Saturday, 11 November 2017

How We All Learned to Accept Bush’s Lies About Libya



761769637_24c295d5b6_o

How We All Learned to Accept Bush’s Lies About Libya


According to non-partisan, pan-ideological lore in 2017, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi gave up his quest for nukes in 2003—spooked by the Iraq war or strong-armed by imperialism or just trying to be nice, depending on the lesson plan. But instead of making his regime more secure, the gesture only secured his eventual downfall.
“North Koreans invariably mention the former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi,” Evan Osnos wrote in The New Yorker following a recent trip to Pyongyang. And these North Korean officials cite the officially prepared narrative: that in December 2003, following talks that the U.S. president said began when the U.S. and UK invaded Iraq nine months earlier, the government of Colonel Gaddafi announced it was giving up on nuclear deterrence.
As Bush recounted in his 2004 State of the Union address, “the leader of Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle all of his regime’s weapons of mass destruction programs, including a uranium-enrichment project for nuclear weapons.” Gaddafi, Bush said, “correctly judged that his country would be better off and far more secure without weapons of mass murder.”
The North Korean state, seeing how Gaddafi was executed less than eight years later by rebels with NATO air support, claims to have learned a lesson: that the Libyan leader signed his death warrant when he traded weapons for diplomatic relations. “It has been shown to the corners of the earth that Libya’s giving up its nuclear arms, which the U.S. liked to chatter on about, was used as an invasion tactic to disarm the country,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a 2011 statement. A Foreign Ministry official repeated the claim in an October 5 interview with Nick Kristof, which The New York Timescolumnist left unchallenged.
This is also the tidy narrative adopted by the current White House to explain why diplomacy won’t work with Pyongyang. “The lessons that we learned out of Libya giving up its nukes is, unfortunately, if you had nukes, never give them up,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2017. A write-up in The Intercept reported that comment as detailing how, with respect to proliferation, “we got to this point,” a fact—disarmament followed by regime change prompting others to build and test more nukes—“shamelessly denied” by the previous administration.
Business news network CNBC has likewise speculated that North Korea’s “refusal to drop its nuclear weapons program may have a lot to do with the fate that met [Gaddafi],” while Doug Bandow of the libertarian Cato Institute is less equivocal, saying that, with respect to Libya, “Pyongyang saw America’s policy plain.
Farewell to Arms?
But Libya never gave up nuclear arms; it never had them—it hardly even had what might be called a “program.” And that 2003 deal was followed not by preparations for war against a newly disarmed enemy, but a shameful period of normalization that saw respected politicians in the U.S. and Europe flatter the Libyan dictator with praise and arms, all while their governments abducted and extradited his political opponents.
Amid that deplorable friendship, North Korea, in 2006, conducted its first nuclear weapons test. As analyst Samuel Ramani argues, it was the NATO intervention in Kosovo, and “NATO’s decision not to remove [Slobodan] Milosevic from power in 1999,” that informed North Korean policy to build up a conventional and nuclear deterrent. “From Pyongyang’s vantage point, NATO’s restrained military intervention in Yugoslavia demonstrated that the United States was only willing to carry out military interventions if they resulted in few casualties,” Ramani writes.
What happened in Libya years later may not have discouraged Pyongyang’s thinking with respect to deterrence, but it was at best a data point. And the Islamic Republic of Iran, for years in the crosshairs of America’s most belligerent militarists, even cheered Gaddafi’s downfall, congratulating the Libyans for changing their regime with a “popular uprising.” It then agreed to curb its own nuclear program.
That Libyan WMDs were real and a threat has served everyone’s interests. Gaddafi had since the late 1990s sought “normalized relations with the United States,” former CIA analyst Flynt Leverett noted in a 2004 piece for the Brookings Institution, while Bush and Blair, dealing with an insurgency in Iraq, desired vindication. A dictator giving up his WMDs, just months after the March 2003 invasion, would do just right.
As with Iraq, however, inspectors found no evidence to back the atomic hyperbole. In February 2004, three months after the weapons deal was announced, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report declaring that its inspectors could find no facilities in Libya “dedicated to nuclear weapon component manufacturing.” What it found instead, by way of Libyan officials, were “a series of engineering drawings relating to nuclear weapons components” and “notes (many of them handwritten) related to the fabrication of weapon components.”
Libya did possess some potentially dual-use nuclear opponents, including two centrifuges and uranium hexafluoride with which to feed them, according to the Arms Control AssociationBut, according to the IAEA, there was no evidence the Libyan regime ever tried to build a nuclear weapon.
Libya Rewarded
Giving up this on-paper nuclear program was richly rewarded. Within four months, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was extending Gaddafi the “hand of friendship,” naming General Robin Searby his government’s “defense coordinator with Libya under an agreement to advise and train members of the Libyan army,” according to The Independent. Critics, the account continued, complained that Libya’s “capacity and willingness to develop and deploy WMDs has been exaggerated to make the diplomatic breakthrough appear much more significant.”
General Searby would himself echo those critics years later, telling Al Jazeera in 2011that Libyan weapons programs were so primitive that “they tried to make things fly which would go a few yards then explode or turn around head straight back towards them.” Although there were chemical weapons and stockpiles of chemicals that could have been used to make more—the last removed in 2016, post-regime change—Searby said he had “no knowledge” of the biological weapons said to be part of the deal, an apparent embellishment.
By the time that news came out, the Libyan government had already obtained over $143 million in weapons and other military equipment from British arms dealers, including the riot gear and tear gas that security forces used against Arab Spring protests against Gaddafi’s regime. Many other Western governments supplied the bullets, with the European Union selling $1 billion in arms in the five years following the lifting of the arms embargo on Libya, with Gaddafi promising—for a fee—to help keep Black migrants out of Europe.
Rather than plan for a full-scale invasion against a freshly neutered pest, the U.S and Europe propped up the Gaddafi regime, snatching families and delivering them to be detained and tortured by the Libyan government. On the eve of the Arab Spring, the U.S. government was preparing not for war, but for business “on an increasing scale,” according to the Associated Press, having planned to sell the Libyan military $77 million in armored troop carriers. Military exports were only suspended weeks after the first reports of massacres carried out by forces who benefitted from U.S. military training(with Blair whispering in the ear of “the leader” to try and talk him down).
Just as it served the political and financial interests of many to pretend that the 2003 deal with Libya was more than spectacle, it has been useful to many of all political stripes, post-2011, to omit the fact that Gaddafi’s relations with the West had been normalized and that Libya had become just another place to sell weapons, buy oil, and deposit the unfortunates kidnapped by the CIA and MI6.
Gaddafi was never the reformed villain Bush and Blair made him out to be, nor was he an anti-imperialist martyr done in by naiveté and disarmament. If the West had thought him more of a burden than a viable business partner back in 2003, the Libyan military (and its missiles that wouldn’t fly right) weren’t standing in the way of changing his regime.
It serves a popular storyline to act otherwise, with all sides, foreign and domestic, now omitting years of incriminating friendship. But the propaganda we serve ourselves is now serving to inform policy in an increasingly authoritarian dystopia: the Trump administration’s United States, which believes this tale to be evidence that diplomacy is no way to achieve disarmament. Truth is often a casualty of war, and mutually agreed upon deception is also a damningly myopic way to prevent one.
Charles Davis is a journalist in Los Angeles whose work has been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast, The New Republic and Vice. Photo: Muammar Gaddafi (openDemocracy via Flickr)

