NUSRA TAKES HUGE LOSSES IN SOUTH AND NORTH AS SAA LIBERATES NEW AREAS- By Ziad Fadel

DER’AH: 

In the latest news from the Southern Front, which now includes Qunaytra, Der’ah and Suwaydaa`, the Syrian Army and its allies have been rolling over huge swathes of territory once controlled by Obama’s murdering psychopaths.  Today, we can confirm the total liberation of Basr Al-Hareer and Mulayhaat Al-‘Atash which effectively surrounds all terrorists in the Al-Lijaat area and connects the SAA’s forces ion both Suwaydaa` and Der’ah.

Yesterday, June 25, 2018, the SAA was active in Western Suwaydaa` and Der’ah’s Al-Lijaat region.  That region is known for its difficult terrain and caves where terrorists could hide.  No more.  After pounding the area with rockets from the air, the Syrian Army and (believe it or not) elements of the FSA which agreed to amnesty and to fight with the government, killed over 70 rodents belonging to Nusra/Alqaeda at Hawsh Hammaad,  Al-Mujaddida, Haamaan, Al-Mudawwara and Jadal.  Also, the SAA and its allies destroyed 3 armored cars, 14 4-wheel-drive flatbeds with 23mm cannons and 11 trucks without losing a single soldier.  It can now be said with confidence that the Al-Lijaat Area is completely rat-free.

_________________________________________

DAMASCUS:

الدفاعات الجوية السورية تتصدى لصواريخ معادية قرب مطار دمشق الدولي

Last night, a Zionist F-16 flying over South Lebanon fired 2 rockets at targets around the Damascus International Airport.  While Syrian Air Defenses attempted to intercept the projectiles, they succeeded in only forcing the rockets to land in barren areas outside the airport’s perimeter.  No target was struck.  The apparent aim of the attack was two HZB warehouses which are dug deep underground to avoid exactly this kind of attack.  No weapons were destroyed and the Zionist operation was a miserable failure.

_______________________________________________

HAMA NORTH:

As part of the northern offensive to dislodge all terrorist cells, the SAA and PDC took on Nusra/Alqaeda when the vermin attacked an SAA outpost at Zilleen.  Once the attack was blunted, the SAA fired back with Katyusha and GRAD rockets a the very place from which the rodents came and destroyed a confirmed 6 pickups with 23mm cannons.  The number of terrorists killed remains unknown at this time.

________________________________________________

DAYR EL-ZOR:

The SAA has liberated over 1,800 square kms all the way to the border of Iraq at Point 400 west of Al-Bu-Kamaal.  We can also confirm that last Wednesday, the SAA liberated the following towns and villages:

Al-Mu’ayzeela

Second Power Station

Faydhat Ibn Muwayni’

clearing over 1,200 square kms of IEDs and traps laid by the escaping rodents.

OF INTEREST TO ALL READERS, ONCE AGAIN, THE U.S. WAS SEEN, BY LOCAL INHABITANTS TO BE TRANSPORTING ISIS TERRORISTS FROM AREAS ABOUT TO BE ATTACKED BY THE SAA.  AT TUWAYMEEN VILLAGE, 2 U.S. APACHE HELICOPTERS (ONE FLYING AIR DEFENSE) PICKED UP 2 CONFIRMED LEADERS OF ISIS AND TOOK THEM TO THE U.S. BASE AT AL-SHIDAADI.  There was also a report that the U.S. was aided by the so-called Kurd SDF. 

_______________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Bombshell.  Obama apparatchik, Ben Rhodes, admits openly to U.S. arming of terrorists in Syria:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-24/ben-rhodes-admits-obama-armed-jihadists-syria-bombshell-interview

Sharmine’s enlightening article about how Nusra/Alqaeda evades detection in the media and the truth about its U.S. links:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/are-al-qaeda-affiliates-fighting-alongside-u-s-rebels-in-syrias-south/

Tony Gratrex sent me this article from Global Research establishing Zionism’s continued relationship to terrorism in Syria:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-now-arming-seven-terrorist-groups-in-syria-report/5631375

Another from Tony tells the sad story of the BBC’s decline in trust owing to its love affair with fakery, deceit and propaganda:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/06/21/the-parallel-universe-of-bbc-panorama/

Putin chastizes Macron over Iran sanctions on video: You’re not sovereign, you’re “like obedient little children” – By Michael Bateman (Russia Insider)(SOTT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is applauded by his French counterpat Emmanuel Macron after delivering a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 25, 2018.

© Grigory Dukor / Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin is applauded by his French counterpat Emmanuel Macron after delivering a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 25, 2018.

There has been much talk of Macron behaving like the leader of a sovereign nation recently, but we don’t buy it.

To us, he still has the manner of a schoolboy trying hard to ingratiate himself with grownups. Plus, he is distinctly effeminate.

He obviously didn’t get to where he is on his own merits, rather he was put there by people who are probably not very effeminate.

Putin is a plain-spoken, no BS kind of guy, so this exchange was entertaining.

Macron was trying to say that France is a sovereign nation, which is obviously not true – just look how cravenly they toed the Israeli line in joining in on the recent attack on Syria, Macron spouting the lies dictated to him by his masters. It was pathetic and embarrassing.

Here, Putin gently explains to Macron that he is mistaken.

In the video, Putin’s words are mistranslated as: “You paid like the dearest ones”, which loses all the punch of the original Russian. What Putin actually said is “You paid like ‘milenki’, the sense of which can be better conveyed with ‘obedient little children’. We corrected it in the transcript below.

The translation comes from Putin’s Press Office, which is run by Mr. Peskov. Leave it to government bureaucrats to blow Putin’s best one-liner of the weekend. Mr. Peskov, it is time you hired native English speaking translators who actually speak English. The quality of the translations coming from your office are frequently quite awful, especially when quoting Putin.

The president of France attending his first day of work with his mother Sorry, but this is very, very strange

Transcript:

Macron:

Concerning international security, I would like to assure Vladimir, that I am not afraid since France has an army

that can protect my country

but I have a strict obligation in relation to other European allies

and I think that this kind of the European security architecture is our responsibility.

In any case, we will not turn our back to anyone, and will not do it at the expense of other European countries.

I will do it this way since I am not afraid and I will fulfill my obligations

Putin:

Unfortunate…

Of course, one shouldn’t be afraid but the practice says differently.

Look, we are all dealing with Iranian issue, there were already cases of implementing American sanctions against European companies

9 billion dollars fine was paid by PBNP Paribas French bank, then Deutsche bank for violation of the unilateral sanctions

And what happened? You payed it like obedient little children

the same happened with a Japanese bank

This practice should stop.

This is unacceptable, this is what is all about.

So, if this continues… What is good about it?

This is what destroys the existing world order.

We, nevertheless, need to agree with our American partners on any other rules of conduct

This is extremely important because this is something that underlies our today’s discussion.

Trust. Either there is some or there’s no.

If there is no, then nothing good will come out it

Then, it will be like I said in the speech, nothing except force will rule, and this can lead to a tragedy at the end.

Comment: Putin is adept at dealing with duplicitous weasels like Macron:

ANOTHER AMERICAN CW FALSE FLAG OPERATION IS COMING; SYRIAN ARMY BEGINS RELEASING SOLDIERS TO CIVILIAN LIFE; SAA CRUSHES ISIS ATTACK IN DZ PLANNED BY U.S. SPEC OPER TERRORISTS – By Ziad Fadel

Read this article right away:
http://www.syrianews.cc/usa-new-chemical-attack-false-flag-syria/

Buffoon American WOG and permanent delegate to the U.N. brandishes more faked photos taken by the now-disgraced “White Helmets” at the U.N.S.C.  The British delegate to her left scowls as he pretends to be offended by the staged scenes.  Oh, yawn!  (Don’t forget to read the link at the beginning)

If our friends at Syrianews are right, the White Helmets, in perfect coordination with both MI6 and CIA, will stage a new atrocity in order to frame the Syrian government.  We expect Ivanka Trump, the know-nothing daughter of America’s chief meat head, to charge down the hallowed halls of the White House to beg her father to “get Assad!”  That’s what she did to cause the last attack on the Shu’ayraat AB in Homs last year.  “Please, daddy, you gotta make Assad pay for this.”  (Even if the CW attack didn’t happen!)

