Top Trump Security Adviser Contradicts “Imminent Attack” Claim Behind Soleimani Assassination

October 20, 2021

Top Trump Security Adviser Contradicts “Imminent Attack” Claim Behind Soleimani Assassination

By Staff, Agencies

A new book that hit shelves today by Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg reveals that the Trump administration planned the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani as part of a “disproportional” response to attacks on US troops in Iraq by Shiite resistance groups. Kellogg was then-Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser, and also served as executive secretary and chief of staff for the US National Security Council under Trump.

“We had always considered him a legitimate target because he was a sponsor for terrorism and was directly responsible for the deaths and maiming of hundreds of Americans,” Kellogg writes about Soleimani in “War by Other Means: A General in the Trump White House,” according to the UK Daily Mail, which received an advance copy of the book.

Solemani commanded the Quds Force, an elite formation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard [IRG], and commanded Iranian forces in Syria fighting against the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] and al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups before leading the Iranian and Iraqi fight to push Daesh out of Iraq.

Despite being sanctioned by the United States as a “terrorist”, Soleimani enjoyed enormous prestige across the Middle East as the “linchpin” who united resistance groups to halt Daesh’s advance toward Baghdad when the Americans would not commit to anything more than airstrikes against Daesh.

Because of the anti-Daesh war, Soleimani was closely linked with resistance groups in Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces [PMF], which opposed the continued US presence in Iraq. According to Kellogg’s book, an exchange of strikes in late December 2019 is what pushed the White House over line and decided to take Soleimani out.

On December 27, 2019, the Shiite resistance group Kataib Hezbollah attacked an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk where US forces were based, killing a US contractor and injuring four US service members, as well as two Iraqi service members. The next day, the US launched an airstrike on Kataib Hezbollah positions, and that evening, protests in Baghdad descended on the US embassy in the Green Zone and set fire to some of its outer structures.

Washington blamed Iran for both of those attacks, and Soleimani in particular, who they learned would be secretly traveling to Baghdad in just a few days.

“But our response had barely begun,” Kellogg wrote about the December 28 airstrikes. “We had highly reliable intelligence reports affirming that our chief enemy here was Soleimani.”

“’The Iranians had crossed our ‘red line’ by killing an American and reinforced their folly by attacking our embassy in Baghdad. We would respond. And this time our response would be disproportional,” Kellogg wrote. “We jumped up the escalation ladder. Our answer would be unambiguous. Our target would be Soleimani.”

The airstrike, carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper combat drone, hit a group of vehicles at Baghdad International Airport just after midnight on January 3, 2020, killing 10 people. Among them was Soleimani, as well as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataib Hezbollah and deputy commander of the PMF.

The fury over the US attack, which was carried out without consulting the Iraqi government, led to the country’s parliament voting to ask all US forces to leave the country. However, Trump threatened to freeze Iraqi oil assets in a Federal Reserve bank account if Baghdad followed through.

“Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort the day after the attacks. He would later claim that Soleimani planned on targeting a US embassy, then later increased his claim to four embassies.

After other senior administration leaders, including then-War Secretary Mark Esper, clarified that there wasn’t actually intelligence pointing to a specific attack Soleimani was allegedly planning, Trump momentarily let the mask slip by tweeting on January 13 that “it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!”

Then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly claimed Soleimani was “actively plotting to “take big action” against the US. “There would have been many Muslims killed as well, Iraqis and people in other countries as well. It was a strike that was aimed at both disrupting that plot, deterring further aggression, [and] we hope, setting the conditions for de-escalation, as well,” he told Fox News on January 3.

However, Pompeo also soon said he had no specific intelligence on a specific threat posed by Soleimani, and also admitted within a week that “we don’t know precisely when – and we don’t know precisely where” the supposed attack was to have taken place.

However, by July of 2020, Pompeo had changed his tune again, aligning more closely with what Kellogg writes in his book. His response came after Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, submitted a report on Soleimani’s assassination finding it was an “arbitrary killing” that violated the United Nations charter.

“The strike that killed General Soleimani was in response to an escalating series of armed attacks in preceding months by the Islamic Republic of Iran and ‘militias’ it supports on US forces and interests in the Middle East region,” Pompeo told Fox News on July 10. “It was conducted to deter Iran from launching or supporting further attacks against the United States or US interests, and to degrade the capabilities of the Quds Force.”

IRG General: “Israel” Attempts to Delay Its Downfall

October 12, 2021

IRG General: “Israel” Attempts to Delay Its Downfall

By Staff- Agencies

The Islamic Revolution Guards [IRG] deputy commander for operations, Brigadier General Abbas Nilforooshan anticipated that the “Israeli” entity is attempting desperately to delay its downward spiral toward dissolution.

He further stressed that the Islamic Republic’s timely responses and actions against the “Israeli” elements in the region have deterred many terrorist plans targeting Iran.

“The Zionist regime’s pillars have been rattled and it is heading toward dissolution,” he underscored noting that “the ‘Israeli’ officials have realized the regime’s looming downfall and are making every effort to delay such a demise.”

Highlighting the economic, social and cultural challenges that have engulfed the apartheid regime, the Iranian general said it would be a joke to envisage “hard threats” from “Israel”.

In parallel, he mentioned that “Even the “semi-hard threats” from the Zionist regime have gotten nowhere, adding, “They [‘the “Israelis’] have halted many of their terrorist measures against Iran because of the timely responses given by the Islamic Republic which has hit their main ringleaders in the region.”

The general also pointed to the Islamic Republic’s military advances in recent years, saying the IRG is employing its homegrown submarines.

“The IRG Navy has been working on an area of technology with which the enemy would run into trouble in any confrontation, “he added.

Asked about the situation in Afghanistan after its takeover by the Taliban, General Nilforooshan said it is still early to comment on how to deal with the Taliban, who have changed a lot since 2000.

“Ensuring border security, countering [drug] trafficking, and above all the situation of the oppressed people of Afghanistan are among our concerns, but when it comes to dealing with the Taliban, we should wait and see how much the policies announced by that group match their policies in practice,” he stated.

The Iran-Azerbaijan standoff is a contest for the region’s transportation corridors

October 05, 2021

Sides are forming around the Iran vs Azerbaijan squabble. But this fight is not about ethnicity, religion or tribe – it is mainly about who gets to forge the region’s new transportation routes.

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle

The Iran-Azerbaijan standoff is a contest for the region’s transportation corridors

The last thing the complex, work-in-progress drive towards Eurasian integration needs at this stage is this messy affair between Iran and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus.

Let’s start with the Conquerors of Khaybar – the largest Iranian military exercise in two decades held on its northwestern border with Azerbaijan.

Among the deployed Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) units there are some serious players, such as the 21st Tabriz Infantry Division, the IRGC Ashura 31 battalion, the 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade and an array of missile systems, including the Fateh-313 and Zulfiqar ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 700 kilometers.

The official explanation is that the drills are a warning to enemies plotting anything against the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointedly tweeted that “those who are under the illusion of relying on others, think that they can provide their own security, should know that they will soon take a slap, they will regret this.”

The message was unmistakable: this was about Azerbaijan relying on Turkey and especially Israel for its security, and about Tel Aviv instrumentalizing Baku for an intel drive leading to interference in northern Iran.

Further elaboration by Iranian experts went as far as Israel eventually using military bases in Azerbaijan to strike at Iranian nuclear installations.

The reaction to the Iranian military exercise so far is a predictable Turkey–Azerbaijani response: they are conducting a joint drill in Nakhchivan throughout this week.

But were Iran’s concerns off the mark? A close security collaboration between Baku and Tel Aviv has been developing for years now. Azerbaijan today possesses Israeli drones and is cozy with both the CIA and the Turkish military. Throw in the recent trilateral military drills involving Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan – these are developments bound to raise alarm bells in Tehran.

Baku, of course, spins it in a different manner: Our partnerships are not aimed at third countries.

So, essentially, while Tehran accuses Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev of making life easy for Takfiri terrorists and Zionists, Baku accuses Tehran of blindly supporting Armenia. Yes, the ghosts of the recent Karabakh war are all over the place.

As a matter of national security, Tehran simply cannot tolerate Israeli companies involved in the reconstruction of regions won in the war near the Iranian border: Fuzuli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian has tried to play it diplomatically: “Geopolitical issues around our borders are important for us. Azerbaijan is a dear neighbor to Iran and that’s why we don’t want it to be trapped between foreign terrorists who are turning their soil into a hotbed.”

As if this was not complicated enough, the heart of the matter – as with all things in Eurasia – actually revolves around economic connectivity.

An interconnected mess

Baku’s geoeconomic dreams are hefty: the capital city aims to position itself at the key crossroads of two of the most important Eurasian corridors: North-South and East-West.

And that’s where the Zangezur Corridor comes in – arguably essential for Baku to predominate over Iran’s East-West connectivity routes.

The corridor is intended to connect western Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via Armenia, with roads and railways passing through the Zangezur region.

Zangezur is also essential for Iran to connect itself with Armenia, Russia, and further on down the road, to Europe.

China and India will also rely on Zangezur for trade, as the corridor provides a significant shortcut in distance. Considering large Asian cargo ships cannot sail the Caspian Sea, they usually waste precious weeks just to reach Russia.

An extra problem is that Baku has recently started harassing Iranian truckers in transit through these new annexed regions on their way to Armenia.

It didn’t have to be this way. This detailed essay shows how Azerbaijan and Iran are linked by “deep historical, cultural, religious, and ethno-linguistic ties,” and how the four northwestern Iranian provinces – Gilan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan – have “common geographical borders with both the main part of Azerbaijan and its exclave, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic; they also have deep and close commonalities based on Islam and Shiism, as well as sharing the Azerbaijani culture and language. All this has provided the ground for closeness between the citizens of the regions on both sides of the border.”

During the Rouhani years, relations with Aliyev were actually quite good, including the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia and Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Turkey trilateral cooperation.

A key connectivity at play ahead is the project of linking the Qazvin‑Rasht‑Astara railway in Iran to Azerbaijan: that’s part of the all-important International North‑South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Geoeconomically, Azerbaijan is essential for the main railway that will eventually run from India to Russia. No only that; the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia trilateral cooperation opens a direct road for Iran to fully connect with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

In an optimal scenario, Baku can even help Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to connect to Georgian ports in the Black Sea.

The West is oblivious to the fact that virtually all sections of the INSTC are already working. Take, for instance, the exquisitely named Astara‑Astara railway connecting Iranian and Azerbaijani cities that share the same name. Or the Rasht‑Qazvin railway.

But then one important 130km stretch from Astara to Rasht, which is on the southern shore of the Caspian and is close to the Iranian–Azeri border, has not been built. The reason? Trump-era sanctions. That’s a graphic example of how much, in real-life practical terms, rides on a successful conclusion of the JCPOA talks in Vienna.

