Mattis’ resignation comes amid news that President Donald Trump has directed the drawdown of 2,000 U.S. forces in Syria, and 7,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a U.S. official confirmed to Military Times, a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil,” the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: “We are coming.”
Is the war in Afghanistan — and possibly elsewhere ― about to be privatized?
If Blackwater returns, it would be the return of a private security contractor that was banned from Iraq, but re-branded and never really went away.
By 2016 Blackwater had been re-named and restructured several times, and was known at the time as Constellis Group, when it was purchased by the Apollo Holdings Group. Reuters reported earlier this year that Apollo had put Constellis up for sale, but in June the sale was put on hold.
Prince has courted President Donald Trump’s administration since he took office with the idea that the now 17-year Afghan War will never be won by a traditional military campaign. Prince has also argued that the logistical footprint required to support that now multi-trillion dollar endeavor has become too burdensome.
Over the summer and into this fall Prince has engaged heavily with the media to promote the privatization; particularly as the Trump administration’s new South Asia Strategy, which was crafted with Mattis, passed the one-year mark.
Constellis, which had maintained a footprint at Camp Integrity by the Kabul Airport through its previous iteration as “Academi.” The firm no longer trains there, the Constellis spokesman said.
The news of a leaning on a smaller number of privatized forces, instead of a larger U.S. military footprint — and contracted support for U.S. forces that knew few bounds and at times included coffee shops, base exchanges, restaurants, a hockey rink and local vendor shops — may be welcomed by current U.S. military leadership on the ground.
That includes former Joint Special Operations Command chief Army Lt. Gen. Scott Miller, a source familiar with Miller’s approach told Military Times. Miller replaced Gen. John Nicholson as the head of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in September.
In an previous exclusive interview with Military Times, Prince said he would scrap the NATO mission there and replace the estimated 23,000 forces in country with a force of 6,000 contracted personnel and 2,000 active-duty special forces.
The potential privatization of the Afghan War was previously dismissed by the White House, and roundly criticized by Mattis, who saw it as a risk to emplace the nation’s national security goals in the hands of contractors.
“When Americans put their nation’s credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,” Mattis told reporters in August.
But Mattis is out now, one in a series of moves that has surprised most of the Pentagon.
Drastic change would “be more likely” now, one DOD official said.
Hezbollah is a defender against Israel as is Hamas in Gaza, which is why Israel is always attacking them. No one in the M.E. is allowed to defend themselves against Israel, including Iran.
Litani River, Lebanon
In March 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon, an invasion dreamt up years before.
WHEN CHAIM WEIZMANN and David Ben-Gurion attended the 1919 Paris Peace Conference ending World War I, they presented a map containing the boundaries of their hoped-for Jewish state. The map included what is now Lebanon’s Litani River.
While the two had achieved great success in international geopolitics, they had failed to garner the Litani for Israel. The reason for their failure was the secret Sykes-Picot Treaty of 1915, under which Britain and France already had fixed the border between Lebanon and Palestine. At France’s insistence, Sykes-Picot was upheld at the Paris conference, and the Litani went to Lebanon.
Israel dubbed its March 14, 1978 invasion of southern Lebanon “Operation Litani,” with the stated objective of clearing out Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) bases south of the Litani River in order to secure northern Israel. Its 1982 invasion of Lebanon had the added goal of gaining access to the waters of the Litani.
To end the Israeli siege of Beirut, the PLO was rapidly evacuated to Tunisia, and Israel eventually retreated from the Lebanese capital. Yet it never fully withdrew from southern Lebanon until 2000, under pressure from Hezbollah—and 22 years after being ordered to do so by U.N. Security Council Resolution 425.
This water source had been coveted since the enterprise of a homeland for Jews was conceived. Chaim Weizman, then head of the World Zionist Organisation and later Israel’s first President, wrote British Prime Minister David Lloyd George in 1919, calling for the boundaries of the new Jewish national home to extend 25 miles north of the Litani river, inside Lebanon. Amongst other demands his letter asked that:
“the water supply must mainly be derived from the slopes of Mount Hermon, from the headwaters of the Jordan and from the Litani river [of Lebanon]… [We] consider it essential that the Northern Frontier of Palestine should include the Valley of the Litani, for a distance of 25 miles above the bend…”
But the mandate powers, France and Britain, would not redraw the map extending the borders of Palestine into South Lebanon. Between the months of March and June 1978, Israel’s Operation Litani killed more than a thousand civilians, according to the records of local hospitals and the International Committee for the Red Cross. When Israel withdrew from its positions in June 1978, it handed self-imposed power to a client Lebanese militia in the South, led by Major Sa’ad Haddad.
