Archive | June 15th, 2013

Zio-Nazi forces continue systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

NOVANEWS

 

  • IsraHell forces have continued to open fire at the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip border area.

–       A Palestinian worker was wounded, east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip.

  • 5 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded during an IsraHell incursion in al-Far’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas.
  • IsraHell forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank.

–       A protester was wounded during a peaceful protest in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah.

  • IsraHell forces conducted 67 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the Gaza Strip.

–       51 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were arrested.

–       Among the arrested is Abdul Jaber Foqaha’, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for the Change and Reform Bloc.

  • IsraHell has continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

–       IsraHell forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank.

–       7 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank.

–       One of the detainees is 12 years old.

  • IsraHell navy forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea.

–       IsraHell forces opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats in the northern Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

–       2 fishermen were arrested and a fishing boat was confiscated.

 

  • IsraHell forces have continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and IsraHell settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

 

–       An agricultural sunshade was demolished and an agricultural road was closed in Bethlehem.

–       A house and a barrack in eastern Barta’a village in Jenin were demolished.

–       IsraHell forces continued to pursue the Palestinian farmers and shepherds, south of Hebron.

–       The settlers continued their systematic attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property.  

Summary

IsraHell violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period 05 – 12 June 2013.

Shooting:

During the reporting period, IsraHell forces wounded 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child.  6 civilians were wounded in the West Bank while the 7th was wounded in the Gaza Strip. 5 of these civilians were wounded during an IsraHell incursion in al-Far’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas.

In the West Bank, IsraHell forces continued the systematic use of excessive force against peaceful protests organised by Palestinian, IsraHell and international activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank.  As a result, Amr Hesham Bernat (25) was wounded during a peaceful protest in Bil’in village, west of Ramallah, on 07 June 2013.  Moreover, dozens suffered tear gas inhalation and others sustained bruises.

On 12 June 2013, 5 civilians, including a child, sustained bullet wounds when IsraHell forces moved into al-Far’ah refugee camp, south of Tubas.

In the Gaza Strip, on 10 June 2013, IsraHell forces stationed on watchtowers along the border fence, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at 3 brothers working as gravel collectors 80 meters away from the border fence.  As a result, Amer Mazen Abu Hadayed (20) was wounded and taken to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Yunis.

IsraHell navy forces continued to pursue Palestinian fishermen in Gaza sea.  On 05, 06 and 08 June 2013, IsraHell forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing within the 6 nautical mile limit off al-Waha resort in the north of the Gaza Strip.  No casualties were reported.  However, a fishing boat belonging to Taha Sa’dAllah (30) sustained damage and 2 fishing nets were torn by the IsraHell navy forces.

In the same context, on 07 June 2013, IsraHell navy forces arrested 2 fishermen from the central Gaza Strip, confiscated their boat and released them later at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing.

 

The full report is available online at:

http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9589:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-05-12-june-2013&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Human RightsComments Off on Zio-Nazi forces continue systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

More than Victims: Women’s Roles in the Syrian Conflict

NOVANEWS
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/syriafreedom/
This event will be live streamed.

Increased coverage of gender-based violence (GBV) as a weapon of war often narrowly portrays women’s participation in conflict solely as victims. While the incidences and impact of GBV on women’s, girls’, boys’ and men’s lives cannot be understated, a balanced examination of conflict must also acknowledge the larger roles that women play. Join IREX, ICAN and a panel of experts to broaden the discussion of women in the Syrian conflict to also include their contributions as leaders, dividers, and connectors.

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IsraHell To Seek US-Backed Loan for Mega Arms Deal

NOVANEWS

Hopes to Repay With Future Military Aid

 By BARBARA OPALL-ROME   
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, left, with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Ya'alon is scheduled to meet Friday with Hagel to discuss loans ahead of a major US weapons package.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, left, with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Ya’alon is scheduled to meet Friday with Hagel to discuss loans ahead of a major US weapons package. (Ariel Hermoni/Israel Defense Ministry)

Israel’s Defense Ministry is asking the US government to guarantee billions of dollars in low-interest bridge loans for a Pentagon-proposed package of V-22 Ospreys, F-15 radars and precision-strike weaponry that it ultimately intends to fund with future military aid from the US.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, when visiting here in April, announced that Washington “would make available to Israel a set of advanced new military capabilities” to augment Israel’s qualitative military edge.

At the time, Israeli defense and industry sources criticized the premature publicity generated by the Pentagon-proposed package, insisting negotiations on cost, quantities, payment terms and delivery schedules had not yet begun.

But in the past two months, MoD efforts to secure a US-backed loan for eventually US-funded systems on offer have intensified, with preliminary responses from relevant authorities in Washington expected later this summer, sources from both countries said.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon aimed to advance the issue in meetings with lawmakers and Jewish leaders on Capitol Hill on Thursday. On Friday, Ya’alon is scheduled to fly to the Pentagon aboard an Osprey, where he will be greeted by Hagel ahead of their talks.

Under the novel, Israeli-proposed funding plan, US government guarantees would allow MoD to initiate near-term contracts for advanced, Pentagon-offered weaponry with cut-rate cash from commercial banks. Israel would pay only interest and servicing fees on the government-backed loan, with principle repaid from a new, 10-year military aid package that President Barack Obama — during a visit here in March — promised to conclude before the current bilateral aid agreement expires in 2018.

Israel is slated to receive $3.1 billion in annual Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant aid through 2017, minus some $155 million in rescissions due to US government-mandated sequester. Those funds, sources from both countries say, have already been tapped to cover payments on existing contracts for Israel’s first squadron of F-35I joint strike fighters, heavy armored carriers, trainer aircraft engines, transport planes and a host of US weaponry.

“Basically, they’re talking about the US government assuming the risk of billions of dollars in loans to be repaid by the US government with FMF promised in the out years,” a US source said.

In a Wednesday interview, the US source characterized discussions as “very preliminary” and said he had not yet heard a definitive figure for the amount of government-backed loans sought by Israel.

A second US official added: “There are a lot of creative options on how to fund these advanced platforms.”

$5 Billion or More

Several current and former Israeli officials, all of whom asked not to be named, estimated MOD’s official request, once submitted, could well exceed $5 billion if the Pentagon agreed to include a second squadron of F-35Is in the prospective funding plan.

The pending request for bridge funding would likely include $1 billion for up to eight V-22 tilt-rotors; $500 million to retrofit active electronically scanned array radars into F-15I fighters and another $1 billion for a variety of air-to-ground weapons. A second squadron of F-35Is — if approved for inclusion in the package — would boost requested funding by nearly $3 billion, sources here said.

