Tag Archives: Israel

US CENTCOM Chief Makes “Secret And Unprecedented” Visit To Israel As Russia Mulls Arming Syria, by Tyler Durden

In response to the most recent American missile-shoot on Syria, Russia may upgrade Syrian missile defenses, to the consternation of both the US and Israel. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Increasingly it appears that the recent US coalition missile strikes on Syria have utterly backfired: instead of weakening Syria or degrading its military capabilities, the attack may have actually served to strengthen Syria’s defenses. 

Since the massive strike which involved the US, UK, and France launching over 100 cruise missiles, Russia is rumored to be moving forward on delivery of its advanced S-300 missile defense system, which would be a monumental upgrade allowing Syrian defenses to far surpass current capabilities which utilize the Soviet-made S-125 and S-200 air defense systems.

Crucially, S-300s have a range of up to 150-200 kilometers (or 120 miles), bringing Syrian deterrent reach easily to within Lebanese airspace (as Israel has routinely struck targets inside Syria while firing over “neutral” Lebanese airspace in recent years), and could even extend airspace coverage into Israel itself.

Could this be the reason for some major behind-the-scenes diplomatic scrambling?

On Monday VOA News chief White House correspondent Steve Herman announced that US CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel is in the midst of “a secret and unprecedented visit to Israel.”

Knowledge of the “secret” visit was based on exclusive footage broadcast by Israel’s Kann News, which first reported, “the commander of the American Central Command arrived for the first time to Israel, and met with senior security officials, including the Chief of Staff.”

No doubt the potential for what weapons experts have commonly described as the “exceptionally advanced” Russian-supplied S-300 in Israel’s backyard is making Tel Aviv and its allies nervous. Israel has repeatedly called delivery of the S-300s a “red line” for which it would act, however, plans for just such a scenario could be hastening.

To continue reading: US CENTCOM Chief Makes “Secret And Unprecedented” Visit To Israel As Russia Mulls Arming Syria

Advertisements

American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence, by Danny Sjursen

Most Americans ignore the Palestinian issue and the US media, when it reports on it, generally slants toward Israel. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

For a writer, any criticism of Israeli military action is a veritable “third-rail” in American politics. Touch that nerve and you’re open to charges of anti-Semitism or worse.

Still, recent events in Gaza demand that some of us, at least, shed light on the plight of Palestinians.

Let us begin with a thought experiment: imagine dozens of unarmed, protesting Caucasian Christians or Jews – say, Israelis or Europeans – were shot dead by heavily armed brown folks, like, say Palestinian Muslims. What would we call this? That’s easy: terrorism. How would the media cover such an event? Simple: extensively and emotionally, probably for many days. The smiling faces of the victims would be splashed across the screens of television networks from Fox News to MSNBC.

Heck, for proof just look to the recent past: terror attacks in France and Belgium, for instance. Certainly, even decades back, Americans demonstrated more empathy for white, Christian victims. When, in 1972, British paratroopers fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Northern Ireland, killing thirteen, the episode was christened Bloody Sunday. I come from a city (New York) where sympathy for the catholic Irish was so robust that certain bars overtly collected money in tip jars for “terrorists” in the IRA well into the 1990s.

Well, something remarkably similar has occurred over the last two weeks, as thousands of Palestinians – protesting the deplorable conditions for the 1.8 million human beings besieged in Gaza – were subjected to Israeli Army gunfire that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. To date, not a single Israeli has been killed. This is typical of the recurrent violent episodes in Gaza. Scores or hundreds of Palestinians die – often including many women and children – whilst a few, if any, Israelis are killed or wounded. Still, mainstream U.S. media covers each incident as though there is parity of blame, responsibility, and suffering. It’s a very old and very persistent farce.

