Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says projects by the Israeli and Saudi Arabian regimes to portray Iran as a threat to the world have been falling flat over the past years.
Speaking to a group of Iranian expatriates in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra on Monday evening, Zarif said Tel Aviv and Riyadh, “two like-minded regimes,” are investing heavily in Iranophobia to draw attention away from their crimes and their collaborations.
“It is obvious that the cooperation of the Zionist regime (Israel) and the Saudi regime, which are two like-minded and congruent regimes, has today become known and can no more be concealed,” Zarif said.
He said the two regimes are concerned about their collaboration having become publicly known and are thus “investing further in Iranophobia” as a means of distraction.
He said, however, that, “The world has today waken up to the fact that the danger of Wahhabism is the real threat.”
Wahhabism is an extreme ideological strand openly preached by Saudi Arabian clerics, who have the blessing of ruling Saudi authorities. It is the main ideological feature of Takfiri terrorist groups — particularly Daesh — which declare people of other faiths and beliefs as “infidels” and, based on “decrees” from clerics, rule that they should be killed.
Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Egypt and Qatar are the only two Arab states to have open diplomatic ties with Israel.
Some Arab governments, however, while posing as Israel’s traditional adversaries, have been revealed to have secret ties with the Tel Aviv regime. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are two such countries.
Last week, a retired general in the Saudi military traveled to Israel at the head of a delegation, meeting with Israel’s foreign ministry director general Dore Gold Yoav Mordechai and a number of Knesset members.
Both Riyadh and Tel Aviv were and continue to be fiercely opposed to a nuclear deal between Iran and a group of six world powers.
In his Monday remarks, Foreign Minister Zarif said the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), succeeded in proving to the world the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
The JCPOA was struck between Iran and the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany on July 14, 2015.
Zarif is in Ghana on the second leg of a four-nation African tour. He was in Nigeria before arriving in Ghana and will be traveling to Guinea-Conakry and Mali on the third and fourth legs of his tour.
By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | July 22, 2016
While the United States attempts to back away from its association with terrorist group Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the “moderate” terrorist organization whose members recently videotaped themselves beheading a young boy and discussing whether or not to boil his body afterwards, previous reports coming the from the mainstream media reveal that Obama, Kerry, Clinton and crew will not be able to cover their tracks so easily this time around. That is, if they even care to.
This is because reports coming from Business Insider in 2015 reveal that the United States had indeed supported and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki in the lead up to the heinous act. What’s even more damning, however, is the fact that the group was considered one of the U.S. “vetted” organizations, a designation that was touted as a sure way to avoid arming “extremist” terrorists like ISIS or al-Qaeda.
The lie of vetting and “moderation” is now thoroughly debunked if, for no other reason, than the public beheading of a child.
But there is more! Not only has the United States “vetted,” endorsed, and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki, it has armed them with TOW missiles, a type of guided missile that is capable of piercing and damaging tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other forms of vehicles found on the battlefield. These missiles are especially dangerous for a number of reasons including the fact that they can be used from a considerable distance.
As Jeremy Bender wrote for Business Insider in his article, “These CIA-Vetted Syrian Rebel Groups Fighting Assad Are Russia’s Primary Targets,”
Since 2013, the CIA has been training and equipping various moderate rebel elements in the Syrian civil war in an effort to undermine the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and force him to the negotiating table.
Among the range of munitions and supplies that the CIA has funneled to the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey are TOW anti-tank missiles.
. . . . . .
These weapons have helped decimate Syrian armour and pushed a recent regime offensive against rebel-held territory to a standstill in reported “tank massacres.”
For instance, on October 8, a Syrian armoured offensive suffered massive casualties as, rebels armed “with US-made TOW missiles … [and] other guided rockets … caused the destruction … of over 15 armoured cars, vehicles, and tanks,” according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
What is striking is just how many CIA-vetted groups now exist throughout Syria receiving TOWs.
According to Syrian observer Hasan Mustafas, no fewer than 42 vetted groups now receive TOWs from a Saudi supply originally provided by the US. These weapons are funneled into Syria through Military Operations Command (MOC) posts in Turkey and Jordan that are co-operated by Western and local intelligence agencies.
The various groups are well documented due to the nature of TOW provisions. Saudi Arabia can not deliver the US-supplied TOWs without prior CIA approval. Additionally, Mustafas notes, the various vetted groups must apply to receive the TOWs. They are then provided with small batches of arms.
Bender provides a list of the groups who received the TOW missiles but, among them, is the name of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the child beheading and carcass boiling “moderate” rebels that allegedly representing freedom and democracy.
Still, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner is only stating that the beheading of the boy might only cause the United States to “pause” and reflect upon its relationship with the group, meaning arming and supporting it.
At the end of the day, the horrific atrocity that was committed by Nour al-Din al-Zinki was really nothing more than several more pints in a massive ocean of blood created by the United States, Israel, the GCC, and NATO. Still, it stands as yet another example of why this treacherous and immoral war against Syria must be ended immediately.
The list of terrorist organizations “vetted” and provided with TOW missiles as reported by Business Insider is as follows:
13th Division (Forqat 13)
101st Division Infantry (Forqat 101 Masha’a)
Knights of Justice Brigade (Liwa’ Fursan al-Haqq)
Falcons of the Mountain Brigade (Liwa’ Suqour al-Jabal)
Grouping of the Falcons of Al-Ghab (Tajamuu Suqour al-Ghab)
1st Coastal Division (Forqat Awwal al-Sahli)
Gathering of Dignity (Tajammu al-Izza’)
Central Division (Al-Forqat al-Wasti)
46th Division (Forqat 46)
Sultan Murad Brigade (Liwa’ Sultan Murad)
Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki)
Mujahideen Army/Army of Holy Warriors (Jaish al-Mujahideen)
Revolutionaries of al-Sham Brigades (Kata’eb Thuwar al-Sham)
1st Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal)
Ahmed al-Abdo Martyrs’ Force (Quwwat al-Shaheed Ahmad al-Abdo)
Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman)
Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa’ Shuhadah al-Islam)
Yarmouk Army (Jaish al-Yarmouk)
Lions of Sunnah Division (Forqat Usood al-Sunnah)
the 18th March Division (Forqat 18 Adhar)
Southern Tawhid Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid al-Junoub)
Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza)
1st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa’a)
Syria Revolutionaries Front — Southern Sector (Jabhat Thuwar Souriya)
The First Corps (Faylaq al-Awwal)
The Dawn of Unity Division (Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid)
Salah al-Din Division (Forqat Salah al-Din)
Omari Brigades (Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari)
Unity Battalions of Horan Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid Kata’eb Horan)
Youth of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Shabbab al-Sunnah)
Moataz Billah Brigade (Liwa’ Moataz Billah)
Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham)
Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam)
Supporters of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Ansar al-Sunnah)
Horan Column Division (Forqat Amoud Horan)
Emigrants and Supporters Brigade (Liwa’ Muhajireen wal Ansar)
Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan
United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda)
69th Special Forces Division (Forqat 69 Quwwat al-Khassa)
11th Special Forces Division (Forqat 11 Quwwat al-Khassa)
Partisans of Islam Front (Jabhat Ansar al-Islam)
Al-Furqan Brigades (Alwiyat al-Furqan)
A senior Iranian commander strongly criticizes France and Saudi Arabia over their cooperation with the anti-Iran terrorists, including the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), saying any act of terror in the Islamic Republic would be blamed on Riyadh and Paris.
