Archive | May 9th, 2018

Nazi regime creates special Facebook page to sway Iraq’s public opinion

NOVANEWS

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Nazi foreign ministry has launched a Facebook page uniquely dedicated to efforts to sway the public opinion in Iraq in favor of the Tel Aviv regime, a new report says.

Analysts believe that the measure taken on Sunday is in line with the Nazi regime’s attempts to whitewash its blood-stained image in the Arab world and the continuation of attempts by Tel Aviv to improve relations with some Arab countries in the region.

Unnamed diplomats in Jerusalem al-Quds said the Arabic-language page would serve as “some sort of digital embassy” to Iraq, despite the fact that Nazi regime still formally considers Iraq an enemy state.

According to the diplomats, Nazi regime has in recent months stepped up efforts to reach out to Iraq, alleging that Iraqis are interested in establishing ties with the regime.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post quoted Yonatan Gonen, who heads the Arabic branch in the Nazi foreign ministry’s digital diplomacy division, as claiming that the decision to create a special Facebook page for Iraqis – called “Israel in the Iraqi Dialect” – was aimed at providing the Iraqi audience with more information about Israel.

The ministry’s director general, Yuval Rotem, also claimed that the plan to launch a “digital embassy” for Iraqis was in response to “the growing interest” that the Arab world was showing in the Nazi state.

The latest measure by Nazi regime comes after reports revealing that some Arab states, particularly Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime, have been taking steps to mend fences with the Nazi regime despite the generally heinous image of the Quds-usurping regime among the Arab nations.

In an interview with the Atlantic published on April 2, Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Mohammed bin Salman recognized ‘Israel’ and stressed that Zionist were entitled to their own land.

He said that the kingdom had no problems with Jews and that “there are a lot of interests we share with Israel.”

One month earlier, Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime had opened its airspace to Air India flights to and from the -occupied territories, adding concrete evidence to the long-running reports of warming Riyadh-Tel Aviv relations.

An unnamed official with the Palestinian Authority (PA) also revealed in March that top Nazi and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi officials had held a series of secret Egypt-brokered meetings in Cairo.

The talks between the Nazi regime and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi officials took place at a luxury hotel in Cairo, with Egyptian officials present, dealing with the economic interests of the Nazi regime, Egypt and Saudi, particularly in the Red Sea region, according to the official.

He also warned that the Nazi-Saudi Zio-Wahhbi détente was harming the Palestinians.

On Friday, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates participated in the 101st Giro d’Italia cycling competition launched in the Nazi state.

The Palestinian Olympic Committee (POC) called on the national committees of the two Persian Gulf Arab countries to withdraw their two cycling teams from the event, which it described as “a disgrace to anyone who stands behind it or participates in it.”

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VIPS Call on Trump Not to Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

NOVANEWS

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Consortium News 

As Donald Trump announces his decision at 2 pm Tuesday on staying in the Iran nuclear deal, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity urge him in this memo exclusive to Consortium News not to base his decision on fabricated evidence.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Being “Played” By Bogus Evidence on Iran

NOTE: The evidence presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30 alleging a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program shows blatant signs of fabrication. That evidence is linked to documents presented by the Bush Administration more a decade earlier as proof of a covert Iran nuclear weapons program. Those documents were clearly fabricated as well.

We sent President Bush a similar warning about bogus intelligence — much of it fabricated by Israel —six weeks before the U.S./UK attack on Iraq, but Bush paid us no heed. This time, we hope you will take note before things spin even further out of control in the Middle East. In short, Israel’s “new” damaging documents on Iran were fabricated by the Israelis themselves.

Executive Summary

The Bush administration account of how the documents on Iran got into the hands of the CIA is not true. We can prove that the actual documents originally came not from Iran but from Israel. And the documents were never authenticated by the CIA or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Two former Directors-General of the IAEA, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, have publicly expressed suspicion that the documents were fabricated. And forensic examination of the documents yielded multiple signs that they are fraudulent.

We urge you to insist on an independent inquiry into the actual origins of these documents. We believe that the renewed attention being given to claims that Iran is secretly working to develop nuclear weapons betokens a transparent attempt to stoke hostility toward Iran, with an eye toward helping “justify” pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

* * *

Mr. President,

We write you in the hope that you will be informed of our views before you decide whether to continue to adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran. We fear that upcoming decisions may be based, in part, on unreliable documents alleging secret nuclear weapons activity in Iran.

On April 30, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu displayed some of those documents in his slide show on what he called the Iranian “atomic archive.” But those are precisely the same fraudulent documents that were acquired by the CIA in 2004.

The official accounts offered by the senior officials of the CIA about the provenance of these documents turned out be complete fabrication. Journalists were told variously that the documents (1) were taken from the laptop computer of an Iranian working in a secret research program; (2) were provided by a German spy; or (3) simply came from a “longtime contact in Iran.”

However, Karsten Voigt, the former German Foreign Office official in charge of German-North American cooperation, revealed in an on the record interview with historian/journalist Gareth Porter in 2013 that senior officials of the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, told Voigt in November 2004 that the documents had been passed to the CIA by a BND source. That source, the senior BND official said, was not considered trustworthy, because he belonged to the Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK), the armed Iranian opposition group that was known to have served as a conduit for information that Israeli intelligence (Mossad) wanted to provide to the IAEA without having it attributed to Israel. (In 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed MEK from the list of terrorist organizations.)

Voigt recalled that the senior BND officials told him of their worry that the Bush administration was going to repeat the error of using fraudulent intelligence, as was the case with the notorious “Curveball”, the Iraqi living in Germany, whom the BND had identified as unreliable. Nonetheless, Curveball’s fictions about mobile biological weapons laboratories in Iraq —with “artists renderings” by the CIA of those phantom labs — had been used by Colin Powell in his error-ridden presentation to the UN on February 5, 2003, leading to war on Iraq.

As for the purported Iranian documents, the CIA never ruled out the possibility that they were fabricated, and the IAEA made no effort to verify their authenticity. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei recalled in his memoirs that he had believed the documents were not really from the Iranian government and that, as he put it, “it made more sense that this information originated in another country.” ElBaradei stated publicly from 2005 through 2009 that the documents had not been authenticated, and he refused to use them as “evidence” of a covert Iranian weapons research program. And ElBaradei’s predecessor as Director-General, Hans Blix, has said he is “somewhat more worried” about the intelligence on the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program than about the dubious intelligence he saw on Iraq, because “there is as much disinformation as there is information.”

