رسائل إيرانية نارية من دمشق معاً نقاتلكم أيّها الأميركيون… ومعاً نحبط مكركم!

جانب من الوصول

محمد صادق الحسيني

أكتوبر 19, 2017

للمرة الأولى منذ بدء الحرب الكونية على سورية يزور موفد عسكري وسياسي وأمني إيراني رفيع المستوى هو الأعلى مرتبة العاصمة دمشق في خطوة لها دلالاتها الاستراتيجية في زمن النصر والتحرير.

والرسائل التي حملها من الوزن الثقيل، منها ما هو قابل للإعلان ومنها ما هو أخفى وأمرّ وأدهى على العدو..!

أولاً: لم تأت هذه الزياره كردّ فعل على العدوان الجوي «الاسرائيلي» على الأجواء اللبنانية، وعلى موقع عسكري سوري قبل أيام، كما يُشاع، وإنما هي زيارة مبرمجة ومُعَدّ لها سابقاً ضمن المشاورات المتواصلة بين الجيشين الإيراني والسوري، واللذين يقاتلان العدو الصهيوأميركي نفسه ومشاريعه الإجرامية في المنطقه العربية والإسلامية.

زيارة رئيس أركان الجيش الإيرانى

ثانياً: إنّ وصول الجنرال باقري إلى دمشق واستعراضه لحرس الشرف، وهو يرتدي بزّة الميدان يحمل الكثير من المعاني، وعلى رأسها أنه لم يأتِ إلى دمشق في زيارة بروتوكولية تقتصر على التقاط الصور التذكارية الاستعراضية وتجاذب الأحاديث العامة المحتوى مع نظيره السوري.

وهذا يعني أنّ هذه الزيارة هي زيارة عمل واجتماعات مكثّفة جاء ليجريها مع القاده العسكريين السوريين وإخوانهم الإيرانيين الذين يقاتلون معهم في مختلف جبهات القتال في سورية.

لا، بل إنّ هذا الحضور يشي بأنّ القيادتين العسكريتين الإيرانية والسورية بصدد وضع اللمسات الأخيرة على خطة إعادة الزخم لمواصلة الهجوم الاستراتيجي لقوات الحلف، بما في ذلك التعاون مع القوات المسلّحة العراقية، لاستكمال حلقات هذا الهجوم بعد الانتهاء من تحرير دير الزّور والبوكمال وإحكام السيطرة، بالتعاون مع القوات المسلحة العراقية، على الحدود العراقية السورية وتأمين الطريق الاستراتيجي البري الرابط بين موسكو وغزة، عبر طهران فبغداد فدمشق فبيروت.

ثالثاً: بالنظر الى النظرة الثاقبة للمرشد الأعلى للثورة الإسلامية، وقراءته الاستشرافية الدقيقة لاحتمالات تطوّر وتغيّر أساليب العدوان الصهيوأميركي على العالمين العربي والإسلامي، وإلى اختياره هذه الشخصية العسكرية الفذة والتي تتمتع بالخبرات العسكرية والأمنية الضرورية لمواجهة أشكال العدوان الجديدة، فإنه من الواضح أنّ أعين الإمام خامنئي كانت ترى مؤامرة مسعود البرزاني تلوح في الأفق قريباً، عندما قام بتعيين الجنرال باقري رئيساً لأركان الجيش الإيراني في شهر حزيران سنة 2016.

وهنا، فإنّ من الجدير بالذكر أنّ الجنرال باقري قد تقلّد في وقت سابق منصب مساعد القائد العام للقيادة المشتركة في القوات المسلحة الإيرانية سابقاً لشؤون الاستخبارات والعمليات، إلى جانب توليه مسؤولية مساعد لرئيس الأركان للشؤون المشتركة في القوات المسلحة ومنسق بينها وبين الحرس الثوري.

رابعاً: وبالنظر الى المسؤولية الحساسة التي كان يتولاها الجنرال باقري، إبان فترة التمرّد الكردي المدعوم صهيوأميركياً في شمال غرب إيران، والذي استمرّ حتى أواخر عام 1983 والتي تمثلت في الإشراف على شؤون الاستخبارات خلال العمليات التي نفذها الحرس الثوري في تلك المنطقة وانتهت بالقضاء على ذلك التمرّد.

وانطلاقاً من هذه الخلفية، وبالنظر إلى وقائع الميدانين السوري والعراقي، واقتراب تحقيق النصر في هذا الفصل من فصول الهجوم الاستراتيجي لقوات الحلف وضرورة الاستعداد لتنفيذ المرحلة النهائية باتجاه تأمين المحافظات الشمالية الشرقية في سورية وغرب العراق. أيّ وضع اللمسات الأخيرة على خطة حماية المواطنين الأكراد في المناطق المشار إليها أعلاه من عبث مسعود برزاني وبقية جوقة العملاء هناك، وصولاً إلى تفكيك التشكيلات العسكرية العميلة والتي تديرها وزارة الحرب الأميركية وتلك «الإسرائيلية» وبتمويل إماراتي.

اذن، هي زيارة عمل ميداني بامتياز سيتبعها سيل من المفاجآت الكبرى التي لن تتوقف إلا بتحقيق الهدف النهائي المتمثل بإجبار المحتلّ الأميركي على تجميع مرتزقته والهرب من شمال شرق سورية وتحقيق أهداف الهجوم الاستراتيجي الكبير.

لذلك كان باقري واضحاً كلّ الوضوح في رسائله الأساسية التي حرص على إطلاقها من دمشق تحديداً:

 ـ نحن وسورية نقاتل سوياً عدوّنا المزدوج الصهيوني والتكفيري.

 ـ لن نسمح للعدو الصهيوني بالعدوان على سورية.

 ـ خطيئة البرزاني ممنوع أن تتكرّر…!

أيّ لا حرب على سورية أو لبنان من جانب العدو الصهيوني، ولا تراجع إيرانياً عن تلاحم قواته مع قوات الجيش السوري في جبهة الحرب على داعش وأخواته، ولا لمؤامرة التقسيم…!

