Archive | January 12th, 2020

VenezuelaMaduro: Armed Forces, Commitment and Loyalty

The president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro during the act of salutation to the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB).

Cuban President Condemns Guaido’s Threats Against teleSUROPINION

Trump’s Iran ‘Punching Bag’: US Provocations to Continue

by Jack Rasmus

Embracing Palestine: How to Combat Israel’s Misuse of “An…

by Ramzy Baroud

Killing Soleimani Reflects US Desperation in the Middle E…

by Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo

Who Is Archbishop Atallah Hanna, and Why Israel Hates Him

by Ramzy Baroud

Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inboxI have already subscribed | Do not show this message againVideos

The Venezuelan head of state stressed the loyalty of the Armed Forces and urged the military component to be alert to the constant threats against the sovereignty and peace of the Venezuelan nation.

The President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro led Saturday the act of salutation to the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), where he highlighted the loyalty and commitment of the military in defense of the country’s sovereignty and peace.

RELATED: Venezuela’s Armed Forces Denounce Attack on Military Base

“I am standing today, more optimistic than ever about the future of our Nation and more grateful than ever for the loyalty, professionalism and cohesion of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces,” he said.

During his speech he also referred to the events that occurred during this year as the tightening of the economic blockade and the imposition of an interim president by the United States.

“The Armed Forces reacted to the attacks as a whole, with a slogan that was imposed in this 2019 and assumed by the entire nation: Loyal always, traitors never!” he added.

“We suffered an international conspiracy whose objective was to divide, fracture and destroy the unity, discipline, cohesion and morals of our military forces (…) it is a multiform aggression accompanied by threats of invasion, attempts at bribery, corruption and a structured psychological war so that our military forces would surrender without fighting,” the Venezuelan president highlighted.

Maduro recalled the events of last Feb. 23 where the right-wing, supported by the White House and the Government of Colombia sought to enter the country with alleged humanitarian aid and incite violence on the border with Colombia to promote a coup d’etat.

“From the Palace of Nariño and from that traitor named Ivan Duque it is from where all the conspiracy has been planned to try to destabilize the country and impose a coup d’etat,” he denounced.

The Venezuelan president also reiterated that all the aggressions of international factors wanted the armed forces “to doubt their historical and constitutional role,” however, they met with the “conscience of steel, an indestructible moral that came to pulverize all forms of psychological wars and conspiracies of 2019.”

In the “blood of the military there is a rebellious will that goes back generations and that has allowed us to defend ourselves against any conspiracy and attempts at division,” the head of state emphasized.

Posted in Venezuela0 Comments

What the World Needs Now Is Sustained Anti-War Activism for Peace in Our Time

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

It’s vitally needed in the US nationwide, in other Western countries and elsewhere.

It’s needed in large numbers, staying the course longterm, reviving the Vietnam era anti-war spirit in America.

January 9 was “No War With Iran Day of Action,” protests held in 180 US cities nationwide — sponsored by numerous organizations, including Veterans Against the War, NIAC Action, Win Without War, CODEPINK, Peace Action, Public Citizen, Veterans for Peace, and many other anti-war groups.

A Veterans for Peace statement said it “strongly condemns any and all US aggression (on) Iran and calls for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq,” adding:

“War with Iran would be yet another bloody disaster in the region and initiate another endless war.”

The organization endorsed anti-war days of action on January 9 and others to follow.

What’s needed is far more than action in the streets against war on Iran. Nationwide activism to end all US wars of aggression is vital, including ones waged by other means.

In the 1960s and 70s, activists and anti-war groups united against US war in Southeast Asia.

Students, workers, middle class households, academics, and others were involved in large numbers nationwide.

In 1965, anti-war activism gained momentum when the Pentagon began terror-bombing North Vietnam.

Protest marches rallied at the Oakland Army Terminal, the departure point for many troops to Southeast Asia.

Faculty members on US college campuses held teach-ins to educate students about the immorality, unlawfulness, and political foundation of warmaking.

In April 1965, a Washington rally by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) drew around 25,000.

Numerous anti-war events followed nationwide, thousands participating.

At a time before US military service was volunteer, resistance leaders urged young men to burn their draft cards in protest against war.

Underground networks helped draft resisters leave the country. Churches offered sanctuary. Anti-war activism among civil rights leaders provided more impetus, notably by Martin Luther King.Memorial Day Ignores Millions of US Imperial Victims

On April 4, 1967, a year to the day before his state-sponsored assassination, he delivered his memorable New York Riverside Church anti-war speech called “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”

Unmentioned by establishment media during annual Martin Luther King Day commemorations, he called the US “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” adding:

“It’s “on the wrong side of a world revolution. We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence, or violent co-annihilation.”

“We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

Silence is “betrayal,” he stressed, calling war in Vietnam “an enemy of the poor.”

“(I)t should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life (in) America today can ignore the present war.”

“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam.”

“This madness must cease…We must stop now…We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam.”

He called for a “revolution of values…declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism — ending by quoting James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891), saying:

“Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth and falsehood, For the good or evil side…”

That time is now, King stressed, his anti-war dream unfulfilled over half a century later, things today dismal than back then.

Calling US warmakers “criminals,” he stressed that ruling authorities in Washington and congressional supporters “committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world.”

Condemning the US as the world’s most villainous nation, he said “(o)ur only hope (depends on) declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

Sustained anti-war activism nationwide got Nixon to suspend US offensive action against North Vietnam on January 15, 1973 — signed by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in Paris, France on January 27, 1973.

In June, the congressional Church-Case amendment ended war funding, effective August 15.

On April 30, 1975, Washington ended its Southeast Asia involvement with a humiliating Saigon embassy rooftop pullout.

It took years of sustained anti-war activism to achieve it, what’s needed today to end all US wars of aggression, withdraw US forces from regions where they rage, and slash military spending, turning swords into plowshares.

What happened before can happen again. It takes judgment, spirit, guts, and commitment — staying the course for peace in all active US war theaters, including ones waged by other means.

We have a choice. We can end wars of aggression against one nation after another or risk eventual nuclear war ending us.

If not now, when? If not us, who? If not soon, maybe it’ll be too late to save us.

If that’s not incentive enough, what is?

Posted in Campaigns, Human Rights, Politics0 Comments

War, What Is It Good for?

By Philip A Farruggio

Global Research,

Edwin Starr in 1970, had this hit song War.

This was of course during the apex of the phony war on Vietnam.

One line of the lyrics that resounded so well for this writer was:

War
Friend only to the undertaker
War
War
War-Good God, now
Now
Give it to me one time now
Now now
What is it good for?

The 2003 illegal and, may I include, immoral US invasion and occupation of Iraq opened up a Pandora’s box of terrible repercussions that to this day, nearly 17 years later, still resonate. Yet, for this empire, what it succeeded in doing was to gift various US corporations $50 Billion of reconstruction contracts. You see, what the grifter community calls the Long Con is to attack a country on false claims, destroy much of its infrastructure, occupy the damaged mess you created and make gazillions from taxpayer money. As the helicopter tail gunner in the film Full Metal Jacket exclaimed as he stood there, arbitrarily murdering civilians: Ain’t war great! 

After the phony invasion in March of 2003 the bu…hit named Coalition Provisional Authority took money from the Iraqis and dished it out to a number of international corporations. They justified this robbery as compensation for ‘lost profits’ and ‘decline in business’ due to the ‘aggressive actions’ of Saddam Hussein since 1990.

My Yiddish speaking friends call that Chutzpah!My America: Raised by the Perpetual War Empire

Believe it or not, US based  companies like Sheraton received $11 million , Bechtel $ 7 million, Mobil $2.3 million, KFC some $ 321,000…. even Toys R Us got $190,000. OH, and Israeli farmers received $8 million…. and listen to this: They were not able to harvest fully due to the threat from Saddam’s regime. Plus, Israeli hoteliers and travel agencies received $15 million. I kid you not!

