Analysis: Historical inevitability of ‘1979 US embassy’ event in Iraq: not now, but soon

Thursday, 02 January 2020 12:47 PM 

Supporters of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi force hold placards depicting trampled US symbols reading in Arabic “Welcome” during a protest outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 1, 2020 to condemn the US air strikes that killed 25 Hashd fighters over the weekend. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

The recent protests at the US embassy/city-state/Superman fortress of solitude in Iraq undoubtedly served notice of what the 2020s will bring for Iraq: freedom from three decades of US domination and terrorism.

The protests were shocking for many reasons. Iraq has been under the boot of the US for so long many around the world thought such resistance was impossible. Pity the poor, underestimated Iraqis: even when they did engage in civic disobedience the West sought, as usual, to give all the credit/blame to Iran. After dominating them so long, the West is incapable of seeing Iraqis as a people/culture with the power of self-determination. The endless refrain is “Iran-backed militias”, but it is Iraqis who staff those militias and who crossed into the Green Zone.

The past few days have produced much for us to comment about, but what good are such comments regarding the Iraqi context if we divorce ourselves from their past few decades?

There was a lot of debate, first provoked by the British medical journal The Lancet, about the death toll from Gulf War II, but few seem to remember the horrific death toll from Gulf War I of Bush père: 400,000 Iraqi dead, half of them civilians. Just 300 deaths combined among the anti-Iraq axis.

That’s a stunning figure which should not be forgotten, but to the “blame Iran” crowd in the West this war never happened. In fact, Gulf War I to Americans is something of a joke: the images of precision missiles going down chimneys, ecstatically broadcast in a ratings uber-bonanza for the still-new 24-hour news of CNN, helped “restore pride” to an America whose last conflict was Vietnam. The short-lived economic boom of the 1990s followed, and Gulf War I was barely an afterthought immediately.

Top cleric condemns US strikes on PMU bases, urges respect for Iraq sovereignty

Top cleric condemns US strikes on PMU bases, urges respect for Iraq sovereigntyThe drone strikes killed at least 27 individuals and wounded 51 others.

Sanctions, however, are not a ratings bonanza for CNN – the blockaded Cubans, allegedly starving North Koreans and the horrifically-sanctioned Iraqis (which ran until Gulf War II) do not provide exciting, pride-swelling, jingoism-fuelling footage. Quite the opposite, which is why the US runs no such footages; they didn’t have to ban footage of dead US soldiers for Gulf War I, but the “free press” of the US allegedly remained “free” even when they did just that for Gulf War II. One would think that in the “blame Iran” crowd one or two Americans might point out that this era of Husseinian splendor amid everyday want (and during the last era of global economic expansion) might have produced just a bit of anti-American resentment which may still linger?

Gulf War II came, but has it really gone? Is Iraq any different than a French neo-colonial subject in Africa, with foreign troops protecting the interests of foreign capital and not the welfare of the people?

Questions worth answering, but the “blame Iran” crowd only insists that the Gulf War II devastation of Iraq – maybe unparalleled since the “Korean conflict” – is the fault of non-belligerent Tehran. The destruction of infrastructure capital, the wasting/fleeing of human capital, the lives ruined by death/maiming/psychological trauma – this is all too much for a human to fully grasp, but one should not take the approach of the US and make no effort to grasp it at all.

This lack of effort at self-reflection is very typically American even within their own society – if America’s leaders will push a McCarthy-era Russophobia wave for three years just to avoid honest discussion of the failures of the Democratic Party and “democracy with American characteristics”, then why should we expect those leaders to be honest about Iraq? Why should we ask those leaders to honestly account for the murders, bombings, assassinations, strangulations and corruption they ordered for three decades?

Given the three decades of US domination and occupation, how can anyone be surprised by the recent protests targeting their embassy?

Indeed, many Iraqis, especially their young, are probably saying, “Why did it take so long to get here?”

A protester wearing the Iraqi flag stands outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 1, 2020 during a demonstration. (Photo by AFP)

Two thousand nineteen was a momentous year in the Middle East because a local nation proved for the first time in two centuries that they have technological and military parity with Western capitalist-imperialists in the war theater of the Middle East. That country is Iran, which already began proving 40 years ago that they have a political, intellectual and artistic (cinema) culture equal to or better than, and certainly more modern and “of the historical moment”, than that of the West. What we saw on these Western new year’s eve protests in Iraq is a spreading confirmation of these slow, long-running historical trends, processes and facts. 

The protests were cheered by many worldwide of course: even if the Western political and media elite has these insane anti-Iran and pro-US capitalism-imperialism blinders on, the average person does not. Many hoped the protests would turn into a new Tahrir Square, like in Egypt, but they were disbanded after only two days.

That seems like a sad development, but the people of Iraq, Iran and their allies realize that sending out a force is no good unless that force can be controlled. Egypt was not under foreign occupation, after all. Many Iraqis justifiably feel they are at war and the embassy protests were an “attack” – it was not a place to spontaneously express patriotism and see how that may or may not coalesce. 

I suggest that the protest force was sent home because the damage has been done. After all, has the Green Zone ever been so breached?

The psychological and cultural consequences of this two-day affair are nothing but positive for Iraqis and nothing but negative for Americans and their corrupt, self-interested allies.

US airlifts forces to Iraq embassy amid protests

US airlifts forces to Iraq embassy amid protestsFootage shows US military aircraft dropping off as many as 100 marines to the American Embassy in Baghdad amid angry anti-US protests.

It is thus very similar to Iran’s military victories in 2019 – shooting down a drone, stopping a British-flagged tanker: these are not enormous military victories but they are enormously symbolic. They are not the momentous result of long battles but instead herald the very beginning of new long-term forces which are increasing in inevitability every moment.

Yet again in the past year, American planners were dumbfounded, scared and did not know how to react. The US is not powerless in Iraq but for a long moment they felt that way – for a long moment Iraqis felt powerful over Americans. These are not small cultural and psychological things, given the Iraqi historical context.

On a larger level: Hussein came to power by repressing the intersection of democracy and Islam with as much bloody zeal as any Western neo-imperialist. He fought a war at the behest of the West to destroy the Iranian democratic revolution because it dared to unify these two ideas, and proved that they are not acids and bases. When Hussein insisted that Iraqi Baathists are equal to their secular Western counterparts, the West destroyed his country with a blockade and then occupation.

The role of Baathism in Iraq is up to Iraqis to decide, not me. However, its history – and for many reasons beyond their control – is not very stirring, to say the least. If a majority of Iraqis want more of an intersection between Islam and Iraqi democracy than what Baathism tolerated, they do have an example to look at – Iran. It is precisely because Iran provides this example that they are the root of all evil in the Muslim world to Western capitalist-imperialists and Islamophobes. It is not only that Iranians have created a successful society on par with the top Western nations, but the West most certainly needs a scapegoat, due to their history in the region. 

A 1979 US embassy occupation is an historical inevitability in Iraq – we thought maybe this was it, but it was not.

In pictures: Iraqis hold angry protest outside US Embassy

In pictures: Iraqis hold angry protest outside US EmbassyIraqi protesters gather outside the US Embassy in Baghdad to condemn American airstrikes on PMU bases. Here are some exclusive photos.

Perhaps Iraq is truly not ready? They have been rather debilitated for several decades, after all. Nor does Iraq have a shah to kick out first – an embassy occupation for Iraqis would seemingly be the start of their revolution, whereas in Iran the occupation came nine months after the victory of their revolution.

Iraq is not Iran, of course, but the recent events at the Baghdad embassy show that both cultures view the presence of the US in their country as a major, major source of domestic strife and problems.

The reason a US embassy occupation in Iraq is an historical inevitability is because – despite the “blame Iran” propaganda – there is no chance that the US and Iraqis can have a mutually beneficial co-existence due to:

1) the presence of American soldiers,

2) the three decades of violent war, sanctions and occupation waged by the US,

3) the network of corruption created by US capitalist-imperialist influence and ideology, which ensures only and always a subservient role for Iraq, and which purposely disempowers their full potential,

4) the very ideology, practices and culture of the Washington, which are predicated on competition, violence and corruption, which makes them fundamentally opposed to mutually-beneficial cooperation.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Source

By Staff, Bloomberg

An expanded soccer tournament, a direct flight, clandestine meetings and a pledge to release prisoners of war; diplomacy is breaking out as Gulf Arab nations back away from a Donald Trump-inspired confrontation with Iran. And the signs are everywhere.

Last week, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain played their first games of the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar after a last-minute decision to take part.

Meanwhile, Oman is quietly hosting high-level meetings, and even Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hinted at direct channels with the UAE.

Spooked by the prospect of a catastrophic war with Iran and its allies across the region, Gulf monarchies are in the midst of a strategic rethink. The UAE, whose economic model relies in large part on its international links, quickly realized it had most to lose from a military escalation. It had pulled out most of its troops from Yemen by the end of a turbulent summer that saw oil tankers targeted and a US drone downed in the Gulf without significant American response.

While the humanitarian catastrophe unleashed by the war on Yemen trained an unwelcome spotlight on Saudi Arabia, it took a brazen strike on Saudi oil installations – which knocked out half the country’s crude production – to ram home the risks and prove that Trump was not about to ride to his allies’ rescue.

“The attacks shattered any illusion of this magical US security umbrella,” said David Roberts, an assistant professor at King’s College London who studies the Gulf. “It burst the bubble and showed that Iran had the willingness to both do something astonishing like the attack on Aramco facilities and the capability to carry it out.”

In the meantime, the Trump administration withdrew last year from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], known commonly as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions that have crippled its oil exports.

Rolling back Iran’s power remains a priority for the Gulf Arab leadership. There’s an increasing recognition, however, that no one stands to gain from a military escalation in the world’s top oil-exporting region.

In search of a breakthrough, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, shuttled between Tehran and Riyadh in October. He met Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Sheikh Hassan Rouhani, as well as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman [MBS], describing talks as “encouraging.”

As they explore ways forward, Gulf States are moving at different speeds.

The UAE broke with the US and Saudi Arabia by not naming Iran as the culprit behind attacks in May and June on oil tankers as they sailed toward the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s foremost oil shipping chokepoint.

It sent coast guard officials to Iran for the first time in six years and Rouhani hinted at other meetings with senior UAE officials. “We’re moving toward improved relations,” he said Oct. 14. Saudi Arabia is catching up.

However, where the US holds back, others are crowding in. Russian President Vladimir Putin has forged a partnership with Iran, created an oil alliance with Saudi Arabia and built ties with Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who was warned by the US last month against plans to purchase Russian jets.

