Saudi Arabia, Israel Resort to Terrorism to Derail Iran Nuclear Talks

Muhammad Sahimi

Ever since Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s President on 14 June 2013 and promised that he will lead a government of “hope and prudence,” the United States’ most important allies in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia and Israel – and their lobbies here have been doing their best to prevent any agreement between Iran and the Obama administration regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Israel and its lobby in the United States have succeeded in persuading Washington to impose the most crippling economic sanctions on Iran, disrupting and threatening the lives of tens of millions of ordinary Iranians. But that has not been enough for Israel. It wants Iran to surrender its national sovereignty and its rights under Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that gives Iran the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Thus, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been on an increasingly desperate diplomatic offensive to “prove” that Iran is not sincere in its effort to reach a nuclear agreement. After cynically calling the efforts by Iran’s new administration “a charm offensive;” referring to President Rouhani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing;” mentioning Iran 70 times and Rouhani – not Mr. Rouhani or President Rouhani – 25 times in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly meeting (while barely mentioning Israel’s war on the Palestinians); foolishly becoming an advocate of “democracy” for the Iranian people by declaring that if the Iranian youth were free,they would wear jeans and listen to Western music – which created a huge backlash by the Iranians (see here, here, and here), telling Netanyahu to first address democracy for the Palestinian people – and repeating his absurd claim that “Iran is preparing for another Holocaust,” Netanyahu threatened once again that if forced to,Israel will attack Iran alone.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has also let the world know that it is angry at the Obama administration for not attacking Syria, for imposing military sanctions on the military junta in Egypt even though they are insignificant, and for trying to reach a diplomatic resolution of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. Never mind that Secretary of State John Kerry just said the other day that “Egyptians are following the right path.” This is a path that was paved by the junta overthrowing Egypt’s democratically-elected government and President Mohamed Morsi. Never mind that President Obama changed his mind about attacking Syria after the huge worldwide backlash against his threats of military attacks.

The opposition to U.S.-Iran rapprochement by Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the support of the former for the most extreme forces in Syria that have committed countless number of atrocities, have brought to the fore the real axis of evil consisting of Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the War Party in the United States, as opposed to George W. Bush’s bogus “axis of evil.” The same Saudi Arabia that has always supposedly been the grand marshal of defending the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people, has now made an “unholy alliance” with Israel, ignoring the fact that much of Israel’s saber rattling over Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapon program is for distracting attention from the fact that it continues to devour the Palestinians’ lands, water, and other natural resources, and has made practically impossible the two-state solution for the problem.

The second round of negotiations between Iran and P5+1 – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany – began on Thursday November 7 in Geneva, and the initial reports have indicated that progress has been made. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has even declared that the main framework for a long-term agreement may be reached during the two days of negotiations between the two parties. That is not the news that Israel and Saudi Arabia want to hear.

Thus, in addition to pressuring the Obama administration through their lobbies in Washington, another way of derailing the negotiations and killing any potential agreement between Iran and the U.S. that the unholy alliance has put in place is provoking Iran’s hardliners that are deeply suspicious of the West and oppose any rapprochement with the U.S. The hardliners have made their opposition clear, with the latest manifestation of which being the demonstrations that they staged in front of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on Monday on the 34th anniversary of the hostage crisis. And the best way to provoke Iranian hardliners is by terrorist attacks inside Iran, although such attacks are nothing new.

The United States and its allies have been trying for decades to destabilize Iran by supporting small groups among Iran’s ethnic minorities that have secessionist tendencies and have been carrying out terrorist attacks inside Iran. These groupsinclude Jundallah, a Sunni extremist group that operated from Pakistan and for years carried out many terrorist attacks in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province on the border with Pakistan. Another group is the Kurdish Party of Free Life of Kurdistan,known as PJAK, the Iranian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party – usually referred to as PKK – in Turkey that has been listed as a terrorist group by both the European Union and the US PJAK is a secular group. A third group consists of Iranian Arabs in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan in southwest Iran, which is widely believed to besupported by Britain.

As the author described in detail in October 2009, Jundallah was supported for years by the United StatesSaudi Arabia, and Israel. Then, in December 2009 Selig Harrisonof Center for International Policy reported in the New York Times that the George W. Bush administration provided support to Jundallah through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate – the infamous ISI – and to PJAK through CIA and Israel’s Mossad, which has had long-term relations with the Kurds in both Iraq and Iran. Documents released by WikiLeaks in November 2010 indicated that Israel has tried to use Kurdish dissidents against Iran. Then, in an important article in January 2012 Mark Perry described how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.

In February 2010, Iran arrested Jundallah’s leader Abdolmalek Riggi, and executed him in June 2010. A month earlier, Iran had executed his brother, Abdolhamid Rigggi. The two executions were severe blow to Jundallah. Then, another Riggi, Abdolrauf Riggi, took over the leadership of Jundallah, but he was arrested by Pakistan in December 2010. Execution of the Riggis, the arrest of the third one, and lack of popular support due to ruthless tactics, such as beheading of Iran’s border guards, and revelations about foreign support for the group, eventually led to the demise of Jundallah. But, while the Iranian branch of the group formally disappeared (its Pakistani branch still operates within Pakistan, attacking Shiites), its offshoots have emerged and are just as brutal and deadly, and supported by the same foreign powers. This became abundantly clear in the latest terrorist attacks on Iran.

