Israel believes Iran ‘got the message, won’t mess with us again soon’

Netanyahu, idiot: “We did not cross Iran’s borders,” he said. “They came here.” Looks like WW3 isn’t here yet.

The United States considers the Golan Heights to be Syrian territory held under Israeli occupation subject to negotiation and Israeli withdrawal. The United States considers the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights to be a violation of international law, both the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force and United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

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.

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Golan Heights is very important because Israel steals it’s water, land and all resources. Between 80,000 and 130,000 Syrians were driven from the heights during the Zionist Six-Day War of expansion including 17,000 Palestinians refugees from the 1948 Zionist invasion.

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Israel military occupation of the Syrian Golan

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.]

Israel distorts timeline of events to play victim in the dangerous escalation with Iran and Syria

“Netanyahu appears to have inoculated himself against looming corruption charges due to the dramatic developments on the security front.”

 

May 10, 2018

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. . .

mondoweiss.net

A history of Israeli military aggression against Syria

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.

Syria shoots down Israeli F-16 jet, pilots eject The Syrian military targets at least one Israeli F-16 warplane that attacked Syrian territory, hitting it and sending it down in flames and smoke.

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.

US stops funding Al Qaeda’s rescue team, ‘White Helmets’

Well, well. The ‘White Helmets’ aren’t looking quite so pristine as they flee with terrorists from liberated areas in Syria.

The Duran has reported extensively on the real identity of The White Helmets, and we would suggest George Clooney seriously examine the overwhelming amount of evidence that exposes The White Helmets as the Al Qaeda-ISIS terrorists fakes that they are.

The “White Helmets” stole the name Syria Civil Defense from the real Syrian organization. They appropriated the name “White Helmets” from the Argentinian rescue organization Cascos Blancos/White Helmets. They are not independent; they are funded by governments. They are not apolitical; they actively campaign for a No Fly Zone. They do not work across Syria; they ONLY work in areas controlled by the armed opposition, mostly Nusa/Al Qaeda. They are not unarmed; they sometimes do carry weapons and they also celebrate terrorist victories. They assist in terrorist executions.

cbsnews.com May 3, 2018

Less than two months ago the State Department hosted members of the White Helmets at Foggy Bottom. At the time, the humanitarian group was showered with praise for saving lives in Syria.

“Our meetings in March were very positive. There were even remarks from senior officials about long-term commitments even into 2020. There were no suggestions whatsoever about stopping support,” Raed Saleh, the group’s leader, told CBS News.

Now they are not getting any U.S funding as the State Department says the support is “under active review.” The U.S had accounted for about a third of the group’s overall funding.

“This is a very worrisome development,” said an official from the White Helmets. “Ultimately, this will negatively impact the humanitarian workers ability to save lives.”

White Helmets founder Le Mesurier, who graduated from Britain’s elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, is said to be an ‘ex’ British military intelligence officer involved in a number of other NATO ‘humanitarian intervention’ theatres of war, including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, as well as postings in Lebanon and Palestine. He also boasts a series of high-profile posts at the UN, EU, and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Not to mention his connections back to the infamous Blackwater (Academi).

The White Helmets, formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense, are a group of 3,000 volunteer rescuers that have saved thousands of lives since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. A makeshift 911, they have run into the collapsing buildings to pull children, men and women out of danger’s way. They say they have saved more than 70,000 lives

Having not received U.S. funding in recent weeks, White Helmets are questioning what this means for the future. They have received no formal declaration from the U.S. government that the monetary assistance has come to a full halt, but the group’s people on the ground in Syria report that their funds have been cut off.

Assad: Chemical Attack Was 100% Fabricated, “al-Qaeda Shaved Their Beards And Put On White Helmets”

The group has an “emergency plan” if the funding is halted for one or two months — but they are worried about the long-term freeze.

“If this is a long-term or permanent halt, it would have a serious impact on our ability to provide the same intensity and quality of services that we currently provide to civilians,” said Saleh.

An internal State Department document said that its Near East Bureau needed confirmation from the administration to green light funding for the White Helmets in Syria by April 15th or the department would initiate “shut-down procedures on a rolling basis.” That document also said that the department needed to be notified by April 6th that it could continue programs that focus on removing land mines, restoring essential services and providing food to moderate forces and their families or those programs would also have to be shut down.

However, U.S. government officials are not talking on the record about the date of the actual funding cutoff for each program, which is leading to confusion.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has previously called the White Helmets “selfless men” and asked journalists to watch a documentary about their work. But the State Department did not respond to a CBS News inquiry earlier this week about which programs are still receiving funding, and the date for when certain programs will lose their funding. 

President Trump put a freeze on the $200 million in U.S. funding for recovery efforts in Syria in late March. This freeze means that U.S. support for the White Helmets is not the only project in jeopardy. There are also many other stabilization efforts that are backed by the U.S. — including the clearing of explosive devices, bringing back electricity, rebuilding schools, and getting water running — that may end soon.

U.S. officials are working to see if there is a way to adjust existing funding to cover the costs for these projects. They are also trying to get other countries, such as Germany, to cover some of the costs. Earlier this year, at the Brussels for the donor conference for Syria, German Foreign Minister Maas pledged more than $1.1 billion to help people in need in Syria. But as of now, Germany has not officially committed to stepping in beyond this initial commitment.