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

BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg deletes tweet about UK’s ‘corrupt’ relationship with israel

MEMO | November 10, 2107
BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg [Policy Exchnage/Flickr]
A prominent BBC journalist has deleted a tweet in which a senior Conservative MP can be seen complaining about the British media turning a blind eye to the corrupt relationship that has allowed Israel to “buy access” in Westminster.
The tweet was posted by the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg on Wednesday while the Scottish journalist was covering the build up to the resignation of Priti Patel. The Secretary of State for International Development had taken part in undisclosed meetings in Israel organised by the powerful Conservative Friends of Israel lobby (CFI) last summer.
Kuenssberg’s Twitter posts on the day was full of posts on the Patel story including comments about Number 10 denying the allegation made by the Jewish Chronicle that Prime Minster Theresa May had been made aware of the 12 meetings Patel had had during her “family holiday” in Israel.
In her deleted tweet, which MEMO has been able to grab as a screenshot, Kuenssberg reported a comment made by a “senior” Tory MP who, enraged by the debacle, called for Lord Polak, honorary president of CFI and the person thought to be behind Patel’s Israel trip, to be sacked.
“Strong words,” tweeted Kuenssberg, “Senior Tory says Lord Polak should be chucked out of the party, claiming ‘the entire apparatus has turned a blind eye to a corrupt relationship that allows a country to buy access’.”
MEMO contacted Kuenssberg to ask why she had deleted the tweet but has not received a reply from the journalist.
The BBC has often been accused of pro-Israel bias and it would appear that this was yet another example of the broadcaster censoring criticism of Israel or senior BBC journalists enforcing self-censorship when it comes to Israel.
While it’s not absolutely clear what the senior Tory meant by the “entire apparatus”, it would appear that the concerns raised by the Conservative politician echo similar complaints made by Israel’s critics over the influence of CFI and other pro-Israeli lobby groups on the entire British establishment including the media.
Kuenssberg’s decision to delete the tweet it seems is further proof that the “entire apparatus” is reluctant to shed light on the “corrupt relationship” between the UK and Israel, which critics say is the reason why the BBC and other media corporations have turned a blind eye, and allowed Israel through the CFI and organisations like the Labour Friends of Israel to “buy access”.

