Archive | August 12th, 2012

Iran war: Countdown to IsraHell doomsday


An Iranian long-range Shahab-3 missile being launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7 July 3, 2012.

Dr. Ismael Salami, Press TV

“Why on earth is the Zionist regime making threats against Iran? How many missiles have they prepared themselves for? 10,000? 20,000? 50,000? 100,000? 150,000 or more?”

These words were expressed in full force on November 27, 2011 by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi. 

He warned Tel Aviv that “If the Zionist regime ever decides to carry out its threats against Iran, the Basij forces will exact revenge on the entity for its long span of bullying oppressed nations.”

There is a recently renewed call for military strike on Iranian nuclear sites on the part of the Zionist regime. It is reported that the voices coming from the offices of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak about Iran are “worrisome.” 

Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer says that Iran strike spells security and financial crisis and that the entity is gearing to deal with recession. 

“The primary responsibility of each country is to maintain its security. It is possible to describe situations of widespread war which would be very difficult to deal with. We are preparing for a major crisis and for security situation which is much worse,” Fischer said in an interview with Channel 2 News on Friday. 
Saudi Arabia has warned Israel that it would shoot down any Israeli fighter jets that enter its airspace en route to an attack on Iran. However, other sources says Riyadh might allow Israeli jets to enter its airspace if Israel coordinates the military strike with Washington and does not embark on military strike unilaterally. 

More to the point, Western presstitute media have ratcheted up an anti-Iran campaign at the behest of their Zionist masters with the express intention of rending any possible Israeli strike on Iran legitimate in the eyes of the western community. In line with this satanic policy and in order to add fuel to fire, Reuters reported that “Iran has stepped up work to develop a nuclear warhead,” quoting Israeli newspapers as saying on Sunday.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak shamelesslylied to the media and said that US President Barack Obama had received a new National Intelligence Estimate to the effect that Iran had made significant and surprising progress toward military nuclear capability. However, US officials said on Thursday the United States still believes that Iran is not on the verge of having a nuclear weapon and that Tehran has not made a decision to pursue one. 

A White House National Security Council spokesman refuted the Israeli reports, saying the US intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities had not changed since earlier this year. 

“We believe that there is time and space to continue to pursue a diplomatic path, backed by growing international pressure on the Iranian government,” the spokesman said. “We continue to assess that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon.” 

Unfortunately, the international community is prone to forget that Israel is the thieving entity and that it is an irresponsible regime with a huge arsenal of at least 300 nuclear warheads at its disposal. It is excruciatingly manifest that the nuclear reality of Israel and what immeasurable destruction it can wreak on the entire region and the world are often consigned to oblivion and any suggestion to that effect is brushed away with a gesture of nonchalance. Ironically, global ignorance is turned into an asset for the Israeli regime in order to carry on or out with its threats against Iran.

In fact, what torments the Israeli officials tremendously is that Iran is paying no attention to the US-orchestrated illegal sanctions. Iran believes that the sanctions are like obstacles placed on its path by ill wishers and that they have to be overcome in one way or another. In other words, Iran stands tall against the bullies and their heavy-handed tactics. That is why the Israeli top echelons have taken recourse to lies and rumors about the country. 

From a military point of view, Iran is an extremely powerful country. In July, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired indigenous missiles in a three-day military drill codenamed The Great Prophet 7. 

A number of missiles were test-fired including Shahab (Meteor) 1, 2, 3, Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf), Tondar (Lightning), Fateh (Victor) and Zelzal (earthquake) as well as Qiam (Uprising). 

The Pentagon has recently confessed to the “lethality and effectiveness” of Iranian missiles, saying that Tehran is a “formidable force” in defending its territory. 

According to a June 29 report by the Pentagon, “Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that “extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead.”

Signed by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the report had been submitted to the four US congressional defense committees to comply with a 2010 directive to provide an annual classified and unclassified assessment of Iran’s military power. 

Be that as it may, Iran’s prodigious military capabilities, as it has often pointed out, are defensive and will only be used against aggressors and those who threaten the country’s territorial integrity. 

But if Israel ever ventures into a military strike against Iran, it must ask itself this question first: how many Iranian missiles can the Zionist entity take 10,000? 20,000? 50,000? 100,000? 150,000 or more? 

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US-UK listed terror organization Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) fighters and commanders are clearly amongst militants underwritten by latest UK funding.

Tony Cartalucci 

In direct violation of both American and British anti-terrorism legislation, particularly provisionsregarding providing material support for listed or proscribed terrorist organizations, the United Kingdom has just announced that it will provide armed militants that include listed terror organizations with a £5 million tranche of what it calls “non-lethal practical assistance.”