“Incriminating finger would be pointed at Riyadh and Paris over potential acts of terror in Iran,” Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, said on Sunday.
Paris on July 9 hosted an annual meeting organized by the MKO terrorist group which was attended by former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The former Saudi spy chief gave a 30-minute-long address to the gathering.
The MKO is the most hated terrorist group among the Iranians because of its dark history of assassinations and bombings and for siding with Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.
Jazayeri said the Paris meeting in the presence of some Western political officials and the former Saudi intelligence chief further cast light on the link between Wahhabism and the MKO terrorists and marked a stain on the French government’s record and constituted a blatant act of intervention in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic.
“Hosting the MKO terrorist group as one of the most dangerous and criminal terrorist groups in the world and the presence of Arab and Western political figures show these countries’ support for terrorism,” he said.
“Although the evil hands of the MKO traitors have been cut off thanks to the resolve of the Iranian nation as well as the vigilance and readiness of the Armed Forces and security and intelligence organizations, the network of founders and promoters of global terrorism jumps at every opportunity to revive this deceased and hated current and present it as an active and influential element against [Iran’s] Islamic revolution and establishment,” the Iranian commander added.
Jazayeri said terrorism is an ominous phenomenon that takes many forms and shapes, including Takfiri-Salafi groups like Daesh, counter-revolutionary groups supported by Zionists, the US and their allies, atrocities committed in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Saudi war crimes against Yemen and MKO terrorism in the past but they all share a “single evil spirit.”
He added that hegemonic powers “see terrorism as a tool for achieving their ominous objectives” and devise their policies accordingly.
Jazayeri expressed regret that the Saudi regime and other “reactionary regimes in the region” are conspiring with the US and the Zionists in spreading acts of terror in Muslim states, saying, “The Muslim world is today the main target of the international terrorism.”
He said France’s double-standard polices regarding terrorism and its classification of terrorist groups into good and bad as well as its blatant discriminatory policies have contributed to the rise of international terrorism.
“The role of the French in supporting and directing the phenomenon of terrorism is undeniable,” the commander said, adding, “The advocates of combating terrorism, especially Western governments, better set aside their dual policies and genuinely step into the arena of fighting the ominous phenomenon of terrorism.”
The recently released, previously classified report titled, “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001″ (.pdf), reveals that indeed long-time US ally, Saudi Arabia, had connections to the alleged hijackers who purportedly carried out the 9/11 attacks.
While the US would go on to invade Afghanistan and Iraq predicated on the 9/11 attacks, it should be noted that all of the alleged hijackers were either Saudis or Persian Gulf citizens, or connected to terrorist organizations supported by Persian Gulf states.
The Western media has attempted to downplay the impact of the document’s release, claiming that subsequent investigations found the “many” of the allegations in the document “without basis” – even as the US and Saudi Arabia today openly arm and fund terrorists in Syria.
To Whose Benefit? 9/11
Many mistakenly believe on one hand terrorism is simply an inevitable clash of civilizations between “Islam” and the West, while others maintain it is the predictable backlash to flawed or unjust Western foreign policy.
In reality, it is neither.
It is meticulously engineered violence used as a tool for achieving geopolitical objectives around the world – from overthrowing governments and justifying military interventions, to creating paralyzing fear and hysteria at home to garner support for a growing domestic police state and a large military footprint overseas.
In essence, it is a highly conductive medium through which modern day empire can spread.
This can clearly be seen through the use of terrorism today. Some 14 years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and as memories begin to fade, the US finds itself partnered with Saudi Arabia once again, arming and funding terrorists to fight their proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and beyond, just as they did in the 1980s when they jointly created Al Qaeda to begin with.
As the pendulum of geopolitical necessity swings from needing heavily armed, fanatical proxy forces to fight abroad, to needing a pretext at home to initiate large-scale military interventions overseas, these terrorist organizations are characterized by Western politicians and the media in a similarly shifting manner. During the 1980s Al Qaeda was portrayed as “freedom fighters.” In 2001 when the United States sought to use full-scale military force to rearrange the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, Al Qaeda was transformed into a villain.
The 2001 terrorist attacks allowed the US to justify over a decade of global-spanning war that it otherwise would have been unable to wage.
The Hijackers Had Ties to Saudi Intelligence
The 28 pages now declassified depicts a tangled web of connections between the Saudi government, Saudi intelligence agencies, the Bin Laden family, and the hijackers – most of whom were Saudi citizens themselves.
The report states:
While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government. There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.
The report also reveals that the suspected Saudi intelligence officers worked for companies that had ties to both the Saudi government, and Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden (spelled: Usama Bin Ladin throughout the report).
And not only did various Saudi intelligence officers have connections to the alleged hijackers, several are revealed to have known each other as well.
Mentioned also is Osama Bin Laden’s half-brother, Abdullah Bin Ladin, claimed to have worked for the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. as an “administration officer,” revealing once again the incestuous ties between the Bin Ladin family, the Saudi government, and through equity firm – the Carlyle Group – the Bush family and other political and business leaders in the United States.
The report also mentions that despite the many apparent links, and attempts by the FBI to investigate them further, many suspects were inexplicably able to “leave” the United States and return to Saudi Arabia.
The report also referred to “mosques” either directly funded by the Saudi government in which various aspects of terrorism were thought to be coordinated, or mosques in which associates of the hijackers met frequently or operated out of.
This illustrates precisely how the US-Saudi terror enterprise keeps its ranks full – through a global network of centers masquerading as mosques, protected by law enforcement and intelligence organizations linked to the West, allowing for both the recruitment and radicalization of terrorists, as well as the planning and financing of terrorism itself.
US Intelligence Community Before 9/11: Incompetence or Collusion? Or Both?
The US and Saudi Arabia helped create Al Qaeda and for years used the organization to wage proxy war around the world. It’s actions on 9/11 then helped set the stage for a decade of war in which the US toppled governments, occupied nations, while conducting covert warfare against others, expanding US hegemony across the globe, and dividing and destroying nations allied to its rivals in Beijing and Moscow.
It is very clear that Saudi Arabia played a role in the 9/11 attacks, as well as in terrorism of all kinds around the world before and after the attacks.
Clearly the FBI and the CIA both were aware of Saudi Arabia’s role. It is also clear that efforts were made to protect valuable Saudi assets by spiriting them out of the country as dutiful agents attempted to do their jobs by investigating them further. Those who spirited Saudi agents and officials out of the country, protecting them from further investigation regarding their role in 9/11, are likely linked to those Americans who helped their Saudi counterparts organize and carry out the attacks.