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

U.S. Imposes Oil Blockade to Force Venezuela into Default


The U.S. is betting on the default of Venezuela affecting its financial credibility and hampering its debt repayments.
While continuing the commercial and financial embargo and the systematic attack on PDVSA, it was revealed at the start of November that imports of Venezuelan oil to the United States this year have declined to 56 percent compared to last year. This multi-pronged attack that this state industry is facing as the main foreign exchange earner of the country, has been run by a network of internal allies, many of whom have been detained by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in recent months. This was after the former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz became a key factor in allowing the continuity of these mafias to operate within the company.
In addition to corruption and internal sabotage, PDVSA is facing a series of sanctions for the issuance of debt, which has also complicated transactions with U.S. refineries for the purchase of crude oil. In recent months America’s banks, under pressure from the U.S. Treasury Department, have restricted credit notes that U.S. refineries need to pay for Venezuelan oil. The result is that imports and dividends in dollars have been reduced by half in comparison to 2016.
Trump did not dare take the measure of prohibiting imports from Venezuela, given the many interests of U.S. companies involved, but this multi-pronged attack is making any explicit prohibition unnecessary. The measures taken have managed to make a dent in exports of oil to that country. All this is with the objective of continuing to strangle the Venezuela’s economy and force the nation into a debt default by restricting purchases by U.S. refineries.
Forecasts in respect of servicing PDVSA bonds for these dates have been varied. According to Kapital Consultants, between October and November PDVSA must comply with payments of US$3.525 billion for a total of approximately US$9 billion paid in debt interest and capital for the year 2018. As usual, the partial information in this report was used as a means of propaganda by the Venezuelan opposition to confuse and sow doubts about the payment capacity of the company.
According to President Nicolas Maduro, the Republic and PDVSA have paid more than US$71.7 billion in the last four years for capital and debt servicing.
These maneuvers against PDVSA are not isolated and form part of a framework of actions imposed since the Barack Obama administration issued an executive decree which declares Venezuela as a “threat to the national security” of the United States, behind which were the major U.S. oil corporations.
Reports from Reuters and other national media about PDVSA’s alleged inability to pay are part of this plan, adding fuel to the fire of financial terrorism directed from the Rating Agencies against Venezuela as well as from some opposition leaders such as Julio Borges who continues pushing for sanctions.
The U.S. is betting on the default of Venezuela affecting its financial credibility and hampering its debt repayments, as part of a maneuver to force a default on payments that would allow the violation of PDVSA’s international assets and partially block its oil income. However, the timely payments by Venezuela have prevented the default from happening, even if the rating agencies, the treasury department and some Wall Street banks keep pushing in that direction.
But given that this action in the financial war has not yielded the expected results, the U.S. looks as if it will take the road of the oil embargo as its ace card. The objective of pressuring banks and U.S. refineries from buying Venezuelan crude seeks to restrict the flow of dollars into the Venezuelan economy which are used for various purposes – such as debt repayment and imports of basic goods.
 
Venezuela remains the third largest supplier of oil to the U.S. In 2016, it exported approximately 736,000 barrels per day, what resulted in – if measured at an average basket price of US$30 per barrel – more than US$700 million a month in oil revenues for Venezuela, just from the U.S. market. Due to the financial blockade on purchases of Venezuelan oil imposed by the treasury department on U.S. refineries, that figure has dropped to 255,000 barrels a day, reducing foreign currency income by more than 50 percent.
A few weeks ago the fifth largest buyer of Venezuelan oil, PBF Energy, suspended purchases from PDVSA due to these pressures, while other refiners are struggling to make payments to the Venezuelan State Oil Company.
With these underhand actions by the Trump administration being institutionalized as financial sanctions, the U.S. is forcing Venezuela and PDVSA to have fewer dollars to meet their debt commitments in 2018 (protected at US$8 billion approximately) and in this way is pressing the country to fall into default. Add this to the sanctions preventing the issuance of new debt by PDVSA and Venezuela in the U.S. for refinancing purposes, then this has obliged Maduro to call the holders of debt to start a process of restructuring.
The various corporate maneuvers that aim to make the Venezuelan state pay for its decision to recover its sovereignty over PDVSA, is due not only to the economic implications but also to the geopolitical consequences of this decision. Moscow has begun a restructuring of the Venezuelan debt in a friendly, conversational tone, while Beijing has supported the sovereign decision of the Venezuelan state to refinance its debt. In turn, this cooperation has generated a geopolitical counterweight to the pressure exerted by the U.S. Treasury Department on holders of debt which has resulted in their non-recognition of the negotiations with the Venezuelan government.
What can be observed is that sanctions imposed by the government of Donald Trump against PDVSA, and in particular against Venezuela in general, as well as against other major producers of oil such as Russia and Iran, is that this policy has backfired and had a negative effect on the petrodollar. This could lead to the weakening of the United States role in the world oil trade with very serious, predictable consequences for its economic hegemony in the world.
First published in Mision Verdad on Nov. 3, 2017.
This article was originally published by teleSur –

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

Hamid Karzai: US Colluded With ISIL in Afghanistan

November 10, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has accused the the US of working with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in his country.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera’s UpFront aired on Friday, Karzai said the US government had allowed ISIL, also known as ISIS, to flourish inside Afghanistan.
“In my view under the full presence, surveillance, military, political, intelligence, Daesh [ISIL] has emerged,” he said.
“And for two years the Afghan people came, cried loud about their suffering, of violations. Nothing was done.”
Karzai said the US administration of President Donald Trump made ISIL as an excuse to drop a massive bomb in Afghanistan on April 2017.
“And the next day, Daesh takes the next district in Afghanistan,” he said referring to the Arabic name of the armed group.
“That proves to us that there is a hand in it and that hand can be no one else but them [the US] in Afghanistan.”
GBU-43, the largest non-nuclear bomb, the US used in combat was dropped in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 36 ISIL fighters and destroying tunnel complex of the armed group.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the strike was designed to minimise the risk to Afghan and US forces conducting clearing operations in the area.
The explosive, also known as the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB), was equal to 11 tonnes of TNT with a blast radius of 1.6km.
Witnesses said they felt the ground shake after the explosion, while others described towering flames in the aftermath.
At that time, Karzai also condemned the attack as “inhuman and most brutal misuse” of Afghanistan as “testing ground for new and dangerous weapons”.

‘Potential war crimes’

Karzai also said he welcomed a recent call by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan, including those committed during his tenure in office.
 
