Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Time for Outrage’ Category

Churchill Sent 2 Million Russian Refugees to Certain Death at End of WWII

‘They were certain that they would be killed or, at the very least, sentenced to the unspeakable horrors of the labor camps’.


It is a well known fact in Middle-East: Israel funded terrorist ISIS and Al Nusra for years

Report Confirms Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years

The revelation may also explain why ISIS has rarely if ever launched attacks against Israeli citizens or on Israel territory.

In this Thursday, April 6, 2017 photo made in Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Israeli military medics assist wounded Syrians. Seven wounded Syrians crossed into Israeli controlled Heights Thursday night have received immediate treatment and were hospitalized later on. They are the latest group of Syrian fighters receiving free medical care through an Israeli military program operating since 2013. (AP/Dusan Vranic)

Earlier, when discussing why the Syrian “rebels” fighting Assad are in “turmoil”, we said that as a result of the ongoing Qatar crisis the various Saudi and Qatari supply chains supporting the rebels, both in terms of weapons and funding, had dried up due to the diplomatic fallout involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria’s Iran-backed president.”

We concluded that “the rebellion against Assad now seems moot, which is why the most likely outcome is a continued phase-out of support for forces fighting the Syria government until eventually, the situation reverts back to its pre-2011 “status quo.”

That, however, may have been premature as it was missing a key piece of data, one which was just revealed by the WSJ and which many had suspected.

According to the Journal, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been aligned from the onset of the Syrian conflict, “with Israel supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”

The Israeli army is in regular communication with rebel groups and its assistance includes undisclosed payments to commanders that help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons, according to interviews with about half a dozen Syrian fighters.

Israel has established a military unit that oversees the support in Syria—a country that it has been in a state of war with for decades—and set aside a specific budget for the aid, said one person familiar with the Israeli operation. (Actually, Syria never engaged Israel in a war since 1973. Israel tried several pre-emptive wars on Lebanon since then)

This news comes as a major surprise because while it was well known that Israel has provided medical help for Syrian civilians and fighters inside its own borders in the past, with the IDF retaliating to occasional stray rockets in the restive border region with reprisals, it was previously thought that the Israeli authorities largely stay out of the complicated six-year-old conflict next door. (Israel launched many attacks on Syrian targets, on account of destroying weapon warehouses)

That now appears to have been dead wrong.

“Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” said Moatasem al-Golani, spokesman for the rebel group Fursan al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

Al-Joulan is the main rebel group coordinating with Israel, according to fighters.

It told the WSJ that Israel’s support began as early as 2013 under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, with the goal of creating a ‘buffer zone’ free of radical militants such as Isis and Iranian-allied forces along Israel’s border.

A special Israeli army unit was created to oversee the costly aid operation, the WSJ reported, which gives Fursan al-Joulan – Knights of the Golan – an estimated $5,000 (£3,900) a month. The group of around 400 fighters receives no direct support from Western rebel backers and is not affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the official rebel umbrella organisation.

The Journal also reports that Israel may be funding up to 4 other rebel groups which have Western backing. The groups use the cash to pay fighters and buy ammunition.

In total, there are roughly 800 rebel fighters across more than a dozen villages in this area, where thousands of civilians live, fighters said. Many of the rebels and civilians in this area rely on some level of support from Israel, they added.

“Most people want to cooperate with Israel,” said a fighter with rebel group Liwaa Ousoud al-Rahman, also fighting on the Golan.

The alliance reportedly began after wounded Fursan al-Joulan fighters made their way to the border and begged Israeli soldiers for medical assistance.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment, the Israel Defence Forces said in a statement that it is “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces… in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”

Israel and Syria have technically been in a state of warfare for decades. Syria controls around one-third of the Golan Heights border, and Israel occupies the rest.

Israel has been providing Syrian rebels with cash and supplies in a secret engagement to carve out a friendly buffer zone.

Israel has been providing Syrian rebels with cash and supplies in a secret engagement to carve out a friendly buffer zone.

In recent years, Israeli air strikes in Syrian territory have aimed to prevent weapons smuggling to Iranian-allied Hezbollah, which fights alongside the Assad government. Hezbollah, like Iran, is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Ironically, while Assad has in the past claimed – correctly it now turns out – that Israel supports rebel groups which his government refers to as terrorists, elements of the opposition have accused Israel of helping to keep the regime in power.

