Tag Archives: Israel

Iran Must Be Destroyed, by Eric Margolis

Israel wants the US to make war on Iran, and President Trump has taken the first step. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran.  That was clearly his objective last Friday when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Trump’s move was also a clever ploy to deflect blame for abrogating the key 2015 Iran nuclear treaty that the US signed with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

Accusing Iran of ‘terrorism’ and ‘violating the spirit of the accord,’ Trump threw the Iran issue into the hands of the Republican-dominated US Congress.  He had to.  All of Trump’s senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal.

So Trump trotted out the old song and dance about terrorism – which means anything Uncle Sam does not like.  The same United States that supports the murderous Islamic State and its allies in Syria and Iraq.

There won’t be much doubt about how Congress handles this hot potato.  The leading senators and congressmen who will deal with the issue, like Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies.

The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

In fact, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have more influence on Capitol Hill than President Trump. He used to show it off by humiliating former president Barack Obama.

Israel has just scored a major triumph by using Trump to sabotage the Iran nuclear pact.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been adamant in insisting that the pact be scrapped.  Having pushed the US to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel’s domination of the Mideast.  Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state.

To continue reading; Iran Must Be Destroyed

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The Crazy Imbalance of Russia-gate, by Robert Parry

By all means investigate foreign influence on the US political process. But why stop at Russia? How about Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the whole host of nations that regularly lobby the US government? From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: If the U.S. government and mainstream media are really concerned about foreign influence in American politics, they might look at Israel and other nations with much more clout than Russia, notes Robert Parry.

The core absurdity of the Russia-gate frenzy is its complete lack of proportionality. Indeed, the hysteria is reminiscent of Sen. Joe McCarthy warning that “one communist in the faculty of one university is one communist too many” or Donald Trump’s highlighting a few “bad hombres” raping white American women.

Russians taking part in an Immortal Regiment march on May 9, 2017, honoring relatives who died in the Nazi invasion and the eventual defeat of Germany in World War II.

It’s not that there were no Americans who espoused communist views at universities and elsewhere or that there are no “bad hombre” rapists; it’s that these rare exceptions were used to generate a dangerous overreaction in service of a propagandistic agenda. Historically, we have seen this technique used often when demagogues seize on an isolated event and exploit it emotionally to mislead populations to war.

Today, we have The New York Times and The Washington Post repeatedly publishing front-page articles about allegations that some Russians with “links” to the Kremlin bought $100,000 in Facebook ads to promote some issues deemed hurtful to Hillary Clinton’s campaign although some of the ads ran after the election.

Initially, Facebook could find no evidence of even that small effort but was pressured in May by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia. The Washington Post reported that Warner, who is spearheading the Russia-gate investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee, flew to Silicon Valley and urged Facebook executives to take another look at possible ad buys.

Facebook responded to this congressional pressure by scouring its billions of monthly users and announced that it had located 470 suspect accounts associated with ads totaling $100,000 – out of Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue.

Here is how the Times described those findings: “Facebook officials disclosed that they had shut down several hundred accounts that they believe were created by a Russian company linked to the Kremlin and used to buy $100,000 in ads pushing divisive issues during and after the American election campaign.” (It sometimes appears that every Russian — all 144 million of them — is somehow “linked” to the Kremlin.)

To continue reading: The Crazy Imbalance of Russia-gate

Netanyahu Is Meeting Trump To Push For War With Iran, by Trita Parsi

Benjamin Netanyahu has long dreamed of a US war waged against Iran, notwithstanding that the last two war Netanyahu thought the US should fight—Iraq and Syria—haven’t turned out too well for the US. From Trita Parsi at antiwar.com:

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Donald Trump at the White House and push the U.S. to withdraw from the nuclear accord with Iran. Netanyahu will present an argument that Trump already has come to accept: America’s adherence to the nuclear deal cannot solely depend on Iran’s compliance with the agreement, but also whether Iran’s other policies challenge US national interests. It’s a more honest argument compared to the slogans Netanyahu has used in the past. But it is also a line that fundamentally contradicts Netanyahu’s central message of the past decades: That Iran’s nuclear program constitutes an existential threat to Israel.

