Archive for ‘Thoughts of Press’

July 20, 2015

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

by mkleit

Independent

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as “spoils of war”. Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”.

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Dearlove’s explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shia by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6’s view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the Isis-led Sunni rebellion, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove’s speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that “is essentially Muslim on Muslim”. Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.

The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shia in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shia that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them. “The Shia in general are getting very frightened after what happened in northern Iraq,” said an Iraqi commentator, who did not want his name published. Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists.

Dearlove says that he has no inside knowledge obtained since he retired as head of MI6 10 years ago to become Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. But, drawing on past experience, he sees Saudi strategic thinking as being shaped by two deep-seated beliefs or attitudes. First, they are convinced that there “can be no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam’s holiest shrines”. But, perhaps more significantly given the deepening Sunni-Shia confrontation, the Saudi belief that they possess a monopoly of Islamic truth leads them to be “deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom”.

Western governments traditionally play down the connection between Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist faith, on the one hand, and jihadism, whether of the variety espoused by Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida or by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Isis. There is nothing conspiratorial or secret about these links: 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was Bin Laden and most of the private donors who funded the operation.

Sir Richard Dearlove

Sir Richard Dearlove

But there has always been a second theme to Saudi policy towards al-Qa’ida type jihadis, contradicting Prince Bandar’s approach and seeing jihadis as a mortal threat to the Kingdom. Dearlove illustrates this attitude by relating how, soon after 9/11, he visited the Saudi capital Riyadh with Tony Blair.

He remembers the then head of Saudi General Intelligence “literally shouting at me across his office: ‘9/11 is a mere pinprick on the West. In the medium term, it is nothing more than a series of personal tragedies. What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and remake the Middle East.'” In the event, Saudi Arabia adopted both policies, encouraging the jihadis as a useful tool of Saudi anti-Shia influence abroad but suppressing them at home as a threat to the status quo. It is this dual policy that has fallen apart over the last year.

Saudi sympathy for anti-Shia “militancy” is identified in leaked US official documents. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in December 2009 in a cable released by Wikileaks that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.” She said that, in so far as Saudi Arabia did act against al-Qa’ida, it was as a domestic threat and not because of its activities abroad. This policy may now be changing with the dismissal of Prince Bandar as head of intelligence this year. But the change is very recent, still ambivalent and may be too late: it was only last week that a Saudi prince said he would no longer fund a satellite television station notorious for its anti-Shia bias based in Egypt.

The Sunni Ahmed al-Rifai shrine near Tal Afar is bulldozed

The Sunni Ahmed al-Rifai shrine near Tal Afar is bulldozed

The problem for the Saudis is that their attempts since Bandar lost his job to create an anti-Maliki and anti-Assad Sunni constituency which is simultaneously against al-Qa’ida and its clones have failed.

By seeking to weaken Maliki and Assad in the interest of a more moderate Sunni faction, Saudi Arabia and its allies are in practice playing into the hands of Isis which is swiftly gaining full control of the Sunni opposition in Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, as happened previously in its Syrian capital Raqqa, potential critics and opponents are disarmed, forced to swear allegiance to the new caliphate and killed if they resist.

The West may have to pay a price for its alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, which have always found Sunni jihadism more attractive than democracy. A striking example of double standards by the western powers was the Saudi-backed suppression of peaceful democratic protests by the Shia majority in Bahrain in March 2011. Some 1,500 Saudi troops were sent across the causeway to the island kingdom as the demonstrations were ended with great brutality and Shia mosques and shrines were destroyed.

An alibi used by the US and Britain is that the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain is pursuing dialogue and reform. But this excuse looked thin last week as Bahrain expelled a top US diplomat, the assistant secretary of state for human rights Tom Malinowksi, for meeting leaders of the main Shia opposition party al-Wifaq. Mr Malinowski tweeted that the Bahrain government’s action was “not about me but about undermining dialogue”.

Iraqi leader al-Maliki

Iraqi leader al-Maliki

Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community’s protector against Sunni counter-revolution.

But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. “I guess they just didn’t believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad,” said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.

Of course, US and British politicians and diplomats would argue that they were in no position to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. But this is misleading. By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.

The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north and the official al-Qa’ida representative, Jabhat al-Nusra, are faltering under the impact of Isis forces high in morale and using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is also, without the rest of the world taking notice, taking over many of the Syrian oil wells that it did not already control.

The Shia Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul explodes

The Shia Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul explodes

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.

As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target. It is the unnamed head of Saudi General Intelligence quoted by Dearlove after 9/11 who is turning out to have analysed the potential threat to Saudi Arabia correctly and not Prince Bandar, which may explain why the latter was sacked earlier this year.

Nor is this the only point on which Prince Bandar was dangerously mistaken. The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.

The Sunni caliphate rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Several million Sunni in and around Baghdad are vulnerable to attack and 255 Sunni prisoners have already been massacred. In the long term, Isis cannot win, but its mix of fanaticism and good organisation makes it difficult to dislodge.

“God help the Shia,” said Prince Bandar, but, partly thanks to him, the shattered Sunni communities of Iraq and Syria may need divine help even more than the Shia.

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July 14, 2015

Yemen: A Voice in the Wilderness

by mkleit

“Yemeni people are not bad people, they are good people. They want to be respected, they want their sovereignty to be respected. We did not wage a war, a war was brought upon us. Our issue was an internal one and it would have been sorted out internally”

Hanan al-Harazi, her mother and her 8 year old daughter fled Yemen 10 days after the first bombs started to tear holes in her beloved country. Hanan’s daughter had begun to present the early signs of PTSD and for her sanity, the family decided to split itself down the middle, leaving Hanan’s husband behind in Yemen with his family and her two brothers. Hanan brings us a moving and powerful insight into the events leading up to the present devastation of Yemen at the hands of their Saudi oppressors and their imperialist allies.

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Vanessa Beeley: When did you leave Yemen?

Hanan al-Harazi: I think we were in Yemen for almost 10 days after the bombing started and then there was a rocket attack on our immediate neighbourhood, very close to where we lived. After this, my daughter developed urinary incontinence and a sudden fear of any loud sound. Recently, I was looking for her for over an hour and I eventually found her hiding in the closet because she had heard an aircraft flying overhead. It will take decades to erase this trauma from her memory. I can’t even imagine what the other children still in Yemen have been going through after almost 103 days of continuous air raids. It is devastating.

V: How old is your daughter?

H: She is turning 9 in August. I used to work at a school so I know that children are not able to express themselves in words as well as adults.

I just gave her a piece of paper and I told her to write down her feelings. It was heart-breaking for me to read the pain and suffering in those baby words. A few days later, it’s the same thing, all she can draw or paint are jets bombing her country, really sad images. I know that the sun represents something really positive in a child’s life but when you have a child depicting a crying sun with a sad face, it should really pass a powerful message to the world.

We were lucky enough to have foreign passports that meant we could leave Yemen.Nobody is issuing visas to Yemeni nationals so this means 23 million people trapped inside a country that is being mercilessly and indiscriminately bombed with complete disregard for civilian life.

V: There are reports that state over 80% of the population are now enduring a humanitarian crisis. Is this figure realistic?

H: Absolutely! There is a catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Yemen. My fear is that if the blockade is not lifted we are going to witness something horrific by all standards. You are talking about a population of which almost 60% are living below the poverty line. They don’t know how to secure the next meal and this was when their world was “ok” and not in a state of war. I would say the few people who had jobs have lost them and food prices have rocketed. The capital may have slightly better facilities than some outlying areas but even there, the water is now contaminated and the cost of bottled water has trebled in price. I have no idea how people are coping.

Food is still available in the markets but supplies are sparse. Once these supplies do run out, Yemen will starve. We produce very little food in Yemen itself, the majority of foodstuff is imported so the movement of goods is essential to our survival. The blockade will ensure that we cannot survive. There has been a tiny trickle of aid via certain aid groups and NGOs but this has only reached hardest hit areas like Aden, leaving entire swaths of the country without food, water or medical facilities. The cumulative effects will be horrendous and the Humanitarian crisis will be crippling.

V: I am assuming that KSA [as Israel did in Gaza] is targeting Yemen’s infrastructure in order to destroy the civilian ability to survive this onslaught.

H: Yes absolutely. If you look back to yesterday, the events in Amran and Lahj, they have targeted food markets and livestock markets. More evidence of the coalition determination to starve the people of Yemen. The livestock constitutes part of our minimal domestic produce, so this is a deliberate destruction of the civilian ability to survive. The footage that is coming out shows that they are targeting civilian areas, schools have been hit, stadiums, sports facilities, you name it. They have hit everything. They are saying they are only targeting military centres. Perhaps in the beginning this was true. Over the last few weeks we have seen far more random & intense bombing of civilian sites.

The Ansarullah movement is pretty much part of the Yemeni fabric, the Yemeni society. They don’t carry any markings or insignia to distinguish them from the local population so it is beyond ridiculous to say that they are hitting only Ansarullah targets in a city like Sanaa, that has a population of 3 million people .The civilian death toll is way higher than if they were only targeting Ansarullah operatives.