The biggest irony, of course, is that virtually for the entire duration of the Syrian conflict, Israel and Saudi Arabia were aligned on the same side against the Assad regime; it also means that one can add Israel to the ungodly proxy war in Syria alongside Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, Europe and most Arab states across from Iran, Turkey, Russia and, increasingly, China.

Today’s revelation may also explain why ISIS has rarely if ever launched attacks against Israeli citizens or on Israel territory.

Courtesy of the WSJ, here is a chronology of Israeli involvement in the Syrian proxy war:

  • 2011: Syrian uprising against Iran-backed President Bashar al-Assad begins.
  • 2012: Syrian rebel group the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which has a presence in the divided Golan Heights near Israel’s border, forms and later declares allegiance to Islamic State. It then joins with other groups to form the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, an offshoot of Islamic State.
  • 2013: Israel acknowledges it is treating Syrians wounded in the war in hospitals near the border. Secretly, the military begins to build a relationship with rebel commanders on the Syrian side of the Golan and starts sending aid.
  • January 2015: An alleged Israeli airstrike kills Hezbollah militants and a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps near Quneitra province in the Golan Heights. Israel later says the militants were planning to attack Israelis.
  • June 2015: Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon says Israel is helping Syrian rebels with medical treatment in return for assurances they won’t attack the Druse—a religious minority group that straddles the Israeli and Syrian sides of the Golan.
  • September 2015: Russia enters the war on the side of the Assad regime, tipping the balance of power in favor of the Iran-backed President.
  • December 2015: Lebanese Hezbollah militant Samir Kuntar dies in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus suburb. Israeli officials later said he was planning attacks against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan.
  • 2016: Israel secretly sets up an army unit and budget to manage the relationship with rebels and civilians on the Golan Heights, say people familiar with the policy.
  • November 2016: An Israeli airstrike kills 4 Khalid ibn al-Walid militants in Syrian Golan after Israeli soldiers come under fire.
  • March 2017: Israeli warplanes carry out airstrikes inside Syria, drawing fire from antiaircraft missiles in the most intense military exchange between the two countries since the start of the Syrian conflict.
  • June 2017: Syrian rebels say they have been receiving cash from Israel for the past four years that they use to help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons.

Note: Syria has started to shoot down Israel warplanes. Any warplane crossing the Lebanese airspace is considered to be targeting Syria.

Saudi Emirs made it a lucrative business to whisk Keptagone, unhampered through Lebanon airport

Finally, in 2015, this “emir’, Abdul Mohssen bin Walid Al Saud was caught red-handed carrying 2 tons of this illegal substance.

Since then, he has been spending prison term as an Emir, being lavishly provided with all the necessary facilities and privacy.

He is held in a private large room in the modern detention center of Makhfar Hobeich, funded by the British. Another chamber is reserved for his two acolytes. And the other two rooms are reserved to hold 40 prisoners each.

An elder Lebanese temporary prisoner died in these crammed cells, waiting trial.

قضية «أمير الكبتاغون»: وقاحة السياسة والقضاء والأمن

رضوان مرتضى

لعلَّ الفيديو «السِّلفي» الذي صوَّره «أمير الكبتاغون» عبد المحسن بن وليد آل سعود (ضُبط مُتلبّساً بتهريب نحو طنين من حبوب الكبتاغون في مطار بيروت في تشرين الأول عام ٢٠١٥) هو الأفصح تعبيراً عن وقاحة الأجهزة القضائية والأمنية التي لم تُحرِّك ساكناً، رغم نشر تقارير عدة تتحدث عن الرفاهية الاستثنائية التي يحاط بها سليل آل سعود. هذه الأجهزة المستسلمة للأوامر السياسية خدمةً لـ«سمو الأمير»، أحرجها الفيديو الفضيحة الذي نشرته قناة «الجديد»، قبل يومين، والذي أثبت بالصوت والصورة وعلى إيقاع أنغام الموسيقى أنّ «الأمير» السعودي يعامل كما لو أنه نزيل في فندق خمس نجوم. وقد ظهرت في الفيديو الغرفة الخاصة التي تُفرَد لـ«سمو الأمير»، المزوّدة بكل وسائل الراحة، مضاءة بالشموع في أجواء رومانسية، بحضور «نديم» من قوى الأمن الداخلي هو الرقيب ش. ص. شارك الأمير «الأوف» والطعام والشراب في عيد ميلاده، فيما يُكدّس عشرات الموقوفين في نظارة ضيّقة في مكتب مكافحة المخدرات المركزي.