Now, while this was all going on, 500,000 Iraqi citizens lost their jobs, and soon after that over 50% of the workforce became unemployed. And people now ask why they want us the hell OUT of their country? When they ended the (so called) ‘War in Iraq’ in 2011, seven million Iraqis lived below the poverty line. Large amounts of Iraqi money were paid out to those infamous and humanitarian US corporations for local projects. Most were never completed, and corruption was rampant… by all parties concerned, Iraqi and American.

Sarah Anderson wrote a great piece on Global Research about how even the threat of war makes money for the top military contractors. Look below to see how the top 5 military contractors made a bundle right after the killing of General Suleimani:

*Resigned 12/22/19. **Resigned 1/1/19 while staying

What is needed in our fine nation is for we, the good and decent folks, to start demanding action. We must demand that the majority of our almost 1000 foreign bases be closed and personnel returned home. We need to make drastic cuts in this obscene military spending, whereupon 50% of our federal tax money goes down that rabbit hole. Take the savings, of treasure and US military lives, and fix our broken safety net… period! Oh, and how about we use eminent domain and nationalize all military contracting companies… at NON PROFIT! Maybe then Edwin Starr’s song would be a great reminder of what used to be…

Posted in Campaigns, Education, World0 Comments

Pompeo’s Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Provocation to War

By: Gareth Porter

Global Research,

Like the crucial steps toward public acceptance preceding the U.S. invasions of Vietnam and Iraq, the assassination of Qassem Soleimani was aimed at building popular support for war on Iran. Not only the justification, but the assassination itself were part of a broader strategy to grease the skids into war.

The Soleimani ploy has apparently failed, however, thanks to the carefully prepared Iranian response, which did not provoke Donald Trump to raise the stakes further. At least not yet.

The fingerprints of Pompeo are all over this provocation to war. In a striking parallel to the deception that accompanied the Gulf of Tonkin crisis in 1964—in which the American public was told about an attack on a U.S. ship that never happened, precipitating the Vietnam War—Pompeo and his allies carried out a complex deception in regard to the Soleimani hit. They claimed they had to kill the second most popular leader of Iran with no advance notice to Congress because the Iranian general was planning a massive attack that put the country in “imminent” danger. Trump officials have so far not provided any evidence publicly to back up this version of events. In fact, when briefed by DoD officials Wednesday, Democrats complained about the lack of hard evidence presented, leaving them unconvinced there was an imminent threat. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY., said the briefing was “less than satisfying.”

The deception accompanying Soleimani’s killing was just the latest in a much longer string of efforts by Pompeo that began in September  2018.  That’s when Pompeo and then-National Security Advisor John Bolton established the basic propaganda line that was used to sell the Soleimani assassination. They claimed that a few mortar rounds in the vicinity of the U.S. embassy and a consulate in Basra were evidence of an effort by Tehran to kill or injure U.S. diplomats. Bolton then demanded the Pentagon come up with retaliatory options if any Americans were harmed by any action of an Iranian “proxy,” Pompeo issued a public threat to attack Iran over the incidents.

But in fact those rockets landed a kilometer away from the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone where all foreign embassies are located, and that the one that fell near the Basra airport’s outer perimeter was nowhere near the U.S. consulate. And they were fired the same night that anti-Iran rioters were setting fire to the Iranian consulate in Basra and shutting down the country’s only seaport, and at the same time Sadrist protesters were rallying against the Iraqi government at the entrance to the Green Zone in sympathy with the anti-Iran protests.

In May 2019, Bolton claimed new “escalatory indications and warnings” of a threat to U.S. personnel in the Middle East and vowed, “[A]ny attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”  He and Pompeo leaked to major news outlets that there was intelligence about Iran ordering militia allies in the region to “target” Americans. But other officials who had seen the intelligence told the Wall Street Journalthat Tehran sent its allies a directive telling them to prepare for possible attack by the United States.Iranian Revenge Will Be A Dish Best Served Cold

The Bolton-Pompeo effort to lure Trump into a war with Iran faltered when the president twice refused their advice to retaliate militarily over the shoot-down of a U.S. drone and the drone attack on a key Saudi oil facility.  Bolton got fired in September, but Pompeo continued what they had begun. On December 13, he condemned two attacks on a Iraqi military base located near the Baghdad Airport on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9, in which two Iraqi anti-terrorist troops were injured, and then added,

“We must also use this opportunity to remind Iran’s leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.”

But the circumstances surrounding those rocket attacks made it unclear who might have fired the two to four mortars or rockets at the Iraqi Security Forces headquarters near Baghdad Airport, wounding two Iraqi counter-terrorism personnel. Opponents of the government had just launched new protests against repression of demonstrations by lethal forces by Iraqi security forces, including anti-riot police, and Moqtada al Sadr, who had been supporting the Iraqi government, but had just started to support the demonstrators. It is entirely possible that Sadrist militiamen or other opponents of the government had fired the rockets at the base in protest.

Two weeks later, on December 27, a rocket attack on the K1 Iraqi base near Kirkuk killed an American contractor, as “Operation Inherent Resolve” command confirmed.  The Trump administration immediately went into crisis mode, discussing both killing Soleimani and retaliatory strikes against Kataib Hezbollah. But the provenance of the event that triggered the fateful decisions that followed is shrouded in ambiguity. As The New York Times reported on Dec. 27, “It wasn’t clear who was responsible for the attack,” adding that the base had been threatened previously by both Iranian-backed militias and Islamic State forces.

The IS forces in the area of Kirkuk where the K1 base was located had become increasingly active in 2018 and 2019, with a rapidly growing pace of attacks, operating freely out of the rugged mountainous north and south of the city. In fact there had been more attacks by IS on government targets in Kirkuk in 2018 than anywhere else in Iraq, and it had the highest rate of growth as well.

To confirm the origins of the rockets might have taken some time, but Pompeo wasn’t interested in waiting. Instead of taking on the responsibility of investigating the incident thoroughly, the Pentagon and the command of Operation Inherent Resolve turned that responsibility over to the Iraqi Security Forces. If there was indeed an investigation that turned up information indicating that Kataib Hezbollah was responsible, it would certainly have been released publicly, but no further information on the incident has been forthcoming from either Iraqi or U.S. commands. The only specific information available has been a Reuters report from “security sources that Iraqi security forces had found a ‘launchpad’ for Katyusha rockets in ‘an abandoned vehicle near the base,’” which further deepened the mystery.

But it can be argued that Pompeo was eager for the United States to provoke a military confrontation with Iran, just as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was eager to begin airstrikes against North Vietnamese targets in August 1964. Even though he knew there were serious doubts on the part of the U.S. commander in the Gulf of Tonkin that an American ship had been attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats on Aug. 4, McNamara did not inform President Lyndon Johnson, and went ahead with the order for retaliatory strikes that night. Similarly, Pompeo apparently led Trump to believe that there was no doubt that pro-Iranian militia forces had killed an American in Kirkuk, despite the genuine uncertainty about the provenance of the attack.

In the initial meeting with Trump to discuss retaliation for the Dec. 27 attack, Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley presented the option of assassinating Gen. Soleimani along with strikes against Kataib Hezbollah, which they were blaming for the attack. According to The New York Times, the principals suggested the “improbable” assassination option only to make the retaliatory airstrikes more palatable. But considering Pompeo’s record of pushing for a military confrontation with Iran, and everything he has said publicly since, “taking Soleimani out” was probably Pompeo’s ultimate objective.

The U.S. retaliatory strikes against the militia’s weapons storage sites and other targets on Dec. 29 were nowhere near Kirkuk. One of the strikes was against al Qaim on the Syrian border 400 kilometers away from Kirkuk and two others were in Syria. It was obvious those retaliatory strikes would provoke a response by pro-Iranian militias in Baghdad that could be used to justify the assassination of Soleimani. And the response was not long in coming: thousands of angry pro-Iranian Shiite militants, many in militia uniforms, broke into the Embassy compound and set fire to three trailers near the outer wall a reception area before being ordered by militia leaders to disperse, because they had delivered the desired “message.