And while some FBI and CIA agents attempted to do their job, one comment toward the end of the 28 pages reveals that perhaps agents were not as aware as they should have been regarding the nature of Al Qaeda and its relationship to Saudi Arabia.
The report quotes a former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, saying:
Basically [redacted]. They were not a country identified by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. And the theme or the common modus operandi that we saw in San Diego was that if there were [redacted] there, their primary objective was to monitor dissidents in the interest of protecting the royal family. So they were not viewed as an inimical threat to national security.
The agent’s conclusion is based entirely on the assumption that the State Department’s terrorist designations are meaningful and accurate. If such designations are not accurate, then the FBI would have neglected to fully investigate suspects who were indeed very much an inimical threat to national security.
Today, Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) are likewise portrayed as enemies of Saudi Arabia. This is despite clear evidence showing both terrorist organizations and their affiliates in Iraq and Syria, are armed and funded by, as well as working in the direct interests of Riyadh – as well as Washington. When terrorist attacks do unfold in Saudi Arabia, despite being portrayed as attacks aimed at Riyadh itself, they are often instead aimed at Shia’a targets throughout the country.
Shia’a in Saudi Arabia, unlike Al Qaeda and ISIS, do represent a threat to Riyadh – not predicated on fanatical extremism – but instead upon self-defense against the brutality and injustice of the Saudi political system which specifically targets Shia’a.
It appears that some agents, despite laboring under faulty assumptions, did attempt to do their jobs, while others appear to have been protecting suspects very likely tied to the 9/11 attacks, and possibly even tied to the attacks themselves. Together, through incompetence and collusion, the attacks unfolded, and the rest – as they say – is history.
Protecting Saudi Terrorism Then and Now
While the Western media now claims that many of the declassified report’s allegations have been found to be “without basis,” the heavy redaction throughout the report leads one to believe that Saudi Arabia and the various tentacles of its security apparatus reaching into the United States are still being covered up by complicit American agents and interests.
Additionally, despite the very troubling implications of the report’s contents, it should be noted that in the aftermath of 9/11 the US, along with Europe, continued supplying Saudi Arabia with billions of dollars worth of military weapons while politically supporting Riyadh during its own brush with the “Arab Spring” in 2011. Today, despite evidence of Saudi Arabia’s arming and funding of designated terrorist organizations including Al Nusra, the US and Europe continue lending military and political support to Riyadh nonetheless.
Saudi Arabia didn’t victimize the United States on 9/11, nor trick Washington. Riyadh and Washington are partners in crime, at times in lockstep, at other times posing as adversaries when maximum plausible deniability is desired.
Despite attempts to claim Saudi Arabia is blameless in the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers were undoubtedly Saudis, inspired by indoctrination that originated in Saudi-funded networks, allegedly approached and assisted by Saudi intelligence agents, and representative of terrorist organizations Riyadh to this day still arms, funds, and uses to wage it and America’s proxy wars with.
The report is not really a revelation, but instead another piece of evidence that affirms the US and Saudi Arabia are collaborators in terrorism, not partners fighting it. Those who depend on either in a true fight against global terrorism, should be prepared for perpetual failure.
Recently Paul Craig Roberts recounted a conversation he had with James Jesus Angleton, a former head of CIA counterintelligence, in which they discussed strategies that the CIA employs to dupe the American and global public, with a view to perpetrating criminal agendas, cloaked beneath the lie of “national interests”. Angleton explained to Roberts that,
“intelligence services create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions. Such painstaking work can serve a variety of purposes … Then if the official story gets into trouble, the backup story can be released in order to deflect attention into a new false story or to support the original story.”
The strategy of “stories within stories”, and using competing narratives to confuse, to distract, and to lead the public down false paths (red herrings) is entirely consistent with the 9/11 crimes, the subsequent “War On Terror”, and the criminal invasion of Syria.
The official stories explaining the 9/11 false flag are bundled with hidden stories, “limited hangouts”, and “distance from accountability” strategies — all serving to daze and confuse North Americans in particular, to the point where we revert to passively accepting the narrative of the day and the overarching lie that supporting the neo-con war agenda is patriotic.
The first 9/11 story – Story A – identified al Qaeda and Bin Laden as the primary perpetrators, but this story is being supplanted by another story – story B – which features Saudi Arabia as the villain. No doubt Saudi Arabia played a role in the crime and the on-going cover-up, but “Story B” is also a “limited hangout” in the sense that only a limited part of the story is “hanging out”. It also serves to provide cover or “distance from accountability” for some of the major villains who are still shielded from the glare of the spotlight. Additionally, it serves to lead us down false trails (red herring) that divert public attention from the hidden agenda of global war and poverty.
The Saudi Arabia limited hangout does beg an important question though: Will the CIA’s Wahhabi mercenary outfits — ISIS, al Qaeda/ al Nursra Front, and all the fraudulently labelled “moderates”, be targeting Saudi Arabia next?
The same strategy of “stories within stories” is occurring with the West’s criminal war of aggression on Syria.
Professor Tim Anderson explains in an interview that,
“Washington’s plan for a New Middle East – with compliant states across the region – is failing. Their Plan B is to partition or otherwise divide Syria and Iraq. Their Plan C will be to withdraw while pretending that they have helped bring peace to the region.”
The original Plan A: to quickly destroy democratic, pluralist, non-sectarian Syria with Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) backed terrorist invaders — with a view to setting up a stooge Wahhabi-style dictatorship, is failing. Not only are the terrorists being defeated on the battlefield, but the psy op “strategy of disassociation” is crumbling as well. More and more people are seeing through the lies of the “moderate rebel” story: the Western/GCC – backed “moderates” (all of whom share the same strategic ambitions as ISIS and the West) are at least as bad, maybe worse than their “comrades in arms”, “ISIS”. When U.S State Department spokesperson Mark Toner explained that they might put a “pause” on funding the so-called “moderates”, who publicly and brazenly chopped off the head of a Palestinian boy, the “strategy of disassociation” was beheaded as well.
Plan B is also failing, at least in Syria, since the “balkanization” efforts at creating ethnically or religiously-based enclaves within Syria is hitting the wall of Syria’s longstanding culture of religious freedom and pluralism. Syrians identify themselves first and foremost as Syrians, and not according to their religious affiliations.
Hopefully, Plan C is around the corner. The West will pretend that it has achieved peace, and it will withdraw its disgusting terrorist proxies.
The ugly truth about the genocidal Western designs for Syria – well documented for years by sources including former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief Michael Flynn, by Generals Dempsey, and Clark, by Vice-President Biden, and by publicly available Defence Intelligence Agency documents, as well as from other open source documents — is increasingly being accepted.
Despite the fake reporting, the fake NGOs, the “stories within stories”, the indolence and criminality of the corporate presstitutes, the ugly truth is imposing itself on Western audiences, whether they like it or not.
Just peace requires this uncomfortable foundation of truth.
A well-connected retired general in the Saudi military has traveled to Israel, in the latest indication of a growing link between Tel Aviv and Riyadh which has come to light in recent months.
