المفتي يقيم مأتماً لـ «الحريرية السياسية» | السعودية تُراسل الغرب من دار الفتوى: هذه حصتي

الإثنين 26 أيلول 2022

لينا فخر الدين  

(هيثم الموسوي)

لم تُقدّم الكلمة التي ألقاها مفتي الجمهورية الشيخ عبد اللطيف دريان في اللقاء الموسع للنواب السنة الـ24 في دار الفتوى، أي جديد. والأمر نفسه ينطبق على لقاء النواب في دارة السفير السعودي. في عائشة بكار تماماً كما في اليرزة لم يتطرق المجتمعون إلى مسألة محددة، لتكون صور اللقاءين هي الأهم. خلاصة الاجتماعين تقديم النواب السنة كورقة ضغط سعودية إلى الغرب وإنهاء الحريرية السياسية بتعيين دريان وريثاً شرعياً

لو كان الرئيس سعد الحريري على «قيد الحياة» السياسية، لما احتاج مفتي الجمهورية الشيخ عبد اللطيف دريان أن «يعلّي باب داره» لاستقبال أكبر عدد ممكن من النواب السنّة في اجتماعٍ واحد، ولما كان «استعطى» حضور جهاد الصمد أو قاسم هاشم وآخرين إلى «عائشة بكّار»، وما كان أيضاً ليُلقي بعباءة مرجعيته الدينيّة على من صنّفهم إبّان الانتخابات النيابيّة أشبه بـ«الخوارج» عن الدين، أو ليُقدّم «شرعيّة» الدار على طبقٍ من ذهب إلى «متمردي الطائفة» الذين ترشّحوا باسم حزب الله وفازوا بمعيّته. لو لم ينكفئ الحريري منذ أشهر، لم تكن الصورة قد ظُهّرت بهذه الطريقة: أشرف ريفي على يمين المفتي وفؤاد مخزومي على يساره، ولكان سيجري البحث عنهما «بالسراج والفتيلة» في الصفوف الخلفيّة.

بكل بساطة، لو لم يكن الحريري منكفئاً، ما كان اجتماع دار الفتوى الذي ضم 24 من أصل 27 نائباً سنياً (تغيّب النواب أسامة سعد، حليمة القعقور وإبراهيم منيمنة) لينعقد. يُدرك العارفون هذا الأمر جيّداً، باعتبار أنّ عمر فكرة اللقاء 15 سنة منذ 7 أيّار واتفاق الدوحة. وفي كل مرة، كان رئيس تيّار المستقبل يُجهض الفكرة قبل تنفيذها متذرعاً بأكثر من سبب، إلى أن لم يجد ذرائع كافية لرد الطلب السعودي عام 2016. حينها، وافق على مضض مشترطاً أن يحصل الاجتماع في بيت الوسط. أيامٌ قليلة قبل أن يبدأ بوضع لائحة المدعوين التي استثنيت منها معظم الشخصيات التي لا تدور في فلك 14 آذار، بحجّة أنه لن يدعو إلا الفاعليات السنيّة الرسمية، مسقطاً منها رؤساء الأحزاب والشخصيات التي تمتلك حيثيّة سنيّة مناطقية (كالوزير السابق عبد الرحيم مراد وجهاد الصمد وفيصل كرامي…)، ما دفع المملكة العربيّة السعوديّة إلى تلبية رغبة الحريري بغض النظر عن اللقاء.

هكذا بقيت المملكة تمنّي نفسها بلقاءٍ من دون أن تحصل عليه. هي التي لم تكن تفتح الأبواب اللبنانيّة إلا باستخدام مفتاح الحريري الأب والابن. ومن أجلهما، هندست كل ما يُسهّل «الأحادية السنيّة». حينما كان رفيق الحريري يقفل البيوتات السياسيّة السنيّة كانت السعوديّة تقف خلف السّتار. وحينما كان «أبو بهاء» يُحاول تقويض شعبيّة بعض الشخصيّات كانت الرياض تُقدّم الغالي والنفيس لهذه الغاية، ممتنعة عن استقبال هؤلاء إلا لأداء الحج والعمرة. ولذلك، كان لزاماً على الرئيس نجيب ميقاتي مثلاً أنّ يحج ويستعمر على مدار السنة التي كان فيها رئيساً للحكومة في العام 2011 من دون أن يستقبله ولو حاجب في مؤسسة رسمية سعودية!
في الجهة المقابلة، كانت دار الفتوى تلتزم بـ«الفتاوى السياسية» للحريريّة. لم تجتهد يوماً بعد استشهاد المفتي الشيخ حسن خالد. وحينما قرّر المفتي الشيخ محمّد رشيد قباني التغريد خارج سرب بيت الوسط «أكل نصيبه». اليوم، المشهد تغيّر. من وقف في «عائشة بكار»، قائلاً للحريري: «لا تقلق أنا معك وعلماء لبنان معك» انقلب عليه، وثبّت «سماحته» قولاً وفعلاً أنّ الحديث صحيح ولكنّه صار موجّهاً اليوم إلى السعوديّة بما لا يشبه تاريخيّة العلاقة بين الدار ورؤساء الحكومات وتحديداً الحريري.
اليوم، صار «طويل العمر» يوغل بالداخل اللبناني من دون استخدام «قفازاته الحريرية»؛ فهو في الأصل يقتص من الحريري الابن. وما الاجتماع الموسّع الذي عُقد في عائشة بكار إلا مأتم رسمي لإعلان وفاة الحريرية السياسيّة التي عاشت 40 عاماً في كنف المملكة ومكارمها.

في حين لا يعتبر تيار المستقبل أنّ هذا الاجتماع كان رسالةً موجهة لرئيسه. بالنسبة له، الحريري علّق نشاطه السياسي وبالتالي لا يملك بريداً كي تصل الرسائل عبره. وتشدّد مصادره على أنّ «اجتماع الدار ومضمون البيان الصادر عنه ليسا موضع نقاش، خصوصاً أن علاقتنا مع الدار ممتازة والمفتي هو مرجعيّة روحيّة وسياسيّة».

دريان البديل؟
ومهما يكن من أمر، فإن السعوديّة التي دفنت الحريرية السياسيّة تبحث عن بديل عنها. هي لم «تعتنق» التعددية السنيّة بل تبحث عن بديلٍ واحد يحل مكان الحريري ويقوم بدوره؛ لم ترتوِ من حرق فؤاد السنيورة في الانتخابات النيابيّة حينما أثبت أنه لا يصبو إلى رتبة قائد، ولا اقتنعت بأن تسليم الساحة السنيّة إلى قائد مسيحي يعني أنّها لم تفهم بعد تركيبة الشارع السني. فيما يعتقد البعض أنّ سيناريو لقاء الدار هو بعض من أفكار جعجع، وتشير لغة البيان الذي صدر واستخدمه دريان في كلمته إلى أن أصابع السنيورة موجودة خلف الفواصل والنقاط، وإن كان البيان لم يقدم جديداً وكان أشبه بـ«لزوم ما لا يلزم»، إذ اكتفى بالعموميّات وبضرورة انتخاب رئيس للجمهوريّة، وكانت الإشارة الأهم رسالة التطمين إلى الشارع المسيحي بأن«رئيس الجمهورية هو الرئيس المسيحي الأوحد في المنطقة العربية». فيما لم يتطرّق البيان إلى «لب الموضوع» أي التشتت داخل الشارع السني وغياب المرجعيّة بعد انسحاب الحريري من المشهد.

إذاً، تُحاول المملكة تثبيت قدمي دريان كمرجعيّة سياسيّة. والدليل على ذلك هو مسودّة البيان الذي كان من المفترض أن يوزّع على الإعلام: «عقد اللقاء برئاسة مفتي الجمهورية»، مما استدعى رداً من بعض النواب الموجودين ولا سيّما النائب جهاد الصمد الذي أكد أنه لا يقبل بهذه الصيغة فتم تغييرها.
هذه المرجعيّة تريدها السعوديّة طيّعة بين يديها، خصوصاً أن المتابعين يؤكّدون أن شخصيّة دريان ليست مؤهلة للقيام بهذا الدور، بالإضافة إلى أنّ البطريركية المارونية تختلف كلياً عن دار الإفتاء التي لا تمتلك فعلياً مؤسسات سياسية ولم تلعب يوماً دوراً وطنياً ضخماً مثلما فعل البطاركة الموارنة على مر التاريخ السياسي.
من الممكن أن المملكة تُحاول أن تلعب «صولد» لأنّها ترى في دريان شخصيّة طيّعة؛ ارتضت أن تغيّر بطلبٍ واحد موعد انعقاد الاجتماع حتى يتسنى «للنواب المصطفين» ومعهم دريان تناول العشاء على مأدبة السفير السعودي وليد البخاري في مقر إقامته، ليظهر بما لا يقبل الشك أن لقاء دار الفتوى حصل بإيعازٍ سعودي. كما طلبت منها إنتاج لقاء معلّب يوحي بأن النواب الذين اجتمعوا أمس سيكونون في الخندق نفسه في كل الاستحقاقات، وسيكتبون على الورقة البيضاء الاسم الذي تريده المملكة كرئيس للجمهوريّة، من دون الأخذ في الاعتبار أنّ من بين الـ24 نائباً الذين حضروا السبت نواباً محسوبين على حزب الله أو مقربين منه أو لا يقبلون حتى بأن يعيشوا حياتهم السياسية بإمرة «طويل العمر».

الدخول إلى اللعبة
فعلياً، لا تريد المملكة قيادة سياسية حقيقيّة، بل «تقريش» اللقاء خارجياً ومحاولة وضعه في سياق اللقاءات السعودية مع الأميركيين والفرنسيين والتي كان آخرها اللقاء الثلاثي في نيويورك. تعتقد المملكة أن اجتماع النواب السنّة وعلاقتها مع سمير جعجع يجعلان منها على الأرض شريكاً للأميركيين والفرنسيين في إنتاج التسويات وحتى اختيار الرئيس الجديد، أو أقلّه أنها تملك «عدّة الشغل» لإمكانيّة تعطيل أي تسوية.
ولذلك، أهمية لقاء دار الفتوى أو اجتماع النواب العشرين في دارة السفير السعودي كانت في الصورة وليس بأي شيء آخر، بدليل أن الحاضرين لم يبحثوا بأي أمر هام. وكان لافتاً غياب النائب عماد الحوت وتردّد أن الأمر مرتبط برفضٍ من القيادة الجديدة للجماعة الإسلاميّة، مقابل حضور النائب عدنان طرابلسي تأكيداً على التموضع الجديد لـ «جمعية المشاريع الخيريّة».

لا تريد المملكة قيادة سياسية سنية حقيقية بل «تقريش» اللقاء خارجياً


وتشير مصادر المجتمعين إلى أنّ اللقاء لدى البخاري تركّز على كلامٍ للأخير عن رؤية المملكة 2030 ورؤية ولي العهد الداخلية، مؤكداً أنّ «السعودية على مسافة واحدة من الجميع». وبحسب معلومات «الأخبار» فإن البخاري اكتفى بالعموميات ولم يأتِ على ذكر حزب الله، وحتى أنّه في معرض حديثه عن مواصفات رئيس الجمهورية اكتفى بأن بلاده تتمنّى بأن يكون الرئيس غير فاسد، واعداً بأن بلاده ستُقدّم مساعدات إلى لبنان وأن هناك اتفاقيّات موجودة في هذا الإطار وعلى الدولة الالتزام بها.
أما في دار الفتوى، فقد تناوب النواب الـ24 على الكلام، واعترض بعض الحاضرين على عدم مناقشة البيان معهم علماً أنه سيصدر عنهم. وكان الصمد أبرز الرافضين، إذ قال: «إننا لسنا طلاباً، بل عليكم الاستماع إلى رأيي وأنا أرفض ما جاء في البيان بالنسبة لمواصفات رئيس الجمهورية»، وهذا أيضاً ما قاله بعض النواب كقاسم هاشم وملحم الحجيري وعبد الرحمن البزري. ولذلك، قدّم الصمد مذكّرة قبل انعقاد اللقاء تتضمن ثوابت الطائفة السنية من دون أن يتم الأخذ بها.
الصمد أكد لـ«الأخبار» أنه لن يُشارك في اجتماعٍ آخر «في حال أرادوا مني فقط أن أبصم من دون الاستماع إلى رأيي أو المشاركة في مسودة البيان أو بأن يركّز البيان على محور مقابل محور»، مضيفاً: «لستُ ضد الاجتماع في المبدأ ولكن كان المضمون سيئاً والإخراج كذلك».

مقالات ذات صلة

A guide to the AngloEuroZionist Establishment Lexicon

September 17, 2022

Source

by Eric Arthur Blair

Neoliberal economics:

Establishment version: modern free market freedom, practised by freedom loving people, to freely create freedomaceous wealth everywhere! Woohoo!

Real World Translation: rigged system to funnel wealth from the poor to the rich by imposition of slave wages and debt servitude = economic enslavement of the 99%

Disinformation:

Establishment version: anything contrary to the “truthiness” narrative espoused by Western Mainstream Media Patriots. Is Israel an apartheid state? That’s disinformation!

Real World Translation: anything which portrays the AngoEuroZionist Empire in a bad light and their enemies du jour (Russia, China, Iran etc) in a neutral or favourable light. Absolutely nothing to do with truth or facts.

National Endowment for Democracy:

Establishment version: benevolent fund by the USA to promote rule by, for and of the ordinary people in foreign countries. Yay!

Real World Translation: CIA cutout to finance astroturf campaigns to destabilise foreign governments that do not bend to the US will, in order to install US puppet regimes that will funnel wealth to the USA.

US invasion of Iraq in 2003:

Establishment version: act of “liberation” to save the world from Saddam’s WMDs and bring democracy to the Iraqi people.

Real World Translation: WMD story was a fucking LIE, invasion was done to preserve the US petrodollar and control Iraqi oil assets and give massive contracts to US corporations. Killed more than a million Iraqis by 2010, so I guess you could say those Iraqis were “liberated” (from life).

Russian invasion of Ukraine:

Establishment version: unprovoked aggression by Russian dictator Vlad-the-Impaler Putin on 24 Feb 2022 because he is just plain crazy (also a vampire). So naturally the West needed to ban Russian cats and Tchaikovsky in response.

Real World Translation: belated response by Russian Duma (democratic parliament) to relentless aggression by the US/NATO since 2014 – including the murder of 14,000 civilians in Donbass, ie Russia was forced to intervene to protect Russian speaking Ukrainians from genocide by the US proxies. Also more than 30 bio-pathogen labs funded by the USA (by Victoria Nuland’s own admission) were discovered in Ukraine, so there WERE WMDs in-the-making in Ukraine.

International “Rules based order”:

Establishment version: even the USA cannot properly define WTF this crapulent term means.

Real World Translation: USA makes up their one-sided rules (to always benefit itself) and orders everybody else about, otherwise foreigners face sanctions or coups or assassination of their leaders or invasion. Nothing to do with United Nations International Law.

Far too many Newspeak and Doublethink terms to itemise here!!

Commenters can think of many more!!

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

  • Speaking Truth is an act of Treason in an Empire of Lies.
  • Putin called the USA an Empire of Lies.
  • Who is the most prominent Truth speaker in the Empire?
  • Julian Assange – who is now being suitably punished for such Treason.

EAB.

FORGET LIBERATING UKRAINE – WE FIRST NEED TO LIBERATE OUR MINDS 

JUNE 10TH, 2022

By Jonathan Cook

Source

Nothing should better qualify me to write about world affairs at the moment – and Western meddling in Ukraine – than the fact that I have intimately followed the twists and turns of Israeli politics for two decades.

We will turn to the wider picture in a moment. But before that, let us consider developments in Israel, as its “historic,” year-old government – which included for the very first time a party representing a section of Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens – teeters on the brink of collapse.

Crisis struck, as everyone knew it would sooner or later, because the Israeli parliament had to vote on a major issue relating to the occupation: renewing a temporary law that for decades has regularly extended Israel’s legal system outside its territory, applying it to Jewish settlers living on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.

That law lies at the heart of an Israeli political system that the world’s leading human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad, now belatedly admit has always constituted apartheid. The law ensures that Jewish settlers living in the West Bank in violation of international law receive rights different from, and far superior to, those of the Palestinians that are ruled over by Israel’s occupying military authorities.

The law enshrines the principle of Jim Crow-style inequality, creating two different systems of law in the West Bank: one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians. But it does more. Those superior rights, and their enforcement by Israel’s army, have for decades allowed Jewish settlers to rampage against Palestinian rural communities with absolute impunity and steal their land – to the point that Palestinians are now confined to tiny, choked slivers of their own homeland.

In international law, that process is called “forcible transfer,” or what we would think of as ethnic cleansing. It’s a major reason that the settlements are a war crime – a fact that the International Criminal Court in the Hague is finding it very hard to ignore. Israel’s leading politicians and generals would all be tried for war crimes if we lived in a fair, and sane, world.

So what happened when this law came before the parliament for a vote on its renewal? The “historic” government, supposedly a rainbow coalition of leftwing and rightwing Jewish parties joined by a religiously conservative Palestinian party, split on entirely predictable ethnic lines.

Members of the Palestinian party either voted against the law or absented themselves from the vote. All the Jewish parties in the government voted for it. The law failed – and the government is now in trouble – because the rightwing Likud Party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the Palestinian parties in voting against the law, in the hope of bringing the government down, even though his legislators are completely committed to the apartheid system it upholds.

UPHOLDING APARTHEID

What is most significant about the vote is that it has revealed something far uglier about Israel’s Jewish tribalism than most Westerners appreciate. It shows that all of Israel’s Jewish parties – even the “nice ones” that are termed leftwing or liberal – are in essence racist.

Most Westerners understand Zionism to be split into two broad camps: the right, including the far-right, and the liberal-left camp.

Today this so-called liberal-left camp is tiny and represented by the Israeli Labour and Meretz parties. Israel’s Labour Party is considered so respectable that Britain’s Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, publicly celebrated the recent restoration of ties after the Israeli party severed connections during the term of Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

But note this. Not only have the Labour and Meretz parties been sitting for a year in a government led by Naftali Bennett, whose party represents the illegal settlements, they have just voted for the very apartheid law that ensures the settlers get superior rights over Palestinians, including the right to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land.

In the case of the Israeli Labour Party, that is hardly surprising. Labour founded the first settlements and, apart from a brief period in the late 1990s when it paid lip service to a peace process, always backed to the hilt the apartheid system that enabled the settlements to expand. None of that ever troubled Britain’s Labour Party, apart from when it was led by Corbyn, a genuinely dedicated anti-racist.

But by contrast to Labour, Meretz is an avowedly anti-occupation party. That was the very reason it was founded in the early 1990s. Opposition to the occupation and the settlements is supposedly hardwired into its DNA. So how did it vote for the very apartheid law underpinning the settlements?

UTTER HYPOCRISY

The naïve, or mischievous, will tell you Meretz had no choice because the alternative was Bennett’s government losing the vote – which in fact happened anyway – and reviving the chances of Netanyahu returning to power. Meretz’s hands were supposedly tied.

This argument – of pragmatic necessity – is one we often hear when groups professing to believe one thing act in ways that damage the very thing they say they hold dear.

But Israeli commentator Gideon Levy makes a very telling point that applies far beyond this particular Israeli case.

He notes that Meretz would never have been seen to vote for the apartheid law – whatever the consequences – if the issue had been about transgressing the rights of Israel’s LGBTQ community rather than transgressing Palestinian rights. Meretz, whose leader is gay, has LGBTQ rights at the top of its agenda.

