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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Bashar al-Assad’

Assad to Netanyahu: Help Me Keep my Seat and I Guarantee You a Calm Golan

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

A Kuwaiti news website on Friday cited a source saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received a message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in which Assad vowed to keep the Golan as a demilitarized zone, and the rest of Syria committed to a cease-fire with Israel, if Netanyahu commits to not engaging Israel in an effort to topple Assad.

The source commented that Assad was saying to Netanyahu, in effect: “Help me to control my region and I guarantee calm for Israel in the Golan Heights.”

Commenting on rumors that former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk is slated to be President Hillary Clinton’s special envoy on the peace process between Israel and its neighbors, the source told the news website that Israel is very concerned over a report that was prepared by Indyk for President Bill Clinton about the Golan Heights. Israel is anxious to point US attention to the fact that the situation on south Syria and south Lebanon has been altered by the five-year civil war, and American notions about returning the Golan to Syria are absurd under these circumstances. Assad apparently wishes to take advantage of an opportunity to strike a deal with the Israelis to secure their neutrality in the war.

Meanwhile, Politico.eu reported Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said his country is offering Russia access to the Gulf Cooperation Council Market and regional investment funds in return for pulling its support for the Assad regime.

“We are ready to give Russia a stake in the Middle East that will make Russia a force stronger than the Soviet Union, greater than China’s,” the Saudi minister said, adding, “It would be reasonable for Russia to say, that’s where our relations will advance our interests, not with Assad. We don’t disagree on the end game in Syria but on how to get there. Assad’s days are numbered,” he urged, “so make a deal while you can.”


Al-Nusra Front Changes Brand Name, Severs Affiliation with Home Office

Friday, July 29th, 2016

The leader of Syrian rebel organization Jabhat a-Nusra, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, on Thursday announced the severing of his group’s ties to Al Qaeda. In his first video broadcast, which was later carried by Al Jazeera, Al-Julani said that his organization will now be named Fatah al-Sham, and will have no outside affiliations. He explained that the move was a measure to enhance unity in the ranks, and thanked Al Qaeda for supporting his move.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced founder and original CEO Osama bin Laden, gave his blessings to the move in an audio cassette. Jabhat a-Nusra, the largest rebel army in Syria, operated from its inception as an offshoot of Al Qaeda.

Al-Julani told the Al Jazeera audience that the move was “a response to the wishes of the people of al-Sham (Syria), to remove a possible excuse the Russians and the Americans might use in bombing and expelling the Muslims of Syria under the guise of fighting Jabhat a-Nusra, over its loyalty to Al Qaeda.

Abu Mohammad al-Julani is the nom de guerre of this mysterious man, whose real name is only known to the Al Qaeda leadership. The name is a reference to the Golan Heights, which Israel liberated from Syria in the 1967 war. Back in 2013, Syrian state television reported that al-Julani had been killed near Latakia, but a year later he released an audio statement in which he promised to fight the “United States and its allies” and urged his men not to accept help from the West in their battle against ISIS — so the Syrian state-run news agency SANA withdrew its report of his demise.

He is commonly known as “al-Sheikh al-Fateh” — the Conqueror Sheikh. In October 2015, al-Julani called for indiscriminate attacks on Alawite villages in Syria (the Alawite is an offshoot Islamic sect, to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs), saying, “There is no choice but to escalate the battle and to target Alawite towns and villages in Latakia.”


Analysis: Trump’s Praise for Saddam Challenges GOP Presidents Who Took him Down [video]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”

That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”

Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”

Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.

“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”

Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.

On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”

Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.

Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”

And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.

The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.


Something Big Is Happening In Syria But Despite Warnings By 51 US Diplomats Obama Refuses To See It

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

[Initially published at Western Journalism]

On Thursday last week, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal revealed that 51 American diplomats had signed an internal State Department memo that harshly criticized President Obama’s Syria policies. The diplomats also called for airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria, the papers reported.

Robert Ford, America’s former ambassador to Syria, said that there has never been a “dissenting message” that was signed by so many diplomats within the State Department.

“The normal number for a dissenting message is two, three, four, five people. So it’s really remarkable. It says that a large number of people who work on different parts [of Washington’s policy on the Syrian conflict] are all in agreement that it’s failing. I see American diplomats who are frustrated like I was when I resigned in 2014,” Ford told France 24.

Ford thinks the diplomats’ memo won’t cause Obama to change his ways or adjust his policies in Syria. He said he was sure the message was directed at Obama and not at Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry seemed to prove Ford right when he was questioned about the protest letter by reporters during a visit to Copenhagen in Denmark. The secretary of state even seemed to side with the diplomats when he said, “It’s an important statement, and I respect the process very, very much.”

The New York Times, citing unnamed diplomats, reported that Kerry “has told President Obama that he is operating without any leverage in Syria and that unless the United States increases the pressure on Mr. Assad, the embattled leader will simply wait out the end of Mr. Obama’s term.” Kerry wants the administration to “consider a wide range of military operations to alter the equation in Syria’s civil war,” the Times wrote.

