Archive | May 23rd, 2014

Help Um Salem walk without pain

NOVANEWS

 

We are raising funds to help a Bedouin family in Occupied Palestine, who are facing a demolition of their home. Um Salem is in need of a new prosthetic limb.

With your help we have managed to raise well over £3,000 so far which means we can replace the broken prosthetic leg for Um Salem and get her the solar panel upgrade so that she can store her insulin in the refrigerator. Thank you so much Amazing work people

Update:Um Salem Campaign

After speaking to friends that are working on the ground in Palestine keeping in touch with Um Salem & family, we have learned that Um Salem requires an outhouse building for sanitation purposes. We all know that human waste is harmful to health and can make people sick so addressing correct sanitation is an urgent requirement for this family.

We need to raise around £500 extra for an outhouse, which would bring the target amount to be raised at £3,500.

So please do keep donating, help make it happen for Um Salem & family, lets get that outhouse built people.

Um Salem’s Story

My name is Kajsa Anckarström. I have been working with humanitarian organizations in Occupied Palestine. Since returning from Palestine last year, I have kept in touch with these organizations. I have been made aware of a Bedouin family that are desperately in need of help.

The grandmother of the family Um Salem, five years ago had her leg amputated due to diabetes and has been using a prosthetic limb ever since. Her husband, Nasser Suliman Al Kaamneh, died 4 months ago. The problem is this prosthetic was only operational for 4 years and the limb is now broken but Um Salem is still using it to occasionally walk, even though it has given her an open wound. This causes her great pain. She describes the pain as “pulling the teeth out, without anesthetics” and this has limited her freedom to get around. The tin house where the family resides is currently facing a demolition order by the Israeli authorities.

Um Salem has 2 sons and 4 daughters. All of her children are married. The 2 sons with their wives and children live with Um Salem in a completely run down and basic make-shift house made of tin. The daughters have moved away after getting married and she hardly gets to hear from them due to the occupation of Palestine.

Um Salem has been a diabetic for a long time now and due to this condition she had her leg amputated. She requires constant insulin intake which requires a refrigerator to be present at her premises at all time. She does own a refrigerator but due to her location and the Israeli occupation they have denied access to resources such as a running water supply and electricity, so she does not have a constant electricity supply at her home. She uses a solar panel which is not enough to keep the refrigerator operational. The solar panel requires an upgrade.

After having a talk with friends working in Occupied Palestine, who know Um Salem and are aware of her situation, we have come to the conclusion that Um Salem needs a new prosthetic limb and  an upgrade her solar panel  in order to make life a bit easier for this brave woman living under brutal occupation.

We believe that a new prosthetic limb and an upgrade to her solar panel will benefit her and her household in the long run. She will be able to walk again with the donations that you give, and she will be able to store her medicines adequately in the refrigerator. The money that you donate will also help her to get treatment for the open wound due to the broken prosthesis which she is still using.

You will be improving Um Salem’s life and health, which alternatively will help Um Salem to spend some more good times with her grand children. Through your donations, however big or small, you will be empowering this lady to go out when she wills and see her grand kids run around and play.

Previously, me and some friends had run a fundraising campaign for al-Sharooq school for Visually Impaired children in Beit Jala, Bethlehem. Which was sucessful With your help, we managed to raise $5000 USD and the money raised was taken to the school and handed to the principal by the Chair of Manchester PSC last year. The money raised for Al-Sharooq school was spent on specialized equipment for the visually impaired children, health care and braille books. >> http://igg.me/at/Al-Shurooq/x/2342374

I will end this here with the following few words from my personal self.

“We are human beings and we don’t require borders or nationalities to recognize each other nor do we require to know a person’s color, creed or race to help them out in difficult situations. We just need to be humans and respect the right to life and freedom for everyone, everything residing on this planet. Please share this campaign with your friends and family. Make them aware that we can vastly improve the quality of someone’s life, living 1000s of miles away by just making a small donation.”

Thank you for taking interest and reading about Um Salem. Let’s get together and help Um Salem and her family. We will keep you updated through out this campaign.

Thank you

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Help Um Salem walk without pain

Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of I$raHell in Triggering an Attack on Iran

NOVANEWS
Global Research

 

This article was first published in August 2010.

For further details consult Michel Chossudovsky’s book,

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

available in hardcover or pdf from Global Research.

The stockpiling and deployment of advanced weapons systems directed against Iran started in the immediate wake of the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq. From the outset, these war plans were led by the US, in liaison with NATO and Israel.

original

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”. US military sources intimated that an aerial attack on Iran could involve a large scale deployment comparable to the US “shock and awe” bombing raids on Iraq in March 2003:

“American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq.(See Globalsecurity )

“Theater Iran Near Term”

Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT, “Theater Iran Near Term”, simulations of an attack on Iran were initiated in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.” ( (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006).

The scenarios identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg:

“The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “Theater Iran Near Term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now [April 2006] exists in draft form.

… Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)

Different “theater scenarios” for an all out attack on Iran had been contemplated: “The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerized plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).” (New Statesman, February 19, 2007)

In 2004, drawing upon the initial war scenarios under TIRANNT, Vice President Dick Cheney instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a “contingency plan” of a large scale military operation directed against Iran “to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States” on the presumption that the government in Tehran would be behind the terrorist plot. The plan included the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state:

“The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.” (Philip Giraldi, Deep Background,The American Conservative August 2005)

The Military Road Map: “First Iraq, then Iran”

The decision to target Iran under TIRANNT was part of the broader process of military planning and sequencing of military operations. Already under the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran. Access to Middle East oil was the stated strategic objective:

“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.” (USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy, link no longer active, archived at http://tinyurl.com/37gafu9)

The war on Iran was viewed as part of a succession of military operations. According to (former) NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, the Pentagon’s military road-map consisted of a sequence of countries: “[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.” In “Winning Modern Wars” (page 130) General Clark states the following:

“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. (SeeSecret 2001 Pentagon Plan to Attack Lebanon, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

The Role of Israel

There has been much debate regarding the role of Israel in initiating an attack against Iran.

Israel is part of a military alliance. Tel Aviv is not a prime mover. It does not have a separate and distinct military agenda.

Israel is integrated into the “war plan for major combat operations” against Iran formulated in 2006 by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). In the context of large scale military operations, an uncoordinated unilateral military action by one coalition partner, namely Israel, is from a military and strategic point almost an impossibility. Israel is a de facto member of NATO. Any action by Israel would require a “green light” from Washington.

An attack by Israel could, however, be used as “the trigger mechanism” which would unleash an all out war against Iran, as well retaliation by Iran directed against Israel.

