Archive | May 14th, 2016

Majd Atwan, 22, sentenced to 45 days imprisonment for Facebook postings

NOVANEWS

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Majd Yousef Atwan, 22, a young Palestinian woman from Al-Khader village, Bethlehem, and a recent beauty school graduate, was sentenced by Nazi Ofer military court to 45 days imprisonment and a 3,000 NIS ($794) fine for posting on Facebook, which the Nazi military occupation deemed “incitement.”

Atwan is one of approximately 150 Palestinians detained and imprisoned for social media postings, including the case of Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet from Nazareth being prosecuted for poetry posted online. She was arrested in a 2:00 am Nazi army raid on her family home on 19 April, which was invaded by Nazi occupation soldiers. She is one of 7,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Nazi camp and nearly 70 women and girls.

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Drone ‘kill list’ could leave MPs, military & spies ‘facing murder charges’

NOVANEWS

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Britain’s drone ‘kill list’ could leave politicians, pilots and intelligence personnel facing murder charges unless rules of engagement are quickly clarified, a parliamentary report has warned.

The joint committee on human rights warned on Tuesday that killing with drones outside warzones could lead to “criminal prosecution for murder or complicity in murder.”

The report also warned that the widely-used term “targeted killing” sounded “uncomfortably close to assassination“ and took the view that the UK pursues an active policy “to use lethal force abroad outside armed conflict” under the banner of “counter-terrorism.”

The committee acknowledged the likelihood of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) pursuing a case is slim, but said authorities in other countries may if their citizens are killed.

Chaired by Labour‘s Harriet Harman, the committee also said the UK owed it “to all those involved in the chain of command for such uses of lethal force to provide them with absolute clarity about the circumstances in which they will have a defense against any possible future criminal prosecution.”

The investigation began in August 2014 after it was announced a UK targeted drone strike had killed British Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighter Reyaad Khan in Syria.

The killing took place prior to December’s parliamentary vote on military action in the country. The US had developed a pattern of carrying out drone strikes in regions which are not official warzones such as Yemen and Pakistan, a trend which critics find worrying.

Harman’s panel said it is “vital that the legal line between counter-terrorism law enforcement and the waging of war by military means does not become blurred, leading to the use of lethal force in circumstances not permitted by law.”

Human rights NGO Reprieve warned on Tuesday the report highlighted some of the risks involved in an assassination policy.

Reprieve staff attorney Jennifer Gibson said “this is a wakeup call.”

She warned there is a “very real danger that the UK is following the US down the slippery slope of kill lists and targeted killings.”

“This is alarming, given the CIA’s secret drone war has killed hundreds of civilians and been described as a ‘failed strategy’ by [US President Barack] Obama’s own former head of defense intelligence,” she added.

While UK Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged at the time that the Khan killing was a “new departure,” the government maintains it only uses such methods in cases where there is an “immediate” or “imminent” threat to the UK.

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How narratives killed the Syrian people

NOVANEWS

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By Sharmine Narwani 

On March 23, 2011, at the very start of what we now call the ‘Syrian conflict,’ two young men – Sa’er Yahya Merhej and Habeel Anis Dayoub – were gunned down in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

Merhej and Dayoub were neither civilians, nor were they in opposition to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They were two regular soldiers in the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Shot by unknown gunmen, Merhej and Dayoub were the first of eighty-eight soldiers killed throughout Syria in the first month of this conflict– in Daraa, Latakia, Douma, Banyas, Homs, Moadamiyah, Idlib, Harasta, Suweida, Talkalakh and the suburbs of Damascus.

According to the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the combined death toll for Syrian government forces was 2,569 by March 2012, the first year of the conflict. At that time, the UN’s total casualty count for all victims of political violence in Syria was 5,000.

These numbers paint an entirely different picture of events in Syria. This was decidedly not the conflict we were reading about in our headlines – if anything, the ‘parity’ in deaths on both sides even suggests that the government used ‘proportionate’ force in thwarting the violence.

But Merhej and Dayoub’s deaths were ignored. Not a single Western media headline told their story – or that of the other dead soldiers. These deaths simply didn’t line up with the Western ‘narrative’ of the Arab uprisings and did not conform to the policy objectives of Western governments.

For American policymakers, the “Arab Spring” provided a unique opportunity to unseat the governments of adversary states in the Middle East. Syria, the most important Arab member of the Iran-led ‘Resistance Axis,’ was target number one.

To create regime-change in Syria, the themes of the “Arab Spring” needed to be employed opportunistically – and so Syrians needed to die.

The “dictator” simply had to “kill his own people” – and the rest would follow.

How words kill

Four key narratives were spun ad nauseam in every mainstream Western media outlet, beginning in March 2011 and gaining steam in the coming months.

– The Dictator is killing his “own people.”

– The protests are “peaceful.”

– The opposition is “unarmed.”

– This is a “popular revolution.”

Pro-Western governments in Tunisia and Egypt had just been ousted in rapid succession in the previous two months – and so the ‘framework’ of Arab Spring-style, grass roots-powered regime-change existed in the regional psyche. These four carefully framed ‘narratives’ that had gained meaning in Tunisia and Egypt, were now prepped and loaded to delegitimize and undermine any government at which they were lobbed.

