Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander

April 30, 2015

 

For several weeks or even three months now, official representatives of the Israeli government and defense establishment have been holding a real dialogue with the Islamic terrorist group – Hamas – in a bid to reach a long-term calm on the Gaza border. These secret talks have been “partly direct” and partly through Qatari and European mediators. (Source e.g. YNet ) There has been rumours about this dialogue and both parties have so far denied them, for example a senior Hamas official said earlier that group does not conduct any negotiations with Israel; “We negotiate with the occupation only through the rifle.”

Gaza2However now Hamas official Ahmed Yousef confirmed to Maan News that Hamas is having “chats” with Israel through mediators but denied direct contacts. Yousef told Ma’an that “we await the formation of an Israeli government so things can get more serious. European diplomats and civil society activists come to the Gaza Strip constantly and pose Israeli viewpoints and convey the reaction of the movement through unofficial chats.”

While both sides are preparing for next Gaza war, estimated start in one year or even this coming Summer, there is slight chance that Hamas and Israel can broke a deal as the war would not benefit either side. If so the outcome might be a longer calm period or even a Gaza state, while Fatah led Palestinian authority on West Bank will stay as bystander or try to build its own state with their unitary actions.

Hamas-Israel Dialogue in progress

It was reported in The Times of Israel that Hamas offers long-term calm in exchange for end of blockade. Senior Hamas officials met with Western diplomats about the ceasefire, and also reached a number of understandings about the character of the ceasefire. During the talks, Hamas officials emphasized that they were willing to agree on a ceasefire of at least five years (though some sources said the offer was for 15 years), during which time all military activities “above and below ground” from both parties would end. At the same time, the blockade on Gaza would be removed, including restrictions on exports, and Israel would allow the construction of a seaport and an airport.

An Israeli official confirmed that the offer was presented to Israeli officials.

In conversations with other diplomats, Hamas presented different terms for a ceasefire with Israel. One of the draft agreements reached The Times of Israel, with the following clauses:

1) All forms of military conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will cease.

2) Israel will commit to removing the blockade on Gaza, including: opening all crossings around Gaza; permitting unfettered import and export from Gaza; allowing the construction of a sea and airport.

3) The tahdiyya [ceasefire, AR] will last between three and five years starting from the moment the agreement is signed, but the two sides will finalize the exact length of the ceasefire.

Earlier there was unconfirmed rumour that three months before the elections, Israel received a concrete and detailed proposal from Hamas for an agreement on a calm period of five to 10 years. The official Israel did not respond but both sides’ interests dictate cooperation without formal decisions in the government. And now this cooperation is changing Israel’s strategy towards Hamas and same time bypassing the Palestinian Authority.

 Hamas-agreement-1

Israeli side it has confirmed a report that Israel had received a concrete and detailed proposal from Hamas for a truce of five to 10 years. Explaining the Israeli rationale, Ynet quotes defense establishment officials believe that the absence of a dialogue that will help ease the living conditions in Gaza will lead an armed conflict in the summer, and Operation Protective Edge will be perceived as a colossal failure. The person pushing for talks with Hamas is the coordinator of the government’s activities in the territories (COGAT), in cooperation with new IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot , with assistance from the political leadership. The official Israel continues to conceal the dialogue with Hamas: It would have disrupted the elections, it’s not good for the image of a right-wing government, and it gets in the way of continuing to define Hamas as a terror organization in the world. (Source and more in Ynet)

 

Palestinian Authority – West Bank remains bystander

According Jerusalem Post Hamas is negotiating with Israel on Palestinian state in Gaza. The Palestinian officials have claimed that Hamas was negotiating with Israel about its plan to turn the Gaza Strip into a separate Palestinian entity. Mahmoud Habbash, the chief Palestinian Authority religious judge, who also serves as PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on religious affairs, said that Hamas’ “plan” to create a separate entity in the Gaza Strip was a “dangerous Israeli conspiracy.” Habbash claimed that the Israeli “conspiracy” envisages the total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. “Israel wants to divide the Palestinian people and turn the Palestinian territories into separate entities and cantons,” he said.

imagesUFO2G8JXKayed al-Ghul, a senior official with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said that the idea of establishing a Palestinian state only in the Gaza Strip was first raised by late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1988. Al-Ghul warned that the “plan” would have serious repercussions for the Palestinians. Ahmed Majdalani of the Popular Struggle Front, another PLO faction, accused Hamas of working toward establishing an “Islamic emirate” in the Gaza Strip. “There will be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip,” he said. He claimed that the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed the idea about 10 years ago, when he decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

Another PLO official, Wasel Abu Yusef, warned that Hamas’ effort to create an “Islamic emirate” in the Gaza Strip would hinder the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and solidify divisions among the Palestinians. He urged Palestinians to work toward scuttling Hamas’ alleged scheme. Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf claimed that Israel and Hamas have already reached understandings regarding the separate state in the Gaza Strip. “This is an Israeli plot designed to eliminate the Palestinian cause,” he argued. “What is the price that Hamas will pay to Israel in return for allowing the movement to establish its mini-state in the Gaza Strip?” (Source Jerusalem Post )

 

Preparations ongoing for the next war

Despite dialogue both sides are preparing themselves for the next war. Hamas is intensively rebuilding its terror tunnel infrastructure, that were used to attack Israelis during previous war, with the digging reportedly taking place six days a week with three shifts each day. Over 1,000 diggers are said to be employed by Hamas to construct the tunnels, and the current estimation is that the tunnels lead up to Israeli territory – Hamas will extend them beyond when it feels the time is right to strike.

