NAHIDA Decleration: Hey Mr Trump

Sister Nahida

Where is “Brother” Obama -The God Father of Zio-Brotherhood’s SPRING)?

Image result for President obama, accompanied by Chabad Rabbis,

Poetry for Palestine

Nahida Declaration

I Nahida -exiled Palestinian since over fifty years, declare:

Washington to be the Eternal Capital of “israel”

USA to be the Promised Land for the Jewish people

President Bush, accompanied by Chabad Rabbis, is seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 15, 2008, after signing the Honor of Education and Sharing Day Proclamation. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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Nasrallah: Trump’s Quds (Jerusalem) decision threatens to wipe out Palestine & Aqsa Mosque – ENG

The Saker

December 09, 2017

Do You Hold Dual Citizenship? You Can Serve in Congress–but not the Israeli Knesset!

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A few days ago I posted an article entitled Zionists Form Group to Promote Kurdish Statehood, about the latest efforts underway to carve up the Middle East. In the course of researching that article I made a rather interesting discovery: that Israel has a law prohibiting holders of dual citizenship from serving in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Needless to say, we need such a law here in the US, but of course anyone who suggests this gets accused of anti-Semitism.

A couple of years ago when talk show host Diane Rhem interjected a discussion about dual Israeli citizenship into an interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, Rhem was subjected to withering criticism. The ADL, among others, jumped into the fray, accusing Rhem of playing into “classic anti-Semitic charges of dual loyalty,” and the talk show host was forced to issue an apology.

And this kind of thing doesn’t just happen in America. When an official in South Africa proposed a law that would revoke South African citizenship under certain circumstances, one of them being if dual citizens were to serve in the armed forces of the other country, the reaction from South African Jews was about what you’d expect:

South African Jewish community leaders have expressed outrage at an African National Congress (ANC) official’s recent announcement of possible plans to ban dual citizenship.

While Obed Bapela, head of the ANC’s national executive committee’s subcommittee on international relations, has countered that the idea includes anybody with dual citizenship without discrimination, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and South African Zionist Federation have issued a joint communication condemning the move as discriminatory towards Jews.

But dual citizens are banned from serving in the Israeli Knesset and no one seems to get too upset over it.

In my article of a few days ago, I mentioned a Knesset member by the name of Ksenia Svetlova, who is passionately advocating the formation of a Kurdish state. According to a Times of Israel article, Svetlova held dual Israeli-Russian citizenship until 2015, when she was elected to the Knesset, at which time she was forced to formally renounce her Russian citizenship.

“While Israelis may hold dual citizenship, a Basic Law passed in 1958 states that Knesset members cannot pledge allegiance as parliamentarians unless their foreign citizenship has been revoked under the laws of that country,” the article states.

Another Israeli politician, who was elected at the same time as Svetlova is Rachel Azaria, who was also forced to renounce her foreign citizenship–in the US! Again from the Times of Israel:

Azaria, a 38-year-old Jerusalem deputy mayor, renounced her American citizenship, which she had held by virtue of her mother having been born in the US.

It is astounding, is it not? Israel gets billions of dollars per year courtesy of US taxpayers–but anyone holding US citizenship is barred from serving in the Knesset! But we are not allowed to have a similar law here in the US banning Israeli citizens from serving in Congress!

And not only do we not have a similar in the US, but apparently Freedom of Information Act requests aimed at finding out which Congress members do in fact hold dual citizenship–are denied. The following is a 2015 article that was published at Counterpunch.


Dual Citizens in Congress?

By L. Michael Hager

Is dual citizenship in the U.S. Congress and administration creating potentially  serious conflicts of interest?

My Counterpunch piece of November 12, 2014 described a failed effort to identify members of Congress who hold dual citizenship and to ascertain the second nationality of those members.  I mentioned the then outstanding Freedom of Information Act request that I filed with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) last October.

This week I received the information I sought, in the form of a telephone call from a legal officer of the Library of Congress.   After reminding me that Congress (and the CRS by its connection with Congress) is exempt from FOIA requests, he verbally confirmed my suspicion that CRS does not currently collect dual citizenship data.