But to employ them to their full potential in Syria, Syrians had to take to the streets in significant numbers and civilians had to die at the hands of brutal security forces. The rest could be spun into a “revolution” via the vast array of foreign and regional media outlets committed to this “Arab Spring” discourse.

Protests, however, did not kick off in Syria the way they had in Tunisia and Egypt. In those first few months, we saw gatherings that mostly numbered in the hundreds – sometimes in the thousands – to express varied degrees of political discontent. Most of these gatherings followed a pattern of incitement from Wahhabi-influenced mosques during Friday’s prayers, or after local killings that would move angry crowds to congregate at public funerals.

A member of a prominent Daraa family explained to me that there was some confusion over who was killing people in his city – the government or “hidden parties.” He explains that, at the time, Daraa’s citizens were of two minds: “One was that the regime is shooting more people to stop them and warn them to finish their protests and stop gathering. The other opinion was that hidden militias want this to continue, because if there are no funerals, there is no reason for people to gather.”

With the benefit of hindsight, let’s look at these Syria narratives five years into the conflict:

We know now that several thousand Syrian security forces were killed in the first year, beginning March 23, 2011. We therefore also know that the opposition was “armed” from the start of the conflict. We have visual evidence of gunmen entering Syria across the Lebanese border in April and May 2011. We know from the testimonies of impartial observers that gunmen were targeting civilians in acts of terrorism and that “protests” were not all “peaceful”.

The Arab League mission conducted a month-long investigation inside Syria in late 2011 and reported:

“In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the observer mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.”

Longtime Syrian resident and Dutch priest Father Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs in April 2014, wrote in January 2012:

“From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

A few months earlier, in September 2011, he had observed:

“From the start there has been the problem of the armed groups, which are also part of the opposition… The opposition on the street is much stronger than any other opposition. And this opposition is armed and frequently employs brutality and violence, only in order then to blame the government.”

Furthermore, we also now know that whatever Syria was, it was no “popular revolution.” The Syrian army has remained intact, even after blanket media coverage of mass defections. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians continued to march in unreported demonstrations in support of the president. The state’s institutions and government and business elite have largely remained loyal to Assad. Minority groups – Alawites, Christians, Kurds, Druze, Shia, and the Baath Party, which is majority Sunni – did not join the opposition against the government. And the major urban areas and population centers remain under the state’s umbrella, with few exceptions.

A genuine “revolution,” after all, does not have operation rooms in Jordan and Turkey. Nor is a “popular” revolution financed, armed and assisted by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US, UK and France.

Sowing “Narratives” for geopolitical gain

The 2010 US military’s Special Forces Unconventional Warfare manual states:

“The intent of US [Unconventional Warfare] UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish US strategic objectives… For the foreseeable future, US forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations.”

A secret 2006 US State Department cable reveals that Assad’s government was in a stronger position domestically and regionally than in recent years, and suggests ways to weaken it: “The following provides our summary of potential vulnerabilities and possible means to exploit them…” This is followed by a list of “vulnerabilities” – political, economic, ethnic, sectarian, military, psychological – and recommended “actions” on how to “exploit” them.

This is important. US unconventional warfare doctrine posits that populations of adversary states usually have active minorities that respectively oppose and support their government, but for a “resistance movement” to succeed, it must sway the perceptions of the large “uncommitted middle population” to turn on their leaders. Says the manual (and I borrow liberally here from a previous article of mine):

To turn the “uncommitted middle population” into supporting insurgency, UW recommends the “creation of atmosphere of wider discontent through propaganda and political and psychological efforts to discredit the government.”

As conflict escalates, so should the “intensification of propaganda; psychological preparation of the population for rebellion.”

First, there should be local and national “agitation” – the organization of boycotts, strikes, and other efforts to suggest public discontent. Then, the “infiltration of foreign organizers and advisors and foreign propaganda, material, money, weapons and equipment.”

The next level of operations would be to establish “national front organizations [i.e. the Syrian National Council] and liberation movements [i.e. the Free Syrian Army]” that would move larger segments of the population toward accepting “increased political violence and sabotage” – and encourage the mentoring of “individuals or groups that conduct acts of sabotage in urban centers.”

I wrote about foreign-backed irregular warfare strategies being employed in Syria one year into the crisis – when the overwhelming media narratives were still all about the “dictator killing his own people,” protests being “peaceful,” the opposition mostly “unarmed,” the “revolution wildly “popular,” and thousands of “civilians” being targeted exclusively by state security forces.

A man rides a bicycle near a building damaged during the Syrian conflict between government forces and rebels in Homs, Syria May 13, 2014 © Omar Sanadiki

Were these narratives all manufactured? Were the images we saw all staged? Or was it only necessary to fabricate some things – because the “perception” of the vast middle population, once shaped, would create its own natural momentum toward regime change?

And what do we, in the region, do with this startling new information about how wars are conducted against us – using our own populations as foot soldiers for foreign agendas?

Create our own “game”

Two can play at this narratives game.

The first lesson learned is that ideas and objectives can be crafted, framed finessed and employed to great efficacy.

The second take-away is that we need to establish more independent media and information distribution channels to disseminate our own value propositions far and wide.

