Tag Archives: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

Media, call it as it is!

I saw the news yesterday and I initially decided to ignore it. It was not really ‘news’ news if you know what I mean. It is sad, it is not a surprise and it was always going to happen. The dice were rolled and the children in Yemen rolled two ones. Some call it snake eyes, but the impact is severe, you automatically lose with that roll and that was the state of things from the very beginning. We start with CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/02/middleeast/yemen-famine-amal-hussain-intl/index.html). We see the direct truth with “The three-year conflict between the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis has devastated Yemen and reportedly has killed at least 10,000 people“. CNN does not mention that Saudi Arabia got involved when the deposed elected president called for help, no we do not get that. We get “the international furor over the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul“. We get no information that Iran and Hezbollah have directly intervened in making Humanitarian aid utterly impossible there. One Quote gives us: “Yemen’s information minister called on the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah supporting Houthi rebels, insisting the group’s activity will prolong Yemen’s war. On Sunday, Moammar Eryani said Hezbollah was providing the Houthis with logistical and military assistance, turning Beirut’s southern suburbs — known collectively as Dahiyah — into a centre for media attacks against the Arab-led coalition“, in this CNN decided not to go there. We also get Yemen’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Marwan Ali Noman giving us: “the Yemeni suffering is caused by the Houthi militias, which are executing the agenda of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party in the region. He added that the militias practiced all kinds of murder, torture and forced displacement in all Yemeni cities that they invade“. CNN had no issue using the Khashoggi incident to present an anti-Saudi Arabia view, but fell silent on the actual issues in Yemen, yes: ‘That was CNN!

The New York Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/world/middleeast/yemen-starvation-amal-hussain.html), and after that blazingly stages “The devastating war in Yemen has gotten more attention recently as outrage over the killing of a Saudi dissident in Istanbul has turned a spotlight on Saudi actions elsewhere“, yet it merely gives one mention of Iran in: “Saudi officials have defended their actions, citing rockets fired across their border by the Houthis, an armed group professing Zaidi Islam, an offshoot of Shiism, that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy, views as a proxy for its regional rival, Iran“, and in all this we see ZERO mention of Hezbollah, is that not strange? Neither is the part where the Firing of missiles is a direct result of Hezbollah and Houthi forces firing missiles into Saudi Arabia towards civilian targets. One source giving us that as per yesterday over 200 missiles have been fired into Saudi Arabia. Would you not think that this element is equally important? Let’s be honest it all started with the death of a toddler, but that was not what it was really about for the New York Times, was it? Yet they do give us “THE SAUDI COALITION IS NOT solely to blame for Yemen’s food crisis“, yet goes a little short in pointing on where blame, a much larger blame lies. It lies with Hezbollah, the tool and puppet of Iran provoking Saudi Arabia as much as possible.

The New York Times also gives us: “Tensions reached a climax this summer when the head of the United Nations migration agency was forced to leave Sana after clashing with the Houthi administration. In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption, and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“, it is a stage where Houthi officials are now enriched. It is a stage where we see that halting towards humanitarian aid and preventing the other 20,000 children from dying too. In this we see one additional quote that is identical in nearly all the newspapers I saw: “In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“. My question becomes, was it an interview or was it merely a presentation by Hussain al-Ezzi finding a moment to state: ‘I’m not a crook!‘, which he probably learned form an American, namely former president Richard Nixon to be more precise.

The part that most publications are not giving us is that the death toll of children is roughly 130 children per day, in 2017 50,000 children died (Source: Al Jazeera).

The setting is not a nice one, on neither side. The Saudi Coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. Al Jazeera also gives us: “Iran has denied arming the Houthi rebels, but the US military said it intercepted arms shipments from Iran to Yemen this March, claiming it was the third time in two months that this had occurred. Iranian officials have also suggested they may send military advisers to support the Houthis“, yet we have seen an utter lack of larger political activities by many nations other than the USA against Iran and Hezbollah, exactly how does that add up?

I particularly liked the quote “Commentators in the Arab Gulf States often claim that Iran now controls four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa“. I like it because it is the first part that gives the light of Iran, of what Iran is trying to achieve. The stage is not merely Hezbollah; it is not merely Turkey who has skin in that game too. It is the stage where we see the foundation of what Iran would call a holy war in defence of their sites. We are informed via “For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi’ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say” and most of the western media is not even trying to look into these parts, it is actively avoiding any coverage on Iran. From that side we do get “The European Union is trying to preserve a version of the nuclear deal, but the recent incidents in Denmark and France have heightened the tensions.” In this it seems that Denmark is the strongest pusher against the Iranian actions, with the aid of France. We are all treated to the arrest event that was about a failed operation to bomb a June rally organised by Paris-based Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), it is a stage of oppositions are to be killed, no negativity on Iran in Europe. This stage is now labelled by Iran as: “Iranian officials view the claims as designed to derail Europe’s efforts to salvage the JCPOA, particularly the planned European economic package for Iran“, the partial impact for now is that the Nordic parties who were initially extremely in favour of sustaining the JCPOA, are now less likely to fully support it.

