Beirut Blast Anniversary: The Dust has yet to Settle

4-8-2020

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Rasha Reslan

Residents of Beirut are still traumatized by the Beirut port blast. The shocking scenes of the devastated waterfront set a new standard for the horror the blast caused at the time with no answers provided so far.

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Beirut blast: No satisfactory answers were provided yet

On August 4, 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in the history of mankind ground Beirut’s Port and damaged more than half of the city. Tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a combustible chemical compound commonly used in agriculture as a high nitrate fertilizer, caused the explosion.

A year full of scars

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the blast, the marks of the explosion, which led to the martyrdom of around 217 people, injury of more than 7,000, and the displacement of over 300,000 remain engraved in the city, as the Lebanese people still await the truth.

Dr. Sam Rigby, Senior Lecturer in Blast and Impact Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said, “The disaster that hit Beirut was devastating and we hope that nothing like that ever happens again. This was an unprecedented event because never before has such a large explosion been so well documented.”

Official investigation: No answers yet

In a country that has witnessed assassinations and bombings over the last two decades, none of which have been solved, except in rare cases, and with none of the perpetrators being held accountable, the Lebanese are still waiting for answers to determine who is to blame and what caused the tragedy.

Today, the Lebanese capital remains a ghost town, with little progress made in determining who is to blame for the disaster. Furthermore, the official investigation is battling to hold those responsible accountable as a result of decades of inefficiency, corruption, and political influence.

The investigation has been referred to Lebanon’s judicial council. So far, it has ordered the arrest of 25 people, including the Port’s Director and the Head of Lebanon’s Customs Authority, and has taken more than 50 witness statements.

Beirut blast probe targets officials 

Reviewed government documents showed that many Lebanese officials were well aware of the dangers posed by the large chemical stockpile long before last year, as reported by The Washington Post

According to the documents, responsibility for the ammonium nitrate was passed around for years among various public and private entities, including the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the judiciary, the army, and even a private explosives company.

Families of the Beirut Blast victims demand accountability

On December 10, 2020, Lebanese Judge Fadi Sawan, the first investigative judge appointed, charged some former Lebanese MPs with “criminal negligence”, according to Amnesty International.

Simultaneously, Judge Sawan halted the investigation for nearly two months on December 17, 2020. Soon after, on February 18, 2021, Lebanon’s Court of Cassation dismissed Judge Sawan.

On July 2, 2021, the new judge assigned to the case, Judge Tarek Bitar, submitted a request to the parliament to lift the parliamentary immunity of three MPs who once held ministerial positions. Bitar also requested permission to prosecute security service leaders, including the former Army Chief, Jean Kahwagi.

According to the state-run National News Agency, Bitar decided to summon a number of powerful politicians and security officials for questioning as suspects, which could result in charges against them related to the blast.

“In July 2021, investigative judge Tarek Bitar demanded permission to investigate MPs and high-level security officials, including MP and former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, MP and former Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter, and MP and former Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, as well as the Head of General Security Directorate Major General Abbas Ibrahim, and the Head of State Security Major General Tony Saliba, over the explosion,” according to Amnesty International.

In an interview for Al Mayadeen, former minister Ali Hassan Khalil said that the charges and criticism leveled against him were not justified, even though he was aware of the presence of hazardous material in the port, arguing that this was only aimed at diverting the course of the investigations.

Moreover, a recent investigation published by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that the investigation is hindered and has been marked by “obstruction, evasion, and delay”, including “flagrant political interference”.

“Official conduct, in a context of longstanding corruption and mismanagement at the Port, allowed for tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a potentially explosive chemical compound, to be haphazardly and unsafely stored there for nearly six years,” the same report added.

Furthermore, official documentation strongly suggests that some government officials anticipated and “accepted the risks of death posed by the presence of ammonium nitrate in the port”, according to the same report.

Public rage: Justice shall be served

A year after the Beirut blast, public anger in Lebanon is mounting, owing to a stalled investigation, a devastating economic crisis, and political paralysis. 

🇱🇧 A year ago today. Still nobody has been held accountable. #BeirutBlast pic.twitter.com/vQy34TQrWG— PiQ (@PriapusIQ) August 4, 2021

The victims’ families have called for marches at 3:30 (12:30 GMT) toward the port, where prayers will be made. The names of the victims of the explosion will be read between six and seven minutes after the explosion.

During a press conference on Monday, the victims’ families set a 30-hour deadline for officials to lift the immunity of officials summoned to appear before the judiciary by the investigative judge.

The families of the victims of the port explosion and activists call for accountability, launching viral campaigns on social media with the hashtags “#Justice for the victims of Beirut Port explosion,” or urging demonstrations, with various hashtags such as #we are all victims, and “#we Will Not Forget”.

Beirut Blast in Numbers

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The Disinformation Dozen?

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By Stephen Lendman

Source

US/Western news consumers are carpet-bombed daily with state-approved managed news misinformation and disinformation.

Suppressing truth and full disclosure on vital issues, its disseminators are threatened by US/Western dark forces, wanting them silenced.

Calling itself “a UK/US” NGO (likely funded by Western dark forces and Pharma profiteers), the so-called Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) (sic) is an extremist group opposed to journalism as it should be and others involved truth-telling on what’s important for everyone to know.

Months earlier, CCDH published a fake news report on what it called “the disinformation dozen (sic),” saying the following:

“Just twelve anti-vaxxers are responsible for almost two-thirds of anti-vaccine content circulating on social media platforms.” 

“(A) tiny group of determined anti-vaxxers is responsible for a tidal wave of disinformation (sic) — and shows how platforms can fix it by enforcing their (anti-truth-telling) standards (sic).”

“The majority of the Disinformation Dozen (sic) remain on major social media platforms, despite repeated violations of their (anti-truth-telling) terms of service (sic).”

The CCDH supports fabricated official narrative rubbish on all things flu/covid.

Its mission is all about wanting truth-telling content on the most cutting-edge issue of our time suppressed and eliminated.

It called for “deplatforming repeat offenders (sic),” adding:

It’s “the most effective way of stopping the proliferation of” essential to know information CCDH called “dangerous misinformation (sic).”

Saying it’s “tracking 425 anti-(flu/covid jabbing) accounts, its “disinformation dozen” involved in truth-telling on issues relating to health and well-being include the following:

“1. Joseph Mercola

2. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

3. Ty & Charlene Bollinger

4. Sherry Tenpenny

5. Rizza Islam

6. Rashid Buttar

7. Erin Elizabeth

8. Sayer Ji

9. Kelly Brogan

10. Christiane Northrup

11. Ben Tapper

12. Kevin Jenkins”

CCDH called for platforms to “do more” — to censor their truth-telling on all things flu/covid.

Speech, media and academic freedoms in the West are threatened by censorship, notably online.

Social media, gatekeeper Google, and other tech giants are allied with US/Western dark forces against digital democracy, wanting the last frontier of media freedom silenced.

They want Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rescinded, stating:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

“This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

These fundamental rights and values are increasingly eroding, totalitarian rule in the West replacing them. 

America’s First Amendment is most important. If lost — where things are heading — all other rights are threatened.

In cahoots with US/Western dark forces, Facebook, Twitter and other anti-social media go all-out to purge what conflicts with the official fabricated narrative.

If notions CCDH called for take hold, digital democracy no longer will exist.

Suppressing what’s vital for everyone to know is the hallmark of totalitarian rule.

That’s where things are heading, thought control becoming the law of the land in the US and West.

American exceptionalism and moral superiority never existed.

The nation has always been run by hostile to governance of, by and for everyone equitably oligarchs, plutocrats, and kleptocrats.

Operating today in cahoots with censors, they want dissent from the official fabricated narrative suppressed and eliminated altogether.

They want US/Western and other countries transformed into ruler-serf societies.

They want what just societies abhor and don’t tolerate.

The same goes for freedom-loving people everywhere who are willing to go all-out to preserve what’s too precious to lose.

US Intends Permanent Occupation of Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Illegally occupying northern and southern parts of Syrian territory, US dark forces have no intension of leaving.

Endless US war by hot and other means continues against the nation and its people — in defiance of international and its own constitutional law, how rogue state USA operates worldwide, including at home.

On Wednesday, interventionist Blinken defied reality by falsely blaming Damascus for “perpetuat(ing) suffering of the Syrian people.”

As he knows well, their misery is caused by over a decade of US aggression, occupation, theft of its resources, and wanting its people suffocated into submission to diabolical interests of both right wings of its war party — along with using ISIS and other jihadist foot soldiers against the nation, its military and people.

Blinken announced new illegal sanctions, saying the following:

The Biden regime illegally sanctioned Syrian prisons, officials in charge of running them, two militia groups and their leaders.

Defying reality, he falsely claimed that “(t)hese actions underscore the US commitment to promote respect for human rights and accountability for abuse against Syrians (sic.” 

Since March 2011, US regimes, their imperial partners, and jihadist foot soldiers bear full responsibility for over a decade of aggression and occupation.

Time and again, US high crimes are falsely blamed on victims of targeted countries — in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere post-9/11 alone.

On Tuesday, the Biden regime said it has no intention of ending its illegal occupation of Syrian territory, falsely adding:

The US “support(s) Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS (sic)” — what the Pentagon and CIA created for use as proxy foot soldiers where they’re deployed regionally and elsewhere.

On Monday, Biden’s impersonator falsely said the US combat mission in Syria is ending (sic), adding:

Imperial occupation of northern and southern parts of the country continues indefinitely.

Claiming it’s to combat the threat of ISIS that the US created, supports and uses to advance its imperial interests ignores its aim to redraw the regional map that’s all about wanting hegemony of this hydrocarbon-rich part of the world.

It’s unknown what US force-strength remains in the country.

Officially reported numbers can’t be taken at face value.

Throughout the regime, the US maintains considerable airpower, along with thousands of paramilitary forces, private military contractors, and jihadist proxy troops.

US-assassinated Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani supplied the country’s Foreign Ministry with clear proof of Pentagon/CIA support for ISIS and other jihadist groups.

According Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s advisor Hossein Amir-Abdollahian:

General Soleimani “gave me documents — proving US/Western support for regional jihadists — and told me to slap them in the face of the West and the UN,” adding:

The documents “contained precise information on the geographical position, time and exact details” of US/Western collusion with them.

While Mosul was under occupation by ISIS, “an American A330 (transport plane) landed in Mosul Airport.”

“American generals got off the plane and military equipment was unloaded.” 

“At the airport’s VIP lounge, the American generals talked with Daesh leaders in Mosul for three hours and 23 minutes and then boarded the plane and returned.”

“What did they bring Daesh? Weapons and equipment it needed and that they had already agreed on.” 

At other times, Iran learned that the US shifted ISIS and other jihadists from Syria and Iraq to “northern Afghanistan…Libya…and southern Yemen.”

Iran, Syria and Russia have extensive knowledge about how the Pentagon and CIA arm, train, deploy and use jihadists in the Middle East and elsewhere.

US ruling regimes are responsible for mass slaughter and destruction regionally and worldwide.

They have no intention of changing the scourge of their wicked ways.

The Right of the Palestinian People to Self-Determination under “Israel’s” Colonial Occupation

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July 29, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Afreen Rizvi

From Palestine and South Africa to the Americas and Australia, settler-colonists [have] violently fought to prevent the indigenous people, that were colonised, from fighting for liberation.

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This article explores Palestine’s right to self-determination under “Israel’s” illegal occupation. This paper seeks to demonstrate that since the Balfour Declaration that was issued by the British Government in 1917, there have been politically driven strategies deployed to gradually liquidate the Palestinian people. The indigenous people of Palestine have been faced with systematic persecution, apartheid policies and brutal occupation; as such, it is submitted that the Palestinian people must be able to exercise their right to self-determination. I will begin with a discussion on self-determination as a right before outlining the historical background of the “Israel”-Palestine issue, and the political allyship of each entity apart. 

Self-Determination in International Law

The principle of self-determination, as it is understood today, evolved from a principle to a right, triggering much debate over the years. It denotes the legal right to peoples to decide their own destiny in the context of international order.[1]There are two aspects to self-determination: internal and external. Internal self-determination is the right of the people to govern themselves without any other interference, this includes the independence to freely choose their own political, economic and social system.[2] External self-determination on the other hand is the right for peoples to determine their own status politically – this allows the establishment of an independent state. After the First World War, and specifically after his famous “Fourteen Points” speech, US President Woodrow Wilson declared that, “Peoples may not be dominated and governed only by their own consent. ‘Self-determination’ is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”[3] The right of self-determination was introduced to the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960, and subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 in the same year. Additionally, the UN Charter stated that one of the purposes of the United Nations was “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”[4] Upon adopting the Declaration of Decolonisation, the UN underlined the necessity of ending colonialism and through this declared, inter alia, that the right to self-determination was not limited. 

It is important to note that the right of self-determination has been cited extensively by the UN assembly, Security Council, and is enshrined in various treaties as well as in decisions made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The following excerpt from the aforementioned declaration was subsequently introduced in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) providing a detailed legal definition of self-determination, and this definition is used in various international and national treaties and documents.[5]

“All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.” 

