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Trump’s Act of American Hubris

By Craig Murray | May 9, 2018

The United States is so far doing virtually no trade with Iran anyway. In 2017 total US exports to Iran were just 138 million dollars, and total imports a mere 63 million dollars, figures entirely insignificant to the US economy. By contrast, for the EU as a whole imports and exports to Iran were each a very much more substantial 8 billion dollars in 2017 and projected to rise to over 10 billion dollars in 2018.

There is one very significant US deal in the pipeline, for sale of Boeing aircraft, worth $18 billion dollars. It will now be cancelled.

Which brings us to the crux of the argument. Can America make its will hold? Airbus also has orders from Iran of over US$20 billion, and it is assumed those orders will be stopped too, because Airbus planes contain parts and technology licensed from the US. It is possible, but unlikely, that the US could grant a waiver to Airbus – highly unlikely because Boeing would be furious.

Now even a $20 billion order is probably in itself not quite big enough for Airbus to redevelop aircraft to be built without the US parts or technology (which constitute about 8% of the cost of an airbus). But the loss of a $20 billion order on such capricious grounds is certainly big enough for Airbus to look to future long term R & D to develop aircraft not vulnerable to US content blocking. And if Iran were to dangle the Boeing order towards Airbus too, a $38 billion order is certainly big enough for Airbus to think about what adaptations may be possible on a timescale of years not decades.

Read across from aircraft to many other industries. In seeking to impose unilateral sanctions against the express wishes of its “old” European allies, the USA is betting that it has sufficient global economic power, in alliance with its “new” Israeli and Saudi allies, to force the Europeans to bend to its will. This is plainly a very rash act of global geopolitics. It is perhaps an even more rash economic gamble.

We are yet to see the detail, but by all precedent Trump’s Iran sanctions will also sanction third country companies which trade with Iran, at the least through attacking their transactions through US financial institutions and by sanctioning their US affiliates. But at a time when US share of the world economy and world trade is steadily shrinking, this encouragement to European and Asian companies to firewall and minimise contact with the US is most unlikely to be long term beneficial to the US. In particular, in a period where it is already obvious that the years of the US dollar’s undisputed dominance as the world currency of reference are drawing to a close, the incentive to employ non-US linked means of financial transaction will add to an already highly significant global trend.

In short, if the US fails to prevent Europe and Asia’s burgeoning trade with Iran – and I think they will fail – this moment will be seen by historians as a key marker in US decline as a world power.

I have chosen not to focus on the more startling short term dangers of war in the Middle East, and the folly of encouraging Saudi Arabia and Israel in their promotion of sustained violence against Iranian interests throughout the region, as I have written very extensively on that subject. But the feeling of empowerment Trump will have given to his fellow sociopaths Netanyahu and Mohammed Bin Salman bodes very ill indeed for the world at present.

I shall be most surprised if we do not see increased US/Israeli/Saudi sponsored jihadist attacks in Syria, and in Lebanon following Hezbollah’s new national electoral victory. Hezbollah’s democratic advance has stunned and infuriated the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia but been reported very sparsely in the MSM, as it very much goes against the neo-con narrative. It does not alter the positions of President or Prime Minister, constitutionally allocated by religion, but it does increase Hezbollah’s power in the Lebanese state, and thus Iranian influence.

Iran is a difficult country to predict. I hope they will stick to the agreement and wait to see how Europe is able to adapt, before taking any rash decisions. They face, however, not only the provocation of Trump but the probability of a renewed wave of anti-Shia violence from Pakistan to Lebanon, designed to provoke Iran into reaction. These will be a tense few weeks. I do not think even Netanyahu is crazy enough to launch an early air strike on Iran itself, but I would not willingly bet my life on it.

The problem is, with Russia committed to holding a military balance in the Middle East, all of us are betting our lives on it.

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pompeo Rocks the Middle East: Lessons from a Former CIA Officer for the Secretary of State

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | May 7, 2018

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo has recently completed his first trip to the Middle East as U.S. Secretary of State. Perhaps not surprisingly as President Donald Trump appears prepared to decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limiting Iran’s nuclear program creating a possible casus belli, much of what Pompeo said was focused on what was alleged to be the growing regional threat posed by Iran both in conventional terms and due to its claimed desire to develop a nuclear weapon.

The Secretary of State met with heads of state or government as well as foreign ministers in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan during his trip. He did not meet with the Palestinians, who have cut off contact with the Trump Administration because they have “nothing to discuss” with it in the wake of the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

During his first stop in Riyadh, Pompeo told a beaming Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir that Iran has been supporting the “murderous” Bashar al-Assad government in Damascus while also arming Houthi rebels in Yemen. He noted that “Iran destabilizes the entire region. It is indeed the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world…”

In Israel, Pompeo stood side by side with a smiling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region, and Iran’s ambition to dominate the Middle East remains. The United States is with Israel in this fight. And we strongly support Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself.”