Anwar Eshki made the visit earlier in the week, meeting with Israel’s foreign ministry director general Dore Gold Yoav Mordechai and a number of Knesset members, the daily Ha’aretz reported.
The daily called the visit “a highly unusual one,” as Eshki couldn’t have traveled to Israel without approval from the Saudi government.
Eshki and Gold raised an uproar first in June 2015 when they held a publicized joint event in Washington, after meeting privately several times over the preceding year.
Gold attended the event a few days before assuming the role of director general of the Israeli foreign ministry.
Israeli legislator Esawi Freige, who organized Eshki’s meeting with his fellow members of Knesset, shed some light on the trip. “The Saudis want to open up to Israel,” he said.
“This is a strategic step for them. They said they want to continue what former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat started. They want to get closer to Israel. This is clearly evident,” Fregie noted.
He was referring to the former Egyptian president’s negotiations with Israel, which culminated in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979 – the first between an Arab state and Tel Aviv at the time.
Haaretz said that during the meeting with the parliamentarians, Eshki encouraged dialog in Israel on Saudi Arabia’s Arab Peace Initiative.
The proposal was unveiled in 2002, offering normalized ties with Israel by 22 Arab countries in return for Tel Aviv’s withdrawal from the occupied West Bank.
During an interview with the Qatari news channel Al Jazeera in April, Eshki said Riyadh would open an embassy in Tel Aviv if Israel accepted the Saudi initiative. He also said the Saudis were not interested in “Israel becoming isolated in the region.”
Back in May, Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva reported that Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies [sic], namely Jordan and Egypt, had been sending messages to Israel through various emissaries, including former British PM Tony Blair.
They had asked Tel Aviv to resume Middle East negotiations under new terms, which included changes to the Saudi initiative, the paper said.
Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Even so, reports have indicated that several of them, including Saudi Arabia, have had secret relations with Tel Aviv.
Last November, the Associated Press reported that Israel was set to open a “permanent mission” in the UAE.
In May, the Middle East Eye news portal reported that Israel and some Arab countries, including the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan, were planning to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and replace him with former leader of the Fatah movement Mohammad Dahlan.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Jerusalem al-Quds for talks with Israeli leaders earlier this month.
The minister outraged many Egyptians for visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s family, during which the two watched the Euro 2016 soccer final.
The influential Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which belongs to Prince Faisal bin Salman (son of King Salman), Governor of Madinah, tore into Turkish President Recep Erdogan with a series of vicious attacks that brings to the fore the cracks in the politics of the Muslim Middle East following the failed coup in Turkey last Friday. On successive days, three Op-Eds have appeared, authored by two of the most authoritative establishment talkers in the Saudi media – Abdulrahman Al-Rashed (currently general manager of Al-Arabiya television and formerly editor-in-chief of the daily) and Eyad Abu Shakra (incumbent managing editor of the daily).
The first Op-Ed entitled Will Turkey Boycott the West? by Al-Rashed appeared on Tuesday in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey. Its message to Erdogan was two-fold: a) Do not annoy the West (read US); and, b) There will be dire consequences if Erdogan pressed for the extradition of the Islamist cleric Fetullah Gulen from the US.
Evidently, Erdogan ignored Al-Rashed’s advice and doomsday predictions and went ahead to allege a likely US role in the coup attempt and warn that Washington will be making a “big mistake” if Gulen is not extradited. On Thursday, Shakra and Al-Rashed in separate articles followed up with a scathing attack on Erdogan personally and his politics.
Shakra in his article titled About Erdogan and Turkey’s Coup Attempt condemned Erdogan for the crackdown on ‘Gulenists’ and all but cited Gulen as a torch bearer of political Islam as much as Erdogan claims himself to be. The article hinted that Gulen casts an appeal within the ruling party AKP. Shakra pointedly brought in former president and AKP’s co-founder Abdullah Gul and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu). He virtually advised a patch-up between Erdogan and Gulen.
Al-Rashed in a second article alleged that Erdogan is grandstanding on the ‘Arab Street’ and his fate cannot be any different from that of Abdel Gamal Nasser and Sadam Hussein. Worse still, he drew comparison with Imam Khomeini. His article They All Walked This Path also seems to suggest Saudi displeasure that Erdogan draws support from parts of the Arab world. Qatar — whose Emir is close to Erdogan?
What is it that is frightening the Saudi royal family? Prima facie, the disclosures by the famous Saudi whistleblower Mutjahid (who many suspect to be a dissenter within the House of Saud) to the effect that Gulen has strong links with Saudi Arabia and that the powerful deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman was in the know of the Turkish coup seems to have some basis. There is indeed a tone of panic in the Saudi media attack on Erdogan.
According to Mutjahid, Mohammed bin Salman apparently suspects that the Turkish intelligence knows about the Saudi-UAE role in the attempted coup against Erdogan. (Curiously, according to reports, Turkish military attaché in Kuwait tried to flee to an unnamed western country from the Saudi airport of Dammam before being detained for involvement in the coup attempt.) The Saudi talkers have probably gone on the offensive as the best form of defence, fearing a retaliation by Erdogan.
More importantly, Saudis must be feeling frightened about the manner in which the coup attempt in Turkey was countered by Erdogan, who invoked ‘people’s power’. Shades of ‘Arab Spring’! This is the spectre that always haunted the Saudis – masses pouring out into the streets in their tens of thousands as the final arbiters of political power in a Muslim country. Worse still, this political tactic also leaps out of the manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood, which poses an existential threat to the Saudi regime.
The point is, from the Saudi viewpoint, the most dangerous thing about Erdogan is not his ‘neo-Ottomanism’ but his close links with the Brothers for whose sake he even sacrificed Turkey’s state-to-state relations with the Egyptian regime of President Abdel Fattah- el-Sisi (who came to power through a Saudi-backed military coup).
Finally, the Saudis are big losers – next only to Israel – in the rapprochement between Turkey and Iran that is getting under way in regional politics. Erdogan told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a phone conversation on Tuesday that he is ready to work with Iran and Russia to restore regional peace. The Iranian official news agency quoted Erdogan as saying,
- Today, we are determined more than ever before to contribute to the solution of regional problems hand in hand with Iran and Russia and in cooperation with them.
Of course, such a realignment in the Muslim Middle East would profoundly impact the balance of forces in regional politics, virtually isolating Saudi Arabia.
Prensa Latina transmits below the full text of the exclusive interview with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad:
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, thanks for giving Prensa Latina this historic opportunity of conveying your point of views to the rest of the world about the reality in Syria, because as you know, there is a lot of misinformation out there about your country, about the foreign aggression that is taking place against this beautiful country.
Mr. President, how would you evaluate the current military situation of the external aggression against Syria, and what are the main challenges of Syrian forces on the ground to fight anti-government groups? If it is possible, we would like to know your opinion about the battles or combats in Aleppo, in Homs.
President Assad: Of course, there was a lot of support to the terrorists from around the world. We have more than one hundred nationalities participating in the aggression against Syria with the support of certain countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar with their money and Turkey with the logistical support, and of course with the endorsement and supervision of the Western countries, mainly the United States, France, and the UK, and some other allies.
