In February, Israel accused Iran of sending an armed drone into its territory, which Iran denied, and the Syrian Golan is no part of Israel territory, after which an Israeli plane was shot down while bombing Syria – the first time the country had lost an aircraft in combat in 35 years. Israel has since retaliated with bolder strikes on Iranian positions in Syria which have killed at least 13 Iranian nationals.
It is understandable that observers are alarmed about an Iran-Israel conflict in the aftermath of the violation by Trump of the 2015 Iranian nuclear enrichment treaty. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu worked hard to undermine the treaty in the US, using cut-outs such as allegedly corrupt casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who bought the Republican Party in Congress with massive campaign contributions.
The Israelis struck a Golan village in Syria, baiting Hizbullah and Iran into a response, and then used the response as a pretext for a substantial set of bombing raids on alleged Iranian facilities in Syria. Netanyahu appears to have cleared these strikes with Vladimir Putin, who seems to have okayed them as long as they did not threaten Syrian regime stability or harm Russian military forces in Syria.
Israel’s security cabinet believes Iran “has gotten the Israeli message, and won’t mess with us in the near future,” officials told Hadashot TV news Friday night, a day after Israel launched dozens of strikes on Iranian military sites in Syria in response to an Iranian missile barrage directed at Syria’s Golan Heights occupied by Israel illegally.
Israeli leaders assess that the Israeli action has made it clear to Tehran that it does not possess the operational infrastructure it needs in Syria to successfully contend with IDF capabilities, the report said.
The army has told ministers in the top forum that it thus believes the current round of hostilities to be over, though tensions in the Zionist occupied north will persevere, and border incidents are still possible.
Speaking in Syria’s Golan earlier Friday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman sent a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad, telling him to “throw” Iranian forces out of his country.
Liberman visited the northern city of Katzrin to debrief residents following Israel’s largest air campaign in Syria in more than 40 years, in which it said it bombed over 50 Iranian targets.
The sortie came after Iran fired 20 missiles toward Israel [legally Syria] just after midnight on Thursday morning, the IDF said, forcing illegal Zionist residents of the Syrian north into bomb shelters. Military reported Four of the missiles were knocked down by the Iron Dome air defense system and the rest fell short of Syrian territory, occupied by Israel illegally. But actually what Israel calls an attack was Iran using anti-aircraft system to protect it’s legal defense forces in Syria.
Liberman urged Syria to expel the Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds Force, which Israel lied about the missile attacks early Thursday morning.
“I want to use this opportunity to give Assad a message,” he said. “Throw out the Iranians, throw out Qassem Soleimani and the Quds force. They don’t help you, they only harm you, and their presence makes us to bomb you because we don’t like it..”
Liberman also told Israelis they should not let the threat from Syria deter them from visiting the Syrian Golan. “You can come, you can return to the bed and breakfasts, to tour, to hike, ” he said. “There are truly amazing views and among the most beautiful places [they’ve occupied illegally] , and there is no problem. We are back to normal.”
He said that it was a mistake to think that Thursday morning’s attacks on the Iranian bases had completely solved the problem, but that the army was ready for anything and would continue to do whatever necessary to ensure Israel [occupied Syria] is secure.
The defense minister welcomed Iran’s statement that it did not want an escalation between the two countries and stressed that Israel was also not looking for more confrontation with anyone.
“We did not cross Iran’s borders,” he said. “They came here.” [LOL, where is here? Golan Syria? The Iranians are in Syria legally. Everywhere. The Israelis are not welcome in any part of Syria including the Syrian Golan. Legally they have been ordered to get out]
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Israel would be victorious in its “ongoing campaign” against Iran.
“I have established a basic principle: Whoever strikes us, we are going to strike them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel has long warned it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighboring Syria, where the Islamic Republic backs Assad’s regime in the country’s seven-year civil war.
The Jewish state has said said it also conducts operations in Syria to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to Iran-backed Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed ‘terror’ group [Hezbollah’s function is to protect the sovereignty of Lebanon] which is said to have 140,000 missiles and rockets aimed at Israel from Lebanon. [Israel is perpetually at war with all it’s neighbors.]
