Saturday, 11 November 2017

The national forces of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt الجيوش الوطنية في سورية والعراق ومصر

 The national forces of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt

نوفمبر 7, 2017
Written by Nasser Kandil,حرب سعوديّة أم حرب «إسرائيليّة» بواجهة سعودية؟
It was clear and certified that there is a plan that aims at destroying and dismantling the national forces especially in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. For those who want to ask about the future of the Israeli project in the region, have to measure the outcome of what has happened at the level of the future of these armies, and to measure as well the future of the disintegration projects from the most important gate which is represented by the separatist attempt of the Kurdistan region in Iraq.
A look at the situation of the armies in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, especially because the Syrian and the Iraqi armies have been exposed to systematic dismantling projects and have suffered from serious losses in their structure, armament, and geographical control, shows that these armies got out of war stronger than what they were before, more cohesive, and have more experience, number, steadfastness, morale, armament, and skill.
In Syria and Iraq we are in front of two armies of one million  soldiers and officers who have the most modern military weapons that were tested in the fields, they got out of battles which last for years victorious contrary to many armies in the world, these armies are surrounded by about two million  people in similar fighting organizations as the national and the popular defense in Syria, and the popular Crowd in Iraq, in coordination with a resistance that can mobilize  a quarter of a million fighters led by an elite of fifty thousand fighters who master all kinds of wars and have all kinds of weapons. While in the strategic depth which is represented by Iran there is an army of million soldiers surrounded by five million of Revolutionary Guard and mobilization forces who participated in the wars of Syria and Iraq. So it is not hidden that in Lebanon and Egypt some of that also, moreover, in Palestine there is a resistance that is recovering after the plight of the wrong positioning of some of its factions in the war of Syria.
The Israeli leadership looks from this perspective to its future in the region, but it finds it black, it commemorates the centenary of Balfour Declaration as a one hundred year non-renewal promise, as the British 99-years lease contracts, where Israel has completed it in 1946. Many predictors and soothsayers ensured its end before that date, while the seculars and the scientists said depending on facts and figures that Israel will not withstand till that date, maybe the next decade will be the date of its demise, so if it does not go to war to accelerate the historic confrontation others will drive it to, otherwise why do they accumulate arms and expertise and spend money for that?
I have asked three leading figures of active influential countries in the wars of the region, who have relation with the security and the military act about if there is a final conception of the formula of settlements in the region, their answer was the same; almost everything is clear and decisive but what is delaying is the complex of the American insistence on ensuring the security of Israel and the impossibility of getting this guarantee, therefore the settlements will take place gradually as well as the combination between the understandings and the imposing of the fait accompli and linking the ongoing conflict about the security of Israel till something great happens, they added either to indulge in a war that is difficult to stop or Israel has to accelerate to accept the comprehensive withdrawal till the line of the fourth of June of the year 1967 and the establishment of real Palestinian state, then there will be card shuffling that will change the rules of engagement.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الجيوش الوطنية في سورية والعراق ومصر

نوفمبر 3, 2017

حرب سعوديّة أم حرب «إسرائيليّة» بواجهة سعودية؟ناصر قنديل

– كان واضحاً وموثقاً أنّ ثمة مخططاً يستهدف تدمير وتفكيك الجيوش الوطنية، خصوصاً في سورية والعراق ومصر، وللذين يريدون التساؤل عن مستقبل المشروع «الإسرائيلي» في المنطقة، أن يقيسوا حاصل ما جرى على مستوى مستقبل هذه الجيوش، وأن يقيسوا بالتوازي معها مستقبل مشاريع التفتيت من بوابة المشروع الأشدّ أهمية وجاهزية، الذي مثّله المسعى الانفصالي لإقليم كردستان في العراق.

– إنّ نظرة نحو حال الجيوش في مصر وسورية والعراق، خصوصاً في سورية والعراق، وقد تعرّض الجيشان لمشاريع تفكيك منهجية، وتلقى كلّ منهما إصابات بالغة في بنيته وتسليحه وسيطرته الجغرافية، تفيد بأنها جيوش تخرج من هذه الحرب أشدّ قوة مما كانت قبلها، وأكثر تماسكاً وخبرة وعديداً وثباتاً ومعنويات وتسليحاً ومهارة.

– في سورية والعراق نحن أمام جيشين من مليون جندي وضابط يملكون أحدث العتاد الحربي وقد اختبروه في الميدان، وخرجوا من معارك لم يعِش مثلها جيشُ في العالم لسنوات ويخرج منتصراً، محاطين بحوالي مليوني منضوٍ في أطر رديفة للقتال كالدفاع الوطني والشعبي في سورية والحشد الشعبي في العراق، وبالتنسيق مع مقاومة تستطيع تعبئة ربع مليون مقاتل تقودهم نخبة من خمسين ألف مقاتل يتقنُون أنواع الحروب كلها ويملكون أنواع السلاح كافة، وفي العمق الاستراتيجي الذي تمثله إيران جيش من مليون جندي وحوله خمسة ملايين بين حرس ثوري وقوات تعبئة، وقد شاركوا في حربَيْ سورية والعراق، وليس خافياً، أنّ في لبنان ومصر بعضاً من هذا، وفي فلسطين حال مقاومة تتعافى بعد محنة التموضع الخاطئ لبعض فصائلها في حرب سورية.

– تنظر القيادة «الإسرائيلية» بهذه الحسابات لمستقبلها في المنطقة فتراه أسود، وهي تحتفل بمئوية وعد بلفور، كأنه وعد مئة عام غير قابلة للتجديد، كحال عقود الليزينغ البريطانية سقفها تسعة وتسعون سنة، ستتمّها «إسرائيل» عام 1946، فيكثر المتنبئون والمنجمون بزوالها قبل هذا التاريخ، وينظر العلمانيون والعلميون بعيون أخرى تقول بالوقائع والأرقام إنّ «إسرائيل» لن تصمد حتى ذلك التاريخ، فربما يكون العقد المقبل موعد الرحيل، فإنْ لم تذهب هي للحرب لتسريع المواجهة التاريخية، سيأتيها بالحرب الآخرون، وإلا فلماذا يكدّسون السلاح والخبرات وينفقون عليهما الأموال؟

– ثلاث شخصيات قيادية ذات صلة بالعمل الأمني والعسكري من دول فاعلة ومؤثرة في حروب المنطقة، سألتهم السؤال ذاته، هل من تصوّر نهائي لصيغة التسويات في المنطقة، كان جوابهم واحداً، كل شيء تقريباً واضح ومحسوم، والذي يؤخّر هو عقدة الإصرار الأميركي على ضمان أمن «إسرائيل»، واستحالة الحصول على هذه الضمانة، ولذلك ستتمّ التسويات بالتدريج والمزاوجة بين التفاهمات وفرض الأمر الواقع، وربط النزاع المستمرّ حول أمن «إسرائيل» حتى يحدث شيء كبير، وعن هذا الشيء الكبير قالوا، إما الانزلاق لحرب يصعُب وقفها تكتبُ هي الجواب، أو مسارعة «إسرائيل» لقبول الانسحاب الشامل حتى خط الرابع من حزيران من العام 1969 وقيام دولة فلسطينية حقيقية، عندها سيحدث خلط أوراق يغيّر قواعد الاشتباك.

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



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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)

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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”.

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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 –

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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 –

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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   
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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   
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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.

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