The same scenario had been envisaged 25 years earlier, by the fledgling Zionist state’s leadership. In his published diary, Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett quoted Army Chief of Staff, Moshe Dayan, who was to become Israel’s Defence Minister, promoting the idea of an Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. It was a vision enthusiastically supported by General Dayan and David ben Gurion. Amongst the most telling things Dayan said, was that:
“… the only thing that’s necessary is to find an [Lebanese] officer, even just a Major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the saviour of the [Christian] Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel and everything will be all right.”
Rida may have been just 6 or 7 years old in the early spring of 1978, when thirty thousand soldiers marched north of the river Litani to ‘make peace.’ It was the year of the first big human exodus from the South. Israeli planes made in the US, flew low like vengeful birds of steel and streaked the sky with jet fuel. Bombing came from the sea, sky and land.
Tens of thousands of families left futures like trails of ants with children and cartloads of belongings headed for Beirut. The capital’s ocean-kissed opportunities sparkled for the wealthy and only kissed the few. Without money or connections, the Paris of the Middle East could become a squalid hell.
In the 15 years leading up to the April 1982 invasion of Lebanon and siege of Beirut, then Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, claimed that 1,392 Israeli lives had been lost through PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) violence.
Israeli police archives, searched at the time by the independent newspaper Ha’aretz, revealed the number of Israeli victims of the PLO between the years 1977 and 1982, to be 282 citizens.
Meanwhile Israel’s operations in Lebanon have been documented in countless observations. These describe the destruction of entire cities and wholesale killing of many thousands.
In 1968, Israel described its bombing of a string of civilian aircraft sitting on the tarmac at Beirut’s International Airport as‘reprisal.’ The act was condemned at the time by the UN Security Council, concluding that:
“Lebanon is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel.”
Israel applied overwhelming military force on Palestinian Refugee Camps inside Lebanon in 1978, 1980 and 1981. The pounding that turned Beirut into a circle of hell-fire rubble in 1982 culminated in the killings of more than three thousand Palestinian civilians at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in September that year.
Sabra and Shatila is to the Palestinians what 9/11 is to Americans. Women, children and elderly depicted in unforgettable scenes of horror after the crime were slaughtered over 72 hours by Lebanese militia forces, who closely co-ordinated their actions with Israeli military commanders on the ground overseeing the camps.
Their fly-ridden and bloated bodies were left to rot in the sun.
Military operations within Lebanon have been given various names by Israel. Names such as ‘Stone of Wisdom,’ ‘Operation Accountability,’ even references taken from biblical hymns, such as the 1996 ‘Grapes of Wrath.’
The three-month long siege of Beirut in the summer of 1982, that reduced a thriving economic metropolis into acres of surreal art, and killed more than twenty thousand Lebanese, was called ‘Peace for Galilee.’
Southerners with their fateful brand of local sarcasm would say: “Why don’t they call the next one ‘Kill the sons of dogs‘? That way we’ll be sure they really are coming in peace.”
War aims were wider than the publicized mission of the invasion which was to ‘remove’ the PLO.
Ordinary people were instead wiped out by what foreign journalists and residents of the city described as indiscriminate bombing, while the PLO and its leaders remained very much intact and alive.
The response to these aims would be more enduring than either Israel, or the rest of the world, could have imagined at the time.
Through settlements, through the harsh and daily realities of occupation, through state terror tactics, through laws and administrative procedures that discriminate on ethnicity and race, through imprisonment without charge for indefinite periods, denial of freedom or movement to residents of towns or villages, and more than fifty years of emergency laws that have sanctioned the humiliation of an entire people – the government of Israel has tried to destroy the will, the national identity and consciousness of Palestinians, as well as weaken and divide surrounding Arab nations.
Israel regards the weakening of these nations, as central to the struggle for her political and economic dominance of the region.
