Listening to The Donald at the UN

By The Saker

September 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Late this morning, outraged emails started pouring in.  My correspondents reported “getting sick” and having their “heart ache”.  The cause of all that?  They had just watched Trump’s speech at the UN.  I sighed and decided to watch the full speech for myself.  Yeah, it was painful.

You can read the full (rush,not official) text here or watch the video here.  Most of it is so vapid that I won’t even bother posting the full thing.  But there are a few interesting moments including those:

We will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been

This short sentence contains the key to unlock the reason behind the fact that while the US military is extremely good at killing people in large numbers, it is also extremely bad at winning wars.  Like most Americans, Trump is under the illusion that spending a lot of money “buys” you a better military.  This is completely false, of course.  If spending money was the key to a competent military force, the US armed forces would have already conquered the entire planet many times over.  In reality, they have not won anything meaningful since the war in the Pacific.

Having surrounded himself with “Mad Dog” kind of “experts” on warfare, Trump is now reusing that old mantra about how money buys you victory and this is something extremely important.  This kind of magical thinking signals to the countries most threatened by the USA that the Americans are unable to engage in a basic “lessons learned” kind of exercise, that history teaches them nothing and that, just like all this predecessors, Trump conflates handing out money to the Military Industrial Complex with preparing for war.  Frankly, this is good news: let the Americans spend themselves into bankruptcy, let them further neglect their military and let them continue to believe that this kind of magical thinking will bring them to victory.

[Sidebar: for the record, I have met and studied with plenty of excellent, well-educated, honorable, courageous and patriotic American officers and the kind of money-centered hubris I describe above is in no way directed at them, if only because they know even much better than I how bad the situation really is.  There are plenty of highly-educated officers in the US armed forces who understand history and who know that money brings corruption, not victory.  But they are mostly kept at ranks no higher than Colonel and you will often find them in military teaching institutions and academies.  Having studied with them and become good friends with many of them, I feel sorry for them and I know that if they had the means to stop this insanity they would]

America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America’s devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies. From the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia, it is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerge victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others.

The only question here is whom exactly Trump’s speech-writers are aiming that nonsense at?  Do they really think that there is anybody out there who sincerely believes this?  If the target audience are US middle schools then, yes, okay.  But does anybody believe that US middle school students listen to UN speeches?!  Okay, maybe senile folks also believe that, I sure know a few who will swallow it up and ask for more, but why speak to that audience from a UN podium?  Is it not embarrassing when such nonsense is greeted in total silence instead of a standing ovation from all the putatively grateful countries out there who are so deeply grateful for all these altruistic and heroic sacrifices.  My only explanation for why this kind of nonsensical drivel was included in this speech is that it has become part of the ritual of typical American “patriotic liturgy”: big hyperbolic sentences which mean nothing, which nobody takes seriously or even listens to, but who have to be included “because they have to”.  This reminds me of the obligatory Lenin quote in any and all Soviet speeches and statements, they also were basically filtered out by any thinking person, everybody knew that, but that’s how things went on then.  It is really sad, and scary, to see how much the USA of the 2017 looks like the Soviet Union of the 1980s.

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.

Wow!  Now that is a sentence which could only be written by a person utterly unaware of the impact it will have on the intended audience (in theory, all of mankind, this is the UN, after all).  Totally destroy North Korea.  I wonder how this will be received in South Korea and JapanNo, I don’t mean by the puppet regimes in Seoul and Tokyo, but by the people.  Will they simply dismiss it as hot air or will they be horrified.  I bet for the former reaction.  It is much more psychologically comfortable to dismiss it all under the heading “nah, that’s crazy shit, they don’t mean it and they sure as hell ain’t gonna do it” rather than think for just a few minutes about the implications and consequences of such a threat.  And let me be clear here: the United States most definitely do have the means to totally destroy North Korea.  For one thing, they already did so during the Korean war, and they can easily repeat that today.  That does not mean that they can win a war against the DPRK.  There is a huge difference between laying waste to a country and winning a war against it (see Israel vs Hezbollah).  The only way to meaningfully win a war against the DPRK is to invade it, and that the Americans cannot do, not even close.  In contrast, the DPRK probably has the means to invade at least the northern part of South Korea, including Seoul.  At the very least, they can totally destroy it.  Along with much of Japan.  I wonder if the USA decided to one day “protect” South Korean and Japan by “totally destroying North Korea”, will they be totally shocked when they realize that the South Koreans and the Japanese will turn out not to be grateful for such a “protection”?