Shujaiya-3-300x268Iran has sent Hamas’s military wing tens of millions of dollars to help it rebuild the network of tunnels in Gaza destroyed by Israel’s invasion last summer, intelligence sources have told The Sunday Telegraph. It is also funding new missile supplies to replenish stocks used to bombard residential neighborhoods in Israel during the war, code-named Operation Protective Edge by Israel. (Source: i24news )

From the opposite side the Israeli military is actually training for the reconquering of the entire Gaza Strip next time a confrontation flares up between the two sides. A new tunnel detection system developed by Elbit Systems will protect Israeli citizens from the threat of infiltration by Hamas terrorists. Now, after two months of development, the Israel-based international defense electronics company says that they have created an effective system which uses sensors to detect tunnel building activity. The system will be implemented along the entire Israel-Gaza border, Elbit said. The system includes a series of sensors. The information they receive is analyzed using a control system based on algorithms. This method enables the precise identification of tunnel building and its location without false alarms. The system is the first of its kind in the world and was developed in Israel in record time by the Director of Research and Development in the Defense Ministry in cooperation with Israeli industries. (YNetNews )

The Lebanese Shiite Hizballah group, Iran’s Lebanese surrogate, has clearly taken a leaf out of its Palestinian ally, Hamas’ book, for a fully mobilized terror tunnel project against northern Israel. Its manpower, including engineering units, is working under the guidance of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers to sink a large network of tunnels leading under the border into Galilee. They are working efficiently and at top speed with the aid of modern Western-made earthmoving equipment and foreign professionals paid top dollar to manage the project. Debkafile

 

A Hamas State of Palestine in Gaza?

Hamas is consolidating its grip over the Gaza Strip and making plans to turn it into a separate state. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah consider the purported plan a “severe blow” to the two-state solution and unity among Palestinians. As the U.S. Administration and the international community continue to push for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas seems to be working toward establishing an independent state of its own in the Gaza Strip. In recent weeks, reports have surfaced in a number of Arab and Western media outlets to the effect that Hamas leaders have decided to establish a “higher committee” for managing the affairs of the Gaza Strip.

300px-Gaza_Strip_map2.svgMahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, last week confirmed that his movement was working toward turning the Gaza Strip into an independent state. “There is nothing wrong or shameful about labeling the current situation in the Gaza Strip an authority or administration,” Zahar said. “If we establish an emirate or state in the Gaza Strip or in any part of Palestine, this would not mean that we are prepared to give up one inch of Palestine.” (Source: Gatestone Institute )

 

The bottom line

During last year there has been talks about national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. The Hamas-Israel dialogue is the last example that instead unity the split between Hamas and Fatah as well between the West Bank and Gaza Strip is even wider than before. It might be that the international community must define their two-state solution with new content including two Palestinian state – one Islamist emirate in the Gaza Strip and an other Fatah-controlled state in the West Bank.

Related to possible deal between Hamas and Israel there is a risk that internal disagreements between Hamas’ political and military wings could endanger it. The rift within Hamas is widening amid disagreement over several issue: First the organization’s position on the recent turmoil in the Arab world, specifically over its stance on a Saudi-led coalition against Yemen’s Huthi group and second Hamas’ policy in Gaza concerning the confrontation with Israel and the deterioration of ties with Egypt. Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades might take advantage of this instability within the organization to carry out attacks on the border with Israel without getting a green light from Hamas’ political leaders.

 

*   *   *

Earlier related to Hamas e.g:

Fatah-Hamas Accord can be more an Opportunity than an Obstacle

Analysis: 2014 Gaza Conflict

Peculiarities of Operation Protective Edge

Reality Check Time of Mideast Peace Process

Hamas’ Miscalculation: Israel Started Operation Pillar of Defense

Fatah-Hamas Deal: Three Scenarios

Will Iron Dome balance the Hamas Terror?

Advertisements

Top Priority of EU Foreign Policy: A New ‘Jude’ Badge

April 23, 2015

emergencyssxfoiWhen fragile Minsk II for Ukraine is ‘to be or not to be’ stage, while 21 Ethiopian Christians were beheaded in Libya and while hundreds of refugees drowned in the Mediterranean and while there the increasing chaos in the Maghreb region and in the Middle East with increasing refugee problem, when Palestinians are being brutally murdered by ISIL in refugee camps in Syria, so during these ongoing conflicts it might be difficult to decide about priorities of EU foreign policy. However EU Foreign ministers found an easy and cheap solution – their top priority is labelling Israeli products from the disputed territories (West Bank).

16 of the European Union’s (EU) 28 foreign ministers co-signed a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, urging her to advance the creation of guidelines to separately label goods produced in the West Bank as part of an economic offensive on Israel. The labeling plan was first mooted in 2012, but the 16 member states told EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini it was now time to press ahead as part of efforts to force Israel to divide in a “two state solution.”

When the whole MENA region risks falling into an abyss of war and genocide EU foreign ministers choose to attack the only stable democracy in the region, namely Israel. And this attack even does not help Palestinians as its effect might be totally opposite.

In response, a senior Israeli diplomat told the EU “labeling products from Judea and Samaria is a yellow badge,” referencing the “Jude” stars the Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust. One should note that the letter was signed in same week when it was Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.

bds-bigotry-double-standards-bigotryThe letter was signed by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and drafted by his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders who also signed it. UK, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Malta, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Luxembourg were the other signatories.

 

 

Palestinian workers come under threat due BDS

The number of Palestinians working for Israelis on either side of the Green Line doubled in the last four years and now make up 2.2 percent of all workers in the country, according to the Bank of Israel’s upcoming 2014 annual report. The 92,000 Palestinians who work for Israelis make on average NIS 198 per day, while their peers in the Palestinian territories make just 45% of that, on average, or NIS 91 per day, according to the report. According to a Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics report published in February 2014, there were 105,200 Palestinians employed in Israel, including 20,200 in the settlements. (Source: Jpost )

Sieppaa

According to Israeli law, Palestinian workers are entitled to employment terms and rights guaranteed by Israeli labor laws. Based on a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, they should enjoy the same rights enjoyed by Israeli workers.