It is widely accepted that the right of self-determination is applicable to “peoples” in colonial territories, as well as others who do not fall in the category of being colonised or oppressed, the only difference is they have to exercise their rights internally. The right of self-determination is no longer limited to the conventional colonial independence scenarios, such that various ethnic and cultural groups of people within different states effectively rely on the right of self-determination in order to declare their independence.[6] A common argument often presented against the right of self-determination is that the principle of territorial integrity in relation to states is challenged by the principle of self-determination – as it is the will of the people that fundamentally leads to the legitimacy of a state. This indicates that people are not only free to choose their state but also their territorial boundaries. However, in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the United Nations and International Court of Justice demonstrated that there is no contradiction between territorial integrity and the right of self-determination.[7] In that context, it is necessary to add that Koskenneimi argued that “It is doubtful whether the statement of principle was intended to be taken literally… its revolutionary potential was tempered by the Final Acts strong emphasis on territorial integrity.”[8]

In the context of Palestinian self-determination, I submit that “Israel” is a colonial entity that has occupied Palestinian territory; thus, the Palestinian people must be able to exercise this right. It is imperative to note that under international law, only groups categorized as “peoples” have the right to self-determination. The interpretation of “peoples”, however, continues to cause confusion. For example, one may question do all “peoples” need to share one ethnicity or location? If so, where would be the place that gathers people who are a part of multi-ethnic states? With regard to Palestinians, “Israel” has already officially accepted the existence of the “Palestinian peoples” in the Camp David Accords signed with Egypt in the year 1978.[9]

Moreover, it is argued that the right of self-determination can heavily disrupt the essence of peace, such that political communities may resort to force if their demands are not met.[10] Violence was also exhibited in the case of Nigeria after the British authorities recognized three main groups, Igbos, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba. These groups were legally recognized after seeking independence. These minority groups were effectively excluded from the political sphere and the impact of this devolution caused further ethnic divide and political strife[11]. It is claimed that the violence that erupted between 1965-1967 with Nigerians and Biafrans signified that exercising the right of self-determination leads to political and ethnic turmoil.[12] 

In response to this argument, it is contended that despite self-determination struggles usually portrayed as violent and brutal measures, people should still have the freedom to exercise this fundamental right. It is important to understand that colonial settlers aggressively battled to preserve their right of conquest as their own right to self-determination. Till present day, “Israel” has committed war crimes, most notably in Gaza. From Palestine and South Africa to the Americas and Australia, settler-colonists [have] violently fought to prevent the indigenous people, that were colonised, from fighting for liberation, thus the argument that self-determination leads to violence and brutality does not hold much weight in this context considering it is no different to the measures taken by colonising entities.[13] Further to this, in the past, the UN has failed to sustain peace even with states that exercised their right to self-determination, as noticed with the case of Cyprus.[14] Conflicts among states exist irrespective of self-determination, therefore the premise of this argument is incorrect. It may be more suitable to look beyond the UN paradigm if we ought to find lasting solutions to such conflicts.

The Palestine-Israel Conflict

In order to better understand the Israel-Palestine conflict, it is necessary to present the issue within the historical framework of decolonisation struggles. Historically, the world has witnessed decolonisation struggles beginning with violence as a result of a people being denied independence and liberation by the colonising entity. The Palestinian struggle against the Zionist ethnonationalist entity has lasted since the 20th century; the story of Palestine is on political independence, liberation, and putting an end to the apartheid Israeli regime. Whilst Zionists argue that “Israel” has a historic right to Palestinian land, it is imperative to note that had it not been for the involvement of European imperial powers, most notably Britain, there would have not been any creation of “Israel”. In November 1917, Britain the de facto ruler of Palestine, issued the Balfour Declaration. The eighty-word statement by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. 

In 1922, five years after the Balfour Declaration, the “League of Nations” approved the British Mandate for Palestine and the establishment of a “Jewish homeland.” The decision of the mandate did not consider the will of the Palestinian people or their fundamental rights. Between 1939 and 1949, there were a series of mass protests that took place against Jewish immigration to Palestine as well as armed Zionist groups launching attacks against the indigenous people of Palestine[15]. It is necessary to note that in 1947, the UN adopted Resolution 181, a partition plan for Palestine which was subsequently rejected by the Palestinians. The UN General Assemblies plan was to partition Palestine between the native Palestinians and the Jewish colonial settlers. Throughout 1948-1949, the Palestinians were attacked by Zionist forces. Villages and hotels were bombed near Haifa demonstrating early signs of ethnic cleansing. In April 1948, one month before the State of “Israel” was created, Zionist forces massacred over 100 250 Palestinians in the city of Deir Yassin[16] which is in close proximity to Jerusalem. In December of 1948[17], the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 which allowed the right of return of Palestinian refugees. This is a brief explanation of how the state of “Israel” came into existence. In 1974, Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian Political leader stated:

“The [UN] General Assembly partitioned what it had no right to divide – an indivisible homeland.”

“Israel” consistently and tactically made use of Occupation Law to further acquire Palestinian land whilst simultaneously arbitrarily arresting and targeting Palestinian people through the use of apartheid policies. It is argued that “Israel” has used UNSC Resolution 242 to justify and legitimate these actions through “political framework shaped by U.S intervention”[18] as mentioned by Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and Palestinian activist. Erakat claims that the Occupation Law failing to regulate Palestinian territories effectively, is a result of a political, not a legal contest. It is asserted that “Israel’s” argument that the Palestinian territories are simply under their administration, would hold no weight were it not for the political powers involved in the region. 

Furthermore, it is also argued that the United States has favoured “Israel” to such an extent that the US dismisses “Israel’s” violation of international law and allows the state to carry out war crimes without facing any repercussions besides blanket statements. As a result of the Occupation Law that “Israel” takes advantage of, Palestinian territories remain occupied, Palestinian people are systematically being ethnically cleansed[19], and their fundamental rights such as the freedom of movement are infringed.

The Human Rights Watch published a report in April 2021, in which it was made very clear that for the past 54 years, Israeli authorities have transferred Jewish Israeli’s to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OTP) and “granted them a superior status under the law as compared to Palestinians living in the same territory when it comes to civil rights, access to land, and freedom to move, build, and confer residency rights to close relatives.”[20] In 1970, the General Assembly Resolution 2625 added that “Every state has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provision of the charter.” Therefore, “Israel” and the international community as a whole should not be denying the Palestinians their right to self-determination. Palestine should be able to manage its own affairs without the interference of external and colonial entities. It is important to understand that the Palestinian people have witnessed the occupation of their lands, forced expulsions to neighbouring lands, military bombardment, and erasure of their identity. As such, the struggle for independence and self-determination should be welcomed by all. 

Ali Abunimah, a policy adviser, argues that self-determination “must return to the center of the Palestinian struggle”[21]. To add, Abunimah asserts that the Palestinian right to self-determination can indeed be compatible with the coexistence of Jews. It is claimed that the United States has a long history of deciding the fate of the Palestinian people. For instance, as per the Clinton Parameters, “Israel” would get “Jewish neighbourhoods” and the Palestinians would get “Arab neighbourhoods”. In hindsight, this meant that “Israel” would be allowed to keep the land it has colonised and annexed since 1967, and the people of Palestine would be able to have what is left – which Israeli occupation forces and settlers continue to annex and occupy till today. America’s “peace process” has allowed “Israel” to aggressively maintain their illegal occupation of the Palestinian people.[22] 

Professor Noam Chomsky in his book ‘On Palestine’[23] highlights that “Israel’s” policies are directly connected to the Zionist ideology that “both aim to establish a Jewish state by taking over as much of historical Palestine as possible and leaving in it as few Palestinians as possible.” Chomsky, a Jewish historian and activist, further claims that the international community has “never condemned” the Israeli entity which led to the enormous expulsion of 750,000 people and the destruction of hundreds of villages and towns. In addition to this, Chomsky states that “ethnic cleansing has become the DNA of Israeli Jewish society.” Erasing the Palestinian land and people should be enough of a reason for the remaining people of Palestine to exercise their right to self-determination. There are distinct similarities between Palestine and the apartheid in South Africa. The Israeli Knesset authorises legislation that separates, segregates, and discriminates against the Palestinians. A recent report by Human Rights Watch also backs up this claim:

“Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy.”[24]

The United States of America remains a close ally of “Israel”. The U.S provides financial and military support to “Israel” which has been used criticised by several human rights agencies as this funding is used to perpetrate human rights abuses against the Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip. In the Ten-Year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and “Israel”, $38 billion has been promised to “Israel” from the U.S beginning in 2016.[25] This includes $3.3 billion in Foreign Military financing and $500 million for missile defence programs. Several U.S politicians declare their support for “Israel” and do not shy away from mentioning “Israel has every right to defend itself” despite the fact that it is “Israel” that is committing heinous crimes against the Palestinian people. As mentioned by Chomsky, as a result of political power and close relationship with the U.S, “Israel” has been able to act with impunity since 1948. The U.S also has a history of blocking UN resolutions[26] against “Israel”. According to UN data, since 1972, the US has vetoed at least 53 United Nations Security Council resolutions that are critical of “Israel”[27]. 

Contrastingly, Palestine does not have such strong allies. Palestinian resistance leaders have announced receiving military and financial support from the Islamic Republic of Iran; however, I submit that as Iran is a sanctioned country, the support offered to Palestine may not be as much as the support offered by the U.S and the UK to “Israel”. The UK has consistently and repeatedly sold arms to “Israel” despite its illegal occupation of Palestine.[28]

In conclusion, the people of Palestine have every right to self-determination, and this can be understood just by investigating the crimes perpetrated by “Israel” against the Palestinians, and the systematic oppression they have faced as a people. Since 1969, the General Assembly has recognised the “inalienable rights of the people of Palestine”[29] In 1974, member states of the UN worked to restore the “Question of Palestine” on the General Assembly agenda, and as such Arab heads of states upheld the “right of the Arab Palestinian people to the return to its homeland and its right to self-determination.”[30] Some weeks later the General Assembly passed resolution 3236 which mentioned “Recognizing that the Palestinian people are entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,” and (a) The right to self-determination without external interference”. It should be noted that the General Assembly condemned governments which failed to recognise the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under “colonial and foreign domination”. For the Palestinians to exercise this right, the Israeli entity must vacate from the occupied areas in order to establish an independent Palestinian state. The United Nations has again affirmed its commitment to the Palestinian right to self-determination. In November 2020, the UN General Assembly endorsed a draft resolution once again recognising “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to an independent State of Palestine.”[31] 163 states voted in favour of this resolution, whilst 5 states voted against this, namely: “Israel”, The United States of America, Micronesia, Nauru, and the Marshal Islands. Tomis Kapitan eloquently argues that legitimate residents of Palestine include all Palestinians irrespective of where they are located in Palestine, including Palestinian refugees outside of the country. He states that “expulsion does not remove ones right of residency… Palestinians also retain residency rights in those territories from which they were expelled.”[32] Kapitan asserts that the Palestinian people, as a collective, have the “entitlement to being self-determining in that region [historic Palestine]… not qua Palestinians, but qua legitimate residents. The force used against them has not erased the fact that they are, and are recognized as being; a legitimate unit entitled to participate in their own self-determination.”[33]

Whilst some may argue that the Palestinian right to self-determination is an anti-Semitic stance, it should be duly noted that a Palestinian state would include Jews, Muslims and Christians. It is in fact the Zionist entity that remains anti-Semitic by expulsing and rejecting Jewish natives from enjoying their rights in Occupied Palestine. It should be remembered that the Palestinian right to self-determination is legal and in accordance with international law. For the state of Palestine to be completely independent, colonial settlers will have to return to the European countries they entered from and respect international law. To end, a group of academics including Palestinians and Israelis issued a One State Declaration in 2007, inspired by the South African Freedom Charter and declared: “The historic land of Palestine belongs to all who live in it and to those who were expelled or exiled from it since 1948, regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin or current citizenship status; Any system of government must be founded on the principle of equality in civil, political, social and cultural rights for all citizens. Power must be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all people in the diversity of their identities.[34]

sources

[1]https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/self_determination_(international_law)#:~:text=Self%2Ddetermination%20denotes%20the%20legal,destiny%20in%20the%20international%20order.&text=For%20instance%2C%20self%2Ddetermination%20is,right%20of%20%E2%80%9Call%20peoples.%E2%80%9D

[2] Salvatore Senese, ‘External and Internal Self-Determination’ [1989] 16(1) Social Justice <https://www.jstor.org/stable/29766439?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents&gt; accessed 9 May 2021.
[3] Wilson, War Aims of Germany and Austria (1918).
[4] UN Charter, Art 1 (2).
[5] https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf

[6] Quane, Helen. 1998. “The United Nations and the Evolving Right to Self-Determination.” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 47(3): 537–572.