As sickening as these scenarios have become;  the persistent lying, hyperbole, poor acting, and incongruent evidence, all coming together to form an hastily-produced, stale porridge of putrescent and hackneyed pontifications; with Merkel and Justin Trudeau staring down solemnly as one photo-op replaces another –  we must, nevertheless, pinch our noses and suffer the olfactory emanations from this coming swamp of tarted up vilification.  Oh, our redoubtable Vanessa Beeley will call out the liars and rebut all the indictments, yet, the agenda plays on and on with no end in sight.  Brandon Turbeville will drown the perpetrators in their own cesspool of lies.  Eva Bartlett will rail against the prevaricating pimps of poop and imposture with her sterling coolness and sincerity.  And, if you read the readers’ comments to the articles by the MSM, you’ll find that the message is being absorbed by the public.

__________________________________________

DAYR EL-ZOR:

The U.S. just can’t get it right.  When Trump announces his intent to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria “real soon” after they vanquish ISIS , another shadow agency is found providing bases, logistical assistance and planning for exactly the same terrorist group they are there to supposedly fight and destroy!

Yesterday, a two-pronged attack took place at 2 villages in the Albu-Kamaal area on the Euphrates.  At Al-Hasraat Villlage, the SAA killed almost all ISIS terrorists and destroyed over 3 pickups with 23mm cannons.  The captured terrorists confessed to being trained by United States Special Operations contractors working out of Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border.

At Al-Shu’fa Village, SAA troops, dug in inside well-prepared defensive berms, came under attack from another group of ISIS rodents who had originated on the Syrian-Iraqi border.  They, too, were annihilated by the SAA.

__________________________________________

DAMASCUS:  Imagine our delight when we heard that my wife’s nephew, Rayyaan, an officer in the SAA for over 7 years now, has been honorably discharged from service in the army so that he can go back to civilian life.  He had to put his legal career on hold to serve the cause of freedom from terrorism. This is now happening all over Syria as reservists and members of the NDF/PDC complete their overlong tours of duty.  The army will now go back to its original numbers with a 500% improvement in available military technology.  We are proud of them and their service to flag and country.

 

__________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Here is a bunch of new articles from Brandon:

https://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/russia-hints-isis-linked-forces-operating-in-us-controlled-zones-in-syria-photos-already-show-us-protecting-terrorists-in-tanf.

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/us-warns-of-firm-response-if-syria-attacks-isis-no-really.

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/7-countries-in-5-years-2007-wesley-clark-interview-reveals-us-plan-to-go-to-war-with-iraq-iran-syria-libya-lebanon-somalia-and-sudan

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/us-france-uk-establish-more-bases-in-syria-to-push-breakup-of-country.html

 

Great article from USA Today debunking the entire idea of overthrowing the government of Iran:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/31/iran-regime-change-american-troops-military-draft-column/656240002/

 

Mary Woodard and Kevin Hester sent me this RT interview with Dr. Assad conducted by Murad Gazdiev:

http://www.syrianews.cc/assad-all-syria-will-be-liberated/

 

Dimitry Porphyris sent me this article about the decapitation of 2 Syrian soldiers by ISIS west of Al-Mayaadeen.  It’s in French but the pictures tell the entire tale.  Note how ISIS refers to our army as the “Alawi Army”:

https://dimpenews.com/2018/06/01/18-l-etat-islamique-isis-a-decapite-un-soldat-syrien-a-ouest-de-la-ville-de-mayadeen-province-de-deir-ezzor/

 

 

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US ‘losing its cards’ in Syria: Highlights of RT’s interview with Bashar Assad – By RT

 

US ‘losing its cards’ in Syria: Highlights of  RT’s interview with Bashar Assad
Washington and its “puppets” tried, and failed, to destroy Syria – and the US military will eventually be forced out of the country: These are a few of the highlights from RT’s exclusive interview with President Bashar Assad.

Speaking with RT’s Murad Gazdiev in Damascus, Assad commented on a range of topics, from the threat of direct conflict between the US and Russia, to why he doesn’t fear Israeli assassination threats.

On Victory: ‘It’s self-evident’ that Syria is ‘moving closer to the end of the conflict’

Assad noted that the “majority” of Syria is now under government control, but said that continued provocations and escalations by the United States and its allies have needlessly prolonged the seven-year conflict. With each Syrian military victory or successful reconciliation effort, the US and its partners have attempted to counteract these gains by “supporting more terrorism, bringing more terrorists to Syria, or by hindering the political process,” Assad said.

However, he stated that it was “self-evident” that “we are moving closer to the end of the conflict,” adding that “without external interference it won’t take more than a year to settle the situation in Syria.”

The Syrian leader said that whenever possible, his government has chosen negotiations and reconciliation over use of force.

“War is the worst choice but sometimes you only have this choice,” Assad told RT. “Factions like Al-Qaeda, like ISIS, like Al-Nusra, and the like-minded groups, they’re not ready for any dialogue… So, the only option to deal with those factions is force.”

He defended the government’s use of ceasefires and allowing extremists to withdraw to Idlib province, describing the agreements as strategically advantageous for the Syrian army. “If you have two or three frontiers, that’s better than having 10, maybe more than 100 at the time.”

 

On the US: Washington ‘losing its cards’ in Syria

 Although the US forces continue to operate illegally in Syria, they will eventually be forced out of the country, Assad told RT.

“The United States is losing its cards. The main card was Al-Nusra, that was called ‘moderate,’ but when scandals started leaking that they’re not moderate, that they’re Al-Qaeda, which is supposed to be fought by the United States, they started looking for another card. This card is the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] now,” he said, referring to the US-backed militia group. According to Assad, once Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Nusra are exterminated, the Syrian military will turn its attention on the SDF.

“We’re going to use two methods to deal with the SDF: The first one, we started opening doors for negotiations – because the majority of them are Syrians. And supposedly they like their country, they don’t like being puppets to any foreigners – that’s what we suppose.” Assad said that these commonly-shared values could allow reconciliation with the government. “We all don’t trust the Americans, [so] the one option is to live with each other as Syrians.” However, if negotiations fail, the Syrian army will be forced to liberate areas occupied by the SDF, with the Americans, or without the Americans.”

On this point Assad was adamant: “This is our land, it’s our right, it’s our duty. To liberate [these areas], and the Americans should leave. Somehow, they’re going to leave. They came to Iraq with no legal basis. And look what happened to them. They have to learn their lesson.”

 

On Russia: Moscow’s leadership prevented ‘direct conflict’ with US military

 Syria’s president heaped praise on Moscow, claiming that Russian “wisdom” had prevented a direct conflict between Russian and American forces in Syria. “We were close to having direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces, and fortunately, it has been avoided, not by the wisdom of the American leadership, but by the wisdom of the Russian leadership.”

While Assad reiterated that the United States military was not welcome in Syria, he said that avoiding escalation was the key to restoring Syria’s territorial integrity. “We need the Russian support, but we need, at the same time to avoid the American foolishness in order to be able to stabilize our country.”

He emphasized that Russia has shown restraint – not weakness – in Syria, noting how Russian warnings had likely dissuaded Trump from launching a full-scale attack against Damascus.

“The Russians announced publicly that they are going to destroy the bases that are going to be used to launch missiles, and our information – we don’t have evidence, we only have information, and that information is credible information – that they were thinking about a comprehensive attack all over Syria, and that’s why the threat pushed the West to make it on a much smaller scale,” the Syrian president said.

 

On Israel: No longer phased by ‘threat of Israeli aggression,’ Tel Aviv in ‘panic’

 Assad shrugged off Israeli threats against his own life, telling Gazdiev that “my generation – and most of the generations in Syria now – has lived under the threat of Israeli aggression. This is something in our unconscious feeling. So to say that you are afraid while living with the same threat for decades – this is nonsense.” He said that the fact that Tel Aviv has resorted to threats suggests that the Israelis are panicking.

“The Israelis have been assassinating, killing, occupying for decades now, for around seven decades, in this region, but usually they do all this without threatening. Now, why do they threaten in this way? This is panic, this is a kind of hysterical feeling because they are losing the ‘dear ones,’ the dear ones Al-Nusra and ISIS, that’s why Israel is panicking recently, and we understand their feeling.”