Last month I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

What we see here is undeniable evidence that far from being “real warriors” or “strategists” the military gang around Trump (Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, etc.) are either primitive grunts or folks who owe their rank to political protection.  Why do I say that?  Because none of what Trump describes as a “strategy for victory” is, in fact, a strategy.  In fact, the US has not had anything remotely resembling a strategy in Afghanistan for years already.  If it wasn’t so sad, it would be laughable, really.  What we really see here is the total absence of any strategy and, again, a total reliance on magical thinking.  Ask yourself a basic question: have you ever heard from any Trump administration or any US General anything which would suggest to you that these guys have i) a clear goal in mind ii) an understanding of what it would take to achieve this goal and iii) a timeframe to achieve this goal and iv) an exit strategy once this goal is achieved?  No?  Well, that is not your fault, you did not miss anything.  They really don’t have it.  The amazing reality is that they don’t have a goal even defined.  How one achieves “victory” when no goal is even defined is anybody’s guess.

[Sidebar: without going into a lengthy discussion of Afghanistan, I would say that the only chance to get anything done, any viable result at all, is to negotiate a deal with all the parties that matter: the various Afghan factions, of course, but also with the Taliban, Pakistan, Iran and even Russia.  Pakistan and Iran have a de-facto veto power over any outcome for Afghanistan.  This may not be what the USA would want, but this is the reality.  Denying reality is just not a smart approach to these issues, especially if “victory” is the goal]

In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shock the conscience of every decent person. No society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.

When I heard these words I felt embarrassed for Trump.  First, it is absolutely pathetic that Trump has to claim as his success the victories with the Syrians, the Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah have achieved against the Wahabi-crazies of Daesh/al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/etc, especially since the latter are a pure creation of the US CIA!  The truth is that it was the Americans who created this Wahabi monster and that they aided, protected, financed, trained and armed it through all these years.  The USA also viciously opposed all the countries which were serious about fighting this Wahabi abomination.  And now that a tiny Russian contingent has achieved infinitely better results that all the power of the mighty CENTCOM backed by the Israeli and Saudi allies of the USA in the region, The Donald comes out and declares victory?!  Pathetic is not strong enough a word to describe this mind-bogglingly counter-factual statement.  And then, just to make things worse, The Donald *proudly* mentions the failed attack against a Syrian air force base which had nothing to do with a false flag fake chemical attack.  Wow!  For any other political leader recalling such an event would be a burning embarrassment, but for The Donald it is something he proudly mentions.  The hubris, ignorance and stupidity of it all leaves me in total awe…

Next The Donald went on a long rant about how bad Maduro and Venezuela were, which was terrible, but at least predictable, but then he suddenly decided to share this outright bizarre insight of his:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.  From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.

Since when did Trump become an expert on political science and world history anyway?  Who does he think he is lecturing?  Yet another US middle school classroom?!  Does he not realize that a good number of the countries represented at the UN consider themselves Socialist?!  Furthermore, while I don’t necessarily disagree with the notion that Socialist and Communist ideas have often been a disaster in the 20th century, Socialism in the 21st century is an entirely different beast and the jury is still very much out on this issue, especially when considering the social, political, economic, ecological, psychological and even spiritual disaster Capitalism is now proving to be for much of the planet.  Being the President of a country as dysfunctional as the USA, Trump would be well-advised to tone down his arrogant pontifications about Socialism and maybe even open a book and read about it.

I won’t even bother discussing the comprehensively counter-factual nonsense Trump has spewed about Iran and Hezbollah, we all know who Trump’s puppet-masters are nowadays so we know what to expect.  Instead, I will conclude with this pearl from The Donald:

In remembering the great victory that led to this body’s founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.