That’s bad news for those of us who believe that citizens should know if their representatives in Congress (and senior government officials and judges, for that matter) owe allegiance to any other nation.  For example, when a Senator, a House Member or a high USG official speaks out, submits bills or determines policy on an issue of importance to a second country, shouldn’t constituents (and citizens at large) be able to judge whether there is or is not a conflict (or apparent) conflict of interest?

Without transparency on dual citizenship, Americans remain in the dark, free to speculate on which representatives may have divided loyalties.  Current entries on the Internet reveal a wide range of such speculation. The lack of transparency is dangerous, for it erodes trust in government, creating credibility doubts where there should be none and allowing some conflicts to continue undetected, without question or debate.

Thus the first requirement is transparency.  We need a government agency (presumably the CRS) or a non-governmental organization to disclose the names and non-U.S. national affiliations of Members of Congress and senior government officials and to track and report on this issue.

Secondly, we need more media attention to the subject of dual citizenship.  Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Michelle Bachman both received wide press coverage, when they renounced their Canadian and Swiss nationalities, respectively.

Stanley Fischer, who currently serves as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, became an Israeli citizen in 2005 while retaining his American citizenship.  Prior to his appointment to the Fed in 2014, he served for eight years as governor of the Bank of Israel.  Although the New York Times article of March 13, 2014 reporting on his then upcoming confirmation hearings, disclosed his dual nationality, it failed to ask the obvious question of why one appointed to such a senior policy position should not be required to renounce his Israeli citizenship.  Why has the mainstream media largely ignored the potential conflict of interest inherent in dual citizen Members of Congress and Executive Branch officers?

What about those members and government officials who fail even to disclose their second or more nationalities?  As mentioned in my previous article on this subject, U.S. officials and government officers with Jewish identity may acquire Israeli citizenship without much or any formality under the Israeli Law of Return.  Thus it is possible, if not probable, that some of such officials hold Israeli citizenship.

Beyond the threshold issue of transparency are equally important questions of whether a dual citizen elected to Congress or appointed to a senior USG position should be required to renounce his or her citizenship in the second nation.  Even if American law continues to allow the government service of dual citizens, should it not require such persons at least to recuse themselves from participating in decisions or policy debates that relate to their second nationality?

To address these question we need accurate information on who are the dual citizens in our government.  To obtain such data will require a vigorous campaign by interested citizens and NGOs, first to have elected Members disclose any non-U.S. citizenship they hold and second to have the CRS begin to track and report on the presence of dual citizens in Congress and in the higher levels of Government.

Conflicts of interest and apparent conflicts by public officials erode trust in government.  Allowing dual citizenship in Congress (and in the Executive and Judicial Branches) to flourish under cover of non-disclosure puts our democracy at risk.

It’s time to bring this issue  into open debate.

 L. Michael Hager is co-founder and former director general of the International Development Law Organization, Rome

جبران باسيل وزير خارجية العرب


ناصر قنديل

ديسمبر 11, 2017

– «عندما يحمل لبنان رسالة السلام مبنيّاً على العدل، إنّما يقوم بدور طبيعي. وعندما يدافع عن شعب فلسطين، فإنّه يضيف إلى بلاغة الكلام، من طريقة عيشه وتصرّفه، ما هو أبلغ من الكلام. وكما أنّ للحقّ والعدالة منطقاً، فللحكمة منطقها أيضاً.

– فلنستمع إليها تؤكّد أنّ العنف قصير الأجل، عاجز عن تأمين سلمٍ صحيح دائم، عقيم إذا تصدّى لحقوق الشعوب الأساسية، كما هي الحال بالنسبة إلى شعب فلسطين، «أضعف من أن ينال من عزم الفلسطينيين على المقاومة داخل الأراضي المحتلّة أو من تصميم على مواصلة الضغط من الخارج من أجل التحرّر. تلك هي سنّة التاريخ في حركات المقاومة والتحرير».

– من كلمة الرئيس الراحل سليمان فرنجية أمام الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة 14/11/1974.

– تصحّ هذه الكلمات التي استعملها الرئيس اللبناني الراحل سليمان فرنجية قبل نصف قرن تقريباً من منبر الأمم المتحدة لتوصيف موقع لبنان ودوره من القضية الفلسطينية وموقع هذه القضية في صناعة الاستقرار في العالم، للتعليق على الكلمة التي ألقاها وزير خارجية لبنان جبران باسيل في اجتماع وزراء الخارجية العرب المخصّص لمناقشة القرار الأميركي باعتماد القدس عاصمة لـ «إسرائيل».