Doctor holds bomb-surviving three-days-old girl in Sanaa, Yemeni capital

Doctor holds bomb-surviving three-days-old girl in Sanaa, Yemeni capital

V: In your view is there any alternative to resisting this attack on Yemen? Is there an option for surrender and negotiation?

H: Look, I will speak for myself and for a lot of people in Yemen. The question of Yemen’s sovereignty has always been uppermost in Yemeni minds and this led to the 2011 revolution to get rid of our long- time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh because we knew he was largely a Saudi puppet. He was pushing the Saudi agenda in Yemen and giving it priority over the interests of the country. During this time many people lost their livelihoods and their lives and most of the major cities caught up in the revolt, came to a standstill for a while.

We have not come this far only to have another Saudi puppet government in place in Yemen. If this continues we no longer have an identity. Yemeni people are not bad people, they are good people. They want to be respected, they want their sovereignty to be respected. We did not wage a war, a war was brought upon us. Our issue was an internal one and it would have been sorted out internally.

Jamal Benomar, the former UN peace envoy to Yemen stated very openly that the warring factions were actually reaching an agreement before the first bomb hit. “When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis,” said Mr. Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat. Thus it becomes obvious that our aspirations are being sacrificed at the altar of Imperialist greed and ambition.

V: We are seeing this across the region, these internal attempts at reconciliation and agreement that are being derailed by the Imperialist agenda and their sectarian propaganda. From what you are saying, this is also happening in Yemen?

H: I can categorically state, there is no sectarian conflict in Yemen. They have been trying to ignite a sectarian war in Yemen but Yemen is one country where we have had Shafi Sunnis and Zaydi Shias praying in the same mosques for hundreds of years. We are a society that is known to intermarry between these two sects. In reality they instigated this territorial war when they wanted to split Yemen into a 6 federal state system. We are tired of having their agenda imposed upon us and being forced to implement it.

I have lived in Yemen for the last 21 years and I never knew that my next door neighbour was a Shafi Sunni or a Zaydi Shia. It was not part of our culture, we never asked. We peacefully coexisted. This balkanisation agenda was the start of the entire problem. Their division was all wrong. They left some areas totally isolated.

The Ansarullah movement and the Southern Separatist movement were both in favour of a confederal state system where Yemen would be divided into north and south existing within a federal state. Most of us were ok with that.

President Hadi [although I hate to call him our President] was pushing the Saudi agenda of the 6 state system. Another thing that a lot of people don’t realise, is that when they divided the 6 state system they purposefully isolated one state called Azal. Azal incorporated many of the Zaydi strongholds, Sadaa, Amran, Sanaa and Dhamar. Azal was left without any resources or any access to the sea. It was blatant imprisonment and suppression of what we would term the “traditional powers” in that area. It was a deliberate attempt to weaken their influence in Yemen.

So Hadi’s plan would have divided Yemen into smaller sectarian states while the Ansarullah plan was more like going back to the boundaries before unity where the south would have greater autonomy over its own internal affairs.

V: How great is the “extremist” threat in Yemen?

H: Let me give you an example. The al-Jauf area has both Sunni and Shia populations and so does Marib and elsewhere. The Zaydi Shias and Shafi Sunnis are both very moderate sects. Yemeni people have no affiliation to the Wahabi sect of Saudi Arabia. Wahabism is alien to Yemen.

We do see certain areas in the South, like Hadramaut which has been in the media lately, parts of which are totally under control of Al Qaeda. The funny thing is, the bombs are falling on the very people that are fighting these extremists. Not a single bomb has been dropped on the extremist strongholds. Even though they know that AQ is in total control of al-Mukalla in Hadramaut and the seaport in that area. That has to be a huge question mark over their true agenda in the region.

The bombing has only achieved one thing and that is to further strengthen these extremist groups in Yemen. I know that in Ansarullah controlled-areas we have the local popular committees that are in charge of security and they have been working round the clock to ensure that the extremist elements are kept at bay. On the battleground their progress has been immensely impeded thanks to the airstrikes that serve as cover for the advancing extremists.

I am not sure if there are any foreign fighters at the moment. I know there are some Saudis, but I am not aware of foreigners from Afghanistan, Chechnya for example. If things escalate I believe we will see many more of these extremists entering Yemen via our borders, yes. Right now the northern borders are secure, apart from Marib where there is heavy fighting going on.

V: How much support are you receiving from Iran?

H: I do not believe that Iran is playing any active role. They support Yemen from a media perspective only. I believe Iran’s “support” is a propaganda ploy to justify hitting Yemen. This war was planned a long time ago, even before Ansarullah moved towards the capital. It becomes very suspicious when you have a president in power and a minority group leaves its stronghold in the northernmost tip of Yemen and moves down towards the capital, Sanaa, in the centre of the country. One city after another in the north falls to them and the president says nothing. Then just as they reach agreement which was the Peace and Partnership Initiative, Hadi suddenly decides that he does not want Ansarullah to have even marginal representation in Government. That was obviously never going to be acceptable, Ansarullah is a force on the ground that must be considered part of the coalition. That is where the conflict originated and that is why they placed Hadi under house arrest because he was following Saudi instructions. Saudi was against the Ansarullah inclusion in Yemen’s government. Then Hadi fled to the south.

My personal take was that the plan was always for Hadi to flee to the south and ask the Saudis for help which justified their bombing of the north of Yemen which has traditionally been the Zaydi stronghold and a thorn in their side. Ansarullah and the army discovered this plan and moved very quickly down to the south and hence you see this widespread bombing in all areas, not just in the north.

As a final point in the analysis of Iran’s role in Yemen. Yemen is a sovereign state and we are free to have bilateral ties with whomsoever we choose. Saudi had a problem with Yemen opening up about 12 flights per week to Iran mainly for bilateral reasons because the rest of the world shut down against Yemen. We have been under Saudi influence for, at least, the last 30 years. Many will say it’s much longer due to Saudi having been implicated in the assassination of President Ibrahim Al Hamdi who was probably the best President that Yemen has ever had.

Yemen’s greatest problems are economic in nature. Saudi never did anything to resolve our economic issues other than putting our leaders on their payroll in order to effectively destroy the country. It’s nearly impossible for a Yemeni to get a visa to travel, even to the UAE.

How can a country flourish when there are so many restrictions upon its people? When Ansarullah came to power our options were reviewed and bilateral ties with Iran were naturally investigated.

Injured kid after Saudi bombing on Talah, in Sada district, northern Yemen

Injured kid after Saudi bombing on Talah, in Sada district, northern Yemen

V: There is a very strong sense of Yemen’s isolation. Even last night 180 Yemeni civilians were massacred in Amran and Lahj yet the media barely mentions it. Is this how you perceive it?

H: Yes. This goes back to decades and decades of isolation. Let me ask this question to the world. The government collapsed in Yemen in September 2014. Can you imagine a country that has gone months and months without a government in place, without a police force, without an army, with a population that does carry arms and with crushing poverty, yet the crime rate is less than “first world” countries like America. Why are these people isolated when they have this inestimable respect for human life? They are an example to the world.

News trickles out via internet, Yemen Today channel and Ansarullah’s channel, al-Masirah. It pains me that people seem to be largely ignoring our suffering, particularly when it is relatively easy to inform themselves these days. For instance, Yemen has had no coverage regarding the internationally banned weaponry that is being used against us. I know that where I work, the area has been decimated. It is an area called Faj Attan a densely populated civilian area where there are shopping areas, thousands of residential homes, schools. How can you use such weapons of mass destruction in an area like this and be exempt from investigation?

V: Are you receiving any help through Oman?

H: Oman appears to have taken a neutral stance, for which I am grateful. The interesting thing is, about a month before the bombing started, I read a report from inside Oman stating that they were preparing for a refugee crisis. They were talking about the possibility of setting up refugee camps on the Yemen/Oman borders. So when the first bombs hit at 1.30 am when we were all asleep, I knew immediately that this had all been pre-planned. Maybe because Oman are part of the Gulf Cooperative [GCC] they had information that something was being prepared against Yemen. I do know that a lot of people have been flown into Oman for treatment, particularly during the suicide bomb attacks on the mosques in Yemen.

V: How is the internet in Yemen? How much electricity or alternative power source is available?

H: People are struggling, there is no power. Can you imagine a country in the 21st century without any power at all? Many people don’t realise that much of the water used in Yemen is pumped from underground reservoirs and so we need diesel or electricity to enable this pumping process, neither of which are available.

From what I hear, electricity is available maybe 40 minutes per week in the capital, Sanaa. There are other areas in the country that have no power at all. We did have this black out problem even before the war but never to this extent. Yes some have generators but black market fuel prices are crippling.

V: You mention WMD. I know there were reports on the use of nuclear bombs. The information coming out of Yemen is sketchy. Do you have any further information or evidence of this claim?

H: I know that 2 of the bombs that were used did produce a nuclear “type” mushroom cloud. Obviously the effects of any radiation will only be seen after time.