Echoing the nonsense he spoke while in Poland, Trump is now clearly fully endorsing that fairytale that “The West” (in which Trump now hilariously includes Poland!) has defeated Hitler and saved the world.  The truth is that the Nazis were defeated by the Soviets and that all the efforts of the Poles, French, Brits and even Americans were but a minor (20% max) sideshow to the “real event” (Those who still might believe in this nonsense can simply read this).  Yet again, that the Americans would feel the need to appropriate for themselves somebody else’s victory is, yet again, a clear sign of weakness.  Do they expect the rest of the planet to buy into this nonsense?  Probably not.  My guess is that all they want is to send a clear messages to the Comprador elites running most countries that this is the “official ideology of the AngloZionist Empire” and if they want to remain in power they better toe the line even if nobody takes this stuff seriously.  Yup, back to a 1980s Soviet kind of attitude towards propaganda: nobody cares what everybody else really thinks as long as everybody continues to pretend to believe the official propaganda.

[Sidebar: When my wife and I watched this pathetic speech we starting laughing about the fact that Trump was so obscenely bad that we (almost) begin to miss Obama.  This is a standing joke in our family because when Obama came to power we (almost) began to miss Dubya.  The reason why this is a joke is that when Duya came to power we decided that there is no way anybody could possibly be worse than him.  Oh boy were we wrong!  Right now I am still not at the point were I would be missing Obama (that is asking for a lot from me!), but I will unapologetically admit that I am missing Dubya.  I do.  I really do.  Maybe not the people around Dubya, he is the one who truly let the Neocon “crazies in the basement” creep out and occupy the Situation Room, but at least Dubya seemed to realize how utterly incompetent he was.  Furthermore, Dubya was a heck of a lot dumber than Obama (in this context being stupid is a mitigating factor) and he sure did not have the truly galactic arrogance of Trump (intelligence-wise they are probably on par)].

In conclusion, what I take away from this speech is a sense of relief for the rest of the planet and a sense of real worry for the USA.  Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their “bitch” the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill.  Sure, the Americans talk a lot, but at least they are doing nothing.  That paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the internal infighting, is a blessing for the rest of the planet because it allows everybody else to get things done.  Because, and make no mistake here, if the USA cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like.  But for as long as the USA remains paralyzed this destructive potential remains mostly unused (and no matter how bad things look now, Hillary President would have been infinitely worse!).  However, the USA themselves are now the prime victim of a decapitated Presidency and a vindicative and generally out of control Neocon effort to prevent true American patriots to “get their country back” (as they say) and finally overthrow the regime in Washington DC.  Step by step the USA is getting closer to a civil war and there is no hope in sight, at least for the time being.  It appears that for the foreseeable future Trump will continue to focus his energy on beating Obama for the status of “worst President in US history” while the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump, and maybe even trigger a civil war.  The rest of us living here are in for some very tough times ahead.  As they say in Florida when a hurricane comes barreling down on you “hunker down”.

The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world – $27.95

This article was first published by The Saker 

Advertisements

A Major Jewish Philanthropist Just Published A Plan To Ethnically Cleanse Palestinians

A Major Jewish Philanthropist Just Published A Plan To Ethnically Cleanse Palestinians

A far-right faction within Israel’s Likud-led governing coalition has endorsed a plan for Israel to annex the entire West Bank and encourage the Palestinian residents to immigrate to neighboring Arab countries. The plan would allow Palestinians who voluntarily gave up all “national aspirations” to remain, granting them limited municipal self-government, but without Israeli citizenship or Knesset voting rights.

Make no mistake about this — this plan amounts to a none-too-subtle form of ethnic cleansing. It presents Palestinians with an untenable choice: Leave your home or be stripped of basic civil rights, perhaps forever.

Despite (or because of) its draconian nature, the plan was adopted unanimously at a September 12 convention of the National Union-Tekuma party, which holds two Knesset seats as the junior partner in the religious-nationalist Jewish Home bloc. National Union leader Uri Ariel serves as minister of agriculture in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet. The party’s other Knesset member, Bezalel Smotrich, is the author of the annexation plan.

It’s a marginal enough party that those concerned with human rights or with Israel’s international standing needn’t fear the plan’s immediate implementation. But we should be troubled by the plan’s institutional backing — not just in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, but also in the heart of American Jewish philanthropy.

