Mad Dog Mattis, the destroyer of Raqqa, frets about losing moral authority

Mad Dog Mattis, the destroyer of Raqqa, frets about losing moral authority

Mad Dog Mattis, the destroyer of Raqqa, frets about losing moral authority
It’s parallel universe time when US Pentagon chief James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis complains that America’s “moral authority” is being undermined by others – specifically Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

This is the ex-Marine general who gained his ruthless reputation from when illegally occupying US troops razed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in the 2004-2005 using “shake and bake” bombardment of inhabitants with banned white phosphorus incendiaries.

A repeat of those war crimes happened again last year under Mattis’ watch as Pentagon chief when US warplanes obliterated the Syrian city of Raqqa, killing thousands of civilians. Even the pro-US Human Rights Watch abhorred the repeated use of white phosphorus during that campaign to “liberate” Raqqa, supposedly from jihadists.

These are but two examples from dense archives of US war crimes committed over several decades, from its illegal intervention in Syria to Libya, from Iraq to Vietnam, back to the Korean War in the early 1950s when American carpet bombing killed millions of innocent civilians.

For Mattis to lament during a speech at a naval college last week that America’s moral authority is being eroded by Putin is a symptom of the delusional official thinking infesting Washington.

According to Mattis, the problem of America’s diminishing global reputation has nothing to do with US misconduct – even though the evidence is replete to prove that systematic misconduct. No, the problem, according to him, is that Russia’s Putin is somehow sneakily undermining Washington’s moral authority.

Mattis told his audience: “Putin aims to diminish the appeal of the western democratic model and attempts to undermine America’s moral authority.” He added that the Russian leader’s “actions are designed not to challenge our arms at this point but to undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals.”

The US Secretary of Defense doesn’t elaborate on how he thinks Russia is achieving this dastardly plot to demean America. It is simply asserted as fact. This has been a theme recycled over and over by officials in Washington and Brussels, other Western government leaders and of course NATO and its affiliated think-tanks. All of which has been dutifully peddled by Western news media.

It is classic “in denial” thinking. The general loss of legitimacy and authority by Western governments is supposedly nothing to do with their own inherent failures and transgressions, from bankrupt austerity economics, to deteriorating social conditions, to illegal US-led wars and the repercussions of blowback terrorism and mass migration of refugees.

Oh no. What the ruling elites are trying to do is shift the blame from their own culpability on to others, principally Russia.

American political analyst Randy Martin says that Mattis’ latest remarks show a form of collective delusion among Western political establishments and their aligned mainstream news media.

“What a powerful delusion Mattis and Western leaders like him are encumbered with,” says Martin. “The US undercuts and compromises its own avowed beliefs and ideals because it has lost any moral integrity that it might have feasibly pretended to have due to decades of its own criminal foreign conduct.”

The analyst added: “America’s so-called moral authority is the free pass it gives itself to topple democracy in Ukraine, replacing it with neo-Nazis; it has turned economically prosperous Libya into a wasteland, after murdering its leader Muammar Gaddafi; it funds and openly sponsors the MKO terror group in Iran for regime change in Tehran; and it is neck deep in fueling the Saudi coalition’s genocidal war in Yemen.”

Despite this litany of criminality committed by the US with the acquiescence of European allies, Washington, says Martin, “preaches a bizarre doctrine of ‘exceptionalism’ and somehow arrogates a moral right to dominate the world. This is the fruit of the diseased minds of sociopaths.”

This week, three headline-making issues speak volumes about America’s declining moral authority.

First, there are the harrowing scenes of thousands of migrant children being ripped away from parents at the Mexican border, forcibly housed in wire cages, sobbing relentlessly from the trauma. There has been an outcry around the world over the heartless “zero-tolerance” policy by the Trump administration. The United Nations condemned it as “unconscionable”.

One editorial writer for the Washington Post called Trump’s policy “barbarous”, and said it was inflicting “great damage to the fabric of our democracy”.

Secondly, the Trump administration is recklessly pushing ahead with a trade war against China and its Western allies. The unilateral imposition of tariffs by the White House in disregard for international trade laws has prompted European officials to deplore how Trump is “undermining the global rules-based system”.

Thirdly, there is widespread horror at the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Yemen where millions of civilians are in danger of starving to death due to the US-backed Saudi and Emirati offensive on the critical port city of Hodeida.

Lastly, the US withdrawal this week from the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, which UN ambassador Nikki Haley lambasted for being a “cesspool of prejudice” against Israel, caused consternation that Washington was cynically trying to shut down criticism of its support for Israel and its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

In all three issues, US global standing is tarnished by its own policy-making, decisions and conduct. Increasingly, Washington is becoming the full-fledged rogue regime that many observers had already concluded it was from decades of illegal wars and subterfuges. What is different now is that the rogue image is becoming impossible to not notice or to conceal by self-serving propaganda and myths that the Western media indulged in for decades.

Mattis’ protests about the US losing its moral authority are more to do with a growing fear of one’s own nakedness. Like the emperor who had no clothes, the naked ugliness of American global power is becoming more and more exposed.

Arguably, it is not a case of US power becoming more malevolent or wayward over time. That has always been the case; only in the past the perniciousness was handily concealed by an efficient, servile news media.

With increasing global communications and alternative sources of news and analysis, the erstwhile media monopoly that the US enjoyed along with its Western lackeys is no longer dominant. Western public in particular have more information sources to allow a more critical, independent assessment of their governments and the official narratives. This is why the supposed “moral authority” of the US government is being challenged. People are seeing through the veil of lies and misinformation, and making the correct conclusions.

Not only no clothes, but the emperor’s hands are covered in blood from massive crimes against humanity and atrocious wars of aggression that were previously denied or hidden.

One suspects that what’s really agitating Mattis and other apologists for US illegal wars and malevolent conduct is that the unvarnished truth is being told by alternative sources.

America’s purported “moral authority” is not being lost. It never had any in the first place. What’s being lost is the illusion of authority

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الجنوب السوري للتحرير «وإسرائيل» تترنّح على صفيح الجولان…!

يونيو 13, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

الهجوم النهائي لقوات حلف المقاومة على مواقع المسلحين الإرهابيين في أرياف القنيطرة ودرعا، وصولاً إلى حدود الجولان وما بعد بعد حدود الجولان والحدود الأردنية بات قاب قوسين أو أدنى…!

