Archive | June 12th, 2017

Congressman Praises ISIS Attack in Iran, Suggests US Should Support Terrorism




By Darius Shahtahmasebi – ANTIMEDIA 

Following a recent ISIS attack in Iran in which at least 12 people were killed, a GOP lawmaker has suggested the attack could be a “good thing,” even indicating that the U.S. government should support ISIS in its attacks on other groups.

“As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think; isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us?”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” Rohrabacher said. “And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”

Thankfully, some sane voices emerged to express dissent. Matthew Levitt, the director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, stated the following in response:

“It’s never in our interest to support a terrorist group like the Islamic State… We should condemn the attacks in Tehran, as we would condemn any act of terrorism, even as we hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism.”

“So that’s like Joe Stalin was a horrible guy, we must never associate with horrible guys like that, even against Hitler,” Rohrabacher replied. “And so maybe it’s a good idea to have radical Muslim terrorists fighting each other. I’ll leave it at that.”

The United States security apparatus has made it abundantly clear that even voicing support for a known terrorist outfit is a very serious criminal offense – but apparently not if you are one of the nation’s lawmakers.

If Rohrabacher’s words are to be adopted into official policy, then Western countries should seriously consider accepting ISIS-inspired attacks on their own soil considering the U.S. continues to support the terror group in numerous ways. For example, a Russian general just accused the U.S. of colluding with ISIS to allow their fighters safe passage out of Raqqa, something that seemed to be the case in the Iraqi city of Mosul, as well. The U.S. also routinely attacks Syrian government-aligned fighters currently — and effectively — battling the Islamic State. America is cozying up to Saudi Arabia, providing the radical nation with billions of dollars in arms even though Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails show Saudi Arabia is one of the direct sponsors of ISIS.

As the Trump administration pushes harder in its fight to confront Iran, expect ISIS to grow even more as a useful tool of American foreign policy strategy – and expect this to be welcomed even further by the establishment.

Bear in mind, though, that if you or I issued statements like Rohrabacher’s, we would be arrested (in some cases, the FBI might even give us weapons first, just to make our impending arrest that much more grandiose).

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Tehran Was Always America’s and Thus the Islamic State’s Final Destination


By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook 

Several were left dead and many more injured after coordinated terror attacks on Iran’s capital of Tehran. Shootings and bombings targeted Iran’s parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini.

According to Reuters, the so-called “Islamic State” claimed responsibility for the attack, which unfolded just days after another terror attack unfolded in London. The Islamic State also reportedly took responsibility for the violence in London, despite evidence emerging that the three suspects involved were long-known to British security and intelligence agencies and were simply allowed to plot and carry out their attacks.

It is much less likely that Tehran’s government coddled terrorists -as it has been engaged for years in fighting terrorism both on its borders and in Syria amid a vicious six-year war fueled by US, European, and Persian Gulf weapons, cash, and fighters.

Armed Violence Targeting Tehran Was the Stated Goal of US Policymakers

The recent terrorist attacks in Tehran are the literal manifestation of US foreign policy. The creation of a proxy force with which to fight Iran and establishing a safe haven for it beyond Iran’s borders have been long-stated US policy. The current chaos consuming Syria and Iraq – and to a lesser extent in southeast Turkey – is a direct result of the US attempting to secure a base of operations to launch a proxy war directly against Iran.

In the 2009 Brookings Institution document titled,Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” the use of then US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) as a proxy for instigating a full-fledged armed insurgency not unlike that which is currently unfolding in Syria was discussed in detail.

The report explicitly stated:

The United states could also attempt to promote external Iranian opposition groups, providing them with the support to turn themselves into full-fledged insurgencies and even helping them militarily defeat the forces of the clerical regime. The United states could work with groups like the Iraq-based National council of resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its military wing, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), helping the thousands of its members who, under Saddam Husayn’s regime, were armed and had conducted guerrilla and terrorist operations against the clerical regime. although the NCRI is supposedly disarmed today, that could quickly be changed.

Brookings policymakers admitted throughout the report that MEK was responsible for killing both American and Iranian military personnel, politicians, and civilians in what was clear-cut terrorism. Despite this, and admissions that MEK remained indisputably a terrorist organization, recommendations were made to de-list it from the US State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization registry so that more overt support could be provided to the group for armed regime change.

Based on such recommendations and intensive lobbying, the US State Department would eventually de-list MEK in 2012 and the group would receive significant backing from the US openly. This included support from many members of current US President Donald Trump’s campaign team – including Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John Bolton.

However, despite these efforts, MEK was not capable then or now of accomplishing the lofty goal of instigating full-fledged insurrection against Tehran, necessitating the use of other armed groups. The 2009 Brookings paper made mention of other candidates under a section titled, “Potential Ethnic Proxies,” identifying Arab and Kurdish groups as well as possible candidates for a US proxy war against Tehran.

Under a section titled, “Finding a Conduit and Safe Haven,” Brookings notes:

Of equal importance (and potential difficulty) will be finding a neighboring country willing to serve as the conduit for U.S. aid to the insurgent group, as well as to provide a safe haven where the group can train, plan, organize, heal, and resupply.

For the US proxy war on Syria, Turkey and Jordan fulfill this role. For Iran, it is clear that US efforts would have to focus on establishing conduits and safe havens from Pakistan’s southwest Balochistan province and from Kurdish-dominated regions in northern Iraq, eastern Syria, and southeastern Turkey – precisely where current upheaval is being fueled by US intervention both overtly and covertly.

Brookings noted in 2009 that:

It would be difficult to find or build an insurgency with a high likelihood of success. The existing candidates are weak and divided, and the Iranian regime is very strong relative to the potential internal and external challengers.

A group not mentioned by Brookings in 2009, but that exists in the very region the US seeks to create a conduit and safe haven for a proxy war with Iran, is the Islamic State. Despite claims that it is an independent terrorist organization propelled by black market oil sales, ransoms, and local taxes, its fighting capacity, logistical networks, and operational reach demonstrates vast state sponsorship.

The Ultimate Proxy, the Perfect Conduit and Safe Haven

The Islamic State reaching into Iran, southern Russia, and even as far as western China was not only possible, it was inevitable and the logical progression of US policy as stated by Brookings in 2009 and verifiably executed since then.

The Islamic State represents the perfect “proxy,” occupying the ideal conduit and safe haven for executing America’s proxy war against Iran and beyond. Surrounding the Islamic State’s holdings are US military bases, including those illegally constructed in eastern Syria. Were the US to wage war against Iran in the near future, it is likely these assets would all “coincidentally” coordinate against Tehran just as they are now being “coincidentally” coordinated against Damascus.

The use of terrorism, extremists, and proxies in executing US foreign policy, and the use of extremists observing the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s brand of indoctrination was demonstrated definitively during the 1980’s when the US with the assistance of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – used Al Qaeda to expel Soviet forces from Afghanistan. This example is in fact mentioned explicitly by Brookings policymakers as a template for creating a new proxy war – this time against Iran.