“Netanyahu appears to have inoculated himself against looming corruption charges due to the dramatic developments on the security front.”
Distorting the timeline of events is a longtime Israeli strategy to make its enemies look like the aggressors and pass itself off as the victim. Israel’s massive aerial attacks earlier today on Iranians and Syrians — its most extensive cross-border strikes in decades — are carrying out this propaganda strategy to perfection, and even normally skeptical news outlets are being fooled.
Here’s the actual order of events:
* Just one hour after Donald Trump violated the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, Israel launched missiles against targets south of Damascus, Syria, reportedly killing 15 people, at least 8 of them Iranians.
* In response, Iran early this morning apparently struck back with 20 rockets aimed at the Golan Heights, (which is occupied by Israel since 1967 but is still legally part of Syria).
* Hours later, Israeli warplanes attacked dozens of allegedly Iranian targets in Syria.
The mainstream Western media is falling into Israel’s propaganda trap. Most reports are treating the Iranian rockets as the original provocation, and framing Israel’s massive air strikes as the (understandable) response. Unusually, the New York Times coverage was actually moderately less biased than other outlets, such as the Washington Post and the BBC. The Times at least noted — down in paragraph 12 — that Israel had first attacked Syria right after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran deal.
Nor, so far, are the major media connecting Benjamin Netanyahu’s belligerence to his desperate need to distract from the multiple domestic corruption investigations against him and his wife — an angle some of the Israeli press is not too squeamish to note. In the excellent online publication, +972, Dahlia Scheindlin notes today that Netanyahu’s strategy is working; he “appears to have inoculated himself against looming corruption charges due to the dramatic developments on the security front.” She adds that the latest Israeli opinion polls show Netanyahu’s Likud party with its highest level of support in a decade.
Larry Derfner, the American-turned-Israeli who is one of that country’s most experienced reporters, is hammering away at the truth on his Facebook page:
I’ve been arguing all day against Israel’s policy of continually bombing Syria, Lebanon and Iran, pointing out that they’re not bombing us, we’re bombing them, which means we’re not acting in self defense, we’re the aggressors. . . For [people with the opposing opinion] it doesn’t matter how many times Israel bombs the enemy and the enemy doesn’t bomb back — Israel is still bombing in self-defense and the other side is still the aggressor. Why? Because Israel is Israel and Iran/Syria/Lebanon is Iran/Syria/Lebanon. Israel is right because it is good and they are wrong because they are bad. . .
Journalist Jamal Ghosn says this is the latest in a long string of threats, while Israel violates Lebanese sovereignty every day.
This is the title of the “Arab” Zionist station: depicting the Israeli enemy as a victim. “Launching rockets from Syria on the Golan… Israel is responding. ” Israel is answering? Israel has carried out more than 110 raids on Syria in the past years, and Golan is Syrian territory according to International law.
May 2018 Trump exits the Iran deal, an hour later Israel is flying over Lebanon [illegally] and bombing Syria [illegally].
June 9-10, 1967: Israel attacks Syria, occupying the country’s Golan Heights during its Six Day War on Arab territories.
October 5, 2003 (Ain es Saheb airstrike): An Israeli warplane squadron attacks a camp about 24 kilometers northwest of the Syrian capital, Damascus, injuring a civilian guard.
September 6, 2007: Israel attacks Dayr al-Zawr Province in northeastern Syria, striking what it says is a suspected nuclear reactor.
November 11, 2012: Israel fires a “warning shot” in the direction of Syria, alleging that it is responding to a stray mortar round fired from the southwestern Syrian province of Quneitra.
November 17, 2012: Israel opens artillery fire against positions belonging to the Syrian Army, alleging that it was retaliating for attacks on an Israeli patrol near the demilitarized zone. It later stages a direct strike at the source of mortar shells that it says the Syrian Army fired in response to the first Israeli strike.
January 30, 2013: Israeli warplanes strike a convoy that Tel Aviv claims was carrying weapons to Hezbollah.
March 24, 2013: The Israeli military releases a guided missile at a Syrian trench used for deploying machineguns. It alleges it is responding to shots fired at Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights, though affirming that none of its troops had been wounded in the alleged incident there.
