MIDDLE EAST | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


MIDDLE EAST

Feb 02 09:55

US Sanctions as a Tool To Perpetuate Neocolonialism

It’s an evident fact that neocolonial powers are ruled by behemoth corporations whose wealth is measured in hundreds of billions of dollars, far more than the total GDP of many developing nations. The status of these multinational corporations as dominant players in international politics gets official imprimatur when the Western governments endorse the congressional lobbying practice of so-called "special interest" groups, which is a euphemism for corporate interests.

Since the Western governments are nothing but the mouthpiece of business interests on international political and economic forums, therefore any national or international entity which hinders or opposes the agenda of corporate interests is either coerced into accepting their demands or gets sidelined.

Feb 02 09:31

Detainees Describe an American Presence in Their Torture Chambers

Inside Yemen’s prisons can be found torture, rape, disappearances, a snarling dog nicknamed Shakira—and, according to survivors, the American sponsors of a dirty war.

Feb 01 13:18

Ex-NSA Spies Ran UAE Intelligence Unit Which Hacked Dissidents

The United Arab Emirates has been recruiting American former spies in order to monitor its own citizens, and according to an explosive new lengthy Reuters investigation, the Americans which include former NSA cybersecurity specialists were increasingly asked to "cross a red line" by spying on US citizens as part of an operation called 'Project Raven'.

The story has been revealed by multiple Americans who were part of the operation, who admitted to spying on "enemies" of the UAE monarchy including journalists, activists, and foreign governments, but who only had qualms about what they were doing when asked to monitor fellow Americans.

Feb 01 10:12

INSIDE THE UAE’S SECRET HACKING TEAM OF U.S. MERCENARIES

Two weeks after leaving her position as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. National Security Agency in 2014, Lori Stroud was in the Middle East working as a hacker for an Arab monarchy.

She had joined Project Raven, a clandestine team that included more than a dozen former U.S. intelligence operatives recruited to help the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights activists critical of the monarchy.

Stroud and her team, working from a converted mansion in Abu Dhabi known internally as “the Villa,” would use methods learnt from a decade in the U.S intelligence community to help the UAE hack into the phones and computers of its enemies.

Feb 01 10:04

REPORT: US INTERROGATORS WORKING AT UAE PRISONS

US interrogators are present in UAE prisons in Yemen, the Daily Beast has revealed today, providing shocking evidence that the American military is a witness to the torture of Yemenis.

In a series of interviews, two former detainees have testified to being interrogated by men with American accents, who looked on as they were beaten and electrocuted.

“They would strip me naked, they would beat me very harshly and slowly you start to understand the dynamics in the room. These are the two people, one of them is overseeing the whole interrogation and the other is doing the questioning and ordering the torture,” a Yemeni man identified only as Salvatore said, suggesting that the US was more that an unwilling observer.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Under Gina Haspel's tutelage and leadership of the USA's CIA, it appears that US-sanctioned torture, and US participation in torture, is still alive and kicking (sometimes, literally), and well, at prisons around the world.

And forgive me, but wasn't this the same woman who pledged to the American Congress, and to the American people, that torture would not be used, under her watch as head of the CIA?!?

UNDER INTERROGATION, TORTURE QUEEN GINA HASPEL PROMISES TO STOP TORTURING
While Trump’s C.I.A. nominee pledged not to re-start the agency’s torture program, no amount of brutal questioning could get her to say the practice was immoral.

Of course, in retrospect, looking at the lady's dubious, and vilely dripping track record, before landing the "top dog" job at the CIA, it didn't take much intelligence to realize that this was simply another pack of lies she told, just to get that job.

Having chosen this woman as the head of the CIA, it is painfully clear that President Trump doesn't care at all about how things are done in this government; just that the US maintains its economic and weapons hegemony over all the other countries on earth, no matter what that might entail, including the use torture.

What he is pathologically unable to see, is that this vision is rapidly being disrupted by countries choosing not to use the dollar at all in their transactions with other countries, such as Iran and China, and working with local currencies only.

It is deeply disconcerting to me, that President Trump's two BFFs in the Middle East, are the Monster of Yemen, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince bin Salman, and Israel's Butcher of Gaza, Prime Minister Netanyahu.

However, I think I know why this has happened.

Both men have the supreme power over life and death in their respective countries, and can order hits on alleged enemies just as easily as you or I might order breakfast at a restaurant, and neither country actually has a legitimate Constitution which could, potentially, restrain them from putting other people in harm's way; in some ways, President Trump is a little jealous because of that.

And our weaponry?!? China and Russia are way ahead of the US in terms of working war weaponry that is both cost-effective, and elegantly designed, with which the US military cannot not even begin to compete at the moment.

Feb 01 09:58

YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE NY TIMES’ SUPPORT OF US-BACKED COUPS IN LATIN AMERICA

On Friday, The New York Times continued its long, predictable tradition of backing U.S. coups in Latin America by publishing an editorial praising Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This will be the 10th such coup the paper has backed since the creation of the CIA over 70 years ago.

Feb 01 09:09

U.S. COURT FINDS SYRIA RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING AMERICAN JOURNALIST MARIE COLVIN

A FEDERAL JUDGE in Washington, D.C. has ordered the Syrian government to pay $302 million in damages for the murders of journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik in a 2012 artillery strike. The decision, issued on Wednesday, marks the first time in the seven-year conflict that a court has declared Syrian forces loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad responsible for deliberately attacking civilians.

“A targeted murder of an American citizen, whose courageous work was not only important, but vital to our understanding of warzones and of wars generally, is outrageous, and therefore a punitive damages award that [multiplies] the impact on the responsible state is warranted,” wrote Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

That same bit in that last sentence, should hold just as true for US journalists and bloggers here at home, as it is for reporters abroad.

And she, and the photo journalist with her, had to know that they were operating in a war zone; made the choice to be there; and unfortunately, suffered the consequences.

But what I am seeing here is more demonization of Syria, whether or not this event actually happened, and regardless of whether it can be proven true. It may well be, but that is not the point.

I think that those in foggy bottom are waiting to see what the overnights looked like on this issue, in their quest to martial support for yet another Syrian engagement, even though that may mean fighting Russians on the ground, or in the air, neither choice being a wise one, right now.

We understand by now, that demonization, plus sanctions, are the tell-tale preludes to.... the US military's attempting to kick another country's military right in the proverbial shins.

This would be one of the most vulnerable of all moments to attempt to even be contemplating a US war with Russia on the ground in Syria, and I say this as someone who cares deeply about the current trajectory of the US's foreign and domestic policies.

And the reasons I am saying this are pretty self-evident; our military does not have the weaponry; the troop strength; the money, or the manufacturing to ensure a positive outcome for a US war against Russia in Syria, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Jan 31 15:11

A Lawless Government (Paul Craig Roberts)

Washington is blocking Trump’s order to withdraw US troops, because Israel wants the US to renew the attack on Syria and to carry it into Iran. Israel and its American vassals must think that Russia is going to stand down and permit the destabilization of the Islamic world to proceed into the Russian Federation. Once upon a time the media and the foreign policy community would have publicly examined these issues. Now the media reads out the script handed to them.

Jan 31 11:26

Report: Former U.S. Government Operatives Helped UAE Hack iPhones

Former U.S. government intelligence operatives reportedly helped the United Arab Emirates hack into the iPhones of “rival foreign leaders,” diplomats, and others — even gaining access to “compromising” sexual photos of targets according to a report by Reuters.

According to Reuters, the team of “former U.S. government intelligence operatives working for the United Arab Emirates hacked into the iPhones of activists, diplomats and rival foreign leaders with the help of a sophisticated spying tool called Karma, in a campaign that shows how potent cyber-weapons are proliferating beyond the world’s superpowers and into the hands of smaller nations.”

Reuters reported that the tool allowed the UAE “to monitor hundreds of targets beginning in 2016, from the Emir of Qatar and a senior Turkish official to a Nobel Peace laureate human-rights activist in Yemen, according to five former operatives and program documents reviewed by Reuters.”

Jan 31 10:26

US Intel Chief: Israel Strikes in Syria May Lead to Regional War

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that he believes Iran wants to “avoid a major armed conflict with Israel,” but that continued Israeli attacks on targets in Syria may ultimately spark an Iranian retaliation.

“Israeli strikes that result in Iranian casualties increase the likelihood of Iranian conventional retaliation against Israel.” Coats added that Israeli strikes are raising growing concerns that the “conflict will escalate.”

