Archive | May 23rd, 2015

Iran: The Aggressor or the Aggressed Upon?

NOVANEWS

Posted by Stephen Sniegoski

Iran: The Aggressor or the Aggressed Upon?The fact of the matter is Iran has neither a nuclear bomb nor an actual nuclear weapons program.

American Establishment Combats Resurgent ‘Isolationist’ Threat

Posted by Stephen Sniegoski

American Establishment Combats Resurgent ‘Isolationist’ ThreatWith communism gone, the conservative coalition should have fractured long ago. This was delayed by Sept. 11 and the rise of radical Islam. But now, 12 years into that era — after Afghanistan and Iraq, after drone wars and the NSA revelations — the natural tension between isolationist and internationalist tendencies has resurfaced.

The Hagel Nomination, Israel, and the Neocons

Posted by Stephen Sniegoski

The Hagel Nomination, Israel, and the NeoconsThe neoconservatives have been in the forefront in attacking Hagel while AIPAC has stayed in the background. Should the neocons ultimately stop Hagel, it would be an amazing success. A perceived enemy of Israeli interests would be defeated without any negative political ramifications for Israel or the Israel lobby

Saudi Arabia: The Neocons’ Once and Future Target

Posted by Stephen Sniegoski

Saudi Arabia: The Neocons’ Once and Future TargetShiites in the Gulf have already become enraged against the Saudis, so this element could serve as an invaluable propaganda instrument to intensify anti-Saudi feeling in the West in order to bring down Israel’s final powerful adversary, whose very existence precludes Israel’s achievement of total regional hegemony.

The Yinon Thesis Vindicated: Neocons, Israel, and the Fragmentation of Syria

Posted by Stephen Sniegoski

The Yinon Thesis Vindicated: Neocons, Israel, and the Fragmentation of SyriaAmerica’s removal of Saddam in a war spearheaded by the pro-Israel neoconservatives served to intensify Sunni-Shiite regional hostility and, in a sense, got the destabilization ball rolling. Iran is targeted now, and Israel and its neocon supporters seek to make use of dissatisfied internal elements, political and ethnic—the radical MEK, democratic secularists, monarchists, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, and Azeris— to bring down the Islamic regime.

Washington Is Worth a War: Obama, Iran, and the Israel Lobby

Posted by Stephen Sniegoski

Washington Is Worth a War:  Obama, Iran, and the Israel LobbyWright notes that “There are things Obama could do to greatly increase the chances of a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, but he seems to have decided that doing them would bring political blowback that would reduce his chances of re-election.”   By Stephen J. Sniegoski   When, in 1593, Henry of Navarre […]

Posted in IranComments Off on Iran: The Aggressor or the Aggressed Upon?

U.S. Hosts Arms Bazaar at White House Arab Summit

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Global Research
gcc
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry meet with GCC delegation at Camp David. (Photo: AP)

When the United States sells billions of dollars in sophisticated arms to Arab nations, they are conditioned on two key factors: no weapons with a qualitative military edge over Israel will ever be sold to the Arabs, nor will they receive any weapons that are not an integral part of the U.S. arsenal.

But against the backdrop of a White House summit meeting of Arab leaders at Camp David this week, the administration of President Barack Obama confessed it has dispensed with rule number two.

According to Colin Kahl, national security advisor to Vice-President Joe Biden, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) flies the most advanced U.S.-made F-16 fighter planes in the world.

“They’re more advanced than the ones our Air Force flies,” he told reporters at a U.S. State Department briefing early this week, without going into specifics.

The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia – which participated in the summit were, not surprisingly, promised more weapons, increased military training and a pledge to defend them against missile strikes, maritime threats and cyberattacks from Iran.

An equally important reason for beefing up security in the region is to thwart any attacks on GCC countries by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I am reaffirming our ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners,” President Obama told reporters at a news conference, following the summit Thursday.

But he left the GCC leaders disappointed primarily because the United States was not willing to sign any mutual defence treaties with the six Arab nations – modeled on the lines of similar treaties U.S. has signed with Japan and South Korea.

Still, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Kuwait (along with Pakistan) are designated “major non-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) allies.”

Kahl told reporters: “This administration has worked extraordinarily closely with the Gulf states to make sure they had access to state-of-the-art armaments.”