At the last stop in Jordan, Pompeo returned to the “defend itself” theme, saying regarding Gaza that “We do believe the Israelis have a right to defend themselves and we are fully supportive of that.”

One hopes that discussions between Pompeo and his foreign interlocutors were more substantive than his somewhat laconic published comments. But given the comments themselves, it is depressing to consider that he was until recently Director of the CIA and was considered an intellectually brilliant congressman who graduated first in his class at West Point. One would hope to find him better informed.

Very little that surfaced in the admittedly whirlwind tour of the Middle East is fact-based. Starting with depicting Iran as a regional and even global threat, one can challenge the view that its moves in Yemen and Syria constitute any fundamental change in the balance of power in the region. Iranian support of Syria actually restores the balance by returning to the status quo ante where Syria had a united and stable government before the United States and others decided to intervene.

Israeli claims repeated by Washington that Iran is somehow building a “land bridge” to link it to the Mediterranean Sea are wildly overstated as they imply that somehow Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon are willing to cede their sovereignty to an ally, an unlikely prospect to put it mildly. Likewise, the claim that Iran is seeking to “dominate the region” rings hollow as it does not have the wherewithal to do so either financially or militarily and many of its government’s actions are largely defensive in nature. The reality is that Israel and Saudi Arabia are the ones seeking regional dominance and are threatened because a locally powerful Iran is in their way.

Support by Tehran for Yemen’s Houthis is more fantasized than real with little actual evidence that Iran has been able to provide anything substantial in the way of arms. The Saudi massacre of 10,000 mostly Yemeni civilians and displacement of 3 million more being carried out from the air has been universally condemned with the sole exceptions of the U.S. and Israel, which seem to share with Riyadh a unique interpretation of developments in that long-suffering land. The U.S. has supplied the Saudis with weapons and intelligence to make their bombing attacks more effective, i.e. lethal.

Pompeo did not exactly endorse the ludicrous Israeli claim made by Benjamin Netanyahu last week that Iran has a secret weapons of mass destruction program currently in place, but he did come down against the JCPOA, echoing Trump in calling it a terrible agreement that will guarantee an Iranian nuclear weapon. The reality is quite different, with the pact basically eliminating a possible Iranian nuke for the foreseeable future through degradation of the country’s nuclear research, reduction of its existing nuclear stocks and repeated intrusive inspections. Israel meanwhile has a secret nuclear arsenal and is a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty without any demur from the White House.

The Israeli-Pompeo construct assumes that Iran is singularly untrustworthy, an odd assertion coming from either Washington, Riyadh or Tel Aviv. It also basically rejects any kind of agreement with the Mullahs and is a path to war. It is interesting to note that the Pentagon together with all of America’s closest allies believe that the JCPOA should stay in place.

And then there is the claim that Iran is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism. In reality that honor belongs to the United States and Israel with Iran often being the victim, most notably with the assassination of its scientists and technicians by Mossad agents. Israel has also been targeting and bombing Iranians in Syria, as has the United States, even though neither is at war with Iran and the Iranian militias in the country are cooperating with the Syrians and Russians to fight terrorist groups including ISIS as well as those affiliated with al-Qaeda. The U.S. is actually empowering terrorists in Syria and along the Iraqi border while killing hundreds of thousands in its never-ending war on terror. Israel meanwhile has agreements with several extremist groups so they will not attack its occupied Golan Heights and also seeks to continue to destabilize the Syrians.

Pompeo also endorsed Israel’s “fight” against the Gazan demonstrators and pledged that America would stand beside its best friend. As of this point, Israel has used trained army snipers to kill forty-three unarmed protesting Palestinians. Another 5,000 have been injured, mostly by gunfire. No “threatened” Israelis have suffered so much as a broken fingernail and the border fence is both intact and has never been breached. Israel is committing what is very clearly a war crime and the United States Secretary of State is endorsing the slaughter of a defenseless people who are imprisoned in the world’s largest open-air concentration camp.

Donald Trump entered into office with great expectations, but if Mike Pompeo is truly outlining American foreign policy, then I and many other citizens don’t get it and we most definitely don’t want it.

*(Mike Pompeo meets with Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 2018. Image credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/ flickr)

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen conflict: Secret documents suggest 7,000 UK personnel may be complicit in Saudi slaughter

House destroyed in airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on April 19, 2018. © Mohammed Dhari / Global Look Press
RT | May 2, 2018

To what extent is the UK aiding the Saudi intervention in Yemen? A new report suggests help is more hands-on than just defense deals.

