The “Deal of The Century” Won’t Go Through: The Palestinian Cause Is Behind Iran And Hezbollah’s Success

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

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Israel is not preparing a military adventure against Gaza, Syria, Hezbollah or Iran because it is in fact already attaining its objectives both internationally and domestically.

Its military apparatus regularly hits targets in Syria with a calculated risk of retaliation from Damascus and its allies. Israel willingly risks a Syrian reprisal. If Syria were to respond to Israel’s continuous violations of its sovereignty, it would help Israel attract world attention. The world powers would then do their best to try and stop an escalation between Israel and all its enemies gathered in one place in the Levant, rather than looking in meticulous detail at Israel’s wrongdoing in Palestine, and its violations of UN and Oslo agreements. Israel is aware that its enemies will evaluate the timing, benefits and reaction to any military response. Syria and its allies believe a war will slow its recovery from 8 years of war. The potential consequences of a war with Israel on the Syrian economy – at a time of ongoing economic crisis – would be devastating. Syria’s allies are not willing to be dragged into a confrontation at Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s whim. They are also aware of Trump’s unlimited support for Israel at all costs and by any means. An Israeli-US war on Syria would be disastrous.

Netanyahu feels very confident, given Trump’s unlimited support and the confirmation of his domestic support in recent legislative elections. He holds the initiative and has managed to concentrate global attention on Iran rather than Palestine. Demonization of Iran as the head of the “Axis of Evil” diverts attention from the Jewish Nationalist law, the dislodging of the Palestinians from the West Bank-Zone C, and the Israeli attempt to wipe out any trace of Palestinians in the occupied Israeli territory.

Saudi Arabia’s record of militant hatred against Iran’s wide influence in the region is nothing new. It dates back to 1981 when Saddam Hussein declared war on Iran. Moreover, Saudi’s extremist Wahhabite Islamic doctrine leaves little room for tolerance towards any other practice of Islam or towards any other religion. Saudi’s takfiri Wahhabist doctrine is the same creed as that of al-Qaeda and ISIS, who consider secular, Shia, Druse, Isma’ili and Zaidi men, women and children as deserving to be killed at sight, and Yazidi and secular women and children as subject to enslavement.

The Israeli Defence Minister has said that he would prefer to have ISIS on Israel’s borders than the Syrian army and its allies; he publicly acknowledges Israeli military and non-military support to jihadist terrorists during the war against Syria. At the same time Saudi Arabia generously invested in support to Jihadists and opened its prisons and borders for Jihadist-tourists to leave the Kingdom in direction of the Levant. Israel and Saudi Arabia agreed and still agree today that their common enemy is Iran not ISIS.

Netanyahu plans to keep up his aggressive rhetoric against Iran while at the same time domestically pushing the one million Palestinian refugees from Gaza towards the Egyptian Sinai territory, so that he can later divide Gaza into parts A-B-C as his predecessors did to the West Bank through the 1993 Oslo agreement. The Israeli Prime Minister is also aiming to normalise Israeli-Arab relationships and establish overt diplomatic and commercial ties with Arab states, isolating Iran and its allies, i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen.

The Israeli Prime Minister was happy to share with the world that “more than two Arab Leaders rushed to congratulate him for his victory in the last legislative elections”, when a coalition of the far-right wing overwhelmingly defeated more conventional right-wing elements.

Gaza Strip:

Gaza is the cornerstone of what Israel calls the “Deal of the Century”. Netanyahu cannot, any more than Hamas, deal with one million refugees and another million inhabitants – when he or his successors decide to move on Gaza. These people need water, electricity, medical care, infrastructure, schools, universities, security, and links with the outside world. The economic situation in Gaza is critical and Hamas is suffering from the sanctions imposed on its administration of the Strip.

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Gaza was under Egyptian administration from 1948-1959. This inspired Netanyahu’s idea to relocate the Palestinians to Sinai. In the 1950s, President Abdel Nasser sent to Gaza his General Mustafa Hafez who in 1955 created “the Palestinian Fedayeen Forces”. Abdel Nasser visited al-Arish with Abdel Hakim Amer and Salah Salem and considered Hafez commander of the “Army of Palestine”. The Egyptian President considered it important not to rely on any UN resolutions, but he proved incompetent to give the Palestinians back their territory. Hafez was confronted with the  Israeli unit 101 led by Ariel Sharon and was assassinated by the Israeli intelligence service.