الأمير السعودي كان يغنّي ويرقص ويسكر فرحاً ويصوِّر «السِّلفي»، فيما الموقوف الستيني عدنان ذياب، قبل أشهر، بما يشبه الإعدام، توفي في نظارة تبعد أمتاراً قليلة بعد حشره مع ٢٧ موقوفاً في غرفة صغيرة تتسع لثلاثة أشخاص. لم يسمع عناصر المكتب استغاثاته فقضى اختناقاً من دون أن يرفّ جفن لأيٍّ من المسؤولين. هكذا يُحشر الموقوفون في «غرفة الإعدام» التي لا ترقى لتكون زريبة للحيوانات، فيما يقضي الأمير محكوميته في غرفة مكيّفة، مشمسة، يصل إليها الطعام الساخن من طبّاخ يزوره يومياً، والثياب من المصبغة، بوجود هاتف خلوي، وزيارات مفتوحة، و«كوافير» يرتّب له شعره، ويهتم بنضارة بشرته.
معظم المارة أمام مقرّ ثكنة يوسف حبيش (تضم مكاتب مكافحة المخدرات والقمار وحماية الآداب العامة)، التي تشتهر بـ«مخفر حبيش»، يصادفون أناساً يقفون منتظرين دورهم لزيارة أقاربهم من الموقوفين لساعات، فيما زوّار «الأمير» مُكرَّمون.
قيادة المديرية العامة لقوى الأمن الداخلي كانت تُبرّر في وقت سابق العناية الخاصة التي يحظى بها «الأمير»، بالحرص على العلاقة الجيدة مع السعودية والحرص الأمني على حياته إذا ما نُقل إلى سجن رومية المركزي. وإذا كانت صادقة في قولها هذا، فلماذا لا تنقُل هذا الموقوف إلى «مبنى فرع المعلومات» في سجن رومية المركزي الذي يخضع لحراسة خاصة من ضباط الفرع وعناصره، أم أنّ الأوامر السعودية تقضي بإبقائه بالقرب من «حرم السفارة» كي لا يشعر بالغربة والوحدة؟
وقد علمت «الأخبار» أنّ الفيديو تم تصويره بهاتف الرتيب في قوى الأمن، المكلّف المناوبة في مكتب مكافحة المخدرات المركزي، علماً بأنّ التحقيق الذي أمر بإجرائه الضابط الذي تسلّم رئاسة مكتب مكافحة المخدرات العقيد هنري منصور قبل نحو أسبوع، خلفاً للعميد غسان شمس الدين، بيّن أنّ الفيديو تم تصويره قبل نحو سنة، وأنّ «هيئة» الموقوف السعودي اليوم تختلف عن الصورة التي ظهر بها في الفيديو. لكن لم يكشف التحقيق كيفية تسريب هذا الفيديو أو الأسباب الكامنة خلف هذا التسريب.
والجدير ذكره أنّ «تغنيج» الموقوف السعودي كان أمراً عسكرياً خلال فترة رئاسة العميد شمس الدين لمكتب مكافحة المخدرات، لكنّه كان بالتحديد نابعاً من أوامر القيادة الأمنية والقضائية، ومن خلفها السياسية، للسهر على راحة «الأمير» كي تكون «طلباته أوامر». وعليه، بعد هذا الفيديو، لم يُعرف بعد إذا ما كان القرار بإبقاء القديم على قدمه سيبقى سارياً أو أن القيادتين السياسية والقضائية ستخجلان وتنقلانه إلى السجن.