[7] Johan D. Van der Vyer, ‘Self-Determination of the Peoples of Quebec under International Law’ [2012] 10(1) Journal of Transnational Law & Policy 38
[8] Martti Koskenniemi, ‘National Self-Determination Today: Problems of Legal Theory and Practice’ [1994] 43(2) The International and Comparative Law Quarterly <https://www.jstor.org/stable/761238&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.
[9] J Massad, ‘Against Self-Determination’ [2018] 9(2) Humanity 161-191
[10] M Evangelista, ‘Paradoxes of Violence and Self-determination’ [2015] 14(5) Formerly Global Review of Ethnopolitics <https://doi.org/10.1080/17449057.2015.1051811&gt; accessed 3 May 2021.
[11] B Ibhawoh, ‘Testing the Atlantic Charter: linking anticolonialism, self-determination and Universal Human Rights’ [2014] 18(7) International Journal of Human Rights 1-19

[12] Beardsley, Kevin, David E. Cunningham, and Peter B. White. 2015. “Resolving Civil Wars before They Start: The UN Security Council and Conflict Prevention in Self-Determination Disputes.” British Journal of Political Science 47(3): 675–697.
[13] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-gaza-latest-palestinian-happening-b1852170.html
[14] Tobias Nowak and Charis Van den berg, ‘Alternative Approaches to Self-Determination Applied to the Cyprus Conflict’ [2020] 15(5) Transboundary Legal Studies <https://research.rug.nl/nl/publications/alternative-approaches-to-self-determination-applied-to-the-cypru&gt; accessed 7 May 2021.
[15] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-role-of-jewish-defense-organizations-in-palestine-1903-1948
[16] M Hogan, ‘The 1948 Massacre at Deir Yassin Revisited’ [2001] 63(2) The Historian <https://www.jstor.org/stable/24450239&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.

[17] https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/palestineremix/timeline_main.html
[18] Noura Erakat, ‘Taking the Land without the People: The 1967 Story as Told by the Law’ [2017] 47(1) Journal of Palestine Studies 18-38 
[19] Lucy Garbett, ‘I live in Sheikh Jarrah for Palestinians, this is not a ‘real estate dispute’’ (The Guardian, 17 May 2021) <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/17/palestinians-sheikh-jarrah-jerusalem-city-identity&gt; accessed 17 May 2021.
[20] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
[21]Ali Abunimah, ‘Reclaiming Self-Determination’ ( Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, 21 May) <https://al-shabaka.org/briefs/reclaiming-self-determination/&gt; accessed 10 May 2021.[22]https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/us-role-peace-process-perspective
[23]Noam Chomsky, On Palestine (Penguin Books 2015)

[24] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution
[25] https://il.usembassy.gov/ten-year-memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-united-states-and-israel/
[26] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/19/a-history-of-the-us-blocking-un-resolutions-against-israel
[27] https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_table_en.htm
[28] https://caat.org.uk/resources/countries/israel/
[29] https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-196558/
[30] United Nations
[31] https://prc.org.uk/en/news/3213/un-votes-overwhelmingly-in-support-of-palestinian-self-determination
[32] Tomis Kapitan, “Self-Determination,” in Tomis Kapitan and Raja Halwani, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Philosophical Essays on Self-Determination, Terrorism and the One-State Solution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 13-71.
[33] Ibid.
[34] “The One State Declaration,” The Electronic Intifada, 29 November 2007

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Iraqi Resistance Groups Vow to Force US Troops to Leave Humiliated

 July 30, 2021

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By Staff, Agencies

Iraqi Kataib Hezbollah resistance movement has emphasized that the American military troops must withdraw from the Arab country, vowing that it is ready to force the occupation troops to do so.

The anti-terror group, which is part of the Popular Mobilization Units, better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Shaabi, announced in a statement on Thursday that it has and will firmly oppose the dominance of “evil” colonial powers over the natural resources of Iraq.

The statement noted that Kataib Hezbollah will continue to carry out its duties regardless of pressures and challenges it might face.

“All resistance groups have become a thorn in the eye of the American enemy. We are fully prepared to once again drive US forces out of Iraq in humiliation,” it also read.

Kataib Hezbollah warned that further surprises await American occupation forces in case they insist on their presence on the Iraqi soil.

Jafar al-Hussaini, spokesman for the resistance movement, said the Iraqi factions would not target diplomatic missions in the country, describing attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone as false-flag operations aimed at deceiving the Iraqi nation.

“Diplomatic facilities in Iraq are not on the list of targets by resistance forces. Attacks on the evil US embassy in Baghdad are meant to disrupt equations and trick Iraqi people,” Hussaini told Beirut-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV on Thursday.

“The perpetrators of attacks on the evil embassy are pursuing destructive interests, and their affiliations are suspicious,” he added.

In the same context, Leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq Movement, Qais al-Khazali, said the United States does not intend to withdraw its forces from Iraq, stressing that the cost of continued presence of American forces in the country will be heavy.

“US overflights in Iraq are aimed at espionage purposes. Baghdad-Washington negotiations will not result in the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. This is just a deception game,” he added.

Khazali described the Iraqi government’s negotiations with the United States and the agreement purportedly ending the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021 as “deceptive” and “bogus.”

He said the agreement does not explicitly state the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, and fails short of addressing the violation of the Iraqi airspace by US military aircraft.

“The agreement has simply been struck in order to change the title of US forces. This is what we had earlier reported about. US overflights in Iraq are being carried out to spy on resistance groups. Our demand concerning the pullout of foreign military forces is legitimate,” Khazali said.

US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday sealed an agreement formally ending the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of the current year, more than 18 years after US troops were sent to the Arab country.

Under the agreement, however, US military forces will continue to operate in Iraq in what has been termed as an “advisory role.”

A joint Iraq-US statement issued after the meeting said the “security” relationship will be focused on “training, advising and intelligence-sharing.”

Speaking to reporters following the White House meeting, Biden claimed that the US would continue to “train, to assist, to help and to deal with Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] as it arises,” when the combat mission comes to an end.

The US currently has about 2,500 troops in Iraq. It is not known how many troops will stay in the country beyond 2021. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “the numbers will be driven by what is needed for the mission over time.”

Anti-US sentiment has been growing in Iraq since the assassination in January 2020 of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, along with the region’s legendary anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

They were targeted along with their companions on January 3, 2020 in a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport.

Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that requires the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US.

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US bombing of Iraq and Syria is illegal aggression – Occupiers have no right to ‘self-defense’

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Independent journalist focused on geopolitics and US foreign policy.

 July 28, 2021

Source

Ben Norton

Militarily occupying Iraq and Syria is a thoroughly bipartisan policy in the United States. And bombing West Asia has become a favorite pastime that unites both Democrat and Republican presidents.

The United States believes it has the right to bomb, militarily occupy, and economically strangulate any country, anywhere, without consequence. But the world’s peoples are standing up more and more to the global dictatorship of US hegemony.

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On June 27, Washington launched airstrikes against forces in both Iraq and Syria, two sovereign countries illegally occupied by the US military, which have repeatedly called for American troops to leave.

The US attack proved to be a gift to the genocidal extremists in ISIS: it helped provide cover as remnants of the so-called “Islamic State” launched a terror attack on a power grid in northern Iraq. Similarly, the US bombing killed several members of Iraqi government-backed units who had been protecting their nation from ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

It is far from the first time Washington has clearly been on the same side as far-right Takfiri fanatics. For example, current US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan admitted in an email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 that “AQ is on our side in Syria.” And the US government supported al-Qaeda extremists in its wars on Yemen and Libya.

In addition to aiding notorious terrorist groups, these US strikes on Iraq and Syria were glaringly illegal under international law. Moreover, they constitute a clear act of aggression against the peoples of West Asia, who for decades have struggled for self-determination and control over their own, plentiful natural resources – resources that the US government and its all-powerful corporations seek to control and exploit.

The Pentagon tried to justify its attack claiming it was an act of “self-defense.” Absurdly, the US Department of Defense – the world champion in violating international law – even cited international law to try to legitimize the airstrikes.

In reality, the US military’s presence in Iraq and Syria is illegal. And under international law, a military power that is illegally occupying a territory does not have the right to self-defense. That is true just as much for apartheid “Israel” in its settler-colonial aggression against Palestine as it is for the United States in its imperial wars on the peoples of Iraq and Syria.

Iraq’s prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, made that clear. He condemned the US strikes as a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.”

In January 2020, in response to Washington’s assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – a criminal act of war against both Iraq and Iran – the democratically elected parliament in Baghdad voted 170 to 0 to expel the thousands of US troops occupying Iraq.

Washington simply ignored the vote, silencing the voices of the Iraqi people – while threatening more economic sanctions on their government. In addition, the Pentagon stressed that the vote was nonbinding. Still, even the US government-backed RAND Corporation acknowledged that there “is no treaty or status of forces agreement (SOFA) authorizing the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.”

Likewise, the United States is illegally occupying one-third of Syrian sovereign territory. The internationally recognized government in Damascus has repeatedly called on the US military occupiers to leave, but they have refused, in a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.

“The presence of Americans in Syria is a sign of occupation, and we believe that all nations and governments must stand up to their unlawful presence in the region,” Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis declared in 2020, after the US assassinations of the top Iraqi and Iranian military leaders.

While former Republican President Donald Trump radiated a kind of neocolonial arrogance, boasting that US troops would illegally remain in Syria because “we want to keep the oil,” the Democratic Joe Biden administration has not acted much differently.

President Biden appointed hardline neoconservative operative Dana Stroul as the top Pentagon official for Middle East policy. In 2019, Stroul bragged that Washington “owned” one-third of Syrian territory, including its “economic powerhouse,” which includes the vast majority of its oil and wheat reserves.

Stroul’s promotion was an unambiguous sign that the Democrats are endorsing the same sadistic Trumpian strategy, to militarily occupy Syria, steal its natural resources, starve its government of revenue, deny its people bread and gasoline, and prevent reconstruction of what Stroul snidely referred to as the widespread “rubble.”

The reality is that militarily occupying Iraq and Syria is a thoroughly bipartisan policy in the United States. And bombing West Asia has become a favorite pastime that unites both Democrat and Republican presidents.

Trump launched airstrikes against Syria in April 2018 on totally unsubstantiated accusations that Damascus had carried out “gas attacks,” claims that have since been proven false by multiple whistleblowers from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Then in December 2019, the Trump administration bombed anti-ISIS militias in both Syria and Iraq.

Biden carried out a similar, illegal attack on these same fighters in eastern Syria in February 2021. Another example of Washington serving as the de facto air force for the remnants of the so-called “Islamic State.”

The December 2019, February 2021, and June 2021 US airstrikes targeted the Iraqi government-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs), known in Arabic as the al-Hashd al-Sha’abi. In its official statement on the June bombing, the Pentagon stated unequivocally that it was attacking Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, two prominent Iraqi armed groups in the Hashd.

The Department of Defense misleadingly referred to these units as “Iran-backed militia groups.” The US government and the corporate media outlets that act as its obedient mouthpiece always describe the Hashd as “Iran-backed” to try to downplay their role as indigenous protectors of Iraqi sovereignty and deceptively portray them as foreign proxies of Washington’s favorite bogeyman.

In reality, the PMFs are Iraqi units supported by the elected, internationally recognized government in Baghdad. The Hashd played a leading role in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist Takfiri groups in both Iraq and Syria – while the United States, apartheid “Israel”, and NATO allies spent billions of dollars backing Salafi-jihadist death squads in their genocidal war on the people of Syria.

The Hashd do indeed receive assistance from Tehran, and they have every right to do so. After all, Iran is Iraq’s neighbor, whereas the United States is on the other side of the planet. But Washington, NATO, and their de facto stenographers in the corporate press corps seek to discredit all resistance to criminal US aggression in West Asia by erasing its organic, indigenous roots and lazily depicting it as a vast conspiracy controlled by an omnipresent Iranian controller.

The PMFs made it clear that they will not tolerate Washington’s assault on their nation’s sovereignty. “We reserve the legal right to respond to these attacks and hold the perpetrators accountable on Iraqi soil,” the Hashd declared.

Unlike the US military occupiers, the people of Iraq and Syria do have a right to exercise self-defense in response to strikes by foreign aggressors. They can legally resist American military occupation and neocolonialism, just as the people of Palestine have the right to resist Israeli military occupation and Zionist settler-colonialism. It is a right enshrined in international law – and an inalienable right that any nation would defend.

If Washington wants to stop attacks on its troops, there is an easy way to do that: withdraw them from the region where they are not wanted. American soldiers will be much safer at home.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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Wakim to Al Mayadeen: Russia Prevented US from Dragging Lebanon Into Civil War

July 27, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

The President of the People’s Movement Najah Wakim accuses the US of encouraging rampant corruption and sponsoring its symbols in Lebanon.

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On Monday, the President of the People’s Movement Najah Wakim accused the US of “preventing reaching a firm conclusion on the investigation into the Beirut port explosion.”

In an interview for Al Mayadeen, Wakim stated that “The decision to blast Beirut port was American, and the executor might be Israel.” 

Wakim asked, “Who has an interest in disrupting transit, one of Lebanon’s most important resources?”

“Washington opens new lines of communication between Israel and certain Arab countries, yet it prevents Lebanon from opening its borders with Syria,” Wakim added.

In the same context, Wakim denounced the US for “encouraging rampant corruption and sponsoring its symbols in Lebanon,” adding that, “US instructions led Lebanon to bankruptcy.”