Image: Little else could accentuate the hypocrisy and unhinged madness of US and British foreign policy more than  Foreign Secretary William Hague announcing his government’s decision to fund genocidal sectarian extremists murdering under the flag of Al Qaeda in Syria.

Both British and American journalists have clearly identified and documented the presence of foreign fighters with militant extremist ties pouring over the Turkish-Syrian border, most recently in an attempt to overrun the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. CNN, whose Ivan Watson accompanied FSA terrorists over the Turkish-Syrian border and into Aleppo revealed that indeed foreign fighters were amongst the militants. It was admitted that:

Meanwhile, residents of the village where the Syrian Falcons were headquartered said there were fighters of several North African nationalities also serving with the brigade’s ranks.

A volunteer Libyan fighter has also told CNN he intends to travel from Turkey to Syria within days to add a “platoon” of Libyan fighters to armed movement.

CNN also added:

On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way.

The foreign fighters, some of them are clearly drawn because they see this as … a jihad. So this is a magnet for jihadists who see this as a fight for Sunni Muslims.

Foreign Policy magazine in an article titled, “The Syrian Rebels’ Libyan Weapon,” has gone as far as writing a two page profile on Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) commander Mahdi al-Harati and his role in leading the so-called “Free Syrian Army.” Also recently, the Council on Foreign Relations, a premier Fortune 500-funded US think-tank, wrote in their article, “Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria,” that:

“The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”

Clearly then, British aid is being sent to the FSA whose ranks are admittedly filled by Al Qaeda.

Also, to be clear, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is in fact an affiliate of Al Qaeda with its commanders having occupied the highest echelons of Al Qaeda’s command structure and having participated in every combat engagement Al Qaeda has conducted since its inception via US-Saudi cash and arms in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980′s. This was documented meticulously in the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq.”

LIFG is also listed by both the US State Department and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf) as a foreign terrorist organization and a proscribed terrorist organization respectively.

Foreign Policy’s admission of al-Harati’s role in organizing and leading the FSA in Syria, and the inclusion of Libyan terrorists in his brigade are by no means the only role LIFG is playing in the Syrian violence. LIFG commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj had visited the Turkish-Syrian border in late 2011 pledging Libyan arms, cash, and fighters to the FSA – with the nation of Libya itself having already become a NATO-created terrorist safe-haven.

It is clear that LIFG, and by implication Al Qaeda, is playing a significant role in the violence in Syria, not only undermining the narrative of the unrest being an “indigenous” “pro-democracy uprising,” but also implicating foreign nations who are funding and arming militants as state sponsors of terrorism.

Included amongst these state sponsors of international terrorism are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Hariri faction in northern Lebanon, as well as the NATO-installed government of Libya. This also includes both the United States, who is admittedly providing cash and equipment for the FSA as well as coordinating efforts to arm militants, and now the UK once again with their latest announcement.

With an increasing number of overt atrocities being carried out by the FSA and its ranks of extremist sectarian militants, including kidnappings, abuses, and massacres observed recently in Aleppo, it is unconscionable for the West to even rhetorically back what is clearly a sectarian-driven conflict, let alone provide equipment, cash, and arms. However, British Foreign Secretary William Hague calls it, “the right thing to do.”

Syrian rebels arrest a man who is claimed to be traitor at an old military base near Aleppo

Image: The Western media is covering – or more accurately, “spinning” – an unfolding sectarian genocide in Syria’s largest city Aleppo. In the alleys of seized streets, FSA terrorists are detaining, torturing, and killing anyone suspected of supporting the government. Such suspicions coincidentally run along sectarian divisions. By using the label “Shabiha” for all of FSA’s victims, the Western press has given a carte blanche to genocidal sectarian extremists and by doing so, has become complicit in war crimes themselves. For the British, or any other nation for that matter, to provide the FSA with even rhetorical, let alone material support, is an egregious act of international terrorism.

It is unclear whether Hague means – violating the laws of his own nation to provide material support for known, proscribed terrorists is “the right thing to do” – or if he means it is “right” to perpetuate the bloodbath in Syria as prescribed by the US Fortune 500-funded think-tank, Brookings Institution in their Middle East Memo #21,” which suggested the West “pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.” Either way, the unhinged, morally bankrupted foreign policy of the Anglo-American establishment is on full display, undermining and irrevocably damaging the legitimacy of their collective institutions in the process.

similar scenario unfolded in Libya, where LIFG terrorists were likewise carrying out a campaign of nationwide genocide with NATO providing air support. Similarly, by funding, arming, and coordinating acts of violence with LIFG fighters, NATO, and in particular, France, England, and the United States, were guilty of violating both their own respective anti-terrorism legislation, as well as international provisions against terrorism.

