Archive | November 23rd, 2017

Palestine: Child Yazan Husseini detention inside Nazi internal institution


The Jerusalemite child Yazan Husseini…deportation to Akko and detention inside Nazi internal institution


“I miss my parents, brothers and my house in Jerusalem”. Those were the words of 13-year old Yazan Mohammad Husseini who is deported to the city of Akko in northern Palestine and where he is being detained inside Nazi internal institution following an order from the occupation authorities.

Since last April, Yazan has been detained, deported and under house-arrest on charges of “making weapons and throwing Molotov Cocktails towards a settlement outpost in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem; his case is still in court.

Mohammad Husseini, Yazan’s father, explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that his son is deported to the city of Akko and detained inside Nazi internal institution…An institution that is like a prison with high walls, guards on its gates, restrictions on visitation, movement and reports that are handed over to the court by its officials. Leaving the institution is prohibited and only allowed by a court order.

Husseini explained that his son was arrested in late April after breaking into his house in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. He was interrogated and released several hours later on condition of house-arrest until completing the legal proceedings against him. He was not allowed to leave the house for any reason and was not allowed to attend his school which only had two months before the end of the school year; he was in 8th grade.

His father added that he was transferred to Nazi internal institution in Akko after about two months of confinement in his home. He is able to study and learn a profession, but his detention worries his family, especially that many children are detained on criminal cases such as thefts, drugs, etc…
The Husseini family misses its son Yazan at all times and miss his presence with the family especially on social occasions. His mother says: “The first day was the beginning of the month of Ramadan. We missed him and we cried a lot because he was not there. He was prevented from attending his brother’s engagement…The institution is far from us and we visit him every month, pointing out that the visit is allowed every two weeks, but distance prevents them from visiting him every two weeks.

13-year old Yazan Mohammad Husseini

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Video Shows Nazi Soldiers Standing by as Jewish Nazi Settlers Pelt Palestinians With Stones


Israeli army says the soldiers ultimately ended the clash; none of the stone-throwers were arrested


Israeli soldiers were documented standing by as a group of settlers threw stones at Palestinians in the Nablus area on Friday.

The incident was caught on camera by researchers with organizations Yesh Din and Rabbis for Human Rights. The Israel Defense Forces said the video misrepresented the incident, and that the soldiers “took action to end the friction.” None of the stone-throwers were arrested.

According to Yesh Din, at around 12:30 P.M., a trash fire started by a farmer near the Palestinian town of Burin began to spread. As firefighters arrived, a group of masked Israelis came to the area and began throwing stones at Palestinians present.

The video shows at least three stones thrown at close range by the masked Israelis at the Palestinians. The soldiers can be seen standing directly in front of the incident without taking action against the stone throwers
The incident took place near the outpost of Givat Ronen and the settlement of Yitzhar. Israelis from the area claimed that Palestinians started the fire with the intention for it to spread to the nearby settlements. According to local Palestinians, the fire was started on Palestinian land for the purpose of burning agricultural waste.

In response to the incident, the IDF stated that “settlers and Palestinians arrived” following the fire’s outbreak in the area. “The friction between the sides then began and the IDF acted to separate them and put out the fire.”

As for the video, the IDF claims it was “documented at the beginning of the discord and does not represent the event.” The soldiers, says the IDF, “did act to end the incident. After the settlers acted forcefully, the soldiers dispersed them using stun grenades and riot control measures.”

According to the army, the fire began near Burin and spread toward Givat Ronen, but wasn’t started at the outpost in the first place. This weakens the settlers’ claim of deliberate arson.

Last Summer Haaretz published a report on police investigations of similar situations that lead to no arrests. Left wing activists documented at least nine incidents of Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians within two months, one in which police stood by as Israelis threw stones at Palestinians, that concluded without a single arrest.


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Hamastan: Exceeding Use of Firearms is Crime: PCHR Calls for holding Accountable Those Responsible for the killing of Al-Sha’er


Image result for GAZA ‘Awad Saleem al-Sha'er PHOTO

‘Awad Saleem al-Sha’er  (32), from Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, who was detained by the Border Security Service, was killed after security officers opened fire at him, claiming that he attempted to flee while they were searching his farm. The Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza stated in a brief statement that it opened an investigation into the incident. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its deep concern over the incident and calls upon the Attorney General to publish the results in public in order to identify the circumstances of the killing of al-Sha’er , who was directly shot to the back by one of the security officers.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 09:40 on Sunday, 19 November 2017, the Border Security Service brought ‘Awad al-Sha’er , whose hands and feet were tied, to his empty poultry farm in order to search it. The farm is in Kherbit al-‘Adas neighborhood, north of Rafah. During the searching, a security officer untied ‘Awad; in the meantime, ‘Awad attempted to flee and ran about 20 meters away. The security officers then fired 2 live bullets in the air to stop him while the 3rd bullet hit his back.

