I find this story almost mind-blowing!
We all knew that it had to be Israel that launched this latest missile strike against Syria. After all, it is one in a series, and who else could or would launch such an attack from the sea?
As to what exactly was the rationale behind the attack, it is open to speculation:
- Dissatisfaction with the lack of US action in Syria.
- An attempt to sabotage upcoming peace talks in Geneva.
- As stated, an attack on a weapons convoy, bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Personally, I think Israel is simply trying to provoke a response. They know it won’t come from Assad as he has all his resources tied up in fighting the rebel armies. The response they are looking for is from Iran – one that will sabotage any peace negotiations between the Americans and the Persians.
Putting all this to one side though, I still find the Israeli response to being exposed as the culprits astonishing! We didn’t expect them to apologise, of course, but we might have expected that Israeli officials would at least try to explain why they attacked another sovereign nation without provocation. Instead their response seems to have been one of indignance! Apparently they feel ‘compromised’, and they are horrified that their ally, the USA, has identified them as being responsible for the crime!
I suppose this is just the norm nowadays. High profile criminals never expect to be held accountable for their crimes, while those who expose them are invariably hunted down and made to pay – Mordechai Vanunu, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Ed Snowden, … Have we really reached the point though now where the Israeli government doesn’t even feel a need to try to justify its acts of war?!
Israel ‘furious’ with White House for leak on Syria strike
Israel is fuming with the White House for confirming that it was the Israeli Air Force that struck a military base near the Syrian port city of Latakia on Wednesday, hitting weaponry that was set to be transferred to Hezbollah.
Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the strike, one of half a dozen such attacks widely ascribed to Israel in recent months, but an Obama administration official told CNN on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had indeed attacked the Syrian base, and that the target was “missiles and related equipment” set for delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
A second TV report, on Israel’s Channel 2, said the leak “came directly from the White House,” and noted that “this is not the first time” that the administration has compromised Israel by leaking information on such Israeli Air Force raids on Syrian targets.
It said some previous leaks were believed to have come from the Pentagon, and that consideration had been given at one point to establishing a panel to investigate the sources.
Channel 2′s military analyst, Roni Daniel, said the Obama administration’s behavior in leaking the information was unfathomable.
Daniel noted that by keeping silent on whether it carried out such attacks, Israel was maintaining plausible deniability, so that Syria’s President Bashar Assad did not feel pressured to respond to the attacks.
But the US leaks “are pushing Assad closer to the point where he can’t swallow these attacks, and will respond.” This in turn would inevitably draw further Israeli action, Daniel posited, and added bitterly: “Then perhaps the US will clap its hands because it will have started a very major flare-up.”
Channel 2 speculated that the US might have leaked word of Israel’s attack as a warning to Israel to desist from such actions. Alternately, it might be seeking to signal that it was part of the tough policy designed to prevent a flow of sophisticated weaponry to Assad. But these and other possible explanations simply didn’t justify the leak, which the TV report described as “illogical” and “foolish.”
Jerusalem’s reported anger with the White House over the leak coincided with efforts by the Administration to assure Israel that it is holding to a tough line on Syria and in the effort to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, and is maintaining its robust military partnership with Israel.
On Thursday, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, reiterated America’s commitment to thwarting Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions. “Let me be absolutely clear: President Obama is determined to ensure that the Islamic Republic does not acquire a nuclear weapon,” Power said at the Anti-Defamation League’s centennial conference held Thursday in a Manhattan hotel. Addressing the subject of nuclear negotiations with Iran, she said the Obama administration considers a bad deal worse than no deal and that the administration will not accept a bad deal.
Later Thursday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told the same gathering that the US is testing Iran’s diplomatic intentions but remains “clear-eyed” on Iran’s role as a state-sponsor of terror and exporter of extremism.
Hagel also announced that the US will fast-track delivery of six advanced Osprey helicopter-airplanes to Israel. “Israel will get six V-22s out of the next order to go on the assembly line, and they will be compatible with other [Israeli defense] capabilities,” Hagel said, anticipating delivery in two years time. NBC News said Israel requested that the delivery of the Ospreys be expedited because of threats from Iran and Syria.
