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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query israel. Sort by date Show all posts

In tacit threat, Israel releases satellite photos of Syrian presidential palace

To mark 30 years since its first orbital launch, Defense Ministry publishes images from its newest spy satellite, showing Syrian tanks, an airfield… and Bashar Assad’s home

A photograph of Syria's Presidential Palace in Damascus taken by Israel's Ofek 11 spy satellite, which was released by the Defense Ministry on September 17, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

Israel on Monday released photographs taken by its newest spy satellite of sites located deep inside Syria, including Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s palace, in an apparent threat to the regime.
The images, taken by the Ofek 11 spy satellite, were released by the Defense Ministry to mark 30 years since Israel’s first orbital launch on September 19, 1988.

The three photographs released by the ministry showed the Syrian Presidential Palace, also known as the Palace of the People; tanks on a Syrian military base; and the Damascus international airport, which was reportedly targeted by an Israeli missile strike on Saturday night. 

The publication of the images could be seen as both a show of strength and a tacit threat to Syria, where Israel has routinely conducted air raids against Iranian targets — over 200 of them since 2017, according to the Israel Defense Forces.





The Saturday night strike reportedly targeted an Iranian plane at the Damascus international airport that was delivering weapons to pro-regime forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units fighting in Syria’s civil war, as well as several weapons storage facilities at the airport itself.


Syrian President Bashar Assad in an AP interview at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, September 2016. (Syrian Presidency via AP)

There was no official Israel comment on the reported attack. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday seemed to acknowledge that the Israeli military was responsible for it

“Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. “Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”



A photograph of Syria’s international airport in Damascus taken by Israel’s Ofek 11 spy satellite, which was released by the Defense Ministry on September 17, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, claimed that Israel had targeted the airport with missiles, activating the country’s air defenses, which shot down a number of the projectiles. The Syrian military has often been accused of exaggerating its successes in intercepting incoming missiles.

On Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that the alleged Israeli strike caused “substantial” damage at the airport, but had no immediate information on casualties.


 For years, Israel has been concerned that Iran was using opportunities presented by the Syrian civil war to entrench itself militarily in the country in order to further threaten the Jewish state — alongside the threat already posed by terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Ofek 11

The Ofek 11 spy satellite was launched on September 13, 2016, using a Shavit rocket, the same basic model that Israel used to launch the first Ofek satellite 30 years before.

Shortly after takeoff, the team operating the satellite discovered it was not functioning properly. Teams of engineers on the ground worked to stabilize the Ofek 11 and get its systems running.


Israel’s Ofek-11 spy satellite takes off from Palmachim air base in central Israel on September 13, 2016. (Ministry of Defense Space Administration)

Nine days later, the satellite beamed back its first images, dispelling fears that it was a total operational loss.

“The Ofek 11 satellite will provide operational outputs,” the Defense Ministry said at the time.

The Ofek 11 was an upgrade from the Ofek 10 satellite launched by Israel in April 2014.

The Ofek 11 joined approximately 10 other satellites, including the Ofek 10, Ofek 9, Ofek 7 and Ofek 5, that feed intelligence to Israel’s security forces.

“Israel’s independent capabilities in the field of satellites represents a significant advantage in its efforts to stand up to various security threats. The quality of the images and photographs that are produced by our different satellites is incredible and provide us with valuable intelligence, and prove that the sky is not the limit,” Amnon Harari, the head of the Defense Ministry’s space program, said on Monday.

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-tacit-threat-israel-releases-satellite-photos-of-syrian-presidential-palace/

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Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

 

There is one thing that Israel fears more than anything else in Syria. The loss of its ability to fly its F-16’s with impunity and hit whatever targets it wants claiming defensive measures to stop Iran, their existential enemy.

Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 such missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made any kind of international media, recently.

And with the sneak attack on Latakia which involved using a Russian IL-20 ELINT war plane as radar cover Israel has now not only raised the stakes to an unacceptable level, it has also ensured that this may be the last such aerial assault it will ever be able to carry out.
The setup is pretty clear. Israel and France coordinated an attack on multiple targets within Syria without US involvement but with absolute US knowledge of the operation to provoke Russia into going off half-cocked by attacking the inconsequential French frigate which assisted Israel’s air attack.


That would constitute an attack on a NATO member state and require a response from NATO, thereby getting the exact escalation needed to continue the war in Syria indefinitely and touch off WWIII.

This neatly bypasses any objections to a wider conflict by President Trump who would have to respond militarily to a Russian attack on a NATO ally. It also would reassert NATO’s necessity in the public dialogue, further marginalizing Trump’s attacks on it and any perceived drive of his for peace.

That this took place within the 60 days window of the mid-term elections should also not be discounted.


This attack took place just hours after Presidents Erdogan and Putin negotiated a ‘peaceful’ settlement for Idlib province by declaring a De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) 15-20 kilometers wide which everyone, including Erdogan’s pets Jabhat al-Nusra would have to abide by.
Peace was breaking out in Syria and Israel and the war-hawks in D.C. weren’t standing for that.

By conducting this attack like this Israel and the NATO crowd figured it would be a win/win for them.

If Russia strikes back at France, then NATO invokes Article 5 and they get their wider war.
If Russia doesn’t strike back Putin loses face within Russia, his popularity drops 5 points and John Bolton begins salivating at the prospect of regime change in Russia. Yes, they are that insane.

It was a neat piece of geopolitical maneuvering, almost judo-like. Russia and Syria looked to be on the verge of victory, extending themselves in a major conflict that would result in months of bad press. We were expecting a possible false-flag chemical weapons attack, cries of humanitarian crisis and all the rest of the tired virtue-signaling we can expect by US ‘diplomatic’ officials that has been all too common even under Trump.