May 21, 2013: Israeli forces attack what they say is the source of fire targeting an Israeli vehicle in the Golan Heights.
July 17, 2013: The Israeli military fires at a group of unidentified individuals on Syria’s border after an Israeli patrols comes under purported fire near the demilitarized zone.
August 17, 2013: Israeli forces hit a Syrian Army outpost with a guided missile, alleging that they are responding to Syrian mortar rounds.
March 18, 2014: Israel hits Syrian military targets, including a military headquarters and an Army base, with artillery and aerial fire, describing the attacks as tit-for-tat strikes after a purported explosive goes off near an Israeli military vehicle close to the Syrian border. It says one Israeli soldier was killed in the alleged incident.
March 28, 2014: Israeli forces fire volleys of bullets at what the regime calls the source of Syrian mortar shells fired at Israeli military positions on Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
June 23, 2014: The Israeli regime bombards Syrian Army targets several times, killing at least 10 Syrian soldiers in response to an alleged strike a day earlier on a water truck moving along the border fence.
July 15, 2014: The Israeli military kills 18 Syrians, including eight civilians, in attacks on three locations on Syrian soil. It says it had come under rocket attack in the occupied Golan Heights earlier.
September 23, 2014: Israel downs a Syrian military aircraft that it alleges wandered into the occupied Golan Heights.
August 20, 2015: Israel takes Quneitra and its neighboring province of Rif Dimashq under successive airstrikes, hitting Syrian military outposts and soldiers. The regime claims it had come under rocket fire in the occupied Golan Heights and the Upper Galilee area earlier. It kills five civilians in an attack on a vehicle a day later, claiming it is seeking to take out those behind the rocket attacks.
November 28, 2016: Israel hits an abandoned UN building in the occupied Golan Heights, claiming it is suspected of being used by the militants.
March 16-17, 2017: Israel confirms, for the first time, that it targeted what it called a convoy belonging to the Hezbollah resistance movement near the Syrian ancient city of Palmyra. The attack marked the deepest foray by Israel into Syrian territory yet.
April 23, 2017: Israel’s military strikes positions on the outskirts of Quneitra’s capital city of the same name, killing three forces allied with the Syrian government.
June 24, 2017: Israeli warplanes destroy two Syrian tanks and a machine gun position in response to alleged shells hitting Israel the previous day, killing several Syrian soldiers and civilians.
June 24-26, 2017: Israel kills 13 Syrian soldiers in repeated attacks on Syrian military targets in Quneitra.
October 21, 2017: Israel hits Syrian artillery positions after five mortar rounds come down in an open area in the occupied Golan Heights. Syrian government sources say later that the mortar fire, which caused no damage or casualties, had been aimed at “terrorists linked to Israel.” The terrorists, they say, “had [themselves] launched mortar shells, upon the instructions of the Israeli occupation, on an area of empty land inside the occupied territories to give the Israeli enemy a pretext to carry out its aggression.”
February 10, 2018: The Israeli military conducts strikes against Syrian positions. The Syrian military hits at least one Israeli F-16 warplane during the attacks.
The Israeli military confirms the downing of the F-16.
“I took over at the end of the Vietnam War. I was in control, right? Big general in charge. So I say, ‘Cut off the shipment of weapons.’ So I tell the Pentagon, ‘Cut off the shipment of weapons.’ I got a phone call from Henry Kissinger saying, ‘The weapons are going to continue at the wartime rate.’ -General Truffey
Netanyahu and his favorite Arab sidekick Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are in the driver’s seat. So much for “America First.”
2 May, 2018
Developments with respect to the JCPOA are consistent with those in the other major theater where US policy, led by Israel and Saudi Arabia, clashes with Iran: a stepped-up war in Syria. According to the Israeli site DEBKAfile, during his April 29 visit to Israel – the day before Netanyahu’s presentation – newly minted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the Israeli prime minister and gave him a thumbs-up for military action.
Syria is viewed mainly as a chessboard piece in a larger game: Irania delenda est.. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said “the Iranian regime is in its final days and will soon collapse.”
