This week both ISIS & the USA has threatened Iran, what should we read into that, who exactly is supporting terrorists?

US general calls for military action against Iran

threatens for a hilarious reason- What ISIS & Al Nusra really are

US should use ‘military means’ against Iran: CENTCOM chief

US Central Command Commander Army General Joseph Votel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC, March 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP) US Central Command Commander Army General Joseph Votel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC, March 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The United States should consider using “military means” against Iran, US Army General Joseph Votel says, calling Tehran “the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the Middle East.

Votel, who heads the US Central Command (CENTCOM), made the hostile remarks while speaking before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

“I believe that Iran is operating in what I call a gray zone, and it’s an area between normal competition between states — and it’s just short of open conflict,” he told the panel.

Votel went on to accuse Iran of “destabilizing” the region through “lethal aid facilitation,” using “surrogate forces” and cyber operations.

“We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt [Iran] through military means or other means their activities,” he said. “We need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing.”

The general’s statements fall in line with the anti-Iran rhetoric of US President Donald Trump, who has accused Iran of supporting terrorism and said “nothing is off the table” in terms of a response to the country’s defensive missile program. Trump has also said that his administration formally put Tehran “on notice” over its missile test.

As the commander of CENTCOM, Votel is tasked with leading Washington’s military efforts in Central Asia and the Middle East. More than 80,000 US soldiers are stationed across the area under Votel’s command.

The general also oversees the US-led coalition’s airstrikes and other military operations against purported terrorist targets inside Syria and Iraq, a campaign that began in 2014 and has led to the death of many civilians without any meaningful achievement.

Votel’s comments came less than two weeks after a deadly coalition strike that killed over 200 civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

 

The Pentagon has admitted to carrying out such “unintentional” raids against civilian targets in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen as well.

Relatives mourn as bodies of Iraqi children of west Mosul killed in an airstrike by the US-led coalition are covered with blankets, March 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Additionally, Washington has come under pressure for forging a close military and political alliance with Saudi Arabia, ignoring the regime’s bloody war on Yemen and its clear support for extremist groups.

This is while the international community has constantly hailed Iran’s active role in curbing the terrorism threat plaguing the region.

Persian Gulf encounters

In his testimony before the lawmakers, Votel also discussed the recent surge in Iran-US military encounters in the Persian Gulf, saying his team was “paying extraordinarily close attention” to the issue.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Navy has on several occasions forced US Navy vessels to change course before wandering into Iranian territorial waters.

The last of such encounters occurred earlier this month, when a US Navy ship and three British Royal Navy boats steered out of the course approved for international naval transit in the Persian Gulf and came within 550 meters (0.3 nautical miles) of IRGC vessels, drawing serious warnings from them.

Iran has repeatedly warned that any act of transgression into Iran’s territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.

 

ISIS threatens Iran for a hilarious reason- What ISIS & Al Nusra really are

ISIS THREATENS IRAN FOR A HILARIOUS REASON – WHAT ISIS AND AL-NUSRA REALLY ARE
by : JOHN CHUCKMAN

“Perfect Timing: Islamic State Vows to Destroy Iran For ‘Protecting’ Jews’

Well, it just doesn’t get much clearer than that. In fact, it is almost comic in its clarity, resembling a feeble script written somewhere in the bowels of Mossad by junior publicity officers.

ISIS never, never attacks Israel or Israeli interests or even individual Israelis. There is nothing about ISIS threatening to Israel but the odd cheap slogan.

It always, always fights against governments Israel hates, as in Syria or in Iraq. Almost as if on command.

Now, the country Israel hates most of all, Iran, is said to be added to the list, with that asinine nonsense about the sin of “protecting Jews.” Why does Israel hate Iran so much? Because Iran is the only remaining competitor for the role of dominant state in the region. Israel wants it all, and the Pentagon and CIA happen to agree that America’s nasty little colony should have it all.

