israel’s war on Christianity

When Theology Is So Pro-Israel That It Becomes Anti-Christian

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/when-theology-is-so-pro-israel-that-it-becomes-anti-christian/#ixzz3Vx0zAH1t

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Christian culture sure does love talking about persecution, but there is one group of persecuted Christians that Evangelicalism doesn’t want you to know about: the persecuted Christians of Palestine. Dispensational theology that leads to the errant and blindly pro-Israel position (here’s why that’s unbiblical) has sadly led most of Evangelicalism to become so pro-Israel that it has become anti-Christian. While today they celebrate the re-election of a war hawk who has no interest in peace, justice, or law, today we grieve what undoubtedly means that the ongoing persecution of Christians at the hands of Israeli apartheid will now continue indefinitely.

When we say “Israel” or “Palestinian” one often thinks of Jew vs. Muslim. However, Palestinians include both Christians and Muslims, though Christians are the minority.  Like those who suffered under apartheid in South Africa, Christians and Muslims in Palestine both suffer under Israeli apartheid which strips them of their human rights, their dignity, their freedom of movement, their homes, and sometimes their lives.

Whereas in the West we often hear the phrase “Country _____ wants to wipe Israel off the map” the reality is that this is precisely what Israel is doing to Christians and Muslims in Palestine- wiping them off the map through confiscating their land, destroying their crops, looting and bulldozing their homes, shooting their children for sport (disturbing footage, here) and forcing them to emigrate elsewhere.

Christians in Palestine say they face an uphill battle to have their stories heard, as western media likes to portray their persecution as being at the hands of Muslims, but that’s not the case they say.

A few years ago Father Faysal Hijazeen, a priest in Palestine, wrote for the Jerusalem Post:

“These spokespeople have wrongly propagated a cynical discourse misleadingly touting “Christian persecution by Muslims.” Every Friday, we celebrate the holy mass attended by hundreds of Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jerusalem in the Cremisan Area of Beit Jala. The holy service, celebrated among ancient olive trees, was not a prayer to end a “Muslim-led persecution” but to prevent Israel from confiscating this area of land that belongs to 58 Palestinian Christian families – Israel’s latest attempt to consolidate its ring of settlements that aim to sever Bethlehem from Jerusalem. This is one last attempt to prevent a land confiscation that would have catastrophic consequences for the local Christian population.”

Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios had a fantastic interview recently (the entire interview can be found here) where he said:

“The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.

We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.

As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.”

In the interview, Archbishop Theodisios goes on to lament the oppression Christians suffer under the Israeli occupation, such as the destruction of Christian towns to drive the Christians out, Christian churches being attacked, Church property being looted/confiscated, and Christians being thrown into Israeli jails. He again summarizes their plight by saying:

“Christians suffer under the Israeli occupation just the same as Muslims – the entire Palestinian population suffers under it. They don’t distinguish between us.”

Other anti-Christian persecution at the hands of Israelis come by way of “price-tag” attacks. Price tag attacks were started in 2011 by Israeli settlers because the illegal expansions and land-grabs weren’t moving fast enough. These settlers began a movement to make Christians and Muslims suffer the “price” for expansion setbacks, with the hopes of terrorizing the Christians and Muslims into leaving. These attacks have included fire-bombing a monastery of nuns and spray painting “death to Gentiles on the walls,” or then there’s the Church of the Dormition which has been vandalized in price tag attacks– painted with such things as, “Jesus is a son of a bitch, price tag.” We also see arson used to terrorize, much like they used it in the American South, with one church having the door set on fire with the term “Jesus is a Money” painted on it.

Oh- and somewhere around 4.5 million Palestinians can’t vote- let’s not forget that.

Here’s the bottom line: Christians and Muslims are suffering and being oppressed under Israeli apartheid, and we should find this greatly distressing. 

If we were to take this scenario and have it take place in any country other than Israel, we’d see it completely differently. Were there a government systematically and illegally confiscating people’s homes, destroying Christian villages, making them refugees and then treating them like they’re illegal immigrants, tolerating a culture that persecutes and terrorizes Christians in an attempt to get them to flee their homeland– if that were happening anywhere other than Israel we’d not only be outraged, we’d be calling for ground troops and to have their leaders arrested. Apartheid was wrong in South Africa, but apparently it’s good in Israel.

Instead of being outraged, instead of demanding peace and justice, America sends Israel millions of dollars a day to finance their illegal oppression of Christians and Muslims- and not only do we support their actions, but much of the Christian community will quickly jump all over you if you so much as question it. Being a good Christian in too many parts means pledging allegiance to the United States of America and to Israel too.

Why? How did we get in this mess? Why are we tolerating an oppressive regime that we wouldn’t tolerate in any other part of the world?

Bad theology, that’s why. And that’s what makes this so tragic, but wonderfully illustrates the point that theology matters in the real world.

Dispensational theology took the world by storm in the late 1800′s, and the view that “Israel is God’s chosen nation” and the idea that anyone who doesn’t “bless Israel” will be cursed by God is core to that belief system. Dispensationalism overtook much of American Christianity and eventually bled into or government and foreign policy. Then, it somehow got taught to our grandparents, who taught it to our parents, who taught it to us.

And no one questions it.

Since so many accept it as true without researching it, without questioning it, without wrestling with it, we become blind to oppression around us. Left unchecked, pro-Israel theology can get so extreme that it actually becomes anti-Christian, because it quietly lulls one to support very real anti-Christian persecution at the hands of the Israeli government, without so much as even caring.

Here’s a good test: if your theology leads you to support and defend oppression and persecution instead of loving people, it’s bad theology.

My prayer is that American Christians will wake up to these tragic unintended consequences of this unquestioned, generational theology which is so pro-Israel that it actually becomes anti-Christian.

We need peace in the middle east. Peace for Israel. Freedom and restoration for Palestine. But we won’t have any of it until we start questioning the horrible dispensational/fundamentalist theology that’s causing us to support terror against our own Christian brothers and sisters.

Further reading: here’s a more in-depth breakdown of this area of theology and why it’s theologically flawed.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/when-theology-is-so-pro-israel-that-it-becomes-anti-christian/#ixzz3Vx1EfJqX

Saudi Will Collapse If It Launches Ground Invasion in Yemen

Mohamed Salami

Saudi-YemenPresenting a new proof that the Saudi regime is a mere obedient follower of the US and Israeli masters, Riyadh has led an air aggression on Yemen in order to secure their interests in Bab El-Mandeb strait, the political analyst, Salem Zahran, told Al-Manar Website.

Under the false pretexts of seeking to reinstall the fugitive Yemeni president Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi and restoring the authority’s powers across its neighboring country, the Saudi-led coalition started its campaign, which targeted the civilians, the residential areas, the public institutions, and the army’s posts, only after the military and the public committees reached Aden which overlooks the strait, after they had controlled most of the cities, including the capital.

“38% of the international navigation crosses through Bab El Mandeb which represents Israel’s basic economic lifeline,” Zahran noted, “The Americans and the Israelis deploy on the west bank of the strait, in Eritrea and Djibouti, where the largest US military base and the Mossad bureaus exist.”

The analyst revealed that the Wahabbi regime in Saudi Arabia has planned to end its conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, especially after it regained control over Egypt by dethroning Mohammad Mursi and installing Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, in order to form a coalition which includes the Gulf countries, Egypt and Turkey to face what it describes as the Iranian influence in the whole region, including Yemen.

Salam Zahran considered that internal Saudi factors may have played only a secondary role in taking the decision of launching an aggression on Yemen, stressing that the royal family in KSA has always imposed its hereditary rule on the country without paying any least attention to the public demands and desires.

ZahraSalem Zahrann pointed out that the US-led airstrikes on Syria and Iraq, the Egyptian air raids on Libya and the ongoing air aggression on Yemen inserted the whole region in a new era of surpassing Sykes-Picot borders.

He also stressed that the military power will delineate the new borders of the countries in the region.

Zahran asserted that Saudi Arabia will collapse if it launches a ground incursion in Yemen, mentioning that airstrikes will not last long as their goals will run out.

He further said that the coalition’s campaign aims at deploying Arab and international peace-keeping troops in Aden and at Bab el Mandeb strait to secure US-Israeli interests there.

“The response to the Saudi-led aggression will be carried out by the patriotic Yemenis who can identify the conditions of their movement,” the political analyst concluded.

A coalition of 10 countries, led by the Saudi Arabia, launched late Wednesday a wide military offensive on Yemen, killing dozens of civilians, wounding scores of others and causing so much destruction.

Media outlets reported that Saudi Arabia has deployed “100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and other navy units” for the military campaign against Yemen. It also sent 5000 takfiri terrorists to fight against the Yemeni army.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known for training and funding takfiri groups and sending them to the conflict-hit zones in the Arab and Muslim world, including Syria, Afghanistan and now in Yemen.

Source: Al-Manar Website

31-03-2015 – 15:48 Last updated 31-03-2015 – 15:56


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USA Government trying to silence growing dissent against israel

Silencing Dissent

Silencing Dissent: How Biased Civil Rights Policies Stifle Dialogue on Israel

Protestors hold a sign that says, "Join the human rights and free speech consensus" and cover their mouths.

Outrage over Israeli policies toward Palestinians has continued to swell the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). In response, critics of BDS are spreading rhetoric that is corroding support for civil liberties, civil rights, and free expression of ideas in the United States.

Controversies over U.S. policies in the Middle East are not new, but the current stance of some institutions claiming to speak for the U.S. Jewish community, combined with biased federal policies targeting anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses, raises the specter of not just blacklists and political witch hunts but de facto government censorship.

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights created headlines with policies that provide federal civil rights protection against harassment or discrimination targeting Jewish college students. Meanwhile Muslims, Sikhs, and students from other faith traditions did not receive the same level of attention. Under the Obama administration neither the commission nor the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has rectified this situation; and the gridlocked Congress has failed to hold hearings or pass legislation that would clarify and correct biased federal policies and actions. Meanwhile, pressure to silence criticism of Israeli policies toward Palestinians continues to grow, spurred on by growing public opposition to the Israeli military attacks in Gaza.

A recent incident casts a spotlight on the smoldering tensions that highlight the need to protect free speech: In June a gig by the musical group the Shondes was cancelled by the Washington Jewish Music Festival because they refused to sign what amounted to a loyalty oath swearing they had never supported the BDS movement. Two founding members of The Shondes, singer Louisa Rachel Solomon and violinist Elijah Oberman, in a public letter “in light of this blacklisting debacle,” responded:

Sooner or later they will realize that increasing numbers of Jews oppose Israel’s actions in our names, and many of those who don’t endorse BDS unequivocally support open conversation of it…. What an irony that institutions whose missions focus on protecting Judaism’s future are writing themselves out of it.