Who owns Zangezur?

Iran is positioned in a somewhat tricky patch along the southern periphery of the South Caucasus. The three major players in that hood are of course Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Iran borders the former Armenian – now Azeri – regions adjacent to Karabakh, including Zangilan, Jabrayil and Fuzuli.

It was clear that Iran’s flexibility on its northern border would be tied to the outcome of the Second Karabakh War. The northwestern border was a source of major concern, affecting the provinces of Ardabil and eastern Azerbaijan – which makes Tehran’s official position of supporting Azerbaijani over Armenian claims all the more confusing.

It is essential to remember that even in the Karabakh crisis in the early 1990s, Tehran recognized Nagorno‑Karabakh and the regions surrounding it as integral parts of Azerbaijan.

While both the CIA and Mossad appear oblivious to this recent regional history, it will never deter them from jumping into the fray to play Baku and Tehran against each other.

An extra complicating factor is that Zangezur is also mouth-watering from Ankara’s vantage point.

Arguably, Turkey’s neo-Ottoman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who never shies away from an opportunity to expands his Turkic-Muslim strategic depth, is looking to use the Azeri connection in Zangezur to reach the Caspian, then Turkmenistan, all the way to Xinjiang, the Uyghur Muslim populated western territory of China. This, in theory, could become a sort of Turkish Silk Road bypassing Iran – with the ominous possibility of also being used as a rat line to export Takfiris from Idlib all the way to Afghanistan.

Tehran, meanwhile, is totally INSTC-driven, focusing on two railway lines to be rehabilitated and upgraded from the Soviet era. One is South-North, from Jolfa connecting to Nakhchivan and then onwards to Yerevan and Tblisi. The other is West-East, again from Jolfa to Nakhchivan, crossing southern Armenia, mainland Azerbaijan, all the way to Baku and then onward to Russia.

And there’s the rub. The Azeris interpret the tripartite document resolving the Karabakh war as giving them the right to establish the Zangezur corridor. The Armenians for their part dispute exactly which ‘corridor’ applies to each particular region. Before they clear up these ambiguities, all those elaborate Iranian and Tukish connectivity plans are effectively suspended.

The fact, though, remains that Azerbaijan is geoeconomically bound to become a key crossroads of trans-regional connectivity as soon as Armenia unblocks the construction of these transport corridors.

So which ‘win-win’ is it?

Will diplomacy win in the South Caucasus? It must. The problem is both Baku and Tehran frame it in terms of exercising their sovereignty – and don’t seem particularly predisposed to offer concessions.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects are having a ball exploiting those differences. War, though, is out of the question, either between Azerbaijan and Armenia or between Azerbaijan and Iran. Tehran is more than aware that in this case both Ankara and Tel Aviv would support Baku. It is easy to see who would profit from it.

As recently as April, in a conference in Baku, Aliyev stressed that “Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran share the same approach to regional cooperation. The main area of concentration now is transportation, because it’s a situation which is called ‘win‑win.’ Everybody wins from that.”

And that brings us to the fact that if the current stalemate persists, the top victim will be the INSTC. In fact, everyone loses in terms of Eurasian integration, including India and Russia.

The Pakistan angle, floated by a few in hush-hush mode, is completely far-fetched. There’s no evidence Tehran would be supporting an anti-Taliban drive in Afghanistan just to undermine Pakistan’s ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The Russia–China strategic partnership looks at the current South Caucasus juncture as unnecessary trouble, especially after the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. This badly hurts their complementary Eurasian integration strategies – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

INSTC could, of course, go the trans-Caspian way and cut off Azerbaijan altogether. This is not likely though. China’s reaction, once again, will be the deciding factor. There could be more emphasis on the Persian corridor – from Xinjiang, via Pakistan and Afghanistan, to Iran. Or Beijing could equally bet on both East-West corridors, that is, bet on both Azerbaijan and Iran.

The bottom line is that neither Moscow nor Beijing wants this to fester. There will be serious diplomatic moves ahead, as they both know the only ones to profit will be the usual NATO-centric suspects, and the losers will be all the players who are seriously invested in Eurasian integration.

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No Place for ‘Israel’ in Iran’s Neighboring Countries – IRG

September 30, 2021

No Place for ‘Israel’ in Iran’s Neighboring Countries - IRG

By Staff, Agencies

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG] Ground Force warned the neighbors not to allow the Zionist regime to use their soil as a safe haven, saying the neighboring governments themselves know why Iran holds war games at border areas.

Speaking to reporters in the western city of Sanandaj on Wednesday, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said the Islamic Republic would by no means tolerate the territories of neighbors turning into “a safe haven and a base for the presence and anti-security activities of the fake Zionist regime.”

Without naming the Republic of Azerbaijan, whose president has voiced concern about the Iranian military exercises near the common border, the IRG general said, “We cannot accept that some countries would make unreal and provocative comments about the enhancement of preparedness of the Islamic Republic’s combat units under the influence of third countries and would harm our activities.”

“The neighboring governments are aware more than anyone else of the reasons for Iran’s war games,” he added.

In an apparent criticism of the Azerbaijan Republic whose military employed ‘Israeli’-made attack drones during the recent war with Armenia, General Pakpour said the neighbors of Iran are expected to prevent a stranger like the Zionist regime from using their soil for its evil and criminal purposes.

“There’s no doubt that the Zionist regime helps and supports certain regional countries with the purpose of creating disagreements and rift among Muslim nations,” he stated.

The commander warned that any trouble in the international boundaries of countries will definitely create new conflicts and tensions, especially if such problems are created to serve the ‘Israeli’ regime’s objectives.

“We will never allow the soil of a country in our neighborhood to become the source and base of creation and spread of such troubles,” he stressed.

Describing efforts to prevent any change in the frontiers of the neighboring states as a serious policy of the Islamic Republic, the commander said, “We deem any geopolitical change in the region disruptive to our domestic security and have always declared it as a red line. Accordingly, it is natural that we won’t remain indifferent to it.”

Quds Force Commander: Iran Trying To Exclude Militarism as Solution for Afghanistan

 SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

Quds Force Commander: Iran Trying To Exclude Militarism as Solution for Afghanistan

By Staff, Agencies

A member of the Iranian Parliament reported that the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG’s] Quds Force commander, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, said in a closed Parliament session that Iran is trying that the resolve of the Afghan issue not to be through war.

In an interview with Mehr News Agency, MP Ahmad Alireza Beigi explained the closed session of the Parliament which was held in the presence of the IRGC Quds Force commander on Tuesday morning discussed the latest developments in neighboring Afghanistan.

“According to General Ghaani, political and military experts analyze the US defeat in Afghanistan far more importantly than the US defeat in Vietnam,” he said.

“The commander of the Quds Force believed that the incident took place after 20 years of US investment and the US presence in Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11, and Washington was determined to stay in Afghanistan after the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud,” the MP added.

Alireza Beig went on to say, “General Ghaani stressed that the Islamic Republic monitors the developments in Afghanistan with a view to its national interests and is interested in the fate of Afghanistan, and for this reason, from the beginning of the Soviet Union’s entry into Afghanistan, it [Iran] supported the people of this country as a religious duty.”

“According to the commander, the United States spent $300 million a day in Afghanistan, and as the US president said 18 soldiers returning from Afghanistan commit suicide every day,” he added.

“General Ghaani stressed that the security of Iran is important for us and the US plan is to engage Iran with the Sunni world, so the Islamic Republic must act in a way that the security of Iran is not compromised and the United States does not achieve its goals,” the MP noted.

“According to the commander of the Quds Force, the Shias of Afghanistan are very important for the Islamic Republic, and Iran is trying that the resolve of the Afghan issue not to be through war, and all the tribes of Afghanistan to participate in governing the country,” Alireza Beigi concluded.

Iranian analyst on Tehran’s efforts in post-US Afghanistan & role of Taliban

July 28, 2021

Iranian analyst on Tehran’s efforts in post-US Afghanistan & role of Taliban

http://middleeastobserver.net/iranian-analyst-on-irans-efforts-in-afghanistan-role-of-taliban/

Description:
In a political talk show appearance on RT Arabic earlier this month, Iranian political analyst Amir al-Moussawi commented on Iran’s stance towards the US army’s withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan, and concerns surrounding the potential threat posed by the Taliban towards Kabul and the wider region.

Al-Moussawi is the director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Tehran.

Source: RT Arabic (YouTube) Date: July 9, 2021

(Please help MEO keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a sustainable monthly amount https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Transcript:

Host:

Mr. Amir, regarding the plans being prepared by Iran, regardless of its deterrence capabilities against any threat, and you pointed out that the Fatemiyoun are present as a force that can oppose any threat. But what about Iran’s ability to protect Afghanistan from falling into a whirlpool of chaos? Can Iran use its cultural or religious common ground with Afghanistan, or other common ground, to prevent it from entering the tunnel of a civil war?

Amir Al-Moussawi, Director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies:

I believe that the American project will fail in Afghanistan. They’re after strife, they’re looking to damage Iranian, Russian and Chinese national security, even India, and maybe Pakistan as well. This is why you have good communication today between these parties. Yesterday, the Indian Foreign Minister arrived in Tehran to conduct important negotiations; I believe there is good communication between Mr. Zarif and Mr. Lavrov, the same goes with the Pakistanis and the Chinese as well.

I believe that there is a strong, resilient front in the region today, regionally speaking. As for the domestic scene, I don’t believe that the Taliban are as strong as they used to be. The Afghan people felt a type of freedom after the fall of the Taliban, and cannot withstand a stringent rule as that of the Taliban’s in the country (once again). There are also very strong forces, as you’ve said, in western Afghanistan.

So the Taliban must come to an agreement and form a national unity government, and Iran will push matters in that direction and encourage different parties to come to an understanding. Because I believe that no one will accept, regionally speaking at the very least…the US may be out to constantly create strife in the region because it has criminal objectives against China, against Iran, against Russia. I believe that the region is now in agreement, and the situation inside Afghanistan will not allow the Taliban to spread further.

Every side will accept its own share, its own reality, and a national unity government will be formed. This is what was agreed upon in Tehran. Iranian diplomacy will encourage this, and I believe that the government of President Rouhani will hand this matter over to Sayyed Raisi, who has formed an important and special committee tasked with Afghan affairs.

Of course we know very well that General Qa’ani, the leader of (IRGC’s) Quds Force, was specialized in Afghan matters during the days of Hajj Qassem, and so he is also present, and is helping bring together different sides in Afghanistan, not to mention the regional support (that exists).

I believe that everything will be under control, and will not devolve into a civil war, because things aren’t as the Americans see them, and even the Taliban can’t expand beyond their size.