The latest terrorist attacks on Iran occurred on October 25, perfectly timed in advance of the Geneva negotiations. The Sunni terrorist group, Jaish al-adl (army of justice),attacked Iran from Pakistan, killing 14 Iranian border guards (12 of whom were conscripts), wounding six, and taking three guards as hostage. Jaish al-adl is a Salafi group, of the same type as those fighting in Syria against Syrian government and supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In an apparent retaliation, Iran executed 16 prisoners, although the Iranian government claimed that the sixteen, at least half of whom were members of the terrorist groups, had already received death sentences, but their sentences had not been carried out under a deal whereby in return for not executing them, their groups will not carry out any terrorist operations. Jaish al-adl has carried out many attacks in Iran; see herehere, and here. The statement that the group issued after its most recent attack has striking similarities with those of extremist Sunni group in Syria. In fact, in its statement Jaish al-adl declared that the attacks were in retaliation for alleged Iranian “massacre” in Syria and the “cruel treatment” of Sunnis in Iran. In addition, its flag and its style of attacks are very similar to those of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the terrorist group that is deeply involved in fighting in Syria. Similar to all other Sunni extremist groups, Jaish al-adl uses children in its operations, and carries out suicide bombing. Interestingly, no Western nation, including the United States, condemned the terrorist attacks. On November 7 the public prosecutor in city of Zabol in Sistan was assassinated, and for which Jaish al-adl took responsibility.

Jaish al-adl is led by Abdolrahim Mollazadeh, although he uses the pseudonym Salaheddin Faroughi. He was a prominent member of Jundallah. His brother, Abdolmalek Mollazadeh, was executed in January 2012 by the Iranian government, after he was arrested and charged with the assassination of a local Sunni leader, Molavi Mostafa Jangizehi, who had worked with the government and its paramilitary group, the Basij. After 12 other people were arrested in April 2012 in connection with the assassination, Mollazadeh fled Iran and moved to Pakistan, where he set up Jaish al-adl. Jaish al adl’s spokesman is Mohsen Mohammadi. Its first terrorist operation occurred in August 2012.

Jaish al-adl operates in a far more sophisticated manner than did Jundallah. It has aFacebook page (although it was recently blocked), and issues its statements not just in Farsi, but also in Arabic, English and other languages, in an apparent effort to put itself within the global movement of the Sunni groups. It has three military branches, named after three of its prominent “martyrs,” including Abdolmalek Mollazadeh. Based on its various statements since its first operation in 2012 and what has been reported in the Iranian press, it is estimated that Jaish al-adl has killed at least between 100-150 military personnel and policemen in Sistan and Baluchestan.

There is another Sunni terrorist group in Iran in the same province of Sistan and Baluchestan, called Harakat Ansar Iran (HAI). It too has carried out many terrorist attacks in Iran; see here and here, for example. HAI also works with a Sunni extremist group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, which currently operates under a new name,Ahlesunnat wal Jamaat, an anti-Shiite group that has been waging a low-intensity war in Pakistan for decades, and has murdered thousands of Shiites.

Both Jaish al-adl and HAI are offshoots of Jundallah. Although its current leader isAbu Yasir Muskootani, HAI still considers Abdolmalek Riggi as its “Amir” (religious/political leader). As mentioned earlier, Mollazadeh was a prominent member of Jundallah. HAI has declared that its aim is to “liberate” Iran and set up a government run based on the Sharia. Its emblem has striking similarities with that of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Since August, PJAK has been attacking Iran’s military, hence ending the unofficial ceasefire that it had with Iran for some time. After executing the sixteen prisoners in connection with Jaish al-adl attacks, Iran also executed two people that it had accused of membership in PJAK. The two had denied the allegation, although there is evidence that at least one of the two had received military training by PJAK. Both PJAK and Iran’s military accuse the other side of breaking the ceasefire. PJAK’s leader, Abdolrahman Haji-Ahmadi has taken the same position as Netanyahu’s,warning the West that it should not be “fooled” by Rouhani.

In supporting such terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia and Israel pursue different, but complementary goals. Saudi Arabia’s goal, first and foremost, is bringing the Shiite-Sunni sectarian war that it has been supporting in Syria to Iran, hence hitting it back for its support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime that Saudi Arabia’s-supported terrorist forces have not only not been able to topple, but are actually losing the war to. One goal of Israel is having allies that are willing to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities, and assassinating its nuclear scientists.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia seek to destabilize Iran and its government, keeping it tied up with internal problems. And, both hope that the terrorist attacks will provoke the hardliners in Tehran to react strongly, retaliate militarily and, hence, not only give an excuse to the two countries and the United States to attack Iran, but also block any diplomatic resolution of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. Thus, both President Rouhani and Obama must control their hardliners, and give diplomacy a chance.

UN’s Syria Inspection Led By NATO Shill

Yoichi Shimatsu

Instead of a non-politicized investigation and lab analysis, the UN investigation of alleged nerve-gas attacks inside Syria was led by Professor Ake Sellstrom, a man of mystery who keeps a veil of secrecy around his research and political-military relationships.

Sellstrom’s report on Syria for the UN and his prior inspections record in Iraq are dubious, to say the least. In the eyes of laymen, his seeming objectivity and non-partisanship is based on the myth of Sweden’s neutrality. The public assumes – wrongly- that Sweden never takes sides in wars or geopolitical conflicts.

Fraud of Neutrality

This cosmetic veneer of Swedish neutrality has been deftly exploited by Israel and NATO to perpetrate falsehoods throughout Sellstrom’s work for the UN, including denial of the chemical-and-biological causes for “Gulf War Syndrome” and the shipments of U.S. chemical weapons to the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Hans Blix-Ake Sellstrom inspection teams in Iraq did not investigate the special-weapons bunkers that were bombed by American warplanes in the U.S. invasion.

Sellstrom also never made any attempt to probe the U.S.-produced 20-foot-long cannisters of VX nerve gas discovered at Balad Air Base by American National Guardsmen. His mission was not to prove Iraqi guilt but to get Washington off the hook for supplying tons of nerve gas to Baghdad. Saving U.S. officials like Donald Rumsfeld from disgrace and treason charges is far more important to imperial power that disclosing any facts in a theater of war.