Levy writes: “Two justice systems in the same territory, one for straight people and another for gay people? Is there any circumstance in which this would happen? A single political constellation that could bring it about?”

The same could be said of Labour, even if we believe, as Starmer apparently does, that it is a leftwing party. Its leader, Merav Michaeli, is an ardent feminist.

Would Labour, Levy writes, “ever raise its hand for apartheid laws against [Israeli] women in the West Bank? Two separate legal systems, one for men and another for women? Never. Absolutely not.”

Levy’s point is that even for the so-called Zionist left, Palestinians are inherently inferior by virtue of the fact that they are Palestinian. The Palestinian gay community and Palestinian women are just as affected by the Israel’s apartheid law favoring Jewish settlers as Palestinian men are. So in voting for it, Meretz and Labour showed that they do not care about the rights of Palestinian women or members of the Palestinian LGBTQ community. Their support for women and the gay community is dependent on the ethnicity of those belonging to these groups.

It should not need highlighting how close such a distinction on racial grounds is to the views espoused by the traditional supporters of Jim Crow in the U.S. or apartheid’s supporters in South Africa.

So what makes Meretz and Labour legislators capable of not just utter hypocrisy but such flagrant racism? The answer is Zionism.

Zionism is a form of ideological tribalism that prioritizes Jewish privilege in the legal, military and political realms. However leftwing you consider yourself, if you subscribe to Zionism you regard your ethnic tribalism as supremely important – and for that reason alone, you are racist.

You may not be conscious of your racism, you may not wish to be racist, but by default you are. Ultimately, when push comes to shove, when you perceive your own Jewish tribalism to be under threat from another tribalism, you will revert to type. Your racism will come to fore, just as surely as Meretz’s just did.

DECEPTIVE SOLIDARITY

But of course, there is nothing exceptional about most Israeli Jews or Israel’s Zionist supporters abroad, whether Jewish or not. Tribalism is endemic to the way most of us view the world, and rapidly comes to the surface whenever we perceive our tribe to be in danger.

Most of us can quickly become extreme tribalists. When tribalism relates to more trivial matters, such as supporting a sports team, it mostly manifests in less dangerous forms, such as boorish or aggressive behavior. But if it relates to an ethnic or national group, it encourages a host of more dangerous behaviors: jingoism, racism, discrimination, segregation and warmongering.

As sensitive as Meretz is to its own tribal identities, whether the Jewish one or a solidarity with the LGBTQ community, its sensitivity to the tribal concerns of others can quickly dissolve when that other identity is presented as threatening. Which is why Meretz, in prioritizing its Jewish identity, lacks any meaningful solidarity with Palestinians or even the Palestinian LGBTQ community.

Instead, Meretz’s opposition to the occupation and the settlements often appears more rooted in the sentiment that they are bad for Israel and its relations with the West than that they are a crime against Palestinians.

This inconsistency means we can easily be fooled about who our real allies are. Just because we share a commitment to one thing, such as ending the occupation, it doesn’t necessarily mean we do so for the same reasons – or we attach the same importance to our commitment.

It is easy, for example, for less experienced Palestinian solidarity activists to assume when they hear Meretz politicians that the party will help advance the Palestinian cause. But failing to understand Meretz’s tribal priorities is a recipe for constant disappointment – and futile activism on behalf of Palestinians.

The Oslo “peace” process remained credible in the West for so long only because Westerners misunderstood how it fitted with the tribal priorities of Israelis. Most were ready to back peace in the abstract so long as it did not entail any practical loss of their tribal privileges.

Yitzhak Rabin, the West’s Israeli partner in the Oslo process, showed what such tribalism entailed in the wake of a gun rampage by a settler, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994 that killed and wounded more than 100 Palestinians at worship in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

Rather than using the murder spree as the justification to implement his commitment to remove the small colonies of extreme settlers from Hebron, Rabin put Hebron’s Palestinians under curfew for many months. Those restrictions have never been fully lifted for many of Hebron’s Palestinians and have allowed Jewish settlers to expand their colonies ever since.

HIERARCHY OF TRIBALISMS

There is a further point that needs underscoring, and that the Israel-Palestine case illustrates well. Not all tribalisms are equal, or equally dangerous. Palestinians are quite capable of being tribal too. Just look at the self-righteous posturing of some Hamas leaders, for example.

But whatever delusions Zionists subscribe to, Palestinian tribalism is clearly far less dangerous to Israel than Jewish tribalism is to Palestinians.

Israel, the state representing Jewish tribalists, has the support of all Western governments and major media outlets, as well as most Arab governments, and at the very least the complicity of global institutions. Israel has an army, navy and air force, all of which can rely on the latest, most powerful weaponry, itself heavily subsidized by the U.S. Israel also enjoys special trading status with the West, which has made its economy one of the strongest on the planet.

The idea that Israeli Jews have a greater reason to fear the Palestinians (or in a further delusion, the Arab world) than Palestinians have to fear Israel is easily refuted. Simply consider how many Israeli Jews would wish to exchange places with a Palestinian – whether in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem or from the minority living inside Israel.

The lesson is that there is a hierarchy of tribalisms, and that a tribalism is more dangerous if it enjoys more power. Empowered tribalisms have the ability to cause much greater harm than disempowered tribalisms. Not all tribalisms are equally destructive.

But there is a more significant point. An empowered tribalism necessarily provokes, accentuates and deepens a disempowered tribalism. Zionists often claim that Palestinians are a made-up or imaginary people because they did not identify as Palestinians until after the state of Israel was created. Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously suggested the Palestinians were an invented people.

This was, of course, self-serving nonsense. But it has a kernel of truth that makes it sound plausible. Palestinian identity clarified and intensified as a result of the threat posed by Jewish immigrants arriving from Europe, claiming the Palestinian homeland as their own.

As the saying goes, you don’t always fully appreciate what you have until you face losing it. Palestinians had to sharpen their national identity, and their national ambitions, faced with the threat that someone else was claiming what they had always assumed belonged to them.

SUPERIOR VALUES

So how does all this help us understand our own tribalism in the West?

Not least, whatever the anxieties being encouraged in the West over the supposed threat posed by Russia and China, the reality is that the West’s tribalism – sometimes termed “Western civilization,” or “the rules-based order,” or “the democratic world,” or, even more ludicrously, “the international community” – is by far the most powerful of all tribalisms on the planet. And so also the most dangerous.

Israel’s tribal power, for example, derives almost exclusively from the West’s tribal power. It is an adjunct, an extension, of Western tribal power.

But we need to be a little more specific in our thinking. You and I subscribe to Western tribalism – either consciously or less so, depending on whether we see ourselves as on the right or the left of the political spectrum – because it has been cultivated in us over a lifetime through parenting, schools and the corporate media.

We think West is best. None of us would want to be Russian or Chinese, any more than Israeli Jews would choose to be Palestinian. We implicitly understand that we have privileges over other tribes. And because we are tribal, we assume those privileges are justified in some way. They either derive from our own inherent superiority (a view often associated with the far right) or from a superior culture or traditions (a view usually embracing the moderate right, liberals and parts of the left).

Again, this echoes Zionist views. Israeli Jews on the right tend to believe that they have inherently superior qualities to Palestinians and Arabs, who are seen as primitive, backward or barbarian-terrorists. Overlapping with these assumptions, religious-Zionist Jews tend to imagine that they are superior because they have the one true God on their side.

By contrast, most secular Jews on the left, like the liberals of Meretz, believe that their superiority derives from some vague conception of Western “culture” or civilization that has fostered in them a greater ability to show tolerance and compassion, and act rationally, than do most Palestinians.

Meretz would like to extend that culture to Palestinians to help them benefit from the same civilizing influences. But until that can happen, they, like the Zionist right, view Palestinians primarily as a threat.

Seen in simple terms, Meretz believes they cannot easily empower the Palestinian LGBTQ community, much as they would like to, without also empowering Hamas. And they do not wish to do that because an empowered Hamas, they fear, would not only threaten the Palestinian LGBTQ community but the Israeli one too.

So liberating Palestinians from decades of Israeli military occupation and ethnic cleansing will just have to wait for a more opportune moment – however long that may take, and however many Palestinians must suffer in the meantime.

NEW HITLERS

The parallels with our own, Western worldview should not be hard to perceive.

We understand that our tribalism, our prioritizing of our own privileges in the West, entails suffering for others. But either we assume we are more deserving than other tribes, or we assume others – to become deserving – must first be brought up to our level through education and other civilizing influences. They will just have to suffer in the meantime.

When we read about the “white man’s burden” worldview in history books, we understand – with the benefit of distance from those times – how ugly Western colonialism was. When it is suggested that we might still harbor this kind of tribalism, we get irritated or, more likely, indignant. “Racist – me? Ridiculous!”

Further, our blindness to our own super-empowered Western tribalism makes us oblivious too to the effect our tribalism has on less empowered tribalisms. We imagine ourselves under constant threat from any other tribal group that asserts its own tribalism in the face of our more empowered tribalism.

Some of those threats can be more ideological and amorphous, particularly in recent years: like the supposed “clash of civilisations” against the Islamist extremism of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

But our preferred enemies have a face, and all too readily can be presented as an improbable stand-in for our template of the bogeyman: Adolf Hitler.

Those new Hitlers pop up one after another, like a whack-a-mole game we can never quite win.

Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – supposedly ready to fire the WMD he didn’t actually have in our direction in less than 45 minutes.

The mad ayatollahs of Iran and their politician-puppets – seeking to build a nuclear bomb to destroy our forward outpost of Israel before presumably turning their warheads on Europe and the U.S.

And then there is the biggest, baddest monster of them all: Vladimir Putin. The mastermind threatening our way of life, our values, or civilization with his mind games, disinformation and control of social media through an army of bots.

EXISTENTIAL THREATS

Because we are as blind to our own tribalism as Meretz is to its racism towards Palestinians, we cannot understand why anyone else might fear us more than we fear them. Our “superior” civilization has cultivated in us a solipsism, a narcissism, that refuses to acknowledge our threatening presence in the world.

The Russians could never be responding to a threat – real or imagined – that we might pose by expanding our military presence right up to Russia’s borders.

The Russians could never see our NATO military alliance as primarily aggressive rather than defensive, as we claim, even though somewhere in a small, dark mental recess where things that make us uncomfortable are shoved we know that Western armies have launched a series of direct wars of aggression against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and via proxies in Syria, Yemen, Iran and Venezuela.

The Russians could never genuinely fear neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine – groups that until recently Western media worried were growing in power – even after those neo-Nazis were integrated into the Ukrainian military and led what amounts to a civil war against ethnic Russian communities in the country’s east.

In our view, when Putin spoke of the need to de-Nazify Ukraine, he was not amplifying Russians’ justifiable fears of Nazism on their doorstep, given their history, or the threat those groups genuinely pose to ethnic Russian communities nearby. No, he was simply proving that he and the likely majority of Russians who think like he does are insane.

More than that, his hyperbole gave us permission to bring our covert arming of these neo-Nazis groups out into the light. Now we embrace these neo-Nazis, as we do the rest of Ukraine, and send them advanced weaponry – many billions of dollars worth of advanced weaponry.

And while we do this, we self-righteously berate Putin for being a madman and for his disinformation. He is demented or a liar for viewing us as a existential threat to Russia, while we are entirely justified in viewing him as an existential threat to Western civilization.

And so we keep feeding the chimerical devil we fear. And however often our fears are exposed as self-rationalizing, we never learn.

Saddam Hussein posed an earlier existential threat. His non-existent WMDs were going to be placed in his non-existent long-range missiles to destroy us. So we had every right to destroy Iraq first, preemptively. But when those WMDs turned out not to exist, whose fault was it? Not ours, of course. It was Saddam Hussein’s. He didn’t tell us he did not have WMDs. How could we have known? In our view, Iraq ended up being destroyed because Saddam was a strongman who believed his own propaganda, a primitive Arab hoisted by his own petard.

If we paused for a moment and stood outside our own tribalism, we might realize how dangerously narcissistic – quite how mad – we sound. Saddam Hussein did not tell us he had no WMDs, that he had secretly destroyed them many years earlier, because he feared us and our uncontrollable urge to dominate the globe. He feared that, if we knew he lacked those weapons, we might have more of an incentive to attack him and Iraq, either directly or through proxies. It was we who trapped him in his own lie.

And then there is Iran. Our endless fury with the mad ayatollahs – our economic sanctions, our and Israel’s executions of Iran’s scientists, our constant chatter of invasion – are intended to stop Tehran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon that might finally level the Middle East’s playing field with Israel, whom we helped to develop a large nuclear arsenal decades ago.

Iran must be stopped so it cannot destroy Israel and then us. Our fears of the Iranian nuclear threat are paramount. We must strike, directly or through proxies, against its allies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Gaza. Our entire Middle East policy must be fashioned around the effort to prevent Iran from ever gaining the bomb.

In our madness, we cannot imagine the fears of Iranians, their realistic sense that we pose a much graver threat to them than they could ever pose to us. In the circumstances, to Iranians, a nuclear weapon might surely look like a very wise insurance policy – a deterrence – against our boundless self-righteousness.

VICIOUS CYCLE

Because we are the strongest tribe on the planet, we are also the most deluded, the most propagandized, as well as the most dangerous. We create the reality we think we oppose. We spawn the devils we fear. We force our rivals into the role of bogeyman that makes us feel good about ourselves.

In Israel, Meretz imagines it opposes the occupation. And yet it keeps conspiring in actions – supposedly to aid Israel’s security, like the apartheid law – that justifiably make Palestinians fear for their existence and believe they have no Jewish allies in Israel. Backed into a corner, Palestinians resist, either in an organized fashion, as during their intifada uprisings, or through ineffectual “lone-wolf” attacks by individuals.

But the Zionist tribalism of Meretz – as liberal, humane and caring as they are – means they can perceive only their own existential anxieties; they cannot see themselves as a threat to others or grasp the fears that they and other Zionists provoke in Palestinians. So the Palestinians must be dismissed as religious maniacs, or primitive, or barbarian-terrorists.

This kind of tribalism produces a vicious cycle – for us, as for Israel. Our behaviors based on the assumption of superiority – our greed and aggression – mean we inevitably deepen the tribalisms of others and provoke their resistance. Which in turn rationalizes our assumption that we must act even more tribally, even more greedily, even more aggressively.

CHEERLEADING WAR

We each have more than one tribal identity, of course. We are not only British, French, American, Brazilian. We are Black, Asian, Hispanic, white. We are straight, gay, trans, or something even more complex. We are conservative, liberal, left. We may support a team, or have a faith.

These tribal identities can conflict and interact in complex ways. As Meretz shows, one identity may come to the fore, and recede into the background, depending on circumstances and the perception of threat.

But perhaps most important of all, some tribalisms can be harnessed and manipulated by other, narrower, more covert tribal identities. Remember, not all tribalisms are equal.

Western elites – our politicians, corporate leaders, billionaires – have their own narrow tribalism. They prioritize their own tribe and its interests: making money and retaining power on the world stage. But given how ugly, selfish and destructive this tribe would look were it to stand before us nakedly pursuing power for its own benefit, it promotes its tribal interests in the name of the wider tribe and its “cultural” values.

This elite tribe wages its endless wars for resource control, it oppresses others, it imposes austerity, it wrecks the planet, all in the name of Western civilization.

When we cheerlead the West’s wars; when we reluctantly concede that other societies must be smashed; when we accept that poverty and food banks are an unfortunate byproduct of supposed economic realities, as is the toxifying of the planet, we conspire in advancing not our own tribal interests but someone else’s.

When we send tens of billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine, we imagine we are being selfless, helping those in trouble, stopping an evil madman, upholding international law, listening to Ukrainians. But our understanding of why events are unfolding as they are in Ukraine, more so than how they are unfolding, has been imposed on us, just as it has on ordinary Ukrainians and ordinary Russians.

We believe we can end the war through more muscle. We assume we can terrorize Russia into withdrawal. Or even more dangerously, we fantasize that we can defeat a nuclear-armed Russia and remove its “madman” president. We cannot imagine that we are only stoking the very fears that drove Russia to invade Ukraine in the first place, the very fears that brought a strongman like Putin to power and sustain him there. We make the situation worse in assuming we are making it better.

So why do we do it?

Because our thoughts are not our own. We are dancing to a tune composed by others whose motives and interests we barely comprehend.

An endless war is not in our interests, nor in those of Ukrainians or Russians. But it might just be in the interests of Western elites that need to “weaken the enemy” to expand their dominance; that need pretexts to hoover up our money for wars that profit them alone; that need to create enemies to shore up the tribalism of Western publics so that we do not start to see things from the point of view of others or wonder whether our own tribalism really serves our interests or those of an elite.

The truth is we are being constantly manipulated, duped, propagandized to advance “values” that are not inherent in our “superior” culture but manufactured for us by the elites’ public-relations arm, the corporate media. We are made into willing co-conspirators in behavior that actually harms us, others, and the planet.

In Ukraine, our very compassion to help is being weaponized in ways that will kill Ukrainians and destroy their communities, just as Meretz’s caring liberalism has spent decades rationalizing the oppression of Palestinians in the name of ending it.

We cannot liberate Ukraine or Russia. But what we can do may, in the long term, prove far more significant: We can start liberating our minds.

The Globalist’s Race Against Time

May 26, 2022

Source

By Eamon McKinney

A Great Reset will happen, just not the one intended by the Globalists. They may have to settle for the Great Decoupling instead.

The green economy, de-industrialisation, digital health passports, Central Bank digital currencies, these are all core components of the Globalists’ plan for the Great reset. The WEF has painted a picture of their proposed future via Klaus Schwab and his acolytes. “We will have nothing, own nothing and be happy”. The main obstacle to this grand vision is that not surprisingly very few countries wish to go along with it. The Globalists know their game is coming to an end and the Great Reset is their way of ensuring that the same financial cabal that has brought the world to its current lamentable state will continue to rule over all in the next world order. The most prominent objectors to this insidious plan are of course Russia and China. Unlike their western counterparts both have strong leaders who enjoy popular support, have strong economies and are optimistic about future prospects for growth. Neither intends to sacrifice their countries so that Western elites can maintain their control over the Global economic system and impose their self-serving will on weaker nations. Which in its simplest terms is why both countries need to be destroyed, at least economically before the Great Reset can be imposed on the world. Time, however, is not on the Globalists’ side, recent events have demonstrated that they are aware of this and are accelerating their timelines.

The Great Reset and its stated objectives have been in the planning for several years, those plans however are now seriously behind schedule. The election of Trump in 2016 wasn’t supposed to happen. He was to Washington the ultimate “Black Swan” event. An outsider without the backing of a political party and with seemingly the entire mainstream media against him, his victory was considered all but impossible. Yet win he did, and it seemed he spent the entire four years of his presidency battling against the Globalist faction, both internationally and within America. Washington felt cheated, not only was Trump an “outsider” he was also a disrupter. Opinions on the divisive Trump aside, he was indisputably an “America First Nationalist”, he was anti-NATO. and a vocal anti-Globalist. There would be no Great Reset under Trump, he was an obstacle to the agenda and had to be removed. Which in 2020 in a blatantly fraudulent election he was. Should Trump run again in 2024 and all indications are that he will, he would likely win an honest election in a landslide. The return of Trump would provide another major obstacle to the Globalist agenda. Expect that all efforts will be expended to prevent another Trump presidency. With an angry populace and increased electoral scrutiny next time around, they may have to turn to other measures to foil a Trump return. Should Trump re-enter the White House in 2024, the notoriously vindictive Trump is expected to seek accountability against those who he believes robbed him of his rightful election. Nerves are frayed in Washington and they know the clock is ticking.

