Archive | June 23rd, 2017

Nazi Lieberman: Not a single Palestinian refugee will return to their lands in ‘Israel’

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During a speech at Zio-Nazi Herzliya conference, aimed at discussing the country’s national policies, ultraright Nazi Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected the possibility of Palestinian refugees from historic Palestine, which the Nazi state was built on, being able to return to their lands within the 1967 borders, a right that is upheld by United Nations Resolution 194.

“We will not agree to the return of a single refugee to within the ‘67 borders,” Lieberman reportedly said. “There will never be another Prime Minister who makes propositions to Palestinians like Ehud Olmert did,”  he added, referring to a 2008 peace proposal introduced by the former Nazi prime minister.

The right of return for Palestinian refugees is a central demand among Palestinians and their leadership. The demand also represents a powerful symbolic connection to their lands and homes they were displaced from, as many Palestinians still possess original keys to their homes that were consumed by the Nazi state of ‘Israel’ 69 years ago.

According to Zionist media, Nazi Lieberman also said that ”an end to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not solve the problems – it will make them worse,” and noted that Nazi regime should first “reach a regional agreement with moderate Sunni states, and only then an agreement with the Palestinians.”

He also went on to question the legitimacy of Palestinian citizens of occupie Palestine 1948 being part of the Nazi parliament, the Knesset, noting that the Joint List political bloc — representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of occupied Palestine 1948 in the Knesset — refused to acquiesce to Zionist ideologies.

“The only place they don’t want to leave is Israel. Why? Because it’s good for them here,” he said, referring to Palestinian citizens of occupied Palestine 1948, making up approximately 20 percent of the population, whose families lived on the lands of historic Palestine before the creation of the Nazi state of the ‘Israel’.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 66 percent of Palestinians who were living in British-Mandate Palestine in 1948 were expelled from historic Palestine and displaced from their homes and lands during the creation of the illegal Nazi state, referred to as the Nakba, or catastrophe, among Palestinians.

On the topic of Gaza, Nazi Lieberman reportedly said “I don’t think we need to get into it. It won’t end soon,” before calling the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged Palestinian territory an “intra-Palestinian crisis,” echoing statements made by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who placed full blame of the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip on Hamas, and absolved the Nazi regime of any responsibility for the ongoing crisis.

Nazi Lieberman also accused Zionist puppet Mahmoud Ab-A$$ of attempting to influence Hamas to go to war with ‘Israel’ by exacerbating the crisis in Gaza by cutting Palestinian Authority (PA) payments for electricity supplied to Gaza from ‘I$raHell‘.

“Abbas is going to increase cuts and soon stop the payment of salaries in Gaza and the transfer of fuel to the strip as a two-pronged strategy: Hurt Hamas and drag it to war with Israel,” he reportedly said.

Nazi Lieberman’s statements came amid an attempted renewal of the Nazi-Ab-Ass peace process by right-wing US President Donald Trump.

Most recently, on Wednesday evening, a meeting was held between Ab-A$$ and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Zionist Jared Kushner in the central illegally occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss reviving peace talks with the Nazi regime.

Executive Committee Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Wasel Abu Yousif said in statement at the time that reviving a political process requires certain determinants based on international law: a time limit for ending the 50-year Nazi occupation of the Palestinian territory must be set to establish a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestinian refugees must be granted the right of return to the homes and villages from which they were expelled.

However, Nazi leaders have been public on their rejection of the Palestinian Authority (PA) taking over East Jerusalem, which was officially annexed by Nazi regime in 1980, and have regularly voiced their opposition to the return of Palestinian refugees or even the halting of illegal Jewish Nazi settlement expansions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Naftali Bennett, Nazi right-wing education minister, has also introduced a bill in the Nazi parliament that would prevent any future divisions of Jerusalem, by mending Israel’s Basic Law on Jerusalem to necessitate the approval of 80 of the 120 Knesset members to make any changes to the law, instead of the regular majority vote.

“The purpose of this law is to unify Jerusalem forever,” Bennett reportedly said, adding that his legislation would make it “impossible” to divide Jerusalem.

While the PA and the international community do not recognize the legality of the occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank since 1967, many Palestinians consider that all historic Palestine has been occupied since the creation of the Nazi state of in 1948.

A growing number of activists have criticized a two-state solution to the Nazi-Palestinian conflict as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Nazi regime and Palestinians.

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The war for power in Venezuela’s countryside

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By Marco Teruggi – 15 y Ultimo

Since opposition protests began in Venezuela in early April, much of the media coverage has focused on clashes in Caracas. However, the opposition’s campaign to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro has not been limited to the country’s capital.

Marco Teruggi reports on a recent visit to the small, but strategic town of Socopo, in the largely rural state Barinas, which has been the site of a campaign of terror and an all-out struggle for power.