Western governments can rely on a ridiculously sycophantic army of Western and regional journalists to blast us with their propaganda day and night. We don’t need to match them in numbers or outlets – we can also employ strategies to deter their disinformation campaigns. Western journalists who repeatedly publish false, inaccurate and harmful information that endanger lives must be barred from the region.

These are not journalists – I prefer to call them media combatants – and they do not deserve the liberties accorded to actual media professionals. If these Western journalists had, in the first year of the Syrian conflict, questioned the premises of any of the four narratives listed above, would 250,000-plus Syrians be dead today? Would Syria be destroyed and 12 million Syrians made homeless? Would ISIS even exist?

Free speech? No thank you – not if we have to die for someone else’s national security objectives.

Syria changed the world. It brought the Russians and Chinese (BRICS) into the fray and changed the global order from a unipolar one to a multilateral one – overnight. And it created common cause between a group of key states in the region that now form the backbone of a rising Security Arc’ from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. We now have immense opportunities to re-craft the world and the Middle East in our own vision. New borders? We will draw them from inside the region. Terrorists? We will defeat them ourselves. NGOs? We will create our own, with our own nationals and our own agendas. Pipelines? We will decide where they are laid.

But let’s start building those new narratives before the ‘Other’ comes in to fill the void.

A word of caution. The worst thing we can do is to waste our time rejecting foreign narratives. That just makes us the ‘rejectionists’ in their game. And it gives their game life. What we need to do is create our own game – a rich vocabulary of homegrown narratives – one that defines ourselves, our history and aspirations, based on our own political, economic and social realities. Let the ‘Other’ reject our version, let them become the ‘rejectionists’ in our game… and give it life.

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Jordan: Zionist King Reveals UK SAS Forces On The Ground In Syria, I$raHell Supports Nusra

NOVANEWS

By Brandon Turbeville 

According to a leaked memo obtained by the Guardian in late March, 2016 King Abdullah of Jordan apparently briefed US officials on the fact that Jordanian Special Forces would be deployed to Libya to work alongside the British SAS. In that same briefing, Abdullah also allegedly stated that British SAS had been active in Libya since early 2016.

As Randeep Ramesh wrote for the Guardian at the time,

According to the notes of the meeting in the week of 11 January, seen by the Guardian, King Abdullah confirmed his country’s own special forces “will be imbedded [sic] with British SAS” in Libya.

According to the memo, the monarch met with US congressional leaders – including John McCain, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee, and Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. Also present was the House of Representatives speaker, Paul Ryan.

King Abdullah said UK special forces needed his soldiers’ assistance when operating on the ground in north Africa, explaining “Jordanian slang is similar to Libyan slang”.

Abdullah also allegedly pointed out that the British had been instrumental in setting up a “mechanized battalion” in Southern Syria made up of “local tribal fighters” (aka terrorists) and lead by a “local commander” for the purposes of fighting against the Syrian government forces.

The Jordanian king also stated that his troops were ready to fight side by side with the British and Kenyans for the purposes of invading Somalia.

According to the Guardian,

The full passage of the briefing notes says: “On Libya His Majesty said he expects a spike in a couple of weeks and Jordanians will be imbedded [sic] with British SAS, as Jordanian slang is similar to Libyan slang.”

The monarch’s apparent openness with the US lawmakers is an indication of just how important an ally Jordan is to the US in the region. Since the 1950s Washington has provided it with more than $15bn (£10.5bn) in economic and military aid.

However, the Jordanians had become frustrated over perceived US inaction over the Middle East in recent months. Five years of fighting in Syria have dramatically impacted on Jordan, which has absorbed more than 630,000 Syrian refugees, and the king has repeatedly called for decisive action to end the conflict.

Interestingly enough, the King also allegedly admitted that Turkey and specifically Recep Erdogan is hoping for the victory of “radical Islamists” in Syria and that Israel is tacitly supporting al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria.

Ramesh summarizes the King’s alleged statements by writing:

  • The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “believes in a radical Islamic solution to the problems in the region” and the “fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy, and Turkey keeps getting a slap on the hand, but they get off the hook”.
  • Intelligence agencies want to keep terrorist websites “open so they can use them to track extremists” and Google had told the Jordanian monarch “they have 500 people working on this”.
  • Israel “looks the other way” at the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra on its border with Syria because “they regard them as an opposition to Hezbollah”.

In March, Stratfor analysts reported that UK Special Forces were already in Libya and that they were “escorting MI6 teams to meet with Libyan officials about supplying weapons and training to the Syrian army and to militias against the Islamic State. The British air force bases Sentinel aircraft in Cyprus for surveillance missions around [the Isis Libyan stronghold] Sirte as well.”

The presence of Western/NATO Special Forces in Syria is by no means a revelation at this point. These forces have been present in the embattled Middle Eastern country for some time.

In October, 2015, it was announced by the White House that 50 Special Forces troops would be sent to Syria. This announcement came days after it was reported that U.S. Special Forces commandoes were working with Kurdish forces to “free prisoners of the Islamic State” in Syria. Later, the presence of U.S. Special Forces in Syria was tacitly acknowledged in 2015 when the U.S. took credit for the killing of Abu Sayyaf.