At this point, Israeli government and industry sources said MoD and the Israel Air Force are still mulling Hagel’s offer to include aerial refueling tankers as part of the security assistance package.

In a Wednesday interview, a Defense Department source said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office would have to score the Israeli-requested loan to determine the servicing fees that Israel would pay in addition to interest and FMF-funded principle.

Aside from the Pentagon, he said the State Department, Treasury, National Security Staff and congressional leaders would be involved in the review process and that the requested US-backed loan would have to be approved by Congress.

Danny Ayalon, a former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Washington who was involved in earlier bilateral negotiations on loan guarantees and security assistance agreements, noted that Israel retains more than $3 billion in unused guarantees as a result of an October 2012 agreement with the US Treasury. That agreement gave Israel four more years to use the remainder of the $9 billion in Washington-backed loans granted in 2003 and set to expire later this year, provided they are used to promote economic growth.

“The remaining $3 billion-plus in US guarantees cannot be applied to investments in military hardware. But it’s my understanding that they could be converted to the kind of US-backed loans you’re talking about, if our good friends in Washington decide that’s what they want to do,” Ayalon told Defense News.

No Strings, But Expectations

In interviews here and in Washington, US officials were loath to link the pending response to Israel’s irregular financing request to Jerusalem’s readiness to resume long-stalled Palestinian peace talks. All underscored Washington’s unconditional commitment to Israel’s security.

Nevertheless, a senior US source noted that the unprecedented uptick in security support from the Obama White House was part of larger confidence-building efforts aimed at “encouraging the Israeli government to take those risky, yet necessary steps toward peace.”

The senior source referred to Obama’s March 20 press conference in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the US president said, “I actually believe that Israel’s security will be enhanced with a resolution to this [Israel-Palestinian peace] issue.”

When asked if US strings would be attached to the multibillion-dollar funding package under review, the source replied: “It’s not a matter of quid pro quo. There won’t be strings, but there are expectations.”

Disavowing Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister

Bilateral discussion on US-backed loans and up to $37 billion in addition FMF aid through 2028 comes at a time of intensified shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry, aimed at bringing Israel and the Palestine Authority back to the negotiating table.

It also comes at a time of political posturing within Netanyahu’s right-of-center Likud Party and of early signs of the fierce ideological divides threatening the staying power of Israel’s barely three-month-old coalition government.

In the run-up to this week’s meetings in Washington, aides to Ya’alon and Netanyahu took pains to disavow untimely and embarrassing comments by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, an adamant opponent of the two-state solution championed by the White House and an overwhelming majority of the international community.

In a interview with the online Times of Israel, Ya’alon’s deputy insisted the Netanyahu government — despite the prime minister’s stated, personal support for “two states for two peoples” — would block any peace deal that would result in an independent Palestinian state.

Aggravating the faux pas, Danon suggested that Netanyahu was duping Washington and the international community with his ostensible support for resumed peace talks, since “he knows that Israel will not arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians in the near future.”

An MoD aide told Defense News that Danon’s remarks were politically motivated to advance himself within the Likud Party, and that they do not represent Ya’alon or Netanyahu — both Likud Party members — or the government of Israel. Similarly, a statement attributed to officials in the prime minister’s office rebuffed Danon’s remarks, insisting, “The Netanyahu government is interested in renewing diplomatic negotiations without preconditions.”

A spokesman for Danon said the deputy defense minister’s remarks reflected his well-known opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state and would not jeopardize his ability to carry out his duties at the Israel MoD. ■

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI1 Comment

Former French Foreign Minister: The War against Syria was Planned Two years before “The Arab Spring”

NOVANEWS
Global Research,
Mideast Syria

In an interview with the French TV station LCP, former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas said:

‘’ I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.

This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.

Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.’’

Dumas went on give the audience a quick lesson on the real reason for the war that has now claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

‘’This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned… in the region it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance.

Consequently, everything that moves in the region- and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister who told me ‘we’ll try to get on with our neighbours but those who don’t agree with us will be destroyed.

It’s a type of politics, a view of history, why not after all. But one should know about it.’’

Dumas is a retired French foreign minister who is obliged to use discretion when revealing secrets which could affect French foreign policy. That is why he made the statement ‘I am French, that doesn’t interest me’.  He could not reveal France’s role in the British plan as he would be exposing himself to prosecution for revealing state secrets.

There have been many disinformation agents in the British and French press, many of them well known ‘leftist’ war correspondents and commentators, who have tried to pretend that Israel secretly supports Assad.  Those who make such arguments are either stupid, ignorant or deliberate disinformation agents of NATO and Israel.

Israel’s support for Al Qaeda militants in Syria has even been admitted by the mainstream press. For example, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper published a report on June 12th on Israel’s medical treatment of the Al Qaeda fighters.

Israel planned this war of annihilation years ago in accordance with the Yinon Plan, which advocates balkanization of all states that pose a threat to Israel. The Zionist entity is using Britain and France to goad the reluctant Obama administration into sending more American troops to their death in Syria on behalf of Tel Aviv.

Of all the aggressor states against Syria, Israel has been the quietest from the start. That is because Laurent Fabius, Francois Holland, William Hague and David Cameron are doing their bidding by attempting to drag Israel’s American Leviathan into another ruinous war so that Israel can get control of the Middle East’s energy reserves, eventually replacing the United States as the ruling state in the world. It has also been necessary for Tel Aviv to remain silent so as not to expose their role in the ‘revolutions’, given the fact that the Jihadist fanatics don’t realize they are fighting for Israel.

This is the ideology of Zionism which cares no more for Jews than it does for its perceived enemies.   The Jewish colony is determined to become a ruling state in the Middle East in the insane delusion that this will enable it to replace the United States as a global hegemon, once the US collapses fighting Israel’s wars.

Israeli Prime Minister once told American talk show host Bill Maher that the reason why Israel always wins short conflicts, while the United States gets bogged down in endless wars. ‘’ The secret is that we have America’’, he said.

But Israel is itself slowly collapsing. If one excludes the enslaved Palestinian population, the Jewish state still has the highest level of poverty in the developed world with more and more Jews choosing to leave the ‘promised’ land, a garrison state led by mad men, an anti-Semitic entity threatening to engulf the world in war and destruction. Israel cares no more about its own working class Jews than any other ethnic community.

In fact, if the Likudnik crooks running the Israeli colony get their way, working class Israelis will be among the first to pay as they are conscripted to fight terrorists created by their own government. With orthodox Jews protesting in the streets of New York against Israel and Haredi Jewish minority opposing Israel’s rampant militarism, Zionism is coming under increased attack from Jewish religious authorities and non-Zionist Jews both inside and outside of the occupied territories.

