“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.
Dozens of protesters gathered in Lower Manhattan, New York City, on Monday, to protest the visit of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman to the city.
Activists mainly from the Coalition to end US Saudi Alliance movement staged a rally near Wall Street, as Mohammad bin Salman was expected to hold a score of business meetings, as well as meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
One of the protesters, said that Salman “is the chief architect in the war in Yemen, which has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” adding that “he is here to do a whole bunch of business, make a whole bunch of deals with Wall Street and CEOs from Halliburton and Boeing and these terrible weapons companies.”
According to another demonstrator, Salman “is trying to sell that he is a good guy to the American people, especially to corporations, rich people.”
“The human rights in Saudi Arabia, what they do is devastating, what they do to women is devastating, what they are doing in Yemen is a humanitarian crisis beyond imagination.” she added.
The people a President hires will often exercise more power than the President does.
Mere days after promoting Mike “I’m going to make the CIA a much more vicious agency” Pompeo to Hillary Clinton’s old job as Secretary of State, President Trump has replaced his National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, who Glenn Greenwald just described as “unstable, monstrous and bloodthirsty,” and “an actual sociopath in the clinical sense of that term.”
Greenwald is not being hyperbolic; there is no more bloodthirsty a war hawk in Washington than John Bolton. Just last month he authored an article for the Wall Street Journal arguing in favor of a preemptive strike on North Korea, in which he cited a quote from Pompeo as part of his argument. Bolton calls for regime change in every rival of the US empire on a regular basis, he knowingly advanced lies to help manufacture support for the Iraq invasion, he revived the US-Russia arms race by leading America’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, advocates more escalations with both China and Russia, and has spent his entire career pushing for death and destruction at every opportunity.
This latest move makes it abundantly clear that wars are planned, and a team is being assembled to help facilitate them. There is only one thing John Bolton knows, and that’s killing. He would not be appointed to National Security Advisor (a position which does not require Senate approval) unless large amounts of killing were planned. That is what John Bolton does. It is what he is for. He is a weapon.
So I think it’s fair to say that anyone who voted for Trump who considers themselves anti-war or anti-interventionist has officially run out of valid reasons to support this president. His cabinet is filling with more and more neoconservative war hawks for a reason, and war is the one and only thing that John Bolton is known for. He is the keystone in a blood-soaked archway.
So far the best argument being advanced by the MAGA crowd in defense of this decision is that Trump doesn’t have to listen to Bolton’s advice, but why would Trump hire someone with a permanent throbbing erection for mass slaughter and then ignore everything that comes out of his furry little mouth? You don’t appoint a warmongering psychopath to a position previously held by two generals because you want to hear his opinions about the latest season of The Voice.
The other justifications being advanced all fall in line with an article I wrote a while back titled “Three Stupid, Annoying Things People Often Say When Defending Trump“, those three things being “Hillary would have been worse,” “Trump is playing 57-D chess,” and “Trump is fighting the deep state!” Babbling about Hillary Clinton is never a legitimate defense of actual things this president is currently doing in real life, the “3-D chess” argument has already been done to death by Obama’s supporters, and Trump is not defending the deep state, he’s serving it.
McMaster was already scary. Bolton is vastly more terrifying. And now we will find out if Trump supporters really stand where they claim to.
Disturbingly, Clark acknowledges willingness for life-and-death battlefield decisions impacting American soldiers to be placed in the hands of the Israeli chain of command in saying: “if there is a question in regards to how we will operate, the last vote will probably go to [Israeli General] Zvika.”
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” This is the oath of enlistment that every American military service member or federal employee takes upon entry into government service (with slight variation for commissioned officers).
Are US troops ready to fight and to die for America’s Israel’s defense? …We think not, but there are US generals out there enthusiastically promoting the idea.
Brig.-Gen Zvika Haimovitch, the head of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division and US Air Force 3rd AF Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark.
Earlier this month, in the midst of the 9th annual 12-day massive joint exercise named “Juniper Cobra” which was hailed in Israeli media as the largest of its kind, simulating a “battle on three fronts” (namely, Syria-Lebanon-Gaza Strip) US Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark spelled out just such a scenario wherein US troops could be asked to fight and to die for defense of America Israel – even to the point of being placed under Israeli commanders responsible for battlefield decision making.
While major joint military exercises involving significant troop deployments are nothing new for the US and its allies (Juniper Cobra itself has been conducted annually for nearly a decade), Lt. Gen. Clark’s words to Israeli media are truly precedent setting and shocking, especially as he is among the highest ranking military officers in the US armed forces.
It is well worth reading the alarming scenario Gen. Clark laid out while speaking to the Jerusalem Post in its entirety:
“The United States and Israel enjoy a strong and enduring military-to-military partnership built on a trust that has been developed over decades of cooperation,” said USAF Third Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Richard Clark, who also serves as the commander for the deploying Joint Task Force – Israel.
“The Juniper Cobra exercises continue to strengthen this relationship, providing us with the opportunity to bolster interoperability and develop seamless integration with our Israeli partners.”
According to Clark, the US and Israeli troops will work side-by-side under each other’s relevant chain of command.
But this is where Clark pushes far across the normative “military-to-military partnership” characteristic of joint drills with other allied nations. He says that US troops should be prepared to die for the Jewish State:
“As far as decision-making, it is a partnership,” he continued, stressing nonetheless that “at the end of the day it is about the protection of Israel – and if there is a question in regards to how we will operate, the last vote will probably go to Zvika [Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, head of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division].”
Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war and, according to [Israeli commander] Haimovitch, “I am sure once the order comes we will find here US troops on the ground to be part of our deployment team to defend the State of Israel.”
And those US troops who would be deployed to Israel, are prepared to die for the Jewish state, Clark said. “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties. But we accept that – as every conflict we train for and enter, there is always that possibility,” he said.
And it appears that both military leaders are in agreement on this point – that they are ready and willing to put US troops in harm’s way in pursuit of Israeli defense policy.
Disturbingly, Clark acknowledges willingness for life-and-death battlefield decisions impacting American soldiers to be placed in the hands of the Israeli chain of command in saying: “if there is a question in regards to how we will operate, the last vote will probably go to [Israeli General] Zvika.”
While in more stable times in the Middle East, Clark’s words might possibly be dismissed as hyperbole and misplaced enthusiasm for “the mission” – his words come as Israel is already actively involved on two fronts: Gaza and Syria. And according to many analysts and reports, including one recently leaked internal Israeli defense memo, Israel is ramping up for devastating engagement along a third front as Tel Aviv continues to view Lebanese Hezbollah to its north as the prime threat to Israeli security.
Should broader war break out between Israel, Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria, will US troops who find themselves working closely with the IDF be forced to obey the commands of Israeli generals, even to the point of death? We can’t find anything in the oath of enlistment or the Constitution [federal statute in 10 U.S.C. 502, and based in Article VI of the Constitution] that requires US citizens or soldiers to defend and fight for a foreign nation.
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.
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.
ASAD 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?
ASAD 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.
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?
ASAD 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.
ASAD 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?
ASAD 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?
ASAD 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?
ASAD 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.