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UK Prime Minister: ‘staunchly supports’ Israel and

Sold $12 billion in weapons to Israel

Last updated Sat 19 Jul 2014

The Prime Minister has reassured Israel of Britain’s support in the ongoing conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas in Gaza.

David Cameron has offered the UK's support to Israel in response to 'appalling' attacks carried out by Hamas.

“The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks, and underlined Israel’s right to defend itself from them.”

Netanyahu has warned that Hamas will pay a “heavy price” for the rocket attacks and at least 47 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza since yesterday, according to Palestinian officials.

Britain admits selling $12 billion in weapons to Israel

david_cameron_official.jpg

David Cameron contemplates how to aid Israeli apartheid.

(10 Downing Street)

Journalists love rows. We love them so much that we often let them distract us.

Last week was no exception. Fascinated by an apparent bust-up between Israel and the European Union, most Middle East analysts (myself included) missed a very important story: Britain’s arms sales to Israel are far higher than David Cameron’s government has previously confessed.

Data published in a new report from the House of Commons in London states the value of all British military exports to Israel currently being processed comes to £7.9 billion ($12.1 billion).

This data was supplied by Vince Cable, Britain’s business secretary, who oversees the weapons trade.

I had to do a double-take when reading this information as until now Britain has indicated that the value of its arms sales to Israel are measured in millions, rather than billions.

Each year, the EU issues a report on weapons exports for the entire Union, based on information provided by its individual governments.

These reports stated that Britain approved military export licenses for Israel worth €5.7 million in 2011 and €7.2 million in2010.

Taken at face value, the annual reports suggest that Britain has reduced its weapons exports to Israel since Operation Cast Lead, the murderous 3-week attack on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. During 2008, Britain authorized weapons sales of €31.5 million to Israel, according to its official data.

Discrepancy

Because I was puzzled by the huge discrepancy between all these statistics, I asked Vince Cable’s department to help me out. I didn’t get a clear answer.

But a spokesperson speculated that the gap could be explained by how the yearly figures may not cover equipment that “hasn’t been shipped out yet.”

The latest data, on the other hand, could relate to licenses that have been “granted but not fully executed,” the spokesperson added.

A more plausible explanation, in my view, is that the British government — both under Cameron and his Labour Party predecessors, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair — has been dishonest about the full scale of its weapons sales to Israel.

Pressure from some diligent members of Parliament might have finally led Cable to provide them with more comprehensive figures.

The Commons’ report doesn’t go into much detail about the type of military equipment involved. It is telling, nonetheless, that the largest single deal itemized for Israel involved more than £7.7 billion worth of cryptographic technology.

“Battle-tested”

As far as I can see, there is no accompanying information about this contract — not even a date for when it was rubber-stamped. But anyone familiar with the nature of the Israeli economy should be able to make an educated guess about what is going on.

Israel has exploited the opportunities afforded by occupying the land of another people in order to develop a world-class “homeland security” sector. Israel’s drones are the best-known example of innovations routinely “battle-tested” — a term favored by arms traders — on Palestinian civilians.

Britain, it seems, is providing cartloads of sophisticated material to Israeli entrepreneurs intent on perpetuating the crimes of apartheid and occupation. If I’m wide of the mark, then I challenge Cable to spell out what exactly he and his predecessors have approved.

Despite the large sums involved, this new data does not give the full picture about military cooperation with Israel. Exports of components from Britain to America’s weapons industry are excluded, as far as I can tell, even though there’s a strong chance they will end up in Israeli hands.

Nor does the new data deal with how Britain is an important customer for Israeli weapons. Elbit, a leading Israeli warplane manufacturer, is assembling a series of drones for use by the British Army under the £700 million Watchkeeper program.

Elbit is among the Israeli companies scheduled to take part in the world’s largest weapons fair in London this September.

There can be no excuse for any military cooperation with Israel. An EU law on arms exportsmakes it clear that weapons should not be sold if they are likely to facilitate repression or aggravate tensions in a particular region.

Brazen

Britain’s foreign ministry has named Israel as one of 27 “countries of concern” for human rights abuses.

Of those 27, Israel is the largest destination for British arms exports. Saudi Arabia — long thought to be the biggest client for Britain’s weapons industry — is actually in second place.

The brazen effrontery of the British establishment was on display again today, when it convinced other EU governments to blacklist Hizballah as a “terrorist” organization. The move was taken at the behest of Israel, which alleges that Hizballah was behind a bombing in Bulgaria last year.

The EU has been willing to swallow Israel’s version of events — even though the Union’s own police agency Europol has acknowledged there is no proof of Hizballah’s involvement.

Reports of a major rift between the EU and Israel — as many a headline indicated last week — are, therefore, exaggerated.

Without question, Hizballah has done things that can be considered criminal — especially in Syria. Yet there would be no Hizballah if it wasn’t for Israeli aggression towards Lebanon.

Hizballah is a symptom of the problems in the Middle East. Britain, on the other hand, is the cause.

It was Britain’s political establishment which “gifted” Palestine to the Zionist movement in 1917. All these years later, Britain is arming Israel to the teeth.

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A defunct history

Uneasy Alliance Gives Insurgents an Edge in Iraq

ERBIL, Iraq — Meeting with the American ambassador some years ago in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki detailed what he believed was the latest threat of a coup orchestrated by former officers of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

Don’t waste your time on this coup by the Baathists,” the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, chided him, dismissing his conspiracy theories as fantasy.

Now, though, with Iraq facing its gravest crisis in years, as Sunni insurgents have swept through northern and central Iraq, Mr. Maliki’s claims about Baathist plots have been at least partly vindicated.

While fighters for the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, once an offshoot of Al Qaeda, have taken on the most prominent role in the new insurgency, they have done so in alliance with a deeply rooted network of former loyalists to Saddam Hussein.

