Lessons Learned From Hezbollah

04-09-2017 | 15:14

During the 1999 election campaign Ehud Barak, who challenged and defeated Benjamin Netanyahu, promised to withdraw the “Israel” Occupation Force from the south Lebanon security zone. As prime minister and defense minister, he made good on that promise and unilaterally withdrew IOF forces to the international occupied Palestine-Lebanon border.

Southern Lebanon

Betrayed and left behind was “Israel’s” ally, the “South Lebanon Army” that had for years fought shoulder to shoulder with the IOF against Hezbollah, sustaining more than its share of casualties.

A great sigh of relief was heard throughout the land – it was hoped that this would put an end to the casualties the IOF was sustaining, while protecting “Israeli” settlers in the north. The theory presented to the public was that after the IOF withdrawal, Hezbollah would have no further motivation to attack “Israel”. In any case, “Israel” would now be in a position to carry out drastic retaliation in the event of a Hezbollah attack, and that this would suffice to deter Hezbollah. Lebanese earth would tremble, Barak warned, if that should happen. But it did happen again and again, and Lebanese earth did not tremble. Hezbollah did not become what we wished it would be. It grew many-fold in size and strength, and continued to be an implacable enemy of “Israel”.

What had been a limited danger from Katyusha rockets to the towns on the “Israeli” entity’s northern border, grew in the intervening 17 years to a major danger to the entire settlers population and much of the country’s infrastructure, which are threatened by a Hezbollah arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets and missiles aimed at all of “Israel”. It is the primary threat facing the entity at this time.

The “Israeli” entity received a reminder of the growing threat six years after the withdrawal, during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, in which 121 soldiers and 44 settlers died and over 2,000 soldiers and settlers were injured. The threat has grown dramatically since then, magnified by the presence of Hezbollah and Iranian forces in parts of Syria.

What went wrong? How did successive “Israeli” regimes allow a minor danger to northern “Israel” to grow into a major threat to the entire country?

It started with the withdrawal from the south Lebanon security zone. It was an abandonment of David Ben-Gurion’s credo that it was the task of IOF soldiers to protect the entity’s settler population and that in performing this task it would inevitably suffer casualties.

This change in policy was never announced, but gradually, almost imperceptibly, it became part of the entity’s attitude toward the dangers it was facing. It reflected a feeling that it was more painful to suffer casualties among the “Israeli” entity’s soldiers than among its settler population.

The withdrawal, far from convincing Hezbollah to refrain from further aggression against “Israel”, created the impression that Hezbollah had scored a victory over “Israel” and eventually led to Hezbollah taking control of Lebanon.

It was the result of a misreading of the rationale motivating Hezbollah, which was and continues to be a revolutionary organization pledged to bringing about the destruction of “Israel”. An organization whose leaders believe that they are following the orders of Allah will not be dissuaded from pursuing its goal.

And relying on deterrence, a concept which in any case is ill-defined and nebulous, has little meaning when applied to a terrorist organization. While “Israeli” decision makers over the years felt that they were deterring Hezbollah from attacking “Israel”, that the increasing arsenal of Hezbollah rockets and missiles was destined to rust away on the scrap heap, Hezbollah succeeded in reaching a point where it was successfully deterring the entity from taking action to destroy its growing arsenal of weapons.

Now the Hezbollah missile threat constitutes the most immediate and major threat facing the “Israeli” entity. There are no easy answers in dealing with this threat, but it is important to be aware of the mistakes the entity has made over the years in dealing with Hezbollah. This awareness of past mistakes is part of the answer to dealing with this threat.

Source: Haaretz, Edited by website team

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Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears

Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 31.12.2016

Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears

Jonathan Marshall is author of many recent articles on arms issues, including “How World War III Could Start,” “NATO’s ProvocativeAnti-Russian Moves,” “Escalations in a New Cold War,” “Ticking Closer to Midnight,” and “Turkey’s Nukes: A Sum of All Fears.”

The conflicts between Washington and Moscow keep on growing: Ukraine and Syria, rival war games, “hybrid” wars and “cyber-wars.” Talk of a new Cold War doesn’t do justice to the stakes.

