Saturday, 3 March 2018

Iran: No Missile Talks unless West Gives up its Nuclear Weapons

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri
Iran’s armed forces spokesman said on Saturday that there can be no talks on the country’s missile program without the West’s destruction of its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
“What Americans say out of desperation with regards to limiting the Islamic republic of Iran’s missile capability is an unattainable dream,” Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told the official IRNA news agency.
“The condition for negotiations on Iran’s missiles is the destruction of America’s and Europe’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.”
Jazayeri said US criticism of Iran’s missile program was driven by “their failures and defeats in the region.”
SourceAgencies
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Putin’s stunning revelations about new Russian weapons systems

Putin’s stunning revelations about new Russian weapons systems

If you have no read it yet, please check out Putin’s full address to the Federal Assembly.  What stunned me, and many other, are the new weapon systems Putin has announced.
First, he confirmed that the Sarmat ICBM would replace the old but already formiable SS-18 “Satan”.  Then he turned to new weapon systems:
  1. A nuclear powered cruise missile with basically unlimited range
  2. A nuclear powered unmanned submersible with intercontinental range, very high speed, silent propulsion and capable of moving a great depths
  3. A Mach 10 hypersonic missile with a 2’000 kilometer range (named: Kinzhal)
  4. A new strategic missile capable of Mach 20 velocities (named: Avangard)
All of these systems can be armed with conventional or nuclear warheads.  Just think of the implications!  Not only does that mean that the entire ABM effort of the USA is now void and useless, but also that from now US aircraft carrier battle groups can only be used against small, defenseless, nations !
Right now I simply don’t have the time to write a full analysis of the stunning, truly tectonic, implications of this announcement, so I will turn to my naval warfare expert friend Andrei Martyanov and repost his initial reaction to just one of these systems:

It Is Official And It Is Over.

While the whole Western media are shaking (incompetence will do this to one) in their boots from Vladimir Putin’s address, where he demonstrated, among many things, new RS-28 Sarmat ballistic missile, behind that revolutionary weapon system, one was almost completely ignored by media. Again, “education” based on catch phrases (such a “nuclear weapon) will do this to one. By far most shocking (albeit inevitable) revelation was deployment of a new hyper-sonic missile Kinzhal (Dagger) to regular service with front line Air Force units in Southern Military District. Mig-31 carries this weapon, I am positive any SU-35 or SU-30SM or SU-34 will be able to do it too. Here is a video and CGI simulation.
The missile is… well, for the lack of better word, is stunning–it is M=10+ highly maneuverable missile with the range of 2000 kilometers. The naval warfare as we know it is over. Without any overly-dramatic emphasis–we are officially in new era. No, I repeat, NO, modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. The salvo of 5-6 of such missiles is a guaranteed destruction of any Carrier Battle Group.
The mode of use of such weapon, especially since we know now that it is deployed (for now) in Southern Military District is very simple–the most likely missile drop spot by MiG-31s will be international waters of the Black Sea, thus closing off whole Eastern Mediterranean to any surface ship or group of ships. It also creates a massive no-go zone in the Pacific, where MiG-31s from Yelizovo will be able to patrol vast distances over the ocean. It is, though, remarkable that the current platform for Kinzhal is MiG-31–arguably the best interceptor in the history. Obviously, MiG-31’s ability to reach very high supersonic speeds (in excess of M=3) is a key factor in the launch. But no matter what are the procedures for the launch of this terrifying weapon, the conclusions are simple:
1. It moves aircraft carriers into the niche of pure power projection against weak and defenseless adversaries;
2. It makes classic CBGs as main strike force against peer completely obsolete and useless, it also makes any surface combat ship defenseless regardless its air-defense capabilities.
3. Sea Control and Sea Denial change their nature and merge. Those who have such weapon, or weapons, simply own vast spaces of the sea limited by the ranges of Kinzhal and its carriers.
I don’t want to sound dramatic and I knew that there were and are always surprises in Soviet/Russian weapons but today’s revelations from the highest podium in Russia about Kinzhal were shocking. The balance of power just shifted dramatically, with it the naval warfare as we knew it is no more. It is OVER!
I can only add that I fully concur with him.  It is indeed set, match and game over for the Empire: there is no more military option against Russia.
PS: here are a few videos illustrating these systems:






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Merkel, Trump Concerned over Putin’s ‘Invincible’ Weapons

