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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al Aqsa, Egypt, and Yemen

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Once again the IDF violently assaulted the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem…

Israeli forces clash with worshipers in Aqsa compound, dozens hurt

Dozens of worshipers were hurt Wednesday morning in fierce clashes with Israeli forces who stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound via the Moroccan and Chain gates.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers and police officers broke into the compound and deployed in the southern quarter firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at worshipers.

Director of al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Azam al-Kahtib told Ma’an that ‘about 1,000 Israeli officers stormed the compound.’ He highlighted that Israeli officers used live ammunition.

Special forces deployed at the main gates since dawn prayer, witnesses said, denying Palestinian worshipers entry to the compound.

Employees of the ministry of endowment and students who attend schools inside the compound were also denied entry. Only security guards were allowed in addition to men over 65 years old. Several people performed dawn prayer in the alleys near the gates.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Palestinians threw ‘stones and firecrackers’ at police when they opened the walled compound’s gates.

Police responded with stun grenades, Rosenfeld said, and closed the complex to Jewish visitors after a small number had toured the site.

About 100 Muslim worshipers have decided to stay inside the compound day and night after right-wing Jewish organizations urged Jews to flock to the compound which they believe is the site of a former temple and slaughter their Passover sacrifices inside.

Mazel Tov, eh…? Meanwhile, in nearby Bethlehem, as Mondoweiss reported today…


Remote-control gun installed atop wall near Bethlehem — Ma’an

The above device, fixed lately to the top of the separation wall north of Bethlehem, is a remote-controlled machine gun, according to Palestinian sources. Ma’an News published a report on the device three days ago, saying it’s ‘unprecedented’ and is causing anxiety among Bethlehemites. A Facebook page called ‘Bethlahem Today‘ has the same report.

Staying with the I/P…

Israel’s new land grab is clearly illegal

The Defense Minister’s green light to appropriate land in the West Bank places him in the extreme right and shatters Israelis’ hopes for resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.

With the stroke of a pen, Israel seized control of 984 dunams of territory in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared the area ‘state land.’ The terrain would be more aptly defined as contested territory, since it surrounds private Palestinian lands, which will now become enclaves that are inaccessible to the owners.

The area also includes the illegal outpost Netiv Ha’avot, home to Ze’ev Hever, secretary of Amana, an organization that primarily builds illegal outposts in the West Bank. It’s likely that this outpost will be ‘laundered’ as well, and along with the settlements Neve Daniel, Elazar and Alon Shvut, Netiv Ha’avot will see significant expansion.

Ya’alon’s outstretched arm did not stop in Gush Etzion. On the eve of Passover, he allowed Hebron settlers to inhabit the so-called ‘House of Contention,’ in the wake of the High Court of Justice’s rejection of the petition by the home’s former owners and ruling that the sale of the building to a Jewish investor was legal.

Although the defense minister is acting in accordance with his authority his powers are based on a warped legal system. That system was developed over decades as a means to chip away at international law and provide a cover of legality for illegal occupation policies. Otherwise, how could it be that expanding settlements or populating a West Bank Arab city with Jews could be legal, while settlement itself is illegal?

Now, If anybody really doubted that Abu Mazen was part of the problem, rather than the solution for the Palestinians…

Palestinian leader signals willingness to extend peace talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday that it was still possible to revive moribund peace negotiations.

Abbas told five Israeli opposition legislators from the Labor and Meretz parties that he was willing to extend the negotiations past their April 29 deadline ‘if the Israeli side commits to the principles that can allow an extension,’ his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.

The Palestinians first want Israel to release a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners as promised, and to announce a total settlement freeze. They also want Israel to accept a Palestinian territory based on boundaries that existed prior to the 1967 Middle East War.

‘If there is an agreement on these principles, we are ready,’ Abu Rudeineh said at a news conference after the meeting in Ramallah. ‘But if Israel does not accept them, the Palestinian leadership will meet again to take the proper decision.’

Here’s an interesting op-ed… Palestinians and Israelis: Negotiating in all the wrong places

And, for sh*ts and giggles, The Mustache of Fury, flaps his lips… BOLTON: A ‘three-state solution’ for Middle East peace Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan

Moving along…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

What Ceasefire…?

7:50 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So, today, our SoS arrived in Jerusalem…

Clinton vows work on Gaza truce “in days ahead”

… “In the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem.

Clinton spoke after Hamas said an Egyptian-brokered truce deal that it had expected to be in place by Tuesday night was delayed because Israel has not responded to proposals…

“If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem with diplomatic means, we prefer that,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said alongside Clinton, who will travel to Cairo on Wednesday.

But if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.

In fact, Madame Hillary, further expounded…

…”The American commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” Clinton said at a brief press appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the two entered closed-door talks.

“That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation” in the Palestinian territory, said Clinton, who welcomed Egyptian mediation efforts.

Clinton was speaking only moments into a regional tour that will also take her on Wednesday to the West Bank city of Ramallah and on to Cairo for talks with Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi.