«كوكايين المطار» لمن؟

أحالت مديرية الجمارك الموقوفين الخمسة، المشتبه فيهم في قضية تهريب ٣١ كيلوغراماً من الكوكايين، من كراكاس إلى بيروت عبر باريس، إلى مكتب مكافحة المخدرات المركزي منذ ثلاثة أيام. وعلمت «الأخبار» أنّ ضباط الجمارك أنهوا تحقيقاتهم مع الموقوفين الذين اعترف معظمهم بما نُسب إليهم، باستثناء الضابط توفيق ع. الذي أصرّ على الإنكار، رغم ظهوره في كاميرات المراقبة يجرّ الحقيبة التي تحتوي كميات الكوكايين إلى جانب الموقوف علي أ. الذي انتحل صفة قنصل. كما ظهر الضابط وهو يجادل عناصر الجمارك الذين أصرّوا على تفتيش الحقيبة. وعلمت «الأخبار» أنّ الموقوفين هم إلى الضابط و«القنصل» المفترض، العسكري وسام م. والسيدة الفنزويلية التي اعترفت بقبض مبلغ ٧ آلاف دولار مقابل إيصال الحقيبة، إضافة إلى موقوف خامس، لم تُكشف هويته بعد، كان ينتظر خارج المطار لتسلّم الحقيبة التي كانت تضم الكوكايين الموضب داخل علب هدايا. ورغم أنّ التحقيقات تجرى بإشراف مباشر من رئيس مكتب مكافحة المخدرات المركزي، لم تُكشَف بعد هوية التاجر الرئيسي الذي كان يُفترض أن يتسلّم المخدرات المضبوطة. ولم يُعرف بعد إذا ما كان الضابط الموقوف متورطاً في تجارة المخدرات بشكل مباشر، أم أنّه وسيط متواطئ يُستعان به في عمليات التهريب من دون معرفته بالمواد المهرّبة؟

يمكنكم متابعة الكاتب عبر تويتر | radwanmortada@

Is Israel deliberately killing Gaza protesters?

Note: Israel announced it has shot in the legs 7,200 Palestinians marching for a homeland: this violent tactics is to prevent the injured Palestinians from demonstrating again within a month. Israel plans to shoot in the legs 25,000 Palestinians, excluding those shot in the head and the abdomen.

Mahmoud al-Masri,, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Photo shows crying women waving their hands at shrouded body of young man being carried on stretcher
Mahmoud al-Masri, killed the previous day in confrontations with Israeli troops, is mourned during his funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 9 December. Mohammed Dahman APA images

Sometimes you have to put horrific images at the back of your mind.

During Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, I saw tens of dead bodies. The worst thing I witnessed was the targeting of a car about 10 meters from where I was standing. I could see its driver take his last breath before he died.

At that moment, my whole body went cold. For several days, I could not think of anything but that appalling scene. I was unable to sleep for about a week.

Events moved fast that summer. I tried my best to forget about the incident and to get on with my life.

More than three years have passed. And despite my efforts to put that experience behind me, I know that the mental scars it left have not healed. Like so many other people in Gaza, I am vulnerable.

That was proven on 8 December last, when protesters in Gaza expressed their rage at Donald Trump’s announcement two days earlier that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mahmoud al-Masri was among the protesters killed by Israeli troops that day.

I had looked on as Mahmoud ran towards the fence separating the Khan Younis area of Gaza from Israel. Mahmoud was brave and defiant. He kept running despite that Israeli forces were firing tear gas canisters in his direction.

Mahmoud climbed the fence, waving a Palestinian flag. He was shot in the back by Israeli soldiers.

When Mahmoud fell down, the Israeli soldiers kept on firing. He lay on the ground, bleeding for around an hour before the shooting had stopped. By the time anyone could offer him assistance, Mahmoud had lost consciousness.

“We reached Mahmoud when he was taking his last breaths,” Musab Abu Shawish, a paramedic, told me. “We were not able to do anything for him, except give him some oxygen.”


Photo shows young man sitting on chair looking out onto sunny street
Mahmoud al-Masri (via Facebook)

The killing of Mahmoud left me feeling helpless. But it was not the sight of his dead body that upset me most – I was not standing close enough to Mahmoud to see his face.

Instead, it was a video that showed his father, Abd al-Majeed, saying goodbye to Mahmoud in a mortuary.

“Please leave me with my son,” Abd al-Majeed told the people around him. Observing his pain, my whole body shook and I started to weep uncontrollably.