He said that although the U.S. has not entertained requests for F-35s, described as the most advanced fighter plane with the U.S. Air Force, “but keep in mind under this administration we moved forward on a package for the Saudis that will provide them the most advanced F-15 aircraft in the region.”

Taken as a whole, Kahl said, the GCC last year spent nearly 135 billion dollars on their defence, and the Saudis alone spent more than 80 billion dollars.

In comparison, the Iranians spent something like 15 billion dollars on their defence, said Kahl, trying to allay the fears of GCC countries, which have expressed strong reservations about an impending nuclear deal the U.S. and other big powers are negotiating with Iran.

Still, arms suppliers such as France and Britain have been feverishly competing with the United States for a share of the rising arms market in the Middle East, with continued turmoil in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher, Arms and Military Expenditure Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told IPS that GCC countries have long procured weapons from both the U.S. and several European countries.

Qatar is probably the one country in the GCC where U.S. military equipment makes up a low share of its military equipment and instead it has been more dependent on French, British and other European arms, he pointed out.

Last year, Qatar ordered a large amount of new arms from suppliers in Europe, the U.S. and Turkey, in which U.S. equipment was significantly more important than it had been in the decades before in Qatari arms procurement.

“None of the GCC countries has been mainly dependent on a single arms supplier in the past four to five decades. The U.S., UK and France have long been the main suppliers to the GCC, competing against each other,” he added.

In an article last week on the GCC summit, William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor, described it as “an arms fair, not diplomacy.”

He said the Obama administration, in its first five years in office, entered into formal agreements to transfer over 64 billion dollars in arms and defence services to GCC member states, with about three-quarters of that total going to Saudi Arabia.

He said items on offer to GCC states have included fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, radar planes, refueling aircraft, air-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, artillery, small arms and ammunition, cluster bombs, and missile defence systems.

On any given day, Kahl said, the United States has about 35,000 U.S. forces in the Gulf region.

“As I speak, the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is there. The USS Normandy Guided Missile Cruiser, the USS Milius Aegis ballistic missile defense destroyer, and a number of other naval assets are in the region,” he said.

“And we have 10 Patriot batteries deployed to the Gulf region and Jordan, as well as AN/TPY-2 radar, which is an extraordinarily powerful radar to be able to track missiles fired basically from anywhere in the region.”

The mission of all of these forces, he said, ”is to defend our partners, to deter aggression, to maintain freedom of navigation, and to combat terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.”

Still, in the spreading Middle East arms market, it is business as usual both to the French and the British.

Wezeman told IPS Qatar has acquired the Rafale to replace its Mirage-2000 aircraft which France supplied about 20 years ago.

The UAE has been considering the purchase of Rafale to replace Mirage-2000 aircraft procured about 10 years ago from France.

Similarly Saudi Arabia has in the past decade ordered British Typhoon combat aircraft and U.S. F-15SAs, just like it ordered British Tornado combat aircraft and U.S. F-15Cs in the 1980s and 1990s.

Oman has recently ordered U.S. F-16s and British Typhoon aircraft to replace older U.S. F-16s and replace UK supplied Jaguar aircraft.

“The same arms acquisition patterns can be seen for land and naval military equipment. It would be a real change if the GCC countries would start large-scale procurement of arms from Russia and China. This has, however, not yet happened,” said Wezeman, who scrupulously tracks weapons sales to the Middle East.

He said access to certain technology has occasionally been one of several reasons for the GCC countries turning to Europe, as the United States tried to maintain a so-called ‘Qualitative Military Edge’ for Israel, in which it refused to supply certain military technology to Arab states which was considered particularly threatening to Israel.

He said for a while the U.S. was not willing to supply air launched cruise missiles with ranges of about 300 km to Arab states. Instead Saudi Arabia and the UAE turned to the UK and France for such weapons and the aircraft to integrate them on.

However, the U.S. has now become less restrictive in this regard and has agreed to supply certain types of cruise missiles to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Finally, what is particularly interesting is that U.S. officials once again emphasise the military imbalance in the Gulf region when mentioning that GCC states’ military spending is an estimated nine times higher than that of Iran (figures which are roughly confirmed by SIPRI data).

“This raises some major questions about the seeming lack of arms control in the region and the potential risks of further one-sided procurement of advanced weapons by GCC states,” he added.

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“First Strike” Attack against Iran?