Her arrival in Jerusalem coincided with furious speculation that a Gaza truce announcement by the two sides was in the works and could come as early as Tuesday night…

About that Egyptian-brokered truce, it’s seems that Hamas said Gaza truce was agreed to; but Israel, Egypt say no deal yet…! Funny how it wasn’t due to Hamas’ unwillingness… Indeed, it was quite the opposite…

…According to Izat a-Rishk, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror government, there would be no cease-fire until Wednesday at the earliest, because Israel had rejected Hamas’ conditions for a cease-fire.

“All possibilities are open, and our people are ready for all possibilities,” he said, referring to the still-possible Israeli land invasion of Gaza. Tens of thousands of IDF soldiers are reportedly poised to enter Gaza, to carry out objectives on the ground.

As talk of the cease-fire faded, the IDF increased its hammering of Gaza terror sites. In one raid Tuesday night, IDF planes caused significant damage to the main Hamas government building in Gaza City.

Between 9 and 11 PM Tuesday, the IDF carried out more than 50 bombing forays on targets in Gaza. Twenty terrorists were injured. Over 100 targets were destroyed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of targets the IDF destroyed in the six full days of Operation Pillar of Defense to about 1,500. Half of Tuesday’s raids were on terrorists preparing to fire missiles at Israel, with the balance hitting smuggling tunnels, arms factories, and rocket-launching sites and equipment…

To be sure…Israel delays truce, escalates attacks…! From MSNBC even…Ceasefire postponed, dependent on Israel’s response…

Now, hot on the heels of Regev’s little melee on Al Jazeera… Al Jazeera Host Clashes With Israeli Spokesman, Charges Israel With Targeting Journalists… Of which, Edward Teller, had covered brilliantly earlier… When are Journalists legitimate Military Targets?

Well, today… Israeli Airstrikes Kill 3 Palestinian Journalists… In their own cars…! But, wait, it gets ever better…

Report: IDF strikes Gaza building housing AFP offices

The IAF has struck a building that houses the AFP news agency’s Gaza office. A photographer working for AFP said that three Israeli missiles have hit offices located two floors above the agency’s headquarters. The IDF confirmed the strike, saying the facilities were used by Hamas intelligence operatives…

Wtf, over…?

Meanwhile the Arabs just aren’t buying the Hasbara Spin…

Netanyahu’s game plan

The Israeli attack on Gaza seems to be more of an attempt to draw lines and affect the emerging Middle East following the Arab Spring than just retaliating against Hamas.
In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to engage into a bigger military operation could be seen as sending a message to the newly re-elected President Barak Obama, a test to Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi and the emerging Islamist forces in the region and on the top of that to serve his narrow political agenda now that an earlier elections have already been called… {…}

Israel apparently was not keen in providing that breathing time. Rather it wants to send a clear message that it is not only part and parcel of the Middle East, but given its military edge and international connections, it is a serious player that could not and should not be sidelined in any talk about a new Middle East.
The message goes in fact even to Israel’s main military, economic and political bankroller, the United States. It is no secret that Netanyahu has been banking on electing Mitt Romney instead, but results ended in a different way bringing Obama back again to the Oval Office. Instead of waiting to be reprimanded by Obama, a military operation will easily shift the discussion from the personal to the more solid partnership between the two states.
Already Obama was quick to raise the issue of the right of Israel in defending itself, but the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will resurface and focus on earlier commitments by Obama to further the two states solutions now that he is supposedly free from re-election strings that have characterized his first term in the Oval Office.

In fact with the quick sands moving in the Middle East, the Obama administration is facing a more complicated region that calls into question the old well established relationships.

The Israeli operation in Gaza sends the clear message that it alone knows best how to deal with the Arabs through excessive militarism that have succeeded in the past in forcing military and secular regimes to come to terms with the reality and recognize Israel. The same could be applied now with the rising Islamists and all Washington needs to do is to continue its unwavering support, leaving the rest to Tel Aviv

All the while… Gaza death toll climbs to 130…

*gah*

by CTuttle

False Flags and Persian Fantasies

8:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Why does the Grey Lady continue to employ David Sanger, didn’t they learn anything from the sordid Judith Affair…? Of course, AIPAC stoolie, Ethan Bronner is just as bad…! Anyways, let the hatchet’s blade fall where it may…

Iran Offers Plan, Dismissed by U.S., on Nuclear Crisis

With harsh economic sanctions contributing to the first major protests in Iran in three years, Iranian officials have begun to describe what they call a “nine-step plan” to defuse the nuclear crisis with the West by gradually suspending the production of the uranium that would be easiest for them to convert into a nuclear weapon.

But the plan requires so many concessions by the West, starting with the dismantling of all the sanctions that are blocking oil sales and setting off the collapse of the Iranian currency, that American officials have dismissed it as unworkable. Nonetheless, Iranian officials used their visit to the United Nations last week to attempt to drum up support, indicating that the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is finally feeling the pressure.

