The ruling Israeli right-wing coalition, which sees Trump as a potential champion of Greater Israel, believes that the United States’ president will finally remove any outside constraints on settlement construction in the West Bank or the legalization of already existing settlements built without governmental approval. Settlement-friendly politicians in Israel are already working hard on such moves; a bill legalizing settlements built on private Palestinian land passed its first reading in the Knesset, despite the objections of the attorney general and a near certain rejection by Israel’s High Court of Justice. Some in Israel even view the next four years as an opportunity to annex the West Bank outright. This is a “tremendous opportunity to announce a renunciation of the idea of founding a Palestinian state in the heart of the land,” Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, stated. “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”
At the same time, Trump himself toldThe Wall Street Journal of his desire to close the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians. “As a dealmaker, I’d like to do…the deal that can’t be made,” he said. “And do it for humanity’s sake.”
Within his own Likud Party, Netanyahu occupies the left-wing flank and is viewed by Likud Knesset members as being too gradual and cautious in his settlement policies. To Likud’s right, Naftali Bennett and his camp believe Netanyahu is blatantly half-hearted in his commitment to a Greater Israel. Bennett and his supporters have advocated annexing Area C of the West Bank, which under the Oslo Accords was to be gradually transferred to the Palestinians, and have maintained constant pressure on Netanyahu to adopt more expansionist policies.
Israel Says It Will Kill Assad if He Keeps Iran in Syria Newsweek
“If Syrian President Bashar Assad continues allowing the Iranians to operate out of Syria, it would be the end of him, the end of his regime,” Israeli Energy Minister and Cabinet member Yuval Steinitz told Israeli news site Ynet in an interview, later clarifying his words.
“If Assad allows Iran to turn Syria into a forward operating base against us,” he said, “to attack us from Syrian soil, he should know that will spell his end.”
Israeli Military Admits to Supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria (LiveLeak)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Israel has been providing aid to Syrian rebels, thus keeping the Druze in Syria out of immediate danger. Israeli officials have previously balked at confirming on the record that the country has been helping forces that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“We’ve assisted them under two conditions”, Ya’alon said of the Israeli medical aid to the Syrian rebels, some of whom are presumably fighting with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. “That they don’t get too close to the border, and that they don’t touch the Druze.”
Al Nusra is Al Qaeda, and closely affiliated with ISIS. And remember, there have never been any “moderate Syrian rebels” … only Islamic Sunni jihadis.
As Vice President Joseph Biden admitted:
The fact of the matter is … there was no moderate middle … Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria … They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and … thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis.
Leaked NSA documents also show that Israeli special forces assassinated a top Syrian government official.
U.S. and Gulf Allies Supported Islamist Extremists in Syria, Qatar’s Ex-Prime Minister Admits, Bolstering Growing Evidence (Alternet)
An NSA secret document was released which revealed that the terrorists in Syria were directly under the command of foreign governments like Saudi Arabia and the United States and that the attack on Damascus International Airport was ordered by KSA and supported by the U.S., a Qatari official has admitted that the tiny Gulf nation colluded with other nations to wage war on Syria, support terrorists in the country, and even support al-Qaeda/al-Nusra.
The Qatari official, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamid bin Jassim Bin Jaber al Thani, gave an interview with Qatari TV where he revealed what many have known for a long time. Indeed, Jassim would be in a position to know, since he oversaw those operations until 2013. During the course of the interview, Jassim revealed that Qatar, along with the United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, shipped weapons to terrorists since the moment the crisis “first started” in 2011.
NSA Document Says Saudi Prince Directly Ordered Coordinated Attack By Syrian Rebels On Damascus (theIntercept)
According to a top-secret National Security Agency document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the March 2013 rocket attacks were directly ordered by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Salman bin Sultan, to help mark the second anniversary of the Syrian revolution. Salman had provided 120 tons of explosives and other weaponry to opposition forces, giving them instructions to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the airport, the document, produced by U.S. government surveillance on Syrian opposition factions, shows.
False Flag: How the U.S. Armed Syrian Rebels to Set Up an Excuse to Attack Assad (ZeroHedge)
A book called The Real Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know details the role Stevens fulfilled in Libya of brokering weapons exports from Libya to countries which backed the Syrian rebels.
The author, Aaron Klein, said a group called the February 17 Brigade worked with the CIA to provide security for a special operation in Benghazi and helped facilitate weapons transfers.
The exact nature of the U.S. involvement with the February 17 Brigade that guarded the U.S. special mission might have been unintentionally exposed when a Libyan weapons dealer formerly with the Brigade told Reuters in an in-person interview he had helped ship weapons from Benghazi to the rebels fighting in Syria. Klein noted that no one seems to have connected the dots from what the weapons dealer said to the activities taking place inside the Benghazi compound and whether the Brigade serves as a cut out to ship weapons.
In the Reuters interview published June 18, 2013, Libyan warlord Abdul Basit Haroun declared he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria. Most of the weapons were sent to Turkey, he said, where they were, in turn, smuggled into neighboring Syria.