“She’s right to launch such an investigation,” Karzai told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan, referring to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to launch an investigation in Afghanistan.
Karzai also acknowledged that there were human rights violations during his government, and possibly on his watch.
“Definitely, there were violations by the Afghan security forces, by the US, and by others.”
Karzai said he would help with any investigation, even into his own potential complicity.
“I have been asking for this so that they come to Afghanistan and investigate as to what has happened in this country.”
During the interview, Karzai was also asked to respond to claims by human rights groups that he was warned while in office that human-rights abuses were taking place.
“They are wrong,” he said. “They didn’t tell me. I told them.”
“I told the Western human rights bodies as to what was going on in Afghanistan. They were hiding it. The Western press was hiding it. I told them. I raised it.”
This article was originally published by Al Jazeera –

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

The map of forces after the resignation of Al-Hariri خريطة القوى بعد استقالة الحريري

The map of forces after the resignation of Al-Hariri

نوفمبر 10, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,
The main question which is posed by the resignation of the Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri politically is to determine the nature of the change which it caused to the political map of the balances of forces, alliances, and trends whether in Lebanon or in the region. This is required information to understand the dimensions of the resignation and thus to understand the reasons of resignation. It is normal to start from the main targeted party publically by the resignation away from the party which decided it and formulated its statement whether Al-Hariri himself or who has dictated to him and asked him to read it in a humiliating manner to him and to Lebanon. It is clear that the main targeted is Hezbollah, which its Secretary-General Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrollah has emerged to public in a calm non-provocative image, feeling comfortable to the situation of Hezbollah, its position, its role, and its sticking to the equations and the fronts which he managed and cares about its future.
Israel and America as two concerned parties do not want to get involved by building on the resignation for what is further than the media mobilization of a campaign to target Hezbollah, and to launch bets that do not necessarily reflect considerations and plan, however, an incitement and mobilization, its content is to talk about Lebanese confrontation against Hezbollah, which means that the actual map of the balances between the opposite two fronts in the region was not affected by the resignation even in Iran and Saudi Arabia. The comments and the positions in Iran were close to analysis, interpretation, and description, while in Saudi Arabia they were close to incitement and mobilization, so there are not projects of wars or “Operation decisive storms”.
In Lebanon, the alliance of March 14th seemed in a state of confusion as the bloc of its deputies, the cautious statement of the block was dull and frustrated; moreover there is a sense of Saudi abandonment of playing with the Lebanese papers as the resignation of Al-Hariri in the speech of the Lebanese Forces. so this party tries to present the credentials to continue the confrontation, exactly as the Saudis did on the eve of the signing the nuclear program between the Americans and the Iranians, and their waging the war of Yemen hoping to restore the momentum of the US action against Iran.
The Deputy Walid Jumblatt is waiting he did not support Al-Hariri or the content of his statement, just saying that Lebanon does not bear further crisis, while the candidates of premiership have started to take the initiatives and detect the positions of the important blocks, they read the positions and the red lines limits which permit or restrict or prevent their candidacy as acceptable projects for the presidency of the government, while the Lebanese street is worried about the repercussions of the resignation, because this resignation opens the way for the terrorist forces to tamper with the security and to spread more chaos. He feels reassured for what Al Sayyed Nassrollah said, and felt reassured for what was announced by the Bank of Lebanon about not to concern about the dollar exchange rate.
The President of the Republic Michael Aoun and the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri feel calm, they call on the Egyptian President to make sure that Al-Hariri is free in Saudi Arabia, so they seek for an internal calm and to cool the tension, they seek for a constitutional behavior that is built on verifying the free will of Al-Hariri of the resignation. Among the possibilities is to take time for accepting the resignation till the necessary verification of its accordance with the law and constitution, then to make consultations that end with nominating new prime minister with the cooperation of the deputy Walid Jumblatt, or to take the decision of the Speaker Berri by moving the date of the parliamentary elections forward to form a new government according to the balances which will result by these elections.
The question becomes, as long as what will result from the post-resignation will not bring but the loss to Al-Hariri, his team and his allies, so why to resign?
The answer is only in Saudi Arabia and what is going inside it as arresting and detentions towards killing in mysterious events.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

خريطة القوى بعد استقالة الحريري

نوفمبر 6, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– السؤال الرئيسي الذي تطرحه استقالة رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري بالمعنى السياسي هو تحديد طبيعة التغيير الذي أدخلته على الخريطة السياسية لموازين القوى والتحالفات والاتجاهات سواء في لبنان أو المنطقة. فهذا هو الرصد المطلوب لفهم أبعاد الاستقالة التي تساعد في فهم أسباب الاستقالة. ومن الطبيعي البدء بالجهة الرئيسية المستهدفة علناً بالاستقالة، بمعزل عن الجهة التي قرّرتها وصاغت بيانها، أكان الحريري نفسه، أو مَن أملاها عليه وقدّمه بتلاوته نصاً وروحاً بصورة مهينة له وللبنان. والواضح أنّ المستهدف الرئيسي، حزب الله، قد ظهر بشخص أمينه العام السيد حسن نصرالله، بصورة غير مستفزة، هادئاً، مرتاحاً لوضع الحزب وموقعه ودوره، وإمساكه بدفة المعادلات والجبهات التي يتولى إدارتها ويهتمّ لمستقبلها.

