Saturday, 4 August 2018

Lieberman’s Definition of Terrorism

I wish he had continued his sentence to indicate that those settlements are not actually being built on the moon or Mars. The geographical region allocated for those new settlement units is owned by indigenous people being systematically stripped of their ethnic identity alongside their ancestral land by foreign illegal immigrants brainwashed with delusions of supremacy.
This “Israeli” minister of war would also do well to discuss the source of funding for those said settlements. The majority of financing of the bulldozers demolishing Palestinian houses and uprooting the olive trees comes from the US taxpayers – money that could be better utilized in uplifting the heavy weight of mortgages US veterans come back home to deal with. Or, relief the American students owing ludicrous amounts to universities. Maybe even use that money to subsidize national medical care.
Americans are not the enemy; the overwhelming popular belief on this side of the hemisphere is that the American people are not entirely aware of how they are being manipulated by a deep dark political system hellbent on securing high profits for a military-industrial complex. Profits achieved by demonizing neighbors so as to sell weapons to countries who are in desperate need of allocating the majority of their budgets towards enhancing educational and social national organizations.
When they fail in demonizing candidates, the US government creates demons like they did with al-Qaeda and “ISIS”.
It is high time to exert real efforts in unifying a global definition of terror and what terrorism is. Mr. Lieberman’s usage of the word insinuates that those who defend their property and children against occupying forces are the “terrorists”. His definition of terrorism does not seem to include dispatching regulars in the army with high power rifles as snipers to hunt down civilian targets indiscriminately. It doesn’t refer to soldiers filling a sixteen-year-old girl with bullets or a military helicopter crew tearing apart the bodies of little boys playing soccer on the beach. Bombarding a densely populated area after laying siege on it must have also missed his definition of terrorism.
There is a genuine discrepancy in terminology. Iran, a country that is not known to have initiated any wars against other countries during, at least, the contemporary era of history is being labeled as a “state that sponsors terror”. On the other hand, “Israel” has attacked and occupied Lebanon more than once and has done it savagely but, still, it is being described as a “democratic state” yearning for peace and security. Supporting rogue terrorist organizations like Lahad’s Southern Army militias and “ISIS” is not seen as acts of terror; neither, it seems, orchestrating assassinations on foreign soil.
Memory goes back to when George Bush destroyed Iraq in the name of spreading democracy – another twisted term of our age. The father of Athenian democracy, Cleisthenes, must have turned in his grave every time Bush mentioned his creation. Killing huge sections of the Iraqi civilian population in the name of a noble concept was yet another example of hijacking terms and mutating them to gain the support of the unknowing masses. Maybe Lieberman does know what terrorism means but is twisting the word to mean something else; he is still betting on ignorant masses who would actually believe that a teenage girl deserves a prison sentence for slapping a heavily armed soldier who invaded the front yard of her home to shoot at her cousins.
It is a mess. It is a sorry state of affairs. The victim of the modern-day holocaust is being blamed for demanding his basic rights as a human and a citizen of the world. He is being told that he fits the profile of a terrorist – Lieberman’s definition of a terrorist.
We can all do our part in rectifying the situation humanity is in. We can begin by establishing international guidelines for terms such as democracy and terrorism. We must not only condemn Lieberman’s war crimes against the innocent people whose land he has occupied, we must condemn his attempts to twist the definition of words on which the human race bases ethical standards. His crimes go beyond murder and theft, they are against the very human culture.
No matter how many settlements are built, Palestinians will get what is rightfully theirs back. History has shown this to be true. The Ottomans occupied land like the Israelis did, the Ottomans enslaved people like the “Israelis” did, and the Ottomans committed genocide against the Armenians just like the “Israelis” are doing against the Palestinians. The Ottomans lost and went back to their country, so will the “Israelis”.
Source: Al-Ahed News

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US Military Aid to Israel Set to Exceed $3.8B, or $23,000 Per Year for Every Jewish Family Living in israel (apartheid state)