What we got was the opposite, a carefully-crafted assault on Russian military forces wherein Russia’s vaunted air-defense systems would be blamed for its own people’s deaths and a mistaken counter-attack that justifies the “Putin is a Vile War-Monger” narrative to justify a US invasion of Syria which has been held in amber since 2013 and Putin’s skillful defusing that situation via diplomatic means.

For once, this almost looked like a well-thought out plan. Not the usual ham-fisted crudities we’ve been treated to over the last few years. But, here’s the rub.
It didn’t work.

By naming names and immediately not responding militarily during the ‘fog of war’ Russia and Putin again prove to be more skilled at this than their adversaries.

Because none of what I just outlined will come to pass. And France, Israel and the US will be the ones to lose face here. And with Israel betraying Putin’s forbearance after April’s air strikes on Damascus, he will have no choice but to upgrade Syria’s air defense systems from S-200’s to S-300’s and possibly S-400’s.


This is Israel’s worst nightmare. A situation where any aerial assault on targets within Syria would be suicide missions, puncturing the myth of the Israeli air force’s superiority and shifting the delicate balance of power in Syria decidedly against them.

This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked Putin so hard over the last two years. But, this incident wipes that slate clean. This was a cynical betrayal of Putin’s trust and patience. And Israel will now pay the price for their miscalculation.

Giving Syria S-300’s does not avenge the fifteen dead Russian soldiers. Putin will have to respond to that in a more concrete way to appease the hardliners in his government and at home. His patience and seeming passivity are being pushed to their limit politically. This is, after all, a side benefit to all of this for the neoconservative and globalist hawks in D.C., Europe and Tel Aviv.

But, the real loss here for Israel will be Russia instituting a no-fly zone over western Syria. Any less response from Putin will be seized upon by and the situation will escalate from here. So, Putin has to deploy S-300’s here. And once that happens, the real solution to Syria begins in earnest.

Because at that point it will be the US’s move to flat-out invade without provocation, now that a solution is in place in Syria between Russia and a NATO member, Turkey.

The only good news in all of this is that US forces were not involved. This still tells me that Trump and Mattis are still in charge of their chain of command and that other forces are conspiring to drag them into a conflict no one in their right minds wants.


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Israel Unlikely to Fly Freely Over Syria After Il-20 Incident - Ex-Official

ST.PETERSBURG (Sputnik) - Israel is unlikely to freely use Syrian airspace in the wake of the crash of a Russian Il-20 military aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, Yakov Kedmi, a former high-ranking Israeli intelligence official, told Sputnik.

"There was an agreement between Israel and Russia that the actions of Israel in Syria's airspace would not endanger lives of Russian troops. Israel breached this commitment… What happens next will depend on the position of Israel. Most likely, Israel will no longer be able to enjoy the same freedom in the sky of Syria as it did before the incident," Kedmi said.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) earlier in the day that Israel would share all information on the incident with Moscow. The IDF expressed regret over the deaths of the Russian troops and put the blame on Damascus and Tehran.

"Israel's attack in itself, regardless of the consequences, was an irresponsible step, because there is not a single facility on the territory of Syria that might have been used by Iran and whose destruction would have justified an attack on it, which could endanger the Russian troops," Kedmi said.

READ MORE: Turkey Could Deploy Additional Troops to Idlib Under Deal With Russia — Ankara

According to the IDF, the Israeli jets were targeting a facility in Syria which contained "systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons" that could be sent "on behalf of Iran" to Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. Israel, as well as many other states, considers the movement a terrorist organization.

Related: Will Russia-Israel ties suffer after downing of Il-20 military plane off Syrian coast?
 
 The Russian Hmeimim airbase had lost contact with the crew of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft late on Monday during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia. The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier on Tuesday that the Israeli military deliberately created a dangerous situation by using the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems. As a result, the Il-20 jet was downed by a missile launched by Syria's S-200 air defense system.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201809181068132500-israel-syria-il-20-incident-airspace/?utm_source=https://l.facebook.com/&utm_medium=short_url&utm_content=j8DT&utm_campaign=URL_shortening

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Will Russia-Israel ties suffer after downing of Il-20 military plane off Syrian coast?

Will Russia-Israel ties suffer after downing of Il-20 military plane off Syrian coast?

Will Russia-Israel ties suffer after downing of Il-20 military plane off Syrian coast?

Moscow and Tel Aviv had long enjoyed fairly good ties despite the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, but they are now at risk as Russia blames Israel for the downing its warplane off Syrian coast and the crew's death.

Although the plane was technically shot down by a Syrian missile, Russia made it clear who it blames in the tragedy, saying that Israeli pilots used the Russian Il-20 as a cover.
 
Related: ‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel

The Middle East historically remained a place of bitter rivalries. Tension grew increasingly high after the Arab Spring brought more havoc to an already complex region, riddled with colliding interests and clashing ambitious of various actors, large and small. Nevertheless, Russia and Israel had always managed to keep good relations.

This year alone President Vladimir Putin met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu three times, and every time the media didn’t get much details from closed-door discussions. Through delicate behind-the-scenes diplomacy Moscow maintained a close, working relations with Israel. The fact that it’s one of US closest allies was never an issue for Moscow. Russia itself kept developing ties with Turkey and Iran, Israel’s arch-nemesis, while managing to address Israel’s concerns too.

For Russia, Israel is not only an important, geopolitical partner with alleged nuclear capabilities, situated in the heart of the world’s most turbulent region. It’s also home of about 1.3 million expats from post-Soviet countries. This large diaspora plays a significant role for Russia when it tailors its approach to Tel Aviv.

Related: The Russian-“Israeli” “Crisis”: Climb-Down In Progress?

Even the war in Syria, where Israel - in hopes of curbing Iranian influence - supported and armed controversial anti-government militants, didn’t result in a serious crisis in relations with Russia.

Over the course of the conflict, the IDF had conducted numerous airstrikes against targets in Syria and even launched missiles at Syrian jets. Each attack was strongly condemned by both Syria and Russia who had been pointing out that any military incursion into the country without the government’s and UN’s approval is illegal.