Putin traveled to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in October after visits by the Saudi king and the UAE’s de-facto leader Mohammad bin Zayed to Moscow. The two Gulf countries and Russia have signed deals valued at billions of dollars.

For Iran’s Rouhani, the case for regional engagement is obvious.

“Don’t you know that Iran is going to stay here and we will remain neighbors throughout history?” he has said, referring to Iran’s Arab neighbors. “Trump will only be around for a few years and will go back to whatever it was he was doing.”

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Another Meeting Between Netanyahu And Putin Is Expected On Thursday

Another Meeting Between Netanyahu And Putin Is Expected On Thursday

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 11, 2018. (Yuri Kadobnov / AFP / Getty Images)

South Front

03.04.2019

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Moscow on Thursday and hold a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the Israeli PM’s office announced on Tuesday.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the visit. However, he didn’t provide details regarding the agenda that will be discussed by the two leaders.

“An agreement has been reached that on April 4, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will fly to Moscow for a brief working visit. On April 4, such brief working talks will be held and the sides will synchronize their watches,” the Russian news agency, TASS, quoted Peskov as saying.

Netanyahu spoke with Putin over the phone last Monday. The two leaders discussed the situation in Syria and the continued coordination between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Russian military.

“You know how important this relationship is for Israel,” Netanyahu said after the phone call, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Last February, Netanyahu visited Russia for the first time since the downing of the Russian Il-20 intelligence plane over Syria in September of 2018. Moscow had held Tel Aviv responsible for the incident that led to the death of 15 Russian service members.

Netanyahu’s new visit to Moscow is taking place five days ahead of the Israeli elections. The prime minister has been working hard in the framework of his election campaign to present himself as a key power broker in the Middle East.

It’s expected that following the upcoming talks Netanyahu will claim that the sides have reached “understanding” and Moscow is de-facto supporting the U.S. decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israel as well as Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

More on this topic:

Netanyahu in Moscow: the selection of words نتنياهو في موسكو: انتقاء الكلمات

 Netanyahu in Moscow: the selection of words

مارس 18, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It is normal that the Turkish President Recep Erdogan and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are the last ones who want to recognize the Syrian victory, as it is normal that the maneuver in the battlefields and the prevarication in the commitment are the titles of their policy. The main beneficiary from the war on Syria, its destruction, and its fragmentation as a central pillar in the growing resistance axis is the occupation entity. And the aspiring party to dominate on the Arab and Islamic worlds to overthrow the heart of Arabism represented by Syria is the Justice and Development Party led by Recep Erdogan who combined his leaderships to form the Muslim Brotherhood along with his sticking to the capacities of Turkey the most important country in the region and his belonging to the NATO to form the main base for the aggression on Syria while he was dreaming of the new Ottoman.

The scrutiny of the Turkish and Israeli policies and movements must not be based on the expectation of the final recognition of the complete failure and loss, rather on the limitedness of their movement. It seems that the Russian presence in Syria is the title of the new equation on which the Turkish and Israeli considerations depend. In the same way, that the dropping of the Russian plane by Turkey in late 2015 was a gateway for a new equation drawn by Russia that made it draw the rules of engagement in Syria against Turkey, the dropping of the Russian plane by the occupation entity in late 2018 formed a similar event. And as the Turkish prevarication continued but under the ceiling of non –collision with Russia again, the occupation entity is doing the same. And as Erdogan remained talking about the Syrian threat on the security of Turkey, and undertakes to continue the military action, Netanyahu will remain talking about the threat on the security of the occupation entity and undertakes to continue the military action too.

Turkey does not offer anything positive for interpreting its pledges to Astana path, but at the same time it does not dare to do neither of these two things: a passive action that leads it to collision with the Syrian army and its allies. Second, the obstruction of any military action by the Syrian army and its allies against the armed groups. Turkey which remained talking about a safe zone which it wants to form by extracting a part of the Syrian geography by the force of occupation has become choosing its words. Therefore, the concept of the safe zone moved from the direct Turkish military control to the refusal of any domination, then to the refusal of any control is not trusted by Turkey just in order to meet the concept of Moscow to apply Adana Agreement and the preparation to be a partner in a border area in which the Russian military is deployed.

The occupation entity which will not abide by any positive commitment towards respecting the concept of the Syrian sovereignty has abided by two things; not to approach the Syrian airspace after the dropping of an Israeli aircraft by the Syrian air defense. Second, not to target vital locations of the Syrian army and governmental and civil figures of the Syrian sovereignty. The occupation entity which was talking about its intention to target the Iranian presence since the deployment of S-300 missiles in Syria has become choosing its words. After Netanyahu had talked that he would continue his raids, he talked before his visit to Moscow about an action against the Iranian presence without using military words, and now in Moscow he is using different words, that he will continue his work to prevent Iran from achieving its goals in Syria.

The decision of the leadership of the resistance axis resulting from the meeting which brought together the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Imam Ali Al Khamenaei on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is to repel any Israeli aggression accordingly. Moscow knew this decision notified to Netanyahu, so it advised to pay attention to the threat of a serious embroilment in an uncontrolled confrontation. Therefore Netanyahu chose his words so eloquently.

 Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

نتنياهو في موسكو: انتقاء الكلمات

فبراير 28, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– من الطبيعي أن يكون الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان ورئيس حكومة بنيامين نتنياهو آخر من يسلّم بالنصر السوري، وبسيادة غير منقوصة للدولة السورية. ومن الطبيعي أن تكون المناورة في الميدان والمراوغة في الالتزام هما عنوان سياسة كل منهما. فإذا كان من مستفيد رئيسي من الحرب على سورية لتدميرها وتفتيتها كقلعة مركزية في محور المقاومة وتنامي وتعاظم قوته في ظل القلق الوجودي من تعاظم وتنامي قوة هذا المحور، فهو كيان الاحتلال، وإذا كان من طامح للهيمنة على العالمين العربي والإسلامي من بوابة إسقاط قلب العروبة النابض الذي تمثله سورية، فهو حزب العدالة والتنمية بزعامة رجب أردوغان الذي جمع قيادته لتنظيم الأخوان المسلمين مع إمساكه بمقدرات تركيا الدولة الأهم في المنطقة، مع انتمائه لحلف الأطلسي، ليشكل القاعدة الرئيسية للعدوان على سورية وهو يعيش أحلام العثمانية الجديدة.

– المراقبة للسياسات والتحركات التركية والإسرائيلية، لا يجب أن تتم على خلفية وهم التوقع بلحظة تموضع نهائي عنوانه التسليم بالفشل الكامل والخسارة الكاملة، بل لاستكشاف درجة الضيق التي تعيشها هوامش الحركة المتاحة أمام كل منهما، وفي هذا المجال يبدو الحضور الروسي في سورية عنوان المعادلة الجديدة التي تتموضع عندها الحسابات التركية والإسرائيلية، وبمثل ما شكل إسقاط تركيا للطائرة الروسية نهاية العام 2015 مدخل رسم روسيا لمعادلة جديدة فتحت مسار تحكّم روسيا برسم قواعد الاشتباك في سورية بالنسبة لتركيا، شكل إسقاط جيش الاحتلال للطائرة الروسية في نهاية العام 2018 حدثاً مشابهاً، ومثلما استمرّت المراوغة التركية لكن تحت سقف عدم التصادم مجدداً مع روسيا، يسير كيان الاحتلال في الطريق ذاتها. ومثلما بقي أردوغان يتحدّث عن خطر على أمن تركيا من سورية ويتعهّد بمواصلة العمل عسكرياً ضده، سيبقى يتحدث نتنياهو عن خطر على أمن كيان الاحتلال ويتعهد بمواصلة العمل ضده.

– تركيا لم تُقدم على أي فعل إيجابي في ترجمة تعهداتها وفقاً لمسار أستانة، لكنها لم تجرؤ على أي من الأمرين التاليين، الأول هو فعل سلبي يوصلها إلى التصادم مع الجيش السوري وحلفائه، والثاني إعاقة عمل عسكري للجيش السوري وحلفائه بوجه الجماعات المسلحة، وتركيا التي بقيت تتحدّث عن المنطقة الآمنة التي تريد إقامتها باقتطاع جزء من الجغرافيا السورية بقوة الاحتلال، صارت تنتقي الكلمات فيتحرّك مفهوم المنطقة الآمنة من السيطرة العسكرية التركية المباشرة، إلى رفض أي سيطرة أخرى، إلى رفض أن تكون المنطقة بعهدة من لا تثق بهم تركيا، تمهيداً لملاقاة مفهوم موسكو لتطبيق اتفاق أضنة والاستعداد للدخول كشريك ضامن فيه ضمن منطقة حدودية تنتشر فيها الشرطة العسكرية الروسية.

– كبان الاحتلال الذي لن يقوم بتقديم أي التزام إيجابي نحو احترام مفهوم السيادة السورية، التزم بأمرين، الأول عدم التقرّب من الأجواء السورية منذ إسقاط الدفاعات الجوية السورية لطائرة إسرائيلية، والثاني الالتزام بعدم استهداف مواقع حيوية للجيش السوري ورموز حكومية ومدنية للسيادة السورية، وكيان الاحتلال الذي بقي بعد الإعلان عن نشر شبكة صواريخ الأس 300 في سورية، يتحدث عن نيته مواجهة واستهداف ما يصفه بالوجود الإيراني، صار ينتقي الكلمات في الحديث عن مضمون الاستهداف، فبعدما كان يقول نتنياهو إنه سيواصل غاراته، صار يتحدّث قبل زيارة موسكو عن العمل ضد الوجود الإيراني دون استخدام المفردات العسكرية. وهو في موسكو يستعمل كلمات أخرى، فيقول إنه سيواصل العمل لمنع إيران من تحقيق أهدافها في سورية.

– قرار قيادة محور المقاومة التي كان لقاء القمة للرئيس السوري بشار الأسد والإمام علي الخامنئي، منصتها الحاضرة عشية زيارة نتنياهو إلى موسكو، هو الردّ على كل عدوان إسرائيلي بما يتناسب معه كماً ونوعاً، وموسكو كانت بصورة هذا القرار الذي تبلّغه نتنياهو، مع نصيحة بالانتباه لمخاطر انزلاق جدي إلى مواجهة تخرج من تحت السيطرة، فجاءت البلاغة إلى لغة نتنياهو في انتقاء الكلمات.

