Archive | March 6th, 2015




SYRIAN ARMYDAMASCUS:  As Obama’s Southern Front turns into a rancid salad made of radishes and olive pits, the SAA continues to deal bone-crushing blows to Obama’s favorite terrorists – the terrorists who just lost 18 of their most beloved rat leaders including Abu Muhammad Al-Jawlaani.  So sad, really.

Zamalkaa near the Al-Radhwaan Mosque:  Another unique operation now not-so-unique since it has been proven to be extremely useful in exterminating rodents, the SAA killed 31 and wounded scores this morning.  Once again, the Alqaeda/Nusra rats just don’t know that the SAA is on to them and aware of their every move:

‘Uthmaan Abu-Bakr Khamees (YEMENI HEMORRHOID)

Kaayid Naasser Al-Zhareef

Abdullah Junaydi

Mustafaa Hussayn Abu-Sha’ra

‘Ali Shahaara

‘Abdullah Al-Zu’bi

Khaleel Nooreddeen Zal’oom

Majd Al-Zamraani

Zaaher Shammoot

Mu’tassim ‘Abdul-‘Aal

Sa’eed ‘Abdul-Salaam

Ziyaad Al-Ruz

The rest were not identified.

Marj Al-Sultaan:  This is in the Al-Nishaabiyya environs in the East Ghouta.  Another perfectly executed operation:

Narit Zhohar Ilkhanov (CHECHEN RAT VIRUS. Killed 2 days ago here.)

These were killed today:

Muhammad Al-Sabbaagh

‘Abdul-Rahmaan Al-Mansiy

‘Abdul-‘Azeez Al-Sa’eed

‘Irbeen at Al-Hawwaara Street and the southern entrance to the suburb:

Hussayn Muhsin ‘Eessaa

Fu`aad Shaqfa

Durayd Shammaama

Tahseen Al-Tallaawi

Ma’roof Sawwaan


Yazan Al-Kijik

Muhammad Al-Dajj

Faheem Jamaal Qubrussli





Palestinian  runs over four Nazi border policewomen, then assaults them with knife before being shot.

Five Zio-Nazi were injured Friday morning in a car-ramming attack near a illegally occupied Jerusalem Light Rail station in the north of the city. Four of the wounded were young Zio-Nazi border policewomen.

Mohammad Salima, car jihadist

A Palestinian man in a private vehicle hit five Zio-Nazi as they stood on a sidewalk. He was identified as Mohammad Salima, 21, from illegally occupied East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud. After the car attack, he then emerged from the vehicle with a knife and attempted to stab Zio-Nazi passersby, but was  shot and by Nazi Border Policeman and a Light Rail security guard at the scene.

So-called "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party encourages Muslims to wage vehicular jihad and run over Jews

They were treated at the scene by paramedics before being evacuated to the hospital. Two more Zio-Nazi border policewomen were treated at the scene for shock. Salima was seriously injured and taken to the hospital.

In late October a Palestinian from illegally occupied East Jerusalem, slammed his car into a train platform in that part of the city, killing a baby girl and a young woman from Ecuador. Two weeks later, a Palestinian man rammed his car into a crowded train platform in illegally occupied East Jerusalem and then attacked people with an iron bar, killing one Nazi and injuring 13. Both attackers were shot by Nazi police and died of their wounds.

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army 1IDLIB:  At the village of Al-Habeet (see map), the Syrian military had notice that a major strategy session was under way conducted by the notorious mass murdering Alqaeda/Nusra rat leader Abu-Muhammad Al-Jawlaani who had just finished a meeting with Qatar’s crackpot child-molesting prince Tameem son of Madame Banana.  He was going to explain to the rat leaders how Nusra was going to remarket itself as a non-Alqaeda spawn.  His movements were followed by a crack team of operatives from Syrian Army Military Intelligence who tracked him from Reyhanli to Al-Habeet.  Once his communications had been intercepted, it was clear the meeting was to coordinate the transformation from Alqaeda to the “moderate terrorist” category – an absolute must for the Zionist Obama regime.

It is reported by sources in Latakia that a wing of MiG 29s were ordered into the air by Lt. General ‘Issaam Hallaq, Chief of the Air Force, and were given very specific coordinates.  The type of sidewinder missile used has not been disclosed to me but it certainly did the job.  The airplanes flew off-target and could not be heard by the rodents who met in a building which is now complete rubble.  Body parts are strewn all over as you will hear from the shocked (and now leaderless) Nusra group.  Abu Muhammad Al-Jawlaani, who was critically wounded but smuggled quickly to Turkey, is now being treated by a whole team of incompetent Turk quacks at a hospital in Gaziantep.  The video below is from a very astute and tenacious new ally of ours.  Enjoy.

Along with ABU MUHAMMAD AL-JAWLAANI, these field commanders were also killed and sent to Hell:

Abu Hammaam Al-Shaami (a/k/a Faarooq Al-Soori)

Abu ‘Umar Al-Kurdi (He is reported to be anything but a Kurd)

Abu Baraa` Al-Ansaari


‘Abdul-Salaam Al-Lubnaani (LEBANTEEZIAN PIG PIMPLE)


Another 10 have not been named.


The military chief of the al-Qaida-linked group, Abu Homam al-Shami was reportedly killed in an air strike by the Syrian army.This is Abu Hammaam Al-Shaami.  His beard is reportedly infested by flies and maggots. 

Abu Dhuhoor Airbase area:  At Qar’ Al-Ghazaal, Al-Majaass, Al-Shuwayha and Khaan Shaykhoon, the army has devastated the Alqaeda organization with spectacular operations destroying whole artillery batteries provided by the United States and Turkey.  Over 14 vehicles, some armored, were destroyed.  The number of rats killed in this campaign is over 300.

Qarsaayaa and Baydar Shamsu:  Completely liberated as of last night.

More fighting reported here:  Bishlamoon, Hallooz, Tal Salmu, Al-Ghafar, Ma’arrat-Massreen, Al-Buwayti, Al-Hoota.