Solomon and Oberman have described Judaism, activism, and music as “inseparable, essential parts of our lives” and have been opposing militarism and discrimination for years. In the wake of 9/11, they wrote: “We saw Arab, Muslim, and South Asian friends demonized and attacked…. We protested, organized, and tried to figure out what solidarity was.”

Civil rights, civil liberties, free speech, and academic freedom should not be adversaries. When they are in conflict, the ultimate victim is the free exchange of ideas that nurtures democracy itself.

Rights in Conflict

Since the 9/11 terror attacks, the silencing of dissent inside and outside the Jewish community has steadily increased. The issue of possible government censorship on campus was first raised in a public joint letter by Kenneth Stern, an expert on anti-Semitism with the American Jewish Committee, and Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors. Stern and Nelson warned that the civil rights policies of the federal government could lead to censorship and the suppression of free speech on campus. Under pressure from right-wing ideologues, the American Jewish Committee retracted Stern’s signature and repudiated the letter. Stern and Nelson feared the potential outcome of biased and misguided federal policies aimed at campus clashes over Middle East policies, especially involving the BDS movement.

How did these biased policies evolve? During his presidency, George W. Bush appointed numerous right-wing ideologues to federal agencies in an attempt to sidestep congressional oversight of policies and implement so-called color-blind policies while gutting affirmative action programs. The Justice Department, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights were special targets for right-wing ideological cleansing. Under Bush, these federal agencies shifted their attention from Islamophobia and focused on the issue of anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses. This happened despite the education office’s stated goal of protecting “all religious minorities—not just Jews but also Sikhs, Muslims, and others—from discrimination at federally funded secular institutions of higher learning.”

Saudi and other rogue Arab states were enlisted as US proxies to mass murder Yemenis

Who Benefits from the Mass Murdering of Innocent People in Yemen?

People carry the body of a child they uncovered from under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015.

People carry the body of a child they uncovered from under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Yemen is Obama’s war. It was planned months ago. Military campaigns require extensive preparation. They’re not launched overnight as headlines suggest.

Saudi and other rogue Arab states were enlisted as US proxies to mass murder Yemenis.

 

Obama usurped diktat authority for wars without end. He’s waging multiple direct and proxy ones – endless ones for power and profit.

Yemen is his latest naked aggression. Conflict could continue long term. Over the weekend, airstrikes intensified.

 

Countless thousands may die. Perhaps another refugee crisis looms.

Yemen is the latest Middle East country mired in conflict, violence, instability and human misery – a direct result of US imperial policy.

 

Civilians are being deliberately targeted. Human Rights Watch headlined “Saudi-Led Airstrikes Take Civilian Toll.”

Dozens perhaps were killed on day one of bombing alone – maybe hundreds by now heading for thousands.

 

On Thursday, Amnesty International (AI) reported “(s)ix children (under age 10) among dozens killed in Saudi-led airstrikes.”

Fourteen houses near Sanaa’s international airport were “turned…to rubble.”

 

AI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme director Said Boumedouha “(t)his high toll of civilian deaths and injuries” shows contempt for international humanitarian law.

An ongoing bloodbath continues. US direct and proxy wars show no mercy.

 

On Saturday, Arab League leaders met in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

 

They endorsed naked aggression on Yemen. Ousted US-installed puppet Yemeni leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called for continued terror-bombing.

 

“I call for for the continuation of Operation Decisive Storm until this gang (the Houthis) announces its surrender, exits all occupied territories in the provinces, leaves state institutions and military camp,” he said.

 

Naked aggression “will continue until all the goals are achieved,” he added. Saudis said they’ll do “whatever it takes” to restore US-installed puppet rule. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ignored mass murdering civilians.

 

He issued a pathetic statement urging Arab leaders to “lay down clear guidelines to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen.”

Ban supports all US imperial wars. He disgraces the office he holds. He has no legitimacy whatever. He’s a convenient US-installed stooge.

 

Obama ignored his full responsibility for naked aggression saying Washington shares a “collective goal” with its regional allies for stability in Yemen. The Wall Street Journal said Washington intends expanding aid to Saudi-led airstrikes. It’s providing intelligence, logistical help, munitions, aerial refueling and other services.

 

Washington “is deepening its support for the fight by providing military planners with vital intelligence from surveillance flights to help choose targets for the airstrikes in Yemen,” the Journal cited US officials saying.

“American military planners are using live intelligence feeds from surveillance flights over Yemen to help Saudi Arabia decide what and where to bomb.”

 

The Pentagon is “beefing up its role in a new military coordination center set up with the Saudis and other countries in the region taking part in the evolving operation.”

 

“The center has become the focal point for military planning and a handful of Americans are currently taking part, officials said. That number is expected to grow.”

 

Yemeni aggression is the latest example of America’s dark side. US direct and proxy wars rage for unchallenged global dominance – no matter how many millions of lives they cost.

 

No matter how many countries are turned to rubble. No matter how much human suffering is inflicted. The American way is permanent wars of aggression against one country after another. Yemen may end up a protracted bloodbath – potentially another Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria.

 

Vladimir Putin sent a message to Arab League leaders meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. He urged prompt resolution of conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen “based on the principles of international law, through extensive dialogue and search for nationwide harmony.”

 

Yemeni army commander Col. Abdel Sattar al-Boushali said Saudi Arabia sent over 5,000 Takfiri Terrorists “to fight the Yemeni army and revolutionary committees.”

He said Saudi’s defense minister asked Turkey to help deploy more terrorists from its airports to Riyadh.

 

Houthi Ansarullah Executive Committee member Abdel Mon’em said:

 

“As the Ansarullah movement has promised collapse of some Arab regimes supporting the terrorists, if Saudi Arabia continues its aggressions against the oppressed Yemeni people the Ansarullah fighters will pave the way for the Saudi regime’s destruction by conducting martyrdom-seeking (suicidal) operations inside Saudi Arabia in the coming hours.”

 

He said Israel is involved in fighting. Saudis take orders from Washington, he stressed.

It bears repeating. Yemen is Obama’s war – lawless naked aggression by any standard.

Apartheid in action, Palestinians in Israel, 20% of the population, receive 5% of new housing units

Palestinians in Israel, 20% of the population, receive 5% of new housing units

Palestinian citizens of Israel face systematic discrimination in housing policy, according to new figures from legal advocacy organisation Adalah released in a new study to mark ‘Land Day’.

According to the Haifa-based group, just 4.6% of Israel’s housing tenders are published in Arab towns and villages, even though Palestinian citizens constitute 20% of the population.

The study is based on official statistics from Israel’s Land Authority for marketed tenders for land and housing units in 2014.

In 2014, the ILD published tenders for the construction of 38,261 housing units (not including so-called ‘mixed cities’, where only a small minority of the Palestinian population lives) – out of which only 1,844 units were published in Arab communities.

Moreover, the Israeli authorities published tenders for the construction of 36 industrial zones in Jewish communities during the year (including five in illegal settlements) – while no tenders for industrial zones were published for Arab communities.

This means that over a five year period, from 2009-2014, the ILA published 328 tenders for industrial and commercial zones in Israeli Jewish communities, but only 13 in Palestinian communities.

The discrimination faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel is particularly striking when compared to the situation in illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

In 2014, the ILA published tenders for 3,163 housing units in Jewish settlements, compared to 1,844 units in Palestinian communities in Israel – even though the population of the latter is double that of the former.

Adalah also pointed to the ILA’s sale in 2014 of 77 properties belonging to Palestinian refugees as further evidence of the state’s “racist and discriminatory policies.”

“Christian Zionists” take note, israel is just as much anti-Christian as it is anti-Islam

Israeli soldiers raid Palm Sunday celebration in Beit Jala

Palm Sunday celebrations in Beit Jala were brought to an abrupt end, on Sunday, when Israeli troops raided the majority-Christian town near Bethlehem and began threatening locals.

(MaanImages/File)
(MaanImages/File)

Palestinian policemen on duty near the celebrations were threatened by Israeli soldiers with arrest during the raid, which took place in the middle of the day as Sunday mass was coming to an end in local churches, Ma’an News Agency reports.

The town of Beit Jala is subject to regular incursions by Israeli forces, even though the large majority of its population live in Areas A, subject to full Palestinian civil and military control under the Oslo Accords.

Palm Sunday is celebrated this year on March 29 according to the Gregorian calendar, which is recognized for religious purposes by most Western Christian denominations in Palestine. Orthodox Christians, meanwhile, use the Julian calendar and will be celebrating Palm Sunday on April 5.

The raid raises fears of a repeat of last Easter, when Israeli restrictions on Christian worship during the holiday prevented thousands of Christian Palestinians from traveling to Jerusalem and led to chaotic scenes in the city itself.

Israeli authorities have in the past come under sharp criticism for the violation of religious freedom of Palestinian Christians, who number around 200,000, including 50,000 in the West Bank, 1,000 in Gaza, and the rest inside Israel.

In March of last year, Christians from East Jerusalem issued a statement complaining that Christians are often denied access to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during the Easter holidays.

Each Easter, checkpoints are erected “at the Gates and in the alley, thus preventing the worshipers from free access to the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the vicinity of the Christian Quarter.”

A report published by the US State Department in 2012 made similar observations, stating: “Strict closures and curfews imposed by the Israeli government negatively affected residents’ ability to practice their religion at holy sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, as well as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.”

It added: “The separation barrier significantly impeded Bethlehem-area Christians from reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and made visits to Christian sites in Bethany (al-Eizariya) and Bethlehem difficult for Palestinian Christians who live on the Jerusalem side of the barrier.”

Following Easter celebrations in Jerusalem in 2013, Hanna Amireh, head of the Presidential Committee on Church Affairs, said, “The Israeli forces turned a religious occasion into a battle camp scenario.”

