Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Don't Cross Israel

The Dutch making amends? 

During the Arab oil embargo in 1973-74, the Netherlands was one of the few countries that stood by Israel (the others being US, South Africa, and Portugal).   The Dutch have always sided with Israel and served its interests at their own expense.  But it would seem that the recent Dutch criticism of Israel's brutal occupation comes with a heavy price.

In September 2016, the Dutch P.M. Mark Rutte called for an end to the Israeli settlements.  He also supported labeling Israeli produce from the West Bank.   Rutte also called for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

In October 2017, Dutch Foreign Minister questioned Israel's desire for peace and the continued occupation/settlement projects.

Israel was pissed.  Time for retaliation and a lesson - and perhaps a chance for the Dutch to reclaim their place as stooges.

The November 4th headline of The Jerusalem Post declared:  "Report: Dutch Technology May Have Helped Advance Iran's Weapons Program".   Not only implicating the Dutch but once again promoting the false narrative that Iran had a weapons program.

According to JP, "intelligence services from the Netherlands raising a red flag over Iran's use of Dutch technology to accelerate its lethal weapons program".  

Seems the Israeli's are giving their stooge, the Dutch, to cooperate ... else.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Why We Must Change The Narrative on Syria

This article was first published in April 2013.   I have written several articles on Syria.  This is but one of them which explains Turkey's role, as well as the Persian Gulf States and the main planners.


For some time now, the predominant narrative about Syria has been that the unrest has been fueled in order to weaken Iran.  This prevalent account is common to neoconservatives and liberals alike.  While The New York Times trumpeted Israeli-firsters Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham message that “rebel fighters deserved to be armed and that helping them take on the Syrian government would aid Washington’s effort to weaken Iran”, moderate and independent outlets such as Truthout, Counterpunch, and numerous others echoed this same objective – but whilst decrying the plan.   Even Iran’s state-run media shares this account.

This is sheer misdirection -- deliberate or otherwise.  Undisputedly, Syria and Iran have been staunch allies since the Iranian Revolution in their joint cause to protect the Palestinian rights and to stand up Israel and America, and any change in Syria would adversely affect Iran (as it would Russia).   But this is a secondary consideration.  The generally accepted  narrative takes the focus away from the primary reason for the current assault on Syria – Israel.

Since the 1948 war, Syria and Israel have been in a state of war (with brief periods of unsuccessful negotiations).   The conflict has been primarily over land and water (see  a previous essay The Syria Imperative).   Since the 1950’s, conflict over water (and land) has been at the root of hostilities between the two.  In the 1950’s, Eisenhower commissioned Eric Johnston to generate a regional water allocation agreement.  The failure of the Johnston plan exacerbated the conflict. The published diaries of Israeli Foreign Minister Sharett helps understand why the Johnston negotiations were unsuccessful.  Sharett maintained: “[P]olitical decisions concerning the occupation of the rest of Eretz Israel were taken as early as 1954, although implemented in 1967.[i]

The 1967 occupation of Syria Golan (Golan Heights) and the Upper Mount Hermon by Israel enabled Israel to seize the entire Upper Jordan River  giving Israel the advantage of placing its riparian position to fully upstream.   Consequently, not only was Syria denied access to Upper Jordan waters, but its territorial and national integrity were assaulted.

Some years later, Haaretz would reveal the existence of a study (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel-Aviv university) under General Aaron Yariv, former intelligence services chief, which outlined a “zone of hydraulic security”, which called for placing water resources in Syria and Lebanon under full Israeli control[ii].  Disputes continued unabated and the status quo maintained until 1982 when the military prowess of both sides were tested. 

A 1987 book by Col. Emmanuel Wald of the Israeli General Staff entitled “The Ruse of the Broken Vessels: The Twilight of Israeli Military Might (1967-1982) reveals the aims of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the month of pre-planning that had gone into it.  Wald writes that Ariel Sharon’s master plan codenamed “Oranim” was to defeat the Syrian troops deployed in the Bekaa Valley all the way to the district of Baalbek in North of Lebanon.  According to Wald, “during the fist days, it was quietly approved by the U.S.”.

With this aim, on June 6, 1982, Israeli advanced into Lebanon.   However, the Syrian army halted the Israeli army advance in the battle of Sultan Yakub and the battle of Ain Zahalta.  Sharon’s plan to conquer all of Lebanon and destroy Syria as a military power was thwarted.  In reviewing the book and the battles, the famous scholar and activist, Israel Shahak, opined that “the principal purpose of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was destruction of the Syrian Army”[iii].

Shahak posits that Israel needs to win its wars quickly or not at all.  In spite of technological and nuclear superiority, another assault on Syria would not predictably bring an easy win to Israel and defenses could ‘drag out a war endlessly’.   He further argues that during the entire history of  Israel, Israeli Jews have shown themselves to be  highly sensitive to their losses, and high losses make Israelis “susceptible to political arguments against modes of domination and oppression which they otherwise would accept”.

