War Council Pawns meet in Israel


Starting a two-day visit to Israel on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama issued bellicose threats against both Syria and Iran. The visit, which plainly has the character of a US-Israeli war council, makes clear that ten years after the US invasion of Iraq, US imperialism is preparing even greater crimes in the Middle East.

The Democratic president threatened the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad that it would “be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists,” adding that if evidence showed that such a weapon had been used it would be a “game-changer.”

On Iran, Obama repeated his vow “to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon” and that “all options are on the table,” while recognizing Israel’s “right” to take unilateral action against Iran. There “is not a lot of daylight” between the US and Israel on Iran, he said.

Obama’s remarks came one day after the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. No speeches or ceremonies were organized by the Obama administration or the US Congress Tuesday to mark the onset of a war to which 1.5 million Americans were sent, and where nearly 4,500 died and hundreds of thousands suffered either physical or psychological wounds.

Silence, in this case, denotes guilt. Both political parties, every branch of government, the media and the US corporations were directly complicit in what unquestionably stands as the greatest war crime of the 21st century: an unprovoked war, launched on the basis of lies, against a virtually defenseless nation, claiming some one million lives and leaving an entire society in ruins.

America’s ruling elite is now pressing for even greater and more destructive conflicts, in the face of mass public opposition to war. In Orwellian fashion, familiar and discredited pretexts of “weapons of mass destruction,” terrorism and the promotion of “democracy” are being recycled, this time to justify war against Syria.

On Capitol Hill there was a drumbeat of calls for new Middle East wars. Adm. James Stavridis, the chief of the Pentagon’s European Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday on extensive planning by NATO for intervention in Syria. “We are looking at a wide range of operations, and we are prepared if called upon to be engaged as we were in Libya,” he said.

Under serious consideration, according to Stavridis, is the establishment of a “no-fly zone.” Calls for such a no-fly zone in Libya, approved by the United Nations Security Council in March 2011, led to a US-NATO bombing campaign and war for regime change.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Carl Levin, (Democrat, Michigan) led the questioning. The day before, he had spoken at the Council on Foreign Relations, calling for the establishment of “a protected zone along the Turkish-Syrian border” and the use of military force to “go after some Syrian air defenses and after some of the Syrian air power.”

Resolutions were introduced in both the House and the Senate calling for stepped-up arming and training of Western-backed “rebels” fighting to overthrow Assad.

Meanwhile, the apparent use of a chemical weapon that claimed the lives of over 30 Syrians Tuesday prompted renewed demands for direct US intervention on Capitol Hill.

The Syrian government charged that the Western-backed fighters fired the rocket carrying the chemical warhead. By all accounts, the device hit a government-controlled village outside of Aleppo. Opposition sources said that most of the victims were Syrian government soldiers, while sources in Syria described them as Alawite civilians, a population that largely supports Assad.

Lawmakers invoked Obama’s earlier threats that the use of chemical weapons in Syria represented a “red line” that would prompt US intervention. “If today’s reports are substantiated, the President’s red line has been crossed, and we would urge him to take immediate action to impose the consequences he has promised,” Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said in a joint statement.

Graham went further in an interview, calling for sending US ground troops into Syria to secure its chemical weapons, an operation that the Pentagon estimated would require 75,000 soldiers and Marines.

The twisted logic of this campaign is that the two-year-old sectarian civil war that the US and its allies in Europe, Turkey and the Persian Gulf monarchies have fomented, funded and armed has weakened the Assad regime to such an extent that its chemical weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.

However, these terrorists, such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and other jihadist militias, are the principal shock troops of the Western-backed war for regime change.

As for the claim that Washington is promoting “democracy” in Syria, there could be no more telling refutation than the “election” Monday of the prime minister for a new “interim government” to be installed on Syrian territory seized by the so-called rebels. The winner, chosen by barely 35 members of a Syrian National Council formed under the tutelage of the US State Department, was Ghassan Hitto. A US citizen and Texas-based IT executive, he left Syria as a 17-year-old over 30 years ago.