The September 21 [2014] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida article, translated by Palestinian Media Watch, said that “whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers – for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.” Wael Nazif, CEO of the Union of Palestinian Workers’ Organizations in the Jericho district, said it was “inconceivable that the Palestinian worker should receive his full rights from the Israeli employers but not from the Palestinian ones.” Surveys and interviews conducted by Al-Hayat Al-Jadida clarify that the salaries of workers employed by Palestinians amount to less than half the salaries of those who work for Israeli employers in the areas of the Israel-occupied  West Bank, which house factories, tourist facilities and agricultural lands. Although the Palestinian Authority has criminalized working in the settlements but given the high unemployment rate PA do not enforce the law that criminalizes work in the settlements.

Daniel-Birnbaum-CEO-SodaStream-Forward-BDS-quote-01There are 15 industrial zones in territory Israel seized in the 1967 war. They have about 1,000 plants — sophisticated aluminum and food manufacturers as well as tiny textile and furniture workshops — that pump roughly $300 million into the Palestinian economy through salaries .

My view

The proposed labelling of Israeli goods from the disputed territories is giving supporting message to the growing anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiments in Europe, while EU instead should promote cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. The letter might reflect EU frustration over the re-election of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his recent remarks on the difficulties of creating a Palestinian state in the current circumstances.

One should note that the employment of Palestinians, including refugees, is one of the main problems that must be solved if the stability of the region is to be ensured. Instead of BDS foreign investment to West Bank and Gaza should be encouraged; restrictions on marketing West Bank and Gaza produce in Israel, Europe and the rest of world should be removed to create employment opportunities for the Palestinians. Beside salaries Israeli enterprises provide rare opportunities for coexistence between the two peoples.

My related earlier article (in Finnish): SodaStream rauhanmallina

¤     ¤     ¤

P.S:  The BDS  poster below can be used also opposite way – as shopping list of Israeli products

bigbig

 and more:boycott_israeli_products_2014_by_islamalive-d7tnyns


Maidan Massacre – Documentary Video by John Beck-Hofmann

April 20, 2015

English version of documentary investigation into the shootings which occurred 20/2/2014 in Kiev’s Independence [Maidan] Square

[Directed by John Beck-Hofmann]

~

A documentary film by John Beck-Hofmann, which recounts the chronology of events of the Kiev Maidan which led to a Coup d’etat and the demise of the democratically elected government of president Yanukovitch.

Maidan Massacre is an investigative documentary into the shootings which occurred on February 20th, 2014, when nearly 50 people were gunned down on the streets of Kiev’s Independence square. The massacre was the result of a massive three month long protest against the former Government of Viktor Yanukovich and his decision to reject a trade deal with the EU. Although no thorough investigation had been conducted, the blame was immediately placed on the officers who served under Yanukovich. This program investigates the scene of the crime, interviewing those who were there when the shootings occurred, and seeks to answer the questions as to who really was shooting that day on Kiev’s Independence square – a place known to the people of Ukraine, as Maidan. – Written by John Beck Hofmann

John Beck-Hofmann acknowledges that his film was censored, without going into details. It was initially 90 minutes, important sections pertaining to US sponsorship of the Coup d’Etat were removed.

In the words of John Beck Hoffman, in response to comments on his youtube channel:

Comment: On the basis of examining the issues of the Maidan snipers a decent documentary. However, more background to the events that led these “protests” would have been welcomed e.g. Oleg Tsarev’s claims of US NGOs funding regime change in Ukraine. The events in the attempted Macedonian coup shows that the US still up to its tricks.

Beck-Hoffman: “all that was in my original cut of the film which was closer to 90 mins. I went into great detail of USAID, NED, Nuland/Pyatt, corporate interests and the history of how this has happened many times before – I unfortunately had to cut it out for reasons I can’t go into, but I will eventually release the full “directors cut” of the program.”

Beck-Hoffman: [in response to another comment] A Russian language version was released first, as well on youtube. I had also originally made a longer version of the film which went into detail as to “who would benefit” from such an atrocity. It unveiled a lot of what was going on behind the scenes, but that segment ended up being cut from the final film. I would like to release that someday but I have no idea if and when that would be possible. If I do, I will put it on my youtube channel. But please, pass along this film to whomever you think would enjoy it. It needs to get more exposure as so many people have no idea what really happened over there. thanks you again. JBH

sfp_net-231x253

[Source and original post by syrianfreepress ]

~


Chemical Fabrications: East Ghouta and Syria’s Missing Children

April 13, 2015

In my earlier articles – see appendix on the end – I claimed that there’s little dispute that a chemical agent was used in an Aug. 21st 2013 attack outside of Damascus – and probably on a smaller scale before that – but there is a reasonable doubt if the Assad regime used sarin gas in this operation. The CW attack nearly led to U.S. military intervention against Syria. From my perspective this case should not be forgotten as it is a good example about media war and can be repeared as e.g. as false flag operation in other theatres.

It might be possible that US did not implemented planned military intervention against Syria as its political leadership knew first that Syrian rebels had chemical weapons, second it knew that Al Assad regime maybe not used CW in Damascus August 2013 and third that Syrian opposition might on the end not be better alternative than Al Assad.

However now Prof. Tim Andersson his comprehensive analysis – Chemical Fabrications: East Ghouta and Syria’s Missing Children – reblogged here below:

A Syrian refugee child sits at an abandoned school in the Wady Khaled area, northern Lebanon

The dirty war on Syria has involved repeated scandals, often fabricated against the Syrian Government to help create pretexts for deeper intervention. Perhaps the most notorious was the East Ghouta incident of August 2013, where pictures of dead or drugged children were uploaded from an Islamist-held agricultural area east of Damascus, with the claim that the Syrian Government had used chemical weapons to murder hundreds of innocents. The incident generated such attention that direct US intervention was only averted by a Russian diplomatic initiative. The Syrian Government agreed to eliminate its entire stockpile of chemical weapons (Smith-Spark and Cohen 2013), maintaining that it had never used them in the recent conflict.