Each of the documents mentioned by both Netanyahu and the IAEA reports bears tell-tale signs of fraud. The most widely reported document in the collection is a set of schematic drawings showing efforts to redesign the re-entry vehicle of Iran’s Shahab-3 missile to accommodate a nuclear weapon. But the slide that Netanyahu displayed on the screen in his slide show provides visual confirmation of fraud. The drawing shows clearly the “dunce cap” design of the Shahab-3 reentry vehicle. But Iran’s Defense Ministry had already discarded that “dunce cap” reentry vehicle when it began to develop a new improved missile. That redesign began in 2000, according to the Congressional testimony in September 2000 of CIA national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programs Robert D. Walpole. But the earliest dates of any of the alleged Iranian nuclear weapon program documents on the project for redesign of the reentry vehicle in the May 2008 IAEA report on the entire collection are from summer 2002 after the “dunce cap” was replaced. The “baby-bottle” shaped reentry vehicle on the redesigned missile was not known to the outside world until the first test of the new missile in mid-2004. So those drawings could not have been done by someone who was actually involved in the redesign of the original Shahab-3 reentry vehicle; it was clearly the work of a foreign intelligence agency seeking to incriminate Iran, but slipping up on one important detail and thus betraying its fraudulent character.

The second document from that same collection turned over to the IAEA that has been widely reported is the so-called “green salt project” — a plan for a bench-scale system of uranium conversion for enrichment given the code name “Project 5.13” and part of a larger “Project 5”. Other documents that had been provided by the MEK showed that “Project 5” also included a sub-project involving ore processing at a mine designated “Project 5.15,” according to a briefing by IAEA Deputy Director Olli Heinonen in February 2008.

But when Iran turned over detailed documents to the IAEA in response to its questions about Project 5.15 in 2008, the IAEA learned the truth: there had been a real ore processing project called Project 5.15, but it was a civilian project of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran – not part of a covert nuclear weapons program—and the decision to create Project 5.15 had been made on August 25, 1999—more than two years before the initial date of the project found in the collection of supposedly secret nuclear weapons research documents. That fact gives away the ruse surrounding the numbering system of “Project 5″ adopted by intelligence specialists who had fabricated the document.

A third document that purportedly shows Iranian nuclear weapons research is about what Netanyahu called “Multi-Point Initiation in hemispheric geometry” and the IAEA called “experimentation in connection with symmetrical initiation of a hemispherical high explosive charge suitable for an implosion type nuclear device.” Significantly, that document was not part of the original collection that the CIA had passed to the IAEA, but had been given to the IAEA years later, and officials from the IAEA, Europe and the United States refused to reveal which member country had provided the document. Former Director-General ElBaradei revealed in his memoirs, however, that Israel had passed a series of documents to the IAEA in 2008-09, in an effort to make the case that Iran had continued its nuclear weapons experiments until “at least 2007.”

The summary picture we offer above includes unusually clear evidence of the fraudulent nature of the documents that are advertised as hard evidence of Iran’s determination to obtain nuclear weapons. One remaining question is cui bono? — who stands to benefit from this kind of “evidence.” The state that had the most to gain from the fabrication of such documents was obviously Israel.

Completely absent from the usual discussion of this general problem is the reality that Israel already has a secret nuclear arsenal of more than a hundred nuclear weapons. To the extent Israel’s formidable deterrent is more widely understood, arguments that Israel genuinely fears an Iranian nuclear threat any time soon lose much of their power. Only an extreme few suggest that Iran’s leaders are bent on risking national suicide. What the Israelis are after is regime change in Tehran. And they have powerful allies with similar aims.

We therefore urge you, Mr. President, not to go along with these plans or to decide to pull the U.S. out of the six-nation nuclear deal with Iran based on fraudulent evidence.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret.); Former Chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS)

Kathleen Christison, Senior Analyst on Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain,Wing Commander, RAAF (ret.); Intelligence Officer & ex-Master SERE Instructor

John Kiriakou,former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Edward Loomis,NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, Ph.D., former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern,former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst; CIA Presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray,former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce,MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Gareth Porter, author/journalist (associate VIPS)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, Colonel, US Army (ret.); also Foreign Service Officer who resigned in opposition to the US war on Iraq

This Memorandum was drafted by VIPS Associate Gareth Porter, author of “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” 2014

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“War is Good for Business”: Defense Stocks Jump as ‘Israel’ Puts Troops on “High Alert for an Attack”

NOVANEWS

“War is Good for Business”: Defense Stocks Jump as Israel Puts Troops on “High Alert for an Attack”

The Israeli Defense Force says it has identified “unusual movements of Iranian forces in Syria” and has responded by ordering the opening of shelters along the Golan Heights – its border area with Syria – and ordering its troops to be on “heightened alert” for an attack.

According to Reuters, Israel has instructed local authorities in the border region to “unlock and ready [bomb] shelters”.

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Amichai Stein

@AmichaiStein1

: Israeli IDF says it has identified “unusual movements of Iranian forces in Syria”, ordered the opening of Shelters in the Golan Heights and are saying: “We are on hightend alert, and forces are deployed & we are ready for all scenarios” (Video: @IDFSpokesperson)

The Israeli Air Force, which has conducted many of Israel’s attacks against Iranian forces in Syria, warned that “any aggression against Israel will be met with a severe response.”

Israeli Air Force@IAFsite

The IDF has detected irregular Iranian activity in Syria and is preparing the civilian population on the Golan Heights accordingly, as well as defensive systems. Any aggression against Israel will be met with a severe response.

The news arrived just minutes before President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – otherwise known as the Iran deal. During the announcement, he referenced a presentation given by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahuoutlining Iran’s efforts to secretly build up a nuclear arms program. Critics of the presentation said that Netanyahu didn’t tell the international community anything new.

Shortly after Trump spoke, Netanyahu said the deal gave Iran billions of dollars to fund its efforts to spread terror across the region. Iran has long been criticized for its partnership with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and for funding militias in Syria and Iraq, as well as the Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi Arabia-backed establishment in Yemen.

Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War seven years ago, Israeli forces have launched more than 100 attacks on Iranian forces working with the Syrian regime to fight off rebels and ISIS.

Last month, a senior Israeli military official admitted to the New York Times that an Israeli drone had killed 14 people, half of whom were Iranian, during an attack on Syria’s T4 air base, which is located about halfway between Palmyra and Homs.