Trump set the agenda back four years and they are now playing against the clock to make up for lost time, all evidence suggests that they are getting increasingly desperate. The recent invitations issued to Sweden and Finland to “fast track” NATO membership is yet another provocation to Russia. Putin wants to end the Ukraine conflict on his own terms and withdraw, he doesn’t not get bogged down in a quagmire that would drag on for years. NATO wants exactly that. Wooing Sweden and Finland is their attempt to ensure years of conflict and tension. Putin understands this all too well. As they lurch from one bad idea to another, attention should be paid to the indecent haste in which they are moving. It appears they are making things up as they go along, all without any obvious sense of consequence.

The prospect of Trump 2.0 is not the only time sensitive issue facing the Globalists. The global economy is on the brink of implosion. Sri Lanka has recently defaulted on its international debts. This will immediately create at least a $500 billion hole in the global economy. Alarmingly, according to the World Bank more than 70 other countries are in a similarly perilous economic condition. For most their debts are un-payable, and the IMF solution of structural adjustment (austerity) privatisations, and cuts to government services, would consign these countries to generations of deprivation and social unrest. Or, they could repudiate the debt completely and abandon the Western banking model. Both China and Russia have alternatives to SWIFT and welcome countries who want to escape the neo-liberal financial plantation. Both offer investment for development, non-interference and respect for countries’ sovereignty. All things valued by every country, but unachievable under Western domination. Decisions will very soon be made by countries throughout the Global south about who they want to align their futures with.

A new proposal being put before the UN on May 22nd essentially requires all nations to surrender their sovereignty to the WHO in the event of another pandemic. That they would even think that post-Covid the WHO enjoys that level of confidence, is delusional. This transparent power grab is easily recognised for what it is, in the unlikely event that it gains enough traction, expect another pandemic to follow shortly after. The cabal still has the tools to cajole, bribe and threaten countries to submit, and doubtless it will try, but outside of the captured western countries, such a desperate move will garner scant support. Covid failed to usher in the Great Reset but it unleashed a wave of destruction on the global economy that may take generations to repair. Many questions on the criminal mismanagement of Covid remain unanswered. There are few nations that don’t harbour deep resentment towards the notoriously corrupt and inept WHO and its genocidal Sugar Daddy Bill Gates. The sheer audacity of the proposal stinks of desperation. The upcoming vote is likely to give the Globalists another stark reminder of its waning power and influence.

A Great Reset will happen, just not the one intended by the Globalists. They may have to settle for the Great Decoupling instead. As Western influence continues to diminish at a rapid pace the trend of countries flocking to the China/Russia orbit is bound to increase. The NWO that they have been lusting after for generations is likely to be restricted to Western Europe and North America, or about 15% of the World’s population. The effects of the disastrous Ukraine provocation and the failed sanctions will soon become undeniable. Food and energy shortages together with uncontrollable inflation, will make even this smaller NWO harder to control. The Emperor has no clothes, as all can now see, their game is old, tired and predictable, and they have no new ideas. The Globalists may not have to worry about a Trump return in 2024. It is highly likely that the clock will have run out on them by then. It could happen any day.

Interview with A.B. Abrams about his latest book and the war in Syria

September 12, 2021

Interview with A.B. Abrams about his latest book and the war in Syria

by Andrei for the Saker blog

A.B. Abrams has just released a new book entitled World War in Syria – Global Conflict on the Middle Eastern Battlefields.  Here are two locations were you can order this most interesting volume:

For those who don’t remember who Abrams is, here are two of his previous contributions to the Saker blog:

The book got A LOT of praise already, so I posted a few endorsements at the end of this interview (see at the bottom)

Rather than offer my own endorsement or write a full review, I decided to interview Abrams about both his book and his views on the international aggression against Syria.  I hope you enjoy it and, yes, get the book!

Andrei


1)–Please introduce us to your new book!  Tell us what was your main purpose in writing it and whom, what audience, did you want to reach?

I wrote this book to provide one of the first comprehensive histories of the Syrian War published to mark ten years after it began in 2011. The book places the war in the context of both the history of Syria’s decades long conflict with Western interests which began in the late 1940s, as well as broader Western geopolitical goals in the region and beyond. The title ‘World War in Syria’ reflects an assessment of the conflict primarily not through the paradigm of a civil war, as is more common in the West, but rather as a global conflict which has pitted the Western Bloc and its regional partners against Damascus and its allies – namely Russia, Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. The war has seen special forces and other assets from all these parties deployed to Syrian soil, with the West, Turkey, the Gulf States and Israel undertaking considerable military, economic and information warfare efforts to bring about the Syrian government’s overthrow.

The book shows the Syrian War as part of a broader trend towards countries outside the Western sphere of influence, namely the minority of countries without Western military presences on their soil, being targeted for destabilisation and overthrow. For targeting countries with significant Muslim populations, Western cooperation with radical Islamist elements to support such objectives has been common, as seen in Indonesia (1950s and early 60s), Chechnya, Afghanistan (1979-92), and Yugoslavia among others. These precedents are explored at the beginning of the book to provide context to Western efforts to employ similar means against Syria.

The book is not aimed at any specific audience, but at anyone with a general interest in the Syrian War, Western, Russian, Iranian or Turkish foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, contemporary military affairs, insurgency or terrorism. It follows a previous book published in 2020 on the history of North Korea’s 70 year war with the United States, which similarly sought to provide a comprehensive analysis of a major conflict between the U.S.-led Western Bloc and a targeted country including the Western way of war and the use of both economic and information warfare.

2)–Do you believe that Putin is “allowing” (or even helping!) Israel to bomb Syria? Or maybe the Russian and Syrian air defenses are totally ineffective?  How do you explain all the Israeli strikes?

Russia’s position on Israeli strikes has been interesting and caused a great deal of debate and in some cases controversy. I assess that Russian military intervention in Syria in 2015 had the limited goals of supporting counterinsurgency efforts and limiting Western and Turkish efforts to illegally occupy Syrian territory through the imposition of safe zones and no fly. The Russian presence has also served to deter Western and Turkish attacks, as evidenced by the vast discrepancy between the massive strikes planned under Obama to topple the government in 2013, and the very limited attacks carried out under Trump in 2017 and 2018. A longer term goal has more recently materialised with the entrenching of the Russian military presence in Latakia on Syria’s western coast, with Russia’s sole airbase in the region expanded and increasingly oriented away from counterinsurgency operations and towards providing a strategically located asset against NATO.

The expectation among many that Russia ought to prevent Israeli strikes on Syria may well be a result of the Soviet position in the 1980s, when the USSR threatened to intervene if Israel attacked Syria. This resulted in the confinement of Israeli-Syrian clashes that decade to within neighbouring Lebanon’s borders. A number of factors, however, mean that this is no longer feasible. Unlike in the 1980s, Israel is today far from the most pressing threat to Syrian security, while the discrepancy in military capabilities favours Israel much more strongly. Under the Netanyahu government, Russia also cultivated close ties with Israel as a valuable partner with a degree of policy independence from the Western world which could, for example, sell on sensitive Western technologies as it did with the Forpost drone to Russia or with American air defence technologies to China. Israel’s ability to act independently of Western hegemonic interests to some degree has been an asset to Moscow as well as Beijing to strengthen themselves against the West through cooperation. Thus the relationship between Moscow and Tel Aviv is very different from what it was in the 1980s, as is Moscow’s relationship with Damascus, meaning that Russia will be less inclined to take a hard line against Israeli strikes.

Perhaps most importantly, the fact that Russia has not taken a harder line in protecting Syria from Israeli attacks reflects Russia’s much diminished power to influence events beyond its borders compared to the Soviet era. The Russian military intervention in Syria was its first major military action outside the former USSR since the 1980s, and was a major feat considering the poor state of the military just seven years prior in its war with Georgia. The Russian military is nevertheless already stretched protecting its own forces in Syria and deterring Western or Turkish escalation, which is far from easy considering how far these operations are from Russian soil. Unlike in the late Soviet era, Russia no longer has the world’s second largest economy, a large sphere of influence of developed allied economies for support, a blue water navy, 55,000 tanks or 7000 fighters/interceptors. Its military is capable, but if it took on Israel directly as well as Turkey, the West, and the jihadist insurgency at the same time for all attacking Syria, the risk of escalation would be significant and would force it to divert considerable resources away from its own defence – resources which are far more scarce than those the USSR had 40 years ago.

Russia has nevertheless deployed its top fighters the Su-35s, and on at least one occasion Su-34s, to intercept Israeli F-16s before they could attack Syria, which alongside the strengthening of Syrian air defences has made it more difficult for Israel to strike. Russia does not condone Israeli strikes, but they have not been an immediate priority. Although they are damaging particularly to Iranian interests, such strikes do not seriously threaten Syria’s stability and have generally pursued limited goals. While Israel has called for greater Western intervention against Syria in the past, Tel Aviv’s own limitations mean it is not looking to overthrow the Syrian government singlehandedly. This contrasts to Turkey, whose president has stated multiple times and recently in 2020 that the intention is to maintain an occupation and hostile relations until the Damascus government is overthrown. This also remains a long term objective for the West currently through economic warfare, theft of Syrian oil and targeting of crops.

Israeli aircraft have since February 2018 relied in the large majority of attacks on launching standoff weapons from a safe distance outside Syrian airspace, meaning for Syrian ground based air defences to engage them and they must instead intercept the missiles as they approach and cannot target the aircraft themselves. Syria is itself aware of its limitations, and against both Israeli and Turkish strikes it has refrained from escalating by deploying its own fighters/interceptors to attack the enemy aircraft. Syrian aircraft optimised for air to air combat have instead been held in reserve to respond to more serious full scale attacks like the kind the U.S. and is allies were planning in September 2013. As Syrian defences improve with the delivery of the first new fighters as aid from Russia in 2020, the refocusing of resources away from counterinsurgency, and the possible placing of new S-300 systems under Syrian control, the country’s airspace may again begin to be respected as it largely was before the war began. If Syria does begin to deploy fighter units for air defence duties it will reflect a renewed sense of faith in the country’s security, although Turkey rather than Israel is likely to be the first target due to the heated nature of conflict over the Turkish occupation of Idlib and the much weaker state of Turkey’s air force.

3)–I have always suspected that the former Syrian regime (of Assad Sr.) was full of Israeli agents.  My evidence?  The impossible to organize without top complicity murder of Imad Mughniyeh (his widows also believes that, by the way, she is in Iran now) or the huge list of defectors/traitors and other officials/officers who quickly took their money and joined the international war in Syria.  Has that now changed, do you feel that the government is stable and in control?

Based on my knowledge of Syria and Arab nationalist republics more generally, while strong fifth columns have almost certainly been prevalent they are unlikely to be predominantly pro-Israeli and much more likely pro-Western. Although Syria’s Ba’athist government aligned itself very closely with the USSR particularly from 1982, much of the elite and the population maintained strongly pro-Western sentiments. This included the current president in his initial years who, according to Western sources cited in the book, was looking to pivot the country towards closer alignment with the West while sidelining Russia, Iran and the Ba’ath Party. Many in the Arab world even in states which are formally aligned against Western interests aspire to integration and a degree of Westernisation, which has long been a leading weakness in Arab nationalist states’ efforts to establish themselves as independent powers.

The West’s colonial legacy provided a strong basis since the middle of the last century to cultivate considerable soft power in the Arab World. This was perhaps most clearly alluded to by Mohamed Heikal, a leading intellectual of the non-aligned movement and Minister of Information for the United Arab Republic, who noted regarding the political and military elites of Arab republics in the 1950s, 60s and 70s: “All the formative influences in the new leaders’ lives- the books they had read, the history they had learned, the films they had seen- had come from the West. The languages they knew in addition to their own were English or French – Russian was, and remained, a mystery to them. It was impossible for them to remain unaffected by all that they had heard about the communist world- the closed society, the suppression of thought, the ‘Stalinist terror’… they wanted to keep their distance.” Heikal stressed that many of these leaders would turn to the West for assistance “almost automatically,” as the psychology of colonialism persisted. Many of those who turned to a partnership with the Soviets did so only because they were given no other choice, having been refused by the West.

This remains largely true until today at many levels of Syrian society. Perhaps one of the most striking examples was documented by a journalist accompanying the Syrian Arab Army to the frontlines engaging Western-backed insurgents. While the West made war on Syria, it was clear that strongly Western supremacist sentiments persisted throughout the population as a result of Western soft power, with Syrian soldiers on the frontlines reported to exclaim regarding their country: “Look how beautiful this land is! It is almost as beautiful as Europe!” Such sentiments were common even in wartime. The idea of Western primacy and supremacy, long engrained across much of the world through colonial rule, remained a key weakness which made it far from difficult for the Western world to cultivate westphilian fifth columns. According to multiple sources, including British journalist Patrick Seale, this included the President Hafez Al Assad’s brother who had a love for all things American and for parties with Western belly dancers. In this way Syria and Arab nationalist states bear a strong contrast to Western adversaries such as North Korea, which placed a strong emphasis on political education and on ensuring new generations did not grow up seeing the world through paradigms that promote Western supremacy (see Chapters 18 and 19 of my prior book that cover that topic.)

Regarding Israel, while there are strongly pro-Western sentiments within Syria and the Arab world, there are also strong anti-Israeli sentiments which, combined with Israel’s lack of any comparable soft power, makes pro-Israeli fifth columns much more difficult to cultivate. It is highly possible, however, that pro-Western elements in Syria could be led to pursue actions which, while furthering Western interests, also benefit Israel as you mentioned.

4)— How did the war in Syria really start?  Can you give us a summary of the true story (the full story is in your book) of how what began with some local protests (almost) ended with the Takfiris in control of Damascus?

It is difficult to do this question justice with a summary answer as there are so many factors at play. One could trace the origin back to 2007, when following Hezbollah’s unexpected military successes against Israel the previous year the Bush administration began to perceive Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, rather than Al Qaeda, as its primary adversaries. This also led to the first mentions of the possibility of manipulating Al Qaeda-type jihadist groups with the help of regional allies (Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular) to focus on attacking Syria and other Iranian partners. By 2009 militants were receiving Western training for operations in Syria. Pro-Western activists in Syria and other Arab countries were also receiving training in the U.S. supported by the State Department, Google, Facebook and others on how to stir unrest using tools such as social media. Media networks and most notably Al Jazeera, which had a long history of being heavily influenced by Western intelligence, began in 2011 to be put to use to vilify the Syrian government, and the Qatari monarchy soon after would lead calls for a Libya-style Western assault.

On the ground in the war’s initial weeks the Syrian government faced large scale incursions by well armed and trained militants from across the Turkish and Jordanian borders, and simultaneously a number of largely peaceful protests against living conditions in some cities. Confusion was sown and the situation quickly escalated out of control. Mass privatisation of public property, years of crop failures, and disparity between the conservative Muslim rural population and the much more liberal lifestyle in major cities, were among a multitude of factors detailed which fuelled unrest and provided foreign powers with an opening to destabilise the country. These details are all fully referenced in the book itself as well as a much more elaborate explanation of the multitude of preparations and incidents which paved the way to war.

5)–Could you please compare and contrast, HOW the Russian and Iranian interventions happened, WHAT these forces did to turn the tide and then tell us WHAT the Russian and Iranian PLANS were and are for Syria – do these two actors more or less agree, or do they have different visions for the future of Syria?

The Russian and Iranian stances towards Syria have contrasted from the war’s outset, with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev administration in particular being openly resigned to seeing the Syrian state toppled and offering Damascus little in the way of support in the conflict’s critical early stages. Although Russian support increased from 2012 almost as soon as a new administration came to power, namely with arms sales and a blocking of Western efforts to target Syria through the United Nations, it would be three more years before Russia felt the need to deploy its forces. Iranian efforts to make a case for Russian intervention to Moscow, namely through Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani who met with President Putin in 2015, was an important factor.

Iran by contrast, alongside Hezbollah and North Korea, had boots on the ground from 2012-13 and were all committed to supporting counterinsurgency efforts and preserving the Syrian state. For Iran the fall of Syria to Western-backed jihadists as Afghanistan had fallen in 1992 was seen as unacceptable. As senior Iranian cleric Mehdi Taeb famously said: “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the outlying Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria… If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.” Iran has thus been much more heavily invested in supporting Damascus throughout the war than Russia has.

There have been similarities between Russian and Iranian support for Syria. Both have sought to support the Syrian economy with Iran emerging as the country’s largest trading partner shortly after the war began, although it has since been displaced by China, while Russia has shown a strong interest in post war investment. Both sought to avoid relying too heavily on deployment of their own manpower on the frontlines as the Soviets had in Afghanistan, and instead focused on arming and training auxiliary forces. Russia, for example, oversaw the creation and arming of the Syrian 5th Corps and provided T-62M and T-72B3 tanks from its own reserves, while Iran facilitated the deployment of allied paramilitaries such as the Afghan Hazara Fatemiyoun. Russia’s military intervention was aimed largely at demonstrating new capabilities to NATO, with many of its strikes meant more than anything as shows of force. An example was in November 2015 when its air force flew Tu-160 supersonic bombers from the Arctic around Ireland and through the Straits of Gibraltar to fire cruise missiles over the Mediterranean at insurgents in Syria before returning to Russia – which was initially widely dismissed by Western officials as phantastic before being confirmed several hours later. Iran’s intervention was significantly quieter and received less fanfare in local media, but was more persistent and tenacious due to the much higher stakes the conflict represented for Tehran. The Iranian and Hezbollah campaigns have also involved much more significant clashes with Israel, as well as with Turkey in Hezbollah’s case, while Russian units have seldom fired on or been fired on by forces from state actors. A significant number of other major contrasts between Iranian and Russian interventions exist, but for the sake of brevity I will restrict the examples to those above.

Although both share the goal of restoring Syrian territorial integrity and bolstering Damascus, Russia and Iran certainly have different visions in accordance with their very different ideological positions, which themselves contrast with Syria’s Ba’athist socialist party-state that is much closer to the USSR, China or North Korea than to either of them. Iran’s influence has led to the growth of Shiite paramilitary groups in Syria which have been major supporters of the Syrian Arab Army on the ground, but their presence contrasts with Syria’s long history of secularism and separation of religion from the state and the security apparatus. This influence may well have an impact on Syrian political culture and policies as it did in neighbouring Iraq. Russia under the current liberal democratic capitalist system, or ‘Western liberalism with Russian characteristics’ as some have referred to it, also has a much greater ideological gap with Damascus than it did in the Soviet era. Russia has been known to try to influence states to move in this direction with reform, most notably Belarus, and could well seek to have a similar influence in Syria. Syria’s ruling party, for its part, is likely to resist both influences but accommodate Russian and Iranian interests on its soil in exchange for their continued economic and military support.

6)–How do you see the future of Syria, Israel and the future of the Middle East?  What has that war changed?

The Syrian War, and the NATO assault on Libya which began almost simultaneously in March 2011, have reshaped the Arab world and Middle East profoundly by in one case removing, and in the other seriously weakening the two Arab states which had longest and most persistently opposed Western hegemony. From the late 1970s and early 1980s, as Iraq and Egypt pivoted to align themselves with the West, Syria and Libya alongside South Yemen and Algeria remained the only countries which had not been absorbed into the Western sphere of influence.