But since the Russians decided to intervene in supporting legally the Syrian Army in fighting the terrorists in Syria, mainly al-Nusra and ISIS and some other affiliated groups, the scales have been tipped against those terrorists, and the Syrian Army has made many advancements in different areas in Syria.
And we are still moving forward, and the Syrian Army is determined to destroy and to defeat those terrorists. You mentioned Homs and Aleppo.
Of course, the situation in Homs, since the terrorists left Homs more than a year ago, the situation has been much, much better, more stable.
You have some suburbs of the city which were infiltrated by terrorists. Now there is a process of reconciliation in those areas in which either the terrorists give up their armaments and go back to their normal life with amnesty from the government, or they can leave Homs to any other place within Syria, like what happened more than a year ago in the center of the city.
For Aleppo it is a different situation, because the Turks and their allies like the Saudis and Qataris lost most of their cards on the battlefields in Syria, so the last card for them, especially for Erdogan, is Aleppo.
That is why he worked hard with the Saudis to send as much as they can of the terrorists – the estimation is more than five thousand terrorists – to Aleppo.
PRENSA LATINA: Through the Turkish borders?
President Assad: Yes, from Turkey to Aleppo, during the last two months, in order to recapture the city of Aleppo, and that didn’t work.
Actually, our army has been making advancement in Aleppo and the suburbs of Aleppo in order to encircle the terrorists, then, let’s say, either to negotiate their going back to their normal life as part of reconciliation, or for the terrorists to leave the city of Aleppo, or to be defeated. There’s no other solution.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, which are the priorities of the Syrian Army in the confrontation with the terrorist groups? What is the role that the popular defence groups are playing in the theatre of operations?
President Assad: The priority of the Syrian Army, first of all, is to fight ISIS, al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Cham and Jaish al-Islam. These four organizations are directly linked to Al Qaeda through the ideology; they have the same ideology, they are Islamic extremist groups who want to kill anyone who doesn’t look or doesn’t feel or behave like them.
But regarding what you called the popular militia groups, actually, at the beginning of the war, the terrorists started an unconventional war against our army, and our army is a traditional army, like any other in the world, so the support of those popular defence groups was very important in order to defeat the terrorists in an unconventional way.
That was very helpful to the Syrian Army, because those fighters, those national fighters, they fight in their regions, in their cities, in their villages, so they know the area very well, they know the region very well, I mean the pathways, the terrain, let’s say, very well.
So, they can be very huge assets for the Syrian Army. That is their role.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, how does the resistance of the Syrian people take place in the economic front to foreign aggression, I mean the economy, and please, what is your opinion on which sectors of the Syrian economy have remained functioning despite the war, economic blockade, looting, and so forth?
President Assad: Actually, the war on Syria is a full-blown war; it is not only supporting terrorists. They support the terrorists, and at the same time they launched a political war against Syria on the international level, and the third front was the economic front, in which they dictate to their terrorists, to their surrogate mercenaries, to start destroying the infrastructure in Syria that helped the economy and the daily needs of the Syrian citizens.
At the same time, they started an embargo directly on the borders of Syria through the terrorists and abroad through the banking systems around the world. In spite of that, the Syrian people were determined to live as much normal life as they can.
That prompted many Syrian businessmen or the owners of, let’s say, the industry, which is mainly medium and small industry, to move from the conflict areas and unstable areas toward more stable areas, on a smaller scale of business, in order to survive and to keep the economy running and to keep the needs of the Syrian people available.
So, in that regard, most of the sectors are still working. For example, the pharmaceutical sector is still working in more than 60 percent of its capacity, which is very important, helpful, and very supportive to our economy in such circumstances.
And I think now we are doing our best in order to re-expand the base of the economy in spite of the situation, especially after the Syrian Army made many advancements in different areas.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, let’s talk a little bit about the international environment, please, give me your opinion about the role of the United Nations in the Syrian conflict, the attempts of Washington and its allies to impose their will on the Security Council and in the Geneva peace talks.
President Assad: Talking about the role of the United Nations or Security Council could be illusive, because actually the United Nations is now an American arm, where they can use it the way they want, they can impose their double standards on it instead of the Charter.
They can use it like any other institution within the American administration. Without some Russian and Chinese stances in certain issues, it would be a full American institution.
So, the Russian and Chinese role has made some balance within these institutions, mainly regarding the Syrian issue during the last five years. But if you want to talk about their role through their mediators or their envoys, like recently de Mistura, and before that Kofi Annan, and in between Brahimi, and so on. Let’s say that those mediators are not independent; they reflect either the pressure from the Western countries, or sometimes the dialogue between the main powers, mainly Russia and the United States.
So, they’re not independent, so you cannot talk about the role of the United Nations; it is a reflection of that balance. That is why so far, there is no United Nations role in the Syrian conflict; there is only Russian and American dialogue, and we know that the Russians are working hard and seriously and genuinely in order to defeat the terrorists, while the Americans always play games in order to use the terrorists, not to defeat them.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, how do you see at the present time the coexistence among Syrian ethnic and religious groups against this foreign intervention? How do they contribute or not in this regard?
President Assad: The most important thing about this harmony between the different spectrums of the Syrian fabric, is that it is genuine, because that has been built up through the history, through centuries, so for such a conflict, it cannot destroy that social fabric.
That is why if you go around and visit different areas under the control of the government, you will see all the colors of the Syrian society living with each other.
And I would say, I would add to this, that during the conflict, this harmony has become much better and stronger, and this is not rhetoric; actually, this is reality, for different reasons, because this conflict is a lesson.
This diversity that you have, it is either to be a richness to your country, or a problem. There’s no something in the middle. So, the people learned that we need to work more on this harmony, because the first rhetoric used by the terrorists and by their allies in the region and in the West regarding the Syrian conflict at the very beginning was sectarian rhetoric.
They wanted people to divide in order to have conflict with each other, to stoke the fire within Syria, and it didn’t work. And the Syrians learned that lesson, that we had harmony; we had had harmony before the conflict, in the normal times, but we have to work more in order to make it much stronger.
So, I can say without any exaggeration that the situation regarding this part is good. In spite of that, I would say the areas under the control of the terrorists – and as you know those terrorists are mainly extremist groups affiliated to Al Qaeda – in which they worked very hard in order to indoctrinate the young generation with their dark ideology, and they succeeded in some areas, this dark ideology with the killing and beheading and all these horrible practices.
With the time, it is going to be more difficult to deal with this new generation of young people who have been indoctrinated with Al Qaeda and Wahabi doctrine and ideology. So this is the only danger that we are going to face regarding our society, harmony, and coexistence that you just mentioned.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, I would like to go again to the international arena. What is in your opinion the role of the U.S.-led international coalition in relation to the groups that operate in northern Syria, in particular regarding the Kurds group. I mean the bombing of the American airplanes and the coalition in the northern part of the country. What to do you think about that?
President Assad: You know, traditionally, the American administrations, when they had relations with any group or community in any country, it is not for the sake of the country, it is not for the interest of the people; it is for the agenda of the United States.