“My bottom line is that the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War,” declares former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953

If a new Trump administration wants to peacefully reset relations with Russia, there’s no better way to start than by canceling the deployment of costly new ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. One such system went live in Romania this May; another is slated to go live in Poland in 2018. Few U.S. actions have riled President Putin as much as this threat to erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

Only last month, at a meeting in Sochi with Russian military leaders to discuss advanced new weapons technology, Putin vowed, “We will continue to do all we need to ensure the strategic balance of forces. We view any attempts to change or dismantle it, as extremely dangerous. Our task is to effectively neutralize any military threats to Russia’s security, including those posed by the newly-deployed strategic missile defense systems.”

Putin accused unnamed countries — obviously led by the United States — of “nullifying” international agreements on missile defense “in an effort to gain unilateral advantages.”

Moscow has reacted to this perceived threat with more than mere words. It is developing new and deadlier nuclear missiles, including the SS-30, to counter U.S. defenses. It has rebuffed new arms control negotiations. And it has provocatively stationed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to “target… the facilities that… start posing a threat to us,” as Putin put it last month.

If a new arms race is underway, it’s not for lack of warning. The Russians have voiced their concerns about missile defenses for years and years, without any serious acknowledgment from Washington. From their vantage point, the apparent bad faith of successive U.S. administrations, Democratic as well as Republican, is a flashing red light to which they had to respond.

Russia’s Nightmare

From the earliest days of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense (“Star Wars”) Initiative to make ballistic missiles “impotent and obsolete,” an alarmed Moscow has viewed U.S. efforts to build a missile shield as a long-term threat to their nuclear deterrent.

President Reagan meets with Vice President George H.W. Bush on Feb. 9, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Presidential Library.)

In 2002, President Bush one-upped Reagan and unilaterally canceled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. He did so after Russia’s foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, publicly pleaded with Washington not to terminate this landmark arms control agreement.

Writing in Foreign Affairs magazine, Ivanov warned that such a move would set back recent progress in Russian-U.S. relations and destroy “30 years of efforts by the world community” to reduce the danger of nuclear war. Russia would be forced, against its desire for international cooperation, to build up its own forces in response. The arms race would be back in full force — leaving the United States less secure, not more.

But with Russia still reeling from the neoliberal “shock therapy” that it suffered through during the 1990s, the neoconservatives (then in charge of U.S foreign policy) were confident of winning such an arms race. In 2002, President Bush adopted a National Security Strategy that explicitly called for U.S military superiority over every other power. To that end, he called on the Pentagon to develop a ground-based missile defense system within two years.

Since then, that program has lined the pockets of major U.S. military contractors without achieving any notable successes. Critics – including the U.S. General Accountability Office, National Academy of Sciences and Union of Concerned Scientists – have blasted the program for failing more than half of its operational tests. Today, after the expenditure of more than $40 billion, it enjoys bipartisan support mainly as a jobs program.

Russia fears, however, that it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. perfects its missile shield technology enough to erode the deterrent capabilities of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.

Promoting U.S. Nuclear Primacy

That specter was highlighted in 2006 when two U.S. strategic arms experts declared in the pages of the establishment-oriented Foreign Affairs that the age of nuclear deterrence “is nearing an end. Today, for the first time in almost 50 years, the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike. . . . Unless they reverse course rapidly, Russia’s vulnerability will only increase over time.”

President George W. Bush in the Oval Office, Oct. 7, 2008. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

The authors, Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, added, “Washington’s pursuit of nuclear primacy helps explain its missile defense strategy.” Missile defense, they pointed out, is not the same as population defense. No conceivable defense could truly protect American cities against an all-out attack by Russia, or even China. Rather, a leaky shield “would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one — as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability, not as a standalone shield.”

“If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China),” they explained, “the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal — if any at all. At that point, even a relatively modest or inefficient missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes, because the devastated enemy would have so few warheads and decoys left.”

As if to make that scenario a reality, the Bush administration soon announced plans to install an anti-missile base in Poland and a radar control center in the Czech Republic — ostensibly to counter a nuclear threat from Iran. No matter that Iran had neither nuclear weapons nor long-range ballistic missiles — or that Washington had rebuffed Russia’s offer to cooperate on building missile defenses closer to Iran. No, Moscow was supposed to believe President Bush’s assurance that “Russia is not the enemy.”

Republican hawks in Congress didn’t get the message. Said Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, “This is not just about missile defense; this is about demonstrating to Russia that America is still a nation of resolve… and we’re not going to let Russian expansionism intimidate everyone.”

Yet when Russian officials reacted with alarm, and warned of the potential for a “new Cold War,” American news accounts accused them of being “bellicose.”