Yemen cluster bombs, But even if they did not use nuclear missiles..the weapons they are using are still illegal and devastating. Their use of cluster bombs is well documented, some have failed to detonate and have been photographed on the ground. They have used neutron bombs which generate so much pressure. When my neighbourhood came under attack in first 10 days, the pressure I felt from a relatively distant explosion was terrifying. I had pain in my ears from the pressure draft for weeks afterwards.

The Yemenis were leading normal lives before being suddenly flung into a war zone, its bewildering for everyone. My husband is part of a food distribution network for the poor during Ramadan. He had just gone to deliver some goods to someone in the neighbourhood. Two minutes after he left there were direct rocket hits on this area and this poor man who didn’t even know where his next meal was coming from, was killed. How many more people must die senselessly to serve an Imperialist agenda?

V: Do you have a personal concept of what that Imperialist agenda is?

H: I do not think it is related to Iran despite the propaganda to the contrary. I think we are paying dearly for trying to free ourselves from Saudi slavery. We are paying for our freedom with our lives.

I have been told there are oil and more importantly, gas reserves in al-Jawf which is bordering Saudi Arabia and has been protected by them for years. In 2011 when the people took to the streets demanding a better life, President Saleh was forced to admit its existence publicly for the first time. So we are cursed, we are cursed because we have oil & gas. Every country that has natural resources is cursed and a target of Imperialist intervention.

Saudi Arabia has fostered corruption in Yemen for decades. Ansarullah were committed to ending this poisonous influence on our leaders and this would have countermanded Saudi power in Yemen. When the first bombs hit, the “sold” tribal sheikhs and politicians were seen fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

V: Would you be able to just elaborate on the situation in Aden and also address why Yemen is so important to Saudi Arabia.

H: Aden is being portrayed by the pro aggression media as being a battle for the legitimacy of Hadi. In 2011 Hadi was the only viable choice to fill the power vacuum. 6 million northerners voted for him while the south actually boycotted elections. This alone should counter the claims that he has legitimacy in the South of Yemen.

In Aden what is happening now is that Hadi has gone back to the South but it has to be made clear that the people of Aden and the surrounding area are not pro Hadi, they are also fighting for their independence and are not pro Saudi aggression.

If you look at a map of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is landlocked. Its only access or lifeline to the outside world is via the Bab-el-Mandeb straits in the south of Yemen and the Straits of Hormuz which are controlled by Iran. Yemen has never attempted to block or to impede movement through the Yemeni controlled Mandeb straits. To be honest I don’t even think that Yemen truly controls this area, it is covertly under the control of the Imperialist nations. Saudi Arabia has a lot of internal turmoil and is brutally crushing its own internal opposition. We would never interfere in Saudi internal affairs but I believe that they fear a strong Yemen. With our new constitution clearly stating that leaders can only have two terms in power, we would be the only republic in the GCC block. In Saudi Arabia, which is a despotic regime, our evolution could threaten the stability of their ruling families.

V: What is the message that you would like to convey to the outside world.

H: My hope right now, apart from a miracle from God, is that there are more good people than bad people in this world and I wish we could reach out to them and tell them, today it is me, tomorrow it is you.

We just want to survive, we want to live. Yemen is not the country it is being portrayed to be. We are not terrorists. We are proud of our culture. We are a peace loving people. Yemen is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. We are being portrayed as savages by a media that is supporting the savaging of our land.

I also have to say I respect Ansarullah for their wisdom and self -restraint especially when our mosques came under attack. Mosques that may have been built by Zaydi but are inclusive of all sects for worship. Ansarullah released a statement instructing people not to be drawn into the foreign conspiracy to ignite sectarian divisions. I feel they genuinely represent millions of Yemeni who are fighting for self-determination and recognition as a sovereign nation.

Surrender is not an option while our own internal peace process is being derailed by external aggression. Saudi Arabia has failed to send in ground troops and they are attempting to bomb us into submission. They see that this will not succeed so they have now imposed this brutal, horrific, cruel, vicious blockade on Yemen in the hope that the Yemeni people will turn against those who are fighting the Saudi invaders. I am proud of the solidarity that my people have shown to one another. Even in a situation like this where they have so few resources they will still take care of their neighbours. We are human beings and we have a right to a decent life.

Yemen is far from perfect but no country in this world is perfect. We did not wage this war, we did not provoke this war. For the first 40 days of the Saudi offensive, Yemen did not fire one bullet towards Saudi Arabia. It is rank hypocrisy from Saudi Arabia to label us the aggressor. It has always been the opposite, Saudi Arabia has always been sending its filthy elements into my country and attempting to spread its disgusting Wahabi ideology. Whether Zaydi or Shafi we will never adopt this distorted, twisted, ugly version of Islam.

I would go so far as to state that Yemen has potential to be a model for true democracy in the Middle East. There are 25 million people who call Yemen, home. We simply ask to be left in Peace. Is that too much to ask?

Two small refugees from Sada district to Houdeida in Yemen

Two small refugees from Sada district to Houdeida in Yemen

This interview first appeared at thewallwillfall.wordpress.com

Vanessa Beeley is a photographer, writer, peace activist and volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. She lived in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defence and again in 2013. In 2014 she established the Gaza Smile Project to raise funds for children in Gaza. She spent her childhood in Egypt with her father, Sir Harold Beeley who was Special Envoy to Cairo during both Suez Crises, confirmed Nasserist and Middle East Advisor to Ernest Bevin. Since 2011, Vanessa has spent most of her time in the Middle East . She was recently invited to be on the steering committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement. Visit her blog thewallwillfall.wordpress.com.

July 1, 2015

Gaza: The hijacking of The Marianne by “The Pirates of the Mediterranean”Map of occupied Palestine

by mkleit

London Progressive Journal

Map of occupied Palestine

Map of occupied Palestine

Piracy:” The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

The “international community” is, it would seem, remarkably selective over piracy.

Concern over Somali pirates was such that foreign navies were sent to protect shipping in international waters. In one incident three alleged pirates were killed and a Somali teenager spirited a way to the US to be tried, whilst eleven others were sent for trial to Kenya.(1)

However, in the early hours of the morning (local time) of 29th June, three Isr aeli Navy ships intercepted and hijacked a Swedish flagged ship, the Marianne av Göteborg on route to Gaza in the State of Palestine (recognized as a State by the United Nations on 30th November 2012 by an overwhelming vote of 138-9, elevating Palestine to Non-Member Observer State – a status bestowed on just one other entity, The Vatican).

The ship was in international waters (approximately one hundred nautical miles off shore) but was boarded, towed by Israeli Navy vessels to Israel’s port of Ashdod. Cameras, computers, mobile phones and belongings h ave been allegedly stolen by those who boarded. It is hoped they will be returned but the track record is not good judging by the lack of return of personal – or any – items, including aid cargo purchased by public donations destined for the people of Gaza, from the numerous previously pirated vessels. The Marianne was carrying a consignment of solar panels for a people whom, for most, a constant electricity supply has become a distant memory

Israel’s territorial waters (in to which the Marianne had no intention of heading) presumably should extend just twelve nautical miles from shore, as laid down in the 1984 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which directs that :

“Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.” They do not extend one hundred nautical miles.

Israel has stated the Marianne was requested to change course a number of times. Israel has no legal right to demand anything of a vessel in international waters

Marianne av Göteborg flotilla

Marianne av Göteborg flotilla

In a mind numbingly schizophrenic communication to the Marianne, the Israeli government wrote:

“There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip, and you are invited to transfer humanitarian supplies through Israel. ”If there is “no blockade”, it has to be asked, why should humanitarian supplies be sent to Israel and why indulge in multiple warship piracy, towing the ship to a foreign country to which it had never intended to travel?

The communiqué ended in regret that the Marianne’s passengers had not chosen to visit Israel where they would have been “impressed” by the democracy upheld by the Jewish state that affords equality and religious freedoms for all its citizens. So they we re forcibly taken there to experience the “freedoms” from the inside of Givon prison, where all but two are currently being held. It is surely a truly mad world in “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Perhaps the government scribe was unaware of the latest of innumerable acts far from resembling democracy or equality , targeting, as ever, children:

“While budget allocations for private Christian schools have steadily shrunk, the private yeshivas serving Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish population have received increased allotments, to the point that the state now covers 100 percent of their budgets. The yeshivas do not teach the Ministry of Education’s core curriculum, and their matriculation rate hovers at a dismal 10 percent.” (2)

Further: “State schools that serve Palestinian citizens of Israel are notoriously underfunded, with a recent report finding that the state allots $1,100 per year per Jewish student versus $192 per Arab student in the state system. No surprise, then, that average matriculation rates at state-run Arab high schools are about 27 percent, compared with 95 percent for the leading Christian schools. What’s more, teachers at state schools in the Arab sector must be vetted by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service. And the schools’ state-mandated curriculum places draconian limitations on teaching Palestinian history and literature.”

However, regarding the Christian schools:

“Last summer, the situation became critical after the ministry set a cap so low on the amount the schools may raise through tuition that they could no longer make up the shortfall caused by the shrinking state budget allocation.

Father Fahim Abdelmasih , the head of the Christian Schools’ Office in Israel, said that six months of negotiating with the Ministry of Education yielded no solution, calling the tuition caps a ‘death sentence’ for Christian schools in Israel.”