“The economic policies, which have been implemented in Lebanon since 1992, are American and were executed by Washington’s tools,” he added.

Wakim stated that “The Russian delegation that visited Lebanon was covered by the Russian state and the visit was not only limited to the economic aspect.”

“Lebanon is not on Washington’s map of the Middle East,” Wakim explained, “while there is a Russian-Chinese interest in Lebanon’s being.” 

“There is an interest for Russia not to fragment Lebanon,” he added.

Wakim also considered that the US was dragging Lebanon into civil war last year, stressing that “Russia prevented it from happening.”

Simultaneously, he noted that “Washington’s plan in Syria was to overthrow the state,” and, “What the US failed to apply in Syria, it tried to apply in Lebanon.” 

Wakim went on to say that “Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi is at the forefront of the confederalism project.”

On the designation of Najib Mikati, the President of the People’s Movement asked, “Who is the foreign party who gave guarantees to Mikati? What exactly are these guarantees?”

“There is no possibility for a solution in Lebanon in the presence of this political class,” Wakim added.

“Most likely, there will be no government in Lebanon,” he stressed.

“The local media propaganda pointed at the resistance conforms to the Israeli mindset,” Wakim concluded.

Graveyard of Empires

By Eric Margolis

Global Research, July 21, 2021

EricMargolis.com 19 July 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). 

Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.

***

The US-led war in Afghanistan looks to be ending, and not a day too soon. America’s father, Benjamin Franklin, wisely wrote: ‘No good war; no bad peace.’

Yet for 20 years, the United States waged all-out war against this small, remote, impoverished state whose only weapons were old AK47 rifles and the boundless courage of its fierce people.

In my first book about Afghanistan, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ written after being in the field with the anti-Soviet ‘mujahidin’ warriors, I called them ‘the bravest men on earth.’ Now, some 21 years later, I repeat this title.

For the past two decades, the Afghan nationalist mujahidin have faced the full might of the US empire: waves of B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers; fleets of killer drones, constant air strikes from US airbases in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Gulf; 300,000 US-financed Afghan mercenary troops; up to 120,000 US and NATO troops and other US-paid mercenaries; the brutal Communist-run Afghan secret police, regular government police, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek militias, hit squads sent by the US and Britain, plus famine and disease. Use of torture by western forces was rampant.

All this to defend the US-installed Afghan puppet governments whose main business was protecting the nation’s growing opium trade which made Afghanistan the world’s largest exporter of opium/morphine that was processed into heroin. Another proud moment for Washington which, in the 1970’s had been up to its ears in Indochina’s opium trade, and later in Central America’s cocaine business.

Afghanistan was a war of lies, sustained by the powerful US and British media. President George W. Bush, a man of deep ignorance, launched this war to cover being caught sleeping by the 9/11 attacks. Bush blamed Osama bin Laden, former US ally, and Afghanistan’s Taliban government for 9/11, though the Afghans were likely not involved with it.

The only proof of bin Laden’s involvement was a number of fake videos that I believe were made by Afghanistan’s Communist-run intelligence service or its former KGB bosses. When I pointed out these videos were fakes, CNN blacklisted me from further broadcasting. So too did Canada’s CBC TV and the Sun chain after I warned Canadian troops were being sent to Afghanistan under false pretenses.

Officially, the US lost 31,376 dead and seriously wounded in Afghanistan; Canada lost 158 dead; Britain 456 dead; the Afghans god knows how many. Estimates range from, 100,000 to one million. Two million Afghans reportedly died during the decade-long Soviet occupation. Almost anything that moved was bombed.

The known cost for this useless war was 2 trillion US dollars, plus hundreds of millions in secret payments to hire ‘volunteers’ from US allies to fight in Afghanistan. This was almost all borrowed money hidden in the US federal debt.

What next? The US is trying to find a way to stay engaged in Afghanistan via air attacks from its bases in the Gulf and possibly new ones in Central Asia. The world’s premier military power simply cannot endure the humiliation of defeat in Afghanistan, particularly so by a bunch of Muslim mountain warriors. All those US and British ‘experts’ who championed the Afghan war are now hiding their faces, as they did after the Iraq debacle.

America’s war party is trying to find ways to keep the conflict going by raising phony alarms about girl’s schooling, translators and woman’s rights. But we hear nothing at all from these pro-war hypocrites about the murder, rape and dowry killing of thousands of women in India each year. How many misinformed Americans know that Taliban was a religious movement formed to stop the rape of Afghan women and brigandage during the bitter 1990’s civil war? I was there and saw it.

What next? As US power wanes, CIA will try to bolster separatist movements among Afghanistan’s Tajik and Uzbek minorities. Iran will arm and finance the Shia Hazara minority. Still Communist dominated Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will support their ethnic brethren in Afghanistan. Most important, India will intensify intrigues in Afghanistan where its powerful intelligence agency, RAW, is increasingly active.

Meanwhile Pakistan quietly supports Taliban which, like a quarter of Pakistanis, is of Pashtun ethnicity. China for once does not know what to do in Afghanistan: it wants to block expansion of Indian influence in the subcontinent but deeply fears militant Islam and its rising influence in Chinese-ruled Xinjiang, formerly Turkistan.

So, Americans may have not seen the last of Afghanistan, one of the greatest follies of US foreign policy. To paraphrase the great Talleyrand, the US war in Afghanistan ‘was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.’

*

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Featured image: An April 8, 2013 memorial service for Anne Smedinghoff at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Anne was killed in an insurgent attack on Saturday April, 6. 2013 while traveling to donate books to a school in Qalat, Zabul province. (Photo by Musadeq Sadeq/U.S. State Department)

Yemeni Military Media Releases Video of Large-scale Operation against Saudi Forces in Jizan

23 July 2021 

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By Staff, Agencies

The Yemeni Military Media released on Thursday scenes of a major offensive against Saudi mercenaries on the outskirts of Al-Doud Mountain close to the kingdom’s southwestern region of Jizan.

The Army and the Popular Committees carried out a military operation against Saudi-backed militants, mercenaries from Sudan, deployed in the axes of Al-Madafin and Al-Mlahidh, which culminated in the control of several sites, killing, wounding and capturing Saudi-paid Sudanese mercenaries.

The Army and the Popular Committees conducted the offensive on two fronts, and they managed to establish control over a number of districts and inflict material and human losses on enemy forces in the process.

They destroyed four vehicles belonging to Saudi-backed militants, burned their camps and barricades, seized various weapons, and captured a number of Sudanese mercenaries.

The scenes documented by the military media lens also showed the moments of the Yemeni Army advancing to enemy positions and storming them.

The scenes also showed the Army and Popular Committees chasing the fleeing Sudanese mercenaries between valleys and hills, capturing a number of them.

In conjunction with the implementation of the operation, the US-Saudi aggression aircraft tried to support its mercenaries with a number of raids to stop the progress of the Army and Popular Committees, but to no avail.

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Pentagon: Iraq will Decide the Fate of Our Military Presence

22 Jul 21

Al Mayadeen

US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby announced that an Iraqi delegation is visiting the Pentagon to discuss strategic issues between the two countries, including the issue of US military presence in Iraq.

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US military parade in Iraq (archive).

US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby announced that an Iraqi delegation is visiting the Pentagon to discuss strategic issues between the two countries, including the issue of US military presence in Iraq.

Kirby said that the Pentagon is hosting an Iraqi delegation “as part of the ongoing strategic dialogue between the two states” and that “the US military presence in Iraq is under discussion with our Iraqi partners.”

He added: Our mission will not permanently focus on “ISIS” and we are in close consultations with Iraqi officials. We hope that we can rid ourselves and the region of the threat posed by it.

The Pentagon spokesman considered that the fate of US military presence in Iraq is a matter that will be concluded with Iraq, adding that “We will continue to talk with the Iraqis about our direct military presence in Iraq to serve the interests of the United States.” 

The United States reduced its military presence in Iraq last year by half, equivalent to 2,500 soldiers. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman also announced last April that the presence of US forces had become limited to guidance and training.

Talks about the US presence in Iraq come amid an American drive to reduce military deployments in the Middle East that accelerated the withdrawal process of US forces from Afghanistan. 

PMU Faction Says US Responsible for Massacre of Iraqis in Daesh Bombing

July 21, 2021 

PMU Faction Says US Responsible for Massacre of Iraqis in Daesh Bombing

By Staff, Agencies

The leader of Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement, which operates under the command of Popular Mobilization Units [PMU], has held the United States responsible for the loss of dozens of lives in a deadly Baghdad bombing claimed by the Daesh terror group, which he described as a creation of the US, “Israel” and their Gulf allies.

Qais al-Khazali said in a statement on Tuesday that political motives lie behind the bloody carnage in the bustling Woheilat market of Baghdad’s eastern neighborhood of Sadr City a day earlier.

He said the terror attack tooisraek place on the eve of Eid al-Adha [Feast of Sacrifice] and as Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi prepares to visit Washington within the next few days.

“The United States is seeking justification for its overstay in Iraq through the presence of Daesh [Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS’ / ‘ISIL’] terrorists. Everyone knows that Daesh was created by the US, the “Israeli” regime and certain Gulf Arab states, and their intelligence services are in control of the group,” Khazali said.

The Iraqi PMU leader said the United States is behind the upsurge in Wahhabi Daesh terror attacks, adding that Washington is responsible for the massacre of Iraqi people and its crimes will be responded appropriately.

He added that some individuals are complicit in aiding and abetting terrorist elements to carry out the market bombing.

A bomber killed at least 35 people and wounded dozens in a crowded market in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad on Monday night. More than 60 people were wounded.

The Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hospital sources said the death toll could rise as some of the wounded are in critical condition.

The Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement, in a separate statement, strongly criticized the performance of Kadhimi’s government and Iraqi security forces in response to the market blast in Baghdad.

“We call on the government to take immediate actions to stop criminal acts,” the group said.

The movement stressed that Kadhimi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi Armed Forces, in addition to security forces are primarily responsible for the occurrence of such bombings.

Asking for an inquiry into the failure to prevent the tragedy, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq said intelligence measures and pre-emptive operations should be taken to destroy terrorist lairs.

The anti-terror movement also stressed that the Popular Mobilization Units, better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Shaabi, should be given a greater role to guarantee security and that their experiences should be used.

Backed by the PMU, Iraq put an end to Daesh’s territorial rule on its soil in late 2017, more than three years after the terror group emerged in the Arab country and captured swaths of land in its western and northern parts.

However, Daesh sleeper cells have continued to launch terror attacks against security forces and civilians from time to time.

The latest bombing, one of the largest since the victory against Daesh, signaled a rise in the strength of the remaining terrorists in Iraq, which are widely believed to have the support of the United States.

The Families of the Gaza Martyrs between Two Eids: Life Is A Short Dream أهالي شهداء غزّة بين عيدَين: الحياة كحُلم قصير

The Families of the Gaza Martyrs between Two Eids: Life Is A Short Dream

July 20, 2021 

The Families of the Gaza Martyrs between Two Eids: Life Is A Short Dream

Translated by Staff, Al-Akhbar Newspaper

The mother of the two martyrs, Ibrahim and Imran al-Masri, never forgot the moment when she separated from her two sons. She relives it even during Eid, especially since they passed away during the days of Eid al-Fitr. On that day, she left the house and headed to the market of Beit Hanoun to buy Ibrahim’s Eid clothes. Her husband was supposed to take care of Imran’s after breakfast.

“Ibrahim was my friend. He followed me on my way to the market, so I asked him to go back where his fate was awaiting him,” the grieving mother recalls.

“I still feel that I am in a dream. The years that Ibrahim and Imran spent in my arms are short, but the incident of their martyrdom is quick, and their farewell is quick as well. Everything went away in a blink of an eye.”

“Until this moment, I feel that Ibrahim and Imran will return to my house, knock on the door, and enter.”

Alaa Abu Hatab is the only survivor of a massacre in which ten members of the Abu Hatab and Al-Hadidi families perished. The feeling of loss prevented him from buying Eid clothes and toys for his daughter Maria, the only survivor of his family. However, he had to prepare a big pot of coffee to receive mourners on the the first day of Eid al-Adha. This family, whose house was bombed in Al-Shati Camp, greets the Eid with double the heartache – it lost several children on the second day of Eid al-Fitr as they played with other kids. This was an attempt by their families to help the children take their mind off the aggression.

 Abu Hatab remembers that night all too well.

Just after midnight, four Al-Hadidi children were being accompanied by their mother to visit their relatives from the Abu Hatab family.

“On that day, we gathered the children with their parents to provide them with a playful atmosphere that would make them forget the horrors of war. After midnight, I left the house to buy them dinner. Moments after I left, huge explosions struck the area,” Alaa said.

“I came back, and I thought the explosion was from our neighbors’ house, but I was surprised that bombs from the warplane fell on our entire house.

“Everyone who was in the house, ten people, including eight children and two sisters, perished. And I stayed with little Maria.”

The man and his only daughter aren’t thinking about visiting his family’s graves on the first day of Eid, hoping to postpone this heavy task until the third day.

