014, one of the deadliest onslaughts against the besieged Gaza Strip, in which over 500 children were murdered in cold blood.

To further demonstrate the political theater around Israel, most of the prominent Democrats that boycotted Netanyahu’s speech at Congress in the following year voted to support giving Israel more weapons in the midst of their 2014 massacre of Gaza. When it counts, they fall in line to support the Zionist regime’s constant campaign of bloodshed. This includes seemingly pro-peace politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders.

Like Obama, Trump’s apparent quarrels with the Zionist regime are nothing but theater. While Obama’s $38 billion aid package to Israel was the largest at the time, Trump is already promising to increase that amount.

Trump has taken Israel’s side in the “Assad must go” bandwagon, being the first US president to directly strike the Syrian Arab Army, compared to the years of covert proxy war being carried out through al-Qaeda-linked proxies.

Trump has sided with Israel’s close ally Saudi Arabia, taking groups like the Al-Nusra Front off terrorist watch lists, yet declaring the Lebanese self-defense/resistance group Hezbollah a ‘terrorist’ organization.

While Obama laid the ground for the Oded Yinon strategy of sectarian division among Arab nations, specifically in Syria, Trump is starting to invest in the ethnic division of the Oded Yinon plan, supporting Kurdish factions, giving the potential rise to a future Kurd vs. Arab vs. Turk war and the bloodshed that will follow, in addition to a divided Syria, Iraq, and Iran being weaker in the face of global Zionism and American imperialism.

Trump’s close confidant is his Zionist Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is using his position to advance the Zionist cause in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

Rex Tillerson himself is advancing the Zionist cause in Venezuela, using US-backed opposition to try and topple Chavismo, which has historically stood with the resistance axis of Palestine, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

Also, Trump was supported greatly by the conservative news site Breitbart, which was founded by two Jews – Larry Solov and the late Andrew Breitbart – in Israel in 2007.

With all of Trump’s kowtowing to the altar of Zionism, why is Adelson crying about a slight delay in the downright messianic plans to move the embassy to Jerusalem?

In the eyes of the Zionists, no one is good enough when it comes to serving their blood-soaked agenda. Any ounce of timidity is used as an excuse to create political theater and make Israel out to be the victim, when it is in fact the opposite: it is the main aggressor and mischief maker.

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X

*(Sheldon Adelson, is chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Image credit: DonkeyHotey/ flickr).

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation

By M. Reza Behnam | CounterPunch | May 26, 2017

Some ideas take on a character akin to sacred texts whose validity is rarely questioned. One such belief is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest threat to the Middle East and the United States. The threat narrative has become required foreign policy catechism in Washington, D.C.

Menacing stereotypes and bellicose rhetoric are the standards by which Iran has come to be judged. It has continually been in the crosshairs of American administrations since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The process by which a country is determined to be a terrorist state is highly subjective and politicized. The United States has assumed the singular role of terrorism arbiter.

After only weeks in office, the Trump administration “officially put Iran on notice” for a ballistic missile test, and imposed new sanctions. It was only a matter of time before the Trump administration would resurrect the “Iran the terrorist state” mantra to deflect attention from its internal chaos.

The unpredictability of the Trump White House and volatility of the Middle East make it vital to understand the nature of Washington’s anti-Iran bias, how and why Iran has come to be cast as an international sponsor of terrorism, and most importantly, examine why the characterization is false.

The 1979 revolution and overthrow of the shah freed the country from its obsequious relationship to Washington. Iran’s regional influence spread not in terms of conquered territory; instead, its revolutionary ideology gave voice to Shi’ites living in oppressive Sunni majority-ruled countries.

The Islamic Republic presented a dilemma for Washington, accustomed to dealing with the ruling families and autocrats of the Middle East. To curtail the revolution’s influence, Washington manufactured a narrative depicting Iran’s leaders as irrational religious fanatics in charge of a dangerous state that acted contrary to traditional state behavior. America’s attitude was hardened with the takeover of the U.S. embassy in 1979, shaping the negative lens through which Iran’s policies and actions would be viewed thereafter.

The trauma inflicted by the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) deepened Iran’s distrust of Washington. From Tehran’s perspective, America’s support for Saddam’s aggression was Washington’s attempt to restore the monarchy and to destabilize the government. The post-revolution 1980s were filled with uncertainties and excesses as Tehran struggled to survive its war with Iraq—a war largely subsidized by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States.

