The risks, challenges, and crisis of the Ukraine war.

April 21, 2022

Source

By Zamir Awan

The last few decades have witnessed several wars, like the Iraq war, Libya war, Yemen war, Syria war, the Afghan war, etc. But all of such wars were designed by the US and executed along with NATO/ US allies. The US-style of wars, was first building a narrative, using media as propaganda, and then, involving the UN and international community, or convincing the rest of the world for its war acts. As a result, the US achieved its objectives without getting blamed for wars, aggressions, invasions, etc. Although millions were killed, millions were injured, many serious with lifetime disabilities, millions of houses were destroyed making millions of people homeless, forcing millions of people to live in refugee camps or take asylum in other countries and spend the rest of their lives in misery. Infrastructure was damaged, the economy was destroyed, social systems were damaged totally, changed regime installed puppets and dictated them to serve American interests, etc.

All wars are equally bad and harmful to humankind. Either the victims are Muslims, Christians, Jews, or any other religion. Whether, the victims are black, yellow, or white, are equally precious. Irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or social status, all lives deserve equal treatment and respect. The UN charter guarantees the protection of all humankind equally.

But Ukraine war is very special and bears different consequences:-

  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict has not only created a worldwide political, diplomatic, economic, food, and energy crisis but has also exposed the double standards of the world powers towards the principles of international politics and global governance.
  • It is expected the conflict to be a long-drawn-out affair. This is reinforced by the fact that despite the inclination of the Russian leadership or military to end the war at an early stage, on the ground trends in the shape of military armament and around 50,000 non-state actors in Ukraine offer a very alarming specter.
  • The war is not a choice but perhaps a strategic compulsion that Moscow felt for several reasons like challenges ranging from the global world order to the expansion of NATO and also concerns regarding the political leadership of Ukraine and its policies.
  • It is an ideational conflict that shows the level of violence and degree of pain and cost that could be inflicted on Russia by the US-led western alliance. The war seems to be a grave miscalculation on Russia’s part because the ability of the western world to cause pain in an enduring fashion across several domains beyond the kinetic tactical or operational battlefield of Ukraine will make it very difficult for Moscow to sustain and achieve its objectives.
  • China views this conflict with a lot of concern because it offers more challenges than opportunities. A weakened Russia is not in the Chinese interest. Moreover, the revival and rearmament of NATO also indirectly do not augur well for Beijing in terms of future prospects. Another aspect is that although China wants to sustain its global economic growth but not at the cost of disturbing its trade relations with the west.
  • It is highlighted the buildup of the Quad, the Indo-Pacific strategy, and the recent rise of QUAD 2.0. If all these are added up most of these things are aimed at containing China and disrupting its global rise. This conflict has perhaps reminded Washington that they cannot afford to only concentrate the major share of their hard power only on Asia-Pacific and need to maintain their security commitment towards the west and Europe as well.
  • In the regional context, India was seen in flux because its military forces are heavily dependent on Russia for meeting its technological and operational needs but it is facing a very difficult challenge due to its growing diplomatic and economic ties with the US. As such Delhi will find it rather difficult to balance these contrasting challenges.
  • The Muslim world was urged to introspect because they have been accused of over 20 years of terrorism but this reality dawning in eastern Europe allows them to look at how other civilizations and value systems call upon non-state actors and militant organizations when they are challenged and how they are presented in the Western-dominated media.
  • In terms of identity, it poses a simultaneous challenge in terms of race, religion, and nationalism. The western alliance sees this as the frustration of the Russian orthodox Christianity facing the challenge of the western world order which is characterized by the Protestants and Catholics.
  • The societal aspect should be seen in the context of globalization and the perpetual process of the interconnectedness of the different civilizations, societies, peoples, cultures, and economies. This is perhaps the biggest challenge globalization has received in terms of a counter-globalization movement.
  • The economic aspect is not just playing out in the sanctions regime but also the trade and currency wars, and the grave concern that Beijing has because to sustain its economic expansion and global influence it is heavily dependent on Western Europe and America for maintaining its export market which is worth over $600 billion. The increasing energy prices pose a huge challenge for the developing world and the governments, especially immediately after the COVID crisis.
  • In the political domain, it is the greatest test of the current world order and a complex contest between the ideational powers, revivalist powers, and states that want to be identified based on nationalism. It is an ideational challenge to the status quo world order by a frustrated and provoked Russia which wants to be respected for its economic, political and strategic revival.
  • In terms of the security domain, the conflict has led to the revival and rearmament of NATO, which does not augur well for China and Russia. It also has reduced Russian energy leverage and soft power on Western Europe and revived sub-conventional warfare as a means of great power contest in the east European theater.
  • Russia is angered by the eastward expansion of NATO and has challenged the Western-led world order. He also said that Western sanctions could affect Pakistan’s ability to benefit from improving ties with Moscow, in terms of meeting its energy needs.
  • Ukraine conflict has created a worldwide economic, energy, and food crisis that has affected all the countries including Pakistan.
  • The conflict represents a Russian challenge to the US exceptionalism which the Western world is contesting by supporting the Ukraine government through militants which presents the world an opportunity to recover from its excessive focus on the Muslim world.
  • The Western powers cannot have one set of rules for themselves and another for other countries in terms of security and prosperity and Russia is no longer willing to access this contradictory Western approach.
  • Ukraine War is an ideational conflict for the US which should not merely be seen in a geopolitical context while Russia, through this military operation, wants to show the world that it is back on the world stage.
  • This conflict offers more challenges than opportunities for Beijing and although the Western powers view China as standing on the Russian side a weakened Russia is not in Chinese interests.
  • India faced a complex dilemma of maintaining its very close defense cooperation with Russia and simultaneously building deep and long-term strategic and diplomatic ties with the United States.
  • Muslim societies should start thinking of alternative arrangements, such as a monetary union and common market, to address their concerns during international crises.
  • The world banking system and global energy supply chain have badly suffered due to this conflict. He said that more than one trillion dollars have been stuck in the global banking system due to the war.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Nasrallah: The war in Ukraine unmasked the racism and hypocrisy of the West

April 19, 2022

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on March 8, 2022, on the occasion of the Day of the Wounded.Source: video.moqawama.org

Translation: resistancenews.com

[…] O my brothers and sisters, the events happening around us in terms must strengthen our awareness, our lucidity and our understanding of things, the conclusions we draw from them for the current equations, as well as the lessons and teachings we learn from them. This brings me to the current events that are currently occupying all minds. I start with the events between Russia and Ukraine to state that these are very important events in terms of lessons and learning. As last time, I will just mention some brief points before I come to the internal Lebanese situation.

The first point is that the U.S. representative to the Security Council said in addressing Russia, “Any attack on civilians is considered a war crime, and we are recording all events.” In the sense that the US is monitoring everything closely, and will then try Russia for its (alleged) war crimes. That’s what she said to Russia. But what does she say about the massacres against civilians perpetrated by the US in all its wars? No war waged by the US happened without attacks on civilians, massacres, civilians killed, atrocities against civilians and civilian infrastructure, etc. From the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose environmental and health effects are still felt today, with traces and effects that persist to this day, to Iraq, the siege of Iraq, the starvation of Iraq and the death of tens of thousands of Iraqi children due to the siege, then the invasion (of Iraq in 2003), etc. According to the Americans themselves, they have killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. How many times have American planes or drones bombed Afghan wedding ceremonies, turning them into funerals, and then claiming that they were training camps, despite the presence of women, children and old people? But they claimed that they were training camps. What about the Zionist massacres in Palestine for more than 70 years, and the massacres Israel regularly perpetrates? What about the Israeli-Zionist war crimes in Palestine? What about the siege of Gaza? Today, the whole world is shedding tears because this or that city in Ukraine has been under siege for 5, 6 or 7 days. But Gaza has been under siege for many years, for 15 years! But the world remains silent.

What about the massacres of the Saudi-American aggression in Yemen, and the tens of thousands of civilian martyrs in Yemen, children, women, men, old and young? And the entire civilian infrastructure is destroyed in Yemen. What about the siege imposed on Yemen for the past 7 years? And currently, the siege is increasing on oil derivatives (fuels), and we saw yesterday the angry demonstrations in Yemeni cities. But the whole world remains silent about this. Why is this so? Simply, and don’t mind me saying it so bluntly, it’s because all these people are not White, they are not blond and they are not blue-eyed – even if in reality there are some blond and blue-eyed white people among them, but it doesn’t matter. These people do not belong to the world of the White man. I’ll go even further than that: for the United States, even those who belong to the White man’s world are only means, tools, instruments, and have no human value.

This is the case with Ukraine [the US has no hesitation in sacrificing the Ukrainian and European population in general to advance its interests]. Thus, based on the logic of the representative of the United States, it would have been necessary today, before threatening Russia or other countries with trials, to establish dozens and hundreds of sessions to judge the Americans, the British and the Western and European armies for their crimes in Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Africa, in all corners of the world, in India, Pakistan… It is these files that we must start by examining if we want to base ourselves on these principles.

This hypocrisy and double standard is confirmed day after day. Last Friday, in Peshawar, Pakistan, during Friday prayers, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing dozens of people, including the Imam of the mosque, and injuring dozens more. And the whole world remained silent. This is natural. Because these takfiris suicide bombers are Made in CIA, Made in America. They serve the American project. The whole world must remain silent because it is the US and its tools in the region. Day after day, it is confirmed that the American “values” do not respect humanistic principles, morals, international law, fundamental rights, etc. Nothing matters to them but their political and economic interests and their hegemony. When their political interests ask them to condemn, they condemn. When their political interests ask them to support, they support. On the subject of the massacres perpetrated by Israel, the United States is not content with not condemning, they prevent the Security Council from condemning them! They prevent the whole world from condemning them! They defend the (Israeli) murderers and butchers who shed (Palestinian) blood! This is the truth of the United States, which we have known (for a long time), but we take advantage of the current events to remind it, so that those who have not yet opened their eyes do so, and that those who already know gain in awareness and lucidity, and in clarity of vision.

Also, and this is my second point, every day there is more evidence in the world that trusting the United States is an act of imbecility. I say this to get to Lebanon next. Trusting the United States is stupid and foolish. It is an act of ignorance that endangers the global Muslim community, the nation and the interests of the people. This is what it means to trust the Americans. A few months ago, we saw with our own eyes, and the whole world saw, the experience of the United States in Afghanistan, and how they abandoned and forsook the country. The images of the planes and the airport are still fresh in everyone’s mind.

