The story of Hezbollah anti-aircraft missile

Source

July 13, 2019

TEHRAN –Secretary-General of Hezbollah Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah revealed two strategic surprises for the military and intelligence services of the West, especially the Zionists in the anniversary of 33-day Israeli war.

July 12 marked the 13th anniversary of the beginning of the 33-day Israeli regime’s war on Lebanon that resistance group, Hezbollah, managed to defeat the Zionist enemy by preventing it from achieving any of its targets. Secretary-General of Hezbollah Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region. There are notable points in his speech which are extremely impressive in terms of achieving a military transformation in Hezbollah as follow:

-The resistance today is more powerful than before. Capabilities of Radwan Force and Al-Abbas Brigades will be shown more in future wars.

-It is not comparable to 13 years ago in the field of advanced weapons as well as missiles with pinpoint accuracy in both quality and quantity.

-Increasing intelligence superiority not only on the land but also in sea and air fields over the regime.

-The most strategic area of Israel; the ‘Israeli’ coast is under the resistance’s fire, including the 70-km long ‘Israeli’ coast starting from Netanya and ending by Ashdod which includes the most strategic Israeli sites (Ben Gurion airport, arms depots, petrochemical plants, Tel Aviv and Ashdod ports). Any possible war will result in vast destruction of occupied lands which are considered as heart of the regime.

-The ability to seize and recapture areas of occupied Palestine, including the important area of  Galilee.

-Possibility of having an anti-aircraft missile is the most important issues of Hezbollah which is the strategic surprise for the military and intelligence services of the Zionists.

The main mission of the Zionist intelligence and military services during the Syrian war was to prevent transfer of missiles or, more importantly, advanced missile technology to Hezbollah. The Zionist has targeted any places or caravan which were likely to transfer missiles to Hezbollah during these years. Therefore, the first question for world’s intelligence and military services is now how advanced anti-aircraft missiles have been transmitted to Hezbollah?!

In recent years, Israel has been struggling to compensate for its military defeats by air strikes of its advanced aircrafts. In this regards, Nasrallah believes that the air force will not determine the war’s conclusion. In other words, Hezbollah has now been able to probably undermine the latest strategic military superiority of the Zionist regime.

But perhaps one of the most sophisticated messages from Nasrallah’s speeches is the response to Netanyahu’s recent threat of using advanced military aircraft such as the F35 to attack some of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Over the past years, the Zionist regime has repeatedly emphasized that it is able to target Iran’s nuclear facilities by using its own aircraft without U.S. support, like attacking some of the nuclear facilities of Syria in the past. It means that Nasrallah has transmitted this strategic message to the threat of Netanyahu’s air strike to Iran that Hezbollah would down the Israel’s aircraft if necessary. Israel’s aircraft cannot target any parts of Iran as Iran’s air force has downed the U.S. advanced drone last weeks.

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IRAN AND THE EU: DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS UNDERWAY

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By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

As promised, Iran is partially pulling out of the JCPOA nuclear deal. This can be called a “phase one withdrawal” since other phases are expected to follow in the coming months. The basis for this act is not limited to the actions of US President Donald Trump – who shredded the JCPOA deal unilaterally – but also to the failure of the European signatories (i.e. France, the UK and Germany) to offer any incentives for Iran to comply with the deal. This leaves the entire JCPOA agreement in a kind of limbo, now that western leaders have shown themselves untrustworthy to honour any future deals in the wake of Trump’s abdication. The absence of necessary trust and partnership seems to preclude any future pacts between nations, notably between the US, Europe and Middle Eastern countries.

The size of the US market blocks any effective European move to honour its commitment to the JCPOA. In an interview with al-Jazeera, Ellie Geranmayeh, deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Middle East and North Africa programme, sees the launch of INSTEX as important because of the political message it sends. “The E3 are preparing the roadmap to sustain trade with Iran, for now it’s going to be restricted – but there is the hope that it will be expanded with time.”

Europe is asking Iran to wait without offering any prospects of what it can do next. European leaders are asking for more time and “hope” to find a solution, a very nebulous prospect so long as Trump is in power and Europe is not united. Indeed, EU Foreign policy is far from being homogenous. Even if the European leaders’ signatories have not imitated Trump by revoking the nuclear deal, they have offered nothing to compensate for the damage to Iran’s economy created by the harsh US sanctions.

The Iran-EU commercial relationship is suffering much more than the Iran-US commercial relationship. Following Trump’s ultimatum to all companies doing business with Iran, EU businesses fled Iran. Some of them paid compensation for not honouring their commitments. Their precipitate departure undermines the prospects of future commercial deals between Iran and EU companies.

Europe is allowing Iran to buy medicine and food through its new INSTEX monetary system. However, Iran can buy such supplies, with no obstacles, from nearby Turkey and other non-European countries. The European continent has become unessential to Iran.

Iran is now following through on what it promised 60 days ago, on the anniversary of Trump’s revoking the nuclear deal. Iran is still very far from developing a nuclear weapon but has waited 14 months to show how its patience, await with no benefits to its economy while its population suffers.

Europe has nothing to offer but verbal support. It is not in a position to stand against the US; it is not prepared to face US sanctions; is lacksthe backbone to do today what France did in 1986 when it refused to give military support to US warplanes to bomb Libya.

This is just the beginning of Iran’s counter measures.

Proofread byC.G.B.

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Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs

By Hagar Shezaf

Since early last decade, Defense Ministry teams have scoured local archives and removed troves of historic documents to conceal proof of the Nakba

July 05, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

“Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies. 3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.”

The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israeli forces in Israel’s War of Independence. “There’s no name on the document and it’s not clear who’s behind it,” Dr. Novick tells Haaretz. “It also breaks off in the middle. I found it very disturbing. I knew that finding a document like this made me responsible for clarifying what happened.”

The Upper Galilee village of Safsaf was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Hiram toward the end of 1948. Moshav Safsufa was established on its ruins. Allegations were made over the years that the Seventh Brigade committed war crimes in the village. Those charges are supported by the document Novick found, which was not previously known to scholars. It could also constitute additional evidence that the Israeli top brass knew about what was going on in real time.

Novick decided to consult with other historians about the document. Benny Morris, whose books are basic texts in the study of the Nakba – the “calamity,” as the Palestinians refer to the mass emigration of Arabs from the country during the 1948 war – told her that he, too, had come across similar documentation in the past. He was referring to notes made by Mapam Central Committee member Aharon Cohen on the basis of a briefing given in November 1948 by Israel Galili, the former chief of staff of the Haganah militia, which became the IDF. Cohen’s notes in this instance, which Morris published, stated: “Safsaf 52 men tied with a rope. Dropped into a pit and shot. 10 were killed. Women pleaded for mercy. [There were] 3 cases of rape. Caught and released. A girl of 14 was raped. Another 4 were killed. Rings of knives.”

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Morris’ footnote (in his seminal “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) states that this document was also found in the Yad Yaari Archive. But when Novick returned to examine the document, she was surprised to discover that it was no longer there.

“At first I thought that maybe Morris hadn’t been accurate in his footnote, that perhaps he had made a mistake,” Novick recalls. “It took me time to consider the possibility that the document had simply disappeared.” When she asked those in charge where the document was, she was told that it had been placed behind lock and key at Yad Yaari – by order of the Ministry of Defense.

Since the start of the last decade, Defense Ministry teams have been scouring Israel’s archives and removing historic documents. But it’s not just papers relating to Israel’s nuclear project or to the country’s foreign relations that are being transferred to vaults: Hundreds of documents have been concealed as part of a systematic effort to hide evidence of the Nakba.

The phenomenon was first detected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. According to a report drawn up by the institute, the operation is being spearheaded by Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department (the name is a Hebrew acronym for “director of security of the defense establishment”), whose activities and budget are classified. The report asserts that Malmab removed historical documentation illegally and with no authority, and at least in some cases has sealed documents that had previously been cleared for publication by the military censor. Some of the documents that were placed in vaults had already been published.

An investigative report by Haaretz found that Malmab has concealed testimony from IDF generals about the killing of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as documentation of the expulsion of Bedouin during the first decade of statehood. Conversations conducted by Haaretz with directors of public and private archives alike revealed that staff of the security department had treated the archives as their property, in some cases threatening the directors themselves.

Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for two decades, until 2007, acknowledged to Haaretz that he launched the project, which is still ongoing. He maintains that it makes sense to conceal the events of 1948, because uncovering them could generate unrest among the country’s Arab population. Asked what the point is of removing documents that have already been published, he explained that the objective is to undermine the credibility of studies about the history of the refugee problem. In Horev’s view, an allegation made by a researcher that’s backed up by an original document is not the same as an allegation that cannot be proved or refuted.

The document Novick was looking for might have reinforced Morris’ work. During the investigation, Haaretz was in fact able to find the Aharon Cohen memo, which sums up a meeting of Mapam’s Political Committee on the subject of massacres and expulsions in 1948. Participants in the meeting called for cooperation with a commission of inquiry that would investigate the events. One case the committee discussed concerned “grave actions” carried out in the village of Al-Dawayima, east of Kiryat Gat. One participant mentioned the then-disbanded Lehi underground militia in this connection. Acts of looting were also reported: “Lod and Ramle, Be’er Sheva, there isn’t [an Arab] store that hasn’t been broken into. 9th Brigade says 7, 7th Brigade says 8.”

“The party,” the document states near the end, “is against expulsion if there is no military necessity for it. There are different approaches concerning the evaluation of necessity. And further clarification is best. What happened in Galilee – those are Nazi acts! Every one of our members must report what he knows.”

The Israeli version

One of the most fascinating documents about the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem was written by an officer in Shai, the precursor to the Shin Bet security service. It discusses why the country was emptied of so many of its Arab inhabitants, dwelling on the circumstances of each village. Compiled in late June 1948, it was titled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine.”

Read a translation of the document here

This document was the basis for an article that Benny Morris published in 1986. After the article appeared, the document was removed from the archive and rendered inaccessible to researchers. Years later, the Malmab team reexamined the document, and ordered that it remain classified. They could not have known that a few years later researchers from Akevot would find a copy of the text and run it past the military censors – who authorized its publication unconditionally. Now, after years of concealment, the gist of the document is being revealed here.

The 25-page document begins with an introduction that unabashedly approves of the evacuation of the Arab villages. According to the author, the month of April “excelled in an increase of emigration,” while May “was blessed with the evacuation of maximum places.” The report then addresses “the causes of the Arab emigration.” According to the Israeli narrative that was disseminated over the years, responsibility for the exodus from Israel rests with Arab politicians who encouraged the population to leave. However, according to the document, 70 percent of the Arabs left as a result of Jewish military operations.

The unnamed author of the text ranks the reasons for the Arabs’ departure in order of importance. The first reason: “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” The second reason was the impact of those actions on neighboring villages. Third in importance came “operations by the breakaways,” namely the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds. The fourth reason for the Arab exodus was orders issued by Arab institutions and “gangs” (as the document refers to all Arab fighting groups); fifth was “Jewish ‘whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee”; and the sixth factor was “evacuation ultimatums.”

The author asserts that, “without a doubt, the hostile operations were the main cause of the movement of the population.” In addition, “Loudspeakers in the Arabic language proved their effectiveness on the occasions when they were utilized properly.” As for Irgun and Lehi operations, the report observes that “many in the villages of central Galilee started to flee following the abduction of the notables of Sheikh Muwannis [a village north of Tel Aviv]. The Arab learned that it is not enough to forge an agreement with the Haganah and that there are other Jews [i.e., the breakaway militias] to beware of.”

The author notes that ultimatums to leave were especially employed in central Galilee, less so in the Mount Gilboa region. “Naturally, the act of this ultimatum, like the effect of the ‘friendly advice,’ came after a certain preparing of the ground by means of hostile actions in the area.”

An appendix to the document describes the specific causes of the exodus from each of scores of Arab locales: Ein Zeitun – “our destruction of the village”; Qeitiya – “harassment, threat of action”; Almaniya – “our action, many killed”; Tira – “friendly Jewish advice”; Al’Amarir – “after robbery and murder carried out by the breakaways”; Sumsum – “our ultimatum”; Bir Salim – “attack on the orphanage”; and Zarnuga – “conquest and expulsion.”

Short fuse

In the early 2000s, the Yitzhak Rabin Center conducted a series of interviews with former public and military figures as part of a project to document their activity in the service of the state. The long arm of Malmab seized on these interviews, too. Haaretz, which obtained the original texts of several of the interviews, compared them to the versions that are now available to the public, after large swaths of them were declared classified.

These included, for example, sections of the testimony of Brig. Gen. (res.) Aryeh Shalev about the expulsion across the border of the residents of a village he called “Sabra.” Later in the interview, the following sentences were deleted: “There was a very serious problem in the valley. There were refugees who wanted to return to the valley, to the Triangle [a concentration of Arab towns and villages in eastern Israel]. We expelled them. I met with them to persuade them not to want that. I have papers about it.”

In another case, Malmab decided to conceal the following segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elad Peled:

Lev Tov: “We’re talking about a population – women and children?”

Peled: “All, all. Yes.”

Lev Tov: “Don’t you distinguish between them?”

Peled: “The problem is very simple. The war is between two populations. They come out of their home.”

Lev Tov: “If the home exists, they have somewhere to return to?”

Peled: “It’s not armies yet, it’s gangs. We’re also actually gangs. We come out of the house and return to the house. They come out of the house and return to the house. It’s either their house or our house.”

Lev Tov: “Qualms belong to the more recent generation?”

Peled: “Yes, today. When I sit in an armchair here and think about what happened, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.”

Lev Tov: “Wasn’t that the case then?”

Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”

Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”

Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.”

Another passage that the Defense Ministry wanted to keep from the public came from Dr. Lev Tov’s conversation with Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir:

Tamir: “I was under Chera [Maj. Gen. Tzvi Tzur, later IDF chief of staff], and I had excellent working relations with him. He gave me freedom of action – don’t ask – and I happened to be in charge of staff and operations work during two developments deriving from [Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s policy. One development was when reports arrived about marches of refugees from Jordan toward the abandoned villages [in Israel]. And then Ben-Gurion lays down as policy that we have to demolish [the villages] so they won’t have anywhere to return to. That is, all the Arab villages, most of which were in [the area covered by] Central Command, most of them.”

Lev Tov: “The ones that were still standing?”

Tamir: “The ones that weren’t yet inhabited by Israelis. There were places where we had already settled Israelis, like Zakariyya and others. But most of them were still abandoned villages.”

Lev Tov: “That were standing?”

Tamir: “Standing. It was necessary for there to be no place for them to return to, so I mobilized all the engineering battalions of Central Command, and within 48 hours I knocked all those villages to the ground. Period. There’s no place to return to.”

Lev Tov: “Without hesitation, I imagine.”

Tamir: “Without hesitation. That was the policy. I mobilized, I carried it out and I did it.”

Crates in vaults

The vault of the Yad Yaari Research and Documentation Center is one floor below ground level. In the vault, which is actually a small, well-secured room, are stacks of crates containing classified documents. The archive houses the materials of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, the Kibbutz Ha’artzi kibbutz movement, Mapam, Meretz and other bodies, such as Peace Now.

The archive’s director is Dudu Amitai, who is also chairman of the Association of Israel Archivists. According to Amitai, Malmab personnel visited the archive regularly between 2009 and 2011. Staff of the archive relate that security department teams – two Defense Ministry retirees with no archival training – would show up two or three times a week. They searched for documents according to such keywords as “nuclear,” “security” and “censorship,” and also devoted considerable time to the War of Independence and the fate of the pre-1948 Arab villages.

“In the end, they submitted a summary to us, saying that they had located a few dozen sensitive documents,” Amitai says. “We don’t usually take apart files, so dozens of files, in their entirety, found their way into our vault and were removed from the public catalog.” A file might contain more than 100 documents.

One of the files that was sealed deals with the military government that controlled the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens from 1948 until 1966. For years, the documents were stored in the same vault, inaccessible to scholars. Recently, in the wake of a request by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, Amitai examined the file himself and ruled that there was no reason not to unseal it, Malmab’s opinion notwithstanding.

According to Algazi, there could be several reasons for Malmab’s decision to keep the file classified. One of them has to do with a secret annex it contains to a report by a committee that examined the operation of the military government. The report deals almost entirely with land-ownership battles between the state and Arab citizens, and barely touches on security matters.

