Archive | June 26th, 2018

The Defiance that Launched Gaza’s Flaming Kites Cannot be Extinguished


By Jonathan Cook
Global Research

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First Israel built a sophisticated missile interception system named Iron Dome to neutralise the threat of homemade rockets fired out of Gaza.

Next it created technology that could detect and destroy tunnels Palestinians had cut through the parched earth deep under the fences Israel erected to imprison Gaza on all sides.

Israel’s priority was to keep Gaza locked down with a blockade and its two million inhabitants invisible.

Now Israel is facing a new and apparently even tougher challenge: how to stop Palestinian resistance from Gaza using flaming kites, which have set fire to lands close by in Israel. F-16 fighter jets are equipped to take on many foes but not the humble kite.

These various innovations by Palestinians are widely seen by Israelis as part of the same relentless campaign by Hamas to destroy their country.

But from inside Gaza, things look very different. These initiatives are driven by a mix of recognisably human emotions: a refusal to bow before crushing oppression; a fear of becoming complicit through silence and inaction in being erased and forgotten; and a compelling need to take back control of one’s life.

Palestinians encaged in Gaza, denied entry and exit by Israel via land, sea and air for more than a decade, know that life there is rapidly becoming unsustainable. Most young people are unemployed, much of the infrastructure and housing are irreparably damaged, and polluted water sources are near-unpotable.

After waves of military attacks, Gaza’s children are traumatised with mental scars that may never heal.

This catastrophe was carefully engineered by Israel, which renews and enforces it daily.

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The kites have long served as a potent symbol of freedom in Gaza. Children have flown them from the few spots in the tiny, congested enclave where people can still breathe – from rooftops or on Gaza’s beaches.

Five years ago, the film Flying Paper documented the successful efforts of Gaza’s children to set a new world record for mass kite-flying. The children defied Israel’s blockade, which prevents entry of most goods, by making kites from sticks, newspapers and scraps of plastic.

The children’s ambition was – if only briefly – to retake Gaza’s skies, which Israel dominates with its unseen, death-dealing drones that buzz interminably overhead and with missiles that can flatten a building in seconds.

A young girl observed of the kite’s lure:

“When we fly the kite, we know that freedom exists.”

A message scrawled on one read:

“I have the right to pride, education, justice, equality and life.”

But the world record attempt was not only about the children’s dreams and their defiance. It was intended to highlight Gaza’s confinement and to issue a reminder that Palestinians too are human.

That same generation of children have grown into the youths being picked off weekly by Israeli snipers at unarmed protests at the perimeter fence – the most visible feature of Israel’s infrastructure of imprisonment.

A few have taken up kite-flying again. If they have refused to put away childish things, this time they have discarded their childish idealism. Their world record did not win them freedom, nor even much notice.

After the snipers began maiming thousands of the demonstrators, including children, medics and journalists, for the impudence of imagining they had a right to liberty, the enclave’s youths reinvented the kite’s role.

If it failed to serve as a reminder of Palestinians’ humanity, it could at least remind Israel and the outside world of their presence, of the cost of leaving two million human beings to rot.

So the kites were set on fire, flaming emissaries that brought a new kind of reckoning for Israel when they landed on the other side of the fence.

Gaza’s inhabitants can still see the lands from which many of them were expelled during the mass dispossession of the Palestinian people in 1948 – under western colonial sponsorship – to create a Jewish state.

Not only were those lands taken from them, but the Jewish farming communities that replaced them now irrigate their crops using water Palestinians are deprived of, including water seized from aquifers under the West Bank.

The kites have rained fire down on this idyll created by Israel at the expense of Gaza’s inhabitants. No one has been hurt but Israel claims extinguishing the fires has already cost some $2 million and 7,000 acres of farmland have been damaged.

Sadly, given the profound sense of entitlement that afflicts many Israelis, a small dent in their material wellbeing has not pricked consciences about the incomparably greater suffering only a few kilometres away in Gaza.

Instead, Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan called last week for anyone flying a kite, even young children, to be shot. He and other ministers have argued that another large-scale military assault on Gaza is necessary to create what Erdan has termed “durable deterrence”.

That moment seems to be moving inexorably closer. The last few days have seen Israel launch punitive air strikes to stop the kites and Palestinian factions retaliate by firing significant numbers of rockets out of Gaza for the first time in years.

The Trump administration is no longer pretending to mediate. It has publicly thrown in its hand with Israel. It withdrew last week from the United Nations Human Rights Council, accusing it of being a “cesspool of political bias” after the council criticised Israel for executing Gaza’s unarmed demonstrators.

On a visit to the region last week, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, urged ordinary Palestinians to rebel against their leaders’ refusal to accept a long-awaited US peace plan that all evidence suggests will further undermine Palestinian hopes of a viable state.

Kushner is apparently unaware that the Palestinian public is expressing its will, for liberation, by protesting at the Gaza fence – and risking execution by Israel for doing so.

Meanwhile, Prince William is due in Israel on Monday, the first British royal to make an official visit since the mandate ended 70 years ago. While Kensington Palace has stressed that the trip is non-political, William will meet both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in an itinerary that has already been claimed by both sides as a victory.

From the vantage point of the Mount of Olives, from which he will view Jerusalem’s Old City, the prince may not quite manage to see the kite battles in Gaza’s skies that underscore who is Goliath and who is David. But he should see enough in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem to understand that western leaders have decisively chosen the side of Goliath.

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Ten Reasons Canada Should Get Out of NAFTA


For months Canadians have been inundated with claims from the government, various and sundry industries, and the national punditry, that NAFTA is good for our country, even necessary, and that “renegotiated” it will be even better. In the aftermath of US president Trump’s recent visit to Canada, virtually the entire Canadian political class has completely abandoned the vision of an independent, sovereign Canada. From the prime minister on down they rush to Brian Mulroney, the architect of the integration of Canada into the US, for direction and advice on how to “save NAFTA.” The door is now wide open for our country to take a different route, to reject NAFTA and build a nation which controls its own economy and destiny. Here are ten reasons why Canada should free itself from NAFTA, not enter more deeply into it.