The brazen illegitimacy of NATO’s actions against Libya surely played a role in hobbling, perhaps permanently, the contrived geopolitical ploy of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) while simultaneously undermining the “primacy of international law.”

The protracted difficulty of the West to repeat their success in Syria can be perhaps owed in part to the unhinged policy and agenda pursued and exposed in Libya.



US Muslim man imprisoned for ‘self-defense’

A Muslim man in the US state of New York has been imprisoned after being convicted of second-degree assault although several witnesses described the incident as self-defense, Press TV reports.

Michael Williams, 39, is accused of hitting a man who had verbally attacked a group of women, with his loudspeaker.

“I had many witnesses that testified that the man assaulted me first. I reacted simply out of fear, not knowing what else he was going to do to me. [It was] out of self-defense, you know,” Williams said, referring to the January 11, 2011 incident.

According to Williams and his six witnesses, Joe Kenney had verbally harassed the women during a pro-Palestinian rally.

The confrontation started when Williams attempted to draw Kenney’s attention to himself by shouting pro-Palestinian slogans through his speaker.

The witnesses say New York police officers who came to the scene showed no interest in their side of the story. “…They did not take notes. They did not take our names. They did not take our numbers,” one of the witnesses says.

According to Williams’ attorney Lamis Deek, the prosecution received its verdict through its use of “malicious tactics” even “alleging that our witnesses were lying because of their political beliefs, because of their religious beliefs.”

After Williams, a father of two, serves his 90-day sentence, he will be on five years of probation. He must also pay Kenney more than USD 2,000 in restitution.

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Syrian security forces arrest five MKO terrorists: Report


File photo shows members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization.

File photo shows members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization.
Syrian government forces have reportedly arrested five members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) along with 35 other gunmen as they were trying to sneak across the border into the crisis-hit Arab state.

A Syrian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government forces arrested 40 terrorists on Monday as they attempted to enter Syria, Fars News Agency reported on Sunday.

The unnamed official added that five of the detainees were identified as MKO members following a full-scale investigation into the capture.

The detained MKO terrorists have confessed that the MKO is training insurgents on the Turkish soil near the border with Syria, while certain Arab and Western states are providing necessary support for their activities.

The report comes as Iraqi and Syrian security officials maintain that a large number of MKO members have entered Syria over the past few days.

The officials have also warned against MKO’s training of terrorists in Turkey as well as the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

Director of Iran’s Habilian Association Seyyed Mohammad Javad Hasheminejad had announced on May 28 that the MKO is preparing to launch a massive terrorist operation in Syria.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with many people, including large number of security forces, killed in the turmoil.

While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames outlaws, saboteurs and insurgents for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

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Egypt’s Morsi orders retirement of defense minister, chief of staff, names VP


By Ernesto Londoño

CAIRO— Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi announced Sunday that he was sacking the country’s two top military chiefs, a provocative move that could provoke a backlash from the military amid a contentious debate over presidential powers.

Morsi, the country’s first Islamist statesman, also announced he was suspending a constitutional decree the country’s generals passed on the eve of his election in June that sharply reduced the powers of the presidency and gave the military vast authority.

Morsi’s spokesman Yasser Ali announced those and other personnel changes Sunday afternoon during an appearance on state television.

The president also ordered the Air Force, Air Defense and Navy commanders to retire. Morsi also announced that he has selected senior judge Mahmoud Mekki as the country’s vice president.

It was not immediately clear whether the country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, whose members have long viewed Morsi suspiciously, agreed to the reshuffle.

Morsi appointed Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sissi as defense minister and commander of the armed forces, replacing Field Marshal Mohammed Hussain Tantawi. Tantawi served as Egypt’s de-facto president after the 2011 wintertime revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Morsi also forced Gen. Sami Anan, the country’s second most powerful military chief, into retirement.

The move comes a week after militants in northern Sinai attacked a checkpoint near the Israeli border and killed 16 Egyptian security forces. The gunmen later tried to overrun an Israeli border crossing station.

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Gen. Jerry Boykin: Romney’s new Muslim-bashing pal


Jerry Boykin: Romney's new Muslim-bashing pal

Romney meets with Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has said Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment”

He may be too extreme for West Point and George W. Bush, but apparently not for Mitt Romney. Politico reports today that the Republican presidential nominee met with retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who is now a highly controversial anti-Islam activist, in a private conclave with four other social conservative leaders in Denver last week. The day after the meeting reportedly took place, Romney dodged a question on Rep. Michele Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslims in the U.S. government. “I’m not going to tell other people what things to talk about. Those are not things that are part of my campaign,” he said at a press availability about Bachmann’s allegations last Friday.