في هذه الأثناء تلقى رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي ووزير حربه رسالة سرية نقلت إليهما بواسطة الطرف الروسي، تضمّنت تحذيراً شديد اللهجة لـ»إسرائيل» من التدخل، بأيّ شكل من الأشكال في المعارك المقبلة، وإلا فإنّ الردّ لقوات حلف المقاومة على أي استفزاز «إسرائيلي» سيكون أقسى بكثير مما يتوقعه العدو…!

في هذه الأثناء، فإنه وعلى الرغم من عاصفة الضجيج التي يثيرها رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي، في تناغم مع تصريحات تصدر على الموجة نفسها من الجنرالات العسكريين والأمنيين الأميركيين، حول العديد من المواضيع المتعلقة بالعدوان الأميركي الإسرائيلي الرجعي «العربي» على سورية، فإنّ انتصارات الجيش السوري وحلفائه مستمرة على كلّ الجبهات متجاهلة كلّ التهديد والعويل الأميركي الإسرائيلي السعودي والذي يتمحور حول ما يطلقون عليه «توسّع النفوذ الإيراني» في سورية وغيرها من الدول العربية.

ولكن عاصفة الضجيج هذه لم تتمكن من إخفاء الهزائم المتلاحقة التي يتكبّدها المعسكر الصهيوأميركي المعادي لحلف المقاومة، ولا هي قادرة على تهدئة روع القادة العسكريين والأمنيين والسياسيين الإسرائيليين الذين انتقلوا الى القدس المحتلة، لعقد اجتماعاتهم في النفق أو مركز القيادة المحصّن ضدّ كلّ أنواع الأسلحة والمُقام في باطن الأرض عند المداخل الغربية لمدينة القدس، وذلك منذ بداية شهر أيار الماضي.

فكيف لنتن ياهو، الذي يهدّد بإخراج إيران من كلّ سورية وليس فقط من الجنوب السوري، ويهدّد بضرب الجيش السوري، أن يكون رامبو في الإعلام ويختبئ تحت الأرض في الوقت نفسه خوفاً من صواريخ الجيش السوري وحلفائه!؟

إنّ هذا الواقع يؤكد مجدّداً هزيمتكم الميدانية أيها الصهاينة وكذلك هزال المعنويات الداخلية والتي تجعلكم تعيشون حالة خوف دائم، والتي تعزّزت بعد المستجدات التالية:

أولاً: فشل الاجتماع، الذي عُقد بين رئيس أركان الجيش الروسي، الجنرال فاليري غيراسيموف، ورئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة للجيوش الأميركية، الجنرال جوزيف دانفورد، والذي عقد يوم 8/6/2018 في هلسنكي، عاصمة فنلندا، في التوصل الى أيّ صيغة مشتركة، بين الطرفين، لانتشار الجيش السوري في جنوب سورية، وكذلك موضوع تمركز وحدات مقاتلة من حزب الله إلى جانب مستشارين عسكريين إيرانيين، يدّعي الطرف الأميركي الإسرائيلي أنهم ليسوا كذلك وإنما هناك وحدات من الحرس الثوري الإيراني تنتشر مع وحدات الجيش السوري ويرتدي أفرادها اللباس العسكري السوري للفرقة الرابعة والخامسة وقوات الحرس الجمهوري السوري، حسب «المعلومات الاستخبارية» التي تحدّث عنها الجنرال الأميركي خلال الاجتماع. وهي بالطبع معلومات ملفقة سبق أن نفى صحتها الرئيس السوري بشارالأسد شخصياً، بالإضافة الى وزير الخارجية وليد المعلم.

وهذا يعني:

 ـ أنّ الطرف الروسي رفض الاقتناع بما ساقه الطرف الأميركي من تلفيقات حول طبيعة القوات العسكرية المنتشرة في الجنوب السوري، خاصة أنّ القيادة الروسية على علم تام، بحكم التنسيق الدقيق بين القيادتين الروسية والسورية، بكافة التفاصيل العسكرية المتعلقة بمختلف الجبهات السورية، وبالتالي فهي على وعي كامل بأنّ ما طرحه الجنرال الأميركي ليس الا تخرّصات وخرافات.

 ـ رفض الجانب الروسي التدخل في قرار سيادي سوري بحت أو مناقشته او الموافقة على تدخل الطرف الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» في ذلك، واعتبار الموضوع خارج نطاق البحث، ما يعني رفضاً روسياً واضحاً لابتزازات الطرف، الأميركي الإسرائيلي المهزوم، ودحضاً لادّعاءات نتن ياهو وغيره أنّ هناك خلافاً روسياً ـ إيرانياً حول المشاركة العسكرية الإيرانية في صدّ العدوان الذي تتعرّض له سورية منذ ما يزيد على سبع سنوات.

ثانياً: فشل تصريحات وزير الحرب الأميركي، الجنرال جيمس ماثيس، التي أدلى بها على هامش اجتماعات وزراء دفاع حلف شمال الأطلسي في بروكسل يوم 9/6/2018، في تهدئة روع الإسرائيليين وتخفيف شعور قيادتهم السياسية والعسكرية بالهزيمة واقتراب موعد استعادة الجولان السوري المحتلّ وصلاة قوات حلف المقاومة قريباً في المسجد الأقصى المبارك.

تلك التصريحات التي قال فيها الوزير الأميركي بأنّ ما يُطلق عليه التحالف الدولي لمحاربة الإرهاب سيستمرّ في محاربة داعش، وأنّ القوات والقواعد الأميركية باقية في سورية حتى إلحاق الهزيمة الكاملة بداعش، أيّ أنه يقول للإسرائيليين بصريح العبارة إننا باقون لحمايتكم ولا داعي لقلقكم.

ولكن الوزير الأميركي يعلم أكثر من غيره، كما يعلم الجنرالات العسكريون والأمنيون الإسرائيليون، أنّ كلامه بعيد عن الواقع، وأنه غير قادر على الحفاظ لا على قواعده العسكرية الاحتلالية في سورية، ولا على توفير الأمن لقاعدته العسكرية على أرض فلسطين والتي تسمّى «إسرائيل»، وانّ مَن يحدّد بقاء القوات غير السورية على التراب الوطني السوري هو القيادة السياسية السورية، ممثلة بشخص الرئيس بشار الأسد، بصفته القائد الأعلى للقوات المسلحة السورية، والذي ينطلق قراره من موازين القوى في الميدان والوسائل القتالية اللازمة لإنهاء الوجود الإرهابي المسلح والمدعوم من قوات وقواعد الاحتلال الأميركية في التنف والحسكة وغيرها من مناطق الشمال الشرقي السوري.