One: Under NAFTA US corporations have the right to sue Canada for any law or regulation which they do not like and which they feel contravenes the spirit of NAFTA. US corporations have sued Canada 42 times under NAFTA, overturned Canadian laws and received over $200 million in NAFTA fines, plus approx. $100 million in legal fees, from Canada — and have filed claims for some five billion more. Why would any nation give foreign corporations the right to sue it and dictate its laws? (Canadian corporations can also sue the US. They have tried several times and failed each time.)

Two: Under the FTA, which is part of NAFTA, Canada agreed to never charge the Americans more for any good that we export to them than it charges Canadians. Why would Canada ever agree to such a provision and what in the world does it have to do with free trade?

Three: Canada agreed that it would never cut back on the amount of any good, including all forms of energy, that it sells to the US unless it cut back on Canadians proportionally at the same time. Why would Canada agree to deny its own citizens preferential access to their own resources?

Four: Except for a few exceptions, Canada agreed to allow US citizens and corporations to buy up Canadian companies and industries without restriction. They have taken over thousands of Canadian companies, from both our national railways to our retail industry to our grain companies. In 1867 the US purchased Alaska for $7 million. It is now purchasing Canada just as surely.

Five: Under NAFTA Canada’s standard of living has not risen, it has fallen. The real wages of Canadians are dropping steadily, and the divide between haves and have nots has soared.

Six: NAFTA is not free trade. It is the integration of North America into a continental economy. Integration means assimilation and that for Canada means the end of our country.

Seven: Locked into NAFTA Canada loses its ability to be an independent country. We see our country following the US on the world stage, even attacking and bombing small nations that have done no harm to Canada because, some of our leaders suggest, we must follow the US because our economies are so intertwined. (Then we watch some of the same leaders wringing their hands over the agony of the fleeing refugees our bombs have helped to create!)

Eight: Farsighted Canadian leaders have repeatedly warned their fellow citizens against free trade with the United States. John A. Macdonald called the very idea “veiled treason” because it meant giving control of our nation to a foreign power. George-Etienne Cartier said the end result would be union with United States, “that is to say, our annihilation as a country.” Robert Borden called free trade “the most momentous question” ever submitted to Canadians “not a mere question of markets but the future destiny of Canada.” John Diefenbaker called on Canadians “to take a clear stand in opposition to economic continentalism” and the “baneful effects of foreign ownership.” Pierre Elliott Trudeaucalled the FTA “a monstrous swindle, under which the Canadian government has ceded to the United States of America a large slice of the country’s sovereignty over its economy and natural resources.” John Turner called it “the Sale of Canada Act.”

Nine: In its early days Canada had no income tax. It used the revenue from tariffs on imported goods to finance the operation of the country and it had little or no debt throughout much of its history. Today after three decades of “free trade” with the US, Canada is carrying a record $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt and the tax burden on ordinary Canadians increases year after year. The rate of homelessness and use of food banks has escalated, public institutions and programmes on which citizens rely have been cut, while record amounts of raw resources are being poured across the border at fire sale prices.

Ten: Canada’s economy is roughly one tenth the size of that of the US. If we do not protect our industries, our sovereignty, and our economy, our country will be absorbed into the United States. This means the end of the dream of an independent Canada standing among the world’s nations with pride and dignity. It not be so. Both the FTA and NAFTA have cancellation clauses. With a simple 6 month’s notice Canada can withdraw without penalty. All three NAFTA countries are members of the World Trade Organization and our trade with them would simply revert back to WTO rules, under which we did much better than we have under NAFTA, and without any US corporate right to sue us or buy up our country.

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U.S. to Continue Supporting Al Qaeda Rebels



U.S. to Continue to Use White Helmets As Long As the Western Public Accepts “Media War Lies”

By Mark Taliano and The Syria Times, June 26, 2018

U.S. policymakers will go ahead with using not only the White Helmets but also the false flag chemical weapons events in Syria for as long as broad-based domestic populations accept the war lies and the engineered deceptions, the Canadian political analyst and Research Associate at Global ResearchMark Taliano told the Syriatimes e-newspaper.

Moscow-Riyadh: Balancing Out Washington

By Andrew Korybko, June 26, 2018

The state-owned Russian Railways is already planning to participate in the construction of the Trans-Arabian Railroad (also known as the GCC Railroad) for connecting the Gulf Kingdoms, so it’s already clearly developed the connections within Saudi Arabia for clinching relevant deals. The company could therefore leverage these contacts to explore the options available for participating in the Israeli-Saudi Railway too, and considering Moscow’s excellent relations with Riyadh and Tel Aviv as a result of Russia’s fast-moving rapprochements with both of them over the past couple of years, it’s unlikely that these two increasingly independent actors would object to its proposed role even if their American ally was unhappy with it.

Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Fighting Alongside U.S. Rebels in Syria’s South?

By Sharmine Narwani, June 26, 2018

Whether there will now be a full-on battle for the south or not, visits last week to Syria’s three southern governorates, Daraa, Quneitra, and Suweida, reveal a startling possibility: al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise—the Nusra Front—appears to be deeply entrenched alongside these U.S.-backed militants in key, strategic towns and villages scattered throughout the south.

US Senate Bans Sale of F-35s to Turkey: Dealing with an Unreliable Partner

By Peter Korzun, June 26, 2018

On June 19, the Senate passed a draft defense bill for FY 2019 that would halt the transfer of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft to Turkey, until the secretary of state certifies that Turkey will not accept deliveries of Russian S-400 Triumf air-defense systems. It paves the way for Ankara’s expulsion from the program if it does not bow to this pressure. The support for the measure (85-10) is too strong to be overridden.

US-NATO Led Wars Have Created a Global Migrant Crisis. Solutions?

By J. Michael Springmann, June 26, 2018

At one time or another, the United States has invaded, attacked, subverted, or regime-changed nearly every country south of its border with Mexico, as well as most of those in the Caribbean. Because of wrecked governments, devastated economies, and consequent loss of freedom, waves of migrants have moved north to the “Land of Opportunity”, now called by some on National Public Radio here as the “Land of Humanity”.

U.S. Forces Failed Attempts to Seize Territory in Southern Syria. U.S. Backed Al Qaeda Fighter Fleeing from SAA Forces

By Eric Zuesse, June 26, 2018

On June 25th, U.S.-aided fighters in southern Syria were fleeing from the Syrian Government’s Army, southward toward U.S.-allied Israeli-controlled areas in the Golan Heights and toward America’s ally Jordan.

