Syrian choppers drop thousands of leaflets demanding jihadists surrender northwest Aleppo

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:30 P.M.) – Syrian helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over the ‘Anadan Plain of northwest Aleppo, Monday, demanding the jihadists surrender or leave this area immediately.

The leaflets were specifically dropped by the Syrian Air Force over the towns of Hayyan, ‘Anadan, Haritan, and Kafr Hamra.

The Syrian military has issued this warning to the jihadist rebels in northwest Aleppo before; however, they refrained from carrying out their ‘Anadan offensive because of a short-lived ceasefire that was declared in the region.

For the jihadist rebels, the ‘Anadan Plain is their most important stronghold in the province; if lost, it would likely lead to their expulsion from the western part of Aleppo.

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America Declares Economic War Against Europe

Global Research, July 31, 2017

On Friday night, July 28th, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he would sign into law the increased economic sanctions (passed by 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House) against any business that is declared to have “knowingly provided goods or services … for construction, modernisation, or repair of Russia’s energy export pipelines.” 

Russia is the largest energy-supplier to the world’s largest energy-market, which is the European Union (EU). The biggest proportion of that trade is in Europe’s main source of energy, which is gas, which is pipelined into Europe from Russia. So: those pipelines are vitally important not only to Russia’s economy but to Europe’s.

President Trump had gotten Congress to agree to limit the application of this provision only to “The President, in coordination with allies of the United States, may impose five or more of the sanctions described in section 235 with respect to a person if the President determines that the person knowingly, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, makes an investment described in subsection (b) or sells, leases, or provides to the Russian Federation, for the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, goods, services, technology, information, or support.” 

But the new law still does include “SEC. 232. SANCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PIPELINES IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.” That Section punishes “Goods, services, technology, information, or support described in this subsection are goods, services, technology, information, or support that could directly and significantly facilitate the maintenance or expansion of the construction, modernization, or repair of energy export pipelines by the Russian Federation.” That includes the crucial Nord Stream pipeline, which is maintained by Russian and German companies to transport gas from Russia to the EU.

U.S. firms have thus now gotten their stooges in Congress to punish European and Russian companies that will be determined by “The President, in coordination with allies of the United States,” to be working together in these ways, to get Russia’s gas to Europe’s markets.

North Stream, or Nord Stream, “has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet), but its capacity is planned to be doubled to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet) by 2019, by laying two additional lines.[5] Due to EU restrictions on Gazprom, only 22.5 billion cubic metres (790 billion cubic feet) of its capacity is actually used.[6] The name occasionally has a wider meaning, including the feeding onshore pipeline in the Russian Federation, and further connections in Western Europe.(Wikipedia)

So, already, the U.S. oligarchs have greatly reduced the effectiveness of this enormous European and Russian investment, and this is already war by the U.S. oligarchs (and their congressional agents) against both the European Union and Russia; but, the new sanctions aim to go even further to absolutely cripple Europe and Russia.

President Trump is to be credited for having weakened this provision to such an extent that it will be virtually meaningless; but, the intention of the oligarchs who control the U.S., to force Europe to buy from them, and from their allied Saudi, UAE, Kuwaiti, and the other royal fundamentalist Sunni Arabian families, is clear.

Other highlights from this new U.S. law are well summarized in the July 28th article from Zero Hedge, “Trump Confirms He Will Sign Russia Sanctions Bill”.

The biggest concession that Trump made was to allow that this new law, “H.R.3364 – Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, “Codifies existing US sanctions on Russia and requires Congressional review before they are lifted.” This is an Executive-Legislative agreement (an agreement between the President and Congress), but the U.S. Constitution doesn’t include any provision allowing an Executive-Legislative agreement to violate the Constitution; and there are a number of provisions in the U.S. Constitution that H.R.3364 might be determined by courts to be violating, as regards relinquishment to Congress of certain Executive powers over the negotiation of treaties, and over the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief. This is presuming, of course, that key judges cannot be bought-off.

When a country is being ruled by its oligarchs, anything that the nation’s Constitution says, can be viewed as little more than an impediment, not any outright ban, because the actual Constitution, in any such country, is whatever they want it to be. Just how bad the U.S. government has become, can’t yet be determined, but might become clear fairly soon.

Meanwhile, some senior journalists in Europe (such as this) are already beginning to argue that American policy toward Russia is not only draining massive funds from EU countries, but is driving a split in the EU, and also within NATO, which might break Europe apart, into the Eastern European, former Soviet countries, allied with the U.S.; versus the Western European countries, allied with Russia — driving potentially toward the termination of NATO, and of the EU, into an entirely new system of alliances: “Eastern Europe is a powder keg with several, burning lances. Twenty-eight years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the establishment of democracies, the region is sinking into a political crisis,” which has the United States backing the most far-right Eastern European countries, against Russia, but in which the Western European countries become increasingly allied with Russia.

It could happen.

It would not produce an anti-U.S. Western Europe, except to the extent that U.S. policies aim against Russia.

It would thus mean the end of the secret anti-Russia operation that U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush initiated on the night of 24 February 1990, and that has been carried out by the U.S., EU, and NATO, uninterrupted, ever since.  

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation.

Hezbollah Victory in Arsal Eliminated Israeli War against Lebanon: Official

July 31, 2017

Head of Hezbollah politburo, Sayyed Ibrahim Amin Al-Sayyed

Head of Hezbollah politburo, Sayyed Ibrahim Amin Al-Sayyed, stressed that the Zionist entity will never consider any launching wars against Lebanon after the Resistance victory in Arsal outskirts.

The imminent victory in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq will overthrow those who have bet on the takfiri groups, including USA, the Zionist entity, the Gulf countries and some parties in Lebanon, according to Hezbollah official.

His eminence hailed the role of President Michel Aoun in detecting the takfiri threat against Lebanon and taking the necessary measures in this context, unlike some political parties that wanted the terrorists to invade Lebanon in order to strike the Resistance.

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Source: Al-Manar Website

Emil Lahoud: Exposing Lebanon’s and Arab zionists

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JULY 31, 2017: TIGER FORCES ENTER DEIR EZZOR PROVINCE

South Front

Government forces, led by the Syrian Arab army (SAA) Tiger Forces liberated more villages on the west bank of the Euphrates River in Raqqah province and entered the northwestern part of Deir Ezzor province.

Last weekend, the Tiger Forces and their allies captured Muqla Saghira, Al-Rabyeh, Al-Jubayli, Salim al-Hammad, Abu Hammad and Ghanim al-Ali, Wadi Al Tarab, Tal Al-Tarab, Al-Rujum, Wadi Al Kharayj and Wadi Hamamiya. ISIS had counter-attacked near Ghanim al-Ali and allegedly destroyed 3 SAA vehicles with ATGMs and killed over 20 SAA servicemen. However, the terrorist group was not able to retake the village.

On Monday, government forces started clearing the ISIS pocket in the Sabkah area. The crossroad town of Madaan located in about 67 km from the city of Deir Ezzor besieged by ISIS will likely become the next target of the operation. The Bishri Triangle is another high priority target for the advancing government forces. Capturing these sites, the SAA will establish control over the two key road heading to Deir Ezzor from the northwestern direction.
In Deir Ezzor city, the Republican Guard repelled an ISIS attack in the Al-Makbarah area and separately cut off the ISIS supply line to the cemetery area with a 280 meters long trench trapping the terrorists between the airbase and the government-held part of the city. An intense fighting is ongoing.

A new group of tribal fighters called the Euphrates Hawks joint the government advance on Sukhna signaling that more and more members of the Syrian tribes join the ranks of the Syrian government forces. Currently government forces are clashing with ISIS terrorists southwest of the town. The SAA controls a number of important high points, including Rajm Sabboun, Mount Qulaylat, Um Khasm hills and a part of Jabal Tuntur, that allows to predict that they will be able to develop advance further in coming days.

At least 18 ISIS members, two vehicles and a fuel tanker as well as a large fuel tanks convoy were destroyed by Syrian and Russia airstrikes in the eastern Hama countryside. The Russian and Syrian air forces had intensified airstrikes in the area ahead of another upcoming attempt to reach the key ISIS defense point of Uqayribat.