So, that is what we have to ask ourselves: why would the Americans support any group in Syria? Not for Syria. They must their agenda, and the American agenda has always been divisive in any country. They don’t work to unite the people; they work to make division between the different kinds of people.
Sometimes they choose a sectarian group, sometimes they choose an ethnical group in order to support them against other ethnicities or to push them in a way that takes them far from the rest of the society.
This is their agenda. So, it is very clear that this American support is not related to ISIS, it is not related to al-Nusra, it is not related to fighting terrorism, because since the beginning of the American intervention, ISIS was expanding, not shrinking. It has only started to shrink when the Russian support to the Syrian Army took place last September.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, what is your opinion about the recent coup d’état in Turkey, and its impact on the current situation in that country, and on the international level, and on the Syrian conflict also?
President Assad: Such a coup d’état, we have to look at it as a reflection of instability and disturbances within Turkey, mainly on the social level. It could be political, it could be whatever, but at the end, the society is the main issue when you have instability.
Regardless of who is going to govern Turkey, who is going to be the president, who is going to be the leader of Turkey; this is an internal issue. We don’t interfere, we don’t make the mistake to say that Erdogan should go or should stay. This is a Turkish issue, and the Turkish people have to decide.
But what is more important than the coup d’état itself, we have to look at the procedures and the steps that are being taken by Erdogan and his coterie recently during the last few days, when they started attacking the judges; they removed more than 2,700 judges from their positions, more than 1,500 professors in the universities, more than 15,000 employees in the education sector. What do the universities and the judges and that civil society have to do with the coup d’état?
So, that reflects the bad intentions of Erdogan and his misconduct and his real intentions toward what happened, because the investigation hasn’t been finalized yet. How did they take the decision to remove all those?
So, he used the coup d’état in order to implement his own extremist agenda, Muslim Brotherhood agenda, within Turkey, and that is dangerous for Turkey and for the neighboring countries, including Syria.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, how do you evaluate the Syrian government’s relations with the opposition inside Syria? What is the difference between these opposition organizations and those based outside Syria?
President Assad: We have good relations with the opposition within Syria based on the national principles. Of course, they have their own political agenda and they have their own beliefs, and we have our own agenda and our beliefs, and the way we can make the dialogue either directly or through the ballot boxes; it could be a different way of dialogue, which is the situation in every country.
But we cannot compare them with the other oppositions outside Syria, because the word “opposition” means to resort to peaceful means, not to support terrorists, and not to be formed outside your country, and to have grassroots, to have real grassroots made of Syrian people.
You cannot have your grassroots be the foreign ministry in the UK, Franceor the intelligence in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the United States. This is not opposition, this is called, in that case, you are called a traitor.
So, they call them oppositions, we call them traitors. The real opposition is the one that works for the Syrian people and is based in Syria and its agenda derived its vision from the Syrian people and the Syrian interests.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, how do you evaluate the insistence of the U.S. and its allies that you leave power in addition to the campaign to distort the image of your government?
President Assad: Regarding their wish for me to leave power, they have been talking about this for the last five years, and we never responded even with a statement.
We never cared about them. Actually, this is a Syrian issue; only the Syrian people can say who should come and go, who should stay in his position, who should leave, and the West knows our position very well regarding this.
So, we don’t care and don’t have to waste our time with their rhetoric. I am here because of the support of the Syrian people. Without that, I wouldn’t be here. That is very simple.
About how they defame, or try to demonize certain presidents, this is the American way, at least since the second World War, since they substituted British colonization in this region, and maybe in the world, the American administrations and the American politicians haven’t said a single honest word regarding anything.
They always lie. And as time goes by, they are becoming more inveterate liars, so this is part of their politics. So, to demonize me is like how they tried to demonize President Vladimir Putin during the last two years and they did the same with the Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the last five decades.
This is their way. So, we have to know that this is the American way. We don’t have to worry about it. The most important thing is to have good reputation among your own people. That is what we have to worry about.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, what is your opinion on Syria’s relation with Latin America, particularly the historical links with Cuba?
President Assad: In spite of the long distance between Syria and Latin America, we are always surprised how much the people in Latin America, not only the politicians, know about this region. I think this has many reasons, but one of them is the historical similarities and commonalities between our region, between Syria and Latin America.
Latin America was under direct occupation for long time ago but after that it was under the occupation of the American companies, and the American coup d’états and the American intervention.
So, they know what is the meaning of being independent or not to be independent. They understand that the war in Syria is about independence.
But the most important thing is the role of Cuba. Cuba was the spearhead of the independence movement within Latin America and Fidel Castro was the iconic figure in that regard.
So, on the political level and the knowledge level, there is a strong harmony between Syria and Latin America, especially Cuba. But I do not think we work enough to improve the other part of the relation; to be on the same level mainly on the educational and the economic level.
That was my ambition before the crisis and that is why I visited Latin America, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentine and Brazil, in order toinvigorate this relation. Then, we had this conflict started and it was a big obstacle to do anything in that regard, but I think that we have not to restrain the relation on the historical and the political levels. That is not enough. You have so many other sectors, people should know more about each other. The long distance could be an obstacle, but it shouldn’t because we have strong relations with the rest of the world, east and west.
So, it is not an obstacle in these days. So, I think if we overcome this crisis and this war, we should work harder in order to invigorate the different sectors of this relation with Latin America and especially with Cuba.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, would you tell me your opinion about the electoral process in the United States mainly for the president? Now, there are two candidates; the Republican one is Mr. Donald Trump and the Democrat one is Mrs. Hillary Clinton, what is your opinion about this process, about the result of this process and how it could impact the conflict here, in the war in Syria?
President Assad: We resumed our relation with the United States in 1974. Now, it has been 42 years since then and we witnessed many American presidents in different situations and the lesson that we have learned is that no one should bet on any American president, that is the most important thing. So, it is not about the name.
They have institutions, they have their own agenda and every president should come to implement that agenda in his own way, but at the end he has to implement that agenda.
All of them have militaristic agendas, and the only difference is the way. One of them sends his army like Bush and the other one sends mercenaries and proxies like Obama, but all of them have to implement this agenda.
So, I do not believe that the president is allowed completely to fulfill his own political convictions in the United States, he has to obey the institutions and the lobbies, and the lobbies have not changed and the institutions’ agenda has not change.
So, no president in the near future will come to make a serious and dramatic change regarding the politics of the United States.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, one final question: what message would you send using this interview with Prensa Latina to the governments and people of Latin America, the Caribbean, and also why not the American people, about the importance of supporting Syria against terrorism?
President Assad: Latin America is a very good and important example to the world about how the people and their governments regain their independence.
They are the backyard of the United States as the United States sees, but this backyard was used by the United States to play its own games, to implement its own agenda and the people in Latin America sacrificed a lot in order to regain their independence and everybody knows that.
After regaining their independence, those countries moved from being developing countries, or sometimes under-developed countries, to be developed countries. So, independence is a very important thing and it is very dear for every Latin American citizen.