“Within the intelligence community, I think it’s fair to say that there is split opinion about whether the upper level of the regime is getting seriously worried,” one senior intelligence official said when asked why the Iranians appeared to be backing away from their earlier stand that nothing would stop them from producing more medium-enriched uranium, which can be turned into bomb fuel in a matter of months.

“He’s erratic, and we’ve seen him walk up to the edge of deals before and walk away,” the official said, referring to Ayatollah Khamenei.” {…}

Obama administration officials say the deal is intended to generate headlines, but would not guarantee that Iran cannot produce a weapon. “The way they have structured it, you can move the fuel around, and it stays inside the country,” a senior Obama administration official said. “They could restart the program in a nanosecond. They don’t have to answer any questions from the inspectors” about evidence that they conducted research on nuclear weapons technology, but nonetheless would insist on a statement from the agency that all issues have been resolved.

Yet we’re supposed to lift sanctions that would take years to reimpose, if we could get countries to agree,” the administration official said.

‘twould be a pity if the 120 nations of the NAM caught wind of our IAEA shenanigans, eh…?

And look. it’s the old ‘Mad Mullah’ dodge, too…! Despite the fact that everybody, that has any inkling of a clue of Islamic law and/or their traditions, would’ve soon realized that Iran is indeed Not pursuing a Nuke…! Nuclear weapons are forbidden in Islam, says Ayatollah Khamenei…! Something that 16 of our 17, US Intel/MIC bureaus agree with, alongside, the entire Israeli Intel/IDF apparatchik…!

To be sure…Robert Gates: War on Iran Would Be ‘Catastrophic,’ Make Tehran Nukes ‘Inevitable’ Which is the exact same sh*t every, sane, sober, ‘Iran Expert’, has been saying, for years and years…!

Yes, we must indeed resist thy temptations of total war or rather Complete Spectrum Dominance

The Temptation of Regime Change…

…Holding out hope that sustained pressure will hasten regime change in this case represents a bad bet. It means placing trust in a very uncertain process—notwithstanding the tear gas in Tehran streets—while jettisoning an important tool that if properly used would help lead to an agreement that would satisfy all legitimate concerns about nuclear proliferation as it pertains to Iran.

Even if regime-change-wishers had a better bet to make, they need to think hard about what they are wishing for. Much of what they don’t like about Iran is not unique to the Islamic Republic and would continue under any imaginable successor regime. That includes the current nuclear program, which began under the shah and has broad public support. It also includes many other things, including opposition to Israeli policies in the region.

We should have learned some things in this regard from our regime-changing experience in Iraq, where the regime we have been left with is narrowly sectarian, increasingly authoritarian, and pro-Iran.

And, lest you forget that Economic Sanctions are indeed illegalUN chief: sanctions harm Iranians…

Speaking of Iraq… Russia to sign $5-billion defense contract with Iraq…! Fancy that…?

So, once again, WTF, over…?

Now, somebody that was several pay-grades above me in the Army had smelt the very same rat I had(amongst others)… Martyrs Brigade in Syria has 120 mm. mortars…!

The purported ‘mortar’ fire is not the same as the Nato/Turkish Field Artillery(either 105mm or 155mm) that had pounded Syria for two days, in spite of, Assad apologizing and promising to investigate the incident…!

The ever intrepid, b @ MOA, has been all over it… Erdogan Made To Step Back From The Brink

…If this incident was a false flag operation, which seems more and more likely, it only achieved a part of what it was supposed to achieve. Erdogan did get the Turkish parliament to give him war powers. But the more important backing from NATO did not come through…

Thank Dawg, for small favors…!

Anyways, the natives are getting mighty restless all over the MENA…! So, where shall I start…?

I suppose I should start with the very spot that sparked it all… Protesters in Tunisia storm city hall in town where revolution began…!

King ‘Playstation’ in Jordan, has just dissolved Parliament in a bid to fend off a open populist revolt…

Also, something that most sober observers on the Syrian fiasco have long predicted is coming to fruition… Syria unrest sparks rifts among Lebanon’s Palestinian factions…!

And if that wasn’t enough, Bahrain continues it’s jackbooted crackdown on the Shi’a…

Shias clash with police in Bahrain

…Riot police in Bahrain used water cannons and tear gas yesterday to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters trying to reach a heavily guarded site that was once the hub of their uprising.

The demonstrators marched toward Pearl Square in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, after a funeral procession for a protester who died in custody. The government said the man died of a blood disease…

In summing up all this f*ckery afoot… Don’t drone me, Bro…!

And, last but not least…. Why I Dislike Israel…!

And how…! *gah*

by CTuttle

Mossad Chief: Nuclear Iran not necessarily existential threat to Israel, IDF Chief: Nuclear Iran a threat to entire region, not just to Israel

7:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Honestly, I could not make this up, even if I’d tried…

Mossad chief: Nuclear Iran not necessarily existential threat to Israel

Tamir Pardo says Israel using various means to foil Iran’s nuclear program, but if Iran actually obtained nuclear weapons, it would not mean destruction of Israel.