Boykin is best known for earning a public rebuke from President Bush himself in 2003 for his vitriolic anti-Islamic rhetoric. Boykin, in uniform at the time, gave a speech portraying the war against Islamist militants as a Christian struggle against Satan, and suggested that Muslims worship an ”idol” and not ”a real God.” Some Republican lawmakers spoke out against him, as well as the president, who said, Boykin’s opinions “didn’t reflect” his or the government’s views. A year later, a Department of Defense investigation determined that Boykin had violated three internal rules while delivering his controversial anti-Islamic speeches.

Since then, Boykin has taken up fighting the perceived threat of Shariah law full-time. As People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch blog notes, “his rhetoric is often bigoted, and he regularly traffics in wild-eyed conspiracy theories — like the one about Obama creating a Hitler-style militia to force Marxism on the American people.” In 2010, he joined with Frank Gaffney, a key anti-Islamic activist, to lead an effort to produce a massive report on the threat of Sharia law.

For all this, he was forced to withdraw from a speaking invitation at West Point under intense pressure in January of this year. More recently, he was appointed to a senior position at the social conservative Family Research Council. And that’s how he ended up meeting privately with Romney.

Two other members of the group that met with Romney, social conservative activists Gary Bauer and James Dobson, signed on to a letter to House Speaker John Boehner praising Bachmann’s “good judgment, undeniable courage, and great patriotism” for “bravely demanding answers” about potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government. Boykin, Right Wing Watch notes, signed on to a separate letter expressing “strong support for congressional efforts to illuminate and address the danger posed by influence operations mounted by the Muslim Brotherhood against government agencies.”

Boykin’s rhetoric goes beyond the careful position most activists tend to stake out — condemn Islamists, but praise “peaceful, pro-America” Muslims. Boykin, on the other hand, goes right after the religion itself, saying Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment.” He’s declared that there should be “no mosques in America” because “a mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate.”

Considering that Romney’s own faith has repeatedly come under attack over the past century and half, one would think he would be more sympathetic to the plight of religious minorities in this country and not associate himself, whether publicly or privately, with such extremists.

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Decision To Attack Iran is Almost Final

Decision To Attack Iran is Almost Final : Israel TV

PM believes Iran’s regime is aiming to ‘destroy the Jewish people,’ does not think Obama will resort to force. Nuclear drive ‘further ahead’ than previously thought. In a year, Israeli action could have only ‘negligible effect’

Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have “almost finally” decided on an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities this fall, and a final decision will be taken “soon,” Israel’s main TV news broadcast reported on Friday evening.

Channel 2 News, the country’s leading news program, devoted much of its Friday night broadcast to the issue, detailing the pros and cons that, it said, have taken Netanyahu and Barak to the brink of approving an Israeli military attack despite opposition from the Obama administration and from many Israeli security chiefs.

Critically, the station’s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal said, Israel does not believe that the US will take military action as Iran closes in on the bomb.

The US, the TV report said, has not provided Israel with details of an attack plan. President Obama has not promised to attack Iran if all else fails. Conditions cited by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for an American attack do not calm Israeli concerns. And Obama has a record of seeking UN and Arab League approval before action. All these factors, in Jerusalem’s mind, underline the growing conviction of Netanyahu and Barak that Israel will have to tackle Iran alone, the TV report said.

Israel’s leaders have also noted that president George W. Bush vowed repeatedly that North Korea would not be allowed to attain a nuclear weapons capability — a vow that proved empty.

Obama does not want to intervene militarily before the presidential elections in November, and it is doubtful that he would act afterwards, runs the Israeli assessment, the TV report said. Obama may believe that the US can live with a nuclear Iran, but Israel cannot, the report quoted those in “Netanyahu’s circle” as saying.

As for presidential challenger Mitt Romney, he takes a more forceful position, but would probably not have the domestic support necessary to act in the first year of his presidency, if elected, and after that it would be too late.

The US can live with Iran as a “breakout state” — on the edge of attaining a bomb, the report said the prime minister’s circle believes. But “for Israel, a breakout state is a nuclear state.”

Netanyahu, for his part, “is convinced that thwarting Iran amounts to thwarting a plan to destroy the Jewish people,” Channel 2′s Segal said. The prime minister considers Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be acting rationally in order to achieve “fanatical” goals.

