The White Helmets Ride Again

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By Philip Geraldi
Source

I am often asked to explain why countries like Iran appear to be so aggressive, involving themselves in foreign wars and seeking to create alliances that they know will provoke the worst and most paranoid responses from some of their neighbors. My response is invariably that perceptions of threat depend very much on which side of the fence you are standing on. Saudi Arabia and Israel might well perceive Iranian actions as aggressive given the fact that all three countries are competing for dominance in the same region, but Iran, which is surrounded by powerful enemies, could equally explain its activity as defensive, seeking to create a belt of allies that can be called upon if needed if a real shooting war breaks out.

The United States and Israel are, of course, masters at seeing everything as a threat, justifying doing whatever is deemed necessary to defend against what are perceived to be enemies. They even exercise extraterritoriality, with Washington claiming a right to go after certain categories of “terrorists” in countries with which it is not at war, most particularly Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Israel does likewise in its attacks on Lebanon and Syria. Both Tel Aviv and Washington have regularly crossed the line drawn by international legal authorities in terms of what constitutes initiating a “just” or “legal” war, i.e. an imminent threat to use force by a hostile power. Neither Israel nor the United States has really been threatened by an enemy or enemies in the past seventy years, so the definition of threat has been expanded to include after-the-fact as with 9/11 and potential as in the case of Israel and Iran.

The “which side of the fence” formulation has also had some interesting spin-offs in terms of how so-called non-state players that use violence are perceived and portrayed. Nearly all widely accepted definitions of terrorism include language that condemns the “use of politically motivated violence against non-combatants to provoke a state of terror.”

It is quite easy to identify some groups that are unambiguously “terrorist.” Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) and its various affiliates fit the definition perfectly, but even in that case there is some ambiguity by those state actors who are ostensibly pledged to eradicate terrorists. There have been credible claims that the United States has been protecting the last enclaves of ISIS in order to maintain its “right” to stay in Syria, allegedly based on the stated objective of completely destroying the group before withdrawal. As long as ISIS is still around in Syria, Washington will have an admittedly illegal justification for doing likewise.

There are two notable groups that should be universally condemned as terrorists but are not for political reasons. They are the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), Iranian dissidents that are based in Paris and Washington, and the so-called White Helmets who have been active in Syria. MEK is particularly liked by Israel and its friends inside the Beltway because it retains resources inside Iran that enable it to carry out assassinations and sabotage, and if it is only Iranians that are dying, that’s okay.

MEK has been on the State Department roster of foreign terrorist organizations since the list was established in 1997. Its inclusion derives from its having killed six Americans in the 1970s and from its record of violence both inside and outside Iran since that time. The group was driven out of Iran, denied refuge in France, and eventually armed and given a military base by Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein. Saddam used the group to carry out terrorist acts inside Iran. MEK is widely regarded as a cult headed by a husband and wife team Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members were required to be celibate and there are reports that they are subjected to extensive brainwashing, physical torture, severe beatings even unto death, and prolonged solitary confinement if they question the leadership. One scholar who has studied them describes their beliefs as a “weird combination of Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.” Like many other terrorist groups MEK has a political wing that operates openly referred to as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is based in Paris, and another front organization called Executive Action which operates in Washington.

MEK was regarded as a terrorist group until 2012, when it was taken off the Special Designation list by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was removed because multi-million dollar contracts with Washington lobbying firms experienced at “working” congress backed up by handsome speaking fees had induced many prominent Americans to join the chorus supporting NCRI. Prior to 2012, speaking fees for the group started at $15,000 and went up from there. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell reported more than $150,000 in honoraria. Rudy Giuliani has been paid generously for years at $20,000 per appearance for brief, twenty-minute speeches. Bear in mind that MEK was a listed terrorist group at the time and accepting money from it to promote its interests should have constituted material support of terrorism.

The group’s well-connected friends have included prominent neocons like current National Security Advisor John Bolton and ex-CIA Directors James Woolsey, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss as well as former Generals Anthony Zinni, Peter Pace, Wesley Clark, and Hugh Shelton. Traditional conservatives close to the Trump Administration like Newt Gingrich, Fran Townsend and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao are also fans of NCRI. Townsend in particular, as a self-proclaimed national security specialist, has appeared on television to denounce Iran, calling its actions “acts of war” without indicating that she has received money from an opposition group.

MEK’s formula for success in removing itself from the terrorism lift involved paying its way through a corrupt political system. More interesting perhaps is the tale of the White Helmets, who have just been given the 2019 Elie Wiesel Award by the National Holocaust Museum, with the citation “These volunteer rescue workers have saved lives on all sides of the conflict in Syria. Their motto is ‘To save one life is to save all of humanity.’”

The White Helmets have been praised by those who hate the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria and want to see it removed because of its role as a leading element in the propaganda campaign that seeks to instigate violence or use fabricated information to depict the Damascus government as guilty of slaughtering its own citizens. The propaganda is intended to terrorize the civilian population, which is part of the definition of terrorism.

Favorable media coverage derives from the documentary The White Helmets, which was produced by the group itself and tells a very convincing tale promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” It is a very impressive piece of propaganda, so much so that it has won numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Documentary Short last year and the White Helmets themselves were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, however, is the undeniable fact that the documentary has helped shape the public understanding of what is going on in Syria, describing the government in Damascus in purely negative terms.