Related: https://www.rt.com/news/438686-syria-russia-s200-il20/

But the raid on Latakia and the collateral damage in a form of a downed Russian military plane can inflict grave damage on the relations between the states. Israel stands firmly against the strengthening of the Turkish or Iranian grip in the region, so its recent actions may be an attempt to remind everyone that the Syrian crisis has other stakeholders involved. Especially, since just the day before the tragic incident with the Russia plane Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyp Erdogan reached a settlement on the situation around Idlib, the last militant stronghold beyond the control of the Syrian government.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438704-russia-israel-conflict-plane/
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‘Criminal negligence’ or disregard to Russia-Israel ties: MoD details chronology of Il-20 downing

© Russian Defense Ministry / Sputnik 

A minute-by-minute account of the Il-20 downing shows Israel's culpability and either its military bosses' lack of appreciation of relations with Moscow, or their control of commanding officers, the Russian defense ministry said.

Related: Syrian President Assad Says Il-20 Crash 'Result of Israeli Arrogance' - Reports 
 
"We believe that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force," said spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, before revealing a detailed account of events leading to the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17. The plane was shot down by the Syrian air defense units as Israeli's F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbor.

The report featured previously undisclosed radar data and details of communications between Russian and Israeli militaries, and concluded that "the military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy."

Related: ‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel 

Misinformation & 'criminal negligence'

On the evening of September 17, the Russian Ilyushin IL-20 with 15 crew on board was circling over the Idlib de-escalation zone on a special reconnaissance mission, when four Israeli F-16 fighter jets left their country's airspace and flew over the neutral Mediterranean waters towards the Syrian coast. The Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute's warning before dropping the precision-guided glide bombs, leaving virtually no time for any safety maneuvers, Konashenkov said, calling such actions "a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements."

Related: [Video] Blame Game: Downing of Russian plane reveals resentment over Syria

Moreover, the Israeli military failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several 'industrial facilities' in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation. The misinformation prompted the Russian Command to order the recon plane back to the Khmeimim air base. The Israeli jets, however, instead almost immediately attacked the western Syrian Latakia province.

 "The misleading information provided by the Israeli officer about the area of strikes did not allow the Russian Il-20 airplane to move timely to a safe area."

Once the Syrian air defenses responded to the initial strike, the Israeli jets switched on radar jamming and pulled back, apparently preparing for another attack. One of the jets then approached the Syrian coast –and the Russian plane which at that time was preparing to land– again.

 Inforgraphics showing the location of the Israeli targets © Russian Defense Ministry

The Israeli pilot must have been well aware of the fact that the Il-20 has a much larger radar cross-section than his F-16, and would become a "preferred target" for the Syrian air defense units, who use different friend-or-foe systems with the Russians, Konashenkov said. Thus, for the Syrians, the reconnaissance plane could appear as a group of Israeli jets.


"The Israeli jets saw the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 and used it as a shield against the anti-aircraft missiles, while they carried on maneuvering in the region," Konashenkov said during the news briefing.
"The actions of the Israeli fighter pilots, which led to the loss of life of 15 Russian servicemen, either lacked professionalism or were an act of criminal negligence, to say the least."
Finally, the Israeli jets carried out their maneuvers in the immediate vicinity of the Khmeimim air base, which is used both by military and civilian aircraft, including passenger planes, the ministry's spokesman emphasized, saying that the reckless actions of the Israeli pilots could also have posed a threat to any passenger or transport aircraft that may have happened to be there at that time.

Israel 'crossed the line of civilized relations' with 'ungrateful response'

Israel's negligent behavior amounts to a flagrant violation of the very spirit of cooperation between the countries, Konashenkov stated, noting that Russia has never broken its commitment to the deconfliction agreement – it has always informed Israel about their missions in advance and has never used its air defense capabilities against the Israelis, even though their airstrikes sometimes put the Russian servicemen in danger.

Related: Israeli army blames Damascus for Russia’s Il-20 downing, mourns death of crew – statement

Russia has sent as many as 310 notifications to the Israeli Air Force Command, while the latter appeared to be reluctant to show the same level of commitment, notifying only 25 times even though its jets carried out more than 200 strikes against targets located in Syria over the past 18 months alone.

"This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that has been done by the Russian Federation for Israel and the Israeli people recently," Konashenkov said.

The Russian military supported the Syrian military operation in the Golan Heights to "ensure there were no shelling attacks on Israeli territory" anymore, thus allowing the UN peacekeeping mission to resume patrolling of the contested border between Syria and Israel after "a six-year hiatus."

Related:  Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

Russia also managed to secure the withdrawal of all Iran-backed groups from the Golan Heights to a "safe distance for Israel," more than 140 kilometers to the east of Syria, the spokesperson said, adding that this was done at the request of Tel Aviv. "A total of 1,050 personnel, 24 MLRSs and tactical missiles, as well as 145 pieces of other munitions and military equipment were withdrawn from the area," Konashenkov told journalists.

The Russian Defense Ministry had provided assistance in preserving Jewish sacred places and graves in the city of Aleppo. Putting Russian Special Forces soldiers' lives in danger, it also organized the search for the remains of some Israeli servicemen that died during the past conflicts in an area where the Syrian forces were combating Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) terrorists at that time.
"In view of the above, the hostile actions committed by the Israeli Air Force against the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft cross the line of civilized relations."
While Israel said that it mourned the deaths of Russian troops, the IDF statement following the incident shifted all the blame for the incident solely on Damascus, and its Iranian and Lebanese allies.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/439151-russia-israel-il-20-negligence/

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[Video] Russia starts delivering S-300 anti-aircraft system to Syria despite Israel’s objection

Russia starts delivering S-300 anti-aircraft system to Syria despite Israel’s objection




A Russian soldier stands beside a Russian S-300 long range surface-to-air missile system in Kubinka, Russia, August 21, 2018. (Photo by Bloomberg)
A Russian soldier stands beside a Russian S-300 long range surface-to-air missile system in Kubinka, Russia, August 21, 2018. (Photo by Bloomberg)

A senior Israeli official has admitted that Russia's delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems to Damascus will pose a serious "challenge" to the regime.