It was original published at 15 y Ultimo and has been translated by Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes.

***

More than two months after the right-wing opposition began its campaign of full-frontal confrontation, we can start to see particular episodes as model cases.

Such is the case with Socopo, a town of 20,000 residents in the state of Barinas that for five days, during a period of time that can be divided into three moments, was an epicentre of violence: April 19 and 20; the intermediary phase; and May 22, 23 and 24. Behind closed doors, people are already saying there will be a fourth moment, based on an analysis of the plans to escalate the violence.

Socopo has various characteristics. It is situated along a main highway that unites San Cristobal, the capital of Tachira, with Barinas, and then continues to Caracas via Guanare, the capital of Portuguesa.

Its proximity to San Cristobal is important for two reasons: the first is that it is the rearguard of paramilitarism in Venezuela, from where they can restock on fighters, weapons and logistics.

The second is that it is where many of the vegetables that go to Caracas come from. Cut off Socopo, or more precisely its bridge, and you cut off transit for part of the food heading to Caracas, epicentre and designated site of the final battle.

Another key characteristic is the strength of the opposition in the area, comprised of a political wing, via the opposition-aligned mayor who guarantees, for example, that the municipal police will not intervene; an economic wing, with ranchers and a section of local traders providing funds; and an armed wing, in the form of paramilitaries that for years has been infiltrating the area.

All of this provides the opposition with an organisational, economic, intelligence and military structure, to go with the approximately 150 men and women it can count on to carry out its orders. This unity of action gives the opposition the ability to coordinate its movements in the area and the capacity to control it.

Chronology

April 19

Day the cycle begins. It coincides with national mobilisations in Caracas.

The right wing attacks a pro-government Chavista mobilisation with rocks, firebombs and homemade rockets. No firearms are detected.

They attack the house of a leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, burn the state-owned Bicentenario Bank and attempt to take over the local command station of the state police, an objective they fail to achieve

April 20

Coincides with a night of attacks in El Valle, Caracas.

From the morning, a group of 15 motorbikes and two cars circulate, carrying with them a list of Chavistas to kill. In the afternoon, right-wing groups now use firearms in a visible manner and 30 armed motorcyclists go shop to shop, forcing them to close.

They force the Bolivarian National Guard to retreat from the bridge. Once the strategic site is occupied, they cut off electricity to the town and set off a flare, a signal for the attack on the government-subsided Mercal food distribution outlet to begin. An armed group head there, leading a mobilisation; they open the gates and allow the looting to occur. Twenty-one tonnes of food are stolen.

Intermediary phase – April 21 to May 22

It is marked by almost daily, though smaller actions, including the setting up of roadblocks on the highway, charging tolls, looting trucks.

The support of the ranchers is explicit. They take meat to the roadblocks so that those participating can eat and stay the whole day.

It is an exercise in measuring the reaction of the state security forces, the time needed to reinforce their numbers, the reaction of the people.

One day stands out during this month: May 16. That day, they rob a truck with 1600 gas bottles, set them alight, attack a gas plant, the government-run agricultural supply outlet Agropatria and the state-owned Agricultural Bank, using the same method of cutting off electricity during the times of the attacks, which occur between 7pm and 5am.

They have access to radio transmitters, two drones, cars, motorbikes, satellite telephones, firearms, rifles with telescopic sight, chainsaws.

May 22

At 9am they hijack a PDVSA tanker truck and use it to cut off the highway. During the day, motorcyclists ride through the town, guns in hand, forcing shops to close. The lesson has been learnt: as shopkeepers see them arrive, they pull down the shutters.

The slogan repeated throughout the day on social media and in the streets is, “Fucking red rats, we are coming for you”, in reference to Chavistas. By now no one leaves home. The town has been almost completely taken over; the bridge is cut off until 6am the next day.

May 23

Actions occur simultaneously with events in Barinas. Socopo is cut off in both directions. Then comes the qualitative leap: the attack on the local command station of the state police. A group of 20 people with firearms, and a sniper, initiate the offensive. Behind them is a mob of approximately 150 people.

A shootout ensues for four hours – how many bullets are needed to last for this long? Six police officers are shot.

At the same time, in the same municipality, an assault is carried out on a detachment of the national police in Bum Bum, a few minutes away from Socopo.  Six police stations are attacked that day in the city of Barinas.

May 24

The police station is empty. The mob returns, sets it alight with petrol donated by a local trader, and then knocks it down with a backhoe lent to them by a rancher. They then advance with the backhoe, forcing open the shutters of shops that have not collaborated and looting them. They are led by a group of people in balaclavas and carrying guns.

They attack the Seniat tax office, Mercal and offices of the Barrio Nuevo Barrio Tricolor government housing project.