David Ben Gurion decided to join the British and the French in their  war against President Abdel Nasser following his decision to nationalise the Suez Canal. Israel saw in the charismatic Egyptian President an existential danger; Israel wanted control of Gaza and demanded that France build its  nuclear military facility in Dimona.

Ben Gurion entered Gaza, Rafah and al-Arish and attacked the 200,000 Palestinian refugees (the population in those days). They had come from Haifa, Yafa, Gallilea, Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. The Israelis killed in cold blood between 275 to 900 civilians during the nine-day massacre. In the 50s, Ben Gurion already wanted to implement the “Deal of the Century”. Israel was also responsible for another massacre, in Kfar Qassem, killing 49 farmers returning to their home because they hadn’t heard about a sudden curfew imposed by the Israeli army, as ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak later acknowledged.

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Israel adopted the “open door” policy, encouraging or intimidating Palestinians to leavetheir country. But the Israeli massacres didn’t persuade the Palestinians to leave their territory, like those who left in 1948. These were no longer affected by the Israeli “Ironing policy” and decided to stay even in wretched conditions.

These days, Israel is using Trump to try and twist the Palestinians’ arms. He gave Jerusalem (and the Golan) to Netanyahu and will probably give him the West Bank-zone C too. Trump also halted fundingfor the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), in an attempt to force the Palestinians to accept Netanyahu’s objectives.

This is pushing the Palestinians to adopt what now appears the only solution–to join the resistance, to fight for their land. Those who have decided to stand up to Israel believe it is “weaker than the spider’s web”. Despite the murder of children, the elderly and women by Israeli bullets, Palestinians demonstrate weekly for the right of return. The Palestinian resistance (for the first time 14 groups have united in one military operational room joining their decisions, military actions and capabilities against Israel) has shown its capability to bomb Tel Aviv, forcing Netanyahu to positively respond to some Palestinian demands.

“Netanyahu said he will allow the re-opening of the passage between Gaza and Egypt; he will allow money to reach Hamas; he has agreed to enlarge the fishing space and allow trucks to supply Gaza with most needed goods. The Palestinian resistance agreed to stop using “rough methods” (flying burning kites) and managed to bring out of Israeli jails 1027 prisoners in the Gilad Shalit  exchange deal. The Palestinian resistance has now halted all negotiations with Netanyahu in regard to the 5 Israelis detained by the Palestinian resistance. In turn the Israelis have re-arrested 56 prisoners who were released during the Shalit deal. Unless these are first released unconditionally, negotiations between the resistance and Israel will not be resumed”, said the Palestinian source.

The Palestinians find it difficult to reconcile amongst themselves to unite against Netanyahu’s “deal of the Century”. President Abbas wants to control Gaza, and Hamas is happy to pass on political leadership to him provided the armed resistance keeps its autonomy. Hamas is in organisational and economic trouble in Gaza and would like to take such responsibilities off its back. Hamas didn’t learn from the Hezbollah experience in Lebanon. Despite its huge military power Hezbollah wisely refuses to exert political control, thus avoiding blame for bad administration. Abbas believes in verbal resistance rather than armed resistance. Netanyahu supports the Palestinian President’s peaceful methods because he believes that talking has never won back any territory for the Palestinians. Abbas wants Hamas to retain control of Gaza if it won’t give up its weapons. This condition has been rejected by all resistance groups in Gaza.

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Hamas has made many mistakes in the past. In Iraq and Syria, many ex-Hamas joined al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (ISIS) with the aim of establishing an Islamic State. Many of them had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon but reappeared later as suicide bombers and on the battlefield, fighting against the Iraqi and Syrian governments for a purpose unrelated to Palestine. The political leadership jumped from one alliance to another and declared enmity to President Bashar al-Assad who still today refuses reconciliation with Hamas. Other Palestinian groups acted as a “guns for hire” in the service of Muammar Ghedaffi, Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad.

Netanyahu has failed to tame the resistance because he has no intention either of giving the Palestinians any territory, or of giving back territories Israel is currently occupying or has received from Trump. Netanyahu’s policies vindicate Hezbollah’s raison-d’être, justify Iran’s continued presence in the Levant, and provide strong motivations for President Bashar al-Assad to reject any future negotiations with Israel and to stick with the “Axis of the Resistance” for good. He is also offering to Iraq a motive to sympathise with the cause of the Levantine peoples and is dooming Israel to a state of ongoing war with its close neighbours.