The involvement of the Baathists helps explain why just a few thousand Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters, many of them fresh off the battlefields of Syria, have been able to capture so much territory so quickly.

It sheds light on the complexity of the forces aligned against Baghdad in the conflict — not just the foreign-influenced group known as ISIS, but many homegrown groups, too.

And with the Baathists’ deep social and cultural ties to many areas now under insurgent control, it stands as a warning of how hard it might be for the government to regain territory and restore order.

Photo

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri Credit Karim Sahib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Many of the former regime loyalists, including intelligence officers and Republican Guard soldiers — commonly referred to as the “deep state” in the Arab world — belong to a group called the Men of the Army of the Naqshbandia Order, often referred to as J.R.T.N., the initials of its Arabic name.

The group announced its establishment in 2007, not long after the execution of Mr. Hussein, and its putative leader, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, was one of Mr. Hussein’s most trusted deputies and the highest-ranking figure of the old regime who avoided capture by the Americans.

Referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s fighters, Michael Knights, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has researched the Naqshbandia group, said, “They couldn’t have seized a fraction of what they did without coordinated alliances with other Sunni groups.”

In some areas under militant control, including areas around Mosul, Kirkuk and Tikrit, he said, “there are definitely pockets where the Naqshbandias are wearing the pants.”

Graphic: In Iraq Crisis, a Tangle of Alliances and Enmities

Mr. Douri, the king of clubs in  decks of cards given to American forces in 2003 to identify the most-wanted regime leaders, is a mysterious figure, so furtive he was even declared dead in 2005.

It is believed that he is still alive today — he would be in his early 70s — although even that is uncertain.

After the American invasion he was said to have fled to Syria, where he reportedly worked with Syrian intelligence to restore the Baath Party within Iraq and led an insurgency from there that mainly targeted American interests.

“He’s a great totem of the old regime,” Mr. Knights said. “You need that kind of individual to keep the flame going.”

The role the Baathists are playing in the current uprising justifies not only Mr. Maliki’s suspicions, but also the longstanding concerns of American intelligence officers.

As American forces were winding down operations in Iraq, they frequently predicted that the Baathists were well positioned to exploit Sunni grievances and mount a violent challenge to the government.

Iraq’s Factions and Their Goals

The goals of of the three main groups in Iraq — Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish — as the country threatens to split apart along sectarian lines.

Analysts say the former regime figures, whose group combines strands of Islamic thought with notions of Arab nationalism typical of Baath ideology, are bedfellows with the Islamist extremists in one respect: Both sides are determined to restore Sunni rule to Iraq and rid the country of what they see as the pernicious influence of Iran, which like Iraq has a Shiite majority.

Like the extremists, the former regime figures have won sympathy from ordinary Sunnis who are alienated by Mr. Maliki’s sectarian policies.

“Our problem is with Maliki, and we will take him down and anyone that stands next to him,” said Abu Abid al-Rahman, a Naqshbandia leader in northern Iraq, in an interview.

He added: “We want to control the land all the way to Baghdad to take down Maliki’s government and to end the Iranian influence in Iraq. What is happening in Iraq today is a result of Maliki’s sectarian policy in Iraq.”

The Iraq-ISIS Conflict in Maps, Photos and Video

Since seizing Mosul on June 10, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been attacking towns along the main highway heading south, coming closer and closer to the capital. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

Key Towns attacked Bomb attacks

Miles from

Central Baghdad

Several clashes occurred at the outskirts of Samarra, where Shiite militiamen have been sent to protect the Al-Askari Shrine.

The Iraqi army retook control of Ishaqi and Muqdadiya on June 14. In Muqdadiya, a Shiite militia assisted the government forces.

Militants took control of several neighborhoods in Baquba on June 16 but were repulsed by security officers after a three-hour gun battle. Later, 44 Sunni prisoners were killed in a government-controlled police station.

At least five bomb attacks occurred in Baghdad, mainly in Shiite areas, in the week after the rebel group took Mosul. The bodies of four young men were found shot on June 17 in a neighborhood controlled by Shiite militiamen.

Falluja and many towns in the western province of Anbar have been under ISIS control for about six months.

Having occupied crucial sections of Syria over the past year and more recently seizing vast areas of Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria controls territory greater than many countries and now rivals Al Qaeda as the world’s most powerful jihadist group. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni militant group that last week staged a stunning operation to seize Iraq’s second largest city, has been fueling sectarian violence in the region for years. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

Sources: Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (attack data); Congressional Research Service; Council on Foreign Relations; Long War Journal; Institute for the Study of War

Note: Before 2011, less information was available on who was responsible for attacks, so the number of ISIS attacks from 2004 to 2010 may be under-counted.

Sources: Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (attack data); Congressional Research Service; Council on Foreign Relations; Long War Journal; Institute for the Study of War

 After sweeping across the porous border from Syria to overrun Mosul, insurgents aligned with the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continued to press south down the main north-south highway toward Baghdad. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

 The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has vowed to establish a caliphate — a unified Islamic government ruled by a caliph, someone considered to be a successor to Muhammad’s political authority — stretching from western Syria across Iraq to the eastern border with Iran. This map shows the boundaries envisioned by the ISIS.
Related Maps and Multimedia »Many of the Iraqi cities that have been attacked and occupied by militants in recent days were also the sites of battles and other major events during the Iraq War. Related Maps and Multimedia »
Then: American forces took control of Mosul in April 2003. What followed was a period of relative peace until mid-2004 when periodic insurgent attacks flared, resulting in a large-scale battle in November. The death toll reached dozens, including a number of Iraqi soldiers who were publicly beheaded.Related Article »
Now: In perhaps the most stunning recent development, Sunni militants drove Iraqi military forces out of Mosul on June 10, forcing a half-million residents to flee the city. Iraqi soldiers reportedly dropped their weapons and donned civilian clothing to escape ISIS insurgents.
MosulMoises Saman for The New York Times
Then: Falluja played a pivotal role in the American invasion of Iraq. It was the site of a number of large-scale battles with insurgents. In April 2003, it became a hot bed for controversy when American soldiers opened fire on civilians after claiming they had been shot at.
Incessant fighting left the city decimated, leveling a majority of its infrastructure and leaving about half its original population. Related Article »
Now: Sunni militants seized Falluja’s primary municipal buildings on Jan. 3. The takeover came as an early and significant victory for the group, initiating a slew of attacks south of the city.
FallujaMax Becherer for The New York Times