I did not know Mahmoud personally but I have learned about him from his father.

Mahmoud, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Mahmoud “always hated injustice,” his father told me. “He was very kind and helpful.”

There are strong indications that Mahmoud knew he would be killed on 8 December.

The previous evening, he wrote on Facebook: “If we die seeking martyrdom, we die standing like trees.”

The banner image on his Facebook page featured a photograph of Yasser Arafat and a quotation attributed to the late leader on how Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle.

Mahmoud was in many respects typical of the young people who have protested against Trump’s announcement.

Nayif al-Salibi is another young man with dreams and ambitions. He is now studying civil engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza. Once he graduates, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Germany.

No negotiations on Jerusalem

He took part in the same demonstration as Mahmoud on 8 December. When I met Nayif, his eyes were stinging from the tear gas fired by Israel. Along with many others, he was picking up tear gas canisters fired by Israel’s military and throwing them back at the soldiers.

“I’m here to show the world that we refuse to put our holy city [Jerusalem] on the negotiating table,” he said. “No one but Palestinians can make decisions related to Jerusalem.”

Israel’s use of tear gas – a chemical weapon – was examined in a study recently published by the University of California, Berkeley. It found that the amount of tear gas to which Palestinians are exposed is “likely beyond the level that has been found elsewhere around the globe.”

Although the study focused on the Bethlehem area of the occupied West Bank, it is also relevant to the use of tear gas in Gaza. People exposed to tear gas here have suffered similar symptoms to those noted in the study.

Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said that around 60%of people injured during recent protests had symptoms related to tear gas inhalation. They included severe coughing, respiratory problems and accelerated heart rates.

Many people in Gaza also believe that Israel is deliberately shooting at protesters so that they will sustain major injuries or even die – eight Palestinians were killed during demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel boundary in December.

Life goes on

About 40% of injuries by live fire during the recent protests in Gaza were in the head and upper body, according to al-Qedra.

Sharif Shalash, 28, died on 23 December after being injured in protests a few days earlier. He had been shot in the stomach by the Israeli military.

Sharif had confronted the Israeli military directly on a number of occasions. He was “an expert on the border area [with Israel],” said his friend Ahmad Hassaballah. During protests, Sharif had organized young people into groups and advised them about how to throw burning tires and other objects towards Israeli troops. He had also tried to cut holes in the Israeli fence.

His final wish, according to Hassaballah, was that he be shrouded in a Palestinian flag when he was buried.

I sought to speak with Sharif’s wife Yasmin.

Yet when I arrived at her home, a woman came out and apologized on Yasmin’s behalf. “She is too tired,” the woman said. “She has just come back from the hospital and we have just learned that she is pregnant.”

It was a powerful reminder of how life continues despite all the pain caused by the Israeli occupiers and their supporters in Washington.

Hamza Abu Eltarabesh is a journalist from Gaza.

Note: Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using flechette shells in Gaza. Shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts

How safe are the British after cow-tailing USA multiple pre-emptive wars?

Moazzam Begg Friday 29 December 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May used her Christmas message this year to pay tribute to the armed forces and remind the country that their sacrifices are “keeping us safe”. But are they?

Last week the High Court held that British troops serving in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion had subjected Iraqi civilians to “cruel and inhuman” treatment. It added that the treatment of prisoners by British soldiers meant that the Ministry of Defence also violated the Human Rights Act (1998).

The cycle of violence continues but we were forewarned about all of this by our own security services

Cruel and inhuman

Some have argued that the human rights advocates have purposefully sought to undermine the state and encouraged the “victim mentality” among Muslims. That in turn has given ammunition to the burgeoning far-right movements throughout the West.

The Conservative Party actively opposes the Human Rights Act, which it asserts gives more rights to prisoners – including those held without charge or trial – and has pledged to replace it with a “bill of rights” more in tune with British idiosyncrasies than those in the European Court of Human Rights.

Phil Shiner was once celebrated among Britain’s top human rights lawyers because of his dogged persistence in bringing British soldiers accused of abuses in Iraq to book (Reuters)

They cite the case of Phil Shiner, once celebrated among Britain’s top human rights lawyers precisely because of his dogged persistence in bringing British soldiers accused of abuses in Iraq to book.