The Russians, in particular, have painful experience with Washington regarding matters they thought were settled, only to see the western side contemptuously discard any commitments: NATO expansion (after a promise not to expand eastward “by one inch”), US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty (reportedly at the urging of John Bolton, now back in power as Trump’s National Security Adviser), UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1244 regarding Kosovo’s status as an autonomous province of Serbia (until Washington and Brussels insisted on independence), UNSC approval for a limited “humanitarian mission” in Benghazi in 2011 (until NATO opted for an unlimited kill-Ghaddafi mission), or the various agreements on Ukraine (the February 2014 power-sharing deal between President Viktor Yanukovych and the “Maidan” leaders that didn’t even last one day, the Minsk I and II agreements that were never fully implemented), and so forth.
The pieces are falling into place for a repeat of 2003, with the “q” in Iraq changed into an “n” for Iran. A number of Washington big shots, including many with influence with Trump, are supporters of the terrorist Islamic-Marxist – and of course Saudi-funded – “People’s Mujahedin” (Mojahedin-e Khalq; MEK).
Despite no discernible domestic support in Iran, MEK is being groomed as the core of a replacement “democratic” regime to be installed at the appropriate time, a kind of collective equivalent of Ahmed Chalabi who was “parachuted” into Iraq as Washington’s satrap in 2003.
The fate of the Iran nuclear deal and the course of the war in Syria are two sides of the same coin. The questions of whether or not Iran did have a military nuclear program, or lied about it, or is capable of restarting one are today as irrelevant as whether or not Saddam Hussein really had “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs) in 2002. Claims of Iran’s having violated the JCPOA are significant mainly as props for what comes next.
WMDs or no WMDs, the current Washington administration – that includes some of the very same people who served in the George W. Bush administration – has decided on regime change in Iran the way they had earlier decided on regime change in Iraq. If that can be done via political and economic means, they’re happy to go that route. It military force is needed, that’s on the table too.
That the Trump administration has evidently colluded with Israel to influence Americans’ understanding of a major strategic issue fits an established, dispiriting pattern. If the president can convince us that the Iran nuclear deal damages our national interest, which encompasses the security of our allies, very well. But if he can’t, then I’d prefer not to hear it from a foreign leader.
On Monday morning, Middle East watchers awoke to astonishing news from Israel. A headline in The Jerusalem Post read, “Netanyahu to Address Country with ‘Dramatic News About Iran.’” As the day passed, details remained sparse, but it became clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to unveil secret evidence of Iranian cheating on the nuclear deal. The timing of the announcement, right after the new American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, met with Mr. Netanyahu, accentuated its gravity.
Monday afternoon, just a bit behind schedule, Mr. Netanyahu took to the stage next to an enormous screen. The headlines had suggested he would be in his office at a desk or podium to share news of existential importance. Instead, he presented a minor-league TED Talk — and in English, no less. Outside the elite, fewer and fewer people in Israel speak English, so the notion of a country’s leader supposedly addressing his compatriots in a foreign language on a matter of national security added to the weirdness of the performance.
— #JewsAgainstZionism (@Zionocracy) May 1, 2018
The substance of Mr. Netanyahu’s allegedly shattering revelation was correspondingly strange. Of greatest interest was the disclosure of a covert operation that spirited Iran’s nuclear archives out of the country for analysis in Israel. These records, according to Mr. Netanyahu, consisted of 55,000 pages and 183 CDs — an enormous load — which nicely demonstrated what can happen when a resourceful and audacious intelligence community in one country meets staggering carelessness and incompetence in another.
The archive had been stored in what Mr. Netanyahu described as a derelict warehouse in Tehran. The photos he displayed indicated that there did not even appear to be a lock on the door. One wonders how important the Iranians thought these documents were, given the slapdash approach they took to storing them. In any case, the Mossad operation that netted this haul apparently took place in January and President Trump was briefed on it shortly afterward.
It quickly became obvious in Mr. Netanyahu’s presentation, however, that these materials were already widely known and that they covered a weapons program that was shut down in 2003, perhaps because Iran’s leaders reckoned that they were next on the American hit list after Saddam Hussein was toppled, and did not want to get caught with their hand in the nuclear cookie jar. Or perhaps, with Iraq disarmed by the United States, it no longer needed the program.
