Archive | December 16th, 2013

ملك الرمال ينطلق في دمشق

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McCain meets with Ukrainian opposition, backs pro-EU protests


John McCain  Oleh Tyahnybok

U.S. Senator John McCain (R) speaks with Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko (L), Arseny Yatsenyuk (2nd L) and Oleg Tyagnibok (3rd L) during their meeting in Kiev December 14, 2013. (Reuters / Andrii Skakodub / Pool).

US Senator John McCain said that Ukraine’s future is with Europe and voiced his support for pro-EU protesters after meeting with Ukrainian opposition leaders in the country’s capital of Kiev on Saturday.

“We believe that the future of Ukraine lies in Europe. We’ve met with government officials and with members of the opposition,” McCain told reporters. “I look forward to visiting the square tomorrow and I am proud of what the people of Ukraine are doing, so they can restore democracy to their country.”

During the meeting with opposition leaders – former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and far right nationalist Oleh Tyahnybog – McCain was asked for more than just moral support from the US – referring to the possible introduction of sanctions, Unian news agency reported.

On Friday, US Democratic and Republican senators introduced a resolution that asks the US to consider the use of sanctions against Ukraine if violence against protesters continues to take place. The resolution urges a “peaceful and democratic conclusion” to the demonstrations. McCain has said that he believes the resolution will be adopted swiftly and unanimously by Washington, Ukrainian Pravda quoted him as saying.

During the visit to Kiev, the US Senator confirmed Washington’s position: “We want a peaceful resolution, which can be achieved through dialogue and at the same time make sure that every effort is made, make sure Ukraine is aligned with Europe.”

McCain also met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara.

International players have been involved in the demonstrations from the start; the pro-EU protests in Kiev have received visits from western politicians who have condemned Ukrainian authorities for their actions.

Earlier this week, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland handed out snacks to protesters on Kiev’s Independence Square.

A handout picture released on December 10, 2013 by Ukrainian Union Opposition press services hows US Assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) distributing cakes to riot policemen on the Independence Square in Kiev on December 10, 2013. (AFP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)A handout picture released on December 10, 2013 by Ukrainian Union Opposition press services hows US Assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) distributing cakes to riot policemen on the Independence Square in Kiev on December 10, 2013. (AFP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also met with both the Ukrainian government and the opposition, and visited Independence Square to see the protests firsthand.

Tens of thousands of people from across Ukraine gathered in central Kiev for rival anti- and pro-government rallies on Saturday, once again showcasing that protesters are unlikely to back down anytime soon.

The Ukrainian ruling Party of Regions has estimated that some 200,000 of its supporters came out to Kiev’s European Square to back President Viktor Yanukovich and his cabinet’s anti-EU move. But despite the party’s estimate, local police put the number of activists at around 60,000 people.

Meanwhile, President Yanukovich suspended the city’s mayor and top security official over the brutal eviction of protesters on Saturday. Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka said that four top officials – the deputy secretary of the National Security Council, Kiev’s mayor, and then-head of Kiev police and his deputy – are being investigated on suspicion of abuse of office in the crackdown against protesters.

Unrest in Ukraine began on November 21 when Yanukovich refused to sign an association agreement with the EU, sparking mass protests.

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Stealing Palestine: interview with Richard Falk

Richard Falk

Creeping annexation, ethnic cleansing and “the politics of fragmentation” inflicted by criminals who strut the world stage and thumb their noses at international law

By Stuart Littlewood

As the international conspiracy to rob Palestinians of their freedom and homeland is exposed a little more each day, observers and activists still puzzle over the duplicity of the United Nations in the decades-long illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian territories, not to mention the true intent of Palestinian leaders. So when Richard Falk, Professor of International Law at Princeton and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Occupied Palestine, visited Norwich recently, I took the opportunity to put some questions to him.

“Peace process”

[Stuart Littlewood] Can we start with the so-called “peace process”, please? Does the resignation of the Palestinian negotiation team, and the reasons given, effectively end the already discredited “peace talks”? Should the Palestinians walk away or carry on playing a pointless game for another six months?

[Richard Falk] It is difficult to know how to assess the current suspension of peace talks. The Palestinian Authority (PA) seems always ready to bend to pressure, although with some outer limits. In this respect, the future of this phase of “peace talks” will be determined not in Ramallah, but in Washington and Tel Aviv. It should be evident 20 years after Oslo that the peace talks serve Israel’s interest in “creeping annexation” of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem, while diminishing Palestinian prospects, and even harming the Palestinian image by disinformation that blames the Palestinian side for the breakdown of the process when and however it occurs. It would be a welcome sign of PA independence if they come forth and denounce this peace process for what it is.

The sad reality is that this is almost certain not to happen, and more likely than not the period of negotiations will be extended beyond the nine months set aside, on the entirely false claim that the parties are on the verge of resolving all their differences, and with a little patience, the prospects for a deal are quite bright.

[Question] The negotiators said they were resigning because of the “unprecedented escalation” of settlement building and because the Israeli government wasn’t serious about a two-state solution and had failed to fulfil commitments given before the present talks were resumed. I now read that [Palestinian negotiator Saeb] Erekat has already been back to Washington for more talks with Tzipi Livni (Israel’s lead negotiator), [US Secretary of State John] Kerry and US envoy [Martin] Indyk. Far from denouncing the process they are once again endorsing it, which makes your point.

In any case, how acceptable is it for a weak, demoralized and captive people like the Palestinians to be forced to the negotiation table with their brutal occupier under the auspices of a US administration seen by many people as too dishonest to play the part of peace broker?

[Answer] Even if the United States was acting in good faith, for which there is no evidence, its dual role as Israel’s unconditional ally and as intermediary would subvert the credibility of a negotiating process. In fact, the US government signals its partisanship by White House appointments of individuals overtly associated with the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] lobbying group as special envoys to oversee the negotiations such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk. It is hard to imagine the fury in the West that would exist if the conditions were reversed, and the UN proposed a one-sided “peace process” biased in favour of the Palestinians. The unsatisfactory nature of the current framework of negotiations is further flawed by weighting the process in favour of Israel, which enjoys a position of hard power dominance.

Palestinians’ main grievances are all reinforced by an objective interpretation of international law

[Q] There can be no peace without justice, so is it right for final status “negotiations” to be held before competing claims are tested in the courts and the many outstanding rulings under international law and UN resolutions are implemented? In any case, shouldn’t a neutral UN peace commission be supervising the final settlement of this long struggle, rather than the US or the Quartet?

[A] Yes, if the priority were to attain a just and sustainable peace, a framework would be developed that had two characteristics: neutral as between the two sides and sensitive to the relevance of rights under international law. Such sensitivity would favour the Palestinians as their main grievances are all reinforced by an objective interpretation of international law, including in relation to settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water.

Mahmoud Abbas’s legitimacy

[Q] How much legitimacy does Palestinian President Abbas enjoy, having overstayed his term of office?

[A] This question of political legitimacy of President Abbas turns on the subjective mood of the Palestinian people. Because the PA is a political entity so vulnerable to pressures and manipulation, the status of its presiding leader seems to be widely seen as a secondary matter of limited significance. When President Abbas has articulated the case for Palestinian statehood during the last three years at the United Nations he gained considerable personal respect among most governments and for many Palestinians. He seems a leader caught between the realities of his compromised position and the occasional opportunities to express the national ambitions and support the rights of the Palestinian people. The division with Hamas, and the failure to find a formula to restore Palestinian unity in relation to the West, is a further source of weakness for PA claims to represent the Palestinian people as a whole. The failure to hold scheduled elections highlights the insufficiency of PA and Palestinian leadership.

Two-state solution

[Q] Do you believe a two-state solution is still feasible?