We know the terrorist groups forming the opposition to Assad had access to chemical weapons. Is this enough evidence to prove the United States facilitated a false flag chemical weapons attack in order to justify military intervention, and finally defeat Assad, in support of Israel?
President Trump approved the bombing of the Syrian military base controlled by Bashir al-Assad supposedly to destroy the Syrian government’s ability to launch further chemical attacks on civilians. “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” Trump said in remarks from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
But Trump’s statements contradict the reality that rebel groups have been trained to secure, monitor, and transport chemical weapons. Included in the opposition to Assad are terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. Should we believe these rebels’ claims against Assad, especially given their access to chemical weapons?
Documents from Wikileaks show that the U.S. State Department wanted to help rebels overthrow Syrian Dictator Assad in order to strengthen Israel’s position against Iran. The State Department discussed how Iran and Syria trained forces in opposition to Israel. The fall of Assad, they said, would destroy the only Iranian ally in the region positioned to help Iran in the event of Israeli aggression to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
‘CIA created ISIS’, says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables (WikiLeaks)
WikiLeaks diplomatic cables just released describe how what is now Islamist terrorism and ISIS originally began through a project between the government of Saudi Arabia and the CIA, when they created a Mujahideen force in order to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan as the United States then perceived the Soviet Union to be their biggest threat at the time.
Besides ISIS, these new WikiLeaks cables shed light on the election of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and, interestingly, show how Henry Kissinger was conspiring with David Rockefeller in order to find a location to hide the Shah of Iran and his family at. Mexico, the Bahamas and Argentina were all slated as places for the Shah’s twin sister, Princess Ashraf.
Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department (IBTimes)
Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing — the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 — contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
Israel Reveals Size of Its War Against Iran in Syria and Says It May Soon Get Bigger (Newsweek)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would not interfere with the Syrian government’s rebound to power, but has warned that no Iranian presence would be tolerated. With little sign of Iran backing down from what it considers to be anti-terrorism mission—even after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that all foreign powers should eventually leave Syria—Israel’s military leadership has suggested it may take action, and go even further than before.
After a Reuters report suggested that Iran had delivered ballistic missiles to Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq in order to defend against potential U.S. military action, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Monday: “As for the threat from Iran, we are not limiting ourselves to Syria. That should be clear.”
Trump’s First Foreign Trip: To Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican (ForeignPolicy)
In Israel, Trump will roll up his sleeves and dive into the spadework of brokering an Israel-Palestine peace deal, a task the former reality television host described as “not as difficult as people have thought,” yet which has eluded every modern president. A senior administration official said Trump and team were approaching their Middle East peace plans “with a lot of humility.”
Trump’s first foreign foray comes relatively late in the game, and he’ll depart from a tradition every president since Ronald Reagan honored: Making Canada his first or second foreign stop.
July 17, 2018: In a video clip aired by Israeli television, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that Israel was responsible for US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal.
“We convinced the US president [to exit the deal] and I had to stand up against the whole world and come out against this agreement,” Netanyahu says in the video. “And we didn’t give up.”
US President Donald Trump’s decision to dump the landmark Iran nuclear deal has shocked the world, with America’s closest allies like France, Germany and the UK expressing concern over it while Iran’s foes Israel and Saudi Arabia welcoming the move.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said: “The US has announced that it doesn’t respect its commitments.”
In a joint statement after Trump’s announcement, May, Merkel and Macron emphasized their “concern” about Trump’s decision and said they would continue to adhere to the Iranian deal because it has made the world “a safer place.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised “courageous leadership” and “bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran.”
Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was on Trump hit list (WashingtonTimes)
The president has made close ties to the kingdom a priority since taking office. Trump made his first overseas trip as president to Saudi Arabia and has touted his arms sales to the kingdom.
It wasn’t just Trump who was taken by Saudi prince, bin Salman. Kushner also felt he had found someone who would help him with his problems. He not only stayed with the prince on Trump’s official visit, he’s been back. And if Donald Trump had come bearing gifts in the form of arms, Jared Kushner had something else.
A House Democrat on the intelligence committee is suggesting that the White House and top aide Jared Kushner maintained a “hit list” of dissidents for the Saudi kingdom to assassinate.
Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the supposed list included murdered Saudi dissident/journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Let me get to the point that is most disturbing right now,” Mr. Castro said. “The reporting that Jared Kushner may have with U.S. intelligence delivered a hit list, an enemy’s list to the crown prince, MbS, in Saudi Arabia and that the prince then may have acted on that and one of the people that he took action against is Mr. Khashoggi.”
The United States government in fact knows what happened to the missing man—and seems to have known something about his fate even before his disappearance. As reported by the Washington Post, “US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture” Khashoggi. Source: Saudi Arabia’s Government Purge — And How Washington Corruption Enabled It
Read more: Tortured to death and fed to pigs, MBS had journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed and watched via Skype
Erdogan Says Turkey Will Start Operation in Syria Within Days (Bloomberg)
Turkey will start a new military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish militants in northern Syria within a few days, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, a move that could again escalate tensions with Washington. Turkish shares and the lira fell after the announcement.