The Syrian conflict marked a turning point in several trends in regional affairs. The U.S.’ refusal to invest heavily in the conflict, particularly in 2013 when a full scale assault had been expected, marked an important step in the Obama administration’s Pivot to Asia initiative. This has since been carried forward by Trump and Biden to focus resources on countering China and North Korea specifically and reduce commitments in the Middle East. The Syrian War set an important precedent for how the Western Bloc could seriously erode an adversary at a very low cost. The campaign avoided the need for tens of thousands of Western boots on the ground as in Iraq and instead relied on jihadist militant groups, with much of the funding to support them coming from the Gulf States and Turkey. While the CIA was responsible for organisation and logistics and for coordinating between the insurgency’s Western-aligned sponsors, the Pentagon budget was not seriously affected by the war. A similar mode of attack was seen in Libya, although jihadists there were less effective and had a much smaller support base and Western air power was applied much more to compensate. Attempts to replicate this low cost means of neutralising Western adversaries are likely.

Other major turning points were seen in Turkey, where its attempt to play a leading role in forcing the overthrow of the Syrian government marked the beginning of a more assertive and interventionist foreign policy stance which recently materialised in its intervention against Armenia in 2020. In Egypt Western support for jihadists in Libya and Syria, and ties between these jihadists and the Muslim Brotherhood domestically, contributed to alienating the Egyptian Military from the West after it took power in 2013. The region also saw Russia remerge as a major player with its first significant combat operations since the early 1970s. Moscow sought to use the strong impression its intervention had made to capitalise on discontent among traditional Western clients such as the Gulf States and Egypt and form new partnerships of its own.

For Syria itself, as the war largely comes to an end, the world in the 2020s is one very different from when the war begun with China having since emerged as the world’s leading economy and Russia having seemingly abandoned its hopes for integration into the West to pursue a more independent foreign policy. This shift has seriously dampened the impacts of Western sanctions on Damascus, with Huawei rebuilding its telecoms networks and China providing everything from busses to power generators as aid which make it far easier Syria and other Western targets in similar positions to survive. Nevertheless, the continued occupation in the north by Western powers led by the U.S., and in Idlib by Turkey, will continue to pose a serious threat until restored to Syrian government control. Occupied areas reportedly hold 90% of Syria’s oil output, which will continue to be illegally expropriated to undermine Damascus’ reconstruction efforts. Idlib meanwhile, as the largest Al Qaeda safe haven the world has seen since September 2001, continues to be a launching pad for jihadist attacks into Syria. Both Idlib and the northern regions could form the bases for Kosovo-style partitioning of Syria enforced by NATO, and for Damascus it will thus be a leading priority to prevent this and impose continued costs on Western and Turkish forces. An example of how this could be done was the Syrian government ballistic missile strike on an oil facility run by militants under Turkish protection in March 2021.

7)– Last, but not least, what is, in your opinion, the US end goal for Syria (and Lebanon)?

The primary goal is the removal of the Ba’ath Party and Syrian military establishment as organisations which can arrange their domestic and foreign policies and their security with a great deal of independence from the West, and are thus able to oppose Western hegemony in the region. Their continued existence has for decades been a thorn in the side of Western efforts to shape the Middle East in line with its interests. In Lebanon the same applies for Hezbollah. This is hardly a U.S. goal exclusively, but is shared by the major NATO members such as Britain, Germany, France and Turkey and is in the common interests of furthering Western global hegemony.

Should the West achieve its objective, what follows could be a civil war as seen in Libya after Gaddafi’s death, in which NATO powers support both sides to ensure any outcome is favourable to Western interests, or the establishment of a client government as the West recently achieved in Sudan with a coup April 2019. While five major motivations for making war on Syria are explored in detail in the book, at the heart of all of them is that the Syrian government was not part of the Western-led order, did not align itself with Western policy objectives against Iran, China and others, and did not house Western soldiers on its soil. This made the state’s existence unacceptable to the West, as did its close security cooperation with Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah. Whether the outcome of Western intervention is a partitioning, a unified Syria remade as a client state, or an indefinite civil war, the primary goal of neutralising Syria as an independent actor would be achieved. Once the goal of destroying the party, state and military was thwarted, and it became clear from 2016 that the Syrian government would retain power, the Western and Turkish goal changed to prolonging the conflict, creating Kosovo-type enclaves under NATO control, and placing downward pressure on Syrian living standards and the economy. They could thereby impede post-war recovery and a return to normality and ensure that Syria would remain weakened and a burden to its allies.

–Thank you!!

PRAISE FOR WORLD WAR IN SYRIA

“Impressive in its scholarship, pondered in its judgements, above all
searing in its dissection of Western powers’ war on Syria waged over

many decades, the book is a must-have on the bookshelves of any seri-
ous fair-minded student of Syria.”

– Peter Ford, British Ambassador to Syria from 2003–2006.
“The most detailed history of the war in Syria so far, providing a richness

of highly interesting details, as well as a critical analysis of its com-
plex international and domestic dimensions, rarely encountered in other

Western publications.”
– Nikolaos van Dam, former Special Envoy for Syria, 2015–16.
Ambassador of the Netherlands to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Germany and
Indonesia, 1988–2010. Author of Destroying a Nation: The Civil War
in Syria.
“A. B. Abrams explores the widening scope of the Syrian conflict in his
important book. Solving Syria’s civil war will require a regional approach
engaging stakeholders whose interests are fundamentally opposed.”
– David L. Phillips, Senior Adviser in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama State
Departments. Former Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Director of
the Program on Peace-Building and Human Rights, Columbia University
ISHR.

“Abrams is a meticulous guide to the labyrinth of Syria’s modern polit-
ical history.”

– Richard W. Murphy. U.S. Ambassador to Syria, 1974 to 1978. Consul in
Aleppo, Syria, 1960–63.
“A. B. Abrams has written an extremely informative and illuminating

account on the international dimension of the origins, outbreak and evo-
lution of the Syrian conflict. His empirically rich analysis in this nuanced

and comprehensive study make it one of the best books, if not the best
book, written about the Syrian crisis. This book is a MUST read for
anyone who wants to understand the Syrian conflict, the Middle East,
and the role of the great powers in the region.”
– Jubin Goodarzi, Professor and Deputy Head of International Relations,
Webster University, Geneva. Former consultant and political adviser
on Middle Eastern affairs for the UNHCR. He formerly held posts at
Chatham House, CSIS and the Ford Foundation.
PRAISE FOR WORLD WAR IN SYRIA

“An insightful and dispassionate record of the Syrian Maelstrom and the
West’s role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
– John Holmes, Major General and Director Special Forces (ret.), British
Army.
“This is a sad tale of betrayal and conspiracy. Not just theory but facts
meticulously uncovered by Abrams. The conspiracy was part of broader
trends in the United States and Europe towards the non-Western World.

Since its fight for independence from French rule in 1946, Syria’s strug-
gles to remain free of Western hegemonic ambitions have continued to

play out for decades culminating in the crisis which emerged in 2011 and
became a proxy war of international proportions.”
– Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration
at the University of Oxford. Fellow at the British Academy. Author of
Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State.
“Abrams’ book provides essential historical and geopolitical context to
Syria’s ten-year war, reflecting a particularly deep and comprehensive
understanding of the conflict and of the country’s strategic importance.”
– Military Watch Magazine.
“Supported by a weight of evidence, this book sets out the context and
details of the Syrian conflict and effectively helps the reader to chart a
course between the overwhelming complexity of the crisis and Western
efforts to tell a simplified story of events on the ground. It will be of
interest to researchers, students and those interested in the messy reality
of one of the past decade’s foremost crises.”
– Jack Holland, Associate Professor in International Security at the
University of Leeds. Author of Selling War and Peace: Syria and the
Anglosphere.

“A well-researched and well-written book. Abrams provides the his-
torical context of post-independence Syria within which one can find

the reasons why the war became such a nodal point for regional and
international intrigue. While doing so, he also hones in as no one else
previously has – on some critical turning points during the civil war that
determined the direction of the conflict.”
– David Lesch, Leader of the Harvard-NUPI-Trinity Syria Research
Project. Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of Middle East History
at Trinity University. Author of Syria: A Modern History and Syria: The
Fall of the House of Assad.

“The countries intervening in Syria without approval of the Security
Council under Chapter VII were consciously violating international
law. Abrams’ intensive, highly-documented work provides an excellent
resource for understanding the historical and present dimensions of the
conflict.”
– Alfred De Zayas, Professor, Geneva School of Diplomacy. Former UN
Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable
International Order.
“A. B. Abrams has written a timely, balanced and insightful account
of the Syrian war. The book is well-researched and provides both the

necessary historic context but reveals also present-day drivers that re-
sulted in Syria becoming a theater for regional and global competition

for influence.”
– Alex Vatanka, senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the U.S. Air Force

Special Operations School. Senior fellow and director of the Iran pro-
gram at the Middle East Institute, Washington D.C. Adjunct professor at

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“An impressive and comprehensive feat of in-depth research, most
notably concerning developments in political and military strategy of
international actors in the Syrian war. The author provides a unique and
sophisticated chronological overview of pre-war socio-political and
economic realities in Syria, a detailed description of the conflict over its

entire duration, and an outline of possible post-war scenarios. An excep-
tional feature of the book lies in the author’s profound understanding of

how supplies of specific armaments on both sides influenced the course
of the war. World War in Syria is an excellent work, highly beneficial for

war and security studies professionals and students, as well as for histo-
rians, international relations scholars and the general public wishing to

better understand the effects of external involvement on the development
and outcome of the Syrian conflict.”
– Daria Vorobyeva, Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St. Andrews.
Co-Author of The War for Syria: Regional and International Dimensions
of the Syrian Uprising.

“A superb narrative dealing with tactical, operational and strategic mat-
ters of that war, in as fine military history writing as any by the first rate

military historian, and also shows a horrendous toll this war exerted on
the people of Syria. It is a superb book which makes a great contribution
to the field of study of the Middle East and of global politics and balance
of forces.”
– Andrei Martyanov, former naval officer. Frequent contributor to the U.S.
Naval Institute Blog. Author of The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs.

Twitter Suspended My Account to Appease the Zionist Lobby; Help Me Get It Back!

Source: Al Mayadeen

Laith Marouf

Twitter supports the rights of Zionists to harass Palestinians on its platform and threaten their livelihood and their income.

Twitter Suspended My Account to Appease the Zionist Lobby; Help Me Get It Back!

My 11-year-old Twitter account has been permanently banned by the USA-based social media platform. In its email to me announcing the decision, Twitter quotes 4 of my tweets as evidence of the accusations that I am in violation of their rules against “hateful conduct”, and that I “promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” Twitter further states: “Additionally, if we determine that the primary purpose of an account is to incite harm towards others on the basis of these categories, that account may be suspended without prior warning.”

There are many things that could be said about the legality of Twitter granting itself the power to judge speech or to levy accusations of crimes actionable under the Criminal Code of Canada and Title 18 of the US Code of Laws. By appointing itself judge, jury and executioner, and claiming the power to permanently sully the reputation of individuals, it usurps their rights under the basics of Natural Justice and Common Law, denying their right to the presumption of innocence, to knowing their accuser and the accusations against them, to cross-examine their accusers and present a defense, and finally to be judged by their peers.    

But in my opinion, the most flagrant violation of rights in the decision to ban me lies in equating the political ideology of Zionism with a race, ethnicity, or a national origin; and, more importantly, to imply that opposing the Settler Colonial ideology of Zionism, and the violence, genocide, and infanticide that are results of its quest to create an exclusively “Jewish” State; is in itself an act that “promotes violence against” or “directly attack or threaten” other people. 

Zionism: a political ideology, not a race, ethnicity, national origin or religion 

Let us unpack this for a minute. Zionism is a political ideology, like Capitalism or Communism, etc. Those who adhere to Zionism come from all walks of life. Therefore, criticizing Zionism is not targeting anyone based on their “Race”, as there is no such thing as a Zionist race; all kinds of abhorrable people pronounce that they are Zionist, from Irish-American President Biden to Brazilian President Bolsanario. Criticizing Zionism is not targeting anyone based on their “ethnicity”; there are Zionist Germans, Zionist Anglos, Zionist French, etc. Criticizing Zionism is not a hateful conduct based on someone’s national origin, as there are many “Israeli” Palestinian citizens and a plurality of other Israelis who are not Zionist. And finally, criticizing Zionism is not targeting anyone based on its religious affiliation, for the largest numbers of those who call themselves Zionists are Christian North Americans and Europeans, and there are many followers of the Jewish faith that reject Zionism.

So, if there is no “other” as defined by Twitter, how can its accusations of “hateful conduct” that “promote[s] violence” or “direct attacks” or “threaten” be accepted? Although there are no valid “victims” in the accusations by Twitter, let us nevertheless take a look at the language it finds threatening and hateful. 

Twitter objects to my use of the following terms: 

– Zionism is Jewish White Supremacy, Genocide and Infanticide. 

– Apartheid Canada and Apartheid “Israel”.

Zionism is a Settler project to Colonize Palestine with European citizens some of which professed Judaism and to create an Imperialist beachhead colony that perpetually causes war in Western Asia and North Africa, and physically fractures the geographic continuity of the Arab world. To create and maintain the Colony, Zionism and its followers committed and continue to perpetrate Genocide against the Indigenous population of Palestine and  Infanticide against the Palestinian children. Zionism works to maintain the White Supremacist Imperialist structures that oppress the Arabic-speaking people; i.e. Zionism is Jewish White Supremacy. Since the Balfour Declaration by the British Empire, and the official launching of the Zionist Colony, more than a million Palestinians were murdered, and since only the beginning of 2021, Apartheid Israel killed at least 200 Palestinian children.

As for Apartheid “Israel” and Apartheid Canada, not much needs to be said when every major human rights organization on the planet – and in historic Palestine – have labeled the Colony as Apartheid, and when thousands of Indigenous children are being excavated from mass graves in Apartheid Canada, and the whole world knows about the Infanticide Camps nefariously named Residential Schools.

In any case, whether you agree with my opinion or not, they all fall under fair and free speech and do not target, harass or advocate violence against a group of people based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin. Looking at the tweets in question, it is clear the complaint against me came from a man named Mark Goldberg. I’ll explain a few things below.

Media Law and Policy, from CRTC to Twitter

I work as a Consultant for Broadcasting Law and Policy, specifically the rights of Indigenous Nations, Racialized communities and/or those who are living with disabilities; communities granted Protections with laws and policies, i.e. Protected Groups. My work can be viewed here.

Part of my work is testifying at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Canada on files like the license renewal of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, and its compliance with its license conditions and Broadcasting Act provisions, in regards to the rights of Protected Groups to Access, Reflection and Employment at the network.

My work naturally attracts the attention of individuals who support the Zionist ideology. To them, it is very angering to see a Palestinian citizen of Apartheid Canada appearing at the Commission speaking about these important issues.

In that light, Mr. @Marc_Goldberg, who himself is very involved in the Broadcasting sector and hosts an annual conference for the industry, began harassing me online; first in a general manner, and then specifically in regards to my comments at the CRTC during the CBC hearing. 

On the 22nd of January, 2021, Goldberg tweeted attacking CMAC’s presentation at the hearing, targeting our suggestion that CBC reporters have a duty to point out when the Canadian state violates its treaty obligations with Indigenous Nations. 

Later in the day, Goldberg tweeted a second attack on CMAC, in regards to the CBC administration banning the use of the word ‘Palestine’ on its platforms, and attached a link stating “Palestine doesn’t exist”. 

Because we are both involved in Journalism and Media Production and Policy, and are Public persons and have no private life as such, I did not make a Twitter complaint against him. 

Unfortunately, my policy of respecting his right to free speech led Goldberg to increase his harassment. As the most recent war in Palestine raged two months ago, Goldberg posted a link to a funding grant I received from the CRTC. The file was related to a CRTC call for comments on how the Commission can deliver on its duties as laid out in the Accessible Canada Act (ACA). CMAC, where I work as a Senior Policy Consultant, helped Indigenous and Racialized Communities living with disabilities to participate and produce interventions on the record that would address their rights as prescribed by the ACA. 

Mr. Goldberg was asking how someone like me (a Palestinian) would get funding for this work at the CRTC. He was putting my livelihood and income at risk, and, therefore, bullying me in my workspace that he is also present in. Hence, he was crossing the threshold between Verbal Harassment to Physical Harassment that causes financial harm. Even then, I believed that I could just respond through the exercise of free speech, pointing out how his opinions, which I disagree with and find racist, don’t seem to be stopping the CRTC from participating in his annual industry conference. 

Mr. Goldberg harassed me for months publicly on Twitter, on Hearings I participated in at the CRTC, all relating to the rights of Indigenous and Racialized peoples and/or living with disabilities. Mr. Goldberg attempted to harm my livelihood because he disagreed with my opinions that are protected under the law at the Commission; a Tribunal with powers superseding a Federal Superior Court, where I am held legally responsible under the law for what I say. Because Mr. Goldberg knew he could not challenge my work at the CRTC because it was legally sound, he chose to harass me on Twitter. And when he lost the public debate online after I engaged him, he had the audacity to complain to Twitter about my replies to his harassing posts regarding my work and income.

I hope this lays out the Legal Obligations of Twitter in regards to these specific tweets. The posts Mr. Goldberg complained about, are related to work and speech I presented at a Tribunal of the Canadian Government, where I was/am legally liable for my work. My interventions were accepted on the record of the CRTC. Therefore, in deeming my tweets violent and discriminatory, Twitter is assuming powers by superseding those of the CRTC and usurping the legitimate appeal process that requires complaints to be presented to a Federal Court of Appeal in Canada or to the Governor in Council (the Cabinet of Ministers). (You can watch/listen to CMAC’s oral presentation at the hearing, where we open with “Apartheid Canada” and speak of Palestine, at this link

My assessment of why Mr. Goldberg targeted my account is confirmed by his latest tweet on the subject, where he gloats about having my account suspended and seems to suggest he is also targeting Carleton University professor, Dwayne Winseck. 

Finally, Twitter quotes a fourth tweet I made in its email, outlining its decision to suspend my account. In that tweet, I stated: “if you come to my home and try to steal it or harm my children, it will lead to a bullet in your head.” 

Obviously, there is no promotion of violence against any “Protected Groups” in this statement, except if you consider House Thieves or Children Killers are protected groups. What is ironic about this tweet is the fact that I wrote it, while visiting my wife’s family in Louisiana, a “Stand your grounds” state, where by law a person has the right to shoot and kill anyone who invades their home and harms their children. Of course, we know that “Stand your grounds” doesn’t apply to Black/Brown/Arab peoples, and is a privilege reserved for White Colonists in the USA or Apartheid “Israel”. By dictating that my post was promoting violence, Twitter is asserting that  Colonists have the full right of looting, pillaging and murdering children; considering that the settler’s behavior supersedes the rights of the Colonized populations to defend themselves. 

Twitter usurped the powers of Courts and accused innocents of legally actionable crimes under the criminal laws of Canada and the USA. It denies the basic rights guaranteed under Natural and Common Law, including the presumption of innocence, the right to cross-examines the accuser, and the right to be judged by equal peers. It appoints itself as judge, jury and executioner; and shields Supremacy, Genocide, Infanticide and Apartheid from criticism. It supports the rights of Zionists to harass Palestinians on its platform and threaten their livelihood and their income. Furthermore, it asserts that any fight back against this behavior is threatening, violent and itself a form of harassment.

