Kashmir under lockdown: All the latest updates

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The Indian government revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.

A presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.

The move has worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic relations with India.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for 30 years.

Here are the latest updates:

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Rouhani tells US to leave region, as neighbors not outsiders can ensure own security

September 25, 2019

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Press TV

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the US has no business and is not welcome in the region and must leave it, stressing that the security of the Persian Gulf can be ensured only by neighbors not outsiders.  

“The security of the region will be provided through the pullout of American military forces and not by their weapons and intervention. The ultimate way to [achieving] peace and security in the Middle East is ‘democracy inside, diplomacy outside’,” Rouhani said in an address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

“Security cannot be bought or provided by foreign governments. Peace, security and independence of our neighbors are that of our own. The US is not our neighbor. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran that is your neighbor … we are neighbors to each other not with the US,” he added.

He lashed out at the US for interfering in the region, which has only fueled insecurity without bringing about peace for regional countries.

“The United States is neither the advocate nor the guardian of any state. No state delegates power of attorney to other states and does not give custodianship to others,” the Iranian president said, adding, “The issues of the region are too big … for the United States to deal with. A country that has failed to resolve the issues of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and has been the spearhead of extremism, Talibanism and Daeshism will never be able to resolve more sophisticated issues.”

The Iranian president also warned that the Persian Gulf region is “on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire.”

“We do not tolerate provocative intervention of foreigners and shall firmly respond to any sort of act of aggression against our security and territorial integrity,” Rouhani said.

He said that Iran’s security doctrine is that of safeguarding peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and providing security for navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, adding that the safety of this vital energy route can be guaranteed provided that security becomes a common interest of all regional states.

As a steward of maritime security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iran invites all countries that are affected by developments in the strategic region to join its initiative, dubbed Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), Rouhani said.

He said that the “coalition of hope” aims to promote peace, stability, progress and prosperity of littoral states and help achieve mutual understanding and establish peaceful and friendly relations among them.

“This initiative entails different sectors such as cooperation in providing collective energy security, freedom of navigation and free flow of oil and other [energy] resources from and to the countries off the Strait of Hormuz and beyond that,” Rouhani said.

He said Iran’s proposed coalition of hope is based on commitment to the UN principles and objectives, mutual respect, mutual interests, dialog and understanding, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of conflicts and above all the two fundamental principles of “non-aggression” and “non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other.”

Before leaving for New York on Monday, Rouhani told reporters at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport that the peace initiative is aimed at establishing long-term peace in the Persian Gulf, which he said is simply not achievable as long as outsiders are present.

According to Rouhani, the initiative will envision the provision of security for the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, and the Strait of Hormuz with cooperation among Iran and other regional countries.

Rouhani’s initiative comes in response to US efforts to build up military presence in the Persian Gulf. The United States began trying to persuade its allies into a maritime coalition purportedly seeking to boost security in the Persian Gulf, after it blamed Tehran for two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June, without providing any credible evidence to back up the allegation, which Iran has categorically rejected.

Iran has repeatedly warned that it would react to any attempt to undermine the security of the region or to make it difficult for the country to export its oil.

Last month, Rouhani said measures taken by some extra-regional countries, especially the United States, in the Persian Gulf region only serve to render the region’s problems more complicated and make it appear less secure in the eyes of the world.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2019. (Photo by president.ir)  

Iran refuses any negotiations under sanctions

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani hit out at the US for inviting Iran to talks while imposing harsh sanctions against the country.

“We cannot believe [the sincerity of] an invitation to negotiation by those who [claim to] have applied the harshest sanctions of history against the dignity and livelihood of our nation,: Rouhani said, adding that astonishingly “[committing] crimes and [imposing] pressure on the lives of 83 million Iranians, especially women and children, are welcomed by and have become a source of pride for American government officials … The Iranian nation will never ever forget and forgive these crimes and criminals.”

He said that Iran will not accept to sit at the negotiating table with the US while it was under sanctions.

“On behalf of my nation and country, I would like to announce that our response to any negotiation under sanctions is ‘no’. The government and people of Iran have remained steadfast in the face of the harshest sanctions in the past one and a half years, and will never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to force Iran to surrender through using the weapons of poverty, pressure and sanction,” Rouhani said.