Turkey has repeatedly threatened over recent months to extend its offensive against the YPG Kurdish militia east of the Euphrates River. The fighters, which receive support from the U.S. in their joint fight against Islamic State jihadists in Syria, are seen by Ankara as an affiliate of the pro-autonomy PKK movement, a designated terrorist group.
“We have made our warnings and completed our preparations,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
Donald Trump demands former FBI chief James Comey is jailed (Telegraph)
Donald Trump, the US president, has called for former FBI director James Comey to be jailed, accusing him of revealing classified information and of lying to Congress.
In addition to suggesting the former intelligence chief be incarcerated, Mr Trump called him “slippery” and a “slimeball” and said he would go down as the worst FBI director in history, during a Twitter rant which spanned the course of two hours on Sunday morning.
He also challenged accusations made by the former FBI director in a tell-all book that is due for release this week.
Mr Trump wrote: “The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?”
He added: “I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!”
And shortly after came: “Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”
The two men have been involved in a ferocious war of words since the president fired Mr Comey last May amid the investigation into his 2016 campaign and Russian meddling in the election.
It was Mr Comey’s firing that prompted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Why China Wants Syria in its New Belt and Road (TheDiplomat)
China has been actively expanding its influence to the Middle East, and engaging war-torn Syria as part of its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a case in point.
On November 24, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Political and Media Advisor to the Syrian President Bouthaina Shaaban in Beijing. During the meeting, Wang offered to support Syria’s reconstruction.
Russia seen sending heavy naval firepower to the Mediterranean after threatening to strike the US (BusinessInsider)
The US and Russia have become engaged in an increasingly hot war of words over the warfare and suffering in Syria, and Russia was seen sending heavy naval firepower to the region around the same time it threatened to retaliate to any US strikes.
Russia has supported Syrian President Bashar Assad for years during his country’s seven-year-long civil war. Russia provides military support and airpower to help Assad cling to power as he fights off Islamist insurgents and a popular uprising in a war where his forces have reportedly killed the wide majority of the half million now dead.
Tensions between Russia and the West are peaking after Russia’s threats to fight back against the US in Syria and the UK accused the Russian state of carrying out a nerve agent attack on a former spy in the British countryside.
Russia responds with veiled nuclear, death threats to UK nerve agent attack
British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of carrying out a nerve agent attack on UK soil against a former spy — and Moscow’s response has been extremely aggressive, with veiled nuclear and death threats.
After blowing a UK-imposed deadline to answer for the attack, which UK experts assess used a Russian-made chemical weapon, a Russian foreign ministry spokesman warned the UK not to threaten nuclear powers.
The UK also possesses nuclear weapons, but Russia has more firepower and newer nuclear systems than any other nation, and has frequently taken to threatening its neighbors and bragging about its capability to end life on Earth.
Additionally, Russian state TV broadcaster Kirill Kleimenov went on Russia’s popular Channel One to make veiled threats and insinuations that politically motivated murders in Britain would continue.
“The profession of a traitor is one of the most dangerous in the world,” Kleimenov said. “It’s very rare that those who had chosen it have lived in peace until a ripe old age.”
Outside of military threats, Russia has said it would respond in kind if the UK moves to expel Russian diplomats or scraps the media license for RT, a Russian-funded media organization.
“Not a single British media outlet will work in our country if they shut down Russia Today,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in response. International news outlets in Russia already operate under heavy scrutiny and cannot spread their news freely to the Russian people.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson out, CIA Director Pompeo to assume role (FoxNews)
Rex Tillerson is leaving his role as secretary of state, with CIA Director Mike Pompeo assuming the role, President Donald Trump announced, citing disagreements on Iran with the former Exxon Mobil CEO.
It was in the middle of the night in Nairobi, Kenya, that he was awakened by White House chief of staff John Kelly. While the White House says Kelly told Tillerson then that he was fired, a senior State Department official said that Tillerson was only warned that such a tweet may be coming.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!” the president wrote in a tweet.
Prior to his role as the CIA chief, Pompeo served as the Republican representative from the fourth district of Kansas.
Saudi Arabia Wants to Fight Iran to the Last American (NationalInterest)
Many observers have connected the dots and concluded that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is seeking to drag the United States into a war with Iran and Hezbollah. But that’s only half the story. Looking at the recent events through a broader geopolitical lens, a much more sinister plan emerges: a Saudi plan to trap the United States in a permanent standoff with Tehran.
As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2010, the Saudis “ want to fight the Iranians to the last American .” Why the Saudis would see this as attractive is clear. Why Netanyahu would like to go along with this also follows a certain logic. That is not the mystery in this drama. The mystery is why the president of the United States would go along with something that so clearly contradicts U.S. national interest.
It is not the Saudi crown prince that is acting irrationally. It’s the president of the United States.
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