Juxtaposed to this nonsense…

IDF Chief: Nuclear Iran a threat to entire region, not just to Israel

Benny Gantz says Israel, international community can meet challenge of nuclear Iran through ‘proper preparations.’

So which is it, Israel…?

Just to refresh one’s memory, earlier this month, the previous Mossad Chief made his opinion well known…

Former Mossad chief: Israeli attack on Iran must be stopped to avert catastrophe

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned Thursday against an Israeli attack on Iran, saying such a move would likely lead to a regional war involving Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria.

“I’m concerned about possible mistakes and I prefer to speak out before there is a catastrophe,” Dagan said in an interview on the Israeli television program “Uvda.”

“I think that engaging, with open eyes, in a regional war is warranted only when we are under attack or when the sword is already cutting against our live flesh. It is not an alternative that should be chosen lightly.”

Anyways, it’s always refreshing to hear sober minds speaking the truth…! Here’s Antiwar’s Scott Horton doing the yeoman’s work…

First, this excellent interview with Flynt Leverett…

Iran ‘Threatens’ Self-Defense

Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, as a response to sanctions that may eventually cut off Iran’s oil exports; why the US and Israel don’t really have a problem with Iranian nuclear weapons, just Iran’s refusal to submit to US regional hegemony; Israel’s “red line” on Iran’s uranium enrichment at Qom; why US foreign policy planners don’t learn from prior mistakes (because superpowers don’t have to); and why waging war with borrowed money is a sure sign of a declining empire.

Then his awesome interview with the intrepid Gareth Porter…

No, Iran Did Not Do 9/11

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses his article “Crackpot Anti-Islam Activists, ‘Serial Fabricators’ and the Tale of Iran and 9/11;” the US court judgement finding Iran liable for the 9/11 attacks in a civil lawsuit brought by victims’ families; the testimony of an Iranian defector, previously discredited as a “serial fabricator;” the alleged secret meeting between Iran’s leadership and OBL’s son, complete with miniaturized models of 9/11 targets and an ominously dangling toy missile; the anti-Islam groups peddling a grossly exaggerated, conspiratorial narrative in “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” style; and how Iran’s passport-stamping practices have become the basis of “material support” of al-Qaeda charges.

Btw, Benny Gantz being the misogynist beneficent chap that he is, further quipped…

“I would be happy if this phenomenon (Arab Spring) leads to democratic neighboring countries, but in case of negative developments there is room for concern,” he said. According to Gantz, poverty and economic hardship may strengthen radical and Islamists elements, “and that possibility seems more likely.”

Gantz also referred to segregation of women in the IDF, and said “there is no place for it.” Women “can take pride in their service and in their singing,” he said.

Charming lad, eh…?

Gotta love that religious fervor of the Haredi…!

Finally, it would appear that Iran has blinked…

Salehi: Iran ready to renew nuclear talks with world powers

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the Islamic Republic is prepared to renew talks with the p5+1 group of world powers over its controversial nuclear program, the Tehran Times reported on Friday.

Speaking with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun in Tehran, Salehi said that Iran was prepared to reenter negotiations with the group made up of the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany based on the “step by step” plan proposed by Moscow in July. The plan calls for a gradual easing of sanctions against Iran in exchange for the Islamic Republic disclosing details about its nuclear program.

Trita Parsi is right… Without renewed diplomacy, war with Iran lies around the corner…

Will saner minds finally prevail in the New Year…?

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to all…! *g*

by CTuttle

On 3rd Anniversary, Cast Lead II, Or WW III…?

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The IDF’s Benny Gantz recently boasted…

IDF chief: Gaza war against Hamas was an ‘excellent’ operation

Second round of fighting in Gaza is not a matter of choice for Israel; it must be initiated by Israel and must be ‘swift and painful,’ Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz says…

As Paul Mutter wrote at Mondoweiss…

…For now, I think Gantz is saber-rattling. Israel is hoping to scare or wrongfoot Hamas as it scores political successes through the prisoner exchanges, the electoral success of Egypt’s Islamist bloc, entry to the PLO and new unity talks with Fatah. A more conciliatory Hamas is not what Likud wants to deal with. The best way to undermine Hamas’s nonviolent political successes would be to put Hamas in awkward position over the actions of Islamic Jihad (which Israel struck just this week) or another militant organization. Hamas’s leadership would be an awkward position of having to manage feelings of militant nationalism that it has cultivated in order to secure potentially ephemeral political concessions. Its legitimacy would be at stake, but should it respond with violence, its survival would be in jeopardy.

Hamas will likely avoid the temptation to return to fighting. The Middle East is too politically fluid at the moment. But given the hawkishness of the “liberal” alternatives to Likud, as Dimi Reider points out, I am still convinced that the timing of Cast Lead II will be a question of when, not if. Israel would be more likely to use massive force against Gaza than Iran if it came down to an eleventh-hour choice for Defense Minister Barak. Israel’s leadership has no doubt been encouraged by SecDef Leon Panetta and President Obama’s public backpedalling on their reluctance to attack Iran. The U.S. could deal with Iran (an “October surprise,” as some have suggested), leaving Israel a stronger hand to play against Hamas. The timing for any of these possible actions will greatly depend on how the 2012 U.S. presidential election progresses.