He echoed remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, saying the only way for talks to begin is for the US to return to its commitments, stressing, “Stop the sanctions so that a way opens for [the start of] negotiations.”

The Iranian chief executive also criticized the European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal for just playing lip service to the implementation of the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and failing to carry out effective measures.

“It has now become clear to all that the United States turns its back on its commitments and Europe is incapable of fulfilling its commitments,” he said.

In response to the US move to leave the JCPOA and its reimposition of sanctions, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as European signatories to the accord finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Iran says that if it does not receive economic benefits from the JCPOA by November it will further reduce its commitments.

Tensions have been running high between Iran and the United States since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from the nuclear deal, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Trump is a stern critic of the deal, which was clinched in 2015 by Iran and six world powers, including the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany. Under the agreement, nuclear-related sanctions put in place against Iran were lifted in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

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New Study Documents Depleted Uranium Impacts on Children in Iraq

By David Swanson

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Depleted Uranium Impacts on Children in Iraq 54701

In the years following 2003, the U.S. military dotted Iraq with over 500 military bases, many of them close to Iraqi cities. These cities suffered the impacts of bombs, bullets, chemical and other weapons, but also the environmental damage of open burn pits on U.S. bases, abandoned tanks and trucks, and the storage of weapons on U.S. bases, including depleted uranium weapons. Here’s a map of some of the U.S. bases:

map of some of the U.S. bases in Iraq 669d4

This map and the other illustrations below have been provided by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the authors of a forthcoming article in the journal Environmental Pollution. The article documents the results of a study undertaken in Nasiriyah near Tallil Air Base. Nasiriyah was bombed by the U.S. military in 2003 and in the early 1990s. Open-air burn pits were used at Tallil Air Base beginning in 2003. See a second map:

Nasiriyah near Tallil Air Base 3fba6

Now take a look (do not turn away) at these images of infants who were born between August and September of 2016 to parents who had continuously lived in Nasiriyah. The visible birth defects include: anencephaly (A1 and A2 , B), lower limb anomalies (C), hydrocephalus (D), spina bifida (E), and multiple anomalies (F, G, H). Imagine if these tragic birth defects had been caused by a natural disaster or the misdeeds of the next government targeted by the United States for “regime change” — would not the outrage be widespread and thunderous? But these horrors have a different cause.

images of infants f7b97

Top image is another illustration, of hand and foot abnormalities in children in Nasiriyah, and in the ancient city of Ur, near the U.S. base.

The study now being published found an inverse relationship between the distance one lived from Tallil Air Base and the risk of birth defects as well as of levels of thorium and uranium in one’s hair. It found a positive relationship between the presence of thorium and uranium and the presence of birth defect(s). Thorium is a decay-product of depleted uranium, and a radioactive compound.

These results were found near this particular base rather than dozens of others, not because it is necessarily unique; no similar studies have yet been conducted near each of the other bases. The results found by this study are likely to be identical to results that could be found by a similar study next year, or next decade, or next century, or next millennium, at least in the absence of major efforts to mitigate the damage.

Depleted uranium (DU) weapons were not just stored in Iraq, but also fired in Iraq. Between 1,000 and 2,000 metric tons of DU was fired in Iraq according to a 2007 report by the U.N. Environment Program. While not at the same level, the U.S. military has also poisoned the Washington, D.C., area, among other parts of the United States and the globe with DU. The Pentagon to this day claims the right to use DU. Depleted uranium is permanently hazardous waste from the production of nuclear energy, a source of energy marketed by its lobbyists as environmentally beneficial. Here’s a description of DU from Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group (later renamed “About Face: Veterans Against the War!”) many of whose members are familiar with the damage that DU does to people directly, not just to their offspring:

“Depleted Uranium (DU) is a toxic, radioactive heavy metal that is the waste byproduct of the uranium enrichment process when producing nuclear weapons and uranium for nuclear reactors. Because this radioactive waste is plentiful and 1.7 times more dense than lead, the United States government uses DU in munitions/ammunition which are extremely effective at piercing armored vehicles. However, every round of DU ammunition leaves a residue of DU dust on everything it hits, contaminating the surrounding area with toxic waste that has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the age of our solar system, and turns every battlefield and firing range into a toxic waste site that poisons everyone in such areas. DU dust can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through scratches in the skin. DU is linked to DNA damage, cancer, birth defects, and multiple other health problems. The United Nations classifies Depleted Uranium ammunitions as illegal Weapons of Mass Destruction because of their long-term impact on the land over which they are used and the long-term health problems they cause when people are exposed to them.”