Meanwhile, Alaa Abu Al-Awf, who lost 14 members of his family, including his wife and two daughters, in the Al-Wahda Street massacre, decided to spend the morning of the first day of Eid visiting his family’s graves.

“I find no other place to comfort my loneliness today but to be close to them,” the bereaved man said.

Abu Al-Awf’s mind wanders off as he talks in his destroyed house.

“We used to mark the morning of Eid with our special tradition: Eid prayer, the slaughter of a sacrifice [livestock], warm family quarrels – mostly between those who like to eat the liver of the sacrifice and those who cannot stand the smell of it cooking, the eidiyah, then the journey of distributing the sacrifice rations to the relatives.”

His eyes fill with tears as he continues, “Everything has become a memory. May God have mercy on them and give us patience.”

In addition to the families of the martyrs, the families whose homes were destroyed live in a similar atmosphere.

“The house in Gaza is a homeland, the homeland of memories and the warm details,” says Muhammad al-Madhoun.

“Every year, we’d prepare a place in front of the house door where we slaughtered the sacrifice. The young men if the family would gather in front of the house before going in groups to visit relatives,” he adds.

Today, however, the seven-member al-Madhoun family, lives in a rented house.

The young man in his twenties says, “Eid will pass as a stranger, not only because our house was destroyed, but because there are no prospects for reconstruction.”

Al-Madhoun’s pessimism stems from “Israel’s” procrastination. The “Israelis” have tied the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip to demands for concessions from the resistance on the issue of captured soldiers and a long-term armistice understandings in exchange for easing the siege, which the resistance categorically rejects.

أهالي شهداء غزّة بين عيدَين: الحياة كحُلم قصير

الثلاثاء 20 تموز 2021

يوسف فارس

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يتأثر ملف إعادة إعمار القطاع باشتراطات إسرائيل تقديم المقاومة تنازلات (أ ف ب )

غزة | لا تحتفظ والدة الشهيدَين، إبراهيم ومروان المصري، باللحظات الأولى لفراق ولدَيها فحسب، إنما تعيشها واقعاً، حتّى في أجواء العيد، ولا سيّما أنهما رحلا خلال أيام عيد الفطر. يومها، كانت قد غادرت البيت، وتوجّهت إلى سوق مدينة بيت حانون، لكي تشتري ملابس العيد لإبراهيم. وكان من المفترض أن يتكفّل زوجها بمهمّة «كسوة» عمران، بعد الإفطار. تقول الأم المكلومة: «كان إبراهيم صديقي، لحق بي وأنا في طريقي إلى السوق، فطلبْت منه أن يعود، فكان قدره ينتظره». وتُكمل: «ما زلت أشعر بأنني في حلم، السنوات التي قضاها إبراهيم وعمران في حضني قصيرة، وحادثة استشهادهما سريعة، ووداعهما سريعٌ أيضاً، كلّ شيء مضى بلمح البصر». وتضيف: «حتى هذه اللحظة، أشعر بأن إبراهيم وعمران سيعودان إلى بيتي، يطرقان الباب، ويدخلان».

علاء أبو حطب، الناجي الوحيد من مجزرةٍ قضى فيها عشرة أقارب من عائلتَي أبو حطب والحديدي، منعته أجواء الفَقد من شراء ملابس العيد والألعاب لطفلته ماريا، الناجية الوحيدة من عائلته. ومع ذلك، تَعيّن عليه أن يجهّز قدراً كبيراً من القهوة، ليستقبل المعزّين في صبيحة أوّل أيّام عيد الأضحى. فهذه العائلة، التي قُصف منزلها في مخيّم الشاطئ، تستقبل أجواء العيد بحسرة مضاعفة، كونها كانت قد فقدت أطفالها في ثاني أيام عيد الفطر، أثناء تجمّعهم مع أطفال آخرين للعب، في ظلّ محاولة ذويهم جعلهم يتجاوزون ظروف العدوان. يستذكر أبو حطب تفاصيل تلك الليلة جيداً. بعد منتصف الليل تحديداً، كان أربعة أطفال من عائلة الحديدي برفقة والدتهم، في زيارة لأقاربهم من عائلة أبو حطب. يقول علاء: «يومها، جمعْنا الأطفال مع ذويهم، لكي نوفّر لهم أجواء اللعب التي تنسيهم أهوال الحرب، وبعد منتصف الليل، خرجْت من المنزل لأشتري لهم العشاء، وبعد لحظات من خروجي، دوّت انفجارات هائلة في المنطقة». ويتابع: «عدت، وكنت أظنّ بأن الانفجار في بيت جيراننا، ولكن فوجئت بأن قنابل الطائرات سقطت على منزلنا بالكامل». وينهي حديثه قائلاً: «قضى كلّ مَن كان في المنزل، وهم عشرة أشخاص، كان بينهم ثمانية أطفال وسيّدتان شقيقتان، وبقيت أنا برفقة الصغيرة ماريا». لا يفكّر الرجل وابنته الوحيدة في زيارة قبور عائلته في أوّل أيّام العيد، مشيراً إلى أنه سيؤجّل هذه المهمّة الثقيلة على نفسه إلى اليوم الثالث.

إلى جانب عائلات الشهداء تعيش الأُسَر التي دُمِّرت منازلها أجواءً مماثلة


أمّا علاء أبو العوف، الذي فقد 14 شخصاً من عائلته، من بينهم زوجته وابنتاه، في مجزرة شارع الوِحدة، فقد قرّر أن يقضي صبيحة أوّل أيّام العيد في زيارة قبور عائلته. يقول الرجل: «لا أجد مكاناً آخر يؤنس وحشتي اليوم، سوى أن أكون قريباً منهم». يسرح أبو العوف بعيداً، أثناء حديثه في منزله المدمَّر، ويقول: «كُنّا في صبيحة يوم العيد نحافظ على أجوائنا الخاصة: صلاة العيد، ثم ذبح الأضحية، ثمّ خلافات العائلة الدافئة، بين من تَحب أن تأكل من كبد الأضحية، ومن لا تُطيق رائحة طهوها، ثمّ العيديّة، ثمّ رحلة توزيع حصص الأضاحي على الأقارب». ويتابع الرجل، وقد امتلأت عيناه بالدموع: «كلّ شيء أصبح ذكرى… الله يرحمهم ويصبرنا بعدهم».

إلى جانب عائلات الشهداء، تعيش الأُسَر التي دُمِّرت منازلها أجواءً مماثلة، فـ»المنزل في غزة وطن، وطن الذكريات، والتفاصيل الدافئة»، كما يقول محمد المدهون. ويضيف: «على باب البيت، كُنّا نجهّز كلّ عام مكاناً نذبح فيه الأضحية، وأمام المنزل يتجمّع شباب العائلة قبل التوجّه في جماعات لزيارة الأقارب والأرحام». أمّا اليوم، فتعيش عائلة المدهون، المكوّنة من سبعة أفراد، في منزل استأجرته. ويقول الشاب العشريني: «سيمرّ العيد غريباً، ليس لأنّ منزلنا قد دُمّر فقط، ولكن لأن آفاق إعادة الإعمار تبدو غائبة». تشاؤم المدهون مردّه مماطلة إسرائيل. فملفّ إعادة إعمار القطاع بالذات، يتأثّر باشتراطات هذه الأخيرة تقديم المقاومة تنازلات في ملفّ الجنود الأسرى، والدخول في تفاهمات هدنة طويلة الأمد، في مقابل تخفيف الحصار، وهو ما ترفضه المقاومة بشكل قاطع.

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Asaib Ahl Al-Haq: Iraqi Resistance Decided To Expel US Forces

18/07/2021

Asaib Ahl Al-Haq: Iraqi Resistance Decided To Expel US Forces

By Staff, Agencies

Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement said the Iraqi government is not entitled to keep any foreign forces in the country without the authorization of the country’s parliament, stressing that the American forces’ presence in Iraq runs counter to the Arab country’s constitution.

“The presence of American troops in Iraq is a clear violation of the Iraqi constitution,” Mahmoud al-Rubaie, spokesman of the resistance movement’s political bureau, told Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

“Furthermore, there is no agreement or approval for the presence of these forces in Iraq from the parliament of Iraq, as a country with a parliamentary system, and the government has no right to keep any foreign troops on the Iraqi soil without the consent of the parliament,” al-Rubaei said.

He pointed out that the incumbent Iraqi government has admitted, unlike previous governments, that the US forces are neither training nor advisory forces, but rather, they belong to the US Army’s Ground Force, who have committed a series of crimes in Iraq.

“Among the crimes committed by the American forces in Iraq, we can mention the biggest, which is the martyrdom of the commanders of victory,” al-Rubaei said.

He was making a reference to the US assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander, General Qassem Soleimani, along with deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Units [PMU], Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, at Baghdad International Airport in January 2020, after which Iraq’s Parliament passed a law demanding the expulsion of all US-led forces.

The spokesman said that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, in his upcoming visit to Washington, would pursue the US military’s withdrawal from Iraq.

He also termed the strategic talks between Baghdad and Washington as “useless”, saying such recurring talks are aimed at prolonging the US occupation forces’ stay on the Iraqi soil, which contradicts the parliament’s law and the will of the Iraqi nation.

“We believe that the Americans will leave Iraq in the near future,” al-Rubaei continued, “because the Islamic Resistance has made its decision to confront them, and this decision was made after the failure of all efforts and the end of all chances given to the Americans and the current Iraqi government for diplomatic and political moves to rid Iraq of these forces.”

He expressed hopes that public pressure and efforts made by resistance groups and some political movements would drive the Iraqi government to publicly demand the withdrawal of US forces.

“We have no request but this from the government, despite the fact it has been long overdue,” the spokesman added.

The US, under both administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, has repeatedly targeted the positions of Iraqi resistance forces, who played a significant role in defeating Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorist group.

Biden’s first military strike abroad was against the PMU forces at the Iraqi-Syrian border back in February, only a month into his presidency. Biden also ordered airstrikes against the headquarters of the 14th Brigade of the PMU, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, along Iraq and Syria’s common border last month.

Some 3,500 foreign troops, including 2,500 Americans, are still in Iraq, with the alleged aim of preventing the re-emergence of Daesh in the Arab country.

Observers, however, say Washington’s targeting of resistance forces is aimed at reviving Daesh and, in turn, prolonging its illegal occupation of Iraq under the pretext of fighting the terrorist group.

Such a US military presence also exists in Syria, where the Pentagon’s mission is not coordinated with the Damascus government, and while there is no clear timetable for withdrawal.

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Sayyed Safieddine: US Cause of All Lebanon’s Sufferings

18/07/2021

Sayyed Safieddine: US Cause of All Lebanon’s Sufferings 

By Staff, Agencies

The head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council His Eminence Sayyed Hashem Safieddine warned that “All the sufferings in Lebanon today have been directly or indirectly caused by the United States.”

“Today, the one who has destroyed Lebanon is the United States, which continues to interfere in all of the affairs of this country,” Sayyed Safieddine said.

He further pointed to the US sanctions on Lebanon, saying the US has targeted the needs of all the people of the region with sanctions.

The remarks came after Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said he had abandoned his efforts to form a new government, citing disagreements with the country’s president, Michel Aoun, on the formation of a new cabinet.

In his remarks, Sayyed Safieddine stressed that “The US tyranny targets Lebanon, Palestine and any place in the region where there is dignity and resistance.”

“The Americans came to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria to conduct [acts of] sabotage, and they sent weapons and missiles to Yemen to destroy it,” he said.

He also pointed to the launch Al-Quds Sword Operation by Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip against “Israel” two months ago, in retaliation for the “Israeli” aggression against Palestinians in occupied Al-Quds, saying the operation was the battle of “truth against falsehood” and the defense of values and humanity and all the honorable people of the world.

“Al-Quds Sword defeated the US and ‘Israel’,” the Hezbollah top official said, adding that the operation was a sign that resistance has become stronger and deep-rooted in the region.

Sayyed Safieddine also referred to the July 2006 war, saying resistance has been boosting its power since then.

“In the days of the July 2006 war, the enemy front was confused while the resistance had a clear vision and relied on a strong and resilient people,” he noted.

“If it weren’t for that war, the axis of resistance would not exist,” he added.

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents

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July 15, 2021

Philip Giraldi

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

For the second time the president has ordered a US bombing raid on two targets in Syria, and for the first time, he also attacked a site inside Iraq. According to one report possibly as many as seven Iraqis died in the attacks which targeted alleged weapons storage facilities along the Syria-Iraq border belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias. The US claims that the two Iraqi militias have ties to Iran, which may be more than usually true because the Iraqis and Iranians have cooperated regularly in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon also claims that the militias were behind recent attacks on American targets, see more below.

After the attacks carried out by US fighter-bombers, the excuse provided was the same one employed after Biden’s first air attack in February, namely that the US, as described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added verbiage what has now become a regular feature of all US military actions, that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.” For those who are intrigued by Pentagon newspeak the expression “defensive precision airstrikes” must be considered as a new entry in the crowded field of phrases that largely have no meaning.