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Syrian Army Liberated Lajat District in Daraa Province ‘Video’


The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and their allies have reportedly established full control of the district of Lajat in the province of Daraa. According to pro-government sources, militants in the area have mostly surrendered to government troops.

Additionally, the SAA and its allies liberated the village of Mleha al-‘Atsh and captured the center of Busr al-Harir.

If all these reports are confirmed, government forces have liberated about 400km2 since the start of clashes in northeastern Daraa last week.

On June 25, the Russian Defense Ministry released a statement saying that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) had carried out a large attack on government positions in the province. The attack was repelled and 70 militants were killed.

This attack likely was an attempt to sabotage the SAA progress in Lajat.

On June 26, Israel reportedly carried out a new missile strike on Syria targeting the Damascus International Airport.

According to pro-government sources, at least two missiles fell in near the airport. Pro-Israeli sources claim that the strike hit an Iranian cargo plane inside the airport.

Local sources say that Syrian air defense systems were employed. However, it is unclear if some missiles were intercepted.

An alleged pro-government partisan group, the Popular Resistance in Manbij, has announced the start of preparations for an uprising against foreign occupiers – i.e. forces of the US, France and Turkey – aiming to divide Syria.

In April, a similar group, entitled “the Popular Resistance in al-Hasakah”, appeared in eastern Syria. This group also threatened the US-led coalition and its proxies with attacks. However, no notable attacks have been carried out so far.

In any case, appearance of such groups show that far from everyone in northeastern Syria like the US-led coalition.


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The Saudi-Egyptian Rivalry: How a Football Match Reflects Geopolitical Power Relations

The defeat of the Egyptian national football team by their Saudi Arabian counterparts in the 2018 World Cup can be viewed as a metaphor for the triumph of the Saudis over Egypt after an intense and sometimes deadly political rivalry played out during the rule of the charismatic and secular-orientated Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Egypt has a rich tradition of football at both domestic and international levels. Along with the ‘Black Stars’ of Ghana, the ‘Pharaohs’ of Egypt were the glamour team of African football back in the 1960s and despite several significant lows have over the course of time established as seven-times winners of the African Cup of Nations tournament. The derby matches held between the Cairo club sides Al Ahly and Zamalek represent an enduring rivalry which is arguably as passionately intense as any other in the world including Istanbul’s Kitalarasi Derbi and the Spanish El Clasico.

Saudi Arabia, which established its football federation 35 years after Egypt’s, did not enter a tournament until 1984. And although it has gone on to become one of Asia’s most successful national football teams, the rankings tabulated respectively by FIFA and the Soccer Power Index, demonstrate that Asian football continues to trail that of the African continent.

Going into yesterday’s match held in Volgograd, Egypt could boast of having defeated Saudi Arabia in 4 out of 6 meetings. The first meeting between both countries in September 1961 during the Pan Arab Games ended in a 13-0 rout of the Saudis. Although the phenomenal gap in quality had closed over the years, Egypt emerged as 2-1 winners the last time they met in 2007.

For these reasons, it would appear rather perplexing to think of a footballing rivalry as existing between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. However, the nature of the football World Cup tournament in its straightforward evocation of nationalist pride and rivalry has been apt at bringing into sharp focus the relations of nations who have been scheduled to play each other.

This was clearly the case when England played Argentina in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, four years after the military conflict between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands, or, to Argentineans, Las Islas Malvinas.

And the imagination of the global public was stirred by the drawing of the United States and Iran in the same group during the 1998 tournament.

While the same cannot be said about the drawing together of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Republic of Egypt into Group A of the present World Cup, the Saudi defeat of an Egyptian side which included English Premier League Golden Boot winner Mo Salah, may have brought to the minds of some the previously intense and sometimes deadly political rivalry which existed between both countries.

The struggle for the heart and soul of the Arab masses between the secular Egyptian republic led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Wahabbist monarchy of Saudi Arabia was at its peak during the 1960s. The eight-year-long civil war in North Yemen between republican and royalist factions was one manifestation of a struggle, which also placed both countries on opposite sides in the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Where the pro-Western Saudis were tradition-bound and seemingly resistant to change, the government of Nasser, which had been formed by members of the Free Officer Movement, appeared to be progressive. Nasserism not only embodied Arab nationalism, it also embraced the spirit of Bandung-era anti-imperialist sentiment and Afro-Arab solidarity.

At the apex of its appeal in the years following the Suez War of 1956, Nasser-led Egypt appeared to represent the aspirations of the Arab people -not the rulers of Saudi Arabia, who felt threatened and sought to check the spread of Egyptian influence.

That rivalry has, for all intents and purposes, been defunct for several generations.

How and why did Egyptian prestige and influence in the Arab world fall to its present state? Perhaps a starting point can be made by referencing the humiliating defeat inflicted on the Egyptian armed forces by the State of Israel in 1967 when the Israelis routed the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

This defeat so traumatised the Arab psyche that it provided an avenue through which the fundamentalist brand of Islamism espoused by ideologues such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sayyid Qutb could begin to gain greater appeal.

Nasser may have executed Qutb, but a succession of failures: militarily against Israel, economically in relation to the implementation of his brand of socialism, and politically the fracture of the United Arab Republic project with Syria alongside the quagmire in Yemen, began to convince some intellectuals and the man-in-the-street that secular nationalism was no longer the preferred course through which Arabs could develop their societies.

Egyptian prestige dwindled when it began to be perceived that Anwar Sadat, Nasser’s successor, had become a tool of the West, and Egypt, with its ever expanding population but meagre resource, could not compete economically with the oil-rich Saudis.

While Sadat had garnered a modicum of esteem for Egypt after the Arab-Israeli War of 1973, the oil embargo and the ensuing fuel crisis strengthened the hand of the Saudis whose deal with the United States to sell oil solely in US dollars in return for guaranteeing the security of the House of Saud, offered the Saudi monarchy an extra layer of protection.

Although less concerned now about the possibility of Nasserite-inspired conspiracies aimed at overthrowing the royal house as had occurred during Nasser’s heyday, the Saudis still felt threatened by the possibility of a revival of the Nasserite ideology in Egypt, or by the machinations of his ideological heir, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who had overthrown the Libyan monarchy in 1969.