Indeed, all the independence evident on the East Ghouta incident (including evidence from the US and the UN) shows that the Syrian Government was falsely accused. This followed a series of other false accusations, ‘false flag’ claims recorded by senior nun Mother Agnes (SANA 2011), a shamefully biased investigation into the Houla massacre (see Anderson 2015) and failed or exposed attempts to blame the Syrian Government over Islamist group killings, for example at Daraya and Aqrab (Fisk 2012; Thompson 2012). The Islamist groups’ use of chemical weapons was mostly dismissed by the western powers, and that dismissal has been reflected in most western media reports. However, because the chemical weapon claims have been repeated for years, public perceptions seem to have little reference to facts based on evidence. After a little background, let’s consider the independent evidence on the East Ghouta incident, in some detail. Arising from that evidence we are led to another serious crime of war, the fate of the dead or drugged children portrayed in those infamous images.

1. Chemical Weapons in Syria

Chemical weapons are a crude relic of an earlier era, such as the trench warfare of a century ago. They have no utility in urban warfare, where an army hunts armed groups amongst streets, buildings and civilian populations. No real utility, unless a ruthless party wants to create a general panic. In the case of the Syrian Arab Army, their conventional weapons were far superior to such crude weapons and their urban warfare training, often done in Iran, had the aim of rooting out terrorist groups, building by building (al Akhras 2013). A stockpile of chemical weapons had been kept as a deterrent to Israel, which holds nuclear weapons; but there had been no proven use of them in recent decades.

By mid 2013 the war had turned in favour of the Government. Although parts of Aleppo and some parts of eastern Syria were held by various Islamist groups, the Army had secured the major populated areas in western Syria and had closed much of the armed traffic across the mountainous Lebanese border. Along the borders with states which backed the Islamists – Turkey, Israel and Jordan – there were regular incursions, but they were always beaten back by the Syrian Army. Over May-June 2013 the Army, backed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, took back the city of Qusayr, south-west of Homs, from a combination of the Farouq Brigade and Jabhat al Nusra, including many foreigners (Mortada 2013).

In this context anti-government armed Islamist groups were accused of using chemical weapons. The main foreign support group for the Syrian Islamists, Jabhat al Nusra, were reported to have seized a chemical factory near Aleppo in December 2012 (Gerard Direct 2012). Then in March the Syrian Government complained to the UN that sarin gas had been used in a major battle with the Islamists at Khan al Assal, west of Aleppo. The Syrian news agency SANA reported that terrorists had fired a rocket ‘containing chemical materials’, killing 16 people and wounding 86, soldiers and civilians. The death toll later rose to 25 (Barnard 2013). The Muslim Brotherhood-aligned British-based source, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, along with other anti-government ‘activists’, confirmed the casualties but insinuated that the Syrian Army might have used the weapons and ‘accidentally’ hit themselves (Barnard 2013). Western media reports mostly elevated the Islamist counter-claims to the level of the Government’s report. In April 2013 Jabhat al Nusra was reported as having gained access to chlorine gas (NTI 2013).

About Khan al Asal, a 19 March statement from Syria’s UN Ambassador, Bashar al Ja’afari, said that ‘armed terrorist groups had fired a rocket from the Kfar De’il area towards Khan Al Asal (Aleppo district) … a thick cloud of smoke had left unconscious anyone who had inhaled it. The incident reportedly resulted in the deaths of 25 people and injured more than 110 civilians and soldiers who were taken to hospitals in Aleppo’. The following day the Syrian Government ‘requested the Secretary-General to establish a specialized, impartial independent mission to investigate the alleged incident’ (UNMIAUCWSAA 2013: 2-3).

Almost immediately following this, from 21 March onwards, the governments of the USA, France and Britain (all of which were by then directly or indirectly supporting the Islamist groups) began to add a series of incidents, claiming the use of chemical weapons in Syria (UNMIAUCWSAA 2013: 2-6). Washington repeatedly claimed there was ‘no proof’ the ‘rebels’ were responsible for chemical weapon use. They sought to turn the accusations against the Syrian Government.

However, in an interim statement in May, UN investigator Carla del Ponte said she had testimony from victims that ‘rebels’ had used sarin gas (BBC 2013). Then in May, Turkish security forces were reported to have found a 2kg canister of sarin, after raiding the homes of Jabhat al Nusra fighters (RT 2013). In July Russia announced it had evidence that Syrian ‘rebels’ were making their own sarin gas (Al Jazeera 2013).

Despite dissatisfaction over the Houla inquiry the previous year (see Anderson 2015), the Syrian Government invited UN inspectors to visit the Khan al Asal attack site. Details were organised and the UN’s Special Mission finally arrived in Damascus on 18 August 2013. The Mission ‘intended to contemporaneously investigate the reported allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Khan Al Asal, Saraqueb and Sheik Maqsood’, that is three of the 16 reported sites, ‘which were deemed credible’. However, ‘after the tragic events of 21 August 2013’ the UN Secretary General directed the group to investigate that incident ‘as a matter of priority’ (UNMIAUCWSAA 2013: 7-8). The East Ghouta incident and claims of mass gassing derailed the initially planned investigations. Despite the implausibility of the Syrian Government launching a chemical weapons attack, just as it had invited UN inspectors in Damascus, the Islamist claims succeeded in gaining world attention.

2. The East Ghouta Incident

The main armed Islamist group which controlled the area, the Saudi-backed Islamic Front (Liwa al Islam), blamed the Government for gassing children. Photos of dozens of dead or injured children were circulated. Supporting the ‘rebel’ accusations, the US government and the Washington-based Human Rights Watch blamed the Syrian government. Human Rights Watch said it had ‘analyzed witness accounts of the rocket attacks, information on the likely source of the attacks, the physical remnants of the weapon systems used’, and claimed the rockets used were ‘weapon systems known and documented to be only in the possession of, and used by, Syrian government armed forces’ (HRW 2013a). Much the same was said by the US Government. Close links between the two should tell us that this was more collaboration than corroboration. A group of Nobel Prize winners would later accuse Human Rights Watch of running a ‘revolving door’ between its offices and those of the US government (Pérez Esquivel, and Maguire 2014).