Tensions have been rising between Moscow and Tel Aviv following the downing of a Russian warplane in Syria this month.

Related: [Video] 'Lavrov's patience tested one time too many': Russian FM blasts Western policy in UN speech

The official, whose name was not released in the Sunday report by the Times of Israel, said Tel Aviv was working on "different ways" to deal with Russia's recent move.

“The S-300 is a complex challenge for ... Israel. We are dealing with the [decision] in different ways, not necessarily by preventing shipment [of the anti-aircraft systems],” he said.

The official said Israel enjoyed the US support and reserved the right to protect itself, without elaboration.



"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin made a move, but it's a big playing field and he understands that," the official said.

Moscow vowed to bolster Syria’s air defense capabilities by sending modern S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to the Arab country within two weeks after the recent accidental downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft.

The aircraft was shot down by Syrian air defenses while they were responding to a wave of Israeli airstrikes.

Russia's decision to provide Syria with the S-300 system infuriated Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing it as “irresponsible.”

Related: Israeli Media in Total PANIC over Russian transfer of S-300 to Syria

Netanyahu told Putin in a phone conversation that Israel "will continue to do what it has to do to defend itself."

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday Russia has already started delivering the S-300 system to Syria as part of efforts to ensure the safety of Russian forces in the Arab country.

The Russian plane with 15 servicemen on board disappeared from radars on September 17 as four Israeli F-16 warplanes were attacking state institutions in Syria’s Latakia Province, which is home to Russia-run Hmeimim airbase.

Related: Russia Warns West Against New Strikes in Syria Under Far-Fetched Pretexts

Russia’s Defense Ministry held Israel responsible for the incident, saying the regime’s warplanes “created a dangerous situation” that led to the downing of the Russian aircraft by Syria’s S-200 missile defense system.

Israel frequently attacks military targets in Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up militant groups that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

Source: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/30/575638/Israel-Russia-Syria-missile
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‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel

‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel

‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel
Russia has formally complained to Israel about its air raid on Monday, which led to the downing of a Russian Il-20 plane off the Syrian coast. Moscow has laid the blame for the crew’s deaths “squarely on the Israeli side.” 
 
READ MORE: Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack – MoD

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke to his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on the phone about the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane on Monday night. He relayed Moscow’s position on the incident, blaming the Israeli military for setting up the Russian plane to be shot down by Syrian air defenses, which were responding to an Israeli air raid, an official statement from the Russian military said.

Shoigu reiterated that Israel failed to notify Russia of the impending attack in a way that would have given its military an opportunity to move the Il-20 out of harm’s way. Instead, the warning came just one minute before the Israeli F-16 fighter jets launched their attack.

“The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side,” the Minister Shoigu said. “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Israeli jets had used the bigger Russian plane as cover during their attack on targets in Syria. The ministry said the Israelis must have known that they were putting the Russian plane at risk, but neither changed their battle plan nor gave a warning in time for the Il-20 to be moved to a safe area.

The Israeli government has yet to publicly comment on the incident.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438690-russia-israel-il20-blame/
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‘I, Neocon’ – the Foreign Policy of Emperor Trump