Let’s not forget the statements of the Afghan officials who collaborated with the Americans for many years: the Afghan President on the run, who was 100% with the Americans, to the point that if they told him not to negotiate with the Taliban, he didn’t do it –while the United States themselves negotiated with them–, if they asked him not to go to Tehran, he didn’t go there, if they wanted him to go to such and such a country, he went there, and so on. He was 100% subservient to the US… So the former Afghan President says: “My mistake was to trust the United States and its international allies.” He claims that he gave them his opinion and thoughts, but they did not respond to him and did not take them into account, considering that it was their vision that was right, that they were the strategists, that the data was in their hands and that they had efficiently anticipated the consequences and results (of their actions), but the result is (the humiliating American debacle) that we saw in Afghanistan. They have abandoned (all their allies).

Today, in Ukraine, the whole world knows that the United States and Great Britain in particular (are the main culprits of the crisis). The rest of the European countries are really poor wretches. It is clear that a number of European countries did not want this problem, like Germany for example, Germany in the first place, and also France to some extent. Other European countries felt that they would be trampled and sacrificed (on the altar of NATO’s aggression against Russia), that their interests were in great danger. The United States, and with them Great Britain, which has left the European Union, have aggravated the situation in Ukraine and pushed it into the lion’s den. But of course, they acted according to precise calculations. For Biden has announced in his strategy that his priority is the fight against Russia and China. With China, the confrontation has its own calculations and its own ways. And as for the confrontation against Russia, Biden is certainly not going to wage a world war against it, because he is not capable of it, and so he has thrown Ukraine against Russia to prevent any agreement between Ukraine and Russia and to provoke this war.

This is demonstrated by the fact that after the first few days (of war), we can all listen on television to the statements of the President of Ukraine, his head of government, his foreign minister and his deputy, and his advisers. What do they say? “They let us fight alone.” Because either (the U.S.) had promised Ukraine that they would fight with them in case of war (against Russia), or, because of the trust of Ukrainians in the U.S., they believed that they would fight alongside them. And that is why Ukrainian leaders are now expressing that their hopes have been dashed. They say they have been left alone to fight. It was the Ukrainian President who said so. Ukraine is calling on the United States (and NATO) to fight on its side, but they are responding that they cannot endanger their States and their people and risk a devastating world war for the sake of Ukraine. I just said that in their eyes, even the White man has no value. (They will not risk a nuclear war) for the sake of Ukraine, for the people of Ukraine, for the White man in Ukraine, in any case. They are not ready for that. “Fight on your own, dear friends. Because as far as we are concerned, we are not ready to fight.” And that’s why they say every day that they will not send any American soldiers to Ukraine, no American planes to Ukraine. But it is you, the United States, who caused this situation and called this catastrophe on Ukraine!

Of course, my statement is not an invitation to the United States to go and fight Russia in Ukraine. I say this only to draw lessons from the current situation, for all those who trust the United States and place their hopes in them. The Ukrainian President asks (the US) to establish a no-fly zone in the skies over Ukraine to prevent Russian planes from hitting them. But they reply he gets is “Sorry, we can’t, because that would mean shooting down Russian planes, which would lead to war, and we are not ready to go to war with Russia for the sake of Ukraine.” Ukraine is calling for a total Western embargo on (Russian) oil and gas, which some countries are ready for, but others have responded frankly that they cannot do without Russian gas. Russian gas is still being sold, and its price has risen. So look at (the inconsistency): on the one hand, they impose sanctions on Russia, and on the other hand, they buy gas from it at high prices. That’s a (telling) example. The same goes for the Ukrainian request to obtain warplanes: the West refuses, because this would make it participate directly in the war. Are there not lessons to be learned there? They let Ukraine fight alone, because they are not ready to go to war for its sake. At most, they impose sanctions, a blockade, consistent with the American objective of weakening Russia. The US is acting in its own interest, not in the interest of Ukraine. This is the truth.

Today, if we could enter the hearts and minds of Ukrainian officials, we would find a feeling of maximum abandonment and neglect. And that’s why (Zelensky) starts to come down from his pedestal: he announces that he is ready to negotiate, to discuss the neutrality of Ukraine and other Russian demands. Why is he starting to reconsider – if his American masters allow him, of course? Because he has realized that those who promised to stand by him, those in whom he trusted and in whom he placed all his hopes, those who put him in this situation, have abandoned him in the middle of the road. I and you have known this lesson (that the United States are treacherous) by heart for a very long time, but I repeat it because Biden is a new proof of it. And before coming to Lebanon, I conclude on the international situation by pointing out the moral collapse of the West. The West lectures us about Western civilization, morality, humanistic values, human rights, etc. But the situation shows their moral decay. Look at how they treat refugees. Black Africans are treated differently, as well as Asians, Muslims, etc. There is discrimination on the basis of religion, race, skin color. Is this the famous Western civilization that they harp on day and night, presenting it to us as a model to follow? Whole States are acting in this way, in an official way! One of the Presidents of these countries, in order to justify this decision (to discriminate in favor of the White Ukrainian refugees), answered that it was the will of his people, who had elected him on this basis. It is therefore a racist culture, which has no connection with humanism or morality!

As far as Lebanon is concerned, I would like to say to the (pro-Western) political forces that if they aspire to please the US, they will never succeed, because the American demands are unlimited and never stop. If anyone thinks that the US can be satisfied with this or that demand, they are deluding themselves, because tomorrow they will demand one, two, three, a hundred, a thousand other things. Their diktats do not stop at any limit. And satisfying them is detrimental to Lebanon’s interests without giving us any compensation. What did the Lebanese officials get in return for their submission? We are already deprived of electricity, gas and dollars by the American sanctions or vetoes, what more could they do?

Lebanon voted against Russia at the UN, when it could have chosen to abstain, as 35 countries did. This is what Lebanon’s national interest demanded: abstention. The Prime Minister of Pakistan said a few days ago, in the face of Western pressure for his country to take an anti-Russian position, “We are not your slaves.” This is an excellent position. It would be good if Lebanon would one day dare to stand up to the American embassy and say, “We are not your slaves.” This would be a proof of freedom, patriotism, sovereignty, independence. But the worst thing is the statement of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our level of submission is such that the US embassy demanded that this communiqué on Russia and Ukraine be amended to be more virulent against Russia, and this rewriting was made directly by the US embassy. […]

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Sitrep: Zone B

April 18, 2022

Source

By Amarynth

By now everyone has read Andrei (The Saker’s) excellent essay on what he termed Zone A and Zone B.

Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

This sitrep will look at three Zone B country actions, all driven by those that understand we are in a civilizational moment of change in our world.

Mexico:  A week ago, AMLO fulfilled his promise to the electorate and had what is generally called a re-call vote.  Simply, if you don’t like what I do, you can recall me right now and we will have new elections – a direct democracy action.  He won, by an astonishing 91.86 percent of the vote — or 15.1 million out of 16.5 million votes cast.  We can conclude that he is a popular president and the Mexican people are with him.

Yet, he has been under pressure for the same reasons that other Zone B countries are being pressurised.  He refused to criticize Russia’s actions and refused to join the sanctions regime.  In a moment of harsh pressure, he made a statement that again did not criticize Russia per se, but criticized war.   Today is the day that there is a discussion on energy sovereignty, and whereas I don’t know the minute details, this is a long term objective of AMLO.  I would read the tea leaves and suggest that the pressure on AMLO had to do with where Mexico sells its oil.

Given Mexico’s geographic position in the world, this looks like a very gutsy Zone B move to me.

Pakistan: Imran Khan was removed as Prime Minister of Pakistan via a very easy mechanism of regime change. A few of his key legislators joined the opposition and he found himself without a majority. He (and his remaining legislators) walked out, minutes before a new leader was elected, as they refused to be part of a US-imposed government structure. It did not end there. He called people to the streets to fight for the sovereign principles of a Zone B country.

Take a look:

Then, as usual, we find out the reason for this regime change. After the change of leader, Pakistan sent air attacks against Afghanistan. Under Khan, they refused to give space to US forces for a new attack base against Afghanistan, whether the Taliban is in control or not. China somewhat ‘adopted’ Afghanistan and is doing much work there to bring the Taliban into a fair governance position.

This is early days and we will see if the massive Zone B populace in the streets of Pakistan makes a difference.  Early elections are being called for.

And from Russia:

Do read the full article:  https://thecradle.co/Article/news/9248

Nasrallah: We accuse the US of elections postponement attempts

April 12 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses, in a speech, the latest developments in occupied Palestine and the upcoming parliamentary elections, citing US interference.

Nasrallah: We stand strong by Palestine

In a speech addressing the latest developments in Palestine, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stressed, on Monday evening, the need to stand in reverence before the families of the Palestinian martyrs and their decisive stances.

Sayyed Nasrallah said, “We must hail and stand in reverence before the heroism of the men, youth, women, children, and elders of occupied Palestine.”

In a speech addressing the latest developments in Palestine, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed, on Monday evening, that “what is happening in occupied Palestine has great implications on the struggle with the enemy and the future of the Israeli entity.”

Sayyed Nasrallah addressed the Israeli occupation government, saying, “If you are betting on the despair and frustration of the Palestinian people, then you are delusional,” and, “If you think that the official Arab abandonment will lead to the retreat of the Palestinian youth, you are also delusional.”

While he considered that “what is happening in and around occupied Palestine requires a long contemplation time and more support and solidarity,” Sayyed Nasrallah expressed “the absolute support and backing for the Palestinian people and their resistance.”

He stressed, “We are partners with them [Palestinian people] in this battle and in achieving victory.”

The resistance imposed a huge equation on the enemy in the April ‘96 war 

Sayyed Nasrallah recalled the April 1996 war and stressed that “the Resistance was able to impose on the enemy the equation of protecting civilians while going on with its resistance.”

He pointed out that “the equation of protecting civilians from Israeli attacks still exists thanks to the Resistance.”

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the United States always defends the aggressor enemy and its massacres and prevents even its condemnation.

There is talk that some embassies want to postpone the parliamentary elections

On the upcoming elections in Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary-General said the Lebanese parliamentary elections are around the corner, noting that the US embassy and other embassies have come to the understanding that the current parliamentary majority will maintain its position.