An indication of the change in the balance of Saudi-Egyptian relations was apparent with the more or less wholesale abrogation by Sadat of Nasser’s policies, in return for subsidies and low-interest loans from the Saudis. Also, while the Arab League has for much of its history been characterised as a ‘do-nothing’ organisation, it was clear that as Egyptian influence waned, that of the Saudis grew.

The hand of the Saudis was also strengthend by the jolt caused in 1979 by the Siege of Mecca, which had the effect of intensifying the policy of exporting the Wahhabist ideology to foreign Muslim lands as a form of atonement to the senior clerics of the realm who warned Saudi Arabia’s rulers that the siege, which was staged by the followers of Juhayman al-Otaibi had been caused by Saudi Arabia’s steady drift towards an ‘infidel culture’, that is, what they considered to be the adapting of Western practices in Saudi society.

By now, the days when Egypt had actively provided a counter-weight ideology of secularism to the Muslim world were long gone.

For decades, Egypt’s rulers, beginning with Sadat and continuing with Hosni Mubarak, have largely played second fiddle to the Saudis. And under General Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, this state of affairs has arguably become more pronounced. It is an open secret that el-Sisi was brought to power in 2013 by a coup which was financed by Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, the ceding by Egypt to the Saudis of the Red Sea Islands of Tiran and Sanafir in June 2017, provoked widespread outrage in Egypt. Although both Islands are largely uninhabited, the transfer of sovereignty was interpreted by many Egyptians as an abject surrender to Saudi suzerainty. It was a pact that many believe was reached because of Egyptian need for Saudi aid.

There are likely to be many Egyptians whose pride will be sorely dented by a sporting loss to the sparsely-populated desert kingdom to whom their leaders have increasingly become beholden.

A football match, it appears, has come to mirror the loss of Egyptian geopolitical power and influence relative to that gained and wielded by the Saudis.

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America’s Assault against Yemen’s Children, the War You Haven’t Heard About

As we write, troops commanded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), backed by Saudi Arabian warplanes, are fighting to take control of the port city of Al Hudaydah on Yemen’s western coast, now held by Yemen’s Houthi movement. Aid flowing through Al Hudaydah is the only thing standing between 22 million Yemenis and starvation. And now it’s being threatened by a reactionary offensive armed, trained, guided, and backed by the USA.

After a week of fierce fighting, UAE forces have reportedly taken over the airport south of Al Hudaydah, as Saudi warplanes bomb the city. Hundreds have been killed, and 30,000 have reportedly fled the city along with 76,000 from the surrounding region. The assault has disrupted supplies of electricity and clean water, and aid workers warn of a cholera outbreak that could spread “with lightning speed” and infect hundreds of thousands. Many aid workers have been forced to leave Al Hudaydah, and others can’t access areas where the fighting has been heaviest.

America: A Force for Barbarity, Not Good in the World

If you want to understand what a truly barbaric, monstrous system America is, look at what it’s done—and is doing—to the 28 million people of this impoverished Middle Eastern country. After creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, it’s now threatening Yemen’s meager flow of humanitarian aid and deliberately flirting with mass slaughter through famine and disease. Closing Al Hudaydah’s port “means that you’re cutting the last artery to Yemen,” said one aid worker. For over three years, behind the scenes and a veil of lies, the U.S. has been deliberately murdering hundreds of thousands of children and starving millions of oppressed Yemeni people. They’ve done so by providing the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with weapons and planes, fuel and training, hands-on direction and intelligence, Green Berets on the front lines, and the political and propaganda support to wage war on the people of Yemen.

This is a war of mass slaughter, mass starvation, and mass disease—waged by blockading food and medicine, destroying the country’s health, water, and power systems—war crimes that have targeted the country’s means for sustaining life.

A war waged so the U.S. imperialists can maintain their stranglehold on the Middle East and the world, and so their murderous Saudi and UAE “allies” can maintain their death grip on the Arabian Peninsula. These predators view isolating and overthrowing the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) as crucial to this overall agenda, and see the war in Yemen as one front in that struggle. Iran has attempted to advance its own reactionary regional interests through this war, although its involvement in the conflict and backing of the Houthis has been vastly overstated by the U.S. rulers, when in reality Iran isn’t directly involved in the fighting and whatever backing it’s provided the Houthis doesn’t begin to compare to the massive assaults and crimes being carried out by the Saudis, the UAE, and the U.S.

Yemen map


Between 15,000 and 44,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, have been slaughtered by U.S. and British bombs and missiles. More than 22 million Yemenis have been driven to the brink of hunger, over eight million to the brink of starvation. In two years (2016-2017), 113,000 children died of hunger or preventable disease. The U.S.-Saudi-UAE coalition’s destruction of Yemen’s water and sewer system led to the largest outbreak of cholera, a bacterial disease spread by drinking contaminated water, in history. Over the last year, a million people have been infected; 2,300 have died, mainly children. During the epidemic, the U.S.-Saudi coalition, which regularly issues statements of their supposed “concern” for the suffering in Yemen, blocked imports of the chlorine tablets needed to make water safe to drink.

Doubling Down on Mass Murder and Starvation

America claims it’s not involved, and its clients Saudi Arabia and the UAE claim their hands are clean. They say they want to take Al Hudaydah to insure the flow of humanitarian aid. But if that were true, if the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the UAE gave a rat’s ass about the welfare of Yemen’s people, then:

  • Why have the Saudis and the UAE—with a green light from the U.S.—continued their assault (and demand for unconditional surrender) when they have already threatened humanitarian relief and when every humanitarian agency in the world demanded they stop?
  • Why, according to a new report by Amnesty International (AI), has Saudi Arabia deliberately delayed aid from arriving in Al Hudaydah for weeks at a time, an action AI said constituted the war crime of collective punishment? And why are they holding back a ship with 25,000 tons of wheat now!?
  • Why have Saudi planes targeted Al Hudaydah’s port during the war, and are on track to do even more damage now?
  • Why, in the areas Saudi- and UAE-backed forces have controlled for years, do Yemenis still lack basic necessities—food, clean water, healthcare—even though the Saudis and the UAE control the flow of goods into the country?
  • Why would the UAE be running at least 18 secret prisons across Yemen where the most depraved, unspeakable sexual tortures are rampant according to an Associated Press report, which cites examples where prisoners were lined up, ordered to strip, and then sodomized by guards claiming to be looking for contraband, while being threatened by dogs? One top prison official told the AP, “Americans use Emiratis as gloves to do their dirty work.”