In the 1990s, Iran’s foreign policy shifted toward integrating into the international community and shedding its hard-line image. Tehran attempted to develop closer relations with Saudi Arabia and build constructive ties to the West. Although Iran opposed the 2001 U.S. attack on Afghanistan, the goal of fighting terrorism and toppling the Taliban regime—-driven from power in November 2001—united the two countries in perhaps the most constructive period of U.S.-Iranian diplomacy.

At a December 2001 meeting in Bonn, Germany, Secretary of State Colin Powell credited Iran with being particularly helpful in establishing an interim Afghan government, following the American invasion. It was Javad Zarif, then Iran’s U.N. ambassador and current foreign minister, who mediated a compromise over the composition of Afghanistan’s post-Taliban government, ultimately leading to an agreement. And it was Iran that insisted that the agreement include a commitment to hold democratic elections in Afghanistan.

A burst of diplomatic talks between Iranian and American officials took place from 2001 through May 2003. Topics included cooperative activities against their mutual enemies: Saddam, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Meetings resumed even after President George W. Bush listed Iran among the “axis of evil” countries in his 2002 State of the Union address.

Tehran’s final attempt to normalize relations came in May of 2003 in what became known as the “grand bargain.” Calling for broad dialogue “in mutual respect,” Iran suggested that everything was on the table, including full cooperation on Iran’s nuclear program, ending material support to Palestinian opposition groups and assistance in helping stabilize Iraq.

Convinced that the Iranian government was on the brink of collapse, and emboldened by its perceived victory in Iraq in March 2003, Bush administration officials belittled the initiative. The administration’s imperious posture and failure to build on Iran’s cooperation in Afghanistan, led senior officials in Tehran to conclude that Washington’s goal was regime change.

Bush strategists had another objective in ousting Saddam—-to isolate and increase the military and political pressure on Iran, and to a lesser extent, on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Repeated often by administration officials was the refrain, “Today Baghdad, tomorrow Damascus, and then on to Tehran.”

To curb Tehran’s growing influence in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, Bush launched an unprecedented financial war against Iran. A list of strategies developed in 2006 by Stuart Levy—-the first under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department—-were implemented to drive Iran out of the global economy.

Where Washington sees terrorism, the Iranian government sees itself combating a power structure in the Middle East that benefits the United States, Israel and Sunni Arab regimes.

Congress defines an international sponsor of terrorism as a country whose government supports acts of international terrorism. Tehran does not support “international” terrorism, but it does provide material support to regional movements that it calls the oppressed, whose battle is directed toward the state of Israel—Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These groups have used violence against Israel to end the brutal occupation of their land.

Tehran regards as legitimate its support for national liberation movements that fight against Israeli occupation and aggression, insisting it is not terrorism. Iran’s leaders believe that Israel’s long-term goal is to weaken the Islamic world, eliminating all resistance, in order to carry out its expansionist designs.

From the perspective of the people of the region, Israel has a long history of occupation, invasion and state terrorism. Interestingly, the Arab media has accused Washington of sponsoring terrorism because of its support for Israel.

The Israeli government has relentlessly pushed the perception that Iran, specifically a nuclear-armed Iran, is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region and world, and has successfully sold this provocative idea in the United States. Senior Israeli security officials have refuted the assertion that an Iranian nuclear weapon would threaten Israel. Their claims are poignant considering the fact that Israel enjoys a huge military and technical advantage in the region, and possesses an arsenal capable of deterring any nuclear aggression.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motives for vilifying Iran are many, but primarily it serves to distract international attention as Israel continues settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Syrian Golan Heights.

Saudi Arabia, like Israel, is doing everything in its power to make sure the United States remains engaged in the Middle East. Riyadh relies on Washington to do its heavy lifting, and anti-Iran propaganda helps in its campaign. Saudi rulers believe that the Assad government is pivotal to Iranian influence in the region, and have been encouraging Washington to get rid of him for years. They were buoyed by Trump’s missile attack on Syria and recent state visit as a sign that Washington is pivoting away from Obama’s policy of rapprochement with Iran, and renewing its ties to the kingdom.

The intense focus on Iran as a menace does not correspond to its capabilities, intent or danger. A 2017 Congressional Research Service report stated that Iran’s national security policy involves protecting itself from American or others’ efforts to intimidate or change the regime. According to the 2014 U.S. Defense Department Annual Review of Iran, “Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack….”