This is not the first time that Roland Dumas has spoken out against wars of aggression waged by successive French regimes. In 2011 he revealed that he had been asked by the United States when he was foreign minister in the Mitterrand administration to organize the bombing of Libya. On that occasion the French refused to cooperate.  Dumas, a lawyer by profession, offered to defend Colonel Gaddafi, at the International Criminal Court in the event of his arrest by Nato.

Dumas was also vocal in condemning France’s brutal neo-colonial bombing of the Ivory Coast earlier in 2011, were death squads and terrorists similar to those later deployed in Libya and Syria were unleashed upon the Ivoirian population in order to install a IMF puppet dictator Alassane Quattara in power. Gbagbo was described as one of the greatest African leaders of the past 20 years by Jean Ziegler, sociologist and former member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council.

Gbagbo had plans to nationalize banks and wrest control of the country’s currency from the colonial finance institutions in Paris. He also wanted to roll back many of the worst effects of IMF restructuring by nationalizing industries and creating a functioning, universal free health service. All of this threatened the interests of French corporations in the former French colony. So, the Parisian oligarchy went to work to find a suitable replacement as caretaker of their Ivoirian colony.

They sent in armed terrorist gangs, or ‘rebel’s in the doublespeak of imperialism, who murdered all before them while the French media blamed president Gbagbo for the violence that ensued. Gbagbo and Gaddafi had opposed Africom, the Pentagon’s plan to recolonize Africa. That was another reason for the  2011 bombing of their two African countries.

The formula is always the same. Imperialism backs ‘rebels’, whenever its interests are threatened by regimes that love their country more than foreign corporations.  One should not forgot that during the Spanish Civil War of 1936, General Franco and his cronies were also ‘rebels’ and they, like their counterparts in Libya in 2011, were bombed to power by foreign powers, replacing a progressive, republican administration with fascism.

There are pro-Israeli fanatics in France who have used the analogy of the Spanish Civil War as justification for intervention in Libya and Syria. The pseudo-philosopher Henry Bernard Levy is one of them.  Of course, the ignoramus Levy doesn’t realize that the reason France, England and the USA did not officially intervene in the Spanish Civil War is because they were covertly helping the ‘rebels’ from the start. They enabled arms shipments to the Francoist ‘rebels’ while preventing arms deliveries to the Spanish government, who, like Syria today, were helped by Moscow. Anyone who has studied the Spanish Civil War knows that all the imperialist countries wanted Franco as a bulwark against communism.

There is nothing imperialism loves more than a rebel without a cause. What imperialism hates, however, are revolutionaries. That is why the ‘rebels’ which imperialism sends into other countries to colonize them on behalf of foreign banks and corporations, have to be marketed as ‘revolutionaries’ in order to assure the support of the Monty Python brigade of petty-bourgeois, ‘ leftist’ dupes such as Democracy Now! and their ilk.

Dumas is not the only top French official to denounce the New World Order.  Former French ambassador to Syria Michel Raimbaud wrote a book in 2012  entitled ‘Le Soudan dans tous les états’, where he revealed how Israel planned and instigated a civil war in South Sudan in order to balkanize a country led by a pro-Palestinian government. He also exposed the pro-Israeli media groups and ‘human rights’ NGOS who created the ‘humanitarian’ narrative calling for military intervention by the United States in the conflict.

The subject was covered extensively by African investigative journalist Charles Onana in his 2009 book, Al-Bashir & Darfour LA CONTRE ENQUÊTE.

There are many more retired French officials who are speaking out about the ruinous policies of this French government, including the former head of French domestic intelligence Yves Bonnet. There have also been reports of dissent in the French armed forces and intelligence apparatus.

After the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011, the former French ambassador to Libya Christian Graeff told French radio station France Culture that it was responsible for the diffusion of lies and war propaganda on behalf of Nato throughout the war.  Graeff also warned the broadcasters that such disinformation could only work on the minds of serfs but not in a country of free minds.

The power of the Israeli lobby in France is a subject rarely discussed in polite circles. In France there is a law against questioning or denial of the holocaust. However, denial of the Korean holocaust, Guatemalan holocaust, Palestinian holocaust, Indonesian holocaust and the dozens of other US/Israeli supported genocides is not only perfectly legal but is the respectable norm.

The same lobby which introduced the Loi Gayssot in 1990, effectively ending freedom of expression in France, would also like to ban any independent investigations of genocides whose narratives they have written, such as the Rwanda genocide, where Israel played a key role in supporting the ‘rebels’ led by Paul Kagame, who invaded Rwanda from Uganda from 1991 to 1994, leading to the genocide of both Tutus and Tutsis. Many serious scholars have written about the Rwandan genocide, which the Israel lobby repeatedly uses as a case study to justify ‘humanitarian’ intervention by Western powers.  The Zionist thought police would like to see such authors prosecuted for ‘negating’ imperialism’s disgusting lies on African conflicts.

Now, the Israeli Lobby is forcing the (their) French government to prosecute twitter messages which the lobby deems ‘anti-Semitic’. This is one further step towards the creation of a totalitarian state where any criticism of imperialism, foreign wars, racism, oppression, perhaps eventually capitalism itself could fall under the rubric of ‘anti-Semitism’.

These people are sick, and those who cow down to them are sicker. Perhaps the etymology of sickness, a word cognate with the German Sicherheit (security) according to dictionary.com, is not a coincidence. For what is particularly sick about our society is the cult of security,  endless surveillance, ubiquitous cameras, the cult of the all seeing eye, the prurient gaze as part of the incessant discourse on terrorism by those who specialize in the training of the very terrorists they claim to be protecting us from.  Whether or not the words security and sickness are linguistically related, they are certainly cognate in a philosophical sense.

Roland Dumas and others like him should be highly commended for having to guts to say what so many others are too morally corrupt, too weak and cowardly to admit.

As the French government and its media agencies drum up hysteria for war on Syria, Roland Dumas, now in the twilight of his years, is warning people of the consequences of not understanding where Israel is leading  the world. Will enough people heed the warning?

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Colombia worries as troops join Arab mercenary force

NOVANEWS
By News Bulletin
UPI
Colombia’s defense ministry is alarmed about an exodus of top soldiers to the United Arab Emirates to join a highly paid U.S.-led mercenary force organized by Erik Prince, billionaire founder of the infamous security firm Blackwater.

Colombia’s defense ministry is alarmed about an exodus of top soldiers to the United Arab Emirates to join a highly paid U.S.-led mercenary force organized by Erik Prince, billionaire founder of the security firm Blackwater.

Prince, who sold Blackwater in 2010 after it was involved in killings and scandals in Iraq, went to Abu Dhabi, capital of the Persian Gulf federation, in 2011.

He signed on to form an 800-man battalion of mercenaries for what emirati officials termed “anti-terrorism operations” inside and outside the country.

