For «Israel», Concern over Iran Leads to Better Ties with Arab States

For «Israel», Concern over Iran Leads to Better Ties with Arab States

Local Editor

20-10-2017 | 14:30

The “Israeli” entity has been promoting the idea that its ties with Arab countries are improving, and some experts say there are signs that shared concerns over Iran are indeed nudging them closer.

Formal recognition of the “Israeli” entity by Arab states does not seem likely anytime soon, but behind-the-scenes cooperation has opened up in various areas, a number of experts and officials say.

Significant rapprochement would constitute a departure from the decades-old policy of Arab countries refusing to deal with the entity until an independent Palestinian state is created.

But in the latest sign of mutual interests, both the “Israeli” entity and Saudi Arabia congratulated US President Donald Trump last week after his speech in which he declared he would not certify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“I think there are two issues that the president was concerned with and we’re all concerned with, and coincidentally on this, ‘Israel’ and the leading Arab states see eye-to-eye,” “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week.

“When ‘Israel’ and the main Arab countries see eye-to-eye, you should pay attention, because something important is happening.”

Last month, Netanyahu described relations with the Arab world as the “best ever”, though without providing any details.

Leaders of Arab countries have not publicly made similar comments, though that does not necessarily mean they dispute Netanyahu’s claim.

They face sensitivities within their own countries, where the entity is often viewed with intense hostility.

But as the Middle East’s most powerful military with respected intelligence capabilities and a close bond with the United States, the “Israeli’ entity is potentially a key ally against Iran for Arab states.

“Israel” has long viewed Iran as its number one enemy, while Sunni Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia are regional rivals of the Shiite country.

“(Relations are still) under the radar and unofficial because the culture of the Middle East is sensitive” to this matter, so-called “Israeli” Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, a Netanyahu ally, told AFP.

Due to the concealed nature of any improved relations, pointing to exactly what “Israel” and Arab countries may be cooperating on is difficult.

Occasional examples have become public, such as when “Israel” announced in 2015 it would open a mission in Abu Dhabi as part of an international green energy body — its first official presence in the United Arab Emirates.

“Israeli” public radio reported last month that a Saudi prince visited the country secretly and met with “Israeli” officials about regional peace. The visit was never confirmed.

Uzi Rabi, a Tel Aviv University professor who specializes in Saudi Arabia, said there seemed to be “coordination” on issues including seeking to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region.

It may also include cyber-security coordination, he said.

“There are Saudis meeting ‘Israelis’ everywhere now, functioning relations based on shared interests,” Rabi said.

The United States has also sought to promote links between the entity and the Arab world, with Trump’s administration hoping to leverage regional interests to reach an “Israeli”-Palestinian deal.

Trump visited the Middle East in May, travelling from Saudi Arabia to the entity in a rare direct flight between the two countries.

“There is tremendous will, really good feeling, towards ‘Israel’,” Trump said of Saudi Arabia upon arrival in the entity.

“What’s happened with Iran has brought many other parts of the Middle East towards ‘Israel’.”

But even if ties are warming, many analysts question whether major steps are possible without a deal that would end the entity’s 50-year occupation of Palestine.

In the 1980s, for example, Saudi billionaire arms dealer Adnan al-Khashoggi, a key player in the region, was said to have had a relationship with then-war minister Ariel Sharon, said Gil Merom, a specialist in political relations at the University of Sydney.

But the ties seem to have become less covert.

For years, politicians have discussed the so-called “inside out” theory, whereby Gulf Arab states would recognize the “Israeli” entity in exchange for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

This was the basis of a 2002 Saudi-led peace plan which was never implemented.

But increasingly “Israeli” officials talk about the “outside in” idea — Arab states recognizing the entity ahead of potential Palestinian independence.

There is no sign Arab states would go along with any such plan.

Kristian Ulrichsen, a professor focused on Gulf affairs at Rice University in the United States, said the basis of ties between the “Israeli” entity and Arab countries was common enemies.

“For several of the Sunni Arab states in the region, particularly in the Gulf, there is a growing sense that the major contemporary fault-lines in the region now revolve around the perceived threat from Iran…,” he said.