Tikrit

Tikrit Iraq
Then: The home of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit became the target of an early American military operation during the Iraq war. Securing it proved cumbersome, however, as insurgents mounted continued attacks on the city for years afterward.
On Dec. 14, 2003, Hussein was found hiding in an eight-foot deep hole, just south of Tikrit. Related Article »
Now: Tikrit fell to ISIS insurgents on June 11, clearing a path for them to march on to Baiji, home to one of Iraq’s foremost oil-refining operations. After taking the city in less than a day, militants continued the fight just south, in Samarra.
TikritChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Samarra

Samarra Iraq
Then: Samarra is home to the Askariya shrine, which was bombed in 2006, prompting an extended period of sectarian violence across the country. Related Article »
Now: After an initial attack on June 5, ISIS insurgents have now positioned themselves just miles away from Samarra. It is unclear whether they are capable of capturing the city in the coming days, but the Shiite shrine makes it a volatile target.
SamarraAyman Oghanna for The New York Times

A look at the goals of of the three main groups in Iraq — Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish — as the country threatens to split apart along sectarian lines. Related Maps and Multimedia »

 The insurgents, originating in Syria, moved through Iraq’s Sunni-dominated north and west, occupying cities and towns surrendered by Iraqi soldiers and police. They have largely avoided the Kurd-dominated northeast, but have threatened to march on to Baghdad and into the Shiite-dominated areas of the south.
Related Maps and Multimedia »The United Nations estimates that at least 500,000 Iraqis were displaced by the takeover of Mosul. Food supplies are low and there is limited fresh water and little electricity. An additional 430,000 people were displaced by fighting In Anbar Province, which insurgents have controlled for more than six months. Related Maps and Multimedia »

Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
An Iraqi family, one of thousands who have fled Mosul for the autonomous Kurdish region, walks past tents at a temporary camp.

Background on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Islamist group that appears to be in control of the second largest city in Iraq. Related Maps and Multimedia »

Rekan al-Kurwi, a tribal leader in Diyala Province, where both groups have been operating, said: “ISIS are extremists and strangers. The Naqshbandias are not strangers. We know most of them. In some areas that ISIS has taken they are killing our people, they are imposing their Islamic laws on us. We do not want that, and the Naqshbandias are not doing this. They have a good strategy in cooperating with the people.”

Last year, Iraq experienced a mini-version of the Sunni uprising it faces today. In that case, the Naqshbandias seemed to be in the lead, directing groups of fighters who briefly seized some territories after Iraqi security forces opened fire on a Sunni protest camp in Hawija, a village near Kirkuk that is a Naqshbandia stronghold, killing dozens.

In many ways that fight, after the Hawija raid, presaged what is happening now. It galvanized Sunni opposition to the government, which is being exploited by the alliance between the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group and the Baathists, who are positioning themselves as secular guardians of Sunni Arab nationalism.

Continue reading the main story 237Comments

While they may be allies today in the interest of fighting a common enemy — the Shiite-dominated government of Mr. Maliki — the two sides are unlikely to coexist if they should attain power in some areas. The Baathists, being more secular and more nationalist, have no interest in living under the harsh Islamic law that ISIS has already started to put in place in Mosul.

“We are fighting now with ISIS, but we are protecting Iraq from their religious ideas,” said Abu Tulayha al-Obaidi, a Naqshbandia fighter in northern Iraq, who said the group gets most of its weapons from smugglers coming from Syria, Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdish region in the north. “We will not kill innocent people, or soldiers who put down their weapons. We are like the new brain of ISIS.”

Already, there have been reports that the two sides have skirmished inside Mosul, but the Naqshbandias denied that. Mr. Knights said: “For the moment they need each other. But they are going to fight each other eventually.”

Sources: Institute for the Study of War; Long War Journal

Kurdish Barazani clan seized oil-rich Iraq northern Kirkuk in 2015? Kicked out today

Note 1: Iraq army re-occupied Kirkuk this Oct 15, 2017, the airport, the largest military base and oil fields. The Kurd Not associated with Barazani just handed over Kirkuk to start fruitful negotiations. Iran and Turkey closed borders with Barazani tribe of Kurdistan and Irbil civilian airport is closed

Note 2: Barazani Father tried to establish a Kurdistan in the 70’s and formed an army of 100,000. Once Saddam and the Shah of Iran reached an agreement on their differences, Barazani disbanded his army of Peshmerga. Turkey forced Jalal Talbani to dismantle his forces in the western Kurdish province with city of Sulaymaniyyeh. Talbani died a month ago and he integrated the Iraqi government as President.

Note 3: Kurdish leader, Massoud Barazani is a ripe fruit going bad, rotting and falling. He obeyed all the orders of USA/Israel. His role is now over, him and the extremist members of his clan.

Joel Rosenberg posted this June 17, 2014 (selected as one of top posts)

Take a good look at this picture taken in 1971 in northern Iraq.

Head of Israel Mossad  Zowa Zamir (1968-76) and future head of Mossad (Nahoum Admoni) and vice Mossad chief (Manahem Naheek Nawoot) are taking a “selfi” with three of the current Kurdish leader such as Massoud Barazani and Mahmoud Othman. 