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“AN AIRPORT FOR AN AIRPORT,” SYRIAN ARMY TO RESPOND TO ANY FUTURE ISRAELI ATTACKS – REPORT

South Front

16.12.2018

“An Airport For An Airport,” Syrian Army To Respond To Any Future Israeli Attacks – Report

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will respond to any Israeli attack on its bases as a part of a new policy, which was adopted by the Syrian leadership following the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane last September, the Kuwaiti al-Ra’i newspaper reported on December 15 citing a high-ranked Syrian official.

“Damascus is waiting for any Israeli strike on specific military targets to retaliate with a similar strike, this means that a strike on an airport in Syria will be met with a strike on an airport in Israel and so on,” the unnamed official told al-Ra’i.

According to the official, Moscow has given Damascus a green light to respond to any Israeli strike that would destroy Syrian military capabilities or kill foreign advisers supporting the SAA. Tel Aviv was reportedly warned of this new policy.

“Any strikes against Syrian or an Iranian targets will be targeting Russian forces, which will not allow Israel to kill its soldiers and officers directly or indirectly,” the official said describing the Russian warning to Israel.

The source went on to deny Israel’s claims regarding the destruction of the Syrian missile capabilities and revealed that Syria had received medium and long range missiles guided with the Russian satellite navigation system, GLONASS. The SAA will use these missiles to respond to any Israeli attack.

On November 29, Israel made its first attempt to hit targets inside Syria since the downing of the Il-20. However, Syria said that all Israeli missiles were successfully intercepted. To this day, there is not evidence that any position was hit in the Israeli attack.

The Ministry of Defense of Syria will not likely confirm or deny al-Ra’i’s report, as Damascus don’t reveal such strategic decisions usually.

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Israel complains Hezbollah evades airstrikes in Syria by flying Russian flag – report

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – The Israeli defense officials allegedly complained to their Russian counterparts in Moscow this week that Hezbollah was flying the Russian Federation’s flag above their bases in order to evade airstrikes.

According to the Russian-based Kommersant publication, Hezbollah has been flying the Russian flag over their installations in the Homs and Idlib provinces, as well as the Syrian desert.

“Israel complained to Russia that its flags were spotted atop compounds and military convoys belonging to Iran and its allies in Syria,” Ynet News reported, sourcing the Kommersant article.

Ynet News said they reached out to the spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF); however, no response was given.

While these claims may be true, the installations referenced in the Idlib and Hama province have a large Russian military presence.

In particular, the Abu Dhuhour Airport in southeast Idlib is primarily used by the Russian military and Syria’s Tiger Forces.

The Hama Airport and other installations in the province also have a large Russian presence, especially near the Tartous Governorate’s border.

Since the accidental downing of the Russian IL-20 reconnaissance airplane, Israel has refrained from launching any airstrikes deep inside of Syria’s territory.

The reason for Israel’s hesitation has a few theories, which include the delivery of the Russian S-300 to Syria and the strained ties between Tel Aviv and Moscow.

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Ankara stalls the Sochi agreement while Washington builds new military bases in Syria: some thoughts on the recent developments

December 13, 2018

by Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

Three months have passed since the Sochi areement on the so called Idlib demilitarized zone. The terms of the deal were that all jihadist rebels labelled as terrorists by all parties to the deal were to be evacuated out of the area. This responsibility would lie with Turkey due to Ankara’s clout among the jihadists. But so far there are no signs of jihadists leaving. As a matter of fact things are looking very much similar to the so called ceasefires brokered by Washington and Moscow, where jihadists used the ceasefires to rearm and regroup, only to launch new attacks and kill more Syrian soldiers and civilians the very next day. Let’s not also forget last months chemical weapons attack on Aleppo by the jihadist rebels. Ankara has essentially done nothing to prevent these jihadists from conducting daily attacks across the so called demilitarized zone and have on numerous occasions been called out by the Syrian government for their failure to implement the deal.

It could be argued that these ceasefires have always served to benefit at least one side of the warring parties, acting more like pauses for each side to lick their wounds and/or rotate troops. In the past, Washington used them to save their beleaguered jihadist proxies in Aleppo as the Syrian Army and their allies were about to break the deadlock after 4 years of battle.

But Moscow and Damascus have also used these ceasefires to their own advantage. When the Turkish-Iranian-Russian brokered ceasefire of last year was implemented, the Syrian Army were given a golden opportunity to move their troops and focus completely on the Islamic State threat, allowing the Syrian Army to recapture swathes of territory. This latest ceasefire came as a result of Ankara’s urging. The situation before the Sochi agreement was very tense, with the Astana process in danger as Syria and her allies were preparing themselves for a final blow on the last jihadist strongholds in the northern parts of the country, a move that Turkey has vehemently rejected and vowed to stop.

At the same time, Washington and its cohorts were preparing a new false flag chemical attack in Idlib to blame on Syrian government forces, creating another pretext for defending their beloved jihadists. As the situation was getting out of hand quickly, with Ankara even plotting to assist Washington with strikes against Damascus, Moscow saw no choice but to put the planned offensive on hold and enter the Sochi agreement with Ankara.

At that moment, it was the right decision for Moscow to make. Things were getting out of hand and needed to be de-escalated. But the poor way this agreement has been handled by Ankara must have the people over in Moscow thinking what their next move should be. Should they give the green light for a new Syrian Army offensive and risk confronting Turkish forces or has Ankara been bluffing all the way to the negotiations table?

Israel steps out of line

The costly mistake that the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv committed on September 17, when they caused the downing of an Il-20 ELINT reconnaissance plane, killing all 15 Russian servicemen on board, changed the situation on the ground. Thinking that it was business as usual, this act of aggression did not come without consequences for Syria’s enemies as this prompted Moscow to arm Syria with the fearsome S-300 missile system. Since then, Zionist warplanes have not entered Syria to attack Syrian and allied forces despite both Tel Aviv and Washington’s initial dismissal of the S-300 system as a non-threat to their air forces.

This begs the question; if the S-300 is a non-threat to their “superior aircraft”, then why have they been so vocal about their opposition to Moscow supplying the S-300 to Iran and Syria? If this system is so useless as they portray it, what does Washington have to fear? Indeed supplying the S-300 missile system to Syria has to be considered as greatly improving Syria’s ability to defend her airspace more efficiently. Should Israel attack Syria once more, they better be prepared to face a more powerful air defence this time.

With the air threat reduced (and Israeli warplanes in danger), Washington is intensifying its presence on the ground. Recently several US representatives, including Mike Pompeo have made it abundantly clear that Washington will remain in Syria until “Iranian forces have withdrawn”, which essentially means until regime change has been achieved. But getting “Iranian forces” out of Syria might not be Washington’s only headache.

A new front is about to be opened

Meanwhile Ankara is mobilizing its forces for a new operation aimed at the US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”. Responding to this escalation, Washington intensifies its presence in the north-eastern parts of Syria too.

If one is to believe the latest reports, Ankara has mobilized 14000 “rebels” for an operation in SDF territory. Defense Department spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson was quick to condemn this move.

“Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern,” Robertson said on Wednesday when asked about Turkey’s announcement. “We would find any such actions unacceptable… coordination and consultation between the US and Turkey is the only approach to address issues of security concern in this area.”

It remains to be seen what Ankara will make of this US threat and how Washington would respond if Ankara starts the operation. Anarchy still rules large parts of Syria. With no end to the ruthless fighting in sight, what does the year 2019 hold for Syria?

HAT-IN-HAND: U.S SADLY ASKS RUSSIA TO PLEASE ALLOW ISRAEL TO ATTACK SYRIA

Image result for HAT-IN-HAND: U.S SADLY ASKS RUSSIA TO PLEASE ALLOW ISRAEL TO ATTACK SYRIA

Source

Washington has been reduced now to mere hopes, hopes with great sincerity, that Russia will allow Israel attack Syria after the delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft systems, under the pretext of the prevalence of Iranian forces in Syria, the US ambassador to Syria, James Jeffrey, recently said.

“Russia has been permissive, in consultation with the Israelis, about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria. We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” James Jeffrey, Washington’s special representative to Syria said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

FRN notes that Jeffrey’s message contains a complex propaganda message – to date, Russia has not ‘allowed’ Israel to attack Iranian targets inside of Syria. Rather, Russia has withheld the use of its own anti-air hardware and limited its use to defending it’s own immediate installations, bases, and operatives in Syria. The content of this message, however, is to mislead the audience into believing that Russia to-date has maintained a policy which indeed it has not.

This mirrors Israeli propaganda put out several years ago during the height of the Syrian war, that Israel preferred Assad over the Islamic State, on the basis that Assad is secular and Islamism is an existential threat to Israel.

To relatively uninformed or casual audiences, this makes sense on the face of it. However, it was subsequently revealed that Israel was working hand-in-hand with both the Al-Qaeda wing of the FSA, as well as ISIS to overthrow the government of Syria.

The point of the propaganda, however, was aimed at Takfiris themselves – this helped takfiris of Daesh rationalize a Wahhabist-Qutbist-Mercenary invasion of Syria on the pretext that it was an ally of Israel.

In reality, Syria and Israel have been at a near state of war for many decades, with Israel occupying part of Syria during that time – the area of the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights is internationally recognized as Syrian territory occupied by Israel.

Likewise, propaganda that Russia has been permissive, or has the sort of political sway over Israel to allow it, in attacking Syria is meant to divide Syrian and Iranian public opinion about Russia’s mission in the region.

In reality, back in October, Russia delivered its anti-aircraft defense systems to Syria following the incident with an Il-20 plane that was likely shot down by a French Frigate, but Russia and Syria agreed to blame it on a Syrian S-200 due to Israeli fighter maneuvers, according to their official story. The desired result was the same – giving a pretext to directly arm Syria with the more advanced S-300 system which not only Syria but also the U.S greatly fears. And this result was arrived at without creating an international row with France, which would have produced nothing other than the desired results of the Atlanticist-Daesh-Zionist coalition aimed at undermining Russia, Iran, and Syria’s campaign to secure the sovereignty and self-determination of the Syrian people.

The incident in September further strained ties between Russia and Israel. According to some highly credible reports received by FRN, Moscow has repeatedly turned down requests by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Our immediate effort is to try to calm that situation down and then move on to a long-term solution,” the US envoy said with regards to the fallout between Moscow and Tel Aviv.

The diplomat said Washington was working to ensure that all Iranian military advisers leave Syria.

“The Russians, having been there before, would not in fact withdraw, but you’ve got four other outside military forces – the Israelis, the Turkish, the Iranian and the American – all operating inside Syria right now. It’s a dangerous situation,” Jeffrey said.

Iran is another important ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Israel regards Tehran as its main enemy and pledged to combat Iranian military growth on Syrian territory.