Observers are also increasingly concerned about Syria’s young people, who are more prone to radicalization if they don’t get the security and support that they need. As a result of the fighting in the country, thousands of schools have been destroyed. The handful of schools that opened their doors again have received simple necessities like chairs, tables and blackboards from the U.S. — but in most schools children are still sitting on the ground, and teachers are extremely hard to come by.

“The amount of U.S. support is very limited but it is better than nothing, so if that will stop, that will be a disaster. After ISIS they started to open the schools and if money stops, that will be done,” said a senior member of the Deir ez-Zor city council. “Without education the people only have ISIS ideas.”

This week, the State Department said it would continue to defend its partners on the ground in Syria when they announced the final operations to liberate ISIS strongholds in the country.

“The fighting will be difficult, but we and our partners will prevail. We will defend United States, Coalition, and partner forces if attacked. The days of ISIS controlling territory and terrorizing the people of Syria are coming to an end,” wrote State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert. She did not write anything about the stabilization projects.

Meanwhile, much of Syria that has been cleared of ISIS control — such as Raqqa, its self-proclaimed capital — is still in ruins and almost impossible to live in.

“Raqqa is like a sick person in an emergency room. So the money or treatment should come faster than the routine way. He is not a normal sick person,” Abdullah al-Arian, a lawyer in Raqqa advising the governing Civil Council.

“The passion and power the U.S. put in to liberate Raqqa does not at all equal the passion to rebuild Raqqa. It is very much different, much less, much more slow,” says al-Arian. “They give us very beautiful words and promises but not much else.”

The Regime Changers: “A Reckoning Will Come in Syria”

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“The United States can help the world remember who is the author of this dangerous impasse: “Syria, Iran, and Russia, who have serially transgressed the laws of war, lied in international forums, and mocked countless agreements, including the shambolic deal that was supposed to rid Syria of chemical weapons in 2013.”

A former correspondent for the New York Times provides targets for Western military to bomb in Syria: can you imagine a Western writer presenting a list of Israeli targets for the West to bomb in the wake of Israeli massacres?

 “command and control, delivery mechanisms including aircraft and bases, storage, research, and the like.“ This is in a magazine edited by a “former” Israeli occupation soldier and funded by a billionaire.

theatlantic.com

This weekend’s strikes have established a bar and set a perilous, but unavoidable, process in motion. What counts is what comes next.

In order to have any real impact on chemical-weapons use, the American response needs to be sustained.
It is undoubtedly a good thing that a small international coalition of the willing responded to Syria’s latest chemical outrage with a limited military strike. But it marks only the first step in an effective strategy to stop Syria’s use of chemical weapons—and more importantly, to hold Russia accountable for its promise to oversee a chemical weapons-free Syria.

Syria and Russia have displayed characteristic bluster and dishonesty, warning of “consequences” for a crisis that the Syrians themselves provoked by apparently violating, once again, their 2013 agreement not to use chemical weapons. Any confrontation with destabilizing bullies is dangerous, and there is no predicting whether and how they’ll respond.

Even a limited and justified effort to contain Syria and its allies carries a risk of escalation. The Trump administration, with its capricious chief executive and broken policy-making process, is ill equipped to forge the sort of complex strategy needed to manage Russia, Syria, Iran, and a Middle East in conflict. Nor has it so far displayed much interest in building the international cooperation necessary to implement such a strategy—although it was a pleasant development that the United States was joined this time by France and the U.K. rather than proceeding unilaterally. However, the considerable drawbacks of the Trump administration don’t give the West a pass when it comes to Syrian use of chemical weapons, and Russia’s belligerent expansionism. Both need to be checked and contained, even considering the additional risks Trump creates.

In order to have any real impact on chemical weapons use, the response needs to be sustained. Every time the regime uses chemical weapons, there needs to be a retaliation, which specifically targets the regime’s chemical-weapons capacity—command and control, delivery mechanisms including aircraft and bases, storage, research, and the like. A political strategy is indispensable as well. Since Russia is the guarantor of the failed 2013 chemical weapons agreement, the West needs to keep Russia on the hook for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. The Pentagon chief suggested that these strikes were a one-off, and only time will tell which of Trump’s preferences prevail.

Deft diplomacy will also be necessary to reduce the risks of wider war. It doesn’t help that Trump is undermining the nuclear deal with Iran at the same time as he is ratcheting up the stakes in Syria. One key determinant now is how much Russia is willing to add action to match its relentless campaign of lies and bluster about Syria and chemical weapons. Another is whether Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah are willing to sit on their hands after these strikes. In the past, all three have been willing to refrain from action despite angry promises.

* * *

The problem is the context. Any American action in the Middle East ought to be embedded in a comprehensive, engaged strategy—which is not likely to be forthcoming. Today, we can be sure that America’s significant moves—from proposals to withdraw military assets fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, to promises to degrade the capabilities of Bashar al-Assad or limit the reach of Hezbollah or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—will land à la carte, increasing the danger of miscalculation and violent, destabilizing escalation.

At stake is how to manage disorder in the Middle East, and more important still, where to draw the line with a resurgent Russia.

