Archive | February 28th, 2016

Newly Translated WikiLeaks Saudi Cable: Overthrow the Syrian Regime, but Play Nice with Russia

NOVANEWS
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IT IS NO SECRET that Saudi Arabia, along with its Gulf and Western allies, has played a direct role in fueling the fires of grinding sectarian conflict that has kept Syria burning for the past five years. It is also no secret that Russian intervention has radically altered the kingdom’s “regime change” calculus in effect since at least 2011. But an internal Saudi government cable sheds new light on the kingdom’s current threats of military escalation in Syria.

Overthrow the Regime “by all means available”

A WikiLeaks cable released as part of “The Saudi Cables” in the summer of 2015, now fully translated here for the first time, reveals what the Saudis feared most in the early years of the war: Russian military intervention and Syrian retaliation. These fears were such that the kingdom directed its media “not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them” at the time.

Saudi Arabia had further miscalculated that the “Russian position” of preserving the Assad government “will not persist in force.” In Saudi thinking, reflected in the leaked memo, Assad’s violent ouster (“by all means available”) could be pursued so long as Russia stayed on the sidelines. The following section is categorical in its emphasis on regime change at all costs, even should the U.S. vacillate for “lack of desire”:

The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria. As regards the international position, it is clear that there is a lack of “desire” and not a lack of “capability” on the part of Western countries, chief among them the United States, to take firm steps…

Amman-based Albawaba News—one of the largest online news providers in the Middle East—was the first to call attention to the WikiLeaks memo, which “reveals Saudi officials saying President Bashar al-Assad must be taken down before he exacts revenge on Saudi Arabia.” Albawaba offered a brief partial translation of the cable, which though undated, was likely produced in early 2012 (based on my best speculation using event references in the text; Russia began proposing informal Syrian peace talks in January 2012).

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Bashar_al-Assad_in_Russia_(2015-10-21)_06.jpg(Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Russian Hardware, a Saudi Nightmare

Over the past weeks Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up its rhetoric on Syria, threatening direct military escalation and the insertion of special forces on the ground, ostensibly for humanitarian and stabilizing purposes as a willing partner in the “war on terror.” As many pundits are now observing, in reality the kingdom’s saber rattling stems not from confidence, but utter desperation as its proxy anti-Assad fighters face defeat by overwhelming Russian air power and Syrian ground forces, and as the Saudi military itself is increasingly bogged down in Yemen.

Even as the Saudi regime dresses its bellicose rhetoric in humanitarian terms, it ultimately desires to protect the flow of foreign fighters into Northern Syria, which is its still hoped-for “available means” of toppling the Syrian government (or at least, at this point, permanent sectarian partition of Syria).

The U.S. State Department’s own 2014 Country Report on Terrorism confirms that the rate of foreign terrorist entry into Syria over the past few years is unprecedented among any conflict in history: “The rate of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria – totaling more than 16,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 90 countries as of late December – exceeded the rate of foreign terrorist fighters who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years.”

According to Cinan Siddi, Director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown’s prestigious School of Foreign Service, Russian military presence in Syria was born of genuine geopolitical interests. In a public lecture recently given at Baylor University, Siddi said that Russia is fundamentally trying to disrupt the “jihadi corridor” facilitated by Turkey and its allies in Northern Syria.

ANNEX

The below leaked document gives us a glimpse into Saudi motives and fears long before Russian hardware entered the equation, and the degree to which the kingdom utterly failed in assessing Russian red lines.

For the first time, here’s a full translation of the text

THE BELOW original translation is courtesy of my co-author, a published scholar of Arabic and Middle East History, who wishes to remain unnamed. Note: the cable as published in the SaudiLeaks trove appears to be incomplete. 

[…] shared interest, and believes that the current Russian position only represents a movement to put pressure on him, its goals being evident, and that this position will not persist in force, given Russia’s ties to interests with Western countries and the countries of the Gulf.