US president-elect Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone conversation shared concern over President Vladimir Putin’s claim Russia was developing new “invincible” weapons, Berlin said Friday.
“The chancellor and the president voiced concern about Russian President Putin’s latest remarks on arms development and its negative impact on international arms control efforts,” said a statement by the German chancellery.
Putin unveiled the new arsenal Thursday in a state of the nation address, and showed a series of video montages of missiles crossing mountains and oceans, heading over the Atlantic before striking the US eastern seaboard.
SourceAFP

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israel arrests 90-year-old Palestinian


MEMO | March 1, 2018
Israeli occupation forces arrested 90-year-old Palestinian Ali Al-Wahsh yesterday morning, Quds Press reported.
Large number of Israeli occupation forces raided Al-Khader neighbourhood in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, broke into houses, searched them and damaged their furniture before arresting Al-Wahsh.
Zakaria, one of Al-Wahsh’s sons, described the Israeli occupation’s raid, which lasted four hours, as “violent and barbaric”.
“We have never thought that the Israeli occupation wanted to arrest the old man, who is the chief of Al-Ta’amra clan which existed in the West Bank and Jordan and one of the reknown tribal judges in Bethlehem.”
Al-Wahsh has been arrested on numerous occasions by occupation forces, most recently in 1992. He has 120 children and grandchildren, Quds Press reported.
During the arrest campaign, the Israeli occupation confiscated his personal pistol, which is licenced by the Palestinian Authority.
Al-Wahsh is being locked up in Gush Etzion detention centre in the south of Bethlehem and will appear in court today.
Commenting on the arrest, Hussein Abed-Rabbu, spokesman of the PLO Commission of Prisoners and Freed Prisoners, said: “Arresting Al-Wahsh proves that the Israeli occupation does not care about common values and is targeting the Palestinian social system.”
Israeli occupation forces arrested 20 other Palestinians along with Al-Wahsh.

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Fueling impunity: israel’s (stolen, the gas belongs to Palestine) gas exports to Europe #BDS

Ongoing talks on the possibility of EU purchases of Israel’s natural gas put into question the EU’s commitment to Palestinian rights under international law.

Gas israel

The EU has made a strong commitment towards energy transition to renewable sources and has developed an ambitious strategy to meet Paris Agreement climate change targets. At the same time the EU has spent millions in the recent years on new gas infrastructure projects and billions of euros more are expected for 104 new gas projects included in the third list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) published by the Commission.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel composed of methane, which is 86 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas than CO2. With this massive investment, the EU is locking its dependence on fossil fuel for decades to come. As a recent report has shown, the gas corporate lobby is entrenching Europe’s addiction to fossil fuels. In 2016 alone, “gas corporations and their lobby groups spent over €100 million on influencing EU [energy] policy, with more than 1,000 lobbyists on their payroll. … By comparison, public interest groups lobbying against new gas infrastructure managed to mobilise just 3% of industry’s spending.”
This not only puts into question the EU’s ability to meet climate change targets but also give rise to serious human rights concerns and the adverse social impact on communities where the pipelines are expected to cross.
Ongoing talks on the possibility of EU purchases of Israel’s natural gas put into question the EU’s commitment to Palestinian rights under international law. As this briefing by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) explains, by purchasing gas from Israel, whether directly or indirectly, the EU would become complicit in Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory, its illegal settlements and the war crime of pillage of Palestinian natural resources – all in contravention of the EU’s international commitments and legal obligations.

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Putin: The Man Who Stopped Washington’s Regime Change Rampage