Containing rival powers is an art, not a science. Military planners talk about the “escalation ladder” as if it were a chemical equation, but in reality escalation hinges on unpredictable questions of politics, interests, psychology, hard power, and willingness to deploy it.

Obama’s strategy could most simply be understood as a desire to contain regional fires with minimal involvement, while keeping an equal distance from regional antagonists, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, and difficult regional allies including Turkey and Israel. The U.S. got involved in the fight against ISIS, by this logic, with minimal resources and local alliances that it knew couldn’t outlive the immediate counter-terrorism operation.

In the Syrian context, Obama early on made clear that the United States commitment to principles of democracy and human rights would remain primarily rhetorical. Today, the United States has discarded even many of the rhetorical trappings of American exceptionalism. Trump has made clear that he doesn’t apply a moral calculus to superpower behavior. But he’s also expressed personal outrage about Syria’s use of chemical weapons—and he visibly takes umbrage at being personally embarrassed or humiliated.

Whether one thinks it’s wise or fully baked, President Trump also has a Middle East strategy. He wants to reduce America’s footprint, and disown any responsibility for the region’s wars, as if America played no role in starting them and suffers no strategic consequence from their trajectory. He wants to outsource regional security management to regional allies. Most of this is continuous with Obama’s approach, except when it comes to regional alliances; Obama attempted a “pox on both your houses” balance among all of America’s difficult allies. In his biggest departure from his predecessor, Trump has tilted fully to the Saudi Arabian side of the regional dispute, and has erased what little daylight separated American and Israeli priorities in the Middle East.

This is the bedrock of Trump’s moves in the region—moves that are all the more consequential because they are overtly about confronting, or trying to check, Iran and Russia.

* * *

The United States has a critical national interest in reestablishing the chemical weapons taboo. It also has countless other equities in the Middle East that require sustained attention and investment, of diplomatic, economic, and military resources. A short list of the most urgent priorities includes preventing the resurgence of ISIS or its successors; supporting governance in Iraq; limiting the reach and power of militias supported by Iran; and reversing the destabilizing human and international strategic toll of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. A major regional war will only make things worse.

Given the stated priorities of the president, the most realistic possibility is an incomplete, and possibly destabilizing policy of confrontation, containment, and reestablishment of international norms.

But a reckoning can’t be deferred forever. Iran has been surging further and further afield in the Middle East, to great effect. Russia has been testing the West’s limits mercilessly since the invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. At some point, the United States and its allies will stand up to this expansionist behavior, although there’s wide latitude about where to set limits.

When the West, or some subset of NATO, does confront Russian ambitions, there’s no pat set of rules to keep us safe. Such confrontations are inevitable, and dangerous, and unpredictable. The best we can do is enter into them carefully, with as many strong allies as possible, and clearly stated, limited expectations about what we intend to accomplish.

The United States and its allies also need to more carefully distinguish things they dislike (Iranian influence in Iraq) from things they won’t tolerate (Hezbollah and Iran building permanent military infrastructure in the Golan). Rhetoric in the region often conflates the two. Israeli officials, for instance, talk about “intolerable” developments in Syria, but in practice their security policy often allows for a great deal of ambiguity about just what level of military threat they’re willing to tolerate along their frontiers. Iran, Hezbollah, and now Russia have made grandiose claims about retaliating if the United States takes action, but after past strikes by both the United States and Israel, the actual response has been quite restrained.

The United States and its allies need to set limited, achievable goals. The U.S. might for instance stand firm against the use of chemical weapons, or against new military campaigns against sovereign states, but it can’t very well seek to turn back the clock to a Syria free of Russian and Iranian influence.

In addition, the United States can help the world remember who is the author of this dangerous impasse: Syria, Iran, and Russia, who have serially transgressed the laws of war, lied in international forums, and mocked countless agreements, including the shambolic deal that was supposed to rid Syria of chemical weapons in 2013. This won’t justify American actions or give them political cover, but it is a key reason why we’re in such a difficult position in the first place. Despite American restraint, or even American willingness to tolerate war crimes by Syria and its allies, Syria and its allies have insisted on pushing past every limit and exhausting the world’s willingness to turn a blind eye toward abuses so long as those abuses stay within national boundaries.

Finally, to have any impact at all the United States will need to pay consistent and sustained attention. Russia, Syria, and Iran have gotten away with murder, literally, and have found themselves able to run circles around Western governments that still care to some extent about international norms and institutions. They are dangerous, but they are far weaker than their words would suggest. The West cannot deter every action it does not like, yet it can draw boundaries and impose a cost—but it must do so consistently.

This weekend’s strikes have established a bar and set a perilous, but unavoidable, process in motion. What counts is what comes next.

Trump Adviser Bolton Coordinated U.S.-led Strike in Syria With Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad has already scored another victory in the battle for the hearts and minds of his own people and the support of the entire Arab world.- Haaretz

The airstrikes launched just hours before the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to deploy to Douma to investigate reports of a chemical attack.

John Bolton, Trump’s Israel First NeoCon Adviser, “Coordinated” U.S. Strike on Syria with Israel … National Security Adviser who is a staunch Israel First, neoconservative war monger, “coordinated” the U.S.led bombing campaign against Syrian targets with Israel, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

USA pulling out of Syria is a nightmare for the regime changers in Jerusalem.

