The return of the two-state solution illusion

By Mitchell Plitnick

Source

Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sign the Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration, July 14, 2022 (Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO)
JOE BIDEN AND ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER YAIR LAPID SIGN THE JERUSALEM US-ISRAEL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP JOINT DECLARATION, JULY 14, 2022 (PHOTO: KOBI GIDEON, GPO)

For Democrats in the United States and the political “centrists” in Israel—represented by Joe Biden and Yair Lapid, respectively—the loss of credibility for the two-state solution has meant losing more and more support for Israeli policies. As the respected polling site 538.com noted recently, among many other sources, younger Democrats are increasingly supportive of Palestinians and less so of Israeli policies. 

These facts explain the theater we have witnessed in recent days at the United Nations General Assembly and in the American media scene, where the lone Palestinian woman ever elected to Congress has come under unrelenting attack from her own party as well as the opposition. 

At the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, Biden devoted one brief mention to the question of Palestine, but what he did say was telling. “And we will continue to advocate for lasting negotiating peace between the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and the Palestinian people,” Biden told the Assembly. “The United States is committed to Israel’s security, full stop.  And a negotiated two-state solution remains, in our view, the best way to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity for the future and give the Palestinians the state which — to which they are entitled — both sides to fully respect the equal rights of their citizens; both people enjoying equal measure of freedom and dignity.”

While stumbling over his words, and certainly unintentionally, Biden said the quiet part out loud. The U.S. will advocate for lasting negotiations, the hallmark of the Oslo process; endless negotiations that lead nowhere while Israeli settlements spread farther across the West Bank, Gaza slowly dies of poverty, and the status quo in East Jerusalem gradually fades into Jewish dominance. And above all, Israeli “security” is guarded “full stop,” and if there is any room left for any Palestinian rights, those will be considered according to Israel’s wishes. 

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke at more length about a two-state solution, but said little more. Spending most of his time urging the world to abandon diplomacy with Iran and instead launch a war, presumably to change the regime there, Lapid stated that “An agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy and for the future of our children.”

Lapid’s speech was littered with falsehoods. He went on at length about how Israel is victimized by “fake news,” citing an incident in May 2021 where a photo of a toddler who was said to have been killed in an Israeli strike on Gaza circulated on social media. The post was a fake and was quickly debunked. But Lapid failed to mention that, while the toddler, referred to as Malak Al Tanani, was, indeed, made up, there was an entire family of Tananis–Ra’fat Tanani, 38, his pregnant wife Rawiye, 35, and their children Ismail, 6, Ameer, 5, Adham, 4, and Mohammad, 3—who were killed in an Israeli strike on May 13, 2021. A fact-check by the Agence France-Presse confirmed both the fake photo and the real family. B’Tselem also posted a video in May 2022 interviewing a relative of the Tanani family that was killed. 

Having established, through misleading statements and outright dissembling, Israel as a “victim,” Lapid then made sure to let the assembly know that, while he was coming out in support of more talks, and the idea of a two-state solution, Israel would do nothing to make that solution, or any other, a real possibility. 

“The burden of proof is not on us. We have already proved our desire for peace. Our peace treaty with Egypt has been fully implemented for 43 years now. Our peace treaty with Jordan for 28 years. We are a country that keeps its word and fulfills agreements,” Lapid said

Aside from the fact that Lapid omits the crucial point that these peace agreements have been enforced by billions of dollars of U.S. aid to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, Lapid elides the many times Israel has refused to agree to various conditions or interim deals, or has made demands on Palestinians it knew they could not accept

The absence of a single word about what Israel or the United States would do to achieve freedom for Palestinians or to advance any solution, two state or otherwise, to the ongoing conditions of apartheid and dispossession is unsurprising if one considers that the goal was not to appease the Palestinians, but to address domestic constituencies. 

Lapid surely knows he was lying when he said that “Despite all the obstacles, still today a large majority of Israelis support the vision of this two-state solution.” In fact, a recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 31% of Israeli Jews and only 60% of Palestinian and other Arab citizens of Israel support the two-state solution. 

But his own constituency in the Yesh Atid party supports such negotiations. More importantly, he wants to make sure he has the loyalty of the small Labor and Meretz parties, both of which support the two-state solution, against his center-right rival, Benny Gantz. Right now, all the polls show that neither Lapid nor Gantz will come close to being able to assemble the coalition of 61 seats needed to win the upcoming election, while their far-right competitor, Benjamin Netanyahu, has better, although also far from certain, prospects of reaching that mark. 

Lapid also hopes to bolster his chances by demonstrating his compatibility with Biden and the Democrats, and they are more than willing to oblige. Targeting Rep. Rashida Tlaib plays a key role in both bolstering Lapid as a bulwark against Netanyahu—whom Democrats would not want to see back in office, given his very close ties to the Republican Party—and in trying to smother the growing support for Palestine within the party. 

According to a poll conducted by Pew Research back in March, 61% of Americans between 18 and 29 years of age have a favorable opinion of Palestinians. Among those aged 30-49 it is 55%, and even among older voters, 45-47% have a favorable opinion of Palestinians. While many of these people also hold positive views of Israel, American sympathy for Palestinians has grown immensely over the past two decades, when only 16% of voters viewed Palestinians positively. 

This sits poorly with mainstream Democrats and their corporate, and especially, pro-Israel funders. So, when Tlaib made a self-evident and fact-based statement, Democrats joined Republicans in piling on her and branding her an antisemite. 

Tlaib, of course, stated that you cannot be progressive and support Israel’s apartheid government. The response was as vicious as it was disingenuous, with the usual anti-Palestinian hatemongers like Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADLAIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, and a long list of Democratic members of Congress stumbling over each other to see who could come up with the most scurrilous and spurious accusations against Tlaib, who did no more than point out what so many international, Palestinian, and even Israeli human rights groups have proven.

It’s no coincidence that these attacks came at the same time as the UNGA speeches. Tlaib was very careful to point her finger only at the Israeli government and its policies; at no time did she ever hint at the question of Israel’s existence nor of the presence of Jews in the land. Indeed, even the avowedly Zionist group Americans for Peace Now rose to Tlaib’s defense, splitting with J Street, which shamefully supported the attacks on Tlaib.

The two-state solution and the myth that you can support apartheid and still be true to progressive values go hand in hand. Consider the words Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz used in her hateful rant against Tlaib. “The outrageous progressive litmus test on Israel by Rashida Tlaib is nothing short of antisemitic. Proud progressives do support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler elaborated further. “I fundamentally reject the notion that one cannot support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and be a progressive. I proudly embrace both of these political positions and identities, even as I have criticized some of the policies and actions of democratically-elected Israeli governments over time. I would happily put my progressive record and credentials up against anyone’s. It is both wrong and self-defeating for progressive leaders to abide such an offensive litmus tests.”

The legitimacy of many of the Congressmembers claiming the “progressive” label is clearly questionable, but Wasserman-Schultz, joined by other Democrats, calling Tlaib antisemitic for expressing support for a view that Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watchthe United Nationsal-Haq, and B’Tselem have all expressed and backed up with extensive research is cynically perverse, whether you think Tlaib is right or wrong. 

Both she and Nadler call Tlaib’s statement a “litmus test,” as if the question is not whether Israel practices apartheid, but whether supporting it anyway is acceptable within the bounds of anything that can be labeled “progressive politics.” 

Nadler also talks about his occasional criticism of “Israeli policies,” as did many of the Democrats who ganged up on Tlaib. How must those words look to a Palestinian in Gaza or Masafer Yatta, or to a Palestinian-American who might be a constituent of one of these Democrats who express such passionate solidarity with Israelis and such stony indifference, if not outright hostility, to Palestinians? 

For years, the idea of a two-state solution in Palestine and Israel has been exposed as a pipe dream. However viable it may once have been, more and more people have come to realize in recent years that it simply isn’t a realistic option anymore. 

Some years ago, a well-informed colleague observed to me that the two-state solution is never impossible, but the costs—fiscally, politically, diplomatically—just keep getting higher. He was right, of course. It is never physically impossible to dismantle Israel’s settlements, sever the existing infrastructure in the West Bank from Israel, work out realistic borders, open Gaza, and pour the many billions of dollars into Palestine that would be required after seven decades and counting of occupation to build a truly viable state. 

It’s all possible, but the cost would be enormous, and the price—allowing the option of refugees returning to their homes, allowing Palestine the means to defend itself like any other country, compensating Palestinians for their dispossession and suffering, all on top of reining in the most radical of the nationalist settlers, resettling the hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the West Bank, shifting borders to accommodate a connection between Gaza and West Bank, sharing water resources equitably, and a hundred other details—is far higher than anything Israel would consider in its wildest dreams. 

But that doesn’t mean the two-state solution isn’t seen as crucial for Israel and the United States. Its implementation may be undesirable for Israel, but the idea of it serves a crucial purpose: it is the very lifeblood of the myth that one can support a “Jewish and democratic” apartheid state and reconcile that with liberal or progressive values. That allows them to characterize their “disagreements” with Israel as being about specific policies, not an apartheid system at the very heart of Israel’s character. 

Apartheid is not a policy; it is an institution. It is a political and legal system. It is a crime under international law. It is not merely one decision to demolish a home, to detain a Palestinian without charge, to beat an elderly man at the al-Aqsa Compound, or to launch one missile at a Gaza apartment building. 

That system is not just incompatible with progressive values, it’s incompatible even with classical Liberalism. To maintain the self-deception many Democratic supporters of Israel, in and out of politics, need for their consciences, they need to believe that there is a genuine striving for a Palestinian state that can deliver rights to those living under Israeli rule right now. 

But it’s an illusion. Israel has been disrupting the possibility of it from the beginnings of Oslo through today, with massive settlement expansion, the isolation and starvation of Gaza, and the gradual erosion of the long-standing agreements on the holy sites in Jerusalem. 

Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are desperately trying to save this phony duality, this illusion that you can support an Israeli ethno-state that, by definition, cannot be a state of all its citizens and must, by its nature discriminate against Palestinians and still call yourself a progressive without irony. 

No one would suggest you can be progressive but be against a woman’s right to decide about what to do with her own body. Nor can you be progressive and oppose LGBTQIA* rights. Nor can you support racial discrimination, or autocracy. 

Similarly, no matter how loudly you insist otherwise, you cannot be progressive and be in support of an apartheid regime. The illusion of a two-state solution that hasn’t been a viable possibility for many years doesn’t change that. It only reinforces one discriminatory illusion with another. 

Decoding the Pentagon’s online war against Iran

By Kit Klarenburg

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https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Unknown.jpeg
Photo Credit: The Cradle
From a click of a button in the US to violence on the streets of Tehran, the latest protests in Iran are being engineered and provoked from outside.

The civil unrest in Iran in response to the recent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was waiting at a Tehran police station, although rooted in legitimate grievances, also bears the hallmark of a western-sponsored covert war, covering multiple fronts.

Mere days after the protests erupted on 16 September, the Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon had initiated a wide-ranging audit of all its online psyops efforts, after a number of bot and troll accounts operated by its Central Command (CENTCOM) division – which covers all US military actions in West Asia, North Africa and South and Central Asia – were exposed, and subsequently banned by major social networks and online spaces.

The accounts were busted in a joint investigation carried out by social media research firm Graphika, and the Stanford Internet Observatory, which evaluated “five years of pro-Western covert influence operations.”

Published in late August, it attracted minimal English-language press coverage at the time, but evidently was noticed, raising concerns at the highest levels of the US government, prompting the audit.

While the Washington Post ludicrously suggested the government’s umbrage stemmed from CENTCOM’s egregious, manipulative activities which could compromise US “values” and its “moral high ground,” it is abundantly clear that the real problem was CENTCOM being exposed.

#OpIran

CENTCOM’s geographical purview includes Iran, and given the Islamic Republic’s longstanding status as a key US enemy state, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a significant proportion of the unit’s online disinformation and psychological warfare efforts were directed there.

A key strategy employed by US military psyops specialists is the creation of multiple sham media outlets publishing content in Farsi. Numerous online channels were maintained for these platforms, spanning Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and even Telegram.

In some cases too, fake journalists and pundits, with numerous “followers” on those platforms emerged, along with profile photos created via artificial intelligence.

For example, Fahim News claimed to provide “accurate news and information” on events in Iran, prominently publishing posts declaring “the regime uses all of its efforts to censor and filter the internet,” and encouraging readers to stick to online sources as a result.

Meanwhile, Dariche News claimed to be an “independent website unaffiliated with any group or organization,” committed to providing “uncensored and unbiased news” to Iranians within and without the country, in particular information on “the destructive role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in all the affairs and issues of Iran and the region.”

Their respective YouTube channels pumped out numerous short-form videos, presumably in the hope they would be mistaken for organic content, and go viral on other social networks. The researchers identified one instance in which media outlets elsewhere had embedded Dariche News content into articles.

An army of bots and trolls

Some of the fake news organizations published original material, but much of their output was recycled content from US government-funded propaganda outfits such as Radio Farda and Voice of America Farsi.

They also repurposed and shared articles from the British-based Iran International, which appears to receive arm’s length funding from Saudi Arabia, as did several fake personas attached to these outlets.

These personas frequently posted non-political content, including Iranian poetry and photos of Persian food, in order to increase their authenticity. They also engaged with real Iranians on Twitter, often joking with them about internet memes.

Pentagon bots and trolls used different narrative techniques and approaches in an attempt to influence perceptions and engender engagement. A handful promoted “hardliner” views, criticizing the Iranian government for insufficiently hawkish foreign policy while being excessively reformist and liberal domestically.

One such bogus user, a purported “political science expert,” accrued thousands of followers on Twitter and Telegram by posting content praising Shia Islam’s growing power in West Asia, while other “hardliner” accounts praised the late General Qassem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), slain in an illegal US drone strike in January 2020, as a martyr, and encouraged the wearing of hijabs.

The researchers state the purpose of these efforts was unclear, although an obvious explanation is the Pentagon sought to foster anti-government discontent among conservative Iranians, while creating lists of local “extremists” to monitor online.

Orchestrated opposition

Overwhelmingly though, Pentagon-linked accounts were viciously critical of the Iranian government, and the IRGC. Numerous Pentagon bots and trolls sought to blame food and medicine shortages on the latter, which was likened to ISIS, and posting videos of Iranians protesting and looting supermarkets captioned in Pashto, English, and Urdu.

More sober posts criticized Tehran for redistributing much-needed food to give to Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, while others highlighted embarrassing incidents, such as a reported power outage that caused the country’s chess team to lose an international online tournament.

Furthermore, multiple fake users claimed to seek “justice for the victims of #Flight752”, referring to the Ukraine International Airlines flight accidentally shot down by the IRGC in January 2020.

Using hashtags such as #PS752 and #PS752justice hundreds of times, they blamed Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei personally for the incident.

Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February, these accounts used Persian versions of widely-trending hashtags #No_To_Putin and #No_To_War – themselves overwhelmingly disseminated on Twitter by pro-Ukraine bot and troll accounts, according to separate research.

The users condemned Khamenei’s verbal support of Putin and accused Iran of supplying drones to Moscow, which it was claimed were used to kill civilians.

They also pushed the narrative that Iran’s collusion with Russia would result in adverse political and economic repercussions for Tehran, while making unflattering comparisons between Khamenei and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“One has sold Iran to Russia and ordered their peoples’ murder,” one account tweeted. “The other is wearing a combat uniform alongside his people and has stopped the colonization of Ukraine by Russia with all his might.”

Scattershot fury

There were also cloak-and-dagger initiatives intended to damage Iran’s standing in neighboring countries, and undermine its regional influence. Much of this work seems to have been concerned with spreading panic and alarm, and creating a hostile environment for Iranians abroad.

For instance, accounts targeting audiences in Afghanistan claimed that Quds Force personnel were infiltrating Kabul posing as journalists in order to crush opposition to the Taliban. They also published articles from a US military-linked website that claimed on the basis of zero evidence that the bodies of dead refugees who’d fled to Iran were being returned to their families back home with missing organs.

Yet another damaging false narrative perpetuated by this cluster in late 2021 and early 2022 was that the IRGC was forcing Afghan refugees to join militias fighting in Syria and Yemen, and that those who refused were being deported.

Iraq was a country of particular interest to the Pentagon’s cyber warriors, with memes widely shared throughout Baghdad and beyond depicting IRGC influence in the country as a destructive disease, and content claiming Iraqi militias, and elements of the government, were effective tools of Tehran, fighting to further Iran’s imperial designs over the wider West Asia.