“Israel has an existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems … inside Syria to be used against Israel. We understand the existential interest and we support Israel,” Jeffrey said.

According to Jeffrey, the US aims to promote a political solution to the conflict and ensure that all foreign forces leave Syrian territory, with the exception of Russia.

Tehran, meanwhile, has said it will stay in the Arab country as long as President Assad wants to. Like Russia, Iran is in Syria at the official request of Damascus.

The Anglo-phonic liberal-left in the 1st world is generally confused about the Syrian war, and the role of Russia and Iran. Evaluating the progressiveness or lack-thereof of these governments on the basis of postmodern conceptions of gender and sexual identity, combined with somewhat hypocritical, if not impossible standards of power-relations adopted from anarchist schools of political theory, ones which they do not apply to their own imperial centers, produces a strange and tremendous level of equivocation.

In this view, which ultimately supports the aims of U.S imperialism, Russia and Iran’s activities in Syria are no better than those of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or the U.S. They are all ‘stronger countries’ involved in the affairs of a ‘weaker country’. This ignores the fact that Russia and Iran were invited by the Syrian government, are there legally; the Syrian government is not in power as a result of a color-revolution or coup backed by any foreign power of any kind. Therefore this is a question of sovereignty and the preservation of stability and peace as defined by the Geneva convention and the UN Charter, versus the imperialism of the ISIS and FSA-backing alliance, and not one of ‘all bad countries involved in Syria’.

نهايتها في أقرب الآجال «إسرائيل تلفظ أنفاسها الأخيرة

نوفمبر 1, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

كتب الصحافي الإسرائيلي جدعون ليفي قبل ما يقرب من العام مقالاً في صحيفة هآرتس الإسرائيلية، بدأه بالقول:

«إن طينة الفلسطينيين تختلف عن طينة بني البشر، فهم يخرجون لنا من تحت الأرض ومن تحت الرماد».

واختتمه بالقول:

«إن المرض السرطاني، الذي تعاني منه إسرائيل، قد بلغ مراحله النهائية، ولا سبيل لعلاجه لا بالأسوار ولا بالقبب الحديدية ولا حتى بالقنابل النووية….».

في هذه الأثناء تداولت وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية، ومن بينها صحيفة معاريف، خبراً نسبته الى مسؤول سياسي إسرائيلي رفض الإفصاح عن اسمه، يقول فيه إن سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي قد نفّذ غارة جوية ضد شحنة صواريخ إيرانية، عالية الدقة، مرسلة الى حزب الله اللبناني، بعد إسقاط طائرة اليوشن 20 العسكرية الروسية في أجواء اللاذقية السورية منتصف شهر أيلول الماضي.

طبعاً بإمكانكم، أيها المسؤولون الإسرائيليون المجهولو الهوية أن تكذبوا وتضللوا كيانكم. لكنّ أكاذيبكم هذه مكشوفة وسخيفة وواضحة الأهداف عندما يقرأها المواطن العربي الذي يتابع هذيانكم.

وذلك للأسباب التالية:

أولاً: إن هذا الخبر كذب معزّز ولَم بحصل على الإطلاق، وأن الهدف من وراء نشره لا يعدو كونه محاولة بائسة، من مكتب نتن ياهو ووزير حربه، لتبرير عجزهم عن مواجهة الصواريخ الفلسطينية المنطلقة من غزة، وذلك بحجة أن الجيش الإسرائيلي منشغل في وضع الجبهة الشمالية.

ثانياً: إن هذا يتنافى مع معطيات الميدان التي تؤكد عدم قدرة سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي حتى على الاقتراب من الأجواء السورية ناهيك عن دخولها وتنفيذ غارات داخل سورية وذلك نتيجة تفعيل وسائل دفاع جوي وحرب إلكترونية سورية، منذ إسقاط الطائرة الروسية، وربط شبكات الدفاع الجوي السورية مع تلك الروسية، سواء في قاعدة حميميم أو في قيادة الدفاع الجوي الروسي في موسكو.

ثالثاً: إن هذه الأخبار التي يتم نشرها، تحاول تهدئة روع الإسرائيليين، من خلال إقناعهم بأن الجيش الإسرائيلي قادر على منع حصول حزب الله على أسلحة إضافية شديدة الدقة. أي نشر الأوهام الواهية، التي تعبر عن عجزكم في فهم حقيقة أنه لم يعد هناك شيء اسمه سلاح حزب الله وسلاح الجيش السوري وسلاح المقاومة السورية إلى جانب السلاح العراقي والإيراني.

عليكم أن تفهموا أن هناك جبهة واحدة، في مواجهتكم، تمتد من غزة عبر جنوب لبنان مروراً بالجولان السوري وصولاً الى كل العراق واليمن وإيران، وأن هناك غرفة عمليات مشركة واحده تدير قوات حلف المقاومة على امتداد مسرح العمليات هذا. وبالتالي فإن هناك سلاحاً واحداً موحداً تحت تصرّف هذه القوات، التي من بينها قوات حزب الله.

مما يعني أن كل السلاح الموجود في مخازن الجيش الإيراني والعراقي والسوري هو سلاح تحت تصرف قوات حركات المقاومة العربية المنتشرة على جميع الجبهات المشار إليها أعلاه.

كفوا عن الكذب والتضليل الذي لن يفيدكم في شيء. اللهم إلا أن كذبكم هذا على أنفسكم سيزيد من هول صدمتكم عندما « تقع الفأس في الرأس» كما يقول المثل. أي عندما يحين وقت البدء بتنفيذ المرحلة الأخيرة من هجوم قوات حلف المقاومة والذي سيكون هدفه النهائي هو تحرير القدس وكل فلسطين.

لن تفيدكم حقن التخدير هذه، التي تحاولون تخدير جمهوركم بها، من خلال التركيز على سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي وقدراته «وتفوقه»…!

لم يعد لديكم قدرات جوية تخيف أحداً، على الرغم من استمرار عدوانيتكم وتعطشكم للدماء ورغبتكم في القتل. فخبراء شركة بوينغ الأميركية الذين تفاوضهم وزارة حربكم لشراء طائرات أف 35 من نوع ب التي تقلع عمودياً وتهبط عمودياً لهم رأي آخر في سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي وقدراته التي ستذروها الرياح في أي حرب مقبلة، فاذهبوا واسمعوا منهم تقييمهم الفني الهندسي الحقيقي. فلعل عقلكم المحدود يستوعب الكارثة التي تنتظركم عما قريب حيث لن تنفعكم وقتها لا عنترياتكم ولا عنصريتكم ولا إجرامكم ولا أعراب الخليج الذين تعتقدون أنهم سيشكلون عمقاً استراتيجياً لكم.

الحرب تبدأ في فلسطين والسلم ينشأ في فلسطين…

أما سلاطين الخليج فلا شك في أنهم مثلكم راحلون وبائدون…!

ولمن لم يعتبر بعد نذكره ما كتبه الصحافي والمحلل الإسرائيلي آري شافيط، يوم نشر مقالاً في صحيفة هآرتس الإسرائيلية، في آب من العام 2017، تحت عنوان:

«إسرائيل تلفظ أنفاسها الأخيرة»

المقال الذي لا زال يقضّ مضاجع نتن ياهو ورهطه من الوزراء رغم زيارتهم الاستعراضية لسلطنة عمان، حيث كتب شافيط:

«انتهى الأمر، يجب توديع الأصدقاء والانتقال الى سان فرانسيسكو أو برلين. ومن هناك يجب النظر بهدوء ومشاهدة دولة إسرائيل وهي تلفظ أنفاسها الأخيرة». مستطرداً: «أن الإسرائيليين منذ أن جاءوا الى فلسطين يدركون أنهم حصيلة كذبة اخترعتها الحركة الصهيونية… ومن خلال استغلال المحرقة وتضخيمها استطاعت الحركة الصهيونية أن تقنع العالم بأن فلسطين هي أرض الميعاد… وهكذا تحوّل الذئب حملاً يرضع من دافعي الضرائب الأميركيين والأوروبيين حتى بات وحشاً نووياً»…!

إنه الزوال يا «إسرائيل « في أقرب الآجال..!

وتلك الأيام نداولها بين الناس.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله.

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IDF GENERAL CLAIMS ISRAELI AIR FORCE WILL FEEL NO DIFFERENCE IF SYRIA USES S-300

South Front

29.10.2018

S-300 air defense systems suppiled by Russia to the Syrian Armed Forces is not a real threat for the Israeli Air Force. The Israeli military and political leadership is not concerned. So, they have been repeating this since the end of September. On Ocotber 29, the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik released The Sputnik article is below (source):

IDF General Claims Israeli Air Force Will Feel No Difference If Syria Uses S-300

Illustrative image: Valeriy Melnikov / Sputnik

Israeli forces have no plans to target Russian-made S-300 air defense systems in Syria if the Syrian army uses them in a way that poses no threat to Israel, former Israeli deputy chief of staff and ex-head of the National Security Council Gen. Uzi Dayan told Sputnik in an interview.

“I hope very much that Syria will not misuse these missiles [S-300], because if Syria tries to intercept Israeli aircraft or fighter [jets], we will have to respond. It has already happened and it is not going to be different even if S-300 are involved. We are not going to initiate any attacks on these weapons but at the same time, these weapons do not have any immunity. We hope very much that the coordination between Israel and Russia will continue… We hope that Syrians will not make silly mistakes like it was done with the Ilyushin affair,” Dayan said.

He considers Russia’s decision to deliver S-300 systems to Syria after the incident with the Il-20 to have been inappropriate.

On October 2, Moscow completed its deliveries of S-300 systems to Damascus in a bid to increase the safety of the Russian troops deployed in the Middle Eastern country. The air defense upgrade was announced after a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 military plane was downed on September 17 by a missile launched by a Syrian S-200 air defense system targeting Israeli F-16 jets that were carrying out airstrikes in Latakia. The Russian Defense Ministry has blamed the crash on the Israeli Air Force, claiming that the Israeli jets used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems.

The Il-20 crash claimed the lives of 15 Russian troops. Israel has refuted the accusations and insisted that Moscow was warned about the air operation in a timely manner.

Israel-Iran Armed Confrontation

Speaking about the possibility of a military confrontation with Iran, Uzi Dayan told Sputnik that Israel would consider deterring Tehran only as a last option.