The strikes were framed as being retaliatory, but the most interesting aspect of this latest bombing is that the initial US government justifications for the action were on somewhat tentative. Reportedly, someone had used drones with explosives attached for mostly night-time attacks directed “against places where Americans were located in Iraq,” which were further described as including diplomatic, intelligence and military facilities. The Pentagon refers to the drones as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAVs. No Americans were killed in the alleged attacks and there were no reports of any substantial damage, though the Pentagon is apparently collecting information and preparing a comprehensive report which the public undoubtedly will not be allowed to see.

Oddly, the initial media reporting on what had occurred and who had been blamed for it included a weasel word, “suspected.” In government-speak that frequently means there was little or no evidence that the militias that had been targeted were actually the perpetrators, but it is convenient to assume that they are responsible, making them “suspects.” After all, it is relatively easy to transport a number of drones on the bed of a pickup truck, drive with it to a location where one is unlikely to be observed and then release them at a fixed target. Even if you don’t hit anything, you will spread fear and trigger a response that might well be exploited to vilify the occupying forces. You will also provide justification for your own retaliation.

The Iraqi government, which was not informed in advance of the US bombings, not surprisingly reacted strongly, registering its opposition to such activity on the part of its so-called ally, though occupier has been suggested as a more appropriate description. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office called the airstrikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” After the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport in January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had called for the departure of all US forces, but the Trump Administration ignored the demand, claiming that it was in Iraq to help the Iraqis in their fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The US currently has a claimed 2,500 soldiers in Iraq who, it asserts, are in country advising and training their local counterparts. Meanwhile, “Fighting terrorists and training friendly forces” is roughly the same excuse that has been used to justify remaining in neighboring Syria, where the US has deployed roughly 500 soldiers who have been taking possession of the production of the country’s oil fields, which it then provides to Israel. The US is also, by the way, trying to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government in Damascus, using some of the very terrorists it claims to be fighting to do the job, but that is of course another story.

If the United States government is beginning to sound a bit like the Israeli government that should surprise no one, as Israel is clearly heavily involved in whatever on goes vis-à-vis Syria and Iran directly and in Iraq by proxy. One almost expects new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to provide an endorsement, parroting the Pentagon line as well as his own country’s rhetoric, saying “the US has a right to defend itself.” Of course, the unasked question then becomes “to defend itself against what?” Israel was at least able to pretend that there was some kind of threat coming from Gaza since the two share a border, but the United States would be hard pressed to explain why it has soldiers in Syria and Iraq at all, particularly since the Iraqi government has called upon them to depart.

A neocon journalist supportive of a global crusade to spread “democracy” once quipped that the nice thing about having an empire is never having to say you are sorry, but that has not meant that mindless acts of violence inflicted throughout the Middle East are have been consequence free. One has to suspect in this case that the use of force to include a target within the borders of a nominal ally was also mostly intended to send a signal to Iran. A Pentagon spokesman ironically boasted afterwards that “This action should send a message to Iran that it cannot hide behind its proxy forces to attack the United States and our Iraqi partners.” The spokesman appears to be oblivious to the fact that it was Iraqi militiamen tied to the government that had been killed, not Iranians. And his assumption that it would reduce the level of violence also proved wrong as there have been a number of new drone, rocket and mortar attacks against American targets in Iraq since Biden’s “defensive precision airstrikes” were launched. One of the militias that lost fighters to the US airstrikes, said it would “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs.”  Another Iranian supported group, the Popular Mobilization Forces went further, threatening to “enter an open war with the American occupation.” In short, all the attacks really accomplished was to anger the Iraqi people over the continued US presence and to guarantee more incidents.

Biden’s “sending a message to Iran” would undoubtedly be intended to do the same to the Iraqi government, telling them that drawing any closer to the Iranians is too close as far as the Pentagon and White House are concerned. In terms of the timing of the airstrikes, it is also important to note that the US has been working closely with the new Israeli government to establish a unified policy on Iranian “regional aggression” and its nuclear program. Biden met recently with retiring Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been having discussions with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. Iran was the focus of both meetings.

So, Joe Biden and whoever is advising him are continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy. The problem with the meddling in the Middle East is primarily that it permits no exit strategy. It will end ignominiously when it ends as is happening in Afghanistan, without any remorse and little to show for all the expense and the deaths. Given that reality, rather than concoct largely fabricated reasons to keep US troops in Iraq and Syria the Administration should be looking for ways to end the torment for everyone involved.

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Quick news update from the Saker (July 15th, 2021)

Quick news update from the Saker (July 15th, 2021)

July 15, 2021

Crazy times!

It turns out that the Colombian thugs which killed the President of Haiti were linked to both the DEA and the FBI.  The former agency confirmed that the killer were, indeed, part of a DEA team , but they never got the order to kill anybody.  Right.

[Sidebar for the alternatively gifted: if you are thinking “oh no!  The DEA is a respected branch of the US government, they would never do that“, I remind you that this latest assassination was in many ways very similar to the (failed) coup against Maduro (when they tried to blow him up with a drone) and the (also failed) “invasion from the sea”, again against Maduro (whom they wanted to kidnap and bring to the USA) which was also executed by thugs close to US three letter agencies.]

In the meantime, the Mayor of Miami wants the US military to bomb Cuba.  His logic?  Both Republicans and Democrats bombed sovereign nations in full illegality (no UNSC Resolution).  Does that mean that he wants Russia to bomb the USA for all the truly innumerable cases of human rights and civil right violations committed in the US?

By the way, the riots in Cuba were very limited and short lived, especially if compared to the numerous violent protests in Colombia.

It is also funny to see how Cuban rioters are freedom fighters whereas the protesters of Jan 6th are “terrorists”.

Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi I suppose…

Putin has just authored a seminal article on the history of Russia and the Ukraine.  See here for the article itself, and for a follow-up interview here.  I won’t write a detailed reaction/analysis of this text for the two following reasons:

  • The facts listed by Putin are uncontroversial, you can find them in any decent history book.  The way the Ukronazis deal with this is to invent a totally new “history” of the Ukraine, but without contributing any facts to substantiate their imaginary reality.
  • As for Putin’s analysis and conclusions, I agree with them.

Finally, there is a lot of things going on in the Ukraine, “Ze” seems to be in real trouble as the Biden Admin seems to be preparing a “post-Ze” period.  Very interestingly, the Ukronazi strongman cum (now ex-) Minister of the Interior, Arsen Avakov, either was resigned or resigned voluntarily.  Most observers agree that the reason for this was to decouple Avakov (which the Empire still needs) from “Ze” (which is totally useless) before “Ze” sinks to the bottom of the ocean.   It is too early to pick a version, but knowing the Ukraine, the info about what just happens will definitely leak and will be made public by the Ukrainian opposition leaders and analysts (Elena Bondarenko, Anatolii Sharii, Rostislav Ishchenko, Mikhail Pogrebinskii, etc.).

Very bad news from France: Macron clearly wants to make anti-Covid vaccines mandatory, first for healthcare workers and, this fall, apparently for everybody.  Knowing the French, there will be violent resistance to this kind of freedom-crushing measures.  A military coup is also always a possibility.  The “great silent one” as the French military is often called might not remain silent, especially not after many French generals warned that France is at the edge of a major collapse.

Yesterday was the National Holiday of France and the cops beat the living crap of the many rioters which took to the streets to protest the policies of the French government.  That is “democracy” at work I suppose 🙂

In Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate, always the obedient mouthpiece for whoever happens to be sitting in the Kremlin, has gone as far as to declare that those who refuse the vaccination are committing a sin!  Here is the original article (in German) about this: https://de.rt.com/russland/120250-russisch-orthodoxe-kirche-impfverweigerer-begehen/ and here is a machine translation into English: https://translate.yandex.com/translate?lang=de-en&url=https%3A%2F%2Fde.rt.com%2Frussland%2F120250-russisch-orthodoxe-kirche-impfverweigerer-begehen%2F.

Keep in mind that Putin himself said that there would never be mandatory vaccinations in Russia, so in this case the Moscow Patriarchate tried to over-please the Kremlin a little too much and, as as result, we have this weird situation of Putin saying that each Russian can decide for himself/herself whether to take a vaccine or not, and the MP adds that “yes, you a free, but say “no” and you are sinning before God”.  Truth be told, these folks are selected for their total obedience, not for their brains…

Of course, there is absolutely NO theological excuse for such a crazy statement, none!  Keep in mind that the person who made that statement is not just some lone, crazy, bishop but the Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion.  It don’t get more official than that.  Also, “Patriarch” Kirill used to occupy that function in the past (the Dep of External Relation of the Moscow Patriarchate was simply a franchise of the bad old Soviet KGB) and that is a function which only the most trusted candidates are allowed to ever reach.  You can think of the MP as a combination of Peskov and Zakharova, only dressed up in clerical vestments.

In conclusion, I have a dilemma and I would ask for your opinion: as many of you know, I have a very bad opinion of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) and I don’t even recognize it as a legitimate part of the Russian Orthodox Church.  I could write up an article explaining it all, but I ALSO am aware that the MP is under attack by all the russophobic factions in the West and under attack by western religious sects (including the woke-home-lobby in both the US and EU).  Last, but certainly not least, there are a lot of people who simply don’t know the history of the MP and who sincerely take it to be a Russian Orthodox Church.  If I break the truth to them, they will be hurt and deeply offended.

I think my latest “cage rattling” exercise about the COVID-deniers proves that I do not shy away from writing deeply unpopular things (writing has never been a popularity contest for me, and since I have no ads and, therefore, no ad-money, I don’t have to worry about my controversial positions affecting my revenue.  But while I have no respect for the attitude, behavior and intolerance of the COVID-deniers, I have a great deal of respect for the Russian Orthodox faithful who know very little about the history of the MP and who very sincerely love their parish priest, possibly even their ruling bishop.  And I do not want to offend these “little ones” (in faith).

So what do I do?  Do I break this abscess and let all the pus out, or shall I wait for better times?

Please let me know.

I will end on a funny note: a US “diplomat” was caught on CCTV stealing a sign along a train track near the city of Tver in Russia.  It was not the FSB or the FSO which caught him, but the local police department.  The “diplomat” was quickly and quietly removed from Russia by the US Embassy.  This happened earlier this Spring, but the Russians released the video (see here) only now.  I knew that US diplomats nowadays were crap, but that kind of kleptocracy really reaches a new low 🙂  Next, the Russians will catch a US “diplomat” exhibiting himself in front of schoolchildren or eating his own feces.  Should that happen, Uncle Shmuel will blame the “KGB” (sic) for using an super dooper and super secret “energy weapon” against the coprophagic “diplomat” (especially if “diversity” in hiring continues to be the #1 criteria for the US government).

Hugs and cheers

The Saker

PS: about the US fleeing from Afghanistan, there is an interesting question which all should ask ourselves.  The question has two parts.  Part one: how many countries has the US invaded, or bombed, or overthrown or otherwise subverted since the end of WWII? and part two: to how many of those countries did the US bring freedom, democracy and progress?

The EU’s shameless complicity in Israel’s crimes

ولیعهد ابوظبی گرفتار کابوس خودساخته - میدل ایست نیوز

David Hearst

14 July 2021 14:43 UTC

Israel works actively, day and night, to quash all forms of resistance and bury the dream of a Palestinian state

A Palestinian woman outside the house of Montaser Shalabi after it was demolished by Israeli forces in the village of Turmus’ayya near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, 8 July 2021 (AFP)


Two months after Palestinians rose to defend al-Aqsa Mosque and contest the evictions in occupied East Jerusalem, the conflict barely registers on the world stage. Media coverage is sporadic and selective. It’s all quiet on the Western Front.

No one in the EU council reminded Lapid of what Israel is doing actively to tear down Palestinian homes and bury a Palestinian state

Israel’s new foreign minister, Yair Lapid, has once more become the acceptable face of Israeli rejectionism. Delivering the same message as his predecessors, Lapid was given a quiet ride at the Foreign Affairs Council, the EU’s chief foreign policy body, in Brussels this week.

He felt comfortable telling the EU that there was no possibility of a Palestinian state. So at ease was he that he wagged his finger at his European audience. “There is one thing we need to remember. If there will be a Palestinian state, it needs to be a peace-seeking democracy… You cannot ask us to build with our own hands another threat to our lives,” said Lapid.

No one in the council challenged him. No one reminded Lapid of what Israel is doing actively, day and night, to tear down Palestinian homes – with their own hands – and bury a Palestinian state. 

The following is a brief (and almost certainly incomplete) list of what happens in Palestine when nothing happens.

When nothing happens

Mohammed Said Hamayel, aged 15, was shot. When the villagers tried to evacuate the wounded boy, they were shot. By the time they reached his body, he was dead, according to eyewitnesses.

A second boy from the same clan, Mohammed Nayaf Hamayel, was shot and wounded. These were not clean wounds. The internal damage the boy received was immense: his spleen was seriously damaged because of the bullets the Israelis use, which fragment and turn inside the body. A total of four Palestinians from Beita were killed in demonstrations. 

On 29 June, a butchery in al-Bustan, Silwan, was demolished, the first of 20 units that received demolition orders on 7 June. Israeli police fired rubber-coated bullets to disperse a crowd aiming to protect their homes.