[A] No. I think Oslo has been dead for some years, primarily due to Israeli policies designed to encroach upon the remnant of Palestinian territorial and symbolic rights, especially by the continuously expanding settlement archipelago, the unlawful separation wall built on occupied territory, and the demographic manipulations in East Jerusalem. The pretence that Oslo plus the Roadmap point the only way to peace serves American and Israeli purposes in quieting growing complaints about the persistence of the conflict. It represents a diplomatic attempt to deflect criticism, and to divert attention from Palestinian grievances and a growing global solidarity movement.

[Q] The 1947 UN Partition was unworkable as well as immoral. Shouldn’t the whole territory [of historic Palestine] be returned to the melting pot and shared out more sensibly? Shouldn’t Jerusalem and Bethlehem become an international city, or corpus separatum, as the UN originally intended?

[A] For me the fundamental flaw with the partition proposals contained in GA [UN General Assembly] Resolution 181 was the failure to consult the people resident in Palestine at the time. A secondary flaw was the unfairness of awarding 55 per cent of the territory to the Jewish presence as represented by the Zionist movement, which in 1947 represented an estimated 7 per cent of Palestine’s population. This idea of determining the future of Palestine by outsiders, even if well intentioned, which seems not to have ever been the case, is incompatible with the historical trend toward resolving the future of peoples by way of the dynamics of self-determination. In Palestine’s case, at least from the issuance of the Balfour Declaration onwards, this effort to control the future of Palestine has been justly condemned as the last major example of “settler colonialism”. It is a particularly acute example as the settlers have no mother country to which to return, and take a poker player’s high risk posture of “all in”.

International Criminal Court

[Q]  Turning to the role of the International Criminal Court [ICC], this is an organ of the UN. So why doesn’t the ICC initiate its own prosecution of Israeli crimes based on UN reports and the mountain of evidence available to it, especially in view of Palestine’s upgraded status?

There is no authoritative explanation of ICC passivity in face of the Israeli criminal violation of fundamental Palestinian rights.

[A] There is no authoritative explanation of ICC passivity in face of the Israeli criminal violation of fundamental Palestinian rights. As a matter of speculation, it is plausible to assume an absence of political will on the part of the prosecutor’s office to initiate an investigation that would be deeply opposed by Israel and the United States. The ICC has been recently criticized for its Western bias, and its failure, for instance, to consider whether the United Kingdom and the United States violated the Rome Statute’s enumeration of international crimes by initiating and conducting the Iraq War. The African Union has complained about the seeming focus on the criminality of African leaders, and the bypassing of grievances directed at Western behaviour.

Responsibility to protect in Palestine

[Q] We hear you and others calling for intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, e.g. the Gaza water crisis. Who exactly are you calling on? What is the chain of responsibility for intervening.

[A] There has been evolving within the UN and in international society more generally a sense that there is a “responsibility to protect” [R2P] peoples subject to severe threats of humanitarian catastrophes or natural disasters. Such sentiments are part of a process I have described as “moral globalization”.

In fact, R2P diplomacy has been discredited by being used as a geopolitical instrument, most dramatically as the normative foundation for the UN endorsement of the NATO 2011 military intervention in Libya. With respect to Libya the justification was protection against a feared massacre of civilians in the city of Benghazi, but the actual military operation from its outset seemed designed to achieve regime change in Tripoli. When it comes to Gaza where the present crisis has passed into a zone of desperation, the UN and world community are silent as if stone deaf to this deepening human crisis of survival.

So long as it is useful for Israel and Washington to treat Hamas as “a terrorist organization” the UN will be limited in its role to being a provider of a subsistence existence for the Gazan people…

[Q] We have just seen the UN intervening to bring fuel into Gaza as it teetered on the brink of a full-blown public health crisis. There are many such emergencies thanks to Israel’s continuing blockade. Why doesn’t the UN take over the supply of fuel full-time? And indeed the supply of medicines, drugs, medical equipment and spares?

[A] The tragic situation in Gaza cannot be understood without taking account of the political context, above all the split between Fatah and Hamas, and the Israeli posture toward Gaza after its “disengagement” in 2005 and the imposition of a punitive blockade in mid-2007 after Hamas took over the governance of Gaza. The UN has no capability to override geopolitical priorities, and so long as it is useful for Israel and Washington to treat Hamas as “a terrorist organization” the UN will be limited in its role to being a provider of a subsistence existence for the Gazan people, long victims of unlawful Israel policies of “collective punishment”, unconditionally prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

After the Egyptian coup of 3 July this year [reference to the mass popular uprising against the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Muhammad Morsi], the subsistence regime evolved in Gaza is itself in jeopardy. The tunnel network has been substantially destroyed by Egyptian military action and the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt has been mainly closed, isolating the people, and creating emergency conditions due to fuel shortages that have made electricity available only in very limited amounts.

The results are horrifying: sewage in the streets, insufficient power to run machines needed to keep the terminally ill alive, fuel shortages that virtually preclude economic activity, and closed borders that seal the fate of 1.6 million Gazans. Long before this dramatic further deterioration of life circumstances, observers were calling Gaza the largest open air prison in the world.

Israeli theft of Palestinian water and gas

The wrongful appropriation by Israel of Palestine’s water, land and energy resources has been a massive crime against the Palestinian people…

[Q] What is the UN doing to protect Palestine’ s precious aquifers and offshore gas field from being plundered by the Israelis?

[A] Again, the UN has no independent capability, or ever will, to challenge Israel or to protect Palestinian rights. It is a case of geopolitical manipulation and Palestinian victimization. The wrongful appropriation by Israel of Palestine’s water, land and energy resources has been a massive crime against the Palestinian people that has been continuous with the occupation that commenced in 1967.

[Q] Why is the requirement, often repeated, to allow Palestinians free and unfettered movement in and out of Gaza not implemented? Gaza and the West Bank are supposed to be a contiguous territory but, for example, Palestinian students in Gaza are prevented from attending their excellent universities in the West Bank. And why are Gazan fishermen still restricted to a mere fraction of their territorial waters, despite agreements to the contrary, and regularly fired on? Why is Israel not prosecuted for acts of piracy in international waters against humanitarian traffic to Gaza?

Israeli military dominance, as politically reinforced by American geopolitical muscle, overrides all of these Palestinian claims of right… Such injustice and suffering can only be challenged by Palestinian resistance and international solidarity.

[A]  As earlier, the hard power realities of Israeli military dominance, as politically reinforced by American geopolitical muscle, overrides all of these Palestinian claims of right. In this respect, such injustice and suffering can only be challenged by Palestinian resistance and international solidarity. The specific abuses can and should be delimited to raise public awareness and contribute to the mobilization of support for the Palestinian struggle, but it is pointless to expect the UN to do more than its capabilities allow. The whole structure of the organization, combined with the method of funding, gives geopolitical pressures great leverage in relation to specific situations. The veto power given to the permanent members of the Security Council is a major expression of this weakness that was built into the constitutional structure of the UN from the moment of its establishment.

“Nuremberg Promise has not been kept”

[Q] People reading what you say here will be alarmed that US geopolitical power and Israeli military might can so easily override international and humanitarian law. After Nuremburg our legal institutions were strong enough to bring Nazi era criminals to book, but present-day war criminals walk free and thumb their noses. What hope is there for mankind and our brave new world if this is allowed to continue?

The bottom line is that we live in a world in which the primacy of hard power prevails in the relationship among states.