We think they have to keep this independence because the United States will not stop trying to topple every independent government, every government that reflects the vast majority of the people in every country in Latin America.
And again, Cuba knows this, knows what I am talking about more than any other one in the world; you suffered more than anyone from the American attempts and you succeeded in withstanding all these attempts during the last sixty years or more just because the government reflected the Cuban people.
So, holding strongly to this independence, I think, is the crucial thing, the most important thing for the future of Latin America. Regarding Syria, we can say that Syria is paying the price of its independence because we never worked against the United States; we never worked against France or the UK. We always try to have good relations with the West.
But their problem is that they do not accept any independent country and I think this is same for Cuba. You never tried to do any harm to the American people but they do not accept you as an independent country.
The same is true for other countries in Latin America and that’s why you always have coup d’états mainly between the sixties and the seventies.
So, I think preserving the independence of a certain country is not only an isolated case; if I want to be independent, I have to support the independence in the rest of the world. So, the independence anywhere in the world, including Latin America, will support my independence. If I am alone, I will be weak.
Supporting Syria will be mainly in the international arena. There are many international organizations, mainly the United Nation, in spite of its impotence, but at the end, their support could play a vital role in supporting Syria and, of course, the Security Council; it depends on who is going to be the temporary member in the Security Council, and any other organization supporting Syria will be very important.
PRENSA LATINA: Mr. President, we know you are a very busy person, that is why I appreciate very much your time that you have dedicated to Prensa Latina interview in this moment. I hope this would not be the last interview that we have with you.
President Assad: You are welcome anytime.
The successful mission by a Hezbollah drone entering Israeli air space in the Golan Heights and taking photographs is a significant development at various levels. At its most obvious, Hezbollah has mocked Israel’s vaunted air superiority. Three Israeli missiles, including one fired by an F-16, couldn’t bring down the drone which returned safely to Syria. For Israel, it amounts to a humiliating show of contempt by the Hezbollah. (Sputnik )
Second, Russian radar would have certainly picked up the drone, but did nothing about it. It is straight out of Sherlock Holmes – the dog didn’t bark. The bottom line is, neither will Russia rush to protect the Hezbollah nor move a little finger to deter it.
Third, of course, the drone is a technology demonstrator, underscoring Hezbollah’s growing capability to hit back at Israel if attacked. This particular drone probably didn’t carry weapons, but the next one always could.
To be sure, Israel can only wonder how Hezbollah has gained access to such sophisticated technology. From Russia? Or, Iran? Or, is it Hezbollah technology?
Then, there is the ‘big picture’. Israel has been reminded that Golan Heights is still a frontline. Israel’s best hope is that Syria will remain weak and fragmented with no central authority in Damascus to challenge its future annexation of the occupied territories in Golan Heights. Hezbollah may have signalled that that remains a pipedream. In fact, the Syrian government forces are incrementally gaining the upper hand on the ground. The blockade of Aleppo turns the tide of war. In a telling sign of the tide turning, there are reports that Turkey has sent ‘feelers’ to the Syrian government. (Guardian )
Now, the developments in Turkey can only mean that Ankara may roll back its intervention in Syria. Turkey’s focus is on preempting a Kurdistan taking shape on its borders with tacit US support (which Israel too welcomes) and on this platform Syria, Iran and Iraq are Ankara’s ‘natural allies’.
On the other hand, without Turkey, neither Saudi Arabia nor Qatar or the other Sheikhdoms in the Gulf would have the spunk to advance the ‘regime change’ agenda in Syria. Simply put, Israel is being reduced to a mute witness to dramatic changes and realignments in its very neighbourhood with no role or capacity to influence them politically or militarily. Arguably, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the biggest ‘losers’ in the failed coup in Turkey. Both will be desperately hoping that the US will come up with some bright idea to retrieve the Syrian situation at the 2-day anti-ISIS coalition conference taking place in Washington on July 20-21. But then, the Turkish-US standoff over the extradition of Fetullah Gulen has introduced new uncertainty regarding the US’ capacity to influence the course of events in Syria.
All in all, the drone provocation by Hezbollah calls attention to the big shift in the balance of forces in the Middle East as a result of the Syrian conflict. For the first time, Israel has to contend with superior military power in its neighborhood. Indeed, but for the Russian presence, Israeli jets would have been raining destruction on Syria by now in retaliation. Fortunately, Israel faces no ‘blowback’ as such from the ISIS or the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front — unlike Turkey or Saudi Arabia — for its intervention in the Syrian conflict. (Read an Iranian commentary Turkey Coup: Who Else Is Going the Way Of Iraq and Syria?)
Russian President Vladimir Putin did on Sunday what no major western leader from the NATO member countries cared to do when he telephoned his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan to convey his sympathy, goodwill and best wishes for the latter’s success in restoring constitutional order and stability as soon as possible after the attempted coup Friday night.
The US Secretary of State John Kerry instead made an overnight air dash to Brussels to have a breakfast meeting on Monday with the EU foreign ministers to discuss a unified stance on the crisis in Turkey. The French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was in an angry mood ahead of the breakfast, saying “questions” have arisen as to whether Turkey is any longer a “viable” ally. He voiced “suspicions” over Turkey’s intentions and insisted that European backing for Erdogan against the coup was not a “blank cheque” for him to suppress his opponents.
The US has expressed displeasure regarding the Turkish allegations of an American hand in the failed coup. Indeed, the Turkish allegation has no precedent in NATO’s 67-year old history – of one member plotting regime change in another member country through violent means. Clearly, US and Turkey are on a collision course over the extradition of the Islamist preacher Fethullah Gulen living in exile in Pennsylvania whom the Turkish government has named as the key plotter behind the coup. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has warned that Ankara will regard the US as an “enemy” if it harbored Gulen. The dramatic developments expose the cracks appearing in the western alliance system. (See the commentary in the Russian news agency Sputnik entitled NATO R.I.P (1949-2016): Will Turkey-US Rift Over Gulen Destroy Alliance?)
Interestingly, the senior Turkish army officials detained so far include the following:
- Commander of the Incirlik air base (and 10 of his subordinates) where NATO forces are located and 90 percent of the US’ tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are stored;
- Army Commander in charge of the border with Syria and Iraq;
- Corps Commander who commands the NATO contingency force based in Istanbul; and,
- Former military attaches in Israel and Kuwait.
Most certainly, the needle of suspicion points toward the Americans having had some knowledge of the coup beforehand. Two F-16 aircraft and two ‘tankers’ to provide mid-air refuelling for them and used in the coup attempt actually took off from Incirlik.
Of course, Ankara has been wary of the US and France establishing military bases in northern Syria with the support of local Kurdish tribes, which it suspected would be a stepping stone leading to the creation of a ‘Kurdistan’. (The advisor on foreign affairs to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, who is an influential figure in Tehran alleged on Sunday that the US is attempting to create a Kurdistan state carved out of neighboring countries with Kurdish population, which will be a “second Israel” in the Middle East to serve Washington’s regional interests.)