Intelligence Forces Arrest Mossad Terrorist Network in Western Iran

July 27, 2021

Source

Intelligence Forces Arrest Mossad Terrorist Network in Western Iran
Intelligence Forces Arrest Mossad Terrorist Network in Western Iran

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced on Tuesday that a network of the members of the Zionist regime’s Spy Organization (Mossad) was arrested on the western border of the country.

Following the intelligence activities of the forces of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, a network of members of the Zionist regime’s Spy Organization (Mossad) was arrested on the country’s western border, said Director-General of Counterintelligence of the ministry on Tuesday.

He added that a big haul of weapons and ammunition, including, pistols, grenades, Winchester rifles, shotguns and ammunition was also seized during this operation.

Stating that Mossad members intended to use the equipment during urban riots and assassinations, he said that during the elections days also, the Zionist regime repeatedly attempted to carry out acts of sabotage in different parts of the country that with the timely action of the forces of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, their terrorist sabotages were thwarted.

رحيل نتنياهو وقدوم رئيسي Netanyahu’s departure and Raisi’s arrival

رحيل نتنياهو وقدوم رئيسي

17/06/2021

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يرمز بنيامين نتنياهو الى آخر ملوك «بني إسرائيل» بالنسبة لكل معسكر اليمين في كيان الاحتلال، رغم انتماء خليفته الضعيف نفتالي بينيت إلى المعسكر ذاته. فالظروف التي أملت رحيل نتنياهو ترافقت مع ضعف الكيان وفشله العسكري، سواء بقبته الحديدية التي عجزت عن صد صواريخ المقاومة عن كبريات مدن الكيان التي تقصف للمرة الأولى منذ قيامه، أو بعجزه الناري عن تدمير الصواريخ ومنصات إطلاقها وأنفاق تخزينها، أو بهروبه من عملية برية كانت تنتظره فيها صواريخ الكورنيت، وقبوله بوقف النار بقرار من نتنياهو، رغم ذلك، كما ترافق الرحيل مع إنهاء زمن استقلال الكيان وبدء خضوعه للوصاية الأميركية بالتزامن مع العودة الأميركية المحسومة للاتفاق النووي مع إيران، كما قال نتنياهو، وهو محقّ بذلك، ما يجعل من رحيل نتنياهو نهاية مرحلة وبداية مرحلة، والمرحلة الجديدة عنوانها الأفول لحضور الكيان كقوة كبرى في الإقليم.

يرمز المرشح الرئاسي الإيراني الأوفر حظاً السيد إبراهيم رئيسي الى الشرائح السياسية والنخبوية الداعمة للحرس الثوريّ في إيران، والتي تضع مشروع الاستقلال عن الغرب واتباع خطط تنمية تعتمد على توطين التكنولوجيا وتحقيق الاكتفاء الذاتي، وبناء مقدرات عسكرية تمنح إيران القدرة على مواجهة أية تحديات عسكرية، وفي طليعتها المضي ببرنامج صاروخي متصاعد، وتلتزم بدعم حركات المقاومة في المنطقة، وتعتبر فلسطين قضيتها المركزية، ما يجعل من وصوله علامة على صعود إيران وتثبيتاً لمكتسبات تحققت للمحور الذي تقوده طهران، وإعلاناً عن تبلور مشروع محور المقاومة بصورة رسميّة، كقوة تعاظم قدراتها ويتنامى حضورها، وتشكل الشريك الندي الذي لا يمكن تجاهله للقوى الكبرى، الصديقة وغير الصديقة على مستوى كل ما يتصل بالمنطقة.

ليس تزامن الأفول والصعود صدفة إلا لجهة تقارب أيام الاستحقاقات، أما جوهر التزامن فحتمي، لأنه ما كان ممكناً أن يبدأ زمن أفول الكيان كقوة عظمى في المنطقة إلا لأن هناك من نجح باستنزاف هذا الكيان، ووضعه أمام تحديات مثلها نمو مقدرات حركات المقاومة المدعومة من إيران، وصولاً إلى تحول هذه التحديات للطبيعة الاستراتيجية، وعجز الكيان عن حلها، وبدء تحوّلها الى تحديات وجودية، فكما يبشر رحيل نتنياهو بتعمق مأزق الكيان، يبشر صعود رئيسي ومعه إيران ببدء حقبة جديدة في المنطقة هي حقبة محور المقاومة.

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Netanyahu’s departure and Raisi’s arrival

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Benjamin Netanyahu symbolise the last “Israelites” king of all the right-wing camp in the occupying entity. His weak successor, Naftali Bennett, belongs to the same camp. The circumstances that dictated Netanyahu’s departure were accompanied by the weakness of the entity and its military failure, whether with an Iron Dome, which failed to repel the resistance’s missiles from the major cities of the entity that were bombed for the first time since the entity’s inception, and his inability to destroy missiles and storage tunnels, and to escape from a ground operation that the Kornet missiles were waiting for, The acceptance of the ceasefire by Netanyahu’s decision also coincided with the beginning of the entity’s submission to the American guardianship in conjunction with the return of the United States to resolve the nuclear agreement with Iran, as Netanyahu said, and rightly so, which made Netanyahu’s departure the end of a stage and the beginning of a stage. The new phase ends the presence of the entity as a major force in the region.

The most fortunate Iranian presidential candidate, Mr. ُEbrahim Raisi, symbolises the political and elite segments that support the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, which lay the project of independence from the West and follow development plans based on the localisation of technology, achieving self-sufficiency, and building military capabilities that give Iran the ability to face any military challenges, and at the forefront Proceeding with an escalating missile program, and is committed to supporting the resistance movements in the region, and considers Palestine its central issue, which makes his success a sign of Iran’s rise and confirmation of the gains achieved by the axis led by Tehran, and announcing the crystallisation of the project of the resistance axis, as a force that is growing its capabilities and growing presence, and constitutes a dewy partner that cannot be ignored by the major powers, friendly and unfriendly in all related to the region.

The synchronicity of decline and rise is not a coincidence except in terms of the convergence of the days of maturity. As for the essence of the synchronisation, it is inevitable, because it was not possible to start the time of the demise of the entity as a superpower in the region only because there were those who succeeded in draining this entity, and placed it in front of the challenges of the growth of the capabilities of the resistance axis, which turned into existential strategy challenges that the entity was unable to solve, with Netanyahu’s departure, the entity’s predicament deepened, which heralds the beginning of a new era in the region, the era of the axis of resistance.

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The Iranian presidential shocker

The Iranian presidential shocker

May 26, 2021

The undisputed leader of the tightly vetted pack is soft hardliner Ebrahim Raeisi, the Islamic Republic’s Chief Justice

by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

When Iran’s Interior Ministry released on Tuesday the final list of candidates approved by the 12-member Guardian Council to run for President in the upcoming June 18 election, all hell was breaking loose in Tehran for at least 24 hours.

An “unofficial” list of the 7 candidates for the presidential election was already circulating and causing quite a stir, but not confirmed yet to be final.

The talk of the town was that the list barred a lot of important people. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was out. So was Ali Larijani – a former Parliament speaker, and even the current Iranian Vice President, Es’haq Jahangiri, who should be the top reformist running.

The Fars news agency had broken the story on Monday, announcing the final 7. They got everything right – from the elimination of Ahmadinejad, Larijani and Jahangiri to the fact that no women candidates were approved.

Fars is very close to the IRGC. So what happened makes perfect sense. Including the rumors swirling around Tehran that outgoing President Rouhani went into panic mode, calling Ayatollah Khamenei for a revision of the list.

As it stands, the Magnificent Seven who will be running are Ebrahim Raeisi, Saeed Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei, Alireza Zakani, Seyyed Amir-Hossein, Ghazizadeh-Hashemi, Albdolnasser Hemmati and Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh.

The undisputed leader of the pack is Raeisi, the head of the Judiciary since 2019. He is technically a Principlist – an Islamic Revolution conservative, in Iranian terms – but says he will run as an independent. Call him a soft hardliner.

Among the others, the only one relatively known outside of Iran is Jalili, also a Principlist, and former top nuclear negotiator as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 2007 to 2013.

At least in thesis, two reformists are left: Mehr-Alizadeh and Hemmati, the current governor of the Central Bank. But they have no national appeal.

So Raeisi now seems to be nearly a done deal: a relatively faceless bureaucrat without the profile of an IRGC hardliner, well known for his anti-corruption fight and care about the poor and downtrodden. On foreign policy, the crucial fact is that he will arguably follow crucial IRGC dictates.

Raeisi is already spinning that he “negotiated quietly” to secure the qualification of more candidates, “to make the election scene more competitive and participatory”. The problem is no candidate has the power to sway the opaque decisions of the 12-member Guardian Council, composed exclusively by clerics: only Ayatollah Khamenei.

The Guardian Council cryptically stated that only 40 out of 592 candidates had submitted “all the required documents” to the Interior Ministry’s election HQ. There was no explanation about the content of these “documents”.

Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaee, the Council’s spokesman, dismissed any politicking: decisions were made based on “election law”. So no one can contest them – except Khamenei. He stressed that the Council “had not been informed” of any action by the Leader.

The end of the reformist era

Vice President Jahangiri, who would have been the reformist standard bearer, did not take it lightly: in a forceful statement, he said, “the Council naturally bears the responsibility for the decision and its legal basis and for the political and social consequences arising from it.”

More crucially for the Tehran establishment, he highlighted a “serious threat” to the system: “I hope that the republican aspect of the establishment, the effective participation of the people in determining their own fate, the national interests, and the future of Iran will not be sacrificed to immediate political expediencies.”

Advisers to former President Ahmadinejad – still extremely popular nationally – told me they are still weighing their options: “It is a very big disappointment, but expected. A big mistake, that will lead to anger and distrust among common people, and eventually backlash.”

Professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran remarked, “there’s still some uncertainty about the candidates.” He’s not making a full assessment yet because he’s not sure the vetoing of Larijani, especially, “will be the final say”.

Even as the Magnificent Seven are now free to start campaigning, the overall sentiment is that the Rouhani-Zarif era seems to be over, not with a bang but a whimper.

At the JCPOA negotiations in Vienna, Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi continues to sound as a realist, stressing, “I am not confident that it would be possible to conclude the negotiations but there is a possibility.” That would require “political decisions to be made”, a direct reference to Washington.

Everyone in Vienna knows that what was agreed to far on the JCPOA revival was the easy part. The real problem are the remaining hundreds of sanctions that must be canceled by the US Congress – and that’s not gonna happen.

Besides, the Americans continue to insist that Tehran should first resume the nuclear commitments it has suspended – following its legal retaliation rights as defined by Article 26 of the JCPOA. Tehran’s red line is clear: it was Washington which ditched the JCPOA, so it’s up to the US to first remove all sanctions, “practically and verifiably”.