Defense stocks are rallying as investors assume – correctly – that the risk of an all-out military conflict between longtime enemies Israel and Iran – a conflict that could push the world into World War III – has never been higher.

The news arrived just minutes before President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – otherwise known as the Iran deal. During the announcement, he referenced a presentation given by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu outlining Iran’s efforts to secretly build up a nuclear arms program. Critics of the presentation said that Netanyahu didn’t tell the international community anything new.

Shortly after Trump spoke, Netanyahu said the deal gave Iran billions of dollars to fund its efforts to spread terror across the region. Iran has long been criticized for its partnership with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and for funding militias in Syria and Iraq, as well as the Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi Arabia-backed establishment in Yemen.

Map

Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War seven years ago, Israeli forces have launched more than 100 attacks on Iranian forces working with the Syrian regime to fight off rebels and ISIS.

Last month, a senior Israeli military official admitted to the New York Times that an Israeli drone had killed 14 people, half of whom were Iranian, during an attack on Syria’s T4 air base, which is located about halfway between Palmyra and Homs.

Defense stocks are rallying as investors assume – correctly – that the risk of an all-out military conflict between longtime enemies Israel and Iran – a conflict that could push the world into World War III – has never been higher.

North

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Black Alliance for Peace Says No to “War with Iran”!

NOVANEWS

The decision by the Trump administration to breach the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—better known as the Iranian nuclear agreement—moves the United States once again into a dangerous situation in which the United States might directly or indirectly be involved in yet another military confrontation.

The Trump administration feels fairly confident that the U.S. public will follow it down a path to war with Iran. We must demonstrate to him and all of the officials in government and beyond that the people will not tolerate more bloodshed, and more destruction of cities, cultures and peoples to advance the narrow and misguided policies of a state that has centered war as its first option.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has spoken out forcefully in opposition to U.S. war policies over the first year of its existence. With almost no money, no full-time staff, no permanent office, we have, nevertheless, become a driving force in the efforts to re-build the broader anti-war, anti-imperialist movement in the United States.

We are now mobilizing toward the National Assembly for Black Liberation taking place May 18-20 in Durham, North Carolina. This will be a strategic space for BAP in that Black activists from around the country will gather there as part of the effort to re-build a national Black left network. One of the resolutions that will be debated at this gathering is one submitted by BAP asking the movement commit itself to centering anti-militarism and anti-imperialism once again and build the Black Alliance for Peace.

We are attempting to raise $3,000 to provide partial support for the participation of a dozen BAP members to cover gas, van rental, hotel, food and registration.

We go to the people when we have these kinds of requests and so we are coming to you once again, hoping you can give generously to this effort. Please donate here today so we can meet our goal by May 12.

Help us build a movement that will take power from the warmongers. We know there will be no peace without justice and that we are going to have to fight for justice—help us.

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Where Syria’s Government Sends “Conquered Terrorists”

NOVANEWS

On May 8th, Syria’s Government bannered, “6th batch of terrorists leave southern Damascus for northern Syria” and reported that “During the past five days, 218 buses carrying … terrorists with their families exited from the three towns to Jarablos and Idleb under the supervision of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.” Jarablos (or “Jarabulus”) is a town or “District” in the Aleppo Governate; and Idleb (or “Idlib”) is the capital District in the adjoining Governate of Idlib, which Governate is immediately to the west of Aleppo Governate; and both Jarabulus and Idlib border on Turkey to the north. Those two towns in Syria’s far northwest are where captured jihadists are now being sent.

The Government is doing that because at this final stage in the 7-year-long war, it wants civilian deaths and additional destruction of buildings to be kept to a minimum, and so is offering jihadists the option of surviving instead of being forced to fight to the death (which would then require Syria’s Government to destroy the entire area that’s occupied by the terrorists); this way, these final clean-up operations against the terrorists won’t necessarily require bombing whole neighborhoods — surrenders thus become likelier, so as to end the war as soon as possible, and to keep destruction and civilian casualties at a minimum. 

On May 7th, the Syrian Government headlined “Preparations for evacuating fifth batch of terrorists from Yalda, Babila and Beit Sahem towns started”, and reported that,

“more than 60 buses entered Beit Sahem town to transport terrorists who reject the settlement [offered by the Government] along with their families from the towns to Jarablos in coincidence with the continuation of the military operation carried out by the army on the northern parts of al-Hajar al-Aswad paving the way for declaring the area of southern Damascus free of terrorism.”

Thousands of conquered jihadists (or “terrorists”) that the U.S. and its allies had been arming and assisting to overthrow and replace Syria’s elected Government, are surrendering in large numbers now, and are being loaded by Syria’s army onto buses and sent northward, mainly to the town of Jarabulus (such as the instances here and here and here and here and here and here) — that being one of the few towns where opposition to Syria’s elected President, Bashar al-Assad, has been favored by a majority of the population, and where Al Qaeda (which in Syria is called al-Nusra and other names) and ISIS (which also is called by additional names) have been more popular than Syria’s secular elected President, Assad. The entire Governate of Idlib is the most pro-jihadist Governate in all of Syria.

Here’s a breakdown of the regions (called “Governates”) of Syria, and showing each one’s support for Syria’s Government, versus their support for the U.S.-and-allied opposition to it (i.e., for the jihadists):

As can be seen there, only 9% of people polled in Idlib (“Idlip”) favored Assad, while 70% of them favored Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria).

Those figures are from a 2014 poll taken by the British polling firm Orb International, in order to assist the U.S. and its allies to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government. That poll was commissioned for a reason — NATO wanted this information:

On 31 May 2013, the non-mainstream news-site, World Tribune, had headlined “NATO data: Assad winning the war for Syrians’ hearts and minds”, and reported that:

After two years of civil war, support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was said to have sharply increased.

NATO has been studying data that told of a sharp rise in support for Assad. The data, compiled by Western-sponsored activists and organizations, showed that a majority of Syrians were alarmed by the Al Qaida takeover of the Sunni revolt and preferred to return to Assad, Middle East Newsline reported.

“The people are sick of the war and hate the jihadists more than Assad,” a Western source familiar with the data said. “Assad is winning the war mostly because the people are cooperating with him against the rebels.”

The data, relayed to NATO over the last month, asserted that 70 percent of Syrians support the Assad regime. Another 20 percent were deemed neutral and the remaining 10 percent expressed support for the rebels.