ثالثاً: أنّ الخزعبلات والتفاهات والتضليلات، التي تصدر عن هذا المهرّج المسمّى بنيامين نتن ياهو، والتي كان آخرها ما صدر عنه عصر يوم 10/6/2018 من ادّعاءات بأنّ «إسرائيل» متفوّقة في مجال تنقية المياه ومواجهة الجفاف وأنها مستعدة لتقديم العون التكنولوجي للشعب الإيراني لمساعدته في تنقية المياه ومواجهة شحّها في إيران…!

وبأقواله هذه فإنّ نتن ياهو لا يمارس الخديعة على الشعب الإيراني فقط، وإنما يمارس الكذب على كلّ شعوب العالم بادّعاءاته هذه وإنكاره أنّ تخفيف أزمة المياه في فلسطين المحتلة لا يرجع إلى عبقرياته واختراعاته التكنولوجية والمائية الهيدروليكية وانما يعود ذلك، وبكلّ بساطة، الى سرقة المياه الفلسطينية الأردنية السورية اللبنانية من نهر الأردن وروافده ومن بحيرة طبريا الفلسطينية السورية. وهو ما نجم عنه جفاف نصف البحر الميت الجنوبي، الذي كان يتغذّى بالمياه من نهر الأردن، الذي لم يعد نهراً بعد تحويل مجراه وسرقة مياهه من قبل أسلاف نتن ياهو.

لذلك، فإننا نقول له إنّ الشعب الإيراني الذي يمتلك آلاف العلماء، في كافة مجالات العلوم بما فيها العلوم النووية، ليس بحاجة لك ولا لأكاذيبك وادّعاءاتك الزائفة. كما أنّ هذه الترّهات لن تنجح في تهدئة روعك أنت وقيادتك العسكرية والأمنية وليست قادرة على إعادة الطمأنينة الى قلوب المستوطنين الإسرائيليين.

رابعاً: استدعاء وزارة الحرب الإسرائيلية، وبشكل عاجل، جنود الاحتياط لترك بيوتهم ومراكز عملهم والالتحاق بالجبهة فوراً، وذلك عقب ما قالت عنه مصادر عسكرية إسرائيلية إنه اقتراب بدء هحوم الجيش السوري وحلفائه على جبهتي القنيطرة ودرعا في الجنوب السوري، ذلك الاستدعاء، وحسب بيانات وزارة الحرب الإسرائيلية، الذي يهدف الى عرقلة الهجوم السوري إذا لم يكن ممكناً احتواؤه…!

مما يعني أنّ قيادة جيشك، أيّها الطاووس الأجوف، لم تعُد تواجه خطر تقدّم قوات حلف المقاومة لتحرير الجليل الأعلى من الاحتلال، وإنما أصبحت تواجه جبهة تشمل مستوطنات وسط الجولان، مثل مستوطنة ميروم جولانMerom Golan، ومستوطنات جنوب الجولان مثل مستوطنة ميفو حمه Mevo Hama ومستوطنة تل كاتسرين TEL Katsrin، وكذلك مستوطنات جنوب غرب بحيرة طبريا مثل مستوطنة دجانيا الف Deganya Alef ومستوطنة دجانيا باء Deganya Bet، وغيرها من المستوطنات الواقعة في تلك المنطقة وصولاً الى مدينة بيسان وغيرها من المدن الفلسطينية المحتلة، جنوب بحيرة طبريا وغربها.

وهذا يعني أنّ حديث مستوطنيك، على طول خطوط المواجهه، لن يدور حول ما أطلقته من بروباغندا تضليلية فارغة حول شحّ المياه في إيران، وإنما سيدور حديثهم في مستوطنات وسط الجولان حول ما إذا كانت القوات السورية، التي ستدخل المستوطنات وتحرّرها من جيشك، هل ستكون هذه القوات من الفرقة المدرعة الرابعة في الجيش السوري أم من وحدات حزب الله؟

بينما سيدور حديث مستوطنيك في مستوطنات جنوب الجولان وجنوب غرب بحيرة طبريا حول ما إذا كانت القوات، التي ستدخل المستوطنات وتحرّرها من احتلالكم، ستكون من الحرس الجمهوري السوري فقط أم أنها ستشمل أيضاً قوات النمر المعزّزة بوحدات من الفرقة المدرّعة الخامسة في الجيش السوري ووحدات من لواء أبو الفضل العباس في قوات الدفاع الوطني السوري؟

هذه ستكون محاور حديث أولئك المستوطنين الذين تقوم بخداعهم وتعرّضهم لأخطار الحروب والدمار. كما أنّ ما يطلبونه منك ليس حلّ مشكلة المياه في إيران وانما إيجاد مأوى لهم عندما تعترف بهزيمتك ويبدأ تفكيك «إسرائيل» بعد تحرير معظم فلسطين التاريخية من قبل قوات حلف المقاومة وعودة أهلها الفلسطينيين إلى ديارهم التي هجّروا منها قبل سبعين عاماً.

كفّوا عن الكذب والخداع واعترفوا بهزيمتكم وابدأوا بتنظيم انسحابكم المنظم من فلسطين قبل اضطراركم إلى الانسحاب تحت النار، الأمر الذي سيضاعف خسائر «جبهتكم الداخلية» عشرات المرات.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

US Warns India Not to Buy Russian Weapons

US Warns India Not to Buy Russian Weapons

PETER KORZUN | 01.06.2018 | SECURITY / DEFENSE

US Warns India Not to Buy Russian Weapons

The US does not shy away from openly threatening its allies and friends into submission. America’s major defense partners could face tough sanctions for purchases of Russian military equipment. Since January 29, the US has been imposing punitive measures under the CAATSA on foreign entities and individuals who cooperate with Russia in the field of defense or intelligence gathering. Congress is not inclined to give the administration the right of waiver to make an exception from the rule for some close allies. Despite that, many of them remain adamant in their intent to purchase the weapons they need from Russia.

Washington is exerting pressure on Turkey to make it abandon the plans to purchase Russia S-400 Triumf state-of-the-art air defense systems. So far, Ankara stood tall refusing to bow. US Congress is already considering the proposals on halting US arms sales to that country.

Unlike Turkey, India is not a NATO ally but its desire to acquire the Triumf triggers a negative reaction in the US. American lawmakers not only express concern over the planned deal but also issue warnings that sensitive American military technology may be banned from being shared with India in future. According to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, “There is a lot of concern in the US administration and Congress with the S-400.” India’s decision will be made final before the October Russia-India summit. During the informal talks in Sochi in May 2018, President Putin and Prime Minister Modi discussed the ways to get around the US potential sanctions when the deal goes through. Both countries have pledged to jointly create a plan to keep it out of CAATSA. New Delhi has just concluded price talks on the S-400 deal with Moscow, saying it will go ahead, no matter what the US says or does.