To continue reading: American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence

Taking the World to the Brink, by Rick Sterling

It’s unknown if the most recent gas attack in Syria was launched by the government or the rebels, but that hasn’t stopped President Trump, official Washington, and the official media for blaming Russian ally Syria, and by implication, Russia. As a pretext for renewing the US effort to depose Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, this one’s pretty flimsy, but that’s never stepped the war party before and it won’t stop them now. Apparently Trump will be steamrolled just a week after he said it was time to bring US troops in Syria home. From Rick Sterling at consortiumnews.com:

Western neoconservatives and hawks are driving the international situation to increasing tension and danger. Not content with the destruction of Iraq and Libya based on false claims, they are now pressing for a direct US attack on Syria.

As a dangerous prelude, Israeli jets flying over Lebanese airspace fired missiles against the T4/Tiyas Airbase west of Palmyra following reports on Sunday of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus under rebel contorl.

As reported at Tass, the Chief of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, predicted the alleged use of chemicals almost a month ago. The report from March 13 says, “Russia has hard facts about preparations for staging the use of chemical weapons against civilians by the government forces. After the provocation, the US plans to accuse Syria’s government forces of using chemical weapons … furnish the so-called ‘evidence’ … and Washington plans to deliver a missile and bomb strike against Damascus’ government districts.”

Gerasimov noted that Russian military advisors are staying in the Syrian Defense Ministry’s facilities in Damascus and “in the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s Armed Forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles.”

The situation is clearly fraught with the risk of sliding into international conflict between the two biggest nuclear weapons powers with all that that implies. Civilization itself is being put in peril so that the West can continue supporting sectarian armed groups seeking to overthrow the Assad government, in violation of international law and the UN Charter.

The most powerful country in the world is now led by a real estate, hotel and entertainment mogul without political experience. Behind the scenes, there is an entrenched foreign policy establishment determined to maintain and reclaim U.S. unilateral “leadership” of the world. American leaders fear that the U.S. is losing influence, prestige and power around the world. Israel and Saudi Arabia are seing their designs on regional dominance failing.

To continue reading: Taking the World to the Brink

Has the War Party Hooked Trump? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Will Trump launch a Syrian war? How will the US know if it won? It supposedly won in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and those countries are in worse shape than before the US invaded them. One prediction is easy: a Syrian engagement will be a similar disaster. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With his Sunday tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” tweeted Trump, “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… to pay.”

“Big price… to pay,” said the president.

Now, either Trump launches an attack that could drag us deeper into a seven-year civil war from which he promised to extricate us last week, or Trump is mocked as being a man of bluster and bluff.

For Trump Sunday accused Barack Obama of being a weakling for failing to strike Syria after an earlier chemical attack.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand,” Trump tweeted, “the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

Trump’s credibility is now on the line and he is being goaded by the war hawks to man up. Sunday, John McCain implied that Trump’s comments about leaving Syria “very soon” actually “emboldened” Assad:

“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.”

Pronouncing Assad a “war criminal,” Lindsey Graham said Sunday the entire Syrian air force should be destroyed.

So massive an attack would be an act of war against a nation that has not attacked us and does not threaten us. Hence, Congress, prior to such an attack, should pass a resolution authorizing a U.S. war on Syria.

And, as Congress does, it can debate our objectives in this new war, and how many men, casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East.

On John Bolton’s first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both.

To continue reading: Has the War Party Hooked Trump?

Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump wants to take US troops out of Syria, the generals want to keep them there. Can Trump win this one? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home.

“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” said the president. We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle East in the last 17 years. … So, it’s time.”

Not so fast, Mr. President.

For even as Trump was speaking he was being contradicted by his Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel. “A lot of good progress has been made” in Syria, Votel conceded, “but the hard part … is in front of us.”

Moreover, added Votel, when we defeat ISIS, we must stabilize Syria and see to its reconstruction.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been even more specific:

“It is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.”

But has not Syria’s “political future” already been charted?

Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, has won his seven-year civil war. He has retaken the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. He now controls most of the country that we and the Kurds do not.