For the US, there is no better stand-in for Al Qaeda than its successor the Islamic State. US policymakers have demonstrated a desire to use known terrorist organizations to wage proxy war against targeted nation-states, has previously done so in Afghanistan, and has clearly organized the geopolitical game board on all sides of Iran to facilitate its agenda laid out in 2009. With terrorists now killing people in Tehran, it is simply verification that this agenda is advancing onward.

Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict illustrates that Tehran is well aware of this conspiracy and is actively defending against it both within and beyond its borders. Russia is likewise an ultimate target of the proxy war in Syria and is likewise involved in resolving it in favor of stopping it there before it goes further.

China’s small but expanding role in the conflict is linked directly to the inevitability of this instability spreading to its western Xianjiang province.

While terrorism in Europe, including the recent London attack, is held up as proof that the West is “also” being targeted by the Islamic State, evidence suggests otherwise. The attacks are more likely an exercise in producing plausible deniability.

In reality, the Islamic State – like Al Qaeda before it – depends on vast, multinational state sponsorship – state sponsorship the US, Europe, and its regional allies in the Persian Gulf are providing. It is also sponsorship they can – at anytime of their choosing – expose and end. They simply choose not to in pursuit of regional and global hegemony.

The 2009 Brookings paper is a signed and dated confession of the West’s proclivity toward using terrorism as a geopolitical tool. While Western headlines insist that nations like Iran, Russia, and China jeopardize global stability, it is clear that they themselves do so in pursuit of global hegemony.

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Is Qatar paying the price for its pro-Palestine stance?

Image result for Qatar FLAG
The New Arab 

Qatar’s support for Palestinians seems to be one of the key causes of the Saudi-led blockade on Doha, amid increasing convergence between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, and the administration of US President Donald Trump – the president most supportive of Israel in recent decades.

On Tuesday, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, made it clear that a key demand of his government in return for restoring ties with Doha was for Qatar to end its “support” for Palestinian group Hamas, which champions armed resistance against Israel and was the winner of the last general election held in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Jubeir, for the first time in Saudi history, suggested Hamas was an “extremist” group. During Trump’s visit to Riyadh in late May, the US president proclaimed the group a terrorist outfit akin to the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda, and Riyadh did not object.

Saudi Arabia previously provided support to Hamas and welcomed its leaders as recently as 2015. However, on the back of the Iranian nuclear deal, both the kingdom and its ally, the UAE, have been making increasing offers of normalisation with Israel – with whom they share Iran as a common foe.

Since the events of the Arab Spring, both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also become hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Hamas is affiliated, seeing it as an imminent threat to their regimes.

Qatar, by contrast, has maintained good relations with most Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, and invested tens of millions of dollars in the reconstruction of besieged Gaza, decimated by years of Israeli war.

Qatar, although closely allied to the United States, has maintained an independent policy on Palestine, which has often caused it problems with pro-Israel officials in the West.

Now, Qatar’s neighbours seem to have joined the fray, inching closer to fully endorsing Israel’s narrative on groups such as Hamas, in the name of fighting extremism and terrorism, without defining either.

It is worth noting that the UAE hosts and supports Hamas’ arch-rival, exiled Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, whom it hopes to install as the next Palestinian president.

“Qatar is being punished for its role and influence in the Palestinian arena, with both President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas,” Ibrahim al-Madhoun, political analyst, told The New Arab.

“Qatar’s role is one of the causes of the Gulf crisis, as its balanced position and influence has become a source of annoyance for its rivals,” he added.

Taysir Muhaisen, political commentator, agrees. “All the parties, in light of the emergence of a new US administration, have decided to pressure Qatar, which has had a different approach to many issues including the Palestinian issue, dealing with Hamas and all Palestinian factions… and helping Gaza weather the blockade,” he said.

Disaster for Gaza

Qatar is one of the few foreign backers of Hamas, and faces massive pressure from its Gulf neighbours to cut ties with the Islamic militant group. If it does, the result could be disastrous for Hamas-ruled Gaza, according to an AP analysis.

Qatar has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in roads, housing and a major hospital in the tiny territory. Its infrastructure projects are one of the few job-creators in a devastated economy.

Gaza already suffers from an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, widespread destruction from a string of Israel-Hamas wars, economic misery and chronic electricity shortages. For Hamas, Qatar’s money pumping into the economy is a vital lifeline bolstering its rule.

The mere prospect of losing Qatari support prompted Hamas on Wednesday to issue rare criticism of Saudi Arabia, which has been leading the campaign against its tiny Gulf neighbour.

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said the Saudi call for Qatar to cut ties with the Palestinian group was “regrettable”, and contradicts traditional Arab support for the Palestinian cause. He accused Saudi Arabia of siding with “American and Zionist calls to put Hamas on the terrorism list”.

Qatar has denied the allegations made against it by Riyadh. But its small size and reliance on food imports from Saudi Arabia could make it susceptible to pressure.

This could spell trouble for Hamas. The group – which calls for Israel’s destruction, even if it has offered long-term interim cease-fires – is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and its Western allies. Israel and Hamas have fought three cross-border wars that caused large-scale damage in Gaza.

Qatar doesn’t support Hamas directly, but its large-scale projects have significantly eased the burden on Hamas authorities and given it some credit for bringing this money to Gaza.

In 2012, Qatar’s then-emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, visited Gaza, the first and only head of state to do so since Hamas routed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah militants in Gaza during internecine fighting a year after Hamas won elections in 2006. The emir announced a grant of $407 million for humanitarian projects.

The grant is being used to build a housing complex of 3,000 units. Two phases of the project have been completed and families moved into their new homes, dubbed the Hamad Residential City, in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

Last month, Palestinian contractors and Qatari envoys signed deals to start the third and final phase of Hamad City. Now, those deals could be in question.

Using that grant, Qatar also built a specialist prosthetic centre, the first of its kind in Gaza. Qatar paved roads, repaired or rebuilt mosques and oversaw dozens of other infrastructure projects.

Following a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014, Qatar was the largest single donor to the reconstruction of Gaza, pledging $1 billion at a Cairo-hosted international conference.

Qatar also helped pay for fuel and electricity deliveries from neighbouring Israel, which, despite its enmity to Hamas, supplies energy to Gaza for what it says are humanitarian reasons.

On Wednesday, bulldozers with Qatari flags were seen leveling land overlooking Gaza City’s coastal road. The spot is supposed to house the headquarters of Qatar’s Gaza reconstruction mission and a residence for an envoy.

In Hamad City, new shops and stores are opening, including a pharmacy named Qatar, barber shops and a video gaming cafe as more families move in. The complex is the largest in Gaza.

Wael al-Naqla, a contractor, has won a bid to build several buildings in the final phase. Thanks to Qatari money, he is one of the few business owners who can hire workers in today’s Gaza.