وهكذا يكون الجنرال باقري قد أبلغ رسائل القائد العام للقوات المسلحة الإمام السيد علي خامنئي للصديق كما للعدو، كما وردت على لسانه في آخر خطاب له في طهران في الوقت نفسه الذي كان فيه مبعوثه يستعرض ضباط وجنود الجيش السوري بلباس الميدان ألا وهي:

لقد هُزمتم في سورية والعراق ولبنان. وهذا سبب غيظكم وحنقكم…

وإننا نعرفكم جيداً، بأنكم أنتم سادة الصهيونية والتكفيريين معاً، ولذلك سنقاتلكم جميعاً…

ولما كنا نعرف أنّ مكركم ومكائدكم مستمرّة، رغم بلاهة ترامب، فإننا لن ننام، بل نرقد ونحن لكم بالمرصاد في كلّ ساحٍ.

والكلام للسيد علي الخامنئي أمام جمع من النخب الطالبية العلمية المتفوقة في شارع فلسطين في طهران.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

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Palestinian Women Are Harassed, Beaten And Humiliated At Checkpoints. Here Are A Few Of Their Stories.

Palestinian Women Are Harassed, Beaten And Humiliated At Checkpoints. Here Are A Few Of Their Stories.

JEWS PALESTINE

THE FORWARD – Since 1967, about 40% of the Palestinian male population has been detained by Israel. With their men in jail, Palestinian women are left to continue surviving and ensuring the well-being of their families. From confronting increased Israeli violations to earning a living while also being caregivers, Palestinian women have had to pick up twice the weight, while living under the pressures of Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank.

One aspect of this occupation are the military checkpoints. As of 2017, there are 98 fixed Israeli checkpoints around and within the West Bank. This is discounting the hundreds of flying checkpoints that sporadically erupt across the region. According to OCHA, more than 2.4 million people are affected by the physical restrictions in the West Bank.

While Israel claims these checkpoints are necessary for security reasons, Palestinians say that this is another measure to further inhibit any control they have over the little space afforded to them. Rather than security, many Palestinians view the checkpoints as a way to humiliate them, and further diminish their dignity.

Checkpoints are also destructive to Palestinian economy and welfare, and women and girls were no exception to the negative consequences of checkpoints.

These are some of their stories.

Maysanne Murad, 13 years old, Qalandiya Checkpoint

I was so excited to see my best friend. By the time my parents agreed to let me sleep over at her house, I was already packed and waiting by the door. I walked to the main Ramallah bus stop next to my school and hopped on a #119 bus. I wasn’t nervous at all. I always did this, since my friend lives in Jerusalem and I live on the other side of the checkpoint in Ramallah. It usually takes me a little over an hour to get to her house.

There was lots of traffic that day, usual on a Saturday. But I didn’t mind because I always read a book. As the bus got closer to the front of the line, I unfolded the koshan that I kept in the back pocket of my light-pink wallet. Someone next to me asked me what the paper was, and I explained that since I wasn’t old enough to have an identity card, I had a legal document confirming that I was allowed to enter Jerusalem.

An armed Israeli guard wearing a green uniform stepped onto the bus, and I felt a little nervous. He held his gun tightly, and suspiciously inspected everyone’s cards.

When he finally reached me I prepared myself for a flood of questions. I was usually asked lots of questions, since my picture wasn’t on the koshan. It contained information like my name, birthday and place of birth. I never really understood why the koshan was so important, since anyone my age could easily memorize the information and sneak into Jerusalem.

The soldier took my paper and looked at me. Here I was, at a crossroads; I could squint my eyes slightly and purse my lips to defy him, or I could widen my eyes to appear innocent. I decided to go with the latter, safe choice. I knew that if I defied him I would just delay the bus and it wouldn’t help my case. He beckoned his partner and they asked me the routine questions: my name, age, birth place, where my parents’ were and where the original koshan was. I got a little nervous because usually only one soldier asked me questions while the other checked other passengers.

This time, after asking me the questions, they kept my paper. Then they told me to get off the bus.

As I stumbled off the bus. My overnight bag threw me off balance. I glanced back at the driver and I recognized his scared yet menacing eyes trailing after the soldiers from glances I always see Palestinians give soldiers. I tried to breathe. This had never happened before. Usually they asked me questions and then let me through. But here I was, standing in the middle of the checkpoint.

I looked around and saw a blur of black and green. The camouflage uniforms and large guns made me dizzy. About five soldiers swarmed around me. They didn’t offer me a chair, and I felt very out of place.

I was hot and my clothes clung to my skin. I felt trapped and terrible because I had delayed the bus. I couldn’t help but think of the people who were tired and just wanted to get home to their families. I felt like I was at such a disadvantage because all the soldiers spoke Hebrew while I tried to decipher what was being said.

One of the soldiers looked at me sympathetically but then turned away and laughed as another soldier told a joke in a loud voice.

Here I squinted my eyes at the soldiers. How could they be so comfortable holding their guns and interrogating a child? This was the first time I had been forced off my bus. I felt unsafe and violated. I was being interrogated for wanting to see my friend.

After 20 minutes, my koshan was returned to me, and I quickly got back onto the bus, suddenly exhausted from the weight of my bag. I didn’t read my book. I was overwhelmed with sorrow and exhaustion.

Some 20 minutes later, I reached my destination. I walked into the home I knew so well, and sat down for a bowl of soup as I told my story to the wide-eyed family before me. They weren’t surprised by the strange incident, but were surprised that it had happened to me.

I’m only 13 years old.

Samar Ahmad (pseudonym), 29 years old, Qalandiya Checkpoint

The process of going through checkpoints doesn’t begin at the checkpoint for Palestinians with West Bank IDs. It’s a process starting with applying to the Israeli District Coordination Offices and picking up a permit.

I remember going to Beit El DCO to pick up mine. It was winter, cold, and I was there alone. It’s a process I’ve done many times because I work in Jerusalem.

Each time I go, I walk into a room. It’s empty, but there are cameras, and guards speak to you through speakers.

One time, after I put down all my things on the belt and approached the metal detector, a voice started screaming at me from the speakers.

