الصراخ التركي بوجه إيران للتفاوض وليس للحرب

الصراخ التركي بوجه إيران للتفاوض وليس للحرب

فبراير 25, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– يستعيد الكثيرون مع الكلام التركي العدائي العالي السقوف ضد إيران مشهد حلف بغداد في الخمسينيات الذي ضمّ تركيا وإيران الشاه وحولهما عراق نوري السعيد وباكستان بوجه صعود جمال عبد الناصر بدعم أميركي، ويرون تركيا والسعودية و«إسرائيل» والأردن أركان حلف إقليمي جديد يذهب للتصعيد نحو إيران بغطاء أميركي، بعدما استعاد صعودها مشهد صعود عبد الناصر، ويفترض هؤلاء سيناريوات الحرب ضمن هذه التقديرات.

– السعي الأميركي الذي تقوده الـ»سي آي أي» لحلف إقليمي بوجه إيران موجود منذ أيام الرئيس باراك أوباما ولا يزال، لكن امتلاك هذا الحلف ومعه أميركا فرص التحرك كانت أفضل قبل ثلاثة أعوام، عندما جاءت الأساطيل الأميركية ولم تكن روسيا قد جاءت إلى سورية، ولم تكن السعودية قد تورّطت في اليمن، ولا كانت تركيا قد دخلت أزمتها مع واشنطن حول تسليم الداعية فتح الله غولن والقوى الكردية المسلحة شمال سورية. وقبل حلّ هذه العقد لا يملك هذا الحلف قدرة تتخطى الكلام السياسي، ويصير الرهان على التصعيد العسكري في سورية يستدعي التساؤل عن ماهية جديد هذا الحلف بعد هزيمته في حلب، رغم كل الفوارق لصالحه فيها قياساً بكل معركة مقبلة؟

– التفاوض لعقد صفقة مع إيران هدف مشترك تركي سعودي يتفادى ظاهرياً استفزاز روسيا، تقف أميركا وإسرائيل لتشجيعه إذا تضمّن إضعافاً لدعم إيران لحزب الله. والتصعيد يهدف لتشكيل محور مفاوض يتمكن من تعزيز صفوف مكوّناته وعدم الدخول لمفاوضات منفردة، تركية إيرانية وسعودية إيرانية. والعنوان هو عروض لتطبيع العلاقات تقدم تحت ضغوط اتهام إيران بمدّ نفوذها وزعزعة استقرار دول كالبحرين واليمن ودعم قوى معارضة فيها، والتمدّد في كل من سورية والعراق، لمقايضة التطبيع بتنازلات يتمنّى السعودي والتركي الحصول عليها من إيران، وهي تنازلات يسعى إليها كل من الأميركي و«الإسرائيلي».

– في زمن الضعف الأميركي عن صناعة استراتيجية واضحة بعد ارتباك الرئيس الجديد في مواجهة ممانعة المؤسسة الأميركية العسكرية والمخابراتية والدبلوماسية والإعلامية لسياساته الخارجية، قرّرت تركيا انتظار واشنطن لحين نضوج تفاوضهما على بندي، غولن والأكراد، وقامت بتغطية هذا التموضع المعاكس لمسار أستانة، بالتموضع على ضفة مشتركة مع السعودية تقبض ثمنها مالاً وسياسة، عنوانها التصعيد ضد إيران، بما يجنّب تركيا أزمة جديدة مع روسيا، تحت عنوان مقايضة إيران بالتخلي عن قوة حلفائها، وفي مقدمتهم حزب الله بالانفتاح عليها، وربط التعاون في الحرب على الإرهاب بتسهيل إيران لتسويات تحفظ جماعة تركيا والسعودية في الخليج، بمشاركة شكلية للقوى المقاومة هناك، وتحقق مشاركة وازنة لجماعة تركيا والسعودية في سورية والعراق، وورقة القوة المعروضة للمقايضة هي التلويح بخطاب الفتنة المذهبية.