All access to Socopo is cut off. It has become a lawless town – that is how residents refer to it.

Many residents did not leave their homes for three days. Each night was pitch black, filled with the noise of gunshots and destruction. It was a campaign of terror, one of the methods of territorial control used by paramilitaries.

It was a demonstration of strength, of capacity to act and retreat by an armed force camouflaged as civilian; and an attempt to measure the response of the state, in particular its security forces.

This did not just occur in Socopo. Similar events occurred in Barinas, Valencia, San Antonio de Los Altos, Los Teques, La Grita, San Cristobal and other places in the country.

It was as if each town was converted into a battleground for one or more days. In places where paramilitaries have not taken hold, groups were dispatched to lead the campaigns.

These were actions with a symbolic and military impact, that sought to demonstrate to the right-wing’s base their power and how close they are to victory, and to impose terror and the sensation of a lack of protection in the Chavista ranks and the popular sectors.

This is the type of war they trialled between April 20 and the last days of May.

A new phase of violence

Starting in the second week of June, we have entered a new phase of violence.

Caracas has once again become the epicentre, with the objective of surrounding the Presidential Palace and generating a stirring sensation of being in reach of the final objective.  One of the distinctive marks of this phase is the combination of attacks in the west and east of the city, like a siege dealing multiple blows day-by-day, not allowing a moment’s rest.

One hypothesis is that in the next few days or weeks, all the tactics used since the start of April will be employed simultaneously: attacks on localities in the interior like the one in Socopo, roadblocks on main arterial highways, mobilisations from the east of Caracas, a show of force in popular neighbourhoods. It will be an attempt to unleash all the attacks simultaneously and generate a point of rupture.

Given what has occurred up until now, the plan will be accompanied by a political/media offensive, involving international support, the Attorney General (who has challenged the government in recent weeks) and the opposition-controlled National Assembly, in an attempt to press the accelerator on the clash between the different branches of the state.

This would create a combination of full-scale violence deployed across the country, with an extreme exacerbation of institutional conflict.

The possibility of a rupture grows. They have some 40 days to achieve it, according to some of their strategists.

This is the putschist route that the right has set out, the strategy of terror it has deployed. The question is: what should the government, the state security forces, Chavismo do?

It seems obvious that at the political level, the answer is to be found in the Constituent Assembly process; in ensuring it achieves deep-rooted popular support and a big vote on July 30.

But what about the violence? We can no longer allow ourselves to be taken by surprise.

The people, in their communities, are debating this issue.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on The war for power in Venezuela’s countryside

US Risks Wider War by Downing Syrian Plane

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By Gilbert Doctorow | Consortium News 

The Pentagon’s announcement that the U.S. military had shot down a Syrian warplane inside Syrian territory merited only inside-the-paper treatment at The New York Times and The Washington Post on Monday, but it became the featured article on the Russian version of Google News citing a Moscow newspaper reporting a warning from Russia’s Federation Council that “the USA can receive a return blow in Syria.”

The article in Moskovsky Komsomolets and several similar accounts in other leading Russian print media recounted the warning issued by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs in Russia’s upper house, Vladimir Jabarov, that the shoot-down of the Syrian SU-22 bomber on Sunday by the U.S.-led coalition can lead to “a major conflict.” The Senator noted that Syrian air space is protected both by a Syrian operated S-300 ground to air defense system and by Russian-operated state-of-the-art S-400 missiles.

Jabarov called for diplomats of the interested parties to meet as soon as possible to discuss the incident. And he warned, in dark tones, that the plane’s destruction could lead to a return attack from the Syrian armed forces. The article also quotes the first deputy chairman of Russia’s Committee on Defense and Security in the upper chamber, Frants Klintsevich, describing the shoot-down as “a provocation directed against Russia.”

The Syrian government said its bomber was operating against Islamic State forces near Raqqa, though the U.S. coalition claimed Syrian forces and the plane had attacked rebels, called the Syrian Democratic Forces and operating under the guidance of U.S. Special Forces.

It perhaps should go without saying that under international law the Syrian government has the right to operate inside Syrian airspace and that the U.S. military has no legal right to have personnel inside Syria (since they lack the Syrian government’s permission) let alone to attack the Syrian military or its allied forces. Another curious feature about this situation is that the U.S. mainstream media sees nothing illegal or unusual about the U.S. military operating inside another country uninvited and shooting down government aircraft.

That assumption that the U.S. military has the right to intervene in any conflict of its choosing was reflected in the decision by the Times and Post to minimize coverage of the shoot-down of the Syrian bomber and accept uncritically the Pentagon’s explanation that the shoot-down was in response to Syrian government attacks on U.S.-backed forces. (The Wall Street Journal did lead its Monday print edition with a story about the shoot-down of the Syrian plane, but also acted as if the U.S. military was within its rights in doing so.)