Even before the strike, the expectation among Israeli army officials was that an American strike on Syria would not prompt military retaliation against Israel. The major concern has been that the Russian and Iranian response would be a change in their military approach in the region, making it more difficult for Israel to operate relatively freely in the airspace over Lebanon and Syria.

Iran still the main target:

While many of his ideological fellow travelers have argued that Assad is the primary problem causing Syria’s many conflicts, Bolton instead posited that the dictator of Damascus was at best a tertiary concern, ranking him “a distant third” behind Iran and ISIS in terms threats to the region. “If you want to know where to go to at least resolve the bulk of the problems we face,” he told Fox’s Martha MacCallum, “it’s not getting rid of Assad in Syria. It’s getting rid of the ayatollahs in Tehran.”

Leader of #Syria’s Christians condemns #Trump #SyriaStrikes

Why Israel needs to prepare America for the upcoming conflict in Syria

In case you want to know who pushes your country into a war in Syria…

Top Russian General Predict Douma Provocation a Month in Advance

jpost.com

For the next 10 days Israel will be simulating war conditions with Hezbollah, in its largest military exercise in over 20 years. Although the exercise is based upon a Lebanese battlefield, the Syrian frontier is equally problematic, with Hezbollah and Iran embedded within Syrian regime positions.

After listening and speaking to some of Israel’s most trusted analysts on security and intelligence, visiting the Lebanese and Syrian borders, and speaking with active and reserve officers in the field, I am confident that Israel is deadly serious about challenging a permanent Iranian presence in Syria, Hezbollah aggression, and Iranian missile bases in Russian-protected areas.

Israel’s tacit agreement with Russia to avoid misunderstandings over Israeli military actions in Syria targeting weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah is now in jeopardy, in part because the Syrian situation has evolved in favor of Assad, Russia and most significantly Iran. Consideration for Israel’s security challenges doesn’t hold much weight anymore for the Russians.

Most significantly, the Trump administration has agreed to leave it to Russia to enforce a Syrian de-escalation agreement, which legitimizes a permanent Iranian presence in Syria.

According to the London-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, the United States acquiesced to an Iranian presence less than10 kilometers from the Israeli border in the Golan. This is a game changer. This will allow Iran and Hezbollah to strike Israel from Syria, while avoiding Israeli retaliation in Lebanon.

Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of research in the IDF Military Intelligence division and director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry wrote, “Iran almost assuredly wants to turn Syria into an Iranian military base… so that instead of threatening Israel from 1,300 kilometers away, the Iranian forces could sit on Israel’s doorstep. This would bring about a dramatic change in the nature of the threat Israel is facing.”

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He also believes that Iran may also be considering moving nuclear development into the unmonitored Syrian frontier to avoid IAEA detection of violations in Iran.

Ten years ago Israel successfully destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility, so it is no stretch of the imagination to believe Israel would act again if its intelligence detected Iranian nuclear development in Syria.

An Israeli tipping point may have been reached, forcing Israel to either be resigned to a permanent Iranian presence in Syria or significantly increase its operations in Syria, potentially escalating into a wider regional war.

According to Yediot Aharonot, “Russia has reportedly stationed its advanced S-400 anti-missile defense system near an Iranian arms factory in Syria, which allegedly manufactures long-range guided missiles for Hezbollah.”

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pravda reported that Putin’s response to Netanyahu’s complaints was “Iran is Russia’s strategic ally in the Middle East.”

So will Russia use its S-400 anti-aircraft system against an IAF attack on its Shi’ite allies? A successful Israeli attack would require Israel to knock out any S-400 system defending the target.

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How would the Russians respond to the deaths of Russian soldiers manning the S-400? Can anyone predict how Trump and co. would respond to an Israeli attack killing Russian soldiers? A regional conflict now becomes a possibility.

As former head of the National Security Council Yaakov Amidror said, “At the end of the day it is our responsibility, not the responsibility of the Americans, or the Russians, to guarantee ourselves, and we will take all the measures that are needed for that.”

There is no doubt the Iranians will be testing Israel very soon, feeling secure that no one including the US will come to their aid. American resolve to stand by an essential ally will be severely tested, as many US allies will not choose Israel’s side if Israel acts.

The West mistakenly believes the imminent defeat of Islamic State (ISIS) will stabilize Syria and the surrounding region, but nothing could be further from the truth. ISIS with its offshoots will turn back to insurgency, while the Islamist Iranian victors solidify their land corridor to the Mediterranean.

The region could be ignited with a single match. That light could be a significant Israeli attack in Syria in response to the increased military transfers facilitated by a permanent Iranian presence, starting the engine toward a wider regional conflagration.

This is why Israel must prepare its American ally sooner rather than later to know that Israel may not be able to sit idly by while Iran’s uses its new base to transfer more and more powerful weaponry to Hezbollah.

Serious questions need to be asked and debated in Jerusalem and Washington.