Coats’ comments actually reflect an assessment from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin made just a day before, that he believes Iran will “retaliate with greater force” against northern Israel, and that Israel can no longer trust in “understandings” with Russia to avoid Iran retaliating against attacks.

Jan 30 14:53

Spotlight on UK Zionist bullyboy Steve Silverman

Devon Nola examines the key traits of the UK’s “Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’s” so-called “Director of Investigations and Enforcement”, Steve Silverman, as manifested in his public pronouncements which denounce, belittle, demean and smear musicians and artists.>>

Jan 29 07:02

AMERICA’S SHAMEFUL WAR

The United States, champion of freedom and self-determination, is now in its 18th year of colonial war in Afghanistan. This miserable, stalemated conflict is America's longest and most shameful war. So far it has cost over $1 trillion and killed no one knows how many Afghans. This conflict began in 2001 on a lie: namely that Afghanistan was somehow responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the US ... Washington, which has done as much as the former Soviet invaders to ravage Afghanistan, has no clear idea what to do next. President Trump announced withdrawal of some of the 14,000 US troops (and large numbers of mercenaries) from Afghanistan. But then the pro-war neocons at State and the Pentagon sought to veto the president's statement.

Jan 28 13:53

Israeli general mounts challenge to Netanyahu by flaunting Gaza carnage.

Jonathan Cooks says if Benny Gantz becomes Israel’s next prime minister, he is likely to reinforce in Israelis’ minds the need not for peace but for an ultra-nationalist right that bathes itself in an ethnic supremacist philosophy and dismisses any recognition of Palestinian rights.>>

Jan 27 19:01

UNDERCOVER AGENTS TARGET CYBERSECURITY WATCHDOG CITIZEN LAB FOR EXPOSING DETAILS IN JAMAL KHASHOGGI’S CASE

The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his gruesome death are being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives, The Associated Press has found.

Jan 27 09:09

Muslim Nations Hate ISIS, Too

THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP has wrought so much carnage on the Muslim world that a survey of nations with large Muslim populations shows it is almost completely despised by members of the faith it claims to represent.

The Paris attacks last week by the Islamic State group that killed at least 129 people have sparked a backlash in the U.S., with Republicans in particular seeking to block the immigration of refugees from the extremists' home base of Syria.

But the jihadist group also is battling Muslims that don't share its ideology, and recently staged terror attacks in Beirut added to the death toll of Muslims killed by its campaigns in recent years.

Jan 26 12:05

HOUTHIS CAPTURE 15 POSITIONS IN NORTHWESTERN YEMEN

The Houthis conducted a surprise attack in the northwestern province of Hajjah on January 26 and managed to capture 15 positions south of the al-Nar mount from the Saudi-led coalition and its Yemeni proxies, according to the al-Masirah TV.

“A state of confusion is prevailing among the mercenaries … Their fighters fled from the battlefield in masses,” the Yemeni TV channel quoted Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, as saying.

Jan 26 09:09

UN BEGINS INQUIRY INTO KHASHOGGI MURDER

The United Nations Human Rights Office announced yesterday it is beginning an investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a statement, the UN said that an independent panel would seek to establish “the nature and extent of states’ and individuals’ responsibilities for the killing”.

The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said she would travel to Turkey next week to head an “independent international inquiry” into Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

British barrister Helena Kennedy and Duarte Nuno Vieira, a pathology expert and professor at the department of legal and forensic medicine at Coimbra University, Portugal, are among the team. Along with Callamard, they are to visit Turkey between 28 January and 3 February and plan to report to the UN Human Rights Council in June.

Callamard said that the findings will be raised at the UN rights office on 19 June.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

More sound and fury from the UN, signifying nothing; the responsibilities for the death of Khasshogi will be squarely placed on the "usual suspects" (underlings, with absolutely no power of decision making whatsoever), and the real blame against who most probably ordered the hit (most likely, the Butcher of Yemen, Crown Prince Bin Salmin and his cohorts in the White House), will be left , uncharged, in order to let Saudi Arabia and US continue their genocidal war in Yemen.

Jan 25 11:40

Barclays was 'basically dead' without Qatari cash, London court told

The Serious Fraud Office prosecutor told the trial of Barclays’ ex-chief executive John Varley and three former senior executives that Qatar had played hardball as the British bank struggled to shore up its balance sheet during the financial crisis.

“Without 1 bln (pounds), at the very least, from Q (Qatar) we are basically dead,” Boath told his Barclays line manager on May 28, 2008, in a communication read out in Southwark Crown Court by prosecutor Edward Brown on the second day of the case.

Former CEO Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Boath deny conspiring to commit fraud by false representations when Barclays raised more than 11 billion pounds from investors in 2008, allowing it to avert a British state bailout.

Jan 25 11:39

Germany approves export of weapons systems to Qatar

The German government has approved the export to Qatar of four RAM naval missile systems developed by Germany and the United States, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers in a letter seen by Reuters.

Jan 25 11:30

OIL WARS: SAUDI ARABIA’S DANGEROUS GEOPOLITICAL GAME...

Saudi Arabia is putting itself in a potentially dangerous geopolitical position as it seeks to continue its decades' long relationship with Washington while at the same time forging new ties, mostly based on oil markets cooperation, with Moscow.

Jan 25 09:45

Swine Flu Now Spreading in Yemen as Health System Crumbles under Saudi Attack

Flu cases that could otherwise be treated are leaving patients in critical condition and facing death. Yemen’s health officials estimate that 80 percent of those with H1N1 risk death owing to the lack of medication available and Yemen’s devastated health infrastructure.

Jan 24 11:45

MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS LITERALLY MAKING PEOPLE SICK

I do not for one second doubt that Americans are feeling more stressed and suffering more health-degrading symptoms as a result than they were prior to Trump’s election. But Pacific Standard and its “growing body of research” ignore the most obvious and significant culprit behind this phenomenon which is tearing people’s health to shreds: the mass media which has been deliberately fanning the flames of Trump panic.

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia’s natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What is infinitely more grating, from where I sit, is not the "Trump Panic Syndrome", but the "Trump Reality Syndrome", which includes things he had promised on the campaign trail which he has not done... and things President Trump has done, in these first two years of his Presidency.

1. The massive disparity between the monied and the desperate keeps growing exponentially. There are little victories, of smaller companies moving back to the US (probably with some rich state/town perks and benefits for having done so.) But the consistent off-shoring, out-sourcing of American jobs continues apace. There is an epidemic of homelessness in this country which is unprecedented.

Remember the stunning scenario which inspired Victor Hugo to create his "Les Miserables"?!? In 1845, on the streets of Paris, he observed the same incident that triggers the novel's action. On a sunny but cold day, he saw an impoverished man being arrested for stealing a loaf of bread. As the man stood on the street, an ornate carriage pulled up beside him. Inside there was a dazzlingly beautiful woman dressed in velvet, playing with a child hidden under ribbons, embroidery and furs. The impoverished man stared at the woman in the carriage, but she was totally unaware of him. Hugo wrote that he saw this man as, "The spectre of misery, the ghostly forewarning in full light of day, in the sunshine, of the revolution still plunged in the shadows of darkness, but emerging from them. The moment he became aware of her existence, while she remained unaware of his, a catastrophe was inevitable."

Folks, we're there, right now; history may not necessarily repeat, but occasionally it rhymes. And let me say, for the record; as a Christian pacifist activist, I abhor violence,and would never advocate its use.

And those great pronouncements about the employment in this country, are running so low; this is a marvelous subterfuge, and a neat "hat trick", courtesy of the Department of Labor Statistics.

You see, people who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, are deliberately purged from the figures as not interested in working, almost as though they had never existed at all.

If the US unemployment rate included everyone who says they want a job, it would be nearly double

2. President Trump withdrew the US from the P5+1 deal, even though the IAEA continues to state that the Iranians are currently keeping their end of the deal. I cannot begin to articulate just how completely insane, and counter productive this was. There are many things about which I rightly criticized the Obama Administration, but this was not of them. And the consequences?!?

Remember: demonization, plus Sanctions, create the American Preludes to War.

We are on the doorstep of such a war against Iran, because Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu, keeps advocating it, calling Iran "the existential enemy" of Israel. We are plunged into our "2 minutes of hate against Iran", ad nauseum, by the corporate presstitutes. So, let's see, what could possibly go wrong here?!?