The salient critique of the UN inspections in Iraq was made by American inspector Scott Ritter who accused the team of spying for Washington and NATO. The same question hangs over Sellstrom’s report on Syria. Is Sellstrom acting on behalf of Washington and Tel Aviv?

NATO Front Man

What is publicly known about Sellstrom is that the biochemist heads the European CBRNE Center [Center for advanced Studies of Societal Security and Vulnerability, in particular major incidents with (C)hemical, (B)iological, (R)adiological, (N)uclear and (E)xplosive substances], at Umea University in northern Sweden, which is sponsored by the Swedish Defense Ministry (FOI). Though not a NATO member, the Swedish military and police have a leading role in European security affairs as drafters of the repressive 2009 EU action plan based on the Stockholm Counterterrorism Programme.

Major funding for the CBRNE multidisciplinary research projects at Umea comes from the EU budget for the war on terrorism. These projects include: defense strategy for large-scale terrorist attacks (notice the term “relatively large scale” in his just-released Syria report); recommendations for EU medical emergency responses; and specialized training at Umea for experts, including military officers attached to NATO.

Sweden’s military-industrial complex, which includes Saab and Bofors, is anything but peace-loving and neutral. The kingdom’s cloak of neutrality is most useful for Israeli interests, which have exploited Scandinavia’s clean image to skew international policy against the Palestinians and Arab states, as demonstrated in the half-baked Oslo Accords.

Israeli Infiltration of Scandinavia

Umea University is deeply involved in joint research with Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), the Haifa-based university that provides state-of-art technology to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and its intelligence agencies. Several departments, which are involved in joint Israeli research, participate in multidisciplinary studies at Sellstrom’s CBRNE center. These include: the computer department, which has cooperated with Technion on control systems since 2004; the medical faculty; and chemistry, his own field of studies.

The Israeli-Swedish research cooperation is fostered by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which provides scholarships and awards to bind together the industries and universities of the two countries. This year the State of Israeli is sponsoring the Start Tel Aviv program for expanded cultural ties, in its relentless campaign to subvert Scandinavia. The political agenda and military links behind the bilateral cooperation has prompted an anti-Israel boycott by conscientious Swedish academics.

No Credibility on Syria

The term “relatively large scale” chemical-weapons attack used in the introduction to the UN report on Syria is hyperbole, since any major attack with sarin would have resulted in tens of thousands of fatalities, especially if dispersed by military rockets. The first videos from Ghouta showed residents pouring out of their homes onto the street, gasping for fresh air. If indeed highly efficient rockets had been used, every one of them would have been killed instantaneous. The gassing, therefore, must have been an accidental release indoors, probably from a hidden rebel arsenal.

Chemical residues from the alleged rockets would have been oxidized by the heat of impact and certainly no intact organophosphate traces would be detectable, since sarin is designed to decompose after 20 minutes. Rockets are designed to use a binary system by which two chemical precursors are mixed during mid-air dispersal. Thus, there is no need for stabilizers or dispersants, meaning an absence of any identifying chemicals. The UN inspectors arrived long after the expiration period for sample testing. There is a possiblity also that the site and rocket parts may have been tampered with falsified evidence by the rebels and their foreign military advisers.

The casualty figures are unverifiable, and certainly not any of the videos showed more than a dozen corpses at a time. The scenes of swaddled infants is typical of war propaganda, certainly not believable when only a few faces were visible. The sum effect of these images is closer to theater than credible reporting.

Sellstrom’s strategy is to point fingers of guilt at the Syrian regime, while avoiding all possibility of alternative and more probable scenarios.

Hidden Agenda

American ambassador to the UN Samantha Power made emphatically clear that the “nerve gas used in Syria was more concentrated than the nerve gas in Iraqi.” Her statement should be rephrased as: “Saddam may have trans-shipped U.S.-supplied nerve gas into Syria, but it wasn’t our nerve gas used against Syrian civilians.”

That is the essential point of the Sellstrom report: To take Washington off the hook for being the major supplier of nerve gas precursors, formulations, delivery technology and storage systems to the Middle East, incluing Israel, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and very possibly Syria (during the Clinton era of good will).

The UN report of chemical weapons on Syria lacks basic credibility due to the duplicitous record of its chief inspector, Ake Sellstrom, who is politically and financially compromised at every level. An impartial fact-finding mission of credible international experts is required, but it would have no chance of conducting a fair investigation so long as Washington provides weapons and political support to the insurgency, including its Al Qaeda faction.

The geopolitical objective underlying the White House orchestrated hystrionics over Syria is to strip Damascus of its limited deterrence capability against Israel’s nuclear forces. Nerve gas may not be much of a counter-strike response compared with atomic warheads, but it seems Israel’s goal is absolute strategic supremacy against the Arab states and Iran. With the new UN report on Syria, Tel Aviv is a giant step closer to the dream of rendering all its neighbors defenseless and divided.

Yoichi Shimatsu, a science journalist based in Hong Kong, led a team of investigative reporters for the Japan Times Weekly and served as consultant to Takarajima 30 magazine during the Tokyo subway gassing in 1995.

Israel Still Angling for Attack on Syria and Iran

israel-war-sign-syria

Jonathan Cook

President Barack Obama may have drawn his seemingly regretted “red line” around Syria’s chemical weapons, but it was neither he nor the international community that turned the spotlight on their use. That task fell to Israel.

It was an Israeli general who claimed in April that Damascus had used chemical weapons, forcing Obama into an embarrassing demurral on his stated commitment to intervene should that happen.

According to the Israeli media, it was also Israel that provided the intelligence that blamed the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, for the latest chemical weapons attack, near Damascus on August 21, triggering the clamour for a US military response.

It is worth remembering that Obama’s supposed “dithering” on the question of military action has only been accentuated by Israel’s “daring” strikes on Syria – at least three since the start of the year.

