Friday, 24 March 2017

From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack with Elements from «ISIS» Playbook

In the immediate aftermath of what police are describing as a terrorist incident in and around Parliament, at least three facts stand out suggesting that the attacks are similar to those carried out over the last two years by “ISIS” supporters in Paris, Nice, Brussels and Berlin.
UK's Big Ben
The similarities with the events today are in the targets of the attacks which in all cases were ordinary civilians, but the means of trying to cause mass casualties differs. In Nice, Berlin and London no fire arms were used by the attackers, while in Paris and Brussels there was a coordinated assault in which guns and explosives were employed.
In Nice on 14 July 2016 a truck killed 86 people and injured hundreds, driving at speed through crowds watching a firework display on the Promenade des Anglais until the driver was shot dead by police. “ISIS” claimed that he was answering their “calls to target citizens of coalition nations that fight ‘ISIS'”. Britain is a member of the coalition with aircraft and Special Forces troops in action against “ISIS” in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIS” claimed responsibility for a lorry which drove into a Christmas market in 19 December 2016, killing 12 and injuring dozens. As with Nice, this appears to resemble what happened on Westminster Bridge, going by first reports.
The overall location of the attacks today may be significant and would fit in with the way that “ISIS” normally operates when carrying out such atrocities. This is to act in the center of capital cities or in large provincial ones in order to ensure 24/7 publicity and maximize the effectiveness of the incident as a demonstration of “ISIS’s” continuing reach and ability to project fear far from its rapidly shrinking core areas in Syria and Iraq.
“ISIS” is sophisticated enough to know that such attacks carried out in news hubs like London or Paris will serve their purposes best. In cases of attack with a knife or a vehicle then “ISIS” would not need to provide more than motivation, though individuals seldom turn out to have acted alone. It may no longer have cells in Europe capable of obtaining fire arms or making bombs.
It could be that the attacks were carried out by another group, the most obvious candidate being one of the affiliates of al-Qaeda in Yemen. Syria or elsewhere. On 11 March 2017 Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda, carried out two bombing attacks in Damascus, killing 59 people, mostly Shia pilgrims from Iraq visiting holy sites. But the Syrian arm of al-Qaeda, while carrying out suicide bombings against targets in Syria, has previously avoided doing so abroad in order to make itself more diplomatically palatable than “ISIS”.
Could the attacks on Westminster Bridge and in Parliament be linked to the siege of Mosul where “ISIS” has lost the east of the city and half the west since an Iraqi army offensive started o n17 October? “ISIS” has traditionally tried to offset defeats on the battlefield, by terrorist attacks aimed civilians that show they are still very much a force to be feared. The same logic led to the ritual decapitation, drowning and burning of foreign journalists and domestic opponents.
The most likely speculation at this early stage is that the attacks in London are inspired or directed by “ISIS”, but there is too little evidence to make the connection with any certainty. “ISIS” often holds off claiming such atrocities for several days to increase speculation and intensify terror.
Source: Independent, Edited by website team
23-03-2017 | 11:22

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Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