On 3 July, Mohammed Hasan, aged 21, was finishing work on his house in Qusra when it was attacked by dozens of armed settlers. They were attempting to break into the house. A group of soldiers arrived to surround the house while the settler attack continued. Hasan locked the doors and went to the rooftop, where he threw stones to fend off the attack. He was shot dead by the soldiers. Palestinian medics and ambulances were unable to reach his body.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) talks with Crotian Foreign Minister Gordan Grilc Radman (C) and European High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell (R) (AFP)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) talks with Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman (C) and European High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell (R) in Brussels, 12 July 2021 (AFP)

On 7 July, the Israeli Civil Administration returned to the Palestinian herding community of Humsa in the Jordan Valley, accompanied by the military. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, they demolished 27 residential and animal structures and water tanks. They took all the food and milk for the children, including their nappies and toys. Eleven households, comprising dozens of people, were left in the desert. Temperatures ranged from 37 to 42 degrees Celsius during the eviction period.

More arrests

While this was happening, the Knesset was debating the Citizenship and Entry Law, which bars almost 45,000 Palestinian families inside Israel and occupied East Jerusalem from uniting with their spouses and children.

Without Israeli documents, these people have no health insurance or Covid-19 jabs, and cannot travel. The law failed to be renewed but according to Israeli press reports, every application submitted by Palestinian families will be faced by the automatic rejection of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

On 8 July, Ghandanfar Abu Atwan, aged 28, was released from 10 months of administrative detention, after 65 days on hunger strike. He was transferred to a hospital in the occupied West Bank, where doctors described him as clinging to life. Abu Atwan was arrested 10 months ago and has been held without charge. The Israeli government has no obligation to present any evidence to justify an arrest or detention. He is one of 520 Palestinians held in military jails without charge or trial.

On the same day, Israeli forces demolished the family home of Montaser Shalabi, a Palestinian American accused of involvement in a shooting that killed an Israeli student and wounded two others last May. The two-storey villa in Turmus Ayya was levelled in a controlled explosion.

Meanwhile, in the city of Akka in Israel, more than 200 Palestinians were arrested or detained, in the wake of the demonstrations in May. The mother of one of the detainees told Middle East Eye: “More than 30 militarised police forces raided our house at the break of dawn. They arrested my 16-year-old son, cuffed him and covered his eyes with black tape, and dragged him to a police car. They did the same to more than 20 youngsters.”

Palestinian demonstrators chant during a rally in Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank on July 11, 2021
Palestinian demonstrators chant during a rally in Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank on 11 July 2021 (AFP)

All of the above only elicited one statement of condemnation. It came from the US embassy in Jerusalem over the punitive demolition of a Palestinian American home. It called on all parties to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions, which includes “the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes”.

EU-Israel common values

Now, please tell me how Lapid was allowed to tell the EU this week that Israel and the EU share common values. Lapid listed those common values as “human rights, rights for the LGBT community, a commitment to the basic components of democracy – a free press, independent judiciary, a strong civil society and freedom of religion”, along with “fighting together against climate change, international terrorism, racism and extremism”.

What common values does Israel share with the EU? Settler lynch mobs protected by armed soldiers? Illegal demolitions of houses and villages? Shoot-to-kill policies targeting children? 

But what Lapid omitted to mention, and what his hosts did not remind him of, was Israel’s other values: lynch-mob justice, forcible transfer, collective punishment, illegal demolitions of houses and villages, shooting to kill, maiming children and detention without trial.

Nor did Lapid mention that in July, the Supreme Court ruled that Israel’s nation-state law was constitutional and did not negate the state’s democratic character. This basic law states that the right to exercise national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people. It openly discriminates against Israel’s Christian and Muslim citizens.

His was not a low-level visit. Lapid met with Josep Borrell, the high commissioner for foreign affairs, on Sunday, followed by the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Holland and the Czech Republic and the Nato secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg. 

What common values does Israel share with the EU? Settler lynch mobs protected by armed soldiers? Illegal demolitions of houses and villages? Shoot-to-kill policies targeting children? The use of bullets that fragment inside the body? The prevention of medics attending the wounded? The passing of racist laws? Israeli citizens are not prevented from uniting with their English, French or German spouses – but they are if they happen to be Palestinian.

Is this what the EU or Nato call common values? None of what the various arms of the Israeli state, their settlers, their soldiers, their police, their administrators or their courts have done to Palestinians in the last weeks is new. 

However, it’s not business as usual.

Dialogue with bullets

The West Bank is in a ferment with weekly demonstrations, as much against the increasingly authoritarian Palestinian Authority (PA) as against the Israeli occupiers themselves. The PA has only further repression as an answer to the basic democratic demand for elections, which the ageing and out-of-touch president, Mahmoud Abbas, will surely lose. Israel-Palestine: Offering ‘concern’ solves nothing. It’s time for a new approachRead More »

The latest warning was given by Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah and deputy to Abbas. He said: “Do not provoke Fatah because if you do, Fatah will not be merciful to anyone.” This authority has not held an election for 14 years. Is the failure to hold elections for 14 years part of the EU’s values ? The PA is funded by the EU.

The EU continues to look the other way. Those who look the other way are as responsible for these egregious crimes of occupation as those who carry them out. 

I would really like to know how Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch foreign minister or Jakub Kulhanek, the Czech foreign minister, justify shaking hands with Lapid. An EU statement said: “They discussed the importance of enhancing EU-Israel relations and considered how to address existing challenges in order to achieve this common goal.”

They also spoke about “how the dialogue with Palestinians can be moved forward”.

With eviction orders, bulldozers and rubber-tipped bullets?

David HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

الترابط بين الأزمة والتبعية لواشنطن وخطتها الانقلابية بعد فشلها في استغلال الاحتجاجات الشعبية..

14/07/2021

حسن حردان

أكدت التطورات الأخيرة جملة من الحقائق التي يجب ان يعيها اللبنانيون ويدركوا من خلالها مَن هو المسؤول عن أزماتهم المتفاقمة ومنع الحلول لها مما أدى الى لإذلالهم في البحث عن الدواء والوقوف في طوابير على محطات البنزين، وتدهور قدرتهم الشرائية على نحو غير مسبوق مما أدّى إلى سحق الفقراء وانضمام الطبقة الوسطى إلى صفوف الفقراء حتى يمكن القول إننا بتنا في مجتمع مكوّن من طبقتين، طبقة الأربعة في المئة من الأثرياء، وطبقة الفقراء الذين باتوا يشكلون الغالبية العظمى من الشعب…

فما هي هذه الحقائق:

الحقيقية الأولى، انّ الرئيس الحريري، ومنذ بداية انفجار الازمة، لم يقدم على أيّ خطوة من تلقاء نفسه وبإرادته، بل كانت قراراته استجابة للتوجيهات الأميركية وخضوعاً لها، وسعياً لنيل رضا ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، رغم انّ الأخير اعتقله في الرياض وأهانه، ومع ذلك فإنّ الرئيس الحريري لا يزال يسعى إلى كسب ودّ ابن سلمان ودعمه، ويوسّط الرئيس المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي، والسفيرتين الأميركية والفرنسية، ولهذا بات الرئيس الحريري في وضع لا يُحسد عليه، يبحث عن مخرج بعد أن أبقى البلاد نحو عشرة أشهر رهينة مأزقه، من دون أن يشكل حكومة، أو يعتذر، رامياً بالمسؤولية على رئيس الجمهورية للتغطية على عجزه وارتهانه…!

الحقيقة الثانية، انّ هذا الخضوع والارتهان من قبل الرئيس الحريري لكلّ من واشنطن والرياض، إنما كان ولا يزال يندرج في سياق تنفيذ مخطط أميركي استهدف شلّ الحكم في لبنان، ومنع الخروج من أزمته، والعمل على خنق لبنان اقتصادياً ومفاقمة أزماته النقدية والاجتماعية والمعيشية من ضمن خطة تشترك فيها بعض القوى السياسية، والمؤسسات المالية وفي المقدمة حاكم مصرف لبنان، وكبار المصارف، والشركات الاحتكارية، للأدوية ومشتقات النفط، التابعة لواشنطن والمرتبطة مصلحياً بالرأسماليات الغربية الاستعمارية.. إنْ كان عبر الدعم المالي الذي تحظى به هذه القوى السياسية، أو عبر الوكالات الحصرية التي تتحكم بحياة اللبنانيين.. خطة جعلت اللبنانيين يغرقون في أزماتهم الحياتية ليتمّ تحريضهم ضدّ مقاومتهم وحلفائها وفي الطليعة عهد الرئيس ميشال عون، والتيار الوطني الحر… لإضعاف التأييد الشعبي والسياسي للمقاومة، التي باتت منذ انتصاراتها عام 2000، وعام 2006، تشكل مصدر القلق الأساسي للعواصم الغربية، لأنّ المقاومة أصبحت تهدّد أمن ووجود الكيان الصهيوني، المرتكز الاستعماري الغربي الذي زرعه في قلب الوطن العربي لمنعه من التوحّد والتحرّر واستغلال ثرواته، وبالتالي ضمان استمرار نهب الشركات الغربية للثروات العربية وفي مقدمها النفط.. فحماية أمن ووجود هذا الكيان الصهيوني أصبح هو الهاجس الذي يحرك الحكومات الغربية، التي تضع لبنان في رأس سلّم أولوياتها، لكون مقاومته نجحت في هزيمة “إسرائيل” وردع عدوانيتها ومنعها من تحقيق أطماعها في لبنان… لا سيما في مياه لبنان الإقليمية الخالصة التي اكتشفت فيها ثروة غازية هامة تمكن لبنان، في حال أحسن استغلالها من معالجة أزماته وتعزيز اقتصاده وقوّته المستندة إلى معادلة قوة لبنان المتمثلة بـ “الجيش والشعب والمقاومة”.

الحقيقة الثالثة، انّ لبنان لا يمكن له أن يخرج من أزماته الاقتصادية والمالية، ويحقق الاستقرار الاقتصادي والاجتماعي، ما لم يتحرّر من التبعية السياسية والاقتصادية للدول الغربية الاستعمارية، ويبني سياساته انطلاقاً من مصالحه.. التي تمكّنه من بناء اقتصاد إنتاجي غير ريعي، اقتصاد يحقق نمواً فعلياً وينتج الثروة، ويستغلّ ويوظف ثروات لبنان في خدمته، كما يستفيد من كلّ المشاريع والمساعدات المعروضة عليه من دون شروط لحلّ أزماته الخدماتية المزمنة حلاً جذرياً، لا سيما المشاريع والمساعدات التي عرضت من إيران والصين وروسيا، إلى جانب الاتجاه نحو تحقيق التكتل المشرقي مع سورية والعراق وإيران الذي يحقق التكامل الاقتصادي، وربط شبكات النفط والغاز والكهرباء وسكك الحديد، ويجعل من لبنان محطة هامة في مشروع طريق الحرير…

الحقيقة الرابعة، انّ استكمال معركة تحرير الأرض، وحماية لبنان وثرواته من العدوانية والأطماع الصهيونية مرتبط ارتباطاً وثيقاً بالتمسك بالمقاومة وسلاحها الرادع، والمعادلة الذهبية، الجيش والشعب والمقاومة، وبخوض معركة التحرّر الاجتماعي من السياسات الريعية النيوليبرالية التي أدّت إلى زيادة حدة التفاوت الاجتماعي، وزيادة أعداد الفقراء، وتمركز الثروة بيد قلة قليلة من الأثرياء والشركات الاحتكارية والمالية.. وهذه المعركة الاجتماعية غير منفصلة عن معركة التحرّر من الوصاية والهيمنة الأميركية الغربية التي تستند من النظام الطائفي الذي زرع بذرته الاستعمار لضمان عدم استقرار لبنان واستمرار تدخلاته في شؤونه الداخلية.. كما يفعل حالياً..

في خلاصة الكلام، إذا أجاب الرئيس عون اليوم بالموافقة على تشكيلة الحكومة التي قدّمها له الرئيس الحريري، فهذا يعني انّ الرئيس المكلف حصل على موافقة ودعم إقليمي ودولي لتشكيل حكومته الجديدة، دعم يمكنه من تحقيق انفراجات تخفف من الأزمات التي يعاني منها لبنان بهدف تعزيز الوضع الشعبي للرئيس الحريري وتحالفاته عشية الانتخابات النيابية، بحيث يتمكن تيار المستقبل وحلفاؤه من قوى 14 آذار من حصد الأغلبية النيابية وإعادة تشكيل السلطة بما يحقق الأهداف الأميركية…

أما إذا رفض الرئيس عون التشكيلة باعتبارها لا تنسجم مع التوافقات التي تمّ التوصل إليها، وتعكس إصرار الرئيس الحريري على فرض حكومة اختصاصيين من خارج أيّ تفاهم مع الرئيس عون والقوى السياسية الأساسية المكوّنة للبرلمان، فإنّ الرئيس الحريري يكون قد تعمّد ذلك لتبرير إقدامه على سلوك خيار الاعتذار… الأمر الذي يعني انّ الأزمات سوف تستمرّ بهدف زيادة حدة الضائقة المعيشية للمواطنين إلى أن نصبح على مقربة من موعد إجراء الانتخابات، ليجري تحميل المسؤولية عن الأزمة إلى الرئيس عون وتياره الوطني وحزب الله في محاولة للنيل من شعبيتهما والحصول على الأغلبية النيابية من قبل القوى التابعة للولايات المتحدة وبالتالي تنفيذ الأجندة الأميركية سياسياً واقتصادياً لمحاولة محاصرة المقاومة..

في الحالتين، فإنّ تحالف حزب الله والقوى الوطنية والتيار الوطني، مطالب بوضع خطة مواجهة لإحباط هذه الخطة الأميركية الانقلابية عبر الانتخابات بعد أن فشلت بواسطة ركوب موجة الاحتجاجات الشعبية في الشارع…

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Yemen: Biden Shrugs Off Campaign Promise as US Backs New Saudi Offensive and AQAP Support

July 13th, 2021

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

The US has refused calls to stop arming Saudi Arabia amid its devastating war in Yemen and is now doubling down on a military solution, falling back on its reliance of armed militant groups that it used to devastating effect in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

AL-BAYDA, YEMEN — President Joe Biden gave a lot of people a sense of cautious optimism when he took to the campaign trail and promised to bring a swift end to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The oil-rich monarchy, supported heavily by the United States, has been waging arguably the deadliest military campaign of the past decade on the forgotten country for over six years, exacting a brutal humanitarian toll on its civilian population.

To his credit, Biden sent Tim Lenderking to lead a team of negotiators in an attempt to broker reconciliation between the conflict’s many belligerents. But without the political will to stand up to the Saudi monarchy and the varied American interests that profit handsomely from its wars, Lenderking had little chance of success. Now it seems the Kingdom — once again emboldened, armed, and covered by the United States — has all but abandoned any pretense of reconciliation and doubled down on its brutal war.

A Piercing Star falls to earth

Last week, the Saudi-led Coalition began a massive military operation they’re calling al-Najm al-Thaqib, which translates from Arabic into The Piercing Star. The operation ostensibly aims to recapture large swaths of territory in central Yemen’s al-Bayda province, which was captured by Ansar Allah after a series of long and grueling battles with militants from al-Qaeda on the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) last fall. AQAP had been entrenched in the province for decades, somehow persevering through concerted military efforts by both the Saudi-led Coalition and at least four consecutive U.S. administrations to dislodge it — including Barack Obama’s infamous drone war.

On August 28, 2020, local tribal partisans backed by Ansar Allah defeated AQAP and myriad extremist allies, including elements of IS, in a week-long operation. This victory came just as AQAP was preparing to sweep the Yemeni provinces of al-Bayda, Dhamar, and Sana’a in an operation that aimed to repeat the scenarios seen in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, where ISIS was able to take and hold a so-called caliphate extending from western Iraq to into eastern Syria.

Al-Bayda and the surrounding provinces saw a state of relative calm in the wake of the operation, as residents experienced life without the yoke of al-Qaeda, some for the first time in their lives. Now, some of those residents fear that Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States, is attempting to resettle those groups in al-Bayda as a hedge against Ansar Allah.

Saudi jets have carried out scores of airstrikes in al-Bayda in recent weeks, flying in from the north to unleash tons of bombs made and supplied by the United States and giving AQAP a potential avenue to retake the province, as the airstrikes have targeted Ansar Allah and their local tribal allies almost exclusively.

According to the nonprofit Yemeni Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC), American-made cluster bombs — which even the U.S. military has pledged not to use, due to their high rate of collateral damage — including the CBU-58, CBU-105, CBU-87, M26, and DPICM M77, have all been used in the offensive.

In a press conference, YEMAC displayed unexploded American bombs used in the operation, including the same GBU-39 and GBU-31 that were used with deadly effect in Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. YEMAC held the press conference after an unexploded U.S.-made GBU-24 was recovered from a civil-defense building in Sana’a.

While there is not yet conclusive evidence of direct coordination between the Saudi Coalition and AQAP in the offensive, AQAP militants began pushing into al-Bayda from the south almost as soon as the Saudi airstrikes began. The southern villages of al-Zaher and al-Sma’h — including the areas of Jumaima, Wafaa, Sharadeh, al-Sous, Shabakat Dhi Madahi, Akrama, Shawkan and others — have already been recaptured by al-Qaeda according to a number of Saudi state-funded media outlets, which celebrated the putsch as a victory for the Saudi-led Coalition.

No “Certain Victory”

However, the celebrations were short-lived, as Ansar Allah has already begun to recapture areas it gained last August in a military operation it has dubbed al-Nasr al-Mubin, an Arabic phrase meaning “Certain Victory.” That operation has already seen the defeat of AQAP and militants allied with Saudi Arabia in the al-Zahir Directorate as well as dozens of military sites in the al-Dahaki and Al-Soma`h districts, and even areas that Ansar Allah failed to capture from AQAP during its August offensive, according to a statement it issued on Tuesday.

Yemen Marib
An armored vehicle belonging to Saudi-backed militants shows a poster that reads, “martyr commander brigadier general Self Abd al-Rab al-Shadady.” Al-Shadady” was recently killed in clashes in Marib, Yemen, June 19, 2021. Nariman El-Mofty | AP

On Friday, the media bureau of the Houthis’ Operations Command Center published a video showing some of its victories in al-Bayda. Several senior AQAP commanders were killed or captured in the battles, including the infamous Abu Dharr al-Tayabi, Tawfiq al-Farawi and Othman Ahmad Abdullah al-Mushdali. A spokesman for Ansar Allah said:

Despite having mobilized members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Daesh (IS) Takfiri terrorist groups, Saudi [Arabia] failed and has so far reaped nothing other than defeat on every front. The coalition has received severe blows in al-Bayda, even though it has hired al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists.”

But Ansar Allah is far from a decisive victory. Fierce clashes continue near Lahj province and coalition warplanes continue to pound al-Bayda.

US cooperation with a Jihadi recruiter

According to members of the Houthi negotiating delegation, who spoke to MintPress on condition of anonymity, the escalation in al-Bayda is being used to pressure Ansar Allah to halt its advance on the oil-rich Marib province and to force it to accept conditions that Saudi Arabia and Lenderking’s envoy have imposed on Ansar Allah as a precondition for a peace deal.

For their part, the Houthis have promised to retaliate by resuming drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi oil and military targets in the Kingdom’s southern provinces, according to Brigadier General Abed Al-Thor and General Aziz Rashid, who told MintPress that military pressure on the Kingdom will only be increased in the wake of the recent Saudi escalation.

The attacks on al-Bayda come in the wake of meetings between the Saudi-backed vice president of Yemen, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. Cooper pushed for intelligence sharing and support for armed militant groups under the banner of curbing the arming of the Houthis by the Iranian government.

Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar
Al-Ahmar speaks to journalists during a 2011 press conference in Sanaa, Yemen. Hani Mohammed | AP

Al-Ahmar has been tied to various extremist groups in Yemen and, according to Reuters, “The Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni Islamists gained strength, particularly under … al-Ahmar, who built a power base in the army. Jihadist fugitives formed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” According to a 2000 New York Times report, al-Ahmar even “traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to meet Osama bin Laden, and assisted in recruiting militants from across the Muslim world for the Afghan struggle.”

The U.S. has long been involved in the training and arming of militants in Yemen, whom it saw as a hedge against Ansar Allah. Al-Ahmar has publicly praised the U.S. for cooperating with him to combat what he called “the Iranian project.”

Grim prospects for peace

On July 1, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States was “beyond fed up” with the Houthis’ advance in Marib and laid the blame for the humanitarian situation in Yemen squarely at the feet of the Houthis, claiming it was they who failed to work with the “other parties … who are actively working towards peace,” a reference to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the country.

Price’s statements and the Biden administration’s about-face on Yemen has raised questions among activists struggling to stop the war, especially as the U.S. has largely refused calls to stop arming Saudi Arabia amid a devastating civilian death toll, and now seems to be doubling down on its commitment to a military solution to the conflict, falling back on its habit of supporting armed militant groups that it used to devastating effect in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The Biden administration should have stopped providing weapons and training to the warring parties to ensure that the war would not continue, and not support one at the expense of the other, so logic and reality say,” Dala al-Matari, an activist from the Stop the Bombing of Yemen campaign said. Like many Yemenis, al-Matari believes that President Biden used his seeming opposition to the highly controversial war as a trump card to boost his chances in last year’s presidential election.

For its part, Ansar Allah has outright accused the Biden administration of giving a green light to Saudi forces to attack al-Bayda so that it can more easily provide al-Qaeda and IS with weapons and intelligence information. Officials in Sana’a say the Biden administration is playing with fire by not only destroying peace efforts but also resettling and supporting al-Qaeda, especially amid a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan.

Dhaif Allah al-Shami — the spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni government run jointly by Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress, the largest political party in the country — said that the United States had “run the recent military escalation in al-Bayda.” He accused the Biden administration of being behind the plan, stating: “The United States, which falsely and wrongly claims to be concerned with peace in Yemen, is [the one] fueling the bitter clashes in the al-Zahir district of the province.”

Major General Nasser Al-Atif, minister of defense in the Ansar Allah-led government, said in a statement on Monday:

We have a new strategy to face the new Saudi escalation that will cost the coalition a heavy price if they continue to support terrorist elements, and this is something they should understand well. Saudi Arabia and the United States claim that they are keen on peace, stopping the war, and addressing the inhumane issues, but in fact they are talking all this just for media consumption and the exploitation of international and regional positions.

Biden Occupation Regime Criminally Brings more Weapons into Syria

 MIRI WOOD 

US American forces in Syria - Biden - Hasakah - Deir Ezzor - Raqqa - Archive

Biden invaders and occupation regime criminally entered Syria — again — on 12 July. This supremacist convoy contained 37 trucks “loaded with weapons and ammunition” and logistical equipment, along with “three trailers carrying new armored military vehicles and eight other trailers loaded with huge camouflaged boxes” and three four-wheeled cars equipped with machine guns.”

The criminal US military convoy came in through the illegitimate al Walid crossing from Iraq, part of the ”autonomous zone” that voted against being an independent country, a couple of years ago.

For NATO colonialists among our readers, we return to our friends, the maps. The first one shows the location of both Syria and the US; the second, the location of al Walid, Hasaka governate, which is in Syria, which is not in the United States.

Biden imperial US again helping to destroy Syrian water supply.
This map clearly shows that Syria is not part of the US.
Arrow shows al Walid crossing, which the Biden regime uses illegally.

When not criminally using the al Walid crossing, the Biden regime forces — American illegals — criminally use the al Yaaruibayah crossing from that (Kurdish) autonomous region in Iraq, that would collapse without the US and other NATO criminals holding it up; sometimes the American illegals switch them up, using one for Biden continuing Trump’s oil and grains stealing, and the other for criminally bringing NATO weapons into the Levantine republic.

As H.E. Bassam Sabbagh has mentioned to the NATO junta ruling the UNSC, Biden forces illegal enter the SAR with the aplomb of traveling between New York and New Jersey.

Biden regime also criminally uses the al Yaarubiyah crossing.

At this time, the only difference between the Trump and Biden regimes in Syria is that the latter has not yet torched any wheat field, he only stole wheat from the Syrian wheat silos.

Joseph Biden inaugural ceremonies

On 7 July the supremacist Biden regime convoy was a bit larger, with 44 US occupation vehicles bringing in oil tankers, refrigerated tankers, trailers carrying ”bulldozers for the aim of reinforcing the occupation’s bases” in Syria, which is not in the US, as we have noted in the map, above.

While stenographer journalists are all aflutter over the US fake leaving Afghanistan, they have made no comments about our criminals remaining in Syria, a breach of both international law, and the noble UN Charter, both of which are ignored by NATO supremacists. The increase in the criminal American military fortification appears to be related to the ongoing bombings of the Biden illegals, by the resistance groups (akin to true anti-fascist partisan underground operations when civilized human beings were trying to rid their homelands of actual fascists and assorted occupiers, in Europe and in Libya — where Omar Mukhtar led the resistance against fascist Mussolini’s Quarta Sponda occupiers.).

Banned in Italy, 1982, lest Italians be reminded that they were once under fascist dictatorship.
Banned in Italy, 1982, lest Italians be reminded that they were once under fascist dictatorship.

The resistance has been busy since soon after 28 June, when the Biden regime criminals bombed both Syria and Iraq from within Syria (both Operation Mockingbird leftist success stories — bleating daily about racism — and the rightwingers who see no racism, are aligned in support of these colonial, supremacist war crimes).

Immediately, the resistance bombed back the Biden occupiers. The Syrian resistance even celebrated the Fourth of July by bombing Biden occupiers in Deir Ezzor.

The resistance continues to celebrate America’s independence day with ongoing bombings of the Biden regime occupiers.

One other difference between the Trump and Biden regimes: Trump claimed US troops in Iraq bombed by resistance groups after the Soleimani assassination had some ”headaches,” while the Biden-Dr. Jill-Harris-Nance-Pentagon collective presidency claims zero casualties.

— Miri Wood

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