shutterstock_650275792

“It is essential to provide conditions for creative labor and economic growth at a pace that would put an end to the division of the world into permanent winners and permanent losers. The rules of the game should give the developing economies at least a chance to catch up with those we know as developed economies. We should work to level out the pace of economic development, and brace up backward countries and regions so as to make the fruit of economic growth and technological progress accessible to all. Particularly, this would help to put an end to poverty, one of the worst contemporary problems.” Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club
Putin wants to end poverty? Putin wants to stimulate economic growth in developing countries? Putin wants to change the system that divides the world into “permanent winners and losers”? But, how can that be, after all, Putin is bad, Putin is a “KGB thug”, Putin is the “new Hitler”?
American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he’s also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution. Naturally, the Russian system has its shortcomings, but there has been significant progress under Putin who has dramatically increased the budget, improved treatment and widened accessibility. Putin believes that healthcare should be a universal human right. Here’s what he said at the annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club:
“Another priority is global healthcare…. All people in the world, not only the elite, should have the right to healthy, long and full lives. This is a noble goal. In short, we should build the foundation for the future world today by investing in all priority areas of human development.” (Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club)
How many “liberal” politicians in the US would support a recommendation like Putin’s? Not very many. The Democrats are much more partial to market-based reforms like Obamacare that guarantee an ever-increasing slice of the pie goes to the giant HMOs and the voracious pharmaceutical companies. The Dems no longer make any attempt to promote universal healthcare as a basic human right. They’ve simply thrown in the towel and moved on to other issues.
Many Americans would find Putin’s views on climate change equally surprising. Here’s another clip from the Valdai speech:
“Ladies and gentlemen, one more issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind is climate change. … I suggest that we take a broader look at the issue….What we need is an essentially different approach, one that would involve introducing new, groundbreaking, nature-like technologies that would not damage the environment, but rather work in harmony with it, enabling us to restore the balance between the biosphere and technology upset by human activities.
It is indeed a challenge of global proportions. And I am confident that humanity does have the necessary intellectual capacity to respond to it. We need to join our efforts, primarily engaging countries that possess strong research and development capabilities, and have made significant advances in fundamental research. We propose convening a special forum under the auspices of the UN to comprehensively address issues related to the depletion of natural resources, habitat destruction, and climate change. Russia is willing to co-sponsor such a forum…..” Valdai)
Most people would never suspect that Putin supports a global effort to address climate change. And, how would they know, after all, bits of information like that– that help to soften Putin’s image and make him seem like a rational human being– are scrubbed from the media’s coverage in order to cast him in the worst possible light. The media doesn’t want people to know that Putin is a reflective and modest man who has worked tirelessly to make Russia and the world a better place. No, they want them to believe that he’s is a scheming tyrannical despot who’s obsessive hatred for America poses a very real threat to US national security. But it’s not true.
Putin is not the ghoulish caricature the media makes him out to be nor does he hate America, that’s just more propaganda from the corporate echo-chamber. The truth is Putin has been good for Russia, good for regional stability, and good for global security. He pulled the Russian Federation back from the brink of annihilation in 2000, and has had the country moving in a positive direction ever since. His impact on the Russian economy has been particularly impressive. According to Wikipedia:
“Between 2000 and 2012 Russia’s energy exports fueled a rapid growth in living standards, with real disposable income rising by 160%. In dollar-denominated terms this amounted to a more than sevenfold increase in disposable incomes since 2000. In the same period, unemployment and poverty more than halved and Russians’ self-assessed life satisfaction also rose significantly.”
Inequality is a problem in Russia just like it is in the US, but the vast majority of working people have benefited greatly from Putin’s reforms and a system of distribution that –judging by steady uptick in disposable incomes– is significantly superior to that in the United States where wages have flatlined for over 2 decades and where virtually all of the nation’s wealth trickles upward to the parasitic 1 percent.
Since Putin took office in 2000, workers have seen across-the-board increase in wages, benefits, healthcare and pensions. Poverty and unemployment have been reduced by more than half while foreign investment has experienced steady growth. Onerous IMF loans have been repaid in full, capital flight has all-but ceased, hundreds in billions in reserves have been accumulated, personal and corporate taxes have been slashed, and technology has experienced an unprecedented renaissance. The notorious Russian oligarchs still have a stranglehold on many privately-owned industries, but their grip has begun to loosen and the “kleptocracy has begun to fade.”
Things are far from perfect, but the Russian economy has flourished under Putin and, generally speaking, the people are appreciative. This helps to explain why Putin’s public approval ratings are typically in the stratosphere. (70 to 80 percent) Simply put: Putin the most popular Russian president of all time. And his popularity is not limited to Russia either, in fact, he typically ranks at the top of most global leadership polls such as the recent Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) where Putin came in third (43 percent positive rating) behind Germany’s Angela Merkel (49 percent) and French President Emmanuel Macron. (45 percent) According to Gallup: “Putin has gone from one in three (33 percent) viewing him favourably to 43 percent, a significant increase over two years.”
The only place where people have a negative view of Putin is in the United States (14 percent) and EU (28 percent), the two locations where he is relentlessly savaged by the media and excoriated by the political class.This should come as no surprise to Americans who know that the chances of stumbling across an article that treats Putin with even minimal objectivity is about as likely as finding a copper coin at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The consensus view of the western media is that Putin is a maniacal autocrat who kills journalists and political opponents (no proof), who meddles in US elections to “sow discord” and destroy our precious democracy (no proof), and who is conducting a secret and sinister cyberwar against the United States. (no proof). It’s a pathetic litany of libels and fabrications, but its impact on the brainwashed American people has been quite impressive as Gallup’s results indicate. Bottom line: Propaganda works.
