Economic war on Lebanon, into 2021: Dr Marwa Osman

Dr Marwa Osman’s Press TV program, 13 January 2021

Iran engages in defensive ops facing Trump’s unpredictable final days

Compilation – Amerika: who we are!

Are You sure about that Joe?

UAE Converted Yemen’s Balhaf Gas Facility into Secret Prison

UAE Converted Yemen’s Balhaf Gas Facility into Secret Prison

Source

Over the past few years, the United Arab Emirates has been pursuing a plethora of agendas in Southern Yemen, whether directly or via backing the separatist Southern Transitional Council [STC].

Among Abu Dhabi’s primary objectives in Yemen are taking control of the country’s western Red Sea coast; the Bab-el-Mandeb, a strait located between Yemen, Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, and Socotra, an archipelago near major shipping routes.

But this hegemonic ambition has never been just limited to taking strategic locations.

The story of Balhaf is a case in point; a major oil facility in Shabwah Governorate turned by the Emiratis into a detention center, among other things.

The existence of the Balhaf prison was first announced by the United Nations in September 2019.

Two months later, Armaments Observatory released a detailed report about the facility which the Emiratis had turned into a military base and a secret prison.

But what made the story strange was the silence of France since the revelation. Given that Total SE, a French multinational oil and gas company, was the biggest shareholder with nearly 40% of stake, critics say the silence is significant.

The fact that they’ve taken over a gas plant essential for the country’s energy supply, and for its economy, and turned it into a detention camp where torture is being reportedly carried on is just an indication of the brutality of this occupation force in Yemen.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Based on witness accounts, the report also accused Emirati soldiers of treating prisoners inhumanely. The UAE had already been accused of running a secret network of prisons across Yemen.

But I think having prisons in other countries, particularly in Yemen, it’s difficult to tell what’s happening in Yemen because there’s a war. So, I mean, it’s much easier to hide political prisoners, torture. It’s much more difficult for human rights agencies to tell what exactly is happening. And it’s much easier for the authorities and the occupation forces to deny that that these abuses are taking place. So I think having a detention center in Yemen is advantageous for the United Arab Emirates in that sense. Remember that the United Arab Emirates, is a country that presents an image of itself as a modernizing country; it’s highly invested in technology. And, you know, Dubai is a major city in the world, major modern city, so it would not work to have this kind of brutality on its own shores.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

But what made the story strange was the awkward silence of France since the revelation.

Total SE has 40% stake in Balhaf

Given that Total SE, a French multinational oil and gas company, was the biggest shareholder with a nearly 40% stake, critics said the silence was significant.

The French parliament has called on Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to answer questions about the alleged existence of a UAE-built military base and detention center in the vicinity of Balhaf.

French lawmaker Clementine Autain has accused Emmanuel Macron’s government of covering up crimes committed by the UAE at Balhaf.

The UAE has gradually become a crucial partner for France.

“Despite their small size and low profile, the Emiratis play a key role in France’s international strategy.”

French Historian, Sébastien Nadot

UAE worth enough for France to ignore atrocities

A rich federation with a big appetite for arms purchase, the UAE is worth enough for the French to look the other way when the Emiratis are violating human rights at Balhaf, or anywhere else.

In fact, France’s silence could be explained by its lucrative partnership with Abu Dhabi, especially in military cooperation and arms purchases.

[The] United Arab Emirates, of course, have been relying on French technology. They have the tanks, the current tanks and Mirage planes which they’ve been supplied with by the French. The French, continue to maintain those military technologies that they’re using that that equipment that they’re using. And of course that is a key to their war because the equipment, most of it has been bought in the West, in particular in France. And so the French are heavily involved in this whole scenario here, where essentially the country’s energy supply is now being used as a torture and a prison center.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Despite public outrage, arms deals have been getting bigger over the past decade between Paris and Abu Dhabi, according to the 2020 report to parliament on arms exports. 

“What we fear today is that these arms could be used to commit those violations and potentially war crimes. We call today through this legal study, for the opening of a real debate, and equally an immediate suspension of the sale of arms from France to those two countries engaged in war in Yemen.”

Aymeric Elluin, Amnesty International

The first French multi-service military base in the Middle East is located in Abu Dhabi “housing around 700 military personnel, the base includes an air base, a naval base capable of receiving a French aircraft carrier, and an army base.”

Well, since 2010 under President Nicolas Sarkozy, the French have upped their investment in other countries, in particular, the United Arab Emirates. They even have a military base in the United Arab Emirates, so they have been very much involved in supplying and modernizing the United Arab Emirates, technology, their military technology. And so that is the main reason that means that the partnership is quite extensive and quite deep. They’ve even allowed the United Arab Emirates to have major exports paintings, for example, have been exported temporarily to the United Arab Emirates, in exchange for continued military contracts, so these military contracts are extremely important for France. I already mentioned Mirage planes, Leclerc tanks and many more, much more technology. This is a multibillion dollar industry.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

French presence in UAE is strategic for Paris

According to Emma Soubrier, Arab Gulf States Institute, “For France, a presence in the UAE is strategic and will allow easy intervention to prevent possible disturbances affecting access to Gulf oil.”

Abu Dhabi is visibly formulating a regional strategy of influence with a focus on the creation of commercial and military port facilities stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Mediterranean.

“In general, Paris does not want to strike any false note that might spoil its intimate friendship with Abu Dhabi, believing that this symbiotic relationship will in the years to come always lead to success.”

Jalel Harchaoui, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

Given the military background of Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, the French have little, if any doubt, that the UAE will continue signing big arms deals with them.

The idea that France supports human rights, that it has concerns over rights, is really a myth. The Human Rights discourse is really part of the foreign policy agenda of the French. It’s about presenting a positive image of France as a moral order, as a moral power, when in reality they have never been interested in human rights, the main interest is in Power Projection and economic exchange and exploitation, in particular, of developing countries, and the Gulf, the Gulf states allied with ‘Israel’ and the West, are key to that objective.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Balhaf mirrors the inhumanity of the Emiratis

Located on the Gulf of Aden coast in the southern part of Yemen, Balhaf mirrors the inhumanity of the Emiratis who have turned Yemen’s major source of income into a secret, macabre prison and the greed of the French who seem to have preferred petrodollars to anything else in the world.

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Britain’s Colonial Past and Brexit. The Real Link Which Remainers Can’t Deal With

Britain's Colonial Past and Brexit. The Real Link Which Remainers Can't  Deal With
Martin Jay is an award-winning British journalist based in Morocco where he is a correspondent for The Daily Mail (UK) who previously reported on the Arab Spring there for CNN, as well as Euronews. From 2012 to 2019 he was based in Beirut where he worked for a number of international media titles including BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, DW, as well as reporting on a freelance basis for the UK’s Daily Mail, The Sunday Times plus TRT World. His career has led him to work in almost 50 countries in Africa, The Middle East and Europe for a host of major media titles. He has lived and worked in Morocco, Belgium, Kenya and Lebanon.

Martin Jay

January 6, 2021

The Brexit deal snatched at the last minute by Boris Johnson is not the amazing coup, trumped by his media officials or the conservative press. But it is a good deal for the UK and a pretty good escape plan for the EU which was faced with a new battle in 2021: to deal with the political turmoil of Britain ‘going alone’. Given that the EU already has enough political tumult with Poland and Hungary blocking a 2 trillion dollar rescue package for countries hit hard by Covid, the last thing the EU needed was a new crisis of its own making.