So much for equality and religious freedom for all its citizens – and then there is that wall, the segregation roads, the segregation buses, the checkpoints, the travel bans, bombed home repair bans, home demolitions, olive grove arsons, flower, fruit, vegetable export bans – an embargo on all normality.

The passengers of the Marianne currently being “impressed” by Israeli democracy from the inside of Givon Prison are:

Dror Feiler (Sweden) Musician and Composer

Ana Miranda (Spain) Member of the European Parliament

Nadya Kervorkova (Russia) Journalist

Kajsa Ekis Ekman (Sweden) Journalist, Author

Robert Lovelace (Canada) University Professor and retired Algonquin Chief

Joel Opperdoes (Sweden) Crew

Gustave Bergstrom (Sweden)

Herman Reksten (Norway)

Kevin Neish (Canada)

Jonas Karlin (Sweden)

Charlie Andreasson (Sweden)

Ammar Al- Hamdan (Norway) Aljajeera Arabic

Mohammed El Bakkali (Morocco) Aljazeera Arabic

Ohad Hemo (Israel) Channel 2 Israeli TV

Ruwani Perera (New Zealand) Maori TV

Jacob Bryant (New Zealand) Maori TV

Alarmingly , the whereabouts of passengers Dr Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia (2011-2014), and Palestinian politician Bassel Ghattas, a Member of the Israeli Knesset, are unknown at the time of writing.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, binding for one hundred and fifty four nations and the European Union (not yet ratified by the United States) makes “piracy a universal crime and subjects pirates to arrest and prosecution by any nation. ” However, for all the quoting of its fine words here, surprise, Israel has not signed this important, detailed Convention as it has ignored or violated innumerable UN Resolutions (3), starting from the country’s infancy with Resolution 57 of 18th September 1948, which expressed: “deep shock at the assassination of the UN Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists. ”

Marianne's position before being pirated by israeli navy

Marianne’s position before being pirated by israeli navy

No doubt some of the reasons for disregarding the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea can be found in Part 7:

Article 89: No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.

Article 90: Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.

Article 100: All States shall cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State.

Ironically Somalia was an early signatory to the Convention, signing in 1982, thus can be held accountable. Will accountability ever apply to “the only democracy …” Will the UN, the “international community ” ever demand it?

“The “Pirates of the Mediterranean”, tweeted someone this morning.

What a tragedy that a people who have historically suffered so grievously are being tarred by the actions of a relative few and of the government of Israel, a haven defined by Lord Balfour (2nd November 1917) as : “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …”

The “existing non-Jewish community” are either exiled, bombed, restricted, or in an open prison. Those who raise money and sail in solidarity are hijacked, put in a closed prison or, as in the case of the Mavi Marmara, murdered.

When will impunity end?

1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8003936.stm

2. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/5/israels-funding-policy-on-christian-schools-spurs-controvery.html

3. http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/

June 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia Will Fail in Yemen

by mkleit

Asher Orkaby

Asher Orkaby, PhD, is a research fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and is the author of a forthcoming book, The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68.

National Interest

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

As the warring Yemeni parties gather for preliminary peace talks in Geneva, Saudi Arabia continues its unrelenting bombing campaign against the tribes of the Houthi movement. For two and a half months, the air forces of the Saudi coalition have targeted military sites, homes and businesses affiliated with the Houthi movement, as well as the palaces and residences of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his political allies. Yet, as the Houthis sit down at the negotiating table this week, their domestic political and strategic position has not been greatly affected by this extensive bombing. Saudi Arabia’s futile air campaign is a further demonstration of the limits of airpower in general, and in South Arabia specifically.

Saudi Arabia did not pioneer the use of airpower to exercise regional power, which originated with the British imperial policy of “air control” in post-WWI Iraq. Winston Churchill, the postwar Secretary of War and Secretary of State for Air championed the use of air force to maintain British control over Iraq while expending the least amount of military force on the ground. Inaccurate intelligence, inadequate navigation equipment and pilot errors led many bombs astray, often hitting the wrong target and with little distinction between civilians and militants. Attacks and patrols by the British Royal Air Force were guided by sparse local intelligence networks and were intended more for the psychological impact of unfamiliar aerial bombardment rather than the ability to achieve a military objective.

This model of British imperial power and control was used in other colonial arenas, including South Yemen, then the British Aden Protectorate. A decade of British aerial patrols and attacks during the 1960s failed to stem the tide of a Yemeni nationalist movement that supplanted British colonial rule in South Yemen. The success of Britain’s air control in Arabia was limited by two main factors. The mountainous terrain of Yemen provided the guerilla opposition with an impervious natural cover from bombs within a cave system that pockmarks the landscape. International media was stacked against the remnants of the British Empire and bombs that found civilian targets were met with a great deal of negative press.

The British Royal Air Force was not the only imperial force in South Arabia trying to use its air force to dominate a tribal opposition. During the 1960s, Egypt transferred nearly a third of its air capabilities to North Yemen in support of the fledgling republic founded in 1962. The tactical success of the Egyptian aerial campaign was similarly hampered by Yemen’s terrain. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser even went as far as authorizing the use of poison gas against cave shelters, intending to flush the opposition out into the open before coming back around for a second round of high explosive incendiary bombs.

Air superiority was the linchpin of Egypt’s strategic model of maintaining a triangular defensive perimeter around North Yemen’s three main cities of Hodeidah, Sana’a, and Taiz, while forestalling a concerted guerilla offensive from the surrounding rural and mountainous regions. Both Britain and Egypt were under political pressure to limit the number of casualties that would have undoubtedly occurred as a consequences of a more effective large-scale ground operation. Air power in Arabia, however, was limited in its ability to achieve tangible military goals. Rather than subdue domestic opposition, aerial bombardment only fed the flames of propaganda and distrust of a faceless enemy from above. Both Britain and Egypt were forced to make an ignominious withdrawal by the end of 1967, leaving failed states in their wake.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Arab and African countries appears to be taking the same path as the failed imperial policies of the 1960s. The Saudi air campaign was originally met with tepid enthusiasm by members of Yemen’s Southern Movement and supporters of Yemen’s ousted, but still internationally recognized President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Many Yemenis were alarmed by the speed with which the tribesmen of the Houthi movement took control of the government in Sana’a and extended their military presence southward in pursuit of Hadi and his supporters. Two and a half months later, the Saudi bombing campaign has evolved from a series of tactical strikes to slow the Houthi military assault into a vendetta bombing campaign against Saudi political opponents in Yemen. Many of the airstrikes are targeting civilian houses belonging to Saleh’s family and friends, factories deemed suspicious and civilian transportation hubs and airports across the country, all of which have questionable military value.

Sitting comfortably in his luxury hotel of exile, President Hadi continues to condone Saudi bombings even as a staggering number of his countrymen have become internal refugees and are suffering a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. Rather than garner additional public support for President Hadi, the Saudi bombing campaign has only increased the skepticism of his remote government and has instead played into the hands of Houthi propagandists. All the while, it does not seem that the military capabilities of the Houthi tribesmen or the segments of the Yemeni army still loyal to Saleh have been greatly diminished.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Not only have the Saudi’s not been able to slow the Houthi advance, but on June 6, Scud missiles launched by Houthi forces hit King Khalid Air Base, Saudi Arabia’s largest air base and the operations center for the current bombing campaign. Although Saudi officials tried to downplay the attack, which was shrouded in secrecy, it soon became known that Saudi Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed Al-Shaalan was killed during the attack. This was particularly shocking to the Saudis as the Shaalan family is nationally prominent and connected through marriage and political alliance to the ruling Saud family.

The attack exposed the disturbing unreadiness of Saudi air defense capabilities and the limits of their air force’s ability to affect military and political outcomes in Yemen. Since the beginnings of the bombing campaign in March 2015, Saudi-coalition planes have faced little anti-aircraft fire, hardly a test of the pilots resolve or training. Even though the Houthis lack armed surface-to-air resistance, the recent Scud missile attack reinforced the fact that the Saudi aerial campaign has failed to eliminate the Houthi coalition’s large-scale military capability.

What emerged from the Scud missile debacle was that an American team is operating a Patriot missile defense system in the vicinity of the King Khalid Air Base, which is also the command center for the U.S. drone campaign in the region. It has been reported that several of the fired Scud missiles were intercepted by U.S. Patriot missiles, the first instance where American forces and Houthis exchanged fire, albeit indirectly. Additionally, the U.S. Air Force has been providing Saudi-coalition planes with satellite imagery and intelligence related to Houthi targets. The emergence of these details has reinforced a propaganda line reiterated on the Houthi cable channel al-Masirah that refers to the Saudi coalition as the “Saudi-American coalition.”