In this regard, there are indications that Washington might envisage the option of an initial (US backed) attack by Israel rather than an outright US-led military operation directed against Iran. The Israeli attack –although led in close liaison with the Pentagon and NATO– would be presented to public opinion as a unilateral decision by Tel Aviv. It would then be used by Washington to justify, in the eyes of World opinion, a military intervention of the US and NATO with a view to “defending Israel”, rather than attacking Iran. Under existing military cooperation agreements, both the US and NATO would be “obligated” to “defend Israel” against Iran and Syria.

It is worth noting, in this regard, that at the outset of Bush’s second term, (former) Vice President Dick Cheney hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the “rogue enemies” of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005): According to Cheney:

“One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked… Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards,” (Dick Cheney, quoted from an MSNBC Interview, January 2005)

Commenting the Vice President’s assertion, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS, confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to act on America’s behalf and “do it” for us:

“Iran I think is more ambiguous. And there the issue is certainly not tyranny; it’s nuclear weapons. And the vice president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it.”

What we are dealing with is a joint US-NATO-Israel military operation to bomb Iran, which has been in the active planning stage since 2004. Officials in the Defense Department, under Bush and Obama, have been working assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran. In practical military terms, any action by Israel would have to be planned and coordinated at the highest levels of the US led coalition.

An attack by Israel would also require coordinated US-NATO logistical support, particularly with regard to Israel’s air defense system, which since January 2009 is fully integrated into that of the US and NATO. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War? Global Research, January 11,2009)

Israel’s X band radar system established in early 2009 with US technical support has “integrate[d] Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile [Space-based] detection network, WWIII Scenario

which includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.” (Defense Talk.com, January 6, 2009,)

What this means is that Washington ultimately calls the shots. The US rather than Israel controls the air defense system: ”’This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. ‘So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.’” (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009).

The US military oversees Israel’s Air Defense system, which is integrated into the Pentagon’s global system. In other words, Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without Washington’s consent. Hence the importance of the so-called “Green Light” legislation in the US Congress sponsored by the Republican party under House Resolution 1553, which explicitly supports an Israeli attakc on Iran:

“The measure, introduced by Texas Republican Louie Gohmert and 46 of his colleagues, endorses Israel’s use of “all means necessary” against Iran “including the use of military force.” … “We’ve got to get this done. We need to show our support for Israel. We need to quit playing games with this critical ally in such a difficult area.”’ (See Webster Tarpley, Fidel Castro Warns of Imminent Nuclear War; Admiral Mullen Threatens Iran; US-Israel Vs. Iran-Hezbollah Confrontation Builds On, Global Research, August 10, 2010)

In practice, the proposed legislation is a “Green Light” to the White House and the Pentagon rather than to Israel. It constitutes a rubber stamp to a US sponsored war on Iran which uses Israel as a convenient military launch pad. It also serves as a justification to wage war with a view to defending Israel.

In this context, Israel could indeed provide the pretext to wage war, in response to alleged Hamas or Hezbollah attacks and/or the triggering of hostilities on the border of Israel with Lebanon. What is crucial to understand is that a minor ”incident” could be used as a pretext to spark off a major military operation against Iran.

Known to US military planners, Israel (rather than the USA) would be the first target of military retaliation by Iran. Broadly speaking, Israelis would be the victims of the machinations of both Washington and their own government. It is, in this regard, absolutely crucial that Israelis forcefully oppose any action by the Netanyahu government to attack Iran.

Global Warfare: The Role of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)

Global military operations are coordinated out of US Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM) at the Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska, in liaison with the regional commands of the unified combatant commands (e.g.. US Central Command in Florida, which is responsible for the Middle East-Central Asian region, See map below) as well as coalition command units in Israel, Turkey, the Persian Gulf and the Diego Garcia military base in the Indian Ocean. Military planning and decision making at a country level by individual allies of US-NATO as well as “partner nations” is integrated into a global military design including the weaponization of space.

Under its new mandate, USSTRATCOM has a responsibility for “overseeing a global strike plan” consisting of both conventional and nuclear weapons. In military jargon, it is slated to play the role of “a global integrator charged with the missions of Space Operations; Information Operations; Integrated Missile Defense; Global Command & Control; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Global Strike; and Strategic Deterrence…. ”

USSTRATCOM’s responsibilities include: “leading, planning, & executing strategic deterrence operations” at a global level, “synchronizing global missile defense plans and operations”, “synchronizing regional combat plans”, etc. USSTRATCOM is the lead agency in the coordination of modern warfare.

In January 2005, at the outset of the military deployment and build-up directed against Iran, USSTRATCOM was identified as “the lead Combatant Command for integration and synchronization of DoD-wide efforts in combating weapons of mass destruction.” (Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, Global Research, January 3, 2006).

What this means is that the coordination of a large scale attack on Iran, including the various scenarios of escalation in and beyond the broader Middle East Central Asian region would be coordinated by USSTRATCOM.

Map: US Central Command’s Area of Jurisdiction

Tactical Nuclear Weapons directed against Iran

Confirmed by military documents as well as official statements, both the US and Israel contemplate the use of nuclear weapons directed against Iran. In 2006, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) announced it had achieved an operational capability for rapidly striking targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons. This announcement was made after the conduct of military simulations pertaining to a US led nuclear attack against a fictional country. (David Ruppe, Preemptive Nuclear War in a State of Readiness: U.S. Command Declares Global Strike Capability, Global Security Newswire, December 2, 2005)

Continuity in relation to the Bush-Cheney era: President Obama has largely endorsed the doctrine of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons formulated by the previous administration. Under the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the Obama administration confirmed “that it is reserving the right to use nuclear weapons against Iran” for its non-compliance with US demands regarding its alleged (nonexistent) nuclear weapons program. (U.S. Nuclear Option on Iran Linked to Israeli Attack Threat – IPS ipsnews.net, April 23, 2010). The Obama administration has also intimated that it would use nukes in the case of an Iranian response to an Israeli attack on Iran. (Ibid). Israel has also drawn up its own “secret plans” to bomb Iran with tactical nuclear weapons:

“Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.”(Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran – Times Online, January 7, 2007)

Obama’s statements on the use of nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea are consistent with post 9/11 US nuclear weapons doctrine, which allows for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater.

Through a propaganda campaign which has enlisted the support of “authoritative” nuclear scientists, mini-nukes are upheld as an instrument of peace, namely a means to combating “Islamic terrorism” and instating Western style “democracy” in Iran. The low-yield nukes have been cleared for “battlefield use”. They are slated to be used against Iran and Syria in the next stage of America’s “war on Terrorism” alongside conventional weapons.