Never seen before documents published as part of a new paper titled ‘UK Personnel Supporting the Saudi Armed Forces – Risk, Knowledge and Accountability’, suggest that some of the functions carried out by British personnel and arms companies in the Gulf kingdom may be more than what the Government is willing to admit.

According to the report, British arms deals to Saudi Arabia dating back to to 1985 have contained secret support clauses for British-made aircraft which tie British contractor and government personnel to Saudi military action, even if the UK is not itself involved directly.

These aircraft, namely Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, have been conducting continuous airstrikes against targets in Yemen since the country erupted into civil war in 2015, with strong claims made by human rights organizations that war crimes are being conducted, including the use of cluster munitions.

A recent strike, on April 23, hit a wedding party where 20 civilians were killed. Since the Saudi-led intervention began and the end of 2017, some 5,500 civilians have been killed with over 9,000 injured, according to the UN. The country’s infrastructure has completely collapsed.

In December last year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to suspend arms sales to the country on the back of these alleged charges.

Based on two years of interviews with former staff by Mike Lewis and Karen Templar, with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the paper is part of a wider ‘Brits Abroad’ project which examines the role of UK nationals operating outside the UK to contribute military and security services in armed conflicts.

While Whitehall has maintained that UK personnel currently stationed in Saudi Arabia have been away from any frontline roles including the targeting or weaponizing of British-made aircraft used in Yemen, terms contained in secret government-to-government contracts dating from 1986 still dictate British help to the Royal Saudi Air Force when the kingdom is at war.

The report puts the UK’s human ‘footprint’ at approximately 7,000 UK contractors, UK civil servants and seconded UK military personnel.

Al-Yamamah & Al-Salam

Attached to 1985’s infamous Al-Yamamah arms deal, which included the purchase of 72 Tornado fighter aircraft, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both nations contains assurances that London’s support of the aircraft would continue “as long as the program lasts.”

Another 48 Tornado were added in 1993, and support was extended again under the Saudi British Defence Cooperation Programme (SBDCP) from 2006 onwards.

In 2005, the Al-Salam arms deal covered the delivery of 72 Typhoon fighter aircraft – built by the Eurofighter consortium which includes British firm BAE Systems – and came with a full support package.

From the Gulf War to Yemen

During the first Gulf War in 1990, BAE employees in Dhahran – now King Abdulaziz Air Base – directly maintained and loaded weapons for both RAF and RSAF Tornado aircraft. One former BAE Crew Chief at Dhahran, quoted in the report, claimed to the UK Ministry of Defence that “it was left up to literally a handful of us experienced ex-RAF personnel to direct combat ground operations” during the conflict.

Since then, BAE have been more reluctant to give such support to Saudi military excursions that does not directly involve the British military. In 2008 it issued a “pullback” from direct handling of cluster munitions in 2008, followed in 2009/10 with resigning from directly operational roles in squadrons engaged in active combat upon the start of Riyadh’s offensive in Yemen.

However, this “pullback”, British expats who worked as armorers and technicians claim, remained incomplete and British staff were still expected to carry out armoring tasks of aircraft and support ground activities.

Others took on maintenance and weapons management functions during night-shifts and back-shifts, furthering the blurring of advisory and operational roles, while others, there to train Saudi maintenance crew, took on deep maintenance of warplanes involved in strikes against Houthi rebels when Saudi staff were too few or off shift.

As recent as February 2017, job specifications released by BAE show that its employees “continue to be responsible for coordinating maintenance for the weapons systems of all RSAF’s Tornados, both in training and operational squadrons, and including those deployed to Forward Operating Bases.”

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Thousands Bahraini workers made jobless over political, religious views’

Press TV – May 1, 2018

Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, says authorities have made thousands of citizens jobless over the past few years due to their political and religious beliefs as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

The dissolved political party, in a statement released on International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day or Workers’ Day, said 4,400 Bahrainis have lost their jobs as a result, warning that the number is on the rise.

Al-Wefaq then pointed to the Manama regime’s “policy of starvation and impoverishment against citizens because of their political opinions.”

The statement further noted that a small fraction of those unemployed people have been hired, but in lower-paying jobs.

Al-Wefaq also paid tribute to Bahraini workers, who lost their lives while taking part in the country’s popular uprising, as well as those who have been permanently disabled due to brutal torture in the regime’s prisons.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

The Bahraini king ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Dubai firm commissioned Qatar-smearing film from American who made fake news for Iraq war

RT | April 28, 2018

When Gulf states cut ties with Doha in 2017 over its alleged support of terrorism, tensions were aided by a Dubai firm that hired a man to create an anti-Qatar video. That same man also led a US propaganda project in Iraq.