He stressed that “no one should believe that obtaining two-thirds of the parliamentary seats is a realistic and logical goal, and we are convinced that Lebanon cannot but be based on understanding,” highlighting the dispersion among the other parties during the formation of electoral lists.

He explicitly said, “It is our right to accuse the US embassy of seeking to postpone the parliamentary elections.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also revealed that there is talk that some embassies want to postpone the parliamentary elections to arrange the affairs of the other side of the political spectrum.

Considering that “one of the objectives of talking about postponing the elections may be to reduce the citizens’ enthusiasm to participate,” Nasrallah said, “We consider that we are waging an electoral battle, so the voter turnout should be high.”

A lot of Saudi money poured into Lebanese official’s pockets

Nasrallah also revealed that a Saudi official had disclosed to him that “Riyadh spent huge amounts of money in Lebanon during the 2009 elections,” noting that “a large part of this money was not spent on the elections, but went into the balances of political officials in Lebanon.”

The Secretary-General of Hezbollah called on the Lebanese “not to rely on opinion polls and definitive results and to head to the ballot boxes with full enthusiasm and concern.”

He stressed that “we must work to ensure the success of our candidates and the candidates of our allies, who are advancing in many constituencies, even without our support,” confirming, “We want our allies to succeed in these elections so that we can cooperate together in shouldering responsibilities.”

Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah does not have secret alliances because all its alliances are crystal clear.

He declared that “Hezbollah passing on the preferential votes to the rest of the allies will be public and based on understanding,” stressing that, “we have not made a prior commitment to anyone.”

Sayyed Nasrallah said, “We do not want to abolish anyone, and we want everyone to be represented in Parliament in their true sizes.”

He added that “in 2005, the March 14 forces were the ones who abolished the political forces, and the fact that they accepted the Amal movement and Hezbollah was compelled.”

He stressed that the sides trying to abolish others are the ones who were betting in the July 2006 war on crushing the resistance and its environment, the ones who sat with the Americans and incited them to defeat Hezbollah in the July war, and the ones who are ready to go as far as igniting a civil war just to crush others.

Sayyed Nasrallah asked the question, “How can you talk about using arms to shape a particular political environment when you obtained the parliamentary majority more than once and formed governments?”

“This who are trying to trick the Lebanese into believing that the Resistance arms are the cause of all the crises, why don’t they even bring up corruption and economic policies in the past 30 years?” he wondered.

The Resistance protects Lebanon through a deterrence equation

The Secretary-General of Hezbollah considered that “the ones who are taking aim at the arms of the Resistance only aim at appeasing America, the West, and some Arab regimes to obtain financial support.”

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that “the Resistance is the side that protects the country through a deterrence equation it has imposed on the enemy.” 

On the relations with Arab countries, hinting at Saudi Arabia, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah asked, “Who is sabotaging Arab relations, who is taking a supportive position on the aggression on Yemen, and who has launched a devastating military aggression seven years ago?”

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed that “the Yemenis imposed their will on the international community through their steadfastness and fighting,” hoping that “the armistice – which he welcomed – would be a prelude for a political solution.”

He explained that this is “what we have been asking for from the beginning; to stop the war and massacres, and no one aims at targeting Saudi Arabia.”

He believed that “the only solution in Yemen is to negotiate and engage in direct talks with Sanaa,” confirming that the latter is not to be pressured. 

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Pakistan PM Accuses US of Funding “Conspiracy” to Topple His Gov’t

April 11, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan accused an unnamed “foreign power” – in a clear reference to the United States – of funding a “conspiracy” to topple his democratically elected government.

Addressing a large rally in the capital Islamabad on Sunday, Khan said the “foreign power” sent millions of dollars to opposition parties to launch a no-confidence vote against him in the parliament.

Khan, who had formed a coalition government after winning the election in 2018, said he was the subject of a “foreign conspiracy” aimed at dislodging his government and that “funding was being channeled into Pakistan from abroad.” 

A no-confidence motion has been tabled in Pakistan’s National Assembly, with days of debates expected to start next week before the vote. The opposition needs a simple majority to oust Khan, after which a new prime minister would be chosen by the parliament.

“We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interests,” said Khan, who met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 24, the same day the Russian leader ordered a military operation in neighboring Ukraine. 

Before that, Khan visited Beijing in January, defying US President Joe Biden’s call for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics.

“The money is from abroad and the people that are being used are ours [Pakistan’s]. Some of them unknowingly, and some knowingly, are using this money against us,” the prime minister said.

“Attempts are being made to influence our foreign policy from abroad. We have been aware of this conspiracy for months. We also know about those who have assembled these people [the opposition parties] but the time has changed. This is not the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said, referring to the former prime minister of Pakistan who was allegedly threatened by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger over the country’s nuclear program.

Bhutto’s government was toppled and he was hanged by the military in 1979.

“This is the era of social media. Nothing can be hidden. We will not accept anyone’s dictation. We will have friendships with everyone but we will not submit ourselves to anyone,” Khan said.

“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest,” the Dawn newspaper reported.

Khan then splashed a letter and said it would prove his point. “I am placing the case of Pakistan’s independence before you. The letter I have is proof and I want to dare anyone who doubts this letter. I will invite them off the record. We have to decide for how long we will have to live like this. We are getting threats. There are many things about the foreign conspiracy which will be shared very soon.”

“The nation wants to know who the man sitting in London is meeting with and whose directions the characters based in Pakistan are following? I am revealing the proofs we have. I cannot talk more in detail because I have to protect the interest of my country. I cannot talk about anything that harms my country. I could have told you about it. I do not fear anyone but I care about Pakistan’s interest,” he stated.

US Sanctions on Banks ‘Direct Attack’ on Ordinary People: Russia

 April 7, 2022

Russia has condemned the United States’ fresh sanctions on two of its largest banks, saying they are a direct blow to the Russian population and ordinary citizens.

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov made the remarks on Wednesday, after Washington announced a new round of sanctions against Sberbank and Alfa-Bank over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

“The administration’s non-stop sanctions attacks show true aspirations of the United States. An example is the restrictions against Sberbank and Alfa-Bank, where most Russians keep their savings. This is a direct attack on the Russian population, ordinary citizens,” Tass news agency quoted him as saying.

“By imposing new sanctions, Washington continues to damage the global economy. It undermines the possibilities of foreign partners for mutually beneficial cooperation with us. It leaves foreign business without the income necessary in the current period of economic turbulence,” the ambassador added.

Antonov said the US’s attempts to make it difficult for Russia to service its public debt were “puzzling,” adding that Moscow saw in these efforts “a desire to tarnish the reputation of Russia, which, despite the economic barriers built by Washington, continues to fulfill its debt obligations in good faith and on time.”

The US announced the new round of sanctions targeting Russian state-owned financial institutions and other enterprises on Wednesday. Restrictions also targeted Kremlin officials and their family members.

The move came after Ukraine and its Western allies, including the US, accused Moscow of committing war crimes in Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital.

In a video message on Saturday, the mayor of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, claimed that 300 people had been killed by the Russian army, with some appearing to have been executed summarily. He displayed videos and photographs, claiming that 280 bodies had been buried in mass graves while nearly 10 others had been either not buried or only partially covered by earth.

Kiev has urged major Western powers, including the United States, to impose new crippling sanctions on Moscow over the “massacre” in Bucha.

Russia has denied the allegations, terming it a “monstrous forgery” staged by the West to discredit it.

Moscow has twice requested an urgent session of the United Nations Security Council over the Bucha situation, but the United Kingdom has refused to hold the meeting both times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.

Delegations from Kiev and Moscow have been negotiating for peace and a ceasefire in recent weeks, but a breakthrough has been elusive.

Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

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The US’ Hegemonic Pushback in Europe Prompts Asian Rivals to Enter a Rapprochement

April 3, 2022

Source: OneWorld

The preplanned consolidation of the US-led Western bloc in response to Russia’s special operation in Ukraine that Washington itself provoked ended up breathing new life into the game-changing rapprochement between China and India that might otherwise not have happened so soon, let alone at all.

The US exploited Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, which Washington itself provoked by refusing to respect Moscow’s national security red lines in that country in particular and in the region more broadly, to reassert its declining hegemony over Europe. The continent surrendered its strategic sovereignty to its transatlantic patron without firing a shot, and they’re now all increasingly pressured to follow Poland’s “de-Russification” lead by drastically curtailing and ultimately completely cutting off their ties with that Eurasian Great Power. The consolidation of this US-led Western bloc amidst the latest tensions in the New Cold War’s Western Eurasian theater between Russia and the US couldn’t be without consequence for its Eastern Eurasian theater between China and the US.

China astutely observed that regional rival India with whom relations have entered an unprecedented low in recent years following summer 2020’s clashes over the Galwan River Valley has impressively practiced a policy of principled neutrality by refusing to take its Western partners’ side against Russia. Some in Beijing were growing concerned that their counterparts in New Delhi were prepared to play a similar vanguard role against the People’s Republic as Poland plays against Russia but those worries were removed after watching how confidently India defied its partners’ pressure in defense of its objective grand strategic interests. Furthermore, the complications in Indian-American relations since summer 2020 also contributed to New Delhi recalibrating its multi-alignment policy in favor of Russia.

Ironically enough, at precisely the moment when the US could have decisively turned India into its top anti-Chinese vanguard in Asia, former President Donald Trump’s administration inexplicably abandoned it and began abusing this Great Power as though it were just another Global South state. Being the proud civilization-state that it is, India couldn’t tolerate this for long and ultimately realized that it was being manipulated as a proxy against the People’s Republic without receiving anything of tangible benefit in return. This insight contributed to its strategists’ recalibrating their country’s multi-alignment policy by inviting President Putin to visit last December and thus beginning the new era of Russian-Indian relations whereby these two Great Powers are informally attempting to assemble a “Neo-NAM”.

The revival of the Old Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement in the New Cold War context is intended to create a third pole of influence in the present bi-multipolar transitional phase between unipolarity and multipolarity so as to maximize the strategic autonomy of those Great Powers and comparatively smaller countries caught between the American and Chinese superpowers’ global rivalry. Nevertheless, only one of those two primary protagonists is in support of the international principles enshrined in the UN Charter, and that’s China. This means that the People’s Republic can actually assist the Neo-NAM to a certain degree as a means of reducing its members’ dependence on the declining American unipolar hegemon and thus accelerating the ultimate transition to multipolarity.