He said reports that Syria was helpless to stop Israeli airstrikes were inaccurate. “Our air defense is much stronger than before, thanks to the Russian support and the recent attacks by the Israelis and by the Americans and British and French proved that we are in a better situation” than at the start of the conflict seven years ago, he said. However, Assad noted that when foreign-backed fighters first poured into Syria, the first thing they did was target air defense systems – suggesting a “direct link” between the terrorists groups and Israel.

On chemical attacks: ‘Is it in our interest? Why? And why now?’

Syria’s president described the string of alleged chemical attacks as provocations that have ultimately failed to persuade the international community to give the US and its allies a military mandate in Syria.

Washington and its allies blamed the last such attack, in April, on Damascus, but Assad insisted that the Western narrative makes no sense.

“The timing of this alleged strike was after the victory of the Syrian troops in Ghouta. Let alone the fact that we don’t have chemical weapons anyway,” he told RT. Pointing to multiple reports of civilians and medical workers in the area having no knowledge of a chemical attack – with some even appearing in the Western press – Assad concluded that the alleged incident was a last-ditch Western attempt to sway international opinion – one that failed.

“They told a story, they told a lie, and the public opinion around the world and in the West didn’t buy their story, but they couldn’t withdraw. So, they had to do something, even on a smaller scale,” Assad said, referring to the joint airstrikes against purported Syrian chemical weapons facilities, carried out on April 14 by the US, UK, and France.

However, Assad acknowledged that nothing was stopping Washington from attempting similar provocations in the future. The US has “trampled on international law,” and “there’s no guarantee that it won’t happen [again].”

Assad asked: “What was the legal basis of [the April missile] attack? [Or] the so-called anti-terrorist alliance, which supports the terrorists, actually? What is the legal basis of their attack on Yemen, Afghanistan? There’s no legal basis.”

 

On Trump: ‘What you say is what you are’

 Asked if he had a nickname for US President Donald Trump, who had previously called Assad an “animal,” Syria’s leader admitted that he wasn’t in the business of name-calling.

“This is not my language, so, I cannot use similar language. This is his language. It represents him,” he said. “I think there is a very well known principle, that what you say is what you are. So, he wanted to represent what he is, and that’s normal,” Assad added.

“The only thing that moves you is what people that you trust, people who are level-headed, people who are thoughtful, people who are moral, ethical, that’s what should move anything inside you, whether positive or negative. Somebody like Trump will move nothing for me,” he said.

On the myth of Syria’s ‘civil’ war: It was foreign-backed regime change

 Assad disputed claims that the seven-year conflict has been a “civil war,” pointing out that there is no sectarian or ethnic conflicts in the areas currently controlled by the government. “Now in Damascus, in Aleppo, in Homs, in every area under Syrian government control, you will see [the whole] spectrum of Syrian society. With no exceptions.”

He noted that the term ‘civil war’ had been used widely since the beginning of the conflict in Syria – but it does not correctly characterize the conflict.

“A Syrian civil war means there are lines based either on ethnicities or sects or religion. Or maybe political opinion. In reality, in the areas in direct control by the government, which is now the majority of Syria, you have all this diversity,” Assad said. “So the word civil war is not correct. What we have actually, from the very beginning – mercenaries, Syrians and foreigners being paid by the West in order to topple the government. This is the mere reality. Everything else is just a mask to cover the real intentions.”

The Syria connection to Iran, Afghanistan and China – By Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) (THE SAKER)

SYRIANFORALLSYRIANS

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Iranian academic spells out Iran’s position in the Middle East and questions US policy toward the region; amid reports that the Qods force is unlikely to disband, and that Daesh (ISIS) is being moved the Afghanistan-Pakistan border

A crucial question has been consuming policymakers in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon: Does the Trump administration have a strategic plan for the Middle East or not?

Few are more apt to answer than Saadallah Zarei, dean of the Institute of Strategic Studies Andishe Sazan-e Noor in Tehran. Zarei, a soft-spoken, extremely discreet man I met in Mashhad a few days ago, happens to be not only one of Iran’s top strategic analysts but also a key brain behind the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani – the ultimate bête noire outside the Beltway.

So US strategists could do worse than paying attention to Zarei.

While the US “owns 37 fixed military bases and almost 70 movable bases in the Middle East”, Zarei said, “We do not observe specific and exact strategies.”

He stressed his perplexity with “contradictory behavior related to the Shi’ite population. America’s behavior in terms of the Shi’ite population of Bahrain and their rights, the Zaydi Shi’ite population in Yemen and Kashmir and also the Shi’ite population in Lebanon, which is 35% of the total population, is not specified and nobody knows how the Americans think about Shi’ites and how they act.”

Zarei also notes that “America does not have a specific policy about the democracies of Turkey and Iran. There is not any specific strategy about democracy in Iraq and Lebanon too. America talks about democracy as an American value and tries to generalize it, but in this region, we see that the best friends of the US are countries where there is no election in their political systems.”

The bottom line, according to Zarei, is that “the US strategy is not coherent in the Middle East. I think this is the main reason for the failure of American policies in this region.”

Enter the Hazaras

Now zoom in from the macro-analysis to the micro-view on the ground. Compare Zarei to Komeil, a 24-year-old Hazara Shi’ite from Kabul. Komeil is one among as many as 14,000 soldiers, all Hazara Afghans, carrying an Afghan passport, which made up the Liwa Fatemiyoun brigade fighting in Syria. We met in Mashhad, where he is spending Ramadan, before going back to the frontlines next month.

One of the key founders of Fatemiyoun, in 2013, was Abu Ahmad, killed by a missile, of unknown origin, near the Golan Heights, in 2015. At first, the brigade was a religious organization set up “to defend Shi’ite holy shrines in Syria” or, as Komeil prefers to stress, “defend humanity, weak people”.

No Fatemiyoun fighters carry Iranian passports – even though some, like Komeil, do live in eastern Iran; he’s been in Mashhad since 2011.  Almost all of them are volunteers; Komeil followed “friends” who joined the brigade. He undertook military training in Bagram airbase when he was part of the Afghan Army.

Komeil told me he engaged in direct combat with an assortment of Salafi-jihadis – from Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra to smaller outfits that were part of the vast, rambling Free Syrian Army umbrella. He’s been on the frontlines non-stop for three years, fighting mostly in “Sham and Zenaybi” near Damascus, and was also present at the liberation of Aleppo.

He described Daesh jihadis as “very difficult” in battle. He says he saw Daesh fighters wearing “American clothes” and carrying American-made rifles. Captured prisoners had “food from Saudi Arabia and Qatar”. He personally captured a “French lady working with Daesh” but did not know what happened to her, saying only that “Commanders treat our prisoners well.” He swears “less than 10%” of Daesh jihadis are Syrians – “There are Saudis, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Pakistanis, English, French and Germans.”

In contrast to the propaganda barrage across the Beltway, Komeil is adamant there are no Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military commanders active with Fatemiyoun, and no Hezbollah. They fight “side by side” – and the Iranians are essentially military advisers. He depicted Fatemiyoun as a totally independent outfit. This would indicate their military training was mostly acquired as members of the Afghan Army, and not via the IRGC.

Komeil said the fabled Qods Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani did visit the group, but “only once”. Each force is responsible for its own area of operations; Fatimiyoun; Hezbollah; the Syria Arab Army (SAA); the Pakistanis (“strong fighters”); the al-Defae-Watan, which he portrayed as an equivalent of the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi (also known as the “People Mobilization Units”); and the Medariyoun also from Iraq.

The ‘Shi’ite crescent’, revisited

The Obama administration admitted at least that Iranian military advisers, alongside Russia air power and Hezbollah fighters, helped the SAA to defeat Daesh and other Salafi-jihadi outfits in Syria.

But, for the Trump administration – in sync with Israel and Saudi Arabia – it’s all black and white; all forces under Iranian command have to leave Syria (and that would include Fatemiyoun). That’s not going to happen; the virtual total collapse of what is loosely defined in the Beltway as “moderate rebels” – al-Qaeda in Syria included – yielded a power vacuum duly occupied by Damascus. And Damascus still needs all these forces to extinguish Salafi-jihadism for good.