– «إسرائيل» وأميركا كجهتين معنيتين بدتا بصورة لا لبس فيها في موقع مَن لا يريد التورّط في البناء على الاستقالة لما هو أبعد من الاستثمار والتوظيف الإعلامي للحملة التي تستهدف حزب الله، وإطلاق رهانات لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن حسابات وخطة، بل عن تحريض وتوظيف، مضمونها الحديث عن مواجهة لبنانية لحزب الله، ما يعني أنّ الخريطة الفعلية للتوازنات بين قوى الجبهتين المتقابلتين في المنطقة، لم تتأثر بالاستقالة، حتى في إيران والسعودية، بل بقيت التعليقات والمواقف أقرب، في طهران للتحليل والتفسير والتوصيف، وأقرب في السعودية للتحريض والتوظيف، فلا مشاريع حروب ولا عواصف حزم.

– لبنانياً بدا حلف الرابع عشر من آذار مقطوع الرأس، رغم الصراخ المبحوح المتصاعد من بعض الحناجر الهامشية، فتيار المستقبل في حال ذهول ومثله كتلة نوابه، وبيان الكتلة الشديد الحذر، أصفر الوجه شاحب أقرب للبكائية، وخطاب القوات اللبنانية ورئيسها يستشعر التخلّي السعودي عن لعب أوراق لبنانية شكلت خاتمته استقالة الحريري ويخشى تصديق نفسه في هذا التحليل، فيمعن بتقديم أوراق الاعتماد لمواصلة المواجهة، تماماً كما فعل السعوديون عشية توقيع الأميركيين للتفاهم حول الملف النووي مع إيران، وذهابه لحرب اليمن أملاً باستعادة زخم التحرك الأميركي بوجه إيران.

– النائب وليد جنبلاط متريّث، لم يتضامن مع الحريري، ولا مع مضمون بيانه، مكتفياً بالقول إنّ لبنان لا يتحمّل المزيد من التأزّم، فاتحاً الباب بذلك لبحث عنوانه كيفية إغلاق الأبواب أمام رياح الأزمات، بينما مرشحو رئاسة الحكومة بدأوا ينشطون ويتقدّمون بالمبادرات ويستطلعون مواقف الكتل الوازنة، ويقرأون المواقف وحدود الخطوط الحمراء التي تسمح أو تقيّد أو تمنع ترشحهم كمشاريع مقبولة لرئاسة الحكومة، أما الشارع اللبناني فقلق من تداعيات الاستقالة بفتح الباب للقوى الإرهابية للعبث بالأمن ونشر المزيد من الفوضى، يطمئنه كثيراً ما قاله السيد نصرالله، ويطمئنه ما أعلنه مصرف لبنان عن عدم القلق على سعر صرف الدولار.

– رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون ورئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري هادئان يستعينان بالرئيس المصري للتأكد من أنّ الحريري يتمتع بحريته في السعودية، ويسعيان نحو تهدئة داخلية وتنفيس احتقان، وتصرّف دستوري يُبنى على التحقق من الإرادة الحرة للرئيس الحريري بالاستقالة، ومن بين الاحتمالات، التريّث بقبول الاستقالة حتى التحقق اللازم من قانونيتها ودستوريتها، ومن بعدها الذهاب لاستشارات تنتهي بتسمية رئيس جديد للحكومة بالتعاون مع النائب وليد جنبلاط، أو الذهاب للأخذ بمشروع الرئيس بري بتقديم موعد الانتخابات النيابية، لتتشكّل الحكومة الجديدة، وفقاً للتوازنات التي تنتجها الانتخابات.

– يصير السؤال، طالما أنّ ما سينتج عما بعد الاستقالة، لا يجلب إلا الخسارة للحريري وفريقه وحلفائه، لماذا الاستقالة إذن؟

– الجواب في السعودية فقط وما يجري فيها، من توقيفات واعتقالات، وصولاً للتصفيات الجسدية في الأحداث الغامضة.


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

America’s ‘Allies’ Are Setting Up Another Trap for US in the Middle East



America’s ‘Allies’ Are Setting Up Another Trap for US in the Middle East
PHILIP M. GIRALDI | 10.11.2017 | OPINION