Obama Blows Up the Reset Button

Taking office in 2009, President Obama promised a new era of nuclear sanity. Again, the Russians pleaded for an end to the missile defense program in Eastern Europe. Privately, they expressed a new and genuine concern — that a future U.S. administration could secretly fit interceptor rockets with nuclear warheads and use them to “decapitate” Russia’s top leadership with “virtually no warning time.” Russia’s response: retaliate at the first sign of an incoming strike, without hesitating to check if it’s a false alarm.

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama and his team didn’t heed the warnings. Instead, they snubbed Putin — and the entire Russian leadership — by marching ahead with the missile shield deployment in Eastern Europe, still insulting Moscow’s intelligence with the pretense that it was a defense against Iran.

Obama’s “reset button” was the first casualty of his nuclear policy. In 2011, a despairing President Dmitry Medvedev warned that Russia would have no choice but to respond exactly as Putin has done, by upgrading the offensive capabilities of Russian nuclear missiles and deploying Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. Still to come may be a Russian withdrawal from the New START treaty, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed as her greatest accomplishment in the field of arms control.

President Obama never intended to expand his limited missile defense program into an existential threat to Russia’s nuclear deterrent, but he opened that door. Exactly as Moscow has long feared, hawks in Congress now are chomping at the bit to spend what it takes to build an all-out missile defense system, which former Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned would be “enormously destabilizing not to mention unbelievably expensive.”

One 2003 study pegged the possible cost of a full defensive shield covering the United States at more than $1 trillion. But that’s a small price compared to what could happen if a jittery Russian military command, armed to the teeth with nuclear missiles set on hair-trigger alert to counter a successful U.S. first strike, receives a false warning of just such an attack. Such a scenario has happened more than once.

One of these days such a mistake may prompt an all-out Russian nuclear launch — and then, not even a full missile defense will spare the United States, and much of the world, from devastation.

consortiumnews.com

Israel: From terrorism to Fascism

Rehmat

Israel’s new lunatic defense minister Avigdor Lieberman has proposed death penalty for all imaginary or real terrorists as long as they’re not Jewish. I bet, Lieberman understands his Talmud better than kosher Pope Francis.

In fact, this double standard has existed since the day European Jewish terrorists stole land from Muslim and Christian Palestinians in 1948. Palestinians accused of terror (resistance) offenses are prosecuted in Israeli military courts, while Jews charged with terrorism against Palestinians are usually tried in Israeli civilian courts.

Earlier this month, Israeli Army’s deputy chief of staff, Gen. Yair Golan in his Holocaust memorial speech compared Israel with Nazi Germany. When Israel’s former defense Gen. Moshe Ya’alon defended Golan’s ‘antisemitic’ remarks, Benjamin Netanyahu sacked him.

If that’s not enough to prove the ‘good nature’ of ordinary Jewish Israeli settlers – some blood-thirsty cockroaches from the past have reappeared. For example, former prime minister and defense minister Gen. Ehud Barak, a War Criminal, said in a interview on Israeli TV on last Friday night that fascistic, extreme right-wing politics are on the rise in the country.

What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements,” he cautioned. “And it’s just the beginning.”

Last year, American Jewish writer, author and radio talk-host Stephen Lendman said:

Let’s not mince words. Israel is a fascist police state, masquerading as a democracy. How when state terror is official policy, when soldiers, police and Zionist zealots brutalize and murder Palestinians unaccountably, when institutionalized apartheid exceeds the worst of South Africa’s regime (here).

During the 1940s, the Jewish fascism and vandalism was exclusively directed against the Native Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Latter, it was expanded to include Israeli Jews and foreigners who dared to oppose the Zionist regime.

Ehud Barak Warns ’Israel’ Unprepared for Hizbullah Missile Threat

Local Editor

The threat to “Israel” from Hizbullah should not be underestimated, Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak stated Monday night, referring to “Israeli” forces estimates that the group possessed more than 100,000 rockets.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak

Barak, who gave a speech at Tel Aviv University said that the Zionist entity had “never had to cope with 100 thousand rockets and we have not even begun to deal with their accuracy.” Accurate rockets, he said, “are not more of the same thing, they are something completely different.”

Fifteen years ago, while serving as prime minister, Barak ordered the withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

“If you’ve already been forced to take something, think twice before you leave it,” he said, referring to the security belt “Israel” held in southern Lebanon from 1985 to 2000.