What happened to the girl?

Well, the question is who cares? The girl is dead now! A photographer got his Pulitzer price, humanitarian aid in Yemen is a joke and the players behind the screen are all playing their own game. On both the Saudi and Iranian side there has been too little on humanitarian aid and that part must be clearly shown. Even as Saudi Arabia is much more on the defensive side of what they do, the clear staging where the work of Iran and Hezbollah is ignored by the media justifies the current position that Saudi Arabia is taking up. In all this the UN has blood on its hands too, even as it is through inactions. That part we get from the Irish Times (at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-s-war-in-yemen-yields-hunger-and-devastation-1.3681488). They give us: “Only two famines have been officially declared by the United Nations in the past 20 years, in Somalia and South Sudan. An UN-led assessment due in mid-November will determine how close Yemen is to becoming the third“. Yet the Independent and a few other papers gave us almost a year ago: “More than 50,000 children expected to die of starvation and disease by end of year“. So I would think that the threshold for famine had been long passed. Would you not agree?

Save the Children gave us a little more a year ago, they also gave us: “an estimated 400,000 children will need treatment for acute malnutrition this year, the charity said“, at what point did it require an additional fifty weeks to get the label ‘famine’ attached?

Yemen, once the poorest country in the Middle East is about to become an extinct one. It happened as some nations were overactive in that region and the others are guilty through total inaction on almost every level. So even as we might feel for the title ‘Starving girl who became symbol of Yemen crisis dies‘, we should not be allowed to do so, our inactions give us that. And as the news staging goes on with Al Jazeera giving us: ‘US calls for the end to the Saudi-backed war in Yemen‘, we see again that the absence of Iran and Hezbollah in that equation might give the Saudi coalition additional fuel to continue. It might have been different if 100% of all support to Lebanon would have been halted until all Hezbollah troops have left Yemen, but Europe is not willing to go that far, are they? There are plenty of sanctions on Iran and I am not sure what else could be achieved there, yet barring Lebanon from EVERY negotiation table until Hezbollah is no longer in Yemen has not been attempted has it? It would force Iran to either engage of step back. In the second case the Yemen situation would be quickly resolved in the first case we would have a clear theatre of war with Iran, a war we might desperate need. Not for the fun of it, but until the hurt can be brought to Iran, they will continue their proxy war until they get lucky. Statistically speaking that will happen and the consequence of that will be a lot worse and it could have been prevented if the inactive players would have acted when there was a chance to limit the damage, for that it is far too late and the death on one 7 year old girl is merely the start for an optional 300,000 children to die within the next 30 weeks. Now you tell me, when we get to the 1st of June 2019 and you wake up to the statistics that in Yemen 453,261 children will have died at that point from starvation and disease, how happy will you feel? Will you have that Coffee with an Éclair? Will you have the steak or the fish that evening, optionally with grape juice? I cannot blame you for not caring, but I can point you out on the hypocrisy you let happen, the stage you allowed for and the media giving us half a story again and again is equally guilty in all this.

It is not merely an imperfect world. This world is descending from bad to worse at the same speed that is currently killing the children in Yemen. I think that we can soon state that we stopped being humanitarians in 2019, so feel free to box that thought wrap it in shiny paper with a bow and place it under the Christmas tree. Ignore that package and watch another version of a Christmas carol on TV whilst you deceive yourself that you are such a better person than Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Bah! Humbug!

P.S. Yet should you genuinely care (and you could optionally suffer to lose a few coins) then click on the link below and make a donation to Save the Children by pressing the donate button. You might just be the hero of the day and safe a life that way.

 

 

 

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The reality of danger

The entire Palestinian UN issue or as some call it Resolution 2334, certain players decided to make certain moves. There will be long term consequences, yet what they are can only be speculated on. The Washington Post gave news last year (4 days ago, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/29/trumps-plan-to-move-the-u-s-embassy-to-jerusalem-could-help-the-peace-process/) that is another issue that will play. There is a choice at times to place anything governmental, yet where to place it has been less of an issue. You see the initial quote: ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process‘ is a loaded one. Like in the Netherlands, Israel is one of the few places where the embassies are not in the capital of that nation. Tel Aviv is the most important city in Israel and the central hub for all business. There is a reasonable speculation that Ben-Gurion airport is a driving reason in that. Yet Tel Aviv is only half the size of Jerusalem, which does not make the move wise or foolish. What is a given that moving the embassies to Jerusalem will spark massive response. What is interesting in the Washington Post article is the reference to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

In this we see:

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and
(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.