The attacks on Putin began sometime in 2006 during Putin’s second term when it became apparent that Russia was going to resist the looting and exploitation the US requires of its vassal states. This is when the powerful Council on Foreign Relations funded a report titled “Russia’s Wrong Direction” that suggested that Russia’s increasingly independent foreign policy and insistence that it control its own vast oil and natural gas resources meant that “the very idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ no longer seems realistic.” That’s right, Russia was thrown under the bus because they wanted to control their own oil and their own destiny.
John Edwards and Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a CFR task force which concocted the absurd pretext that that Putin was “rolling back democracy” in Russia. They claimed that the government had become increasingly authoritarian and that the society was growing less “open and pluralistic”. Kemp and Edwards provided the ideological foundation upon which the entire public relations campaign against Putin has been built. Twelve years later, the same charges are still being leveled at Putin along with the additional allegations that he meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.
Needless to say, none of the nation’s newspapers, magazines or broadcast media ever publish anything that deviates even slightly from the prevailing, propagandistic narrative about Putin. One can only assume that the MSM’s views on Putin are either universally accepted by all 325 million Americans or that the so-called “free press” is a wretched farce that conceals an authoritarian corporate machine that censors all opinions that don’t promote their own malign political agenda.
What Washington really despises about Putin is that he has refused to comply with their diktats and has openly rejected their model of a “unipolar” world order. As he said at the annual Security Conference at Munich in 2007:
“The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign; one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”
Despite Russia’s efforts to assist the US in its War On Terror, Washington has continued to regard Putin as an emerging rival that would eventually have to be confronted. The conflict in Ukraine added more gas to the fire by pitting the two superpowers against each other in a hot war that remains unresolved to this day.
But Syria was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Russia’s intervention in the Syrian War in September 2015 proved to be the turning point in the 7 year-long conflagration. By rolling back the CIA-trained militants, Putin bloodied Washington’s nose and forced the Pentagon to adopt a backup plan that relied heavily on Kurdish proxies east of the Euphrates. At present, US Special Forces and their allies are clinging to a strip of arid wasteland in the Syrian outback hoping that the Pentagon brass can settle on a forward-operating strategy that reverses their fortunes or brings the war to a swift end.
The Syria humiliation precipitated the Russia-gate Information Operation (IO) which is the propaganda component of the current war on Russia. The scandal has been an effective way to poison public perceptions and to make it look like the perpetrator of aggression is really the victim. More important, failure in Syria has led to a reevaluation of how Washington conducts its wars abroad. The War on Terror pretext has been jettisoned for a more direct approach laid out in the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy. The focus going forward will be on “Great Power Competition”, that is, the US is subordinating its covert proxy operations to more flagrant displays of military force particularly in regards to the “growing threat from revisionist powers”, Russia and China. In short, the gloves are coming off and Washington is ramping up for a land war.
Putin has become an obstacle to Washington’s imperial ambitions which is why he’s has been elevated to Public Enemy Number 1. It has nothing to do with the fictitious meddling in the 2016 elections or the nonsensical “rolling back democracy” in Russia. It’s all about power. In the United States the group with the tightest grip on power is the foreign policy establishment. These are the towering mandarins who dictate the policy, tailor the politics to fit their strategic vision, and dispatch their lackeys in the media to shape the narrative. These are the people who decided that Putin must be demonized to pave the way for more foreign interventions, more regime change wars, more bloody aggression against sovereign states.
Putin has repeatedly warned Washington that Russia would not stand by while the US destroyed one country after the other in its lust for global domination. He reiterated his claim that Washington’s “uncontained hyper-use of force” was creating “new centers of tension”, exacerbating regional conflicts, undermining international relations, and “plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.” He has pointed out how the US routinely displayed its contempt for international law and “overstepped its national borders in every way.” As a result of Washington’s aggressive behavior, public confidence in international law and global security has steadily eroded and “No one feels safe. I want to emphasize this,” Putin thundered in Munich. “No one feels safe.”
On September 28, 2015 Putin finally threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. After reiterating his commitment to international law, the UN, and state sovereignty, he provided a brief but disturbing account of recent events in the Middle East, all of which have gotten significantly worse due to Washington’s use of force. Here’s Putin:
“Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa… Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life…
The power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973….”
US interventions have decimated Iraq, Libya, Syria and beyond. Over a million people have been killed while tens of millions have been forced to flee their homes and their countries. The refugee spillover has added to social tensions across the EU where anti-immigrant sentiment has precipitated the explosive growth in right wing groups and political organizations. From Northern Africa, across the Middle East, and into Central Asia, global security has steadily deteriorated under Washington’s ruthless stewardship. Here’s more from Putin:
“The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions….It is irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them….”
Putin clearly blames the United States for the rise of ISIS and the surge in global terrorism. He also condemns Washington’s strategy to use terrorist organizations to achieve its own narrow strategic objectives. (regime change) More important, he uses his platform at the United Nations to explain why he has deployed the Russian Air-force to bases in Syria where it will it will be used to conduct a war against Washington’s jihadist proxies on the ground.
Putin: “We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world.”
Less than 48 hours after these words were uttered, Russian warplanes began pounding militant targets in Syria.
Putin again: “Dear colleagues,….relying on international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing, and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism….Russia is confident of the United Nations’ enormous potential, which should help us avoid a new confrontation and embrace a strategy of cooperation. Hand in hand with other nations, we will consistently work to strengthen the UN’s central, coordinating role. I am convinced that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, and provide an enabling environment for the development of all nations and peoples.”
So, here’s the question: Is Putin “evil” for opposing Washington’s regime change wars, for stopping the spread of terrorism, and for rejecting the idea that one unipolar world power should rule the world? Is that why he’s evil, because he won’t click his heels and do as he’s told by the global hegemon?
We should all be so evil.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