Yet the deal is still controversial both in the UK and in Brussels as in many ways the real test will be in the coming years, whether EU giants like Germany and France chose to allow the UK to grow – thus becoming a bigger and bigger customer to the EU 27 – or for it to become a pariah which the EU punishes through its arbitration system, agreed in the fine print of the final draft. Some sceptics will argue that when Britain starts to grow in certain sectors, it will have its wings clipped by an overzealous EU which will cry foul play every time one EU member state complains that it can’t compete with British goods or services. This is the real heart of the deal: whether this part of the agreement will be exercised fairly.

But does the EU really do “fair”? One look at how it treats Iran within a human rights prism while not condemning Saudi Arabia’s appalling war in Yemen should tell you much. Or how it supports the repressive regimes of many North African countries who acknowledge its fake hegemony while signing up to training courses for its police forces in how to effectively spread fake news through social media platforms and carry out better “surveillance”. Or just the number of human rights scandals on home soil which dog the EU, as more and more debating chambers in the European Parliament are named after journalists murdered while uncovering graft – while the perpetrators remain free.

The EU doesn’t really do well when we examine it in this light. Fairness and equality are not really its traits. In fact, the quip from Vladimir Putin that the EU “can’t even create a single market in its energy sector” when complaining about market access in Germany is very true. The “level playing field” is very much just a buzz phrase in Brussels to distract the embedded journalist to not look too hard at how ineffective the EU is at playing on it. A sort of reverse theory of logic which dictates the more you talk about something the less likely you are to do anything about it. And there are too many examples of this doctrine. SMEs is another. “Small and medium-sized business” which we are told in tomes of EU reports provide the solution to unemployment as studies show that they are the ones who employ workers quickly. And yet, the EU does almost everything it can to destroy them in reality through allowing the European parliament to be an orgy scene of multinational companies – invariably non-EU ones – who use the lobbying system to ensure than new EU directives push them out of the market altogether.

There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in Brussels and for remainers in the UK, who are still angry over Brexit now going though, much of their grief is really based on ideals built on the foundations supporting a pantheon of ignorance and mythology.

The EU doesn’t do fairness. It doesn’t even do democracy and in fact doesn’t even faintly pretend to. Yet it remains quiet when its millions of supporters harp on about how democratic it is, chiefly sighting the most useless and futile institution ever created: the European parliament. “Look, the EU is democratic. It has its own parliament!” people often say without taking stock of how the European parliament is probably the only assembly in the world which has no power whatsoever to propose draft legislation and is more or less run by powerful lobbying firms. For the EU itself, it is a farcical, last minute idea bolted on to allude to the idea of being democratic. But most portly MEPs who blow hundreds of millions of dollars each year travelling to Strasbourg every three weeks – burning a hole in the ozone layer the size of London – will tell you after two glasses of Chilean house red that they are nothing more than EU civil servants rubber stamping the important stuff that the adults do down the road in the European Commission. And that’s on a good day.

Yet fairness and its opaque interpretations is a big part of what Brexit is really all about. Certainly, the feral remainers in the UK who still dream of the deal being scuppered. Many are left-wing and believe naively that to belong to the EU assures Britain stays multicultural and will never fall victim to a rise of the far right – a desperate, yet equally hilarious notion, given that the EU itself is a white supremacist organisation essentially ran by white, middle aged men, many of whom are European freemasons whose delusion views about taking more power in Brussels is actually feeding the far right movement in Europe. The more the political crisis the EU finds itself in, the higher the number of far right seats in the European Parliament. It’s no longer a mystery or an enigma. Many top EU officials now admit that the EU has a real identity problem and are dumbfounded to see that its power grab is part of the solution.

But it’s also about how British people see themselves and how they cope with achievement. Winners and losers, if you like. Many remainers believe that any excursion to win in any given field should be discouraged and that being an EU member state was a perfect way of instilling this assiduous virtue which comes from the same loins as “it’s not the winning that matters, but the taking part”.

For 11 years I worked in Brussels as a journalist pouring over the texts of financial services directives, many hundreds of pages. A theme always became clear though in all of them which was that the City of London needed to “harmonize” its rules more in line with new rules which France and Germany wanted to introduce. The effect of this each and every time was to take away the business from London. And this is really the crux of Brexit. The EU has been trying to diminish the UK’s lead in many sectors through a disingenuous ruse which led Britain to believe that its membership was a genuinely fair and decent one. In reality it was entirely indecent and in the end enough people woke up and realised that EU membership really wasn’t worth much, given that it meant Britain handing over much of its gains from being a leader.

And what in God’s name is so wrong with leading? Remainers who pen clever op-eds now in the left-wing press are the real conservatives obsessed with Britain’s colonial past when they make the erroneous link with Britain’s pink history. It is just plain wrong to assume that British leadership at anything is colonial. Those same journalists fail to see that Britain’s colonial past was a failed venture and ended up almost bankrupting the country. Many, by contrast, who voted for Brexit see the UK embracing new relationships all over the world and signing trade deals with countries like Turkey, free now of the “colonialism” of old white men in Brussels who probably dance naked around trees once a year and have funny handshakes. Brexit is very much about an anticolonialism and yet many remainers are still joined at the hip with their khaki pasts. They are, by definition, conservative and racist as they equate anything to do with coming first with Britain’s war with the Mau Mau in the 1950s. They want Britain to be an “also ran” and dependent on Brussels for help tied to a colonial and abusive master who can’t look forward, is out of touch with reality and is racist to the core. If anything, Brexit is an end to colonialism and the embrace of a new set of economic ideals which places Britain as equal partners in trade with countries like India. If India can put aside its colonial past and wrongs by Britain, then why can’t remainers? The real link between Britain’s imperial past and Brexit is that the European Commission is still stuck with this model of governance itself, complete with the Brylcreem, the Sten and the khaki shorts. Remainers are not anti-imperialists at all. They are just anti-British imperialists who much prefer to be enslaved by Jean-Christophe, Luc or Hans in Brussels.

Washington’s ignorance is why the Empire will be kicked out of West Asia

Washington’s ignorance is why the Empire will be kicked out of West Asia

January 02, 2021

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

A year has passed since US President Donald Trump, like the coward he is, ordered the murder of General Qassem Soleimani and PMU second in command Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The Islamic Republic and the US were on the brink of all-out war as a result of the savage actions of the US President. Immediately after the act of terror, western journalists, think tanks and analysts started to speculate on whether the Islamic Republic was finished in the region.

“Soleimani’s death is a major blow to Iran” they said. Some even speculated or rather hoped that with Soleimani gone, the entire Islamic resistance would collapse as it now apparently looked leaderless.
The Americans and the Israelis made the same arrogant calculations, thinking that Soleimani was irreplaceable and that the Resistance Axis had been dealt a severe blow. Little do they understand how the Islamic Resistance works and why it exists.

Martyr Soleimani acted as the coordinator between Iran and its allies among the Islamic resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. The man commanded a lot of respect and was admired not just in the region but worldwide, which makes it easy to understand why he had to die. This terrorist act was consistent with US foreign policy since Trump assumed power as Washington has sought to humiliate, punish and bully Iran into submission through terrorism, siege warfare and threats.

This policy of humiliation was very apparent when Trump, the imbecile openly bragged about the murder and claimed that Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing. (I use the word imbecile to describe him because that is how the rest of the world sees him and I don’t care how much MAGA fans thinks he is a “genius” at home. To the world, the man is a vile and disgusting terrorist. So please, if you’re going to comment on this piece, know that I am no Democrat, I am not American and I couldn’t care less about how he is viewed over there)

So what exactly did Trump achieve with this act of terror?

One of Washington’s long-term goals has been committed to “isolating” Iran, thus weakening the Islamic Republic’s resolve. What they call “Iranian proxies” across the region have become a real headache for Washington and Tel Aviv. It is therefore no surprise that Iran’s allies are being targeted everywhere. The Islamic resistance has gained a lot of strength over the years. The Lebanese Hezbollah has become the strongest ally of Iran, the best armed and trained group in the Middle East, a fact that the Zionist entity is clearly worried over. In the words of IRGC General Mohammad-Reza Falahzadeh “the ability of the resistance front is today at its peak throughout the region and has defeated America, the Zionists and the Wahhabis.”

It is for this exact reason that Washington and Tel Aviv are so violent and hateful against Iran and its allies. “How dare these savage Muslims stand up against ‘the greatest and most freedom loving country’ in the history of mankind?”

Not only did the murder not manage to break up the Resistance Axis, but it actually made them stronger. The Islamic Resistance’s resolve is stronger than ever today, and the battles against the forces of evil have continued with success for the anti-imperial forces. I’m not surprised that Western journalists, think tanks and American/Israeli intelligence couldn’t make the correct calculations of what Soleimani’s murder would mean. How could they ever understand? The other side believes in nothing, they are godless, morally depraved and would even sell out their own people for profit. They have nothing to fight for except to satisfy their lust and greed. Of course they will in their arrogance think that everyone else in the world thinks and acts like they do.

They are incapable of understanding that resistance is an ideology- an idea of a free and independent Middle East. It is not dependent on one man like Ayatollah Khamenei or a group of Generals in Iraq. Killing Iranians or Iraqis will not kill an ideology and a religion that has existed for more than 1400 years, it will only make new martyrs and strengthen the faith. Martyrdom is the core of the Shiite faith ever since the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in 680 AD. The tyrant Yazid couldn’t destroy the ideology back then when he slaughtered Imam Hussein and his followers savagely, what makes Washington believe that they can do it now? Of course, being a racist bigot like Trump or Netanyahu, makes it rather difficult to understand most things about their enemies.

This is why they still cannot understand how Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis did more damage to Washington in their death than they ever could in life. The region responded with hatred. The assassination united the Iranian and Iraqi peoples under the banner of Resistance. From Pakistan to Lebanon, and from Yemen to even parts of Europe, millions of people came out in solidarity with the martyrs and showed their absolute disgust with the Trump and Washington altogether. The martyrs’ funeral procession across Iran and Iraq were among the largest ever seen.

The Iraqi parliament immediately voted to expel the US occupation troops and Iran responded by striking US bases in Iraq despite the White House imbecile’s crude threats to annihilate Iran’s cultural heritage.
The Islamic Republic’s retaliation on January 8th, was not only defiant in nature, but it was also unprecedented. It was a long time ago that another country, especially a smaller country with fewer resources and considerably less military strength, dared to directly attack US forces. I argue, just like the Saker that this was the day that the Empire truly lost.
Washington didn’t respond, despite Trump’s threats to commit crimes against humanity if Iran dared to retaliate. The emperor was shown to be naked behind those pathetic Twitter threats, Washington had nothing to respond with. I believe the reason for Washington’s non-response was due to what happened on the night of January 8th. Immediately after Iran’s retaliation, Iran’s allies Hezbollah, the Houthis and Hashd Al-Shaabi of Iraq threatened to start an all-out regional war if the US dared to attack Iranian soil. I believe that message was received loud and clear by Washington.

So instead, Trump responded with more sanctions, a policy he has continued over the past year. Doubling down on failed policies seems to be Washington’s top priority. The maximum pressure campaign didn’t force Iran to the negotiations table, yet the imbecile still bragged that after his supposed election victory in November “The first call I get will be from Iran, they are dying to make a deal”.

This shows that Trump has no idea what he is dealing with. He has no understanding of the region, how some countries actually care about their independence and how his pathetic Twitter rants have only garnered the collective hate of Muslims in the region.

The Zionists know this. They know that his policies have only emboldened the Resistance front. This is why they are hoping to pressure Trump to attack Iran with less than three weeks remaining of his presidency (again I don’t care if MAGA fans think he will get his second term). Hoping to provoke and all-out war with Iran, they are making the mistake again to think that the Islamic Republic will stand alone, which it will not. I’ve said before that a war with Iran means a regional war, and possibly one where Russia would have to get involved as well. It is therefore troubling to read reports on how Mossad agents have travelled to Iraq with the aim of staging a false flag attack on US interests and pinning it on Iran. It is no coincidence that Washington has been flexing muscles and building up troops in the region, as a “deterrent” against “Iran’s revenge” on the eve of the 1st year anniversary of the murders of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.

Whether the imbecile will start a war on behalf of his Zionist masters or not, we will see in the coming days. In any case, the Resistance Front stands ready to face any threat.

Ramallah Traitors Impatient to Resume Unconditional Talks with Israel

Report: Abbas Impatient to Resume Unconditional Talks with Israel

January 2, 2021

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah. (Photo: via Facebook)

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas hopes to resume unconditional talks with Israel as soon as possible, a senior PA official informed Israel Hayom.

On Friday, the Israeli outlet reported a senior PA official stating that Abbas is enthusiastic “to resume negotiations with Israel as soon as possible through American mediation and without preconditions.”

The official argued that Abbas is planning to take advantage of the fact that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration has not yet formulated a clear vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the official, if the Biden administration became preoccupied with other issues, it would place the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the bottom of its agenda. As a result, it could take months before making any progress.

“The goal is to strike while the iron is hot and resume negotiations without delay,” the official confirmed.

“The new Biden administration has a lot on its plate. It has internal problems to resolve, it has to come up with a policy about the Iran nuclear deal and restore its relationship with China and the European Union,” the Israeli official stated.

Abbas is afraid that any delay in the peace process could give Israel the chance to perpetuate the current situation – expanding settlements and building new ones.

This message, according to the official, was sent by Abbas to Washington through the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, with whom Abbas met in Doha.

Israeli-PA talks stalled in April 2014 when Israel refused to stop settlement construction and release a batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners.

Political Jesus

PEPE ESCOBAR • DECEMBER 23, 2020

Hieronymus Bosch, The Adoration of the Magi: detail featuring the splendid African Balthasar and, partially naked, at the entrance of the hut, the Anti-Christ.

Let’s hit the road in the search for the real Jesus.

Galilee, Year 27: baptized by an itinerant preacher, John the Baptist. That’s when the story really begins. We know virtually nothing of his life till then.

Galilee is ruled by shabby client kings of the Roman empire – first Herod, then his son Herod Antipas. Jesus only enters imperial jurisdiction later, when he moves to Judaea, a Roman province since Year 6.

Galilee is all about agricultural and fishing land, surrounded by way more sophisticated Greeks and Phoenicians. Jesus grows up in a context of simple peasant life; increasing taxes; population explosion; and then non-stop fragmentation of peasant land, causing the proverbial pressures on traditional family life.

Social oppression inevitably had to engender resistance – in the form of budding peasant unrest. Talk about quite fertile ground for the proliferation of charismatic spiritual leaders.

Yet who was Jesus The Man, really? A Jewish holy man? A prophet? A magician? A miracle man? A peasant leader? A revolutionary? Prefiguring Walt Withman, he did “contain multitudes”. He was indeed all things to all men.

What we seem to know for sure is that he had charisma in spades – and exuded natural authority.

The Synoptic Gospels point to problems with Mom and his brothers. Yet he never abandoned his followers – those twelve specials, all from very humble backgrounds, except Matthew (a tax collector).

He lived on the (dusty) road – full time, and that was not exactly comfortable. He was at ease with everyone – prostitutes included.

As a preacher, he was a master of P.R. He talked in parables – easily grasped by small agricultural communities. That’s where he felt really at home.

So Jesus was a rural, not urban, phenomenon. He specially appealed to those who were ill – mentally and physically. He built up a solid reputation as a healer: all those miracle cures – especially exorcisms. And the whole lot interpreted as a sign of holiness.

Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. His followers were overwhelmingly Jews – those peasants destabilized by heavy taxation of their lands and ingloriously clashing with the corruption of Herod’s political machine.

Jesus focused on the imminence of God’s kingdom. But what did he really mean? The Gospels don’t make it easier. Much of his preaching is inclusive. Yet sometimes he would refer to a “Last Judgment” in which the wicked will be punished and the good will be rewarded.

Essentially, he was a millenarian prophet. But as much as he was striving for moral renewal, he was delivering a social message – where the “kingdom” to come represented the Triumph of the Outcast. What that really mean, in practice, was possibly a renewal of family and village community life.

Whatever he was really up to, the Powers That Be feared Jesus. After all he was way too popular. And even if he did not advise armed resistance, Power could not but be very worried by a charismatic leader with miraculous attributes dazzling the crowds.

Jesus may have sensed he was a target. And that’s what may have provoked the move to Judaea – possibly in Year 30. And then to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem may have been the Holy Grail. The apex of his mission – as he finally sensed he was ready to confront the powers behind the Temple.

He made a Jerusalem entrance that was nothing short of epic, riding a donkey – as if fulfilling a prophecy (Zechariah) that “a king” would enter Jerusalem on a donkey. In Matthew, the crowds actually call him “Son of David”.

Jerusalem was buzzing with people getting together for Passover. And last but not least, Roman governor Pontius Pilate and his troops were also in town, freshly arrived from Caesarea – the Roman HQ in the province – and obsessed with maintaining order.

Enter Caiaphas, the high priest: a canny, vastly experienced political operator, who managed for years to get the support of the Jews while placating his Roman overlords.

Now imagine the scene – worthy of a Scorsese epic: an outsider, itinerant preacher from Galilee, arriving in the mean streets with his posse, all speaking in weird accents, with the crowds shouting he may be the Messiah.

And then, the ultimate set piece: he enters the Temple, by himself, and overthrows the tables of the moneylenders. What did he really want?

That’s Political Jesus 1 and 2.

1. To graphically stress the end of the old order – Temple included – and the coming of the “new kingdom”.

2. To express – politically – the growing popular revolt against the ruling elite.

And by a simple twist of fate, that’s when he sealed his destiny.

Blowback was instantaneous. The Jewish priests had to be placated. They feared Roman retaliation. And then Caiaphas saw his opening, telling them – according to the Gospel by John – “it is better for one man to die for the people”.

And that’s how Jesus the Outsider was used as only a pawn in their game to maintain order in Jerusalem.

He was now free to enter History as a larger than life Martyr, Savior, and Myth.

ISRAEL WILL TAKE CARE OF GULF MONARCHIES

South Front

Finally, democracy is coming to the Persian Gulf.

Israel announced plans to deploy a joint missile defense system in the Persian Gulf as a part of a joint effort with US- and Israeli-allied monarchies to deter Iran.

The idea was announced at the official level by the head of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, which is part of the Defense Ministry. Moshe Patel said that “in the future”, Israel is ready to deploy its own systems and to synchronize them with comparable systems employed by the Gulf Monarchies.

“From an engineering point of view, of course there is a lot of advantage. That information can be shared, like sensors that can be deployed in both countries because we have the same enemies,” Patel stated.

The announced plan is a logical continuation of the recent diplomatic achievements of the Trump administration, which had finally forced several US regional partners to accept a formal normalization with Israel. For years, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others were silently cooperating with Israel in the security, intelligence and military fields. Now, when the tensions between the Iranian Axis of Resistance and the US-Israeli-led bloc are on the rise, Washington has finally forced its allies to accept existing reality and even to expand the existing cooperation under the pretext of fighting the so-called Iranian threat.

The coming months will likely lead to even more revelations of the reality of modern diplomatic and security policy in the Middle East with the Israeli leadership taking the leading place in the policy of the Gulf monarchies.

The inability, and in some cases unwillingness, of the current format of the US-led anti-Iranian alliance to achieve its main goal – to destroy the current political regime in Iran – under the Trump leadership does not mean that these plans would cease when Mr. Trump leaves office. Instead, Tel Aviv is once again taking a leading role in their implementation. It is likely that the proactive position of Israel in the current conditions will be aimed at preventing the softening of US policy on the Iranian question under the incoming Democratic administration in the White House.

Israel is interested in creating such conditions in the region that would leave no other option for the US, but to continue the existing course towards further confrontation with Iran.

When Deplorables Become Ungovernables

When Deplorables Become Ungovernables - TheAltWorld
 Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Pepe Escobar

Independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist

December 16, 2020

China, Russia and Iran are the top three existential “threats” to the U.S., according to the National Security Strategy. Three features distinguish the top three. They are all sovereign powers. They are under varying degrees of sanctions. And they are the top three nodes of the 21st century’s most important, evolving geopolitical process: Eurasia integration.

What do the three sovereigns see when they examine the dystopia that took over Exceptionalistan?

They see, once again, three – discombobulated – nodes in conflict: the post-historic Pacific and Atlantic coasts; the South – a sort of expanded Dixieland; and the Midwest – what would be the American heartland.

The hyper-modern Pacific-Atlantic nodes congregate high-tech and finance, profit from Pentagon techno-breakthroughs and benefit from the “America rules the waves” ethos that guarantees the global primacy of the U.S. dollar.

The rest of America is largely considered by the Pacific-Atlantic as just a collection of flyover states: the South – which regards itself as the real, authentic America; and the Midwest, largely disciplined and quite practical-minded, squeezed ideologically between the littoral powerhouses and the South.

Superstructure, tough, is key: no matter what happens, whatever the fractures, this remains an Empire, where only a tiny elite, a de facto plutocratic oligarchy, rules.

It would be too schematic, even though essentially correct, to assert that in the presidential election, invisible campaigner Joe Biden represented the Pacific-Atlantic nodes, and Trump represented the whole South. Assuming the election was not fraudulent – and that remains a big “if” – the Midwest eventually swung based on three issues.

  1. Trump, as much as he relied on a sanctions juggernaut, could not bring back manufacturing jobs home.
  2. He could not reduce the military footprint across the Greater Middle East.
  3. And, before Covid-19, he could not bring down immigration.

Everything that lies ahead points to the irreconcilable – pitting the absolute majority that voted Dem in the Atlantic-Pacific nodes versus the South and a deeply divided Midwest. As much as Biden-Harris is bound to isolate the South even more, their prospects of “pacifying” the Midwest are less than zero.

Whose ground control?

Beyond the raucous altercations on whether the presidential election was fraudulent, these are the key factual points.

  1. A series of rules in mostly swing states were changed, through courts, bypassing state legislatures, without transparence, before the election, paving the way to facilitate fraud schemes.
  2. Biden was de facto coronated by AP, Google and Twitter even before the final, official result, and weeks before the electoral college vote this past Monday.
  3. Every serious, professional audit to determine whether all received and tabulated votes were valid was de facto squashed.

In any Global South latitude where the empire did “interfere” in local elections, color revolution-style, this set of facts would be regarded by scores of imperial officials, in a relentless propaganda blitz, as evidence of a coup.

On the recent Supreme Court ruling, a Deep State intel source told me, “the Supreme Court did not like to see half the country rioting against them, and preferred the decision be made by each state in the House of Representatives. That is the only way to handle this without jeopardizing the union. Even prominent Democrats I know realize that the fix took place. The error was to steal too many votes. This grand theft indicts the whole system, that has always been corrupt.”

Dangers abound. On the propaganda front, for instance, far right nationalists are absolutely convinced that U.S. media can be brought to heel only by occupying the six main offices of the top conglomerates, plus Facebook, Google and Twitter: then you’d have full control of the U.S. propaganda mill.

Another Deep State source, now retired, adds that, “the U.S. Army does not want to intervene as their soldiers may not obey orders.

Many of these far right nationalists were officers in the armed forces. They know where the nuclear missiles and bombers are. There are many in sympathy with them as the U.S. falls apart in lockdowns.”

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden’s dodgy dealings simply will not be made to vanish from public scrutiny. He’s under four different federal investigations. The recent subpoena amounts to a very serious case pointing to a putative crime family. It’s been conveniently forgotten that Joe Biden bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations

that he forced Ukraine’s chief prosecutor Viktor Shokin to be fired exactly when he was investigating corruption by Burisma’s founder.

Of course, a massive army of shills will always invoke another army of omniscient and oh so impartial “fact checkers” to hammer the same message: “This is Trump’s version. Courts have said clearly all the evidence is baseless.”

District Attorney William Barr is now out of the picture (see his letter of resignation). Barr is a notorious Daddy Bush asset since the old days – and that means classic Deep State. Barr knew about all federal investigations on Hunter Biden dating back to 2018, covering potential money laundering and bribery.

And still, as the Wall Street Journal delightfully put it, he “worked to avoid their public disclosure during the heated election campaign”.

devastating report (Dems: a Republican attack report) has shown how the Biden family was connected to a vast financial network with multiple foreign ramifications.

Then there’s Barr not even daring to say there was enough reason for the Department of Justice to engage in a far-reaching investigation into voting fraud, finally putting to rest all “baseless” conspiracy theories.

Move on. Nothing to see here. Even if an evidence pile-up featured, among other instances, ballot stuffing, backdated ballots, statistical improbabilities, electronic machine tampering, software back doors, affidavits from poll workers, not to mention the by now legendary stopping the vote in the dead of night, with subsequent, huge batches of votes miraculously switching from Trump to Biden.

Once again an omniscient army of oh so impartial “fact checkers” will say everything is baseless.

A perverse blowback

A perverse form of blowback is already in effect as informed global citizens may now see, crystal clear, the astonishing depth and reach of Deep State power – the ultimate decider of what happens next in Dystopia Central.

Both options are dire.

  1. The election stands, even if considered fraudulent by nearly half of U.S. public opinion. To quote that peerless existentialist, The Dude, there’s no rug tying the room together anymore.
  2. Was the election to be somehow overturned before January 20, the Deep State would go Shock and Awe to finish the job.

In either case, The Deplorables will become The Ungovernables.

It gets worse. A possible implosion of the union – with internal convulsions leading to a paroxysm of violence – may even be coupled with an external explosion, as in a miscalculated imperial adventure.

For the Three Sovereigns – Russia, China and Iran – as well as the overwhelming majority of the Global South, the conclusion is inescapable: if the current, sorry spectacle is the best Western liberal “democracy” has to offer, it definitely does not need any enemies or “threats”.

Chicken run: Lebanese boy risks life and limb to rescue runaway fowl from Israel

Hussein Shartoony becomes an unexpected hero after Israeli soldiers fire bullets into the air as he attempts to rescue his friend

By Nur Ayoubi

Published date: 16 December 2020 14:35 UTC | Last update: 5 hours 2 mins ago

Hezbollah may be Israel’s most pressing threat on the Lebanese border, but a chicken-related incident has indicated that the Israeli army is frightened of a military coop, too.

Hussein Shartoony, a young Lebanese boy from the southern village of Meiss el-Jabal, has won plaudits for his bravery after risking life and limb to rescue a runaway chicken that had made a break for Lebanon’s enemy to the south.

The youth is reported to have completed the rescue operation despite Israeli troops firing into the air in an attempt to shoo Shartoony away.

‘I wasn’t scared because I wanted my chicken’

– Hussein Shartoony

In a video that has been viewed over 100,000 times on Twitter, Shartoony explains how the day before the incident, his father had purchased two chickens for Hussein and two for his brother.

As the two brothers opened the chicken hutch the next morning, one of Hussein’s chickens escaped towards a fence guarded by Israeli soldiers.

Shartoony explains: “I went to catch my chicken, but from their fear, the Israelis started to shoot at the sky and the wind.”

When asked if he was scared, he assuredly replies that he was not. “I wasn’t scared because I wanted my chicken.”

Shartoony’s resolute statement of “I want my chicken” has resonated with social media users and was made into an Arabic hashtag.

Online, people have used the phrase in a hashtag to commend Hussein’s courage.

Translation: Whoever does not give up on his chicken cannot give up a homeland. Thank you to this southern cub who isn’t afraid of tanks and those who shelter in them and provided a lesson in dignity and patriotism. Please listen to him.

Translation: Oh the innocence of this child who carries within him the claim to his rights without abandoning them no matter what. He did not pay attention to the bullets as much as the demand for his right.

Others took the opportunity to ridicule the Israeli army for their reaction.

Translation: The chicken which terrorised the Zionists today at the border which led to bullets being fired by the occupation army. If a chicken did this to you what would happen if we sent a rooster?

Meanwhile, some regarded Hussein’s story as a metaphor for the Palestinian claim over their land.

Translation: We won’t even give up a chicken, you want us to give up Palestine?

Israel has invaded Lebanon several times, and occupied its south between 1982 and 2000.

Meiss el-Jabal is about 2km from the United Nations-demarcated Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. The Blue Line is a border demarcation that the UN created in 2000 to measure whether Israel had fully withdrawn from the south. Lebanon says Israel still occupies some parts of its territory, including the Shebaa Farms.

Since the Israeli pullout, the border has been witness to multiple clashes, and work is ongoing to rid the area of landmines.

In 2018, Israel seized a Lebanese shepherd tending to his flock. His sheep returned to his town of Shebaa without him.

Middle East Eye has asked the Israeli military if it thinks firing live ammunition in the air is an appropriate way to warn a young child, and whether it would commit to returning any wantaway livestock in the future.

The Israeli military had not responded by the time of publication.

Israel’s Honeymoon with the United Arab Emirates Is Grotesque

By Belén Fernández

Global Research,

December 10, 2020Jacobin 7 December 2020

Since normalizing relations in September, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have teamed up to do what both do best: trample on democratic freedoms, commit atrocities, and whitewash occupation.

***

Back in 2010, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman issued the following complaint: “Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too.”

Never mind that Israel never “left” Gaza — or that even if Hamas had managed to transform the diminutive Palestinian coastal enclave into the capital of Iran, international law would not have authorized the Israelis to then convert it into the “world’s largest open-air prison.” It’s also unclear how any territory could be turned into Dubai while under siege and frequent bombardment, or how Gazans would go about building malls with ski slopes — or building anything, for that matter — when Israel intermittently blocks construction materials from coming into the narrow strip of land.

Now, courtesy of the September normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates — the culmination of a long-standing clandestine love affair — it seems the Palestinians will finally get to experience a taste of Dubai. (And Emirati alcohol consumers will get a taste of Israeli-made wine from the illegally occupied Golan Heights.)

In a recent CNN dispatch titled “The UAE and Israel’s whirlwind honeymoon has gone beyond normalization,” correspondent Ben Wedeman writes of the “mutual enthusiasm” infecting the Israeli government and the federation of Arab sheikhdoms, so much so that the UAE “appears to have dropped, in practical terms, any objections to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands.” That’s no accident. Disappearing the occupation is a primary function of normalization, fitting right in with the Friedmanite approach to Middle East peace, which posits that, if the Palestinians would just stop bitching about being occupied and massacred and get on with their lives, they, too, could be Dubai — the equivalent of telling a person in a burning house to simply ignore the flames.A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel

Wedeman catalogues the perks of the overzealous Emirati-Israeli honeymoon: mutual visa exemption, the aforementioned wine, an excursion to the UAE by Israeli settler leaders from the West Bank, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi scheduled to start early next year, and an arrangement where the UAE will “finance with the US and Israel a project to ‘modernize’ Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank used to control and monitor the movement of Palestinians.”

Presumably, “modernization” does not mean that Israeli soldiers will stop beatingkilling, detaining, and otherwise abusing Palestinians at checkpoints. But perhaps the Emiratis can help install state-of-the-art mobile maternity wards to deal with the Palestinian women forced to give birth there.

To be sure, it’s not like the checkpoints aren’t “modern” enough already. As NBC News reported last year, Microsoft has “invested in a startup that uses facial recognition to surveil Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in spite of the tech giant’s public pledge to avoid using the technology if it encroaches on democratic freedoms.”

That’s no turnoff for the UAE, where democratic freedoms are entirely absent and the slightest criticism of the government is grounds for detentiontorture, or disappearance. And what do you know: Emirati-Israeli collaboration regarding surveillance far predated the official unveiling of amorous bilateral relations. In 2015, a Middle East Eye article quoted a description of Abu Dhabi’s Israeli-installed mass civil spying system: “Every person is monitored from the moment they leave their doorstep to the moment they return to it. Their work, social and behavioral patterns are recorded, analyzed and archived.”

Call it modern barbarism — a right-wing neoliberal dream where basic rights are supplanted by skyscrapers, artificial islands, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, and other distracting obscenities built on the backs of a migrant work force toiling in “virtual slavery.”

For their normalization efforts, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Perverse, unless you recall that former US president Barack Obama, the man who ordered the dropping of at least 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in 2016 alone, also received the prize. “Peace,” meanwhile, is not currently an option for Palestinians, Yemenis, and other regional inhabitants whose lives are sacrificed in the interest of arms industry profits and similar fixtures of “modernity” — all with US backing, and an imperial narrative that insists Iran is the one causing all the trouble.

So the honeymooners are getting off scot-free, whether for killing 2,251 people in Gaza in a matter of fifty days or for helping oversee the sexual torture of Yemeni detainees and mass starvation of Yemeni children as part of the Saudi-led coalition. And as normalization forges ahead, it’s nothing short of terrifying that anyone finds this normal.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Belén Fernández is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at WorkMarytrs Never Die: Travels through South Lebanon, and, most recently, Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin.

Featured image is from DesertpeaceThe original source of this article is JacobinCopyright © Belén FernándezJacobin, 2020

Canadian Health Ministry Exploring “Immunity Passports,” Vaccine “Tracking and Surveillance”

Ontario government says non-vaccinated people could face travel, social restrictions

By Steve Watson

Global Research,

December 10, 2020 Summit News 9 December 2020

The Health Minister of Ontario in Canada has stoked controversy by suggesting that people who do not take the coronavirus vaccine will face restrictions on where they can travel and spend time.

***

When asked by reporters about how the government intends to go about convincing people to get the vaccine, Health Minister Christine Elliott warned that those who refuse it will face difficulties reintegrating into society.

“That’s their choice, this is not going to be a mandatory campaign. It will be voluntary,” Elliot said, but adding that “There may be some restrictions that may be placed on people that don’t have vaccines for travel purposes, to be able to go to theatres and other places.”

When another reporter asked if the government would be introducing ‘immunity passports’, or proof of vaccination cards, Elliot said

“Yes, because that’s going to be really important for people to have for travel purposes, perhaps for work purposes, for going to theatres or cinemas or any other places where people will be in closer physical contact.”

Following up on Elliot’s comments, The Toronto Sun spoke to her press secretary, who confirmed that the government is exploring several options for vaccine “tracking and surveillance.”

“This includes exploring developing tech-based solutions while also providing for alternative options to ensure equitable access to any potential ‘immunity passport,’” Alexandra Hilkene said.

Sun reporter Brian Lilley notes “That phrase will set off alarm bells and it should, not just for anti-vaxxers, but for anyone who is concerned about Charter rights and governments running roughshod over them.”

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams has also said that a COVID-19 vaccine may be required for “freedom to move around”.

“What we can do is to say sometimes for access, or ease, in getting into certain settings, if you don’t have vaccination then you’re not allowed into that setting without other protection materials,” Williams said.

The comments of these Canadian officials add to the litany of other governmentand travel industry figures in both the US, Britain and beyond who have suggested that ‘COVID passports’ are coming, in order for ‘life to get back to normal’

In an essay in The Wall Street Journal on Saturday, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden noted that he expects the so called ‘immunity passports’ will come into widespread use despite any ethical, legal or operational challenges, and despite the fact that it hasn’t at all been determined whether the vaccine equates to immunity.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is Summit News

Copyright © Steve WatsonSummit News, 2020

Why Muslims in the US face a crisis of leadership

Hafsa Kanjwal

8 December 2020 12:12 UTC | 

Last update: 11 hours 18 mins ago

Some Muslim American groups have turned into agents of oppression, providing cover for harmful and destructive policies towards our communities

The King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, is pictured on 23 May (AFP)237Shares

For many Muslims in the US, the news that we will not be plunged into fascism with a second term for President Trump has been met with relief.

However, as Muslim Americans begin to reconfigure their political advocacy, we cannot be complicit under a Biden presidency that remains true to the core principles of American neoliberalism and empire. Most importantly, we cannot go back to the Muslim American political subservience that we witnessed during the Obama years.Joe Biden, Emgage and the muzzling of Muslim America

Read More »

Muslim communities around the world – whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine, Kashmir, Yemen, China or Myanmar – face many injustices today. And it is an unfortunate reality that the US is either directly responsible for, or has aided or prolonged, many of these injustices. 

There has been a push in recent decades – and especially during the Obama years – to make Muslim Americans feel a sense of exceptionalism, and to view issues from “back home” as removed from our reality in the US. This is despite the interconnected nature of how Muslims around the world are treated – and how that structural violence also impacts us here. 

From Obama to Trump

The Obama years were defined by the rise of a professional Muslim class that was made into agents of empire and oppression, providing cover or tacit approval to some of the most harmful and destructive policies towards our communities, including the ramping up of counter-violent extremism (CVE) policies using Muslim leaders and institutions. Many of these individuals or organisations positioned themselves as the “resistance” under Trump: we know they will, and already have, gone back to being the native informants for the neoliberal establishment.

The Muslim community in the US faces a crisis in terms of having a principled leadership that speaks truth to power

This means that Muslim Americans have a lot of work cut out for them. We have reached a crucial stage, in which a critical mass of fellow Muslims are pushing to sacrifice Muslims around the world and in the US in order to gain mainstream acceptance and access to certain corridors of power here.

Nowhere is this more evident than in how so many Muslim-American institutions and leaders are normalising Zionism, even as opposition to Zionism is gaining traction within the Jewish-American community. Muslim Americans may not be able to bring about a complete transformation in how the US conducts its affairs in the Muslim world – though they should at least try – but at the very least, they should not contribute to injustice. 

Trump’s presidency was devastating for many people of colour and Muslims in the US. But it also provided political clarity about the US that was not possible under the veneer of the Obama-led liberal establishment. It spurred important, long-awaited conversations about the role of imperialism, neoliberalism and white supremacy in the US that had previously been obscured.

A new generation of Muslim Americans has become politically mature and much more critical than older generations, which are still reeling from the kind of respectability politics in which we have been forced to engage post-9/11. They are building their own institutions. 

Nonetheless, there is a danger that the veering to the far right has left Obama and Biden appear to Muslims as more progressive than they actually are. While the Trump era has ignited more imaginative conversations elsewhere about reducing the military-industrial complex, ending wars, and defunding the police, it has also given establishment Muslims a portal to exercise restraint over developing these wants. 

Going forward

The Muslim community in the US faces a crisis in terms of having a principled leadership that speaks truth to power.

Far too many organisations and leaders are more interested in having access to power than in representing our agenda. Consequently, we need to hold these leaders accountable.

Muslim Americans must advise those who claim to speak on their behalf, and hold them to account if they continue to cause harm to our causes. Lives are at stake when individuals or organisations enable the state’s violence against Black or brown bodies. Silence, or a desire not to “rock the boat” or alienate anyone, makes us complicit. There is no point to “unity” if our goals are not the same. 

Former US President Barack Obama hosts an iftar dinner at the White House in 2014 (AFP)
Former US President Barack Obama hosts an iftar dinner at the White House in 2014 (AFP)

The community must also put a check on American exceptionalism. Our lives here are not more important or more valuable than those of the victims of American imperialism. Furthermore, Muslims living amid some of the most disheartening conditions around the world have a great deal to teach us – we cannot simply adopt a colonial attitude and think we know best.

In addition, Muslim Americans need to understand that Islamophobia is not just restricted to a Muslim travel ban, or someone saying negative things about Muslims. Anti-Muslim racism is built into the fabric of a number of institutions in this country, and very much part of the neoliberal establishment.

The Muslim community must move beyond symbolism, and recognise when that is weaponised. What is the point, for example, of us getting excited over a political leader saying “inshallah” if he was actively campaigning for the immoral and illegal Iraq war and was bombing Muslim communities around the world? 

The heart of Islam

Most importantly, we need to push our institutions towards meaningful representation and to hold the government accountable.

Muslim Americans need to ask themselves where they, their leaders and their institutions are standing

How many mainstream, national Muslim American organisations are talking about surveillance, entrapment, Guantanamo Bay, the military-industrial complex, or the ravages of capitalism? Are these not issues where Muslims should be at the forefront, providing leadership based on our religious values?

Situating ourselves with the most vulnerable and the oppressed has been the core of our faith and its teachings: it is the heart of Islam. 

Muslim Americans need to ask themselves where they, their leaders and their institutions are standing. Are they looking up, trying to protect their interests, serving as tokens, or maintaining the pretence of influence – or are they with the people?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Hafsa Kanjwal is an assistant professor in South Asian history at Lafayette College. Her PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, was on the social history of modern Kashmir.

Fakhrizadeh Assassination, Peak of US and ‘Israeli’ Cowardness

Fakhrizadeh Assassination, Peak of US and ‘Israeli’ Cowardness

By Elham Hashemi

Tehran – One week after the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh, al-Ahed news went on the streets of Tehran to ask people their opinion and feelings on the matter.

Nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in a military-style ambush last week on the outskirts of Tehran. The attack saw a truck bomb explode and gunmen open fire on Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle.

Sara Sadat, a student at Beheshti University told al-Ahed news “Trump and the US administration do not have the guts or courage to confront Iran directly and that is why they always resort to covert ops. This is the peak of cowardness and I am not surprised. Anyways it is obvious that such acts of war will not stop the Iranian people from continuing what they started. We have all the right to advance and all the right to enjoy our rights as human beings.”

Mohamad Reza who works at a shipping company for his part said that “my abhorrence towards ‘Israel’ and the US regime keeps increasing with their heinous crimes. They breach human rights, kill, destroy, and then claim their rights are being violated. This is very silly and I think that not only the people of the region but also the people of the world are starting to realize more and more the dual standards and lying of these two supremacy powers. We will not forget the blood of our martyrs and the least to do is take revenge. They will keep living in fear forever.”

Moussa, who was taking a walk on Vali Asr near the famous Mellat park, told al-Ahed that he was outrageous when he heard the news of the assassination. He pointed out “Trump and his allies think that by killing our scientists we will stop our activities. We never sought nuclear arms and all we are doing is trying to use peaceful technology to better our lives. Is that too much for them to take? That Iranians enjoy a good life? I am outrageous but I remain silent, I know our country will do something about this and Trump and “Israel” will for sure regret their actions.”

Lila’s opinion reflects that of many other Iranians. Lila told al-Ahed news “The US keeps proving it is not a friend. The incidents that take place keep proving that Mossad supporters and agents are in the country. So please from now on when a suspect is arrested or someone is sentenced to death do not come and teach us human rights and cry over the story, while lying and telling the world we are terrorists. We have the right to protect ourselves and the criminals must be punished.”

A senior US administration official said “Israel” was behind the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist but declined to give details about whether the Trump administration knew about the attack before it was carried out or provided support.

However, an “Israeli” TV report on November 21 reported that “Israel” and the US are planning to increase pressure on Iran with “covert operations” and economic sanctions during US President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office, which implies that the US is involved in the act of violence.

Of course it is important to keep in mind that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited “Israel” less than two weeks before the attack was carried out, part of a regional trip that included the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump has given Pompeo carte blanche to continue carrying out the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign over the next two months, the official said, adding that there will be more US sanctions on Iran this week and next.

Saudi Arabia’s abominable human rights record

November 30, 2020 – 11:33

By Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman is an American award-winning author, syndicated columnist, and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Like the U.S., Israel, and other rogue states, the Saudis operate by their own rules in flagrant violation of international laws, norms, and standards. It’s the world’s head-chopping/public whippings capital. Anyone can be targeted for exercising free expression, human rights activism, or other forms of dissent against despotic rule.

They’re also vulnerable for not praying at designated times, improper dress code, non-observance of gender segregation, and other nonconformity with Wahhabi extremism.

Its documented high crimes include state-sponsored murder, torture, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups, partnering in U.S. regional wars, banning free elections, denying due process and judicial fairness, prohibiting religious freedom, human trafficking, kidnappings, committing crimes of war and against humanity, along with virtually every other rule of law breach imaginable.

In mid-November, the London Daily Mail reported the following: “Saudi interrogators forced jailed women’s rights activists to perform sex acts, hung them from ceilings and ‘tortured’ them with electric shocks,” citing a report, titled: “A Stain on World Leaders and the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia: The shameful detention and torture of Saudi women.”

The report explained that in May 2018, “10 human rights defenders who had successfully campaigned” to end the prohibition against women driving were arrested and detained. 

Weeks later, nine more arrests and detentions followed. Targeted individuals were activists for women’s rights in the kingdom. A few are males who support gender equality were also arrested. Most individuals targeted remain detained. It was learned that they were “subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading conditions of detention, solitary confinement, and unfair trial processes.”

In the report, human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy called on G20 nations to boycott the virtual November 21-22 Riyadh summit until wrongfully detained women are free. Other charges included forcing them to watch pornography, along with performing other sexual acts on interrogators.

One detained woman was reportedly told: “I’ll do whatever I like to you, and then I’ll dissolve you and flush you down the toilet.” Another woman said Saudi King Salman’s younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, oversaw what went on, at one point saying:  “I can do anything I like to you.”

Commenting on her report, Baroness Kennedy said horrendous abuses endured by detained women in the kingdom wouldn’t be tolerated in “decent nation(s),” adding: “Being expected to deliver for interrogators, what that has done to the soul of a woman is so terrible.”

Saudi abuses against nonviolent activist women are typical of how their ruling authorities always operate — showing contempt for the rights of ordinary people, tolerating no dissent.

Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is the kingdom’s torturer assassin-in-chief. He personally signed off on the October 2018 brutal murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. In 2017, he arrested and detained hundreds of royal family members and Saudi businessmen. Held under house arrest at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, they were forced to pay tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in cash and assets to the regime for release — MBS grand theft on the phony pretext of rooting out corruption. 

He consolidated power by eliminating rivals and terrorizing potential ones. Royal family members, Saudi businessmen, and others in the kingdom not willing to affirm loyalty to his rule risk arrest, detention, torture, and elimination.

Since appointed crown prince in June 2017 — gaining power because his of father’s mental and physical deterioration — he’s ruthlessly gone all-out to solidify it unchallenged. He likely OK’s sexual and other torture of detained women activists.

UN secretary-general Guterres is largely silent about Western, Israeli and Saudi high crimes, serving their interests instead of condemning them. As long as Saudi Arabia is oil-rich, its wealth used to invest in Western countries and buy their weapons, as well as partnering in their regional wars, their ruling authorities will turn a blind eye to the worst of kingdom high crimes.
 

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Dr Pascal Sacré: Emergency Physician Unjustly Fired for His Writings on the COVID Crisis: The Right of Response

Thanks to all of you who want a world where the word is respected, truth is defended, freedom is a reality. I will never let fear rule my life. Don’t negotiate with fear.

By Dr. Pascal Sacré

Global Research, November 28, 2020

There, it happened.

For my words, my words, my writings, I was dismissed like a waste, a thief, without the right to answer.

An experienced, competent emergency physician, appreciated by his colleagues for my actions in stressful situations, fired in the middle of COVID!

For words, for an image.

All you had to do was reassure people, defend your doctor, attenuate and wait for the storm to calm down…  and then talk.

I write, it’s true, things that disturb, dissident points of view, those who follow me on this site since 2009 know it.

When I resumed my writing starting in 2020, about the political management of the COVID crisis, but also generally, about the endemic corruption of medicine, science and official bodies in Belgium, I felt that it would be risky, really.

But I did not give up because I will never let my life be controlled by fear.

Some people say that I am unconscious. Do you think that after 17 years of treating people, in emergency, stress, often for 24 hours at a time, I could have done all this while being unconscious?

Some people say that I am irresponsible. I have always taken my responsibilities, preferred writing to speaking because it allows reflection, rereading, and I have always turned my tongue 7 times in my mouth, before finishing an article and sending it with all its sources and references. I have always respected the rules of the hospital, of society, even when, as they stand, they seemed crazy to me and likely to cause more harm than good. I have always put the safety of my patients above my convictions, preferring to explain, to convince through words and writings.

Some say I am a disgrace to the profession.

Those who say that are ignorant of my profession. Many people talk about critical care, especially today with Covid, when critical care has been around for 70 years, but do they even know, these accusing people, what they are talking about?

We can’t pretend, this is live, live, surrounded by death and suffering,

We don’t know how to lie and if we do, we get out. I’ve held on to it for 17 years and I only had to stop suddenly because of people who don’t like what I say, don’t like my opinions!

Some say, the most beautiful things, that I am anti-everything. Those who say that are certainly much more so than I am. I will tell you all the things I am for:

  1. The truth, in any case its permanent search and accept for that, to deceive me.
  2. Tolerance of other people’s ideas, opinions and writings.
  3. The will, in turn, to be able to express my ideas, opinions and writings.
  4. Respect for nature and animals
  5. Relief of pain and suffering
  6. Life in all its facets, music, sounds, songs, dances, colors, and therefore accept death, because one cannot live like this without accepting the idea of dying at any time.

I only wanted to ask questions, to give my points of view without ever imposing them, to question, to nuance, to contextualize, to reassure when others only want to terrorize.

I was condemned, thrown away for that.

I was forced to abandon my colleagues in difficulty, summoned to leave burning places by people who should not so easily spit on the help of one of their own, a resuscitator, for words, a picture!

That’s how it is.

They have that power.

And yet,

  • Professor Didier Raoult (France)
  • Professor Christian Perronne (France)
  • Professor Toubiana (France)
  • Professor Toussaint (France)
  • Professor Gala (Belgium)
  • And all those other doctors, caregivers, health care professionals,

Belgium :  https://docs4opendebate.be/fr/open-brief/ 

Netherlands: https://opendebat.info/  et https://brandbriefggz.nl/ 

US Frontline Doctors : https://www.xandernieuws.net/algemeen/groep-artsen-vs-komt-in-verzet-facebook-bant-hun-17-miljoen-keer-bekeken-video/ 

Spain: https://niburu.co/gezondheid/15385-artsen-komen-massaal-met-coronawaarheid-naar-buiten 

Germany: https://acu2020.org/international/ 

Belgium : https://omgekeerdelockdown.simplesite.com/?fbclid=IwAR2bJAAShAlIidjnRQPyVSoZbk1Uj-FTHAthL77hKX_Oo8aMLN3V6DdwAac 

https://www.lalibre.be/belgique/enseignement/septante-medecins-flamands-demandent-l-abolition-du-masque-dans-les-ecoles-une-menace-serieuse-pour-leur-developpement-5f58a5189978e2322fa9d32c

https://belgiumbeyondcovid.be/

France : https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/bouches-du-rhone/marseille/covid-tribune-pres-300-scientifiques-denoncent-mesures-gouvernementales-disproportionnees-1878840.html 

We are all of them.

There are thousands of us.

Thanks to all of you who want a world where the word is respected, truth is defended, freedom is a reality.

I will never let fear rule my life. Don’t negotiate with fear.

Dr. Pascal Sacré

Featured Photo: Citizen Initiative VideoThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Dr. Pascal Sacré, Global Research, 2020

Rare video of Qassem Soleimani and assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist

By News Desk -2020-11-28

TEHRAN, IRAN – SEPTEMBER 18 : Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s (not seen) meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – On Friday evening, the Iranian media published a video clip documenting a meeting between the late commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Major General Qassem Soleimani, and the nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

The video, which was shared by RT Arabic, shows the two men speaking to one another on an undisclosed date in Iran.

The head of the Research and Technology Center at the Ministry of Defense, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated on Friday, November 27, in an attack described by Tehran as a “terrorist operaation.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Defense stated that “armed terrorist elements attacked a car carrying Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh, head of the Research and Technology Center at the Ministry of Defense, on Friday afternoon.”

They pointed out that “during the clash between his security team and the terrorists, Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was seriously injured and taken to the hospital, and unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving him.”

Fakhrizadeh’s assassination coincided with Iran’s announcement that the judiciary has formed a committee to pursue those accused of assassinating Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani was killed along with Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in an American air strike targeting his car near Baghdad Airport Road at dawn on January 3, 2020.

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