Britain is run by the same kinds of lunatics infesting America

Britain Prepares for Nonexistent Russian Attack

by Stephen Lendman

Britain is run by the same kinds of lunatics infesting America. Prime Minister David Cameron and other UK officials hype nonexistent “Russian aggression.”
Last summer, Cameron said NATO must show Russia it “means business.” It won’t be “intimidated.”
Member states must “strengthen (their) ability to respond quickly to any threat, to reassure those Allies who fear for their own country’s security and to deter any Russian aggression.”
In mid-March, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond ludicrously called Russia potentially Britain’s greatest threat.
“We are now faced with a Russian leader bent not on joining the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations, but on subverting it,” he ranted.
“We are in familiar territory for anyone over the age of about 50, with Russia’s aggressive behavior a stark reminder it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security.”
Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) just held its largest air combat exercises in decades – preparing for nonexistent “Russian (or other) attacks.”
Twenty Typhoon fighter warplanes and Tornado bombers participated in “a day-long war game in the skies above northeast  England” – on the pretext of alleged “frequent appearances of Russian military aircraft in UK airspace.”
Nothing of the sort happened. British authorities fabricated the story – part of an on-going anti-Russian fear-mongering campaign matching what goes on elsewhere in Europe and America.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said its aircraft strictly observe international regulations. They don’t violate other nations’ airspace. Claims otherwise are Big Lies.
So far no confrontations occurred in international airspace. Given Washington’s rage for war and Britain’s willingness to march in lockstep, it may just be a matter of time before a clash occurs.
All bets are off if it happens. Attacking Russian aircraft in international airspace could lead to something much more serious.
Lunatics in Washington and London risk the unthinkable. Preparing to confront Russia militarily could cross a rubicon of no return.
UK military sources called Operation Rising Panther the first of six annual so-called air defense operations – intended to “show Vladimir Putin in no uncertain terms” Britain is ready for “Russian aggression” if launched.
It was conducted ahead of the next scheduled Strategic Defense Review (SDR) – an exercise in saber rattling and then some.
According to wing commander Andy  Coe, “(d)ue our continuing commitment to operations overseas, this is the first time we have had the full spectrum of our capability operating together at the same time in a realistic, opposed, environment.”
Conducting Rising Panther was a provocative show of force aimed at Russia.
One RAF source said Moscow “painted the background to these exercises, though they were needed in any event.”
“I think there’s a view forward to the next SDR and the need to remind the powers that be about the prominence of air defense.”
“The feeling is that, just because we haven’t had a large headline concerning Russian nuclear bombers recently doesn’t mean air defence isn’t important, and look at how seriously we’re taking it.”
According to RUSI think tank defense analyst Justin Bronk:
“Given the tensions with Russia and Vladimir Putin’s well-known predilections for using nuclear bombers and other military aircraft to probe UK airspace, air defence really is assuming an importance that it has not since the days of the Cold War.”
In a Friday interview with the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Western countries want “to weaken Russia and create a puppet state.”
He called what’s happening in Syria similar to Ukrainian crisis conditions. “Both countries are important for Russia,” he said.
Washington wants pro-Western stooges running them. In a separate interview with Tass, Izvestia, Sputnik News, RT International and other Russian media, he called Western countries “colonialist by nature.”
They don’t “accept partners. If they don’t like a certain state, they try to change it, or replace its president.”
“When they use this reasoning, they do not see the people. As far as they’re concerned, there is no people.”
“They don’t like the president, so they replace him. But when they made these statements, they based them on wrong assumptions.”
This way of thinking might have suited the past, but is not fit for this age. Today, people do not accept for their future or destiny or rulers to be decided by the outside world.”
“The same thing is happening now in Ukraine. And this is what they aim for in Russia.” 
“They don’t like President Putin, so they demonize him. The same applies everywhere.”
America especially “only wants satellite states. (It) does not even accept partners in the West.”
“It wants Europe to follow the United States. They didn’t accept Russia, although it was a superpower.”
“They didn’t accept it as a partner. Russian officials talk all the time about partnership with the West, and talk positively about the West.”
“In return, the West does not accept Russia as a great power and as a partner on a global level.”
“So, how could they accept a smaller state like Syria which could say no to them?”
Syria demanded its sovereign rights. So did other regional countries. US wars followed – ripping up the fabric of nations across the region.
Assad blasted US officials. “(T)he world has become used to (them) saying something today, and saying the opposite the next day. We see this happening all the time.”
Assad expects Washington to continue targeting all independent government for regime change.
US policymakers won’t stop, he said. They “want to dominate and control other countries.”
“If not through war, then through the economy, and if not through the economy, then through creating problems and blackmail.”
Imperial powers operate this way. None match America’s ruthlessness – its hugely destructive world conquest ambition.

israel’s nukes are a real threat to the Middle East and the wider world

Neutralising the Threat of Israel’s Undeclared Nuclear Arsenal Would Immediately Solve the Iranian Issue

Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

As the deadline approaches in Lausanne it should be kept in mind that the only reason for Iran’s nuclear program is Israel’s huge, offensive nuclear arsenal that is a constant threat to the Middle East and the wider world.
Netanyahu has control of up to 400 nuclear warheads situated in underground silos at Dimona, in the Negev, and other sites plus his submarine-based, nuclear-tipped ICBMs submerged in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
The size and extent of this nuclear arsenal confirms that it is many, many times larger than that required for any defensive or deterrent measure and is clearly an offensive threat to all countries in the Middle East and beyond.
Neutralising this threat, by implementing a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, would solve the entire issue of Iran and nuclear proliferation. A good start would be to insist that Netanyahu now signs the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without further delay.
Iran, of course, is already a signatory and subject to inspection.

G.W. Bush, Saudi Arabia, Israel and 9/11

Reopening Bush family ties to terrorism

As pressure builds to make public 28 pages of a joint congressional inquiry on 9/11 which was classified by President George W. Bush, the Bush family’s well-documented relationships to Saudi and other foreign terror suspects are again coming to the fore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzqU54qILfA

Bush Reads ‘My Pet Goat’ Upside-Down On 9/11

North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones told the New Yorker last September, of the what is now commonly known as the “28 Pages”:

“There’s nothing in it about national security…It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.”

Prominent in the rise of the political fortunes of both the 41st and 43rd presidents is the support of figures listed by the US government as terrorist financiers, as well as some connected to the now closed, Saudi-controlled criminal enterprise known as BCCI. Of special interest to independent researchers is the failure of the nation’s air defenses on 9/11, and the reliance of these defenses on the company formerly known as Ptech, which was founded with funding partly from Saudi financiers with ties to designated terrorist organizations, which employed a mix of foreign nationals and Americans with ties to Israeli software companies with possible links to Israeli Mossad. Now renamed Go Agile, Ptech is a purveyor of software which is critical to the security of major software systems embedded throughout the FAA and the US Department of Defense. A small number of congressmen have been allowed to read the classified pages, and are pushing to have them declassified. During a press conference in March of 2014, Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, Republican, said:

“As I read it, and we all had our own experience, I had to stop every couple of pages and just sort of try to absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history. It challenges you to re-think everything. I think the whole country needs to go through that.”

The effort to declassify the pages is being spearheaded by 9/11 families. A website has been started named 28pages.org. Two major investors in the 43rd president’s early business ventures, Arbusto Energy and Harken Energy, were Salem bin Laden, Osama’s older brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz, a 20% stakeholder in BCCI, who was himself accused and investigated for financing terrorism. Mahfouz, who died in 2009, was known as the personal banker of the Saudi royal family. In 1992 then-Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator Hank Brown, Republican of Colorado, in a widely-lauded Senate Foreign Policy Committee investigation of BCCI, found that BCCI’s “criminality” included:

“support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies; its management of prostitution; its commission and facilitation of income tax evasion, smuggling, and illegal immigration; its illicit purchases of banks and real estate; and a panoply of financial crimes limited only by the imagination of its officers and customers.”

The Committee found that BCCI had been instrumental in financing the A.Q. Khan nuclear program in Pakistan. BCCI was also found to have played a key role in the terrorist operations of the notorious Abu Nidal. The Saudi-controlled BCCI played a central role in acting as a conduit for renegade CIA operations run by Lt. Col. Oliver North and General Richard Secord, with the elder Bush overseeing the operations from his position as vice president to Ronald Reagan and as a former director of the CIA. Known as the Iran-Contra Scandal in the Eighties, the renegade operation illegally sold thousands of Stinger missiles to the new Revolutionary Government of Iran, in exchange for Iran hurting President Jimmy Carter’s prospects for re-election by holding onto American hostages in the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report) The Kerry-Brown Committee also reported on international groups, in particular Israeli, assisting in gunrunning and other illegal operations in league with BCCI. The report stated:

“In April 1989, a network of Israeli arms traffickers, operating out of Miami, made a shipment of 500 Israeli manufactured machine guns through the Caribbean island of Antigua for the use of members of the Medellin cartel. Later, one of these weapons was used in the assassination of Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, and several other of the weapons were found in the possession of cartel kingpin Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha after his death in a gunfight with Colombian drug agents.”

At the center of the Israeli gun-running operation which provided weapons to the Medellin cartel was Israeli national and BCCI banker Bruce Rappaport. In 1976, investigative journalist Joseph Trento reported, in his book “Prelude to Terror: the Rogue CIA, The Legacy of America’s Private Intelligence Network the Compromising of American Intelligence“, that:

“With the official blessing of George H. W. Bush as the head of the CIA, [Saudi Intelligence Minister Kamal] Adham transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.”

The elder Bush himself had an account at BCCI established while director of the CIA, discovered when French customs raids the Paris BCCI branch. Trento writes that BCCI tapped into:

“the CIA’s stockpile of misfits and malcontents to help man a 1,500-strong group of assassins and enforcers.”

In 1987 a BCCI-connected bank, Intermaritime Bank of Geneva and New York, rescued Bush the Younger’s Harken Energy with a $25 million loan, at a time that the company’s fortunes were in serious decline. Trento says that the rise of BCCI, in the Seventies followed the establishment of the Safari Club, a secret cabal of intelligence agencies which decided it needed a network of banks to finance activities which were to be kept off the books, i.e., illegal and away from congressional oversight. The Bush family’s business dealings and social connections with prominent Saudi families, including the Royal House and all recent heads of Saudi intelligence, are legendary. In 2006 the Huffington Post noted:

“While Cindy Sheehan was being dragged from the House gallery moments before President Bush delivered his State of the Union address for wearing a t-shirt honoring her son and the other 2,244 US soldiers killed in Iraq, [Saudi intelligence chief Prince] Turki al-Faisal was settling into his seat inside the gallery. Faisal, a Saudi, is a man who has met Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants on at least five occasions, describing the al Qaeda leader as “quite a pleasant man.” He met multiple times with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Yet, unlike Sheehan, al-Faisal was a welcomed guest of President Bush on Tuesday night.”

Craig Unger detailed the myriad connections between the Bushes and the Saudi government in the book “House of Saud, House of Bush.”

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the head of Saudi Intelligence from 1977 to 2001, was a defendant in a lawsuit by 9/11 families who charge that he financed terrorism, when he met with Mullah Omar in 1998. Shortly after the meetings, the Saudis reportedly shipped the Taliban 400 new pickup trucks. According to the London Observer, al-Faisal “arranged for donations to be made directly to al-Qaeda and bin Laden by a group of wealthy Saudi businessmen.”

Khalid bin Mahfouz, the Saudi banker and investor in the younger Bush’s Harken Energy, is founder the Muwaffaq (“blessed relief”) Foundation, which has been listed by the US Department of Treasury as an Al Qaeda front. The charity is run by Yasin al-Qadi, who, although he has had his terrorist designation overturned in several international jurisdictions, remains a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” under U.S. law.

The George W. Bush administration has been accused, by government whistleblowers, of strenuously blocking investigations of attacks on American citizens and interests which trace to shadowy figures among America’s allies. In 2000, Bush administration Ambassador Barbara Bodine blocks an investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen by maverick FBI investigator John O’Neill, and eventually prohibited his return to Yemen. O’Neill said that the main terrorist threat now comes from transnational groups not officially backed by national governments. O’Neill died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after reporting for his first day on a new job after he resigned in frustration from the FBI.