Forty-five U.S. military bases encircle Iran, with over 125,000 troops in close proximity. The Congressional Research Service asserted that Tehran allocates about 3 percent of GDP to military spending, far less than what its Persian Gulf neighbors spend.

Iran’s nuclear program has cultivated scientific innovation and national pride. It required pragmatic leadership to accept the constraints of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The agreement subjects Iran to greater restrictions and more intrusive monitoring than any state with nuclear programs, while its neighbors possess unlimited nuclear programs and, in the case of Pakistan and Israel, nuclear weapons.

Intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency agree that Iran has not been attempting to develop nuclear weapons. According to the IAEA and the U.S. State Department, Iran has been fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA.

Toughness on Iran has become a litmus test for American politicians to demonstrate their support for Israel. Congress overwhelmingly passed a ten-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, which was set to expire on December 31, 2016. The renewal makes it easier for the Trump administration to reimpose sanctions that Obama lifted under the JCPOA.

Unlike other countries in the Middle East that have integrated missiles into their conventional armed forces, Iran has been singled out for the same behavior. Iran’s recent missile test did not violate the JCPOA. It has no long-range missiles, no nuclear warheads for its missiles, and has not threatened their use. Without nuclear weapons, missiles are of negligible importance. Unlike the Saudis and Israelis, Iran does not have a large or modern air force.

A February 26, 2015, report by the director of national intelligence, titled “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities,” stated that Iran is not the chief sponsor of terrorism, and removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats. The report asserted Tehran’s intentions are to “dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia…, and combat Sunni extremists, including the Islamic State.”

Yet there are countless examples of aggression against Iran.

The Saudi government has sought for decades to motivate Sunnis to fear and resist Iran. To that end, it has spent billions on a campaign to expand Salafism (an ultra-conservative, austere form of Islam) as a major counterforce in the Muslim world.

In 2007, Congress agreed to a Bush administration request of $400 million to escalate covert operations to destabilize Iran’s government, with regime change the ultimate goal. The funding request came at the same time that a National Intelligence Estimate—-the collective work of America’s sixteen spy agencies—concluded that Iran had ceased its efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations employed some of the most draconian financial methods ever used against a state, including crippling sanctions on Iran’s entire banking, transportation and energy sectors.

The first known use of cyber warfare against a sovereign state was launched against Iran by the United States and Israel in 2009. The Stuxnet virus crippled Iranian centrifuges used to produce nuclear fuel.

Beginning in 2008, four of Iran’s nuclear scientists were assassinated on the streets of Tehran; the evidence pointed to Israeli agents. In 2011, a military arms depot was blown up, killing 17 people. The incident was similar to a blast in October 2010 at an Iranian

Revolutionary Guard Corps missile base in Khorrambad. Both acts of sabotage were attributed to Israel.

American organizations such as the jingoistic United Against a Nuclear Iran, chaired by former Senator Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., have called for attacks on Iranian ships in the

Persian Gulf and on Iranian military forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, and are pressuring the Trump administration to increase sanctions and to cancel the JCPOA.

These acts of aggression are justified in Washington and elsewhere by the standard rhetoric of the Iranian terrorism myth, but there is scant intelligence to support the claim. In a 2011 poll conducted in twelve Arab countries by The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (based on face-to-face interviews of 16,731 individuals), 73 percent of those surveyed saw Israel and the United States as the most threatening countries, with 5 percent seeing Iran as such.

Most U.S. officials quietly acknowledge that Saudi Arabia and the Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies are the major supporters of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, not Shi’ite Iran. Vice President Joseph Biden concluded just that during a foreign policy speech at Harvard in October of 2014. A recently released classified State Department cable dated December 30, 2009, stated, “…donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

It is Iran that is helping to fight the Islamic State in Iraq. Its offensive in the Syrian war was at the request of the country’s sovereign government. Iran lives in the neighborhood and relies on regional allies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Assad in Syria, to bolster its security if attacked. Syria was the only country to support Iran during the Iraq war. Tehran is keenly aware that the outcome of the Syrian war may have major consequences for the region’s Shi’ites, and could reshape the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have made Iran their major regional adversary, and to that end have built a formidable alliance. Syria has become the theater for competing regional interests. Both the Saudis and Israelis are aiding al-Qaeda affiliated forces in Syria. Washington has partnered with Saudi Arabia in the war to achieve its long-established goal of regime change, while Riyadh seeks to end what the Saudis see as the power emerging from the Shi’ite Crescent—Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

Israel, for example, has been pressuring the United States and Russia to restrict and ultimately expel Iranian-backed militias from Syria, and has continued to attack pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria. From Israel’s perspective, Syria—ally of Iran and supporter of Hezbollah—has been one of the few remaining Arab states capable of standing in the way of its regional ambitions. Israel would like to see Syria fractured into small, sectarian enclaves, so weakened as to be no threat.