Smotrich’s plan was released September 6 in an 8,600-word lead essay, “The Decision Plan” (Tochnit Ha-Hachra’ah), in the fall issue of the Hebrew-language bimonthly Hashiloach, a conservative journal of ideas published by the New York-based Tikvah Fund.

That’s right — this plan’s institutional backing includes one of the most distinguished philanthropies in Diaspora Jewry. Tikvah is one of several conservative foundations endowed by the estate of the late investment fund manager Zalman-Sanford Bernstein. It is largely controlled by his widow, the philanthropist Elaine Mem Bernstein, and Tikvah’s board of directors includes some of the most prominent names in Jewish neoconservatism, among them William Kristol and Elliott Abrams.

In addition to Hashiloach, launched a year ago, Tikvah has a number of other publications, including the English-language journals Mosaic, Jewish Review of Books and the Library of Jewish Ideas, a book series published jointly with Princeton University Press. Another Bernstein foundation, Keren Keshet-The Rainbow Fund, publishes Nextbook and Tablet magazine. A third, the Avi Chai Foundation, is a major force in Jewish education reform.

Hashiloach takes its name from an early Hebrew-language journal founded in 1897 by the Zionist essayist and gadfly Ahad Ha’am and later edited by the revered poet Hayim Nachman Bialik before folding in 1919. Tikvah’s choice of that name for its journal might be deemed ironic, given the contrast between the liberal stance of the original Hashiloach, which championed a spiritual, anti-nationalist brand of Zionism, and the hard-line politics of the current incarnation.

On the other hand, the choice is in character for the Bernstein family of publications, which tend to combine their core political conservatism with a free-wheeling cultural sensibility and an openness to diverse, challenging ideas.

Still, Smotrich’s right-wing theories are a stretch even for the free-wheeling, open-ended conservatism of Bernstein-world. The notion of a mass population transfer to rid Israel of Palestinians, even if imagined as somehow voluntary, has long been consigned to the fetid corners of Israel’s radical right. If it’s now moved into the mainstream to the point where it can be taken seriously in a distinguished journal of ideas, that’s a depressing comment on the current state of Israeli and Jewish political discourse. If, on the other hand, it hasn’t gained that sort of broad respectability, then its appearance in Hashiloach suggests an alarming erosion of moral focus in Jewish neoconservative thought, as represented by the Tikvah Fund and its affiliates.

The respectability granted to Smotrich’s essay is particularly puzzling given its intellectual weaknesses, from faulty logic to naivete regarding international relations to plain ignorance. He claims, for instance, that the name Palestine, coined by the ancient Romans after their conquest of Judea, was revived by the Arabs of the Holy Land “when they launched their struggle against the Zionist movement” — when in fact the name had been in common use in Europe for centuries before and was imposed on the local Arabs by the British Mandate, not vice versa.

At another point, Smotrich writes that Palestinian extremism and terrorism were products of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Perhaps the 37-year-old settler-lawyer, born and raised in the hermetic world of the settlements, is unfamiliar with the bloody record of the pre-1967 Palestinian Fedayeen. Maybe he’s never heard of the horrific wave of Palestinian terror attacks throughout the 1970s on Israeli homes, schools, hotels, airport terminals and even Olympic athletes. It was before his time.

Smotrich recites at great length the paradoxical argument that coexistence between two nations living side by side in the Land of Israel is impossible because, first, the Palestinians refuse to accept the legitimacy of Jewish statehood, and second, the Jewish claim to the land is the only legitimate claim — meaning, by his lights, that even if the Palestinians were to accept the legitimacy of two states, the Jews could not legitimately do so. That is, the Palestinians are at fault for not accepting the principle of sharing, which we don’t accept either.

Picking at the holes in Smotrich’s arguments shouldn’t distract us from the larger questions raised by his plan. A morally repugnant concept that was rightly condemned as racist a generation ago is now the policy of an Israeli government coalition partner. This should have caused an immediate coalition crisis but, shamefully, it hasn’t. The plan’s mainstreaming in Israeli public life has been partly enabled by one of American Jewry’s most important philanthropies. This should have caused a crisis in Israel-Diaspora relations but, again shamefully, it hasn’t.