India’s Increasing Defense Budget: At What Cost?


Image result for INDIA FLAG

By Sajjad Shaukat

On February 28, this year, India announced its ambitious defense budget amounting to 2.47

trillion Indian rupees ($40.07 billion), a 7.9 percent increase for the fiscal year starting from

April 1, 2015, suggesting that it will move with the military’s long wish list for fighter jets, ships

and artillery, as Narendra Modi’s government presented its first budget. For the current fiscal

year, the allocation was 2.29 trillion rupees, a jump of 12 percent over the previous year.

While exposing India’s unlimited defense policy, Washington-based Center for Strategic &

International Studies (CSIS) had disclosed in its report of April 2011 that India had planned “to

spend an estimated $80 billion on military modernization programs by 2015 so as to further

increase its military build-up against China and disrupt security-balance in South Asia…India is

expected to maintain this position in the coming years.”

The CSIS report elaborated, “Consequently, India’s defense budget has roughly quadrupled (in

real terms) since 2001…reaching $36.3 billion in the 2011–2012 budget…and enabled the

implementation of long-term acquisition plans.”

It is notable that in February 2010, Indian military procurement units descended on the DefExpo

2010 trade fair in New Delhi. Inaugurating the Indian Defense Exhibition, Defense Minister

A.K. Antony had said that India’s defense expenditure which is 2.5 percent of its gross domestic

product (GDP) is going to increase. He pointed out, “Our government is committed to rapid

modernization of armed forces.”

In this regard, in its report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

revealed on March 20, 2012, “India is the world’s largest recipient of arms…India’s imports of

major weapons increased by 38 percent between 2002-06 and 2007-11.”

New Delhi’s military is acquiring a slew of new equipments from combat aircraft to submarines

and artillery. It is currently finalising a deal with France’s Dassault Aviation to buy 126 Rafale

fighter jets in a contract worth an estimated $12 billion.

Although peace and brinksmanship cannot co-exist in the modern era, yet India seeks to

destabilize Asia through its aggressive designs.

In this respect, US still backs Indian hegemony in Asia to counterbalance China. During

American President Barack Obama’s visit to India, on January 25, this year, the US and India

announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply New

Delhi with civilian nuclear technology. On November 2, 2010, US agreed to sell India the most

expensive—the new F-35 fighter jets including US F-16 and F-18 fighters, C-17 and C-130

aircraft, radar systems, Harpoon weapons etc. Besides acquisition of arms and weapons from

other western countries—especially Israel, America is a potential military supplier to India. US

also pressurized International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group to grant a

waiver to New Delhi for obtaining civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

As a matter of fact, US wants New Delhi to assume anti-China role. Beijing is apprehensive

about the emerging threat, as the intent of President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi

was quite clear, while mentioning about free sea lanes and air passages in the South China Sea.

In the recent past, tension arose between India and China when Indian army erected a military

camp in Chumar Sector of Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)-disputed border, situated

between the two countries. Similarly, Indian soldiers crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) in

Kashmir on January 6, 2012 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier.

Afterwards, Indian troops shot dead more Pakistani soldiers on the LoC.

It is mentionable that under the Pak-China pretext, Indian ex-Army Chief, General Deepak

Kapoor disclosed on December 29, 2010 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old

doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.”

It is noteworthy that after 9/11, both India and Israel which had openly jumped on Bush’s anti-

terrorism enterprise are acting upon a secret diplomacy, targeting Pakistan China and Iran. It

could be assessed from the interview of Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, published in

the Indian weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008. Regarding India’s defense arrangements with

Tel Aviv, Sofer had surprisingly revealed, “We do have a defense relationship with India, and

“with all due respect, the secret part will remain a secret.” In fact, with the support of Israel, New

Delhi has been acquiring an element of strategic depth by setting up logistical bases in the Indian

Particularly, fast growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship

with the Third World, and especially Pakistan has irked the eyes of Americans and Indians.

Owing to jealousy, America desires to make India a major power to counterbalance China in

Asia. While, New Delhi continues cross-border terrorism in Pakistan including violations at the

LoC and the Working Boundary, located at Pak-India borders.

And, on July 20, 2011, while hinting towards Pak-China ties, the then US Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton urged India to be more assertive in Asia, saying that as American ally, the

country should play more of a leadership role. She explained, “India has the potential to

positively shape the future of the Asia-Pacific.”

However, India’s increasing defense budget not only indicates her offensive designs, but also has

other drastic consequences in the region as well as for India itself.

In this context, in May 1998 when India detonated five nuclear tests, it also compelled Pakistan

to follow the suit. The then Defense Minister George Fernandes had also declared publicly that

“China is India’s potential threat No. 1.” New Delhi which successfully tested missile, Agni-

111in May 2007, has been extending its range to target all Chinese cities. Now, by setting aside

peace-offers of Beijing and Islamabad, New Delhi has entangled the latter in a deadly arms race.

While, international community has been making strenuous efforts for world peace in wake of

global financial crisis and war against terrorism, but India has particularly initiated deadly

nuclear arms race in South Asia where people are already facing multiple problems of grave

nature. Majority of South Asian people are living below the poverty level, lacking basic facilities

like fresh food and clean water. While yielding to acute poverty, every day, some persons

In fact, currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for military and paramilitary

forces. That leaves less than half for everything else including infrastructure development

projects, education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and various human services. New Delhi’s

latest arms buildup will leave even less for what India needs most to lift hundreds of millions of

its citizens from abject poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease.

In the recent past, Indian civil society organizations, while complaining of excessive defense

spending, indicated that the government spends very little amount for the betterment of people.

Indian defense analyst Ravinder Pal Singh, while pointing to New Delhi’s unending defense

spending at the cost of poverty-alleviation, calls it guns-versus-butter question.