Segal said that, when considering the imperative to attack, Netanyahu and Barak reason that “we may have reached the moment of truth” after which it would be too late to stop Iran, and that “the price of an attack is far lower than the price of inaction.” It will be “a matter of a few months” before it is too late, Segal said — before, that is, Iran would be immune from damage by an Israeli strike.

The TV report cited intelligence information suggesting that Iran “is much further ahead” than previously thought in its uranium enrichment and in other aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

Segal said Israel’s capacity to impact the Iranian program was dwindling, and the “window of opportunity” was closing. “Four years ago,” he said, an Israeli strike could have set back the Iranian program “by two to four years.” A year from now, an Israeli strike “would have a negligible impact.”

Netanyahu was reported to have said in private conversations that “if no one attacks, Iran will get the bomb” — underlining that he does not believe sanctions will thwart Tehran.

The extensive TV report detailed what it said was the Israeli leadership duo’s thinking on the military, diplomatic and economic consequences of an Israeli strike, and the consequences of Iran getting the bomb.

Militarily, an Israeli strike would prompt missile attacks on Israel, attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah from the south and the north, and upheaval on the Arab street, in the leadership’s assessment. The assessment is that Syria’s President Bashar Assad would not get involved, since this would finish him off, the report said. But if Iran got the bomb, the missile threat would be escalated, Hamas and Hezbollah further empowered, and there would be a danger of any crisis escalating into a nuclear crisis.

Diplomatically, an Israeli strike would prompt a confrontation with the US, global protests, international isolation for Israel, delegitimization, and a situation in which Israel was seen as the aggressor. But if Iran got the bomb, Israel would be defeated and humiliated diplomatically, and would become a liability to the US, the TV report said Israel’s two key leaders believe.

Economically, an Israeli strike would deepen the economic slowdown and lead to a suspension of foreign investment. An Iranian bomb would end foreign investment in Israel, however, and prompt an exodus of Israel’s best brains.

Netanyahu and Barak were said to believe that an Israeli military strike, though opposed by Washington, would not shatter ties with the US. Survey figures that have impacted their thinking suggest significant US support for an American and for an Israeli strike on Iran, the TV report said.

Israel would not be planning to draw the US into a war with Iran by striking at Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report said. And Israel does not believer an attack would prompt regional war.

The TV report made much of a recent speech by Netanyahu, at the scene of Sunday’s terror attack thwarted by Israel at the Gaza-Egypt-Israel border. Visiting the area on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel “must and can” only rely on itself to safeguard its security.

“It becomes clear time after time that when it comes to the safety of Israeli citizens, Israel must and can rely only on itself. No one can fulfill this role except the IDF and different Israel security forces of Israel, and we will continue to conduct ourselves in this way,” Netanyahu said.

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Turkey uses ambulances to smuggle weapons into Syria: MP


Syrian insurgents load a wounded person into an ambulance during clashes with government forces in Aleppo on August 7, 2012.

Syrian insurgents load a wounded person into an ambulance during clashes with government forces in Aleppo on August 7, 2012.
A Turkish opposition lawmaker has accused the government of using ambulances to smuggle arms and ammunitions into Syria to be used by the country’s insurgents in their war against the government.

Mevlut Dudu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said he has made the observation during a recent visit to an area near the border with Syria.

During the visit, villagers informed him how Turkish ambulances are used to carry weapons to insurgents fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and carry out injured armed men on their way back.

Dudu said some village houses on the border are being used as military bases against the Syrian government forces. He further expressed surprise at the sight of Turkey’s military support for the anti-Damascus armed gangs in the region.

“If true, it is absolutely unacceptable,” Dudu stated, warning Ankara of the dire consequences of such acts of aggression against Damascus.

The Turkish MP also held Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accountable for leading the country into a predicament by meddling in Syria’s internal affairs.

On Wednesday, some Turkey’s media published pictures of 10 Turkish troops fighting alongside insurgents in Syria’s port city of Latakia. US media have also said some 600 anti-Syria Caucasian militia forces have entered the crisis-hit country via Turkey.

Damascus has accused several regional countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding and supplying weapons to armed gangs in the country.

On Tuesday, more than 100 Turkish troops armed with thermal rockets and sophisticated weaponry on briefly entered the town of Cerablos in Syria’s Kurdish region of Kobani.

A spokesman for the Kurdish militias in the border towns of Kobani and Efrin has also confirmed the role of Turkish forces in supplying arms and ammunition to anti-Syria insurgents, while media say some 40 Turkish troops are being held in custody inside Syria.

Last week, the Turkish Army staged tank exercises in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province, just two kilometers away from the Syrian border.