The sources said no formal polling was taken in Syria, racked by two years of civil war in which 90,000 people were reported killed. They said the data came from a range of activists and independent organizations that were working in Syria, particularly in relief efforts.

The data was relayed to NATO as the Western alliance has been divided over whether to intervene in Syria. Britain and France were said to have been preparing to send weapons to the rebels while the United States was focusing on protecting Syria’s southern neighbor Jordan.

A report to NATO said Syrians have undergone a change of heart over the last six months. The change was seen most in the majority Sunni community, which was long thought to have supported the revolt.

“The Sunnis have no love for Assad, but the great majority of the community is withdrawing from the revolt,” the source said. “What is left is the foreign fighters who are sponsored by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They are seen by the Sunnis as far worse than Assad.”

And, if this is the way that Sunnis felt about Assad, and about his opposition the ‘rebels’ (that the U.S. supported), then obviously Shia (including Alawite) Syrians were even more supportive of him, and so too were Christian Syrians.

So, this British polling firm became commissioned to obtain more-reliable figures, and those figures confirmed the earlier estimates.

*

On 12 April 2018, three days after U.S. and its allies alleged a Syrian chemical attack in Douma in East Ghouta, Russia’s Sputnik News bannered “E Ghouta Mop-up: Militants Surrender Another Haul of Israeli, European-Made Arms” and reported that,

“3,792 people, including 1,384 militants and members of their families, are being evacuated from Douma and taken to the town of Jarabulus in northeastern Aleppo, northern Syria on 85 buses.”

Then, on the night of April 13th, the U.S. and some allies launched a missile-invasion against Syria based on charging Syria’s Government as having been the alleged source of the alleged chemical attack that had allegedly occurred in Douma.

Now that the U.S. alliance has failed to conquer Syria, the U.S. is trying to break off the northern third of the country, and is trying to include, in that U.S.-allied area, as much of Syria’s oil-producing region, around Deir Ezzor, as possible, so as to steal from Syrians as much of Syria’s oil as possible — oil that until recently was being stolen instead by ISIS.

None of the news-reports indicate why Jarabulus and Idlib were chosen by Syria’s Government, as the places in which to concentrate the jihadists; but, presumably, a sympathetic population exists there, to receive them. Perhaps, since they’re on the border with Turkey — which, like the U.S., has been trying to overthrow Assad — Syria’s Government is also hoping to make the jihadists become Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s problem to deal with, and not only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s problem. Maybe doing that would reduce some of Erdogan’s ardor for regime-change in Syria.

Most of Syria’s ‘rebels’ are not Syrians, but instead are jihadists from around the world, fundamentalist Sunnis who have been recruited, with funding provided mainly by the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and by the Thanis who own Qatar, and by the six royal families who own UAE. All of these royal families are themselves fundamentalist Sunnis, and virtually all jihadists except the ones that attack Israel are Sunnis. America’s Presidents lie about “radical Islamic terrorism” by saying that Shiite Iran is the “top state-sponsor of terrorism,” and even that Iran caused 9/11; but none of that is at all true. Israel gets attacked both by Sunni terrorists and by Shiite terrorists — and Shiite terrorism is exclusively against Israel. By contrast, Sunni terrorism is against U.S., EU, Japan, and virtually every non-Islamic country. Israel is allied with the Sauds, who hate Shiites and have hated them since 1744. And U.S.-allied ‘news’media hide all of these essential facts, from their respective publics, so as to redirect The West’s anti-terrorist anger against Iran as the villain, and away from the Sauds and their friends as the villains. This lie protects the fundamentalist Sunni Governments of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and America’s other Middle Eastern allies — the very countries that are behind the Islamic terrorism that plagues the U.S. and Europe. Syria is instead allied with Iran — not with the Sauds, who are Iran’s sworn enemies. The U.S. Government is allied with Sunni terrorists now, just as it was in 1979 when it worked with the Sauds to create Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

On 21 December 2015, the U.S.-allied British think-tank Center on Religion and Politics, issued a research-report “Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion”, and opened: “At least 65,000 militants in Syria share key parts of the ideology of ISIS, with 15 of its rivals ready to take its place if it is defeated. They reported:

Key Findings

Sixty per cent of major Syrian rebel groups are Islamist extremists

Our study of 48 rebel factions in Syria revealed that 33 per cent – nearly 100,000 fighters – have the same ideological objectives as ISIS. If you take into account Islamist groups (those who want a state governed by their interpretation of Islamic law), this figure jumps to 60 per cent.

Unless Assad goes, the Syrian war will go on and spread further

Despite the conflicting ideologies of the rebel groups, 90 per cent of the groups studied hold the defeat of Assad’s regime as a principal objective. Sixty-eight per cent seek the establishment of Islamic law in Syria. In contrast, only 38 per cent have the defeat of ISIS as a stated goal.

Nonetheless, they insisted on overthrowing Bashar al-Assad, based on the incredible claim: “Unless Assad goes, the Syrian war will go on and spread further.” They obviously think that the public — the readers of their report — are extremely stupid. Furthermore, their report ignored that all of these terrorist groups are fundamentalist-Sunni, and that all of the non-ISIS groups are led by Nusra — Syria’s Al Qaeda. The intent there to deceive is clear, but their report that “nearly 100,000 fighters have the same ideological objectives as ISIS” (which likewise is a fundamentalist-Sunni group) was probably true.

If the devil incarnate ruled the U.S. and its allies, then how would they be any different from this? What does “evil” even mean? Syria is trying to rid itself of jihadists, but the U.S. and its allies rely upon the jihadists as the U.S. alliance’s proxy-forces or “boots on the ground” to attain their goal of stealing Syria’s oil and so forth. That’s bad, but The West’s hypocrisy about these matters makes its evil even worse than that, like evil-squared — evil compounded by lies about itself.

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Party Foundation Day Observed with Resolution to Defeat Fascism

NOVANEWS
Party Foundation Day Observed with Resolution to Defeat Fascism

The 50th Foundation Day and 149th birthday of Comrade Lenin were observed with programmes organized at various places across the country.