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Washington’s “Missile Defense” Deal with the Gulf Monarchies

U.S. on Wrong Side of History: This new Gulf states agreement is dangerous, provocative, destabilizing and very expensive

Global Research
persiangulf

This is what it has all come down to…. the US and the corrupt, dictatorial Gulf monarchies meeting at Camp David Thursday and agreeing on a plan to flood the Middle East with ‘missile defense’ (MD) systems.

These Gulf monarchies are the essential allies of the US in the world now (in addition to a few other fascist-leaning nations). Together they are destabilizing and creating chaos in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and beyond. This meeting is evidence of the desperation and the moral decay of the USA.

Obama announced that that he would streamline weapon sales and increase joint military exercises with Bahrain (home to US Navy Central Command and the Fifth Fleet), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of an “iron-clad commitment” that the United States will help protect them against their neighbor and rival Iran. The Gulf states claim they fear Iran’s nuclear weapons even after recent successful negotiations to ensure they don’t build any.

In fact Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program several years ago – the CIA has even reported as much as has the IAEA. But truth and reality don’t matter much anymore.

What this new deal with the Gulf states really mean is unrestrained US and Arab extremism throughout the Middle East. The plan is to build a region-wide MD system including Patriot and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) along with MD radars. It’s also likely that Aegis ship or land-based MD systems will be added to sweeten the pot as well.

The US weapons production corporations will make lots of money. It’s important to remember that weapons are the #1 industrial export product of our country.

When weapons are your #1 export product, what is the global marketing strategy for that product line?

Endless war.

What does that say about the soul of the USA?

All of these MD systems will be “interoperable” with the Pentagon’s existing programs. It will all be run through the US military space satellite system. That means the Gulf states will pay for the US to build a region-wide MD system that is actually aimed at Iran, Syria, and Russia and fully controlled by Washington.

MD is a key element in US first-strike attack planning – its the shield that is used after a Pentagon sword is thrust into the heart of another nation’s military forces. When the attacked nation attempts to fire a retaliatory strike it is then that the MD systems are used to pick off the remaining military capability thus giving the Pentagon a “successful” first-strike.

The whole system works best if you can get real close to the ‘offending nation’ and hit their missiles soon after launch rather than waiting for them to reach deep space – or hit them as they descend from space as they approach their targets.

This new Gulf states agreement is dangerous, provocative, destabilizing and very expensive. The US has once again betrayed its revolutionary roots against British monarchy as it snuggles up with the Arab right-wing feudal monarchies. Nothing good can come from this new agreement.

Posted in Middle East, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on “First Strike” Attack against Iran?

New Military Spending Bill Expands Empire But Forbids Debate on War

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Global Research
More than 50% of US Government Spending Goes to the Military

On Friday the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee US involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act – limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.

But not even slower growth is enough when you have an empire to maintain worldwide, so the House majority slipped into the military spending bill an extra $89 billion for an emergency war fund. Such “emergency” spending is not addressed in the growth caps placed on the military under the 2011 budget control act. It is a loophole filled by Congress with Fed-printed money.

Ironically, a good deal of this “emergency” money will go to President Obama’s war on ISIS even though neither the House nor the Senate has debated – let alone authorized – that war! Although House leadership allowed 135 amendments to the defense bill – with many on minor issues like regulations on fire hoses – an effort by a small group of Representatives to introduce an amendment to debate the current US war in Iraq and Syria was rejected.

While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president’s unwise decision to send hundreds of US military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more US involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The military spending bill included $300 million to directly arm the Ukrainian government even as Ukrainian leaders threaten to again attack the breakaway regions in the east. Does Congress really think US-supplied weapons killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine is a good idea?

The defense authorization bill also seeks to send yet more weapons into Iraq. This time the House wants to send weapons directly to the Kurds in northern Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government. Although these weapons are supposed to be used to fight ISIS, we know from too many prior examples that they often find their way into the hands of the very people we are fighting. Also, arming an ethnic group seeking to break away from Baghdad and form a new state is an unwise infringement of the sovereignty of Iraq. It is one thing to endorse the idea of secession as a way to reduce the possibility of violence, but it is quite something else to arm one side and implicitly back its demands.

While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true. As the CATO Institute pointed out recently, President George W. Bush’s average defense budget was $601 billion, while during the Obama administration the average has been $687 billion. This bill is just another example of this unhealthy trend.