Hagel added that “the Israeli and American defense relationship is stronger than ever, and it will continue to strengthen.”
read the rest of this article here.
This is an extraordinary article from Nadezhda Kevorkova, and the first that I have read that champions Syria as upholder of Palestinian rights!
According to the Palestinians interviewed in Damascus, Assad is being punished for upholding the Palestinian right of return! This is hardly likely to be the full picture but if it does contain even a grain of truth it does raise the question as to why Khaled Mashaal is throwing his weight behind the Syrian rebels from his base in Qatar!
Something here doesn’t add up!
Syria is a battle for Palestine
One of the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command is located in a basement in central Damascus.
All secrecy measures are there: one cannot drive through the area; hidden guerillas everywhere, and several dozen CCTV cameras. This is the Palestinian group whose headquarters and weapons were seized in December last year by the Syrian militants in Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria near Damascus.
Several people are sitting in a small room. These are: member of the PFLP GC Political Bureau Anwar Raja, editor in chief of the Palestinian Forward magazine, Tahsin Al Hаlabi, and about five other companions who come and go while we speak.
Anwar Raja was born in Jaffa. He was ten when the Palestinians were thrown out of the Holy Land. He experienced all the tribulations of the Palestinian struggle firsthand. And Tahsin Al Hаlabi was only 10 months old when his family had to leave their home.
‘I was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in an Israeli prison for the right to see my home. During my time in Nablus prison I learned English, French, German, and Italian. And I speak Hebrew better than settlers in Israel’, he laughs.
‘In order to free him from captivity, we seized three Israeli soldiers’, recalls Anwar Raja.
The PFLP is the pioneer of all forms of the Palestinian struggle. The organization was founded in the 1960s, and it’s always relied for its support on refugee camps. They split with Yasser Arafat because they dismissed any negotiations, agreements or concessions with Israel. Starting from the 1960s, the PFPL managed to establish an expansive international front of struggle for Palestine, reaching out to groups like RAF and the Japanese Red Army. They were the ones who, long before HAMAS, would send out kamikazes on no-return missions. They invented what’s now widely known as suicide bombers. They were also the first ones to hijack Israeli passenger airplanes and Israeli servicemen to swap them for prisoners.
In Syria, most Palestinian training camps and bases belong to the Popular Front. They have always been the key arms suppliers to Palestine and Lebanon as they had networks and long-term experience of underground operations. They’re fundamentally against elections and party lists as they believe these are just irrelevant games while they remember that 7 million Palestinians remain refugees.
Until December 2012, the main PFPL GC headquarters was located in the Yarmouk camp, Damascus, and so was their main arms dump, which was seized by Syrian rebels. Yarmouk was the first Palestinian camp from which the Syrian militants threw out 150,000 Palestinian refugees.
The over 700,000 Palestinians living in Syria are the key target of political and military struggle. According to the PFPL, what’s happening today in Syria is meant to draw them into the conflict, to purge Syria of them, and to downplay the Palestinian issue.
‘Assad punished for refusing to turn away from Palestinians’
‘A very difficult time began for us. All these events will have major implications for Palestine’, says Anwar Raja.
He is really hopeful that Syria can withstand it, and that this is the only way for Palestinians to consolidate their positions. In his opinion, the conflict didn’t start two years ago. It had been predetermined by Syria’s fundamental position on the Palestinian issue. All countries of the region turned away from Palestinians and bargained with the US and Israel, whether explicitly or implicitly. Syria was the only one that didn’t give in, he believes.
‘By 2002 the Israeli flags were raised over all the Arabic capital cities except for Syria’, Anwar Raja comments.
‘The key demand of the Palestinians is the return of the Palestinian refugees. Israel will never agree to it as this would bring its end closer. In 2002, the so-called Arab Peace Initiative in Beirut declared the ‘land for peace’ principle. At that time, only Libya and Assad required introducing the return of the refugees clause’, reminds Anwar Raja.