Not only did bringing DU weapons to Iraq amount to putting “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq in the name of eliminating “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” but using and storing DU in Iraq arguably violated the Convention on the Prohibition of the Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. The use of DU was also one part of an illegal war, which in its entirety violated both the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Each element of such a war is illegal. In addition, the use of such weapons violates the Geneva Conventions’ ban on collective punishment, as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The use of these weapons was a small part of the damage done to Iraq, its people, its society, and its natural environment by the war. We ought not to require any legal case before offering aid and making reparations. Basic human decency ought to suffice.

Old News? New News? With Israel, It’s all the Same

by J. Michael Springmann

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spy Stingrays d3746

Zionist Noses.  According to the September 12, 2019  edition of the American political journal POLITICO, Israel “likely” placed cell phone surveillance devices around the White House and other “sensitive locations” in Washington, D.C.  The publication based its statement on three, unnamed, former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.  (The story, however, first broke in June 2018 in a variety of news outlets which noted that the devices, called “stingrays”, had been detected the previous year.)

Stingrays are not fish but are, as Politico described them, devices “which mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.”  American police departments use them and such use has occasioned a series of lawsuits alleging violations of the 1st and 4th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, regarding freedom of speech and warrantless searches.

Israeli officials, as is normally the case, denied any involvement.  Donald Trump also denigrated the “alleged” Israeli activities, saying “My relationship with Israel has been great…Anything is possible but I don’t believe it.”

Why?  Donald Triumph has long been known to be less than security-conscious.  “POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cell phone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cell phone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.”  According to its sources, Trump’s phone, POLITICO said, has been hardened against intrusion.

But Isn’t This Old News?  Israel has been spying on the United States government, American businesses, and public officials for decades.  In the 1950s, former ambassador Andrew Kilgore once noted, Israel had planted microphones in the American embassy in Tel Aviv.

“As Paul Pillar, the CIA’s former national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, told Newsweek [in  May 2014], old habits are hard to break: Zionists were dispatching spies to America before there even was an Israel, to gather money and materials for the cause and later the fledgling state. Key components for Israel’s nuclear bombs were clandestinely obtained here. “They’ve found creative and inventive ways,” Pillar said, to get what they want.”

Then there was Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy civilian employee.  He had been arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison for passing suitcases full of highly-classified documents to Israeli intelligence.  After much Zionist pressure, his life term was commuted to 30 years and he was released.

In the first half of 2001, “Israeli art students” attempting to sell their wares turned up at government offices in 40 U.S. cities.  They were attempting to penetrate the Drug Enforcement Administration and other U.S. government agencies, including those with addresses not known to the public.  Salon, a news and opinion website, wrote in May 2002:  “According to one account, some 140 Israeli nationals were detained or arrested between March 2001 and Sept. 11, 2001.  Many of them were deported. According to the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service], the deportations resulted from violations of student visas that forbade the Israelis from working in the United States… After the Sept. 11 attacks, many more young Israelis — 60, according to one AP dispatch and other reports — were detained and deported.”

The journalist Wayne Madsen has written extensively about the “art students” and this writer can attest that they are still operating.  A few years ago, he once visited the Pentagon City Mall (near the iconic military headquarters). A salesgirl, from a cart hawking perfume, approached him, asking if he had ever been to her country, Israel.

Yet, for obvious reasons, there has been little investigation of this by the Zionist-controlled U.S. media.