[A] The Nuremberg experience was based on “victors’ justice”, holding the defeated leaders after World War II criminally accountable, while exempting the crimes of the victors from accountability. There was a promise made at Nuremberg that in the future the rules by which the Germans were judged would be applicable to all who committed state crimes in the future. This Nuremberg Promise has not been kept. The political and military leaders of the main states enjoy impunity while the leaders of defeated countries (e.g. Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic) or sub-Saharan African countries are prosecuted by international tribunals. Double standards prevail, and it is questionable whether an international criminal law that punishes the weak and exempts the strong is to be treated as legitimate, even if those accused receive a fair trial and are convicted and punished only if they were guilty of grave misconduct.

The bottom line is that we live in a world in which the primacy of hard power prevails in the relationship among states. Geopolitical leverage enables Israel to defy the most basic principles of international law, and yet their leaders are not held accountable. There are only two paths available that challenge this result. National courts can be empowered by what is called “universal jurisdiction” to investigate, indict, prosecute, convict and punish anyone accused of state crime that can be personally delivered to the relevant court. In 1998 the Chilean dictator was detained in London after the Spanish government requested that [Augusto] Pinochet be extradited. After lengthy litigation it was found that Pinochet could be extradited for torture committed during part of his reign, but in the end he was sent back to Chile because of health reasons, and never faced trial in Spain. Yet such a possibility exists in relation to Israeli political and military leaders, and seems to have discouraged their travel to countries whose criminal law contains the authority to invoke universal jurisdiction.

The other possibility is by convening a peoples tribunal of the sort constituted in the past by the Bertrand Russell Foundation in Brussels and the Lelio Basso Foundation in Rome. The Russell Foundation sponsored four sessions devoted to various allegations of criminality attributed to the government of Israel. It produced convincing documentation of the charges, and issued judgements that called for civil society initiatives. Such a tribunal, although acting on evidence and in accord with the relevant provisions of international criminal law, possesses no formal authority and lacks implementing capabilities. Its role is limited to documenting the case against a government, and providing symbolic support to those who contend that there have been violations of international criminal law. Such outcomes may influence public opinion, and help change the balance of political forces by undermining the legitimacy of an established order of oppression as exists with respect to Israel’s relationship to the Palestinian people and the denial of their collective right of self-determination.

Palestinian disunity

[Q]  What are the chances as you see them for achieving unity between Fatah and Hamas, and how should the Palestinians play their cards in future?

The “politics of fragmentation” designed to undermine Palestinian unity… has been alarmingly successful.

[A] There is a near unanimous belief among Palestinians and their supporters that unity is needed to move the struggle forward. Such unity existed throughout the early decades of the Palestinian national movement, despite many ideological differences relating to tactics and goals, but within a shared resolve to achieve national liberation. The unifying image provided by Yasser Arafat’s uncontested leadership was also important.

Israel has pursued a policy I describe as “the politics of fragmentation” designed to undermine Palestinian unity, and it has been alarmingly successful. Oslo contributed to this end by dividing up the West Bank into Areas A, B and C, by splitting the administration of Gaza off from the rest of Palestine. The emergence of Hamas highlighted Palestinian fragmentation, a result welcomed by Israel even as it was condemned. Fatah appears to have been inhibited in reaching some kind of functional unity with Hamas by pressures to refrain from such moves mounted in Israel and the United States. So long as Hamas is treated as a terrorist organization, even in the face of its turn from armed struggle and entry into the political process back in 2006, there will be strong opposition to moves towards unity…

Deflection by defamation

[Q]  Finally, Richard, your robust defence of Palestinian rights has ruffled many feathers and led to demands from “the usual suspects” for your dismissal. Should the people you speak up for be concerned about this?

[A] The attacks on me, and others who have tried to bear witness to the directives of international law and political justice, are part of a deliberate campaign by Israel, and its cadres in civil society, to deflect attention from the substantive grievances of the Palestinian people. It is what I have described as “the politics of deflection”, go after the messenger so as to deflect attention from the message. The media have been largely compliant as have Israel’s powerful governmental friends, including the United Kingdom, US and Canadian governments. Of course, many NGOs and elements of the public push back against such tactics. In my case the defamatory efforts of UN Watch, in particular, have been unpleasant, but have not altered my effort to do the job of witnessing to the best of my ability and in accordance with the canons of truth telling.

Those of us living in comfort should not turn our gaze away from the children of Gaza this Christmas.

[Q] Thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing your assessment of the situation. But before you go, what sort of Christmas can the children of Gaza look forward to?

[A] We can only imagine the horror of Christmas this year in Gaza for young and old alike: from life amid raw sewage to freezing cold, scarcities, desolation and a sense that the world is elsewhere, indifferent to such acute suffering, such sustained injustice, such blind hate.

And yet also knowing many Gazans makes me believe that even in such dire circumstances there remains space for some laughter, and much love, and that such a spirit of resistance lives on among the children of this place haunted by the evils of our world. If present these days in Gaza it would likely make me feel a mystifying blend of sadness and inspiration.

At the very least, those of us living in comfort should not turn our gaze away from the children of Gaza this Christmas: we should demand empathy from our leaders and be as personally attentive as possible, whether by commentary, prayer, donations, a compassionate scream! We should not allow these days of celebration and renewal to pass this year without moments of reflection on selfish joys and cheerful carols, as contrasting with the miserable destiny bestowed upon the innocent and abused children of Gaza

Let us look the children of Gaza in the eye if we can. And if we can’t, as I could not, seize the moment to reflect on what it means to be (in)human during this holiday season.

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I$raHell’s “self-boycott”

Shimon Peres and Binyamin Netanyahu

By Uri Avnery

Can a country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.

At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History”, as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.

The only dignitary who agreed to go was the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein… an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)

“An undignified show of personal cowardice”

Why? The president of the state, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.

The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had an even stranger reason. The journey, he claimed, was too expensive, what with all the accompanying security people and so on.

Not so long ago, Netanyahu caused a scandal when it transpired that for his journey to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a five hour flight, he had a special double bed installed in the El Al plane at great expense. He and his much maligned wife, Sara’le, did not want to provoke another scandal so soon. Who’s Mandela, after all?

Altogether, it was an undignified show of personal cowardice by both Peres and Netanyahu.

…Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

What were they afraid of?

Well, they could have been booed. Recently, many details of the Israeli-South African relationship have come to light. Apartheid South Africa, which was boycotted by the entire world, was the main customer of the Israeli military industry. It was a perfect match: Israel had a lot of weapon systems but no money to produce them, South Africa had lots of money but no one who would supply it with weapons.

So, Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

The relationship was not merely commercial. Israeli officers and officials met with their South African counterparts, visits were exchanged, personal friendship fostered. While Israel never endorsed apartheid, our government certainly did not reject it.

Still, our leaders should have been there, together with the leaders of the whole world. Mandela was the Great Forgiver, and he forgave Israel, too. When the master of ceremonies in the stadium mistakenly announced that Peres and Netanyahu had arrived, just a few boos were heard. Far less than the boos for the current South African president.

In Israel, only one voice was openly raised against Mandela. Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor and former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, criticized him for having a “blind spot” – for taking the Palestinian side against Israel. He also mentioned that another moral authority, Mahatma Gandhi, had the same “blind spot”.

Strange. Two moral giants and the same blind spot? How could that be, one wonders.


By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it [the Israeli government] has declared that Israel is a pariah state.


The boycott movement against Israel is slowly gaining ground. It takes three main forms (and several in between).

The most focused form is the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was started by Gush Shalom 15 years ago. It is active now in many countries.

A more stringent form is the boycott of all institutes and corporations that are dealing with the settlements. This is now the official policy of the European Union. Just this week, Holland broke off relations with the monopolistic Israeli Water Corporation, Mekorot, which plays a part in the policy that deprives Palestinians of essential water supplies and transfers them to the settlements.

The third form is total: the boycott of everything and everyone Israeli (Including myself). This is also slowly advancing in many countries.

The Israeli government has now joined this form. By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it has declared that Israel is a pariah state. Strange.