The massive funding for Israel’s military is the result of the 2016 U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance between the Israeli and U.S. governments, which called for annual funding of $3.8 billion — or $23,000 per year for every Jewish family living in Israel — for the next 10 years.
WASHINGTON — In an event largely overlooked by the U.S. media, the Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would provide Israel with $3.3 billion in military aid along with over $500 million for missile defense over the course of the next year. The bill, officially titled the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” is expected to be voted on by the House within the week. If approved and signed into law by President Trump, it would represent the “single largest military aid package in American history.”The massive amount of funding being allocated to Israel’s military is ultimately the result of the 2016 U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance between the Israeli and U.S. governments, which called for $3.8 billion in funding for Israel on an annual basis over the next ten years.
Though this startling figure — which translates into $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel — was supposed to be the limit for U.S. military aid to Israel, the figure is actually set to be higher this year, given Congress’ recent passage of a massive $716 billion defense bill that provides an additional $550 million in U.S. aid for Israeli missile defense systems. The defense bill also authorizes an additional $1 billion for U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel.
Over the past several years, U.S. military aid to Israel has ballooned, with U.S. funding of Israeli missile defense alone quadrupling since 2009. Ironically, many of those missile defense systems, besides being clumsy and costly, frequently malfunction, including the “Iron Dome” defense system — jointly developed by Raytheon and Israeli defense company Rafael — and the “Arrow-3” system — jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing.

“Largest aid package ever” to be given to Israel despite jarring human-rights abuses

The massive amount of aid the U.S. government is set to give to Israel comes during Israel’s unprecedented crackdown on unarmed protesters and a looming Israeli military operation aimed at “conquering” the Palestinian enclave. Indeed, since March 30, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — the very forces set to receive billions in U.S. taxpayer funding — have killed 164 Palestinians, including 26 children as well as journalists and medics.
In addition, over that same time frame, the IDF has injured upwards of 17,000 Palestinians living in Gaza, over half of whom had to be hospitalized for their injuries — including more than 1,400 children. All of those killed and injured were unarmed. In contrast, there has been a single Israeli death and nine Israeli injuries over that same time period.
Such grave violations of human rights would normally prevent the U.S. government from providing aid to Israel, given that the Leahy Laws enable the U.S. to withhold military assistance from units and individuals in foreign security forces if they have committed a gross violation of human rights (GVHR). GVHR offenses include: extrajudicial killings; torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; prolonged detention without charges and trial; causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons; and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.
However, given that Israel has been engaged in gross violations of human rights since its founding in 1948, and yet has received over $133 billion in aid from the U.S. during that time, the U.S. government has made it clear time and again that it is willing to bend the rules when it comes to Israel.
Top Photo | Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers his speech as U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman listen, during the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Sebastian Scheiner | AP
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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Saudi Strikes on Hodeidah’s Hospital a War Crime and Moral Decay

Hezbollah: Targeting Yemen Civilians Indicates Saudi Failure, Moral Decay

Hezbollah flag
August 4, 2018
Hezbollah lashed out at the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen, as he denounced the massacre in Hudeidah, which killed and injured dozens of civilians the port city.
In a statement released by its Media Relations Office late Friday, Hezbollah stressed that targeting civilians shows the “Saudi-US aggression’s failure and the moral decay.”
“The Saudi-US alliance had committed a horrible massacre that targeted civilians and patients in Hudeidah’s hospital and market,” the statement said, stressing that the attack “is a crime in every sense of the word.”
“As we firmly denounce this disgraceful crime, we call on free states across the world, international organizations and human rights watchdogs to condemn it and to stand against its perpetrators in order to expose their aggression which has been for more than three years.”
“Targeting patients in a hospital indicates the Saudi-US aggression’s flagrant moral decay, as well as its failure in the battlefield in front of the courageous Yemeni resistance,” the statement stressed.
Hezbollah meanwhile, offered condolences for the Yemeni people and wished speedy recovery for the people who were injured in the strikes on Hudeidah.
More than 40 people were martyred and many others were injured on Thursday as Saudi-led warplanes launched air strikes on a hospital and a fish market in Hudeidah.
Medical workers said more than 20 missiles were fired by warplanes into several neighborhoods of the port city.
Source: Hezbollah Media Relations (Translated by Al-Manar English Website)