In Bihar, programmes were held at the Party office at Patna, Chitkohra, Digha, Kankadbagh, and Patna City. The day was also observed at Bhojpur, Patna Rural, Siwan, Arwal, Muzaffarpur, Jehanabad, Gaya, and other Blocks and districts with flag hoisting, tribute to martyrs and a reading of the message put out by the Central Committee of the Party. After paying tributes to Com Lenin and Founder-General Secretary Com Charu Mazumdar, the Call by the Party was read out and then the meeting was addressed by Com BB Pandey, Com Kunal and others. The speakers said that the dark forces of fascism are spreading their tentacles everywhere including the media, the judiciary and other pillars of democracy. The Jan Adhikar Padyatra in Bihar is an important step by the Party to reach out to the people with anti-fascist, progressive and revolutionary ideas.

Party Foundation Day was observed at different places in Patna Rural including Palanga Ganj (Phulwari Block), Amarpura, Khujli Panchayat and Bhagwanganj (Naubatpur), Kajibigaha (Fatuha), Bihata, Masaurhi, Paliganj and other places.

At Bhojpur a programme was held at the District Party office in which Com Santosh Sahar said that the Party would always strive to struggle for an oppression-free society. Com Jawaharlal Singh said that our aim is to fulfill the dreams of our revolutionary martyrs who were killed in the struggle against communalism, feudalism and fascism. Tarari MLA Com. Sudama Prasad said that the Modi government at the Centre and the Nitish government in Bihar have both betrayed the mandate of the people. The Party activists pledged to expose the attacks by the government on social justice and reservation. The 50th Founation Day was also observed at the District Party office in Darbhanga, Husainganj and Goriyakothi, Mairwa, Darauli, Aandar, Pachrukhi, Hasanpura, Jeeradei, Navtan, Guthni, Badhariya and the Party office in Siwan district, and at all blocks in Arwal district.

The 50th Party Foundation Day was observed at all Party Block and District offices in Jharkhand with flag hoisting, tributes to martyred comrades, reading of the Party message and resolution to make the Party programmes under the Janadhikar Padyatra successful. Programmes were held at Ranchi and all Blocks in Dhanbad. Padyatras were organized at Govindpur (23-24 April), Nirsa (25-26 April), Baliapur (27-28 April), Dhanbad (29 April) and Baghmara (30 April). A massive motorcycle rally organized at Dhanbad City on 1 May. Foundation Day programmes were also organized at Banjari (Ramgarh district), Godda, Bokaro, Koderma, Palamu, Devghar, Dumka, Jamtada, and other districts. On 22 April a joint meeting of district and Block committees was held at Kodadih village in Rajdhanwar Block, Giridih district. The meeting was addressed by Com Dipankar Bhattacharya who called upon the activists to fight fascist communal-feudal forces at the ground level.

In Uttar Pradesh programmes were organized at various places across the State on 22 April 2018 to observe the 50th Party Foundation Day. Flag hoisting, tributes to martyrs, and reading of the Party message was done and a pledge taken to defeat fascist forces, fighting on all fronts from Parliament to street. The meetings held across the State discussed the Party call as well as issues such as right to land and food, increasing violence against minorities, dalits, and women and the crisis facing workers and farmers. Programmes were held at Lucknow, Lakhimpur Kheeri,  Pilibhit, Kanpur, Jalaun, Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Chandauli, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Mau, Ballia, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj and other districts.

At Haryana a dharna was held T Yamunanagar to observe the Party Foundation Day. Addressing the dharna, comrades Prem Singh Gehlawat and Mahendra Singh Chopra said that workers, farmers, dalits, women, students, youth, the poor, are all under attack by the BJP governments in Haryana and at the Centre. They said that it is our responsibility to respond to the call issued by the Party with full dedication and resolve.

In Andhra Pradesh programmes were held at various places in Eastern Godavari district including Govindpuram, Yelleshwaram, Dharmavaram, Annavaram, Chintaluru, Potaluru, Changharuti, and Pandrivada. Programmes were also held at Krishna District in Visannapeta, Musaluru, Chakapalli, Dasaripadu, Suryapalli and Maribangham. Programmes were also organized at Mangalagiri, Gujirala and Tenali in Guntur district, and Anantpur City, Kopilakund, and Giraldeem Mandal in Anantpur district. Flag hoisting was done at the historic Boddapadu village in Srikakulam.

In Tamil Nadu programmes were held in Villupuram at Panchayat level meetings in 14 branches. The calls for “Oust Modi” and “Oust Palanisami Government” are gaining popularity in the State.

Party Foundation Day programmes were organized in Punjab at Mansa, Budhlada, Bathinda, and Gurdaspur. Reports are also coming in of observance of 50th Party Foundation Day in Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura and other States.

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Marx Bicentenary: The Continuing Long March for Human Emancipation

NOVANEWS
Marx Bicentenary: The Continuing Long March for Human Emancipation

“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it”: Karl Marx (5.5.1818-14.3.1883) had reached this conclusion quite early in his life when he was still in his late twenties. Till his last breath he worked relentlessly to this end, producing the richest and most inspiring legacy of human endeavour geared towards both comprehending and transforming the world we live in. From the Communist Manifesto, jointly produced with his lifelong comrade-in-arms Friedrich Engels in 1848, when he was only thirty, to his magnum opus Das Kapital (Capital), which was published in full only after his death, Marx remained steadfast in his spirit of ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’ – ‘ruthless’, as he said, ‘both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and … of conflict with the powers that be’!

This spirit of ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’ and the indomitable resolve to change the world put Marx in conflict with most governments of his day. Exiled from several countries of Europe he eventually made London his home. In those days, London was also the capital of the world’s most advanced capitalist country and the biggest colonial power in the world. Sitting in London, Marx immersed himself not only in study, research and writing but also in promoting revolutionary working class movements across the world and building international solidarity among them. He played the central role in launching the first international organization of the working class (the International Working Men’s Association) and developing it as a united platform of several ideological streams active in the international working class movement during those formative years. From the anti-colonial revolt of 1857 in India to the Paris Commune of 1871, he keenly watched, analyzed and encouraged the stirrings for freedom and socialism in every part of the world.

In his study of society Marx treated the classes as the central actors and their struggles as the core drivers of social development. The classes that rule in a society do so not only by their control over resources and material production but also over the state and its laws and repressive machinery and the realm of mental production or the production and regulation of ideas. “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force,” wrote Marx in his celebrated work ‘The German Ideology’ way back in 1845. The Marxist framework of class struggle thus challenges the domination of the ruling class from every angle – economic and political and also social, cultural and intellectual.