Today, the famous Saudi whistleblower known as ‘Mujtahid’ has come out with a sensational disclosure that the UAE played a role in the coup and had kept Saudi Arabia in the loop. Also, the deposed ruler of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (who is a close friend of Erdogan) has alleged that the US, another Western country (presumably France) had staged the coup and that Saudi Arabia was involved in it. (here and here) Meanwhile, word has leaked to the media that in a closed-door briefing to the Iranian parliament on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif hinted at Saudi and Qatari involvement in the coup.
Putin’s phone call to Erdogan suggests the possibility that Russian and Turkish intelligence are keeping in touch. The two leaders have agreed to meet shortly.
The timing of the coup attempt – following the failure of the US push to establish a NATO presence in the Black Sea and in the wake of the Russian-Turkish rapprochement – becomes significant. Equally, the signs of shift in Turkey’s interventionist policies in Syria would have unnerved the US and its regional allies.
Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have a great deal to lose if Turkey establishes ties with Syria, which is on the cards. Thus, stopping Erdogan on his tracks has become an urgent imperative for these countries. The spectre of the Syrian government regaining control over the country’s territory haunts Israel, which has been hoping that a weakened and fragmented Syria would work to its advantage to permanently annex the occupied territories in the Golan Heights. Again, Turkey’s abandonment of the ‘regime change’ agenda in Syria means a geopolitical victory for Iran. On the contrary, a triumphant and battle-hardened Hezbollah next door means that its vast superiority in conventional military strength will be rendered even more irrelevant in countering the resistance movement. Significantly, Israel is keeping stony silence.
Will the US and its regional allies simply throw in the towel or will they bide their time to make a renewed bid to depose Erdogan? That is the big question. Erdogan’s popularity is soaring sky-high today within Turkey. He can be trusted to complete the ‘vetting’ process to purge the Gulenists ensconced in the state apparatus and the armed forces. The meeting of the High Military Council due in August to decide on the retirement, promotions and transfers of the military top brass gives Erdogan the free hand to remove the Gulenists.
M. K. Bhadrakumar is the former career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service.
The death toll from the Nice attacks on the 14th of July, 2016 is rising. Latest reports suggest 84 deaths and possibly one hundred more injured. There have been reports of gunfire and the driver of the truck which drove into the crowd near the beach in Nice is reported to have been shot dead. Once again (as with the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan attacks) there is no-one to stand trial and truthfully answer the questions that need to be asked – who and why?
At this point, there is not much that can be verified about the attack. One cannot exclude the possibility that it may have simply been the action of an insane individual. Atrocities of that type are rare but have happened in the past. But there is, however, the strong suggestion and indeed likelihood that this atrocity is a terrorist attack by ‘Islamists’. So, what does all this mean?
French domestic intelligence (DGSI) chief Patrick Calvar warned on the 26th of June 2016 that an ‘Islamist’ attack on French children would be the trigger for a civil war. He said France was currently on the brink of that civil war. Calvar also predicted that ISIS (Da’esh) would use trucks as weapons. It is not unusual in the never-ending war on terror to hear accurate predictions by intelligence officials before attacks, with the same officials seemingly powerless to prevent them.
This ‘uncanny coincidence’ could be the defining event of our time.
French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls is on record stating that the state of emergency in France would be permanent. There has been increasing pressure on the Hollande regime in France to change course in the Middle East. Attempts to reconcile with Russia and lift the sanctions have been blocked by Hollande and Valls, who are puppets of the Jewish Lobby. The Zionists want to continue the war on Syria, Iran and Russia. The Zionists have full control over US/NATO policy. Therefore, the ‘war on terror’, which was created as a pretext to further Zionist geopolitical interests, must be continued.
I believe this is the trigger for a civil war French intelligence warned us about. The question is whether the war will become high intensity or continue on a relatively low-intensity trajectory. There have been police ‘whistleblowers’ in France who have warned of huge caches of arms in major cities, capable of arming hundreds of thousands of men. However, one must be cautious in referring to such ‘whistleblowers’ as they have proven to be highly unreliable and may be spreading disinformation.
In any case, the public’s belief that we are in a ‘state of war’ and that all military interventions abroad are therefore necessary will be enough to make citizens look to the state for protection – an oligarchic state which is currently pursuing a brutal class war against workers.
As 90 percent or more of intelligence operations today involve media disinformation, we cannot possibly assume that any of the reports we are hearing are accurate. However, it is hard to see how a psyop could have been carried out in the Promenade des Anglais which is so central in Nice. What we can say for sure is that the attack serves the two constants of the war on terror dialectic. The narrative would read as follows:
1. Make the state of emergency permanent, empowering the oligarchic state and further demoralising citizens by dividing the working class along religious and racial lines. This is part of NATO’s ‘strategy of tension’ in accordance with the longstanding intelligence operation Gladio. Citizens must turn to the anti-social state for ‘security’, thus precluding social revolt.
2. Justify an all out attack on Syria to finish the job of destroying Arab civilisation, in accordance with Zionism’s geopolitical interests. Only the willfully ignorant could possibly believe that ISIS is an enemy of France when the French have never had better relations with the country which openly backs them – Saudi Arabia. The intelligence reports, declassified documents and admissions of the highest officials of the French and American governments all confirm that ISIS is Israel’s Arab legion.
Both those two above-mentioned goals serve Zionism and until the French people liberate themselves from its yoke, Zionism will continue to poison the minds of men, making them consent to policies that no honest and compassionate human being would countenance. An awakening of working-class militancy is occurring but the labour movement in France remains divided and led by social-democratic reformists. Now, more than ever, seeing the link between terrorism and class war is essential if any political and social change is to occur. In an era of high-finance treason, oligarchy, austerity, and the triumph of avarice, terror increasingly becomes a feature of the normal rather than an exceptional exercise of state power.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has denounced sanctions on Lebanese banks and other financial institutions as a form of Israeli aggression.
Speaking at the Lebanese Emigrants Economic Conference in Beirut on Thursday, Berri said Israel is constantly trying to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure and economy.
Berri was apparently making reference to the US law, which calls for the closure of bank accounts of individuals and organizations suspected of links to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is credited with defending Lebanon against two wars launched by Israel – the US’s staunchest ally in the region – in 2000 and 2006.
Berri said Lebanon, through the assistance of its diaspora, will eventually emerge triumphant over a plot seeking to harm the country’s economy.
“We only have hope from the expatriates, and right now we no longer have hope but from you,” he said.
Berri further lashed out at Arab states for failing to commit to promised funds to Lebanon following Israel’s war on the country in the summer of 2006, saying only a third of the aid has been paid.
In February, Riyadh suspended USD 3 billion in military assistance to the Lebanese military and another USD 1 billion to the country’s internal security forces.
The kingdom also imposed sanctions on some Lebanese firms and individuals it accused of having links with Hezbollah.
Last month, Governor of Bank of Lebanon Riad Salameh stated that 100 bank accounts linked to Hezbollah members and legislators had been closed.
Hezbollah criticized the Central Bank of Lebanon for submitting to US pressures, saying the measures violated Lebanon’s sovereignty.