Militias were also accused of killing Iraqis in rocket strikes, engineering droughts by damaging water supply infrastructure, smuggling weapons and fuel out of Iraq and into Syria, and fuelling the country’s crystal meth epidemic.

Another cluster of Pentagon accounts focused on Iran’s involvement in Yemen, publishing content on major social networks critical of the Ansarallah-led de-facto government in Sanaa, accusing it of deliberately blocking humanitarian aid deliveries, acting as an unquestioning proxy of Tehran and Hezbollah, and closing bookstores, radio stations, and other cultural institutions.

Several of their posts blamed Iran for the deaths of civilians via landmine, on the basis Tehran may have supplied them.

Laying the ground

Other CENTCOM psychological warfare (psywar) narratives have direct relevance to the protests that have engulfed Iran.

There was a particular focus among one group of bots and trolls on women’s rights. Dozens of posts compared Iranian women’s opportunities abroad with those in Iran – one meme on this theme contrasted photos of an astronaut with a victim of violent spousal abuse – while others promoted protests against the hijab.

Alleged government corruption and rising living costs were also recurrently emphasized, particularly in respect of food and medicine – production of which in Iran is controlled by the IRGC, a fact CENTCOM’s online operatives repeatedly drew attention to.

Women’s rights, corruption, and the cost of living – the latter of which directly results from suffocating US sanctions – are all key stated motivating factors for the protesters.

Despite the rioters’ widespread acts of violence and vandalism, targeted at civilians and authorities alike, such as the destruction of an ambulance ferrying police officers away from the scene of a riot, they also claim to be motivated by human rights concerns.

Establishment and fringe journalists and pundits have dismissed as conspiracy theories, any suggestions that protests in Iran and beyond are anything other than organic and grassroots in nature.

Yet, clear proof of foreign direction and sponsorship abounds, not least in the very public face of the anti-hijab movement, Masih Alinejad, who for many years has encouraged Iranian women to ceremonially burn their headscarves from the confines of an FBI safehouse in New York City, then publicizes the images online, which travel round the world and back via social media and mainstream news outlets.

A regime-change war by other means

Alinejad’s activities have generated a vast amount of fawning and credulous media coverage, without a single journalist or outlet questioning whether her prominent role in the supposedly grassroots, locally-initiated protest movement is affiliated with foreign hostile interference.

This is despite Alinejad posing for photos with former CIA director Mike Pompeo, and receiving a staggering $628,000 in US federal government contracts since 2015.

Much of these funds flowed from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the US government agency that oversees propaganda platforms such as Radio Free Europe, and Voice of America, the latter of which has produced a Farsi-language show fronted by Alinejad for seven years.

These clusters of social media posts may appear innocuous and authentic in an age of click-bait and viral fake news, yet when aggregated and analysed, they form a potent and potentially dangerous weapon which it turns out is one of many in the Pentagon’s regime-change arsenal.

EU PARLIAMENTARIAN CALLS TO SANCTION VANESSA BEELEY AND ALL OBSERVERS OF DONBASS REFERENDUMS

By Max Blumenthal

Source

RUSSELS (THE GRAYZONE A French Member of European Parliament (MEP), Natalie Louiseau, has delivered a letter to EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borrell, demanding the European Union place personal sanctions on all international observers of the recent votes in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and certain Russian-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine.

Obtained by The Grayzone from an EU source, the letteEr is currently being circulated among European parliamentarians in hopes of securing a docket of supportive signatures.

“We, as elected members of the European Parliament, demand that all those who voluntarily assisted in any way the organization of these illegitimate referendums be individually targeted and sanctioned,” Louiseau declared.

The French MEP’s letter came after a group of formally Ukrainian territories held a vote on whether or not to officially incorporate themselves into the Russian Federation in late September. Through the popular referendum, the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which announced their respective successions from Ukraine in 2014 following a foreign-backed coup against the government Kiev, as well as the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhia, voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

Louiseau singled out Vanessa Beeley, a British journalist who traveled to the region to monitor the vote. Extending her complaint well beyond the referendum, the French MEP accused Beeley of “continuously spreading fake news about Syria and acting as a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin and Bashar el [sic] Assad for years.”

Louiseau, a close ally of French President Emanuel Macron, specifically demanded Beeley be “included in the list of those sanctioned.”

Beeley responded to Louiseau’s letter in a statement to The Grayzone: “Imposing sanctions on global citizens for bearing witness to a legal process that reflects the self-determination of the people of Donbass is fascism. Should the EU proceed with this campaign, I believe there will be serious consequences because the essence of freedom of speech and thought is under attack.

RUSSIA’S REFERENDUMS: DRAWING A LINE WITH NATO

In mid-September 2022, Beeley and around 100 other international delegates traveled to eastern Europe in order to observe a vote to join the Russian Federation in the regions of Kherson, Zaporozhia, and the independent republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Why did their presence trigger such an outraged response from Western governments? The answer lies in the recent history of these heavily contested areas.

The formally Ukrainian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia fell under Russian control earlier this year as a result of the military campaign launched by Moscow in February, while the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared their independence from the government in Kiev in 2014.

Russia began its special military campaign in Ukrainian territory on February 24. The operation followed Moscow’s decision that same week to formally recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic (the Donbass Republics) in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass have been embroiled in a bloody trench battle with the US-backed government in Kiev since 2014.

Ukraine’s civil conflict broke out in March 2014, after US and European forces sponsored a coup in the country that installed a decidedly pro-NATO nationalist regime in Kiev which proceeded to declare war on its minority, ethnically Russian population.

Following the 2014 putsch, Ukraine’s government officially marginalized the Russian language while extremist thugs backed by Kiev massacred and intimidated ethnic Russian citizens of Ukraine. In response, separatist protests swept Ukraine’s majority-Russian eastern regions.

The territory of Crimea formally voted to join Russia in March of that year, while the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region declared their unofficial independence from Kiev that same month. With support from the US military and NATO, Ukraine’s coup government officially declared war on the Donbass in April 2014, launching what it characterized as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in the region.

Russia trained and equipped separatist militias in Donetsk and Lugansk throughout the territories’ civil campaigns against Kiev, though Moscow did not officially recognize the independence of the Donbass republics until February 2022. By then, United Nations estimates placed the casualty count for Ukraine’s civil war at roughly 13,000 dead. While Moscow offered support to Donbass separatists throughout the 2014-2022 period, US and European governments invested billions to prop up a Ukrainian military that was heavily reliant on army and intelligence factions with direct links to the country’s historic anti-Soviet, pro-Nazi deep state born as a result of World War II.

Russia’s military formally entered the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, following Moscow’s recognition of the Donbass republics. While Russian President Vladimir Putin defined the liberation of the Donbass republics as the primary objective of the military operation, he also listed the “de-nazification” and “de-militarization” of Ukraine as a goals of the campaign. As such, Russian troops have since secured control of Ukrainian territories beyond the Donbass region, including the territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia.

Facing increased Western investment in the Kiev-aligned bloc of Ukraine’s civil war, authorities in the Donbass republics announced a referendum on membership in the Russian Federation in late September 2022, with Moscow-aligned officials in Kherson and Zaporozhia announcing similar ballot initiatives. Citizens in each territory proceeded to approve Russian membership by overwhelming majorities.

The results of the referendum not only threatened the government in Kiev, but its European and US backers. Western-aligned media leapt to characterize the votes as a sham, claiming Moscow’s troops had coerced citizens into joining the Russian Federation at the barrel of a gun. Their narrative would have reigned supreme if not for the hundred or so international observers who physically traveled to the regions in question to observe the referendum process.

Observers like Vanessa Beeley now face the threat of returning home to the West as wanted outlaws. But as Loiseau’s letter made clear, the British journalist was in the crosshairs long before the escalation in Ukraine.

BEELEY AMONG EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS TARGETED AND PROSECUTED FOR REPORTING FROM DONETSK

Vanessa Beeley was among the first independent journalists to expose the US and UK governments’ sponsorship of the Syrian White Helmets, a so-called “volunteer organization” that played frontline role in promoting the foreign-backed dirty war against Syria’s government through its coordination with Western and Gulf-sponsored media. Beeley also played an instrumental role in revealing the White Helmets’ strong ties to Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, as well as its members’ involvement in atrocities committed by Western-backed insurgents.

Beeley’s work on Syria drew harsh attacks from an array of NATO and arms industry-funded think tanks. In June 2022, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which receives funding from a variety of NATO states, corporations and billionaires, labeled Beeley “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” on Syria prior to 2020. (According to ISD, Beeley was somehow “overtaken” by The Grayzone’s Aaron Mate that year). The group did not provide a single piece of evidence to support its assertions.

Though Beeley has endured waves of smears, French MEP Natalie Loiseau’s call for the EU to sanction the journalist represents the first time a Western official has moved to formally criminalize her work. Indeed, Loiseau made no secret that she is targeting Beeley not only for her role as an observer of the referendum votes, but also on the basis of her opinions and reporting on Syria.

Loiseau’s push to issue personal sanctions against EU and US citizens comes on the heels of the German government’s prosecution of independent journalist Alina Lipp. In March 2020, Berlin launched a formal case against Lipp, who is a German citizen, claiming her reporting from the Donetsk People’s Republic violated newly authorized state speech codes.

Prior to Lipp’s prosecution, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue launched a media campaign portraying her as a disseminator of “disinformation” and “pro-Kremlin content.”

In London, meanwhile, the UK government has imposed individual sanctions on Graham Philips, a British citizen and independent journalist, for his reporting from Donetsk.

And in Brussels, Louiseau’s campaign against Beeley appears to have emerged from a deeply personal vendetta.

Nathalie Louiseau and French Pres. Macron

WHO IS NATALIE LOUISEAU?

In April 2021, Beeley published a detailed profile of Louiseau at her personal blog, The Wall Will Fall, painting the French MEP as a regime change ideologue committed to “defending global insecurity and perpetual war.” Beeley noted that Lousieau served as a minister in the government of French President Emanuel Macron when it authorized airstrikes in response to dubious allegations of a Syrian government chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.

Beeley also reported that Louiseau has enjoyed a close relationship with the Syria Campaign, the public relations arm of the White Helmets operation. This same organization, which is backed by British-Syrian billionaire Ayman Asfari, was the sponsor of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue report which branded Beeley a “top propagator of disinformation” on Syria.

Louiseau has taken her activism into the heart of the European parliament, using her position as chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense to silence colleagues who ask to many questions about the Western campaign for regime change in Syria.

During an April 2021 hearing, MEP Mick Wallace attempted to question Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Fernando Arias about allegations he personally aided the censorship of an OPCW investigation which concluded no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

Louiseau immediately descended into a fit of rage, interrupting Wallace and preventing him from speaking.

“I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done,” Loiseau fulminated.

Wallace responded with indignation, asking, “Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more? Today you are denying me my opinion!”

A year later, Wallace and fellow Irish MEP Clare Daly sued the Irish network RTE for defamation after it broadcast an interview with Loiseau during which she baselessly branded them as liars who spread disinformation about Syria in parliament.

Now, Louiseau appears to be seeking revenge against Beeley, demanding that she be criminally prosecuted not just for serving as a referendum observer, but for her journalistic output.

THE NABLUS RIOTS AND THE FUTURE OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

The arrest of a prominent Palestinian activist, Musab Shtayyeh, and another Palestinian activist, by Palestinian Authority police on September 20 was not the first time that the notorious PA’s Preventive Security Service (PSS) has arrested a Palestinian who is wanted by Israel.

PSS is largely linked to the routine arrests and torture of anti-Israeli occupation activists. Several Palestinians have died in the past as a result of PSS violence, the latest being Nizar Banat who was tortured to death on June 24, 2021. The killing of Banat ignited a popular revolt against the PA throughout Palestine.

For years, various Palestinian and international human rights groups have criticized the PA’s violent practices against dissenting Palestinian voices, quite often within the same human rights reports critical of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. The Hamas government in Gaza, too, has its fair share of blame.

In its January 2022 World Report, Human Rights Watch said that “the Palestinian Authority (PA) manages affairs in parts of the West Bank, where it systematically arrests arbitrarily and tortures dissidents.” This was neither the first nor the last time that a human rights group made such an accusation.

The link between Israeli and Palestinian violence targeting political dissidents and activists is equally clear to most Palestinians.

Some Palestinians may have believed, at one point, that the PA’s role is to serve as a transition between their national liberation project and full independence and sovereignty on the ground. Nearly thirty years after the formation of the PA, such a notion has proved to be wishful thinking. Not only did the PA fail at achieving the coveted Palestinian State, but it has morphed into a massively corrupt apparatus whose existence largely serves a small class of Palestinian politicians and business people – and, in the case of Palestine, it is always the same group.

PA corruption and subsequent violence aside, what continues to irk most Palestinians is that the PA, with time, became another manifestation of the Israeli occupation, curtailing Palestinian freedom of expression and carrying out arrests on behalf of the Israeli army. Sadly, many of those arrested by the Israeli military in the West Bank have experienced arrest by PA goons, too.

Scenes of violent riots in the city of Nablus following Shtayyeh’s arrest were reminiscent of the riots against Israeli occupation forces in the northern West Bank city or elsewhere in occupied Palestine. Unlike previous confrontations between Palestinians and PA police – for example, following the killing of Banat – this time, the violence was widespread, and involved protesters from all Palestinian political groups, including the ruling Fatah faction.

Perhaps unaware of the massive collective psychological shift that took place in Palestine in recent years, the PA government was desperate to contain the violence.

Subsequently, a committee that represents united Palestinian factions in Nablus declared on September 21 that it has reached a ‘truce’ with PA security forces in the city. The committee, which includes prominent Palestinian figures, told the Associated Press and other media that the agreement restricts any future arrests of Palestinians in Nablus to the condition that the individual must be implicated in breaking Palestinian, not Israeli, law. That provision alone implies a tacit admission by the PA that the arrest of Shtayyeh and Ameed Tbaileh was motivated by an Israeli, not a Palestinian agenda.

But why would the PA quickly concede to pressure coming from the Palestinian street?

The answer lies in the changing political mood in Palestine.

First, it must be stated that resentment of the PA has been brewing for years. One opinion poll after another has indicated the low regard that most Palestinians have of their leadership, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and particularly of the ‘security coordination’ with Israel.

Second, the torture and death of political dissident Banat, last year, has erased whatever patience Palestinians had towards their leadership, demonstrating to them that the PA is not an ally but a threat.

Third, the Unity Intifada of May 2021 has emboldened many segments of Palestinian society throughout occupied Palestine. For the first time in years, Palestinians have felt united around a single slogan and are no longer hostage to the geography of politics and factions. A new generation of young Palestinians has advanced the conversation beyond Abbas, the PA and their endless and ineffectual political rhetoric.

Fourth, armed struggle in the West Bank has been growing so rapidly that the Israeli army Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, claimed on September 6 that, since March, around 1,500 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank and that, allegedly, hundreds of attacks against the Israeli military have been thwarted.

In fact, evidence of an armed Intifada is growing in the Jenin and Nablus regions. What is particularly interesting, and alarming, from the Israeli and PA viewpoint, about the nature of the budding armed struggle phenomenon, is that it is largely led by the military wing of the ruling Fatah party, in direct cooperation with Hamas and other Islamic and national military wings.

For example, on August 9, the Israeli army assassinated Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a prominent Fatah military commander, along with two others. Not only, did the PA do little to stop the Israeli military machine from conducting more such assassinations, six weeks later, it arrested Shtayyeh, a close comrade of Nabulsi.

Interestingly, Shtayyeh is not a member of Fatah, but a commander within the Hamas military wing, Al-Qassam. Though Fatah and Hamas are meant to be intense political rivals, their political tussle seems to be of no relevance to military groups in the West Bank.

Unfortunately, more violence is likely to follow, for several reasons: Israel’s determination to crush any armed Intifada in the West Bank before it is widespread across the occupied territories, the looming leadership transition within the PA due to Abbas’s old age, and the growing unity among Palestinians around the issue of resistance.

While the Israeli response to all of this can easily be gleaned from its legacy of violence, the PA’s future course of action will likely determine its relationship with Israel and its western supporters, on the one hand, and with the Palestinian people, on the other. Which side will the PA choose?

US military aircraft circled Nord Stream incident site in September

28 Sep 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US military reportedly carried out sorties over the future site of the Nord Stream pipeline “incident” in the Baltic Sea.