Dear Gullible & Uninformed Americans,
Lets cut the charade –
You may call me President of the United States
Netanyahu wants the US to start a War with Iran against American interests, to spill American blood & further drain the Treasury (which is already $21tn in debt). pic.twitter.com/GE1xgQvalA
— Ian56 (@Ian56789) May 1, 2018
But this development has been explored exhaustively already in a 2007 United States National Intelligence Estimate that began with this conclusion: “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.”
The Iranian archive that Mr. Netanyahu revealed did show clearly that even though the program had been halted, Iran looked forward to restarting it in the future. This is scarcely surprising. After the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when Iran’s cities bombarded by Iraqi missiles and its troops attacked with chemical weapons, Iranian leaders probably figured that having a nuclear capacity was a good idea. It probably looked even better when they saw the ease with which the United States defeated Hussein, who possessed one of the region’s largest militaries, twice in 12 years.
— Press TV (@PressTV) May 1, 2018
When the Iranians finally resumed their program, presumably feeling more confident as the George W. Bush administration’s effort to domesticate Iraq ran aground, they went at it with gusto. From 2006 to 2013 they installed 20,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at various locations, including an underground complex called Fordow dug secretly into the base of a mountain and intended to be bombproof. Given that Israel had destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syria’s in 2007 in air raids, both the choice of location and secrecy surrounding it would have made sense from an Iranian perspective. This too is old news.
It is also widely understood, not least by the American government, that Iran — having made the decision in 2015 to put off its nuclear program for 10 years for a shot at economic development — is in compliance with the nuclear agreement. And it is in compliance, then however much its leaders might lust in their hearts for nuclear weapons, the fact remains that they are not making them.
So why did Mr. Netanyahu do his dog and pony show? Because the United States has threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal, claiming it was a “political agreement” whose validity expired along with the Obama administration that negotiated it. The diplomatic novelty of this approach is matched only by a related Trump doctrine that Iran is in violation of the “spirit” of the agreement, even if it is abiding by the letter of the law.
A withdrawal decision, one way or another, is to be announced on May 12. Since the members of Congress will have a say on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran, Mr. Netanyahu’s pitch must surely have been directed to them.
Americans might distrust the C.I.A. and wince when recalling its verdict that Hussein’s nuclear, chemical and biological capacity was a “slam dunk,” but even Democrats might be seduced by Mossad’s reputation and susceptible to Mr. Netanyahu’s mishmash of stale reporting, truisms and outright hucksterism, especially given the credibility the current Israeli government enjoys in key constituencies. In 2015, Mr. Netanyahu deployed this stratagem before a joint session of Congress; this time, he deployed it from an auditorium in Israel’s Ministry of Defense.
That the Trump administration has evidently colluded with Israel to influence Americans’ understanding of a major strategic issue fits an established, dispiriting pattern. If the president can convince us that the Iran nuclear deal damages our national interest, which encompasses the security of our allies, very well. But if he can’t, then I’d prefer not to hear it from a foreign leader.
Base will be operated by DEA, SOUTHCOM, and U.S. Homeland Security. Who knew that Argentina was part of the U.S. homeland. Shalom and Sieg Heil !
What do Israeli imperialism in the Middle East, Zionist lobby groups and Wall Street vulture capitalism in Argentina have in common? They are all part of a vast conspiracy to demonize Iran, enrich plutocratic poobahs, bring down the Argentine government and gain control of the South American country’s land and natural resources. The truth was revealed on April 18 by Jorge Elbaum in Pagina 12, a Buenos Aires newspaper. Zionist Intrigue in Argentina Exposed
- New Zionist Argentine president pledges to cancel pact with Iran: Zio-Watch, November 23, 2015
- Israel’s False Flags over Argentina
Political commentator James Petras published an English account in late April on his website but AMERICAN FREE PRESS is the lone national newspaper reporting it. The Zionist-controlled mainstream media have suppressed the story.
Elbaum, one of Argentina’s leading Jews, is the former executive director of the Delegation for Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA). Considering himself Argentinian first, he publicized the Zionist plot against his country following the murder of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was also Jewish. The original article in Spanish appeared as “Vultures, Nisman, DAIA: The Money Route.”