Othman is in the front center.Massoud Barazani is on the far left and is the current leader of the Kurds in city of Irbil.

‎#لكم_التعليق</p> <p>مسعود بارازاني و محمود عثمان برفقة<br /> "ناهوم آدموني رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي بين عامي 1989-1982"<br /> "زوي زامير رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي لثمان سنين 1976-1968"<br /> و " مناخم ناهيكـ ناووت معاون رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي"<br /> في شمال العراق عام 1971</p> <p>ملتقى البشائر‎

After the current push of ISIS (Da3esh) in northern Iraq and the fall of Mosul, Massoud sent his Kurdish troops to defend Kirkuk and declared that Iraq has been partitioned de facto into three parts and that the Kurdish region will held a referendum for its independence (done this Oct. 2017).

In that period of 2015-17, Barazani exported oil of the Kirkuk fields to mainly Turkey and Israel at low prices, sort of contraband operations, like ISIS in Syria.

Turkey announced it will no longer import oil from Kirkuk and the official border-crossing with Iran are closed.

 

Joel Rosenberg posted this June 17, 2014 (selected as one of top posts)

kurdistan-map(Washington, D.C.) — Could recent developments in Iraq have prophetic implications? Actually, the answer may be yes — especially with regards to the Kurdish people who live in northern Iraq. Let me explain.

As we’ve been seeing in recent weeks, the Radical jihadist forces of the “Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham” (ISIS) are on the move towards Baghdad. They are leaving a trail of bloodshed and carnage in their wake.

The objective of the ISIS leaders is to topple the Iraqi government, seize control of all of Iraq, establish a jihadist state under Sharia law, and use Iraq to begin a regional — and eventually global — Islamic caliphate, or kingdom.

Now, the Kurdish leaders have taken advantage of the chaos of this moment to seize control of the oil-rich region of Kirkuk for themselves. (see AP story below)

The oil fields of Kirkuk have been a long-standing issue of controversy in Iraq, especially since the liberation of the country in 2003. Whoever controls those fields would control enormous wealth as the oil there is more fully developed and shipped to markets around the globe.

The Kurds are Sunni Muslims, but they are not ethnically Arabs (Few Iraqis are “Arabs”).

Indeed, many Kurds have a deep hatred for the Arabs. Several decades ago, the world create a special, protected, autonomous region for the Kurds in the north region of Iraq, after Saddam Hussein repeated attacked and tried to destroy the Kurds, including with the use of chemical weapons.

Ultimately, many Kurds want to create an independent country of their own, uniting Kurds living in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Yet each of those national governments strongly oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan.

What’s fascinating is that the modern Kurdish people were known in ancient times (during Roman Empire) as the Medes. Here is where things get interesting.

(The following part is an amalgam of lucubration and insane religious excerpts, sort of Zionism exploiting every opportunity to spread its hubris “propaganda”)

Bible prophecy indicates that in the End Times, as we get closer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, God will allow the Medes to gain power, even as the Lord allows the Arabs (there were No such things as “Arabs” at these periods) to gain power and rebuild the kingdom of Babylon in the heart of Iraq.

The Book of Revelation, for example, tells us that Babylon will be the epicenter of evil in the last days of history, and will eventually face the judgment of God.

The Hebrew prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel tell us this, as well, indicating Babylon will be completely destroyed and when the judgment is complete, Babylon will be completely uninhabitable.

Indeed, Isaiah 13:20 says of Babylon, “It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.”

What’s more, Bible prophecy indicates that God will raise up the Medes — that is, the Kurdish people — to be an instrument of judgment against Babylon. (I guess that’s what USA Bush Jr. did or tried to achieve for 8 years of occupation))

  • Isaiah 13:17 — “Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them [the Babylonians]….”
  • Jeremiah 51:11 — “The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it; for it is the vengeance of the Lord….”
  • Jeremiah 51:28-29 — “Consecrate the nations against her, the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their prefects, and every land of their dominion. So the land quakes and writhes, for the purposes of the Lord against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitants….”

How exactly will these eschatological prophecies come to pass? It’s too early to say for certain.

But after studying these prophecies, traveling 4 times to the Iraqi Kurdistan region, meeting with senior Kurdish leaders — including Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani — and tracking developments there over the past decade or so, I think it is fair to say we may be seeing some of the prophetic battle lines developing:

  • The hatred of the Kurds/Medes against the Arabs, and vice versa, is steadily growing.
  • The Kurds/Medes and the Arabs are in a continued struggle to control the oil resources that will make either or both of them enormously wealthy and powerful in the End Times.
  • The Kurds/Medes are, step by step, forming into their nation, and possibly their own country.
  • The Kurds/Medes are developing an increasingly effective military force that is able to overpower the Iraqi Arabs at times. (They couldn’t even fight ISIS)

For more on the latest geopolitical developments, here are excerpts from a recent article from the Associated Press, “HOW THE KURDS SEIZED KIRKUK.”