Earlier this year, Shiner was struck off as a solicitor after being found guilty of “professional misconduct”. Shiner’s law firm, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), represented countless Iraqis who claimed they had been abused by British soldiers during the occupation.

Thousands of cases were referred by PIL to the government’s Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) which “independently” reviewed the cases.

The Battle of Danny Boy

In May 2004, a British detachment of soldiers patrolling in southern Iraq were ambushed by the Mahdi Army, a pro-Iranian militia run by Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who had mobilised Iraqi Shias against the occupation. The ensuing incident became known as the “Battle of Danny Boy”.

Fighting was intense and hand-to-hand in some places as soldiers resorted to using bayonets. After taking control, it was alleged that British soldiers tortured, murdered and mutilated captured Iraqi prisoners.

Protesters outside the Chilcot report inquiry in July 2016 (AFP)

Shiner was accused of paying an Iraqi middleman to find witnesses who concocted the allegations. Several years later, the multi-million-pound Al Sweady inquiry determined that the allegations were “wholly baseless”.

The impact of the allegations on the morale of the soldiers was summed up by Colonel James Coote who’d held a commanding position during Danny Boy: “The false allegations levelled against the soldiers in my command were among the most serious against the British army since the Second World War.”

Despite Shiner’s fall from grace, however, PIL’s work in exposing British abuses in Iraq make for disturbing reading.

Culture of impunity

Shiner’s most prominent case was Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel receptionist killed by British soldiers in 2003.

Mousa was terrorised, denied food and water, suffered heat exhaustion, hooded, put in stress positions and beaten to death. His body had 93 injuries.

A public inquiry in 2011 found that Mousa suffered “serious, gratuitous violence” and identified many other soldiers involved in abuses.

Notwithstanding Al-Sweady and Shiner, in 2016 IHAT was actively investigating nearly 300 British soldiers who served in Iraq and informed them that they could face criminal charges.

Despite that, the government announced this year it would be shutting down IHAT after it “directly harmed the defence of our nation” following the Shiner case.

The government also conceded settlements in favour of 326 civil cases, while another 628 claims remain, and yet criminal charges have never been brought against any military personnel.

A pervasive culture of impunity clearly exists.

Last year, David Cameron ordered the government to crack down on legal firms seeking to pursue claims against Iraq veterans and took the unprecedented threat to sue those thought to be manufacturing “spurious” claims.

Theresa May has followed suit against what her former defence secretary called “ambulance-chasing British law firms“. But evidence from these firms is credible enough for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to use in its investigation.

The bullying tactics seem to have failed.

Tony Blair visits British troops in Iraq in May 2003 (AFP)

Earlier this month, the chief prosecutor of the ICC at the Hague ruled that there was a “reasonable basis” to assert British soldiers had committed “war crimes” against prisoners during the occupation of Iraq.

The allegations, now being investigated by the ICC, pertain to various human rights violations including “wilful killing and inhuman treatment” in British military custody.

From bad to worse

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Colonel Tim Collins gave a stirring speech to his soldiers and told them to “tread lightly” in “the birthplace of Abraham” and “respect” the people of Iraq. He also told them to be “ferocious in battle” but “magnanimous in victory”. Collins clearly wanted his troops to live up to what he believed were military ideals.

“Their [Iraqi] children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you… As for ourselves, let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.” History will attest to how much “better” Iraq became.

The justification to invade Iraq was based on false claims that Saddam Hussain possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was training al-Qaeda in their use.

This evidence came from the “dodgy dossier” and the torture of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi.

In Baghdad’s Karrada neighbourhood after a suicide bombing last July (AFP)

This lie was peddled to everyone, especially the military. Soldiers were made to believe that they were going to save the world from the existential threat posed by Saddam, his Baath Party followers and al-Qaeda.

The origins of the cycle of violence

As occupation forces settled in, local power was systemically divested from all remnants of the Iraqi regime – and those deemed close to it, namely Iraq’s Sunnis – and the country’s infrastructure was effectively dismantled, including the army and the police.

The Shia population, which had been brutally repressed under Saddam, was now led by politicians and leaders who wielded control of militias bent on seeking revenge. Sunnis were increasingly excluded and marginalised and sectarianism was allowed to manifest.