Iran exerts influence throughout an arc from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. As Zarei analyzed: “The Islamic Republic of Iran has a specific strategy in the region. We have specific principles, friends, and capabilities. In addition, we have a coherent understanding of our enemy and we know where should we stand in the next 20 years. Therefore, we try to use our capabilities carefully and manage the job gradually.”

This has nothing to do with a threatening “Shi’ite crescent”, as suggested by Jordan’s King Abdullah way back in 2004. It’s been essentially a slow-motion Iranian countercoup against the US non-strategy across Southwest Asia since “Shock and Awe” in 2003 – as Zarei identified it.

The Qods Force – formed during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s – is the extraterritorial extension of the IRGC. I talked to quite a few war veterans in Karaj, where they gather in an association set up in a replica bunker serving delicious osh soup – a Persian equivalent of Tuscan pasta and fagioli – after meetings. Commander Syed Mohammad Yayavi said there is no way the Trump administration’s demand, expressed by Secretary of State Pompeo, for Iran to dismantle the Qods Force, will ever be accepted.

The Qods Force could be described as an equivalent of the US Special Forces and CIA special ops all rolled into one. For Washington, that’s a terror organization. Yet in practice, the Qods Force is as much an arm of Iranian national security policy across Southwest Asia as the Pentagon and CIA enforcing US national security interests all around the world.

And there’s remarkable continuity. At the “bunker” in Karaj I talked to Mohammad Nejad, a retired Iranian Air Force colonel who acquired his Iran-Iraq battle experience when he was in his mid-twenties, fighting in Bushher. Two years ago he was back in Syria for two months, serving as a military adviser.

All eyes on the SCO

The incoherent US strategy in the Middle East described by Zarei also applies to Afghanistan. Another demand by the Trump administration is that Tehran must stop supporting the Taliban.

Facts on the ground are infinitely more nuanced. The endless US war in Afghanistan has generated millions of refugees; many of them live in Iran. In parallel, Washington has set up a permanent network of Afghan military bases – which Tehran identifies as a serious threat, capable of supporting covert ops inside Iran.

So what happens is that Tehran, with minimal means – and in tandem with intelligence services from Pakistan and Russia – does support small groups in western Afghanistan, around Herat, including some that are loosely linked with the Taliban.

But that fits into a much larger Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) strategy. SCO members Russia, China and Pakistan, as well as future member Iran, not to mention future member Afghanistan, all want an Asian, SCO-driven solution for the Afghan tragedy. And that must include a place for the Taliban in the government in Kabul.

Now compare that with the avowed Trump administration ploy geared to provoke regime change in Tehran. Saudi Arabia is already on it. Riyadh, via a think tank allegedly supported by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, has been funding a string of hardcore anti-Shi’ite madrassas in Balochistan in Pakistan, which borders Sistan-Balochistan province in Iran.

The Saudi plan is to at least disrupt the emergence of Chabahar port, which happens to be the entry point of India’s own New Silk Road to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. BRICS member India, alongside Russia and China, won’t be exactly pleased; and India is also a new SCO member, and absolutely adverse to all forms of Salafi-jihadism.

Adding even more trouble to this heady mix, the Attorney General for Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, on a visit to Iran, received a warning that Daesh “is being moved” to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Who’s doing the moving is unclear. What’s certain is that ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K – that is, Daesh’s Afghan branch – is actually fighting the Taliban.

Coincidentally, US airpower is also fighting the Taliban, via Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. One report detailed how “the number of US weapons released in support of Freedom’s Sentinel increased to 562 in April, the highest monthly total of 2018 and the second highest total for any month since October 2011.”

So, it’s the Taliban that are getting heavily bombed, not ISIS-K. No wonder SCO nations are on red alert. The real mystery is still to be unlocked by Pakistani intelligence: that is, in what part of the porous Af-Pak border are over 4,000 well-weaponized ISIS-K jihadis being lodged?

Who will rebuild Syria?

And that leads us to the ultimate inter-connector: China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Syrian colleague Walid Muallem have a very close relationship. President Xi Jinping is a firm supporter of the Astana peace process featuring Russia, Iran and Turkey. China announced last November that it would deploy special forces to Syria against all strands of Salafi-jihadism; the Chinese goal is to “neutralize” 5,000 Uyghur fighters who have acted as “moderate rebels”, because of concern about militants causing violence if they return to Xinjiang.

But most of all, China will be deeply involved in Syrian reconstruction; towns, villages, roads, railways, bridges, schools, hospitals, all connectivity networks. Syria will be rebuilt by China, Russia (energy, infrastructure) and Iran (power grids), not the US or the Gulf petro-monarchies. US and EU sanctions are still in effect, banning commercial operations both in US dollars and euros.

This coincides with a meeting in Beijing last week of SCO security council chiefs. Politburo heavyweight Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, discussed matters extensively with top Russian security expert Nikolai Patrushev.

The 18th SCO summit will be held in Qingdao on June 9. Russian President Vladimir Putin will be there. India and Pakistan will be there. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani will be there, representing Iran as an observer, and will meet face to face with Putin and Xi. That’s where all Syria-Afghanistan connections will converge.

‘Our path’: Iran announces plan to stay in Syria as Pompeo issues unprecedented threats – By Tyler Durden Russia Insider (SOTT)

Map of Syria and Iran

It’s not up to Uncle Sam but up to Syria and Iran alone

After last Thursday’s relatively brief meeting in Sochi between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad wherein Putin stressed that it is necessary for all “foreign forces” to withdraw from Syria, there’s been much speculation over what Putin actually meant.

Many were quick to point out that Assad had agreed that “illegal foreign forces” should exit Syria – meaning those uninvited occupying forces in the north and northeast, namely, US troops, Turkish troops and their proxies, and all foreign jihadists – while most mainstream Western outlets, CNN and the Washington Post among them, hailed Putin’s request to see Iran withdraw from Syria.

Whatever non-Syrian entity Putin intended to include by his words, both Syria and Iran gave their unambiguous response on Monday: Iran announced it would stay in Syria at the request of the Assad government.

“Should the Syrians want us, we will continue to be there,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi declared from Tehran, cited by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency. “Nobody can force Iran to do anything; Iran has its own independent policies,” Qasemi said, in response to a question referencing the widespread reports that Russia desires Iran to withdraw forces from Syria.

“Those who entered Syria without the permission of the Syrian government are the ones that must leave the country,” he said further in a clear reference to the some 2000 US troops currently occupying Syrian-Kurdish areas in the northeast and eastern parts of the country.

As we noted in the aftermath of Israel’s May 10 massive attack on multiple locations inside Syria which marked the biggest military escalations between the two countries in decades, Russia has appeared content to stay on the sidelines while Syria and Israel test confrontational limits; however, Russia is carefully balancing its interests in Syria, eager to avoid an uncontrolled escalation leading to a direct great power confrontation.

But increasingly Israel’s patience appears to be wearing thin after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s oft-repeated “Iranian red line” warning has gone unheeded. In multiple summits with Putin going back to 2015 (the two have met over 6 times since then), Netanyahu has repeatedly stressed he would not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria and further signaled willingness to go to war in Syria to curtail Iranian influence.

“Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon,” Netanyahu told Putin in one especially tense meeting in August 2017, and added further that, “We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

Israel’s uptick in military strikes on Syria attacks on sites purported to be Iranian bases housing Iranian assets have intensified exponentially over the past half-year, nearly leading to an unprecedented breakout of region wide war during the May 10 exchange of fire, wherein Israel claimed to have been attacked by Iranian rocket fire.

The fact that both Iran and Syria can so openly and confidently announce Iran’s intent to stay in Syria means Damascus sees itself in new position of strength after both shooting down multiple Israeli missiles and simultaneously firing rockets into Israeli occupied Golan territory a response perhaps very unexpected by Israel’s leadership which had grown accustomed to attacking the Syrian army and its allies with impunity.

Meanwhile, Damascus announced Monday that all suburbs around the capital have been fully liberated from al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, marking the end of a years long insurgency in and around the capital. As Al-Masdar News noted, “The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is in full control of Damascus city and its countryside for the first time since the advent of this conflict.”