  • “After a decades-long dispute between Arabs and Kurds over the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, it took just an hour and a half for its fate to be decided,” the Associated Press reports. “As al-Qaida-inspired militants advanced across northern Iraq and security forces melted away, Kurdish fighters who have long dominated Kirkuk ordered Iraqi troops out and seized full control of the regional oil hub and surrounding areas, according to a mid-ranking Army officer. He said he was told to surrender his weapons and leave his base.
  • His account was corroborated by an Arab tribal sheik and a photographer who witnessed the looting of army bases after troops left and who related similar accounts of the takeover from relatives in the army. All three spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution from Kurdish forces.
  • “They said they would defend Kirkuk from the Islamic State,” said the Arab officer, who oversaw a warehouse in the city’s central military base. He asked that his rank not be made public.
  • He insisted the Iraqi troops had not planned to retreat before the Islamic state. “We were ready to battle to death. We were completely ready,” he said at a roadside rest house just inside the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
  • The Kurdish takeover of the long-disputed city came days after the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other Sunni militants seized much of the country’s second largest city of Mosul and Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit before driving south toward Baghdad. Their lightning advance has plunged the country into its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.
  • A spokesman for Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, said they had only moved in after Iraqi troops retreated, assuming control of the “majority of the Kurdistan region” outside the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.
  • “Peshmerga forces have helped Iraqi soldiers and military leaders when they abandoned their positions,” including by helping three generals to fly back to Baghdad from the Kurdish regional capital Irbil, Lieutenant General Jabbar Yawar said in a statement on the regional government’s website….
  • Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, is home to Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, who all have competing claims to the oil-rich area. Kurds have long wanted to incorporate it into their self-ruled region, but Arabs and Turkmen are opposed.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s the Arab-dominated government in Baghdad drove hundreds of thousands of Kurds out of Kirkuk and surrounding regions, settling Arabs from the south in their place in an attempt to pacify a region that had seen repeated revolts.
  • During the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the highly disciplined peshmerga swept down from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and established a strong presence in a belt of largely Kurdish towns and villages stretching south toward Baghdad.
  • But the disintegration of Iraqi forces this week seems to have led the peshmerga to assume full control in areas they have long coveted, further enhancing their autonomy from Baghdad and undermining hard-fought U.S. efforts to bring about a stable, multiethnic Iraq.
  • “To a great extent Kurdish forces had been de facto in control of Kirkuk for some time, but now they’re completely in control,” said F. Gregory Gause, III, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Doha Center.
  • He said it was unlikely the Kurds would seek formal independence from Iraq, however, because such a move would be strongly opposed by neighboring Turkey and Iran — both of which have sizable Kurdish minorities — as well as Washington.

‫#‏لكم_التعليق‬

مسعود بارازاني و محمود عثمان برفقة
“ناهوم آدموني رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي بين عامي 1989-1982”
“زوي زامير رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي لثمان سنين 1976-1968″
و ” مناخم ناهيكـ ناووت معاون رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي”
في شمال العراق عام 1971

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Iraq’s Christians are in their ‘darkest hour’ as they face choice of converting or leaving

Cath Martin Posted on July 7, 2014

Christians in Iraq are continuing to leave their homes in large numbers following the ISIS takeover.

Those unable to leave are facing brutality and hardship under the militants, Barnabas Fund is warning.

christians in Iraq

Those still in the areas taken over by ISIS are being told to pay a $250 tax for being non-Muslims, but many of them cannot afford to pay it.

There were harrowing reports in the last week of a man being forced to watch ISIS militants rape his wife and daughter after the family was unable to pay the tax.

Last weekend, two nuns, Miskintah and Utoor Joseph, and three young Christians, Hala Salim, Sarah Khosaba and Aram Sabah went missing on their way back to Mosul after taking orphaned girls to Dohuk for their safety. It is feared they have been abducted by militants.

“Christians in Islamic State territory (meaning under control of ISIS) are clearly in extreme danger,” said Barnabas Fund.

The organisation is providing aid to many of the Christians who have fled their homes since ISIS took over and started implementing strict Sharia law.

Last week, UNHCR said 10,000 people had fled from Christian communities in Qaraqosh, near Mosul, with many of them ending up in Erbil with very few possessions.

Some 300,000 Iraqis had arrived in the Kurdistan region from Mosul’s Ninewa province.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said: “”This is one of the darkest hours ever for Christians in Iraq. Our brothers and sisters are being repeatedly uprooted as the jihadists advance, imposing their brutal version of Islam.

“For those who cannot escape for whatever reason, the situation is even more dire. Please continue to help us meet the needs of Christians who are caught up in this escalating crisis.”

 

 

 

Israel’s War for Gaza’s Gas

<!–Wednesday 28 November 2012[, by –>

Exclusive November 2012, by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

“It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Moshe Ya’alon, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs

Over the last decade, Israel has experienced a growing energy crisis.

Between 2000 and 2010, Israel’s power consumption has risen by  3.5% annually. With over 40% of Israel’s electricity dependent on natural gas, the country has struggled to keep up with rising demand as a stable source of gas is in short supply.

As of April,  electricity prices rose by 9%, as the state-owned Israeli Electricity Company (IEC) warned that “Israelis may soon face blackouts during this summer’s heat” – which is exactly what happened.

The two major causes of the natural gas shortage were Egypt’s repeated suspension of gas supplies to Israel due to attacks on the Sinai pipeline, and the near-depletion of Israel’s offshore Tethys Sea gas fields.

By late April, a trade deal that would have continued natural gas imports from Egypt into Israel collapsed, sending the Israeli government scrambling to find alternate energy sources to meet peak electricity demands.

Without a significant boost in gas production, Israel faced the prospect of debilitating fuel price hikes which would undermine the economy.

By late June, Israel was tapping into the little known Noa gas reserve in the Mediterranean off the coast of Gaza. Previously, Israel had “refrained from ordering development of the Noa field, fearing that this would lead to diplomatic problems vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority”, according to the Israeli business daily Globes.

The Noa reserve, whose yield is about 1.2 billion cubic metres, “is partly under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority in the economic zone of the Gaza Strip” – but Houston-based operator Noble Energy apparently “convinced” Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructures that their drilling would “not spill over into other parts of the reserve.”

But the Gaza Marine gas reserves – about 32km from Gaza’s coastline – are unmistakeably  within Gaza’s territorial waters which extend to about 35km off the coast. Israeli negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the gas reserves have  stalled for much of the last decade since their discovery in the late 1990s by the British Gas Group (BG Group).

The main reason for the failure of negotiations was  Israel’s demand that the gas should come ashore on its territory, and at below market price.