At least 55 Yemenis Martyred in Saudi Strikes on Hodeidah’s Hospital, Harbor

At least 55 people have been martyred after warplanes of the Saudi-led aggression hit a hospital and a fishing harbor in Yemen’s western province of Hodeidah.
Yemen’s Health Ministry said the Thursday brutal strikes also left at least 130 wounded, some in critical condition.
Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, citing its correspondent, reported that Saudi-led jets struck al-Thorah Hospital in the provincial capital Hodeidah and a fishing port in the province almost simultaneously.
According to the correspondent, the death toll was expected to rise due to the magnitude of the airstrikes, particularly on the hospital.
The report also said that the attacked hospital had launched an urgent appeal for Yemeni citizens to donate blood.
On Wednesday, at least nine fishermen were martyred after Saudi-led warplanes targeted their ship off the coast of Hodeidah.
The imposed war, however, has so far failed to achieve its goal, thanks to firm resistance mounted by Yemeni troops. The war was also launched despite warnings that it would compound the impoverished nation’s humanitarian crisis.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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U.S.-Backed Saudi Airstrike on Family With Nine Children Shows “Clear Violations” of the Laws of War

by Iona Craig & Shuaib Almosawa
Shortly before 10 p.m. on the night of May 14, more than a dozen members of the Maswadah family, including nine children, lay sleeping in tents in the shadow of a cliff in Yemen’s northern governorate of Saada. The nomadic family had been eking out a living raising sheep and doing farm work in the region most heavily targeted by the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led bombing campaign that began in 2015.
Unbeknown to the Maswadahs, Royal Saudi Air Force drones had been hovering for 45 minutes over their dwellings at the edge of the wide plain walled by mountains. Saudi duty officers more than 550 miles away watched the family’s tents on their screens, along with two “hot spots” likely created by the body heat of people and animals inside.
What happened next in the Saudi war room is described in a U.S. intelligence report seen by The Intercept. The minute-by-minute account of a single airstrike provides a small yet detailed window into the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, showing how officers in charge of daily air raids are ignoring their own procedures aimed at minimizing civilian casualties. Specialists in international humanitarian law say the incident described in the document shows “clear violations” of the laws of war.
The duty officers monitoring drone feeds in the Joint Forces Command National Defense Operations Center in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on the night of May 14 saw the Maswadahs’ tents, but observed “no personnel or vehicles visible, nor any other intelligence information about the location,” according to the report.
Saudi officers monitoring drone feeds saw the Maswadahs’ tents, but had no “other intelligence information about the location” before ordering the strike.
The Saudi brigadier general in charge on May 14 wasn’t present in the operations center, so the duty officers called him twice to describe the target.
At 9:25 p.m., the absent general issued the order to strike the tents. The RSAF, which was monitoring the site separately, added its own recommendation to strike. “At 2156, an unknown coalition aircraft released a single GBU-12 on the target,” notes the document, referring to a 500-pound, American-made precision-guided bomb that was dropped at 9:56 p.m., less than 50 minutes after the Saudis first caught sight of the tents.
It is not clear whether the aircraft that fired the munition belonged to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, which lead the coalition fighting in Yemen, or to a partner nation such as Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, or Sudan. Morocco reportedly withdrew its fighter jets in April.
Abdullah Maswadah, 40, a farmer and father of the nine sleeping children inside the tents that night, told The Intercept that he was awake and outside the square fabric shelters trying to avoid mosquitos when the bomb dropped. Fortunately for his family, the missile failed to hit its intended target. The American-made munition missed the family’s tents, which had been donated by the Red Crescent, “by about 30 meters,” according to the intelligence report. Maswadah estimated that it landed 10 to 15 meters from where his children slept along with his wife, her parents, and her sister on sponge mattresses next to bags of clothes.
“I rushed to my tent and [the tent] had fallen on the kids. Some woke in panic, screaming and crying, and some were still asleep.”
“I rushed to my tent and [the tent] had fallen on the kids,” Maswadah said. “Some woke in panic, screaming and crying, and some were still asleep.” He moved his relatives out into the open and wiped the dust from their faces. All had survived unharmed, likely because the sides of the tents had been reinforced with stone walls.
As preparations for a second strike unfolded in the Saudi operations center, “multiple personnel, to include at least 1 female and 4 children, exited the tent and fled towards a road,” according to the document. The second strike was then aborted.
The coalition and U.S. Central Command did not respond to questions from The Intercept. But the intelligence report includes what appear to be comments from an American intelligence analyst attempting to summarize key takeaways from the misguided strike.
The attack was “an indication of failure to follow proper procedure even though safeguards are in place,” the analyst wrote, without stating what those safeguards were. “The Saudis failed to corroborate the target with additional intelligence sources or weigh the lack of time-sensitivity with the decision to strike immediately.”
Yet, in an apparent attempt to throw a positive light on the near-fatal fiasco, the analyst pointed out “the obvious desire to avoid civilian casualties and do the right thing indicated by the very real distress that was felt [by the Saudis] after they realized civilians were present.” About 15 minutes after the attack, a senior Saudi officer “expressed extreme displeasure that the strike had been ordered due to the lack of intelligence information justifying it,” the report notes. Many Saudi officers “were visibly distressed at the near-miss of a civilian casualty event. They also privately admitted failing to follow their own procedures, which were put in place to prevent incidents like this from occurring.”