Next year’s military spending plan keeps the US on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over US interventionism overseas. It is a recipe for disaster. Let’s hope for either a presidential veto, or that on final passage Congress rejects this bad bill.

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Zio-Wahhabi, Upcoming Nuclear Weapons State?

NOVANEWS

With the Blessing of the “International Community”?

Saudi-Arabia-Army-Planes

At the prospect of the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran, Zio-Wahhabi has reportedly taken a decision to call in an old favor from Pakistan and get some of its nuclear weapons.

Zio-Wahhabi is widely believed to have bankrolled the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. In exchange, Riyadh reportedly expects Islamabad to provide missiles in times of trouble to defend the kingdom.

“For the Saudis the moment has come,” a former American defense official told The Sunday Times newspaper. “There has been a longstanding agreement in place with the Pakistanis, and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward.”

According to the report, no actual transfer of weapons has taken place yet, but “the Saudis mean what they say and they will do what they say,” the source reportedly said.

The report comes a month ahead of a meeting between Tehran and the P5+1 group to finalize a deal, which would lift sanctions from Iran in exchange for making its nuclear program more transparent and restricted. Key US allies in the Middle East, I$raHell and Zio-Wahhabi regime, are objecting to the deal, saying it would ultimately allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Reports of Zio-Wahhabi regime getting nukes aren’t new. In November 2013, BBC’s Newsnight reported on the alleged nuclear sharing agreement between Zio-Wahhabi regime and Pakistan.

The program cited Amos Yadlin, a former head of Nazi military intelligence, telling a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”

The speculation came just as nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 were showing progress in Geneva.

Some experts, however, doubted that the supposed nuclear arming by Zio-Wahhabi regime was as simple as calling in the debt.

“I doubt that Pakistan is ready to send nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia,” Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told  the Guardian at the time.

“Pakistan’s reputation suffered greatly the last time they assisted other countries with nuclear weapons technology (i.e., the sales by [Pakistani nuclear project chief] A.Q. Khan, with some governmental support or at least acquiescence, to North Korea, Iran and Libya). Pakistan knows that transferring nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia would also incur huge diplomatic and reputational costs.”

The potential of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by the Iran deal is one of the argument critics use to denigrate the talks. At the moment there are several countries in the region known or believed to have nuclear weapons.

Pakistan has a stockpile of 80 to 120 warheads designed to counterbalance India’s arsenal, while Turkey hosts NATO nuclear weapons. Israel is said to have a stockpile, although it has never officially confirmed this.

Several other nations have civilian nuclear programs, including Iran, Egypt and UAE.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Zio-Wahhabi, Upcoming Nuclear Weapons State?

Libya: Benghazi Scandal

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Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show

Administration knew three months before the November 2012 presidential election of ISIS plans to establish a caliphate in Iraq

Global Research
benghazi-obama-clinton-funeral

Judicial Watch announced on 18 May 2015 that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.  The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria.  The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

Spelling and punctuation is duplicated in this release without corrections.

Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.”  The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council.  The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).”  The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.”  The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons.  Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock.  They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”

(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)

The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The DIA document further details:

The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created the morning after the Benghazi attack by Hillary Clinton’s offices, and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat that was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant).  At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:

Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….

The State Department has yet to turn over any documents from the secret email accounts of Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials.

“These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.  If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president. And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists,” stated Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president.  “These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

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Turkey Arrests Soldiers over Interception of Syria-bound Weapons to Terrorists

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Dozens of military and security personnel have been arrested by Turkish authorities in ongoing investigation of Syrian weapons shipments

Global Research
SYRIA-CONFLICT

Image: Syrian rebels raise their weapons during a patrol in the town of Tal Abyad near the border with Turkey on 5 October 2012 (AFP)

Turkish police have detained eight serving members of the army in the latest wave of arrests in a hugely controversial case over the interception last year of an alleged consignment of arms bound for Syria, reports said on Saturday.

Arrest warrants were issued for 10 soldiers, eight of whom had been detained by Friday night, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

They have been accused of membership of a terrorist group, impeding the work of the government and espionage, it said. They should now appear in court to decide whether to remand them in custody ahead of trial.