As for how the IDF will react to Hamas’s announced new focus on popular demonstrations, Gantz’s past comments about the Arab Spring offer some insight:

There is a focal player in the Middle East – the street – and it is clear to us that in the coming months we can find ourselves in broad popular demonstrations, which gain public resonance. The IDF is preparing for these demonstrations.

[snip]

For this reason, we will act with great fire power and full force at the very beginning of the confrontation. Anything the camera can stand or could stand in the first three days of fighting – it will not be prepared to put up with thereafter.

Now, here’s proof positive the Likudniks don’t want peace with the Palestinians on any terms…

Palestinians offer to renew Israel peace talks without settlement freeze, official says

PA reportedly submits new Quartet offer to restart negotiations, demand Israel releases 100 Palestinian prisoners; Israel rejects offer fearing renewal of only low-grade talks…

…The Palestinian proposal was reputedly the result of heavy pressure applied by Quartet members – the United States, the European Union, Russian, and the United Nations – on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks before January 26…

…Quartet officials – especially EU – made it clear to the Palestinians that they would bear equal responsibility in the event that the two sides would not resume talks by late January…

…With one month to the Quartet deadline, the two sides haven’t even held predatory meetings that were supposed to take place two months ago, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s adviser Yitzhak Molcho and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were supposed to set the talks agenda.

The Israeli official indicated that Israel rejects the Palestinian offer for two reasons: 1) That is replaces one precondition with another, and 2) since officials say the Palestinian proposal is too vague and did not make it clear whether the prisoners’ release will lead to full talks that would include meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas or just the preparatory sessions…

…News of the new PA proposal came after on Sunday, Netanyahu commented on the recent moves by Fatah and Hamas to set up a unity government, saying that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians should such a government be established.

“If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a conference for Israeli ambassadors.

He added that he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas anytime, anywhere, in order to renew negotiations

Now, isn’t this reassuring…

Israel, U.S. discuss triggers for military strike on Iran

The Daily Beast reports that the countries are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities…

Please read this entire, well-researched, and chilling article, Tom Burghhardt wrote recently…

Red Lines and Ticking Clocks: U.S. War Plans Against Iran

Wars don’t just happen.

Before the first bomb falls disinformation specialists prepare the ground.

Leading media outlets, foreign policy journals and a plethora of think tanks funded by elite foundations, energy and weapons’ conglomerates, “right,” “left” or “center” take your pick, churn out war propaganda disguised as “analysis.”

From the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP), rhetorical skirmishes aside, the line is remarkably similar.

Indeed, for “conservative” and “liberal” elite bloviators alike, Iran poses an “existential threat” to Israel and America’s regional “allies,” a disparate crew of land-grabbing colonizers, murderous princes and profligate potentates.

Only U.S. intervention, in the form of an overt military attack now or crippling economic sanctions followed by military action later, can save the day and bring “democracy” to the benighted Iranian people…

{snip}

…That an attack on Iran might set-off a global conflict with far-reaching, and deadly, consequences was underscored by Russia Today.

Analyst Col. Vladimir Popov said that “if in the midst [of an attack on Iran] Azerbaijan supported by Turkey, attacks Armenia, then, of course, all of the adversary’s attacks against Armenia will be repelled by Russia in conjunction with Armenian anti-missile defense forces.”

“The analyst does not exclude the possibility of Russia’s military involvement in the Iranian conflict.”

“‘In the worst-case scenario’,” Popov told RT, “‘if Tehran is facing complete military defeat after a land invasion of the US and NATO troops, Russia will provide its military support–at least on a military-technical level.”

As the United States, Israel and NATO prepare the ground for war against Iran, and with operations already underway by the U.S. and NATO to effect “regime change” in Syria, Iran’s close regional ally, the pieces of a slow-motion global catastrophe are falling into place.

God help us all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

IDF: Only a ‘Few’ Live Bullets Fired

7:08 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today’s Haaretz…

IDF: Only a few live bullets fired during Naksa Day protest on Syria border

IDF investigation into Sunday’s violent clashes reveal that the IDF used extremely limited fire against the protesters; Syria reports that 23 protesters were killed by IDF fire.

…Senior IDF officials told Haaretz that the army’s operation was carried out in a way to reduce the number of injuries among the protesters.

According to the IDF inquiry, a number of Syrian protesters had been killed when Molotov cocktails which the protesters had been throwing set off an anti-tank minefield, near the border town of Quneitra.

The IDF said that since all the casualties were on the Syrian side of the border it was unable to provide an exact count, but it expressed great skepticism about the Syrian figures. Soldiers fired “with precision” at the bottom half of the bodies of the protesters, the army said…

Thank goodness they weren’t aiming for their heads, eh…?