“At no point were we going to plant a tree there [i.e. settle there permanently],” Barak added. “We had to keep asking: what purpose does this serve?”

“The move was intended to boost security,” he noted. “The width of the security zone was not enough to protect communities from even short-range rockets. Therefore, we had to ask what, exactly, we’re doing there.”

“It was a situation of ambiguity in the political echelon and each time someone asked why we do not move away, then the answer is: ‘It’s none of your business, it’s the political echelon’s business,” continued the former prime minister, defending the decision.

Moreover, Barak stated that two lessons could be learned from the Zionist forces’ conduct in Lebanon: to plan well in advance, but also to be open and flexible to adapting to new security situations and to re-evaluate every few years.

Barak said, “We aren’t the reason Hamas exists, but we are a factor.”

“Even about Hizbullah, our behavior contributes to [how it behaves] and we have to take everything into consideration,” he declared. “The reality is not deterministic. Each decision can affect everything.”

“Our opponent is serious, we have no room for complacency on any front. Superiority is the result of serious work,” he added.

Regarding the missile threat from Hizbullah, he sounded an urgent tone. “The state has no choice but to draw conclusions,” he said.

“It is impossible to deal with this challenge by deploying troops in all places, which can fire missiles. “Iron Dome” and “David’s Sling”, “Arrow and Super-Arrow” are very expensive projects” he continued.

Further, Barak argued that the Zionist government needed to act against the missile threat now.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

02-06-2015 | 14:28

 

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Stop another US military intervention in Iraq

US troops in Kuwait ready to enter Iraq on March 20, 2003.
US troops in Kuwait ready to enter Iraq on March 20, 2003.
Fri Jul 4, 2014 1:40AM GMT

This July 4, the fireworks won’t just be in celebration of Independence Day. There will undoubtedly be fireworks in cities throughout the Middle East, as the region, engulfed in violence, further explodes. The US military and US taxdollars are already deeply entangled in Middle Easterners’ lives (and deaths), and President Obama is under pressure to get further involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria. But what advice would our nation’s founders give the 44th president this July 4?

The Founding Fathers, who revolted against a foreign power, were vehemently opposed to getting involved in military adventures overseas. George Washington cautioned our new nation against the “mischiefs of foreign intrigue.” James Madison said the US should steer clear of unnecessary wars. Thomas Jefferson said, “If there be one principle more deeply written than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.” Secretary of State John Quincy Adams warned in 1821 that America should not go abroad in search of “monsters to destroy”—for such folly would destroy “her own spirit.”
But this Independence Day marks yet another year of seemingly endless US involvement in wars. Despite promising the American public that US troops would leave Afghanistan by the end of this year, President Obama is poised to negotiate a continued US troop presence with the next Afghan president (if the Afghans can figure out who that is!). Current President Karzai has explicitly rejected this decision. Karzai has insisted that the US-led invasion has made his country even worse than it was under the repressive Taliban, and lamented that “Afghans died in a war that’s not ours.”
Obama’s drone wars have gotten the US militarily entangled in the internal affairs of Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The President recently called for an alarming expansion of the US role in Syria’s civil war, requesting $500 million to aid the Syrian opposition. US funds continue to fuel Israel’s 47-year-long military occupation of Palestine, an occupation that has escalated recently with the tragic murders of both Israeli and Palestinian children. And in Egypt, where a brutal military coup has been murdering and jailing thousands upon thousands of nonviolent, pro-democracy protesters, the US government is intervening on the side of the coup leader, draconian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in the magnitude of $1.5 billion of our taxdollars per year.
mccain-obama-whores
In Iraq, President Obama is sliding down the slippery slope of another disastrous intervention. Armed drones are now patrolling the Iraqi skies, ready to unleash their Hellfire missiles at any moment and sink us deeper into this quagmire. And President Obama just authorized sending 750 troops, less than three years after our troops withdrew from a disastrous nine-year war. Those familiar with the history of the Vietnam War might recognize that this is exactly how that 20-year-long conflict was started. The US sent in military “advisers,” and then sent in troops to protect them, and then troops to protect them, and then troops to protect them — ad infinitum.
 As President Obama contemplates even further engagement in Iraq, 70 congresspeople have signed a letter, initiated by Representatives Scott Rigell (R-VA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), calling on the President to respect the Constitutional requirement to go to Congress for authorization before using military force. Indeed, the Founding Fathers made it clear that no individual president should have the authority to drag our nation into war, that a decision of such magnitude had to be debated and decided on by the people’s representatives in Congress.