Estimated at a total of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, the market value of the reserves is about $4 billion.

On 8th November 1999, the late Yasser Arafat signed a 25-year deal on behalf of the PA, granting 60% rights to BG Group, 30 per cent to Consolidated Contractors Company – a Palestinian private entity linked to Arafat’s PA – and finally only 10 per cent to the PA’s Palestine Investment Fund (PIF).

At first, BG Group signed a memorandum with Egypt to sell them Gaza’s gas through an undersea pipeline in 2005. But the ’man of peace’, former Prime Minister Tony Blair – official Middle East envoy of the  Quartet – intervened to pressure BG Group to instead sell the gas to Israel.

One informed British source told journalist Arthur Neslen in Tel Aviv at the time: “The UK and US, who are the major players in this deal, see it as a possible tool to improve relations between the PA and Israel. It is part of the  bargaining baggage.”

The gas would be piped directly onshore to Ashkelon in Israel, but “up to three-quarters of the $4bn of revenue raised might not even end up in Palestinian hands at all.”

The “preferred option” of the US and UK is that the gas revenues would be held in “an international bank account over which Abbas would hold sway” – effectively circumventing Hamas-controlled Gaza.

One of the first things Hamas did after winning elections was to reject the PA’s agreement with BG Group as “an act of theft”, before demanding a renegotiation of the agreed percentages to reflect its inclusion.

Operation Cast Lead launched in December 2008 was directly, though not exclusively, motivated by Israel’s  concerns about the Blair-brokered gas deal.

Upon assessing the prospects for accessing Gaza’s gas, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon – also Minister of Strategic Affairs and a former IDF Chief of Staff – advocated a year before Operation Cast Lead that the gas deal “threaten’s Israel national security” as long as Hamas remains in power.

“With Gaza currently a radical Islamic stronghold, and the West Bank in danger of becoming the next one, Israel’s funneling a billion dollars into local or international bank accounts on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would be tantamount to Israel’s bankrolling terror against itself”, Ya’alon wrote for the  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

“It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”

So why Operation Pillar of Defence, and why now?

On 23rd September, Israel and the PA announced the  renewal of negotiations over development of Gaza’s gas fields. But Hamas, still in control of Gaza, stood in the way of these negotiations.

Both the PA and Tony Blair “hope to have control of the marine area and levy its own fees and taxes” in partnership with Israel, reported Offshore-technology.

Exactly a week before Israel’s assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing, Israel’s  ongoing energy crisis was in full swing, with the “cash-strapped Israel Electric Corp” – suffering from a short-fall of 1.5 billion shekels – planning to sell a total of 3 billion shekels of government-backed bonds as early as December.

Then on 12th November, the PA announced that the Palestinians would formally seek admission to the UN General Assembly as  a non-member observer state on the 29th. If granted, the status would add weight to the Palestinian bid for statehood encompassing the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem – pre-1967 territorial lines which would formally impinge on Israel’s ambitions to de facto control and unilaterally exploit Gaza’s largely untapped gas resources.

Simultaneously, Israel faced another complication from Hamas.

Israeli peace negotiator Gershon Bashkin reports that a proposal he drafted for a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas was on the verge of being accepted by senior Hamas officials, including Ahmed Jabari.

On the morning of the 14th – just two days after the PA’s announcement concerning its UN bid – a revised version was being assessed by Jabari and was due to be sent to Israel.

Hours later, Jabari was assassinated on Netanyahu’s orders.

“Senior officials in Israel knew about [Jabari’s] contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination”, Bashkin told Ha’aretz.

With Israel facing a race for independence from the PA, and a permanent truce with Hamas, the prospects of fully exploiting Gaza’s gas resources looked slim – unless Israel could change the political and security facts on the ground through brute force. The strike on Jabari appears to have been designed precisely to provoke a response from Hamas that would justify such military action.

Indeed, Hamas has its uses.

Ya’alon’s fellow Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom once criticised Shimon Peres in a high-level Cabinet meeting back in 2001, for advocating “negotiations” with Arafat. “Between Hamas and Arafat, I prefer Hamas”, said Shalom, explaining that Arafat is a “terrorist in a diplomat’s suit, while Hamas can be hit unmercifully… there won’t be any international protests.” (Ha’aretz, 4/12/2001)

By unleashing Hamas’ rage this November, Israel was able to justify an offensive designed at least in part to begin engineering conditions conducive to its control of Gaza’s offshore gas reserves. But this is just the beginning – many analysts note that Israel is preparing the ground for a  wider military assault against Iran.

The tentative ceasefire announced on the 21st is, therefore, highly tenuous. If the ceasefire is breached, a  military ground operation is still on the cards.

With over 140 dead in Gaza, compared to five in Israel, Operation Pillar of Defence has vindicated those in Palestine who think violence against Israel is the only option left.

But then again, perhaps that’s the idea.

In Context. “Arab” civilization? or Islamic civilizations, or Ottoman civilization…?

Many articles are written and will be published trying to explain and clarify “What is Arab civilization” in order to comprehend the Al Qaeda and ISIS Daesh phenomena and all these Islamic extremist factions all over the Islamic world.

As if there is a unique Arab civilization, an empire that ruled the world for 6 centuries and many other Islamic kingdoms replaced this empire around the world.

In context is an attempt to clarify many myths and generalizations about Islamic and Arab cultures and civilizations.

The Islamic Arabic army that came from the Arabic Peninsula to fight the Byzantium Empire and later the Persian Empire barely numbered 7,000 men of war.

The other three-forth of the army that backed and supplemented the “Arabic army” was constituted from people and tribes living in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan wanting to defeat the Byzantium unforgiving Orthodox Church and domination.

How can we be descendant of the sparsely populated Arabic Peninsula? Not possible.