“Without these projects, we would have been idled a long time ago,” he said, voicing fears that the funding could soon dry up. “We are afraid I won’t be able to keep paying for my 20 workers and they will not be able to eat.”

The construction here is one of the few bright spots in Gaza.

The situation here is grim. The territory suffers from rolling power cuts, with just four hours of electricity at a time, followed by 14-18 hours of blackout. Tap water is undrinkable, youth unemployment is estimated at 60 percent. Thousands wait for a rare chance to exit the blockaded territory.

Mkhaimar Abusada, an independent Gaza political analyst, said the pressure on Qatar could increase Hamas’ political and financial isolation.

This week, a high-level Hamas delegation was summoned to neighbouring Egypt, which has had cooling relations with Hamas. “If these talks don’t lead to new understandings getting Hamas out of its difficult political situation, I think there will be more crises,” said Abusada.

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Hamas pledges not to intervene in the affairs of Arab countries amid Qatar crisis


Image result for Hamas LOGO

Days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf state of supporting “terrorism,” the Hamas movement — named as one of the groups allegedly receiving Qatari sponsorship — pledged Saturday it would not intervene in the affairs of any Arab countries “regardless of the pressures.”

“Hamas’ weapons will be directed only at the enemy (Israel), and Hamas will maintain its policy of not intervening in Arab countries’ affairs regardless of pressures or events,” Deputy Hamas chief Mousa Abu Marzouk was quoted in an official Hamas statement as saying.

Disagreements among Arab countries, “are their own business,” he said, though the question of Palestine “will remain the core issue for everybody, and support for the Palestinian plight should be indisputable regardless of any situation that may arise.”

Abu Marzouk added that Hamas has come under pressure in the past from the Arab world and internationally, and said “we will always deal with such pressures responsibly. We won’t be in disagreement with any country.”

In a similar statement Friday, member of Hamas’ politburo Khalil Al-Hayya that “the Palestinian armed resistance is directed only towards the Israeli occupation, and that the Palestinian resistance will not deviate from this track,” he said, reiterating the faction’s rejection of its designation as a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and several other countries. Hamas identifies as a Islamist national resistance movement.

Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammed bin Abd al-Rahman al-Thani reportedly said Saturday that, “The US views Hamas as a terror organization, but to the rest of the Arab nations it is a legitimate resistance movement. We do not support Hamas, we support the Palestinian people.”

“Hamas’s presence in Qatar doesn’t mean there’s support for Hamas in Qatar,” he said, highlighting the fact that Qatar also cooperates with the occupied West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to promote Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Following the abrupt severing of political ties with Qatar, Hamas slammed the development as a “politicized” attempt to force Qatar to abide by the interests of Israel and the United States.

Ahmad Yousif, a former senior Hamas figure who remains close to the movement’s leadership, described the political developments as part of an “American-Israeli-Saudi coalition” in the region — a sentiment expressed by other commentators owing to US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel in recent weeks and Saudi Arabia’s growing ties with Israel over the years.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir had stated that Qatar would have to cut support to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood if the country wanted to restore diplomatic relations.

Qatar has also reportedly expelled members of Hamas from the country owing to the pressure, however, Hamas denied these claims, saying several leaders left Qatar “willingly” in order to avoid adding to Qatar’s difficulties.

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Naziyahu calls for UN Palestinian refugee agency to be shut down

Image result for UN CARTOON

The UN Palestinian relief agency “perpetuates” the refugee issue instead of solving it and should be “dismantled,” the Israeli PM stated, adding that he had conveyed the idea to the US envoy to the UN. The agency dismissed his proposal as “fantasy.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the comments on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) during a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” Reuters quoted Netanyahu as saying.

According to the Israeli PM, as cited by the Jerusalem Post, “in various UNRWA institutions there is a lot of incitement against Israel, and therefore the existence of UNRWA – and unfortunately its work from time to time – perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem rather than solve it.”

Netanyahu added that he had already conveyed the idea of shutting the agency down to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit earlier this week.

“I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA’s existence,” Netanyahu said.

The UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were evicted from their homes during the 1948 war which followed the emergence of the state of Israel. The agency currently helps over five million registered Palestinian refugees across the region, according to the UNRWA’s own statistics.

The UNRWA’s chief spokesman, Chris Gunness, dismissed Netanyahu’s ideas, stating that dismantling the agency lays outside both of his and Haley’s powers and that only the General Assembly, by a majority vote, could change the agency’s mandate.

“In December 2016, UNRWA’s mandate was extended for three years by the General Assembly by a large majority,” Gunness told Reuters in an emailed statement.

A Gaza-based spokesman for the UNRWA, Adnan Abu Hasna, said that Netanyahu was pursuing a “fantasy.”

Netanyahu’s remarks came two days after the UNRWA said it had uncovered an alleged Hamas-built tunnel running under two agency-managed schools in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The UNRWA condemned the construction of the tunnels as a violation of its neutrality and protested it to Hamas. The Islamist organization, however, denied involvement.

“UNRWA condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way,” the agency said in a statement. “The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon submitted a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council, urging them to label Hamas a terrorist organization and “safeguard” the UNRWA, as well as other agencies “from abuse by terrorist organizations.”


Israel is ‘key driver’ of Palestinian hardships in occupied territories – UN report

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, UNComments Off on Naziyahu calls for UN Palestinian refugee agency to be shut down

Zionist Yinon Plan, Saudi Zio-Wahhabism & US Wars

Israel’s Yinon Plan, Saudi Wahhabism & US Wars: Arab Christians Pushed Into Mass Exodus

Image result for Yinon Plan CARTOON

“The real danger lies in whether the Christian world loses the last early Christians… the last ancient souls of the earth.” Such is the dire prediction by one writer regarding the ongoing exodus of Arab Christians from the Middle East – an exodus triggered by Western neo-colonialism and Zionist expansion that suits the military-industrial complex.

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press 

In the United States, religion is a major part of public life – so much so that it often finds its way into politics. At the national level of politics, it has historically been difficult to win an election, particularly at the national or state level, if one follows a faith not shared by the vast majority of religious Americans: Christianity.

This phenomenon became even more pronounced following the rise of the “moral majority” in the 1980s. But despite the importance of Christianity in the public and private lives of American citizens and politicians, American Christians have raised little concern regarding the fate of Christianity in the religion’s birthplace – the Middle East.

The religious landscape of the Middle East has shifted significantly in recent years, as key religious groups, including Christians, have been making mass exoduses elsewhere. According to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Christians are expected to compose 3.6 percent of the region’s population by 2025. A century prior, however, Christians represented 13.6 percent of the Middle East’s population.

Most reports on the subject have cited emigration as the leading cause of Christianity’s sharp decline in the Middle East, while few reports cite other factors that have pushed many Middle Eastern Christians to seek new lives abroad. Many mainstream investigations of the phenomenon have blamed both Sunni-Shiite conflicts and terrorism for pushing Christians and other religious minorities to leave.