– أضاف باسيل لشرعة المقاومة التي بشّر بها الرئيس فرنجية تجربة المقاومة التي شيّد لبنان بنيانها ورفعها إلى مستوى لاهوت التحرير وقانون الردع، وخاطب الوزراء العرب بما افترض الرئيس فرنجية أنه يخاطب العالم به نيابة عن العرب كلّهم، ليجد باسيل أنه يتلو مزامير داود على من بهم صممٌ، مكتفياً بالتحدث للتاريخ الذي ترك له الرئيس فرنجية الحكم الأخير، لينالا معاً شرف التحدث بالنيابة عن الحق وبلسان الشعوب التي لا تكلّ ولا تملّ من المقاومة عندما يتخاذل الحكام، كما في لبنان، كما في فلسطين، كما في كلّ مكان، والعنف والجبروت والعنجهية، تعبيرات عن قصر نظر عندما يتصل الأمر بقضايا الشعوب وحقوقها الأساسية، «حيث العنف قصير الأجل وأضعف من أن ينال من عزم الشعوب على المقاومة».

– «نحن هنا، لأنّ عروبتنا لا تتنازل عن القدس، ونحن في لبنان لا نتهرّب من قدرنا في المواجهة والمقاومة حتى الشهادة»، قال لهم باسيل، وأضاف «نحن من هوية القدس، كرامتنا لا تُمَسّ وهويتنا لا تُخطَف، بل تعود لتتحرّر فتنطلق من لبنانيتها إلى مشرقيتها إلى عروبتها. نحن هنا لنستعيد عروبتنا الضالة ما بين سنة وشيعة، والمهدورة بين شرق وغرب، والمتلهية بصراع عربي – فارسي، والمدفوعة وهماً الى تخويف إسلامي – مسيحي متبادل». وختم قائلاً، «لم نأت الى هنا لرفع اليدين لبيان رفع العتب، فتعالوا ننتفض لعزتنا ونتجنّب لعنة التاريخ وأسئلة أحفادنا عن تخاذلنا، لأنّ الانتفاضة وحدها تحفظ ماء وجهنا وتُعيد حقوقنا، فإما أن نتحرّك الآن، وإلا على القدس السلام… ولا سلام».

– استحقّ باسيل بجدارة أن يكون وزير خارجية العرب الذين لا وزراء خارجية لهم، وصرختُه لم تذهب هباء، ولا تبدّدت في الهواء، فقد وصلت إلى حيث يجب أن تصل، سمعها شعبُ فلسطين، وسائر العرب، وسمعها المحتلُّ الغاصب ومَنْ منحه تفويض التقويض والتهويد في القدس، فمن يجب أن يُصيبهم الذعر من القرار الأميركي لا زالت قلوبهم نابضة بالحرية وأصواتهم تنبض بالرجولة، ومَنْ يجب أن ينجحوا بالتعمية والتغطية والتورية فضحهم صدق الكلمات النابعة من الحق، وكما في العلاقة بين النور والظلمة، يكفي بعض النور لتبديد كلّ الظلمة ولا تكفي الظلمة كلّها للتعمية على نور شمعة منفردة، فكانت كلمة باسيل هي المؤتمر وكان هو الوزير، ولا حاجة لوزراء وكلمات، فما يجب أن يُقال قد قيل، ومَنْ يجب أن يسمع فقد سمع.

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Frightening thought, there may be as many as 95,000,000 “Christian” Zionist voters in the USA

Armageddon? Bring It On: The Evangelical Force Behind Trump’s Jerusalem Speech


The U.S. evangelical community is in raptures over Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, believing it moves the world closer to Armageddon

ed note–doubtless what we are about to say here will result in the typical reflexive, autonomic, reactionary, and ill-considered campaign of screeching from all the usual corners, but we’ll do it anyway.

By declaring Jerusalem to be the ‘capital’ of Israel, Trump has just touched the J-Spot–that religious erogenous zone existing only with Jews and with their Christian Zionist lickspittle lackeys–of as many as 95,000,000 voters in America.