The internal dissent within the Obama administration over the president’s policy toward al-Assad in Syria has been brewing since August 2013, when Obama stunned his staff, Kerry and then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by suddenly reversing an earlier decision to order airstrikes on al-Assad’s forces after the Syrian dictator used chemical weapons against his citizens, killing 1,400 Syrians.

“That decision destroyed any credibility the administration had with Russia, Iran or Assad himself,” Reuters reported Friday, citing a former Defense Department official involved in Syria policy.

But Obama seems to be unfazed by the unprecedented criticism of his diplomatic corps.

Jennifer Friedman, his deputy press secretary, told reporters that the president is “always open to new and different ideas when it comes to the challenges in Syria” but that he does not see a “military solution to the Syrian crisis, and that remains the case.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby was even blunter on Obama’s refusal to listen to the recommendations of his diplomatic staff.

“There isn’t any U.S. efforts to target Bashar al-Assad. That’s not part of the calculus,” Kirby said during apress briefing Friday, while it had become clear that the U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria are systematically being wiped out by al-Assad and his allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin showed this weekend he understood the ramifications of Obama’s stubborn refusal to take action against al-Assad’s brutal regime.

Putin poked Obama in the eye by ordering his air force to bomb positions of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near the al-Tanaf crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border last Friday.

The attack on the New Syrian Army and the Ahmad al-Abdo Martyrs Brigades led to condemnation by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who thought that perhaps the Russians had made a mistake and acted on poor intelligence.

If Carter would have been willing to open his eyes and to read the latest updates on what is happening in eastern Syria, he would have understood that the Russian action is part of a new plan that has been concocted by Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and the al-Assad regime.

The Russian-led coalition is gearing up for a major offensive that aims to retake eastern Syria from the Islamic State and other rebel groups. The Lebanese news site NOW reported this weekend that “Iran, Russia and Syria have agreed on a ‘large action plan’ for a ‘very big battle in the Deir Ezzor’ province in which Hezbollah will play a ‘central role.’”

On Monday NOW reported that Hezbollah had “established a new military faction called the Zayn al-Abidin Brigade, named after the fourth Shiite Imam, who survived the Battle of Karbala in 680.”

NOW thinks that the move is related to the Syrian war only. However, when one takes a good look what is happening in Iraq where Iranian-backed militias have just opened the gateway to the Anbar province by driving Islamic State out of Fallujah, a different picture emerges.

Iran has a vested interest to capture the eastern Syrian desert because that would open a pathway from the Iranian-Iraqi border via Fallujah and the Anbar Province all the way to southwest Syria, where it wants to establish a new beachhead close to the border with Israel on the Syrian Golan Heights.

As Western Journalism reported Monday, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has been spotted in the vicinity of Fallujah, where he oversaw the battle against ISIS.

Soleimani is now on his way to Syria, where he will oversee the imminent new offensive in eastern Syria that was first reported by the Hezbollah-linked website Akhbar.

As astute observer Jennifer Dyer pointed out on Liberty Unyielding, the Russians have no intention to head home after the Syrian war is over. They need control over Tartus and the coastal plain in northwest Syria. The Iranians, on the other hand, are very much interested in eastern Syria.

The Russian airstrikes therefore could very well be a payback for the Iranian assistance in consolidating al-Assad’s rule over western Syria, including the port city of Tartus that is home to a Russian naval base.

This brings us back to the leaked memo of the disgruntled State Department diplomats.

It could be that by leaking this document to the press, they issued a last-minute warning that without American intervention something bigger than the survival of al-Assad’s regime will be at stake.

If nothing is done, Iraq and Syria may cease to be independent states and instead could become satellite states controlled by the two new powers that seek to dominate the Middle East: Russia and Iran.

Yochanan Visser

Report: Israel Attacked Missile Stocks at Syrian Military Base

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Syrian website Zaman Al Wasl reported Tuesday that the Israeli air force over the weekend attacked a military installation south of Homs, with an air defense division and a compound of an air defense school of the Syrian Army. According to the report, the Israeli planes did not train their rockets at the air defense systems but focused on the base warehouses, which were stocked with anti-aircraft missiles. The attack resulted in major damage to the stocks.

According to reports, the Israeli airforce planes flew very low above the region, and were exposed throughout the attack to the defense systems, but the Syrians apparently held back and did not fire at the attackers.

The Homs area is a war theater involving President Assad’s forces, rebel forces and ISIS troops, but Zaman Al Wasl, which has a reputation for reliable reports, insists the attackers were Israeli.

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

Defense Minister Liberman visits the northern front

This would be the first attack ordered by the new defense minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Tuesday visited the northern front with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and senior officers in the Northern Command.

During the tour, Liberman said, “I’ve been hearing today reviews of this region, which is always sensitive, and I can say that our northern border is in good and secure hands.” He noted: “We have no plans here other than to maintain the quiet, I hope everyone understands this well enough, including our neighbors, and in any case I don’t suggest for anyone to try and test us.”