According to pro-Kurdish sources, last weekend, Turkish soldiers entered the villages of Siftik Wastani, Siftik Fawqani and Bubana in northern Aleppo but were pushed to retreat after a short confrontation with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by Kurdish militias. If true, Ankara has just been testing the US reaction to possible limited military operations against Kurdish militias in northern Syria.

GOVERNMENT FORCES FULLY ENCIRCLED ISIS TERRORISTS IN SABKAH AREA (MAP)

31.07.2017

Government Forces Fully Encircled ISIS Terrorists In Sabkah Area (Map)

Click to see the full-size map

Syrian government forces, led by the Syrian Arab (SAA) Army Tiger Forces and pro-government tribal forces, have liberated the villages Wadi Kharrar, Subayat, Salim Hammad, Abu Hammad, Muqla Saghir and Muqla Kabir and fully encircled ISIS terrorists in the Sabkah area in the southern part of Raqqah province.

Following the full encirclement of the area, the SAA and its allies have started pressuring on ISIS in Zawr Sham, Jibil, Rahbi and Sabkah. When these villages are liberated, government forces will likely advane on the ISIS-held town of Madaan east of the Sabkah pocket.

 

MILITARY SITUATION IN SOUTHERN RAQQAH AND EASTERN ALEPPO ON JULY 31, 2017 (MAP UPDATE)

 31.07.2017

On Monday, government forces started clearing the ISIS pocket in the Sabkah area. The crossroad town of Madaan located in about 67 km from the city of Deir Ezzor besieged by ISIS will likely become the next target of the operation. The Bishri Triangle is another high priority target for the advancing government forces. Capturing these sites, the SAA will establish control over the two key road heading to Deir Ezzor from the northwestern direction.

Military Situation In Southern Raqqah And Eastern Aleppo On July 31, 2017 (Map Update)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has reached the the northern border of the Deir Ezzor Governorate for the first time in several years after liberating three villages near the Islamic State (ISIL) held town of Ma’adan.

Following a tumultuous 24 hours that saw both the government lose more than 40 soldiers during the Islamic State’s counter-offensive near Ghanem Al-‘Ali, the Syrian Arab Army struck against the terrorist forces to reestablish a supply line to the aforementioned town.

Unable to hold their ground, the Islamic State militants were forced to withdraw from Ghanem Al-‘Ali, Al-Rabiyah, and Al-Jabilah after the Syrian Army fractured their main line of defense.

With their forces descending upon Ma’dan, the Syrian Arab Army is looking to seal the southeastern border of Al-Raqqa by forcing the Islamic State out of the aforementioned town along the Euphrates River.

 

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Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians becomes official israel policy

‘Transferring’ Palestinian Citizens of Israel Become Policy

Transferring’ Palestinian citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state goes from outrage to Netanyahu policy

 

The Israeli press reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now adopted an idea that had been beyond the pale: transfer– stripping Israeli Palestinians of citizenship without their OK and making them citizens of another country, all of course on a religious-ethnic basis.

A Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s parliament accused Netanyahu of endorsing a “war crime.”

The news is that in talks with Trump administration officials, Netanyahu has reportedly endorsed the idea of swapping portions of Israeli land containing Palestinian communities for portions of occupied land in the West Bank containing Jewish settlers as a means to establish a Palestinian state.

This idea has long been advocated by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Defense Minister, who promptly tweeted his pleasure over Netanyahu’s shift.

The idea is shocking to liberals, including liberal Zionists. Lara Friedman of the Foundation for Middle East Peace writes:

Message of Bibi’s endorsement of populated land swaps: citizenship of Jews is inalienable right; citizenship of Arabs is revocable privilege

Marian Houk explains the “Jewish state” angle on this policy:

For this precise reason Palest Arab Israeli MKs insisted that Palestinian leadership reject Bibi’s demand for recognition of *Jewish* state

Haaretz reports the news:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed with Washington in recent weeks the idea of redrawing the borders in any future agreement with the Palestinians, incorporating the major settlement blocs into Israel, while drawing out the heavily populated Israeli-Arab area of Wadi Ara and making it part of a future Palestinian state… The discussions, first reported by Channel 2, mean that Netanyahu – in conversations with US President Donald Trump’s advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt – has adopted a proposal put forward years ago by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has been advocating for several years to hand over Wadi Ara to the Palestinians in a future peace agreement, tweeted on Thursday night: “Mr. prime minister, welcome to the club.”

Wadi Ara is an area in Israel southwest of Afula, and west of Jenin across the old Green Line, that has several Palestinian towns.

Palestinian Israelis are of course enraged by this idea. Again from Haaretz:

[Member of Knesset] Aida Touma-Suliman responded on Thursday to the report about Netanyahu’s proposal. “The cat is out of the bag and Netanyahu has shown his true colors regarding the Arab population,” she said. “Lieberman’s plan has been adopted by the prime minister,” she said.

“The Ara residents are not only Israeli citizens, they’re also indigenous people who dwell on their land, and are not to be compared with settlers dwelling on another nation’s land. We the Arab citizens aren’t part of any such equation and aren’t willing to pay the price again for Israel’s policy of occupation and settlements

Another Palestinian official in Knesset with the Joint List, Yousef Jabareen, said in a statement this morning:

“Netanyahu actually calls to commit war crimes!”

“Netanyahu does not miss any opportunity to continue with his campaign of incitement and de-legitimacy against the Arab population and its leadership. He also exhibits a lot of ignorance when he compares between Arab citizens of Israel and settlers. Arab citizens of Israel were not granted citizenship by grace, but were granted citizenship by the fact that they live in their historical homeland. This is in a stark contrast to the settlers of the West Bank who are illegally occupying the lands they stole by force from their Palestinian owners.”

Jabareen added, “Practically speaking, Netanyahu calls to carry out two war crimes: transfer for Arab citizens, and annexation of illegal settlements. The fate of the war criminals will be at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”

When Lieberman gave a speech advocating this policy at the U.N. 7 years ago, the Netanyahu government distanced itself from the idea and American Jews condemned it. From Haaretz:

Netanyahu’s advisers tried to downplay the embarrassment caused by Lieberman’s speech, saying a coalition government would be impossible without Lieberman and that ministers can express their personal opinions even in international arenas.

“The international community is aware that this is not the position of the government,” one of the advisers said…

Lieberman’s speech also outraged many American Jews, and some Jewish leaders demanded his resignation.

“If Lieberman can’t keep his personal opinions to himself, he ought to resign from the cabinet,” said Seymour Reich, a former president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

Let’s see how many U.S. Jewish groups condemn the idea now. As Israel keeps heading to the right, more and more U.S. Jewish leaders have accommodated themselves to the shift. Even veteran liberal Zionists like Aaron David Miller have accepted the idea of Israel defining itself as “the nation state of the Jewish people.”

Thanks to Ofer Neiman and Allison Deger.

More Illegal US-Led Coalition Activity, Strikes Hospital in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor

US-Led Coalition Strikes Hospital in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor – Reports

Sputnik – July 30, 2017

The US-led coalition’s aircraft has attacked the Syrian settlement of Abukamal in the Deir ez-Zor province, SANA reported on Sunday.

The news agency said the airstrike hit a hospital, among other sites. Six people were killed and 10 others wounded.

This is the fourth air raid of the coalition in Deir ez-Zor over the month, according to SANA.

On Saturday, SANA reported that the coalition, which ostensibly fights Daesh, hit houses in al-Mayadeen, killing 10, including five children.

© REUTERS/ Rodi Said

US-Led Coalition Explained Why It Used White Phosphorus in Syria’s Raqqa

On July 27, the news agency reported that a US-led coalition airstrike in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor claimed the lives of 18 civilians and left over 20 injured. Eyewitnesses specified that the attack hit Tayba, located in the western part of the province near Mayadeen, also damaging houses and local infrastructure, according to SANA.

In late June, the coalition conducted three airstrikes killing 90 civilians, including women and children, in a village and al-Mayadeen.

 

The US-led coalition of 68 nations started to carry out airstrikes against Daesh in Syria and Iraq in 2014, with the strikes in Syria not being authorized by the government of President Bashar Assad or the UN Security Council

 

Palestinian Christians, Muslims come together over Al-Aqsa protests

Warm embrace of Christians at Al Aqsa protest

Palestinian Christians, Muslims come together over Al-Aqsa protests

Palestinian Christians are participating alongside Muslims in demonstrations and sit-ins in Jerusalem in a show of solidarity for their cause.