PETER KORZUN | 24.03.2017 | WORLD

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce


Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952, and US aircraft have used Incirlik Air Base in the south during the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The base is home to a stockpile of US tactical nuclear weapons. A perusal of media reports leads to the conclusion that Turkey and NATO are heading for a major rift or even a breakup – a problem the North Atlantic alliance hasn’t experienced in its nearly seven decades of existence.
Germany and the Netherlands have blocked Turkish ministers from staging rallies to court the vote of expatriate Turks in the April 16 referendum on giving President Erdogan greater powers. Denmark is siding with its north European neighbors. Turkey faces deep differences with the USA, accusing it of being behind the failed plot in 2016. Both countries have opposing views on the role of Kurds in Syria. Former State Secretary John Kerry came close to threatening Turkey with the loss of its NATO membership.
Add to this the perennial tension between Turkey and Greece and the problem of Cyprus to get the whole picture. According to Bloomberg, «All in all, Turkey appears to have more disputes than friendships with its NATO allies. And its engagement with the alliance itself, which it joined in 1952, isn’t particularly strong».
The NATO annual report for 2016 says Turkey only took part in four of the 18 key NATO exercises held last year. Despite having the fourth-strongest military in the bloc (after the US, France and the UK but ahead of Germany) and the second-highest number of military personnel (after the US), its involvement in NATO’s deployments is small, amounting to just 4 percent of the personnel in the mission to train the Afghan security forces, and 7 percent of the Kosovo force.
Ankara has recently blocked some rolling programs with NATO, including political events, civilian projects and military training, in an escalation of a diplomatic dispute with a number of European states.
Turkey is unable to block cooperation with full-fledged NATO members. The move to block the activities is apparently aimed at Austria, which is not a member of NATO but is a partner country. It has banned Turkish referendum rallies on its territory. Austria has called for the EU to end accession talks with Turkey over alleged human rights violations after the aborted coup.
As a result, a very important NATO project to threaten Russia is in jeopardy. This month, Brigadier General Vladimir Chachibaia, new Chief of General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces, proposed to turn the port of Poti into a NATO military base. This, he argued, would help the alliance get around the provisions of Montreux Convention, which limit non-Black Sea powers access to the Black Sea.
Increasing the number of port calls is a way to boost the bloc’s naval presence, but the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states is restricted by the Convention. Strengthening the naval forces of Georgia and Ukraine and building a bloc’s «coast guard» base in Georgia would boost NATO’s sea power in the region. Poti could become a home port for the ships of Black Sea NATO members. Georgian military expert Irakli Aladashvili told Russian Kommersant daily that the facility would be protected by ground based weapons systems and land forces.
Ukraine’s plans to buy old ships from NATO members could also be suspended.
Turkey’s action encompasses many more areas of NATO’s activities. The programs cover most of Europe, plus many countries in the Middle East and Asia. Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine and Afghanistan are affected. Austria is one of the biggest providers of troops in Kosovo. «It is a very unfortunate situation and it means some cooperation programs can’t be launched», said NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to Copenhagen.
Last November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The idea had been discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Established in 1996, the SCO is a political, military and economic organization comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan are granted observer status. India and Pakistan are set to join this year to make the SCO a powerful group with global influence. Turkey’s accession would be a milestone bringing together the Shanghai Pact and the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) – an international organization of Turkic countries, comprising Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. The General Secretariat is in İstanbul, Turkey. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are possible future members of the council.
Turkey is developing military cooperation with Russia. This January, Russian and Turkish air forces launched a joint operation against Islamic State (IS) militants holding the town of al-Bab northeast of Aleppo. The parties have agreed to form a joint military and intelligence mechanism to coordinate their activities in the Middle East. If peace efforts to stop hostilities in Syria succeed, Russia and Turley lead the crisis management process. It could be a start on the way to forming a broader alliance against global terrorism.
Russia and Turkey have been getting increasingly close recently, especially after the two countries brokered a Syria truce in late December to join together in the Astana process. Turkey is in talks with Russia on purchasing the advanced long-range S-400 air defense systems to protect its skies. This issue was on the agenda during the President Erdogan’s visit to Moscow on March 9-10, 2017. Ankara also seeks procurement deals in electronic systems, ammunitions and missile technology.
Both nations are parties to the ambitious Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project. It should be noted that Russia, not the US or any other NATO member, was the first country to be visited by the Turkish president after the failed coup last year.
Ankara is also getting closer to Beijing. The two countries are closely cooperating to implement China’s the One Belt One Road project. Turkey is again taking the position as a key investment and cooperation partner that will help bridge the East and the West.
Turkey is distancing itself from the West while getting closer with the partners outside NATO and the EU. The abovementioned events conform to the trend. NATO stands to lose its second largest military power as well as one of its key airbases, while Russia, China and other countries are developing the relationship of alliance with the country, which enjoys a unique geographic location between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It gives it easy access to strategically important areas and major energy resources. Turkey is a founding member of the OECD (1961) and the G-20 major economies (1999), it has the world’s 15th largest GDP-PPP and 15th largest Nominal GDP. The development is a major loss for the West and a major win for those who strive for a multipolar world.