Israel has always been a key player in covertly supporting ISIS and other cutthroat outfits like Al-Nusra.

What we have here is good old-fashioned American imperialism working covertly, hand-in-glove, with its Middle East colony, otherwise known as Israel.


Response to another reader’s comment about Putin’s description of ISIS as mercenaries going for the highest pay:

Yes, as Putin has said, they are mercenaries. The US knows it is always possible to collect rag-tag armies of such people, give them a bit of help and arms and set them loose on some place you want to destroy. The world is full of young men with poor job prospects in their homelands and who are attracted to paid violence and the opportunity to excel in some way, if only in killing and raping. All you have to do is round up some of them under a phony advertising name, suggesting a cause such as Muslim militancy.

The “help” you give them gets a bit complex here, as with money from Saudi Arabia and Oman, armaments from Israel, Britain, US, and France, medical services from Israel, and air support from the US, Britain, and France.

When so-called terrorists strike back at parts of Europe, as we see occasionally in huge press events, they are not in fact ISIS or Al-Nusra, the people who have always been, in one way or another, supported by America, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Britain, and others. That phony claim of responsibility only reinforces the public support for the dirty war which got everything going in the first, the war against legitimate governments like that of Syria.

The attackers in Europe are really desperate men from some of the very places under attack, and they are trying to strike a blow against states they know are involved in the destruction of their homes, as France or Britain, places like the US being much too hard to reach effectively.

This entire stage play with ISIS and Al-Nusra and other murderous bands surely represents one of the most complex and insidious covert operations we’ve ever seen. I am sure people in the State Department and CIA spent many long hours years ago working it all out.

How do we destroy Syria without sending American troops in for another illegal invasion like the one in Iraq, illegal invasions having many undesirable consequences including huge amounts of public disapproval and dirtying your carefully-groomed public image with the clear public perception of your being an aggressor nation?

Same for Israel. It could have handled all or much of this alone, but it is already seen, and justly, as a pariah nation by much of the planet. How neat to get all the dirt you want done carried out in this fashion.

American troops dying in any large numbers, even though they are not conscripts as in Vietnam but well-paid mercenaries themselves, is still not politically acceptable in America. That’s why the “shock and awe” and unbelievably overwhelming force used in Iraq, to pulverize the “enemy” and to prevent really large numbers of coffins coming home. Its aggressive war on the cheap, as it were.

That’s why Afghanistan was done with massive bombing supporting the cutthroats of the Northern Alliance doing much of the fighting on the ground against their old opposition, the Taleban.

That’s why the phony imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya while rag-tag forces you’ve recruited and supplied, quite likely helped by American special forces covertly seeded in, fight a government totally pinned down by American planes. Of course, that situation quickly morphs into one where the US air forces simply start massive bombing and strafing, effectively an open invasion but from the skies, supposedly excused by violations of a harmless-sounding “no-fly zone.”

That is what the US wanted to do in Syria, too, with Obama’s phony “crossing a red line” talk over sporadic use of chemical weapons, sporadic use exclusively by America’s own paid goons but attributed to the government, using material likely forwarded by team Hillary from Gaddafi’s captured supplies in Libya to create an excuse for direct American air intervention. It is all a huge, dirty game to keep the public confused while getting what you want with extreme violence in other lands.

Does the US ever really bomb ISIS? Yes, there are times and places, as at Mosul now, when it views its former servants as inconvenient and disposable. Who cares about such human trash? is the American attitude. Use them while they are useful, and kill them off where they’ve started getting in the way for one reason or another. After all, gangs of armed thugs do get tempted to stray from the script, or we find external circumstances change enough to warrant dispatching them.

The deadly cynicism is what you would expect from well-paid teams of bright psychopathic personalities deliberately hired by CIA for its operations branch, a branch which amounts to a large covert army free to fight under no rules or international laws, one which has access to virtually limitless funds. The operations branch, the real reason for the CIA’s existence as it provides bones and sinews for expanding America’s international empire. This is opposed to the CIA’s information-gathering branch, something which serves almost as window dressing for public consumption over the decades. After all, gathering information is good, isn’t it? And intelligence is what the organization’s name has in it, isn’t it? The dark destructive stuff, well that stays deep in the shadows.