But they have also neglected to mention the role of foreign intervention and U.S.-led regime change efforts in creating these very crises. While most of the “Christian” politicians in the U.S. are careful to avoid pointing this out, Middle Eastern Christians are all too aware that foreign intervention by Western governments has made it nearly impossible for them to continue living in the Middle East.

Marwa Osman, a lecturer at Lebanon International University and political commentator, argued as much in an interview with MintPress News :

“The ‘moral’ fights of Christians in the West are mainly over abortion, birth control, transgender and same-sex marriage, where your beliefs rarely subject you to political and physical persecution. When ethnic or religious groups are subjected to organized violence and persecution because of who they are, their plight should be addressed urgently, because this is how genocide starts and this what the West is not doing. Rather, the West keeps investing in more wars that would directly result in a Christian exodus from the Middle East.”

Christianity’s beginnings in the Middle East

The Middle East is much more than just the birthplace of Christianity. It was also the region where the religion first took hold and where the foundation was laid that transformed the teachings of Jesus Christ into one of the world’s dominant faiths. The entire region is dotted with thousand-year-old Christian communities, some of which were founded by early church fathers and, in some cases, disciples of Jesus himself.

For instance, tradition holds that Christianity was first brought to Iraq by St. Thomas and his cousin Addai in the first century, later becoming a stronghold for a patchwork of Christian groups, including the Gnostics. It is also believed that St. Peter and St. Paul brought Christianity to Syria, where – in Antioch – the term “Christians” to denote followers of Jesus was used for the first time.

In the earliest centuries of the last millennium, it was the Middle East that dominated Christian leadership and fellowship. When the Catholic church was officially formed at the Council of Nicea, there were more bishops in the Middle East than in Western Europe.

While the ascension of Islam would soon drastically alter the region’s religious landscape, Christianity has retained an important role in the region in the centuries since – especially in countries where it has maintained prominence, such as Egypt and Lebanon. Even in nations with Muslim majorities, Christians proved to be an economically important minority, gaining political prominence as a result.

But the Arab Christians of the Middle East have by no means had it easy. For much of the last 2,000 years, the region’s Christians have been persecuted by multiple parties, including the Ottoman Empire of the 19th and 20th centuries, whose brutal campaign against Arab Christians claimed the lives of over two million people.

Having suffered so much, the resilience and endurance of the Mideast’s Christians is legendary. But it was Muslims in Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine who provided refuge to the Christians being persecuted by the Ottomans as they established and expanded their empire.

Owing to this troubled history, the presence of Arab Christians throughout the region has been a factor in the proliferation of Arab secularism in select countries, namely Syria, pre-invasion Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. After so many centuries of being targeted and persecuted, Christians in the Middle East have still been some of the most ardent supporters of secularism in the region.

Abdo Haddad, a Syrian Christian writer now living in Europe, made this plain in an interview with MintPress News, stating “[as] the Christians of the East developed a political sense of survival over the years, their first choice was to secure and support a strong state run by laws and, preferably, with a secular administration.”

But if Christians continue to leave the region in large numbers, secularism itself could become a relic of the region’s rich history. As Todd Johnson told the Wall Street Journal, “The disappearance of such minorities sets the stage for more radical groups to dominate in society. Religious minorities, at the very least, have a moderating effect.”

Haddad added that the greatest threat is even more grave. “The real danger lies in whether the Christian world loses the last early Christians, the last guards, the last ancient souls of the earth. If killing such a unique and profound community and civilization passes as easily as it looks, imagine what would become in your own nations once you dare to announce your faith or origin…,” he said.

Christianity and regime change in Iraq, Syria and Iran

Interestingly enough, the very countries that have protected religious minorities in the name of Arab secularism are those that have found themselves the targets of U.S.-led regime change efforts over the years.

Syria is a prime example, having been targeted by the U.S. since the 1980s. The most recent aggression has manifested in a massive war in which foreign-funded extremist “rebels” have sought to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011. Syria’s Christians, protected by the Syrian government’s commitment to secularism, have overwhelmingly supported Assad throughout the affair.

As Haddad observed, those familiar with the Syrian crisis are well-aware that Syrian Christians overwhelmingly support the Syrian government in its fight against extremist militias. “The Syrian People including Christians, like their President and see in him hopes for the future. This doesn’t mean Christians don’t want reforms and change, but they want them in a civilized, gradual and progressive manner (unlike what happened in Libya).”

Osman asserted that Syrian Christians support the government in part because government-controlled regions of Syria are the only regions in which its 2.5 million Christians are safe and treated as equals alongside the nation’s Muslims. “The regime’s downfall would have been followed by massive carnage, by new waves of refugees heading west, and by the imposition of an Islamist dictatorship. Whether it would had been controlled by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front or by the vanishing ISIS would be irrelevant to the Christians who would have been murdered, exiled, or enslaved.”

The alternative to Assad offers little to Syria’s Christians, as armed opposition forces are overwhelmingly allied with Wahhabism and extremism, having frequently called for the establishment of an Islamic state that would adhere to a colonialist ideology funded by Western nations like the UK and the United States.

This would ultimately end the nation’s longstanding commitment to secularism and endanger the many religious minority groups that have long inhabited Syria. For instance, the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group with ties to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly targeted Christians in Syria. Al-Nusra was recently taken off of terror watchlists in both the U.S. and Canada after simply changing its name.

Even “rebels” directly armed by the U.S., such as the Free Syrian Army, have massacred villages of Christians throughout the course of the war. In 2013, the Free Syrian Army raided the Christian-majority al-Duvair village near the Lebanese border, massacring all of its civilian residents, including women and children.

As Osman told MintPress : “In Syria the U.S. government remains committed to supporting the ‘rebels,’ although there are no “moderates” among them: all meaningful forces on the ground are Wahhabi fundamentalists who persecute Christians.”

Iraq is another example of how U.S.- and UK-led regime change has influenced the exodus of Christians from the Middle East. The invasion displaced millions of Iraqis, many of whom have yet to return, and also removed many Iraqis’ ability to feed themselves by essentially annihilating the nation’s once-sizable agricultural industry. During and after the invasion, Christians were considered close to Saddam Hussein’s regime, given that his former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, is a Chaldean Christian. The Chaldean Christian community, which stood at around 1.4 million before the 2003 invasion, was said to have been treated preferentially under Hussein. Following his ouster and in the chaos since, the Iraqi Christian population has dwindled to less than 300,000.

Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American activist, told MintPress News that the Iraqi regime supported by the U.S. after the invasion has also played a major role in triggering the Christian exodus. Wasfi asserted that “the greatest threat to specifically Christian (as well as Sunni) families was the conservative Shia government brought to power in Iraq by U.S. administrators in 2005 (elections were run by the occupiers). In the years that followed, government-backed death squads terrorized the population, driving many Christian and Sunni families out.”