The ideological pretexts for a US war in Syria are even less coherent than the ones used to carry out the war in Iraq a decade ago. The real driving forces are the same. What is involved is a predatory war aimed at redrawing the map of the Middle East to suit the interests of US imperialism and assure its hegemony over the region’s energy resources. War for regime change in Syria is part of a broader campaign for war with Iran and carries with it the threat of drawing in Russia and China, as well.

While the American ruling establishment may want to bury the memory of the Iraq war, working people have drawn their own conclusions, with poll after poll showing the overwhelming view that it should never have been fought.

The attempt to foist a new war on the American people, using the same warmed-over lies, comes together with a deepening assault on jobs and living standards and continuous revelations of the criminality of the financial aristocracy, in whose interests these wars are fought. Such a volatile mixture is a recipe for social explosions within the United States and the development of a mass political movement against imperialist wars in Iraq, Syria and beyond.



Asentamientos Judíos violan la Convención de Ginebra, dice Consejo de Derechos Humanos

La organización de la ONU pide la retirada inmediata de todos los asentamientos existentes que ocupan territorio palestino.


Un equipo de investigadores del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas ha dicho que la política de asentamientos de Israel en los territorios palestinos viola la Cuarta Convención de Ginebra y constituye un crimen de guerra. El Consejo dijo que, al ser un crimen de guerra, la política de Israel cae dentro de la jurisdicción de la Corte Penal Internacional (TPI), por lo que ha exigido la suspensión de dichas políticas “sin condiciones” y la “retirada inmediata” de todos los asentamientos existentes.

“Israel debe, en cumplimiento del artículo 49 de la Cuarta Convención de Ginebra, poner fin a toda política de asentamientos sin condiciones”, dice el informe del equipo de investigación, dirigido por la juez francesa Christine Chanet.

“Inmediatamente se debe iniciar un proceso de retirada de todos los asentamientos en los territorios palestinos ocupados”, continuó el comunicado.

El equipo de investigación fue creado en marzo de 2012 por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU para analizar la política de asentamientos de Israel en los territorios Palestinos y Jerusalén Este.

El gobierno israelí se ha negado a cooperar con los expertos y dice que el Consejo tiene un enfoque desequilibrado y que su política de asentamientos en la Ribera Occidental se justifica por la Biblia.

En la preparación del informe, los expertos cuestionaron más de 50 personas que llegaron a Jordania en noviembre pasado para testificar acerca de la confiscación de tierras, daños a sus medios de vida – incluyendo los olivos – y los ataques de los colonos judíos, según el comunicado.

“La misión considera que detrás de estos ataques y actos de intimidación contra los palestinos y sus propiedades se esconde una orden para expulsar a la población local de sus tierras y permitir la expansión de los asentamientos”, continúa el informe.

Los asentamientos, según expertos de la ONU, “están permitiendo la anexión progresiva de las tierras a Israel, lo cual impide el establecimiento de un Estado palestino viable y socava el derecho del pueblo palestino a la libre determinación”.

Los Convenios de Ginebra de 1949 prohíben el traslado de civiles para ocupar territorios y su violación, según el informe, podría ser considerado un crimen de guerra y por lo tanto entrar en las facultades de la Corte Penal Internacional.

Por lo tanto, de acuerdo con el informe, la posibilidad de ratificar el Estatuto de Roma, que rige el TPI, “podría conducir a un proceso de rendición de cuentas por violaciónes graves de los derechos humanos y de violaciones graves del derecho internacional humanitario y el derecho a la justicia para las víctimas. ”

Cerca de 250 asentamientos judíos se han establecido en Cisjordania y Jerusalén oriental desde la ocupación militar de Israel en 1967. Los asentamientos tienen ahora una población estimada de 520.000 personas, según el informe de la ONU.

Estos asentamientos evitan el acceso de los palestinos a los recursos hídricos y las tierras agrícolas, prosigue el documento. El pasado diciembre, Palestina acusó a Israel de planear nuevos “crímenes de guerra” mediante la expansión de los asentamientos.