The US military’s Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter

US military helicopters habitually and on numerous occasions circled for hours over the site of the Nord Stream pipelines incident near Bornholm Island earlier in September, Flightradar24 data showed.

Denmark’s maritime traffic agency and Sweden’s Maritime Authority on Monday reported a “dangerous” gas leak in the Baltic Sea close to the route of the inactive Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which experienced an unexplained drop in pressure.

The leak, southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm, “is dangerous for maritime traffic” and “navigation is prohibited within a five nautical mile radius of the reported position,” the agency warned in a notice to ships.

Following the incident, German newspaper Tagesspiegel claimed Monday that Berlin is convinced that the loss of pressure in the three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany was not a coincidence and suspects a “targeted attack“.

The cause of the incidents remains unknown and an investigation is underway. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday that the disruption was caused by detonations, which indicates that it was sabotage.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs parallel to Nord Stream 1 and was intended to double the capacity for undersea gas imports from Russia, was blocked by Berlin in the days before the start of the war in Ukraine.

Flightradar24 showed an unidentified aircraft that did not even have a helicopter icon hovering over the site. However, the aircraft’s 24-bit ICAO code included in the description makes it possible to establish the model, which is the US military’s Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk. The code is verified through open resources that collect data on military aircraft.

The US helicopter is also shown by the aircraft tracking service to have flown into the area of loitering over the Nord Stream pipelines from Gdansk, Poland.

On the second day of the loitering, almost in parallel with their US counterpart, a Dutch navy NH9 helicopter was flying in the vicinity of Bornholm Island, and it is expected to have been observing the Americans’ activity.

US helicopters also took flights over other Nord Stream pipelines on September 10 and 19 and others stayed over the incident site for hours on the night of September 22 and September 25.

Reportedly, helicopters that made sorties on the night of September 22-23 and 25-26 have especially confusing tracks.

These revelations come after German newspaper Der Siegel reported Tuesday that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned the German government there would be attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines weeks ahead of any incident being reported around the pipelines.

An informed source told the German magazine that Berlin had been told by the CIA a few weeks ago that there would be attacks on the key pipelines supplying a huge portion of Europe’s energy from Russia.

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Second episode of The Heroes: What is the ‘Qassem Soleimani’ room?

30 Sep 2022 23:04 

By Al Mayadeen English 

Source: Al Mayadeen

In the second episode of Al Mayadeen’s documentary The Heroes, the stories of Gilboa’s prisoners and their lives inside and behind the bars are narrated. What are the Jenin Brigade and the secret of The Fifth Room?

Second episode of The Heroes on Al Mayadeen

    On the right side of the prison yard is a cluster of cells, one of which will become the scene of a momentous event; cell number 5. That is what the Israeli occupation called one of the prison cells in Gilboa. However, the Palestinian prisoners had another name for the cell that later became an integral part of the history of the Palestinian struggle.

    In the second episode of The Heroes, commander Mahmoud Al-Aridah tells Al Mayadeen the story of General Qassem Soleimani’s room, the martyr of Al-Quds’ room. It is the room of the hour in the story of Operation Freedom Tunnel. Strategic at heart, this naming was a message to the Israeli occupation.

    That is what martyr General Qassem Soleimani’s daughter confirmed when she found out what the prisoners decided to call the cell they were using to break from the Israeli occupation’s chains and send a jolt of lightning through the occupation’s so-called being. They decided to name the landmark cell after her martyred father. 

    She saw that this reflected the deep connection General Soleimani had with the Palestinian freedom fighters, prisoners, and people as a whole. It shows that General Qassem was a part of them, and he will forever be embedded in their memory, perceived as living among them. “These people who are dear to us see that martyr Soleimani has a hand in these operations.”

    Prisoner Mahmoud Al-Aridah, the man dissatisfied with the Israeli occupation’s chains so much so he tried to break out from its unjust prisons several times, forcing the Israeli occupation to transfer him repeatedly throughout occupied Palestine until he ended up in Gilboa. Al-Aridah’s stay in this prison, in particular, was set up as a challenge by the Israeli prison administration, as it thought that he could never leave its four reinforced walls.

    However, commander Mahmoud planned with determination, and then he struck, executing a freedom operation the likes of which have never been seen by the occupation.

    Prisoners succeeded as free people failed

    There was a consensus on prisoner Zakaria Al-Zubaidi becoming a part of The Heroes. The consensus showed Palestinian unity, for Zakaria, as a fellow Palestinian from Jenin, The Heroes were quick to embrace him as one of their own, sending a message of great success from inside the walls of the Israeli occupations’ prisons as those outside them failed to unite.

    In the second episode of The Heroes, Al Mayadeen narrates prisoner Zakaria Al-Zubaidi’s story and talks about him and his feats. Zakaria constitutes a certain kind of symbolism. Being the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the Jenin refugee camp, Al-Zubaidi becoming a party to the operation and a part of the team was influential on the Palestinian public and freedom fighters.

    Al-Zubaidi fought against the Israeli occupation forces several times and participated in several operations. He was behind a bombing in “Tel Aviv” in 2004, which sent the Israeli occupation rabidly searching for him for long stretches of time. His home was raided numerous times, which prevented him from seeing his family all at once. He has not since 1988 seen all of his brothers together, as at least one person would be in prison at any point.

    Ayham Kamamji: The poet freedom fighter

    “In 2003, he went on a mission in a booby-trapped car. He got unlucky. The car malfunctioned, and he has been wanted ever since,” said Fouad Kamamji, prisoner Ayham’s father.

    Ayham has two bachelor’s degrees from Al-Aqsa University in Gaza and the Open University in Al-Quds, as well as a master’s degree from the University of Cairo. During his detention, he was known to have always been occupied with teaching young prisoners.

    “Kamaji is a kind-hearted man. If you are ever in trouble, he will help you. He solves problems in prison and helps the men in there to read and write,” people close to Ayham Kamamji said in episode two of The Heroes.

    Kamaji killed an illegal Israeli settler in Ramallah, or so is reported. But in reality, he was not any settler; he was an officer in the Israeli occupation’s airforce. Additionally, Kamamji was supposed to stand trial at the hands of the Palestinian Authority, but the Israeli occupation tricked him and arrested him while on trial.

    In Gilboa, during his public trial following Operation Freedom Tunnel, Kamamji was the sound voice of reason, speaking eloquently and bravely about his roots in the resistance.

    Munadel Nafi’at: A man of many feats

    Mahmoud Al-Aridah told Al Mayadeen that back in 2018, he met Munadel Nafi’at, who was arrested and released several times before ending up in Gilboa and choosing to become a member of the team.

    The Israeli occupation executed its revenge on Nafi’at’s family, arresting his brother Qaisar directly after arresting him. Qaisar is currently in solitary confinement. Meanwhile, his brother Majdou was sentenced to 22 months in prison a few months back, and he is not deprive of visitations.

    He was arrested for the first time before he was liberated through the Loyalty of the Free prison swap deal on December 18, 2011, between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. It saw 1,400 Palestinian prisoners liberated from the Israeli occupation’s prisons. Ever since, he got arrested back to back.

    Nafi’at spent around seven years in the Israeli occupation’s prisons, including through administrative detention. He was also arrested for being a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

    Who is Mahmoud Chreim?

    The laborers; that is what Mahmoud Al-Aridah calls him. They had a major role in digging the tunnel and executing Operation Freedom Tunnel. Munadel Nafi’at, Mohammad Al-Aridah, Mahmoud Chreim, and Mohammad Abu Bakr. They were hardworking laborers.

    During the same month as Operation Freedom Tunnel, Mahmoud Chreim was supposed to get out of prison. However, he chose to stay and be part of the operation, which landed him an additional four years in prison.

    Mahmoud Chreim’s brother, Youssef, describes him as a “calm person who loved to fight and resist for the liberation of liberating Al-Aqsa mosque. He is a great person who did not care for any harm that he would endure for carrying out this operation, even if it meant that he would have to stand trial and face a longer sentence. All he cared about was these six prisoners facing a life sentence and contributing to their liberation. That is all he cared about.”

    A hero that cut through the Israeli occupation’s prison bars is how Mahmoud Al-Aridah described him. That is Chreim, alongside Qusai Merhi, who was arrested before finishing his studies and was also sentenced to four more years in prison for helping The Heroes.

    Jenin

    Liberated prisoner Mohammad Jaradat talks in the second episode of The Heroes about Jenin. Why Jenin? Why are all the prisoners who participated in the operation from Jenin?

    “These questions underline that there is a connection between the tunnel and these brothers’ plan to reach Jenin refugee camp, as well as some of them making it there, not to mention the inclination toward resistance in the Jenin refugee camp. That is a sentiment that is still present until now, even if it was between two tides, it is still a thorn in the side of the Israeli occupation’s security,” Jaradat underlined.

    “Everyone is talking about Jenin today as the city spearheading the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank. Nablus, despite all its greatness and might, and despite being the most populated area in the West Bank, has lost its standing to [Jenin]. Martyr Ibrahim Nabulsi’s mother is from Jenin, and Jenin’s residents dealt with his martyrdom as if it occurred there. Therefore, the Jenin Brigade is a prime example of Palestinian resistance that can be used as a model for resisting the occupation on the level of the Palestinian cause, and this is what everyone is closely following,” he added.

    Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhalah called the Jenin Brigade the “Tunnel Brigade” so that Operation Freedom Tunnel remains a symbol of resistance in the occupied West Bank.

    The digging began. Those who should know found out, as other inmates believed that the whole operation was just to find a safe place for them to stash their phones, and they went out for recess as some of the heroes went to the cell where the whole thing took place. This is the beginning of the operation.

    To know more details about Operation Freedom Tunnel, watch the upcoming episodes of The Heroes on Al Mayadeen at 21:00 Al-Quds time. 

      مسودة هوكشتين على الطريق… والملف بيد عون | ساعات الحسم: هل ترضخ إسرائيل بتجاهل النقطة B1

      الترسيم في ساعة الحسم: رسالة عاجلة إلى عون

       السبت 1 تشرين الأول 2022

      الأخبار  

      مسودة هوكشتين على الطريق... والملف بيد عون | ساعات الحسم: هل ترضخ إسرائيل بتجاهل النقطة B1
      نماذج من صواريخ بر – بحر تملكها المقاومة في لبنان (أرشيف – الاعلام الحربي للمقاومة الاسلامية)

      توقّع مصدر رسمي أن يتسلّم لبنان خلال الساعات المقبلة رسالة عاجلة من الوسيط الأميركي عاموس هوكشتين لترسيم الحدود البحرية بين لبنان وكيان الاحتلال. وقال المصدر إن السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت دوروثي شيا طلبت موعدا عاجلا لابلاغ الرئيس ميشال عون آخر المستجدات ربطاً بما تبلغه الجانب الأميركي من رد إسرائيلي على المطالب اللبنانية، بما في ذلك الاقتراح بعدم العمل على النقاط البرية الخاصة بترسيم الخط الجديد، والذي كان العدو يريد انتزاعه بحجة وجود منطقة أمنية داخل المياه الإقليمية للبنان.

      وقال المصدر الرسمي إن لبنان يتوقع بعد ذلك مسودة الاتفاق على شكل نص واضح يبيّن حقوقه من دون أي التباس. وأوضح المصدر أن لبنان أكد لهوكشتين ضرورة عدم إرسال مسودة تتضمّن إشارة إلى النقاط البرية لأنها ستكون مرفوضة. وأن الوسيط الأميركي بنى على هذا الأساس تصوّره القائم على تحديد منطقة أمنية تبعد عن الشاطئ بقليل على أن يصار إلى البت بوضعها إمّا تحت وصاية الأمم المتحدة أو اعتبارها منطقة عازلة بين الطرفين.
      وبحسب المصدر، فإن اقتراح لبنان جعل المنطقة الأمنية البحرية تحت وصاية القوة البحرية لقوات الأمم المتحدة لم يلق قبولاً من الجانب الإسرائيلي، فما كان على تل أبيب إلا القبول بالاقتراح الآخر الذي يقول بأن ما يجري العمل عليه لا علاقة له نهائياً بالنقطة B1، بالتالي فإن خط الطفافات لا يعني شيئاً، وتترك الأمور على حالها، وأن يصار إلى حصر النقاش بالخط 23 الذي يضمن لكل طرف البلوكات الكاملة التي تخصه. ورجح المصدر أن يكون هذا هو الحل إلا إذا بادر العدو إلى مفاجأة تدمر كل شيء.

      وبناء عليه، قال المصدر إن الجانب الأميركي سيرسل إلى بيروت ما يكون قد نال موافقة إسرائيل، بالتالي فإن أحداً لا يتوقع المزيد من المفاوضات. وأن الرئيس ميشال عون يشكل فريقاً قانونياً وتقنياً وإدارياً سوف يعمل على درس المسودة بالتشاور مع الرئيسين نبيه بري ونجيب ميقاتي، كما سيتم التشاور مع قيادة حزب الله التي تنتظر الموقف الرسمي للبنان حتى تقرر خطواتها المقبلة، مع الإشارة إلى أن السيد حسن نصرالله سيتحدث اليوم في مناسبة دينية في الجنوب، وسط توقعات بأن يتطرق إلى ملف ترسيم الحدود من زاوية التذكير بأن التسويف والمماطلة يهددان أي تسوية وأن الوقت غير مفتوح إلى ما لا نهاية.

      نصرالله يتحدث اليوم وعون يشكل فريقاً للتدقيق القانوني والتقني


      وبحسب المصدر، فإن واشنطن التي تستعجل الحصول على موافقة مبدئية من الجانبين، تريد تحضير الأجواء لأجل إنجاز الاتفاق أو توقيع الأوراق في لقاء خاص يعقد في الناقورة بحضور ممثل عن الولايات المتحدة والأمم المتحدة قبل الإعلان رسمياً عن إنجاز الاتفاق. وأنه في هذه الحالة فإن إسرائيل ستعلن مباشرة الخطوات التنفيذية لاستخراج الغاز من حقل كاريش وبقية الحقول، كما ستعلن شركة «توتال» الفرنسية برنامجها لإطلاق عمليات التنقيب في الحقول اللبنانية وفق الاتفاقات المعمول بها مع وزارة الطاقة في لبنان.

      في إسرائيل، تبدو المناخات «حذرة» للغاية في الساعات الأخيرة، وقيل الكثير في وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية عما سمي «في الطريق إلى الاتفاق مع لبنان» وجرى التركيز على «تقلص الجدول الزمني للاتفاق المحتمل، كون شركة «إنيرجيان» صاحبة حقوق التنقيب في حقل كاريش، تسعى للبدء باستخراج الغاز في منتصف تشرين الأول وهي تستعد من الآن لتجربة الضخ المعاكس للغاز، من الساحل إلى المنصة، قبل بدء الضخ إلى الساحل».
      وقالت مصادر سياسية لإعلاميين إن هوكشتين يعد «اقتراحاً نهائياً مكتوباً للطرفين، بعدما قدَّم أفكاره الأخيرة إليهما شفهياً»، وأنه من المتوقع أن «ينعقد المجلس الوزاري المصغر يوم الخميس المقبل في أول جلسة حول التسوية المقترحة».
      وقرأ الإسرائيليون أن حزب الله خفف من كلامه التصعيدي، وقالت تقارير عبرية إن الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، «لا يزال يهدد، لكن بنسبة أقل الآن. وهناك من يجد في مواقفه الأخيرة إشارات مشجعة على استعداده لقبول التسوية إذا تحققت». ونقلت عن مصادر معنية بالمفاوضات أن إسرائيل «قبلت» بأن «تبقى العقبة الأساسية التي ترتبط بترسيم دقيق للحدود على خط الساحل نفسه، من دون حسم وبقائها مفتوحة».
      على أن هناك مشكلة لا تزال قائمة في إسرائيل وهي ليست موجودة في لبنان وتتعلق بمواقف المعارضين لحكومة يائير لابيد، حيث بدأ أتباع زعيم المعارضة بنيامين نتنياهو الحديث عن إقامة احتجاجات في هذا الشأن قرب منزل لابيد في تل أبيب. من الممكن أيضاً لاحقاً تقديم اعتراضات إلى المحكمة العليا، في محاولة ضعيفة لطلب عرض الاتفاق على استفتاءٍ عام.