An eyewitness said to PCHR’s fieldworker that, one of the security officers lied down on the ground and then directly opened fire at ‘Awad. As a result, ‘Awad was hit with a live bullet, which entered the back and exited the chest, and then fell onto the ground.’Awad’s relatives, who were in the area, attempted to take him by an ambulance to the hospital, but the security officers opened fire into the air. However, ‘Awad’s relatives took him by a car to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, where he dead upon arrival.

Following the incident, outrageous members of the victim’s family burned a vehicle belonging to the Border Security Service in front of Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital. They also damaged the emergency department contents. As a result, the medical services in the department were suspended.

The Interior Ministry published a press statement on its website ”the detainee was killed while trying to flee”, adding that the victim had been arrested on grounds of smuggling weapons and contraband through the Gaza southern borders.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, al-Sha’er was detained on 13 November 2017 after the Border Security Service arrested him and his brother in addition to 3 other workers while they were in front of a tunnel owned by al-Sha’er in al-Salam neighborhood, south of Rafah, under the pretext of smuggling weapons and contraband through the tunnel. The detainees were taken to the office of the Border Security Service along the Egyptian borders. The detainees were released on the next day except al-Sha’er. Al-Sha’er’s relatives claimed in a statement they issued after his death that he was tortured during his detention in the border Service office. They added that al-Sha’er was illegally detained as he was not brought before the Public Prosecution.

PCHR emphasizes that opening fire at a person because he attempted to run away is prohibited in principle. PCHR also stresses that security officers can only use firearms against a person when defending themselves or others and in a non- fatal spot. Moreover, opening fire should be by a qualified person to guarantee that it does not exceed the principle of proportionality, which in this case should be limited to paralyzing the fugitive’s movement and reducing the inflicting harm as much as possible. PCHR emphasizes that exceeding these limits that would lead to losing the detainee’s life is considered a serious violation, which might amount to a willful murder and due to which the perpetrator should be tried and punished according to the law.

In light of the above, PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation, that would lead to real accountability, and publish the results in public.

PCHR also stresses on the need to investigate the allegations of the victim’s family about torturing al-Sha’er during his detention at the Border Security Service office. Moreover, PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into this and punish the perpetrators.

PCHR calls upon the security services to abide by the standards of using firearms and standards relevant to use of force and to respect the principle of proportionality.

Furthermore, PCHR stresses that the security services should abide by the international human rights standards regulating the use of force and firearms, particularly the 1979 Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials of 1990.

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US Sanctions Against North Korea Target China

The US Treasury announced new sanctions on Tuesday that not only target North Korea, but a number of Chinese companies and individuals. The latest penalties underscore Washington’s determination to exploit the current confrontation with Pyongyang to undermine China economically and strategically.

The announcement followed Trump’s decision on Monday to redesignate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism—an utterly cynical move that further undercuts the possibility of negotiations to end the crisis. A North Korean spokesman yesterday denounced the step as “a serious provocation” and warned that Pyongyang would continue to strengthen its nuclear arsenal as long as the US continued its “hostile” policy toward his country.

The new US sanctions will hit six North Korean shipping companies and 20 vessels, along with the Korea South-South Cooperation Corporation, which allegedly organises the employment of North Korean guest workers in other countries, including Russia and China.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that the US was “steadfast in our determination to maximise economic pressure to isolate it [North Korea] from outside sources of trade and revenue.” His comments demonstrate that Washington is seeking a complete blockade of North Korea, aimed at strangling it economically, not simply the enforcement of existing UN sanctions.

The impact of the latest US sanctions on the Pyongyang regime is limited. Successive UN Security Council resolutions already ban virtually all North Korean commodity exports, including coal, iron, other minerals and seafood, as well as limiting joint investment and the hiring of extra North Korean guest workers, and capping the sale of oil and related products to North Korea.

The US, however, is going well beyond the UN measures, which were pushed by Washington and reluctantly agreed by China and Russia in a bid to forestall war. In effect, the Trump administration has unilaterally declared that any trade or investment with North Korea is out of bounds and any individual or company that does so faces exclusion from the US financial system.