It Gets More Technical.  As Christopher Ketcham wrote in a September 2008 issue of CounterPunch, “Since the late 1990s, federal agents have reported systemic communications security breaches at the Department of Justice, FBI, DEA, the State Department, and the White House.  Several of the alleged breaches, these agents say, can be traced to two hi-tech [Israeli] communications companies, Verint Inc. (formerly Comverse Infosys), and Amdocs Ltd., that respectively provide major wiretap and phone billing/record-keeping software contracts for the U.S. government.  Together, Verint and Amdocs form part of the backbone of the government’s domestic intelligence surveillance technology.”

The article went on to quote Philip Giraldi, former CIA counterterrorism and counterintelligence officer.  He said “This is par for the course in the history of Israeli penetrations in the U.S.”   Quoting annual FBI reports called “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage”, Giraldi noted Israel is second only to China in stealing U.S. business secrets.  One FBI account added “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.”  A key Israeli method, warns the FBI report, is computer intrusion.

And In The End?  Do we force Israel to divest itself of its spies and its companies deeply involved in espionage in the United States?  Do we block visas for Israelis to enter this country?  Do we end American financial support of Israel:  $10 million a day/365 days a year?  Plus tax-free purchase of Israeli bonds?  Plus sales of Israeli-controlled consumer goods like Tribe and Sabra Hummus or Ahava beauty products?

Would government officials with knowledge of Israeli espionage activities admit their failures and resign?  Would the American press cover this?  In a country that passes laws to condemn criticism of Israel?  Or of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS).  Not hardly.

The United States of America is completely under the control of Israel and its Zionists.  Things will not change until Israel does.

Zarif: Military strike on Iran will lead to ‘all-out war’ in region

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says a possible military strike against his country by the United States or Saudi Arabia will unleash an “all-out” war in the region.

Iran’s top diplomat made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the CNN in Tehran on Thursday.

Asked what the consequence of a US or Saudi military strike on Iran would be, Zarif said: “All-out war.”

“I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” Zarif said, adding that a military response based on “deception” about the weekend attacks on Saudi oil installations would cause “a lot of casualties.”

“…We won’t blink to defend our territory,” Iran’s foreign minister emphasized.

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

On @CNN, I emphasized that here’s no such thing as a “limited strike”. Iran does NOT want war, but we will NOT hesitate to defend ourselves.

Also, Yemenis, under brutal attack for yrs, have powerful motivation to build what it takes to defend themselves.https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/19/middleeast/iran-zarif-saudi-intl/index.html 

Exclusive: Zarif threatens ‘all out war’ in case of military strike on Iran

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Zarif raised the specter of ‘all out war’ in case of a US or Saudi military strike on the country.

cnn.com

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Tensions started to rise between Iran and Saudi Arabia after a group of Yemeni drones hit two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Aramco in the country’s east, causing huge fires before dawn on Saturday.

A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the attacks targeted two Aramco factories in Abqaiq and Khurais, without specifying the source of the attacks. However, Yemen’s Houthi movement later claimed responsibility in an announcement on Al Masirah TV. The movement’s military spokesman, General Yahya Sare’e, said 10 drones were deployed against the sites in Abqaiq and Khurais, and pledged to widen the range of attacks on Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, Riyadh admitted that Yemen’s drone strikes had shut down about 50 percent of the kingdom’s crude and gas production, with the United States rushing to point the finger at Iran for the raids without providing any evidence.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on the same day, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman acknowledged that the attacks on Aramco refineries in Abqaiq and Khurais had cut the state oil giant’s crude oil supply by around 5.7 million barrels per day, or about 50 percent of its output.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to put the blame for Saturday’s operation on Iran, claiming, “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and that “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

On Wednesday, Pompeo who was in Riyadh to discuss the matter with Saudi officials described the attack on Saudi oil facilities as “an act of war” that knocked out more than half the kingdom’s oil production.

Elsewhere in his interview with the CNN, Zarif said Iran hoped to avoid conflict, adding that the country was willing to talk to regional countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

He once again denied Tehran’s involvement in attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, saying that Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, which claimed responsibility for the attack, has stepped up its military capabilities and is now capable of conducting a sophisticated operation such as the one that knocked out half of the kingdom’s energy production.

“I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it,” Zarif said.