“Administration officials argue that low-yield nuclear weapons are needed as a credible deterrent against rogue states. [Iran, Syria, North Korea] Their logic is that existing nuclear weapons are too destructive to be used except in a full-scale nuclear war. Potential enemies realize this, thus they do not consider the threat of nuclear retaliation to be credible. However, low-yield nuclear weapons are less destructive, thus might conceivably be used. That would make them more effective as a deterrent.” (Opponents Surprised By Elimination of Nuke Research Funds Defense News November 29, 2004)

The preferred nuclear weapon to be used against Iran are tactical nuclear weapons (Made in America), namely bunker buster bombs with nuclear warheads (e.g. B61.11), with an explosive capacity between one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb. The B61-11 is the “nuclear version” of the “conventional” BLU 113. or Guided Bomb Unit GBU-28. It can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb. (See Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html, see also http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris) . While the US does not contemplate the use of strategic thermonuclear weapons against Iran, Israel’s nuclear arsenal is largely composed of thermonuclear bombs which are deployed and could be used in a war with Iran. Under Israel’s Jericho‐III missile system with a range between 4,800 km to 6,500 km, all Iran would be within reach.


Conventional bunker buster Guided Bomb Unit GBU-27

B61 bunker buster bomb

Radiactive Fallout

The issue of radioactive fallout and contamination, while casually dismissed by US-NATO military analysts, would be devastating, potentially affecting a large area of the broader Middle East (including Israel) and Central Asian region.

In an utterly twisted logic, nuclear weapons are presented as a means to building peace and preventing “collateral damage”. Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons are a threat to global security, whereas those of the US and Israel are instruments of peace” harmless to the surrounding civilian population“.

“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used against Iran

Of military significance within the US conventional weapons arsenal is the 21,500-pound “monster weapon” nicknamed the “mother of all bombs” The GBU-43/B or Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) was categorized “as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed” with the the largest yield in the US conventional arsenal. The MOAB was tested in early March 2003 before being deployed to the Iraq war theater. According to US military sources, The Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised the government of Saddam Hussein prior to launching the 2003 that the “mother of all bombs” was to be used against Iraq. (There were unconfirmed reports that it had been used in Iraq).

The US Department of Defence has confirmed in October 2009 that it intends to use the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) against Iran. The MOAB is said to be ”ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran” (Jonathan Karl, Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran? ABC News, October 9, 2009). The truth of the matter is that the MOAB, given its explosive capacity, would result in extremely large civilian casualties. It is a conventional “killing machine” with a nuclear type mushroom cloud.

The procurement of four MOABs was commissioned in October 2009 at the hefty cost of $58.4 million, ($14.6 million for each bomb). This amount includes the costs of development and testing as well as integration of the MOAB bombs onto B-2 stealth bombers.(Ibid). This procurement is directly linked to war preparations in relation to Iran. The notification was contained in a 93-page “reprogramming memo” which included the following instructions:

“The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP [Mother of All Bombs] is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON [Urgent Operational Need].” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).” (ABC News, op cit, emphasis added). To consult the reprogramming request (pdf) click here

The Pentagon is planning on a process of extensive destruction of Iran’s infrastructure and mass civilian casualties through the combined use of tactical nukes and monster conventional mushroom cloud bombs, including the MOAB and the larger GBU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which surpasses the MOAB in terms of explosive capacity.

The MOP is described as “a powerful new bomb aimed squarely at the underground nuclear facilities of Iran and North Korea. The gargantuan bomb—longer than 11 persons standing shoulder-to-shoulder [see image below] or more than 20 feet base to nose” (See Edwin Black,Super Bunker-Buster Bombs Fast-Tracked for Possible Use Against Iran and North Korea Nuclear Programs”Cutting Edge, September 21 2009)

These are WMDs in the true sense of the word. The not so hidden objective of the MOAB and MOP, including the American nickname used to casually describe the MOAB (“mother of all bombs’), is “mass destruction” and mass civilian casualties with a view to instilling fear and despair.

“Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB)

GBU-57A/B Mass Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

MOAB: screen shots of test: explosion and mushroom cloud (right)

State of the Art Weaponry: “War Made Possible Through New Technologies”

The process of US military decision making in relation to Iran is supported by Star Wars, the militarization of outer space and the revolution in communications and information systems. Given the advances in military technology and the development of new weapons systems, an attack on Iran could be significantly different in terms of the mix of weapons systems, when compared to the March 2003 Blitzkrieg launched against Iraq. The Iran operation is slated to use the most advanced weapons systems in support of its aerial attacks. In all likelihood, new weapons systems will be tested.

The 2000 Project of the New American Century (PNAC) document entitled Rebuilding American Defenses, outlined the mandate of the US military in terms of large scale theater wars, to be waged simultaneously in different regions of the World:

“Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars”.

This formulation is tantamount to a global war of conquest by a single imperial superpower. The PNAC document also called for the transformation of U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs”, namely the implementation of “war made possible through new technologies”. (See Project for a New American Century, Rebuilding Americas Defenses Washington DC, September 2000, pdf). The latter consists in developing and perfecting a state of the art global killing machine based on an arsenal of sophisticated new weaponry, which would eventually replace the existing paradigms.

“Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of transformation will in fact be a two-stage process: first of transition, then of more thoroughgoing transformationThe breakpoint will come when a preponderance of new weapons systems begins to enter service, perhaps when, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, the Pentagon should be very wary of making large investments in new programs – tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that would commit U.S. forces to current paradigms of warfare for many decades to come. (Ibid, emphasis added)

The war on Iran could indeed mark this crucial breakpoint, with new space-based weapons systems being applied with a view to disabling an enemy which has significant conventional military capabilities including more than half a million ground forces.

Electromagnetic Weapons

Electromagnetic weapons could be used to destabilize Iran’s communications systems, disable electric power generation, undermine and destabilize command and control, government infrastructure, transportation, energy, etc. Within the same family of weapons, environmental modifications techniques (ENMOD) (weather warfare) developed under the HAARP programme could also be applied. (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Owning the Weather” for Military Use, Global Research, September 27, 2004). These weapons systems are fully operational. In this context, te US Air Force document AF 2025 explicitly acknowledgedthe military applications of weather modification technologies:

“Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog, and storms on earth or to modify space weather, improve communications through ionospheric modification (the use of ionospheric mirrors), and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of technologies which can provide substantial increase in US, or degraded capability in an adversary, to achieve global awareness, reach, and power.” (Air Force 2025 Final Report, See also US Air Force: Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025AF2025 v3c15-1 | Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning… | (Ch 1) at www.fas.org).

Electromagnetic radiation enabling “remote health impairment” might also be envisaged in the war theater. (See Mojmir Babacek,Electromagnetic and Informational Weapons:, Global Research, August 6, 2004). In turn, new uses of biological weapons by the US military might also be envisaged as suggested by the PNAC: “[A]dvanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.” (PNAC, op cit., p. 60).

Iran’s Military Capabilities: Medium and Long Range Missiles

Iran has advanced military capabilities, including medium and long range missiles capable of reaching targets in Israel and the Gulf States. Hence the emphasis by the US-NATO Israel alliance on the use of nuclear weapons, which are slated to be used either pr-emptively or in response to an Iranian retaliatory missile attack.