“You have metal on you!” the voice kept shouting.

I was alone. Afraid.

“You have metal on you!”

I kept wondering why they had to keep screaming. I kept saying, “I have no metal.”

It’s strange — you feel like you’re speaking to yourself, trying to convince some disembodied voice you have no metal on you.

Suddenly, a door opened and a man walked in. He had a gun. It was pointed at me.

“You have metal on you!” he screamed.

I was confused, and all I could think of doing was looking at him to calm him down and reassure him that I had no metal on me. This was at a time when Israeli forces were shooting Palestinians point-blank. Had I not remained calm and spoken in English with him I could have easily been shot, because he was convinced I was a suspect.

I just saw a man with a gun, ready to shoot, and the words kept echoing: “You have metal on you!”

I kept telling myself to remain calm, and also to calm him down. I had to make sure he didn’t pull that trigger.

I made a joke and pointed at my nose piercing and said, “Is this maybe the metal you’re talking about?”

Or maybe it was my bra, I suggested. I asked him if he wanted me to pull up my shirt to prove there was nothing there.

He stopped screaming for a second and looked at me. “You women are always trouble,” he said. He returned his gun to its holster and went back to his office.

This is where the journey of checkpoints begins for many of us.

The actual passing through Israeli checkpoints is a whole other world. Because I work in Jerusalem, I have to travel through Qalandiya every day. It’s the worst part of my day.

The walking checkpoint includes Palestinians from all margins of society, and I see it bringing out the worst in all of us. The heat hits you. The cold hits you. There is filth everywhere. The whole area is just a blob of gray. It’s completely polluted. We’re crowded in these small places, with these metal gates that are usually present in farms for livestock. You begin to feel like an animal in a cage. Going through this process every day is exhausting, and you don’t always succeed in blocking this experience. Sometimes they just stick with you.

I remember an older man who clearly just got out of surgery at the checkpoint. The soldier did not let him through, and it’s clear that the man needed medical attention. He was old and exhausted. I looked at him and at the young soldier who was refusing his entry. I couldn’t help but break down at that moment. It was so painful. I just kept imagining my own father having to be in that position.

It’s like a lost humanity. All that was left to do at that moment was cry.

Nora Lester Murad, 53 years old, Ben Gurion Airport

I step up to a podium in the departures terminal behind which stands a security official. I hand him my passport. Smiling, he opens it, looks up at me, and asks: “Why is your name Murad?”

It’s a question I expect whenever I pass through security upon my departure from Ben Gurion Airport. It’s the same profiling and harassment that is routine at checkpoints across the West Bank.

It may seem counterintuitive, but I have more difficulty leaving Israel than I have entering. I think the people who are harassed, delayed or denied entry when they come in are those who are easy to target because they need a tourist visa. I, too, have a visa that is issued at Israel’s discretion, but since I am the spouse of a citizen, Israel needs a pretty good reason to deny me entry. Notably, I get a high level of security scrutiny only when I travel alone.

Why is my name Murad?

I have no way to answer except by telling the truth: It is my husband’s name. I added it to my maiden name several years after we were married so that I’d share the same family name as my children.

But I don’t go into that detail. I just confess that I am married to a man with the family name of Murad.

“Where is he from?”

“From here,” I answer.

“From where exactly?”

At this point, they are already glancing behind them to get the attention of the supervisor. My husband is from a Palestinian village in the Galilee. The villagers are all citizens of Israel, but there are no Jews there. By telling them the name of my husband’s village, I am now labeled a security risk.

There was a time when travelers with the highest security risk got a red sticker on their passport and on each potentially explosive piece of baggage, but now they use stickers with numbers. As a six, I used to get full VIP treatment, including a strip search, a special check-in line and a personal escort through security. These days I don’t get the strip search and I have to walk myself through security. But I still get the defining question: “Why is your name Murad?” and all the racist questioning that follows.

When I travel with my husband, we are treated much better. We get searched like everyone else and they don’t harass us with ridiculous questions. They are not even discourteous. The difference in how I am treated when I travel alone compared to how I am treated when I travel with my husband has been consistent over many years, even decades.

I believe that Israeli security forces have a fantasy that my husband (because he is Arab) will try to blow up the plane and that I (because I am a foreign woman) could be easily tricked into carrying the bomb without my knowledge. This profiling doesn’t consider the fact that I’ve been married for nearly 30 years, that we have 3 children together, that we both have doctoral degrees, that I travel alone in and out of Ben Gurion Airport several times a year, nor the fact that we are both widely known as nonviolent and peace-loving people.

Profiling dehumanizes me. And the problem with dehumanization is that it’s impossible to make peace with someone that you have dehumanized.

Name: Sireen Amra, 15 years old Qalandiya Checkpoint:

“This isn’t right,” my mother explained to the Israeli soldier, who said that I could pass only with a permit.

I focused my eyes onto the cracked concrete beneath my feet to avoid looking up at either of them. It was beginning to feel odd to me that just that morning I was so keen on visiting Jerusalem that I practically begged my entire family just so we could have a nice day. This proved to be harder than I thought it would be.

“This isn’t right,” she said. She pointed at the birthday on my passport to indicate that I was only 8 years old.

Still, Israeli dominance has always been much older than I, so it had seniority in situations like these. Again, I was denied. My shaky hands impulsively fidgeted with the ends of my dress, which I bought especially for that Eid holiday.

“But, this isn’t right.”

My mother searched for better words, ones that would magically fix what seemed to be an interminable struggle, but she could not find them. Perhaps it’s because there weren’t any.

I stared back at my sisters for reassurance and was instead met by the sight of dozens of Palestinians cramped by what now seemed to be much more than mere metal detectors. They were piled on top of one another in the confines of steel bars, and for the first time, it felt like a zoo.

Watching from afar were soldiers who held tightly onto their guns as if they thought one of the animals might strike. It didn’t seem like they would, though; their faces looked too empty and exhausted to fight.