Recently, with the Syrian Army closing in on the last White Helmet affiliates still operating in the country, the Israeli government, assisted by the United States, staged an emergency humanitarian evacuation of the group’s members and their families to Israel and then on to Jordan. It was described in a BBC article that included “The IDF said they had ‘completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families’, saying there was an ‘immediate threat to their lives.’ The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel was an exceptional humanitarian gesture. Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades. Despite the intervention, the IDF said that ‘Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict.’”

All of the Israeli assertions are nonsense, including its claimed “humanitarianism” and “non-intervention” in the Syrian war, where it has been bombing almost daily. The carefully edited scenes of heroism under fire that have been filmed and released worldwide conceal the White Helmets’ relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra and its participation in the torture and execution of “rebel” opponents. Indeed, the White Helmets only operate in rebel held territory, which enables them to shape the narrative both regarding who they are and what is occurring on the ground.

The White Helmets travelled to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative. Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets thereby de facto became a major source of “eyewitness” news regarding what was going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists were quite rightly afraid to go, all part of a broader largely successful “rebel” effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians, an effort that has led to several attacks on government forces and facilities by the U.S. military. This is precisely the propaganda that has been supported both by Tel Aviv and Washington.

Perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities, to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group’s jihadi associates regard the White Helmets as fellow “mujahideen” and “soldiers of the revolution.”

So, the National Holocaust Museum, which is taxpayer funded, has given an apparently prestigious award to a terrorist group, something which could have been discerned with even a little fact checking. And the museum also might have been sensitive to how the White Helmets have been used in support of Israeli propaganda vis-à-vis Syria. Perhaps, while they are at it, the museum’s board just might also want to check out Elie Wiesel, for whom the award is named. Wiesel, who was a chronicler of Jewish victimhood while persistently refusing to acknowledge what Israel was doing to the Palestinians, notoriously mixed fact and fiction in his best-selling holocaust memoir Night. Ironically, the award and recipient are well matched in this case as mixing fact and fiction is what both Elie Wiesel and the White Helmets are all about.

 

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Iran’s definitive account of the Iraq war: Written by a female Iraqi Kurd

Iran’s definitive account of the Iraq war: Written by a female Iraqi Kurd

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

On September 22nd there was a terrible terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz which killed 25 innocent people and wounded 70 other people. This was universally reported in the West as having occurred at a “military parade”, when it was actually a parade to commemorate the 1980 start of the Western-backed, Western-funded, Western-armed invasion which used Iraq to try to destroy the democratic 1979 Iranian Revolution.

But none of those accurate adjectives can be said in the West…no, no, no – it was just a no-reason-needed military parade, as if Iran was a warmongering nation prepping its fanatical people for imperialist adventures. (Iran has not invaded a country in well-over 200 years.)

The timing of the attack was obviously (though not primarily) a way to divert the world’s attention from the deadliest conflict of the last quarter of the 20th century. Instead of talking about what disaster and death was heaped on Iran from 1980-1988, it was Iranian “militarism” which was discussed and not anyone else’s.

But ho-hum, more misreporting on Iran. In other news: the sun rose this morning. This is just life for all socialist-inspired democratic revolutions – Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China, etc., have all had their sufferings ignored, their mistakes amplified and their successes denied. To even raise this point makes one an unthinking “apologist”, an Islamofascist, a totalitarian commie, blah blah blah.

This is the front cover art for the book One Woman’s War: Da (Mother) written by Seyedeh Azam Hosseini. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to Mazda Publishers.

The tragic event, and the subsequent false histories of the Western media, makes this an appropriate time to bring up what has become the most important literary reference for Iranians regarding the war – a book called Da. “Da” means mother in Kurdish, and not in Farsi. The book was written by a woman whose Iraqi Kurdish family had emigrated to Iran when she was a child.

How could the definitive account on the Iranian view of the Iran-Iraq War have been written by an Iraqi Kurd, and a female to boot?!

You would think Iranians hate Iraqis; you are certain that Iran hates women; and you assume that Iran has a war against the Kurds, just like Iraq, Turkey and Syria. If you assume everyone follows the dictates of capitalism’s identity politics, you likely would predict that this book is a litany of accusations and compiled hatreds towards Iran.

If you assume all these things it’s because you fail to realize that Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution was inspired by socialism, which demands a citizen and a government loudly banish racism from the public sphere. Much like this stoned surfer-dude American idiot who wrote an article titled Whoa. The Soviet Union Got Racial Equality Right Before America?, you are way, way, WAY off. (And when did America get racial equality “right”?)

For a comparison: Can anyone imagine that France’s definitive account on the Algerian War for Independence would come from a non-White? Their most famous work on Algeria is The Stranger by Albert Camus, who was an isolated-from-Algerians pied noir whose refusal to condemn French oppression was selfishly defined by the fact that he cared more for his mother’s comfort than a million dead Algerians. Heaven forbid that Madame Camus would have to relocate back to France, even if that meant ending a war and a 132-year occupation.… Camus’ view of morality is 100% rooted in Western capitalism individualism, after all, which is the reason its popularity still endures today.

But Iran had no problem making Da a huge best-seller despite the author’s Iraqi Kurdish roots; and, somehow, Iranian men took time out of their daily oppression of women to find out their thoughts and feelings on past experiences. The 700-page account of the war was read by everyone, including President Rohani.

The book is a memoir of Seyyedeh (indicating lineage from Prophet Mohammad) Zahra Hoseyni, a teenager who was living with her extremely poor but tight-knit family on the border city of Khorramshahr. The city was the first to be sneak-attacked by the Iraqis, and the massacres and devastation wrought there would be reflected by a Farsi pun on the city’s name: “City of Blood”.

A memoir of the last, worst traditional war in our modern times

The book is not an easy read, as Hoseyni recounts one tragedy after another.

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In short, for those attacked by Iraq the war was one day from hell after another, with each one worse than the next. Hunger, thirst, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, the nightmares of screaming planes, repeatedly watching people go insane with the pain of mourning, every weary pause only giving rise to recent tragic memories, the constant filth and lack of clean water a bombarded people must deal with, actual nightmares when sleep does come, the perpetual sound of war which then makes silent pauses totally strange, and the constant, constant guilt of being alive combined with the knowledge that death from a shell could come at any moment.

So much of the book is something like a horror hallucination of the first few weeks of an unexpected, undeserved war, combined with a recounting of the vast citizen efforts to fight back.

Each according to their abilities, of course: Hoseyni is an young lioness fighting for the cubs of the Iranian nation and Khorramshahr. She accepts responsibility after responsibility, and even refuses to back down to proud & protective Iranian men in her insistence on going to the front to help amid the bullets and bombs. She volunteers as a corpse-washer, which turned out to be a never-ending job, and which is certainly a job few would want. Her beloved father and brother die at the front, but still she endures and gives, gives, gives. Everyone is looking at her and seeing a person with an iron sense of justice, duty and faith.

What I suggest makes this memoir so compelling and successful is that, in Hoseyni’s retelling, she remembers not only that every day was a living hell but that every moment within every day was a living hell. Hoseyni repeatedly talks about the constant abyss of mourning and horror opening up inside her at every moment; seemingly dozens of times a day she is assaulted by an event/tragedy/memory/feeling which could send a normal person to a hospital for weeks of recovery and therapy. It is unlikely that a memoir by a male would admit the incredibly sad emotions which any human would go through in Hoseyni’s situation.

And yet Hoseyni appeared to all as indomitable (even after she is wounded at the front). She simply said a prayer of “Ya Hossain” and rushed towards another difficult task nobody else wanted. She was the model defender of the nation – indeed, Iran’s war “Mother” is not even a “true” Iranian, in non-socialist logic — but the book reveals that she was able to live this ideal even though her feelings were the absolute opposite of proud glory.

Saying a prayer before a difficult task can go a very long way, but it’s this juxtaposition of a public persona of revolutionary steel combined with total inner crumbling which makes the book so compelling. How she could do what she did – when she could not even bring herself to eat, nor sleep, nor mourn day after day after day – is astounding and an inspiration to anyone sanctioned by injustice.

For those who are not just uninterested in religion but who also actively detest religion, I’m sorry to objectively report that a huge part of her strength came from her religious faith – she and her family were pious people who took their title of “Seyed” as a serious injunction to be moral examples. However, the family was also extremely politically aware and active – these were true revolutionaries; they were also so poor as to come from the “correct” class to qualify as a revolutionary, although such prejudices represent antiquated notions about who can or cannot be a socialist.

There is much to learn from the war memoirs from World War I, II, or the Holocaust, but Da is exceptional in that it is from our modern times. When she recounts her rage and disbelief at BBC Radio’s totally misguided coverage of the war, we in 2018 share her shock at “fake news”.

Da should be essential reading to any war hawk advocating invasion in any foreign country which has had a socialist-inspired revolution, because you will be facing a very unique type of people. Whether it be the USSR, China, Vietnam, Korea or Iran, these are societies which cannot be divided into tribes or identities, as they have achieved socialist cultural unity:

“I saw myself as a tree with deep roots, resisting being pulled from the ground. How could I allow myself to be uprooted? Although born in Basra, I felt no attachment to the place. I loved Iran…my love for Khorramshahr overwhelmed all reason and logic.”

The Western capitalist and anti-multicultural societies of continental Europe cannot imagine that an immigrant is capable of ever feeling this way, and thus many there want immigrants expelled or at least segregated.

But the old tricks of divide and conquer, Balkanisation or the political segregation of Lebanonization will not work in socialist-inspired nations. The author recounts how Saddam Hussein tried exactly that – telling Iranian Arabs to join their Arab brother – but only the most reactionary fell for such a stupid worldview.

Hoseyni talks about the MKO/MEK terrorist group (and I am only talking about them because Western nations and their propaganda outlets keep pushing them back into the spotlight): stealing corpses to inflate their body counts for propaganda purposes, attacking people who disagreed with them at public debates, working as spies for Iraq and giving them coordinates of places to bomb, attacking ardent revolutionaries and then literally rubbing salt or pepper in their wounds out of sadism. The idea that the MKO isn’t detested by 100% of Iranians, and that they have a zero percent chance of ever being rehabilitated – much less being democratically elected into power – is totally, totally absurd to Iranians. Again, why would anyone even talk about them anymore? Oh yes, because they are propped by the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

She also talks about what an exceptionally politically-open society Iran was in the early days of the Revolution, and few non-Iranians know that much of this remains true today. Parliament was open to anyone to come observe and even shout disruptions, Khomeini held public audiences for two hours twice a week and received anyone and everyone, elected representatives were easily accessible and lived the common, poor lives of a nation under war. All of this is in stark contrast to the leaders of seemingly every Arab nation not named “Algeria”, and it also shows the democratic bonafides, the more-than-majority support, of the Iranian Islamic Revolution: you can shudder at the word “Islamic” all you want, but the revolution was democratic in the truest sense of the word and no matter in what country that word is uttered.

Western culture is full of ‘war porn’, but Iran is not titillated by such things

“The fall of Khorramshahr and the things I had experienced in the past weeks had made me more aware of how people suffered.”

Such are the types of wisdoms Hoseyni tosses off, but there is no doubt that they are not false cliches for her, nor for millions of other Iranians.

It reminds me of a major problem with America and the West: they are so war-crazy, and yet everything they know about it – to anyone under 85 – is totally fictitious, video-game-like nonsense.

The American view of war is truly one constant cliche, where glory appears to be a feeling to run after but which Hoseyni proves it is actually the result of living through unwanted horrors and tragedies.

It’s true that the younger generation of Iranians has little memory of the sacrifices, bombardments and war rationing, but the way Iran and the US remember their war martyrs is so very different.

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Can you name one famous American solider who died in Iraq or Afghanistan? All I can think of is Pat Tillman, and that’s only because he was also an American football player (and who was killed by friendly fire). However, Iran is full of portraits and memorials to dead soldiers and even dead teenagers…one cannot even make a comparison of the psychological/emotional/human gravity of war in the minds of the average Iranian versus the average American.

My point is that, for all their fighting, ever since Vietnam Americans have essentially been hero-worshipping an empty solider’s uniform. Unless we are talking about rural Americans from their lower class, most Americans really have no personal/psychological connection to actual war, unlike Iranians.

Such people, like the 4-F Trump, grow enraged at taking anyone knee during the National Anthem to protest the undeniable mass incarceration/mass murder/mass oppression of an ethnic minority, but there is no truly human element present – their honouring is phony and faceless.

Say what you will about Iran, but you cannot say that.

Furthermore, Iranian martyrdom – where death is assured – is far, far different from the power-trip fantasies and motivations of the American solider and the American chickenhawk playing Call of Duty video games.

For Iran war is not a glory, but a horror, and whatever sacrifices the nation must make due to the Western Cold war…at least it is better than the Hot War. Befuddled Western “analysts” of Iran cannot imagine this type of logic playing such a large part in Iranian policymaking because they have zero experiences and comprehension of any war which is not just on a two-dimensional screen.

Iran fights in places like Syria, Iraq an Afghanistan because their allies, cousins and cultural-cousins are being attacked, and also because justice itself is being attacked; America fights wars because it seems like fun, because they have such neat toys to play with, and they fight without gallantry and without esteem from the locals they claim to be “fighting with”. America massacres and plunders; Iran’s forces are far closer to Mao’s Long March injunction that soldiers should not take even a pin from locals they were trying to liberate from fascism.

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Thirty years after the end of Iran’s “War of Sacred Defense” Iran’s “military parades” are attacked, but the world still doesn’t really comprehend exactly what the West is attacking in Iran. Da is an unsparing account of a civilian Islamic socialist revolutionary in wartime – reading this memoir would certainly help Westerners understand what they remain up against as they keep trying to implode Iran’s socialist-inspired democracy.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Does the coincidence explain the concurrence of targeting Russia and Iran? هل يفسّر قانون الصدفة تزامن استهداف روسيا وإيران؟

Does the coincidence explain the concurrence of targeting Russia and Iran?

أكتوبر 5, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Washington is involved in the blood of the Russian officers and soldiers and in the blood of the Iranian soldiers, officers, civilians, and children in two planned operations. This was clear in the Russian successive statements which insist to refer to the backgrounds and refuse to consider the aggression as an accident and through the aggression which targeted Iran as programmed and arranged act in order to transfer the battle to the Iranian interior as announced by the Advisor of the Emirati Crown Prince. There are two messages that the American operations room which managed the two incidents wanted to send; first, the embroilment of Gulf hands that can only manipulate in the Arab tribalism in the south of Iran. Second, the embroilment of Israeli hands that can only move freely in the Syrian airspace observed by Russia since its military positioning in 2015 and its holding of understandings  and drawing lines of movement regarding the relationship with America, Israel, and Turkey.

The fact that the attackers take countries in the south of Iran such as Netherlands, Denmark, and Britain as headquarters of their leaders does not negate the fact that the Gulf countries are concerned in funding, mobilizing, and following up. The security project is useless unless it is related to stir up the tribalism in the components of the Iranian collective identity, after the Iranian –Kurdish relationships seemed governed by equations of deterrence, and the Iranian-Turkish relationships governed by relations of cooperation in many issues , and the Iranian-Pakistani relationships are open to further coordination and cooperation, but there is no longer way for valuable manipulation in the Kurdish, Baluchi, and Turkman components, and the bet on the tribalism is no longer possible without Pakistani and Turkey as the two sponsors of the largest national sectarian components. Therefore, the Arab tribalism became the only available way for tampering in the Iranian interior, as the tweets of the US President about transforming the conflict to Iran where the Gulf financer and operator interprets the American policies and trends.

Israel seems to be the last American resource to confuse the Russian role in Syria, after the bet on the return of Turkey to the front of the war on Syria fell, and after the Turkish-American relationships became deteriorated concerning the Syrian issue and in many new issues. The bet on the terrorist groups has become above the ability of Washington and these groups, while Israel has the opportunity to wage the experience of modifying the rules of movement in the Syrian airspace through presenting the issue of the Iranian presence in Syria along with the resistance forces as a factor of complicating the Russian -Israeli relationship from the gate of a clash that imposes dialogue and negotiation to draw new rules of engagement rules. Washington betted to make the presence of Iran and the resistance forces agreed legitimate goals between Moscow and Tel Aviv in avoidance of a clash once again, as long as Israel has effective tools in the Russian interior that are similar to what it has in the Israeli interior. Therefore the Russian seeking to avoid the clash becomes more important than searching for the points of disagreement.

The American facts in the two events embroil its owners. Washington wanted to threat Moscow and Tehran in an attempt to go to negotiation in which it has the decision of ensuring security to Russia and Iran in exchange for concessions, most importantly those related to meet the requirements of the Israeli security in Syria that grants a status for America, that is lost till today in the equations of conflict and the negotiation with Russia and Iran. As long as Washington wants to tamper indirectly, Moscow and Tehran seem comfortable for making the direct players paying the cost. Moscow did not make a secret negotiation with Tel Aviv as a result of the incident of the plane, but it made it an entrance for a public confrontation and a reason for redrawing the rules of flight in the Syrian airspace, while Tehran opens the door for minute investigations that lead it to the direct responsibilities in order to react harshly without excuses.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

هل يفسّر قانون الصدفة تزامن استهداف روسيا وإيران؟

سبتمبر 24, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– فيما واشنطن تغسل أيديها من دماء الضباط والجنود الروس، ودماء الجنود والضباط والمدنيين والأطفال الإيرانيين، في عمليتين مدبّرتين، كما بات واضحاً من البيانات الروسية المتتابعة والمحكومة بإصرار على التحدث عن خلفيات، ورفض الأخذ بأسباب تخفيفية لجعل العدوان مجرد حادث. وكما هو واضح من الاعتداء الذي استهدف إيران معلناً عن نفسه كعمل مدبّر ومبرمج، لنقل المعركة إلى الداخل الإيراني، كما أعلن مستشار ولي العهد الإماراتي، ينطرح سؤال محدّد يطال غرفة العمليات الأميركية التي تدير المسرحين، والرسائل التي أرادتها من عمليتين كبيرتين يصعب الصمت عليهما، واحدة تمت بتورط أيادٍ خليجية وحدها تستطيع التلاعب بالعصبية العربية في جنوب إيران، والثانية تمّت بأياد إسرائيلية وحدها تستطيع حرية التحرك في الأجواء السورية التي تديرها روسيا منذ تموضعها العسكري عام 2015، وعقدها تفاهمات ورسمها خطوط تحرك على محاور العلاقة بأميركا و»إسرائيل» وتركيا.

– أن يتخذ المهاجمون في جنوب إيران من دول مثل هولندا والدنمارك وبريطانيا مقار لقادتهم، لا يلغي كون اليد الخليجية هي المعنية بالتمويل والتحريك والمتابعة. فالمشروع لا يصلح لإزعاج إيران كمشروع أمني، ما لم يتم ربطه بإثارة العصبيات في مكوّنات الهوية الإيرانية الجامعة، وبعدما بدت العلاقات الإيرانية الكردية، محكومة بمعادلات الاحتواء والردع، والعلاقات الإيرانية التركية محكومة بعلاقات التعاون في ملفات عديدة، والعلاقات الإيرانية الباكستانية منفتحة على المزيد من التعاون والتنسيق، لم يعُد ثمة مجال لتلاعب ذي قيمة بالمكوّنات الكردية والبلوشية والتركمانية، ولا عاد الرهان على العصبية المذهبية ممكناً، بدون باكستان وتركيا، كراعيتين لأكبر مكونات قومية ذات لون مذهبي يصلح للاستعمال، فصارت العصبية العربية هي المدخل الوحيد المتاح للعب بالداخل الإيراني، وترجمة تغريدات الرئيس الأميركي حول نقل الصراع إلى داخل إيران، حيث يترجم المشغل والممول الخليجي السياسات والتوجهات الأميركية.

– في سورية تبدو «إسرائيل» آخر الملاذ الأميركي لإرباك الدور الروسي، بعدما سقط الرهان على استرجاع تركيا إلى جبهة الحرب على سورية، وبعدما بلغت العلاقات التركية الأميركية ما بلغت من تدهور في العنوان السوري وفي عناوين جديدة كثيرة. والرهان على الجماعات الإرهابية صار فوق قدرة واشنطن وقدرة هذه الجماعات معاً، بينما تحظى إسرائيل بالفرصة لخوض غمار تجربة تعديل قواعد العمل في الأجواء السورية عبر تقديم الوجود الإيراني في سورية، وحضور قوى المقاومة فيها كعامل تأزيم للعلاقة الروسية الإسرائيلية، بوضع هذه العلاقة على المحك، من بوابة تصادم يفرض الحوار والتفاوض لرسم قواعد اشتباك جديدة، راهنت واشنطن أن تتيح جعل وجود إيران وقوى المقاومة أهدافاً مشروعة متفق عليها بين موسكو وتل أبيب، تلافياً للتصادم مجدداً، طالما أن لـ»إسرائيل» أيادي فاعلة في الداخل الروسي تشبه إلى حد كبير ما لها في الداخل الأميركي وما يجعل السعي الروسي لتلافي التصادم والافتراق أعلى مرتبة من البحث عن نقاط الخلاف.

– الوقائع الأميركية في المسرحين تبدو ورطة لأصحابها، حيث لم يطابق حساب الحقل حساب البيدر، فواشنطن أرادت أن تظهر العين الحمراء لكل من موسكو وطهران سعياً لتفاوض تملك فيه قرار توفير الأمن لروسيا وإيران، مقابل تنازلات أهمها يتصل بتلبية متطلبات الأمن الإسرائيلي في سورية، وتضمن بمجرد حدوثها تكريساً لمكانة أميركية مفقودة حتى اليوم في معادلات الصراع والتفاوض مع روسيا وإيران. وطالما أن واشنطن تريد اللعب وراء الكواليس تبدو موسكو وطهران مرتاحتين لجعل اللاعبين المباشرين يدفعون الثمن، فموسكو لم تمسح الضربة بجلدها وتذهب لتفاوض سري مع تل أبيب بل جعلت منها مدخلاً لمواجهة علنية، وباباً لإعادة رسم قواعد الحركة الجوية في السماء السورية، بينما طهران تفتح الباب لتحقيقات دقيقة توصلها لتحديد مسؤوليات مباشرة، وبعدها الردّ القاسي من دون عذر لمن تورّط.

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US-Delisted MEK Terrorists Still Openly Committed to Violence

October 1, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – In 2012, the US State Department would delist anti-Iranian terrorist group – Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. Yet years later, MEK has demonstrated an eager desire to carry out political violence on a scale that eclipses the previous atrocities that had it designated a terrorist organization in the first place.
In the US State Department’s official statement published in September 2012, the rationale for delisting MEK would be as follows (emphasis added):

With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. 

The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.

Yet US policy before the State Department’s delisting, and events ever since, have proven this rationale for removing MEK as an FTO to be an intentional fabrication – that MEK was and still is committed to political violence against the Iranian people, and envisions a Libya-Syrian-style conflict to likewise divide and destroy the Iranian nation.

However, facts regarding the true nature of MEK is not derived from Iranian state media, or accusations made by MEK’s opponents in Tehran, but by MEK’s own US sponsors and even MEK’s senior leadership itself.

“Undeniably” MEK “Conducted Terrorist Attacks”

By the admissions of the United States and the United Kingdom, MEK is undeniably a terrorist organization guilty of self-admitted acts of terrorism. The UK House of Commons in a briefing paper titled, “The People’s Mujahiddeen of Iran (PMOI),” it  cites the UK Foreign Office which states explicitly that:

The Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) is proscribed in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000. It has a long history of involvement in terrorism in Iran and elsewhere and is, by its own admission, responsible for violent attacks that have resulted in many deaths. 

The briefing paper makes mention of “assiduous” lobbying efforts by MEK to have itself removed from terrorist lists around the globe.

A 2012 Guardian article titled, “MEK decision: multimillion-dollar campaign led to removal from terror list,” would extensively detail the large number of prominent US politicians approached and paid by MEK as part of this lobbying effort.
Yet there is more behind MEK’s delisting than mere lobbying. As early as 2009, US policymakers saw MEK as one of many minority opposition and ethnic groups that could be used by the US as part of a wider agenda toward regime change in Iran.

The Brookings Institution in a 2009 policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), under a chapter titled, “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups,” would openly admit (emphasis added):

Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S.  proxy  is  the  NCRI  (National  Council of Resistance of  Iran),  the  political  movement  established  by  the  MeK  (Mujahedin-e  Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.  

Brookings would concede to MEK’s terrorist background, admitting (emphasis added):

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MeK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main  political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed  credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on  Iranian civilian and  military targets between 1998 and 2001.

Brookings makes mention of MEK’s attacks on US servicemen and American civilian contractors which earned it its place on the US FTO, noting:

In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran.

And despite MEK’s current depiction as a popular resistance movement in Iran, Brookings would also admit (emphasis added):

The group itself also appears to be undemocratic and enjoys little popularity in Iran itself. It has no  political base in the country, although it appears to have an operational presence. In particular, its  active participation on Saddam Husayn’s side during the bitter Iran-Iraq War made the group widely  loathed. In addition, many aspects of the group are cultish, and its leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, are revered to the point of obsession.  

Brookings would note that despite the obvious reality of MEK, the US could indeed use the terrorist organization as a proxy against Iran, but notes that:

…at the very least, to work more closely with the  group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign  terrorist organizations. 

And from 2009 onward, that is precisely what was done. It is unlikely that the MEK alone facilitated the rehabilitation of its image or exclusively sought its removal from US-European terrorist organization lists – considering the central role MEK terrorists played in US regime change plans versus Iran.

While MEK propaganda insists that its inclusion on terrorist organization lists around the globe was the result of a global effort to curry favor with Iran’s clerical regime,” it is clear that the terrorist organization earned its way onto these lists, and then lobbied and cheated its way off of them.
The MEK is Still Committed to Violence Today 
 
While Iranians mourned in the wake of the Ahvaz attack, MEK was holding a rally in New York Cityattended by prominent US politicians including US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani and former US National Security Adviser under the Obama administration, James Jones.
During the “2018 Iran Uprising Summit” Giuliani would vow the overthrow of the Iranian government.

MEK leader Maryam Rajavi would broadcast a message now posted on MEK websites. In her message she would discuss MEK’s role in fomenting ongoing violence inside of Iran.

She would admit:

Today, the ruling mullahs’ fear is amplified by the role of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and resistance units in leading and continuing the uprisings. Regime analysts say: “The definitive element in relation to the December 2017 riots is the organization of rioters. So-called Units of Rebellion have been created, which have both the ability to increase their forces and the potential to replace leaders on the spot.” 

The roadmap for freedom reveals itself in these very uprisings, in ceaseless protests, and in the struggle of the Resistance Units.

Riots by definition entail violence. The riots taking place across Iran beginning in late 2017 and continuing sporadically since – of which Rajavi and her MEK take credit for organizing – have left dozens dead including police.
One police officer was shot dead just before New Year’s, and another three were killed in late February 2018 during such riots.
In the region of Ahvaz specifically, MEK social media accounts have been taking credit for and promoting ongoing unrest there. Ahvaz was more recently the scene of a terrorist attack in which gunmen targeted a parade leaving dozens dead and scores more injured.

Rajavi and MEK’s ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Iranian government. As Brookings admits in its 2009 paper, the Iranian government will not cede power to US-orchestrated regime change without a fight – and MEK was recruited as a US proxy specifically because of its capacity for violence.

Brookings would note:

Despite its limited popularity (but perhaps because of its successful use of terrorism), the Iranian regime is exceptionally sensitive to the MEK and is vigilant in guarding against it. 

It was for this reason that Brookings singled them out as a potential proxy in 2009 and recommended their delisting by the US State Department so the US could provide more open support for the terrorist organization.
It is clear that Rajavi’s recent admissions to being behind political violence inside Iran contravenes the US State Department’s rationale for deslisting MEK on grounds that the group had made a “public renunciation of violence.”

MEK is not only refusing to renounce violence, MEK’s most senior leader has just publicly and unambiguously declared MEK’s policy is to openly wield violence inside Iran toward destabilizing and overthrowing the government.

From the United States’ ignoring of its own anti-terrorism laws – aiding and abetting MEK while still on the US State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list – to the US now portraying MEK as a “reformed” “resistance” organization even as its leader takes credit for ongoing political violence inside Iran, it is clear that once again the US finds itself a willing state sponsor of terrorism.

It was as early as 2007 that Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would warn:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It is clear in retrospect that the rise of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and other extremist fronts in Syria were a result of this US policy. It is also clear that there are many other extremist groups the US has knowingly whitewashed politically and is covertly supporting in terrorism aimed directly at Iran itself.

It is just a matter of time before the same denials and cover-ups used to depict Syrian and Libyan terrorists as “freedom fighting rebels” are reused in regards to US-backed violence aimed at Iran. Hopefully, it will not take nearly as long for the rest of the world to see through this game and condemn groups like MEK as the terrorists they always have been, and continue to be today.

Also in retrospect, it is clear how US-engineered conflict and regime change has impacted the Middle Eastern region and the world as a whole – one can only imagine the further impact a successful repeat of this violence will have if visited upon Iran directly.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

IRGC to Saudi, UAE: Don’t Cross Our Red Lines!

September 28, 2018

deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami

deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deputy commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami has warned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi not to cross Tehran’s “red lines.”

“If you cross our red lines, we will surely cross yours. You know the storm the Iranian nation can create,” Salami said in a speech during Friday prayers, as cited by Reuters.

“Stop creating plots and tensions. You are not invincible. You are sitting in a glass house and cannot tolerate the revenge of the Iranian nation…We have shown self-restraint,” Salami added.

The deputy commander also said that the United States has to “stop supporting the terrorists,” warning that Washington would “pay the price” if it didn’t.

Salami’s remarks come on the heels of comments by Iranian Supreme Leader, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei accusing Saudi Arabia and the UAE of financing the perpetrators of Saturday’s terror attack in Ahvaz, which killed at least 25 people and injured over 60 others.

Imam Khamenei described the attacks as “a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States,” adding that the goal of such terrorism was “to create insecurity in our dear country.”

Source: Agencies

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The Ahvaz Terror Attack: Will Iran Give in to U.S., Israeli, and Saudi Demands?

Ahvaz_Terror_Attack_4070b

Violence.  On September 22, 2018, “unknown” terrorists opened fire on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, near the Iraqi frontier.  The march past marked the 30th anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war, in which the U.S. was deeply involved.  The supposed terrorists, some say from the “Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz”, shot at the soldiers from behind reviewing stands, killing at least 25 and wounding at least 53.  The perpetrators were disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces.

This savage attack did not spring, like Venus, from the sea foam.

Where Did It Come From?  It built on regional discontent.  The Arab minority there, submerged in a dominant Persian state, has long been unhappy with its lot.  They’ve compared themselves to the Palestinians but claiming their situation is worse.  Additionally, the British have been promoting “semi-independence” for the area.  And, the Ahwazis have, in the past, appealed to the U.S. for help.

Mostafa Koshcheshm, a Tehran-based political commentator and journalist, told Al Jazeera… [the]Ahwazi separatist movement, …has been “nurtured, supported, and trained by Saudi Arabia”.

“It’s been operating for the past several years, they are looking to cut off and separate Iran’s energy-rich province of Khuzestan from Iran, which is exactly what Saddam Hussein wanted to do,” [he said].  “They call themselves Arab nationalists but we know they have very intimate ties to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq,” he said, referring to an Iranian exiled dissident group accused of killing thousands of Iranian civilians and officials.

The assault came at a time of renewed American, Israeli, and Saudi hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Besides the war of words against Iran for having non-existent nuclear weapons and short-range “inter-continental ballistic missiles”, there is the war of sanctions.

Is Something Different?  In May 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and announced the unilateral imposition of new and extensive restrictions on Iran’s economy.  In Trump’s view, Iran was not in observance of the JCPOA.  The multilateral agreement, following years of negotiations, had imposed rigid controls on Iranian enrichment of uranium.  It also subjected the country to intrusive international inspection.  All the other participants in the JCPOA, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed that Iran is and has been in full compliance with all the terms of the accord.  (Apartheid Israel, of course, has uncounted chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but is not subject to anything like the JCPOA.)

Responding to Trump’s attacks on its economy, Iran took the United States to the International Criminal Court in August 2018, alleging “the sanctions were in breach of a bilateral accord struck in 1955.”  This set off “The Donald’s” national security advisor John Bolton.  He fumed:  “The International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national security interests.”

Who Dunnit?  Now, suddenly, just a month later, in September, mirabile dictu, there is an armed attack on Iranian government forces.  Without specifying which group, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif correctly laid the blame on outsiders, saying “Terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz.”  Zarif further noted that Saudi Arabia had been funding the group which seemingly carried out the attack.

Outsiders were certainly involved. The Saudis have been stoking tensions in the area, alleging that Iran, its rival for regional dominance, has been supporting “terrorists” here, there, and everywhere. (But, it’s been the Saudis who have been waging a savage war of aggression against Yemen, the neighbor to the south.  And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been financing extremist groups in Syria while cozying up to Israel which has been using that benighted country as a shooting gallery.)

Who else might be involved?  Certainly the United States of America, constantly touting the evils of Iran, while demanding “regime change” there.  And just as assuredly Israel, a loud voice raving about the alleged dangers of Iran (which hasn’t invaded another country in the last two centuries).  What of the United Kingdom?  Didn’t its Secret Intelligence Service help the U.S. overthrow the legitimate government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953?  Wouldn’t Merrie Olde Englande like another bite of the apple–and aid its “ally” Donald J. Trump and all the Zionists opposing Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the opposition Labour Party?

Right now, only the “usual suspects” know for sure.  And they will likely be silent unless and until they manage to overthrow another Iranian government.

Will That Work?  Maybe not.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that he and his countrymen will not submit to economic and psychological pressure from abroad.  Iran, he asserted, will never abandon its missile and defense capabilities in the face of U.S. coercion.  Blasting the U.S. for trashing the JCPOA, Rouhani went on to emphasize that his country is not interfering in other nations in the region.  Continuing, the Iranian president noted that, instead, his state is protecting other lands in the area from aggression.  Ultimately, Rouhani said, Donald Trump will fail in his efforts just as Saddam Hussein failed in his eight years of warfare against the Islamic Republic.

Can We Understand Anything?  What are we to make of all this?  Is the Ahvaz attack a one-off event or a continuation of past grievances the Arab community there has sometimes violently expressed?  Is this a new stage in American/Israeli/British efforts at “regime change” in Iran, one complementary to sanctions?  Or is it what President Rouhani called it, psychological pressure?  That is, is it a demonstration of outside power, an explicit display of “we can reach anywhere into your country and do anything we want” unless you give in to us?

In this author’s view, Rouhani is right. It is emotional stress, to be added to the sanctions’ economic strain, in the hope that Iran will give in to U.S., Israeli, and Saudi demands.

Source

Rouhani: Perpetrators of Ahvaz Crime Backed by Some Gulf States

Source

September 23, 2018

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (archive)

President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that Iran is clearly aware who was behind the September 22 terrorist attack in Ahvaz and will not give up the right to follow up the case.

“Those who are the so-called advocates of human rights have to be accountable for the attack,” Rouhani told reporters Sunday morning, prior to his departure to New York, where he is to attend the 73rd UN General Assembly, which officially opened on September 18.

Terrorists who perpetrated the crime in Ahvaz are backed by some Gulf States, he said, stressing that those implicated in the attack will never escape punishment.

At least 25 were killed and more than 60 were injured on Saturday in the southwestern city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan Province when several unknown gunmen opened fire aimlessly to the crowd watching a military parade staged on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of an eight-year imposed war against Iran.

Children who were to go to school were killed in the attack, President Rouhani adding, “Iran, undoubtedly, will not give up [following up] the crime.”

“The terrorists disguised as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces opened fire at the authorities and people from behind the stand during the parade,’ Governor of Khuzestan Gholam-Reza Shariati told reporters hours after the terrorist attack.

The self-proclaimed Saudi-affiliated Al-Ahwaz terrorist group claimed the responsibility for the attack.

On Saturday, the Iranian President said the Islamic Republic will give a “crushing” response to the slightest threat against the country.

“Those who are providing these terrorists with propaganda and intelligence support must be held accountable,” Rouhani said, according to Iranian media.

SourceIranian media

 

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