No wonder the International Rescue Committee denounced Saudi and UAE claims as “a publicity stunt meant to draw attention away from the undue suffering the attack is causing,” and that their “so-called relief plan … must be seen for exactly what it is; a justification to launch an attack that will have catastrophic consequences.”

The U.S. is the godfather behind all this savagery.

“When [the Saudis] have the backing of the United States, they’ve been able to wage this war of extreme proportions that they would have never been able to wage on their own,” said Yemeni-American researcher Shireen Al-Adeimi in a June 22 interview on The Michael Slate Show. “[The Saudis] don’t manufacture their own weapons, they don’t train their own soldiers, they don’t refuel their own jets. They rely on the U.S. for all these things, and that’s why they’ve been able to wage this incredibly destructive war.”

U.S. and British officers have even staffed Saudi command rooms for airstrikes.

After the U.S. publicly rejected their request for minesweepers for the Al Hudaydah attack, a UAE official said:

“Not giving us military assistance is not the same as telling us not to do it.” (See article “America Targets Yemen’s Children for Death by Starvation.”)

Yemeni Lives Are Hanging in the Balance… What Are YOU Going to Do?

Right now, the U.S.-backed Saudi-UAE attack on Al Hudaydah is continuing. They’re attempting to seize Yemen’s lifeline—in order to threaten, terrorize, and if necessary starve the Yemeni people into submission. The lives of millions of Yemenis—men, women, and yes children—now hang in the balance.

American lives are NOT more important than Yemeni lives, and we in this country have a responsibility to loudly and visibly denounce and oppose this offensive, and call for an end to this mass murder before it becomes horribly genocidal! And people need to confront the real nature of an empire based on starving children, HERE, and the real solution to ending it, and all the horrors it inflicts on humanity, HERE.

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U.S. to Continue to Use White Helmets As Long As the Western Public Accepts “Media War Lies”


U.S. policymakers will go ahead with using not only the White Helmets but also the false flag chemical weapons events in Syria for as long as broad-based domestic populations accept the war lies and the engineered deceptions, the Canadian political analyst and Research Associate at Global Research Mark Taliano told the Syriatimes e-newspaper.

The analyst asserted that U.S. policymakers support al Qaeda in Syria, and the White Helmets are al Qaeda auxiliaries, so it makes sense that the U.S. which seeks global control, would continue to support them.

But he pointed out that the US aspirations are being frustrated on Syrian soil.

“As Syria and its allies continue to win this war, the world is shifting, geopolitically, to a multipolar orientation. Yes, I expect Syria will win this war and regain its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as per international law,” Taliano said, adding that Syria and its allies have almost completely destroyed the international brigades of terrorists within Syrian territory.

“The remaining terrorists in Syria – ISIS, al Qaeda, FSA etc. — are all in U.S occupied areas of Syria, and the U.S is protecting them as per usual. But Syria and its allies are defeating the terrorists, so we can expect another false flag incident anytime now, which will be used as a pretext for increased Western support of their terrorist proxies,” stressed the Canadian analyst, who visited Syria twice in 2016 and 2018.

He expects no change in the policy of western countries towards Syria, affirming that Israel and the west have been intervening directly since the war began in Syria and they commit war crimes as policy.

Suffocating mantle of lies

“Western policymakers are committing an overseas holocaust right now, in the Middle East and beyond. These elite, largely unaccountable policymakers, and an increasingly transnational oligarch class, are the short- term beneficiaries of these policies, to the detriment of domestic and global populations.  We need to break through the suffocating mantle of lies that is destroying us all,” said Taliano.

He, in addition, commented on MSM’s attacks against European delegations and reporters that come to Syria to see the reality of events by saying:

“MSM is an ignorant appendage of the mindless war machine, hence MSM fake journalists feel threatened by real reporting that contradicts their criminal war propaganda.”

“Voices from Syria”

The Canadian political analyst, who was in Syria in in April, 2018, at the same time that the U.S, France, and U.K bombed Syria with their cruise missiles following the Ghouta false flag, published one year ago a book entitled ‘Voices from Syria’ after he came to Syria in September 2016 as he sensed that the official narrative being fed to North Americans across TV screens, in newsprint and on internet were false.

“Voices from Syria is a very short book, but it is full of primary source documentation and evidence that refutes the incessant Western war propaganda. It also explains what we as Westerners can do to amplify the Truth for Peace and Justice,” the author clarified.

He went on to say:

“I hope to visit Syria again.  All of humanity is connected to Syria’s ancient civilization in one way or another, and Syria’s rich roots are spiritually uplifting. I see Syria as a bastion of civilization that is confronting and defeating international terrorism for the benefit of humanity.”

Taliano described the achievements of Syria and its allies against terrorism as ‘extraordinary’ and a ‘remarkable feat’, given the fact that all of NATO and its allies support the terrorists.


Interviewed by Basma Qaddour  

This article was originally published on The Syria Times.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on U.S. to Continue to Use White Helmets As Long As the Western Public Accepts “Media War Lies”

Moscow-Riyadh: Balancing Out Washington


Why Should Russia Participate In The Israeli-Saudi Railroad

The Times of Israel published an article titled Israel to begin promoting railway linking Haifa seaport with Saudi Arabia, which self-explanatorily describes Israeli Transportation Minister Israel Katz’s unprecedented proposal for pioneering an overland rail route from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf as part of his signature “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative. First unveiled just a few months ago, this plan envisions Israel replacing Syria as the mainland gateway for facilitating EU-Gulf trade through rail connections with Palestine, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, the latter of which has yet to formally sign a peace deal with Israel but is widely regarded as one of its most solid regional allies in the larger Mideast proxy war against Iran. 

The timing of the article comes right after reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman(MBS) held secret talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Jordanian capital of Amman, supposedly over the US’ forthcoming peace plan but which possibly also included discussions about this prospective connectivity route. In fact, the Haifa-to-Dammam rail corridor might even become a fundamental component of the so-called “New Middle East” that the Trump Administration is trying to build, given that it would represent the undeniable betterment of Israeli-Saudi relations and could even come to precede a formal peace treaty between the two de-facto anti-Iranian allies after they openly join forces in pushing the US’ soon-to-be-unveiled peace plan on the Palestinians.