Images of Yemeni Scud missile being fired at King Khalid Air Base, Southern KSA

Images of Yemeni Scud missile being fired at King Khalid Air Base, Southern KSA

Despite emerging evidence that the Saudi-coalition’s aerial campaign is not only ineffective but counterproductive to the promotion of a political settlement in Yemen, the bombings continue with no sign of concluding. The relentless pursuit of an aggressive military stance towards the Houthi movement is in part a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s struggle against the ghost of Iranian involvement in South Arabia. There is no Saudi exit strategy in which the bombing can stop, short of a complete Houthi political withdrawal. Otherwise, this war will demonstrate a weakness in Saudi policy towards Iran. This aggressive policy is driven in particular by the new Saudi King Salman’s need to exhibit political and military dominance to quiet his many doubters. The Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the director of operations in Yemen, feels additional pressure to act decisively in order to prove his resolve as the world’s youngest minister of defense at the age of 30.

Even with all of King Salman’s resolve and Mohammad bin Salman’s machismo, the Saudi aerial campaign will be limited by a difficult propaganda war by the Houthis and the same historic terrain that served as an obstacle to British and Egyptian aerial control of Yemen during the 1960s. Saudi Arabia cannot triumph through force of arms alone as its air force has reached the upper limits of what it can achieve against the Houthis. Continuing a fruitless aerial campaign will only foster increasing anti-Saudi political alliance in Yemen and lead to an ignominious withdrawal reminiscent of British and Egyptian withdrawals of the past.

Yemeni soldier destroys Saudi tank from close range inside Saudi-border military camp

Yemeni soldier destroys Saudi tank from close range inside Saudi-border military camp

Yemeni soldiers hold Yemeni flag from Saudi military outpost in Asseer

Yemeni soldiers hold Yemeni flag from Saudi military outpost in Asseer

Yemeni army firing locally-manufactured Zilzal "earthquake" missile at Saudi military base in the south

Yemeni army firing locally-manufactured Zilzal “earthquake” missile at Saudi military base in the south

Yemeni army firing Grad missiles at Saudi bases in south

Yemeni army firing Grad missiles at Saudi bases in south

Yemeni soldier declaring victory over Saudi soldiers in Jizan area south of KSA

Yemeni soldier declaring victory over Saudi soldiers in Jizan area south of KSA

Yemeni soldier holding a LAW during fights against Saudi soldiers in Jizzan

Yemeni soldier holding a LAW during fights against Saudi soldiers in Jizzan

Yemeni Yirivan missiles being fired at Saudi military bases in Jizzan

Yemeni Yirivan missiles being fired at Saudi military bases in Jizzan

June 15, 2015

جيش الـcia في سوريا: مليار دولار سنوياً لـ 10 آلاف مقاتل

by mkleit

جريدة الأخبار

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عدا عن الدعم السعودي والقطري والتركي والأردني والإسرائيلي لمسلحي الجنوب السوري، كشفت صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» أن الـ«سي أي ايه» تنفذ برنامجاً لدعم مقاتلي «الجبهة الجنوبية» كلفته مليار دولار سنوياً

لوكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية (سي آي ايه) جيش يضم آلاف المقاتلين المعارضين في سوريا. وهؤلاء يقاتلون في الجنوب السوري بشكل خاص، وتتولى الاستخبارات الأميركية تدريبهم وتسليحهم وتزويدهم بالمعلومات الميدانية. ما سبق ليس اتهاماً أطلقه الحكم في دمشق على معارضيه الذين يصنفهم الغرب بـ»المعتدلين»، بل وقائع كانت مدار بحث على طاولات صنع القرار في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وكشفتها صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» أول من أمس.

تمويل وتسليح وتدريب بكلفة مليار دولار سنوياً، يذهب جلّها إلى مقاتلي «الجبهة الجنوبية في الجيش السوري الحر». السخاء ليس حكراً على الأميركيين، بل إنه جزء من تعاون أميركي ــ سعودي ــ قطري ــ تركي. وإذا ما قيس هذا الأمر على السوابق الأميركية في أفغانستان ونيكاراغوا وغيرها من الدول التي بنت فيها وكالة الاستخبارات جيوشاً من المرتزقة، حيث كانت الولايات المتحدة تأخذ على عاتقها الجزء الأصغر من الإنفاق وتجعل حلفاءها يتولون الحصة الأكبر من الكلفة، يمكن توقع المبالغ الخيالية التي تنفق سنوياً في الجنوب السوري. ويمكن أيضاً تخيّل القدر الهائل من الأموال الذي يُدفع لإراقة الدم والتدمير في عموم سوريا، حيث لا تكف المعارضة منذ أربع سنوات عن الشكوى من الشح المالي والنقص في السلاح والذخيرة، وتزعم أنها متروكة لتواجه وحيدة النظام وحلفاءه.

برنامج الـ»سي أي ايه» الذي كشفت عنه الـ»بوست» هو من بين أكبر البرامج السرية التي تنفذها الوكالة في العالم، بحسب الصحيفة التي قالت إن كلفته تشكل نسبة «1 من 15» من إجمال إنفاق الـ»سي أي إيه» سنوياً. وهذا البرنامج، بحسب مسؤولين في الاستخبارات ورجال سياسة أميركيين قابلتهم الصحيفة، ينص على تدريب مقاتلين وتسليحهم، وتزويدهم بالمعدات اللوجستية، وجمع المعلومات التي يحتاجونها في معاركهم، وإيصالهم مع ما يحتاجونه إلى الأراضي السورية.

عنصر من المعارضة السورية مع صاروخ تاو الأمريكي

هو إذاً برنامج عسكري «متكامل»، يضمن بناء جيش تابع لـ»سي أي إيه»، على شاكلة ما قامت به الوكالة عينها في أفغانستان ونيكاراغوا في ثمانينيات القرن الماضي. الجزء الأكبر من هذا البرنامج يجري تنفيذه انطلاقاً من الأردن، حيث درّبت الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية 10 آلاف مقاتل حتى اليوم، بحسب المقال الذي نشرته «واشنطن بوست» على رأس صفحتها الأولى السبت الماضي. مبلغ مليار دولار سنوياً، بحسب مسؤولين أميركيين، هو جزء من مشروع أكبر تبلغ كلفته مليارات الدولارات، وتساهم فيه إلى جانب الولايات المتحدة، السعودية وقطر وتركيا. ويتركز عمل هذه الدول في الجنوب السوري، لدعم ما يُسمى «الجبهة الجنوبية في الجيش السوري الحر». وأجرى كاتبا تقرير الـ»بوست» عملية حسابية بسيطة استنتجا فيها أن كلفة المقاتل الواحد سنوياً تبلغ 100 ألف دولار أميركي!  الكشف عن هذه العملية «المتواصلة منذ عام 2013»، أتى على خلفية قرار أصدرته بالإجماع لجنة الاستخبارات في مجلس النواب الأميركي، قضى بخفض ميزانية برنامج الـ»سي أي إيه» في سوريا بنسبة 20 في المئة. لكن هذا القرار لن يكون نافذاً إلا بعد سلسلة طويلة من الإجراءات، بينها تصويت المجلس عليه الأسبوع الجاري. كما أن سريان القرار بحاجة إلى تبنيه من قِبل مجلس الشيوخ ولجنة الاستخبارات الخاصة به التي ستبدأ درس ميزانية الاستخبارات قبل نهاية حزيران. وبحسب الصحيفة، فإن البيت الأبيض سيباشر اتصالاته بمجلس الشيوخ لتجنيب وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية خفض ميزانية برنامج عملها في سوريا الذي تبنته لجنة الاستخبارات في مجلس النواب.

كبير النواب الديموقراطيين في لجنة الاستخبارات آدم شيف قال للصحيفة إن ممثلي الحزبين (الديموقراطي والجمهوري) مجمعون على القلق حيال الاستراتيجية الأميركية في سوريا. هذا القلق، على ما يبدو مما نشرته اليومية الأميركية، متمحور حول نظرة الساسة الأميركيين ودوائر الاستخبارات إلى ما يجري في الميدان السوري. فبحسب تقرير الصحيفة، حتى المدافعون عن برنامج عمل الـ»سي أي إيه» يقرّون بالأداء الضعيف للفصائل «المعتدلة»، وبأنها ستهزم في أي معركة حاسمة مع «داعش». موقف أكثر «صراحة» في هذا السياق نقلته الـ»بوست» عن أحد كبار مساعدي الجمهوريين في الكونغرس، قائلاً إن تراجع قوات النظام في سوريا «ليس نتيجة عمل من يسمّون المعتدلين». أما شيف، فقال: «للأسف، أعتقد أن «داعش» و»النصرة» وبعض الفصائل الإسلامية المتطرفة الأخرى هم في أفضل موقع للاستثمار في الفوضى التي يمكن أن ترافق انحداراً سريعاً للنظام».

وينقل كاتبا التقرير عن مسؤولين قولهم إن هذه اللهجة مستندة إلى عدم قدرة وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية على «إظهار أن قواتها سيطرت على أراضٍ أو ربحت معارك أو حققت نتائج ملموسة».

في المقابل، يدافع داعمو البرنامج عن رجال الـ»سي أي ايه» في الميدان، قائلين إنهم «يحاصرون قاعدة للجيش السوري»، فيما يؤكد آخرون أنهم تمكنوا من السيطرة على عدد من القواعد الرئيسية للجيش السوري جنوب دمشق.