Bush Administrations Shuts Down Ptech Investigation
Soon after 9/11, a top systems analyst at JP Morgan discovered, by accident, that the nation’s defenses and law enforcement computer systems had a critical component which was in the hands of a foreign company. Worse, employees and principles of that company, Ptech, had documented and extensive ties to terrorist financing. Ptech was the subject of a report by Boston’s WBZ News reporter Joe Bergentino.

Ptech, now renamed Go Agile, is embedded in such diverse government agencies as the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Naval Air Command, Congress, the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, NATO, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and the White House.

In a spectacular coincidence, one of Ptech’s prime benefactors was Yasin al-Qadi, the Treasury Department’s “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” and founder the Muwaffaq (“blessed relief”) Foundation. Although President George W. Bush signed an executive order freezing Yassin Al-Qadi’s assets for links to terrorism, the government failed to investigate Ptech when Bergantino brought his information to the authorities, in October of 2001. When it did investigate in August 2002, it was charged only with small loan fraud, and subjected to a small fine.

As Go Agile, Ptech remains, to this day, in charge of a government-embedded software which is said to provide a “God-eye view of the battlefield,” in one deployment, and which provides access to every aspect of every other software system the government uses.

Critics of the US military’s response to the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, on September 11, 2001, are particularly harsh on the failure of nation’s air defenses to stop any one of the planes which hit their targets. The first report of a hijacked plane came into the FAA at 8:19 a.m. This was a full hour and twenty minutes before the last plane struck the Pentagon at 9:38. Interceptor pilots and air traffic controllers say that fighters are typically in the air within 10 minutes of any commercial aircraft going off course or becoming unresponsive to radio communication. But the morning of 9/11 was anything but typical, as communications breakdowns and simultaneous war games planned for that morning interfered with the military response, according to the 9/11 Commission.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, after 9/11, said that the nation’s air defenses were “turned outward” toward an overseas threat, and therefore easily taken by surprise from within. But this has turned out to be incorrect, as it is now confirmed that all three flights had been reported as hijacked within minutes of going off-course, but were not intercepted despite fighter jets sitting ready to scramble, within minutes of the planes’ locations in the air.

The communications, information, and control systems of the entire US military are overseen, and can be intervened in, by the overarching “enterprise-wide” system of Ptech. Ptech’s detractors say that Ptech’s software was perfectly positioned to give malicious interlopers the power to interfere with, and confuse, the nation’s air defenses on 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission has already said that FAA and NORAD officials “lied” in order to shift blame in the enormously botched response in the air to 9/11. The FAA and NORAD have given confusing and conflicting testimonies to the 9/11 Commission on the morning’s events and timeline. General Ralph Eberhart, commander of NORAD, said: “Regrettably the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised.”

But in 2002 it was revealed that the military had already scheduled exercises involving domestic aircraft crashing into important US buildings.

Ptech Pedigree Runs back to BCCI, Bush-Saudi Connection
Shockingly to WBZ reporter Bergantino, as well as to the security software expert who tipped him off to Ptech’s terrorist connections, the FBI under the Bush administration did not follow up on investigating the connections despite already having seized the assets of Yassin al-Qadi. The charge of aggressively blocking investigation into certain terror subjects has not been made only against the Bush Jr. administration. A few years earlier, FBI agent Robert Wright had protested that the Clinton Justice Department was blocking him from “following the money trail” behind Saudi national Osama bin Laden, in the words of an ABC News report, after the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa. Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, a Wright ally who was assigned to the case, told ABC News:

“There were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let it [the building of a criminal case] happen. And it didn’t happen.”

A prime suspect in Wright’s investigations was Yassin al-Qadi, the Ptech investor who is also the son-in-law of Sheikh Ahmed Salah Jamjoom, a former Saudi Arabian government minister with close ties to the Saudi royal family. Other possible foreign agents who were involved with Ptech are Israelis who have since gone to work for the Israeli software company Guardium, a spin-off of Log-On Software, which, having critical national security functions and principles who are former Israeli military officers, is likely tied to the Israeli Mossad secret service organization.

Critics of Ptech/Go Alige’s presence inside the American military command and control structure note that such sensitive positions elsewhere in the government can be denied to people with mere marijuana convictions, nevermind ones with documented terrorist links or links to foreign intelligence organizations. In 1991, an American journalist was probing deeply into a stateless, shadowy, international criminal cartel with BCCI at its center. In the words of the Baltimore Sun:

“a shady set of connections…that appeared to link a series of scandals from the Reagan and Bush administrations involving Middle East arms deals, drug dealing and political corruption.”

Later that year the journalist, Danny Casolaro, was found dead in what was ruled as a suicide by the authorities, though his family has never accepted that ruling. Casolaro named the entity he was uncovering “The Octopus.”Casolaro’s funeral was marked by a strange occurrence, when a man a US Army uniform, who was highly decorated and accompanied by an aid and driven in a limousine, walked up to Casolaro’s casket after the family had left, laid a medal on it, and saluted. Casolaro had never officially served in the military.

North Carolina Congressman Jones said last March in a press conference:
“I don’t think a nation like America will remain strong if we do not demand the truth…We need you to put pressure on your representatives back home to join in this effort for the truth.”

A US House of Representatives bill to force the declassification of the 28 pages so far has 13 congressional co-sponsors.

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State jester, John McCain, Suggests Israel “Go Rogue,” Blow Up Iran Negotiations By Starting War

McCain: Israel Should Blow Up Iran Negotiations by Starting War

McCain Suggests Israel “Go Rogue,” Blow Up Iran Negotiations By Starting War

He made the suggestion during a floor speech.

As Iran talks appear to be coming to a close with a successful agreement that would both lead to the lifting of international sanctions and restrictions that would prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons, most in the international community are relieved.

Yet Republicans have teamed up with their counterparts in the Israeli political system to do everything they can to obstruct a deal – with tactics such as drafting new sanctions legislation and warning the Iranian leadership that the nuclear agreement will not outlast President Obama.

But this past week Senator John McCain (R-AZ) ratcheted up this sabotage to a new level. During a floor speech he gave on March 24th, the senator suggested that Israel “go rogue” and that if they don’t they may not survive the next 22 months of the Obama presidency:

McCAIN: The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance. On the Iranian nuclear deal, they may have to go rogue. Let’s hope their warnings have not been mere bluffs. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.

Recall that McCain is head of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Republican presidential candidate. His call for a foreign state to openly obstruct U.S. policy and in the process initiate a catastrophic regional war is perhaps unprecedented for someone of his senior position

IDLIB: HA, HA, HA. BRITISH LIARS CAUGHT AGAIN! IDLIB FIRMLY IN HANDS OF SYRIAN ARMY; BRITISH INEPT, AS USUAL

Ziad Fadel

army

IDLIB:  The lying has been followed to its source: Syrian Observatory for Human Blight.  That’s correct folks, the whole propaganda ploy was set up by MI6 in anticipation of a breakthrough at Idlib planned by incompetent English degenerates in Turkey.  The idea was to demoralize the SAA by floating this canard on the airwaves.  But, it didn’t work.

Once SOHR, run by convicted felon and professional liar, Rami ‘Abdul-Rahmaan, announced the lie that the Jihadist cannibals had overrun SAA positions in Idlib, other “news” sources like the patently Qatar-owned lie factory, Daily Star, announced the same with unbelievable misinformation such as Al-Raqqa being a provincial capital and the citizens escaping the city to avoid persecution by an angry Syrian government.   Other professional purveyors of baloney like Scott Lucas who runs a little-read site called eaworldview and teaches at some picayune college in England, and the hilariously awful Al-Bawaba, joined in the pro-terrorist chorus of nonsense to spread the falsehoods.

Here is what happened based on the best information we can gather:  The terrorist assault on the northern edges of the city were all repelled by the SAA as we reported.  The purpose of the attacks to the northeast, northwest and east (at the Industrial Zone) were to cover up a large massing force of cannibals and savages to the south of the city.  That stratagem (no doubt concocted by the queer English) flopped when the MI people detected the movement of rodents to the south and alerted SAA Central Command.  The decision was then made to leave the defenses in the north and east to militia and reconfigure the army to the south in order to destroy the Nusra rodents concentrating there.  We do not deny that military outposts outside Idlib were abandoned by the SAA to the terrorist hyenas and plague-carrying rats.

The only area the rats were able to penetrate was in Al-Husayniyya where the population was encouraged to evacuate lest they be subjected to the usual British-encouraged savagery such as decapitations and rape.  The people in that quarter were directed to the coast.  We can confirm their arrival in Latakia by our relatives who indicated some wariness about Idlibites and their history of support for fundamentalist Islam.  However, my impression was that they would be given shelter and treated well.  Almost all were women and children.   It is evident the men remained to help the SAA fight off the savages. I have received assurances that Al-Husayniyya will be reclaimed by the SAA.

Let me repeat, the BBC, for example, quoted only SOHR’s idiotic announcement.  The BBC has no independent source to confirm or disconfirm the western-concocted lie about Idlib.  Readers of SyrPer who swallowed the foolishness, hook-line-sinker, ought to reevaluate how they absorb information and regurgitate it – trolls included.

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Saudi Arabia, GCC Launch Bombing Campaign in Yemen: Egypt Calls for Regional Force to Conduct Ground Invasion

By Abayomi Azikiwe

On March 26 the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), under the direction of Saudi Arabia, announced that it began to bomb Ansurallah (Houthi) positions in Yemen.

This Shiite-led movement has been in conflict with the western-backed Yemeni government for over a decade.

The capital Saana was lost to the Ansurallah fighters in September 2014. Recently Taiz was taken by the Houthis and the southern port city of Aden is under siege.

Saudi Arabia has framed the current conflict as a battle against Iranian influence in Yemen. A series of aerial bombardments have killed and injured dozens of Yemeni civilians.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on March 30 that 45 people were killed and 65 others wounded in air attacks on the northwest of the country. Those who suffered in the bombings were taking refuge from the ongoing conflicts which have intensified in the last six years. (AFP)

Another humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), reported that the airstrike killed at least 15 people. MSF’s manager of programs in the Middle East, Pablo Marco, indicated that the corpses of the civilians and those injured in the airstrike were taken to Haradh Hospital near the al-Mazrak camp in the province of Hajja.

“It was an airstrike,” Marco declared, noting that he was anticipating that “more dead are at al-Mazrak camp.” The al-Mazrak camp has been providing shelter to the people dislocated by the struggle pitting the Houthi fighters against the central government since 2009.

Press TV stated on March 30 that the bombing of al-Mazrak camp represented an escalation of the Saudi operation. The monarchy has intervened in Yemen before seeking to bolster the previous government of former President Saleh who was forced to resign after a nationwide uprising in 2011.