Symbolism aside, there are very real economic reasons for building this railway. MBS’ ambitious Vision 2030 comprehensive reform program aims to assist the Kingdom’s phased transition to its inevitable post-oil economy, to which end Riyadh is seeking billions in investment in real-sector development projects. China is slated to play a key role in this process by building up the heavily populated eastern part of the country’s southern Persian Gulf shoreline into an industrial powerhouse as part of its plans to turn Saudi Arabia into a tri-continental pivot node along its New Silk Road, which if successful could see Beijing making use of the Haifa-to-Dammam rail corridor to export products to the EU.

In other words, the irony of this US-assisted plan is that it might inadvertently help China because of the very real potential that Beijing has for “piggybacking” off of it in pursuing its own self-interests, which interestingly overlap with all the relevant parties’, including Washington’s own. From the American perspective, it makes sense to invest in this project in order to exert influence over what might become one of its rival’s Silk Road branch lines, thus keeping Chinese-EU trade under the watchful eye of the US no matter which geographic domain it’s conducted across. So as not to be left out of this exciting confluence of strategic interests, Russia should endeavor to play a role in this project.

The state-owned Russian Railways is already planning to participate in the construction of the Trans-Arabian Railroad (also known as the GCC Railroad) for connecting the Gulf Kingdoms, so it’s already clearly developed the connections within Saudi Arabia for clinching relevant deals. The company could therefore leverage these contacts to explore the options available for participating in the Israeli-Saudi Railway too, and considering Moscow’s excellent relations with Riyadh and Tel Aviv as a result of Russia’s fast-moving rapprochements with both of them over the past couple of years, it’s unlikely that these two increasingly independent actors would object to its proposed role even if their American ally was unhappy with it.

It’s always to Russia’s benefit to participate in mutually (or in this case, multilaterally) beneficial projects with its partners, especially its newfound and non-traditional ones such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of whom have the available funding to reciprocally invest within the country itself as a quid-pro-quo for the successful outcome of this or any other initiative. Speaking of which, the proposed railway isn’t the only potential platform for trilateral cooperation between these three players, as MBS’ plans for constructing the so-called “NEOM future city” close to the Gulf of Aqaba could naturally involve Israel and also Russia as well.

Tel Aviv has an interest in funding this nearby project and incorporating it into the so-called “Red-Med Railway” that could even potentially be expanded across part of the former Hejaz Railway route for streamlining a connectivity corridor along Saudi Arabia’s western coast to complement the GCC Railway down its eastern one. Moscow, meanwhile, could also provide financing to the NEOM future city but might additionally seek to involve its Skolkovo Innovation Center in this initiative too, thereby giving it a “big-ticket project” to attach its name to and gain further global renown. Altogether, Russia can play a crucial role in tightening the Israeli-Saudi alliance and reaping strategic dividends as a result.

Economic rewards are of course the driving factor incentivizing Russian participation in these aforementioned projects, but even important though much longer-term is the role that Moscow would be playing in “balancing” out Washington’s hitherto monopolization of this partnership, which has thus far been advanced without any multipolar influence. Taking advantage of its rapid rapprochements with Israel and Saudi Arabia, Russia should market its prospective role in these initiatives as strengthening both parties’ strategic independence by proactively mitigating any possible overreliance on the US. Seeing as how China stands to gain immensely from these projects, it’s inevitable that the US will exert disproportionate influence over them with time, which is why it’s so important for Russia to apply a positive counterbalancing force when this moment finally arrives.

Posted in USA, Russia, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Moscow-Riyadh: Balancing Out Washington

How Long Can the Federal Reserve Stave Off the Inevitable?


When are America’s global corporations and Wall Street going to sit down with President Trump and explain to him that his trade war is not with China but with them.  The biggest chunk of America’s trade deficit with China is the offshored production of America’s global corporations. When the corporations bring the products that they produce in China to the US consumer market, the products are classified as imports from China.  

Six years ago when I was writing The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, I concluded on the evidence that half of US imports from China consist of the offshored production of US corporations.  Offshoring is a substantial benefit to US corporations because of much lower labor and compliance costs. Profits, executive bonuses, and shareholders’ capital gains receive a large boost from offshoring.  The costs of these benefits for a few fall on the many—the former American employees who formerly had a middle class income and expectations for their children.

In my book, I cited evidence that during the first decade of the 21st century “the US lost 54,621 factories, and manufacturing employment fell by 5 million employees.  Over the decade, the number of larger factories (those employing 1,000 or more employees) declined by 40 percent. US factories employing 500-1,000 workers declined by 44 percent; those employing between 250-500 workers declined by 37 percent, and those employing between 100-250 workers shrunk by 30 percent. These losses are net of new start-ups.  Not all the losses are due to offshoring.  Some are the result of business failures” (p. 100).

In other words, to put it in the most simple and clear terms, millions of Americans lost their middle class jobs not because China played unfairly, but because American corporations betrayed the American people and exported their jobs.  “Making America great again” means dealing with these corporations, not with China.  When Trump learns this, assuming anyone will tell him, will he back off China and take on the American global corporations?

The loss of middle class jobs has had a dire effect on the hopes and expectations of Americans, on the American economy, on the finances of cities and states and, thereby, on their ability to meet pension obligations and provide public services, and on the tax base for Social Security and Medicare, thus threatening these important elements of the American consensus.  In short, the greedy corporate elite have benefitted themselves at enormous cost to the American people and to the economic and social stability of the United States.

The job loss from offshoring also has had a huge and dire impact on Federal Reserve policy.  With the decline in income growth, the US economy stalled. The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan substituted an expansion in consumer credit for the missing growth in consumer income in order to maintain aggregate consumer demand. Instead of wage increases, Greenspan relied on an increase in consumer debt to fuel the economy.

The credit expansion and consequent rise in real estate prices, together with the deregulation of the banking system, especially the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, produced the real estate bubble and the fraud and mortgage-backed derivatives that gave us the 2007-08 financial crash.

The Federal Reserve responded to the crash not by bailing out consumer debt but by bailing out the debt of its only constituency—the big banks.  The Federal Reserve let little banks fail and be bought up by the big ones, thus further increasing financial concentration. The multi-trillion dollar increase in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet was entirely for the benefit of a handful of large banks.  Never before in history had an agency of the US government acted so decisively in behalf only of the ownership class.