’Israel’: Killing Nasrallah Would Be Decisive Victory in Next Lebanon War


01-03-2018 | 13:06

The Zionist entity’s goal in its next war in the north will be to “reach a decisive victory” including the killing of Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, according to a senior “Israel” military official.
Sayyed Nasrallah
“If we manage to kill Nasrallah in the next war, I would see that as reaching a decisive victory,” Major General Yaakov Barak told reporters when asked what “decisive victory” meant.
The remarks echoed similar comments from the Zionist military’s chief spokesperson in November, who claimed that the “Israeli” army is conducting psychological and media warfare against Hezbollah.
In this respect, “Israel’s” military establishment sees the Gaza front as the one more likely to erupt in the near future, but its preparations, procurement and equipment upgrades are geared toward Lebanon and possibly Syria.
And since any future war is expected to be very different from previous ones, especially for the Zionist front, “Israeli” ground forces are likely to be sent into the battlefield more quickly, widely and deeply than before, according to Barak.
Combat may be different from that during the July 2006 war in light of the changes on the northern occupied front over the past 11 and a half years.
Meanwhile, “Israel” foresees a threat underground as well, assuming Hezbollah has tunnels in Lebanon not necessarily to infiltrate the occupied territories but to store weapons and shelter fighters.
Another problem is that this time fighting in the north could mean on the Syrian border as well. A front could also open up in Gaza in the south.
Source: Haaretz, Edited by website team

الجيش الإسرائيلي: قتل نصرالله يحسم الحرب

يحيى دبوق
مطلب اغتيال نصرالله يأتي بعد فشل الرهانات في سوريا (هيثم الموسوي)

استأنفت إسرائيل أمس تهديداتها للبنان على لسان كبار مسؤوليها العسكريين، في استعراض قوة واقتدار قتاليين، خُصص للحرب المقبلة في مواجهة حزب الله، مع التشديد على مسمى «الحسم» وسيناريوهات الغزو البري، وكذلك ضرورة اغتيال الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصرالله.

وإذا كان واضحاً أن التهديدات الإسرائيلية هي رسالة ردع موجهة تحديداً إلى حزب الله، إلا أنها موجهة أيضاً إلى كل اللبنانيين، خاصة أنه لا يمكن عزلها عن التطورات الأخيرة بين الجانبين، وما تخللها من تهديدات متبادلة أنذرت بإمكان الانجرار إلى سيناريوهات متطرفة، سواء على خلفية الادعاءات الإسرائيلية بملكية بلوكات غاز لبنانية على الحدود الجنوبية، أو على خلفية ملفات أخرى، قد لا تقلّ أهمية عنها.