The US Treasury imposed secondary sanctions on three Chinese companies—Dandong Kehua Economy and Trade, Dandong Xianghe Trading and Dandong Hongda Trade—which it claimed had done more than $750 million in combined trade with North Korea over almost five years up to August 31. This included trade in coal, iron ore, lead, zinc and silver ore, lead metal and ferrous products, as well as notebook computers.

The Trump administration has not attempted to justify its move against these companies by referring to UN sanctions, international law or even previously declared US policy toward North Korea. Up until the latest UN resolution in August, the purchase of coal, iron ore, lead and ferrous products was not subject to a total ban. The US has arbitrarily singled out Chinese companies for retrospective penalties.

Chinese citizen Sun Sidong and his company Dandong Dongyuan Industrial were also sanctioned for allegedly exporting more than $28 million worth of goods, including items connected to nuclear reactors, to North Korea over several years.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Wednesday condemned the US actions, saying:

“We consistently oppose any country adopting unilateral sanctions based on its own domestic laws and regulations and the wrong method of exercising long-arm jurisdiction.” Lu warned that “if other parties wish to have effective cooperation with China” they should share intelligence and cooperate with China “to appropriately handle the issue.”

The Trump White House, however, has no intention of winding back the confrontation with North Korea or China. During his visit to Beijing earlier this month, Trump demanded that China “act faster and more effectively” to force North Korea to capitulate to US demands for it to abandon its nuclear programs.

However, every step taken by China is only met with new US pressure. The decision to rename North Korea as a sponsor of terrorism was a deliberate slap in the face to Chinese efforts to bully Pyongyang to the negotiating table on US terms. Just last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a special envoy to North Korea for the first high-level talks with its leaders in more than two years.

The US confrontation with North Korea is also aimed at weakening and ultimately subordinating China, which Washington regards as the chief threat to its continued dominance in Asia and the world. The sanctions against Chinese companies are just an element of Washington’s far broader plans for trade war measures against China. In Beijing, Trump demanded that China “immediately address the unfair trade practices” in order to reduce its trade surplus with the US.

Trump’s trade representative Robert Lighthizer, who accompanied Trump to Beijing, is notorious for his advocacy of trade war measures against China. According to a Wall Street Journal article this week entitled, “US throws out playbook on China trade,” Lighthizer “shocked the Chinese hosts by declining their proffered trade concessions including a financial-opening package… His message: Half-measures won’t work for a White House seeking fundamental change.”

Beijing is reluctant to impose a complete economic blockade on North Korea, fearing it will provoke an economic and political crisis in Pyongyang that Washington will exploit. An implosion in North Korea would not only threaten chaos on China’s border but raise the possibility that the US could impose a pro-American regime in Pyongyang.

At the same time, China is acutely aware that the US has advanced military preparations and plans for an all-out war and, to use Trump’s words, the “total destruction” of North Korea, which is formally a Chinese ally.

A debate has opened up in Chinese ruling circles over how to respond to the US over North Korea. According to an article in the Diplomat this week, a rare public debate between academics over the contentious issue points to deep divisions in the Chinese state apparatus. While one wing blames the US for the crisis and continues to call for a negotiated end to the standoff, its opponents suggest that China should cut ties with North Korea and draw up “contingency plans” with the US in case of war, or regime collapse in Pyongyang.

The very fact that a public debate is taking place at all suggests real fears in Beijing that the US will wage a war of aggression against North Korea that could drag China and the world into a catastrophic conflict.

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Pakistan in An Emerging Multipolar World: ASGA Strategy for the Afro-Pacific


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s “Global South” connectivity potential via the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden (ASGA).


Reconceptualizing the Indian Ocean as an African one can help to craft creative strategies for maximizing Pakistan’s strategic significance in the emerging Multipolar World Order through a reinvigorated naval strategy that capitalizes on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s “Global South” connectivity potential via the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden (ASGA).

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the so-called “Indo-Pacific”, which the author himself has admittedly used in a geographic sense to describe both oceans but which has recently taken on subtle political connotations when employed by Western and Mainstream Media commentators. These voices have started to trumpet the “Indo-Pacific” term in order to provocatively suggest that India is a rising global superpower that is in some way or another capable of “containing” China, thereby “justifying” the 100-year-long military-strategic partnership that the US is unprecedentedly building with it for this purpose. The irony, however, is that the Indian Ocean is named after India, which in turn received its name because of the Indus River that’s nowadays located mostly in Pakistan. Moreover, the “Indus” isn’t even an indigenous term, as the locals refer to it as “Sindh”, ergo the Pakistani province of the same name.