“Recent assaults on the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and the ongoing so-called ‘liberation’ of Mosul,” Wasfi argued, “are a continuation of the conservative Shia government’s efforts to change the demographics on the ground and consolidate its rule.”

Interestingly, many of the death squads Wasfi referenced were directly trained by the U.S., suggesting that the U.S. military had a key role in the targeting of Christians within Iraq.

Aside from the clear examples of Syria and Iraq, Iran – whose Christian communities are thriving – is the latest country to be targeted by Western neo-conservatives, as evidenced by rhetoric delivered by President Donald Trump during his first foreign trip.

While Iran has long been characterized as being discriminatory towards Christians in U.S. media, its Chaldean and Armenian Christian communities are protected by its constitution and guaranteed political representation in parliament. Jews and Zoroastrians are also similarly protected. However, evangelical Christians in Iran have been persecuted, particularly for allegedly proselytizing Muslims and members of other non-Christian religions. The total Christian population in Iran is difficult to accurately estimate, with some groups claiming there are 450,000 while others claim that there are as many as 1 million.

While secularism is hardly the driving factor behind U.S.-led regime change in the Middle East, the West’s targeting of Middle Eastern secular nations that protect Christians is an undeniable factor in prompting the exodus of the region’s Christians.

Persecution of Christians rampant in Saudi Arabia, Israel

However, other Middle Eastern nations – especially those supported by the West – are well-known for their persecution of religious minorities. Nowhere is this truer than in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the apartheid state of Israel.

In Saudi Arabia, the government openly condemns any person who fails to conform to the Wahhabi sect of Islam embraced by the House of Saud and a product of British colonialism to topple of the Ottoman Empire. It is a puritanical religious and political policy that targets not only those of different faiths but other Muslims. As Human Rights Watch noted in its World Report for 2013: “Saudi Arabia does not tolerate public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam and systematically discriminates against its Muslim religious minorities, in particular, Shia and Ismailis. The chief mufti in March called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.”

In 2014, the Saudi government detained 28 Christians for worshiping in a private home in the city of Khafji. Their whereabouts still remain unknown. At the time, Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told Fox News: “Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy.”

But worse than the Saudis’ treatment of religious minorities within their own borders is their exportation of their intolerant Wahhabi ideology abroad. Many extremist terror groups – including Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda – are followers of Wahhabism, and both are major beneficiaries of Saudi funding, which neither the Saudi government nor those of its allies in the West have sought to end. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter and fundraiser of radical Wahhabi terrorism. These groups, as has been made clear by their actions in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, tend to target religious minorities, particularly Christians.

Another chief ally of the West in the Middle East is also known for targeting Christians. Israel, best known for its persecution of the Palestinians,– whom are both Muslim and Christian– targets non-Jews due to its status as an apartheid ethno-religious state. As Wasfi explained to MintPress, “the military occupation by the colonial settler state of Israel, supported by Western governments” has been a major factor in the exodus of Christians from the Middle East.

Israel’s government has a long history of desecrating churches and persecuting the historic Palestinian Christians. For example, following the capture of Jaffa by European Zionist-Jewish forces in May 1948, Catholic Palestinian priest Father Deleque reported: “Jewish soldiers broke down the doors of my church and robbed many precious and sacred objects. Then they threw the statues of Christ down into a nearby garden.” He added that, while Jewish leaders had reassured that religious buildings would be respected, “their deeds do not correspond to their words.”

That same year, the Christian Union of Palestine publicly complained that British backed European Zionist-Jewish forces had used several Christian churches and humanitarian institutions in Jerusalem as military bases and had desecrated them. They added that three priests and more than 100 women and children had been killed by the indiscriminate shelling of their places of worship by European Zionist-Jewish forces.

Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian Christians has continued ever since. For instance, in 1982, the Baptist Church in Jerusalem burned down, a target of arson. No one was ever charged. When the Baptists sought to rebuild the church, groups of Jews demonstrated against the project and the district planning commission refused to grant a building permit. Three years later, the Israeli Supreme Court advised the Baptists to leave the “all-Jewish” area.

Such acts continue today. Pastor Steven Khoury, an Arab-Israeli Christian, said that “There’s no persecution in the Holy Land … unless you share your faith,” in an interview with the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian non-profit that highlights the persecution of Christians worldwide. Khoury said he had witnessed church members being attacked because of their faith on many occasions.

Watch 60 Minutes’ Investigation into Israel’s Persecution of Christians in Palestine:

Palestinian Christians, due to their ethnicity, have been even more heavily targeted by the Israeli state, fleeing their homeland as a result along with thousands of their non-Christian countrymen. When European Zionist militias invaded Palestine to create the state of Israel in 1948, Palestinian Christians numbered 200,000. By 1995, Christian Palestinians living in the region numbered only 50,0000. Now, of an estimated 400,000 Christian Palestinians, most live abroad, mainly in the Americas.

Zionist plan for Israeli superiority excludes Christians

So why has the West targeted mostly secular nations while simultaneously supporting countries and extremist groups that persecute religious minorities, particularly Christians? While the attack on secularism in the Arab world could be a consequence of Western neo-colonialism in the region, long-held plans for Israel’s regional dominance – a goal strongly supported by the West, particularly the U.S. – shed light on potential reasons for the West’s reluctance to respect religious diversity in the Middle East.

The Yinon Plan, as it is known, is a strategy intended to ensure Israel’s regional superiority in the Middle East that chiefly involves reconfiguring the entire Arab world into smaller and weaker sectarian states.

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya noted in a 2011 article for Global Research :

“Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims.”

This plan has been widely supported by numerous U.S. politicians – most notably by former Vice President Joe Biden, who pushed a non-binding resolution through the Senate that called for carving Iraq into the same states laid out in the Yinon Plan.

However, the plan to partition Iraq included no territory for Iraq’s Christians or its other religious minorities.

The Yinon Plan seeks to divide more than just Iraq. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would all be partitioned, according to the plan, with parts of these countries being subsequently absorbed into “Greater Israel.” This can already be seen playing out in the Syrian conflict, where Israel’s involvement in the war largely revolves around its desire to claim the occupied Golan Heights as its own.

Thus, it could very well be the West’s commitment to the Yinon Plan that has helped to shape its policy of feigned ignorance regarding the plight of the region’s Christians. Middle Eastern Christians’ commitment to and strong preference for secularism has no place in a neo-colonial Middle East that built into sectarian states intended to be kept in constant war with one another. Israel’s desire to dominate the region – a goal abetted by their Western allies – may hold much of the blame for the continued exodus of Mideast Christians.

But ultimately, the continuing exodus of Christians is endemic of a larger crisis facing the region as years of conflict and modern warfare have taken into toll on the people as well as the environment.