A man is seen at the site of an airstrike that destroyed the Community College in Saada, Yemen April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma - RC1B18DAE900
A man stands at the site of an airstrike that destroyed the Community College in Saada, Yemen on April 12, 2018. Civilian locations continue to be targeted, as human rights organizations and others have repeatedly claimed since the start of the coalition air campaign.
Photo: Naif Rahma/Reuters
The Saudi officers’ failure to take any precautions to avoid civilian injury or death was a clear breach of customary international humanitarian law, as was the failure to verify the target, experts said. “Beyond viewing the tents and the hot spots, if no intelligence was ordered to determine if these were military targets, then this is definitely a violation of the principle of precaution. This is the obligation to take all necessary measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants and to minimise incidental loss of civilian life,” said Ioannis Kalpouzos, an expert on the laws of war at City Law School, University of London.
Potential U.S. complicity in violations of the laws of war is more relevant than ever.
Though the U.S. is not known to have used its own fighter pilots and attack aircraft in Yemen, it is more directly involved in the coalition’s air war than it has been in any other foreign-led bombing campaign in modern history. As the intelligence report shows, the U.S. maintains a significant presence in the Saudi operations center. It also sells munitions and aircraft to the coalition and provides maintenance, training, targeting assistance, and mid-air refueling for fighter jets carrying out bombing runs.
Potential U.S. complicity in violations of the laws of war described in the report is more relevant than ever. The U.S. reportedly increased its role in selecting targets for coalition airstrikes soon after the May 14 attack.
In mid-June, the coalition launched a major military offensive against Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah, which, along with the surrounding area, was home to 400,000 people. That assault has relied heavily on airstrikes from coalition fighter jets flown by American-trained pilots, armed with American-made missiles, and refueled in the air by U.S. planes. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the expanded U.S. role in target selection is meant to “minimize the number of civilian casualties and the harm to critical infrastructure” in the Hodeidah operation, which the United Nations humanitarian chief in Yemen has said could put 250,000 lives at risk. Some 47,230 households have so far been displaced from the governorate as a result of the fighting.
Yemeni men inspect the damages at a factory allegedly targeted by Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes in the Red Sea town of Hodeidah on July 27, 2018. (Photo by ABDO HYDER / AFP) (Photo credit should read ABDO HYDER/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemeni men inspect the damage at a factory allegedly targeted by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Hodeidah on July 27, 2018.
Photo: Abdo Hyder/AFP/Getty Images
In May, the Trump administration asked Congress to review the proposed sale of 120,000 precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In June, Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has the power to limit such sales, told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that he could not currently support the continued sale of U.S. PGMs – the same type used in the May 14 strike on the Maswadah family’s tents – to the coalition because of concerns over their potential use against civilians.
The intelligence report offers a devastating counterclaim to the U.S. and U.K. arguments for increasing the sale of PGMs, or “smart bombs,” to the coalition as a means of preventing civilian injury and death. Suppliers of PGMs and their political proponents claim that smart bombs, rather than unguided “dumb bombs,” are the primary way to avoid civilian harm. On its website, Raytheon – the largest manufacturer of PGMs in the U.S. – boasts that its PGMs are “avoiding casualties. Reducing risk. Minimizing collateral damage. … [O]ur precision weapons are meeting the mission — hitting the target and nothing else.” That didn’t happen in the May 14 strike, which may have missed the Maswadahs’ tents because of “elevated terrain between the weapon and the target,” according to the U.S. intelligence report.
Moreover, the efficacy of PGMs or any other weapon depends largely on the quality of the targeting. Although the U.S. has killed plenty of civilians in bombing raids across the Middle East and South Asia in recent years, the events that unfolded in the Saudi operations center on the night of May 14 differed from U.S. airstrike protocol in at least one key way: the apparent absence of legal advisers in the Saudi decision-making process.
In a U.S. campaign, lawyers from the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps would usually, though not always, be expected to be involved in deciding whether to order a strike, according to a former U.S. Air Force officer who asked not to be identified because of his ongoing work in the region. Several military lawyers are available 24 hours a day for such consultation, the former officer said. It remains unclear what, if any, legal advice commanders in the Saudi-led coalition seek before carrying out airstrikes.
Concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen prompted the U.S. to suspend the sale to Saudi Arabia of kits to convert “dumb bombs” into “smart bombs,” but the Trump administration quickly reversed that policy.
In December 2016, at the end of the Obama administration, concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen prompted the U.S. to suspend the sale to Saudi Arabia of guided munitions kits to convert “dumb bombs” into “smart bombs” or PGMs, though crucial mid-air refueling of coalition fighter jets continued.
But the Trump administration quickly reversed that policy. In June 2017, the U.S. approved an estimated $750 million in flight and technical training to the Royal Saudi Air Force. In announcing the proposal, the Defense Department said that the training would “include such subjects as civilian casualty avoidance, the law of armed conflict, human rights command and control, and targeting.” A week later, U.S. senators voted to resume PGM sales to Saudi Arabia, approving the sale of more than $500 million in precision-guided munitions.