America’s ‘Allies’ Are Setting Up Another Trap for US in the Middle East


Whatever their plans, the stakeholders in the Middle East must remember that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces.
Tension is increasing all across the Middle East and the United States is again falling into a trap set up by its so-called allies to act against its own interests by getting deeply involved in what might turn out to be an escalating conflict. The recent victories by the Syrian Army and its Russian allies, which suggest that the active phase of the Syrian civil war will soon be drawing to a close, means that the perennial unrest in the region will be shifting gears and possibly leading to new conflict in areas that have until now been quiet. The lack of any real American policy for the region will enable the Saudis and Israelis, who have hegemonistic dreams of their own, to manipulate a casus belli, quite likely starting in Lebanon, where Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri recently resigned his office and fled to Saudi Arabia, claiming that he was fearing for his life due to his resistance to Iran’s influence over his country.
Hariri headed a coalition pulled together in 2016 that included nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah. It took office in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian who has an understanding with Hezbollah, president. The inclusion of Hezbollah and the presence of a friendly Aoun was seen as a victory for Iran.
The Hariri resignation was certainly carried out in collusion with Riyadh, to include the damning of Iranian influence as his reason for leaving. It suggests that the Saudis and Israelis, who have been hyperbolically claiming that Tehran is about to take control of much of the Middle East, are feeling confident enough to move towards some kind of showdown with the Mullahs. As a first step, expected deteriorating sectarian interaction between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims in Lebanon will eliminate any possibility of a bipartisan and functioning government, providing a pretext for foreign intervention to stabilize the situation.
The United States is clearly privately approving the Israeli and Saudi moves, as Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv have all adamantly opposed the existence of the Lebanese coalition dominated by Aoun and Hezbollah’s Nasrullah because of the Hezbollah presence. The next step will be for Israel fighter aircraft to increase their incursions into Lebanese airspace in light of the alleged instability north of the border derived from the claims by Hariri that he was about to be assassinated. The activity would be intended to provoke a Lebanese response that would escalate into an incident that will lead to a major strike to bring the Beirut government down. The ultimate objective is to create a Saudi and Israeli-led grand Sunni alliance, which might be a fantasy, to pushback Iranian influence in the entire region. Lebanon’s Hezbollah, opposed by the Saudis because it is Shi’a and by Israel because of its missile arsenal, would be targeted as the first marker to fall.
A supportive Washington role in the conflict will of course be indispensable and there is every sign that it would be forthcoming, with grand strategists like Generals Mattis and McMaster no doubt envisioning a roll-up of Shi’as starting in Lebanon and working eastward while the Saudis continue their aggression against Yemen to counter alleged Iranian interference in that area. Israel will also undoubtedly step up its attacks on Syrian Army positions, claiming that it is striking Hezbollah, to further complicate any countermoves by the Iranians. Israel has made it very clear that it will attack any Iranian military positions that are established in Syria.
It is important to recall that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces. Bashar al-Assad has survived an onslaught directed by the very same alignment now out to reverse a perceived Iranian-led Shi’a ascendancy and Hezbollah proved so successful against Israel that Israeli war plans now rule out any action on the ground due to the high casualty levels experienced in 1990-2000. The US would be playing a supporting role in any conflict, but might well suffer collateral damage if Iran is drawn in directly, a development that could easily lead to armed conflict between Washington and Tehran.

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

Qatar’s Former Prime Minister Says US Funded ISIS

Qatar’s former prime minister has spoken out about how his country worked with Saudi Arabia and Turkey under the direction of the Obama Administration to funnel arms and money to jihadists in Syria.
The explosive interview is a “public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilise an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda,” by former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.
Al-Thani oversaw operations against Syria on behalf of Qatar until 2013. He confirmed that Gulf nations were arming jihadists in Syria with the approval and support of the US and Turkey:
“I don’t want to go into details but we have full documents about us taking charge [in Syria].”
He added that both Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – who ruled until his death in 2015 – and the United States had given Qatar a leading role in running covert operations for the proxy war in Syria.
“The former prime minister’s comments, while very revealing, were intended as a defense and excuse of Qatar’s support for terrorism, and as a critique of the US and Saudi Arabia for essentially leaving Qatar ‘holding the bag’ in terms of the war against Assad
“Al-Thani explained that Qatar continued its financing of armed insurgents in Syria while other countries eventually wound down large-scale support, which is why he lashed out at the US and the Saudis, who initially ‘were with us in the same trench,’” Zero Hedge reported on October 29.
The US officials who were in charge at that time, namely President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have remained silent about the allegations.
The Qatari bombshell has been ignored by the American mainstream media. In fact, not a single major outlet in the United States ran the story, except the Ron Paul Institute.
In August 2016 Donald Trump accused Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of being respectively the “founder” and “co-founder” of ISIS. His accusations caused outrage across the media and political world.
Supposedly “neutral” fact-checkers quickly all denounced Trump as “false,” (FactCheck.org), flirting with “conspiracy theories,” (Snopes) and outright lying as in “pants on fire” (PolitiFact).
But the charge is not new. Money and weapons were being funneled to jihadists when Hillary was Secretary of State in 2012, according to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo, towards the creation of a “salafist principality,” that became ISIS in 2013.
In 2015, subject to a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, an August 2012 DIA report was made public. It specified that outside support for jihadist forces fighting against the Syrian government created the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist [radical Islamic terrorist] principality in Eastern Syria”.
The money and support to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Muslim Brotherhood was exactly what their US handlers had wanted in order to isolate the Syrian regime.
General Michael Flynn, formerly DIA director and former advisor to president Trump, commented that the rise of what became ISIS was not a result of turning a “blind eye” but of a “willful decision” in 2015 already. Flynn told Al Jazeera:
“I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.”
Meanwhile the “fact-checkers” have all ignored efforts to point out their erroneous “facts” denying the funding of ISIS by the US administration.
Featured image is from Free West Media.

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

MBS Bribes Trump: $1bn in Return For Supporting Arrests

07-11-2017 | 08:05
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally bribed Donald Trump with $1bn during the US president’s visit to Riyadh in May, according to a well-informed but anonymous Saudi commentator, who uses the Twitter handle Mujtahidd.