Those who follow the news on arms trade know well that India is interested in purchasing 22 American Predator Guardian drones for its Navy. It’s also willing to acquire the weapon the US has not sold anyone so far: 80-100 Avenger (Predator C) armed drones for the Air Force. The price may be as high as $8 billion. The F-16 production on Indian soil is also in doubt. All these projects are questioned as the US sticks to its guns implementing the “do it or else” policy. But it will hardly work with India, a nation known for its independent foreign policy. It has never bowed to any pressure from outside since its independence.

Iraq, Egypt, the UAE, Qatar, Morocco, Indonesia and Vietnam are among the countries threatened by sanctions if they go on with the plans to purchase Russian weapons. Many of them are particularly interested in the S-400. There is a catch here. If you make an exemption, others will feel humiliated and demand waivers too, but if you punish nobody then what is CAATSA for? Perhaps, the entire policy of punishing others in case of non-compliance with US laws is fundamentally wrong. It may not push Russia out of the international arms market but rather make its products a commercial success. After all, it’s an open secret that the S-400 is much more capable than the US Patriot air-defense system.

Turkey is told that if it buys Russia arms, the US won’t sell it F-35 aircraft. India may not get drones in case it purchases the S-400s. The essence is the same: sovereign countries are to be deprived of their right to have the best. They’d better be satisfied with what the US imposes or face punitive measures for daring not to comply. But many of them will not. For instance, there is little doubt that the pressure will make US-Indian relations hit a rough patch.

Defense Secretary James Mattis sought waivers for allies buying Russian weapons but failed to persuade Congress to give the administration this right. Besides, State Secretary Mike Pompeo holds a different view on the issue.

The “arms twisting” approach is prevalent in US foreign policy and even NATO allies are no exception. According to The Times, President Trump is expected to scale back America’s commitments or even issue an ultimatum over further American involvement in Europe.

No world leaders taking part in the St. Petersburg’s economic forum (SPIEF-2018) in May were happy about the US ultimatums as well as the sanctions against Russia, especially at a time it is leaving recession behind and oil prices are going up. The complains were made heard and concerns voiced at the conference held in the country, which is the prime target of American attacks. Nobody admired the trade wars the US has unleashed. May was the month the US stepped up its attacks on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline – the project Germany, Austria and some other European countries want to go through so much.

Israel was the only country to greet the US withdrawal from the Iran deal. Nobody endorsed the President Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting in Singapore with the North Korean leader (it may still take place, the talks are underway).

The US and its European allies appear to go separate ways on defense. On May 27, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for a European operation in North Africa to stem the immigrants’ flows. Austria will take over the EU Presidency for six months starting in July. The idea has been being floated since a long time ago. Europe’s main security concern is the protection of its borders, not taking part in US ventures in faraway places or provoking Russia by deploying forces near its borders. The EU is gradually moving to its own deterrence and defense posture, which may not necessarily meet US interests.

The US policy of diktat will backlash, bringing together those who are threatened by US sanctions. The EU is about to fight back, Turkey sticks to its guns, India has refused to bow. American allies will have to work out their own approaches to international problems, using quite different instruments to achieve the desired goals. The US global standing will be weakened. By trying to isolate others America will isolate itself. But the addiction to teach, dictate and bark orders is too great to get easily rid of. It takes time to realize that the times have changed. What worked well yesterday has become counterproductive today.

US Intransigence Scuttled the Trump-Kim Negotiations, Not North Korea

US Intransigence Scuttled the Trump-Kim Negotiations, Not North Korea

By Steven Chovanec

President Trump has cancelled the Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un. He cited North Korea’s “hostility” as the reason, while using language that leaves open room for future reconciliation.

North Korea then sent back a respectful letter, which Trump described as “warm and productive.” I expect the situation to continue improving, as both sides seem to want negotiations, despite the malign influence of spoilers like National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The media, on the other hand, immediately interpreted Trump’s cancellation and the breakdown of negotiations as proof of North Korea’s bad-faith and intransigence, that it is not serious about its commitments, and that Kim was simply “playing” the victimized US.

A little recap of the actual recent events is therefore in order.

The US Scuttles Peace

North Korea has recently made a number of important concessions. It had agreed to halt its missile tests and has made good on that commitment. It also agreed to accept the end-goal of denuclearization as a prerequisite of negotiations. These were the two main preconditions the US was demanding.

Furthermore, it recently released a number of US prisoners as a further show of good-will, and has completed the destruction of its only known nuclear test site, which foreign journalists were allowed to witness.

It has also pulled-back from its earlier position regarding the US-South Korean military drills, instead accepting that they will take place.

The US, in turn, had scaled back the military drills to not include “strategic assets”, meaning nuclear-capable aircraft. As well, it halted its position of enmity against the North. This can be seen in the marked shift from the beginning of the year when tensions were mounting and the threat of nuclear war was over the horizon.

In short, North Korea made extension concessions, while the US made extremely minor ones. Essentially, the US halted an already illegitimate posture of threatening to destroy a small nation which poses it no threat, while continuing highly threatening military drills, albeit ones that didn’t come with the threat of nuclear destruction attached. However, there were concessions on both sides and the chance of a possible peace settlement was therefore hopeful.

Recently, William J. Perry, who was directly involved in the 1994 negotiations between North Korea and the Clinton administration, described how the success of the current round of negotiations depends on building a mutual “sense of trust” and good faith on both sides.

Its important to note that the 1994 negotiations were the first time the US seriously pursued diplomacy with the North, which proved to be the only strategy that has ever yielded results. The US was able to obtain a temporary halt to the North’s nuclear development. When the Bush administration came in and rejected diplomacy in favor of its own brand of “maximum pressure”, the progress was undermined and North Korea went on to obtain nuclear weapons and to further build up its arsenal.

How did the administration take Perry’s advice and enhance the “sense of trust” in the face of multiple North Korean good-faith concessions? First, John Bolton, who was a key figure in the Bush administrations derailment of Clinton’s North Korea diplomacy, demanded complete capitulation from North Korea while threatening to destroy the country.

In an interview, Bolton said the US was pursuing the “Libya model” for the negotiations. Libya gave up its nuclear program following US pressure, which then freed the US to later attack and destroy the country. Libya is therefore an example of US duplicity and a testament to the necessity of possessing a nuclear deterrent to ward off US aggression. Evoking the “Libya” model was a barely-disguised threat against North Korea and an effort to derail the negotiations.