Emboldened by one of his BFFs in the Middle East, President Trump, Israel has been making bombing runs into Syria to destroy alleged Iranian placements of personnel, and equipment in that country. Netanyahu: we will not stop fighting Iran as long as I lead Needless to say, Iran is not amused with these actions, and Russia, who has been assisting the Syrian government in getting rid of US backed, equipped, and funded jihadis in Syria, has told Israel in no uncertain terms, to back off. As of yesterday, Russia blasted Netanyahu with the following demand: Israel's airstrikes against Syria must stop. We also see the following headline: World War III: Iran, Syria, Russia and Israel

I do hope our President understands the following: Tel Aviv thoroughly expects the costs of such a war to be borne in American blood and money; not Israeli. Should such a war begin, expect Russia (and perhaps China) to come into the fray on Iran's side.

3. And speaking of war, let's remember the Saudi war against Yemen, where the American government and military are complicit in Saudi war crimes. Why Are U.S. Bombs Killing Civilians in Yemen?

The reason is simple: The Saudis love to buy American bombs to continue to create a genocide in Yemen.Saudi Arabia is the top buyer of US weapons" President Trump has, by default, and his sign-off on all these deals, has given him yet another title: The American Merchant of Death in Chief.

Please think about that for a minute. Did you ever think, when you were a kid, about how you would feel, understanding you would be a citizen of a US government which would be complicit in war crimes?!?

3. The illegal immigration solutions President Trump promised the American people, have gone down in flames.

4. Us sanctions around the globe in places like Russia, China, and Venezuela, are pushing other countries further away from the US, both in relationships, and finding creative ways to ditch the dollar, and come to other understandings about how finance can be conducted.

5. I notice the corporate presstitutes are continually spewing out their vile codswallop against countries which have done nothing to the US, to further the governments'agendas which, at this time, seem to be all-out war-centric. The two countries which come to mind, are Iran, and Russia.

The US government accuses Russia of having "annexed Crimea", which never, in reality, did happen; After the 2014 Putsch in Ukraine, Crimea did two things; in a fair and peaceful referendum, the Crimean government asked the people of Crimea, if they wanted to stay in Ukraine, or petition the Russian Federation for membership. The Crimean people voted overwhelmingly to petition the Russian Federation for a membership, and the Russian Federation accepted this. And please remember: in an interview with CNN, President Obama confessed to have brokered a deal for "regime change" in Ukraine. In a CNN interview, President Obama Confesses that the US brokered a deal for" Regime change" in Ukraine, January, 2015

6. The US has left a ton of military footprints around the world. the list is breathlessly long, and may contain country names you haven't thought about since High School Geography, or may have been recently created

These are the true issues of "The Trump Reality Syndrome".

Please understand that I am just as angry about these issues as many of you are, but realize that I need to channel my anger into logic, research, and coming up with alternate ways in which this country could get what it wants, geopolitically, without resorting to war.

Because right now, war - and the monied who become enriched through war and military conflicts around the world - are winning, and I am singularly depressed about this.

Jan 23 15:35

Charity of bullies: The Campaign Against anti-Semitism

harity of bullies: The Campaign Against anti-Semitism. Eve Mykytyn examines the behaviour of Britain’s “Campaign Against anti-Semitism”, a secretive organisation bizarrely registered by the British authorities as a “charity”, which uses bully tactics to silence organisations and individuals with whom it disagrees.>>

Jan 23 09:08

Damascus Threatens to Respond to Israeli Attack With Strike on Tel Aviv Airport

Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said that it was time that the United Nations Security Council took action to stop constant Israeli attacks on Syrian territory, adding that Damascus might exercise its right to self-defence and respond to the Israeli attack on Damascus Airport with a symmetric strike on Tel Aviv Airport.

"Isn't it is the right time for this council to take the necessary measures to stop the repeated Israeli aggression against the territories of my country or should we attract the attention of the war makers in this council be exercising our legitimate right for self-defence and respond to the Israeli aggression against the Damascus International Airport by launching an aggression against Tel Aviv Airport?" Jaafari said speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is all for show; Jaafari knows that the UN is impotent against Israel; one world leader, however, who is capable of bloodying Israel's nose militarily, is President Putin of Russia.

There have been reports of conversations between Putin and Netanyahu; I have to wonder how true they are, because it doesn't look as though Putin has been able to neutralize Netanyahu's behaviour.

Time will sort that mystery, however.

Jan 23 08:50

US CONFIRMS ITS ENVOY HELD TALKS WITH TALIBAN IN QATAR

The United States has confirmed that its envoy met the Taliban in Qatar as Washington seeks to negotiate an end to the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative on Afghan reconciliation, on Tuesday met Taliban representatives in the Qatari capital Doha, the US State Department said.

"We can confirm that Special Representative Khalilzad and an inter-agency team are in Doha today talking with representatives of the Taliban," a State Department spokeswoman said, adding that the talks were taking place over two days.

The Taliban and the US envoys have officially met four times since July, in an attempt to find a negotiated settlement to the war in the embattled country.

However, Wednesdays comments mark the first time the US State Department has confirmed his meetings directly.

The meeting came even though the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on Tuesday against an Afghan intelligence base in central Wardak province.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I am not entirely certain as to where this process will lead, but I certainly hope that it ultimately leads to a complete withdrawal of US and NATO troops.

17 years on , there is still utterly no metric by which this horriific occupation can be judged "a victory".

Jan 22 10:08

What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East?

With the surprise announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria, and to a lesser extent, the announcement of a drawdown of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, many interventionist critics who had tolerated Donald Trump’s ineffectual strikes against Assad and peace talks with the Taliban seem to have reached a boiling point. But even after Trump defended his position and said Iran “can do what they want there” in Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have undercut the clarity of what seemed like a presidential decree mandating a withdrawal.

Jan 22 05:33

Make No Mistake: ISIS Needs the U.S. to Survive

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president wrote. He later expanded on that sentiment in a video message, posted on Twitter. “Our boys, our young men and women, are coming home now,” Trump noted. “We won.”

But a recent attack on U.S. forces in Syria, carried out by a suicide bomber which ISIS claimed was operating on its behalf, has led to an outpouring of criticism of Trump’s precipitous decision. “ISIS has claimed credit for killing American troops in Syria today,” Senator Marco Rubio tweeted in the aftermath of the attack. “If true, it is a tragic reminder that ISIS not been defeated and is transforming into a dangerous insurgency. This is no time to retreat from the fight against ISIS. Will only embolden & strengthen them.”

Jan 20 16:22

Who runs the world?

"Our world is run by oligarchs, the holders of vast wealth from monopolies in banking, resource extraction, manufacturing, and technology. Oligarchs have such power that most of the world doesn’t even know of their influence over our lives. Their overall agenda is global power – a world government, run by them – to be achieved through planned steps of social engineering. The oligarchs remain in the background and have heads of state and entire governments acting in their service. Presidents and prime ministers are their puppets. Bureaucrats and politicians are their factotums..." >>

Jan 19 17:36

'Jewish state' will soon cease to exist: Israeli historian

Influential Zionist historian Benny Morris, professor of the Middle East studies department of the Israeli Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has foreseen a bleak future for the Zionist establishment.

"Already today there are more Arabs than Jews between the [Mediterranean] sea and the Jordan. The whole territory is unavoidably becoming one state with an Arab majority," said Morris in an interview published by the Israeli Haaretz newspaper on Thursday.

"Israel still calls itself a Jewish state, but a situation in which we rule an occupied people that has no rights, can not persist in the 21st century, in the modern world. And as soon as they do have rights, the state will no longer be Jewish," added Morris.

"I do not see how we get out of it."

Jan 19 08:48

Lebanon urges Arab League to readmit Syria

Lebanon's foreign minister has called on the Arab League to restore Syria's membership to the 22-member bloc, the latest indicator that Arab countries are preparing to welcome Damascus back into the fold after years of diplomatic isolation.

Speaking at the opening session of an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Beirut, Gebran Bassil said it was an "historic shame" to keep Syria out of a regional economic summit planned for Sunday, adding that Damascus should be back "in our arms".

Jan 18 14:59

The beauty and the beast: Gilad Atzmon on Rachel Riley

In recent weeks Rachel Riley, a British TV celebrity, has tossed the anti-Semitism slur in the direction of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach, Aaron Bastani, yours truly and others.

In her first extended Channel 4 interview it became clear that Riley isn’t exactly an astute political philosopher.