The New York Times backed the US Government claim ‘that only Syrian government forces had the ability to carry out such a strike’ (Gladstone and Chivers 2013). The paper claimed vector calculations of the rocket trajectories indicated they must have been fired from Syrian Army bases in Damascus (Parry 2013). Yet studies at MIT quickly showed the rockets to have a much shorter range than was suggested. The NYT retreated from its telemetry claims saying, while ‘some argued that it was still possible the government was responsible’, new evidence ‘undermined the Obama administration’s assertions’ about the rocket launch points’ (Chivers 2013; also Parry 2013). The final MIT report was more emphatic, concluding that the rockets ‘could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the eastern edge, of the Syrian Government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013’ (Lloyd and Postol 2014).

While western media outlets mostly repeated Washington’s accusations, independent reports continued to contradict the story. Journalists Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh reported direct interviews with ‘doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families’ in the East Ghouta area. Many believed that the Islamists had received chemical weapons via Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the gas attack (Gavlak and Ababneh 2013). The father of a rebel said his son had asked ‘what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry’. His son and 12 other rebels were ‘killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha’ (Gavlak and Ababneh 2013). A female fighter complained they had no instructions on how to use chemical weapons. A rebel leader said much the same. Many of those interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government (Gavlak and Ababneh 2013).

Next a Syrian group, ISTEAMS, led by Mother Agnes Mariam, carried out a detailed examination of the video evidence, noting that bodies had been manipulated for the images and that many of the children appeared ill or drugged (ISTEAMS 2013: 32-35). The videos used ‘artificial scenic treatment … there is a flagrant lack of real families in East Ghouta … so who are the children that are exposed in those videos? (ISTEAMS 2013: 44). All reports came from ‘rebel’ controlled areas. The medical office of the area claimed 10,000 injured and 1,466 killed, 67% of whom were women and children; while the Local Coordinating Committee (an FSA linked group) said there were 1,188 victims; but videos showed less than 500 bodies, by no means all dead (ISTEAMS 2013: 36-38). Even more striking was the subsequent absence of verified bodies. ‘Eight corpses are seen buried. [The] remaining 1,458 corpses, where are they? Where are the children?’ (ISTEAMS 2013: 41). A ‘rebel’ spokesperson claimed that ‘burials took place quickly for fear the bodies might decompose as a result of the heat’ (Mroue 2013).

The ISTEAMS report suggested a possible link with a large scale abduction of children in Ballouta, Northern Latakia, just two weeks prior to the East Ghouta incident. ‘We refer also the list of the victims of the invasion of 11 Alawite villages in Lattakia the 4th of August 2013, where 150 women and children were abducted by Jobhat Al Nosra’ (ISTEAMS 2013: 43). The report said: ‘the families of some adducted women and children … recognise their relatives in the videos’, and called for an ‘unbiased’ investigation to determine the identity and whereabouts of the children (ISTEAMS 2013: 44). Later reports noted that the children abducted in northern Syria had been held in the northern town of Selma (Martin 2014; Mesler 2014), with one alleging the armed groups had drugged those children to create a video, sending it to East Ghouta to be uploaded (Mesler 2014). If this were true, those children were never in the East Ghouta.

At the end of 2013 a Turkish lawyers and writers group issued a substantial report on crimes against civilians in Syria. A particular focus was the responsibility of the Turkish Government, which was backing the ‘rebel’ groups. The report concluded that ‘most of the crimes’ against Syrian civilians, including the East Ghouta attack, were committed by ‘armed rebel forces in Syria’. The Saudi backed group Liwa al Islam, led by Zahran Alloush, was said ‘by several sources to be the organization behind the chemical attack (Peace Association and Lawyers for Justice 2013).

North American veteran journalist Seymour Hersh interviewed intelligence agents and concluded that Washington’s claims on the evidence had been fabricated. Al Nusra ‘should have been a suspect’, he said, ‘but the [US] administration cherry picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad’ (Hersh 2013). President Obama cited as evidence the Syrian Army’s preparation for a gas attack and ‘chatter’ on the Syrian airwaves at the time of the incident. However Hersh said he had found ‘intense concern’ and anger amongst agents over ‘the deliberate manipulation of intelligence’. One officer said the attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’ (Hersh 2013). The White House backgrounder combined facts after the event with those before. Hersh concludes that the White House ‘disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to [wrongly] claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons’ (Hersh 2013).

The UN special mission on chemical weapons returned to Syria in late September and investigated several sites, including East Ghouta. They decided to investigate seven of the initial sixteen reports (UNMIAUCWSAA 2013: 10). This Mission was not briefed to determined responsibility, but rather to determine whether chemical weapons had been used and what had been the results. In a December 2013 report they reported that chemical weapons had been used in Syria, and specifically ‘against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August … in Khan Al Asal on 19 March 2013 against soldiers and civilians … in Jobar on 24 August 2013 on a relatively small scale against soldiers … in Saraqueb on 24 August 2013 on a small scale, also against civilians … [and] in Ashrafiah Sahnaya on 25 August 2013 on a small scale against soldiers’ (UNMIAUCWSAA 2013: 19-21). Notice that on three of these five occasions chemical weapons were used against soldiers. Logically those attacks came from groups were fighting soldiers, not from government forces. A later report for the Human Rights Council (February 2014) noted that the chemical agents used in Khan-Al-Assal attack ‘bore the same unique hallmarks as those used in al Ghouta’; however they could not determine the perpetrator (HRC 2014: 19). The independent evidence was overwhelming and inescapable: chemical weapons had been used in East Ghouta, but the charges against the Syrian Army were fabricated.