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Empire Files: Israeli Army Vet’s Exposé - “I Was the Terrorist”

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Rania Khalek, Blacklisted, Smeared & Silenced For Exposing NATO Destabilization Of Syria

MINNEAPOLIS —  Though it’s been nearly six years, the subject of the Syrian conflict remains as contentious as ever. While those who characterize themselves as pro-regime change have monopolized the wider conversation on Syria, even the most tame opposition against foreign intervention, or the CIA-backed rebels—who now come in varying flavors of extremism—continues to be taboo.
Those who refuse to support U.S. military intervention in Syria and the CIA backed regime change operation there that has been well documented for over 25 years — are branded “Assadists” — and if you’re a writer or commentator?
Well, that gets you and your work blacklisted from publications and, in the case of journalists like myself and others who make up a long list of anti-interventionists far too long to mention here, even gets your speaking engagements shut down and kicked off of blogs, regardless of what topic they’re on.
It seems that opposing what clearly amounts to a NATO-imposed regime change operation in Syria in order to create the next Afghanistan in the Middle East and ultimately weaken Russia and Iran gets you characterized as a supporter of genocide.
But this is not a new phenomenon — we’ve been here before as recently as Libya and Iraq.
During the pro-war campaign against Libya, we were told, just as we were during previous conflicts, that military intervention was necessary in order to protect civilians from a madman.
The same loudmouthed pundits who led us down the bloody path of war have since been eerily silent in the aftermath — where Libya is now being overrun by groups like ISIS and the country is being described as a failed state.
In Iraq, we saw an energized anti-war movement smeared as being pro-Saddam, and now, despite what we’ve learned about both conflicts, history seems to be repeating itself. Many are now suffering a kind of collective amnesia over how war is peddled to the public.
Today we’re joined by Rania Khalek, an independent journalist who has become the latest victim  of an organized smearing and blacklisting campaign for her recent reporting on Syria. The organized campaign against her became so aggressive that several of her talks on apartheid in Israel were canceled after student groups were pressured to blacklist her events by pro-Syrian rebel activists who support US intervention and regime change.
The blacklisting of Rania Khalek garnered the attention of many notable scholars, activists and journalists including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Glenn Greenwald among others who signed a petition calling for an end to censorship and warning that there needs to be more open dialogue on Syria rather than silencing journalists

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Is Turkey’s President Erdogan Working Directly With ISIS to Bring TERROR to Europe?

by Mark Angelides

Turkish President, Recep Erdogan on Wednesday, said that “If you continue to behave like this, not a single European, not a single Westerner will be able to take a step on the road safely anytime in the world,” to the European Union. This can be spun anyway the media likes, but it is clearly a direct threat if you look at the history between Erdo?an and ISIS. The comments came in response to Germany and Holland both blocking Turkish Ministers from holding rallies to support the Turkish president’s grab for power, which many suggest is the first step to complete dictatorial control. To say that Westerners will not be safe on the streets of their own countries if they continue to interfere with his actions is a statement that it is hard to find another explanation for: other than terror will be unleashed.
Combine this threat with the “deal” in place between the EU and Turkey to hold back “refugees” in Turkey for €3 Billion and visa free access for Turks; the threats start to look not like idle taunts, but a direct action plan to destabilize Europe. Erdo?an’s spokesman has since said that he will flood Europe with more than 15,000 “refugees” per month in order to “blow your mind”. Many of the 15,000 may in fact be genuine refugees, but as ISIS themselves stated, they will send Jihadis into Europe under the guise of refugees; and that 4000 fighters are already in
To date, the most effective opposition to ISIS have been the Kurdish soldiers fighting daily against the enemy. They have achieved “boots on the ground” victories and have shown themselves to be fearsome fighters. But they are being held back by almost constant bombing operations directly on their strongholds; the bombings coming directly from the Turkish military.