“If Iran continues to build an outpost in Syria, Israel will not be able to accept it. I do not think it will lead to a bigger clash… If Iran continues to try to achieve a nuclear capability, we think that Iran should be stopped. It is better to do it with sanctions, diplomatic efforts… boycotting the oil of Iran… We should continue to put pressure on Iran… Can Israel stop Iran? The answer is ‘Yes’ but we want to use it [military means] only as the last choice… Iran can be deterred but you do not deter a country like Iran with an ’empty gun,’” Dayan said.

According to Dayan, Israel does not support the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), because the agreement only “freezes the situation” and “does not take Iran backward” from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Dayan also called Trump’s policy on Iran “right.”

Trump’s Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal

The remark referred to Washington’s decision, announced in May, to withdraw from the JCPOA, which stipulated the gradual lifting of sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. Commenting on the decision, US President Donald Trump stated that he expected to negotiate a better and fairer deal with Iran.After withdrawing from the JCPOA, Washington has started to reimpose its sanctions against Iran. The first round of the US restrictions came into force in August, while the next package, set to target Iran’s oil sector, among others, is scheduled for November 5. More sanctions are expected to follow.
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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – OCTOBER 26, 2018: US MILITARY PLANE OPERATED UAVS THAT ATTACKED RUSSIAN AIRBASE IN SYRIA

South Front

A US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane operated 13 unmanned aerial vehicles that attacked Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria on January 6, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin said at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security on October 25.

“Thirteen UAVs moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew. During all this time the American Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane patrolled the Mediterranean Sea area for eight hours,” Colonel General Alexander stated adding that when the UAVs faced Russian “electronic warfare screen, they moved away to some distance, received the corresponding orders and began to be operated out of space and receiving help in finding the so-called holes through which they started penetrating.”

Despite this, seven UAVs were downed, and control over six drones was gained through electronic warfare systems.

Colonel General Fomin also emphasized that it’s needed “to put an end to the provision of money, weapons, equipment and various substances to terrorists, including chemical ingredients used during the so-called chemical attacks that are later blamed on the Syrian government.” He noted that most of these tools and means were produced in foreign countries, particularly NATO member states.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed that Israel “will not accept any restrictions” on Israeli freedom of operation in Syria. Liberman commented on the recent reports by Israeli media that Russia wants to reshape the format of the Moscow-Tel-Aviv contacts and demands Israel to provide earlier warning of strikes.

After the incident with the Russian IL-20 military plane in Syria, Moscow already noted that Israel ignores the existing hot-line agreement and provides a false and untimely info on its actions in the war-torn country. The Russian Defense Ministry openly pointed out that the IL-20 plane was downed by Syrian air defense fire because of “hostile actions” of Israel. In response, Russia supplied S-300 systems to the Syrian military.

This week Israel’s ImageSat International has released a group of satellite images alleging that the deployment site of the Syrian S-300 system is located near the village of Masyaf in the province of Hama.

The situation remains tense in the Idlib demilitarization zone where militant groups continue shelling targets in the government–held area. The situation is especially complicated in the countryside of Aleppo where the Syrian Army is even forced to carry out active retaliatory strikes.

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Israel Trains to Counter the S-300 and Russia Expands Towards Lebanon

Netanyahu_F-35_Adir_924b0.jpg

The Israeli Air Force is conducting intensive maneuvers with its F-35 Adirs along with F-16s over Lebanese airspace to counter the threat posed by the S-300 missiles delivered by Moscow to Damascus, so that Tel Aviv can regain its bombing of targets in Syria. Despite the lack of available data on S-300 efficiency, the presence of these missiles represents a danger to the Israeli Air Force and its violation of Lebanese and Syrian airspace. It is clear that Israel will not cease testing Syrian patience, violating the country’s airspace using the excuse of “protecting its own national security”.

Informed sources said: “Tel Aviv and Moscow have never ceased their regular coordination to monitor and avoid air incidents over the Levant. The downing of the Russian IL-20 and the death of all its 15 crewmen forced Israel to communicate its belligerent intentions much ahead of time to Russia, to put its jets and personnel in safety. Indeed, it was the downing of the IL-20 that speeded up Russia’s delivery of the long-awaited S-300 to Syria.

Although Russia possesses high-frequency VHF, tracking systems and radar capable of detecting the F-35 and making it visible, it is another matter to shoot it down with the S-300. Russia’s answer to this theory? “Let the Israelis test our system and we shall see the results”.

However, Israel can fly low, violating Lebanese airspace and avoiding Syrian radar so as to hit objectives in Syria from afar. To avoid this only too plausible scenario, Syria needs to establish a missile protected radar coverage on the eastern chain of mountains on its border with Lebanon, so as to be able to “see” all Israeli jets and the air movement above Lebanon and Israel at all times.

The Russian position hasn’t changed and it will keep its distance from the Israeli – “Axis of the Resistance” (Iran-Syria-Hezbollah) struggle. Russia is trying its best to avoid failure in the Middle East and to impose peace- or at least a state of non-war. This is translated by the numerous Astana meetings and the chance given to Turkey to reduce the danger of Jihadists in Idlib, to avoid a large-scale attack on the city and its rural areas. Moscow is also offering a possibility – through active negotiation – to the US to pull out its troops from the Iraq-Syria crossing, al-Tanf, that has become a burden on Washington’s forces, due to the presence of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to feed, offer medical attention and protect. Moreover, Russia has never ceased its contact with the Kurds in al-Hasaka and Deir-ezzour (under US occupation), to keep the connection for after the US withdrawal and to work on the reconciliation between the Syrian government and the Kurds.

But that is not the only Russian activity in the Levant: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has invited to Moscow many Lebanese officials and political party leaders, meeting these there. Bogdanov, according to sources who actually attended these meetings, appears well informed about Lebanese dynamics and is asking the Lebanese about their preference for the new identity of the (new) President. This practice hasn’t been carried out by Russia for decades and indicates today its plans to stay in the Middle East, maybe replacing the US-EU role, or at least sharing the dominance of, and influence on, the region.

According to these sources, Bogdanov spoke also about Hezbollah, describing the organization as being composed of “disciplined and great fighters”. Thousands of Hezbollah fought along-side with Russian forces in Syria in the last years of war.

“Hezbollah is standing in the way of Israel’s plans of expansion in the Lebanon. Nevertheless, Russia doesn’t have animosity towards Israel or Hezbollah, she is trying to conserve a peaceful status that imposes a non-war relationship between Israel and Hezbollah”, said the source quoting the Russian official.

Sources informed about Russia’s policy said “Moscow’s relationship with Iran and Hezbollah blossoms when the US and the West establish a bad relationship with Russia. It is therefore not right to count on Russia to play an active role: Moscow has decided to hold the stick in the middle”.

Russia doesn’t inform its partners in Syria about Israeli intentions and bombing as long as its plan in the Levant is not affected and that the Israeli bombing is limited. However, the Israelis have managed to destroy most of the Syrian Army military warehouses, weakening its capability. Russia brought in the S-300 not only for the downing of the IL-20 but also to re-establish and preserve this balance. Nevertheless, sources close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad say “Syria has many cards still to be played, in due course”.

“A balance of power can be established between Israel and Syria, similar to the one imposed by Hezbollah in 1996 and in the year 2006 (bombing settlements when Israel bombs indiscriminate targets). Nevertheless, this equation is today premature for Syria to impose because of an extra factor: the US presence in al-Tanaf and al-Hasaka. Also, Turkish forces are still in Idlib and the danger from Jihadists is not yet over”, said the source.

Israel will find it difficult to stop targeting objectives in Syria, while Damascus has the finger on the trigger of the S-300 and other anti-air missiles. It is not certain how long Moscow will be able to hold onto its neutral stand, particularly now that its sphere of influence seems enlarging beyond Syria and expanding towards Lebanon.

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

Soros color revolution in Syria?

October 07, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

As the observers and analysts of events in the Middle East were busy looking at the aftermath of the downing of the IL-20 and the deployment of the S-300 in Syria, a great new danger is now looming.

President Assad issued a legislative decree (Decree No 16) and which is intended to reform the ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments). The “Awqaf” is a Sunni Muslim tradition that has been around for centuries, and its role is to manage the funds of family trusts. After the dismembering of the Ottoman Empire, the new states separated their own “Awqaf” and established their own religious bodies to manage these affairs and funds.

Much has been said in the Arab World about Presidential Decree No. 16, but in reality, nothing has been said about its actual contents and context. When I began reading criticisms of it, they gave the impression that the Decree is handing over the executive authority of Syria to the Sunni Clergy. Videos made and posted by Syrian activists expressed grave concern about Syria following the footsteps of Saudi Arabia in imposing Shariah law on the streets of Syria. There are countless posts reiterating that they are against the imposition of Shariah dress on Syrian women and other similar concerns and linking this to the Decree. There was also confusion about the origin of the Decree and a great deal of criticism of the Minister of Awqaf as the man allegedly being behind it all.

This soon developed into a wave of paranoia and fury that dragged in many normally sombre and serious analysts and activists into supporting the outrage and expressing deep concern and even anger against the government.

I observed all these developments with great concern, not knowing if they were based on any reasonable foundations because I did not really see the actual wording of the Decree in question. The confusion relating to the origin of the Decree, among other things, made it difficult to Google, however I finally managed to find it.

To begin with, and contrary to the statements of many its critics, it is a Presidential Decree and not one originating from the Minister as these critics claimed. It is a 37 page document comprised of 7 sections and each section is divided into chapters. As I sat down to read it, I began to doubt if it was the actual document that the whole uproar was about. I therefore decided to write an Arabic extract of the main and relevant points it mentioned. The extract was quote-unquote based so that I do not use my own words. The emphasis was on matters of political power and religious power, whilst matters relating to financial management and the like were skimmed through very briefly. The link provided herein is for the Arabic post I made. https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2018/10/3-october-2018.html I am not going to translate this to English and I apologize for that. Those who are interested in an English translation can use online translators and whilst these services have their limitations, they are nonetheless good enough to relay the main underlying context.

In brief, the Decree does not separate the State from the Sunni Muslim institution, this is true. However, it puts the religious institution under the hand and authority of the Civil Government. This, in my humble view, is a bold Presidential step towards full secularism.

The Decree imposes regulations on religious activities, teaching, preaching and other related matters, to ensure that extremism namely Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood are kept out and that Muslims are taught that they can be good Muslims and good Syrian citizens at the same time.

Sadly, experience has taught us that if Sunni religious institutions are left alone, they can be infiltrated by prejudiced fanatic zealots who can in the future, potentially reignite the fire. If anything, Decree no. 16 takes precautionary measures to ensure this doesn’t happen.

I did not see in the Decree any allusion to the imposition of Shariah code dress on women, and quite frankly, I did not see anything in it that justifies the outrage.