On the 9th of July 1982, the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, reported the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, General Rafael Eitan, as saying that the:
‘Israeli stay in Lebanon is part of the struggle over Eretz Israel (biblical, greater Israel.) That is the point. This whole battle in Beirut – it is the struggle over Eretz Israel, a war against the main enemy that has been fighting over Eretz Israel for a hundred years.’
Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, referred to another basic aim of the War in Lebanon when he said,
‘The bigger the blow and the more we damage the PLO infrastructure, the more the Arabs in Judea and Samaria and Gaza will be ready to negotiate with us and establish co-existence.’
What was fashionable in the ’50s made a come-back in the ’80s. Successive Israeli war cabinets wanted Jordan to become the new Palestine, since historic Palestine and its inhabitants would never be welcome in the modern state of Israel.
Ariel Sharon was quoted by the British press in June 1982: “But they have a homeland,” he said referring to the Palestinians. “It is the Palestine that is called Jordan.”
“We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not…You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world.”- Chaim Weizmann Judische Rundschau, No. 4, 1920.
If Israel thinks she is about to go under to utter destruction, it will take the rest of the world with it.
“We always thought that if we solve the Palestinian problem, this will open doors to peace with the Arab world”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told lawmakers in his governing Likud party on Monday that powerful countries can occupy territories and transfer populations without consequence, in an apparent reference to ostensible Arab indifference toward Israel’s control over the West Bank.
“Power is the most important [component] of foreign policy. ‘Occupation’ is baloney. There were huge countries that have occupied and transferred populations and no one talks about them,” Netanyahu was quoted by Army Radio as saying Monday, in the closed-door Likud faction meeting. The remarks were also carried by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily on Tuesday morning.
This morning, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished two homes and a snack shop in East Jerusalem. At 6AM, they demolished two structures, the homes of 11 persons, including 5 minors. At 10AM they came to Silwan with a bulldozer & police escort & destroyed a snack shop. pic.twitter.com/5McwJklprG
“Power changes everything and it changes our policies vis-a-vis Arab states, and there are other countries on the way,” he reportedly added, apparently referring to states that have covertly expressed interest in forging diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
“Contrary to the notion that concessions will bring about agreements with the Arabs, concessions will only bring about slight and short-term changes and nothing more,” Netanyahu said, seemingly referring to ceding territory to the Palestinians. “What we need to do is advance [talks] on shared interests with Israel based on technological power.”
Netanyahu’s reported comments came after he visited Oman last month in the first official meeting between the leaders of the countries since 1996.
On October 26, Netanyahu’s office unexpectedly announced that he and his wife Sara had just returned from an “official diplomatic visit” to Muscat, during which they met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office called the trip “a significant step in implementing the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology and economic matters.”
Netanyahu has for years boasted about warming ties with key Arab states that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. But those ties — still largely unpopular among the Arab public — were rarely visible.
In another sign of warming ties with Gulf countries, Sports Minister Miri Regev was in the United Arab Emirates last week for an international judo competition, while Communications Minister Ayoub Kara attended a communications conference in Dubai last week.
Netanyahu has long argued that normalization with the Arab world could precede a peace deal with Palestinians, while analysts have argued Arab leaders would be hard-pressed to openly embrace Israel without a solution to the conflict.
“We always thought that if we solve the Palestinian problem, this will open doors to peace with the Arab world,” the prime minister said earlier in October. “But it also likely true in equal measure and maybe more, that if we develop ties with the Arab world and normalize relations with them, this will lead in the end to the possibility of reconciliation and peace with the Palestinians.”
“I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please.”
Books: The All Lies Invasion- excerpts
If the people only knew
THE REAL REASON FOR WAR
“It is not true that I wished for war in 1939, neither I nor anyone else in Germany. War was provoked exclusively by those international statesmen who were of Jewish race or who worked in the interests of international Jewry.” ~ Adolf Hitler Last Will and Testament.”*
TRADE WAR General Robert Wood testified that in 1936 Winston Churchill told him that Germany is getting too strong and must be smashed (p.130). Bernard Baruch, the American banker agreed in an interview with F. D. R. Roosevelt: “If we Baruch, the American banker agreed in an interview with F. D. R. Roosevelt: “If we keep prices down there is no reason why we shouldn’t get the customers from belligerent nations that they had had to drop because of the war. In that event Germany‟s barter system will be destroyed.” ~ New York Times 14 September 1939.*
Winston Churchill was a dilettante. His sexual preferences were ambiguous. It has been confirmed that before, during and after WW2, Churchill and many members of the establishment were regular patrons of homosexual clubs and orgies where pedophilia was openly practiced. Churchill’s visits to Morocco and the South of France were said to be the places where Churchill took breaks to indulge in his pastime as an artist. they were nothing of the kind. These two locations provided further opportunity for pedophilia activities away from the public eye. Wartime Premiere Winston Churchill was despised at Marrakesh, Morocco where he was delivered of small Arab boys for his depraved pleasures.*
War is good for some, bad for most.