The sale closely followed President Donald Trump’s visit to the kingdom, his first official foreign visit as president. While there, he boasted of a deal with the Saudis that he claimed would be worth up to $350 billion over the next 10 years, including $110 billion in arms sales. The Obama administration concluded $115 billion worth of defense sales with Saudi Arabia from 2009 to 2016.
The intelligence report shows, however, that 11 months on and over three years into the coalition’s aerial bombing campaign in Yemen, civilians are still being unlawfully targeted, as human rights organizations, a U.N. panel of experts, humanitarian aid agencies, and the European Parliament have repeatedly claimed since the start of the coalition air campaign.
US President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C) upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017, followed by First Lady Melania Trump (C-R). / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump is welcomed by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, center, upon arrival in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Those calling for the suspension of PGM sales to the coalition argue that selling weapons that will be used to target civilians means that the U.S. “is green-lighting the killing of innocent civilians,” as well as exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in a country where more than 8 million people are “a step away from famine.”
“The U.S. and U.K. have justified continued weapons sales to Saudi Arabia based on the coalition’s purported ‘improvements’ — that they will tighten their rules of engagement or credibly investigate strikes that have already occurred,” said Human Rights Watch Yemen researcher Kristine Beckerle. “These promises are empty, these assurances fatally flawed. Whatever changes the coalition has made to its targeting practices, if any, have not prevented the coalition from bombing a wedding, a cholera treatment center, and a range of other civilian targets just this year.”
Saudi Arabia has denied numerous reports of mass civilian casualties caused by coalition airstrikes and alleged violations of the laws of war, including the bombing of hospitalscivilian gatherings, and civilian infrastructureoften with U.S.-made munitions. The coalition says it has carried out its own internal investigations into some 70 airstrikes. In nine cases, the coalition’s Joint Incident Assessment Team acknowledged fault but blamed guidance systems, pilot error, or erroneous intelligence. This week, the JIAT announced the findings of five additional investigations, stating that no violations occurred.
SANA’A, YEMEN – JUNE 25: People search for survivors under rubble of a house after it was destroyed by an airstrike of the Saudi-led coalition, that killed eight members of one family, and injured 15 others on June 25, 2018 in Amran province north Sana’a, Yemen. (Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)
People search for survivors under rubble of a house after it was destroyed on June 25, 2018, by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed eight members of one family and injured 15 others in Amran province north of Sana’a, Yemen.
Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images
A February 2017 judicial review case brought by the London-based organization Campaign Against the Arms Trade argued that weapons sales to Saudi Arabia should be suspended because the Arms Trade Treaty, ratified by the U.K. in 2014, states that if there is “a risk of any serious violation of international humanitarian law,” arms exports should not be authorized. The U.K.’s High Court ruled against the group last summer, finding that there was no “real risk” of “serious violations” in such sales, and that the U.K. secretary of state’s decision to continue selling weapons to Saudi Arabia “was not irrational or unlawful.” An appeal on the ruling is expected to be heard later this year.
Although it’s unusual for new evidence to arise in such proceedings, Paul Clark, an international law expert and barrister at Garden Court Chambers in London who is not involved in the CAAT case, said The Intercept’s reporting “might count as new evidence” that could justify a new application to the High Court or submission as part of the appeal.
“If evidence of this type had been available at the time of the High Court decision, it should have impacted on the question of whether the secretary of state made a rational decision,” Clark said. CAAT declined to comment, saying that it had been advised not to speak about the pending appeal.
The U.K. Ministry of Defense’s own “Tracker” database, which collates but does not investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law by the coalition in Yemen, listed 356 potential breaches as of July 4. Of those, 42 occurred between December 2017 and March 2018.
International law requires states to investigate war crimes by their militaries and “fairly prosecute” those responsible, notes Human Rights Watch’s Beckerle. Yet on July 10, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued an unprecedented “noble royal order pardoning all military men … of their respective military and disciplinary penalties” in the war in Yemen.
“The Saudi King’s recent sweeping pardon for soldiers involved in Yemen fundamentally and outrageously undercuts the already deeply flawed coalition investigative mechanism,” Beckerle told The Intercept. “The pardon is almost certain to embolden coalition officers still fighting in Yemen, given the clear message it sends: Don’t worry — no consequences.”
“The pardon is almost certain to embolden coalition officers still fighting in Yemen, given the clear message it sends: Don’t worry — no consequences.”
According to the London-based nonprofit charity Action on Armed Violence, 72 percent of civilian deaths and injuries in Yemen from 2015 to 2017 were caused by air-launched weapons. In May, coalition airstrikes were responsible for 73 percent of civilian casualties in Yemen, with 26 percent caused by shelling from Houthi rebels – the coalition’s enemy, according to AOAV, which advocates to reduce global armed violence.
The events of May 14 continue to haunt the Maswadah family. The children and other relatives have moved into caves, which they view as safer than tents. “I can feel death now when I hear the sound of fighter jets,” said Abdullah Maswadah, who, because of the move, is now a half day’s travel from his work as a farm laborer. “The kids burst into tears when they hear the sound [of planes].”