“And on both these issues there is a certain convergence of interest with ‘Israel’,” he told AFP. “I do expect economic and security ties to become more open in the months and years ahead.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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تعاون سوري إيراني للردع

تعاون سوري إيراني للردع

 

أكتوبر 20, 2017

ناصر قنديل

تعاون سوري إيراني للردع

– يرصد «الإسرائيليون» ويتابعون زيارات المسؤولين الإيرانيين إلى سورية ومهامهم وطبيعة وظائفهم، فيميّزون بين زيارة يقوم بها رئيس لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في البرلمان علاء الدين بروجردي وأخرى يقوم بها رئيس البرلمان علي لاريجاني أو مستشار المرشد علي أكبر ولايتي، كما يميّزون زيارات الجنرال قاسم سليماني عن زيارات مثل التي يقوم بها هذه الأيام رئيس هيئة الأركان الجنرال أمير باقري.

– يمنح «الإسرائيليون» هذه الزيارة أهمية استثنائية ويربطونها بالسعي الروسي الإيراني المستديم لبناء معادلات ردع جديدة بوجه «إسرائيل»، خصوصاً بعد الفشل «الإسرائيلي» بالحصول على ضمانات روسية لأمنها في جبهة الجولان من دون فتح مسار ينتهي بانسحابها من هذه المنطقة السورية المحتلة، فلا يمكن لـ «إسرائيل» التحدّث عن نيات ضمّ الجولان والتمسّك بالعبث مع جبهة النصرة، وبالمقابل طلب ضمانات حول طبيعة تمركز وحدات من حزب الله في جنوب سورية، وفقاً لما نقله «الإسرائيليون» عن الروس مؤخراً.

– يعترف «الإسرائيليون» بالتغير المتنامي في الموقف الروسي لصالح التعاون والتنسيق مع سورية وإيران وحزب الله، على حساب الضوابط والخطوط الحمراء «الإسرائيلية»، والذهاب لربط مشروعية المخاوف والطلبات «الإسرائيلية» بحلول شاملة تطال الجولان والعلاقات «الإسرائيلية» بالجماعات المسلحة جنوب سورية، وغالبها من تنظيم القاعدة، ما يسمح وفقاً للخبراء «الإسرائيليين»، بمنح سورية وإيران وحزب الله فرصة الحصول على غطاء روسي ضمني لبناء منظومة ردع قابلة للاشتغال مستقبلاً وبعد نهاية الحرب في سورية، وفقاً لمعادلات تبدو فيها السياسات الروسية الإيرانية السورية بعيدة عن التصادم، كما كانت تفترض «إسرائيل».

– يضع «الإسرائيليون» النجاح السوري في فرض معادلة حماية الأجواء السورية واقتناع الروس بأحقيتها بوجه الغارات «الإسرائيلية» ضمن النجاحات التي حققها الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد بهدوء وصبر، وفرضت على «الإسرائيليين» الانكفاء نحو استخدام خط الاحتياط الذي تمثله الأجواء اللبنانية لاستهداف مواقع داخل الأراضي السورية، بصواريخ موجّهة مداها ستون كليومتراً، سمحت لـ «إسرائيل» بإبقاء مواقع حيوية ومدن هامة في مرمى نيرانها، من دمشق إلى حمص وحماة وصولاً لطرطوس، وهو ما يبدو مهدّداً بالزوال مع الصاروخ الأول الذي أطلقته سورية على طائرات «إسرائيلية» في الأجواء اللبنانية.

– التحرّك «الإسرائيلي» العسكري والسياسي الهادف للحفاظ على هذا الهامش كحق مكتسب لـ «إسرائيل»، واعتبار تحرّك سورية لجعل الأجواء اللبنانية ضمن مدى الصواريخ السورية أمراً لا يمكن أن يمرّ، ولن يجد تفهماً دولياً، يشكل موضوع زيارة الجنرال باقري وفق الخبراء «الإسرائيليين». فالإصرار على بناء منظومة ردع على طول خط الحدود يبدو لهم قراراً تشارك فيه السوريون والإيرانيون مع حزب الله، والطلب السوري من الروس في تشكيل منظومة صاروخية تحمي عمقهم على طول الحدود من الجانب اللبناني، تمّت صياغته باستعداد إيران لتمويله وتقديمه لروسيا بحدود حذرة تحصره بعمق ستين كليومتراً من الحدود، ليكون موضع تفهّم روسيا الملتزمة بحقوق سورية الدفاعية، لكن «الإسرائيليين» يعترفون ان ذلك في حال حدوثه سيوفر مظلة دفاع جوي لمواقع وتحرّكات حزب الله على طرفي الحدود وبعمق كافٍ من الجانب اللبناني وتغطية كاملة في الجانب السوري.