Given the potential for a dangerous U.S. military showdown with Russia, whose forces have been invited into Syria by the internationally recognized government, the Kremlin initially tamped down concern about the clash. Russian state television on Sunday night and into Monday paid almost no attention to the shoot-down, apparently awaiting a decision on a suitable response to the American “provocation.”

That response came on Monday when the Russian military command once again declared that the deconflicting hotline between U.S.-allied and Russian forces on air movements over Syria has been severed. That is to say the Russians reinstated the response they made following Donald Trump’s Tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian air base in April. In effect, this Russian action halts all flights into the area from the U.S. aircraft carrier that launched the plane that shot down the Syrian bomber. In line with that decision, the Kremlin warned that all allied air operations near where the Russian air force is flying will be targeted and destroyed.

U.S. Reactions

Only then did The New York Times and The Washington Post begin to react to the seriousness of the confrontation. The former produced an analytical article entitled “Russia Warns U.S. After Downing of Syrian Warplane,” published Monday at its Web site. The Post did the same under the heading “Russia threatens to treat U.S. coalition aircraft as targets over Syria.”

These articles are unusual in one respect: they quote extensively from official Russian sources, including the accusation that the U.S. actions in Syria are in violation of international law. They also mention the dynamism of the Syrian armed forces in bringing the fight to the east of the country even if this means pushing against U.S.-assisted rebels.

What these newspapers do not explain is how and why the Syrian army has been energized to pursue national unification: namely it is the direct result of freeing up Syrian forces, which had been tied down in the west, through the implementation of “deconfliction” settlements that Iran, Turkey and Russia hammered out in the so-called Astana talks earlier this spring. Those settlements never received U.S. approval, though Moscow hoped they would become a platform for a broader U.S.-Russian understanding regarding possible areas of cooperation before the first meeting between Presidents Putin and Trump.

Instead, the U.S. shoot-down of the Syrian bomber, the first direct U.S. attack on a Syrian aircraft in the six-year conflict, signals a return to the Pentagon’s actions undermining the accommodating policies of a U.S. president in Syria. Last September, when Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reached agreement on a partial cease-fire in Syria with the support of President Obama, a U.S. air attack killing Syrian troops in the besieged eastern outpost of Deir Ezzor scuttled the arrangement.

Now it appears that the Pentagon may be sabotaging another possibility of accommodation between Putin and Trump by escalating the U.S. military intervention in Syria at a time when the Syrian government has been consolidating its control over large swaths of Syria. The latest clash also heightens the possibility that Russian air defenses may shoot down a U.S. warplane and push tensions to even a higher level.

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Nasrallah: Regional crises serve ‘Israeli’ interests

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Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says the crises in Middle East and North Africa serve the interests of the Jewish Nazi regime of ‘Israeli’.

Nasrallah made the remarks in a speech on the occasion of the International Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

He noted that the commemoration of the International Quds Day is spreading across the world, saying more countries are observing the event since it was announced by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.

Nasrallah said the main goal of the latest developments and wars in the region was to make regional countries accept Tel Aviv’s conditions. He added that the ‘Israeli’ regime was taking advantage of the status quo in the region to marginalize the issue of Palestine.

‘Takfiri terrorists were born to topple Syrian government’

Also in his remarks, he said the Takfiri terrorist groups of Daesh and al-Nusra Front were formed by the United States and other countries to topple Syria’s government, which he described as an obstacle to any compromise that aimed to bring down the issue of Palestine.

He added that Daesh was sent to Iraq after the Baghdad government expressed unwavering support for resistance groups.

He said the Saudi war on Yemen was launched because Yemenis stood by the Palestinian people. Nasrallah added that the regime in Riyadh launched the war as there were movements in Yemen against ‘Israel’.

The Hezbollah secretary general praised Iran’s role as the main supporter of Palestine and resistance groups. He said Saudi Arabia was trying to isolate Iran in the region and take the war into Iran’s territory. He, however, said Riyadh was too weak and scared to launch such a war against Iran.

Nasrallah said Iran’s power and influence on regional issues were increasing.

He said Iran’s presence in Syria would be bolder, referring to its recent missile attack against Daesh targets in eastern Syria that killed many terrorists and destroyed their positions.

Nasrallah said Syria was steadfast in the axis of resistance.

‘’Israel’ in no position to launch a new war’

Nasrallah also stated that ‘Israel’ was participating in the war on Yemen, adding that its air force had conducted airstrikes on the impoverished country.

He said the ‘Israeli’ regime sought to achieve its goal by launching proxy wars in the region.

The Hezbollah chief said Israel avoids a war on Lebanon or the Gaza Strip as it knows it will be expensive.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah said the regimes that conspire against the resistance axis must know that they will fail to achieve anything.