Yet the pattern which has emerged over the past few years has been that every time the Syrian Army emerges victorious or carries overwhelming military momentum, Israel or the US launches an attack.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Pompeo’s bombastic demands and vowed to continue “our path,” insisting that the US could not “decide for the world.”

Rouhani’s words, as quoted by ILNA news agency, were as follows: “Who are you to decide for Iran and the world? The world today does not accept America to decide for the world, as countries are independent … that era is over… We will continue our path with the support of our nation.” This continuing escalation of rhetoric will likely only ensure Iran becomes even more entrenched in Syria, but it will be interesting to see how Russia responds diplomatically.

We’ve already seen Israel’s “diplomacy” in the form of repeat missile attacks, but how much will Russia and Iran sit back and take before enforcing their own red lines against Israel and the West?

Source: Zero Hedge

Comment: See also: ‘Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?’ Rouhani rejects Pompeo’s Iran demands

See Also:

The Story of Eli Cohen, the Israeli Superspy Who Almost Became Syria’s President – By SPUTNIK

 Eli Cohen at the Suez Canal, 1956.
© Photo : Public Domain
Buenos Aires, Argentina, file photo.

Cohen’s mission was to infiltrate the Arab diaspora in Buenos Aires. With this goal in mind, he became a regular guest at various functions hosted by the community. To draw attention to himself, Cohen made a reputation for himself as someone who wore expensive clothes and spent his cash lavishly.

According to Steiner, Eli’s efforts proved a resounding success, allowing him to get quite close to the Argentinian Syrian diaspora’s elite, and through them, to important contacts in Syria.

“Introducing himself as a major merchant…he was able to meet people who in turn introduced him to important figures from political and military circles in Syria; as a result he was invited to attend various events with the involvement of prominent figures from the Arab community. This sort of infiltration was possible thanks to his safe cover story,” the journalist noted.

In his article on Cohen, Steiner noted that the success of his mission was based on his “charisma and generous wallet,” as well as an extensive network of contacts, including the head of Mundo Arabe, a widely read and respected newspaper among Latin America’s Arab community.The latter acquaintance gave Cohen access to receptions by the Syrian Embassy in Buenos Aires, and it was here that he would meet General Amin Hafiz, Syria’s military attaché to Argentina and the future president of the Syrian Republic.

In one of his discussions with the director of Mundo Arabe, Cohen ”confessed” that he would like to return to Syria to support the development of his home country.

Road to Damascus

Preparing for his ”homecoming,” Cohen secretly went back to Israel via Zurich, meeting up with his family and studying up on Syria.

“He returned to Israel for three weeks because of our father’s death,” Albert said. “After a period of mourning, he left Israel and headed to Italy, where he traveled by boat to Alexandria. From there, he continued by ship to Beirut, Lebanon.”

According to Cohen’s brother, Eli was accompanied to Syria by a local agent who, after Cohen’s arrival in Lebanon, traveled with him to the Syrian border, where they bribed a border guard and entered the country.”As it turned out, crossing the border did not prove very difficult, since it was not so heavily guarded,” Albert noted, recalling his brother’s story. “And so, after finding themselves on Syrian territory, they set off for Damascus.”

Eli settled in the Syrian capital in 1962, where the contacts gained in Argentina came to good use.

First and foremost, this involved communication with General Amin Hafiz, who rose to the presidency in a coup in 1963 and saw in Cohen, or ‘Kamel Amin Thaabet’ as he knew him, a well-educated person, a patriot, a good host, and a successful businessman willing to invest in Syria.

Eli Cohen with the entourage of Syrian President Amin Hafiz (1963-1966)
Albert Abraham Cohen
Eli Cohen with the entourage of Syrian President Amin Hafiz (1963-1966)

“Anyone who wants to be a good liar must have an excellent memory,” Albert said. “Eli had a phenomenal memory, and it was this that allowed him to deceive his enemies and carry out a charade which saw him fooling Syria’s top leadership.”

The spy’s brother showed Sputnik the protocol of his brother’s testimony in court following his capture, and said that it showed just how deeply the Israeli agent was able to infiltrate into the highest circles of Syrian politics.”I managed to infiltrate several ministries and other government agencies. Among them were the ministry of defense, the economy ministry, the ministry of information, the ministry of municipal affairs, the central bank, and others,” Eli’s testimony to a Syrian tribunal read.

With the help of trusting sources freely willing to provide information to him, Cohen transmitted invaluable details about the political, economic and military situation in Syria in the early 1960s.

Particularly valuable was the information he obtained about Syria’s military cooperation with Iraq, secret information about Soviet arms supplies to Damascus, as well as the dislocation of the Syrian Armed Forces, including its artillery and fortifications in the Golan Heights.

Eli Cohen at his residence in Damascus
Eli Cohen at his residence in Damascus

Cohen was also able to expose Syria’s plans to divert the flow of the Jordan River to deprive Israel of one of its main sources of freshwater.

In addition to this data, the spy regularly sent images, military maps and other documents of enormous strategic importance to Tel Aviv.

Levi Eshkol, who served as Israel’s prime minister between 1963 to 1969, offered heavy praise for Cohen, saying that the spy’s efforts “saved the lives of many Israel soldiers, while the information he provided proved priceless and helped the country win an overwhelming victory in the Six-Day War.”

Taking place between June 5 and June 10 1967, the Six Day War began when Israel launched airstrikes against Egypt, wiping out the Egyptian air force and pitting the two countries against one another, with Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon joining the war in the days to follow, only to be beaten by an Israeli military enjoying superior leadership, training and intelligence. The war ended with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the entire Sinai Peninsula, which Egypt would win back in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

A platoon of Israeli armoured cars is seen moving through the southern Sinai, Egypt, during Israel's invasion of the Sinai in the six day war of Israel, June 7, 1967
© AP Photo /
A platoon of Israeli armoured cars is seen moving through the southern Sinai, Egypt, during Israel’s invasion of the Sinai in the six day war of Israel, June 7, 1967

In Israeli and Western historiography, it is often said that Cohen had a chance at becoming Syria’s deputy defense minister, and that his name was even considered for the presidency. However, Syrian political expert and Israel watcher Tahsin Halabi denies that this was the case. Speaking to Sputnik, the observer said that the spy’s successes have been overstated.

“The reports that Eli Cohen almost became the president or the defense minister is a repetition of a myth which Israeli intelligence has spread about itself, creating an image of an omnipotent structure able to control any political or military system on the planet,” Halabi explained.

Exposure and Execution

Cohen was detained by Syrian intelligence in his apartment in January 1965. A month later the spy was tried and sentenced to death. He was hanged on May 18, 1965 in a square in Damascus, his body left to hang for six hours.

Yakov Kedmi, an Israeli political commentator and former head of the Nativ security service, spoke to Sputnik about the details of the spy’s detention and execution.

“The issue of his exposure and demise has been repeatedly and deeply analyzed by Mossad and the Israeli intelligence community as a whole. However, the Soviet role in this operation is quite interesting, and involves the delivery of special devices to intercept radio waves,” Kedmi said.

Picture dated 09 May 1965 shows Israeli spy Eli Cohen (L) and two other unidentified co-defendants, during their trial in Damascus, ten days before his executio
© AFP 2018 /
Picture dated 09 May 1965 shows Israeli spy Eli Cohen (L) and two other unidentified co-defendants, during their trial in Damascus, ten days before his executio

According to Kedmi, Israeli investigations have also made clear that Cohen committed certain errors, and that these, along with Soviet equipment, culminated in his downfall.

With the official story shrouded in mystery, even after half a century, Albert Cohen told Sputnik that there were three possible reasons for his brother’s unmasking.

According to the first, which was voiced by President Amin Hafiz after Cohen’s capture, the Indian embassy in Damascus had complained of interference in radio communications with New Delhi. This led to an investigation, which culminated in the use of the advanced Soviet radio equipment to pinpoint the source, and allowed the Syrian security services to catch Eli Cohen red-handed while he was transmitting information by radio from his apartment.