But first watch and listen to my analysis of Riley’s long and tedious interview...>>

Jan 18 14:39

Amos Oz and the real Israel

Lawrence Davidson examines the contradictions of the late liberal Zionist Israeli writer Amos Oz which placed him at odds with democrats who shun the idea of an ethnic/religious states as Israel is, and Zionists whose beliefs are underpinned by imperialism combined with racism.>>

Jan 18 11:38

Israel Must Accept that the U.S. Will No Longer Police the Middle East

It is possible to understand the almost hysterical reactions among members of the Israeli political establishment and its media outlets to President Donald Trump’s decision to evacuate 2,000 American soldiers from Syria.

The Americans have betrayed the Kurds! This was a win for Iran and a victory for Russia! It would lead to the disintegration of Syria and to chaos in the Middle East! Israel would now be left alone without American protection! And, hey, we told you long ago that deep in his heart the Donald is an anti-Semite!

After all, the political decisions in the capital of the American Empire could affect the status of Israel and the other Middle Eastern provinces. Even the French are concerned, not to mention the strategic geniuses at the Pentagon, the State Department, and the other centers of power of American foreign and defense policy — including retired Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Jan 18 10:48

REPORT: PENTAGON SECRETLY TRAINED UAE FIGHTERS FOR COMBAT IN YEMEN — THEN LIED ABOUT IT

On Wednesday, Yahoo News revealed new documents from late 2017 that show, contrary to the Defense Department’s insistence that it is neutral in the bloody conflict in Yemen perpetrated by a coalition of Saudi Arabia and its allies, the U.S. appears to have provided training to forces from the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition:

The United States is “not a participant in the civil war in Yemen nor are we supporting one side or the other,” Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said last month, echoing a long-held position in the Pentagon.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Even the US's military lies, and with impunity.

The alleged "leadership" in this country crafts never-ending wars with which to keep Americans distracted, while foreign countries find the US government, or its minions are creating regime change, to insure that a more US-centric model; expropriates their resources; and making sure that those resources are all sold to "appropriate" countries, and only for the US dollar.

Wash; rinse; repeat.

The pattern, now, is perfectly predictable.

Jan 16 11:17

Middle East Pretense

The oil-rich Middle East is the world’s top flashpoint, the most likely hot spot for WW III to start if Republicans or undemocratic Dem hardliners dare launch it.

Iraq has been devastated by US-orchestrated and/or waged wars since the 1980s, Syria since 2011, historic Palestine for over 70 years, possible because of Washington’s one-sided support for Israel since its 1948 creation.

The region remains in turmoil over US-led NATO wars – Israel, the Saudis, other Arab states, and Turkey junior partners in what’s going on.

Everything related to US hegemonic aims involves Big Lies and deception. Pentagon forces are in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere regionally to stay, along with everywhere else where they’re deployed.

US special forces are in around 80% of world countries, their mission far removed from being good will ambassadors.

Jan 16 10:09

A Major Regional Reset: The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started This War

The Middle East is metamorphosing. New fault lines are emerging, yet Trump’s foreign policy ‘hawks’ are still trying to stage ‘old movies’ in a new ‘theatre’.
The ‘old movie’ is for the US to ‘stand up’ Sunni, Arab states, and lead them towards confronting ‘bad actor’ Iran. ‘Team Bolton’ is reverting back to the old 1996 Clean Break script – as if nothing has changed. State Department officials have been briefing that Secretary Pompeo’s address in Cairo on Thursday was “ slated to tell his audience (although he may not name the former president), that Obama misled the people of the Middle East about the true source of terrorism, including what contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. Pompeo will insist that Iran, a country Obama tried to engage, is the real terrorist culprit. The speech’s drafts also have Pompeo suggesting that Iran could learn from the Saudis about human rights, and the rule of law.”

Jan 15 13:52

Visualizing America’s Wars

The program is about two works of the prominent filmmaker John Gianvito. The discussion is how media coverage could determine the fate of wars that the US waged. The absence of media coverage of recent American wars was the cause that those wars broke out and dragged on...

Jan 14 17:22

Canada Welcomes Al-Qaeda from Syria

Justin Trudeau invited 16 families of Al-Qaeda terrorists into Canada via Israel shortly after the U.S pulled funding for ISIS terrorist proxies on the Golan Border; The relocation was an overt response by Netanyahu over loss of this support from its main ally in the region. 10 more families are awaiting relocation. This occurred mere weeks after the White Helmates had kidnapped 44 Syrian children in preparation for another botched chemical false flag attack, according to the Syrian Foreign Ministry. Absolute treason.

Jan 14 12:07

US secretary of state in Qatar urges end to Gulf diplomatic rift

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that an ongoing boycott of Qatar by four US allies in the Middle East has "dragged on too long."

Speaking in Doha during a nine-nation regional tour, Pompeo said that "great things" were happening between Qatar and the United States.

"Disputes between countries that have a shared objective are never helpful," he said in an apparent reference to containing Iran during a joint news conference with the Qatari foreign minister.

Pompeo said Gulf unity was essential for a planned Middle East Strategic Alliance that would include Jordan.

Secretary Pompeo said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar regarding the expansion and renovation of al-Udeid Air Base, the regional headquarters of the US Central Command.

Jan 14 11:20

Why Israel’s Airstrikes in Syria Are a Sign of Weakness, Not Strength

I will proceed from what seems to be an established fact (SANA confirmed) that on the night of January 11th Israel hit one depot at Damascus international airport. I.e., material damage. 12 projectiles were fired in total. Syrian air defences worked, and by all accounts they were as effective as they were in the previous Israeli bombing run (80% accuracy approx.).

Even if Israel had hit two warehouses or a local farm in addition, then it changes absolutely nothing. What the Syrian Army lost can be replaced with little risk; Iran has seemingly supplied the Syrian Army very well and continues to do so at will.

Jan 14 08:47

Inside the Yemeni school where childhood doesn't exist

Nine-year-old Ahmad spends most of his time on his own, kicking away at bits of dirt and trying to get a deflated football to rebound off an old brick wall just metres away from a classroom where he sleeps.

For the last six months, this has been Ahmad's daily routine. It helps the long days go faster, he says.

It also reminds him of some of the happier moments of his life.

Six months ago, Ahmad would spend most of his lunch breaks running around with his best friend Hesham, playing football in his school playground in the port city of Hodeidah.

But since fighting erupted in his neighbourhood last June, Ahmad's found himself enduring a rather different school experience.

Jan 13 12:51

Renewed clashes erupt in Hudaydah despite ceasefire between warring parties

Fresh clashes have erupted between Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah fighters and militants loyal to the country’s Saudi-backed former regime in Hudaydah despite a UN-brokered truce in the vital Red Sea port city.

An AFP correspondent reported artillery and machine-gun exchanges in Hudaydah's south early on Saturday, adding that they abated later in the day.

The renewed fighting came amid a Hudaydah ceasefire, which was reached between Yemen’s warring parties in Sweden in December.

They agreed to the withdrawal of their forces and deployment of UN monitors to the port, the entry point for most of Yemen’s vital aid and commercial goods.

Jan 13 12:51

Protests in Bahrain amid Pompeo's visit as part of anti-Iran ME tour

People in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain have held anti-regime protests, expressing anger at crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

The protests coincided with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the kingdom as part of his tour of the Middle East aimed at coordinating an ‘anti-Iran campaign’.

The demonstrators in the villages of Diraz and al-Musalla honored those who lost their lives during the anti-regime protests and expressed their solidarity with the country's most prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim.

Jan 13 10:26

SearchSearchUS Embassy in Iraq Covers 80 Football Fields- A Behemoth From Which to Rule the Middle East

Why is America’s Baghdad Embassy the world’s largest embassy — and the largest by far?

"It's as if the US Embassy is there not only to protect American interests, but to manage the entire world from the heart of the capital, Baghdad.”

— Iraqi Sheikh Qassim Al Ta’ee, as quoted on 27 December 2011 in Al Iraq News and translated by Ibrahim Zaidan from the original Arabic by Nicholas Dagher

Jan 13 09:05

TURKISH FORCES CONDUCT MILITARY EXERCISES ON SYRIA BORDER

Turkey has carried out military exercises at the border with Syria before an expected offensive on the northern city of Manbij, currently held by the United States-backed Kurdish fighters.

Jan 12 15:05

L is for Labour – or Likud! Cash-strapped Islington Council used taxpayer money and Israeli sources to ban a pro-Palestinian musician

Eve Mykytyn highlights the seemingly arbitrary process by which Labour-run Islington Council decided to ban pro-Palestinian musician Gilad Atzmon from playing at a local concert based on information from Zionist and Israeli sources. >>

Jan 12 10:14

Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince

The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post.

Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia's Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

Jan 12 09:19

Iranian and Afghan women: then and now

2019= Out of 50 islamic ruled countries there are only 2 countries Saudi Arab and Iran where Hijab is compulsory

But in 48 countries more then 70% total women cover them self voluntarily . This is a big count and now i ask question to the Questionnaire that who forces women of 48 muslim countries to wear hijab ?

Jan 12 05:04

Pompeo Touts US Goodness and Threatens More of It

Mideast Fact Meets Fiction: Mike Pompeo Touts US Goodness and Threatens More of It
Pompeo’s speech seems to have been a not-so-subtle means of putting the entire Mideast region and world on notice that the U.S. is poised to initiate a new era of military intervention in the Middle East in order to “liberate” nations that continue to resist U.S. influence and regional hegemony.

During a speech given Thursday at Cairo’s American University, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered remarks that some analysts have likened to a mix of evangelism and historical revisionism regarding the U.S.’ historical role in Middle Eastern and Northern African affairs.

Pompeo began his speech by stating:

"It’s the truth, lower-case ‘t’, that I’m here to talk about today. It is a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world, but because I’m a military man by training, I’ll be very blunt and direct today: America is a force for good in the Middle East.”

Prior to his speech, at an earlier press conference, Pompeo made a similarly jarring characterization of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, stating:

America has always been a liberating force, not an occupying power, in the Middle East. We’ve never dreamed of domination....”

As he continued his presentation,>>>

Jan 11 14:54

Violent explosion shakes Yemen’s Aden refineries, massive fire breaks out

A violent explosion rocked Aden’s oil refineries and broke out massive fire on Friday.

Al Arabiya’s correspondent, Radfan al-Dabees, said that one of the oil tanks was subject to gunfire, and a short circuit might have caused the explosion.

Dabees also pointed out mixed information around the real reason for the explosion and the fire.

An official at the refinery told AFP that “the tank that was on fire contains little amounts of oil, and the civil defense is trying to contain the fire and its expansion to other tanks that are full of oil and diesel.”

The official said that the fire that started in one of the tanks and further expanded to the pipes “is most likely due to a subversive action done by subversive people.”

A security source said that security forces have “stopped all workers from leaving and opened an investigation following initial news about the accident being an attack.”

Jan 11 09:57

Washington’s Backfiring Bombing

The United Nations estimates that in the first six months of 2018 airstrikes killed 149 civilians and injured 204, a 52 percent increase from the same period last year and “ It is of particular concern that women and children made up more than half of all aerial-attack civilian casualties.”

Jan 11 09:01

In Speech, Pompeo Makes Case for Continued US Intervention in Middle East

Some ten years after President Obama’s Cairo speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the city at American University presenting his own speech trying to contrast President Obama’s policies to the Trump Administration’s more heavily interventionist intentions in the Middle East.

Pompeo argued that every instance in which President Obama ended a US intervention, or didn’t intervene at all, things turned out badly. He argued that the US government is necessarily a “force for good in the world” and that would benefit everyone.

Pompeo bragged of the US having intervened against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, insisting the Middle East could never have gotten China or Russia to do that. He contrasted this to President Obama not attacking Syria outright during the war.

Jan 11 08:20

Israeli opposition leader made secret visit to UAE

Leader of the Israeli Labor Party Avi Gabbay secretly visited the United Arab Emirates in December and met with senior government officials, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.

The visit last month comes among a series of recent steps by Arab regimes to embrace Israel.

Gabbay arrived in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on 2 December on a commercial flight from Amman, accompanied by Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman.

Cymerman was reportedly involved in the talks, which focused on Trump’s so-called peace plan and Iran.

Jan 09 11:59

'US Will Not Withdraw From Syria or Middle East at all' - Scholar

Turkey is not targeting Kurds in Syria but protecting them from the tyranny and oppression of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terror group, according to Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. This comes as US National Security Adviser John Bolton arrived in Ankara for talks about US troops withdrawing from Syria.

Sputnik has discussed the talks with Dr Huseyin Bagci, the chair of the international relations department at Ankara's Middle East Technical University.

Jan 09 11:54

‘Houthis agreed to Sweden peace deal over deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen’

A high-ranking Yemeni official says delegates from the Houthi Ansarullah movement agreed to sit at the negotiating table with representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi during the latest round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations in Sweden, and struck a peace deal only because of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the crisis-hit Arab country.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Press TV television news network on Tuesday, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the Chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, said despite some violations by Saudi Arabia and its allies, the peace deal continues to stand feebly.

He, however, underlined that Yemeni army forces and allied fighters from Popular Committees are fully prepared to respond to any act of aggression committed by Saudi Arabia.

Jan 09 10:19

Jewish Moroccan scholar: ‘Israel uses Holocaust as a justification of occupation’

The Moroccan Jewish scholar, Jacob Cohen, who is known for his anti-Zionist ideas, stated that “Israel is still employing the cause of the Holocaust to justify the occupation and gain the sympathy of global public opinion.”

Cohen’s statement came during a seminar entitled: “The Holocaust and the Zionist Agenda,” which was organised by the non-governmental National Working Group for Palestine in Rabat.

Cohen, who is a human rights activist and an author, added: “Israel has been trying to invest in this cause since the 1970s in order redeem its public image and distract the world from the violations committed against the Palestinian people.”

“Israelis are always trying to raise this issue to suggest that Israel is threatened,” he noted.

Cohen continued: “At the domestic level, all the Israeli governments are trying to root the Holocaust issue in the consciousness of the Israeli citizens to continue spreading fear and violence and create a state of permanent aptness for war.”

Jan 09 08:44

Kuwait breaks from GCC on warming up to Israel

As the Arabian Peninsula’s sheikdoms pursue increasingly normalized ties with Damascus and Tel Aviv, Kuwait is displaying its independent approach to regional politics and asserting its traditional role as a champion of pan-Arab causes in diplomatic forums. While Kuwaiti officials are joining their GCC counterparts in terms of support for bringing Syria’s government back into the Arab League from the cold, Kuwait is not on board when it comes to Israel.

Jan 08 11:49

SAUDI TO ACCELERATE PROPAGANDA WAR AND RIVAL NETFLIX IN NEW STREAMING DEAL

The propaganda war between rivals in the Middle East is set to become more heated with Saudi Arabia, which owns the largest video streaming service in the region, deciding to expand its media assets to challenge Netflix.

With 140 million viewers every day across the Middle East, the Dubai based Saudi controlled MBC Group has revealed plans to launch a series of initiatives that will see an increase in productions; global content acquisitions; product and technology investments; and partnerships with leading eco-system participants.

The initiative is seen to be part of Riyadh’s efforts to wage fierce propaganda wars against rivals Iran and Qatar. MBC is hoping that its pre-eminence in Arabic TV entertainment will help it catch up with Netflix and fend off other on-demand streaming services, such as Starz Play, Wavo and Amazon.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This very much reminds me of what Hitler made certain he accomplished before he invaded Poland ; he made sure he was controlling every bit of media, to be certain that every thing said, about the war and beyond, was utterly under his control.

it appears the lesson has not been lost on The Butcher of Yemen, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Jan 08 11:33

‘UNDER UN’S CARE’: SAUDI WOMAN ‘RESCUED’ FROM DEPORTATION AFTER SOCIAL MEDIA STORM

The UN is examining the asylum appeal of a young Saudi woman who fled her family and is afraid of getting killed if sent home. She earlier barricaded herself in a Thai hotel room, refusing to leave until the UN intervened.
It will take the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) “several days” to determine whether Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, needs international protection, the organization’s representative in Thailand said. The woman earlier claimed asylum, fearing that she will be killed if expelled to her home country. UNHCR staff is expected to continue interviewing her on Tuesday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

IF these stories are true, it is not an uncommon thing for Women to be treated by their families like this, in Saudi Arabia.

But of course, that is NOT the image the Saudi monarchs want to be shown in the West, hence their desperate attempts to get her back home, where she will most likely be tried and sentenced to death by a kangaroo court, for no longer following the Wahabbi-"flavor" of Islam.

And here, surprisingly, is a companion piece which appeared in elle.com: What to Know About Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi Teen Fleeing Her Family

One cannot but wish this lady safe passage to a country where behaviour like this will not be both tolerated, and encouraged, against women.

And please remember: this country's leader, Saudi Arabia's Butcher of Yemen, AKA Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the guy to whose country the US is now selling $195 million of weaponry upgrades, is one of President Trump's BFFs in the Middle East.