Recent reports suggests that Yemeni military forces loyal to former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh have opposed the Saudi airstrikes and are working with the Ansurallah fighters. This alliance has given the Houthi forces a decisive advantage in their offensive in the south of the country. (New York Times, March 25)

According to Press TV “The airstrikes began late Sunday (March 29) and continued unabated for almost nine hours, with Saudi bombers targeting positions of the Houthi fighters and the soldiers from the Republican Guard around the presidential palace. A base operated by the Republican Guard in southern Sanaa was also targeted by the strikes.”

This same articles goes on to note that “Riyadh says it has launched the airstrikes, the first round of which was carried out on March 26, to defend the ‘legitimate government’ of Yemen’s fugitive president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled to the Saudi capital on the same day. Riyadh has vowed to press ahead with the bombing until Hadi is reinstated.”

Ansarullah (Houthis) are a Zaidi Shia group operating in Yemen. The movement takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who launched an uprising in 2004 and was said to have been killed by Yemeni army forces that September. Led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the movement made substantial gains beginning in Sept. 2014 continuing through the current period.

At present Ansurallah controls of the Yemeni capital Sanaa including the parliament. Saudi Arabia took action when the movement was on the verge of a major offensive in the southern port city of Aden.

United States Foreign Policy Destabilizes Yemen

This bombing operation by the GCC represents the collapse of US foreign policy in Yemen. The Pentagon withdrew 100 special forces and diplomatic personnel in recent weeks.

U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke was quoted by the British Broadcasting Corporation as saying that “Due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the U.S. government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen.” (BBC, March 25)

He went on to stress that the Obama administration would continue to support Yemen’s “political transition” and monitor “terrorist threats” emerging from the Middle Eastern state, the most underdeveloped in the region. Nonetheless Rathke added that “There is no military solution to Yemen’s current crisis.”

The Pentagon’s withdrawal from the al-Anad air base took place after an alleged offensive by al-Qaeda fighters in the nearby city of al-Houta. Additional reports said that al-Qaeda was soon forced to retreat from the city as a result of the defensive operations carried out by Yemen’s military forces.

Pentagon military forces stationed at the base, including special forces, were conducting training operations for Yemeni soldiers to allegedly support their fight against al-Qaeda. The U.S. has engaged in drone attacks, targeted assassinations and other counter-insurgency efforts for several years.

The struggle in Yemen involving the Ansurallah movement is being framed by the western media as being representative of a proxy war between Saudi forces seeking to curb Iranian and other Shiite influence in the region. Washington is closely allied with the Saudi monarchy and supplies weapons, military and intelligence support to the ruling family.

In addition to the struggle between the Ansurallah fighters against the Hadi government, a secessionist movement is also rising in the South where a socialist-oriented republic existed between 1967 and the late 1980s. Large demonstrations have been held in recent months where the flag of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen has been flown.

 

Egypt Calls for Ground Intervention at Arab League Summit

Egyptian military leader turned civilian president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, presented a proposal to the Arab League Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh on March 28 to establish a regional military force that would intervene in states facing internal conflicts.

It is quite obvious that Saudi airstrikes will not be enough to halt the advances of the Houthi fighters or to stabilize the security situation in the country based on U.S. interests. Al-Manar Television of Lebanon said in a report that thousands of Islamic Sunni rebels are being deployed by Saudi Arabia to fight against the Ansarullah movement.

The report said that “Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — backed by the U.S. have declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued earlier Thursday (March 26). U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late Wednesday night. She added that while U.S. forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.” (March 29)

At the same time there is the ongoing war of regime-change in Syria where Islamic State fighters and other opposition groups are continuing to seek the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. In Iraq, the Pentagon has carried out aerial bombardments alongside those taking place in neighboring Syria, as well as the deployment of over 3,100 U.S. troops under the guise of providing training to Iraq forces.

“The challenges facing Arab national security are immense,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi said during the final session of the Arab League summit. The Egyptian leader said such a regional force was essential to “defend our [Arab] nation­. . . and gives it an active role in the future of human civilization.” (Washington Post, March 30)

Objectively such a regional military force would be compelled to carry out the foreign policy aims of Washington and Wall Street since the bulk of arms and intelligence sharing is provided by the U.S. in both Egypt and the GCC states. With the U.S. military being tied up through airstrikes and ground operations in Iraq and Syria, the Obama administration is attempting to utilize pro-western regimes in the region to implement both aerial campaigns and ground invasions designed to support imperialist interests.


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Assad: ISIL Expanded since US Air Campaign Started

Local Editor

Syrian President Bashar Al-AssadSyrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group has been gaining recruits since the start of U.S.-led air strikes against the militant group.

In an interview with the US CBS “60 Minutes” aired on Sunday, Assad stated there were some estimates that ISIL was attracting 1,000 recruits a month in Syria.

Answering a question on the benefit of the coalition airstrikes on ISIL positions, the Syria President said that “sometimes you could have local benefit but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes.”

Asked under what circumstances he would leave power, Assad said: “When I don’t have the public support. When I don’t represent the Syrian interests, and values.”

In reply to a question about how he determined what support he had among Syrians, he said: “I don’t determine. I sense. I feel. I’m in contact with them.”

Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the western media reports accuse countries, mainly the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of orchestrating the civil conflict in the country and providing terrorist groups with money, weapons and trained mercenaries.

Source: Websites

30-03-2015 – 12:48 Last updated 30-03-2015 – 12:48


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The Geopolitics Behind the War in Yemen

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

PART I

YEMEN
The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became very uneasy when the Yemenese or Yemenite movement of the Houthi or Ansarallah (meaning the supporters of God in Arabic) gained control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa/Sana, in September 2014. The US-supported Yemenite President Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi was humiliatingly forced to share power with the Houthis and the coalition of northern Yemenese tribes that had helped them enter Sana. Al-Hadi declared that negotiations for a Yemeni national unity government would take place and his allies the US and Saudi Arabia tried to use a new national dialogue and mediated talks to co-opt and pacify the Houthis.

The truth has been turned on its head about the war in Yemen. The war and ousting of President Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi in Yemen are not the results of «Houthi coup» in Yemen. It is the opposite. Al-Hadi was ousted, because with Saudi and US support he tried to backtrack on the power sharing agreements he had made and return Yemen to authoritarian rule. The ousting of President Al-Hadi by the Houthis and their political allies was an unexpected reaction to the takeover Al-Hadi was planning with Washington and the House of Saudi.

The Houthis and their allies represent a diverse cross-section of Yemeni society and the majority of Yemenites. The Houthi movement’s domestic alliance against Al-Hadi includes Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims alike. The US and House of Saud never thought that they Houthis would assert themselves by removing Al-Hadi from power, but this reaction had been a decade in the making. With the House of Saud, Al-Hadi had been involved in the persecution of the Houthis and the manipulation of tribal politics in Yemen even before he became president. When he became Yemeni president he dragged his feet and was working against the implement the arrangements that had been arranged through consensus and negotiations in Yemen’s National Dialogue, which convened after Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to hand over his powers in 2011.

Coup or Counter-Coup: What Happened in Yemen?

At first, when they took over Sana in late-2014, the Houthis rejected Al-Hadi’s proposals and his new offers for a formal power sharing agreement, calling him a morally bankrupt figure that had actually been reneging previous promises of sharing political power. At that point, President Al-Hadi’s pandering to Washington and the House of Saud had made him deeply unpopular in Yemen with the majority of the population. Two months later, on November 8, President Al-Hadi’s own party, the Yemenite General People’s Congress, would eject Al-Hadi as its leader too.

The Houthis eventually detained President Al-Hadi and seized the presidential palace and other Yemeni government buildings on January 20. With popular support, a little over two weeks later, the Houthis formally formed a Yemense transitional government on February 6. Al-Hadi was forced to resign. The Houthis declared that Al-Hadi, the US, and Saudi Arabia were planning on devastating Yemen on February 26.

Al-Hadi’s resignation was a setback for US foreign policy. It resulted in a military and operational retreat for the CIA and the Pentagon, which were forced to remove US military personnel and intelligence operatives from Yemen. The Los Angeles Times reported on March 25, citing US officials, that the Houthis had got their hands on numerous secret documents when the seized the Yemeni National Security Bureau, which was working closely with the CIA, that compromised Washington’s operations in Yemen.

Al-Hadi fled the Yemeni capital Sana to Aden n February 21 and declared it the temporary capital of Yemen on March 7. The US, France, Turkey, and their Western European allies closed their embassies. Soon afterwards, in what was probably a coordinated move with the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates all relocated the embassies to Aden from Sana. Al-Hadi rescinded his letter of resignation as president and declared that he was forming a government-in-exile.

The Houthis and their political allies refused to fall into line with the demands of the US and Saudi Arabia, which were being articulated through Al-Hadi in Aden and by an increasingly hysteric Riyadh. As a result, Al-Hadi’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yaseen, called for Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikdoms to militarily intervene to prevent the Houthis from getting control of Yemen’s airspace on March 23. Yaseen told the Saudi mouthpiece Al-Sharg Al-Awsa that a bombing campaign was needed and that a no-fly zone had to be imposed over Yemen.

The Houthis realized that a military struggle was going to begin. This is why the Houthis and their allies in the Yemenite military rushed to control as many Yemeni military airfields and airbases, such as Al-Anad, as quickly as possible. They rushed to neutralize Al-Hadi and entered Aden on March 25.

By the time the Houthis and their allies entered Aden, Al-Hadi had fled the Yemeni port city. Al-Hadi would resurface in Saudi Arabia when the House of Saud started attacking Yemen on March 26. From Saudi Arabia, Abd-Rabbuh Manṣour Al-Hadi would then fly to Egypt for a meeting of the Arab League to legitimize the war on Yemen.

Yemen and the Changing Strategic Equation in the Middle East

The Houthi takeover of Sana took place in the same timeframe as a series of success or regional victories for Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and the Resistance Bloc that they and other local actors form collectively. In Syria, the Syrian government managed to entrench its position while in Iraq the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh movement was being pushed back by Iraq with the noticeable help of Iran and local Iraqi militias allied to Tehran.

The strategic equation in the Middle East began to shift as it became clear that Iran was becoming central to its security architecture and stability. The House of Saud and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to whimper and complain that Iran was in control of four regional capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana – and that something had to be done to stop Iranian expansion. As a result of the new strategic equation, the Israelis and the House of Saud became perfectly strategically aligned with the objective of neutralizing Iran and its regional allies. «When the Israelis and Arabs are on the same page, people should pay attention», Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer told Fox News about the alignment of Israel and Saudi Arabia on March 5.

The Israeli and Saudi fear mongering has not worked. According to Gallup poll, only 9% of US citizens viewed Iran as a greatest enemy of the US at the time that Netanyahu arrived t Washington to speak against a deal between the US and Iran.Shi'ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa

The Geo-Strategic Objectives of the US and Saudis Behind the War in Yemen

While the House of Saudi has long considered Yemen a subordinate province of some sorts and as a part of Riyadh’s sphere of influence, the US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands. The Bab Al-Mandeb it is an important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy shipments that connects the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Israel was also concerned, because control of Yemen could cut off Israel’s access to Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and prevent its submarines from easily deploying to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran. This is why control of Yemen was actually one of Netanyahu’s talking points on Capitol Hill when he spoke to the US Congress about Iran on March 3 in what the New York Times of all publications billed as «Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress» on March 4.

Saudi Arabia was visibly afraid that Yemen could become formally align to Iran and that the evens there could result in new rebellions in the Arabian Peninsula against the House of Saud. The US was just as much concerned about this too, but was also thinking in terms of global rivalries. Preventing Iran, Russia, or China from having a strategic foothold in Yemen, as a means of preventing other powers from overlooking the Gulf of Aden and positioning themselves at the Bab Al-Mandeb, was a major US concern.

Added to the geopolitical importance of Yemen in overseeing strategic maritime corridors is its military’s missile arsenal. Yemen’s missiles could hit any ships in the Gulf of Aden or Bab Al-Mandeb. In this regard, the Saudi attack on Yemen’s strategic missile depots serves both US and Israeli interests. The aim is not only to prevent them from being used to retaliate against exertions of Saudi military force, but to also prevent them from being available to a Yemeni government aligned to either Iran, Russia, or China.

In a public position that totally contradicts Riyadh’s Syria policy, the Saudis threatened to take military action if the Houthis and their political allies did not negotiate with Al-Hadi. As a result of the Saudi threats, protests erupted across Yemen against the House of Saud on March 25. Thus, the wheels were set in motion for another Middle Eastern war as the US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait began to prepare to reinstall Al-Hadi.

The Saudi March to War in Yemen and a New Front against Iran

For all the talk about Saudi Arabia as a regional power, it is too weak to confront Iran alone. The House of Saud’s strategy has been to erect or reinforce a regional alliance system for a drawn confrontation with Iran and the Resistance Bloc. In this regard Saudi Arabia needs Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan —a misnamed so-called «Sunni» alliance or axis — to help it confront Iran and its regional allies.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE’s military, would visit Morocco to talk about a collective military response to Yemen by the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt on March 17. On March 21, Mohammed bin Zayed met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss a military response to Yemen. This was while Al-Hadi was calling for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to help him by militarily intervening in Yemen. The meetings were followed by talk about a new regional security pact for the Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Out of the GCC’s five members, the Sultanate of Oman stayed away. Oman refused to join the war on Yemen. Muscat has friendly relations with Tehran. Moreover, the Omanis are weary of the Saudi and GCC project to use sectarianism to ignite confrontation with Iran and its allies. The majority of Omanis are neither Sunni Muslims nor Shiite Muslims; they are Ibadi Muslims, and they fear the fanning of sectarian sedition by the House of Saud and the other Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Saudi propagandists went into over drive falsely claiming that the war was a response to Iranian encroachment on the borders of Saudi Arabia. Turkey would announce its support for the war in Yemen. On the day the war was launched, Turkey’s Erdogan claimed that Iran was trying to dominate the region and that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC were getting annoyed.

During these events, Egypt’s Sisi stated that the security of Cairo and the security of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are one. In fact, Egypt said that it would not get involved in a war in Yemen on March 25, but the next day Cairo joined Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s attack on Yemen by sending its jets and ships to Yemen.

In the same vein, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif released a statement on March 26 that any threat to Saudi Arabia would «evoke a strong response» from Pakistan. The message was tacitly directed towards Iran.

The US and Israeli Roles in the War in Yemen

On March 27, it was announced in Yemen that Israel was helping Saudi Arabia attack the Arab country. «This is the first time that the Zionists [Israelis] are conducting a joint operation in collaborations with Arabs,» Hassan Zayd, the head of Yemen’s Al-Haq Party, wrote on the internet to point out the convergence of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Israeli-Saudi alliance over Yemen, however, is not new. The Israelis helped the House of Saud during the North Yemen Civil War that started in 1962 by providing Saudi Arabia with weapons to help the royalists against the republicans in North Yemen.

The US is also involved and leading from behind or a distance. While it works to strike a deal with Iran, it also wants to maintain an alliance against Tehran using the Saudis. The Pentagon would provide what it called «intelligence and logistical support» to House of Saud. Make no mistakes about it: the war on Yemen is also Washington’s war. The GCC has been on Yemen unleashed by the US.

There has long been talk about the formation of a pan-Arab military force, but proposals for creating it were renewed on March 9 by the rubberstamp Arab League. The proposals for a united Arab military serve US, Israeli, and Saudi interests. Talk about a pan-Arab military has been motivated by their preparations to attack Yemen to return Al-Hadi and to regionally confront Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Resistance Bloc.

PART II

«Battle lines are being drawn in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country and the Middle East’s latest candidate for state failure. If, as looks increasingly probable, open warfare breaks out soon, it will only be made worse by the contest for regional supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both powers have proven eager to arm groups they believe they can control, despite the legacy this destructive rivalry has already wrought in Syria and Iraq», the magazine Foreign Policy claimed on March 6.

The Houthi Alliance with Iran: Pragmatism or Sectarianism?

The Houthis are not Iranian proxies whatsoever. The Houthi movement is an independent political actor that emerged as a result of repression. To call the Houthis Iranian proxies is unempirical and ignores the history and politics of Yemen. «If a war breaks out along sectarian lines, it will not be because that is where historical divisions have lain in Yemen; it will be because the war’s foreign funders are inflaming previously unimportant divisions», Foreign Policy even admits.

Houthi leaders have admittedly rejected claims that they take orders from Tehran. This has not stopped Saudi and Khaliji (Gulf) officials and media have used and manipulated the statements of Iranian officials, like the comparison of the Houthis to Iran’s Basij, to portray the Houthis as Iranian agents or clients.

Just like how the Houthis are not Iranian proxies, there is no Shia alliance between Tehran and them in Yemen either. Talk that focuses on this simplistic sectarian narrative hides the political nature and motivations of the conflict in Yemen and insultingly obfuscated the struggle of the Houthis against repression. Until the 1970s the House of Saud had actually been a major supporter of the royalist factions in Yemen, which were predominately Shiite Muslims.

Moreover, the Shiite Muslims in Yemen are not Jaffaris (Twelvers) like the majority of Shia Muslims in Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf region. Aside from pockets of Ismaili Shiites – which can arguably be called Seveners – in the governorates of Saada, Hajja, Amran, Al-Mahwit, Sana, Ibb, and Al-Jawf most the Shia Muslims in Yemen are Zaidis/Zaydis. The Ismailis in Yemen are mostly members of the Dawoodi (Davidian) and Sulaimani (Solomonian) sects of Mustali Ismailism that moved away from the larger Nizari Ismailis.

The US and Saudi hostility towards the Houthi movement is what has inadvertently made the Houthis pragmatically turn to Iran for help as a counterbalance. In the words of the Wall Street journal, «Houthi militants controlling Yemen’s capital are trying to build ties with Iran, Russia and China to offset Western and Saudi support for the country’s ousted president.» «The Houthis’ interim government has sent delegations to Iran in search of fuel supplies and to Russia to look for investment in energy projects, according to two senior Houthi officials. Another delegation is planning to visit China in the coming weeks, they said», the Wall Street journal also reported on March 6.

As a result of the Houthi movement’s reaching out, Iran and Yemen announced that daily flights would take place between Tehran and Sana on March 2. This is an important lifeline of support for the Houthi movement.

The Sectarian Narrative and Sectarian Card

The instability in Yemen is being caused not by Iran or the Houthis, but by US and Saudi interference in Yemen — from Saudi Arabia’s 2009 invasion to US drone attacks — and the decades of support that Saudi Arabia has provided for authoritarian and unpopular rule in Yemen.

Yemen is not an inherently divided country. Aside from the nurturing of Al-Qaeda by Saudi Arabia and the US, there is no real Shia-Sunni split or tensions. To pre-empt Yemen from being independent, the Saudis and US have supported sectarianism with the hope of creating a Shia-Sunni divide in Yemen.

Unlike the false narrative, Iran’s alliances in the Middle East are actually not sectarian. All of Tehran’s Palestinian allies are predominately Sunni Muslims while in Iraq and Syria, aside from the governments, Iran supports a cross-section of ethnic and faith groups that include non-Arabs and Christians. This includes the predominately Sunni Muslim Syrian and Iraqi Kurds and the Assyrian Sutoro wing of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria. In Lebanon, aside from Hezbollah, the Iranians are also allied to Sunni Muslim, Druze, and Christian parties, including Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement—which is the largest Christian party in Lebanon.

If anyone is engaged in sectarianism as a policy, it is the US and its Arab petro-sheikdom allies. Both the US and Saudi Arabia had engaged the Houthis earlier and used them against the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. Additionally, during the Cold War both Washington and the House of Saud tried to use the Yemeni Shiites against the republicans in North Yemen and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the south. It is when the Houthi movement demonstrated that it was not going to be a client to Washington or Riyadh, that the US ad Saudi Arabia became hostile towards it.

Preparing the Invasion of Yemen

On 20 March, suicide bombers attacked the Al-Badr and Al-Hashoosh mosques during asr salat (afternoon prayers). Over three hundred people were killed. Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting the terrorist attacks and both the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh and Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Saudi Arabia was also blamed.

While there was silence in Morocco, Jordan, and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham condemned the terrorist attacks in Yemen. In one way or another, Syria, Iraq, Russia, and China all condemned the terrorist attacks in Yemen too. To show Tehran’s support for Yemen, two Iranian cargo plans with humanitarian aid were sent to Yemen and the Iranian Red Crescent Society flew over fifty Yemenis victims of the terrorist attacks to hospitals inside Iran for medical treatment.

The House of Saud’s Failure in Yemen

The Houthis movement is the result of Saudi Arabia’s policies in Yemen and its support for authoritarian rule. In this regard, the Houthis are a reaction to Saudi brutality and the House of Saud’s support for Yemeni authoritarianism. They emerged as part of a rebellion that was led by Hussein Badreddin Al-Houthi in 2004 against the Yemenite government.

The Yemeni and Saudi regimes falsely claimed that the Houthis wanted to establish a Zaidi imamate in Arabia as a means of demonizing the movement. This, however, failed to stop them from getting stronger. The Yemeni military would not be able to handle them in 2009, which resulted in a Saudi intervention called Operation Scorched Earth being launched on August 11, 2009.

Saudi Arabia failed to defeat the Houthis when it sent its military into Yemen to fight them in 2009 and 2010. It has failed to force Yemen and the Houthi movement to kneel in obedience. When it demanded that the Houthis and Yemeni transitional government play to the Saudi tune and go to Riyadh for negotiations, it was flatly rejected by the Houthis and Yemen’s Revolutionary Committees, because the negotiations and any Saudi-supported power sharing scheme would really sideline the Houthis and other political forces in Yemen. This is why the Popular Forces Union, Al-Hadi’s own General People’s Congress, and the Baath Party of Yemen have all supported the Houthi position against Saudi Arabia.

Dividing Yemen?

Yemen has seen numerous insurrections, military intervention by the US and Saudi Arabia, and a separatist movement strengthen in its southern governorates. Yemen’s military has become fragmented and tribal tensions exist. There has been increasing talk about it becoming an Arab failed state.

In 2013, the New York Times proposed that Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen be split. In the case of Yemen, the proposition was that it divided into two again. The New York Times said that this could or would happen following a potential referendum in the southern governorates. The New York Times also proposed that «all or part of South Yemen could then become part of Saudi Arabia. Nearly all Saudi commerce is via sea, and direct access to the Arabian Sea would diminish dependence on the Persian Gulf — and fears of Iran’s ability to cut off the Strait of Hormuz».

Saudi Arabia and Al-Hadi are now courting the southern separatists in Yemen, which have the support of about one-tenth of the population. The next option for the US and Saudi Arabia may be to divide Yemen as a means of mitigating the strategic shift from a Houthi victory. This would ensure that Saudi Arabia and the GCC have a southern transit point to the Indian Ocean and that the US would maintain a foothold in the Gulf of Aden.


Related:

The Situation In Gaza Is So Desperate That Some Are Predicting Another War

More than 100,000 people are still homeless after Israel’s devastating offensive last summer.
GazaIsrael PalestiniansA Palestinian girl sits inside a room of her family’s building which was damaged in last summer’s Israel-Hamas war, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.

— It’s evening, and the neighborhood of Shejaiya is completely dark. Metal rods hang at odd angles off of crumbling skeletons of buildings, and occasionally the pale neon glow of an LED flashlight illuminates a face walking by.

More than 2,000 Gazans were killed during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last year. The 51-day offensive flattened large swathes of the Gaza Strip and turned much of Shejaiya and other neighborhoods into ash-colored wastelands. More than seven months later, 100,000 people are still homeless.

Gaza still looks almost exactly as it did a week after the shelling ended. Only five percent of the $5.4 billion in aid pledged by international donors at a conference in Cairo last year has been disbursed — meaning aid agencies have had to cut services for destitute Gazans. The lack of funding has replaced access to construction materials as the main obstacle to rebuilding. Oxfam said last month that at the current rate, rebuilding Gaza would take more than a hundred years.

The sheer level of destruction in Gaza is hard to take in. Much of it is rubble. Children, undeterred by their surroundings, play in and around damaged buildings or collect pieces of their former homes to sell to factory owners. The living situation is so bad that many warn another round of fighting is inevitable.

More than 120,000 homes were damaged or destroyed during the summer offensive. Moussa Mohamed Hamdeya’s was one of them.

“When we left, we didn’t take money or clothes or anything,” says Hamdeya, 54. “When we came back we found that everything had been burned. Everything we’re wearing now was given to us by other people.”

Hamdeya and 11 other family members now live in a three-room structure with no windows.

Before the offensive he worked in construction, but the shelling destroyed his warehouse, and his livelihood along with it.

This month, after a funding shortfall of $585 billion, the United Nations’ relief agency had to stop providing rent subsidies to homeless families and cash to those whose homes were partially destroyed, a move that affects about 80,000 people. If the payments do not resume, Hamdeya will be forced to move his family of 12 back into a UN school classroom where they lived until November of last year.

Gaza residents say that in previous offensives the Israeli army targeted militant infrastructure or houses where known fighters lived.

“This time the shelling was random, the damage was random,” says Hajj Abdel Khalil el-Helou, whose house was badly shelled.

At 80, el-Helou lived through the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, attacks by the Israeli army in ’56, and the Six-Day War in ’67. Sometime in the mid-20th century his leg was blown off by an Israeli sniper. He and his wife cannot agree on exactly when. His house was shelled during each of the last three wars — but this time was different, he says.

“This time was a million times worse! This was the worst thing, the worst in my life, the worst in history!”

El-Helou lost about 50 relatives in last summer’s offensive, including a family of 12, all of them killed in one house.

This time Israeli bombs flattened his shop as well. Now he has no money and no way to work.

“I do not think I will rebuild this time,” he says. When asked about what he thinks will happen in the future, he says, “God knows. No one can expect anything anymore. In Gaza there is no life. But our neighbor’s situation is worse than ours, God help them.”

Widespread homelessness is increasing the strain on families who are already struggling.

Hanadi al-Najjar, 30, contracted cancer after exposure to white phosphorus during the 2008-2009 Gaza offensive. Hers is one of hundreds of displaced families now living in Gulf-funded temporary shelters. Sick and homeless, she can no longer take care of her six children. She had to put them in an orphanage.

“We visit them whenever we can afford it,” she says. That’s usually about once or twice a month.

 

Electricity as a weapon

But even those who are still in their homes are facing extreme difficulties.

Six hours of electricity a day, sometimes less, is not enough to refrigerate food. Unable to store perishables for long, some Gazans are living from one meal to the next.

Gaza’s only power plant was bombed in 2006. It was hit again during last summer’s offensive. It began operating again at reduced capacity but stopped earlier this month because of a tax dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The rest of Gaza’s electricity comes via cables from Israel and Egypt.

“Electricity is the mother of services,” says Jamal al-Dardasawy, spokesman for the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company. “They hit electricity and all the services stop.”

The main warehouse for materials to maintain the electrical grid was also hit.

“It’s all charcoal, even the cables turned to liquid,” says al-Dardasawy.

Even before the offensive, electricity in Gaza only arrived in eight-hour blocks, each followed by the same amount of time without.

“Israel uses electricity as a weapon,” he says. “The shells fall here and there, and not everyone dies, right? But all people feel the electricity crisis, from the small child to the old man.”

For al-Dardasawy it’s the little indignities that are the most painful; not the bread lines he saw in September, but the sight of an old man waiting for five hours for the electricity to come on so he can take the elevator to get up to his apartment.

 

Gargling with seawater

Since the summer, many Gazans have struggled to access clean water and adequate sanitation.

Brushing your teeth with the briny stuff that flows from faucets here feels like gargling with seawater. When you drive down the coast, you can smell the 40 thousand cubic meters of untreated sewage gushing into the Mediterranean.

Much of the water infrastructure in the eastern Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel, was completely destroyed in the last offensive.

In Beit Hanoun, where once there were well-appointed houses and green farmland, there is now little but rubble. The US Agency for International Development and Mercy Corps, a US-based development organization, have set up a joint project to distribute fresh water.

Throughout the day residents line up at the pumps with plastic buckets, while schoolchildren stop by to drink from them like water fountains.

Maher al-Najjar, deputy general director of Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, says that during the offensive his department gave the Israelis the coordinates of all water and wastewater facilities, hoping they would be spared during the air assault.

“But it seems they were targeting facilities without any restriction,” he says.

The water authority lost 12 staff members during the war. Under normal circumstances, repairs to the water system should take a year and a half. But al-Najjar says it is now so hard to acquire the materials it could take 20.

Many Gazans buy drinking water from private water tankers who have small desalination plants. Even the desalinated water is not very safe to drink.

The lack of electricity has brought commerce and manufacturing to a standstill.

Many farms were bombed during the war. Ibrahim Samarra, 47, is a farmer from the central Gaza Strip. He used to have 1,500 chickens.

“During the war they starved to death when we fled our homes,” he says. The area was too dangerous for him to come back and feed them.

Hatem Hassouna owned a group of factories in the Eastern Gaza Strip that made construction materials for UN projects. They were shelled during each of the last three offensives. Last summer the IDF used them as a base during the ground offensive. On the day the soldiers left, they razed the factories to the ground.

“There are no fighters in this area. I can think of no reason other than destroying the Gazan economy. One hundred and thirty people worked here,” Hassouna says.

Unemployment in Gaza doubled from around 108,000 in mid-2013 to over 200,000 in mid-2014. Because of the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt since 2007, the Gazan economy is one of the most unstable in the world. Its unemployment and GDP per capita are comparable to those of Libya, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

The Israeli government says the blockade is necessary “because Hamas continues to declare its goal of killing Israelis” says Mark Regev, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office.

Meanwhile, in Israel, the word “Gaza” was hardly mentioned in the recent electoral campaign.

“In the past eight years there has been a steep drop in the willingness of Israelis to listen to Gazans,” says Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for B’tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.

“There’s a lot of hatred. Israelis are afraid of tunnels and missiles,” she says. But most of the time, Gaza is out of sight, out of mind.

“Israelis can forget about Gaza as long as they’re not firing missiles.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Sen. Richard Black: Syria fought terrorism successfully and will be victorious

SYRIA 360°

29/03/2015

Virginia, SANA

U.S. Senator Richard Black said that Syria fought terrorism successfully and is heading towards victory, warning those who want Syria to fall that terrorism will head to Jordan, Lebanon, and Europe if the terrorisms manage to achieve their goals in Syria.

In a phone call on Sunday with the Syrian radio station Melody FM, Black said that Erdogan’s regime has colonialist dreams in Syria and the region, and that there’s evidence that the Turkish intelligence provided gas to terrorists to use in an attack in the Ghouta area in a bid to drag the United States into war in Syria.

He said that Turkey, along with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are the biggest funders of terrorists organizations, noting that the reason for the influx of foreign terrorists into Syria is motivated by the desire of those behind the crisis in Syria to replace the shortage in combatants, as they can’t find sympathizers among the Syrians, so they import terrorists from abroad.

Black predicted a political fall for the so-called opposition, and warned that by cooperating with Saudi Arabia, the United States is complicit in exporting terrorists to areas in the world, adding that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar joining the Washington-led coalition against ISIS is merely a formal step in light of their relations with terrorists.

The Senator also expected the support for terrorism and their funding to dry out soon, saying that there’s a shift in how the world is viewing Syria, adding that the U.S. should seek common grounds with Russia in the war on terror.

He said that there’s division in the U.S. government regarding Syria, while Europe is mostly following the lead of the U.S. and is also fragmented regarding how to deal with the crisis in Syria, with the U.S., Britain, and France becoming increasingly isolated when it comes to their calls for “changing the regime.”

Black also said that he wants to visit Syria, and that he’s praying for it and believes that peace will prevail in it.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Jews that post anti-Semitic comments on websites & social media

  • A Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the  discussion of issues involving Israel posted anti-Semitic diatribes in order to make people think that a website was anti-semitic
  • Similarly, a Jewish student admitted that she herself drew swatiskas on her dorm room door. And five Jews were arrested for painting swastikas on Israel Consulate. Indeed, there are many, many, many, many examples of this type of false flag

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/trolls-whats-confusing-nature-game.html

What’s Confusing You Is the Nature of Their Game

The reason that Internet trolls are effective is that people still don’t understand their game.

There are 15 commonly-used trolling tactics to disrupt, misdirect and control internet discussions.

As one interesting example, trolls start flame wars because – according to two professors – swearing and name-calling shut down our ability to think and focus.

And trolls will often spew divisive attacks so that people argue against each other, instead of bad actions and policies of the powers-that-be.   For example, trolls will:

Start a religious war whenever possible using stereotypes like “all Jews are selfish”, “all Christians are crazy” or “all Muslims are terrorists”.

Yesterday, the alternative news site Common Dreams caught a troll using scores of different user names to spew anti-Semitic bile. (Common Dreams discovered that the same troll was behind the multiple user names by tracking their IP addresses. And the troll confessed to Common Dreams.)

The troll is a “a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website’s discussion of issues involving Israel”.

He posted anti-Semitic diatribes – such as Hitler should have finished the job and killed all Jews – using one alias.  Then – a couple of minutes later – he’d post an attack on the first poster using a different alias, claiming that criticism of Israel is the same thing as anti-Semitism.  (Note: Holocaust survivors and Israeli ministers say it’s not.)

Why would a Jew post vile anti-Semitic comments?  Because normal people are offended by – and don’t want to be associated with – pure, naked anti-Semitism, and so they will avoid such discussions.  If the discussion was originally criticizing a specific aspect of Israeli policy, the discussion will break down, and the actual point regarding policy will be lost.

Similarly, anti-Semitic posts weaken websites by making them seem less reputable. Indeed, Common Dreams says that the troll’s anti-Semitic comments drove away many of that site’s largest donors … dealing a severe blow to its continued viability. That’s exactly what trolls spewing anti-Semitic bile are trying to do: shut down logical discussion and discredit and weaken sites which allow rational criticism of policy.

It is well-known that foreign  governments and large companies troll online. See this, this this, and this. For example, the Israeli government is paying students to post pro-Israeli comments online.

And American students are also attempting to influence internet discussion.

While the Common Dreams troll claims that he’s not sponsored by the state of Israel, government  agencies have manipulated  Internet discussion for years. This includes the use of multiple “socket puppet” aliases.  The potential for mischief is stunning.

Unless we learn their game …

 

Hamas says Abbas responsible for Palestinian rifts

Hamas says Abbas responsible for Palestinian rifts

Palestinian faction Hamas on Saturday blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for Palestinian rifts and delay in implementing reconciliation.

“Abbas is fully responsible for Palestinian divisions and the failure to implement the terms of reconciliation,” Hamas said in a statement.

It called on Abbas to immediately implement the terms of a reconciliation deal it signed with rival Palestinian faction Fatah in April of 2014.

Hamas noted that a speech by Abbas at the Arab summit in Egypt earlier in the day offered no solutions to Palestinian problems.

“The speech did not rise up to the required standard either,” it said.

Addressing the summit earlier in the day, Abbas warned against the establishment of a state in the Gaza Strip.

He said this could happen in case Gaza factions signed a long-term truce with Israel.

“We warn against establishing a state in Gaza and creating self-rule in the West Bank,” Abbas said.

He said by doing this, the Palestinians would forget about the problem of their refugee compatriots, which would at the end eradicate the Palestinian national project altogether.

“I hope the current Arab summit will reject such a plan,” Abbas said.

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in April of 2014, bringing to an end rifts that persisted since 2007.

A government was formed in June of the same year in the light of the deal, but this government has yet to assume control of the Gaza Strip, Hamas’ stronghold.

Nuclear Armed and Dangerous Israel Blasts Iran’s Peaceful Program

Nuclear Armed and Dangerous Israel Blasts Iran’s Peaceful Program

Stephen Lendman
RINF Alternative News

Netanyahu and other Israeli officials suppress information on its longstanding nuclear weapons program – an arsenal with thermonuclear ones and long-range delivery capability able to incinerate entire cities.

On Sunday, Netanyahu railed against Iran’s known peaceful nuclear program as a March 31 deadline approaches to reach a preliminary framework deal ahead of a June 30 final one.

The whole world knows Iran’s program is peaceful. It conforms to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.

It has no military component. US and Israeli intelligence assessments say so. No evidence suggests otherwise.

For years, Netanyahu lied about Iran’s program. Israel continues what he calls an “uphill battle” against it.

He absurdly called what’s emerging, if agreed on, worse than he thought.

“This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that,” he said.

It’s hard imagining anyone taking him seriously. He lost credibility long ago.

He’s a world-class thug, a war criminal multiple times over, a serial liar and threat to regional peace.

“After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is maneuvering from the south to take over the entire Middle East,” he blustered.

“The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is dangerous for mankind and must be stopped,” he added.

He pressured Republican US Senate leaders to intervene. He lied about agreement terms endangering Israel.

On Sunday, he turned truth on its head saying “(w)hile (P5+1 countries) convene to sign this deal, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil.”

Discussions continue in Lausanne. On Sunday, AP said Iran agreed to limit its centrifuges enriching uranium to 6,000 – maybe fewer numbers.

It’s willing to ship its enriched uranium to Russia, AP reported.

Unresolved issues remain on permitted Iranian nuclear R&D, duration of an agreement, monitoring and removing sanctions.

An unnamed official close to talks said Russia remains opposed to Washington’s demand to be able to quickly reimpose any lifted sanctions if it claims Tehran reneged on any commitments.

Moscow fears establishing an unacceptable precedent. With discussions reaching a critical point, talks continue “in various formats,” said AP.

On Sunday, P5+1 foreign ministers will get directly involved in trying to consummate a framework deal.

Israel keeps going all-out to sabotage it. Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz spearheads pressuring P5+1 countries against it.

“We may still have a chance,” he said. “We are not alone. There are still great doubts in the United States as well as in France, even in England,” he claimed.

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said “(i)t’s true that a deal is close, and there is a chance that an agreement on basic principles will be reached in the coming days.”

“But until the final agreement, which is supposed to be signed with Iran by the end of June, there are still a wide range of diplomatic options.”

“If, God forbid, it happens, Israel will also be required to reassess the whole resulting security situation.”

His comment borders on threatening war with Iran.

Around midday Lausanne time, AFP reported Iran and P5+1 countries “reached a provisional agreement on key parts of a deal sharply curtailing Tehran’s nuclear programme, Western diplomats in talks in Switzerland said Sunday.”

An unnamed diplomat close to talks said Tehran “more or less” agreed to limit the number of its centrifuges by “more than two-thirds.”

It’ll ship most of its enriched uranium “abroad” – apparently to Russia.

Iranian diplomats denied reaching a tentative agreement. They called reports “journalistic speculation.”

An unnamed senior Iranian negotiator said “publication of such information by certain Western media is aimed at creating an atmosphere to disturb the negotiating process.”

With P5+1 country Foreign Ministers involved, expect talks to continue on remaining sticking points.

Congress may be the main one. It’s ready to legislatively challenge any deal struck.

A bipartisan group of 367 House members sent Obama a letter stipulating their demands – in defiance of taking a step toward ending 36 years of imperial arrogance toward Iran.

Every House and Senate member knows Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and intends staying this way.

Tehran threatens no one. It hasn’t attacked another country in centuries. It values cooperative relations with all nations.

The power of Israel and its Lobby keep going all-out to sabotage any prospective deal.

House members said any agreement “must constrain Iran’s nuclear infrastructure so that Iran has no pathway to a bomb, and that agreement must be long-lasting.”

“(I)t will be impossible for the international community to judge Iran’s future breakout time with certainty.”

They lied knowing Iran has no intention to develop nuclear weapons.

No evidence suggests otherwise. Plenty confirms Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous – thanks to considerable US help aiding its program since the 1950s.

House members lied claiming “Iran’s record of clandestine activity and intransigence prevents any trust in Iran.”

“(S)hould an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation.”

“In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.”

AIPAC owns Congress on matters relating to Israel and US Middle East foreign policy.

Expect Israeli orchestrated heavy-handed pressure against consummating any final deal if a framework one is reached.

It’s unclear if Obama wants one short of unconditional Iranian surrender to US demands.

Longstanding US policy calls for regime change – replacing Iranian independence with US controlled stooge governance.

Nuclear talks are red herring cover for Washington’s real objective. Whatever comes out of current talks, expect US/Iranian relations to remain largely unchanged.

Expect Iran bashing to continue – maybe war if Washington hardliners get their way.

Germany & France waking up to the fact the USA is trying to provoke a war in Europe

France And Germany Finally Realized That The US Went Crazy

American political columnist Paul Craig Roberts was of the opinion that the fanatical anti-Russian propaganda paramilitary Washington filled the front pages of major Western media is a real threat to the world. In the US, obviously crazy, political scientist, and is finally realized in France and Germany, where he is now doing their utmost to avoid war.

US went crazy, US media propaganda, France and Germany realized US went crazy-whatisusa.info

Advisor to former US President for National Security, George W. Bush, and Condoleezza Rice has repeatedly said the Americans that Saddam Hussein threatens huge nuclear mushroom American cities. The threat, however, has not been confirmed, says political scientist Paul Craig Roberts on the pages of an American newspaper The American Free Press.

Currently, the civilian US cities hung real evil, with the danger comes not from somewhere far away, but directly from the White House, where so busy demonizing Russia and its leadership, said Paul Craig Roberts.

He recalls the video clip, which aired on March 13 of CNN and demonstrated absurd propaganda of the Cold War. If the presenter Wolf Blitzer filmed George Orwell’s book “1984″, where the Russian Federation – the main military aggressor, and the United States have to “organize a propaganda campaign, which aims to prepare Americans for a conflict with Russia.”

Propaganda was so “ill-conceived and blatantly lying to the media,” it becomes obvious who was the main source of “spreading war fever,” says Roberts. “The so-called mainstream media have become the Propaganda Ministry,” – said political commentator.

Similar information messages “merge” in the British media, where the defense minister Michael Fallon has already called Russia “a real and immediate threat” to Europe.

“The fact that such a blatant lie can come from high-ranking officials without any evidence and without a twinge of conscience, should scare you to death. We are witnessing an absolute lack of respect for truth and human life on the part of senior officials and the media, “- says Roberts.

According to the analyst, released corrupt Washington media propaganda is “the most irresponsible act in the history of mankind.” If Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded in eliminating the threat of nuclear war, the neoconservatives with their corrupt media revived her.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the tragedy of the situation and doing its utmost to eliminate tension, but Washington is in its hard: the price of forgiveness Russia – the return of the Crimea and the naval base of the Black Sea Fleet, refusal to support the Russian-speaking population in the south-eastern Ukraine, and consent to the placement NATO military bases in Ukraine.

But, as noted by Paul Craig Roberts, a blatant lie and propaganda Wolf Blitzer on CNN somehow not linked to the fact that German intelligence challenges the Washington toward Russia and that “the French and German governments have finally realized that the US went crazy” and desperately trying not to let Washington to start a war.

 

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