Naturally… IDF fears continued Palestinian infiltration on Syria border…

Today, Max Blumenthal, totally blew the lid off of the Hasbara ‘spin’…

On Naksa Day, unarmed resistance sends Israel into violent contortions

…In the hours following the bloodshed, the Israeli response grew increasingly contorted. Army spokespeople claimed the demonstrators “were responsible for their own deaths,” claiming they stepped on landmines. No evidence of landmine deaths was provided by the unnamed military sources, only conjecture. Next, Israel turned to its favorite Syrian cut-out in Washington, Farid Ghadry, an AIPAC member and discredited “serial entrepreneur” who is widely regarded as the Syrian version of Ahmed Chalabi — Ghadry actually met Chalabi in Richard Perle’s living room. In a statement published on the website of his astro-turfed Reform Party of Syria, Ghadry claimed that the protesters at Quneitra were not actual Palestinian refugees, but impoverished “Syrian farmers” who had been paid $1000 each by the Assad regime just to show up, and $10,000 to die. Ghadry claimed he gleaned the information from “intelligence sources close to the Assad regime in Lebanon.” [...]

…By this logic, Israel is trying to calibrate its approach to the anti-Assad protests, taking into account the fact that the opposition movement is likely to be more antagonistic to it than Assad has been. The military-intelligence apparatus will determine how and when Israel responds, seeking to derive maximum gain from Syria’s internal crisis. But since the Arab Spring arrived on Israel’s doorstep, Israel’s strategy has depended on lethal violence and little else. And it may be that it has no other strategy, that there is no Plan B…

Meanwhile, the Settlement building continues apace…

Israel Prepares To Approve 4100 New Units For Israeli Settlers In East Jerusalem

The Israeli Interior Ministry, and the so-called Construction and Planning Committee, are preparing to officially approve 4100 units for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem…

That Palestinian Pizza Pie is rapidly dwindling…!

Any wonder why the Palestinians are pissed…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

23 Killed, 350 More Wounded in Naksa Protests

2:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Video: Marchers rescue injured people, bodies in occupied Golan Heights… A video posted on YouTube by the website Baladee.net shows marchers trying to evacuate injured and possibly dead people in the Golan Heights today after Israeli forces opened fired on marchers commemorating the 44th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of area which is part of Syria.

From AFP…

Israeli troops kill 23 on border: Syria

…Israeli troops opened fire on Sunday as protesters from Syria stormed a ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights, with Damascus saying 23 demonstrators were killed.

Hundreds of protesters rushed the ceasefire line, cutting through barbed wire as they tried to enter the Golan Heights in a repeat of demonstrations last month that saw thousands mass along Israel’s north.

Similar protests were held in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

In Majdal Shams, on the occupied Golan, Israeli troops opened fire as demonstrators sought to push through the mined ceasefire line, which had been reinforced with several rows of barbed wire blocking access to a fence.

“Despite numerous warnings, both verbal and later warning shots in the air, dozens of Syrians continue to approach the border and IDF (Israel Defence Forces) forces were left with no choice but to open fire towards the feet of protesters in efforts to deter further actions,” an army spokesman told AFP.

Updating an earlier toll, Syrian state media reported that 23 people were killed, including a woman and child, and more than 350 wounded. The Israeli military said it was aware of 12 casualties.

The United States called for calm.

“We are deeply troubled by events that took place earlier today in the Golan Heights resulting in injuries and the loss of life,” the State Department said in a statement…

What a travesty…! It is heartening to see some Israelis speaking up…

Israeli left-wing leader: IDF used ‘excessive force’ in Naksa Day protests

Former MK Uri Avneri says soldiers are ‘trigger-happy’ when it comes to Palestinians yet soft on ‘violent’ Jewish settlers; Israeli Arab MK Jamal Zahalka, calls IDF killing of protesters a ‘war crime.’

More on the protests…

In Pictures: ‘Naksa Day’ Golan protests…

Hundreds of Palestinians clash with IDF in West Bank Naksa Day protest…

90 Palestinians injured by Israeli soldiers in Qalandia…

Sadly, the wanton use of live fire to ‘quell’ peaceful protests isn’t just the IDF’s purview…

WATCH: Private Israeli security guard attacks protesters with live fire

Israeli private security opens live fire on unarmed Israeli and Palestinians demonstrators. Army arrives and throws tear gas on the demonstrators.

*gah*

by CTuttle

Some Knesset Members Sound The Alarm

7:13 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

More from Uri Avnery: "Inside the Israeli Knesset"

WHEN I was first elected to the Knesset, I was appalled at what I found. I discovered that, with rare exceptions, the intellectual level of the debates was close to zero. They consisted mainly of strings of clichés of the most commonplace variety. During most of the debates, the plenum was almost empty. Most participants spoke vulgar Hebrew. When voting, many members had no idea what they were voting for or against, they just followed the party whip.

That was 1967, when the Knesset included members like Levy Eshkol and Pinchas Sapir, David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, Menachem Begin and Yohanan Bader, Meir Yaari and Yaakov Chazan, for whom today’s streets, highroads and neighborhoods are named.

In comparison to the present Knesset, that Knesset now looks like Plato’s Academy. [...]