That insight explains one of the reasons behind the unexpected rapprochement between Asian rivals China and India that became undeniable following Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s unscheduled trip to New Delhi after first visiting Islamabad for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Foreign Ministers Conference and then paying a similarly unscheduled trip to neighboring Kabul. This historic South Asian sojourn was intended as a peace mission overseen by the top diplomat of the People’s Republic, all with the intent of ensuring stability and certainty in this geostrategic region through which multiple global processes are presently converging. It can therefore be rightly described as game-changing since it signals that the US’ efforts to divide and rule China and India have failed.

In fact, one can even conclude that the preplanned consolidation of the US-led Western bloc in response to Russia’s special operation in Ukraine that Washington itself provoked ended up breathing new life into this game-changing rapprochement that might otherwise not have happened so soon, let alone at all. After the US prompted India to flex its strategic autonomy through its policy of principled neutrality and thus showing the world that it’s still truly as independent as it’s always claimed, China keenly took note and realized that now was the perfect time to initiate a high-profile outreach to its rival in pursuit of their shared interests related to accelerating the ongoing global systemic transition to multipolarity. United by their equally excellent strategic partnerships with Russia, China and India began talking again.

It’s this resumption of interpersonal dialogue between the top Chinese and India diplomats that represents one of the most counterproductive consequences of the US-led West’s preplanned response to Russia apart from President Putin’s geo-economic judo move announcing that his country will only accept rubles from newly designated unfriendly countries for their energy payments. Taken together, these outcomes prove that America hadn’t fully thought everything through when it decided to provoke Russia into commencing its ongoing operation in Ukraine to uphold the integrity of its national security red lines. Other than the symbolically prestigious consolidation of the US-led Western bloc, everything else runs the risk of being utterly disastrous for America, especially if China and India end up reconciling.


By Andrew Korybko

“Israel” or the wolf disguised as a sheep

29 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mikhael Marzuqa 

“Israel” tried to disguise itself as an honest mediator between Russia and Ukraine, but honesty is a trait that is hard to come by once the occupation’s history is full of atrocities and war crimes.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict comes to revalue the need for the rule of International Law and a renewal of the commitment of the entire international community to subscribe to it.

The defense of the sovereignty of Ukraine revives the neglected relevance of promoting the sovereignty of Palestine based mainly on:

– The withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Palestinian territories declared in resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly of November 29, 1947, that “recommended” the partition of Palestine into two States, but without “Israel” allowing the consolidation of the Palestinian State.

– Allow the return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes by “Israel”, according to resolutions 194 of December 11, 1948, and 3236 of November 22, 1974, recognizing the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.

– Israeli withdrawal from Occupied Palestine, including the Eastern part of occupied al-Quds, is based on Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016, of the UN Security Council, which emanates from this body and is binding.

– End of colonialism and Israeli apartheid considered a form of racial discrimination according to Resolution 3379 of the UN General Assembly in 1975.

– End of the colonial expansion based on settlements of settlers brought from other nations to Palestine, based on Resolutions 446 of March 22, 1979 and 2334 of December 23, 2016 of the UN Security Council (both binding resolutions).

– Demolition of the Separation Wall or “Shame” that penetrates into Palestinian territory expropriating more territories, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice on July 9, 2004

Since 1948, and even before, with the action of the Zionist terrorist organizations, which later became the Israeli army, “Israel” has systematically invaded Palestine, expelling its original population, periodically bombing and committing crimes against the civilian population, selectively assassinating the political leaders of the Palestinian people including their former president Yasser Arafat, demolished their homes and farm fields, seized water sources, turned the West Bank into a huge concentration camp, violently expelled the residents of al-Quds and other Palestinian cities, changed the names and in general the legal status of the territory, prohibited free expression and the operation of NGOs for the defense of Human Rights, converted Gaza into the largest extermination camp and, ultimately, undermined the possibilities of installing a Free and democratic Palestinian state as declared by the national charter of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine.

It is ironic to see how “Israel” first offered itself as the venue for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and currently offers itself as a mediator since it is the state most condemned by the UN and international human rights organizations and one of the key suppliers of weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, ending this international hypocrisy is imperative today, since we run the risk of widening the lock gates of more flagrant inconsistencies and violations of the norms that regulate coexistence among peoples.

Chile and other Latin-American countries that subscribe to the UN Charter and its resolutions, as well as international law organizations, including the ICJ, must commit themselves to their own actions, as well as promote in the regional economic and political organizations of Latin America and The Caribbean, initiatives that lead to oblige “Israel” to cease its violations, respect international laws and adopt UN resolutions without conditions.

It is appropriate that those who have an international tradition to respect and promote international human rights. Along these lines, they are compelled to adhere to the reports of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and promote the existence of all the facilities for the investigation of the International Criminal Court on war crimes committed by “Israel”.
 
It is important that the Latin American countries deploy a diplomatic crusade at the international level so that the United States, Great Britain and the European Union, mainly, are consistent between their speech and their international action so that, just as they have deployed innumerable and forceful sanctions against Russia, similarly condemn and promote condemnation and similar sanctions against the Israeli regime so that it respects international law. It is pertinent that governments that set themselves up as defenders of democracy, do not jeopardize their declared values ​​of respect for peace, justice, sovereignty, and self-determination, that they assume the moral obligation of consequence between their words and actions and honor the reputation of the states those they represent so as not to be condemned by history as only defenders of interests of power and hegemony.

Promoting the peaceful and respectful coexistence of the legality that the international community has imposed on itself is today transcendent for the world that we are bequeathing to future generations.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Ukraine Hosted Illegal US Biowarfare Laboratories

MARCH 10, 2022

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS


The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed last Tuesday that Ukrainian authorities destroyed inventories of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly pathogens in illegal US biowarfare laboratories in Ukraine operated and funded by the US Department of Defense to prevent them from falling into Russian hands. US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland confirmed the reports. These laboratories are in violation of Article I of the UN Biological Weapons Convention. This violation makes the US government a clear cut War Criminal subject to the death sentence under the Nuremberg Laws established by the United States Government itself.

What was Washington going to do with these pathogens? Which populations were going to be recipients of these gifts from Washington? Russia? Europeans and blamed on Russia? Was there to be a new outbreak to be used to destroy whatever remains of civil liberty in the Western world? Now that the US government has united with the Ukrainian neo-nazis, how long before the swastika flies over the Western world?

The Chinese government is demanding to know from Washington why Washington was hiding its illegal war criminal behavior in Ukraine. The Chinese Foreign Ministry demands that Washington “release relevant specific information, including what viruses are stored and the research that has been carried out.”

Dumbshit Americans do not understand that “their government,” actually the government of the greed and power driven elite governing group, is a criminal enterprise. Americans wrapped in the flag will go to their deaths in total ignorance.

Chinese government spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the US Department of Defense controls 336 biological laboratories hidden in 30 countries and that the US biowarfare activities in Ukraine are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

So, what the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought forth is hard evidence that Washington is in violation of the biowarfare convention which Washington signed and hides its illegal engagement in biological warfare research not only within the US but also in 30 other countries.

The evil that resides in Washington is unprecedented in human history.

(Republished from PaulCraigRoberts.org by permission of author or representative)

Ansarullah Leader: Alliance with US, ‘Israel’ Greatest Threat to Muslim World

February 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement Sayyed Abdul Malik Badreddine al-Houthi warned against the establishment of alliances with the United States and the ‘Israeli’ entity, stating that such moves constitute the most significant threat to the Muslim world.

“The most serious hazard to Muslim nations is association with their implacable and bitter enemies, namely the United States and ‘Israel’,” Sayyed al-Houthi said at a ceremony in the capital Sanaa on Monday evening as he received a group of tribal leaders from the al-Jubah and al-Abdiyah districts of the central Yemeni province of Marib.

He said the enemies are trying to strike the Muslim Ummah [nation] from within, adding that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates [UAE] are playing the leading role in pursuit of the foes’ goals.

“Our main duty is to unite the Ummah and foster brotherhood among Muslims,” the Ansarullah leader pointed out.

Sayyed al-Houthi further made clear that “those who have opted to side with enemies and joined their ranks have actually committed an act of high treason against their homelands and nations.”

“Anyone who sides with Saudis and Emiratis has in fact allied himself with the US and ‘Israel’,” the Ansarullah leader noted.

Earlier this month, Sayyed al-Houthi warned against forging an alliance with the United States.

“Anyone who thinks they will be victorious by allying themselves with the Americans is seriously wrong and their certain destiny is loss [and defeat],” he was quoted as saying on February 3.

The Ansarullah leader also referred to the UAE as the “Americans’ primary tool” in the ongoing Yemen war, stressing that the Abu Dhabi regime has upped the ante by launching more airstrikes against Yemen under orders from the US, Britain, and the ‘Israeli’ regime.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, backed by the United States and European powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.

The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s incessant bombardment of the impoverished country, the Yemeni armed forces have gradually grown stronger, leaving Riyadh and its allies, most notably the United Arab Emirates, bogged down in the country.

An urgent message to the Security Council
In a message to the Security Council, Minister Sharaf calls for a cease-fire and lifting of the siege 02 15 2022


Yemeni Military Media Circulates Footage of Launching Drones at Targets in Saudi & Emirates 

February 15, 2022

Military media documents the moment the marches were launched 15 02 2022

The Yemeni military media department circulated on Tuesday which shows past operations of launching drones at targets in Saudi and Emirates.

Scenes of the launch of the air force’s cross-border drone on the Emirati and Saudi depths – “previous operations”

https://english.almanar.com.lb/ajax/video_check.php?id=107098

Yemen has been since March 25, 2015 under aggression by the Saudi-led coalition in a bid to restore power to fugitive president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is Riyadh’s ally.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed or injured by US-Saudi-led airstrikes.

The Arab impoverished country has been also under harsh blockade by the coalition which includes in addition to the Kingdom, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Will the US reignite a ‘Syrian revolution’ to punish Russia in Ukraine?

The US and its allies have already set the scene for Revolution 2.0 in Syria.

The question is whether their plan is to extract concessions from Russia over Ukraine, or to go full out and risk a West Asia-wide conflagration

By Abdel Bari Atwan

February 11 2022

The US and its allies are set to re-ignite the Syrian battlefield to deter Russia in Ukraine.Photo Credit: The Cradle

With new political, military, and economic tensions escalating between the United States and its NATO allies on the one hand, and China, Russia, North Korea and Iran on the other – including the Taiwan front in East Asia, and Ukraine in central Europe – we are now witnessing accelerated plans to activate new crises in West Asia, from Syria to Iraq to the war on Yemen.