• How will Jordan and the more moderate Sunni States be affected by the permanent Iranian presence in Syria? • How will Israeli actions affect US-Israeli relations? • To what extent will Russia actively participate beyond coordinating with Syria and Iran? • Would a third recertification of the JCPOA in October increase Iranian adventurism in Lebanon and Syria? The Iranian hegemonic expansion is not a new phenomenon, but a long and wellplanned one, as it tries to reproduce the glory days of the ancient Persian empires. Today’s territorial gains in Syria should be considered phase two, with phase one beginning 30 years ago when Iran sponsored Hezbollah.

Phase two began during the 2011 “Arab Winter” with US president Barack Obama’s withdrawal from the region creating the opportunity for Iran to move into both Syria and Iraq.

In the past few years, Hezbollah has grown from a formidable terrorist entity to effectively controlling all of the Lebanese government with terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East and South America, all under Iranian control.

What we do know is that Iran and Hezbollah’s permanent presence in Syria is dangerous for Israel, America and the West.

It is not too late for American diplomatic leadership to balance interests and turn down the heat, but that would mean America challenging Russian authority to make the rules in Syria and renegotiating the deal in Amman.

If the administration fails to act, Congress should take the lead, speaking clearly to the American people about how Iran’s newfound dominance in the region undermines American national security interests.

Expect the EU to be completely unhelpful, as it is blinded by the economic benefits of the JCPOA. It will bend over backwards to be on the side of Iran.

Which brings us back to Israel. It has already sent high-level security and intelligence teams to speak to the Trump administration warning it about the evolving danger in Syria.

An American commitment to back up Israel if Iran does not decrease its presence in Syria would actually decrease the chance for conflict, as knowing the red lines might make Iran think twice before challenging Israel or expanding further into the Golan.

The Trump Middle East Israeli-Palestinian peace team should also refocus their efforts away from the improbable quest for conflict resolution and get their head into the real game in the Middle East, Iranian control of Syria, one that could set the region on fire.

 

For London, propaganda is an art

No normal human being can accept to see his children suffer – consequently, they make good subjects for war propaganda. Thierry Meyssan takes a look at the use of children by the International Coalition during the war against Syria.

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European laws lay down strict guidelines for the use of children in publicity. Clearly, these laws do not apply to war propaganda.

Just as in all wars, the war against Syria has triggered an avalanche of propaganda. And the use of children is always a winning strategy.

So, at the beginning of the war, Qatar wanted to demonstrate that the Republic, far from serving the general interest, actually despised the People. The petro-dictatorship then broadcast, on its TV channel Al-Jazeera, the legend of the children of Deraa, supposedly tortured by the police. To illustrate the cruelty of its adversary, Qatar specified that their fingernails had been torn out. Of course, despite research, no journalist could find any trace of these children. The BBC broadcast an interview with two of them, but their nails were still intact.

Since the myth could not be proved, Qatar then launched a new story – that of a child, Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb (13 years old), who had allegedly been tortured and castrated by the «regime’s» police. This time, they provided a convincing image. Everyone could see that the body had no sex. However, the autopsy showed that the body had been poorly preserved, and that it had fermented and swollen. The stomach hid the child’s sex, which was still present.

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In this magazine, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle imagined the arrest of a German spy by Sherlock Holmes. The writer was working for the Office of War Propaganda.

At the end of 2013, the British took over the task of war propaganda. They had a long experience in that sector, and are considered to have invented modern propaganda during the first World War, with the Office of War Propaganda. One of the characteristics of their method is to rely on artists, because aesthetics tend to neutralise critical thinking. In 1914, they recruited the great authors of the time – like Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling – to publish texts which attributed imaginary crimes to their German enemy. Then they recruited the heads of their major newspapers to publish the imaginary information invented by the authors.

When the United States adopted the British method, in 1917, with the Committee on Public Information, they made a more precise study of the mechanisms of persuasion, with the help of star journalist Walter Lippmann and the inventor of modern publicity, Edward Bernays (Sigmund Freud’s nephew). But, persuaded of the power of science, they forgot about aesthetics.

At the beginning of 2014, the British MI6 created the company Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat) to whom we owe, for example, the magnificent logos of the armed groups, from the most «moderate» to the most «extremist». This company, which has offices in Washington and Istanbul, organised the campaign to convince the Europeans to offer sanctuary to 1 million refugees. It was this company that photographed young Aylan Kurdi, drowned on a Turkish beach, and managed, in two days, to have it published on the front page of the main Atlantist newspapers in all NATO countries as well as those of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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Every year, before the war, a hundred people died from drowning on Turkish beaches, and no-one mentioned it. And above all, only the tabloids showed photographs of the corpses. But this photo was so well composed…

Since I noted that a body can not be washed up perpendicular to the waves, the photographer explained later that he had moved the corpse for the needs of the photo.

The photo of young Omran Daqneesh (5 years old), in an ambulance in West Aleppo, is thus accompanied by a video. The two supports enable the information to be exploited by both the written Press and the television. The scene is so dramatic that a news-reader from CNN could not stop herself from crying when she saw it. Of course, when we think about it, we notice that the child was not attended to by the medical personnel who gave him first aid, but by a group of extras, (the «White Helmets»), who placed him facing the cameras.