Fake security excuses

Last week I wrote that if the Americans find a solution to Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank, other concerns would take their place. I did not expect that it would happen so quickly.

Binyamin Netanyahu declared this week that stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, as proposed by John Kerry, is not enough. Not by far.

Israel cannot give up the West Bank as long as Iran has nuclear capabilities, he declared. What’s the connection, one might well ask. Well, it’s obvious. A strong Iran will foster terrorism and threaten Israel in many other ways. So Israel must remain strong, and that includes holding on to the West Bank. Stands to reason.

So if Iran gives up all its nuclear capabilities, will that be enough? Not by a long shot. Iran must completely change its “genocidal” policies vis-à-vis Israel, it must stop all threats and utterances against us, it must adopt a friendly attitude towards us. However, Netanyahu did stop short of demanding that the Iranian leaders join the World Zionist Organization.

Before this happens, Israel cannot possibly make peace with the Palestinians. Sorry, Mister Kerry.

In the last article I also ridiculed the Allon Plan and other pretexts advanced by our rightists for holding on to the rich agricultural land of the Jordan Valley.

A friend of mine countered that indeed all the old reasons have become obsolete. The terrible danger of the combined might of Iraq, Syria and Jordan attacking us from the east does not exist anymore. But –

But the valley guardians are now advancing a new danger. If Israel gives back the West Bank without holding on to the Jordan Valley and the border crossings on the river, other terrible things will happen.

The day after the Palestinians take possession of the river crossing, missiles will be smuggled in. Missiles will rain down on Ben-Gurion international airport, the gateway to Israel, located just a few kilometers from the border. Tel Aviv, 25 km from the border, will be threatened, as will the Dimona nuclear installation.

Haven’t we seen this all before? When Israel voluntarily evacuated the whole Gaza Strip, didn’t the rockets start to rain down on the South of Israel?

We cannot possibly rely on the Palestinians. They hate us and will continue to fight us. If Mahmoud Abbas tries to stop it, he will be toppled. Hamas or worse, al-Qaeda, will come to power and unleash a terrorist campaign. Life in Israel will turn into hell.

Therefore it is evident that Israel must control the border between the Palestinian state and the Arab world, and especially the border crossings. As Netanyahu says over and over again, Israel cannot and will not entrust its security to others. Especially not to the Palestinians.

Fake anology

Well, first of all the Gaza Strip analogy does not hold. Ariel Sharon evacuated the Gaza settlements without any agreement or even consultation with the Palestinian Authority, which was still ruling the Strip at that time. Instead of an orderly transfer to the Palestinian security forces, he left behind a power vacuum which was later filled by Hamas.

Sharon also upheld the land and sea blockade that turned the Strip practically into a huge open-air prison.

In the West Bank there exists now a strong Palestinian government and robust security forces, trained by the Americans. A peace agreement will strengthen them immensely.

Abbas does not object to a foreign military presence throughout the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. On the contrary, he asks for it. He has proposed an international force, under American command. He just objects to the presence of the Israeli army – a situation that would amount to another kind of occupation.

The peace hangup

But the main point is something else, something that goes right to the root of the conflict.

Netanyahu’s arguments presuppose that there will be no peace, not now, not ever. The putative peace agreement – which Israelis call the “permanent status agreement” – will just open another phase of the generations-old war.

This is the main obstacle. Israelis – almost all Israelis – cannot imagine a situation of peace. Neither they, nor their parents and grandparents, have ever experienced a day of peace in this country. Peace is something like the coming of the Messiah, something that has to be wished for, prayed for, but is never really expected to happen.

But peace does not mean, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, the continuation of war by other means. It does not mean a truce or even an armistice.

Peace means living side by side. Peace means reconciliation, a genuine willingness to understand the other side, the readiness to get over old grievances, the slow growth of a new relationship, economic, social, personal.

To endure, peace must satisfy all parties. It requires a situation which all sides can live with, because it fulfills their basic aspirations.

Is this possible? Knowing the other side as well as most, I answer with utmost assurance: Yes, indeed. But it is not an automatic process. One has to work for it, invest in it, wage peace as one wages war.

Nelson Mandela did. That’s why the entire world attended his funeral. That’s, perhaps, why our leaders chose to be absent.

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Denying Nazi-Zionist Collusion


In an inversion of journalistic ethics, the Sacramento Bee reported on opposition to an event before and after it took place, but didn’t cover the event itself.

It featured an entire report on accusations against a flier, but didn’t include a response from the flier’s authors.

It printed claims by powerful local figures that the flier was “an outrageous lie,” but refused to print information showing that the flier’s statements were factual.

Its headline about the allegedly offensive flier emphasized a Muslim connection, even though there was virtually no Muslim connection to the flier.

It neglected to report that one of those attacking the flier had previously attempted to use his official position to prevent the event at which the flier was distributed from taking place.

And finally, the Bee’s parent company, McClatchy, one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains, then sent out the Bee’s deficient story about a flier nation-wide, also emphasizing a (largely non-existent) Muslim connection in its headline, which then appeared on newspaper websites in Florida, Texas, Idaho, Mississippi, Alaska, and elsewhere, generating anti-Muslim comments.

The event in question was part of a national speaking tour that featured an Auschwitz survivor speaking about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Called “Never Again For Anyone,” it was sponsored by a diverse array of eight national organizations and nine local ones, secular, Jewish and Muslim, who reserved a hall owned by the local Islamic Center as the venue for the event. Also speaking was Dr. Hatem Bazian, a prominent academic from UC Berkeley.

The talk was immediately opposed by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the 13-member Board of Rabbis of Greater Sacramento, who contacted the Islamic center and demanded that the center refuse to allow the event to take place.

The rabbis called it a “program of hate,” claimed that both the theme and the presence of an Auschwitz survivor speaking about the plight of Palestinians were “anti-Semitic,” stated that allowing the 86-year-old Auschwitz survivor to speak would “defile the sacred memory of millions who perished during the Holocaust” (nothing was said of the multitudes of non-Jews, including Arabs and Muslims, who died under the Nazis), and threatened that Jewish-Muslim relations would be fatally jeopardized if the Islamic Center did not renege on its agreement to allow the event to take place on its property.

The Sacramento Bee ran a news story on the rabbis’ complaints, claiming in its lead sentence that because of the proposed event, “Sacramento’s carefully cultivated interfaith bonds are being stretched to the limit,” although there is no indication that the planned talk was interfering with Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or other faith’s relations with the Muslim community.

Despite the attempt to prevent it, however, the event went forward as planned, drawing approximately 500 people. The Bee, despite choosing to cover prior complaints against it, chose not to cover it.

Four days later, however, the Bee carried another news story about the event, this time focusing on a complaint by the President Pro-Tem of the California Senate condemning a flier that was distributed at the talk.

California is in deep trouble. It is over $26 billion in debt and is facing potential bankruptcy. People have lost homes, businesses have failed, university fees have escalated. Yet, the Senate’s President Pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg, one of California’s most powerful politicians, twice took time out of his necessarily busy schedule to lodge semi-official complaints about the “Never Again” event.

Steinberg, who has worked to promote tolerance and build bridges with Muslim leaders to oppose bigotry, is devoted to Israel. In 2008 he was host of “Salute to Israel,” a celebration of Israel’s creation 60 years before, which had involved the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians to make room for the Jewish state.

According to the Jewish Forward, Steinberg became President Pro Tem “after intense involvement in the Jewish communal world, including stints as chairman of Sacramento’s Jewish Community Relations Council… The lobbyist for the California Jewish Public Affairs Committee, Cliff Berg, said he is looking forward to working more with an old friend.” Both organizations advocate for Israel; JPAC sponsors an annual 9-day trip to Israel for state legislators.