– يقول خبراء «إسرائيليون» إن «إسرائيل» أمام تحديات استراتيجية بعيدة عن الكلام الإنشائي التفاؤلي الذي يطلقه الساسة «الإسرائيليون» وقادة المناورات العسكرية، وإن التحدي الجديد هو في امتلاك صواريخ جو أرض وبحر أرض بمدى مئات الكيلومترات يتيح لـ «الإسرائيليين» التحرك في العمق السوري واللبناني، ولو أن ذلك قد يجر أشكالاً بديلة من الدرع تجعل أسلحة «إسرائيل» في الجو والبحر أهدافاً لأسلحة أشد فعالية.

18-10-2017 | 12:58

Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri warned that it is not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate Syria’s sovereignty anytime it wants.

Iranian and Syrian officials

During a visit to the Syrian capital Damascus, Baqeri discussed ways to deepen cooperation with the Syrian military, pledging to fight “Israel” and the takfiri terrorists.

“We are in Damascus to assert and coordinate and cooperate to confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists,” the Iranian General said.

He further stated that both Syria and Iran “drew up the broad lines for this cooperation.”

In addition to meetings with his Syrian counterpart and the Arab country’s defense minister, Major General Baqeri is to meet Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during the trip.

The top Iranian commander’s visit to Syria is aimed at broadening defense and military cooperation between Tehran and Damascus, holding consultations and promoting cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and exploring avenues to ensure stability and security in the region.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Crimes Against Humanity: The British Empire

Crimes Against Humanity: The British Empire

By Paul Gregoire,

First published by Sydney Criminal Lawyers and Global Research in July 2017.

It was the largest empire ever to have existed. And as the saying used to go, the sun never sets on the British Empire. At its height in 1922, the colonial power was lording it over a fifth of the world’s population and for many of them, the sun never rose again.

Under the policies of British colonialism, people around the globe were subjected to mass famines, atrocious conditions in concentration camps, and brutal massacres at the hands of imperialist troops. The Brits also played an integral role in the transatlantic slave trade.

Although the atrocities of the British Empire are well documented, the myth of the noble colonising power continued into recent decades.

The Migrated Archives

During proceedings in the British High Court in 2010, University of Warwick historian David M Anderson submitted a statement referring to 1,500 files that went missing from Kenya as British rule in the region was coming to an end.

This led the British government to concede that they had hidden or disposed of those files, and many others at a high-security facility north of London. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was hiding around 600,000 historical documents in breach of the 1958 UK Public Records Act.

The stash included around 20,000 undisclosed files from 37 former British colonies. Indeed, it’s common knowledge that as the British colonial edifice was disintegrating, administrators of the colonies were told to either burn their documents or try and smuggle them out.

The legal proceedings where Mr Anderson made his revelations related to a case brought against the British government by three elderly Kenyans who claimed they’d been tortured and abused by the colonial authorities during the British occupation of their country.

The British gulag in Kenya

The British first moved into East Africa in the late 19th century, and Kenya was declared a Crown colony in 1920. In the 1940s, after half a century of British occupation, a small group of Kikuyu people – the country’s largest ethnic group – formed the Mau Mau movement and vowed to oppose colonial rule.

As word spread, Mau Mau resistance grew and they began knocking off colonial officers and local loyalists. In October 1952, Governor Evelyn Baring declared a state of emergency, which held until 1960.

In 1964, the colonial army began erecting a network of concentration camps. Historians estimate that 150,000 to 1.5 million Kikuyu people were detained. Conditions within the camps were atrocious, and people were systematically beaten and sexually assaulted during questioning.