It looks as though Israel, while remaining largely mute about its interests in the civil war raging there, has been doing a great deal to pressure the White House into direct involvement in Syria.

That momentum appears to have been halted, for the time being at least, by the deal agreed at the weekend by the US and Russia to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

To understand the respective views of the White House and Israel on attacking Syria, one needs to revisit the US-led invasion of Iraq a decade ago.

Israel and its ideological twin in Washington, the neoconservatives, rallied to the cause of toppling Saddam Hussein, believing that it should be the prelude to an equally devastating blow against Iran.

Israel was keen to see its two chief regional enemies weakened simultaneously. Saddam’s Iraq had been the chief sponsor of Palestinian resistance against Israel. Iran, meanwhile, had begun developing a civilian nuclear programme that Israel feared could pave the way to an Iranian bomb, ending Israel’s regional monopoly on nuclear weapons.

The neocons carried out the first phase of the plan, destroying Iraq, but then ran up against domestic opposition that blocked implementation of the second stage: the break-up of Iran.

The consequences are well known. As Iraq imploded into sectarian violence, Iran’s fortunes rose. Tehran strengthened its role as regional sponsor of resistance against Israel – or what became Washington’s new “axis of evil” – that included Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Israel and the US both regard Syria as the geographical “keystone” of that axis, as Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told the Jerusalem Post this week, and one that needs to be removed if Iran is to be isolated, weakened or attacked.

But Israel and the US drew different lessons from Iraq. Washington is now wary of its ground forces becoming bogged down again, as well as fearful of reviving a cold war confrontation with Moscow. It prefers instead to rely on proxies to contain and exhaust the Syrian regime.

Israel, on the other hand, understands the danger of manoeuvring its patron into a showdown with Damascus without ensuring this time that Iran is tied into the plan. Toppling Assad alone would simply add emboldened jihadists to the troubles on its doorstep.

Given these assessments, Israel and the US have struggled to envision a realistic endgame that would satisfy them both. Obama fears setting the region, and possibly the world, ablaze with a direct attack on Iran; Israel is worried about stretching its patron’s patience by openly pushing it into another catastrophic venture to guarantee its regional hegemony.

In his interview published yesterday by the Jerusalem Post, Michael Oren claimed that Israel had in fact been trying to oust Assad since the civil war erupted more than two years ago. He said Israel “always preferred the bad guys [jihadist groups] who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys [the Assad regime] who were backed by Iran.”

That seems improbable. Although the Sunni jihadist groups, some with links to al-Qaeda, are not natural allies for either the Shia leaders of Iran or Hizbollah, they would be strongly hostile to Israel. Oren’s comments, however, do indicate the degree to which Israel’s strategic priorities are obsessively viewed through the prism of an attack on Iran.

More likely, Israel has focused on using the civil war as a way to box Assad into his heartlands. That way, he becomes a less useful ally to Hizbollah, Iran and Russia, while the civil war keeps both his regime and the opposition weak.

Israel would have preferred a US strike on Syria, a goal its lobbyists in Washington were briefly mobilised to achieve. But the intention was not to remove Assad but to assert what Danny Ayalon, a former deputy Israeli foreign minister, referred to as “American and Israeli deterrence” – code for signalling to Tehran that it was being lined up as the next target.

That threat now looks empty. As Silvan Shalom, a senior government minister, observed: “If it is impossible to do anything against little Syria, then certainly it’s not possible against big Iran.”

But the new US-Russian deal to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons can probably be turned to Israel’s advantage, so long as Israel prevents attention shifting to its own likely stockpiles.

In the short term, Israel has reason to fear Assad’s loss of control of his chemical weapons, with the danger that they pass either to the jihadists or to Hizbollah. The timetable for the weapons destruction should help to minimise those risks – in the words of one Israeli commentator, it is like Israel “winning the lottery”.

But Israel also suspects that Damascus is likely to procrastinate on disarmament. In any case, efforts to locate and destroy its chemical weapons in the midst of a civil war will be lengthy and difficult.

And that may provide Israel with a way back in. Soon, as Israeli analysts are already pointing out, Syria will be hosting international inspectors searching for WMD, not unlike the situation in Iraq shortly before the US-led invasion of 2003. Israel, it can safely be assumed, will quietly meddle, trying to persuade the West that Assad is not cooperating and that Hizbullah and Iran are implicated.

In a vein Israel may mine later, a Syrian opposition leader, Selim Idris, claimed at the weekend that Damascus was seeking to conceal the extent of its stockpiles by passing them to Lebanon and Iraq.

Obama is not the only one to have set a red line. Last year, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, drew one on a cartoon bomb at the United Nations as he warned that the world faced an imminent existential threat from an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Israel still desperately wants its chief foe, Iran, crushed. And if it can find a way to lever the US into doing its dirty work, it will exploit the opening – regardless of whether such action ramps up the suffering in Syria.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

Israel-Palestine “Peace Talk” Charade Highlights Need for One-State Solution

Deja vu? Misleaders once again going through the motions to pretend a "two-state solution" is possible.

Deja vu? Misleaders once again going through the motions to pretend a “two-state solution” is possible.

Nina Westbury
Crimson Satellite

Another round of discussions in the farcical Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” are likely to begin soon, if last night’s negotiations between Israeli minister Tzipi Livini and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat prove fruitful. Corporate media is once again prepared to go through the motions, pretending that bringing together the fascist demagogues of the Netanyahu regime and the unprincipled, corrupt Abbas government under the watchful eye of continued Iraq war apologist John Kerry could yield some progress towards a “two-state solution” — in which the impoverished rump state of Palestine remains divided and the admittedly Apartheid-inspired Zionist regime continues down the path of unchecked militarism.