By Ahmed el-Komi, trans. Pascale el-Khoury, Al Monitor,
Palestine Pulse
July 27, 2017

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Video footage showing Nidal Aboud, a young Palestinian Christian man, reading his Bible amid a crowd of Muslims performing Friday prayers July 21 in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem created a buzz on social media.

Palestinian activists saw the video as an example of coexistence between Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem and an expression of a shared fate against Israeli measures in the city.

Palestinians have been staging sit-ins for a week and a half now in the streets of Jerusalem and around Al-Aqsa Mosque denouncing Israel’s attempt to install metal detectors at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque to search worshippers.

Palestinian Christian youths and activists have also participated in these sit-ins to express their rejection of these measures, even though they target Al-Aqsa Mosque, a religious symbol of Muslims.

Aboud, 24, from Mount Olivet in Jerusalem, seen praying among thousands of Muslims, told Al-Monitor that he participated in the sit-in in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque as an act of patriotism. He said,

“A day before the sit-in, I saw on TV an elderly Palestinian in a wheelchair crying because he was not allowed to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. I was deeply touched and felt I must act to end this. This is why I decided to take part in the sit-in in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque and took my cross and Bible with me. I was there at 8 a.m. the next day in front of one of the mosque’s entrances.”

Aboud noted that Israeli soldiers at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque prevented him and a number of elderly Palestinians from entering the mosque and fired tear gas at them, describing the scene as “devoid of humanity and appalling.”

“Because I am a Palestinian national it is my right to defend all of my country’s religious sanctities,” he said. He noted that he was unaware media outlets were reporting live, saying, “I was thrilled with how Muslim activists and friends welcomed me among them. Their warmth was genuine, and it gave me the strength to stay with them.”

Aboud added that when they started praying, he was asked to join them. “They were very welcoming and they placed me in the centre. At that moment, I began to recite Bible verses. We were all praying with great fervour,” he said.

Denouncing Israel’s attempt to instal metal detectors at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque, he stressed that Christianity is an integral part of the Palestinian cause. “I would not accept such metal detectors to be installed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, so why would I accept them to be installed at Al-Aqsa Mosque?” Aboud said.

Pointing to the efficient role and participation of Christians in sit-ins and protests around Al-Aqsa Mosque against Israeli measures, he noted, “Jerusalem needs us — even if we are a minority. The Palestinian cause needs all Palestinians. This is the land of peace.”

The participation of Palestinian Christians in Al-Aqsa protests and sit-ins is attracting media attention as it reflects the strong interfaith relations in Palestine and represents a means to promote national unity and tolerance.

Zeina Mosleh, a Christian from Jerusalem, said she participated in a sit-in with Muslims in front of one of the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque because she felt this was a religious duty. She told Al-Monitor, “I was shouting their slogans and distributing drinking water to worshippers and young protesters.”

She strongly rejected Israel’s measures, describing them as unacceptable and against freedom of worship. “It is not about a specific religion. We must have the courage to reject Israeli practices against one of the most important and sacred mosques for Muslims,” she said.

Hanna Issa, a Palestinian Christian historian and the head of the Islamic-Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites, told Al-Monitor, “Israel wants to portray the conflict as a conflict between Judaism and Islam. We as Christians refuse this.”

He said,

“We believe the attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque is an attack on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Relations between Muslims and Christians in Palestine are governed by Umar’s Assurance of Safety that we believe is tantamount to a constitution. Churches in Jerusalem are adjacent to mosques. We respect Ramadan, they respect our fasting, and we exchange visits on religious and national holidays.”

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most important Christian religious monuments in Jerusalem, located deep inside the walls of the Old City.

Issa asserted that Muslims and Christians share the same just cause, and that the participation of young Christian activists in the sit-in in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque is the best example of this. Commenting on Aboud’s video footage, he said, “We are all believers. There is no discrimination. We share the same sense of belonging.”

According to Issa, there are 50,000 Christians in the Palestinian territories: 47,000 in the West Bank and the rest in the Gaza Strip.

It is said that Muslim Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab had written to the people of Aelia (Jerusalem) upon the first Muslim conquest of the city in 638 a document in which he assured safety for their churches and properties, provided that no Jews live with them in the city. This assurance is one of the most important documents in the history of Jerusalem and Palestine.

The Israeli government decided on July 25 to remove the metal detectors installed at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque, only to replace them with surveillance cameras.

The Sanctions Blowback From the EU Begins

The Sanctions Blowback From the EU Begins

This can only end badly for the USA. America Declares Economic War Against Europe

America Declares Economic War Against Europe

On Friday night, July 28th, US President Donald Trump said that he would sign into law the increased economic sanctions (passed by 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House) against any business that is declared to have «knowingly provided goods or services… for construction, modernisation, or repair of Russia’s energy export pipelines».

Russia is the largest energy-supplier to the world’s largest energy-market, which is Europe, or the EU. The biggest proportion of that trade is in Europe’s main source of energy, which is gas, which is pipelined into Europe from Russia. So: those pipelines are vitally important not only to Russia’s economy but to Europe’s.

President Trump had gotten Congress to agree to limit the application of this provision only to «The President, in coordination with allies of the United States, may impose five or more of the sanctions described in section 235 with respect to a person if the President determines that the person knowingly, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, makes an investment described in subsection (b) or sells, leases, or provides to the Russian Federation, for the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, goods, services, technology, information, or support».

But the new law still does include «SEC. 232. SANCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PIPELINES IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION». That Section punishes «Goods, services, technology, information, or support described in this subsection are goods, services, technology, information, or support that could directly and significantly facilitate the maintenance or expansion of the construction, modernization, or repair of energy export pipelines by the Russian Federation». That includes the crucial Nord Stream pipeline, which is maintained by Russian and German companies to transport gas from Russia to the EU.

US firms have thus now gotten their stooges in Congress to punish European and Russian companies that will be determined by «The President, in coordination with allies of the United States», to be working together in these ways, to get Russia’s gas to Europe’s markets.

North Stream, or Nord Stream, as Wikipedia says:

has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet), but its capacity is planned to be doubled to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet) by 2019, by laying two additional lines.[5] Due to EU restrictions on Gazprom, only 22.5 billion cubic metres (790 billion cubic feet) of its capacity is actually used.[6] The name occasionally has a wider meaning, including the feeding onshore pipeline in the Russian Federation, and further connections in Western Europe.

So, already, the US oligarchs have greatly reduced the effectiveness of this enormous European and Russian investment, and this is already war by the US oligarchs (and their congressional agents) against both Europe and Russia; but, the new sanctions aim to go even further to absolutely cripple Europe and Russia.

President Trump is to be credited for having weakened this provision to such an extent that it will be virtually meaningless; but, the intention of the oligarchs who control the US, to force Europe to buy from them, and from their allied Saudi, UAE, Kuwaiti, and the other royal fundamentalist Sunni Arab families, is clear.

Other highlights from this new US law are well summarized in the July 28th article from Zero Hedge, «Trump Confirms He Will Sign Russia Sanctions Bill». The biggest concession that Trump made was to allow that this new law, «H.R.3364 – Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act», «Codifies existing US sanctions on Russia and requires Congressional review before they are lifted». This is an Executive-Legislative agreement (an agreement between the President and Congress), but the US Constitution doesn’t include any provision allowing an Executive-Legislative agreement to violate the Constitution; and there are a number of provisions in the US Constitution that H.R.3364 might be determined by courts to be violating. This is presuming, of course, that key judges cannot be bought-off.

When a country is being ruled by its oligarchs, anything that the nation’s Constitution says, can be viewed as little more than an impediment, not any outright ban, because the actual Constitution, in any such country, is whatever they want it to be. Just how bad the US government has become, can’t yet be determined, but might become clear fairly soon.

Illegal US-Led Bombings, Burning Raqqa… America’s War against Civilians in Syria

US-Led Bombings, Burning Raqqa… America’s War against Civilians

By Laura Gottesdiener,

The U.S. War Against Civilians in Syria

It was midday on Sunday, May 7th, when the U.S.-led coalition warplanes again began bombing the neighborhood of Wassim Abdo’s family.

They lived in Tabqa, a small city on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Then occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known as Daesh), Tabqa was also under siege by U.S.-backed troops and being hit by daily artillery fire from U.S. Marines, as well as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. The city, the second largest in Raqqa Province, was home to an airfield and the coveted Tabqa Dam. It was also the last place in the region the U.S.-backed forces needed to take before launching their much-anticipated offensive against the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.