Let us leave the situation in Iraq and Yemen aside, temporarily, and focus on Syria. The country has experienced an atmosphere of relative calm, or rather a ‘stalemate,’ in the past few years, after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) regained more than 70 percent of its territory.

This period of calm has also seen the decline of the so-called Syrian opposition, both politically and militarily, in the city of Idlib and its vicinity, as well as in other areas in northeastern Syria, currently under the umbrella of US forces.

There are, however, several international and regional indications that the dormant Syrian ‘opposition’ is on its way to being reactivated again.

***

It is likely this reactivation may appear in a more ferocious form than the militancy that was unleashed at the beginning of the Syrian crisis in March 2011. Numerous indications of this have already emerged:

First, Russian foreign intelligence on Tuesday unveiled US plans to support armed groups in Syria, and ‘Islamic’ extremists in particular, to intensify their attacks against Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces in Tawaz, while igniting and encouraging ‘peaceful’ protests deep within Syria.

Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) reported that US government agencies are “planning to task extremist ‘sleeper cells’ in Damascus…and Latakia province [by] staging pinpoint attacks against Syrian law enforcers, and Russian and Iranian military personnel.”

Russia’s Deputy Envoy at the UN Gennady Kuzmin told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that “The problem of terrorist threats in northeastern Syria is pressing. The US troops that are illegally deployed there cannot bring order. Or they don’t want to.”

In what appears as a reference to the mass ISIS jailbreak in Hasakah from a US-controlled area in late-January, Kuzmin added that “the atmosphere of a power void and impunity around the US forces’ deployment areas serves as a nourishing ground for terrorists of all stripes.”

The second indicator points to the statement issued by the Russian Intelligence Service, which says that the US administration is seeking to maintain its military presence in northeastern Syria, prevent the stability of Syria, rehabilitate the leadership of the Syrian opposition, and unite its ranks, Kurdish or Arab.

The US plan will be carried out through the exploitation of the current decline in economic conditions, basic services, and a significant weakening in the price of local currency, due to the suffocating US blockade.

According to the statement, the US will launch a “vast media campaign” on Arabic-speaking social media to incite Syrians to again take to the streets and squares, in the capital Damascus, and the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Latakia to push the regime to use the ‘violent’ iron fist in the face of ‘peaceful’ protests.

In other words, a re-play of the Deraa scenario in early 2011.

The third indicator was the two-day conference that took place last Saturday in Qatar’s capital city, Doha, which re-united various Syrian opposition figures on the subjects of reform and the future of Syria.

The conference – a culmination of a series of workshops held in a selection of European capitals – was launched by the renegade former Syrian prime minister, Riad Hijab, and included the representatives of Qatari, Arab, and international research centers, as well as more than 60 Syrian opposition figures.

Qatari authorities provided full support for this seminar, which Al Jazeera and its sister channels covered with remarkable intensity.

The fourth indicator relates to Algeria’s multiple efforts to hold an Arab summit in which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will participate, and Syria’s seat in the Arab League will be restored. These efforts have failed, in part because Qatar has been the most fierce opponent to the rehabilitation of Syria at the Arab League.

And finally, fifth, is the out-of-the-blue assassination of the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, at the hands of US special forces in Turkish controlled areas in Syria.

Al-Quraishi was attacked in his home, in the north of Idlib, in an attack that has no documented audio or image evidence, similar to the previous assassinations of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and, before him, Osama bin Laden – but entirely unlike the execution of Saddam Hussein and the killing of his two sons.

This ‘assassination’ may, of course, just be a cover for the new US plan to restart covert communications with and support for radical Islamist militants, while publicly suggesting that the US continues to target them as ‘terrorist organizations.’

***

Quraishi’s sudden killing in Syria during the dangerous stand-off between NATO and Russia raised some questions in Washington as well. Former US Air Force Special Operations Joint Terminal Attack controller, Ethan Brown, pondered aloud in The Hill about “its “timing and the curious proximity to the crisis in Ukraine.”

Brown asks whether “the execution of a [US] military operation outside of a declared was zone in the Middle East…is somehow a credible deterrent to Russian actions elsewhere.” Then straight-out declares: “Make no mistake, the two unique situations are intertwined.”

On Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Erik Kurilla, tapped to be the next commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), told the Senate Armed Services Committee that if Russian invades Ukraine, it could create broader instability in West Asia, including Syria.

This week, the Israelis struck Syria heavily again, just two weeks after the Russians and Syrians launched their first joint jet patrols over the Syrian-Israel border. This time, Moscow reacted strongly, calling Tel Aviv’s actions “a crude violation of Syria’s sovereignty” that “may trigger a sharp escalation of tensions.”

The escalation in Syria, likely connected to Washington’s Ukraine strategy, has already started. The question is whether the protagonists will merely stage some events as a threat – or go all out.

***

The Syrian opposition launched its first ‘movement’ 11 years ago in Doha, and it seems that the attempt to revive it will also take place in the same place.

The official statement of the meeting outlined its “aims to try to find mechanisms of action to promote the performance of the opposition and discuss how to get the political transition out of the current global warming.”

“The Biden administration wants 2022 to be the year of qualifying Syrian opposition forces to be ready to replace the regime in any change that may occur,” Syrian opposition media outlet Orient Net stated in a report broadcast two months ago.

The report also revealed that US Deputy Secretary of State Eitan Goldrich had met with Syrian opposition leaders in Istanbul, Qamishli, and Gaziantep late last year to prepare for the new US scenario in Syria.

Will this new US plan work in Syria? Has the suffocating US blockade on Syria, imposed for this purpose 11 years ago, reap its harvest? Will this attempt fare any better than the first? Will funding come from Gulf financiers themselves? And how will the axis of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Syria respond?

We leave the answer for the coming weeks and months.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

WATCH: ‘Anti-Apartheid’ Protest Greets Israeli Ambassador at Cambridge University

February 9, 2022

Students protest against Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely speaking at the Cambridge Union. (Photo: via Palestinian Forum in Britain Twitter Page)

More than 100 students at Cambridge University rallied on Tuesday against extreme right-wing ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, the Middle East Monitor reported.

Hotovely, who served as a settlement minister under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was invited to address the Cambridge Union’s debating society. Student groups slammed the decision, citing the 42-year-old ambassador’s long track record of deeply hostile and racist anti-Palestinian remarks.

“Hotovely is a proud supporter of Israeli settler colonialism,” Cambridge students wrote in an open letter, “and an open advocate of a ‘Greater Israel’.”

While deputy foreign minister, Hotovely asserted that the entire West Bank belongs to Israeli Jews alone. “This land is ours,” she said. “All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Early on in her time at the Israeli Embassy in London, Hotovely denied that the Nakba — the premeditated ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians — ever happened. She has called it an “Arab lie” and a “made-up story”. Her rejectionist view is not a fringe opinion in Israel; it is part of the mainstream position of the Likud party led by Netanyahu and other parties on the right and far-right.

Tuesday’s protest attracted crowds from outside the student community, including representatives from Amnesty International UK and Jewish Voice for Labour.

Amnesty released a report on February 1, labeling Israel as an apartheid state. Apartheid is a crime akin to a crime against humanity.

“Silence is complicity, acceptance is complicity, platforming is complicity,” protestors chanted while holding Palestinian flags.

Hotovely’s visit to Cambridge Union comes as consensus grows among leading human rights groups over Israel’s apartheid. Amnesty joined the likes of Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and others who have labeled Israel as an apartheid state.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Suspension of Lebanese journalist proof of DW’s ‘free speech’ hypocrisy

February 8, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Aya Youssef

In an interview with Al Mayadeen English, Daoud Ibrahim explains that DW’s allegations of “anti-Semitism” are based on “false and misleading news.”

“The western standard for freedom of expression is tailored to only restrict us,” said Lebanese journalist Daoud Ibrahim to Al Mayadeen English. 

Suspension of Lebanese journalist proof of DW’s ‘free speech’ hypocrisy

Ibrahim, along with other 4 other journalists, were suspended from their job in the German state media  Deutsche Welle (DW) based on false allegations of anti-Semitism.

Pulling the tweets out 

Daoud was contacted by a German journalist who asked him about a tweet he wrote 10 years ago regarding the Holocaust. Back then, the Lebanese journalist wrote, “The Holocaust is a lie. #FreedomOfSpeech.” 

The tweet was written back in 2012, “and I explained that I wrote this tweet after the publication of abusive and satirical cartoons that were mocking certain beliefs and promoting extremism.” 

Daoud explains that at that time, people started to defend such mockery under the pretext of “freedom of expression”.

“What the tweet meant to say was whether an opinion regarding the Holocaust can fall under the same category,” Daoud clarifies. 

The journalist defended his stance regarding the matter and said that he did believe that the holocaust did happen, but “I was resolving a certain issue from a certain perspective,” at a certain time. 

Despite the clarifications, the German journalist fragmented Daoud’s replies and published the report according to his views and beliefs. “He didn’t include all the clarifications,” the Lebanese journalist added. 

Daoud isn’t even a DW employee 

DW Akademie, which offers media training for future or specialized journalistscontacted Daoud who is a contract trainer in that academy after the article was published and requested to do an internal hearing session. 

“During the session, I defended my case, especially since I am a trainer in the field of conflict-sensitive journalism and ethical journalism, so this topic was highly important to clarify.” 

Daoud isn’t contractually obligated to go with DW’s political policy, especially since he is a contract trainer, “I’m not obliged to do anything except for training, I’m not an employee,” Daoud clarifies. 

He stated that he’s the only one who is working with the academy, meaning that everyone who got suspended works with the institution itself or the website, “but I am a trainer, and this was something unexpected for me.” 

The DW decided to form a commission of inquiry that includes former German Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Palestinian psychiatrist Ahmad Mansour. 

Into the hearing session 

The committee requested a video call session, and Daoud did accept on condition that he brings his own lawyer and the session be recorded. 

“The committee rejected my conditions and wanted to communicate through emails,” adding that he accepted. 

They sent in their questions to the Lebanese journalist. 

“Most of these questions were regarding the conditions of my work and my job in the academy,” Daoud said.