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Assad, allies to prevail in Syria, drive US out: Ex-US envoy

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A former American ambassador to Syria says the Syrian government and its allies, including Iran, will ultimately frustrate attempts by the United States to influence Syrian matters and will drive the US out of the Arab country.

Robert Ford, who served as the US’s envoy to Syria under former US president Barack Obama, made the remarks in an interview with the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

He said the US was, first of all, mistaken in giving support to the opposition in Syria back in 2011 and demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster. Ford said he knew that that expression of support would encourage certain elements of the opposition to take up arms and expect a US invasion against Damascus, which he said would not be forthcoming.

Ford also said that the US would not defend the Kurdish forces it has been supporting so far in case the Kurds engaged in clashes with the Syrian forces.

“[The US] will not defend the Kurds against Assad’s forces,” the former US envoy said. “What we’re doing with the Kurds is not only politically stupid, but immoral.”

“Syrian Kurds are making their biggest mistake in trusting the Americans,” he added.

The US has been backing a mainly Kurdish alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Ford also said that, given the strong support being offered by Iran and Russia to the Syrian government, the “game was finished” for US plans to overthrow Assad or compete with what he said would be Iran’s success in the country.

“The Iranian position will advance,” Ford said.

“Assad won, I mean he’s the victor, or he thinks so,” he added. “Maybe in 10 years, he will retake the entire country.”

Syria has been gripped by unrest since 2011, when militancy first began in the country. Foreign states opposed to President Assad have since then been funding and providing weapons to anti-Assad militants, among them thousands of paid foreign terrorists dispatched to help force Assad out of power.

The Syrian government, however, has been fighting that militancy back, aided in that battle by advisory military support from Iran and Russia. Moscow has also been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorist positions in the Arab country on a request by Damascus.

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US backs down as Russia targets US aircraft in Syria

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By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran 

Back in April, in the immediate aftermath of the US cruise missile attack on Syria’s Al-Shayrat air base, Russia retaliated by switching off the ‘de-confliction’ hotline between the US and Russian militaries in Syria, which enables these militaries to avoid accidental clashes with each other.

The immediate response to this Russian switching off of the ‘de-confliction’ hotline was a dramatic reduction in US air operations in Syria, as the US air force was forced to scale down its air operations rather than risk a confrontation with the powerful air defence system the Russians have established in Syria.

That this was the case was confirmed by an article in The New York Times dated 8th April 2017, which said the following

The American-led task force that is battling the Islamic State has sharply reduced airstrikes against the militants in Syria as commanders assess whether Syrian government forces or their Russian allies plan to respond to the United States’ cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield this past week, American officials said.

So far, the Russian military does not appear to have taken any threatening actions, such as directing its battlefield radar or air defense systems to confront the Americans, or carrying out aggressive actions in the skies, United States officials said.

But officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning said the commanders needed time to determine whether the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Russian military would treat the American cruise missile strike as a one-time operation that they would not respond to militarily. As a precaution, the Pentagon is flying patrols in Syrian skies with F-22 jets, the Air Force’s most advanced air-to-air fighter……

Some American and other Western counterterrorism officials have said the missile strike could……… make the fight against the Islamic State in Syria more difficult.

“It seems clear that the strikes will complicate our efforts to pursue our counter-ISIS campaign in Syria,” said Matthew Olsen, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “In particular, the ability to carry out U.S. airstrikes in Syria in support of the coalition against ISIS requires some degree of cooperation with Russia, which is now in serious jeopardy.”

Other security experts said that much depended on the Trump administration’s next steps, and how the Assad government and its Russian patrons responded.

“U.S. aircraft operating over Al-Tabqah are already ostensibly in range of the Russian S-400 system at the Humaymin Air Base, and we might see Russia deploy more air defense assets to Syria,” Jeremy Binnie, the Middle East editor of Jane’s Defense Weekly, said in an email. “But if the U.S. makes no moves to threaten Assad’s position, then they may well accept the punishment and move on.”

William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse,” offered a similar assessment. (bold italics added)

The words I have highlighted in this article from 8th April 2017 make clear the difference with the situation today.

After weeks of frantic diplomatic activity the US finally managed to persuade the Russians a few weeks ago to switch the ‘de-confliction’ hotline back on.  In response to yesterday’s US shooting down of the SU-22 the Russians have however now once again switched it off.

However this time the Russians have not only once more switched off the ‘de-confliction’ hotline.  They have also done what they did not do in April by saying that this time they will take “threatening action by directing their battlefield radar or air defense systems to confront the Americans”.

That this is so is explicitly confirmed in the statement made public yesterday by the Russian Defence Ministry

As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the US side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the US command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken.