Egyptian intelligence, on the other hand, has claimed that Cohen was first noticed by its personnel in a photo of a meeting of the Syrian and Egyptian general staff in the Golan Heights, with the Egyptian side later identifying him as an Israeli spy.The third, and most detailed version, has been presented by Ahmad Suwaidani, the former head of Syrian intelligence. According to the spymaster, in the early 1960s, Syrian counterintelligence became aware of two Syrians believed to be working for the CIA and secretly planning to smuggle missiles which Damascus had received from the USSR to Cyprus. After seven months of observation, the special services noted that both suspects had been frequent guests at Cohen’s apartment.

These men were caught in late 1964, after which Cohen himself came under surveillance, and were tried for treason and executed in Damascus in February 1965.

According to Suwaidani’s version of events, the security forces did indeed break into Cohen’s apartment on January 18, 1965, but found him listening to the radio, not transferring information. During their search of the residence, investigators found a radio transmitter and other suspicious items.

Albert Cohen recalled that Syrian court records mentioned that Eli and a fellow conspirator had told a Syrian Navy officer that the Americans were willing to pay $50,000 for information about the Syrian Navy. This was used to accuse Eli of cooperating with US intelligence.

Cohen’s brother also pointed out that Syria announced Eli’s capture on January 22, 1965, just five days after his arrest. This, he said, leads him to conclude that the Syrians had suspected him for much longer.

Albert agrees with Suwaidani’s assessment that it was the arrest of the two Arabs working for the CIA which proved the beginning of the end for his brother.

Over fifty years on, the Syrian side has refused to send Cohen’s body home to his family in Israel.

Yakov Kedmi believes the Syrian government’s refusal is related to the fact that they don’t actually know his whereabouts anymore. “Israel has repeatedly tried to establish the location of his grave and has conducted negotiations, but the truth is Damascus simply doesn’t know where Eli Cohen’s body is. In a situation of civil war, it has proven impossible to find his body. If Syria’s refusal may have at first been political, today they are simply unable to find the grave,” Kedmi said.

Immortal Hero to Some, Eternal Enemy to Others

In Israel, Eli Cohen is seen as an iconic figure, a national hero and the most successful spy in the country’s history. Albert Cohen says his brother was fearless. “Eli Cohen was a brave fighter, an unknown soldier in the service of the Israeli state. He was a soldier without a uniform, and will forever remain a national hero in our collective memory.”

Eli Cohen with his family
Albert Abraham Cohen
Eli Cohen with his family

Tahsin Halabi, in turn, believes Cohen’s mission was to destroy Syria.

“Since 1949, the United States attempted several times to stage a coup in Syria, but all its attempts failed,” the Syrian political observer said. “The Americans were not satisfied with the Syrian government, which had established good relations with the Soviet Union. Amid its failure, the CIA delegated the task of the destruction of the Syrian state. It was for this reason that Eli Cohen was sent to Syria.”

Ex-Nativ chief Yakov Kedmi argues that ultimately, Cohen was successful. “Cohen is one of Israel’s most successful spies, and he paid for it with his life,” he said. “In any country, such a person would be considered a national hero, and the whole of Israel honors his memory.”

THE NEW ORDER IN THE NEAR EAST; TRUMP LOSES BIG TIME IN LEBANON, IRAQ, IRAN, NORTH KOREA AND TURKEY – By Ziad Fadel

رفع العلم الوطني فوق مبنى الناحية ببلدة حر بنفسه بريف حماة الجنوبي بعد إخلائها من الإرهابيين

A Syrian soldier raises the nation’s flag over a municipal building in the newly liberated town of Hurr bi-Nafsuh

According to Gen. Mayhoob, chief spokesman for the Syrian MoD, 65 cities, towns and villages have just been liberated from the stench of Zionist-Saudi-NATO-sponsored terrorism.  A total of about 1200 square kilometers have been retaken by the government in one of the most impressive accomplishments of the Syrian Arab Army since this foreign-inspired war began in 2011.  The surrenders have been massive and so has the cost of gassing up all those green buses to expel the rodents and their miserable families to either Jaraablus or Idlib Governorate.  After turning over all their heavy and medium weapons to the army, they left the region they had infested for far too long.  Tanks, APCs, Shilkas and every kind of ammunition imaginable were seized by the army.

Yesterday, the SAA liberated the entire Aleppo, Homs and Damascus Highway.  The highway to and from Al-Salamiyya to Homs was also totally cleared.  Sappers are now involved in removing the lethal remnants of these cockroaches; things like IEDs, mines and sniper perches.

The Al-Rastan Dam and the Hoola Dam are now in the hands of the army’s Corps of Engineers.  The Al-Zaarra Electrical Station is now being refitted for use.  Homs Refinery has been restored to government control.

_______________________________________

DAMASCUS:

The Hajar Al-Aswad suburb to the south of the capital is about to be liberated.  However, it is expected that pockets of ISIS murderers will remain for a few weeks in tunnels, trenches and upper levels of high-rise buildings.  That is what I was just told by my source.  Yet, the Syria Air Force and ground artillery are shellacking rodent positions on an hourly basis.  Monzer says he can hear explosions on a 24/7 basis as the army intensifies its assault to regain control of both that suburb and the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp.  Once this area is finally cleared, there is a reckoning to be had in Der’ah where the Syrian military expects a rapid terrorist retreat into Jordan.

_______________________________________

Trump has no foreign policy to speak of.  He is an opportunistic diplomat, if at all, and cannot comprehend coherent messages from around the world.  You could call him an isolationist, a populist or even a nativist.  But, all that has come to mean that he is losing on every level of foreign involvement.  His decision to abjure his responsibilities to his European allies (who are now his enemies) is one such example of the rampant pandemonium bouncing between the subdural walls of his cavernous brain cavity.

In Lebanon, Iran’s favorite militia won more seats than any other party.  This means that Christians voted heavily for HZB or its allies in President Aoun’s own party.  The only groups which could be called friendly to the U.S. were, Hariri’s “Mustaqbal” or “Future” party which was stripped of over 9 seats;  Jumblatt’s Arab Socialist Party, which was almost a no-show; and, of course, the party of Sameer Geagea, the so-called Lebanese Forces which doubled its meager Parliamentarian numbers.  All were trounced.  The winners?  Without doubt, Iran and Syria.

In Iraq, Muqtadaa Al-Sadr, the menacing-looking, wide-eyed scion of Iraq’s most revered clerical family, stunned everyone with a strong showing at the polls.  Al-Sadr wants to get rid of Iran’s influence, and America’s presence.  All it will take is a new prime minister to insist on an overhaul of the security structure and the U.S. will be steaming back stateside. The handwriting on the wall in Babylon spells “disaster” for the United States.

Iran’s obdurate position on the nuclear agreement is serving it well with America’s former allies, Germany, France and England.  These occidental powers are beating the bushes, so to speak, to find the magical way out of the U.S.’s promised sanctions.  One writer has reported that the consensus in Europe is to use the Euro, instead of the dollar, to continue trade and relations with Tehran.  If that works, and it might, the U.S. will have engineered a completely unnecessary fiasco for itself – leaving Iran strong and the Europeans disaffected.

Turkey is acting as though its about to break relations with Washington.  They have already kicked the Zionist ambassador out along with the general consul in Istanbul; they are planning a resolution in the U.N.’s General Assembly condemning the American action in Jerusalem and the Zionist Entity’s barbaric reaction to unarmed Palestinians collecting athwart their racist fence on the borders of Gaza.

North Korea is about to cancel its meeting with Trump, which the meathead thought was his magic carpet to Nobel immortality.  I have mused to friends that this might be the first time in history that a revolting dingbat like Trump would get the much-prized Nobel for peacemaking after threatening to wipe out another country with nuclear weapons.  But, the Nobel Committee has done some oddball things in the past like giving Obama the peace prize for absolutely nothing but his being of mixed race.

He has another 2 and 1/2 years to go.  God only knows what grand disasters await all of us as his reign of imbecility continues.