Even some of Indian officials are surprised in relation to Indian defense expenditure which has

no bounds. For example, an official of the country’s finance ministry remarked, “There is a

dilemma…poverty needs to be eradicated to prevent men from taking to the guns…but more

funds for security means less money for poverty alleviation.”

Meanwhile, a report of United Nations pointed out that India ranks 134th of 182 countries on the

United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. It estimated that 50 per

cent of the world’s undernourished population lives in India. Nearly 31 per cent of the billion-

plus Indians earn less than a dollar a day.

Secretary General of the Control Arms Foundation of India Binalakshmi Nepram said, “When

people are dying of poverty and bad sanitation, what protection will arms provide them?”

Nevertheless, by ignoring regional problems and particularly resolution of Indo-Pak issues,

especially the Kashmir dispute, Indian rulers state that they do not have any belligerent policy.

But, it becomes a big joke of the 21st century, reminding a maxim, “armed to the teeth, but no

enemy”, if we take cognizance of India’s increasing defense budget in wake of her aggressive

designs, destroying South Asian peace and stability at the cost of modern world trends such as

peaceful settlement of disputes, economic development and disarmament, giving a wake up call

to other regional powers including Middle East and the Western World.

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Hezbollah: The International Community’s Sole Concern

Like it or not, Hezbollah is a feature of the Middle East’s new political landscape. It is an important ally in one of the two axes of power taking shape in the region.
Mideast Lebanon HezbollahHezbollah fighters stand on their armed vehicles and hold their party flags, as they parade during a rally to mark the 13th day of Ashoura, in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.

Lebanon has been supplanted on the international agenda by other more dangerous arenas. Think tanks and strategy centers have lost interest in the country’s issues since its security situation reached a stalemate. The Lebanese presidency, parliamentary consensus, or the work mechanism of the Council of Ministers are no longer international concerns. Only nearby arenas evoke Lebanon: security threats associated with the Syrian refugee crisis or military movements on the border.

While Western stakeholders have become weary of procrastinating Lebanese officials, their interest in Hezbollah has grown with the party’s regional clout. According to an inside source, much talk in Western diplomatic circles is about Hezbollah’s role and involvement in the conflict in Syria; its potential ability to make an effective contribution in Iraq; its relationship with Israel, Bahrain, and even Bulgaria. Much of this chatter has been devoted to Hezbollah’s role in ongoing conflicts and wars — particularly in Iraq and Syria. This has intensified with the the battles in southern Syria, where Hezbollah will certainly play a role in any potential future settlements.

Like it or not, Hezbollah is a feature of the Middle East’s new political landscape. It is an important ally in one of the two axes of power taking shape in the region: the Iranian axis, with implicit Russian support and a strategy extending to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; in opposition to the Saudi-Gulf-Jordanian-Turkish axis, now trying to forge a pragmatic alliance after the Saudi tripartite system took power in Riyadh in the wake of King Abdullah’s death.

In the past few weeks, the latter regional axis — particularly Saudi Arabia and Turkey — has been working to reintroduce the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East, all the way to Tunisia – and to support its reemergence in the face of fundamentalist groups and the Iranian axis, which is expected to extend to strategic points including Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Christian Hezbollah

A Christian woman supporter of Hezbollah, carries a picture of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah along a Lebanese flag as she listens to Nasrallah’s speech in the occasion of Jerusalem Day in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Sept. 3, 2010.

Ahead of a prospective US-Iranian agreement, Saudi Arabia has reconsidered its recent policies, which have resulted in changes to the regional map. That meant learning from previous mistakes in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia, and so formulating a new strategy. Restoring the Muslim Brotherhood as a regional power is a pivotal component of this policy, and should help govern the relations between the countries of the region – between Turkey and Qatar on one hand, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the other. This mutual concern has been expressed by politicians and the media in the two latter countries. The Egyptians are worried about a potential revival of the Muslim Brotherhood with Saudi support, which represents a turnaround from late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s policy toward post-Muslim Brotherhood Egypt.

The new axis has shown itself particularly in Yemen, and in Aden’s transformation into a “capital” for the groups backed by Riyadh, versus Sanaa as a capital for the Huthis. That said, it is too early to predict how the new axis will take shape, especially as it is now seeking to establish a clear identity and regional policy, ahead of a potential US-Iranian agreement, as well as the global fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, the main challenge to this axis remains the growing presence of Iran, to whom Washington seems to have “delegated” the task of confronting ISIS, in conjunction with the aerial campaign launched weeks ago against the group in Syria and Iraq.

The ground operation – promoted from Tikrit by the Iranian-friendly media, through the display of pictures of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, in an attempt to assert its strong presence against ISIS in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin before launching a similar battle in Anbar province – has begun.

Amidst the battle in southern Syria – where Iran is fighting openly alongside Hezbollah, and without any international objection, to drive away ISIS and al-Nusra Front – a new regional scene is taking shape, in which Washington sees a balance between two powers in the Middle East: one Sunni and another Shia.

Lebanon’s only presence on that map is due to Hezbollah and its intersecting role between two axes: the first axis seeing the party as a dangerous threat equivalent to ISIS, while the second axis relies on it to formulate a strategic line extending from Iraq to the Mediterranean.

With the US-Iranian agreement approaching – and despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s high-pitched tone at the US Congress on Tuesday – the level of disagreement between the two axes and its regional ramifications has yet to be seen. At least, both parties have so far kept Lebanon out of the conflict.

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Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About I$raHell Nukes?

Netanyahu wants to talk about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but why isn’t anybody talking about Israel’s not-so-secret arsenal?
Benjamin NetanyahuPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel shows an illustration as he describes his concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions during his address to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Washington, D.C., and appeared before a joint session of Congress — not the Knesset — to give a speech on the dangers of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu declared, poses a clear and present danger not just to the Jewish state he heads, but to the entire region, and the United States, too. In stern tones the implied “Senator from Tel Aviv” warned Congress that the nuclear deal being cobbled together by Washington and Tehran in order to ward off war between them was a bad deal that would leave Iran unacceptably close to possessing a bomb.