The ruling idea in the era of capitalism is the idea that mystifies capital as something eternal and natural, magical and invincible, that glorifies the bourgeoisie or the capitalist class as the most civilized class, and bourgeois rule as the most superior and democratic. All through his writings Marx tore apart this mask, analyzing every contradiction that challenges this claim of bourgeois rule being natural, permanent and supreme, laying bare the hitherto unknown laws of motion of capital that inevitably lead to periodic crises, and exposing every hypocrisy that seeks to sell bondage as freedom, war as peace, plunder as prosperity, devastation as development. It was through this actual motion of existing social forces and this constant battle of ideas – and not on the basis of some abstract principles or utopian dreams – that Marx visualized humanity’s march towards socialism and communism, towards complete human emancipation.

During his lifetime and since his death, time and again Marx has been declared irrelevant and obsolete. But every time he has come back, with every successive generation discovering some new light in his writings, helping it to try and understand and overcome the problems of the day. For bourgeois triumphalists who believed they had finally managed to bury the ideas of Marx with the collapse of the Soviet Union, history proved a cruel teacher. No sooner had they proclaimed the end of history, than global capitalism encountered a massive shock. Dogged by the most protracted and severest crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, today even bourgeois thinkers are once again returning to Marx to make sense of the present state of chaos and churning.

While Marx is widely known, respected and studied by large sections of progressive and thinking Indians across ideological streams, he is also widely misunderstood and misrepresented. Both apologists and opponents of colonialism argue that Marx had seen British colonialism as a progressive intervention of history in a stagnant and backward India. There can perhaps be a no bigger misreading and misrepresentation of Marx’s views about India. Marx was very clear that capital did not operate only in the apparently legally regulated environment of capitalist countries; he was very much alive to the reality of colonial plunder and violent accumulation of capital from across the world, which in fact had created the conditions for capitalism to emerge. He was keenly aware that “If money comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek, capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt”  (Capital, Volume one, Chapter 31: Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist).

In the specific context of India, Marx was a trenchant critic of the barbarity of British colonial rule, its loot and torture, clearly acknowledging that “the misery inflicted by the British on Hindustan is of an essentially different and infinitely more intensive kind than all Hindustan had to suffer before…The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes respectable forms, to the colonies, where it goes naked” – Marx wrote this in June 1853 in his dispatch “The British Rule in India” for the New York Herald Tribune. At the same time, for  Marx, the village communities in India were no idyllic islands of peace and prosperity, rather they were contaminated by the distinctions of ‘caste and slavery’, and castes were “decisive impediments to Indian progress and Indian power”.

He was clear that “All the English bourgeoisie may be forced to do will neither emancipate nor materially mend the social condition of the mass of the people,” and he wrote this in July 1853 when the British rulers were claiming credit for the launch of the railways in India as a revolutionary development. In the same dispatch titled “The Future Results of British Rule in India”, Marx went on to argue that “The Indians will not reap the fruits of the new elements of society scattered among them by the British bourgeoisie, till in Great Britain itself the now ruling classes shall have been supplanted by the industrial proletariat, or till the Indians themselves shall have grown strong enough to throw off the English yoke altogether.” Marx thus posits the question of complete Indian independence in July 1853, four years before sections of Indians rose in revolt to wage India’s first war of independence.

It is also often heard that Marx despised religion as ‘opium of the masses’ and called for a ban on all religions. This again is a selective simplification, if not a mischievous misrepresentation, of Marx’s ideas on religion. The expression ‘opium of the people’ comes at the end of a paragraph which reads thus: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Marxism has therefore always focused on changing that ‘heartless world’ and its ‘soulless conditions’, and insisted on treating religion as a matter for the individual, strictly separating it from the state and public affairs administered by the state.

As we observe the bicentenary of Marx’s birth, we are being ruled in India by a bunch of the most bigoted and obscurantist rulers who seek to address ideological debates through hate, lies and violence. Only the other day, heady with arrogance following their surprise victory in Tripura, they bulldozed statues of Lenin calling him a foreign icon unrelated to India. They will say the same thing about Marx. These are the people who invite foreign companies to come and plunder India’s resources, who kowtow to Trump as the supreme ruler of the world and if we go back in history we find their ideological forefathers collaborating all through with the British colonial rulers.

And in order not to be misled by this silly distinction of whether an idea or an intellectual is of Indian origin or foreign, we must always remember that the RSS has always idolised foreign icons. Incidentally, the icon they worshipped was another German called Adolf Hitler. And these people, who oppose Marx and Lenin, also oppose Ambedkar and Periyar. Clearly, it is not about the origin of the idea, but the idea itself which is the real bone of contention. All who stand and fight for equality and justice, liberty and fraternity will always feel inspired by Marx while the enemies of equality will always remain mortally afraid of this revolutionary giant. More power to the ideas and legacy of Marx!

 

Reflections of a Young Man on the Choice of a Profession, 1835

Karl Marx

Young Marx

“… the chief guide which must direct us in the choice of a profession is the welfare of mankind and our own perfection. It should not be thought that these two interests could be in conflict, that one would have to destroy the other; on the contrary, man’s nature is so constituted that he can attain his own perfection only by working for the perfection, for the good, of his fellow men. “If he works only for himself, he may perhaps become a famous man of learning, a great sage, an excellent poet, but he can never be a perfect, truly great man. History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy; religion itself teaches us that the ideal being whom all strive to copy sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, and who would dare to set at nought such judgments? “If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.”

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The US White House’s mercenary connection

NOVANEWS
Erik Prince of Blackwater

By Lawrence Davidson

The United Nations Mercenary Convention

When the United Nations General Assembly met in December 1989, one of its most important achievements was passage of the Mercenary Convention – the “International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries”. The convention was subsequently ratified by 35 countries and went into effect as an international treaty in 2001. Considering that, historically, mercenaries have, with rare exception (e.g. today’s Swiss Guard at the Vatican), proven to be lawless killers who both spread and thrive on anarchy, this move by the General Assembly was a prescient one. The problem was, and still is, that many of the world’s “great powers” are remarkably short-sighted and refuse to sign on. Among these is the United States. In the meantime, the mercenary business has become a worldwide big business. So much for the UN Mercenary Convention.

Now, some 29 years later, we have a president of the United States, Donald Trump, who thinks the world’s most notorious mercenary – an American by the name of Erik Prince – can help achieve the misguided goals of the US and its allies in the Middle East. It would seem that the answer to that perennial question, “Will they ever learn?” is no.

Who Is Erik Prince?