The “Arabic identity” group would claim that our culture and civilization is Islamic Arabic. How that?

The cultural development during the Arabic Empire was shouldered by the scholars in Syria, Iraq, and Iran and they were mostly Christians. They used Arabic for scientifi and philosophical books.

The “Arabic identity” group would like to rely on the Arabic language as basis for our identity.  Excellent idea.

Let us prove that the Arabic language is a viable foundation; let us infuse a new spirit in that dying language.

Let us translate the worthy manuscripts; let us invent new terms that have no religious connotation and spread the Arabic language as a universal language, valid to sustaining modern civilization with fresh brains and advanced sciences and technologies.

I will be for it and will support it vehemently.

There are other factions wanting to claim that we are Moslems.  How about the dozen minority religious sects?  Are we to agree on a theocratic identity?

Turkish Ataturk cancelled the caliphate in 1925 and there is no caliphate anymore, anywhere.  Tiny Lebanon has 19 recognized self-autonomous religious communities running our civil life.  Let us get real.

A theocratic State will never pass and will never find unity for identity.

Should we hide behind a reality of disparate communities to establish the concept of plurality community government?  Should 19 wrong identities constitute a valid identity?

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unify against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.  

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to work against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

Who is behind resistance to Lebanese State dialogue with Syrian regime?

Almost all States have opened Embassies in Syria and negotiating business deals for the reconstruction of Syria after 7 years of devastating civil war.

Lebanese military and security forces, as long as many parties in the government, have opened lines of communications and cooperation with Syria, tacitly and directly.

The latest military victories on ISIS and Al Nusra Front that occupied our eastern mountain chains were mainly due to Syria army intervention and coordination with Lebanese army and Lebanon Hezbollah resistance force.

Who are behind the dragging of feet to establishing open channels with Syria? Especially to facilitate the return of 2 million Syrian refugees who have been a heavy burden on on economy, education and health institutions?

Certainly, Israel, USA and Saudi Kingdom are the main foreign powers that are exercising internal pressures Not to clear the way for open coordination and communications with legitimate Syrian institutions.

Many internal political parties are tightly linked to the diktat of these foreign powers and rely on their subsidies and political support. Who are they?

التحريض على السوريين: فَتِّش عن القوات

غسان سعود

في الشكل ثمة جمعية مرة، و»شبان الحيّ» مرة والتيار الوطني الحر مرات، أما في المضمون فهناك القوات اللبنانية وحدها. لا أحد يراها أو يسمع لها موقف، لكن ملائكتها حاضرة دائماً وهي المستفيد الوحيد من كل ما يحصل.

فبعيد تكفل التيار العونيّ بتبييض صفحة القوات ومحاولته محو آثامها بحق مجتمعها أولاً خلال الحرب الأهلية، ها هي المعزوفة تصدح من هنا وهناك عن تقصير الدولة و»يا محلا أيام الحرب» و»الأمن الذاتي» وغيرها من «الدرر». وللأمن الذاتي عنوان وحيد بطبيعة الحال هو معراب، لا منزل النائب جيلبرت زوين أو زميلها وليد الخوري وغيرهما من نواب التغيير والإصلاح. فهذا وذاك ممن يملؤون المواقع الافتراضية ببهلوانياتهم يسعهم «الحكي».

لكن حين تقع المشكلة أو «حين يدق الخطر على الباب»، وفق بروبغندا القوات، لن يكون هناك أحد مجهز وينظم ويسلح غير القوات اللبنانية طبعاً. فرغم إجماع أرقام وزارة الشؤون الاجتماعية على تفاقم الضغط الاقتصادي والاجتماعي والمعيشي للنازحين السوريين في طرابلس فعكار، هناك من يبالغ في التحريض على السوريين في جبل لبنان وزحلة وجزين. ومن دون أن ينكشف المصدر الحقيقيّ للشائعات، تنتشر يومياً عشرات الأكاذيب التي تتضخم وتتناقل بسرعة هائلة. ففي بلد يتجاوز فيه معدل السرقات اليومية الخمسين، يكفي أن يقبض على سارق سوريّ الجنسية من أصل خمسين ليندفع كثيرون إلى القول إن جميع السوريين سارقون.

وفي بلد، يتجاوز فيه معدل حالات التحرش والاغتصاب اليومية المصرَّح عنها العشرة، يكفي أن تتخيل إحدى الفتيات أن المتحرش بها سوريّ لتخرب الدنيا ويندفع كثيرون قائلين إن جميع السوريين مغتصبون ومتحرشون. ورغم تعدد الأزمات والعناوين الاقتصادية والاجتماعية الصالحة للتعبئة لا يجد بعض الأحزاب والزعماء شيئاً يفعلونه سوى تحميل اللاجئ السوري كل البلاء: شركة سوكلين كانت تقوم بواجبها لناحية جمع النفايات وفرزها، لكن بعد تضاعف عدد المقيمين في البلد بحكم المليون ونصف المليون لاجئ سوري، تضاعف حجم القمامة أيضاً وتجاوز قدرة سوكلين على الجمع والفرز وباتت الشركة تخسر. وعليه ينبغي التضامن مع «سوكلين» ولعن اللاجئين ونفاياتهم. أما المدرسة الرسمية فكانت بألف خير حتى أتاها اللاجئون بعد الظهر فباتت الطاولة تستخدم من قبل تلميذين بدل التلميذ الواحد، وحدثوا دون حرج عن الحمامات والملاعب والطابات وغيرها. علماً أن الزحمة في جونية

مثلاً أزمة طارئة يسببها العمال المجتمعون في «بورة» بجانب الطريق أو سيارات النازحين لا شيء آخر. أما أزمة التفاح فسببها الرئيسي عدم قيام الجمعيات المعنية بدعم اللاجئين بشراء الإنتاج اللبناني من التفاح. وما على المزارعين بالتالي سوى صبّ جام غضبهم على النازحين السورين والجمعيات المعنية بإغاثتهم. هناك نفور لدى بعض اللبنانيين تجاه جيرانهم أسوة بكل الجيران في العالم، صحيح. لكن ثمة مبالغة تثير الشك والريبة هذه الأيام. هناك من يتقصد يوماً تلو الآخر وضع إصبعه في جراح السوريين النازحين.