That was enough to persuade Trump to support the Soleimani assassination option. Pompeo had achieved his objective of U.S. military aggression, while publicly making the obviously specious argument that it was aimed at “deterring” Iran from further military actions. No one in the national security elite, which was universally convinced that Iran would have to retaliate against the assassination, took Pompeo’s argument seriously.

Iran is too clever, however, to allow Pompeo to so easily maneuver it into a confrontation that would serve the interests of American hawks and Israel. Iran has its own much more complex political-military strategy for managing the problem of the Trump administration’s policy of economic and military warfare. It now appears from the results of Iran’s military retaliation Tuesday night that it has foregone any mass casualty strike in revenge for the U.S. assassination of its second most prominent official. And Trump, as yet, will not retaliate in response. Now Pompeo will have to come up with a new deception to try to provoke U.S.-Iran war.

Posted in USA0 Comments

‘Atrocious’: 188 Democrats Join GOP to Hand Trump $738 Billion Military Budget that Includes ‘Space Force’

By Jake Johnson

Global Research,

“It is Orwellian for Congress to hand over billions of dollars worth of weapons and bombs to a president waging a horrific, unconstitutional war in Yemen—and call that progressive.”

***

More than 180 House Democrats joined a nearly united Republican caucus Wednesday night to pass a sweeping $738 billion military spending bill that gives President Donald Trump his long-sought “Space Force,” free rein to wage endless wars, and a green light to continue fueling the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

Just 48 members of the House, including 41 Democrats, voted against the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which increases the Pentagon budget by $22 billion. The final vote was 377-48.

“This NDAA is atrocious, and it’s very depressing that only 48 members of congress voted against it,” tweeted anti-war group CodePink.

In a floor speech ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the most vocal opponent of the NDAA in the House, said “there are many things you can call the bill, but it’s Orwellian to call it progressive.” Khanna was standing across the aisle from Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who hailed the measure as “the most progressive defense bill we have passed in decades.”

“Let’s speak in facts,” said Khanna. “This defense budget is $120 billion more than what Obama left us with. That could fund free public college for every American. It could fund access to high-speed, affordable internet for every American. But it’s worse. The bipartisan amendment to stop the war in Yemen: stripped by the White House. The bipartisan amendment to stop the war in Iran: stripped by the White House.”

Bernie Sanders@SenSanders

My friend @RepRoKhanna is right: it is Orwellian for Congress to hand over billions of dollars worth of weapons and bombs to a president waging a horrific, unconstitutional war in Yemen—and call that progressive. 17.3K10:25 PM – Dec 11, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy5,084 people are talking about this

According to the New York Times, Smith—chairman of the House Armed Services Committee—negotiated several provisions of the NDAA directly with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

“It was Mr. Kushner who helped broker a deal to create the Space Force, a chief priority of the president’s, in exchange for the paid parental leave [for federal employees],” the Times reported Wednesday. “It was also Mr. Kushner who intervened on measures targeting Saudi Arabia that would have prohibited arms sales or military assistance to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. He said they were nonstarters for the White House.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) foreign policy adviser Matt Duss expressed outrage that Democrats allowed Kushner—who has close ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—to kill an amendment that would have helped end U.S. complicity in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Matt Duss@mattduss

Congrats to Democratic leadership on getting outnegotiated by JARED KUSHNER. On a provision that was already passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress. To end US support for a war that has created to the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe.

Great goddam job. https://twitter.com/mattduss/status/1204909176276869120 …Matt Duss@mattduss”It was also Mr. Kushner who intervened on measures targeting Saudi Arabia that would have prohibited arms sales or military assistance to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. He said they were nonstarters for the White House, according to the officials.” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/us/politics/house-ndaa-space-force-leave.html …1,09011:47 PM – Dec 11, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy389 people are talking about this

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who voted against the NDAA, noted in a statement that the final version also stripped out her House-passed amendment that would have repealed the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

“With the release of the Afghanistan Papers, it is especially imperative that we take a hard look at our military spending and authorizations,” said Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against the war in Afghanistan in 2001. “I can tell you: it is an appalling, but not shocking read for those of us who have been working to stop endless war. It’s past time to end the longest war in United States history, withdraw our troops, and bring our servicemembers home.”

The 2020 NDAA now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is expected to pass. In a tweet ahead of the House vote on Wednesday, Trump praised the bill and said he would sign it into law “immediately.”

“New rule: Every member of Congress who voted to give the most corrupt, unhinged, and unstable president in history $738 billion to fight endless wars, fund a bogus space force, and put our troops at risk must never tell us that we cannot afford Medicare for All or a Green New Deal,” Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ senior adviser, tweeted Wednesday night. “Ever.”

Posted in USA0 Comments

The Fascinating History and Political Lives of Jews in Iran

by ARIEL GOLD

On December 14, 2019, a white male entered the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills, vandalizing the sanctuary. He unrolled Torah scrolls, strewed them across the floor, and tore prayer books. Four days later, police arrested 24-year-old Anton Nathaniel Redding of Millersville, Pennsylvania, and charged him with vandalism of religious property, commercial burglary, and committing a hate crime. As I heard about this latest antisemitic attack, this time on a Persian synagogue, I thought back to my recent visit to the country of Iran this past October.

The first association that comes to mind when invoking Iran is not usually one of synagogues. Most would be surprised to know that after Israel, the Islamic Republic is home to the largest population of Jews in the Middle East. Iran’s Jewish population numbers somewhere between 9,000 (according to the 2012 Iranian census) and 15,000 (according to an August 2018 interview with the Iranian Jewish community published in USA Today). As I prepared to lead a CODEPINK peace delegation to Iran, one of my goals was to find out more about Iran’s Jewish community.

Given the Iranian state’s imposition of Islamic law on its entire population, the crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S., President Trump’s travel ban preventing Iranians from visiting their relatives in the U.S., and Israel’s open invitation to help Iranian Jews immigrate, I was anxious to discover why Iran’s population of Jews choose to remain.

On the first morning after our arrival, our group of 12, one-third of whom were Jewish, boarded our tour bus to visit Iran’s largest synagogue, the Yusef Abad synagogue in Tehran. The first thing we noticed was the lack of security. Walk by any synagogue in Manhattan and you will find at least one security guard, usually more. Last year walking by the København synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, I was struck by how the religious sanctuary was like an unwelcoming fortress. The entire building was surrounded by an iron gate, and the entrance had an armed guard and far more defenses than you find in most airports. Iran’s Yusef Abad synagogue, however, had no security guard, or even a local congregant posted at the front door. The door was unlocked, and we walked right in. The lack of security, we learned, was because synagogues in Iran are safe places.

Our visit took place on the last day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and we were able to witness the ceremony of shaking the lulav, while the worshipers circled around an ancient Torah in the prayer style of Sephardic Jews (Jews from Spain, Portugal, and other places in the Mediterranean).

A woman in the balcony with reasonably good English welcomed us and showed us around, including taking us to the sukkot outside the back door of the synagogue. About 500 Jews had been there the night before, she told us, as we marveled at the tent-like structure, its ceiling adorned with pomegranates, squash gourds, and citrus fruits. The synagogue’s warmth and hospitality washed over us.

The Yusef Abad synagogue was just the first of several Jewish experiences I had the pleasure of engaging in during the nine days I spent in Iran. In Isfahan, one of my tour guides and I went to a street lined with synagogues. It was dusk, so we popped in and caught the end of a weekday service. What struck me, again, was that there was no security of any kind.

On the last night of our stay in Iran, I was notified that an Iranian Jewish community leader wanted to meet with me. Jon Letman, an independent journalist and fellow Jew on our CODEPINK delegation, joined me as we sat down with Hamed Tavana, an Iranian Jew and manager of interreligious dialogue at the Iranian Ministry of Culture in the city of Shiraz. Speaking through an interpreter, Tavana welcomed us to his country, wished us a happy Rosh Hashanah, and encouraged us to visit some of the 20 synagogues in Shiraz. He explained that Shiraz, home to around 7,000 Sephardic Jews, is also the hometown of the Jewish member of Iran’s parliament, and that Iranian Jews are free to conduct whatever religious ceremonies and practices they choose. He referred to Shiraz as a “second Jerusalem” for Iranian Jews.

I asked Tavana, as I had asked in the Tehran and Isfahan synagogues, how safe the Jewish Iranian community feels and if they face any forms of hatred and antisemitism. He replied, like the others before him, that Iranian Jews are completely safe and respected in their country. He also explained that Iran guarantees a seat in parliament for the Jewish community, and invited us to meet with the Jewish representative on a future visit.

Unconvinced by Tavana’s assurances that Jews in Iran did not face discrimination, I pressed further, making sure he didn’t think that I was suggesting that Iran was more prone to antisemitism than other countries. “Antisemitism is rapidly rising right now in America and Europe,” I told him. “Donald Trump says vile things against Jews. When American Nazis marched after he was elected, he said there were ‘really fine people.’ He accuses Jews of being obsessed with money and says to American Jews that Netanyahu is ‘your prime minister,’” I said. I told Tavana and the people I spoke with at the synagogues that our meeting was occurring during the one-year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue massacre, the largest attack against Jews in America’s history.

Tavana expressed sympathy and understanding, telling us he knew about the Pittsburgh killings and giving his condolences for the victims. But he insisted that this kind of hatred and violence against Jews was not a problem his community faces.

Of course, he—and the others I met with—may well have been afraid to say anything outside of approved government messaging. The meeting was facilitated by a translator, presumably sent from the Ministry of Tourism. My conversation in the Isfahan synagogue was also facilitated by a translator who was one of our tour guides. Though our host at the Tehran synagogue spoke excellent English and she and I have remained in touch, given her limited knowledge of me and her government’s disdain for dissent—think the country’s recent blacking out of the internet—it makes sense she has contained her conversations with me to discussions of our shared and diverging Jewish histories, practices, and values.

I did not want to endanger my friends in Iran by pressing further, like asking about the December 2017 vandalization of the Kenisa’eh Hadash synagogue in Shiraz or the 1999 arrest of 13 Iranian Jews from Shiraz who were convicted of spying for Israel and spent between two and four years in jail, finally being released thanks to international pressure. While there may well be more discrimination than the Jews I met admitted, it is remarkable that in a country that is such an ardent foe of Israel, Jews live peacefully, side-by-side with their Muslim neighbors.

Jewish history in Iran is long, rich, and varied, stretching back nearly 3,000 years. In 539 BC (3222-3223 in the Hebrew calendar), King Cyrus the Great authored what is widely regarded as the first-ever declaration of human rights. It advocates fighting oppression, defending the oppressed, and respecting human dignity and the principles of justice, liberty and free expression. It also includes an edict allowing the Jews living under his rule to return to their native lands. The Book of Ezra credits Cyrus with the Jews being able to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem, and the Book of Esther provides an early first glimpse of Jewish life in Iran as it chronicles the rise of a Persian Jewish woman in 478 BC (Hebrew years 3283-3284) to the rank of queen, enabling her to save her people from slaughter.

While the stories of Cyrus and Esther ended well for the Jews, by 651 AD (Hebrew years 4411-4412), with the Muslim conquest of Persia, the Jews were not faring well. Non-Muslims, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians (the religion of Cyrus the Great) were assigned the status of dhimmis, meaning inferior subjects. While they were allowed to practice their religions, they had to pay exorbitant taxes, were required to wear clothing distinguishing them as non-Muslims, and could not do such things as ride horses, bear arms, or testify against a Muslim in court.

The Safavid dynasty, from 1501 to 1736—often considered to be the beginning of modern Iranian history—saw the treatment of Jews and other non-Muslims deteriorate even further, as they were forbidden from leaving their homes on rainy days, lest their impurity transfer through the water and contaminate a Muslim. Shah Abbas, who reigned from 1588 to 1629, began his rule by relaxing some of the laws against non-Muslims, giving Jews some opportunities to prosper economically and even encouraging them to settle in the new capital of Isfahan. But his goodwill did not last long, and he later expelled Jews from Isfahan, required them to wear distinctive identifying badges (think an early version of the identifying yellow star patch), and ordered forced conversions.

By the middle of the 19th century, Iranian Jews were living in their own quarters in separate parts of towns. In 1830, there was a massacre and forced conversion of Jews in the cities of Tabriz and Shiraz, and in 1839, there was a massacre of Jews in Mashhad. Those who survived were forced to convert to Islam.

In October 1910, the Jewish community of Shiraz was accused of killing a young Muslim girl to obtain her blood. A crowd gathered demanding vengeance, and Iranian troops were sent in to halt the angry mob. But when the soldiers arrived in the Jewish quarter, rather than follow orders, they initiated the violence. The pogrom went on for six to seven hours, resulting in every single one of the 260 Jewish homes in the quarter being looted. Although most of the Jews found safety in Muslim friends’ homes, mosques, and inside the British consulate, 12 were killed, and 15 were injured by stabbing, bludgeoning or gunshots.

The Iranian Jewish community prospered financially during the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925 to 1979) as the laws and customs that had discriminated against them were lifted. But the dynasty’s first ruler, Reza Shah, was also an unapologetic fascist who strengthened Iranian ties with Nazi Germany. On the eve of WWII, Germany was Iran’s biggest trading partner, and Reza Shah accepted from Germany shipments of around 7,500 racist books advocating for greater collaboration between the Germans and “Aryan Persians.” Nazi newspapers were distributed in Tehran, and swastikas were graffitied on Jewish homes and shops. Inside Germany, there were nightly radio broadcasts in Persian, advocating such things as violent revenge for the 473 BC massacre of non-Jews during Queen Esther’s rule.

Maybe it was because of the paralyzing fear that must have gripped the Jewish community as Reza Shah supported Nazi Germany; maybe it was a continuation of Jewish participation in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1906-1911) resulting in, among other things, a parliament seat being set aside for a Jewish representative; or maybe it was thanks to the legacy of Cyrus the Great’s treatment of Jews, but in 1941 when the leftist socialist Tudeh party was established, Iranian Jews rushed to join.

Although “Jews comprised less than 2 percent of the Iranian population [in 1941], almost 50 percent of the members of the Tudeh party were Jewish,” as were a large number of the writers for the party’s publications. According to Medea Benjamin’s book Inside Iran: Tthe Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in 1946, the Tudeh party-led Central Council of United Trade Unions organized a strike against the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, winning an eight-hour workday, overtime pay, higher wages, better housing and paid Fridays off. The Tudeh party also introduced the country’s first national labor laws that secured the above-listed rights for all workers, as well as a minimum wage, six annual national holidays, unemployment compensation, the right to organize unions, and the outlawing of child labor.

In 1946, Mohammad Reza Shah, who had replaced his father in 1941, outlawed the Tudeh party and, in 1957, with the help of the CIA and the Israeli Mossad, he established the brutal Iranian secret police, the SAVAK, which censored, disappeared, tortured, and killed anyone who dared criticize the Shah’s regime. According to Amnesty International, in 1975, there were between 25,000 and 100,000 political prisoners. The torture used in the prisons and by SAVAK was similar to that used against Jews and others during the Spanish Inquisition. Survivors describe such things as a “metal cage torture device” and “electric cables and wires for flogging my (feet) while I was blindfolded.”

Ironically, this period has been described by historian David Menashri as a golden era for Iranian Jewry: “Their part in economic, scientific, and professional life was disproportionate to their share in society… they may well have been one of the richest Jewish communities worldwide.” While undoubtedly some Jews enjoyed their wealth and achievements without feelings of guilt over the Shah’s repression, such attitudes certainly couldn’t be ascribed to the entire Jewish community. As the tumultuous 1979 revolution was approaching, the Jewish youth of Iran (not unlike young American Jews of today) were engaged in a battle for leadership against the old guard of their community, many of whom were affiliated with the Shah’s regime. What had been inspired by King Cyrus and had taken shape during the Constitutional Revolution, and in the Tudeh party became a commitment by many Iranian Jews to a revolution.

In March 1978, Jewish activists Harun Parviz Yesha’ya and ’Aziz Daneshrad, both of whom had been jailed for anti-monarchy activity under the Shah, gathered a dozen leftist Iranian Jews to establish the Association of Jewish Iranian Intellectuals (AJII). A specifically Jewish revolutionary group, AJII had bylaws that declared “war against imperialism, and any form of colonialism, including Zionism, and revealing the relationship between Zionism and world’s imperialism” and “[w]ar against any sort of racial discrimination, racism, and anti-Semitism.”

AJII created the weekly publication Tamuz, which quickly amassed high circulation and published prominent non-Jewish intellectuals and leftist figures alike. “We formed this group [AJII] in order to show the rest of the people in Iran that we Jews were not woven from a different fabric of society than other Iranians, but that we also supported… [the new post-1979 government’s professed] goals for democracy and freedom,” said Sa’id Banayan, one of AJII’s founders.

AJII wasn’t the only Jewish contribution to the Islamic revolution. With the protests and the Shah’s violent response came a vital need for medical care in an institution that would refuse to let SAVAK arrest their patients. The Jewish Sapir Hospital became that place.

December 11, 1978, saw one of the largest demonstrations of the revolution, with millions of citizens participating, including record numbers of Jews—somewhere between 5,000 and 12,000. “Our signs and chants were: Yahudi-musalman hambastigi-i mubarak [Jewish-Muslims blessed solidarity]. It was so exciting, I could not stop crying,” said one Jewish participant. The momentous occasion brings to mind Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s participation in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery and his reflection afterward: “I felt as if my legs were praying.”

While it is rumored the Shah requested and received soldiers from Israel to use against the protesters, ambulances from the Jewish Sapir Hospital scoured the streets looking for wounded protesters to pick up, and the Jewish hospital’s large staff of volunteer physicians, nurses, and others stayed on for more than 24 hours to treat and protect the injured.

Unfortunately, many of the aims of the revolution did not survive. In her book Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Medea Benjamin describes the struggle between Ayatollah Khomeini and the more liberal and democratic Prime Minister Bazargan over the creation of a new government. “We will never know” what could have been, she states. “Because at that critical moment the United States once again intervened in Iran’s affairs by admitting the Shah into the United States for cancer treatment.” This redirected the Iranian people’s anger from a focus on what the Shah’s regime had done to hatred directed at the U.S.:

“When Ayatollah Khomeini refused to order the students out of the [U.S.] embassy, Bazargan resigned, and the debate over his and Khomeini’s conflicting visions for the constitution and the future of Iran was effectively over. Khomeini had won.”

The brutal eight-year Iran-Iraq war, which began in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, enabled Ayatollah Khomeini to take even greater control. The legal age for girls to marry was lowered to 13, publications were censored, textbooks rewritten, and revenge was taken against both confirmed and alleged former supporters of the Shah’s regime. Tragically, some of the very same tactics that had been part of the Shah’s regime—execution, torture, the imprisonment of political critics—were then adopted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran today executes the second-largest number of people in the world, and some of the very same prisons that were built under the Shah, such as the “notorious” Evin Prison, today operate with similar brutality.

According to Medea Benjamin, the first two years following the revolution, the Iranian government executed 500 political opponents, 93 former SAVAK officers, 205 members of the military and 35 practitioners of the Baha’i religion. It also executed a businessman and prominent member of the Jewish community, Habib Elghanian, who was convicted of being a “Zionist spy.”

After the execution of Elghanian, a delegation of Jewish leaders met with Ayatollah Khomeini. Although he promised that Jews would be protected, saying, “We make a distinction between the Jewish community and the Zionists,” two-thirds of the community chose to leave—30,000-40,000 to the U.S., 20,000 to Israel, and 10,000 to Europe.

The history of Jewish persecution in Iran should be placed within a larger global context. The suffering that Jews have endured in Iran pales in comparison to the treatment of Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, the pogroms of pre-WWII Eastern Europe, of course the Holocaust, and the history of Jewish persecution in other Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq and Yemen.

We must also understand the experience of Iranian Jews within the current context of today’s surrounding countries. Iran guarantees one seat in their parliament for a Jewish representative and two seats for Christian representatives (proportional to the populations of each respective religious minority). Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia—a close U.S. ally—requires women to wear a full chador, executes people for leaving Islam, and forbids the construction of any synagogues or churches.

Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the vast majority of Iranian Jews chose not to emigrate to the newly formed state of Israel. According to Trita Parsi, by 1951, only around 8,000 of Iran’s 100,000 Jews left. Meanwhile, almost all of Yemen’s Jewish population was transported to Israel, where—as dark skinned Jews—they faced terrible discrimination, including having their babies kidnapped by the Jewish state to be adopted out to whiter, “more refined” Western Ashkenazi Jews from Europe. And compared to the status of Palestinians, Jews in Iran today enjoy far more protections and rights than Palestinians living in the West Bank under Israeli military control.

Iranian-American political scientist Majid Rafizadeh wrote for Tablet about the Jews that stayed: “Some of the Jews who have stayed in Iran are elderly and unable to tolerate travel or establishing a new home in a foreign country. Some Jews are determined to protect their sacred places and synagogues, or family homes.” But, Rafizadeh’s assessment ignores that elderly Jews in Iran today were 40 years younger at the time of the revolution. Sadly, he negates the political lives of Iranian Jews, limiting the community’s values to only individualism, sectarianism, and materialism and reducing the length and depth of their rich history.

While Rafizadeh and others assume that Iranian Jews today are simply surviving and suffering, I propose that they have much more agency and intention, including participation in civil society’s efforts to transform their society.

Protest in Iran does not necessarily look like the demonstrations that take place in the United States, and does not always rise to the scale of the November 2019 demonstrations that rocked Iran and were brutally repressed by the government. Some Iranian protests are subtle and specific: the young woman our peace delegation witnessed singing in public—an activity that is illegal for women in Iran—while her male partner filmed for social media; the white scarf protests against the compulsory hijab; and the pilgrimage for human rights every October 29 (7 of Aban on the Iranian calendar) to the site near Shiraz where Cyrus the Great was entombed. Perhaps Tavana or some of the other Jews I met in Iran participated in that pilgrimage two days after I left the country on October 27.

The U.S. government’s insistence that imposing economic sanctions on Iran is somehow benefiting the Iranian people is demonstrably false. The Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” is preventing life-saving medicines and vital technology from entering the country and emboldening the country’s hardliners. Iranians seeking to reform their government are suffering from this foreign intervention that is crippling their economy and making human rights goals and progressive reforms harder to achieve.

Just as American Jews who identify with social justice, civil rights, progressivism, and tikkun olam (repair of the world) have no intention of leaving their country even if—God forbid—Trump gets a second term, Jews in Iran today are internationally choosing to remain in their country. Perhaps they remain because they feel integrated into Iranian society and political movements, and see themselves as part of a long history of opposition to U.S., Israeli, British and other forms of imperialism. Perhaps they want to be on the ground for the next chapter of Iranian history, one in which they and their Muslim, Christian, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, and other Iranian brothers and sisters work hand-in-hand to create an Iran, and an entire Middle East, where all can live together in peace.

Iranian Jews are anything but trapped victims. They are full political actors with rich political histories and valuable interfaith allies. So how best can we support their efforts? As American Jews and non-Jews, we should be outraged at how the Trump administration is endangering Iranian civil society and making their efforts for change much harder. For the sake of all who live in Iran—Muslims, Christians, Jews, and more—we must push Congress and whoever gets sworn into office in January 2021 to lift the brutal inhumane sanctions, rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, and move toward normalizing relations.

Posted in Iran0 Comments

The Looming U.S. Water Crisis

by ANDREEA STEREA

Dalles Dam. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

According to the World Economic Forum, the global water crisis is the fourth major threat of our civilization. In fact, studies warn that two-thirds of the global population could be living in water-stressed countries by 2025 — just a few short years away.

When we think about water scarcity, many Americans may immediately call to mind countries in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. But Europe and North America are also facing unprecedented water shortage issues — and the United States stands out of the crowd.

One study published in 2019 in the journal Earth’s Future highlights the fact that states like New Mexico, California, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska will have to make significant changes to counter severe upcoming water shortage problems.

The study also highlights some issues we all need to take into consideration — one of the most critical being the safety of U.S. water.

One would think that the most powerful country in the world would enjoy clean tap water every day. Yet thanks to inequality and infrastructure decay, millions of Americans drink unsafe tap water from systems that violate health standards — in the same vein of the ongoing violations occurring in Flint, Michigan. Investigative journalists found that more than 30 cities botched water quality testing, following the same flawed procedures that led to criminal charges against government employees in Flint.

Ordinary Americans seem to realize this. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans worry a great deal about the pollution of drinking water, while 57 percent worry a great deal about pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

There’s no use hiding it: America is going through a water crisis, and we’re going to face even more dire times if it doesn’t begin to change soon.

How bad are things, anyway?

While the United States is not yet among the world’s most at-risk countries in terms of water scarcity —  certainly not comparable with the situation in UgandaIndia, Pakistan, or Qatar for instance — people and authorities cannot ignore the facts anymore.

According to the Water Research Institute, New Mexico faces the most dire situation of any U.S. state, with its water risk rating as “extremely high.” Its rankings put New Mexico on par with the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and Eritrea in Africa.

California, a state that has its fair share of water problems, comes next. The drought that began sweeping across the U.S. in the 2010s is still causing huge problems, from California on up to southeast Alaska’s rainforest.

What is even more concerning is that U.S. groundwater is facing depletion, with industries and people digging ever deeper for water that used to come easy.

Water shortages occur when the demand outpaces the supply. According to the Earth’s Future study mentioned above, the U.S. population could grow to over 500 million people by 2100. Naturally, population growth is a predictor of water demand growth.

As supply is concerned, however, things don’t look bright. Besides the current concerns related to water pollution and the authorities’ failure to keep water safe, water supplies will undergo significant variations in response to climate change. Out of the 204 water basins supplying most of the country with fresh water, as many as 96 could fail to meet monthly demand starting in 2071.

Fifty-plus years may sound like a reasonable amount of time to come up with a solution. The problem is we don’t have nearly that long. According to the United Nations report published last year, the infamous 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature rise above pre-industrial levels will occur sometime between 2030 and 2052 if we fail to stop the current rate of global warming.

Even if President Trump does not believe in this warming, scientists do. The correlation is simple to understand: Alongside increased demand from a growing population, we’re likely to see less rainfall and significant evaporation caused by global warming.

The first sector affected by this perfect storm is going to be agriculture. Since agriculture often accounts for roughly 75 percent of the annual consumption of basin water in the United States, those shortages will create severe challenges — including food insecurity.

The climate is changing. Can our politics?

However, if water scarcity and food insecurity will take another 50 years, drinking water safety cannot wait any longer.

It took the Flint water crisis for the U.S. to open their eyes and realize that the “American Dream” shakes on its feet because the infrastructure cannot support it for much longer. The problem in Flint, Michigan, is still unsolved, even after all these years. A mix of anti-democratic tendencies, negligence, racism, and issues ranging from incompetence to manslaughter caused the Flint crisis. Solving it — and others like it — is going to take a significant movement.

According to the American Water Works Association, the country needs to make massive investments in water infrastructure over the coming decades. But such repairs and replacements would cost at least $1 trillion. And when we talk about money, we also talk about politics. For the first time this year, moderators devoted about 12 minutes to tackle climate and water issues during a single presidential debate. Still, most media outlets seem to ignore the crisis.

And while the EPA says that water problems take priority over even climate change, the agency does little to tackle the problem. Earlier this year in Iowa, for example, private wells used for drinking water faced extensive contamination due to agricultural practices. The EPA, however, actually put a halt on the regulation of ion nitrate fertilizer, one of the substances endangering the 300,000 private wells in the state.

This story is just one of many, unfortunately. Poorly protected or downright disregarded communities across the country— like the poor, small town of Denmark, South Carolina, whose mayor actually tried to prevent scientists from testing the town’s bizarre smelling, off-color water — are having to fight hard to keep their right to clean, safe water.

Meanwhile, according to the Environmental Working Group, over 1,000 locations in 49 states have confirmed cases of contamination by highly toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS. And the Trump administration is pushing ever harder to dismantle protections like the Waters of the U.S. rule — an effort exports have called “the biggest attack on clean water in our generation.”

Fortunately, the U.S. water crisis hasn’t reached the levels seen in more arid regions of the world. But it is a crisis nonetheless — spreading silently and deadly, accelerated by a broken or corrupt political system.

We have a long way ahead of us finding the right political and economic framework to tackle climate change, infrastructure rehabilitation, well water regulations, water contamination, agriculture challenges, and more — not to mention climate justice for all. Speaking truth to power is the first step. But it needs to be all of us, and it needs to be now.

Posted in Middle East, USA0 Comments

Against Modi’s Divide and Rule, We Unite and Resist!

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

AS 2019 draws to a close, India today truly finds itself at a crossroads where one road leads towards the RSS dream of a Hindu Rashtra and the other must take us to a higher level of secular democracy. Having been re-elected for a second term, the Modi government has rapidly unleashed the whole artillery of the long-term RSS agenda with a now-or-never kind of desperate aggression and virulence. Even as the economy reels under a massive slowdown, shrinking consumption and mounting unemployment, with millions suffering from acute hunger, the government has gone ahead with its conspiratorial political agenda, first stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its constitutional status and even statehood and then rushing through an amendment to the Citizenship Act that changes the very terms of our citizenship and the character of our Republic.

The Constitution of India begins with the Preamble, which in turn begins with the defining expression ‘we, the people of India’. All power flows from and resides in the people who are the bedrock of India’s sovereignty. The people elect governments in accordance with the Constitution and governments are duty-bound to uphold the Constitution. In a complete reversal of this relationship of the people holding the government accountable, we now have the government making constant demands on the people. The onus is shifted on the people to prove that their money is legitimate (demonetization), that they are not terrorists or engaged in unlawful activities (UAPA) and now that they are legal citizens of this country (CAA-NRC). And to impose this agenda the BJP governments are resorting not just to massive lies and hate-filled propaganda but to brutal repression and indiscriminate suspension of democracy with ‘governance’ increasingly acquiring the trappings of a complete police state. In India’s largest state the police now look like an organised, official lynch mob carrying out the Chief Minister’s orders of revenge.

In August when the Modi-Shah duo carried out the Kashmir coup, many in India still thought it was just an act of bringing about some legal uniformity, an innocent step towards a ‘one country, one law’ order. The act of bifurcation of the state into two union territories of coursed raised some eyebrows as did the mass arresting of Kashmiri leaders and ordinary people and the total suspension of communication and democracy in the valley. Yet Kashmir remained remote for most common Indians. When a few weeks later the final NRC left close to two million people excluded in Assam, and reports of deaths in Assam’s detention camps started trickling out into the national media, the rest of the country began wondering about what was really happening in Assam. But for many it was still just another state in the North-East.

However, with Amit Shah fast-tracking the BJP agenda of an all-India NRC and rushing through a communal, discriminatory and anti-constitutional amendment to the Citizenship Act in less than 72 hours, the whole of India has begun to wake up to the horrific implications of the entire design. And with frequent internet shutdowns, brutal police invasion of universities and homes and violent attacks on protests across the country, especially in BJP-ruled states and the national capital, experiences in Kashmir and Assam perhaps no longer seem so remote.

In Uttar Pradesh in particular, where te Chief Minister vowed “revenge” against protestors, the police as unleashed terror and plunder in Muslim communities, under cover of an internet shutdown. Gujarat 2002 is being repeated A BJP MLA from Kaithal, Haryana has made the genocidal intent of his party clear, saying in a speech, “This is not the India of Nehru and Manmohan Singh, it is the India of Modi and Shah. Miyan ji (taunting term for a Muslim) listen up, we can wipe you out in an hour if we get a signal.”

For too long the Modi government and the Sangh-BJP brigade have been trying to widen the fault lines of our complex and diverse society and resurrect the worst chapters of our history. But finally we can see the country fighting back and rallying around the finest dreams and values of our freedom movement and the Constitution. The BJP which habitually paints everything with a communal brush to stoke the fires of communal polarisation is trying to tell us that only sections of ‘jehadi Muslims’ and ‘urban Naxals’ are misleading people into unwarranted and uninformed protests over NRC and CAA. But for once the BJP is finding it difficult to hoodwink the people and the protests against NRC and CAA are only spreading further and growing more courageous and determined. The spectre of fascist Hindu Rashtra has finally run into some resolute mass resistance.

The Modi government is trying to suppress the opposition to the CAA-NRC by calling it anti-national and blatantly mobilising Islamophobia, with Modi saying protesters could be ‘identified by their dress’. Shah and Yogi are letting loose the police force under their command to target the protesters in all places and in every possible way. Section 144, a colonial-era order restricting human mobility in specific areas to prevent potential violations of law and order, is being clamped down arbitrarily and indefinitely in entire regions and internet is being shut down frequently. Yet defying such open tyranny, protests are breaking out across India, giving words like secularism, democracy and solidarity a new vibrant meaning and spirit.

This spirit of mass protest has also begun to make its presence felt in the electoral arena. After the elections to Haryana and Maharashtra Assemblies, we have now again seen the powerful impact of this spirit in the Jharkhand elections. While the Haryana and Maharashtra election verdicts dented the BJP’s claims to electoral invincibility, Jharkhand has delivered a body blow to the BJP’s election machine. Modi, Shah and Yogi all tried every trick in their rhetorical repertoire, played all the trump cards from Kashmir to Ayodhya, and NRC to CAA, and yet could not save the Raghubar government, which had become synonymous with hunger and fear, corruption and repression, from a spectacular defeat.

This combination of spirited popular protests and emphatic electoral rejection must mark our way ahead. Jolted by the mass opposition, the government is pretending to go soft on the NRC, almost to the point of disowning it, hoping to camouflage the thoroughly communal and anti-constitutional CAA as empowerment of refugees. We must continue to expose and challenge the CAA for what it is – a war on the secular character of our republic, a mockery of the basic constitutional principle of equality of all citizens regardless of their religious identity and a negation of Hindu-Muslim fraternity that serves as the biggest bulwark of India’s national unity and cultural diversity – till the government is compelled to withdraw this divisive and anti-constitutional CAA-NRC package. 2019 is ending on a high note of mass protests and electoral setbacks for the BJP, let 2020 begin in the same spirit with the power of the 8 January all-India mass strike and another debilitating defeat of the BJP in the elections to the Delhi Assembly.

Posted in India0 Comments

انتهت المسرحية: هؤلاء قتلى عين الأسد

في لقاءٍ بمحض الصدفة مع مسؤولٍ عربيٍ سابق، استهل حديثه باستنكار حال أمة الفرص الضائعة -كما سمّاها-، فكم أضاع العرب من فرصٍ لصناعة الاستقرار منذ العام 1948 والتفرغ للتنمية، وهذا ما تسبب بفراغٍ ملأته قوى إقليمية معادية، ولها مشاريع متناقضة مع المصالح العليا للأمة، ثم عرَّج على خطورة المشروع الإيراني وأهدافه بعيدة المدى، والذي يرتكز على قواعدَ قومية ويتمدد عبر جسور مذهبية، وخلُص إلى نتيجةٍ اعتبرها ممنطقةً تلقائياً، وهي ضرورة السلام والتطبيع مع “إسرائيل”، فقلت له بالمناسبة لا يوجد هنا كاميرات تلفزيونية، وقد اعتبرها دعابة سمجة، لكنه كان دمثاً لدرجة تقبلها حد أنّه عرف مغزاها، وهو أنّه يقول كلاماً غير مقنعٍ حتى لنفسه، ولكنه اعتاد على التفكير بهذه الطريقة، واعتادت لغته الحديث بهذا المنطق، وهذا المنطق ينطبق عليه المثل العربي القديم “أحَشَفَاً وسوء كَيلة”، فلا يكتفي بشيطنة إيران والانبطاح أمام المشاريع الصهيونية، بل يذهب حد ملائكية “إسرائيل”، وأكثر من يجعل هذا العار منطقاً هو إعلام النفط، ويحضرني فيه قول المتنبي:

أمَيْناً وإخلافاً وغدراً وخسةً وجبناً… أشخصاً لُحت لي أم مخازياً.

فقط نستبدل أشخصاً بـ”أإعلاماً”.

هناك خطأ فادح تم تكريسه عبر المستنقع النفطي للإعلام في عقولٍ ضحلة، استمرأت الوحل وعاشته وتعايشت معه، وهو منطق الدفاع عن إيران، فكل من حمل سلاحاً أو قلماً أو لساناً وتحدث في بديهيات الأشياء، أو وقف في خندق البداهة فهو يدافع عن إيران. حين أمدت إيران فصائل المقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين والعراق بالسلاح لم تكن طهران محتلة، فاللبناني الذي يحمل سلاحاً إيرانياً هو يدافع عن لبنان لا عن إيران، والفلسطيني الذي يحمل سلاحاً إيرانياً هو يدافع عن فلسطين لا عن إيران، وكذلك اليمني يدافع عن اليمن من إرهاب التنظيمات وإرهاب الدول، والعراقي كذلك يدافع عن العراق من “داعش” وصُناعها، وكذلك السوري الذي استقبل الجنرال سليماني في خندق الحرب على الإرهاب، لم تكن “داعش” على أسوار طهران بل على جدران دمشق، فكل هؤلاء يدافعون عن بلدانهم وأوطانهم، والعامل المشترك بين كل هذه الساحات هي”إسرائيل” التي تسعى للتفتيت والتغلغل والاحتلال، وحتى تلك الدول التي تتخندق مع “إسرائيل” فإيران في مكانٍ ما تدافع عنها، كما قال السيد نصر الله فيما لو استكان الجميع للمشروع الصهيو-أمريكي عبر “داعش”، حيث كان سينقلب السحر على الساحر.

ظل آل سعود حتى اللحظة الأخيرة يدافعون عن نظام الشاه إعلامياً وسياسياً، ولو توقف التاريخ واستمر نظام الشاه حتى يومنا هذا، لوجدنا آل سعود أول المدافعين عن إيران، ولكان إعلامهم يعادي من يعاديهم اليوم ذاتهم، ولكن ليس بصفتهم “أذرع” إيران كما يسميهم، بل بصفتهم أعداء إيران، فحقيقة الصراع أصبحت واضحة وليس من قبيل المصادفة التاريخية أنّ آل سعود كانوا وما زالوا وسيظلون أعداءً لكل من قاوم الهيمنة الأمريكية وتصدى للمشروع الصهيوني، وما التسخيف الذي يمارسه النفط تجاه الصفعة الإيرانية على الوجه الأمريكي في عين الأسد، إلّا جزءًا من مشروع التوهين الذي يرسِّخ في العقل الجمعي فكرة العجز وبالتالي الاستسلام للقدر الأمريكي والتعايش مع أبدية”إسرائيل”، لأنّ العائلة الحاكمة في الحجاز تعرف أنّها منتج استعماري، وعليه فإنّ مشروع إخراج الولايات المتحدة من المنطقة هو خطر وجودي على العرش، كما تتعامل معه بالضبط “إسرائيل” باعتباره خطراً على ديمومتها، لذلك فإنّ مجابهة أسمى مشروعٍ للأمة في قرنين ماضيين على الأقل-إخراج القواعد الأمريكية-، سيضعك في خندق”إسرائيل”، بغض النظر عن كل ما تسوقه لنفسك من مبررات وذرائع.