– سبق لإيران وحتى لروسيا وقبلهما لسورية القول بوضوح: إن وجود حزب الله في سورية ليس موضوع تفاوض، وإن التعاون ضد الإرهاب مصلحة مشتركة لدول العالم والمنطقة، ومن شروطه توفير مقوّمات نجاح الحرب وليس توزيع مغانم وأثمان على المشاركين سلفاً لضمان مشاركتهم، وكل مسعى تصعيدي لبلوغ تفاوض هذا عنوانه يعني بلوغ طريق مسدود، فهل تنفجر المواجهة حرباً شاملة تركية سعودية «إسرائيلية» بوجه إيران، أو حرباً يقودها هؤلاء مجدداً في سورية؟

– لن يحدث شيء من هذا. ليس لنقص في الرغبات بل لنقص في القدرات. وقد جرى اختبار الأكثر في ظروف أفضل، وكانت حلب وكانت الهزيمة، لكن تعطيل مسار أستانة في سورية سيعني طبعاً عودة إمساك زمام المبادرة للجيش السوري في الميدان، مع عودة اصطفاف الجماعات المسلحة وراء جبهة النصرة، فإلى شهور ينتظر فيها أردوغان ترامب، على مائدة المال السعودي، يبيعه أوهاماً، ويحسم فيها الجييش السوري المزيد، قبل أن تنضج جولات تفاوض ومسارات، كما من قبل كذلك من بعد، والخط البياني يتكفل بقول الباقي مما لم يقله الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين لبحارته عن عزمه مواصلة القتال إلى جانب سورية لحماية أمن روسيا، رضي من رضي وغضب من غضب، وأن أمن موسكو لا يزال من أمن دمشق، بعملية تسوية سياسية ومن دونها.

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Pence Consoles Jews in Missouri Over Vandalizing of Jewish Cemetery

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Statue of Jesus vandalized at the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellow Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Two heinous acts of religious desecration occurred last weekend at two separate sites in two separate states. In response to one of these events, the vice president of the United States personally involved himself, making a trip to the scene to denounce what had happened and to assist in the cleanup.

The other event he seems to have completely ignored.

At the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, vandals targeted a statue of Jesus outside the church, severing the head from the body. The attack occurred sometime during the night of February 19/20.

On the same weekend vandals attacked a Jewish cemetery causing damage to approximately 150 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Jewish cemetery located in University City, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

 photo cemeterystlouis_zpsfo7bwizd.jpg

Vandalized gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery

After the media raised an uproar over the attack on the cemetery, an uproar which included complaints that President Trump had not sufficiently condemned the attack or denounced anti-Semitism enough, Vice President Pence made a trip to St. Louis, where he spoke at the cemetery and even participated in the cleanup.

“I am so inspired by what the people of Missouri are doing, by the way you are handling this,” he is reported to have said.

I did an Internet search in an effort to determine if Pence had made any similar-type gestures on behalf of the Christians at the church in Indianapolis, but could find no indication he had, or even that he had bothered to issue a public comment on it–even though the attack occurred in Pence’s home state of Indiania and even though it was the second time in two weeks that the statue had been desecrated.

Here is a news report on what happened at the church…

And here is a video of Pence at the cemetery, participating in a prayer with a Jewish rabbi and helping with the cleanup…

I guess it’s nice to see a member of America’s political elite with a rake in his hand and doing some actual physical work, but the video would seem to provide us with ample evidence of what group of people he’s really working for.

Is World War 3 on the Way?

NATO troops preparing for war game exercise in eastern Europe

NATO troops preparing for war game exercise in eastern Europe

Is World War 3 on the way? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s a question I have pondered a number of times in a number of posts dating back over the past three years. I will ponder it again here.

As before when I have put up posts of this nature, a number of disturbing signs point to increased cause for concern, but before I get to these, let me show you a video. It’s one featuring David Icke, which I posted nearly three years ago, in July of 2014, in a post which I entitled “The Vortex.” It was one of the first posts I ever put up basically speculating on the possibility of a coming war.

In the video interview, Icke talks about a prediction made way back in the late 19th century–a prediction by Albert Pike of three world wars in which “political Zionism” would play a role. In the third war, the entire world would be drawn into a “vortex” of chaos centered around a war between political Zionism and Islam, and Icke puts that prediction into the context of events playing out in the Middle East, including the rise of ISIS, which at the time (in the summer of 2014, when Icke gave the interview) had only just appeared upon the world stage.