Missile Defense Upgrades for Saudi Arabia, despite Khashoggi Assassination.

Jan 08 08:58

US "Peace Deal" to Include $250bn Compensation by Arab States to Jews

The prospective American peace deal, dubbed as the “deal of the century”, is to include that $250 billion be paid by Arab states in compensation for Jewish property left behind after the creation of Israel, Al-Wattan Voice said yesterday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

That is the deal killer. Israel has never compensated anyone for the land taken to create Israel, even with the United Nations saying they are obligated to. The Arab nations will never go along.

Jan 07 12:16

Yemen and the War Powers Act

There are two things you should never let your children see being made: sausage and policy. The House and Senate War Powers Resolutions were complicated to begin with, so most journalists and politicians were not able to explain half of it.

For the wonkiest of wonks, here is some information about the two separate Resolutions invoking the War Powers Act to end U.S. support for the now widely reported Saudi-led war.

What’s driving the debate and vote for US involvement in this four-year-old war, is the horrific human toll it’s taking. The United Nations called the war in Yemen the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history. New estimates show more than 60,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war in past two years, according to the UK-based independent research group Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).

Jan 07 10:38

The U.S. is sending 2,500 troops to Kuwait, ready to step up the fight in Syria and Iraq

The U.S. military is sending up to an additional 2,500 ground combat troops to a staging base in Kuwait from which they could be called upon to back up coalition forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The deployment will include elements of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. About 1,700 soldiers from the same unit are overseas now, spread between Iraq and Kuwait. They're focused on the U.S.-led effort to train and assist the Iraqi troops doing much of the fighting against ISIS there.

Jan 07 09:32

Why Trump's Advisors Keep Quashing His Realist Whims

The multitude of policy zigs and zags seems to constitute a case of a president suffering from foreign policy bipolar disorder. Yet a pattern may exist amidst all of the turmoil. Trump’s foreign policy instincts often appear to be a sound and refreshing contrast to the stale conventional wisdom that has led the United States to careen from one interventionist debacle to another over the past quarter-century. (His early hostile stance toward North Korea and his policy toward Iran at all times are the major exceptions to sound instincts.) But time and again Trump has allowed his advisers to talk him out of his initial (usually correct) positions. That’s not surprising. The president is not an avid reader about foreign policy (or apparently anything else), and his knowledge base is alarmingly shallow. That deficiency gives policy advisers an exceptional degree of influence.

Jan 07 08:10

TALIBAN WANTS US TALKS MOVED FROM SAUDI ARABIA TO QATAR

Taliban officials said yesterday that the movement will not attend planned peace talks with the United States in Saudi Arabia this month and wants them moved to Qatar.

The next round of talks between the Taliban and the US are the fourth in a series aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan. The talks will address the withdrawal of foreign troops and a possible ceasefire in 2019.

The movement’s leaders have rejected an offer from the Afghan government for direct talks despite mounting international pressure to involve the Western-backed government in the discussions.

“We are supposed to meet US officials in Riyadh next week and resume the unfinished peace process held in Abu Dhabi last month,” a senior Taliban member told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“The problem is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE wanted us to meet with the Afghan government delegation, which we cannot do for the time being, and therefore we canceled the meeting in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So, finally, there may be a way for the stalemate in Afghanistan to end, and US/NATO troops can go home?!?

I wouldn't want to bet on it right now.

Jan 06 14:05

The new Great Game on the Roof of the World

On top of the graceful Baltit Fort, overlooking the Hunza Valley’s Shangri-La-style splendor, it’s impossible not to feel dizzy at the view: an overwhelming collision of millennia of geology and centuries of history.

We are at the heart of Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, or – as legend rules, the Roof of the World. This is an area about 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) crammed with spectacular mountain ranges and amidst them, secluded pristine valleys and the largest glaciers outside of the Polar region.

The location feels like vertigo. To the north, beyond the Batura Glacier, is the tiny northeast arm of Afghanistan, the legendary Wakhan corridor. A crest of the Hindu Kush separates Wakhan from the regional capital Gilgit. Xinjiang starts on Wakhan’s uppermost tip. Via the upgraded Karakoram highway, it’s only 240 km from Gilgit to the Khunjerab Pass, 4,934 meters high on the official China-Pakistan border.

Jan 06 10:04

Pompeo Launches Middle East Tour to Galvanize Region Against Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to depart on a tour of the Middle East next week in a bid to galvanize regional leaders to confront Iran and remind allies that the United States is not disappearing from region amid the Trump administration's decision to pull American troops out of Syria and possibly Afghanistan, according to senior State Department officials.

Pompeo will depart next week on his way to meet with government leaders in Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

The goal of the trip is to show regional allies that the "United States is not leaving the Middle East," according to senior State Department officials who previewed the secretary's itinerary on Friday.

Jan 05 10:51

REPORT: USS COLE PLOTTER KILLED IN YEMEN

One of the masterminds behind a deadly attack on a US warship in Yemen more than 18 years ago was killed in that country earlier this week, according to a report published Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali al-Badawi, an al-Qaeda operative, is believed to have played a central role in the Oct. 12, 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in which 17 American sailors were killed.

US intelligence indicates al-Badawi was killed Tuesday in an airstrike in Ma’rib Governorate, CNN reported, citing an anonymous Trump administration official.

The strike took place when al-Badawi was reportedly driving alone. No collateral damage is currently known.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would like to remind our readers and listeners, during the Obama presidency, that the US and the world were told that military operatives in Pakistan killed a guy who might have somewhat looked like Bin Laden, but was not Bin Laden.

President obama announces Osama Bin Laden's death

Or if you crave a truly fact-centric version of Osama's death, try what appeared at WRH:

Osama Bin Laden: A Dead Nemesis perpetuated by the US government.

Now, this person, who allegedly put together the horror attack on the USS Cole MAY, or may not - be alive. Just please remember that, when you read stories like this. is that they need to be read with more than a grain of salt.

Jan 05 10:44

Saudi Arabia facing mounting opposition in occupied parts of Yemen

Saudi Arabia is facing mounting opposition in areas it occupies in Yemen, leading US daily the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Many view Saudi presence and its alleged development projects as a pretext for the kingdom to entrench its control in the country by controlling Yemen's highly vulnerable infrastructure, the paper said.

“We are under Saudi occupation. We don’t need the Saudis,” it quoted former deputy governor of al-Mahra Ali bin Salem al-Huraizy, who has helped organize protests against the Saudi presence in the past.

Saudi Arabia has taken control over the province's seaports and airports, using them to deploy hundreds of troops in the region.

“There are illegitimate troops in these areas. Are there forces that belong to the Houthis to be fought by the coalition here? The answer is a big ‘no’,” al-Mahra and Socotra People’s General Council member Abdullah bin Issa al-Aafra said.

Jan 05 10:44

The tragic story of Buthaina Mansur al-Rimi

Buthaina Mansoor al-Rimi is an eight-year-old Yemeni girl who lost her entire family in a Saudi airstrike in 2017. Buthaina’s tragic story and a picture of her trying to force open one of her eyes at hospital made her a symbol of Yemen’s plight caused by years of war and bloodshed. She’s now demanding peace to save Yemeni children.

Jan 05 08:16

Will Jeremy Corbyn be able to transform Britain's Middle East policies?

Britain's political uncertainty over Brexit means that all bets are off for what might happen in the first three months of 2019. But one distinct possibility is a general election, which the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn may be in a prime place to win.

A key question is: will Corbyn transform British foreign policy in the Middle East away from supporting repressive regimes and selling them arms, and challenge the London establishment that has prioritised these concerns over all others for decades?

There are four areas where Labour's declared foreign policy is seriously worrying the British elite.

Jan 04 12:21

In 2018, Israel’s mask finally came off

Having cemented its apartheid nature into law, Israel is creating legislative cover for the act of formally annexing the occupied territories beyond the recognised boundaries of the state.

2018 wasn’t a good year for Israel. It was even worse for Palestinians, of course.

On the surface, it wasn’t an especially dramatic year - just a lot more of the same, without major new wars, and without much bloodshed if you compare it to most previous years. Things appeared frozen in place. The occupation continued without impediment, likewise the settlement enterprise. Gaza tried to resist forcefully from inside its wretched cage, using its paltry and limited powers.

The world averted its eyes from the occupation, as it has customarily done in recent years, and focused on other things entirely.

Jan 04 11:57

IS THE END OF THE BRUTAL WAR IN YEMEN FINALLY AT HAND?