But it’s widely believed in Gulf security circles the force, being assembled under considerable secrecy by Prince’s Reflex Responses registered in the emirates, will be used for undisclosed special operations for the seven desert emirates that make up the federation.

That’s expected to include putting down “internal unrest” that might challenge the ruling families, as happened in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen, and which is growing in Kuwait and Bahrain.

The Reflex Responses force, which is officially described in a contract leaked to the New York Times in 2011 as “independent of formal command and support structures throughout the United Arab Emirates,” will have its own air wing, with fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, plus its own private navy.

The naval wing’s tasks will primarily be “small boat operations … maritime interdiction operations and securing oil delivery platforms.”

The mercenaries have a custom-built high-security base in the desert where troops live and train.

U.S. military analyst Spencer Ackerman says Prince’s new project “might run afoul of U.S. laws prohibiting citizens from training foreign militaries,” which requires a government license. The State Department has not said whether Reflex Responses has one.

But it’s unlikely that Prince, who sold off Blackwater amid a blizzard of adverse publicity over his men’s excesses in Iraq where the company was accused of wantonly killing civilians, would embark on this new project without making sure he wasn’t open to legal action, particularly if he found himself having to send troops to fight Muslims seeking sweeping democratic reform from rulers who are U.S. allies.

The Sunni Muslim Arab monarchies of the gulf are increasingly concerned about their future amid the political upheaval and conflict sweeping the Arab world, fueled, they claim, by Shiite Iran.

The emirates currently are trying 94 citizens for sedition and seeking to overthrow the political system. The defendants, including two prominent human rights lawyers, face a possible 15 years in prison.

But the over-riding security threat is widely perceived to be Iran, 100 miles across the gulf and which occupies several islands claimed by the Emirates.

Prince’s mercenary force is made up largely of Colombian soldiers, including senior officers and men with a Special Forces background

There are also many veterans of Executive Outcomes, a South African security firm that became notorious in the 1990s for suppressing rebellions in mineral-rich African dictatorships and staging coups to gain control of such assets.

EO personnel included many veterans of Britain’s Special Air Service and special operations units in South Africa’s apartheid-era military.

Prince, an ex-U.S. Navy SEAL, is setting up his new force under a reputed $529 million contract with the royal family of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the emirates’ leader and economic powerhouse. The contract expires in 2015.

Analysts say soldiers from Colombia’s 450,000-strong U.S.-trained military are held in high regard in the emirates and other gulf states because of their combat experience fighting leftist guerrillas and because they’re not as expensive as Western veterans.

Colombian officials estimate 500 soldiers, including pilots of Black Hawk helicopters widely used in special operations, have gone to join Prince’s force, where they earn $3,000 a month against $600 back home.

Bogota has complained to Abu Dhabi to stop hiring its best soldiers, so far without any apparent result.

“These are soldiers with a lot of experience, and it took a great effort to train them,” Jorge Bedoya,Colombia’s deputy defense minister, told The Financial Times.

The gulf monarchies are used to paying foreigners to do their dirty work. They have traditionally hired foreigners, mainly Pakistanis and Baluchis, to stiffen their armed forces.

Source: UPI

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Zionist Businessman Moti Kahana Gathers Money to Support the Wahhabi Syrian Opposition

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on Zionist Businessman Moti Kahana Gathers Money to Support the Wahhabi Syrian Opposition

IsraHell has More Poverty than Any Developed Country

 

 

SHIR HEVER, TRNN PRODUCER: The image which the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes of Israel is an image of a prosperous economy, a powerhouse of innovation.

As part of the efforts to present Israel as a success story, Israel applied for membership in the OECD, the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, and received it.

The organization publishes statistics about the member states and promotes certain kinds of reforms, usually associated with neoliberal values. OECD statistics have undermined the goal of Israel’s reason to join the OECD. These statistics show that Israel suffers from extreme level of inequality, its education system is among the worst in the OECD, and its poverty is the highest compared to all OECD countries.

 

 

It should be noted that the OECD decided not to include statistics about the occupied Palestinian territory and the occupied Syrian Golan, because the member states of the OECD don’t recognize these areas as part of Israel. But because the OECD relies on Israeli published statistics, the actual data published by the OECD reflects a segregated picture. While colonists from the occupied territories are included in the reports, the 4 million Palestinians who are also part of the Israeli economy are ignored by the OECD.

 

 

Israel’s overall tax income as a proportion of its GDP is higher than that of Chile, Mexico, and Turkey, for example, and is even higher than the weighted average of all OECD countries, but Israel’s poverty rate is the highest compared to all of these countries.

 

 

So what explains Israel’s failing welfare system and raging poverty rate? The most prominent feature of the Israeli economy is its high military expenditure. In proportion to its budget, it is higher than any OECD country. Even the U.S, the second-biggest spender on the military, spends about 4.5 percent of its GDP on the military, while Israel spends, according to official numbers, between 7 and 9 percent. Unofficial sources speak of much higher ratios.

 

 

But the cost of Israel’s massive military and security apparatus is not equally distributed among the population. The Boston Consulting Group recently published its Global Wealth Report for 2012, in which it was revealed that Israel is the country with the tenth-highest ratio of millionaires compared to its population. In relation to households considered “ultra-high-net-worth”, Israel is eighth place, even higher than the United States.

 

 

The stark inequality and high poverty rate can explain the social protests in Israel which took place in the last two summers. The so called “Tent movement” or the “J14 Movement” demanded a change in priorities and a return to social programs. The protestors demanded that the government take responsibility over the standard of living of the population and do something about the rising costs of living while income remains stagnant.

 

 

But the results of the election of January 2013 brought no changes to the priorities of the Israeli government. Israel’s newly appointed minister of finance, Yair Lapid, used the social protest to garner popularity, but immediately set on a path to implement austerity measures, cut social spending, while leaving the defense budget intact.

 

 

The poverty line is measured as half of the median wage for a household. In developing counties, poverty measurements are different, relying for example on the World Bank’s definition of poverty. Israel’s poverty rate is the highest in the developed world, but even counting Israel as a developed country is misleading, because it ignores the fact that a third of the population in the area controlled by Israel are not Israeli citizens, and their average standard of living falls far below accepted levels in developed economies.

 

 

And that is precisely the point which explains why the high poverty and inequality among Israelis do not inspire a true attempt to change the system. Israel’s political environment is based on the “divide and conquer” strategy, on the principle of separation.