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China to help with the fight against terrorism in Syria

Diplomat relays message that Chinese military ready to help ‘in some way’ as campaign moves north

China’s ambassador to Damascus has reportedly told Syrian media that Beijing is prepared to aid the government’s push to retake territory throughout the country.
Speaking to Syrian pro-government daily Al-Watan, the envoy, Qi Qianjin, expressed China’s support for what he referred to as Syria’s war against terrorists, according to a dispatch from the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Qi said he regretted that Chinese Uyghurs had participated in fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, adding that the Chinese military was hoping to enhance relations with the Syrian military.
“Asked about the possibility that his country would take part in the Syrian Arab Army’s upcoming campaign against the terrorists in Idlib, especially in light of the presence of Uyghur fighters [there], [Qi] replied that China ‘is following the situation in Syria, in particular after the victory in southern [Syria], and its military is willing to participate in some way alongside the Syrian army that is fighting the terrorists in Idlib and in any other part of Syria,” the article from Al-Watan was translated as saying.
When asked about Chinese participation in the campaign, military attaché Wong Roy Chang said
“‘the military cooperation between the Syrian and Chinese armies is ongoing. We have good relations and we maintain this cooperation in order to serve the security, integrity and stability of our countries. We – China and its military – wish to develop our relations with the Syrian Army. As for participating in the Idlib operation, it requires a political decision.’ He denied that there were military advisers or special Chinese forces in Syria today.”
Featured image is from Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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Trump Threatens Iran to Distract From Russia Criticism and Appease israel (apartheid state)