Henry Kissinger raped 5 US soldiers in Cambodia. Kissinger told at least one of the soldiers that if he reported it “That will be the end of you.” Kissinger raped the three sons of a Saudi royal.-
United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Israel has rejected a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlining options for strengthening the protection of Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories.
The story goes, when Israel occupied Egyptian Sinai, they brought a huge drill with hundreds of stones that had ancient Hebrew calligraphy on them. They dug and buried them secretly in the desert. “They did that so the next generations will find them and say that this land belongs to Israel,” he explained.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement late Friday that “the only protection the Palestinian people need is from their own leadership.”
The 14-page report laid out four options, from increasing aid to the Palestinians, sending UN rights monitors and unarmed observers to deploying a military or police force under UN mandate.
The report was requested by the General Assembly in response to a surge of violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since late March.
“Instead of suggesting ways to protect the Palestinian people from Israel, the UN should instead hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for continually endangering its own people,” Danon said.
“The report’s suggestions will only enable the Palestinians’ continued rejectionism.”
A UN mandate for a protection force would require a decision from the Security Council, where the United States could use its veto power to block a measure opposed by Israel.
The report released to all UN member-states comes amid a vacuum in Middle East peace efforts as European and Middle East powers await a peace plan from President Donald Trump’s administration that has been under discussion for months.
UN diplomats have recently begun questioning whether the US peace plan will ever materialize.
This would be the second highest military spending by GDP in the world among major economies. Only Saudi Arabia spends more, at about 10%. Israel has spent similar percentages in the past, but may struggle to justify such large hikes going forward.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu credits a free market economy as allowing such massive increases, and this spending increase assumes Israel’s GDP will grow to $500 billion, up from its current $350 billion. Whether it can sustain such growth while throwing such a huge percentage of its economy down the drain as military expenditure is unclear.
Netanyahu, however, believes that this huge military would “increase Israel’s equity in the eyes of other countries and increase its diplomatic prowess.” What that actually means is anyone’s guess, as Israel tends to be on bad terms with most countries most of the time, and there aren’t a lot of countries with whom Israel might have a rapprochement if its military was just a bit bigger.
“The offensive missions inside the Strip will be carried out from now on by the IDF’s tip of the spear storming divisions, which—according to the plan—will enter Gaza and dissect it in two, and even occupy significant parts of it.”
Israeli defense officials are seeing in recent weeks signs that Hamas is willing to enter another round of fighting with Israel as a possible path to a solution to Gaza’s humanitarian crisis.
Hamas believes that a prolonged and intense confrontation will promote the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip and investment in infrastructure projects, according to these assessments.
For now, it appears that the organization is still concerned with the consequences of full-scale warfare, and therefore seeks to maintain the present tensions on the Gaza border while seeing how far they can test Israel. Still, the Israeli assessment is that Hamas has made a decision to confront Israel, and therefore a broad military operation is only a matter of time.
Jew: Jews run the world. Me: Jews run the world. Jew: Oy vey, how can you peddle this anti-semitic conspiracy theory? Have you forgotten the Holocaust? Shame on you!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a fiery address at a torch-lighting ceremony marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day, declared that the Jewish state is becoming a “world power” and said its light will overcome its enemies’ “darkness.” [war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength]
“We’re turning Israel into a rising world power,” Netanyahu said at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem before lighting a torch on behalf of all the governments of Israel since the founding of the state. Addressing enemies of Israel, Netanyahu proudly stated that “in another 70 years, you’ll find here a country that is many times stronger because what we’ve done until today is just the beginning! [spooky!]
We don’t hesitate to confront those who want to eradicate us, because we know that defending ourselves with our own force is the essence of independence,” Netanyahu added. “Our hand is outstretched for peace with any of our neighbors who seek peace. “Admiration toward Israel is finally trickling to Arab countries. Here, I believe, lie real seeds for peace,” he said.