Private Corporations and the rights to free speech

In my 20 years of activism for the liberation of Palestine, I have faced many injustices similar to this Twitter Ban, and almost all stem from the same speech. In 2001, I was the first Arab candidate to be elected to a student union executive in Canada; at Concordia University in Montreal. Within months I was expelled summarily through a Dictate from the President of the University for writing that “Zionism is Jewish Supremacy”. During our 6-month court battle, Concordia argued that it is not a public institution but, rather, a private corporation that can refuse service to any “customer” (not student?!?). This is the same argument that Twitter makes. Although the judge erroneously agreed that Concordia is a private corporation, he nevertheless ruled that it cannot expel a customer without affording them the basics of Natural Justice and Common Law when it accuses them of crimes prescribed in the Criminal Code and that if it did not do so, it then would be violating the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms (Constitution). Concordia had no choice but to reinstate me as a student and then afford me an internal hearing that abides by the minimums of Common Law. Naturally, I won in the tribunal under these conditions. 

A year later, the Chair of the Department of History at Concordia, who was also the Chair of the Zionist lobby group, the Human Rights League of B’nai B’rith, decided to accuse me of promoting hate because I said Zionism is Jewish Supremacy and that “Israel” is an Apartheid state. The internal Concordia tribunal that was convened to rule over these accusations, after months of deliberations, also found that my statements are covered under fair speech and cannot be considered hate speech no matter how appalled and angered my critics were. 

Given that none of the Tweets quoted in the decision to suspend my account can be construed as promoting hate or violence against a Protected Group; given that it is clear my accuser is actually harassing me online; given that the grave accusations leveled against me are actual crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada; given that my basic rights under Natural Justice and Common Law dictate that I must have a fair trial before being found guilty of such crimes; the only legal and ethical thing Twitter can do is to remove the suspension on my account and restore my tweets.

I urge all readers to tweet this article at @Twitter @TwitterSuppport and @Jack and ask for my account to be reinstated. 

The Persian Gulf is Once Again at the Center of Western Provocations

17.08.2021 

Author: Viktor Mikhin

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As part of a concerted effort to pressurize Iran ahead of the expected resumption of nuclear talks in Vienna, Washington and its European allies appear to be using a mysterious and not entirely understandable attack on an oil tanker operated by Israel to extract additional concessions from Tehran.   In doing so, says the well-informed Iranian newspaper Ettelaat, they are unwittingly playing into the hands of an Israeli scheme aimed at railroading the very nuclear deal that Washington and the Europeans are supposedly trying to revive. The controversy over the recent attack on the Israeli Mercer Street continues unabated, and the US and Britain rushed to bring the issue even to the UN Security Council. However, they failed to reach a consensus on Iran there.

In this connection, it may be recalled that an Israeli ship was attacked off the coast of Oman on July 29 while it was sailing from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. An oil tanker operated by Zodiac Maritime, owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer, was reportedly attacked by suicide drones. A Zodiac Maritime spokesman said two crew members, British and Romanian nationals, died in the attack. The attack, for which Tel Aviv, London, and Washington instantly and unsubstantiated accused Iran, marked the beginning of a coordinated diplomatic campaign against Tehran at a time when nuclear talks on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal had stalled after six rounds of painstaking negotiations in Vienna. The last round of talks in Vienna was completed more than a month ago, and differences over how to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are still unresolved. The US has steadfastly refused to lift all sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration and to give assurances that it will not withdraw from the JCPOA again, as it did in the past. The sixth round was also held when a transfer of power in Iran connected with the June 18 presidential elections, in which Ebrahim Raisi won a confident and predictable victory.

In a separate statement, US CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said that based on the fact that “the vertical stabilizer is identical to those identified on one of the Iranian UAVs designed and manufactured for the one-sided kamikaze attack, we could assume that Iran was actively involved in the attack.”  In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the G7 countries (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States) condemned Iran for the attack. “This was a deliberate and targeted attack and a clear violation of international law,” the statement said. “All available evidence points to Iran.” There is no excuse for this attack.   Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh instantly responded that the G7 condemnation consisted of unfounded accusations. “Israel is likely to be the real culprit behind the attack,” the spokesman added. “For experts and those who know the history of our region, it is nothing new that the Zionist regime is scheming such plots,” Said Khatibzadeh emphasized.

Sensing a change of plans in Tehran, the US and its European allies launched a diplomatic campaign to intimidate Iran into returning to the talks in Vienna without any new demands. Washington’s main concern was that the negotiating team of new President Ebrahim Raisi would return to Vienna with new spirit and demands, amounting to a reversal of the American progress made in the last six rounds. This concern is not groundless: the Tehran Times, which presents the official point of view, reported that the Iranians were even considering, among other options, abandoning the results of the Vienna talks under Hassan Rouhani. The same newspaper, citing official sources, concludes that Tehran may reject the results and set a new agenda for negotiations with the West to resolve the remaining issues in a new format and spirit.  This is why the US, in an apparent attempt to influence the plans of the Iranian ayatollahs, has sought to increase diplomatic pressure on Iran since the end of the sixth round. They have threatened and are threatening to withdraw from negotiations, openly opposed to lifting all sanctions, and have even prepared new oil sanctions against Iran.

Then there was the incomprehensible attack on Mercer Street, which the US and its allies saw as a gift to exert further pressure on Iran. While the hype surrounding this attack is still going on, the known provocateur, Britain and its allies, in a spirit of high probability, have concocted several stories about the hijacking of commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman. Once again, they have accused Iran, without evidence and with impudence, of playing a role in these events. How can we not recall the dirty work of London and its notorious international organization Médecins Sans Frontières in accusing Damascus of the use of poisonous substances?

Iran fully understands the ulterior motives behind this drama, which the West has habitually turned into a farce. Iranian officials warned the West not to engage in dirty propaganda games to gain concessions. Commenting on the alleged attempted seizure of a ship in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Embassy in Britain stated on Twitter: “To mislead the public around the world for diplomatic gain in New York is not fair game.” But this unfair game can lead to the opposite result. The US and Britain have enlisted Israel’s help in their campaign of putting pressure on Iran, which is likely to have unintended consequences for them.

“We have just heard a distorted statement about the Mercer Street incident. Immediately after the event, Israeli officials blamed Iran for the incident. That’s what they usually do. This is a standard practice of the Israeli regime. Its purpose is to divert world attention from the regime’s crimes and inhumane practices in the region,” said Zahra Ershadi, the charge d’affaires ad interim of Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations. She made the remarks after a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on the recent oil tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman.

Israel’s ambassador to the US and the UN, Gilad Erdan, threw aside his restraint and revealed some of these targets. He said that Israel would ultimately like to see the current regime in the Islamic Republic of Iran overthrown. “In the end, we would like [the government] to be overthrown and [for] regime change to take place in Iran,” Gilad Erdan said when asked about Israel’s strategy toward the Islamic Republic, according to the Times of Israel. The statement was made after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s blunt remarks that Tel Aviv allegedly knows for a fact that it was Iran that attacked Mercer Street.

Regardless of Israel’s goals for Iran, the current approach of London and Washington is unlikely to produce results, as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has unequivocally and firmly made it clear that the West is unlikely to succeed in intimidating the Iranians and the country’s leadership. Moreover, no one will force the Iranians to give up their legal rights and freedoms.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” .

Mleeta National Monument of Resistance – the “Miracle of Lebanon”

Steve Sweeney
International Editor of the Morning Star newspaper in Britain.

11 Jul 2021

Steve Sweeney

Source: Al Mayadeen

“the National Monument is not about war, it is about peace.”

“We are blessed” Mohammad tells me, a sentence he would repeat a number of times during our gatherings.

He is referring to the so-called “Miracle of Lebanon,” the 2006 war that catapulted Hezbollah to legendary status in the country, as it became the first Lebanese force to defeat “Israel”.

And it was a loss that led to serious recriminations in Tel Aviv as Israeli soldiers were humiliated by the resistance fighters, in a war they were expected to win, but instead, ended up weakening the Zionist regime and strengthening the very forces they hoped to crush.

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The victory remains a source of national pride and certainly boosted the standing of the Shia political movement in the minds of the Lebanese people.

This was a war that pitted resistance fighters against one of the most technically advanced nations on the planet. “Israel” has the world’s fourth-largest military and, despite denials, is a major nuclear power.

But as Robert Taber points out in his seminal work ‘The War of the Flea’, a conventional army cannot defeat a resistance force fighting for a sacred cause that carries the support of the civilian population.

“Yes, here, the resistant had much more than the support of his own people,” Mohammad said, “all inhabitants in surrounding areas were part of the forces that fought against “Israel”. The resistance couldn’t have survived and arisen without the support its people.”

We are at the National Monument, in the mountainous village of Mleeta in southern Lebanon, the site of the 2006 resistance base, described disparagingly by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper as “Hezbollah’s Disneyland.”

It was clear that the newspaper, known for supporting Nazi Germany during the 1930s has never set foot in the former Hezbollah military post that has been turned into a museum commemorating the 2006 war.

Far from the “theme park where children are indoctrinated the glory of martyrdom,” the Mleeta museum is a respectful commemoration to the Lebanese people martyred during “Israel’s” war.

In fact, it is not different from war memorials in other countries, including Britain’s Imperial War Museum or the Museum of the Battle of Normandy in France.

But not for the first time, the Daily Mail was missing the point as Mohammad explained “the National Monument is not about war, it is about peace.”

Opening in 2010 to mark the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hezbollah’s ability to oust “Israel” from Lebanon. The popular tourist site consists of original Hezbollah bunkers and a 200 meter tunnel that was made a fully operational resistance command center.

An array of weapons, including anti-aircraft guns, that were used in the defeat of the Zionist entity are displayed on the so-called Martyr’s Hill, which also commemorates all those who sacrificed their lives defending Lebanon.

“We are blessed” Mohammad told me once again. 

He is referring to the natural green blanket that provided the resistance fighters with camouflage, making the base impenetrable and undetectable despite the close proximity of the Israeli Sujud military post.

“The trees here remain green all year round, Mohammad told me, “Night vision doesn’t work. They didn’t know Hezbollah was here, they never discovered the military base” my guide explained as he pointed at the mountain opposite where the Zionist soldiers were located.

“Nature always defeats technology,” he said,” It is the master of everything. This is the nearest place to God.”

But life in the mountains was tough. The nearest hospital was over an hour away and it was difficult for those who were wounded to receive treatment. 

Movements were restricted to avoid detection and it was cold – fires were not allowed to avoid them being spotted by Israeli surveillance planes.

“There were no roads as there are now,” Mohammad explained. “Volunteers were expected to make their own way here, which wasn’t easy as they would have to carry weapons and missiles too.”

A large part of the resistance was what Hezbollah leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah has described as “the brain war” which had a huge impact on moral as “Israel” did not know what technology Hezbollah fighters were using.

His infamous statement stressing that “Israel” is “weaker than a spider’s web” is encapsulated in a showpiece at the entrance of the museum, which proudly displays helicopters and tanks downed by the resistance.

“This was a turning point in the war” Mohammad said as he indicated the destroyed Merkava tank. Known as God’s chariot, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) believed that it was indestructible.

“The resistance did something that “Israel” didn’t expect,” he added. “This was one of their most elite tanks and it was destroyed by the resistance forces. It was a harsh damage to the Israeli military and people’s moral, who turned against the war.”

The war that was supposed to be won swiftly by “Israel”, ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF troops just a month after the invasion was launched.

Nearly 2000 Lebanese people were killed and around one million internally displaced as Israeli missiles destroyed civilian infrastructure.

During the war, the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada backed “Israel”. Washington provided “Israel” with precision-guided missiles as part of the so-called “War on Terror.”

The British government, led at the time by Tony Blair, shamefully blocked a move by the European Union to call for an immediate ceasefire.

This was a stark contrast to the people of those nations who demonstrated, claiming an end to “Israel’s” war.

Chants of “We are all Hezbollah” reverberated on the streets of London which provoked some controversy as leading figures in the smaller left-wing parties scurried to tell their members not to join in.

What it reflected was an expression of unconditional solidarity with the resistance party, rejecting the media’s portrayal of Hezbollah, classified as an “Islamist terrorist party.”

It was a British, European, US classification that triggered nervousness around the chants.

Another guide named Mohammad – “we are all called Mohammad here” he joked – said that this was a hypocritical move designed to delegitimize the resistance.

“They are guilty of double standards” he added as we discussed Operation Timber Sycamore – the covert CIA program; millions of dollars in cash, weapons and training were channeled to a myriad of Salafi groups in Syria.

“We are against terrorism” he told me, as he went on to condemn any actions against the people of Europe, Britain and the US.

At the time of writing, Lebanon is going through another crisis – an economic crash due, in large part, to the US Caesar sanctions that aimed people’s starvation and submission, with the intention of disarming Hezbollah.

To do so would be to leave the people of Lebanon at the mercy of “Israel” and trigger a potential massacre. The monument in Mleeta serves as a reminder of why that must never be allowed to happen.

It is not up to the US – or for that matter the Western liberal left – to determine how the Lebanese people resist. The only beneficiaries of a disarmed Hezbollah are “Israel” and US imperialism.

We saw during “Israel’s” recent bombardment of the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza strip efforts to delegitimize the resistance through the media and other channels by branding Hamas – the democratically elected government – as terrorists.

Deranged, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has used the Hezbollah bogeyman to demonize Venezuela, Cuba and other Latin American countries, insisting on having operating cells there.

This dangerous narrative shifts the focus away from the real global terrorists – US imperialism. 

Washington has at least 800 military bases across the world and has funded death squads and supported coups in Latin America and the Middle East at great human cost.

Fearful of the decline of the dollar as the world currency – and with it the ability of the US finance capital to control world markets – it has embarked on a new Cold War against China and imposed crippling sanctions on other countries during the middle of the pandemic.

As Sayed Nasrallah said about “Israel”, the US is weaker than a spider’s web. But this also makes it more dangerous.

Hezbollah remains an important force in the fight against US imperialism and supporting the rebuilding of Lebanon. We might not agree on everything – in fact we almost certainly don’t. But this is to miss the point.

The future of Lebanon must be determined by its people, not external forces driven by their own imperialist interests.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

June 16, 2021, RT.com

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-by Eva K Bartlett

A little over a decade ago, Syrians lived in safety and financial security. After ten years of war on Syria, while safety has largely returned, Syrians are struggling to exist under increasingly crippling Western sanctions.

As Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian noted“Were it not for the CIA regime change war, arming & training tens of thousands of multinational terrorists, draconian sanctions, foreign occupation of North & East, looting the oil & burning the wheat, Syria would’ve now a brilliant economy & high standard of living.”

When I first visited Syria in 2014, and in the years following, mortars and missiles fired from terrorist groups occupying eastern Ghouta pummeled Damascus on a daily basis. Likewise in government-controlled areas of Aleppo, and elsewhere around Syria.

Parents never knew if their children would return from school, or be shelled while at school. Untold numbers of Syrian civilians have been maimed over the past decade by such shelling, untold numbers more killed.

So one might expect that in 2021, with most of the terrorism in Syria eradicated, Syrians would have begun returning to the normal lives they had ten years prior. But the brutal sanctions have truly wrought hell on Syrians over the years, and under the latest ones, life has gotten exponentially worse.

Last year, I was in Syria for half of the year, after the borders closed due to Covid confusion. With ample time on my hands, I walked for hours around Damascus daily. One afternoon, wanting to get a good view of the city, I walked along narrow lanes going up the side of Qasioun mountain, encountering locals who spoke of community and supporting one another in hard times.

I had stopped to take a photo of the vista when a young girl’s voice called out to me. Shortly after, I was seated in her family’s humble sitting room, drinking cold water and talking with the family.

Only by chance did I learn that the father was ill with prostate cancer and suffering greatly for a want of affordable medications, increasingly difficult to get a hold of due to the sanctions. And that was in April, before the sadistically-named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect months later.

I say sadistically, because these sanctions, while ostensibly intended to target the Syrian government and its allies in order to punish and discourage supposed “war crimes” against civilians, in reality inflict endless misery on those same Syrian civilians. This is, as I wrote, something former US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

It’s a pattern we’ve already seen with Western sanctions – in Venezuela, they have not only made people’s lives hell, but as I also wrote, have killed up to 40,000 Venezuelans in the span of one year, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

A recent guest article in the Financial Times addressed Syria’s ongoing (and orchestrated) economic crisis, with particular attention to the sanctions, noting that 60% of Syrians are suffering from food insecurity.

That number might actually be significantly higher, as in a July 2020 article detailing the illegality of the sanctions, the author cited 83% of the population living below the poverty line. That article noted, of the Caesar sanctions:

“Unlike the pre-existing sanctions, they apply to transactions anywhere in the world that engage the Syrian Government or certain sectors of the Syrian economy, even when those transactions have no connection to the United States.

“Such sanctions cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

These are not unintended effects – they are the whole idea.

The FT article notes that after the Caesar Act came into effect, the Syrian pound, “lost almost 70% of its value against the dollar in the following months. This spurred an inflationary spiral affecting food prices, which more than tripled in 2020.”

And, in contrast to how the US pretends to “protect” Syrians with these sanctions, the Caesar Act is, “severely affecting the local economy especially in the construction, energy, and financial sectors, blocking any possibility of reconstruction in this phase of lower-intensity conflict.”

Although I continued to follow events in Syria after leaving in late September 2020, when I returned in the last week of May this year, even I was surprised at the skyrocketed cost of basic things. About half a kilo of hummus that was 400 Syrian pounds last year is 2,200 now. At the current official exchange rate of 2,500 that’s slightly less than a dollar – but the average salary in Syria is around 50-60,000 Syrian pounds/month.

The FT article noted a kilogram of beef “costs about a quarter of a public employee’s average monthly salary. For perspective, in Italy this translates as €700 per kg. In the UK? £300 per lb.”

I chatted with a friend who has just one child. He described spending 15,000 (about $6) on vegetables, that would last several days. That’s a quarter of his salary gone, and many expenses still to pay.

In the Midan district of Damascus—an area usually brimming with shoppers coming for the famous sweet shops there, but not crowded the day I went—a cigarette vendor I spoke with described how he struggles to provide food for his wife and two sons. Like the majority of Syrians, selling cigarettes is a second job for him. Some are working three jobs, morning to late evening, and still can’t make ends meet.

He spoke of the self-sufficiency Syria had prior to the war, how everyone had work, but now, people are suffocating.

“We are rationing! I used to buy a kilo of meat every month, but now I buy 200 grams. My salary is 55,000, and if I can earn 50,000 from this second work, I will have 100,000 Syrian pounds. But, this amount is still not enough.”

“Yesterday, I bought some yogurt, cheese, a box of mortadella (meat), and a box of tissues. I paid 11,000 Syrian pounds. This is for one day, and just breakfast.”

He said a dearth of fertilizers and insecticides, due to sanctions, is directly impacting the agricultural sector.

While in Damascus, I also met with French humanitarian, Pierre Le Corf, who has lived in Syria for six years, most of that time in Aleppo. Le Corf, working and living with some of the poorest and most affected Syrians in Aleppo, spoke of how the sanctions are designed to kill hope, in addition to killing civilians.

“You might not see people starving in the street, but that’s not what suffering is. People are suffering in silence. More and more, the youth are leaving the country, not because they want to leave Syria or feel oppressed, but because they feel that they have no hope anymore.

The currency went from 50 Syrian pounds [for a dollar, before the war] to 4,000 Syrian pounds. People work from morning to night, and at the end of the day, their kids might ask for a banana. One kilogram of bananas is 5,000 Syrian pounds. When you earn 60,000 a month…”

He spoke of the pressure the US puts on every company and person who deals with Syria, that they can be imprisoned, fined. “They are forcing companies to not work with Syria,” to isolate Syria.