Steinberg was strongly opposed to the “Never Again for Anyone” event. First, although the Bee didn’t mention this, Steinberg tried to stop it, sending a letter on official Senate stationery urging the Islamic Center to revoke permission for it.

Then, after the talk had taken place (which Steinberg did not attend), he sent a second letter to the Bee and to a few individuals in the interfaith community (it’s available only on a pro-Israel website), again on official stationery. In it he condemned a flier that had been distributed at the event.

Produced by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, a cosponsor of the event, the flier included information about collaboration between Nazis and leaders of the Zionist movement (the political/military movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine that created Israel in 1948).

Steinberg was outraged. In his letter he particularly objected to the flier’s statements that “…Zionist leaders made ‘transfer agreements’ with the Nazis…. refused to observe the international boycott of Nazi Germany… and even kept silent about impending plans to deport Jews into Nazi death camps.”

Steinberg called the statements an “outrageous rewrite of history,” and claimed that “in essence, they are saying the Jews orchestrated the Holocaust,” although the flier said no such thing.

Similarly angered, according to the Bee news report, was one of the rabbis who had tried to prevent the talk, Rabbi Mona Alfi of Sacramento’s prominent Congregation B’nai Israel.

While the Bee didn’t mention this, Alfi is also the official California Senate Chaplain, a position she has held since 2008. She was appointed to this position by Steinberg, a member of B’nai Israel. (According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, two percent of Californians are affiliated with the Jewish faith.)

According to the Bee, Rabbi Alfi called the flier’s allegations that some Zionists were Nazi collaborators “a disgusting lie.”

While the Bee’s report also included statements defending the talk, it contained no statements in defense of the flier itself, the paper having made no attempt to interview the authors of the flier that was the focus of its article.

As a result, the report contained none of the extensive evidence supporting the flier’s content, thus giving readers the impression that a flier filled with objectionable falsehoods had been distributed.

Worse yet, since the Bee and McClatchy then chose to emphasize the venue of the event in their headline (“Flier at California Muslim center condemned by state senator”), despite the fact that the center had nothing to do with the flier, a headline and news story were sent around the country that served to reinforce the Islamophobic fiction that Muslims are inherently anti-Semitic, generating comments such as:

“Muslims have been successfully trading in anti-Semitism for decades, Steinberg isn’t going to put a dent in it,” “ ‘The holocaust never happened.’ Since that didn’t work, certain Muslims decided to try this disgusting piece of nonsense,” “My, my, those Muslim propaganda sites must be working overtime.”

Zionist-Nazi Collusion

In point of fact, however, the flier’s statements are accurate. There is detailed evidence that some Zionists collaborated with the Nazis, that Zionists sabotaged anti-Nazi boycotts, and that Zionists interfered with efforts to rescue victims of Nazi oppression.

When facts first emerged in the 1950s about Zionist-Nazi collusion, it caused considerable scandal in Israel and led to the fall of the Israeli government of the time. A number of books are dedicated to this subject and it is discussed in numerous others, almost all by Jewish and/or Israeli authors. The topic inspired novels by well-known Israeli writers Amos Elon and Neil Gordon, was the subject of a 1987 British play, and was portrayed in a 1994 Israeli docudrama. It’s surprising that Steinberg and the Board of Rabbis make no indication of ever having heard anything about this.

Popular American playwright and fervent Zionist Ben Hecht wrote the first book on the subject, “Perfidy,” relating the history of a Hungarian Zionist leader who arranged for his family and several hundred prominent Jews to escape while facilitating the movement of the rest of Hungarian Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Hannah Arendt, in her 1960 book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report in the Banality of Evil,” writes: “To a Jew this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story.”

In The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (containing an afterword by ADL head Abe Foxman), pro-Israel writer Edwin Black reports that in 1933 Zionist leaders concluded a secret pact with the Third Reich that transferred 60,000 Jews and $100,000 to Palestine, Zionists promising in return that they would halt the worldwide boycott “that threatened to topple the Hitler regime in its first year.”

Author-researcher Lenni Brenner wrote of Zionist-Nazi collusion in Zionism in the Age of Dictators,” of which the London Times stated: “Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler’s.”

Brenner’s second book on the topic, 51 Documents, Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis,” includes a 1940 letter from underground Zionist terrorist leader Avraham Stern proposing that Jewish militias would fight on Germany’s side in exchange for Nazi help in creating an “historic Jewish state.”

In What Price Israel,” American Council for Judaism member Alfred Lilienthal describes FDR’s efforts to set up a program to rescue refugees, only to find Zionists sabotaging it. Roosevelt explained: “The Zionist movement knows that Palestine is, and will be for some time, a remittance society. They know that they can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, ‘There is no other place this poor Jew can go.’”

When New York attorney Morris Ernst joined this refugee effort, he was shocked: “I was thrown out of parlors of friends of mine who very frankly said ‘Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement.’” Ernst wrote that he found a fanatical movement of men “little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.”

In The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust,” Israeli historian Tom Segev quotes Zionist leader and future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion: “If I knew that it was possible to save all the Jewish children of Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second.”

Segev writes that Ben-Gurion worried that ‘the human conscience’ might cause various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany and saw this as a threat, warning: ‘Zionism is in danger.’”

In the Bee’s report on the controversy, Sacramento’s Rabbi Alfi is further quoted as saying “there is no comparison” between the treatment of Jews in pre-war Germany and Palestinians. Yet, in 2002 the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli military was specifically studying Nazi Warsaw Ghetto strategies for use in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Journalistic Malpractice

The Bee’s decision not to cover an event about which it had reported prior complaints is highly questionable.

Even more serious, its decision to publish a news report featuring attacks against a flier without also interviewing the flier’s authors violates fundamental journalistic principles. The story was published four days after the event took place; taking the time to follow professional good practices would have made sense.

However, hindsight is always clearer than decisions made under a looming deadline, and in the rush of daily journalism serious lapses sometimes occur. The real test of a newspaper’s commitment to honest, principled journalism is how it handles such lapses.

Bee editors failed this test with flying colors. From here on I speak from personal experience.

I happened to read the Bee’s flier report soon after it was published. Because I’ve studied Israel’s history extensively and own the books mentioned above (and others that mention the topic), I was aware that the flier’s statements were factual and that the undisputed complaints against it were unfounded.

I felt this information needed to be given to readers as soon as possible to correct the misimpression conveyed by the Bee’s one-sided reporting. Since op-ed columns were specifically created as a place for outside writers to convey views and information not otherwise contained in a newspaper, I took several books on the topic and went to the Bee’s offices to propose an op-ed.

From the lobby I called opinion page editor, Stuart Leavenworth, saying that I’d like to discuss a potential op-ed for the paper. He said he was in a meeting and couldn’t meet with me, but asked what I wished to address.

When I told him, he expressed skepticism and said he would not print an op-ed saying that Zionists had collaborated with Nazis.

I told him that I had books on the subject with me that I could show him. He replied that normally someone would schedule such a meeting ahead of time. I agreed and asked when we could schedule such a meeting. He said he would not schedule one. He asked me a few more questions, interrupted my answers, and then told me to submit an op-ed. He said that I must supply citations.

I wrote the article, cited seven books, and said that I would provide more extensive citations if he wished (even though I had already supplied far more references than normally required for an op-ed). I also said that I would be glad to cut the piece if it was too long and said I was very comfortable with rewriting.

He refused to publish it, providing no explanation for this decision.

I am fully aware that editors always retain the power to decide what they will and won’t publish (I’ve been an editor myself). However, since journalistic ethics required the Bee to remedy sloppy, one-sided reporting that gave readers a false impression of a controversial local event, of Muslims at a time when violence and bigotry against them is escalating, and about Israel, with which the U.S. has a unique “special relationship,” I emailed and phoned my concerns to the Bee’s chief editor and others (it has no ombudsman), but to no avail.