The British film directors care nothing about the child, whose only interest for them is as a feature in their images. According to Associated Press, the photograph was taken by Mahmoud Raslan, whom we can see in the video. According to his Facebook account, this man is a member of Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki (supported by the CIA, who supplied the group with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles). Still according to his Facebook account, and as confirmed by another video, it was Raslan who, on the 19 July 2016, personally cut the throat of a young Palestinian child, Abdullah Tayseer Al Issa (12 years old).

European laws lay down strict guidelines for the use of children in publicity. Clearly, these laws do not apply to war propaganda.

Iran, Syria and Russia all blame Israel

Key words: “suspected”, “apparently”, and “circumstantial” evidence. Case closed. Let the jet be launched.

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ISIS-Israeli collusion: not in the Western or Arab oil press

 This won’t be reported in the Western press: but Israeli bombing of Homs seems coordinated with ISIS as its fighters-according to Al-Mayadin-began advancing in the area in the wake of the Israeli raid.

Obvious provocation:

Iran directly threatened Israel on Tuesday following an airstrike on a Syrian air force Monday that killed at least seven Iranian advisers. Israel is taking the Iranian threats very seriously: The northern border is on high alert amid concerns of a possible revenge attack by Iran or Hezbollah, as well as a possible U.S. strike against the Assad regime in retaliation to the chemical attack at Douma.

Russia Vetoes U.S. Bid for Probe That Would Lay Blame for Syria Chemical Attacks

The US uses it’s own cast of criminals in the probe. Edmund Mulet, Head of the three-member Leadership Panel of the JIM, busted for creating “a child export ring” from Guatemala but never put on trial or sentenced. Frightening to think of where those children ended up!

No trace of chemical weapons at alleged attack site in Douma

The specialists “found no traces of the use of chemical agents” after searching the sites, the statement said. The center’s medical specialists also visited a local hospital but found no patients that showed signs of chemical weapons poisoning. “All these facts show… that no chemical weapons were used in the town of Douma, as it was claimed by the White Helmets

The White Helmets

“They are made up of former bakers, builders, taxi drivers, students, teachers, pretty much anything apart from rescue workers,” according to the much repeated phrase used by their British ex-military, USAR (Urban Search & Rescue) trainer, James Le Mesurier who specialises in outsourcing warfare – the kind of private security operations exemplified by the likes of Blackwater (now known as Academi) and DynCorp, and other well-known global suppliers of mercenaries and CIA outreach assassination experts.

Medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society said 41 people had been killed, with other reports putting the death toll much higher. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 80 people were killed, including around 40 who died from suffocation. The civil defense rescue service, also known as the White Helmets, put the death toll as high as 150 on one of its Twitter feeds.

Israhell is never neutral in any conflict

The foreign-funded and manufactured conflict in Syria was always Israel’s war.
Though it has successfully avoided being labeled a major player in the effort to oust Assad, Israel has long been the mastermind of the plan, which stems in large part from the long-standing hostilities between the two nations as well as Israel’s own regional ambitions. State Department diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have shown that in 2006, five years before the conflict in Syria manifested, the government of Israel had hatched a plan to overthrow the Assad government by engineering sectarian strife in the country, creating paranoia within the highest-ranks of the Syrian government, and isolating Syria from its strongest regional ally, Iran.

Israel then passed this plan along to the United States, which would then involve Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt in fomenting the “breakdown” of the Assad regime as a way of weakening both Iran and Hezbollah — with the effect of empowering both Israel and the Gulf monarchies, two seemingly disparate forces in the region that are becoming increasingly allied.

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BEN NORTON: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Ben Norton reporting from New York. While the war in Syria has been winding down, Israel has been ramping up its support for anti-government rebels inside the country. A report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted that the Israeli government is supporting at least seven Islamist groups in the occupied Golan Heights, an area of Syrian territory that has been illegally occupied by Israel for five decades. Israel is directly providing Syrian rebels with arms and ammunition, as well as giving them money to buy more weapons. This follows previous reports that Israel has given assistance to al-Qaeda in Syria, treating wounded Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in its hospitals free of charge.

Earlier this month, Israel launched airstrikes on a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets inside Syrian territory after an Iranian drone allegedly entered Israeli airspace. The founder of Syrian al-Qaeda praised the Israeli attacks and called for more on Syria. A top Israeli Air Force official furthermore revealed that the Israeli military has carried out thousands of missions in Syria in the last year alone. The Lebanese government, on the other hand, has condemned Israel for repeatedly violating its airspace in order to launch attacks on Syria. Lebanon filed a formal complaint with the United Nations, but the Israeli airstrikes have continued.

We are joined to discuss this issue by scholar, As’ad AbuKhalil to discuss Israel’s attack and support for opposition groups inside Syria. As’ad AbuKhalil is a leading expert on Middle East politics. He’s also a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus, and he regularly writes at his website The Angry Arab News Service. Thanks so much for joining us As’ad.

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Thank you for inviting me.

BEN NORTON: Professor AbuKhalil, we’ve heard for a long time in many mainstream media reports, even from government officials that Israel has played a neutral role in the war in Syria, that Israel has simply just been watching and the war has been going on now for seven years without any kind of intervention from its Israeli neighbor.

What do you think about this talking point? Of course, we now have in the past several months seen media reports that demonstrate that this narrative is completely wrong. What has Israel’s role been in the war in Syria? And why does this narrative continue to dominate much of the discourse on the war?