By his calculations, with the in-place nuclear infrastructure Washington’s deal would likely allow Iran to keep, Netanyahu estimated Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon in a year or less.

“This is a bad deal — a very bad deal,” intoned Netanyahu. “We’re better off without it.”

It’s not exactly clear who the “we” Netanyahu referred to was – assuming, of course, that one sees some degree of difference between the interests of the U.S. and Israel. Yet the message the prime minister was trying to convey was easy enough to understand: Iran is a cheat and a liar that cannot under any circumstances be trusted.

The 200-kiloton elephant in the room

Israel's Sorek nuclear reactor center near the central Israeli town of Yavne.Israel’s Sorek nuclear reactor center near the central Israeli town of Yavne.

Left totally unmentioned by Netanyahu and nearly all discussion of the speech in the U.S. media is any note of, no matter how slight, Israel’s own nuclear weapons program. Indeed, although Israel’s nuclear arms are undeclared and the state is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, its possession of these weapons has been an open secret since the 1980s, when a low-level Israeli nuclear technician by the name of Mordechai Vanunu leaked details of the program to a British newspaper. Vanunu was arrested, tried in a secret court and convicted. He would ultimately serve 18 years in prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement.

What Vanunu revealed to the public was widely known in official circles for years, and in 1987 the U.S. Defense Department noted that, “as far as nuclear technology is concerned, the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field circa 1955-1960.” The DOD went on to say that U.S. intelligence believed Israel was also well on its way to developing the technology it would need to produce hydrogen bombs, which are also now widely believed to be present in the Israeli arsenal. Although estimates of the size of the Israeli inventory vary, minimum calculations place it at 75 weapons and maximum at 400, with most placing it somewhere between 100-200 warheads.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute provides perhaps the best guess, which is that Israel has 80 intact nuclear weapons, with enough material for many more. Of that 80, it says, 50 are deployed on Jericho II medium-range ballistic missiles and the remaining 30 are aircraft-delivered gravity bombs. There is also speculation that some of Israel’s weapons are based at sea on its new Dolphin submarines, which means that Israel has not only nuclear weapons, but a fully functioning deterrent triad of missiles, bombers and subs. Israel, in other words, not only has a nuclear force as big as or bigger than North Korea’s, Pakistan’s or India’s, but one that possibly approaches the United Kingdom’s in terms of size and sophistication.

The story of the Israeli bomb

While there is debate over the size of Israel’s stockpile, how Israel got the bomb in the first place is far better known. Starting shortly after the birth of the Israeli state itself, David Ben-Gurion gave his country’s scientific establishment the mission of creating what was termed at the time the bomb in the basement” – a last-resort option that would stave off final defeat by Arab armies, or at least make achieving that hideously costly. Funds gathered from overseas, including Jewish contributions to the State of Israel, were in part funneled to this project, and Israeli scientists and intelligence officials were directed to acquire information from foreign sources on how to build a bomb.

The best efforts to achieve this came in France, where a close relationship between the Israeli and the French defense establishments gave Israeli scientists access to French nuclear research sites. This relationship also eventually led to the purchase of the Dimona reactor complex. Indeed, during the late 1950s over 2,500 French technical experts were present at the reactor site and operated behind a veil of secrecy so thick that the workers were forbidden to write directly to relatives lest they give away their location. When questioned by the British and Americans, Israelis claimed Dimona was a grasslands research institute or a manganese processing plant. After Charles de Gaulle came to power in 1959, however, the Franco-Israeli nuclear alliance chilled — but not before Israel was able to acquire enough material and expertise to begin a full-fledged, independent weapons program of its own.

To succeed, though, Israel would have to overcome what was probably its greatest obstacle to acquiring nuclear weapons: the U.S. It should be remembered that in the early years of the Cold War Israel and the U.S. were not as close as they are today. At best Israel was seen as a nuisance and an electoral prop for Democrats like Harry Truman, and under Dwight D. Eisenhower the U.S. was often actively hostile. Indeed, Eisenhower opposed not just Israeli participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956 but forced Israel as well as Britain and France to retreat from their assault on Egypt with their tails tucked firmly between their legs.

Although not as skeptical of the utility of Israel as an ally as Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy nonetheless put the screws to Israel over its nuclear ambitions due to the experience he gained during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Seeing a need to push back against the threat of nuclear war after the close call over Cuba, Kennedy offered the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the world and pushed for countries to sign. Among the requirements, of course, were vigorous inspections to ensure that existing nuclear facilities in non-nuclear states would not be used to build weapons.

Although the U.S. was aware of Israel’s Dimona reactor by 1958, when U2 flights and on-the-ground assessments observed what the Israelis were doing, inspections of the type Kennedy was championing would expose just exactly what the Israelis were up to — drawing the wrath of the proliferation-phobic Kennedy and handing a propaganda coup to the Soviets and Moscow’s Arab allies. The Israelis did eventually give in and allow inspectors, but what ensued as U.S. technical experts poked and prodded Dimona was a kabuki-esque affair, wherein the American teams were stymied in almost every way via tactics any contemporary U.N. weapons inspector would recognize as an attempt to obfuscate, distract and cheat.

Acceptance of the Israeli bomb

This song and dance went on for the remainder of the Kennedy administration, only waning under the far more pro-Israel Lyndon Johnson, who, like Truman, used his support of Israel as a political prop. What’s more, as Moscow made inroads in Egypt and Syria and the likelihood of war between Arabs and Israelis increased, the decision was made in the U.S. and other Western countries to look the other way and, in effect, allow the Israelis to build their bomb.  By 1967, on the eve of the Six-Day War, it is believed that this acquiescence allowed the Israelis to secretly accumulate enough fissile material to build a crude nuclear bomb prior to the outbreak of hostilities on June 5 of that year.