Secondly, the US conducted more threatening military drills along the North’s border, which the US would of course find threatening if similar drills were conducted by Russia or China along the Canadian border. This time, the drills were to include nuclear-capable B-52’s, a reneging of the previous US concession to scale back the drills.

According to reports, the original decision to include the B-52’s was done against the will of South Korea, which, if true, exemplifies the neo-colonial relationship the US exerts over its South Korean client, erroneously described as a mutually-beneficial “alliance” in the media.

With these moves, the US tarnished the mutual trust and good-faith that had been building, and North Korea responded by denouncing Bolton and threatening to cancel the Trump-Kim summit. The North was taking advantage of how badly Trump wanted the summit to take place; his desire to be seen as “the great statesmen” and a purveyor of world peace, a leader deserving of the Nobel prize.

The media responded to North Korea’s letter by proclaiming it was proof of the North’s subterfuge and untrustworthiness, blaming them for the breakdown of trust. The obvious effect of these kinds of narratives being to support state power and provide ideological cover to policies aimed only at power projection; to shield policymakers from scrutiny about what they are actually doing in the world, making aggressive actions seem defensive and justified.

In response to North Korea’s denunciation of Bolton and the US’ threats, the administration began to back off. It cancelled the participation of the B-52’s and attempted to roll back comments about the “Libya model.” Trump also walked-back his public demands of complete and immediate denuclearization, saying that a gradual denuclearization was perhaps a possibility.

However, at the same time Trump issued a new threat, saying that if no deal was reached the Libya model would be back on and the US would engage in “total decimation” of the country. In short: either make a deal or we’ll murder you.

Vice President Pence then doubled-down on this by evoking Trump’s ultimatum while directly threatening the country, saying that if they don’t make a deal it will “end like the Libyan model ended” for them.

North Korea responded by lashing out against Pence, saying that it will not be intimidated and will not capitulate to unilateral US demands. The press, again, latched onto this as proof of North Korean intransigence. Journalists cited what they called North Korea’s threat of nuclear war as proof that it was being aggressive. In reality, the statement was much less dramatic and contained no threat:

“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” North Korea’s vice foreign minister wrote.

Not mentioned was how the US had threatened to “totally decimate” their country first, the North’s response therefore being incredibly mild. Also not mentioned was how North Korea has a no-first-use nuclear policy while the US maintains the right to a first strike. Nor that the entire reason for the North even having nukes in the first place is to ward off a US attack, a position that is only further justified by continued US threats and intransigence.

North Korea essentially responded by saying: we’ll accept negotiations, not demands and threats. So if you’d like to go back to threatening us with nuclear destruction, then we’ll respond without backing down.

So, while North Korea employs vitriolic and insulting language, in actuality their position is entirely understandable and has remained consistent throughout the years.

The Unsayable Reality

The core issue of the entire North Korea situation is, and has been, the threat of US attack.

The US divided Korea in pure colonial fashion. It “decimated” its population during the Korean War, burning down “every town in North Korea” while erasing at least 13.5% of its population. It followed this with economic and political strangulation, which is partly responsible for the starvation and famine that has transpired throughout the country’s history, as is conceded in the internal US record.

Throughout all of this, the US maintained a posture of threatening hostility against the North, repeatedly threatening them with nuclear attack. In response to this existential threat, North Korea developed a nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to US aggression. This has repeatedly been the assessment of US intelligence, and was recently reiterated by James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

The position of the US during the negotiations has been one of demanding that North Korea give up its only means of defense against US aggression.

When officials evoke the “Libya model” or demand full denuclearization as a prerequisite, they are demanding that North Korea give up its defenses without any recognition of the country’s legitimate security concerns; that it essentially bow on its knees in complete capitulation to US diktats, which would likely mean the eventual destruction of its country.

It may not seem like much to us in America that our government decimated their population during the Korean War, or that their nation is under existential threat from US power, but it means something to North Koreans. Although Western pundits and analysts in effect have no skin in the game one way or the other – the only way the US is threatened by North Korea is if it launches an attack against them first, provoking a defensive response – for North Koreans and people living on the Korean peninsula it is a matter of life and death, especially when US policymakers threaten their security by making threats, ultimatums, and attempting to fly nuclear-capable aircraft along the peninsula.

Yet for the ideological indoctrinators who service state power, i.e. journalists and “experts”, nothing short of complete North Korean capitulation is acceptable. Anything less and its “proof” of North Korean subterfuge, intransigence, and deviousness.

It is literally unsayable to discuss the relevant history and the core root of the problem. It cannot be said that the US is the aggressor, that the threat of US aggression is the main reason behind North Korea’s nuclear deterrent. These blasphemies contradict the ideological doctrines that the US is always defensive, that it always has the right to threaten or use force and violence against the world, while the world does not have the right to defend themselves against it.

So, while the system of propaganda—commonly referred to as the “free press”—will do everything in its power to back up Trump’s claim of the US simply responding to North Korean “hostility”, the reality shows something entirely different.

*

This article was originally published on Reports from Underground.

Steven Chovanec is an independent journalist and analyst based in Chicago, Illinois. He has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Sociology from Roosevelt University, and has written for numerous outlets such as The Hill, TeleSur, MintPress News, Consortium News, and others. His writings can be found at undergroundreports.blogspot.com, follow him on Twitter @stevechovanec.

«صفقة القرن»: منطلقها فلسطين ومحورها سورية ومنتهاها إيران؟

أبريل 30, 2018

د. عصام نعمان

«صفقة القرن» مشروع سياسي ارتدادي تصفوي، صاحبه دونالد ترامب. عنوانه تصفية قضية فلسطين لمصلحة الكيان العنصري الاقتلاعي الصهيوني.

العنوان وحده لا يلخّص مضمون المشروع. ثمة أبعاد له وأغراض لا تقلّ خطورة عن تصفية قضية فلسطين، بل لعلها أخطر وأشمل ويمكن إجمالها بتصفية قضية العرب، بما هي قضية حريتهم وتحررهم ونهضتهم ووحدة بلادهم وحقهم في العدالة والتنمية والفعل الحضاري.