“I know families for who I’m trying to figure out how to bring them medicines that they can’t find any more. A week ago, I went to bury a guy who we had been bringing medicine, because we couldn’t find it any more. It became 90,000 pounds a box, he needed four boxes a month. He needed more medicine and better treatment that we can’t have, because it’s forbidden. Forbidden why? Because they pretend it’s ‘double use’, maybe it could be used for the army. The people are paying the price, no one else.

In an interview on Syria Insider, British journalist Vanessa Beeley condemned the sanctions against Syria, saying:

“Western governments are starving the Syrian people. They are depriving them of their right to return home, because the rebuilding process is being delayed. They are punishing the Syrian people for the resistance of the Syrian people against what they want to impose upon them. It’s nothing to do with the Syrian government or President Assad.”

Sanctions are never ever non-lethal practises. They are almost the most lethal of all weapons used in the hybrid war against the people of a targeted nation.

“At the same time as the sanctions are in place, the West is stealing the oil, burning the food resources, selling the food resources outside of Syria, all to deprive the Syrian people of their own resources, of the abundance of their own country.”

In a recent, detailed, presentation focussing on the sanctions, Beeley highlighted their effects not only on incomes, food, medicines, but also on fuel, industry, agriculture, health care and hospitals, electricity and water.

She aptly noted: “One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The US Coalition is effectively following a policy of collective extermination of the Syrian people by military and economic means. This is a crime against Humanity, a war crime and a flagrant violation of the right to life & a life of dignity.”#Syria https://t.co/m8YxqIlUHR— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 14, 2021

In US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, perhaps among the scripted talking points there was tut tutting of Syria and Russia’s alleged preventing of humanitarian aid, a tired old trope debunked but still trumpeted by hypocrites in the West.

And while such integrity-devoid Western representatives launch accusation after accusation at Syria and Russia, it is abundantly clear that the suffering of Syrians is a product of the illegal war on Syria and the deadly, criminal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

RELATED:

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

May 28, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Without going into history, how the Jewish State of Israel was created in the middle of the Arab World (Muslim World), let’s focus on the current issues and find a solution. As long as it was recognized by the United Nations in 1948, we have to accept this reality; either one likes it or not. The irony is that, since 1948, Israel kept on expanding and pushing Arabs out of their homes and lands and forcing them to leave their land and property, either to immigrate to other countries or live a miserable life in refugee camps.

After Eleven days of recent aggression, it is encouraging that the ceasefire has been implemented. There were multiple reasons for the truce, but the most important was public opinion, which was condemning Israel worldwide. Almost all big cities all over the World have witnessed mass protests, demonstrations, and agitations. It seems the whole World was standing in solidarity with Palestinians. Although few Governments, like the UK, US, and France, were supporting Israeli acts of brutalities, but the public in their own countries was against Israeli aggressions. Some of the biased Western Media was supporting Israel and fabricating lame excuses and irrational justification for Israeli aggressions. But Social Media has played a positive role and rectified public opinion globally. Of Course Russian, and Chinese pressure was also irresistible on the State of Israel to stop air raids. On the ground, within Israel, a civil war erupted among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Moreover, the Israeli defense system was not so much practical and could not save its territories from rocket attacks. There are reports that the Israeli defense system has shot down its own drones and fighter jets too. Also, there are reports that Israeli security forces killed one suspect within Israel, which was identified as American Jew later on.

Since 1848, Isreal was building its defense and spending lavishly. American economic assistance and Military aid were generous. Even during the recent 11 days conflict, the US was supplying the latest and advanced weapons to Israel, which is an open breach of the UN charter and all norms of the civilized World. Even the US was behind to postpone three times the UNSC statement to stop killings of innocent Palestinians.

Israeli defense capabilities are unmatched in the whole region. With Nuclear weapons, hi-tech, advanced systems, missiles, and the latest war techniques, Israel maintains hegemony. There is no comparison between the whole Arab World’s defense capabilities with Israel alone. Nothing to talk about Palestine or Gazza only, which is a fraction of Israel and that is too dependent on Israel for day-to-day life even.

Looking at the Israeli atrocities and brutalities against the Arab World since 1948, one can reach the conclusion that The Jewish State of Israel is Zionist, aggressive, and illegitimate. Based on its military might, it keeps on expanding and becoming bigger and stronger day by day.

This phenomenon is not new; history tells us there were Germany and Japan, two aggressive countries, and were held responsible for World Wars. But soon, they were brought to justice and held responsible for war crimes. They were made to pay war compensation, and their Military might was scattered and capped to revive in the future. Under the treaty, both Germany and Japan were prevented from rebuilding their Military power again. Both countries are still paying for war crimes, compensation as well as could not reconstruct their military might again.

Once it is established that Israel is an aggressive state and held responsible for killings of Muslims in millions, making them homeless in millions, and refused to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. It is time for International Community to take action.

The international community must do more to safeguard the lives and fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer under illegitimate foreign occupation. It should also not condone the violations of international law that underpin global and regional security.

For long-lasting and durable Peace in the region, it is imperative that the Palestinian people are granted their inalienable right to self-determination according to respective UN consensus. It is believed that a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State, with the pre-1948 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only just, comprehensive and ever-lasting solution to the Palestine issue in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions. All Arab lands occupied in 1967 and 1973 should be returned back to Arabs.

International Community should mobilize all possible humanitarian assistance for the devastated Palestinian population in Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories. In addition to the UNRWA emergency appeal, the UN Secretary-General should launch a comprehensive humanitarian aid plan to deliver succor and sustenance to the Palestinians. There is a dire need to provide medical teams, medicines, and other supplies, food, and other necessities to Gaza and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories immediately. Egypt’s immediate supply of humanitarian assistance to Gazza is highly appreciated. Israel must open all the access and entry points to Gaza to ensure the timely and urgent delivery of international aid and end the siege of Palestine immediately.

The UN General Assembly should call for concrete steps to protect the Palestinians and should deploy an international peace force, as was called for in General Assembly Resolution ES-10/20 and as demanded by the Islamic Summit Conference held on 18 May 2018.

If the Security Council cannot approve immediately to send the safeguarding force, a “coalition of the willing” can be shaped to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of the hostilities and supervise the delivery of humanitarian help to the Palestinians.

The UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer safety to Israel’s Arab (Muslims and Christians both) citizens living within Israel who are being lynched and murdered by fascist Israeli gangs at the present time.

The UN General Assembly should condemn: Israel’s forcible and illegal eviction of Palestinians, including in Al-Jarrah district of Jerusalem and constantly construction of Jewish new settlements; the onslaught against Palestinian worshipers in Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa mosque, the first Qibla of Islam, during the month of Ramadan; and Israel’s brutal and indiscriminate aerial and land wild-bombardment of Gaza.

Israel’s crimes against humanity should not spurt accountability. There should be no exemption for violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and other human rights Conventions. The Human Rights Council, the ICC, the ICJ, and other avenues should be actuated to ensure Israeli accountability for its war crimes.

International Community should enhance concrete efforts to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to dismantle the illegal settlements and the apartheid-like regime Israel has enforced in the occupied territories. The General Assembly should secure unconditional implementation of resolution 242 of November 1967 in which the Security Council declared the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and demanded that Israel withdraw its armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war. It is, therefore, commanding to initiate bold steps to secure the implementation of the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for the establishment of a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. President of Palestine (Fateh Group) Mehmood Abbas’s call for an International Conference to secure a peaceful settlement must be appreciated.

The Palestine catastrophe is at the heart of the chaos and conflicts in the Middle East. It is also the principal root cause of the humiliation and irritation in the Muslim and Arab world – anger which breeds extremism and often spawns acts of violence. A just solution for Palestine is imperative for the preservation of regional and global peace and security. It is to be understood well that Peace and stability in the Arab-Isreal are vital for international Peace, stability, and prosperity. Our next generations deserve a peaceful and happy life; we must understand that the Peace in Middle-east is an energy-rich region and can play a vital role in the global economy and prosperity. Peace in the Middle-east is a prerequisite for international Peace

It is only through determined and significant action that this Assembly can reinstate the credibility of the United Nations and demonstrate its effective role in stabilizing world peace and global order based on equity and justice.

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

President Bashar Al Assad Won Re-election with 95.1% of the Total Votes

ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad and First Lady Asmaa Assad

President Bashar Assad won the presidential election race with a whopping 95.1% of the total voters, contender Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai came second with 3.3%, and Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah came 3rd with 1.5%.

The Speaker of the Syrian Parliament announced the results which he received in turn from the Constitutional Court shortly before midnight, Damascus local time, in a televised broadcast, and he detailed:

The total number of eligible voters in the country and in the diaspora reached 18,107,109 voters.

The total number of voters who cast their votes: 14,239,140 voters, an overwhelming outcome of 78.64%.

The total number of votes incumbent President Bashar Assad received: 13,540,860, that’s 95.1%.

Total number Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai received: 470,276 votes, that’s 3.3%.

Total number Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah received: 213,968 votes, that’s 1.5%.

There were massive rallies all over the country flooding the streets of every city in support of President Assad starting from the 16th of the month when the campaign started, the Syrians packed all the cities waiting for the results while in joy as they consider this the main milestone in their victory over the US-waged war of terror and war of attrition over a whole decade.

President Assad’s reelection was anticipated, the Syrian people are people of pride and they honor their heroes who fight for them and despise those who have betrayed them. A high outcome of the voters for the elections was also expected but not at the levels we’ve followed in all the cities across the country, save the Al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib which is run by the Turkey-sponsored Nusra Front (aka Al Qaeda Levant) and parts of northeastern Syria under the control of the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists.

The enemies of Syria in the USA, EU, Gulfies, Israel, Al Qaeda and the Kurdish SDF terrorists have declared their intentions not to recognize the Syrian Presidential election citing different reasons and that was before the elections took place, their recognition is not required by the Syrian constitution.

One of the main masterminds behind the terrorist war against Syria wrote in an article after watching the Syrians yesterday interacting with the election all over the country, President Assad and the first lady voting in Duma, which followed the Syrians abroad flocking in large numbers to the Syrian diplomatic and consular missions abroad showing their support to President Assad, the former US ambassador to Syria and head of terrorist groups Robert S. Ford wrote: ‘The US policy in Syria failed.’ Let’s hope the White House junta of Joe Biden will realize the lesson and fix its policies, the sooner the better for them.

President Bashar Assad is now the Syrian president for the coming 7 years, the US officials and their Western European stooges, the Gulfies, and other enemies of humanity can howl to the moon now, they can also start with their u-turn from their evil and criminal policies that led to hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed, maimed, displaced, and impoverished. The NATO and stooges officials can also start rebuilding proper bridges back to Syria and come humble filled with the humiliation of the defeated in one of the worst global wars of terror waged by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries against a single small country.

Congratulations to the victors of the war, the Syrian people now under the leadership of Bashar Assad will write a better chapter of history, a brighter one, and a chapter full of pride and honor.

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British schoolchildren face punishment for wearing Palestine flags and keffiyeh’s

Students said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and barred from taking exams due to their pro-Palestine activism

Children across the UK have faced disciplinary action for their Palestine activism on school premises (AFP)

By Areeb Ullah

Published date: 26 May 2021

Schoolchildren in the UK are being punished for their pro-Palestine activism on school premises, with some being disciplined for wearing keffiyehs and holding Palestine flags.

Several students who spoke to Middle East Eye said they were threatened with detention, expulsion and being blocked from taking their exams if they continued protesting for Palestinian rights on school premises.

The forms of activism being penalised by schools include displaying the Palestinian flag on face masks or their hands and putting up posters designed by students to educate their peers on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Every student and teacher who spoke to MEE requested anonymity as they feared possible repercussions from their school for speaking out.

Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds (Supplied)
Picture of Palestine posters put up by students at Allerton George in Leeds. Students had to take pictures in secret as phones are banned on school premises (Supplied)

Pupils who spoke to MEE attended schools in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Rochdale and different areas of London.

Taking inspiration from last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (BLM) and her school’s awareness campaigns on LGBT rights and mental health, Jay assumed Allerton George would encourage discussion on Palestine.

But when students put up posters around the school in communal areas without permission, teachers quickly took them down.

“The teachers went as far as ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching the ripping the Palestine posters into pieces and scrunching them up in our faces,” Jay told MEE.

“When we asked why they took down the posters, the teachers said they didn’t have to justify it to us and were given clear instructions to take down these posters as they were seen as sending antisemitic messages.”

Jay stressed the messages on the posters were not antisemitic and said: “End Israeli Apartheid, End illegal Occupation and Free Palestine”. 

She added: “They took our lanyards from us because they had the Palestine flag.

“When we asked them why it was okay to wear BLM or LGBTQ+ flags on our lanyards but not Palestine, they couldn’t give us an answer and later said as a political cause, it caused distress to others.”

Students from Allerton Grange later posted a video of headteacher Mike Roper describing the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” and “symbol of antisemitism”. Roper has since apologised after facing protests outside the school. 

‘Posters were torn down and binned’

Jay said the school had refused to take down the Israeli flag displayed in the library after seeing the Palestine flag taken down.

Allerton George had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

Some teachers from other schools who spoke to MEE also confirmed that students were placed in detention for putting up posters in support of Palestine.

Like Jay, Sam from West London put up posters in his school for Palestine on their class boards and wore badges to raise awareness about Palestine.

“We put up small Palestinian flags and posters on our class poster boards wearing badges that read ‘Free Palestine’, drawing Palestine flags on our hands and wearing keffiyehs to spread awareness and pique student interest,” Sam told MEE.

“The posters were torn down and binned, the students were told to remove their badges at the threat of suspension from school and all ‘flags and symbols’ were removed from sight at the threat of detention.” 

Sam added that students were threatened with being withdrawn from their GCSE exams if they refused to delete a video of senior staff taking down posters or wore a Palestine badge.

Aisha faced a similar situation as Sam did at Brampton Manor Academy in Newham, east London, where she says she was punished for wearing a Free Palestine badge in her school.

She said her teachers banned students from protesting and threatened them with detention if they continued putting them up. 

Students fear speaking out

Several students from other parts of the UK also expressed their disappointment at how their schools reacted towards their activism following the BLM protests.

Letters given to MEE that were sent to teachers and parents by Redbridge Council and a school in Birmingham told them that schools are “apolitical” bodies and could not allow students to participate in Palestine protests despite holding discussions for BLM and selling poppies to students.

Ilyas Nagdee, an activist who campaigns against the Prevent strategy, said children and their parents had contacted him about schools clamping down on pro-Palestine activism.

‘What we are seeing now is a product of years of Prevent trying to micro-manage political conversations’

– Shereen Fernandez, Queen Mary University

His call-out on Twitter to help students facing issues at school for their Palestine protests was retweeted 1,300 times at the time of writing.

Since then, Nagdee has received nearly a hundred requests for help, with many students afraid to speak out publicly.

“The cases we have received span the entire length of the country with hotspots where there are sizeable Muslim communities. The sanctions applied are wide in range, from young people being spoken to in class or given lunchtime isolation all the way to exclusions,” said Nagdee.

“We are also receiving a growing number of concerned parents who are contacting us due to fear their child has fallen into the clutches of Prevent or fearful of visits from the police.

Prevent in schools

Shereen Fernandez, a lecturer at Queen Mary University in London who specialises in Prevent in schools, believes the school reaction to Palestine protests is a direct result of the Prevent strategy telling teachers that campaigning for Palestine is associated with extremism.

Prevent is a strand of the British government’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to “safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

It was publicly launched in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings and was initially targeted squarely at Muslim communities, prompting continuing complaints of discrimination and concerns that the programme was being used to collect intelligence.

“Although Prevent will maintain that schools are ‘safe spaces’, that is not the case, as teachers will be anxious about approaching ‘controversial’ topics like Palestine because of its alleged association to extremism as indicated in the training material.”

“Symbols of solidarity such as wearing a badge supporting Palestine has been enough to refer students in the past to Prevent.”

In 2016, MEE revealed that the UK government told teachers in schools, colleges and universities to monitor Muslim students who display an interest in Palestine as being susceptible to terrorism.

And in 2014, Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17-year-old student from Luton, was reportedly referred to Prevent and visited by the police after he organised a Palestine fundraiser at his school.

A teacher from Mayfield school in the London area of Ilford said the school’s reaction to pro-Palestine protests was “confusing”, adding that colleagues perceive “pro-Palestine activism as racism”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Prevent is involved in constructing that line for schools across the country, and I’d say issues like BLM and poppies are allowed because they are considered neutral enough for schools to talk about.”

Mayfield School had not responded to MEE’s requests for comment by the time of this article’s publication.

Nagdee, the activist, said that many parents who spoke to him said they feared their children would be referred to Prevent because of their campaigning.

‘Biased’ assemblies

Following the protests, many schools across the UK held assemblies to address student concerns on raising awareness. 

But students who spoke to MEE said the assemblies fuelled further anger among students.

Images posted online showed students protesting at Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester after it was perceived to minimise Palestinian suffering. 

It remains unclear whether students in the video were punished for protesting.

Sam noted how his teacher described the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians as similar to a “messy bedroom” and disputed the phrasing of tensions as a “conflict”. 

“To address the discomfort many students felt about censorship of student voices, they organised an assembly on the concept of ‘conflict’ where the events in Palestine was compared to a ‘messy bedroom where a rebellious child and their parent had differing opinions on how it should be dealt with,” said Sam. 

“It just felt patronising and demeaning to us all.” 

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Presidential Elections in Syria

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 10:17

ST


Today Syria witnesses presidential elections across the country in a stable and organized manner .There are over 12000 polling stations for 18 million voters, with three presidential candidates to choose from. Syria, a country that was previously on the rise has for the last ten years witnessed horrific events which led to bloodshed and major destruction to some of its infrastructure. However Syria is on the way to recovery and reconstruction. Taking major strides in amending many of its laws and modernizing them, Syria will in the future reap its rewards. Holding presidential elections is an important route to setting the path and righting the wrong. Accompanying these elections are parliamentary groups from different countries .Their role is that of observer. As for Syrians living abroad presidential elections were held on the 20th of May. Oddly enough some counties that boast of democracy banned Syrian citizens living in their countries to go to the Syrian embassy to vote. A fallacy of democracy.

On this issue Ambassador Ounfoan Al Na’eb Syria’s ambassador to South Africa and in an exclusive interview with Syriatimes said the following”

Thursday, 20th May 2021, witnessed the holding of the Syrian Presidential Elections at the Embassies of the Syrian Arab Republic and its Consulate Missions abroad, including the Syrian Embassy in the Republic of South Africa, which hosted one of the polling stations.

The polling station opened its doors at 07.00AM (08.00 AM in Damascus’s time). The station saw a continuous turnout of the Syrian citizens to cast their votes in the Presidential elections, until the closing of the polling station. Perhaps, that was the most eye-catching sight during the voting day, despite the huge distance from their cities to Pretoria, the political capital of the Republic of South Africa.

Some of the Syrians had travelled more than 1000km, from cities like Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth, by planes or even by driving, to practice their rights in the elections. Some voters were over 80 years old, and some were as young as 18years old. The most beautiful scene was the Syrian children who accompanied their parents to the polling stations. They expressed their desire to vote, if not in these current elections, then in the next. Other parents told us that their children were pushing them to go and vote as it is a duty of every Syrian towards Syria which embraced them, and their fathers and grandfathers before.”

Ambassador Ounfoan continued to say “During the polling process, one could sense the love and care that the voters hold for Syria, through their facial expressions, before even listening to their words, and through the smiles and positivity they were emenating.