The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty. The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the ministry said.

Russia will regard any flights within the area of its air force group’s operation in Syria as legitimate targets, the ministry stressed.

Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets.

……. the coalition command did not use the existing communication line between the air commands of Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar) and Khmeimim Air Base to prevent incidents in Syria’s airspace.  We consider the actions of the US command as a deliberate default on their obligations under the memorandum on on preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria signed on October 20, 2015. (bold italics added)

In other words, the Russian response to the shooting down of the Syrian SU-22 fighter near Taqbah has been much stronger than was the Russian response to the US cruise missile attack on Syria’s Al-Shayrat air base.

This is so even though the attack on Al-Shayrat air base attracted massive international media attention, whilst the US shooting down of the SU-22 has attracted very little.

This time however the Russians have announced that they will do precisely the thing which they did not do in April following the US attack on Al-Shayrat air base – and which the New York Times says is very threatening – which is track US aircraft, treating them as targets if they fly west of the Euphrates.

Why have the Russians taken this extraordinary step?

The US claims yesterday justifying the shooting down of the SU-22 aircraft have unravelled.  Even the strongly anti-Assad British based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights has confirmed that the SU-22 was not bombing Kurdish forces as the US claims but was bombing ISIS fighters as the Syrians say.

A regime warplane was targeted and dropped in the skies of the al-Resafa area […] the warplane was shot down over Al-Resafa area of which the regime forces have reached to its frontiers today, and sources suggested to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that warplanes of the International Coalition targeted it during its flight in close proximity to the airspace of the International Coalition’s warplanes, which caused its debris to fall over Resafa city amid an unknown fate of its pilot, the sources confirmed that the warplane did not target the Syria Democratic Forces in their controlled areas located at the contact line with regime forces’ controlled areas in the western countryside of Al-Tabaqa to the road of Al-Raqqah – Resafa.

(bold italics added)

Another thing that may have provoked the Russians is that the US has tried to pass off the downing of the SU-22 as caused by Syrian encroachment of an agreed ‘de-confliction area’.

Ja’Din sits approximately two kilometers north of an established East-West SDF-Syrian Regime de-confliction area.

This uses a term – ‘de-confliction area’ – used to describe certain regions of Syria covered by an international agreement reached by Russia, Iran and Turkey in May.

The area where the SU-22 was shot down is not within any of these regions.  Al-Jazeera has provided details of where these four ‘de-confliction areas’, and none of them is close to the territory where the SU-22 was shot down

Zone 1 : Idlib province, as well as northeastern areas of Latakia province, western areas of Aleppo province and northern areas of Hama province. There are more than one million civilians in this zone and its rebel factions are dominated by an al-Qaeda -linked alliance.

Zone 2: The Rastan and Talbiseh enclave in northern Homs province. There are approximately 180,000 civilians in this zone and its network of rebel groups includes al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

Zone 3 : Eastern Ghouta in the northern Damascus countryside. Controlled by Jaish al-Islam, a powerful rebel faction that is participating in the Astana talks. It is home to about 690,000 civilians. This zone does not include the adjacent, government-besieged area of Qaboun.

Zone 4 : The rebel-controlled south along the border with Jordan that includes parts of Deraa and Quneitra provinces. Up to 800,000 civilians live there.Wh

Whilst it is possible that the term “established East-West SDF-Syrian Regime de-confliction area” refers to a term used in some informal agreement between the US and Russia, it seems more likely that the US is trying to unilaterally establish ‘no-go’ areas for the Syrian army, and is using the term ‘de-escalation areas’ to conceal the fact.

If so the Russians will want to put a stop to this practice and this may partly explain the strength of the Russian reaction.

However the single most important reason for the strong Russian reaction is what caused the US to shoot down the SU-22 down in the first place.

As the report from the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights shows, the real reason the SU-22 was shot down was because it was supporting a Syrian army offensive to capture the strategically important town of Rusafa from ISIS.

Rusafa lies south east of Tabqah – the main base of the US backed Kurdish militia in this area – and within striking distance of the main highway between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, the eastern desert city currently besieged by ISIS.

By capturing Rusafa the Syrian army is now in a position to intercept columns of ISIS fighters who might try to flee Raqqa for Deir Ezzor.

The Syrians and the Russians have in recent weeks complained that the US and the Kurds have been doing nothing to prevent ISIS fighters fleeing Raqqa for Deir Ezzor, and in recent days there have even been reports of movements by Kurdish militia to try to block the Syrian army’s offensive to relieve Deir Ezzor.

The shooting down of the Syrian SU-22 fighter appears to have been intended as a warning to stop the Syrian army from capturing Rusafa, so as to block the Syrian army’s attempt to relieve the pressure on Deir Ezzor.

The Russian warning to the US looks in turn to have been intended to make clear to the US that this sort of interference in the Syrian army’s operations to relieve Deir Ezzor is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The US has heeded the Russian warning. The various statements made by the US and by various US officials today, though full of the usual bluster about the US defending itself and its allies anywhere and everywhere, in fact clearly signal that the US is backing off.

The key words – as my colleague Adam Garrie has said – are those of Colonel Ryan Dillon, chief U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.

As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to reposition aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrews given known threats in the battle space. (bold italics added)

“Prudent measures to reposition aircraft over Syria to ensure the safety of aircrews given known threats in the battle space” is code for withdrawal of aircraft from air space where they are at risk of being shot down.

That is what is taking place. Note that Colonel Dillon is careful not to say where the “known threats in the battle space” that are forcing the redeployment of the aircraft are coming from.

The US has no choice. If the Russian decision to switch off the ‘de-confliction’ hotline in April was enough to force the US to reduce sharply its air activity in Syria, the Russian decision to switch off the ‘de-confliction’ hotline and to threaten to treat as aerial targets US aircraft flying west of the Euphrates is a threat the US cannot afford to disregard.

Not surprisingly, shortly before the Russian warning was made public, but probably after it was communicated to the US, the Syrian army captured Rusafa with no further hindrance from the US. Latest reports speak of Syrian army reinforcements flooding into the area.

In the meantime the US is frantically signalling to the Russians its urgent wish to de-escalate the situation. Note for example the markedly conciliatory language of White House spokesman Sean Spicer, and how he repeatedly passed up opportunities to utter words of defiance against Russia or to threaten the Russians with counter-measures during the latest White House press briefing

Q    Thanks, Sean.  How are you responding to this Russian threat to shoot down American planes over Syria?

MR. SPICER:  Well, obviously, we’re going to do what we can to protect our interests. And this is something that we’re going to continue to work with — keep the lines of communication open. And ISIS represents a threat to all nations, and so we’ve got to do what we can to work with partners. And we’re going to continue to keep an open mind of communication with the Russians.

Q    So will the U.S. change its flight patterns or behavior in Syria?

MR. SPICER:  I’m going to refer — I mean, I think this is a question more for DOD to answer. But I think, obviously, it’s important and crucial that we keep lines of communication open to de-conflict potential issues.

Zeke.

Q    Thanks, Sean.  Following up on that — and a second one for you, as well — what would the U.S. government’s response be? Is the White House going to issue a warning to the Russian government if they were to follow through on this threat? It seems that your statement — would that be a provocation or something worse, potentially?

MR. SPICER:  I mean, I think that the escalation of hostilities among the many factions that are operating in this region doesn’t help anybody. And the Syrian regime and others in the regime need to understand that we will retain the right of self-defense, of coalition forces aligned against ISIS.

Ultimately the situation in Syria is the same as it has been since the US-Russian confrontation in October.

The fact that the Russians have installed a powerful air defence system in Syria incorporating advanced S-400 and S-300VM Antey 2500 missiles means that the US is unable to confront the Russians directly unless it is prepared to risk possibly very serious casualties.

That is an option neither the US military nor the civilian officials of the Obama and Trump administrations are prepared to face. This is because they know the extraordinary dangers such a clash with the armed forces of a nuclear superpower would risk. They also know US public opinion is strongly opposed to the US becoming drawn into such a clash.

What that means is that though the Russians must act carefully so as not to provoke the US into an unnecessary confrontation which would serve no-one’s interests, ultimately it is the Russians who in Syria have the whip hand.

The chess game in Syria is far from over. The game of move and counter-move continues. With the capture of Rusafa the Syrians and the Russians have however just won another important piece.  In the meantime Russia’s warning limits the range of US moves across the Syrian chessboard.

The net result of all these recent moves is that end of the Syrian war may have drawn a little closer.

Posted in USA, Russia, SyriaComments Off on US backs down as Russia targets US aircraft in Syria

All of Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime moves benefit the Nazi regime of ‘Israel’

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Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has slammed Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime for working covertly with the Jewish Nazi regime saying ”All Riyadh’s actions in the region serve the Tel Aviv regime’s interests and are to the detriment of Muslim nations”.

Larijani made the remarks in a meeting with ambassadors of Muslim countries to Tehran on Monday.

“We have tried hard to make the Saudis understand that their measures are to the detriment of the Muslim Ummah, but they only make harsher remarks every day and engage Muslim countries,” he said.

Larijani further pointed to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime “very unpleasant” policies in dealing with regional countries, saying the Saudis exert force in Syria, attack Yemen to make it their own backyard, fuel tensions in Bahrain, and have now targeted Qatar.

“Eventually, all Saudi moves are in favor of ‘Israel’,” said Larijani, adding that they want to keep terrorists on their feet and even provide support to some terror groups such as al-Nusra Front.