In opposition to the manufactured narrative that only a two-state ‘solution’ is feasible, Muammar Gaddafi posited another idea. Instead of giving in to religious divisions, a secular direct democracy should emerge in “Isratine.” Peace will only be sustainable when the working classes of both countries overthrow their elite misleaders and establish socialism. This is a momentous task and the obstacles in the way of this vision are daunting. But the egalitarian one-state solution alone will bring a permanent to end to a crisis which constantly claims the lives of peaceable adults and children and risks nuclear war or other environmental disasters.

The neocon myth of violent “jihadi” Arabs and Muslims, spread by terrorists groups they themselves created and funded, is contradicted by anti-imperial and egalitarian political traditions that have existed in the Islamic world stretching from Algeria to Iran. While these histories may now appear to be decisively buried, humanity’s continued survival depends on those involved in seemingly-unresolvable conflicts like that in Israel-Palestine discovering class-conscious unity and engineering proletarian movements that can overthrow the violent and chaotic capitalist system.

How Egypt Killed Political Islam

Shamus Cooke

The rebirth of the Egyptian revolution ushered in the death of the first Muslim Brotherhood government. But some near-sighted analysts limit the events of Egypt to a military coup. Yes, the military is desperately trying to stay relevant — given the enormous initiative of the Egyptian masses — but the generals realize their own limitations in this context better than anybody. This wasn’t a mere re-shuffling at the top of society, but a flood from the bottom.

In reality the Egyptian people had already destroyed the Morsi regime (for example government buildings had already been occupied or shut down by the people), which is why the generals intervened — the same reason they intervened against Mubarak: better to try to lead than be led by the people. But the people remain in the driver’s seat, no matter what “national salvation government” the generals try to cobble together to retain legitimacy before the Egyptian people.

Political legitimacy — especially in times of revolution — must be earned, not assumed. Revolutionary legitimacy comes from taking bold actions to satisfy the political demands of the people: jobs, housing, public services, etc. A “democracy” that represents only Egypt’s upper crust as the Muslim Brotherhood government did, cannot emerge from a revolution and maintain itself; it was destroyed by a higher form of revolutionary democracy.

The brief, uninspiring reign of the first Muslim Brotherhood government will alter the course of Middle East history, whose modern chapter was formed, in part, by the rise of the Brotherhood. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has done the Middle East a profound favor by exposing its political and economic ideology for what it is: pro-western/capitalist economic policies that serve the IMF-dominated big banks, while preventing any real measures to address Egypt’s jobs crisis and massive inequality — itself born from previous neo-liberal privatization policies.

What did the Brotherhood do with the corrupt state they inherited? They tried to adapt; they flirted with the Egyptian military, coddled up to the security services, and seduced the dictatorship’s primary backer, the United States. They shielded all the Mubarak criminals from facing justice.

The Brotherhood’s foreign policy was also the same as Mubarak’s, favoring Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, and favoring the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels against the Syrian government, while increasingly adopting an anti-Iran agenda. A primary financial backer of the Muslim Brotherhood government was the oil-rich monarchy of Qatar (a U.S. puppet government), who helped steer the foreign policy of the Egyptian government.

The Muslim Brotherhood followed the same policies as the dictatorship because they serve the same elite interests. Consequently, political Islam will no longer be a goal for millions across the Middle East, who will opt for a new politics that will serve the real needs of the people of the region.

Political Islam outside of Egypt is also being rapidly discredited across the Middle East. In Turkey the mass protests that erupted were, in part, a reaction by the youth in Turkey to the conservative political and free-market economic policies of the Islam-oriented government.

The people of Iran recently chose the most religiously moderate of candidates to represent them, whose electoral campaign sparked an emerging mass movement.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has allowed itself to become a pawn of U.S. foreign policy against the Syrian government, participating in a U.S.-organized “transition government” that will take power, in theory, after the U.S.-backed rebels destroy the Syrian government. The Syrian government’s battlefield victories and the new Egyptian revolution will further set back the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Political Islam was already stained by the disgraceful monarchies of the Middle East. The especially corrupt and decrepit dictatorship of Saudi Arabia has thoroughly exploited Islam, where a fundamentalist version of Sharia law is reserved for the Saudi masses, while the Saudi monarchy partakes in any kind of illegal or immoral behavior it wants. Saudi Arabia’s only source of political legitimacy is its self-portrayal as the “protector of Islam” — since the holiest Islamic cities are in Saudi Arabia. But the Ottoman Empire that was destroyed in WWI also based its legitimacy on being the “defender of Islam” — both exploited Islam for political and financial power.

Of course, Islam is not the only religion that is exploited by elites. The ruling class of Israel defiles Judaism by using it to legitimize the state’s racist and expansionist policies. A nation-state based on religion — like Israel — implies that the non-religious minority be treated as second class citizens, while also implying that the “most devout,” i.e. most conservative religious groups, gain greater influence and are granted greater privileges by the state.

The same is true in the United States for the Republican Party — and increasingly the Democrats — who base much of their legitimacy on a fundamentalist version of Christianity, the inevitable result of which discriminates against non-Christians, though especially Muslims. Republicans increasingly rely on whipping up their fundamentalist Christian base against immigrants, Muslims, and homosexuals, allowing them the cover to pursue a pro-corporate and militarist foreign policy.

In the Middle East the modern history of political Islam was birthed by the Western powers after WWII, who installed and supported monarchies across the Middle East to maintain cheap oil and subservient governments; these monarchies use a fundamentalist version of Islam as their primary source of legitimacy.

This Islamic-exploitative policy was extended to fight the rise of the powerful pan-Arab socialist governments that favored a Soviet-style publicly-owned economy, first initiated by the still-beloved Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Retired CIA agent Robert Baer discusses this pro-Islamic/anti-Soviet dynamic in his excellent book, Sleeping With the Devil, How Washington Sold Our Soul For Saudi Crude.