And then the mood of the questions started to shift as they ask about “my stance regarding ‘Israel’s’ right to exist.” 

All of Daoud’s responses were based on “the Lebanese law, the decisions of the Arab League, the right of return, and the right to self-determination.” Noting that the contract with DW indicates to “respect the laws of the countries in which we operate.” 

Daoud made sure during the hearing session to clarify that the accusation of anti-Semitism cannot be applied to the Lebanese people because “we are originally Semites.” 

In addition to this, he made it clear that examining a 10-year-old tweet without putting it in its context and the circumstances that were going on back then can be considered as “false and misleading news.” 

Daoud contacted DW Akademie and was informed that they will most likely stop training sessions with him as per the committee’s recommendation.

The Lebanese journalist stated that he had no problem with the people he used to work with; however, he thinks that the main problem is the institution’s new policies, and “surely these policies do not represent me if they are taking this direction.”  

Deutsche Welle does not want to publish Israeli crimes 

DW has long been condemned for its biased reporting on Israeli violations against Palestinians. Media outlets in Germany have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which equates criticism of “Israel” or its behavior to antisemitism.

According to HuMedia, during “Israel’s” deadly aggression on Gaza, DW distributed an internal two-page reporting guide to its journalists, forbidding them to make any connection between “Israel” and colonialism or to use the term apartheid.

The Israeli Pogrom

1 February 2022)

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Israel’s Violent Squatters

On 21 January 2022, an organized gang of over a dozen masked Zionist “settlers” from the Givat Ronen outpost on the Occupied West Bank attacked Palestinians planting trees near the village of Burin. There were seven Israeli Jewish supporters with the Palestinians. The “settlers” attacked them as well.

I place the term “settler” in quotation marks because what we are really talking about are not settlers but squatters. I will use the term squatter except where settler appears in a quotation.

As is normal in cases of Israeli squatter violence, the Israeli authorities were slow to arrive at the scene of the attack and, subsequently, made no arrests. The Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev explained that “until the army gets there it takes time. Until the [Israeli] police were sent it took time and therefore … the moment the [Israeli] police arrive at the site, the terrorists are no longer there.” The Palestinian police, for their part, could not respond because they are “forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers.” One can just imagine the army and the police rate of response if it was the Palestinians attacking the squatters. The double standard is obvious.

However, there was something novel in Bar-Lev’s statement. He said that “in my view” the attackers constituted “a terror group.” This designation apparently had nothing to do with the attack on Palestinians, but rather was warranted because the attackers had “targeted and harmed Israeli citizens.”

This might well be something like a “false flag” statement on the part of the public security minister. It was meant to reassure the Europeans and Americans who are concerned by the violence of the Israeli squatter movement. The minister subsequently told a U.S. official that the Israeli government takes the problem seriously and “is taking steps to tackle the phenomenon.” This is almost certainly a lie. Prime Minister Bennett has called squatter violence “insignificant,” and several of Bar-Lev’s fellow ministers criticized him for promoting a “distorted narrative.”

Squatter violence goes back at least into the 1980s. In 1983, an 11-year-old girl from Nablus was murdered by Jewish squatters. “In their defense, the chief rabbi of the Sephardic community reportedly cited a Talmudic text justifying killing an enemy on occasions when one may see from a child’s perspective that he or she will grow up to become your enemy.” One can imagine that a similar logic could justify, in the eyes of some Palestinians, the killing of every Israeli Jewish child.

Subsequently, “in the 21st century, there has been a steady increase in violence and terror perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.” In 2008, the Israeli army command in the West Bank acknowledged that “a hard core of a few hundred activists were involved in violence against the Palestinians.” Though the army said it planned to address the situation, the problem persisted and grew worse. In 2011, the Israeli government again acknowledged “a growing problem with extremists.” Again, little was done about it. The United Nations and organizations such as Human Rights Watch have repeatedly voiced concern that the number of attacks were growing. The latter noted that “In many cases, settlers abuse Palestinians in front of Israeli soldiers or police with little interference from the authorities.”

Here is suggested a reason for the lack of any crackdown on squatter violence. It goes on with the tacit consent of the government. To quote B’Tselem, Israel’s main human rights organization, “Israel has been using settler violence as a major informal tool to drive Palestinians from farming and pasture lands in the occupied West Bank.”

Part II—Pogrom

What is the appropriate historical term for “informal,” supposedly “unofficial,” violence nonetheless carried out with the tacit approval of a government? How about pogrom? In this case, we can also call it an obscene embarrassment for all Jews who value human rights.

Pogrom is originally a Russian word which means “to wreak havoc.” Traditionally, it was and continues to be a weapon of intergroup discord, where one group seeks to harm or evict an opposing group of different ethnic or religious makeup. The term came to characterize a government-approved tactic of czarist Russia of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In that case, the traditional victims were Jews.

It would seem that successive Israeli governments have used the same tactic to encourage squatter violence against the Palestinians on the West Bank. The endgame here is not difficult to understand. As B’Tselem explains it, the aim of the Israeli government is to clear Judea and Samaria (the biblical names for the West Bank) of non-Jews. The Israeli army has already confiscated around 42% of this territory, and over time, an informal acceptance at all government levels was reached to allow Israeli squatter violence to help force the Palestinians off of the remaining land. The dismissive reaction of Bar-Lev’s government colleagues to the attack described above is the latest example of this consent.

Part III—A Reversal of Roles

It is painful for progressive Jews to delve into and try to explain why other Jews actively or passively support such tactics. The Zionists have spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince the world that, despite the fact that Israel is ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world, they are the innocent victims of, and also mortally threatened by, Palestinian anti-Semitic violence and hatred. To the extent that they, and the rest of the world, accept this narrative, Israeli tactics can be accepted as both defensive and warranted. But this narrative does not ring true. In fact, there has been a reversal of roles.

Most Zionists see the Palestinians as clones of those who persecuted Jews over the past several hundred years. The Palestinians also stand in the way of the territorial ambitions of the “Jewish state”—territorial ambitions which, once fulfilled, will supposedly provide a secure sanctuary for all the world’s Jews. Anyone standing in the way of this goal becomes, ipso facto, an anti-Semite and, as such, they can be seen as enemies of the Jews. In the case of the Palestinians, they may appear as replicas of the East European and Russian anti-Semites who carried out pogroms—kept contained only by Israeli control.

The suggestion that the Israelis are reversing roles here is sacrilege for the Zionists. Yet the evidence bears this out. Starting in 1917, it was mostly East European Jews who, with British assistance, invaded Arab Palestine and took control of ever increasing amounts of that territory. It is Israeli Jews who now seek to purge the land of non-Jews. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, harassed in their towns and villages, now play the role the Jews of Europe used to play—victims of pogroms. Some well-placed Israelis recognize the problem. In 2016, Yair Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, told a public gathering in Israel, “If there is one thing that frightens me about the memory of the Holocaust, it is identifying the revolting trends that occurred in Europe as a whole 70 to 80 years ago … and finding evidence of those trends here, among us, in 2016.” Israeli Jews brave enough to recognize and speak of this reversal of roles have always been rare, and they are getting rarer still: progressive Israelis are emigrating and rightwing governments have become the norm.

Part IV—Conclusion

It must be over twenty years since I spoke to this issue at a public presentation at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. I had been invited to do so by a young untenured history professor. I had told him that it was a dangerous move, but for him, it was a matter of academic freedom and integrity. For me, it was part of a need to tell the truth about the Palestinian plight.

It was a full house, certainly over one hundred people. I gave a defense of Palestinian rights within a fact-based historical context. The real trouble came when someone in the audience suggested a comparison between Israeli behavior and that of the Nazis. I said that the comparison was false. The Israelis had neither set up concentration camps nor organized a technologically based slaughter of their enemies. However, what they had done was pushed Palestinians into ghettos and allowed for periodic pogroms. The shocked gasps of the Zionists in the audience were audible. They walked out en masse and my host never got tenure. Yet the pogroms have become more frequent and more dangerous, at once making life more miserable for the Palestinians and perverting the ethical standards Jews have endorsed particularly since the Holocaust. Learning bad habits from their past, the Zionists have made the tactic of pogrom their own.

The Salihia Home in Sheikh Jarrah, al-Quds: The Betrayal of World Public Opinion

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Bouthaina Shaaban

Home means the land, the sun, the sky. It means the dawn and the sunset; it means hearing the bell of the cattle coming back in the evening from the field, and the relaxed women calling playful children to end the game and get home as the sun is bidding us goodbye for today.

The woman whispers to her husband: do you hear what I am hearing? Someone is trying to open our door! Are you expecting any member of your family? They rang the bell violently and then started hitting the door. “Do not move” the husband said, “we are not going to open.” In a few minutes, the military boots broke the door, and an armed soldier ordered the family to leave, as the occupation authorities have decided to blow this house up because it is illegal, the soldier said this house is illegal. The husband said: “it is the house of my father and of my grandfathers and our ancestors for centuries, we grew up here, as kids playing in the courtyard and washing our hands and faces at this fountain as our fathers before us. Look at our pictures; these are the pictures of my grandparents who lived here, and those are of my parents and siblings, what are you talking about legal or illegal?!

By this time the husband was talking to himself as the soldier was throwing everything on the floor ruining the plants surrounding the pond, and screaming at everyone to leave within an hour as they are going to blow up the house. The man and the woman looked at each other and the children were wakened up to this horrid noise and they all stood in the courtyard not knowing what to do and not even putting their proper clothes on as they were all in their pyjamas.

The soldiers are now five roaming in the house and destroying everything their hands fell on. The scene is a nightmare from a film of horror from American Soho which is used to describe the destruction of villages in Vietnam.

The entire family was evicted from the homes of their fathers and grandfathers to the street, to the open with no goods, no clothes, no food, no pictures, no memories, no boxes from the grandmothers, no mirror or furniture presented to them by family and relatives. Do you know what it means to be stripped of your home, of your history, of your memories, of each stone that is part of the house walls? do you know what it means to be deprived of your house? Do you know what does home mean? Do you know what it truly means? It means the land, the sun, the sky. It means the dawn and the sunset; it means hearing the bell of the cattle coming back in the evening from the field, and the relaxed women calling playful children to end the game and get home as the sun is bidding us goodbye for today.