The grandfather of Barack Obama, Hussein Onyango Obama suffered severe mistreatment in the camp where he was held, which included having pins forced under his fingernails.

The British government, after being continually defeated in the High Court, agreed to settle the Mau Mau case in 2013.

On June 6 that year, then UK foreign secretary William Hague announced 5,000 survivors would each receive £3,800 payment, and he also expressed the nation’s sincere regrets to Kenyans who were subjected to “torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration.”

The desecration in India

It’s said that India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. The British East India Company began making avenues into the subcontinent in the 17th century, and India was established as a Crown colony in 1858.

The British Raj systematically transferred the wealth of the region into their own coffers. In the north eastern region of Bengal, “the first great deindustrialisation of the modern world” occurred.

The prosperous two centuries-old weaving industry was shut down after the British flooded the local market with cheap fabric from northern England. India still grew the cotton, but the Bengali population no longer spun it, and the weavers became beggars.

India suffered around a dozen major famines under British rule, with an estimated 12 to 29 million Indians starving to death.

The Orissa famine occurred in north eastern India in 1866. Over one million – or one in three local people – perished. As the region’s textile industry was destroyed, more people were pushed into agriculture, and were dependent on the monsoon.

That year, the monsoon was weak. Crops didn’t grow and many starved to death. The colonial administration didn’t intervene as the popular economic theory of the time reasoned that the market would restore proper balance, and the famine was nature’s way of responding to overpopulation.

When the British finally got out of India, they simply drew a line down the map and partitioned the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The move led to the mass migration of around 10 million people, and when it escalated into sectarian violence an estimated one million lost their lives.

A southern invasion

The British began invading Australia in 1788, under the pretext that it was terra nullis: a land with no owners. The High Court of Australia abolished the legal fiction of terra nullius in its 1992 Mabo versus Queensland (No 2) ruling.

It was a landmark decision, but not everyone was surprised that the court found that there were actually sovereign people living on the land prior to the arrival of the British. At that time, there were an estimated 750,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living across the continent.

The First Fleet arrived in the vicinity of what is now the city of Sydney in 1788. Around 15 months later, at least 50 percent of the local Aboriginal population was dying due to a smallpox epidemic.

Some historians put the outbreak down to contact with the Macassans from Sulawesi in the far north of the continent. However, others argue that bottles of smallpox were brought across on First Fleet ships, and the disease was then released, either accidentally or with clear intent.

Dozens of massacres of Indigenous people were carried out by the British right up until the 1920s. On June 10 1838, the Myall Creek massacre occurred near Inverell in NSW. This tragedy is well-known as it was the first time Europeans were brought to justice for such an atrocity in Australia.

At the time about 50 Aboriginal men were working for stockmen in the area. One evening the stockmen rode into the local people’s camp, tied up 29 men, women and children, and beheaded them. Seven of the perpetrators were eventually brought to trial and hanged.

Today, in Australia, the colonial legacy continues. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most incarcerated population on earth.

As of March this year, there were 11,288 Indigenous adults detained in the Australian prison system. First Nations peoples account for only 2.5 percent of the overall Australian adult population, yet they represent 28 percent of the adult prisoner population.

A bloody trail

But these are only some of the crimes perpetrated by the British as they carried the greatest land grab the world has ever seen.

There were the concentration camps in South Africa, where tens of thousands of the Boer population were detained in the first years of the 20th century. The Irish potato famine occurred in the 1840s, leading to the deaths of well over a million people.

There were the torture centres in Aden in the 1960s, where nationalists were kept naked in refrigerated cells. When the Empire was facing communist insurgents during the Malaya Emergency of the 1950s, they simply decided to imprison the entire peasant population in detention camps.

And the list goes on…

Featured image from Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Video: israel Wants War with Iran. Penetrating Historical Analysis of israeli-CIA Meddling

Video: Israel Wants War with Iran. Penetrating Historical Analysis of Israeli-CIA Meddling

By Steve Pieczenik

Steve Pieczenik brings us a carefully documented analysis focussing on the history of the Middle East.

“Allow me to explain the Iran situ, its complicated and yes, Israel is involved.”

We created the Iran-Iraq war with the support of Israel.  Both Iraq and Iran were supported by the US. 

Israel has also maintained that it can attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. That is false. 

Steve Pieczenik served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. 

 

رسائل إيرانية نارية من دمشق معاً نقاتلكم أيّها الأميركيون… ومعاً نحبط مكركم!

جانب من الوصول

محمد صادق الحسيني

أكتوبر 19, 2017

للمرة الأولى منذ بدء الحرب الكونية على سورية يزور موفد عسكري وسياسي وأمني إيراني رفيع المستوى هو الأعلى مرتبة العاصمة دمشق في خطوة لها دلالاتها الاستراتيجية في زمن النصر والتحرير.

والرسائل التي حملها من الوزن الثقيل، منها ما هو قابل للإعلان ومنها ما هو أخفى وأمرّ وأدهى على العدو..!

أولاً: لم تأت هذه الزياره كردّ فعل على العدوان الجوي «الاسرائيلي» على الأجواء اللبنانية، وعلى موقع عسكري سوري قبل أيام، كما يُشاع، وإنما هي زيارة مبرمجة ومُعَدّ لها سابقاً ضمن المشاورات المتواصلة بين الجيشين الإيراني والسوري، واللذين يقاتلان العدو الصهيوأميركي نفسه ومشاريعه الإجرامية في المنطقه العربية والإسلامية.

زيارة رئيس أركان الجيش الإيرانى

ثانياً: إنّ وصول الجنرال باقري إلى دمشق واستعراضه لحرس الشرف، وهو يرتدي بزّة الميدان يحمل الكثير من المعاني، وعلى رأسها أنه لم يأتِ إلى دمشق في زيارة بروتوكولية تقتصر على التقاط الصور التذكارية الاستعراضية وتجاذب الأحاديث العامة المحتوى مع نظيره السوري.

وهذا يعني أنّ هذه الزيارة هي زيارة عمل واجتماعات مكثّفة جاء ليجريها مع القاده العسكريين السوريين وإخوانهم الإيرانيين الذين يقاتلون معهم في مختلف جبهات القتال في سورية.

لا، بل إنّ هذا الحضور يشي بأنّ القيادتين العسكريتين الإيرانية والسورية بصدد وضع اللمسات الأخيرة على خطة إعادة الزخم لمواصلة الهجوم الاستراتيجي لقوات الحلف، بما في ذلك التعاون مع القوات المسلّحة العراقية، لاستكمال حلقات هذا الهجوم بعد الانتهاء من تحرير دير الزّور والبوكمال وإحكام السيطرة، بالتعاون مع القوات المسلحة العراقية، على الحدود العراقية السورية وتأمين الطريق الاستراتيجي البري الرابط بين موسكو وغزة، عبر طهران فبغداد فدمشق فبيروت.

ثالثاً: بالنظر الى النظرة الثاقبة للمرشد الأعلى للثورة الإسلامية، وقراءته الاستشرافية الدقيقة لاحتمالات تطوّر وتغيّر أساليب العدوان الصهيوأميركي على العالمين العربي والإسلامي، وإلى اختياره هذه الشخصية العسكرية الفذة والتي تتمتع بالخبرات العسكرية والأمنية الضرورية لمواجهة أشكال العدوان الجديدة، فإنه من الواضح أنّ أعين الإمام خامنئي كانت ترى مؤامرة مسعود البرزاني تلوح في الأفق قريباً، عندما قام بتعيين الجنرال باقري رئيساً لأركان الجيش الإيراني في شهر حزيران سنة 2016.

وهنا، فإنّ من الجدير بالذكر أنّ الجنرال باقري قد تقلّد في وقت سابق منصب مساعد القائد العام للقيادة المشتركة في القوات المسلحة الإيرانية سابقاً لشؤون الاستخبارات والعمليات، إلى جانب توليه مسؤولية مساعد لرئيس الأركان للشؤون المشتركة في القوات المسلحة ومنسق بينها وبين الحرس الثوري.

رابعاً: وبالنظر الى المسؤولية الحساسة التي كان يتولاها الجنرال باقري، إبان فترة التمرّد الكردي المدعوم صهيوأميركياً في شمال غرب إيران، والذي استمرّ حتى أواخر عام 1983 والتي تمثلت في الإشراف على شؤون الاستخبارات خلال العمليات التي نفذها الحرس الثوري في تلك المنطقة وانتهت بالقضاء على ذلك التمرّد.

وانطلاقاً من هذه الخلفية، وبالنظر إلى وقائع الميدانين السوري والعراقي، واقتراب تحقيق النصر في هذا الفصل من فصول الهجوم الاستراتيجي لقوات الحلف وضرورة الاستعداد لتنفيذ المرحلة النهائية باتجاه تأمين المحافظات الشمالية الشرقية في سورية وغرب العراق. أيّ وضع اللمسات الأخيرة على خطة حماية المواطنين الأكراد في المناطق المشار إليها أعلاه من عبث مسعود برزاني وبقية جوقة العملاء هناك، وصولاً إلى تفكيك التشكيلات العسكرية العميلة والتي تديرها وزارة الحرب الأميركية وتلك «الإسرائيلية» وبتمويل إماراتي.

اذن، هي زيارة عمل ميداني بامتياز سيتبعها سيل من المفاجآت الكبرى التي لن تتوقف إلا بتحقيق الهدف النهائي المتمثل بإجبار المحتلّ الأميركي على تجميع مرتزقته والهرب من شمال شرق سورية وتحقيق أهداف الهجوم الاستراتيجي الكبير.

لذلك كان باقري واضحاً كلّ الوضوح في رسائله الأساسية التي حرص على إطلاقها من دمشق تحديداً:

 ـ نحن وسورية نقاتل سوياً عدوّنا المزدوج الصهيوني والتكفيري.

 ـ لن نسمح للعدو الصهيوني بالعدوان على سورية.

 ـ خطيئة البرزاني ممنوع أن تتكرّر…!

أيّ لا حرب على سورية أو لبنان من جانب العدو الصهيوني، ولا تراجع إيرانياً عن تلاحم قواته مع قوات الجيش السوري في جبهة الحرب على داعش وأخواته، ولا لمؤامرة التقسيم…!

وهكذا يكون الجنرال باقري قد أبلغ رسائل القائد العام للقوات المسلحة الإمام السيد علي خامنئي للصديق كما للعدو، كما وردت على لسانه في آخر خطاب له في طهران في الوقت نفسه الذي كان فيه مبعوثه يستعرض ضباط وجنود الجيش السوري بلباس الميدان ألا وهي:

لقد هُزمتم في سورية والعراق ولبنان. وهذا سبب غيظكم وحنقكم…

وإننا نعرفكم جيداً، بأنكم أنتم سادة الصهيونية والتكفيريين معاً، ولذلك سنقاتلكم جميعاً…

ولما كنا نعرف أنّ مكركم ومكائدكم مستمرّة، رغم بلاهة ترامب، فإننا لن ننام، بل نرقد ونحن لكم بالمرصاد في كلّ ساحٍ.

والكلام للسيد علي الخامنئي أمام جمع من النخب الطالبية العلمية المتفوقة في شارع فلسطين في طهران.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

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The U.S. Bombed Afghanistan More in September than Any Month Since 2010, but the “Death Toll” Remains Hidden

The U.S. Bombed Afghanistan More in September than Any Month Since 2010, but the “Death Toll” Remains Hidden

By Emran Feroz,

In the war on terror, Trump doubles down on a failed strategy.

On August 21, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Afghanistan strategy. He made clear that the longest war in modern U.S. history had no end in sight, and that the U.S. government would increase its troop contingent by several thousand soldiers.

According to news reports, another 4,000 U.S. soldiers are slated for deployment to Afghanistan. However, Trump himself admitted the true numbers will remain in the dark, saying in his August 21 speech that the number of U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries would not be released by his administration in the future.

Nine days later, it was revealed that, instead of roughly 8,000 troops, as previously believed, at least 11,000 soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan. That’s not the only instance of information being withheld from the public: During the last days of Barack Obama‘s presidency, the Pentagon stopped releasing redacted investigations of major civilian casualty events caused by the U.S. military. This included war crimes in Syria, Afghanistan and several other countries where drones are haunting the skies, while special forces units are conducting shadowy operations on the ground.

Trump’s speech also dropped the pretense of “nation-building” that many across the political spectrum had used to justify the Afghanistan war. For him, it’s all about hunting down and killing “terrorists.”

Although the word “terrorist” has become vacuous, a label for everything and everyone, the question remains: Who are the “terrorists” in Afghanistan? Are they al-Qaeda, which has been practically non-existent in the country for years? Are they the leaders of the Taliban, which has grown since the start of the U.S.-led invasion and now controls many parts of the country? Are they the extremists of ISIS, whose presence was enabled by the violence of the U.S.-led war and invasion, too? Are they the brutal warlords and militia fighters who have become a crucial part of Afghanistan’s landscape and, since allying with the United States in 2001, have led parts of the Kabul government?

From an Afghan view, there are other “terrorists”: the drone operators who are remotely killing innocent people on a daily basis, or the Western soldiers who are hunting civilians and collect their body parts like trophies.

For the U.S. government, the answer is chillingly simple. Since 2012, the White House has maintained that every military-aged male in a strike zone is considered as an “enemy combatant.” This means what nearly all Afghan men—including teenagers—are considered “terrorists.” The same is true for Syrians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Yemenites and every other citizen of a country that has the luck to be terrorized by U.S. bombs and rockets, dropped by conventional aircraft or weaponized drones.

“We are all terrorists. If we get hit now, you are going to be called like that too,” a Taliban fighter in Nangarhar province in the east of the country told me when I visited his village in May. Local civilians who were nearby agreed with him.

What he said was true. I often thought how I would be described after getting killed by a drone strike, especially while researching in remote regions that are barely entered by Western journalists. Like most Afghan men, I have a beard and black hair. In today’s world, that’s enough to be called a “terrorist,” a danger to Western civilization.

Since Trump took over the presidency, about 2,000 airstrikes have been conducted by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. On October 12, a U.S. drone strike killed 14 people; Afghan officials claim the victims were ISIS militants but a local member of parliament alleges those killed were civilians. Last month, the U.S. dropped more bombs and missiles on Afghanistan than in any other month since 2010. Most of these strikes hit Nangarhar province, which was also the target of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), also known as the “Mother of All Bombs”, the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the Pentagon’s arsenal. According to recent UN data, U.S. strikes in Nangarhar are more likely to result in civilian casualties than strikes anywhere else in the country. But contrary to reports that often describe all victims as “suspected militants” or “terrorists,” many dead are civilians.

Provinces like Nangarhar, where the United States has been fighting its “War on Terror” since 2001, are the places where the U.S. lost this war. While the Taliban control many districts of such provinces, after years of constant occupation, many Afghan locals have developed a hatred toward the American soldiers, like their forefathers did towards the Russians and the British.

While Trump is giving one weird speech after the other, the Afghans in these remote areas live in real dystopia. The so-called government in Kabul, which was installed by the United States in 2001, has no influence here.

Instead, the people’s lives are controlled by Taliban insurgents who are often deeply connected with the local communities. More than 100,000 U.S. soldiers, who were deployed in Afghanistan during the Obama era, were not able to change this reality. It will not be much different under Trump.

It’s not just the mere presence of foreign troops that fuels war, but also what those troops have done and continue to do: carry out air strikes, conduct brutal night raids on civilians’ homes and torture detainees at places like Bagram Air Base—a place so notorious in Afghanistan that, to some, Guantanamo is considered a haven by comparison.

All signs indicate these atrocities will continue in the era of Donald Trump.

The identities of the people who have been murdered by the MOAB are still not known. While the Kabul government supported the attack and later announced that more than 90 ISIS militants have been killed, the White House preferred to stay silent. Too often, similar figures in the past have proven to be bogus. But in the United States, the stories of Afghans are only told when they fit with the interests of the U.S. empire. Otherwise, they remain faceless and invisible—and that’s how Donald Trump wants to keep them.

Emran Feroz is an Austrian-Afghan journalist and author based in Germany, and the founder of Drone Memorial, a virtual memorial for civilian drone strike victims. His book on the U.S. drone war just has been released in German.

Iran Doesn’t Have a Nuclear Weapons Program (israel does). Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?

Iran Doesn’t Have a Nuclear Arms Program. Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?

 by Adam Johnson

When it comes to Iran, do basic facts matter? Evidently not, since dozens and dozens of journalists keep casually reporting that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program” when it does not—a problem FAIR has reported on over the years (e.g., 9/9/15). Let’s take a look at some of the outlets spreading this falsehood in just the past five days:

  • Business Insider (10/13/17): The deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aims to incentivize Iran to curb its nuclear weapons program by lifting crippling international economic sanctions.”
  • New Yorker (10/16/17): “One afternoon in late September, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called a meeting of the six countries that came together in 2015 to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
  • Washington Post (10/16/17): “The administration is also considering changing or scrapping an international agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
  • CNN (10/17/17): “In reopening the nuclear agreement, [Trump] risks having Iran advance its nuclear weapons program at a time when he confronts a far worse nuclear challenge from North Korea that he can’t resolve.”

The problem with all of these excerpts: Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. It has a civilian nuclear energy program, but not one designed to build weapons. Over 30 countries have civilian nuclear programs; only a handful—including, of course, the US and Israel—have nuclear weapons programs. One is used to power cities, one is used to level them.

If you are skeptical, just refer to a 2007 assessment by all 16 US intelligences agencies (yes, those 16 US intelligence agencies), which found Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program. Or look at the same National Intelligence Estimate in 2012, which concluded again that there “is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.” Or we can listen to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which concurred with the US intelligence assessment (Haaretz, 3/18/12).

The “Iran Deal,” formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is built on curbing Iran’s civilian nuclear program, out of fear—fair or not—that it could one day morph into a nuclear weapons program. But at present, there is no evidence, much less a consensus, that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. JCPOA cannot be used as per se evidence such a program exists today; indeed, it is specifically designed to prevent such a program from developing down the road.

A slightly less egregious variant of this canard is when outlets suggest the JCPOA stopped an ongoing existing weapons program—though they don’t make the mistake of saying it still exists: The JCPOA “called for the elimination of economic sanctions Iran in exchange for Tehran giving up its nuclear weapons program,” USA Today (10/13/17) wrote. US and Israeli intelligence do claim that Iran once had a nuclear weapons program—but they say it ended in 2003, not in 2015 as a result of the JCPOA.

The distinction between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons is, of course, non-trivial. Every time the media mindlessly report Iran has a “nuclear weapons program” rather than a “nuclear program” (or, better, a “nuclear energy” or “nuclear power program”), they further advance the myth that Iran’s intentions or “ambitions” are to build a nuclear bomb, which is something we have no evidence it is doing or plans to do—at least since the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against building nuclear weapons in 2003 (Foreign Policy, 10/16/14).

So why do some many reporters keep mucking this up? A few reasons: It’s just a mantra repeated ad infinitum, and journalists and pundits often mindlessly repeat an oft-repeated phrase. Some, such as nuclear arms expert Jeffrey Lewis at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury Institute, think it’s simply an issue of reporters not knowing how to express a complicated idea.

“I often see this point [about the civilian vs weapons program] mangled. I don’t think it’s malice, just a writer or editor not knowing how to express an idea,” he said on social media. “The JCPOA imposes measures that constrain Iran’s nuclear energy program to provide confidence that the program remains peaceful,” he added, offering an example of how that idea can be expressed.

Another major reason for this recurring falsehood, as FAIR (7/6/17) noted after the New York Times twice “mistakenly” accused Iran of carrying out 9/11 (one of the smears going uncorrected for over three years), is that one can say pretty much anything about Iran without any professional or public backlash. Because Iran is an Official US Enemy, and its motives are therefore always deemed sinister, the idea that it is plotting to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and build a nuclear weapon is simply taken as a given. The lack of hard evidence for this is irrelevant: Intentions of those in the crosshairs of US power are always presented as cynical and malicious; those of the US and its allies benevolent and in good faith. Iran’s sinister motives are simply the default setting—no matter much evidence points to the contrary.

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