If there’s a bright spot in all this, it’s that we have a week and a half until Yom Kippur — time enough to repent our sins, to do justice and love mercy

Read more: http://forward.com/opinion/383106/a-major-jewish-philanthropist-just-published-a-plan-to-ethnically-cleanse-p/

U.S. Is Not Ready for the End of War in Syria. The White House does Not Want Peace

Source

By Firas Samuri,

It is no secret that the American government has been supporting terrorist groups during the entire Syrian conflict. One of these days, another fact proving this statement was recorded.

On September 20, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militants with their allies launched an offensive on the Syrian Arab Army positions, north-east of Hama city, The National reported.

Most likely, the attack of the militants was orchestrated by the U.S. intelligence, which had provided them with the information on the locations and the military strength in the region.

It is also reported that the militants’ main objective  was the units of the Russian military police, which had been deployed to control ceasefire regime in the fourth de-escalation zone. It should be reminded that the parameters and borders of this zone were established on September 15, during the sixth round of Syrian talks in Astana.

It’s worth noting that the attack was unsuccessful, as the Syrian army units backed by Mauli tribes managed to react in due time and began a counter offensive. As a result, the terrorists suffered heavy losses and had to retreat.

Apparently, the United States does not want the Syrian army to completely liberate Deir Ezzor, and makes every effort to prevent it from achieving its goal. There are two possible reasons for that.

First, after the liberation of Deir Ezzor, which is located not far from the Iraqi border, the Syrian troops will be able to unite with the Iraqi forces and establish control on the border. At the same time, Washington cannot permit full-fledged cooperation between the armies of Syria and Iraq, otherwise the remaining ISIS units in this region will be destroyed much faster than the U.S. plans.

Second, Deir Ezzor is a strategic region rich in gas and oil, and Washington has its own interests in it.

For the past several days, the United States has been involved in the attacks on the Syrian army positions. According to Fars News, the Syrian troops were twice shelled by mortars and artillery units from the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. There the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the U.S. Special Forces are deployed.

There are reports that the international coalition and SDF have temporarily suspended the liberation of Raqqa and regrouped its troops to the northern part of Deir Ezzor province.

So, the world community has once again ensured that the White House doesn’t want peace and stability in Syria. In addition, Washington tries to change the tide of the game, which often is not in their favor.

Featured image is from Inside Syria Media Center.

Syria Calls Out `Double Standard` For israel’s Nuclear Arsenal

Syria Calls Out `Double Standard` For Israel Nuclear Arsenal

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R).

Israel is believed by many experts to have at least 80 nuclear warheads, and has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Syria has accused several United Nations member states of holding double standards regarding Israeli nuclear capabilities, which continue outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty framework, Syrian news agency SANA reported.

RELATED:
Trump’s ‘Ignorant’ UN Speech is ‘Unworthy of a Reply’: Iran

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bassam al-Sabbagh, was quoted by SANA as saying that “some U.N. member states, including nuclear powers, have clear double standards when it comes to Israel’s nuclear capabilities.”

The remarks were made while speaking at the 61st Annual Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna.

“It is a source of deep concern for the countries of the Middle East region that the Zionist entity, with the nuclear capabilities it possesses, remains outside the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement,” SANA quotes al-Sabbagh as saying.

RELATED:
Trump Threatens Further Action Against Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Iran at UN

Israel has never officially affirmed or denied that it has nuclear weapons, adopting a position of intentional ambiguity on the matter. However, most experts believe that they have a nuclear arsenal of at least 80 warheads.

In spite of having been placed under international pressure to do so for many years, Israel has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty on the basis that the treaty runs counter to their national security interests. Along with India and Pakistan, they are one of three U.N. member states believed to posses nuclear weapons that have not signed the treaty.

In 2003 in the midst of the United States’ invasion in Iraq on the pretext of supposedly existing weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s), Syria submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council to make the Middle East a “WMD-free zone,” a resolution that would include Israel. It was the United States who ultimately opposed and rejected the proposal.

The remarks by al-Sabbagh come as the United States ramps up accusations and threats toward Iran, saying that 2015’s landmark nuclear deal with the country was the “worst deal ever.” In spite of the fact that Iran has repeatedly reiterated that it has only ever sought peaceful forms of nuclear technology, and has been confirmed internationally to be in compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States has accused Iran of desiring to develop nuclear arms potential.