إنّ ما حدث في قاعدة عين الأسد ليس مجرد “ميكانيكا”، صواريخ هبطت على مكانٍ فأحدثت أضراراً، إنّ ما حدث هو بمثابة الطلقة الأولى التي اخترقت صدر الإمبراطورية، والطلقة الأولى التي أدمت جبينها، فـ”القتلى” الذين سقطوا في عين الأسد كانوا أكثر إيلاماً من قتل جنود: الهيبة الأمريكية هي القتيل الأول، والقاعدة الأمريكية هي القتيل الثاني، والتكنولوجيا الأمريكية هي القتيل الثالث. والأخطر هو أنّ القدرة الأمريكية هي القتيل الرابع، والقتيل الخامس سيكون الوجود الأمريكي برمته، فهؤلاء القتلى لا يحتملون العبث، لتمنحهم أمريكا لإيران في عرضٍ مسرحي، هؤلاء هم أركان الإمبراطورية الذين يحملون عرشها، وما على واضعي الاستراتيجيات في الولايات المتحدة سوى التفكير في استراتيجيةٍ أمريكيةٍ جديدة بدون وجودها في الشرق الأوسط، لأنّ خيارات التسارع التقني والعسكري لم تعد قادرة على اللحاق بالتحولات التي حدثت في العقد الماضي، ولأنّ الشيخوخة التي تعاني منها الأدوات الأمريكية في المنطقة ليس لها من حلول، سوى البدء بالتفكير بجنازاتٍ لائقة، وباستثناء الكيان الصهيوني، فإنّ الفرصة لا زالت سانحة لمن يريد تجديد شبابه وحصوله على أجر المشي في الجنازة أنظمة وعروشًا، قبل أن يكون هو ذاته الجنازة.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Arabic, Iraq0 Comments

The Zionist Mossad context of the assassination of Salim amani and the professions inscribed unsuccessful bets … and shocking results

Jihad Haider

Talking about the Israeli context does not mean any event that the United States initiated, as if it were doing so in isolation from its interests and ambitions in the region. And talking about American interests in the West Asian region does not mean that the interests of the enemy entity are ranked next. Rather, “Israel” interests are at the top of American interests. Add to that the US policy in this region is moving in what is called the regional environment of the enemy’s entity, and therefore its priorities in this region are in line with the interests of “Israel”. This characterization does not contradict the existence of discrepancies between them in stations that have their context and interpretation, in which the United States sees its interests, and in the same context the interests of “Israel”, according to a different perspective from the vision they see in Tel Aviv.

From this fact, it is also possible to approach the assassination event, its timing and style, and the ensuing threats, from the standpoint of the regional context directly related to the entity of the enemy. As well as being a direct part of the data that came in the background of the American decision.

A distinction should be made between two levels of analysis, the first, the origin of the direct military escalation decision against Iran and the axis of the resistance, and the second the decision specifically targeting the Hajj Qassem Soleimani team. At both levels, the Israeli dimension is also present at its highest levels.

On the first level, the direct American escalation against the Islamic Republic in the Iraqi arena came after a series of bets and failed options facing Iran and the axis of resistance. The starting point in this path in which the axis of resistance achieved more steadfastness and victories was represented in the recent period in the failure of the “extreme pressure” option to bring down the Islamic regime and subjugate it by dragging it to negotiations from a weak position to dictate the American conditions on it.

After that, Iran moved to the stage of a gradual response by reactivating its nuclear program and pushing it forward, to the security and political developments that the region witnessed, in which Tel Aviv saw a strong indication of the high level of motivation and motivation of the Islamic Republic.

This concept is no longer a mere appreciation of reality, but was also expressed by the chief of staff of the enemy army, Yves Kochavi, by saying, “As long as there is no response to the expansion of the Iranian nuclear program, and as long as the scientists are currently working on the warheads … without responding to them, at some point This may deviate from the field of strategic dialogue (with Europe) and move to actual capacity within several months. It is clear that Tel Aviv sees this as a red line that should be taken and initiated to confront it before it takes shape on the ground.

This coincided with an escalation in the capabilities and interconnectedness of the axis of the resistance in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and he informed those who expressed the presence of this fact with the security establishment in the enemy’s entity. Active against “Israel”. And warning that it will initiate counter practical steps, even knowing that this involves a high risk of direct confrontation.

In the same vein came Kochavi’s recognition that Iran continues to develop its qualitative and quantitative capabilities, which pose a serious threat to “Israel”, despite the harsh economic sanctions and pressure exercised against it, which was also attended by Kochavi, when he considered that “Iran continues to manufacture missiles that reach the territories.” Israeli … This threat exists and is developing, and the Iranian military industry is larger than all the military industries of the State of Israel. “

In the face of this regional path, the United States and Israel had to initiate counter options aimed at trying to find some balance and limit the continued progress of the axis of resistance, leading to the reproduction of a different regional environment that enshrines American hegemony and provides security for the future of Israel.

However, this challenge carries a high risk of escalation as a result of the counter-response. Hence, the operational initiative had to be a deterrent as well, in order to avoid a response that “Israel” might not bear its repercussions. And since Israel is not alone capable of taking responsibility for an initiative of this magnitude at the regional level in the face of the axis of resistance, the United States has faced this challenge.

As for the decision to target Haj Qasim, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their brothers, it is due to the role he played at the regional level in the face of American hegemony and in the face of the Israeli occupation. And after the two parties realized the fact that his person represents one of the most important elements of power for the axis of resistance … and he has become a direct threat to American hegemony and Israeli national security.

Moreover, its targeting directly includes the required resounding message at this stage, through which the United States tried to prove to the decision-maker in Tehran, that it was determined to go far in its choice with the aim of reproducing a new equation and environment even if this option cost a direct military clash with Iran. It also relied on betting on the effects of the severe economic crisis that it suffers from, which was supposed according to their bets and estimates, to make the decision-making institution in Tehran more cautious, confusing and hesitant in taking any decision to respond that leads to a counter-response and thus to a confrontation that will lead to more economic exhaustion. at least.

On the other hand, the direct missile response came from Iranian lands and by announcing an official responsibility that squandered many of the bets on which the United States relied, particularly those related to the hypothesis that the leadership in Iran will refrain from responding with the aim of avoiding the rolling towards mutual responses that weaken the system that is first of any address else. Project vendetta … or deterrent messages … or other headlines.

But the missile response revealed that the vision that prevailed in the Iranian decision-making body stems from the fact that the effects and seriousness of the non-response are more dangerous than any American counter-response to the Iranian response. In doing so, it showed its willingness, in practice, to go further in the counter-response and counter-response processes.

This concept is clearly attended strongly by the American Decision Foundation. And I realized with her that any counter-response attempt would lead to rolling responses toward a military confrontation. This prompted her primarily to refrain from this response, which was obligatory in order to establish the equation that the United States sought and sought in Iraq and the region.

In light of these political and deterrent results, it can be said that Iran was able to dispel the stakes, estimates and endeavors of the United States in imposing a new equation that restricts the axis of resistance, and it also succeeded in thwarting the attempt to establish a new path at the regional level. The positions launched by the leader of the Islamic revolution, Imam Khamenei, revealed that what happened is only a slap, and that the response lies in removing the United States from the region, revealing that the region has entered a new conflict, with the assassination of Hajj Qassem. But this time it is directly against the global evil empire, the United States of America, with the aim of liberating the region from its influence.

The problem for Tel Aviv is that the attempt to establish a regional environment free from the threat to the reality and future of Israel has failed so far. And that the wager on Iran’s deterrence has dissipated. Instead, a new path was launched in the region that threatens the American presence and establishes a regional path that will ultimately hurt Palestine.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Iraq0 Comments

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

January 2020
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031