Tras la decisión de la Asamblea General a reconocer a Palestina, Israel anunció la construcción de 3.000 nuevas viviendas en Cisjordania y Jerusalén oriental, dos territorios que de otro modo constituirían la Franja de Gaza, que es visto como parte del futuro Estado palestino.

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Syria working on retaliation against Israel and its allies


Syria and its allies warned on Sunday that Israel’s attack against a military complex on the outskirts of Damascus will not go unanswered and that it is working on a way to respond through the use of force.

Beset by an internal revolt that has lasted almost two years and has claimed 60,000 lives, the Syrian President Bashar Assad accused Israel of wanting to destabilize his country and assured the public that, even with an internal conflict, his country is able to “respond to any aggression against Syrian citizens.”

Iran, an ally of Damascus, also said that there is the possibility of retaliation for that attack.

Meantime, Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called the act of “state terrorism”.

“Israel’s aggression against the Jamariya Research Center shows the true position of Israel, working with foreign enemy forces and Syrian factions on the ground to try to destabilize and weaken Syria,” said Assad, after holding a meeting with Iran’s Secretary of National Security, Saeed Jalili, who was visiting Damascus on Sunday.

Several Iranian officials and military personnel also promised that Israel’s attack will not go unanswered. Corps Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said at a public event that “resistance and retaliation are the only possible way” to deal with Israel after the attack on Syrian territory, as reported by Iran’s official media. In his meeting with Assad, Jalili said that cooperation between Iran and Syria is crucial to curb “plots and foreign missions aimed at destabilizing security in the region.”

Though Israel does not admit publicly the nature of the attacks occurred on Wednesday, the defense minister of that country, Ehud Barak, claimed responsibility for the attack while participating in the Munich Security Conference. Barak said that although he can not “add anything to what people read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria,” the bombing “is further proof that when Israel promises something, it delivers.”

The bombing took place on Wednesday morning, when the Israeli Air Force attacked a nearby military research area near Damascus. U.S. intelligence sources believe that the target was a convoy loaded with missiles from Lebanon and en route to the Syrian capital, where it would be received by the Shiite militia Hezbollah, along with Iran, which is the main ally of Assad in the area .

Two days before the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told a delegation of U.S. lawmakers that their choices regarding Syria are “between bad and worse.” Israel has spent months warning of the possibility that the stockpiles of missiles and chemical weapons falling into the hands of Syrian Al Qaeda or Hezbollah.

The U.S. and Israel have claimed for months that Assad has deposits of sarin, mustard gas and cyanide and that he is prepared to use them against his own people, which the U.S. said would be the red line on the sand that would lead to a military intervention.

The Munich conference highlighted the gap that still separates Moscow and Washington over the Syrian conflict. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Assad a “tyrant” and attempted to predict his fall. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said that the demand that Assad go is the reason why the negotiations are going nowhere. However, Moscow has also shown signs of opening up to the Syrian opposition, after Lavrov himself met in Munich for the first time with Syrian opposition leader, Moaz Al Khatib.

The Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in the Bavarian capital that Western intervention in Syria would “extend the flames of conflict throughout the region.” Only on Saturday, about 150 people were killed during clashes between government forces and rebels who are openly supported by Western allies of Israel.

Given the volatility of the situation in Syria, Israel has mobilized a battery of missile shield known as the Iron Dome to the city of Haifa, in northern Israel, which is 140 kilometers from Damascus. Haifa, with 268,000 inhabitants, was just one of the cities where more missiles fell during the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.

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Jewish Settlements Violate Geneva Convention, says United Nations Human Rights Council

The body calls for an immediate withdrawal of all existing settlements occupying Palestinian territory.


A team of researchers from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations warned Thursday that Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime. The Council said that, being a war crime, Israel’s policy falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (TPI), so it has demanded the suspension of such policies “without conditions” and the “immediate withdrawal” of all existing settlements.

“Israel should, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, end all settlement policy without conditions,” reads the report of the research team, led by the French judge Christine Chanet.