“Death squads” carried out atrocities on both sides, even as British and American soldiers were committing their own. Meanwhile, as Britain’s mission in Iraq came to an end, prime minister Gordon Brown told the world: “We have made a huge contribution and of course given people an economic stake in the future of Iraq. We leave Iraq a better place.”

It was ultimately the occupation’s empowerment of one sect against another that dismembered Iraq. Today, the impunity enjoyed by the US-led occupation forces is being repeated in the fight against Islamic State.

British soldiers mark the conclusion of the British-Iraqi Training and Maritime Support Agreement in Umm Qasr, close to the southern city of Basra (AFP)

The abuses carried out by the Iraqi army and militias are at times worse than their opponents. And they have been financed, trained and supported on the ground by British and American troops.

Islamic State in turn has carried out numerous attacks on British soil. The cycle of violence thus continues but we were forewarned about all of this by our own security services.

The Iraq record

On 10 February 2003, a Joint Intelligence Committee briefing clearly warned the government.

The threat from al-Qaeda will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq. They will target Western interests, especially in the US and UK, for maximum impact. The worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly.

“Al-Qaeda and associated groups will continue to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat will be heightened by military action against Iraq. The broader threat from Islamist terrorists will also increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

Before leaving office former US president Barack Obama admitted that Islamic State was an “unintended consequence” of the invasion of Iraq even though America and Britain has been involved in bombing, invading, occupying and imprisoning Iraqis continuously since 1991. Blowback was just a question of time.

Some may believe that British troops abroad are/were keeping us safe at home but, in truth, their record in Iraq is among the primary reasons why Britain is facing the greatest terrorism threat since the Irish “Troubles”.

– Moazzam Begg is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, author of Enemy Combatant and outreach director for UK-based campaigning organisation CAGE. Follow him on Twitter: @Moazzam_Begg

“Invasion of Iraq, a war crime? Arguments against Blair must be heard

I am This Palestinian girl: #ahed_tamimi (3ahd)

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup
Niveen Abboushi. December 22, 2017 at 11:23am · 

Who am I?

I am a Palestinian girl.

Before I was born, the occupation took most of my village’s lands to build a new settlement called Halamish.

Then they arrested my father.

When my aunt went to visit him, one of the soldiers pushed her over the stairs of the court and she died.

Since I was little the settlers of Halamish keep stealing more and more of our lands to expand the settlement.

Our home has demolition order because it is in Area C. The settlers are allowed to build on our land, but not us.

In 2005, the settlers made the spring (water) of our village part of the settlement and prevent us from using it, even though many of us are farmers.

All these things happened with great support from the Occupation army and government. (Especially US financial aid and those Evangelical Zionists around the world)

When the people of the my village started to resist the injustices with protest marches, my father was arrested again.
My mother was arrested too. My uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins – all of them were arrested too.

My cousin Mustafa was killed by the Israeli army. My uncle Rushdi was killed by the army too!

An Israeli sniper shot my mom in the leg and she couldn’t move for long time.

Almost every week, the army breaks into our homes to arrest one of my family or to confiscate our laptops or phones.

During our marches, they shoot us with tear gas and rubber bullets – my cousin is in hospital badly injured because he was shot in the face the week before.

A few days ago, two soldiers came to our house to take positions to shoot at the demonstrators from my village. I stood with my family to prevent them, the soldier pushed me and I slapped him.

And now I am in jail!
My mother and my cousin are in jail too!
The occupation government and media call me a terrorist.
Do you know who I am?

And what would you do if that was your life? Or the life of your child?


Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring 16-year-old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi?

by 28 Dec 2017

Palestinian activist Ahed with her mother Nariman [Al Jazeera]

Their campaigns on empowering girls in the global South are innumerable: Girl Up, Girl Rising, G(irls)20 Summit, Because I am a Girl, Let Girls Learn, Girl Declaration.

When 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the reaction was starkly different. Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, issued a petition entitled “I am Malala.” The UNESCO launched “Stand Up For Malala.

Malala was invited to meet then President Barack Obama, as well as the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and addressed the UN General Assembly. She received numerous accolades from being named one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine and Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine to being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, and again in 2014 when she won.