Wasfi pointed to U.S military aggression as the main culprit for this burgeoning crisis. “In the bigger picture, the overall loss of life and devastation of what is historically known as the ‘Fertile Crescent’ by Western invasion, occupation, and continuous war is the great tragedy. […] The sooner U.S. military aggression in the region ends, the sooner the healing can begin.

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Jeremy Corbyn and his half-finished political revolution

Image result for Jeremy Corbyn CARTOON
By Neil Clark 

Labour’s stunning performance in last week’s UK general election, which saw the party deny the Tories a majority and gain its largest increase in vote share since 1945, has left the country’s Elite Punditocracy in a state of deep shock.

The neocon/neoliberal Establishment thought their non-stop smearing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a “terrorist sympathizing/IRA-supporting/anti-Semitism condoning/crimes-of-Milosevic denying/North Korea-admiring/Putin-appeasing/Hamas-befriending/beardie-weirdie sandal-wearing/Stalinist/Trotskyist/hard-left Marxist/enemy of Britain” (take your pick), would ensure that voters would vote the ‘right’ way on June 8, i.e. not for the party led by beyond-the-pale Corbyn. There was great confidence that Labour, having been attacked so relentlessly in the media, would lose heavily.

Jason Cowley, the Blairite political editor of the once radical but now very Establishment-friendly organ the New Statesman, claimed Labour could lose 100 seats. Another pundit predicted Labour’s vote could slip below 20 percent.

But as soon as the results of the BBC’s exit poll were revealed at 10pm on election night, blind panic took over. It was reported that when Rupert Murdoch saw the exit poll showing that the Tories would lose their majority and that Labour would actually gain seats, he stormed out of the room.

It was a joy to see the bewildered, and then indignant ‘they haven’t listened to us!’ reactions of the gatekeepers on social media – people who just a few minutes earlier were assuring us that the “unelectable” Corbyn was leading his party towards an electoral disaster.

It’s not that these smug, self-satisfied stenographers to power were wrong: they never wanted Corbyn to do well in the first place. But they were supremely confident that their relentless attacks on the “extremist” Labour leader would achieve the result their paymasters desired.

The great ‘crime’ Corbyn committed in the eyes of the Establishment was not to have once met Martin McGuinness, but to have broken away from the “phoney center” ground of endless war and privatization and offer voters a genuine alternative to neocon/neoliberal policies. He criticized the UK’s ‘interventionist’ foreign policy, so beloved by those who never go near a war zone, and dared to suggest that Britain’s involvement in regime-change wars has increased the terrorist threat, which of course it has. He vowed to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He pledged to re-nationalize the rip-off railways and public utilities. He promised to scrap student tuition fees, zero-hour contracts, and to end austerity. His program wasn’t ‘hard-left’ or ‘extreme,’ but actually very moderate, fully in tune with mainstream public opinion.

But of course, any deviation from the “Extreme Center” is regarded as heresy which must be punished by those who see themselves as the modern-day successors of Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General.

If last Thursday’s UK general election can be compared to a football match, then it’s now half-time and against all the odds, the team the ‘experts’ told us would get thrashed by their wealthier rivals is leading by two goals to nil. Yes, the Conservatives won the most seats, but it’s Labour who has the wind in their sails, and all the momentum, in more ways than one. Which begs the question – what’s going to happen in the second half?

The Establishment had a big setback on Thursday – one that they most certainly did not expect – but don’t worry, they’ll regroup. The first priority will be to make sure that one way or another the Conservatives remain in government and the “hard-left extremists” Corbyn and John McDonnell and the “sinister Stalinist” Seumas Milne (who’s actually one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet), don‘t get their hands on the levers of power.

We were told it was terribly, terribly wrong for a prospective Corbyn-led minority government to be propped up “by the Scots” (boo, hiss), but it seems it’s not so wrong or ‘outrageous’ for a minority Conservative government to be propped up by a party from Northern Ireland. If Corbyn needs the support of others, we’re talking about a “Coalition of Chaos,” if May needs it – it is all about putting the country first.

The double standards of the “Keep Corbyn Out” campaign are there for all to see: the hypocrisy is of Olympic Gold Medal standard. And it’s not just Tories that Corbyn needs to worry about. Blairite grandee Lord Peter Mandelson, writing in the Mail on Sunday, has urged “mainstream Labour MPs,” worried about the “continuing Corbyn revolution” to “stand by” Theresa May in Parliament in “the national interest.”

The second part of the Establishment’s plan will be to try and pressurize/cajole/bribe/threaten Labour, from without and within, to ditch policies which threaten elite interests and move back towards what the “Extreme Centre.”

If only Labour could ‘moderate’ its policies, (i.e. make them acceptable to the “people who really matter”), they’d be set fair to win the next election – a line we can expect to see repeated in the next few weeks and months in ‘mainstream’ publications. Everything will be done to make Labour “conform.”

It’s important to understand that ‘democracy’ for the neocon/neoliberal Establishment means the two main parties offering essentially the same fare to voters a pro-war pro-neoliberal Conservative party led by David Cameron and a pro-war pro-neoliberal Labour party led by David Miliband was their ideal scenario. With a choice of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the elite simply can’t lose. And that’s how they like it.

But it all started to go wrong for them when Ed, and not the Establishment-favored David Miliband, became Labour leader in 2010 and changed the rules about the election of party leaders. This put power (horror of horrors!) into the hands of ordinary members and made possible the victory of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, and again in 2016, when he was challenged by technocrat Owen Smith.

Inevitably, as Labour has democratized, so its program has begun to reflect the views of ordinary citizens. By offering popular ‘For the Many and not the Few’ policies that had, for many years, been deemed “off limits” by gatekeepers, such as re-nationalization and a change in foreign policy, Corbyn managed to motivate millions of Britons, myself included, to head off to our local polling stations last Thursday. In doing so, he helped increase Labour’s share of the vote from 30 percent in 2015 to 40 percent, a quite remarkable achievement, especially considering the hostile media coverage and the attacks from within his own party that he has faced since first becoming leader.

It would be absolutely fatal now for Corbyn to change a strategy that has brought him to the brink of victory. That means there can be no way back for Blairism or Blairites. Former Channel 4 journalist Paul Mason has done great work for Labour in 2017, but I was alarmed to hear him say on television on election night that Corbyn should now bring into his Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet “big hitters” from the Blair and Brown era. It’s because Corbyn has made a break with the political orthodoxy of that time that he has done so well and managed in particular to get so many young voters and previous abstainers to rally to the Labour cause. Dragging back discredited figures from the past, whose policies were roundly rejected by voters, would be a backwards step. Instead, Corbyn should be bringing into his team new faces who are fully in tune with the anti-Establishment mood of 2017.

If there is to be another election this year, which seems likely, then the Labour leader must also be prepared for a battle with a more accomplished performer than the far from “Strong and Stable” Theresa May. Whether May stays days, weeks, or months in Downing Street, the people hiding behind the curtain won’t let her fight another election as Tory leader, as her limitations have been fully exposed. But even if the Tory leader is more personable than the current prime minister, which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be hard, the trump card Corbyn has is his manifesto. Because they are the party of the financial elite and receive around half their money from hedge funds, the Tories would never be able to offer voters populist policies like re-nationalization and higher taxes on the rich to help save the NHS, which Labour can.