If it pleases Your Highness, I support the idea of entering into a profound dialogue with Russia regarding its position towards Syria*, holding the Second Strategic Conference in Moscow, working to focus the discussion during it on the issue of Syria, and exerting whatever pressure is possible to dissuade it from its current position. I likewise see an opportunity to invite the head of the Committee for International Relations in the Duma to visit the Kingdom. Since it is better to remain in communication with Russia and to direct the media not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them, so that no harm may come to the interests of the Kingdom, it is possible that the new Russian president will change Russian policy toward Arab countries for the better.

However, our position currently in practice, which is to criticize Russian policy toward Syria and its positions that are contrary to our declared principles, remains. It is also advantageous to increase pressure on the Russians by encouraging the Organization of Islamic States to exert some form of pressure by strongly brandishing Islamic public opinion, since Russia fears the Islamic dimension more than the Arab dimension.

In what pertains to the Syrian crisis, the Kingdom is resolute in its position and there is no longer any room to back down. The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria.

As regards the international position, it is clear that there is a lack of “desire” and not a lack of “capability” on the part of Western countries, chief among them the United States, to take firm steps […]

*[in the Arabic text: Russia, but this is a typo]

https://www.wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/pics/f93dc529-7eff-43ea-87f3-7ec121b906fc.jpg

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California Cops Shoot and Kill Man and Woman Passed Out in Car

NOVANEWS
By Carlos Miller

California cops shot and killed a man and woman Sunday after finding them unconscious in a car and spending 45 minutes trying to “deescalate the situation”  before they “felt threatened,”  according to Inglewood Mayor James Butts, a former police chief.

But Butts did not explain how Inglewood police felt threatened by an unconscious couple before opening fire on the couple.

All he said was that the woman, Kisha Micheal, had a gun in her right hand, which is what police have been saying all along.

However, Michael’s family said she did not even own a gun.

And as more details emerge from the incident, it certainly appears that things are just not adding up.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times described the incident as a confrontation with “suspects,” basing their report on information obtained from police.

On Monday, after attending a press conference and speaking to family members, the Los Angeles Times was no longer describing it as a confrontation but as a “mystery,” quoting Micheal’s sister, who stressed her sister did not even own a gun.

And on Tuesday, NBC Los Angeles reported that Mayor Butts admitted that the man and woman were not even awake – a tiny detail that was overlooked by police when they initially described their so-called confrontation.

For at least 45 minutes, police attempted “to rouse” them in an effort “to de-escalate the situation,” said Butts. It is the first public explanation for what transpired early Sunday morning during the time between the initial call and the shooting. Police previously had stated responding officers saw the woman had a gun, retreated to behind cover, and then gave orders for the couple to exit the vehicle.

“Obviously at some point they were conscious because somebody felt threatened,” said Butts, a retired law enforcement officer who previously had served as police chief in other cities. He said it is important for police to finish their investigation, and verify facts, before commenting further.

Other details emerging Tuesday was that Michael was out with a man named Marquintan Sandlin, a 32-year-old single father of four daughters. Michael was a single mother of three sons.

The two were apparently out on a date, having left their children in the care of family members. But it appears as if they had too much to drink and ended up passing out, which drew the attention of police, who claimed the woman was holding a gun.

That prompted them to call the SWAT team and at least one armored car, who began ordering them through a megaphone to wake up and exit the car.

At one point, the couple apparently did wake up, which led to the gunshots.

Posted in USAComments Off on California Cops Shoot and Kill Man and Woman Passed Out in Car

‘Education, not destruction!’ Peace activists, MPs & celebs join Corbyn at anti-Trident march

NOVANEWS
Image result for Jeremy Corbyn CARTOON
Thousands of anti-nuclear campaigners will march alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in London on Saturday to protest the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. The Labour leader’s opposition to Trident has been sharply criticized by trade union bosses.

The national demonstration is organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and has drawn the support of peace activists, academics, students, celebrities and others. Political heavyweights Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas are also expected to attend.

The Stop Trident anti-nuclear rally has also secured the backing of the National Union of Students (NUS), which passed a motion to support it this week.

NUS Vice President for Further Education Shakira Martin, who will speak at the Trafalgar Square protest, said the billions of pounds used to maintain Trident should be spent on education.