Twitter

Bin Salman, then-deputy crown prince, was able to win the US administration’s favour in his power struggle with his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef, who was heir to the throne until he was deposed in June.
Mujtahidd revealed on Monday that Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia changed Washington’s stance on the competition between bin Salman and bin Nayef, forcing the US to take the 32-year-old’s side.
Previous US administrations, he said, had been cautious to maintain harmony within the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC], a vital region for US interests.
Besides courting Trump to take his side in internal Saudi affairs, bin Salman also secured a direct line of communication to the US president. Trump has bashed Doha and encouraged the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar in statements that contradicted his own Military and State departments, which had called for ending the Gulf dispute.
During Trump’s visit to Saudi in May, a mysterious boat linked to the Trump organization arrived to the port of Jeddah, and it was filled with $1bn in cash, a personal gift from bin Salman, Mujtahidd reported.
On Monday, Trump endorsed bin Salman’s purge of members the royal family in the name of fighting corruption. Security forces arrested 11 princes along with 38 top businessmen and former ministers on Saturday, including global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has significant assets in NewsCorp, Citigroup, 21st Century Fox and Twitter.
Bin Salman’s critics have condemned the arrests as a push by the crown prince to consolidate power.
Trump accused those detained in Saudi Arabia on Saturday of “milking” the kingdom for years.
If confirmed, bin Salman’s bribe to Trump would have massive legal and political consequences.
Source: MEE, Edited by website team

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

Israel’s 100th birthday party

Posted on  |
The Zionist Jews and their Christian collaborators are celebrating the 100th birthday of their plot to solve Europe’s centuries-old Jewish Problem – known as Balfour Declaration (watch a video below).
British prime minister Theresa May says British people are proud of British part in creating the Zionist entity. In fact, most of its credit goes to Soviet Russia and United States which poured trillions of dollars and one million Russian Jews to survival the anti-Muslim project to this day.
British main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has defied Jewish Lobby pressure to attend the 100th birthday party of the Zionist baby conceived on November 2, 1917. The birthday party is also attended by the world’s greatest psychopath Benjamin Netanyahu.
Neither Britain nor Zionists had the right to dictate the fate of Palestine. Even at the time, many Britons denounced the double dealing and contempt for indigenous people that underlay the Balfour Declaration – most prominently J.M.N. Jeffries in 25 dispatches in the London Daily Mail in January and February, 1923. Pointing to a clause in the Declaration, he wrote, “The people of Palestine are referred to as ‘non-Jewish communities.’ Does Lord Balfour call the British people ‘the non-foreign community in England?’ Today there can be no excuse for celebrating this sordid chapter in settler-colonialist injustice, especially in light of the ongoing al-Nakba: the catastrophe that Palestine’s “non-Jewish communities” continue to suffer in consequence,” professor George P. Smith (University of Missouri) wrote on November 5, 2017.
On Saturday, over ten thousands Brits protested against the celebration of the notorious Balfour Declaration. They marched from the US embassy in London to British parliament. Some protester carried banners declaring Balfour Declaration as British Holocaust of Palestinian. The rally was addressed by Jeremy Corbyn and Baroness Jenny Tonge.
On May 17, 2017, Israel-British author Gilad Atzmon said that Balfour Declaration is proof of a Century of Jewish Power in the West.

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

Why Saudi Purge Signals War Footing


Why Saudi Purge Signals War Footing
FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 10.11.2017 | WORLD