What Corbyn has done is to get to the half-way point in a peaceful political revolution. Far from being a “threat” or a “danger” to democracy, he is actually trying to return Britain to being a proper functioning democracy, a place where people do have a genuine choice at general elections. We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of his task, but equally we shouldn’t underestimate what this indefatigable 68-year-old has already achieved. He’s halfway there and the next 45 minutes will be absolutely crucial.

Posted in UKComments Off on Jeremy Corbyn and his half-finished political revolution

Corbyn and the Jews


By Gilad Atzmon 

British Jews have made no secret of their united political opposition to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under his direction. Since Corbyn’s selection as its leader, the Labour party has been subjected to a relentless defamation campaign by the MSM and Jewish bodies. The Jewish anti Corbyn campaign rapidly devolved into a ruthless purge conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement and the Labour Friends of Israel. And then it didn’t take long before we saw some clear evidence that the assault against Corbyn was directed by Tel Aviv.

The reaction of many prominent Jewish voices and Jewish media outlets to Corbyn’s recent electoral success leaves no room for doubt – we are witnessing an emerging clash between the Brits and Judea.

On June 9th just a few hours after Corbyn’s popularity amongst Brits was formally established, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the staunch Zionist Jewish Chronicle, wrote in The Daily Telegraph (AKA The Daily Tel Aviv ) an extended tirade about the Brits, the gist of which is captured in the headline:  “to the millions of people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn: you scare me.”

Pollard is tormented by the democratic choice of almost half of the British voters. “In fact forgive me, please, if I say this to each of the 12.8 million people who voted Labour on Thursday: you scare me.”

Pollard is distressed by Ken Livingstone’s truth telling about Zionism’s early collaboration with Hitler. He is dismayed that so many young Brits are excited by Corbyn’s platform of truthfulness and universal cooperation.

To support his argument Pollard asks us to engage in a “thought experiment.” Imagine that instead of having a problem with Jews, “many Corbyn supporters were misogynists. Instead of tweeting about ‘Zios’ they tweeted about ‘bitches’ who had got above themselves.”

I will help Pollard out. It wasn’t women’s lobbies that pushed us into immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran. It was Lord Cashpoint Levy and the LFI that dominated Blair’s government’s fundraising when Britain launched its criminal war in Iraq. It was David Aaronivitch and Nick Cohen, two of Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle writers, who advocated these wars in the media.

Being kind natured, I’ll use this opportunity to advise Pollard that pretty much half of British adults go to bed every night with a woman. They form families with them and bring up kids together. We see women as our partners; something we cannot say about Stephen Pollard, Jonathan Pollard, Michael Foster, Lord Janner or Sir Philip Green. Pollard should spend some time and produce a better analogy in support of his ludicrous tribal politics.

Pollard is not alone. James Rubin, a former American diplomat and the ‘husband of’ is also scared of Corbyn.

“Who’s Afraid of Jeremy Corbyn? Me that’s who,” was the title of Rubin’s  Politico article. Unlike Pollard who is scared as a Jew, Rubin claims to be scared on behalf of all Americans. According to Rubin “all Americans who fear for the future of the West”  should be fearful of Corbyn. Rubin attempts to spread a duplicitous message that Corbyn puts the West at risk.

Rubin is kind enough to enumerate Corbyn’s ‘crimes: he has been “a public opponent of British and American foreign policy for some 25 years, and so his record and his views are impossible to hide.” He has “made a career of attacking U.S. foreign policies time and again.”

Rubin misses the point. Corbyn was supported last Thursday by more than 12 million Brits, in large part because he has a clear record of opposition to Anglo-American Zio-con immoral interventionist wars.

Rubin goes on, Corbyn has always found a way “to be supportive of America’s enemies and critical of American policies.” Correct and this is exactly why close to half of the British voters trusted him last Thursday. I would take it further, would Corbyn be brave enough to call a spade a spade and name our foreign wars for what they are: Israeli wars, his share of the vote would increase from 40% to 70%. Corbyn would be the British Prime Minster by Friday and the Tories would be reduced to a marginal political entity.

Rubin complains that Corbyn finds that “America is almost always in the wrong for the wrong reasons.” If so, Corbyn is absolutely right. America is too often on the wrong side, capitulating to AIPAC’s demands or desperately attempting to appease the Goldman Sachs and Soroses of this world.

Those who still fail to see that British Jews are at war with Corbyn and the Labour party should read The Jewish Algemeiner. According to Ben Cohen, it was the Jewish vote in London that saved Theresa May. Despite the popular swing towards Labour in most of London, it was the “voters in four London districts with significant Jewish populations have likely made it much easier for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to form a coalition government.”

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis released a statement that the election demonstrated the dramatic polarization of British society: “The General Election results make it quite clear that it is not only our political representatives who are sharply divided on what is in the best long term interests of our country, but also that the electorate is similarly divided.”

I am not convinced at all that Britain is ‘divided’ as the chief Rabbi claims. If anything, the election reveals a growing unity amongst young Brits who are disgusted by the politics of Theresa Je Suis Juif May and her Zio-friendly government.

“As Theresa May seeks to form a new Government, my prayer is that she be blessed with the insight and the wisdom to lead the country with a spirit of understanding and a commitment to the common good,” the Rabbi added. I can advise the British Jewish leader that his prayers may fall short of delivering the good. What Theresa May needs at this stage is divine intervention and the Jewish institutions rallying for her and her dirty politics is a curse rather than a blessing.

Posted in UKComments Off on Corbyn and the Jews

NATO Enlargement in Times of Geopolitical Cholera

Adelina Marini

Do you remember that scene at the NATO summit on May 25 when US President Donald Trump arrogantly pushed aside Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković to stand in front? This was the most shared video of that day and is the best illustration of the enlargement of the Pact, which officially took place on 5 June. On that day the Pact accepted its 29th state – Montenegro. During the official ceremony NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg chose to quote President Harry S. Truman’s words at the signing of the Washington Treaty in April 1949: “In this Pact, we hope to create a shield against aggression and the fear of aggression. A bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of government and society. The business of achieving a fuller and happier life for all our citizens”.

Article 5 – with or without the USA?

Jens Stoltenberg also stressed that Article 5 of the Pact, “our collective defence pledge, is the core of our Alliance. A unique bond that has kept our nations safe for almost seven decades”. Stated only days after the NATO summit, which served to break the illusion that Mr Trump is a reliable partner, the Article 5 statement sounds unconvincing. The American Politico revealed on the very day of Montenegro’s accession that, despite the efforts of the presidential administration, Donald Trump has removed from his speech in Brussels the sentence that reaffirms the US commitment to Article 5, which guarantees that an attack on one member of the pact is an attack on everyone.