Although Israel’s crushing victory in that war assured its bomb would not be used, the frightening encounter between Israel and its enemies led Israel to a crash program geared toward mass-producing nuclear weapons as quickly as possible. As in the 1950s resources were leveraged, the biggest obstacle to physically increasing Israel’s stockpile was overcome in 1968 via an audacious covert operation that stole up to 200 tons of yellowcake uranium from a Belgian mining company that the Mossad, in a complex operation, had shipped from Antwerp to Genoa and thence on to Israel.

Indeed, the Belgians weren’t the only ones who were robbed. In a memo on Israeli nuclear activities prepared for President Richard Nixon by Henry Kissinger himself, Kissinger noted that Israel’s nuclear program “is one where the Israelis have persistently deceived and may even have stolen from us.” Here, this was further implied when in 1976 CIA Deputy Director Carl Duckett informed officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the agency suspected some 200-600 pounds of highly enriched uranium had been stolen by Israel from a processing plant in Pennsylvania owned by the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation. It was, according to one of the officials privy to the secret at the time, one of the most glaring cases of diverted nuclear materials in history.

Eventually acknowledging their failure, the White House under Johnson and then Nixon created the present regime of official lies about Israeli nuclear capabilities by getting the Israelis to pledge to be the first to “not introduce” nuclear weapons to the Middle East — which the Israelis defined as agreeing to not officially test weapons or state officially that they possessed them. This concordant became a foundation of U.S.-Israeli relations when Nixon met Golda Meier after U.S. intervention in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which itself may have been forced by Israeli desperation and Israel’s implied threat to use their bombs to stave off imminent battlefield defeat.

A rogue is a rogue is a rogue

In the context of the Cold War, when Israeli actions against a Soviet client could have forced a nuclear response by Moscow — a response which would lead inevitably to an exchange with the U.S. and its other allies — it made eminent sense to protect Israel so it would not be forced to use its weapons and so cause that chain of events to occur, which came close to actually happening in 1973. It may have unfairly privileged Israeli interests over nearly everyone else in the Middle East in official Washington circles, but it nonetheless kept an unstable region and its nuclear powder keg under wraps for the remaining duration of America’s conflict with the Soviet Union.

But does this same logic hold sway today? To be sure, relations between Russia and the U.S. are frosty, but the degree to which American and Russian security interests are tied to the fates of their client states in the Middle East is far less than what it once was. Furthermore, American guarantees of security have profited the U.S. very little. In exchange for providing carte blanche protection for Israel in exchange for its nuclear silence, the U.S. has received little but Israeli intransigence on the issue of Palestine and next to no help on other important regional issues. Indeed, America’s very protection of Israel makes the U.S. widely hated in the region. The U.S. alliance with Israel is thus for the most part a one-way street from which America derives very little benefit.

So when you click on the news and see Netanyahu talk about the dangers of a bad deal and the threat of a rogue nuclear state, understand that he knows what he is talking about. After all, his country is experienced in fooling inspectors and lying to the U.S. about its nuclear intentions. It, too, has stolen nuclear materials and broken numerous international laws to build a secret nuclear weapons lab and stockpile. If the emerging narrative about what actually happened in 1973 is correct, it has even engaged in nuclear blackmail to get its way. Given all this, one wonders if maybe Israel couldn’t teach Iran a lesson or two in this particular area of statecraft.

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Saudi Arabia: Naziyahu’s Iran Speech Gains Tacit Support by Zio-Wahhabi

Netanyahu’s argument that “when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy,” resonates in Riyadh, where the royal family is concerned about a possible U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.
John Kerry, Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al SaudU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, before a visit with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at Diriya Farm, on Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Diriya, Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu’s fiery speech this week before the U.S. Congress, in which he argued against an emerging nuclear deal with Iran, has received tacit support from an unlikely quarter — Saudi Arabia.

The oil-rich Sunni kingdom views Shiite Iran as a regional rival that is perhaps even more menacing than Israel.

That was clear in a string of columns this week published in Saudi state-linked media, which is widely seen as reflecting official views and mainstream thought in the kingdom, and which voiced skepticism of President Barack Obama’s efforts to broker a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran.

“Who could believe that Netanyahu today has taken a better stand than Obama with regard to the Iranian nuclear file?” columnist Ahmed al-Faraj wrote in the Saudi-owned al-Jazira newspaper on Monday, a day before the speech.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Saudi capital to ease Gulf concerns about the negotiations with Iran, which are aimed at reaching a framework agreement this month and a final deal later this year. Kerry is meeting with the foreign ministers of the Sunni-ruled Gulf states and the new Saudi monarch King Salman.

Like Israel, Saudi Arabia has long viewed Iran as an expansionist power that seeks to dominate the region through local proxies, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip and Shiite militias in Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war in Syria, with the kingdom arming the rebels seeking to topple Iranian-backed President Bashar Assad.

In a column published in Asharq al-Awsat, a daily owned by King Salman’s family, Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote “Iran’s fingerprints are everywhere.”

“Iran is currently in an offensive state, the likes of which we have not seen in modern history,” he wrote.

Netanyahu said as much to Congress, telling lawmakers that Iran is “gobbling up” nations in its “march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”

Saudi Arabia is part of the U.S.-led coalition striking the Islamic State group, awkwardly putting it on the same side as Iran, which is battling the extremists through its allied Shiite militias in Iraq and by supporting Assad. The kingdom, like the U.S., has refused to coordinate its efforts with Tehran.

Netanyahu’s argument that “when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy,” resonates in Riyadh, where the royal family is concerned about a possible U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.

Despite the alignment of interests, Saudis still view Israel as an illegitimate occupier of Arab and Muslim lands, and any kind of open alliance is out of the question.

An editorial in al-Medina newspaper ridiculed Netanyahu’s insistence that he had traveled to Washington out of concern for Israel’s security and not to boost his prospects ahead of elections later this month. The editorial said it was ironic that he spoke of Israel’s need for security despite “hundreds of (Israeli) massacres against Palestinians and Arabs over more than six decades.”