The way the Federal Reserve saved the irresponsible large banks, which should have failed and have been broken up, was to raise the prices of troubled assets on the banks’ books by lowering interest rates.  To be clear, interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions. When interest rates are lowered by the Federal Reserve, which it achieves by purchasing debt instruments, the prices of bonds rise. As the various debt risks move together, lower interest rates raise the prices of all debt instruments, even troubled ones. Raising the prices of debt instruments produced solvent balance sheets for the big banks.

To achieve its aim, the Federal Reserve had to lower the interest rates to zero, which even the low reported inflation reduced to negative interest rates.  These low rates had disastrous consequences.  On the one hand low interest rates caused all sorts of speculations.  On the other low interest rates deprived retires of interest income on their retirement savings, forcing them to draw down capital, thus reducing accumulated wealth among the 90 percent.  The under-reported inflation rate also denied retirees Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, forcing them to spend retirement capital.  

The low interest rates also encouraged corporate boards to borrow money in order to buy back the corporation’s stock, thus raising its price and, thereby, the bonuses and stock options of executives and board members and the capital gains of shareholders.  In other words, corporations indebted themselves for the short-term benefit of executives and owners. Companies that refused to participate in this scam were threatened by Wall Street with takeovers.

Consequently today the combination of offshoring and Federal Reserve policy has left us a situation in which every aspect of the economy is indebted—consumers, government at all levels, and businesses.  A recent Federal Reserve study concluded that Americans are so indebted and so poor that 41 percent of the American population cannot raise $400 without borrowing from family and friends or selling personal possessions.

A country whose population is this indebted has no consumer market. Without a consumer market there is no economic growth, other than the false orchestrated figures produced by the US government by under counting the inflation rate.

Without economic growth, consumers, businesses, state, local, and federal governments cannot service their debts and meet their obligations. 

The Federal Reserve has learned that it can keep afloat the Ponzi scheme that is the US economy by printing money with which to support financial asset prices.  The alleged rise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are not real interest rates rises.  Even the under-reported inflation rate is higher than the interest rate increases, with the result that the real interest rate falls.  If the stock market tries to sell off, before much damage can be done the Federal Reserve steps in and purchases S&P futures, thus driving up stock prices.  

Normally so much money creation by the Federal Reserve, especially in conjunction with such a high debt level of the US government and also state and local governments, consumers, and businesses, would cause a falling US dollar exchange rate.  Why hasn’t this happened?

For three reasons.  One is that the central banks of the other three reserve currencies—the Japanese central bank, the European central bank, and the Bank of England—also print money.  Their Quantitative Easing, which still continues, offsets the dollars created by the Federal Reserve and keeps the US dollar from depreciating.

A second reason is that when suspicion of the dollar’s worth sends up the gold price, the Federal Reserve or its bullion banks short gold futures with naked contracts. This drives down the gold price.  There are numerous columns on my website by myself and Dave Kranzler proving this to be the case.  There is no doubt about it.

The third reason is that money managers, individuals, pension funds, everyone and all the rest had rather make money than not.  Therefore, they go along with the Ponzi scheme.  The people who did not benefit from the Ponzi scheme of the past decade are those who understood it was a Ponzi scheme but did not realize the corruption that has beset the Federal Reserve and the central bank’s ability and willingness to continue to feed the Ponzi scheme. 

As I have explained previously, the Ponzi scheme falls apart when it becomes impossible to continue to support the dollar as burdened as the dollar is by debt levels and abundance of dollars that could be dumped on the exchange markets.  

This is why Washington is determined to retain its hegemony.  It is Washington’s hegemony over Japan, Europe, and the UK that protects the American Ponzi scheme.  The moment one of these central banks ceases to support the dollar, the others would follow, and the Ponzi scheme would unravel.  If the prices of US debt and stocks were reduced to their real values, the United States would no longer have a place in the ranks of world powers.

The implication is that war, and not economic reform, is America’s most likely future.

In a subsequent column I hope to explain why neither US political party has the awareness and capability to deal with real problems.

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Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Fighting Alongside U.S. Rebels in Syria’s South?


If forced to choose, Israel prefers the presence of terrorist groups to Iranian influence.

At first glance, all appears calm in this southern Syrian city where protests first broke out seven years ago. Residents mill around shops in preparation for the evening Iftar meal when they break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

But the tension is nonetheless palpable in this now government-controlled city. A few weeks ago, Russian-brokered reconciliation talks in southern Syria fell apart when Western-backed militants rejected a negotiated peace.

Whether there will now be a full-on battle for the south or not, visits last week to Syria’s three southern governorates, Daraa, Quneitra, and Suweida, reveal a startling possibility: al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise—the Nusra Front—appears to be deeply entrenched alongside these U.S.-backed militants in key, strategic towns and villages scattered throughout the south.

U.S. media and think tanks obfuscate this fact by referring to all opposition fighters as “rebels” or “moderates.” Take a look at their maps and you only see three colors: red for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies, green for opposition forces, black for ISIS.

So then, where is the Nusra Front, long considered by Western pundits to be one of the most potent fighting forces against the SAA? Have they simply—and conveniently—been erased from the Syrian battle map?

Discussions with Syrian military experts, analysts, and opposition fighters during my trip revealed that Nusra is alive and kicking in the southern battlefields. The map below specifically identifies areas in the south controlled by Nusra, but there are many more locations that do not appear where Nusra is present and shares power with other militants.

Despite its U.S. and UN designation as a terrorist organization, Nusra has been openly fighting alongside the “Southern Front,” a group of 54 opposition militias funded and commanded by a U.S.-led war room based in Amman, Jordan called the Military Operations Center (MOC).

Specifics about the MOC aren’t easy to come by, but sources inside Syria—both opposition fighters and Syrian military brass (past and present)—suggest the command center consists of the U.S., UK, France, Jordan, Israel, and some Persian Gulf states.

They say the MOC supplies funds, weapons, salaries, intel, and training to the 54 militias, many of which consist of a mere 200 or so fighters that are further broken down into smaller groups, some only a few dozen strong.