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Another Knesset Member, MK Zahalka, is further warning…

…the implementation of Israel’s Absentee Property Law in East Jerusalem as "a declaration of war on the Palestinian presence in the city."

This comes after Israeli Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, informed the Supreme Court that the Absentee Property Law was valid. The law in question authorizes the Israeli authorities to seize Palestinian property abandoned by its owners. [...]

"Israel is a school in confiscating land and property for colonial motives with approximately 30 laws to this end. However, this law is the most dangerous of them all because it constitutes the primary means of seizing land and property internally [inside 1948 Palestine] and in Jerusalem."

MK Zahalka warned of the repercussion of this ‘dangerous strategy’ that involves the Supreme Court ratifying the enforcement of this law and which "poses the threat of unleashing the confiscation monster to take over vast amounts of their [Palestinian] land and property" he stated.

MK Haneen Zoabi: The largest threat to Zionism is democracy…

MB: What does the attack on you in Knesset say about Israeli democracy?

HZ: Israel has a general atmosphere of a fascist state that has no critical sense even of its image in the world. It used to be sensitive to its image of democracy. [Knesset Speaker Reuven] Rivlin wants a liberal state and wants others to believe Israel is a democracy. But listen to what they are saying in the Knesset: that we should only pay attention to what we want to; it’s not important to pay attention to the goyim. We must believe we are the victim as if victimhood is an ideology.

It is mindboggling to see how low a civilized state is willing to go in order to push through an agenda that is racist and discriminating. The Palestinians are left to fend for themselves. If the Palestinians arm themselves, they will be considered terrorists and radicals and prosecuted under Israeli law or even shot outright by the IDF. However, the law and the lawmakers look the other way when the settlers, who are armed, move into the Palestinian areas and push out the local population. They are not government officials and are “allowed” to settle disputes with the Arab neighbors as they see fit. Their actions are simple – destroy the olive orchards, destroy the gardens, get the most water, directly intimidate and terrorize, etc… God forbid if the Palestinians throw stones in anger…!

That is just the West Bank and East Jerusalem, don’t get me started on Gaza…

by CTuttle

Tony Blair Lied, Bushco Should’ve Been Indicted, And Other Miscellany

8:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today, the UK Telegraph reported on the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry’s findings, and, in no uncertain terms…

Iraq inquiry: Government ‘intentionally and substantially’ exaggerated WMD threat

…"There was no deliberate discussion of available alternatives to military action in advance of the 2003 invasion," Mr Ross added.

"There is no record of that discussion, no official has referred to it, no minister has talked about it, and that seems to me to be a very egregious absence in this history – that at some point a Government before going to war should stop and ask itself, ‘are there available alternatives?"’

Giving evidence before the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, Mr Ross said that “nuanced” intelligence about the threat from Iraq was “massaged” into "more robust and terrifying" messages about Saddam’s supposed WMD.

Does ‘Nuanced’ and ‘Massaged’ sound wickedly familiar…? Just like ‘Stovepiped’ and ‘Cherry Picked’…?

Anyways, ironically, that’s not why Shrubco should be ‘indicted’…

Fox legal analyst: Bush should have been indicted

…"Well that is so obviously a violation of the natural law, the natural right to be brought before a neutral arbiter within moments of the government taking your freedom away from you," answered Napolitano.

"So what President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantanamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the Constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal," he continued.

"What should be the sanctions [for Bush and Cheney]?" asked Nader.

"They should have been indicted. They absolutely should have been indicted for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant," said Napolitano.

"I’d like to say they should be indicted for lying but believe it or not, unless you’re under oath, lying is not a crime. At least not an indictable crime. It’s a moral crime," he said.

That it is…

Meanwhile, another newsworthy finding was released today, and it eerily echoes the Chilcot findings…

…In terms of situation assessments towards the flotilla, the team clarified that the operation relied excessively on a single course of action, albeit a probable one, while no alternative courses of action were prepared for the event of more dangerous scenarios.

Regarding technological alternatives, the team determined that on the day of the incident, decision makers were not presented with alternative operational courses of action other than a full boarding of the flotilla. The team emphasized the fact that as far as is currently known, no country in the world holds the ability to stop a vessel at sea in a non hostile manner. Therefore statements made on this matter following the incident are unfounded and irresponsible. At the same time, the team determined that alternative courses of action could have existed had the process of preparation begun enough time in advance, and recommended to accelerate the process of examining alternative methods.

Btw, the IDF also concluded…

The team determined that the Navy Commando soldiers operated properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness and that the commanders exhibited correct decision making. The report further determines that the use of live fire was justified and that the entire operation is estimable.

Anybody surprised…?

Well, buckle up folks… Next stop Tehran…!

by CTuttle

Libya Sends Aid Ship To Gaza

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Al Jazeera…

A Libya-sponsored ship carrying 2,000 tonnes of aid has set sail from Greece for the blockaded Gaza Strip in spite of warnings from Israel not to approach the Palestinian territory.