‘No US talks unless all sanctions removed’

Zarif was also asked about the possibility of negotiations between the Iran and the administration of US President Donald Trump, dismissing such possibility and nothing that there would be no negotiations between the two sides unless the US gave Iran the full sanctions relief promised under the nuclear deal.

Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and re-imposed a host of unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic that had been lifted after the deal was reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, which at that time included the United States, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus German.

“(The JCPOA) is an agreement that we reached with the United States. Why should we renegotiate? Why should we start something else, which may again be invalid in a year and a half,” Zarif said, adding, “If they lift the sanctions that they re-imposed illegally, then that’s a different situation… Then we would consider (talks).”

Zarif was echoing previous remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who said in a public meeting on Tuesday that talks with Iran would be possible only if the US returned to the nuclear deal.

“If the US retracts its words, repents and returns to the nuclear accord that it has violated, it can then take part in sessions of other signatories to the deal and hold talks with Iran… Otherwise, no talks at any level will be held between Iranian and American authorities, neither in New York nor elsewhere.”

The Leader, however, emphasized that under the present circumstances, Iran would not engage in negotiations with the United States “at any level,” and that Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iranian nation has failed to achieve its goals.

Ayatollah Khamenei said entering talks with the US under these circumstances would be tantamount to surrendering to Washington’s undue pressure campaign.

“Negotiating would mean Washington imposing its demands on Tehran. It would also be a manifestation of the victory of America’s maximum pressure campaign,” the Leader noted, adding, “That is why Iranian officials — including the president, the foreign minister and others — have unanimously voiced their objection to any talks with the US — be it in a bilateral or a multilateral setting.”

هزيمة نتنياهو في الانتخابات مرجّحة إذا صوّت الناخبون العرب والروس ضدّه؟

سبتمبر 16, 2019

د. عصام نعمان

حكمان ينتظرهما بنيامين نتنياهو: حكم الرأي العام في الانتخابات المقرّرة في 17/9/2019، وحكم القضاء في قضايا اتهامه وزوجته بالرشوة والإحتيال وخيانة الامانة. أيٌّ من هذين الحكمين كفيل بالقضاء عليه سياسياً. لذا يسعى بلا كلل لتفادي حكم الرأي العام بحجب الثقة عن حزبه وحلفائه في الانتخابات لأنّ بقاءه في رئاسة الحكومة يساعده على تفادي حكم قضائي بإيداعه السجن.

استماتته للبقاء على قيد الحياة سياسياً قادته إلى القيام بعدّة أعمال وأنشطة كان أبرزها مقابلة الرئيس الروسي في منتجع سوتشي على البحر الأسود بعدما انتظره ثلاث ساعات في غرفة جانبيه ! بوتين لم يتردّد في تفسير سبب مسارعة نتنياهو الى مقابلته قبل أربعة أيام من موعد الانتخابات بقوله إن لا أقلّ من 1,5 مليون شخص يتحدّرون من الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق يعيشون وينتخبون في «إسرائيلـ«.

نتنياهو طامع بنيل حصة وافرة من أصوات الناخبين الروس. هل بإمكان بوتين حملهم على التصويت له ولحلفائه؟ وإذا كان في وسعه ذلك، ما الثمن الذي سيقدّمه له نتنياهو في المقابل؟

الحقيقة أنّ ثمة خصماً قوياً ينافس نتنياهو على أصوات هؤلاء وعلى أصوات سواهم. إنه زعيم حزب «إسرائيل بيتنا» أفيغدور ليبرمان الذي يتحدّر هو الآخر من جمهورية مولدوفا التي كانت أيضاً ضمن الاتحاد السوفياتي. ليبرمان كان المسؤول الرئيس عن تفشيل جهود نتنياهو لبناء ائتلاف حكومي بعد الانتخابات الأخيرة، وهو يسعى الآن الى تحقيق الغاية نفسها بالتركيز على الناخبين الروس الإسرائيليين الذين يتعاطف معظمهم مع دعوة ليبرمان الى إلغاء امتيازاتٍ يحظى بها الحريديم اليهود المتشدّدون حلفاء نتنياهو أبرزها إعفاؤهم من الخدمة العسكرية الإلزامية المفروضة على سائر مستوطني الكيان الصهيوني.