      في السياق نفسه، يبدو أن جميع المعنيين بالاتفاق في لبنان وإسرائيل والولايات المتحدة والغرب يهتمون للجانب الإخراجي من حيث الشكل. حيث يتوقع أن تكون هناك احتفالات في لبنان ابتهاجاً بالإنجاز الكبير، بينما ستروج الولايات المتحدة لمنطق المفاوضات كممر لتحقيق التسويات، فيما سيكون الأمر مادة للسجالات الواسعة في إسرائيل وسط حمى الانتخابات، خصوصاً مع الفريق الذي يعتبر أن لابيد خضع للمقاومة. وكان لافتاً ما قاله المستشرق والباحث المعروف في مركز بيغن-السادات، الدكتور إدي كوهين من أن حكومة لابيد خضعت للسيد نصرالله، ورداً على سؤال حول ما إن كان يصدّق أمين عام حزب الله، أجاب الدكتور كوهين: نعم أنا أصدقه.

      مقالات ذات صلة

      The Yemen Truce Is in Danger: The Aggressor’s Ships Are in the Crosshairs of the Yemeni Forces

      Sep 30, 2022

      By Mustapha Awada 

      During negotiations for the extension of the armistice agreement for a fourth time in a row and before the current ceasefire expires, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement put forward three conditions.

      The conditions are as follows:

      “Paying salaries, ending the siege on Sana’a Airport, north of the capital, and the port of al-Hudaydah, west of the capital, and a halt to violations in order to achieve real stability.”

      *Al-Hanash: If the aggressors do not abide by the terms of the armistice, we will end it.

      Offering insight into the course of these negotiations, a member of the Yemeni national negotiating delegation, Abdul Majeed Al-Hanash, told Al-Ahed News that “if the aggressor does not abide by the terms of the armistice, we will end it ourselves. Sanaa would have no other choice because if the conditions are not implemented, the Yemeni people will demand their leadership resume the war.”

      “The bank of objectives that the Yemeni leadership adopted before the truce is the same one that we are working on. But oil shipments will be added to that list. It is not possible for us to allow oil to cross into the Gulf to go to global markets while our people are besieged and their wealth is being stolen,” Al-Hanash added.  

      “If we end the truce, we will use everything we have within the territorial waters to intercept oil tankers and stop the theft that is being conducted.”  

      Abdul Majeed Al-Hanash applauded the resistance axis, stressing that “the Yemeni people are a qualitative addition to this axis and to the Palestinian cause, who pledged to always stand by its side and its resistant people.”

      Anam: The forces of aggression not complying with the armistice will pave the way for an expansion of the circle of engagement.

      For his part, the advisor of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council, Dr. Muhammad Taher Anam, told Al-Ahed that “the failure of the forces of aggression to abide by the armistice will not only push the leadership to resume military confrontations, but will expand the circle of engagement, especially after it was disturbed by the theft of oil resources and the conspiracy involving the United Arab Emirates, Total and the French government that are stealing Yemeni gas from Shabwa Governorate.”

      “Clear statements were issued by the Yemeni army’s official spokesman, directed at foreign companies that steal Yemeni oil and gas. He called on them to take these statement seriously if an agreement on a new truce is not reached based on the conditions we set.”

      He pointed out that “the adherence to the truce by the Saudi and Emirati regimes was in the 20% to 25% range, according to our estimates. They opened Sana’a Airport to Yemeni travelers to Amman and Cairo and allowed fuel ships to enter the port of al-Hudaydah. Other than that, there was no commitment neither to paying salaries of the employees from oil and gas revenues that are exported from Shabwa nor opening roads.

      “There are some mediators, such as the UN envoy to Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman, and other countries, that are trying to press Saudi Arabia and the UAE to abide by their duties. We hope that these mediations will result in the implementation of the agreement that was signed because if this is not done, we will target companies and ships that steal Yemeni gas and oil unless salaries are paid before specifying the next truce.”

      The adviser to the Yemeni Political Council stressed that “the military parade that the Sana’a government recently held on the occasion of the anniversary of September 21 was not random. Rather, it carried a message that we are still carrying the rifle and are ready for war again, and on a larger scale.”

      According to Dr. Anam, “the parade is a warning to the Saudi and Emirati regimes. If both of them do not abide by the agreements that are in the interest of the Yemeni people, withdraw from their lands, and pay war compensation, the upgraded missiles and naval mines will be used to protect the interests of this nation.”

      Muhammad Taher Anam affirmed that “both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are still violating these agreements and the commitments presented to the UN envoy and the mediating countries, as they are trying to position themselves between Russia and the West by stealing Yemeni gas and exporting it to Europe. This is after concluding agreements on this issue with some European states at a time when they are importing their oil from Qatar and others. However, we will follow through on the threat of the leader Sayyed Abdul-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and we will not be patient to the continuous looting of our wealth.”

      EU Parliamentarian Calls to Sanction Vanessa Beeley and All Observers of Donbass Referendums

      Global Research, September 30, 2022

      By Max Blumenthal and Anya Parampil

      The Grayzone 29 September 2022

      All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate This Article button below the author’s name.

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      MEP Nathalie Loiseau of France is lobbying for individual sanctions on all observers of the Russian-organized referendums in the Donbass region. She has singled out journalist Vanessa Beeley not only for her coverage of the vote, but for her reporting on the foreign-back war against Syria’s government.

      A French Member of European Parliament (MEP), Natalie Loiseau, has delivered a letter to EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borrell, demanding the European Union place personal sanctions on all international observers of the recent votes in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and certain Russian-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine.

      Obtained by The Grayzone from an EU source, the letter is currently being circulated among European parliamentarians in hopes of securing a docket of supportive signatures.

      “We, as elected members of the European Parliament, demand that all those who voluntarily assisted in any way the organization of these illegitimate referendums be individually targeted and sanctioned,” Loiseau declared.

      The French MEP’s letter came after a group of formally Ukrainian territories held a vote on whether or not to officially incorporate themselves into the Russian Federation in late September. Through the popular referendum, the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which announced their respective successions from Ukraine in 2014 following a foreign-backed coup against the government Kiev, as well as the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhia, voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

      Loiseau singled out Vanessa Beeley, a British journalist who traveled to the region to monitor the vote. Extending her complaint well beyond the referendum, the French MEP accused Beeley of “continuously spreading fake news about Syria and acting as a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin and Bashar el [sic] Assad for years.”

      Loiseau, a close ally of French President Emanuel Macron, specifically demanded Beeley be “included in the list of those sanctioned.”

      Beeley responded to Loiseau’s letter in a statement to The Grayzone:

      “Imposing sanctions on global citizens for bearing witness to a legal process that reflects the self-determination of the people of Donbass is fascism. Should the EU proceed with this campaign, I believe there will be serious consequences because the essence of freedom of speech and thought is under attack.

      Russia’s referendums: drawing a line with NATO

      In mid-September 2022, Beeley and around 100 other international delegates traveled to eastern Europe in order to observe a vote to join the Russian Federation in the regions of Kherson, Zaporozhia, and the independent republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

      Why did their presence trigger such an outraged response from Western governments? The answer lies in the recent history of these heavily contested areas.

      The formally Ukrainian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia fell under Russian control earlier this year as a result of the military campaign launched by Moscow in February, while the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared their independence from the government in Kiev in 2014.

      Russia began its special military campaign in Ukrainian territory on February 24. The operation followed Moscow’s decision that same week to formally recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic (the Donbass Republics) in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass have been embroiled in a bloody trench battle with the US-backed government in Kiev since 2014.

      Ukraine’s civil conflict broke out in March 2014, after US and European forces sponsored a coup in the country that installed a decidedly pro-NATO nationalist regime in Kiev which proceeded to declare war on its minority, ethnically Russian population.

      Following the 2014 putsch, Ukraine’s government officially marginalized the Russian language while extremist thugs backed by Kiev massacred and intimidated ethnic Russian citizens of Ukraine. In response, separatist protests swept Ukraine’s majority-Russian eastern regions.

      Russia Recognizes Two Donbass Republics to Stop Ukraine’s Violence

      The territory of Crimea formally voted to join Russia in March of that year, while the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region declared their unofficial independence from Kiev that same month. With support from the US military and NATO, Ukraine’s coup government officially declared war on the Donbass in April 2014, launching what it characterized as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in the region.

      Russia trained and equipped separatist militias in Donetsk and Lugansk throughout the territories’ civil campaigns against Kiev, though Moscow did not officially recognize the independence of the Donbass republics until February 2022. By then, United Nations estimates placed the casualty count for Ukraine’s civil war at roughly 13,000 dead. While Moscow offered support to Donbass separatists throughout the 2014-2022 period, US and European governments invested billions to prop up a Ukrainian military that was heavily reliant on army and intelligence factions with direct links to the country’s historic anti-Soviet, pro-Nazi deep state born as a result of World War II.

      Russia’s military formally entered the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, following Moscow’s recognition of the Donbass republics. While Russian President Vladimir Putin defined the liberation of the Donbass republics as the primary objective of the military operation, he also listed the “de-nazification” and “de-militarization” of Ukraine as a goals of the campaign. As such, Russian troops have since secured control of Ukrainian territories beyond the Donbass region, including the territories of Kherson and Zaporozhia.

      Facing increased Western investment in the Kiev-aligned bloc of Ukraine’s civil war, authorities in the Donbass republics announced a referendum on membership in the Russian Federation in late September 2022, with Moscow-aligned officials in Kherson and Zaporozhia announcing similar ballot initiatives. Citizens in each territory proceeded to approve Russian membership by overwhelming majorities.

      The results of the referendum not only threatened the government in Kiev, but its European and US backers. Western-aligned media leapt to characterize the votes as a sham, claiming Moscow’s troops had coerced citizens into joining the Russian Federation at the barrel of a gun. Their narrative would have reigned supreme if not for the hundred or so international observers who physically traveled to the regions in question to observe the referendum process.

      Observers like Vanessa Beeley now face the threat of returning home to the West as wanted outlaws. But as Loiseau’s letter made clear, the British journalist was in the crosshairs long before the escalation in Ukraine.

      Beeley among European journalists targeted and prosecuted for reporting from Donetsk

      Vanessa Beeley was among the first independent journalists to expose the US and UK governments’ sponsorship of the Syrian White Helmets, a so-called “volunteer organization” that played frontline role in promoting the foreign-backed dirty war against Syria’s government through its coordination with Western and Gulf-sponsored media. Beeley also played an instrumental role in revealing the White Helmets’ strong ties to Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, as well as its members’ involvement in atrocities committed by Western-backed insurgents.

      Beeley’s work on Syria drew harsh attacks from an array of NATO and arms industry-funded think tanks. In June 2022, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which receives funding from a variety of NATO states, corporations and billionaires, labeled Beeley “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” on Syria prior to 2020. (According to ISD, Beeley was somehow “overtaken” by The Grayzone’s Aaron Mate that year). The group did not provide a single piece of evidence to support its assertions.

      Though Beeley has endured waves of smears, French MEP Natalie Loiseau’s call for the EU to sanction the journalist represents the first time a Western official has moved to formally criminalize her work. Indeed, Loiseau made no secret that she is targeting Beeley not only for her role as an observer of the referendum votes, but also on the basis of her opinions and reporting on Syria.

      Loiseau’s push to issue personal sanctions against EU and US citizens comes on the heels of the German government’s prosecution of independent journalist Alina Lipp. In March 2020, Berlin launched a formal case against Lipp, who is a German citizen, claiming her reporting from the Donetsk People’s Republic violated newly authorized state speech codes.

      Prior to Lipp’s prosecution, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue launched a media campaign portraying her as a disseminator of “disinformation” and “pro-Kremlin content.”

      In London, meanwhile, the UK government has imposed individual sanctions on Graham Philips, a British citizen and independent journalist, for his reporting from Donetsk.

      And in Brussels, Loiseau’s campaign against Beeley appears to have emerged from a deeply personal vendetta.

      Who is Natalie Loiseau?

      In April 2021, Beeley published a detailed profile of Loiseau at her personal blog, The Wall Will Fall, painting the French MEP as a regime change ideologue committed to “defending global insecurity and perpetual war.” Beeley noted that Loiseau served as a minister in the government of French President Emanuel Macron when it authorized airstrikes in response to dubious allegations of a Syrian government chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.

      Beeley also reported that Loiseau has enjoyed a close relationship with the Syria Campaign, the public relations arm of the White Helmets operation. This same organization, which is backed by British-Syrian billionaire Ayman Asfari, was the sponsor of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue report which branded Beeley a “top propagator of disinformation” on Syria.

      Loiseau has taken her activism into the heart of the European parliament, using her position as chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense to silence colleagues who ask to many questions about the Western campaign for regime change in Syria.

      During an April 2021 hearing, MEP Mick Wallace attempted to question Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Fernando Arias about allegations he personally aided the censorship of an OPCW investigation which concluded no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

      Loiseau immediately descended into a fit of rage, interrupting Wallace and preventing him from speaking.

      “I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done,” Loiseau fulminated.

      Wallace responded with indignation, asking, “Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more? Today you are denying me my opinion!”

      A year later, Wallace and fellow Irish MEP Clare Daly sued the Irish network RTEfor defamation after it broadcast an interview with Loiseau during which she baselessly branded them as liars who spread disinformation about Syria in parliament.

      Now, Loiseau appears to be seeking revenge against Beeley, demanding that she be criminally prosecuted not just for serving as a referendum observer, but for her journalistic output.

      *

      Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above or below. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.

      The editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliathThe Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

      Anya Parampil is a journalist based in Washington, DC. She has produced and reported several documentaries, including on-the-ground reports from the Korean peninsula, Palestine, Venezuela, and Honduras.

      Featured image: Left: French MEP Nathalie Loiseau Right: Journalist Vanessa Beeley (Source: The Grayzone)

      The original source of this article is The Grayzone

      Copyright © Max Blumenthal and Anya ParampilThe Grayzone, 2022

      Fake Reporting on the Blown-up Pipelines and Russia’s “Annexation

      Open Letter to the New York Times

      September 30, 2022

      Global Research,

      By Peter Koenig

      All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate This Article button below the author’s name.

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      Dear Editor of the once-upon-a-time Famous-for-truth New York Times,

      With headlines like this, Sabotaged Pipelines and a Mystery: Who Did It? (Was It Russia?), even suggesting that Russia may have blown up their own pipeline, the NYT is killing its last vestige of credibility.

      You know exactly this is a lie.

      The only force that has a vital interest in doing so is the US / NATO conglomerate – to make sure, there is no way Germany could change their mind and go back on their decision to let their people freeze to death this winter, and to economically destroy Germany, THE economic force and leader of Europe.

      You, and your analysts know that.

      Unfortunately, there is no common people’s influence on our reporting. There are stronger forces that have bought into your mind-bending journalism.

      Still, once a supporter of the NYT, I feel I want to tell you.

      The Same with this reporting

      Enormous U.S. Military Spending, EU Dragged into Abyss of War against Russia. Italy Out of the War!

      Russian Proxies in Ukraine Push Moscow to Annex Occupied Regions

      and

      Vladimir Putin will sign agreements on Friday to take over four Ukrainian regions, the Kremlin said, after votes widely denounced as a sham

      Here too, these are not “proxy” Russians who signed a sham petition to be annexed to Russia. You know it very well.

      These are real Russians, living in the far Eastern part of Ukraine, the Donbas area mostly, who have been discriminated ever since the US instigated the Maidan coup on 22 February 2014 – when a neo-Nazi government was installed that let the Nazi Asov Battalions literally slaughter Ukraine’s own people in Donbas — at least 14,000 were reported killed – about half of them children – in the eight years since the “Victoria Nuland” (“Fuck Europe”) coup. See this.

      We are talking about the same Asov Battalions, that helped Hitler during WWII fight against Russia.

      Already in 2014 / 2015 the Donbas districts wanted to join Russia. President Putin did not allow it, because at that time he still believed in the “Minsk” Agreements, sponsored by France and Germany.

      These agreements were principally meant to protect the Donbas people, as well as to demilitarize – de-Nazify – Ukraine, and to keep NATO out of Ukraine. None of the conditions of the Minsk Agreements (September 2014 and April 2015) were ever adhered to.

      If truth-seeking geopolitical analysts around the globe know the real background, you, Editor-in-chief of the NYT, and your journalists, know the real story too. Still, you report lies and half-truths to further influence and promote people’s opinion against Russia.

      The New York Times has become weaponized against Russia and China, by your mere reporting.

      Don’t you think that this will eventually backfire?