His parents, Muhammed and Salam, had already fled their home once when the building adjacent to their house was bombed, Wassim Abdo told me in a recent interview. ISIS had been arresting civilians from their neighborhood for trying to flee the city. So on that Sunday, the couple was taking shelter on the second floor of a four-story flat along with other family members when a U.S.-led airstrike reportedly struck the front half of the building. Abdo’s sister-in-law Lama fled the structure with her two children and survived. But his parents and 12-year-old cousin were killed, along with dozens of their neighbors, as the concrete collapsed on them.

As an exiled human rights activist, Wassim Abdo only learned of his parents’ death three days later, after Lama called him from the Syrian border town of Kobane, where she and her two children had been transported for medical treatment. Her daughter had been wounded in the bombing and although the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led troops had by then seized control of Tabqa, it was impossible for her daughter to be treated in their hometown, because weeks of U.S.-led coalition bombing had destroyed all the hospitals in the city. 

A War Against Civilians

Islamic State fighters have now essentially been defeated in Mosul after a nine-month, U.S.-backed campaign that destroyed significant parts of Iraq’s second largest city, killing up to 40,000 civilians and forcing as many as one million more people from their homes. Now, the United States is focusing its energies — and warplanes — on ISIS-occupied areas of eastern Syria in an offensive dubbed “Wrath of the Euphrates.”

LTG Stephen Townsend OCP.jpg

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Islamic State’s brutal treatment of civilians in Syria has been well reported and publicized. And according to Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the U.S.-led war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the battle to “liberate” these regions from ISIS is the “most precise campaign in the history of warfare.”

But reports and photographs from Syrian journalists and activists, as well as first-person accounts from those with family members living in areas under U.S. bombardment, detail a strikingly different tale of the American offensive — one that looks a lot less like a battle against the Islamic State and a lot more like a war on civilians.

These human rights groups and local reporters say that, across Syria in recent months, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines have bombed or shelled at least 12 schools, including primary schools and a girls’ high school; a health clinic and an obstetrics hospital; Raqqa’s Science College; residential neighborhoodsbakeries; post offices; a car wash; at least 15 mosques; a cultural center; a gas station; cars carrying civilians to the hospital; a funeral; water tanks; at least 15 bridges; a makeshift refugee camp; the ancient Rafiqah Wall that dates back to the eighth century; and an Internet café in Raqqa, where a Syrian media activist was killed as he was trying to smuggle news out of the besieged city.

The United States is now one of the deadliest warring parties in Syria. In May and June combined, the U.S.-led coalition killed more civilians than the Assad regime, the Russians, or ISIS, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization that has been monitoring the death toll and human rights violations in Syria since 2011.

“This administration wants to achieve a quick victory,” Dr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights recently told me, referring to the Trump White House. “What we are noticing is that the U.S. is targeting and killing without taking into consideration the benefits for the military and the collateral damage for the civilians. This, of course, amounts to war crimes.”

And nowhere is this war against civilians more acute than in ISIS-occupied Raqqa, where trapped families are living under dozens of airstrikes every day.

Hotel of the Revolution 

Located at the confluence of the Euphrates and Balikh rivers in northern Syria, Raqqa was first settled more than 5,000 years agoBy the late eighth century, it had grown into an imperial city, filled with orchards, palaces, canals, reception halls, and a hippodrome for horse racing. Its industrial quarters were then known as “the burning Raqqa,” thanks to the flames and thick smoke produced by its glass and ceramic furnaces. The city even served briefly as the capital of the vast Abbasid Empire stretching from North Africa to Central Asia.

Toward the end of the thirteenth century, wars between the Mongol and Mamluk empires annihilated Raqqa and its surrounding countryside. Every single resident of the city was either killed or expelled. According to Hamburg University professor Stefan Heidemann, who has worked on a number of excavations in and around Raqqa, the scorched-earth warfare was so extreme that not a single tree was left standing in the region.

Hafez al-Assad official portrait.jpg

Former President of Syria Hafez al-Assad (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only in the middle of the twentieth century when irrigation from the Euphrates River allowed Raqqa’s countryside to flourish amid a global cotton boom did the city fully reemerge. In the 1970s, the region’s population again began to swell after then-President Hafez al-Assad — the father of the present Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad — ordered the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Euphrates about 30 miles upstream of Raqqa. Wassim Abdo’s father, Muhammed, was an employee at this dam. Like many of these workers and their families, he and Salam lived in Tabqa’s third neighborhood, which was filled with four-story apartment flats built in the 1970s not far from the dam and its power station.

Despite these agricultural and industrial developments, Raqqa remained a small provincial capital. Abdalaziz Alhamza, a cofounder of the watchdog group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which is made up of media activists from Raqqa living in the city as well as in exile, writes that the local news normally didn’t even mention the city in its weather forecasts.

In the mid-2000s, a drought began to wither the local cash crops: cotton, potatoes, rice, and tomatoes. As in other regions of Syria, farmers migrated from the countryside into the city, where overstretched and ill-functioning public services only exacerbated long-simmering dissatisfactions with the Assad regime.

As the 2011 rebellion broke out across Syria, Wassim Abdo and thousands of others in Raqqa, Tabqa, and nearby villages began agitating against the Syrian government, flooding the streets in protest and forming local coordinating councils. The regime slowly lost control of territory across the province. In March 2013, after only a few days of battle, anti-government rebels ousted government troops from the city and declared Raqqa the liberated provincial capital in all of Syria. The city, then the sixth largest in Syria, became “the hotel of the revolution.”

Within less than a year, however, despite fierce protests and opposition from its residents, ISIS fighters had fully occupied the city and the surrounding countryside. They declared Raqqa the capital of the Islamic State.

Despite the occupation, Wassim’s parents never tried to flee Tabqa because they hoped to reunite with one of their sons, Azad, who had been kidnapped by ISIS fighters in September 2013. In retirement, Muhammed Abdo opened a small electronics store. Salam was a housewife. Like tens of thousands of other civilians, they were living under ISIS occupation in Tabqa when, in the spring of 2017, U.S. Apache helicopters and warplanes first began appearing in the skies above the city. U.S. Marines armed with howitzers were deployed to the region. In late March, American helicopters airlifted hundreds of U.S.-backed troops from the Kurdish-led militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces to the banks of the dammed river near the city. Additional forces approached from the east, transported on American speedboats. 

By the beginning of May, the Abdos’ neighborhood was under almost daily bombardment by the U.S.-led coalition forces. On May 3rd, coalition warplanes reportedly launched up to 30 airstrikes across Tabqa’s first, second, and third neighborhoods, striking homes and a fruit market and reportedly killing at least six civilians. The following night, another round of coalition airstrikes battered the first and third neighborhoods, reportedly killing at least seven civilians, including women and children. Separate airstrikes that same night near the city’s center reportedly killed another six to 12 civilians. 

On May 7th, multiple bombs reportedly dropped by the U.S.-led coalition struck the building where Muhammed and Salam had taken shelter, killing them and their 12-year-old grandson. Three days later, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced that they had fully seized control of Tabqa and the dam. The militia and its U.S. advisers quickly set their sights east to the upcoming offensive in Raqqa.

But for the Abdo family, the tragedy continued. Muhammed and Salam’s bodies were buried beneath the collapsed apartment building. It took 15 days before Wassim’s brother Rashid could secure the heavy machinery required to extract them.

“Nobody could approach the corpses because of the disfigurement that had occurred and the smell emanating from them as a result of being left under the rubble for such a long period of time in the hot weather,” Wassim told me in a recent interview. 

That same day their bodies were finally recovered.  On May 23rd, his parents and nephew were buried in the Tabqa cemetery.

“In Raqqa There Are Many Causes of Death” 

A few days after the Abdos’ funeral, the U.S.-led coalition began dropping leaflets over Raqqa instructing civilians to flee the city ahead of the upcoming offensive. According to photos of leaflets published by Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, the warnings read, in part,

“This is your last chance… Failing to leave might lead to death.”