لم يتضح بعد المقابل الذي تقاضاه بوتين لقاء استقباله رئيس حكومةٍ قد لا يفوز في الانتخابات بعد أيام معدودة. بعض المراقبين يرجّح أن يكون المقابل وعداً من نتنياهو بألا يضرب جيشه ما يعتبره قواعد لإيران في سورية موجودة على مقربة من قاعدة بحرية لروسيا في طرطوس وأخرى جوية في مطار حميميم بالقرب من اللاذقية. الدليل؟ تصريح نتنياهو بعد المقابلة بأنّ الاتصالات مع بوتين «سمحت بتفادي حصول ايّ احتكاك او تصادم بين عسكريينا».

غير انّ ثمة فئة أخرى من الناخبين تُقلق نتنياهو أكثر من موقف الناخبين الروس. إنها أكثرية الناخبين العرب الذين تمكّن زعماؤهم، بعد اختلافات وتجاذبات شتى، من توحيد أحزابهم في قائمة مشتركة. مؤسّسات استطلاع ومراقبون متعدّدون يقدّرون أنه إذا وصلت نسبة تصويت الناخبين العرب الى 65 في المئة فإنّ تحالف أحزاب اليمين والحريديم الذي يؤيد نتنياهو سيصاب بهزيمة تحول دون احتفاظه برئاسة الحكومة.

نتنياهو حاول ترهيب الناخبين العرب بحمل الحكومة على إقرار مشروع قانون يقضي بنصب كاميرات مراقبة في مراكز الاقتراع خلال الانتخابات. غير انّ معارضة أكثرية الأحزاب الأخرى، وفي مقدّمهم كتلة النواب العرب، أسقطت المشروع في الكنيست.

نتنياهو أدرك حراجة وضعه الانتخابي فاحتاط لردود الفعل السلبية المتوقعة من خصومه الكثر بتنظيم حملة علاقات عامة حملته الى أوكرانيا لمقابلة رئيسها الجديد، وإلى بريطانيا لمقابلة رئيس حكومتها الجديد أيضاً. كلّ ذلك للتأثير في الرأي العام الإسرائيلي وإقناعه بأنه رجل دولة على مستوى عالمي ما يؤدي الى توطيد مكانة «إسرائيلـ« وأمنها.

لم يكتفِ نتنياهو بجولاته الخارجية بل شفع ذلك بإطلاق تصريحات من شأنها التأثير في إدارة ترامب من جهة واجتذاب المتطرفين، وما أكثرهم بين الإسرائيليين، من جهة أخرى. فما ان شعر بأنّ ترامب بدأ يتجاوب مع الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون في سعيه الى جمعه مع الرئيس الإيراني الشيخ حسن روحاني حتى قام بعقد مؤتمر صحافي أعلن فيه انّ «إسرائيلـ« عثرت على منشآت إضافية جرى استخدمها في المشروع النووي الإيراني، داعياً المجتمع الدولي إلى الانضمام الى الولايات المتحدة و«إسرائيلـ« في مواجهة إيران.

المفارقة انه بعد ساعات معدودات من تصريح نتنياهو قام ترامب بالإعلان عن استعداده للإجتماع الى روحاني، بل هو ذهب الى أبعد من ذلك بإعلانه إقالة مستشاره للأمن القومي جون بولتون، العنصر الأكثر صقرية في دعم «إسرائيلـ« ومعاداة إيران!

إلى ذلك، قام نتنياهو بعقد مؤتمر صحافي خاص في تل أبيب تعهّد فيه بفرض السيادة الإسرائيلية على منطقة غور الأردن وشمال البحر الميت في حال إعادة انتخابه رئيساً للحكومة.