Argentina is allowing the U.S. to build a new military base at its northern border with Brazil and Paraguay. Officials of the South American country also announced that it will work with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the triple border “to analyze where drugs are coming from.”
Argentina’s Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich announced in Washington that the Mauricio Macri administration is going to allow the U.S. to build a military base in Posadas, Misiones, bordering Brazil and Paraguay.
Bullrich says her government is creating “an analysis center with Paraguay and Brasil (and the U.S.) to figure out where, how and with whom narco traffickers operate” at the triple border region.
This “task force,” as its being called, will operate in conjunction with the DEA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Southern Command, which watches over U.S. operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This will be the second task force against drug trafficking in Argentina. The first one was installed in Salta province located near the borders with Bolivia and Chile during the Barack Obama administration.
Bullrich told the press that the DEA initially wanted Argentine officials to send drug samples to the U.S. so the agency could analyze them for their origin. She said this would be against Argentine law and that officials within the country would analyze the drugs.
The U.S. and Argentine functionaries also discussed the suspected presence of Lebanese Hezbollah, an organization the U.S. government considers a terrorist group, at the border shared by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
“It’s important for our government to collaborate (with the U.S.) and that they collaborate with us. We’re going to work together at the triple border regarding terrorism. We think we’ll have DEA and other agencies there to better understand what’s happening in the region,” Bullrich assured the press.
The minister of security also met with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials in Washington to discuss their training of Argentine Federal Police.
After leaving Washington Bullrich flew to Miami to meet with the chief of U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd and the Defense Minister of Argentina, Oscar Aguad.
Admiral Tidd was recently in Colombia meeting with its military forces.
Human rights organizations are protesting the increased U.S. military presence in Latin American and the Caribbean.
The former Argentine ambassador to Venezuela and the United Kingdom, Alicia Castro, tweeted of Bullrich’s proposed policies, “Do you want to see how the U.S. … ‘combats terrorism’? Look at the Middle East devastated. And ‘combating narcotrafficking’? (sic) Look at the cartels and assassinations in Colombia y Mexico, the places where the DEA intervenes.”
An attempt to conduct yet another airstrike against targets in Syria ended badly for the Israeli military, as several of its warplanes were reportedly shot down by local air defense units.
Israel’s breech of Syria’s sovereignty is labeled ‘self-defense’: The Syrian anti-air missiles which hit an Israeli F-16 early Saturday, Feb. 10, are part of a system operated with and commanded by the Russians from their Kheimim air base. The F-16 was shot down during an Israeli air strike against the Iranian facility at the T-4 air base near Palmyra, which launched a UAV into Israeli airspace that morning. The ongoing clash has therefore gone way beyond an Israeli confrontation with Syria and Iran and marks a serious deterioration in the security situation on Israel’s northern border. debka.com (Israel intellegence)
Iran has rejected as “ridiculous” claims by the Israeli regime that it had intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria, stressing the Islamic Republic’s military advisory presence in the Arab country is at the request of Syria’s “constitutional and legitimate” government.
IDF Confirms that it’s plane was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire while it was over Israeli airspace, forcing pilots to eject.
— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) February 10, 2018
Pentagon says US attack in Syria was “self-defense” Gee, sterio!
The people of South Lebanon quickly responded by posting this sign saying: “Your jets have been downed”. haha.
Feb 10, 2018
“Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone … are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate and constitutional government,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.
“The government and army of Syria as an independent country have a legitimate right to defend [the country’s] territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression,” he added.
The Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the “illegitimate” Israeli regime cannot cover up its atrocities and crimes against Muslim nations in the region by playing a blame game and spreading lies.
Resilient Syrians will not accept Israeli aggression: Velayati
Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs said the resilient Syrian people will never tolerate the Israeli regime’s aggression.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Ali Akbar Velayati added that the Syrian government and nation have proved that they would sacrifice themselves to “safeguard their country’s territorial integrity, security and independence.”
He noted that the Syrian people have managed to achieve victory in an “international war”, in which more than 80 countries participated to dispatch terrorists to the Arab country.
The Syrian military on Saturday hit at least one intruding Israeli F-16 warplane that attacked positions inside the Syrian territory, sending it down in flames and smoke.