State representatives such as Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard as well as prominent journalists such as Nicholas Kristof spoke up in support of her. There is even a Malala Day!

But we see no #IamAhed or #StandUpForAhed campaigns making headlines. None of the usual feminist and rights groups or political figures has issued statements supporting her or reprimanding the Israeli state. No one has declared an Ahed Day. In fact, the US in the past has even denied her a visa for a speaking tour.

Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices.

She has been protesting the theft of land and water by Israeli settlers. She has endured personal sacrifice, having lost an uncle and a cousin to the occupation. Her parents and brother have been arrested time and again. Her mother has been shot in the leg.

Two years ago, another video featuring her went viral – this time she was trying to protect her little brother from being taken by a soldier.

Why isn’t Ahed a beneficiary of the same international outcry as Malala? Why has the reaction to Ahed been so different?

‘Children of the stones’: the day Palestine was reborn

Ramzy Baroud
by Ramzy Baroud

There are multiple reasons for this deafening silence.

First is the widespread acceptance of Israel state-sanctioned violence as legitimate. Whereas hostile actions of non-state actors such as the Taliban or Boko Haram fighters are viewed as unlawful, similar aggression by the state is often deemed appropriate.

This not only includes overt forms of violence such as drone attacks, unlawful arrests, and police brutality, but also less obvious assaults such as the allocation of resources, including land and water.

The state of Israel justifies these actions by presenting the victims of its injustices as a threat to the functioning of the state.

Once declared a threat, the individual is easily reduced to bare life – a life without political value.

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has described this as a time/place sanctioned by sovereign power where laws can be suspended; this individual can therefore now be made a target of sovereign violence.

Terrorists often fall within this category. Thus, the execution of suspected terrorists through drone attacks without due judicial process ensues without much public uproar.

11-year-old Ahed cries during the funeral of her relative Rushdi Tamimi, who was shot by Israeli forces during a protest in November 2012 [Reuters/Mohamad Torokman]

The Israeli police have deployed a similar strategy here. They have argued for extending Ahed’s detention because she “poses a danger” to soldiers (state representatives) and could obstruct the functioning of the state (the investigation).

Casting unarmed Palestinians like Ahed – who was simply exercising her right to protect her family’s well-being with all the might of her 16-year-old hand – in the same light as a terrorist is unfathomable. Such framing open the way for authorizing excessive torture – Israel’s education minister Naftali Bennett, for instance, wants Ahed and her family to “finish their lives in prison.”

Ahed’s suffering also exposes the West’s selective humanitarianism, whereby only particular bodies and causes are deemed worthy of intervention.

Anthropologist Miriam Ticktin argues that while the language of morality to alleviate bodily suffering has become dominant in humanitarian agencies today, only particular kinds of suffering bodies are read as worthy of this care.This includes the exceptionally violated female body and the pathologically diseased body.

Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi stands inside a waiting cell ahead of the verdict in his trial at Israel’s Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 20, 2012 [AP/Diaa Hadid]

Such a notion of suffering normalises labouring and exploited bodies: “these are not the exception, but the rule, and hence are disqualified.”

Issues of unemployment, hunger, threat of violence, police brutality, and denigration of cultures are thus often not considered deserving of humanitarian intervention.

Such forms of suffering are seen as necessary and even inevitable. Ahed, therefore, does not fit the ideal victim-subject for transnational advocacy.

Relatedly, girls like Ahed who critique settler colonialism and articulate visions of communal care are not the empowered femininity that the West wants to valourise. She seeks justice against oppression, rather than empowerment that benefits only herself.

Her feminism is political, rather than one centred on commodities and sex.

Her girl power threatens to reveal the ugly face of settler-colonialism, and hence is marked as “dangerous”.

Her courage and fearlessness vividly render all that is wrong with this occupation.

Ahed’s plight should prompt us to interrogate our selective humanitarianism. Individuals who are victims of state violence, whose activism unveils the viciousness of power, or whose rights advocacy centres communal care, deserve to be included in our vision of justice.

Even if we don’t launch campaigns for Ahed, it is impossible for us to escape her call to witness the mass debilitation, displacement and dispossession of her people.

As Nelson Mandela said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.





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