An editorial by the al-Sharq newspaper went so far as to suggest that Netanyahu wants to scuttle the deal in order to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons, “which will not be directed toward Israel, but toward the Arabs, so that Iran can see its project through and achieve what Israel could not.” But the editorial did note that his assessment that Tehran is expanding was “right.”

Saudi columnist Dawoud al-Shiryan wrote in al-Hayat that if Israel was so worried about Iran getting nuclear weapons, “why haven’t they stopped it by force as they always do?”

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Gen. Petraeus: Too Big to Jail


Exclusive: While lesser Americans face years in jail for leaking secrets – even to inform fellow citizens of government abuses – retired Gen. David Petraeus gets a misdemeanor wrist-slap for exposing covert officers and lying about it, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who was jailed just for trying to ask Petraeus a question.

By Ray McGovern

The leniency shown former CIA Director (and retired General) David Petraeus by the Justice Department in sparing him prison time for the serious crimes that he has committed puts him in the same preferential, immune-from-incarceration category as those running the financial institutions of Wall Street, where, incidentally, Petraeus now makes millions. By contrast, “lesser” folks – and particularly the brave men and women who disclose government crimes – get to serve time, even decades, in jail.

Petraeus is now a partner at KKR, a firm specializing in large leveraged buyouts, and his hand-slap guilty plea to a misdemeanor for mishandling government secrets should not interfere with his continued service at the firm. KKR’s founders originally worked at Bear Stearns, the institution that failed in early 2008 at the beginning of the meltdown of the investment banking industry later that year.

Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)

Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)

Despite manifestly corrupt practices like those of subprime mortgage lenders, none of those responsible went to jail after the 2008-09 financial collapse which cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes. The bailed-out banks were judged “too big to fail” and the bankers “too big to jail.”

Two years ago, in a highly revealing slip of the tongue, Attorney General Eric Holder explained to Congress that it can “become difficult” to prosecute major financial institutions because they are so large that a criminal charge could pose a threat to the economy – or perhaps what he meant was an even bigger threat to the economy.

Holder tried to walk back his unintended slip into honesty a year later, claiming, “There is no such thing as ‘too big to jail.’” And this bromide was dutifully echoed by Holder’s likely successor, Loretta Lynch, at her confirmation hearing in late January.

Words, though, are cheap. The proof is in the pudding. It remains true that not one of the crooked bankers or investment advisers who inflicted untold misery on ordinary people, gambling away much of their life savings, has been jailed. Not one.

And now Petraeus, who gave his biographer/mistress access to some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets and then lied about it to the FBI, has also been shown to be too big to jail. Perhaps Holder decided it would be a gentlemanly thing to do on his way out of office – to take this awkward issue off Lynch’s initial to-do list and spare her the embarrassment of demonstrating once again that equality under the law has become a mirage; that not only big banks, but also big shots like Petraeus – who was Official Washington’s most beloved general before becoming CIA director – are, in fact, too big to jail.

It strikes me, in a way, as fitting that even on his way out the door, Eric Holder would not miss the opportunity to demonstrate his propensity for giving hypocrisy a bad name.

A Slap on Wrist for Serious Crimes

The Justice Department let David Petraeus cop a plea after requiring him to admit that he had shared with his biographer/mistress eight black notebooks containing highly classified information and then lied about it to FBI investigators. Serious crimes? The following quotes are excerpted from “U.S. v. David Howell Petraeus: Factual Basis in support of the Plea Agreement” offered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division:

“17. During his tenure as Commander of ISAF in Afghanistan, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS maintained bound, five-by-eight-inch notebooks that contained his daily schedule and classified and unclassified notes he took during official meetings, conferences, and briefings. … A total of eight such books (hereinafter the “Black Books”) encompassed the period of defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS’S ISAF [Afghanistan] command and collectively contained classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS’s discussions with the President of the United States of America. [emphasis added]

“18. The Black Books contained national defense information, including Top Secret//SCI and code word information.”

Despite the sensitivity of the notebooks and existing law and regulations, Petraeus did not surrender them to proper custody when he returned to the U.S. after being nominated to become the Director of the CIA. According to the Court’s “Factual Basis,” Petraeus’s biographer/mistress recorded a conversation of Aug. 4, 2011, in which she asks about the “Black Books.” The Court statement continues:

“ [Petraeus] ‘Umm, well, they’re really – I mean they are highly classified, some of them.  … I mean there’s code word stuff in there.’ … On or about August 27, 2011, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS sent an email to his biographer in which he agreed to provide the Black Books to his biographer. … On or about August 28, 2011, defendant DAVID HOWEL PETRAEUS delivered the Black Books to a private residence in Washington, D.C. where his biographer was staying. … On or about September 1, 2011, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS retrieved the Black Books from the D.C. private residence and returned them to his own Arlington, Virginia home.” [emphasis added]

I would think it a safe guess that Petraeus’s timing can be attributed to his awareness that his privacy and freedom of movement was about to be greatly diminished, once his CIA personal security detail started keeping close track of him from his first day on the job as CIA Director, Sept. 6, 2011.

“32. On or about October 26, 2012, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS was interviewed by two FBI special agents. … [He] was advised that the special agents were conducting a criminal investigation. … PETRAEUS stated that (a) he had never provided any classified information to his biographer, and (b) he had never facilitated the provision of classified information to his biographer. These statements were false. Defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS then and there knew that he previously shared the Black Books with his biographer.” [emphasis added]

Lying to the FBI? No problem. As “Expose Facts” blogger Marcy Wheeler immediately commented: “For lying to the FBI – a crime that others go to prison for for months and years – Petraeus will just get a two point enhancement on his sentencing guidelines. The Department of Justice basically completely wiped out the crime of covering up his crime of leaking some of the country’s most sensitive secrets to his mistress.” [emphasis added]

Talk about “prosecutorial discretion” or, in this case, indiscretion – giving Petraeus a fine and probation but no felony conviction or prison time for what he did! Lesser lights are not so fortunate. Just ask Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for disclosing information to the public about U.S. war crimes and other abuses. Or Edward Snowden, who is stuck in Russia facing a U.S. indictment on espionage charges for informing the people about pervasive and unconstitutional U.S. government surveillance of common citizens.