Icke exhibits a remarkable amount of prescience, not only with regard to the rise of ISIS and the role it would come to play in the Middle East wars (which would have been hard to predict in 2014), but also with regard to Russia being drawn into the conflict in Syria (the interview was done more than a year before Russia formally sent troops into the country). Perhaps most important, however, are his words regarding the world political and financial powers, including the US government, who are funding ISIS:

“These people are sheer, undiluted evil, and people need to understand that, otherwise they will reject that anyone could do what they are doing and kill and maim and slaughter so many people. They can do it because they have no heart, they have no empathy, they have no emotional compassion, and thus mayhem is their currency, and they have no emotional consequence. They are not like us, so don’t judge what they’ll do by what you would do, because it ain’t the same thing.

Wise words, and the point he is making–that evil, pure evil–does indeed exist, is an important one to remember. And now on to the latest somewhat unnerving indications of where things may be headed.

***

According to a report here the US is now considering sending more troops to Syria:

More US troops may be needed in Syria to speed up the campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the top commander for the Middle East has stated, specifically referring to the push to liberate Raqqa.“I am very concerned about maintaining momentum,” General Joseph L. Votel, the head of the United States Central Command, told reporters, as quoted by CBS News.

He said local forces being supported by the US “don’t have as good mobility, they don’t have as much firepower, so we have to be prepared to fill in some of those gaps for them,” noting that such support may involve additional fire support capability and “a variety of other things” to help “offset some of the gaps.”

The report also offers the following placatory note…

Votel stressed, however, that Washington is not considering sending US troops to take over the fighting, and that the strategy developed during the Obama administration of keeping local forces at the forefront would remain unchanged.

…but of course similar statements are made at the outset of each new troop buildup in each new war the US gets involved in. And the same report also includes this…

Lieutenant General Townsend revealed over the weekend that the 450 American advisers working with the Iraqis in Mosul had moved closer to the front lines in order to stay in touch with Iraqi commanders as they advanced on the city.

The US has about 500 Special Operations troops in Syria. If American military presence were to be expanded, additional troops could come from conventional combat units, the New York Times reported. However, Votel stressed that he would not recommend deploying large combat formations.

“We want to bring the right capabilities forward,” he said. “Not all of those are necessarily resident in the Special Operations community. If we need additional artillery or things like that, I want to be able to bring those forward to augment our operations.”

In addition to the above, you can also go here to access an RT video that includes commentary from former Pentagon official Michael Maloof, who points out that bringing in conventional troops and heavy equipment will require still more troops just to handle the logistics of transport and the setting up and maintaining of bases, all of which becomes a “slippery slope.”

***

As the US contemplates deploying these “conventional combat units” into Syria, additional US troops–lots of them–have already begun to be deployed to Eastern Europe along Russia’s borders. An article at Newsweek gives some insight into the extent of this. The author devotes much of the piece to demonizing Russia and Putin, but then offers the following information about NATO troop deployments:

As a response to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, NATO has plans to send four 1,000-troop-strong battalions toward Russia’s borders; one for each of the three Baltic countries, and one for Poland.

Additionally, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force comprises about 5,000 troops. The unit is meant to “respond to emerging security challenges posed by Russia, as well as the risks emanating from the Middle East and North Africa,” according to a statement on NATO’s website.

Overall, the U.S. has about 35,000 military personnel in Europe, including two Army infantry brigades. To deter Moscow, the U.S. has recently deployed an additional heavy brigade to Poland, comprising about 3,500 troops and 87 tanks, as well as a unit of 500 troops to Romania.

The U.S. also has troops in Ukraine conducting a training mission for Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The U.S. has restated its commitment to NATO and Article V, and Russia should recognize that those security guarantees remain rock solid,” Kochis said. “Any deviation only invites aggression and miscalculation.”

NATO’s eastward deployments are still just a fraction of Ukraine’s military buildup near Russia’s border, underscoring how the overall military balance of power in Europe has shifted since 2014 due to Russian aggression.