The last word does not belong to Netanyahu or Trump. It belongs to the Palestinians. The wealth of the Middle East is being invested in Middle Eastern wars and is now being used in the service of Netanyahu – through Trump – to divide and reshuffle the Middle Eastern map. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

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Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning: Martyred Behind Bars for Truth-Telling

By Stephen Lendman
Source

In 2013, Assange said “(Chelsea) Manning has become a martyr, adding:

She “didn’t choose to be a martyr. I don’t think it’s a proper way for activists to behave to choose to be martyrs, but these (individuals, Manning, Edward Snowden and others) have risked their freedom, risked their lives, for all of us. That makes them heroes.”

He’s one of them, elevated to martyrdom in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, likely in punishing solitary confinement – ahead of extradition to the US for the crime of truth-telling journalism the way it’s supposed to be. 

Indefinitely detained for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent, her right not to testify before a witch-hunt grand jury, a notorious manipulative process designed to indict, the Trump regime wants Manning (and Assange) punished for doing the right thing.

Will it elevate them both to martyrdom, modern-day Joan of Arc figures? The 19-year-old 15th century French heroin was burned at the stake on false charges, a martyr declared a national symbol of France by Napoleon Bonaparte – beatified in 1909, canonized in 1920.

Will imprisonment of Manning and Assange assure their martyrdom for a just cause, for revealing what’s vital for everyone to know?

At a time of universal deceit, notably in the West, truth-telling is a revolutionary act – with attribution to Orwell. Not according to Hillary Clinton, an unindicted war criminal multiple times over.

Infamous for saying: “We came. We saw. He died” about Muammar Gaddafi’s sodomized death in October 2011, following US-led aggression on Libya she helped orchestrate, she mocked Julian Assange the same way, saying “it’s a little ironic that he may be the only foreigner that (Trump) would welcome in the United States,” adding:

His “indictment (is) not about punishing journalism (sic). It’s about assisting the hacking of the military computer to steal information from the US government (sic).” 

“The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it’s been charged.” She and husband Bill belong in prison for high crimes gone unpunished. So do their successors and countless others in the imperial state and allied ones.

Led by establishment media, smearing Assange is in high gear. The NYT lied claiming WikiLeaks hacked Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s phones, revealing personal information about him, published on an anonymous website.

It lied repeating Moreno’s Big Lie, falsely accusing Assange of “installing electronic distortion equipment in (Ecuador’s London) embassy, blocking security cameras, confronting and mistreating guards and gaining access to security files without permission.”

It lied claiming WikiLeaks hacked DNC and John Podesta emails, material leaked by a Dem insider published by WikiLeaks.

It repeated the US intelligence community Big Lie, accusing WikiLeaks of acting as a Russian agent.

The neocon/CIA house organ Washington Post published an op-ed by London Guardian editor Alan Rushbridger, an anti-Assange hatchet job, saying:

“(M)aybe his greatest gift is the ability to make enemies (sic). He trusts, likes and respects almost no one (sic). He falls out with his friends and disgusts his opponents (sic).” 

“Now that he has been dragged kicking and shouting (sic) from the Ecuadoran Embassy in London — where he was, by all accounts, the house guest from hell (sic) — he may find few allies in the world outside (sic).”

Fact: The above rubbish and what followed is typical Guardian disinformation, numerous times caught red-handed reporting bald-faced Big Lies.

Rushbridger lied calling Assange “a useful idiot to Russian President Vladimir Putin and an enabler to President Trump.”

He lied saying Assange is “rude, aggressive, pompous, self-regarding, unreasonable and…smelly” – disgraceful stuff.

He lied claiming there’s “not much to love about Julian Assange” – Rushbridger serving as a press agent for the May and Trump regimes, disgracing himself at the same time.

The Boston Globe newspaper I grew up with as a boy, adolescent and youth in the 1940s and 50s was far from what journalism is supposed to be back then.

Owned by the NYT today, it publishes similar rubbish – misinformation and disinformation instead of real news, information and opinion.

“Julian Assange shouldn’t be a free speech martyr,” it roared, falsely claiming Trump regime charges are unrelated to violations of speech and media freedoms – precisely what they’re all about, wanting truth-telling silence, why Manning and Assange were and remain targeted.

Separately, the Globe called Assange “a bad guy (sic)…a Russian pawn who helped elected Donald Trump (sic).”

When endlessly repeated, Big Lies take on a life of their own. Ecuadorian envoy to the UK Jaime Marchan shamefully accused Assange of “put(ting) put excrement on the (embassy) walls.”

His lawyer called the charge “outrageous,” one of many phony reasons for handing him over to UK authorities.