U.S. President Donald Trump also threatened to “totally destroy” the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) if they do not stop missile and nuclear tests

Why the split inside the Democratic Party over #BDS needs to happen

Why the split inside the Democratic Party over BDS needs to happen

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act was rolled out in Congress this summer by leading advocates for Israel, backed by the Israel lobby group AIPAC; but it is having trouble gaining Democratic support. “Democrats remain non-committal about anti-BDS bill,” Aaron Magid reports at Jewish Insider. Senators Dan Murphy (CT) and Tammy Duckworth (IL) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (MA) are all dithering about the legislation.

Their misgivings follow NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s celebrated withdrawal of her support for the bill, which the ACLU says threatens free speech with criminal penalties.

The reason for the politicians’ vacillation is obvious. The progressive Democratic base cares about Palestinian human rights, and progressives are generally not opposed to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a means of persuading Israel to abide by international law; polling shows a majority of Democrats support economic sanctions to counter Israel’s settlement construction. Other polls show that young Democrats, blacks and Hispanics have more sympathy for Palestine than Israel.

Palestinian solidarity has surely been fostered inside the party base by resistance to Trump’s anti-immigrant/refugee policies, by the arrival of Black Lives Matter (which calls out “apartheid” in Palestine), and by the Women’s March, led by BDS supporter Linda Sarsour.

The marvel is that the BDS groundswell is occurring without any coverage by the mainstream press. The media is refusing to do the fundamental job of telling people what Palestinians are asking for– equal rights– Michael Brown writes at EI. it’s no wonder CNN and MSNBC have avoided hosting honest discussions of BDS, a Time Warner executive is writing speeches for Netanyahu and a Comcast exec is raising money for the Israeli Defense Forces, we pointed out last week. 

Still BDS remains a dividing line inside the Democratic Party. The progressive candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination to be Illinois governor, Daniel Biss, dumped his running mate because he supports BDS two weeks ago. The former running mate didn’t cave. The Democratic Party platform committee came out against BDS in 2016 even though some Bernie Sanders surrogates supported BDS. And leaked emails showed that the Hillary Clinton braintrust spent way much too much time organizing opposition against BDS during her campaign, even while they were ignoring Wisconsin. Clinton came out against BDS forcefully so to please Haim Saban and other donors, and donor relations surely explain Biss’s swandive too. But again, there’s no story here.

The Democratic establishment fears the potential of this issue to divide the party in a politically-meaningful way, to split Clintonites from Sandersites and undermine the party’s ability to take on Trump. This is why Josh Marshall of TPM has slagged BDS supporters as anti-Semites. “Truly the last thing the Democratic Party needs right now is a toxic internecine fight over Israel,” he has written.

That fear on the part of party leaders is not a new one. The battle over Palestinian human rights has been put off again and again inside the Democratic Party since the 1960s, and always with the claim on the establishment’s part that the solidarity activists are marginal radicals and troublemakers, who need to get out of the road in a hurry (think about Andrew Young, Jimmy Carter, Cynthia McKinney, Cornel West, etc).

Yet in those 50 years, we have seen countless other once-marginal progressive questions enter the mainstream and gain establishment approval, from women’s rights to same-sex marriage to the embrace of transsexual rights. It is lost on none of us that the BDS call went out 12 years ago at a time when the trans issue was not central to Democratic Party politics; yet BDS remains off-limits, even as party leaders endorse the boycott of North Carolina over transsexuals’ access to bathrooms of their choice. The hypocrisy is glaring.

I believe that this division cannot be papered over any longer, and that Palestinian human rights will at last be taken up by major political figures.

Why the optimism? Too much has changed in the political landscape. The rightwing convergence of Netanyahu and Trump has had the effect of politicizing Israel support at last in the U.S. mainstream– Republicans back Likud, Democrats back liberal Zionists. The growing demands by people of color to be represented in the U.S. establishment signal that voices like Linda Sarsour and Keith Ellison will become less and less marginal. The Democratic Party is being challenged to take a stand against Islamophobia.  And meanwhile, it is clear that many national security leaders, including lately Gen. H.R. McMaster, have read the book The Israel Lobby, and don’t like the message.