The polling process – which does not exceed 10 minutes from the moment of approaching the election committee, to slide the envelope inside the ballot box – extended to more than 30 minutes, as the voters used this time to chat with the Embassy’s staff about their memories and overwhelming feelings for Syria, the caring mother, and its sister, South Africa and their new life in it.

Thousands of kilometres that separate Syria from South Africa, did not succeed in changing those feelings towards Syria. The long and exhausting flight hours never prevented them from visiting it, to reunite with the extended family members. One of the young Syrians who hasn’t exceeded 13 years of his age, insisted on his Syrian father and South African mother to spend his summer vacation in Syria after he visited it for the first time and met with his relatives back there. He even started his Arabic language lessons to be able to communicate with his cousins in his next visit.

Holding of the Presidential Elections in Syria and abroad has several indicators:

–         It is an inevitable result of clinging of the honest Syrians to their homeland, and their unity around their firm State. It is a culmination of the military and political victories that were achieved by Syria in its war on the externally – sponsored terrorism, a culmination of the sacrifices of our noble martyrs, who gave their blood to protect our nation and defend our great people.

–         It is an affirmation of the existence of the Syrian State and its viability, a reiteration of upholding the legitimacy that led Syria to escape the dark terrorism tunnel, the legitimacy that some Western sponsoring- terrorism states attempt to destroy through arming, training, and funding armed terrorist groups and sending them secretly and openly to Syria. This is exactly what prevented countries like Germany for example to allow holding these elections in our embassy in Berlin and that is living proof of the continuous interference by some Western states in the Syrian internal affairs. Such irresponsible acts represent a stark violation of the UN Charter that oblige states to not interfere in internal affairs of other states.

–         It is the best response of the great Syrian People to the looting of their resources such as oil and wheat by the Western states, and imposing unilateral coercive measures which deprived them from their basic life needs, such as preventing them from importing the necessary vaccines to provide immunity for the Syrian children from diseases and sicknesses, thus preventing them from an equal chance to other peoples around the world to get COVID-19 vaccines.

–         It is a clear and explicit message from the Syrian expatriates. A message stating that Syria is resistant to conspirators, and it belongs to the Syrians, and its future will only be written by the Syrians from all spheres categorically deny any foreign mandate or dictates. They build the future and accomplish it with hard and devoted work.

I would like to conclude by thanking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, and my colleagues in our Ministry, Embassies and Diplomatic and Consular Missions, as well as applauding the efforts provided by my colleagues in our Embassy in Pretoria, Syrians and South Africans, to make this Presidential Elections a success, and to demonstrate to the whole world that this ugly terrorist war, which was launched on Syria since a decade, and the unilateral, coercive, illegal and unethical measures, will not defeat or weaken the determination of the Syrians, rather, it will strengthen their resolve to march forward, and restore our mother country Syria to light the whole world with its civilization and culture.

Reem Haddad

Editor-in-chief

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Iran backs Palestine because it is independent, says Lebanese analyst

May 24, 2021 – 17:18

By Reza Moshfegh

Amin Hoteit

TEHRAN – A senior Lebanese political analyst says that Iran adheres to the Palestinian cause while many Arab countries have neglected Palestine in order to satisfy the colonialists and the Zionist regime and their American master.

Amin Hoteit says Iran has adopted such a policy toward Palestine because it is an independent and sovereign state.

“There is a big difference between a sovereign, independent ruler who safeguards the interests of his nation and a subordinate ruler who guards the interests of foreigners,” Hoteit tells the Tehran Times.

“Iran adheres to Palestinian cause while many Arabs neglect Palestine in order to satisfy the colonialists and the Zionist regime, and their American master,” the Lebanese analyst notes.

After 11 days of Israeli bombing, Gaza remains strong. The Israeli regime was forced to agree to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Resistance forces in Gaza forced Israeli settlers to seek shelters by firing hundreds of missiles at different parts of occupied territories.
Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the status of Palestine in the Arab and Islamic world?

A: Palestine is part of the Arab and Islamic lands, and within this framework, we say that the Islamic world should be coherent and united in the face of Israel as God says in Quran: “Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, one and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” (Al-Anbya – Verse: 92)

On the one hand, according to Islamic logic, the attack on Palestine means an attack on the Islamic Ummah.

On the other hand, Palestine contains the most important sanctities of Muslims, including Jerusalem, which hosts Muslim’s first Qiblah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque; and there are other religious symbols related to Islam and Christianity.

Third, the Palestinian people are part of the Arab people and the Islamic Ummah, and attacking that part means attacking the whole. For all of this, Palestine, in its three dimensions -the land, the people, and the holy sites-has a fundamental position for the Arab and Islamic world.

Q: Why does Iran, after the Islamic Revolution, has kept insisting on liberating the Palestinian lands?

A: What distinguishes Iran from other Arab countries is that first it is an independent, sovereign state whose rule stems from the will of the people and was established on the basis of an Islamic revolution that seeks to achieve the nations’ rights and resist the usurpers.

Therefore, Iran is working for the sake of Islam, the people, and the Islamic Ummah. This feature does not exist in most Arab regimes, wherein the ruler is appointed by foreigners.

 In Arab states, a ruler comes and goes by an external decision, and policies and governments are determined by powers outside the countries. Therefore, at a time when we find that Iran is a country in which the rule emanates from the people and takes care of the interests of the people and nations, most of Arab rulers are guardians of the interests of foreign powers.

 There is a big difference between a sovereign, independent ruler who safeguards his nation’s interests and a subordinate ruler who guards the interests of foreigners. For this reason, Iran adheres to the Palestinian cause while many Arabs neglect Palestine in order to satisfy the colonialists and the Zionist regime and their American master.

Q: How do you see the stances of Arab states towards the Palestinian issue? How do you assess normalization of ties with Israel?

A: Unfortunately, some Arabs are heading towards overt surrender to the Israeli enemy.

Under the slogan of normalization of ties with Israel and the forged Abraham Accords, these regimes accepted to be slaves of Israel and servants of American interests, providing it with resources and reassurance. This approach should be stopped.

We call on Arab people to move against this approach adopted by their governments. They need to retreat from this treacherous behavior.

Normalization of ties with Israel, in our opinion, is a betrayal of the Ummah and a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. It violates their rights and legitimacy.
That is why we find that today there are sides and groups in the Arab and Islamic world that condemn normalization of ties with the Zionist regime and call for an end to it and a return to the idea of Palestine from the river to the sea.

Q: Is it possible to bet on the American-European role in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

A: The Palestinian tragedy is a result and product of European-American conspiracy.

The Europeans continue to insult Palestine and the Palestinian people since they adopted the Sykes–Picot Agreement in Britain and France, which was followed by the Balfour Declaration.

Then, they decided to partition Palestine in the United Nations, which was ruled by Europeans and Westerners. 

They are insulting the Arab world and the Islamic Ummah by aggression against Palestine.

Whoever harmed Palestine cannot heal its wounds, and therefore we are not betting on a real European stance or on a just and fair American position in order to restore rights to their owners.

The only bet is on the peoples, on the will of the Muslim nations, and on the governments that line up in support of the resistance axis, which constitutes a milestone in the modern era.

Resistance forces have succeeded to withstand colonial domination in the region and now are drawing a scheme of liberating Palestine in the people’s minds.

Q: How could Israel preoccupy Islamic countries with internal disputes and divert attention from the Zionist threats?

A: Israel is afraid of the unity of the Arab-Islamic world because if the Arabs and the Muslims get united, what Imam Khomeini said about the Zionist regime’s demise will be realized.

To divide the Islamic world and preventing Muslim unity, Israel is working to undermine the Arab-Islamic frontier. Unfortunately, it finds those who listen to it and engage in its projects.

The comprehensive war that targeted Syria, and the great strife that has been called the Arab Spring, are not but a case of conspiracy plotted by the Zionists and Europeans to disperse and divide Muslims so that they do not unite to liberate Palestine.

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Gaza – US and the West Supports Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity – Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict

May 18, 2021

Gaza – US and the West Supports Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity – Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict

By Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

“I said we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and other terror groups, and we are doing so and will continue to do so with great force,” Netanyahu said in a fiery video address.

Israel’s PM Netanyahu is a war criminal and should be held accountable for war crimes throughout his PM-ship of Israel, according to the 1945 / 1946 Nuremberg trials criteria. His crimes against humanity, against a defenseless Palestine are comparable to the Holocaust.

In 2016 Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu had been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The trial is ongoing but has temporarily been “suspended”. Netanyahu has dismissed the charges as hypocritical and acts as if they didn’t exist. Even though he lacks the majority to form a government, he acts with impunity, because he can – he can because he has the backing of the United States.

More importantly, Israel has been accused before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity and war crimes against Palestine. The prosecutor of the ICC, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, said on 3 March 2021 that she has launched an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories. She added the probe will look into “crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed” since June 13, 2014, and that the investigation will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

In a quick response, PM Netanyahu accused the Court of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism. Of course, the quickest and often most effective defense and counter-attack is calling any accusation, no matter how rightful it is, as anti-Semitism. Calling someone an anti-Semite shuts most people up, no matter whether the accusation is true or false. That explains in part why nobody dares to even come forward with the truth about crimes committed by Israel.

Imagine, Jews were the chief victims of the German Third Reich – a Nazi Regime, and today the descendants of these very Jews, persecuted and slaughtered in Nazi-concentration camps, allowed the transformation of Israel into a Zionist Fourth Reich, executing Palestinians Holocaust-style. They have done this with impunity for the last 73 years, with the current massacres reaching unheard-of proportions.

Pro-Palestine protests take place around the world – and especially now, finally, throughout Europe. Workers and young people joined protests across Europe on Saturday, 15 May, including in London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid, to oppose Israel’s bombardment of the Palestinian population in Gaza. The demonstrations coincided with the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe Day, 14 May 1948)—marking the founding of the state of Israel, through the forced expulsion of 760,000 Palestinians from their villages.

Here is what one protester, Khalid, in Manchester, UK, had to say. Khalid held a placard reading “Lift the siege of Palestine-Stop bombing Palestine”. He said, “Israel should know better. They know how it feels to be exterminated. They had no homeland and came to Palestine as guests and now they have taken the Palestinians’ homes and are trying to throw them out. The Palestinians have no water, they have no food. You have got people like [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and presidents colluding with Israel and giving them money to destroy human life” – http://www.defenddemocracy.press/protests-across-europe-against-israeli-war-on-gaza/

Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, always take place with the unwavering support of the United States. No US presidential candidate has a chance of being “elected” to the empire’s highest chair, the Presidency, without having proven his or her unquestioned support for Zionist-Israel. Without that western support, Israel’s war against and oppression of Palestine would soon be over.

Palestine could start breathing again and become a free country, an autonomous, sovereign, self-sustained country, what they were before the forced UN Partition Plan for Palestine, and as was foreseen by UN Resolution 181 II of 1947. This genocidal conflict situation has lasted almost three quarters of a century – and has little chance to abate under the current geopolitical constellation of the Middle East and the world, where obedient submission to US-Israeli command and atrocities is the name of the game.

Background
The conflict started basically with the creation of Israel. The UK, since the end of WWI and the Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, occupier of the Palestine Peninsula (Palestine and Transjordan, see map), proposed to the UN as a condition for UK withdrawal, the creation of Israel in the western part of what was then known as Palestine and Transjordan. The so-called UN Partitian Plan for Palestine, was voted on 29 November 1947 by the UN General Assembly, as Resolution 181 (II). The then 57 UN members voted 33 (72%) for, 13 against the resolution, with 10 abstentions, and one absent. The Palestinian Authority was never consulted on this proposal. Therefore, for many scholars the UN Partition Plan’s legality remains questionable.

The Plan sought to resolve the conflicting objectives and claims of two competing movements, Palestinian nationalism and Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. The Plan also called for an Economic Union between the proposed two states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.

However, immediately after adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly, a civil war broke out and the plan was not implemented. The remnants of this civil war, the non-acceptance by Palestine of this UN Resolution 181, for which the historic owners of the land were not consulted, are lingering on as of this day.

British Mandate Palestine map

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British administration was formalized by the League of Nations under the Palestine Mandate in 1923, as part of the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. The Mandate reaffirmed the 1917 British commitment to the Balfour Declaration, for the establishment in Palestine of a “National Home” for the Jewish people, with the prerogative to carry it out.

The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War, announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The question is still asked today: How legitimate was that declaration in terms of international law? Many academics see this declaration still today as a unilateral move and a breach of international law, as no consultation of the Palestine Authority ever took place.
——

In the November 1947 UN General Assembly vote, the US was among the 33 countries voting FOR the Partition Plan. Interestingly, though, President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders—actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats—disturbed and annoyed me.” – This Zionist pressure was to set the bar for what was to follow – up to this day.

David Ben-Gurion, Zionist statesman and political leader, was the first Prime Minister (1948–53, 1955–63) and defense minister (1948–53; 1955–63) of Israel. In a letter to his son in October 1937, Ben-Gurion explained that partition would be a first step to “possession of the land as a whole” (emphasis added by author).

As of today, seventy-three years later and counting, the conflict is not resolved. To the contrary. It has become the longest lasting war, or aggression rather, in recent human history. A war it isn’t really, because a sheer oppression and literal slaughter against a perceived enemy, like Palestine that has no weapons to speak of, being bombarded and shot with the most sophisticated US-sponsored weapons systems, cannot be called a war. It is sheer genocide. The Palestinian weapons of choice are mostly rocks; rocks thrown by Palestinians at the Israeli IDF invaders, who then mow them down with machine guns, mostly civilians, women and children.

The Israel armed-to-the-teeth Defense Forces (IDF), invade Gaza and Palestinian West Bank areas with the most sophisticated machine guns, bombs, white phosphorus, practicing indiscriminate killing. The IDF destroys Palestinian living quarters, administration buildings, schools, shops, the little manufacturing industries that makes up their economy – destroying a people already teetering at the edge of extreme poverty and despair. No mercy. What does one call people who are committing such unspeakable crimes?

What does one call this style of aggression? – Literally killing hundreds, thousands of people without defense, in the world’s largest open prison – Gaza – home to more than 2 million people, living in misery, housing and infrastructure constantly destroyed, painfully partially rebuilt – just to be destroyed and bombed to pieces again. Those who don’t die from Israeli direct aggressions, may die from the indirect effects – famine, misery, disease and suicide – of this constant, abject hostility perpetuated upon what was supposed to be, according to the UN Partition Plan, an autonomous Palestine home of the Palestine people.

It is an ongoing – seemingly never-ending conflict, ever since the first Intifada beginning in December 1987 (Intifada in the context of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a concerted Palestinian attempt to shake off Israeli power and gain independence).

The Oslo Accords I and II are a pair of agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of 1993 and 1995, respectively, sponsored by Norway in an attempt to achieve peace between the two parties. The Oslo Accords failed bitterly, over the issue of Jerusalem that was to become the religious capital for both countries, but Israel refused, claiming Jerusalem as her own, making the holy city to Israel’s capital. The first foreign leader recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, was US President Donald Trump on 6 December 2017.
—-

There was, however, another, less talked-about but equally important issue – an issue of survival – within the Oslo Accords: The fair sharing of the water resources. Israel never agreed, as about 85% of all water resources of what used to be the Palestinian Land, falls currently within the borders of what was defined by the Partitian Plan as Palestine. This is based on a World Bank study, in which I participated. On the insistence of Israel, the US vetoed publication of the study. Hence, the report was never officially published and publicly available.

Subsequent, so-called Peace processes, mostly US-sponsored, failed as of this day, because both Israel and the US have no interest in finding a peaceful solution. Neither one of the two nations have an interest in a Peace Accord, as the US needs the conflict to keep control over the Middle East, while Israel has no intentions to give up (slave)-control over Palestine, as her wellbeing depends on the overall control of what used to be Arab-Palestinian territory, and especially Palestine’s water resourcesWithout them, Israel would be a dry and unproductive desert.

There is a purpose behind these illegal, but ever-growing number of Israeli settlements on Palestine territories: Control over water. The settlements are usually over or near underground water resources. This is one way of controlling Palestine’s water. This happens not only in the so-called West Bank, but also in Gaza, where water resources are really scarce. Gaza is the world’s per capita water-scarcest area. The few Gaza water tables are super-posed by Israeli settlements.

This totally illegal and often UN-condemned Israeli Settlements strategy – also totally ignored by Israel – gradually reduces Palestine land and increases Israel’s control over crucial Palestinian water resources. See map

The impediment of being able to manage their own water resources, therefore increasing their food self-sufficiency through their own agriculture, makes out of Palestine an Israeli slave-state.

In addition, Israel has a handle on opening or closing the Gaza border, letting at will minimal food, medication and other life-essentials into Gaza, as well as allowing exactly the number needed of low-paid Palestinians (literally slave-labor) cross the border in the morning to work in Israel, and having to return at night to their Palestine homes. It is sheer Apartheid exploitation. Furthermore, Israel does not recognize Gaza’s territorial Mediterranean waters which would be a means towards Palestinians self-sustention and economic industrial activity.

According to an OECD report of 2016, Israel ranks as the nation with the highest poverty rate among OECD countries, i.e. 21% of Israelis are living under the poverty line. This is more than Mexico, Turkey and Chile. The OECD average is about 11%. This figure (21%) may be slightly exaggerated, given the relatively large informal sector and transfer payments to Israel from Jews abroad, as well as from international Jewish organizations.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Israel is economically not autonomous and needs Palestine to survive, both in terms of confiscated Palestinian water resources, as well as Palestinian slave labor. Therefore, there is hardly any hope for the UN-planned two-state solution to eventually materialize. There is little hope that this situation will change under the current geopolitical conditions. The US wants to dominate the Middle East and needs Israel as a garrison state that will be armed to the teeth for the US – to eventually grow and become Washington’s proxy ruler of the Middle East.

A question that is rarely asked, if ever: What is Hamas’ role in this never-ending Israeli-Palestine conflict? Since 2007 Hamas is officially governing the 2-million-plus population of the 363 square kilometer Gaza Strip. Hamas is also the Palestine paramilitary or defense organization. Hamas is said to be funded largely by Iran. Is it true? And if so, is Iran the only funder of Hamas?

It is odd, however, that ever so often, Hamas attacks Israel by launching unsophisticated rockets at Israeli cities, rockets that most often are intercepted by the IDF defense system, or cause minimal damage. But they cause, predictably minimal damage against an IDF which is US-equipped with the latest technology weapons- and defense systems.

Yet, a Hamas attack on Israel prompts regularly a ferocious retaliation; bombardments, not so much aiming at Hamas, as Netanyahu intimidates, “We would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and other terror groups…” , but at the civilian populations. The heaviest casualties are civilian Gaza citizens, many women and children among them, after an Israeli “self-defense” retaliation. This is of course no self-defense. The Hamas attacks usually follows an Israeli provocation.

Why would Hamas hit back, knowing that they won’t wreak any damage on Israel, yet they will trigger each time a deadly massacre on the Gaza population? – At the outset, Israeli provocations look like “false flags”. Could they be false flags with the willing participation of Hamas? If so, with whom does Hamas collaborate?

These are questions which certainly do not have an immediate answer. But the 14-year pattern of repeatedly similar events begs the question – is there another (Hamas) agenda behind what meets the eye?
——-

What is nearly as criminal as the IDF’s aggressions, is the almost complete silence of the west, and the world at large, vis-à-vis Israel’s atrocities committed on the Palestinian population. It is an unspoken tolerance for the carnages Israel inflicts on Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, the world’s largest open-air prison.