Ukraine now has about 60,000 combat troops, supported by heavy artillery and armor, forward deployed to the Donbas—Ukraine’s embattled southeastern territory on the border with Russia. That’s a force of 60,000 combat troops near Russia’s border that wasn’t there

***

Trump’s new pick to fill the role of national security advisor is Lieutenant General Herbert R. McMaster, who apparently is something of a Russophobe. McMaster replaces Gen. Michal Flynn, who was friendly toward Russia but who was basically hounded out of office by the media. Here is what former CIA Offficer Philip Giraldi has to say about McMaster:

“He [McMaster] regards Russia as ‘the enemy’ and apparently believes falsely that Moscow has been the aggressor in Georgia and Ukraine,” Giraldi said. “He wants to forward deploy more US forces to Europe to deter Russia.”

And on the subject of Iran:

“While [McMaster] is hostile to Iran he does not share the intense hatred of that country exhibited by Flynn,” he said.

And here is what NPR says regarding McMaster’s appointment:

Trump’s announcement of McMaster was met with widespread acclaim by the Washington national defense establishment, including from people who are not particular fans of Trump’s.

The Trump non-fans who are in love with McMaster include John McCain…

Lt Gen HR McMaster is outstanding choice for nat’l security advisor – man of genuine intellect, character & ability http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=22A583B0-4B7A-417A-BE94-C70D54FE0B26 

Giraldi adds an additional point on this:

“He [McMaster] is much loved by the neoconservatives with Bill Kristol and John McCain gushing over the appointment, which should give one pause.”

So score another one for the media and the deep state. They have replaced Flynn, who posed somewhat of an obstacle to war with Russia, with McMaster, who likely will grease the skids.

***

Recently Russia Insider published an article about four Russian servicemen who were killed in Syria when a radio-controlled bomb targeting a Syrian military convoy exploded. Curiously the attack took place on February 16, the same day that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had their first meeting–a meeting which has been described as “awkward” and in which Tillerson ordered that the press be removed from the room. The piece raises the possibility that the attack may not have been carried out by ISIS, and that Tillerson may have already been informed of it (or possibly even had inside knowledge it was going to occur) at the time of his meeting with Lavrov. Here is an excerpt from Russia Insider. Those interested might wish to go and read the full article:

Sunni terrorists dream of killing Russian special forces or military advisers. Why would any militia or terrorist group in Syria execute a successful operation like this, and then not immediately claim responsibility? And again, as far as we know, we’re still waiting for someone — anyone — to say they were responsible for the attack.

Please correct us if you think we’re being unreasonable, but doesn’t this seem odd to you? The Russians might consider the deaths of these soldiers a state secret — but we’re positive ISIS wouldn’t.

Our second point is a bit more nuanced. But we still think it’s an interesting coincidence: February 16 was the same day that Sergei Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson for the first time in Germany.

According to Bloomberg, it was an “awkward first encounter”…

***

As if all of this isn’t worrying enough, Trump publicly vowed on Thursday that the US would work to maintain its nuclear supremacy over all other nuclear powers in the world. “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” he said.

***

Recently writer Finian Cunningham published a couple of interesting articles, one entitled “Western Russophobia in Psychotic Phase,” published February 22, and an earlier piece, “Insanity of NATO 2.0 for Mideast,” published February 16. The earlier piece deals with Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump and discussions that have been held between the two leaders on the possible formation of a military alliance against Iran that would involve the US, Israel and certain Sunni Arab states. The latter would include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Basically what is being envisioned is a NATO-type alliance, only set in the Middle East, or “NATO 2.0,” as Cunningham refers to it. You can go here to read a Times of Israel report on the discussions that have been held on the subject. Given the distinguished “cast of characters” that would be involved with this alliance, should it come into being, one cannot help wondering: would the coalition’s raison d’être be in effect to combine the resources–financial, military and otherwise–of its various members in the support of ISIS?

Below is an excerpt from Cunningham’s commentary:

The bitter irony in all this is that the real danger to Middle East peace is not Iran, but rather is Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land, as well as Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Arab monarchies funding Islamist terror groups.