Let me spell that out for you again–95 MILLION VOTERS.

For purposes related to Trump’s domestic agenda, these people represent a veritable army of activists who can now be counted on to march in exactly the manner as needed by their CiC who–in their eyes–is a foreshadowing of the return of the Messiah. That means if he needs them to engage in the kind of hive-activities that we see take place on a regular basis with Judea Inc, where busy little bees are activated into flooding comments sections of websites and blogs, calling representatives and chewing them a you-know-what for whatever position they maintain (such as the witch hunt presently against the President taking place) or even–drum role please–organizing boycotts of certain products in the interests of hitting Hollywood and the JMSM where it hurts, they have now had their batteries charged, their guns locked and loaded and are ready to go.

I/we understand the ‘rage on the street’ within the Muslim community, and–lest we forget–the Christian community as well. We are not endorsing what Trump has done, merely giving a perspective to it that rises a wee bit higher than the typical noise coming out of ‘duh muuvmnt’ at any given moment that goes no further than ‘TRUMP DID THIS ‘CUZ HE IS OWNED BY DUH JOOZ’.

If only politics were as simple as some people imagine them being, where EVERYTHING can be explained with that one sentence comprising 10 words, well, just as that old song sung by Louis Armstrong went, ‘what a wonderful world…’

Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz

Anyone wondering what the true impetus was behind U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital needed only to view the image of the president when he made the formal announcement.

Glittering Christmas decorations festooned across the White House hallway enveloped Trump, with Vice President Mike Pence deliberately – if a bit awkwardly – placed directly behind the president’s shoulder, ensuring that no camera angle could leave him out of the picture.

It all felt carefully staged to send a strong message to Christian evangelical voters and their leaders that this is their victory and Trump is their man.

Trump showed he is behind the evangelical agenda not only when it comes to enacting domestic agenda – like opposing abortion, appointing conservative judges or saying “Merry Christmas” – but on foreign policy issues close to their heart as well.

It was surely no coincidence that the dramatic declaration took place in the final days of a crucial Senate special election campaign, taking place in Alabama next Tuesday, in which embattled Republican Roy Moore is fighting with the backing of former Trump adviser and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon. Getting religious, right-wing voters to the polls, despite the swirling controversy regarding Moore’s alleged past relationships with young girls, is viewed as crucial to a GOP victory.

The announcement also took place just before Pence is set to visit Israel for three days, from December 17-19. This guarantees enhanced media coverage for the Pence trip, where he will certainly be greeted as a conquering hero – pleasing evangelicals even more.

While much has been made of the influence of Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson in Trump’s move, and his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner’s words of support – flouting the conventional wisdom that he would be dismayed that it would derail his 11-month attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – the approbation from Israel and pro-Trump American Jews seems to be a happy bonus to the main objective.

Trump is showing love to Israel because evangelical voters form the crucial linchpin in his relatively small but solid support base. Evangelical voters threw their support behind Trump in 2016 at a higher rate than any previous presidential candidate – giving him 81 percent of their vote, even more than they gave to fellow evangelical George W. Bush.

It was these Christian evangelicals – and Pence, an evangelical himself and a prominent touchstone of their influence in the Trump administration – that were clearly the driving force behind the Jerusalem declaration.

Furthermore, the fact the evangelical community’s desire to see Jerusalem being irrevocably in Israeli hands is based on religious beliefs rather than practical political concerns means that any fear of the anticipated violent reaction from Palestinians and the Arab world was easily dismissed as irrelevant by Trump and the decision-makers around him.

This early Christmas gift to evangelicals was consistent with the Trump administration, which has been the most evangelical-friendly White House in U.S. history, with an unprecedented number of card-carrying members of the religious right filling cabinet positions. Indeed, a weekly Bible studies meeting is held, with Pence reportedly among those in attendance.

Also close to Trump: Jay Sekulow – one of the attorneys defending him in the Russia probe – a messianic Jew with a high profile in the Christian evangelical community.

And Johnnie Moore, considered the de facto leader of Trump’s evangelical advisers, told CNN that the status of Jerusalem has been a top priority for the community, and that the issue was “second only to concerns about the judiciary among the president’s core evangelical supporters.”