For example, the political UN body, despite hundreds of Resolutions, condemning and flagging Israel’s illegal actions against Palestine, including the ever-increasing number of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestine territories, seems to be hapless against Israel. Weak condemnations of Israel, calling both parties to reason – leaves Israel totally cold and undisturbed. There is no punishment whatsoever, not from the UN system, not from the western allies, most of whom are Washington and NATO vassals.

The Biden Administration has taken the usual imperialist position of cynical neutrality, like it was an uninvolved disinterested player, while painting up Israel as being some kind of victim instead of the brutal Zionist apartheid state that it is. It is important to remember that the creation of Israel was so that the US had a garrison state to protect her interests in the Middle East.

Take the UN Secretary General. Instead of condemning Israeli ruthlessness and demanding accountability, the spokesman for UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, merely called on the Netanyahu regime to “exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.”

The Secretary General himself reiterates his commitment, including through the Middle East Quartet, “to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements.” The Quartet, set up in 2002, consists of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia. Its mandate is to help mediate Middle East peace. As of this day they have not achieved any tangible results.

Because they do NOT WANT to achieve any peace. For the reasons mentioned before, Peace is not in the interest of Israel, nor in the interest of the West, led by the United States. To keep the conflict burning, sacrificing hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of Palestinian lives is not important. It’s just a collateral damage of a larger agenda – control over the Middle East and her riches, a step towards controlling the entire world.

Time and again, Guterres disgraced himself and the office he holds by failing to denounce US/NATO/Israeli aggression and demand accountability for high crimes too serious to ignore.

If the UN is incapable or unwilling of assuming the responsibility of reigning in Israel, perhaps the Group of 77 (by now more than 120 UN member countries) should take a joint stand, exerting pressure on Israel, asking as an intermediary for outright negotiating with Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable peace settlement, including the original two-state solution, back to the pre-1967 Israeli-Palestine borders. Let us, the UN, become pro-active in seeking and finding a permanent solution for the stressed-to-death, starving and tortured Palestinians, especially those from the Gaza Strip.


Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

In Wake of HRW Apartheid Report, Israeli Propagandists Launch Global PR Offensive

By Alan Macleod

Source

Much of the online anger at the Human Rights Watch report was actually manufactured by an Israeli government-sponsored app, Act.IL, which organized supporters of the Jewish state to act in sync to create an artificial groundswell of opposition to it. 

NEW YORK — A recently released bombshell Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has made waves around the world. For the first time, the New York-based non-governmental organization has categorized Israel as an apartheid state guilty of “crimes against humanity.”

The 213-page study goes into detail about a range of racist laws and policies carried out by successive administrations, concluding that there is an “overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The report accuses the state of Israel of widespread “institutional discrimination” and of “denying millions of Palestinians their fundamental rights…solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish.” It further notes that, across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it has “sought to maximize the land available for Jewish communities and to concentrate most Palestinians in dense population centers.”

“Prominent voices have warned for years that apartheid lurks just around the corner if the trajectory of Israel’s rule over Palestinians does not change,” said the organization’s executive director, Kenneth Roth. “This detailed study shows that Israeli authorities have already turned that corner and today are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.

Perhaps most importantly, Human Rights Watch is now openly calling for global action to end the repression. The report asks the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute those involved in Palestinian persecution. While not explicitly endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sactions (BDS) movement, Human Rights Watch directly advocates that “[s]tates should impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against officials and individuals responsible for the continued commission of these serious crimes,” and for businesses to “cease business activities that directly contribute to the crimes of apartheid and persecution.”

A big splash

The report was widely covered across the world and has been heralded by Palestine solidarity activists, with experts seeing it as a potential turning point in the struggle for Palestinian sovereignty. “It was inevitable that Human Rights Watch would have to declare Israel an Apartheid state and, from what I hear, Amnesty International is going to be next to say it,” Asa Winstanley of the Electronic Intifada told MintPress. “It puts Israel’s backers in a difficult spot because Human Rights Watch is really part of the establishment so they cannot just dismiss it and it makes it impossible to ignore… It is harder for them to say Human Rights Watch is anti-Semitic, but they’re trying it anyway,” he added.

Trying indeed. Michigan Congresswoman Lisa McClain tweeted that “Human Rights Watch has shown again how they have an anti-Israel agenda,” suggesting they instead focus their attention on China or Iran’s repressive governments. “Hostility and hypocrisy are HRW’s hallmarks when it comes to Israel,” wrote the American Jewish Committee. The Jerusalem Post’s editorial board was equally condemnatory, denouncing what they saw as the “cynical appropriation of the suffering of the victims of the actual apartheid regime.” Other Israeli journalists described the report as “a disgrace to the memory of the millions who suffered under that policy [apartheid] in South Africa.” The news even made enough waves to force a response from the White House. Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied that “[a]s to the question of whether Israel’s actions constitute apartheid, that is not the view of this administration.”

Organized spontaneity

Yet much of the online anger at the report was actually manufactured by an Israeli government-sponsored app, Act.IL, which organized supporters of the Jewish state to act in sync to create an artificial groundswell of opposition to it. The app, which reportedly has a budget of over $1 million per year, instructed users to leave combative comments on Facebook, Twitter, and popular news outlets, and to like and promote others who did the same.

Human Rights Watch’s Facebook post announcing the report’s release has received over 1,400 comments, hundreds of them written in a similar, scathingly negative tone. One that the app directly told users to signal boost, for instance, described Palestinians as a people “indoctrinated with hate for Israel and Jews for over 100 years,” and claimed they were paid salaries to murder Israelis. It also presented the 1967 war and occupation as a humanitarian effort to bring electricity and other infrastructure to Arabs.

Another “mission” Act.IL gave its users was to promote a Facebook comment attacking the report as “nothing more than hate speech” and calling its lead author a “rabid anti-Zionist and Israel hater.”

Omar Shakir HRW
One of the many images provided to Act.IL users for their astroturfing campaign against HRW

Act.IL is one of the chief tools in Israel’s online public relations enterprise. The app debuted in 2017 and is part of what Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan called an “Iron Dome of Truth.” “Our cell phones are the number one weapon against us,” he explained, noting that public opinion in the U.S. was beginning to turn against them. While most of the app’s nearly 20,000 users are volunteers, a core of them are paid operatives, with many students receiving scholarships as a reward for their work.

The app has been designed to feel like a game, with points assigned for completing “missions” such as sharing pro-Israel videos, reporting anti-Israel content, signing petitions, or attending online seminars. Users can track their progress on leaderboards, earn badges and prizes, and chat with other members of the community. While it might feel like Animal Crossing or World of Warcraft for some, its creators see this very much as a new front in the war against Palestine. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked categorizes BDS as “another branch of terrorism in the modern age,” and has been an important voice in taking the fight to a new front.

An Act.IL mission encouraging astroturfing of online discussions. Source |
@AntiBDSApp

There is also an online toolkit full of folders of responses to typical questions and issues that arise. Users can, for instance, go to the BDS folder to find stock replies to their arguments. Or they can go to a specific folder to find articles, images and videos they can use to demonize Hamas.

The missions are organized by outlet, so users can, for instance, target only Facebook, Telegram, or other platforms they are most familiar with. At the time of writing, there are 10 missions each to complete on Facebook and YouTube, 30 on Instagram, 25 on Twitter.

One current challenge is to upvote an answer to a question on Quora that asks about the validity and purpose of checkpoints in the West Bank. The answer claims they are purely about protection from terror attacks, and claims that Red Crescent ambulances are used to ferry bombs around the area. Other missions include pressuring an online store to remove a bag with a message stating “Make Israel Palestine Again.”

Act.IL
An Act.IL “mission” encouraging users to demand the removal of products with pro-Palestinian messaging

“It is quite astounding how openly they do it. But, of course, when you see a comment online, you wouldn’t necessarily think that it was coming from the Israeli government, but this is essentially what is happening,” Winstanley said. “Israel is not the only state to do this, but they do it fairly successfully.”

For all this, however, it is clear that Act.IL has a serious problem with user retention and lacks the volunteer numbers for it to be truly game changing.

Controlling the message

In a time of heightened awareness about foreign government interference online, it is particularly surprising that these operations can be openly carried out across virtually every major platform. Big tech companies like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are constantly deleting tens of thousands of Russian, Chinese, Iranian and Cuban accounts belonging to what they claim are organized, state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.

In an effort to gauge the legality of its operations, MintPress reached out to Facebook, YouTube, Quora, and other big platforms used by Act.IL. We received no response from any of them. While this is particularly noteworthy — as these companies have teams of public relations representatives and are extremely forthright and timely with responses on other issues — it is perhaps not surprising. Facebook especially has long been working closely with the Israeli government in deciding which voices to censor. As far back as 2016, Ayelet Shaked boasted that Facebook removed 95% of the posts her office asked them to. Yet when Shaked herself called for a genocidal war against Palestine and its women, who give birth to “little snakes,” not only did the post remain online, it received thousands of likes and was widely circulated.

“The concern is that Facebook is adopting Israeli policy and terminology when it comes to defining what incitement is,” said Nadim Nashif, co-founder of 7amleh, the Arab Centre for the Advancement of Social Media. 7amleh was therefore dismayed when last year, Facebook appointed former Israeli Minister of Justice Emi Palmor to its Oversight Board, the council having the final say in the moderation of content on the platform used by 2.6 billion people worldwide. In her role as justice minister, Palmor was directly implicated in the persecution and subjugation of Palestinians.

Earlier this year, an Israeli Defense Forces soldier attempted to sue a Palestinian-American activist living in California over an allegedly slanderous Facebook post condemning her for participating in ethnic cleansing. Remarkably, the plaintiff attempted to convince a California judge to apply Israeli law to the incident, despite the fact that both she and the defendant are American citizens.

Inside the world of academia, professors critical of Israel have found themselves pushed out of the profession. In 2007, prominent critic of Israel Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University for political reasons. Seven years later, the University of Illinois “unhired” Steven Sailata for his comments denouncing Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza. Emails showed that wealthy donors put significant pressure on the university to pull the plug on him. More recently, Cornel West was blocked from a tenured job at Harvard this year, despite having previously held tenure at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. “Being the faculty advisor for the Palestinian student group was the one that probably went outside of the line for many Harvard staff,” West told Krystal Ball and Kyle Kulinski. “It’s a joke. It’s ridiculous. It’s ludicrous. It’s preposterous that it wouldn’t have something to do with politics.”

Top media figures have also paid the price for their support of BDS. CNN fired commentator Marc Lamont Hill after he made a speech at the United Nations calling for a free Palestine. Meanwhile, journalist Abby Martin was blocked from speaking at a conference at Georgia Southern University last year after she refused to sign a contract promising to renounce BDS. Georgia is one of dozens of U.S. states to have anti-BDS legislation, essentially forcing any would-be recipient of public contracts or funds, including government employees, to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel. Martin is currently suing the state of Georgia.

Perhaps the greatest PR victory for the Israel lobby in recent years was its defamation campaign against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The lifelong pacifist, anti-racist campaigner was transformed into a raging anti-Semite in the minds of many, thanks to a massive propaganda onslaught. In the three months before the 2019 election, there were 1,450 articles in national British newspapers linking Corbyn with anti-Semitism, chiefly because of his support for Palestinian liberation. Much of this was orchestrated by Israel and its lobby, which worked closely with journalists and politicians keen to see the socialist politician’s demise. The media blitz succeeded. When media researchers asked the public what percentage of Labour members faced official complaints over anti-Semitism, the average guess was 34%. The actual answer was less than 0.1%; and more than half of those complaints were made by one person. Corbyn lost the election and the U.K. chose Boris Johnson.

Winstanley, whose documentary “How they brought down Corbyn” premiered last week, told MintPress:

“The most effective propaganda strategy against [Corbyn] was the fabrication that he was an anti-Semite on the basis of his past criticisms of Israel and his Palestinian solidarity. In my view, the maliciously fabricated anti-Semitism crisis against the Labour Party was the main factor in his [being deposed] as Labour Party leader. Without this factor, he would have made it to Number 10 Downing Street and become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

Apartheid states

While Human Rights Watch’s report is new, the charge of apartheid is not. In 2017, a United Nations report “clearly and frankly concludes” that Israel is “a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people.” Earlier this year, Israeli human rights organization B’TSelem also used the word “apartheid,” claiming that Israel had established “a regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

In the wake of World War Two and the Holocaust, Israel was created by the United Nations in 1947, cutting a section of territory from the British mandate of Palestine to form a new state. While it was immediately recognized by the international powers, Arabs who lived in the region were dead against it, leading to a war in 1948. David Ben Gurion and the founding fathers of Israel immediately began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the local population, razing their villages and forcing them to flee. Today there are more than 5 million Palestinians registered as refugees.

While many defenders of Israel today balk at the comparison to apartheid South Africa, the two countries were close friends for much of the late 20th century, seeing themselves as similar settler colonial projects surrounded by hostile nations. Furthermore, leaders of the African liberation movement saw themselves as part of the same struggle as those in Palestine. “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,” Nelson Mandela said in 1997. “I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a statement endorsing BDS. “Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government,” he added.

A turning tide

The Human Rights Watch report is the latest reference point showing Western public sympathies swaying towards Palestine. During the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race, a number of top-tier candidates very publicly shunned the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, refusing to attend the AIPAC conference. Last week, the Pilsbury family called for a global boycott of the food company that bears its name. “As long as General Mills [which owns the Pilsbury brand] continues to profit from the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinian people, we will not buy any Pillsbury products,” they stated, denouncing the building of a factory on illegal settlement land.

Advocates for Palestine hailed Human Rights Watch’s study. Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies wrote:

There can be little doubt that much of HRW’s decision to issue this report now was based on the recognition that not only is it no longer political suicide to call Israeli apartheid what it is, but that we are now at a tipping point whereby failing to call out apartheid risks losing credibility for a human rights organization. It’s a huge victory for our movement.”

The battle, however, is far from won, and it is clear that the Israel lobby will continue to fight to hold back the tide until it is insurmountable.

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban: a decade of dirty war on Syria

May 8, 2021

Facebook bans Iran’s Press TV page

Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished

Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished 

By Elham Hashemi

Tehran – On 21 November 2020, The Times of ‘Israel’ said that the ‘Israeli’ regime along with the US are planning ‘covert ops’ against Iran as Trump’s term ends. Only six days later, prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack in Damavand area near the capital Tehran.

This crime comes as a desperate attempt to put more pressure on Tehran amid the constant US and allies attempts to hamper Iran from advancing in the different fields, including nuclear development for peaceful purposes. Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Fakhrizadeh had been targeted on Friday in an attack involving at least one explosion and shooting by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The media office of Iran’s Defense Ministry said Fakhrizadeh, who headed the ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research [SPND], “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his wounds and was announced as martyr. 

Commenting on the topic, political analyst and University of Tehran Professor, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi said “This assassination shows that western intelligence agencies and the terrorist organizations that they support such as the MEK along with the apartheid regime and the other regional actors are waging war against Iranian people.” 

He explained “It is interesting when one remembers that every time a terrorist is arrested, or a terrorist is executed or a spy is captured, Western media immediately say that these people are innocent, and that they are hostages; as if they have some sort of special knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. Yet it is these very same spies and terrorists that accumulate knowledge and carryout murder and destruction.” 

“Nevertheless, this is an act of war, and the Iranians will make sure that its antagonists are punished as a result of the murder of this high ranking Iranian official,” Dr. Marandi noted. 

Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, vowed in his tweet a crushing response to the perpetrators.

The tweet read “We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, just like thunder and we will make them regret their deed. In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war.”

Also, Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said in a statement that “The assassins of martyr Fakhrizadeh will see a harsh revenge,” promising that they will be punished. He also assured that the path Farikhzadeh started will never stop. 

The political analyst pointed out that “It is ironic that when Western regimes claim that the Russians attempted to murder or assassinate an asset of theirs in the UK, the whole of NATO, Europe and North America is up in arms. But when an actual act of murder is carried out in Iran, Western media outlets gloat and try to show the victim as the guilty party rather than the terrorists and the regimes that stand behind those terrorists.”   

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned in a presentation in May 2018 by ‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and said, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

Related

Anglo-Zionist Smearing of Jeremy Corbyn

By Stephen Lendman

Source

While anti-Semitism is real, time and again the accusation is made to smear and discredit individuals or groups for justifiable criticism of Israel.

It’s also an unjustifiable tactic used to divert attention from Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, and persecution of Palestinians for not being Jewish — especially by Jewish state officials.

Anyone forthrightly criticizing Israeli apartheid ruthlessness is vulnerable to unjustifiable vilification.

Zionism is tyranny by another name. It’s undemocratic, hateful, ruthless, racist, destructive, and hostile to peace, equity, justice, and the rule of law.

It’s a monster threatening anyone and anything it opposes, a cancer infesting Israel, America, other Western societies and elsewhere.

The late Joel Kovel called Zionism “a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses.”

Daring to criticize Israel and Zionist extremism got him fired by Bard College. Other US academics have been mistreated the same or in similar ways.

Zionism is an ideological scourge. It considers Jews superior to others. Nazism believed in Aryan superiority.

Anglo-Zionism is a hugely destructive force threatening everyone everywhere. 

Britain’s so-called Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was legislatively established by the militantly hostile to peace, equity and justice Tony Blair regime in 2006.

Pretending to promote and enforce equality and non-discrimination in the UK, it unjustly and irresponsibly accused former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of “serious failings (on the issue of) addressing antisemitism and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints (sic).” 

“Our investigation has highlighted multiple areas where its approach and leadership to tackling antisemitism was insufficient (sic),” according to its interim EHRC head Caroline Waters, adding:

“This is inexcusable and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle antisemitism rather than an inability to do so (sic).”

Time and again in the West, anti-Semitism is over-hyped, and irresponsibly used to smear legitimate critics of Israeli viciousness.

Corbyn’s support for Palestinian rights got him falsely accused of anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions — the price he paid for honesty.

Throughout last year’s campaign ahead of parliamentary elections in Britain, establishment media one-sidedly supported hardline PM Boris Johnson-led Tories over Labor leader Corbyn’s progressive change agenda.

Last April, Keir Starmer replaced him as Labor leader in the wake of the vilification campaign against him that cost the party 59 seats in parliament.

On Thursday, a Labor spokesman said Corbyn was suspended from the party, pending an investigation, adding:

Under his leadership, the party became “institutionally anti-Semitic (sic).”

The phony accusation reflects how Israeli critics in government, academia, and other walks of life are systematically and wrongfully vilified.

Israeli influence in the West has much to do with singling out legitimate critics for vilification.

Often they’re sacked or in Corbyn’s case prevented from gaining a Labor Party electoral victory and being suspended — for doing the right thing.

Earlier and current anti-Semitism charges against Corbyn were and remain manufactured, not legitimate.

UK owned and controlled BBC propaganda falsely claimed anti-Semitism became “a big problem” in Britain’s Labor Party after “Corbyn’s election” as party leader in September 2015 (sic), adding:

“Mr Corbyn and his allies on the left had spent decades campaigning for Palestinian statehood, in contrast with the more nuanced position taken by many of his predecessors (sic).”

“Nuanced” is code language for one-sidedly supporting Israel, ignoring its decades of high crimes against Palestinians and regional states.

Accusations of anti-Semitism are longstanding canards used against public figures, academics, and others who forthrightly criticize Israel and call for accountability.

Ignored is that anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism.

Yet the long ago discredited canard keeps resurfacing against figures like Corbyn and numerous other profiles in courage like him.

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