This all serves multiple objectives. In the West, the stuff about horrible terrorists keeps getting reinforced, scaring people and getting them to keep supporting more military spending, more covert operations abroad, and more intrusions by outfits like CIA, NSA, and FBI into their own rights and freedoms in the name of fighting “terror.”

Actually, all the while, a mass grave is being surreptitiously dug, a grave for what people were used to regarding as “inalienable rights.” America’s power establishment, in its pursuit of total world domination, has little use for such niceties, but it is not politically acceptable to say so. I’m sure there are many nasty smirks and chuckles in places like Langley, Virginia, when speeches are heard about America’s traditional rights, as by naïve idealistic politicians like Bernie Sanders or naïve leaders of rights organizations. Powerful bullies, of course, do not have a lot of tolerance for “bleeding hearts” stuff, but the many sadistic types among them appreciate a good laugh.

This way of doing things serves Israel’s interests, too, in continuously portraying Muslims as terrible people capable of anything, so Israel, the actual aggressor and begetter or most of the wars in the region, can keep playing the phony role it has played for decades, that of poor little David fighting Goliath and hordes of ignorant, uncouth Philistines. The role was somewhat well received back in the 1960s, but, after a half century of Israel’s brutal occupation, abuse, theft, and killing, the role had become a bit tired in its acceptance by audiences. This work tarts things up a bit, like a fresh coat of make-up applied to a corpse.

And Israel’s interests are the interests of the Pentagon and CIA since Israel really effectively is an American colony serving a number of American imperial interests in the region.

Iran’s President Rouhani Visited Russia: Another Step to Multipolar World

Iran’s President Rouhani Visited Russia: Another Step to Multipolar World

PETER KORZUN | 29.03.2017 | WORLD

Iran’s President Rouhani Visited Russia: Another Step to Multipolar World

The significance of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Russia on March 27-28 goes far beyond the bilateral relationship. Iran is one of the main actors in Syria and Iraq. It has an importance place in the geopolitical plans of US President Donald Trump. Its relationship with Russia is an important factor of international politics. The future of the entire Middle East depends to a great extent on what Russia and Iran do and how effectively they coordinate their activities.

Less than two months are left till the presidential election in Iran. The presidential race formally starts on April 17 and Rouhani has a good chance to win. True, the country’s foreign policy at the strategic level is defined by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the executive branch of the government led by president implements it. The spiritual leader does not pay visits to other countries but Russian President Vladimir Putin met him in Tehran last year – the second time in the recent 17 years.

This was Rouhani’s first official visit to Russia and the first time he and Putin met within a bilateral framework. The trip took place against the background of growing partnership as both countries have become leading forces of the Astana process that made Iran, Russia and Turkey guarantors of the Syrian cease-fire.

True, the cooperation in Syria is of utmost importance but there is each and every reason to believe that Russia and Iran will have to join together in an attempt to settle the conflict in Afghanistan. As a regional superpower, Iran will gain much by coordinating activities with Russia in that country after the US withdrawal that seems to be inevitable. Such cooperation would become a game-changing factor with far-reaching consequences for the region from the Mediterranean to Pakistan.

The emerging triangle, including Russia, Iran and Turkey, becomes an alliance, could reshape the region. A ceasefire in Syria reached as a result of the Astana process led by the «big three» would reduce the clout of the US, the UK and France. Actually, their influence has already been diminished. The neighboring states will see that progress can be achieved without the «traditional players» representing the West.

Russia is the country that can debunk the myth that the Middle East is threatened by a «Shia threat» emanating from Tehran. It can use its close and friendly relations with leading Sunni states – Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and, perhaps, Saudi Arabia – to play the stabilizing role of mediator between the Shia and Sunni camps. Russia has a unique position to act as an intermediary between Iran and Israel – something nobody else can do.