‘I, Neocon’ – the Foreign Policy of Emperor Trump


By Wayne Madsen


Not many observers believe that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will survive as the most-neutered US Secretary of State since the days when Richard Nixon’s national security adviser Henry Kissinger called the shots on foreign policy to the chagrin of Secretary of State William Rogers. Rather than lead like a constitutionally-mandated president, Donald Trump has emulated the Roman emperor Claudius in many ways.
With this article’s title’s paraphrasing credit to the 1934 novel by Robert Graves, “I, Claudius,” Trump, like Claudius, entered politics later in life – although in Claudius’s case, he became the co-consul to his brother, the tyrannical Emperor Caligula, at the age of 46. Trump entered US presidential politics from the world of real estate, casinos, and entertainment, in his late 60s. Claudius, like Trump, spent most of his pre-political life mired in games of chance and womanizing. Claudius had four wives, Trump three. Claudius, like Trump, was an avid fan of violent sports. Claudius liked Roman gladiator duels-to-the-death and chariot races, Trump his “professional” wrestling and boxing.
Trump, like Claudius, does not possess a keen intellect. However, both took on dangerous military adventures. Claudius invaded and annexed Britain in the 1st century AD. Although initially triumphant, Claudius’s extension of Roman rule into the British Isles would eventually overextend the empire, which would lead to its collapse. Trump, although eschewing “regime change” conflicts encouraged by his two immediate predecessors – George W. Bush and Barack Obama – wholeheartedly embraced them after succumbing to the influence of neo-conservative policy advisers.
Claudius eventually fell victim to the political designs of his fourth wife, Agrippina, who is believed to have engineered a plot to poison the emperor. Upon Claudius’s death, Agrippina succeeded in having her son, Nero, placed on the throne. Claudius’s demise is where the similarities to Trump generally end, although, the Trump White House internecine internal political warfare is worthy of any palace intrigue through history.
Trump follows the advice of a dangerous cabal he has established around himself. On issues of the Middle East and relations with Muslim nations, Trump’s cabal possesses a toxicity never seen before in a US administration. This cabal revolves around the troika of Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law with many portfolios; Jason Greenblatt, former chief legal officer for the Trump Organization and now Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiation; and David Friedman, formerly with Trump's law firm of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman and now US ambassador to Israel. They, along with Trump, have succeeded in reversing 70 years of US Middle East policy by ensuring America's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Jerusalem decision will also see the United States move its embassy from Tel Aviv to property in Jerusalem originally seized by the Israelis from Palestinian landowners.
The Jerusalem decision sends a stark warning to Muslims everywhere, who regard Jerusalem as the third-holiest city in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. It also throws a gauntlet down to the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern and Coptic Orthodoxy, and mainstream Protestantism, all which regard Jerusalem as not only Christianity's most-revered city but an international zone that ought to be placed under joint Israeli-Palestinian control or under a regime like those of past international city-states, Tangier, Danzig, and Trieste, for example. By rewarding Israel with US recognition, Trump's action was a slap in the face to Christians in Jerusalem who have been forced to contend with hundreds of vicious Jewish hate attacks on Christians, such as the scrawled words in Hebrew, "Death to the Heathen Christians, the enemies of Israel" and "Christians to Hell," painted on the Benedictine Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem, the revered site of Jesus's Last Supper. The Israeli government has taken no action to find and punish the perpetrators of these anti-Gentile attacks by Jewish hate mongers.
Trump also tossed aside campaign promises to avoid plunging the United States into George W. Bush and Barack Obama-era "regime change" debacles abroad. No sooner had economic protests broken out in Iran, Trump borrowed from Israeli propaganda barrages by tweeting out his support for an end to Iran's "brutal regime." This came after Trump said he wanted to scrap the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran, something urged by Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. It is all but certain that Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director, Mike Pompeo, a Christian Zionist in the same mold as evangelical soothsayers like John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Paula White, Robert Jeffress, and Jerry Falwell, Jr., ordered CIA assets in Iran and on its periphery into action against the Iranian government at the first whiff of popular discontent over the state of the Iranian economy.
Trump wasted no time at the outset of 2018 in not only engaging in a tweet storm aimed at Iran, but choosing to criticize Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear-armed nation. Trump ordered $255 million in US assistance to Pakistan halted, accusing the country of providing safe-havens to Islamist terrorists active in Afghanistan. It is no coincidence that Trump chose to lash out at two more Muslim nations, Iran and Pakistan, after having ensured the destruction of the two-state Palestine-Israeli framework with his recognition of permanent Israeli control over Jerusalem.
Trump's denunciation of Pakistan illustrates the influence that his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, a hybrid Christian-Sikh, whose parents hail from India, maintains over Trump's pro-India and anti-Pakistan foreign policy. Haley’s neo-conservative stance also ensured that Trump approved the sending of lethal military equipment to Ukraine, in contravention of the current Republican Party foreign policy plank, demanded by the Trump campaign during the 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland, that stands in opposition to such a move.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif responded to Trump's Twitter tantrum by declaring that, "He [Trump] has tweeted against us [Pakistan] and Iran for his domestic consumption." But it was not merely generic domestic consumption for Trump. Trump's anti-Iran/Pakistan rhetoric, coming soon after his Jerusalem decision, was aimed at pleasing Zionists like casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, as well as his trio of ultra-Zionist advisers -- Kushner, Greenblatt, and Friedman. It was also a milksop to Trump's far-right conspiracy fringe, consisting mainly of Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, and Mike Cernovich, to placate their anti-Muslim xenophobia. It has not dawned on these conspiracy fringe-minded Trump acolytes that Trump, just like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has adopted the very same regime change policies honed by CIA street themed protest guru Gene Sharp and the themed revolution mastermind George Soros. Jones, for example, once railed against Soros and themed revolutions. But now, Jones and others of his ilk wildly cheer on Trump's moves to toppled governments using Sharp and Soros tactics.
These operations are not only being employed in Iran but also in Honduras, where the Trump administration backed the drug smuggling corrupt nepotistic fascist incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, also known as "JOH," against the opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla in the November 26, 2017 election. The Organization of American States, normally a rubber stamp for the United States, criticized the claimed victory by Hernandez as resulting from massive fraud. Former president Manuel Zelaya, ousted in a 2009 CIA coup approved by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced that 2018 will be the year that JOH is toppled from power and democracy restored. However, Zelaya, Nasralla, and other opposition leaders will face the "no regime change" jackboot of Trump's foreign policy of overt interference in the affairs of other nations.

Conversely, the Trump administration has declared all-out economic and political war on Venezuela, subjecting its leaders and citizen to US visa bans and crippling economic sanctions. These were the same tactics employed by neocons in the Bush and Obama administrations against the Chavista socialist government in Venezuela.
Unlike Claudius, Trump has no strong political Praetorian Guard to ensure his ultimate survival. Trump has created more enemies than friends within the establishment Republican Party, not to mention in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA, and the military services. Already, Republican presidential hopefuls are planning to challenge Trump for the presidential nomination in 2020. These efforts will gain full steam after the 2018 mid-term election that could see Congress flipping to Democratic Party control.
In the end, Trump, like Claudius, suffers from neuro-psychiatric disorders that prompt him to engage in socially inappropriate obsessions and compulsions. When Trump’s neocon policies achieve their desired results, the neocons will discard Trump like some lame old workhorse and promote some new vapid tool to carry out their policies. Enter Nikki Haley, Vice President Mike Pence, and Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton.
Source: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/01/04/i-neocon-foreign-policy-emperor-trump.html

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Yesterday foes change course as Syria thrashes militancy



As the Syrian army clears swathes of the country from the control of foreign-backed terrorists, there are signs on the horizon that some countries who were previously lending support to those terrorists have come to grips with reality that the Syrian government is going to be there for the foreseeable future and are accordingly changing course from hostility to recognizing the sovereignty of Damascus.

In the latest development, the foreign minister of Bahrain’s Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa has been seen in a friendly encounter with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Muallem, at headquarters of the United Nations on the sidelines of the 73rd annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The video shows the rare encounter between the two ministers, who hugged each other, shook hands and exchanged a few works as other officials from both countries were watching the scene.
The encounter was the first of its kind since the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011.