Authenticated documents circulated on the internet claimed that the trucks, which were seized last year in January 2014, were Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) vehicles delivering weapons to Syrian opposition groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

The documents reported that the trucks were transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition. The Gendarmerie General Command, which authored the reports, alleged, “The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organisation.”

Turkey has vehemently denied aiding hardline rebels in Syria, such as the Islamic State group, although it wants to see Assad toppled.

MIT trucks ‘not anyone’s concern’

Earlier this month, Turkey arrested four prosecutors who had ordered the search of the trucks and they are now in prison ahead of trial.

Huseyin Celik, the deputy chairman of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP ruling party, issued a statement that reprimanded the prosecutors for their investigation.

“This is a truck of the MIT. What is inside it doesn’t concern anyone,” Celik said. “Who are these prosecutors working for? Stopping MIT trucks means not knowing your limits. The prosecutors who make such mistakes will be held accountable.”

Another 19 soldiers were also placed under arrest pending trial in April, Anatolia said.

Meanwhile, 17 police were arrested as part of the investigation in February and another 11 police back in July 2014.

Anatolia said that a total of 47 people were being held in the investigation, not including the latest arrests.

The Turkish authorities have sought to link the affair to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of running a parallel state through supporters in the judiciary and police with the aim of usurping him.

Supporters of Gulen, who have been hit by a wave of arrests in the past months, reject the allegations.

The controversy erupted on 19 January 2014, when Turkish forces stopped trucks bound for Syria suspected to have been loaded with weapons. But they found MIT personnel on board.

Foreign rights groups have expressed concern in recent months over the broad judicial campaign against groups in Turkish society deemed to be Gulen supporters.

Weapons intercepted

The government imposed a full-blown media blackout, including on social networks, and the investigation is being carried out in the utmost secrecy.

This isn’t the first time that Turkish authorities have seized large caches of weapons they believe to be destined for Syrian militants.

In March 2013, more than 5,000 guns were discovered in a warehouse during a raid in a village near the Turkish border town of Akcakale.

A couple of weeks before this case, another truck loaded with weapons was intercepted in the southern province of Hatay, heading towards the Syrian border.

The Turkish government initially said the truck was carrying humanitarian aid for beleaguered Turkmens stuck in besieged cities in northern Syria as fighting escalated between radical opposition groups and Kurdish forces.

Turkey and Syria share a 900 kilometre border, and over 1.6 million Syrian refugees crossed over to the Turkish side.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkey Arrests Soldiers over Interception of Syria-bound Weapons to Terrorists

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry v. His Subordinate Nuland

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Regarding Ukraine

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By Eric ZUESSE 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on May 12th, responding to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s assertions that Ukraine will retake Crimea and will conquer Donbass:

“I have not had a chance – I have not read the speech. I haven’t seen any context. I have simply heard about it in the course of today. But if indeed President Poroshenko is advocating an engagement in a forceful effort at this time, we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European & Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, as communicated by the U.S. State Department’s Press Office on May 15th, reiterating Poroshenko’s view:

“Assistant Secretary Nuland’s ongoing visit to Kyiv and her discussions with Prime Minister [Arseniy] Yatseniuk and President [Petro] Poroshenko reaffirm the United States’ full and unbreakable support for Ukraine’s government, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.”

Will John Kerry reprimand his subordinate for her contradicting what he, her boss, had said three days earlier? If not, then will President Barack Obama fire his Secretary of State John Kerry? If not, then will Victoria Nuland be fired? If not, then who is to trust anything that comes from the U.S. State Department, when the Secretary of State can be contradicted three days later by his subordinate, and both remain in their respective jobs?

Republicans are already preparing to weaken Kerry over this. The far-right news-site Frontpage Mag headlined on May 21st, John Kerry’s Seven Hours of Weakness in Russia, and condemned the “attempt by Kerry to re-set the ‘re-set’ button [on U.S. policy toward Russia] first pushed by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton.” The special subject of their ire: “The promise of ‘rolling back’ the mild sanctions regime the West imposed on Russia on account of Putin’s annexation of Crimea and support of separatist rebels was bandied about, if only Russia would behave in the future.” But winning changes in behavior is what international diplomacy is supposed to be all about — otherwise the State Department wouldn’t even be needed, and only the Pentagon would handle America’s foreign relations.

If Victoria Nuland stays in her job, then John Kerry will be neutered even if he’s not fired.