________________________________________
NEWS AND COMMENT:
Spectacular analysis of the decline in American power and the Trumpian fiasco:
https://www.salon.com/2018/05/13/after-the-iran-deal-a-foreign-policy-built-on-arrogance-ignorance-and-sheer-desperation/

Death to the Al-Khaleefa clan of chimpanzees.  Death to every one of them for their bigotry:

http://21stcenturywire.com/2018/05/14/bahrain-former-british-ambassador-resigns-from-advisory-post-after-foreign-minister-supports-israeli-aggression/

I just received Sharmine’s latest analyzing the new facts on the ground:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/get-ready-for-the-new-middle-east-battlefield-the-golan/

If you’re interested in the French snipers captured by the Syrian army in Al-Hasaka, read this one in French sent by Dimitri Porphyris:

https://dimpenews.com/2018/05/16/urgent-larmee-syrienne-a-capture-des-snipers-francais-a-hassake-en-syrie/

Watch and hear George take down career idiot Loomer in this heated radio debate:

http://www.syriana-analysis.com/241-2/

Save

Putin & Assad hold ‘extensive’ talks in Sochi, discuss political settlement – Kremlin – By RT

Putin & Assad hold ‘extensive’ talks in Sochi, discuss political settlement – Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting with the Syrian leader Bashar Assad in Sochi, the acting presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The two leaders conducted “extensive” negotiations, he added.

As the two presidents talked about the conditions that would facilitate the peace process development, the Syrian leader said that he had decided to send a delegation to a committee tasked to rewrite Syria’s constitution, which was championed by the UN.

The agreement on the creation of the constitutional committee was one of the major results of the Sochi peace congress held in January this year. The participants of the congress agreed on January 30 to set up the constitutional committee in Geneva, and to hold democratic elections in Syria.

At that time, Moscow said it expected the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to take practical steps to implement the decisions taken at the Sochi Congress, and to actively participate in the drafting of a new constitution for Syria. The three countries, who brokered the Sochi Congress, Russia Iran and Turkey vowed to fully support the UN and de Mistura in the implementation of its outcomes.

The Constitution Commission is expected to comprise some 150 members including the delegates from those groups who did not attend the Sochi gathering in January.

During the Thursday meeting, the two leaders also discussed the necessity to intensify humanitarian efforts in Syria as well as the issues related to economic recovery of the war-torn country, Peskov said. Putin also congratulated Assad on “significant advance in fighting against the terrorist groups” on the Syrian territory.

In late April, it was reported that the Syrian authorities had struck several agreements with the rebel armed groups in the Homs and Hama provinces as well as in liberated Eastern Ghouta. The militants were allowed to travel to the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib. In exchange, some 5,000 people besieged by the armed groups in the towns of Kefraya and al-Foua’a were released. Earlier, the Syrian Army also recaptured the al Qadam neighborhood located southeast of Damascus.

READ MORE: Damascus, militants reach deal to evacuate armed groups from Homs area

Meanwhile, the Syrian forces are also still engaged in heavy fighting against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in the camp of Yarmouk, south of Damascus. Yarmouk, a former Palestinian refugee camp which was captured by the extremists back in 2015, is the last IS stronghold near the Syrian capital. Up to 2,000 terrorists are believed to be encircled there.

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Syria Imposes New Rules of Engagement on Israel – By Sayed Hasan translated for the Saker Blog

SYRIANFORALLSYRIANS

by Sayed Hasan translated for the Saker Blog

Source : http://sayed7asan.blogspot.fr/2018/05/la-syrie-impose-de-nouvelles-regles-de.html

On Thursday 10th May 2018, an unprecedented exchange of strikes happened between Israel and Syria. The mainstream media, as well as some “alternative” media like Russia Today, were quick to relay the Israeli army version, according to which the Zionist entity “retaliated” to an “Iranian attack by Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Quds Force” consisting of “twenty rockets” fired at Israeli positions in the occupied Golan, four of which were “intercepted by the Iron Dome” and the others “crashed into Syrian territory”, no damage being recorded in Israel. Israel has reportedly responded to this unprecedented “act of aggression” by a “large-scale operation” that would have destroyed “the entire Iranian infrastructure in Syria”, in order to deter the Islamic Republic from any stray impulse of future strikes.

This narrative takes for granted the postulates, data and myths of the Zionist entity’s propaganda – which imposes permanent military censorship on the Israeli media, exposing any offender to a prison sentence; and reading the international media, one might get the idea that, like American economic sanctions, this censorship is extraterritorial – but none of them can withstand scrutiny.

The aggressor is undoubtedly Israel, who carried out more than a hundred strikes against Syria since the beginning of the conflict. After Duma’s chemical stage attacks, this aggresion intensified with attacks on the Syrian T-4 base on April 9, which killed 7 Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Following the US announcement of withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, new Israeli strikes targeted Syrian positions on Tuesday (May 8th) in the southern suburbs of Damascus, and Wednesday (May 9th) in Quneitra, in the south of the country. Undeniably, Syria has only responded to yet another aggression, with a firmness that has shaken Israel and forced it out of the muteness to which it usually confines itself.

The Syrian – and not Iranian – response consisted of more than fifty – and not twenty – rockets against four sensitive Israeli military bases in the occupied Golan, which caused material damage and even casualties according to Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media. These were not reported by the Israeli press because of the draconian military censorship forbidding mentioning Israel’s initial aggression, more than twenty rockets fired on Israel, the identification of their targets and any hint to the damage inflicted, in order to reassure the population inside and allow the vassal Western capitals to shout their sickening refrain of the sacrosanct-right-of-Israel-to-defend-itself. The Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen specifically identified the military posts struck: 1/ a military technical and electronic reconnaissance center; 2/ border security and intelligence station 9900; 3/ a military center for electronic jamming; 3/ a military spy center for wireless and wired networks; 4/ a transmission station; 5/ an observatory of precision weapons unit ; 6/ a combat heliport; 7/ the headquarters of the Regional Military Command of Brigade 810; 8/ the command center of the military battalion at Hermon; 9/ winter headquarters of a special alpine unit. And as this channel has reported, even Israeli journalists and analysts have expressed doubts about this unconvincing version according to which these massive strikes, unprecedented since 1974 and therefore unexpected, would have proved harmless. Moreover, as Norman Finkelstein pointed out, nothing has changed for Israel’s wars in Gaza from 2008 to 2014 despite the deployment of the “Iron Dome”, only 5% of the – largely primitive – Hamas rockets being intercepted during “Protective Edge”; and one of the best missile defense specialists, Theodore Postol of MIT, has already revealed the chronic deficiencies of this system. It is unlikely that it was able to cope better with the much more sophisticated Russian, Chinese and Iranian rocket launchers that Syria has.

The success of the Israeli strikes, which, according to Israeli War Minister Avigdor Lieberman, almost destroyed “all of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria”, is largely exaggerated: Russian military officials, whose radars have followed this fight in real time, announced that more than half of the 60 missiles fired by 28 Israeli F-15s and F-16s – as well as 10 ground-to-ground missiles – were intercepted. The Syrian army records 3 dead and 2 wounded, a radar station and ammunition depot destroyed and material damage to Syrian anti-aircraft defense units. The latter have already demonstrated their effectiveness against strikes from Tel Aviv, Washington, London and Paris, unlike the mythical “Iron Dome” whose main role is to reassure the Israeli population.

The very presence of Iranian military bases and / or large Iranian contingents in Syria is a fable: Iran has only a modest presence (essentially composed of military advisers, indeed from the body of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards), unlike Hezbollah or Russia. Robert Fisk points out that “an Israeli statement that the Iranians had missiles in Syria was surely made in concert with the Trump administration”, that the Iranian forces in Syria are “far fewer than the West imagines” and that all Israeli statements should be reported with the utmost circumspection. Any objective reporting on these events should resemble that of Robert Fisk: “The latest overnight Israeli air strikes, supposedly at Iranian forces in Syria after a supposed Iranian rocket attack on Israeli forces in Golan – and it’s important to use the “supposed” and not take all this at face value – must have been known to the Americans in advance.” Indeed, these so-called unexpected attacks had been announced for days by the Israeli army, which had already conducted a so-called “preemptive strike” – rather a provocation – on May 8.