The Trump administration has desperately sought a pretext to quit the nuclear deal and shed the limits the deal imposed on the US’s ability to pursue aggressive policies against Iran – even if it also sheds the limits the deal imposed on Iran’s nuclear activities. The latest idea is to use the Congressional certification – due every 90 days – where the president has to report to Congress on whether Iran is complying with the deal or not. But unlike the reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency – who is tasked to oversee the implementation of the nuclear deal – the president’s report to Congress goes beyond the nuclear issue: Trump must also report whether the suspension of sanctions against Iran is “appropriate and proportionate to the measures taken by Iran and vital to US national security interests.”

The Trump plan – as telegraphed by several administration officials – is to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal (Trump has no leg to stand on to claim otherwise – both the IAEA and the US intelligence services have consistently reported that Tehran is living up to its obligations), but to argue that the deal and its sanctions relief nevertheless is unjustified due to Iran’s policies in the region that are anathema to US national security interests.

To continue reading: Netanyahu Is Meeting Trump To Push For War With Iran

Breaking News of Saudi Crown Prince’s “Secret” Visit To Israel Brings Embassy Scramble, by Tyler Durden

It’s been an open secret that Israel and Saudi Arabia are drawing closer, but a clandestine trip by the Saudi crown prince to Israel is still big news. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Clearly the war in Syria and the international push for regime change against Assad has created strange alliances in the Middle East over the past few years. Among the strangest bedfellows are the Israelis and Saudis. It’s no secret that common cause in Syria of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. But that’s perhaps why few pundits seemed overly shocked when Israeli media late last week began reporting that a Saudi prince made a secret visit to Israel, in spite of the fact that the kingdom does not recognize the Jewish state, and the two sides do not have diplomatic relations.

Last Wednesday (9/6) Israel’s state funded Kol Yisrael radio service made cryptic reference to the “secret” yet historic visit while withholding names and specifics. “An emir of the Saudi royal court visited the country secretly in recent days and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of advancing regional peace,” the station reported. It added further that, “Both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue.”


Left: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Right: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

 The visit is said to have occurred the same week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed “unprecedented” relations with the Arab world. Netanyahu made the comments before members of the foreign ministry and said, “Things that are happening today between Israel and the Arab world are unprecedented. Cooperation on a wide range of issues are occurring behind the scenes, more than at any time in Israel’s history.”

 

Israel Launches Air Strikes On Syria And Assad’s “Waiting Game”, by Tyler Durden

Israel is trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Syria. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Immediately after Israel’s latest unprovoked strike on Syria we posed the question, did Benjamin Netanyahu just panic? The answer is yes, Israel is now acting from a position of desperation as it has failed in its goal of regime change in Syria. Overnight (Wed. evening/Thursday early morning), Israel attacked a Syrian military base near the town of Masyaf at about 3:00 a.m. which Syria has now confirmed in a statement that warns of “serious repercussions”. Syria reported two troop deaths in the attack. It appears to have been a massive strike – grainy photos show a large fireball lighting up the night sky outside of Masyaf.

Israel appears to have timed its attack to occur on the very night a controversial U.N. report was released earlier in the day (Wednesday) which blames the Assad government for using chemical weapons against civilians at Khan Sheikhoun in April. A number of Israeli analysts and media reports purport the Masyaf base to be a site for chemical and non-conventional weapons storage (such as “barrel bombs”) while claiming the attack was motivated by “humanitarian” concern for Syrian civilians.


First image produced from Israeli strike on Al-Tala’i facility near Masyaf. Via Twitter.