The six-year [war] that has ravaged Syria largely stems from an externally driven covert war for regime change against the Assad government which is an ally of Russia and Iran. The war in Syria has been instrumented by proxy jihadist mercenaries, including Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which are funded, armed and directed by the US, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

Israel is also believed to have played a covert role in fomenting the regime-change war in Syria, working in collusion with the US and Saudi Arabia. That war has been stymied due to the military intervention by Russia and Iran over the past year.

Saudi Arabia has a long, despicable history of fomenting Wahhabi terror groups going back to the 1970-80s when it funded the precursors of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the then Soviet-backed government. Saudi Arabia has traditionally supplied the money and weapons while the American CIA and Israeli’s Mossad provided the military logistics and intelligence. The awarding last week of Saudi spy chief Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef by CIA director Mike Pompeo was seen by some critics as a particularly nauseating testimony of this nefarious relationship.

The very idea of this US-led axis in the Middle East now setting up a formal alliance along the lines of NATO is a harbinger of ramped up conflict in the region. And especially given the stated purpose of such an alliance being dedicated to “contain Iran”.

The US-led NATO alliance in Europe has already plunged relations with Russia into deeper hostility. The ongoing build up of NATO forces on Russia’s border – allegedly to contain Russian aggression – has stoked fears that a nuclear war could be precipitated.

NATO continually claims to be a force for stability and defense – whenever any sane-minded observer can see that the opposite is true, inciting tensions in Europe and Russia to levels not seen since the heyday of the Cold War.

The same manic double-think is being replicated in the Middle East with the latest American plans to form a NATO 2.0 with Israel and terror-sponsoring Arab monarchs.

In the most recent piece, Cunningham discusses the “fake, unethical journalism that has become a staple in Western media,” coming to the conclusion that Russophobia is no longer a “random prejudice” in Western countries, but instead has reached the point where it has become “endemic” and “pathological,” essentially amounting to a “collective psychosis.”

When such propaganda becomes a systematic form of public discourse then it can be said that the mindset has moved dangerously beyond a condition of reprehensible Russophobia, to one of collective psychosis.

And this affliction among Western states seems to be worsening. The appointment by US President Donald Trump this week of Lt General HR McMaster as his National Security Adviser was greeted with applause among hawkish lawmakers in Congress.

The cause for their celebration is because McMaster is seen as having staunch “anti-Russian views” – unlike his ousted predecessor, Michael Flynn, who reportedly wanted to restore friendly relations with Moscow.

McMaster’s appointment marks a “100 per cent threat to Russia,”said Franz Klintsevich, the First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security.

Klintsevich added that “Washington’s Russophobia is increasing, not weakening.”

Not surprisingly given the relentless anti-Russian “news” saturating Western media, a new Gallup poll found that favorability among ordinary Americans towards Russia has plummeted. Four years ago, some 50 per cent of Americans had a friendly view of Russia. Now, the figure is down to 28 per cent.

Assuming the poll results reported by Gallup are genuine and not faked for propaganda purposes (a possibility that should not be discounted), what it suggests is that despite the media’s plummeting credibility, the lies are still taking hold in large segments of the population. A major concern at this point has to be a false flag attack designed to ignite a war with Russia–possibly in the form of a staged attack upon US troops in Syria or the Baltic states. Were a number of US troops to die in an attack that could be blamed upon Russia, the case for war would be made.

So what is the motive for all this? Why are these people trying so hard to start a war with Russia? I think Icke puts his finger on it in the video above. The idea all along has been to create a global government that would replace sovereign, independent states. What is happening in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and elsewhere is not random. “None of it has been random,” says Icke.

“It’s part of this long term plan to take over the world by creating enormous chaos–to which they can offer the order out of the chaos–their order, their new world order,” he adds.

***

A week ago I posted a commentary entitled “We Are Living in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era.” The article dealt with a remark by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, made at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference, in which the official, noting that harmony among nations could be achieved by advancing justice and practicing “modesty,” asserted, “If everyone adopts that approach, we could overcome the period of post-truth fast and resist information wars imposed on the international community.”

For many of us, at least those of us who come from a Christian background, the idea that a “post-truth” era has overcome us–and the realization that the lies being told by the media are “endemic” and “pathological,” as Cunningham puts it–brings to mind, perhaps invariably, the words of Jesus in John 8:44: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

It’s a verse that seems to be gaining a lot of traction these days. A search using the key words “John 8:44” turns up more than 2 million results on Google and a staggering 38 million on Bing. Jesus, here in this passage from John’s Gospel, is speaking to a group of Jews, who, in verse 31, are identified specifically as “the Jews who had believed him.” Odd, you might think, that he would speak such words to those who had believed in him, but I’m guessing these were Jews who were looking for a warrior messiah, a divinely-designated belligerent who would lead them in a revolt against Rome–the same Jews who, once it became apparent this was not his mission, would turn against him and call for his crucifixion. This in fact becomes clearer and more plausible as you read through the verses leading up to verse 44. Here, starting with verse 31, is how the exchange transpires:

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Their comment that they have “never been slaves of anyone” may sound curious. After all, was not Judea under Roman occupation? Technically speaking yes, but the reality is the Jews were given so much leeway to run their own affairs that you could almost say it was a case of the Jews occupying the Romans rather than the other way around. Jews were allowed to have their own courts, legislative body, and tax collection system, yet at the same time they were also granted full citizenship rights as Roman citizens.

These were privileges not granted to any other peoples living under Roman occupation, and they applied not only to Jews in Judea, but to those living in other Roman-ruled areas as well such as Alexandria in Egypt–where a large community of Jews also resided. These extra privileges granted to the Jews of Alexandria eventually led to strife between the Jews and the native Egyptians. At the same time there were also tensions between Jews and the Greek citizens of Alexandria as well–all of which led eventually to the famed Alexandria Riots in the summer of 38 AD–an event which became one of the first pogroms against Jews in recorded history and which I portray in my most recent novel, The Memoirs of Saint John, part II.

But to return to our passage in John chapter 8. In the next verse, Jesus replies to the Jews “who had believed him” that they were indeed slaves–not to the Romans but to their own sins…

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

Here they speak boastfully, elevating themselves from the offspring of Abraham to the offspring of God himself. It is an expression of supremacy and “chosenness,” and an expression also of rebellion. These may well have been Zealots, that is to say they may have come from a party of Jews known by that name and who were somewhat similar in outlook to the Pharisees, only more extreme. The Zealots got their start in 6 AD when a man named Judah the Galilean led a revolt against the Roman census that had been decreed at that time. In Judah’s view, Jews were bound by no law other than the law of God–a view which seems rather prevalent today in Israel.

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

And so yes, today we find ourselves living in a “post-truth” era–one which perhaps, in a manner of speaking, has been building toward this point for the last 2,000 years.

This may sound strange to you, but actually I think we are blessed to be living in the times we are living in. Yes, it is a time of darkness in which the forces of pure evil reign supreme over much of the world. But it is also a time in which the Holy Spirit comes to us and strengthens us.

CrossTalk: Revolt in the West

February 23, 2017

The West appears to have entered into a new era – the era of the political upsets, growing anger, and increased disillusionment with ruling elites. It is not a question of leftwing – rightwing politics. It is all about a failing status quo.

CrossTalking with Stephen Haseler, Marcus Papadopoulos, and Joaquin Flores.

ترامب نسخة كاريكاتورية لأوباما

ترامب نسخة كاريكاتورية لأوباما

فبراير 23, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– من الواضح أنّ الرئيس الأميركي الجديد دونالد ترامب قد انقلب على خطابه الانتخابي الذي قام على الدعوة للاهتمام بأميركا من الداخل وتخفيض درجة الانخراط بدور الشرطي العالمي، والتدخلات والحروب، باستثناء أولوية الحرب على داعش، ومدخلها تعاون روسي أميركي. وهذه مصطلحات ومفردات مقتبسة من خطابات ترامب في الانتخابات، إلى التركيز على سياسة خارجية تُبنَى على خطاب ترميم ما خرّبه الخطاب الانتخابي مع الحلفاء وتستعيد خطاب الممانعة في الانخراط بالتسويات التي يُمليها التوجّه للتعاون مع روسيا تمهيداً لحلف عالمي ضد الإرهاب.