People were staring at my mother and me with pity, except there was something in their eyes that told me this was not an unfamiliar scene. My 8-year-old mind could not focus on my mother’s argument with the Israeli soldier who sat leisurely behind the glass window; I was far too busy trying to piece together the arbitrary, incomprehensible force that echoed in the cries of the 3- or 4-year-old before me who also was not accepted to pass through the Qalandiya checkpoint.

With my knees almost impulsively bent and my back hunched, I hoped that I would appear as less of a threat. Unsurprisingly, this method didn’t work. The checkpoint went quiet for my mother, as if their silence would make her words louder. They thought that maybe, just maybe, if none of them said anything, the soldiers would have no choice but to listen.

I tugged on my mother’s sleeves to grab her attention, but every brief eye contact we shared only seemed to fill her words with even more urgency.

News headlines about Palestinians who were shot dead for fighting against the same unexplainable force my mother was facing now flashed through my memory. They were no longer just stories, because in that moment I could see it. All that I had heard about the Palestinian-Israeli struggle throughout my childhood was becoming a reality, but it felt like it arrived too early. The hot summer sun was urging me to break the glass window that separated the Israeli soldier’s world from mine. It said to run outside the checkpoint, where it was much less dark and cold. Maybe, if I was a few minutes younger, I would have.

It was about three years before I returned to the Qalandiya checkpoint. A few of my younger cousins wanted very desperately to see the Dome of the Rock in person and witness a world beyond the West Bank, just as I once did.

I didn’t mention to them what had happened the last time, only because I feared that my worries would weigh down their excitement. There isn’t much I remember from that particular day, except that there seemed to be an odd consciousness following me around. It constantly reminded me that my cousins seemed to be looking at an entirely different planet through entirely different lenses. Theirs were so colorful and vivid, but mine were still blurry from that Eid morning a few years ago.

When returning home, I was certain that it would be the last time I would ever have to pass through the Qalandiya checkpoint. It seemed useless to return when all it did was make me uncomfortably aware of how much had changed in just one day.

However, now that I no longer live in Palestine, I would give anything to see Jerusalem again, even if it means means getting the same fast heartbeat when walking up to the same glass window.

Umm Mohammed, 51 years old, Container Checkpoint – Bethlehem

I was on my way to Bethlehem from Ramallah with my son. We were driving, and when we reached the checkpoint a soldier waved us to stop. I stopped the car, prepared my ID and waited for the soldier to approach. My son, who was only 13, was in the passenger seat next to me.

When the soldier came he asked for my son’s ID. I explained that I am his mother and he still hasn’t been issued an identification card yet.

My son, who had been accustomed to hearing stories about his friends being strip-searched and detained at the checkpoint, was clearly afraid. His palms were between his legs, and his head low.

It seemed that was enough to make his a suspect.

“Out of the car,” the soldier said as he pointed at my son.

I looked at the soldier, young enough to be a son of mine, holding his gun tightly. I looked at my own son, wearing a navy T-shirt and afraid. I begged the soldier: “He’s only 13, what do you want from him?”

He ignored my plea and said again, “Out of the car.”

My son looked at me. As a mother, I felt so helpless. I didn’t know what to do. So I just said, “It’s okay love, they’re cowards, they just want to check.”

My son was taken out of the car and led to the booth near the checkpoint. They didn’t speak to him, they just made him stand under the sun. After some minutes, I decided to intervene.

“I want to speak to my son,” I said. “You’re just leaving him under the heat and he’s only 13.”

A soldier commanded me to shut up in Hebrew. I tried again, thinking that perhaps if I pester enough, they’ll let us through.

It worked; after several pleas and half an hour later, my son was returned to the car and we were waved past.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do for my son. I am his mother, I am supposed to protect him from men with guns. We were both silent the entire ride back. I looked at him, and I was grateful that he was returned to me. Some mothers were not as fortunate.

Yara Dowani, 25 years old, Qalandiya Checkpoint

I often drive through the Qalandiya and Hizma checkpoints. At Hizma, I am hardly ever asked to stop at the checkpoint. This is because it’s the one used by settlers, who have an arrogance because they don’t need to stop; if you carry yourself with the same arrogance, the soldiers won’t stop you, because they hardly check Israelis.

Qalandiya is another story. I was once returning to Jerusalem with some friends. We’d been having fun at a party in Ramallah and were in a good mood, blasting our music and driving. When we reached the checkpoint we didn’t consider that music would be a problem. We expected the routine check of our identification cards and then we’d pass through.

We thought wrong.

The soldier commanded us to stop our music, and when we refused they forced us to stop the car. A female soldier then came to yell at us from another lane. My friend responded to her, saying she should stay in her own lane.

The commander came and spoke fluently in Arabic. At that moment we felt fear.

“This is a military zone,” he said. “When you pass you have no music and you follow directions.”

I explained that there is no sign that says music is not allowed. At that point my friend interrupted with lines about human rights and international law. He completely ignored her. I tried to explain to her how that doesn’t work here. They don’t care about these laws. We finally tried to explain how we’re just trying to enjoy the holidays.

After a while of him trying to frighten us, to enforce his power and dominance, we passed through. What could’ve taken one minute of looking at our IDs took 20.

Music is enough to provoke them. The checkpoint is a dead zone.

israel & ISIS best of buddies again after accidental attack

Israeli Defense Minister: Israel Forgives ISIS For Attack Following Apology

“As we understand, it was done by mistake and it was only once.”

Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)<img class=”size-full wp-image-227505″ src=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AP_16180514617220.jpg” alt=”Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)” width=”1600″ height=”781″ srcset=”http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AP_16180514617220.jpg 1600w, http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AP_16180514617220-300×146.jpg 300w, http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AP_16180514617220-768×375.jpg 768w, http://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AP_16180514617220-800×391.jpg 800w” sizes=”(max-width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px” />

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaks during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel has decided to “absorb” an unintended attack by Daesh after the terrorist group “apologized” for it, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters on Wednesday.

Expanding on comments made last week on the effectiveness of Israel’s “red lines” policy (by which Israel responds even to unintentional fire), Yaalon asserted that the policy had effectively deterred Daesh’s alleged affiliates in both war-torn Syria and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

“Generally speaking, both ISIS [Daesh] in Syria and ISIS in Sinai have been deterred [this way] by the Israeli Defense Forces,” Yaalon said when asked whether Israel had responded to the reported Daesh attack.