East Ghouta chemical weapons incident (August 2013): significant reports
Source/report/evidence Method and conclusion
Carla del Ponte (UN) Pre-East Ghouta: ‘Rebels’ believed to have used sarin gas in North Syria
Various news reports Pre-East Ghouta: ‘Rebels’ (al Nusra) arrested in Turkey with sarin gas
‘Syrian Rebels’ and associates 1,300+ killed, including children, from Government CW shelling (however only 8 bodies are publicly buried)
Human Rights Watch The CW used were only in possession of the SG
New York Times Telemetry evidence links attacks to SG bases (later MIT studies force NYT to modify this claim)
Lloyd and Postol (MIT) Rockets used had limited range and could not have been fired from suggested SG positions.
Gavlak and Ababneh (MINT Press) CW had been supplied by Saudis to ‘rebel’ groups, some locals had died due to mishandling
Mother Agnes / ISTEAMS Images were contrived, no social context, only eight people buried – who are the children?
John Mesler (NSNBC) Parents identified children in photos as those kidnapped in Latakia, two weeks earlier
Seymour Hersh (LRB) Interviewed US officials. Intelligence was manipulated to blame President Assad, false claims used.
Turkish lawyers and writers group (PALJ) Saudi backed ‘rebel’ group Liwa al Islam believed to be responsible.
UN Dec 2013 report on CW attacks in Syria CW were used in East Ghouta; three of five CW attacks were ‘against soldiers’ or ‘against soldiers and civilians’
HRC Feb 2014 report chemical agents used in Khan-Al-Assal attack ‘bore the same unique hallmarks’ as those used in East Ghouta

Independent evidence came from Syrian, Jordanian, Turkish and US sources, and from a United Nations team. Further, many of the displays of children were not reliably linked to East Ghouta. Nor is there independent verification of who those children are and what happened to them. The weight of evidence proves this was another ‘false flag’ incident, designed to attract deeper foreign intervention. The scale of independent reporting which undermines claims against the Syrian Government stands in contrast to the open self-publicity of ‘rebel’ atrocities such as beheadings, public executions, truck bombings, mortaring of cities, bombing of hospitals and destruction of mosques and churches. The fact that the Syrian Army strongly contests civilian atrocity claims (the treatment of captured fighters is another matter), while many of the ‘rebel’ groups publicise their own atrocities against civilians, sets a distinct background to these controversies.

3. Chemical Fabrications and Syria’s Missing Children

After the East Ghouta incident, Islamist groups supported by a range of anti-Syrian governments kept up their accusations, while covering up their own exposures. Jabhat al Nusra claimed the chemicals they were caught with in Turkey were ‘not for making sarin gas’ (Today’s Zaman 2013). Yet video evidence from south Syria showed al Nusra using chemical weapons against Syrian soldiers (Turbeville 2014). In July 2014 barrels containing sarin were reported as discovered in parts of ‘rebel-held Syria’ (RT 2014). Then in 2015 Iraqi Kurds reported the al-Nusra breakaway group ISIS using chemical weapons (Solomon 2015; Ariel 2015). Kurdish fighters seized chlorine canisters after a suicide bomb attack which left them ‘dizzy, nauseous and weak’ (Akbar 2015).

Anti-Syrian ‘activists’, plus US-based NGOs such as Avaaz, the Syria Campaign and The White Helmets, also repeated and extended their accusations, while urging a Libyan styled ‘no fly zone’ (NFZ Syria 2015; White Helmets 2015), clearly intended to topple the Government in Damascus. By 2014 there seemed little chance that would happen. Such one-sided campaigns seemed unlikely to do much except help extend the killings. In April 2014 Al Jazeera accused the Syrian Government of using chlorine gas (Baker 2014), while anonymous activists’ accused the Syrian army of a poison gas attack (Mroue and Lucas 2015). In neither case was there any independent verification. Counter-campaigners exposed the financial and political links between Washington and a range of US-based ‘civil society’ groups like Avaaz (Morningstar 2014; Sterling 2015). Nevertheless, media channels repeated the initial claims of the East Ghouta incident, as though they were fact, oblivious to the evidence. An April 2015 article in the UK Guardian, for example, claimed in its backgrounder that the Syrian Government had used chemical weapons and ‘killed up to 1,400 people in August 2013’ (Black 2015).

The smokescreens around chemical weapons have effectively derailed reasonable public discussion about the war in Syria, at least in western circles; and perhaps that was the point. It is sad, though, that reasonable discussion of the evidence should matter so little. Further, the constant stream of fabrications have certainly aggravated and helped prolong the violence. Islamist militia carry out their crimes with relative impunity, often blaming them on the Syrian Government.

Another crime has been buried by the chemical fabrications: the fate of the children kidnapped in Ballouta. Even Human Rights Watch reported this crime (HRW 2013b), if not the link to the children said to have been injured or killed in East Ghouta. This mass kidnapping was just one of many by the Islamist groups. The victims are held for ransom, for prisoner exchanges, or simply slaughtered because they are thought be from pro-government families. The latter was the case with Alawi families in the Aqrab massacre (Thompson 2012), while a failed prisoner exchange was behind the Daraya massacre (Fisk 2012).

However in the East Ghouta incident, several sources (ISTEAMS 2013; Martin 2014; Mesler 2014) now link the Ballouta children to the photos of the dead or drugged little bodies said to be in Ghouta. That is, their images may have been uploaded from East Ghouta but the bodies were never there. While some of those kidnapped were released in a 2014 prisoner exchange, many are still held; and this is said to be why many families in north Syria have not yet more publicly identified their children. The want to see them released. Western media sources continue refer to ’1,400′ dead, without names, but only eight bodies are known to have been buried. In the fog of war, Mother Agnes Mariam has been right all along to insist on names and details of people killed, and not just a recital of numbers, as though these killings were a cricket match. Back in September 2013 her ISTEAMS group posed one of the most most vital questions of this whole affair: ‘Eight corpses are seen buried’. [The] remaining 1,458 corpses, where are they? Where are the children?’ (ISTEAMS 2013: 41).