من هو أسوأ رئيس أميركي؟

Though just because we oppose war and military intervention doesn’t mean we have to be complete isolationists, by any means. What does mean if we should stop spending hundreds of billions of taxdollars on wars that don’t work, harming and killing innocent civilians. If we truly want to help people around the world, there are myriad better ways to do so. The U.S. should put its energy and influence toward a comprehensive ban on the transfer of weapons from outside powers. Rather than attempting additional unilateral moves, the U.S. should be collaborating with regional and international actors to address the root cause of the violence in Iraq. And we should more to help the millions of displaced Iraqis. The US is one of the least refugee-friendly countries in the industrialized world. Given we live in a time with the highest level of refugees since World War II, assisting refugees — often forced out of their homes because of wars we have engaged in or dictators we have supported — could be just one easy way to help others.
Poll after poll shows that the American people agree with our Founding Fathers’ insistence that our nation should disengage from overseas military misadventures.  Indeed, President Obama himself, in his May 23, 2013  foreign policy speech, quoted James Madison’s dire warning that “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
So this July 4th, be a true patriot. Take some action to stop the US military intervention in Iraq. Educate your friends and neighbors, write a letter to the editor, sign a petition. Take signs and banners out into the streets and tell everyone you want to end these pointless wars. Call your elected officials (202-224-3121) and the White House (202-456-1111). Do something to move us towards a foreign policy that uses diplomatic prowess, not military power, as the way to relate to, not violently dominate, the global community.
Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights group Global Exchange. She is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Franklin Lamb: Introducing the Syria Resistance (PFLI) and it’s Leader

ED NOTE: Thanks to our friend Dr. Franklin Lamb for introducing the Syrian resistance and its Leader Ali Kayali fighting in all fronts, shoulder to shoulder with the Syrian Arab Army,  the takfirs sponsored by the zionists world order and its tools Saudia, Qatar, Turkey and the So-called March 14 movement. The resistance will continue until full liberation of Syrian Land, including south Syria (Palestine) and every inch of Syrian Land occupied by Turkey.
I added some pictures and the videos
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North of Latakia, Syria Posted on 
https://i1.wp.com/www.iskenderun.org/Fotogaleri/Sahil/iskenderun_sahil013.jpg
Every school kid here in Syria learns at an early age about the various colonial land grabs that have lopped off key parts of their ancient country, and they receive instruction about their national duty to recover this sacred territory. The concept applies equally to still-occupied Palestine, or at least it did before the 2011 uprising got started, albeit since then a degree of resentment has arisen over participation by some Palestinians with rebel groups seeking to topple the Syrian government.
https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/COy9D.jpg
Be that as it may, one such land grab historically remembered, and which is currently galvanizing resistance on behalf of Syria, is that of Iskenderun, north of Latakia, in a disputed Syria-Turkish border area. As Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari-sponsored jihadists continue to enter the country, well worth remembering is it that Iskenderun is rich in natural resources and that for thousands of years it was part of Syria. But that status changed more than half a century ago when France cut it off from Syria and grafted it onto Turkey—and now some pro-government militias are fighting to get it back.
iskmap
The name derives from Alexander the Great, who around 333 BC encamped in the area and ordered a city be built, although the exact site of the historic city is subject to dispute. At any rate, the strategic importance of Iskenderun comes from its geographical relation to Syrian Gates, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and Aleppo, and the dispute over it has been heating up recently, partly as a result of the current crisis.
It all started on July 5, 1938, when Turkish forces under Colonel Sukril Kanath launched an aggression, with French approval, and ethnically cleansed the local Armenian Christian and Allawi populations. The Turkish invasion was enabled by the French, partners with Britain in Sykes-Picot, who had remained as illegal occupiers of Syria, a holdover from the League of Nations mandate. The French were complicit in a rigged referendum, essentially ceding to Turkey this Syrian territory, which by then was referred to as the Republic of Hatay. It was a land grab. Pure and simple. And it was part of a secret deal to secure Turkey’s help with the fast approaching war with Germany. Paris and Ankara struck a deal: Turkey, while not joining the allies against Germany, declared neutrality and essentially sat out World War II.