Reports circulated in October, 2014 that U.S. soldiers and Special Forces troops were fighting alongside Kurdish battalions in Kobane. An article by Christof Lehmann published in March 20, 2015 stated,

Evidence about the presence of U.S. special forces in the Syrian town Ayn al-Arab a.k.a. Kobani emerged. Troops are guiding U.S. airstrikes as part of U.S support for the Kurdish separatist group PYD and the long-established plan to establish a Kurdish corridor.

A photo taken in Ayn al-Arab shows three U.S. soldiers. One of them “Peter” is carrying a Bushnell laser rangefinder, an instrument designed to mark targets for U.S. jets, reports Ceyhun Bozkurt for Aydinlik Daily.

The photo substantiated previous BBC interviews with U.S. soldiers who are fighting alongside the Kurdish separatist group PYD in Syria.

The photo of the three U.S. troopers also substantiates a statement by PYD spokesman Polat Can from October 14, 2014, reportsAydinlik Daily. Can admitted that a special unit in Kobani provides Kurdish fighters with the coordinates of targets which then would be relayed to “coalition forces”.

The first public U.S. Special Forces raid in Syria took place in July, 2014 when Delta Force personnel allegedly attempted to rescue several Americans being held by ISIS near Raqqa. Allegedly, the soldiers stormed the facility but the terrorists had already moved the hostages. While the raid would provide evidence that U.S. Special Forces were operating in Syria in 2014, many researchers believe the story is simply fabricated by the White House to provide legitimacy to the stories of murdered hostages and thus the subsequent pro-war propaganda that ensued as well as to promote the gradual acceptance of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.

In 2012, an article published in the Daily Star by Deborah Sherwood revealed that SAS Special Forces and MI6 agents were operating inside Syria shortly after the destabilization campaign began in earnest. Sherwood writes,

Special Forces will help ­protect the refugees in Syria along the borders.
Last week as the president ignored an international ceasefire, plans were being finalised to ­rescue thousands of Syrians.

SAS troops and MI6 agents are in the country ready to help rebels if civil war breaks out as ­expected this weekend.

They also have ­hi-tech satellite computers and radios that can instantly send back photos and details of refugees and ­Assad’s forces as the situation develops.

Whitehall sources say it is vital they can see what is ­happening on the ground for ­themselves so Assad cannot deny atrocities or battles.

And if civil war breaks out the crack troops are on hand to help with fighting, said the ­insider.

. . . . .

“Safe havens would be an invasion of Syria but a chance to save lives,” said a senior Whitehall source.

“The SAS will throw an armed screen round these areas that can be set up within hours.

“There are guys in the communications unit who are signallers that can go right up front and get ­involved in close-quarter fighting.”

In addition, in March 2012, it was reported by Lebanon’s Daily Star that 13 French intelligence agents had been captured by the Syrian government, proving not only that Western Special Ops presence in Syria did, in fact, exist but also that it existed essentially from the start.

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Behind the Veil of LABOUR’s Manufactured ‘Anti-Semitism’ Crisis

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Jeremy Corbyn Telegraph

Since his accession to leadership of the Labour Party, barely a day has gone by without the political establishment and mainstream media engaging in anti-Corbyn, anti-Leftist propaganda or questioning Corbyn’s ‘legitimacy’ as leader of the opposition.

It was clear from the start that the establishment media has been on a mission to eat away at Corbyn’s credibility and to portray him, his Labour allies, and all the scores and scores of people who voted for him as a danger to the country (David Cameron even used that very term to describe Corbyn not long ago). Just take, for example, stupid headlines like the one pictured above.

What we have seen recently, particularly around the issue of Ken Livingstone’s suspension from the party, appears to have been a largely manufactured media circus and contrived hysteria based on a ‘crisis’ that probably doesn’t even exist. It all seems designed to stigmatise the Left and to try to make the Labour Party seem more and more ‘unelectable’. Jeremy Corbyn’s initial denial that there was any ‘anti-Semitism problem’ in the Labour Party was spun by the media as an act of denial and/or cover-up: however, the reality is that he was simply telling the truth as he saw it.

The party has reportedly suspended 19 activists. Do 19 people (out of a membership of 400,000) really constitute ‘a crisis’?

Journalist Asa Winstanley has put up a very thorough analysis on Electronic Intifada to fairly convincingly demonstrate that the ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ in Corbyn’s party has been in large part manufactured by anti-Corbyn elements of the party and by Israel Lobby insiders, who have possibly been building to this for some time.

What is largely missing from the mainstream media narrative of this situation is that many of the target ‘offenders’ in this ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ are Jewish campaigners who happen to oppose Zionism.

One of the earliest was Tony Greenstein, who was been an ardent activist against Holocaust denial and general anti-Semitism – but who also happens to support Palestinian rights. Greenstein wasn’t even told what the reason was for his suspension. Labour activists, many of them Jewish, have hinted that accusations of anti-Semitism are being used as a strategic weapon against Corbyn by the party’s right-wing.

This wouldn’t be surprising, as the charge of anti-Semitism was being leveled towards Corbyn and the left-wing elements of the party from even before he was announced as the party leader. And where most of these (very few) instances of ‘anti-Semitism’ have been discovered, they weren’t things that simply happened and then got picked up on – they were things that were carefully *sought out*. Naz Shah’s controversial retweet, for example, was from several years ago. I don’t defend the sentiments expressed in that retweet – but someone had to have been specifically trawling Shah’s Twitter timeline to find it.