 

 

~~~

 

 

LIA TARACHANSKY, TRNN PRODUCER: I asked Dana why the social protest movement does not at least address the occupation from an economic point of view. While the Israeli public pays over $9 billion a year on subsidizing the settlements in the West Bank, most of the profits go into the same private hands whose centralized control over the Israeli economy the movement opposes.

 

 

JOSEPH DANA, +972 MAGAZINE: That’s very true. And unfortunately I have yet to see that statement clearly made in the way that you just made it in these demonstrations anywhere. And so this is what we’re talking about. Why isn’t the statement that you just made discussed, and why isn’t it openly discussed, and why aren’t there opinion pieces about it, and why aren’t the tent protesters organizing around this principle? We think that the barrier between connecting what’s going on in the streets of Tel Aviv and the tent protest and the statement that you just made is the separation principle.

 

 

~~~

 

 

HEVER: Yair Lapid, while running for the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, tried to appeal to people’s concerns about their standard of living.

 

 

YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI MINISTER OF FINANCE: We are the party of the Israeli middle class, the old-fashioned taxpayers who served in the army and afterwards worked hard all their life, paying a high tax, and see that they cannot afford an apartment to their children, and the cost of living is going up and up, and there’s no equality of burden with the other parts of Israeli society, and they’re becoming more and more frustrated with the way things are going around here.

 

 

HEVER: But indeed, after being appointed minister of finance, Yair Lapid understands that in Israel’s political culture he will not be forgiven if he appears soft towards the Palestinians, and he can therefore not make very serious cuts in Israel’s enormous defense budget. But he will probably be forgiven, or so he believes, for abandoning his promises for social reform.

 

 

~~~

 

 

INTERVIEWER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Someone who makes 100,000 [Shekels] a month will suffer a lot less from this budget than someone who makes 10,000 a month.

 

 

LAPID (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Let’s start with this: I’m not a socialist. I don’t think we need to scare the entire business sector. I know the theory that let’s take from the rich. I also see it didn’t work. There is no place in the world where it worked. All the economic history–you know this more years than me–socialism didn’t succeed anywhere in the world. I won’t destroy the Israeli economy so that they will stop writing bad things in Facebook.

 

 

~~~

 

 

HEVER: The conclusion is that even the Israeli public pays a heavy price for the continuation of the occupation and segregation policies. But as long as the occupation and the apartheid continue, the military and security apparatus will continue to dominate the Israeli political system and will not allow a redistribution of resources to restore Israel’s welfare system.

 

 

This is Shir Hever for The Real News.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on IsraHell has More Poverty than Any Developed Country

Up to Six Mass Graves Discovered in Jaffa, with Hundreds of Victims from 1948

 

 

 

SHIR HEVER, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. This is Shir Hever in Germany.

The city of Jaffa, or Yafo, as it is called by the Israeli authorities, looks like a normal city on the Mediterranean Sea, bustling with tourists and with businesses. Beneath this veneer are layers of history that the government is trying to erase.

After the city was conquered in 1948 by the Haganah, which was the Jewish militia which later transformed into the Israeli army, the names of streets have been changed, the city was merged with the city of Tel Aviv so that there is actually no longer an independent city of Jaffa, and ruins of the 1948 War were removed. Jewish citizens started to move into the city as well.

But in early June, this June, a mass grave has been discovered in the city of Jaffa with hundreds of bodies, skeletons from the 1948 War, and this grave is a sort of fact that cannot be ignored. It brings back to this history of city of Jaffa and of all of Palestine.

And here to talk about this is Sami Abushkhade. Sami Abushkhade is a PhD student in Tel Aviv University studying the history of modern Jaffa. He’s a city councilmember in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo from the Jaffa Party. The Jaffa Party is a combination of two parties, Balad and Jabha.

Hello, Sami.

SAMI ABUSHKHADE, PHD STUDENT, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: Hi, Shir.

HEVER: So, Sami, can you tell us about the discovery of this mass grave? How did that happen?

ABUSHKHADE: Happened by mistake, Shir. The Islamic movement in Jaffa was doing some work in an old cemetery, an old Islamic cemetery in Jaffa named the Kazakhani. They were doing some cleaning, some renovations of graves. And in chance, while working there they discovered six mass graves in this cemetery.

HEVER: Are they successful in bringing this into awareness? Is the Israeli media covering this story?

ABUSHKHADE: Well, to be honest, Shir, this is–we don’t have to–these mass graves are surely from the 1948 War. We have some people that claims that these are mass graves of the 1948 War because they participated in bringing these people into the cemetery, they did it themselves. But still now there is not clear-cut proof that could be talking about. But the Israeli media, compared to other media, is really ignoring the whole issue.

HEVER: But what do you mean, there is no proof, if you just said that there are people who were there and who can testify that they brought the bodies to the graves

ABUSHKHADE: Well, Shir, there are a lot of things, and it all together, that should be–I mean, put the whole issue in context. First of all, it’s not that Israel only denies mass graves in Jaffa. In the Israeli political discourse there hasn’t been an effort at all. And there is no Palestinian people, officially, in the Israeli official discourse. There has been no Palestinian people. And the War of 1948, from the Israeli point of view, was a great war, very humane one, and there have been no massacres, because the Israeli army is the most humane army in the whole world.

HEVER: Yeah. For our viewers who do not know, the word nakba in Arabic means catastrophe. It refers to the mass deportation and killings of 1948, but also to the ongoing decision by the Israeli government over the years not to allow refugees to return to their homes and to make further deportations. How can there be a discourse when this–that this doesn’t exist when the facts are on the ground?

ABUSHKHADE: Well, this type of denial of the Palestinian catastrophe and pain that happened for the Palestinian people since 1948–till today, by the way–is totally denied by the Israeli government and society. It’s not just the government, it’s not just a political issue here. The whole Israeli society, till today, denies all the Palestinian pain that happened as a result of the Zionist program.

Yesterday we held a lecture with Dr. Adel Manna, a Palestinian historian who has just finished a research on the Palestinians who survived the war, the 1948 War, the Palestinians who are now citizens of the state of Israel. It’s the period [incompr.] talking about 1948 and 1956. And he has proofs, he has letters from the Zionist archives that talks about act of revenge and massacres that were happening also after the war, not during the war. And he talks about the fact that there were a lot of bodies spread all over Jaffa of young people, children, women, and men, that people did not have the time to bury them, and then they were brought to mass graves, into the city of Jaffa in different cemeteries.

HEVER: So was this mass grave discovery also a surprise for people in Jaffa?

ABUSHKHADE: Of course. Most of the people in Jaffa, Shir, because we are not allowed to teach our history, don’t know anything about Palestinian history, don’t know anything about their own history. They don’t know anything about the history of the city they are living in. Most of the people simply do not allow them to teach these things.