The development is notable as Bahrain was one of those countries who voted to freeze Syria’s membership at the Arab League in Cairo after which, many Arab countries also recalled their ambassadors from Damascus.

Another factor that makes the encounter one-of-a-kind is that Bahrain, which has been also faced with an uprising by the country’s Shia majority since 2011, owes its survival to Saudi Arabia’s help, which send forces to the tiny Persian Gulf monarchy to suppress Bahraini protesters. As a result, Manama has so far served as a Saudi stooge to promote Riyadh’s political agenda on various fronds, including by funding and abetting terrorist operations against the legitimate government of Syria.
It is no secret that Saudi Arabia has spared neither effort nor money in helping foreign-backed militancy in the war-ravaged Syria and Bahrain, as one of its close allies, has been a tool in its grand plan to topple the Syrian government.

Virtually all of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council states supported various militant groups in Syrian over the past years. In recent years, however, this unity has diminished and states’ priorities have changed. Those countries that have invested the most in the Syrian conflict, namely Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have fallen apart. The current splits between Riyadh and Doha seem durable.
Other countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have toned down their rhetoric and reduced their support for militants.

Unlike Saudi Arabia and some of its allies, Egypt has also repeatedly expressed support for Syria's unity and the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Egypt condemned an April 14 missile attack by the US, Britain and France against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said Cairo and Riyadh did not share common views on the Syria crisis while Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi stressed that he supported the Syrian army in its war against terrorists.

Egypt sent a large delegation to the Damascus International Fair held on August 17-26, 2017.
Egyptian Charge d'Affaires in Damascus Muhammad Tharwat and the delegation members stressed their support for the Syrian people and for the Syrian government, and their desire for closer economic relations and Egyptian participation in the rehabilitation of Syria.

In an interview with the Syrian government Al-Watan daily, Tharwat said, "Egypt's participation in this year's Damascus International Fair is natural given the character of the commercial relations between the two countries. We hope that this participation will play a part in restoring the economic relations between the two countries, and that we will play a part in the re-building [of Syria]."

Tharwat stated that, throughout the Syria crisis, Egypt maintained its neutrality and "the Egyptian Embassy continued to operate and did not close following the decision of the Arab League, at the start of the crisis, to recall the ambassadors [from Syria]... [True,] we decided to downgrade relations to the level of charge d'affaires, [but] we are not the only country that did that."

Also in November 2016, Egypt reportedly sent 18 helicopter pilots to Syria to support the war-torn Arab nation in its fight against terrorism. Cairo’s decision to play a role on the battlefield against terrorists, including the Takfiri Daesh militant group, in Syria came  at a time when Egypt is also battling the Takfiri outfit’s branch at home.

Militants have been leading a deadly campaign of violence against both Egyptian security forces and civilians in Cairo and the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Meanwhile, Jordan has also said only a political solution would guarantee the stability and the territorial integrity of Syria.

"Continued violence will only lead to more violence, conflict, fighting and displacement whose victim is the Syrian people," Jordanian government spokesman, Mohammad al-Momani, who is also minister of state for media affairs and communications, said in a statement on April 14 carried by state-news agency Petra.

In a surprising change of tone, Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman, who has a long history of hurling threats of doom and destruction against Syria and President al-Assad, last week expressed readiness to reopen the Quneitra border crossing with Syria in the Golan Heights.
“We are ready to open the crossing as it was before, and now the ball is in the Syrian court,” Lieberman told reporters as he toured the area on Thursday.

Lieberman added that Israel never wanted conflict with Syria and was ready to ensure a 1974 armistice agreement between the two sides is strictly observed.

The Golan Heights is a Syrian territory, which Tel Aviv has been occupying since 1967 and claims as its own territory despite international criticism.

In August, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) returned to the border between Syria and the occupied territories, four years after it was shuttered due to militant attacks.
Lieberman’s comments come against the backdrop of Syria’s major victories against terrorists, drawing an outlook for the country that is far more different than what Tel Aviv and its allies had hoped for over the past years.

The apparent call for de-escalation could also be a product of strained relations with Russia.
Ties between Israel and Russia spiraled down to historic lows last week, after Israeli fighter jets pounding Syrian government targets misled the Syrian air defenses into shooting down a Russian surveillance plane by using it as a shield.

While the US and certain governments in the region have been cited as supporters of Daesh and other anti-Assad militant groups, it is common knowledge today that Israel has also had its fair share in helping the terror outfits survive.

Throughout their battles, Syrian army forces have time and again discovered Israeli weapons and equipment in large volumes from terrorist hideouts. Israeli hospitals have also taken in some of the militants injured in Golan areas.

The Israeli air force has carried out regular airstrikes against the Syrian army and government targets across the country, a trend that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims are aimed at pushing Iranian military advisers helping Damascus in its anti-terror fight out of the country.

Moshe Ya’alon, Lieberman’s predecessor, admitted last year that Tel Aviv had formed a tacit alliance with Daesh, saying the group had "immediately apologized" to Tel Aviv after firing "once" into Israel.

French President Emmanuel Macron in June said his country no longer deems the removal of al-Assad as a precondition for resolving the conflict in the Arab country.

"The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar al-Assad's departure is a precondition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor," said Macron on June 21 in an interview published in several European newspapers.

While noting that global cooperation is required to solve the crisis in Syria, Macron stressed that Russia's cooperation is “especially needed” to eradicate Daesh.

US Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley said in March last year that the United States' diplomatic policy on Syria for now is no longer focused on making al-Assad, leave power.
Syria has been gripped by unrest since 2011, when militancy first began in the country. Foreign states opposed to President Assad have since then been funding and providing weapons to anti-Assad militants, among them thousands of paid foreign terrorists dispatched to help force Assad out of power.

The Syrian government, however, has been fighting that militancy back, aided in that battle by advisory military support from Iran and Russia. Moscow has also been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorist positions in the Arab country on a request by Damascus.