As always I focus on the Jewish community because I think it has the most influence over the politics of Israel and Palestine; and there too change is upon us. Last June’s celebrations of 50 years of permanent occupation demonstrated to American liberals something that was obvious to Palestinians years ago: Israel has no intention of allowing the creation of a Palestinian state. Liberal Zionists are in crisis over their failure to save “the good Israel”, and are looking for a way forward. Many of them will end up supporting BDS.

This week the Jerusalem Post listed Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world. Vilkomerson supports BDS; and there were no liberal Zionist leaders on that list. Though AIPAC was there, and the ADL too. Meantime, young Jews in IfNotNow are taking on the Jewish establishment, asking why “you never told me” about the occupation. Yes, these are still embryonic trends. But even some big Jewish donors are balking at giving money that will back Israel. The Jewish monolith on Israel is cracking, and that will give Democratic politicians permission to dissent

500 million dollars on its way to fund the next war against Syria

500 million dollars on its way to fund the next war against Syria

Voltairenet.org — Sept 22, 2017

USAF Ramstein

The Süddeustche Zeitung has shed light on the fact that arms are being transferred from the headquarters of the US Air Forces in Europe, based in Ramstein (Germany) and are making their way to the Syrian “rebels”.

The weapons, (mainly Kalashnikovs and mortars with their ammunition), have been transferred from the Navy’s arsenal in Crane (Indiana) to the U.S. land army’s arsenal based in Miesau (Germany).

This trafficking is really an extension of Operation Timber Sycamore, conceived by General David Petraeus when he was head of the CIA. It began in 2013, well before Daesh was created. In December 2015, the Serbian newspaper Večernje Novosti made public the role that the Ramstein base was playing in this operation.

On the eve of the German Federal elections, the Süddeutsche Zeitung is focussing its attention on the legal aspect of this discovery.

The US Commander of Special Operations asked the four companies that had been subcontracted, not to declare the nature of the cargo transported, knowing that the German Government could well be opposed to such an operation occurring on its territory. The German Attorney General launched a preliminary inquiry to determine if the Pentagon and the Merkel government had actually complied with German law.

The fact is that German law prohibits arms being transferred to countries at war. Yet, the Merkel government has already authorized weapons being transferred to Saudi Arabia in the context of the trafficking operation carried out by Azerbaïdjan and its airline company, Silk Way. It was unable to ascertain if the jihadists in Syria were the end consumers.

The base at Ramstein has already sparked controversy for its involvement in CIA kidnappings (renditions) and their secret prisons, as well as targeted assassinations by drone in the expanded Middle East. Neither magistrates nor parliamentarians have been authorized access to this base due to an agreement declaring that US forces do not fall within Germany’s territorial jurisdiction.

But what really seizes our attention is the incidental discovery by the Germany daily newspaper, a discovery beyond measure: according to documents of the U.S. Army, the Pentagon launched a tender to buy 500 million dollars of weapons belonging to the former Soviet Union. This contract was awarded in August 2017. Some loads of weapons were then redirected to Croatia.

Following the “Arab Spring”, Al-Nusra and Daesh, the Pentagon is planning a new war against Syria. This time the Pentagon proxy will be Kurdish troops to which these 500 million dollar worth of arms are allocated. This new conflict should kick off within the next few weeks, once the Iraqi Kurdistan has been declared independent.

Heikle Fracht aus Ramstein”, “Millionen Schuss Munition für Kalaschnikows”, Frederik Obermaier & Paul-Anton Krüger, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12. & 20. September 2017.

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

Source

 

Two crazy leaders, Kim Jong-un & Trump, two rogue nations, USA & N.Korea. The world edges closer to nuclear war

Trump Threatens North Korea with “Effective and Overwhelming” Military Force

By Peter Symonds

In the wake of North Korea’s missile launch, US President Trump and his top officials have once again threatened to use military force to end the supposed threat posed by the small, economically backward country and its limited nuclear arsenal.

Speaking at an Air Force installation outside Washington, Trump condemned North Korea and declared that the US would “defend our people, our nations, and our civilization, from all who dare to threaten our way of life.”