From The Indian Ocean To The African One

All etymological issues aside, the case could equally – and in some cases, even more convincingly – be made for calling the “Indian Ocean” (or whatever other name is used to refer to it in the context of the subcontinent’s civilization[s]) the African Ocean. Using the Indian subcontinent as the basis for describing this body of water is only relevant insomuch as one takes into account the spread of its historic civilization across mainland and insular Southeast Asia in this ocean’s eastern half, but this Indo-centric view ignores the similarly large spread of African civilization across this ocean’s western half even though it mostly occurred as a result of slavery and indentured servitude. Conveniently left out of the global narrative because of the liberal zeitgeist of “political correctness”, Arab slave traders were responsible for spreading African civilization into the Mideast and as far away as Persia, thereby giving it a larger geographic scope than its Indian counterpart.

Another argument in favor of conceptualizing the Indian Ocean as the African Ocean is that it would be more representative of the many countries that are expected to form the basis of China’s “South-South” engagement in the emerging Multipolar World Order. Not only does the vast majority of China’s trade traverse through this body of water, but it will inevitably begin to be increasingly concentrated on the African landmass as the People’s Republic pioneers new trade routes and develops new marketplaces as destinations for its excess production. In fact, one of the driving motivations behind China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is to stave off socio-economic challenges caused by the country’s overproduction crisis long enough for Beijing to transition its structural model from a secondary to a tertiary one.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) indispensably provides the People’s Republic with reliable non-Malacca overland access to the African Ocean and further afield to this neologism’s namesake continent, which thus ensures the security of China’s trade routes with the “Global South” by avoiding any unnecessary entanglements in the ever-complicated geostrategic environments of the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, and Bay of Bengal. Instead of transiting the long way through these regional waters and potentially risking disruption by the US and its allied Indo-Japanese navies, China could use CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar as its base of trading operations for greatly shortening its Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC) with Africa by focusing more on strengthening connectivity via the more easily defensible Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden (ASGA).

The logic behind this is that Ethiopia, which is the second-most populous country in Africa and the world’s fastest-growing economy, is China’s premier partner in the continent, and Beijing just built the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway as a de-facto Horn of African Silk Road for efficiently accessing this landlocked but rising African Great Power. Seeing as how Ethiopian-Chinese trade will in all likelihood begin to transit across CPEC en route to the People’s Republic, it makes sense for the Pakistani Navy to begin proactively safeguarding the ASGA SLOC between Gwadar and Djibouti together with the Chinese. Not only could this allow Pakistan to enhance its economic and political presence in Africa via “CPEC diplomacy”, especially in the event that it could also acquire a base in Djibouti or at the very least end up using the Chinese one there, but it could give Islamabad’s strategists the necessary experience for crafting a more comprehensive connectivity policy with the African Ocean’s similar OBOR-linked ports in Kenya’s Mombasa and Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam.

Ethiopia’s Strategic Edge

As an added benefit, Pakistan might even be able to one day “balance” the divergent interests of its traditional Arab partners in the Horn of Africa if it’s successful in establishing excellent working relations with Ethiopia, nearly half the population of which is Muslim and presumably receptive to Islamabad’s soft power sway. Ethiopia’s ambitious plan to build a massive dam on the Blue Nile has roiled Egypt, which considers this to be a threat to its national security, and Cairo has accordingly taken steps to put pressure on Addis Ababa. One of these has been that Egypt’s close UAE ally exploited the disastrous Saudi-led War on Yemen to establish military bases in the neighboring country of Eritrea and the internationally unrecognized polity of “Somaliland” along Ethiopia’s northeastern periphery, which not only allows Abu Dhabi to influence the SLOC on both sides of the Bab el Mandeb, but to crucially exert influence into the Horn of African hinterland against Addis Ababa in the event that Cairo decides to strike the landlocked country.

Complicating matters, however, is that Qatar has taken advantage of the “Gulf Cold War” to enter into a fast-moving rapprochement with Ethiopia in order to spite Egypt and its monarchic allies, even though Doha and Addis Ababa had at one point broken off diplomatic relations a little more a decade ago over Ethiopia’s concern that the thumb-shaped country was supporting instability within its borders. Ethiopia also blocked Al Jazeera in 2013 as well. Nevertheless, both sides saw an opportunity to put the past behind them and accelerate relations out of their shared interest in countering Cairo and its regional “containment” policy against both of them. Bearing in mind that Pakistan is on great terms with all of the Arab players involved in this, it could gain unparalleled strategic leverage with them if it improved its relations with Ethiopia in accordance with the ASGA plan and placed itself in a position to “balance” all the parties involved. Through these means, Pakistan could become a crucial force for stability in China’s most important continental region for OBOR investments at the pivotal maritime crossroads of Afro-Eurasian trade.

Chinese Maritime Silk Road

Chinese Maritime Silk Road

Piercing India’s Missile Defense Shield

Last but certainly not least, Pakistan’s ASGA strategy for the Afro-Pacific could provide the much-needed impetus for directing more funds towards the country’s naval modernization program, relying on the publicly plausible reason of protecting the SLOC in the Arabian Sean-Gulf of Aden region but also clandestinely improving Pakistan’s nuclear triad through advancements in submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology. It’s no secret that India is investing in missile defense capabilities in order to neutralize the credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear second-strike deterrent and therefore gain a hegemonic advantage over it by perpetually keeping Pakistan in a state of strategic blackmail. This state of affairs would expectedly be exploited in order to force the South Asian state into submission and could therefore potentially pose an existential threat to CPEC – and by extent, to China too – under this scenario.

The most surefire way to offset India’s plans is to develop Pakistan’s SLBM program in order to ensure that Islamabad can always defend itself in the event that New Delhi launches a nuclear first strike against it, which would thus preserve the balance of power between these two rivals and accordingly diminish the prospects of war between them, however much this is to the US’ anti-CPEC chagrin. For this reason, China should support Pakistan’s ASGA strategy in both its public and clandestine forms, encouraging it to play a more proactive role in safeguarding the SLOC between Gwadar and Djibouti (and eventually, Gwadar and the East African ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam) so that there’s a justifiable reason for increasing naval investments in order to secretly fund a more robust SLBM program for piercing India’s missile defense shield.

Concluding Thoughts

One of the fundamentals of Hybrid War is language and the subconscious ideas that are transmitted through select words, which is why it’s so important to use the most accurate terms in conveying a given side’s intentions and correspondingly countering those of their adversaries. The recent trend in talking about the “Indo-Pacific” is a perfect case in point because the terminology no longer refers to the innocent idea of both oceans but has been perverted to carry unipolar geostrategic connotations about “containing” China. The only suitable recourse in this case is to introduce another word to more accurately convey what some analysts mean when talking about this body of water and drawing attention to its importance to China’s global trade routes, particularly as it relates to Africa’s growing role in the Multipolar World Order. Therefore, it’s necessary to reconceptualize the “Indian Ocean” as the African Ocean and then work on popularizing this term in the wider strategic discourse.

Following that, it’s then easier to understand why CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar should be paired with Djibouti, Mombasa, and Dar es Salaam in facilitating “Global South” trade between China and Africa, the SLOC of which could be protected by the Pakistani Navy out of the self-interest that Islamabad also has in securing its own trade routes with the continent. Furthermore, Pakistan stands to gain immense strategic benefits if it can clinch a comprehensive and fast-moving partnership with Ethiopia that puts it in a position to “balance” relations between the Horn of African country and Egypt, as well as between the two rival states’ feuding Gulf allies. Should it work out as planned, then Pakistan would acquire an unparalleled importance to its partners that it could later leverage on a bilateral basis to advance its pecuniary, military, and other interests with each of them.

Altogether, the success of Pakistan’s ASGA strategy would also allow the country to justify more funding for its naval forces, which could provide a publicly plausible cover for investing in the SLBM technology that’s going to become absolutely necessary for piercing India’s missile defense shield in the next decade. It’s not to say that Pakistan can’t develop this program on its own and without ASGA, but just that appearances are very important and that it might be more acceptable to its domestic and international audiences if it does so under the pretense of investing in its surface convoys and trade ships, both of which would inevitably be empowered by more funding but which additionally serve to disguise the redirection of some financial assets to SLBM-related projects. One way or another, Pakistan is going to have to counter India’s efforts to neutralize its nuclear second-strike capabilities, and if it can do so while also profiting in a commercial and geostrategic sense, then it will have discovered the ultimate win-win policy for carrying out this urgent task.

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The US Persistently Seeks to Destabilize Iran


The US Persistently Seeks to Destabilize Iran. Why is Washington So Deeply Concerned about Tehran’s Regional Influence in the Middle East?

Thirty eight years ago, in 1979, a revolution against a client regime installed and propped up by the United States succeeded in Iran. This was followed by the establishment of an independent state, the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Ever since, the US’s presence, plans and attempts to maintain, deepen and expand its dominance throughout the Middle East has been seriously challenged  and thwarted.

Hence, the US has persistently sought to make up for this loss and to this end, has supported individuals, tendencies and terrorist groups to bring down the revolutionary establishment in Iran  and  returning the old order of neo-colonial dependence. The hallmark of these attempts has been its support of the infamous Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in his aggressive war (1980-1988) against the newly founded Islamic Republic in Iran and its active involvement in Saddam’s many war crimes, including the widespread use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops and civilians. However, in spite of the huge number of dead and injured, the extensive infrastructural destruction and social detriments, this war failed to derail the revolutionary objective of independence from foreign control.

Faced with the repeated and very costly failures of its military plans, the US  found it more feasible to invest more heavily on political approaches vis-a-vis Iran. Therefore, political plans had to be devised and/or cultivated to crush the strong waves of liberation from foreign domination and the struggle for independence in Iran. These plans had to also look beyond Iran; to the larger Middle East, which had been awakened and moved to action by the resistance struggle in Iran, particularly in Palestine which had suffered for decades under criminal Israeli occupation, and in Lebanon, devastated by its colonial past, Israeli aggression and foreign interventions.

Therefore, as early as the mid-1980s, the US and its allies, determined to impose crushing international sanctions on Iran, accused  Iran of threatening international peace through its support for Palestinian and Lebanese freedom fighters – labeled as ‘terrorists’-, its alleged interference in the internal affairs of regional states closely dependent on the US, and Iran’s missile and civilian nuclear programs.

To this end, through fabrications, extensive lobbying and use of pressure in the international scene, the US succeeded in pushing through United Nations Security Council resolutions which placed Iran under international sanctions (2006) for its peaceful nuclear activities.

The UNSC sanctions were followed by the illegal US/EU comprehensive sanctions in 2011 targeting Iran’s financial system, shipping and energy industry. Sanctions dealt a heavy blow to the nation’s  petroleum dependent economy but also had unintended positive consequences, in that, Iran’s chronic and deep-rooted dependence on its petroleum sales changed in favour of a more diversified economy and Iran’s flourishing nuclear activity made a huge leap forward, in both qualitative and quantitative terms.

However, after more than a decade of diplomatic interactions with world powers, which became  significantly more meaningful towards the end of this period with Zarif as Foreign Minister, Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment and its pursuit of other peaceful nuclear activities was recognised. This important recognition came through after two years (2013-2015) of extremely tight negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran.

This achievement was set in the context of a multilateral agreement, namely, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The achievement was hard won due to the forces bluntly opposed to the multilateral negotiations. These most notably included neo-con members of the US Congress, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The change in the US administration, and especially with the person of Trump in office, who saw the JCPOA as the “worst deal ever” provided the US neo-cons, Israel and Saudi Arabia with an extraordinary opportunity. Now, there was the unprecedented possibility to significantly increase the pressure on Iran, particularly through reinstating, and strengthening the old sanctions and devising new ones.

Therefore, they tried extremely hard to pressure the P5+1, the European Union side in particular, into accusing Iran of being in violation of the nuclear agreement. They tried equally hard to force a renegotiation of the nuclear agreement.

Having failed on both counts to reinstate international sanctions on Iran and to terminate the JCPOA, the Trump administration is now working desperately to pressure the big powers and the EU in particular, regarding the need to limit and to stop Iran’s formidable, though proven defensive, conventional missile program and Iran’s outstanding and growing regional influence.

Iran’s civilian nuclear activity is fundamentally very important to the country’s technological and industrial development. In contrast, the missile defense capability is of strategic importance to Iran’s defense and essential defence and security needs, with highly positive implications for the preservation of regional and international peace and security.

Iran’s civilian nuclear activity and its missile defense capability are both strategically very important to the country’s technological and industrial development on the one hand, and its essential needs for national defence and security, on the other.

These capabilities, however, are basically of a hard nature which many countries possess in various degrees. In contrast, regional influence is in essence a soft national capability, one which cannot be taken away, transferred or bought overnight. In this respect, it is potentially a most important national capability, deeply rooted in the beliefs, culture and history of a nation and a region.

With this in mind and in the context of the on-going political developments in the Middle East, it is necessary to examine why the US is so deeply concerned about Iran’s regional influence? I will next examine what in the US’s view is threatened by Iran’s regional influence. (To be continued)

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From an open internet, back to the dark ages

Internet censorship

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Can anyone still doubt that access to a relatively free and open internet is rapidly coming to an end in the West? In China and other autocratic regimes, leaders have simply bent the internet to their will, censoring content that threatens their rule. But in the “democratic” West, it is being done differently. The state does not have to interfere directly – it outsources its dirty work to corporations.

As soon as next month, the net could become the exclusive plaything of the biggest such corporations, determined to squeeze as much profit as possible out of bandwith. Meanwhile, the tools to help us engage in critical thinking, dissent and social mobilisation will be taken away as “net neutrality” becomes a historical footnote, a teething phase, in the “maturing” of the internet.

In December the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to repeal already compromised regulations that are in place to maintain a semblance of “net neutrality”. Its chairman, Ajit Pai, and the corporations that are internet service providers want to sweep away these rules, just like the banking sector got rid of financial regulations so it could inflate our economies into giant ponzi schemes.

It is becoming ever clearer that Facebook is interfering as a platform for the dissemination of information for progressive activists. 

That could serve as the final blow to the left and its ability to make its voice heard in the public square.

It was political leaders – aided by the corporate media – who paved the way to this with their fomenting of a self-serving moral panic about “fake news”. Fake news, they argued, appeared only online, not in the pages of the corporate media – the same media that sold us the myth of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and has so effectively preserved a single party system with two faces. The public, it seems, needs to be protected only from bloggers and websites.

The social media giants soon responded. It is becoming ever clearer that Facebook is interfering as a platform for the dissemination of information for progressive activists. It is already shutting down  accounts, and limiting their reach. These trends will only accelerate.

Google has changed its algorithms in ways that have ensured the search engine rankings of prominent left-wing sites are falling through the floor. It is becoming harder and harder to find alternative sources of news because they are being actively hidden from view.

Google stepped up that process this week by “deranking” RT and Sputnik, two Russian news sites that provide an important counterweight – even if one skewed in its pro-Russia agenda – to the anti-Russia propaganda spouted by Western corporate media. The two sites will be as good as censored on the internet for the vast majority of users.

Google has changed its algorithms in ways that have ensured the search engine rankings of prominent left-wing sites are falling through the floor.

RT is far from a perfect source of news – no state or corporate media is – but it is a vital voice to have online. It has become a sanctuary for many seeking alternative, and often far more honest, critiques both of Western domestic policy and of Western interference in far-off lands. It has its own political agenda, of course, but, despite the assumption of many Western liberals, it provides a far more accurate picture of the world than the Western corporate media on a vast range of issues.

That is for good reason. Western corporate media is there to shore up prejudices that have been inculcated in Western audiences over a lifetime – the chief one being that Western states rightfully act as well-meaning, if occasionally bumbling, policemen trying to keep order among other, unruly or outright evil states around the globe.

The media and political class can easily tap into these prejudices to persuade us of all sorts of untruths that advance Western interests. To take just one example – Iraq. We were told Saddam Hussein had ties to Al-Qaeda (he didn’t and could not have had); that Iraq was armed with WMD (it wasn’t, as UN arms inspectors tried to tell us); and that the US and UK wanted to promote democracy in Iraq (but not before they had stolen its oil). There may have been opposition in the West to the invasion of Iraq, but little of it was driven by an appreciation that these elements of the official narrative were all easily verified as lies.

RT and other non-Western news sources in English provide a different lens through which we can view such important events, perspectives unclouded by a Western patrician agenda.

The existing rules of “net neutrality” are already failing progressives and dissidents… But without them, things will get even worse.

They and progressive sites are being gradually silenced and blacklisted, herding us back into the arms of the corporate propagandists. Few liberals have been prepared to raise their voices on behalf of RT, forgetting warnings from history, such as Martin Niemoller’s anti-Nazi poem “First they came for the socialists”.

The existing rules of “net neutrality” are already failing progressives and dissidents, as the developments I have outlined above make clear. But without them, things will get even worse. If the changes are approved next month, internet service providers (ISPs), the corporations that plug us into the internet, will also be able to decide what we should see and what will be out of reach.

Much of the debate has focused on the impact of ending the rules on online commercial ventures. That is why Amazon and pornography sites like Pornhub have been leading the opposition. But that is overshadowing the more significant threat to progressive sites and already-embattled principles of free speech.