Facing the amazed members of his administration and his NATO partners, who were eagerly awaiting the statement, Donald Trump said something else. He said NATO’s future should include a greater focus on terrorism and migration, as well as threats from Russia and on the Eastern and Southern borders of NATO. In an attempt to paste over the awkward situation, the White House explained that it was precisely this part that served as a reaffirmation of US commitment to the pact and its backbone, Article 5. Further on Trump attacked the other members of the Pact for not meeting their commitments to set aside 2% of their gross domestic product for defence.

According to NATO figures from March of this year, there are just a few members that in the year 2016 have set aside 2% of GDP. These are Greece (2.36%), Estonia (2.18%), the United Kingdom (2.17%) and Poland (2.01%). The newest member of the Pact sets aside 1.6% of its GDP for defence, ranking in the second line among countries such as Turkey (1.69%) and Norway (1.55%). NATO figures also show that only five countries have increased their defence spending compared to 2009. These are Estonia, Poland, Latvia (to 1.46%), Lithuania (to 1.49%) and Romania (to 1.41%).

This transition in Trump’s speech can be interpreted as a direct link between Article 5 and defence spending. “2% is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats. We will never forget the lives that we lost, we will never forsake the friends that stood by our side and we will never waver in our determination to defeat terrorism and achieve lasting security, prosperity and peace”, said Donald Trump, which can also be perceived as confirming the US’s commitment to the foundations of NATO. Given the unpredictable nature of the US president, it is difficult to say for sure whether that is the case.

For a country like Montenegro, with a population of just over 600 000 people, located in a geopolitically contested region, Article 5 means a lot. It is a guarantee of its security and integrity. Last year, an attempted coup and assassination attempt against the then Prime Minister Milo Đukanović was prevented in the  very night of the October 16 parliamentary elections. Montenegrin authorities have accused Russia of organising it with the help of Serbian intelligence agents. The coup was prevented thanks to the intervention of Aleksandar Vučić, then prime minister of Serbia. An investigation is currently underway, but whatever comes out of it Russia’s resistance to Montenegro’s accession to NATO has never been concealed.

Immediately after the official ceremony in NATO, the Russian foreign ministry threatened Montenegro with retaliatory measures. The official statement of the ministry says: “In the light of the hostile course chosen by the Montenegrin authorities, the Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures on a reciprocal basis. In politics, just as in physics, for every action there is an opposite reaction”. Montenegro’s accession to NATO coincided with the discovery of a network of journalists from the Western Balkans about Russia’s subversive role in Macedonia as well, which last week finally came out of the political crisis that has been shaking the former Yugoslav Republic for two years. Moscow rejected the allegations of the journalists that were also published in the British left-liberal daily newspaper The Guardian.

The problem is not just how clearly stated Donald Trump’s support for Article 5 of the NATO treaty is. A much more serious problem is the doubts about relations between his administration and Vladimir Putin’s regime in the Kremlin. Scandalous revelations have been shaking the White House since Donald Trump assumed office officially in January. Back during the election campaign, he announced an intention of rapprochement with Mr Putin, but since then his moves have been controversial and the Russian president’s frustration has been growing. Moreover, there is still doubt that Russia has interfered in the US election process.

At the NATO summit, Trump pointed at Russia as a risk but only a few hours earlier, during his meeting with EU institutional leaders Donald Tusk (Poland, EPP) and Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg, EPP), it became clear that the main differences are precisely in relation to Russia. Moscow has repeatedly claimed the Balkans as a part of its sphere of influence. The only countries in the peninsula that are not yet in NATO, neither are going to be any time soon, or have no intention to are Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo. Serbia is consistent in its NATO neutrality policy but maintains serious military and other ties with Russia.

Macedonia’s road to NATO is blocked by Greece due to the unresolved dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav Republic, but the country has a firmly declared interest in joining, confirmed also  by the country’s new prime minister, Zoran Zaev. On the occasion of Montenegro’s accession, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov hinted on Twitter that he hoped Macedonia would soon become the 30th member. Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided on the issue, with leaders in the Republika Srpska entity strongly opposed to joining the Alliance. BiH’s Euro-Atlantic future is fully tied to Belgrade’s position, and Moscow, respectively. Kosovo does not have its own army, but insists that it should, and this is one of the many tension points between Priština and Belgrade. At this stage, there is no support even in Brussels (including NATO headquarters) for Kosovo to get its own army because of the current high tension in the region and especially on the Priština-Belgrade axis.

An Alliance of democracies?

At the ceremony for admitting Montenegro to NATO, Jens Stoltenberg said something else that is currently being questioned in the organisation: “We are an alliance of democracies. And we have, at times, different political perspectives”. Montenegro itself has serious democratic deficits, as the European Commission’s annual progress reports show, as well as its place in the index of democracy and freedom of the press. Even more serious problems, however, are the ones of Turkey, whose NATO membership has already been questioned. Deterioration of democracy is also seen in other member states, which poses a risk to the Alliance’s integrity, but also to the security of its members. Recently, during a hearing in the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Jens Stoltenberg placed defence before the democratic values ​​precisely on the subject of Turkey.

The congratulations that the Montenegrin prime minister received from Vice President Mike Pence (not from Donald Trump) in Washington cannot obscure the challenges the Pact faces. Today, like never before, it cannot be said for sure whether if a member is attacked, everyone will stand as one behind it. And while Montenegro was expecting the last signatures of the ratification process, the EU has begun work on building a NATO alternative – a defence union.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev

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The beautiful side to North Korea


Image result for North Korea LEADER PHOTO

The beautiful side to North Korea: Photographer claims Kim’s communist enclave is ‘extremely clean’ and an ‘exotic destination’ we should all visit

As tensions between North Korea and the United States continue to escalate, a Malaysian photographer has encouraged others to visit by releasing photos he took while traveling to the country.

In the images, North Korean residents can be seen going about their daily business in town squares and train stations while children listen to street performers.

Other pictures show the capital Pyongyang illuminated at night with skyscrapers stretched across the city, as well as temples and countryside landscapes.

Photographer Reuben Teo, 31, from Sarawak, Malaysia, took the photos on a trip to the country last month.

Mr Teo was only told not to photograph military, military checkpoints and construction while in the country, and believes his pictures show a different side to North Korea than how it is usually portrayed in the media.

‘The country is also extremely clean and I can honestly tell you that it sits next just to Japan in terms of cleanliness. Put North Korea in your list of exotic destinations to visit,’ Mr Teo said.

North Korea, meanwhile, says it is continuing to test new missiles that could attack enemy warships.

The country has tested four missile systems year alone, sending a defiant message to its enemies that it will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed the launches, according to the official Korean Central News Agency, which said the missiles ‘accurately detected and hit’ floating targets at sea after making ‘circular flights’.

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