Home means every corner where my grandmother sat telling us stories she had learned from her mother. It means the memories of our babies being born here and growing day by day, crawling and then walking and then speaking. It means the pleasure in the eyes of all the guests who circled around the fountain sipping coffee and having Homos and Foul for the renowned Friday breakfast; it means every book we read here, enjoyed and discussed, every painting my wife produced on her desk.

Palestinians mourn Fahmi Hamad, a martyr suffocated by IOF’s tear gas

Jan 25 2022

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

57-year-old Palestinian Martyr Fahmi Hamad

57-year-old Palestinian Fahmi Hamad was martyred a few hours after he suffocated from the tear gas fired by the IOF.

Palestinians gathered to attend the funeral of martyr Fahmi Hamad, who lost his life just a few hours after suffocating from the tear gas that was heavily fired by Israeli occupation forces during the violent storming of the Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Al-Quds.

The martyr, 57, has been a lifelong resident of Qalandia from which he hails.

Local Palestinian media reported Monday that six Palestinian youths were wounded and another was arrested in the Qalandia refugee camp.

The Red Crescent reported that its crews witnessed six injuries by rubber-coated metal bullets, stating that they treated three people on-site and transferred three others to Ramallah Governmental Hospital.

Local sources said the Israeli occupation forces, who fired tear gas canisters, arrested Ahmad Mutair, after severely assaulting him during confrontations that erupted at the entrance to the camp between the IOF and young men.

Read More: “It Is Fun to Shoot Palestinians”: Six Former Israeli Soldiers Speak Up

The sources added that the occupation forces stormed the refugee camp and closed the Qalandia military checkpoint in both directions, preventing citizens and vehicles from passing through it, which caused a stifling traffic jam.

It is worth mentioning that Israeli brutal attacks against Palestinians are frequent and continuous. Settlers stormed Saturday night the village of Qira, north of Salfit, in occupied Palestine.

The Israeli settlers damaged a number of vehicle tires and sprayed racist anti-Arab slogans, including death threats to Palestinians.

Related

‘Case closed’ for the murdered Palestinian elderly near Ramallah

January 24, 2022

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

Details of the murder of the elderly Palestinian Omar Asaad near Ramallah after being assaulted by the Israeli occupation soldiers are revealed.

Omar Assaad was blindfolded, beaten, assaulted, and left to die

Israeli media revealed that the military prosecution will close the case investigating the martyrdom of the elderly Palestinian Omar Asaad near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, after being assaulted by the Israeli occupation soldiers.

Yedioth Ahronoth said the military prosecution will recommend closing the case file of five Israeli soldiers accused of causing his death “for lack of evidence,” as per its allegations.

The cold-blooded murder

It is circulated that five Israeli occupation soldiers deliberately arrested the elderly martyr Omar Asaad, who was in his eighties, from the village of Jiljilya, Ramallah District, on January 12. 

In the process, a temporary checkpoint was set up near the town, and Asaad’s vehicle was arbitrarily stopped. The elderly Palestinian man was blindfolded and taken to an abandoned house where he was severely beaten and assaulted before he was left lying on the ground in an under-construction building until he passed away.

The Israeli occupation claimed that the soldiers did not exercise excessive force against Assad, despite dragging him in the cold, although he suffers from several diseases, and deliberately covering his face and mouth with a piece of cloth, which caused him to suffocate.

Asaad’s body was discovered in Jiljilya in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with a black plastic zip-tie still brutally wrapped around one wrist.

The residents noticed someone lying lifeless on the ground, so they rushed toward him and took him to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment. However, tragically, Assad died before getting there.

Such inhumane crimes are being committed on daily basis against Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF).

Case closed as if nothing has happened

The Israeli prosecution has recommended closing the case despite the US demands for clarification over what happened, considering that Asaad was a US citizen.

The US State Department had stated, following the murder, that Omar Abdul Majeed Asaad was a US citizen and that it had sought clarification from “Israel” over the incident. 

“We support a thorough investigation into the circumstances,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

How unrest in Bedouin villages poses a threat to Israel’s government

22 Jan, 2022 

Source

By Robert Inlakesh

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News and Press TV. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’. Follow him on Twitter @falasteen47

The Negev’s Bedouin demonstrations first re-erupted on January 9 in opposition to an afforestation (tree planting) project by the quasi-governmental body called the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in what Israel calls “disputed lands.” They quickly turned violent as Bedouin residents of nearby villages confronted what they saw as a drive to displace their communities. Israel’s police forces, domestic intelligence service (Shin Bet), and, as of last Thursday, the Israeli military, were all deployed to help put down the growing movement. The clashes that ensued resulted in tens of Bedouin Palestinians being arrested and injured. Additionally, stones were thrown at an Israeli train and an Israeli journalist’s car was torched.

The JNF project is just the beginning of a larger $48 million project set forth by the Israel Land Authority, which threatens to cover residential areas where six unrecognized Bedouin villages are located. While Israeli environmentalists argue that the project is geared towards cleaning up the land, Bedouin villagers see the push as a means of displacing them and taking away their agricultural lands, which is where the JNF began planting trees last week. Although the tree planting has been frozen as of an Israeli government concession, following pressure by Israeli lawmaker Mansour Abbas’s threat to pull out of the coalition government, the projects for construction in the Negev are still under way.

Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced in late December the construction of four settlements in the Negev, as part of a project to establish 12 new settlements there and raise the Jewish population to 2 million over 10 years. Shaked is part of Israeli Premier Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina Party, and this is where the issue begins to get more complex for the current Israeli administration, and poses a major threat to its political establishment.

Just days before the surge of protests, on January 6, the Israeli government was pressured to freeze plans for a phosphate mine project in the Negev, which threatened to displace 36,000 Bedouins living in al-Fura’a village. This came after Israeli lawmaker Mansour Abbas’ ‘Ra’am Party’ pressured the government to halt the plan. Abbas, leader of the ‘United Arab List’, made history by becoming the first Palestinian-Israeli to enter an Israeli coalition government. Bennett and Yair Lapid, who negotiated a power-sharing agreement – meaning both would share serving as prime minister – did so to oust former PM Benjamin Netanyahu and received criticism for aligning centrists, right wingers and an Islamic party in order to do so. This now also means that if Mansour Abbas pulls out of the government, he could effectively cause the fall of the Bennett-Lapid coalition as it would not hold a majority in the Knesset. 

When it comes to the issue of Bedouin in the Negev, Mansour Abbas understands that a large portion of his voter base (60%) comes from that region and so on this issue he is willing to throw his weight around. Attempts have been made to secure the establishment of four Bedouin villages in the Negev by Abbas, although Israel’s plan is to have three major newly constructed Bedouin areas, where 70% of the Bedouin community would live, which would pave the way for communities to be forcibly transferred to these segregated Bedouin areas. 

On this issue I spoke to a Bedouin Palestinian protester, present at the al-Atrash village demonstrations. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that “most of us reject this plan and seek to remain on our lands.” He told me he feels the “oppression we face, especially with our homes being destroyed,” which has led to a rise in Palestinian nationalism and political activism amongst the Negev population. “If you look at the demonstration, whose flag do you see held high? [The Palestinian flag],” he said.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid seems to prefer a pragmatic stance here, but his coalition partner Bennett cannot afford to abandon his base by appearing weak on popular right-wing causes. Netanyahu’s Likud Party has also gotten into the mix with the party’s spokesperson, Jonatan Urich, stating“The Bennett government mulling to stop planting due to violence against police is a continuation of it selling out the Negev to the Islamic Movement,” hitting out at Bennett from the right. For the Israeli opposition, led by Likud, if the government loses its majority over this issue, it paves the way for their possible, gradual, return to power.

Riya al-Sanah, an activist from Lakiya village in the Negev, says “Israel has pursued a policy of displacement through what they call infrastructure and national priority projects, this includes laying railways or roads, industrial areas, or in this case forestation.”

Of course in a settler colonial context the majority of the project, and certainly this context, described as being in the interest of the population comes against the direct interests of the Palestinian population, so what Palestinians are saying here on the ground is that you are planting trees and uprooting people… this is not a new strategy, this is a project the JNF has led even prior to 1948.”

“Planting trees is a method to hide the presence of Palestinian communities. So, for example, a lot of Israel’s national parks are constructed on the remains of Palestinian villages. Forestation is also a mechanism that is used to stop Palestinians returning to their land once they are actually displaced,” says al-Sanah, elaborating on why planting the trees has caused such a strong response. “It’s a step towards displacing the communities, it’s not just about planting the trees, people see that as a way of taking their land.”

Riya also stated that the displacement of Bedouins in the Negev and the West Bank are very much interlinked. In the Negev, she explained, “as well as facing systematic house demolitions, they [Bedouins] are disconnected from the water, electricity and any infrastructure which enables a reasonable standard of living.” She also believes the demonstrations of solidarity taking place throughout the country are “a continuation of what we saw in May of last year, when Palestinians everywhere rose up against Israeli policies of displacement in Sheikh Jarrah [in East Jerusalem].”

In 2020, a report put together by the Israeli NGO called the ‘Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality’, indicated – using statistics from 2017, 2018 and 2019 – that an average of 2,000 Bedouin homes had been destroyed yearly in the region. The Bedouin population is estimated to be around 300,000 in the Negev (al-Naqab in Arabic), and they are the most impoverished community inside Israel, with the majority lacking basic welfare, education and health services. Whilst Israeli settlements and Kibbutzim communities stand at 114 for Israeli Jews, all recognised by the state, only seven of 53 Israeli-Bedouin villages are currently fully recognised.

In 1948, the population of around 100,000 Bedouin that lived in the Negev were reduced to 11,000, due to Israeli expulsion efforts. The remaining group of Arab Bedouin were displaced to an area called al-Siyaj, which was placed under military rule. In 1965 the Israeli Knesset adopted the ‘Planning and Building Law’, which then made most of the Siyaj area “agricultural lands,” making building homes there illegal. This even meant homes built there prior to the law taking effect would also be considered illegal. Al-Araqib is an example of a village, demolished 186 times, that has fallen victim to Israel deeming building in such areas illegal. 

Riya al-Sanah says, of the current demonstrations, “it is not just the question of recognition of the existing residential areas… the demands are recognition and ownership of the land in the Naqab [Negev], which Israel has consistently refused to do.” She went on to say that “the demands [of the demonstrators] are not just about recognition, because the card of recognition is often waved by Israel and historically has not happened… recognition has only happened in partial areas of the land and there are villages with partial recognition, which has meant there’s still home demolitions going on in villages recognised since 2000.” 