هذا المشروع الارتدادي التصفوي المتكامل صبّ ترامب أخيراً على نيرانه المتأججة زيتاً باعترافه بالقدس عاصمةً لـِ «اسرائيل» ونقْل سفارتها اليها. رَفَد ذلك لاحقاً بما أسماه «مبادرة سلام معدّلة» تنصّ على عودة الطرفين الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي الى التفاوض على قضايا الحل النهائي وترْك ملف القدس الى المرحلة النهائية. الفلسطينيون عموماً، شعباً وتنظيمات، رفضوا «صفقة القرن». تردّد ان محمود عباس رفض مبادرة السلام المعدّلة. الهجوم الصهيو-أميركي مستمر ومتطاول، وفي مواجهته تتصاعد مقاومةٌ فلسطينيةٌ متعاظمة في الوطن والشتات.

الهجوم الصهيو – أميركي متعدد الجبهات. ها هو يمتد في هذه الآونة الى سورية وعبرها الى إيران. وزير الحرب الإسرائيلي افيغدور ليبرمان شدّ رحاله الى واشنطن، حيث اجتمع الى وزير الدفاع جيمس ماتيس ومستشار الامن القومي جون بولتن وبحث معهما ما وصفه، بأنه «التوسّع الإيراني في الشرق الأوسط، خصوصاً في سورية». هدّد قائلاً: «كل موقع نرى فيه محاولة لتموضع إيران عسكرياً في سورية سندمره، ولن نسمح بذلك اياً كان الثمن».

في موازاة تهديدات ليبرمان، أبرز مندوب «اسرائيل» في الامم المتحدة ما زعم انه «خريطة تبيّن ان إيران جنّدت اكثر من 80 الف مقاتل شيعي في سورية، وأن قاعدة التدريب تبعد نحو ثمانية كيلومترات عن دمشق». ألا توحي مزاعمه بعدوان وشيك؟

وزير الدفاع ماتيس أعلن خلال جلسة استماع في لجنة شؤون القوات المسلحة داخل مجلس الشيوخ أن الولايات المتحدة «تعتزم توسيع محاربة «داعش» من خلال إشراك دول المنطقة … ونحن لا نسحب قواتنا الآن، وأنا واثق أننا سنأسف اذا سحبناها … والفرنسيون ارسلوا قوات خاصة الى سورية لتعزيز مهمتنا خلال الأسبوعين الماضيين، وستشاهدون جهداً جديداً في وادي الفرات في الايام المقبلة».

من الواضح، إذاً، أن ثمة ترتيبات عملية يقوم الأميركيون بإعدادها لتنفيذ خطة واسعة النطاق في وادي الفرات تبدأ من شمال شرق دير الزور وقد تنتهي في أطراف محافظة الحسكة. اللافت في هذا المجال، انطلاق عملية واسعة لنقل مقاتلي «داعش» و«النصرة» الذين ارغموا على الانسحاب من دوما وسائر قرى غوطة دمشق الشرقية الى بلدات وقرى وادي الفرات بغية تحشيدهم وتنظيمهم في وحدات مقاتلة تعمل الى جانب قوات سورية الديمقراطية الكردية «قسد» المتعاونة مع القوات الأميركية والقوات الفرنسية الخاصة التي جرى نشرها أخيراً شمال وادي الفرات.

الى ذلك، لا يستبعد مسؤولون سوريون وروس أن تتمحور أغراض الخطة الأميركية في إقامة كيان انفصالي شرق الفرات قوامه عشائر عربية تديرها قيادات سورية موالية للسعودية. كما لا يستبعدون ايضاً أن تنطوي هذه الخطة على إقامة كيان كردي سوري منفصل عن حكومة دمشق المركزية بغية تعزيز دور الأطراف السورية المعارضة في أية مفاوضات قد تجري لاحقاً للبحث في تسوية سياسية للأزمة.

للهجوم الصهيو – أميركي وجهان إقليمي ودولي يتمثّلان بالضغوط التي تمارسها «إسرائيل» في اميركا واوروبا من اجل إلغاء الاتفاق النووي مع إيران. ترامب يبدو متجهاً الى اعتماد خيار الإلغاء بعدما بات واضحاً أن إيران لن توافق على أي تعديل لنص الاتفاق وأن غالبية دول اوروبا ترى مصلحتها في الإبقاء عليه.

إذا ركب ترامب رأسه وألغى الاتفاق، ماذا ستكون خطوته التالية؟

ثمة احتمالان: الاول، ان تقوم ادارة ترامب بفرض عقوبات اضافية قاسية على إيران والضغط على دول اوروبا لمجاراتها في هذا السبيل. الثاني، ان تقوم اميركا بالتحالف مع فرنسا وبريطانيا وبعض دول الخليج، بعمليات عسكرية متصاعدة لإرهاق إيران في سورية وصولاً الى إخراجها منها. ذلك يؤدي، في رأي أنصار هذه المقاربة، الى تحقيق هدفين إستراتيجيين: حماية «اسرائيل» وإبقاء يدها هي العليا في غرب آسيا، وإضعاف نفوذ روسيا ما يساعد اميركا واوروبا ودول الخليج على الاستئثار بالمكاسب المرتجاة من مرحلة إعادة إعمار سورية بعد الحرب.

الى ذلك، تميل القيادات المتشددة في «الدولة العميقة» داخل الولايات المتحدة كما قيادات اليمين الإسرائيلي الحاكم الى الاعتقاد بأن روسيا ستتهيّب مواجهة التحالف الاميركي الاوروبي – الخليجي في الساحة السورية مخافةَ الوقوع في مستنقع استنزافٍ طويل الأمد لا طاقة لها على احتماله. كما تعتقد هذه القيادات بأن لا تداعيات عسكرية خطيرة لقيام إيران بالردّ على أطراف التحالف المعادي بالعودة الى تخصيب اليورانيوم بنسبةٍ مئوية عالية لعدم جدواه ولكونها ملتزمة دينياً وسياسياً بموقف المرشد الراحل الامام الخميني بتحريم صنع اسلحة نووية.

كيف تراها تردّ روسيا وإيران؟

بات واضحاً أن موسكو حزمت أمرها وقررت تزويد سورية بمنظومةَ دفاعٍ جوي متطورة من طراز S-300 من شأنها إعاقة حركة سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي وربما تكبيده خسائر فادحة في حال تصعيد اعتداءاته داخل الأراضي السورية. إيران تبدو مصممة، وقادرة، على مواجهة الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية على قواعد تمركزها في سورية، بل على الردّ في العمق الإسرائيلي اذا اقتضى الأمر. وثمة بين المتخصصين في الشؤون الإيرانية مَن يعتقد ان تصعيد لهجة العداء الصهيو – أميركي والمباشرة في ترجمته على الأرض سيدفع القيادة الإيرانية العليا الى إعادة النظر بموقفها السلبي من صنع قنبلة نووية، وذلك باتجاه تصنيع أحد أسلحة الدمار الشامل لتحقيق توازنٍ فاعل في الردع كاللجوء، في الاقل، الى تصنيع اسلحة نووية تكتيكية للمدى القصير ووضعها في متناول مقاتلي قوى المقاومة السورية واللبنانية والفلسطينية الامر الذي يُلحق بالكيان الصهيوني خسائر بشرية ومادية لا تُحتمل.