– اتسمت مرحلة الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك أوباما المتّهم بالتخاذل من خصومه، والمتّهم بالتطرّف من ترامب. فهو برأيه مَن صنع داعش ومَن ورّط أميركا بحرب سورية لتغيير نظام الحكم فيها، بمحاولة جمع سياسيتي إرضاء الحلفاء في الأطلسي وفي المنطقة، خصوصاً فرنسا وبريطانيا والسعودية وتركيا و»إسرائيل» من جهة، ومحاولة السير بالتسويات في طريق التعاون مع موسكو من جهة أخرى، بعدما أمضى أوباما ولايته الأولى ونصف ولايته الثانية في قيادة الحلفاء في الغرب والمنطقة لحروب الربيع العربي، خصوصاً حرب سورية وصولا لجلب الأساطيل تمهيداً للحرب، واضطر للتراجع تجنّباً لمواجهة شاملة ليست أميركا جاهزة لها، ليكتشف أن التسويات التي توصل لعناوينها مع روسيا ليس لديه حلفاء جاهزون لها، فوقع بالانتظار والتباطؤ واللغة المزدوجة، وصولاً للفراغ.

– صعد ترامب على كتف خطاب يعِد بالشجاعة في خوض غمار التسويات التي تردّد أوباما في خوضها، باعتبارها المكان الوحيد الذي يُتاح فيه للرئيس الأميركي أن يختبر شجاعته. فميدان التصعيد والحروب مسقوف بالعجز، قبل أن يكون الروس قد تموضعوا في المنطقة، وقبل انتصارات حلب، فكيف بعدهما، وبعد وصول ترامب ظهر أمامه حجم التعقيدات التي تحول دون السير بالآلة الأميركية السياسية والدبلوماسية والتشريعية والعسكرية نحو خطوة نوعية من التغيير تتمثل بالانتقال للتحالف مع روسيا، وتورّط ترامب في مواجهات واسعة في الداخل الأميركي وبخطوات مرتجلة وخطابات ومواقف عشوائية تتأسس على العنصرية والغطرسة، تكاملت مع ممانعة المؤسسة الأميركية فرضخ سريعاً وكانت استقالة مستشاره للأمن القومي مايكل فلين بناء على اتصال أجراه بالسفير الروسي في واشنطن تعبيراً عن هذا الرضوخ.

– ترامب المنكفئ عن خيار التسويات بخطاب متعالٍ ومتغطرس، يرث رئيساً لم تبقَ فرصة لاختبار القوة والضغوط والعقوبات لم يختبرها، فهو مَن ضيّق خناق العقوبات على روسيا ومَن فتح حرب أوكرانيا ومَن جلب الأساطيل إلى المتوسط ومَن جلب القاعدة وأرسل داعش، ومَن خاص حتى اللحظة الأخيرة من العقوبات والتفاوض محاولات تركيع إيران، وأبقى الباب مفتوحاً من بعده لخيارين لا ثالث لهما: الأول هو الذهاب لمزيد من الاستثمار على داعش والنصرة علناً، وجعل الحرب على سورية أسبقية للحرب على الإرهاب، والتصعيد بوجه روسيا على هذا الأساس. وهذا الخيار مثّلته هيلاري كلينتون أو الذهاب لخيار الانخراط مع روسيا والتعاون والتفاهم معها على صناعة التسويات تمهيداً للتشارك في الحرب على النصرة وداعش، وما يتضمّنه ذلك من انفتاح على الدولة السورية. وهذه هي العناوين التي بشر بها ترامب.

– تراجع ترامب أمام ممانعة مخابرات أميركا وعسكرييها ودبلوماسييها وإعلامييها. وهي النخب التي قاتلت ترامب لمنع وصوله، يعني سقوطه. وليس سقوط خيار التسويات مخرجاً حتمياً من الفوضى الدولية. فخيار السير بالتصعيد الذي كانت تبتغيه كلينتون وتمثّله بأصالة، يعني خسارة ترامب لمؤيّديه من دون كسب خصومه، وهو خيار مسقوف بالفشل وبكلفته العالية في ظل الانخراط الروسي المباشر في سورية، والموقف الإيراني الصلب تجاهها.

– يتحوّل ترامب لنسخة كاريكاتورية عن أوباما، بالعجز عن أخذ القرار والوقوع في الجمود، مع فارق ملء ترامب للفراغ بالصراخ، ما يمنح مرحلته بعضاً من الكوميديا السوداء.

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Apartheid Measure: «Israel» Denies HRW Staff Visas

Local Editor

The apartheid “Israeli” regime denied the new director of a prominent NGO – Human Rights Watch [HRW] – from a work permit, accusing the group of an “extreme, hostile and anti-‘Israel’ agenda.”

Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir

The “Israeli” accusations against the organization, which documents human rights abuses around the globe, follows a growth in official hostility to local human rights activists under the right wing government of “Israeli” PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

For its part, HRW condemned the move as “ominous turn” adding it “should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

The new policy emerged after the “Israeli” regime’s authorities turned down a visa for its new “Israel” and Palestine director, Omar Shakir who is a US citizen. The rejection had been advised by the entity’s so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a letter rejecting Shakir’s visa application, the “Israeli” entity accused the New York based group of “public activities and reports [and being] engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights.”

The group denied the claim pointing out it had written critical reports on human rights violations on both sides.

The denial of the visa was confirmed in a letter on February 20 when “Israeli” authorities informed it the request had been rejected because HRW is “not a real human rights group”, the group said in a statement. The entity’s so-called foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed the decision.

HRW, he said, had “demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-‘Israeli’ organization with a clear hostile agenda.”

But Nahshon added that the group was not banned and its Israeli and Palestinian employees would still be permitted to work in Israel and issue reports.

Suggesting a wider policy, Nahshon said other organisations such as Amnesty International would be assessed on a case by case basis.

The right-wing “Israeli” regime has been accused of putting pressure on both international and local rights organizations.

For his part, Iain Levine, deputy executive director of program at HRW condemned the move, saying: “This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

He went on to say: “It is disappointing that the ‘Israeli’ government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”

The latest moves come in the midst of a wider chilling of the atmosphere in the “Israeli” entity against human rights activists.

Commenting on the decision to deny his visa Omar Shakir compared the entity to a list of authoritarian regimes.

“We have little relations with governments in North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Venezuela where there is zero appetite for human rights engagement,” Shakir said. “With this decision, ‘Israel’ is joining the list.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

24-02-2017 | 12:17

Iraqi War Report – February 23, 2017: ISIS Combat Drones In Battle For Mosul

 

Iraqi War Report – February 23, 2017: ISIS Combat Drones In Battle For Mosul

Iraqi military for the first time officially admitted their losses from bombing, carried out by small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), used by ISIS. The casualties were suffered during incidents in eastern and southern Mosul on February 21. As the Daily Sabah newspaper reported, citing Brigadier General Abdul-Mahdi al-Ameri, an ISIS UAV “fired a missile” and killed two secondary school students in the district of Karaj Al-Shamal. Separately, three Iraqi servicemen were killed by a grenade, dropped from a quadrocopter in Furqan district, while two other soldiers lost their lives in the historical part of the city (the eastern part of Nineveh), and two others – in Al-Nour district.

In total, according only to the Iraqi government’s reports, 9 people were killed in attacks by UAVs. At the same time, ISIS claims that at least 30 Iraqi servicemen were killed as the result of dropping of various bombs from UAVs.

ISIS has been massively using various UAVs for the reconnaissance and correcting of artillery fire since 2014. However, since the end of 2015, the group has started to use its UAVs for aerial attacks. The compact Mosul battlespace allows to ingore problems with a lack of range of the used commercial UAVs. The fact that the city is separated by the Tigris also increases the role of UAVs in reconnaissance and ammunition supplies. ISIS members launch UAVs from roofs of civilian buildings which allow, in general, avoiding artillery and aerial strikes from US-led coalition and Iraqi forces.  Warplanes are ineffective against small UAVs and Iraqi forces deployed to Mosul don’t have means of electronic warfare to ping and mute ISIS UAVs. While this problem is not solved, ISIS UAVs will pose a threat to Iraqi and US-led coalition military personnel on the ground and to play an important role on the Mosul battlespace.

ISIS is actively promoting its UAV attacks in own media outlets, de-facto encouraging the terrorist group’s supporters to use UAVs for terrorist attacks in Europe and across the world.

 

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