The newspaper’s response was disappointing but unsurprising. Editors, particularly when it comes to Israel-Palestine, are far more concerned with daily deadlines, financial necessities, and the need not to anger powerful constituencies than with moral or ethical principles.

This reality, combined with considerable ignorance on the Middle East among many journalists, and pro-Israel, anti-Muslim bias among others, means that there is virtually no effort to correct errors or remedy significant omissions in coverage having to do with Israel.

As a result, Americans are largely left in the dark about the current reality and past history of the tiny, rich nation that receives more of our tax money than any other country on earth, currently at least $8 million per day, and that is at the center of profoundly important issues concerning both the region and our own nation.

Israel and its partisans are working to make sure it stays that way. If Steinberg, Alfi, Leavenworth, the Bee, and McClatchy continue their current pattern, it doesn’t look like this is going to change anytime soon – unless enough people start to demand better.


Crime Is Crime
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חיילים גרמנים מחריבים בית קברות באזור ז'שוב. לעיתים ניצלו הגרמנים את המצבות כחומרי בנייה, כפי שאפשר ללמוד מהמסמכים ומהתמונות שמצאתי. לעיתים שחררו מכרזים לקבלנים פולנים שיחריבו את המצבות כדי שיוכלו להשתמש בשיש ובאבן

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on REAL NAZI’S

Talking about Zio-Nazi – Palestinian Agreements “counterproductive” said “optimistic” US Secretary of State John Kerry


nsnbc , – On Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that concrete progress had been made in the US facilitated, direct talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, but stressed that details have to be kept under wraps. 

John Kerry. Screen capture from ABC TV

John Kerry. Screen capture from ABC TV

In an interview on the US-American TV channel ABC, John Kerry showed optimism while stressing that he perceives a need not to disclose any details about the results of the talks, saying:

“I am personally encouraged that very tough issues are beginning to take shape. … But we have agreed not to be talking about what we are doing, because it just creates great expectations. It creates pressure. It creates opposition, in some cases. … I think it is much better for us to do exactly what we have been doing, which is (to) negotiate quietly and privately”.

Before his latest visit to Palestine and Israel, Kerry underlined his optimism, saying that the sides were closer to “reaching a deal” than they have been for years.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, that the USA is focusing on reaching a “final deal” rather than an interim agreement.


On Sunday, John Kerry said, that this is a different moment in the conflict which could allow a different set of choices than the past, failed efforts allowed. nsnbc editor and Palestinian rights advocate Christof Lehmann commented on Kerry’s statement, saying:

“Kerry is absolutely right, this is a different moment indeed. It is the first time since 1948, that Syria has been so significantly weakened by a Western, Gulf-Arab and Israeli war, that it cannot stand as a guarantor against the pulling of an utterly illegal solution over the heads of the Palestinian people, while Hezbollah is caught up in a conflict that involves some 40.000 Saudi-paid Al-Qaeda mercenaries in the Qalamoun region. At the same time, Hamas is deeply split between the faction led by Khaled Mashal and men of his ilk, who support Qatar’s involvement in the war on Syria, and a faction of the core members of its armed wing who oppose the Mashal faction, but who is being targeted by Israel on behalf of Qatar.  …

“Adding to the unprecedented strategic weakness of Palestine is that the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, which receives its funding mainly from the USA and the EU, and via Israel, is cracking down on the PFLP, PFLP-GC, As-Saika, DFLP and other parties and organizations who could muster an actual resistance against the imposition of what increasingly looks like an “Oslo No.2″.

“Kerry’s optimism is understandable, and so is his wish to keep the public uninformed, because the result of the talks may very well be another disastrous contract which could spell then end to any hopes for a viable state of Palestine”.

Well informed Palestinian sources inform nsnbc that the USA strongly supports a solution that would allow Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley and Israeli control over the Jordanian – Palestinian border. While the Palestinian Authority rejects the proposed Israeli presence in and control over the Jordan Valley and the Palestinian – Jordanian border, the P.A.  may, reportedly be willing to accept an international force instead. Israel rejects that proposal. Christof Lehmann commented on the differences between an Israeli and an international presence in the Jordan Valley, saying:

“The discussion appears to be an attempt to prepare the public discourse so as to accept the control over sovereign Palestinian territory as a victory for Palestine and peace. If the Palestinian Authority accepts international control over the Jordan Valley and the border, it will have to live with the privilege of being remembered as those who sealed the death of Palestine by making it impossible to establish a continuous and viable Palestinian state. There are those who compare Mahmoud Abbas with a “Quiesling” and the number of those who recognize that to be the truth is growing”. 

On Friday, John Kerry encouraged both the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the P.A. Government of Mahmoud Abbas to give more time to the talks than the originally scheduled nine months. Abbas reportedly replied, saying that the settlements which are built on Palestinian land must be evacuated, adding that the Palestinian Authority would be willing to extend the nine month period if Israel’s wish to extend the period was based on the serious wish to find a peaceful solution.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Talking about Zio-Nazi – Palestinian Agreements “counterproductive” said “optimistic” US Secretary of State John Kerry

Turkey exported Weapons for USD 500.976.441 to Syria in 2012

According to the United Nations Comtrade database, Turkey has sent more than 47 tons of weapons to insurgents in Syria since June, reports Tolga Tanis, a journalist for Turkey’s Hürriyet newspaper. A closer look at the Comtrade database reveals that Turkey, accor-ding to the  database, has  exported  weapons and  weapons parts for USD 500.976.441 to Syria in 2012. 


In an article published in the Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet, journalist Tolka Tanis disclosed that the United Nations statistics show that Turkey has exported 47 tons of weapons to insurgents in Syria since June 2013, prompting an initial denial from the side of Turkey’s AKP government of Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan.

Hürriyet quotes the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Gümrükçü, as initially claiming that the UN numbers were based on previous records from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK), which according to Gümrükçü’s initial claim, has filed the weaponry sent to Syria as “guns without military uses.”

Nonmilitary use guns would, for example include shotguns and hunting rifles, but exclude more advanced weaponry such as AK-47 assault rifles.

However, Syrian police and the Syrian Army repeatedly confiscated significant amounts of i.e. shotguns, which were used by the insurgents in close combat and initially, in 2011, to stir up violence among otherwise peaceful demonstrators, with the protesters being targeted by agent provocateurs.

Comtrade database. Turkey's weapons export to Syria in 2012. Click on image to view in full size.

Comtrade database. Turkey’s weapons export to Syria in 2012. Click on image to view in full size.

A closer look at the United Nations Comtrade databasehowever, reveals that Turkey has exported weapons for USD 500.967.441 to Syria in 2012 alone, regardless the fact that the export of weapons to a conflict zone violates international law.

The Turkish weapons export to Syria in 2012 included, according to a search in the UN’s Comtrade database, a wide variety of weapons, from weapons spare parts and assault rifles, to rocket propelled grenades and grenade launchers, as well as armed, armored fighting vehicles such as tanks.

In other words, Turkey’s weapons export to Syria is hardly limited to  a variety of weapons one would expect to use for bird hunting.

The statistics, published in the UN’s Comtrade database however are, as large as the therein registered export may be, hardly more than the tip of an iceberg of the weapons export and not least weapons transit via Turkey to mercenaries in Syria.

SAM-7 missiles delivered to terrorists via Iskanderun, Turkey

SAM-7 missiles delivered to terrorists via Iskanderun, Turkey

In September 2012, Turkey attracted international attention when a British journalist disclosed that the, until then, largest known shipment of weapons to insurgents in Syria had arrived in the Turkish port of Iskenderun with the Libyan-registered merchant vessel Intisaar (victory), and that the weapons, including SAM-7 surface to air missiles, had been distributed among mercenary groups in Syria already.