SAA General Ahmad al-Issa, a commander for the frontline in Daraa, says the MOC is a U.S.-led operation that controls the movements of Southern Front “terrorists” and is highly influenced by Israel’s strategic goals in the south of Syria—one of which is to seize control of its bordering areas to create a “buffer” inside Syrian territories.

How does he know this? Issa says his information comes from a cross-section of sources, including reconciled/captured militants and intel from the MOC itself. The general cites MOC’s own rulebook for militants as an example of its Israel-centricity:

“One, never threaten or approach any Israeli border in any way. Two, protect the borders with (Israeli-occupied) Golan so no one can enter Israel.”

To illustrate the MOC’s control over southern militants, Issa cites further regulations:

“three, never take any military action before clearing with MOC first. Four, if the MOC asks groups to attack or stop, they must do so.”

What happens if these rules are not upheld?

“They will get their salaries cut,” says Issa.

The armed opposition groups supported by the MOC are mostly affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), itself an ill-defined, highly fungible group of militants who have changed names and affiliations with frequency during the Syrian conflict.

Over the course of the war, the FSA has fought alongside the Nusra Front and ISIS—some have even joined them. Today, despite efforts to whitewash the FSA and Southern Front as “non-sectarian” and non-extremist, factions like the Yarmouk Army, Mu’tazz Billah Brigade, Salah al-Din Division, Fajr al-Islam Brigade, Fallujah al-Houran Brigade, the Bunyan al-Marsous grouping, Saifollah al-Masloul Brigade, and others are currently occupying keys areas in Daraa in cooperation with the Nusra Front.

None of this is news to American policymakers. Even before the MOC was established in February 2014, Nusra militants were fronting vital military maneuvers for the FSA. As one Daraa opposition activist explains:

“The FSA and al-Nusra join together for operations but they have an agreement to let the FSA lead for public reasons, because they don’t want to frighten Jordan or the West…. Operations that were really carried out by al-Nusra are publicly presented by the FSA as their own.”

Efforts to conceal the depth of cooperation between Nusra and the FSA go right to the top. Says one FSA commander in Daraa:

“In many battles, al-Nusra takes part, but we don’t tell the (MOC) operations room about it.”

It’s highly doubtful that the U.S. military remains unaware of this. The Americans operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis with regard to FSA-Nusra cooperation. In a 2015 interview with this reporter, CENTCOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Kyle Raines was quizzed about why Pentagon-vetted fighters’ weapons were showing up in Nusra hands. Raines responded:

We don’t ‘command and control’ these forces—we only ‘train and enable’ them. Who they say they’re allying with, that’s their business.”

In practice, the U.S. doesn’t appear to mind the Nusra affiliation—regardless of the fact that the group is a terror organization—as long as the job gets done.

U.S. arms have been seen in Nusra’s possession for many years now, including highly valued TOW missiles, which were game-changing weapons in the Syrian military theater. When American weapons end up in al-Qaeda hands during the first or second year of a conflict, one assumes simple errors in judgment. When the problem persists after seven years, however, it starts to look like there’s a policy in place to look the other way.

It’s also not difficult to grasp why U.S. maps patently ignore evidence of Nusra embedded among U.S.-supported militias. The group, after all, is exempt from ceasefires, viewed as a fair target for military strikes at all times.

In December 2015, UN Security Council Resolution 2254 called for “Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council” (emphasis added). Furthermore, the resolution makes clear that ceasefires “will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.”

This essentially means that the Syrian army and its allies can tear apart any areas in the south of Syria where Nusra fighters—and “entities associated” with it—are based. In effect, international law provides a free hand for a Syrian military assault against U.S.-backed militias co-located with Nusra, and undermines the ability of their foreign sponsors to take retaliatory measures.

That’s why the Nusra Front doesn’t show up on U.S. maps.

In an interview last week, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad blamed the sudden breakdown of southern reconciliation efforts on

“Israeli and American interference,” which he says “put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution.”

Today, the Israeli border area with Syria is dotted with Nusra and ISIS encampments, which Israel clearly prefers over the Syrian army and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies. The Wall Street Journal even reported last year that Israel was secretly providing funding for salaries, food, fuel, and munitions to militants across its border.

In early June, two former Islamist FSA members (one of them also a former Nusra fighter) in Beit Jinn—a strategic area bordering Syria, Lebanon, and Israel—told me that Israel had been paying their militia’s salaries for a year before a reconciliation deal was struck with the Syrian government.

“Every month Israel would send us $200,000 to keep fighting,” one revealed. “Our leaders were following the outside countries. We were supported by MOC, they kept supporting us till the last minute,” he said.

Earlier that day, in the village of Hadar in the Syrian Golan, members of the Druze community described a bloody Nusra attack last November that killed 17:

“All the people here saw how Israel helped Nusra terrorists that day. They covered them with live fire from the hilltops to help Nusra take over Hadar. And at the end of the fights, Israel takes in the injured Nusra fighters and provides them with medical services,” saysMarwan Tawil, a local English teacher.

“The ceasefire line (Syrian-Israeli border) is 65 kilometers between here to Jordan, and only this area is under the control of the SAA,” explains Hadar’s mayor. “Sixty kilometers is with Nusra and Israel and only the other five are under the SAA.”

Israel is so heavily vested in keeping Syria and its allies away from its borders, it has actively bolstered al-Qaeda and other extremists in Syria’s southern theater. As Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon famously explained in 2016,

“In Syria, if the choice is between Iran and the Islamic State, I choose the Islamic State.”

To justify their interventions in the battle ahead, the U.S. and Israel claim that Iranian and Hezbollah forces are present in the south, yet on the ground in Daraa and Quneitra, there is no visible sight of either.

Multiple sources confirm this in Daraa, and insist that that there are only a handful of Hezbollah advisors—not fighters—in the entire governorate.

So why the spin? “This is a public diplomacy effort to make the West look like they’ve forced Iran and Hezbollah out of the south,” explains General Issa.

The U.S., Israel, and their allies cannot win this southern fight. They can only prolong the insecurity for a while before the SAA decides to launch a military campaign against the 54-plus-militias-Nusra occupying the south of Syria. The end result is likely to be a negotiated settlement peppered with a few “soft battles” to eject the more hardline militants.

As one SAA soldier on the scene in Daraa tells me: “Fifty-four factions in a small area shows weakness more than it shows strength.” And their cooperation with the Nusra Front just makes the targets on their backs even larger.

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