He believes that following the invasion of Iraq, Qaddafi rejected any Palestinian support, but that wasn’t enough to save him. Bashar al-Assad didn’t turn away from the Palestinians, and that was the reason that the West directed the wave of militants against Syria and spread out the Islamic propaganda that Assad was the root of all their troubles.
‘And now Israel wants to abolish the Palestinian refugee term through the UN’, says the member of the PFLP Political Bureau.
‘Syria didn’t just allow us to stay here. All of our training camps were in Syria, including the Islamic Jihad. Even HAMAS was exercising here in our camps’, explains Anwar Raja. He reminds that at the PFLP reference, HAMAS was able to settle in Syria. ‘We told Hafez al-Assad that HAMAS were fighters, and he allowed them to come over’.
‘The West and the Arabs insist that the war broke out in Syria because the regime had failed to execute reforms. This is just absurd. Syria held the Palestinian issue on the table. Syria personifies the very idea of the refugees’ right to return. In any other country, the Palestinians are just forbidden to talk about politics’, he believes.
‘Palestinian camps in Syria were attacked. The attackers opened fire, provoked and abducted Palestinians. We told the armed opposition that we would not get involved in the armed struggle in Syria, as we were guests there. The Palestinians formed committees for the sake of the camps security. But George Sabra (the opposition leader) stated on TV that they considered Palestinian camps part of Syria. The militants broke into camps. Yarmouk was ransacked. We asked Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Abbas to talk to the opposition, but they never played the intermediary role,’ says Tahsin Al Hаlabi.
read the rest of this article here: rt.com…
You might wonder why I’m publishing this extract from an article about Syria on israelandpalestine.org…. It’s because it’s all deeply connected.
Why is the US, along with so many of its ‘allies’ in the Middle East, concerned to see the ‘Assad regime’ toppled? Is it really because of humanitarian concern for the oppressed people of Syria? Not a chance! It’s because the US and most of the Sunni Arab countries want to bring down the Shiite alliance – Syrian, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Ahmadinejad is the real target, as Iran is the only real barrier to US/Israeli hegemony in the region, and yet the US (if not Israel) still fears a direct assault on Iran, and for good reason! The safer strategy is to weaken Ahmadinejad’s allies and so bring about regime change in Iran. That’s the goal.
And so the media sells us the story of Robin Hood and his merry men taking on the evil Syrian dictator. Of course Assad is no saint but, as Mother Agnes showed us, the situation is far more complex than our governments would have us believe, and the hypocrisy of the West’s supposed humanitarian concern is appalling!
Syrian rebels say Americans, Britons helped train them in Jordan
By David Enders McClatchy Newspapers ‘
AMMAN, Jordan — Weeks before the Obama administration and other Western nations recognized a new Syrian opposition coalition as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, Syrian rebels were receiving training in the use of light and heavy weapons with the backing of the Jordanian, British and U.S. governments, participants in the training have told McClatchy.
The training took place as far back as October and involved hundreds of rebels, the participants said. In one case, the rebel participant said men he believed were American intelligence officers observed what was taking place..=20 Another said he believed British officers were helping to organize the training. The training itself was handled by Jordanian military officers, the rebels said.
“We hoped there would be more training on larger weapons,” said Kamal al Zoubani, a fighter from the southern Syrian city of Daraa, which often is referred to as the birthplace of the uprising against President Bashar Assad, which began nearly 22 months ago. “But we were allowed to take light weapons back to Syria with us.”
By November, another rebel said, the training had expanded to anti-tank weapons and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
American officials, citing concerns that they didn’t know the political leanings of anti-Assad groups, have said repeatedly that they aren’t providing weapons to the rebels, leaving that to countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
But there’s been little discussion of what role the United States might be playing in training rebel fighters, whose offensives against loyalist Assad forces have been gaining traction in recent months.