Erik Prince was born in June 1969 in the northern mid-western town of Holland, Michigan, into a very wealthy, conservative Christian family. He attended Holland Christian High School and is reported to now be an ardent religious fundamentalist. He attended the US Naval Academy but never graduated. He then went to Hillsdale College, again a conservative Christian school in Michigan, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1992. He then joined the navy and became a “SEAL”, which stands for the navy’s “Sea, Air and Land” special forces. In 1997, having left the navy, he founded Blackwater Worldwide – a notorious mercenary organisation. He managed Blackwater until 2009 and sold the operation in 2010.

Under Prince’s leadership Blackwater was employed by the George W. Bush administration to protect convoys of American diplomats in Iraq. It did so in a predictable “cowboy” fashion, leaving a large number of dead civilians in its wake. Most of Blackwater’s second-tier administrators ended up under indictment in the US, and some of its operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan have been charged with murder. None of this was surprising to anyone who knew the history of mercenary forces.

In 2010 Erik Prince decided he “needed a break from the United States” and moved to Abu Dhabi, where he now acts as a military adviser to the United Arab Emirates.

A good match

Donald Trump and Erik Prince are a good match. First, both men believe in the privatisation of almost all activities (including military ones) that are, in truth, best carried on by responsible governments. The “free” market is their ultimate definition of freedom generally. As we will see, this really makes them both advocates for anarchy. Here they follow in others’ footsteps. Remember that Prince’s initial employer was the Bush Junior administration, also made up of conservative “free” market ideologues.

Second, both men are immoral – they have no scruples. This is pretty obvious when it comes to Trump and his corrupt cohorts, and Prince is in at the fringes of that syndicate. He reportedly served as a go-between for Trump and Russian bankers with close connections to Vladimir Putin. This effort was allegedly made to establish a back-channel connection between the incoming Trump administration and the Russians. It is possible that, in sworn testimony before Congress, Prince lied about the nature of his activities in this regard.

At this point, one might ask, what about Erik Prince’s Christian background? Alas, despite strong belief to the contrary, it is a mistake to equate ardent religious belief – particularly in its fundamentalist guise – with the practice of morality. Historically, the connection just isn’t there. Religious zealots, just like most ideological fanatics, are prone to violence, and some of history’s bloodiest crimes have been committed in the name of religion. That includes recent ones like G.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. G.W. reportedly claimed he was told to invade by God. The problem is ongoing. To judge from today’s headlines, it would seem that violent religious zealots are the scourge of our age. So, Prince fits right in.

President Trump’s present interest in Prince has to do with the bloody mess in Syria. Trump is under some pressure from the US military to pull out the 2,000 or so US troops still in that country. But in Trump’s view this would be a step toward turning the western part of that country (where the US forces operate) over to the Assad government, the Iranians and the Russians. So, he needs an alternative strategy. Trump has consulted with the Saudis and Gulf Arabs about funding and manning what amounts to a mercenary army to replace the US troops in Syria. And who is the West’s expert in mercenary endeavours – the fellow who can put all of this together and make it work? It is Erik Prince.

Conclusion

The notion that the good society is the one that looks after the basic needs of its citizens so as to create a platform for the realisation of their creative potentials is, if not dead, then in serious abeyance. Something has come along to undermine this ideal. What now competes with it is the idealisation of anarchy. And, in this the United States leads the way. The main route to this end is economic – the privatisation of just about everything while simultaneously destroying regulation. We know, again from history, that this can only lead to disaster, but the politicians who are leading this charge are themselves ideologues who don’t give a fig for any history that might call into question their free market preferences.

The main route opens into many tributaries and one of them leads to the mercenary – the gun for hire. It is hard enough keeping professional soldiers in line – those operating under rules of engagement put in place by states which have signed on to the Geneva Conventions. Bring mercenaries into the mix and, as Niccolo Machiavelli realised at the end of the 15th century, you are now tying your interests to untrustworthy and quite bloodthirsty barbarians. To grasp this fact you must know something about the history of warfare and be able to correctly learn from the experiences of others. Most politicians seem not to be able to do either of these things. It’s an old story and seems to be today’s story as well.

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The real war for Syria is taking place in its skies

NOVANEWS
Russia's S-300 surface-to-air missiles

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

The hidden battle in Syria – the one that rarely appears on our television screens – has been raging for years between Israel and a coalition comprising the Syrian government, Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Watching over the proceedings without directly intervening has been Russia, although that might be about to change.

The prize is control over Syrian territory but the battlefield is Syria’s skies.

According to United Nations figures, the Israeli military violated Syrian airspace more than 750 times in the four-month period leading up to last October, with its warplanes and drones spending some 3,200 hours over the country. On average, more than six Israeli aircraft entered Syrian airspace each day in that period.

Powerful rocket strikes reported on two sites in Syria on 29 April were widely attributed to Israel. Since war broke out in Syria just over seven years ago, Israeli fighter jets are believed to have carried out hundreds of offensive missions.

Israel regards the stakes as high. It wants Syria to remain an enfeebled state, ensuring Bashar Assad’s government cannot again become a regional foe. But Israel also needs to prevent other powerful, hostile actors from being drawn into the resulting vacuum.

Israel achieved one major aim early on: Western powers insisted that the Syrian government be disarmed of its large arsenal of chemical weapons, Damascus’s only deterrent against an Israeli nuclear threat.

Since then, Israel’s focus has shifted to Iran and blocking its ambitions on various fronts: to prop up Assad, establish a military presence close to Israel’s northern border and use Syria as a conduit for transferring arms to Hezbollah.

Iran’s aim is to recreate a balance of terror between the two sides and free itself from diplomatic isolation; Israel’s is to maintain its military pre-eminence and dominance of the Middle East’s skies.

In addition, Israel seeks to exploit Syria’s collapse to claim permanent title over the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in 1967 and later annexed in violation of international law.

It is unlikely to have been a coincidence that the large attacks on Syria on 29 April occurred moments after Mike Pompeo, the hawkish new US secretary of state, had visited Jerusalem and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had spoken to US President Donald Trump by phone. At least one of the targeted sites was reported to be a base at which Iranian personnel were stationed.

Iran was apparently the focus of Netanyahu’s talks, including discussions about the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, due for renewal next month. Israel hopes the US will tear up the deal, allowing sanctions to be intensified and forcing Iran to concentrate on its diplomatic woes and mounting protests at home rather than project its influence into Syria.