وأهمية التهديدات الإسرائيلية ليست في مضمونها. فقد سبق لإسرائيل أن هددت بالاجتياحات البرية، وكذلك باغتيال الأمين العام لحزب الله، فضلاً عن التهديدات المتكررة إلى حد الإفراط بالتدمير الهائل واستهداف المدنيين والبنية التحتية في لبنان، بل سبق للوزراء الإسرائيليين أن تسابقوا في ما بينهم إزاء توصيف الحقبة التي يراد إعادة لبنان إليها بعد استهدافه، ما بين إعادته عشرات أو مئات السنين إلى الوراء، أو إلى العصر الحجري، وكذلك إلى حياة الكهوف.

قد يكون الجديد في التهديدات الإسرائيلية، هو توقيتها وإمكان ربطها زمانياً باستحقاقات مقبلة في الساحة اللبنانية، إن لجهة التنقيب واستخراج الثروة النفطية والغازية اللبنانية كما ورد، وهي بلوكات تريد إسرائيل حصة وازنة منها، أو لجهة تأكيد توثب إسرائيل وجاهزيتها العسكرية، كرسالة ردعية، في مواجهة تطورات مرحلة ما بعد إسقاط مخطط ضرب محور المقاومة عبر البوابة السورية. هذه الملفات وغيرها، تستدعي من إسرائيل رفع الصوت عالياً، وإن بمضمون التهديد المتكرر، علّها تحصل على النتيجة المتوخاة منها، من دون أثمان قد تتلقاها إذا حاولت أن تسلك «السيناريوهات المتطرفة».

لكن ما لفت في التغطية الإعلامية الإسرائيلية، ربطاً بالتصريحات الصادرة عن كبار المسؤولين العسكريين في تل أبيب، هو التركيز على «قتل نصرالله»، باعتباره رسالة اقتدار في مرحلة ما قبل «حرب الشمال الأولى». ورَفْعُ الإعلام العبري لهذا التهديد، الذي لا يحمل جديداً في قراءة أولية، يستدعي التأمل في أهدافه ومنطلقاته.

مطلب إسرائيل في اغتيال الأمين العام لحزب الله، وكذلك قادة حزب الله، لا يعدّ مطلباً جديداً. فهو سبق حرب عام 2006، وأعقبها، وكان أحد أهم الأهداف التي وُضعت للحرب نفسها. إلا أن العدو فشل في كل المحاولات التي قام بها، رغم كل الجهود المبذولة استخبارياً وعسكرياً. بعد عام 2006، توصلت إسرائيل ولجان تحقيقاتها المختلفة في الفشل الاستخباري والعسكري، إلى نتيجة مفادها أن قتل السيد نصرالله هو هدف مطلوب في كل مرحلة، وخاصة مع الإدراك أنه يشكل أحد أهم عناصر القوة لدى حزب الله، وبالتالي مطلوب شطبه وإزاحته من الساحة.

أصبح هذا المطلب أكثر إلحاحاً من منظور إسرائيلي وأميركي والأنظمة العربية المتحالفة معهما، إذ يأتي بعد فشل كل الرهانات، تحديداً الرهان على الجماعات الإرهابية التكفيرية، التي جرى التعويل عليها لتحقيق ضرب حزب الله، وكل جسم المقاومة ومحورها في المنطقة. فشَل هذا الرهان أعاد إسرائيل إلى خياراتها البديلة في كل الساحات، وفي مقدمتها الساحة اللبنانية، حيث لديها عدة أولويات، وعلى رأسها اغتيال السيد نصرالله.

مع ذلك، فإن كلام المسؤولين الإسرائيليين وربطهم قتل نصرالله بهزيمة حزب الله، يحمل أكثر من دلالة. فإذا كان اغتياله خلال الحرب خسارة، لا يمكن المجادلة حولها، وهي خسارة قد لا تعوض نظراً لدوره وموقعه وتأثيره في مسيرة المقاومة وتناميها دورها وفاعليتها، إلا أن تشديد إسرائيل على أن قتله هو السبيل في هزيمة حزب الله، هو إقرار منها بتعذر الهزيمة العسكرية. وهذا تحديداً، ما دفع الإعلام العبري إلى التساؤل في معرض تعليقه على تصريحات وتهديدات الأمس، عن معنى ومصير مصطلح الحسم في مواجهة حزب الله، وعن إمكانات تحقيقه الفعلية، وعن قدرة الجيش الإسرايلي على التوصل إليه، وكل ذلك مع توجه واضح جداً من قبل المعلقين على التشكيك في حد أدنى، إن لم يكن النفي.