“They should immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the statement continued.

The research team was created in March 2012 by the Human Rights Council of the UN to analyze Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government has refused to cooperate with the experts and is shielded itself by claiming that the Council has an unbalanced approach and that its settlement policy in the West Bank is justified by the Bible.

In preparing the report, the experts questioned more than 50 people who came to Jordan last November to testify about the confiscation of land, damage to their livelihoods – including olive trees – and attacks by Jewish settlers , the statement said.

“The mission believes that behind these attacks and the intimidation against Palestinians and their property is hidden an order to expel the local population from their lands and allow the expansion of settlements,” continues the report.

The settlements, according to UN experts, “are enabling progressive annexation preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and undermines the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.”

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibits the transfer of civilians to occupy territories and their violation, the report said, could be considered a war crime and enter therefore in the powers of the International Criminal Court.

Therefore, according to the report, the possible ratification of the Rome Statute, which governs the TPI, “could lead to a process of accountability for serious violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law and the right to justice for the victims. ”

About 250 Jewish settlements have been established in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from since the military occupation of Israel in 1967. The settlements now hold an estimated population of 520,000 people, according to the UN report.

These settlements prevent Palestinian access to water resources and agricultural lands, continues the document. This past December, Palestine accused Israel of planning new “war crimes” by expanding settlements.

Following the decision of the General Assembly to recognize Palestine, Israel announced the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two territories that otherwise would constitute the Gaza Strip, which is seen as part of the future Palestinian state.

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Construção de assentamentos ilegais explodiu sob administração Netanyahu


A organização Paz Agora publicou um relatório em que fala de um crescimento recorde na construção de assentamentos nos territórios palestinos durante o atual mandato.

A publicação desta informação coincide com o anúncio de novos concursos nos assentamentos pelo Ministério da Habitação israelense. Cerca de 200 unidades residenciais foram a concurso, 89 delas em Kiryat Arba, um assentamento perto de Hebron, no coração da Cisjordânia, como publicado pelo jornal Yedioth Ahronoth.

Anúncios de novos assentamentos, que a comunidade internacional considera ilegais, ocorrem em um contexto de crescente isolamento no mundo pelo primeiro-ministro de Israel

Um dia depois de esta informação veio à luz, também anunciou-se que o presidente Barack Obama está aumentando a sua desaprovação das políticas de Israel em relação à construção de assentamentos e da maneira em que Netanyahu dirige assuntos do país .

Obama acredita que tais ações estão levando o país para o abismo, principalmente devido à contínua expansão dos assentamentos. Há, no entanto, pouca probabilidade que os novos dados publicados pela Paz Agora tenham um impacto significativo sobre Israel, especialmente após a eleição, porque a relação com os palestinos é uma questão pouco importante agora.

O relatório do Paz Agora, que acompanha de perto a evolução dos assentamentos indica que o governo israelense aprovou 6.676 unidades habitacionais nos territórios palestinos em 2012.

Em 2011, Netanyahu aprovou 1607 e apenas algumas centenas em 2010, ano em que Netanyahu lançou uma moratória sob pressão dos EUA. Até 40% da nova construção que começou no ano passado ocorreu em colônias isoladas, localizadas ao leste do muro de segurança israelense.

“As políticas e ações de Netanyahu na Cisjordânia e em Jerusalém Oriental revelam uma clara intenção de usar os assentamentos para torpedear e tornar impossível a opção de ter dois estados – Israel e Palestina -” disse Paz Agora, em seu artigo.

Junto com Paz Agora, Washington e a União Europeia consideram que a expansão dos assentamentos ameaça a continuidade territorial e até mesmo a viabilidade de um futuro Estado palestino.

Mais de meio milhão de colonos israelenses vivem em assentamentos na Cisjordânia e em Jerusalém Oriental. As convocações para as negociações de paz entre palestinos e israelenses têm permanecido estáticas por pelo menos dois anos. Os palestinos se recusam a sentar à mesa de negociações até que Israel decida parar a construção de assentamentos.

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