In March 2013, Turkey attracted international attention when it became known that 3.000 tons of US-American and British tons of weapons were airlifted to Al-Qaeda linked mercenaries in Syria via Turkey.

Turkey has also been directly implicated in the trafficking of chemicals for military use, including chemicals for the production of the deadly, internationally banned nerve agent Sarin, to Al-Qaeda brigades in Syria.

Besides implicating Turkish officials, those scandals also implicated celebrities such as the Saudi – Lebanese Saad Hariri, who is the former Prime Minister of Lebanon and a key member of the Pentagon-linked think tank The Atlantic Council.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkey exported Weapons for USD 500.976.441 to Syria in 2012

Free Syrian Army breaking up militarily and politically. USA may channel more Support to Al Qaeda

The Free Syrian Army is breaking up militarily and politically and US Support may increasingly be channeled to Al Qaeda via Jordan.

nsnbc , – After having suffered a decisive military defeat and after effectively having been thrown out of Syria by al-Qaeda brigades and by the Islamic Alliance which left the FSA, commander Salim Idris fled to Qatar. 

After FSA spokesman al-Masri publicly called the FSA commander unsuccessful and wretched, the FSA is showing signs of breaking up politically too. A reorientation of US aid, to be channeled via Jordan, suggests that the apparent row between Saudi Arabia and the USA may cover over increased US support for Al Qaeda.


During the first week of December, the Chief of Staff of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Brigadier General Salam Idris, announced that the FSA is ready to participate in the long overdue Geneva II conference without the precondition that Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad must step down first. Idris added, that the FSA considers the possibility of cooperating with the Syrian Arab Army in the fight against Al-Qaeda brigades.

The change of heart of the FSA top-commander came, as the primarily Qatar and Turkey funded and armed FSA virtually had been minimized to insignificance by Saudi Arabia backed Al-Qaeda brigades and the Syrian Arab Army. The announcement also came shortly after Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani, initiated reconciliatory talks with Iran and Hezbollah, and declared that he wants to normalize relations with Damascus.



Shortly after Salim Idris made the announcement, the Islamic Alliance, which constituted the FSA’s main remaining fighting force and which is made up of the Liwa al-Tahwid, the Ahrar al-Sham, the Idlib based Soqour al- Sham, the Homs based, al-Haq Brigades, Ansal al-Sham as well as the Kurdish Islamic Front, announced that they were no longer a part of the FSA, seized several key Free Syrian Army bases and drove the FSA out of itsheadquaters.

The move rendered the FSA and the FSA Supreme Commander General Salim Idris not only virtually, but effectively militarily insignificant.

The Wall Street Journal reported on 12 December, that Salim Idris had fled to Qatar’s capital Doha, where he is still meant to be.


Following the decisive defeat and the de facto end to the Free Syrian Army as a military entity, FSA spokesman Fahad alMasri appeared on the TV channel Alhurra, accusing Brig. General Salim Idris of being “unsuccessful and wretched” and blasting Idris for incompetence. The Turkish Aydinlik Daily newspaper translated part of al-Masri’s statements on Alhurra TV.

Al-Masri blamed Idris for not having made the best use of sufficient opportunities and weapons which were given to the FSA. Al-Masri stressed, that Idris must explain to the FSA what he did over the course of the last year, adding that since this general staff is not even able to protect its own headquarter, how will it protect the Syrian people ?

Small pockets of the FSA remain, fighting a three front war against the Syrian Arab Army, Al-Qaeda brigades and the Islamic Alliance which left the FSA earlier this month.

With the Free Syrian Army rendered both militarily and politically defunct and defeated, and none of the other militants, including the Islamic Alliance, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Liwa-al-Islam, ISIL, ISIS or other of the Al-Qaeda tied groups being willing to attend the Geneva II conference, it is uncertain whether the Geneva II conference will be held any time soon, and if so, with whom and for what purpose.

al-Mafraq_mafraqThe recent decision made by the Obama administration, to halt or limit US support via Turkey and to redirect the delivery of support, that is among other weapons, through Jordan however, raises serious questions about the apparent discord between the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Both Saudi Arabia and the USA have been supplying Al-Qaeda linked militants, including Jabhat al-Nusrah and Liwa-al-Islam via the Jordanian border town Al-Mafraq and Ramtha Air Base since early 2012. The USA maintains a strong presence in Al-Mafraq and Ramtha Airbase, including Special Forces, CIA, the State Department, USAID and other known CIA front organizations.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Free Syrian Army breaking up militarily and politically. USA may channel more Support to Al Qaeda

North Korea’s Execution of Jang Song Taek, Peace in the Korean Peninsula and National Sovereignty


By: Christof Lehmann

Life has taken a final and dramatic turn for Jang Song Taek, whom many until recently perceived as the second most powerful leader in North Korea. What could the purge, the sentencing for the mismanagement of his economic opening portfolio and his execution have to do with the national security of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and with the prospect of peace in the Korean peninsula ?

Photo: Rodong Sinmun

Photo: Rodong Sinmun

A “final and dramatic turn” does not only signify the finality of death, but the fact that the political maneuvering of Jang Song Taek has led to several brushes with the political leadership, the military, and not least the justice system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea before.

The Rise and the “Falls” of Jang Song Teak.

Jang Song Teak was the uncle by marriage to the DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-Un and the husband to Kim Kyung Hee, who is Kim Jong-Un’s aunt and younger sister of Kim Jong-Il, who he got acquainted with and courted during their time as students at the Kim Jon-IlUniversity during the early 1970s.

The close relationship to the Kim family has doubtlessly opened doors for Jang Song Taek. Doors which he has used and which he also came to abuse. In 1986 he became a member of the Supreme People’s Assembly. In 1992 he became a member of the Party Central Committee, and in 1995 he was elected to the office of the First-Vice-Director of the Party’s Organization and Guidance Department. The title “vice” before the title of director however, was not exactly matching his apparently overly ambitious character, which should lead to his fall.

Thus, it was not the first time that Jang Song Daek ran into trouble when a bid to increase his power led to him being purged in 2004, and to his subsequent reinstatement in 2005 when he was tasked with the oversight over the DPRK’s domestic intelligence, police and judicial institutions. His work led to his April 2009 promotion to a key job within the DPRK’s National Defense Commission. Simultaneously, Jang Song Taek was chosen to become one of the closest advisers to Kim Jong-Un, who was to become the DPRK’s head of state after the death of Kin Jong-Il in December 2011.

After the death of Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, Jang Song Taek was elected as one of the core, senior leaders and advisers to Kim Jong-UN. A position which was essential to secure a smooth transition of power to the new head of state, and a position which was particularly sensitive because Korea is still in a de facto state of war, regularly threatened with military aggression by the USA and South Korea, and more dependent on UN Security Council members China and Russia than international law provides for.

Finally, his position was also particularly sensitive, because Kim Jong-Un had plans to transform the DPRK’s economy without threatening the political system, the stability and continuity of government and national security. It was Jang Song Taek’s machinations with regard to the latter, and highly sensitive issue, which most likely led to his betrayal and ultimately his fall and execution on 13 December 2013.