When Arab countries — like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, etc. — followed Egypt’s example in the 1960’s and later took action against the rich and western corporations, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia relied ever more strongly on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic extremists to destabilize these nations or steer their politics to the right.

When the Muslim Brotherhood tried to assassinate Egypt’s Nasser, he used the military and state repression to destroy the organization, whose members then fled to Syria and Saudi Arabia. Then the Brotherhood tried to assassinate Syrian President Hafez al-Assad — Bashar al-Assad’s father — who followed Nasser’s example and physically destroyed the organization. Libya’s Gaddafi and Tunisia’s Bourguiba — both popular Presidents for years — likewise took aggressive action against the Brotherhood’s own aggressive, reactionary tactics, which remained protected and nurtured by U.S.-backed Saudi Arabia.

This policy of using radical Islamists against Soviet-allied states was extended further when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia funded, armed, and trained the groups later known as al-Qaida and the Taliban against the Soviet-allied Afghanistan government. After this “success” the same policy was applied to Yugoslavia, where the radical Islamists, known as the Kosovo Liberation Army, were funded and supported by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. as they targeted the Soviet-inspired Yugoslavia government. Now, the Saudi-backed radical Islamists are being employed against the Syrian government.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the semi-socialist Arab nations that depended on it for trade and support found themselves economically and politically isolated, and consequently shifted their economies towards western capitalist policies seeking injections of capital (foreign investment) and new avenues for trade.

This transition required neo-liberal policies — especially widespread privatization schemes — that created vast inequality and unemployment, and eventually became the main economic causes of the revolutionary movements now known as the Arab Spring. Ironically, to combat their flagging popularity, these regimes lessened restrictions on the Islamic parties as a way to funnel energy away from economic demands, while also acting as a counterbalance to the political left.

The Arab Spring toppled dictatorships [Crimson Satellite note: Libya was not a dictatorship, but a direct democracy] but didn’t provide an organized political alternative. The Muslim Brotherhood was sucked into this vacuum, and was quickly spit out as a viable political alternative for the demands of a revolutionary Egypt and the broader Middle East.

And although the Egyptian military again holds the reins of institutional power in Egypt, it understands the people’s distrust of the post-Mubarak military, and is thus limited in its ability to act, since mass repression would further inflame the revolution and possibly fracture the army — the same way it did when former President Nasser rose to power in a junior officer’s leftist coup (a similar type of coup was attempted and failed by Hugo Chavez before he was elected president).

Ultimately, the Muslim Brotherhood and other similar Islamic political organizations are not a natural expression of the religious attitudes of people in the Middle East, but instead an unnatural political creation that serves a specific geo-political agenda, specifically that of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The Egyptian people have now had the experience of political Islam and have discarded it, in the same way a tank deals with a speed bump. Now new policies must be sought based on a different political-economic ideology, until one is found that will represent the actual needs of the people.

Until the Egyptian masses discover and organize around a platform that serves the people’s needs, a series of other governments will be constructed in an attempt to keep Egypt’s elites — and their western foreign backers — in place. These governments will be likewise tossed aside until one emerges that represents the needs of the people.

There is a valid fear that the Muslim Brotherhood will choose to take up arms in Egypt in the same way that the Algerian Islamists triggered a civil war when the military annulled the elections they had won. The Brotherhood may say, “We tried elections and the results were denied to us.”

But revolution is the greatest expression of democracy, and only by extending the revolution can a potential civil war between the Brotherhood and the military be averted. The power of both groups can be undercut by a revolutionary movement that fights for improving the living conditions — with concrete demands — of the majority of Egyptians. The lower ranks of both the army and the Muslim Brotherhood will sympathize with such a movement, allowing for a new direction for the country.

Many revolutionaries in Egypt have learned a thousand political lessons in a few short years; they will not easily allow the army to usurp their power. The Egyptian revolution is the most powerful revolution in decades and has already re-shaped the Middle East. It will continue to do so until the people’s needs are met.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

An Avalanche of Protests Awaits Obama in South Africa

Kwame Biko

Barack Hussein Obama, America’s first Black President will from 26 June to 3 July undertake his so-called Africa Tour. This is not just an ordinary tour because Africa is the continent of Obama’s late father – Barack Hussein Obama Sr. So Obama comes as a “great friend of Africa”, whether he merits that title or not.

To me, this is Obama’s first visit to Africa since he became the President of United States. I don’t agree that his brief stop-over in Ghana in 2009, on his way back to America, after his speech to the Muslim World in Egypt, was the first Obama’s visit to Africa as American President. Clearly, that event in Ghana was a mere acknowledgement of Africa’s support for Obama in 2008.

This time around, he will be visiting three African countries: Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa. He won’t visit Kenya – his father’s country – as according to Obama, the country does not deserve to receive him.

However, the fact that Obama won’t be visiting Kenya will not pose any problem. After-all, countries in Africa usually compete for this kind of visit. Moreover, wherever he goes during his tour, he won’t be treated just as an American President, but also as a son of the soil. In every country, he will be received with some exaggerated fanfare and celebration, that is, under a heavy security protection.

Therefore, when Obama arrives in South Africa, there will be a Zulu dance group to perform for him. And more significantly, there will be some “Rainbow Nation Band” on hand to choreographically show him and his “respected” entourage how “unique” South Africa is. Also, some “ordinary” people will be chosen to come out with their Vuvuzelas and celebrate the arrival of President Barack Obama.

But above the din of the foregoing practiced performances will be the roar of millions of conscious world citizens in South Africa, who are aware of America’s role in many of the problems that ravage our world. These people will be out in the streets and in their numbers to denounce those countries, like America, that cause confusion and cheat others in the comity of nations. Thus, an avalanche of protests awaits Obama in South Africa.