      *

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      Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

      Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

      Featured image is from FAIR

      The original source of this article is Global Research

      Copyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2022


      WORLDMuslim Brotherhood Mob Boss Qaradawi Dies

      September 30, 2022

      Declan Hayes

      The only tragedy about the death at 96 years of age of Youssef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s deadliest terrorist grouping, is that the Muslim Brotherhood did not die along with him.

      The only tragedy about the death at 96 years of age of Youssef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s deadliest terrorist grouping, is that the Muslim Brotherhood did not die along with him.

      Qaradawi was the Egyptian born spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood murder gang. Typical of the beliefs Qaradawi espoused was that Hitler went too easy on the Jews, that the world’s 100 million Shia, along with all apostates from Sunni Islam, must be exterminated and that his Islamic Caliphate should rule over us all. He lived in Qatar and, when not spewing out misogynistic, Shiaphobic, anti Semitic bile from that excuse for a country on al Jazeera’s top rating TV show. this hateful, Hitler loving demagogue issued fatwas to the Muslim Brotherhood faithful to slaughter Syria’s minorites and “apostates”.

      The Muslim Brotherhood, its strong links with Western intelligence forces and dubious Trotsykist groups notwithstanding, is the Arab world’s original, most subversive, and most dangerous terrorist organization. It strongly believes in imposing the Caliphate and, as their countless atrocities in Egypt and Syria show, murdering or subjugating all who resist them. There will be no peace in the Arab or Western worlds until the Muslim Brotherhood is crushed in its Egyptian and Syrian spawning grounds and in those areas of the Western world NATO has allowed it colonize. Syria’s former ruler, the late Hafez el Assad, accurately described these NATO aligned devils in this video.

      Following their failed 1982 coup, most Syrian Muslim Brotherhood terrorists fled into safe haven bolt holes from where they built a network of dedicated and highly professional cadres to spew their toxins. Though the Muslim Brotherhood Support Network in the West deserves a lot more scrutiny to determine why supposed left wing groups support these sectarian cut throats, they are, from my experience at least, protected by MI5 and allied intelligence agencies.

      Take the case of Omar Gabbar, who shared a platform with prominent child sex jihad proponent Muhammed al-Arefe. Not only did Gabbar’s Hand in Hand for Syria front group secure one of the world’s top child sex jihadist recruiters in their first month of operation “from a Leicester kitchen table” but their original posters were designed by Turkish-based hacks of the terrorist Free Syrian Army, whose flag is emblazoned on the logo of Hand in Hand for Syria. Gabbar should, together with the legal hounds and British armed response units he set on me, consider that decent people, who are not members of the Muslim Brotherhood or any of its satellites, have got very lengthy prison tariffs for much less. Though al-Arefe is now barred from Britain, Omar Gabbar remains there and, like many others, who brought al-Arefe to Britain, is allowed work, as a hospital consultant in his case, where he has access to the young and impressionable children al-Arefe expects to do sex jihad.

      The Muslim Brotherhood are allowed leverage the professional status of operatives like Gabbar not only to bring sex jihadist recruiting sergeants like Al Arefe to England to help the Canadian secret service ferry child brides like Shamima Begum to their Syrian caliphate but to collect tens of millions of dollars for the Caliphate under false pretenses thanks, in large part to the control MI5 have over the Charity Commission which can be seen, inter alia, by the example of Samara’s Appeal, a dodgy Anglican cult charity focused on Syria, which is exempted from having to list its trustees.

      Gabbar is not the Muslim Brotherhood’s only well placed British asset. Dr Rola Hallam is the daughter of Mousa al Kurdi, one of the head honchos in the supposedly moderate wing of Syria’s Murder Inc; she can drive through ISIS checkpoints at will, as this website based on BBC Panorama’s farcical puff piece plainly illustrates.. Though Hand in Hand for Syria’s collusion with ISIS, as evidenced by their ability to sail through ISIS checkpoints and to work in ISIS strongholds, is a further indication that the moderate and less moderate wings of Syria’s Murder Inc are in bed together and that the British and Irish authorities should consider rounding up the flotsam working with them, that will not happen because Qaradawi’s Muslim Brotherhood are so well engrained at the heart of British and Irish political life.

      At the center of the effort to hijack Ireland’s traditional tolerance stand the extremists of the Clonskeagh Mosque aka The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, which Wikileaks’ leaked U.S. cable and all informed writers say, have embedded ties to the most extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood murder gang. The mosque or “cultural center”, which gets massive subsidies from the opaque Dubai-based Al Maktoum foundation and sources linked to other totalitarian Gulf states, regularly hosts such “scholars” as Saudi cleric Salman al Awda, who calls for the total extermination of all Americans, and Egyptian demagogue Wagdy Ghoneim, whose views likewise make him an international pariah in places where the writ of the Muslim Brotherhood does not run as deeply as it does in Ireland.

      The “cultural center’s” head religious figure is Hussein Halawa, an Egyptian blow-in, who has lived in Ireland for decades but who cannot speak either English or Irish. Halawa reported directly to Yusuf al-Qaradawi through The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) which al Qaradawi controlled. Although the arch-bigot Qaradawi was eventually banned from Ireland, Halawa not only remains at large but his children, who were arrested on Muslim Brotherhood related terror charges in Egypt, became a cause célèbre amongst Ireland’s media and large sections of Ireland’s political class, despite Halawa being a leading supporter of Qaradawi and his cut throats. If Halawa was just an otherwise parasitical, functionally illiterate Egyptian blow-in and if female Irish “reverts” were not ending up in accident and emergency wards after “honor beatings”, some of this idiot’s utterances might be tolerable but the fact that his children felt compelled to rush to aid Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as they persecuted Copts and lynched Shias should be definite warning flags even if an alarmingly large number of Irish politicians and other useful idiots opportunistically support him.

      In an earlier piece on MI5 subversion in Iran, I cited the great Gamal Nasser mocking the Muslim Brotherhood over their attempts to destroy secular Egypt. Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood could claim to have got the last laugh both in Egypt and Syria, thanks both to their outright terrorism and the massive support they have received from the intelligence agencies of the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, Ireland and a host of other countries with no more regard to the harm they do than have any other comparable bunch of sociopaths. Although Syria’s current President has repeatedly warned the West against the spill over effects of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism, Western leaders do not care because it is not how they are hard wired.

      As long as the Biden, Obama, Clinton, Cheney, Blair and Bush families, together with their minions, can benefit from promoting the Zelenskys and Qaradawis of this world, innocents will continue to die in Armenia, Syria, Yemen, Russia or anywhere else, Western Europe included, they choose to make a wasteland. So, to conclude, grieve not for Qaradawi but only that the Muslim Brotherhood and all its obnoxious tentacles have survived him.

      Dozens Martyred in Afghan Capital Explosion

      Sep 30, 2022

      By Staff, Agencies

      At least 56 people have been martyred and dozens others wounded in an explosion at an education center in the Afghan capital city of Kabul.

      The explosion struck Kaj Education Centre in Dasht-e-Barchi, a mainly Hazara neighborhood in the west of the Afghan capital.

      The blast was confirmed by city police and the interior ministry. The exact numbers of victims have not been released immediately.

      Security teams have been dispatched to the scene to investigate the incident, said interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor.

      A mock entrance exam was reportedly taking place at the time of the attack. Several men attacked the center, local media reported, with one reportedly detonating a suicide belt inside a classroom.

      No side immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a steady stream of violence since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan just over a year ago.

      Daesh [Arabic for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] — a top rival of the Taliban — has previously targeted mosques and worshippers, especially Shia Afghans, in terrorist attacks.

      Dasht-e-Barchi has seen numerous attacks since the Taliban takeover.

      Six people were martyred in an attack on a high school in the area in April. In May 2021, 85 people were martyred in a bombing at a girls’ school in the neighborhood.

      Afghanistan’s Hazara minority are often prime targets of terror attacks and face persecution from the active terrorist outfits in the country.

      A possible strategy for peace

      September 28, 2022

      Source

      by Gav Don

      We now await the results of the referenda in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhiya and Kherson to request membership of the Russian Federation. In the first three regions the result is a foregone conclusion. In Kherson the vote is also likely to be for membership, in spite of the fact that Kherson’s pre-war population was a majority ethnic Ukrainian one, but the margin may be closer. Many, indeed probably most, of Kherson’s pre-war Ukrainians have, though, left the region as refugees, and will not vote in the referendum by virtue of their absence. President Putin stated in a recent speech that Russia will immediately accept the applications for membership of the Federation that follow.

      In parallel Moscow announced this week that Russia will call up army reservists for service. Russian army reserves include men in a wide range of preparedness, from people who had completed conscripted service long ago to a much smaller number of “active” reserve formations similar to western reserve formations – i.e. ones which meet regularly for paid training with regular forces. These latter are a relatively new addition to Russia’s ground forces.

      RAND reported in 2019 that “active” reserves totalled only 5,000 men. In 2021 Moscow announced a plan to increase the active reserve under the headline BARS-2021 to 100,000, but no information has reached the public domain since then on how well (or not) that strategy performed. Subsequent clarification stated that reserves called up will undergo months of refresher and update training. Interpolating the limited data suggests that this reserve call-up might bring 20,000-40,000 men with material fighting power to Russia’s Orbat in the short term.

      Mr Putin made no reference to the number of men (and women, presumably) to be called up, but within minutes of his speech being broadcast the number of 300,000 appeared throughout western media coverage. The most likely source for that very large number is the media briefers retained by Kyiv.

      Prior to this week’s reserve call-up Moscow was already in the process of creating a new unit, the 3rd Army Corps (Luhansk and Donestk militias form the 1st and 2nd Army Corps), comprising some 40 Battalion Tactical Groups. When fully formed the 3rd Army Corps would therefore contain some 35,000 – 40,000 men, but at present is probably less than half that complement, and in an early state of formation and training which will limit its combat power to low-intensity and defensive operations only for several months to come.

      Reserves are not the only news: a third insight to Moscow’s objectives has come to light, in one of Mr Putin’s replies in a Q and A at Samarkand, and again in his “reserves” speech. In both he referred for the first time to the Russia’s “main objective” in Ukraine as the full occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. This is the first time since February that Moscow has made an unequivocal statement about its objectives.

      It is tempting to extrapolate that Russia’s lesser objectives must be smaller than its main objective. That extrapolation would rule out the taking of much more ground than Russia already occupies, including Odesa (or even Mikolayev), Kharkiv or the ground between the western border of Donetsk and the Dnepr River.

      Building on that tentative conclusion leads to another conclusion, that Moscow’s strategic objective now is to conclude the remnants of the peace deal agreed to (and then reneged on) by President Zelensky in Istanbul in March. Much of the rest of Mr Putin’s “reserves” speech was expressing Russia’s defensive rights and plans – the protection of Russian territory and Russian people from Ukraine and the greater west. There was no talk of extending Russian occupation of Ukraine beyond Donetsk and Luhansk.

      Last week, the day after the reserves announcement, President Zelensky made a recorded address to the United Nations which Moscow is likely to find discouraging for a peace deal. Mr Zelensky’s first words were a demand for “just punishment” for Russia’s aggression: “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.  Mr Zelensky stated four preconditions for peace:

      ·         Punishment (of Russia) for the crime of aggression, to continue (a) until the borders are returned to 2013 line and (b) full financial compensation has been paid for all physical damage. The punishments, to be administered by a special tribunal, specifically include a trade embargo, suspension of Russia from the UN and of its veto, a travel ban on all Russians, and a system to obtain financial compensation from Russia.

      ·         “The protection of life by all available means”. It was not made clear what this term means in detail.

      ·         “The restoring of security and territorial integrity” – which must mean a return to 2013 borders.

      ·         Security guarantees for Ukraine enacted in a suite of bilateral and multilateral treaties, to supplement existing treaties (so, probably not membership of NATO per se). The new guarantees will be written to provide pre-emptive action rather than reactive action (like that in the Atlantic Charter).

      To these Mr Zelensky added a fifth precondition, which had no actual provisions or form but appeared to be a call for firm adherence to the four explicit conditions to punish aggression.

      Mr Zelensky finished with “I rule out the possibility a settlement can happen on a different basis than the [this] Ukrainian peace formula”.

      Ukraine’s position depends entirely on continued materiel and financial support from Washington, London and Brussels. Since it will be immediately clear to even the most Russophobic members of those administrations that the only practically obtainable component of President Zelensky’s formula will be financial compensation from Russia’s frozen foreign reserves, there is probably a different peace deal, which might be imposed on Kyiv by the West. What might those preconditions be?

      They would probably include:

      ·         A clear demonstration by the people living in the four Oblasts that they no longer wish to be part of Ukraine;

      ·         Clear evidence that the Kharkiv offensive is a one-off, and that it has no practical chance of being repeated elsewhere;

      ·         Acceptance by the voters of Europe and the United Kingdom that a bad peace is more attractive than a continued war (the voters of the United States are almost completely indifferent to the war and have already lost interest);

      ·         Acceptance by Prime Minister Truss and Commission President von der Leyen that the economic price of continued conflict with Russia is higher than they will, or even can, pay;

      ·         Acceptance by the US State Department that the EU Commission and Downing Street are no longer willing to send money and weapons to Ukraine (Mr Biden’s cognitive decline more or less rules him out of the decision process, and the Pentagon has been against the war since February);

      It is possible to map last week’s Russian events and announcements against this list of preconditions.

      The popular will in the occupied territories

      Three of the four referenda are guaranteed to return a strong desire for a transfer from Ukraine to Russia. The fourth, Kherson, may return a less equivocal desire, though a majority for Russia is likely. Moscow may be setting up the surrender of west-bank Kherson to Ukraine as the price of peace.

      The western popular consciousness (in so far as it exists as a single “thing”) readily accepts the principle of self-determination where clearly and fairly expressed. Indeed, rather more than half of the people of Europe are independent or unified by virtue of that principle (this would include all Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks, Italians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Slovenes, Croats, Montenegrans, Dutch, Danes, Maltese, Kosovans, Macedonians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Irish, and, outside the EU, Norwegians, and in future perhaps Scots and Catalans, and of course Ukrainians themselves). Why, then, spend large amounts of money and incur acute economic pain to resist the clearly expressed desire for self-determination by ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine?

      In the debate which might follow this line Moscow will undoubtedly call in aid the referendum in Kosovo, supported by the western alliance against Russian ally Serbia, as a precedent for the moral right to choose one’s parent state. It will find support from the 2010 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case, that “…international law contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence” (the caveats and specific circumstances of the Advisory Opinion are unlikely to gain much traction with public opinion).

      So, it is possible at least that bringing the referenda forward to now is a step towards undermining popular support for the war in greater Europe.

      Clear evidence that the Kharkiv success is a one-off

      I covered the Kharkiv offensive here, concluding that a successful attack by some 20,000 men against a space held by 4,000 low-grade troops says little about future military prospects for Ukraine. Most of the rest of the Line of Contact is held in substantially greater force by Russian and allied troops of substantially higher fighting power. Moscow’s announcement of reserves mobilisation will shortly add to that fighting power and deepen the thinly-held Contact Line that runs west from Donetsk to Zaporizhiya.

      Moscow’s change of strategy by attacking Ukrainian civil power assets for the first time simultaneously restricts Kyiv’s ability to concentrate force and demonstrates Russia’s willingness to use more violence if and when required.

      Kyiv is still capitalising on the glow of the Kharkiv offensive, hoping to use it to persuade an international audience that its goal of returning to its 2013 borders is a realistic one. Indeed, the Kharkiv offensive forms a key foundation stone for President Zelensky’s plan for a peace deal articulated to the United Nations last week.

      If the Kharkiv offensive is indeed a one-off and not repeatable it will take time for that truth to prevail in the strategic calculus of Washington, London and Brussels.

      The economic price of resistance

      The European Commission’s sanctions on Russian gas supplies (shuttering Nordstream 2, forbidding EU states from paying for gas in Roubles, obstructing Nordstream 1 by sanctioning its turbines and supporting Kyiv in its shuttering of pipelines for reasons with little engineering validity) have increased gas prices in Europe and the UK by a factor of roughly ten times, and consequently increased power prices by factor of around five times.

      Spiking energy prices undercut popular support for the war while at the same time threatening almost all parts of greater Europe’s industrial and commercial sector, rendering large parts of commerce and industry unprofitable overnight (and catastrophically loss-making in the case of low-margin energy intensive primary industries).

