Exclusive: Syrian Army spy returns home after years inside FSA high command

Ahmad Al-Shamali pictured with the Syrian Air Force Intelligence chief Wafiq Nasser in Hama.
 BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 A.M.) – It has been a long journey for Ahmad Al-Shamali, as he spent the majority of the war inside the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) high command.

According to a military source in Damascus, Ahmad Al-Shamali officially completed his espionage mission on behalf of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) this month.

Shamali was one of the highest ranking commanders in Jaysh Al-Nasr, often leading this Free Syrian Army faction into battle against the Syrian Arab Army in the Hama Governorate.

However, with the Syrian Army concluding their military operations in Idlib, Shamali was given the green light to abandon Jaysh Al-Nasr and return to government lines.

In the images below, Shamali is first photographed as a member of Jaysh Al-Nasr and then pictured again with the Syrian Air Force Intelligence chief, Wafiq Nasser, after his return to government lines:

Ahmad Al-Shamali during his time as the leader of Jaysh Al-Nasr.
Ahmad Al-Shamali pictured with the Syrian Air Force Intelligence chief Wafiq Nasser in Hama.

My Contribution to Antisemitsm in 2017

February 25, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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According to the annual report of the Swiss Jewish Lobby CICAD, 2017 brought along 150 “acts of anti-Semitism.”*  Apparently yours truly is responsible for 2 incidents  (published by lapravda.ch.)

The Swiss Jewish lobby CICAD didn’t approve of the following:

1) “The shift from total sinner into the new messiah figure was certainly rapid for serial predator Weinstein. But this shouldn’t take us by surprise. Weinstein’s regard for himself as a ‘martyr for social change’ is consistent with Tikun Olam – the misguided Jewish belief that it is down to the Jews to  repair the world.”

2) in reference to history operating as a collective suppression of shame I  said that  “the Americans conceal slavery and imperial genocidal aggression, the Brits conceal their colonial blunders, the Jews turn their eyes away from anything that may have contributed to turning  Jewish history into an extended shoah.”

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2017/11/8/the-balfour-declaration-one-hundred-years-of-goyim-solitude

I promise to improve my record in 2018!

If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

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Fascinating Interview on Syria–former British Diplomat Alastair Crooke

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Crooke obviously is quite knowledgeable on the subject of Syria. The interview, a rather “must-see” one from my point of view, was posted Friday. Latest news today–we seem to have another false flag chlorine gas attack that the mainstream media are blaming on the Syrian government. (More details below).

One child dead after suspected chlorine gas attack from Syrian government, reads the headline over a Reuters story published six hours ago at Business Insider. The article reports on “an enormous explosion” which took place on Sunday in East Ghouta, leaving “several people” suffering from “symptoms consistent with exposure to chlorine gas.” The article is accompanied by a photo of a “civil defense member” purportedly carrying a “damaged canister,” and you can also go here to see a video featuring the latest propaganda images disseminated by the White Helmets.

You’ll notice in the conversation above (starting at about 6 minutes into the video) the discussion comes around to the subject of Israel and the shoot-down by Syrian forces of an Israeli plane earlier this month. In Crooke’s analysis of the event he speculates that Putin delivered a “strategically huge” message to Netanyahu during a phone call between the two men: that Israel will no longer be able to enjoy air supremacy in the region. It’s a rather fascinating analysis, and to hear words like this from a former British career diplomat is interesting to say the least.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the following is being reported today by RT:

Russian 5th-gen fighter deployed to Syria for radar test, latest leaked details claim

New details have emerged on the deployment of Russia’s most-advanced fighter jets to Syria. The state-of-the-art Su-57s are in the region to test their electronic warfare and radar capabilities, an insider has said.

Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry reportedly moved four Su-57s, which have been built for trials, to Khmeimim Airbase in Syria. The deployment was seemingly confirmed by Israeli satellite images and footage taken from the ground, but neither the Russian military nor the producer of the advanced warplane would comment on the move.

The article (read it in full here ) goes on to report that “the advanced fighter jets were deployed to Syria less than two weeks after US forces attacked and devastated a group of pro-government forces, which included some Russian citizens.”

GOVERNMENT FORCES ARE ABOUT TO CAPTURE AJAMI DISTRICT OF EASTERN GHOUTA FROM MILITANTS – REPORTS

South Front

On February 27, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Republican Guard (RG) achieved a notable progress in their battle against Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in the Ajami district of Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta, according to pro-government sources.

The SAA and the RG reportedly broke the militants’ defense there and captured almost entire area. According to reports, Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham remained in control of only few buildings there. However, intense fighting in the area is ongoing and the situation can change soon.

If government forces establish control over the  entire district of Ajami, they will increase security of the SAA’s positions in the Armoured Vehicles Base.

The advance in Ajami will also increase pressure on positions of Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the militant-held part of the Harasta, north of the Armoured Vehicles Base.

Airstrikes on militant positions in Eastern Ghouta:

Syrian Army launches night assault in East Ghouta

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:25 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a night assault in the East Ghouta region, targeting the town of Utaya near recently captured Al-Nashabiyah.

Led by the Tiger Forces and 4th Division, the Syrian Arab Army stormed the area located between the towns of Al-Salihiyah and Utaya in a bid to gain the upper-hand against the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam.

 No gains have been reported thus far.

With the Russian sponsored ceasefire taking place each day between the hours of 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. (Damascus Time), the Syrian Army has resorted to early morning and late night attacks against the Islamist rebels.

Regardless of the time of day, the Syrian Army has been forced to adopt similar tactics to their previous offensive at the Al-Malaah Farms in northern Aleppo.

This change in tactics is due to the fact that Jaysh Al-Islam has heavily fortified this part of the East Ghouta, making it difficult for the Syrian Army to make substantial gains.

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Syrian Ambassador Addresses UN Security Council

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The above video is an address by Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari to the UN Security Council after the council–yesterday– unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. During the ambassador’s remarks Nikki Haley got up and walked out, apparently unwilling to listen to anything he had to say.

In his address, Ja’afari discusses Syrian casualties in Damascus due to shelling from terrorist-held East Ghouta. He lambasts the US and other countries for supporting the so-called “moderate rebels” who have killed Syrian civilians, and he stakes a claim to the right of Syria to resist US occupation:

“According to the article 51 of the Charter, my country has the right to defend itself with all legal tools. There is a military presence, a colonial presence, a US presence, in our country and we have the right to respond to that. She (Haley) threatened us and we’re threatening her from this rostrum because we have the right to defend ourselves according to article 51 of the Charter.”

He also makes a good point: that whenever ceasefires have been agreed upon in the past, the terrorist factions have used the ceasefires as an opportunity to regroup and re-arm. Perhaps they will do so this time as well, although apparently the groups occupying Ghouta don’t, at least for now–despite yesterday’s UN vote–seem to be laying down their weapons. The following is reported by RT:

Jihadists in control of East Ghouta are “deliberately exacerbating” the humanitarian crisis in the Damascus suburb, hindering all government attempts to help civilians, according to the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria.

“The humanitarian, social and economic situation in Eastern Ghouta is deliberately exacerbated by the leaders of the al-Islam, Failak Ar-Rahman and Jabhat al-Nusra illegal armed groups,” Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko said on Saturday. “All attempts by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic to provide assistance to civilians in the Eastern Ghouta region are blocked by militants.”

The Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria specifically noted that Jeyish al-Islam militants continue to terrorize the local population and prevent civilians from leaving the militant-controlled areas by blocking a humanitarian corridor near Muhayam al-Waffedin.

Over the last 24 hours, the militants in control of the suburb of East Ghouta detonated 27 mines and fired two missiles into residential areas of Damascus. One of the rockets hit a house in Rukn ad-Din district of the Syrian capital. “There is significant destruction and casualties among civilians,” Yevtushenko said. “Over 24 hours, a total of four civilians were killed and 51 more were injured.”

The Russian military accused the terrorists of deliberately subverting the negotiation progress and attempting to provoke government forces to respond.

«حجّ» خليجي إلى البيت الأبيض: «تبويس لحى» ببركة ترامب؟


أظهر دونالد ترامب، في بدايات الأزمة، انحيازاً واضحاً ضد قطر (أ ف ب)
يستضيف الرئيس دونالد ترامب في الفترة القصيرة المقبلة، الزعماء الخليجيين كلاً على حدة، في محاولة لتعبيد الطريق أمام القمة الأميركية – الخليجية التي يفترض أن تنعقد الربيع المقبل. محاولة لا يبدو أنها ستؤدي، حتى في حال نجاحها، إلى حسم الخلاف وانطواء صفحته، بالنظر إلى التركيز الأميركي على بعد واحد لا يخلو من الزيف، واستمرار التناوش بين «الأشقاء» على الجبهات كافة
يستعد زعماء الخليج لـ«الحجّ» إلى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، تباعاً، في شهرَي آذار/ مارس ونيسان/ أبريل المقبلين، للتباحث في إمكانية انعقاد القمة الأميركية – الخليجية التي أضحت تقليداً سنوياً، منذ انعقاد أول لقاء من هذا النوع في منتجع كامب ديفيد الرئاسي الأميركي عام 2015، إبان عهد الرئيس السابق، باراك أوباما.
وفيما لا يزال من غير الواضح ما إذا كانت تلك المباحثات المرتقبة ستسفر عن انعقاد القمة بنسختها الرابعة بعد القمة الأخيرة التي انعقدت في العاصمة السعودية الرياض في أيار/ مايو الماضي، يبدو أن كلاً من طرفي الأزمة الخليجية يستعد لتجميع أكبر عدد ممكن من أوراق القوة في جعبته، والتوجه بها إلى البيت الأبيض، أملاً في تعزيز محاولاته اجتذاب الحبل الأميركي إلى جانبه، في وقت لا تُظهر فيه واشنطن عزماً على حسم الخلاف لصالح أي من حلفائها.
وفقاً للمعلومات التي أدلى بها مسؤولون أميركيون كبار قبل يومين، فإن أول الواصلين إلى ضيافة الرئيس دونالد ترامب سيكون ولي العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، منتصف آذار، يليه ولي عهد أبو ظبي، محمد بن زايد، بعد يومين، ثم يتبعهما أمير قطر، تميم بن حمد آل ثاني، في نيسان. لقاءات تأمل الولايات المتحدة، بحسب ما ذكر أحد المسؤولين المشار إليهم، أن تسفر عن «حل الخلاف قبل القمة» المفترض انعقادها في واشنطن أواخر الربيع، «للسماح بتركيز أكبر على الشؤون الاستراتيجية الأخرى مثل إيران». هذا الهدف يكاد التشديد عليه يكون جامعاً لكل التصريحات الأميركية بشأن الأزمة الخليجية، التي يبدو أن رؤية وزارتي الخارجية والدفاع لحيثياتها وكيفية التعامل معها تركت تأثيرها على البيت الأبيض، الذي بات «أكثر اعتدالاً وتوازناً» في إدارة الخلاف، بعدما أظهر في بداياتِه انحيازاً واضحاً ضد قطر. 
 هل يعني ذلك أن الإدارة الأميركية ستنجح في لمّ شمل حلفائها؟ يوحي التركيز الدائم على ملف «مكافحة الإرهاب» دون سواه، وتشجيع الولايات المتحدة قطر على اتخاذ خطوات «أكثر تقدماً» في هذا المجال، ومكافأتها إياها على «الطاعة» بسلسلة اتفاقيات تم توقيعها خلال «الحوار الاستراتيجي الأميركي – القطري» الذي انعقد أواخر كانون الثاني/ يناير الماضي، بأن واشنطن قد تنجح في جمع القادة الخليجيين تحت هذه اللافتة، بغرض الخروج بمشهد «توافقي» على «تعزيز فاعليتنا على الكثير من الجبهات» (على حد تعبير وزير الدفاع جيمس ماتيس)، وهو مشهد بإمكان أي من طرفي الأزمة ادعاؤه انتصاراً له. تُعزّز الاحتمال المتقدم التصريحات الأخيرة الصادرة عن المسؤولين الخليجيين والتي يتقدمها اثنان: أولهما لوزير الخارجية القطري، محمد بن عبد الرحمن آل ثاني، أعلن فيه استعداد بلاده للمشاركة في القمة الأميركية – الخليجية، معرباً عن اعتقاده بأن «الوضع سيكون تحت السيطرة في النهاية»، مشدداً على أن «قطر لا تدخر جهداً في مكافحة الإرهاب، ويمكن لجميع الدول أن تفعل المزيد». وثانيهما لوزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية الإماراتي، أنور قرقاش، الذي اعتبر، قبل أيام، أن «لدول المقاطعة الفضل في التنازلات القطرية لواشنطن في ملف تمويل الإرهاب»، مؤكداً أن تلك الدول «ستستمر في ضغطها لتكسب تنازلات إضافية ضد التطرف والإرهاب، حتى وإن جاء الحصاد عبر عواصم أخرى».
لكن هذا الستار الذي يتلطى خلفه جميع المعنيين بالأزمة، لا يخفي حقيقة أن للخلاف بين «الأشقاء» الخليجيين أبعاداً سياسية أخرى، قد لا تكون الإدارة الأميركية راهناً معنية بالعمل على معالجتها، فضلاً عن أن إمكانية توصل الوسطاء المحليين (الكويت مثلاً) إلى تسوية بشأنها تبدو ضعيفة أكثر من أي وقت مضى. من هنا، فإن احتمال تحقق مصالحة بينية مماثلة لما شهده عام 2014 عقب أزمة سحب السفراء يبقى في مستوى الهشاشة أقله على المدى المنظور، لتتقدم احتمالات أخرى (ليس من بينها التصعيد العسكري)، فحواها استمرار دول المقاطعة في محاولة تقويض النظام القطري مع ادعائها خلاف ذلك في العلن، وإصرارها على هامشية «القضية القطرية» (قال وزير الخارجية السعودي، عادل الجبير، الأسبوع الماضي، في بروكسل، إن «قطر قضية صغيرة أمام الملفات الهامة في المنطقة»)، ومحاولتها تكريس هذا الوضع وإرساء تطبيع إقليمي ودولي معه، وفي المقابل مواصلة قطر مساعيها إلى كسر تلك المحاولات عبر تمسكها بخوض الحرب الإعلامية والدعائية والدبلوماسية إلى منتهاها.
ما يدعّم الاحتمالات المتقدمة عدة مؤشرات صادرة من كلا المعسكرين لعل أهمّها اثنان: الأول أن عواصم المقاطعة عاودت محاولاتها إنتاج بديل سياسي لـ«نظام الحمدين»، بعد فشل تجربتها الأولى مع الشيخ عبد الله بن علي آل ثاني، الذي انتهى به مسار التعويم «البائس» إلى ظهوره محتجزاً في أبو ظبي وممنوعاً من الحركة. وما جديد السعودية والإمارات على هذا الصعيد إلا استضافتهما لشخص ثانٍ من العائلة القطرية الحاكمة يدعى سلطان بن سحيم آل ثاني (ابن شقيق أمير قطر السابق، خليفة بن حمد آل ثاني)، كان أول من التقاه – علناً – الملك السعودي، سلمان بن عبد العزيز، خلال الحفل الختامي لـ«مهرجان الملك عبد العزيز للإبل 2018»، قبل أن يحضر جنباً إلى جنبه افتتاح «مهرجان الجنادرية 32»، ليتوجه عقب ذلك إلى البحرين حيث التقى ملكها، حمد بن عيسى، ومنها إلى الإمارات حيث اجتمع بولي عهد أبو ظبي، محمد بن زايد (تداولت وسائل الإعلام القطرية تسجيلاً منسوباً لوالدة سلطان، تحرّض فيه أحد الأشخاص على الانضمام إلى نجلها في تدبير انقلاب على الحكم). وعلى الضفة المقابلة، برزت دعوة أمير قطر، خلال «مؤتمر ميونيخ»، إلى «اتفاقية أمنية جامعة في الشرق الأوسط»، وهو ما رأت فيه دول المقاطعة «دعوة من لاعب ثانوي… ومشروعاً مضاداً لاستعادة العرب لفضائهم، ومتناقضاً مع التوجه الأميركي اتجاه طهران».