وكانت وسائل الإعلام العبرية قد هبّت أمس، دفعة واحدة، للتركيز على حديث مصادر عسكرية إسرائيلية رفيعة المستوى عن «اغتيال نصرالله»، وتشديدها على أن اغتياله هدف يحقق انتصار إسرائيل في الحرب المقبلة، ويلحق الهزيمة بحزب الله. وقال ضابط رفيع في سلاح البر الإسرائيلي، الذي وصفه الإعلام العبري بالمسؤول عن إعداد الجيش للمناورة والاجتياح البري للبنان، إن أحداً لا يملك إجابة واضحة حول مصطلح الحسم في الحرب المقبلة، لكن «يمكن الإشارة إلى أن قتل نصرالله في الحرب، يعني هزيمة حزب الله. وإذا تحققت لنا هذه النتيجة، فسنكون منتصرين في حرب الشمال الأولى» (الحرب المقبلة التي يقول العدو إنها لن تكون في مواجهة لبنان وحسب، بل ستشمل سوريا معه).

رسائل التهديد عبر التهويل بالحرب والتلويح بارتفاع احتمالاتها، وردت أيضاً على لسان الضابط الإسرائيلي الرفيع، الذي ذكرت الإذاعة العبرية أنه اللواء كوبي باراك، قائد الذراع البرية في الجيش الإسرائيلي. بحسب باراك، فإن تقديرات المؤسسة العسكرية الإسرائيلية ترى ارتفاعاً في احتمال نشوب الحرب عام 2018، أمام عدو (حزب الله) متخندق ومسلح جيداً مع طائرات مسيرة انتحارية وصواريخ يحمل كل منها رأساً حربياً يصل إلى نصف طن.

ولفت الضابط الإسرائيلي إلى أنه لن يكون هناك خيار أمام إسرائيل بعد أن يطلق العدو آلاف الصواريخ في اليوم على أراضيها، سوى تجنيد كل الجيش البري والمبادرة إلى المناورة البرية والدخول البري السريع إلى لبنان. وأضاف أن الحرب قد تستمر أياماً طويلة، وربما أسابيع كي نتمكن من تحقيق الإنجاز، لكنها لن تستمر أشهراً، لافتاً إلى أنها «حرب ستخاض ضد عدو بات صاحب تجربة وخبرة قتالية واسعة، مع نجاحه في سحق تفوق إسرائيل في القتال الليلي، بعد أن تزود (حزب الله) بمنظومات رؤية ليلية».

يمكنكم متابعة الكاتب عبر تويتر | YeDbouk@

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The NUMEC Cover-up: The Diversion of U.S. Weapons Grade Uranium from NUMEC to israel


On January 31, 2013 the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy hosted a public education event just north of Apollo Pennsylvania. Author Grant F. Smith discussed key findings from his 2012 book, “Divert! NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro, and the Diversion of US Weapons-Grade Uranium into the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program” at the Parks Township Volunteer Fire Hall.
Smith’s talk covered the corporate histories of NUMEC and Apollo Industries, how regulators dealt with the plant’s massive losses of bomb-grade nuclear material, the FBI’s investigation of NUMEC’s joint venture with a front for Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and the ongoing clandestine interactions of NUMEC executives with Israeli intelligence and covert nuclear weapons program operatives.
Smith also unveiled a major new effort to declassify all remaining CIA, NSA, Justice Department and National Security Council files revealing how American presidents quietly grappled with NUMEC as a proliferation and safeguards issue from the LBJ to the Carter administrations.