The only person with the power to fire Nuland is actually U.S. President Barack Obama. Perhaps the request for him to do that is already on his desk. If it’s not, then Kerry’s job is in jeopardy, because his diplomatic efforts can be obliterated by a subordinate and that subordinate will suffer no penalty for doing this. Nobody then would respect anything that the U.S. Secretary of State says, because it wouldn’t necessarily represent the President’s policies. If the Secretary of State isn’t backed up by the President, then the Secretary of State has no real power at all.

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Meet the Real I$raHell Defense Force: the US Congress

NOVANEWS
dc846-us_congress_benjamin-netanyahu

I$raHell Gears

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

It started as a rather melancholy Friday afternoon in the West Bank. Nothing unusual. Just another funeral for a promising young man who died much too young. Under the implacable shadow of the Wall and in the rifle sights of Israeli soldiers, more than 200 mourners walked down the cobbled street toward the old cemetery in the village of Beit Ummar. Some shouted angrily at the soldiers, condemning Israel for yet another senseless death.

The funeral was for a college student, Jafaar Awad, who slipped into a coma and died only two months after being released from an Israeli prison, where his serious illness had festered untreated for months. Awad was only 22 when he died, as have so many other Palestinian prisoners, from medical neglect at the hands of Israeli jailers.

As his family huddled around his grave, the IDF launched a dozen tear gas canisters toward the mourners, scattering the stunned grouping. Then automatic weapons fire strafed the crowd, bullets hitting more than a dozen people, including Jafaar’s cousin Ziad Awad. Ziad was struck in the back, the bullet piercing his spine. He was rushed to the Al Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where he died of his wounds. KillingTrayvons1Ziad was only 28

A few hours after Ziad’s murder at the hands of Israeli snipers, the IDF issued a terse statement saying that Israeli soldiers fired on the crowd of mourners after people where seen throwing stones.

I’m surprised the IDF even felt compelled to issue a justification for a kind of killing that has become routine: kids were throwing stones, skipping rocks, jumping rope, blowing bubbles, tossing dirt on an open grave. They had no option but to shoot.

The Palestinians have no redress for these daily acts of butchery: no court to go to judge the legitimacy of shootings, no venue to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering or lost work days, no avenue to find a measure of justice for the slain. How much loss, misery and humiliation are one people expected to endure?

The Israeli state has never been more violent, the blood toll of Palestinian civilians never so high. In 2014, the Israeli military and security forces killed more than 2,300 Palestinians and wounded another 17,000. That’s the worst carnage since 1967, when the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza intensified in the wake of the Six Day War. During the height of the last Israeli rampage in Gaza last summer, more than 500,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes. And, according to a recent UN Report titled Fractured Lives, more than 100,000 of them remain homeless. Detentions of Palestinians inside Israeli prisons are also on the rise. As of the end of February of this year, more than 6,600 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons and IDF detention centers, the most in five years. So the gears of the killing machine grind on with impunity, each slaughter only serving to embolden more killing.

Who will stop them? Certainly not the Israeli state’s principle financial investor. For the most vigorous Israeli Defense Force, unblinking in its vigilance, unfaltering in its loyalty, is the U.S. Congress. There is a savage synchronicity to an alliance between one nation that drone strikes weddings and another that shoots ups funerals.

Each year Congress drops a cool $3 billion on Israel. Even in chambers ruled by fiscal tightwads the only real debate is whether this lavish dispensation, which accounts for more than half of all U.S. military aid worldwide, is enough to satiate Israel’s thirst for new weaponry. Even as Israel repeatedly sabotages U.S. policy across the region, Obama has described the U.S. aid package as “sacrosanct.”

In this light, the annual subornment of Israel, which totals about a third of the nation’s arms budget, by the U.S. begins to look less like a subsidy to a client state than protection money paid to a gangster organization.

It should come as no surprise that two of Benjamin Netanyahu’s most fervid American disciples, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, both graduated from Harvard Law, where they incubated in the Zionist hothouse of Alan Dershowitz. Yet, Cruz and Cotton aren’t outliers. Indeed, there is scarcely a micron of daylight between the positions of Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren, the Athena (to HRC’s Medea, I suppose) of the progressives, when it comes to defending the scandalous behavior of Israel. Indeed Warren, like many other liberals, seems to work overtime to demonstrate her unrivaled fealty to the Jewish state.