Oil Supply Lines
Russia has openly accused Turkey of benefiting from the oil supply controlled by ISIS and has held press conferences showing pictures of Turkish trucks going through ISIS oil depots. Here is a video showing trucks going through the Turkish-Syria border at Reyhanli (a supposed “closed border”).
Erdo?an’s Son
Bilal Erdogan (the President’s third son) controls a company called BMZ, which is the big name that keeps coming up with regards to who is buying the oil from ISIS controlled Iraq. IN breach of almost every law regarding business dealings with terrorist organizations, Bilal seems to be making a fortune for BMZ and by association, helping fund ISIS in Iraq. According to the Huffington Post, Bilal is one of three equal shareholders in BMZ.

This does not of course mean irrefutably that President Erdogan is working hand in hand with ISIS, but it does pose questions as to how much mutual cooperation and side deals may be taking place between a government that until recently was set to join the EU and a terrorist organization. As Erdogan himself said: “No one should expect me to provoke [IS]”.

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ISIL withdraws from last east Aleppo stronghold

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:10 P.M.) – Minutes ago, Al-Masdar News was informed that the Islamic State (ISIL) fully withdrew from their last east Aleppo stronghold: Deir Hafer.
According to Al-Masdar’s Yusha Yuseef, the Islamic State forces withdrew from Deir Hafer prior to being fully encircled this morning.
Yuseef added that the Syrian Arab Army has not yet entered Deir Hafer due to security concerns over the large presence of field mines.
Syrian and Russian sappers are expected to begin the demining phase of Deir Hafer this evening.
The liberation of Deir Hafer marks the first time in four years that the Syrian Arab Army has been in control of this strategic town in east Aleppo.
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North Korea: The Really Serious Options on the Table

March 23, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The National People’s Congress in Beijing made it clear that China in the 21st century as led by Xi Jinping now relies, as a state, on the  “core” leader’s “four comprehensives” as the letter of the law.
The “four comprehensives” are to build a moderately prosperous society; deepen economic reform; advance the law-based governance of China; and strengthen the Communist Party’s self-governance.
No foreign-policy adventure/disaster should be allowed to interfere with the “four comprehensives,” which, extrapolated, are also linked to the imperative success of the New Silk Roads (One Belt, One Road), China’s ambitious outreach across Eurasia.
But then there’s supremely unpredictable North Korea. And the notorious Lenin line resurfaces: “What is to be done?”
Pyongyang has successfully tested land-based, mobile, solid-fueled intermediate-range ballistic missiles. When operational, this development translates into a North Korean first-strike capability difficult to track, as well as the means to absorb an initial foreign attack and retaliate with – nuclear-tipped? – missiles.
Four North Korean missiles recently – and deliberately – aimed at the Sea of Japan constitute a clear message: We are able to hit US military forces in Japan and we can defeat any missile defense deployed or to be deployed by the US, Japan and South Korea.