Charles Andreae is the owner of the firm Andreae & Associates, which was contracted in August 2017 to produce a six-part film linking Qatar with global terrorism, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed. The Dubai-based strategic communications firm Lapis Communications, which is owned by an Afghan-Australian entrepreneur, gave Andreae more than $500,000 to produce the video.

The brief given to Andreae’s firm was to produce “six multimedia products focused on an investigation into the role of the state of Qatar and the state’s connection to global terrorism.” It was commissioned as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were intensifying an international campaign against Qatar over its alleged links to terrorism.

News of the contract emerged in a recently filed lobbying declaration with the US Department of Justice. American companies such as Andreae & Associates are required by law to disclose information on lobbying and PR work for foreign clients.

The film, titled ‘Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance,’ included conservative pundits discussing Qatar’s links to Islamist groups, as well as bits of news and archive footage. Copies of the video were distributed at an event at the Hudson Institute think tank in October. Among the keynote speakers at that event were US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former defense secretary Leon Panetta, and former CIA director David Petraeus. So far, the documentary has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube and is also available on Amazon.

In addition to Andreae’s involvement in making the film, he also registered as a lobbyist with the US Senate on Qatar-US relations on behalf of Lapis in January. But Andreae’s questionable actions didn’t begin with Qatar.

Andreae was also responsible for running the Washington end of a Pentagon propaganda contract in Iraq, which he did when he was working for the British public relations firm Bell Pottinger. Although the campaign details were known in 2016, Andreae’s involvement was only confirmed to the Bureau by Bell Pottinger co-founder Tim Bell last week.

That project, which has a $500 million contract with the Pentagon, consisted of running secret operations during the Iraq War. Bell Pottinger answered to the US commander in Iraq and created fake local news reports and smeared Iran. It also put together Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, planted them in people’s homes, and tracked who viewed them.

Neither Andreae & Associates nor Lapis Communications has responded to RT’s request for comment.

Read more:

Qatar govt. must send troops to Syria or lose US support and be toppled – Saudi FM

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Qatari FM Denounces Saudi Calls to Send Troops to Syria

Sputnik – 27.04.2018

The Saudi Foreign Minister had announced that Riyadh was willing to send troops to Syria as part of a wider international coalition if it receives an invitation to do so. He also expressed his opinion that Qatar must do the same.

Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani has branded Saudi Arabia’s demands for Qatar to pay for US troops to remain in Syria and the sending of its troops before the US withdraws an attempt to influence public opinion in the Arab world, according to France 24 TV channel.

“This statement [by the Saudi Foreign Ministry] is not worthy of an answer. Qatar refutes the brainwashing of the public opinion in the Arab world in such a way,” Qatar’s Foreign and Prime Minister said.

He also admitted that Qatar’s delegation was informed during its visit to the US about the idea of sending troops to Syria. Al-Thani believes that any decisions on Syria must be made as a part of the comprehensive solution to the Syrian problem.

“[Qatar insists] on developing a political solution to the Syrian problem, which would embed the political transition of power, punishment of war criminals and return stability to Syria,” Al-Thani said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir stated on April 25 that Qatar must send its troops to Syria prior to the US withdrawal from its base in the country. Earlier US President Donald Trump claimed that Middle Eastern countries must pay for everything that happens in their region as well as deploy their soldiers on the ground, possibly referring to the situations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. He also added that without US protection, “wealthy” Arab states “wouldn’t last a week.”

The Saudi Foreign Minister said on April 23 that Riyadh is ready to send its troops to Syria, but is waiting for an official invitation.

The Iranian Foreign Minister’s advisor Hussein Sheikholeslam has expressed his opinion in an interview with Sputnik that the deployment any additional troops to Syria will not bring about peace, but instead will only complicate the crisis.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Western Media Complicit in War Crimes

Strategic Culture Foundation | 27.04.2018

This week saw an horrendous massacre of up to 50 women and children at a wedding party in Yemen, carried out by the US, British and French-backed Saudi air force.

Two wedding halls in Hajjah Province were obliterated in the air strikes. Body parts were strewn among the debris in a hellish scene.

Among the carnage, a little boy was found by civilian rescuers clinging desperately to the body of his dead father. He refused to let go of his father’s bloodied corpse, clinging to the hope that his parent was still alive.

There was hardly any coverage of the slaughter in Western news media.

Yet the incident was nothing other than a massacre of civilians by Saudi warplanes, armed and fueled by the US, Britain and France. A war crime.

Abominably, the Hajjah bombing was just one of many such war crimes committed by the Western-backed Saudi regime on Yemen over the past three years.