The vaunted Israel Lobby scarcely even needs a lobbyist anymore. These days the new members of congress arrived pre-conditioned to demonstrate their devotion to the Israeli cause. They don’t need to be bribed with PAC money, courted with hookers or blackmailed with indiscrete cell-phone photos. When Israel assassinates an Iranian scientist, uses chemical weapons in Gaza, tortures prisoners, murders a young American peace activist, enfilades a burial party or is caught spying on the American president, the congress will leap in unison to its defense–no questions asked, no questions answered–and dispatch another check to Tel Aviv.

In the face of the world’s longest running war crime, the American capital stands inert, an ethical void, its halls packed with the political equivalent of GMOs. Pass the Round-Up.

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Pakistan: MQM Chief’s Blame Game

NOVANEWS

Pakistan: MQM Chief’s Blame Game against Key Security Agencies

Image result for AltafHussain PHOTO

By Sajjad Shaukat

In the past few years, gang warfare, criminal activities and target killings have taken the lives of thousands of persons including the personnel of the Rangers and Police in Karachi. A number of terror-related incidents including sectarian violence have also resulted into several casualties.

Therefore, the Present Government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched the targeted

operation in Karachi after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders like political parties, business community and members of civil society. For the purpose, Karachi was particularly handed over to Pakistan Rangers with power to take action against the culprits without any discrimination.

But, leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and particularly its Chief Altaf

Hussain who was earlier vociferously seeking direct involvement of Army in Karachi abruptly

changed his stance and started criticizing Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies with hollow

allegation of partiality. Military exercised restraint, but venomous campaign of self-assumed

blames against Pakistan’s key security agencies—Army, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and

Pakistan Rangers continued unabated.

Under the growing condemnation and pressure from public and political circles, MQM leaders resorted to plead for forgiveness and regretted his remarks. It is his usual way, and political jugglery which he has been repeating quite often.

In the latest episode of Altaf Hussain’s ludicrous behaviour, he crossed all the limits of ethics

and morality to demonize the key institutions of Pakistan, and even sought help from Indian

secret agency, RAW. Like slaves, MQM leadership in Pakistan launched a campaign to defend

him. Public pressure again forced him to seek apology.  However, like his previous contradictory statements, Altaf Husain again apologized for his derogatory remarks against Army and ISI, while praising the latter. He also backed out from his statement about seeking help from RAW.

And his Karachi-based leadership also started presenting various clarifications to conceal the real face of its chief. It is imperative to question political leadership in the country, how many times, he would rebuke the nation and its sons in uniform and how many times, the state would remain silent and bear his insolvent posture. At the same time, the British government may also be questioned—would they allow such a controversial series of hate speeches from a foreigner into their country.

It is notable that MQM’s leaders were already confused when on March 11, 2015, in a targeted

operation, Rangers’ forces carried out a raid at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of the party in

Karachi, and a large cache of illegal weapons were recovered and several criminals had also been arrested. In order to hide the anti-Pakistan activities, Altaf had again targeted Pak Army and ISI.

Afterwards, he again admired these security agencies and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.

However, the real character of the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain needs analysis. In this context, it is notable that sometimes, he blames Pak Army and ISI for harassing his party workers, calling the residents of Karachi to defend themselves, sometimes, he admires these security agencies, sometimes, he threatens to separate Karachi from the federation, sometimes, he shows a strong sense of patriotism for Pakistan, sometimes, he suspends the membership of his party’s committee or sector incharges, sometimes, he restores the same, sometimes, he submits his own resignations, sometimes, he takes it back, sometimes, he instructs his party to join Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and sometimes, Pakistan Peoples Party, especially when these parties are in government. He also blackmails these mainstream parties for the advantages of MQM at the cost of peace in Karachi.

While, law-enforcing agencies’ operations in Karachi are across the board and shady stance

taken by Altaf Hussain indicates MQM involvement in destabilizing Karachi by its armed wing. Notably, MPA of MQM, Nadeem Hashmi was arrested on September 10, 2013 owing to firing at a police mobile in the Haideri area of the city in which the two policemen were killed. In the same month, some MQM workers were arrested, who were found involved in criminal activities, while the founder and leader of MQM Altaf Hussain had condemned the raid on MQM’s offices.