But also those who experience the war, those who survived the war, those who knows what happens are in a different psychological [incompr.] that they don’t want to share this tale, for different reasons, part of it because of the feeling of humiliation, because they lost the war and that brought them a lot of humiliation, part of it because of fear. The Palestinians who passed the Nakba and became citizens of Israel were put under military control for a long time, and they are still controlled with fear. This war meant the total destruction of their families and their people.

When we talk about 1948 War, Shir, to summarize the meaning of this war to the people who stayed in Jaffa, Jaffa before the war was the most important Arab-Palestinian city in Mandatory Palestine. Demographically it was the biggest, economically it was the most important economic center, and culturally it was the most [incompr.] culturally center in Palestine. After the war, as a result of the war, the vast majority, something like 98 percent of the population, were expelled. It became a small, poor neighborhood.

And the locals who stayed and survived the war, the very small minority, were put into what the Zionists called a ghetto. All the Arab community were concentrated in one neighborhood, the Ajami neighborhood, and it was called a ghetto because it was surrounded with fence, with soldiers and dogs outside the fence. The Jewish community, from its European historical experience, when they saw something like this, they used to call it a ghetto. And the Zionist movement concentrated the Arabs in Jaffa and Negev.

HEVER: Getting back into the story of what happened in Jaffa in 1948, the mass grave that was discovered, is it a mass grave of soldiers, of fighters, or civilians?

ABUSHKHADE: You know, Shir, to put it in numbers, researchers took about something like 700 and 800 people that were killed during the War of 1948 in Jaffa.

HEVER: Just in the city of Jaffa.

ABUSHKHADE: Part of these people–I’m talking about Arabs, of course–part of these people were different volunteers from different parts of the Arab world who came to help the Jaffans defend their city. This is something like 250 people. The rest are the locals, people from Jaffa, Arabs from Jaffa.

Two-thirds of this community that were killed were innocent people. They were not soldiers and they never held a gun or something. These people were either killed in their homes by the different bombings–and Jaffa at that time was surrounded by different Jewish cities and colonies–and that they were, you know, bombing Jaffa from all over. So part of the people who were killed in their homes or in the streets.

HEVER: I want to ask you one last question, because there is a new law that was enacted by the Israeli parliament about two years ago called the Nakba, and this law says that any organization that receives public funding and commemorates the Nakba, teaches about the Nakba, could lose their public funding. Do you think that this law affects the way that discoveries such as the mass grave are reported? Does that make it more difficult for Palestinians or others who want to study this history talk about it?

ABUSHKHADE: Well, Shir, this law is going to fail because it’s an inhumane law. It’s not going to work. It’s going to fail. Of course it might affect some official institutions meant to commemorate the Nakba, but this will not stop all the political activists from continuing to commemorate the Nakba every–and teach our children what happened. And Israel can lie to part of the world part of the time. They cannot and they will not be able to continue lying to all the people all the time.

Till now, the official Israeli discourse has continued to deny this. I’m seeing a big change in different parts of the world and inside the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian society, a little bit inside the Israeli-Jewish society who are knowing more about what happened to the Palestinian people as a result of the Zionist project. And this thing in the end will bring to the awareness of people, to the knowledge of all the people, that the establishment of the Israeli state meant a total destruction of the Palestinian people.

HEVER: Well, thank you very much, Sami, for joining us.

ABUSHKHADE: Bye, Shir.

HEVER: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Up to Six Mass Graves Discovered in Jaffa, with Hundreds of Victims from 1948

Why the United States Must Come to Terms with Iran

NOVANEWS

Gareth Porter interviews veteran US officials about why US policy towards Iran needs to change –   June 14, 13

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are the authors of a new book, Going to Tehran, which challenges all the conventional wisdom about Iran and its nuclear program. They were both insiders in the U.S. national security state. They both worked as senior directors on Iran for the National Security Council staff, and then both worked for the State Department. But they quit the U.S. government in 2003 in disagreement over U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

Flynt, Hillary, welcome to The Real News Network.

FLYNT LEVERETT, FMR. NSC AND STATE DEPARTMENT STAFFER: Thanks very much.

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, FMR. NSC AND STATE DEPARTMENT STAFFER: Thank you.

PORTER: First let me ask you both, as insiders or former insiders who went through a very rough transition to being outsiders, what was it like personally for both of you?

F. LEVERETT: You know, Hillary and I both left our positions at the White House on the National Security Council staff in March 2003 just before the Iraq War. I came out of government entirely just a couple of months later, in May ’03, and began almost immediately criticizing publicly various aspects of U.S. policy toward the Middle East. And at the time, that was taken basically as a critique of the George W. Bush administration, which in important ways it was. And while that got me in trouble in some quarters, it made me acceptable, even in some ways useful, to, let’s say, the center-left part of the foreign policy establishment. The first job I got when I came out was at the Brookings Institution.

But then when Hillary came out too and we began focusing more in our writing, our public statements on Iran and what was wrong with U.S. policy toward Iran, that’s when the establishment more generally began to get uncomfortable with us. And then, when Barack Obama was first elected and inaugurated, and we began criticizing him very early on, and it became evident that our critique was not just a partisan critique of Republicans and neocons, but we were saying that Democratic administrations were as guilty as the Bush administration in their own ways of pursuing a kind of counterproductive and, ultimately, very destructive drive for dominance, for hegemony in the Middle East, and that’s when our relations, what was left of them, with the establishment really began to fracture.

H. MANN LEVERETT: I mean, we of course lost friends when we parted ways with the Bush administration and with the establishment. But what we really lost under the Bush administration was the establishment platform in the media. So, for example, under the Bush administration we published an op-ed in The New York Times every three or four months. We published over a dozen op-eds in The New York Times from 2003 to early 2010. Today we can’t get in The New York Times. Same thing with The PBS NewsHour. Flynt would go on maybe four or five times a year. Today maybe it’s once a year. I used to be a regular on MSNBC during the Bush administration. Under the Obama administration, the same critiques are not really acceptable. And it’s as if we learned less about Iran in the past three years, which has been problematic and it’s something wrong with us and not something that is ever explored in terms of the establishment.

PORTER: So is the lesson of this experience that it’s okay if you’re seen as one of the two parties, but if you’re outside the two-party consensus, that’s a no-no and you lose access to [crosstalk]

H. MANN LEVERETT: That’s precisely–if you criticize the drivers of U.S. foreign policy, that they’re not partisan, they’re not embedded in one party or the other, but there’s something about the U.S. drive for dominance and hegemony in the Middle East and Asia in years past or maybe coming into today, that is problematic across the board.

F. LEVERETT: And by taking that on, you know, we’ve tried to do that. And by doing so, you know, at this point I don’t think I probably could and wouldn’t want to work at a mainstream think tank in Washington. I think those institutions have gotten far away from their original theoretical function anyway, so supposedly providing independent advice. But, you know, I now make my living as an academic teaching international affairs at Penn State and happy doing that.