David Israel

150 Holocaust Cartoons from 50 Countries in Iran’s Latest Attempt at Humor

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

150 Artists from 50 countries are taking part in the Third International Holocaust Cartoons Competition that began on Saturday on the premises of Iran’s Arts Bureau in Tehran. The curator of the competition, one Masuod Shojai-Tabatabai, claimed it had nothing to do with denying the Holocaust, but that it was meant to highlight the plight of Muslims currently being “massacred by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”

He had nothing to say about the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who actually have been massacred by Iran’s satellite tyrant Bashar al-Assad in Syria, in full collaboration with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. (Only yesterday, the Independent reported about thousands of children who were trapped in a Palestinian refugee camp that had been bombed by Syrian government, with full Iranian support).

“We do not mean to approve or deny the Holocaust; however, the main question is why is there no permission to talk about the Holocaust despite their (the West) belief in freedom of speech,” Shojaei-Tabatabai inquired. “Moreover, why should the oppressed people of Palestine pay the price for the Holocaust?”

The contest includes two sections of cartoon and caricature, Shojaei-Tabatabai said, adding that the portraits of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler have been highlighted in the caricature section.

Good to know.

One of the exhibition's walls / Photo credit: Mehr

One of the exhibition’s walls / Photo credit: Mehr

The first place winner in the cartoon section will receive a cash prize of $12,000, with those in second and third place taking home $8,000 and $5,000 respectively.

In the caricature section, the first place winner will have a cash prize of $7,000, the second $5,000 and the third $3,000.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif insisted in a recent interview with the New Yorker that there are no ties between the Iranian government and the cartoon contest. “It’s not Iran,” he said. “It’s an NGO that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”

But Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Conference, said everybody knows NGO running the vile competition is directly linked to and funded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the same Revolutionary Guards who are massacring Syrian civilians even as we speak.

“It has always been clear who runs Iran: the fundamentalist radicals seeking Israel’s destruction,” Lauder said in a statement. “The fact that Iran is once again providing a platform for this competition proves that it has still not changed its colors and if given the chance, could still be as dangerous as ever.”


Spokesman Says US Committed to Returning Golan Heights to Syrians — No Matter Which Syrians

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

One of the minor victories of Israeli rightwing pundits has been fueled by the gruesome holocaust taking place over the past five years in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria. Back in April 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agrees to fully withdraw from the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed Olmert’s remarks at the time that Jerusalem and Damascus were holding talks through a third-party in an attempt to resume the negotiations between the two countries.

“There are efforts exerted in this direction,” Assad told reporters. “This is nothing new, and we have discussed this in the past.” Assad added that “Syria takes every opportunity to express its willingness to establish just and comprehensive peace in accordance with the international decisions… The criterion for the acceptance of any negotiations is that they will be held seriously and that there will be a commitment to implement the UN resolutions, particularly as the Israeli side knows very well what is acceptable and unacceptable by the Syrian side.”

What was acceptable to the Syrian ruler back then was a complete return of every last inch of the Golan Heights to Syrian control, removal of every last Jew and Jewish property from the area, and a return to the 1967 borders, when Syrian snipers ruled the lives of Israeli farmers along the eastern shores of the Kinneret.

Imagine, a long string of Israeli columnists, bloggers, Facebookers and Tweeters have been saying, if Israel had indeed returned to the 1967 border just before the scum of the Middle East — Sunni rebels, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Syrian chemical warfare operators were to crowd the basalt hills overlooking Tiberias — where would we be today?

It’s a winning argument, open and shut, other than Gideon Levi and a couple other useful idiots there really is no Israeli who would ever entertain returning the Golan Heights.

But at Foggy Bottom, where life behaves according to more sublime rules than the Jewish aspiration to stay alive, no lessons have been learned regarding the wisdom of returning Syrian murderers of whatever ilk to the hills above the Kinneret.

It began during the State Dept. Monday press briefing this week. Spokesman John Kirby was asked about the official US recognition of Syria. Essentially, the reporter wanted to know, if the US is so invested in ousting President Bashar al-Assad as a prerequisite for ending the civil war in Syria, why does it still recognize him as the legitimate sovereign of that tortured land?

The reporter asked (redacted): “Legally and diplomatically you only recognize Syria, as you have in the past. In fact, you still issue press briefings in the name of the US Embassy in Syria and so on. From time to time I see that you recognize the government of the Arab Syrian Republic. You have not recognized anyone else as exercising any kind of authority or any kind of sovereignty over any territory of Syria.

Kirby: I’m not sure I understand your question.

Reporter: My question is very simple. Do you recognize any other entity in Syria to have sovereignty over that territory?

Kirby: We recognize that there is a Syrian Government in place. We also recognize that it’s led by a dictator who continues to barrel bomb and gas his people. And the government that’s in place right now, led by Bashar al-Assad, can’t be part of the long-term future of Syria, which is why we’re doing this entire political process to begin with. It’s why so many nations have come together to try to resolve the civil war and the conflict there so that people can have a government in place that they’ve actually had a voice in putting there and that is responsive and responsible for them.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/spokesman-says-us-committed-to-returning-golan-heights-to-syrians-no-matter-which-syrians/2016/04/19/

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