Patience or bust

US Secretary of State “T Rex” Tillerson has officially proclaimed that the era of US “strategic patience” concerning North Korea is over, and “all options are on the table.” Yet this does not necessarily mean a new war in the Korean Peninsula led by President Donald Trump, which would be an absolute folly with horrific consequences, and all for nothing. Pyongyang carefully protects its crack team of engineers, who would put a nuclear program back on track in no time.
Team Trump knows very well that Seoul – extremely vulnerable to the North’s military machine – would veto military strikes against North Korea, as would Beijing.
It’s significant that Chinese media have chosen to emphasize Tillerson’s “moderate” tone on North Korea – while duly signaling the failure, once again, of trademark US sanctions policy.
Every major world actor knows that the abandonment of “strategic patience” plus a deluge of additional sanctions will inevitably lead to Pyongyang, in a flash, selling fissile material in the global black market for ready cash.
And overwhelming pressure on North Korea may lead to the lethal counterpunch of that country accumulating up to 50 nuclear weapons capable of hitting anywhere in South Korea and Japan by 2022.
So the only reasonable option is what for Washington, so far, has been anathema: to sit down at the negotiating table with Pyongyang and hammer out a definitive peace treaty to replace the current armistice that suspended, but did not officially end, the Korean War. That is what I heard over and over again when I visited North Korea for Asia Times.
And it should be crystal clear: peace treaty first; then the end of sanctions; then North Korea ending its nuclear-weapons program. That also happens to be what the Chinese government wants; Beijing is terrified of a war sooner or later disturbing the currently frozen – albeit dissolving – status quo.
The problem is that Team Trump – just like the previous US administration of Barack Obama – assumes that Pyongyang, under pressure, must relinquish its nuclear-weapons program before the negotiations start. Wishful thinking, as anyone who has been to North Korea knows. North Korea is for all practical purposes a nuclear power. The only way it might get on the road to becoming a “normal” nuclear power, like for instance Pakistan, is for the Korean War to be finally over.

The ‘invisible’ Tokyo-Beijing gamble

But then there’s a fascinating parallel development, as relayed by European Union diplomats directly dealing with Asia. Japanese industrialists mostly don’t buy Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative old-guard xenophobia concerning China. Japanese exports to China are actually rising compared with Japanese exports to the US.
Former minister Ichiro Ozawa, aka “Shadow Shogun,” president of the Liberal Party and former leader of several opposition parties, is plotting to unseat Abe in the next general election. He is calling for the merger of his Liberal Party, the Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, saying, quite rightly, “We can’t win if we fight separately,” adding that the three parties “can unite on basic policies” as they all call for shutting down nuclear plants, scrapping the new national-security laws and rejecting the next increase in the consumption tax.
As important, the LP, DPJ and SDP strongly favor Tokyo-Beijing rapprochement, and Ozawa’s pedigree as a “friend of China” is well established.
In December 2009, when he was secretary general of the ruling DPJ, Ozawa famously led a group of 600 Democratic parliamentarians and businessmen to China. At the beginning of his political career as a Liberal Democratic Party member of parliament, Ozawa was the closest political ally of prime minister Kakuei Tanaka, who is most remembered for normalizing Japanese relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1972. It is from “Kaku-san” that Ozawa inherited the title of “Shadow Shogun,” and it is to this day that Ozawa believes that his mentor was scapegoated for the Lockheed scandal and driven out of office because he saw close China-Japan relations as as key to East Asian peace and prosperity.
Meanwhile in South Korea, after the debacle over the impeachment of conservative president Park Geun-hye, there are considerable forces warming up to Beijing. A political majority in South Korea favors economic cooperation with China – for instance, in the aeronautics industry – coupled with an Asian entente to solve the North Korea problem.
The most probable winner of the next presidential election to be held on May 9 is Moon Jae-in, a firm supporter of the Sunshine Policy of closer contacts and economic cooperation with Pyongyang and no revival of the military pressure inaugurated by former president Kim Dae-jung and pursued by Seoul from 1998 to 2008.
Facts on the geopolitical ground spell out massive unpopularity of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system possibly to be deployed by the end of next month in South Korea.
When Tillerson urged Beijing to refrain from creating economic policies that could hinder the deployment of THAAD, that could have been coded language acknowledging that Beijing has moved heavy electronic-warfare jammers up to positions where THAAD may be rendered useless against a possible North Korean response.
And that ties in perfectly with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently describing Beijing and Pyongyang as being as close as “lips and teeth” – though, of course, teeth can sometimes bloody lips, and China has also called on North Korea to suspend nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt in US and South Korean military exercises. “The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming towards each other,” Wang said on the sidelines of the recently concluded National People’s Congress in Beijing, defining it as China’s task to “apply brakes on both trains”.
Doing it the Asian way
Beijing could possibly deliver calibrated economic pressure on North Korea (suspension of coal imports) and at the same time imprint on Washington the necessity of dialogue, eventually bringing both parties to the table.
At the Obama-Xi Sunnylands summit in 2013, Xi stressed a “new type of relations between major powers,” based on “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation”. It hasn’t happened – yet.
But absent a torrent of off-message late-night tweets, the Trump-Xi summit at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, next month might well deliver a compromise.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo-Beijing track, invisible to the Trump-Xi track, could be laid with Abe out of power.
The first major consequence of a Tokyo-Beijing rapprochement might be a negotiated solution for North Korea that would include a “soft” end of the Kim dynasty.
However it happens, South Korea would likely refuse a lightning-quick reunification, German-style. North Korea would remain as the same state for at least another decade, with Chinese cadres, including influential members/associates of the Politburo, helping remaining technocrats in the North to step beyond the Kim dynasty.
Under this optimistic scenario, after one century of hardcore conflict, Japan and China might aim for some sort of reconciliation – call it a historical compromise – very much aligned to Xi Jinping’s ideas, now that he’s finalizing being completely in charge of the People’s Liberation Army and totally in control of the Communist Party machine.
A mix of Japan’s high technology and China’s industrial solidity would mean a quick overtaking of the US, an economic-policy convergence beyond the short-term profitability of financial speculation, stressing economic balance, with the priority being job preservation and solidarity-based social policies.
Talk about a major intellectual advance of the East over the West. But first, gotta talk to Pyongyang.
Pepe Escobar is correspondent-at-large at Asia Times
This article was first published at Asia Times –
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