ISIS fighters, in turn, prohibited civilians from escaping the city and planted landmines in Raqqa’s outskirts. Nevertheless, on June 5th, dozens of civilians heeded the coalition’s warnings and gathered at a boat stand on the northern banks of the Euphrates, where they waited to be ferried out of the city. Before the war, families had picnicked along this riverbank. Teenagers jumped into the water from Raqqa’s Old Bridge, built in 1942 by British troops. A handful of river front cafés opened for the season.

“The river is the main monument of the city, and for many people there’s a romantic meaning to it,” Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham, currently co-writing Brothers of the Gun, a book about life in ISIS-occupied Raqqa, told me.

But on June 5th, as the families were waiting to cross the river to escape the impending U.S.-backed offensive, coalition warplanes launched a barrage of airstrikes targeting the boats, reportedly massacring as many as 21 civilians. The coalition acknowledges launching 35 airstrikes that destroyed 68 boats between June 4th and June 6th, according to the journalistic outlet Airwars. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend later boasted about the tactic, telling the New York Times: “We shoot every boat we find.”

The day after the attack on fleeing civilians at the boat stand, the long-awaited U.S.-backed ground offensive officially began.

After three years of ISIS rule, Raqqa had become one of the most isolated cities in the world. The militants banned residents from having home internet, satellite dishes, or Wi-Fi hotspots. They arrested and killed local reporters and banned outside journalists. On the day U.S.-backed troops launched their ground offensive against the city, ISIS further sought to restrict reporting on conditions there by ordering the imminent shutdown of all Internet cafés.

Despite these restrictions, dozens of Syrian journalists and activists have risked and still risk their lives to smuggle information out of besieged Raqqa — and their efforts are the only reason most Western reporters (including myself) have any information about the war our countries are currently waging there.

Every day, these media activists funnel news out of the city to exiled Syrians running media outlets and human rights organizations. The most famous among these groups has become Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which won the 2015 International Press Freedom Award for its reporting on the ISIS occupation and now publishes hourly updates on the U.S.-backed offensive. All this news is then compiled and cross-checked by international monitoring groups like Airwars, whose researchers have now found themselves tracking as many as a half-dozen coalition attacks resulting in civilian casualties every day.

It’s because of this work that we know the Raqqa offensive officially began on June 6th with a barrage of airstrikes and artillery shelling that reportedly hit a school, a train station, the immigration and passport building, a mosque, and multiple residential neighborhoods, killing between six and 13 civilians. Two days later, bombs, artillery shells, and white phosphorus were reportedly unleashed across Raqqa, hitting — among other places — the Al-Hason Net Internet café, killing a media activist and at least a dozen others. (That journalist was one of at least 26 media activists to be killed in Syria this year alone.) Other bombs reportedly hit at least eight shops and a mosque. Photos also showed white phosphorus exploding over two residential neighborhoods.

White phosphorus is capable of burning human flesh to the bone. When exposed to oxygen, the chemical ignites reaching a temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s so flammable that its burns can reignite days later if the bandages are removed too soon.

U.S. military officials have not denied using white phosphorus in the city. The Pentagon has, in fact, published photos of U.S. Marines deployed to the Raqqa region transporting U.S.-manufactured white phosphorus munitions. Its spokesmen claim that the U.S. military only uses this incendiary agent to mark targets for air strikes or to create smoke screens and therefore remains in accordance with international law. But in the days after the reported attack, Amnesty International warned:

“The US-led coalition’s use of white phosphorus munitions on the outskirts of al-Raqqa, Syria, is unlawful and may amount to a war crime.” (Amnesty similarly accused the U.S. of potentially committing war crimes during its campaign against ISIS in Mosul.)

Following the reported white phosphorus attacks on June 8th and 9th, Raqqa’s main commercial and social avenue — February 23rd Street — reportedly came under three straight days of bombing. Syrian journalist Marwan Hisham, who grew up in that city, recalls how that street had once been lined with cafés, entertainment venues, and shops. Its western edge runs into Rashid Park, one of the city’s main public spaces. Its eastern edge stretches to the ancient Abbasid Wall.

Between June 9th and June 11th, as many as 10 civilians were killed in repeated bombings of February 23rd Street and its major intersections, according to reports compiled by Airwars. (These sorts of air strikes, ostensibly aimed at limiting the mobility of ISIS fighters, were also employed in Mosul, parts of which are now in ruins.) On those same days, four adults and four children were reportedly killed in airstrikes on Raqqa’s industrial district, another 21 civilians were killed in the west of the city, and at least 11 more civilians, again including children, when airstrikes reportedly destroyed homes on al-Nour street, which is just around the corner from the al-Rayan Bakery, bombed less than two weeks later.

On that day, June 21st, a Raqqa resident named Abu Ahmad was returning from getting water at a nearby well when, he later told Reuters, he began hearing people screaming as houses crumbled. He said that as many as 30 people had died when the apartment flats around the bakery were leveled.

“We couldn’t even do anything,” he added. “The rocket launchers, the warplanes. We left them to die under the rubble.”

Only a few days earlier, coalition warplanes had destroyed another source of bread, the al-Nadeer bakery on al-Mansour Street, one of Raqqa’s oldest thoroughfares.

In July, the U.S.-led coalition bombed the ancient Abbasid Wall, and U.S.-backed troops breached Raqqa’s Old City. U.S. advisers began to operate inside Raqqa, calling in more airstrikes from there.

More and more names, photographs, and stories of the coalition’s victims were smuggled out by local journalists. According to these reports, on July 2nd, Jamila Ali al-Abdullah, her three children, and up to 10 of her neighbors were killed in her neighborhood. On July 3rd, at least three families were killed, including Yasser al-Abdullah and his four children, A’ssaf, Zain, Jude, and Rimas. On July 5th, an elderly man named Yasin died in an airstrike on al-Mansour Street. On July 6th, Anwar Hassan al-Hariri was killed along with her son Mohammed, her daughter Shatha, and her toddler Jana. Five members of the al-Sayyed family perished on July 7th. Sisters Hazar and Elhan Abdul Aader Shashan died in their home on July 12th, while seven members of the Ba’anat family were killed on July 13th, as was Marwan al-Salama and at least ten of his family members on July 17th.

Hundreds more were reportedly wounded, including Isma’il Ali al-Thlaji, a child who lost his eyesight and his right hand. And these are, of course, only some of the reported names of those killed by the U.S.-led coalition.   

“In Raqqa, there are many causes of death,” the journalists at Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently wrote. These include “indiscriminate airstrikes by international coalition warplanes, daily artillery shelling by Syrian Democratic Forces, and ISIS mines scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.”

For those who survive, conditions inside the city only continue to worsen. Coalition bombing reportedly destroyed the two main pipes carrying water into the city in the 100-degree July heat, forcing people to venture to the banks of the Euphrates, where at least 27 have been reportedly killed by U.S.-led bombing while filling up jugs of water.

A Coalition in Name Only

The United States has launched nearly 95% of all coalition airstrikes in Syria in recent months, meaning the campaign is, in fact, almost exclusively an American affair.

“The French and British are launching about half a dozen strikes a week now,” Chris Woods, director of Airwars, explained to me. “The Belgians maybe one or two a week.”

In comparison, in Raqqa province last month the U.S. launched about twenty air or artillery strikes every single day.

In June alone, the U.S.-led coalition and U.S. Marines fired or dropped approximately 4,400 munitions on Raqqa and its surrounding villages. According to Mark Hiznay, the associate director of Human Rights Watch’s arms division, these munitions included 250-pound precision-guided small diameter bombs, as well as MK-80 bombs, which weigh between 500 and 2,000 pounds and are equipped with precision-guided kits. The bombs are dropped by B-52 bombers and other warplanes, most taking off from the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, or the USS George H.W. Bush, an aircraft carrier stationed off Syria’s coast in the eastern Mediterranean.

Hundreds of U.S. Marines, most likely from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are also positioned outside Raqqa and are firing high explosive artillery rounds into the city from M777 Howitzers. In late June, the Marines’ official Twitter feed boasted that they were conducting artillery fire in support of U.S.-backed troops 24 hours a day.

The result of this type of warfare, says Airwars’ Chris Woods, is a staggering increase in civilian casualties. According to an analysis by the group, since President Trump took office six months ago, the U.S.-led campaign has reportedly killed nearly as many civilians in Syria and Iraq as were killed in the previous two and a half years of the Obama administration.

And for surviving civilians, the conditions of war don’t end once the bombing stops, as life today in the city of Tabqa indicates.

As of mid-July, according to Wassim Abdo, Tabqa still has neither running water nor electricity, even though displaced families have begun returning to their homes. There’s a shortage of bread, and still no functioning schools or hospitals. The Tabqa Dam, which once generated up to 20% of Syria’s electricity, remains inoperable. (U.S.-led coalition airstrikes reportedly damaged the structure repeatedly in February and March, when they burnedthe main control room, causing the United Nations to warn of a threat of catastrophic flooding downstream.) The U.S.-backed troops in Tabqa have, according to Abdo, banned the Internet and U.S. officials admit that children in the area are being infected by diseases carried by flies feeding off corpses still buried in the rubble.

Meanwhile, less than 30 miles to the east, the battle for control of Raqqa continues with tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside the besieged city. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend has indicated that the U.S.-led coalition may soon increase the rate of airstrikes there yet again.

From Wassim Abdo’s perspective, that coalition campaign in Syria has so far killed his parents and nephew and ruined his hometown. None of this, understandably, looks anything like a war against ISIS.

“My opinion of the international coalition,” he told me recently, “is that it’s a performance by the international community to target civilians and infrastructure and to destroy the country.” And this type of warfare, he added, “is not part of eliminating Daesh.”

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and a news producer with Democracy Now! Her writing has appeared in Mother Jones, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and frequently at TomDispatch. Special thanks on this piece go to Alhasan Ghazzawi.

Palestine: Apartheid, Stolen Lives and Land, History Erased, United Nations Deaf Mute

Palestine: Apartheid, Stolen Lives and Land, History Erased, United Nations Deaf Mute

By Felicity Arbuthnot,

The Washington Post reports that: “All 100 U.S. Senators signed a letter Thursday asking U.N. Secretary General António Guterres to address what the lawmakers call entrenched bias against Israel at the world body.” 

The letter: “… uses strong language to insist that the United Nations rectify what the Senators said is unequal treatment of Israel on human rights and other grounds.

“Through words and actions, we urge you to ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing,” they stated.

The Senators appear to be on a parallel universe. Have they reflected, in context, on the UN’s fine founding words, avowing: 

“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war … to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person … to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom … to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours … to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples …” 

Source Israelpalestinenews.org 

Israel – ever presented as the eternal victim – has not just made a mockery of the words but also of the Balfour letter of 2nd November 1917 and trampled on both ever since. Balfour: 

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …” (Emphasis added.) 

So much for the “rights” of the Palestinians. Between November 1947 and November 1948 five hundred and thirty one Palestinian towns and villages had been “ethnically cleansed.” (1) By 1952 it was six hundred and fifteen. (2) 

This “Nakba” (“catastrophe”) seventy years after Israel’s final founding, is ongoing.

The land grabs are illegal and violate: U.N. Charter, Article 2(4) & 51 (1945); Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations…, Principle 1 (1970). 

Settlements on occupied lands violate Geneva Conventions IV, Article 49(6) (1949). It is illegal to colonize or transfer non-indigenous people to occupied land. 

Taking land by force and claiming sovereignty violates: U.N. Charter, Article 2(4) (1945); Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations…, Principle 1. 

Forbidding civilian populations the right to return to their homes following the end of armed conflict is in direct violation of international law and UN resolutions. Geneva Convention IV, Articles 45, 46 & 49 (1949), UN resolutions 194 (III) (General Assembly; 1948) & 237 (Security Council; 1967). 

Collective punishment violates Geneva Conventions IV, Article 33 (1949); Geneva Conventions (Protocol I), Article 75(2d) (1977). (3) 

The list of breaches of international law is near endless as are the attacks on a people with no army, air force or navy, plus the decimations of 1967, 2008-9 and 2014. 

Israel’s violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, legally binding on Member-nations, include Resolutions – 54, 111, 233, 234, 236, 248, 250, 252, 256, 262, 267, 270, 280, 285, 298, 313, 316, 468, 476, a small sample.

The Senators would seem to have as little knowledge of the iniquities inflicted on the Middle East by foreign powers and cuckoos in the nest as their rookie President. It is not Israel being meted out “unequal treatment” it is the Palestinians, thieved of their land, history, justice and all normality.

Notes

1.    http://www.palestineremembered .com/Acre/Right-Of-Return/Stor y432.html

2.    https://972mag.com/mapping-the -palestinian-villages-erased-a nd-replaced-with-jewish-towns/ 124847/

3.    http://itisapartheid.org/Docum ents_pdf_etc/IsraelViolationsI nternationalLaw.pdf

Childish reaction from the USA over North Korean missile test

US Bombers Overfly Korea in Show of Force

Air Force Says Operation Was Response to Missile Test

US B-1 bombers escorted by South Korean fighters spent about 10 hours over the weekend flying around the Korean Peninsula, in what Air Force officials are describing as a show of force intended to be a “direct response” to North Korea’s most recent missile test.

B-1s are long-range strategic bombers designed specifically to drop nuclear bombs on targets. Though it’s not known if the B-1 bombers in this case had nuclear weapons on board, that was clearly meant to be the message sent to North Korea.

Between bomber overflights, warship deployments, and pubic threats, the US has made “shows of force” their go-to reaction whenever they want to exhibit displeasure toward North Korea after missile tests and the like.

That North Korea has been developing the missiles specifically as a deterrent for what they see as an imminent US invasion. This ultimately makes the US reaction counter-productive, just ensuring that tension remain high and that North Korea will keep scrambling to improve its retaliatory capabilities.

U.S. Sanctions on Moscow Push Closer to Dumping the Dollar ~ Hundreds of U.S. Diplomatic Staff to be Expelled from Russia

Source

PUTIN STRIKES BACK: Hundreds of U.S. Diplomatic Staff to be Expelled From Russia

Moscow has told the US to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia from 1100 to 455 people, and is also halting the use of embassy storage facilities in the capital, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.


MOSCOW STRIKES BACK: U.S. Sanctions Push Russia Closer to Dumping the Dollar

Thanks to U.S. Arrogance the World is in Tatters, Not Russian economy- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Jabs Obama.
ABC Interview with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov.

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?

Zeinab Daher

As if is not enough for the people of Awamia to be under continuous heavy bombings, that the Saudi regime started forcing them out of their homes. But what if a person has nowhere to go to?

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


Some three months earlier, the restive town enjoyed a peaceful atmosphere. However, once upon a thought, the Saudi regime decided to raze the historical neighborhood of Awamia, in the Qatif eastern province. Under the alleged pretext of ‘developing’ the area, which is indeed to chase wanted activists, the regime is starving the Shia population there, blocking their access to phone and electricity services, and lately displacing them to nowhere.

It was before three months that the government summoned the neighborhood’s residents to pay them undue compensations so they would leave their houses. The majority of people neither accepted the measure, nor did they go to take their money. Their rejection was because the government warned them that in case anybody was killed in the area, the regime won’t be responsible!

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


Facing a popular resistance to give up on residential areas, the Saudi government started tightening its grip on Awami people. Its escalatory measures ranged between blocking electricity service, phone and internet services, besieging the town and blocking entrances and exits with cement blocks, and most lately bombing houses over their residents.

As part of the worst tragedies in modern history, the Saudi regime troops forced locals to leave Awamia and raise white flags on their way out, then proceed to harass them and loot their homes.

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


However, those same people are not only being attacked by their own government, but by their nationals as well. Many of property owners are trying to abuse the situation and are refusing to offer them a paid shelter unless they pay for three months in advance.

Although many others are offering them houses for free, the previous behavior makes any person feel as if he/she is a stranger in their homeland. Until Friday, Awamia citizens were calling for necessary aid such as bread, milk and diapers for their babies.

 

Awamia Declares State of Emergency, But Who Really Cares?


By sacrificing several lives of its youth, Awamia has become one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the oil-rich dictatorship. Awamia however is never seen, never heard and never felt by the entire world! We still haven’t heard the voices of those kindhearted ‘people of good will’ who always express their concerns and solidarity with the smallest of human rights violations all over the globe.

As if Awamia, and the entire eastern province are not part of this planet to grab the attention of the free people to stand up for its support…

Al-Ahed

29-07-2017 | 13:49

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Al-Sayyed Al Houthi and his pledge to Al-Sayyed Nasrollah: Is the region preparing for the Jerusalem war السيد الحوثي وعهده للسيد نصرالله: هل تتحضّر المنطقة لحرب القدس؟

Al-Sayyed Al Houthi and his pledge to Al-Sayyed Nasrollah: Is the region preparing for the Jerusalem war

يوليو 30, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

What if Benjamin Netanyahu does not withdraw the decision of making electronic gates at the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque, after the Israeli security services said that the cost of protecting the gates and bearing a new intifada and big escalation exceed the cost of dealing with Al-Aqsa Mosque without these gates. Netanyahu himself has linked the acceptance of the security demand of making these gates with the consensus of Saudi Arabia and Jordan which was given to the Israeli government before making the electronic crossings. But it was proven that their approval is valueless in the eyes of the Palestinian people.

Then everything will say that Palestine will be on a date with open confrontation in which the armed factions, the popular organizations, the street, the forces of the intifada in the occupied territories since 1948 and the youth of the new resistance will participate, and that the Zionist extremism among the ranks of the settlers and the soldiers will turn the confrontations into open bloodbath that a new war with Gaza will ignite soon by its impact.

The region then will be on a date with an event that will impose its rhythm on all the other events which seem to be heading towards settlements despite the obstacles, disputes, and the sideline confrontations. But neither Iran nor Syria nor the resistance can deal ineffectively with such an event of this magnitude and make settlements while its opposite party “America” will be involved in giving the support to Israel and the seeking to put all the possible pressures to prevent any exposure to the security of Israel.

The possibility of the exposing of the region to get involved in a war is not far. The suspended considerations have no place when the matter is related to Israeli decision that is based on electoral considerations and which does not consider the strategic interests. When Netanyahu has already refused Hillary Clinton’s project in 2010 he justified that by saying to the President Barack Obama that he knows that this settlement will mean the salvation to Israel, but its cost will be the departure of thousands of settlers, and this means the loss of elections, knowing that he decided not to lose his leadership, so he seeks to protect Israel as possible.

According to this theory, the hypothesis of Netanyahu’s stubbornness and his sticking to the electronic gates must be remained, thus going to confrontation and the stop of settlements. The opportunity is available for a limited time if Netanyahu does not invest it to remove the gates, otherwise it will be too late for a political solution, and therefore, the region has to prepare itself for the worse, and at the forefront of the concerned are the forces of the resistance.

No one can imagine the absence of this description of Netanyahu’s  reading  of the agenda of the resistance in Lebanon and his expectations that it is preparing for such a confrontation, and that it will not leave Jerusalem or Al Aqsa Mosque to Israel at the time of the Arab’s giving up which is doomed with the normalization with Israel. Israel has to put into its account hypotheses as the entry of the resistance to support Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.

The declaration of Al Sayyed Abdul Malik Al-Houthi was remarkable about that the bet of Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrollah on the Yemenis is its place and that they will be ready for any coming confrontation and that they will be where they should be if a confrontation between Israel and the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine will take place. It is an important speech in its timing, so did it get the attention of the Israelis while they are discussing the options?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

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السيد الحوثي وعهده للسيد نصرالله: هل تتحضّر المنطقة لحرب القدس؟

يوليو 21, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– ماذا لو لم يتراجع بنيامين نتنياهو عن قرار زرع البوابات الإلكترونية على مداخل المسجد الأقصى، بعدما قالت الأجهزة الأمنية «الإسرائيلية» إنّ كلفة حماية البوابات وتحمّل انتفاضة جديدة وتصعيد كبير تفوق كلفة التعامل مع المسجد الأقصى من دون هذه البوابات؟ وكان نتنياهو نفسه قد ربط القبول على المطالبة الأمنية بزرع البوابات بموافقة السعودية والأردن اللتين وفرتاها للحكومة «الإسرائيلية» قبل إقامة المعابر الإلكترونية، وثبت أنّ موافقتهما بلا قيمة عند الشعب الفلسطيني؟

– كلّ شيء يقول إنّ فلسطين عندها ستكون على موعد مع مواجهة مفتوحة تشارك فيها الفصائل المسلحة والتنظيمات الشعبية والشارع وقوى الإنتفاضة في الأراضي المحتلة عام 1948 وشباب المقاومة الجديدة، وأنّ التطرف الصهيوني بين صفوف المستوطنين والجنود سيتكفّل بتحويل المواجهات إلى حمام دم مفتوح سرعان ما تنفجر بتأثيره حرب جديدة مع غزة.

– المنطقة ستكون عندها على موعد مع حدث يفرض إيقاعه على سائر الأحداث التي تبدو متجهة نحو طريق التسويات، رغم العقبات والخلافات والمواجهات الجانبية، فلا إيران ولا سورية ولا المقاومة تستطيع التعامل ببرود، مع حدث بهذا الحجم، وتتفرّغ لتسويات طرفها المقابل هو الأميركي الذي سيكون معنياً بتقديم الدعم لـ«إسرائيل» والسعي لوضع الضغوط الممكنة كلّها لمنع أيّ تعرّض لأمن «إسرائيل».

– أن تكون المنطقة مهدّدة بالانزلاق إلى حرب ليس بالاحتمال البعيد. فالحسابات العاقلة لا مكان لها، عندما يتعلق الأمر بقرار إسرائيلي مبني على حسابات انتخابية ولا يضع المصالح الاستراتيجية في الميزان، وقد سبق لنتنياهو عندما رفض مشروع هيلاري كلينتون عام 2010 أن برّر ذلك للرئيس باراك أوباما بالقول إنه يعلم أنّ هذه التسوية تحمل خلاص «إسرائيل»، لكن كلفتها نزع آلاف المستوطنين. وهذا يعني خسارة الانتخابات. وهو قرّر ألا يخسر زعامته ويسعى ضمن الممكن لحماية «إسرائيل».

– وفقاً لهذه النظرية يجب إبقاء فرضية عناد نتنياهو وتمسكه بالبوابات الإلكترونية، وبالتالي الذهاب للمواجهة. وعندها يكون قد أغلق باب التسويات. فالفرصة متاحة لوقت محدود ما لم يستثمره نتنياهو لنزع البوابات، يكون قد فات الأوان على حلّ سياسي، وعلى المنطقة الاستعداد للأسوأ، وفي طليعة المعنيين قوى المقاومة.

– لا يمكن لأحد تخيّل غياب هذا التوصيف عن قراءة نتنياهو لجدول أعمال المقاومة في لبنان، وتوقعاته أنها تستعدّ لمثل هذه المواجهة، وأنها لن تترك القدس والأقصى للاستفراد «الإسرائيلي» في زمن التخلي العربي المحكوم بالتطبيع مع «إسرائيل»، ولا بدّ أن تضع «إسرائيل» في حسابها فرضيات من نوع دخول المقاومة على خط نصرة القدس والأقصى.

– تصريح لافت للسيد عبد الملك الحوثي بأنّ رهان السيد حسن نصرالله على اليمنيين في مكانه، وأنهم سيكونون عند حسن ظنه في أيّ مواجهة مقبلة، وأنّ اليمنيين سيكونون حيث يجب أن يكونوا إذا ما وقعت مواجهة بين «إسرائيل» والمقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين، كلام يلفت الانتباه بالتوقيت، فهل لفت انتباه «الإسرائيليين» وهم يناقشون الخيارات؟

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Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle

caged but undaunted

**Originally published in Al Jazeera July 20. 2017. This is the unedited version with original title and links**

For Some, History is a Failed Recollection (Original Title)

Long ago, it was settled that resistance… even armed struggle… against a colonial occupation force is not just recognized under international law but specifically endorsed.

In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere.

Article 1 (4) of Additional Protocol I provides that “international armed conflict” include those in which people are fighting against “colonial domination, alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination.”

Finding evolving vitality in humanitarian law, for decades the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA)… once described as the collective conscience…

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HUNDREDS OF NUSRA TERRORISTS SURRENDER IN LEBANON; RUSSIA TODAY NEEDS TUNE UP; THOUSANDS OF SYRIAN TROOPS PUSH TOWARD DZ

Ziad Fadel

The fighting on the border between Syria and Lebanon has intensified with reports of hundreds of Nusra/Alqaeda terrorists surrendering to the Lebanese army, HZB and the SAA.  With no hope of resupply, (see below) these supposed “jihadists” have finally figured out that God is not on their side after all.  It appears their god has abandoned them, sending them a hint that their cause may not have been as worthy as they thought.  With that in mind and their wretched families screaming for some modicum of peace, the rodents are breaking with their own tradition and raising white flags everywhere in the ‘Arsaal Area.

On the Syrian side, at Faleeta, it looks very grim for Alqaeda.  The Syrian government is not as forgiving as the one in Beirut.  Moreover, Syria has something Lebanon doesn’t have:  an air force.  And Syrian bombers have been flying night and day firing missiles at ever-compromised fortifications built up by the nearly-starving rodents.  My source in Damascus writes that there will be a serious hygiene issue once all terrorist defenses collapse with rotting carcasses dotting the mountainous area.  Such conditions sometimes result in contagion.  He has informed me that Syria’s medical  establishment is preparing for this eventuality.

____________________________________

DAMASCUS:  July 25, 2017.  A huge shipment of arms and ammunition was seized in the Damascus rural east by elements of the SAA’s Military Intelligence anti-terrorism units.  A truck was spotted with tell-tale depression of its suspension system and was ordered to pull to the side of the road.  The driver remained inside, no doubt aware of what was going to happen.  The agents found cases containing hundreds of thousands of bullets, CG cannons manufactured in the U.S., C-57 anti-tank rockets made in France, Belgian sniper rifles (NATO), telescopic lenses and rockets for RPGs.  Upon interrogation, the driver admitted to being assigned the job of delivering the load to Alqaeda in the Western Qalamoon where the rodents are being suffocated by HZB and SAA.  That battle is about to end.

____________________________________

MOSCOW:  I have a problem with Russia Today.  It’s my favorite news channel and I watch it every day religiously.  And so I was watching Oksana Boyko’s program last Saturday (“Worlds Apart”)  which was devoted to interviewing a former Pentagon agent named Matthew Kroenig whose demeanor and method of speech reminded me of Robocop.  He is now a “senior” scholar at the Atlantic Institute, a stink tank employing scores of failed diplomats and providing haven for neo-cons traitors and professional cowards.

Oksana’s problem in this instance was, in effect,  not jumping on the howling mistakes this Kroenig made on the air.  For example, she could have easily pounced on him when he admitted to supporting the ouster of Dr. Assad when he was at the Pentagon.  She could have mentioned that such an effort was in violation of international law and continued to probe into whether or not this Kroenig believed that such violations were acceptable.  She did not jump on that point even though I was trying to coach her by sending mental messages across the airwaves.

This Kroenig is symptomatic of what is wrong with the U.S.. Completely and utterly ignorant to a fault, he presented on her program with a stiff-upper-lip robot-like mien designed to project superiority.  What happened instead was the observer getting the feeling this imbecile was manufactured out of wax; he was incapable of demonstrating any of his ideas with supportive evidence relegating himself to the tiresome label of “talking head”.  Oksana did not exploit the opportunity to destroy this macabre creep.

He said ridiculous things on the air.  With a totally straight face, he denigrated Russia to the status of a “regional” troublemaker no different from North Korea or Iran.  This, despite the fact that Russia has a global naval presence and the ability, like the U.S., to destroy this earth many times over.  Russia is also challenging the U.S. in so many regions that his statements should have been used effectively to cast doubt on his credibility.

For example, he stated that the Russian economy was the size of Italy’s.  Oksana should have answered that the Italians don’t control the natural gas flow to Europe and that if Russia wanted to strangle the Italian economy, it could do so by tightening the spigot over at Gazprom.  Neither Italy nor the U.S. had that kind of power.

Oksana is quite adventurous.  She invites all kinds of cretins on her program like Charles Kupchan who desperately tried to ostracize Russia.  Kupchan talked a lot like Robert Ford with his nasal tone virtually announcing unctuousness and sleaze.  But, her one major obstacle might be that English is a second language for her.  I bet that if she was thinking in her native Russian, she would have smashed Kroenig with rapier-like debating points.  Well, Kroenig can’t even speak English well enough so let’s forget about this improbable scenario.

In any case, Kroenig was a sitting duck who should have been targeted for humiliation.  To her credit, Oksana got the last bite in when she concluded her show by mentioning the guest’s complete lack of credibility.  She said that with a smile.  That was very nice coming from a pretty Russian lady.

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Yahudi Arabia and Israel to where

السعودية وإسرائيل إلى أين ؟ كتب ناصر قنديل

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israel harvested 18,000 organs from dead Syrians during the war

Source

ABNA–The Damascus university medical doctor heading Medical Forensics department Dr. Hussein Nofal estimates that at least 18,000 Syrians have had organs removed during the war thus far.

Since the outbreak of war in 2012, 6.5 million people have been displaced within Syria and another 4.8 million have become refugees forced to flee to neighboring countries like Turkey and Lebanon or 10% have migrated to Europe. With another 386,000 estimated dead, that’s 11.7 million humans in Syria who have violently lost their lives or homes – stunningly over half the total prewar population of 22 million Syrians.

All this tragic human horror only occurs because of an overly aggressive, imperialistic US-Israeli foreign policy creating a path of chaos and destruction across the Middle East and North Africa secretly supporting the terrorists to fight US-Israeli proxy wars to illegally overthrow sovereign national governments like Assad’s.

The ruling elite behind the Greater Israel Project deploys US Empire to manufacture unlawful wars and the subsequent largest migration crisis since WWII to willfully and methodically destabilize the world generating such dire human living conditions that expedite formation of a one world government.

Ironically but also by criminal design, the two closest neighboring countries most powerful in the region that are most directly responsible for the terrorists and the MENA wars – Israel and Saudi Arabia – refuse to even take in a single refugee from the very same wars they both create and promote. Note that Israel, Saudi Arabia along with third wheel Turkey as part of the US Empire-led axis-of-evil, longtime regional ally and fellow NATO member Turkey received a $6.6 billion bribe from the bankrupted EU to “manage and control” the migration crisis, only to then turn around and unleash yet more waves of refugees pouring into Europe to this day. And it’s Turkey and Israel that both also play the most prominent role in the soaring organ trafficking epidemic as well. But more on that later.

A 2001 BBC report disclosed that Israel per capita stands as the world’s largest recipient nation for organ transplants yet is the country with the fewest organ donors. The problem is additionally compounded by the fact that the Tel Aviv government including the Minister of Defense has historically encouraged the practice, only making organ harvesting and trafficking illegal in 2008. For years the Israeli healthcare system subsidized transplant holidays up to $80,000 in reimbursement for organ recipients to travel abroad for transplants. Insurance carriers customarily paid the tab on all remaining costs. Hughes has described Israel’s leading role in the international crime syndicate that is “organized through a local business corporation in conjunction with a leading transplant surgeon, operating out of a major medical center not far from Tel Aviv.” Additional connections include transplant surgeons in Turkey, Russia, Moldova, Estonia, Georgia, Romania, Brazil and New York City.

A 1984 law made human organ trafficking illegal in America. But the first case in the US occurred in July 2009 when an Israeli citizen living in New York who paid donors in Israel $10,000 was arrested trying to sell them for $120,000 each to three Americans in need of kidney transplants. After making millions trafficking in kidneys, he was not deported because his crime was not deemed “of moral turpitude” and after the organ peddler served a brief two and a half year prison sentence, he was released in December 2014. The convicted Israeli trafficker carried a gun on him and if he encountered misgivings by a potential donor, the kidney smuggler would allegedly point his finger at the donor’s head simulating he was pulling the trigger. His illegal racket became the biggest corruption case in New Jersey state history as it uncovered a money laundering scheme into the millions. A former state assemblyman who was the current NJ Commissioner of Consumer Affairs resigned over his involvement and the supervising FBI agent concluded:

New Jersey’s corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the country. Corruption is a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state and this great nation.
Last December another Israeli organ trafficker was arrested by Interpol police at the Istanbul airport. After forty days in Turkish custody, he was extradited back to Israel to face charges. The organ smuggler had made arrangements to tap the large destitute Syrian migrant population in Turkey to coordinate illegal organ surgeries with local doctors in small private hospitals. He already had charges against him for his illicit operations amongst impoverished organ donors in Kosovo, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka from 2008-2014. He had also placed ads in Russian newspapers in search of potential donors. As is typical, no information or medical follow-up is ever given to donor victims who often suffer complications. For example one boy in Kosovo was paralyzed after his kidney removal

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