Why Saudi Purge Signals War Footing

Mass arrests of senior royals, amid fear of assassinations, indicate that what is going on in Saudi Arabia is a far-reaching purge. The facade of a “corruption probe” – promoted in part by Western news media and US President Donald Trump – is a barely credible cover.
The cover is not just for a ruthless power grab within the desert kingdom by Saudi rulers, but a realignment that also puts the entire Middle East region on notice for more conflict and possibly even an all-out war with Iran. A war that the Israeli state and the Trump administration are enthusiastically egging on.
This move towards war with Iran could explain why the Saudi royals made a landmark trip to Moscow last month. Was it an attempt to buy off Russia with oil and weapons deals in order to free the Saudi hand with regard to Iran?
In typical fragmented fashion, Western media have tended to report the mass arrest last weekend of royal princes, ministers and business leaders, carried out under the orders of King Salman and his heir Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as a crackdown on corruption and business sleaze.
Omitted in media coverage is the significant wider context of the Saudi rulers moving at the same time to exert political control over regional politicians, as well as making sensational claims that Iran and Lebanon have “declared war” on Saudi Arabia by allegedly supporting a missile strike from Yemen.
The apparent forced resignation of Lebanese premier Saad Hariri last weekend after having been summoned to Saudi capital Riyadh provided convenient substance to Saudi claims that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah were destabilizing Lebanon and indeed plotting to assassinate Hariri.
However, Hariri was just one of several regional political figures whom the Saudis were reportedly putting pressure on. Reports emerged that the ex-Yemeni president Mansour Hadi has been held under house arrest in his exile home in Riyadh. There were reports too of Syrian opposition figures being detained in Riyadh. And the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was ordered to the Saudi capital. This suggests the Saudis are orchestrating a regional chorus line.
Furthermore, there were credible Israeli media reports that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv is coordinating with Saudi Arabia to support the latter’s accusations against Iran and Hezbollah of committing acts of war from Yemen by supplying missiles to the Houthi rebels.
Washington has also weighed in to support the Saudi claims that Iran is arming the Houthis in violation of a UN Security Council resolution. Referring to the missile strike on Riyadh international airport last Sunday President Trump said that “Iran took a shot at Saudi Arabia”. Then the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley later in the week called for sanctions against Tehran, citing Saudi “evidence”. Iran has dismissed the claims as baseless, pointing to the Saudi air, sea and land blockade on Yemen as preventing any such weapons supply.
The power behind the Saudi throne, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the 32-year-old son of aging King Salman (82), has emerged as an ambitious autocrat who also harbors an intense hostility towards Iran. In several media interviews, the Crown Prince has disclosed an obsession with crushing Iran. This goes way beyond the usual sectarian Wahhabi antipathy of Saudi leaders towards Shia Iran.
Crown Prince MbS is playing a smart game to a degree. He has made a big media play on “reforming” Saudi Arabia from its fundamentalist social conservatism to become a seemingly more cosmopolitan society. The Crown Prince has pushed reforms giving Saudi women the right to drive cars, travel without male guardians, and enter sports stadiums. Hardly radical advances in gender equality. Nevertheless, MbS has ably projected himself with Western media assistance as something of a progressive reformer.
Those changes are but the veneer for ruthless ambitions and a hyper power-grab within the despotic House of Saud. The supposed “corruption probe” is another layer of varnish to conceal much more sinister developments.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper this week waxed lyrical over the mass round-up of senior Saudi royals and ministers describing it as a “revolution” carried out by the would-be reformer Crown Prince, placing the development in the context of minor liberalization of women’s rights.
Meanwhile, the New York Times offered an apologia for the “Saudi Corruption Crackdown” by saying: “Graft is so pervasive that any measures short of revolutionary change may appear to be selective prosecution.”
Such reporting serves as a distraction from the real power play at work and the grave regional implications.
For a start, the number of detained princes, as well as current and former government ministers, are in the dozens. The profiles of those arrested suggest a pattern that has more to do with eliminating potential rivals than with alleged corruption.
Potentially most sinister is that on the day of the mass arrests, a contender for inheriting the Saudi throne was killed in a helicopter crash. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin (42) was among eight officials who died when their chopper went down in southern Asir Province near the border with Yemen. Saudi media have not given any details about the cause of the crash. One might have expected the Saudis to lay the blame on Houthi rebels and, by extension, Iran. But no. The House of Saud and its media outlets have said little about the death of this senior royal. Significantly, too, the Houthi rebels and their media have said little about the incident. If there was a chance of the rebels being involved, one might expect them to prompt a propaganda coup claiming a spectacular blow against the Saudis whom they have been fighting a war against since March 2015.
The chopper victim Prince Mansour was the son of 72-year-old Prince Muqrin, who is one of the last surviving sons of the Saudi kingdom’s founder Ibn Saud. (He is a half-brother to the sitting King Salman.)
Prince Muqrin was also former head of Saudi state intelligence (2005-2012) before he was made Crown Prince in January 2015 upon the death of his brother, the late King Abdullah. In the arcane world of Saudi power inheritance, the throne has always passed between Ibn Saud’s sons, or from brother to brother. When Abdullah died in January 2015, the next in line was their brother Salman (the present king). After Salman, according to traditional succession rules, the next heir to the throne should have been Muqrin, who indeed was made Crown Prince in January 2015. However, three months later, King Salman demoted Muqrin as heir apparent. He was sidelined to make way for the emergence of Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the king, as Crown Prince. That marked an unprecedented rupture in Saudi royal tradition, and no doubt has left a seething resentment among the clans comprising the House of Saud.
Prince Muqrin and his lineage of six sons therefore can be seen as a dangerous rival to the ambitions of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As his own father King Salman’s health declines, the next-in-line appears to be clearing the royal court of potential competition for the throne.
It is not yet known what actually happened to the helicopter ferrying Prince Mansour last weekend. But it seems more than a coincidence that the crash occurred on the same day as the arrest and round-up of several other senior royals. Two of those arrested were Prince Mataib bin Abdullah and Prince Turki bin Abdullah. They are the sons of the late King Abdullah, and like Prince Mansour, they are cousins of Crown Prince MbS, and therefore could potentially mount a challenge to his succession to the throne.
The arrests also targeted the heads of national security, the National Guard and Navy, as well as Western-connected Saudi media magnates Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and Waleed Al-Ibrahim, who are major shareholders in 20th Century Fox, News Corporation, Apple, Twitter, and TV satellite companies. Those arrests suggest that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to close down any backlash from within the Saudi security establishment, as well as shut off potentially negative media coverage.
Donald Trump immediately hailed the events in Saudi Arabia as a welcome clean-up against corruption. He said people had been “milking the country for years”.
There is little doubt that Saudi elites are generally up to their eyes in graft. The House of Saud and the country’s fabulously wealth oil industry are a byword for endemic corruption, bribery and racketeering. (Recall the British Al-Yamamah $60 billion arms and bribery scandal during the 1980s under the Thatcher government for example.)
So, for Trump and sections of the Western media to indulge the notion of a reforming Crown Prince overhauling endemic national sleaze is impossibly naive.
It also completely misses the point of how the Saudi rulers are gearing up for a regional war with Iran and via Lebanon by consolidating all power behind Crown Prince MbS and his anti-Iran obsession.
Trump and his business mogul son-in-law Jared Kushner have from an early stage gravitated to Crown Prince MbS for massive US arms sales and Saudi investment in the American economy. Only days before the Saudi purge, Kushner was on a low-key visit to Riyadh to meet with Saudi rulers. Trump also appealed last week to the Saudis to choose US stock markets for the much-anticipated share sell-off for Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, which is expected to fetch $2 trillion.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect behind the Saudi slaughter in Yemen, is positioning himself with total power in order to pursue his obsession of confronting Iran. That’s like pushing an open door when it comes to forming an anti-Iran front with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and the Trump administration. And for Trump there is also the added incentive of lavishing Wall Street by pandering to the Saudi despots.

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