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, I think that the notion of Israeli neutrality about any conflict throughout the region, if not the whole world, is absolutely fallacious given the record of Israeli involvement in so many affairs of the world. I mean, if you look at Latin American and Africa, Israel has always been involved, always on the worst side of any conflict. So, even if there are two bad sides, you can always bet Israel on the worst side.

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And in fact, anybody who has studied the contemporary history of the Arab world will notice that Israel has been heavily militarily and politically. and through its intelligence involved in civil war wherever it erupted throughout the region. If you are talking about the Western Sahara of the 1970s. If you’re talking about the Southern Sudan conflict in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, if you talk about the Jordanian Black September of 1970, if you talk about the Lebanese civil war for over a decade, if you talk about the Kurdish revolt in Iraq in the 1960s and ’70s, if you talk about the Omani rebellion in Dhofar in the 1970s, if you talk about the Yemeni conflict, the first one in the 1960s or the current one, Israel is heavily involved. And we can add that now to the record of Israel, the Syrian civil war. There is no question Israel has been involved.

Now, it is very important to note that I am not saying that all rebels in Syria are agents of Israel. But on the other hand, it is certainly clear that the Syrian conflict has gone out of the hands of the Syrian people and has become a multiple proxy wars between a variety of parties. And each side has its own reflective middle militias inside the country. And just like Israel operated in Lebanon, we know its method of operation. It is not that sneaky. It is too obvious to notice that it has armed, sponsored, coddled, helped, sheltered various militias of its own inside Syria that were doing Israel’s bidding.

So, there are two levels of Israeli involvement in the Syrian war. One is direct sponsorship and arming and financing of certain militias. There are two militias that are named even as arms of the Israeli occupation army inside Syria. And there are others that we don’t even know the names of, that some of them operate within the larger umbrella of this broad name of Free Syrian Army. But as you point out in the intro, Israel has been extremely close with the al-Qaeda in Syria. I mean, if only the American people would know that the largest recipient of US military economic aid has been in very strong alliance with al-Qaeda operating in Syria for the purposes of Israel.

The second layer of its involvement is, of course, Israel has now become a very close ally of Gulf countries throughout the Middle East, and as a result it is safe to assume that all of the militias that received Qatari or UAE or Saudi funding and arming are also facilitated and helped by the Israelis. And I heard a Palestinian from the United States who visited occupied Palestine of 1948, and she visited hospitals inside occupied Palestine, and she says since the beginning of Syrian conflict, there are certain sections of hospital that are completely cordoned off, where people are banned from entering because that’s where al-Qaeda has been receiving the humanitarian assistance of the Israeli occupation government.

BEN NORTON: You mentioned, of course, that Israel has intervened in many conflicts throughout the world. You also mentioned Latin America, especially the civil war in Colombia, the wars in Central America. It’s also interesting because we’ve seen this kind of counterinsurgency tactic that was used in those wars in Central America has been imported into the Middle East, especially in the war in Syria, also the war in Iraq before that.

And part of that counterinsurgency strategy is to ramp up tensions and violence at a moment where it looks like there may be some kind of political diplomacy and a move toward winding down the conflict. So, when it looks like the war in Syria is finally coming to a conclusion, after many years of horrific destruction, why do you think we see reports that, of course, not just Israel but Israel and other US allies are actually increasing support for rebels instead of winding down that support and moving toward peace?

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: In response to this question, I can say when we speak about conflict in the Middle East today, it would not be an exaggeration if we refer to Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia interchangeably. There is such a solid, firm alliance by the three governments that they are now operating far and beyond the borders of Syria. There are such mutual cooperation-

BEN NORTON: And of course, they’re all backed by the United States.

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: All backed by the United States, no doubt about that. And the United States looks with great favor, to use the language of the Balfour Declaration, at such cooperation between its Gulf potentates and the occupation government of Israel.

I should also say that as a student of the Lebanese Civil War, and I was writing about that in Arabic the other day, Israeli and Israeli militias inside Lebanon has throughout the war been responsible not only for the instigation of the war itself in 1975, I mean, Israeli militias have been receiving training and arming by Israel since the 1960s, and they were basically edging for a conflict because the aim of Israel was to smash the Palestinian resistance movement.

And throughout the conflict from 1975 until 19, say, ’91, whenever there was a lull, a ceasefire, militias of Israel were always the first to violate the ceasefire because they wanted a prolongation of the conflict. They did the same in the Iran-Iraq War. They did the same in the Southern Sudanese conflict. They did the same in the Yemeni conflict, and they have certainly been doing the same in Syria.

Israel feels much more secure if its neighbors are basically diverted by civil war on their own to that it will allow Israel to interfere more heavily in their own affairs. And so, it makes sense that Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel, this triangle, does not want in any way to achieve a modicum of reduction in hostility or a certain arrangement that would reduce violence. They want the prolongation of the suffering of the Syrian people, no question about that.

BEN NORTON: And what do you think about the state of the Syrian opposition that Israel and other countries are supporting? I mean, clearly, there’s no question that the Syrian government is very repressive. This is an authoritarian police state and we constant hear that repeated correctly in many media reports. But what we never hear is the state of the actual opposition that is backed by the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Who are these rebels exactly? And why are they never really named in detail, and why is their politics never actually acknowledged in media reports?