Tehran has reiterated over and over again it will walk out of Vienna by the end of May if there’s no deal. The IRGC couldn’t care less: they are already in post-JCPOA mode. Focused on the Iran-China strategic deal. Focused on wider Eurasia integration alongside Russia and China. And relying on the perfect candidate placed to become the next Iranian president.

Terrorizing and Massacring Civilians Israel’s Specialty

Victorious Gaza

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, May 21, 2021

Israeli terror-bombing and shelling of besieged Gazans continues in its 11th day with no letup so far.

Unindicted war criminal Netanyahu says he’s “determined” to keep massacring Gazans and terrorizing Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories until his diabolical aims are achieved.

A readout of Wednesday’s conversation between him and Biden’s impersonator was more head-fake deception than a White House call for “significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire (sic).”

For 73 years, the US aided, abetted, and financed the worst of Israeli high crimes of war, against humanity, slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, and preemptive wars against neighboring states.

In the past week, the Biden regime blocked three Security Council (SC) joint statements that called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas — showing its dominant hardliners support war, not resolution.

On Wednesday in response to a French draft SC statement, jointly supported by Egypt and Jordan — that states “(t)he shooting must stop.” 

“The time has come for a ceasefire and the UN Security Council must take up the issue,” the Orwellian response of the Biden regime’s UN mission was as follows:

“(W)e will not support (what furthers deescalation and ceasefire) actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate (sic).”

According to an unnamed French source, Wednesday discussions on the above joint proposal at the UN were “very intense.”

See the source image

Separately from Beirut, Lebanon,  Islamic Jihad official Ziad Nakhaleh said neither nuclear weapons, warplanes or peace agreements between Israel and some Arab states achieved regional peace and security, adding:

Gazan resistance against Israeli state terror “made miracles that you can see with your own eyes and you live them every moment when you run to shelters.”

He referred to Strip responses to longstanding Israeli state terror against millions of long-suffering Palestinians under militarized occupation.

Because of increased dispossession of Palestinians from their homes on their own land, “we had two choices, to surrender and to give them everything or fight them over everything,” he explained.

One-sided US-dominated Western support for the highest of high Israeli high crimes permits its ruling regimes to do whatever they damn please with impunity — no matter how egregiously in breach of international law.Israeli War on Gaza Over Kites?

As for long-suffering Palestinians, rhetorical Western concern for their rights and welfare is hollow.

It’s virtually never followed by actions with teeth on their behalf. 

Support for apartheid Israel has always been and remains entirely one-sided.

In January 2006, Hamas democratically won a Palestinian legislative majority over pro-Israeli puppet rule under Fatah.

Yet in October 1997 at the behest of Israel, the Clinton co-presidency false designated Hamas a “foreign terrorist organization” — what it never was and isn’t now.

At the time in response to what Israel urged, Hezbollah was falsely given the same designation.

Its officials are part of Lebanon’s elected government.

In May 2018 general elections, its candidates and allies won a 67-seat majority of parliament’s 128 seats – equally divided between Muslims and Christians. 

At the time, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called parliamentary results a “political and moral victory” for the resistance — giving the group and its allies power to veto legislation they consider unacceptable.

For self-defense against threatened Israeli aggression, its ruling authorities maintain a military wing.

Much stronger today than during Israel’s 2006 aggression against Lebanon, embarrassing IDF ground forces at the time, it’s a force to be reckoned with if the Jewish state again preemptively attacks the Lebanese people.

In April 2019, the Trump regime falsely designated Iran’s military — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)— a terrorist organization even though the Islamic Republic never attacked another nation preemptively or threatened one except in self-defense if attacked, the UN Charter right of all nations.

In stark contrast, aggression is what the US, NATO and Israel are guilty of time and again.

The world community of nations for peace, stability and compliance with the rule of law should designate them terrorist organizations.

Overnight Wednesday, Israel continued to terror-bomb and shell Gazan residential areas.

According to the Strip’s health ministry, at least 64 children and 38 women was massacred so far, the overall death toll around 230 — numbers that keep rising by the hour.

Interviewed on French television Wednesday, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said the following:

“Palestinians want their own self-determination rights.” 

“They want their own state. They want to be able to run their own affairs and have freedom, and not have to be restricted to move around.”

Israel denies them “their rights” as affirmed under international law.

It’s an “apartheid” state. “I have no other reference point to describe what the Israelis are doing against the Palestinians.”

According to political analyst Omar Baddar, “Israeli leadership understands that…they are completely free to carry on with their massive assault against Gaza’s civilian population.”

No US/Western actions against the Jewish state will follow.

For 73 years, Israel has been free to commit the most egregious high crimes with impunity.

The US-dominated West and world community never did anything to hold its ruling authorities accountable for Nuremberg-level high crimes.

Nothing punitive will follow its ongoing rape and destruction of Gaza — for the fourth time since December 2008.

Nor will anything be done to halt its state terror against Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories.

*

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Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Featured image is from The Bullet

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أربعون عاماً والقدس ضيا عينيك يا مهندس العلاقات العربية الإيرانية

أربعون عاما على غياب محمد صالح الحسيني:ذكريات من زمن الشهداء الأمميين

محمد صادق الحسيني

بين النجف وبيروت ، وطهران والقدس سرُّك مسكون بآية التمكين يا ابن السجّاد علي بن الحسين عليه السلام.

اسمح لي يا ابا احمد ان ابوح ببعض اسرارك قبل ان يخطفني الزمان من بين بقية السيف من احبابك ، أو يحرّف البعض ما تبقى من صورة ناصعة لحركة “إنهم فتية آمنوا بربهم وزدناهم هدىً…”

أعرف انك الان اسعد من ذي قبل لكثرة من قدموا اليك على امتداد العقود الاربعة الماضية ، من كوادر حركة الشباب المسلم  والعقائديين ، وتنظيم الدعوة التقاة ، والفتحاويين ولجان العمل الاسلامي ، والمحرومين ، ورجال الله من المقاومة الاسلامية والحرس الثوري كادراً وقيادةً وآخرين كثر منهم من نعرف ومنهم من لم نعرف واخيراً وليس آخراً أنيسك الذي لطالما راهنت عليه وعلى جيل الوحدة  المتجدد لاحداث جبهة سرايا كما راهنت من قبل على العماد وابو حسن سلامة على اطلاق مقاومة اممية ، وحسنت مراهنتك فهاهي جبهتهم .. جبهتنا اليوم ممتدة من جزائر جبال الاطلس الى باكستان التبت وسور الصين العظيم، ليكون وطننا الاسلام وتسقط كل الحدود جميعاً الا حدود الله.

يا حفيد السجاد ومحمد فانت يوم بدأت نضالك الحركي مع الشيخ عز الدين الجزائري حفيد قائد ثورة العشرين، محوِّلاً تنظيمه من حركة اصلاحية الى حركة ثورية عاتبكَ الكثيرون ولم يكونوا يعلمون ان الخميني الكبير قادم ليعلنها ثورة عالمية تنفض الغبار عن مدرسة الاسلام و اهل البيت السياسية في الحكم لا من اجل ايران فحسب بل ومن اجل المستضعفين كل المستضعفين في العالم..!

يا ابن السجاد  يوم بدأت العمل الثوري فتىً يافعاً كنت تحلم وتعمل ليل نهار ان توحد حركة الشباب والعقائديين والدعوة الى تيار واحد والسيد موسى الخوئي ابن المرجعية شاهد وكذلك بيوتات النجف والفقيد الكبير آية الله الاصفي الذي أسّر في اذني في طهران يوماً بالقول : هل تعرف ان اخاك الحسيني كان قد نظّمني في الحركة عنده ولطالما سعى لتوحيد الجهود ولكن تسارع الاحداث وقمع الطاغية العنيف والتهجير حال دون ذلك…!

 اتذكر يا ابن السجاد يوم احتفلت بمولد النبي الاعظم في شارع الرسول جنب مرقد امير المؤمنين وقد تحدثت بالسياسة والحكم العادل حينما جاءك البعض مستنكراً فعلتك هذه متهماً إياك بانك اخطر من الشيوعيين والكفار على الحراك ، لانك تخلط الدين بالسياسة ، وحاول محاصرتك و عزلك .. لولا ان جاء الخميني الكبير وقطع نزاع القوم بدروس الحكومة الاسلامية… ومقولة “ان ديننا عين سياستنا وسياستنا عين ديننا”..!

هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد يوم انتقلت بدعوتك سريعاً من مناصرة ثورة الجزائر الى  ثورة مصر ومن ثم الى كل الوطن العربي والاسلامي الكبير ، وصارت فلسطين وفتح التي كانت فلسطين ، بوصلتك ، كيف جاءك البعض محاولاً خلط الابحاث بطرح منع تقديم المفضول على الفاضل ، فلم تأبه بحرف البوصلة، وظلت منشورات فتح والديمقراطية والشعبية تصلك الى النجف الاشرف لتوزعها على كادر الحركة والانصار بهدف كي الوعي الرجعي واستبداله بوعي ثوري متجدد حتى نصرك الخميني الكبير من جديد يوم افتى بدعم الفدائيين الفلسطينيين وفتح وياسرعرفات ابو عمار بالاسم…

وصرت تخزّن السلاح بالآبار تمهيداً لايام الله ، وتوزع حراكك نحو الشمال الذي كنت تسمي بعض خونته بالاصبع الامريكي ونحو الجنوب الذي كنت تسميه بخزان الحركة والثورة ، الثورة التي انكسرت مؤقتاً بسبب غلبة عراق بقايا رجعية العثمانيين وخبث البريطانيين ، الذين سرعان ما اصدروا حكم الاعدام فيك وحاولوا تنفيذه ، لولا ان فلسطين احتضنتك و استدعتك لاكمال الواجب والتكليف وهي التي انقذتك من اعواد مشانق الطاغية..