The top Iranian parliamentarian further warned Muslims “not to be trapped in a bigger plot.”

Iran had obtained documents showing that the Saudis Zio-Wahhabi regime provided the Jewish Nazi regime ‘Israel’ with intelligence during the 33-day war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, he added.

“The dependence of some Muslim countries on ‘Israel’ is catastrophic and a stain of shame, while the Muslim Ummah should be sensitive to the fate of Palestine,” Larijani said.

As a result, he said, International Quds Day is of great importance, expressing hope that Muslims would demonstrate their unity on this day.

The late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini, named the last Friday of the lunar fasting month of Ramadan as the International Quds Day, which falls on June 23 this year.

The day is commemorated each year by worldwide rallies, with participants voicing their support for the Palestinian nation and calling for an end to the Nazi regime’s atrocities and its occupation of Palestinian lands.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian parliament speaker stressed that the Islamic Republic pursues the policy of creating consensus and unity.

He further thanked the Muslim ambassadors for expressing sympathy over the Zionist twin terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital, which killed 17 people and injured over 50 others.

On June 7, terrorist mounted almost simultaneous assaults on Iran’s Parliament and the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assaults.

Additionally, Larijani said that the Islamic Republic has been grappling with terrorism for years and in recent years the scourge has affected the Muslim world.

Posted in Iran, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on All of Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime moves benefit the Nazi regime of ‘Israel’

Taliban says foreign troops must go before peace talks as US plans 4,000-strong surge

NOVANEWS

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In an annual address to followers, the Taliban’s leader warned against sending additional foreign troops to Afghanistan, saying that only after all foreign soldiers leave can peace be negotiated.

Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzadah spoke on Friday on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr festival, which ends the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. He reiterated that Afghanistan must be free of foreign occupation.

“The occupation is the main obstacle in the way of peace,” he said, referring to the presence of NATO troops in the country.

“The more they insist on maintaining the presence of their forces here or want a surge of their forces, the more regional sensitivity against them will intensify,” he added.

The remark apparently refers to reported US plans to deploy 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to support its crumbling national army. The majority of the force would be used in train and assist missions, but some would be involved in counterinsurgency operations, according to AP.

Akhunzadah insisted that peace negotiations with the government in Kabul would only be possible after “the occupation comes to an end,” adding that a “completely independent” Afghanistan would live under an Islamic law and distance itself from foreign players, neither supporting them nor allowing their interference.

“We don’t permit others to use the soil of Afghanistan against anyone,” he said.

He also urged Taliban fighters to avoid civilian casualties in their attacks on government forces.

The call comes a day after a truck bomb attack on a bank in Helmand province in which 34 people were killed, according to Afghan officials.

On one of its Twitter accounts, the Taliban claimed credit for the suicide bombing in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, saying it had killed 73 members of the security forces, a figure that conflicts with the official report. Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, acknowledged that there were police officers and national army soldiers among the victims, but insisted the majority of them were civilians, who wanted to withdraw money for Eid al-Fitr celebration.

The Taliban leader also boasted that the movement is winning more respect from “mainstream entities of the world.” The apparent attempt to bolster Taliban credibility came amid competition from rival extremist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), which has been winning allegiance of some armed groups previously loyal to the Taliban.

Some nations, including Russia and China, voiced concern with IS gaining a foothold in Afghanistan.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on Taliban says foreign troops must go before peace talks as US plans 4,000-strong surge

Ukrainian regime arrests owner of Russian language news outlet

NOVANEWS
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By Adam Garrie | The Duran 

The Ukrainian regimes notorious Secret Service, the SBU has arrested the owner of a Russian language news outlet Strana.ua.

Igor Guzhva was arrested while his offices were raided. Authorities loyal to the Poroshenko regime have stated that the charges related to allegations of blackmail, although many see this is yet another attempt to forcibly shut-down domestically owned Russian language news media after a law was passed banning Russian owned media in the country.

The regime authorities are also cracking down on the large domestically owned and produced Russian language media and entertainment sectors.

Strana.ua was harassed by the SBU throughout 2014 and 2015.

This looks increasingly like another politically motivated arrest by a regime engaged in crimes against humanity in Donbass.

Posted in Russia, UkraineComments Off on Ukrainian regime arrests owner of Russian language news outlet

Mass Incarceration: Why Does The U.S. Jail So Many People? ‘VIDEO’

NOVANEWS

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AJ+ 

The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. With 2.2 million people behind bars, and millions more on probation or parole, 1 in 35 American adults is caught up in the prison system. AJ+ teamed up with The Marshall Project to examine why.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Mass Incarceration: Why Does The U.S. Jail So Many People? ‘VIDEO’

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