June 14, 2015

A Beverage That Is 10,000 Times Stronger Than Chemotherapy!

by mkleit

Why They Didn’t Tell Us? A Beverage That Is 10,000 Times Stronger Than Chemotherapy! 2015-04-20 T04:07:50+00:00 

The combination of lemon and baking soda are proven stronger “killer” cancer than chemotherapy for about a whopping 10,000 times. Why no one told us anything about this? Well, because there is no profit from healthy people.

They spend nothing. It’s that easy. Billions and billions of dollars that the pharmaceutical industry gets in their budget would no longer exist. Lemon is a proven anti-carcinogen. On the organism it produces a strongly alkaline environment in which cysts and tumors simply cannot dwell. Specifically, cysts and tumors feed on substances that create acidic environment in the body, and as long as the body is acidic tumor can grow. But as soon as you stop the flow of acidity in the body the tumor has no food and becomes stagnant. Therefore, soda combined with lemon is an exceptional fighter against cancer because of their effect is quite alkaline. Namely, combining it with coffee should be avoided and of course all the other ingredients of the body that creates an acidic environment and the result is certainly warranted. This magnificent fact discovered back in 1923 a German scientist Otto Heinrich Warburg, who for his cure for cancer even got the Nobel Prize, but nevertheless, people do not know the truth.

What was discovered by Dr. Warburg?

Dr. Warburg discovered that cancer is the result of anti-physiological lifestyle. Anti-Phuspt diets (with food that is acidifying) and physical inactivity of the body creates an acidic environment poorly oxygenated. Acidity cell displaces the oxygen from the cells, and the lack of oxygen in the cells creates an acidic environment. ‘If you have too high acidity, automatically will be missing oxygen in the body; if you lack oxygen, you will have acidified organism. The acidic environment is an environment without oxygen, spoke Dr. Warrburg.

‘And if you subtract 35% oxygen, cancer cells can create in just two days. Thus, the cause of cancer today is acidified organism and cells without oxygen. In his work “The metabolism of tumors,” Dr. Warburg showed that all carcinogenic forms fulfill two basic conditions: blood acidity and hypoxia (lack of oxygen). He found that the tumor cells are anaerobic (do not breathe oxygen) and cannot survive in the presence of high concentrations of oxygen. Tumor cells can survive only with the help of glucose in the environment without oxygen. Therefore, cancer is nothing but a defense mechanism, which our cells use to survive in an acidic environment without oxygen. What affects the acidification of the body and the occurrence of cancer? The answer is very simple: food. Most people today, unlike twenty years ago, are eating food that is acidifying the body so it is not surprising that the occurrence of this disease is in the systematic increase.

What to eat in smaller quantities?

Refined sugar and all its derivatives. It is the worst, because there is no protein, fat, vitamins, minerals not only refined carbohydrates, which damages the pancreas. Its pH is 2.1 (very acidic).

Meat (all types), animal products – milk and cheese, cream, yogurt etc.

Refined salt, refined flour and all its derivatives such as pasta, cakes, biscuits and so on.

Bread, butter, caffeine, alcohol, all industrially processed and canned foods, which contain preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, stabilizers, etc.

Antibiotics and generally all drugs.

What to eat more?

Baking soda and lemon

Fruit

All raw vegetables. Some are sour in taste, but in the body the change and become alkaline.

Almonds. They are very alkaline.

Whole grains: the only alkalizing grain is millet. All other grains are slightly acidic, but the ideal diet should be a certain percentage of acidity and should eat some crops. All grains should be eaten cooked.

Honey. It has a very high alkalinity.

Chlorophyll. Green plants contain chlorophyll which is very alkaline.

Water. It is important for the production of oxygen. Always stay well hydrated, drink small sips of water throughout the day.

Exercising. Exercising helps maintain the alkalinity of the body because it gives oxygen throughout the body. Sedentary lifestyle is destroying the organism.

Chemotherapy is death!

Although medicine has breakthorough knowledge of the research scientists, cancer is treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy often means death. It is acidifying the body to such an extent that the body reaches for the last alkaline reserves in the body to neutralize the acidity of sacrificing minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium) that are embedded in the bones, teeth, nails and hair, and as a result of chemotherapy we have physical changes in patients. Chemotherapy acidifies the body so much that it promotes the spread of cancer, rather than cell destruction.

Therefore, if you are suffering from this disease, start alkalizing the body, in which baking soda that you can buy in any store is very helpful. It is known in the world of alternative medicine as a very good and effective cancer killer, primarily because of its alkaline properties.

May 10, 2015

Al-Jazeera Host Incites Genocidal Hatred Towards Syrian Alawites

by mkleit

almasdar

The controversial Syrian host of Al-Jazeera’s “The Opposite Direction”, Dr. Faisal Al-Qassem, posted a disturbing tweet on Wednesday, inciting sectarian hatred and blame towards the minority Alawite Muslims for allegedly “destroying” Syria for their own personal interests.

In his tweet, Dr. Faisal Al-Qassem asks the Syrian people if they would like avenge the Alawites of Syria for destroying the country; this tweet followed the main topic of his TV program on Tuesday, where he invited a number of guests to discuss the Alawite situation at the Islamist controlled city of Jisr Al-Shughour in Syria.

For over an hour, the tweet was shared by numerous Twitter accounts that not only questioned his professionalism, but also, his motives, as Dr. Qassem pinned blame on this minority religious group as a whole.

Finally, after receiving an unexpected number of tweets condemning his post, Dr. Qassem deleted the tweet; however, this was not before he engaged Dr. Joshua Landis – Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma – in a heated conversation on Twitter, further proving his bias and antipathy for Alawites.

Dr. Qassem is notorious for making comments that have stirred-up controversy in the past (e.g. Lebanese Army comments in 2014), but never to the extent of inciting genocidal thoughts against a Levantine religious group.

Faisal’s Tweet: Isn’t it the Syrians’ right to take vengeance from Alawites that destroyed Syria and displaced its people for their own interests?

May 7, 2015

Preaching Hate and Sectarianism in the Gulf

by mkleit

Why did Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates provide a pulpit for a firebrand cleric who calls for the destruction of Shiites, Alawites, Christians, and Jews?

BY OREN ADAKI, DAVID ANDREW WEINBERG

Source

Arab Gulf states

Saudi Arabia expands its involvement in wars across the Middle East, the kingdom has given a platform to an extremist cleric who seems to believe this struggle is not just against the Islamic State or rivals in Yemen. Saad bin Ateeq al-Ateeq, a Saudi preacher with long-standing ties to the kingdom’s government, recently called upon God to “destroy” Shiites, Alawites, Christians, and Jews.

Saudi King Salman insists that Sunni-Shiite hatred only motivates intervention in Yemen by other “regional powers” — meaning Iran. Ateeq, however, tells a different story: Speaking to the Saudi state news channel al-Ekhbariya one day after Riyadh went to war, he argued that Yemen’s lands were designated “purely for monotheism” and “may not be polluted, neither by Houthis nor Iranians.” He labeled these groups “rafidis,” a derogatory label bashing Shiite Islam, and ominously elaborated: “We are cleansing the land from these rats.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates — the three most influential members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — have recently displayed surprising unity through their shared participation in multilateral military operations, first against the Islamic State in Syria and now against Houthi insurgents in Yemen.

Yet these three governments have another thing in common — each has provided a platform for the radical preaching of Ateeq, whose toxic incitement against other religions parallels the narrative of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda. That America’s allies would tolerate a religious leader as extreme as this Saudi preacher poses a threat to U.S. interests and suggests the Gulf is failing to live up to its explicit commitments to repudiate the Islamic State’s hateful ideology.

It’s not like these Persian Gulf states can claim not to know about Ateeq’s hate-filled rhetoric — he has been repeating it for years in prominent, government-affiliated places of worship. Earlier this year, Ateeq delivered a televised sermon at Qatar’s state-controlled Grand Mosque beseeching God to “destroy the Jews and whoever made them Jews, and destroy the Christians and the Alawites and whoever made them Christian, and the Shiites and whoever made them Shiite.” He also prayed for God to “save [the] Al-Aqsa [mosque in Jerusalem] from the claws of the Jews.”

Yet calling for the wholesale destruction of other religions appears to be one of the preacher’s favorite refrains. In February 2013, Ateeq delivered a Fridaysermon at Qatar’s Grand Mosque using an almost identical formulation, once again urging God to destroy the Christians and Jews. Similarly, in October of that year, Ateeq declared from Qatar’s Grand Mosque that Jews and Christians are enemies of God, and this February he delivered anothersermon, apparently from Sudan, calling for the destruction of Christians, Alawites, Shiites, and Jews.