According to The Washington Post, Defense Secretary James Mattis is also not on board with Trump and “has repeatedly said … that U.S. troops would be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future to guarantee stability and political resolution to the civil war.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who fears a “Shiite corridor” from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, also opposes Trump. “If you take those (U.S.) troops out from east Syria,” the prince told Time, “you will lose that checkpoint … American troops should stay (in Syria) at least for the mid-term, if not the long-term.”

Bibi Netanyahu also wants us to stay in Syria.

Wednesday, Trump acceded to his generals. He agreed to leave our troops in Syria until ISIS is finished. However, as the 2,000 U.S. troops there are not now engaging ISIS — many of our Kurd allies are going back north to defend border towns threatened by Turkey — this could take a while.

To continue reading: Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals

Saudi Crown Prince Admits Saudis “Financed Terrorist Groups”, Blesses Israeli Statehood, by Tyler Durden

The crown prince draws the line, however, at admitting that the Saudi government finances terrorist groups. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) admitted in a wide-ranging interview in The Atlantic that Saudi nationals have funded terrorist groups, and quite stunningly – that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land yet another indicator that the relationship between Riyadh and Tel Aviv is strengthening.

When it comes to financing extremist groups, I challenge anyone if he can bring any evidence that the Saudi government financed terrorist groups. Yes, there are people from Saudi Arabia who financed terrorist groups. This is against Saudi law. We have a lot of people in jail now, not only for financing terrorist groups, but even for supporting them. –The Atlantic

Bin Salman’s comments come days after a U.S. judge rejected Saudi Arabia’s request to dismiss lawsuits accusing it of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

The cases are based on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta), a 2016 law that provides an exemption to the legal principle of sovereign immunity, allowing families of the victims to take foreign governments to court.

The families point to the fact that the majority of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, and claim that Saudi officials and institutions “aided and abetted” the attackers in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, according to court documents. Middle East Eye

MbS also told The Atlantic when asked if Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland:

I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations…  We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people”

Saudi Arabia does not currently recognize Israel – maintaining for years that normalizing relations all depends on the withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East War – territory Palestinians claim to be theirs for the establishment of a future state.

There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace,” MbS added. “There would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan”

To continue reading: Saudi Crown Prince Admits Saudis “Financed Terrorist Groups”, Blesses Israeli Statehood

Israel and the Palestinians: A Problem Without a Solution, by Justin Raimondo

Sometimes problems are intractable, and the long-running Israel-Palestinians certainly seems to fit the bill. Here’s an article that won’t satisfy partisans of either side. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Some of my longtime readers may have noticed that I haven’t written about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in many moons. There’s a reason for that: actually, two reasons.

1) Israeli society has become so sick and perverted by authoritarianism and religious fanaticism that I was in danger of committing one of the worst sins a writer can be guilty of: repeating myself (and, subsequently, boring my readers). Worse still, I was boring myself: after all, what can one say about a country that bases its very existence on an ancient book supposedly divinely inspired, and justifies the systematic repression of the indigenous population by reference to the same? How many times can one condemn it?

2) The Palestinian “resistance” movement is infected with the same hateful poison as Israeli society. Last I checked, they had initiated a new “intifada”: the Knife Intifada. The idea was to have Palestinians stab as many Israeli civilians as possible. In short, as part of their public relations campaign to make the world more sympathetic to their cause, they launched what amounted to a horror movie – only this was real life. Dozens of Israelis were stabbed.

Although I’ve been sympathetic to the Palestinian case – after all, property rights are the key plank in the libertarian platform, and stealing Palestinian land has been the Israeli method from the very beginning – they lost me with the “Knife Intifada.” I mean, you can’t get much creepier than that.

And the violent imagery hasn’t ended: indeed, the Palestinians have escalated their campaign. The latest is publicizing “the slap” – a blow to an Israeli soldier delivered by Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager, in an incident widely viewed on Youtube and promoted by the Palestinian leadership as symbolic of their movement. Here is the video: you’ll note that AHED and another female Palestinian keep hitting the soldier, harassing and provoking him, until he lashes out. Then she slaps him across the face.

To continue reading: Israel and the Palestinians: A Problem Without a Solution