When the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, it is expected to pass a House resolution upholding congressional war powers and ending all direct U.S. involvement in the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen. But hopes remain high that H. Con. Res. 138 will help to end the Yemen war itself. Congressional strategists and activists who have been working on the issue believe passage of the war powers measure will force Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the negotiating table.

Proponents of the war powers resolution, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California, argue the Saudis will not be able to continue the war without the political-diplomatic support of the United States, and the Yemen resolution will make dramatically clear the Saudis can no longer count on U.S. support.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There is more than a bit of naivete on the part of these Congressional Representatives, thinking this resolution will kill the war in Yemen.

The Butcher of Yemen is not likely to sit down and negotiate with anyone at this point; and he doesn't give a damn about the Yemeni people killed and crippled for life, nor does he care about the lives lost in the Saudi military; they are simply "a means to an end"

While I wish them luck, because many thinking Americans, including me, do not wish to see the American military aid and abet Saudi war crimes in Yemen, I don't think that this legislation will be signed by President Trump, and that he will veto it, on the grounds that wars like the war in Yemen, "are good for the weaponry business", which it is.

But at what point do these war crimes tear away at the fabric of decency and justice, in this country?!?

This is a war upon which the American people need an open, honest discussion of how the US military got committed into this mess, and the quickest way out of it.

Jan 04 08:21

Do not invite the US to the Persian Gulf: Iran to 'regional enemies'

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri says despite its mainly peaceful defense doctrine, the Islamic Republic maintains powerful and categorical military presence in the region, warning certain regional countries against inviting the US to the Persian Gulf to hatch plots against Iran.

Jan 03 11:00

Food Aid to Yemen 'Snatched From the Starving' by US-Backed Saudi Allies

With armed forces on both sides of civil war accused of seizing aid destined for starving civilians, one U.N. official said, "If there is no corruption, there is no famine."

Jan 02 14:46

Saudi Arabia and the West’s right wing: A dubious alliance

James Dorsey highlights Saudi Arabia’s courting of European far-right groups, including Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Swedish Democrats, and Europe of Nations and Freedom, a bloc of far-right parties in the European parliament. >>

Jan 02 07:31

Yemen: our future?

Socially sanctioned killing is called war. The word “war” may be the most powerful word in human history, because it creates a mask of respectability for — that is, it conceals — the dehumanization and mass slaughter of a designated enemy, along with limitless environmental contamination. When we’re “waging war,” we have given ourselves permission not to know what we are doing, even if what we’re doing is putting life on Planet Earth in danger of extinction.

Say hello to Yemen, the possible future of all of us!

Jan 01 11:43

Militants in Yemen Stealing Lots of Food Aid Intended for the Poor - Report

Major aid shipments of rice, grain and food baskets intended for needy populations in Taiz, Yemen, have been stolen by militants on both sides of the conflict in that country.

"The army that should protect the air is looting the aid," humanitarian official Nabil al-Hakimi told the Associated Press for a Monday report. Some 14 million Yemenis, or half of Yemen's population, live on the brink of starvation as a result of the chaos that's roiled the country since Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states initiated a campaign against the Shiite Muslim Houthis in 2015 at the behest of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Jan 01 11:25

How the War Party Lost the Middle East

"Assad must go, Obama says."

So read the headline in The Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2011.

The story quoted President Barack Obama directly:

"The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. … the time has come for President Assad to step aside."

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David Cameron signed on to the Obama ultimatum: Assad must go!

Seven years and 500,000 dead Syrians later, it is Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron who are gone. Assad still rules in Damascus, and the 2,000 Americans in Syria are coming home. Soon, says President Donald Trump.

Jan 01 11:22

The US Is On the Side of Terrorists and War Criminals in Yemen

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The Washington Post reminds us how the Saudi coalition war on Yemen helps Al Qaeda:

Last year, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a powerful Yemeni Islamist warlord, accusing him of being a “prominent military instructor” and fundraiser for al-Qaeda who had also at one point “served with” the Islamic State and financed its forces.

But Abu al-Abbas is not on the run. He is not even in hiding.

By his own admission, Abbas continues to receive millions of dollars in weapons and financial support for his fighters from one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, the United Arab Emirates, undermining U.S. counterterrorism goals in Yemen.

Dec 31 09:56

6 RED SEA COUNTRIES LAUNCH JOINT MILITARY DRILL

A military drill between six Red Sea countries was launched in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, according to the kingdom’s official SPA news agency.

The Red Wave 1 exercise brings together naval forces from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen and Djibouti. Observers from Somalia are also taking part in the drill.

“The exercise aims to strengthen maritime security of the countries bordering the Red Sea, protect territorial waters, enhance military cooperation and exchange combat expertise,” commander of Saudi Arabia’s Western Fleet, Major-General Saqr bin Mohammed al-Harbi, said.

The military drill is scheduled to continue until Thursday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What I want to know here, is, who do they believe will be "the enemy" with which they will, at some point, engage militarily?!?

Looking at how this unprecedented representation of these countries, coupled with the level of professionalism needed to coordinate and pull such exercises together successfully, were I a betting woman, my bet would be... Iran.

Dec 30 13:15

Scott Adams China Trade, AOC, Government by Torture, Climate Change Challenge

A shutdown is a way to torture random government employees
The winner is the side willing to torture them longer
CNN pundit angrily declaring “walls don’t work”
Rule of Life: Friction ALWAYS works
Who will say it first?
Politicians provide budgets, that’s their job
Engineers decide what’s needed
What will happen to stocks, once China trade deal is set?
Climate sides both talk in isolation, never debate each other
The two sides aren’t disagreeing with each other
They’re talking about different things
Tony Heller talks about unaddressed skepticism
Temp data has been rigged, fudged
Historical records disagree with climate data
Why isn’t anyone challenging him, is he correct?
97% of climate scientists are all on the same side
That’s spin, 97% agree on specific components
Obama’s Ambassador to Syria…
President Trump is probably doing the right thing

Dec 30 11:31

Child soldiers from Sudan's Darfur fight in frontline of Saudi war on Yemen: Report

Child soldiers from Sudan's Darfur have reportedly been fighting on behalf of Saudi Arabia and its allies in the frontline of the deadly war on Yemen, with money being their only motive.

The New York Times reported that the Saudis have used their vast oil wealth to outsource the war, mainly by hiring survivors of the Darfur conflict to operate in Yemen, many of them children.

Citing several Sudanese mercenaries and lawmakers, the report said that as many as 14,000 Sudanese militants have been fighting in Yemen alongside Saudi-backed forces while at least hundreds of them have been killed so far.

Almost all the Sudanese come from Darfur and most of them belong to the Rapid Support Forces, a tribal militia blamed for war crimes during the Darfur conflict, the report added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 but have been facing strong resistance from Yemeni armed forces led by the Houthi fighters.

Dec 30 10:22

America's Closest Mideast Allies Using Child Mercenaries To Fight In Yemen

Over a year ago we reported on the fact that the Saudi-US-UAE coalition in Yemen has been increasingly reliant on foreign mercenaries, including even officers, from Sudan to execute its three-year long ground war against Shia Houthi rebels as coalition jets pounded urban areas from the skies. As this was long before the brutal Jamal Khashoggi killing at the hands of the Saudis, we were among a tiny handful that bothered to cover it — aside from a few Middle East outlets — significantly before western mainstream media suddenly "discovered" the tragedy unfolding in Yemen, a Saudi-driven conflict the UN has belatedly called "the world's worst humanitarian crisis".

Dec 30 09:26

The West Is in Disarray, and It Will Only Get Worse. Crisis of Political Leadership in US and EU

Meanwhile in the United States there has been strong jostling between the political-financial-war elites for the dominance of Trump’s foreign policy. The President, either out of inexperience, ineptitude or intentionally, soon succumbed to the foreign-policy establishment, with its usual offerings of neoliberalism and brutal imperialism.

Trump’s weaponized use of the dollar thereby ended up in an unintended blue-on-blue attack, with Trump’s money bags, Saudi Arabia and Israel, receiving some friendly fire in addition to the intended targets, Iran, Russia and China. An understanding between Trump and the foreign-policy establishment has therefore been reached, sealed with the appointments of Bolton and Pompeo, establishing a modus vivendi between competing interests.

Dec 30 09:16

Swiss-Spanish 'Terrorist Recruiter' Detained Over Scandinavian Girls' Carnage

Speaking at a press conference in Rabat, a Moroccan intelligence spokesman said that the two Scandinavian tourists were killed by a "lone wolf, hastily organised terrorist cell".