Range of Iran’s Shahab Missiles. Copyright Washington Post

In November 2006, Iran tests of surface missiles 2 were marked by precise planning in a carefully staged operation. According to a senior American missile expert (quoted by Debka), “the Iranians demonstrated up-to-date missile-launching technology which the West had not known them to possess.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Iran’s “Power of Deterrence” Global Research, November 5, 2006) Israel acknowledged that “the Shehab-3, whose 2,000-km range brings Israel, the Middle East and Europe within reach” (Debka, November 5, 2006)

According to Uzi Rubin, former head of Israel’s anti-ballistic missile program, “the intensity of the military exercise was unprecedented… It was meant to make an impression — and it made an impression.” (www.cnsnews.com 3 November 2006)

The 2006 exercises, while creating a political stir in the US and Israel, did not in any way modify US-NATO-Israeli resolve to wage on Iran.

Tehran has confirmed in several statements that it will respond if it is attacked. Israel would be the immediate object of Iranian missile attacks as confirmed by the Iranian government. The issue of Israel’s air defense system is therefore crucial. US and allied military facilities in the Gulf states, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq could also be targeted by Iran.

Iran’s Ground Forces

While Iran is encircled by US and allied military bases, the Islamic Republic has significant military capabilities. (See maps below) What is important to acknowledge is the sheer size of Iranian forces in terms of personnel (army, navy, air force) when compared to US and NATO forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Confronted with a well organized insurgency, coalition forces are already overstretched in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Would these forces be able to cope if Iranian ground forces were to enter the existing battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? The potential of the Resistance movement to US and allied occupation would inevitably be affected.

Iranian ground forces are of the order of 700,000 of which 130,000 are professional soldiers, 220,000 are conscripts and 350,000 are reservists. (See Islamic Republic of Iran Army – Wikipedia). There are 18,000 personnel in Iran’s Navy and 52,000 in the air force. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “the Revolutionary Guards has an estimated 125,000 personnel in five branches: Its own Navy, Air Force, and Ground Forces; and the Quds Force (Special Forces).” According to the CISS, Iran’s Basij paramilitary volunteer force controlled by the Revolutionary Guards “has an estimated 90,000 active-duty full-time uniformed members, 300,000 reservists, and a total of 11 million men that can be mobilized if need be” (Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran – Wikipedia), In other words, Iran can mobilize up to half a million regular troops and several million militia. Its Quds special forces are already operating inside Iraq.

US Military and Allied Facilties Surrounding Iran

For several years now Iran has been conducting its own war drills and exercises. While its Air force has weaknesses, its intermediate and long-range missiles are fully operational. Iran’s military is in a state of readiness. Iranian troop concentrations are currently within a few kilometers of the Iraqi and Afghan borders, and within proximity of Kuwait. The Iranian Navy is deployed in the Persian Gulf within proximity of US and allied military facilities in the United Arab Emirates.

It is worth noting that in response to Iran’s military build-up, the US has been transferring large amounts of weapons to its non-NATO allies in the Persian Gulf including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

While Iran’s advanced weapons do not measure up to those of the US and NATO, Iranian forces would be in a position to inflict substantial losses to coalition forces in a conventional war theater, on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iranian ground troops and tanks in December 2009 crossed the border into Iraq without being confronted or challenged by allied forces and occupied a disputed territory in the East Maysan oil field.

Even in the event of an effective Blitzkrieg, which targets Iran’s military facilities, its communications systems, etc. through massive aerial bombing, using cruise missiles, conventional bunker buster bombs and tactical nuclear weapons, a war with Iran, once initiated, could eventually lead into a ground war. This is something which US military planners have no doubt contemplated in their simulated war scenarios.

An operation of this nature would result in significant military and civilian casualties, particularly if nuclear weapons are used.

The expanded budget for the war in Afghanistan currently debated in the US Congress is also intended to be used in the eventuality of an attack on Iran.

Within a scenario of escalation, Iranian troops could cross the border into Iraq and Afghanistan.

In turn, military escalation using nuclear weapons could lead us into a World War III scenario, extending beyond the Middle East Central Asian region.

In a very real sense, this military project, which has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board for more than five years, threatens the future of humanity.

Our focus in this essay has been on war preparations. The fact that war preparations are in an advanced state of readiness does not imply that these war plans will be carried out.

The US-NATO-Israel alliance realizes that the enemy has significant capabilities to respond and retaliate. This factor in itself has been crucial over the last five years in the decision by the US and its allies to postpone an attack on Iran.

Another crucial factor is the structure of military alliances. Whereas NATO has become a formidable force, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which constitutes an alliance between Russia and China and a number of former Soviet republics has been significantly weakened.

The ongoing US military threats directed against China and Russia are intended to weaken the SCO and discourage any form of military action on the part of Iran’s allies in the case of a US NATO Israeli attack.

What are the countervailing forces which might prevent this war from occurring? There are numerous ongoing forces at work within the US State apparatus, the US Congress, the Pentagon and NATO.

The central force in preventing a war from occurring ultimately comes from the base of society, requiring forceful antiwar action by hundred of millions of people across the land, nationally and internationally.

People must mobilize not only against this diabolical military agenda, the authority of the State and its officials must be also be challenged.

This war can be prevented if people forcefully confront their governments, pressure their elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens as to the implications of a nuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

The holding of mass demonstrations and antiwar protests is not enough. What is required is the development of a broad and well organized grassroots antiwar network which challenges the structures of power and authority.

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

 

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of I$raHell in Triggering an Attack on Iran

Liberating Syria…One Archeological site at a Time

NOVANEWS

Counter Punch

Visiting archeological sites in Syria over the past several months I seem to keep crossing some of the paths traveled by the field archeologist and later Colonel in the British Army T.E. Lawrence. There are plenty of still visible ‘Lawrence of Arabia’s’ footprints around Damascus and deep into Syria’s countryside including at the majestic 18th century residence of the Ottoman governor of Damascus Ad’a Pasha al-Azem. The Palace now houses the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions. Most foreigners like to spend time at Azem and Lawrence was frequently there a guest of Emir Faisal, a son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca whose irregular troops Lawrence fought alongside while sabotaging the railway supply lines of the overstretched Ottoman forces and significantly contributing to their defeat.

As the Ottoman domination crumbled, in no small measure due to the Arabs revolt around Damascus, Lawrence tried in vain to salvage something for the Arabs whom he loved and admired even if he sometimes expressed his affection for them in an elitist English orientalist turn of phrase. By the summer of 1917, it had become clear to Lawrence and Faisal that the four century rule over Arabia by the Ottoman Turks was about to collapse thanks in no small part to the Arab revolt and their great bravery and massive sacrifices. It also became clear to him if not to his friend Faisal, who was a bit naive history records, that his country England, a pillar of the “Big Four” at the Versailles Peace conference which included the President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, France’s Georges Clemenceau and the Prime Minister of Italy, Vittorio Orlando, was planning once again-and not for the last time- to stab the Arabs in the back and renege on the promises that Lawrence was commanded to deliver.