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد كيف انتقلت عبر عمّان المسبية الى بيروت كليمة البحر والتقيت بامام المحرومين والفقراء فكنت خير عون وسند له في السياسة كما في التثقيف الديني كما في العلاقات العامة وبقيت تتنقل بين المجلس الاعلى في الحازمية و صور المهنية ولم تغب عنك الفتح والبندقية يوم كان الدين الثوري مهجوراً …

هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد كيف اصبحت لولب اللقاءات بين اقطاب الامة ورموزها في بيروت الحوار والتقريب فتحمست لجمع  المفكر  الجزائري مالك بن نبي والامام الصدر ، و التلاقي والتعاون  بينه و  بين علماء اليمن الزيدين ابراهيم الوزير وشقيقه، ومن ثم كيف اصبحت الجسر الجامع والواصل بين الامام وابوعمار وكيفية انصهارهما في نشاط بديع  ورائع يوم كرمّوا  المعارض الايراني الكبير المفكر الراحل الدكتور علي شريعتي -الذي اغتيل مسموماً في لندن- ، في اطار مؤتمر موسع في بيروت …

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد كيف اصبح موقعك الجديد عوناً وسنداً  لكل رجال الله من ايران الذين صاروا يأتون اليك زرافات ووحداناً في بيتك في برج البراجنة ، من  مناضلي الكفاح المسلح والثورة  ضد الشاه، المكافح الاممي محمد منتظري و رجل البازار النبيل والشريف الحاج رفيق دوست  ، بيتك الذي اصبح خلية نحل للعمل على الاطاحة بنظام الشاه من جهة كما لاجل انضاج الحراك الاسلامي الجماهيري في لبنان حتى جاءك رجل التقوى والزهد والعرفان موفداً من رجال المعارضة الايرانيين المقيمين في الغرب ، اعني الدكتور مصطفى چمران الامل والتحرير الذي سرعان ما نشط  تحت عينيك وبمساعدتك في جبل عامل  ومن ثم صار علماً في الدولة الايرانية المعاصرة  ثم ارتقى شهيداً قائداً متميزاً…

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد كيف كنت اول من خاض معارك التوحيد والجمع  بين النبعة و تل الزعتر والمخيمات وابو الوليد نمر حماد وجواد ابو الشعر وصخر الاقليم وراجي النجمي وجنوب اللجان  وبقاع النبي شيت الموسوية وخضت المعارك التوعوية حتى صار البعض يأخذ عليك وعلى رفاقك بانكم تريدون “اسلام سكر غليظ فيما لبنان اسلامه سكر خفيف…!”… الى حين واجهتكم الحرب الاهلية الشيطانية المجرمة ما دفعكم لتشكيل سرايا الدفاع عن الشياح والضاحية  بوجه الانعزاليين والمرجفين  حتى اتتك الرصاصات الرجعية الصهيونية التي كادت ان تودي بك لولا رحمة ربك و هي التي بقيت في جسدك حتى يوم استشهادك لتشهد على تلك المرحلة الشديدة الحساسية من حياة لبنان ..!

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد يوم كنت اول من رفع راية الامام الخميني العظيم في بيروت ووزعت كتابه ” الحكومة الاسلامية” انت ومن معك من النفر المؤمن القليل يوم لم يكن الخميني بعد سوى رمزاً غريباً و مغيباً عن حراك الامة ، و مع ذلك كان اصرارك وثباتك حول ولايته ولاجل نجاح ثورته في ايران هو علة النجاح فكنت سفيراً و ثائراً كما مسلم بن عقيل حتى تمكنت من جمع اكبر حشد متنوع الانتماء والرؤى في تاريخ الدعم والاسناد من طلال سلمان والسيد هاني فحص وآل فرحات والعماد مغنية ورفيقه ابو حسن سلامة وقادة فصائل فلسطين ابوعمار وابوجهاد وجورج حبش  وجمع غفير من فضلاء اهل السنة ومنهم فقيد الوحدة قاضي صيدا الزين ، الى عبد الرحيم مراد وجورج حاوي ويشهد عليك في ذلك كله اخيك ورفيق دربك الشهيد الحي آية الله السيد عيسى الطباطبائي …

هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد يوم صار بيتك في طهران موئلاً وملاذاً لحركات التحرر العربية والعالمية من حركة “الهنود الحمر” الى ثوار الاندلس الى محمد البصري المغرب العربي الى كل اشكال المعارضة العراقية الى معارضة البحرين وارتيريا والفليپين تحرير مورو وكل احرار العالم الذين صرت تجمعهم بامامهم الذي كان يستقبلهم بحميمية اخوة الايمان ويدعو لهم بالتوفيق والنصر…

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد يوم كنت اول الملبين لنداء الامام في نوفل لو شاتو اولاً ، ومن ثم في طهران : “اليوم ايران وغداً فلسطين” ، فابيت الا ان تعود من طهران سريعاً رغم حلاوة النصر، الى حيث احببت ان تكون بين فقراء جبل عامل وعلى تخوم فلسطين ، رغم انك كنت من المؤسسين لحرس الثورة الذين كرموك بتولي مسؤولية علاقاتهم الخارجية وكنت السفير لمجلس قيادة الثورة الفتية الذي ارسلك لتجول البلدان شارحاً ومدافعاً عن الثورة والحكم الرشيد الجديد…

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد  يوم كنت اول الملبين من جديد لنداء امامك وامام المسلمين ان : “ألا من ناصر ينصرنا” ، يوم اشعل الباغي حربه الملعونة على شعبي ايران والعراق ، فصرت طائراً متنقلاً لتحشيد الدعم للحرس الفتي فاشتريت لهم بكفالة وضمانة الراحل ابي عمار رشاشات البريتا ومسدساتها من السوق العالمية ومن ثم تامين الكلاشينكوف والارپي جي من الراحل الوفي حافظ الاسد مع كم كبير من الاسلحة المتوسطة التي نقلت على عجل من الشام لطهران بطائرتي نقل عملاقتين دعماً للحرس الثوري وكرمى عيون الامام  …

 هل تذكر يا ابن السجاد كيف ايضا ًكنت الفدائي الذي تحمل مهمة تأمين ثم نقل صواريخ السكود من طرابلس الغرب الى طهران من فوق سماء موسكو وانت تعرف انك مطارد ومراقب ومحسود ومظلوم من قبل المرجفين ، وهم هم انفسهم الذين اخذوا عليك الربط بين الدين والسياسة في حارات وازقة امير المؤمنين ، ثم عاودوا  الظهور بحلة جديدة ليفتروا عليك بلسان ألكن غريب مريب… لا لشئ الا لعجزهم أمام إصرارك على الثبات والتخندق مع امامك عاملاً بالتكليف مهما كان الثمن عالياً وصمدت مع جماعة المنتظرين إمامهم القادم القائم بالحق ،  لتنضم الى ثلة الزاهدين بالدنيا ومحاصصاتها ومناصبها وكل زخرفها ، ولانك رفضت السفارة والوزارة والحراسة وقلت ان حارس العمر الاجل، وقلت ان من يمتنع من شد الرحال الى القدس ليحررها تأتيه تل ابيب بجيش احتلال او مرتزقة صهاينة، فقد عاجلتك مجموعة مجندة من الموساد بلباس يشبه داعش والنصرة اليوم لتغتالك غيلة وغدراً يوم الخامس من مارس/ آذار العام ١٩٨١ وانت خارج من اجتماع تنسيقي على طريق فلسطين في سفارة الجمهورية الاسلامية، فتصبح شهيد القدس وايران والعراق وسورية ولبنان وتتبناك حركة امل المجاهدة والثورة الفلسطينية والحركة الوطنية اللبنانية وكان ان وصفوك يومها بمهندس العلاقات العربية الايرانية ، ونعاك الحرس الثوري رسمياً والقيادة القومية السورية وكل المعارضة العراقية الاسلامية وقادة ايران من امامها الذي توجك بخط يده شهيداً سعيداً ورئيس جمهوريتها وقائد حرسها ورئيس وزرائها الشهيد رجائي الذين استقبلوك بحرس الشرف رسمياً في مطار مهرباد ثم ابّنوك عشر سنين متتالية…

أنت ارتحلت بدمك يا أبا احمد، مفتتحاً عصر الاستشهاديين الاممين القادة فكنت لابد اسعدهم ولا تزال …

 ولكن لم يمض وقت طويل حتى بدأ المهاجرون والانصار من مدرسة الامام ، يتقاطرون الى حيث ارتقيت، الواحد بعد الاخر بعد ان اكملوا دربك ، مرتحلين في دمهم وهم على طريق القدس من الحرس الثوري او الحشد الشعبي  الى رجال الله في لبنان وهاهم انصار الله يزينون قوافل الشهداء،  والباقي على الطريق فمنهم من قضى نحبه ومنهم من ينتظر…

حان لك الان ان تنام  قرير العين يا ابا احمد بعد ان اثمر جهدك وجهادك مضاعفاً  فها هي الامة اليوم كلها تتوحد على العهد … بعد ان توحد الدم العراقي بالدم الايراني بالدم السوري بالدم اللبناني بالدم اليمني و اكتمل جيش المليون لتحرير القدس …وصارت فلسطين  قاب قوسين أو ادنى من النصر الكبير وما ذلك على الله بعزيز…

  اخيراً وليس آخراً يا ابا احمد وانت في عرس الاربعين، فقد صار بامكانك ان تنظّم احتفالاً من نوع متفاوت تماماً،  بميلاد الرسول الاعظم الذي لطالما احببت ، وهو بالمناسبة يوم ميلادك ايضاً ، وانت بين اغلى الرفاق والاخوة والاحباب ،  وانتم متحلقون حول الحوض وبرعاية امير المؤمنين واهل الكساء، ولا تنسى ان تدعو لنا بالقدوم اليك فقد طال الفراق … فلا تُمعن كثيراً في ايلامنا بالانتظار فأما القدس أو حضور احتفالك في الفردوس الاعلى يا ابن السجاد…

Israel Strikes Syria To Celebrate Whitewashing Of Al-Qaeda In Idlib

South Front

 04.02.2021 

You can read this article in German. LINK

Israel is becoming increasingly assertive in its strikes and raids, allegedly against Iranian positions, on Syrian soil.

This is more than likely owed to the fact that US activity is at a low-point following Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Israel feels threatened by the slim possibility that the Iran Nuclear Deal will be revived. As such it is left to fend for itself and it appears to be doing so quite ferociously.

In the late hours of February 3rd, the Israeli military launched a large-scale attack on southern Syria. The Syrian Arab Army General Command said that that air-to-ground and ground-to-ground missiles were launched in a heavy barrage.

According to local sources the barrage targeted Damascus International Airport, Mezzeh Military Airport, a Syrian Arab Army base near the district of Kiswah, and a series of military sites in Daraa and al-Quneitra.

The Syrian military says that some of the missiles were intercepted, others caused only material damage.

Israel’s primary targets in the region are Iranian positions, or those of pro-Iranian groups and proxies. This includes Hezbollah targets, to limit the efforts of its Lebanese neighbor.

It is plain to notice what has changed in the most recent attack – it was launched from Israeli soil. In usual practice, the Israeli air force encroaches on Lebanese airspace to carry out its raids.

On February 3rd, however, an Israeli drone was targeted by a Hezbollah anti-aircraft missile. This is a rare occurrence, even if it only targets a drone. It means that the airspace encroachment is becoming more dangerous.

This is a testament to Hezbollah’s increasing capability in limiting Israel’s freedom of action.

The increasing Israeli activity in both frequency and scale, are providing a window of opportunity to ISIS terrorists throughout Syria, and predominantly in Homs and Deir Ezzor.