Syria has been struggling with foreign-backed militancy since 2011 in a battle that has left large parts of the country in ruins, destroyed most of its infrastructure and killed hundreds of thousands of people.

All in all, the sudden about-face more than anything else shows how the Syrian government, with the help of its allies, has been able to turn the tide against the foreign-backed militancy.



Source: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/30/575676/Syria-Assad-Saudi-Persian-Gulf-US-Trump
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Israeli Media in Total PANIC over Russian transfer of S-300 to Syria


The Israeli media is in a total frenzy over the forthcoming transfer to Syria of the Russian anti-aircraft missile system S-300. They recognize that these measures will lead to serious consequences for the Israeli Air Force.

However, as FRN notes, there is a less than even chance that Russia will not make good on the delivery, given its history with this question in the past, combined with patterns it has exhibited in the use of such announcements to win a concession from a third party.

Related: How the UN Joined America’s War Against Syria by Eric Zuesse

But as the Jerusalem Post states , the appearance of the Syrian military S-300 will make it possible to modernize the air defense of the country profoundly and create a “threat to Israeli aircraft.”

Speaking about the shipments of the antiaircraft missile system, the Ninth Channel  published an article with this headline: “In two weeks, Israel is in for a nightmare?”



In turn, the news daily Yediot Aharonot also admits that the deployment of the S-300 in Syria is really bad news for Israel, since it will require the Israeli Air Force “more effort, more planning and more caution when using force in the skies of Syria and Lebanon.”

According to Haaretz , the Russian S-300 in Syrian hands can jeopardize Israel’s activities in the region, so from now on it “will have to think twice before the next attack.”

The decision to supply the S-300 systems to Syria was made against the background of the incident with the crash of the Russian Il-20 plane on September 17. It was shot down by Syrian air defense systems through the fault of Israel, resulting in the death of 15 Russian soldiers.

As Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu expects, the S-300 in Syria will help  cool the “hotheads” and deter against rash actions that threaten Russian servicemen.

Related: Iran’s elite guards vow ‘deadly’ revenge as Tehran blames US & allies for parade attack

S-300 “Favorit” anti-aircraft missile systems are designed for the defense of large industrial, administrative facilities and military bases. The first multichannel system, which is capable of accompanying each complex to six targets and aiming for them to twelve missiles.

Source: https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/09/israeli-media-in-total-panic-over-russian-transfer-of-s-300-to-syria/
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Syrian President Assad Says Il-20 Crash 'Result of Israeli Arrogance' - Reports

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has sent a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin, expressing his condolences over the recent Russian Il-20 plane crash in Syria, local media reported.
Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad wrote in his letter to Vladimir Putin that the Russian Il-20 plane crash near Hmeymim air base was a result of Israeli arrogance, SANA news agency reported.

Syrian president expressed his condolences over the tragedy and said that he hoped that the plane crash would not impede Russian and Syrian joint fight against terrorism.

Related: Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

The Russian Hmeymim airbase in Syria had lost contact with the Il-20 military aircraft late on Monday during the attack of Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia. The Russian Defense Ministry said later that the Israeli military deliberately created a dangerous situation by using the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems.

READ MORE: Il-20 Accidentally Downed by Syria: Putin Calls Incident Tragic Chain of Events

Earlier, Israeli military delegation led by Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin will travel to Moscow on September 20 with information about the crash of the aircraft.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201809191068179839-syrian-president-assad-il-20-crash-condolences/ 

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Palestine Wins Support and the US loses its Blackmail Laced Gamble

(A Russia Truth exclusive article by Adam Garrie) 

The United Nations General Assembly vote condemning and nullifying the US decision to recognise Al-Quds as the capital of “Israel” was said by many to be merely a symbolic showing of solidarity, but in reality the vote represented much more. 

The US scored an own goal when both Ambassador Nikki Haley and President Trump effectively upped the stakes by threatening to cut off aid to any country that votes against the increasingly isolated US/Zionist position. 

This had the effect of making the vote, not only one about Palestine, but one which served as an informal but unambiguous referendum on Washington’s willingness to isolate itself, including from traditional allies, over loyalty to the Zionist regime. 

Prior to the vote, Nikki Haley upped the stakes even further. She questioned why “Israel” remains part of the UN even though such an organisation is in her view anti-“Israel”. She then stated that if the US loses the vote (which even at that point was a foregone conclusion), it would “make a difference on how the Americans look at the UN”. The clear implication in this context is that the US might consider withdrawing membership. 

Although such a threat remains unrealistic, it demonstrates the level of desperation felt by US regime leaders at this time. 

Another significant development was the fact that the “Government” of Yemen represented by the Saudi/UAE backed Hadi regime in Aden, introduced the resolution. Although every GCC state voted in line with the wishes of Palestine, many countries ranging from Turkey and Iran to Syria and factions within Palestine (most especially the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), have vocally criticised GCC countries for their lukewarm support of Palestine. Such fears have been augmented by the unspoken but obvious partnership that Riyadh enjoys with Tel Aviv. 

In this sense, one can see that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are using the Hadi led regime in Yemen, which is recognised by the UN as the formal government of Yemen, as the proverbial ‘good cop’ to Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain’s ‘bad cop’. Assuming Hadi remains in power and continues to be recognised as the Yemeni President by the UN, such a trend could continue, thus enabling Saudi and the UAE to have their cake and eat it too. 

While the leaders in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi continue to do their covert deals with the Zionist entity, their de-facto client state in Aden will take the moral high ground and continue to support Palestine with public vigour. 

Furthermore, South Africa has decided to rekindle the radical roots of the ruling ANC in agreeing to co-sponsor the resolution at the last minute. The DPRK (North Korea) made a similar decision. With the ANC making the decision earlier in the day to downgrade the status of the “Israeli” embassy in Pretoria, it is clear that South Africa remains ever more committed to the realities of the bi-polar world while continuing the long association of the ANC with the cause of Palestinian liberation. 