Photos of Lawrence and Faisal hang today on the walls of Lawrence’s bedroom and office at the Azem Palace and it’s clear from his facial expressions that Lawrence sensed what was coming to Syria and Palestine. Before he died at age 46 in a motorcycle accident having recently returned to England, Lawrence increasingly expressed what he considered his personal failure during the closing years of the war when told friends and family that he failed to convince his superiors in the British government that Arab independence was in their interests. The secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Britain, according to Lawrence was an abject betrayal of the promises of independence he had made to the Arabs and for which he felt personally responsible.

I crossed paths again with Lawrence, in a manner of speaking, a few weeks ago at Palmyra archeological and UNESCO World Heritage site across the Syrian desert to the northeast of Damascus, recently liberated from islamist jihadists. It was there that I read his words on a plaque: “Nothing in this scorching, desolate land could look so refreshing…Moslem story-tellers ascribe the building of Palmyra to the Jinn commandeered by Solomon…” Frankly, I am reluctant to demure from Lawrence’s description, but since he spoke those words it has become clear that the “Tadmor” (Arabic and Hebrew name for Palmyra) referred to in the Torah is not the Tadmor of Syria but of another site now lost to the sands of Palestine if it ever existed at all. So Lawrence might be alarmed to learn that his words linking Palmyra to Soloman are being misused by Zionist cheap land seeking interests who now claim Palmyra in Syria as part of Gods claimed gift and to lend legitimacy for acquiring more Arab land for the ever expanding Eretz Israel. But the misuse of Lawrence’s quote at Palmyra for political purposes is a subject for another Syrian update.

Lawrence and myself crossed paths again in a manner of speaking on 5/15/14 during a six hour hiking and climbing tour of the medieval fortress known as Krac des Chevaliers (Castle of the Kurds- who reportedly first inhabited the area in the 11th century). The Syrian Arab Army recaptured the castle and the village of al-Hosn from rebel forces on March 20, 2014 after rebels (aka ‘takfiri terrorists’) had occupied both the nearby 10,000 inhabitant’s village and the fortress over the preceding more than18 months. The “Krac” was widely damaged by the military conflict including in August 2012, July 2013 and again on August 18, 2013. My excellent companion and government guide during my day at Krac was “Mohammad” a Syrian army security commander with 40 troops under his command and stationed inside the fortress to keep anyone from trying to retake it “by a nighttime sneak attack” I was told.

Apparently an history buff, Mohammad’s first comment as we starting to ascend the very steep three floors of medieval steps, often gazing at the marvelous Gothic ceilings as we made our way, was to quote, who else, but Lawrence: “We are walking in the footsteps of Lawrence who called this fortress “perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world, and a castle which forms a fitting commentary on any account of the Crusading buildings of Syria”, Mohammad recited to my great surprise.

Many historians have agreed with Lawrence including Hugh Kennedy who wrote that “the defenses of the outer wall were the most elaborate and developed anywhere in the Latin east … the whole structure is a brilliantly designed and superbly built fighting machine.” Crak des Chevaliers is considered one of the greatest and best preserved castles in the world due to its unique architecture in terms of the defense facilities, building materials and decorations. In 2006, it was inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage sites along with the Citadel of Saladin, its” sister fort” further north in Lattakia.

Among the more than 400 well documented damaged or destroyed antiquity sites in Syria that are more or less now under government control and so more or less available to researchers, Krac des Chevaliers is viewed by locals as a sort of ‘success story’ because for sure it is still standing and a major restoration project was launched in April following the forts liberation and well underway. This observer spoke with some of the fifteen full-time restoration specialists plus some volunteers who are doing the work as government officials including the Ministers of Culture and of Tourism drop by from time to time to encourage them and praise their work. Indeed on 6/1/14 a “Krak des Chevaliers reopening to the public’ event is scheduled at the fortress and the amazing site will soon be available to international tourists. Whether many tourists will be available by that time is problematical.

But hopefully conditions will allow for their return soon. One of my traveling companions the day of my visit was a Syrian tour operator and he’s more than willing to help rebuild Syria’s second largest foreign exchange earner, tourism, which brought to Syria more than 1.5 billion dollars in 2010. Less fortunate than Krak is the former picturesque village of Hosn just down the road. It too was packed with rebels and was completely flattened such that its current conditions rival the old city of Aleppo and Homs for complete and total destruction. This observer did not see one bird, feral cat or fly in what the locals call, “the village of death.” Two weeks ago a four man unit from Mohammed’s battalion at Krak did discover two hold over rebels hiding out in the rubble and killed them on the spot.

After 12 centuries of invaders trying to conquer it-and a number succeeding- such as when the Muslims took it from the Christians in the seventh century employing the time tested ‘surrender or starve’ tactic, the damage is widespread but will be repaired. This observer’s purpose in visiting Krak was to detail the damage caused by 18 months of fighting over the fortress. My notes on the widespread but relatively modest damage to Krak des Chevaliers noted by this observer on 5/15/14 includes, but is not limited to the following:

*The complete destruction of the staircase and halls in front of the internal building of the fort.
*Partial damage to the facade of the Hall of the Knights including some damage to the decorations and arches inside the Hall.
*Traces of fire behind the church and damage to the library hall opposite the leader’s tower and a part of the staircase leading to the roof of the library hall.
*Damage in the façade of the king’s daughter tower and partial destruction in the wall between the king’s daughter tower and the roof of the church.
*Partial destruction in the entrance to the stairs in front of Qalawun tower; damage and destruction in some parts of the tower.
*Damage to one wall of the warehouse adjacent to the main offices of the castles overlooking the courtyard.
*The destruction of a part of the pillar supporting the ceiling of the library tower opposite the tower of the knights.
*Severe damage in the office of the Ottoman House as well as the administration offices.
*Partial damage and destruction of some walls in several places of the castle including minor damage in the outer wall of the castle.
*Surface damage caused by domestic fires built by rebels for heating & cooking by the dozens of rebel families that occupied different areas of the vast fortress.

It is clear to me that the Syrian public and their officials are committed in each of this country’s 14 Governorates to the complete restoration of its unmatched archeological sites, just as soon as world heritage sites are liberated and security condition permit.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Liberating Syria…One Archeological site at a Time

Russia and China veto Zionist French draft resolution calling for Syria ICC referral

NOVANEWS

Sana News

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed that the draft resolution submitted today to the UN Security Council is a politicized and discriminatory text that is aimed at distracting the presidential elections in Syria and fueling the crisis.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that submitting the draft resolution represents the continuation of some countries’ attempts to impose themselves as caretakers over the Syrian people and their national choices.

Al-Jaafari added that realizing justice necessitates holding the Zionist puppet’s governments of Turkey, Zio-Wahhabi Saudi , Qatar, France and I$raHell accountable for their acts of provocation for violence and terrorism in Syria and arming, funding and training the mercenaries who come in thousands from all over the world to Syria.