      Brussels and London have been forced to respond with a combination of massive subsidies, price controls and windfall profit taxes. In the case of the UK Ms Truss’s emergency plan has an initial (6-month) budget of some £65 bn – 2.5% of GDP to be borrowed and spent in half a year alone. While the Commission’s plan for windfall taxes and targeted subsidies is considerably more sensible, both the EU and the UK are looking at sharp GDP contractions as a result of the energy price spike alongside large adverse swings in international payments balances. The value of Sterling has crashed to its lowest level against the dollar since American independence. The Euro has also dropped by some 20% against the dollar.

      Europe will weather the price spike better than the UK, which is facing another economic disaster generated by the inflation-linked coupons on some £500 bn of its government debt. With inflation running at 10-12% per year (depending on which measure is chosen), UK debt interest will leap this year from approximately £48 bn in 2019 to a likely £110 bn in 2022.

      UK government debt interest will be yet higher in 2023, when, if the war and EU sanctions on Russian gas continue, the United Kingdom will need to borrow a net £200 bn (plus half as much again to roll over existing maturing debts), with a weak currency, high inflation and a shrinking economy. This toxic combination will further weaken the pound, import more inflation through rising import prices, further increase the cost of index-linked government debt, and drive the government’s budget deficit to around 10% of GDP. Unable to raise taxes (because she has promised not to) and unable to cut government spending (because an election looms in 2024) Ms Truss will be at risk of sinking under a tide of debt.

      The question is how long will Downing Street accept the costs of its unequivocal support for Ukraine?

      The European Commission’s plans for handling the energy price spike are more sensible than London’s, and it starts from a position of having zero debt (though European members all owe large amounts). There is a possibility of a split emerging between the strategic desires of London and the Commission, with the latter welcoming acute economic pain for the UK as part of the “punishment regime” for the UK’s departure from the European Union. Moscow may try to use that divided agenda to detach the UK from Ukraine’s life support system.

      Popular rejection of support for the war

      Throughout the war European and UK popular support for Ukraine has been solid. Indeed it is almost impossible to find any voice in either mainstream or niche media that is anything other than entirely on the side of Kyiv (not completely impossible – a small community of dissident thinkers and analysts does exist, led by this website, but with a repeating audience that barely breaks half a million people it has little real-world impact).

      Popular support has flowed in roughly equal parts from a latent fear of and dislike for Russia born of the Cold War, from a collective view that states should not invade each other, from perhaps the most successful information war ever waged (by Kyiv) and in part from the reality that so far support has cost Europeans personally nothing in either blood or treasure.

      The coming price in treasure is discussed above. It is likely that Mr Putin’s remarks this week on the circumstances in which Russia would be prepared to use nuclear weapons were deliberately intended to alarm European and British citizens with the concept that the distant war might become a very non-distant reality if it is allowed to continue.

      Moscow can rely on Europe’s media and politicians to misrepresent and exaggerate its statements (conflating tactical with strategic weapons, eliding the question of use against armed forces or civilians, ignoring the fact the Mr Putin’s remarks were expressly preceded by a reference to Ms Truss’s bellicose statement of her willingness to use nuclear weapons during her election campaign, and neatly ignoring the subtlety of whether Russian weapons might be used in Ukraine, Russia or Europe) to cultivate panic among peoples who had more or less forgotten that nuclear weapons still exist and have no clear idea of what they do or how they work.

      If that is what Moscow’s talk of nuclear weapons was intended to spark then it has quickly succeeded – the nuclear threat is now top and centre of mass media discussion, and may be creating the space within which Brussels and London can press Kyiv to a negotiated peace, however uncomfortable.

      American guns and money

      The final piece of the puzzle is how to persuade the US that it should stop sending weapons and cash to Kyiv.

      American support for Ukraine does not require popular consent since the price is small by comparison with total US government spending, and its budgets are readily approved by Congress.

      American popular consciousness is also much less responsive to the rattling of nuclear sabres, by virtue of distance, by familiarity with life in the front-line of nuclear brinkmanship and because of innate popular confidence in the size and power of US retaliative capabilities. There is no media panic about possible use of nuclear weapons in the US.

      Indeed, Ukraine barely breaks into the national mainstream media consciousness, which is preoccupied with inflation, racial tensions expressed by police killings, and the “threat” posed by to US hegemonic power by China, and specifically to Taiwan.

      Meanwhile the methane price spike will generate extraordinarily high profits for US LNG producers.

      That combination of US circumstances presents Moscow with a wicked problem. There may be one solution to how US opinion should be persuaded to abandon Ukraine.

      US popular consciousness firmly believes that Europe (including the UK) has freeloaded on US defence spending for two generations. There are few things the average American dislikes more than a freeloader.

      The charge contains an element of truth. Total defence spending by the EU plus UK and Turkey was about Euros 220 bn in 2021. Total US defence spending in the same year was approximately Euros 600 bn. Even allowing for those parts of the budget allocated to strategic nuclear weapons (about 15%), Carrier Strike Groups and amphibious warfare capabilities (10%), and US power projection in Asia and the Middle East (probably another 20%), US defence spending still exceeds Europe’s by about half.

      If Moscow can manipulate either or both of the Commission and Downing Street into abandoning support for Ukraine that would leave Washington paying the bill alone. It is not the size of that bill which might undercut support for guns and money, but the fact that it has been forwarded on by decadent and cynical Europeans, which could make US support for Ukraine unacceptably unpopular.

      Whatever the American voter thinks, the American neocon will not be persuaded to accept a peace deal with Russia. Indeed, the US is escalating. Last night the pressures in Nordstream 1 and Nordstream more or less simultaneously fell to 7 Atmospheres, and a large gas leak was observed off the Danish Island of Bornholm. 7 Atmospheres is the ambient pressure of the seabed off Bornholm under which both pipelines pass – at 70 metres of water depth. There is only one possible explanation for this event – an attack on both pipelines by an unidentified submarine.

      The reliable rule of Cui Bono applies here. A US (or UK, on request from the US) attack on the pipelines secures the EU LNG market for US exporters against possible future competition from Russia after a peace deal, renders Europe dependent on US LNG supplies (in the short term at least), and serves to remove a major possible Russian contribution to peace in the form of cheap gas. It is staggering to see how far US policy-makers will go to promote a continued war.

      A possible strategy for peace

      Notwithstanding the Nordstream attacks it is possible to see, inside the announcements and moves that have emerged this week, the skeleton of a Russian strategy towards a negotiated peace with Kyiv. An uncomfortable one, to be sure, but peace nevertheless.

      If a negotiated peace is not available Moscow can still opt for an imposed one, in which it would complete the occupation of Donetsk Oblast and call a unilateral halt to offensive operations.

      Presented with that fait accompli Kyiv is likely to continue its present policy of shelling civilians in Russian-occupied territory wherever its guns can reach – a policy in blatant breach of the Law of Armed Conflict but one which has been consistently and thoroughly ignored by the major media channels in both Europe and the USA, and even by Turkish and Iraq media. An enforced peace would therefore require Russia to create and police an effective artillery “no fire” zone for some 20 kms west of its new imposed border with Ukraine, and a “no-rocket” zone for another 50 kms on top.

      Russia’s present artillery and rocket forces cannot do that, since Ukrainian artillery can evade counterbattery fire by the tactic of “shoot and scoot”. Russian air forces are also unable to enforce a no-fire zone because at high altitude they are vulnerable to a SAM shoot-down, and at low altitude to the widespread presence of Man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

      To create an effective no-fire zone Russia needs a force of unmanned drones capable of delivering 20-40 kgs of high explosive within 2 metres of their targets, both stationary and evading counterfire in “scoot” mode. These drones would have to be sufficiently numerous to give saturation coverage day and night, working in pairs (so that one of the pair can engage MANPADS and SAM launchers which target the other member of the pair), and cheap enough to be disposable.

      At the start of the war Russia did not have a drone with those specifications, but now it does. The 1,000 or so Shahed 136 drones ordered this month are beginning to arrive (the first examples of 136 wreckage with their distinctive wingtips have now appeared in Ukraine). Russia has renamed the model the Geranium.

      The 136 is an ideal candidate for enforcing a deep no-fire zone. Its 36 kg warhead can completely destroy a heavy artillery piece, a mortar or a Multiple Launch Rocket launch truck. The 136 can loiter for some 20 hours at heights well above the reach of MANPADs, before being dived onto the target by its operator. It can also carry out a chase of a moving target (it was a 136 which hit the bridge of the merchant ship Mercer Street while under way off Oman last year), and can break away and re-attack repeatedly if the target evades successfully.

      One limitation is that control systems are line-of-sight, so require the drone controller to use a very high aerial to operate the drone successfully deep behind the Line of Contact, but the 136’s operating depth is likely in most circumstances to be greater than the effective range of most of its targets.

      Moscow’s drone purchase also reportedly includes an estimated forty Shahed 129 drones. The 129 is a 400 kg aircraft theoretically capable of carrying guided ground attack munitions but more likely to be used for its electro-optical reconnaissance capability to identify targets for the 136s. The 129 too has a line-of-sight control link, which also limits its operational depth capability.

      With sufficient numbers of these two drones, backed up by conventional artillery and MLRS systems, Russia should be able to enforce an effective artillery no-fire zone in defence of the occupied territories.

      Amidst the uncertainty one thing is certain – there is a zero probability that Moscow will entertain President Zelensky’s UN peace proposals. It may not even respond to them, on the basis that they rest on a strategic fantasy. Equally likely is that President Zelensky will not respond to peace proposals which include the detachment of the four Oblasts. At least, not until pressured to do so by at least two of his three western backers.

      The most likely outcome therefore looks to this author to be a frozen conflict, once the balance of Donetsk Oblast has been taken (slowly) by Russian forces. At the current rate of progress – a few hundred metres per day – that may not happen until the spring or even summer of 2023.

      Quick notes from Andrei + open thread

      September 27, 2022

      Dear friends

      Hurricane Ian approaches the Florida Peninsula

      Looks like Hurricane Ian will be even dangerous for the Florida East coast.  So I don’t know how soon we will lose power.  I also am too preoccupied with preparations to write much today.

      But the few headlines below are, I think, quite amazing.

      The thing which I find absolutely hilarious is that the Europeans DO speak of sabotage but DO NOT even mention who the obvious culprit is.  So, especially for the braindead Europeans, I have this: a video from President Brandon himself promising to stop NS2 if Russia “invades” the Ukraine.

      Needless to say, I totally agree with Lira – the Anglos are willing to completely destroy Europe to maintain their dominion over the EU.

      And to my great sadness, I have to say that the people of Europe RICHLY deserve what is coming their way.  Simply put: if you have no self-respect, why would anybody have any respect for you?

      Okay, singing off for the time being.

      Conditions permitting, I will try to drop by as often as I can.  But the next 3 days will be very tough.

      Kind regards

      Andrei

      The Beautiful Rayyan and the ‘Israeli’ Beast

      30 Sep 2022

      By Zeinab Abdallah

      As a mother goodbyeing her children going to school every day, her biggest concerns would be how anxious they are, how much comfortable they feel without her being with them, how concentrating they are in their classes, and whether the food they took with them was enough or they will return hungry so she would rather have their lunch prepared before they are back…

      But as a mother goodbyeing her children going to school in Palestine, the concerns are totally reduced. She would only be worried whether the apple of her eyes will be back home or not.

      In the beautiful Palestine, there is an ‘Israeli’ beast that aims at the land and its owners alike. No matter how young the generation is, its land-tie is a crime as per the occupier’s standards.

      Seven-year-old Rayyan Suleiman, from the central part of the occupied West Bank, has lost his life after falling from a high place while running away from ‘Israeli’ occupation forces who were chasing him.

      Medical sources reported that Rayyan was admitted to hospital after his heart had stopped beating. Attempts to revive him failed, and he was officially pronounced dead soon afterwards.

      The frightened minor ran away from the Zionist regime soldiers as they chased him and other students after leaving their school. Rayyan subsequently fell from a high place and died.

      His father, Yasser, said the ‘Israeli’ troops chased his son to their house, adding that Rayyan’s heart stopped beating because he was apparently so scared.

      The bereaved father noted that he put his son in his car and rushed to hospital but was stopped half way by ‘Israeli’ occupation soldiers who let him drive on only after they had made sure Rayyan was dead.

      In Palestine, it is not the children who fear the beast, although it is monstrous enough to frighten their entire childhood. In Palestine, it is the beast that fears the children… Although as innocent as they must be, children in Palestine are born with a strong attachment to their motherland, which the occupier fears could make them future liberation-seekers.

      This vital spirit that is haunting the Zionists’ very existence won’t be extinguished by killing Rayyan and his friends. Mothers in Palestine in every moment give birth to a resistant and revolutionary soul that will very soon eradicate this usurping entity.

      Rayyan’s martyrdom didn’t catch the world’s attention. His cold-blooded killing didn’t draw the international bodies’ condemnation. World media didn’t employ its lenses to expose this heinous crime as it did for the sake of Morocco’s Rayyan. The Moroccan boy fell in a well next to his home and world media provided round-the-clock coverage for the rescue operations before he died. However, the world’s double standards sadly consider the Palestinian boy as just a number in a full record of the victims of the ‘Israeli’ occupation.

      The beautiful Rayyan will rest in peace, but the ‘Israeli’ beast will never live at ease, never…

      Giorgia on our mind

      September 28, 2022

      by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

      It’s tempting to interpret the Italian electoral results this past Sunday as voters merrily hurling a bowl of lush papardelle with wild boar ragu over the collective bland faces of the toxic unelected Euro-oligarchy sitting in Brussels.

      Well, it’s complicated.

      Italy’s electoral system is all about coalitions. The center-right Meloni-Berlusconi-Salvini troika is bound to amass a substantial majority in both the Parliament’s Lower House and the Senate. Giorgia Meloni leads Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy”). The notorious Silvio “Bunga Bunga” Berlusconi leads Forza Italia. And Matteo Salvini leads La Lega.

      The established cliché across Italy’s cafes is that Giorgia becoming Prime Minister was a shoo-in: after all she’s “blonde, blue eyes, petite, sprightly and endearing”. And an expert communicator to boot. Quite the opposite of Goldman Sachs partner and former uber-ECB enforcer Mario Draghi, who looks like one of those bloodied emperors of Rome’s decadence. During his Prime Ministerial reign, he was widely derided – apart from woke/finance circles – as the leader of “Draghistan”.

      On the financial front that otherworldly entity, the Goddess of the Market, the post-truth equivalent of the Delphi Oracle, bets that PM Giorgia will insist on the same old strategy: debt-funded fiscal stimulus, which will turn into a blowout in Italian debt (already huge, at 150% of GDP). All that plus a further collapse of the euro.

      So the big question now is who’s going to be Italy’s new Finance Minister. Giorgia’s party has no one with the requisite competence for it. So the preferred candidate shall be “approved” by the usual suspects as a sort of enforcer of “Draghistan lite”. Draghi, by the way, already said he’s “ready to collaborate”.

      Marvels of gastronomy apart, life in the EU’s third largest economy is a drag. Long-term growth prospects are like a mirage in the Sahara. Italy is extremely vulnerable when it comes to the financial markets. So a bond market a-go-go selloff in the horizon is practically a given.

      In case of a – nearly inevitable – financial catfight cage match between Team Giorgia and Christine “look at my new Hermes scarf” Lagarde at the ECB, the European Central Bank will “forget” to buy Italian bonds and then, Auguri! Welcome to a new round of EU sovereign debt crisis.

      On the campaign trail, sprightly Giorgia incessantly pledged to keep the massive debt under control. That was coupled with the requisite message to placate the woke crypto-“Left” and its neoliberal banking owners: we support NATO and sending weapons to Ukraine. In fact everyone – from Giorgia to Salvini – supports the weaponizing, having signed a letter during the previous legislature, in effect until the end of 2022.

      Deconstructing a “semi-fascist”

      The Atlanticist woke/neoliberal sphere, predictably, is fuming with the advent of “post-fascist” Italy: oh, these people always voting the wrong way… The discombobulated think tank crowd is pointing to the latest in a cycle of populist waves in Italy; they don’t even know what “populist” means. But they can’t be too hysterical because Giorgia, after all, is a product of the Aspen Institute.

      Giorgia is a complex case. She is essentially a trans-Atlanticist. She abhors the EU but loves NATO. In fact, she would love to undermine Brussels from the inside, while making sure the EU does not cut off those crucial flow of funds to Rome.