In spite of efforts to blackmail the world into a pro-Zionist position, the US was left totally isolated. Apart from the US and “Israel” other ‘no’ votes included the small nations of Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo, as well as Guatemala and Honduras. 

Abstentions included: Antigua-Barbuda, Argentina, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Haiti, Hungary, Jamaica, Kiribati, Latvia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, South Sudan,   Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu.

Every other country present voted in favour of the Palestinian position.

In the end, the US attempt to blackmail the world failed and support for Palestine remained vocal. This is more significant in 2017 than it would have been at any time since the founding of the United Nations, as in terms of diplomatic influence, the US is now weaker than it has been at any time since the founding of the United Nations. 

By associating the US with the lost cause of Zionism, the US has allowed nations to deliver what amounts to a no-confidence vote against America. The world spoke in fashion that was loud and clear.
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Macron Does The Right Thing For Selfish Reasons

Macron Does The Right Thing For Selfish Reasons

By Adam Garrie 

French President Emmanuel Macron has offered a strong statement condemning American, Saudi and Zionist meddling in Iran’s internal affairs. In a statement which is surprisingly robust given Macron’s foreign policy record, the French President stated, 

“The official line pursued by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are our allies in many ways, is almost one that would lead us to war (with Iran)”.

Macron’s modus operandi is clear enough. French businesses, unlike their American counterparts, have taken advantage of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal), to conduct incredibly high stakes and potentially, massively profitable deals with Iran.

In July of last year, for example, the French energy corporation Total signed a $4.8 Billion deal with Iran relating to gas exploration and extraction along the vast South Pars gas field.

This is just one of many large deals inked between French companies and Iran. As Macron’s biggest support base remains France’s urbane financial and corporate elite, he is certainly not going to risk incurring their wrath. Because of this, he is standing up to the geo-political adventurism of the regimes in Riyadh, Tel Aviv and even Washington, whose goals of regional domination are not shared by France who in this instance, is collectively happy enough to make money from Iran without ruling Iran.

The scenario is not dissimilar to that which France faced in 2003 when President Jacques Chirac became an unlikely anti-war hero due to his vocal opposition to George W. Bush and Anthony Blair’s illegal war upon Iraq.
Unlike the US and UK who largely turned their back on Iraq beginning in 1990, French businesses continued to conduct high level deals  with Saddam Hussein’s country throughout the turbulent 1990s and early 2000s.

It is true that Chirac, like most of the world, realised the madness of a war on Iraq and likewise, he seemed to have a large degree of personal animosity towards Bush and Blair as they embodied the “ugly Anglo-Saxon” mentality that Chirac defined himself as the antithesis of. However, Chirac also knew that French businesses stood to lose billions of Euros from the destruction of Iraq.

Ultimately, he stood up for French business interests, which at that time, coincided with the interests of peace.

Today, Macron is doing largely the same, as the interests of the French corporate class which has ballooned since the more austere Chirac days, are temporarily aligned with the advocacy of peace in Iran. The fact that Washington and Tel Aviv are far more afraid of attacking Iran directly than they were in respect of Iraq in 2003, makes Macron’s intervention all the more important.

Of course there is another factor at play. In trying to diplomatically isolate Iran, Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh are attempting to coerce European parties to the JCPOA, including France, into adopting Washington’s position of opposition to the JCPOA.

Macron’s statement is a clear indication that this strategy has backfired, because for major European powers like France, the JCPOA remains popular.

The other US goal of trying to force Iran to cease its aid to the anti-terrorist struggle of Iraq and Syria also looks like a failure.

Iran’s role in Iraq is now that of a long-term political ally, as Iraq’s war has largely shifted from a military conflict to a security and political rehabilitation programme.  In this sense Iran’s role in Iraq is that of a long term partner which is something most Iranians and most Iraqis few favourably. Iranians who grew up hating Saddam’s Iraq, are now, not only at peace with, but are generally supportive of the Shi’a dominated Iraqi government’s pro-Iranian stance. In this sense, Iran’s position vis-à-vis Iraq is not likely to change.

In respect of Syria, Iran’s main role has evolved from a military advisor, to that of  being the torch bearer of Syrian interests at the Astana Peace Talks. While Russia’s role is that of a supreme balancer and Turkey’s role is one which seeks to legitimise extremist Sunni factions (however contradictory a task this is) while also restraining the influence of Kurdish extremists in Syria, Iran has aligned itself with the majority of anti-Takfiri Syrians. As a Shi’a power in the region, Iran’s pedigree offers a great deal of reassurance for the Syrians who have been most viciously targeted by Takfiri terrorists.

Fellow Astana members Russia and Turkey have offered robust statements in favour of Iran’s sovereignty with both Moscow and Ankara warning against any illegal foreign meddling in Iran’s internal affairs. Turkey has blamed “Israel” and the US for meddling in Iraq, while Russia has gone on the offensive against American hypocrisy.

In this sense, when a fellow Astana member came under attack from “Israel”, the US and Saudi Arabia, Russia and Turkey supported their besieged partner and in so doing, will have encouraged Iran’s further participation in Astana and by extrapolation in the Syria crisis.

Unless the US, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia are willing to flood Iran with terrorists and send new loads of arms to existing terrorist groups inside Iran (including Baloch aligned Takfiris, Kurdish terrorists, MEK sleeper cells and Royalist hooligans), their mission will likely fail.
Even if the aforementioned aggressive powers did send arms and/or cash to terrorists, Iran’s security services are very prepared for such an incident.

In this sense, the two immediate goals of the aggressive powers have failed—Europe has not rejected the JCPOA and Iran is not decreasing its legal influence in Syria and Iraq (nor Lebanon).

Because the aggressors will likely not give up this easily, Iran must remain on guard and ready to crush any hint of western/Zionist/Wahhabi backed sedition at any time.

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