تعهّدُ نتنياهو هذا أثار ردود فعل متباينة في الحلبة السياسية الإسرائيلية. ففي حين رحّب به مجلس المستوطنات في الضفة الغربية معتبراً خطوته مهمة للغاية، قالت أحزاب المعارضة بقيادة تحالف «أزرق أبيض» إنها ترفض ان يكون غور الأردن جزءاً من دعاية نتنياهو الانتخابية. اما تحالف «المعسكر الديمقراطي» فأكد انّ أيّ عملية أحادية الجانب من شأنها تهديد أمن «إسرائيلـ« ومنع استئناف المفاوضات، وانه من المستغرَب انّ المشتبه فيه بالرشوة والاحتيال وخيانة الأمانة تذكّر خطوة دراماتيكية كهذه قبل أقل من أسبوع من الانتخابات! المحلل السياسي بن كسبيت قال في صحيفة «معاريف» 2019/9/11 اليمينية انّ تعهّد نتنياهو مناورة رخيصة لأنه كان قادراً على ضمّ غور الأردن لكنه اكتفى بإعلانٍ غير مهمّ.

إلى أين من هنا؟

لا مغالاة في القول إنّ مصير نتنياهو السياسي بات رهن وجهة تصويت الناخبين المتحدّرين من أصل روسي كما الناخبين العرب، لا سيما حجم النسبة المئوية لتصويت هؤلاء. صحيح انّ النواب العرب يميلون تقليدياً الى عدم المشاركة في أية حكومة إسرائيلية سواء يمينية او يسارية، لكن دورهم شديد الأهمية لكونهم قادرين على الإسهام في عدم تمكين أيٍّ من التكتلات البرلمانية من تكوين أكثرية في الكنيست تمكّنها من تأليف الحكومة المقبلة.

هل يفعلها الناخبون العرب في 17 ايلول/ سبتمبر؟

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Is Israeli Aggression on Gaza Coming?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Will Netanyahu order Israel’s fourth preemptive war on Gaza pre-or-post September 17 Knesset elections — for the fourth time since December 2008?

His political future at stake, are his war-mongering threats empty campaign rhetoric to win votes or is war imminent?

Along with vowing to (illegally) annex the Jordan Valley (30% of the West Bank) if reelected next week, he threatened war on Gaza Thursday, saying:

“There will be an operation, but I will not embark on it a moment before we are ready…(T)here apparently will be no choice but to topple Hamas,” turning truth on its head, adding:

“There is a terrorist element that wants to destroy us (sic).” The most dangerous regional real one is headquartered in Tel Aviv.

Israel has been perpetually at war on Gaza since 2007 without formally declaring it, terror-bombing the Strip at its discretion, along with cross-border incursions, and using live fire and other hostile actions against peaceful demonstrators.

On the 73rd Great March of Return Friday since March 30 2018, Israeli forces used live fire and other excessive force against nonviolent Gazans, protesting for their legitimate rights denied by a ruthless occupier.

Two children threatening no one were killed, scores more injured, including a journalist and two paramedics, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Throughout Israeli history, the world community never held its political and military officials accountable for their Nuremberg-level high crimes. 

Nor have world leaders denounced Netanyahu’s threat to attack Gaza aggressively. Is it coming?

Late Thursday, he said it “could happen at any moment” — after returning from Sochi, Russia, holding talks with Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Shogui, the visit a pre-election campaign stunt.

Was threatening war on Gaza the same thing to gain an edge over his main rival? Polls show his Likud party and Gantz/Lapid’s Blue and White party are in a dead heat days before Tuesday elections.

Final pre-election polls released Friday showed a potential Likud-led coalition could win 59 seats, 61 needed for a Knesset majority, why Netanyahu is using every dirty trick in the book for an 11th hour edge.

Haaretz editors slammed his “weakness” and “cowardice.” They accused him of “nourishing” clashes with Gazan protesters.

They called for “ending the blockade, building industrial infrastructure that will create jobs and allowing freedom of movement for both goods and people,” adding:

“Electing him to another term of office will merely ensure more of the same weakness that has already given rise to pointless rounds of fighting.” 

He hopes that reelection as prime minister may help him avoid indictment on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges, following an October hearing, damning evidence against him.

He reportedly said if able to form a new ruling coalition post-election, he’ll seek Knesset immunity from indictment and prosecution, along with legislation to prevent Israel’s Supreme Court from removing it.

His political future and personal freedom are at stake. Is judgment day coming at last — after avoiding accountability for years?

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