Wars on Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran after Syria is done, God forbid.
My favorite quote from Chaim Weisman, 1921, exposes Zionist power WAY BACK THEN: “We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not…You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world.”
How many Jews are there in the United States? No Gentile knows. The figures are the exclusive property of the Jewish authorities. The government of the United States can provide statistics on almost every matter pertaining to the population of the country, but whenever it has attempted in a systematic way to get information about the Jews who are constantly entering the country and the number now resident here, the Jewish lobby at Washington steps in and stops it.-THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, issue of 9 October 1920
Caption reads: “This is how he came to Germany! They all looked like this when they came to Germany from the East. But things soon changed. They took over everything and before long they were in charge. Their goal is to establish Jewish world domination.” [So look who wasn’t lying?]
For decades, a little-known section of the British Foreign Office – the Information Research Department (IRD) – carried out propaganda campaigns using the international media as its platform on behalf of MI-6. Years before Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir became targets for Western destabilization and “regime change.”
IRD and its associates at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and in the newsrooms and editorial offices of Fleet Street broadsheets, tabloids, wire services, and magazines, particularly “The Daily Telegraph,” “The Times,” “Financial Times,” Reuters, “The Guardian,” and “The Economist,” ran media smear campaigns against a number of leaders considered to be leftists, communists, or FTs (fellow travelers).
These leaders included Indonesia’s President Sukarno, North Korean leader (and grandfather of Pyongyang’s present leader) Kim Il-Sung, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Cyprus’s Archbishop Makarios, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Chile’s Salvador Allende, British Guiana’s Cheddi Jagan, Grenada’s Maurice Bishop, Jamaica’s Michael Manley, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Guinea’s Sekou Toure, Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara, Australia’s Gough Whitlam, New Zealand’s David Lange, Cambodia’s Norodom Sihanouk, Malta’s Dom Mintoff, Vanuatu’s Father Walter Lini, and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.
After the Cold War, this same propaganda operation took aim at Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Somalia’s Mohamad Farrah Aidid, and Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Today, it is Assad’s, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s, and Catalonian independence leader Carles Puigdemont’s turn to be in the Anglo-American state propaganda gunsights.
Even Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, long a darling of the Western media and such propaganda moguls as George Soros, is now being targeted for Western visa bans and sanctions over the situation with Muslim Rohingya insurgents in Rakhine State.
Through IRD-MI-6-Central Intelligence Agency joint propaganda operations, many British journalists received payments, knowingly or unknowingly, from the CIA via a front in London called Forum World Features (FWF), owned by John Hay Whitney, publisher of the “New York Herald Tribune” and a former US ambassador to London. It is not a stretch to believe that similar and even more formal relationships exist today between US and British intelligence and so-called British “journalists” reporting from such war zones as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Gaza Strip, as well as from much-ballyhooed nerve agent attack locations as Salisbury, England.
No sooner had recent news reports started to emerge from Douma about a Syrian chlorine gas and sarin agent attack that killed between 40 to 70 civilians, British reporters in the Middle East and London began echoing verbatim statements from the Syrian “White Helmets” and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
In actuality, the White Helmets – claimed by Western media to be civilian defense first-responders but are Islamist activists connected to jihadist radical groups funded by Saudi Arabia – are believed to have staged the chemical attack in Douma by entering the municipality’s hospital and dowsing patients with buckets of water, video cameras at the ready.
The White Helmets distributed their videos to the global news media, with the BBC and Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News providing a British imprimatur to the propaganda campaign asserting that Assad carried out another “barrel bomb” chemical attack against “his own people.” And, as always, the MI-6 financed Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad news front claimed to be operated by a Syrian expatriate and British national named Rami Abdel Rahman from his clothing shop in Coventry, England, began providing second-sourcing for the White Helmet’s chemical attack claims.
In 2013, April 2017, and April 2018, the Western media echo chamber blared out all the same talking points: “Assad killing his own people,” “Syrian weapons of mass destruction,” and the “mass murder of women and children.” Western news networks featured videos of dead women and children, while paid propagandists, known as “contributors” to corporate news networks – all having links to the military-intelligence complex – demanded action be taken against Assad.
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.”
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.
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.