PORTER: What were the key turning points, what were the incidents, I should perhaps say, that caused each of you to decide that you were going to have to get out of the system?

[crosstalk]

H. MANN LEVERETT: There were some pretty dramatic ones. I was the director for Persian Gulf affairs at the White House, the person on the staff dealing with Iran, and worked very closely with the Iranians right after 9/11. We had this exception to the rule where we could actually talk to Iranians over Afghanistan because it was in a multilateral context, it didn’t have to do with U.S.-Iran affairs. And we worked closely and constructively with them to overthrow the Taliban, send al-Qaeda on the run, in Germany to stand up the new political order which became known as the Karzai government.

But within weeks of that, here I am at the White House working hard on that, going to meet with the Iranians in Europe with colleagues from the State Department, within weeks of the success of overthrowing the Taliban, ousting al-Qaeda, standing up the new government, President Bush gives his State of the Union speech. I’m the staffer on the Persian Gulf. I’m not told that he is going to designate Iran as part of the axis of evil. This was a jarring moment.

I decided to stay because I wanted to keep the talks with the Iranians on board, at least through the transition in Afghanistan, the lead-up to the war in Iraq, but I didn’t want to stay at the White House. That was a bit too jarring. I left the White House, went to work for Colin Powell at the State Department. And while there, we get–the Iranians send in through the Swiss an offer for a comprehensive dialog for essentially a grand bargain. I take a look at that. I write the longest memo I think that Powell had received. He normally didn’t want to receive a memo in more than two and a half pages. This was five pages. But it made the case for why we should test this offer, take the Iranians up on their offer for a grand bargain. Everything would be on the table–the nuclear program, Hamas, Hezbollah, everything. It went into this big black hole. But I saw Colin Powell a couple of weeks later at a going-away party for someone. He comes up to me and he says, you know, that was a great memo, but I just couldn’t sell it at the White House. I later learned from a colleague

that Cheney was the one who vetoed it.

PORTER: Not too much of a surprise there. But I can understand why that would be a turning point, for sure.

H. MANN LEVERETT: It was. And it was really difficult with the invasion of Iraq, the war on terror, the treatment of Iran, to stay and do much more inside.

PORTER: Now, your book Going to Tehran suggests that the end of the Cold War was much more of an important turning point in terms of U.S. policy toward the Middle East in general and Iran in particular than is generally realized. Can you explain why you understand that it was so important? What is it that we’ve been missing about that turning point?

F. LEVERETT: Well, I think we read American policy toward the Middle East and toward Iran as the real primary driver for it that cuts across Democratic and Republican administrations is a desire for dominance, a desire for hegemony, not to have or come to terms with independent power centers in the Middle East. This has been an American ambition going back all the way to World War II.

But when World War II was over and the Cold War got started, the presence of another nuclear-armed superpower put some real constraints on how robustly the United States could pursue this agenda. This is one reason, for example, the United States never put large deployments of ground or tactical air forces on the ground in the Middle East on an open-ended basis during the Cold War.

Well, as the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disappeared, that constraint also disappeared, and it freed the U.S. to pursue dominance in the Middle East in a much more robust and direct way.

H. MANN LEVERETT: And it coincides with or even feeds into the response toward Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which for the first time we put half a million troops into the Middle East, something we would never have done during the Cold War and something which inaugurates this era of trying to get states, especially Arab states, to sign up to, to agree to, the governments in these states, highly militarized U.S.-led political and security order for the Middle East, which we then put it in terms of these feel-good words of a peace process–we inaugurate a peace process for the Middle East.

The peace process for the Middle East is just rhetoric. What it was about was to lock in Arab states in their weakened position–some of them, like Saudi Arabia, in fact occupied with tens of thousands of U.S. troops–to bring them into this highly militarized U.S.-led political and security order to cordon off the one remaining challenger to U.S. dominance, which was, after the Iraq War, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which, just as a final note, is the reason why we reactivate the Fifth Fleet to patrol the Middle East not with the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, not in 1990, not in 1991. In 1995, after we’ve defeated Iraq and the only challenger is Iran, that’s when we need the Fifth Fleet, and we reactivate it and base it in Bahrain.

PORTER: So tell me, how close did the United States actually come in the immediate post Cold War period to coming to terms with Iran, to actually engaging seriously with Iran?

F. LEVERETT: We had a real chance. Bush 41, at the beginning of his administration, sent messages to Iran that if they would help get the last American hostages out of Lebanon, he would reciprocate towards them. They delivered; but coming out of the Gulf War and the end of the Cold War, Bush 41 reneged.

H. MANN LEVERETT: The key thing here is that unlike the conventional wisdom in the United States, particularly inside the Beltway, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fiercely independent in its foreign policy, but it is not implacably anti-American. And so it has periodically worked with the United States–as Flynt said, in Lebanon, but also in Bosnia and Afghanistan. It has negotiated with the United States and other parties on the nuclear issue. They are willing to come to the table. They are willing to work with us. But the key is they will not subordinate their foreign policy to U.S. dictates, to a U.S.-led political and security order. They are determined to make the security order in the Middle East more balanced, where they can pursue an independent foreign policy.

PORTER: Thank you, Flynt and Hillary.

F. LEVERETT: Thank you.

PORTER: Join us, please, for part two of this interview with Hillary Mann Leverett and Flynt Leverett on The Real News Network.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Why the United States Must Come to Terms with Iran

US Arming Syrian Rebels Likely to Inflame Already Bloody Conflict

 

 

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. And welcome to this week’s edition of The Bennis Report with Phyllis Bennis, who is now joining us from Washington, D.C.

Phyllis is a fellow and the director of the New Internationalist Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. She’s the author of the books Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism and Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer.

Thank you for joining us, Phyllis.

PHYLLIS BENNIS, FELLOW, INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES: Good to be with you.

NOOR: So, Phyllis, what’s your response to this latest news reported by the Associated Press that the Obama administration is getting closer to arming Syrian rebels?

BENNIS: It’s a very dangerous development. This has been in the works for a while. The Obama administration is quite divided. And the fact that the latest appointees to the new administration–Susan Rice as the new national security adviser and Samantha Power as United Nations ambassador–both of those two are at the core of the component of the Obama administration and its supporters who have supported from the beginning a much more aggressive military role for the U.S. in Syria. They were the ones who led the campaign to get the U.S. involved militarily in Libya, and they’re up to the same thing in Syria.

There’s other developments that are quite dangerous. The fact that the European Union voted–well, they didn’t actually vote that way, but since every country has a veto, they were not able to vote to maintain their embargo on military aid, direct military aid to arm the rebels. And so as of July, European Union countries will be legally allowed to send weapons to whoever they want in Syria.