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, like you said, in Syrian conflict, I don’t find personally any desirable party to the conflict. I am neither a fan of the oppressive Syrian government, which has a bloody record not only against its own population but also against the left wing and Palestinian resistance movement in Lebanon, which in 1976 smashed our dreams [of] establishing a progressive republic in Lebanon when it intervened on the same side of pro-Israeli militias in the country.

In the case of Syria, however, I feel that early on in the conflict, there was a desire on the part of Western media, and governments, and Gulf regimes to present an image of Syrian rebels who are democratic, feminist, and sometimes even progressive Marxists. And Western media, the correspondents in Beirut, those who have been the lousiest correspondents of any region that I have ever seen in my own lifetime, have made such an effort to beautify and to distort the record of who these rebels are in order to create public opinion, support and sympathy on the part of these rebels.

Now, however, the conflict has gone on long enough for us to really discard all these clichés and propaganda labels that were bestowed on these rebel groups. And now we know they basically were middle militias of various countries. There were some militias that were loyal to Turkey, some were loyal to Qatar, some to the UAE, some Saudi Arabia, some to the US government, to various branches of the US government military intelligence apparatus, some to Jordan, some to Israel.

And as a result, the welfare and the desires of the Syrian people were discarded by all these groups. And of course, there was intervention by other parties like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran, Shiite militias. So, it was a free-for-all. And that’s why we can say this conflict has slipped out of the hand of the Syrian people, really.

BEN NORTON: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about what’s going on in the Golan Heights? Many of these reports about Israeli support for rebels are specially about rebel groups inside the occupied Golan Heights, which according to international law have been illegally occupied by Israel for five decades. This is sovereign Syrian territory. So, can you speak a little bit more about the conflict there?

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, what scares Israel, of course, and Israel should be scared like any occupation power is that resistance groups from Lebanon that have been very effective in humiliatingly defeat and embarrass the mighty Israeli army in 2006 and even prior are now establishing presence inside Syria close to the borders. Israel wants eternal rule for its occupation throughout the Middle East, in Palestine and elsewhere. Israel still occupies lands that belong to Jordan, to Palestine, to Syria, and to Lebanon, and wants that to continue forever and wants the world to find this brutal occupation to be pleasurable by the people under its rule.

Well, it’s not going to be like that. And for that reason, Israel wants to expand its zone of hegemony and rule in the Golan Heights area and beyond it, and to prevent any presence from resistance groups from Lebanon to establish a foothold there. Some of them, by the way, are secular group. They’re like the Syrian Social National Party, which is one of the political parties in Lebanon which believes in Greater Syria and has had a very long record of fighting and resisting occupation of Israel of all Arab lands.

The Israelis also are very much of the opinion that only Israel should have the right to interfere in Syrian affairs and to violate Syrian airspace and territory. And well, that has changed, and that’s what is irksome to the occupation government of Israel and wants to change that. It is also the case where, just like they did in Lebanon in 1976, Israel is wanting to establish through some Syrian rebels, militias like the South Lebanon Army to become a vehicle of its own terrorism and occupation, and to basically protect the occupation of Israel.

BEN NORTON: We’ll wind down here, but I want to get your opinion on this last point. We have these many mainstream media reports now that acknowledge that Israel is funding, training and supporting many of these rebel groups inside Syrian territory. Yet at the same time, we’ve heard many figures in the West who claim to be pro-Palestine activists, many of them are supportive of or very soft on Gulf monarchies, who insists that one cannot oppose the Syrian opposition. Specifically, I’m talking about the opposition, regardless of what you think about the Syrian government, the argument they’ve made is that if you truly support liberation for the Palestinian people, you must also support the Syrian opposition, despite the fact that it is entirely bankrolled by many of these very reactionary, also hyper-authoritarian regimes. What do you think about that argument?

AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, I don’t think anybody should tell me who should I support and should not support. And I certainly do not take dictates from representatives of Gulf regimes, who now control the bulk of Arab media and much of Arab social media as well, and they will decide the criteria of support for the Palestinians. I find that ironic given the lousy record of Gulf regimes against the Palestinian people.

Look at the way they have covered up the relocation of the US embassy from occupied Jaffa to occupied Jerusalem with tacit Arab government support. They are very much in the same trench with the state of Israel, and I believe certainly that the, look, I do believe that advocacy for Palestine should be predicated on …and I do believe that. Advocacy for Palestine should not be tainted with ties to oppressive governments that have bad records on the Palestinian question.

In that regard, I put the Syrian regime for sure because it does not have a good record at all on the Palestinian question. But I also put there Syrian rebels and exiled Syrian opposition that have, not all Syrian dissidents, but those elements of the Syrian opposition that have been sponsored by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and Israel, and Jordan, and the United States and Europe because they also have not been in any way vociferous in advocacy for Palestine prior or even during this conflict.

And most importantly, advocacy for Palestine is predicated on the support for human rights of individuals, and that support should be universal whether it is in Palestine or in Syria or in Lebanon and certainly also in Gulf countries.

BEN NORTON: Great. Well, thank you so much for joining us Professor AbuKhalil. We always appreciate your insight.