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!

NATO is Turning Europe into a Battlefield against Russia

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Italy’s Election Campaign. NATO has already Voted Before Us

There is a party that, even if it does not appear, takes part in the Italian elections: the NATO Party. It is formed by a transversal majority, that explicitly or tacitly supports Italy’s membership of the Great Alliance under U.S. command.

This explains why, at the height of the electoral campaign, the main parties tacitly accepted the additional commitments undertaken by the government in the meeting of 29 Nato ministers of Defence (for Italy Roberta Pinotti), on 14-15 February in Brussels.

The ministers first participated in the Nato Nuclear Planning Group, chaired by the United States, whose decisions are always top secret.

Then the ministers met at the level of North Atlantic Council. Just two hours later, they announced important decisions (already taken elsewhere) to “modernise the NATO Command Structure, the backbone of our Alliance”.

A new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic will be set up, probably located in the United States, in order to “protect sea lines of communication between North America and Europe”. Thus they invented the scenario of Russian submarines that could sink merchant ships on transatlantic routes.

A new Command for logistics will be set up, probably located in Germany, to “improve the movement in Europe of troops and equipment essential to our collective defense”. Thus they invented the scenario of a NATO forced to defend itself from an aggressive Russia. On the contrary, it is NATO that aggressively deploys its military forces along the border with Russia. Additional land component commands will be established in Europe to “further improve coordination and rapid response for our forces”.

NATO will also set up a new Cyber ​​Operations Centre to “further strengthen our defenses”. It will be located at the headquarters of Mons (Belgium), headed by the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, who always is a U.S. General appointed by the President of the United States.

The ministers confirmed their commitment to increase military spending. Over the last three years, the European allies and Canada ncreased it by a total of $ 46 billion, but it is just the beginning. The goal is that every member country reaches at least 2% of the GDP (the US spend 4%), so as to have “more cash and therefore more military capabilities”.

The European countries that have so far reached and exceeded this quota are: Greece (2.32%), Estonia, Great Britain, Romania, Poland. The military spending of the European Union must be complementary to that of NATO. This was reiterated in a meeting with the EU foreign representative Federica Mogherini

Minister Pinotti confirmed that “Italy, respecting U.S. demand, has begun to increase spending for Defence” and that “we will continue on this road that is a road of responsibility”.

The way is therefore traced. But this is not talked about in the electoral campaign. While on Italy’s membership of the European Union the main parties have different positions, on the belonging of Italy to NATO are practically unanimous. This distorts the whole scenario.

We cannot discuss about the European Union while ignoring that 21 out of the 27 EU countries (after Brexit), with about 90% of the population of the Union, are members of NATO under U.S. command.

We cannot ignore the political and military consequences – as well as the economic, social and cultural ramifications of the fact that NATO is turning Europe into a battlefield against Russia, depicted as a threatening enemy: the new “empire of evil” attacking “the greatest democracy in the world” from the inside with its army of trolls.

Article in italiano :

Ha già votato la Nato prima di noi

ilmanifesto.it, 20 February 2018

 

United Nations Feigns Outrage Over #Ghouta While Terrorist Rockets Rain Down on Damascus

 

By Eva Bartlett,

Eva Bartlett breaks down the dizzying array of information surrounding the mounting humanitarian crisis in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. With accusations abound, parsing the reality on the ground is becoming more challenging by the day.

On February 20, from Amman, Jordan, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, issued a statement of “outrage” titled: “The war on children in Syria: Reports of mass casualties among children in Eastern Ghouta and Damascus.”

The “statement” — consisting of blank lines with the preface “No words will do justice to the children killed, their mothers, their fathers and their loved ones” — dovetails with corporate media’s increasingly hysterical rhetoric on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, which has been plagued with chemical weapons attacks for over four years, perpetrated by U.S.-backed proxies allied with the Nusra Front attempting to frame the Syrian government with war crimes.

UNICEF further wrote:

“We no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering and our outrage. Do those inflicting the suffering still have words to justify their barbaric acts?”

Where was UNICEF’s dramatic blank-lined protest when 200 civilians, including 116 children, were slaughtered by terrorist factions while in convoy from Kafraya and Foua in April 2017? These factions included Ahrar al-Sham (supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia), al-Nusra (al-Qaeda), and factions of the Free Syrian Army. The Free Syrian Army was armed by the U.S. And, according to the words of former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, Qatar — with the support and coordination of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the U.S.—was from the beginning supporting armed groups, even al-Qaeda, in Syria.

This seemingly outraged UN statement has made the rounds in corporate media reports on eastern Ghouta, most of which cite the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), run from his home by a sole person, Osama Suleiman, who uses the pseudonym Rami Abdul Rahman. In its recent Ghouta reports, SOHR itself does not provide sources.

On February 22, in the UN Security Council, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of OCHA, Mark Lowcock, spoke for just over 10 minutes about eastern Ghouta and “400,000 people besieged.”

Not once did he mention the designated terrorist factions within. These terrorist factions include: Jaysh al-Islam (Saudi-backed), Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham, and Faylaq al-Rahman (the main faction in Jobar, and reported to have received BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missiles).

The UN would garner much less public support and outrage if, instead of easily-misconstrued emotive statements, it showed training videos like this one depicting then-leader Zahran Alloush’s Army of Islam training in eastern Ghouta with their armored tanks. This is the reality of eastern Ghouta. Jaysh al-Islam is the group infamous for caging civilians, including women, to use as human shields.

The UN would garner less support still were the UN and corporate media to show videos of civilians like this woman cursing the armed groups, blaming them for hunger and for hoarding food, telling them to leave Ghouta.

With hindsight, we know now that in other formerly-occupied areas of Syria, like East AleppoHomsMadaya, al-Waer, and elsewhere, when finally resecured from terrorist factions, civilians in these areas spoke of terrorists hoarding food and medicine, and preventing them from leaving — holding them hostage as human shields.

It also transpired that the numbers the UN and corporate media were citing about eastern Aleppo’s population —250,000 to 300,000 – were highly inflated, double the actual numbers of civilians in eastern areas. As I wrote previously:

110,000 civilians registered at the Jibreen Registration center; another estimated 10 percent might have gone straight to stay with family instead; and according to the Red Cross, 35,000 people (“fighters” and their family members) were evacuated out of Aleppo. The total number was thus at most 150,000, most likely significantly lower.”

In his February 22 address, only once did the UN’s Lowcock address terrorists’ shelling of Damascus, saying: “shelling from eastern Ghouta is reportedly killing and injuring scores of civilians in Damascus City.”

Why reportedly? Why did Lowcock not take and read the testimonies of civilians as he claims to have done of civilians in eastern Ghouta? Damascus is far more accessible than al-Qaeda-occupied Ghouta: Lowcock could very easily travel to the Syrian capital and meet with some of the many civilians affected by the years of constant mortaring from terrorist factions in eastern Ghouta. Instead, he seems to prefer to repeat testimonies collected from afar, solely from and on Ghouta.

For weeks, Jaysh al-Islam, al-Qaeda, Ahrar al-Sham, and Faylaq al-Rahman have intensified their heavy-shelling of Damascus, intentionally targeting heavily-populated civilian areas of the city, including schools, homes, and crowded public spaces.

These shellings are breaches of the de-escalation zones agreement of May 2017, co-signed by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Eastern Ghouta is one of the four areas included in the agreement of cessation of hostilities.  According to the article “6th Astana Process Talks Produce De-Escalation Zone Agreement”:

The guarantor countries noted ‘progress in the fight against terrorism and elimination of ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusra and all other individuals, groups, enterprises and organisations associated with Al-Qaida or ISIL as a result of the functioning of these de-escalation zones’ and confirmed their determination ‘to take all necessary measures to continue to fight them both inside and outside de-escalation zones.’”

Jaysh al-Islam — whose political leader, Mohammed Alloush, was supposed to participate in the May and subsequent 2017 Astana peace talks — is one of the factions attacking Damascus. The Syrian website Muraselon reported that the February 23 bombing of Damascus, which killed at least one civilian, was a powerful missile, likely fired by Jaysh al-Islam. The article referred to the terrorist group’s own social media bragging about possessing and intending to fire said missile on Damascus. That deserves a little outrage and more than a passing comment.

Following the Security Council meeting, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari, spoke to the press, noting Mr. Lowcock’s lack of objectivity in his Security Council statement. Ambassador al-Ja’afari said:

We have an official letter from the Resident Coordinator in Damascus, the chair of OCHA in Syria, saying that during 2017, OCHA — with the cooperation of the Syrian government, and Syrian Red Crescent, and International Committee of the Red Cross — have provided humanitarian assistance to 2.3 million people.

Mr. Lowcock denied this information, while we have it in written form coming from the head of OCHA in Damascus. So, something is wrong. Either these people here in New York don’t read what they get from … their own people in Damascus, or they mislead the Security Council members about what’s going on in Syria.”

He also corrected the lexicon of a “stifling siege,” saying:

[This] is not consistent with the reality on the ground. Commercial trucks have been moving constantly between Damascus and east Ghouta. The Syrian government has been facilitating aid to eastern Ghouta, and medical evacuations to hospitals in Damascus. The UN is ignoring video footage posted by these terrorist groups showing women and children pushed into metal cages on the streets.”

Regarding the heavy shelling of Damascus that Mr. Lowcock stated is reportedly happening, at a Security Council meeting one week prior, Ambassador al-Ja’afari cited the over 1,000 shells from eastern Ghouta that had targeted Damascus. On February 22, al-Ja’afari stated that the number of shells on Damascus was now over 1,200, noting that 8 million people in Damascus were at risk.

According to Syrian state media, SANA, the following terrorist attacks on Damascus have occurred in the past week:

  • February 24: “Armed groups positioned in eastern Ghouta on Saturday targeted with more than 55 mortar and rocket shells and with sniper fire the residential neighborhoods in Damascus and its countryside.”
  • February 23: “Armed groups fire 70 rocket shells on Medical Surgery Hospital and residential areas in Damascus and Jaramana: One civilian was killed and 60 others were injured on Friday due to 70 rocket shells fired by the armed groups on the residential neighborhoods of Damascus and its Countryside.”
  • February 22: “Three civilians, two children among them, were killed and 28 other citizens were injured, six of them children, when the armed groups fired shells on Damascus and its countryside.”
  • February 21: “A woman was killed on Wednesday while 22 persons were injured in fresh attacks by armed groups on different Syrian regions.” Dozens of shells.
  • February 20: “Thirteen civilians were killed and 77 others were injured on Tuesday as armed groups in the Eastern Ghouta area continued their breach of the de-escalation zones agreement, targeting residential areas and public facilities in Damascus and its countryside with 114 rocket and mortar shells.”
  • February 19: “Fifteen civilians, among them children, were injured Monday in attacks by armed groups who targeted Damascus and its countryside with shells.”
  • February 18: “Armed groups positioned in some areas in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday evening fired several shells on Bab Sharqi neighborhood in Damascus, killing a person, injuring another.”
  • February 15: “Armed groups, positioned in Eastern Ghouta, launched four shells on al-Wafideen Camp near Harasta, injuring a civilian… Later, the armed groups targeted al-Assad Suburb with four shells, killing one civilian and injuring others.”

The February 23 shelling of Damascus killed a Syrian doctor: Dr. Hassan Haj Hassan, an anesthesiologist and a professor at the Institute of Health Technology in Damascus. He was killed by #EGhouta terrorist shelling of Damascus.

In his latest address at the UN Security Council, Ambassador al-Ja’afari noted that the main headquarters of the Red Crescent in Syria, based in Damascus, was targeted with 10 missiles, originating from Ghouta.

UN Serial Censorship

In trying to relate Syria’s side of the story in the United Nations, Ambassador al-Ja’afari was initially prevented from doing so. In his subsequent address to the press, he noted:

The President of the Security Council, the Ambassador of Kuwait, acted irresponsibly today by trying to prevent me from speaking, while the meeting is on Syria. This irresponsible behavior coming from the President of the Security Council in a meeting allocated to the situation in Syria reveals also that Kuwait is not — the Kuwaiti delegation — is not up to the responsibility it is assuming as President of the Security Council, because this irresponsible behavior works against the rules and procedures of the Security Council. The shortage of the moral behavior of the Kuwaiti ambassador found a crystal-cut answer by the Russian ambassador, who corrected him and said you have no right whatsoever to prevent the Syrian ambassador from addressing the council.”

Watch | Syria on the situation in the Middle East

Censorship at the UN has happened previously. In early 2015, after interviewing the Syrian Ambassador, I wrote, quoting him:

The British ambassador cut me off one time while I was speaking. He said ‘you have exceeded four minutes.’ I said, ‘Who gave you the right to fix four minutes? I am a member of a concerned party, and I have the right to explain.’ To justify his wrongdoing, he also cut off the Iraqi ambassador after me. We were the only two ambassadors speaking at that session, and it was on Syria and Iraq. The issue was on terrorism in Syria and Iraq, and he cut off both of us after four minutes!”

In a subsequent article, I wrote of the repeated cuts to the Syrian Ambassador’s video and microphone feeds, also noting the attempted censorship of Syria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs:

In January, 2014, at the Geneva II conference on Syria in Montreux, Switzerland, Foreign Affairs Minister Walid Muallem was himself cut off by none other than the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

Pointing out the ridiculousness of the situation, Muallem noted: ‘You live in New York, I live in Syria. I have the right to give the Syrian version in this forum. After three years of suffering, this is my right. You spoke for 25 minutes. I need at least 30.’ While Ban interrupted Muallem’s speech, asking him to ‘wrap up in just one or two minutes,’  the Syrian Minister refused to be silenced and did eventually finish his speech.”

Regarding some of the other instances of UN censorship of Ambassador al-Ja’afari, in that same article I wrote:

Correspondent Nizar Abboud…says the cuts are not due to ‘technical problems,’ but instead often done ‘by senior officials at the United Nations.’

Matthew Lee, a journalist with Inner City Press (ICP)  reported on an April 5, 2012 feed cut, noting that the speeches of the then Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, as well as the (Qatari) President of the General Assembly (GA) and Ban Ki-moon were all broadcast on UN television. However, ‘just as Syria’s Permanent Representative Bashar Ja’afari took the floor to respond, UN TV went dark. When the session was over several Permanent Representatives were critical of what they called ‘the PGA’s use of the UN for Qatar’s foreign policy.’

…The Syrian Ambassador was again cut out of the feed on June 18, 2014. ICP’s Lee reported that on June 20 he was told by the same Dujarric regarding the June 7 cut that [in Lee’s words], in fact the error in 2012 was been [sic] to allow Ja’afari to speak AT ALL on UN TV. He said the arrangement was that Ban and the Qatari PGA could speak, then the UN TV was supposed to go off.’

Following the June 2014 Syrian elections, international representatives who had observed the elections in Syria convened at the UN to report back. Roughly five minutes in, after Ambassador al-Ja’afari had opened the meeting and thanked the Secretariat for facilitating it, the webcast feed was cut. Ironically, the Ambassador had stressed he wanted to leave ‘enough time to give you the right picture of the Syrian landscape that was prevailing during elections. They are eyewitnesses.’”

Like corporate media, UN whitewashes al-Qaeda and co-extremists

A screenshot from a 2017 video released by designated Saudi-backed terror group, Jaysh al-Islam, shows Jaysh al-Islam fighters in an offensive against the Syrian Army in Eastern Ghouta.

A screenshot from a 2017 video released by the Saudi-backed terror group Jaysh al-Islam, shows Jaysh al-Islam fighters operating in Eastern Ghouta.

The UN’s Lowcock humanized the suffering in eastern Ghouta, and it cannot be denied there is suffering there, where the aforementioned terrorist groups embed in civilian areas only to hold civilians hostage, and are the cause of the military siege and targeted strikes on Ghouta.

Yet, he and the media mentioned only in passing, and skeptically, the relentless shelling of civilian areas of Damascus and the surrounding countryside, dehumanizing the civilians of Damascus — just as corporate media dehumanized the civilians of Aleppo, then under the relentless bombings and sniping of al-Qaeda and other terrorists’ occupying the city’s eastern areas.

In Aleppo in November 2016, the head of forensics, Dr. Zaher Hajjo, told me (on a day of intense terrorist bombings that killed 18 civilians and injured over 200) that in the past five years 10,750 civilians had been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. He said that in the past year alone, 328 children had been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, 45 children killed by terrorist snipers.

In April 2014, I visited the French Hospital in Damascus, which was treating some of the over 60 children who had been injured by terrorists’ shelling of their school, which also killed one child.  Also at the hospital was the BBC’s correspondent, Lyse Doucet. While she promised to give an honest account of the targeting of these children, her report instead read:

They’re believed to be fired by rebels, but the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control. So brutal is this war that nothing is considered unthinkable…”

In February 2015, I visited Damascus’ University Hospital, documenting just some of the children maimed and critically injured by such terrorist attacks — and, a year prior wrote about my own experiences in the intense shelling of Damascus, where I stayed several weeks — and, since then, have met victims of terrorist shelling of Old Damascus.

With access to numerous sources on these incessant and deadly mortar and rocket attacks and the Syrian ambassador’s repeated statements on this at the UN, the United Nations nevertheless chooses to obfuscate on the intensified shelling of civilian areas of Damascus and elsewhere in Syria, and instead endorse the war propagandists.

On February 22, UNICEF tweeted a New York Times article featuring “media activist” Firas Abdullah. Abdullah is not the neutral media source portrayed. Following the December 2015 killing of terrorist Zahran Alloush, then-leader of Jaysh al-Islam, Abdullah posted his eulogy for Alloush, calling him a “beautiful martyr.” This is the person whom the Times chose to portray a human face of Ghouta, retweeted by UNICEF.

 

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Also on February 22, the UN body tweeted a CNN report citing the SOHR, and of course the UNICEF blank statement of outrage, in the cyclic fashion that is typical of regime-change war propaganda reinforcing itself.

On February 21, UNICEF tweeted a Newsweek photo slideshow titled after UNICEF’s own blank statement of outrage.

 

The February 20 tweet of the blank UNICEF statement included #EasternGhouta, but no hashtag for Damascus. Surely an oversight…

Their February 19 tweet links to an article on the Bana al-Abed of Ghouta, Muhammad Najem, whose Twitter account began in December 2017 and has nearly 5,000 followers. Expect that number to skyrocket. Expect a memoir to follow.

 

A UNICEF February 19 tweet on Ghouta links to war propagandist Louisa Loveluck’s article, reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.

 

If it isn’t already clear, UNICEF is participating in war propaganda against Syria, reporting and endorsing one very exaggerated and not substantiated side of the story, disappearing another very real side.

This is not the first time the UN has covered up terrorists’ crimes against Syrian civilians. In October 2016, I wrote of UNICEF’s unproven claims of an aerial attack on an Idlib school, in which UNICEF decried it as possibly “the deadliest attack on a school since the war began more than five years ago.” As I reported, UNICEF overlooked numerous documented deadly attacks on schools:

On October 1, 2014, terrorists’ car- and suicide-bombed the Akrama Al-Makhzoumi School in Homs, killing at least 41 children by conservative estimates, or up to 48 children by other reports, along with women and other civilians.”

I further noted:

On October 28, 2016, RT reporter Murad Gazdiev reported from Aleppo on the latest attacks by Western-backed terrorists on a school in the city. At the time of the report, at least six children were reported killed by a Hell Cannon-fired gas canister bomb which struck a school in Ḩadaiq al-Andalus. From an Aleppo hospital, Gazdiev reported:

‘The rebels launched the rocket at 10 in the morning. Seconds later it hit the National School of Aleppo… Three of the children died on the spot…. blood and pieces of them sprayed on the walls. The victims, six children, ranged in age from 2 to 12. In some cases, doctors weren’t sure if they’d put the right body parts with the correct bodies. Three of the dead children were siblings: two brothers and a sister. Their father was beyond consolation. His mental stability had been torn apart.’

This statement was given over footage of a devastated father kissing the corpses of his children.”

In January 2016, I wrote of OCHA’s selective tweeting around the terrorist-occupied village of Madaya, obfuscating the terrorist-besieged Idlib villages of Foua and Kafraya.

Honest reporters like Murad Gazdiev entered Madaya in January 2016 and confirmed that food and medical aid had indeed entered. He spoke with residents who complained of the armed groups stealing this food.

When I went to Madaya in June 2017, I spoke with civilians there who stated that vast amounts of food and medical aid entered the area, but they had no access to it, as Ahrar al-Sham, al-Nusra and co-extremists holding the village hoarded the food and sold it at extortionist prices. I also saw prisons use to hold, and sometimes torture, civilians before their trials in terrorists’ courts. I also saw these in eastern Aleppo and in al-Layramoun, in the city’s northwest. When eastern Ghouta is finally secured, it won’t be surprising to learn that schools, hospitals, and/or homes were turned into prisons to hold the civilians for whom the UN and corporate media feign concern.

Why the UNICEF bias?

According to UNICEF, the current executive director, Henrietta H. Fore, was formerly Administrator of USAID, Chief Operating Officer for the U.S. Department of State, and Director of the United States Mint in the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The prior UNICEF executive director, Anthony Lake, was national security advisor to President Clinton, and was nominated to be the director of the CIA.

According to Telesur, Lake played a significant role in mass starvation in Somalia in 2010-2012, under-budgeting food aid, budgeting “10 cents a day per person to feed a million internally displaced persons.” Telesur reported that Lake also “admitted publicly that he knew about and did nothing to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, something he ‘regretted.’”

In Yemen, the UN is suspected of having smuggled in two CIA agents, as reported in 2015 by journalist Nizar Abboud, and surprisingly in 2017 by The New York Times.

UNICEF executive directors who formerly worked for USAID, the U.S. State Department, even Director of the United States Mint in the U.S. Department of Treasury: it seems that UNICEF’s role is less about humanitarian aid and more about being the humanitarian propaganda arm of Washington.

We should, indeed, feel sorrow for any civilian casualties in the U.S./U.K. and allies’ war on Syria. However, after years of the most egregious war propaganda on Syria, we should also exercise caution about the latest stories, be they from unsourced SOHR reports or the UN itself.

Remember, Omran Daqneesh was once depicted widely as the face of Syrian suffering. As it turned out, the entire story Western media and agencies told was false, based on unreliable sources.

Recall that the humanitarian agency MSF once insisted that Syrian or Russian airstrikes had destroyed — reduced “to rubble” — a hospital that MSF supported. This turned out to be utterly false.

Unlike MSF, unlike the most of journalists who reported lies around Omran Daqneesh, I did go to see the intact Quds hospital, and met Omran and his father, who told me everything the media had reported on his son was false; the media had exploited his boy. Both MSF and corporate media lied about these stories, and their lies were used to call for further Western intervention in Syria.

Targeting of Afrin civilians met with relative silence

While UNICEF on January 26 noted having received “alarming reports” regarding children’s deaths in Afrin, it hasn’t thus far expressed outrage at the Turkish murder of civilians in the northwestern Syrian town. On February 20, SANA reported:

Entering its 32nd day, the Turkish aggression continues to claim more civilian casualties and causing material damage to properties.

Medical sources at Afrin Hospital told SANA that so far, 175 civilians were killed and more than 450 civilians, most of them children and women, were injured due to the continued assault on civilians’ houses and infrastructure.”

Contrast the nonspecific and tame title of the January 26 UNICEF statement, “UNICEF statement on the escalating violence in Syria,” to the emotive language of February 20, riding on the coattails of corporate media hysteria around Ghouta:

The war on children in Syria: Reports of mass casualties among children in Eastern Ghouta and Damascus; … No words will do justice to the children killed; … We no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering and our outrage; … barbaric acts …”

The UN has yet to issue an updated statement of concern regarding the latest Turkish bombings of Afrin.

In UN humanitarian chief Lowcock’s February 22 address, he spoke of “the killing of civilians and the destruction of entire cities and neighborhoods.”

However, he didn’t mean the killing of hundreds (a lower estimate) or even thousands of Syrian civilians by the U.S.-led coalition, illegal in Syria — the latest being 12 civilians, “mostly women and children,” killed in residential neighborhoods in Hajin town in Deir Ezzor eastern countryside on February 21.

One day prior, Syrian media reported the deaths of “at least 16 civilians, including nine women,” in al-Bahra village, Deir Ezzor countryside, noting, “the death toll is likely to rise as a number of civilians were injured and some of them are in critical condition as a result of airstrikes…”

A UN press release on Lowcock’s statement cited him as saying: “You can still save lives in eastern Ghouta – and elsewhere in Syria. I urge you to do so.”

But this is precisely what Syrian officials have been attempting to do, with offers of amnesty, safe transport of out of Ghouta, and the provision of medical and food aid.

Recently, independent researcher Hadi Nasrallah tweeted (in a long thread on Ghouta):

Even After 7 years of failed negotiations with terrorists for the sake of civilians held in Eastern Ghouta, the Syrian government dropped flyers and maps on the terrorist-held city to give details for civilians on how to flee areas with high tensions and guaranteed them safety”

 

Al Masdar News reported:

…eight projectiles struck the Al-Wafideen camp site where the Syrian Army has set up an evacuation point for civilians attempting to escape militant-held areas of East Ghouta.”

As with Aleppo, a humanitarian corridor has been established to enable eastern Ghouta residents to leave the district. However, given that terrorists repeatedly shelled humanitarian corridors in Aleppo (including a corridor road I stood on in November 2016), holding civilians hostage, it is quite likely terrorists in eastern Ghouta will do the same.

Yet, in the end, the combination of humanitarian corridors and Syria’s offer of amnesty and reconciliation enabled the exit of terrorists and return of life in Aleppo. As of August 2017, over half a million displaced Syrians returned home, the vast majority internally-displaced.

In Madaya, al-Waer, Homs, and many other areas of Syria, the same deals as in Aleppo enabled the return of stability and life.

In addition to opening the humanitarian corridors, the Syrian army has dropped leaflets over eastern Ghouta informing civilians of designated safe exits for civilians to leave the district to safety in Damascus.

These are the types of actions the UN should be focused on and supporting, not repeating war propaganda that only confuses and prolongs the fight for peace.

*

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting, Mexican Press Club, 2017. Visit her personal blog, In Gaza, and support her work on Patreon.

قرار الهدنة علامة تغيّر التوازنات

قرار الهدنة علامة تغيّر التوازنات

فبراير 26, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– في كلّ مرة كان يصدر قرار أممي لوقف النار منذ بداية الحرب على سورية كان واضحاً أنه إجهاض لمشروع حسم كان يقترب لصالح الجيش السوري، وأنّ القبول به من سورية وحلفائها كان لتفادي الأسوأ، وهو مخاطر تدخل غربي مباشر وتصعيد عسكري تدخل فيه قوى إقليمية ودولية، لم يكن ما ظهر منها في آب 2013 بحشد الأساطيل الأميركية قبالة سورية مجرد مسرحية ولا مناورة. وفي كلّ مرة كان يصدر قرار أممي بوقف النار كان يتوزّع جهد الجيش السوري على عشرات الجبهات، وضعف الحضور العسكري للحلفاء يفرض عليه حساب توزيع قدراته بطريقة مجدية وتقبل التهدئة على جبهة والتفرّغ لسواها. وفي كلّ مرة كان يجري صدور قرار أممي بوقف النار كان يثبت أنّ مضمونه توفير فرصة الاستعداد للجماعات المسلحة لجولة جديدة أشدً خطراً.

– منذ التموضع العسكري الروسي في سورية نهاية العام 2015، وانكسار خطر التدخل الأميركي الواسع منذ عام 2013 وعجز إدارة دونالد ترامب عن تخطي هذا العجز، تبدّلت المعادلة الدولية وزالت مخاطر كانت في الحسبان. ومنذ تموضع الآلاف من المقاتلين من الحلفاء واستنهاض الشعب السوري لضخّ عشرات الآلاف من المقاتلين ضمن قوات رديفة للجيش، وتأثير الانتصارات المتلاحقة على منح الجيش السوري مقدرات معنوية وبشرية ومادية جعلت منه صاحب اليد العليا في كلّ المعارك العسكرية، وصولاً لتدحرج الانتصارات لحساب الجيش السوري وحلفائه، وما نتج عنه من تراجع عدد جبهات القتال وقدرة الجيش والحلفاء على إدارة ما بقي منها.

– منذ معركة حلب ونحن نشهد ثباتاً سياسياً روسياً في مجلس الأمن، وتحمّلاً استثنائياً للضغوط والحملات، لمنع أيّ وقف للنار يؤدّي الغرض الذي كان مرسوماً لكلً هدنة، ليأتي القبول بالنص المعدّل للقرار الأخير ويحمل تعبيراً عن التوازنات الجديدة، فترضاه سورية وتصوّت عليه روسيا. فللمرة الأولى يأتي القرار الأممي ليربط فك الحصار بفك حصار موازٍ في كفريا والفوعة، ويربط وقف النار في الغوطة بوقف شامل في كلّ سورية فيضمّ الأتراك والأميركيين والإسرائيليين لموجباته، ويمنح سورية وحلفاءها اعتبار أيّ خرق تركي أميركي إسرائيلي سقوطاً للقرار، كما يمنح سورية ربط إجراءات المعونات والإخلاء والتهدئة بمثلها في الفوعة وكفريا وعفرين، والأهمّ أنه بوضوح يستثني النصرة وداعش ومَن معهما، ما يعني مواصلة حرب ضرب النصرة في إدلب والغوطة، وضرب داعش شمال دير الزور، وهذا ما قاله عملياً السفير السوري في نيويورك بشار الجعفري تعقيباً على القرار وشرحاً للفهم السوري لتطبيقه، مضيفاً تهديداً لواشنطن رداً على تهديد مندوبتها لسورية، لوضع النقاط على الحروف في كون القرار تعبيراً عن توازنات جديدة لم يعُد ما كان صالحاً بالأمس صالحاً لليوم.

– لم ينتظر الجيش السوري والحلفاء مفاوضات ترسم آليات تطبيق القرار، بل بدأ بالتطبيق وفقاً لمفهومه للقرار بالتقدّم على محاور انتشار جبهة النصرة في الغوطة، ليحقق إنجازات مهمة في شمالها تمثلت بالسيطرة على مساحات واسعة وتلال هامة وصولاً للسيطرة على بلدتي الصالحية والنشابية جنوب شرق الغوطة الشرقية، والتقدم على محاور حزرتا وجوبر، وهذا ليس إلا اليوم الأول، ويبقى الكلام الفصل لما هو آتٍ، ومعادلة كلّ قذيفة تسقط على دمشق تعني سقوط الالتزام بوقف النار.

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The Crumbling Holocaust: an Israeli Perspective

February 24, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

The following are segments taken from an outstanding Haaretz  commentary  titled ‘The Crumbling Consensus that Jews Were the Ultimate Holocaust Victims’ by Ofri Ilani.

The article explores the fundamentals of the global religion of the Holocaust, identifies the international institutions that sustain the doctrine and the political events that indicate that the Goyin are weary of the notion of the primacy of Jewish suffering. I tend to agree with most of Ilani’s observations as well as his predictions regarding the fate of the holocaust religion. One crucial difference between us is that while Ilani seems distressed by the possible collapse of the Holocaust consensus, I believe that emancipation from that tyrannical Judeo-centric precept is a necessary humanist development.

On the central role of the Holocaust and its memory Ilani writes;

“An encounter with someone for whom the Holocaust is nonexistent was incomprehensible to me – at the least it was like talking to someone who’s never heard of the sun, or who doesn’t know what water is.”

Ilani’s view seems to integrate the Holocaust into the  Greek’s ‘Classical  Elements’ along side water, air and fire.  Ilani elaborates on his position.

“In Israel, the Holocaust is the first thing you have to know. If someone here knows anything at all about the past, it’s about the Holocaust. Not the discovery of America, not the moon landing, certainly not the French Revolution, not even the Revelation at Mount Sinai – first of all, the Holocaust. For a certain period, it was possible to think that it was the same outside Israel.”

Ilani is clearly younger than I. For my parents’ generation,  my peers and myself, the Holocaust was a distant story: a Jewish diaspora tale, a tragic event that happened to other people: people whom we saw as categorically foreign. People who were led like lambs to the slaughter as we, ‘the Israelis’ were not. Clearly at a certain stage the Israeli attitude toward the Holocaust changed and this shift has yet to be completely understood.

Holocaust indoctrination has spread widely beyond Israel’s border, Ilani posits. “In America, as in many other parts of the world, children in recent decades have learned about the Holocaust from an early age. It’s basically perceived as the formative event of the modern era, against which the central political values of our age were shaped.” Sarcastically he adds, “suffice it to try to imagine how people reviled their political adversaries a century ago, when the words ‘Nazi’ or ‘fascist’ still had no meaning.”

Ilani then affirms that the Holocaust religion dictates a strict and rigid world order.

“The U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Washington, the Holocaust monument in Berlin and International Holocaust Remembrance Day represented the enshrinement of this memory. Everyone was called upon to remember, according to a rigid protocol. Every public statement about the Holocaust is monitored by experts, journalists and international organizations. Every deviation from the official line draws condemnation.”

Ilani is simply stating what many of us know. The primacy of Jewish suffering has become a tyrannical apparatus in the West. Within the holocaust ideology, Israel is shielded from criticism and its extensive record of human rights abuse is largely ignored. The Palestinian solidarity movement is practically paralysed by Jewish thought police squads, because within the context of the primacy of Jewish suffering, Palestinians can only be secondary victims.  

Ilany describes how the Holocaust story, as we now know it, is starting to crumble.

“Many people were stunned in recent weeks by Poland’s legislative efforts in regard to the remembrance of the Holocaust, and by the statements of the Polish prime minister to the effect that in the Holocaust there were Jewish criminals to the same degree that there were Polish criminals.”

The Poles were not alone,

“we are now seeing the collapse of this world order. Events such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the rise of Trump and the Brexit crisis are three of the biggest cracks that have emerged in it. The consensus concerning the Holocaust of the Jews was fundamentally linked to that political order.”

The Israeli academic acknowledges that the Holocaust and the new global capitalist world order are two sides of the same coin.

“It is the European Union and other global institutions created since the 1990s that disseminate the official version of the Holocaust of European Jewry and enforce its preservation. So it comes as no surprise that the disintegration of the world order and its institutions has also given rise to the unravelling of the consensus on the Holocaust.”

I guess that those who are upset by the global capitalist order might be cheered by Ilani’s vision of the crumbling Holocaust creed and the authoritarian institutions attached to it.

To read Gilad Atzmon’s take on truth, history, integrity, holocaust and revisionism read this: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/truth-history-and-integrity-by-gilad-atzmon.html

If they want to burn my books , you want to read them..

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk). 

الوقاحة القطرية

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هو نفسه، الأمير السابق لقطر حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني، روى كيف أنه قصد ووزير خارجيته حمد بن جاسم الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، ساعياً إلى الحصول على اعتراف كامل بحكمه من واشنطن. قال الرجل إن الأمر لا يحتاج إلى كثير شرح، حتى نفهم نحن العرب أن الغطاء الأميركي هو الوحيد الذي يكفل استمرار حكمك، فكيف إذا كانت السعودية تريد رأسك؟

رواية «الأمير الوالد»، كما يُطلق عليه اليوم بعد تركه منصبه لنجله تميم، لا تتوقف عند السعي إلى مباركة أميركية لانقلابه على والده. بل يستمر في الكلام، قائلاً إن موظفاً أميركياً رفيع المستوى زاره في مقر إقامته في أميركا، وقال له: 

الأمر بسيط، عليك التوجه من هنا إلى فندق آخر حيث يقيم شمعون بيريز. اجلس وتفاهم معه، وعندما تعود، أُبلغك بموعدك في البيت الأبيض.

مرّت سنوات طويلة على هذه الحادثة وحصلت تطورات كثيرة، لكن القاعدة النظرية لضمان حماية النظام القطري لا تزال هي نفسها. وعندما قررت السعودية والإمارات ومصر عزل قطر قبل مدة، سارعت الدوحة إلى العنوان المناسب: الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل!
التوتر القطري الناجم عن الحصار المفروض عليها من قبل دول خليجية وعربية، دفعها إلى القيام بخطوات سياسية كثيرة، من بينها العمل على تطوير العلاقات مع روسيا وإيران وتركيا، وإعادة الحرارة إلى هواتف توصلها بحكومات وقوى وشخصيات متنوعة في العالم العربي، مبدية استعدادها لفتح صفحة جديدة مقابل الحصول على دعم هذه الجهات في مواجهتها الحصار.
تتمسّك الدوحة بسياسة إرضاء إسرائيل لأجل كسب حماية أميركا على حساب الفلسطينيين
وفي هذا السياق أبدى القطريون الاستعداد للقيام بتغيير العديد من سياساتهم في المنطقة، بما في ذلك، وتحديداً، في ملفات سوريا والعراق واليمن، وأن يلعبوا دوراً سمّته الدبلوماسية القطرية «احتواء الإخوان المسلمين».
عملياً ما الذي حصل؟
في الملف العراقي، اكتشف القطريون أنّ السعودية لا تترك مجالاً لأحد، وأن تورط الولايات المتحدة الاميركية في إرسال جنودها من جديد إلى هناك لا يوسع هامش المناورة أمام الدوحة. وجاءت قصة احتجاز أفراد من العائلة الحاكمة إلى جانب قطريين آخرين في العراق، والتسوية التي قضت بإطلاقهم، لتخفّفا من دعم المجموعات الارهابية المقاتلة للدولة العراقية. لكن الأمر لم ينسحب على الدعم الاعلامي والسياسي المستمرين، بما في ذلك دعم أنصار النظام العراقي السابق، وبعض القيادات الاسلامية القريبة من تنظيم «القاعدة».
في سوريا، تعرضت المجموعات المدعومة من قطر لضربات كبيرة في الميدان. والمجموعات السياسية الخاضعة لسلطة قطر، تعرّضت بدورها لحصار نتيجة عدم فعاليتها، بينما تولّت السعودية سحب قسم منها باتجاهها. لكن قطر ظلت، وبإشراف تركي، تقدم الدعم المالي للمجموعات الارهابية، وخصوصاً في الشمال السوري، ولا سيما منها «جبهة النصرة»، والتي لا تزال حتى اليوم تملك نفوذا كبيراً داخل قياداتها الدينية والميدانية، رغم أنّ الدوحة أبلغت الجميع أنها في صدد وقف الاتصالات مع هذا التنظيم، وأنها لن تشارك في أي وساطات جديدة، بما في ذلك «اعتذارها» عن المساهمة في الوساطات التي قامت على إثر الضربات التي وجهت إلى «جبهة النصرة» على الحدود اللبنانية ــ السورية، علماً بأن قطر لم توقف دعمها الاعلامي والسياسي للمجموعات المسلحة السورية، وهي لا تزال تقود أوسع حملة بالتعاون مع الاميركيين والفرنسيين لمنع أي تواصل مع الحكومة السورية.
في اليمن، تصرفت قطر على أنها «تحررت» من الورطة السعودية. لكن موقفها الفعلي لم يكن ــ وليس هو الآن ــ ضد العدوان وضد الجرائم اليومية بحق الشعب اليمني، وكل ما في الأمر أنّ الدوحة تريد منافسة الرياض وأبو ظبي على النفوذ في البلد المنكوب، ولديها جماعاتها هناك، ولا سيما المجموعات المتصلة بالإخوان المسلمين (حزب الإصلاح) وبعض القيادات القومية العربية ومجموعات سلفية. وهي عندما ترفع الصوت ــ إعلامياً ــ لا تُقدم على أي خطوة عملية في اتجاه وقف حمام الدم في اليمن. بل حتى عندما يتطرق الأمر إلى مفاوضات جانبية، تظهر قطر التزاماً كاملاً بالتوجّهين الأميركي والبريطاني في ما خصّ المفاوضات مع «أنصار الله» حول مستقبل اليمن.
لكن كل ما سبق ليس إلا ذرة مقابل ما تقوم به في الملف الفلسطيني. وهنا بيت القصيد، حيث تعود الدوحة إلى «القاعدة الذهبية» التي تقول إن الحصول على دعم غربي في مواجهة ضغوط السعودية والإمارات ومصر، يتطلب رضى أميركياً صريحاً. ولهذا الرضى مداخل عدة، أبرزها رضى إسرائيل،

وهذا ما يتضح أن قطر تقوم به، سواء من خلال برامج التعاون القائمة بواسطة موفدها إلى غزة السفير محمد العمادي، الذي يفاخر بعلاقاته الإسرائيلية وبلياليه الحمراء في تل أبيب ولقاءاته المفتوحة مع القيادات السياسية والأمنية الإسرائيلية، أو من خلال ممارسة أبشع عملية ابتزاز بحق الفلسطينيين في قطاع غزة، لجهة المحاولات المستمرة لمقايضة برنامج الدعم للإعمار بالحصول من الجانب الفلسطيني على تنازلات تخصّ ملف الصراع مع إسرائيل. مع التذكير بأنّ قطر روّجت، ولا تزال، لفكرة تقول إن فشل مساعي التسوية السياسية يرافقه فشل في برنامج المقاومة. وهي فكرة تستهدف الدخول إلى العقل الجمعي للفلسطينيين وتثبيت أن الأكل والشرب أولوية لا تسبقها أيّ أولوية، بما في ذلك معركة الاستقلال.

Hamas Joke: Al-quds waiting for “men”, the half-men fighting Syria

ما يصل من غزة، وبقية فلسطين، عمّا تقوم به قطر، من خلال مندوبها، لا يبشّر بالخير، ويؤكد مرة جديدة أن كل ما تقوم به «فقاعة الغاز» لا يعدو كونه منافسة للإمارات والسعودية على كسب ودّ الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل.
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والمشكلة هنا ليست مع قطر نفسها، بل مع من لا يزال من الفلسطينيين أو العرب يثق بأنها تقف فعلياً إلى جانب الحق العربي في التحرر من الاحتلال ومن التبعية للغرب الاستعماري… إنه زمن الوقاحة القطرية!

 

Drones and Jets: The ‘Brazenness’ Belongs to Israel

Posted on 

By Brenda Heard

“Iran brazenly violated Israel’s sovereignty,” stated Netanyahu on 10 February. “They dispatched an Iranian drone from Syrian territory into Israel.”

In response to this alleged reconnaissance drone, which the Israeli military characterized as a “serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory,” Israel promptly bombed twelve Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria.

A vagueness persists about the alleged drone. Iran stated the claim was “baseless” and “ridiculous.” The US called the drone “provocative.” Israel noted that it waited for the drone to enter its territory and “chose where to bring it down,” just ninety seconds later. Some sources indicate it was over Beit Shean, some say over the Golan. While the drone caused no damage, Israeli airstrikes killed six people.

At the Munich Security Conference a week later, Netanyahu underscored his indignation: “[Iran’s] brazenness reached new heights, literally new heights. It sent a drone into Israeli territory, violating Israel’s sovereignty, threatening our security. We destroyed that drone and the control center that operated it from Syria.” He then portrayed Israel as the innocent victim under threat, characterising the alleged drone as an “act of aggression.”

Talk about brazen.

Let us recall that in August 2014 it was Israel’s drone that was shot down in Iranian territory. While Israeli media reported that the “device looks like a kind of UAV used by the Israeli military,” all sources agree with Reuters’ observation: “Israel has always declined comment on such accusations.” ­Did the Netanyahu-labelled “tyrants of Tehran” respond as Israel has just done? Did Iran retaliate by sending fighter jets into Israel? Absolutely not. Instead, Iran did what it was meant to do as a cooperative member of the international community. It verbally  condemned the affront; it reported it to the IAEA (INFCIRC/867) and to the UN Security Council (S/2014/641). The IAEA merely circulated the complaint to member states, and the world ignored the brazenness of Israel.

Let us recall that in August 2011 it was a US drone that was shot down in Iranian territory. Somehow this was not “provocative,” but was rather, as then-current and former officials said, “part of an increasingly aggressive intelligence collection program aimed at Iran,” encouraged by “public debate in Israel.” This 2011 drone is even flaunted in current Israeli media, noting the US “initially denied the incident but eventually acknowledged the loss.” A bit brazen, wouldn’t you say?

Let us recall Israel’s unconscionable use of air power, including drones, over Occupied Palestine. Seen as “near continual surveillance and intermittent death raining down from the sky,” its decades-long aerial persecution of the Palestinians epitomises brazenness.

Lastly, let us recall Lebanon. Since the 1960s, Israel has routinely occupied Lebanese skies. This flagrant defiance of international law is a matter of record. Lebanon has issued numerous formal complaints with the UN—to no avail. Lebanese skies are violated virtually daily by a combination of helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft, and two, four or eight Israeli warplanes. They fly through all regions of Lebanon, including over UNIFIL territory, over Beirut, and over the Ba‘abda Presidential Palace. The Israeli overflights might just spy, or they might create sonic booms, or they might fire flares, or they might fly round-the-clock shifts so that there are always one or two Israeli aircraft in the skies of Lebanon. Or they might fly through Lebanese airspace to bomb Syria.

A recent UN Security Council Report states:

“Israel continued to violate Lebanese airspace on a daily basis, in violation of resolution 1701 (2006) and Lebanese sovereignty. From 1 July to 30 October [2017], UNIFIL recorded 758 air violations, totalling 3,188 overflight hours, an increase of 80 per cent compared with the same period in 2016.”

This was, of course, despite the Security Council’s previously reiterated call for “Israel to cease immediately its overflights of Lebanese airspace.” But, then again, that call has been reiterated by the UN for decades. Extraordinary brazenness.

It has been argued that Israel should not be bound by Resolution 1701 because Hezbollah has remained armed. Such an argument is simply making excuses for Israel’s belligerent conduct. It should be noted that:

1)      UN Resolutions do not subscribe to the all-or-none approach; they specify obligations to each party separately. 

2)      Israeli overflights in Lebanese airspace are in direct violation of the 1949 Armistice, which forbids Israel to “enter into or pass through the air space” of Lebanon, clarifying specifically “for any purpose whatsoever.”

3)      Prior to the formation of the Hezbollah Resistance there were already 28 Security Council Resolutions condemning Israel’s aggressions against Lebanon. Since at least 1972—a decade before Hezbollah—UNSC Resolution 316 called onIsrael specifically “to desist forthwith from any violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon.”

4)      Resolution 1701 states that prohibitions on weaponry “shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorized by the Government of Lebanon or by UNIFIL.”  This authorization is indeed expressed, as is custom, in the 2016 Ministerial Statement of the Government, which emphasises the right of Lebanese citizens to resist the Israeli occupation and to respond to its aggression. As President Aoun, a former Army General, explained: “Hizbullah’s arms do not contradict with the State and are an essential component of the means to defend Lebanon.”

With 552 violations of Lebanese airspace in 2016, Israel has exhibited extreme brazenness. With 805 violations in the ten months of 2017 that have been officially reported, Israel has surely forfeited the right to stand in judgement. Fifty years of consistent air violations in Lebanon and Palestine. And Netanyahu calls Iran “brazen” for ninety seconds?

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Brenda Heard is author of Hezbollah: An Outsider’s Inside View. You can visit her website at FriendsofLebanon.org and also at InsideHezbollah.com

السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس في أيار؟

السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس في أيار؟

روزانا رمّال

تنقل وكالة رويترز عن مسؤول أميركي امس، انه من المتوقع ان تفتح أميركا سفارتها لدى «إسرائيل» في القدس في ايار المقبل. وهو تسريب خطير في مثل هذا الوقت الذي تتواتر فيه محطات التصعيد بالمنطقة المتعلقة بالوضع في سورية وتحديداً الشمال والأوضاع في عفرين وصولاً الى الغوطة الشرقية حتى الجنوب السوري الواقع ضمن معادلة ردع جديدة رسمتها سورية وحلفاؤها بعد إسقاط طائرة اف 16 الأميركية. وبالتالي فإن السؤال عن جدوى التصعيد الإسرائيلي في هذه اللحظات صار اساسياً لدراسة امكانية التراجع من عدمها. وهذا الاعلان يؤكد ان الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ماضية حتى النهاية في هذا القرار الذي اكد خبير في الشؤون الأميركية لـ «البناء « استحالة التراجع عنه لأن الية محددة متبعة بعد تصويت اغلبية اعضاء الكونغرس الأميركي تمنع ذلك، كما ان الرئيس دونالد ترامب هو الرئيس الاول الأميركي الذي تجرأ على توقيع هذا القرار منذ منتصف التسعينيات. وهذا يعني انه قرار مدروس بشكل جيد ومتفق عليه في كل غرف المؤسسة الأميركية الحاكمة. وبالتالي فان كل ما يستدعي مواجهته للمضي قدماً به واقع ضمن سقف محدد أميركياً.

لكن وقبل كل ذلك تبدو واشنطن واثقة بانها استطاعت «لجم» كل ما كان متوقعاً ان يقف عائقاً بوجه هذا القرار المشترك مع الإسرائيليين وهو الموقف العربي. وهذا الامر تم حسب المصادر والمعلومات الدبلوماسية الموثقة بعد موافقة أكثر من دولة عربية اولها المملكة العربية السعودية وحلفائها الذين رحبوا بهذا الخيار بعد ان قدمت واشنطن لهم ضمانات بقاء قواعدها العسكرية في المنطقة وحماية مواقعهم السياسية. وهذا بحد ذاته نجاح أميركي واضح، فمعارضة الدول العربية اقتصرت على بيانات فقط. والأهم من ذلك ذهاب بعض الدول كالبحرين الى التحدي وإرسال إشارات تطبيع بزيارة وفد بحراني عشية توقيع القرار الى «إسرائيل». هذا بالاضافة الى مستجد اكبر يتعلق بتمرير التطبيع بين الشعوب العربية لا الحكومات التي تماشت مع ذلك. وهو الامر الذي يشكل خطورة كبيرة. بدأ مع مصر عبر الحديث عن توقيع شركات خاصة عقود بقيمة 15 مليار دولار لاستيراد الغاز من «إسرائيل». وهو الأمر الذي يبرره خبراء مصريون بانه «لا علاقة للحكومة او الدولة فيه، بل ان هذا واقع ضمن علاقة بين شركات خاصة بين الطرفين». وهذا يعني امراً واحداً و«هو العمل على تعزيز فكرة «التطبيع» بين الشعوب العربية بعد ان كان الرفض الكامل هو سيد المشهد بدون ان يتجاهل الخبراء أنفسهم ان فكرة الاستيراد هذه لا تعني ان الحكومة ليست على علم بها او انها لم تباركها باقل تقدير، طالما انها لم تعرقلها باعتبار ان العلاقات بين مصر و«إسرائيل» واقعة ضمن معاهدة سلام قديمة وهذا ليس سراً».

ردود الفعل العربية أتت دون مستوى توقع الفلسطنيين اصحاب القضية، لكنها بكل تأكيد اتت ضمن مستوى التوقع الأميركي الذي حذا بواشنطن المضي قدماً نحو هذا القرار. والاهم من هذا كله ان احداً لم يمد الدعم للفلسطينيين منهم لاندلاع انتفاضة قادرة على وضع حد للتمادي الأميركي الإسرائيلي الامر الذي صار موضوعا ضمن دائرة امكانية أن تتحرك ايران لدعم مجموعات مقاومة داخل الاراضي المحتلة أبرزها الجهاد الاسلامي وحركة حماس التي صححت العلاقة بايران من جديد من دون ان يعني ذلك انها مستعدة الى التقدم نحو قتال غير مدروس، لان الحرب حسب مصدر قيادي في حركة حماس لـ«البناء» هي «اكثر ما ينوي الإسرائيليون الهروب اليها. والذهاب اليها فوراً يعني اعطاء «إسرائيل» ذريعة للقصف واستهداف المدنيين واضاعة الهدف الاساسي، لذلك فان الحركة ترى ان العمليات التي تحصل ضمن الاراضي بشكلها الحالي على يد الشبان الثائر قادرة على استنزاف قوات الامن الإسرائيلية والامن الداخلي بشكل أكثر تأثيراً في الوقت الراهن».

وبالعودة الى الحكومات العربية التي من المفترض ان تجتمع بعد نحو شهر في لقاء القمة العربية على مستوى الحكام والرؤساء، فإنها الغيث الأخير المنشود «شكلاً» وهو واقعاً الأمل المفقود، لأنه من غير المتوقع على الإطلاق أن تتصاعد المواقف لناحية الخطوات بل الاكفتاء بمواقف قوية سياسياً من دون ترجمتها قطعاً للعلاقات الدبلوماسية والتجارية مع «إسرائيل». وهذا الامر يعني ان المواجهة مقبلة لا محالة اذا صح التسريب الأميركي لرويترز، بعد ان كانت ادارة ترامب قد حرصت على اعلان ان هذا الأمر لن يتم قبل سنة. وبالتالي، فإن التصعيد او ارسال رسائل تهديد صار سيد المشهد. وبالتالي صار ربط ملف الصراع ككل مرتبطاً بالنزاعات المحيطة وسبل التسوية المعرقلة في سورية ومعها المستجد الأخير المتعلق بالنفط في لبنان واقتسام الحصص البحرية. فإذا كانت واشنطن تتوجّه فعلاً لنقل السفارة في أيار، فهل هذا يعني أنها تكشف «إسرائيل» امام الاحتمالات كافة؟

على مقربة من انعقاد القمة العربية يصبح الضغط الأميركي أكثر إحراجاً بما يبدو مقصوداً لجهة الاستخفاف بالمواقف العربية التي لا تقلق الأميركيين بعد موافقة الدول العربية الاساسية على مسألة التهويد والمضي قدماً باتجاه تطبيع العلاقات أكثر. كل ذلك ضمن مبرر شرّعته الادارة الأميركية واقتنع به العرب خصوصاً الخليجيين. وهو واقع ضمن مواجهة ايران وتقارب المصالح مع «إسرائيل» وضرورة التوحّد بوجهها.

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There is no defense for putting the policies of the #NRA ahead of the lives of children

Gun Violence as State Sponsored Domestic Terrorism

Henry A. Giroux

Passing thoughts on the willingness of the politicians and merchants of death who allow the unimaginable to become imaginable, allow financial gain to prevail over the lives of innocent children, and are more willing to protect guns at the expense of the lives of children.

President Trump listened recently to the impassioned testimony of parents and children who have seen their children and friends killed in gun shootings. He responded by advocating that teachers be armed and trained to have concealed weapons.

Instead of confronting the roots of violence in America, he followed the NRA line of addressing the issue of mass violence, shootings, and the ongoing carnage with a call to arm more people, putting more guns into play, and stating that violence can be met with more violence. This logic is breathtaking in its insanity, moral depravity, refusal to get to the root of the problem, and even advocate minor reforms such as banning assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and expanding background checks.

There are 300 million guns in the United States and since the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School of 20 young children and 6 teachers a decade ago, 11,000 more children have died of gun violence.

There is no defense for putting the policies of the NRA ahead of the lives of children. Criminal acts often pass for legislative policies. How else to explain the Florida legislature refusing to even debate outlawing assault weapons while students from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School sat in the galleys and watched this wretched and irresponsible act take place. How else to explain that the House of Representatives – reduced to an adjunct of the NRA – voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R.38) which would allow individuals to carry concealed weapons across state lines. These are the people who have the blood of thousands on their hands.

The power of money in politics has morphed into a form of barbarism in which financial gain and power have become more important than protecting the lives of America’s children.

I find it extremely difficult to watch the debates about gun violence on the mainstream media. The call for reform is so limited as to be useless. Instead of banning assault rifles, they celebrate Trump for suggesting that he raise the age to 21 in order for people to buy a weapon of war. Instead of preventing violence from engulfing the country and schools, he calls for arming teachers and the press celebrates his willingness to entertain this issue. Instead of speaking about justice and allowing people to speak who are against deregulating laws restricting or abolishing the merchants of death, the media allows an NRA hawk to speak at the town meeting and rather than calling her out for being a spokesperson for violence rather than justice, they congratulate themselves on promoting balance.

The corporate media has become a normalizing force for violence because they lack the courage to challenge the corporations that control them. They also benefit by peddling extreme violence as a spectacle. They refuse to begin with the issue of money in politics and start instead with what one parent called non-starters. Guns disappear from the conversation and appeals to fear and security take over. Young people have to lead this conversation and move beyond the mainstream media. And when they do appear they have to flip the script and ask the questions they think are important.

Children no longer have a safe space in America, a country saturated in violence as a spectacle, sport, and deadly acts of domestic terrorism. Any defense for the proliferation of guns, especially those designed for war, is criminal. This is the discourse of political corruption, a government in the hands of the gun lobbies, and a country that trades in violence at every turn in order to accrue profits at the expense of the lives of innocent children.

This debate is not simply about gun violence, it is about the rule of capital and how the architects of violence accrue enough power to turn machineries of death and destruction into profits while selling violence as a commodity. Violence is both a source of profits and a cherished national ideal. It is also the defining feature of a toxic masculinity. Gun reform is no substitute for real justice and the necessary abolition of a death-dealing and cruel economic and political system that is the antithesis of democracy.

What are we to make of a society in which young children have a greater sense of moral courage and social responsibility than the zombie adults who make the laws that fail to invest in and protect the lives of present and future generations. First step, expose their lies, make their faces public, use the new media to organize across state lines, and work like hell to vote them out of office in 2018. Hold these ruthless walking dead responsible and then banish them to the gutter where they belong. At the same time, imagine and fight for not a reform of American society but a restructuring along the lines of a democratic socialist order.

Henry Giroux  is a contributing editor to Tikkun Magazine

America’s Foreign Policy Made in israel

Source

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | February 26, 2018

DonaldTrumpSheldonAdelson b9201

It was refreshing to hear then aspirant to the GOP nomination for president Donald Trump tell a gathering of Republican Jews in New York City that he didn’t need their money. It was, of course, a lie, like so many other lies that came out of the electoral campaign, but it seemed to open the door on a new era for American foreign policy. Combined with Trump’s pledge that he would not rush headlong into any new wars in the Middle East, linked to a robust condemnation of what had gone wrong in Iraq, it seemed to indicate that the Israel Lobby would no longer be defining the playing field for U.S. engagement in the region and that a Trump presidency just might take office with considerable wariness about Jewish power in the United States. Or so it seemed.

Two years later, how things have changed. The real Donald Trump has emerged as a dedicated supporter of the most hardline elements in Israel, whose aspirations are fueled by the money flowing from American Jewish billionaires. And nowhere in sight is any actual American national interest.

Trump’s A-team in the Middle East is headed by his son-in-law Jared Kushner who is being advised by a group of Orthodox Jews. The Ambassador to Israel is David Friedman, a former bankruptcy lawyer, who is a passionate supporter of the illegal Israeli settlements and his chief “international negotiator” for the Middle East is Jason Greenblatt, the former Trump Organization lawyer. Both are Orthodox Jews with strong ties to Israel and Friedman has already distinguished himself by condemning the Palestinians at every opportunity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing criminal charges for corruption, is reportedly delighted with Trump and his “team.” To be sure, Israel has benefited from the White House’s reconstruction of what might be referred to as U.S. Middle East policy to favor Israel even more strongly than did George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a de facto affirmation of Israel’s “right” to annex and control of all of the city and its surroundings, a violation of the United Nations resolutions that established Israel in 1948. Having received what is perceived to be a green light from the White House, the expansion of Israel’s equally illegal settlements in the West Bank has been accelerating in expectation that Netanyahu will eventually move to incorporate nearly all of what might have become a Palestinian state.

Trump is also making Israel happy in other ways, to include Ambassador Nikki Haley’s Jeremiads at the United Nations and the withholding of U.S. funding to assist Palestinian refugees. Beyond that, the pressure on what Netanyahu perceives as his arch-enemy, the state of Iran, has been unrelenting both from Washington and Jerusalem, with Donald Trump repeatedly asserting that he will tear up the “terrible” nuclear agreement. Some pretext for war will surely follow with the United States having to bear much of the burden as well as most of the consequences, including what is likely to be a large casualty list as the Iranians will surely fight back.

And then there is Syria, where the U.S. looks the other way as Israel bombs targets that it claims to be Iranian or Hezbollah based on alleged intelligence that only it seems to have obtained, while Washington maintains an active presence on the ground to further destabilize the country, a major Israeli objective.

But all of the above pales beside the recent news coming from the bought-and-paid-for politician front, a congenital feature of American democracy capitalist style that Donald Trump promised to end. Jewish- Israeli mega billionaire and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who contributed $25 million to the Trump campaign and $5 million to his inauguration ceremony, is calling in his markers. It is widely believed that Adelson is the man who pressured the White House into making the embassy shift in the first place, and now he is offering to help pay for the new building, which will take several years to construct, to accelerate and institutionalize the process. The White House has folded, declaring that a temporary embassy will now be opening in May, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and the dispossession and scattering of the Palestinians. Trump had previously declared that the opening of the embassy would take some time, but money talks, apparently.

Even the New York Times, citing some “Adelson allies,” expressed concern that the gesture “could be seen as a well-heeled financial contributor effectively privatizing – and politicizing – American foreign policy.” Bingo.

For those who are unfamiliar with Adelson and his obsession with Israel, it is possible to gain some insights from the following reports concerning his views and behavior. Adelson served in the U.S. Army in World War 2 but has since declared that he is ashamed of that service and would much prefer having served in the Israel Defense Forces. He and his wife Miriam, an IDF veteran, have stated that they would like to raise a son who would become an Israeli sniper. Adelson has declared that his primary goal in life is to obtain 100% U.S. support for Israel, to include annexation of all of historic Palestine and expulsion of its Arab inhabitants. He has referred to Palestinians as “fake people.” Regarding Iran, Adelson has recommended that Washington drop a nuclear bomb on it in a desert area with a warning that the next one would be in the middle of Tehran.

So, it turns out that Donald Trump was not so rich that he could not be bought by Adelson, worth an estimated $40 billion, who had to spend less than one-thousandth of that to ensnare an American president. It was a bargain for Israel but a very bad deal for those of us who wish to see a United States government promoting policies that benefit the American people rather than a badly-behaved tiny client-state five thousand miles away.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – FEBRUARY 26, 2018: TIGER FORCES START GROUND OPERATION IN EASTERN GHOUTA

South Front

On February 25, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies started a ground phase of their operation against militants in the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus. Since the start of the operation, government forces had liberated the locations of Nashabiyah, Hazrama, Tal Farzat and Salehiya and repelled an attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) in the northern part of the pocket.

Militants destroyed at least one armored bulldozer and claimed that they had killed 25 pro-government fighters in the recent clashes. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam will be the main opponents of the SAA if it seeks to capture entire Eastern Ghouta.

On February 24, the UN Security Council passed a resolution seeking to establish a comprehensive ceasefire throughout Syria. However, the ceasefire excludes ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups. Despite this, the mainstream media has already started pushing an idea that the SAA’s operations against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Eastern Ghouta violate the resolution.

ISIS attacked positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the western part of the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus. The terrorist group will likely make an attempt to use the violence in the Damascus countryside to expand own influence in the area.

Meanwhile, in northern Syria, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured over 8 locations expanding their control north and northwest of the city of Afrin.

According to pro-Turkish sources, the TAF and the FSA have recently neutralized over 50 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). In turn, pro-Kurdish sources claimed that over 35 TAF soldiers and FSA members had been killed by the YPG.

A limited deployment of government forces in the Afrin area has not been able to stop the Turkish operation against the YPG. If Damascus and the YPG really want to limit the Turkish expansion in the area, they will have to reach a broad deal over Afrin.

On the other hand, Ankara describes the YPG as a terrorist group and claims that any side assisting it will become a target of the TAF.

TIGER FORCES DEVELOPING MOMENTUM IN EASTERN GHOUTA (MAP, VIDEO)

The Tiger Forces, the Republican Guard and the Syrian Arab Army are developing momentum against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham and their allies.

The main clashes are taking place in the southeastern and northwestern parts of Eastern Ghotua. Government forces are pressuring militants in the areas of Harasta, Hawsh ad Dawahirah.

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Trump guarantees Saudi Arabia, but what about Egypt? ترامب يضمن السعودية فماذا عن مصر؟

Trump guarantees Saudi Arabia, but what about Egypt?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

فبراير 25, 2018

It is difficult to separate between the US announcement of making the date of transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem on the commemoration day of the usurpation of Palestine this year after less than three months, from the American consideration of the solidity of the alliance which includes America, Israel, and the Gulf governments especially Saudi Arabia and UAE, and the readiness of this alliance to bear the burdens of this procedural decision, which was planned to be carried out years later, as announced by the US Secretary of State Rex Tilerson after his President Donald Trump signed the decision of transferring. But Saudi Arabia and its partners in the Gulf do not form an adequate guarantee to absorb the results of this provocative development which it seemed clearly that Palestine is its arena without any signs of Arab popular anger to deter the governments from their dashing behind America and without making any consideration.

With the exception of the initiative of the resistance axis of igniting  the streets in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen which its popular crowds came out under the bombing of Saudi aircraft in supporting Palestine which seemed alone among the Arabs and where the reactions of the Islamic world exceed those witnessed by the Arab world, Washington was confident that the process of taming the Arab street has reached advanced stages by making it under the control of the governments on one hand, and a fact under the influence of the obsession of making the conflict with Iran and the sectarian fanaticism exceed the sanctity of the Palestinian cause and what it arises of feelings and emotions towards Jerusalem.

Historically and politically Egypt forms the winning card. Historically Egypt is the Arab street, but the absence of the Egyptian street from the issue of the announcement of Jerusalem as a capital of Israel was surprising. Historically, Egypt is the important Arab balanced force internationally and among the Arabs and the Muslims despite the advanced status of Saudi Arabia which was not achieved but because Egypt retreated, as proved by the Egyptian waiver of the islands of Thiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia and the chasing of everyone who said that these islands are Egyptian. Politically, Egypt is the direct neighbor of Palestine on open borders with Gaza strip where the Palestinian resistance exists, and where Egypt is controlling most of the Palestinian position and the strength of its presence against the projects of ending the Palestinian cause through its geographic, economic, security, and demographic influence.

Contrary to the hopes aspired for the post-Muslim Brotherhood stage in Egypt and the role of the army in reconsidering the status of Egypt in the Arab issues, it seems that the rule in Egypt is motivated by authoritarian interest to adjust the constitution to ensure indefinite powers for the president, and ready to present what is necessary to get the support of Washington and Riyadh as two capitals that are able to hinder the process and have money and intelligence to arise noise and to support forces of objection. It seems that the cost of the allowance of suppressing every objection and protest is by handing over the international and the regional decision to Washington especially concerning the Palestinian cause to the extent of the economic normalization regarding gas deal which the head of the occupation government Benjamin Netanyahu is boasting of, and to hand over the Arab leadership to Saudi Arabia.

The provocation and the challenge represented by the decision of transferring the US Embassy to Jerusalem oblige the Palestinians along with those who support them in the East and West to bear the responsibility of moving without depending on the Arab street or on any serious official position after it became stable that the Gulf and Egypt are outside any consideration.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

ترامب يضمن السعودية فماذا عن مصر؟

فبراير 24, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لا يمكن الفصل بين الإعلان الأميركي عن جعل موعد نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس في ذكرى اغتصاب فلسطين هذا العام بعد أقلّ من ثلاثة شهور، عن القياس الأميركي لمتانة الحلف الذي تشكّل بين أميركا و«إسرائيل» وحكومات الخليج وخصوصاً السعودية والإمارات، وجهوزية هذا الحلف لتحمّل تبعات هذا القرار الإجرائي، الذي كان مقرراً بعد سنوات، كما أعلن وزير الخارجية الأميركي ريكس تيلرسون مع إعلان رئيسه دونالد ترامب التوقيع على قرار النقل، لكن السعودية وشركاءها في الخليج لا يشكلون ضمانة كافية لامتصاص نتائج هذا التطوّر الاستفزازي الذي بدا بوضوح أنّ ساحة التصدّي له لا تزال فلسطين، دون أن تظهر علامات غضب عربي شعبي كافية للجم الحكومات عن اندفاعها وراء الأميركي بلا حساب أو دفعها للتحرّك في مواجهته.

– باستثناء مبادرة محور المقاومة لتحريك شارعه في لبنان والعراق وإيران، واليمن الذي خرجت حشوده الشعبية تحت قصف الطائرات السعودية تنتصر لفلسطين، فيما بدت فلسطين وحيدة عربياً، حيث فاضت ردود الأفعال في عواصم العالم الإسلامي عن تلك التي شهدها العالم العربي، وبعض عواصم الغرب، بما جعل واشنطن تثق بأنّ عملية ترويض الشارع العربي قد بلغت مراحل متقدّمة لجعله ممسوكاً من الحكومات من جهة، وواقعاً تحت تأثير حبوب الهلوسة التي حُقِن بها بدفع الصراع مع إيران والعصبية المذهبية لمكان يتقدّم على قضية بحجم وقدسية القضية الفلسطينية وما تثيره القدس من مشاعر وانفعالات.

– تاريخياً وسياسياً تشكّل مصر بيضة القبان، فتاريخياً هي الشارع العربي وغياب الشارع المصري عن قضية إعلان القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل» كان لافتاً، وتاريخياً مصر هي القوة العربية السياسية الوازنة دولياً، وعربياً وإسلامياً، رغم ما يبدو في الظاهر من مكانة متقدّمة للسعودية لم تتحقق إلا بسبب ارتضاء مصر التراجع للخلف، وتسليم راية القيادة للسعودية، كما قالت قضية التنازل المصري عن جزر تيران وصنافير للسعودية وملاحقة السلطات لكلّ مَن قال بأنّ الجزر مصرية، في تصرف لافت للنظر ومثير للتعجّب. وسياسياً تشكل مصر الجوار المباشر لفلسطين على حدود مفتوحة مع قطاع غزة، حيث خزان المقاومة الفلسطينية، وحيث تتحكّم مصر بالكثير من مفاتيح الموقف الفلسطيني وقوة حضوره بوجه مشاريع تصفية القضية الفلسطينية، عبر ثقل تأثيرها الجغرافي والاقتصادي والأمني والديمغرافي.

– خلافاً لكثير من الآمال التي رسمت على مرحلة ما بعد الأخوان المسلمين في مصر، ودور الجيش في ردّ الاعتبار لمكانة مصر في القضايا العربية، يبدو الحكم في مصر مندفعاً بقوة مصلحة سلطوية صرفة بتعديل الدستور لتأمين ولايات غير محدّدة للرئيس، مستعدّاً لتقديم ما يلزم للحصول على دعم واشنطن والرياض كعاصمتين قادرتين على العرقلة وتملكان مفاتيح المال والمخابرات لإسناد قوى الاعتراض وإثارة الضجيج، ويبدو الثمن واضحاً للسماح بقمع كلّ صوت احتجاج وصرخة اعتراض، وهو تسليم القرار الإقليمي والدولي لواشنطن، خصوصاً بما يخصّ القضية الفلسطينية حتى حدّ المبادرة لتطبيع اقتصادي مستغرَب في صفقة الغاز التي يتباهى بها رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو، وبالتوازي تسليم القيادة العربية للسعودية.

– الاستفزاز والتحدي اللذان يختزنهما قرار توقيت نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، يطرح على الفلسطينيين، ومَن معهم في المشرق والمغرب، مسؤولية التحرّك دون آمال توضع على شارع عربي جارف، أو على موقف رسمي جادّ، بعدما صار ثابتاً أنّ الخليج ومصر خارج الحساب.

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Syrian Army resumes offensive in large East Ghouta suburb

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:55 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) resumed their offensive in the East Ghouta suburb of Harasta this morning after a successful start on Sunday.

Led by their 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Arab Army stormed the defenses of Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in Harasta, attacking the last buildings under their control in the Al-Ajami District.

According to a report from Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army is currently on the move in the Al-Ajami District, while they receive close air support from the SyAAF.

If the Syrian Army can take control of the Al-Ajami District from the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman, they will be in control of Harasta’s western sector.

SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES OPEN FRONT AGAINST MILITANTS IN HARASTA AREA IN EASTERN GHOUTA (MAP)

On February 26, Syrian government forces, led by the Republican Guard, opened a new front against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham and their allies in the Harasta area in the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus, according to pro-government sources.

Governemnt troops advanced on the militants’ positions in the district of Ajami where fighting erupted. The advance is reportedly supported by warplanes of the Syrian Arab Air Force.

On February 25, the Syrian Army and its allies started a ground phase of their counter-terrorism operation in Eastern Ghouta and already achieved first gains in the eastern part of the pocket.

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غراهام من تل أبيب: قلقون من تكامل حزب الله والجيش السوري

 يحيى دبوق

حملت زيارة وفد من أعضاء الكونغرس الأميركي لتل أبيب، وجولته شمالاً على الحدود اللبنانية والسورية، إضافة إلى التصريحات والموقف اللافتة الصادرة عنه، إشارات دالة على إقرار فشل المقاربة الإسرائيلية الأميركية الرامية إلى منع تنامي القدرة الردعية لحزب الله في وجه إسرائيل، الأمر الذي يدفعهما إلى أن يتطلعا لبلورة خيارات بديلة وطموحة جداً، يؤمل منها ردع حزب الله، بعيداً عن لبنان وتعقيدات مواجهة تهديداته.

الوفد الأميركي المشكل من أعضاء كونغرس من الحزبين، الجمهوري والديمقراطي، برئاسة السيناتور الجمهوري البارز ليندسي غراهام، التقى في القدس المحتلة رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية، بنيامين نتنياهو، ليخرج لاحقاً من اللقاء منفعلاً نتيجة المعطيات التي عرضت أمامه حول تنامي القدرات العسكرية لحزب الله، قياساً بما كان عليه في الماضي. غراهام الذي تحدث باسم الوفد، أكد ضرورة اتباع مقاربة جديدة في مواجهة «تهديد حزب الله»، ناعياً كل المقاربة التي اتُّبِعت ضد المقاومة ومنع تعاظمها في وجه إسرائيل.

بحسب غراهام: «نريد أن نرى سياسة أميركية تتركز على أن أي هجوم واسع النطاق يشنه حزب الله على إسرائيل انطلاقاً من الأراضي اللبنانية، فإننا سنحمّل إيران المسؤولية عنه، وليس فقط حزب الله».

ولفت غراهام إلى أن القدرة الصاروخية لحزب الله، وكذلك القدرة على ردع تفعيلها في مواجهة إسرائيل، يمكن مقارنتها بالأزمة التي شغلت أميركا في ستينيات القرن الماضي، بما يعرف بأزمة الصواريخ الكوبية. وقال إن «السياسة الواجب اتباعها في مواجهة إيران يجب أن تكون مستنسخة عن سياسة الرئيس جون كينيدي خلال أزمة الصواريخ الكوبية عام 1962، عندما أوضح أن أي اعتداء على الولايات المتحدة من كوبا، سيُعَدّ هجوماً من الاتحاد السوفياتي».

أما عن الخيارات البديلة، وتحديداً ما يتعلق بالدور المأمول أن تضطلع به اليونيفيل في مواجهة حزب الله، بعد الأمل المعبّر عنه من واشنطن وتل أبيب في أعقاب «تعزيز مهمة» القوة الدولية قبل أشهر، نعى غراهام اليونيفيل والمهمة الموكلة إليها، إذ قال: «فشلت هذه القوة فشلاً ذريعاً ومثيراً للشفقة» في منع ما قال إنه «إرهاب حزب الله من جنوب لبنان». وأضاف: «هذه القوة فشلت أيضاً في منع انتشار الصواريخ في الجنوب اللبناني، الأمر الذي تحول إلى كابوس لحلفائنا الإسرائيليين».

تنامي القدرات الصاروخية، كما عرضت على الوفد الأميركي، في لقائه بنتنياهو، دفع غراهام إلى إطلاق وعود جديدة، مع الإعراب عن الأمل في أن تساهم في تحسين القدرة الدفاعية الإسرائيلية، وقال: «فور عودتي سأعمل على دفع تمويل إضافي لتطوير منظومات دفاعية في مواجهة التهديدات الصاروخية لإسرائيل».

وتوجه الوفد برفقة وفد عسكري إسرائيلي رفيع المستوى، إلى الحدود الشمالية لفلسطين المحتلة مع لبنان وسوريا، وتلقى من نائب رئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي، افيف كوخافي، ما وصفه الإعلام العبري بـ«إحاطة معلوماتية» حول الحدود الشمالية وميزان القوى فيها والتطورات الميدانية التي شهدتها أخيراً.

وفي أعقاب «الإحاطة»، قال غراهام إنه بات «الآن، أكثر قلقاً من أي وقت مضى، وتحديداً من التكامل الحاصل بين قوات حزب الله والجيش السوري».

يمكنكم متابعة الكاتب عبر تويتر | YeDbouk@

مقالات أخرى ليحيى دبوق

The Sacred Defense Video Game: A New Form of Resistance in the Face of the Soft War

Mohammad Keserwani

No one would disagree that soft war is some of the fiercest warfare. It is no less important than a direct military confrontation.

Sacred Defense

It can be more powerful and deadlier if it is overlooked. The West has used every means possible to exercise this type of war on our Islamic countries. It is doing everything it can to drown our children and youth with the values ??it chooses in order to obliterate our cultural and religious identity. It uses many methods for that purpose, whether through the subliminal messages it transmits through cartoons, or through the state of “addiction” created by the social media world, or electronic games that seek, with magical charm, to destroy our values ??and distract us from our core issues.

Hezbollah’s electronic media unit has always been confronting the enemy’s soft war tactics. It also using all means to preserve the environment of our resistance community and most importantly to build a generation that lives within its borders, possess its culture, and preserves its history and momentous occasions. Electronic games are one of the methods that the unit has worked to create and develop. After the two-dimensional “Al-Quds boy”, “Special Force- Part I” after the 2000 liberation, and “Special Force- Part II” following the 2006 divine victory, the Electronic Media Unit is proud to present the three-dimensional Sacred Defense Video Game which simulates Hezbollha’s Jihad in Syria against the Takfiris, in line with the slogan “history is written by the victors.” Hezbollah and the axis of resistance defeated the Takfiri enemy in the region, and today it documenting its victory using several means, including the Sacred Defense Video Game. The game is a direct interactive documentation with the public. 

The game embodies a series of battles in which the party participated, starting with the defense of the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab (PBUH) in Damascus through to  the battles protecting the Lebanese-Syrian border in Ras Baalbek.

* Video Game Time Frame:

The game begins with the visit of Mujahid Ahmad to the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab (PBUH). The holy shrine comes under Takfiri attacks that push Ahmad to join Hezbollah fighters in order to defend the shrine (the sanctities). As the time frame evolves, Mujahid Ahmad participates in a series of battles against the Takfiris, including defending the border at Ras Baalbek.

* Similarities between the game and the field reality:

The game is based on real events and facts that have occurred over the past years. In the battles which Ahmad is participating in, the features of the areas are very similar to those on the ground. The high-quality image accurately shows landmarks similar to those areas, roundabouts, schools and homes. Such as the Hejira Roundabout, Shehade School in Hejira and others. We also see these resemblances in the Qusayr Level, which shows the basic features such as the clock and the Grand Mosque.

* The Game’s Purpose:

There are three basic purposes of the Sacred Defense Video Game. The first is to simulate the jihad of the Islamic resistance fighters during their battles against the Takfiris (an element of suspense and entertainment). The second is to stimulate the jihadist spirit in the target audience by broaching harmful realities and crimes perpetrated by the Takfiri groups.

The third and most important purpose is to document the victory over the Takfiri enemy in the region.

* Game Production Path:

The game consists of a picture and a program code. The picture is the drawing and design, and the code moves it. This combination is present throughout. The work behind the Sacred Defense Video Game has always been driven by the idea which involves the simulation of the jihad of the resistance fighters along the front lines. Therefore, in the game we notice the high-quality picture, the music that suits the subject, and the program’s code that helps to provide it in a way that fits the general framework of the idea of ??the game.

At the beginning, it was just an idea. When it was finalized, a visit was arranged to the holy sites and some fronts. Then the drawing and the design began. The program codes were added and the game was released with its trial version (DEMO).

The work was completed in the experimental phase, where many individuals from different age groups (14-40) were recruited to play and jot down their observations. We, then, made some adjustments according to the remarks before the game was released in its final formula. Later, its own music was composed. Fliers and ads were printed. Finally, it was released in the market.

* Competition with global games:

When we want a comparison to study the competition, we must look at two criteria. The first is the techniques, and the second is the idea. In terms of technique, yes, the game was programmed according to an advanced production engine. It can be categorized within the latest production of games.

As for the idea, in the local market today, there is no game about the battles in Syria between the Syrian Arab army and the allied forces on the one hand and terrorist groups on the other, making it difficult to find a counterpart or a similar game to compare it with.

If we delve deeper into the concept of comparison and competition up to the point of the “soft war”, based on the idea of ??the game, its objectives and its design, we can classify the game as a competition for games in the soft war category. We are used to playing electronic games. We are used to playing the American soldier fighting the Russians or the Arabs and the terrorists. This generates the conviction within the player that America is the spearheading the defense of human rights in the region and is the first to counter terrorism. Of course, the reality is contrary to that. America, which previously created “al-Qaeda” and later the Takfiri organizations in the world and foremost “Daesh”, cannot be the sponsor for peace in the region. Today, in the Sacred Defense Video Game, we show the truth that the axis of resistance in general and Hezbollah fighters in particular are the ones protecting their land with their weapons. They are really fighting terrorism in the region and limiting its expansion.  The game instills the belief that we can protect our land and sanctities and that we do not need America’s support in fighting terrorism.

* Simulation of the senses:

The Sacred Defense Video Game activates most of the player’s senses and energies. That is why it is categorized as interactive. The individual uses his sight to see Mujahid Ahmad, his movements, his enemies and the buildings surrounding him. He uses his hearing to hear the sound effects of bombings and firing as well as directions from the operations room. He uses his hands to move the player and shoot with weapons via the Mouse – Keyboard. He also uses his mind to move, think, pay attention, plan and attack and defend.

* Soundtrack and Video:

The game contains several music tracks (the sound of danger when infiltrating, etc.) and sound effects (the whizzing of the bullet, artillery shelling, detonation, wailing, etc.). It also contains graphic plates between levels that help the player understand the reasons and objectives of the mission.

*Artificial intelligence:

Enemies in the game are characterized by artificial intelligence close to reality. The enemy’s artificial intelligence enables them to take a series of steps when sensing danger. They first defend, launch the warning, are alert and identify the source of danger, infiltrate to gather information, then encircle and attack.

The movement of the enemy towards Mujahid Ahmad during the battles occurs according to a correct tactical military mechanism such as the movements, firing and securing.

* The levels of the game:

The levels of the game are summarized as follows:

First: the level of the visit to the shrine. There is spiritual mobilization and an introduction into the scenario of battles by watching the crimes of aggression on the sanctities that are presented through a video clip.

It is followed by the first battle to defend the holy shrine and repel the attack starting from the parking lot. This is followed by the Hejira battles, which come in two levels; the first involves the destruction of the mortars that are firing missiles towards the shrine, and the second involves taking control of the command center. Then comes the Qusayr battle, which also consists of two levels; the first involves freeing civilian hostages held by the Takfiri groups, and the second involves the complete control of the area.

The most important battle in the game is the battle to eliminate al-Hindawi or “Abdul Salam Abdul Razzaq al-Hindawi”, who is also known as Abu Abdo. He is known for his involvement in transporting suicide bombers and preparing car bombs and sending them to Lebanon. In this battle, the player feels that he is a partner in eliminating terrorist leaders and those who are directly responsible for terrorizing civilians in all Lebanese areas. The player is also a partner of the Mujahideen in providing a sense of stability and security among the Lebanese after rolling back the advances of the terrorist groups from the eastern border of Lebanon.

The last battle is the battle of Ras Baalbek, which embodies the defense of the Lebanese territories from the Takfiri terrorist attacks, originating from Syrian territory. During the battle, the Lebanese and Hezbollah flags wave alongside the Mujahid in his bunker. While repelling the attack, the player feels that he is the partner of the Mujahideen and the Lebanese Army in protecting the homeland as he is participating with the army in the “Dawn of the Outskirts” offensive as well as the mujahedeen in the “If you come back, we’ll come back” battles.

In these six levels, Mujahid Ahmad can protect the land and the sanctities from the Takfiri threat. And here lies the embodiment of the Islamic Resistance fighters’ true Jihadi and combatant spirit at the frontlines.

Until a new triumph on the road to Al-Quds and the decisive victory…

Source: al-Ahed

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