Contrast that Western media indifference to Yemen’s suffering with the saturated coverage given to an unverifiable, and as it turns out, fabricated incident in Syria over an alleged chemical-weapons attack in Douma on April 7.

Videos of dubious provenance were played over and over on Western media purporting to show children suffering from chemical exposure in Syria. Strangely, the pitiful scene of the Yemeni wedding hall massacre and the little boy among the carnage gained negligible Western media coverage.

A week after the Douma incident, on April 14, after much hysterical condemnation of the Syrian government and its Russia ally, US President Donald Trump and his British and French counterparts ordered a barrage of missile strikes on Syria in what was supposed to be revenge for the alleged atrocity in Douma.

Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron made anguished statements about “human suffering” in Syria. On Yemen, they say nothing.

This week, Russian authorities facilitated testimonies by families from Douma at the Hague headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. British and American officials decried it as Russian “theatrics” without even bothering to listen to the testimonies.

Children who had previously appeared in dubious videos released by the militants in Douma, testified that they were orchestrated unwittingly for a propaganda video on April 7 purporting to show chemical weapons had been used. It turns out that no chemical weapons were used. Medics in Douma confirmed that too.

The Douma incident was undoubtedly a false flag. There was no chemical-weapons attack. It was a brazen fiction amplified by Western media.

Shamefully, Western media this week have blatantly dropped the Douma “story” probably in light of the evidence emerging about the false flag.

But based on that stunt, the US, France and Britain launched over 100 missiles on Syria. The US-led air strikes were based on a lie. The strikes were therefore a grave violation of international law. A war crime.

The Western media in their reckless, hysterical coverage of the Douma incident alleging a chemical-weapon attack thus stand accused of complicity in the subsequent criminal US-led air strikes.

But where is the Western media coverage and outcry over a real atrocity which happened this week in Yemen? Like many other real atrocities that have occurred in Yemen from Western-backed Saudi air strikes, the Western media act as conduits for covering up the crimes by omitting to report on the horror.

Another distorted priority in Western media was the massive coverage given to an incident this week in Toronto where some deranged individual killed 10 pedestrians with a van. A terrible crime in Toronto no doubt. But nothing on the scale of dozens of women and children being butchered in Yemen by US, British and French-backed Saudi warplanes.

The near-complete absence of reporting on the barbarity inflicted in Yemen with the support of Western governments is an example of how Western media operate like propaganda services.

No wonder that Western governments get away with such crimes in Yemen and elsewhere when the news media in those countries are shamefully derelict in reporting on the crimes of Western governments, and holding the latter to account.

To accuse Western media of being derelict is perhaps too generous a criticism. They are in fact complicit in war crimes by their deliberate distortion and omission.

Their complicity is compounded by their arrogance in proclaiming to be “independent, professional journalism”. It is sickening when Western media outlets continually boast about their “excellence in journalism”. Celebrity self-inflated journalists like Christiane Amanpour at CNN or Stephen Sackur at the BBC talk about “digging for truth and understanding” and “hard talking”.

Why isn’t Amanpour digging for “truth and understanding” in the blood-soaked rubble of Yemen; why isn’t Sackur hard-talking to Western foreign ministers about their crimes in Yemen and Syria, like he rudely tried to do recently with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov? They don’t because they are vastly overpaid propaganda artists in the service of imperial power.

These people, like the news organizations they work for, are vile charlatans. The Western media are propaganda cleaners for their criminal governments. This week’s distortion about a false flag in Syria and the horror in Yemen is the proof.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The idea of replacing the US contingent in Syria with Saudi troops is doomed to failure

By Dmitry MININ | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.04.2018

The White House has had a hot new idea – to leave Syria but also stay there at the same time by deploying an Arab contingent to US military bases, primarily from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). So to Arabize one of the bloodiest wars of our time in keeping with the bitter memory of Vietnamization.

It seems that the plan was worked out during the almost month-long stay of Saudi Arabia’s defence minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in America. And the plan’s existence was announced on 17 April by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, during a joint press conference with the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Following the missile attack on Syria, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, reiterated that President Donald Trump still wants an early withdrawal of US troops from the country. The introduction of a Saudi contingent in their place seems to Washington to be in the interests of the United States. And the US government has not just suggested to Saudi Arabia that it replace the American contingent, but to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well. They would take a back seat to the Saudis, however. There is also talk of these regimes providing money to rebuild Syria’s destroyed north. It seems they wouldn’t just be counting on military force, but on “buying” the local population as well.

It does raise a question, of course: have the Americans asked the Syrian government or its own allies – the Kurds and, at the very least, Turkey, Russia and Iran – about the desirability of such a replacement? No, of course they haven’t. Even while withdrawing, the US is unable to forget about its “exclusivity”. For many reasons, however, the idea of replacing Americans with Arabs is doomed to failure.

That Damascus will resolutely resist the proposed reoccupation of its territory by the forces of a “fraternal country” is obvious. It can only lead to more fighting and a rise in regional tensions. Almost as well-equipped as the Americans, the Saudis will never be a worthy opponent of the battle-hardened Syrian army. They have already shown what they’re capable of in the endless war in Yemen, where barefoot Houthis are inflicting one embarrassing defeat after another. Riyadh’s intention to fight a “decisive battle” against Iran on foreign soil will not be realised, either. With its ally Iraq behind it, Tehran would soon have the advantage.

All in all, not a single one of Syria’s neighbours is in favour of the arrival of Saudi troops to replace the Americans except Israel. Iraq is categorically against the idea, since it wants to avoid having to deal with an upsurge in fighting between Sunnis and Shi’ites on its borders. Turkey has no need for the Saudis either, because they would undermine its influence in the Ankara-controlled area of northern Syria. Suffice it to say that the nearly 30,000 troops now under Turkey’s wing from Eastern Ghouta, which was recently liberated by government troops, have been on Riyadh’s payroll for the entire war. Turkey has every reason to fear that Saudi Arabia will use these and other groups to assert its dominance over the area. Libya is also against the appearance of Saudi Arabia on the Syrian stage, fearing that clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites will move to within its own borders. Even Jordan, which is dependent on Washington and London, is weary of the initiative. As a pragmatic politician, King Abdullah II of Jordan has a good idea of all the possible negative repercussions of such an undertaking.

The proposals have also been criticised by Egypt, which has completely ruled out its involvement in their realisation. Mohammad Rashad, a senior official in Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, expressed himself in no uncertain terms: “The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries and cannot be leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy in a certain area.” Rashad continued: “This is not acceptable. No one should dare to direct or give orders to Egypt’s army.” The statement is an indirect response to an appeal by the US president’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, to the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, Abbas Mustafa Kamil, inviting Cairo to be involved in the project.

Just as many problems await the Saudis in and around the area of their proposed location. To begin with, the Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who control the area with the help of the US will certainly not welcome their arrival. It would mean the Kurds giving up control of the local Arab population in favour of the incoming contingent and losing most of the power they have won. It is quite possible that the Americans are secretly pushing for a scenario in which, as well as Arabization, there will also be a “dekurdization” of northern Syria, but at someone else’s hands. Then it would seem as if they are not betraying the Kurds, while calming Arab national feelings and ironing out differences with the Turks at the same time. Don’t think that the Kurds will remain passive bystanders in this situation, however. Chances are they will occupy the vacated US bases and refuse to let anyone in. It is even possible they will finally realise that, in the current situation, the most sensible course of action to resolve the Kurdish national question would be an alliance with Damascus. For the time being, Damascus is prepared to extend the rights of Kurds, but should they find themselves on the losing side later on, their window of opportunity will gradually close.

And for Saudi Arabia, a direct clash with the Islamic State (IS), which, according to the official version, is the terrorist group that the Saudis must go to Syria to fight, could prove fatal. The truth is that many of the IS militants still fighting in Syria are mujahideen from Saudi Arabia and their ability to indoctrinate their fellow countrymen should not be underestimated. It could happen that any direct contact between the Saudi contingent and IS militants will eventually extend the latter’s influence to the Kingdom, something that the Islamic State has long dreamed of. In the countries of the Persian Gulf, there are already some who think it would perhaps be better to hire Sudanese nationals, Pakistanis or some other poor souls for the operation.

The new plan for America to save face in the Middle East is just as chimerical as all of America’s previous attempts at a global reorganisation of the region. The outcome of Arabization will not be any better than the outcome of Vietnamization was all those decades ago. And this will continue to be the case until Washington starts taking into account the positions of all interested parties, including Damascus.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Incitement to crime’: Russian senator blasts Saudi advice to send Qatari troops to Syria

RT | April 25, 2018

A member of the Russian upper house security committee has described a recent Saudi statement urging Qatar to send troops to Syria as blackmail, and warned that any such step would bring only chaos and casualties to the region.

“The statement made by the head of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry is a very real blackmail. Saudi Arabia is inciting Yemen into knowingly unlawful action,” Senator Frants Klintsevich told reporters on Wednesday.

Klintsevich referred to comments by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, who earlier in the day stated that Qatar must “send its military forces (to Syria), before the US president cancels US protection of Qatar, which consists of the presence of a US military base on its territory.” The minister also hinted that Qatari forces could replace US servicemen in case the latter are ordered to withdraw from the region.

The Russian senator told the press that he personally had great doubts about the US’ intention to leave Syria, despite all contrary statements made by President Donald Trump. “Saudi Arabia must be talking about Qatar’s participation in the Syrian campaign alongside the US forces, not instead of them. This is even stranger as Riyadh cannot fail to understand that this would bring nothing but additional chaos and new senseless casualties,” he said, adding that he suspected Saudi authorities had their own goals in the conflict, which they preferred to keep quiet.

The Al-Udeid airbase located near the Qatari capital Doha is currently the largest US military base in the Middle East, with around 11,000 servicemen stationed there. Qatar’s own army is one of the smallest in the region, with some 12,000 active military personnel.

In January, the Qatari defense minister outlined a far-reaching expansion of US military presence in the country and a potential US Navy deployment after it completes renovations of its naval ports. He also expressed hope that the base will one day become permanent.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel, UK engaged in secret arms deals: Report

Press TV – April 24, 2018

A recent report has revealed that the United Kingdom has licensed the sale of arms to Israel worth $445 million since the 2014 war in occupied Palestinian territories.

The Middle East Eye online news service reported on Tuesday that figures compiled by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) indicate that the arms included components for drones, combat aircraft and helicopters along with spare parts for sniper rifles.

The report has raised fresh concerns that the weapons made by Britain are being used by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, amid fears that components in sniper rifles used to kill scores of Palestinian civilians in recent weeks could have been made in the UK.

New Department for International Trade figures show that Arms export licenses to Israel increased to £216 million or $300 million at current exchange rates, last year from £20 million ($28 million) in the wake of the Gaza war.

They include a major £183 million ($255 million ) license covering “technology for military radars.” Ministers have also approved the sale for export of grenades, bombs, missiles, armored vehicles, assault rifles, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles and components for sniper rifles, arguing that Israel has a right to defend itself from military assault and “terrorist attacks.”

“The appalling scenes we have seen over recent weeks are yet another stark reminder of the repression and abuse that Palestinians are living under every day. The response to protests hasn’t just been heavy handed, it has been a massacre,” Andrew Smith, a spokesman for CAAT said.

“By continuing to arm Israeli forces the UK isn’t just making itself complicit in future attacks, it is sending a message of support for the collective punishment that has been inflicted,” Smith added.

In March another report revealed that the United Kingdom is using secretive licenses to hide the scale of its arms exports to countries with dire human rights records in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is by far the largest buyer of UK arms under the opaque open licensing system.

In February, the online news portal revealed an increase of 75 percent in the use of approvals for arms exports, including vital parts for warplanes used in the Saudi aggression on Yemen.

April 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Media suspiciously quiet on US & UK-backed Saudi atrocities in Yemen

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 24, 2018

On Sunday night, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen hit a wedding party in Hajja province, killing up to 50 people. Strangely, no one in the Western media is calling for sanctions or regime change in Riyadh.

In fact, it seems they’re not that concerned at all. This is despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly accused of indiscriminate bombing in Yemen during a military campaign which has brought 8 million civilians to the brink of famine.

By early evening on Monday, BBC News was displaying not one, not two, but five stories about the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s new baby boy. At the time of checking, there was no story at all about Yemen featured on the BBC’s front page.

Cynical minds might suspect this is because the British government is party to the slaughter in Yemen through its selling of massive amounts of weapons to the Saudi government. In the BBC’s piece on the attack, hidden seven stories down on the World News page, there was no mention at all of this relationship between London and Riyadh.

The Guardian and the Independent gave more prominence to the Yemen story than the BBC, both displaying reports on the front pages of their websites – but the levels of outrage were seriously muted in comparison with the reaction to alleged attacks on civilians by the Syrian government.

Journalists in the United States seem to be suffering from the same kind of selective outrage. A CNN story on the deaths in Yemen initially did not mention the words ‘Saudi Arabia’ until the seventh paragraph. The story was later updated to include news of the death of top Houthi leader Saleh al-Sammad, while the news about the deaths of up to 50 people at the wedding was knocked down to the fourth paragraph. This strange reluctance to be harsh on Riyadh or to give the Yemen war the prominence it deserves in the media, is clearly an effort to downplay atrocities which won’t play as well in front of a Western audience. It’s harder to play the role of the outraged anchor when you have to explain that the US signed an arms deal worth $110 billion with Saudi Arabia last year – a deal which included $7 billion worth of “precision weapons” from Raytheon and Boeing.

Perhaps if the White Helmets had shown up with a video camera and accusations of chemical weapons use, the story would have gotten more traction. Alas, it appears a gentler kind of bomb was used to kill the civilian victims. Reading the Western reports on Yemen, you get the sense that it is being reported out of duty, only to be buried somewhere and forgotten about the next day.

In a joint communiqué issued following a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Britain, the UK government wrote that it welcomed Riyadh’s “continuing commitment” to ensuring that its military campaign in Yemen “is conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

It remains to be seen whether UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the British press corps will issue a tough rebuke to Saudi Arabia following the most recent atrocity. Op-ed pieces about how the Saudi regime ‘must go’ are surely in the works as we speak.

April 24, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanese Journalist Names Washington’s Goal Number One in Syria

Sputnik – April 19, 2018

Sputnik spoke to Lebanese journalist and commentator Sharmine Narwani to find out more about situation in Syria and Washington’s goals and actions there.

It has been revealed that US Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, tried to urge US President Donald Trump to obtain congressional approval before launching airstrikes on targets in Syria last weekend. According to reports, President Trump was however set on the use of military force, and overruled the Pentagon chief’s advice. In other developments, Saudi Arabia is reportedly holding talks with the United States and Egypt about sending an Arab coalition force into Syria.

Sputnik: We’re hearing news that the US is in talks with Saudi Arabia to build an Arab force and send it to Syria. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that he is in talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton to plan building this force – what do you make of this, what do you think its purpose is?

Sharmine Narwani: Look Trump wants to clear exit the debacle in  Syria and eliminate the need to spend billions of dollars a year in maintaining US forces there and participating in the war. The recent chemical weapons allegations came shortly after Trump vocalised this desire; but the likelihood of an Arab force to physically base themselves in Syria on the Syrian-Iraqi border is virtually nil. We must view this new tactic with some suspicion. The US has always trumpeted ISIS as its main goal in Syria or the elimination of ISIS. If ISIS is gone, then what’s the need to have foreign forces based on that border? It seemed clear all along that containing Iran’s access from Iran to the borders of Palestine has always been the goal. It’s not as though Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stellar or significant nation-building expertise anyway. And they have many differences – the Saudis and the UEA for instance are heavily involved militarily in Yemen and are overextended there. Egypt has shown reluctance to participate in that Arab conflict, let alone another one with a government that it has actually sort of ideologically supported in the Syrian conflict. So it’s not likely to become a reality.

Sputnik: Of course in the lead up to the Western bombing campaign on Syria the US was saying that President Bashar al-Assad had used sarin gas, but we’ve now found out that they did not have sufficient evidence of this at the time. Also, the New York Times has revealed that Defence Secretary Jim Mattis urged Trump to get congressional approval for the strikes, but the president overruled him on that – what does this all tell you about the lead up to the events of last weekend?

Sharmine Narwani: If we look at the recent events leading up to the alleged chemical weapons incident, it took place under cover of two important developments: one was Trump’s declaration of exiting Syria, and removing US troops from there soon. The second would be the Syrian army’s very rapid defeat of terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and the reclamation of that strategically vital territory around Damascus. I think the sort of bringing up Sarin, the nerve gas sarin, it’s always kind of utilised as an emotional trigger, as is the mention of chemical weapons by itself and the general assumption if we’re talking about sarin would be that only states would have access to that particular substance, and not terrorist groups and non-state actors, unlike say with a substance like chlorine that is readily available. So I think it was very deliberately invoked, meaning sarin, to create an emotional response globally.

But Sarin has been used in Iraq by insurgents since at least 2004, in the form of IEDs. Turkey for instance, in May 2013, way later during the Syrian conflict, captured 12 Nusra members, Nusra is the Al-Qaida arm in Syria, they captured 12 Nusra members with significant amounts of Sarin and that was believed to be heading toward Syria. And major US-UK risk analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor, in 2016, told us in a report that ISIS has used chemical weapons more than 52 times in both Syria and Iraq.

Sputnik: We’ve heard today that US senators are increasingly becoming concerned at the absence of a coherent US strategy in Syria, where do you see things from here?

Sharmine Narwani: Even during Obama’s term, we talked about there being a lack of coherent strategy. I would say that there is maybe a lack of a coherent verbalised strategy, one that was disseminated to the American public and an international one. There was certainly a strategy behind the scenes, one that was not vocalised and actions speak louder than words, so when we look at the arming, training and financing of terrorists when it was clear that there wasn’t enough Syrian support to topple Assad in the way leaders had been toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. We had the arming, training & financing but there was a very clear strategy, and the goal was number one, regime change, and two, to weaken the most important Iranian Arab state ally. So that was the strategy. When people say there wasn’t a coherent one they probably mean there wasn’t a coherent vocalised one. US actions have certainly shown us that regime change and weakening Iran were in fact the strategy in Syria and this is apparent today because the escalation still continues.

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment