What’s new is that neither Jerusalem nor Damascus can deny what’s going on any longer.
People I’ve spoken to in the Syrian capital are calling today’s blasts by far the biggest they’ve seen in more than two years of war – though fighting in and around the capital has not gone on quite that long as yet.
Huge explosions as a military training installation is hit, with presumably several secondary blasts caused by various ordnance detonating on the ground – that being the idea, if you take what Israel says at face value.
Syria calls it a “declaration of war” by Israel – though both countries remain technically at war anyhow. The Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad says Syria will respond in its own way at a time of its choosing.
So it is undoubtedly a major international escalation in the civil (but already quite internationalized) war, Damascus again pointing the finger at Islamic “terrorists” and adding this time that Israel is in cahoots with them. Yes – it stretches plausibility somewhat.
But what is really interesting is the timing. For these attacks by Israel come after a significant few weeks in which – in the central areas of the country, President Assad’s forces have made some notable strategic gains against the various rebel forces.
Alongside that, fighters from Hezbollah, coming in from Lebanon in the west to these central areas of fighting, have made a real impact on the ground.
It appears Israel has noted that and – under the guise of wishing to prevent the flow of arms from Syria to Hezbollah – has decided to act unilaterally.
Clearly there will be a degree of US greenlighting of all this – or at least enough for Israel to calculate that the dangerous gamble is worthwhile. But as I say, Israel was watching events closely on the ground and did not like one bit what they are showing.
On April 24th for instance, the Syrian Army seized Otaiba, which is just east of Damascus, after the usual sustained barrage. This punched a hole in the rebel supply lines via which they had been taking much of their fight to the northern, eastern and southern areas around the capital.
Across Damascus, other gains too: rebels more or less now pushed out to the far side of the city ring-road zone in most areas. This again is a significant reversal of fortunes on the ground.
Just two days later the army took their fight to Jobar, a key northeastern suburb of Damascus and one of the few areas in rebel hands inside the ring-road zone.
If they can push the rebels from here then almost all of the gains the rebel forces have made around the Damascus suburbs will have been neutralised. As ever, the key word is “if”…
Gains too in the central city of Homs. Rebel propagandists like to pretend this entire city has been under siege by the army. That is not true now. Never has been true.
The central area though, does remain under siege as it has for months and the civilian cost of this has been as brutal as in so many other areas.
But on balance, territorially, it is the army not the rebels who are gaining ground here.
Again, the Israelis have been watching this carefully. Not least because the Hezbollah influence in the fighting in areas particularly to the southwest of Homs – towards the Lebanese border, has been significant.
True, the rebel forces continue to gain ground in the north of the city and in the far south around Daraa – the cradle of the revolution.
But this is the strategic truth of it on the ground which Israel has noted carefully. It is this picture which has moved them to act and to bomb Syria in what, indisupatably, is an act of war by anybody’s standards of definition.
Source: Channel 4
Take Pentagon head Chuck Hagel’s tour of Israel and the “friendly” GCC (the de facto Gulf Counter-revolution Club) last week. US defense contractors had the Moet flowing as Hagel merrily congregated with that prodigy of democracy – United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed – to celebrate the sale of 25 F-16 fighter jets.
There’s more on the way; 48 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD missile interceptors, at a cool US$1 billion. The Pentagon is sending one of its only two of such systems to Guam this month to counter that other threat – missiles from North Korea.
The weaponizing free fest to Israel and the Gulf petro-monarchies – missile defense, fighter jets, mega-bombs – could not but be duly hailed as the proverbial “message” to “counter Iran’s nuclear ambitions”, or “the air and missile threat posed by Iran”, or the general “worry about Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon” or “Washington’s determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
There’s no “red line” here; just hardcore weaponizing of Israel and the GCC. Any doubts, blame it on Iran. And this while Saudi-controlled media in the Middle East – roughly everything except al-Jazeera – was breathlessly spinning that Tel Aviv is pursuing a deal to use Turkish soil for an attack on Iran.
Wait; there’s more weaponizing on the way – bound to neighboring latitudes. Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) from Germany closed another $2.48 billion deal with Qatar – five years in the making – to deliver 62 Leopard 2 tanks and 24 self-propelled howitzers. Qatar is not exactly using them for the 2022 FIFA World Cup; they are bound to “friendly groups in other countries” – as in Syria’s “rebels”, via Turkey.
Ask the Nenets
Now take the Syria chemical weapons charade. The White House now seems to be convinced that the CIA believes, with “varying degrees of confidence”, that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. Secretary of State John Kerry – an “intervention” cheerleader posing as a dove – was already convinced.
But then Hagel said, “Suspicions are one thing; evidence is another.” Just to flip-flop a little while later, during his visit to Israel, he became convinced Bashar al-Assad was using sarin gas. Of course; after all, Hagel finally had unimpeded access to Israeli – not US – intel.
And now for the beauty of Hagel’s marketing; what about embarking as a traveling salesman to “our bastards” with a sales pitch of ” Look, Iran and Syria are both crazy, you might consider stacking up on this, this and this.”
The Nenets of Siberia – crossing the Ob river to enter the Arctic Circle – could teach a thing or two about real strategy to those limping armchair warriors in US Think Tankland. Even the Nenets would know that the current chemical weapons hysteria is a total fabrication by the CIA, MI6 and Israeli intelligence – corroborated by zero evidence. Still, the prevailing Washington “wisdom” is that a “red line” must be enforced over Syria so a “red line” must be enforced on Iran.
The fact is that the al-Assad government initially accused the “rebels” of using chemical weapons – and asked the United Nations for an official investigation.
Even the New York Times was forced, grudgingly, to admit the “rebels” acknowledged an attack happened in territory controlled by the government, with 16 Syrian Army dead, plus 10 civilians and over a hundred injured. But then the “rebels” changed the narrative, blaming Damascus of bombing their own soldiers. It was Moscow that introduced a measure of reality, detailing how Washington was stalling the UN investigation.
Our Nenets of Siberia would also know there’s hardly anything secular leading the “rebels” in Syria; it’s a motley crew of varying degrees of fanaticism. Once again, the Nenets would not need to freeze to death reading the New York Times to find out that the CIA is “secretly” funneling a free for all weaponizing to the “rebels” via Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Still the Obama administration peddles the fiction that Washington only supplies “non lethal” aid as Capitol Hill nutters keep insisting that Obama install a “no fly zone” over Syria – as in Libya-style NATO war remix.
Follow-on strike package, anyone?
US Think Tankland nonetheless is ecstatic that the GCC petro-monarchies now have access to precision-guided munitions to “strike Iranian targets”.
But nothing compares to the cheerleading of Israel’s new access to KC-135 aerial refueling tankers – or Stratotankers. Then there’s the imminent transfer of anti-radiation missiles as well – advanced versions of the AGM-88 HARM missiles. These toys will “reduce the threat to Israel’s follow-on strike package.”
No, this is not exactly about “US circumspection”, or “US resolve in the campaign against Iranian nuclear weapons”; it’s unqualified Dog of War barking.
Meanwhile, that police state run by King Playstation, also known as Jordan, has opened its airspace to Israeli drones now engaged in “monitoring” Syria.
As Asia Times Online has repeatedly warned, Obama in Syria is fast becoming a remix of Reagan in 1980s Afghanistan. We all know what came out of those “freedom fighters” afterwards. In this context, Robert Ford, Obama’s alleged Syria expert, telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it’s important for Washington to “weigh in” to affect “the internal balance of power in Syria” qualifies as a joke line, not a red line.
There’s wild speculation that after the Boston bombing Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin made a deal; Washington lets Moscow do whatever it wants in Chechnya like, forever, but gets a nod to install a “no-fly zone” and further mayhem in Syria. There’s no evidence to that. What a geopolitically savvy Putin wants to know is what does he get out of Syria in practical terms (and Obama does not have a clue). Crumbs from a NATO banquet don’t apply.
As for allowing Syria to become a “Western-friendly” Wahhabi emirate or yet another failed Muslim Brotherhood fiefdom, one needs to go no further than Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah … “the goal of anyone standing behind the war in Syria, is destroying Syria so that a strong, centralized state would not be established in it, and so that it would become too weak to take decisions related to its oil, sea, or borders.”
Now that’s what a red line is all about.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at email@example.com.
Source: Asia Times
Zionists and Gulf Monarchs Ponder…
Beirut – “This is one damn fine idea, what took us so long to see a simple solution that was right in front of our eyes for Christ’s sake”, Senator John McCain of “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and “no-fly zones for Syria” notoriety, reportedly demanded to know from Dennis Ross during a recent Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) brain storming session in Washington DC.
Ross, a founder of WINEP with Israeli government start up cash (presumably reimbursed unknowingly by American taxpayers) and currently WINEP’s “Counselor”, reportedly responded to the idea of facilitating Al Qeada to wage jihad against Hezbollah with the comment: “Shiites aren’t the only ones seeking death to demonstrate their ‘resistance’ to whatever. Plenty of other Muslims also want to die as we saw last week in Boston. Let ‘em all go at it and Israel can sweep out their s— when it’s over.”
One Congressional staffer attending the WINEP event emailed me, “Dennis spoke in jest — well I assumed he did — but who knows anymore? Things are getting ever crazier inside some of these pro-Israel think-tanks around here.”
Featured on the front page of its April 25 edition, the Zionist-compliant New York Times writes that the Assad regime is apparently recovering but, “it must be understood that for all of the justified worries about the (al Qaeda affiliated) rebels “Assad remains an ally of Iran and Hezbollah. “
The Times adopts the views of Islamophobe, Daniel Pipes, who recommends that the US try to keep the two sides in Syria fighting as long as possible until they destroy each other. Pipes, now serving as an advisor to John McClain, wrote in the Washington Times on April 11, “Evil forces pose less danger to us when they make war on each other. This keeps them focused locally, and it prevents either one from emerging victorious and thereby posing a greater danger. Western powers should guide enemies to a stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong their debilitating conflict.”
Both Jeffrey Feltman, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N, have at a minimum impliedly joined in the intriguing idea of siccing Jabhat al Nusra on the Party of God. This scheme, if launched, would be Feltman’s 14th attempt to topple Hezbollah and defeat the Lebanese National Resistance to the occupation of Palestine since he first arrived in Beirut from Tel Aviv in 2005 to become US Ambassador to Lebanon. This observer, among others in this region sense that given the aura still enveloping the American Embassy here, that Jeffrey never really left his Lebanese ambassadorial post and continues to occupy this position from his new UN office.
This week Feltman warned that the spillover of Syria’s war continues to be felt in Lebanon as Susan Rice, echoed him and condemned Hezbollah for “undermining the country’s “dissociation policy.” The latter being a bit obscure in meaning but connoting something like sitting around doing nothing while this country is being shelled by jihadists from among the 23 countries currently fighting in Syria. Feltman informed the media on 4/22/13 that “The Secretary-General is concerned by reports that Lebanese are fighting in Syria both on the side of the regime and on the side of the opposition, hopes that the new government will find ways to promote better compliance by all sides in Lebanon with the “disassociation policy.”
Given current divisions in Lebanon that will not happen anymore than Lebanon’s June 9th Parliamentary elections will be held on time.
For her part, Susan lectured the UN Security Council that “Hezbollah actively enables Assad to wage war on the Syrian people by providing money, weapons, and expertise to the regime in close coordination with Iran.” This position was expressed also through a statement by US. State Department spokesman , Patrick Ventrell, who said that Washington “has always been clear concerning Hezbollah’s shameful role and the support it is providing for the Syrian regime and the violence it is inducing in Syria.” Ventrell added: “We were clear from the start concerning the destructive role played by Iran as well as the Iranian role.”
Several Israeli agents in Congress are today promoting a Jabhat el Nusra-Hezbollah war even as the Obama administration terror-lists the jihadist group. Meanwhile, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), McCain’s neocon Islamaphobe acolyte, goes a bit further and explains to Fox News, once Assad falls and Hezbollah is out of the picture “We can deal with these (jihadist) fellas.”
Recent history in Libya instructs otherwise. As Turkish commentator Cihan Celik recently noted: “A divorce with al-Nusra will not be easy in Syria”
The past two years in Libya, that shadow of a country, reveals countless examples, three witnessed firsthand by this observer, during the long hot summer of 2011. What we saw was Gulf sponsors and funders offering young men, often unemployed, $ 100 per month, free cigarettes, and a Kalashnikov to do jihad. Plenty down and out lads still accept these offers in Libya, as they do in Syria. One reason why the militias proliferated so quickly in Libya and never melted away was the phenomenon of a wannabe jihadists deciding to be a leader and recruiting perhaps a brother or two, maybe a few cousins or tribe members, and presto, they have created a militia with power they never dreamed of.
Their new life can offer many perceived benefits from running rough shod over the civilian populations and setting up myriad mini but potent criminal enterprises specializing in kidnappings, robberies, drugs, trafficking in women, and assassinations for cash. How many of these young men have turned in their weapons in Libya and returned to their former lives? Or will do so when instructed by the likes of McCain or Graham?
On 4/24/13 Jabhat Al-Nusra Front intensified its threats to officials here including the Lebanese president by releasing a challenge from its media office: “…we inform you – and you may think of that as a warning or an ultimatum – that you must take immediate measures to restrain Hezbollah, otherwise, the fire will reach Beirut. If you do not abide by this within 24 hours, we will consider that you are taking part in the massacres committed by the Hezbollah members and we will unfortunately have to burn everything in Beirut.” In addition they are calling for Jihad and the establishment of the “Resistance Factions for Jihad against the Regime in Syria” and also in Saida and Tripoli, Lebanon.
Israeli officials appear to be in agreement with the Ross/Pipes proposal to arrange for Al Qeada to launch a war against Hezbollah. The Director for External Affairs at “The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, repeatedly claimed that the Shia are the real threat to Israel, not the Sunni and with the least threat coming from the Gulf monarchs. He offered the view recently that “Israel is now a partner of the Sunni Arab states.” Indeed, Israel hopes that Hezbollah will forget Israel when tasked with trying repel Al Nusra and other al Qaeda affiliate attacks.
According to various Israel officials who have issued statements on the subject, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and several other members of the Arab League constitute an “alliance of anxiety for Israel” because they claim that “Sunni Arabs are not as competent as the Shia and Iran and as a result they express doubts that Israel can rely on the Sunni states in the same way that the Sunni states can rely on Israel.”
In a documentary about the Iraq war, an American soldier explains: “Actually, we don’t really have much of a problem with the Sunnis. It’s the Shias who we are afraid of. The problem has something to do with their leader who was killed centuries ago and these fellas are willing to lay their life down for the guy. Anyhow, that is what they told us in Special Ops class.”
Al Nusra fighters currently occupying parts the south west areas of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in south Damascus, recently expressed eagerness to fight Hezbollah which they claim would give them credibility with Sunni Muslims and, oddly, in this observers view, “credibility with western countries”, who supposedly are al Qaeda’s sworn enemies. It’s sometimes hard to know who precisely is whose enemy these days in Syria as the rebels continue using areas east and southwest of Damascus as rear bases and as gateways into the capital.
Despite boasts to the contrary from Jihadist types in Syria and Lebanon, it is not clear to this observer if Jihadist and al Qaeda-affiliated groups living among Hezbollah communities in Lebanon like Fatah al Islam, Jund al Sham or Osbat al Ansar which have been here for years would actually join the Zionist promoted anti-Hezbollah jihad.
But it is evident that some Lebanese Islamists and jihadists directly connected to al Qaeda do have the ability to target Hezbollah. Elements from each of these groups are startling to associate and identify with Jabhat al Nusra, inspired partly by their successful military operations in Syria.
Again, we saw the same thing in Libya. Enthusiastic, ambitious young men who want to improve their lot in life try to go with a winner. According to sources in the Ain al Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, jihadist leaders such as Haytham and Mohammed al Saadi, Tawfic Taha, Oussama al Shehabi and Majed al Majed are recruiting followers and fighters in Lebanon and offer a ticket out the the squalid army-surrounded, Syrian-refugee-inflated camp.
Homs-based media activist Mohammad Radwan Raad claims that “the embattled residents of the rebel-controlled Homs province town of Al-Qusayr welcome Saida, Lebanon-based Sunni Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir’s call for Jihad in Syria. Claims Raad, “Al-Qusayr residents welcome Assir’s call and hope the Lebanese people help kick out Hezbollah members in the area…We need anyone who can get rid of them.” This week Assir urged his followers to join Syrian rebels fighting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah. Al-Qusayr has been under rebel control for more than a year and on the scene reports indicate that it is about to be returned to central government control.
In response, two Salafist Sunni Lebanese sheikhs urged their followers to go to Syria to fight a jihad (religious war) in defense of Qusayr’s Sunni residents. “There is a religious duty on every Muslim who is able to do so… to enter into Syria in order to defend its people, its mosques and religious shrines, especially in Qusayr and Homs,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir told his followers. For now, experts say, such calls on the part of Lebanon’s Salafists are largely bluster because the movement is far from able to wield either the arsenal or the fighting forces of Hezbollah.
Local analysts like Qassem Kassir argue that Jabhat al Nusra and friends are not organized enough to fight against Hezbollah in a conventional war, but they could cause great damage by organizing bomb attacks against the Party of God’s bases and militants. The latter would be enough initially for Ross and WINEP and their Zionist handlers. Creating chaos in Lebanon being one of their goals but more importantly weakening the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah and also challenging Syria and Iran.
In a recent speech, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah offered his party’s view about a Western-promoted Sunni-Shia clash, with Al-Nusra, AlQaida and all the groups which flocked to Syria, saying that what was wanted of them was to kill and get killed in Syria, in a massacre which will only serve the enemies of the Arabs and Muslims.
The coming months will reveal to us if the several pro-Zionist Arab regimes as well as Islamophobes, including those at WINEP and other Israel-first think-tanks, are delusional in believing that John McCain’s “simple solution” to those resisting the Zionist occupation of Palestine, would be to assist Jabhat el Nusra type jihadists to make war against Hezbollah.
Whether they could defeat Hezbollah is uncertain but whether Jabhat al Nusra and friends are capable of igniting yet another catastrophe in this region is the looming question.
President Barack Obama’s Middle Eastern tour, scheduled for the end of March, has triggered a wave of intense speculation about its objectives in recent days. It centers on reports from Israeli sources that Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June.
The President will allegedly bring the message that Israel should “sit tight” and let the U.S. take the stage—even if that means remaining on the sidelines during an American military operation. It seems improbable, however, that an American president needs to make a 12,000-mile round-trip to provide such reassurance to a difficult partner whom he dislikes, and whose sentiments are fully reciprocated. Last year Obama had no qualms about turning down Netanyahu’s request for a meeting following the latter’s public criticism of the Administration for its reluctance to act against Iran. It is also unlikely that Obama would let Netanyahu know of his strategy so far in advance, even if the ‘window of opportunity’ claim was true.
As for the perennial issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is an even bet that Mr. Obama will not be able to kick-start the stalled ‘peace process.’ At most, notes The Economist, Israel may accept a partial freeze on settlement construction in exchange for a Palestinian pledge not to take Israel’s settlement activity to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Both sides are primarily interested in making the opponent take the blame for the continuing deadlock. Amos Yadlin—former military intelligence chief who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Jerusalem—aptly summarized the Israeli position when he said, “We have to submit a proposal to the Palestinians, a decent proposal, a fair proposal. If the Palestinians will accept it, it’s a win of peace. If they refuse—as we think they will—then at least we win the blame game and we can continue to shape our borders by ourselves without the need to wait for the Palestinians to agree.”
It is obvious that the new Israeli government does not envisage a two-state solution as the foundation of a “decent and fair” proposal. Netanyahu’s plans for settlement construction in annexed east Jerusalem would effectively cut the West Bank in two and force a fait accompli on the status of the Holy City that no Palestinian leader would ever accept. Further settlement construction is “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution,” and Netanyahu knows it. His move reflects his strategic vision: a lasting peace with the Arabs is not obtainable; the conflict is structurally irresoluble; and Israel’s security therefore demands open-ended maintenance of military superiority and physical control over as much territory as possible. Meaningless concessions may be made for PR purposes—a few Palestinian prisoners can be released here, further expansion of a few settlements may be suspended there—but Israel needs to manage the conflict by maintain the status quo for many years to come.
An important element of this strategy is the assumption that the United States will continue to support it politically, militarily, and financially. Quite apart from various moral and legal issues involved, the U.S. Government appears increasingly reluctant to condone Netanyahu’s vision—which is just as well, primarily because doing so would not be in the American interest, but also because the strategy of permanent conflict management is not in the interest of Israel’s long-term survival. Israel may seem strong and secure at the moment, but its position vis-à-vis its hostile Arab neighbors is steadily deteriorating.
The wave of political changes in the Arab world over the past two years has changed the security architecture of the Middle East to Israel’s detriment. One of its consequences is that in relation to Israel the new leaders are more representative of the wishes of their people. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulation of the political process has enabled it to concentrate all power in its hands. President Mohamed Morsi’s skill and cunning ensured the Brotherhood’s victory at the forthcoming sham parliamentary election. For the time being, Morsi is paying lip service to the maintenance of the peace treaty with Israel. He knows that this is the precondition for continuing American aid to his country’s depleted coffers, but his long-term intentions are better reflected in his speech made nearly three years ago, in which he urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. In a television interview months later, he blasted “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” Denying Israel’s right to exist is a key pillar of the Brotherhood’s ideology and its activists murdered President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 for signing that same peace treaty two years earlier. Nothing has changed in its position. Israel’s southwestern frontier is no longer secure; and if Bashar al-Assad falls in Syria, the same will apply to the northeastern frontier in the Golan.
With the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the geographic, demographic and cultural center of the Arab world well-nigh irreversible, the entire Middle East is in turmoil. Libya is a failed state in which rival tribal militias and terrorist groups run the show outside central Tripoli and use its territory to launch attacks in Algeria. In Syria, the rebel movement is dominated by the Islamic People’s Brigade, the Islamic Dawn Movement, the Battalions of Islam, and many similar groups which share an ideology that includes a relentless hatred of Israel. If victorious, these seasoned foreign and home-grown jihadists will cause Israel to nostalgically remember three decades of peace in the Golan Heights under Bashar al-Assad and his father before him.
If the momentum of the past two years provides pointers for the future, by the end of this decade the Greater Middle East will be more firmly Islamic than at any time since the heyday of the Ottoman Empire under Suleyman, and thus more implacably anti-Israeli than ever. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heralded the shift four years ago, and Turkey has rapidly morphed from Israel’s key strategic partner in the region into a hostile Islamic power. To take but one example, speaking the the United Nations on February 27 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the international community to “put an end to the Palestinians’ suffering in the occupied territories” and urged the world “to put pressure on Israel to respect human dignity.”
Closer to Israel’s borders, it is only a matter of time before Morsi’s protégé, Hamas, prevails over the more moderate Fatah in the Palestinian power struggle. The precarious stability of Jordan—which has long acted as if it had not merely a nonbelligerency agreement, but a fully-fledged peace treaty with Israel —will be tested by sectarian tensions between East Bank Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. King Abdullah’s reluctant reforms may create a revolution of rising expectations, and lead to yet another regime change detrimental to Israel’s interests. There will be no “peace process,” of course. With the storm clouds gathering around them, many Israelis will have reason to regret the support that Netanyahu’s friends in Washington had given to the Arab Islamic Winter.
Diplomatically, Israel is more isolated than ever since 1967. The settlement enterprise is not only a security liability, rather than an asset, but also a diplomatic millstone which materially contributed to the overwhelming UN vote in favor of Palestinian de facto statehood last fall. Since then, settlement policies have elicited a chorus of condemnation, including a call for sanctions against Israel by the European union. The unelected elite running the EU is inherently hostile to a state based on the principle of blood and religion, but its antagonism to Israel is further exacerbated by rising influence of the Muslim diaspora in several key EU countries, notably France, Germany and Britain. More significantly still, Chuck Hagel’s swift confirmation has exposed the growing weakness of pro-Israeli lobbying groups in Washington. Two years ago, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.” Following the botched anti-Hagel campaign, increasing numbers of Washingtonian insiders are prone to agree with his assessment.
Demographic trends are another alarming aspect of Israel’s long-term geopolitical position, which has always been shaped by the implacable determinants of land and population. The Palestinians are adamantly insistent on the “right of return” of the descendants of some 700,000 refugees of 1948, and estimates indicate that there are more than four million of them in the PA and elsewhere in the Arab world. Over 90% of them reject the possibility of monetary compensation in lieu of that right. This is anathema to Israelis, as it would signal the end of the Jewish state, and the elusive two-state solution seems to offer the only viable defense from the demographic bomb. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the Jews are already in a minority. Since birth rates in the West Bank and Gaza remain much higher than in Israel, the Arab population of the Palestinian Authority will exceed the number of Israeli Jews by 2040. On current form, Arabs will account for a quarter of Israel’s population by that time, up from just over a fifth today.
Jewish immigration does not make much difference to the trend. It has oscillated between 15 and 20,000 over the past decade, the massive influx from the former USSR having dried up. It is noteworthy that considerably higher numbers of Jews are leaving—many of them highly skilled professionals. In 2011, the government estimated the number of Israeli citizens living abroad at between 800,000 and one million, representing up to 13% of the population.Consistent with the latter figure is the estimated one million Israelis in the Diaspora reported at the first global conference of Israelis living abroad, held in January 2011. According to the Foundation for the Middle East Peace, about 45 percent of the adult Israeli expatriates have completed at least a university degree, in contrast to 22 percent of the Israeli population. The Israeli emigrants are generally younger than the immigrants to Israel. Significantly, up to 60 percent of Israelis had approached or were intending to approach a foreign embassy to ask for citizenship and a passport. Analysts warn that it will be a challenge for Jewish Israelis to maintain their current dominant majority of approximately 75 percent, primarily due to higher fertility among non-Jewish Israelis — nearly one child per woman greater — the depletion of the large pool of likely potential Jewish immigrants, and large-scale Jewish Israeli emigration: “Consequently, demographic projections expect the Jewish proportion of the country—which peaked at 89 percent in 1957—to continue declining over the coming decades, approaching a figure closer to two-thirds of the population by mid-century.” As a commentator noted in the London Independent noted two years ago (“Will Israel Still Exist in 2048?”), with the early pioneering spirit fading, and even the Holocaust—dare one hazard—less of a unifying force, Israel is not the same country it was 60, 30, even 10 years ago:
And demography means that it will continue to change, with the Arab, Orthodox Jewish and second-generation Russian populations increasing much faster than other groups. The Israel of the next 30 years is likely to be more divided, less productive, more inward-looking and more hawkish than it is today—but without the financial means and unquestioning sense of duty that inspired young people to defend their homeland by force of arms.
The Palestinians believe that time is on their side. The young—one-half of the population—are angry, disillusioned and more radical than their parents. As Professor Menachem Klein of Bar Ilan University wrote last November, they see the ailing Palestinian Authority pegged down at bare subsistence levels, without state authority or geographical contiguity, an undeveloped economy totally dependent on Israel and foreign donors, and a Palestinian elite accorded VIP status in reward for its collaboration in maintaining the status quo:
Today there is no longer a sole Palestinian representative—Hamas is in the game too. Moreover, the talks singularly failed to produce a permanent settlement or end the occupation. On the contrary, the reality on the ground has changed for the worse, to the extent that among the New Palestinians belief in the in the two-state solution is rapidly dwindling. The young generation sees Abbas and his people at a loose end, with no practical program or longer term vision… The young people also hear him talking about non-violent resistance to the occupation, while doing virtually nothing to promote it. But the New Palestinians are already on a different wavelength.
These “New Palestinians,” increasingly drawn to Hamas in preference to the corrupt old Fatah elite, will present a greater threat to Israel’s future than their stone-throwing predecessors. They will never accept Israel’s West Bank barrier as a permanent fact of life. They will also be even more inclined than their elders to view the conflict in ontological terms—as a struggle not only for Palestinian rights and viable statehood, but also for the divinely ordained claims of the Ummah against the usurping unbelievers. It is only a matter of time before the “New Palestinians” start perceiving Israel’s rejection of the two-state model and the expansion of settlements as a welcome lapse of judgment, a single-state trap from which the Jewish state will find it hard to extricate itself. They hope that the expansion of the fortress state will eventually morph into one-state solution by other means.
They are no longer deterred or intimidated by Israel’s military superiority. The IDF performed poorly in southern Lebanon in 2006, showing itself poorly prepared for the “fourth generation warfare” against an elusive non-state opponent like Hezbollah. According to a Brookings Institution 2011 report, “The IDF’s poor performance on multiple levels—leadership, coordination, logistics, and fighting capabilities—undermined Israel’s much-prized deterrent factor, and led to the perception of defeat.” The same problem occurred in Gaza in late 2008, where Hamas could be beaten but not defeated, and with the Gaza flotilla raid in 2009, the political costs of which far exceeded the utility of keeping the city under tight naval blockade. The fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons changes but little in the equation. Of eight other countries possessing the bomb, not one has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use it, let alone by using it. Worryingly for Israel, South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the winds of change in the early 1990’s.
Netanyahu’s vision of a Greater Israel and his open-ended strategy of military containment do not take into account the shifting environment and changes within Israel, which make his approach unsustainable in the long term. From its inception Israel has faced numerous threats, but its ability to cope with them in the past does not mean that it will be able to do so indefinitely. The issue is not whether Israel should survive, but whether it has the wherewithal to survive on the basis of the flawed grand strategy to which its ruling political elite subscribes.
Damascus – Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers.
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
The vocal smear coming out of the orchestrated Zionist media and corridors of orthodox foreign policy on Chuck Hagel, leaves bare the myth that the Israel-First proponents have the best interests of our country at heart. Obscene attacks on the former Senator provide refreshing validation that the establishment is nervous, because the sacred canons of their imperial strategy might be questioned. Such panicky concern gives sustenance to the cause for a rational and self-interest national defense policy. The hideous Neoconservatives maintain their diabolical alliance with the Neoliberal internationalists that work for a global dominance, which serves the interests of the financial elites, while sacrificing the blood and future of another generation of American youth.
Chuck Hagel, delivered these words at the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.
“Assuring that these returning veterans are productively integrated back into society with the appreciation and recognition befitting a great nation. As we have painfully learned from the tragic misadventure of Vietnam, society must always separate the war from the warrior. We do not celebrate the Vietnam War. We commemorate and historically recognize it. As I said at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ground breaking on a cold windy March day in 1982, “there is no glory in war, only suffering.” Life is always more about the people then the event. Events are stages upon which individuals change the world. And today we celebrate those individuals who changed our country for the better… our Vietnam veterans and their families.”
The entire NeoCon agenda denigrates the agonies of naive jingoists who want to serve their country, but are duped into becoming trained assassins. Their expendability is inevitable under the command of chicken hawks and dual loyalists. The bipartisan nature of globalist foreign policy prescribes that the armed forces are directed to implement targeted violence that only benefits the powers behind the systematic destruction of the country.
Chuck Hagel: “I’m a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator”, states the obvious. Yet, such honesty has no tolerance for the NeoCon purist. Fifth columnists create the “political correct” culture that purges any loyal dissenters. Even a lefty collectivist like Robert Reich has the insight to point out why Senator Hagel is a potential threat in the article, The Neocons vs. Chuck Hagel.
“Yes, it was dumb for Hagel to use the term “Jewish lobby” instead of “Israel lobby,” but that alone shouldn’t disqualify him. Everyone in official Washington knows how much power is wielded in that city by the Sheldon Adelsons of American politics who think Israel can do no wrong.”
Up until now, the outcry against the Hagel nomination ignores his viewpoints on the Iraq War and the disaster of the Viet Nam misadventure. In A Conversation with Senator Chuck Hagel on The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, the forbidden is spoken. Challenging the warmongering of the “War Party” in Congress is taboo, as the NeoCons are all too eager to point out.
“The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies.
Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because Members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the Administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic—to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.”
An effort to dispute the expected media attacks countered in a list published by the Washington Times, Chuck Hagel’s Record: Myths and Facts, offers another point of view.
Myth #1: Senator Hagel is not supportive of Israel
Myth #2: Senator Hagel is soft on Iran
Myth #3: Senator Hagel has been soft on Hezbollah and Hamas
Myth #4: Senator Hagel would weaken our nuclear deterrent
Myth #5: Senator Hagel would gut the defense budget
Myth #6: Senator Hagel lacks management experience
While some of the arguments in this list have a tone of an apologetic advocacy for a besieged friend, the basic impression is that he is competent and qualified to be Secretary of Defense.
Where is the balance? Regretfully, the RINO elements in the Republican Party are nowhere to be found in the defense of one of their own. Once again, the accuracy of analysis comes from the Progressive Left, Democracy Now. Regretfully, their scrutiny falls far short on their social agenda, but hits the mark on Hagel’s Middle East positions. Watch the video, Chuck Hagel Faces Tough Confirmation from Senate Hawks for Rejecting Party Line on Israel and Iran.
Skepticism about Hagel from the political elites is understandable, but objectivity on his record deserves a review of his own statements. Steve Clemons provides some historical clips of speeches by and interviews with Chuck Hagel from the C-Span video library files, on 100 Minutes on Chuck Hagel.
Again, the left leaning Huffington Post seems to be willing to state what Republicans seek to forget, in the article Neocon nightmare: The truth behind the attacks on Chuck Hagel.
“Of course, the reason the opposition to Hagel is so desperate and so focused on side-issues or made-up charges is because they don’t want a debate that would shine a spotlight on their spectacular and disastrous failure in Iraq. “This is the neocons’ worst nightmare,” says Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, “because you’ve got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force.”
The direction of American Foreign Policy needs a comprehensive reset away from the policeman of the world. Woefully, the internationalists and their global agenda demands drone bombardment redundancy. The entire world is in the crosshairs of smart weapons. Boots on the ground are now called Special Forces because of their force multiplier capacity.
Having a DOD secretary that does not place the trigger button on automatic is problematic for the bellicose enthusiasts that view the U.S. Empire as a necessary enforcement of New World Order power.
Finally, the anti-war publication Alert.net provides a succinct summary in How the Chuck Hagel Brawl Exposes Neocons and Reveals the Limits of American Power.
“After the Obama administration floated the trial balloon of a Hagel nomination several weeks ago, various neoconservative publications and pundits have waged unremitting attacks on the pick. The campaign began when The Weekly Standard quoted an anonymous Senate aide calling Hagel anti-Semitic, and gained steam when the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens echoed similar, albeit more diplomatic, sentiments. Bill Kristol’s side-PAC (he is the editor of the Standard), the Emergency Committee for Israel, bought ad time in the greater DC television market criticizing Hagel’s opposition to unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran. The Washington Post editorial board insinuated he was far too dovish for the post, citing his voting record on Iran sanctions and statements about Pentagon bloat.
These criticisms were soon buttressed by several seemingly progressive critiques of the former Senator in a not-so-odd alliance between liberals and neoconservatives against the pick (more on that below). The nomination seemed all but torpedoed until several former friends and staffers of Hagel’s fired reciprocal volleys in support, while the Obama administration observed from the sidelines, until today. Hagel’s allies outside the press read like a who’s-who of establishmentarians, from Bush Sr. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft to former Reagan Secretary of Defense (and Carlyle Group chairman) Frank Carlucci.”
The NeoCons personal attack on Chuck Hagel is necessary because they have lost the high moral ground because of their bloodthirsty policies. The Israeli-First elements and sympathizers are a prime reason why the American government is hated as a global purveyor of war crimes. The real terror that threatens our nation comes not from foreign military aggression, but from homespun despotism. NeoCon psychopaths will settle for nothing less than a suicidal destruction of our society and the Republic. Changing the foreign policy is a prerequisite for a confirmed Hagel to be an effective Secretary of Defense.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he of the former “zero problems with our neighbors” policy, commented that Assad only reads the reports of his secret services. C’mon, Ahmet; Bashar may be no Stephen Hawking, but he’s certainly getting his black holes right.
Assad, moreover, has a plan: a national dialogue leading to a national charter – to be submitted to a referendum – and then an enlarged government and a general amnesty. The problem is who is going to share all this bottled happiness because Assad totally dismisses the new Syria opposition coalition as well as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), describing them as foreign-recruited gangs taking orders from foreign powers to implement one supreme agenda: the partition of Syria.
Still, Assad’s got a plan. First stage: all foreign powers financing the “terrorists” – as in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council compound – must stop doing so. That’s already a major no-no. Only in a second stage would the Syrian Army cease all its operations, but still reserve the right to respond to any – inevitable – “provocation”.
Assad’s plan does not mention what happens to Assad himself. The only thing the multiple strands of the opposition agree on is that “the dictator must go” before any negotiations take place. Yet he wants to be a candidate to his own succession in 2014.
As if this was not a humongous “detail” torpedoing the whole construct of current UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, there’s still the crucial nagging point of Brahimi insisting on including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in a Syrian transitional government. Brahimi should know better. It’s as if the UN was praying for a Hail Mary pass – that is, Assad’s voluntary abdication.
This ain’t Tora Bora
If you want to know what’s really going in Syria, look no further than Hezbollah secretary-general Sheikh Nasrallah. He does tell it like it is.
Then there’s what Ammar al-Musawi, Hezbollah’s number 3 – as in their de facto foreign minister – told my Italian colleaguem Ugo Tramballi. The most probable post-Assad scenario, if there is one, will be “not a unitary state, but a series of emirates near the Turkish border, and somebody proclaiming an Islamic state”. Hezbollah’s intelligence – the best available on Syria – is adamant: “one third of the combatants in the opposition are religious extremists, and two-thirds of the weapons are under their control.” The bottom line – this is a Western proxy war, with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) acting as a “vanguard” for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Asia Times Online readers have already known this for eons, as much as they know about the tectonic-plates-on-the-move fallacy of GCC autocracies promoting “democracy” in Syria. While the geologically blessed House of Saud has bribed every grain of sand in sight to be immunized against any whiff of Arab Spring, at least in Kuwait the winds of change are forcing the Al-Sabah family to accept a prime minister who is not an emir’s puppet. Yes, petromonarchs; sooner or later you’re all going down.
As for those who ignore Musawi, they do it at their own peril; blowback is and will remain inevitable, “like in Afghanistan”. Musawi adds, “Syria is not Tora Bora; it’s on the Mediterranean coast, close to Europe”. Syria in the 2010s is the 1980s Afghan remix – with exponential inbuilt blowback.
And for those who blindly follow the blind in repeating that Hezbollah is a “terrorist” organization, Hezbollah is closely cooperating with the UN – on the ground with over 10,000 blue helmets, under the command of Italian General Paolo Serra – to keep southern Lebanon free from Syrian civil war contamination.
The dictator has fallen – again
Not surprisingly, that motley crew branded as the “Syrian opposition” rejected Assad en bloc. For the Muslim Brotherhood – the self-styled power in waiting – he is a “war criminal” who should go on trial. For Georges Sabra, the vice-president of that American-Qatari concoction, the National Coalition, Assad’s words were a “declaration of war against the Syrian people”.
Predictably, the US State Department – not yet under John Kerry – said Assad was “detached from reality”. London said it was all hypocrisy and immediately launched yet another “secret” two-day conference this week at Wilton Park in West Sussex mingling coalition members with the usual gaggle of “experts”, academics, GCC officials and “multilateral agencies”. The spectacularly pathetic UK Foreign Secretary William Hague twitted – for the umpteenth time – that “Assad’s departure from power is inevitable”.
Facts on the ground though spell that Assad is not going anywhere anytime soon.
As for British claims that “the international community can provide support to a future transitional authority”, that doesn’t cut much slack among war-weary informed Syrians – who know this civil war has been funded, supplied and amply coordinated by the West, as in the NATO component of the NATOGCC compound.
They smell a – Western – rat in the obsessive characterization of everything in Syria as a sectarian war, as they see how loads of influent Sunnis have remained loyal to the government.
They smell a – Western – rat when they look back and see this whole thing started just as the US$10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline (crucially bypassing NATO member Turkey) had a chance to be implemented. This would represent a major economic boost to an independent Syria, an absolute no-no as far as Western interests are concerned.
The Obama 2.0 administration – and Israel – would be more than comfortable with the MB in power in Syria, following the Egyptianmodus operandi. The Brotherhood promotes the idea of a “civil state”; one just has to check the few “liberated areas” across Syria to detect rebel civility inbuilt in hardcore Sharia law and assorted beheadings.
Yet what the NATOGCC compound and Israel really want is a Yemeni model for Syria; a military dictatorship without the dictator. What they’re getting instead, for the foreseeable future, is Jihadi Paradise.
Off with their heads
Almost a year ago, al-Qaeda number one Ayman al-Zawahiri called on every Sunni hardcore faithful from Iraq and Jordan to Lebanon, Turkey and beyond to take a trip to Syria and merrily crush Assad.
So they’ve kept coming, including – just like in Afghanistan – Chechens and Uyghurs and Southeast Asians, joining everything from the FSA to Jabhat al-Nusra, the number one killing militia, now with over 5,000 jihadis.
A report published this week by the London-based counterterrorism outfit Quilliam Foundation confirms Al-Nusra’s role. The lead author of the report, Noman Benotman, happens to be a former Libyan jihadi very cosy with al-Zawahiri and the late “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden.
Al-Nusra is in fact the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the terrorist brand of late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, also known as Islamic State of Iraq after Zarqawi was incinerated by a US missile in 2006. Even the State Department knows that AQI emir Abu Du’a runs both AQI and al-Nusra, whose own emir is Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani.
It’s AQI that facilitates the back-and-forth of Iraqi commanders – with plenty of fighting experience on the ground against the Americans – to sensitive areas in Syria, while the Syrians, Iraqis and Jordanians at al-Nusra also work the phones to extract funding from Gulf sources. Al-Nusra wants – what else – an Islamic State not only in Syria but all over the Levant. Favorite tactic: car and truck suicide bombings as well as remote-controlled car bombs. For the moment, they keep a tense collaboration/competition regime with the FSA.
What happens next? The new Syrian National Coalition is a joke. Those GCC bastions of democracy are now totally spooked by the jihadi tsunami. Russia drew the red line and NATO won’t dare to bomb; Russians and Americans are now discussing details. And sooner or later Ankara will see the writing on the wall – and revert to a policy of at least minimizing trouble with the neighbors.
Assad saw The Big Picture – clearly, thus his “confident” speech. It’s now Assad against the jihadis. Unless, or until, the new CIA under Terminator John Brennan drones itself into the (shadow war) picture with a vengeance.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Asia Times Online
The Obama administration has already declared war on Syria, even if it isn’t “official” yet. Consider the facts, all of them acts of war: The U.S. now recognizes a group of Syrian exiles to be the official government of Syria; the U.S. is providing direct support for rebels attacking the government; the U.S. has coordinated with NATO to place advanced missile systems — and 400 U.S. troops — on Syria’s border with Turkey; Obama has drawn a “red line” that, if Syria crosses, would result in U.S. direct military intervention. If any other country made similar moves toward the U.S., there would be no question that war had been declared.
All the strategic steps that led to the Iraq war are being repeated. Obama has assembled a Bush-style international “coalition of the willing” of nations to topple the Syrian government; 130 countries have put their names on paper in support of toppling the Assad government.
In reality, however, the core of the group is the U.S./Europe NATO alliance and the Gulf monarchies. The rest of the “coalition” are economic and political satellites of these main groups, who would sign onto to any military adventure that the rich nations demanded of them, since otherwise the poorer nations would have their military, financial, or political aid frozen.
Europe’s increased lust for blood is a relatively new phenomenon; the European divisions that erupted during the Iraq war and then the Libyan invasion seem to have been smoothed over. Now even Germany aims to directly join the war efforts, intending to send missiles and troops to the Turkish border as well.
But NATO is still a U.S.-dominated military alliance. Any NATO military action is in reality a U.S. led effort, since the European armies are miniscule in comparison, and lack much of the technological sophistication of U.S. weaponry. The advanced Russian missile systems that Syria is equipped with demand a direct U.S. military role to neutralize.
Like Bush, Obama is using his coalition of the willing to distract from the fact that he is circumventing the UN, and thus bringing the post WWII system of international conflict resolution — already on life support — closer to death.
Also like Bush, Obama strategically exploited the UN to weaken Syria with sanctions, and when further UN action was not possible — because of the objections of China and Russia —Obama threw aside the UN and opted for NATO, a U.S./European military alliance built specifically as a deterrent to the now-defunct Soviet Union.
Again like Bush, Obama has crafted a false motive for war. Obama has stolen Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction” but substituted “the use of chemical weapons” as a bogeyman worthy of military intervention. Obama’s bogeyman is as false as Bush’s was. The New York Times reports:
“…the effect of that statement [that Syria was planning to use chemical weapons] was somewhat undercut when France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, asserted during a news conference that such reports were unconfirmed.”
This lack of confirmation hasn’t bothered the U.S. media, who remain content repeating as truth any report issued by U.S. intelligence, no matter the past lies that have cost countless deaths in Iraq and elsewhere.
Of course the U.S. government has zero legitimacy to hand pick a “replacement” government for Syria, since the U.S. is universally hated in the region after the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and the ongoing drone wars against Pakistan and Yemen. No sane Syrian would invite the U.S. government to “liberate” their country.In fact, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups inside of Syria, the National Coordination Committee (NCC) — virtually ignored by the U.S. media — opposes military intervention, demanding the conflict be addressed through political means.A leader of the NCC is Hassan Abdul Azim, who correctly states:
“We refuse on principle any type of military foreign intervention because it threatens the freedom of our country.”Another prominent ongoing lie repeated by U.S. politicians and media is that the Syrian government is on the verge of collapse. This lie is effective in that it creates an urgency to “take action.” It also paints a picture of the conflict coming to an end that resonates well with Americans.The reality is that the Syrian western-backed rebels have staged daring high-profile attacks that have been largely repulsed by government counter-attacks. But in each instance the U.S. government has used these attacks as an excuse to ratchet up their support to the rebels and now to place U.S. missiles and troops on Syria’s border. Of course if the Syrian government does fall, Obama has absolutely no plan on how to “stabilize” the country, since the most effective rebel fighting force — the Al-Nusra Front — has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
Obama and his NATO and Gulf monarchy allies have created an extremely unstable situation in Syria. They have already torn the Syrian social fabric to shreds with their support of the rebels, but in so doing they’ve pushed many Syrians closer to supporting their government, who they see as a protector against the rebels that have used large scale ethnic-religious cleansing and other war crimes to subdue the population.
Thus, the Syrian government still retains a popular base, ensuring that the already bloody catastrophe will continue with no end in sight, especially since Obama has “regime change” as his goal and is encircling the country with missiles and U.S. and European troops. Iran and Russia will continue to bolster the Syrian government.Under these tense conditions a broader war can break out any moment. The U.S. can claim that the Syrian government is about to employ chemical weapons as an excuse to directly intervene. Or perhaps Turkey — a NATO member — will claim that Syria fired missiles into its territory, and thus Obama will act to “defend” its ally.When war “officially” breaks out, Iran might then increase its direct support for the Syrian government with troops —funneled through Iraq — giving the U.S. another excuse to “defend” itself, and pushing the conflict into Iran. Hezbollah in Lebanon or Israel may intervene too, since both have a direct interest in the outcome of the Syrian conflict. Any number of scenarios could play out that drag other nations into the war, including Russia, who is already supporting the Syrian government. Many of these scenarios have already begun on the proxy level and need only a shove to ensure they explode into a full-scale regional war.
A nation under attack creates a feeding frenzy logic from those countries looking to opportunistically exploit the situation. This proxy war in Syria is on the brink of a much larger disaster, with the potential to annihilate the Middle East through a new round of war and barbarism.
Neo: “What truth?”, Morpheus: “That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage… kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch – a prison for your mind.”
In the movie the Matrix, Morpheus and Trinity knew that something in reality had suddenly changed when Neo experienced a deja-vu. The deja-vu resulted as a bit of the virtual world reformatted changing reality enough so a new ’reality’ presented with an advantage to the controllers.
It is interesting to pay attention to the Matrix of ‘real’ life because there are many similarities to the inspired ideas communicated in the movie of the same name. If you pay attention long enough you’ll notice some deja-vu. This ‘real’ life appears to have scripted components that when noticed change reality right before our eyes.
Right now the global controllers are modifying the script so as to bring about some kind of change that facilitates their plan of global domination and enslavement they’ll call global government.
The stage is being populated with new props and I sense a deja-vu.
WHO CONTROLS THE WORLD
I think the sociopolitical framework of the united States and the world are scripted plays created by powers-that-be having critical knowledge of human psychology and control of the worlds media, education, money, military, religions, and energy (including food, water and medicine). And because it is important later, I will note the world’s-a-stage script writers are obsessively interested in esoteric occulted symbols, numerology, astrology and religious ritual.
As many of you already know, the united States of America’s over government (by agreement made called the Constitution), commonly known as the United States Federal Government (USG), was infiltrated and usurped many years ago; the final purge was nearly complete with the bankruptcy and subsequent relaunch of the USG in 1933. One way to help your mind work better when thinking about this is to mentally rename the USG. Renaming results in clearer thinking because it makes allegiances transparent. I like to think of the USG as Federists (rhymes with terrorists), which helps me remember I’m talking about an foreign occupational, hostile, well funded, highly intelligent, malevolent gang of usurpers. Federists occupy the highest offices and control the primary enforcing agencies of the former USG.
Federists control of America is maintained first by deception, then bribery and blackmail and finally, as needed, murder.
In other words, the control system that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth, is now in control of the world’s wealthiest and militarily powerful nation on earth.
The world, then, is controlled by an unnamed, focused group of powerful, malevolent, super-staters, which, by proxy, occupy and control the highest offices, enforcing agencies and military of the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.
The world is controlled by the globalists.
The globalist maintain their control over the world through control of the worlds media, education, money, military, religions, and energy (including food, water and medicine).
The primary source of globalist power comes from pretended money in the form of currency and energy monopolies. All the other controls are derived from these two sources. And, for future reference, these two main sources of power are the globalist’s Achilles heel.
Counterfeit currency is a system of pretended money loaned by imitation banks to governments at interest. The interest represents real wealth streamed back to the imitation banks in payment for the counterfeit currency (nothing).
The crux of the crime is that nothing of value is loaned in return for interest payments. Using the borrower’s promise to pay as currency, the imitation banks return debt as money. In other words, nothing of value was loaned by the bank in return for interest payments. Hence a system was devised so globalists can issue currency in nearly unlimited quantities, at no cost to the globalist, in return for an ever growing stream of interest payments siphoning off the wealth of the borrowers.
The globalists using middle men like the Federists can then ‘loan’ unlimited ( at least in the short term because this banking scam eventually self destructs) currency to the Federists, who use the currency to further the globalists agenda, while the globalist still retain the interest stream now passed off as income tax to the working class of the united States of America.
The actual currency (dollar) is worthless, but derives a phony value because people accept the dollar in trade for real goods. Since the currency grows on trees, the quantity can always increase (and of course it does), thereby reducing the supply of goods available causing prices to rise in proportion to the quantity of pretend money in existence. The rising prices are a second form of tax since it now takes more dollars to purchase the same good. (Your loss of purchasing power has been transferred to the Federists to be used in service of the globalist.)
Using this currency, the globalist can then fund legislation in the affected country to erect monopolies on energy, buy and control the media, fund education trusts and university grants, bribe and control religions and the military.
HOW THE GLOBALISTS WRITE THE SCRIPT
For the record it is easy to write the script when you own the media, schools, churches, energy, money and military.
The globalists write the script through careful control of images, themes and thought. Deception is the operative concept, even if the details are complex and complicated. In essence, the globalists frame the problems of the world and then provide the solutions. Many people have reported this idea, David Icke calls it ‘problem, reaction, solution’. Using fear as a means of gaining and keeping attention, globalists, behaving like the best magicians, maintain your attention on fear while they move the props around the stage. Then when horrific problems do emerge (usually staged) , the globalists through their operatives are standing by with solutions, solutions that require the transfer of more power, wealth, resources, liberty and subjugation to the globalists.
Strictly controlling the media and churches with propaganda and topic restrictions , while limiting your energy, issuing your currency and directing the military, the globalist have near total control of an individual’s mind, wealth, health and spirituality. This control is used to create a pseudo world, not a complete Matrix (I hope) , but a mixture of scripted and directed macro story and permitting a limited personal directed micro story. You do have control of parts of the play, but the point is, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”
Mind control of Americans is of pivotal importance to the globalist because America has been captured and occupied by the Federists, their primary tool of action and it is American’s that have the best chance of switching off the Matrix and welcoming everyone to the real world.
The American media, with the exception of some uncontrolled, unaffiliated, non denominational, unregulated, alternative media is busy supporting normalcy biases or fear (as needed) via images and symbols. Images and symbols are necessary to maintain control of the mind while transmitting massive, encrypted data through the short hand of symbols.
The events of Nine-Eleven (leaving the numerology in the background) permitted a glitch in the Matrix, a deja-vu was noticed by the very sensitive, the Matrix was updating the stage to facilitate the globalists. Unlike other false flag events throughout history however, Nine-One-One happened in a time of technology benefiting the global media. The global media, being controlled by the same people that perpetrated the crimes, provided the globalist with an unprecedented opportunity to reach the minds of Americans and the world in a realtime televised ritualistic mass murder. Murder, being one of the ways the globalist maintain control over Americans (as needed), the globalists were signaling a change in the Matrix to include tighter control of Americans (the new security, police state.) Tighter control that would require cooperation from Americans to achieve. American cooperation was secured using hypnosis and trauma based mind control. The events of Nine-One-One were orchestrated to move the globalists to the next level of their long term plan.
ONE WORLD, ONE STAGE
For decades awake Americans and others have put together the pieces forming a story that told of the controllers, the globalists, destroying the world’s social structures, reducing populations and reforming a unified global society taking the form of communism or some similar socio-political-economic top loaded tyranny. Communism and its collective cousins are pseudo economic and socio-political systems invented by the globalist as tools to manipulate minds into cooperating with their own enslavement.
The globalists, it seems, are not happy controlling nations while raping and robbing the people through deception. The globalists have a higher goal, the goal of ruling the world outright, not through deception but through outright tyranny. Perhaps the globalists tire of ruling by deception, only able to tell their story through predictive programming and the works of obscure minions given tidbits of inside information.
Regardless of the reasons, the globalists are moving quickly now to complete their prison planet. In fact it is critical to finish their handy work now because many people are waking up, unplugging and noticing the real world. It’s also critical to finish now because the universe is waking up and the sun and the earth are responding with changes of their own.
You see the globalists know Americans, armed with the vestiges of a philosophy supporting right to life, a philosophy that supports individuals living their own life as a means to their own ends, still have an opportunity to change the script.
Americans are also armed with the necessary weapons to take back control of the nation by throwing out the Federists and arresting globalists where ever they may be.
But the clock is running, tick tock, the next change in the Matrix is coming and this time Americans will be traumatized into cooperating with their own disarming.
Nine-Eleven AS A STAGED MEGA RITUAL AND THE FINAL AMERICAN STAGED EVENT
I mentioned above that our controllers have an obsessive interest in esoteric occulted symbols, numerology, astrology and religious ritual.
Take a stroll around Washington DC looking for occult and ancient religious symbols. See if you can spot Egyptian or Roman gods. Have a good look at the Statue of Liberty, see if you can identify lady Liberty as someone else from ancient occult history. Investigations into the world of Freemasonry and Babylonian cults will expose many overlaps. For fun explore the beginnings of the Mormon religion or the church of Scientology. The world of religion is comprised of symbols and secrets and is an ancient system of mind control. And, as I have said, mind control is even easier when you own the media, schools, churches, energy, money and military.
I have recently read a book by S.K. Bain entitled “The Most Dangerous Book on Earth: 9/11 as a mass ritual”
This is one of the best resources for understanding the occult and esoteric meanings and rituals associated with Nine-One-One. According to the author the entire hideous event was scripted with great attention to detail using ancient religions and occult symbols, numerology, deity worship and incantation.
In this well researched analysis of the scripting of Nine-Eleven, Bain describes the event as having an opening ceremony followed by a declaration asserting the ritual was to worship a deity, followed by incantation identifying the deity and then worship including sacrifices, and finally closing ceremonies. A modern MEGA occult ritual played out, including mocking those that could not see or recognize the event, while doing a hat tip to Aleister Crowley – all done in plain view and transmitted via television around the world.
The point of bringing this to your attention is that Bain makes a good argument, and so do many others in his documented research and elsewhere, that Nine-One-One was planned many decades, if not centuries in advance. Information detailing the extent to which the controllers scripted Nine-Eleven is startling even to those of us that have been awake for some time. For many readers this may be hard to accept, but I recommend you clear your mind of accepted beliefs and begin your research.
The second part of the book is what Bain calls ’Predictive Fiction’ wherein, using information learned by decoding the events of Nine-One-One and noting the props placed on the stage of life in advance to be ready for use in the MEGA ritual (recent ritualistic mass murders), he makes a prediction that the MEGA ritual which had its origins long before Nine-One-One, and included the deaths of over 3000 people on September 11, 2001, has not ended.
Using the literary tool of telling a story after the events of the story happened (in advance of the actual events in reality) , Bain follows his line reasoning from investigating Nine-One-One and leads us to the conclusion the next step and the conclusion of the events witnessed on September 11, 2001 will culminate in the nuclear destruction of downtown Phoenix, Arizona on the religiously and astrologically significant date of December 25, 2012. The MEGA ritual concluding as the beginning of the NEW GREAT AGE begins with the start of the next 26,000 year solar cycle around the milky way.
Conclusions and implications drawn in the book are shocking and follow the facts, as they are known to date, including information on recent and related ritualist public sacrifices in Arizona, allegedly by lone gunman Jared Lee Loughner, and Colorado, the ‘Batman’ shooting, allegedly done by lone gunman James Holmes; sacrifices that foreshadow the Christmas day event.
Events in the world and especially in America are telegraphing something big is coming soon. This all leading up to something and If I’m correct, the clues are already in place, props and propaganda are taking shape in the Matrix.
For Americans, like Neo in the Matrix, it means waking up and reading the writing on the screen. We have an exponentially rising police state growing before our eyes. Men, machines and assets are being deployed at rate greater than population growth. Military is actively participating in police duties, cities are seeing full scale military drills including jets and helicopters. The Federists are buying hollow point ammunition in quantities not required except for all out war; ammunition that has no other purpose than killing. The Federists are purchasing MREs, coffins, death certificates, building prison camps and announcing kill lists. The Federists by decree have announced they can do roundups of Americans for detention and disappearing with no due process. The Federists are arming drug gangs in Mexico and America and have opened the border with Mexico for entry by hoards of non American Citizens for purposes of causing stress, chaos and racial strife.
Further indications that something big is planned is the outrageous growth of the TSA. The Transportation Safety Agency was originally part of the department of Transportation, but it did not stay there long. In 2003 the TSA was assimilated by the Soviet sounding (legitimizing and acknowledging the communist system the globalists installed in Russian after 1917) Department of Homeland Security. The TSA originally were badge-less bag checking public servants assigned as ancillary security helpers in airport baggage areas. But after 2003, the agency took on its primary role which has nothing to do with the safety of transportation. The TSA is clearly only a Tyranny Support Asset and is part of security theatre creating false fear in the minds of travelers and traumatizing travelers by groping, sexual assault, theft and verbal abuse. Clearly we are being conditioned to associate fear and pain with travel, and unqualified thugs in blue shirts and tin badges.
As far as security is concerned, the TSA obviously is not charged with or concerned about traveling security. The TSA has no skin in the game of transportation (unlike the airlines or airports) and deliberately employes some of the poorest personality types from the lowest walks of life. Theft, sexual assault and more by TSA agents is rampant, begging the question, how could you trust a TSA agent to protect you from outside criminals when crime is rampant on the inside.
The TSA is a cancer on commercial air travel ( and now moving into the train stations, bus stations, malls and highways) and using them for security is akin to Rolling Stones management hiring the Hells Angels to provide security for the concert in Altamont Park in the winter of 1969. According to Wikipedia “Although peaceful at first, over the course of the day, the mood of both the crowd and the Angels became progressively agitated, intoxicated and violent.”
The point is there have been no terrorists, except those admittedly created and deployed by the FBI and intelligence agencies but yet the number of TSA employees has tripled since 2003, from over 16000 to now over 50000.
This agency has never thwarted a single terror plot, never captured a single terrorist and the very best you can say is the airline industry is still surviving despite the TSA. Therefore one might ask is there more to the TSA story than transportation security theatre. Perhaps the TSA is being grown to fill the responsibility of supporting a full on tyranny, where the real function will be to support the tyranny via arrests, documents processing, impeding travel, searching for valuables (under currency controls) and disappearing marked targets.
Perhaps the TSA is being grown for some new event, forming on the stage now, but out of site. After all, at this growth rate the TSA will soon be the size of a small army – yet with nothing productive to do.
What is it going to take to get past the trauma based mind control of Nine-One-One so that Americans can start resisting now. When the weapons are confiscated, America’s chances of stopping the tyranny will have been confiscated as well.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
If we had been able to read something like “The Most Dangerous Book in the World” sometime prior to Nine-One-One, we could have started watching and looking for signs the script writers were placing props and propaganda into the ’Matrix’ and, possibly, in pointing out the props and propaganda, we may have been able to stop the event. We might have seen the World Trade centers being prepared for destruction. We may have noticed the outrageous number of financial bets placed against business and airlines involved with the event (insider trading). Flight control center operators and military strategists may have notice the unusual number of exact scenario ‘drills’ planned for that particular day.
Fortunately we can read the book now, and, even if nothing happens on Christmas day (hopefully), we can all start watching and paying more attention to the stage and the changes in the Matrix.
For example, remembering who the Federists are and globalists control the media, then everything presented in the media must be constantly analyzed for propaganda.
For example the religious media is telling Americans that Iran is a boogie man and Israel must be protected at all costs. This mantra is in support of a propaganda campaign to attack Iran going back more than 10 years. But now a ripple has hit the pond in support of this narrative from a slightly different angle, now we are beginning to hear about possible ‘sleeper cells’ of Iranians or Hezbollah or other Iran related groups hiding out in America. We are also being told by some alternative media that Iranian or Hezbollah troops may be massing in Mexico or Belize preparing to infiltrate the country via the unprotected borders.
This narrative could be used as a tool for assigning blame after a nuclear attack on an American city via some technology, which by the way could only be created and built by the Federists or globalists, such as a portable nuclear bombs. For the record Iran/Persia has a history of self reliance and non aggression; a nation, ironically, being encircled by warring, aggressive nations claiming Iran is destabilizing the peace in the region. See my article “Iranian Hostage Crisis: Reloaded” for more information regarding Iran.
Globalist misinformation and disinformation usually carries a signature of being opposite of the truth. Remember the Federists tell Americans that al-Qaeda is responsible for Nine-One-One, but Federists in league with NATO and United Nations fund and deploy al-Qaeda to destabilize Middle Eastern and Arab nations.
If an American city is being targeted for a nuclear bomb, there may be other props noticeable by Americans. Now is the time to start looking and reporting.
I recommend buying and reading “The Most Dangerous Book in the World” and do so before Christmas. The in-your-face mockery of the globalists is over the top and the time has come to wake up and route them out.
Bain wonders how the names of Obama and Osama and Saddam Hussein and Barack Hussein can all be so similar. In the name Osama Bin Laden is the name Obama or the name Biden. Inside the name Barack Hussein Obama is the sentence “Amen Ra is Back BHO USA” Is this just an accident ? I firmly believe that accidents are very unlikely in this highly controlled Matrix.
As individuals we do not have to consent to tyranny and rule by occult loving psychopaths. Passive aggression and deliberate peaceful non compliance is possible by anyone ready and willing to work for the end of this madness. The time is now:
• Get vocal at local and state government events and meetings,
• Get your money out of the globalists banks and keep your savings in physical silver and gold and long term food and guns and ammo,
• Move to states that seem to be organizing against this tyranny,
• Withhold consent and support for the system by getting off the grid,
• Support the second amendment, learn to shoot, talk about guns, support second amendment organizations,
• Turn off the TV,
• Stop buying products from globalists companies when possible,
• Grow a garden,
• Oppose agenda 21 any chance you get,
• Create new products and service in the privacy protection market,
• Create new products and services in the home off the grid market,
• If you are teacher, reverse indoctrinate your students, help wake them up,
• If you work for the “defense” industry, find other work,
• If you are a cop or in the military check out Oath Keepers,
• Stop supporting the war on drugs,
• Oppose the militarization of your Sheriff and Police departments,
• Film and post to youtube signs of tyranny,
• Stop answering questions, when silence will do,
• Learn about the law and your rights,
• Exercise and eat right,
• Learn a martial art,
• Stop supporting the system, do not seek help from the state or government, learn to solve your own problems, including domestic problems,
• Get off prescription medicine, alternative medicine has remedy for nearly everything,
• Support food markets selling organic,
• Ask your local food stores to stock organic,
• Oppose Fluoride in your water, even if no one listens,
• Learn more about yourself and your own power.
Stand up now before gun confiscation leads to a false flag civil war.
Source: Jack Mullen | RedIceCreations.com
Shatila refugee camp…
The current festive celebrations in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps reflect the intense euphoria being witnessed throughout Gaza and occupied Palestine, Arab and Muslim countries, as well as relief among people of goodwill globally.
This observer’s special friend from Shatila camp, Zeinab, (she refers to herself as ‘Miss International’ given all the Americans and foreigners we bring to meet her and her wonderful family) called last night and giggled, “This is wonderful! You must come! I and some of my friends were wearing black scarves in honor of Ashoura on our way to protest against the Israeli aggression in Gaza. Within half an hour after gathering at the Youth Center athletic field we heard the news of the ceasefire. Soon we were dancing and singing and celebrating.’!”
At about the same time, thirty miles south of Beirut in Ein el Helwe Refugee camp, Lebanon’s largest and most densely populated with nearly 90,000 people squeezed into less than two square kilometers, more sardine-canned than even Gaza city, the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) also organized a celebration of Gaza’s victory.
Established nearly half a century ago in 1965 at the time of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, GUPW has consistently achieved much for Palestinian families regardless of location or fate. Like Zeinab’s manifestation, the GUPW’s demonstration against the Zionist aggression against Gaza became a joyful rally to celebrate Gaza’s victory, and soon refugees inside and on the outskirts of the camp were dancing and singing and raising Palestinian flags.
As Lebanese journalist Mohammad Zaatari has pointed out, the women’s rally was originally scheduled to deplore the aggression against Gaza, however after a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was reached the occasion turned into a celebration with refugees hoisting banners and flags from various PLO and resistant groups while calling for the solidarity and unity of Palestinian factions to confront the Zionist occupation of their country, Palestine. “Every grain of sand!” one university student shouted, “We must liberate all of Palestine and recover every grain of sand! Jews are most welcomed to stay if they want to live in peace as equals under the law, but forget about colonization, democracy for Jews only and apartheid. They must disappear for sure!”
“We have won in Gaza and this is only the beginning,” beamed Amina Jibril, Director of the Palestinian Women Union in Lebanon. “We haven’t just won through rockets. The kids and women and civilians who were killed in the clashes were resisting every day because their mere presence in Gaza is an act of resistance itself.”
But when the cheering stops and the placards are discarded, the many joyful demonstrations throughout Lebanon subside; most of the participants will trundle back to their bleak abject existence in Lebanon’s camps worse off in many respects than Gazans.
It is true that in Lebanon, Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and Druze regularly condemn Israel and consistently support the “liberation” of Palestine and breaking the siege of Gaza. But few there are who have historically supported expanding the rights or improving the dire living conditions of the more than quarter million refugees within Lebanese borders. As one Palestinian wryly noted, the Lebanese “favor the liberation of Palestine and Gaza, but they oppose even the most basic civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon.”
Without any help from the Lebanese government or the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have no choice but to depend on the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as their sole source of support and protection. Unfortunately, UNRWA has not proved up to the task due to the United States and Israel politicizing and interfering with international donor contributions.
Most Palestinians in Lebanon who are cheering Gaza’s victory well into the night won’t have to be concerned about being late for work the next day because Lebanese law forbids Palestinians from working in dozens of jobs and professions. Today, according to UNRWA’s own statistics, only about 53,000 of the approximately 130,000-strong Palestinian labor force are employed at all. Most who are have “illegal” low paying work are often ruthlessly exploited by employers who know their workers cannot complain to authorities or collect any work benefits. This is because in 1964, the Lebanese Ministry of Labor instituted a policy under Ministerial Decree No. 17561 whereby professions in Lebanon could be limited to Lebanese citizens. The regulations prohibited Palestinians from working in some seventy job categories.
In the camps of south Lebanon, Ein el Helwe, Mieh-Meih, al Buss and Rasheideyeh, and up north in the still unrestored Nahr al Bared camp, approximately 85 percent of all refugees live in “abject poverty.” Among the states in which UNRWA operates, Lebanon has by far the highest number of “special-hardship cases,” i.e., the poorest of the poor, some 30-35 percent of Palestinian refugees.
Nor will most the temporary celebrants of the Hamas victory in Gaza have classes to attend when the celebrations finish. As of 2008, the pass rate of Palestinian students in UNRWA classes was less than 50 percent—10 percent less than their Lebanese counterparts in state schools. This education deficit alone limits the opportunities of Palestinians in Lebanon. UNRWA does operate seventy-four primary schools– of which approximately 25 percent try to educate with larger classes, shorter hours and in double shifts—and in the process, provides employment to 2,785 residents and as of 2006, was the largest employer of legal, skilled Palestinian labor in Lebanon.
According to the recently published 2012 Human Rights Watch report on the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: “They continue to live in appalling social and economic conditions. 2011 saw no improvement in their access to the labor market, despite a labor law amendment in 2010 that was supposed to ease such access. The main reason was the government’s failure to implement the amendment. Lebanese laws and decrees still bar Palestinians from working in at least 25 professions requiring syndicate membership, including law, medicine, and engineering. Palestinian refugees are still subject to a discriminatory law introduced in 2001 preventing them from owning property.”
All activists and others around the world celebrating the victory in Gaza must encourage Lebanon thru its local embassy’s and consults, their own governments, Iran and the Hezbollah led Resistance in Lebanon, as well as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt to immediately use their power and prestige, enhanced by this month’s victory in Gaza to urge Parliament to repeal the racist 2001 law that forbids only Palestinians from owning a home in Lebanon. They need to leverage the victory in Gaza to benefit Palestinians in Lebanon and assure that Parliament immediately grants Palestinians in Lebanon the same civil right to work as every other foreigner in Lebanon enjoys as does every refugee in every country in the world including Gaza. It can quickly be achieved by progressive forces that currently control Parliament using their political power to achieve these long overdue humanitarian requisites.
Indeed, if these forces will generate the political will, no more than 90 minutes of Lebanon’s Parliamentary time will be required to truly make the victory in Gaza historic while at the same time lifting the shame off Lebanon for its massive violations of international and Lebanese laws by granting Palestinian refugees the most elementary civil right to work and to own a home.
If achieved, history will forever record that it was the 2012 victory in Gaza that substantially liberated their fellow refugees in Lebanon by granting these elementary rights.
Bullies choose easy adversaries to pummel. Equal fights are shunned. It’s the same in schoolyards or battlefields.
America and Israel operate this way. They avoid foes able to give as much as they take. Rogue governments never say they’re sorry.
During Cast Lead in January 2009, Professor Jeremy Salt wrote “A Message to the brave Israeli Airmen.” His comments apply to what’s now ongoing.
What’s it like firing missiles at people you can’t see, he asked?
Does it help being unable to see who you’re killing?
Is your conscience eased by inflicting disproportionate force on people unable to fight back and civilian infrastructure?
Are you comfortable about slaughtering civilian men, women, children, and infants?
Does this weigh on your conscience, or are you at ease?
Do you sleep well or have nightmares about men, women and children you killed at home, in beds, kitchens, living rooms, schools, mosques, at work, or at play?
Do farmers in their fields, mothers with children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled threaten your security?
Do you ever question what you’ve done and why?
Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong?
Do you know the law? If so, why do you violate it? Doing so makes you complicit in crimes of war and against humanity? Do you know that?
Do you blindly follow orders or have a mind of your own?
Have you murdered civilians before?
Will you do it again if ordered?
Will you keep following orders blindly or do the right thing?
“Brave” Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel are cowards. They’ve acted lawlessly for decades.
Palestinian suffering is a way of life. Imagine living every day not sure if you’ll live or die. Imagine young children growingup this way. Do Israeli children know what Palestinian ones endure? Are they told? Do they care? Do their parents?
Israel’s moving thousands of troops and heavy weapons to Gaza’s border. Mossad-connected DEBKAfile said:
“Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and the high IDF command are pushing for the ground operation, Stage B of the Pillar of Cloud operation, to start without delay. The prime minister and defense minister prefer to wait.”
Another potential holocaust looms. Civilians always suffer most. Israel and America willfully target them. It part of the imperial strategy of both countries. Human lives don’t matter, just conquest, dominance, and exploitation.
Cast Lead took a terrible toll. Missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons were used against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction followed.
Horrific crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Responsible officials remain unaccountable. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn’t ordered.
Over 1,400 Gazans perished. More than 80% were civilians. Over 300 were children. Around 5,300 were injured. Over 1,600 were children or infants. Israel willfully targeted them.
Neighborhoods, schools, universities, mosques, hospitals, UN facilities, fishing boats, civilian factories and workshops, municipal buildings, charitable foundations, civilian infrastructure, and other noncombatant sites were bombed and shelled.
Farmland was bulldozed. Power facilities and irrigations systems were destroyed. International leaders were indifferent about human slaughter and suffering. Only three low-level Israeli soldiers received punishments too minor to matter.
The al-Samouni family lost 27 members. Salah Talala al-Samouni saw his mother blown apart. Rocket and shell fire killed his two-year old daughter, father, aunt, cousin, and entire family. Media scoundrels said nothing. They support Israel’s worst crimes.
Under siege, Gazans haven’t recovered from Cast Lead. Now they face the prospect of more war perhaps worse than 2008-09.
International leaders share culpability through silence, indifference, and/or complicity. Washington is involved in all Israeli wars. Weapons, munitions and funding are supplied. Political support is given.
Obama told Netanyahu, go ahead and bomb and shell at will. Call it “self-defense” and pretend no one knows it’s not. On November 15, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding supportive resolution. Not a single profile in courage expressed opposition.
AIPAC thanked Obama and Senate members for supporting Israel. Gazan civilians and resistance fighters are maliciously called terrorists. They’re heroes, not criminals.
On November 14, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abe Foxman expressed support for Israeli bombing and shelling, saying:
“Israel has shown tremendous restraint in the face of the unceasing rocket and mortar fire launched from Gaza. This operation is directly targeting the leadership responsible for these attacks, as well as the warehouses and facilities housing their weapons.”
“No country in the world would stand by and tolerate such attacks on more than a million civilians.”
“The international community has a clear obligation to condemn these attacks and to support the actions taken by Israel against Hamas and other terror organizations operating in Gaza as Israel carries out its basic duty to defend its civilian population.”
For almost a century, ADL fronted for Jewish supremacy. It backs occupation harshness. It’s mindless about Palestinian suffering. It conducts smear campaigns against critics.
Its entire history is loathsome. Israeli crimes are called self-defense. It plays the same blame the victim game as Israel, Washington, AIPAC, and other Zionist organizations. Only Jewish rights matter. Palestinians are criminalized for defending themselves.
Israel agreed to halt military operations during Egyptian Prime Minister Hersham Kandil’s visit. He and Egyptian cabinet ministers arrived in Gaza Thursday. He’ll return Friday. Israeli attacks continued.
At Al Shifa Hospital, Kandil visited victims. He denounced Israeli attacks, saying: “This tragedy cannot pass in silence, and the world should take responsibility for stopping this aggression.” Cairo will try to mediate a truce, he added.
Since Saturday, over 40 Palestinians were killed. Hundreds more were injured. Many are in serious condition. Dozens of air strikes continue. Death and injury numbers may rise exponentially. Current figures underestimate the toll because some victims lie beneath rubble.
The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) said Israel conducted 30 sorties in less than 30 minutes on Friday. At 10PM Thursday, the IDF said it struck 70 targets in the previous hour.
Civilian sites and government buildings were bombed and shelled. Two UN schools were struck. Heavy damage was reported. The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies said a church under construction was targeted.
said, “Children, infants, women and elderly are among the casualties, including children whose bodies were severely mutilated and burnt due to Israeli shells. A pregnant woman and her unborn fetus are among the killed.”
Gazan resistance fighters said they won’t honor truce conditions as long as Israel keeps killing Palestinian men, women, children, infants, and the elderly. On Thursday evening, a Beit Hanoun home was bombed. Three children died. One was nine years old.
A 10-month old infant was killed when another home was struck. Through early Friday morning, at least eight children, a pregnant woman, and two elderly men died.
Thirty thousand IDF reservists were called up. Military leaves were cancelled. Tanks, armored vehicles, and troops are mobilizing on Gaza’s border. Invasion looks ominously likely.
On November 16, Mathaba said the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) “received numerous complaints on the atrocities and possible war crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”
On November 20 and 21, two days of open hearings will be held.
Commission members include former Magistrate Musa Ismail, former Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Dean Zulaiha Ismail, Center for Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky, and two former Iraq UN humanitarian coordinators – Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday.
On November 16, Alternative News.org headlined “No safe haven: Civilians under attack in the Gaza Strip.” An eyewitness visited Al Shifa Hospital. Many injured Gazans are in serious condition.
Forty-year old Salem Waqef suffered brain injury. He’s in a coma on a ventilator. It’s unclear if he’ll survive.
Ten-month old Haneen Tafesh was admitted unconscious. She suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage. She’s also in a coma on a ventilator. Doctors said her condition deteriorated since admitted. Hours later she died.
Ahmed Durghmush suffered brain trauma. Shrapnel penetrated his skull. Brain matter protruded from his head wound. His condition also deteriorated after surgery.
Throughout Thursday, emergency room staff were handling numerous arrivals. Injuries range from easily treatable to severe to life threatening.
Justice Ministry public information director, Khalid Hamad, was at home when shelling targeted a neighbor’s house. Israel “targeted civilians deliberately,” he said. “The Israeli forces don’t make mistakes.”
Thirteen-year old Duaa Hejazi was brought in “bleeding a lot.” She sustained upper body shrapnel wounds. Pieces are still embedded in her chest. She sent a message to other Gazan children, saying:
“I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. They are occupying us and I will say, as Abu Omar said. If you’re a mountain, the wind won’t shake you. We’re not afraid. We’ll stay strong.”
Al Shifa director general Dr. Mithad Abbas explained the dire conditions under which hospital staff must cope, saying:
“When those cases arrive at our hospital, it is not under normal circumstances. They come on top of the siege, the blockade, which has resulted in a lack of vital medicines and required medical supplies.”
Al Shifa lacks essential medicines, some equipment and supplies. They include antibiotics, IV fluid, anesthesia, gloves, catheters, external fixators, Heparin, sutures, detergents and spare parts for medical equipment.
Power outages exceed 12 hours daily. Small amounts of fuel maintain operations at those times. Dr. Abbas said his supply will be exhausted in days if current conditions continue.
He doesn’t know where the next missile or shell will strike. Perhaps Al Shifa will be targeted. Israel considers all civilian sites fair game.
On November 15, the Global BDS Movement issued the following statement in part:
“Stop a New Israeli Massacre in Gaza: Boycott Israel Now!”
Despite biased Western media reports, Israel “initiated and escalated this new assault on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honored Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.”
“Israel will continue its belligerence, aggression and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples.”
“It is high time for BDS against Israel. This is the clearest path to freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians and the entire region.”
At issue also is a pending November 29 vote on Palestinian UN non-member observer status. Israel and Washington have gone all out to subvert it. Member States have all the more reason to support Palestine. In less than two weeks we’ll know.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urged Arab leaders to use all means to halt Israeli attacks on Gaza.
“No one is telling Arab countries today, ‘Please go open your borders and begin the operation to liberate Palestine.’ What we want is to end the attack on Gaza.”
This is everyone’s battle…We’re not asking you for a solution. We’re asking for effort.”
“Some say the Arabs don’t have the courage to stop oil production. Decrease your oil exports or raise the price a little and you will shake the United States. You will shake Europe.”
“Brothers, if you can’t cut off oil, decrease your production or raise the price. Put on some pressure. No one is calling for armies or tanks or planes.”
Nasrallah called Israel’s Gaza attack “criminal aggression.” Multiple crimes of war and against humanity are committed.
Much is at stake in Palestine, the region and beyond. Washington’s aggressive wars continue. New ones are planned. Israel’s a key partner. Both countries have imperial agendas. War features prominently in achieving them.
Michel Chossudovsky calls attacking and invading Gaza “part of the broader US-NATO-Israel military agenda.” Based on what’s happened post-9/11, expect the worst ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com . His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Humanitarian catastrophes are surprisingly easy to predict. Take Syria for instance. Like Iraq, Syria has a complex mix of ethnicity and religion with a long history of conflict. Enter the United States, who comes with guns and cash that it doles out to certain ethnic/religious groups, and not to others. The ensuing bloodbath is not a surprise, but a strategic plan to dismember the Syrian government.
The Obama administration has moved from behind the shadows in helping orchestrate this calamity to coming out in the open. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now publicly “organizing” the so-called Syrian rebels, first having visited the U.S. ally Turkey — which acts as an important base for attacks on Syria — and then to U.S. Ally Qatar, which has — along with Saudi Arabia — financed the counter-revolution across the Middle East with its oil money.
Clinton is meeting with all the regional ruling elites who opportunistically funnel guns, cash, and training into the morass of bones and guts from afar, with the hope of cashing in by installing a compliant regime taking over the helm of government, industry, and especially oil.
Any self-respecting Syrian opposition member would never meet with a U.S. representative, since the United States is universally hated across the Middle East for the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen. How odd, then, that Hillary Clinton is deciding who “the legitimate opposition in Syria is.” Ironically, when Clinton declares a group “legitimate,” it automatically loses legitimacy in the Middle East.
Clinton was forced to be more pro-active in Syria because word was getting out that the Syrian “rebels” were no better than the Syrian government. The New York Times has reported that the Syrian rebels have committed large scale ethnic cleansing against Syrian Christians, while also reporting that the rebels have shot video of various war crimes. News has also spread about the increasing trend of rebels having ties with jihad groups, which are connected to the ethnic-religious character of the so-called Syrian revolution.
By minimizing the above atrocities of the rebels, the Obama administration ensures that they will continue. Indeed, there is no other way the rebels can win this war, because the Syrian government still has a strong base among ethnic minorities in the country, as well as those connected to employment in the large public sector, not to mention the millions of others who now realize that a rebel victory will come at the expense — like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya — of the destruction of the country.
There have been several giant demonstrations in Syria in support of the government during this crisis, as well as polls conducted that prove that many Syrians want the current government to stay in power.
Now, unsurprisingly, the Syrian crisis is spilling over its borders into Lebanon, which remains attached to Syria by a thousand threads. Lebanon has long been a country on the edge of ethnic-religious crisis. Also, pro-western groups — U.S. allies — in northern Lebanon have funneled money and arms to the Syrian “rebels,” while Hezbollah in the south is accused of doing the exact same for the Syrian government.
After a pro-western Lebanese general was recently assassinated, Syria was blamed and pro-western groups have boycotted the Lebanese parliament, while demanding the government resign.
Israel, too, is entering the maelstrom, having recently attacked Syrian forces in response to allegations of Syrian shells landing in the Golan Heights region of Syria, which Israel stole and has occupied since the 1967 war.
Turkey is not only giving open support and an organizational base for the rebels, but has also threatened to invade Syria several times. Turkey’s parliament has given the government permission to do so. Turkey has been loudly advocating an innocuous-sounding “no fly zone” to “protect refugees,” which, in practice would equal a military invasion, as happened in Libya.
Syria’s Kurdish population is also a potential source of regional explosion. The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country of their own, and their new-found autonomy in Syria is used as an additional excuse by Turkey to beat the war drum, since Turkey is already bombing the Kurds in Iraq while repressing them within Turkey. Several countries around Syria have large Kurdish populations.
A real revolution does not include nor need ethnic-religious warfare. Egypt’s powerful military was forced to succumb to the power of a real revolution, while Syria’s social movement has long been replaced by regional powers, who are dividing the country along sectarian lines in order to rule it.
A year of foreign funding and foreign fighters has not toppled the Syrian government because the regime still has a large degree of public support, which creates the conditions for an incredibly bloody civil war, a five alarm blaze that Obama continues to pour gasoline on.
The Southeast Asian country of Laos in the late 1950s and early 60s was a complex and confusing patchwork of civil conflicts, changes of government and switching loyalties. The CIA and the State Department alone could take credit for engineering coups at least once in each of the years 1958, 1959 and 1960. No study of Laos of this period appears to have had notable success in untangling the muddle of who exactly replaced whom, and when, and how, and why. After returning from Laos in 1961, American writer Norman Cousins stated that “if you want to get a sense of the universe unraveling, come to Laos. Complexity such as this has to be respected.” 1
Syria 2012 has produced its own tangled complexity. In the past 18 months it appears that at one time or another virtually every nation in the Middle East and North Africa as well as members of NATO and the European Union has been reported as aiding those seeking to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while Russia, China, and several other countries are reported as aiding Assad. The Syrian leader, for his part, has consistently referred to those in combat against him as “terrorists”, citing the repeated use of car bombs and suicide bombers. The West has treated this accusation with scorn, or has simply ignored it. But the evidence that Assad has had good reason for his stance has been accumulating for some time now, particularly of late. Here is a small sample from recent months:
- “It is the sort of image that has become a staple of the Syrian revolution, a video of masked men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and brandishing AK-47s — with one unsettling difference. In the background hang two flags of Al Qaeda, white Arabic writing on a black field … The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution.” (New York Times, July 24, 2012)
- A leading German newspaper reported that the German intelligence service, BND, had concluded that 95% of the Syrian rebels come from abroad and are likely to be members of al Qaeda. (Die Welt, September 30, 2012)
- “A network of French Islamists behind a grenade attack on a kosher market outside Paris last month also planned to join jihadists fighting in Syria … Two suspects were responsible for recruiting and dispatching people ‘to carry out jihad in some countries – notably Syria’,” a state prosecutor said. (Associated Press, October 11, 2012)
- “Fighters from a shadowy militant group [Jabhat al-Nusra] with suspected links to al-Qaida joined Syrian rebels in seizing a government missile defense base in northern Syria on Friday, according to activists and amateur video. …The videos show dozens of fighters inside the base near a radar tower, along with rows of large missiles, some on the backs of trucks.” (Associated Press, October 12, 2012)
- “In a videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri … urged support for Syria’s uprisings.” (Associated Press, October 28, 2012)
According to your favorite news source or commentator, President Assad is either a brutal murderer of his own people, amongst whom he has had very little support; or he’s a hero who’s long had the backing of the majority of the Syrian population and who is standing up to Western imperialists and their terrorist comrades-in-arms, whom the US is providing military aid, intelligence, and propaganda services.
Washington and its freedom fighters de jour would like to establish Libya II. And we all know how well Libya I has turned out.
Of backward nations and modern nations
Page one of the October 24 Washington Post contained a prominent photo of a man chained to a concrete wall at a shrine in Afghanistan. The accompanying story told us that the man was mentally ill and that “legend has it that those with mental disorders will be healed after spending 40 days in one of the shrine’s 16 tiny concrete cells”, living “on a subsistence diet of bread, water and black pepper.” Every year hundreds of Afghans bring mentally ill relatives to the shrine for this “cure”.
Immediately to the right of this story, constituting the paper’s lead story of the day, we learn that the United States is planning to continue its policy of assassinating individuals, via drone attacks, for the foreseeable future. This is Washington’s “cure” for the mental illness of not believing that America is the savior of mankind, bringing democracy, freedom and happiness to all. (The article adds that the number of “militants and civilians” killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by some estimates, surpassing the number of people killed on September 11.)
Undoubtedly there are many people in Afghanistan, high and low, who know that their ancient cure is nonsense, but the chainings have continued for centuries. Just as certain, there are American officials who know the same about their own cure. Here’s a senior American official: “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us. … We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America’.” Yet , we are told, “Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.”
We can also be confident that there have been people chained to the wall in Afghanistan who were not particularly mentally ill to begin with but became so because of the cure. And just as certain, there have been numerous people in several countries who were not anti-American until a drone devastated their village, family or neighbors.
The Post article also reported that Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returned from Pakistan a while ago and recounted a heated confrontation with his counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. “Mullen told White House and counterterrorism officials that the Pakistani military chief had demanded an answer to a seemingly reasonable question: After hundreds of drone strikes, how could the United States possibly still be working its way through a ‘top 20′ list?”
American officials defended the arrangement even while acknowledging an erosion in the caliber of operatives placed in the drones’ cross hairs. “Is the person currently Number 4 as good as the Number 4 seven years ago? Probably not,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official. “But it doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous.” The Post added this comment: “Internal doubts about the effectiveness of the drone campaign are almost nonexistent.”
The next day we could read in the Post: “There is ample evidence in Pakistan that the more than 300 [drone] strikes launched under Obama have helped turn the vast majority of the population vehemently against the United States.”
Wake up and smell the bullshit. Then go vote.
After the second presidential debate in early October, Luke Rudkowski of the media group We Are Change asked Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, about President Obama’s widely reported “kill list” of Americans and foreigners who can be assassinated without charge or trial.
Luke Rudkowski: ”If President Romney becomes president, he’s going to inherit President Barack Obama’s secret ‘kill list’? This is going to be debated. How do you think Romney will handle this ‘kill list,’ and are you comfortable with him having a ‘kill list’?”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ”I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Obama has a secret ‘kill list’ which he has used to assassinate different people all over the world.”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ”I’m happy to answer any serious questions you have.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Why is that not serious?”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Luke Rudkowski: ”Of course you don’t.”
The existence of the U.S. ‘kill list’ has been publicly known for nearly two years and was the subject of a 6,000-word exposé in the New York Times in May.
At the same event, Sierra Adamson of We Are Change asked former White House Press Secretary and current Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs about the U.S. killing of Abdulrahman Awlaki, the teenage son of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
Sierra Adamson: ”Do you think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who was an American citizen, is justifiable?”
Robert Gibbs: ”I’m not going to get into Anwar al-Awlaki’s son. I know that Anwar al-Awlaki renounced his citizenship.”
Sierra Adamson: ”His son was still an American citizen.”
Robert Gibbs: ”Did great harm to people in this country and was a regional al-Qaeda commander hoping to inflict harm and destruction on people that share his religion and others in this country. And…”
Sierra Adamson: ”That’s an American citizen that’s being targeted without due process of law, without trial. And he’s underage. He’s a minor.”
Robert Gibbs: ”I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father. If they’re truly concerned about the well-being of their children, I don’t think becoming an al-Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.” 2
To demonstrate that the bullshit is bipartisan, we now present Mr. Mitt Romney, speaking during the presidential foreign policy debate: “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea. It’s the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally, Israel.”
However, a look at a map reveals firstly that Iran does not share a border with Syria; there’s something called Iraq in between; and secondly that Iran already has access to the sea on both its north and south; actually about 1100 miles of coastline. Romney has made this particular blunder repeatedly, and the Washington Post has pointed it out on several occasions. Post columnist Al Kamen recently wrote: “We tried so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that.” 3
Of course, neither Obama nor the debate moderator pointed out Romney’s errors.
The sanctity of life
“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice-president, told the conservative Weekly Standard in 2010. 4
How nice. Yet the man supports all of America’s wars, each of which takes the lives of large numbers of people, both American and foreign; and he’s opposed to national health insurance, which would save countless more lives. The good congressman is also an avid hunter and supporter of gun-owners’ rights, so he apparently is not too pro-life concerning other creatures of God’s Kingdom. Of course, what Ryan actually means by “life” is an embryo or fetus, perhaps even a zygote. Oh wait, that’s not all of it – corporations are also people whose lives Ryan cherishes.
The fate of those who do not love the empire
On October 7 Hugo Chávez won his fourth term in office as president of Venezuela. The feeling of frustration that must have descended upon the Venezuelan and American power elite is likely reminiscent of Chile, March 1973, when the party of another socialist and American bête noire, Salvador Allende — despite the best intentions and dollars without end of the CIA — won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections, compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being unable, despite their most underhanded efforts, to prevent his popularity from increasing even further.
During the spring and summer the Agency’s destabilization process escalated. There was a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with a particularly long one by the truckers. Time magazine reported: “While most of the country survived on short rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout.” A reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on “a lavish communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas” where the money for it came from. “From the CIA,” they answered laughingly. 5
There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June, an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and the ultra-right Patria y Libertad.
In September the military prevailed. “It is clear,” said the later US Senate investigating committee, “the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973.” 6 The United States had also prepared the way for the military action through its economic intervention and support of the anti-Allende media.
Chávez has already been overthrown once in a coup that the United States choreographed, in 2002, but a combination of some loyal military officers and Chávez’s followers in the streets combined for a remarkable reversal of the coup after but two days. The Venezuelan opposition will not again make the mistake of not finishing Chávez off when they have him in their custody.
Both Hugo Chávez and Salvador Allende had sinned by creating “nationalistic” regimes that served the wrong “national interest”. The hatred felt by the power elite for such men is intense. The day after the legally and democratically elected Venezuelan leader was ousted, but before being restored to power, the New York Times(April 13, 2002) was moved to pen the following editorial:
“With yesterday’s resignation [what the coup leaders called it] of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader.”
It should be noted that the “respected business leader”, Pedro Carmona, quickly dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, and annulled the Venezuelan constitution.
And keep in mind that in the United States the New York Times is widely regarded as a “liberal” newspaper; most conservatives would say “very liberal”, if not “socialist”.
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 21 ↩
- Democracy Now, October 25, 2012 ↩
- Washington Post, October 24, 2012, column by Al Kamen ↩
- New York Times, August 12, 2012 ↩
- Time, September 24, 1973, p.46 ↩
- Covert Action in Chile, 1963‑1973, a Staff Report of The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate) December 18, 1975, p.39 ↩
Why there won’t be a ceasefire this Eid al Adha in Syria…
International peace envoy Lakhdar Mr Brahimi, who represents the UN and the Arab League, just left Damascus after urging the government and the rebels to observe a 4 day truce over the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which this year begins at dusk on October 25th. Also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, Adha is a Muslim holiday which commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his eldest son Ismael, in obedience to a command from God.
Sunday morning I was in the lobby of my hotel, where it turns out, UN envoy Brahimi is also staying, chatting with one of the remaining three United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) members still in town. The affable trio is all what remains of the roughly 300 UN Observers who spent months here (40 stayed at this Dama Rose secured Hotel) trying to help with a separation agreement that never really got off the ground.
There were also in the lobby perhaps a hundred reporters and cameramen who were busy setting up for the news conference the Brahimi staff announced would begin immediately following the envoys meeting with Syrian president Bashar Assad.
No sooner had envoy Brahimi entered the hotel than he rushed to his room calling over his shoulder that he would be right back. As we waited, a rather unkempt zany lady approached me. Turned out she was a really energetic and intense Italian reporter and she wasted no time stating her business. Said she, “I know you’re Franklin Lamb and you’re staying on the executive floor. What are you doing in Damascus?” Nonplused, I replied, “Ma’m I’m here for a couple of appointments at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp and looking into the current political situation.”
She gave me one of those scowling “give me a break buddy!!” looks and got straight to her point, drawing hard on her cigarette and blowing the smoke sideways. “Mr. Lamb, do I look naïve to you or what,? she demanded to know, a bit aggressively. Before I had a chance to utter a stammering syllable, the lady lit into me with: “I happen to know from a reliable source that you, an American, are staying on the executive floor and also on that floor are Russians, Iranians, and Hezbollah. That’s no accident Mr. Lamb is it? What are you all doing up there? What are your meetings about? Don’t worry I won’t quote you but are you gentlemen going to arrange for an Eid ceasefire?”
Mercifully, as I closed my, by then gape mouth, envoy Brahimi appeared from the elevator with his entourage to begin his news conference and I haven’t seen the dear dingy lady since, as she rushed front and center to shout a question and then, following the short news conference, followed Mr. Brahimi out the front door as he left for another appointment. My point is that there are plenty of wild speculations and conspiracy theories around this town as elsewhere, concerning Brahimi’s important mission.
Envoy Brahimi didn’t reveal much about his mission but spoke about his hope of reaching a ceasefire and mentioned his meetings with government officials including Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, and President Bashar Assad. In this observers opinion, his body language revealed more than his words and reflected his resignation that there will be no ceasefire as he told us, “If we achieve this ceasefire during the al-Adha holiday and maintain it, we can try and build on it. If it does not happen, then we will keep trying and we hope we can find another way to bring relief to the Syrian people.”
UN envoy Brahimi seems to know that his noble mission will come to naught, at least this time. But aides say he will persevere until the US, Russia and Iran agree to a diplomatic solution. He told reporters that some members of the opposition whom he had met were open to the idea of a ceasefire only if the Syrian government committed to it. In a statement after the talks with Mr Brahimi, PresidentAssad said: “Syria is open to any sincere efforts for a political solution to the Syrian crisis based on respect for Syria’s sovereignty and the rejection of outside intervention.”
The reason, and perhaps it’s impolite, since Eid is still days away and UN envoy Brahimi might still pull a rabbit out of the hat, for this observer to reluctantly conclude that he has failed in his mission is substantial evidence garnered from discussions here over the past several days. Would that I am mistaken. But for this observer, being here makes all the difference, as I learned in Libya, in getting a more accurate picture than offered from the main stream media on the one hand and some of the more chronic conspiracy theorists on the other. The key to learning what is happening seems quite simple: listening, listening and listening to a cross section of the Syrian population and moving around the neighborhoods as much as possible.
Perhaps the most often heard argument one hears in Damascus from the general population, military types and even officials involves mistrust and doubts across much of Syria that the opposition would honor a ceasefire. One Syrian army officer I met who is a liaison with the remaining three UN observers, freely answered my questions including one focusing on what he would propose to President Asaad if he was presenting his professional and personal advice to the Syrian leader.
“For sure I would advise our President to oppose a ceasefire at this time. For these main reasons:
First is would dishonor the hundreds of our brothers in the military who have sacrificed for their country with their lives. To me it would be almost traitorous not to press on with the military momentum that we now have achieved after hard months of conflict. We need to finish with these foreign terrorists and our fellow citizens agree. We are currently in the strongest military position because of those among our ranks who died defending our country.
Second, a ceasefire, even for 96 hours, will allow our enemies to relax, re-group, bring in more supplies of heavy weapons funded by Gulf countries with the blessing of yours who are offering non-lethal assistance such as night vision devices and related equipment. As a military person I can assure your government that there is no such thing as non-lethal aid when it’s the type they are furnishing including “non-lethal communication” equipment. Having state of the art communications equipment is more important than rifles in some instances.
Why should we give them these gifts? Do you think al Qaeda and these North African and Gulf jihadists will observe the Eid al Adha holiday? Do you think they will pass Eid praying and sacrificing lambs and camels and distributing the meat to poor people as a gift? Or by celebrating the end of the Haij Pilgrimage and asking God for forgiveness? No my dear, I assure you they will not. They will use a ceasefire to rebuild their ranks to prolong the chaos and terror. Our president is very wise and he knows this as well.
He continued: “We will defeat this western project to destroy the regional Resistance but we won’t do it by stopping our momentum. We are making advances on the ground that you don’t hear about from media outlets like al Jazeera and al Arabiya buts it’s true. We can take you to have a look if you like. Of course you can find some of our military leadership who favor a ceasefire, but the big majority agrees with the views I expressed and I would give to our President. I think our leaders would face criticism from the military and the public if they ignored our views. I expect there will be no Eid ceasefire unless the international community can convince us that they would be a “freeze in place” which means no fighter on either side could move and take advantage of the calm. Trust is the big problem for us. Who will guarantee a ceasefire?
“Let me give you an example “He then explained that there are now 8 Syrian army checkpoints between Damascus and Homs, so the road is usually secure. He continues, “the opposition has the habit of using terror and hit and run tactics. They set up check points for pro-western media outlets to film to demonstrate that they are gaining support and then they quickly run away before the Syrian army attacks them. It’s kind of a psychological war but as a military man I can tell you psychological tactics with one’s enemy are very important. Their aims are to impress the western media and to weaken the confidence of our people, soldiers and leaders. They will eventually fail but an ill-considered ceasefire for Eid will not help.
These officers’ views appear to be widely held here.
Dr. Nabil Toumeh, a historian and CEO of Toumeh International in Damascus supports the regime yet, like many, even officials is also critical and emphasizes the need for reforms. Dr. Toumeh, hosted me in his office a few nights ago and spoke frankly and he explained to this observer that a growing number, probably around 65% of Syrians support the government and its efforts to end the crisis, they also demand three major reforms, being the economy, security agencies and the military which is top heavy with Allawites. I am not finding here the fear of criticizing the government that I found in Libya under Gadhafi and which persists there, if to a lesser extent, today. One Damascene, a 24 year old graduate who eschews politics, but who is still angry at having his car hijacked by an armed gang three weeks ago, told me that “you can speak pretty freely, but its best not to act or get involved with street groups. But you know, increasingly people are losing their fear of the security services. We just want the killing to stop. We want to get on with our lives. Enshallah it will happen soon.”
Tehran and Washington are employing competing strategies via their political allies in Lebanon to win 70 seats in next year’s June 2013 parliamentary election, should they actually be held which is looking doubtful to this observer. Their efforts are designed to control the next government here while widening the spectrum of challenges to the other in order to undermine chances for their adversary gaining regional hegemony.
Both American and Iranian Lebanese allies preparing for the critical election have presented to Parliament different sized electoral districts. The daily boasting and arguing over the dimensions and quality of their proposed electoral districts appear almost Freudian.
The election preparations are part of the open confrontation between the March 8 (pro Iran) and March 14 (pro US-Saudi) forces and expose contradictory and incompatible positions and they seek to undermine the others ability to achieve a parliamentary majority.
The process law amendment process has been truly labyrinthine. Simply put, the common factor between the proposed electoral laws is that each aims at securing a parliamentary majority that is not dependent on Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblat’s block which often has functioned as a kind of check and balance on the other two.
The pro-American coalition insists that smaller is actually better in order for them to win more than 70 seats which is half of parliament plus at six seats and without needing Jumblatt’s help. The PSP has consistently rejected the Hezbollah led government’s draft electoral law, which would divide Lebanon into 13-15 large sized districts based on a system of proportional representation. Hezbollah had made overtures to Jumblat in a bid to convince him of their electoral law draft based on proportional representation and a claimed new and appealing distribution of electorates. However, the Druze leader maintains his rejection of an electoral law based on proportional representation, which he believes is aimed at eliminating a major political camp, a National Struggle Front, PSP sources told Naharnet Newsdesk on 10/7/12.
March 14’s Christian parties are insisting on a law that would divide Lebanon into 50 small districts under a winner-takes-all-system. The proposal has drawn the ire of Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun who labels it a “political division” and who demands a law that would require that every sect elects its own MPs, under a proportional representation system with all Lebanon as a single huge district.
As the Daily Star’s Michael Young has pointed out, lest there be any doubt as to how futile the debate over a new election law has become, they were dispelled recently when the parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, announced that he supported “the formation of a parliamentary subcommittee to discuss such legislation.” This is well known code language meaning that Parliament will soon sweep the electoral reform discussion into a labyrinth of incessant recrimination and down a black hole to oblivion, just as has been the case with respect to women’s, domestic worker’s, and Palestinian elementary civil rights.
Against this backdrop of Parliamentary paralysis, more Lebanese women than ever before are getting organized to participate in next year’s Parliamentary elections and vowing that current representatives in parliament will not be given another chance if they did not support or pledge to guarantee women’s rights. Their initiatives are being supported by many in Lebanon’s 250,000 Palestinian refugee community since both women and Palestinian civil rights groups in recent years have come to believe that if and when one group gains any rights it will aid the other.
Among the many failures of Lebanon’s politicians to accept women’s rights are those noted below, part of a list being circulated by women’s organizations. Historically, women’s rights advocacy groups here is Lebanon were relatively weak and widely ridiculed by deep and pervasive paternalism.
But this appears to be changing.
· Parliament has consistently refused to enact laws identifying marital rape as even a crime;
· Domestic violence is not taken seriously by the Government of Lebanon and no police protection is available;
· Parliament, for more than 50 years has refused to enable women married to foreigners to pass their nationality onto their husbands or even to their children because of the deeply embedded paternal guardianship culture supported by a majority of religious leaders from all 18 sects.
· Lebanese women are not allowed to open bank accounts for their children, and women, according to all of Lebanon’s 18 religious courts, have no rights over their bodies. Simply put, Parliament accepts the notion that women’s bodies are the sole personal property of their husbands.
· Parliament has consistently refused to lift Lebanon’s reservations on Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which addresses equality between men and women in marriage and family life.
· Parliament has refused to amend the draft bill presented by women’s rights activists in 2010, which was amended earlier in 2012 when a section that would criminalize marital rape was removed by the parliamentary subcommittee.
· All of the main political parties their MPs to express reservations regarding the draft bill, because, according to KAFA “they all agree that women have no rights over their bodies.
The Lebanese NGO, KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), preparing for the election, is a fast growing civil rights organization whose mission is to achieve eradication of all forms of gender-based violence as well as the exploitation of women and children through advocating for legal reform and change of governmental policies and practices. One supporter of KAFA recently noted that “a husband in Lebanon can hit, rape or kill his wife and no one would raise an eyebrow. She is his “property,” and nobody can do anything to protect her or hold him responsible.” According to KAFA, “one woman dies every month as a result of family violence in Lebanon. Women have complained, petitioned and sometimes demonstrated against the unjust laws that allow such crimes to pass, but no one listens.”
Hanin Ghaddar the managing editor of NOW Lebanon pledged this week a mission that many women and men agree with: “I will only vote for men and women candidates who have already stood by women. This time, as the region boils with hope and fear, the right to citizenship seems to be the fundamental feature behind every demand. The shaky “Spring” surrounding us cannot be complete without women’s complete citizenship. Our vote is our spring. “
It’s not the size of the electoral districts favored by this or that macho male political party for the 2013 election that is most satisfactory for women in Lebanon this election season. It’s what the men who dominate Parliament and Lebanon will do with them.
“The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” – Dante
The world watches as a nation is torn, slow motion, at the seams. Money and geopolitics has caused a feeding frenzy of western nations biting and tearing at Syria, all hoping to profit from the regime’s destruction.
Toward this effort, England, France, and the United States announced increased support to the “rebels” of Syria. The Obama administration promised $45 million more in funding for aid that has now totaled $175 million (is it any wonder there are budget problems inside the U.S.?).
And although much of the U.S. aid is designated as “humanitarian,” this money will directly help the military mission by bolstering the prestige of opposition groups, who will use the U.S. aid to gain adherents by being able to feed and house refugees fleeing the destruction (assuming that not all of this money will simply be used to buy guns).
Of course there is no accounting of the amount of money and arms the CIA is funneling into the country. But even The New York Times has admitted the CIA’s involvement; in June it wrote:
“A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers…the weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.”
There you have the Syrian opposition in a nutshell: groups of mercenaries funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States and France, and the Muslim Brotherhood inside Syria. All of these groups have their own self-interest in toppling the Syrian government, while destroying the country and its people in the process.
Saudi Arabia has used the Muslim Brotherhood as a key tool in its foreign policy for decades, funding the organization in countries all over the Middle East and North Africa. When Saudi Arabia beckons, the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups can be used to destabilize “unfriendly” regimes in the name of “jihad” — officially declared by clerics who work in tandem with the Saudi Arabian government to recruit fighters for the effort. This is why there are “terrorist” groups now fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, including Al Qaeda — itself born from the purse strings of Saudi Arabia, like the Taliban (there is an excellent chapter about this dynamic in Vijay Prashad’s book, the Darker Nations).
It is very revealing that, after the U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and large amounts of weaponry has been trafficked into the country, the Syrian government still controls the vast majority of the country. This is because the majority of people inside Syria do not support the so-called Syrian Opposition. If this were the case, the Syrian government would have long since been overthrown. The revolutionaries of Egypt and Tunisia did not need any outside help in toppling their government, nor large amounts of money or weaponry.
Therefore, the steady destruction of Syria will continue until it reaches a Libya-like crescendo: a “no fly zone” will be the goal of the western powers, with the motive of toppling the regime.
But like in Libya, a no fly zone equals total war. Syria has advanced Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, which must be destroyed to enforce such a no fly zone. Syria also has fighter jets that must be destroyed. Additional ground support must be destroyed. And like Libya, once the bombs start dropping, the mission quickly changes from a “no fly zone” to “regime change,” i.e., war.
But Syria has a much more powerful army than Libya, requiring that the U.S. military become directly involved in the war, as opposed to outsourcing the conflict to England and France as they did in Libya. Only the U.S. military and its subordinate allies have the required weapons to deal with Syria’s Russian-made weaponry.
But the American people hate war, and thus the U.S. government must introduce the Syrian war slowly, through non-stop anti-Syria media coverage, in the hopes that opinion polls shift enough to allow direct military intervention, as opposed to the current indirect type.
What do the people of Syria really want? The New York Times revealed that, inside Syria, a group of twenty opposition groups recently met in Syria’s capital to demand that Syria’s democratic transition happen peacefully, in effect denouncing the armed rebels who are being funded by foreign nations.
The international implications of this war have already begun to manifest. Neighboring countries are experiencing stress and destabilization by the flood of refugees from Syria. The Kurds in Syria may soon call for independence, which will incite further violence from Turkey. Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and Iran will work doubly hard to re-enforce the Syrian government as western powers do the opposite.
Ethnic and religious tensions are being stoked in all neighboring countries, which has already led to violence and will be used by politicians in those countries for political aims, leading to more violence. It’s also possible if an official war is declared against Syria, other powers will use the chaos as a shield to pursue their own interests —Israel for example, may opportunistically bomb Iran. Whatever the course of events, the emerging war in Syria has the potential not only to turn the Middle East into dust, but to drag larger powers like Russia — an ally of Syria — into conflict with the United States.
All working people in the United States have a duty to denounce this U.S.-made humanitarian tragedy and the future threat of war.