When approached for comment regarding Ateeq’s views, Ali Saad al-Hajiri, the director of the media office at the Qatari Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Doha “in no way endorses or supports this individual” and “rejects any divisions in Arab society along sectarian lines.” Hajiri added that Qatar “faces the challenge of balancing the needs of a free society and freedom of speech with the need to take the strongest possible stance against terrorism and hate speech.” The Saudi and Emirati embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Despite Ateeq’s unmistakable incitement of religious hatred, he is treated as an establishment figure in the Gulf. He regularly preaches in Qatar, addressing crowds in the gas-rich emirate on at least 13 occasions since 2010, typically as a guest of Qatar’s Ministry of IslamicAffairs. Notably, half of these invitations transpired after his 2013 sermon under government supervision calling for the destruction of other religions. He has spoken several times to different branches of Qatar’s security services: According to local media, one lecture in July 2013 to the Qatari navy, a frequent U.S. military partner in the Gulf, was attended by the commander of the Qatari Royal Navy Forces; that same month, Ateeq gave another lectureto security officials organized by the Qatari Interior Ministry’s airport security and airport passports departments. Qatar has invested billions of dollars in its airports in hopes of becoming a global aviation hub, and the Interior Ministry is Washington’s main interlocutor for discussing terror finance.

But it’s not just Qatar, which has long been accused of turning a blind eye to Islamist radicals, that has lent official legitimacy to Ateeq’s message. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has arrayed itself against Islamist forces in Egypt and Libya, has also given him a platform: In July 2014, the preacherwas featured as a speaker at the Dubai International Holy Quran Award, a yearly competition promoting Quranic memorization and Islamic culture. The event was organized “under the sponsorship” of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE as well as the ruler of Dubai.

According to Sheikh Mohammed’s official website, his advisor for humanitarian and cultural affairs — who chaired the contest’s organizing committee — announced that Ateeq would be attending as one of the “elite group of scholars and preachers” hosted by the event. Ateeq singled out the advisor in the audience by name, saying that he deserved the “thanks of God,” and the two were photographed shaking hands on stage.

Yet it is Saudi Arabia where Ateeq has most firmly embedded himself within government institutions. According to the biography on his website, heserves as a “supervisor for Islamic awareness” at the Saudi Education Ministry and directs an Islamic awareness council at the Riyadh regional government’s Department of Education. His involvement with Riyadh’s education department apparently goes back to the days when Saudi Arabia’s current king was the region’s governor. Ateeq has regularly been involved in educational events in the region, including lecturing to children.

Ateeq also exerts an influence over the next generation of the Saudi armed forces, serving as the director of the Guidance Office for housing at King Khaled Military Academy (KKMA). The academy is classified by the Saudi Arabian National Guard Ministry as one of its “departments and units,” and graduates of the academy automatically earn the rank of lieutenant. His role as a preacher at the university goes back to 1994, when Saudi Arabia’s late — supposedly reformist — King Abdullah was the commander in charge of the National Guard.

Ateeq also has contributed in other ways to shaping the ideology of members of the Saudi security forces. In 2013, the Interior Ministry’s Facilities Security Force (FSF), which is in charge of protecting Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities,hosted Ateeq at its headquarters to run a seminar under the direction of the FSF’s commanding general regarding the hajj, including how to treat pilgrims properly. The Interior Ministry is under the control of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was just promoted to next in line to inherit the Saudi throne.

Further, Ateeq’s biography states that he chairs the board of a quasi-governmental Saudi religious authority known as the Cooperative Office for Preaching, Guidance, and Direction in the Neighborhoods of West Naseem in Riyadh. Such cooperative offices around Saudi Arabia have sponsored dozens of Ateeq’s lectures throughout the country, with fliers featuring the logo of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which supervises the government-subsidized offices. Saudi Arabia’s official news wire has similarly promoteddozens of lectures by Ateeq, going back as far as a decade.

This March, Ateeq delivered a lecture at Riyadh’s King Khaled Mosque. The mosque’s “religious and social activities” come with the “sponsorship” of the King Khaled Charitable Foundation, the board of which is overseen by six princes and princesses fathered by the late King Khaled. Fliers used by the mosque to promote Ateeq’s lecture included logos of the Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry and the late king’s foundation, and the foundation’s logo was also prominently featured behind Ateeq during his talk. The King Khaled Charitable Foundation did not respond to requests for comment on its involvement with Ateeq.

It is perhaps an irony of the Arabic language that Ateeq’s last name translates to “archaic” or “antiquated,” since he embodies the Gulf’s most backward impulses. But the Saudi preacher’s obvious incitement is far from an isolated case: The kingdom systematically indoctrinates its youth with hateful views in official, government-published school textbooks. Recent government-published textbooks state that those who renounce Islam to convert to another religion should be killed and that the most important debate about homosexuality is how gay people should be murdered. That is unlikely to change anytime soon so long as religious hard-liners such as Ateeq are granted influence over the Saudi education system.

As the region’s superpower patron, it is up to Washington to voice its displeasure about the continued flow of state privileges to preachers of hate. Such incitement undoubtedly poses a long-term threat to the fight against terrorism and to U.S. national security.

U.S. President Barack Obama should say as much when he sits down with GCC leaders at Camp David later this month. The president himself warned recently that the Gulf states face an internal threat from a “destructive and nihilistic” ideology; when he meets with the Gulf leaders, he can argue that tackling this sort of religious incitement is in these regimes’ best interest. By providing an official platform to hate preachers such as Ateeq, Gulf rulers are feeding an ideological chimera that threatens their ultimate survival.

May 6, 2015

Wikileaks Sony Hack Reveals Hollywood’s Hand In Repairing Israel’s Broken Image

by mkleit

By

Source

hollywoodforisraelfinishedglowlighterbluebetter

CULVER CITY, California — A MintPress News analysis of emails contained in WikiLeaks archive of the Sony Hack reveals how Hollywood executives are working to repair Israel’s public image in the wake of the savage death toll from last summer’s Operation Protective Edge offensive against Gaza. This includes a proposed documentary which would attempt to tie support for Palestine to anti-semitic violence in Europe and the United States.

A group of hackers called Guardians Of Peace held Sony computers hostage last year before leaking thousands of files to the Internet. The U.S. government has attempted to link the crime to North Korea, citing retaliation for the controversial Sony Pictures film “The Interview.”

Searchable Sony archive shows Hollywood’s Zionist bias

Previous analysis of the leaked documents revealed how Sony executives, including Amy Beth Pascal, chairwoman of the Motion Pictures Group of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2006 until just after the Sony Hack in 2015, made racially insensitive comments about Barack Obama.

WikiLeaks released a searchable archive of leaked internal emails and documents on April 16. Investigation of the archive shows a pattern of support for Israel and its violent Zionist policies both during and after the 2014 assault on Gaza by Sony employees and other important members of the film industry.

Known as Operation Protective Edge, the brutal assault left at least 2,000 civilians dead and some 150,000 homeless. Pascal and almost 200 other Hollywood executives publicly signed a Creative Community For Peacepetition blaming Hamas for the devastation of Israel’s attack on Gaza — an action the Jewish Journal cautioned “should not be confused with courage” in an op-ed titled “Hollywood Zionists are alive and well.”

A leaked email shows that the Creative Community For Peace works in direct opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to end investment in Israel and is especially strong on college campuses.

David Lonner, a TV producer on shows like “Devious Maids,” writers to Pascal on behalf of the CCFP:

“Over the past couple of years, I, along with a group of influential music execs put together a group called Creative Community for Peace which battles the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) which has tried to stop artists from performing in Israel. We have been very successful in making sure artists like Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Paul McCartney and others were not intimidated.”

Ali Abunimah, writing for The Electronic Intifada, revealed April 2014 emails showing Sony executives taunting Ehab Al Shihabi, CEO of Al-Jazeera America, in response to the network’s unbiased reporting on Palestine. Emails from August quote another executive, Steven Bernard, complaining to several other executives, including Pascal, that a report from Iran’s PressTV links Sony cameras to the guidance systems of Israeli rockets.

A deeper analysis of the emails by MintPress shows that Sony corporate culture is deeply aligned with Zionism, and many within Hollywood seek to take a more active role in creating propaganda opposed to Palestinian rights and statehood.

“Now, let’s win the media war

Pascal was on a mailing list for The Israel Project, a non-profit with financial ties to groups involved with other forms of propaganda, including planting pro-Israel stories on social media via paid interns.

In one fundraising email, received in September 2014, The Israel Project tells Pascal, “Israel Won. Now, Let’s Win The Media War.” The email continues:

“Israel won. Hamas lost. The terrorists have been forced to stop their onslaught without achieving anything. But the struggle isn’t over. Now, the battle moves to the global media. … Help the fight against Hamas by donating today.”

Though it’s not known whether Pascal ever donated as a result of this or similar campaigns, the WikiLeaks archive clearly demonstrates Sony and other Hollywood executive’s desire to win the “media war.”

Both Hollywood media sources and Mondoweiss have already covered an August 2014 email thread between Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media and a Hollywood producer (“The Social Network”), and another producer, Ron Rotholz (“Canadian Bacon”), which included dozens of celebrities and Hollywood elite in its “cc:” list — a list that inadvertently exposed a secret Natalie Portman email. Kavanaugh also signed the Creative Community For Peace petition.

During this exchange, Kavanaugh complains:

“The problem is that Moore ‘ law is kicking in. Before the summer 50 percent of college students supported israel, today less the 25 percent do. There are hate crimes against heed happening in almost every major metropolitan city, now including the US.”

The concern raised by Kavanaugh and other participants is that declining opinions of Israel could lead to a second Holocaust. “So what do we do?” he asks.