Syria’s state TV cited a military official as saying that Syrian aerial defense had responded to Israeli “aggression” against an army base in the center of the Arab country.
Later in the day, the Israeli military claimed that it had attacked positions inside the Syrian territory after it intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria.
A pro-Syrian military alliance said that the Israeli claim about a drone intrusion was bogus.
The alliance said in a statement that Israel had targeted a drone base in Syria whose unmanned aircraft were used against the Daesh terrorist group.
It also pledged a “severe and serious” response to the Israeli act of “terrorism.”
A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Saturday that Iran would confirm no report coming out of Israel “because the Israelis are liars.”
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s second-in-command, told Tasnim news agency that Iran would only confirm a drone interception if Syria made that confirmation.
He also said that Iran has no military presence in Syria and that the Syrian Army was adequately capable of defending the Syrian territory.
Lebanon condemns Israel’s aggression against Syria
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry, in a statement, denounced Israel’s aggression against Syria, saying Beirut supports Damascus’ “legitimate right” to defend itself and respond to Israel’s “aggression.”
The statement added that such “aggressive policy” threatens stability in
the region and urged concerned countries to “rein in” Israel.
The Lebanese Defense Ministry also denounced the use of Lebanon’s air space for any Israeli strike on Syria.
Separately, Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed the latest Israeli aggression against Syria with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
The ease with which American foreign policy “experts” can suddenly reinvent themselves, switching focus as the DC mood changes, exposes the Washington think tank racket as a giant sham designed to manipulate opinion.
When protests broke out in Iran at the end of 2017, Washington think tanks were ecstatic. They saw an opportunity to push for regime change and they went for it. Almost overnight, all of the self-proclaimed “Syria experts” who spent the last several years arguing for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad shifted their focus to Tehran.
The Hudson Institute, a conservative pro-war Washington outfit funded by major corporations and oil companies, is a case in point. On January 16, Hudson hosted a panel of so-called experts, titled “Iran Protests: Consequences for the Region and Opportunities for the Trump Administration.” The panel featured a who’s who of warmongers discussing how to weaken yet another Middle Eastern state.
The most notorious among them was regime change aficionado Charles Lister, a “senior fellow” (read lobbyist) at the Middle East Institute, an influential DC think tank that receives tens of millions of dollars from the United Arab Emirates, a country whose leadership is committed to regime change in Iran. Before he was an “Iran expert,” Lister rose to prominence agitating for regime change in Syria. He is perhaps best known for cheerleading Salafi jihadist Syrian rebel groups like Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki, which Lister insisted were moderate despite their explicitly stated intention to wipe out minorities in Syria and their open alliance with Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate. Anyone who dared to criticize such groups or highlight their genocidal agendas quickly became targets of Lister over the years – he would brand them dictator lovers and Assadists.
It’s unclear whether Lister speaks any Arabic or whether he’s ever spent any significant amount of time in Syria or the Middle East more generally. But he says what the foreign policy establishment wants to hear, and for that, he is quoted extensively in the mainstream press on everything from Syria to Iran to even Egypt, with the New Yorker’s Robin Wright labelling him “an expert on Jihadism.”
During the Hudson panel, Lister argued against the US participating in locally negotiated ceasefires in Syria that have played a major role in de-escalating the violence that tore apart the country. Ceasefires benefit Hezbollah and Iran, warned Lister, who would apparently rather the bloodshed continue if it helps the US and its jihadist proxies. Lister also painted Israel as the ultimate victim of Iran in Syria and suggested the CIA assassinate Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani heads Iran’s elite Quds Force, which conducts operations outside of Iran in both Iraq and Syria. He has been credited with helping to turn the tide in both countries against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) which has led to American fears that he threatens US hegemony in the region.
Hudson’s in-house counterterrorism expert Michael Pregent, who previously accused Iran of refusing to fight IS while arguing that the sometimes IS-allied Free Syrian Army was the only force capable of defeating the terrorist group, also agitated for the assassination of Soleimani, but he called for Israel to do the dirty work rather than the CIA.
Omri Ceren from the right-wing Likud-aligned Israel Project was also on the panel. Echoing Israeli government talking points, he called for the US to spread a “freedom agenda” in Iran – which is code for regime change.