Shahak’s analysis shed a light on events which pursued the failure of “Oranim” as outlined in The Syria Imperative.   Israel continues to pursue its grand strategy, using a different tactic given its awareness of, and its familiarity with the strengths of the Syrian army -  an army which must be disrupted from within given Israel’s 1982 failure to do so.  And this is the primary reason for arming terrorists posing as “opposition”.

It is not without irony that Netanyahu has recently admitted that he does not rule out arming Syrian rebels, given Israel’s age-old tactic of arming minorities or rebels and cultivating dissent and chaos (such as the Anya Nya in Sudan , later the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA), and the leader of the Sudanese rebels, John Garang armed by Israel  from neighboring countries).  This is a scenario being repeated in Syria. 

Paradoxically,  the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) who are today on a mission to secure Israel’s vision (with a nod from Washington)  by arming rebels and undermining Syria, were all in favor of securing Syria in 2003 when they told Washington: "We think the threat to Syria should stop. We don't think Syria wants a war or to escalate any situation. We reject any infringement of Syria's security.”[iv]   That is, until Turkey offered water to the Persian Gulf States and they became complicit in a war against Syria.  Stephen Pelletiere, a former CIA analyst, wrote in the New York Times that Turkey had envisioned building a Peace Pipeline carrying water that would extend to the southern Gulf States, and as he sees it, “by extension to Israel.”
There is no end to their duplicity.  

Amos Yadlin, the outgoing military intelligence chief warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in November 2010 that Israel's next war  would take longer and be fought on more fronts.   Yaldin warned that Syria in particular,  posed a greater military obstacle to Israel than at any time in the past three decades.  It would appear that  the Syria unrest has allayed his concerns.   The Syrian forces which put up such a resistance in 1982, are now engaged fighting terrorists, while the world is being told that they are the violators.  Perhaps Netanyahu’s plan will succeed where Sharon’s Oranim failed.

Regardless, it is important to change the accepted narrative about Syrian uprisings.   Given the decades lone demonization of Iran, it may be more palatable to associate the fueling of unrest in Syria point to a ‘weaker’ Iran, but let there be no mistake -  Syria today is in turmoil in order to promote Israel’s grand strategy – even as the perpetrator – Israel,  plays the victim and  warns of chemical weapons use by Assad’s regime, demanding intervention.    Evil requires the sanction of the victim.”  Ayn Rand.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

[i] Livia Rokach, "Israeli State Terrorism: An Analysis of the Sharett Diaries," Journal of Palestine Studies 9, no. 3 (Spring, 1980), 3-28.

[ii] Zeev Shiff, "The Censored Report Revealed," Ha'aretz, 8 October 1993
[iii] Sahak, Israel.  Israel Considers War With Syria as It Ponders 1982 Invasion of Lebanon,The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (September 30, 1992).
[iv] Janardhan, N, Iraq: Gulf Council Urges U.S. to Stop Threats to Syria, Global Information Network [New York] 17 Apr 2003

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Egypt, el-Sisi, the Nile, and Treason


What is happening with el-Sisi and Egypt has broad implications.

Gone are the days when wars were fought over oil.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Colonizing the Saudi Women

When I repeatedly say that Saudi's time is coming to an end, I am not taken seriously. This production is not about 'women's rights', it is about women in Saudi Arabia being "Westernized" - two very distinctly different issues The US (and prior to that other Western colonizers) has always used women as a central issue to disrupt a government. It specifically even suggested using "music" (mostly hip-hop) to reach the Arab and Moslem youth. Women are key to colonizing a society (cultural colonization which is followed by full scale neocolonial).
So while AJ may publish this (and I am glad they did) out of hostilities between the countries, one must also view this with a different perspective and what the message of the video actually is - and the goal of it.
I have zero tolerance for the Saudi leaders and the heinous crimes they have committed against other nations - and continue to commit, including genocide. That said, I am firmly against foreign interference in the internal dynamics of a country.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

interview on Egypt Africa Middle East

I had a very interesting interview with Salaamedia from Africa. Frankly, it is rare for me to enjoy interviews (and focus for long!). But the host Inayet was superb. Very well informed and made it easy and pleasurable to talk.

Egypt and broader implications

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

El-Sisi: Egypt’s Antihero And The Broader Regional Implications

“You can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and
you can’t make peace without Syria.”   -   Henry Kissinger

In Egyptian mythology, gods were considered heroes.  In more modern times, it is men who are the heroes.   Without a doubt, General Gamal Abdul Nasser has secured his legacy as a hero - a revolutionary who fought for Egypt and strived for Arab unity against Israel and Western imperialism. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war; a pre-planned war of aggression and expansion by Israel against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, aided by the US and Britain. 