Moroccan authorities have arrested a dual Swiss-Spanish national in Marrakesh in connection with the killing of two women, Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, on suspicion that he was a local terrorist recruiter.

According to the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations, the man, whose name has not been released to the public yet, is alleged to have been teaching some of the suspects "about communication tools involving new technology and training them in marksmanship".

He is believed to have been involved in the "recruitment of Moroccans and sub-Saharans to carry out terrorist plans in Morocco" against foreign targets and security forces.

Dec 30 09:09

Yemen Parties Agree to Reopen Main Road Between Sanaa, Hodeidah, and Taiz: Ongoing talks yield another deal, allowing travel between major cities

While the Sweden-based Yemen talks are over, consultations have continued among the various combatants. These have resulted in another deal, with the warring parties agreeing to reopen Kilo 16, the main road connecting Hodeidah and Taiz to the capital city of Sanaa.

This is a huge move for civilians, allowing them to travel out of combat zones to safer places, and also allowing for humanitarian aid shipments out of the aid port of Hodeidah to those other cities.

Dutch Gen. Patrick Cammaert, the head of the UN monitor group, suggested that Hodeidah should be used as the port of entry for all aid into Yemen. That’s likely going to be a tough sell, with neither side having withdrawn from the surrounding area of the city.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Color me just a tiny bit hopeful here.

Dec 30 09:07

Syrian Army Deploys to Manbij in New Alliance With Kurds: Turkey says Kurds have no authority to invite Syrian army into major Syrian city

With Turkey’s imminent invasion of Kurdish territory in northeastern Syria expected to begin any day, the Kurdish YPG has quickly secured a new alliance with the Syrian government. Within short order, the Syrian Army has arrived in the city of Manibj, on the Euphrates River, to help with its defense.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that this first deployment is of over 300 Syrian troops, with military spokesmen saying they are to deploy on the city’s outskirts with the goal of “defeating all invaders and occupiers.” There are US and French troops still within the city of Manbij itself, and Turkish-backed rebels advancing on the city from the north, with the expectation that this will be the first target of the new Turkish invasion.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Perhaps this consolidation between Kurds and the Syrian government will work well for both parties.

And I am sorry; the Turkish government has absolutely no right to chastise the Syrian government from doing anything it wants within its sovereign territory; but it will get dicey if Turkey, a NATO country, winds up attacking US, Another NATO country, or Iranian, or Russian troops still working in the area.

Dec 30 09:04

Saudi Arabia recruited Darfur children to fight in Yemen: NYT

Saudi Arabia recruited children from Sudan's conflict-ravaged Darfur region to fight on the front lines in Yemen, the New York Times has reported.

The kingdom offered desperate Sudanese families as much as $10,000 to enlist their children to fight in the nearly four-year-old war against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the NYT said on Friday.

Led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen in 2015 in support of the internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Sudan joined the Saudi-led alliance, deploying thousands of ground troops to Yemen.

Five Sudanese fighters who had returned from Yemen told the NYT that children made up 20-40 percent of their units in Yemen.

Dec 30 08:30

TRUMP CRITICS OF SYRIA WITHDRAWAL FUELED RISE OF ISIS

Too many of those protesting the removal of U.S. forces are authors of the catastrophe that tore Syria to pieces, reports Max Blumenthal for Consortium News.

Birthing ISIS From the Womb of Regime Change

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Clinton, Kerry, and the rest of the Beltway blob lined up reflexively behind George W. Bush.

The insurgency that followed the violent removal of Iraq’s Ba’athist government set the stage for the declaration of the first Islamic State by Abu Musab Zarqawi in 2006. Five years later, with near-total consent from Congress, Hillary enthusiastically presided over NATO’s assault on Libya, cackling with glee when she learned that the country’s longtime leader, Moammar Gaddafi, had been sodomized with a bayonet and shot to death by Islamist insurgents — “We came, we saw, he died!

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There is one element regarding the assassination of Qaddafi this article will not touch with a 10 foot pole, and treats it like Kryptonite, something to stay away from at any cost. But here it is, from Hillary's own email, nonetheless:

NATO KILLED QADDAFI TO STOP LIBYAN CREATING OF A GOLD-BACKED CURRENCY

The article goes on to state:

One of the 3,000 Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department on New Year’s Eve (where real news is sent to die quietly) has revealed evidence that NATO’s plot to overthrow Gaddafi was fueled by first their desire to quash the gold-backed African currency, and second the Libyan oil reserves.

The email in question was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by her unofficial adviser Sydney Blumenthal titled “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold”.

From Foreign Policy Journal:

The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

"Five years later, with near-total consent from Congress, Hillary enthusiastically presided over NATO’s assault on Libya, cackling with glee when she learned that the country’s longtime leader, Moammar Gaddafi, had been sodomized with a bayonet and shot to death by Islamist insurgents — “We came, we saw, he died!", provides us with a really interesting window on this lady's thought process.

This very much reminds me of a line from the now-cancelled, but brilliant and iconic show, "Elementary", where the Sherlock character is telling the Watson character that his father "had assassins on speed dial."

One has to wonder, given that this is the only couple in American politics with a known "dead bodies list" if that might be true for Arkansas'geopolitical "Gruesome Twosome", Bill and Hillary Clinton.

So, there you have it.

Dec 30 08:04

CHILD SOLDIERS FROM DARFUR FIGHTING AS MERCENARIES FOR SAUDI ARABIA IN YEMEN

At any time for nearly four years as many as 14,000 Sudanese militiamen have been fighting in Yemen in tandem with the local militia aligned with the Saudis, according to several Sudanese fighters who have returned and Sudanese lawmakers who are attempting to track it. Hundreds, at least, have died there.

Almost all the Sudanese fighters appear to come from the battle-scarred and impoverished region of Darfur, where some 300,000 people were killed and 1.2 million displaced during a dozen years of conflict over diminishing arable land and other scarce resources.

Some families are so eager for the money that they bribe militia officers to let their sons go fight. Many are ages 14 to 17. In interviews, five fighters who have returned from Yemen and another about to depart said that children made up at least 20 percent of their units. Two said children were more than 40 percent.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And the Saudi government and military, are completely happy with this arrangement?!?

And the US military chain of command is perfectly morally comfortable, knowing that kids are fighting in this genocide the Saudi Saudi Arabian are creating in Yemen?!?

Of course, perhaps, to both the Saudis and the US forces assisting them, because they are from another country, they are simply considered "collateral damage", and the decision has been made that it is better that Houthis kill these kids, rather than Saudi or US nationals.

This only adds to my disgust, at the reality that the US military is enabling Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

Dec 29 13:15

Scott Adams: Climate Change, AOC Sexism, Sonic Weapons, Syria and Open Borders

AOC’s sexist tweet to her critic
Sonic weapon used against two of our embassies?
Mass hysteria, no weapon or culprit will ever be found
Challenge: Find me somebody, anybody who wants open borders
I’ve never met anyone who wants open borders, why?
Kurds are concerned about US pullout and attack by Turkey
Turks consider our Kurd allies to be terrorists
Shouldn’t we know why? Nobody seems to report why
Is the world safer today than it has ever been?
Hyper-connectivity benefits the world, makes us safer
Challenge: Provide a link to your BEST article on climate change
I’ll tweet the best arguments for both sides
Climate change arguments are very persuasive viewed alone
“Climate change is a scam” arguments…also persuasive

Dec 29 09:57

Yemen Parties Agree to Reopen Main Road Between Sanaa, Hodeidah, and Taiz

While the Sweden-based Yemen talks are over, consultations have continued among the various combatants. These have resulted in another deal, with the warring parties agreeing to reopen Kilo 16, the main road connecting Hodeidah and Taiz to the capital city of Sanaa.

This is a huge move for civilians, allowing them to travel out of combat zones to safer places, and also allowing for humanitarian aid shipments out of the aid port of Hodeidah to those other cities.

Dutch Gen. Patrick Cammaert, the head of the UN monitor group, suggested that Hodeidah should be used as the port of entry for all aid into Yemen. That’s likely going to be a tough sell, with neither side having withdrawn from the surrounding area of the city.

Dec 28 21:07

CHILD SOLDIERS FROM DARFUR FIGHTING AS MERCENARIES FOR SAUDI ARABIA IN YEMEN

The United Nations has called the war in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. An intermittent blockade by the Saudis and their partners in the United Arab Emirates has pushed as many as 12 million people to the brink of starvation, killing some 85,000 children, according to aid groups.

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