Israel has partnered with al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (also called the al-Nusra Front). Al-Nusra’s goal, like the Islamic State, is to overthrow Assad’s secular government and establish a radical Salafist regime. United Nations observers have documented the delivery of material aid and ongoing coordination between Israeli military personnel and al-Nusra armed groups. Al-Nusra terrorists are being cared for in Israeli hospitals.

By supporting al-Nusra, Israel has effectively sided with America’s enemy and has, therefore, emerged as a state sponsor of terrorism.

In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, President Bush, in his September 20, 2001, speech to Congress declared, “Every nation now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists….From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

Iran has been fighting terrorism since 9-11. Its national security depends on stable borders and a stable region. To that end, it is fighting in Syria and aiding the Iraqi government to recapture territories held by the Islamic State, at great cost to its military.

Iranians know all too well the egregious effects of terrorism. For decades, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies have covertly financed, equipped and trained opposition groups that have fomented and carried out terrorist attacks inside Iran. Thousands of civilians and political figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, have suffered injury at the hands of terrorists. U.S. intelligence agencies have supported the acts of violence committed by the Mujahedin-e Khalq—listed by the State Department as a terrorist group (now delisted) that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic—as well as the Baluchi militant Salafi group Jundullah. An Iranian ethnic minority, Jundullah is a Sunni group aligned with the thinking of al-Qaeda.

Terrorism is a cudgel used to engender fear. And fear, grounded in erroneous information, can result in destructive government policies, and in the worst case, war. This is especially true of the U.S.-Iran relationship. After almost four decades, Iran and the Middle East have substantially changed, while American policy has not. Iran’s evolving and nuanced political system does not fit into Washington’s outdated, hegemonic good guy-bad guy worldview.

American, Israeli and Saudi regional objectives depend on the existence of an enemy; and to that aim, Iran’s terrorism designation has proven a potent rhetorical weapon.

Washington’s hardline rhetoric and policies toward Iran merely strengthens the power of the country’s hardliners . Given the circumstances, Tehran will continue its defensive, cautious strategy, cooperating with the West on issues such as the fight against the Islamic State, while asserting what it sees as its historical role in the region.

M. Reza Behnam, Ph.D., of Eugene is a political scientist specializing in the governments and politics of the Middle East, and American foreign policy in the region.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Only Iran, Syria helped Lebanon when it was occupied by Israel

Press TV – May 25, 2017

Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, says when southern Lebanon was occupied by Israel, no country in the world except Iran and Syria helped the country to end occupation.

Nasrallah made the remarks while delivering a speech in commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the liberation of the southern Lebanon from the Israeli occupation.

Addressing the nation from the southern city of Hermel, Nasrallah said resistance has gotten strong enough not to wait for support from the rest of the world or from inside the country or outside.

Lambasting the world’s indifference toward the occupation of Lebanon by Israel, he said when Lebanon was occupied no country in the world, neither the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, nor the Arab League, nor the United Nations or America helped Lebanon.

“Only the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria helped Lebanon against Israeli occupation,” the Hezbollah chief added.

He noted that the only time that resistance was helped against Israel was under former president, Émile Lahoud, parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, and former prime minister, Selim al-Hoss.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah described the close cooperation between Lebanese army troops and Hezbollah fighters as the main reason behind the 2000 victory over the Israeli regime’s aggression and winning back the occupied lands of southern Lebanon.

He stressed that during the occupation, Western countries stood by Tel Aviv throughout the 15 years in which the Lebanese territories were occupied by Israel’s military forces.

He also praised the steadfastness of the Lebanese nation in the face of Israel and foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups.

Riyadh meeting aimed to threaten Iran, resistance

Referring to a recent meeting among leaders of several Muslim countries in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, which was also attended by US President Donald Trump, the Hezbollah chief said anything that was said and decided during the Riyadh meeting would have no effect on the situation in Lebanon, because since the new president has come to office, good consensus has been reached inside the country over a host of issues.