The NBC News also reported on July 31 that nearly two dozen MANPADs (man-portable air-defense systems) have been delivered to the insurgents in Syria by Turkey.

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu had earlier warned the government against dragging the country in the “Middle Eastern quagmire” by its aggressive stance against Syria.

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Bomb Iran Fever


By Pepe Escobar

Where’s the great Christopher Walken when we need him? “I’ve got a fever! [1] And the only prescription is … Bomb Iran!” That’s the story, at least in Israel. Fever pitch will rule at least for the next six months.

This past weekend, the Israel Hayom newspaper – financed by casino mogul and Mitt Romney groupie Sheldon Adelson – dedicated a whole supplement to the fever. Lead articles had titles such as “Bomb or Bombing: Poker with the Cards Close to the Vest.”

Yet earlier last week, a leak to the Yediot Ahronot daily [2] revealed that the cream of Israel’s military leaders are against war on Iran – known in its aseptic version as “preemptive strike”.

It’s an impressive cast of characters. Here we have chief of the general staff Benny Gantz; the chief of operations of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Ya’akov Ayash; Tamir Pardo, the head of Mossad; Aviv Kochavi, in charge of Aman, the military intelligence directorate; the department heads of Mossad; the head of the Israeli Air Force Amir Eshel; not to mention at least four ministers of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s eight-man “kitchen cabinet”.

There are qualifiers. Some admit they would only support an attack on Iran if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei – or International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors – announced a major weaponization game changer. Some others admit they will only support an attack if the US is on board; that’s the case of retired Mossad heads Meir Dagan and Efraim Halevy and former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

The key player here is of course Gantz. He’s always kept the attack option on the table. But he has also leaked that he knows any attack, even successful, won’t smash Iran’s nuclear program; besides, he also fears the geopolitical repercussions. When Gantz admitted a tiny sliver of all this on an Israeli TV channel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the report to “disappear”. [3]

So it boils down essentially to Bibi and Barak against all the above. This poses at least two key questions. How could Bibi possibly order an attack when the best Israeli informed minds know that would inflict a maximum six-month delay on Iran’s nuclear program, according to extensive American calculations? And that a strike would definitely lead Tehran to abandon its current, prudent, “latency period” and go for broke on the weaponization front?

Murphy, take my call 
Non-denial denials will spring up from all corners, but only people tripping on Alice in Wonderland believe Israel would attack Iran without an absolute green light from Washington. Russia, China, Pakistan, everyone knows about the US-Israel game of rearranging musical chairs preceding a possible attack on Iran. [4] 
Hebrew University Political Science professor Ira Sharkansky, blogging at the Jerusalem Post, mentions yet another former Mossad head saying that Israel should not – and most likely will not – act without US consent.

This new collective foreign policy blog tried to answer some of the imponderables. But it still boils down to that old Hollywood maxim; no one knows anything.

No one knows whether the Israeli military may have come up with some magic, aerial attack route (without, for instance, overflying Iraq; forget about a ground attack and forget about nuking Iran); whether it has the means to launch a mini-Shock and Awe against Hezbollah positions in Lebanon; whether it has enough last-generation bunker busters to penetrate Iranian installations deep underground; whether it has just-in-time intel, for that matter. 
Murphy’s Law applies here. Even the Pentagon knows that everything that may go wrong may actually go wrong. [5]

And even if it doesn’t, the trillion-dollar question still remains; what kind of game is US President Barack Obama actually playing?

All would be excused if this were just sunburn caused by prolonged summer beach exposure. But we’re talking about war, preemptive war, bypassing international law – and based on a concentric set of hypotheticals, not to mention lies.

The IAEA, US National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and even Israeli intelligence know there is no Iran nuclear weapons program. Russia – which has thousands of technicians in Iran – also knows it.

The notion that Iran is a threat to Israel springs up from a Dadaist manifesto. Israel is an actual – undeclared – nuclear power (it never subscribed to the NPT); Iran (which subscribes to the NPT) is not. 
As John Glaser at succinctly summarized, “the US has Iran militarily surrounded, has conducted covert ops along with Israel, constantly threatens Iran with preemptive military strike, and is heaping harsh economic sanctions.” [6] Threat? Who’s threatening who here?

Yet what is extraordinary is how Tel Aviv manages to strike one fabulous PR coup after another – at least in terms of brainwashing American public opinion – by just changing the red line. [7]

Just read carefully this Barak interview with CNN. [8]

It’s all here. There is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. Iran is not a threat – immediate or otherwise. What we have here is the defense minister of a country saying that another country should not be allowed to enter a “zone of immunity” beyond which it cannot be harassed, attacked, bombed, invaded.