A number of left-wing Jewish activists are happy to suggest that anti-Semitism has become the “weapon of choice” against the left. Charley Allan, a Jewish Labour Party member has described the current atmosphere in the press and Labour Party as a “witch hunt.”

Influential author Johnathon Cook goes further in this piece on the subject, suggesting that ‘Labour is one step away from book-burning’. He adds, ‘We have also reached a point where the only major British political party with even a pretence of opposing imperialism and colonialism is creating taboos around the very issues needed to understand the colonial past of Britain and Europe’.

I posted already on the subject of how some of the most ardent anti-Zionism activists are Jewish – and therefore incapable of anti-Semitism.

In the same post, we reminded ourselves that Ed Miliband was even heralded by some newspapers back in the last election run-up as the man set to be the “first Jewish Prime Minister of Britain since Disraeli”. But Miliband – in spite of his Jewish heritage – had to face massive desertion by Jewish donors and supporters because of his supposedly “toxic” views on Gaza and Palestine. Specifically, Miliband was ‘warned’ by Jewish supporters that this desertion would occur because he had dared to criticise the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

No one could accuse Ed Miliband of being ‘anti-Semitic’; in fact, perversely, while he was being condemned by members of the Jewish community, he was also being attacked by real anti-Semites for his Jewish heritage. His mother, Marion Kozak, a human rights campaigner and early CND member, is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Catholic Poles, and his father, Ralph Miliband, was a Belgian-born Polish-Jew who fled to England during World War II. Essentially, Miliband was boycotted by parts of the Jewish community simply because he had voiced an honest opinion about the excessive use of military force on a civilian population.

Naturally, as the former Labour Party leader is Jewish, there was no ‘anti-Semitism’ in Miliband’s stance. Again, this was simply a case of boycotting a political leader because he wasn’t towing the line. A far more aggressive version of the same thing is basically being conducted against the Labour Party now too, this time aimed at stigmatising everyone on the Left and eventually forcing Labour back towards a Blairite, Centrist disposition.

To expand on the point Johnathon Cook made in his piece on the subject, we could actually go further and wonder if this whole mess could be perceived as a contrived campaign to cripple or eliminate not just the current trend of Leftist-inclined politics in Corbyn’s camp – but to discredit and eliminate any semblance of the Left entirely, and not just right now but for a generation or more to come (a process that might already have begun last year with the utter decimation of the Liberal Democrats in the elections).

Why try to do that? Simple – because the Leftist camp in the Labour Party is the only real form of meaningful opposition politics with any chance of getting into government. And the Establishment forces, which can happily switch allegiance back and forth between Labour and Conservative governments (so long as they’re basically centrist in outlook), don’t want a real or problematic opposition party to create impediments or challenges or to engage in too much of a genuine counter-narrative.

Older Articles: ‘The UK General Election 2015: The Establishment Coup & the Dissolution of the Left‘, ‘Anti-Semitism/Zionism: And How It Became Impossible to Criticise Israel‘…

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Turkey begins operation in Syria to establish buffer zone

NOVANEWS

Zionist Ordogan has reportedly launched a military operation on the Syrian side of the border as part of a plan to establish a buffer zone in Syria.

According to a Tuesday report by the Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper, the operation allegedly aims to push back the Takfiri Daesh terrorists from an area that is 18 kilometers long and 8 kilometers deep in Syria’s Jarablus region.

Under the plan, the Zionist Ordogan military will use artillery shells, guided missiles and mortars to target the militants who have repeatedly fired rockets at the southern Turkish border town of Kilis.

The newspaper said the operation will be supported by the international coalition, particularly the United States and Germany.

Earlier in April, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara will deploy a US-made rocket launcher system on the border with Syria to allegedly combat the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

Cavusoglu said the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) would be “deployed on the Turkish border in May as part of an agreement” with Washington.

HIMARS would allow Zionist Ordogan to hit Daesh positions within a 90-kilometer (56-mile) range, while Zionist Ordogan artillery has a limited range of only 40 kilometers (24 miles), the minister stated.

Ankara is seeking to establish a safe zone in the 98-kilometer (60-mile) stretch between Manbij in Aleppo Province, northern Syria, and the border to shelter Syrian refugees, the Turkish foreign minister said.

Citing unnamed US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Turkey’s special military force carried out an unusual weekend operation against Daesh in Syria.

A small group of elite Turkish troops entered Syria on Saturday to help more effectively target Daesh who have been launching rocket attacks into Turkey for weeks, US officials claimed.

According to the US officials, the operation was part of a deepening campaign by the Turkish army to push Daesh away from a vital 60-mile stretch of the Turkey-Syria border that serves as the group’s main lifeline.

Over the past few weeks, Kilis has come under frequent rocket attacks by Daesh militants, prompting the Turkish army to respond with howitzer fire.

Turkey has frequently used such rocket attacks as a pretext to shell the Syrian territory or send troops into the Arab country.

Kilis is a town located just north of the Syrian border, some 10 kilometers from the Syrian town of Azaz. According to Turkish officials, it is the only town in Turkey with a majority of Syrians.

In late July 2015, reports said that Washington and Ankara have agreed to establish a buffer zone along the Turkey-Syria border in an alleged attempt to flush Daesh Takfiri terrorists out of the demarcated region and facilitate the return of the Syrian refugees to their homeland.