The same email thread returns in October, when Kavanaugh revives it by sharing a link to a CBS Evening News story about armed guards protecting synagogues in Germany during Yom Kippur. The email has a new subject: “Happy New Year. Too bad Germany is now a no travel zone for jews.”

It’s here that several film industry executives begin planning a more active role in the “media war.”

“The greatest messaging machine

Cassian Elwes, a British producer (“The Dallas Buyers Club”), responds to Kavanaugh’s link:

“How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti semitism in Europe  I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I’m sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there”

“Loach” refers to Ken Loach, a British filmmaker, who called for a boycott of Israeli cultural products at the 2014 Sarajevo Film Festival.

The idea is met with enthusiasm.

“I’m in,” replies Kavanaugh.

“Me too,” says Pascal.

Mark Canton, producer of films like “300,” jumps in to suggest: “Lets organize this.”

Jason Binn, founder of luxury fashion magazine DuJour, offers to promote the film, sight unseen, while Hollywood attorney and occasional actor Glenn Feig offers legal representation.

From this point forward, a new, smaller group begins sharing links to reports of anti-Semitism in Europe and the U.S., but now with an eye toward building evidence for their proposed documentary. In addition to Elwes, Kavanaugh, Pascal, Feig, Binn and Rotholz, the group is joined by TV producer Ben Silverman (“Mob Wives”).

“Ron and I are talking in earnest tomorrow about directors. I don’t know if any if you know or have an opinion about him but I’m an admirer if Errol Morris,” writes Elwes on Oct. 10.

John Battsek, a producer of documentaries for Passion Pictures, is also discussed for possible involvement.

It’s clear that Elwes is aware of the power that Hollywood holds over the opinion of the global public.

“We work in the greatest messaging machine in the world and if we can’t get this message across no one can,”he writes on Oct. 5.

Linking Palestine to anti-Semitism

The group’s message is one that explicitly links anti-Semitism not just to recent, violent attacks on Jews worldwide but to any opposition to the policies of Israel. Because they believe that criticism of Israel could lead to a new Holocaust against Jews, all such criticism has to be vigorously opposed.

In September, Rotholz and Kavanaugh attacked a New York City performance of “The Death Of Klinghoffer,” a modern opera that’s critical of Israeli occupation of Palestine and the ways it leads to unrest and terrorism.

Kavanaugh explicitly links the opera to fears of a renewed Holocaust:

“We can continue to be silent and pretend this isn’t happening because it is not in our country yet. We can ignore the anti semitism akin to pre ww2 Germany … now lining the streets of london, France Germany and around the world. We all may think we’re protected here in the free US. We are not. It had now hit our doorstep and yet we remain silent?”

In reply, Rotholz writes:

“And tommorrow the UK Parliament are voting to recognise the State of Palestine, which would mean the recoginition of the current govt. co-run by Hamas …… Sweden, Poland and Hungary have already done this ……. many lines are being crossed …….. it’s a new reality for us.  The tacit and subtle recognition of Hamas as a legitimate government with legitimate policies and a legitimate charter, by Western governments is a hate crime on a global scale.”

Rotholz links to a video titled “The Jewish Voices on Campus,” in which students on U.S. campuses liken support for Palestine to anti-Semitic attacks.

“The issue is we do experience a lot of anti-semitism, in a lot of different ways,” Henry, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, says in one of the video’s first spoken sentences.

In the next shot, Michael, a Harvard University student, is seen speaking at a microphone. “To be completely honest with you, you know, being against Israel has become the cool thing to do,” he says.

Immediately following this statement is footage of peaceful, pro-Palestine demonstrators chanting on an unidentified college campus, while another student is heard describing a college professor who reportedly called his students “little jihadis.”

Later, in October 2014, the group working on the documentary project shares news of both recognition of Palestine by European governments and swastikas painted on university campuses with equal interest and dismay.

Based on the WikiLeaks archive and the other sources available, MintPress was unable to determine whether the documentary project remains active. If discussions continued after the hack, they are not available to the public. No IMDB listings or other industry news could be found for the proposed film.

While the proposed documentary may never reach theaters, it’s clear that Hollywood, the world’s “greatest messaging machine,” has been engaged in producing propaganda on behalf of Israel.

Natalie Portman - Israeli Shill 2

April 27, 2015

Former U.N. Envoy Says Yemen Political Deal was Close Before Saudi Airstrikes Began

by mkleit

Joe Lauria at newseditor@wsj.com and Margaret Coker atmargaret.coker@wsj.com

WSJ

A Houthi rebel in San’a, Yemen on Sunday walks past a building damaged by the Saudi-led air campaign against the Iranian-backed force. PHOTO: KHALED ABDULLAH/REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS—Yemen’s warring political factions were on the verge of a power-sharing deal when Saudi-led airstrikes began a month ago, derailing the negotiations, the United Nations envoy who mediated the talks said.

Jamal Benomar, who spearheaded the negotiations until he resigned last week, told The Wall Street Journal the Saudi bombing campaign against Iran-linked Houthi rebels has hardened positions on a key point—the composition of an executive body to lead Yemen’s stalled transition. This will complicate new attempts to reach a solution, he said.

“When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis,” said Mr. Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat.

Mr. Benomar is scheduled to address the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors on Monday and report on the suspended political talks.

Most Yemeni political factions agree talks were progressing in the run-up to the Saudi air campaign, but their views vary on Mr. Benomar’s assertion that a deal was close.

This round of U.N.-brokered talks—which began in January and included 12 political and tribal factions—represented a crucial part of a mission to install a unified government in Yemen, the poorest Arab country and home to al Qaeda’s most dangerous offshoot.

The Houthi rebels, who have overrun significant parts of the country in the past eight months, had agreed to remove their militias from the cities they were occupying under the deal that had been taking shape. The U.N. had worked out details of a new government force to replace them, Mr. Benomar said.

In exchange, Western-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has since fled the country, would have been part of an executive body that would run the country temporarily, Mr. Benomar said.

The Houthis had agreed to that reduced role for Mr. Hadi until the Saudi military intervention began on March 26. At that point, the Houthis hardened their position on this key point and opposed any role for Mr. Hadi in government, Mr. Benomar said.

Saudi-backed factions have also hardened their positions, saying the Houthis shouldn’t be granted political power.

Several Yemeni political factions, which were also interested in power-sharing, said the military tensions in the capital led to feelings of unease during negotiations. In their takeover of the capital, the Houthis kidnapped members of rival political parties.

“We did not like the Houthi plan on the table, but we were willing to sign it since it reflected reality. It was either that or no deal,” said Mohammed Abulahoum, president of Yemen’s Justice and Building Party.

The air campaign transformed Yemen into a battlefield for a broader contest over regional power between Shiite Iran and Sunni countries led by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis want to restore Mr. Hadi to the presidency and also support a separate armed political faction named Islah, which is anti-Houthi. Iran supports the Houthis, who abide by a Shiite offshoot of Islam. Many Yemenis accuse both countries of meddling in their affairs.

The Houthis took over the capital San’a and the government and then advanced on the south.As they approached the port city of Aden, where Mr. Hadi had taken refuge, he fled the country and ended up in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s troubles mark an abrupt turnabout from what the international community had once hailed as a success story.

The 2011 Arab Spring protests triggered political change in Yemen, a largely peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy. Groups that felt oppressed or excluded for decades under the former regime, such as the Houthis, were supposed to take part in the new government.

But that transition stalled in 2014. In the two months leading up to the Saudi air campaign, the Houthis and other parties insisted on a reduced role for Mr. Hadi, blaming him for the slow pace of reform.

Mr. Hadi, his Saudi allies and other political factions opposed the terms for the presidency being hammered out by Mr. Benomar.

“A very detailed agreement was being worked out, but there was one important issue on which there was no agreement, and that was what to do with the presidency,” Mr. Benomar said. “We were under no illusion that implementation of this would be easy.”

Two other Arab states—Qatar and Morocco—were willing to host new rounds of Yemen peace talks. But after both countries joined the Saudi-led military coalition, the Houthis rejected those venues, according to Mr. Benomar.

President Hadi has suggested that talks resume in the Saudi capital of Riyadh under Saudi auspices. But that was a non-starter for the Houthis.

A senior diplomat familiar with the negotiations said the Saudis also intervened to prevent a power-sharing deal that would include the Houthis and that would give 30 % of the cabinet and parliament to women.

Saudi Arabia declared last week that it was shifting to a new phase in the Yemen campaign more focused on seeking a political solution. But it left open the option of continued military action, and has kept up airstrikes at a robust pace since the declaration.

Mr. Benomar said he would tell the Security Council on Monday that only U.N.-led talks in a neutral location can have any chance of success.

On Saturday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania was named as the new U.N. envoy for Yemen.

On Sunday, Yemeni officials reported several apparent strikes by the Saudi coalition against Houthi targets amid deadly clashes between Houthi militants and forces aligned with Mr. Hadi.

Strikes hit the capital San’a as well as targets in energy-rich Marib province, officials said. Several southern provinces also saw strikes, including one that hit a convoy of Houthi fighters heading to the southern port city of Aden.

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