قيادات «إسرائيل» تدرك هذه المخاطر والعواقب الهائلة، لذا يدعو بعضها الى استباق المصيرالكارثي لكيانها الهشّ بشنّ حربٍ تدميرية شاملة على إيران في الحاضر طالما ميزان القوى ما زال يميل لمصلحة «اسرائيل» بفضل دعم الولايات المتحدة قبل أن تنجح إيران في المستقبل المنظور، وبدعم من حلفائها، بتحقيق توازنٍ رادع وكاسرٍ لإرادة «اسرائيل» واميركا معاً.

«اسرائيل» لن تتخذ بالتأكيد قرار الحرب على إيران إلاّ بموافقة اميركا وبدعمٍ سخي منها، وربما بشرط مشاركتها فيها. العقل والمنطق يجزمان بأن أميركا لن تنزلق الى اتخاذ قرارٍ جنوني من هذا الطراز، لأنه ما زال في أروقة «دولتها العميقة»، ولا سيما في الكونغرس والبنتاغون، من العقول والإرادات ما يعصمها من نزق ساكن البيت الابيض وغلّه الأسود.

هكذا يتضح ان «صفقة القرن» منطلقها فلسطين ومحورها سورية ومنتهاها إيران، فهل كثير على قوى المقاومة في مشرق العرب اختصار مسار الآلام باجتراح نهاية قريبة للحرب الدائرة في سورية وعليها؟

وزير سابق

DID THE WEST JUST LOSE WORLD WAR III BY FORFEIT?

South Front

22.04.2018

Did the West Just Lose World War III by Forfeit?

Written by James George Jatras; Originally appeared at strategic-culture.org

In the fall of the year 1480, at a point not far from Moscow, two armies faced each other on the opposite banks of the Ugra River.

On the one side were the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, whose ruler, Grand Prince Ivan III (known as “the Great” and the “gatherer of the Russian lands”), had recently rejected further payment of tribute to the Great Horde.

On the other were the forces of Grand Khan Ahmed bin Küchük, who had come to lay waste to Moscow and instruct the impudent Prince Ivan to mend his ways.

For weeks the two assembled hosts glared at one another, each wary of crossing the water and becoming vulnerable to attack by the other. In the end, as though heeding the same inaudible signal, both withdrew and hastily returned home.

Thus ended more than two centuries of the Tatar-Mongol yoke upon the land of the Rus’.

Was this event, which came to be known as “the great standing on the Ugra River,” a model of what happened in Syria last week?

Almost immediately upon reports of the staged chemical attack in Douma on April 7, speculation began as to the likely response from the west – which in reality meant from the United States, in turn meaning from President Donald J. Trump. Would Trump, who had repeatedly spoken harshly of his predecessors’ destructive and pointless misadventures in the Middle East, and who just days earlier had signaled his determination to withdraw the several thousand Americans (illegally) stationed in Syria, see through the obvious deception?

Or, whether or not he really believed the patently untrue accusations of Syrian (and Russian) culpability, would Trump take punitive action against Syria? And if so, would it be a demonstrative pinprick of the sort inflicted almost exactly a year earlier in punishment for an obvious false flag chemical attack in Idlib? Or would we see something more “robust” (a word much beloved of laptop bombardiers in Washington) aimed at teaching a lesson to both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally, Prince Ivan III’s obstreperous heir Russian President Vladimir Putin?

The answer soon came on Twitter.

Assad was an “animal.” Putin, Russia, and Iran were “responsible” for “many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack” – “Big price to pay.”

Around the world, people mentally braced for the worst. Would a global conflagration start in Syria with an American attack on Russian forces? A grim trepidation reminiscent of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis gripped the hearts of those old enough to remember those thirteen days when the fate of all life on our planet was in doubt.

Certainly there were enough voices in the US establishment egging Trump on. Besides, at home he still had the relentless pressure of the Mueller investigation, intensified by the FBI’s April 9 raid on his lawyer Michael Cohen. Trump’s only respite from the incessant hammering was his strike on Syria last year.

During the first Cold War both American and Soviet forces took great care to avoid direct conflict, rightly afraid it could lead to uncontrolled escalation. But now, in this second Cold War, western commentators were positively giddy at the thought of killing Russians in Syria…

…or rather killing more Russians, citing the slaughter of a disputed number of contractors (or “mercenaries” as western media and officials consistently called them, implying they deserved to have been exterminated). That’ll teach ‘em not to tangle with us! It was unclear whether the warning from Russian Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov that

Russia would respond against an attack by striking both incoming weapons as well as the platforms that launched would be taken seriously.

After a slight softening of tone by both Trump and Defense Secretary General James “Mad Dog” Mattis on April 12, during which a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was approaching Douma to conduct an on-site examination, there emerged a slim ray of hope that Trump would step back from acting on the transparently false provocation. (The slimness of any such hope was illustrated by the fact seemingly the most restrained of Trump’s advisers was somebody nicknamed “Mad Dog.”)

When on the evening of Friday the Thirteenth (Washington time) news came that the US had initiated military action, together with France and (the country Russia had accused of staging the Douma fraud) the United Kingdom, many feared the worst. The hasty timing was clearly aimed at preempting the arrival of the OPCW inspectors.

Of greater concern was the extent of the assault?

If Russians were killed, Gerasimov was serious.

As it turned out, the worst didn’t come. World War III didn’t happen. Or hasn’t – yet.

In fact nothing much happened at all. According to the official US reports, something over a hundred missiles were launched at three targets. All missiles reached their targets – “Mission Accomplished!The other side, however, claimed to have shot down roughly 75 percent of the incoming Tomahawks.

In the end, the damage was even less than from the follow-up to Idlib last year. No one was reported killed, neither Syrian nor Russian nor Iranian. Western governments claimed to have struck a serious blow at Syria’s chemical weapons capability. Syrians and Russians scoffed that the missiles had hit empty buildings and that Syria had no CW to hit since 2014, as certified by the OPCW.