As I was in the beginning wondering if I was reading the actual document that had caused the outrage, I ended up wondering if the ones doing the outrage have read it at all or even bothered to try to Google it and find it.

The War on Syria has not finished and, over the years I have written many articles about directions that the enemies of Syria took it in order to morph the war and reshape it in their favour. What Syria now needs is rationality and education. It’s a good start to have faith and confidence in the leadership and Decrees of the President, but this trust can be further bolstered by actually looking at facts and discussing the Decree for what it says and not by attributing it to the words of some extremist clerics and making judgements made on totally irrelevant criteria.

However, the current voices of dissent in Syria are led by supporters of the Syrian Government in its war, they are led by alleged “reformers” and scholars, who are twisting facts and feeding the public with disinformation alleging that the said decree is a sell out to the Islamists. With the great help of Intibah (my wife) I have caught them out, and was able to demonstrate that they are either lying deliberately, or that they have issued statements about the decree without reading it.

Those stirrers are trying hard, and very hard, to give the educated secular youth the impression that the government is intent to allow their sacrifices to go in vain. The campaign is spearheaded by some scholars and a member of the Popular Assembly (Parliament) by the name of Nabil Saleh. Saleh is an independent MP who has placed himself against the war on Syria, but not in support of the politics of the Government. He identifies himself as a reformer, a fighter for justice and rationality. However, the campaign of disinformation he is leading does not seem to be based on any rationality at all, but rather on deliberate twists and misinterpretations of Decree No 16. All the while the Grand Mufti Hassoun seems to be keeping silent.

The campaign is splitting the victors of the war on a very basic issue. Even the grass-root constituencies that have supported the Assad legacy for decades are getting inflamed and angry. What is really dangerous here is that as this campaign is giving the false impression that fundamentalist Sunni Islam is winning the battle of government legislation, confused members of other religions are now asking what is in it for them and why did they make all those sacrifices?

My fear is that if this wave of disinformation grows, it will (God forbid) produce the real civil war that Syria did not have. In my Arabic writings, I have been urging readers to develop informed views and asking for calm, but my voice does not travel as far and as loud as the voices of the stirrers.

Now, Syrians have been “asked” to wear red at 4 pm on Tuesday (the 9th of October) in protest to the Decree. Sounds familiar?

Everything about this current hysteria, beginning with disinformation, fearmongering and ending with “Red Tuesday”, are all hallmarks of a Soros-sponsored colour revolution. Did the Western infiltrators who penetrated Syria’s security defences (and whom I and others have warned about repeatedly) establish sleeper cells that have been now activated? Incidentally, the colour red is considered by fundamentalist Muslims as lustful and provocative for women to wear. The choice of the colour perhaps underlies a subtle statement to this effect.

This is spiralling out of control, and the way I see it, President Assad has a few options:

  1. Charge the provocateurs with maliciously spreading disinformation and causing civil strife. This option will however turn Saleh and others in living martyrs and may intensify the situation further.
  2. Ignore the public anger in the hope that it will recede and go away, but such an action may anger the protestors even more and push them to escalate their action.
  3. Or simply to withdraw Decree No 16 even though it is a very good piece of legislation. Such a withdrawal will hopefully absorb the current hysteria and provides the Government with time to deal with whom and what was behind it.

The S-300 may now be giving Syria security in the skies, but those who are stirring the mud are creating a new grave danger on the streets.

«إسرائيل» تخشى حرب استنزاف

 

أكتوبر 4, 2018

«إسرائيل» تخشى حرب استنزاف

على الجبهة الشمالية واختفاء الكيان!

محمد صادق الحسيني

في ظل الإحباط الشديد، الذي يسود الأوساط العسكرية والأمنية «الإسرائيلية»، نتيجة تراكم انتصارات حلف المقاومة على كامل مسرح المواجهة، خاصة انتصارات الميدان السوري، وبالرغم من الهرطقات التي يحاول نتن ياهو تسويقها على انها حقائق ومعلومات، سواء تلك الخاصة بإيران أو المسرحية الهزلية الخاصة بلبنان، وجدنا لزاماً علينا أن نطمئن جمهور المقاومة وكل الأحرار في العالم.

وكذلك تجمّع المستوطنين اليهود في فلسطين المحتلة والذين يطلق عليهم البعض تسمية «الإسرائيليين» بأن الوضع المعنوي والنفسي لجيش الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» وقادة مختلف صنوف أسلحته ليست على ما يرام. وإليكم الأسباب:

أولاً: التصريح الصحافي، الذي ادلى به المستشار الجديد للرئيس الأميركي لشؤون سورية يوم 28/9/2018 جيمس جيفيري James Jeffrey، على هامش أعمال الجمعية العمومية للأمم المتحدة، والذي قال فيه: «ليس لدينا توجّهات لإجبار الإيرانيين على مغادرة سورية إضافة الى اننا لا نعتقد ان الروس سيستطيعون إخراج الإيرانيين من سورية» على افتراض أنهم قرروا ذلك .

وهذا الكلام واضح لا لَبْس فيه: إقرار بعجز الولايات المتحدة وأذنابها عن تغيير موازين القوى في الميدان السوري وترك جيش نتن ياهو يواجه مصيره المحتوم: الهزيمة المدمّرة في الحرب المقبلة مع قوات حلف المقاومة.

ثانياً: إن رئيس أركان الجيش «الإسرائيلي»، الجنرال غادي إيزنكوت وقائد سلاح الجو «الإسرائيلي»، الجنرال عاميكام نوركين، كانا يعتقدان أنهما من نسور الجو في السماء السورية، ولكن أحداث مساء 17/9/2018 أثبتت عكس ذلك. إذ إن طياري هذا السلاح حاولوا التغطية على فشلهم في تنفيذ مهمتهم عن طريق إسقاط الطائرة الروسية، اليوشن 20، مما أدى الى استشهاد 15 ضابطاً من خيرة الضباط الروس في مجال الاستطلاع الإلكتروني.

لكن التطورات التي شهدها الميدان السوري، خاصة في مجال التسلّح وتطوير وسائط الدفاع الجوي والحرب الإلكترونية، والتي أعقبت إسقاط الطائرة الروسية والزيارة الفاشلة لقائد سلاح الجو «الإسرائيلي» الى موسكو، وقيام وزير الدفاع الروسي، الجنرال سيرجي شويغو، بالإعلان عن تلك الإجراءات شخصياً، قد جعل الموقف «الإسرائيلي» ينزلق الى وضع دراماتيكي جداً.

ثالثاً: وهذا ما أكده تصريح مستشار مجمع الصناعات المختص بتكنولوجيا الاتصالات الراديو إلكترونية Radio- Electronic Technologies، السيد فلاديمير ميخييف Vladimir Micheyev، والذي قال فيه: «إن أنظمة الدفاع الجوي السورية وانظمة الحرب الإلكترونية السورية التي تم تشغيلها بعد إسقاط الطائرة الروسية قادرة على رصد أية طائرة «إسرائيلية» أو سعودية أو أي طائرة تنطلق من القواعد الأميركية هناك أو في الاْردن أو حتى أوروبية وهي لا زالت على الأرض. أي بمجرد أن تتحرك أي طائرة «إسرائيلية» أو أوروبية أو من القواعد الأميركية في أوروبا من العنبر باتجاه مدرج الإقلاع تقوم الرادارات وأجهزة الرصد الإلكتروني السورية بالتقاطها ورصدها وإعطائها رقماً أو رمزاً كود فيتم إدخاله إلى أدمغة بطاريات الصواريخ، الروسية والسورية، المضادة للطائرات التي تبدأ التعامل العملياتي معه قبل الانطلاق مما يجعل نسبة النجاح في أسقاط الهدف تصل إلى ما يزيد على 98 .

فهل يفهم جنرالات وضباط أركان العدو معنى هذا الكلام!؟

إنه يعني قدرة أسلحة الدفاع الجوي السورية على ضرب أي طائرة من طائراتكم قبل أن تتحرك من مكانها. أي أن أجواء كلّ من سورية ولبنان وفلسطين المحتلة وغيرها قد أصبحت منطقة حظر طيران يمنع عليكم القيام بأي نشاط جوي عملي ومؤثر فيها اللهم إلا للاستعراض..!

وهذا بالضبط هو الدافع الذي جعل مستشار ترامب لشؤون سورية يبشّركم بعدم قدرة الولايات المتحدة على إخراج إيران من سورية وبالتالي انعدام وجود أي إمكانية لديكم للتأثير في موازين القوى الميدانية في ساحات المواجهة، من باب المندب مروراً بقطاع غزة ولبنان وفلسطين وصولاً الى العراق وإيران.

رابعاً: وبالإضافة الى ما تقدم، حول قدرات الدفاعات الجوية السورية وأجهزة الحرب الإلكترونية، فإن ما يزيد الوضع الاستراتيجي «الإسرائيلي» تعقيداً وكارثية، وليس الوضع التكتيكي فقط والمتصل بإمكانيات محاولة تنفيذ عمليات إغارة جوية أو قصف صاروخي لأهداف عسكرية في الأراضي السورية، إن ما يزيد هذا الوضع تعقيداً هو تفعيل القيادتين الروسية والسورية لمنظومات الدفاع الجوي من طراز /يبشورا / ام 2 / Pechorsa M 2 والذي يسمى أيضاً: نيفا / اس 125 / Neva – S 125 والمخصص للتصدي للأهداف الجوية التي تطير على ارتفاعات منخفضة جداً، سواء كانت مروحيات أو صواريخ جوالة صواريخ كروز مثل التوماهوك أو غيرها من الأهداف الجوية التي قد تنفذ بمعنى تفلت من أو تخترق النظام من شبكة صواريخ أس 300 وأس 400 .

أي أن تكامل هذه الأنظمة أصبح يقدم حماية أو مظلة جوية قادرة، وبنسبة 100 على تأمين أجواء كافة المدن والمنشآت العسكرية والمدنية الهامة في كافة أنحاء سورية ولبنان.

خامساً: ولكل الأسباب المذكورة أعلاه، مضاف اليها خوف القادة العسكريين والمدنيين في «إسرائيل» من مفاجآت أخرى، على صعيد القدرات التسليحية لقوات حلف المقاومة، فإن وضع هؤلاء القادة يسوده الإحباط الشديد والخوف مما يخبئه لهم المستقبل، خاصة أن قادة «إسرائيل» قد تولّدت لديهم قناعة بأن الموقف الروسي تجاه كيانهم قد أصبح موقفاً معادياً ولَم يعد موقفاً متشدداً أو منتقداً فقط.