If it takes an age to access a website, they will simply click elsewhere. If a Google search shows them only corporately approved results, they will read what is on offer. If their Facebook feed declines to supply them with “non-profitable” or “fake” content, they will be none the wiser.

ISPs will be given a much freer hand to determine the content we can can get online. They will be able to slow down the access speeds of sites that are not profitable – which is true for activist sites, by definition. But they may also be empowered to impose Chinese-style censorship, either on their own initiative or under political pressure. The fact that this may be justified on commercial, not political, grounds will offer little succour.

Those committed to finding real news may be able to find workarounds. But this is little consolation. The vast majority of people will use the services they are provided with, and be oblivious to what is no longer available.

If it takes an age to access a website, they will simply click elsewhere. If a Google search shows them only corporately approved results, they will read what is on offer. If their Facebook feed declines to supply them with “non-profitable” or “fake” content, they will be none the wiser. But all of us who care about the future will be the poorer.

Posted in MediaComments Off on From an open internet, back to the dark ages

Nazi Demolitions in Esawyeh and Shu’fat in Jerusalem


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The Nazi occupation municipality’s bulldozers demolished on Wednesday early morning an under-construction house owned by Sharif Mheisen in the village of Esawyeh under the pretext of building without a permit.

Mohammad Abu Hummos, member of follow-up committee in the village of Esawyeh, explained that the occupation’s bulldozers demolished the house of Sharif Mheisen under the pretext of building without a permit.

Abu Hummos added that Mheisen stopped construction several months ago in an attempt to obtain a permit from the municipality which rejected his application and decided to demolish it.

Abu Hummos pointed out that damaged occurred to a neighboring house as the remains were placed at its entrance and around it.


The occupation municipality’s bulldozers also demolished an under-construction building owned by Jamal Abu Khdeir in the neighborhood of Shu’fat under the pretext of building without a permit; the building consisted of two floors.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi Demolitions in Esawyeh and Shu’fat in Jerusalem

Nazi regime: Arresting leaders of Fateh and 6 Jerusalemite girls

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The Nazi occupation forces arrested on Tuesday early morning six Jerusalemite girls and Hatem Abdel Qader, a leader in Fateh movement, after raiding their homes in the city of Jerusalem.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation forces arrested four girls from the village of Esawyeh, Old City of Jerusalem and Beit Hanina.

The forces also arrested the official of the Jerusalem file in the Fatah movement Hatem Abdel Qader, as reported by Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Committee of the families of the prisoners of Jerusalem.

Witnesses explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that intelligence personnel raided the African Quarter- near Al-Majles Gate- (one of Al-Aqsa gates) in the Old City of Jerusalem and arrested Ru’a Balaleh and Mais Firawi, Ali Firawi and Abdel Muttaleb Abu Sbeih.

The forces also arrested Rawan Mousa Mustafa and her brother Arafat from the village of Esawyeh.

Amjad Abu Asab explained that the forces arrested Dima Adnan Natsheh (18) from the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, and Aseel Hassouneh, Mus’ab Abbas, Issam Mohammad Khatib, Fawzi Sha’ban and his daughter Ghayda’.

Late Tuesday night, the forces arrested Zuheir Rajabi from Silwan, head of Batn Al-Hawa Committee, after assaulting young men with grenades and pepper gas.

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Nazi Extensions of arrest…releases…prison sentences



The Magistrate judge extended the arrest of Aseel Hassouneh, Mus’ab Abbas and Issam Khatib until 27/11/2017.

The Prisoners Club lawyer, Mufeed Al-Hajj, explained that the judge extended the arrest of Hassouneh and the two young men pending investigation for one week.

Lawyer Al-Hajj added that the judge also decided to release Hatem Abdel Qader, Official of Jerusalem file in Fateh movement, and Arafat Mustafa on condition of house-arrest until 27/11/2017 and a 200-NIS bail for each.

On the other hand, the Jerusalemite Basel A’bed turned himself to the police on Tuesday night after requesting him for interrogation.

The occupation authorities also released Abed Abu Sbeih, member of Fateh Movement, on condition of house-arrest for one week, and Fawzi Sha’ban, head of the Silwan Institutions Association, on condition of house-arrest for 5 days.

It is noteworthy that the occupation police arrested 17 Jerusalemites including 8 girls.

Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud explained that the judge recently sentenced Ali Mheisen and Jamal Za’tari for 7 months of actual imprisonment while Seif Abu Jom’a was sentenced for 14 months and a 2500-NIS fine.

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