We can see that this act was either ignored or basically not taken too serious. The quote “However, a built-in waiver provision intended as a temporary measure has allowed every president since then to delay the move at routine six-month intervals” gives voice to that. So in case of the Israeli case as a solid ally, the US would state ‘not this time around‘ twice a year. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 10 years of delays, 20 delays. Now, we see that the new president will push forward. Still at this point there are a few considerations to keep in mind. It is the quote “But a reversal of the long time U.S. diplomatic boycott of Jerusalem could bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations” that I have an issue with. You see, Mahmoud Abbas is on his last options, quotes like: “Mahmoud Abbas, Re-elected as Fatah Leader, Moves to Solidify Power” is one side the other is “Hamas delegates find welcome at Fatah conference, but not trust“. The ties between Abbas and Hamas are strained and the Jerusalem move could implode the connections. This comes from a 2007 statement by Mussa Abu Marzuk ‘the failure of any political process to solve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict will lead to ultimate victory and the destruction of Israel reflects the Logic of Implosion of the Resistance Network‘, This resistance network is not that visible. Unlike some claimants to be ‘all for Palestine‘ they tend to brag on social media using photo ops for visibility. There are connections we see regarding Mussa Abu Marzuk, yet there is clearly another side. The conspiracy theories regarding Assad’s mercenaries are as unreliable as it gets, yet there are seemingly links in Beirut that do require scrutiny (an open blog is not the place to do this), the reason for these mentions are the reality that the move to Jerusalem will spark actions by Hamas and anyone with anti-Israel sentiments. Jerusalem could become a powder keg in more than one way. When we look at the same quote again ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process’, I have to conclude that this is not likely to be. The so called burning bridges tactic could become the fire that lights dozens of fuses. Even as Iran had seized funding to the larger degree (implied that this was done), it could be a move that will reopen acts of support from antagonists like Iran, I very much doubt that Iran will be the only one. You see, the embassies not in Jerusalem gave some parties the idea that certain topics could be reopened. This move, when it happens takes that off the table and several parties will not like that at all. Yet it is not all doom and gloom. The reality is that Palestine has a massive benefit when the Embassy moves go through. Consider the benefits that Jerusalem traffic towards a place like Bethlehem brings, which is on the Palestine side.

Yet, this is not about tourism. It is about the rationale of moving the US Embassy. There have been a few voices that the US Embassy would not be safer in Tel Aviv, yet my issue is that there will be more opportunities for extremists to attack it in Jerusalem. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, time will tell. It was last year, just before Christmas, when the Washington Post stated “The United States recognized the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines as the new borders of Israel outside Jerusalem, but as for Jerusalem the U.S. position was to support the provision of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, which called for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum under a special international regime . . . administered by the United Nations” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-the-us-embassy-is-in-tel-aviv-not-jerusalem/2016/12/23/89b5b5a8-c703-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html). As well as “By 1953, the United Nations had shelved plans for a “corpus separatum,” and West Jerusalem was de facto understood to be part of Israel. Keeping the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no relationship to the status of East Jerusalem. Not moving the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem in 1953 or thereafter was essentially a bureaucratic decision, devoid of any legal justification“. What is now an actual issue is that less than a day ago we see ‘State Department ‘not aware’ of efforts to move US embassy to Jerusalem‘ (source: Times of Israel), where we see “We’re not privy to any moves, any decisions or active efforts to go ahead and move the embassy,” Kirby told CNN“, which reads like a load of ….. (you know the missing word). This is because on November 10th we get “Adviser says Trump tsunami will shift U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem“, making John Kirby an actual idiot. His additional clue word ‘privy’ like it was a secret makes this even more ridiculous. The president Elect has spoken on the intention of this happening. Now the DNC might not like this, yet intentional misinforming the public to this degree in the last 3 weeks of office is just stupid. How can we see John Kirby in any serious continuation when he is racking up disaster statements like this?

So we have ourselves a ballgame, because we now see: “intended ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last month that he looked forward to working “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said subsequently that the PLO would revoke its recognition of Israel if the US moved the embassy“, here we now get the direct consequence of dealing in any non-lethal way with terrorists. The mere ‘revoke its recognition of Israel‘ is a clear sign that Palestine cannot now, or ever be trusted. In that regard, when we see the Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement of April 2014, with an indefinite delay on election, we should see in that light the situation of Palestine. With president Mahmoud Abbas in lock-down whilst we see people speaking, clearly with the old man in charge, making him either a puppet or unreliable, likely both. This is the group that the UN wants to do business with. This is the group, which via Egypt started Resolution 2334. In that regard, regardless of the dangers. The option that the US and possibly even Australia are moving their Embassies to Jerusalem. A stronger message needs to be given, either we stand with Israel, or we let it all burn and in this day and age, and from my point of view burning it all is a waste of resources.