He asserted that Syria reiterates that the path to help the Syrian people is clear and known and it is represented by exerting genuine and serious efforts to counter terrorism which is targeting the state and people of Syria, clarifying that supporting the efforts aimed at finding a national political solution to the crisis in Syria takes into consideration the Geneva process based on dialogue among the Syrians themselves to reach agreement on discarding violence and combat terrorism and form a national unity government.

Al-Jaafari added “we call on Security Council to prosecute the French government for its crimes against the Syrian people and other peoples whose countries were occupied by France, and we call on the French government of a clear apologize on its occupation era to pay compensations to the Syrian people.”

For his part, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, stressed that the French draft resolution is an attempt to use the International Criminal Court to ignite the political feelings and pave the way for foreign military intervention.

Chinese permanent representative to the UN, Wang Min, stressed that his country considers any procedure to refer the Syrian file to the International Criminal Court should be based on respecting the sovereignty of the state and its judicial authority, pointing out that China had many conservations on the French draft resolution.

He called on the Syrian government to put and end to violence and start the third round of Geneva talks to bolster the political process and start a peaceful transitional process.

He added that his country has always called on all sides to respect human rights and the international humanitarian law and refrain from harming the innocents and civilians.

Earlier in the day, Churkin described France’s draft resolution as a “publicity stunt” that harms joint efforts for resolving the crisis in Syria politically.

This is the fourth time the countries have used their veto power as permanent UN Security Council members to block anti-Syria resolutions.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on Russia and China veto Zionist French draft resolution calling for Syria ICC referral

Syria: Zio-Wahhabi al-Qaeda Moving Deeper Into Golan Heights: Al-Qaeda’s Flag Flies Over Area Along I$raHell Frontier

NOVANEWS

AntiWar.com

Syrian al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra continues to make deep inroads in capturing territory south of Damascus, and its troops now control much of the foothills of the Golan Heights.

Nusra fighters seized a hilltop position within view of Israel’s border forces, and rose the flag of al-Qaeda over the area. The civil war has finally put al-Qaeda forces directly on Israel’s frontier.

Though Syrian government forces have chased the Islamist faction out of most of metro Damascus and even the area up to the Lebanon border, they have largely left the Syrian-held portion of Golan lightly defended.

This has been the case for more than a year now, since Israel began talking up the idea of invading Golan themselves to establish a new “buffer zone” from the civil war on their border. Syria’s military likely feels it isn’t worth fighting over land that Israel is liable to take anyhow.

The region along the Israeli and Jordanian borders amounts to most of Jabhat al-Nusra’s real territorial possession these days, as they have lost most of their significant northern strongholds to rival al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in bloody battles. AQI is mostly unseen on the southern front, where Nusra is fighting alongside US-armed rebels infiltrating from Jordan.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on Syria: Zio-Wahhabi al-Qaeda Moving Deeper Into Golan Heights: Al-Qaeda’s Flag Flies Over Area Along I$raHell Frontier

Hezbollah has no plans to stop fighting in Syria

NOVANEWS

 

By Misbah al-Ali

The Daily Star
File - Hezbollah members parade in Teffahta during a ceremony commemorating three slain Hezbollah leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, Abbas Musawi and Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
 

File – Hezbollah members parade in Teffahta during a ceremony commemorating three slain Hezbollah leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, Abbas Musawi and Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

 

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah will deliver a speech in the southern town of Bint Jbeil this weekend to mark Resistance and Liberation Day.

Many wonder whether he will make any announcements regarding the party’s military involvement in Syria, in light of recent speculation that Hezbollah is considering retreating from Syria, or at least suspending its military operations in Lebanon’s neighbor.

A high-ranking Hezbollah official confidently told The Daily Star that pulling the party’s troops from Syria “is unlikely and not on the table at all … We will not withdraw from the Syria fighting at all because it is an existential battle in every sense of the word, and it comes with obligations and sacrifices as large as the danger.”

Hezbollah announced that it was involved in the neighboring conflict in May last year, the same month of the Resistance and Liberation Day, which celebrates the party’s triumph over Israel in 2000 when the country finally ended its occupation of south Lebanon.

According to the party’s opponents, Hezbollah has drowned due to its involvement in Syria, which has dented its popularity, and has also contributed to the incitement of strife between Sunnis and Shiites in the Arab world.

But Hezbollah does not seem too preoccupied with these readings, according to the official, and instead believes that the Syrian battlefield is the real decision maker.

In his speech this weekend, Nasrallah is expected to reaffirm that Hezbollah stands behind its decisions, especially regarding its military role in Syria, which is likely to be heavily discussed in the leader’s speech, including in terms of the party’s fighters’ achievements. Hezbollah does not necessarily feel that the Syrian crisis is a threat to its political agenda, but rather sees it as a real existential danger to essential components of the Arab world.

The official went on to justify the party’s involvement in Syria, saying that when the conflict began, Hezbollah had called for dialogue between the regime and the rebels and did not enter the battlefield.

“But when serious threat began, not to our political resistance program but to the coexistence of the people of the Arab region and with the unprecedented spread of the takfiri danger, there had to be a crucial decision to confront [this], whatever the sacrifices,” he said.

He went on to list the accomplishments on the field, saying that it was perhaps the battle of Qusair in the summer of 2013 that was the most effective. In November, the party, along with Syrian regime forces, attacked the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta and took control of the towns of Nishabieh, Blalieh and Otaibeh. The official said the operation foiled Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan’s plan to topple the regime and led to the fall of the Qalamoun region despite its difficult geographical nature.

“But the party wanted to effectively eliminate the centers that were responsible for producing car bombs and suicide bombers as well as completely severing connection between Syrian rebels and their supporters in Lebanon,” the official explained.

After taking control of Qalamoun, the party’s greatest victory, fighting moved toward Jawbar and Mliha, eventually leading to the regime seizing the main portal to rural Damascus, eastern Ghouta.

According to the official, this further fixed the party’s understanding of the Syrian reality and the aims of the rebels. “ Hezbollah could not stand idly by,” he said.

The party’s battle was not only limited to the military and field operations, but also had political implications and reflections on Lebanon’s domestic political scene and, specifically, the presidential election.

Hezbollah’s victories in Syria are likely to bear numerous results that will emerge soon, according to the official.

First, President Bashar Assad is bound to win in the upcoming presidential election, giving him a mandate to reorganize the political agenda after the failure of Geneva I and II conferences and the retreat of the opposition on field.

Second, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is predicted to head the new Iraqi government.

Third, the U.S.-Iranian negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program is expected to bear fruit in June, which would lead to redrawing the political map of the region.

“We will not respond to simplistic and superficial invitations regarding the Syrian crisis,” the official concluded.