هناك من يعتقد أن العائلات السورية مسرورة بمغادرة قراها ومنازلها وأراضٍ تملكها ووظائف ومدارس و… من أجل السكن في خيمة عند قارعة الأوتوستراد. هناك من لا يميز بين سوريّ وآخر ويفترض كل نقاش من هذا النوع رفاهية في غير وقتها. هناك من يقرع لأسباب مجهولة طبول الحرب، دون تقديم أي بديل أو حلول. ثمة مجتمع يقول للسوريين: ارحلوا أو نبيدكم، وهم لا يستطيعون الرحيل. لماذا؟ لا أحد يعلم. ومن المستفيد؟ لا أحد يعلم أيضاً. الأكيد أن الأقساط المخيفة في المدارس والجامعات الخاصة لا يتحمل مسؤوليتها النازح السوري. الجريمة في لبنان لا يتحمل مسؤوليتها النازح السوري، وكذلك ارتفاع أسعار العقارات وانعدام فرص العمل وعدم تصريف الإنتاج الزراعي وغيره الكثير. الفواتير الوهمية وتلك المضخمة في مجلس الإنماء والإعمار والتمديد للمجلس النيابي والفراغ الرئاسي والتمديد للمسؤولين الأمنيين لا يتحمل مسؤوليته النازح السوري طبعاً، لكن لا أحد يسمع. هناك من يريد شغل أنظار اللبنانيين، عن كل ما يحيط بهم، بهذا النازح الذي لا يعلم كيف انتهى به الأمر هنا.

وهناك من يستر كل تقصيره بهذا النازح، فيعيد تعبئة من فقدوا ثقتهم به عبر التحريض الرخيص
ما حصل في نهاية الأسبوع الماضي في زحلة كان أكثر من معبِّر ومخيف. فقد اعتدى شاب يعتقد أنه «قد يكون سوريّ الجنسية» على صبية زحلية، ما كان منها سوى الدفاع عن نفسها. ورغم أن أرقام وزارة الداخلية غير الرسمية تشير إلى حصول بين خمسة وعشرة اعتداءات مماثلة وأكثر وحشية في زحلة ومحيطها شهرياً أبطالها لبنانيون، اندلعت فجأة على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي حملة تحريض هائلة تطالب بـ «تحرير زحلة» ممن يمكن أن «يسرقوا المنازل ويعتدوا على الأعراض ما لم نضعهم عند حدهم». وهبّت النخوة؛ هنا تطالب بالأمن الذاتي بعد «فشل القوى الأمنية والجيش» لأن «شباب الأمن الذاتي» لم ينشطوا خمسة عشر عاماً في اغتصاب الأبرياء وسرقة المنازل وربطات الخبز؛ وهنا تدعو إلى تلقين «مجموعة صغيرة» درساً ليتعظ الآخرون.

وفي ظل الغوغاء الشعبية وركض السياسيين خلف المواقف الشعبوية كان يمكن أي انفعال إضافي أن يوصل التوتر إلى حالة الانفجار الكامل. علماً أن المليون ونصف المليون سوري ما زالوا جميعاً يضبطون أنفسهم ولا يبالون بالإهانات اليومية الكثيرة، لكن يوماً ما ــ قد لا يكون بعيداً ــ سيرفع أحد الناجين من الحرب السورية عينيه ويقول لمهينه أن «يحلّ عنه» فتتدحرج كرة النار. والمشكلة الرئيسية هنا تكمن في اعتقاد بعض الأشاوس أنهم ربحوا حرب زحلة وحرب الأشرفية وكل الحروب الأخرى التي هدت مناطق وقضت على مئات الشباب وهجرت عائلات برمتها وكانت السبب في اختلال الموازين الديموغرافية والاقتصادية في البلد وهم يجاهرون باستعدادهم لتكرار مآثرهم إن تطلب الأمر ذلك.

هؤلاء يشمّرون عن زنودهم مفاخرين بأنهم جاهزون إذا دق الخطر على الأبواب. أما المحذرون من خطورة ما يحصل، فهم مجرد عملاء لـ»الغريب»، لا يريدون إزعاجه في استيلائه على البلد. والمطلوب في الخلاصة تحرك فاعل وجدي من أجل وقف ما يحصل؛ إلا إذا كانت الفعاليات المدنية ومن يفترض التعويل عليهم يعتقدون أن ما ينقص مناطقهم هو جبهات مفتوحة وحملات إبادة والميليشيات من جديد؛ علماً أن رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع، كان يوحي أنه تعقل بهذا الخصوص وتراجع خطوات إلى الوراء ليتأكد اليوم أن الطبع ينتصر على التطبع كالعادة، ولا بد في عرف القوات من تخويف المواطنين لمواكبة تقدمهم السياسيّ الملحوظ بإمساك أمنيّ ــ عسكريّ بهذا التقدم.

يمكنكم متابعة الكاتب عبر تويتر | ghassansaoud@

ابتداءً من تاريخ 30 تموز 2015، تم إيقاف التعليقات على المقالات مؤقتاً نظراً لبعض الصعوبات والتعديلات التقنية، يمكنكم التعليق وإبداء الرأي والتواصل مع الكتاب عبر صفحتنا الالكترونية على

فايسبوك ( https://www.facebook.com/AlakhbarNews)، أو عبر البريد الالكتروني:comments@al-akhbar.com


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