The United Nations has voiced concerns over the plan, saying Turkey should first guarantee the safety of the refugees in the area.

Iran has also expressed their opposition to the plan, saying it encroaches upon the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Arab country.

Moreover, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov censured the proposal, which he said, contradicts international law and will heighten tensions in the region.

Many blame Zionist Ordogan for supporting militant groups that have been fighting to topple the Syrian government. Ordogan Zionist regime also stands accused of being involved in illegal oil trade with Daesh, but it strongly rejects the allegations.

In late May 2015, Turkish-language Cumhuriyet newspaper posted on its website footage purportedly showing trucks belonging to Zionist Ordogan’s National Intelligence Organization, also known as the MIT, carrying weapons for militant groups in Syria.

Since late September 2014, the United States, along with some of its allies, has been conducting airstrikes against purported positions of Daesh inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or the United Nations. Zionist Ordogan permits US war planes to use its air base in the south for the air strikes.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has furthermore displaced over half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 23 million.

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Egypt to try 67 people for assassinating top prosecutor

NOVANEWS

Image result for SISI CARTOON

Sisi Zionist puppet regime have referred dozens of people to trial over the last year’s assassination of the country’s top prosecutor.

Sisi Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek sent 67 people to the criminal court on Sunday, without mentioning the exact date of the trial.

Sadek said in a statement that all the defendants were members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, who “conspired” with members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to assassinate Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat in a bomb attack in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis in late June 2015.

In March, Zionist Sisi Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar told a news conference in Cairo that both Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza-based Hamas were involved in the assassination.

The Hamas, however, has strongly rejected the allegation, calling it as “baseless.”

“Hamas calls on all parties in Egypt not to involve Palestinian factions in their internal differences,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press release on March 7, hours after Ghaffar’s comments.

There have been no credible claims of responsibility for the bombing that killed the 64-year-old state prosecutor just outside his house on June 29.

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4 members of Egyptian satire troupe Street Children referred to prosecution for ‘insulting the state’

NOVANEWS

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Four members of Street Children (Atfal Shawaree), a satirical performance art troupe, were referred Tuesday to a Cairo prosecution on accusations of inciting protests and publishing videos that insult state institutions, a judicial source told Ahram Online.

The artists were arrested on Monday and are being held at Cairo’s Sayeda Zeinab police station prior to the referral to Heliopolis prosecution.

On Sunday, the group’s sixth and youngest member, Ezz El-Din Khaled, 19, was ordered to be released on EGP 10,000 bail pending investigation into charges of inciting protests and publishing videos that insult state institutions.

Prosecution appealed the decision to release Khaled on Monday. The appeal was rejected on Tuesday and the 19-year-old was released.

Khaled was arrested from his home on Saturday evening.

The six-member performance group gained popularity among youths for their videos in which they that mock societal norms as well as the discourse of government officials and supporters.

Street Children released their first video in January 2016. The troupe’s last video was another satirical titled “Sisi is my president.”

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Behind Egypt’s gift of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia

NOVANEWS
Cairo increases dependency on monarchy amid growing imperialist militarism

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to relinquish control over Sinafir and Tiran to Saudi Arabia indicates that the existing foreign policy imperatives of Washington and Riyadh take precedence over the liberation of Palestine and the genuine independence of states in North Africa and the Middle East.

During the week of April 11 it was revealed that the Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is proposing to turn over the strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

These islands have been under Egyptian administrative control since 1950 just two years after the founding of the State of Israel.

This decision, which is subject to approval by the Egyptian parliament, has generated much debate and opposition inside the North African state. Al-Sisi was compelled to address the questions surrounding the ownership and administration of the two Red Sea islands in a nationally televised speech on April 14.

In a speech delivered in front of political officials, intellectuals and journalists broadcast live on state television, Al-Sisi stressed that,”We did not surrender our right, and we returned the right back to its people,” saying there are documents which prove the islands are Saudi.

The military leader turned civilian president in 2013-2014 rebuffed his critics echoing the broad rejection of the government actions, claiming, “The way the issue has been addressed weakens Egypt’s position.” Al-Sisi argued that Egypt had only two choices in the matter involving the islands “either enter into a conflict with Saudi Arabia, or giving Saudi back its land and right. We will not infringe on anyone. Also, we will not give away our land to anyone, and will not take anyone’s land.”

Many observers of Egyptian politics believe that the parliament is aligned with the Al-Sisi government and will vote in favor of the measure. Recognizing the broad opposition to the announcement, the president has warned Egyptians not to demonstrate against the decision.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman endorsed the agreement to change the maritime borders between their two countries during a visit by Saudi monarch King Salman Bin Abdulaziz to Egypt the week prior to the statements by al-Sisi.

Israel and the United States approve of the decision

An article published in the Washington Post on April 13 reported that the decision by the Egyptian government was being supported by the State of Israel. The assessment of the writer, Ruth Eglash, indicated that the announced transfer of administrative control of the two islands illustrated the continuing cooperation between Tel Aviv and Riyadh in regard to the strategic interests of imperialism in the region.