“We are engaged in the conflict there until the end, and our withdrawal from there is only a pipe dream as long as the other party has lost bets on the Syrian crisis once and for all.”

Posted in Lebanon, SyriaComments Off on Hezbollah has no plans to stop fighting in Syria

Syria court gives Jumblatt legal notice

NOVANEWS
The Daily Star

 

PSP leader Walid Jumblatt drives his car in Beirut. (The Daily Star/File/Mahmoud Kheir)
 

PSP leader Walid Jumblatt drives his car in Beirut. (The Daily Star/File/Mahmoud Kheir)

 

BEIRUT: A Syrian court issued legal notices against PSP leader Walid Jumblatt and Lebanese journalist Fares Khashan, accusing them of undermining the prestige of the state, a report said Thursday.

The local LBCI television channel said the Lebanese Foreign Ministry had received the notices from the Criminal Court in Latakia. However, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement denying that it had received any summonses from Syria for the two.

The lawsuit dates back to 2006, when Syria’s military court filed a lawsuit against Jumblatt and “others revealed by the investigation,” accusing the defendants of “defaming” Damascus by blaming it for the series of bombings and assassinations in Lebanon in 2005.

At the time, there were warrants out for Jumblatt, Khashan and MP Marwan Hamade.

A judicial source told The Daily Star that any notices would be ineffective in practice, given the parliamentary immunity Jumblatt enjoys and Khashan’s absence from the country. Khashan is a Paris-based reporter for the local newspaper Al-Mustaqbal.

 

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The Libyan ‘Coincidence’

NOVANEWS

colorrevolutions

CIA-backed general launches Libyan coup

It’s just a coincidence that Gen. Khalifa Hifter (sometimes spelled Hiftar) launched his Libyan coup only four days after the US deployed 200 troops to Sicily – a “crisis response team” sent at the State Department’s request. Another coincidence: US-backed Gen. Hifter lived in Washington, D.C. for decades, a few convenient miles from the CIA’s Langley headquarters.

I wrote about Hifter back in 2011, here and here, when he was a suspect in the assassination of Abdel Fatah Younes, one of Gaddafi’s generals who defected to the rebels and was appointed head of the Libyan army by the new regime. Younes’ time in office was brief, however: he was opposed by Hifter, and by the radical Islamists who were the backbone of the insurrection. Recalled to Tripoli for “inquiries” about his bona fides, he was murdered en route by an Islamist gang calling itself the “February 17 Martyrs Brigade.”

Oh, and here’s yet another coincidence: this is the same “February 17 Martyrs Brigade” hired by the US State Department to “guard” the Benghazi CIA station where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed.

As Alice once said in Wonderland: Curiouser and curiouser!

The American attention span being what it is, the US public has long since lost interest in forlorn Libya: oh, they vaguely remember the US intervention in that country, but have lost track of the story since our glorious “victory” unleashed a flood of chaos. The Republicans keep harping on the Benghazi incident, and the alleged cover-up of the circumstances surrounding Ambassador Stevens’ brutal death, but they never bring up the real scandal – the American intervention itself, which paved the way for all the bloody mess that followed.

Who is Gen. Hifter, and whose game he playing?

Once one of Gaddafi’s top generals, he commanded the late dictator’s disastrous invasion of neighboring Chad and was either captured by Chadian forces, or else defected to the other side – it’s not clear what exactly occurred. In any case, from Chad he set up his National Salvation Front, described in this report from the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board (citing Le Monde Diplomatique) as “created and financed by the CIA.” The same report says he “vanished into thin air with the help of the CIA shortly after the Hissène Habré government [of Chad] was overthrown by Idriss Déby.” A 1996 Washington Post report, among other sources, says the Salvation Front’s military wing, led by Hifter, was funded and trained by the United States: they set up a base in Kenya, and many of their cadre later came to the US, where Hifter resided for two decades less than five miles from Langley.

The target of Hifter’s coup is the elected parliament and executive which, we were told in the beginning, represented a “secularist” victory at the polls in the first election, and yet somehow morphed into an Islamist majority. Hifter says he is trying to impose order and rein in the Islamist militias that have had free rein since the “liberation.” The US denies being behind the coup, but the key to understanding Washington’s true position is that the State Department is urging a “peaceful resolution” and telling both sides to stand down – not exactly a rebuke to Hifter.

The Libyan intervention was the first step in the Obama/Clinton administration’s grand plan to somehow co-opt the “Arab Spring” and use it as a battering ram to extend Washington’s influence in the region. After stumbling, at first, and backing Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak against the Muslim Brotherhood’s rebellion in the streets, Washington dumped the dictator and started backing the “moderate” Islamist forces they thought they could control. When Libya exploded, they backed the Islamists opposing him, keeping their asset Hifter in the wings to pick up the pieces. When the inevitable occurred, and the radical Islamists started their rampage – killing Stevens and four others in the process – they were left with egg on their faces (or, rather, blood on their hands), and a burgeoning scandal that they’ve desperately tried to tamp down.

Isn’t it odd how Benghazi, a hardscrabble town with nothing much to distinguish it, has been in the news so much lately? It was supposedly the target of Gaddafi’s murderous rage, the site where he was supposedly planning a “massacre” that necessitated the intervention of the US and its European allies – a “humanitarian disaster” that never materialized. It was then the scene of the murderous blowback that resulted in the first killing of an American ambassador in recent history. The latest is that it has become a battlefield on which Hifter and the pro-government Islamist militias are duking it out.

It was also said to be the site where arms were being shipped to Syrian Islamist rebels with the full knowledge and cooperation of the US government – just before Ambassador Stevens was killed. For a dusty bit of nowhere on the edge of nothingness, Benghazi sure gets around!

Libya’s future is, at best, an Egyptian-style military junta, and at worst another Somalia. As I have pointed out in this space from the very beginning, “Libya” isn’t a real country by any rational standard: it is, instead, an arbitrary construct cobbled together out of at least three historically disparate parts. This is true in the case of most African “nations,” which have been saddled with borders defined by European colonialists. Today these same colonial powers – aided and abetted by the US – are meddling at the scene of their crimes, maneuvering and scheming to get back in the business of economic exploitation and political domination.

Libya isn’t going to be a place where anything resembling progress, democracy, liberalism, or anything remotely resembling them is going to take root in the next thousand years. It is a hellhole, and will remain one, no matter how much money is spent, or how much blood is spilled – and it isn’t within the power of US policymakers to change that. We don’t belong there, and we never will. There’s just one rational policy to adopt: get out and stay out. We are making matters worse, not better, and the sooner we recognize that inescapable fact the better off we – and the long-suffering people of Libya – will be.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

 

Posted in LibyaComments Off on The Libyan ‘Coincidence’

US ‘losing patience’ with Venezuela

NOVANEWS
John Kerry in Mexico
Mr Kerry said that the US is not planning to take any action at this stage

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that impatience with the Venezuelan government is growing across the region over its failure to address the country’s serious political crisis.