While many groups are involved in planned anti-Obama protests in Cape Town area, it has emerged that another group in Johannesburg area made up of other progressive bodies is also planning to protest against the visit.

The group, which includes the South African Communist Party (SACP), Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL), South African Students Congress (SASCO), Muslim Students Association(MSA), National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union(NEHAWU), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Friend of Cuba Society (FOCUS), Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South African), and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), in a press release today completely rejected Obama’s planned visit to South Africa: “Progressive forces in South Africa have consistently been raising these issues and many others regarding the role of the USA in the global community. We categorically make it known, that the visit of the USA President to South Africa is an unwelcome visit that will be protested, picketed and resisted by all justice and peace-loving peoples of this country. Friendship with South Africa must be based on values of justice, freedom and equality and these the USA has offended, undermined and ridiculed through its actions in the global front,” they said in their statement.

They base their rejection of Obama and America on “USA’s arrogant, selfish and oppressive foreign policies, [bad] treatment of workers and [America’s] international trade relations that are rooted in war mongering, neo-liberal super-exploitation, colonial racism and the disregard and destruction of the environment.”

In their litany of America’s crimes against humanity, the group accused the US of being “deeply implicated in oppression of the people of Western Sahara.” They are angered by what they call “a continuing baseless embargo” against Cuba and, in the same vein, pointed at America’s refusal to release the five Cuban nationals who are unjustly being held in America despite an international campaign that includes Nobel Laureates like Wole Soyinka , Desmond Tutu, Nadine Gordimer, Rigoberta Menchú, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, José Saramago, and Günter Grass.

They further stated that the “criminal occupation of Palestine” by Israel would not have been possible if not for “USA’s financial and political support for” for Israel. While slamming America for standing against progress, the group recalled how the U.S. used “its veto power to defend Apartheid South Africa.”

They equally accuse the United States of being “one of the largest contributors to global warming.”

The group will march from the Union Building to the United States of America Embassy in Pretoria on Friday, 28 June, 2013. Time: 10h00.

There is also a demonstration against the decision of the University of Johannesburg to award President Barack Obama an honorary doctorate degree. This revolutionary action will happen on Saturday, 22 June, 2013. Time: 11am; Venue: Kingsway Road.

Surely, with these and other up-coming plans, an avalanche of protests awaits Obama in South Africa.

For more information on the protests, contact:

Lucian Segami (NEHAWU): 079 522 0098 

Mbuyiseni (BDS-SA): 073 133 3012 

Richard Mamabolo (YCLSA): 079 670 0274

French Minister: Syria War Planned Two Years Before “Arab Spring”

Gearóid Ó Colmáin
In an interview with the French TV station LCP, former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas said:

“I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.”

Dumas went on give the audience a quick lesson on the real reason for the war that has now claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

“This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned… in the region it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance. Consequently, everything that moves in the region- and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister who told me ‘we’ll try to get on with our neighbours but those who don’t agree with us will be destroyed. It’s a type of politics, a view of history, why not after all. But one should know about it.”

Dumas is a retired French foreign minister who is obliged to use discretion when revealing secrets which could affect French foreign policy. That is why he made the statement ‘I am French, that doesn’t interest me’.  He could not reveal France’s role in the British plan as he would be exposing himself to prosecution for revealing state secrets.

There have been many disinformation agents in the British and French press, many of them well known ‘leftist’ war correspondents and commentators, who have tried to pretend that Israel secretly supports Assad.  Those who make such arguments are either stupid, ignorant or deliberate disinformation agents of NATO and Israel.

Israel’s support for Al Qaeda militants in Syria has even been admitted by the mainstream press. For example, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper published a report on June 12th on Israel’s medical treatment of the Al Qaeda fighters.

Israel planned this war of annihilation years ago in accordance with the Yinon Plan, which advocates balkanization of all states that pose a threat to Israel. The Zionist entity is using Britain and France to goad the reluctant Obama administration into sending more American troops to their death in Syria on behalf of Tel Aviv.

Of all the aggressor states against Syria, Israel has been the quietest from the start. That is because Laurent Fabius, Francois Holland, William Hague and David Cameron are doing their bidding by attempting to drag Israel’s American Leviathan into another ruinous war so that Israel can get control of the Middle East’s energy reserves, eventually replacing the United States as the ruling state in the world. It has also been necessary for Tel Aviv to remain silent so as not to expose their role in the ‘revolutions’, given the fact that the Jihadist fanatics don’t realize they are fighting for Israel.

This is the ideology of Zionism which cares no more for Jews than it does for its perceived enemies.   The Jewish colony is determined to become a ruling state in the Middle East in the insane delusion that this will enable it to replace the United States as a global hegemon, once the US collapses fighting Israel’s wars.

Israeli Prime Minister once told American talk show host Bill Maher that the reason why Israel always wins short conflicts, while the United States gets bogged down in endless wars. ‘’ The secret is that we have America’’, he said.

But Israel is itself slowly collapsing. If one excludes the enslaved Palestinian population, the Jewish state still has the highest level of poverty in the developed world with more and more Jews choosing to leave the ‘promised’ land, a garrison state led by mad men, an anti-Semitic entity threatening to engulf the world in war and destruction. Israel cares no more about its own working class Jews than any other ethnic community.

In fact, if the Likudnik crooks running the Israeli colony get their way, working class Israelis will be among the first to pay as they are conscripted to fight terrorists created by their own government. With orthodox Jews protesting in the streets of New York against Israel and Haredi Jewish minority opposing Israel’s rampant militarism, Zionism is coming under increased attack from Jewish religious authorities and non-Zionist Jews both inside and outside of the occupied territories.

This is not the first time that Roland Dumas has spoken out against wars of aggression waged by successive French regimes. In 2011 he revealed that he had been asked by the United States when he was foreign minister in the Mitterrand administration to organize the bombing of Libya. On that occasion the French refused to cooperate.  Dumas, a lawyer by profession, offered to defend Colonel Gaddafi, at the International Criminal Court in the event of his arrest by Nato.

Dumas was also vocal in condemning France’s brutal neo-colonial bombing of the Ivory Coast earlier in 2011, were death squads and terrorists similar to those later deployed in Libya and Syria were unleashed upon the Ivoirian population in order to install a IMF puppet dictator Alassane Quattara in power. Gbagbo was described as one of the greatest African leaders of the past 20 years by Jean Ziegler, sociologist and former member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council.

Gbagbo had plans to nationalize banks and wrest control of the country’s currency from the colonial finance institutions in Paris. He also wanted to roll back many of the worst effects of IMF restructuring by nationalizing industries and creating a functioning, universal free health service. All of this threatened the interests of French corporations in the former French colony. So, the Parisian oligarchy went to work to find a suitable replacement as caretaker of their Ivoirian colony.

They sent in armed terrorist gangs, or ‘rebel’s in the doublespeak of imperialism, who murdered all before them while the French media blamed president Gbagbo for the violence that ensued. Gbagbo and Gaddafi had opposed Africom, the Pentagon’s plan to recolonize Africa. That was another reason for the  2011 bombing of their two African countries.

The formula is always the same. Imperialism backs ‘rebels’, whenever its interests are threatened by regimes that love their country more than foreign corporations.  One should not forgot that during the Spanish Civil War of 1936, General Franco and his cronies were also ‘rebels’ and they, like their counterparts in Libya in 2011, were bombed to power by foreign powers, replacing a progressive, republican administration with fascism.

There are pro-Israeli fanatics in France who have used the analogy of the Spanish Civil War as justification for intervention in Libya and Syria. The pseudo-philosopher Henry Bernard Levy is one of them.  Of course, the ignoramus Levy doesn’t realize that the reason France, England and the USA did not officially intervene in the Spanish Civil War is because they were covertly helping the ‘rebels’ from the start. They enabled arms shipments to the Francoist ‘rebels’ while preventing arms deliveries to the Spanish government, who, like Syria today, were helped by Moscow. Anyone who has studied the Spanish Civil War knows that all the imperialist countries wanted Franco as a bulwark against communism.

There is nothing imperialism loves more than a rebel without a cause. What imperialism hates, however, are revolutionaries. That is why the ‘rebels’ which imperialism sends into other countries to colonize them on behalf of foreign banks and corporations, have to be marketed as ‘revolutionaries’ in order to assure the support of the Monty Python brigade of petty-bourgeois, ‘ leftist’ dupes such as Democracy Now! and their ilk.

Dumas is not the only top French official to denounce the New World Order.  Former French ambassador to Syria Michel Raimbaud wrote a book in 2012  entitled ‘Le Soudan dans tous les états’, where he revealed how Israel planned and instigated a civil war in South Sudan in order to balkanize a country led by a pro-Palestinian government. He also exposed the pro-Israeli media groups and ‘human rights’ NGOS who created the ‘humanitarian’ narrative calling for military intervention by the United States in the conflict.

The subject was covered extensively by African investigative journalist Charles Onana in his 2009 book, Al-Bashir & Darfour LA CONTRE ENQUÊTE.

There are many more retired French officials who are speaking out about the ruinous policies of this French government, including the former head of French domestic intelligence Yves Bonnet. There have also been reports of dissent in the French armed forces and intelligence apparatus.

After the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011, the former French ambassador to Libya Christian Graeff told French radio station France Culture that it was responsible for the diffusion of lies and war propaganda on behalf of Nato throughout the war.  Graeff also warned the broadcasters that such disinformation could only work on the minds of serfs but not in a country of free minds.

The power of the Israeli lobby in France is a subject rarely discussed in polite circles. In France there is a law against questioning or denial of the holocaust. However, denial of the Korean holocaust, Guatemalan holocaust, Palestinian holocaust, Indonesian holocaust and the dozens of other US/Israeli supported genocides is not only perfectly legal but is the respectable norm.

The same lobby which introduced the Loi Gayssot in 1990, effectively ending freedom of expression in France, would also like to ban any independent investigations of genocides whose narratives they have written, such as the Rwanda genocide, where Israel played a key role in supporting the ‘rebels’ led by Paul Kagame, who invaded Rwanda from Uganda from 1991 to 1994, leading to the genocide of both Tutus and Tutsis. Many serious scholars have written about the Rwandan genocide, which the Israel lobby repeatedly uses as a case study to justify ‘humanitarian’ intervention by Western powers.  The Zionist thought police would like to see such authors prosecuted for ‘negating’ imperialism’s disgusting lies on African conflicts.

Now, the Israeli Lobby is forcing the (their) French government to prosecute twitter messages which the lobby deems ‘anti-Semitic’. This is one further step towards the creation of a totalitarian state where any criticism of imperialism, foreign wars, racism, oppression, perhaps eventually capitalism itself could fall under the rubric of ‘anti-Semitism’.

These people are sick, and those who cow down to them are sicker. Perhaps the etymology of sickness, a word cognate with the German Sicherheit (security) according to dictionary.com, is not a coincidence. For what is particularly sick about our society is the cult of security,  endless surveillance, ubiquitous cameras, the cult of the all seeing eye, the prurient gaze as part of the incessant discourse on terrorism by those who specialize in the training of the very terrorists they claim to be protecting us from.  Whether or not the words security and sickness are linguistically related, they are certainly cognate in a philosophical sense.

Roland Dumas and others like him should be highly commended for having to guts to say what so many others are too morally corrupt, too weak and cowardly to admit.

As the French government and its media agencies drum up hysteria for war on Syria, Roland Dumas, now in the twilight of his years, is warning people of the consequences of not understanding where Israel is leading  the world. Will enough people heed the warning?