The “red line” that this alleged Iranian presence would pose to Israel is belied by the fact that Tel Aviv has, since the beginning of the conflict, been steadily slowing the progress of the Syrian Arab Army and, using various pretexts (delivery of arms to Hezbollah, response to actual or suspected gunfire from the Golan Heights, etc.), assisting armed terrorist groups in any way possible: weapons, intelligence, airstrikes coordinated with ground offensives, medical care, etc. Israel, the only country in the world that officially does not fear anything (and indeed has nothing to fear) from ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the like, has seen the situation in Syria turn from a dream – see a myriad of terrorist groups tear down the only anti-Israeli Arab regime, back of the Resistance Axis, and bleed Hezbollah – into a nightmare – to face Hezbollah, Syrian and Iran forces more battle-hardened and powerful than ever, and allied with the Palestinian Resistance, Iraq and Yemen, as well as Russia –, is only continuing its destabilizing work under new pretexts, and more directly: Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, had announced that after the defeat of proxies in Syria, their sponsors could either give up or intervene more and more openly.

Iran, whose opposition to the racist and colonialist project of Israel has been a principle and even a dogma since the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, is not easily provoked into an ill-thought reaction, and has always preferred to act with patience for long-term objectives – let us remember its restraint after the massacre of Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan in 1998. The goal of Iran is not to carry out a simple reprisal operation to avenge his officers and soldiers deliberately (or accidentally, as was the case in Quneitra in January 2015) killed by Israel, but to work for the complete liberation of Palestine by putting an end to the illegitimate “Zionist regime”, just like the Apartheid regime in South Africa, which, by the way, collapsed after its military defeat in Angola and Namibia against Cuban mulattoes, then viewed with as much racism as Israeli Jewish supremacism considers Arabushim. As Hassan Nasrallah pointed out, Israel’s direct aggression against Iranian forces in Syria is a major turning point in the history of the Israeli-Arab – or rather, Israeli-Arab-Persian – conflict, and Israel must now get ready to confront the Iranian forces directly – whether in Syria, occupied Palestine or even elsewhere. Moreover, when the Iranian missiles enter the scene, they are launched from the territory of the Islamic Republic and with undeniable success, as shown by the strikes against ISIS at Deir-Ez-Zor on June 18, 2017, in retaliation for terrorist attacks in Tehran.

As we can see, the reality cannot be more different from the fable that has been propagated by the majority of the media. “Journalists” who tamely take over Israel’s talking points turn into IDF propaganda outlets and mere agents of Netanyahu’s “diplomacy of lies”. Israel is indeed constantly lying to the world – and, increasingly, to its own people. And when its reckless actions have disastrous repercussions, it publishes hasty and contradictory communiqués in which it presents itself both as a victim and as a hawkish punisher, while also claiming, through Lieberman and via Russia, to have no intention of stepping into an escalation and hoping things will stop there – proclaiming the success of its retaliatory strikes is also a way to say it does not want/need to go any further. The international media contented itself with repeating these statements immediately after the first attacks, without any critical distance. Rational actors like Iran, Syria and Hezbollah – or Russia – are not in such a hurry to speak out and confirm or deny other’s claims, leaving their opponents getting entangled in their lies, and trusting in the primacy of the battlefield that becomes more favorable to them day by day. Moreover, the fact that a bitter setback for Israel, which literally reverses the strategic situation, is transformed into a military success by Zionist and Atlantist propaganda, and combined with Israeli protests of non-belligerency, can only confirm the Resistance Axis in its choices.

Yoav Kish, a member of the Knesset quoted by Al-Manar, stressed that regardless of the author of the strikes and their results – that censorship forbade from mentioning –, it was a major shift in the history of the wars of Israel, which is being attacked from Syria. Indeed, the Golan military installations are now directly targeted as a result of Israeli aggressions, and not just the Israeli air force, which has already seen its finest – the F-16 – be shot down on February 10, 2018. The journalists and Israeli analysts also pointed out the psychological and economic repercussions of this incident, with more than 20,000 Golan settlers having had to hastily find their way back to the shelters in the middle of the night (how much will they be at the next escalation?), and the beginning of the summer period having been ushered in by a wave of hotel reservation deletions due to fears of a war between Israel and Iran. The Zionist entity, which unabashedly inflicts the greatest loss and damage to the Palestinians and its neighbors, is severely shaken by the slightest losses, unbearable for Israeli society.

The accusation against Iran is explained by essential factors (the inherent racism of Israeli society and its Prime Minister, who more willingly believe in a dangerousness of Persian Iran than in that of Arab Syria) and circumstantial – a refusal to assume the consequences of the suicidal policy of the Netanyahu government, which led him to a direct confrontation with the entire Resistance Axis, not to say with Russia. And most importantly, Israel wants to capitalize on Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal to advance its main obsession, much older than the Syrian crisis, namely Tehran’s ballistic program, which it wants the West to end with, exploiting the perennial nuclear pretext – let us remind that the manufacture, possession and use of nuclear weapons are unlawful in Islam according to Imam Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, supreme authorities in Iran. Netanyahu has made it clear that a war with Iran is inevitable, and that it would be better to happen now than later. Since 2005, he vainly strives for the United States to launch it for him, but no negotiation, sanction or aggression will ever deter Iran from its course. And just as the Israeli strikes on April 9, which were supposed to encourage Washington, London and Paris to conduct severe strikes on Syria, ended in a bitter failure, Israel only worsened its own situation yet again and finds itself alone in the face of the disastrous consequences of its actions, to the extent of the blind arrogance that triggered them.

What about Russia? Netanyahu’s presence in Moscow for the commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the USSR’s victory against Nazism, and reports that Russia would not deliver the S-300s to Syria, must not mislead us. Russia has invested far too much in Syria to allow anyone – be it Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh or Ankara – to reduce its efforts to nothing. Moscow said it would no longer tolerate Western strikes against Syria in case of a new chemical weapons masquerade, and that it is ready to provide Damascus not necessarily with the S-300 anti-aircraft system, but, according to Sergei Lavrov, with “whatever is required to help the Syrian army to deter aggression.” The current Syrian defense systems have already proven their worth – Including the Pantsir, which is much more suited to the needs of the Syrian army –, and allow to envision the day when Israel loses its only advantage, namely the air supremacy – that already was to no avail in 2006 against Hezbollah or 2014 against Gaza –, without which its supposedly “invincible” ragtag army would literally crumble. Israel’s use of ground-to-ground missiles for the first time, and the concentration of attacks on Syrian anti-aircraft defenses – IDF released the video of the destruction of a Pantsir S-1 system, probably inactive – proves that it is well aware of its limitations.

It is obvious that Israeli aggressions against Syria will be increasingly costly, both for the Israeli air force and for its internal military bases and population, because of the determination of Syria and its allies (Hezbollah and Iran) to respond to any aggression, of their experience and new capabilities, and of their successes on the ground. The Resistance Axis – of which Russia is not a part – is now able to face Israel directly on its own, with a united front and without fear of escalation. As for Israel, already overwhelmed by the peaceful demonstrations in Gaza that must culminate on May 15, it is not ready for war against a single member of the Resistance Axis, let alone against several of them simultaneously. The new equation imposed by the Syrian army on May 10 is more fearsome for Israel than the prospect of the loss of another F-16, as Damascus has shown its determination to wage war on enemy territory, and to strike the Zionist entity in its depth.

The Resistance Axis will soon have its eyes fixed on the occupied Golan, that Syria has never given up liberating by armed struggle – a right conferred by international law itself, this territory being recognized as Syrian by all the international community: any Syrian operation there is a legal and legitimate act of resistance against Israel’s 1967 aggression in and subsequent occupation, even without further provocation. As early as May 2013, Hassan Nasrallah announced Hezbollah’s participation in the opening of a new frontline in Golan. In March 2017, the Golan Liberation Brigade was formed by Iraqi Hezbollah, Harakat al-Nujaba, a movement backed by Iran and involved in the liberation of Iraq and Syria from ISIS. Today, Syrian strikes in the occupied Golan unquestionably open up a new chapter in the history of the Israeli-Arab wars, in which Israel will increasingly be forced into a defensive position. Are we going to see the IDF building a wall on the border of the occupied Golan to hinder any future invasion, as is already the case on the Lebanese-Israeli border to prevent Hezbollah’s promised incursion into the Galilee? Anyway, the next war against Israel will drastically change the map of the Middle East.

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