Donald Trump’s all-caps tweet threatening Iran with “CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE” sounds much like his warning last fall that North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Will Trump deliver on his threats against Iran, but not against North Korea? There is a striking disconnect between his policies toward the two countries.
“Trump has rejected a detailed pact that kept Iran out of the nuclear weapons business for a decade, while embracing a vague communiqué that allows North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons for years, and possibly forever,” said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, offering his assessment of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal last May.
Under the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, Iran and five other countries, Iran had gotten rid of all of its highly enriched uranium, eliminated 99 percent of its low-enriched uranium and shut down a main nuclear reactor. Iran had fully complied with all of the requests of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, which had affirmed eight times that Iran was in compliance with the nuclear deal.
Trump is now desperate to deflect criticism away from his much-criticized summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Trump knows that a war — conducted with the right spin — could help the GOP in the midterm elections. And Israel, the United States’ closest ally, has been gunning for regime change in Iran, which Israel considers to be an existential threat.
Trump Is Desperate to Change the Subject Away From Russia
Trump is likely threatening Iran to distract from the widespread outrage at his adoption of Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. In siding with Putin, Trump rejected the conclusion of the US intelligence agencies that Russia tampered with the election.
“Other people who know Mr. Trump said his decision to respond [to Iran] in such fiery terms was driven almost entirely by his search for a distraction from questions about Russia,” according to New York Times reporter Mark Landler.
Landler identifies three reasons Trump will not likely follow the same strategy with North Korea and Iran: 1) Iran’s leadership is not as monolithic as North Korea’s, with Kim Jong Un as a one-man state; 2) the strong Israel lobby opposes diplomacy with Iran; and 3) Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal provides Iran with little incentive to negotiate, particularly because the other parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — continue to abide by the pact.
Moreover, Trump is playing to his base. Christopher R. Hill, who worked as a diplomat in both Republican and Democratic administrations, said Trump’s rhetoric against Iran is “raw meat” for his base, as well as “an effort to shift the subject” away from his summit with Putin.
Trump Responds to Israeli Pressure on Iran
Although Israel has enjoyed the unwavering support of successive US administrations, Trump has taken that support to a new and disturbing level.
Israel strongly opposed the Iran nuclear deal and pushed for the United States to bomb Iran. Trump pulled out of the deal, leaving Iran free to build its nuclear program.
Trump then capitulated to Israeli pressure, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, in spite of Security Council resolutions mandating that the status of Jerusalem be agreed upon by the parties through negotiation. Trump’s declaration led to predictable outrage around the world.
A Full-Court Press Against Iran
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton have also been rattling the sabers against Iran.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation, Pompeo listed 12 demands Iran must meet, including cessation of uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes, which is allowed under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
“The demands would constitute a complete transformation by Iran’s government, and they hardened the perception that what Trump’s administration really seeks is a change in the Iranian regime,” according to The Associated Press.
Bolton, who has long advocated overthrowing Iran’s government, promisesregime change in Iran by the end of 2018.
The United States has also mounted a disinformation campaign intended to undermine Iran’s government.
“The Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups, US officials familiar with the matter said,” according to the Jerusalem Post. “The current and former officials said the campaign paints Iranian leaders in a harsh light, at times using information that is exaggerated or contradicts other official pronouncements, including comments by previous administrations.”
Trump Plans Air War Against Iran; House Says Not Without Our Consent
The Trump administration is moving toward war with Iran. Eric Margolis, veteran war correspondent in the Middle East, reports that the Pentagon has drawn up plans for an air attack on Iran:
The Pentagon has planned a high-intensity air war against Iran that Israel and the Saudis might very well join. The plan calls for over 2,300 air strikes against Iranian strategic targets: airfields and naval bases, arms and petroleum, oil and lubricant depots, telecommunication nodes, radar, factories, military headquarters, ports, water works, airports, missile bases and units of the Revolutionary Guards.
Likewise, senior officials in the Australian government told ABC they think the United States plans to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, maybe as soon as next month.
But the House of Representatives just passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which includes an amendment stating that “nothing in this Act may be construed to authorize the use of forces against Iran” and an attached statement indicating “the conferees are not aware of any information that would justify the use of military force against Iran under any other statutory authority.”
Even if the Senate approves that amendment, Trump won’t necessarily follow Congress’s mandate. He might say he’s going after suspected Iranian “terrorists” inside Iran or anywhere on his global battlefield. We will then see if there is any congressional pushback.
At the same time, however, Trump is talking about making a deal with Iran.
“We’re ready to make a real deal,” he declared. Trump said he is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with “no preconditions.”
But the Iran deal Trump renounced took years of painstaking negotiations.
Meanwhile, Russia is allied with Iran and would oppose US military intervention. On July 12, Putin met with Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, outside Moscow.
Feigning Concern for the Iranian People
Trump claims to care about the people in Iran, but the economic sanctions he reinstituted while pulling out of the Iran deal will hurt the Iranian people. As CODEPINK co-director Medea Benjamin wrote:
Many Iranians we talk to desperately want to change their government, but not with U.S. intervention. They look around the region in horror, seeing how U.S. militarism has contributed to massive chaos, misery, and death in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine. They believe their best option is internal reform.
There is another glaring difference between the situations in Iran and North Korea. While Iran does not have nuclear weapons, North Korea does. That is North Korea’s insurance policy against US military aggression.
Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.
Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. An updated edition of her book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, was recently published. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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