This week, the Obama administration recognized the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces as the likely successor to the Assad regime and urged countries to funnel aid through it for the rebels. In tandem with that decision, the administration labeled a key rebel group, the Nusra Front, whose fighters have been at the front lines of many recent rebel victories, an offshoot of al Qaida in Iraq in hopes that Qatar and Saudi Arabia would stop assisting it.
Read the full story here: www.mcclatchydc.com……
Some folks honestly believe that Julian Assange is doing the world a great service. Let’s examine the matter for ourselves. It’ll help us understand the situation in Syria. The article pasted below (highlights mine) was published in the Jerusalem Post. Ha’aretz covered the story, also, and included a highly controversial video: Julian Assange interviews Hezbollah chief (28:00). Peace, Roy
Assange interviews Nasrallah in new TV program
Photo: REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange premiered his new television show on Tuesday with an exclusive interview with the outspoken but largely elusive Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, Lebanese Hezbollah’s secretary-general.
During the interview – which was Assange’s first for his new program on the Kremlin-funded English-language Russia Television, The World Tomorrow – the Hezbollah leader rejected claims that the group, recognized as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, fires rockets towards Israeli civilians and towns.
Speaking with Assange via video feed and seated in front of a blue curtain and the Lebanese and Hezbollah flags, Nasrallah explained that Hezbollah began "reacting" to "Israeli aggression" following the "resistance years" between 1982 and 1992, "strictly to stop Israel from shelling our civilians." He said Israel has been "shelling Lebanese civilians since 1948," when the Jewish state was founded.
Today, Nasrallah continued, Hezbollah and Israel have an "understanding" whereby both sides agree not to fire on civilian targets. He referred to a 1993 US-negotiated ceasefire between Israel and the Lebanese group which ended a flare-up of hostilities between the two sides, which was reaffirmed in a written ceasefire in 1996.
"That understanding makes sure both sides don’t fire at civilians," Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah leader explained to Assange, who sat next to a translator in a television studio, how the group’s fighters are able to outsmart Israel’s "sophisticated technology, weapons and communications."
"The resistance is popular," he said. "Most of the men in it are village boys, from small towns and agricultural communities."
He explained that the "code" used by the group’s members to confuse the IDF is "simply the use of slang from their villages – from their families."
"Anyone listening trying to decode the language will not easily be able to find out what they mean," Nasrallah said, smiling as he recited "code" such as "cooking pot" and "donkey."
Hezbollah periodically claims to out Israeli spies within its ranks, and uncover Israeli espionage equipment stashed in southern Lebanon, the terrorist group’s stronghold, while Israel decries the terrorist group’s use of Lebanese villages and populated areas to hide weapons.
While Hezbollah’s "resistance" to Israel is carried out via paramilitary operations, the group has worked for years to build political clout in Lebanon, and today boasts 12 members in the March 8 Alliance, Lebanon’s ruling coalition.
Underling such regional political influence, the Hezbollah leader spoke extensively about his group’s attempts to encourage the armed opposition in neighboring Syria to work with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Hezbollah supports.
Nasrallah reiterated his group’s support for the Assad regime, despite strong international and Arab objection to the Syrian president’s violent handling of the anti-government opposition.
Hezbollah, along with Iran and Russia, have been the most outspoken supporters of Assad as he continues for over a year to battle rebels demanding he step down. The Syrian conflict has resulted in the deaths of more than 9,000 people, according to the United Nations.
Still, while Nasrallah recognized that both Assad and the opposition may have crossed "red lines," he said Hezbollah “hasn’t backed down in the face of Israeli and American pressure" and shifted alliances.
Hezbollah encouraged armed rebels to engage in a dialogue with Damascus, an offer that the opposition refused.
As long as the doors to a political solution are closed, Nasrallah warned, then the fighting will continue.
Nasrallah explained that Hezbollah’s support of Assad was rooted in the Syrian president’s service to the "Palestinian cause." He insisted that Damascus is "willing to undergo reforms and prepared for dialogue," and added that Hezbollah would happily fulfill the role of an external arbiter between Assad and the opposition.