Or former CIA officer John Kiriakou who was sent to prison for inadvertently revealing the name of one Agency official cognizant of CIA torture. Here’s what Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said then: “The government has a vital interest in protecting the identities of those involved in covert operations. Leaks of highly sensitive, closely held and classified information compromise national security and can put individual lives in danger.”

When, on Oct. 23, 2012, Kiriakou acquiesced to a plea deal requiring two-and-a-half years in federal prison, then CIA Director Petraeus sent a sanctimonious Memorandum to Agency employees applauding Kiriakou’s conviction and noting, “It marks an important victory for our agency …  there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy.”[emphasis added]

Consequences for Kiriakou but not, as we now know, for Petraeus.

If you feel no discomfort at this selective application of the law, you might wish to scroll or page back to the “Factual Basis” for Petraeus’s Plea Agreement and be reminded that it was just three days after his lecture to CIA employees about the sanctity of protecting the identity of covert agents that Petraeus lied to FBI investigators – on Oct. 26, 2012 – about his sharing such details with his mistress.

Why Did Petraeus Do It?

Old soldiers like Petraeus (indeed, most aging but still ambitious men) have been known to end up doing self-destructive things by letting themselves be flattered by the attentions of younger women. This may offer a partial explanation – human weakness even in a self-styled larger-than-life super-Mensch. But I see the motivation as mostly vainglory. (The two are not mutually exclusive, of course.)

Looking back at Petraeus’s record of overweening ambition, it seems likely he was motivated first and foremost by a desire to ensure that his biographer would be able to extract from the notebooks some juicy morsels he may not have remembered to tell her about. This might enhance his profile as Warrior-Scholar-“King David,” the image that he has assiduously cultivated and promoted, with the help of an adulating neocon-dominated media.

Petraeus’s presidential ambitions have been an open secret. And with his copping a plea to a misdemeanor, his “rehabilitation” seems to have already begun. He has told friends that he would like to serve again in government and they immediately relayed that bright hope to the media.

Sen. John McCain was quick to call the whole matter “closed.” A strong supporter of Petraeus, McCain added this fulsome praise: “At a time of grave security challenges around the world, I hope that General Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation, as he has throughout his distinguished career.”

And Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings’ neocon military specialist who rarely gets anything right, spoke true to form to the New York Times: “The broader nation needs his advice, and I think it’s been evident that people still want to hear from him. … People are forgiving and I know he made a mistake. But he’s also a national hero and a national treasure.”

The “mainstream media” is trapped in its undeserved adulation for Petraeus’s “heroism.” It is virtually impossible, for example, for them to acknowledge that his ballyhooed, official-handout-based “success” in training and equipping tens of thousands of crack Iraqi troops was given the lie when those same troops ran away (the officers took helicopters) and left their weapons behind at the first sight of ISIL fighters a year ago.

Equally sham were media claims of the “success” for the “surges” of 30,000 troops sent into Iraq (2007) and 33,000 into Afghanistan (2009). Each “surge” squandered the lives of about 1,000 U.S. troops for nothing – yes, nothing – except in the case of Iraq buying time for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to get out of town without a clear-cut defeat hanging around their necks.

Many of the supposed successes of Petraeus’s Iraqi “surge” also predated the “surge,” including a high-tech program for killing top militants such as Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the formation of the so-called Sunni Awakening, both occurring in 2006 under the previous field commanders. And, Bush’s principal goal of the “surge” – to create political space for a fuller Sunni-Shiite reconciliation – was never accomplished. [See’s The Surge Myth’s Deadly Result.”]

And last, it is important to note that David Petraeus does not have a corner on the above-the-law attitudes and behavior of previous directors of the CIA. The kid-gloves treatment he has been accorded, however, will increase chances that future directors will feel they can misbehave seriously and suffer no serious personal consequence.

The virtual immunity enjoyed by the well connected – even when they lie to the FBI or tell whoppers in sworn testimony to Congress (as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has done) – feeds the propensity to prioritize one’s own personal ambition and to delegate a back seat to legitimate national security concerns – even basic things like giving required protection to properly classified information, including the identity of covert officers.

One might call this all-too-common syndrome Self-Aggrandizing Dismissiveness (SAD). Sadly, Petraeus is merely the latest exemplar of the SAD syndrome. The unbridled ambitions of some of his predecessors at CIA – the arrogant John Deutch, for example – have been equally noxious and destructive. But we’ll leave that for the next chapter.

Full Disclosure: Petraeus has not yet answered McGovern’s letter of Feb. 3 regarding why McGovern was barred from a public speaking event by Petraeus in New York City on Oct. 30, 2014, and then was roughly arrested by police and jailed for the night. McGovern wonders if Petraeus failed to respond because he was pre-occupied working out his Plea Agreement.

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Former CIA Director David Petraeus Admits Sharing Military Secrets With Mistress

Prosecutors said that while Broadwell was writing her book in Washington in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time as the top military commander in Afghanistan.
David PetraeusGen. David Petraeus. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Former CIA Director David Petraeus, whose career was destroyed by an affair with his biographer, has agreed to plead guilty to charges he gave her classified material — including information on war strategy and identities of covert operatives — while she was working on the book.

The plea agreement carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison and represents another blow to the reputation of the retired four-star Army general who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and was perhaps the most admired military leader of his generation.

Petraeus, 62, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. The agreement was filed in federal court Tuesday in Charlotte, where Paula Broadwell, the general’s biographer and former mistress, lives with her husband and children.

In court papers, prosecutors recommended two years of probation and a $40,000 fine. But the judge who hears the plea is not bound by that and could still impose a prison sentence. No immediate date was set for Petraeus to enter the plea.

As part of the deal, Petraeus agreed not to contest the set of facts laid out by the government.

Prosecutors said that while Broadwell was writing her book in Washington in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time as the top military commander in Afghanistan. Days later, he took the binders back to his house.

Among the secret materials contained in the “black books” was information on identities of covert operatives, the coalition war strategy and notes about Petraeus’ discussions with President Barack Obama and the National Security Council, prosecutors said.

Those binders were later seized by the FBI in a search of Petraeus’ Arlington, Virginia, home, where he had kept them in the unlocked drawer of a desk in a ground-floor study.

Prosecutors said that after resigning from the CIA, Petraeus signed a form falsely attesting he had no classified material. He also lied to FBI agents in denying he supplied the information to Broadwell, according to court documents.

Petraeus’ lawyer declined to comment. A telephone message left for Broadwell was not immediately returned. Her lawyer said he had no comment.

Petraeus admitted to the affair when he resigned as CIA director in November 2012. Both he and Broadwell have publicly apologized and said their romantic relationship began only after he had retired from the military.

Broadwell’s admiring biography of him, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” came out in 2012, before the affair was exposed.

Petraeus held the CIA post less than a year, not long enough to leave a significant mark on the spy agency.

A Ph.D. with a reputation as a thoughtful strategist, Petraeus wrote the Army manual on counterinsurgency and was brought in by President George W. Bush to command multinational forces in Iraq in 2007, a period when the war began to turn in favor of the U.S.

Petraeus presided over the “surge” of American forces in Iraq and a plan to pay Sunni militias to fight al-Qaida in Iraq.

He was then promoted to commander of U.S. Central Command, which has authority over the Middle East. When Gen. Stanley McChrystal was fired in 2010 by Obama as commander in Afghanistan after his staff made impolitic remarks to a Rolling Stone reporter, Petraeus was brought in to replace him.

Since his resignation as CIA director, Petraeus has slowly taken steps to re-enter public life, going on the speaking circuit, becoming a scholar at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and taking a position at a private equity firm.

If he manages to avoid prison, Petraeus will receive far more lenient punishment than that meted out to others convicted of leaking secrets.

In 2012, former CIA officer John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to intentionally disclosing the identity of a covert agent to a reporter and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. Petraeus, then CIA director, hailed the conviction.

“Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy,” he said at the time.

David Deitch, a former federal prosecutor who handled counterterrorism and national security issues, said those deciding Petraeus’ fate probably weighed his decades of service to the nation when considering his punishment. Also, a public trial might have revealed classified material the government would rather keep secret.

“What is achieved by sending David Petraeus to jail?” asked Deitch, now in private practice in Washington. “What will be achieved in terms of deterrence, in terms of punishment, in terms of rehabilitation? The conclusion is probably not much.”

Sen. John McCain, a longtime supporter of Petraeus, said it is time to consider the issues raised by the ex-general’s extramarital affair closed.

“At a time of grave security challenges around the world, I hope that Gen. Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation, as he has throughout his distinguished career,” the Arizona Republican said.

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Nearly 60 Lawmakers Boycott Naziyahu Speech

Lawmakers condemn Speaker Boehner’s efforts to ‘politicize foreign policy.’

Benjamin Netanyahu

As Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoyed no less than 26* standing ovations during his speech before the United States Congress on Tuesday morning, the resounding applause did not include the clapping hands of nearly sixty lawmakers who did not attend the controversial address.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) joined 56 Democratic lawmakers in the boycott, which was seen by many as snub to the powerful Jewish-American lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) had invited the Israeli leader to speak against the ongoing Iranian nuclear talks without first consulting the White House. Ahead of the address, a number of dissenting lawmakers cited their support of President Barack Obama and opposition to Republican efforts to “politicize foreign policy” as reasons for not participating.

In a statement sent to the Boston Globe Monday evening, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her boycott but reiterated her “strong support” of Israel.

“It’s unfortunate that Speaker Boehner’s actions on the eve of a national election in Israel have made Tuesday’s event more political and less helpful for addressing the critical issue of nuclear nonproliferation and the safety of our most important ally in the Middle East,” Warren said.

Echoing that sentiment, Sanders told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that while Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb, “We should try to do everything we can to prevent a war with Iran.”

Also not in attendance were President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The president said he could not be present because of the speech’s proximity to the Israeli election, while Biden had a scheduling conflict.

Condemning Netanyahu’s efforts to “sabotage diplomacy,” grassroots groups also rallied around the boycott and called on lawmakers ahead of time to skip the speech.

In a Washington Post op-ed published last month, Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said the dispute highlights waning political support for Israel’s policies, particularly towards Palestinians.

“While coverage of the controversy over the speech has focused on violations of diplomatic protocol and Israeli officials attempting to play Democrats and Republicans against one another, the stakes are actually much higher,” Vilkomerson wrote.

She continued:

Netanyahu is not only trying to dictate American policy toward Iran, but is also using the issue of Iran as a way to avoid hard questions about Israel’s policies toward Palestinians and its own citizens.  The current controversy around Netanyahu’s speech has revealed what we have known for a long time: that the increasingly oppressive and hawkish policies of the Israeli government do not reflect the values of American Jews, nor of Democrats.

In total, 48 members of the House of Representatives and eight Senators skipped the Israeli leader’s speech. The updated list, according to reporting by The Hill, is below:

Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)

Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.)

Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.)

Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)

Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)

Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)

Rep. Lacy Clay (Mo.)

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.)

Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.)

Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)

Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)

Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)

Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.)

Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.)

Rep. Denny Heck (Wash.)

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (Texas)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)

Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.)

Rep. John Lewis (Ga.)

Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)

Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.)

Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.)

Reps. Jim McGovern (Mass.)

Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)

Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.)

Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)

Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)

Rep. David Price (N.C.)

Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)

Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)

Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)

Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.)

Sen. Al Franken (Minn.)

Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

*Correction: This piece has been updated to accurately reflect the number of standing ovation Netanyahu received on Tuesday. The previous number cited, 28, was the number of ovations a previous Netanyahu speech to Congress received.

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