frankandali

Commander Ali Kayali, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun
Syria, rather than being expansionist, as it is sometimes accused of by Turkey and the Zionist regime, has actually been losing territory, not gaining it. “We lost northern Palestine in 1918, Lebanon in 1920, and the Iskenderun area through French duplicity,” said a retired diplomat here. “Surely Lebanon must also be returned to Syria. It was never a real country and it never will be as far as I am concerned. It is part of Syria!”Indeed, as Robert Fisk points out, after the First World War, most Lebanese wished their land to remain part of Syria (see the results of the King-Crane Commission) rather than live in a separate “nation” under French domination. As we parted, the gentleman shook my hand and declared: “Of course Iskendurun is part of Syria. No honest person can deny this!”
Enter one remarkable Syrian nationalist, Ali Kayali, aka “Abu Zaki”. So how did a polite gentleman from this region of Turkish-occupied Syria end up leading one of the most effective resistance militias in the northern theater in the current Syrian crisis? Basically he did it the same way as untold numbers of Palestinians supporting young Syrian men during the early 1980’s.
Ali went to Beirut to resist the 1982 Zionist aggression. There he was baptized by fire, so to speak, carrying the banner of his new group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun (PFLI) under the tutelage of Dr. George Habash and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Ali fought in a number of south Lebanon fronts, and also inside West Beirut, but then after the PLO withdrawal (on 8/20/82), he returned to Syria, to Tartous, joining the rebellion against PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Near Bedwari camp he fought, as part of the Fatah Intifada uprising, this following the PLO split along -pro-Arafat and pro-Hafez Assad cleavages.

Later, Ali undertook study on his own in Tartous (Tripoli, Syria), and at one point escaped from prison in Turkey where he had been jailed for demonstrating against the fascist regime in Ankara. Returning to Syria, he joined Syrian Army battles against the Bilal Shaaban-led Al Tawhid Islamic (Muslim Brotherhood ), following which he and the PFLI moved to the area of Halba in Akkar, Lebanon, and organized a resistance training camp. Eventually, however, he returned to Syria to continue the fight to liberate the Syrian territory of Iskenderun, and while supported by Syrian citizens, the Kayali-led group was not formally part of the Syrian security/resistance apparatus.

pflipositions
Commander Ali discussing PFLI positions
Speaking with non-government analysts in Latkia, this observer was repeatedly told that the PFLI has the reputation of understanding the geography and politics of the Syrian coast area where its fighters are currently active, including Aleppo, Banias, between Tartous and the countryside around Latakia, as well as the Idlib, Homs and Damascus areas.

As PFLI fighters and officials put it, “Syria will not kneel to the Zionist-Arab project to destroy the unity and independence of the Syrian Arab Republic.” According to one PFLI spokesperson, the group “supports and stands in the same trench, hand in hand with the state, confronting two foreign projects—the first being to destroy the achievements of the Syrian people and Syria’s social fabric and multi-cultural heritage, and the second being to infiltrate foreign intruders.”

One place the PFLI is currently fighting is the strategic rebel bastion of Yabrud, in the Qalamoun Mountains, north of Damascus, near the Lebanese border. On 3/3/14, during a meeting with this observer and some of his associates, Ali Kyali received a phone call relaying information that Sahel village, about four miles from Yabrud, had come under control of Syrian and pro-Syrian forces, including the PFLI. Remarkably open with battlefield details, Ali explained that pro-Syria forces do not want to occupy Yabrud, but rather the strategy is to control the villages surrounding it in order to trap al Nursa and other rebel militia inside. Asked about the trapped local population and reminded of the fate of the inner city populations of Aleppo, Homs and a dozen other locations, Ali shrugged and turned up his palms.

Today (3/7/14) the PFLI is fighting to try to cut off the road linking Yabrud to Arsal in eastern Lebanon, whose majority population supports the Syrian revolt. PFIL fighters were involved last week with the fall of Al-Sahl, a town a little over a mile south of Yabrud, and now are fighting in and around Yaboud, preparing for the anticipated final assault. According to Ali’s personal bodyguards, they are facing Al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate, al-Nusra Front. Some of PFLI’s 3000 troops are also fighting this week in Douma, Jobar, Aleppo, the countryside around Lattakia, and Deralcia near Nubek on the main Damascus-Homs highway. They also played a key role earlier in Baniyas, in the battle between Tartous and Latakia. One YouTube clip being given to visitors to the PFLI HQ in Latakia shows the group’s participation, including women, in a recent important battle against the ISIS:

The PFLI organization receives a variety of random and sporadic support from the local community, according to Mr. Kayali and his staff, but they, like most militia, need money and weapons and regular supplies of food. Also needed are places for the fighters to sleep, as well as more uniforms to accommodate a sharp influx of applicants seeking to join their ranks. Additionally there is the matter of funding death benefit payments for the families of PFLI men and women killed during resistance.