Israel’s cronies assisted in the planning and execution of the war which led to  the seizure and occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Syria Golan (Golan Heights) and the Sinai Peninsula.  Prior to the start of the war, as early as May, Lyndon Johnson who assumed the presidency after the tragic assassination of JF Kennedy, authorized air shipment of arms to Israel[i].  Furthermore, the United States facilitated Israeli air attacks and advances by sending reconnaissance aircraft to track movement of Egyptian ground forces and American spy satellites provided imagery to Israel [ii].   According to reports American and British carrier-based aircraft flew sorties against the Egyptians and U.S. aircraft attacked Egypt.   Judging by their cover-up, the American leadership had as little compassion for American blood as it did for Arab blood.   The Israeli attack against USS Liberty that killed and injured American servicemen was buried in a sea of lies.

Fifty years on, the war rages on and Israel has a different set of cronies.  In sharp contrast to Nasser, el-Sisi, Egypt’s antihero has thrown his lot in with Israel and Saudi Arabia against his Arab brethren.   El-Sisi’s betrayal has been so outlandish and stark that even the neocon leaning New York Times published a scathing article titled:Egypt’s Lost Islands, Sisi’s Shame” by Adhaf Soueif.    This is a remarkable piece rarely seen in the pages of the NYT given its reputation (see LOOT for example).

Soueif rightly calls el-Sisi’s to task for handing over the Tiran and Sanafir Islands at the mouth of Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia.  More telling is the fact that the transfer had been discussed with, and had received the blessings of Israel,  according to Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.   The implications of an Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian alliance are enormous; though hardly the first act of treason by el-Sisi.

In his article Soueif also touches on the dam being built by Ethiopia (the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) which was opposed to by former President Mohamed Morsi who was ousted in a coup by el-Sisi.  It is crucial that this project be further explored as it relates not only to Egypt, but also the past and future politics and geopolitics of the region.

Before moving on however,  it is important to recall that Morsi was democratically elected to office in the aftermath of the Egyptian ‘revolution’.  His support of the Palestinians and his opposition to the dam did not sit well with Israel.  Morsi had even called “Jews descendants of pigs and apes”.    Both HAMAS and the U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Morsi’s election.  Abbas called Morsi "the choice of the great people of Egypt" while one of his senior aides, Saeb Erekat, said the democratic vote for Morsi "meant the Palestinian cause was the Number One priority for all Egyptians".  Though perhaps the greater concern for Israel was Morsi’s opposition to the construction of the dam.  A construction favored by  Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In 2012, it was reported that Saudi Arabia had claimed a stake in the Nile.   Israel’s ambitions went much further back.  First initiated by Theodore Herzl in 1903, the diversion plan was dropped due to British and Egyptian opposition to it only to be picked up again in the 1970s.  At that time, Israeli’s idea was to convince Egypt to divert Nile water to Israel.  In 1978, President Anwar Sadat “declared in Haifa to the Israeli public that he would transfer Nile water to the Negev. Shortly afterward, in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Sadat promised that Nile water would go to Jerusalem.  During Mubarak’s presidency, published reports indicated that Israeli experts were helping Ethiopia to plan 40 dams along the Blue Nile.”[iii]

On May 30, 2013, The Times of Israel reported that the construction on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (on the Blue Nile) had sparked a major diplomatic crisis with Egypt.  The article also reported (citing Al-Arabiya) that Major General Mohammed Ali Bilal, the deputy chief of staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, had said Egypt was not in a position to confront the project (countries).  “The only solution lies in the US intervening to convince Ethiopia to alleviate the impact of the dam on Egypt.”  No such solutions from the U.S.

On June 3rd,  Morsi met with his cabinet to discuss the dam and its implications.  Cabinet members were surprised to learn that the meeting was aired live.   During the meeting, a cabinet member said: “Imagine what 80 million of us would do to Israel and America if our water was turned off”.  Morsi contended that “We have very serious measures to protect every drop of Nile water.”

With el-Sisi’s “democratic coup” which was handsomely rewarded, the dam project is on schedule to be completed by year’s end.   As Israel has expands and accelerates its wars of aggression, the wider implications of el-Sisi’s will reverberate throughout the region as serve-serving Arab leaders fight their own to execute Israel’s agenda.   

[i] Camille Mansour. “Beyond Alliance: Israel and U.S. Foreign Policy”  Columbia 1994, p.89

[ii]  Stephen J. Green. “Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations With A Militant Israel”.  William Morrow and Co., NY 1984

[iii]Will Nile water go to Israel? North Sinai pipelines and the politics of scarcity”, Middle East Policy  (Sep 1997): 113-124.