Notes:

Al Akhras, Samir (2013) Interview with this writer, Damascus, 24 December

Al Jazeera (2013) ‘Syria rebels made own sarin gas, says Russia’, 10 July, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/07/20137920448105510.html

Anderson, Tim (2015) ‘The Houla Massacre Revisited: “Official Truth” in the Dirty War on Syria’, Global Research, 24 March, online: http://www.globalresearch.ca/houla-revisited-official-truth-in-the-dirty-war-on-syria/5438441

Ariel, Ben (2015) ‘United States ‘concerned’ about ISIS use of chlorine gas’, Arutz Sheva, 17 March, online:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/192730#.VSJJc5MY6q4

Akbar, Jay (2015) ‘More evidence emerges of ISIS using chemical weapons as Kurdish fighters seize chlorine canisters after suicide bomb attack that left them ‘dizzy, nauseous and weak’’, 15 March, Daily Mail, online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2995150/More-evidence-emerges-ISIS-using-chemical-weapons-Kurdish-fighters-seize-chlorine-canisters-suicide-bomb-attack-left-dizzy-nauseous-weak.html

Baker, Graeme (2014) ‘Syrian regime accused of chlorine gas attacks’, Al Jazeera, 17 April, online:http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/04/syrian-regime-accused-chlorine-gas-attacks-201441703230338216.html

Barnard, Anne (2013) ‘Syria and Activists Trade Charges on Chemical Weapons’, New York Times, 19 March, online:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/world/middleeast/syria-developments.html?pagewanted=all

BBC (2013) UN’s Del Ponte says evidence Syria rebels ‘used sarin’’, 6 May, online: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22424188

Black, Ian (2015) ‘Former ambassador attacks Cameron’s ‘arrogant’ Syria policy’, UK Guardian, 8 April, online:http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/07/former-ambassador-attacks-camerons-arrogant-syria-policy

Chivers, C.J. (2013) ‘New Study Refines View of Sarin Attack in Syria’, New York Times, online: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/world/middleeast/new-study-refines-view-of-sarin-attack-in-syria.html

Eva Pal (2014) ‘Talk with Lilly Martin and Steven Sahiounie, part 1’, YouTube, May 10, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc2HRk42O-w

Fisk, Robert (2012) ‘Inside Daraya – how a failed prisoner swap turned into a massacre’, 29 August:http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-inside-daraya–how-a-failed-prisoner-swap-turned-into-a-massacre-8084727.html

Gavlak, Dale and Yahya Ababneh (2013) ‘Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack’, MINT PRESS, August 29, online: http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/

Gerard Direct (2012) ‘Syria: jihadist al-Nusra Front seizes chemical factory near Aleppo’, 9 December, online:http://gerarddirect.com/2012/12/09/syria-jihadist-al-nusra-front-siezes-chemical-factory-in-allepo/

Gladstone, Rick and C.J Chivers (2013) ‘Forensic Details in U.N. Report Point to Assad’s Use of Gas’, New York Times, 16 September, online: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/world/europe/syria-united-nations.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1387381766-55AjTxhuELAeFSCuukA7Og

Hersh, Seymour M. (2013) ‘Whose Sarin?’, London Review of Books, Vol. 35 No. 24, 19 December, 9-12, online:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n24/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin

Hersh, Seymour M. (2014) ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line’, London Review of Books, 36:8, 17 April, pp 21-24, online:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

HRC (2014) ‘Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic’, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/25/65, 12 February, online: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/IICISyria/Pages/IndependentInternationalCommission.aspx

HRW (2013a) ‘Attacks on Ghouta: Analysis of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria’, Human Rights Watch, Washington,10 September, online: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/09/10/attacks-ghouta

HRW (2013b) ‘You Can Still See Their Blood’, Human Rights Watch, Washington, 11 October, online:http://www.hrw.org/node/119675/

ISTEAMS (2013) ‘Independent Investigation of Syria Chemical Attack Videos and Child Abductions’, 15 September, online:http://www.globalresearch.ca/STUDY_THE_VIDEOS_THAT_SPEAKS_ABOUT_CHEMICALS_BETA_VERSION.pdf

Lloyd, Richard and Theodore A. Postol (2014) ‘Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013’, MIT, January 14, Washington DC, online: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1006045-possible-implications-of-bad-intelligence.html#storylink=relast

Malas, Nour (2013) ‘As Syrian Islamists Gain, It’s Rebel Against Rebel’, Wall Street Journal, 29 may, online:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323975004578499100684326558.html

Martin, Lilly (2014) in Deena Stryker ‘The Hidden Australia/Syria Story’, Op Ed News, 22 December, online:http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Hidden-Australia-Syria-by-Deena-Stryker-Children_Community_Death_Government-141222-294.html

Mesler, John (2014) ‘Combating the Propaganda Machine in Syria: The ‘Moderate Opposition’, the Children from Ballouta, and the Sarin Gas Attack on Eastern Ghouta’, NSNBC, 10 October, online: http://nsnbc.me/2014/10/10/combating-propaganda-machine-syria/

Morningstar, Cory (2014) ‘Syria, Avaaz, Purpose and the art of selling hate for empire’, Wrong Kinds of Green, 17 September, online: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/tag/white-helmets/

Mortada, Radwan (2012) ‘Syria Alternatives (II): no homegrown solutions’, Al Akhbar, 13 June, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria-alternatives-ii-no-homegrown-solutions

Mortada, Radwan (2013) ‘The Battle for Qusayr: Decisive Victory or War of Attrition?’, Al Akhbar, May 21, online:http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/15864

Mroue, Bassem (2013) ‘Syrian forces bomb area of alleged chemical attack’ USA Today, 22 August, online:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/22/syria-attack/2683855/