In the meantime, tensions in Syria are ratcheting up. Unusually, Israel admitted in early April that it was behind a strike on an Iranian base in Syria that killed seven Iranian troops. According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel targeted an anti-aircraft battery under construction, one Tehran hoped would limit Israel’s freedom to patrol Syria’s skies.

Israel’s largely successful ploy till now has been to play both sides of the Syrian war – assisting its US patron in keeping Iran on the back foot while cooperating with a Russian military committed to stabilising the Syrian government.

That approach is now beginning to unravel as Israel and the US seek to prevent Moscow and Iran from helping consolidate Assad’s hold on power.

The attack followed Israel’s interception of a drone over northern Israel, presumably dispatched to gain the same kind of intelligence about Israeli military bases that Israel has of Iranian bases in Syria.

According to a senior Israeli military official, the move from proxy clashes to direct ones has “opened a new period” of hostilities. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has warned that Israel is prepared to prevent Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, “regardless of the price”.

Echoing him, US Defence Secretary James Mattis warned on 26 April that it was “very likely” Israel and Iran were on a collision course. Neither appears to believe it can afford to climb down.

But Israel’s game plan not only risks a dangerous escalation with Iran. It could draw Russia even deeper into Syria too.

Last week Russian officials indicated there are plans to supply the Syrian army with Russia’s advanced S-300 missile defence system. For the first time, Israeli planes would face a real risk of being shot down if they violated Syrian airspace.

So far Israel has suffered only one known loss: an F-16 was brought down in February by the Syrian army in what Israel claimed was a crew “error”.

But Israel could soon find itself with an unnerving dilemma: either it exposes its warplanes to Syrian interception, or it attacks Russian defence systems.

Russian officials have reportedly warned that there would be “catastrophic consequences” if Israel did so. But apparently unmoved, Lieberman asserted last week: “If anyone shoots at our planes, we will destroy them.”

The reality, however, is that the Russian proposal, if carried out, threatens to bring to an end impunity for an Israeli air force that has roamed the skies above parts of the Middle East at will since its lightning victory over its Egyptian counterpart in 1967.

Until now, Israeli and Russian officials have coordinated closely about their respective spheres of action in Syria to avoid mishaps. But events are spiralling in a direction that makes the status quo hard to sustain.

Russia has suggested that supplying Syria with the S-300 is retaliation against the US, a punishment for its air strike on Syria earlier this month. The defence system is intended to ramp up the pressure on US President Donald Trump to make good on his recent promise to pull US troops out of Syria.

But it does so chiefly by harming Washington’s key ally in the region, Israel. Russia will effectively be introducing tripwires across Syria that Israel will be constantly in danger of setting off.

Israel’s largely successful ploy till now has been to play both sides of the Syrian war – assisting its US patron in keeping Iran on the back foot while cooperating with a Russian military committed to stabilising the Syrian government.

That approach is now beginning to unravel as Israel and the US seek to prevent Moscow and Iran from helping consolidate Assad’s hold on power. The longer the fighting continues, the more likely it is that Israel will make an enemy not just of Iran but of Russia too.

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Nazi seven decades of plunder

NOVANEWS
Israel’s seven decades of plunder

Israel - Seven decades of plunder

Gilad Atzmon writes:

“I am perhaps the luckiest Jew who ever lived,” bragged Shmuel Rosner in the New York Times. Recently Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary. We witnessed a disturbing display of tribal hubris. I would like to believe that those who are even vaguely familiar with Jewish history know that this level of self-love has been a recipe for disaster.

“I am the Jew who gets to see Jewish ingenuity unapologetically celebrated,” Rosner wrote. And he is certainly right. The sight of Israeli soldiers shooting Palestinian protesters is certainly a unique celebration of “ingenuity”. Rosner feels “lucky” to see “Jewish material success flourish”. I accept that material wealth is important but wouldn’t it be a bit more clever for Rosner to conceal his affinity for mammon?

“I am the Jew who after 2,000 years gets to witness Jewish political independence.” I am sorry to remind Rosner that this sense of “independence” costs the American taxpayers $6 million dollars a day.

Israel has in fact celebrated seven decades of plunder, oppression and impunity. The voices of peace in Israel, from people like David Grossman, Uri Avnery and Gideon Levi, are fading.

Rosner informs us that “in survey after survey, more Israelis choose “Jewish” over “Israeli” as their main identity. And by this they do not refer to a religion (Judaism) but to a nation (the Jewish people).” Rosner is correct in noting that Israel has become increasingly Jewish. Zionism promised to make the Jews a people like all other peoples. It promised to make Israel into a “home” for the Jews. But Israel is not a home. It is a Jewish ghetto surrounded by walls and its politics are driven by hatred, xenophobia and Pre-Traumatic Stress. Israel is a reincarnation of the European shtetle.

Israeli author David Grossman spoke recently at the joint alternative memorial ceremony for Israelis and Palestinian Arabs in Tel Aviv. This event, inspired by reconciliation and harmony, faced many obstacles from Israeli society and government.

Grossman didn’t feel as lucky as Rosner. “What is a home?” he asked, adding:

Home is a place whose walls – borders – are clear and accepted; whose existence is stable, solid and relaxed; whose inhabitants know its intimate codes; whose relations with its neighbours have been settled. It conveys a sense of the future.

And we Israelis, even after 70 years – no matter how many words dripping with patriotic honey will be uttered in the coming days – we are not yet there. We are not yet home. Israel was established so that the Jewish people, who have nearly never felt at-home-in-the-world, would finally have a home.

And now, 70 years later, strong Israel may be a fortress, but it is not yet a home.

The solution to the great complexity of Israeli-Palestinian relations can be summed up in one short formula: if the Palestinians don’t have a home, the Israelis won’t have a home either.

It is hard to argue with Grossman’s ethical insight.

Israel has in fact celebrated seven decades of plunder, oppression and impunity. The voices of peace in Israel, from people like David Grossman, Uri Avnery and Gideon Levi, are fading. Israel, as Rosner attests, is a Jewish State. Israelis choose to bond with their “Jewish identity”. Peace and reconciliation are not something we should expect to see any time soon.

In his New York Times article, Rosner expressed this as a materialistic precept. “The more we [Jews] have, the more obligated we are to guard it and the more afraid we are to lose it.” This is not exactly a call for sharing the land. Instead, it provides a window into the crudeness inherent in Israeli exceptionalism.

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