“They appreciate our military superiority,” he added.

“So we absorbed a single, isolated attack executed by ISIS elements on the Syrian border,” Yaalon said. “As we understand, it was done by mistake and it was only once.”

Israeli officials have refrained from providing any information about the unintentional attack other than to say it occurred on the border with Syria.

Yaalon, for his part, declined to elaborate on the nature of the terrorist group’s “apology”, including the means by which it was delivered to Israel.

Israel has a policy of responding to any fire directed towards it or which strikes its territory, whether by armed groups in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip or by the various elements now fighting in neighboring Syria

 

The racist worldview of Arthur Balfour

The racist worldview of Arthur Balfour

The Balfour Declaration led to the expulsion of Palestinians. Wikimedia Commons

 

Arthur James Balfour will, no doubt, be praised effusively by supporters of Israel in the coming weeks for a brief document he signed 100 years ago.

As Britain’s foreign secretary in November 1917, Balfour declared his backing to the Zionist colonization project. Through his declaration, Britain became the imperial sponsor of a Jewish state – euphemistically called a “Jewish national home” – that would be established in Palestine by expelling its indigenous people en masse.

An assurance in that document about protecting Palestinian rights proved worthless. Balfour himself was quite happy to negate that assurance.

In 1919, he argued that Zionist aspirations were “of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”

Rather than being marked “with pride,” as Theresa May, the current British prime minister, has promised, the centenary of the Balfour Declaration ought to be a time for sober reflection. One useful exercise would be to examine Balfour’s wider record of violence and racism.

From 1887 to 1891, Balfour headed Britain’s administration in Ireland. On his appointment to that post, Balfour proposed to combine repression and reform.

The repression he advocated should be as “stern” – in his words – as that of Oliver Cromwell, the English leader who invaded Ireland in 1649. Cromwell’s troops are reviled in Ireland for the massacres they carried out in the towns of Wexford and Drogheda.

Siding with the gentry against what he called the “excitable peasantry,” Balfour prioritized repression over reform. When a rent strike was called in 1887, Balfour authorized the use of heavy-handed tactics against alleged agitators.

Three people died after police fired on a political protest in Mitchelstown, County Cork. The incident earned him the nickname of “Bloody Balfour.”

Blessings of civilization?

Balfour penalized dissent. Thousands were jailed under the Irish Crimes Act that he introduced.

John Mandeville, a nationalist campaigner, was one of the first to be imprisoned during Balfour’s stint in Ireland. Mandeville died soon after his release and a coroner’s inquest attributed his death to ill-treatment suffered while in detention.

Balfour tried to smear Mandeville by claiming he had taken part in a “drunken row” before suddenly falling ill. Mandeville, according to some accounts, was actually a teetotaler.

Balfour was a British and a white supremacist. “All the law and all the civilization in Ireland is the work of England,” he once said.

He used similar terms while defending the subjugation of other peoples. In 1893, he spoke in the British parliament of how Cecil Rhodes, an imperial marauder in Southern Africa, was “extending the blessings of civilization.”

While serving as prime minister from 1902 to 1905, Balfour insisted that Europeans must enjoy greater privileges than Black natives in South Africa. “Men are not born equal,” he said in 1904.

Two years later – then in opposition – he said that Black people were “less intellectually and morally capable” than whites.

Callous

There are strong reasons to suspect that Balfour was also anti-Semitic. In 1905, he pushed legislation aimed at preventing Jews fleeing persecution in Russia from entering Britain on the grounds they were “undesirable.”

One reason why Balfour may have been in favor of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine was that he disliked having Jews as neighbors. He once described Zionism as a “serious effort to mitigate the age-old miseries created for western civilization by the presence in its midst of a body which is too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or absorb.”

Balfour was often callous. He tried to justify the use of Chinese slave labor in South Africa’s gold mines and atrocities committed by British forces in the Sudan. He opposed giving aid to people at risk of famine in India.

Despite his apparent commitment to law and order, Balfour encouraged illegal behavior when it suited him. He was a staunch supporter of militant loyalists who insisted that Ireland’s north-eastern counties should not become independent from Britain.

When the Ulster Volunteer Force managed to smuggle 30,000 rifles from Germany into the north of Ireland, Balfour effectively approved the 1914 gun-running operation by telling the British parliament: “I hold now, and I held 30 years ago that if home rule was forced upon Ulster, Ulster would fight and Ulster would be right.”

It was extraordinary that a former prime minister should voice approval for subversion. Yet that stance did no harm to Balfour’s political career.

Within a few years, he was back in government as foreign secretary – it was in that role that he issued his declaration on Palestine.

The effects of that declaration were swift and far-reaching. Through pressure exerted by Chaim Weizmann (later Israel’s first president) and other senior figures in the Zionist movement, it was enshrined in the League of Nations mandate through which Britain ruled Palestine between the two world wars.

Herbert Samuel, himself a staunch Zionist, introduced a system of racial and religious discrimination when he served as Britain’s first high commissioner for Palestine from 1920 to 1925. Those measures facilitated and financed the acquisition by European settlers of land on which Palestinians had lived and farmed for many generations. Mass evictions ensued: more than 8,700 Palestinians were expelled from villages in Marj Ibn Amer, an area in the Galilee, as they were bought up by Zionist colonizers during the 1920s.

Balfour was unperturbed by the upheaval that he set in motion. Worse, he denied that any problem existed.

In 1927, he wrote “nothing has occurred” that would cause him to question the “wisdom” of the declaration he signed a decade earlier.

The remark says much about Balfour’s hubris. He was prepared to trample on an entire people and to dismiss their grievances as irrelevant.

عصام زهر الدين ومرزوق الغانم

 

عصام زهر الدين ومرزوق الغانم

أكتوبر 19, 20

ناصر قنديل

– معادلة غير مفهومة تستولي على المشاعر المتناقضة، فمن جهة بدموع الوداع لترجّل فارس ورحيل بطل كاللواء عصام زهر الدين. وهو يكتب سيرة صمود سورية وأسطورة نصرها وملحمة قادة يكتبون بالدم، معادلة خوارزمية لوصفة النصر، القادة في الصف الأمامي للحرب شهداء تعادل صناعة نصر الوطن، ومن جهة مقابلة نبض فرح بكلمات رئيس البرلمان الكويتي مرزوق الغانم في مؤتمر الاتحاد البرلماني الدولي في بطرسبورغ وهو يتوجّه للوفد البرلماني الإسرائيلي بكلماته الصارخة وهو يقول «احزم حقائبك وارحل يا إرهابي يا قاتل». لكن في العقل البارد، وحيث تشتعل الشرارة الأولى للعواطف الحارة، للحدثين رسالة واحدة، إنّه زمن الروح الحية لمقاومة تنبض في العروق، لم تنجح الفتن ولا سياسات الترويض والتطبيع والحروب بقتلها.

– في بلد قدّم عشرات الآلاف، بل مئات الآلاف من الشهداء ليحيا، لا يتقدّم خبر استشهاد اللواء عصام زهر الدين فيه إلا كتفسير لسرّ النصر، حيث القادة يُستشهدون كبشارة للنصر الذي يتقدّم، بمثل ما كان وقع أقدام القادة والجنود يرسم التقدّم في الجغرافيا السورية من موقعة إلى موقعة ومن ملحمة إلى ملحمة، وحيث صورة الشهيد يلاقي رفاقه الذين قدموا عبر البادية لفك الحصار عن مطار دير الزور وهو يهتف لهم كأبطال فاتحين في يوم الفتح العظيم، تلاقي صورته وهو يحمل أحد الجنود الجرحى في إحدى المعارك على كتفه ويمضي به وسط النار والدخان والركام. كما ترتسم صورة سورية وجيشها، فوق أكذوبة العصبيات والمناطق والطوائف، وأسطورة النصر السورية بمحطات البطولة مليئة بمئات الحكايات عن خريطة الدم ترسم وحدتها، وعن فاتورة الشهادة الغالية مهراً لنصر، نصر عظيم يولد من رحم عظيم الصبر وعظيم الألم، ومهر النصر العظيم لوطن عظيم لا يمكن أن يكون أقلّ من دماء قادة عظام.

في بطرسبورغ، حيث يحتشد عشراتُ رؤساء البرلمانات في مؤتمر الاتحاد البرلماني الدولي وحيث الحال الرسمية العربية في أسوأ ما مرّ عليها من تفكّك وضياع وانخراط في التطبيع مع العدو الذي يغتصب فلسطين ويستعدّ للمزيد من العدوان وحيث تعريف العدو خصوصاً في دول الخليج، يحطّ رحاله في إيران كبديل يشغل مقعد العدو، بدلاً من كيان الاحتلال وحيث الأولوية إسقاط روح المقاومة وقواها، تتفوّق وتتقدّم على كلّ ما عداها، خصوصاً حيث لا مانع من اللعب والعبث مع التطرف والإرهاب كشريك مضارب في حرب إسقاط المقاومة وحيث يُحتفل بالرئيس الأميركي المتباهي بكونه أكثر أصدقاء «إسرائيل» بين رؤساء أميركا، يُحتفل به كمخلّص وبطل بين حكام الخليج وحيث في بلادنا لا يعبّر البرلمان عما يناقض سياسة الحكومة، يخرج مرزوق الغانم من مقعده بين الحضور كرئيس للبرلمان الكويتي ولوفد بلاده المشارك في المؤتمر، وقد امتلأت رئتاه غيظاً وغضباً من كلام الوفد «الإسرائيلي» عن الإرهاب، فلم يتردّد ولم يتمهّل، ولم يقم الحسابات المريضة التي تفترضها أحوال السياسة والتحالفات والتحليلات والتأويلات، وأمسك المذياع أمامه وفي ثوانٍ قليلة خاطب رئيس الوفد «الإسرائيلي» قائلاً، «أيها الإرهابي، يا قاتل الأطفال، احزم حقائبك وارحل». وبقي يصرخ مكرّراً، ارحل، حتى رحل الوفد «الإسرائيلي».

ليس مهمّاً تفسير وتحليل شهادة اللواء عصام زهر الدين، كما ليس مهمّاً تحليل كلمات الرئيس مرزوق الغانم، فكلتاهما تعبير عن نبض يمتدّ عميقاً بين القلب والرئة، لا يخضع للحسابات الباردة عندما تغلي الدماء الحارة لتكتب، أنّ روح المقاومة أقوى من أن تروّضها دعوات الواقعية السياسية البليدة والمتخاذلة، والعقلانية الصفراء الباهتة، وأنّ «إسرائيل» ستبقى العدو، والمقاومة ستبقى وصفة النصر، والقادة العظماء مهر الطريق المعبّد بالدماء.

Syria to Bid Farewell to “Lion of Republican Guard” 

Issam Zahriddine's body has arrived late Wednesday in Damascus after being flown from Deir Ezzor.

Issam Zahriddine’s body has arrived late Wednesday in Damascus after being flown from Deir Ezzor.

Syria is to bid farewell to late Major General Zahreddine who was martyred in Deir Ezzor Wednesday, when his convey ran over a landmine placed by ISIL Takfiri terrorists.

General Zahreddine led elite divisions of the Syrian Republican Guard, one of the fiercest and most dedicated fighting forces throughout the Syrian war of resistance against Takfiri terrorism and foreign aggression.

Well known as the “Lion of Syria” or “Lion of the Republican Guard,” Zahreddine’s forces ultimately broke the three-year-long ISIL siege over Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, paving the way for the penultimate defeat of the terrorist group as a fighting force in Syria.

Prior to this, Zahreddine played a crucial role in liberating Aleppo from Takfiri terrorists.

General Zahreddine’s martyrdom has sent Syria into mourning. His body has arrived late Wednesday in Damascus after being flown from the Deir Ezzor Governorate.

While full details about his funeral have not been released, it is believed that his body will be transported to his ancestral village of Tarba in the Al-Sweida Governorate.

Source: Agencies

Kuwaiti Official Slams ’Israeli’ Comments at An Int’l Conference, Orders Delegates to ‘Get Out’

19-10-2017 | 11:20
Local Editor

Kuwait’s chief lawmaker was angered by an ‘Israeli’ parliament representative’s comments on imprisoned Palestinian lawmakers at an international conference on Wednesday, Kuwait’s news agency, KUNA, reported.

Kuwait


Get out of the hall right now if you have an atom of dignity … You occupier, child killers, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem told parliamentarians gathered at Inter-Parliamentary Union talks in Russia.

“The saying ‘if you have no shame do as you please’ applies to the comments made by this rapist [‘Israeli’] parliament,” Al-Ghanem said.

During a discussion about the condition of Palestinian lawmakers arrested by ‘Israeli’ authorities, Al-Ghanem said that this “represented the most dangerous types of terrorism – the terrorism of the state”.

“You should grab your bags and leave this hall as you have witnessed the reaction of every honorable parliament around the world,” he said, addressing the Zionist delegation.

“Leave now if you have one ounce of dignity, you occupier, you murderer of children.”

The ‘Israeli’ delegation left the talks following the remarks by Al-Ghanem and several other parliaments in the midst of applause.

The 137th session of the IPU is currently underway in St Petersburg, Russia. The international organization sees representatives from 176 sovereign states come together for negotiations and talks.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Under the Trump administration, US airstrikes are killing more civilians

Under the Trump administration, US airstrikes are killing more civilians

by WashingtonsBlog

File 20171012 31395 qkq5hm.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Smoke from an airstrike rises in the background as a man flees during fighting between Iraqi special forces and IS militants in Mosul, Iraq, on May 17, 2017.
AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

Steven Feldstein, Boise State University

When President Donald Trump took office in January, it was unclear whether the bombast from his campaign would translate into an aggressive new strategy against terrorism. At campaign rallies he pledged to “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State. He openly mused about killing the families of terrorists, a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits violence against noncombatants.

Ten months into his presidency, a clearer picture is emerging. The data indicate several alarming trends.

According to research from the nonprofit monitoring group Airwars, the first seven months of the Trump administration have already resulted in more civilian deaths than under the entirety of the Obama administration. Airwars reports that under Obama’s leadership, the fight against IS led to approximately 2,300 to 3,400 civilian deaths. Through the first seven months of the Trump administration, they estimate that coalition air strikes have killed between 2,800 and 4,500 civilians.

Researchers also point to another stunning trend – the “frequent killing of entire families in likely coalition airstrikes.” In May, for example, such actions led to the deaths of at least 57 women and 52 children in Iraq and Syria.

The vast increase in civilian deaths is not limited to the anti-IS campaign. In Afghanistan, the U.N. reports a 67 percent increase in civilian deaths from U.S. airstrikes in the first six months of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016.

The key question is: Why? Are these increases due to a change in leadership?

Delegating war to the military

Experts offer several explanations.

One holds that Trump’s “total authorization” for the military to run wars in Afghanistan and against IS has loosened Obama-era restrictions and increased military commanders’ risk tolerance. Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations notes: “Those closer to the fight are more likely to call in lethal force and are less likely to follow a value-based approach.”

In other words, an intense focus on destroying IS elements may be overriding the competing priority of protecting civilians. Because Trump has scaled back civilian oversight and delegated authority to colonels rather than one-star generals, the likely result is higher casualties.

Urban battlefield?

A second explanation points to the changing nature of the counter-IS campaign. The Pentagon contends that the rise in casualties is “attributable to the change in location” of battlefield operations towards more densely populated urban environments like Mosul and Raqqa.

This is a partial truth. While urban warfare has increased, Trump’s team has substantially escalated air strikes and bombings. According to CENTCOM data, the military has already used 20 percent more missiles and bombs in combined air operations in 2017 than in all of 2016. One notable airstrike in March, for example, killed 105 Iraqi civilians when U.S. forces dropped a 500-pound bomb in order to take out two snipers in Mosul. In fact, a Human Rights Watch analysis of bomb craters in West Mosul estimates that U.S. coalition forces are routinely using larger and less precise bombs – weighing between 500 and 1,000 pounds – than in prior operations. Finally, the urban battlefield explanation also does not account for increased civilian deaths in Afghanistan from airstrikes, where the environment has remained static for several years.

Pressure from the president

A third explanation of higher civilian casualties is that aggressive rhetoric from the president is inadvertently pressuring the military to take more risks and to deprioritize protecting civilians.

As former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski observes: “If your leaders are emphasizing the high value of Raqqa and Mosul, while saying less about the strategic and moral risks of hurting civilians, it’s going to affect your judgment.” Words matter, especially coming from the commander-in-chief. In the face of such aggressive rhetoric, it should not come as a surprise that military officers feel encouraged – if not indirectly pressured – to take greater risks.

Unfortunately, the increased trend of civilian casualties is unlikely to diminish. In fact, signs abound that the White House is developing a new set of policies and procedures that will authorize more sweeping discretion to the military. In September, The New York Times reported that White House officials were proposing two major rules changes. First, they would expand the scope of “kill missions” and allow for the targeting of lower-level terrorists in addition to high value targets. Second – and more notably – they would suspend high-level vetting of potential drone attacks and raids.

These changes represent a sharp about-face. The Obama administration carefully crafted a deliberate set of rules guiding the use of force. In 2013, Obama released the Presidential Policy Guidance for Approving Direct Action Against Terrorist Targets (PPG), which created specific rules for determining when the use of force against terrorists was legally justified.

Then, in 2016, Obama issued an executive order on civilian harm that established heightened standards to minimize civilian casualties from military actions, and required the public release of information pertaining to strikes against terrorist targets.

While the latest actions from the Trump administration stop short of reversing Obama-era restraints, they are unsettling steps in the opposite direction. For example, it appears for now that the White House will preserve the “near certainty” standard, which requires commanders to have near certainty that a potential strike will not impact civilians. But this could change over time.

One senior official quoted in The New York Times article bluntly asserts that the latest changes are intended to make much of the “bureaucracy” created by the Obama administration rules “disappear.” As the White House dissolves the existing bureaucracy and relinquishes civilian oversight, Trump is embarking on a slippery slope that will potentially lead to major diminutions of civilian protection.

The current battle to take the Syrian city of Raqqa is emblematic of the stakes at hand. The U.S. is leading a punishing air war to soften IS defenses. In August, U.S. forces dropped 5,775 bombs and missiles onto the city. For context, this represented 10 times more munitions than the U.S. used for the whole of Afghanistan in the same month and year. The resulting civilian toll has been gruesome. At least 433 civilians likely died in Raqqa due to the August bombings, more than double the previous month’s total. Since the assault on Raqqa commenced on June 6, more than 1,000 civilians have been reported killed.

U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein cautions that the intense bombardment has left civilians caught between IS’s monstrosities and the fierce battle to defeat it. Zeid insists that “civilians must not be sacrificed for the sake of rapid military victories.”

The ConversationTrump would be wise to heed this warning. Even as U.S. forces continue to turn the tide on IS, the trail of destruction left in the campaign’s wake is unsettling. The specter of massive civilian casualties will remain a rallying point for new terrorist organizations long after anti-IS operations conclude.

Steven Feldstein, Frank and Bethine Church Chair of Public Affairs & Associate Professor, School of Public Service, Boise State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

#BDS Misusing the term antisemitism for pro-israel political purposes deprives it of its charge

Protests as Israeli ambassador interferes to censor free speech

Censorship battle and an antisemitic charge cause anger

Dr David Alderson and 42 others want the University of Manchester to apologise to the students whose campaign it has maligned, and to the censored speaker whom it has defamed. Meanwhile Prof Avi Shlaim and six other signatories object to Moshe Machover’s expulsion from the Labour party

The University of Manchester should ‘make clear that it defends the principles of free speech’, say Dr David Alderson and his fellow signatories. 

Letters, The Guardian
October 15, 2017

We write to express our deep concern at the actions of senior figures within the University of Manchester in relation to an event organised by the student Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign earlier this year (UK university censors Holocaust survivor’s speech criticising Israel, theguardian.com, 29 September). While the event went ahead, the speech of a Jewish Holocaust survivor was arrogantly censored and labelled antisemitic, the right to superintend the meeting by university academic staff was usurped by institutional appointees, restrictions were placed on advertising the event, and the whole thing was filmed in what amounted to an implicit threat of potential further action.

As if such serious infringements of the right to freedom of speech on campus were not bad enough, it is now revealed by a student freedom of information request that the university’s actions were taken after representations from, and in deference to, the very regime whose lamentable human rights record was being condemned at the event. We are appalled that the university appeared to take instruction from Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, who, in his former capacity as spokesperson to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, justified to the world successive military assaults on Gaza that resulted in the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children in attacks on hospitals, homes and places of work using both high-precision weaponry and imprecise and indiscriminate materiel, including white phosphorous bombs.

We ask the university to apologise to the students whose campaign it has maligned, and to the censored speaker, Marika Sherwood, whom it has defamed. It should further make clear that it defends the principles of free speech and assembly against attempts to inhibit them by foreign states and other powerful external parties.

Dr David Alderson
Professor Mona Baker (Emerita)
Dr Lauren Banko
Dr Mark Brown
Professor Erica Burman
Professor Bridget Byrne
Alessandro Columbu
Professor Aneez Esmail
Emma Clarke

Professor Jeanette Edwards
Dr Douglas Field
Professor Hal Gladfelder
Dr Bethan Harries
Dr Jenny Hughes
Andrew Howes
Professor Tim Jacoby
Dr Stef Jansen
Dr Steven Jones
Dr Paul Kelemen (Honorary research fellow)
Dr Barbara Lebrun

Peter McMylor
Professor Rayaz A Malik
Professor David Matthews
Dr Vanessa May
Dr Dalia Mostafa
Dr Adel Nasser
Dr Richie Nimmo
Dr Michelle Obeid
Professor Luis Perez-Gonzalez
Dr Eithne Quinn

Dr Madeleine Reeves
Professor Dee Reynolds
Dr Myriam Salama-Carr
Dr Michael Sanders
Professor Ludi Simpson
Professor Zahia Smail Salhi
Dr Graham Smith
Dr Robert Spencer
Professor Jackie Stacey
David Swanson
Dr Petra Tjitske Kalshoven
Dr Nicholas Thoburn
Professor Julian Williams



A young Moshe Machover with friend and comrade Jabra Nicola (R), an anti-Stalinist member of the Palestine Communist party.

Letter

For George Monbiot, Labour could herald a new political movement, addressing the environmental challenge and inequality by “threatening established power in Britain”, creating space for a new politics (The Labour party could lead worldwide economic change, 11 October). We hope so. That is why we are members of the party. Not all members share this ambition. Some, it seems, would go to almost any lengths to thwart it.The latest such move is the exclusion of Professor Moshe Machover, an academic and Israeli socialist, long resident in the UK. His offence? Two infringements: his insistence that anti-Zionism and support for Palestinian rights are not antisemitic; and his willingness to write articles about this in any leftwing publication. For this, he has been expelled from the party.

Misusing the term antisemitism for pro-Israel political purposes deprives it of its charge

In this strange linguistic wonderland, it is antisemitic to argue that anti-Zionism is not antisemitic.The charge of antisemitism against Machover is personally offensive and politically dangerous. Misusing the term antisemitism for pro-Israel political purposes deprives it of its charge and its critical role in naming those who hate Jews because they are Jews. Real antisemitism is obscured by this self-serving redefinition of the term.

Expelling Machover because another organisation published his work is absurd. This could just as well be used against Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Perhaps they are next in line. We are among 139 Labour party members, Jewish and non-Jewish, from many constituency organisations, who have written to our leadership demanding Professor Machover’s reinstatement, and an inquiry into how this has occurred.

Prof Avi Shlaim
Sir Geoffrey Bindman
Brian Eno
Ken Loach
Prof Haim Bresheeth
Prof Jonathan Rosenhead
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi

 

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