It’ll take years to heal the wounds and mitigate the contradictions between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Today, the West does not enjoy the clout it once had there. The borders drawn by Western countries caused many conflicts; direct military interventions made them lose trust and support. Under the circumstances, Russia is not exactly an outside actor. Moscow needs peace and stability in the region. This goal can be achieved in tandem with Turkey and Iran. Iraq and Syria can join the trio after they overcome the devastating results of wars. It makes the cooperation with Tehran an issue of paramount importance for Russia.

The bilateral relationship is going to be strengthened by large-scale economic projects.

Despite the importance of foreign policy issues, the talks mainly focused on prospects for deepening trade, economic and investment cooperation, including under large joint projects in energy and transport infrastructure. More than ten major trade and economic agreements were signed during the visit. Russia has already pumped about one billion euros into Iran’ railway network, with serious financial injections into bilateral projects yet to be implemented.

Exports to Iran stand at only around 1 percent of Russian foreign trade, but a trade surplus and the existence of a large market for Russian manufactured goods make Iran an important partner. The bilateral trade grew by 60 percent from $1.2 billion in 2015 to almost $2 billion in 2016.

The resumption of weapons deliveries and participation in infrastructure projects financed by Russian loans have led to the doubling of exports of non-energy products from Russia to Iran. The first batch of S-300 air defense systems was delivered in April 2016.

Russia has agreed to provide Iran with a loan of $2.2 billion for infrastructure projects involving Russian companies. It is planned to build a power plant and enhance generation at another in Iran in a contract worth several billion dollars. Under an agreement signed between the two sides, the Russians will improve efficiency at the Ramin power plant in Khuzestan province to 50-55% from 36% now. Another Russian company will build a 1,400-megawatt power plant in the Iranian city of Bandar Abbas in Hormuzgan province. Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz plans to export 300 trucks in 2017, GAZ signed a memorandum with the Iranian authorities for the supply of 900 buses.

Russia’s role in reaching the Iran nuclear deal, the cooperation in Syria and the allegiance to the policy of rapprochement declared by President Putin provide ample evidence of Moscow’s desire to boost the bilateral ties.

A momentous event to take place this year will provide an impetus to the development of Russia-Iran relations. Tehran is expected to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this June. Iran also has expressed interest in signing a trade agreement with the Eurasian Union.

Russia and Iran are united by common goals and interests. The development of relations between the two great powers is a significant contribution into creating alternative poles of power to change the world for the better.

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The most important summit is between Rohani and Putin قمّة القمم بين روحاني وبوتين

The most important summit is between Rohani and Putin

Written by Nasser Kandil,

مارس 29, 2017

Within months after Moscow Meeting which brought together Russia, Turkey, and Iran after the liberation of Aleppo which was the outcome of the Syrian-Russian-Iranian cooperation with the resistance the region especially Syria has witnessed a series of developments closer to the major tests of the major choices in a way that focus on the issues which the decision –maker needs before putting the record straight.

The new US President who has waged his electoral campaign has been tested under the titles of the war on ISIS and the cooperation with Russia. It seemed away from explaining the reasons that when the anticipated cooperation with Trump’s administration takes place, it would be conditional on the two equations of the balances of the ruling forces in Syria in favor of Russia and its allies on one hand, and the controls which will be put by the decision-maker of the US field in the Pentagon and the intelligence on the other hand. It became fixed that the hesitation and the confusion will characterize the situation of the new US administration, as well as the inability to proceed with a smooth cooperation with Russia as was suggested in the slogans of the electoral campaign, but the cooperation with Russia is no longer possible but to be a bitter indispensable fait accompli till it becomes available in politics. The decision-makers centers are controlled with the Russophobia, they try to behold this cooperation despite it is a US need conditions that are not accepted by Russia as having a role for Israel in the security of Syria, resizing the relationship with Iran, and weakening Hezbollah.

The possibilities of the strategic cooperation with Turkey have been tested in the light of their bad bet on the military option, as was seemed through the Turkish preparation by apologizing from Russia and the seeking to restore the relation with it, in addition to depend on the option of the Russian-Turkish-Iranian cooperation after the liberation of Aleppo to make a new political path in Syria starting from Astana path and away from the fate of the Turks. The tests showed that there were no strategic shifts in the Turkish performance despite the succession of the disappointments from the battle of Al Bab which did not achieve its goal through the US barter that paves the way for the Turks to enter Manbej and Raqqa in exchange of having control on the Kurds or through what they are doing by disrupting the path of Astana and driving the affiliated factions of them to a crazy war behind Al Nusra front, and within Saudi-Israeli considerations.

Israel which hides behind the US policies and the Saudi Turkish alliances has lived the test of respecting the controls and the red lines with Russia, it seemed absurd, ready to take an adventure, infiltrating behind the US aircraft which attack Al-Qaeda sites in the western of Aleppo to target sites of the Syrian army in Palmyra in order to delay the arrival of the Syrian army to the banks of the Euphrates and to give a push to the leaders of the collapsed armed groups to tell them that you are not alone, exactly as the US raid on Deir Al Zour which targeted sensitive sites of the Syrian army. Simply Israel neither took into account the symbolism of that raid, knowing that the Prime Minister of its government has already ended his visit to Moscow, nor it took into account what he has heard from the Russian President, so this put the Syrian Israeli confrontation on the brink of war.

Saudi Arabia did not receive the messages of Moscow and Tehran to proceed to the dialogue and the political solutions, it is still supporting Al Nusra front and betting on the manipulation with the Syrian balances. Despite the warnings of the dire consequences it proceeds in the war of destruction in Yemen, it engages into stupid bets to encourage Washington to take more adventures, furthermore it ignored the messages of Moscow through Cairo and Amman about the call to normalize the official Arab relationship through the Arab League with Syria in order to reserve an Arab seat in the next Syrian settlement.

The strategic conclusion which will be on the table of the first international leader and the first regional leader  is that the arena is not ready yet for the settlements on one hand, and on the other hand what has been achieved through the battles and the victories and the deterrent military presence in Syria are not enough to achieve the needed level of rationality from the international and the regional players to make needed controls, and that there must be a military deterrence presence in the field to wage a new test to discover the readiness for the serious political engagement.

It is a coincidence that this anticipated summit has been preceded by summits, but the Russian President has met the Turkish President and the Head of the occupation government in order that the Russian-Iranian summit will be the best summit.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

قمّة القمم بين روحاني وبوتين

مارس 28, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– خلال شهور أعقبت لقاء موسكو الذي جمع روسيا وتركيا وإيران في أعقاب تحرير حلب الذي كان ثمرة التعاون السوري الروسي الإيراني مع المقاومة، شهدت المنطقة وخصوصاً سورية مجموعة تطورات أقرب للاختبارات الكبرى للخيارات الكبرى، بحيث تشكل إضاءة على المسائل التي يحتاج صاحب القرار استكشافها قبل وضع النقاط على الحروف.

– جرى اختبار الرئيس الأميركي الجديد الذي خاض حملته الانتخابية تحت عناوين الحرب على داعش والتعاون مع روسيا، حيث ظهر، بعيداً عن تفسير الأسباب، أنّ التعاون المرتقب مع إدارة ترامب حين حدوثه سيكون مشروطاً بمعادلتي موازين القوى الحاكمة في سورية لصالح روسيا وحلفائها من جهة، والضوابط التي سيضعها الممسكون بالقرار الميداني الأميركي في البنتاغون والمخابرات، من جهة أخرى، فقد صار ثابتاً أنّ التردّد والارتباك يطبعان وضع الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، والعجز عن المضيّ قدماً في تعاون سلس مع روسيا كما كان الإيحاء في شعارات الحملة الانتخابية، بل إنّ التعاون مع روسيا لم يعُد ممكناً إلا بصفته كأساً مرّة يفرضها الواقع وتبدو لا غنى عنها، حتى تصير واردة في السياسة، ومراكز صنع القرار محكومة بالروسيا فوبيا، وتحاول تحميل هذا التعاون رغم ظهوره حاجة أميركية، شروطاً لا يمكن قبولها من جانب روسيا كمثل انتزاع دور لـ«إسرائيل في أمن سورية، وتحجيم العلاقة مع إيران وإضعاف حزب الله.

– جرى اختبار فرص التعاون الاستراتيجي مع تركيا في ضوء تجربتها المرّة بالرهان على الخيار العسكري، كما بدا الأمر بالتمهيد التركي عبر الاعتذار من روسيا والسعي لترميم العلاقة معها، وما تكرّس بعد تحرير حلب من تموضع على خيار التعاون الروسي التركي الإيراني لصناعة مسار سياسي جديد في سورية، انطلاقاً من مسار أستانة، وبعيداً عن المآل الذي سينتهي إليه الأتراك، فقد أوضحت الاختبارات أن لا تحوّلات استراتيجية في الأداء التركي، رغم تعاقب الخيبات، من معركة الباب العدمية التي لم تحقق هدفها بمقايضة أميركية تفسح المجال للأتراك بدخول منبج والرقة، وتقديم رأس الأكراد لهم هدية، أو بما يفعلونه عبر تعطيل مسار أستانة وأخذ الفصائل التابعة لهم في حرب مجنونة وراء جبهة النصرة ضمن حسابات سعودية إسرائيلية .

– إسرائيل اللاعب الواقف وراء الستار في السياسات الأميركية والتحالفات السعودية والتركية، هي الأخرى عاشت روسيا معها اختبار احترام الضوابط والخطوط الحمراء، وبدت عبثية مستهترة، مستعدّة للعب على حافة الهاوية، تتسلل وراء الطائرات الأميركية التي تغير على موقع للقاعدة غرب حلب لتضرب مواقع للجيش السوري في تدمر، لتأخير وصول الجيش السوري إلى ضفاف الفرات، وترفع معنويات قادة الجماعات المسلحة المنهارة لتقول لهم لستم وحدكم، تماماً كالغارة الأميركية على دير الزور التي استهدفت مواقع حساسة للجيش السوري. وببساطة لم تقم إسرائيل حساباً لرمزية الغارة وقد أنهى رئيس حكومتها زيارة لموسكو للتوّ، ولا لما سمعه من الرئيس الروسي، ما وضع المواجهة السورية الإسرائيلية على شفا حرب.

– السعودية هي الأخرى لم تتلقف رسائل موسكو وطهران للحوار والسير بالحلول السياسية، ولا تزال تدعم جبهة النصرة وتراهن على التلاعب بالتوازنات السورية، وتمضي رغم التحذيرات من العواقب الوخيمة في حرب التدمير في اليمن، وتخوض رهانات خرقاء على تشجيع واشنطن لخوض المزيد من المغامرات، وقد ضربت عرض الحائط برسائل موسكو عبر القاهرة وعمّان حول الدعوة لتطبيع العلاقة العربية الرسمية عبر الجامعة العربية مع سورية، لحجز مقعد عربي في التسوية السورية المقبلة.

– الخلاصة الاستراتيجية التي ستكون على طاولة الزعيمين الدولي الأول والإقليمي الأول، هي أنّ الساحة ليست ناضجة بعد للتسويات من جهة، ومن جهة مقابلة فإنّ ما قدّمته المعارك والانتصارات المحققة، والحضور العسكري الرادع في سورية ليس كافياً لبلوغ منسوب العقلانية المطلوب من اللاعبين الدوليين والإقليميين لصناعة الضوابط والكوابح المطلوبة، وأن جرعة ردع عسكرية وازنة لا بدّ منها في الميدان لخوض اختبار جديد بعدها لاستكشاف مدى الجهوزية للانخراط السياسي الجدّي.

– ليست صدفة القمم التي سبقت هذه القمة المرتقبة، وقد التقى الرئيس الروسي بكلّ من الرئيس التركي ورئيس حكومة الاحتلال، لتكون القمة الروسية الإيرانية قمة القمم.

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ISIS Threatens Iran for tolerating Jews, but considering ISIS cooperation with israel, is strange

ISIS Threatens Iran for Tolerating Jews

Rare Farsi Video Slams Iranian Govt for Offering Protection to Religious Minority

ISIS has released a new propaganda video, this one unusually in Farsi language and directed specifically at Iran, threatening to destroy the current government of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and declaring Khamenei a “cursed person.”

The video singles out Iran for criticism because of its tolerance for its Jewish minority, saying that they are trying to “deceive the Sunnis” by presenting themselves as against the US and Israel while tolerating Iranian Jews living safely under government protection and having temples in Iranian cities.

Iran has had a Jewish minority living in  its territory for some 3,000 years, and with estimates of as many as 25,000 Jews living there, is unique among Middle East nations in having such a community, with other nations in the region not tolerating their Jewish minorities after the establishment of Israel.

ISIS has been extremely hostile toward  Iran since their founding, as a Sunni jihadist group that got its start attacking an Iranian-backed Shi’ite government in Iraq, and while it’s not surprising to see ISIS singling out Iran as an enemy, it is surprisingly to see the nature of their narrative.

US Forces Block Syrian Army Advance in Preparation For Syria Partition

A U.S.-backed operation near Raqqa aims to “block any advance by Syrian government forces from the west”. The Balkanization of Syria begins

Global Research, March 27, 2017
Russia Insider 27 March 2017
Syrian-Rebels-US-Army-Training

The road to Raqqa is now blocked by U.S. forces and their allies. The chances that Raqqa (and the surrounding region) will be returned to Syria are now slim to none. Foreign armies and their proxies are sharpening their carving knives.

U.S. Special Forces and Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters have just captured a “strategic air base” from Islamic State in northern Syria; in doing so, they have also “blocked” the advance of the Syrian Army as it approaches Raqqa from the west:

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Sunday that they captured the Tabqa air base, 45km west of Raqqa, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group’s de facto capital in Syria.

Earlier this week, US forces airlifted SDF fighters behind ISIL lines to allow them to launch the Tabqa assault, and on Friday the alliance reached one of the dam’s entrances.

SDF forces were within 10km of Raqqa from the north, and aimed to effectively surround the city before launching an assault.

But as RFE/RL quietly notes:

Besides recapturing the dam, SDF said the U.S.-backed operation also aimed to block any advance by Syrian government forces from the west.

The landing forces airdropped into Syria seized four small villages in the area west of Tabqa and cut a main highway that links the provinces of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor, and Aleppo, Scrocca said.

The SDF cut the last main road out of Raqqa earlier this month, narrowing in on the city from the north, east, and west.

The only way in or out of Raqqa now is over the Euphrates River that borders the city to the south.

Incredible, isn’t it? A foreign army that is illegally operating in a sovereign nation can just march in and cut off the legitimate army of said sovereign nation from liberating its own city from terrorists.

What a world — and so much for international law.

It will be interesting to see Moscow’s reaction. Was this always part of the “deal” in Syria? Or is Washington hoping that Syria, Iran and Russia will accept Raqqa’s U.S.-ordained fate?

Stay tuned.

Iran under Trump

All revolutions are constantly in evolution – on a never-ending quest for legitimacy and self-improvement. The revolution that gave birth to the Islamic Republic of Iran is no different.

Iran under Trump

Some experts argue that the Islamic revolutionary order had been solidified by the Iran-Iraq war [1980-1988], which was fueled by western states and Arab monarchies. The conflict that served to reaffirm the revolution’s anti-imperialist zeal also charted the course for Tehran’s national security agenda.

In the years that followed, the isolated, Shiite-majority state emerged as a regional powerhouse, mastering the process of mobilizing and fighting alongside external ‘non-state actors’, to keep Washington’s dogs of war away from its borders.

The last two decades, defined by the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the war effort against the Damascus government, only reaffirmed Tehran’s chosen path, hardening its resolve.

In many respects, the arrival of Donald Trump is simply a continuation of this process, reassuring the Iranian public and political establishment that their decades-long approach towards Washington’s regional agenda has always been spot-on.

And while Trump’s election polarized the western world, it served to strengthen the unity of the Iranian nation and bridge any existing gaps between the country’s reformist and conservative camps.

“Thank you, Mr. Trump”

During the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 7, the Supreme Leader, His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, mockingly addressed the Trump administration’s hostile stance towards Tehran.

“Thank you, Mr. Trump, for showing the true face of America,” Sayyed Khamenei said.

Iranian president Sheikh Hassan Rouhani also addressed the crowds gathered to laud the Revolution.

“We are not after tensions in the region and the world,” he said. “We are united in the face of bullying and any threat.”

Interestingly, the nationwide rallies, which came at a time of sharp anti-Iranian rhetoric in Washington, further highlighted Tehran’s ability to exercise restraint and its constant readiness for dialogue.

According to the New York Times, the national holiday was marked “with far less of the usual vitriol for the United States.”

“Most notably, there were no missiles on display, as had been customary in previous years,” NYT’s Thomas Erdbrink writes.

“[Tehran] does not want any confrontation with the US. Don’t be surprised, we have no interest with tensions,” said the Iranian political analyst Farshad Ghorbanpour.

Of course, all of this should hardly come as a surprise, given that the Islamic Republic has absolutely nothing to gain by ratcheting up tensions across the region.

Trump’s approach

It is very difficult to understand President Trump’s reasoning behind his decision to slap fresh sanctions on Iran. It is equally difficult to analyze the key components of the Trump administration’s foreign policy agenda, especially with respect to the enduring climate of instability in the Middle East.

Despite the fact that Trump’s campaign rhetoric often promised to undo the Iranian nuclear agreement, no concrete steps have been taken in this regard. Suggestions that the American president could simply tear up the multilateral accord reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries should be taken with a grain of salt, given that such a move lacks any semblance of serious international support.

Instead, the Trump administration appears to believe that a new round of negotiations with Tehran over its growing role in the region, which includes its alliances with Damascus and Hezbollah, is still possible. Trump’s reset with the Arab monarchies and ‘Israel’ is designed to send a message that his administration is unwilling to accept the new realities on the ground, particularly in Syria, where a long-term Iranian presence is looking increasingly likely.

Recent ‘Israeli’ airstrikes, which struck targets deep in Syrian territory, as well as the deployment of hundreds of additional American soldiers to Syria, suggest that Trump wants to be heard, and that the current state of affairs in the Middle East is not acceptable for the US president.

But the sheer notion that Tehran would be willing to negotiate over its regional alliances – one of the defining features of its national security policy since the early years of the Islamic Revolution – has been dismissed as a nonstarter in Iran.

To what degree this lack of common ground, combined with the increasingly desperate Tel Aviv and Riyadh may contribute to further regional instability, is still an open question.

A senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment and professor at Georgetown University, Karim Sadjadpour, offers a pessimistic outlook of the future.

“In Donald Trump’s first term, there is a serious possibility of a military conflict, whether intentional or inadvertent, between the United States or ‘Israel’ and Iran,” Sadjadpour, who also reports on Iran, writes for The Atlantic.

And a combination of mistrust, aggressive action and isolated incidents could set the course towards a direct military confrontation, which, needless to say, is clearly not in any regional or international player’s interest at the moment.

Al-Ahed News

25-03-2017 | 07:44

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