Recently, the paramilitary force proved that the MQM was behind the Baldia Town factory fire

in which 250 persons were killed. On February 8, this year, the Rangers also arrested a senior

MQM worker namely Rafiq Rajput who not only ran a team of ‘hit men’ but was also involved

in the May 12, 2007 carnage in the Karachi.

On February 10, 2015, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan disclosed that

MQM Chief Altaf Hussain based in London has let loose a “reign of terror” in Karachi. He

elaborated, “Nobody is safe at the hands of the party’s armed wing…with the revelation of the

Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report in which Hussain’s party has been held responsible for the killing of over 250 Baldia Town factory workers.” Earlier, Imran Khan also pledged to take Altaf Hussain to the British court, as he is also behind the killing of PTI’s leader Zahra Shahid and journalist Wali Babar in Karachi.

Nevertheless, some developments need attention, as these have proved that traitors are within the MQM. On April 30, this year, during a press conference, while presenting two terrorists who he claimed belonged to the MQM, SSP Malir, Karachi Rao Anwar revealed, “Key MQM leaders have connections with Indian spy agency RAW”, adding that the arrested MQM workers had received training from RAW. He further said that the MQM was actively working against Pakistan, should be banned.

It is of particular attention that a recent report of the JIT disclosed that Saulat Mirza, the former MQM’s worker, who recorded his statement before the JIT said that MQM had links with RAW.

Mirza confessed to killing 13 people, yet he was implicated in two murders only, and was

executed by the court order. It is mentionable that Zulfiqar Mirza, Sindh Home Minister and Senior Vice President of the then ruling party—PPP claimed on April 9, 2011 that he had been relieved from his ministry owing to pressure from the government’s coalition partner, the MQM. Mirza pointed out that the issue of target killing and extortion was just a ruse to remove him from his post.

As regards “Batha khauri”, everyone in Karachi knows that MQM has been collecting this illegal money from the local businessmen who are afraid of threats and terror-related actions of this party’s militant wing. While a majority of the innocent people of the city and followers of the MQM do not know the malpractices and criminal acts of this political party and are being misguided by their old leaders who act upon the directions of Altaf Hussain.

Meanwhile, on May 13, 2015, at least 45 people were killed after gunmen brutally opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community in Karachi. Without any doubt, besides previous terror-attacks,

Karachi bus incident is a handy work of RAW to sabotage the China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how it can protect CPEC. Ismailis belong to Hunza (Gilgit/Baltistan) or have a spiritual linkage with this area, are Pakistanis. The CPEC would also originate from the same region.

Now, questions arise, how long the people of Karachi will continue to stay mum and seal their

tongues? How long will the Muhajir cause of equality of representation, of economic

opportunities be sabotaged by leaders like Altaf Hussain? And how long people of Karachi will

continue to tolerate lunacy of its leadership?

Hence, it is the first and foremost obligation of MQM workers to call Altaf Hussain’s rhetoric as violent and treasonous. What happens from here is entirely the responsibility of people of

Karachi. The loyal Pakistanis, living in the city must know that Karachi is Pakistan’s largest port and financial hub with the largest commercial markets, collecting 70 per cent of the country’s tax revenue. So, besides causing unrest in the city, creating instability in Pakistan, another aim of the MQM leaders is to cripple the economy of the city which is intermittently brought to a halt with shut-down strikes—many shops including other business centers are forced to be closed. And, old leadership of MQM, especially its chief misguide the people by propagating that national institutions are not made to develop other areas of Pakistan like Karachi, alleging that the establishment is once again doing the ethnic cleansing of Muhajirs.

In fact, Pakistan as an independent state has stepped into seventh decade and third generation is enjoying the perks of independence. How long we will continue to be Muhajir, let’s not

negatively portray the image of residents of Karachi in a wrong way, they are now the natives of The residents of Karachi must be aware of the fact that Pakistan Army had given countless

sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, while its top priority is to restore peace in the city. In this regard, Army Chief Gen. Raheel vowed on April 29 to finish ‘all mafias’ in Karachi and made it clear that indiscriminate operation in the city would continue till its logical conclusion. Pakistan.

Armed Forces are pro national in character without having any provincial inclinations. Hence,

MQM chief’s blame game against key security agencies must be condemned by the patriot

people of Karachi.

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