In the early hours of February 3rd, a surprise attack by an ISIS cell resulted in the deaths of at least 12 pro-Syrian government fighters.

There has been an increased intensity of ISIS attacks in recent weeks. It is quite self-evident that this arose amid Israel’s continued attacks on Syrian Army positions and civilian infrastructure under the pretext that they host Iranian forces.

Even if the Syrian Arab Army is preoccupied with defense, its allies in the form of Russia and Iran are picking up the slack.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is set to establish a tribal force in Deir Ezzor. The main aim of this force will be to support the Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in the region and to serve in a style similar to the “ISIS Hunters”. Despite Israel’s “best efforts” Tehran’s influence in Syria is growing, and this is more evidence of that.

A region that has received less attention in recent weeks, due to the general chaos, is Idlib.

Russian warplanes continue pounding the al-Qaeda-linked “moderate opposition” in the area, attempting to put a stop to its adventurism beyond the demilitarized zone. The ceasefire must hold and Moscow attempts to limit militants’ attempts to compromise it.

Meanwhile, the terrorists in Idlib are being whitewashed, and presented anew as “freedom fighters”. PBS Frontline presented the head of Jabhat al-Nusra (currently Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) as a reformed hero, working towards peace. For years he had a $10 million bounty on his head for leading the world’s No 1 terrorist organization. That appears to be no more, he is now a hero fighting against suppression.

The chaos in the Middle East is growing, amid increasing Israeli activity and renewed attempts to whitewash known terrorists by MSM. Despite Damascus’, Moscow’s and Tehran’s best efforts, the situation has the potential to get much worse, before it gets any better.

IRG Chief Warns Enemies Against Any Miscalculation

IRG Chief Warns Enemies Against Any Miscalculation

By Staff, Agencies

The Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG] described military exercises as a reminder that Iran is fully ready to safeguard its interests, warning the adversaries to avoid any miscalculation as Iran’s finger is on the trigger.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Major General Hossein Salami said military drills in Iran demonstrate the country’s deterrent power.

The war games also make it clear to the enemies that they must avoid any miscalculation about Iran’s defense power, Salami added.

The top general also noted that the military drills give the enemies the message that Iran would protect its independence, dignity and identity without any consideration.

“Our fingers are on the trigger on behalf of the great Iranian nation,” he said, underlining that the IRG forces are prepared to deal with the threats along the border, in the heart of homeland, or deep in the faraway territories.

The Iranian Army and the IRG have held several exercises across Iran over the past two weeks.

In a war game on Saturday, the IRG Aerospace Force blasted targets in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean with long-range ballistic missiles from a distance of 1,800 kilometers.

General Soleimani’s legacy: Unifying the Arab resistance against imperialism and hegemony

By Amal Wahdan

January 13, 2021 – 12:51

Today, the masses of the resistance movements in the region are commemorating the first anniversary of the martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani and his companion Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. 

General Soleimani played a major transnational role across borders and sectarian lines to unite the resistance movements in the region to enable them to confront the vicious plans of the USA, Zionist and Saudi regimes to divide and control the countries of the region.
We have to emphasize and remind the whole world of the nature of this cowardly act by the USA, the Zionist terrorist colonial regime, and the Saudi criminal state. 

The assassination in its nature is an intentional and deliberate crime, a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also a violation of the sovereignty of the state of Iraq, which is a member of the United Nations. The Iranian government has every right to take this matter to the ICC against the three countries who were involved in this crime and to the UN Security Council in addition to retaliation.  

Why did the USA assassinate General Soleimani? First of all, General Soleimani was a leader in the Revolutionary Guard, then the General Commander of its Al Quds Force, which by its name considered by the USA as a threat to the Zionist colonial regime in occupied Palestine, their military base in the area.

Second, for his extraordinary role in assisting the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, who was at war with the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon and was able to liberate the South in the May of 2000 with the great help of Iran and Soleimani. He continued to assist through the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon until his assassination. Today, the Lebanese resistance movement has advanced its military and logistic capabilities by almost 100 times since 2000 and 2006.

The third is General Soleimani’s role in promoting the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip without any factional or sectarian discrimination. His strategy was to work with all Islamic and secular resistance organizations who share the ability and fit to fight a long term struggle against the Israeli occupation, “the absolute evil”, as described by him, until liberation and independence. It was General Soleimani who took the decision with Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to negotiate with President Bashar Al Assad to provide the Palestinian resistance with Cornet missiles and he took responsibility to deliver them to Gaza in 2005 which was the cornerstone in deterring military aggression. He transformed the Palestinian resistance to an advanced level.

Fourth, General Soleimani played a great military role in the joint operation room against FSA, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra through the 10 years of the terrorist war against Syria. He fought hand in hand with the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah fighters, provided them with training, ammunition, and supplies.

Fifth, General Soleimani also played a great role in assisting the Iraqi resistance movement regardless of their religious or political backgrounds. He helped unite the different groups under one umbrella: the popular brigades (Hashd al-Shaabi). He provided them with training, ammunition, supplies, and logistics. He was a good companion with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of Hashd al-Shaabi, and worked with him hand in hand in the different fronts in Iraq until they defeated ISIS.     

Sixth, General Soleimani also supported the Yemeni Army, popular committees, and Ansarullah in their fight against the Saudi, the U.S., and Zionist aggression of 2200 days in a row, which has left hundreds of thousands of casualties mainly among children, women, and the elderly.

General Soleimani’s legacy of uniting the resistance movements in the region from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and most importantly uniting the resistance forces in Gaza, the front line against the Zionist colonial apartheid regime. A deterrence power that forced the Zionist military and political apparatus from any aggression attempts or land incursions. 

The general was a man of ethics, principles, and passion; an exceptional military general with strategic thinking and diplomatic skills. He was assassinated while he was on a diplomatic mission. His assassination is a great loss for the axis of resistance and humanity but marks the defeat of the U.S. hegemony and aggression era.
 

RELATED NEWS

Canada Knew About Plan to Assassinate Iranian Gen. Soleimani Before It Happened

Canada Knew About Plan to Assassinate Iranian Gen. Soleimani Before It Happened

By Staff, The Canada Files

Canada’s former top military commander says that the US gave Canada a heads-up on its plan to kill top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, according to his interview with the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail this past week.

General Jonathan Vance recently retired from his position as Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff, but left with some key information about Gen. Soleimani’s assassination.

In his interview, the Globe and Mail reports him saying that the Pentagon alerted Ottawa on its plans to kill Gen. Soleimani so that it could put in “force protection measures” in case of Iranian counterstrikes.

However, right after the assassination, Canada’s National Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan, said that the US did not provide Canada with the details of its targeted US drone strike that killed Gen. Soleimani in Iraq.

In an interview with CTV’s Power Play host, Even Solomon, in January 2020, Sajjan said they “didn’t have the exact information for the event that took place” but just that the US indicated it would “take action.”

Yves Engler, a Montreal-based political activist who has authored books on Canadian foreign policy, says he thinks that what Canada had said initially was just a “propaganda line” because “they didn’t want to take any responsibility for complicity in what the US did.”

He says that Gen. Vance spoke about it now because he was stepping down and thus being a little bit more honest. Engler, however, isn’t surprised that Canada did in fact know about the assassination as he says that Canada’s military is “totally tied in with the US military presence there.”

“In Iraq, Iraqis view Canadian military and the US military as pretty interchangeable,” he said.

Canadian and American foreign policy have generally also been quite aligned.

According to a report by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Canada’s foreign policy “has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States.” The US department of State also states in a bilateral relations fact sheet that both countries are part of a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others.

In fact, the US and Canada coordinate through the High-Level Policy Review Group, which was launched in 2009 so that both countries could “coordinate actions in response to pressing global issues” and to support each other in “rallying international support for shared goals.”

Engler says he doesn’t think that Canada would want to be directly associated with Gen. Soleimani’s assassination, but believes that Canada has been quite openly aligned with the US government’s campaign to weaken Iran.

He also says that Canada should have done better since they had advanced knowledge of the assassination.

“If they cared about international law, they would have publicly released information and warned Iranians and said that we don’t want to participate in crazy games of assassinating top officials of other countries,” he said.

Instead, foreign affairs minister, Francois-Phillippe Champagne, released a statement emphasizing the safety of Canadian troops in the region, calling for de-escalation and stating that Canada had been concerned about Gen. Soleimani’s Quds Force, whose “aggressive actions have had a destabilizing effect in the region and beyond.”

In a 2018 Parliamentary meeting, Gen. Vance, however, admitted that the “the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] and Shia militia forces did help with the destruction of Daesh [Arabic Acronym for ‘ISIS’ / ‘ISIL’].”

Iran’s Parliament speaker, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, delivered a speech on May 31, 2020 saying that Gen. Soleimani’s assassination is what poses a major threat to international peace and security now.

“When Iran does something that is questionable there is usually a pretty aggressive denunciation from the Canadian government, but in this case [of the assassination], it was either total silence or close to silence,” said Engler, commenting about Canada’s “modest” statement post-assassination.

Gen. Soleimani was the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ [IRGC] Quds Force. He and his companions, including top Iraqi official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were assassinated in a US drone strike, under the order of US President Donald Trump, when Gen. Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.

Iran shot a barrage of missiles on US military bases in Iraq on Jan. 8, 2020 as a form of revenge for assassinating their top Iranian general.

According to Airforce Technology, the Ain al-Asad air force base was the largest coalition base in western Iraq. The Pentagon announced that over 100 American soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the missile strike at the base.

Canada suspended its military mission in Iraq and moved its troops to Kuwait as a protection measure at the time. Canada’s NATO mission in Iraq provides training for Iraqi forces “to help build more effective and sustainable Iraqi defense and security institutions.”

But Engler believes otherwise.

“Since the US occupation, there have been huge amounts of resources put into trying to build up an Iraqi military force that will advance US interests in Iraq and in the region more generally.” he said. “That’s the objective of training militaries everywhere. Canada and the US don’t train other countries’ militaries just out of the goodness of their heart, [they do it] because it’s useful to have armed men…that are aligned with you in different ways.”

Iran Won’t Allow Enemies to Flex Muscles: Commander

January 13, 2021

Iranian Army Chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said on Wednesday that the armed and navy forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not allow enemies to flex muscles against Iran.

Speaking during the ceremony of the annexation of the “Zereh” (meaning ‘Armor’ in Farsi) missile launcher and helicopter carrier dubbed “Makran”, Major General Baqeri said that today’s sea arena is unique and incredibly valuable for the whole world and for the Iranians.

God Almighty has granted this great nation the blessing of having beaches and proper access to the open seas, and we have to properly utilize this God-given gift to expand the divine power of Islam as necessary and to defend the interests of our country beyond the borders and to defend Iran’s maritime borders, which include valuable fossil energy resources and our maritime trade routes, to be properly defended, supported and secured, he noted.

He added that this God-given gift can lead to tremendous development and progress of the country at the regional and global levels.

The geo-strategic advantage of these valuable beaches and open seas can bring maritime and defense authority to our beloved country, he noted.

He underscored that the armed forces, especially the Army’s Strategic Navy, along with their valuable defense missions, have stepped in and moved alongside their valuable defense missions by deploying on the coasts of Makran as a pioneer in the development of these deprived areas and have begun to take valuable measures, and we hope that the government and other important parts of the country will continue to develop and see advanced beaches and areas in this region.

Pointing out that the Strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has accomplished its defense missions with full strength and authority through all its time in charge, Major General Baqeri stated that from the beginning of the Iraqi-imposed war against Iran, the Strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran began its powerful move by destroying the Baathist regime’s navy that day and played a pivotal role in preserving and liberating Khorramshahr, and then took an essential role in escorting the country’s commercial convoys, and after the holy defense, it performed missions to protect the borders of the Islamic homeland.

Over the last decade, the Navy has carried out significant missions with authority in remote seas against piracy and terrorist moves of enemies, he said.

Following deploying on the shores of the Sea of Oman, it could permanently deploy its fleet in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and distant seas, he further noted.

Referring to the escort of a large number tankers and commercial vessels of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Army-Navy, he stated that if the world’s naval forces are proud of their steel and fire, Iran’s Navy, in addition to those features, has faith in the divine power that is the backing of manpower to overcome all threats.

Touching on the recently unveiled helicopter carrier “Makran” and a missile-launching warship “Zereh” in Iran, Makran will be a worthwhile naval vessel base for further development of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support and operational activities in the remote seas.

The construction of such valuable warships proves that the country’s defense industry has successfully passed the enemy’s sanctions and has built the most efficient weapons and equipment by Iranian manpower and domestic facilities, he underscored.

He called the unique unity of the armed forces another valuable point.

Stating that the armed forces are united today, he said that the army and the IRGC are two powerful arms of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the defense industry, as their powerful backing, performs their defense missions with full power and complete synergy, so that the enemies have no power to flex muscles in the waters and regions under the rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He highlighted that, If today “we see that the tanker and commercial vessels of the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite all the threats to the shores of the Caribbean Sea in Venezuela, are moving safely and peacefully under the proud flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the reason is Iranian brave military forces authority” and power of deterring.

“If we witnessed the unveiling of the IRGC Navy’s underground missile town in the past week, this week we will also see the annexation of two valuable vessels of the Strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and every week and every month we see the increase in the defense power of Iranians and we are proud of it.”

Referring to the recent movements of US forces in the region, Major General Baqeri stated that Iran’s enemies have taken actions against Iranians by flying their long-range aircraft in the region and displaying seemingly powerful shows of force to threaten and display power, but they should know that the powerful armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the naval forces will not allow them any show of force.

He further noted that the enemy knows well that their power is fragile, and what is seen in their country these days is the beginning of the decline of American power as a criminal regime that has displayed state terrorism in various dimensions.

Stressing that the Islamic Republic of Iran will support all its interests more powerfully as before, he emphasized that Iran will put the Red Sea, which has faced some limited aggression on the Islamic Republic’s merchant vessels in recent times, back in its naval patrol area and will maintain the full security of its vessels and fleet of tankers and commercials in the Red Sea as well.

SourceIRNA

More War by Other Means: Sanctioning the Wife of Syria’s President Makes No Sense to Anyone

By Philip Giraldi, Ph.D.
Source: Strategic Culture

January 7, 2021

More sanctions, by all means. More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

I am a recipient of regular, usual weekly, emails from the Department of the Treasury providing an “Update to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons.” OFAC is the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which is tasked with both identifying and managing the financial punishments meted out to those individuals and groups that have been sanctioned by the United States government. A recent update, on November 10th, included “Non-Proliferation Designations; Iran-related Designations.” There were ten items on the list, names of Chinese and Iranian individuals and companies. Those who are “Specially Designated” on the list are subject to having their assets blocked if located in the United States and are also not allowed to engage in any financial transactions that go through U.S. banking channels. As many international banks respect U.S. Treasury “designations” lest they themselves be subjected to secondary sanctions that often means in effect that the individual or group cannot move money in a large part of the global financial marketplace.

The complete SDN list is hundreds of pages long. The Treasury Department defines and justifies OFAC’s mission “As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called ‘Specially Designated Nationals’ or ‘SDNs.’ Their assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”

In reality, of course, OFAC’s sanctions are highly political. They are clearly a form of economic warfare, particularly when entire sectors of a nation’s economy are blocked or a part of a government itself is listed as has been the case with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force. Wave after wave of “maximum pressure” sanctions on Iran have made it difficult for the country to sell its only major marketable resource, oil, and it has been locked out of most normal financial networks, making it difficult or even impossible to buy food and medicines.

In many cases sanctions have no practical effect but are rather intended to send a message. There have been new sanctions directed against Moscow and Russian government officials have been sanctioned due to their alleged involvement in activities that the United States does not approve of. The sanctions are imposed even though those “specially designated” have no assets in the U.S. and do not engage in any international financial transactions that could be blocked or disrupted. In those cases, the federal government is sending a message to whomever has been sanctioned to warn them that they are being watched and their behavior has become a matter of record. It is basically a form of intimidation.

Whether sanctions actually work is debatable. The example of Cuba, which was sanctioned by the U.S. for nearly sixty years, would suggest not. Some would argue that on the contrary countries with totalitarian regimes would actually improve their behavior if their citizens could travel freely and welcome visitors, providing evidence that foreigners do not pose a threat justifying a police state.

Within the United States government, it is largely accepted that the most powerful advocate of the sanctions regime is Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who has been the driving force behind recent sanctions directed against both China and Iran. If that is so he might well be challenged on one of the most bizarre and basically pointless applications of sanctions in recent years, targeting Asma the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as her family that lives in London and are British citizens. Per Pompeo’s statement on the new sanctions “The Department of State today is imposing sanctions on Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, for impeding efforts to promote a political resolution of the Syrian conflict pursuant to Section 2(a)(i)(D) of Executive Order 13894… Asma al-Assad has spearheaded efforts on behalf of the regime to consolidate economic and political power, including by using her so-called charities and civil society organizations.”

But the real kicker is Pompeo’s condemnation of Asma, of Syrian origin but English born and raised, is how he involves her family. Her father-in-law Fawaz is a renowned cardiologist at Cromwell Hospital in South Kensington who was educated in England and has lived there for decades. “In addition, we are sanctioning several members of Asma al-Assad’s immediate family, including Fawaz Akhras, Sahar Otri Akhras, Firas al Akhras, and Eyad Akhras as per Section 2(a)(ii) of EO 13894. The Assad and Akhras families have accumulated their ill-gotten riches at the expense of the Syrian people through their control over an extensive, illicit network with links in Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere.”

Inevitably, no evidence is provided to support any of the allegations about Asma al-Assad and her English family. Asma’s charities are for real in her war-torn country and she is highly respected and admired by those who know her and are not influenced by U.S. and Israeli propaganda.

In reality, the United States has been trying hard to overthrow the Syrian government since 2004 when the Syria Accountability Act was passed. Much of the heat in Congress behind the passage of the act was generated by the Israel Lobby, which wanted to weaken the regime and reduce its ability to represent a viable military force possibly capable of regaining the occupied Golan Heights. Be that as it may, the United States has been hostile to the country’s government and has frequently called for regime change. To bring that about, the U.S. supported al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups operating against Damascus and American soldiers continue to occupy Syrian oil fields in the southeast portion of the country. The Syrians have also been subjected to waves of sanctions that have done grave damage to their economy. American and Israeli concerns have sometimes been linked to the presence of Damascus’ allies Hezbollah and Iran, both of whom have military units based inside Syria, but the simple fact is that neither Iranians nor Lebanese in any way threaten the vastly superior American and Israeli forces present in the region.

One has to ask why, given the realpolitik playing out in the Middle East, Washington and Pompeo feel compelled to go after Asma al-Assad and her family, apparently to include absurdly blaming relatives living for many years outside of Syria for fueling the war. More sanctions, by all means. More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS REVEALED UNDERGROUND MISSILE BASE NEAR PERSIAN GULF (VIDEO)

South Front

08.01.2021 

On January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled an underground missile base located on the Persian Gulf coast, in the province of Hormozgan.

IRGC Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami and the guards’ Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri attended the unveiling ceremony.

A video of the new base shows dozens of Iranian-made anti-ship cruise missiles, including the Nasir and the Noor, as well as several missile launchers. Some of the launchers had been disguised as civilian trucks. The base was apparently built to store anti-ship weapons for the IRGC Navy.

In a speech, Maj. Gen. Salami said Iran’s logic in “defending the territorial integrity, the independence of the country, and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution is strengthening.”

“What you see today is one of several IRGC Naval Strategic Missile facilities,” the IRGC Commander-in-Chief said.

Salami added that Iran’s long-range missiles have a pinpoint precision with a high destructive power and they are capable of resisting electronic warfare.

In the last few years, Iran boosted its military capabilities in the face of political, economic and military pressure from the US. Washington’s pressure is meant to force Tehran to give up its nuclear program, missile capabilities and regional influence.

Earlier this week, the Iranian military held a joint large-scale drone drill, which was seen as a message to the US and its allies in the Middle East, especially Israel.

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‘No. of Hezbollah’s precision missiles more than what Israel thinks’: Quds Force

January 7, 2021

Source

‘No. of Hezbollah’s precision missiles more than what Israel thinks’: Quds Force
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Description:

Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi, Deputy Commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, addresses Israeli speculations regarding Hezbollah’s game-changing precision-guided missiles.

Source: Al Mayadeen TV (You Tube)

Date: January 3, 2021(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Transcript:

– The Host:
With regards to a point that the Israeli occupation continuously talks about, and even further, (the Israelis) declare it as a ‘red line’ which that will not allow to be crossed by the other side (i.e. Hezbollah).

Particularly, (we’re referring here) to the precision-guided missiles. (The Israelis) accuse the IRGC, and they accuse the Quds Force, and allow me to say that they accuse you personally for having a role to play in this regard.

Should the Israelis really fear the (military) power of the resistance and its missiles?

– Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi, the Deputy Commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC):

It would be sufficient (for you) to follow the reports and analyses of the Israeli experts so as to understand the level of the fear that they (the Israelis) have regarding this issue (i.e. Hezbollah’s precision-guided missile arsenal).

They declared (these concerns) time and again. In one (Israeli) analysis they said, “Every 200 precision-guided missiles equal thousands of non-precision missiles.” They made this claim.

And they (the Israelis) continuously declare that they will not allow this to happen, meaning the arrival of precision-guided (missiles) into Hezbollah’s hands. However, you (referring to the host, Ghassan Ben Jeddo) heard directly from Sayed Hassan Nasrallah that (these weapons) have indeed arrived and that they own these missiles (now).

And we know well that Sayed Hassan Nasrallah is an honest man that never speaks (falsely) for the (sake of) media (spectacle).

When he says that it (the precision missiles) is in our hands then this is certain, and its number is greater than what the (Israeli) enemy thinks.

Praise be to God, the resistance today has great capabilities, and if the enemy commits any foolishness, it will surely regret it.

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Soleimani geopolitics, one year on

Soleimani geopolitics, one year on

by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

One year ago, the Raging Twenties started with a murder.

The assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi militia, by laser-guided Hellfire missiles launched from two MQ-9 Reaper drones, was an act of war.

Not only the drone strike at Baghdad airport, directly ordered by President Trump, was unilateral, unprovoked and illegal: it was engineered as a stark provocation, to detonate an Iranian reaction that would then be countered by American “self-defense”, packaged as “deterrence”. Call it a perverse form of double down, reversed false flag.

The imperial Mighty Wurlitzer spun it as a “targeted killing”, a pre-emptive op squashing Soleimani’s alleged planning of “imminent attacks” against US diplomats and troops.

False. No evidence whatsoever. And then, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, in front of his Parliament, offered the ultimate context: Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission, on a regular flight between Damascus and Baghdad, involved in complex negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh, with the Iraqi Prime Minister as mediator, at the request of President Trump.

So the imperial machine – in complete mockery of international law – assassinated a de facto diplomatic envoy.

The three top factions who pushed for Soleimani’s assassination were US neo-cons – supremely ignorant of Southwest Asia’s history, culture and politics – and the Israeli and Saudi lobbies, who ardently believe their interests are advanced every time Iran is attacked. Trump could not possibly see The Big Picture and its dire ramifications: only what his major Israeli-firster donor Sheldon Adelson dictates, and what Jared of Arabia Kushner whispered in his ear, remote-controlled by his close pal Muhammad bin Salman (MbS).

The armor of American “prestige”

The measured Iranian response to Soleimani’s assassination was carefully calibrated to not detonate vengeful imperial “deterrence”:

precision missile strikes on the American-controlled Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq. The Pentagon received advance warning.

Predictably, the run-up towards the first anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination had to degenerate into intimations of US-Iran once again on the brink of war.

So it’s enlightening to examine what the Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Division, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1399/10/13/2423366/ told Lebanon’s Al Manar network: “The US and the Zionist regime [Israel] have not brought security to any place and if something happens here (in the region) and a war breaks out, we will make no distinction between the US bases and the countries hosting them.”

Hajizadeh, expanding on the precision missile strikes a year ago, added, “We were prepared for the Americans’ response and all our missile power was fully on alert. If they had given a response, we would have hit all of their bases from Jordan to Iraq and the Persian Gulf and even their warships in the Indian Ocean.”

The precision missile strikes on Ain al-Assad, a year ago, represented a middle-rank power, enfeebled by sanctions, and facing a huge economic/financial crisis, responding to an attack by targeting imperial assets that are part of the Empire of Bases. That was a global first – unheard of since the end of WWII. It was clearly interpreted across vast swathes of the Global South as fatally piercing the decades-old hegemonic armor of American” prestige”.

So Tehran was not exactly impressed by two nuclear-capable B-52s recently flying over the Persian Gulf; or the US Navy announcing the arrival of the nuclear-powered, missile loaded USS Georgia in the Persian Gulf last week.

These deployments were spun as a response to an evidence-free claim that Tehran was behind a 21-rocket attack against the sprawling American embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The (unexploded) 107mm caliber rockets – by the way marked in English, not Farsi – can be easily bought in some underground Baghdad souk by virtually anybody, as I have seen for myself in Iraq since the mid-2000s.

That certainly does not qualify as a casus belli – or “self-defense” merging with “deterrence”. The Centcom justification actually sounds like a Monty Python sketch: an attack “…almost certainly conducted by an Iranian-backed rogue militia group.” Note that “almost certainly” is code for “we have no idea who did it”.

How to fight the – real – war on terror

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif did take the trouble (see attached tweet) to warn Trump he was being set up for a fake casus belli – and blowback would be inevitable. That’s a case of Iranian diplomacy being perfectly aligned with the IRGC: after all, the whole post-Soleimani strategy comes straight from Ayatollah Khamenei.

And that leads to the IRGC’s Hajizadeh once again establishing the Iranian red line in terms of the Islamic Republic’s defense: “We will not negotiate about the missile power with anyone” – pre-empting any move to incorporate missile reduction into a possible Washington return to the JCPOA. Hajizadeh has also emphasized that Tehran has restricted the range of its missiles to 2,000 km.

My friend Elijah Magnier, arguably the top war correspondent across Southwest Asia in the past four decades, has neatly detailed the importance of Soleimani.

Everyone not only along the Axis of Resistance – Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah – but across vast swathes of the Global South is firmly aware of how Soleimani led the fight against ISIS/Daesh in Iraq from 2014 to 2015, and how he was instrumental in retaking Tikrit in 2015.

Zeinab Soleimani, the impressive General’s daughter, has profiled the man, and the sentiments he inspired. And Hezbollah’s secretary-general Sayed Nasrallah, in an extraordinary interview, stressed Soleimani’s “great humility”, even “with the common people, the simple people.”

Nasrallah tells a story that is essential to place Soleimani’s modus operandi in the real – not fictional – war on terror, and deserves to be quoted in full:

“At that time, Hajj Qassem traveled from Baghdad airport to Damascus airport, from where he came (directly) to Beirut, in the southern suburbs. He arrived to me at midnight. I remember very well what he said to me: “At dawn you must have provided me with 120 (Hezbollah) operation commanders.” I replied “But Hajj, it’s midnight, how can I provide you with 120 commanders?” He told me that there was no other solution if we wanted to fight (effectively) against ISIS, to defend the Iraqi people, our holy places [5 of the 12 Imams of Twelver Shi’ism have their mausoleums in Iraq], our Hawzas [Islamic seminars], and everything that existed in Iraq. There was no choice. “I don’t need fighters. I need operational commanders [to supervise the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, PMU].” This is why in my speech [about Soleimani’s assassination], I said that during the 22 years or so of our relationship with Hajj Qassem Soleimani, he never asked us for anything. He never asked us for anything, not even for Iran. Yes, he only asked us once, and that was for Iraq, when he asked us for these (120) operations commanders. So he stayed with me, and we started contacting our (Hezbollah) brothers one by one. We were able to bring in nearly 60 operational commanders, including some brothers who were on the front lines in Syria, and whom we sent to Damascus airport [to wait for Soleimani], and others who were in Lebanon, and that we woke up from their sleep and brought in [immediately] from their house as the Hajj said he wanted to take them with him on the plane that would bring him back to Damascus after the dawn prayer. And indeed, after praying the dawn prayer together, they flew to Damascus with him, and Hajj Qassem traveled from Damascus to Baghdad with 50 to 60 Lebanese Hezbollah commanders, with whom he went to the front lines in Iraq. He said he didn’t need fighters, because thank God there were plenty of volunteers in Iraq. But he needed [battle-hardened] commanders to lead these fighters, train them, pass on experience and expertise to them, etc. And he didn’t leave until he took my pledge that within two or three days I would have sent him the remaining 60 commanders.”

Orientalism, all over again

A former commander under Soleimani that I met in Iran in 2018 had promised me and my colleague Sebastiano Caputo that he would try to arrange an interview with the Maj Gen – who never spoke to foreign media. We had no reason to doubt our interlocutor – so until the last Baghdad minute we were in this selective waiting list.

As for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed side by side with Soleimani in the Baghdad drone strike, I was part of a small group who spent an afternoon with him in a safe house inside – not outside – Baghdad’s Green Zone in November 2017. My full report is here.

Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran, reflecting on the assassination, told me, “the most important thing is that the Western view on the situation is very Orientalist. They assume that Iran has no real structures and that everything is dependent on individuals. In the West an assassination doesn’t destroy an administration, company, or organization. Ayatollah Khomeini passed away and they said the revolution was finished. But the constitutional process produced a new leader within hours. The rest is history.”

This may go a long way to explain Soleimani geopolitics. He may have been a revolutionary superstar – many across the Global South see him as the Che Guevara of Southwest Asia – but he was most of all a quite articulated cog of a very articulated machine.

The adjunct President of the Iranian Parliament, Hossein Amirabdollahian, told Iranian network Shabake Khabar that Soleimani, two years before the assassination, had already envisaged an inevitable “normalization” between Israel and Persian Gulf monarchies.

At the same time he was also very much aware of the Arab League 2002 position – shared, among others, by Iraq, Syria and Lebanon: a “normalization” cannot even begin to be discussed without an independent – and viable – Palestinian state under 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital.

Now everyone knows this dream is dead, if not completely buried. What remains is the usual, dreary slog: the American assassination of Soleimani, the Israeli assassination of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the relentless, relatively low-intensity Israeli warfare against Iran fully supported by the Beltway, Washington’s illegal occupation of parts of northeast Syria to grab some oil, the perpetual drive for regime change in Damascus, the non-stop demonization of Hezbollah.

Beyond the Hellfire

Tehran has made it very clear that a return to at least a measure of mutual respect between US-Iran involves Washington rejoining the JCPOA with no preconditions, and the end of illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions. These parameters are non-negotiable.

Nasrallah, for his part, in a speech in Beirut on Sunday, stressed,

“one of the main outcomes of the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis is the calls made for the expulsion of US forces from the region. Such calls had not been made prior to the assassination. The martyrdom of the resistance leaders set US troops on the track of leaving Iraq.”

This may be wishful thinking, because the military-industrial-security complex will never willingly abandon a key hub of the Empire of Bases.

More important is the fact that the post-Soleimani environment transcends Soleimani.

The Axis of Resistance – Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Hezbollah – instead of collapsing, will keep getting reinforced.

Internally, and still under “maximum pressure” sanctions, Iran and Russia will be cooperating to produce Covid-19 vaccines, and the Pasteur Institute of Iran will co-produce a vaccine with a Cuban company.

Iran is increasingly solidified as the key node of the New Silk Roads in Southwest Asia: the Iran-China strategic partnership is constantly revitalized by FMs Zarif and Wang Yi, and that includes Beijing turbo-charging its geoeconomic investment in South Pars – the largest gas field on the planet.

Iran, Russia and China will be involved in the reconstruction of Syria – which will also include, eventually, a New Silk Road branch: the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Eastern Mediterranean railway.

All that is an interlinked, ongoing process no Hellfires are able to burn.

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