PFLI fighters are not paid salaries, which sets them apart financially from many Gulf-backed and Western-trained militia, who can garner monthly salaries from $500-$1,000. By contrast, pro-government popular committees, numbering approximately 5,000, and National Defense units, whose fighters number around 25,000, receive approximately 20,000 Syrian Pounds, or $126 a month. Footing much of this bill are Syrian businessmen such as Rami Mahlouf, cousin of President Bashar Assad. Regular Syrian army recruits get only 3000 Syrian pounds, or about $20 monthly, but they also receive food and lodging and health and travel benefits. Syrian army reservists are said to receive approximately $10.50 per month.

jofa

“Joan of Arc” with part of her resistance family
For Ali Kayali, the PFLI is also a family matter. His wife and daughter and two sons are deeply connected with its resistance goals. His sons are fighters, as are his wife and daughter when called upon, though in-between time they do other resistance projects. Nicked-named “Joan of Arc,” his 22-year-old daughter attends medical school, but reportedly is also a ferocious fighter and adept battlefield tactician, with dramatic results in a number of battles against rebels over the past nearly two years. She is a strong, no-nonsense feminist and told me she loves to shock takfiris, who sometimes appear amazed to see her and her female unit chasing them up the side of some mountain.
It is said that an army (or a militia, for that matter) travels on its stomach. This observer was treated to an impromptu roadside lunch with half a dozen PFLI fighters last week. Their favorite cook, Mahmoud, a small guy who always seems to wear the same blue shirt, invited us. Within minutes, Mahmoud gathered some twigs and small chunks of wood, lit a small fire, covered it with a metal grate, grabbed a bag of flour, mixed in water, kneaded it a bit, and shaped and roasted some small, irregular round loaves. On these he sprinkled, from another plastic bag, some handfuls of spices. His fast and hot food was delicious, constituting Mhamra manouche (roasted pita bread with spicy red pepper sauce), Zaatar  manouche (oregano, thyme, & sesame seeds), and Jibneh (cheese) manouche.
Captagon Jihad?
Sitting in the lobby of a run-down, less-than-one-star, dockside hotel opposite the Mediterranean, a lodging establishment occasionally used as quarters by various militia, this observer and his companion spoke leisurely one early morning with one of Ali Kyali’s sons and a companion. When not fighting jihadists (in “Have AK-47, Will Travel”-mode), they are among his father’s bodyguards. I have for a while been interested in claims by Western governments that they are supplying “humanitarian non-lethal aid” to rebel groups, including night goggles, telecommunication equipment, and GPS devices. This observer views all such equipment as misnamed and indeed lethal inasmuch as they facilitate one side killing the other via night snipers or through expedition of troop movements. I was a bit surprised to learn what PFLI fighters thought of this kind of equipment being given to their adversaries and labeled ‘humanitarian aid.’
“Not having night goggles, except for some we take off the enemy, is not much of a problem for us because we can sense where al Nusra fighters are, and they tend not to fight at night,” Ali’s son told me.
I asked why the reluctance to fight at night, thinking maybe it had something to do with a religious edict of some sort, but once more I was mistaken.
“No it’s not that, it’s because they are too paranoid and exhausted, from taking captagon and even stronger drugs, to fight at night.”
According the guys I was sitting with, some with more than two years fighting experience with the PFLI, many, if not most, of the Gulf-sponsored jihadists are given bags of pills to enhance their battlefield courage. And it works to a degree. At dawn each day, jihadists take drugs, including large doses of captagon and other widely available drugs. There also are some particularly potent drugs, known locally as “baltcon,” “afoun,” and ”zolm,” as well as opium, heroin, cocaine, and hashish. The main drug routes into the Syrian battle zones, I was advised, run from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Lebanon, with lesser amounts coming via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. Lebanon’s Bekaa valley apparently produces large amounts of captagon pills for shipment to the Gulf, and now to Syria. Jihadists high on drugs apparently feel invincible, and hostile, and do not fear death. Many are indeed ferocious and fearless fighters during the day, as many media sources have reported. But by nightfall, when the drug wears off, the fighters become exhausted and sometimes are found asleep on the very scene of battle they were fighting from.

“Many of the ‘Gulfies’ are in fact heavily addicted to strong heroin-like drugs. They crave them, and sometimes they even fight with their fellow militiamen to get their ‘fixes.’ We are told by some we capture that sometimes, when one of their comrades is killed, the fallen fighter’s ‘friends’ will descend on his body, not particularly to pray over it, but to rummage his pockets for his drugs.”

In point of fact, in 2011 alone, Lebanese authorities confiscated three amphetamine production labs, in addition to two Captagon-producing labs, which they claim were responsible for sending hundreds of thousands of the pills to the Gulf. The seizure of trucks with captagon in their chassis in Lebanon, and at Beirut airport, shows a growing demand for these products in the Syrian militia market. The UN recently reported that the Middle and Near East are experiencing the majority of drug busts globally.
Al Nusra Front and ISIS—being some of the more extreme “imported jihadists,” as some here call them—claim to be better fighters than Hezbollah, whose units set the fighting skill bar fairly high these days. Some of them claim they have not really started their battle to defeat Hezbollah on its own territory, but will do so when they are ready. But as one PFLI fighter explained, and some of his buddies nodded agreement, only when high on drugs do Qatari/Saudi jihadists exhibit bravery and bravado. Only then do they pose a serious threat, because they ignore normal defensive fighting tactics.
“We know many of these guys quite well. Lots of them were never even religious. There are many who are drug addicts, who get high and lose their fear of dying, so they are dangerous to confront, and they often use strange tactics.”
According to another PFLI source, the “imported Jihadists” die in high numbers because they ignore the battlefield realities. Their average number of dead in any given firefight over the past two years is estimated to be approximately five times the number of Hezbollah casualties, three times the number of PFLI fighters, and twice the number of casualties than the regular Syrian army.
As the Syrian crisis enters its fourth year, with more jihadists arriving and more militia being formed across the political and religious spectrum, the US intelligence community and congressional sources are now predicting the war will continue for another decade or more. It’s anyone’s guess what the post-Syrian crisis period will bring to this region given the rise of ethno-nationalism along with demands for the return of Sykes-Picot land grabs. There are also growing signs of a cataclysmic intifada in Palestine. When you add to all that US intelligence predictions of the overthrow of two, and possibly three, Gulf monarchies, another Hezbollah-Zionist war, plus the deterioration of the social and religious fabric across the region, the future looks bleak indeed.
Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (sssp-lb.com).

Chuck Hagel bow down to please Israel

Chuck Hagel who was painted as “Jew-hater, anti-Israel, pro-Iran and receiving funds from Hamas”, has finally learned how to keep his new job for a while. In order to please his pro-Israeli opponents, on Tuesday, Chuck Hagel invited and ‘huged’ Israel’s out-going foreign minister Gen. Ehud Barack. Barack was in Washington to address the AIPAC annual policy conference. Barak’s entire speech was centered against the Islamic Republic. He pleaded Obama administration to “build a regional security framework” against Iran.

Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on March 5, that after “hugs and Kisses” Hagel held a 2-hour-long meeting with Barak and assured him that the recent $85 billion budget cuts would not affect $3 billion annual aid to Israel.

Hagel assured Barak during their meeting that he was committed to the security of Israel and of preserving the Israel Defense Forces’ qualitative advantage over the armies of the Arab world. He also said that he would work to ensure that US funding toward Israel, particularly with regard to its defense systems, would continue despite fiscal uncertainty,” reported Ha’aretz.

Lawerence Korb, is a Zionist Jew and former top official at the Pentagon. Currently, Korb is a senior fellow at two Israeli advocacy groups, Center for American Progress and Council on Foreign Relations, has claimed that Hagel wouldn’t carry revenge against Israel or Israel lobby groups for their venomous campaign against Hagel in the recent past. “Everything what happened in recent months means nothing now. Chuck Hagel is not the kind of guy who will try to get back at people” said Korb.

In other words, Korb believes that even insulting Chuck Hagel with “antisemite” label by influential Jewish leaders like Abraham Foxman (ADL) and convicted Elliot Abrams (CFR), will not affect Hagel’s support for the Zionist regime.

Minister Louis Frarrakhan talked about Chuck Hagel and the Zionist grip on the US administration during his speech at the NOI’s annual Saviours Day Convention. Watch the video below.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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