In the aftermath of the missile show, media carried unverified reports that Trump had wanted a stronger campaign but deferred to Mattis’s caution, no doubt reflecting the views of professional military men who didn’t want to find out whether Gerasimov was bluffing. Mattis also reportedly wanted Congress to vote on any action before it was taken but was overruled by Trump.

There was even some speculation that the whole thing was a charade worked out in cooperation with the Russians. Even if true (and it’s unlikely) the mere fact that Trump would have to engage in such a ruse speaks volumes about the weakness of his position.

“Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria,” writes Patrick Buchanan. “We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is ‘inoperative’.”

That’s clear from the comments of US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. She states that America won’t disengage until three objectives have been met: that

ISIS has been defeated (a pretext, since ISIS is on the ropes and remains alive only because of hostile actions taken by the US and others against Syria); Damascus is finally deterred from using chemical weapons (a falsehood, since they don’t have any); and Iran’s regional influence is blocked (which means we’re staying in effect permanently in preparation for a larger war against Iran and perhaps eventually Russia).

The last point is unfortunately true, as plans are underway to beef up a Sunni anti-Iran bulwark in eastern Syria to cut off Tehran’s so-called “land bridge” the Mediterranean. Most Americans in Syria are to be replaced with a so-called Arab force – the “Arab NATO” touted last year in connection with Trump’s maiden foreign trip as president. (As though the one NATO we already have weren’t bad enough!)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has suggested troops from his country would participate. Aside from whether Riyadh can spare them from their ongoing task of wrecking Yemen, Saudi personnel are likely to become a prime target for Syrians itching to get a crack at their chief tormenters over the past seven years.

So was anything really settled on April 13? On this occasion the West chose not to “cross the river,” much as Khan Ahmed’s force declined to do in 1480. For their part, the Russians in Syria, like their ancestors on the Ugra, were on defense and had no need to risk offensive action.

Unfortunately, unlike the “the great standing on the Ugra River,” which resolved the question of Russian independence and sovereignty in that era, nothing has been resolved now. The question remains: will the US peacefully relinquish its position as the sole arbiter of authority, legality, and morality in a unipolar world in favor of a multipolar order where Russia’s and China’s legitimate interests and spheres of influence are respected? Or will we continue to risk plunging mankind into a global conflict?

Syria remains a key arena where one path or the other will be taken to finally wrap up what US Army Major Danny Sjursen calls “Operation Flailing Empire.” The irony is that peacefully “losing” our pointless and dangerous attempt to rule the world would only be to Americans’ benefit. That’s what Trump promised in 2016. He hasn’t delivered and it’s increasingly doubtful he can.

In the end, the threat of World War III hasn’t vanished. It has just been postponed.

 

Oil Vey

April 15, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Eve Mykytyn

The US led bombing raid on Syria on April 13th came at an odd time. The civil war in Syria has basically been won by Assad, and in response to the calming of tensions, President Trump said on April 4 that he intended to withdraw US troops from Syria.  Three days later, Assad allegedly used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians and from there talk of war began to be openly encouraged by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Almost immediately, some skepticism arose as to why Assad would use chemical weapons after the war was essentially won. US Secretary of Defense General Mattis was reduced to saying he ‘believed’ there had been a  chemical attack. In any case the rationale for bombing Syria on April 13 was weakened by the fact that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to arrive in Syria to examine the claim of chemical weapons use on April 14, the day after the US led bombing. Bombing in advance of the arrival of inspectors seems a bit like an attempt to cut off verification.

Another strange part of the narrative was how suddenly unified our ordinarily discordant US elected leaders were on the necessity of  bombing Syria. Certainly, the timing might have been useful for Trump, stealing headlines just as Comey’s tell all book came out, but then Trump’s presidency has, since its inception, run at a 3 scandal a day pace. Rather than covering up scandals, Trump seems instead to revel in the publicity. The Democrats, even the leaders of the so-called resistance, offered no resistance to the bombing plan other than to grumble about the potential future need for congressional approval. When both sides of our political spectrum converge on what seems to be an awful idea located in the middle east  it is hard not to suspect that Israel is somehow involved.

But why would Israel prefer a civil war next door, fought by Assad against shifting Islamic factions, some no doubt more hostile to Israel than Assad? I think I can point to a possible reason. During the ‘67 war, Israel took 2/3 of the Golan Heights from Syria. Although the UN and others still classify the land as ‘occupied,’ in 1981, Israel declared its control of the entire territory and the population of the Golan Heights is now at least half Israeli. While Israel has claimed that it took additional land in ’67 and after to act as a buffer zone around Israel, the resource rich Golan Heights have provided Israel with much more than a buffer zone. “In fact, the Golan Heights contributes a quenching one-third of Israel’s entire water supply.”

The Golan Heights has also provided Israel’s first major oil find. Afek Oil and Gas, a division of Genie Oil has obtained oil rights for the huge oil fields in the Golan Heights. The company crowed in a letter to investors that, “Billions of barrelsof Israeli oil had been tapped [in the Golan Heights.]”

Genie Oil has powerful political connections. Rupert Murdock, Vice President Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Larry Summers are among its Board Members. The ex-chairman of Genie Energy’s former parent company, IDT Corp., is Ira Greenstein, a family friend of Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Greenstein currently works on the White House staff.

In 2017, US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with the far-right Israeli politician and head of Afek Oil, Efraim Etiam.  Etiam has called Israeli Arabs a “cancer” and said that “we will have to kill all [the Palestinians].” The meeting gave an apparent, and probably an actual  US seal of approval to Afek’s oil extraction from disputed territory that the international community has explicitly said does not belong to Israel.

So why does Israel prefer a civil war to peace so close to its water and oil bonanza? I would guess that Israel does not want a strong leader to challenge its right to the spoils of war. There appears to be a tentative coalition of Turkey, Russia, Iran and Syria. While no one since 1999 has seriously challenged Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, Israel seems to prefer a  neighbour consumed with internal fighting to a strong Syria that may be part of a powerful coalition.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) provides powerful evidence that Israel has undertaken to keep Syria is a state of conflict. UNDOF’s reports have shown the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ to be quite democratic in handing out aid to armed rebel groups, including the official Al-Qqaeda affiliate in Syria. Israel has claimed the aid is ‘humanitarian,’ but that claim contrasts with Israel’s official stated policy to “let both sides bleed” in order to prolong the war for as long as possible so as to weaken Syria and its allies.

So, the US, the UK and France bombed Syria on the basis of an unproven claim of chemical warfare and, if the bombing raid proves successful, the only real practical outcome might be to prolong a brutal civil war in Syria so that Israel’s claim to water and oil rich land will be unlikely to be challenged.

 

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