We have seen for more than a decade that the Palestine high command is not in charge. That same organisation that tried marketing in the form of “It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise”, how has that been working out? The Haaretz quote “Lemon asked Ashrawi to explain what steps the Palestinians have taken for peace with the Israelis, to which Ashrawi answered, “I think we are trying our best to make peace in every possible way” sounds deceptive to say the least, although we must take into consideration that Haaretz will always be pro-Israel, so we can’t really hope for fair and balanced in this equation and I am trying to take this into consideration. My evidence are the loads of Hamas Rockets, a Palestine leadership that plays turncoat depending on ammunition reserves and a so called nation that has decided to delay elections. All these elements are in play when we consider the Israeli issues. A side that we see repeated when we look at the US State Department (at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm). The quote “Both sides committed to a plan to transition much of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian control during permanent status negotiations that would put an end to their conflict. Unfortunately, neither the transition nor the final agreement came about, and both sides bear responsibility for that“, which is true, yet in 1995 onwards, we see bombings and suicide bombings in bus stations like Ashkelon and Jerusalem in addition to markets and streets. With an explosion of events in 2001 and 2002. Now that there is more and more evidence that Iran is backing away with their funds (likely because of oil prices in the basement), now we see there is so much need for a solution, for a suddenly giving in to Palestine. Perhaps the US wants to remember how they dealt with Benedict Arnold. How he was given land and prestige in the US? This question comes to the frame of mind when we see the Times of Israel (not the only source) state “Transcript claims to show US worked with Palestinians on UN resolution” with in addition “An Egyptian paper published what it claims are the transcripts of meetings between top US and Palestinian officials that, if true, would corroborate Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind last week’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements“, even as it has been denied by the White House, the actions and the statements from several sides give way to acts of desperation, trying to flush a result that is beneficial to the image of those proclaiming a deal, yet negligent on the State of Israel as it has remained under attack  non-stop until 2011. Is it possible for President Obama to remember what happened on September 11th 2001, perhaps he can also remember how there were no UN resolutions to chastise the Taliban with subsequent acts of diplomacy? Perhaps he remembers them, perhaps he was too busy politicising things. In all this the act of Resolution 2334 seems to be more and more a rash act. Without it, the move of the US embassy might not have been on the table, now to patch things and state that the US is an actual friend of Israel the move seems to have been pushed, with that the additional instigation of questions and requests in Canberra to move the Australian Embassy as well, which in light of Operation Paladin with 12 man could have beneficial logistical options. Operation Paladin is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

There is still the issue of the actions that led the UK to push for this as well as unconfirmed rumours that New Zealand had received Phone Calls from London regarding the matter. There have been protests on all levels, yet the one in London remains for now a mystery. In light of the upcoming Brexit, this resolution was a bad idea for the UK, having the UK and New Zealand abstain at the very least, although opposing it might have been a better idea. In light of the changes that Iran is showing gives several lights, not all of them good or positive. The implied changes towards Hamas and other players give light that Iran is changing priorities on several levels. It is the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center who gives the best quality info in this matter. The quote “A member of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) committee for national security and foreign policy told the reformist newspaper Ghanoon that unless Hamas changed its strategy towards Syria and stopped supporting the Syrian opposition, Iran would be forced to establish new ties with other Palestinian groups“, gives way to this (at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/21125), it is almost like reading the alternative play ‘One man’s folly is another man’s fiend‘, a not so gentle or secure way to play this game, yet it  does give the additional view to the changes in Iran, a shifting of borders, lines of acceptance without diplomacy. A view we see reinforced with “Hossein Salami added that the United States, the Europeans and the Zionists were planning to contain Hezbollah’s activity, but that Hezbollah had become a significant regional force. If Hezbollah could operate in the unlit ditches and winding alleys of Aleppo, without a doubt it could fight even better in the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv, he claimed (Tasnim and Sepah News, December 25, 2016)“. Is this merely the wishful thinking of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the presentation inviting Hezbollah, a combination of these or something else altogether. It is up to Mossad to see where there actual enemies are, yet with Resolution 2334 their game has changed, because the clarity of friends lost means another strategy, one that the west hasn’t had for some time, because in all this, until there is clear crystallisation of who is an actual friend, certain parties will no longer receive any indirect intelligence from either Mossad or Shin Bet on anything NATO intelligence parties would need to know. As this part will get politicised very quickly, the next attack that gets missed will be a clear first indication on the not so clever act of Resolution 2334.

There is a reality of danger in all we see do and act on, yet imposing it and inviting it whilst certain parties have again and again refrained from being anything but unreliable is cause for concern. The map of the Middle East is being redrawn and the rash acts shown so far have had no positive effect at all, which should be a decent wake up call for a collection of foreign offices all around the world. Whether they do is up to them and good luck to those who get to clean up that mess.

 

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