In cahoots with the Trump regime, Ecuador, Britain and the US are elevating Assange to martyrdom by declaring him guilty by false accusation and holding him behind bars in punishing high security confinement.

Resisting the scourge of tyranny is a universal right and obligation.

When governments fail their people, the way things are today in the West and elsewhere globally, they forfeit their right to rule. 

Civil disobedience becomes an essential tool for change, popular revolution the only solution. Nothing else can work.

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

By Caitlin Johnstone
Source

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Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”

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“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.

“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Over and over again that phrase showed up to be unquestioningly re-bleated by the human livestock known as the British press in all their reporting on the Assange case: No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. Something tells me they really want people to know that, with regard to Julian Assange, no one is above the law.

But what is “the law” in this particular case? What they are constantly referring to as “the law” with regard to Assange is in fact nothing more than a combination of ridiculous bureaucratic technicalities which can be (and have been) interpreted very differently, but are now instead being interpreted in a way which just so happens to lead to a truth-telling journalist being locked in a cage, awaiting extradition to the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

Now, the US is a Free Democracy™. When you are a Free Democracy™, you can’t just go around imprisoning journalists willy nilly simply for telling the truth about your government. That’s something other countries do, bad countries, the kind of country the US routinely invades in order to help spread Freedom and Democracy™. The US would never do that. But it would diddle a bunch of narratives in such a way that just so happens to achieve exactly the same result.

As we discussed yesterday, the Trump administration’s extradition request is accompanied by criminal charges which are based on the same information which the Obama administration declined to charge Assange for, a point which has been discussed in more detail in a new article by The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee. The Obama administration looked at the evidence and concluded that there was no way to charge Assange with anything without endangering press freedoms, then the Trump administration looked at literally the exact same evidence and said screw press freedoms, we’re going after him. They wanted to punish Assange and show the world what happens to a journalist who exposes US war crimes, so they changed the narrative to make it happen.

But they couldn’t extradite Assange from the UK if the British government didn’t legally have Assange in custody.

To get around this problem, the UK, which is functionally just a province within the US-centralized empire, used a bail technicality to justify his arrest. After the Swedish government decided to drop its sexual assault investigation without issuing any charges, Assange’s legal team attempted last year to get a British arrest warrant dropped for a bail violation which went into effect when the WikiLeaks founder took political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. The judge in that case, Emma Arbuthnot, just happens to be married to former Tory junior Defence Minister and government whip James Arbuthnot, who served as director of Security Intelligence Consultancy SC Strategy Ltd with a former head of MI6. Lady Arbuthnot denied Assange’s request with extreme vitriol, despite his argument that British law does have provisions which allow for the time he’d already served under functional house arrest to count toward far more time than would be served for violating bail. The British government kept police stationed outside the embassy at taxpayers’ expense with orders to arrest Assange on sight.

But they couldn’t arrest Assange as long as he had legal political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy.

To get around that problem, Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno found himself being courted by the US government, meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and reportedly discussing Assange after US Democratic senators petitioned Pence to push for Moreno to revoke political asylum. The New York Times reported last year that in 2017 Paul Manafort met with Moreno and offered to broker a deal where Ecuador could receive debt relief aid in exchange for handing Assange over, and just last month Ecuador ended up receiving a 4.2 billion dollar loan from the Washington-based IMF. And then, lo and behold, we just so happen to see Ecuador justifying the revocation of political asylum under the absurd claim that Assange had violated conditions that were only recently invented, using narratives that were based on wild distortions and outright lies.

In this way a kind of narrative funnel was created, funneling Assange from the embassy to British police on the imaginary narrative that Assange had violated asylum conditions and that he needs to serve time for a bail violation, which in turn allows for Assange to be funneled from the UK into the US on the imaginary narrative that he broke some kind of law by trying to help Chelsea Manning cover her tracks and avoid detection, which is all made possible by the fact that the government of Australia another province in the US-centralized empire) has refused to provide any protection for its citizen. And the end result just so happens to look the same as what you see when a journalist tries to expose malfeasance in an overtly totalitarian government.

This is called Nice Guy Fascism. With a little narrative manipulation you get to act just like a brutal totalitarian regime and then say it’s not because you’re a brutal totalitarian regime, it’s because you’re deeply deeply concerned about the adherence to a specific interpretation of the bureaucratic technicalities of bail protocol. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law.

They keep saying “No one is above the law,” but what they really mean is “No one is safe from the law.” Our rulers are using Assange to show that they can get anyone who tells the truth about them, even if there are laws and policies in place which ostensibly prohibit that.

Manipulators love the rule of law, because they are able to twist it toward their infernal ends. It’s always possible to squint at laws in such a way that it allows them to be interpreted to the benefit of the powerful, which is why lawyers are often horrible human beings. All the most horrific things that have been done throughout the history of civilization have been carried out not by criminals but by law-abiding citizens, because they were perfectly legal under the ruling governments of that time. Genocide, slavery, torture, the use of the atomic bomb: all perfectly legal and state-sanctioned in their time.

They want you looking at “the rule of law”. They want you fixated on it. But really “the rule of law” is nothing other than a series of mental narratives which are treated as reality by existing power structures. Assange is a prisoner by narrative, because he punched holes in the authorized narratives of the powerful. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

Trump’s “Deal of the Century” To Hand Palestine to Israel Along with Whole Set of New Problems

By Miko Peled
Source

As Benjamin Netanyahu returns from Washington to Jerusalem determined to keep his seat as Israel’s prime minister, it is clear that the Final Status issues — those pesky issues between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel never wants to discuss –  are being eliminated one by one in a regional scheme that is titled Deal of the Century. This so-called “Deal” will be the final undoing of Palestinian hopes for justice, self-determination and return.

From the reckless declaration by President Donald Trump that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, to his more recent proclamation that the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, it is becoming clear what the Deal of the Century will entail: disregard of the Palestinians and recognition of Israeli rights to all of Palestine.

The purpose of the declaration recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights at this particular moment is twofold: It is an enormous contribution to Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election on April 9, a clear signal that Trump favors Netanyahu; and, what is even more troubling, it is a precursor to what we may soon see happen with Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.

Four elements

Four elements are likely to dominate the Deal of the Century: Palestinian self-determination; refugees; Jerusalem; and the future of what was formerly known as the West Bank and has been named by Israel Judea and Samaria. We have already been given a  preview of what is to come with the first three:

  • Jerusalem, with the Trump declaration of December 6, 2017 recognizing the city as the capital of Israel;
  • Recognition of Palestinian right to self-determination was de-facto reversed when in September 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the Trump administration closed down the PLO mission in Washington;
  • The refugee issue received an almost fatal blow when in August of 2018 the State Department announced that it will no longer provide funds for UNRWA , the United Nations agency created to take care of Palestinian refugees. Even more than financial significance, the $350 million cut to the UNRWA budget was a blow to the very existence of refugee issue. Trump, serving Netanyahu’s agenda, is attempting to eliminate the refugee issue altogether by questioning the right of the Palestinians to aid and by questioning the right of the descendants of the 1948 refugees to refugee status.

The refugees must cease to exist

The Deal of the Century is likely to include an attempt to eliminate the Palestinian refugee issue. In a statement he made in Hebrew to the Israeli cabinet, in July 2018, Netanyahu called the Palestinian refugee issue “fictitious.” He claimed that the sole purpose of UNRWA was to keep the Palestinian refugee issue alive forever and thus to threaten the state of Israel by perpetuating the notion of a right of return. Trump, for his part, is currently claiming that only the people who had actually lived in Mandatory Palestine before the 1948 ethnic cleansing — people who are now 70 years old or older — can be considered refugees; their descendants cannot.

Netanyahu’s problem is that when you ask Palestinians in the diaspora where they are from, they say Yaffa, Haifa, Ramle, and so on. When you ask Israelis where they are from, they say, Poland, Russia, Morocco, Yemen, and so on.

Palestine | Refugees

When you ask Jews around the world they say the same thing Israelis do. So, while the grandchildren of the 1948 refugees can tell you the name of the town or village from which their family came, even though the village has been destroyed, no Israelis — or Jewish people, for that matter — can trace their roots back to the ancient kingdom of Judea.

It is important to note and remind both Trump and Netanyahu that, according to international law, even refugees who were not born in Palestine but in the diaspora are refugees and have a right to return. This is because, under international human rights law, neither local integration nor resettlement forecloses the possibility of refugee return to their country of origin. Furthermore, after a large-scale displacement, such as the one that took place in Palestine in 1948, restitution may cover both public and private property.

Not only people

It is not only the return of the people, but it is also the rightful claim to restitution, which will surely be made, that Israel dreads.

The extent of abandoned property that Israel has taken over as a result of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine is enormous. Palestinians were expelled from entire cities including Jaffa, Ramleh, Haifa and all of west Jerusalem. In addition to that, there are vast tracts of agricultural land that were taken. After the population was expelled, profit-making orchards of citrus, olive and other agricultural products were handed over by the newly established state to Jewish agricultural settlements.

Netanyahu and the entire Zionist establishment are aware of all this and they fear the day when they will be held accountable for this theft of property. Restitution of Palestinian property has received little discussion, largely because of Israel’s refusal to engage and pressure by Zionist groups to keep this subject off the table. The Deal of the Century is likely to try to make it disappear for good.

Judea and Samaria is next

Israeli annexation of the West Bank used to be a far-fetched idea. That is no longer the case. The West Bank is now, and has been for many years, “Judea and Samaria.” It has cities and counties; it includes industry and a bureaucracy with its own police force. There is a highway system in place and shopping centers — all built exclusively for Jews. Official annexation of the area to Israel today — much like recognizing Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights — would be merely a formality, albeit one that contravenes international law.

Palestinian protesters carry national flags and plant olive trees facing the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit during a protest marking Land Day, in the village of Wadi Fukin, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, March 30, 2015.

It is realistic to expect that, as part of the Deal of the Century, the U.S. will, before long, recognize Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. This will mean officially creating one state over all of Palestine with exclusive rights for the minority Israeli Jews. While this may seem like a win for Israel, it will also give rise to serious problems for the Zionist state.

Israel controls the lives of 2 million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, 2.2 million Palestinians locked up in the Gaza Strip and about 3 million Palestinians in what used to be the West Bank. That is a total of 7 million Palestinians living without rights in a state where about 6 million Israeli Jews have exclusive rights.

Careful what you wish for

Today, perhaps more than ever, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is being dictated by Israel and specifically by Benjamin Netanyahu. It is executed by Jared Kushner through his father-in-law, the president of the United States. Though the Deal of the Century will try to eliminate the Palestinian issue for good, what the architects of the “Deal” in their arrogance fail to see is that this so-called “Deal” is nothing more than an irresponsible, impractical and precarious plan that will fall just as soon as it is raised.

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela

Alfred de Zayas, human rights lawyer & UN independent expert on international order. His report on Venezuela has been buried by the MSM.

This news-report is being submitted to all US and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the UN General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public.

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the UN’s General Assembly received the report from the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.”

He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.”

He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military.

29. …Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization.

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied].

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [UN] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”.

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means.

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria: There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill.

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”.

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”.

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures.

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly:

  • (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes?
  • (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment.

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him….

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup….

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change.

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed….

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country…

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions…

“In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under…

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”…

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

Important Notes

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the US empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.

Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the UN needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the UN’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the UN itself.

On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined “Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The UN International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges”. Flügge especially cited US President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference”.

This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton:

The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery.”

Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”

On February 6th, a former UK Ambassador to Syria vented at an alt-news site, 21st Century Wire (since he couldn’t get any of the major-media sites to publish it), “A Guide to Decoding the Doublespeak on Syria”, and he brazenly exposed there the Doublespeak-Newspeak that the US Government and press (what he called America’s “frothing neocons and their liberal interventionist fellow travellers”) apply in order to report the ‘news’ about Syria.

So: how can the public, in a country such as the US, democratically control the Government, if the government and its press are lying to them, like that, all the time, and so routinely?

Trump Bans Disclosure of Civilian Deaths by Drone Strikes

By Stephen Lendman
Source

The US, NATO, and Israel indiscriminately massacre civilians when attacking targeted nations or Palestinians.

For Israel, it’s official policy under its Dahiya doctrine, unlawfully calling civilians legitimate targets, including women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm.

Former IDF Northern commander Gadi Eisenkot explained it as follows, saying:

From dozens of command centers worldwide, Pentagon and CIA personnel operate predator drones, sanitizing mass slaughter on the cheap compared to manned warplanes and ground troops.

Teams of remote warriors work far from or close to battlefields. Drone pilots operate computer keyboards and multiple monitors, sensor staff working with them, handling TV and infrared cameras, as well as other high-tech drone sensors. 

Faceless enemies nearby or half a world away are attacked. Virtual war kills like sport, drone warriors never witnessing deadly bloodshed, dismembered bodies, and human suffering close up – guiding weapons with joysticks and monitors like video games.

According to an earlier Congressional Research Service report, around one-third of US warplanes are drones (unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs) – up from 5% early in the new millennium.

UAVs were first used in Vietnam as reconnaissance platforms. In the 1980s, Harpy air defense suppression system radar killer drones were employed. In the Gulf War, unmanned combat air systems (UCAS) and X-45 air vehicles were used.

Others were deployed in Bosnia in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. They’re now commonly used in all US wars. Under unofficial rules of engagement, anything goes, international and US statute laws of war long ago abandoned. 

“We will apply disproportionate force at the heart of the enemy’s weak spot (civilians) and cause great damage and destruction,” adding: 

“From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages (towns or cities). They are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved” – notably against Gaza.

The US and NATO operate the same way without publicly affirming it as official policy. Drone wars are a notorious example. 

An earlier report prepared jointly by Stanford University’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic (NYU-SU) titled “Living Under Drones” explained their harm to civilians.

Official claims about precise, effective “targeted killings (with) minimal downsides or collateral impacts,” making the US safer, is utter rubbish. Polar opposite is true, confirmed by first-hand evidence.

Drone strikes eliminate few so-called “high-value targets,” at most around 2% of individuals killed, SU/NYU saying:

“US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury.”

“Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.”

“Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior.”

Targeted areas are struck multiple times in quick succession – the practice called “double tap,” dissuading bystanders and professionals from helping.

Drone wars are lawless and largely secret, transparency and accountability absent, SU/NYU saying a “significant rethinking (of policy is) long overdue…(noncombatants) suffering real harm.”

An earlier report prepared jointly by Stanford University’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic (NYU-SU) titled “Living Under Drones” explained their harm to civilians.

Official claims about precise, effective “targeted killings (with) minimal downsides or collateral impacts,” making the US safer, is utter rubbish. Polar opposite is true, confirmed by first-hand evidence.

Drone strikes eliminate few so-called “high-value targets,” at most around 2% of individuals killed, SU/NYU saying:

“US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury.”

“Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.”

“Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior.”

Targeted areas are struck multiple times in quick succession – the practice called “double tap,” dissuading bystanders and professionals from helping.

Drone wars are lawless and largely secret, transparency and accountability absent, SU/NYU saying a “significant rethinking (of policy is) long overdue…(noncombatants) suffering real harm.”

According to UK-based Reprieve, drone strikes greatly increased under Trump in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, adding:

“…America’s illegal drone war has expanded (greatly) across the globe, (Trump) increas(ing) and widen(ing) drone strikes…systematically weaken(ing) safeguards.”

“(E)ven individuals not considered to pose a ‘continuing and imminent threat’ can be targeted for death without trial” under a secret assassination program – murder by drones, conventional warplanes, and/or special forces operations.

Mindless of the devastating human toll, Trump continues Obama’s so-called “disposition matrix,” his “kill list,” orchestrated by then-CIA director John Brennan.

According to Reprieve, “(t)he CIA’s own leaked documents concede that the US often does not know who it is killing, and that militant leaders’ account for just 2% of drone-related deaths.”

All US wars violate fundamental international and domestic rule of law principles. Millions of post-9/11 casualties were and continue to be civilians – the toll largely suppressed in the mainstream.

Trump’s EO compounds longstanding US suppression of the human toll and devastation from US wars of aggression.

Europe Pays The Price of A US Decision: Where Will European ISIS Go?

By Eligjah J. Magnier
Source

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On Twitter, the US president’s preferred forum to reveal foreign policy and state decisions, Donald Trump asked “Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS captured in Syria” from 44 countries. Otherwise, Trump will “release them” without specifying where and in which country. The US President is no longer ready to spend time waiting “for others (EU countries) to do their job”. This is what the US establishment’ foreign policy and relationship with allies are all about. The US asked European, Canadian, Australian and Middle Eastern countries to send troops to Syria to “fight ISIS”. But before that, some years ago, the US asked European countries to allow potential jihadists to travel to Syria and Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Jordan to open their prisons and pardon core jihadists in order to reach their favourite destination, the Levant, to destroy the Syrian state and create a “failed state” scenario. .

But their wishes did not come true and President Bashar al-Assad didn’t fall in 3 to 6 months as predicted in 2011. Today the world is facing a new puzzle: what should be done with those we helped reach Syria in order to terrorise, rape, and murder the people of Syria, who now want to return to their countries of origin? It is obvious the US establishment is unwilling to help Europe deal with their human refuse who joined ISIS at US request.

Up to now thousands of ISIS members have managed to return to Europe and much more to their Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries of origin. These are fighters, few formerly incarcerated in their countries of origin, who answered the call and reached Syria and Iraq with the help of western and allied intelligence services to wage jihad and join the Caliphate of an “Islamic State”.

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They travelled to the Levant for various reasons: to join a family member, to join friends, love of adventure, the adrenaline of carrying weapons and killing, to find one or several wives, to belong to a friendlier and warmer society (in the Middle East, society and family gatherings are closer and warmer than in Europe). Very few knew much about Islam before reaching their destination and fewer still had detailed knowledge of Islamic teaching, Hadith and Islamic laws. But one thing many of these have in common: they have killed thousands of Iraqi and Syrians.

Europe and Middle Eastern countries facilitated “jihadi-corridors” to Syria, mainly via Turkey whose authorities welcomes Jihadi immigration. Ankara airport had special corridors to accommodate newly arriving fighters and send them eastwards. The objective was to divide Syria and Iraq. The world looked on impassively as ISIS gathered substantial financial resources. ISIS robbed hundreds of millions of dollars from banks in cash and gold. It was selling oil, infrastructure and handcrafts to Turkey and collecting huge sums monthly from local taxes on services, housing, electricity, agriculture, cars crossing, merchandise exchange and other sources which brought a huge income to the area under its control.

President Barack Obama had the courage to say he wanted to avoid polluting the air over Syria and Iraq if bombing ISIS oil tankers. From 2014-2015 the US allegedly fought ISIS in Syria while the territory under its command continuously expanded and flourished. It required Russian intervention beginning in September 2015 to destroy those tanker trucks, thereby reducing the flow of stolen oil to Turkey and diminishing ISIS oil-income.

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It is very possible that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi followed Saddam Hussein’s example in hiding away financial resources and weapons for dark days. Iraqi intelligence services believe ISIS has established many civilian businesses to keep cash flowing in order to finance insurgency and continue recruitment. According to Iraqi security sources, the Iraqi Intelligence Unit arrested tens of ISIS-linked cells running wealth of hundreds of million dollars to the benefit of the group.

ISIS is also present in many caves and locations in the desert linking Syria and Iraq. Tens of less spectacular but significant attacks and assassinations conducted every month in the provinces of Salahuddin, Nineveh, Diyala, Kirkuk and Hamrin-Makhol mountains causing the death of tens of Iraqi. ISIS kidnapped this month 19 Iraqi along the Saudi and the Iraqi borders (‘Ar’ar to Nekheyb) in al-Anbar desert. Six bodies were discovered so far.

Indeed, ISIS now needs to carry out as many terrorist attacks as possible to show it is still alive and capable. It would not be surprising to witness many insurgency attacks in the Middle East even after ISIS loses all its territory.

But the ISIS insurgency is not far from Europe, where any attack can bring more publicity to the group and help boost its propaganda efforts. The Paris and Brussels attacks (to name a couple) gave a colossal sense of power to ISIS fanboys. These attacks were planned by ISIS command in Raqqa.

Thus, the return of hundreds of ISIS militants to Europe will create a real dilemma for the same European leaders who may have been behind sending these terrorist candidates to the Levant, most of whom became prolific killers in Syria and Iraq. Many were also killed in terrorist attacks but those who remain are those who have best learned how to conduct warfare and brutal killing.

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ISIS has been defeated and the circumstances that allowed it to grow in 2014 are no longer present. Many are surrendering now in their last stronghold in Syria. Nevertheless, the disappearance of ISIS territory doesn’t mean the group will no longer be present in the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the world (mainly in West Africa, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan and Philippines).

Trump is throwing a ball of fire at Europe when he asks European countries to take back their nationals, indicating he is not willing to deliver ISIS prisoners to the Syrian government. There are no adequate prisons in Europe capable of holding such recruits, no means of deradicalizing or altering the brain-washing these Europeans have been exposed to. There is no guarantee that ISIS arrested militants will refrain from spreading their ideology and skills to become sleeper cells reading to strike at the first opportunity.

There are ways to confront ISIS ideology by using the same tools ISIS has used. Its creed can be condemned intellectually and religiously by Islamic religious authorities. The group has been contested by the Sunni religious Ulema who criticised its rationalisations and its self-declared state. al-Qaeda is also vulnerable to such ideological attack. But how effective such criticism will be is open to question.

Although the French Security Minister Christophe Castaner welcomes ISIS militants to return to France, most European countries would rather reject their human refuse. They lack the resources and expertise to deal with ISIS militants willing to return home. Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister, commented on Trump’s tweet that “it is not as easy as they think in America”. The European authorities should learn from the Syrian and Iraqi governments how to fight ISIS; otherwise, they will find it difficult to stand up to and prevent the expansion of this cancer.

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