      So she does confound primitive, crypto-“Left” American “experts”, who blame her at best for “semi-fascism” – and thus more dangerous than Marine Le Pen or Viktor Orban. Then she gets immediate redemption because at least vocally she proclaims to be anti-Russia and anti-China.

      But then again, the temptation to burn her at the stake is too great: after all she’s appreciated by Steve Bannon, who proclaimed four years ago that “you put a reasonable face on right-wing populism, you get elected.” And she keeps terrible company: Berlusconi is dismissed by the woke/neoliberal Americans as a “Putin buddy” and Salvini as a “firebrand nationalist”.

      It’s imperative to imbibe a strong dose of reality to form a clear picture of Giorgia. So let’s turn to a fine Turin intellectual and author, Claudio Gallo, now benefitting from being far away from the toxic fog of Italian mainstream media, mostly a fiefdom of the dreaded Agnelli/Elkann family.

      Here are Gallo’s key takeaways.

      On Giorgia’s popular appeal: Her support “among working people is a fact. We can see that in every survey. However, this is not a new tendency, and it started in the time of Berlusconi. At this moment, the working class began to vote for right-wing parties. But I believe this is not an Italian-only trend. If you look at France most of the representatives of the traditional working class vote for Le Pen, not the socialist parties. It is a European trend.”

      On the “Draghi agenda”: “You can figure out the kind of governments we just had as a European Troika with one man only – Mario Draghi. They have proposed the most brutal economic reforms inspired by Brussels, such as extreme flexibility and fiscal austerity. These are policies that affect mainly the middle classes and poor people (…) The Draghi government decreased welfare spending by 4 billion euros next year and another 2 billion in two years. It means 6 billion less will be available for healthcare in two years. There were cuts also in the school system. Polls show that more than 50% of Italians did not support Draghi and his program. Draghi comes from the most powerful part of society, the banking sector. In the leading Italian media, it is impossible to find any critics of this agenda.”

      On a possible Berlusconi power play: “He has quite a huge audience. He is accredited with roughly 8% of the vote. After all these years and all his judicial difficulties, it is still a lot (…) A few months after the election, we can imagine a situation in which Meloni is forced to resign because she cannot cope with the harsh winter (cost of living out of control, social unrest). It will be the time of a Grosse Koalizion to save the country, and Berlusconi, with his strong stance on NATO and Europe, is ready to play his cards. Berlusconi would be the key to a new coalition. He is always ready to get any compromise done.”

      On “firebrand” Salvini: “He is the leader of a very divided party. He used to have a populist agenda, but at the top of his party you can also find some technocratic figures like Giancarlo Giorgetti, a staunch defender of the interests of the North Italian Confindustria. Salvini is losing consensus within his electoral base, and Meloni stole his votes along with Movimento Cinque Stelle. His party is divided between old politicians that dreamed of some federation to strengthen the autonomy of the Northern regions and others more inspired by Marine Le Pen’s right. It’s a volatile mixture.”

      On Giorgia under pressure: “The pressure of the economic issues, inflation, price of gas and so on, will make Meloni, a very tough politician but not an expert statesman, probably resign. In Italy, there is a political stalemate; like everywhere in the West, democracy doesn’t work correctly. All parties are pretty much the same, with some cosmetic differences; everyone can still make a coalition with anybody else, without any regard to principles or values.”

      “The more things change…”: “The man behind the foreign policy of Fratelli d’Italia is an ex-ambassador in US and Israel, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata. I cannot see how his opinion differs from Draghi’s. The same neoliberal and Atlantistic background, the same technocratic resume. Meloni is simply capitalizing that she didn’t participate in the last government, even if she doesn’t offer any alternative. Meloni repeats that nothing will change; we will send money and arms [to Ukraine]. She sends a lot of signals to NATO and the EU that they can count on her when it comes to foreign policy. I think she is sincere: she is surrounded by the people who will make it real. It is very different from the situation a couple of years ago when Meloni published a book in which she said we need to have a good relationship with Putin and build a new European order. Now she has completely changed her position. She wants to be seen as a trustworthy future premier. But the polls say that 40-50% of Italians don’t like to send weapons to Ukraine, and support every diplomatic measure to end the war. The cost of living crisis will strengthen this position among the people. When you cannot warm your house, everything changes.”

      The real cage match

      No one ever lost money betting on the EU oligarchy always behaving like a bunch of self-entitled, stubborn, unelected pricks. They never learn anything. And they always blame everyone except themselves.

      Giorgia, following her instincts, has a decent shot at burying them even deeper. She is more calculating and less impulsive than Salvini. She won’t go for a euro exit and much less an Italexit. She won’t interfere with her Finance Minister – who will have to deal with the ECB.

      But she remains a “semi-fascist”, so Brussels will want her scalp – in the form of cutting off Italy’s budget appropriations. These Eurocrats would never dare doing it against Germany or France.

      And that brings to the political set up of the – supremely undemocratic – European Council.

      Giorgia’s party is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc, along with only two other members, the PMs of Poland and Czech Republic.

      The Socialists & Democrats bloc has seven members. And so does Renew Europe (the former “liberals”): that includes the president of the European Council, the supremely mediocre Charles Michel.

      The center-right European People’s Party has six members. That includes Ursula “My Grand Dad was a Nazi” von der Leyen, the sadomaso dominatrix in charge of the European Commission.

      The prime catfight cage match to watch in fact is Giorgia versus dominatrix Ursula. Once again, Mediterranean swagger against the Teutonic techno-barbarians. The more Brussels harassment of Giorgia, the more she will counter-attack, with full support of her post-truth Roman legions: Italian voters. Grab the Negronis and the Aperol Spritz; it’s show time.

      The Americans Declared War On Europe (Gonzalo Lira)

      September 27, 2022

      Will The Ukraine De-Militarise Itself?

      September 26, 2022

      Source

      by James Tweedie

      Back in August 2022 I wrote that NATO was ‘demilitarising’ itself, sending such huge amounts of arms to the Ukraine before and during the Russian special military operation (SMO) that its armies had nothing left to fight with.

      That process has continued, with Slovenia, the northernmost of the former federal republics of Yugoslavia, sending its entire armoured vehicle fleet to Kiev. The last scrapings of the barrel, just announced, are 28 M-55S tanks. These are modernised Soviet-designed T-55s with some Israeli explosive-reactive armour (ERA) blocks added. But underneath that they’re still a 1950s design, four generations behind the latest Russian tanks.

      The question now is: can those arms sustain the Ukrainian military effort? And if the Ukraine, the buffed-up proxy for all NATO and the Five Eyes countries too, is losing the war, when will Russia and its Donbass republican allies achieve victory?

      I was born in the mid-1970s, during the Cold War, and I grew up under he shadow of the mushroom cloud. So I must confess to being one of those who were anxious for this conflict to be over quickly, before the nuclear powers came to blows. But one can’t hurry history.

      War of Attrition

      In his bombshell speech on the morning of 21st September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained that the apparent slow progress of the SMO by the need to unpick the Gordian Knot of hardened defences the Ukrainian Nazi battalions built up on the front line over eight years.

      “A head-on attack against them would have led to heavy losses,” Putin said, “which is why our units, as well as the forces of the Donbass republics, are acting competently and systematically, using military equipment and saving lives, moving step by step to liberate Donbass.”

      Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu gave a televised interview the same morning. He gave extremely specific figures for both Russian and Ukrainian military casualties. “Our losses to date are 5,937 dead,” he said, but added that 90 per cent of the wounded had recovered and returned to duty.

      According to Shoigu, Ukraine has lost 61,207 killed and 49,368 wounded (a total of 110,575 casualties) from an initial military strength of 201-202 thousand. The caveat to that that the Ukraine has conscripted hundreds of thousands of men into territorial defence units since the start of the conflict. That’s greater than a ten-to-one ratio of Ukrainian to Russian casualties

      Shoigu also said that over the previous three weeks — since the launch of Kiev’s counter-offensives in Kherson and Kharkov — the Ukrainians had lost more than 7,000 men and 970 pieces of heavy equipment, including 208 tanks, 245 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), 186 other armoured vehicles, 15 aircraft and four helicopters.

      That amounts to about 60 per cent of the roughly 350 tanks, and three-quarters of the 328 IFVs, supplied by Western countries since February 24. If one lumps armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in with IFVs, Shoigu is still talking about 30 per cent losses of NATO-supplied heavy armour.

      Kiev is preparing for or has already begun more counter-offensives towards Lisichansk in the LPR, Donetsk city, from Ugledar to the south to Mariupol and towards Berdyansk or Melitopol in Zaporozhye oblast. Russian aircraft, missiles and artillery are already hitting the groups of forces concentrated for that. If those offensives go the same way as the others, surely the Ukrainians will soon run out of both men and machines, right?

      Blogger and YouTuber Andrei Martyanov, a Russian who served in the Soviet armed forces, is not worried about about how long it takes to get the SMO over and done with. He has argued that his countrymen can win simply by waiting for the Ukrainians to throw themselves onto their bayonets, until they run out of bodies.

      With all due respect, allow me to sound a note of scepticism: that assumes that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his Western backers care how many die, or that the Ukrainian people (more than 8 million of whom are now scattered across Europe and even further afield) have the inclination and the opportunity to rise up against the fascist death-squad state.

      The daily Russian Ministry of Defence body-count of hundreds of the miserable ‘territorial defence’ conscripts along the Donbass line — untrained and barely-armed middle-aged men press-ganged in the street — is not much of an indicator of progress.

      It’s the territorial gains, no matter how slow, that matter. Russia cannot just count on the Ukrainians to suicidally ‘demilitarise’ themselves.

      Putin’s announcement of a “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 army reservists was warmly welcomed by pro-Russian social media commentators. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this, coupled with the referenda in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson on reunification with Russia.

      But there are caveats. State Duma Defence Committee chairman Andrey Kartapolov clarified that those troops would be deployed to defend the country’s borders and to create “operational depth” — in other words as a second defensive echelon. Martyanov argues that will free up regular front-line troops to conquer more territory. But it remains unclear how many of them were deployed to begin with.

      Eyes on the Prize

      So what is Russia trying to achieve in the Ukraine? Putin said in his Wednesday morning speech that the main task was to defend the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass. That implies capturing the whole of the oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk.

      But some ‘stretch goals’ may be added, including forging a land corridor to the Crimea and maybe even Transnistria, the Russian protectorate in Moldova.

      Russia’s other main aim was to stop the Ukraine from joining NATO. That would allow the US to base nuclear weapons just 300 miles from Moscow in a position to launch a first strike attack.

      US President Joe Biden’s response to Putin at the UN General Assembly later that day included the comment that “a nuclear war cannot be won — and must never be fought.” While true, that observation was shamelessly hypocritical. It was likely only made out of fear after Putin’s warning that Russia takes national defence and nuclear deterrence seriously.

      Securing the Ukraine’s neutrality is not just part of “demilitarisation”: it could also be called “de-Nazification”, since NATO and its shadow the European Union (EU) were behind the 2014 coup by the Azov battalion and their ilk.

      But Russia needs a legitimately-elected head of state to sign up to that, and right now that man is Zelensky. A peace deal struck with any military junta which might depose the comedian-turned-president would only be denounced by the next elected leader.

      Even if a new civilian government was elected on a pro-peace, non-alignment platform (as Zelensky was), it would only last as long as it took the US, UK and EU to organise a repeat of the 2004-05 ‘Orange Revolution’ and the 2014 ‘Euromaidan’ coups d’etat.

      The crazy Ukro-Nazis and their enablers have to ‘own’ the peace and the agreement to cede the Donbass and Crimea — and thereby lose all credibility.

      But the Ukraine had already lost the Crimea and effective control over the Donbass before the SMO even kicked off. Kiev won’t sign any peace deal unless it has something else to lose. If Moscow is also serious about readmitting Zaporozhye and Kherson to the Russian motherland following a ‘Yes’ vote in the coming referenda, then there’s nothing to bargain with there either. Russia may need to capture other territories to use as bargaining chips.

      To do so, it would have to inflict a defeat on the Ukrainian armed forces that would force them to retreat — not only from Donetsk and Lugansk but from other areas, maybe all the way back to the Dnieper river that divides the country in two.

      Such a victory can’t be won unless Russia regains the initiative and actively starts pushing the Ukrainian armed forces back.

      The Great M.I.C. Cash-In

      The Kiev regime’s aims are clearly to keep grifting off its Western sponsors as long as possible, before fleeing to the sunny tax havens where they have billions stashed. But what does the West really want out of this war?

      The stated aims of Washington and friends are to defend Ukraine’s territory and sovereignty (code for invading the Donbass and Crimea and ethnically cleansing them), along with its non-existent “right” to become a NATO launchpad, to “weaken” Russia militarily (by causing as many casualties as possible) and to put “international pressure” on Putin (economic warfare with the goal of regime change).

      One should avoid making predictions, but let’s say the US and its satellites fail in all of that (since they have done so far). What will they try to win as a consolation prize?

      European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an unelected bureaucrat who made a huge mess of her previous job as German defence minister, has vowed that sanctions on Russia will continue for years to come. That the sanctions are crippling the economies of EU member states, especially her home country, doesn’t seem to bother UVDL. And seeing the EU and its appointed commissioners are increasingly imposing their foreign policy diktats on the 27 governments, she might get her way.

      More importantly, NATO desperately needs to save face — now that it has exposed by Russia as a paper tiger. Hence the triumphant crowing over moves, far from complete, to grant existing de-facto allies Sweden and Finland formal membership.

      The West may try to claim a kind of moral victory on the basis that it may take Russia more than a year to defeat ‘brave little Ukraine’, or be forced to wipe out most of its military-age male population to win. But whose idea was that? Zelensky, Biden and all other Western leaders have made that bed.

      But NATO is really just a pyramid scheme to sell overpriced Western, especially US, arms to its vassals. And therein lies a contradiction, because the US military-industrial complex (MIC) has competition from those of the UK, Germany, France and even Sweden — a country with a smaller population than the city of Moscow.

      The Ukraine has used the referenda on unification with Russia as the latest pretext to demand Germany donate its newest models of Leopard 2 tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles. But why doesn’t Kiev ask the US for some of its M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys instead? The Pentagon has many more to spare.

      The truth is that neither Germany nor the US can afford to have its supposedly-invincible wunderwaffen shown up, and blown up, in battle with Russian forces. Despite weighing only two-thirds as much as the US and German behemoths, the Russian tanks have about the same effective armour protection — thanks to state-of-the-art ERA technology — and guns of equal destructive power. And there are a lot more Russian tanks, anti-tank missiles, attack jets and helicopters on the battlefield in the Ukraine.

      The US has only managed to sell the M1 to eight other countries, compared to 18 for the Leopard 2. The export model of the Abrams is ‘Nerfed’ by removing the depleted uranium rods from its composite armour, so countries like Australia and Saudi Arabia get sub-par tanks. The only overseas customer for the British Challenger 2 is Oman, while the French Leclerc tank has been exported to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

      By contrast, the Russian T-72 is currently in service in 40 countries, including both Russia and the Ukraine. Like the Russian intervention in Syria, the war in the Ukraine could prove to be a serious marketing tool for the Russian arms industry — eating the US MIC’s lunch.

      Who profits from Pipeline Terror?

      Secret talks between Russia and Germany to resolve their Nord Stream 1 and 2 issues had to be averted at any cost

      September 29 2022

      By Pepe Escobar

      The War of Economic Corridors has entered incandescent, uncharted territory: Pipeline Terror.

      A sophisticated military operation – that required exhaustive planning, possibly involving several actors – blew up four separate sections of the Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipelines this week in the shallow waters of the Danish straits, in the Baltic Sea, near the island of Bornholm.

      Swedish seismologists estimated that the power of the explosions may have reached the equivalent of up to 700 kg of TNT. Both NS and NS2, near the strong currents around Borholm, are placed at the bottom of the sea at a depth of 60 meters.

      The pipes are built with steel reinforced concrete, able to withstand impact from aircraft carrier anchors, and are basically indestructible without serious explosive charges. The operation – causing two leaks near Sweden and two near Denmark – would have to be carried out by modified underwater drones.

      Every crime implies motive. The Russian government wanted – at least up to the sabotage – to sell oil and natural gas to the EU. The notion that Russian intel would destroy Gazprom pipelines is beyond ludicrous. All they had to do was to turn off the valves. NS2 was not even operational, based on a political decision from Berlin. The gas flow in NS was hampered by western sanctions. Moreover, such an act would imply Moscow losing key strategic leverage over the EU.