“Today the National Union of Students, which represents 7 million students, voted to support this Saturday’s Stop Trident national demonstration,” she said.

“If Trident was ever used, then hundreds of millions of people would be killed. Instead of spending over £100 billion on weapons of mass destruction, I believe we should be funding free education.”

The high-profile demonstration has also drawn support from celebrities such as fashion designer Katharine Hamnett and comedian Jeremy Hardy.

Commenting on the costly nuclear deterrent, Hardy said he opposes the program because “it’s based on this idea of mutually assured destruction.”

“In order to keep us safe, you’ve got to be insane enough to use a nuclear weapon, and the other person’s got to be insane enough as well,” he said.

“But neither of you have got to be so insane that you actually use it. So you’ve only got to be insane enough to be prepared to use it but not quite insane enough to actually use it.

“And so long as we just keep that balance of insanity absolutely perfect and equal on all sides we’ll be fine. Sounds like a good gamble to me.”

The Stop Trident rally comes as Labour’s shadow defense secretary Emily Thornberry conducts a review into the Trident missile system.

Leaders of some trade unions, who normally support Labour’s policies, have said the abolition of Trident would cost tens of thousands of jobs.

Lashing out at Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance, Gary Smith, a leading official with the GMB Union, told the IB Times the debate should focus on the predicament of workers.

“This is not a debate for the wine bars of Islington and Edinburgh – this is real life for the workers and their communities,” Smith said.

“This is not a fight we picked,” he added. “The people who started this argument clearly have no idea of the massive ramifications for not renewing Trident and they don’t understand how the whole shipbuilding industry and defense sector is linked together.”

Posted in UKComments Off on ‘Education, not destruction!’ Peace activists, MPs & celebs join Corbyn at anti-Trident march

Roni Alsheikh, I$raHell ultra-primitive chief of police

NOVANEWS
Roni Alsheikh

By Uri Avnery

He appeared out of nowhere. Literally.

The Israeli police needed a new commander. The last one had come to the end of his term of office, several senior officers had been accused of molesting their female subordinates, one had committed suicide after being accused of corruption. So somebody from outside was earmarked.

When Binyamin Netanyahu announced his choice, everybody was amazed. Roni Alsheikh? Where the hell did he come from?

He does not look like a policeman, except for his mustache. He never had the slightest connection with police work. He was, actually, the secret deputy chief of the Shin Bet – the internal secret service.

Malicious tongues whispered that there was a simple reason for this strange appointment: the Shin Bet chief was about to move on. Netanyahu did not want Alsheikh to succeed him. So, he sent him to command the police instead.

Primitive minds

The name Alsheikh is a corruption of the very Arabic al-Sheikh – “the old one”. His father is of Yemenite descent, his mother is Moroccan.

When two such high-ranking officials repeat such mindlessnonsense almost verbatim, there can be only one reason: they are reading from the “explanation sheets” sent out daily by the Prime Minister’s Office to all government ministers and high-ranking officials.

He is the first police chief to wear akippah, or skullcap. Also the first who was once a settler. So, we were all waiting for his first significant utterance. It came this week and concerned mothers mourning their sons.

Bereavement, Alsheikh asserted, is really a Jewish feeling. Jewish mothers mourn their children. Arab mothers don’t. That’s why they let them throw stones at our soldiers, knowing that they will probably be shot dead.

Sounds primitive? That’s because it is primitive. It is also rather frightening that our new chief of police, the man responsible for law and order, has such primitive perceptions.

A few days later, our minister of defence, Moshe Yaalon, who controls a vastly larger empire, repeated this assertion. Arab bereavement, he declared, cannot be compared to Jewish bereavement. That’s because Jews love life, while Arabs love death.

When our gallant soldiers (all our soldiers are gallant) sacrifice their life, it is to defend the life of our nation, while Arab terrorists carry out suicide missions in order to go to paradise. Their mothers encourage them. That’s how Arabs are.

All these super-patriots are too young to remember that Jewish mothers in Palestine encouraged their sons and daughters to join the underground organisations in the fight against the British occupation (a fight for life, of course). Perhaps the British policemen imagined the same about the Jewish mothers – forgetting that just a few years earlier millions and millions of white Christian Europeans joined the armies with their mothers’ blessing and killed each other. For life and freedom.

When two such high-ranking officials repeat such mindless nonsense almost verbatim, there can be only one reason: they are reading from the “explanation sheets” sent out daily by the Prime Minister’s Office to all government ministers and high-ranking officials. (In Israel we don’t like to use the word “propaganda” – we call it “explanation” – hasbara in Hebrew – instead.)

One word about police chief Alsheikh’s kippah.

When I was an adolescent in Tel Aviv, I hardly ever saw anyone wearing akippah. Neither in school (I left at age 14 to work for a living), nor in the Irgun underground, nor in the army did I see a fellow pupil or comrade wear such headgear. Young people were ashamed to wear it.

Nowadays almost half the people on TV proudly wear kippot [skullcaps]. True, some of them wear them in such a way or of such a size that the camera cannot see them. But government appointees wear them like a badge of honour, to signify that they are true believers in the ruling ideology. Like a red star in China or a tie in the US.

Jews and the Jewish religion

In the last few months Netanyahu has appointed new people to several of the most important government functions. The police chief is the least of them. One is the attorney-general (called “Legal Adviser to the government”), the most important government official, with vast powers. Another is the new chief of the Shin Bet. Unlike any of their predecessors, they all wear kippot.

To explain the significance of this, one has to understand the Jewish religion. It is quite unlike, say, the Christian religion, and far closer to Islam. All talk about “Judeo-Christian” tradition is based on ignorance.

The Hebrew word for religion is dat. Like the Arab equivalent din, it basically means “law”. Judaism is a set of commandments (613 in the Bible alone) imposed by God. In return, God has “chosen” us as “His” people and “given” us the Holy Land. One cannot be a Jew without belonging to the Jewish people, which owns the Holy Land forever.

For 2000 years and more, Jews were dispersed throughout the world. Their attachment to the Holy Land was purely spiritual. The Jewish people was a religious concept.

Then came Zionism. It was invented at the end of the 19th century. Almost all its creators were devoutly atheist. They did not believe in a God who had “exiled” the Jews.

When I was young, nobody in this country spoke about a “Jewish state”. We spoke about a “Hebrew state”. An extreme fringe group (nicknamed “Canaanites”) even asserted that we are a new Hebrew nation which has nothing to do with Judaism. Most of my generation thought along the same lines, though not quite with these words.

 

This rejuvenated religion is closely connected with an extreme right-wing, ultra-nationalist, Arab-hating ideology. This is the wave on which Netanyahu, a non-religious, non-kosher-eating super-nationalist opportunist, is riding now.

 

I am often asked why a determined militarist like David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister and minister of defence, exempted religious pupils from military duty. My explanation is quite simple: like most of us, he believed that the Jewish religion in this country was dying out. Zionism had supplanted it. The new Hebrew pioneer did not need all that religious nonsense.

Then came the war of 1967, the “miraculous” victory, the conquest of all the country up to the Jordan River, with all its holy places. Far from dying, the Jewish religion suddenly sprang to new life. Now it is expanding rapidly, kippot can be seen everywhere. Especially among the settlers.

This rejuvenated religion is closely connected with an extreme right-wing, ultra-nationalist, Arab-hating ideology. This is the wave on which Netanyahu, a non-religious, non-kosher-eating super-nationalist opportunist, is riding now. Practically every day – literally – new nationalist-religious laws and bills pop up.

One bill says that in case of doubt, judges must “consult” Jewish law (the Halacha). This ancient law, some of it 2,500 years old, treats women as inferior and condemns gays to stoning. It has nothing to do with modern life. Another bill allows the Knesset majority to eject from parliament elected members who do not recognise the state as “Jewish and democratic” (which may sound like an oxymoron). School textbooks in secular schools are given a religious overtone (but are not yet burnt). Independent-minded teachers are dismissed. The minister of education wears, of course, a kippah. Six members of the prestigious Council for Higher Education have resigned because of the government’s effort to stuff that august body with nationalist and religious agitators.

Where is the so-called “left” in all this? One may well ask. They are invisible. Except for a few remnants, as well as the beleaguered Arab faction, they keep quiet, in the belief that they must move to the right (also called “centre”) to keep their heads above the holy water.

I shall not be surprised if one evening I turn on the TV and – lo and behold – there is Binyamin Netanyahu’s head adorned with a nice, neat kippah.

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Anti-BDS legislation moving through Colorado legislature

NOVANEWS

The case for the I$raHell boycott BDS

Stop funding apartheid Israel

Rich Forer writes:

Colorado House Bill 16-284, which requires the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) to divest from companies that have economic prohibitions against Israel, passed the State House of Representatives on Friday 26 February.

On Tuesday 23 February I testified against the bill before a house committee. The state representatives who co-sponsored the bill went first and said the bill was needed to combat anti-Semitism and the delegitimisation of

At the request of the co-sponsors, opponents of the bill testified next followed by witnesses in favour of the bill. One pro-bill witness actually had the audacity to say that his support for the bill was because it was in the best interests of the Palestinians, as if he knows what is best for the natives who are too ignorant to know what is best for themselves. By having us testify first the co-sponsors made sure we could not rebut the hasbara [propaganda] that came after us.

The committee voted unanimously to move the bill to the full house where it passed the next day with very few No votes. It now moves to the senate where it will pass sometime next week before reaching the governor’s desk. Unless we can get 85,000 signatures by early to mid August the bill will go into law.

There are a total of 35 states that have already considered or are considering similar legislation. I believe this kind of legislation will not stop at state houses but will move onto college campuses and other arenas. Here is my testimony:

My name is Richard Forer and I am the author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion –A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Growing up on the east coast, from ages five to 14, I attended religious services weekly as well as Saturday and Sunday school and spent my summers at the Jewish Community Centre. I am a former member of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and have orthodox relatives living in settlements in the West Bank.

For 45 years my identical twin has been a member of a Hasidic sect of Judaism that believes the Arab population must be ethnically cleansed. Their ranks include members of the Knesset, the Israeli cabinet and rabbis that wield tremendous influence over all of Israeli society.

I learned that there is not a single argument – and I know them all – I ever made or heard in defence of Israel that was not factually inaccurate or taken out of context in order to blame the Palestinians and vindicate the Israelis.

Until 2006 I assumed, along with virtually every Jew I grew up with, that Israel had always wanted to make peace with the Palestinians but the Palestinians were so irrational they were willing to sacrifice their own people in order to push the Jews into the sea.

A series of circumstances compelled me to begin an investigation into the history of Israel-Palestine. For the past decade I have studied the history daily with an emphasis on Israeli state and Central Zionist archives, reports of Israeli ministries of defence and internal security, and the writings of Israel’s prime ministers and chiefs of staff.

I learned that there is not a single argument – and I know them all – I ever made or heard in defence of Israel that was not factually inaccurate or taken out of context in order to blame the Palestinians and vindicate the Israelis. I discovered that all my life I had closed my heart to the cries of the Palestinian people.These human beings were suffering profoundly from my ignorance.

BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] does not seek to harm Israel. It seeks to prevent Israel from harming Palestinians. Calling on Israel to comply with international law is not anti-Semitic. Nor is compassion for the unnecessary suffering of the Palestinian people. If it were, all Palestinians would, ipso facto, be anti-Semites.

The Torah’s commandments forbid Jews from corrupting justice. Jews are chosen to rectify injustice and bring blessing to the world. This is how the world is made into a dwelling place for the Divine. Defending injustice perverts the very nature of Judaism and delegitimises the Jewish state.

The truth is that with its cruel and inhumane occupation and its virulent racism, no one incites anti-Semitism more effectively than Israel. BDS’s goal is to transform this inhumanity into basic rights for all people, not some people.

A vote to suppress free speech, especially speech intended to end inhumanity, is a vote for endless turbulence not just in Israel but throughout the region.

I am willing to share with anyone my knowledge and my insights into how we humans create a world of suffering for ourselves and for those whose humanity we so carelessly deny.

——————–

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI1 Comment


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