Mr Kerry called on President Nicolas Maduro to reopen negotiations with the opposition.

Talks collapsed over a dispute about the release of political prisoners.

At least 42 people, from both sides of the political divide, have been killed in street protests this year.

Speaking during a visit to Mexico, Mr Kerry said that the United States was still considering imposing sanctions against Venezuela, but he hoped such measures would not be necessary.

“The power is in the hands of the government, and the government has to exercise that power in a responsible way in order to make the choices to create stability and a way forward in Venezuela,” he said.

Mr Kerry criticised the government’s “total failure” to show good faith during the talks, which are being mediated by the Unasur regional bloc and a representative of the Vatican.

He said Venezuela’s neighbours, “including the United States”, are growing increasingly concerned about the instability generated by the crisis.

Detained protesters in Caracas, 14 May
Some 3,000 people have been detained since the protests began in February
Opposition march in Caracas, 10 May
The Venezuelan government says the United States are behind the opposition protests

Unasur foreign ministers left Caracas on Tuesday, but issued a statement asking both sides to book a date for a new round of talks.

The main opposition group, the Democratic Unity Alliance (MUD), pulled out of the talks last week after the government refused to release more than 200 people detained when the police broke up protest camps in Caracas earlier this month.

The opposition blames the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, for the economic crisis in the in the oil-producing nation.

Mr Maduro says right-wing sectors across the region, backed up by the United States, have been stirring trouble in Venezuela as part of a plan to oust him and put an end to his programme of social reforms.

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The role of the intellectual

NOVANEWS
The intellectual

By Lawrence Davidson

World Wars I and II created watershed moments in the lives of Western intellectuals, defined here as those who are guided by their intellect and critical thinking, and understand various aspects of the world mainly through ideas and theories which they express through writing, teaching and other forms of public address. Just how were they to respond to the call of patriotic duty that seduced the vast majority of citizens to support acts of mass slaughter? What constituted a proper response is often debated. How most of them did respond is a matter of historical record.

Watershed moments

During the world wars most intellectuals on all sides of the conflicts uncritically lent their talents to their government’s war efforts. Some did so as propagandists and others as scientists. Some actually led their nations into the fray, as was the case with Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson held a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, had taught at Cornell, Bryn Mawr and Wesleyan, and became president of Princeton University. Eventually he was elected president of the United States and, having taken the nation to war, sanctioned the creation of a massive propaganda machine under the auspices of the Committee on Public Information. He also supported the passage of the Sedition Act of 1918 to suppress all anti-war sentiments.

Wilson never experienced combat, but another intellectual, the British poet Siegried Sassoon, did so in the trenches of the Western front. After this experience he wrote, “war is hell and those who initiate it are criminals”. No doubt that was his opinion of the intellectual President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1928 the French philosopher and literary critic Julien Benda published an important book, The Betrayal of the Intellectuals. In this work Benda asserted that it is the job of the intellectual to remain independent of his or her community’s ideologies and biases, be they political, religious or ethnic. Only by so doing could he or she defend the universal practices of tolerance and critical thinking that underpin civilization. Not only were they to maintain their independence, but they were also obligated to analyse their community’s actions and, where necessary, call them into question.

However, as the memory of the intellectuals’ complicity in World War I faded, so did the memory of Benda’s standard of behaviour. By World War II it held little power against the renewed demands of national governments for citizens to rally around the flag. Thus, in that war, with even greater atrocities being committed, most intellectuals either supported the slaughter or remained silent. Some became fascists, others communists, and all too many once more lent their talents to propaganda machines and war industries in all the fighting states.

As a result the debate over the proper role of the intellectual in relation to power and ideology continues to this day. It is not a question that needs a world war to be relevant. There are any number of ongoing situations where nationalism, ethnicity or religious views spark intolerance and violence. And with each of them the intellectuals, particularly those whose home states are involved, have to make the same age-old choice. Do they follow Woodrow Wilson’s path or that of Julian Benda?

The fate of the Jewish intellectual

This problem has recently been raised in reference to the seemingly endless Palestinian-Israeli conflict. On 14 April 2014 Eva Illouz, a professor of sociology at Hebrew University, published an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz entitled, “Is it possible to be a Jewish intellectual?” In this piece she sets forth two opposing positions: one is the Zionist/Israeli demand for the primacy of “ahavat Israel,” or the “love of the Jewish nation and people” – the claim that all Jews have a “duty of the heart” to be loyal to the “Jewish nation”. The other position is that of the lone intellectual (here her model is the philosopher Hannah Arendt), whose obligation is to maintain the “disinterested intelligence” necessary to, if you will, speak truth to power.

Illouz explains that Zionists have a “suspicion of critique” and use “the memorialization of the shoah” (the holocaust) and “ahavat Israel” to mute it. “The imperative of solidarity brings with it the injunction to not oppose or express publicly disagreement with official Jewish bodies.” It is within this context that she can ask if it is still possible to be a Jewish intellectual, at least as portrayed by Julien Benda. Illouz’s conclusion is that it has become exceedingly difficult to be so, particularly in the diaspora communities, where the demands for Jewish solidarity are particularly “brutal”.

Illouz is unhappy with this situation. While she feels the allure of ahavat Israel, she ultimately supports the position of the independent-mindedness of Benda’s thinker. She insists that the “contemporary Jewish intellectual has an urgent task… to unveil the conditions under which Jewish solidarity should or should not be accepted, debunked or embraced. In the face of the ongoing, unrelenting injustices toward Palestinians and Arabs living in Israel, his/her moral duty is to let go, achingly, of that solidarity.”

The primacy of group solidarity

While the portrayal of the intellectual as a thinker insisting on and practising the right of critical thinking about society and its behaviour is an ancient one (consider Socrates here), such behaviour is not common in practice. This, in turn, calls Benda’s notion of a proper intellectual into question.

Thus the description of an intellectual offered at the beginning of this essay (which is in line with common dictionary definitions) does not reference any particular direction of thought. For instance, in practice there is nothing that requires an intellectual to think about societal or government behaviours, much less take a critical public position on such matters. And, no doubt, there are many very talented minds who, deeply involved in aesthetic matters or certain branches of scientific, linguistic, literary or other pursuits, do not involve themselves with issues of the use or abuse of power.

In addition, one might well be judged an intellectual and be a supporter or even a perpetrator of criminal policies and actions. Woodrow Wilson might fall within this category, as might Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and many others.

Indeed, from a historical perspective most people of high intellect have sought to serve power and not critique or question it. This is quite in line with the fact that most non-intellectuals accept the word of those in power as authoritative and true. According to Eva Illouz this reflects the primacy of group solidarity over truth. She is correct in this judgment. That, no doubt, is why the independent-minded, outspoken intellectuals demanding moral integrity and responsibility from those in power are so rare, be they Jewish or gentile.

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