Another possibility is a 1958 report by the ministerial committee that oversaw the military government. In one of the report’s secret appendixes, Col. Mishael Shaham, a senior officer in the military government, explains that one reason for not dismantling the martial law apparatus is the need to restrict Arab citizens’ access to the labor market and to prevent the reestablishment of destroyed villages.

A third possible explanation for hiding the file concerns previously unpublished historical testimony about the expulsion of Bedouin. On the eve of Israel’s establishment, nearly 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. Three years later, their number was down to 13,000. In the years during and after the independence war, a number of expulsion operations were carried out in the country’s south. In one case, United Nations observers reported that Israel had expelled 400 Bedouin from the Azazma tribe and cited testimonies of tents being burned. The letter that appears in the classified file describes a similar expulsion carried out as late as 1956, as related by geologist Avraham Parnes:

“A month ago we toured Ramon [crater]. The Bedouin in the Mohila area came to us with their flocks and their families and asked us to break bread with them. I replied that we had a great deal of work to do and didn’t have time. In our visit this week, we headed toward Mohila again. Instead of the Bedouin and their flocks, there was deathly silence. Scores of camel carcasses were scattered in the area. We learned that three days earlier the IDF had ‘screwed’ the Bedouin, and their flocks were destroyed – the camels by shooting, the sheep with grenades. One of the Bedouin, who started to complain, was killed, the rest fled.”

The testimony continued, “Two weeks earlier, they’d been ordered to stay where they were for the time being, afterward they were ordered to leave, and to speed things up 500 head were slaughtered…. The expulsion was executed ‘efficiently.’” The letter goes on to quote what one of the soldiers said to Parnes, according to his testimony: “They won’t go unless we’ve screwed their flocks. A young girl of about 16 approached us. She had a beaded necklace of brass snakes. We tore the necklace and each of us took a bead for a souvenir.”

The letter was originally sent to MK Yaakov Uri, from Mapai (forerunner of Labor), who passed it on to Development Minister Mordechai Bentov (Mapam). “His letter shocked me,” Uri wrote Bentov. The latter circulated the letter among all the cabinet ministers, writing, “It is my opinion that the government cannot simply ignore the facts related in the letter.” Bentov added that, in light of the appalling contents of the letter, he asked security experts to check its credibility. They had confirmed that the contents “do in fact generally conform to the truth.”

Nuclear excuse

It was during the tenure of historian Tuvia Friling as Israel’s chief archivist, from 2001 to 2004, that Malmab carried out its first archival incursions. What began as an operation to prevent the leakage of nuclear secrets, he says, became, in time, a large-scale censorship project.

“I resigned after three years, and that was one of the reasons,” Prof. Friling says. “The classification placed on the document about the Arabs’ emigration in 1948 is precisely an example of what I was apprehensive about. The storage and archival system is not an arm of the state’s public relations. If there’s something you don’t like – well, that’s life. A healthy society also learns from its mistakes.”

Why did Friling allow the Defense Ministry to have access the archives? The reason, he says, was the intention to give the public access to archival material via the internet. In discussions about the implications of digitizing the material, concern was expressed that references in the documents to a “certain topic” would be made public by mistake. The topic, of course, is Israel’s nuclear project. Friling insists that the only authorization Malmab received was to search for documents on that subject.

But Malmab’s activity is only one example of a broader problem, Friling notes: “In 1998, the confidentiality of the [oldest documents in the] Shin Bet and Mossad archives expired. For years those two institutions disdained the chief archivist. When I took over, they requested that the confidentiality of all the material be extended [from 50] to 70 years, which is ridiculous – most of the material can be opened.”

In 2010, the confidentiality period was extended to 70 years; last February it was extended again, to 90 years, despite the opposition of the Supreme Council of Archives. “The state may impose confidentiality on some of its documentation,” Friling says. “The question is whether the issue of security doesn’t act as a kind of cover. In many cases, it’s already become a joke.”

In the view of Yad Yaari’s Dudu Amitai, the confidentiality imposed by the Defense Ministry must be challenged. In his period at the helm, he says, one of the documents placed in the vault was an order issued by an IDF general, during a truce in the War of Independence, for his troops to refrain from rape and looting. Amitai now intends to go over the documents that were deposited in the vault, especially 1948 documents, and open whatever is possible. “We’ll do it cautiously and responsibly, but recognizing that the State of Israel has to learn how to cope with the less pleasant aspects of its history.”

In contrast to Yad Yaari, where ministry personnel no longer visit, they are continuing to peruse documents at Yad Tabenkin, the research and documentation center of the United Kibbutz Movement. The director, Aharon Azati, reached an agreement with the Malmab teams under which documents will be transferred to the vault only if he is convinced that this is justified. But in Yad Tabenkin, too, Malmab has broadened its searches beyond the realm of nuclear project to encompass interviews conducted by archival staff with former members of the Palmach, and has even perused material about the history of the settlements in the occupied territories.

Malmab has, for example, shown interest in the Hebrew-language book “A Decade of Discretion: Settlement Policy in the Territories 1967-1977,” published by Yad Tabenkin in 1992, and written by Yehiel Admoni, director of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department during the decade he writes about. The book mentions a plan to settle Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley and to the uprooting of 1,540 Bedouin families from the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip in 1972, including an operation that included the sealing of wells by the IDF. Ironically, in the case of the Bedouin, Admoni quotes former Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira as saying, “It is not necessary to stretch the security rationale too far. The whole Bedouin episode is not a glorious chapter of the State of Israel.”

According to Azati, “We are moving increasingly to a tightening of the ranks. Although this is an era of openness and transparency, there are apparently forces that are pulling in the opposite direction.”

Unauthorized secrecy

About a year ago, the legal adviser to the State Archives, attorney Naomi Aldouby, wrote an opinion titled “Files Closed Without Authorization in Public Archives.” According to her, the accessibility policy of public archives is the exclusive purview of the director of each institution.

Despite Aldouby’s opinion, however, in the vast majority of cases, archivists who encountered unreasonable decisions by Malmab did not raise objections – that is, until 2014, when Defense Ministry personnel arrived at the archive of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the visitors’ surprise, their request to examine the archive – which contains collections of former minister and diplomat Abba Eban and Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit – was turned down by its then director, Menahem Blondheim.

According to Blondheim, “I told them that the documents in question were decades old, and that I could not imagine that there was any security problem that would warrant restricting their access to researchers. In response, they said, ‘And let’s say there is testimony here that wells were poisoned in the War of Independence?’ I replied, ‘Fine, those people should be brought to trial.’”

Blondheim’s refusal led to a meeting with a more senior ministry official, only this time the attitude he encountered was different and explicit threats were made. Finally the two sides reached an accommodation.

Benny Morris is not surprised at Malmab’s activity. “I knew about it,” he says “Not officially, no one informed me, but I encountered it when I discovered that documents I had seen in the past are now sealed. There were documents from the IDF Archive that I used for an article about Deir Yassin, and which are now sealed. When I came to the archive, I was no longer allowed to see the original, so I pointed out in a footnote [in the article] that the State Archive had denied access to documents that I had published 15 years earlier.”

The Malmab case is only one example of the battle being waged for access to archives in Israel. According to the executive director of the Akevot Institute, Lior Yavne, “The IDF Archive, which is the largest archive in Israel, is sealed almost hermetically. About 1 percent of the material is open. The Shin Bet archive, which contains materials of immense importance [to scholars], is totally closed apart from a handful of documents.”

A report written by Yaacov Lozowick, the previous chief archivist at the State Archives, upon his retirement, refers to the defense establishment’s grip on the country’s archival materials. In it, he writes, “A democracy must not conceal information because it is liable to embarrass the state. In practice, the security establishment in Israel, and to a certain extent that of foreign relations as well, are interfering with the [public] discussion.”

Advocates of concealment put forward several arguments, Lozowick notes: “The uncovering of the facts could provide our enemies with a battering ram against us and weaken the determination of our friends; it’s liable to stir up the Arab population; it could enfeeble the state’s arguments in courts of law; and what is revealed could be interpreted as Israeli war crimes.” However, he says, “All these arguments must be rejected. This is an attempt to hide part of the historical truth in order to construct a more convenient version.”