More recently, just in the last few days, we’ve seen 5,000 U.S. troops, as well as a group of Patriot missiles, sent off to Jordan on the Syrian border for a long-planned but conveniently timed, let’s say, military exercise that’s involving troops from a number of countries. But it’s quite likely that at least some of those troops and all of the Patriot missiles that are being sent will be remaining in Jordan after the two-week long exercise is over as part of the preparation for a possible direct military intervention.

The problem here, of course, is that they’re acting as if there is a military solution in Syria when in fact there is no military solution. And the possibility of negotiations in Geneva, something that the U.S. and Russia jointly have been working towards and calling for, is now looking less and less likely, with moves towards escalating the arms sales on both sides.

Russia is of course saying that it is going ahead with sending the S-300 antiaircraft missiles to Syria, although it’s clear that the fact that they have not sent them yet–they are saying that it will be September or so before they are sent; it will be another several months before Syrians are fully trained in how to use them. In that context, it means that the Russians are not rushing ahead to continue arming and to escalate their arming of the Syrian government. That’s a moment when the U.S. could move to escalate the diplomacy instead of escalating the militarization. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s the position of the Obama administration right now.

NOOR: So, Phyllis, if E.U. countries, the United States, and Russia are all to send weapons to Syria in the next few months, what might the situation on the ground look there? Already you’re seeing reports daily of dozens of people killed. Could it get any worse?

BENNIS: It can absolutely get worse. And it probably will, unfortunately. The reality is that civil wars–and this is partly a civil war. It’s also now a proxy war. There’s actually five separate wars being waged in Syria. But part of it is a civil war. Civil wars, if one side doesn’t qualitatively destroy the other, end with negotiated settlements. The question is: do those negotiations begin now, or do we wait until there’s another 70,000 or 80,000 or 100,000 Syrian casualties before going ahead with negotiations?

The idea that the U.S. can make things better by sending more arms to this unaccountable, divided, and not particularly competent set of rebel forces when they have essentially wiped out the voices of the original indigenous Syrian opposition, those who started the uprising against a terribly repressive regime but who said from the beginning they don’t want this to be an armed struggle, they don’t want U.S. or any foreign intervention militarily. Those people, those voices have largely been sidelined by the noise of the military battle. But the idea that somehow there is going to be a definitive victory for the rebels against a far better armed army of the Syrian regime is simply wishful thinking. It’s just not going to work that way.

The lesson of Libya, which is probably the closest immediate precedent to this, is that the situation in Libya right now is a disaster. The newly opened porous borders of Libya have seen massive numbers of fighters on all sides of all kinds of militias, and especially of weapons, throughout Mali, Niger, Algeria. The entire swath of the Sahel in northwest Africa is at risk now as a result of the US-NATO intervention and the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya. That’s the best that they can hope for, that it will be that kind of chaos. And that’s in a scenario where the actual fighting and the forces involved were internal to Libya.

What we now have is major engagement from Saudi Arabia and Qatar supporting opposing sides of the Islamist opposition, the British and the French saying they plan to arm and the U.S. saying maybe will arm the supposedly secular opposition, who are by far not the good fighters. The good fighters are the various Islamist forces.

So this is a war that has already spilled over its borders. You’re seeing massive destabilization in Lebanon, in Jordan, refugee crises in those two countries, as well as in Turkey and the entire area surrounding Syria. So this is already a regional and indeed a global crisis. Further escalation of the military fighting is certainly not going to make it any better.

NOOR: So, Phyllis, we see members of the Democrat and Republican Party beating the drums for war and intervention in Syria. The Obama administration says they’ve ruled out boots on the ground in Syria. But what role can grassroots activists play in helping promote a diplomatic solution?

There’s a recognition that this is not going to make us any safer the world and it’s not going to make any Syrians any safer in the world. This is a political move. It’s not one that has the support of the American people.

What we need is real diplomacy. We need a new foreign policy that is not based on military intervention and arming either governments or militias as a way of maintaining U.S. power. The danger we have right now is that U.S. power in the diplomatic arena, in the political arena, even in the economic arena is on the decline in the Middle East. U.S. influence is on the decline in the Middle East. The only arena of power in which the U.S. is by far the only–the unchallengeable superpower is in the military arena. And so the danger is that’s what they’re going to use. It’s the old hammer and nail argument. If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If all of your instruments except the military have defunded and as a result have collapsed, you’re going to think that every problem needs a military solution. The problem is thinking that doesn’t make it so.

We need to demand an end to the militarization, working closely with Russia to make sure that Russia does the same thing, stops arming the regime, and make sure that the U.S. position of the moment, which is that Iran is not allowed to participate, that that decision is changed, because if Iran is excluded, it means that you’re guaranteeing that any diplomatic solution reached won’t work, because Iran will not have skin in the game. They will not have any reason to abide by a decision that they were not allowed to participate in.

So I think that we need to keep the focus on demanding a diplomatic rather than a military solution, no U.S. militarization. Saying there won’t be troops on the ground is not good enough.

There will be massive bombing. The Syrian antiaircraft capacity right now is far greater and stronger than that in Libya. It’s divided and spread out around the country. And that means that there will be massive numbers of potential casualties, civilian casualties when the U.S. bombs those antiaircraft batteries wherever they may be throughout the country. We have to say no to that.

This is not going to be fought with drones. This is going to be fought with planes, with bombers, with missiles, with helicopters. And when the first pilot is shot down and is captured, there will be boots on the ground. Maybe it will be sneakers rather than boots, because special forces guys wear sneakers. They don’t wear boots. So maybe that’s the technicality where they say there won’t be boots on the ground. But this is a risk that is already underway.

It also has to be clear that it’s not enough to say no troops on the ground, no boots on the ground. We cannot be involved militarily by bombing, by sending missiles in another war in the Middle East–or anywhere else, for that matter, but right now we’re talking about in the Middle East. This is the heart of the Middle East. This is a disaster that is already underway and that threatens to become far worse as it spreads regionally. Saying that there won’t be U.S. soldiers is not good enough when the whole world knows that it will be U.S. bombs dropped by U.S. planes, hellfire missiles fired by U.S. helicopters.

This is not acceptable. This is illegal without a United Nations resolution. There’s no way anyone can argue that this has anything to do with self-defense. And the argument that this is supposedly humanitarian is grounded in the need for a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military force. There has been no such resolution, and there will be no such resolution. This will be one more example of the United States directly violating international law.

NOOR: Thank you for joining us, Phyllis.

BENNIS: Thank you. It’s always a pleasure.

NOOR: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on US Arming Syrian Rebels Likely to Inflame Already Bloody Conflict

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