Pointing to participation of an official Lebanese delegation in the Riyadh meeting and that the al-Mustaqbal party had hailed the final statement of the Riyadh summit, he said, “We have reached an understanding in Lebanon to differ over political matters, but follow the same line on economic and security matters.”

He added that the final statement of the Riyadh summit was not acceptable for the resistance movement and it would have no effect on the situation in Lebanon.

Nasrallah also noted that Muslim leaders attending the Riyadh summit had no information whatsoever about the meeting’s final statement, and had emphasized that they will not take heed of the statement.

The Riyadh summit was simply organized in order to glorify US President Donald Trump, the Hezbollah chief said, adding that the meeting sought to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the resistance in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

‘Saudi Arabia is the center of world terrorism’

Taking Saudi rulers to task for inviting Trump to the Riyadh summit, Nasrallah described Trump as the US president, who has disrespected Islam as well as Arab nations the most during his presidential campaigning.

He added that Saudi Arabia simply invited Trump to get his support in the face of rising global criticism of Riyadh’s role in fostering terrorism.

“The entire world knows that Saudi Arabia is behind the spread of terrorist Takfiri ideology,” he said adding that the Saudi-backed terrorists were wreaking havoc across the world and that their damage was not limited to a single country or the Islamic world, but had spread to the Western countries as well.

“Saudi Arabia is the center of world terrorism. It is responsible for the creation and supplying arms and munitions to al-Qaeda, Taliban and Daesh terrorist groups. The kingdom’s Wahhabi ideology is fanning the flames of sectarianism and sedition in the Muslim world,” he said.

Nasrallah slams Bahrain’s “heinous assault” on peaceful protesters

Elsewhere in his remarks, the secretary general of Hezbollah censured Bahrain’s Al Khalifah regime for the brutal crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

He termed the assaults against supporters of the country’s prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim in the northwestern village of Diraz as “heinous,” calling for the immediate release of the 77-year-old cleric, who is the spiritual leader of the country’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.

Riyadh trying to isolate Tehran due to is support for resistance

Turning to Saudi Arabia’s military onslaught against Yemen, Nasrallah hailed the Yemeni nation’s steadfastness, emphasizing that the Riyadh regime is perpetrating crimes against humanity in the impoverished country through starving and slaughtering ordinary people.

The Hezbollah leader underlined that Saudi Arabia was haplessly seeking to isolate Iran, because of its support for anti-Israel resistance movement, including in Yemen.

He added that Saudi officials had paid billions of dollars to US statesmen in this regard forgetting all about the plight of poor Muslims.

Noting that Saudi Arabia’s aggression of Yemen was a clear political and military failure, Nasrallah advised Saudi authorities to put hostility towards Iran aside and engage in negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

He also leveled strident criticism against Arab leaders for their disregard of the important role that Iran is playing against terrorism in the Middle East region.

Nasrallah also dismissed allegations against the Hezbollah resistance movement as “repetitive,” stressing that members of the group were unfazed by ongoing threats and were fully prepared to defend their land, nation and the future of their children.

The Hezbollah chief stressed that the resistance movement in the region was stronger than ever, adding that Daesh terrorists will soon be defeated in both Iraq and Syria.

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hezbollah: Qassem’s jail a ‘state crime’ by Bahrain regime

Press TV – May 22, 2017

Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has lambasted a suspended jail term given by a Bahraini regime court on Sunday to the country’s Shia majority leader Sheikh Isa Qassem.

The court convicted the spiritual leader of illegal collection of funds and money laundering and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years. It also ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines.

“This sentence is a new crime added to a series of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the [Bahraini] regime,” a Hezbollah statement said.

The charges emanate from the collection of an Islamic donation called Khums, which in Shia Islam is collected and spent by a senior cleric in the interests of the needy.

Qassem also faces expulsion from the kingdom after authorities revoked his citizenship last year. His defense lawyers refused to attend the hearings, which they saw as an attack on the country’s Shia Muslims.

Since 2011, the kingdom has been the scene of peaceful anti-regime protests against the systematic abuse of the Shia population and discrimination against them.

The Bahraini regime has responded to the protests with excessive and lethal force, which has drawn international criticism.

​Bahrain’s perennial rulers are allies of the West, including the US which has its Fifth naval fleet based in the tiny Persian Gulf country.

On Sunday, hundreds of protesters marched in the capital Manama after the verdict was issued against Sheikh Qassem.

Qassem’s residence in his native village of Diraz is under siege by regime forces in the face of a sit-in held outside the building ever since the regime revoked his citizenship.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment