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Israel to occupy Africa

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets people during his arrival at James Spriggs Payne Airport in Monrovia, Liberia on 4 June 2017 [Prime Ministry of Israel/Anadolu Agency]
By Helmi Al-Asmar | Al-Araby Al-Jadeed* | August 10, 2017

With the exception of the popular efforts made by the Conference for Palestinians Abroad to hinder the rabid Israeli efforts to hold a major conference next October entitled the Israeli-African Summit in Togo, we have barely seen any official or popular Arab efforts in this direction. This is despite the great danger posed by convening such a summit, which Israel has been laying the foundations for for several years, in light of the almost complete absence of the Arabs, which is an unprecedented development in Israel’s tireless efforts to bypass the wide wall of isolation and moral rejection it faces in Africa. It aims to present itself as a trusted partner for the continent’s nations.

The Conference for Palestinians Abroad viewed this summit, rightly so, as an insult to the struggles of the African nations and a disregard for their generations’ fair fight for liberation from colonisation and racism. It is also an attempt on the occupation government’s part to portray itself as a trusted partner for the African countries in order to fabricate its reality. It is not coming to Africa in order to spread love and unity, but instead aims to make Africa a market for the lethal products it produces and a place to export its mercenaries to help the dictators of the continent.

This is despite the fact that the African nations’ true interests and their efforts towards sustainable development, prosperity and growth do not align with the colonial racist occupation government in Palestine, given its record of hostility and terrorism. This is documented by several international and independent reports, including the ESCWA report regarding the escalations of the Israeli apartheid policies issued this year.

In addition to this, Israel, which commits war crimes, mass killings, flagrant violations and intimidation methods, as well as confiscates the Palestinian people’s land and resources and sponsors illegal extremist settler gangs, does not have the right to be a partner to developing nations seeking advancement, prosperity and the combat of terrorism.

The efforts of the Conference for Palestinians Abroad are focused on mobilising governments, official and popular institutions, parties, civil society organisations, public figures, community leaders and the media across Africa and the entire world, in order to rally the efforts against the Israeli government’s actions. These actions are an attempt on Israel’s part to promote itself in the continent in a misleading manner, ignoring the principles of justice, the peoples’ rights and international laws and conventions. The conference summoned its efforts and began taking action, contacting concerned parties, especially the influential forces in the African nations in order to confront Israel’s attempts of exploitation and deception.

These are commendable efforts but of course they are not enough to stop this hateful and racist emergence in Africa. Putting an end to the conference is the duty of all African countries, organisations, committees, and people specifically, and generally the duty of the Arab and Muslim countries. This is because Israel’s presence in the continent will not be in the best interest of the African people, but rather in Israel’s interest as it exports death, mercenaries and tyranny to all the countries of the world. It also supports the totalitarian regimes that commit the ugliest forms of aggression, looting and pillage. Therefore, resisting this conference and sabotaging it by all means available is the duty of all nations on Earth.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that the only Arab action against the convention of this summit was by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, during his visit to Khartoum in July 2016. In his meeting with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Abbas raised the issue of developing the Arab strategy in the African continent and cooperating in order to stop Israel’s attempts to achieve a breakthrough in Africa.

We do not expect Sudan or the PA to do anything now, as it is too late and their political/diplomatic capabilities are limited. Moreover, their problems and misfortunes are too many to count, according to the former Egyptian Ambassador to Angola, Sao Tome and Niger, Belal Al-Masry, who, in an important article published on the Democratic Arab Centre website, listed five reasons why the Israeli summit in Africa is dangerous. These points should be considered and reflected upon, the most important of which is the fact that the conference’s purpose is to restore and develop the African voting bloc in order to use it to support Israel’s international status.

Israel views the countries of the African continent as a voting bloc consisting of at least 50 votes. This was confirmed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seven African leaders with whom he met in Rwanda in July 2016. He also reiterated this in his speech to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit in Monrovia in June 2017. Hence, his statement regarding Israel having a bright future in the UN during his speech before the UN General Assembly at its regular session in September 2016, wasn’t too far from the truth. He also stated that his main diplomatic goal was to stop the African states from automatically voting against Israel at the UN and that the day he would achieve this isn’t too far. Therefore, holding the Israeli summit in Africa will mark the end of the Egyptian and Arab role, in general, in Africa and Israel will join the international forces competing for influence in the African continent. These countries include China, the United States, France, India, Russia, Iran and recently, Turkey.

It is not an overstatement to say that the Israeli conference in Togo will pave the way for Israel to reoccupy Africa, or at least a large part of it, politically, economically and militarily. This will further strengthen Israel’s international and regional standing and increase the suffering of the Palestinian people, who are paying the price for the fragmentation of the Arab system and their preoccupation with resisting the effects of the Arab Spring revolutions.

*Translation by MEMO

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Essential context about Trump’s refugee ban – Made in Israel

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | February 4, 2017

President Trump has issued an executive order suspending entry to the U.S for people from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, and Yemen (the order is called “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”). These same countries were the focus of the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” under President Obama.

While reports on Trump’s ban emphasize that these are Muslim majority countries, analysts seem to have ignored another significant characteristic that these countries share.

With just a single exception, all of these countries were targeted for attack by certain top U.S. officials in 2001. In fact, that policy had roots that went back to 1996, 1991, 1980, and even the 1950s. Below, we will trace this policy back in time and examine its goals and proponents.

The fact is that Trump’s action continues policies influenced by people working on behalf of a foreign country, whose goal has been to destabilize and reshape an entire region. This kind of aggressive interventionism focused on “regime change” launches cascading effects that include escalating violence.

Already we’ve seen devastating wars, massive refugee movement that is uprooting entire peoples and reshaping parts of Europe, desperate and horrific terrorism, and now the horror that is ISIS. If this decades-long effort is not halted, it will be increasingly devastating for the region, our country, and the entire world.

2001 Policy Coup

Four-star general Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander, has described what he called a 2001 “policy coup” by a small group of people intent on destabilizing and taking over the Middle East, targeting six of the seven countries mentioned by Obama and Trump.

Clark gave the details in 2007 in an interview broadcast by Democracy Now and in a lecture at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.

Clark described a chance meeting in the Pentagon in 2001 ten days after 911 in which he learned about the plan to take down these countries.

After meeting with then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Clark went downstairs to say hello to people on the Joint Staff who had worked for him in the past. One of the generals called him in.

‘Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” He told Clark, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.”

Clark was shocked. He said, “We’re going to war against Iraq? Why?” The officer said he didn’t know. Clark asked if they had found information connecting Saddam to Al-Qaeda. The man said, “No, no, there’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.”

A few weeks later, Clark went back to the Pentagon and spoke to the general again. He asked whether the U.S. was still planning to go to war against Iraq.

The general replied: “Oh, it’s worse than that.” Clark says that the general picked up a piece of paper and said, “I just got this down from upstairs today. This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

Clark asked, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.”

Clark said he was stunned: “I couldn’t believe it would really be true. But that’s actually what happened. These people took control of the policy of the United States.”

1991

Clark says he then remembered a 1991 meeting he had with Paul Wolfowitz. In 2001 Wolfowitz was Deputy Secretary of Defense, and in 1991 he was Under Secretary of Defense of Policy, the number three position at the Pentagon.

Wolfowitz is a pro-Israel neoconservative who an associate has called “over the top when it comes to Israel.”

Clark describes going to Wolfowitz’s office in March of 1991. Clark said to Wolfowitz, “You must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.” Clark says Wolfowitz replied, “Not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t.”

Wolfowitz declared the U.S. had an opportunity to clean up “Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next super power came on to challenge us.”

Clark says he was shocked at Wolfowitz’s proposal that the military should initiate wars and change governments, and that Wolfowitz believed that the U.S. should invade countries whose governments it disliked. “My mind was spinning.”

Clark says Scooter Libby was at that meeting. Libby is another pro-Israel neoconservative. In 2001 He was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, and worked closely with the Office of Special Plans, which manufactured anti-Iraq talking points.

“This country was taken over by a group of people with a policy coup,” Clark said in his 2007 lecture. “Wolfowitz, Rumsfield, Cheney, and you could name a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for a New American Century. They wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.”

(The Project for a New American Century was a think tank that operated from 1997-2006, and was replaced by the Foreign Policy Initiative.)

Clark continued: “Did they ever tell you this? Was there a national dialogue on this? Did Senators and Congressmen stand up and denounce this plan? Was there a full-fledged American debate on it? Absolutely not. And there still isn’t.”

Clark noted that Iran and Syria know about the plan. “All you have to do is read the Weekly Standard and listen to Bill Kristol, and he blabbermouths it all over the world – Richard Perle is the same way. They could hardly wait to finish Iraq so they could move into Syria.”

Clark says that Americans did not vote George Bush into office to do this. Bush, Clark pointed out, had campaigned on “a humble foreign policy, no ‘peace keeping,’ no ‘nation building.’”

Others have described this group, their responsibility for pushing the invasion of Iraq, and their pro-Israel motivation.

Neoconservatives, Israel, and Iraq

A 2003 article in Ha’aretz, one of Israel’s main newspapers, reported bluntly: “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history.” (Ha’aretz often highlights the Jewish affiliation of important players due to its role as a top newspaper of the self-declared “Jewish State.”)

It gave what it termed “a partial list” of these neoconservatives: U.S. government officials Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Eliot Abrams, and journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer. The article described them as “mutual friends who cultivate one another.”

The article included an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who was quoted as saying:

“It’s the war the neoconservatives wanted. It’s the war the neoconservatives marketed. Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. So this is not a war that the masses demanded. This is a war of an elite.”

The article continued:

“Friedman laughs: ‘I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.’”

Another Ha’aretz article described how some of these individuals, high American officials, gave Israeli leaders tips on how to manage American actions and influence US Congressmen, concluding: “Perle, Feith, and their fellow strategists are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments and Israeli interests.”

Ha’aretz reported that the goal was far more than just an invasion of Iraq: “at a deeper level it is a greater war, for the shaping of a new Middle East.” The article said that the war “was being fought to consolidate a new world order.”

“The Iraq war is really the beginning of a gigantic historical experiment…”

We’re now seeing the tragic and violent result of that regime-change experiment.

American author, peace activist, and former CIA analyst Kathleen Christison discussed the neoconservatives who promoted war against Iraq in a 2002 article. She wrote: “Although much has been written about the neo-cons who dot the Bush administration, their ties to Israel have generally been treated very gingerly.”

The Bush administration, she wrote, was “peppered with people who have long records of activism on behalf of Israel in the United States, of policy advocacy in Israel, and of promoting an agenda for Israel often at odds with existing U.S. policy.”

“These people,” she wrote, “who can fairly be called Israeli loyalists, are now at all levels of government, from desk officers at the Defense Department to the deputy secretary level at both State and Defense, as well as on the National Security Council staff and in the vice president’s office.”

Author Stephen Green wrote a meticulously researched 2004 expose describing how some of these individuals, including Perle and Wolfowitz, had been investigated through the years by U.S. intelligence agencies for security “lapses” benefiting Israel.

Yet, despite a pattern of highly questionable actions suggestive of treason, they continued to procure top security clearances for themselves and cronies. The neocon agenda also became influential in Britain.

(During the recent U.S. presidential election, neoconservatives were extremely hostile to Trump, and have been perturbed to have less influence in his administration they they expected to have with Hillary Clinton. They may be relieved to see him targeting their pet punching bags in the Middle East. It’s unclear whether neoconservatives will remain outside the White House’s inner circle for long: neocon Michael Ledeen is quite close to Trump’s recently named White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. And there is talk that Trump may appoint Elliott Abrams as Deputy Secretary of State.)

1996 plan against Iraq and Syria

The neocon regime-change strategy had been laid out in a 1996 document called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It was written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a study group led by Richard Perle. Although Perle and the other authors were American citizens, the “realm” in question was Israel.

Perle was chairman of the United States Defense Policy Board at that time. He had previously been U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.

The report stated that in the past, Israel’s strategy was to get the U.S. to use its money and weaponry to “lure Arabs” to negotiate. This strategy, the plan stated, “required funneling American money to repressive and aggressive regimes.”

The report recommended, however, that Israel go beyond a strategy just focused on Israel-Palestine, and address the larger region – that it “shape its strategic environment.”

It called for “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” The paper also listed Iran and Lebanon as countries to be dealt with (and Turkey and Jordan as nations to be used in the strategy).

The plan stressed that it was necessary to obtain U.S. support for the strategy, and advised that Israel use “language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the cold war … .”

Perle, Douglas Feith (who would be Deputy Under Secretary of Defense by 2001) and the other signatories of the report framed their proposal as a new concept, but the idea for Israel to reshape the political landscape of the Middle East had been discussed for years. (Lest we be unclear, “reshape the political landscape” means to change governments, something that has never been accomplished without massive loss of life and far-reaching repercussions.)

In 1992 Israeli leaders were already working to indoctrinate the public about an alleged need to attack Iran. Israeli analyst Israel Shahak wrote in his book Open Secrets that the goal would be “to bring about Iran’s total military and political defeat.”

Shahak reported: “In one version, Israel would attack Iran alone, in another it would ‘persuade’ the West to do the job. The indoctrination campaign to this effect is gaining in intensity. It is accompanied by what could be called semi-official horror scenarios purporting to detail what Iran could do to Israel, the West and the entire world when it acquires nuclear weapons as it is expected to a few years hence.”

1982 & 1950s Israeli plans to fragment the Middle East

A document called “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” proposed by Israeli analyst Oded Yinon, was published by the World Zionist Organization in 1982.

The document, translated by Israel Shahak, called for the dissolution of existing Arab states into smaller states which would, in effect, become Israel’s satellites.

In an analysis of the plan, Shahak pointed out: “[W]hile lip service is paid to the idea of the ‘defense of the West’ from Soviet power, the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power.”

Shahak noted that Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon planned “to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest.”

Shahak wrote that reshaping the Middle East on behalf of Israel had been discussed since the 1950s: “This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.”

As Shahak pointed out, this strategy was documented in a book called Israel’s Sacred Terrorism (1980), by Livia Rokach. Drawing on the memoirs of the second Prime Minister of Israel, Rokach’s book described, among other things, a 1954 proposal to execute regime change in Lebanon.

The result

Returning to the present, let’s examine the situation in the “countries of concern” named by President Trump last week, by President Obama in 2015, and targeted by Wolfowitz et al in 2001.

Several years ago, journalist Glenn Greenwald commented on General Clark’s statement about the 2001 policy coup: “If you go down that list of seven countries that he said the neocons had planned to basically change the governments of, you pretty much see that vision… being fulfilled.”

Greenwald noted that the governments of Iraq, Libya, and Lebanon had been changed; the U.S. had escalated its proxy fighting and drone attacks in Somalia; U.S. troops were deployed in Sudan; “and the most important countries on that list, Iran and Syria, are clearly the target of all sorts of covert regime change efforts on the part of the United States and Israel.”

Below are sketches of what’s happened:

Iraq was invaded and the country destroyed. According to a 2015 NGO report, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq had led to the deaths of approximately 1 million Iraqis – 5 percent of the total population of the country – by 2011. More than three million Iraqis are internally displaced, and the carnage continues. The destruction of Iraq and impoverishment of its people is at the root of much of today’s extremism and it’s been demonstrated that it led to the rise of ISIS, as admitted by former British Prime Minister and Iraq war co-perpetrator Tony Blair.

Libya was invaded in 2011 and its leader violently overthrown; in the post-Gaddafi power vacuum, a 2011 UN report revealed torture, lynchings and abuse. Five years on, the country was still torn by civil war and ISIS is reportedly expanding into the chaos. A 2016 Human Rights Watch report stated: “Libya’s political and security crisis deepened … the country edged towards a humanitarian crisis, with almost 400,000 people internally displaced.” Warring forces “continued with impunity to arbitrarily detain, torture, unlawfully kill, indiscriminately attack, abduct and disappear, and forcefully displace people from their homes. The domestic criminal justice system collapsed in most parts of the country, exacerbating the human rights crisis.” [Photos here]

Sudan: The U.S. engaged in so-called “nation-building” in Sudan, advanced the claim in 2005 that the government was perpetrating a genocide, and some U.S. players ultimately organized the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011. (Neocon Israel partisan Elliott Abrams was one of these players.) One journalist reported the result: “[A]n abyss of unspeakable misery and bloodshed … . Tens of thousands have been killed, 1.5 million have been displaced, and 5 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.”

Somalia: There have been a number of U.S. interventions in Somalia, most recently a clandestine war under Obama using Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors and African allies; Somali extremists, like others, repeatedly cite Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, enabled by the U.S., as motivators of their violent extremism.

Iran: Iran has long been targeted by Israel, and Israel partisans have driven the anti-Iran campaign in the U.S. Most recently there has been a public relations effort claiming that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, despite the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies and other experts do not support these accusations. Israel and the U.S. deployed a computer virus against Iran in what has been called the world’s first digital weapon.  Young Iranian nuclear physicists have been assassinated by U.S. ally Israel, and the U.S. instituted a blockade against Iran that caused food insecurity and mass suffering among the country’s civilians. (Such a blockade can be seen as an act of war.) Democratic Congressman and Israel partisan Brad Sherman admitted the objective of the Iran sanctions: “Critics of sanctions argue that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.”

Yemen: The US has launched drone strikes against Yemen for years, killing numerous Yemeni civilians and even some Americans. In 2010, a few weeks after Obama won the Nobel Peace Prizehe had the military use cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children. The Obama administration killed a 16-year-old American in 2011, and a few days ago U.S. forces under Trump killed the boy’s sister. In 2014 American forces attacked a wedding procession, and in 2015 the Obama administration admitted it was making war on Yemen. Today over two million Yemeni children suffer from malnutrition. The Yemeni regime that we’re attacking became politically active in 2003 as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Syria: In an email revealed by Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton wrote that the “best way to help Israel” was to overthrow the Syrian regime.

Syria seems to be a poster child for the destruction recommended by Israeli strategists. As the UK Guardian reported in 2002: “Disorder and chaos sweeping through the region would not be an unfortunate side-effect of war with Iraq, but a sign that everything is going according to plan.”

Half the Syrian population is displaced – 5 million have fled the country and another 6 million are internally displaced – and over 300,000 are dead from the violence. Major cities and ancient sites are in ruins and the countryside devastated. Amnesty International calls it “the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.”

While the uprising against a ruthless dictator was no doubt begun by authentic Syrian rebels, others with questionable agendas flowed in, some supported by the U.S. and Israel. Israel’s military intelligence chief said Israel does not want ISIS defeated. Israel’s defense minister has admitted that Israel has provided aid to ISIS fighters.

ISIS

A major factor in Syria’s chaos and the rise of ISIS was the destruction of Iraq, as revealed by in-depth interviews with ISIS fighters by researchers for Artis International, a consortium for scientific study in the service of conflict resolution:

“Many assume that these fighters are motivated by a belief in the Islamic State… but this just doesn’t hold for the prisoners we are interviewing. They are woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate.”

“More pertinent than Islamic theology is that there are other, much more convincing, explanations as to why they’ve fought for the side they did.”

One interviewee said: “The Americans came. They took away Saddam, but they also took away our security. I didn’t like Saddam, we were starving then, but at least we didn’t have war. When you came here, the civil war started.”

The report noted that the fighters “came of age under the disastrous American occupation after 2003.”

“They are children of the occupation, many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government. They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate without borders; rather, ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda to offer these humiliated and enraged young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe.”

The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was imprisoned for eight months in the infamous Abu Ghraib, a U.S.-run Iraqi prison known for grotesque torture of prisoners. Photos published at that time show U.S. soldiers smiling next to piles of naked prisoners and a hooded detainee standing on a narrow box with electrical wires attached to his outstretched hands.

An Abu Ghraib interrogator later revealed that Israelis trained them in the use of techniques used against Palestinians. General Janis Karpinski (in charge of the unit that ran the prison) and others say that Israelis were involved in interrogations. It was reported that the head of the defense contracting firm implicated in the torture at Abu Ghraib prison had close ties to Israel and had visited an Israeli training camp in the West Bank.

Another major factor in the rise of anti-Western extremism is the largely unconditional support for Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians. As a UN report documented, “The scale of human loss and destruction in Gaza during the 2014 conflict was catastrophic and has … shocked and shamed the world.”

Professor John Mearsheimer of and Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard have written that U.S. policies promoted by the Israel lobby have given “extremists a powerful recruiting tool, increases the pool of potential terrorists and sympathizers, and contributes to Islamic radicalism around the world.” Osama Bin Laden cited U.S. support for Israeli crimes against Palestinians among his reasons for fighting the U.S. The U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day.

Reaction to the Trump executive order

Thousands of people across the U.S. have opposed Trump’s order for the extreme hardship it imposes on multitudes of refugees. The focus on Muslims (Trump has said that Christians might be exempted) has caused outrage at such religious discrimination and unfair profiling (the large majority of Muslims strongly oppose extremism).

Individuals across the political spectrum from Code Pink to the Koch brothers have decried the order. The Kochs issued a strong statement against it:

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families. The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive. Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who supported the Iraq War and suggests God sent him to guard Israel, choked back tears at a press conference and called the order “mean-spirited and un-American.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), known for its fervent pro-Israel advocacy (and history of smearing criticism of Israeli policy as “anti-Semitism”), has vowed a “relentless fight” against the ban.

Some are concerned that Trump’s action will stoke terrorism, rather than defend against it. Many others support the order in the belief it makes them safer from extremist violence. (As mentioned above, the Obama administration undertook a similar, though milder, action for a similar reason.)

I suggest that everyone – both those who deplore the order for humanitarian reasons, and those who defend it out of concern for Americans’ safety – examine the historic context outlined above and the U.S. policies that led to this order.

For decades, Democratic and Republican administrations have enacted largely parallel policies regarding the Middle East and Israel-Palestine. We are seeing the results, and most of us are deeply displeased.

I would submit that both for humanitarian obligations and for security necessities, it is urgent that we find a different way forward.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

February 9, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If Americans Truly Cared About Muslims, They Would Stop Killing Them by the Millions

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | February 1, 2017

In the most dramatic expression of insider opposition to a sitting administration’s policies in generations, over 1,000 U.S. State Department employees signed on to a memo protesting President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries setting foot on U.S. soil. Another recent high point in dissent among the State Department’s 18,000 worldwide employees occurred in June of last year, when 51 diplomats called for U.S. air strikes against the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad.

Neither outburst of dissent was directed against the U.S. wars and economic sanctions that have killed and displaced millions of people in the affected countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Rather, the diplomatic “rebellion” of last summer sought to pressure the Obama administration to join with Hillary Clinton and her “Big Tent” full of war hawks to confront Russia in the skies over Syria, while the memo currently making the rounds of State Department employees claims to uphold “core American and constitutional values,” preserve “good will towards Americans” and prevent “potential damage to the U.S. economy from the loss of revenue from foreign travelers and students.”

In neither memo is there a word of support for world peace, nor a hint of respect for the national sovereignty of other peoples — which is probably appropriate, since these are not, and never have been, “core American and constitutional values.”

Ironically, the State Department “dissent channel” was established during one of those rare moments in U.S. history when “peace” was popular: 1971, when a defeated U.S. war machine was very reluctantly winding down support for its puppet regime in South Vietnam. Back then, lots of Americans, including denizens of the U.S. government, wanted to take credit for the “peace” that was on the verge of being won by the Vietnamese, at a cost of at least four million Southeast Asian dead. But, those days are long gone. Since 2001, war has been normalized in the U.S. — especially war against Muslims, which now ranks at the top of actual “core American values.” Indeed, so much American hatred is directed at Muslims that Democrats and establishment Republicans must struggle to keep the Russians in the “hate zone” of the American popular psyche. The two premiere, officially-sanctioned hatreds are, of course, inter-related, particularly since the Kremlin stands in the way of a U.S. blitzkrieg in Syria, wrecking Washington’s decades-long strategy to deploy Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. empire.

The United States has always been a project of empire-building. George Washington called it a “nascent empire,” Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from France in pursuit of an “extensive empire,” and the real Alexander Hamilton, contrary to the Broadway version, considered the U.S. to be the “most interesting empire in the world.” The colonial outpost of two million white settlers (and half a million African slaves) severed ties with Britain in order to forge its own, limitless dominion, to rival the other white European empires of the world. Today, the U.S. is the Mother of All (Neo)Colonialists, under whose armored skirts are gathered all the aged, shriveled, junior imperialists of the previous era.

In order to reconcile the massive contradiction between America’s predatory nature and its mythical self-image, however, the mega-hyper-empire must masquerade as its opposite: a benevolent, “exceptional” and “indispensible” bulwark against global barbarism. Barbarians must, therefore, be invented and nurtured, as did the U.S. and the Saudis in 1980s Afghanistan with their creation of the world’s first international jihadist network, for subsequent deployment against the secular “barbarian” states of Libya and Syria.

In modern American bureaucratese, worrisome barbarian states are referred to as “countries or areas of concern” — the language used to designate the seven nations targeted under the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 signed by President Obama. President Donald Trump used the existing legislation as the basis for his executive order banning travelers from those states, while specifically naming only Syria. Thus, the current abomination is a perfect example of the continuity of U.S. imperial policy in the region, and emphatically not something new under the sun (a sun that, as with old Britannia, never sets on U.S. empire).

The empire preserves itself, and strives relentlessly to expand, through force of arms and coercive economic sanctions backed up by the threat of annihilation. It kills people by the millions, while allowing a tiny fraction of its victims to seek sanctuary within U.S. borders, based on their individual value to the empire.

Donald Trump’s racist executive order directly affects about 20,000 people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. President Obama killed an estimated 50,000 Libyans in 2011, although the U.S. officially does not admit it snuffed out the life of a single civilian. The First Black President is responsible for each of the half-million Syrians that have died since he launched his jihadist-based war against that country, the same year. Total casualties inflicted on the populations of the seven targeted nations since the U.S. backed Iraq in its 1980s war against Iran number at least four million — a bigger holocaust than the U.S. inflicted on Southeast Asia, two generations ago — when the U.S. State Department first established its “dissent channel.”

But, where is the peace movement? Instead of demanding a halt to the carnage that creates tidal waves of refugees, self-styled “progressives” join in the macabre ritual of demonizing the “countries of concern” that have been targeted for attack, a process that U.S. history has color-coded with racism and Islamophobia. These imperial citizens then congratulate themselves on being the world’s one and only “exceptional” people, because they deign to accept the presence of a tiny portion of the populations the U.S. has mauled.

The rest of humanity, however, sees the real face of America — and there will be a reckoning.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

February 2, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

‘US ending sanctions on Sudan as reward for shifting to West’

Press TV – January 14, 2017

The American government is ending some economic sanctions against Sudan as a reward for Khartoum’s closer ties with the West and Saudi Arabia, an African American journalist in Detroit says.

“The Sudanese government has shifted its foreign policy more towards Saudi Arabia,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“This is reflected in their participation in the war against Yemen… also they’ve broken diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Friday.

“So I think this is a reward for Sudan in regard to moving closer to the West,” he added.

Obama signed an executive order on Friday to ease but not eliminate some trade and investment sanctions against Khartoum, arguing that the East African country has shown “a marked reduction in offensive military activity, culminating in a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas.”

The outgoing president expressed determination that the situation which led the US to impose and continue the 20-year-old sanctions had changed in light of Sudan’s “positive actions” over the last six months.

Sudan has been under US sanctions since 1997. Washington accuses Khartoum of supporting terrorist groups, and it has blacklisted the country as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.

The US has accused Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of war crimes related to the conflict-torn Darfur region.

Violence broke out in Darfur in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels rose against the long-time ruler, accusing Bashir’s Arab-dominated government of marginalizing the region.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Israel be sued for 9/11?

JASTA Opens Many Doors

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 4, 2016

By overwhelming margins the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted on September 28th to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). Obama had noted that the Act would have negative consequences for U.S. officials overseas as it establishes the principle that governments can be held accountable in the courts for what they do. Prior to this legislation Washington generally respected the principle of sovereign immunity, which means in practice that governments resolve issues between themselves by negotiation, not through litigation.

With Congress now demanding foreign government accountability it is reasonable to assume that other countries might respond in kind by establishing reciprocity based on the language in JASTA, which would mean that serving or former American officials might be detained and tried for criminal actions undertaken by the U.S. in its war on terror. It might also lead to other suits against the United States government that would result in demands for what is already being described as “intrusive discovery” of documents relating to clandestine American operations overseas. In a letter President Obama has described JASTA as allowing foreign litigants to “second-guess our counterterrorism operations and other actions that we take every day” while Secretary of Defense Ash Carter assailed the “ability of foreign litigants to seek classified intelligence and analysis.” CIA Director John Brennan denounced the “associated risks to our national security,” adding that the bill harbored “grave implications” for national security with a “downside [that is] potentially huge.”

So-called State Sponsors of terrorism Syria, Iran and Sudan can already be sued in American courts but JASTA considerably broadens the playing field to permit additional litigation. Supporters of the Act insist that their intention is only to enable suits directed against Saudi Arabia, which might have been either complicit or negligent in its dealings with the alleged terrorists who carried out 9/11, 15 of whom were Saudis, but the language is actually much broader than that. The actual text, which does not specifically name Saudi Arabia, reads: “A foreign state shall not be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in any case in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for physical injury to person or property or death occurring in the United States and caused by an act of international terrorism in the United States.”

The Act reproduces the U.S. Code definition of “international terrorism” which “means activities that (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, and the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.”

I am all for the United States and Saudi Arabia (and others) being held accountable for war crimes and other unlawful behavior to include drones, renditions, torture and target assassinations but it will almost certainly be difficult to prove “knowing or reckless” criminal intent in court even with the new legislation. Also the Act opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities that I am sure the Congressmen were not thinking of when they cast their votes. While the bill was drafted in such a fashion as to make an unnamed Saudi Arabia the actual target it also can be used against Pakistan, which may have funded the hijackers, and even Germany, where some of those involved in 9/11 lived for a time. It can plausibly be claimed that Islamabad and Berlin had some prior knowledge of the attack which they chose not to share, making them complicit, and the respective governments would have to appear in a U.S. court to demonstrate their innocence. In so doing, they might even demand in their defense that the United States government produce documentary evidence regarding what really did occur on 9/11, something the White House would surely want to avoid.

But the potentially biggest secondary target of the new legislation would without a doubt be Israel. The Israeli role in 9/11, insofar as can be determined, has never been seriously investigated at all and any suppositions or conclusions regarding its activities were never included in the final 9/11 Commission Report.

In 2001 Israel was running a massive spying operation directed against Muslims either resident or traveling in the United States. The operation included the creation of a number of cover companies in New Jersey, Florida and also on the west coast that served as spying mechanisms for Mossad officers. The effort was supported by the Mossad Station in Washington D.C. and included a large number of volunteers, the so-called “art students” who traveled around the U.S. selling various products at malls and outdoor markets. The FBI was aware of the numerous Israeli students who were routinely overstaying their visas and some in the Bureau certainly believed that they were assisting their country’s intelligence service in some way, but it proved difficult to link the students to actual undercover operations, so they were regarded as a minor nuisance.

But the hands-off attitude towards Israeli spying shifted dramatically when, on September 11, 2001, a New Jersey housewife saw something from the window of her apartment building, which overlooked the World Trade Center. She watched as the buildings burned and crumbled but also noted something strange. Three young men were kneeling on the roof of a white transit van parked by the water’s edge, making a movie in which they featured themselves high fiving and laughing in front of the catastrophic scene unfolding behind them. The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police, who responded quickly and soon both the local force and the FBI began looking for the vehicle, which was subsequently seen by other witnesses in various locations along the New Jersey waterfront, its occupants “celebrating and filming.”

The license plate number revealed that the van belonged to a New Jersey registered company called Urban Moving Systems. At 4 p.m. the vehicle was spotted and pulled over. Five men between the ages of 22 and 27 years old emerged. They were detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. They were all Israelis. One of them had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock and another had two foreign passports. Bomb sniffing dogs reacted to the smell of explosives in the van. The driver told the police “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The men were detained at the Bergen County jail in New Jersey before being transferred the FBI’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which handles allegations of spying.

After the arrest, the FBI obtained a warrant to search the offices of the van’s registered owner, Urban Moving System of Weehawken, N.J. Papers and computers were seized. The company owner Dominick Suter, also an Israeli, answered FBI questions but when a follow-up interview was set up a few days later it was learned that he had fled the country for Israel, putting both his business and home up for sale. The office space and warehouse were abandoned. It was later learned that Suter has been associated with at least fourteen businesses in the United States, mostly in New Jersey and New York but also in Florida, which was determined to be a main focus for the Israeli intelligence operation in the U.S. that was directed against Arabs.

The five Israelis were held in Brooklyn, initially on charges relating to visa fraud. FBI interrogators questioned them for more than two months. Several were held in solitary confinement so they could not communicate with each other and two of them were given repeated polygraph exams, which they failed. The two men that the FBI focused on most intensively were believed to be Mossad staff officers and the other three were volunteers helping with surveillance. Even though the Israelis were not exactly cooperative, the FBI concluded from documents obtained at their office in Weehawken that they were targeting Arabs in New York and New Jersey, including at least two of the 9/11 hijackers.

There are a lot a dots all leading back to Israel that might well have been connected once upon a time, but the trail has grown cold. Police records in New Jersey and New York where the men were held have disappeared and FBI interrogation reports are inaccessible. Media coverage of the case also died, though the five were referred to in the press as the “dancing Israelis” and by some, more disparagingly, as the “dancing Shlomos.”

Inevitably, the George W. Bush White House intervened. After 71 days in detention, the five Israelis were released from prison, put on a plane, and deported. Now it is just possible that Mossad affiliated Urban Moving was indeed uninvolved in 9/11 but it also must be recognized that Israel had the means, ability and access required to bring down the World Trade Center using controlled pancake explosions. More than fifteen years later it is perhaps past time to reveal what exactly the FBI knew and currently knows about both the scale and modus operandi of Israeli espionage in the United States. Did Israel have critical intelligence either in broad outline or possibly in specific detail about 9/11 and let it happen to bind Washington more closely to it in a “global war on terror?”

Questions about just what happened on 9/11 will not go away. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has called for a new “independent investigation” because the Bush administration’s initial 9/11 inquiry was “dominated by members with an interest in protecting the reputation and careers of foreign affairs and intelligence communities.” It “was not given enough money, time, or access to relevant classified information.” That “classified information” could well include the role of Israel.

I am no lawyer, but it would seem to me that both Israel and Saudi Arabia might well be pretty good places to start in using litigation to determine just who could have been involved in what was to become the 9/11 terrorist attack. It would indeed be ironic if an Israel-loving Congress has, through its passage of JASTA to squeeze money out of the Saudis, also inadvertently opened the door to finding out just what the Mossad and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were up to back in 2001.

October 4, 2016 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sudanese president applies for a visa to US despite ICC indictment

MEMO | May 20, 2016

The Sudanese foreign ministry has sent a formal request to the US Embassy in Khartoum to grant the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir an entry visa to the US to attend the next United Nations General Assembly.

Information Minister Ahmed Bilal said President Al-Bashir had been invited by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He said the US is obligated, as host of the UN, to grant a visa to the leader.

It would be Bashir’s first visit to the US since 2009 when he was indicted by the Hague-based ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

In addition, the Sudanese minister announced the government’s desire to make a formal request, as it previously did, for the mandate of the international peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, not to be renewed.

Ismail said that the reasons for the existence of UNAMID in Darfur are no longer present and that the government is now able to protect civilians and to ensure the stability of the situation.

UNAMID has been stationed in Darfur since 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians. The UN Security Council will discuss a one-year renewal of its mission in June.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

US Sanctions Against Khartoum Hamper Ties Between Russia, Sudan

Sputnik – 01.04.2016

KHARTOUM — The sanctions imposed on Khartoum by Washington hinder the development of cooperation between Russia and Sudan, Russian Ambassador to the African country Mirgayas Shirinskiy said Friday.

In 1997, Washington imposed economic, trade and financial sanctions against Khartoum on the ground of supporting terrorism, destabilizing neighboring states and violating human rights. The sanctions regime was extended in 2007, because of the violence in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

“The sanctions imposed on Sudan by the United States are significant hindrance [for the development of relations],” Shirinskiy told RIA Novosti, answering a question about the factors impeding the development of bilateral ties.

He added that the United States had imposed restrictions on deliveries of certain military equipment to Sudan, as well as on cooperation with Sudanese banking system that complicated business relations with country’s international partners.

In 2016, Moscow and Khartoum marked the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. Russia and Sudan have maintained a strong economic and political partnership for years. In 2014, the parties agreed to promote cooperation in a wide range of areas, including health care, mineral prospecting and the financial sector.

April 2, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanon PM urges national unity amid Saudi pressure

Press TV – February 26, 2016

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam has called for national unity in the face of Saudi pressure after Riyadh suspended a $4 billion in aid to Beirut amid a diplomatic row.

During a Thursday cabinet meeting, Salam highlighted the importance of national unity and urged ministers to “take into consideration the Arab consensus during the difficult and delicate crisis [the country] is passing through,” Information Minister Ramzi Joreige quoted him as saying.

Beirut-Riyadh ties have recently soured after Saudi Arabia suspended a $3-billion package to the Lebanese army and a remainder of $1 billion in aid to its internal security forces earlier this month.

The suspension came after Lebanon refused to endorse joint anti-Iran statements issued last month at separate meetings held in Cairo and Jeddah.

Riyadh also called on Tuesday on all its nationals in Lebanon to leave the country due to deteriorating political relations with Beirut.

Lebanese ministers rejected Saudi calls for apology to the kingdom. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Fneish said Beirut had “committed no wrong for which to apologize.”

Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan also voiced surprise over Riyadh’s measures against Beirut. “I don’t understand this great equation: we either apologize or we must bear a collective punishment.”

Economy Minister Alain Hakim, however, urged calm and said the country should not “panic before any measures by [Persian] Gulf states because such fears harm our economy.”

Saudi severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 in the wake of the attacks on two of its diplomatic missions in Iran amid the angry protests over the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. This is while Tehran condemned the violence and made dozens of arrests after the incidents.

A number of Riyadh’s allies, including Bahrain, Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti, also followed the kingdom’s lead under pressure and broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran. The Saudis pledged the Somali government USD 50 million in aid on the same day Mogadishu declared it had cut ties with Iran, according to a leaked document.

Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has slammed Saudi Arabia for suspending aid to the country’s army and said the move exposes the real face of Saudi Arabia and refutes its claims about fighting terrorism.

The Saudis are apparently irked by the victories of the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah resistance fighters, against the Takfiri militants fighting to topple the Damascus government with the backing of Riyadh.

Meanwhile, some analysts believe the Saudi regime is pressuring Lebanon to regain the influence it lost there in 2011, when the cabinet of former pro-Saudi prime minister, Saad Hariri, collapsed.

They say the kingdom might take further steps against Lebanon such as stopping flights to the country or evicting thousands of Lebanese nationals working in Saudi Arabia.

A number of Lebanese media outlets also speculate that Riyadh is exerting pressure on Beirut to secure the release of a Saudi prince jailed in Beirut for drug smuggling.

Saudi Prince Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was arrested in Lebanon in late October with two tons of amphetamines at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut last October.

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Syrian deception: on the Balkanization of the Greater Middle East

By Catherine Shakdam | American Herald Tribune | February 25, 2016

If Western capitals and their international agencies have long decried sectarianism, and all other form of overt xenophobia, may it revolve around ethnicity, social class, gender, politics or faith, those powers have nevertheless leaned on elitism and selectivity to carry both their war propaganda and narrative in the Middle East.

I would personally argue that much of the hatred we have seen rise in the MENA – Middle East and Northern Africa, over the past decades, stem from Western powers’ desire to fragment, divide and segregate to better manipulate nations, and play communities against each other. This grand Balkanization of the Middle East the Yinon Plann laid out in the 1980s was not just another political exercise … it appears evident today that at its heart, such strategy spoke socio-political and sectarian engineering, before any real geographical re-arrangement. Beyond a simple game of border drawing, the Yinon Plan aimed to rise an Empire on the ashes of both a civilization, and a history – to hell with the consequences.

It was Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in 2011 who best summarized the Yinon Plan, when he wrote: “[The Yinon plan] is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.”

The strategy, which was later on championed under another name by US Vice President Joe Biden to accelerate the break-up of Iraq into three separate entities: Shia, Kurds and Sunnis, provisions for a division of the Greater Middle East along both ethnic and sectarian lines, to better play into those ideological divisions which regional powers have wielded to assert their power. Amid a fragmented MENA, Israel would rise a Titan, not just militarily, but politically, as it would benefit from the absolute back-up of all Western capitals – if need be through coercion.

“The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran,” wrote Darius Nazemroaya, before he added: “The Atlantic, in 2008, and the US military’s Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, which the Biden Plan also calls for, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The partitioning of Iran, Turkey, Somalia, and Pakistan also all fall into line with these views. The Yinon Plan also calls for dissolution in North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.”

Interesting how our modern wars have followed the very pattern enounced once upon a 1982 by Zionist Israel …

But how is the Yinon Plan fitting into Syria’s humanitarian crisis, and Western powers’ propensity to selectively wave outrage before ever so pliable corporate media? Well … for one Syria’s humanitarian crisis’ make-up follows the very same pattern of division and ethno-sectarianism.

Entire regions of Syria have been ignored, neglected, and de facto sold out to the barbarism of Terror’s armies on account its communities follow Shia Islam, or Yezidism. Besieged by Wahhabi radicals, victimized and persecuted, those poor souls were never offered the courtesy of a whisper in the press … why such blindness if not an admission of guilt?

I recall rather clearly how loudly corporate media stumped their feet over Madaya – the lambasting and the delirious outrage against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over allegations he was purposely starving a city to command their submission.  How silent media have been since it was proven that Madaya’s tragedy was in fact not President al-Assad’s making; but those militias’ the West has learnt to call “friendly” in its pursuit of regime change.

In a report for The Independent, Robert Fisk paints a reality too many journalists have sought to avoid – whether for financial comfort or ethical apathy.

Mr Fisk writes:

“This is the untold story of the three-and-a-half-year siege of two small Shia Muslim villages [Nubl and Zahra] in northern Syria. Although their recapture by the Syrian army – and by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Iraqi Shia militias – caught headlines for a few hours three weeks ago, the world paid no heed to the suffering of these people, their 1,000 “martyrs”, at least half of them civilians, and the 100 children who died of shellfire and starvation.”

There are many other villages like Nubl and Zahra today which suffer the same pain, and the same radical evil … yet their stories have never been told – worse still, their courage, and their resistance in the face of absolute infamy have never been celebrated.

Blinded by media lies, the public has forgotten that Syria’s war is in fact NOT a civil war, but a war against Terror – which Terror Western powers, and their regional allies: Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the lead, have been only too zealous to enable.

2011 Revolution was but a cover for a very violent takeover aimed at fragmenting Syria. To manifest such explosion of Syria’s sovereignty, war would need first to exacerbate sectarian and ethnic tensions, to then justify Balkanization.

First came Iraq, then Syria, and Libya … which nation will fall next to the madness of the Yinon Plan? From the looks of it, Egypt stands on shaky ground … the last potent military power in a long list of disappeared apparatus.

While war might not be in Egypt’s cards, its make-up does not allow for much sectarianism or ethno-centrism after all, there are many ways to break a country: economically, socially, politically etc …

How is Egypt’s economy faring these days?

As we look at Syria, as we observe the stand of a nation against covert imperialism we would do well to remember those strings being pulled in the darkness.

It is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran who often warned against “the real enemies”, those powers which from afar wield Takfirism to manifest the rising of a new socio-political order.

Will we dare see?

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Killing by Sanctions

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • February 23, 2016

While Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who is currently advising presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, famously said that the estimated 500,000 children who died as a result of U.S. sanctions on Iraq was “worth it.” It was, perhaps, a rare moment of candor from a politician, an admission that Washington is willing to support ostensibly non-lethal measures in such an all-encompassing fashion as to produce mass deaths of people who have no ability to influence the actions undertaken by their government. Sanctions are collective punishment, a blunt edged weapon used all too frequently by Washington to compel foreign governments to submit without having to go to war. There is nothing benign about them and Americans should regard them as potentially just as deadly as direct military intervention.

There are currently a number of countries that are subject to U.S. enforced sanctions but only three fall under the category of “state sponsors of terrorism.” They are Iran, Syria and Sudan. That status entails a number of U.S. Government sanctions including a ban on arms-related exports and sales; controls over exports of dual-use items; prohibitions on economic assistance; and imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. The financial measures require the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank or other international financial institutions and prohibit any U.S. person from engaging in a financial transaction with a terrorism-list government without a Treasury Department license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The license and other approvals are reported to be complicated and the process is extremely difficult to navigate, discouraging anyone from having business dealings with the targeted countries.

Other sanctions are not always directly related to terrorism. They sometimes target select individuals and organizations that are considered by the U.S. government to be focal points of some aberrant behavior. A number of Russian officials have been sanctioned over Ukraine and even over the functioning of the country’s judiciary while the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been sanctioned both for its involvement with radical groups and its support of Tehran’s missile program. But the most devastating sanctions are those which are directed against a country and nearly everything that it does economically, which was the case with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Currently, Sudan falls under that category.

I recently spent a week in Sudan as the guest of a NGO. The objective was to show a group of hopefully influential foreign visitors the devastating effect of sanctions on the local economy. We visitors were of course aware that we were being fed a line that was most favorable to the government position so we also spoke to other Sudanese who were not necessarily part of the program as well as to United States government officials working at the Embassy.

The status of state sponsor of terrorism was bestowed on Sudan back in 1993 after the Sudanese government invited Osama bin Laden to stay in the country. Subsequently it was also claimed that Khartoum was supporting radical groups in Africa and elsewhere, to include Boko Harum, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Since that time the conditions that led to the designation have changed dramatically. Bin Laden was asked to leave and relations with a number of militant groups were severed. Sudan has even severed diplomatic relations with Iran.

The latest edition of the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism states that “Sudan remained a generally cooperative partner of the United States on counterterrorism. During the past year, the Government of Sudan continued to support counterterrorism operations to counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan.” Beyond that, the Sudanese intelligence service has been active in sharing information on terrorists in neighboring countries, to include Yemen, Uganda, Eritrea, Somalia, Chad and Libya. The information has been of such value that in 2010 the United States intelligence community advocated decoupling intelligence sharing from restrictions imposed on bilateral contact due to concerns over developments in Darfur.

In 2010 John Kerry, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, pledged to the Sudanese government that the terrorism designation would be lifted but failed to follow through. Later, in 2013, as Secretary of State, he was reminded of his promise by his Sudanese counterpart but apparently was thwarted in taking any action by advisers around President Barack Obama, most notably Susan Rice and Samantha Power. Both had in part made their reputations by writing and speaking to condemn Sudan. They were among the first to describe the conflict in Darfur as a genocide and are correctly perceived as hostile to any change in Sudan’s status.

The other sanctions on Sudan, referred to as a “comprehensive trade embargo,” blend claims of terrorism support with alleged human rights violations. They were imposed by Bill Clinton in 1997 and supplemented under George W. Bush in 2006. The last of these were linked to what has been described as a civil war starting in 2003 pitting the mostly Arabic speaking north of the country against the mostly indigenous black African south and west. The western media depicted the conflict in a racial context as well as in terms of religion, with Muslim pitted against Christian and animist, but the reality was much more complex than that with groups also dividing along linguistic, tribal and even occupational lines, sometimes featuring nomadic herdsmen against farmers.

Most sources agree that the various wars in and around Sudan have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese as well as between 14,000 and 200,000 who were reportedly “enslaved” in abductions carried out by both sides. The conflict in Darfur has been described as a genocide with a government supported militia known as Janjaweed and the rebels together having been accused of carrying out numerous atrocities. As a consequence, Sudan’s then-and-now president Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been on the receiving end of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court.

Al-Bashir, it should be noted became president by virtue of a military coup, though he has now been elected to office three times, once in an uncontested election in 1996 and in 2010 in a multiparty election that was described as “highly chaotic, non-transparent and vulnerable to electoral manipulation.” The most recent election took place on April 2015 and was strongly criticized by the U.S., Britain and Norway, all of whom had sent observers. Al-Bashir heads the ruling National Congress Party, but in fact he rules largely by fiat. He is either very popular or very unpopular with the Sudanese people depending on whom one talks to.

Genuine moves towards Sudanese democracy through the mechanism of a currently ongoing National Discussion are promising but are likely to slowly evolve in reality. The country’s legal system is based on Sharia but there is general tolerance of other religions in practice if not in law. The National Museum has a section relating to Christianity in Sudan and there is a Christian hour on television every Sunday. The Roman Catholic cathedral is located near the government center and there is also an active Coptic community. Christian community leaders openly support the existing government, just as they do in Syria, perhaps recognizing that available alternatives might be much worse.

A cease fire with the southern states in Sudan in 2005 led to the involvement of a United Nations Mission and a referendum in 2011 resulted in secession from the north. South Sudan is now an independent country that is enduring its own birth pangs. There are some reports of continued violence possibly instigated by Khartoum as well as little noticed government repression in the southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, which have been largely closed to the media and foreign NGOs pending yet another referendum to determine their future status.

Darfur followed with its own peace agreement in 2006. It is relatively quiet though military operations against a final hold out group of rebels in the region continue. Humanitarian and UN affiliated groups are in Darfur to monitor the process of reconciliation and it is expected that there will be another referendum to determine the region’s final status. At least some of the continuing unrest has been attributed to the activity of radicals from Chad, who are able to freely cross the open 600 mile long border to enter Darfur.

Business leaders in Khartoum note that there has been considerable economic growth in Sudan in spite of sanctions, concentrated in the sectors of oil, agriculture and mining. Since 1997, Sudan has been working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to initiate reforms and create sustainable growth. There is, however, considerable official corruption and across the board poverty, largely among those engaged in agriculture.

In spite of some positive developments, Washington’s sanctions have blocked almost all business with Sudan. Selling or buying anything to or from Sudan requires clearance by OFAC and is largely limited to agricultural, communications or medical products. The paperwork requires months to complete and the actual purchases have to be made through third parties, meaning that everything costs more and comes without warranties, service or support. This is because the United States has effectively shut down any banking transactions or extensions of credit with Sudan and when no one can get paid except by suitcases full of cash it becomes impossible to conduct business. Few foreign banks exist in Sudan and they are very careful about how they operate. Even the IMF is reportedly having difficulty in funding its own projects in country. It all means that Sudan cannot pay its bills through conventional correspondent banking arrangements as foreign banks are fearful of being fined by the United States. No one is willing to take that risk.

To be sure, part of Sudan’s economic woes come from its sustaining a war economy in response to the unrest in several regions. But beyond that no investment money coming in due to sanctions means no improvement in agricultural technology, which would benefit the poorest part of the population, or in health care or in education. Poverty has been increasing due to sanctions and attempts to evade the restrictions have resulted in smuggling, money laundering and an increase in unconventional banking to include hawala transfers that are not subject to normal bank controls. Because Sudan is currently not integrated into the international banking system its transactions cannot be monitored to prevent terrorist money transfers.

And there is also a human price to pay for inability to move money. Sudanese health care providers believe that many preventable deaths are attributable to persistent lack of medicinal supplies or diagnostic equipment due to sanctions. Even if the numbers are overstated, that is almost certainly true. In a recent case three patients in Darfur died for lack of renal dialysis solutions.

I oppose sanctions in principle because I believe they are a blunt instrument that punishes innocent civilians when broadly construed while having no effect at all when directly targeting the country’s relatively wealthy and unreachable government officials. If sanctions are to make any sense they should be designed to achieve a quantifiable result but that is rarely the case and they frequently serve no purpose whatsoever beyond dishing out punishment. It has been claimed that sanctions actually worked in Sudan because its government has moved to meet some of Washington’s demands over Darfur and South Sudan, but that is a simplistic explanation for rather more complex phenomena that were likely driven by multiple constituencies and interests.

More often than not, sanctions harden a government’s resolve to resist, as they did in Cuba, and even become useful to the regime as an excuse for government failures. The explanation provided by George W. Bush’s special envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, that sanctions “send a message… to start behaving differently when they deal with their own people. That’s what this is all about,” is hubristic imperialism at its finest. It is reported in Sudan that many young Sudanese hate the United States and it is not difficult to understand why.

And there are good selfish reasons for the United States to lift sanctions and normalize relations with Khartoum. Sudan is an autocracy but no worse than American allies like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt. It is active in fighting alleged rebels but is far more restrained than the current Saudi military intervention in Yemen. And though Khartoum has had sometimes ambivalent relationships with Islamic radicals it has been far less engaged in that fashion than Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. So Sudan passes the smell test for being a disagreeable regime that is compatible with the United States’ broader interests.

And those broader interests are clear, including allowing American companies to participate in the future development of the country. U.S. sanctions have forced the Sudanese to turn to Moscow and Beijing for assistance. Russia is involved in gold mining and China is increasingly engaged in transportation, communications and energy projects. The Sudanese rail network and its international air carrier Sudan Air have collapsed due to lack of spare parts for their U.S. made hardware, an opportunity for American suppliers to quickly reenter the market. It is not in the U.S. national interest to create conditions favorable to competitors seeking to dominate the potentially large and developing Sudanese economy, ceding to them a significant foothold in East Africa by default.

Furthermore, Sudan is a bridge between Africa and the Arab world. It harbors no international terrorists and is a relative oasis of calm in a region in turmoil, well placed to monitor developments in neighboring Egypt, Chad, Libya, Somalia, Eritrea, Zaire, Central African Republic, Uganda and Yemen. It has made a significant contribution in counterterrorism and could do even better if properly motivated and provided with the tools needed, potentially playing a major role in the U.S. sponsored Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. Normalizing relations with Sudan’s banks could, inter alia, stop money laundering and shut down possible terrorist money transfers.

There is, in short, no good reason to continue the status quo apart from the objections of two Obama advisers who have a personal stake in depicting Sudan in the most negative fashion. Unfortunately U.S. foreign policy has drifted away from supporting actual national interests and is mired in responding to various constituencies, in Obama’s case the “responsibility to protect” advocates. One can quite imagine that with something like a Marco Rubio it would revert to the mindless belligerency mode, but as both models seek to remake foreign governments they should equally be eschewed. Countries like Sudan and Iran should not be made to feel that they are permanently under the heel of the American jackboot. Nor should Washington feel compelled to play that role. Except in those rare situations where trade embargoes can inhibit flows of weapons to belligerents in a hot war, sanctions are useless, diminishing both those who apply the punishment and those who are on the receiving end. They should never be considered a serious instrument for foreign policy.

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi invasion of Syria: The bluff that could ignite World War III

By Finian Cunningham | RT | February 7, 2016

The Saudi plan to send ground troops into Syria appears to be just a ruse. But this is precisely the kind of reckless saber-rattling that could ignite an all-out war, one that could embroil the United States and Russia.

Saudi rulers have reportedly amassed a 150,000-strong army to invade Syria on the alleged pretext “to fight against terrorism” and to defeat the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS/ISIL). Saudi officials told CNN that in addition to Saudi troops there are ground forces from Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem gave a categorical response, saying the move would be seen as an act of aggression and that any invasion force regardless of its stated reasons for entering Syria will be sent back in “wooden coffins”.

Nevertheless, US President Barack Obama has welcomed the Saudi plan to intervene in Syria.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is this week due to meet in Brussels with counterparts from the US-led so-called “anti-terror” coalition to make a decision on the whether to activate the Saudi plan. A Saudi military spokesman has already said that if the US-led coalition gives its consent then his country will proceed with the intervention.

In recent weeks, Carter and other senior US officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have been calling for increased regional Arab military action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Carter and Biden have also said the US is prepared to send in its own ground troops en masse if the Geneva peace talks collapse.

Now, those talks appear to be floundering. So, does that mean that a large-scale invasion of US-led foreign armies in Syria is on the way?

Let’s step back a moment and assess what is really going on. The Saudi warning – or more accurately “threat” – of military intervention in Syria is not the first time that this has been adverted to. Back in mid-December, when Riyadh announced the formation of a 34-Islamic nation alliance to “fight terrorism”, the Saudis said that the military alliance reserved the right to invade any country where there was deemed to be a terror threat – including Syria.

Another factor is that the House of Saud is not pleased with US-led diplomatic efforts on Syria. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s bustling to organize the Geneva negotiations – supposedly to find a peace settlement to the five-year conflict – is seen by the Saudis as giving too many concessions to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and his foreign allies, Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

The Geneva talks – which came unstuck last week – can be arguably assessed as not a genuine internal Syria process to resolve the war – but rather they are a cynical political attempt by Washington and its allies to undermine the Syrian government for their long-held objective of regime change. The inclusion among the political opposition at Geneva of Al Qaeda-linked militants, Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, with Western backing, illustrates the ulterior purpose.

The Washington Post gave the game away when it reported at the weekend: “The Obama administration has found itself increasingly backed into a corner by Russian bombing in Syria that its diplomacy has so far appeared powerless to stop.”

In other words, the Geneva diplomacy, mounted in large part by Kerry, was really aimed at halting the blistering Russian aerial campaign. The four-month intervention ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned the tide of the entire Syrian war, allowing the Syrian Arab Army to win back strategically important terrain.

That the Russian military operations have not stopped, indeed have stepped up, has caused much consternation in Washington and its allies.

Russia and Syria can reasonably argue that the UN resolutions passed in November and December give them the prerogative to continue their campaign to defeat ISIS and all other Al Qaeda-linked terror groups. But it seems clear now that Kerry was counting on the Geneva talks as a way of stalling the Russian-Syrian assaults on the regime-change mercenaries.

Kerry told reporters over the weekend that he is making a last-gasp attempt to persuade Russia to call a ceasefire in Syria. Indicating the fraught nature of his discussions with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Kerry said: “The modalities of a ceasefire itself are also being discussed… But if it’s just talks for the sake of talks in order to continue the bombing, nobody is going to accept that, and we will know that in the course of the next days.”

Moscow last week was adamant that it would not stop its bombing operations until “all terrorists” in Syria have been defeated. Syria’s Foreign Minister al-Muallem reiterated this weekend that there would be no ceasefire while illegally armed groups remain in Syria.

What we can surmise is that because the US-led covert military means for regime change in Syria is being thwarted and at the same time the alternative political means for regime change are also not gaining any traction – due to Russia and Syria’s astuteness on the ulterior agenda – the Washington axis is now reacting out of frustration.

Part of this frustrated reaction are the threats from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other regional regimes – with US tacit approval – to go-ahead with a direct military intervention.

In short, it’s a bluff aimed at pressuring Syria and Russia to accommodate the ceasefire demands, which in reality are to serve as a breathing space for the foreign-backed terrorist proxies.

From a military point of view, the Saudi troop invasion cannot be taken remotely serious as an effective deployment. We only have to look at how the Saudi regime has been battered in Yemen over the past 10 months – in the Arab region’s poorest country – to appreciate that the Saudis have not the capability of carrying out a campaign in Syria.

As American professor Colin Cavell noted to this author: “Saudi intervention in Syria will have as much success as its intervention in Yemen. History has clearly shown that mercenary forces will never fight external wars with any success or elan, and no Saudi soldier in his right mind truly supports the Saudi monarchy. Everyone in Saudi Arabia knows that the House of Saud has no legitimacy, is based solely on force and manipulation, propped up by the US and the UK, and – if it did not have so much money – is a joke, run by fools.”

Thus, while a military gambit is decidedly unrealistic, the real danger is that the Saudi rulers and their American patrons have become so unhinged from reality that they could miscalculate and go into Syria. That would be like a spark in a powder keg. It will be seen as an act of war on Syria and its allies, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. The US would inevitably be drawn fully into the spiral of a world war.

History has illustrated that wars are often the result not of a single, willful decision – but instead as the result of an ever-quickening process of folly.

Syria is just one potential cataclysm.


Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudis splurging to rally support against Iran

Press TV – January 17, 2016

Saudi Arabia pledged the Somali government USD 50 million in aid on the same day Mogadishu declared it had severed ties with Iran, a report says.

According to a document from the Saudi embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, to the embassy of Somalia there, the regime in Riyadh pledged USD 20 million in budget support to Mogadishu and USD 30 million for investment in the African country, Reuters reported Sunday.

The news agency quoted diplomats as saying that the financial support is “the latest sign of patronage used by the kingdom to shore up regional support against Iran.”

“The Saudis currently manage to rally countries behind them both on financial grounds and the argument of non-interference,” a diplomat said. Iran has repeatedly denied the Saudi allegations of interference in the affairs of other countries.

On January 2, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other people. Nimr was a critic of Riyadh. After that, protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and the consulate building in the city of Mashhad. Some people attacked the Saudi diplomatic missions during the protests. Iranian authorities strongly condemned the attacks and some 60 people were detained.

Riyadh severed its ties with Tehran on January 3.

Somalia was among those countries that declared they were cutting diplomatic relations with Iran. Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti and Comoros also have severed ties with Iran. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates recalled ambassadors.

The Somali government has not confirmed or denied the pledge, but Mogadishu claims the Saudi support for Somalia, which has been long-running, is not related to the decision to break diplomatic ties with Iran. The Saudi Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

January 17, 2016 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment