Al-Naqab Is Rising!

January 15, 2022 

By Al-Ahed News

What to know about Palestine’s al-Naqab, the area that constitutes 40% of historical Palestine.

Palestine in the face of Palestinicide

15 Jan 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Susana Khalil

Today, some Arab tyrannies, in order to perpetuate themselves in power, seek to submit to this colonial-imperial force, putting the Arab-Persian world at risk.

Palestine in the face of “Palestinicide”

Zionism is a European colonial movement. The English historian Keith Whitelam conceptualizes it as the continuation of Colonial Europe. In 1948, Zionism succeeded in imposing a colonial regime in Palestine called “Israel”. It is classic colonialism, but it differs from historical colonialism in that it does not come from a people, but from a movement that aromatically falsifies history and disguises itself as a people, i.e. the “Jewish people”. Jews, Muslims, and Christians are not peoples, they are religions, and it is sad to have to explain this, at this point in human history and to a supposedly enlightened, educated, and secular world.

The West supposedly has to its credit a worthy history of fighting for secular values, which cost them blood. Secularism is today part of its identity and culture and is a sentiment, but it is inept and structurally ignorant to believe and feel that Jews are a people. To address this issue is to be discriminated against, even by pro-Palestinians. Beyond being a rotten Western taboo, it has its reckless consequences due to sophisticated totalitarian censorship, clear Western obscurantism.

The ideologues of Zionism foresaw that in their colonial enterprise, the day the native achieves his independence, they, as colonizers who do not come from a people but from a movement that seeks to become a people, do not have a point of return as happened in classical colonialism, that they as Jews would return to their respective original homelands. That is why Zionist colonialism has as its nature the very end of that native people in order to settle and ensure the foundations of a “nation-state” called “Israel”. This principle not only remains in force but also advances. Today, some Arab tyrannies, in order to perpetuate themselves in power, seek to submit to this colonial-imperial force, putting the Arab-Persian world at risk.

The colonial and expansionist regime of “Israel” withdrew from the Sinai territories in Egypt, conditioning and subjugating the Egyptian dictatorship. There is a false withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, conditioning and subjugating a caste of Palestinian traitors of the so-called Palestinian Authority. They maintain a military invasion in the Golan Heights in Syria. They unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, without conditioning and subjugating the Lebanese government or any Lebanese caste, and this exception is because they were overthrown by the Lebanese armed resistance of Hezbollah. The international Zionist lobby is the mastermind of the barbaric US imperial military invasion of Iraq, for the alleged establishment of democracy, and for the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There will be no justice in the Arab-Persian world, except through the abolition of “Israel’s” colonial expansionist anachronism.

The worst thing about the Oslo Accords is not Zionist colonialism that managed to infiltrate through the Palestinian Authority, but the “memoricide” exercised by that Palestinian Authority, erasing the essence or the raison d’être of what the cause of liberation of the native Palestinian people against the Israeli colonial yoke is. And this “memoricide” takes place when the armed struggle is abandoned, so people are encouraged to follow the “peaceful” approach of struggle, which already existed, that is to say, the cultural, legal, academic, political, financial, economic, media, intellectual, humanitarian, religious, artistic, culinary, and historical struggle, which already existed and must exist; it is vital and magical. But the point is that on the stage, in the peaceful universe, the raison d’être of the Palestinian Cause is censored, evaded. In fact, almost nobody talks about the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, anymore.

I do not remember the author of the phrase: “If you want peace, prepare for justice.” The Palestinian people are facing the most powerful fascist movement of our historical time. Zionism is neoliberal and non-neoliberal imperialism itself.

Armed struggle is not easy and neither is it a guarantee for the liberation of historic Palestine. The peaceful struggle is not easy; it focuses on human rights, and in many cases, it does not address the essence of the Palestinian Cause. Both fronts are important, all fronts of struggle are important.

From the peaceful stage, as a native Palestinian from the Diaspora, the daughter of peasant survivors of Al-Nakba, I fight against the colonial yoke of Israel, I fight for the National Liberation of my Palestinian people against a colonial force.

From the peaceful scenario, does the colonial regime of “Israel” have the right to exist? From the noblest of my soul, I say no. The so-called Israeli population would become Palestinian. Just to raise this is outrageous. I do understand and comprehend the reaction of not understanding; comprehending and accepting the right of native people to decide for themselves. I understand the atheists of freedom and justice.

Some might defend the existence of that colonial, imperial regime and anachronism and believe they have the right to do so, but what is not morally acceptable and constitutes an outrage to human dignity is censoring defending the others’ right to voice their rejection in the universe of debate. That is contrary to the free-thinking world.

There are those who lovingly state, I support “Israel”, and to those I say, support it in your country. why don’t you give it your homeland? There must be a debate, and this is part of the human condition.

I believe that we Palestinians must reposition ourselves, renaissance the root of our cause, be reiterative, not fall into distractions, and not submit to the reality of a contour or conjuncture. This implies intellectual courage and deep human fortitude in the face of so much censorship, fear, demonization, and threat. We must make our intellectual peaceful revolution. We must kick the table and be a rebellion of lucid intellectual light. Therein lies not only the beauty of the Palestinian Cause, but the beauty of being Palestinian.

… More than an intellectual challenge, it is to liberate intellectual fear, for Zionism itself is an intellectual, academic, media, legal, historical, moral, aesthetic, religious, archeological, sociological and philosophical fraud.

The Palestinian Liberation Cause is a direct cause for the protection of the Arab, Persian, and Kurdish world from Israeli expansionist colonialism. As I heard, it was said in the neighborhood of El Guarataro, in Venezuela, the liberation of Palestine is the liberation of the world.

Let us free ourselves from the self-censorship that sets the trap for us. We must be strategic, intelligent, and subtle. We will not receive any subsidy, if we do so, we will be rejected, demonized.

They operate an extermination plan against the Palestinian people; they not only colonized the homeland, but also its history, its cuisine, and its most popular artistic expression. And it is logical to say that, for example, they colonized the falafel and the embroidery. That is proof and sample that it is colonialism that does not come from a people, it needs to disguise itself as a people and take it from the native people. They are extermination modalities; they must expel Palestine from history.

It is all about being honest, the world, yes, the world is at risk in the face of Zionism. The Palestinians have an appointment with history and it is to liberate today, in the 21st century, their people from the anachronistic and expansionist colonial regime of “Israel”. Likewise, the Palestinians have a debt with humanity itself and it is to extirpate Zionism, the most powerful fascism of our time, for this we need everybody in, which is the struggle of our time.

Let me be riddled and demonized with the filthy and bastard accusation of the Zionist supremacy of anti-Semitism. Anyway, as Ernesto Guevara used to say, “How can my life matter if what is in danger is humanity.”

Yes, the liberation of Palestine is the liberation of the world, that is to say, taking steps against imperial, colonial atrophy and barbarism synchronized by Zionism.

The gloomy thing is that if we let the Palestinian people disappear, they will sadly exist in the echo of humanity as the cursed people, that by not liberating its noble cause, humanity remains in darkness. In this case, the outcome would be a cursed Palestinian, a traitor Arab.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

‘Israel’ Occupation Forces Palestinian Man To Demolish Own Store in Al-Quds

January 14 2022

By staff, Agencies

The ‘Israeli’ occupation forces obliged a Palestinian man to demolish a commercial unit in the occupied al-Quds, as the Tel Aviv regime continues to press ahead with its illegal settlement expansion and land grab policies across the Palestinian territories despite international outcry.

Palestinian media outlets reported on Thursday that the ‘Israeli’ occupation authorities left Jamal Mohammad Ali with no choice but to totally knock down a commercial store belonging to him in Shuafat refugee camp.

The Palestinian man had to begin demolishing the structure, which had an area of 150 square meters and was still under construction, with his own hands to avoid paying unreasonable demolition costs to the Zionist occupation municipality.

Also on Wednesday, the occupation forces tore down about a dozen Palestinian-owned buildings and structures in the occupied West Bank city al-Khalil. They forced their way and carried out a large-scale demolition campaign east of Yatta town, south of al-Khalil.

At least five houses, five agricultural facilities, and a water well were demolished during the campaign.

The Tel Aviv regime routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, claiming that the structures have been built without the so-called permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own houses or pay the costs of the demolition if they do not.

The Tel Aviv regime plans to force out Palestinian families from different neighborhoods in East al-Quds in an attempt to replace them with settlers.

The United Nations has reported a 21 percent increase in the number of Palestinian structures that were confiscated or destroyed this year.

Meanwhile, the international community considers ‘Israeli’ settlement construction illegal under international law. Nearly 700,000 Zionists occupy illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned Tel Aviv’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.

Israeli Special Forces Detain Birzeit University Students (VIDEO)

January 10, 2022

Israeli special forces Monday afternoon detained several students in front of the Birzeit University, north of Ramallah, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Local sources and eyewitnesses told WAFA that Israeli special forces used a white van with a Palestinian registration plate to sneak their way into the university campus and abducted two students from the gate of the campus.

Israeli soldiers opened fire to keep students away as they carried out their operation, injuring two.

Birzeit University is one the oldest and largest Palestinian universities in the West Bank, with around 14,500 registered students in 2020, according to university records.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Artists boycott Sydney Festival 2022 over Israeli funding

9 Jan 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

In response to the Israeli occupation attempting to art-wash its crimes, various acts boycott the Sydney Festival 2022 in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Protesters wave Palestinian flags during a demonstration against “Israel” at the Town Hall in Sydney on May 15, 2021 (AFP)

30 acts, including bands, individual artists, companies, and panel members, canceled their performances or attendance at Sydney Festival 2022 that kicked off in Australia on Thursday.

The cancellations came over Israeli funding of the festival and the festival’s support for “Israel” while ignoring the regime’s oppression of Palestinians on their indigenous land.

The festival’s board accepted some $14,300 in a donation from the Israeli embassy in Australia, which were given in support of a show based on work by an Israeli choreographer and an Israeli dance company.

The Israeli occupation’s donation earned it a listing as a “star partner” on the website’s festival.

Artists withdrew to boycott the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestine and Palestinians, highlighting the occupation’s apartheid practices toward Palestinians.

Those who withdrew include Belvoir theatre production of Black Brass, comedians Tom Ballard and Nazeem Hussain, and other local bands, dancers, and performers.

Ballard explained that his decision to withdraw came “after listening to the calls to boycott the Sydney Festival over its decision to accept funding from and partner with the Embassy of Israel.”

“I love to tell jokes,” he said, “But standing up for human rights and standing against a system of apartheid is more important,” calling on the festival to review its decision and return the funding in question.

Musical artist Marcus Whale announced his withdrawal on Monday, clarifying that it was a boycott.

“The Israeli Embassy […] collaborates with Western cultural institutions to pain Israel as a liberal democracy on one hand, while enforcing brutal occupation and apartheid with the other,” the young artist tweeted.

Some acts did not fully withdraw from the festival, but they announced they would be participating independently, i.e. without sponsorship, and those include the acclaimed play Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner and Return to Sender.

“In light of Sydney Festival seeking and accepting funding from the Israeli embassy, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner has no other choice but to withdraw and boycott the festival,” the cast said.

“We will not be coerced into complicity,” they added, asserting that they came to this decision together to “stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and with all Indigenous People’s right to sovereignty and liberation,” they added in an Instagram post while calling “Israel” “another oppressive settler-colony.”

Despite the artist boycott, the Sydney Festival board said it was keeping the show sponsored by the occupation, claiming it “collectively affirms” its “respect for the right of all groups to protest and raise concerns.”

The Palestinian Justice Movement Sydney had called for a boycott in December upon knowing that the board accepted the donation in May. The campaign said the festival was contributing to the normalization of an apartheid state.

Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapons States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races

January 03, 2022


Source

The People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.

We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons – for as long as they continue to exist – should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war. We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.

We reaffirm the importance of addressing nuclear threats and emphasize the importance of preserving and complying with our bilateral and multilateral non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and commitments. We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our Article VI obligation “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

We each intend to maintain and further strengthen our national measures to prevent unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons. We reiterate the validity of our previous statements on de-targeting, reaffirming that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State.

We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all. We intend to continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence, and prevent an arms race that would benefit none and endanger all. We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns.

Prisoner Abu Hawash is struggling for life: Waed association

2 Jan 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Waed Association for Palestinian Prisoners says that “the prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash is facing great difficulty in discharging urine, while his water body percentage has decreased to a third due to the continuation of his coma.

Waed Association: The percentage of water in the body of the prisoner Abu Hawash has decreased to a third

Waed Association for Palestinian Prisoners says that “the prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash is facing great difficulty in discharging urine, while his water body percentage has decreased to a third due to the continuation of his coma.

The association added that these dangerous indications implicate that the prisoner Abu Hawash is closer to losing his life than ever before.

Waed Association explained that “doctors affiliated with the Prisons Authority beat the prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash, while he was being transferred from the Ramleh prison clinic to the Assaf Harofeh Hospital.”

For his part, Imad Abu Hawash, the brother of the prisoner Hisham, said to Al Mayadeen, said that “Hisham is in a full coma since 4 hours.”

He added that “Hisham could be martyred at any moment,” and added that “‘Israel’ is trying to gain time to harm Hisham.”

The prisoner’s brother demanded that “a medical committee be sent to Assaf Harofeh Hospital, to look into Hisham’s health condition,” and demanded international protection for him inside the Israeli hospital.

Dozens of Palestinians staged a protest in downtown Ramallah to demand the release of Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash who fell into an intermittent coma as his health condition deteriorates.

Abu Hawash, from Dura, occupied Al-Khalil, has been on hunger strike for 139 days in protest of his administrative detention which allows the indefinite imprisonment of Palestinians without trial or charge.

Yesterday, the Palestinian Prisoners Club announced that the prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash is facing death in the Israeli “Asaf Harofeh” hospital, after his health deteriorated, noting that “since the dawn of this Saturday, he has been awakened with great difficulty.”
 
Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash faces the threat of sudden death, Palestinian Prisoners Club lawyer Jawad Boulos said Saturday.

How serious are Israel’s latest war threats against Iran? (Mayadeen Report)

December 31, 2021

Description:

A recent Al Mayadeen TV news report questioning the seriousness of Israel’s recent, almost non-stop war threats against Iran.

Source: Al Mayadeen Channel (YouTube)

Date: December 29, 2021

( Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a small monthly amount here )


Transcript:

Reporter:

Israel – with its government, military and security establishment – sleeps while dressed with its military attire, ever since the (Iran) nuclear negotiations were set to launch in Vienna. Its government ministries and spokesmen, along with its high-ranking military figures, have been transmitting a non-stop series of (potential) Iran war scenarios . Not a single day passes anymore without Israel issuing threats against Iran, politically and militarily, as if the war is to take place tomorrow.

Israelis know very well that Iran’s capabilities today are (totally) different than in previous years, and they (very well know) that (Iran) has alongside it a huge axis that stretches from Yemen to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and most importantly Palestine. Furthermore,  the Israelis know very well that Iran’s military capabilities do not exist to be stored away, for they witnessed Iran in the (Persian) Gulf pursuing and warning off American and British warships, rather even landing (its troops on ships) and liberating vessels, and striking American bases in Iraq.

Similarly, such is the case for (Iran’s) allies in Yemen who have proven their capabilities in the battlefield, and who reaffirm every day their readiness to defend Palestine and its people. Likewise in Lebanon, where its resistance succeeded in liberating (Lebanese) land and in forcing the (Israeli) occupation to ‘stand on a leg and a half’ more than once. Likewise in Syria and its victories, and in Iraq with its powerful Hashed (al-Shaabi). As for Palestine, the (recent) Sword of al-Quds (Battle) speaks volumes, (not to mention) the youths of al-Quds and the (West) Bank who produce new epics every day.

‘Israel attacking Iran is like one who hits his head against the wall’, this is what the former (Israeli) Minister of Justice Daniel Friedmann thought of the (Israeli) threats (against Iran).  (Friedmann argues) that Israel lacks the (necessary) readiness to be struck with one thousand missiles per day, and that it would be better for (Israel) to continue burying its head in the sand.

In addition to the (non-stop) statements and psychological warfare (tactics) against Iran, a large number of officials well aware of Israel’s military capabilities believe that it is not certain whether the (Israeli) Air Force is capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, at least not in the coming years.

Dorothy Shea’s Empty Promises

December 28 2021

Dorothy Shea

By Mohammad Youssef

When Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah first announced the party will import fuel from Iran to break the sinister cycle of the US siege, the American ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea, as usual, tried to belittle the achievement. She suddenly announced that Washington is ready to help and made the necessary contacts to insure the gas supplies would reach Lebanon from Egypt via Jordan and Syria.

Months after the American ambassador’s public promise, not any drop or one single cubic centimeter of gas reached to Lebanon.

Shea did not explain why her promises did not materialize, and she disrespectfully never justified to the Lebanese people her failure to deliver.

Actually, the main motive behind the ambassador hasty decision was not alleviating the people’s suffering, because it could have done so many different things to this effect, but her basic obsession was to evacuate Hezbollah decision from its content so it would not reflect positively on the Lebanese people.

The whole issue reflects genuinely Washington’s policy and stance towards the region and its people. A policy which is based on oppression, hypocrisy and arrogance.

For its part, Hezbollah made huge efforts: from intensive contacts to necessary negotiations and from deals concluding to logistic preparations, not forgetting the military and security arrangements made to insure the whole operation. Thanks and blessings to these efforts, the fuel reached to the Lebanese houses across the nation, without any discrimination and preferences, and now hundreds of thousands of Lebanese benefit from Hezbollah and Iran’s help.

This says a lot about the party’s commitment to Lebanon and the Lebanese, and that it is always there to defend, protect and help them in any calamity.

Meanwhile, Dorothy Shea never bothered herself to say anything about her deceitful promises and misleading announcement.

But many well informed circles in Washington revealed the truth about Shea’s lies!

The American ambassador received heavy blame from her administration for making such promises to the Lebanese.

Her promise has created a division inside the US administration, many influential parties and figures refused to agree upon it, as it involved a partial lift of the Siege on Syria as well.

In fact, the United States administration has the capacity and ability to help Lebanon or at least ease its crisis, but this does not boil down to its interest of suffocating the country to make it surrender and accept Washington dictations and that of the Israeli enemy.

For her part, the US ambassador can continue her game of ignoring her fake promises, but the Lebanese will remember very well her lies and will also remember that the best thing Dorothy Shea can do is to distribute few masks in Beirut streets!

Iran Says It Won’t Enrich Uranium Over 60% If Nuclear Deal Talks Fail

JCPOA negotiations in Vienna will resume Monday

December 27, 2021

Image from InfoBrics

Global Research,

Antiwar.com 26 December 2021

By Dave DeCamp

On Saturday, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Iran wouldn’t enrich uranium over 60 percent even if the negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, fail.

In response to an Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility back in April, Tehran began enriching some uranium at 60 percent, which is still below the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade. When asked by Sputnik if Iran would exceed 60 percent enrichment, Iran’s atomic energy chief Mohammad Eslami answered, “No.”

“All our nuclear activities are carried out according to the agreements, statutes, and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Eslami added.

The JCPOA negotiations in Vienna are currently on pause but are expected to resume on Monday. Since the talks resumed at the end of November, the US has been accusing Iran of not taking the process seriously. The Biden administration wants Tehran to accept a draft agreement that was reached during earlier negotiations with the previous Iranian government, but Iran wants more sanctions relief.

US officials have also been warning that time is running out on the talks. Last week, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan visited Israel and said the deadline for the negotiations will come “within weeks” if an agreement isn’t reached.” He also met with Israeli officials to reassure them that the US was willing to take a harder line on Iran.

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Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

Featured image is from InfoBrics

Let’s be honest, Zionist Israel is built on a tissue of lies

December 23, 2021

82-year-old, Diana Neslen [Youtube]
British journalist and author Yvonne Ridley provides political analysis on affairs related to the Middle East, Asia and the Global War on Terror. Her work has appeared in numerous publications around the world from East to West from titles as diverse as The Washington Post to the Tehran Times and the Tripoli Post earning recognition and awards in the USA and UK. Ten years working for major titles on Fleet Street she expanded her brief into the electronic and broadcast media producing a number of documentary films on Palestinian and other international issues from Guantanamo to Libya and the Arab Spring.

Yvonne Ridley 

Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews, but say anything negative about the political ideology of Zionism or speak in favour of Palestine and the chances are, regardless of your religious beliefs or lack of them, you will end up being accused of anti-Semitism. In today’s world, posting negative tweets about Zionism or expressing the slightest criticism of Israel can land you in trouble. One 82-year-old woman in Britain, for example, could be expelled from the Labour Party having been accused of posting “anti-Semitic” views on social networks. Diana Neslen, though, is Jewish.

After three investigations by the party, Neslen has had enough and is fighting back. Her legal team has sent a warning letter to let Labour officials know that her anti-Zionist viewpoint is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act. Furthermore, the lawyers at Bindmans say that she has been “subjected by the party to discrimination and harassment related to her protected philosophical belief.”

This has the potential to be a hugely significant case that will put the political ideology of Zionism under the spotlight. Its supporters, especially millions of Christian evangelicals around the world, especially in the US, would have us believe that political Zionism is older than Methuselah himself who, according to the Bible, reached the grand old age of 969. However, compared with the ancient patriarch, the nationalist movement is still in its infancy, having originated in eastern and central Europe towards the back end of the 19th century.

READ: UK media and politicians ‘misled public’ with support for far-right Israeli ambassador

Not only is Zionism a relatively new kid on the ideological block, therefore, but it’s also only relatively recently that the movement has been supported by mainstream Jewry and non-Jews of every political hue. It has taken root among Jews following decades of propaganda and millions of dollars spent lobbying the US and other western governments for legislation to criminalise those who would dare to criticise it.

It wasn’t always like this. Back in December 1938, election results in Poland saw the Zionist political project struggling to take hold within one of Europe’s largest Jewish communities. Only one of the 20 seats allocated to Jews was won by a Zionist candidate; 17 went to the anti-Zionist socialist party, Bund. The evidence suggests that pre-World War Two, orthodox Jews were not generally attracted to Zionism or the concept of a Jewish state. Mike Marqusee made this point in his book If I am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew (Verso Books, 2008): “As long as there has been Zionism, there have been anti-Zionist Jews. Indeed, decades before it even came to the notice of non-Jews, anti-Zionism was a well-established Jewish ideology and until World War II commanded wide support in the diaspora.”

The Nazi Holocaust did indeed change things when it murdered millions of Jews and other minority groups, including the disabled, trade unionists, gypsies and homosexuals. “I remember thinking at the end of the war, ‘Why didn’t the Germans do anything?'” said Neslen. “When there’s injustice done in your name you cannot close your eyes to it. That’s why I feel very strongly.” Israel, remember, claims to act on behalf of all Jews, no matter where they live.

The truth remains, though, that Zionism is based on lies. There, I’ve said it, and will no doubt be refused a platform by universities for incurring the wrath of the more rabid elements of Israel’s extreme supporters in the Zionist lobby groups. Like Neslen, however, I too have reached breaking point, although I am not a Jew. So it is time for me to stand my ground, and also fight back.

One of the most enduring of Zionism’s lies was promoted by British author Israel Zangwill 120 years ago when he repeated the well-worn slogan that Palestine was “a land without people for a people without a land”. After realising that this was simply not true, Zangwill parted company with the founders of Zionism and in 1904 started talking about the 600,000 Palestinians who occupied the so-called “land without a people” at the time. He continued to speak out about the Palestinian elephant in the Zionist living room. Today, no doubt, he would be slandered as anti-Semitic; in 1913 Zionists simply called him a traitor.

Like Zangwill, Diana Neslen was also a “committed Zionist” until she visited Israel and saw the self-styled Jewish State at close quarters. And, just like Zangwill, she has been punished, insulted and persecuted since turning her back on the racist ideology. She is not the only person who appears to have been persecuted for her anti-Zionist beliefs, and the fact that she is Jewish appears to cut no ice with her detractors. They continue to insist that the Labour Party must investigate her “anti-Semitism”. What did she say or do to deserve what her lawyers describe as a totally “unjustified and disproportionate” response? In one tweet in 2017 she wrote, “The existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour and I am an antiracist Jew.”

Inside Israel itself, in response to accusations from Jews like Neslen that Zionism is colonialism, the goalposts are being moved yet again with new lie claiming that Jews are genetically “indigenous” to the land. It’s an argument that “swims in fascist waters” according to one Jewish writer who said that the blatant appropriation of anticolonial language changes the definition of Zionism. Far from being a Jewish nationalist movement founded in the 19th century, explained Abe Silberstein, these new zealots are trying to portray Zionism as “an indigenous rights movement, the implication being that virtually all Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel.”

OPINION: Overthrowing Israel’s bogus definition of anti-Semitism

As support for Israel among US Jews starts to fall, especially among the young, it seems as if Zionism is losing its mythical status as a benign ideology, even as the peaceful grassroots Boycott, Sanction and Divestment movement, BDS, rises in popularity. In 2015, a Yachad-Ipsos Mori survey conducted in British Jewish communities found that, while 90 per cent of Jews in the UK believe in Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, just 59 per cent identified themselves as Zionists, down from 72 per cent in 2010. It is no longer clear if “Zionist” means someone who supports Israel’s government, or simply the state’s right to exist.

In 2018, the Labour Party in Britain adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour,” says the IHRA, is an example of anti-Semitism. Opponents of its use in this way argue that legitimate criticism of a government is certainly not the same as illegal anti-Jewish racism. Indeed, even the person responsible for drafting the definition — and it remains a draft document; it’s not set in stone — has said that “pro-Israel lobby groups have weaponised the definition in an attempt to silence critics of Zionism.”

Jewish Voice for Labour, of which Neslen is a member, says there are at least 42 Jews in the Labour Party who have faced or are facing disciplinary charges relating to allegations of anti-Semitism. Ironically, under self-proclaimed Zionist and leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer, Jewish members are five times more likely to have faced complaints about anti-Semitism than non-Jewish members. It remains to be seen if Labour does apologise to Neslen and undertake not to pursue further investigations against her in respect of her beliefs, but it is clear that her lawyers will not drop the legal action.

According to Neslen in the Guardian, “The Labour Party has no idea, in my opinion, of what anti-Semitism is. My son was attacked by a luminary of the [British National Party] who was jailed for three years. I remember picking up the phone and being subjected to death threats from the BNP. People who have never experienced anti-Semitism have no idea what it means, what it means for a Jew to be found guilty of anti-Semitism.”

Like the Labour Party, most other the other main political parties in Britain have adopted the controversial, “seriously flawed” IHRA definition of anti-Semitism apart from in Scotland. There, the Scottish Greens hold two ministerial positions in Nicola Sturgeon’s government. Both co-leaders, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, still refuse to endorse the definition. The Greens have voted previously in favour of a motion that described Israel as a “racist state” based on “Jewish supremacy” and calls Zionism a racist endeavour. This is entirely consistent with the findings of Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem earlier this year.

READ: Jewish woman threatens to sue UK Labour over ‘anti-Semitism’ warnings

The far-right Israeli government is said to be increasingly concerned about the decline of support for Zionism. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has already instructed its embassies and lobby groups around the world to shore up support for the ideology in 2022. Indeed, as reported recently by MEMO, it seems that the pro-Israel lobbyists are going on the attack already; Sturgeon is facing mounting criticism over the Scottish National Party’s partnership with Scottish Greens. The First Minister has also been accused of Jew-hatred for discouraging “trade between Scotland and illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories”.

Such tactics make it no surprise, therefore, to hear that British MP Robert Jenrick has pledged to get the British government to outlaw BDS. Speaking at the Leadership Dialogue Institute (LDI), a think tank fostering closer cultural ties between Australia, the UK and Israel, he addressed BDS in a meeting under the inflammatory heading “Why Do So Many People Hate Jews?” Again, the attempt is to conflate legitimate criticism of a political ideology with totally illegitimate, abhorrent racism against Jews. As one leading pro-Palestine campaigner has said, “Anti-Zionism is a duty; anti-Semitism is a crime.”

When Zionists move the goalposts they unwittingly expose the tissue of lies on which the state of Israel has been built. The Jews in Europe pre-Holocaust saw Zionism for what it was and voted accordingly. It is time for the truth about the ideology to be told before any more Jews like Diana Neslen are persecuted for their wholly acceptable beliefs. Their right to freedom of thought and speech must not be curtailed as they seek justice for the people of occupied Palestine.

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

Exit Nord Stream 2, Enter Power of Siberia 2

THURSDAY 23 DEC 21

Military superpower Russia, having had enough of U.S./NATO bullying, is now dictating the terms of a new arrangement.

PEPE ESCOBAR 

Coming straight from President Putin, it did sound like a bolt from the sky:

“We need long-term legally binding guarantees even if we know they cannot be trusted, as the U.S. frequently withdraws from treaties that become uninteresting to them. But it’s something, not just verbal assurances.”

And that’s how Russia-U.S. relations come to the definitive crunch – after an interminable series of polite red alerts coming from Moscow.

Putin once again had to specify that Russia is looking for “indivisible, equitable security” – a principle established since Helsinki in 1975 – even though he no longer sees the U.S. as a dependable “partner”, that diplomatically nicety so debased by the Empire since the end of the USSR.

The “frequently withdrawing from treaties” passage can easily be referred to as Washington in 2002 under Bush Jr. pulling out of the ABM treaty signed between the U.S. and the USSR in 1972. Or it could be referred to as the U.S. under Trump destroying the JCPOA signed with Iran and guaranteed by the UN. Precedents abound.

Putin was once again exercising the Taoist patience so characteristic of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: explaining the obvious not only to a Russian but also a global audience. The Global South may easily understand this reference; “When international law and the UN Charter interfere, they [the U.S.] declare it all obsolete and unnecessary.”

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko had been uncommonly assertive – leaving nothing for the imagination:

“We just make it clear that we are ready to talk about switching over from a military or a military-technical scenario to a political process that will strengthen the security of all countries in the area of the OCSE, Euro-Atlantic and Eurasia. If that doesn’t work out, we signaled to them [NATO] that we will also move over to creating counter threats, but it will then be too late to ask us why we made these decisions and why we deployed these systems.”

So in the end it comes down to Europeans facing “the prospect of turning the continent into a field of military confrontation.” That will be the inevitable consequence of a NATO “decision” actually decided in Washington.

Incidentally: any possible, future “counter threats” will be coordinated between Russia and China.

Mr. Zircon is on the line, Sir

Every sentient being from Atlanticist shores to Eurasian steppes by now knows the content of the Russian draft agreements on security guarantees presented to the Americans, as detailed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

Key provisions include no further NATO expansion; no Ukraine admission; no NATO shenanigans in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia; Russia and NATO agreeing not to deploy intermediate and short-range missiles in areas from where they can hit each other’s territory; establishment of hotlines; and the NATO-Russia Council actively involved in resolving disputes.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs extensively reiterated that the Americans received “detailed explanations of the logic of the Russian approach”, so the ball is in Washington’s court.

Well, National Security advisor Jake Sullivan at first seemed to kick it, when he admitted, on the record, that Putin may not want to “invade” Ukraine.

Then there were rumblings that the Americans would get back to Moscow this week with their own “concrete security proposals”, after de facto writing the script for their NATO minions, invariably conveyed in spectacularly mediocre fashion by secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.

The Ukraine narrative didn’t change an inch: “severe measures” – of an economic and financial nature – remain in the pipeline if Russia engages in “further aggression” in Ukraine.

Moscow was not fooled. Ryabkow had to specify, once again, that the Russian proposals were on a bilateral basis. Translation: we talk only to those with deciding power, not to minions. The involvement of other countries, Ryabkov said, “will deprive them of their meaning.”

From the start, NATO’s response had been predictably obvious: Russia is conducting a “substantial, unprovoked, and unjustified” military buildup along its border with Ukraine and is making “false … claims of Ukrainian and NATO provocations”.

That once again proved the point it’s a monumental waste of time to discuss with yapping chihuahuas of the Stoltenberg variety, for whom “NATO expansion will continue, whether Russia likes it or not.”

In fact, whether U.S. and NATO functionaries like it or not, what’s really happening in the realpolitk realm is Russia dictating new terms from a position of power. In a nutshell: you may learn the new game in town in a peaceful manner, civilized dialogue included, or you will learn the hard way via a dialogue with Mr. Iskandr, Mr. Kalibr, Mr. Khinzal and Mr. Zircon.

The inestimable Andrei Martyanov has extensively analysed for years now all the details of Russia’s overwhelming military dominance, hypersonic and otherwise, across the European space – as well as the dire consequences if the U.S. and NATO minions “decide that they want to continue to play dumb.”

Martyanov has also noted that Russia “understands the split with the West and is ready to take any consequences, including, already declining, shrinkage of trade and reduction of the supply of hydrocarbons to the EU.”

That’s where the whole ballet around the security guarantees intersects with the crucial Pipelineistan angle. To sum it all up: exit Nord Stream 2, enter Power of Siberia 2.

So let’s revisit why the looming energy catastrophe in the EU is not forcing anyone in Russia to lose his/her sleep.

Dancing in the Siberian night

One of the top takeaways of the strategic Putin-Xi video conference last week was the immediate future of Power of Siberia 2 – which will snake in across Mongolia to deliver up to 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to China.

So it was hardly an accident that Putin received Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh in the Kremlin, the day after he talked to Xi, to discuss Power of Siberia 2. The key parameters of the pipeline have already been set, a feasibility study will be completed in early 2022, and the deal – minus last-minute pricing tune-ups – is practically clinched.

Power of Siberia 2 follows the 2,200 km long Power of Siberia 1, launched in 2019 from Eastern Siberia to northern China and the focus of a $400 billion deal struck between Gazprom and China’s CNPC. Power of Siberia 1’s full capacity will be reached in 2025, when it will be supplying 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Power of Siberia 2, a much bigger operation, was planned years ago, but it was hard to find consensus on the final route. Gazprom wanted Western Siberia to Xinjiang across the Altai mountains. The Chinese wanted transit via Mongolia straight into central China. The Chinese eventually prevailed. The final route across Mongolia was decided only two months ago. Construction should begin in 2024.

This is a massive geoeconomic game-changer, totally in line with the increasingly sophisticated Russia-China strategic partnership. But it’s also supremely important geopolitically (Remember Xi: China supports Russia’s “core interests”).

The gas for Power of Siberia 2 will come from the same fields currently supplying the EU market. Whatever demented concoctions the European Commission – and the new German government – may apply on stalling the operation of Nord Stream 2, Gazprom’s main focus will be China.

It doesn’t matter for Gazprom that China as a customer in the near future will not fully replace the whole EU market. What matters is the steady business flow and the absence of infantile politicking. For China what matters is an extra, guaranteed overland supply rote boosting its strategy of “escaping from Malacca”: the possibility, in case Cold War 2.0 turns hot, that the U.S. Navy would eventually block maritime shipping of energy sources via Southeast Asia to China.

Beijing of course is all over the place when it comes to buying Russian natural gas. The Chinese have a 30% stake in Novatek’s $27 billion Yamal project and a 20% stake in the $21 billion Arctic project.

So welcome to 2022 and the new, high stakes realpolitik Great Game.

U.S. elites had been terrified of playing Russia against China because they fear this would lead Germany to ally with Russia and China – leaving the Empire of Chaos out in the cold.

And that leads to the “mystery” inside the enigma of the whole Ukrainian face: use it to force the EU away from Russian natural resources.

Russia is turning the whole show upside down. As an energy superpower, instead of an internally corroded EU dictated by NATO, Russia will be mostly focused on its Asian customers.

In parallel, military superpower Russia, having had enough of U.S./NATO bullying, is now dictating the terms of a new arrangement. Lavrov confirmed the first round of Russia-U.S. talks on security guarantees will be held in early 2022.

Are these ultimatums? Not really. Seems like Ryabkov, with notable didacticism, will have to keep explaining it over and over again: “We do not speak in the language of ultimatums with anyone. We have a responsible attitude towards our own security and the security of others. The point is not that we have issued an ultimatum, not at all, but that the seriousness of our warning must not be underestimated.”

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Riad Salameh: Washington’s man in Lebanon; a suspect in Europe

December 22 2021

Washington’s man in Lebanon, Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh, is responsible for Lebanon’s financial collapse.Photo Credit: The Cradle

Europe has launched a flurry of criminal investigations into the United States’ most valuable Lebanese financial asset, the country’s Central Bank Governor

By The Cradle’s Lebanon Correspondent

On 27 November 2020, Lebanon’s Banque du Liban (Central Bank) Governor Riad Salameh was charged on suspicion of embezzlement, money laundering and abuse of influence in Switzerland, Britain, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, and Lebanon.

European judicial scrutiny over Salameh’s financial dealings first began in Bern, Switzerland, where legal authorities began investigating Lebanese bank transfers totaling about $400 million, the source of which is suspected to be Salameh, his brother Raja Salameh, and the governor’s assistant Marianne Howayek.

The Swiss Public Prosecutor’s Office subsequently wrote to Lebanon’s discriminatory Public Prosecution, requesting legal assistance from state authorities to investigate information that the Central Bank of Lebanon had laundered money and conducted embezzlement operations between 2002 and 2015.

These ‘suspicious’ transfers had been carried out through a company by the name of Forry Associates, owned by the two Salameh brothers.

On 26 December 2001, the Central Council of the Banque du Liban approved the governor’s request to sign a financial services contract between Forry and the Central Bank related to foreign currency debt bonds.

According to the Swiss Federal Prosecutor, the money was laundered in European and Lebanese banks, and was used to purchase real estate in several countries. Forry is, according to the Bern investigators, a shell company and a fraudulent front for the Salameh family.

This discovery represented the first fall of the domino for Riad Salameh, known to be ‘America’s man’ in the Lebanese financial sector.

Washington’s ‘criminal’ in Lebanon

The relationship between Riad Salameh and the US began to be revealed publicly in April 2019 when Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Akhbar published minutes of a meeting between the US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism Financing and Financial Crimes, Marshall Billingsley, and the (former) Lebanese Economy Minister, Mansour Bteish.

The minutes reveal a US official saying:

“We need a governor of the Banquet du Liban and a deputy governor who we can trust, and who is sensitive and with whom confidential information about terrorist financing and money laundering can be exchanged. The situation today is that we trust Governor Riad Salameh and (former) Deputy Governor Muhammad Baasiri.”

Switzerland began its investigation in November 2020, and in February 2021, Lebanon’s discriminatory Public Prosecution launched a special investigation into Forry Associates and its relationship to the Salameh brothers.

The result of the investigation led by Lebanese Public Prosecutor Judge Jean Tannous (under the supervision of Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat) led to a raid on Raja Salameh’s Beirut office in April 2021.

Then, on 26 May 2021, German and Swiss authorities ordered a freeze on the funds of Riad and Raja Salameh, and the same request was sent to France on 1 June.

French authorities immediately responded and began implementing procedures, while in Switzerland, citing the slow pace of judicial procedures, officials have yet to respond to Lebanese judiciary requests for assistance and information.

Surprisingly, given that Switzerland initiated this whole process, the Swiss have refused to send a copy of the contract signed between the Banque du Liban and the Forry company to the discriminatory Public Prosecution in Lebanon.

Bags of cash and financial sleaze

Thus far, three European states are leading criminal investigations against Riad Salameh: Switzerland, France and Luxembourg. The Netherlands, Germany, Britain, and Belgium are still examining complaints and follow-ups to files, and have not yet launched their own criminal investigations.

In July 2021, French airport customs authorities arrested Riad Salameh after discovering an undeclared amount of 84,430 euros and 7,710 dollars in his private bag, far more cash than is legally allowed to physically enter France without a permit.

Salameh’s initial response was to deny knowledge of the money, but shortly after being taken to an interrogation room, he confessed to have ‘forgotten’ that he had placed the money in his bag.

The scandal in France and the penalty slapped on Salameh have been added to the two complaints filed against him in Paris.

The first complaint was submitted on 16 April 2020 by Accountability Now, an NGO organization focused on Lebanon’s financial and political crimes against the Lebanese people, established by both Lebanese and Swiss human rights activists.

The second complaint was submitted on 30 April by the French ‘Sherpa’ organization, which specializes in combating economic and financial crimes around the world.

Investigations have progressed in France, leading to the interrogation of Raja Salameh, and the dispatch of a French police force on 21 October to raid apartments and real estate suspected of belonging to Riad and Raja Salameh and a certain Anna Kozakova, who the French press described as “the mother of Riad Salameh’s illegitimate daughter.”

The main objective of these raids was to gain access to an apartment located on the French Champs-Elysées, rented by Riad Salameh from Kozakova.

This apartment is officially leased by the Banque du Liban as a “reserve center” in case a force majeure event prevents it from working from its headquarters in Beirut’s Hamra district, or its secondary headquarters in Bikfaya, the Matn district of Mount Lebanon.

The raid revealed that the Banque du Liban rented the apartment for a whopping $500,000 per year – basically, it seems, to house only an electronic server no more than two square meters in size.

A deluxe suite of lawsuits 

The prosecution of the central bank governor is not limited to France, as Accountability Now has also filed a complaint in Britain.

On 14 October, a meeting was held in The Hague, which included representatives of the Public Prosecution Office in Lebanon, France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Britain, with the intention “to coordinate the investigation steps into the wealth of Riad Salameh, Raja Salameh and Kozakova.”

The wealth of these three individuals is also being pursued in Belgium; while Luxembourg has frozen Salameh’s accounts after launching a criminal investigation against him on 12 November.

Media investigations have revealed three companies registered in Luxembourg in the name of Riad Salameh with combined assets of about $100 million, while a further entity is registered in the name of Raja Salameh.

Discoveries from previous investigations also show that Riad Salameh owns real estate amounting to 150 million dollars, about half of which is in Britain, and no less than 35 million euros invested in French real estate purchases, mostly between 2007 and 2014.

Lebanese lawsuits against its criminal ‘strongmen’ are gaining importance in the country. While the European legal clampdown on Riad Salameh is unprecedented, the most important implications are the lawsuit filed against him in Lebanon, handled by the discriminatory Public Prosecution.

Salameh collaborates closely with most Lebanese political forces and parties, enjoys the cover of the Maronite Patriarchate, and is carefully promoted by the majority of local media outlets.

Nevertheless, Judge Jean Tannous has questioned Salameh twice, as well as employees of two financial auditing firms, Ernst & Young and Deloitte, both of which audit the accounts of the Banque du Liban, a number of its managers, and former members of the bank’s Central Council.

Meanwhile, Salameh’s assistant, Marianne Howayek, was arrested for a few hours at Beirut airport last May, during which documents and electronic devices were confiscated before her release.

Riad Salameh is not just one of ‘Washington’s men’ in Lebanon; he is also the most powerful employee of the Lebanese state.

The Monetary and Credit Law, which regulates the work of the Lebanese banking sector, bestowed broad powers upon the central bank governor in terms of preserving money and the nation’s economy, but Salameh expanded his sphere of influence by taking advantage of the successive failures of political authorities to carry out their duties and to define the financial and social policy of the state.

Salameh’s crimes against Lebanon … with US blessing

Since 1997 to date, Salameh has personally taken all the measures and made all the decisions that led to Lebanon’s economic collapse.

These include fixing the exchange rate, borrowing US dollars from the Banque du Liban, and luring Lebanese banks to bring in deposits from correspondent banks abroad and placing them in the Banque du Liban with high interest rates.

Salameh’s actions also includes executing financial engineering that doubled the profits of bank owners and increased the state’s indebtedness; concealing the losses of the banking sector; applying subsidies to the importation of fuel, medicine and wheat, and then raising prices before finding an alternative for the Lebanese citizenry; disrupting the financial plan of the government of former Prime Minister Hassan Diab; and finally, participating in currency market speculation which contributed to the collapse of the Lebanese Lira currency, wiping out depositors’ life savings.

In its report issued in the spring of 2021, the World Bank described Salameh as “the exclusive policy maker” in Lebanon’s economy. Today, he is a suspect, having refused since February 2021 to provide the discriminatory Public Prosecution with his personal account statements in order to investigate the Forry case.

But instead of suspending Salameh from his position as the Central Bank’s governor until investigations were completed, the Council of Ministers expanded his authority, making him a ‘partner’ in the development of a financial rescue plan and IMF negotiations for Lebanon.

Today, Riad Salameh continues to be protected by the political, religious and media establishments of Lebanon, and by a US administration that refuses to allow him to be dismissed.

Specifically, it was the US embassy in Beirut which directly intervened against former Lebanese PM Hassan Diab’s decision to sack Riad Salameh and reset Lebanon’s collapsing financial system on a different path.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Australia urged to support Assange

Dec 11, 21

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net

Australian Prime Minister is under criticism for not calling for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the US overturned a block on his extradition from the UK.

Assange’s lawyers said they will appeal the ruling in the UK’s supreme court.

Australian politicians are urging the government to take a stance and demand the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

On Friday, the US government overturned a block on the extradition of Assange from Britain to face trial for publishing top-secret documents exposing war crimes perpetrated by the US and its allies across the globe, although options to appeal remain open to his legal team.

Washington presented the challenge after a lower court judge in London ruled in January that the 50-year-old journalist would be at a real and oppressive risk of suicide in the US justice system.

Assange’s lawyers said they will appeal the ruling in the UK’s supreme court.

The Australian federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to demand the release of Assange and “end this lunacy.”

“Mr Assange should be looking forward to spending Christmas with his two young boys and his fiancee, but instead he’s facing a 175-year jail sentence and the very real possibility of living out his final days behind bars,” Wilkie said.

The independent MP accused the UK of being “a lackey of the United States and that Australia is delighted to go along for the ride.”

Similarly, the Greens senator Janet Rice said “foreign Minister Marise Payne must urgently speak to the US and tell them to drop these absurd charges and end Assange’s torture.”

For his part, UN’s special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer described the ruling as a “politically motivated verdict,” and criticized it.

Melzer told the DPA news agency that “This is a shortcoming for the British judiciary,.” stressing that Assange “is not in a condition to be extradited.”

The decision by a London court to allow Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, to be extradited to the United States is “shameful,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

Assange has been in custody since 2019, despite the fact that he had served a previous sentence over breaching bail conditions in a separate case.

He had also spent seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid his extradition to Sweden.

Palestinian engineer files lawsuit in Texas to protest antiboycott law

7 Dec  2021

Source: The Guardian

By Al Mayadeen

Palestinian-American engineer Rasmy Hassouna is suing the state of Texas to cancel a law that bans government contractors from boycotting “Israel” and its products.

Hassouna’s case could cost him to lose a certain amount of money of his yearly revenue.

Rasmy Hassouna, Texan civil engineer and contractor for the city of Houston, is fighting the Israeli occupation in his way.

The Palestinian-American citizen was about to renew his contract with the government before he noticed a legal clause that forbids him and his company A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting “Israel” and its products as long as working for Houston, reported The Guardian.

“I came here and thought I was a free man. It’s not anybody’s business what I do or what I say, as long as I’m not harming anybody,” Hassouna expressed.

“Why do I have to pledge allegiance to a foreign country?”, he questioned.

In response, Rasmy, 59, decided to take action and file a lawsuit against the Texas state law that bans government contractors from boycotting the Israeli occupation, which is the case in more than 25 US states, mentioned the newspaper. 

According to The Guardian, Hassouna’s company is one out of only two companies to challenge such laws.

The lawsuit will be heard in federal court on Tuesday for violating free speech, and if ruled, the 2019 Texas ban on boycotting “Israel” will be canceled.

However, according to his lawyer, Hassouna’s case could cost him to lose a certain amount of money of his yearly revenue.

Flying to the US as an immigrant in 1988, the engineer became a US citizen in 2005. Back then, he fought his first battle: His citizenship certificate read “Israel” in the place of birth section.

“I went to the lady who was giving the certificates away and told her I didn’t want ‘Israel’ on my certificate,” he explained.

“They told me ‘Palestine was not in the system.’”

After back-and-forth discussions with officials, the immigration office finally granted him a new certificate with the place of birth section saying Gaza Strip.

Kyle Rittenhouse: The White-Only American Dream (Part II)

Nov 26, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal opened the door for much of the American right to champion their anti-BLM and pro-gun narrative; Exploiting a tragedy for their interests does not seem too surprising.

The police force is a system that shares racism with the judiciary in the United States, making it an accomplice

From a protest calling for racial equality in the United States to a blood bath that saw a white teen claiming the lives of protestors. That is how the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020, unfolded, and over a year later, the killer was acquitted of his crimes.

After reflecting on how the justice system was an accomplice to the acquittal of the white teenager and racial discrimination in the United States in Part I, it will be revealed how the police contribute to the same issue, in addition to shedding light on Rittenhouse’s trial and its aftermath.

Police force

The police force is a system that shares racism with the judiciary in the United States. In fact, it is what delivers the alleged offenders to the wolves of the US courts, who then do with them as they wish. 

There is so much evidence to support this “claim” that amounts to a fact, such as the fact that Black people are 27% more likely to be killed by the police, 35% more likely to be unarmed, and 36%  less likely to be threatening someone when killed.

Solid facts prove that the police have been notorious for their treatment of minorities, especially black people.

Looking back to 2020, protests erupted across the states after a policeman brutally knelt on the neck of a black man for 8 minutes 46 seconds, killing him on the scene as he was pleading for his life. Said protests resulted in an awareness campaign on racism in the US, which put many forgotten cases in the spotlight and called for more accountability in future ones.

Not in any particular order, we will be shining the light on several cases of police brutality against black people across the United States.

Case 1: Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice was only a 12-year-old boy at the time of his murder at the hands of white police officer Timothy Loehmann under the pretext of the young kid possessing a firearm.

Someone had called the police in Cleveland, Ohio, about a male carrying a gun in the area, which the caller said was fake, and reiterated his statement later in the call, also informing the police that the suspect was “probably a juvenile.”

Tamir Rice was killed while carrying a replica gun, a toy in essence, while Kyle Rittenhouse walked by police vehicles after shooting several people without getting shot as someone was yelling at the police about the crime he had just committed.

“Rittenhouse had his hands up while walking toward and past police vehicles.”

Well so did case 2:

Adam Toledo

Adam was a 13-year-old Latino boy who was shot and killed by the Chicago police for possession of a weapon – which was later retrieved from the scene for it to appear that it was an empty 9mm handgun – while complying with the police officer’s orders.

Toledo had his hands in the air when the police officer shot him, body-cam footage showed.

So why was Kyle Rittenhouse, a white teenager brandishing an AR-15 which the police knew was loaded due to information acquired from a pedestrian, treated so differently than Adam Toledo, a Latino child, who was no older than 13 and complied with the officer’s orders but got shot nonetheless?

Maybe Kyle’s complexion stopped him from looking suspicious holding his AR despite someone shouting that he had just shot several people.

Perhaps the next case will reveal the shocking reality of police racial prejudice.

Case 3: Elijah McClain

Elijah McClain was a 23-year-old autistic Black man who was killed at the hands of the police and paramedics after three white officers stopped him on the grounds that he “looked suspicious.” Elijah had been wearing an open ski mask to protect himself from chronic chills caused by his anemia. He was also wearing headphones, which prevented him from hearing calls from the police officers. McClain objectively did nothing wrong, which he voiced to the police officers as they were wrestling him to the ground ahead of putting him in a chokehold. 

McClain was pleading and telling the police officers he could not breathe while urging them to respect his boundaries as he was introverted.

McClain went unconscious, prompting the police officers to release him from the chokehold. Afterward, a medic injected McClain with 500mg of ketamine to sedate him because he was struggling after regaining consciousness.

Due to the drugs administered into his system, alongside the stressful situation he was in, Elijah went into cardiac arrest. Three days after arriving at the hospital, he was declared brain dead, and then removed from life support three days thereafter.

All the aforementioned “cases” are not simply “arguments” to support a claim: They are human beings who lost their lives to an unfair system without their killers receiving the proper justice.

Tamir Rice’s killer, Timothy Loehmann, was sacked from his job without any charges. Adam Toledo’s killer, Eric Stillman, was also just sacked without charges. Elijah McClain’s killers, Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema, have been indicted, but nothing much is anticipated since we are talking about the US justice system, especially since we’re talking about the same system that did not take any action against the cop murderers of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot in the safety of her own home, and acquitted the killer of teenage black honor student Antwon Rose II.

And we must not forget that over the past 15 years, only 44 officers (out of the 121 who faced murder or manslaughter charges) have been convicted, and often for lesser offenses, just like Breonna Taylor’s case.

The trial, again

Now, back to the trial.

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges, but let’s look at those trying him, and who practically declared it open season against protestors through their acquittal.

The jury

The jury was picked in one day, and it comprised 20 members – 11 women and nine men, nothing out of the ordinary. It nearly aced the male-to-female ratio of the US population. However, one aspect of this jury could explain many things: out of the 20 members, only one member was from an ethnic minority, the rest were all white. 

The jury was overwhelmingly white and was trying a white teenager who killed citizens protesting for black lives. One wonders how Kyle was acquitted with all this adversity he was facing in the trial.

The judge

Judge Bruce Schroeder, also white – surprisingly – left much more to be desired. From ruling that the victims of Kyle’s criminality should not be called “victims,” but rather “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists,” to allowing the defendant to pick the names of the jurors through a raffle, Schroeder raised many concerns about the direction in which the trial was headed before it even started.

Judge Schroeder exhibited several signs of unprofessionalism. He played a game of “Jeopardy!” with the potential jurors and made a speech with racial undertones as to why he had defendants blindly pick the names of the jurors.

One of the charges legal experts thought would most likely get Rittenhouse some time in prison for – possession of a dangerous weapon – was dismissed by Schroeder after the defense found a “legal loophole,” which only prevented minors from owning short-barrelled rifles. That law is adopted in Wisconsin, and Kyle’s rifle was an AR-15, a long-barrelled rifle.

The courtroom under Schroeder was unbelievably chaotic, with an unusual amount of shouting, putting his professionalism up for question.

And lastly, during the cross-examination, the judge’s phone rang to the ringtone of “God Bless the USA.” The song is a patriotic song popular among conservatives in the US and was used many times as Donald Trump’s entrance theme during his rallies, which also reflected the judge’s most probable political stance towards the cause for which Huber and Rosenbaum died – BLM. 

Kyle Rittenhouse

The murderous teenager did not shy away from putting his complexion and white tears to use, as they must have garnered the judge and the jury’s sympathy, especially that his skin color matched theirs.

Kyle played the victim card shortly after getting on the stand, on which he shed crocodile tears and claimed Rosenbaum had “ambushed” him, arguing self-defense. 

The judge gave Rittenhouse a 10-minute break to compose himself. But were his victims given a break before he shot them? 

Kyle’s testimony saw him reiterating what he said during the aforementioned interview before the attack. He also argued self-defense when it came to his murder of two men and the wounding of a third. “I did nothing wrong,” he boldly claimed.

There isn’t much to address in Kyle’s testimony, for in the court, he was not the one at fault as much as the defense team, the jurors, and the judge, and looking at recordings of the testimony, one could easily predict the defense had coached Rittenhouse on what to say.

All in all, the trial was very disappointing, especially with how the judge was too stern against the prosecution while being too lenient in favor of the defense and, well, the end result, Kyle’s acquittal.

Celebrating crime

By acquitting Rittenhouse, the US justice system committed a crime against his victims, allowing them to be perceived as terrorists for trying to stop him from putting somebody in harm’s way while designating him a “hero” for “protecting property.”

This goes to show that the justice system in question sees defending property as a valid cause for murder while perceiving protesting against systemic racism and police brutality as a crime.

Rittenhouse went on to become an icon for the far-right in the United States, those of them who oppose Black Lives Matter and the protests that went on calling for racial equality. Those who want to have guns in their holsters all the time in case “the government tries to oppress them” do not want others to protest because of the same reason: government-sponsored oppression. 

Kyle garnered support from the radical right in America and its leaders, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene went as far as pushing for rewarding Kyle a gold Congressional Gold Medal for “protecting the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) riot on August 25, 2020.” Not only that, but GOP congressmen have offered Rittenhouse an internship following this fiasco, seeing him as some sort of validation for their conservative cause.

Those congressmen include Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Lauren Boebert, and Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The American right went out on protests to support Kyle Rittenhouse, surprisingly not solely because of his race but because to them, his acquittal was a tool they could use to champion “gun rights” in a country where gun-related killings constitute 73% of all homicides.

Finally, when Donald Trump, a man notorious for his racism and obstruction of justice, not only congratulates you but hosts you in his resort in Florida in celebration, you’re probably in the wrong.

Why Russia Protects the YPG in Syria

November 16, 2021

Moscow regards the legitimate Syrian opposition as a bigger threat than the YPG.

Russian military vehicles drive on the road as Russia makes a new military and logistic reinforcement of 30 vehicles to its military points in Kamisli occupied by YPG, Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organization on September 14, 2020 Photo by Samer Uveyd, Anadolu Images


F
or years, the Turkish public criticized the U.S. administrations for their support of the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organization, which poses a threat to Syria’s territorial integrity and a national security threat to Turkey. At the same time, Russia also tried to use the YPG as a card against Turkey in 2015 and early 2016, but later changed its position and declared its support for the territorial integrity of Syria, and acknowledged the threat the group poses against Turkey. However, in the end of 2019, Russia viewed the partial American withdrawal as an opportunity and re-changed its position again.

In this manner, in 2018, Russia withdrew from the Afrin region and opened the way for the joint Turkish-Syrian military operation of the Syrian National Army (SNA), the former Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) against the YPG.

Moreover, Russia accepted to exclude YPG figures from the Syrian constitutional committee and signed several Astana resolutions which define the YPG as a threat to Syria’s territorial integrity. However, Russia changed its approach to the YPG following Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring and became – along with the U.S. – the new military protector of the YPG in Syria.

Read: The Only Way Out for Russia Is to Let Turkey Weaken the YPG

Why did Russia change its attitude towards the YPG? In order to understand this policy change, one should first analyze Russia’s overall Syria policy before Operation Peace Spring. No doubt, for Moscow, autonomy and federal governments or other forms of decentralized government are not a threat to the territorial integrity of a state since Russia itself is a federation. Nobody should expect Russia to oppose a federal system in Syria.

Therefore, Russia does not recognize the PKK and its Syrian branch, the YPG, as terror groups, and, in principle, does not oppose the YPG per se; however, Russia opposes the YPG’s current policies. For Moscow, the YPG’s partnership with the United States has been the main source of its distrust toward the organization. Moscow wants the YPG to quit working with the U.S. and cooperate with the Russia-backed Assad regime. Until Operation Peace Spring, all Russian charm efforts failed and the YPG remained loyal to the United States.

With Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, the YPG felt the urgent need to invite the Assad regime and Russia to provide military protection against Turkey and the Syrian Interim Government. The YPG’s request was seen by Moscow as a golden opportunity to gain extensive leverage. Russia wanted to fill the void and was further encouraged when U.S. CENTCOM officials decided to hand over their bases to the Russian military rather than seeing a further push by the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army.

Read: The YPG Myth Downplays a Danger For the West

With this momentum, Russia deployed its troops to Manbij, Ayn al-Arab (Kobane), Ayn Issa, Tal Tamr, Dirbasiyah, and Amudah along the front lines or the border region, and entered the towns of Tabqah and Raqqa. As Russia had troops in the YPG-held Tal Rifaat pocket since 2016, with this development, the YPG was on the verge of coming under full Russian military protection.

Moscow was expecting to enter the far east of Syria at the Iraqi border and the oil-rich region of Deir Ezzor in the southeast, but Trump’s decision to protect the oil hindered Russia from doing so. U.S. soldiers stayed in a strip in the east of the country and prevented Russia from entering. Since then, the YPG militants maintained a balancing act between Moscow and Washington as demonstrated by the visit of the PKK veteran and head of the political supreme body of the YPG, Elham Ahmad, to Moscow before heading to Washington.

Following the partial U.S. withdrawal and the new Russian protection of the YPG, Turkey signed two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia. The deal with the U.S. stopped the SNA-TAF advancement and canceled U.S. sanctions against Turkey in return.

Read: Why Turkey Is Dismantling the YPG from Northern Syria

The deal with Russia was more comprehensive. After Operation Peace Spring, the YPG invited the Assad regime and Russia to protect the front lines against a further push by the joint Turkish-Syrian forces, and Russia obligated itself under the terms of the deal to enforce a full withdrawal of all YPG forces from Tal Rifaat, Manbij, and an area extending 32 km from the Turkish border in the east of the Euphrates to the border with Iraq. The deal also foresaw joint Turkish-Russian patrols in a 10-kilometer-wide strip across the Turkish-Syrian border. Except for the joint patrols, Russia failed to deliver on any of the terms of the agreement.

Let alone keeping their promise, Russians have done the opposite and supported the YPG in its terror campaign against the Syrian Interim Government and Turkey. The YPG engaged in several attacks with various weapon systems against civilian-populated areas of the Syrian Interim Government such as Afrin, Azaz, Al-Bab, Jarablus, Tal Abyad, and Rasulayn.

The YPG used new models of Russian-supplied anti-tank guided missiles to target Turkish soldiers

The YPG used new models of Russian-supplied anti-tank guided missiles to target Turkish soldiers, infiltrated the front lines to kill SNA soldiers, and operated a network of cells in the areas of the Syrian Interim Government located in northern Syria. With these cells, the YPG could plant IEDs and attempt assassinations against the SNA, Syrian local politicians, and Turkish soldiers.

Read: The YPG Has a Bloody History in Syria, But the West Turns a Blind Eye

The YPG used the Russian-protected areas as a safe zone to conduct ranged artillery attacks against hospitals and civilian infrastructure. Yet, the most brutal of the YPG attacks were the constant car bomb attacks carried out in urban areas which randomly killed innocent civilians.

The YPG tries to maintain plausible deniability and rejects responsibility. However, car bombs intercepted at crossing points from YPG-held areas to the areas of the Syrian Interim Government, and the logic behind the attacks leave no doubt about who the perpetrators are. The YPG’s foreign backers, like the U.S., condemn the attacks without naming any suspect or culprit, or turn a blind eye to them entirely, like Russia.

For Moscow, the YPG’s systematic use of terror is a preferred tool to prevent the Syrian Interim Government from establishing a sustainable alternative to the Assad regime without getting into a confrontation with Turkey. The attacks are not conducted directly by Russia, but by the YPG, and the U.S. support and protection of the YPG shields Russia from Turkish criticism.  The Turkish public focuses on the U.S. support of the YPG rather than the military protection Russia provides the YPG and its pragmatic attitude to the YPG’s terror campaign.

In fact, Russian policy shows that Moscow regards the legitimate Syrian opposition as a bigger threat than the YPG. For Russia, the Syrian Interim Government is a direct alternative to the Assad regime, and the YPG represents only a territorially limited pursuit of autonomy. Therefore, Russia prefers to protect the YPG in order to disrupt the Syrian Interim Government rather than implementing its obligations stemming from the Turkish-Russian agreement of 2019.

In fairness, it should be underlined that the Russian position regarding the YPG’s demand to establish an autonomous region in northeast Syria has changed in line with the Astana accords. In the negotiations between the Assad regime and the YPG, Moscow puts its weight behind the regime’s categorical rejection of autonomy. In line with the Astana agreements, Russia rejects the separatist agenda of the YPG on paper. While the U.S. actively supports the political ambitions of the YPG in Syria, Russia supports the military presence of the YPG only as a temporary tool.

VIDEO: Exploiting the Female Body: The YPG Case

Huge Fire, Explosions Rock Parking Lot in “Tel Aviv”

14 Nov 2021

https://english.almayadeen.net/news/politics/huge-fire-and-explosions-rock-parking-lot-in-tel-aviv

A large fire broke out in a parking lot in southern “Tel Aviv” followed by violent explosions, with no injuries reported.

بالفيديو.. حريق كبير في مجمع مرائب في تل أبيب يؤدي إلى وقوع انفجار - RT  Arabic
Huge fire in a parking lot in southern “Tel Aviv”

Israeli media reported that a fire broke out in a parking lot in southern “Tel Aviv”, leading to a large explosion, which may be “the result of burning materials” in the area.

“It seems that there were flammable materials and cars in the place, and the moment they caught on fire, strong explosions followed,” Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported, adding that no injuries had been reported so far.

Palestinians Attacked, Spyware NSO, Sebastia Invaded, Palestinians Arrested, Store Destroyed, Palestinians Injured, Al-Aqsa Mosque

November 12, 2021

By KhamakarPress News –

Israeli settlers brutally attack, beat Palestinians in Hebron, shoot sharp bullets

Extremist Israeli settlers attacked and fired live ammunition at Palestinians Wednesday evening in the village of Khallet al-Dabe’h, in the Masafer Yatta community, south of Hebron, injuring at least five.
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, a group of extremist Israeli settlers brutally attacked Palestinians last night with live ammunition and stones in the village of Khallet al-Dabe’h, injuring more than five; two by sharp bullets and the others were bruised from the violent beatings and stone throwing.
The settlers also smashed the windows of several Palestinian vehicles.

Israeli settlers injure five Palestinians near Hebron

Israeli settlers injured five Palestinians Wednesday evening in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the National and Popular Committees, stated that a group of settlers threw stones and live ammunition at many Palestinians in the area of Khallet al-Dabe’h in Masafer Yatta before attacking them.

Four Palestinians injured in settler attack south of Hebron

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians with live fire on Wednesday evening in the village of Khallet al-Dabe’h, south of Hebron, injuring four, according to local and human rights sources.
The coordinator of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Popular Committees, Rateb Jabour, said Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians gathered in response to the construction of an Israeli colonial settlement at Khallet al-Dabe’h, one of Masafer Yatta. hamlets, leaving four injured.

Palestine Says Israeli Spyware NSO Found on Phones of Three Senior Officials

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it found Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli spyware company NSO Group, on the phones of three senior officials.
By accusing Israel of using military-grade Pegasus software to eavesdrop on them, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry announcement marks the first time Palestinian officials have accused NSO of spying on them, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
The statement also came less than two hours after the resignation of NSO chief executive Itzik Benbenisti, who had only been employed for two weeks.

PA sues Israel for ‘crimes’ of hacking Palestinians’ phones

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said yesterday it plans to prosecute the Israeli occupation for its “crime” of hacking into Palestinian workers’ phones.
In a statement, the PA’s State Department said the phones of some of its employees had been hacked by Israeli spyware Pegasus.
This came after an investigation conducted by rights groups Front Line Defenders, Citizen Lab and Amnesty International found that six Palestinians had their phones hacked by Israeli software.
According to the findings, three of the Palestinians worked for an NGO and three for the State Department.

Israeli Occupation Officers Invade Sebastia Archaeological Site, Conduct Provocative Tour

Officers of the Israeli occupation forces raided the Sebastia archaeological site in Nablus on Thursday morning, conducting a provocative tour for unknown reasons.
Local sources said Israeli officers raided the Sebastia archaeological site earlier today and, for unknown reasons, embarked on a provocative tour.

Ten Palestinians detained from the West Bank and Israel

Israeli soldiers detained eight Palestinian civilians from the occupied West Bank and two from within the 1948 occupied territories called Israel before dawn Thursday, local sources said.
Security sources told the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA) that Israeli forces stormed and searched a young man’s home in the town of Meithalun, south of Jenin in the northern West Bank, before arresting him.

Israel razes auto parts store south of Hebron

According to local sources, Israeli occupation authorities today razed a Palestinian auto parts store in the al-Harayeq area, south of Hebron.
Ahmad Salahab, a resident of the area, said Israeli forces escorted a bulldozer into the area, where the heavy machinery knocked down his 600-square-meter auto parts store, ostensibly because it is close to the nearby advancing colonial settlement of Beit Hagai.

Settlers’ organization begins building metal structure overlooking Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Israeli-Jewish settler group Elad started building a metal structure overlooking the Al-Aqsa Mosque yesterday, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.
Local sources said the new structure is very close to the southern wall of the Old City in an area occupied by Elad 15 years ago and referred to by settler organizations as the City of David.
The structure, the sources said, is adjacent to land owned by the Palestinian Somreen family, located in the Silwan neighborhood of Wadi Al-Hilwa.
Elad, Al-Resalah said, was founded in 1986 and has been used as the non-governmental face of the settlement projects of the Israeli occupation.

(Sources: Days of Palestine, Quds News Network, IMEMC, MEMO)

Henny A.J. Kreeft
Independent Citizen Journalism

© Khamakar News Agency / 11.11.2021

China selling advanced warships to Pakistan is bad news for India – and America

By VT Editors -November 10, 2021

RT: As the first frigate for Islamabad’s navy was launched this week, Beijing sent a statement of intent that it has various ways and means to stop the US and its allies encircling it.https://twitter.com/RGR15051618/status/1458331241967546371?s=20

Over the past several years, India and China have increasingly become geopolitical competitors.

While the Galwan Valley border clash last year was epitomized as the biggest trigger, the mutual distrust runs much deeper and wider, not least as the United States has used India as a strategic counterweight to China’s growing power, as part of its ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy.

In response, Beijing has solidified its economic, strategic and military partnership with Pakistan, India’s primary adversary.

While China and India continue to trade at a high level, surpassing $100 billion recently, this strategic game is firmly locked in place, and the newest development affirms this.

It has tilted from China feigning neutrality on India-Pakistan disputes, to it being much more explicit in backing Islamabad against New Delhi. Yesterday, China’s state run tabloid the Global Times announced that Beijing had “delivered to Pakistan the largest and most advanced warship China has ever exported,” selling them a Type 054A/P frigate built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC).

The PNS Tughril is the first of four frigates being constructed for the Pakistan Navy. The ship is a highly capable platform with large surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and underwater firepower, as well as possessing stealth and surveillance capabilities.

While Pakistan has long been integrated with China’s military-industrial complex, this naval deal marks a new milestone, not only in the message it sends to India, but also in being yet another step Beijing is taking to offset Western efforts of maritime military containment around it. These efforts were accelerated with the launch of the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal earlier this year. In doing so, Pakistan’s contribution to this contest now cannot be ignored.

On paper, the People’s Republic of China has only one true ‘treaty ally’ – a country it guarantees to defend militarily – and that is North Korea, even though its relationship with Pyongyang has not functioned as a complete alliance since the end of the Cold War.

Beyond this, Beijing has maintained a longstanding foreign policy tradition of ‘non-alignment’, which crystalized during the Sino-Soviet split in the 1950s and 1960s and saw Mao Zedong pivot to support the developing world. In the decades since, China has maintained this position, at least at face value, in an effort to not antagonize the United States (which worked for a long period) and to not divide the world into dangerous Cold War blocs.

However, the world is changing. Some commentators, such as Chinese-American political scientistMinxin Pei, have argued that the inauguration of initiatives like AUKUS meant China would “lose” an arms race.

The US has indeed attempted to rally allies against Beijing anyway, with the specific focus being in the maritime sphere, with the ‘Quad’ grouping of India, Australia, Japan and the UK. All of this has involved ramping up naval exercises in the South China Sea and around China’s periphery. With China not having as many formal allies, and Beijing’s foreign policy anxiety of ‘encirclement’, the key strategic question for their policymakers has been, “How do we respond to this strategic reality in the maritime domain?”

It is China’s emerging response to this question that shows that commentators such as Pei are being short-sighted. Beijing has moved to utilize a growing number of differing strategic partnerships, inviting other countries into the game to focus on countering specific adversaries where there is a common interest.

For example, this included its first ever joint maritime patrol with Russia last month around Japan. Few contemplated that China would also play the ‘Pakistan card’, giving New Delhi and Washington pause for thought in the western Indian Ocean. The relationship between Beijing and Pakistan, which is often known as ‘China’s Iron brother’ is a formal alliance in all but name, tailored for power projection, yet informalized for strategic flexibility.

Away from the military sphere, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will become a primary strategic and commercial route to bypass the Indian subcontinent, access the Red Sea and make China’s supply routes less vulnerable to maritime attack in the East, and to avoid being “cut off” during any conflict.

Pakistan is a very important military counterweight to India. While the country is regarded in the West for being poor and often unstable, it is wrong to call it weak. Sometimes, the size comparison with an even larger India can make it seem weaker than it is. Pakistan is a nuclear power with the world’s sixth largest army and a population of over 220 million. If China can succeed in developing it, it has more economic potential than many countries in the West. And its long running conflicts with India make it almost indispensable to Beijing.

Beijing is drawing in specific quasi-allies, for specific purposes in pushing back against the US-led coalition. Traditionally, Pakistan is a land power, due to the strategic realities of its wars with India in the disputed Jammu & Kashmir territories of the northeast. For a country of its size, Pakistan’s navy is tiny. It has just two destroyers, five frigates, and two corvettes. Bar some submarines, the rest are just patrol boats.

The UK’s Royal Navy has two aircraft carriers, six destroyers and 12 frigates, while India has more than 150 ships. So what is China’s plan? It’s to help build up Islamabad’s navy as a regionally targeted strategic counterweight that ensures that India, the US, and its allies do not gain hegemony over the western Indian ocean. Beijing can then focus its own resources on the South and East China Seas and Taiwan straits, while drafting in other players.

The trend is quite clear. If the US is going to encircle China with foreign navies, then China will seek to counter that by not just building up its own navy, but also enticing other countries to do so too in their areas of interest.

It’s easy to dismiss this week’s news as no big deal, ‘China sold a ship to Pakistan, so what’, but it’s certainly not true. It marks a strategic shift by Beijing to sell bigger and stronger state-of-the-art ships to de facto allies; it was not willing to do so in the past but circumstances have changed. The more China arms and builds up Pakistan, the more difficult it becomes for New Delhi to focus on joining containment efforts against Beijing, and the weaker its geopolitical hand becomes, as it is bogged down in its own neighbourhood.

For now, it is uncertain as to whether China can upgrade alliances with any other countries, bar its partnership with Russia. Attempting to do so with Iran would rock the boat regionally in the Middle East; they are likewise prohibited from doing so with North Korea because of UN sanctions. But using its informal method of technically non-aligned, strategic partnerships, Beijing has found an answer to the US-led militarization against it, while it continues to ramp up its own capabilities.

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VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff.

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