Another speaker was Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank that also receives funding from the UAE. Katulis employed empty slogans about supporting “freedom and justice” in Iran. Almost everything he said was forgettable. The UAE funding might explain why these experts continually blasted Iran for supposedly destabilizing Yemen without mentioning a word about the punishing Saudi-imposed siege which has led to famine and a cholera outbreak of epic proportions that kills a Yemeni child every 10 minutes.
The Hudson panel perfectly encapsulates how these establishment experts have no actual expertise, just fancy titles and shady funding that gives them a veneer of scholarly seriousness. They shift from one country to the next and are considered authoritative without any real credentials other than being white men who provide the intellectual backbone to Washington’s permanent war agenda, which all the panelists have a history of supporting. The fact that their policy prescriptions have ended in disaster for the people of the region doesn’t slow them down.
The war in Iraq killed over a million people and catapulted the region into violent sectarian warfare from which it has yet to recover. The Western intervention in Libya threw that country into chaos, transforming what was once the richest nation in Africa, with the highest literacy rates, into an ungovernable gang-run state home to IS slave markets. And then there’s Syria, where the US poured billions into funding Al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups to overthrow the government, creating the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.
The men who made up the Hudson panel supported all of these disastrous wars, which goes to show that being wrong gets you places in Washington. In fact, being wrong seems to be a prerequisite for promotion in Beltway circles.
No one epitomizes this dynamic more than Peter Bergen, a national security analyst at CNN. Two decades ago Bergen produced a rare interview with Osama bin Laden and he’s been capitalizing on it for 20 years. Since then he has fallen up to expert status on any and all issues pertaining to national security, counterterrorism and the Middle East, no matter how wrong he is. He supported the conflicts in Iraq and Libya. And here he is debating an actual expert, journalist Nir Rosen, and like always, Bergen argues for more war.
Another example is Ken Pollack from the Brookings Institute. He pushed hard for the war in Iraq and US interference in Libya and Syria. Despite the disastrous consequences of these policies, he is still described as an “expert” and recently penned a report for the Atlantic Council on countering Iran.
Destabilizing Iran has long been a policy goal of the US and its Israeli and Saudi allies. But the reality is that Iran is the most stable country in the Middle East and it played a crucial role in protecting the region from IS and Al-Qaeda. Whatever one thinks of the government in Iran, and there are of course many legitimate critiques as is true of any government, Iran’s only crime is that it acts independently of American interests and for that, it must be strong-armed into submission. So, let’s hope the experts don’t have their way.
The same shah whom Washington was now trying to shun had been lifted to power in a 1953 coup engineered by the CIA and the British, displacing the elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had had the temerity to nationalise the Iranian oil industry. om 1941 to 1979, Iran was ruled by King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah.
In 1953, the Shah had to flee Iran after a Western-backed coup to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh failed. A second coup succeeded in overthrowing Mosaddegh, who wanted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry to Britain’s chagrin, and the Shah returned to the country.
Like Ataturk in Turkey, Reza Shah undertook a series of reforms aimed at turning Iran into a modern westernized nation.
Like Ataturk, Reza Shah attempted to make religious observation subservient to the state.
Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons
Leading the charge for westernization was the Iranian royal family. Pictured below is Empress Soraya.
The Iranian royal family reciprocated and widely toured the world’s capitals. Here, the Shah and his wife met with Winston Churchill in London.
In 1967, the Shah took the old Persian title “Shahanshah,” or King of Kings, at a coronation ceremony in Tehran.
AP Photo/Harry Koundakjian
Despite Iran’s views of the past, the government continued to value education and child development.
High oil prices and relative stability in the Middle East contributed to a growing business class in major Iranian cities.
AP Photo/Horst Faas
By 1975, Reza Shah abolished Iran’s multiparty system and concentrated ever-greater amounts of power in his own hands under the government-permitted Rastakhiz (Resurrection) party.
By January 16, 1979, Reza Shah fled Iran during the Iranian Revolution. The revolution started off as a popular movement fueled by outrage against government extravagance, corruption, brutality, and the suppression of individual rights, before being taken over by Ayatollah Khomeini.