On 13 November, his close deputies Ri Ryong Ha and Chang Su Kil were reportedly executed and Jang Song Taek was placed under house arrest. He was formally taken into custody during an 8 December 2013 Political Bureau Committee meeting, reported in the DPRK’s state news agency KCNA on 9 December 2013. (1)

On 12 December 2013, KCNA reports, Jang Song Taek was convicted of the crimes he had been charged with at a special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security and sentenced to death. The death sentence was carried out without any delay. The charges which had been brought against him included the serious mismanagement of his, highly sensitive, portfolio, and charges which are equivalent to conspiring against the country and severe corruption. (2)

The exact machinations of Jang Song Taek, which led to his arrest, the death penalty and his execution on 13 December are still unclear, and some aspects of it may have to remain undisclosed for reasons of national security. That said, his arrest and trial were covered extensively by the DPRK’s media and may send the signal that Kim Jong-Un is not only consolidating the government transition, but that the Korean leadership stands firmly behind Kim Jong-Un and does not tolerate that those who are holding the most trusted offices in the country conspire against the course for the development of the DPRK which has been set by its government.

Kim Jong Un

Two Models for Transformational Changes of the DPRK’s Economy and their Importance for Kim Jong-Un’s Vision of Peace.

Not only announced Kim Jong-Un, in his 2013 New Yearsspeechthat he wanted to reform the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s economy, but he announced that he planned to transform the DPRK into a regional economic powerhouse.(3) The announcement, made on the New Years evening of 2013 however, was reaching far beyond the country’s economic development. In fact, it was a strong message of peace.

A message that was based on an acutely clear comprehension of the fact that a peaceful reunification of Korea only could be achieved if the economies of the North and the South of the divided country were compatible in strength. As outlined in a previous article, Kim Jong-Un had been working closely with German advisers who were able to convey the experiences from the German reunification, some of which were bitter experiences, and who worked with Korean experts so as to adapt them to the Korean situation. (4)

Kim Jong-Un a man with visions of peace ? It almost sounds unbelievable if to judge by the BBC, CNN and other western corporate and state funded media. Moreover, this image of a Kim Jong-Un with visions of peace does not even transpire in Chinese media, or in the Russian state-funded media “with an independent editorial policy” like Russia Today (RT).

The above mentioned article details also, why both Russia and China knowingly supported UNsponsored sanctions against the DPRK after it sent its first satellite into Earth Orbit and again, after the leadership of the DPRK responded to the illegal sanctions, which were designed to sabotage its economic development as a “sovereign nation”, by conducting a “legal” underground nuclear test. (5) (6)

The formal charges which have been brought against Jang Song Taek, and especially the fact that he was accused of mismanaging his economic opening portfolio, as KCNA reports, strongly suggest that Jang Song Taek did not only have problems with reconciling himself with the plans for the development of the DPRK’s economy which have been set by Kim Jong-Un, but that he most likely actively worked against them, which would be comparable to the economic sabotage of the country’s economic development. (7)

In the light of the country’s long-term development and policy towards a peaceful reunification, any such sabotage would amount to a serious threat against national security and the long-term goal towards a self determined Korean peace.

After several years of close consultations with international experts, including leading German experts who could draw on the experience of Germany’s reunification, the leadership of the DPRK and Kim Jong-Un decided to use the Vietnamese blueprint for the transformation of the DPRK’s economy which was developed into the DPRK’s own model in its Juche tradition when it is at its best. (8)

Jang Song Taek was known for being a strong proponent of the Deng Xiao Ping – style Chinese model for economic transformation. The model has several critical drawbacks with regard to the DPRK, especially with regards to the political stability and continuity of government during the transition period and afterwards.

One of the major differences between China and the DPRK is that the DPRK is by far more exposed and vulnerable to foreign subversion attempts and even military aggression than China.

Moreover, although neither China nor Russia are as aggressive hegemonies as the USA, who still has the war time command over the South Korean military forces, both China and Russia have their own interests and foreign policy, which does not always has the best of the DPRK at heart.

One just has to remember the fact that both China and Russia voted concurrently with the late 2012, early 2013 round of illegal sanctions against the DPRK at the UN Security Council. A de facto abuse of their privilege of being permanent members of the UN Security Council and a privilege that derived from their status as victor powers of World War Two.

Finally, if one recalls Kim Jong-Un’s 1 January 2013 New Year’s speech, one realizes that Kim Jong-Un and the DPRK have no ambitions of exclusively being the provider of cheap labor and low-price minerals and natural resources for China. Kim Jong-Un and his government aspire towards good neighborly relations among co-equal partners and the research and development as well as production in the field of high-technology.

It is within this wider context that the “mismanagement of Jang Song Taek’s economic opening portfolio” can be understood as the significant threat to the DPRK’s national sovereignty and national security, which not only justified that he was purged, but which justified his execution as a man who, most likely, has been guilty of what amounts to high treason. It is also within this context that one understands the rather emotional nicknames like “that dog” and others, which have been attributed to Jang Song Daek.

Personally, I am against the death penalty unless under the most extreme of circumstances, but that is an entirely different discussion all together. Not surprisingly, the most outspoken condemnations of the execution of Jang Song Taek comes from countries, whose leadership was responsible for the execution of Saddam Hussein and the murder that was committed against Muammar Gadhafi.


  1. Report on Enlarged Meeting of Political Bureau of Central Committee of WPK, KCNA, 9 December 2013. URL: 
  2. No Room for Factionists to Live in: News Analyst, KCNA, 12 December 2013. URL:
  3. New Year Address made by Kim Jong-Un, KCNA, 1 January 2013. URL:
  4. Korea Crisis and Sanctions Designed to Sabotage Transformation of DPRK Economy, Christof Lehmann, nsnbc international, 20 April 2013. URL:
  5. US Financial Sanctions Against DPRK as the Godfather of Nuclear Tests on Korea, Ronda Hauben, 5 April 2013, The 4th Media, also in nsnbc international. URL:
  6. North Korea Nuclear Test: Diplomatic Tensions and Hypocrisy, Christof Lehmann, 12 February 2013, nsnbc international. URL:
  7. Report on Enlarged Meeting of Political Bureau of Central Committee of WPK, KCNA, 9 December 2013. URL: 
  8. Korea Crisis and Sanctions Designed to Sabotage Transformation of DPRK Economy, Christof Lehmann, nsnbc international, 20 April 2013. URL:

Posted in North KoreaComments Off on North Korea’s Execution of Jang Song Taek, Peace in the Korean Peninsula and National Sovereignty

20 Zio-Wahhabi Rat’s killed in Syria


Foreign-backed militants ride a tank in Syria. (File photo)

Foreign-backed militants ride a tank in Syria. (File photo)
At least 20 Saudi militants have been killed in a military operation by the Syrian army against the al-Qaeda-linked groups of Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra Front in the industrial town of Adra, northwest of the capital, Damascus.

According to Al-Hadath News website, Syrian troops launched the operation on Friday to expel the terrorists from the town, as concern mounted over massacre of people in the area by the foreign-backed militants during the recent days.

Syrian army surrounded the town, strategically located on a main road to the capital, after the terrorists fighting against the government infiltrated the area earlier this week and killed dozens of civilians, most Alawites and Druze, in what appeared to be a sectarian massacre.

According to the reports, militants of Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra Front entered buildings housing workers and their families in Adra, shooting men, women and children.

Al-Hadath also said that the militants also executed the mayor of the town.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi condemned the “brutal massacre in Adra” on Friday.

Syrian Social Affairs Minister Kinda Shammat said the armed forces were now carrying out the operation in the area to restore security.

The Syrian army has also been tightening the noose around militants in their strongholds throughout the country.

In recent days, army units have made fresh gains in the strategic town of Yarbud, which lies near the border with Lebanon.

Army troops also took control of the strategic Damascus-Homs highway after seizing most of al-Nabk in the mountainous Qalamoun region.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

On December 9, Syria urged the United Nations to stop Saudi Arabia from “supporting al-Qaeda-linked militants” and fanning the flames of “terrorism” in the country.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.

The UN has predicted that more than four million other Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on 20 Zio-Wahhabi Rat’s killed in Syria

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