What Malmab says

Yehiel Horev was the keeper of the security establishment’s secrets for more than two decades. He headed the Defense Ministry’s security department from 1986 until 2007 and naturally kept out of the limelight. To his credit, he now agreed to talk forthrightly to Haaretz about the archives project.

“I don’t remember when it began,” Horev says, “but I do know that I started it. If I’m not mistaken, it started when people wanted to publish documents from the archives. We had to set up teams to examine all outgoing material.”

From conversations with archive directors, it’s clear that a good deal of the documents on which confidentiality was imposed relate to the War of Independence. Is concealing the events of 1948 part of the purpose of Malmab?

“What does ‘part of the purpose’ mean? The subject is examined based on an approach of whether it could harm Israel’s foreign relations and the defense establishment. Those are the criteria. I think it’s still relevant. There has not been peace since 1948. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been resolved. So yes, it could be that problematic subjects remain.”

Asked in what way such documents might be problematic, Horev speaks of the possibility of agitation among the country’s Arab citizens. From his point of view, every document must be perused and every case decided on its merits.

If the events of 1948 weren’t known, we could argue about whether this approach is the right one. That is not the case. Many testimonies and studies have appeared about the history of the refugee problem. What’s the point of hiding things?

“The question is whether it can do harm or not. It’s a very sensitive matter. Not everything has been published about the refugee issue, and there are all kinds of narratives. Some say there was no flight at all, only expulsion. Others say there was flight. It’s not black-and-white. There’s a difference between flight and those who say they were forcibly expelled. It’s a different picture. I can’t say now if it merits total confidentiality, but it’s a subject that definitely has to be discussed before a decision is made about what to publish.”

For years, the Defense Ministry has imposed confidentiality on a detailed document that describes the reasons for the departure of those who became refugees. Benny Morris has already written about the document, so what’s the logic of keeping it hidden?

“I don’t remember the document you’re referring to, but if he quoted from it and the document itself is not there [i.e., where Morris says it is], then his facts aren’t strong. If he says, ‘Yes, I have the document,’ I can’t argue with that. But if he says that it’s written there, that could be right and it could be wrong. If the document were already outside and were sealed in the archive, I would say that that’s folly. But if someone quoted from it – there’s a difference of day and night in terms of the validity of the evidence he cited.”

In this case, we’re talking about the most quoted scholar when it comes to the Palestinian refugees.

“The fact that you say ‘scholar’ makes no impression on me. I know people in academia who spout nonsense about subjects that I know from A to Z. When the state imposes confidentiality, the published work is weakened, because he doesn’t have the document.”

But isn’t concealing documents based on footnotes in books an attempt to lock the barn door after the horses have bolted?

“I gave you an example that this needn’t be the case. If someone writes that the horse is black, if the horse isn’t outside the barn, you can’t prove that it’s really black.”

There are legal opinions stating that Malmab’s activity in the archives is illegal and unauthorized.

“If I know that an archive contains classified material, I am empowered to tell the police to go there and confiscate the material. I can also utilize the courts. I don’t need the archivist’s authorization. If there is classified material, I have the authority to act. Look, there’s policy. Documents aren’t sealed for no reason. And despite it all, I won’t say to you that everything that’s sealed is 100 percent justified [in being sealed].”

The Defense Ministry refused to respond to specific questions regarding the findings of this investigative report and made do with the following response: “The director of security of the defense establishment operates by virtue of his responsibility to protect the state’s secrets and its security assets. The Malmab does not provide details about its mode of activity or its missions.”

Lee Rotbart assisted in providing visual research for this article.

This article was originally published by “Haaretz” –

Libya: The Hidden Turkish Intervention

Alessandro Lattanzio

As of 30 April, the LNA controlled 1259800 square kilometres of territory (equal to 77.58% of the surface of Libya, including 6.5% of the Tuariq Council area), the Tebus controlled 260989 square kilometres (16.07%) and the GNA 103081 square kilometres (6.35%).

On May 2, the LNA interrupted the supply lines between Sadiyah and Aziziya, while advancing on Aziziya from Hira and Qasarat.

On May 3, the barracks of the 166th Brigade of the Libyan National Army near Sabha was attacked, causing nine deaths. The attack on the Sabha training camp was the work of ISIL terrorists, who murdered eight soldiers, beheading one, as they already did in Buabat al-Faha, Baraq Shati and Darna. The action was a demonstration of the links between GNA and Islamist terrorism.

Numerous terrorists were treated in the Italian camp hospital of Misurata, according to the Media Centre of the al-Qarama Operative Centre of the LNA:

“We have received confirmed intelligence information on the Italian camp hospital in Misurata which treats numerous terrorists fighting alongside the Muslim Brotherhood and the militias”; listing the terrorists treated in the Italian hospital of Misurata:

Muhamad Abdalqani, known as Abu Zubayr, of ISIL
Asad Qudayr al-Shami known as Abu Qatada, of Bayt al-Maqdis
Abdalwahab Mahmud al-Asali, of Bayt al-Maqdis
Abu al-Layth, of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
Hasan Abdalwadud, known as Abu Sayaf, of ISIL
Ayman Tahar al-Isqandarani, known as Abu Fatima, of ISIL in Algeria
Abdulah Hasan al-Iraqi, of ISIL in Algeria
Said al-Mashgul, known as Abu al-Bara, of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
Ibrahim Ataf Qudayr, known as Abu al-Dahma, al-Murabitin Army terrorist organisation

The statement confirmed the arrest of terrorists from the Egyptian organisation Hisham Ashmawi arrested in Darna. “We know that the Italian forces have assigned this field hospital to fight terrorism and not to support it”, concluded the statement of the Operations Room al-Qarama.

On May 5, the LNA advanced in the Qahali quarter, freeing the al-Naq petrol station, and liberated Sabiah and Suq al-Sabat, arriving on the southern outskirts of Suani.

On May 7, the LNA shot down a GNA Mirage F-1, taken off from Misurata, on al-Hirah, south of Tripoli, capturing its pilot.

On May 10, the LNA advanced on Tuisha and clashed with the GNA west of Sabiah.

Meanwhile, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist organization, arrived in Libya from Syria to join the Islamist militias of the GNA that were fighting against the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli. Nusret Imamovic was a Bosnian who studied Islamic Sharia in Sarajevo. He had been fighting for Jabhat al-Nusrah in Syria since 2012, and resided in Azaz, Governorate of Aleppo, before Syrian forces freed the area.

On May 11, the LNA recaptured the Zahra Bridge.

On 13 May, the Tobruq Parliament voted on the law defining the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. An LNA airstrike destroyed the headquarters of the al-Faruq brigade in al-Zuiya, west of Tripoli, eliminating a leader of the ISIL, Safwan al-Jabar.

On the 14th of May, the LNA shot down a UAV of Turkish manufacture, belonging to the GNA of Misurata, at the air base of al-Jufra.

On May 16, the Saqa units of the LNA entered Tripoli from the south. Qalifa Haftar met in Rome with council president Giuseppe Conte, who called for a ceasefire.

On May 17, Fathi al-Majbri, Vice President of the Presidency Council of the Government of the National Accord, accused Fayaz al-Saraj of using his powers for personal gain, of the failure of the political process and of the outbreak of war in Tripoli. Al-Majbri declared that al-Saraj was obsessed with power and willing to do anything to stay in power;

“What civil status are you talking about while violating the simple principles of government administration? Fayaz al-Sarraj manages the country with the de facto authority of outlaw militias. Al-Saraj has allied himself with extremist groups and today they are the backbone of the forces fighting against the Libyan army”.

Meanwhile the GNA admitted that it had lost Sabratha and Surman, stating “that the two municipalities were now taking orders from the parallel government in the eastern region”, in other words, the interim government of Bayda led by Abdullah al-Thani. GNA’s Ministry of Local Government said Surman supported what he described as “aggression against Tripoli”. U.S. public relations firm Mercury signed a $2 million a year contract with Fayaz al-Saraj to spread favourable propaganda through the Wall Street Journal, including an article on May 9 asking President Donald Trump to support al-Saraj rather than Field Marshal Qalifa Haftar.

On May 18, the Islamist factions of the government of Fayaz al-Saraj received Bulgarian MG-M1 machine guns and ammunition, delivered to the GNA from Turkey along with at least 40 BMC Kirpi II and Vuran armored ammunition, disembarked from the Amazon cargo ship, in Misurata, to repel the operations of the Libyan National Army in Tripoli. Kirpi armored vehicles are produced by the Turkish company BMC in Samsun. The BMC was sold in 2014 to the Committee for the Industry of the Armed Forces of Qatar by Turkish businessman Ethem Sançak, a member of the governing body of the Justice and Development Party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. BMC manufactures the new Turkish tank Altay, whose deliveries began in December 2018, and in March 2019 Qatar ordered 100 of them. In January 2019, Turkey and Qatar opened a military engine plant in Karasu, northwest Turkey.

On May 20, the LNA captured the transport base of Tripoli, advancing towards Qalat Qafar and Nasr.

On May 21, the head of the Tarhuna Salah al-Fanidi council declared at a meeting of commanders and tribal leaders in Sidi Sayah that the Tarhuna, Bani Walid, Warshafana and Nuahi al-Arbah tribes supported the Libyan National Army in operations in Tripoli.

On 22 May, the LNA freed the Walid district of Tripoli.

On May 24, the LNA freed Ramlah and advanced to Ayn Zara.

On May 25, the Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced south and east of Tripoli with the support of the Libyan Air Force.

On May 28, the LNA advanced in the Walid district while the GNA reoccupied the transport field. Egyptian Intelligence Director (GIS) Abas Qamal visited Libya and met Qalifa Haftar. Fayaz al-Saraj visited Malta.

On 29 May, 1 Dassault Falcon 900EX (I-OUNI) from the Italian secret service took off from Tripoli.

On 30 May, Qalifa Haftar visited Moscow.

On May 31, the head of the LNA’s al-Qarama information office, Qalid al-Mahjub, confirmed the arrival of 12 Turkish military instructors at Misurata.

On June 3, the LNA repelled the attack by the GNA forces on the international airport of Tripoli, after two days of combat and the elimination of 31 GNA fighters, the arrest of dozens more and the destruction of many of their military vehicles and artillery pieces. ISIL detonated two car bombs in Darna, killing and injuring 19 people. The LNA repelled the ISIL attack on checkpoint 400 in al-Fuqaha, al-Jufra region. Salah al-Raqi, GNA undersecretary in the Ministry of Housing and head of the Islamist militia Fursan Janzour, was eliminated in clashes with LNA forces in Tripoli.

On June 4, 18 GNA militiamen were eliminated in clashes at al-Tuysha, south-west of Tripoli Airport.

On June 7, the LNA destroyed military aircraft at the Mitiga airport occupied by the GNA, including at least one Turkish armed drone.

On June 8, the LNA freed the Tuayshah, Ramalah and Tariq bin Ziyad area by advancing on Suani, south of the airport, and Walid.

On June 10, GNA forces withdrew from the Ayn Zara – Fuzi Al-Mansuri line in Tripoli.

On June 13, a GNA L-39ZA aircraft was shot down at al-Dafniyah, 200 km south-east of Tripoli, as it flew to the Misurata air base.

On June 20, the LNA repelled the GNA attack on Tripoli International Airport.

On June 21, a GNA unit, Battalion al-Uburm, moved to the LNA.

On June 24, the GNA forces were repelled by the LNA at al-Tuaisha, south-west of Tripoli International Airport, attacking on two axes: the airport road from Dakla and the Qazirmah area.

On June 26, the LNA entered Qaryan and eliminated 11 GNA fighters, but after a surprise attack by the GNA forces, the LNA decided to withdraw from the city 100 km south of Tripoli. The LNA repelled a GNA raid on al-Quasim and Abu Shiba, northwest of Qaryan.

On June 26, the Libyan National Army handed over captured U.S. mercenary to U.S. officials. Jamie Sponaugle was a mercenary pilot captured after his plane was shot down during the fighting in Tripoli, he had received orders from the GNA to destroy Libyan infrastructure. The GNA, with Turkish, Italian and French support, launched a major attack south of Tripoli, occupying Hira, Buqaylan, Quasim and Wadi Shaybah.

On 27 June, LNA Major Muhamad Ahmad al-Targi fell in combat in al-Quasim, north of Qaryan. As the LNA withdrew from Qaryan after the attack launched by the GNA.

On June 28, a Lockheed Martin C-130J of the Italian Air Force departing from the base of Pisa San Giusto landed in Misurata, with supplies for the Italian military hospital in Misurata.

On June 28, LNA repelled the attack on al-Sabia, 40 km south of Tripoli, advancing on al-Aziya. After leaving Qaryan, the LNA command moved to Tarhuna. Meanwhile, Qalifa Haftar also arrived in Tarhuna, 60km southeast of Tripoli. Following the aggression of Qaryan, where 28 wounded in the hospital were killed by the Islamists of Fayaz Saraj.

On 29 June, the General Command of the Libyan National Army declared:

“While the forces of the Libyan National Army are fighting terrorism on Libyan territory, terrorists in our country have had Turkish logistical support for years. In recent days it has evolved into direct Turkish intervention using war planes, transporting mercenaries and sending ships loaded with weapons, ammunition and armoured vehicles to support terrorism in Libya. Therefore, the General Command of the Libyan National Army ordered the Air Force to target Turkish ships and boats within Libyan territorial waters.

The Interim Government must expel all Turkish companies operating in Libya and end their operations on all projects on Libyan territory, boycotting Turkish industries and products and stopping civilian flights to and from Turkey at Libyan airports in response to this Turkish terrorist attack. Turkish drones had bombed several locations at the airport south of Tripoli, in support of the Islamist militias of Fayaz al-Saraj in Tripoli”.

The week before, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted that his government had provided arms, ammunition and military support to the al-Saraj gangs.

Qalid al-Mahjub, spokesman for the Tripoli Operations Room of the Libyan National Army (LNA), stated that there was a Turkish Operations Room leading the Islamist groups of the Fayaz al-Saraj government in battle, composed of numerous Turkish army officers, who trained the al-Saraj Islamist militias during battles against the Libyan National Army in the southern districts of Tripoli. Al-Mahjub declared that the Turkish Operations Room was located in the Mitiga airport in the centre of Tripoli, and that they also used Turkish drones taking off from the Air College of Misurata, under mercenary command.

On June 30, an LNA air attack on the Mitiga international airport destroyed 1 Turkish UAV while taking off. The Libyan National Army arrested several Turkish citizens, engaged in sabotage and subversion operations and in coordinating Ankara’s military support to the Islamist government of Tripoli. The detainees were General-Major Güksel Kahya, Deputy Minister of Defence of Turkey, General-Major Irfan Ozsert, Head of Military Intelligence and Secretary General of the Turkish General Staff, General-Major Levent Ergond, responsible for the operations of the Turkish armed forces abroad, Rear Admiral Gersoy Zaipanar, Brigadier General Ilkay Altyndach and Brigadier General Selcuk Yavuz, responsible for the actions of the special forces on the Syrian border.

Levent Ergon was sentenced for illegal activities to 13 years in prison, but was released by the Erdogan government, which then appointed him in charge of the operations of the Turkish armed forces.

Ilkay Altyndach was imprisoned for disseminating secret documents, but was released by Erdogan and in 2018 promoted to brigadier general.

Rear Admiral Gersoy Zaipanar was sentenced and sentenced to 16 years in prison for conspiracy, but was released by Erdogan.

Brigadier General Selcuk Yavuz led an offensive in Syria with the special units he directed.

According to the Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt, “such people would be Erdogan’s neo-nationalist dream team for dirty operations abroad. They are all indebted to Erdogan and therefore happy to carry out any sordid action, such as supporting Islamist groups to use them as agents of influence… it is clear that they were engaged in military and intelligence operations in Libya”.

The Ministry of Defence of Benghazi declared that Turkey was the sanctuary of terrorists sought by the Libyan National Army.

On July 1, the GNA militia leader Ahrar Libya, Isam Qatus, was eliminated in the clashes in Laft. He was appointed NTC ambassador to Niger in 2014.

GNA L-39 planes launched by Misurata bombed Tarhuna, 65 km south-east of Tripoli.

Fayaz al-Saraj flew to Italy to meet the Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini in Milan. Saraj asked for a “reserved” meeting to obtain more military aid from the Italian government in favour of GNA.

GNA sources stated that “the government of Tripoli greatly appreciates the role and position of Italy, but at this point calls for a greater effort to consolidate the political role of a Libyan government recognized by the United Nations. We have asked for weapons, we have asked for intelligence, medical support, and at least stronger, more evident, more open political support”.

On July 2, the LNA Air Force bombarded 30 GNA targets at al-Azizya, Swani and Tajura. At least 90 GNA fighters were eliminated.

Trump’s “Deal of the Century”

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Part I—The Deal of the Century

Trump’s “Deal of the Century”—An Analysis (26 June 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or at least the economic side of it, was discussed at a meeting in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The plan, euphemistically entitled “Peace to Prosperity” and the “Deal of the Century” is also, inaccurately, likened to a “Marshall Plan for Palestinians.” It is based on the assumption that money, ultimately the better part of $50 billion, can lure the Palestinian people into surrender—that is, the surrender of their right to a state of their own on their stolen ancestral land as well as the right of return for the 7.5 million Palestinians who have been forced into exile. Upon surrender, according to the plan, “an ambitious, achievable … framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region” will be put into place. How this idealized future is to be integrated into the apartheid and Bantustan system of control that constitutes the Israeli government’s “facts on the ground” is left unexplained.

This bit of gilded bait was put together by “senior White House adviser” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; Jason Greenblatt, chief lawyer of the Trump Organization and now U.S. envoy for international negotiations; and David Friedman, the president’s bankruptcy lawyer who is now the U.S. ambassador to Israel. All of these men are at once unqualified for their present positions as well as Zionist supporters of Israeli expansionism. It is not surprising then that the Israeli government has welcomed this effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “would listen to the American plan and hear it fairly and with openness.” On the other hand, the Palestinian West Bank leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who is boycotting the Bahrain meeting, said, “As long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic [solution].”

There are no doubt some Palestinians who are upset at Abbas’s position: perhaps some business people, often-unpaid bureaucrats, and a portion of the frustrated middle-class, who will be dearly tempted by the promise of all that money. These are people who, given over a century of struggle, see no hope of a just political settlement. Nonetheless, those tempted might consider these facts:

(1) All those billions of dollars are, as yet, hypothetical. The money is not in the bank, so to speak. And, it is not a given that Trump can actually raise the funds. Thus, for all those ready to trade justice for dollars, it might be premature to actually make the leap.

(2) There is a prevailing belief among the Trump cabal putting this plan together that the Palestinians themselves are incapable of running the proposed development programs. They are assumed to be too corrupt or tainted with “terrorist” backgrounds to be trusted. Thus the question of who would run this effort (Israelis? American Zionists? anyone other than those dedicated to Palestinian interests?) is left unanswered. Relative to this question, it should be kept in mind that the Israelis have made something of a science of robbing the Palestinians of their resources. They are hardly likely to stop now.

(3) The raising of money for the Trump plan is in competition with a UN effort to raise $1.2 billion for UNRWA, the agency that supports programs for Palestinian refugees. This fund-raiser is literally running at the same time as the Bahrain meeting. If the Trump plan gains traction, there might well be pressure to shut down UNRWA altogether.

Is this really an honest proposal to provide the Palestinians with prosperity? The history of “third world” development efforts sponsored by and run under the guidance of “first world” powers, be they Western governments or institutions like the IMF, is largely one of failure.There is no reason to believe that the Trump plan will fare any better. While these problematic economic efforts may eventually fall short, the political conditions almost certain to be attached to the aid will probably require immediate cessation of all anti-Zionist activities, including the relatively successful ongoing boycott of Israel.

Part II—The Precedent

It might come as a surprise, but this is not the first time that financial bribery to procure Arab cooperation with Zionist ambitions has been tried.

There is a historical precedent for Donald Trump’s attempted “deal of the century” that is detailed my book, America’s Palestine (cheap used copies of which are available on line). Here is how that precedent went:

Back in 1942, the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann told members of the U.S. State Department’s Division of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) that Winston Churchill wished to make the Saudi king, Ibn Saud, “the boss of bosses in the Arab World.” The only condition to this offer was that Ibn Saud must “be willing to work out with Weizmann to achieve a sane solution to the Palestine problem.” Weizmann further claimed that the U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt was “in accord on this subject.”

The response of the head of the NEA, Wallace Murray, a man who knew the Middle East much better than did Chaim Weizmann, was one of skepticism. Murray noted that British influence over Ibn Saud was small and that he doubted the Saudi king wanted to be the Arab “boss of bosses.” Finally, he expressed doubt that anything the Zionists would consider a “solution” would be something Ibn Saud would consider to be “sane.”

Nonetheless, the Zionists persisted along these lines and soon came up with a plan where, in return for a Jewish Palestine, Ibn Saud would be made the “head of an Arab federation in control of a “development” budget of 20 million British pounds.”

At this point Murray became adamant that this would never work. He predicted that Ibn Saud would interpret the offer as a bribe—the offer of a throne in exchange for turning Palestine over to the Zionists. He would interpret the 20 million pounds as a “slush fund.” Consequently, there was every reason to believe that the Saudi ruler would see this whole plan as a personal insult. So Murray suggested that “the less we have to do with the … proposals of Dr. Weizmann the better.”

As it turned out Roosevelt disagreed with Murray and after a conversation with Weizmann in early June of 1943, authorized an approach to Ibn Saud along the lines of the Zionist plan. Why did he ignore Murray in favor of Weizmann? Because Murray’s accurate assessment of Ibn Saud conflicted with FDR’s stereotyped view of Arabs. This is revealed in the minutes of the June meeting with Weizmann wherein the president said that “he believes the Arabs are purchasable.” In other words, following a common Western view, the president saw the Arabs as a backward people who would do just about anything for the right amount of “bakshish.”

Subsequently, the entire scheme came to naught when, in the fall of 1943, Ibn Saud rejected it out of hand. He would subsequently tell FDR that the Jews should “be given the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.” When the president replied that the Jews would not wish to stay in Germany after the war, Ibn Saud noted that the “allied camp” had “fifty countries” in it. Surely they could find enough open space (he even alluded to the underpopulated areas of the American West) to take in Europe’s Jewish refugees. Roosevelt came away from the exchange rather shaken. He finally understood from it that “the Arabs mean business” when it comes to Palestine.

Part III—Conclusion

The world has changed a lot since the 1940s. Ibn Saud has been replaced by the Saudi Crown Prince Muḥammad bin Salmān. This can be seen as real step down in terms of personal integrity and strategic judgment. Franklin Roosevelt has been replaced with Donald Trump. I will let readers make their own judgments on this change. Actually, the thing that has stayed constant, perhaps because it was always devoid of real empathy for the Palestinians, is the nature of Zionist leadership. Thus, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, has said that the only way the Palestinians can be economically liberated is through their political surrender. But as suggested above, Israel is now a confirmed apartheid state that feels its own “security” necessitates both military and economic control of the Palestinians. Given that reality, Danon’s notion of economic liberation means about as much as Weizmann’s promise of someone else’s (i.e., Britain’s) money. And then there is the replacement of Chaim Weizmann (the Zionist pre-state leader) with Benjamin Netanyahu. The former may have had more persuasive charm than the latter, but certainly their goals were, and continue to be, the same.

It is Zionism’s ambition to possess biblical Palestine that has reduced the Palestinians to destitution. Perfectly predictable and legal Palestinian resistance is the excuse the Israelis use to cover up the segregationist and impoverishing policies that are necessitated by their ideological worldview. And now Donald Trump and his Zionist son-in-law come forward with their plan, fully expecting the Palestinians to trust the Americans and their Israeli allies to make them “developed” and prosperous? I wonder what Ibn Saud would say to that?

About Lawrence Davidson
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Paradigms Flip as Trump and Tulsi Emerge as the Winners of the Democratic Party Debate

Joaquin Flores
June 29, 2019
Image result for Paradigms Flip as Trump and Tulsi Emerge as the Winners of the Democratic Party Debate

The single truth that many mainstream Democrats will have a very difficult time acknowledging coming out of the June 26thDemocratic Party Presidential Debate, is that Donald Trump’s positions on China and Latin America have become a Democratic Party line. Is this is a mere matter of pandering to the polling data on questions like Latin America and China? Even if just that, it would be a Trump success in and of itself.

But it also raises whether Trump has indeed accomplished more – a tectonic shift, a sea-change in elite policy formation focus from Russia and the Mid-east over to China and Latin America. The ties between the DNC and China still appear too strong, and so the reality would seem to tend to rotate around a pandering to the polling data.

From China to solving the migration problem through a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Latin America and more, Trump’s nominal views on these questions found expression as dominating themes in the debate.

In the war of positions, this is a victory for Trump.

The June 26th Democratic Party Presidential Debate was astounding in its representation of a major paradigm shift in the United States.

TULSI GABBARD COMES AWAY THE WINNER

Connected to Trump as the ‘winner’, it was Tulsi Gabbard who stood out from the rest of the candidates. Interestingly, reliable polling data just out from the Drudge Report shows that Gabbard emerged as the winner of the debate on ideas and policies overall. She won some 40% of the vote, and when compared to the candidates whom the other 60% was divided, it was a landslide.

Before anyone dismisses Gabbard, it’s critical to understand that mainstream media lost most of its credibility over the lat election. This is the age of underdogs and dark horses

When the subject moved to Afghanistan and occupation, Gabbard was on confident and really on fire. This is significant because while historically Gabbard’s anti-imperialist line on occupation would be associated with (normally later broken) Democratic Party talking points, it was here that Trump defeated Clinton at the polls, when Trump won the anti-war vote in 2016.

Worth noting as well as that in the aftermath of the debate last night, Gabbard’s new social media campaign on Twitter features her name scrolling across the bottom of the screen in undeniable Trump 2016 campaign font. Coincidence? Nothing in politics is coincidental – nothing.

Gabbard destroyed Ryan on Afghanistan, and Booker’s attempt to attack Gabbard fell tremendously short and felt very artificial, saying that Gabbard’s position on LGBTQ ‘isn’t enough’, but then switching incoherently to the subject of African Americans, Jim Crow, and lynchings – a misfire and very much off-topic.

CHINA

Of the ten candidates debating, four responded that China was the primary threat to the US – but this was the single-most consistent answer. Delaney, Klobuchar, Castro, and Ryan all answered this way.

This was a win for Trump’s entire line for the last thirty something years.

De Blasio stood out as the lone Russiagater, definitely representing the mindset of his New York City electorate and the coastal media establishment.

Gabbard, meanwhile, was wise to name ecological threats as this helped her maintain her position as an anti-war candidate.

The pivot to a focus on China is much less dangerous than the focus on Russia. The US does not really believe it can challenge China in a military sense, and their anti-Chinese rhetoric, while full of sword rattling and imperial bravado, amounts to noise and little more. There is some hope in American quarters about curtailing China’s economic strength, but the focus on China appears more as a question of a state requiring the spectre of an anthropomorphized threat in the abstract, in order to justify the existence of a state and a military budget, and to make a foreigner responsible for matters of wealth disparity and a lack of employment opportunities in the US – a prominent tactic and talking point in market-driven societies based in private property norms.

But the pivot to a focus on China was tremendous and not expected, given the relationship historically between China and the Democratic Party – a friendly one.

Until now, it’s been just the conservative corners of the alt-light in the US-centric internet who view the ‘rising Chinese threat’ as a serious concern for the US. This trope was primarily focused on the twin threat of Chinese rising military prowess and its population size, along with the US practice of outsourcing American jobs to China – a policy that saw short term consumer savings, and mid-to-long term slashes to US wages and employment. It created a trade imbalance which the US can only resolving by defaulting on and then drawing its guns to force a new deal.

Taken all together, this means that whoever Trump gets into the big race with, it will not be a question of ‘whether’ China is a threat, but how to ‘best contain’ the Chinese threat. This is a victory from ‘go’ for Trump.

LATIN AMERICA

Here is another major subject where Trump’s influence on the entire discourse has prevailed, though it’s a little less obvious and requires a minor bifurcation to reveal.

We are of course obliged to mention that the location of the debate in Miami Florida was strategic given its representation of Latinos in the US – traditionally Cuban and more recently Venezuelan Republicans as hardline anti-communists and cold-warriors, who see their children increasingly becoming more ‘center-left’ as they have Americanized and become ‘Latinos’ in the US. They are still at odds geopolitically with Latinos, primarily Mexican-Americans from the American southwest, who tend to be friendlier to socialist ideas and have represented the far-left of the Democratic Party on economic issues as well as anti-imperialism, even if sharing with Cuban-Americans some more socially conservative values. This communitarian axis of Latinos in the US, however, has grown and become a real force of its own.

Trump’s hardline on Cuba and Venezuela is appealing to the Florida wing of the Latino constituency (to the extent we can speak of a single constituency), and this is where the Democratic Party understands it needs to fight in order to win Florida.

There hasn’t been a Republican candidate to win the Presidency without winning Florida in many generations, and the Republican victory of Rick Scott in the state’s most expensive senatorial race against Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson in 2018 shows that Republicans are aiming to win Florida in 2020. The Democratic Party concern is palpable and well founded.

So we find the extraordinary focus on Latinos was represented in the ultimately surprising display of whole Spanish language answers from both Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker, and a few questions wholly or partly in Spanish from the moderators. The entire debate was brought to viewers not just by NBC but also by Spanish language network Telemundo.

At face value, Trump and Democrats seem to be 6’s and 7’s over immigration. But when we really look at what the real deal is, we find yet another alignment of the Democrat’s position to that of Trump’s. How can this be?

To understand this is to understand the overall trajectory now that the US empire is all but finished. Its historical aim now is to be able to disentangle from the Mid-East, a prominent Trump position which used to be Obama’s until it wasn’t, and on the Democratic side today is only being carried forward by Tulsi Gabbard. The so-called neo-isolationism of the US isn’t so much that, as it is a return to the Monroe Doctrine. This author has written about this several years before Trump took office, in the article ‘From Pax Americana to Pan Americana’. Here this author argued that the US must transform from a Sea Power into a Land Power. This isn’t isolationism, but a right-sized regional hegemon, a regional hegemon for the Americas.

Trump’s rhetoric on the immigration question and Mexico has never failed to mention that the mid-to-long term solution is not only that Mexico enforces its own borders to its south, but that the Mexican economy grows – and this requires investment.

The trade-offs are several fold. For one, the US goes back to its China position, and wants Latin American countries to agree to reduce the Chinese influence in exchange for real industrial capital investments from the United States into Latin America.

This is not to say that the Democratic Party has ignored Latin America to date, far from it. It was under Obama’s two terms that the US worked the most to reverse the Pink Tide in Latin America, and this came with a few ‘own goals’ when the ultimate consequence of the regime-change operation in Honduras was to stoke a human wave migration crisis. This was, in short, the American version of the Libya scenario.

While Trump is nominally strict on immigration, it was under Obama that the US deported the most migrants in history. This is a fact that Democrats ignore in their talking points and attacks on Trump’s ‘inhuman policy’ that tears families apart. And so in a strange departure from what might otherwise occur to us, it was Obama’s policy that was worse by the numbers for pro-migration advocates, and it’s been Trump who has openly called for investment into Latin America with a named reason being to stem the migration ‘crisis’.

And it’s this exact talking point that numerous Democratic Party candidates picked up on, and a very telling term was introduced by Julian Castro – a Marshall Plan for Latin America. Cory Booker stood beside and nodded in apparent agreement, and that the words came from the token Latino (no, not Beto), Castro was both intentional and symbolically telling.

While Bolton and Pompeo have operated under the ‘Monroe Doctrine’ term, this is so entirely distasteful for all of Latin America that it offends anyone and everyone, even the US’s own lackeys, puppets, and proxies in the region.

But this Marshall Plan for Latin America was already introducedby none other than Mexican President AMLO himself, in talks with Trump.

“Why it matters: AMLO has worked energetically since taking office to sell the White House on a “Marshall Plan” of support to address the region’s growing migrant crisis. The US commitment is a preliminary sign that he’s at least being heard…

While he campaigned as a compassionate voice on immigration, Mexico’s new left-wing leader spied the need for a grand solution. The US funding will contribute to a $30 billion aid package envisioned by AMLO…

AMLO even dangled the prospect of Chinese investment to bring Trump to the table, according to the NY Times — reasoning that the US might be more willing to pay up if it feared that China might try to expand its influence in the region by opening its wallet.”

Since them, numerous articles have popped up describing Trump’s potential ‘Marshall Plan’ for Central America.

WHAT NEXT? CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

What Tulsi Gabbard, the clear winner of the debate, will do next is to appropriate Julian Castro’s ‘Marshall Plan’ line on Mexico and Central America. It dog-whistles numerous Trump talking points in relation to Mexico, as well as taking a ‘less migration is good migration’ approach to what is no doubt a real problem, without engaging in reactionary attacks on the migrants themselves. To get ‘to the source’ of the problem, as Castro explains, requires investment into Latin America.

Gabbard will be well positioned to nominally attack Trump’s policy implementation along human rights grounds, while not being specific on anything except getting ‘to the source of the problem’.

Gabbard is the dark horse, and along with Yang (in the second night’s debate) will no doubt pull ahead of the conventionally pre-selected winners that were supposed to be Booker, Sanders, Warren and especially Biden. We will see much more focus on Gabbard now in virtual spaces, even while the mainstream media will continue to wrongly focus on Biden and Booker. Booker played his left-most game in the debate, but as prospective voters sort him on questions as far and ranging as Palestine, war, and labor (economy) – they will find him sorely lacking.

With 60% of American generally supporting Trump’s approach to the economy, these are his highest approval ratings, and ones which Americans care about and highly prioritize. Gabbard would be wise to approach the question of distribution, winners and losers of the economic boom, and focus on the 1% vs. the 99%. Doing so will help her move beyond her initial base of support as the anti-war candidate.

This will angle the populist line, and position her well not only against all other Democrats, but even against Trump himself should she win the nomination. It’s a long shot, but remember indeed: this is the age of underdogs and dark horses.

 

Iran got Reagan elected in 1980 – will they get Trump fired in 2020?

June 26, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog (cross-posted by permission with Press TV)

Iran got Reagan elected in 1980 – will they get Trump fired in 2020?

Jimmy Carter’s foolish and feckless opposition to the Iranian Islamic Revolution was perhaps the single-most important reason he was not re-elected in 1980. Nearly 40 years later, Donald Trump is on the brink of allowing Iran to decide yet another US presidential election.

The Pahlavi dynasty was popularly overthrown in February 1979, just as monarchy was deposed in Russia’s “February Revolution” in 1917. Carter’s decision to harbor the royal criminal/US puppet Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the main spark behind Iran’s incredible occupation of the US embassy in November 1979. That was the “real” Iranian Islamic Revolution, because ending monarchy is a rather common historical occurrence (but certainly not common enough in the Muslim and Western worlds). Iran’s historical pathway thus parallels the “real revolution” in 1917 Russia, which actually occurred later that year and is known as the “October Revolution”: the near-bloodless acceptance of the mantle of leadership by the Bolshevik Party. That also created a system which was wholly unique (revolutionary), and which went beyond the mere ending of monarchy.

Let’s remember why the occupation of the US embassy was so very “incredible” – a similar long-term, popularly-supported occupation seems unthinkable today… and yet Honduras – victimized by a coup orchestrated by Hillary Clinton in 2009 – set fire to the entrance of their US embassy in late May. That incident was hushed up by the Western Mainstream Media, of course, but it was impossible to cover-up the 444-day embassy occupation. It was such a face-losing event for Carter and his team of Iranophobes that the anti-imperialist event was the primary cause of Ronald Reagan’s election.

Reagan proved to be no friend to Iran – even though they helped him get a job – because Iranophobia, Islamophobia, and neo-imperialist doctrines reach across decades in Washington, far outstretching any one- or two-term president. Indeed, this constant policy of opposition to Muslim Democracy is why it is foolish to talk of “Trump pulling out of the JCPOA” – rather, it was “Washington” which broke the law unilaterally… again.

Trump’s belligerence, missteps and fascistic stances now have him looking a lot like Carter.

With their claim of having made an “aborted attack” against Iran last week, the US now has one less card to play – a “near attack” can only be followed a “real attack”, lest Washington look like the weak boy who falsely cried wolf. With their sanctions this week on Leader Ali Khamenei, they also now have one less person who will agree to sit at the card table.

The democratic structures of modern Iranian democracy are not complex but they are two things: unique (revolutionary) and totally under-reported in the West. Because there are checks and balances in Iranian democracy, the post (the branch, really) of the Supreme Leader must agree to major diplomatic talks proposed by legislative or executive branch politicians. Alienate the post of the Leader with laughable sanctions and he certainly laughs last at you: you will never negotiate anything serious with Iran.

But Washington has not alienated just one branch of Iran’s government recently: also sanctioning the Revolutionary Guards, upcoming sanctions on a foreign minister (Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif) who had done all he could to further peace and diplomacy for years, an “aborted attack”, illegal drone incursions getting shot down by Iran, $0 in oil sales – and that is just the past two months! Combined with the illegal reneging on the JCPOA, pushing European signatories to essentially renege as well and sanctions on other countries simply for buying an Iranian carpet (which the world desperately needs more of), and it’s clear that the US has alienated all of Iran.

That is not hyperbole from an Iranian commentator on Iranian state media: even The New York Times reported this same widespread sentiment in a (rare non-Iranophobic) article titled, “Iran Greets Latest U.S. Sanctions With Mockery”. They reported, in a surprisingly honest fashion: “An Iranian calling himself K. Jafari wrote in a widely circulated tweet: ‘The only people left to sanction are me, my dad and our neighbor’s kid. The foreign ministry should share Trump’s phone number so we can call him and give him our names.’”

Therefore, Iranian officials recently saying that the path of diplomacy is now permanently closed is not reflecting just one key politician in Iran, but the apparent democratic majority of Iran. Unlike the US or Europe, Iranian policies actually reflect the democratic majority.

Washington has made suspending diplomatic efforts with the US seemingly a democratic necessity for top Iranian politicians, and that could make Trump a one-term president.

The closure of diplomatic talks necessarily implies war – logically, if you reject the former you are only left with the latter. However, all-out war is impossible: Iran refuses it, and after 40 years of good governance, massive redistribution of oil wealth and vast defensive preparations, Iran is impossible to invade and also has scores of millions of willing defenders.

Two adversaries who will never meet toe-to-toe on the field of battle are necessarily limited to skirmishes around it – in places like the Strait of Hormuz. Such skirmishes – which will be regrettable, deadly and solely the fault of Western antagonism – could occur for the next (roughly) 444 days until the US 2020 elections, and will only drive up the price of oil.

That threatens the US economy, and – because the US “recovery” has been limited merely to the creation of new asset bubbles in the stock market, real estate, and other markets frequented by the wealthy – voters could choose to punish Trump by electing a Democrat in 2020.

Iranian politicians will once again play a huge role in an American election: the Principlist Party appears content to watch the JCPOA fail if it helps them retake Parliament in Iran’s May 2020 vote. However, due to Western duplicity, I don’t see what the Principlists could possibly do to get Europe and the US to start honoring their word? On the other side of the aisle, what choice will Reformists have but to also become more anti-US – indeed, Washington is the primary reason for Iran’s economic and diplomatic woes during their watch! Thus, Iranian politicians – after years of attempting détente with the US – appear poised to abandon it until at least May 2020.

So: more lost face for the US as Iran prevails yet again in very limited military skirmishes, more economic pain for the US caused by oil market instability which they provoked, and Iranian domestic politics which are united behind encouraging a change in US leadership.

It’s looking like a repeat of 1980, but with only one hostage – Trump.

Someone in Trump’s circle of fools needs to tell him: even if anti-Iran lobbies are devoted to pushing them no matter how badly they affect the average American, policies aimed at sparking Venezuela-like civil turmoil are doomed to immediate failure in Iran, and will certainly provoke consequences which US voters will remember at election time.

If Trump is foolishly intent on antagonizing Iran even further, I’d advise him to stop until at least 2021 – he can only lose big league (or “bigly”) to use a Trumpian phrase. Or rather, his policies towards Iran can only continue to lose.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.

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