 But this is the reason for Israeli media and defense officials quickly claiming that the strike at Masyaf was on a chemical weapons facility: they know the “humanitarian” angle sells in the West, especially when coupled with allegations of civilians being gassed. Currently, this is putting the dubious and contested claim that the Syrian government attacked Khan Sheikhoun with sarin gas back in the spotlight at a time when Israel is eager to sell war for regime change while casting its actions in terms of protecting and defending civilians from a brutal dictator. In typical fashion the big newsrooms, which rarely report from inside Syria but instead opt for the comfort of Beirut, are uncritically echoing the “humanitarian airstrike” narrative. The New York Times, in a report filed from Jerusalem, narrates the attack as follows while relying on unnamed “former Israeli officials” and a single Syrian pro-opposition outlet:

The Reasons for Netanyahu’s Panic, by Alastair Crooke

Things are not going Israel’s way in the Middle East. From Alastair Crooke at consortiumnews.com:

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is pushing the panic button over the collapse of the Saudi-Israeli jihadist proxies in Syria and now threatening to launch a major air war, as ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke describes.

By Alastair Crooke

A very senior Israeli intelligence delegation, a week ago, visited Washington. Then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke into President Putin’s summer holiday to meet him in Sochi, where, according to a senior Israeli government official (as cited in the Jerusalem Post), Netanyahu threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus, and to disrupt and nullify the Astana cease-fire process, should Iran continue to “extend its reach in Syria.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, in opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. (Screen shot from CNN broadcast)

Russia’s Pravda wrote, “according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.”

So, what is going on here? Whether or not Pravda’s quote is fully accurate (though the description was confirmed by senior Israeli commentators), what is absolutely clear (from Israeli sources) is that both in Washington and at Sochi, the Israeli officials were heard out, but got nothing. Israel stands alone. Indeed, it is reported that Netanyahu was seeking “guarantees” about the future Iranian role in Syria, rather than “asking for the moon” of an Iranian exit. But how could Washington or Moscow realistically give Israel such guarantees?

Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria – and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demand anything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow “supervised” on Israel’s behalf.

Of course, the Syrian aspect is important, but to focus only on that, would be to “miss the forest for the trees.” The 2006 war by Israel to destroy Hizbullah (egged on by the U.S., Saudi Arabia – and even a few Lebanese) was a failure. Symbolically, for the first time in the Middle East, a technologically sophisticated, and lavishly armed, Western nation-state simply failed. What made the failure all the more striking (and painful) was that a Western state was not just bested militarily, it had lost also the electronic and human intelligence war, too — both spheres in which the West thought their primacy unassailable.

To continue reading: The Reasons for Netanyahu’s Panic

Has Netanyahu Defeated the Palestinians? by Daniel Levy

This is a good analysis of Israel’s foreign policy under Benjamin Netanyahu. From Daniel Levy at antiwar.com:

The long-running police investigations into the affairs of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to cross a Rubicon earlier this month. Netanyahu is under suspicion in a number of cases involving alleged bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, among other things. A deal has now been reached by the State Prosecutor’s Office for Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, to turn state’s witness – an arrangement rarely agreed to unless a strong case is being built against a more senior and serious criminal actor.

With the likelihood of his being indicted and speculation as to his longevity in office reaching unprecedented levels, Netanyahu struck back. In a support rally convened by his Likud Party, Netanyahu accused “the thought police in the media,” together with the left, and supported by the Palestinians, of conducting an “unprecedented, obsessive witch-hunt campaign” against him and his family. Their goal, he claimed, was to stage “a government overthrow” to topple “the national camp.” Both the style and substance of Netanyahu’s fiery rhetoric should have sounded very familiar to anyone in America not asleep for the past seven months.

That part of his speech was an appeal to his base. But Netanyahu’s lengthy term in office, multiple electoral successes, and ability to hold together a governing coalition in Israel’s rambunctious political system is also predicated on him having a message that resonates with a broader public. It is a sales pitch that Netanyahu repeated at that rally, that he had “brought the state of Israel to the best situation in its history, a rising global force . . . the state of Israel is diplomatically flourishing.” Netanyahu had beaten back what he had called the “fake-news claim” that without a deal with the Palestinians “Israel will be isolated, weakened, and abandoned” facing a “diplomatic tsunami.”

Difficult though it is for his political detractors to acknowledge, Netanyahu’s claim resonates with the public because it reflects something that is real, and that has shifted the center of gravity of Israeli politics further and further to the right. It is a claim that if correct and replicable over time will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond Netanyahu’s premiership and any indictment he might face.

To continue reading: Has Netanyahu Defeated the Palestinians?