Imagine if this was a Chinese or Russian defense minister nonchalantly proclaiming it out loud on American TV.

Back to the Great Game 
The whole convoluted premise for an Israeli attack on Iran turns out to be bogus.

A number of countries – such as Japan, South Korea and Brazil – have the breakout capability in terms of assembling a nuclear weapon; the technology is decades old. This does not mean that they will do it.

The fact that Tehran allows immensely intrusive IAEA inspections and has offered concessions over the years that go way beyond its obligations under the NPT proves it does not want to build a bomb tomorrow (or yesterday, according to Israel). And even if it did, that would be detected just-in-time.

As it stands, Obama seems to bet that poker player Bibi won’t have the guts to order an attack on Iran while he’s in the Oval office. This is a plausible enough argument for why Obama might be tempted to launch an October surprise; but ultra-cautious, pragmatist Obama might only go for it in absolute desperation. As for Bibi, he would love Washington to do the dirty work for him (Israel, technically, can’t do it, and Benny Gantz knows it). So Bibi is already on “Waiting for Mitt” mode.

In terms of the Big Picture – the New Great Game in Eurasia – the Iranian nuclear program is just an excuse; the only one in the market, actually. This goes way beyond Israel and its own regional fever.

Cutting through the fog enveloping the 33-year-long wall of mistrust between Washington and Tehran, Washington’s fever remains the same, from Clinton I and II to Bush I and II to Obama and beyond; we need regime change, we need a Persian satrapy like we had before, we need all that oil and gas in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea for the West, and not for the East, we need to control this vital strategic node in Eurasia. For this fever, there seems to be no cure.

Notes: 1. See here
2. ‘Bibi Can’t OK Iran Strike As Defense Chiefs Demur’, Jewish Daily Forward, July 31, 2012
3. See here
4. US, Israel arranging roles in Iran war theater?, Russia Today, August 6, 2012
5. U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran, New York Times, March 16, 2012
6. Ehud Barak Admits Iran Has Defensive Posture, No Weapons Program,, August 03, 2012
7. Can We Still Tell if Iran Decides to Build a Nuclear Bomb?, The Atlantic, Aug 6 
ml 8. CNN THE SITUATION ROOM, July 30, 2012

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).

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Syria and the Invisible Hand of Foreign Intervention


By Eric S. Margolis

The Polish Zionist ideologue Vladimir Jabotinsky, the father of Israel’s right wing, observed nearly a century ago that much of the Arab world was a fragile mosaic. A few sharp blows, he wrote, would cause it to shatter, leaving Israel the region’s dominant power. Jabotinsky may have been right.

Even if the Bashar al-Assad regime manages to hang on in Syria, that country’s economy is being wrecked, its people driven into poverty and neighbors tempted to intervene. Israel just threatened to attack Syria’s modest store of chemical weapons. Turkey is stumbling into the morass, egged on by the Saudis and Gulf Arabs. Russia’s national prestige is increasingly involved in Syria—which is as close to its borders as northern Mexico is to the United States. Iran may yet get involved.

We could be observing the beginning of a twenty-first-century version of the 1930s’ Spanish civil war, which became a proxy struggle between Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union. The only thing we know for sure about Syria’s civil war is that it is extremely dangerous to the entire region. Its outcome is entirely unpredictable. Meanwhile, the West keeps fueling the fires.

As a veteran correspondent who has covered fourteen conflicts and closely followed events in Syria since 1975, I have become convinced that there’s much more to the civil war raging in Syria than Westerners are being told by their governments or the blinkered media.

Last week, Reuters reported a classified intelligence “finding” signed by President Obama authorizing aid to the Syrian rebels. This may be the tip of the iceberg that eventually reveals an extensive covert campaign by the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus. According to this scenario, these U.S. allies would be using Qatar, assorted freelance jihadists and Lebanese rightists as cat’s-paws to sustain the uprising. Jihadists, both Syrian and foreign, may also play a spearhead role in the fighting.

In fact, the Assad clan was long a target of jihadist wrath, described as godless tyrants oppressing good Muslims, in bed with the heretical Shia of Iran and too often cooperating with Western powers. Osama Bin Laden called on all jihadists to overthrow the Assads. Bin Laden is gone, of course, but the movement he sparked continues to gain momentum.

That revolution has erupted again in Syria is no surprise: the Assad family and its Alawite power base have brutally ruled Syria for over forty years. Rebellions by the Sunni majority, led by the underground Muslim Brotherhood, have been crushed with ferocity. This writer was outside the city of Hama in 1982 when government heavy guns and tanks put down a Sunni rebellion there, inflicting an estimated ten thousand casualties.