وهو بالتالي بدأ يقترب من موقف الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق من «إسرائيل» والذي كان موقفاً مؤيداً للعرب بلا تحفظ.

وبكلمات أخرى، فإن موجة الرعب التي تجتاح الكيان «الإسرائيلي» لا بد أن يكون أحد أسبابها هو القناعة «الإسرائيلية» بأن روسيا تؤسس لحرب استنزاف جديدة ضدّ الجيش «الإسرائيلي» على الجبهة الشمالية تذكر بحرب الاستنزاف التي خاضتها مصر عبد الناصر على جبهة قناة السويس ومعها قوات الثورة الفلسطينية في الأردن حتى سنة 1970 وفي الجولان السوري حتى عامي 1972/1973. تلك الحرب التي مهدت الطريق أمام انطلاق حرب تشرين 1973 والانتصار الذي تحقق خلالها.

سادساً: لا بد من القول لـ«جنرالات» الجيش «الإسرائيلي» بأنه آن الأوان لتقديم أحر التعازي لكم بـ «الجيش الذي لا يُقهر» وبسلاح الجو «المتفوق» والذي «كان يملك» السيطرة الجوية في اجواء «الشرق الأوسط «…!.

وإلى اللقاء مع صواريخ بيشورا / 2 / وما بعد بعد بيشورا /2 / Pechora 2 .

في هذه الأثناء ثمة من يسأل:

هل اقتربت نهاية «إسرائيل» كما تنقل تقارير تتحدث عن هجرة مليونية تنتظرها روسيا وأميركا من الكيان..!؟

يكفي في هذا السياق التذكير بأن يهود اميركا شكلوا أخيراً ميليشيا أسموها: سيف داود / تعدادها 300 ألف مسلّح يتم تدريبهم والإشراف على تشكيلاتهم العسكرية من قبل ضباط متقاعدين في الجيش «الإسرائيلي».

الهدف من وراء ذلك هو: حماية اليهود من حملات الإبادة في الولايات المتحدة مستقبلاً، كما يقول هؤلاء!

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله.

Will London, Paris And Tel-Aviv Be Sanctioned By Moscow And Washington?

Image result for nasser, assad

 

On 17 September 2018, France, Israël and the United Kingdom carried out a joint operation against Syrian targets. During the brief moments of combat, a Russian reconnaissance plane was brought down by Syrian ’friendly fire’. Study of the recordings shows that an Israëli F-16 had flown hidden behind the Ilyushin Il-20 in order to confuse the Syrian Air Defences.

The destruction of a Russian military aircraft by the fault of Israël, during a joint operation by the United Kingdom, France and Israël, caused consternation in all the chancelleries. Since the start of hostilities in Syria seven years ago, if there were a ’red line’, it was that the different protagonists should never endanger Russian, US, or Israëli forces.

We are sure about very little of what actually happened, except that :

- a British Tornado took off from Cyprus to land in Iraq. During the flight, it violated Syrian air space in order to scan the Syrian defences and make the allied attack possible.
- less than an hour later, four Israëli F-16s and a French frigate, L’Auvergne, fired on targets in the Syrian governorate of Lattakia. The Syrian air defences protected their country by firing their S-200s against the French and Israëli missiles.
- During the battle, an F-16 used a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 as a shield. The Ilyushin was flying a surveillance mission over the area, localising jihadist drone launch sites. The Syrian defences fired a missile, aiming for the thermal signal of the Israëli aircraft. Theoretically, therefore, it could have destroyed the Russian plane by mistake.

This is, however, implausible, because S-200 missiles are equipped with a reconnaissance system able to distinguish between friendly and enemy targets, which the Russian Minister for Defence successively confirmed, then denied. In any case, the Ilyushin was destroyed, without our knowing for certain how, or by whom.

The cowardice of the British and French leaders led them to censor all information concerning their responsibility in this operation. London made no comment, and Paris denied the facts. Neither the BBC, nor France-Television dared to mention the subject. For these two countries, more than ever, the reality of external politics is excluded from the democratic debate.

Immediate interpretation of the events

We do not know if the destruction of the Russian aircraft (causing the death of the 15 men on board) can be blamed on the Israëli pilot – which seems highly unlikely – on the Israëli army, or on the alliance which carried out the attack.

Il-20
Russian aircraft  Ilyushin Il-20

On the answer to this question hangs the possibility of conflict between four nuclear powers. The situation is therefore extremely serious. It has no precedent since the creation of the Russian Federation, at the end of 1991.

The British-French-Israëli aggression is the response by these three countries to the Russian-Turkish agreement signed only a few hours earlier at Sotchi. It came into play after the US refusal, at the beginning of September, to bomb Syria under false pretences, and the sending of a US delegation into the Arab world in order to express its disagreement with the British-French initiatives.

The Sotchi agreements were signed by Turkey under intense pressure from Russia. In Teheran, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had refused to sign the Memorandum concerning the withdrawal of the jihadist and Turkish forces in Idlib. This had not pleased President Vladimir Putin, who answered first of all by reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and, furthermore, by underlining for the first time the illegitimacy, under international law, of the Turkish military presence in the country. Ten days later, a very unsettled Mr, Erdoğan accepted an invitation to Russia.

The Sotchi agreement, while distancing Turkey a little further from NATO with its energy contracts, forced Ankara de facto to withdraw from a part of the territory that it occupies, allegedly to better protect the pseudo-« rebels » gathered in the governorate of Idlib. Besides this, Turkey only has one month in which to confiscate the heavy weaponry of its friends from Al-Qaïda and Daesh in the demilitarised zone.

This agreement was obviously unacceptable for London, Paris and Tel-Aviv :

- in the end, it plans for the disappearance of the jihadists as an army, while London has been supervising, training and manipulating them for decades;
- the end of the dream of a French mandate over Syria and of the creation of a new French colony in the North of the country, under the phoney name of Kurdistan (Kurdistan is legitimate only within the frontiers which were recognised by the Sèvres Conference, in 1920.) In other words, not in Iran, nor Iraq or Syria, but only in what is now known as Turkey).
- the end of the regional domination of Israël, faced with a stable Syria under Russian protection.

Mid-term interpretation of the events

The British-French-Israëli military alliance has not entered into action since the Suez Canal crisis in 1956.

Image result for Suez Canal crisis in 1956

At that time, Anthony Eden, Guy Mollet and David Ben Gourion joined their forces in order to humiliate the Arab nationalists, particularly the Egyptian Gamal Abdel Nasser, and to re-establish the British and French colonial empires (« Operation Musketeer »).

This is exactly what happened with this new attack : as was confirmed by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, none of the targets under attack were linked in any way to Iran or Hezbollah. This British-French-Israëli action had nothing to do with the international struggle against the jihadists in general and Daesh in particular. It also had no connection with the overthrow of the Syrian Arab Republic or its President, Bachar el-Assad. Its main objective was to kill military scientists, in particular the rocket specialists from the Institute of Technical Industries in Lattakia.

This is therefore the resumption and continuation of the policy of targeted assassinations waged by Israël for the last twenty years, successively against the Iraqi, Iranian, and now Syrian scientists. It is one of the pillars of colonial policy : to prevent the submitted populations from attaining the same level of education as their masters. In former times, the Westerners forbade their slaves from learning to read under pain of death. Today, they eliminate their scientists.This policy was relaunched with the British-French-US bombing of 14 April 2018, in which the only target destroyed was the Scientific Research Centre in Barzeh, then with the breakdown of the 5+1 agreement with Iran (JCPoA) which forced the country to close its nuclear physics faculties (May 8, 2018).

It was a joint initiative : the jihadists destroy the past, the Westerners destroy the future.

Long-term interpretation of the events

Since the deployment of Russian troops in Syria, on 13 September 2015, to help Syria in its fight against the terrorists, the allies of the United States have understood the impossibility of carrying out the US plan without risking a world war. With the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House, they have progressively questioned their war objectives, abandoned the plans of the « Friends of Syria » and fallen back on their respective historical strategies.

It is this logic that led them to reform the alliance which provoked the Suez crisis, and it is this same logic which pushed Germany to distance itself from them.

At the beginning of the First World War, the British, French and Russian empires decided on the partition of the world which they would implement as soon as they had gained victory. The treaty was negotiated by Mark Sykes, Georges Picot and Sergueï Sazonov. During the course of the World War, however, the Tsar was overthrown by the Bolcheviks, which meant that the areas of the world originally reserved for the Russian empire were once again up for grabs. Finally, at the end of the World War, only the part of the plan relative to the Middle East was applied, under the name of the « Sykes-Picot » agreement.

The return of Russia to the international game obviously brings into question the British-French colonial sharing of the Middle East. The foreseeable clash has just occurred, either accidentally or deliberately, with the destruction of the Ilyushin Il-20 during the joint British-French-Israëli military operation.

How to react

The bewilderment of the international community in the face of this brutal awakening of a century-old conflict can be measured by the Twitter silence from the White House.

During the Suez crisis, the Israëli troops engaged were twice as numerous as all the British and French forces together. The total number of coalition forces was about 250,000 men. This was therefore a very large-scale operation compared to that of Lattakia. But it remains true that the two sequences work from the same diplomatic logic, and may lead to the same developments.

During the Suez crisis, in the middle of the Cold War, the Soviet Union threatened the United Kingdom, France, and Israël with a nuclear riposte if they refused to withdraw from Egypt. At first, NATO supported the Europeans in threatening Moscow with a World War, before changing its mind. In the middle of the Cold War, therefore, the United States temporarily supported the USSR in order to halt the European folly.

For Washington, allowing the Europeans to pursue their plans was the equivalent of pushing all the Arab nations into the arms of the Soviets. Apart from that, it simply was not feasible to accept the French-British intervention at the same time as they were denouncing the repression of the Hungarian revolution by the Warsaw Pact.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice-President Richard Nixon launched a monetary attack against the pound sterling, sent their naval and airborne forces to interfere with the British-French-Israëli complex, and forbade the use of French military material financed by US funds.

International peace was preserved thanks to certain third parties such as the Secretary General of the UNO, Dag Hammarskjöld (who was assassinated three years later, and was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize); the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs Lester B. Pearson (who also received the Nobel Peace Prize); and the leader of the non-aligned nations and Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.

The Suez crisis profoundly upset not only international political life, but also the national reality of the United Kingdom, France and Israël.
- Circumventing the European vetos at the Security Council, the UNO General Assembly called for the withdrawal of the invaders and created the first United Nations intervention force.
- In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons demanded the end of colonial politics to the profit of the promotion of the economic interests of London via the Commonwealth.
- In France, the Communists, the Gaullists and the Poujadists (including Jean-Marie Le Pen) united against the Centrists and the Socialists; a configuration that has never been seen since. Six years later, President De Gaulle considered that by recognising the independence of Algeria, he would put an end to military collaboration with the colonial state of Israël and restore the policy of friendship and collaboration with the Arab peoples, which had always characterised France, apart from its colonial period.

The position of the Western powers concerning the aggression on Lattakia is all the more difficult because, in violation of their agreement with Russia, the Israëlis only informed Moscow of their operation a long time after it had begun, and only one minute before they began firing. As for the Pentagon, they affirmed that they had not been warned at all. But let us not forget that the Israëli-Russian mutual non-aggression pact in Syria only exists because Israël is the US arsenal for the Middle East, housing (with Italy) the stocks of US weaponry for the entire region. If Israël truly did not inform the Pentagon of its actions in advance, then it can not benefit from US protection, and consequently the mutual non-aggression pact may be called into question by Russia.

The Russian response depends on the position of the White House, which we do not know for the moment. It must be guided by a desire to lessen tension, if possible, and also to maintain dissuasion by punishing the guilty party or parties as soon as the Kremlin names them. It is not necessary for Russia to make this sanction public as long as the chancelleries concerned are informed.

The Russian response

Russia has the choice of seeing in the destruction of their aircraft nothing more than a mistake by an Israeli pilot, or by the Israëli army, or again, by all three of the states implicated (the United Kingdom, France and Israël). The Russian Minister for Defence, Sergueï Choïgou, telephoned his Israëli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman to inform him that he held Israël responsible for the accident, and reserved the right to riposte. A little later, President Putin declared « This is a series of tragic events, because our plane was not shot down by an Israëli aircraft ». He was careful to distinguish this situation from that of the deliberate destruction of a Sukhoï 24-M by Turkish fighters in November 2015. We are therefore heading towards the public designation of Israël as the sole responsible and a secret sanction against the three states involved.

The Israëli chargé d’affaires in Moscow, Keren Cohen Gat, was summoned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, while in a knee-jerk reaction, Israëli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to shovel the responsibility for the accident onto Iran. An Israëli delegation, led by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Amikam Norkin, rushed off to Moscow with unprecedented haste. They contested the claims of the Russian Minister for Defence, affirmed that Israël was innocent, and that all the blame belonged to the negligence of the Syrians.

General Amikam Norkin in Moscow
Moscow, 20 September 2018 – the Chief of Staff for the Israëli Air Force, General Amikam Norkin, arrives in a hurry to present his version of events. Once these proofs were checked and compared with other recordings, it transpired that Israël was lying straight-faced.

President Donald Trump, a great admirer of Richard Nixon’s foreign policy, was thus provided with the perfect occasion to finish with the British-French-Israëli support for the US deep state. However, in the middle of his election campaign, he can not afford to give the impression of supporting the Russian rival while he beats up his allies. He is therefore seeking a way of presenting his internal public with this major change of direction. From this perspective, during an interview with Hill TV, he condemned the US engagement in the Greater Middle East which was decided by his predecessor George Bush Jr after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

On 23 September, the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defence, General Igor Konashenkov, presented the synthesis of Russian intelligence and the information transmitted by Syria and Israël.

- He accused the Hebrew state of having deliberately violated the mutual non-aggression agreement of 2015 by not giving Russia advance notice of its attack and by lying about its targets.
- He accused it of having endangered civilian flights present in this zone of the Mediterranean, and of being responsible for the destruction of the Ilyuchin Il-20.
- He denounced its non-assistance to the Russian soldiers when their plane stalled.
- He also accused General Amikam Norkin of lying by pretending that the Israëli jets had already returned to Israël when the Russian plane stalled and crashed.
- Finally, he deflected the accusations of amateurism laid at the door of the Syrian Anti-Air Defence System.

However, he abstained from publicly blaming the United Kingdom and France, who were nonetheless just as concerned by his remarks against Israël.

In case the White House should find an acceptable narrative of the facts for its electors, Russia could forbid the United Kingdom, France and Israël from making any intrusion into the maritime, terrestrial and aerial space of Syria without the authorisation of Damascus. London and Paris would have to cease their threats of bombing under whatever pretext at all (false chemical weapons) and withdraw their special forces. This measure would be valid for all protagonists in general, except for the United States and, in Idlib, for Turkey.

Source: Voltaire Network

The Path to World War III

Ilyushin2-600x360

The minimal U.S. press coverage accorded to last Monday’s shooting down of a Russian intelligence plane off the coast of Syria is, of course, a reflection both of lack of interest and of Israel’s involvement in the incident. If one had read the New York Times or the Washington Post on the morning after the shoot-down or watched the morning network news it would have been easy to miss the story altogether. The corporate media’s desire to sustain established foreign policy narratives while also protecting Israel at all costs is as much a feature of American television news as are the once every five minutes commercials from big pharma urging the public to take medications for diseases that no one has ever heard of.

Israel is, of course, claiming innocence, that it was the Syrians who shot down the Russian aircraft while the Israeli jets were legitimately targeting a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” Seeking to undo some of the damage caused, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences. He also sent his air force chief to Russia on Thursday to provide a detailed report on what had occurred from the Israeli perspective.

But that story, however it will be spun, is inevitably only part of the tale. The narrative of what occurred is by now well established. The Russian aircraft was returning to base after a mission over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast monitoring the activities of a French warship and at least one British RAF plane. As a large and relatively slow propeller driven aircraft on a routine intelligence gathering mission, the Ilyushin 20 had no reason to conceal its presence. It was apparently preparing to land at its airbase at Khmeimim in Syria when the incident took place. It may or may not have had its transponder on, which would signal to the Syrian air defenses that it was a “friendly.”

Syrian air defenses were on high alert because Israel had attacked targets near Damascus on the previous day. On that occasion a Boeing 747 on the ground that Israel claimed was transporting weapons was the target. One should note in passing that Israeli claims about what it is targeting in Syria are never independently verifiable.

The Israelis for their part were using four F-16 fighter bombers to stage a surprise night attack on several sites near Latakia, close to the airbase being used by the Russians. They came in from the Mediterranean Sea and clearly were using the Russian plane to mask their approach as the Ilyushin 20 would have presented a much larger radar profile for the air defenses. The radar systems on the F-16s would also have clearly seen the Russian plane.

The Israelis might have been expecting that the Syrians would not fire at all at the incoming planes knowing that one of them at least was being flown by their Russian allies. If that was the expectation, it proved wrong and it was indeed a Syrian S-200 ground to air missile directed by its guidance system to the larger target that brought down the plane and killed its fourteen crew members. The Israelis completed their bombing run and flew back home. There were also reports that the French frigate offshore fired several missiles during the exchange, but they have not been confirmed while the British plane was also reportedly circling out of range though within the general area.

There was also a back story. The Israelis and Russian military had established a hotline, similar to the one that is used with the U.S. command in Syria, precisely intended to avoid incidents like the Ilyushin shoot-down that might escalate into a more major conflict. Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was irate. It saw the exploitation of the intelligence plane by the Israelis as a deliberate high-risk initiative. It warned “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was more conciliatory, saying the incident was a “chain of tragic circumstances.” He contrasted it with the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian warplane in 2015, which was planned and deliberate, noting that Israel had not actually attacked the Ilyushin. Though the Putin comments clearly recognize that his country’s relationship with Israel is delicate to say the least, that does not mean that he will do nothing.

Many Israelis are emigres from Russia and there are close ties between the two countries, but their views on Syria diverge considerably. As much as Putin might like to strike back at Israel in a hard, substantive way, he will likely only upgrade and strengthen the air defenses around Russian troop concentrations and warn that another “surprise” attack will be resisted. Unfortunately, he knows that he is substantially outgunned locally by the U.S., France, Britain and Israel, not to mention Turkey, and a violent response that would escalate the conflict is not in his interest. He has similarly, in cooperation with his Syrian allies, delayed a major attempt to retake terrorist controlled Idlib province, as he works out a formula with Ankara to prevent heavy handed Turkish intervention.

But there is another dimension to the story that the international media has largely chosen to ignore. And that is that Israel is now carrying out almost daily air attacks on Syria, over 200 in the past 18 months, a country with which it is not at war and which has not attacked it or threatened it in any way. It justifies the attacks by claiming that they are directed against Iran or Hezbollah, not at Syria itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that any peace settlement in Syria include the complete removal of Iranians, a demand that has also been repeated by the United States, which is also calling for the end to the Bashar al-Assad government and its replacement by something more “democratic.”

Aggressive war directed at a non-threatening country is the ultimate war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunals that followed after the Second World War, yet the United States and its poodles Britain and France have not so much as squeaked when Israel kills civilians and soldiers in its surprise attacks against targets that it alone frequently claims to be linked to the Iranians. Washington would not be in much of a position to cast the first stone anyway, as it is in Syria illegally, bombs targets regularly, to include two major cruise missile strikes, and, on at least one occasion, set a trap that reportedly succeeded in killing a large number of Russian mercenaries fighting on the Syrian government side.

And then there is the other dimension of Israeli interference with its neighbors, the secret wars in which it supports the terrorist groups operating in Syria as well as in Iran. The Netanyahu government has armed the terrorists operating in Syria and even treated them in Israeli hospitals when they get wounded. On one occasion when ISIS accidentally fired into Israeli-held territory on the Golan Heights it subsequently apologized. So, if you ask who is supporting terrorism the answer first and foremost should be Israel, but Israel pays no price for doing so because of the protection afforded by Washington, which, by the way, is also protecting terrorists.

There is, of course, an alternative explanation for the Israeli action. Netanyahu might have considered it all a win-win either way, with the Russian plane masking and enabling the Israeli attack without consequence for Israel or, perversely, producing an incident inviting retaliation from Moscow, which would likely lead to a shooting war with the United States after it inevitably steps in to support Israel’s government. In either case, the chaos in Syria that Israel desires would continue and even worsen but there would also be the potential danger of a possible expansion of the war as a consequence, making it regional or even broader.

It’s the same old story. Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support. The downing of the Russian plane through Israeli contrivance created a situation that could easily have escalated into a war involving Moscow and Washington. What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue. It is past time for Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the plug on American engagement in Syria and terminate the seemingly endless cycle of wars in the Middle East.

By Philip Giraldi
Source

INTERVIEW WITH THE SAKER. RUSSIAN-ISRAELI RELATIONS AND THE CONFLICT IN SYRIA

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