F. William Engdahl – What is happening in the world?

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America and israel Threaten World Peace


3-22-17
Multiple global flashpoints should terrify everyone. They’re hugely dangerous along Russia’s border with Eastern European countries, in the South China Sea, in Ukraine, in Syria, Iraq, and other US war theaters, and possible Israeli war on Lebanon and/or Gaza.
America and Israel perpetuate endless wars, related violence, chaos and repression. Peace and stability defeat their rogue agendas.
Days earlier, Israel activated around 2,000 reserve soldiers. Along with regular IDF troops, they’ve been involved in military exercises since Sunday, simulating war on Gaza.
Is another one planned? IDF chief of staff General Gadi Eisenkot said the drill was called to “assess the preparedness” for war.
If launched, “we will know how to surprise in every way to prevent enemy achievements” and accomplish objectives as quickly as possible, he said.
Israel prepared contingency plans to evacuate around 250,000 civilians from communities bordering Lebanon and Gaza.
The IDF repeatedly targets the Strip by terror-bombing and cross-border incursions, other pre-dawn incidents on Wednesday.
Drones and ground forces targeted Rafah in southern Gaza, killing one Palestinian youth, injuring two others – on the phony pretext of preventing the planting of an explosive device near Israel’s border.
Israeli forces indiscriminately fired on Palestinian farmers in their fields, threatening no one. No injuries were reported.
Since January, multiple airstrikes and cross-border shelling killed four Palestinians, injuring over a dozen others.
Last month, the Mezan Center for Human Rights warned about possible large-scale Israeli aggression on Gaza for the fourth time since December 2008.
It called on the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law.”
It stressed “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched,” saying it’s “crucial to ensur(e) the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”
They’re defenseless and vulnerable to mass casualties again if Israel launches aggression.
Hamas seeks no military confrontation with Israel, its senior official Khalil al-Hayya stressed, adding “we are a bereaved and oppressed people who resist occupation” – their right under international law.
During the latest UN Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Council session in Geneva, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine Michael Lync called Israel’s occupation “the most malignant” anywhere in the world.
Oppressing millions of people violates core international law principles, he stressed. Intensified crackdowns on human rights activists are intolerable. Gaza’s blockade is flagrantly illegal.
US and Israeli diplomats boycotted the session. Both countries want high crimes committed against Palestinians suppressed.
Rogue states operate this way. America conspires with Israel to permit lawless apartheid viciousness to persist unaccountably.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Why israel is ‘Deeply Interested’ in Continuation of Syrian War