By making this move, Trump had “demonstrated to his evangelical supporters that he will do what he says he will do,” Moore added.

On Wednesday, the far-right Christian evangelical website Charisma News was overflowing with praise from evangelical leaders for the Jerusalem announcement.

“Evangelicals are ecstatic, for Israel is to us a sacred place and the Jewish people are our dearest friends,” Pastor Paula White told Charisma. “The Jewish people have dedicated themselves to Jerusalem over millennia, taken pride in it, defended it with blood and treasure, and today we rejoice with them.”

White delivered the invocation at Trump’s inauguration last January and participated in a high-profile “laying on of hands” during Trump’s presidential campaign, in which 40 evangelical leaders and televangelists prayed for his success.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical leader (and father of Trump’s White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders) has for years prominently lobbied for the U.S. Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. He also hailed the move on Trump’s favorite television network, and dismissed concerns that it could spark violence.

Theological dog-whistle

‘In order to truly understand the centrality of this theological dog-whistle to Trump’s evangelical base, you must take their religious beliefs seriously,’ argued progressive Christian commentator and pundit Diana Butler Bass, in a widely circulated thread on Twitter. Bass said the Jerusalem issue was so important to evangelicals because it is necessary to regain Judeo-Christian control of the Temple Mount.

This is vital, she explained, because rebuilding the Temple would initiate the “end-time” laid out in the Book of Revelations. End-time is a fundamentalist Christian belief in a prophecy that the living and the resurrected will one day be delivered from the Earth by God, their bodies transformed and protected in heaven, as he pours out his wrath on the sinners left behind.

Butler Bass asserted that ‘of all the possible theological dog-whistles to his evangelical base, the Jerusalem declaration is the biggest.’ Trump is reminding them that he is carrying out God’s will to these Last Days. ‘They’ve been waiting for this, praying for this,’ she wrote. ‘They want war in the Middle East. The Battle of Armageddon, at which time Jesus Christ will return to the Earth and vanquish all God’s enemies. For certain evangelicals, this is the climax of history. And Trump is taking them there. To the promised judgment, to their sure victory. The righteous will be ushered to heaven; the reprobate will be banished to hellfire.’

To these true believers, she added, the Jerusalem announcement is ‘the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Donald Trump is not only acting on a campaign promise, but enacting a theological one. They believe that Donald Trump is God’s instrument to move us closer to the Rapture, the Judgment, and the End. Because to them that’s actually the beginning – the beginning of their reward and heavenly bliss.’

As a result, she explained, the issue of whether the Jerusalem move is a provocation that could harm the cause of peace is meaningless, since ‘peace in this world doesn’t matter.’

To nonbelievers, including mainstream Christians for whom this sounds far-fetched, she argued that it is actively preached in churches nationwide and that ‘millions of American Christians believe this and have based their faith and identity on it.’

In fact, evangelical cleric John Hagee’s reaction to the Jerusalem announcement bore out Butler Bass’s argument.

Speaking on CBN News’ “Faith Nation” show, Hagee said that ‘Christians should care about Israel because the entirety of the Bible beginning at Genesis all the way to the end is God’s position paper on the Jewish people.’

‘Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, recorded in the book of Genesis, that He was going to give them a strip of real estate in the Middle East, and that piece of real estate would be theirs forever. Forever means today, tomorrow and forever,’ he said.

He added a direct allusion to end-time, noting, ‘I believe at this point in time, Israel is God’s stopwatch for everything that happens to every nation, including America, from now until the Rapture of the church and beyond.’

The ‘Rapture of the church’ describes an event that fundamentalist Christians believe will happen in end-time, referring to the “snatching away” of the righteous to heaven.

Given the wall-to-wall support for the Jerusalem declaration in the evangelical community, it is interesting to note that a recent survey of 2,000 American evangelical Christians found that older evangelicals offered far more unconditional support to Israel than millennials.

The survey, commissioned by the Chosen People Ministries, found that 80 percent of those over 65 believe the Jewish people have a right to the Land of Israel, compared with 61 percent of those under 35. It was issued with a dire warning that “overall support of evangelicals for Israel will drop significantly in the next decade if the younger generation is not educated now about its biblical importance.”

Maybe, but if the events of the past few days are an indication, evangelical Christian support of Jewish sovereignty in Israel is strong: Strong enough to move the hand of the president it helped put into office and whom the president needs to keep him there.

Oh no, they must be distraught. CIA ‘mistakenly’ destroys copy of 6,700-page US torture report

CIA ‘mistakenly’ destroys copy of 6,700-page US torture report

Source: crunchs mag

The CIA inspector general’s office has said it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a comprehensive Senate torture report, despite lawyers for the Justice Department assuring a federal judge that copies of the documents were being preserved.

The erasure of the document by the spy agency’s internal watchdog was deemed an “inadvertent” foul-up by the inspector general, according to Yahoo News.

One intelligence community source told Yahoo News, which first reported the development, that last summer CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document.


Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee. (Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)

The 6,700-page report contains thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other aggressive interrogation techniques at “black site” prisons overseas.

The full version of the report remains classified, but a 500-page executive summary was released to the public in 2014.

Christoper R. Sharpley, the CIA’s acting inspector general (CIA IG), alerted the Senate intelligence panel that his office’s copy of the report had vanished in August.

And Senator Dianne Feinstein, the driving force behind the 2014 report, sent letters to the CIA and Justice Department confirming the spy agency’s inspector general “has misplaced and/or accidentally destroyed” its copy of the report.

Douglas Cox, a City University of New York School of Law professor who specialises in tracking the preservation of federal records told Yahoo News: “It’s breathtaking that this could have happened, especially in the inspector general’s office – they’re the ones that are supposed to be providing accountability within the agency itself.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (Getty Images)

“It makes you wonder what was going on over there?”

Another copy of the report exists elsewhere within the CIA, which is waiting for the conclusion of a years-long legal battle over the document.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr opposed the publication of the report in 2014. Since taking power he has attempted to recover copies of the report that were distributed throughout the Obama administration.

Pentagon increases their illegal troop levels in Syria to “stabilize area”. What a joke!!!

Pentagon quadruples troop levels in Syria to ‘stabilize’ liberated areas

Image result for USA troop in Syria CARTOON

The US military has increased the number of troops in Syria from 500 to 2,000, the Pentagon says, adding that the “conditions-based” military presence is justified by the need to “stabilize” liberated areas.

The Pentagon has officially announced that there are now 2,000 troops in Syria – a fourfold increase from the previous figures given. “The United States will continue necessary counterterrorism and stabilization effort,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said.

“The United States will sustain a conditions-based military presence in Syria to combat the threat of insurgent-led insurgency, prevent the resurgence of ISIS and to stabilize liberated areas.”

Manning claimed that the Iraqi Army and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated about 97 percent “of the people and land” previously controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria respectively. He said the campaign to defeat IS is now in a new phase in these countries.

Coalition forces are still needed in the two countries, Manning said, adding that they will now focus on “train, advise and assist” missions. “As the terrorist group continues to lose territory, important work remains to ensure its lasting defeat.”

The US military has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the number of troops and “military advisers” it has fighting alongside anti-government rebel forces. Under the Obama administration, the Pentagon routinely announced foreign troop deployments, but the Trump administration stopped disclosing such information regarding Operation Inherent Resolve. The policy was reversed in the spring of 2017 in order to maintain the “element of surprise” against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq.

Damascus views the US military engagement in Syria as illegitimate, as there was no official request for intervention from the government. Early in November, Syrian leader Bashar Assad said his government will deal with any “illegal invader force.” He added that the war in Syria will continue until there is a full “recovery of security and stability to all Syrian lands.”

Washington insists its military presence in Syria is lawful and justified by UN mandate. In mid-November, US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed the United Nations sanctioned the US presence in Syria.

“You know, the UN said that… basically we can go after ISIS. And we’re there to take them out,” Mattis said. Moscow responded by saying the UN cannot greenlight a foreign invasion of Syria, as it is contrary to international law.

Media reports indicate that the US is not planning to leave any time soon. According to the Washington Post, the US wants to keep troops in Syria long after Islamic State is defeated to help the Western-backed SDF establish “new local governance” structures in order to prevent complete victory by the Syrian government and its ally, Iran.

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