Eglash noted “The two countries (Israel and Saudi Arabia) have no formal ties, but there have been hints of quiet cooperation — or at least a strategic dialogue — over certain issues such as Iranian influence in the region. As analysts pondered the implications for Israel of Saudi control of the two islands — at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, an important shipping route for Israelis and Jordanians — Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israeli reporters that he had received official documentation that Saudi Arabia would continue to allow Israelis freedom of passage in the area.”

This same article continues saying Yaalon confirmed that Israel had been consulted before the transfer, which was apparently done by Egypt to reward Riyadh for its major financial help. Also emphasized by Eglash is that the “Israeli daily Haaretz” reported “the transfer plan needed the approval of Israel, the United States (because Washington helped broker the Egypt-Israel peace accord), and a multinational observer mission monitoring the islands.”

The islands are important in regard to the contested sovereignty and ownership of the Gulf of Aqaba, a major issue in international law for decades. The Gulf of Aqaba is located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. The coastline expands across four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

The 1967 six-day war (June 5-10) between Israel and the regional states of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, was prompted in part due to the exercise of sovereignty by the-then government of President Gamal Abdel Nasser who blockaded the Straits of Tiran preventing Israeli shipping from passing through the Gulf of Aqaba beginning on May 23. Tel Aviv later launched an attack against Egypt which was backed by the U.S. administration of then President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In a speech to soldiers at an advanced Air Force headquarters in Sinai, President Nasser said any ships flying Israeli flags or transporting strategic materials would be forbidden to pass in and out of the Gulf past Sharm El Skeikh at the mouth of the Gulf. One week earlier on May 16, 1967, Nasser ordered the removal of the first United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Sinai.

The UNEF had been established in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis of 1956 when the Egyptian government had nationalized the canal sparking the intervention of Egypt, France and Israel in a failed effort to overthrow Nasser.

Nasser declared on May 23 that, “We are now face to face with Israel and if they want to try their luck without Britain and France, we await them. The Israel flag will not pass through Aqaba Gulf and our sovereignty over the Gulf entrance is not negotiable. If Israel wants to threaten us with war they are welcome.” (sixdaywar.co.uk)

Nonetheless, after the death of Nasser in 1970 another war was fought in October 1973 when Egypt under President Anwar Sadat launched an attack in the Sinai to reclaim land captured by Israel in 1967. In the aftermath of the 1973 war another UNEF was deployed from October 1973 to July 1979.

During this period Egypt and Syria were committed to the liberation of Palestine and the defense of regional states from Israeli aggression. The Soviet Union supported Egypt politically and militarily in both the 1967 and 1973 wars.

Egyptian dependency on Saudi Arabia and the U.S. continues

Today Egypt’s military-turned-civilian regime is largely dependent upon economic and political support from Saudi Arabia and the United States. Washington supplies at least $1.3 billion in direct aid to the Egyptian government every year along with military equipment, advisors and intelligence sharing.

Even with the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak resulting in his toppling, the successor to Sadat after his 1981 assassination, three subsequent Egyptian governments have continued their reliance on assistance from Washington and its allies in the region including the State of Israel.

Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in facilitating the dominance of U.S. foreign policy interests in the area. An article published by Bloomberg on January 4 of this year says: “Saudi Arabia agreed to provide Egypt with more than $3 billion in loans and grants to help its dollar-starved economy. The kingdom will loan $1.5 billion to develop the Sinai Peninsula and $1.2 billion to finance Egypt’s oil purchases, Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr told Bloomberg News from the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Egypt will also receive a $500 million grant for buying Saudi exports and products, she said, without providing further details. The loans are on favorable terms and will be formally signed on Tuesday, she said.”

This Egyptian decision involving the plan to relinquish control over Sinafir and Tiran to Saudi Arabia indicates that the existing foreign policy imperatives of Washington and Riyadh take precedent over the liberation of Palestine and the genuine independence of states in North Africa and the Middle East.

Within the military sphere the alliance is clearly illustrated through Egypt’s cooperation under Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leadership in the yearlong war against the people of Yemen which has resulted in the deaths of at least 10,000 people and the displacement of millions of others.

 

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Zuma: The bitter taste of honey!

Stiff-necked apartheid high priests had their problems but none of them contemplated the type of weird political culture the ANC and President Zuma are foisting on post-apartheid South Africa!

Few eyebrows would have been raised were Mr. Jacob Zuma the life-president of any of the several banana republics that dot the African continent. But this is Africa’s reputed rainbow nation and the continent’s undisputed economic hub. Hell! This is Steve Biko’s country and this is the South Africa Ruth First and many prominent anti-apartheid fighters died for. Yes, this is the same country Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Cyril Ramaphosa and many others spent decades in jail for! This is the country that reminds you of South West Township, better known as Soweto.

Two decades after it threw off the yoke of apartheid, South Africa is once again under siege. This has less to do with racial malpractices of Dutch settlers since 1650 but more with victims of their 350-year misrule that ended effectively in 1994. The world must not pretend democracy is at work in South Africa. This has nothing to do with democracy and the world must bestir itself to save South Africa from ideological turncoats holding it by the jugular.

The way they are going about it, the ruling African National Congress, ANC, and its poster-boy, President Zuma, have thrown caution to the wind by consistently acting in a manner that suggests South Africa is headed for a second war of liberation. But authentic voices in the anti-apartheid struggle are warning of the dangers ahead. Just before the parliament gave President Zuma his recent clean bill, foundations named in honour of Oliver and Adelaide, Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada called on parliamentarians “to take urgent corrective action in the best interest of South Africa and its peoples”. The call was simply ignored!

At issue is the scandal that surrounds a controversial security upgrade at the Nkandla country home of the president in 2012. At the time, some opposition political parties and concerned South Africans had lodged a complaint with the Office of the Public Protector alleging misuse of state funds. Those fears were confirmed by the report of the Public Protector that was released in March 2014. A superior court that heard the complaint directed President Zuma to refund part of the $16 million he unduly benefitted from. The amount involved is to be determined by South African Treasury and state security officials.

Unsurprisingly, the ANC voted down an attempt to remove the president from office. This is not the first time the ANC would rise in defence of President Zuma’s excesses and, if history is a good guide, it is not going to be the end. Curiously, the world is playing the bat as the increasingly-bungling ANC pushes the country to the edge by propping up the intolerably-controversial and scandal-prone Zuma presidency. Not even a stiff-necked apartheid high priest like John Vorster could have contemplated the type of twisted political culture the ANC and President Zuma are foisting on post-apartheid South Africa.

The foundation for South Africa’s slide was laid in 2007 when Mr. Zuma clawed his way to the powerful presidency of the ANC. For Mr. Zuma, the ANC presidency was an opportunity to get even with then president, Thabo Mbeki, who tried to clip Mr. Zuma’s wings by dismissing him from his cabinet position in 2005 after Mr. Zuma was implicated in a scandal. Barely one year as ANC president, Mr. Zuma who enlisted in the bush war as a teenager forced Mr. Mbeki to resign from the presidency in September 2008. Eight months later, Mr. Zuma, as presidential candidate of the ANC, led the party to an easy victory. Things have continued to fall apart since Mr. Zuma took over after the May 2009 general elections.

Mr. Zuma is not new to challenges and controversy could as well be his middle name. As a young man with no formal education, the budding anti-apartheid struggle appeared the only way for him. After joining Umkhonto We Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC, Zuma received military training at ANC camps in several southern African countries and occasionally sneaked into South Africa to participate in insurgency against the apartheid regime. It was during one of the operations that Zuma was arrested and jailed for 10 years.

The return of black majority rule in 1994 was all Mr. Zuma needed to advertise his recklessness. As a parliamentarian in 2004, he was fingered in a scandal that involved Schabir Shaik, a businessman and Zuma’s ally who was jailed in 2006 for taking bribes from arms deals which he allegedly channeled to Mr. Zuma. Critics who called on Mr. Zuma to resign as deputy president of ANC were disappointed when the Congress for South Africa Trade Unions, COSATU, joined in the defence of Mr. Zuma who, on the gravity of the offence, resigned his seat in parliament but retained his post as deputy president of ANC.

While the Nkandla scandal raged, President Zuma caused another uproar when he appointed three finance ministers within 72 hours to highlight what critics referred to as the extent of influence-peddling in the government. The drama that came to be known as “four days of long knives” began on December 9, 2015 when die-hard Zuma-loyalist and parliamentarian, David Van Rooyen, replaced Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister. Among Nene’s crimes was his opposition to further subsidy of the national carrier as well as increasing the size of the presidential fleet and his refusal to assent to huge investments in a nuclear facility. More damning revelations came hot in the heels of the drama!

A former ANC member of parliament Ms. Vytjie Mentor revealed that a prominent Indian family known as the Guptas promised her a ministerial post on condition she would drop the India route on the flight schedule of the national carrier when she took office. Within hours, deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jones, also revealed that he rejected the offer of substantive finance minister by the same Indian family. Then a former cabinet spokesperson, Themba Maseko, also alleged President Zuma requested him to find ways of helping the Gupta family. Naturally, South Africans began to worry that their country was under siege.

South Africa has many indigenous Indian families but the Guptas is not one of them. In fact, the Guptas, probably at the insistence of Mr. Zuma, arrived in South Africa fifteen years ago and has made giant strides only possible with a string-pulling benevolent godfather. The family is involved in IT, media and mining among others. Of course, President Zuma’s family is represented in the octopoid Gupta family business by his 33-year old son, Duduzane, who resigned his non-executive directorship when the latest scandal broke.

If South Africans needed proof of how well connected The Guptas are, they got one in April 2013 when authorities simply turned a blind eye as the Guptas breached state security by landing a private jet, filled with wedding guests, at an Air Force Base near Pretoria! South Africans were aghast and soon, those who pressured government to wield the big stick were silenced and dubbed enemies of state by the normally-vibrant official propaganda machinery.

The way things are, South Africans only need to take another look at the smooth face of their president to appreciate the real danger he represents. At this point in time, what South Africans need is a level-headed, non-controversial and transparent leader and not a man with unrestrained libido, a man who has no scruple when it comes to women and a man who engages in macabre dances in public each time he makes a new catch. Was it not this same Mr. Zuma who, in 2005, confessed to adultery and was accused of raping a woman he knew was HIV positive?

If Mr. Zuma does not know it, he should be told by those who have his ears that his name stands for honey in the Hausa, a language widely spoken in West Africa. It’s a gamble, but the realization may encourage President Zuma to refrain from acts that leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

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