Source
Israel is likely to try to retain the existing status quo in Syria since it has benefited from the ongoing conflict in the war-torn neighboring nation, political analyst Sergei Balmasov asserted, saying that Tel Aviv’s combat missions are not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad, but are rather meant to prevent the crisis from being resolved.
“Israel is deeply interested in the ongoing standoff between the Sunnis and the Shia. Tel Aviv wants them to continue killing each other. Nothing presents a threat to Israel as long as this war is ongoing. The Israeli Air Force launches airstrikes against Shia militias in Syria, tipping the balance. This evens out the chances and the war drags on,” he told RT.
Balmasov, an expert at the Middle East Institute at the Russian International Affairs Council, also suggested that Israel could use a border incident to move its forces into southern Syria.

“One could not rule out that Israel does not deploy its troops to the southern buffer zone which borders the Golan Heights to create a territorial entity on the basis of Druze settlements using some kind of an incident as a pretext,” he said.Israel has largely refrained from taking an active part in the devastating Syrian conflict, but has occasionally sent its warplanes to launch airstrikes on Hezbollah in a bid to eliminate its leaders and destroy its weapons. Several such missions are reported to have taken place in recent days in what marks the most serious incident between Tel Aviv and Damascus since the 2011 foreign-sponsored insurgency in Syria morphed into a large-scale war.
It started on Friday, with the Israeli Air Force launching airstrikes on several Hezbollah targets near the Syrian city of Palmyra, close to an area where Russian experts have been engaged in demining efforts following the successful campaign to push Daesh out of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The operation prompted the Syrian Arab Army to launch three anti-aircraft missiles at the departing Israeli planes, with Israel’s Arrow missile defense system intercepting one of the projectiles.

The incident sparked a war of words among high-ranking officials on both sides. On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pledged that Tel Aviv would destroy all Syrian air defense systems “without thinking twice” should a similar situation occur in the future. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Tel Aviv would continue to carry out airstrikes on convoys suspected of transferring advanced weapons to Hezbollah.President Bashar al-Assad reiterated that it was Damascus’ right and duty to defend Syrian borders.
“Why has Israel squared off against the Syrian Arab Army? Israel views the SAA’s links to Hezbollah as unacceptable. Tel Aviv is concerned that the group could become stronger,” Irina Zvyagelskaya, a senior research fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, told RT

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The UK has made 10 times more in arms sales to Saudi Arabia than it's given in aid to Yemen

Source
Similarly, the US sold a record amount of arms to Saudi Arabia under Obama’s administration, with sales set to continue under Trump. Earlier this month the State Department approved a resumption in the $300m sale of US-made precision-guided missiles, a deal blocked late in Obama’s administration due to concerns over civilian casualties
yemen-children.jpgUN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O’Brien looks at a child during a visit to the Mother and Child hospital in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Getty
Bustling, buzzing and bartering. That is how I would once have described a typical market (or souk) in Yemen.
Not any longer. These days they’re often barren and lifeless. During my many visits, I’ve seen the devastation of once busy souks destroyed by Saudi coalition airstrikes. Skeletal structures of buildings and stalls lie empty where once vibrant businesses sold coffee, spices, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, clothes and children’s toys.
By contrast, on the other side of the world a lucrative market in high-tech weaponry is positively thriving. Over the past two years, the UK and the US have sold billions of pounds’ worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, arms used to obliterate Yemeni markets and much else.
In Yemen, I’ve met countless victims of airstrikes who’ve lost loved ones or had livelihoods destroyed, leaving them impoverished and destitute. After two years of this, the country is facing a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, with more than 18 million Yemenis requiring humanitarian assistance.
On the one hand, the UK and US have supported Yemen with around £371.5m in aid during the past two conflict-ridden years. On the other, British and American arms companies, with the authorisation of the UK and US governments, have busily supplied much of the weaponry that Saudi Arabia has used for its devastating attacks in its southern neighbour.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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