In 2017, due to rising tensions over Israeli government neglect of the Bedouin community, a five-year plan was adopted by the Knesset to tackle the socioeconomic disadvantages faced by Bedouins in the Negev. But, due to a lack of implementation, Mansour Abbas has criticized the government and urged them to fulfill their obligations. Israel clearly sees economic benefits in constructing infrastructure in the Negev; the area is also a key portion of the country for the military and its bases.

Palestinian citizens of Israel in areas like Umm al-Fahm, Haifa, Kufr Qassim and elsewhere have now mobilised to confront Israeli construction plans in the Negev, uniting with the Bedouin of the south and protesting for their cause as their own. Hamas, the PFLP, DFLP, PIJ and other political parties have come out to urge their supporters to confront Israel in the Palestinian occupied territories over the Negev issue also. If the issue goes too far and Israel’s government cannot agree on concessions, this could potentially lead to the most serious threat to the state’s stability since May last year, a very bad prospect for Bennett and Lapid.

Israel’s secret war on the ‘48 Palestinians

Inside the 1948 borders of the Israeli occupation, Palestinians are anything but ‘ordinary citizens’, and anger is rising against Israeli ploys to criminalize their communities

January 20 2022

By Abdelrahman Nassar

Israel has launched widespread, systematic reprisals against 1948 Palestinians since the May 2021 battle sparked in JerusalemPhoto Credit: The Cradle

From the first moments after the May 2021 Sword of Jerusalem (Saif Al-Quds) battle subsided, Israeli anger began to be directed at Palestinians inside the territories occupied in 1948.

These are the Palestinian Muslims and Christians who, for better or worse, remained within Palestine after the 1948 unilateral declaration of the state of Israel, and are referred to as Israeli-Arabs, or more popularly today, as ’48 Palestinians.

For Israelis, nothing was more shocking than ’48 Palestinians joining the multi-front fight last May, triggered by Israel’s attempt to evict six families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem.

In 12 short days, the battle had undone the walls Tel Aviv had spent decades erecting: Jerusalem was once more the focal point for Palestinians everywhere, the ‘heart’ of their cause; and ’48 Palestinians had broken through a carefully-constructed psychological barrier and jumped back into their national struggle.

During ‘peace’ negotiations that followed the battle, the Israelis refused to include the ‘48 Palestinians in any discussions. Nor did they easily accept the inclusion of Jerusalem in those negotiations, according to senior Palestinian officials who spoke to The Cradle.

While Israel was eventually forced to accept a freeze on home evictions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the sources say that it became intensely agitated at any mention of the ’48 Palestinians: “As soon as we raised the issue of our Palestinian brothers at home, the Israelis went crazy and refused to discuss it, saying that they were an ‘internal’ Israeli affair.”

This may be the reason for Israeli reprisals that began immediately after the conflict ended. They launched unprecedented arrests of some 1,550 ’48 Palestinians, who they believed had participated in popular revolts during the May unrest.

A ‘problematic’ population

For Israel, the 1948 Palestinians – officially, Israel citizens – are intensely ‘problematic’.

Israeli authorities have historically used different methods in dealing with the Palestinians of ‘48. One of these methods was the constant threat of home demolitions under the pretext of non-licensing.

But the most dangerous tactic Israel has focused on during the past two decades is the stealthy promotion of organized crime within the community of ’48 Palestinians.

After the May conflict, two new developments took place: first, the crime rate among Palestinians suddenly – and very unusually – escalated. Second, a wave of Israeli raids were launched last October under the pretext of fighting this alleged ‘spike in Palestinian crimes.’

The Israeli media dubbed this new maneuver, ironically, ‘The Safe Path.’

The Safe Path to serious crimes

Over the last five months, the form and nature of crimes reached unprecedented extremes.

On 22 November, the headmistress of Bukhari School in the city of Araba, Rudeineh Nassar Shalata, was injured after being shot in front of her students.

On 25 November, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Rasha Stawi was killed in front of her children in Bethlehem.

On 14 November 2021, Soroka Hospital in Beersheba became a battlefield of clashes between two families. Two days later, gunmen targeted two people walking at a funeral inside the cemetery of Galjuliya. One of the funeral walkers died immediately and the other was seriously injured.

In a subsequent emergency meeting at the local town council in Galjuliya, blame was placed squarely on the Israeli police. Demands were made to close major streets to protest the increase in crimes.

Such crimes have not been without their odd occurrences, such as the theft of donations to newlyweds in the middle of a wedding at gunpoint, or the killing of brothers and cousins of the same family over the years.

Taking advantage of the crisis situation, the Israeli government seemed more concerned with promoting crime among Palestinians.

The chairman of the High Follow-up Committee, Mohammed Baraka, said that Israel’s goal is to “penetrate Arab society under the pretext of fighting crime.”

“Would spraying gasoline on fire extinguish it?” Baraka cynically asked.

The Israeli security connection

After the May conflict of 2021, the confessions of security and police officers in the Hebrew press revealed Israel’s own involvement in contributing to crime against Palestinians.

Agencies, such as the Israeli Public Security (Shabak), have strong ties to organized crime and criminal families within Israeli society.

The majority of weapons thefts reported by army soldiers are to cover up the sale of weapons by Israeli soldiers to crime organizations.

In addition, a press investigation broadcast by Israel’s Channel 13 reveals that Shabak’s own investigators use threats against young Palestinians to make them confess to crimes they did not commit.

The TV broadcast reveals how young ’48 Palestinian boys from Jaffa, arrested during recent events on charges of ‘assaulting an Israeli soldier,’ were told that if they do not confess to carrying out the attack, a  family member would be killed.

While Palestinians are aware of these occurrences, the Israeli government has worked to show that the issue of crime has become serious and must be urgently addressed.

On 11 August 2021, Israel announced a plan named ‘Sword Strike,’ for which a budget of 2.5 billion shekels has been allocated over five years. The plan provides for the launch of a special branch of the Police Saif (Sword) Division to eliminate crime.

Even if this recognition is sincere, it is too late. There is much evidence of this. The first is the clear confirmation that, in 2003, authorities were able to quickly dismantle Jewish criminal organizations when it was found that some of them were facilitating large sums for some Palestinian operations.

Other evidence reveals that the occupation authorities have not acted for two decades against Palestinian crime groups, despite having precise knowledge of them and their weapons storage sites.

Yet further evidence from human rights organizations and family statements reveals that many victims informed Israeli police that they had been threatened, and had presented evidence, only later to be found killed – with no subsequent investigation by Israeli police.

Why now?

Psychological warfare

A fundamental reason why the Israelis are enraged is because the weapons that they funneled, through mafias, to sow violent crimes among Palestinians, were turned against Israeli security forces during the May events.

Despite investigations into the hundreds of young men arrested for participating in ‘violent events’, no evidence has ever been found of their involvement in any criminal activity.

Despite lacking evidence, authorities used the opportunity to deploy cameras and surveillance in places where they could previously not, or had no urgent reason, to deploy them.

Israel also began establishing new or additional security centers in ’48 Palestinian cities and towns.

It had become clear that, previous to the May uprising, security forces had not anticipated needing or developing a strategy in dealing with rebellion and civil disobedience from inside. During the 12-day conflict, Israel had to resort to calling in border guards to supplement their internal police forces.

But this increase in security centers would instead serve only as “headquarters for recruiting agents and closely monitoring Palestinians … even managing the crime to suit the enemy,” say various Palestinian sources inside the 1948 boundaries.

And there is yet another side to the Safe Path campaign: fighting ‘economic’ crime.

Israeli authorities say police will cooperate with the tax authority to provide Palestinians suspected of committing crimes with capital recognition forms. The next step is for the police and the tax department “to examine tax entries in comparison with the standard of living, as part of their activities to dry up the sources of crime and fight tax evasion.”

Once again, this is little less than another form of collective punishment.

In addition to security and economic measures, there is a clear psychological component to Israeli actions aimed at intimidation and subjugation.

In order to achieve this goal, Israel implemented a number of measures and imposed new laws, the most important of which allows its police forces to break into private homes – within the 1948 boundaries –  without judicial authorization.

These forces also carried out raids on homes using hundreds of soldiers to terrorize the residents – as has happened, and is still happening, in the southern region of Negev against the country’s Bedouin citizens. As part of its fear campaign, Israel forces even rappelled down from helicopters onto the roofs of Palestinian homes.

After the crime, the explosion

In summary, Israel acts on revenge. What is happening today is little less than a test, Palestinian sources say, “a trick that does not fool those whose demands have for decades been ignored by authorities, but which authorities themselves have simulated as criminal activity, released among those whose lives have become unrelenting commiseration.”

Meanwhile, the scale and frequency of crimes continue to rise. Last November, criminal activity claimed 113 Palestinian lives, according to the Aman Center (Arab Center for Safe Society).

Any further pressure through punitive measures will no doubt lead to an explosive outcome.

This was the case of the 1948 Palestinians whose acts of defiance and protest during the May war surprised not only Israelis, but Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as well.

Another war may not be needed for that explosion to occur. Israel’s forceful and deceitful handling of fabricated crimes through its own criminal actions can only lead to one thing: an intifada.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Soldiers Invade Silwan And Shu’fat In Jerusalem, Abduct One Palestinian

 DEC 29, 2021

Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, Silwan town and Shu’fat refugee camp, in the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, in the West Bank, before abducting one Palestinian, and invading homes and stores while military helicopters hovered overhead.

Media sources said dozens of soldiers invaded and searched many homes in the Shu’fat refugee camp, causing damage.

They added that the soldiers, accompanied by tax officers, also ticketed several merchants, and imposed fines on them.

During the invasion, the soldiers closed many allies and isolated the refugee camp, preventing the Palestinians from entering or leaving it.

In related news, the soldiers invaded Ein al-Louza neighborhood in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and started installing an electronic gate at the Ein Silwan junction, which would lead to isolating it whenever it is closed, for the benefit of the illegal Israeli colonizers, living on stolen lands and buildings in the area.

In addition, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center In Silwan (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers also abducted a young man, identified as Ali Sofian Obeid, from his work at a gas station in the al-‘Isawiya town, in Jerusalem. Many soldiers attacked the young man and forced him onto the ground before abducting him.

The soldiers also removed Palestinian flags which were raised by the residents on their homes and balconies in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan, Silwanic added.

Video By Silwanic
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