The captain of the Al-Amal vessel, a Cuban national, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Saturday shortly before leaving the Lavrio Port, in southeastern Greece, that he planned to head for Gaza.

That would contradict a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry, which claims to have reached an agreement with Greece and Moldova to have the ship diverted to Egypt. However, the ship is the private property of a Moldovan owner, so it was not clear what impact the two European governments could have.

Greek authorities inspected the vessel before it was allowed to set sail.

Al Jazeera’s Khalid Al-Deeb, accompanying the Al-Amal, said the ship expected to take 70-80 hours to reach Gaza.

Yousseuf Sawani, a director of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation that organised the aid ship, said that it was "loaded with about 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid in the form of foodstuff and medications".

God speed to the Al-Amal…!

The other day, shortly after Bibi’s victory lap through DC and NYC, Marwan Bishara called ‘bullshit’ on the entire Peace ‘Process’…

[Editor Note: several paragraphs removed to keep within fair use and copyright guidelines. Please provide only a short excerpt with each link - thanks.]

The good news: "Netanyahu to give peace process a ‘robust push". The bad news, any rational person privy to the ideology and makeup of the Israeli government knows this not serious.

And yet, after their meeting, Barack Obama, the US president, has publically supported his Israeli interlocutor, saying he believed Binyamin Netanyahu would take "risks for peace" and praised the Israeli prime minister for easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Obama also called for "direct talks" between Israelis and Palestinians irrespective of the continued illegal settlements.

All of which begs two questions: How does a defunct and discredited diplomatic process continue to masquerade as a success despite its utter failure? And why do the US and its Western allies continue to finance and pamper it when it creates more instability and conflict than peace and progress?

The short answer is bullshit. [...]

In fact, I cannot but shake my head in bewilderment whenever I am exposed to the "peace industry". Peace and co-existence initiatives by NGOs have used everything from falafel to fanfare and music but failed utterly to improve the situation. Instead, they have contributed to make the occupation look normal.

More ‘bullshit’…

…"Netanyahu will not accept the Palestinian state with its own defense capability. The Palestinians will not accept a Jewish state that nibbles away with settlements in Occupied Territory."

"Nibbling away?" Israel gobbles up 42 percent of the West Bank and Schorr reduces its greed to bunny-tidbits? Palestinians are half a "deadlock" because they object to an incredible shrinking state? In the name of self-defense, Israel is allowed to bombard imprisoned Gazan civilians, as well as shoot humanitarians many times in the head and back, but "Netanyahu will not accept the Palestinian state with its own defense capability"?

Why can’t Schorr look at the scales–as he has just described them–and say the obvious? Israel–not Palestine–freights the bargaining with impossible demands.

As the IPS noted…

…For all the big words and big commitments, the Palestinians believe Netanyahu is still falling far short of striking the right notes needed to advance the final U.S. peace score. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told IPS bluntly, "Netanyahu must choose between settlements and peace. We want to resume direct negotiations, but the problem is that the land supposed to be a Palestinian state is being eaten up by settlements."

That was highlighted by the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, which in a new report issued Tuesday revealed that settlements now control nearly half of all West Bank land. Also Tuesday, the New York Times produced fresh evidence about how, quietly but resolutely, evangelical Christian groups in the U.S. are entrenching the settlers, using tax-exempt donations. The Times identifies public records in the U.S. and Israel which reveal that at least 40 such groups have collected over 200 million dollars in tax-deductible gifts over the past decade for settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"The result is a surprising juxtaposition," the Times commented. "As the U.S. government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state, the U.S. Treasury helps sustain the settlements on donations to support them." For all these discordant reports, Obama may have agreed to give Netanyahu some months leeway before taxing him with the "tough choices" he’d made a point of mentioning in their joint news conference. But, is the President actually leading the dance?

Having enjoyed for the first time the Obama White House, Netanyahu may feel free to use the rest of the summer interlude (his 10-month settlement moratorium concludes at the end of September) to change partners. And, to find the right kind of steps to keep his domestic partners on the far Right from straying from him.

Finally, What reconciliation are they talking about?

…There are several questions that need to be answered clearly and explicitly by the Committee on Palestinian Reconciliation currently working on bridging the gap between these conflicting parties. These questions also need to be answered by the two Palestinian sides of the equation themselves.

We support Palestinian reconciliation and an end to this state of fragmentation, but we must first endeavour to create the appropriate atmosphere and propose a unifying political agenda, otherwise all efforts would be like "grinding water". We must be aware of engendering false hopes as the realties are tragic and the gap is wide; the Palestinian situation is unfortunate by all standards and as such we must return to the principles, even if this leads us back to our starting point – the resistance.

Palestinians were once united within the framework of the "Palestine Liberation Organization" because it was a "liberation" movement and because the groups affiliated to it were resistance factions. The current situation is quite different; the PLO has lost its prestige just as it lost most of its influence when it stopped being a liberation organization and became a negotiator.

You know what’s ironic in this whole sordid affair, the Palestinians are entitled under international law to resist external oppression…!

Speaking of oppression…

Was this necessary…?