      Diplomatic sources confirm that Berlin and Moscow were involved in a secret negotiation to solve both the NS and NS2 issues. So they had to be stopped – no holds barred. Geopolitically, the entity that had the motive to halt a deal holds anathema a possible alliance in the horizon between Germany, Russia, and China.

      Whodunnit?

      The possibility of an “impartial” investigation of such a monumental act of sabotage – coordinated by NATO, no less – is negligible. Fragments of the explosives/underwater drones used for the operation will certainly be found, but the evidence may be tampered with. Atlanticist fingers are already blaming Russia. That leaves us with plausible working hypotheses.

      This hypothesis is eminently sound and looks to be based on information from Russian intelligence sources. Of course, Moscow already has a pretty good idea of what happened (satellites and electronic monitoring working 24/7), but they won’t make it public.

      The hypothesis focuses on the Polish Navy and Special Forces as the physical perpetrators (quite plausible; the report offers very good internal details), American planning and technical support (extra plausible), and aid by the Danish and Swedish militaries (inevitable, considering this was very close to their territorial waters, even if it took place in international waters).

      The hypothesis perfectly ties in with a conversation with a top German intelligence source, who told The Cradle that the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND or German intelligence) was “furious” because “they were not in the loop.” 

      Of course not. If the hypothesis is correct, this was a glaringly anti-German operation, carrying the potential of metastasizing into an intra-NATO war.

      The much-quoted NATO Article 5 – ‘an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us’ – obviously does not say anything about a NATO-on-NATO attack. After the pipeline punctures, NATO issued a meek statement “believing” what happened was sabotage and will “respond” to any deliberate attack on its critical infrastructure. NS and NS2, incidentally, are not part of NATO’s infrastructure.

      The whole operation had to be approved by Americans, and deployed under their Divide and Rule trademark. “Americans” in this case means the Neo-conservatives and Neo-liberals running the government machinery in Washington, behind the senile teleprompter reader.

      This is a declaration of war against Germany and against businesses and citizens of the EU – not against the Kafkaesque Eurocrat machine in Brussels. Don’t be mistaken: NATO runs Brussels, not European Commission (EC) head and rabid Russophobe Ursula von der Leyen, who’s just a lowly handmaiden for finance capitalism.

      It’s no wonder the Germans are absolutely mum; no one from the German government, so far, has said anything substantial.

      The Polish corridor

      By now, assorted chattering classes are aware of former Polish Defense Minister and current MEP Radek Sirkorski’s tweet: “Thank you, USA.” But why would puny Poland be on the forefront? There’s atavic Russophobia, a number of very convoluted internal political reasons, but most of all, a concerted plan to attack Germany built on pent up resentment – including new demands for WWII reparations.

      The Poles, moreover, are terrified that with Russia’s partial mobilization, and the new phase of the Special Military Operation (SMO) – soon to be transformed into a Counter-Terrorism Operation (CTO) – the Ukrainian battlefield will move westward. Ukrainian electric light and heating will most certainly be smashed. Millions of new refugees in western Ukraine will attempt to cross to Poland.

      At the same time there’s a sense of “victory” represented by the partial opening of the Baltic Pipe in northwest Poland – almost simultaneously with the sabotage.

      Talk about timing. Baltic Pipe will carry gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark. The maximum capacity is only 10 billion cubic meters, which happens to be ten times less than the volume supplied by NS and NS2. So Baltic Pipe may be enough for Poland, but carries no value for other EU customers.

      Meanwhile, the fog of war gets thicker by the minute. It has already been documented that US helicopters were overflying the sabotage nodes only a few days ago; that a UK “research” vessel was loitering in Danish waters since mid-September; that NATO tweeted about the testing of “new unmanned systems at sea” on the same day of the sabotage. Not to mention that Der Spiegel published a startling report headlined “CIA warned German government against attacks on Baltic Sea pipelines,” possibly a clever play for plausible deniability.

      The Russian Foreign Ministry was sharp as a razor: “The incident took place in an area controlled by American intelligence.” The White House was forced to “clarify” that President Joe Biden – in a February video that has gone viral – did not promise to destroy NS2; he promised to “not allow” it to work. The US State Department declared that the idea the US was involved is “preposterous.”

      It was up to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to offer a good dose of reality: the damage to the pipelines posed a “big problem” for Russia, essentially losing its gas supply routes to Europe. Both NS2 lines had been pumped full of gas and – crucially – were prepared to deliver it to Europe; this is Peskov cryptically admitting negotiations with Germany were ongoing.

      Peskov added, “this gas is very expensive and now it is all going up in the air.” He stressed again that neither Russia nor Europe had anything to gain from the sabotage, especially Germany. This Friday, there will be a special UN Security Council session on the sabotage, called by Russia.

      The attack of the Straussians

      Now for the Big Picture. Pipeline Terror is part of a Straussian offensive, taking the splitting up of Russia and Germany to the ultimate level (as they see it). Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, by Paul E. Gottfried (Cambridge University Press, 2011) is required reading to understand this phenomenon.

      Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish philosopher who taught at the University of Chicago, is at the root of what later, in a very twisted way, became the Wolfowitz Doctrine, written in 1992 as the Defense Planning Guidance, which defined “America’s mission in the post-Cold War era.”

      The Wolfowitz Doctrine goes straight to the point: any potential competitor to US hegemony, especially “advanced industrial nations” such as Germany and Japan, must be smashed. Europe should never exercise sovereignty: “We must be careful to prevent the emergence of a purely European security system that would undermine NATO, and particularly its integrated military command structure.”

      Fast-forward to the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, adopted only five months ago. It establishes that Kiev has a free lunch when it comes to all arms control mechanisms. All these expensive weapons are leased by the US to the EU to be sent to Ukraine. The problem is that whatever happens in the battlefield, in the end, it is the EU that will have to pay the bills.

      US Secretary of State Blinken and his underling, Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, are Straussians, now totally unleashed, having taken advantage of the black void in the White House. As it stands, there are at least three different “silos” of power in a fractured Washington. For all Straussians, a tight bipartisan op, uniting several high-profile usual suspects, destroying Germany is paramount.

      One serious working hypothesis places them behind the orders to conduct Pipeline Terror. The Pentagon forcefully denied any involvement in the sabotage. There are secret back channels between Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

      And dissident Beltway sources swear that the CIA is also not part of this game; Langley’s agenda would be to force the Straussians to back off on Russia reincorporating Novorossiya and allow Poland and Hungary to gobble up whatever they want in Western Ukraine before the entire US government falls into a black void.

      Come see me in the Citadel

      On the Grand Chessboard, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan two weeks ago dictated the framework of the multipolar world ahead. Couple it with the independence referendums in DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye, which Russian President Vladimir Putin will formally incorporate into Russia, possibly as early as Friday.

      With the window of opportunity closing fast for a Kiev breakthrough before the first stirrings of a cold winter, and Russia’s partial mobilization soon to enter the revamped SMO and add to generalized western panic, Pipeline Terror at least would carry the “merit” of solidifying a Straussian tactical victory: Germany and Russia fatally separated.

      Yet blowback will be inevitable – in unexpected ways – even as Europe becomes increasingly Ukrainized and even Polandized: an intrinsically neo-fascist, unabashed puppet of the US as predator, not partner. Vey few across the EU are not brainwashed enough to understand how Europe is being set up for the ultimate fall.

      The war, by those Straussians ensconced in the Deep State – neocons and neoliberals alike – won’t relent. It is a war against Russia, China, Germany and assorted Eurasian powers. Germany has just been felled. China is currently observing, carefully. And Russia – nuclear and hypersonic – won’t be bullied.

      Poetry grandmaster C.P. Cavafy, in Waiting for the Barbarians, wrote “And now what will become of us, without any barbarians? Those people were some kind of a solution.” The barbarians are not at the gates, not anymore. They are inside their golden Citadel.

      The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

      Keywords

      العدو يغامر بجيشه: «بروفة» اجتياح في جنين

       الخميس 29 أيلول 2022

      أحمد العبد  

      سبقت أحداثَ جنين مواجهاتُ عنيفة عاشتها أحياء مدينة القدس المحتلة (أ ف ب)

      رام الله | بات خطّ النار في الضفة الغربية المحتلّة أكثر وضوحاً، ممتدّاً من جنين مروراً بنابلس وصولاً إلى الخليل، ليبْقى الاشتباك حيّاً، والسلاح متأهّباً لأيّ مواجهة قد تقع، على غرار ما حدث صباح أمس في مخيّم جنين، الذي شهد معركة جديدة قد تكون الأشرس في الضفة منذ سنوات. وبدأت قوات الاحتلال، الأربعاء، عملية عسكرية واسعة في المخيم، شاركت فيها أكثر من 60 دورية عسكرية وطائرات مروحية، وأخرى مسيّرة مذخّرة بالصواريخ، في ما بدا أقرب إلى اجتياح واسع، استهدف خصوصاً عائلة الشهيد رعد حازم، منفّذ «عملية ديزنغوف» في تل أبيب. وبحسب مصادر محلّية تحدّثت إلى «الأخبار»، فإن جنود العدو حاصروا منزل العائلة من كلّ الجهات في تطبيق لأسلوب «طنجرة الضغط»، الذي يتّبعه جيش الاحتلال في حصار المقاومين، ومن ثمّ قاموا بقصفه بصاروخ مضادّ للدروع والرصاص الثقيل، ما أدّى إلى احتراقه، واستشهاد شقيق رعد، عبد، ورفيقه محمد الونة، بينما استشهد الشاب أحمد علاونة، وهو أحد عناصر جهاز الاستخبارات العسكرية، برصاصة في الرأس أطلقها عليه قنّاص إسرائيلي، أثناء خوضه مع عشرات المقاومين اشتباكاً مسلّحاً بالبنادق والقنابل المحلّية، منذ اللحظات الأولى للاجتياح. وادّعت وسائل الإعلام العبرية، نقلاً عن جيش العدو، أن الشهيد عبد حازم متّهَم بتنفيذ عمليات إطلاق نار على آليات لقوات الاحتلال قرب حاجز الجلمة، وتحضيره لتنفيذ هجمات أخرى، في وقت لا تزال فيه ملاحقة والده جارية. وعقب انتهاء الجولة الأولى من الاقتحام، استمرّت المواجهات في محيط المخيّم، ما أدّى إلى إصابة العديد من الشبّان، لتبلغ الحصيلة النهائية للعدوان، بحسب وزارة الصحة الفلسطينية، 4 شهداء و44 جريحاً، بعضهم في حال الخطر، وليعمّ الحداد والحزن والغضب، إثر ذلك، جميع أنحاء الضفة.

      وجاء العدوان على مخيّم جنين في الذكرى الثانية والعشرين لانتفاضة الأقصى، وكأنّ العدو أراد تذكير أهالي المخيّم بما ارتكبه من مجازر قبل 22 عاماً. لكنّ المقاومين ذكّروا الاحتلال، في المقابل، ببأْسهم في مواجهته إبّان الاجتياح الذي كبّده خسائر مؤلمة، فضلاً عن العمليات الفدائية التي خرجت من هذه المدينة تحديداً. وإذا كانت جنين قد برزت كقائدة للمقاومة خلال الانتفاضة الثانية، وشكّلت معركة مخيّمها آنذاك علامة فارقة في تاريخها، اكتسبت المدينة على إثرها ألقاب «جنين غراد» و«عاصمة الإرهاب» و«عشّ الدبابير»، فإنها تبدو اليوم أكثر ثباتاً على نهجها، الذي استطاعت تجديده منذ معركة «سيف القدس»، وصولاً إلى شكله الحالي، حيث لا يفتأ يتوسّع في اتّجاه مدن أخرى، على رأسها نابلس القديمة ومخيّماتها والخليل ورام الله. وهذا النهج تحديداً هو ما أعادت جماهير الضفة تمسّكها به أمس، في مسيرات مندّدة خرجت إثر مجزرة مخيّم جنين، في حين أعلنت سلطات الاحتلال رفع التأهّب الأمني إلى درجة قصوى، ليس في الضفة فقط، وإنّما أيضاً في الداخل المحتل، خشية خروج تظاهرات ساخطة قد تتحوّل إلى مواجهات عنيفة على غرار ما جرى في أيار 2021. وبينما احتفى قادة العدو والمستوطِنون بالمجزرة، ودعوا إلى تكرارها في جنين ونابلس، كان الفلسطينيون يهتفون بالمطالبة بالانتقام، وعلى رأسهم أبو رعد حازم الذي خاطب المقاومين في فيديو قصير إثر استشهاد نجله الثاني، بالقول: «المخيم أمانة في أعناقكم… لا تُضيّعوا وحدة الصفّ الفلسطيني». وإذ نعت فصائل المقاومة ومجموعات «عرين الأسود» في نابلس، الشهداء، ودعت إلى تصعيد أعمال المقاومة، لم يتجاوز موقف السلطة الفلسطينية حدود الاستنكار والإدانة.

      يبدو أن عدوان الأمس على مخيّم جنين سيكون عنصر تأجيج إضافياً للأوضاع الميدانية


      وفي وقت يهدّد فيه العدو بحملات جديدة ضدّ جنين ونابلس، وتتواصل استفزازات مستوطِنيه في القدس، يبدو أن عدوان الأمس على المخيّم سيكون عنصر تأجيج إضافياً للأوضاع الميدانية في الأراضي المحتلّة، ودافعاً إلى مزيد من المواجهات والعمليات الفدائية، في مسلسل لا يزال متواصلاً، إذ تَعرّضت قوات الاحتلال، مساء الثلاثاء، لإطلاق نار من مركبة قرب عصيرة الشمالية في محافظة نابلس، كما تَعرّضت قوّة أخرى لحادث مماثل قرب بلدة جبع جنوب جنين. واستهدف شبّان في الخليل، أيضاً، برجاً عسكرياً إسرائيلياً بقنبلة محلّية الصنع (كوع متفجّر)، فيما تمكّن شابّ، فجر الأربعاء، من اقتحام حاجز شعفاط بمركبته، حيث أطلق الجنود النار عليه بزعْم محاولته تنفيذ عملية دهس. ولم تكد ساعات تمرّ على اجتياح المخيّم، حتى استُهدف جيب عسكري إسرائيلي، ظُهر الأربعاء، بعدد من العبوات المحلّية الصنع قرب مستوطنة «يتسهار» جنوب مدينة نابلس، في حين جَرى رشْق جيبات أخرى بزجاجات حارقة قرب طولكرم ونابلس، وطاولت حاجزَ الجلمة شمال جنين عبواتٌ شديدة الانفجار، ما دفع العدو إلى إغلاقه.

      وسبقت أحداثَ جنين مواجهاتُ عنيفة عاشتها أحياء مدينة القدس المحتلّة لليوم الثالث على التوالي، حيث ألقى عشرات الملثّمين في بلدات صور باهر والطور وسلوان الزجاجات الحارقة والألعاب النارية والمفرقعات والحجارة على شرطة الاحتلال، لتردّ الأخيرة بإطلاق قنابل الغاز المسيل للدموع وقنابل الصوت عليهم وعلى منازل الواطنين، ما أدّى إلى إصابة 15 مقدسياً. وتزامَنت تلك المواجهات مع «عيد رأس السنة العبرية»، والذي فشلت فيه الجماعات الاستيطانية في حشد آلاف المستوطنين لاقتحام المسجد الأقصى وإقامة الشعائر التلمودية داخله، كما كانت تخطّط له. لكن ذلك لن يمنع استمرار التأهّب الأمني في الضفة والقدس، خصوصاً أن «الأعياد اليهودية» ستستمرّ حتى الـ17 من تشرين الأول، وأن اقتحامات المستوطِنين للمسجد ستتكرّر، فضلاً عن أن مجزرة جنين ستُلقي بظلالها على المشهد برمّته. وابتداءً من أمس، وحتى الأربعاء المقبل، بدأت «منظّمات الهيكل» المزعوم التركيز على اقتحام الأقصى بالثياب الكهنوتية البيضاء، وأداء الطقوس الجماعية داخله في ما تُسمّى «أيام التوبة» التوراتية، الأمر الذي سيدفع سلطات الاحتلال إلى إبقاء الاستنفار على أشدّه، من خلال نشْر مئات من عناصر الشرطة وحرس الحدود في شوارع المدينة وطرقاتها، ونصْب الحواجز العسكرية والمتاريس، وتقييد حركة المقدسيين.

      من ملف : العدو ينوء بالضفة: محاكاة اجتياح

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