Against the backdrop of a nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bomber, Trump told the assembled Air Force personnel:

“After seeing your capabilities and commitment here today, I am more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming.”

Trump and his top officials have repeatedly stressed that “all options are on the table” and hinted the US would use its vast nuclear capability against North Korea.

The UN Security Council has issued a statement after its emergency session on Friday condemning North Korea’s latest test of an intermediate range missile that flew over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean as “highly provocative.”

Under pressure from Washington, the UN Security Council on Monday imposed its harshest sanctions yet on North Korea over its sixth nuclear test on September 3. The latest resolution banned the purchase of North Korean textile exports, restricted the hire of its guest workers and capped its oil imports.

Yesterday’s statement called on all UN member states to “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all the sanctions. At the same time, it stressed the need to “reduce tension in the Korean Peninsula” and to promote “a peaceful and comprehensive solution.”

Trump, however, has already dismissed the latest UN sanctions. Speaking on Tuesday, he declared that the UN vote was “just another very small step, not a big deal,” adding that he did not know “if it has any impact.” He said that the sanctions would pale in comparison to “what ultimately will have to happen” to North Korea.

Yesterday, senior Trump officials warned that time was running out for any diplomatic solution.

At a White House briefing yesterday, national security adviser H.R. McMaster underscored the willingness of the US to use military force.

“For those who have said, and been commenting about a lack of a military option, there is a military option.”

While saying that “now it [military force] is not what we would prefer to do,” McMaster warned that time was short.

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” he said.

Speaking at the same briefing, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley suggested that the UN had run out of options and she would support the use of the military against North Korea.

“There is not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here when you have cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil to [North Korea],” Haley said. “So, having said that, I have no problem with kicking it to [US Defense Secretary James] Mattis because I think he has plenty of options.”

The provocative US threats of war are also directed at putting even more pressure on China and also Russia to strong-arm the Pyongyang regime into capitulating to US demands to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Beijing and Moscow to take “direct actions of their own.” He called on all countries to implement UN sanctions but singled out China saying that it supplied North Korea with “most of its oil” and Russia as the “largest employer of North Korean forced labour.”

“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Tillerson declared.

Earlier this week, US Assistant Treasury Secretary Marshall Billingslea accused China of circumventing UN sanctions and assisting in the trade of banned goods with North Korea. He claimed to have evidence of Chinese and Russian collusion in the smuggling of coal out of North Korea.

Billingslea said that the Trump administration had told China that if it wished to avoid further sanctions, the United States needs to “urgently” see action. The US has already imposed bans on a number of Chinese individuals and entities, including the Bank of Dandong, over their alleged business dealings with North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on that the US has “sent a message that anybody that wanted to trade with North Korea, we consider them not trading with us. We can put economic sanctions to stop people trading.”

Mnuchin’s comments echo those of Trump who threatened to cut off trade with China if it did not end all business dealings with North Korea. The threats make clear that the Trump administration’s reckless escalation of the confrontation with North Korea is part of a broader strategy aimed at undermining China, which is regarded by the US as the main obstacle to its regional and global hegemony.

China and Russia are caught in a bind. Both countries have opposed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs because the US has exploited them to justify its military build-up throughout Asia.

Beijing is also concerned that South Korea and Japan will use North Korea as a pretext to develop their own nuclear arsenal. South Korea’s defence minister has already suggested that the US return tactical nuclear weapons to his country.

At the same time, China and Russia do not want to see either a war in their backyard on the Korean Peninsula or a political crisis in Pyongyang that could be exploited by Washington to install a pro-US regime.

The Russian foreign ministry yesterday joined with China in condemning North Korea’s latest missile test over mainland Japan, but at the same time criticised the US for its “aggressive” role in the crisis.

“Regrettably, aggressive rhetoric is the only thing coming from Washington,” a spokesman said.

China and Russia are continuing to push for a resumption of negotiations based on a halt by the US and South Korea on large joint military exercises, in return for North Korea suspending further nuclear and missile tests. The US has repeatedly dismissed any pause in its war games with South Korea.

In response to the latest North Korean missile test, the South Korean military fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters 250 kilometres off its east coast. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in bluntly warned North Korea that “we have the power to destroy North Korea and make it unable to recover.”

%d bloggers like this: