Nadia Murad – US Assassinated Your Savior from ISIS Sex-Slavery. Why Are You Silent?

By Julia Kassem

Source

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On Friday, January 10th, the U.S. State Department released a statement signaling their position to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the long standing Iraqi demands requesting the removal of the illegal U.S. occupation. This came seven days after the U.S.’s assassination of the Commander of the Al-Quds brigaide of the IRGC, Qassem Soleimani, and his close friend and comrade in struggle, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The U.S.’s action in assassinating the two most powerful fighters of Daesh in Iraq highlighted the stubbornness of the U.S. as asserting its position as an occupying power in Iraq.

Jamal Ja’far Muhammad Ali Al Ibrahim, better known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was born in Basra, southern Iraq in 1954 to an Iranian mother and an Iraqi father. His nom-de-guerre is a combination of “Abu Mahdi,” or “Father of Mahdi,” a traditional Arab title referring to the name of his eldest child, and “al-Muhandis,” a nickname literally meaning “the engineer,” stemming from his graduation from engineering school in 1977. Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, al-Muhandis fled to the newly Islamic Republic during Saddam Hussein’s rise to power. Hussein also waged a heavy crackdown of the mainly Shiite Islamic Da’wa party, of which the young al-Muhandis was a member.

Over the years, a-Muhandis would perfect his expertise in organized resistance and take it home to Iraq as a part of the Badr Corps. He was key in his involvement and leadership in fighting the U.S. occupation following the 2003 American invasion and destabilization of Iraq. He was a founding leader of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, which was a main faction in fighting against the U.S. armed forces’ presence in Iraq post-2006.

In 2009, U.S. Executive Orders (E.O.) 13438 and 13224 placed sanctions on al-Muhandis for his leadership in resistance against the U.S. invasion, claiming to target him for “threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the Government of Iraq.” The U.S. that day also placed Kata’ib Hezbollah in the designation as a foreign terrorist organization, which at that point would mark the group a target and threat to the U.S.’s interests in occupying and looting the country.

A little known member of Iraqi parliament post 2005, al-Muhandis largely ignored the public limelight characteristic of political life, instead remaining committed towards armed struggle. The late al-Muhandis in his position, under the command of the Iraqi Prime Minister, would be integral helping facilitate and vouch for the integration of the PMU into the Iraqi national armed forces.

Al-Muhandis would assemble a coalition from the nearly 60 different paramilitary militias in Iraq he worked with, organizing and consolidating their efforts under the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) or Hashd al-Shaabi.

When the PMU assembled in 2014, under the directive of Iraqi Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Al-Muhandis primarily was the one to coordinate and bring the efforts of Iraq’s many resistance militas, many of whom previously fought off the American occupation, many under Kata’ib Hezbollah, to the fight against Daesh.

Thus, the integration of the PMU into the Iraqi army beginning in 2017 after Daesh’s defeat represented another step at bringing together different armed factions in Iraq to eliminate the terror group. Yet it would also help eclipse the U.S.’s presence in controlling the Iraqi army–the objective and practice of the post-2003 U.S. invasion.

This was also an important step in strengthening the power and capacity of the nationwide resistance against terrorism. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr paramilitary Organization and who worked closely alongside al-Muhandis, would refer to the decision as instrumental in “encouraging others to join” the coalition fighting Daesh terror, building a large and strong organization from out of disjointed groups that were small in number and relatively weak in isolation.

Under Al-Muhandis’s directive as Deputy Commander, the PMU was–and still is–the prime force in orchestrating Daesh’s defeat. Al-Muhandis led and commanded a fighting force of 30,000 soldiers under Kata’ib Hezbollah alone, which had grown from having a couple thousand members before the Daesh invasion.

The Kata’ib Hezbollah had been responsible in 2007 of attacking and removing the American occupation from Iraqi soil. And again, the organization remains the same existential threat to the prolongation of American hegemony in Iraq–despite the Kata’ib, and its larger coalition group, the PMU, playing primary roles in defeating Daesh.

The American attacks on PMU and Kata’ib Hezbollah bases lately represent the U.S.’s ambitions to retain its occupation of Iraq and thwart resistance that would challenge its presence and/or embolden Iraq’s alliance with Iran, the U.S.’s political nemesis. The recent U.S. attacks, building up in the months before the January 3rd assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and al-Muhandis, were also preceeded by Israeli attacks in coordination with the U.S. against the PMU at locations near the Syrian border in late August.

By December 2017, the PMU had waged and completed a full-scale operation against Daesh, clearing the terror group out from Sinjar, Kirkuk, Mosul, and many other areas held by Daesh for the past three years.  This showed how effective the PMU was in their support of the Iraqi Security Forces, (ISF) who alone or alongside the U.S. Army, was relatively weak and ineffective in fighting Daesh.

The U.S.’s attacks on the PMU, clearly a service to Daesh, go back years. It is well known that the U.S. regularly attacks the PMU and has supported Daesh in Iraq in Syria with air cover, airstriking “Iranian-allied” opposition to Daesh, and, consequently, using Daesh’s emboldened presence after a virtual defeat by the PMU to justify the re-occupation in Iraq.

The U.S. attacks against the PMU weren’t limited to military attacks alone. The Western mainstream media constantly downplayed Al-Muhandis’s and the PMU’s role in defending Iraqis, defeating Daesh, and rebuilding Iraq’s broken defense apparatus. Many attacks on Daesh and its affiliates or even liberation of territory would attract reports of human-rights violations charges from the likes of Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and mainstream media. For example, the July 2016 liberation of Fallujah by the PMU was followed by a Reuters “massacre” report detailing human rights abuses scolding the “detainment and torture” of those with suspect links to Daesh.

Senator Rubio Press

@SenRubioPress

Sen Rubio met with Nobel Peace Prize recipient @NadiaMuradBasee to discuss the future of Iraq’s religious minorities & the importance of ensuring they are able to return home to rebuild their lives. They also discussed the need for justice & accountability for ISIS war crimes.

View image on Twitter

One significant example can be found in that of Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Yazidi former sex-slave victim who recently met with Republican Senator Marco Rubio. During a July 2019 visit to the White House with 27 other refugees, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed an aloof reaction to her pleas to the U.S. to “do something.”

Following the U.S.’s theatrics in “killing” Baghdadi, Murad would post a tweet thanking the U.S. for their action. However, Murad expressed no words following the U.S.’s murder of Al-Muhandis, who was instrumental in liberating her village of Kojo, in the Sinjar region in 2017, which had been under Daesh occupation since 2014.

Nadia Murad

@NadiaMuradBasee

Thank you to all involved in taking down . Indeed he died a coward not a hero. https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1188483085840584711 

The White House

@WhiteHouse

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was violently eliminated last night. He will never again harm another innocent man, woman, or child.

The world is now a much safer place.

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In a 2017 video, Murad is seen alongside PMU forces following the liberation of her hometown, in tears, thanking the Iraqi resistance and the PMU.

“Thank you to all that liberated our land across Iraq and Syria,” she says in the clip. “It is why we are free today and just for that we are thankful.”

Murad is also seen sitting with Al-Muhandis as he expresses his sympathies and condolences to her.

Despite Al-Muhandis’s clear service to minorities in Iraq, Murad has shown little dignity or respect following his assassination.

Western media narrative framed the PMU, under the command of Muhandis, in its image as a conglomerate of rogue “Shiite militias,” ready to turn on their Sunni counterparts should the U.S. pull out of Iraq. This narrative was supported by ridiculous claims such as these militias’ propensity for “revenge killings” and reducing al-Muhandis’ role in national and regional liberation as being little more than an agent for Iran.

In reality, in bringing together different aspects of Iraqi armed groups, in collusion with the Iraqi army, al-Muhandis helped cement a resistance force that transcended sect and ethnicity. The PMU includes many Yazidi, Christian, and Sunni units and all worked towards the same goal of defending their land, communities, and sovereignty. More than 45,000 Sunni Arabs fought under the PMU umbrella by 2017, and the PMU had won the support of an estimated 65% of Sunnis in Iraq that year.

In November 2017, the PMU had facilitated the liberation of Qaim from Daesh, coordinating with the Iraqi army, in just four days. It was the last stronghold of the terror group. Qaim also hosts an important border crossing between Syria and Iraq, with its jeapordization holding heavy economic as well as geostrategic implications for the region.

The Qaim border crossing between Iraq and Syria was officially opened in September 2019.

The U.S.’s December 29 killing of over 30 PMU forces in Qaim along the Syrian border was the final straw that roused the anti-imperialist sentiment of the New Year’s Eve mass demonstrations at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The embassy demonstrations drew many parallels on social media to the 1979 student-led demonstrations against the former U.S. embassy in Tehran that revealed the center as a spy den, which only accelerated the threatened response to target Al-Muhandis.

It is also clear that the U.S.’s attacks on the PMU and subsequent killing of al-Muhandis, both a literal murder and a figurative assassination of character, emerge from the U.S.’s dissatisfaction with losing ground and control over Iraq. It was primarily Al-Muhandis’s history of organizing and resisting to undermine and thwart U.S. influence in both Iraq and Iran had long put him in the crosshairs of Empire. This plan, which began with American support to Saddam Hussein against the newly pro-Palestine and sovereign Iran, had evolved into the U.S. attempts to fan the flames of Daesh in Iraq, even if it meant killing the very leader that had organized its downfall.

Reclaiming the Narrative: How to Combat Israel’s Misuse of “Antisemitism”

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

At a talk I delivered in Northern England in March 2018, I proposed that the best response to falsified accusations of antisemitism, which are often lobbed against pro-Palestinian communities and intellectuals everywhere, is to draw even closer to the Palestinian narrative.

In fact, my proposal was not meant to be a sentimental response in any way.

“Reclaiming the Palestinian narrative” has been the main theme in most of my public speeches and writings in recent years. All of my books and much of my academic studies and research have largely focused on positioning the Palestinian people – their rights, history, culture, and political aspirations – at the very core of any genuine understanding of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli colonialism and apartheid.

True, there was nothing particularly special about my talk in Northern England. I had already delivered a version of that speech in other parts of the UK, Europe and elsewhere. But what made that event memorable is a conversation I had with a passionate activist, who introduced himself as an advisor to the office of the head of the British Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

Although the activist agreed with me regarding the need to embrace the Palestinian narrative, he insisted that the best way for Corbyn to deflect anti-Semitic accusations, which have dogged his leadership since day one, is for Labor to issue a sweeping and decisive condemnation of antisemitism, so that Corbyn may silence his critics and he is finally able to focus on the pressing subject of Palestinian rights.

I was doubtful. I explained to the animated and self-assured activist that Zionist manipulation and misuse of antisemitism is a phenomenon that has preceded Corbyn by many decades, and will always be there as long as the Israeli government finds the need to distract from its war crimes against Palestinians and to crush pro-Palestinian solidarity worldwide.

I explained to him that while anti-Jewish racism is a real phenomenon that must be confronted, “antisemitism”, as defined by Israel and its Zionist allies, is not a moral question that is meant to be solved by a press release, no matter how strongly-worded. Rather, it is a smokescreen, with the ultimate aim of distracting from the real conversation, that being the crimes of military occupation, racism, and apartheid in Palestine.

In other words, no amount of talking, debating or defending oneself can possibly convince the Zionists that demanding an end to the Israeli military occupation in Palestine or the dismantling of the Israeli apartheid regime, or any genuine criticism of the policies of Israel’s right-wing government are not, in fact, acts of antisemitism.

Alas, the activist insisted that a strong statement that would clarify Labor’s position on antisemitism would finally absolve Corbyn and protect his legacy against the undeserved smearing.

The rest is history. Labor went into a witch-hunt, to catch the “true” anti-Semites among its members. The unprecedented purge has reached many good people who have dedicated years to serving their communities and defending human rights in Palestine and elsewhere.

The statement to end all statements was followed by many others. Numerous articles and arguments were written and made in defense of Corbyn – to no avail. Only a few days before Labor lost the general election in December, the Simon Wiesenthal Center named Corbyn, one of Britain’s most sincere and well-intentioned leaders in the modern era, the “top anti-Semite of 2019.” So much for engaging the Zionists.

It doesn’t matter whether Corbyn’s party lost the elections in part because of Zionist smearing and unfounded anti-Semitic accusations. What truly matter for me as a Palestinian intellectual who has hoped that Corbyn’s leadership will constitute a paradigm shift regarding the country’s attitude towards Israel and Palestine, is the fact that the Zionists have indeed succeeded in keeping the conversation focused on Israeli priorities and Zionist sensibilities. It saddens me that while Palestine should have occupied the center stage, at least during Corbyn’s leadership years, it was still marginalized signifying once again that solidarity with Palestine has become a political liability to anyone hoping to win an election – in the UK and anywhere in the West as well.

Britain Labour Party Conference

I find it puzzling, indeed disturbing, that Israel, directly or otherwise, is able to determine the nature of any discussion on Palestine in the West, not only within typical mainstream platforms but within pro-Palestinian circles as well. For example, I have heard activists repeatedly questioning whether the one-state solution is at all possible because “Israel simply would never accept it”.

I often challenge my audiences to base their solidarity with Palestine on real love, support, and admiration for the Palestinian people, for their history, their anti-colonial struggle, and the thousands of heroes and heroines who have sacrificed their own lives so that their people may live in freedom.

How many of us can name Palestine’s top poets, artists, feminists, football players, singers, and historians? How familiar are we really, with Palestinian geography, the intricacies of its politics, and the richness of its culture?

Even in platforms that are sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle, there is an inherent fear that such sympathy could be misconstrued as antisemitism to the extent that Palestinian voices are often neglected, if not completely supplanted with anti-Zionist Jewish voices. I see this happening quite often even in Middle Eastern media that supposedly champion the Palestinian cause.

This phenomenon is largely linked to Palestine and Palestine only. While the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the civil rights struggle in the United States – as was the case of many genuine anti-colonial liberation movements around the world – have strategically used intersectionality to link with other groups, locally, nationally or internationally, the movements themselves relied on black voices as true representatives of their peoples’ struggles.

Historically, Palestinians have not always been marginalized within their own discourse. Once upon a time, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), despite its many shortcomings, provided unified Palestinian political discourse which served as a litmus test for any individual, group or government regarding their position on Palestinian rights and freedom.

The Oslo accords ended all of that – it fragmented the Palestinian discourse just as it has divided the Palestinian people. Since then, the message emanating from Palestine has become muddled, factionalized and often self-defeating. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) has done a tremendous job in bringing about some clarity by attempting to articulate a universal Palestinian discourse.

However, BDS is yet to yield a centralized political strategy that is communicated through a democratically-elected Palestinian body. As long as the PLO persists in its inertia and without a truly democratic alternative, the crisis of the Palestinian political discourse is likely to continue.

Concurrently, the Zionists must not be allowed to determine the nature of our solidarity with the Palestinian people. While true Palestinian solidarity requires the complete rejection of all forms of racism, including antisemitism, the pro-Israel camp must be sidelined entirely from any conversation pertaining to the values and morality of what it means to be “pro-Palestine”.

To be anti-Zionist is not always the same as being pro-Palestine, the former emanating from the rejection of racist, Zionist ideas and the latter indicating a real connection and bond with Palestine and her people.

To be pro-Palestine is also to respect the centrality of the Palestinian voice, because without the Palestinian narrative there can be no real or meaningful solidarity, and also because, ultimately it will be the Palestinian people who will liberate themselves.

“I am not a liberator,” said the iconic South American revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. “Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves”.

For the Palestinians to “liberate themselves”, they have to claim their centrality in the struggle for Palestinian rights everywhere, to articulate their own discourse and to be the champions of their own freedom. Nothing else will suffice.

The Soleimani Assassination: Waiting for the Zero Hour for the Liberation of Palestine

By Heba Mourad

Source

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The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, deputy head of the PMU, along with eight others, was a declaration of war by the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

In an obvious example of State terrorism, the US carried out a criminal act, which constitutes a gross violation of the fundamental principles of international law, including those stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations.

The US’s top ally, Israel, lauded Trump for his action. Israeli Walla News called the hit, “the most significant military action by the US in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.” Former Mossad operative, Ram Ben Barak, said it’s the most significant assassination since Israel assassinated Hezbollah’s Gen. Imad Mughniyeh in 2008.

Israel had advance notice of the US plan to kill Iranian military leader Gen. Qassem Suleimani, Israeli military and diplomatic analysts reported Friday night while refraining from providing further details due to heavy military censorship. Israelis and Americans see it now as a massive earth shattering event especially after Iran’s leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, vowed a “severe revenge”.

An absolute ruler unrestrained by law, superseding the legitimate sovereignty of many countries, Trump decided at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Monday to assassinate Soleimani, who was unconcerned about covering his tracks and moved around publically during the past three years. The timing of the aggressive and treacherous attack raises questions of political motivation; it comes at a time when Trump faces a trial in the Senate on two articles of impeachment. Trump, perhaps, is trying to divert attention but foremost he is frustrated by who has become the international face of resistance.

Soleimani is one of many generals in the resistance axis, but certainly the most prominent among all. Now for those who really do not understand the resistance axis or front, the following provides a short explanation.

Resistance Transcending nationality, geography

The resistance consists of several nationalities, not just one. It is not bound by geography and does not believe in national identity, and does not ask a person where they may be from. It consists of multiple nationalities.

The most important goal of the resistance front– or one of the most important goals – is the liberation of Palestine, the land that was usurped and colonized in the Middle East region of the Levant.

The resistance axis believes that the mother of all problems is the Israeli apartheid regime backed by America. However, the elimination of Israel does not mean the elimination of the Jewish people; as Ayatollah Khamenei had reiterated “we have nothing to do with them, as a number of Jews live safely in our country.”

Gen. Soleimani and the resistance front’s position on Palestine is unyielding. It is at the heart of their beliefs. It is a heritage of the late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Ruhollah Khomeini who said “The issue of Quds is not a private or personal issue. It is neither the exclusive problem of one country nor a present-day problem of all Muslims. Rather, it is a phenomenon concerning the monotheists and faithful people of all ages-past, present and future.”

One reason that enhanced the strength, unity and presence of the resistance front during the past few years is the US-created Daesh (ISIS) and the other extremist groups. The resistance’s faith is that it must defend any legitimate regime in the region that finds itself under attack, like it did in Iraq, in Syria, in Bahrain, in Yemen, in Iran, and elsewhere. Among the most important values that unite the resistance front together are humanity, securing sovereignty, independence, dignity, supporting the oppressed which are all at the core of genuine Islamic teachings.

Palestine; Oppressed vs. Oppressor

Imam Khomeini spread the philosophy of the Oppressed vs. Oppressor which transcends backgrounds and nationalities; a legacy from the history of Shia faith dating back to the Ashura massacre.

Ashura marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and 72 of his companions in 680 AD in a land that is known today as Iraq, after they refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant Yazid. It is the culmination of a 10-day annual mourning period in the lunar month of Muharram for the third Imam of Shia Muslims, who was a grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). The Battle of Karbala between a small group of supporters and relatives of Imam Hussein and a larger military detachment from the forces of the Umayyad caliph represents the war as one between good and evil.

Imam Khomeini once said in a historic message that Christian leaders including the Pope and priests should ring the bells of churches in the defense and interest of the oppressed people of the world. Pundits believe that Imam Khomeini wanted to unite the followers of all religions under banner of monotheism and was a great supporter of the oppressed nations across the globe.

General Soleimani, who Israel and the US feared, had commanded forces battling Daesh in Syria and Iraq. He also had reiterated that all “resistance groups” of the resistance front in the region were prepared to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site.

Let us not lose sight; it is all about Palestine; the central cause of the resistance front by far.

Zero hour: Liberation of Palestine

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Political analyst and Professor of Middle East studies and expert on Palestine-Israel conflict at the University of Tehran, Dr. Javad Sharbaf believes that Major General Soleimani, a brave commander at the Quds forces played a vital role in Iran, the region, the Islamic world and even the world. “He was a pioneering and matchless man in the Quds Forces, he enjoyed great popularity in Iran and the region. He was the man who linked different organizations and parties together, enjoyed good relations with all those interested in the issues of the Islamic nation, especially when it comes to security and stability in the region.”

Reassuring that a crushing revenge is on the way which can take place anywhere and anytime, the expert says “We are Iranians lest we forget. The US knows this very well. Iran will carry out its duties. We will defend our rights, dignity, and sovereignty and face this aggression. I think we will see a swift retaliation to the crime; a harsh revenge like Ayatollah Khamenei promised. Everyone knows Ayatollah Khamenei does not give empty promises; and we are waiting to see a decisive reply to the heinous crime. Of course, this confrontation that the US started marks the beginning of the end of US hegemony and Israeli presence in the region.”

Sharbaf also notes that until the assassination took place and changed events in the region, Iranians were trying to put utmost efforts in talks and negotiations with the European Union; Iran continued to abide by the deal’s terms even after Mr. Trump pulled out.

Iran was known in the past to have made a range of sweeping concessions on different issues. But, that does not mean it is willing to make concessions today. This is something the American regime and Israel must understand.

“The entire world is witness now to the fact that the US only knows how to commit violence and carry out assassinations. By the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandes and the others, the US in fact put a stick of dynamite in a gunpowder barrel; they have carried out an act of war. Today, all Americans and Israelis across the world will be afraid and troubled,” Sharbaf points out.

He underscores that “This major general was very interested in the Palestinian cause and al-Quds, he was always concerned with the liberation of Palestine from the hands of the Israeli apartheid regime. The Americans and Israelis are happy with the assassination, but their joy is short-lived.”

“The act of war that the US carried out was out of frustration and despair. Trump and his aides were irritated as they witnessed the failure of planting Daesh in the region to shake stability and security; an American and Israeli defeat which was guaranteed by Iranian efforts in particular” , he states.

Defending oneself is not hegemony; 

“Iran has for long and since the victory of the Islamic Revolution been in a confrontation with the Israeli apartheid regime and its agents in the region. Why is it a crime for Iran to defend itself and its neighbors at the time when it is not alien to the region? Doesn’t Iran have the right to defend stability and security in Iran and the region? Iran supports its neighbors and friends in face of US imperialism and Israeli occupation; it is at the core of the values of Islam to support the oppressed. Should we sit aside and watch all the violence and aggressions committed by the US and Israel?” the professor asks.

Sharbaf explains that Iran and its allies stood in face of the so-called Islamic-state and formed a power of deterrence in the region, forced the Americans to leave Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, supported Palestinian resistance factions in face of Israeli aggressions and will remain to support its Palestinian brothers until the liberation of the occupied lands, and that is exactly what Soleimani was doing.

“We, the people of the region are on the same boat; altogether facing Zionist-American aggressions and attempts of hegemony. We will continue to cooperate and help one another to defend our sovereignty and dignity, just like Islam, the religion of peace teaches us.”

He reassured what all Iranian officials have been reiterating, that “There will be a decisive reply and we may be heading to a war. Iran will reply for sure, there is no room for concessions, the US and Israel are mistaken if they think we are weak or afraid. We have proved before that we do not seek war, and we will never initiate one. However, if we get attacked, we will take up our responsibilities and will take action; we have proved this multiple times.”

“As I said before, this assassination marks the beginning of the end of the US and Israel. We are not afraid if a war is launched, they are the ones who have fear in their hearts. Zero hour to defeat the US and Israel and end its hegemony across the world has arrived,” the analyst concludes.

Spiritual power; end of Israel

Gen. Soleimani’s assassination strengthened the Shia legacy of oppressed vs. oppressor; the American administration is nothing but supremacy, and Israel is a usurper. The land it has taken, it has taken unlawfully. This act of war is a strong mobilization to the resistance front, zero hour to the end of the Israeli apartheid regime is getting closer, al-Quds will be freed and Israel driven out.

Iran and the resistance front’s strategy has a philosophical and metaphysical dimension that “analysts” can never understand; spiritual power is the reason for this progress. The true secret of perseverance and liberation from apartheid, supremacy and colonialism, indeed something which is a consequence of this power of faith, is the people’s religious, sociopolitical and ethical unity.

Israel Preparing for War on Iran?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Israel’s longtime goal is unchallenged Middle East dominance partnered with Washington.

Achieving it depends on transforming independent regional nations into US/Israeli vassal states by war or other hostile means, Iran most of all.

Along with Turkey, it’s the only regional country able to challenge Israel militarily if attacked.

On Wednesday, IDF chief of staff General Aviv Kochavi claimed Jewish state friction with Iran may increase next year, perhaps leading to war.

Fact: Nonbelligerent Iran threatens no one. Along with the US and NATO, Israel threatens world peace, stability and security.

Kochavi falsely called Iran Israel’s main threat, stressing that close ties to Washington is its key strategic asset.

He ignored Jewish state undeclared war on Palestinians and Syria, time and again terror-bombing Gaza and the Syrian Arab Republic with impunity, the world community ignoring its high crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide against long-suffering Palestinians.

Nuclear armed and dangerous Israel falsely claims nonbelligerent Iran poses a nuclear threat.

Its legitimate program has no military component, repeatedly confirmed by the IAEA, its inspectors banned from illegal Israeli nuclear sites, Iran’s legal ones the world’s most heavily monitored.

According to Kochavi, Israel is preparing for war on Iran. If launched, it’ll be preemptive by the Jewish state, possibly together with the US, not the other way around by a nation that hasn’t attacked another one in centuries, what Israel and Washington do repeatedly.

“We will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria, or in Iraq,” said Kochavi, failing to explain that Tehran works cooperatively with these nations and others, its military advisors alone in Syria, helping Damascus combat US/Israeli supported terrorists.

Kochavi falsely accused Iran of “smuggl(ing) advanced weapons (into Iraq) on a monthly basis, and we can’t allow that.”

Responding, Iraqi parliamentarian Hassan al-Kaabi called his remarks “incorrect and politically motivated,” bent on “creating sedition and finding an excuse to infiltrate into the Iraqi territory.”

Along with the US, Israel is likely involved in stoking violence, vandalism and chaos in Iraq.

The Jewish state terror-bombed Iraqi sites several times, the Pentagon reportedly providing air support.

According to Kochavi: “In the coming war (with Iran, Syria, Lebanon or Gaza), we will have to attack with great force in populated areas and also target the state structure of the entity that allows terrorism to act against us (sic).”

“Israel will target everything that helps in combat operations, such as electricity, fuel, bridges,” and other targets at its discretion.

Israel considers civilians legitimate targets, striking residential areas indiscriminately in all its wars of aggression, the policy stated earlier by future IDF chief General Gadi Eisenkot, saying:

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

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

Retired General Giora Eiland earlier said Israel’s war strategy is all about destroying “the national infrastructure (of enemies) and (inflicting) intense suffering among the population.”

This strategy reflects core Israeli policy — to cause maximum casualties, destruction, displacement and human suffering, grave international law breaches.

In November, former Israeli envoy to Washington Michael Oren said the Jewish state is preparing for war with “Iranian proxies,” falsely accusing Tehran of “provocations,” adding:

Senior Israeli officials met “to discuss the possibility of open war with Iran…Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing.” 

“Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time.”

Zionist ideologue Oren once arrogantly said: “We expect the world to stand with us.”

He’s a polarizing figure. Brandeis University students earlier strongly protested against his choice as commencement speaker by university officials.

A letter signed by scores of students slammed his “far-right positions” and marginalization of growing numbers of US Jews who disagree with him.

What’s coming in the new year may be more war at a time when the world community should prioritize ending ongoing ones.

On the Road to Gaza: The Freedom Flotilla Will Sail Again

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

Freedom Flotilla Gaza 1beef

What is Gaza to us but an Israeli missile, a rudimentary rocket, a demolished home, an injured child being whisked away by his peers under a hail of bullets? On a daily basis, Gaza is conveyed to us as a bloody image or a dramatic video, none of which can truly capture the everyday reality of the Strip – its formidable steadfastness, the everyday acts of resistance, and the type of suffering that can never be really understood through a customary glance at a social media post.

At long last, the chief prosecutor of the International Court of Justice (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has declared her ‘satisfaction’ that “war crimes have been – or are being –  committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip”. As soon as the ICC statement was made on December 20, pro-Palestinian groups felt a rare moment of relief. Finally, Israel will stand accused, potentially paying for its recurring bloodbath in the isolated and besieged Gaza Strip, its military occupation and apartheid in the West Bank, and much more.

However, it could take years for the ICC to initiate its legal proceedings and render its verdict. Moreover, there are no political guarantees that an ICC decision indicting Israel would ever be respected, let alone implemented.

Meanwhile, the siege on Gaza persists, only to be interrupted by a massive war, like the one of 2014, or a less destructive one, similar to the latest Israeli onslaught in November. And with every war, more dismal statistics are produced, more lives shattered, and more painful stories are told and retold.

For years, civil society groups across the world labored to destabilize this horrific status quo. They organized, held vigils, wrote letters to their political representatives and so on. To no avail. Frustrated by government inaction, a small group of activists sailed to Gaza in a small boat in August 2008, succeeding in doing what the United Nations has failed to do: they broke, however fleetingly, the Israeli siege on the impoverished Strip.

This symbolic action of the Free Gaza movement had a tremendous impact. It sent a clear message to Palestinians in occupied Palestine, that their fate is not only determined by the Israeli government and military machine; that there are other actors who are capable of challenging the dreadful silence of the international community; that not all Westerners are as complicit as their governments in the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian people.

Since then, many more solidarity missions have attempted to follow suit, coming across the sea atop flotillas or in large caravans through the Sinai desert. Some have successfully reached Gaza, delivering medical aid and other supplies. The majority, however, were sent back or had their boats hijacked in international waters by the Israeli navy.

The outcome of all of this has been the writing of a new chapter of solidarity with the Palestinian people that went beyond the occasional demonstration and the typical signing of a petition.

The second Palestinian Intifada, the uprising of 2002, had already redefined the role of the “activist” in Palestine. The formation of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) allowed thousands of international activists from around the world to participate in “direct action” in Palestine – thus fulfilling, however symbolically, a role that is typically played by a United Nations protective force.

ISM activists, however, employed non-violent means of registering civil society’s rejection of the Israeli occupation. Expectedly, Israel did not honor the fact that many of these activists came from countries deemed “friendly” by Tel Aviv’s standards. The killing of US and British nationals Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall in Gaza in 2003 and 2004 respectively, was just the precursor of Israeli violence that was to follow.

In May 2010, the Israeli navy attacked the Freedom Flotilla consisting of the Turkish-owned ship ‘MV Mavi Marmara’ and others, killing ten unarmed humanitarian workers and wounding at least 50 more. As was the case with the murder of Rachel and Tom, there was no real accountability for the Israeli attack on the solidarity boats.

It must be understood that Israeli violence is not random nor is just a reflection of Israel’s notoriety and disregard of international and humanitarian law. With every violent episode, Israel hopes to dissuade outside actors from getting involved in “Israeli affairs”. Yet, time and again, the solidarity movement returns with a defiant message, insisting that no country, not even Israel, has the right to commit war crimes with impunity.

Following a recent meeting in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, the International Coalition of the Freedom Flotilla, which consists of many international groups, has decided to, once more, sail to Gaza. The solidarity mission is scheduled for the summer of 2020, and, like most of the 35 previous attempts, the Flotilla is likely to be intercepted by the Israeli navy. Yet, another attempt will likely follow, and many more, until the Gaza siege is completely lifted. It has become clear that the purpose of these humanitarian missions is not to deliver a few medical supplies to the nearly two million besieged Gazans, but to challenge the Israeli narrative that has turned the occupation and isolation of Palestinians to a status quo ante, to an “Israeli affair”.

According to the United Nations Office in Occupied Palestine, the poverty rate in Gaza seems to be increasing at an alarming speed of 2% per year. By the end of 2017, 53% of Gaza’s population lived in poverty, two-thirds of them living in “deep poverty”. This terrible number includes over 400,000 children.

An image, a video, a chart or a social media post can never convey the pain of 400,000 children, who experience real hunger every single day of their lives so that the Israeli government may achieve its military and political designs in Gaza. Indeed, Gaza is not just an Israeli missile, a demolished home, and an injured child. It is an entire nation that is suffering and resisting, in near-complete isolation from the rest of the world.

True solidarity should aim at forcing Israel to end the protracted occupation and siege on the Palestinian people, sailing the high seas, if necessary. Thankfully, the good activists of the Freedom Flotilla are doing just that.

Former Spy Details Israel’s Main Motive Behind Epstein’s Sexual Blackmail Operation

By Whitney Webb

Source

MONTREAL — In recent weeks, renewed attention has been brought to the allegations that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking and sexual blackmail operation was run on behalf of Israeli military intelligence. Those claims revolve around statements made by a former Israeli military intelligence official turned public relations consultant Ari Ben-Menashe, whose allegations regarding the Epstein scandal were reported by MintPress this past October.

Ben-Menashe’s claims related to Epstein first surfaced in an interview between Ben-Menashe and Zev Shalev of the independent news outlet, Narativ. As detailed in a MintPress summary and commentary of that interview, Ben-Menashe claimed to have seen Jeffrey Epstein in the office of Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, several times in the 1980s.

At the time, Ben-Menashe was in close contact with Robert Maxwell regarding their work mutual work with Israeli military intelligence. Maxwell, in addition to heading a media empire and being a one-time member of U.K. parliament, was a longtime operative for Israeli intelligence, so much so that his 1991 funeral was attended by no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence as well as several high-ranking Israeli politicians and prime ministers. 

Maxwell is alleged to have recruited Jeffrey Epstein for Israeli intelligence and later introduced Epstein to Ben-Menashe and another operative, Nicholas Davies. Epstein was introduced to Ben-Menashe as having been pre-approved by leading figures in Israel’s military intelligence directorate, known as Aman.

MintPress recently conducted its own interview with Mr. Ben-Menashe as part of an ongoing investigation on the life and connections of the now-infamous Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein special coverage banner
Part of that interview is provided below with relevant commentary, particularly regarding claims related to the relationship between Epstein and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Epstein’s trip to Tel Aviv immediately prior to his first arrest, and the reasons for Israeli military intelligence’s interest in orchestrating and financing a major sexual blackmail operation targeting top U.S. politicians.

“Israel Requested that Epstein Target Clinton”

MintPress News first asked Ben-Menashe about Robert Maxwell, a known asset and operative for Israeli intelligence, having recruited Jeffrey Epstein. Ben-Menashe =confirmed this to MintPress and also noted that, after their initial meeting, Epstein was frequently present in Maxwell’s office in London.

During the 1980s, as MintPress previously reported, Epstein claimed to have been an intelligence operative and so-called “bounty hunter” in the world of shadow finance. During this time, he was known to have developed close relationships with several British arms dealers, particularly Sir Douglas Leese. Thus, Epstein appeared to frequently be traveling between the Middle East and London, which is also supported by Epstein’s now-infamous Austrian passport which he was believed to have carried during this period of time.

Ben-Menashe told MintPress that he had not only met Epstein after Epstein had been recently recruited by Israeli military intelligence, but had seen him on several occasions thereafter as Epstein “used to be in [Robert Maxwell’s] office [in London] quite often” and would arrive there between trips to and from Israel.

In addition, Ben-Menashe revealed his understanding of why Epstein was eventually shepherded into acting as a professional sexual blackmailer on behalf of Israeli military intelligence. Per Ben-Menashe, there were concerns among Israeli intelligence figures that, following the Reagan Era, a new president would push for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians, something those officials sought to avoid by any means necessary.

ABM | Here’s the thing… Mr. Carter… as in President Carter… the Israelis feared that Mr. Clinton, when he was campaigning for President, will be a repeat of Mr. Carter. He wanted to press them for peace with the Palestinians and all that stuff. They feared… Clinton wasn’t that… but they feared he was that… And I think Mr. Epstein was sent early on to catch up with President Clinton.

MintPress News (MPN) | Well, that’s interesting because the first year Clinton was in office, Epstein was already attending donor dinners at the White House and making White House visits as well.

ABM | Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. I believe his biggest client was Mr. Clinton catch, or catch, or whatever, and he had a few other congressmen and what not but Clinton was, was his biggest catch.

Thus, Ben-Menashe argues, when Bill Clinton’s candidacy in the 1992 U.S. Presidential election became clear, efforts were made to target him via sexual blackmail and Jeffrey Epstein was chosen for that purpose. Bill Clinton was eventually blackmailed by the state of Israel and his administration was also targeted by Israeli espionage as part of the “Mega” spy scandal. Epstein’s involvement in the Clinton administration and his visits to the White House date back to Clinton’s first year in office. More information on the Epstein-Clinton relationship can be found in this MintPress report.

In addition, MintPress also asked Ben-Menashe if he was aware of Ghislaine Maxwell being directly involved with her father’s intelligence-related activities prior to his death in 1991. Ben-Menashe noted that Ghislaine accompanied her father so frequently, including on a now-infamous 1989 party on Maxwell’s yacht where Donald Trump and several key figures in the PROMIS software scandal were in attendance, that she was involved in his intelligence-related activities to some extent. However, he stopped short of saying how involved she was or what she has specifically been involved in prior to her father’s death.

When did Epstein really meet Ehud Barak?

One of the more controversial ties between Epstein and powerful politicians is that between Epstein and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Barak has claimed to have only met Epstein in 2002 and, from that point on, their relationship was very public, with Barak frequently visiting and even spending the night at residences owned by Epstein, including apartments where he housed the underage girls that he exploited. Barak also visited Epstein’s now-infamous island and recruited him to help fund the Israeli intelligence-connected company, Carbyne911.

However, there appear to be indications that Epstein and Barak may have met much earlier than Barak has since claimed. Given that Ben-Menashe claimed to have learned of Epstein’s recruitment by Israeli military intelligence in the 1980s, MintPress asked if one of the people involved in his recruitment was Ehud Barak. Barak served as head of Israel’s military intelligence directorate, Aman, from April 1983 to January 1986.

Ben-Menashe could not recall the exact year when he first became aware of Epstein’s recruitment by Israeli military intelligence but stated that it was “most likely” during Ehud Barak’s tenure as the head of Aman. Yet, even if Epstein’s recruitment did not take place while Barak headed Aman, it is highly likely — per Ben-Menashe — that Epstein had met Barak during this time because “Robert Maxwell became buddies with Ehud Barak…and he [Robert Maxwell] probably introduced them, the young man [Epstein] to Mr. Barak” if the two were not already acquainted.

Since the Epstein scandal broke, Ehud Barak has insisted that he did not meet Epstein until the year 2002 and claimed that the two had been introduced by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Ben-Menashe dismissed the possibility that this claim was true, emphatically stating that he was “sure they had met before” and that he did not believe that their first meeting was in 2002.

Epstein’s 2008 Trip to Tel Aviv

Just a few months before he was sentenced to prison for the first time in June 2008, Jeffrey Epstein had made a sudden visit to the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv. In April of that year, the Palm Beach Daily News reported that Epstein was staying at the Tel Aviv Hilton and quoted an Epstein spokesman as saying that he was “spending Passover, meeting with Israeli research scientists, and taking a tour of military bases.”

Sometime prior to Epstein’s sentencing on June 30 of that year, Alexander Acosta –then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida– signed off on a lenient sentence for Epstein who was charged with soliciting sex from a minor. That legal arrangement has since been nicknamed the “sweetheart deal.” Acosta later told Trump transition officials prior to his nomination for Secretary of Labor that his decision to approve the “sweetheart deal” came after he had been told to back off in the Epstein case because Epstein “belonged to intelligence.”

Though Acosta did not specify from whom he had received this information, former CIA agent Phil Giraldi has made a convincing case that they originated from Epstein’s then-lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a close associate of Epstein with ties to high-ranking Israeli politicians, and Barry Krischer, then-Florida State Attorney for Palm Beach who recently received an award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for his “outstanding contribution to the legal profession and to the community at large.”

As detailed in a previous MintPress report on Epstein’s ties to Israel published this past August, the ADL’s long-time top funders have close ties to Epstein and his sexual blackmail network, particularly the Bronfman family of Seagrams fame.

Ben-Menashe told MintPress that Epstein’s 2008 Tel Aviv visit was likely “blowing smoke” and involved Epstein “trying to make himself important maybe not to get arrested” and “hoping that the Israelis would help him.” He then added that “At the time they probably did” help Epstein, but added that “the second time around [i.e. 2019], well…it would be a harder sell.”

 

The Israel Lobby’s Hidden Hand in the Theft of Iraqi and Syrian Oil

By Agha Hussain & Whitney Webb

Source

KIRKUK, IRAQ — “We want to bring our soldiers home. But we did leave soldiers because we’re keeping the oil,” President Trump stated on November 3, before adding, “I like oil. We’re keeping the oil.”

Though he had promised a withdrawal of U.S. troops from their illegal occupation of Syria, Trump shocked many with his blunt admission that troops were being left behind to prevent Syrian oil resources from being developed by the Syrian government and, instead, kept in the hands of whomever the U.S. deemed fit to control them, in this case, the U.S.-backed Kurdish-majority militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Though Trump himself received all of the credit — and the scorn — for this controversial new policy, what has been left out of the media coverage is the fact that key players in the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby played a major role in its creation with the purpose of selling Syrian oil to the state of Israel. While recent developments in the Syrian conflict may have hindered such a plan from becoming reality, it nonetheless offers a telling example of the covert role often played by the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby in shaping key elements of U.S. foreign policy and closed-door deals with major regional implications.

Indeed, the Israel lobby-led effort to have the U.S. facilitate the sale of Syrian oil to Israel is not an isolated incident given that, just a few years ago, other individuals connected to the same pro-Israel lobby groups and Zionist neoconservatives manipulated both U.S. policy and Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in order to allow Iraqi oil to be sold to Israel without the approval of the Iraqi government. These designs, not unlike those that continue to unfold in Syria, were in service to longstanding neoconservative and Zionist efforts to balkanize Iraq by strengthening the KRG and weakening Baghdad.

After the occupation of Iraq’s Nineveh Governorate by ISIS (June 2014-October 2015), the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) took advantage of the Iraqi military’s retreat and, amidst the chaos, illegally seized Kirkuk on June 12. Their claim to the city was supported by both the U.S. and Israel and, later, the U.S.-led coalition targeting ISIS. This gave the KRG control, not only of Iraq’s export pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port, but also to Iraq’s largest oil fields.

Israel imported massive amounts of oil from the Kurds during this period, all without the consent of Baghdad. Israel was also the largest customer of oil sold by ISIS, who used Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk to sell oil in areas of Iraq and Syria under its control. To do this in ISIS-controlled territories of Iraq, the oil was sent first to the Kurdish city of Zakho near the Turkey border and then into Turkey, deceptively labeled as oil that originated from Iraqi Kurdistan. ISIS did nothing to impede the KRG’s own oil exports even though they easily could have given that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline passed through areas that ISIS had occupied for years.

In retrospect, and following revelations from Wikileaks and new information regarding the background of relevant actors, it has been revealed that much of the covert maneuvering behind the scenes that enabled this scenario intimately involved the United States’ powerful pro-Israel lobby. Now, with a similar scenario unfolding in Syria, efforts by the U.S.’ Israel lobby to manipulate U.S. foreign policy in order to shift the flow of hydrocarbons for Israel’s benefit can instead be seen as a pattern of behavior, not an isolated incident.

“Keep the oil” for Israel

After recent shifts in the Trump administration in its Syria policy, U.S. troops have controversially been kept in Syria to “keep the oil,” with U.S. military officials subsequently claiming that doing so was “a subset of the counter-ISIS mission.” However, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper later claimed that another factor behind U.S. insistence on guarding Syrian oil fields was to prevent the extraction and subsequent sale of Syrian oil by either the Syrian government or Russia.

One key, yet often overlooked, player behind the push to prevent a full U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria in order to “keep the oil” was current U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield. Satterfield was previously the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, where he yielded great influence over U.S. policy in both Iraq and Syria and worked closely with Brett McGurk, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran and later special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led “anti-ISIS” coalition.

Over the course of his long diplomatic career, Satterfield has been known to the U.S. government as an Israeli intelligence asset embedded in the U.S. State Department. Indeed, Satterfield was named as a major player in what is now known as the AIPAC espionage scandal, also known as the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, although he was oddly never charged for his role after the intervention of his superiors at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

David Satterfield

In 2005, federal prosecutors cited a U.S. government official as having illegally passed classified information to Steve Rosen, then working for AIPAC, who then passed that information to the Israeli government. That classified information included intelligence on Iran and the nature of U.S.-Israeli intelligence sharing. Subsequent media reports from the New York Times and other outlets revealed that this government official was none other than David Satterfield, who was then serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs.

Charges against Rosen, as well as his co-conspirator and fellow AIPAC employee Keith Weissman, were dropped in 2009 and no charges were levied against Satterfield after State Department officials shockingly claimed that Satterfield had “acted within his authority” in leaking classified information to an individual working to advance the interests of a foreign government. Richard Armitage, a neoconservative ally with a long history of ties to CIA covert operations in the Middle East and elsewhere, has since claimed that he was one of Satterfield’s main defenders in conversations with the FBI during this time when he was serving as Deputy Secretary of State.

The other government official named in the indictment, former Pentagon official Lawrence Franklin, was not so lucky and was charged under the Espionage Act in 2006. Satterfield, instead of being censured for his role in leaking sensitive information to a foreign government, was subsequently promoted in 2006 to serve as the Coordinator for Iraq and Senior Adviser to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In addition to his history of leaking classified information to AIPAC, Satterfield also has a longstanding relationship with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a controversial spin-off of AIPAC also known by its acronym WINEP. WINEP’s website has long listed Satterfield as one of its experts and Satterfield has spoken at several WINEP events and policy forums, including several after his involvement with the AIPAC espionage scandal became public knowledge. However, despite his longstanding and controversial ties to the U.S. pro-Israel lobby, Satterfield’s current relationship with some elements of that lobby, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), is complicated at best.

While Satterfield’s role in yet another reversal of a promised withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria has largely escaped media scrutiny, another individual with deep ties to the Israel lobby and Syrian “rebel” groups has also been ignored by the media, despite his outsized role in taking advantage of this new U.S. policy for Israel’s benefit.

US Israel Lobby secures deal with Kurds

Earlier this year, well before Trump’s new Syria policy of “keeping the oil” had officially taken shape, another individual with deep ties to the U.S. Israel lobby secured a lucrative agreement with U.S.-backed Kurdish groups in Syria. An official document issued earlier this year by the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political arm of the Kurdish majority and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a New Jersey-based company, founded and run by U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Mordechai “Motti” Kahana, was given control of the oil in territory held by the SDC.

Per the document, the SDC formally accepted the offer from Kahana’s company — Global Development Corporation (GDC) — to represent SDC in all matters pertaining to the sale of oil extracted in territory it controls and also grants GDC “the right to explore and develop oil that is located in areas we govern.”

Global Development Corporation Kurdish Oil

The document also states that the amount of oil then being produced in SDC-controlled areas was 125,000 barrels per day and that they anticipated that this would increase to 400,000 barrels per day and that this oil is considered a foreign asset under the control of the United States by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

After the document was made public by the Lebanese outlet Al-Akhbar, the SDC claimed that it was a forgery, even though Kahana had separately confirmed its contents and shared the letter itself to the Los Angeles Times as recently as a few weeks ago. Kahana previously attempted to distance himself from the effort and told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom in July that he had made the offer to the SDC as means to prevent the “Assad regime” of Syria from obtaining revenue from the sale of Syrian oil.

The Kurds currently hold 11 oil wells in an area controlled by the [Syrian] Democratic Forces. The overwhelming majority of Syrian oil is in that area. I don’t want this oil reaching Iran, or the Assad regime.”

At the time, Kahana also stated that “the moment the Trump administration gives its approval, we can begin to export this oil at fair prices.”

Given that Kahana has openly confirmed that he is representing the SDC’s oil business shortly after Trump’s adoption of the controversial “keep the oil policy,” it seems plausible that Kahana has now received the approval needed for his company to export the oil on behalf of the SDC. Several media reports have speculated that, if Kahana’s efforts go forward unimpeded, the Syrian oil will be sold to Israel.

However, considering Turkey’s aversion to engaging in any activities that may benefit the PKK-SDF – there are considerable obstacles to Kahana’s plans. While the SDF — along with assistance from U.S. troops — still controls several oil fields in Syria, experts assert that they can only realistically sell the oil to the Syrian government. Not even the Iraqi Kurds are a candidate, considering Baghdad’s firm control over the Iraq-Syria border and the KRG’s weakened state after its failed independence bid in late 2017.

Regardless, Kahana’s involvement in this affair is significant for a few reasons. First, Kahana has been a key player in the promotion and funding of radical groups in Syria and has even been caught hiring so-called “rebels” to kidnap Syrian Jews and take them to Israel against their will. It was Kahana, for instance, who financed and orchestrated the now infamous trip of the late Senator John McCain to Syria, where he met with Syrian “rebels” including Khalid al-Hamad – a “moderate” rebel who gained notoriety after a video of him eating the heart of a Syrian Army soldier went viral online. McCain had also admitted meeting with ISIS members, though it is unclear if he did so on this trip or another trip to Syria.

In addition, Kahana was also the mastermind behind the “Caesar” controversy, whereby a Syrian using the pseudonym “Caesar” was brought to the U.S. by Kahana and went on to make claims regarding torture and other crimes allegedly committed by the Assad-led government Syria, claims which were later discredited by independent analysts. He was also very involved in Israel’s failed efforts to establish a “safe zone” in Southern Syria as a means of covertly expanding Israel’s territory from the occupied Golan Heights and into Quneitra.

Notably, Kahana has deep ties — not just to efforts to overthrow the Syrian government — but also to U.S. Israel lobby, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) where Satterfield is as an expert. For instance, Kahana was a key player in a 2013 symposium organized by WINEP along with Syrian opposition groups intimately involved in the arming of so-called “rebels.” One of the other participants in the symposium alongside Kahana was Mouaz Moustafa, director of the “Syrian Emergency Task Force” who assisted Kahana in bringing McCain to Syria in 2013. Moustafa was listed as a WINEP expert on the organization’s website but was later mysteriously deleted.

Kahana is also intimately involved with the Israeli American Council (IAC), a pro-Israel lobby organization, as a team member of its national conference. IAC was co-founded and is chaired by Adam Milstein, a multimillionaire and convicted felon who is also on the boards of AIPAC, StandWithUs, Birthright and other prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations. One of IAC’s top donors is Sheldon Adelson, who is also the top donor to President Trump as well as the entire Republican Party.

Though the machinations of both Kahana and Satterfield to guide U.S. policy in order to manipulate the flow of Syria’s hydrocarbons for Israel’s benefit may seem shocking to some, this same tactic of pro-Israel lobbyists using the Kurds to illegally sell a country’s oil to Israel was developed a few years prior, not in Syria, but Iraq. Notably, the individuals responsible for that policy in Iraq shared connections to several of the same pro-Israel lobby organizations as both Satterfield and Kahana, suggesting that their recent efforts in Syria are not an isolated event, but a pattern.

War against ISIS is a war for oil

In an email dated June 15, 2014, James Franklin Jeffrey (former Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and current U.S. Special Representative for Syria) revealed to Stephen Hadley, a former George Bush administration advisor then working at the government-funded United States Institute of Peace, his intent to advise the KRG in order to sustain Kirkuk’s oil production. The plan, as Jeffery described it, was to supply both the Kurdistan province with oil and allow the export of oil via Kirkuk-Ceyhan to Israel, robbing Iraq of its oil and strengthening the country’s Kurdish region along with its regional government’s bid for autonomy.

Jeffrey, whose hawkish views on Iran and Syria are well-known, mentioned that Brett McGurk, the U.S.’ main negotiator between Baghdad and the KRG, was acting as his liaison with the KRG. McGurk, who had served in various capacities in Iraq under both Bush and Obama, was then also serving Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran. A year later, he would be made the special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led “anti-ISIS” coalition and, as previously mentioned, worked closely with David Satterfield.

Jeffrey was then a private citizen not currently employed by the government and was used as a non-governmental channel in the pursuit of the plans described in the leaked emails published by WikiLeaks. Jeffrey’s behind-the-scenes activities with regards to the KRG’s oil exports were done clandestinely, largely because he was then employed by a prominent arm of the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby.

At the time of the email, Jeffrey was serving as a distinguished fellow (2013-2018) at WINEP. As previously mentioned, WINEP is a pro-Israel foreign policy think-tank that espouses neoconservative views and was created in 1985 by researchers that had hastily left AIPAC to escape investigations against the organization that were related to some of its members conducting espionage on behalf of Israel. AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, is the largest registered Israel lobbyist organization in the US (albeit registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act would be more suitable), and, in addition to the 1985 incident that led to WINEP’s creation, has had members indicted for espionage against the U.S. on Israel’s behalf.

WINEP’s launch was funded by former President of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles,  Barbara Weinberg, who is its founding president and constant Chairman Emerita. Nicknamed ‘Barbi’, she is the wife of the late Lawrence Weinberg who was President of AIPAC from 1976-81 and who JJ Goldberg, author of the 1997 book Jewish Power, referred to as one of a select few individuals who essentially dominated AIPAC regardless of its elected leadership. Co-founder alongside Weinberg was Martin Indyk. Indyk, U.S. Ambassador to Israel (1995-97) and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1997-99), led the AIPAC research time that formed WINEP to escape the aforementioned investigations.

WINEP has historically received funding from donors who donate to causes of special interest for Zionism and Israel. Among its trustees are extremely prominent names in political Zionism and funders of other Israel Lobby organizations, such as Charles and Edgar Bronfman and the ChernicksIts membership remains dominated by individuals who have spent their careers promoting Israeli interests in the U.S.

WINEP has become more well-known, and arguably more controversial, in recent years after its research director famously called for false-flag attacks to trigger a U.S. war with Iran in 2012, statements well-aligned with longstanding attempts by the Israel Lobby to bring about such a war.

A worthy partner in crime

Stephen Hadley, another private citizen who Jeffrey evidently considered as a partner in his covert dealings discussed in the emails, also has his own past of involvement with Israel-specific intrigues and meddling.

During the G.W. Bush administration, Hadley tagged along with neoconservatives in their numerous creations of fake intelligence and efforts to incriminate Iraq for possessing chemical and nuclear weapons. Hadley was one of the promoters from within the U.S. government of the false claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague.

Hadley also worked with then-Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Lewis Libby — a neoconservative and former lawyer for the Mossad-agent and billionaire Marc Rich — to discredit a CIA investigation into claims of Iraq purchasing yellowcake uranium from Niger. That claim famously appeared in Bush’s State of the Union address in 2002.

What this particular claim had in common with the ‘Iraq meets Atta in Prague’ disinformation, and other famous lies against Iraq fabricated and circulated by the dense neocon network, was its source: Israel and pro-Israel partisans.

The distribution network of these now long-debunked claims was none other than the neoconservatives who act a veritable Israeli fifth column that has long sought to promote Israeli foreign policy objectives as being in the interest of the United States. In this, Hadley played his part by helping to ensure that the United States was railroaded into a war that had long been promoted by both Israeli and American neoconservatives, particularly Richard Perle — an advisor to WINEP — who had been promoting regime change in Iraq for Israel’s explicit benefit for decades.

In short, for covert intrigues to serve Israel that would likely be met with protest if pitched to the government for implementation as policy, Hadley’s resume was impressive.

Israeli interests pursued through covert channels

Given his employment at WINEP during this time, Jeffrey’s intent to advise the KRG to sustain Kirkuk’s oil production despite the seizure of the Baiji oil refinery by ISIS is somewhat suspect, especially since it required that 100,000 barrels per day pass through ISIS-controlled territory unimpeded.

Jeffrey’s email from June 14, therefore, demonstrated that he had foreknowledge that ISIS would not disturb the KRG as long as the Kurds redirected oil that was intended originally for Baiji to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline, facilitating its export and later sale to Israel.

Notably, up until its liberation in mid-2015 by the Iraqi government and aligned Shia paramilitaries, ISIS kept the refinery running and, only upon their retreat, destroyed the facility.

In July 2014, the KRG began confidently supplying Kurdish areas with Kirkuk’s oil per the plan laid out by Jeffrey in the aforementioned email. Baghdad soon became aware of the arrangement and lashed out at Israel and Turkey, whose banks were used by the KRG to receive the oil revenue from Israel.

One would normally expect ISIS to be opposed to such collusion given that the KRG, while a beneficiary of the ISIS-Baghdad conflict, was not an ally of ISIS. Thus, a foreign power with strategic ties to ISIS used its close ties to the KRG and assurances that it was on-board for the oil trade, to deliver a credible guarantee that ISIS would ‘cooperate’ and that a boom in production and exports was in the cards.

This foreign power — acting as a guarantor for the ISIS-KRG understanding vis-a-vis the illegal oil economy, represented by Jeffrey and clearly not on good terms with Iraq’s government — was quite clearly Israel.

Israel established considerable financial support as well as the provision of armaments to other extremist terrorist groups active near the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Southern Syria when war first broke out in Syria in 2011. At least four of these extremist groups were led by individuals with direct ties to Israeli intelligence. These same groups, sometimes promoted as ‘moderates’ by some media, were actively fighting Syria’s government – an enemy of Israel and ally of Iran – before ISIS existed and eagerly partnered with ISIS when it expanded its campaign into Syria.

Furthermore, Israeli officials have publicly admitted maintaining regular communication with ISIS cells in Southern Syria and have publicly expressed their desire that ISIS not be defeated in the country. In Libya, Israeli Mossad operatives have been found embedded within ISIS, suggesting that Israel has covert but definite ties with the group outside of Syria as well.

Israel has also long promoted the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, with Israel having provided Iraq’s Kurds with weapons, training and teams of Mossad advisers as far back as the 1960s. More recently, Israel was the only state to support the KRG independence referendum in September 2017 despite its futility, hinting at the regard Israel holds for the KRG. Iraq’s government subsequently militarily defeated the KRG’s push for statehood and reclaimed Kirkuk’s oil fields with assistance from the Shia paramilitaries which were responsible for defeating ISIS in the area.

Iraq ISIS control map

This arrangement orchestrated by Jeffrey, served the long-time neoconservative-Israeli agenda of empowering the Kurds, selling Iraqi oil to Israel and weakening Iraq’s Baghdad-based government.

WINEP’s close association with AIPAC, which has spied on the U.S. on behalf of Israel several times in the past with no consequence, combined with Jeffrey’s long-time acquaintance with key U.S. figures in Iraq, such as McGurk, provided an ideal opening for Israel in Iraq. Following the implementation of Jeffrey’s plan, Israeli imports of KRG oil constituted 77 percent of Israel’s total oil imports during the KRG’s occupation of Kirkuk.

The WINEP connection to the KRG-Israel oil deal demonstrates the key role played by the U.S. pro-Israel Lobby, not only in terms of sustaining U.S. financial aid to Israel and ratcheting up tensions with Israel’s adversaries but also in facilitating the more covert aspects of U.S.-Israeli cooperation and the implementation of policies that favor Israel.

Yet the role played by the U.S. Israel lobby in this capacity, particularly in terms of orchestrating oil sale agreements for Israel’s benefit, is hardly exclusive to Iraq and can accurately be described as a repeated pattern of behavior.

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