But until recently, Syria was in our good books. The Assad regime quietly cooperated with Western powers and Israel, jailed or liquidated Islamists, and kept quiet about the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. The Bush administration even sent Islamist suspects to be imprisoned in Syria. Assad and his henchmen were another of our unsavory allies.

However, that was before war fever over Iran gripped Washington. Overthrowing the Assad government, Iran’s only Arab ally, would be a natural first step in overthrowing Iran’s Islamic government and isolating, then eliminating, Israel’s bitter Lebanese foe, Hezbollah.

If Syria were shattered into little confessional ministates and Hezbollah crushed, Lebanon likely would become an Israeli protectorate. Such was the strategic plan of Israel’s General Ariel Sharon in 1982.

Western powers already may be employing destabilization methods in Syria that were perfected in Libya. The DGSE, French foreign intelligence, cobbled together a group of Libyan exiles to form the “National Forces Coalition,” which rallied anti-Qadaffi elements in Benghazi. Britain’s MI6 intelligence had been active there for decades stirring up opponents of the Qadaffi regime.

In Libya, NATO air power intervened on “humanitarian” grounds to halt killing of civilians. News reports showed only lightly armed civilians battling Qadaffi’s regulars. Not shown were French, British and some other Western special forces disguised as Libyans that did much of the fighting and targeted air strikes.

France made use of a similar tactics in its brief border war with Libya in 1986 over the disputed Aouzou Strip on the Chadian-Libyan desert border. Chadian troops supposedly routed Libyan forces. In reality, the “Chadians” were actually tough French Foreign Legionnaires decked out in Bedouin dress. I interviewed some of the Legionnaires involved.

Fast-forward to today’s Syria. As a former soldier, I cannot believe that anti-Assad forces in Syria have made such great strides on their own. All armed forces require command and control, specialized training, communications and logistics. How have anti-Assad forces moved so quickly and pushed back Syria’s capable, well-equipped army? Where does all their ammo come from? Who is supplying all those modern assault rifles with optical sights?

How have so many Syrian T-72 tanks and other armored vehicles been knocked out? Not by amateur street fighters. Powerful antitank weapons—likely French, American or Turkish—have been used extensively. You don’t blow up a modern T-72 tank with light, handheld RPG rockets. Powerful antitank weapons, like the U.S. TOW or French Milan, require professional, trained crews. The use of these weapons suggests that outside forces are involved in the fighting, as they were in Libya.

Now come reports that the rebels are receiving small numbers of man-portable antiaircraft missiles. If properly used, they would threaten the Assad regime’s armed helicopters. Yet using such missiles requires a good deal of training. I saw in Afghanistan in the 1980s how long it took the mujahidin to learn this skill from CIA instructors—and then how quickly the Red Air Force was denied air superiority.

If Syria’s rebels are being trained, it is probably happening in Turkey (which makes the deadly U.S. Stinger AA missile under license). However, the United States has a major campaign under way to prevent jihadist groups from acquiring such man-portable missiles. If the Taliban received effective antiaircraft missiles, U.S. military operations in Afghanistan would be seriously threatened.

According to Reuters sources, the United States may have worked with Turkish allies to set up a command HQ at Adana, close to its Incirlik airbase in eastern Turkey near the Syrian border. This is where it would make sense for U.S. intelligence to coordinate the flow of arms, communications gear, medical supplies, food and munitions to the Syrian rebels.

Other unverified reports from the Mideast suggest that the U.S. mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater (it recently changed its name to Academi) is training Syrian rebels in Turkey, moving in veteran mercenaries from Iraq, where there were once fifty thousand U.S.-paid private soldiers, and sending combat units into Syria.

Antiregime groups such as the Free Syrian Army probably would be ineffective without some kind of covert Western support. Whether they can grasp power from the jihadis who now dominate the streets remains to be seen. This gambit worked in Libya—at least so far. Syria, in contrast, is a very complex nation whose modern era has been marked by instability and coups.

After overthrowing one Syrian government in the late 1940s, Washington wisely backed off from Syria. Now it may get drawn back into the vortex of one of the Mideast’s most difficult nations.

Eric S. Margolis is an internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times and others. He is a regular columnist at Huffington Post,, The Gulf Times (Qatar), Khaleej Times (Dubai), Nation Pakistan, Sun Malaysia and a member of the Institute for Strategic Studies in London. His most recent book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination? (Key Porter Books, 2008).

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