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Turning reality on its head, Voice of America claims israel seeks to help Gaza

A recent protest against the siege that Israel has long imposed on Gaza.
Ashraf Amra APA images
Voice of America would have its listeners believe that as the conditions in Gaza deteriorate, Israel is turning to the world for help.
This is a bizarre take on reality. Israel, more than any state in the world, has led the charge in reducing Gaza to economic desperation.
The US propaganda outlet did get one thing right: Conditions in Gaza are certainly deteriorating. The notion that Israel is serious about helping, however, flies in the face of 10 years of an Israeli siege and three devastating wars against the people of Gaza resulting in the deaths of more than 3,500 Palestinians.
Nickolay Mladenov, special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, recently toldthe UN Security Council that “Absent immediate steps to address the humanitarian crisis and to revive the economy, we will face a total institutional and economic collapse in Gaza. This is not an alarmist prediction … it is a fact.”
Particularly noteworthy is the highlighting by Voice of America of the previous efforts of Qatar to fund various projects in Gaza, such as $84 million for a road and another $114 million for buildings in southern Gaza as well as a hospital. Unmentioned in the article was Qatar’s intention to provide a $9 million grant for fuel and medicine at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
Muhammad al-Emadi, who heads Qatar’s Gaza reconstruction effort, declared, “When you want to do work in Gaza, you have to go through the Israelis.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, he called for Israel to provide Palestinians with more travel permits, but also pinned blame on the Palestinian Authority during a contentious visit to Gaza that included a shoe thrown at his car, apparently by a hospital cleaner upset by the lack of pay.
Al-Emadi’s comment about the PA led Fatah to issue a statement defending its leader Mahmoud Abbas.
“The political statements which the Qatari envoy made against President Mahmoud Abbas attempt to exploit the tragic situation in Gaza as he denies the support we provide to our people there and what we share with them,” the statement read.
These heightened tensions come at a time when Qatar has lately been strengthening its relations with the pro-Israel lobby.
During the interview with the Associated Press at his Jerusalem hotel, al-Emadi stated: “If the international community helps Gaza, this will prevent” a new war in Gaza.
The pressure the Trump administration, Gulf states and Egypt are applying to Qatar is presumably enormous.

Squeezing Gaza

Israel squeezes hard in Gaza – waging “economic warfare” according to Gisha, a human rights group – and in 2012 was discovered to have cynically calculated how many calories Palestinians there need to survive. The goal, 2,279 calories per person, seems to have been to make life miserable without an actual famine.
Both misery and malnutrition went up. Stunting debilitated Palestinian children, hurting their growth and intellectual development.
The current policy pursued from Washington to Riyadh appears to be that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations favoring obfuscation and endless delay have failed and now should be replaced by a ratcheting up of the economic pressure Palestinians have endured for the past decade in Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority has cruelly proven its complicity and been repaid by the Trump administration with the announcement that the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Notwithstanding the setback, the PA continues to turn the screws against the people of Gaza.
Leaders from Gaza to the West Bank to Israel to the Gulf to the European Union to the US to the UN have universally failed Palestinians in Gaza.
There is seemingly nowhere to turn as water supplies dwindle and farmland shrinks.

“Spraying of agrochemical poisons”

Yes, even the farmland is shrinking as Israel has turned to aerial herbicide spraying at the barrier to kill Palestinian crops.
The Israeli military attempted to explain the process in December 2015: “The aerial spraying of herbicides and germination inhibitors was conducted in the area along the border fence last week in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations.”
In practical terms, this has meant the destruction of crops and new impediments to Palestinians’ ability to feed themselves.
The practice continues, most recently in January 2018 according to the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.
A briefing paper published by Al Mezan in February spelled out the effects for Palestinian farmers in Gaza. “The spraying of agrochemical poisons deforms some crops and visibly changes their color. This is easily observable on leafy plants, such as spinach, parsley, chard and rocket.”
The human rights organization also noted the negative consequences for honey production.
The lack of transparency regarding substances used has caused alarm in Palestinian farmers along the boundary area just inside Gaza – according to Al Mezan “officially designated by Israel to encompass the lands within 300 meters from the border, but effectively extending up to 1,500 meters into Gaza’s territory.”
Beyond knowing that Oxygal is one of the chemicals employed by Israeli planes in fly-overs, Palestinians do not know what other chemicals are damaging crops and soil in the area.
The harm to this strip of land along the barrier is a microcosm of what is transpiring in Gaza as a whole which, according to a 2012 UN report, requires “Herculean efforts” if it is to be a “liveable place.”
Those efforts have not been forthcoming. Notwithstanding the claims by Voice of America about Israel seeking help for Gaza, the situation has only declined since the 2012 UN report with Israeli military and economic policies central to the deterioration in conditions.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!