Mroue, Bassem and Ryan Lucas (2015) ‘Activists accuse Syrian military of deadly poison gas attack’, 17 march, online:http://news.yahoo.com/group-syrian-attacks-may-amount-war-crimes-074128323.html

NFZ Syria (2015) ‘Call from Syria: London march 26th April’, 4 April, online: http://www.nfzsyria.org/

NTI (2013) ‘Syrian militants have access to chlorine gas: plant owner’, 1 April, online: http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/syrian-militants-have-access-chlorine-gas-plant-owner/

Parry, Robert (2013) ‘NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis’, Global Research, 30 December, online:http://www.globalresearch.ca/nyt-backs-off-its-syria-sarin-analysis/5363023

Peace Association and Lawyers for Justice in Turkey (2013) ‘War Crimes Committed Against the People of Syria’, December, online: http://www.wpc-in.org/sites/default/files/documents/war-crimes-committed-againts-the-people-of-syria.pdf

RT (2013) ‘Turkey finds sarin gas in homes of suspected Syrian Islamists – reports’, 30 may, online: http://rt.com/news/sarin-gas-turkey-al-nusra-021/

RT (2014) ‘‘Abandoned’ barrels containing deadly sarin seized in rebel-held Syria’, 8 July, online: http://rt.com/news/171076-two-sarin-barrels-found-syria/

SANA (2011) ‘Mother Agnes Merriam al-Saleeb: Nameless Gunmen Possessing Advanced Firearms Terrorize Citizens and Security in Syria’, Syrian Free Press Network, 19 November, online: http://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/mother-agnes-merriam-al-saleeb-nameless-gunmen-possessing-advanced-firearms-terrorize-citizens-and-security-in-syria/

Smith-Spark, Laura and Tom Cohen (2013) ‘U.S., Russia agree to framework on Syria chemical weapons’, CNN, 15 September, online: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/14/politics/us-syria/

Solomon, Erica (2015) ‘Iraqi Kurds claim ISIS used chemical weapons’, Financial Times, 14 March, online:http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e69cfca-ca78-11e4-8973-00144feab7de.html#axzz3WW8sO2k1

Turbeville, Brandon (2014) ‘New video evidence points to al-Nusra chemical attack against Syrian soldiers’, 5 May, Online:http://www.activistpost.com/2014/05/new-video-evidence-points-to-al-nusra.html

Stack, Liam and Hania Mourtada (2012) ‘Members of Assad’s Sect Blamed in Syria Killings’, New York Times, December 12, online: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/world/middleeast/alawite-massacre-in-syria.html?_r=0

Sterling, Rick (2015) ‘Humanitarians for War on Libya’, Syrian Free Press, 5 April, online: https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2015/04/05/report-44442/

Thompson, Alex (2012) ‘Was there a massacre in the Syrian town of Aqrab?’, 14 December: http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/happened-syrian-town-aqrab/3426

Today’s Zaman (2013) ‘Detained al-Nusra members say chemicals not for making sarin gas’, 13 September, online:http://www.todayszaman.com/national_detained-al-nusra-members-say-chemicals-not-for-making-sarin-gas_326332.html

UN (2013) United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, December, online: https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/report.pdf

UNMIAUCWSAA (2013) ‘Final report’, United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, 12 December, online: https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/report.pdf

White Helmets (2015) ‘It’s time to stop the bombs’, March, online: https://www.whitehelmets.org/

o o o

Original article by Tim Anderson [GlobalResearch 12/4/2015]

o o o

Appendix: Some of my own articles about Syria:

Syria Updates: The New Islamic Front And Whodunnit III
Syria Chemical Weapons Attack – Whodunnit II
Demolition Of CW Stockpiles Is Only Contributory Factor In The Syria War
The Four-stage Plan For Syria – Can It Work
Whodunnit in Syria
Syrian Rebels Admit Chemical Attack In Damascus???
Syria: From War To Dissolution With Help Of Media


Iran Nuke Deal And Israel

April 4, 2015

 

israel_iran_nuclearAfter 18 months of negotiating, Iran has come to a preliminary agreement – on 2nd Apr. 2015 – with China, Russia, France, UK, US and Germany (P5+1) on Tehran’s nuclear program. Niw the framework agreement is made but the negotiations for a final deal will continue through June 30th 2015.

In brief according the Iran nuke deal Iran’s stockpile and enrichment capacity will be limited and all nuclear-specific financial and economic sanctions against Iran will end. Officially Israel is against the agreement but there is also other opinions existing.

original

The framework deal

Here are the specifics of the preliminary deal:

  • The UN would end all previous resolutions sanctioning Iran, and would incorporate other restrictions for an agreed-upon time, according to Thursday’s announcements.
  • To build a nuclear bomb, uranium needs to be enriched to about 90 percent. The 3.67 percent agreed by Tehran means it would be practically impossible for Iran to build a nuclear weapon, but would allow it to use nuclear material for peaceful purposes.
  • Uranium is the key ingredient necessary in order to operate a nuclear program. Once it has been enriched, it can be used to generate power or create a nuclear weapon. According deal Iran to cut the amount it keeps from 10,000kg to just 300kg
  • Iran cuts centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,104, with 5,060 for enrichment Uranium stockpiles.
  • Iran’s nuclear facility at Fordow will be converted to a nuclear technology and nuclear physics center. The facility at Arak will be repurposed as a heavy-water research reactor that will not be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium.
  • Inspections – IAEA will have access to all Iran’s nuclear facilities
  • Sanctions – Iran will see sanctions lifted. Sanctions introduced against Iran have had a devastating effect on its economy. Areas such as oil and gas have been affected, while Tehran’s finance sector was also hit. This made it difficult for to trade on the world market, while areas such as Iran’s aviation industry suffered, as they were unable to get spare parts from the US and the West. Once sanctions are lifted, it will be a massive boost to Tehran’s economy as it will increase trade and see new investment into the country.

Risks?

  • Given the political situation in U.S. there is risk that U.S. Congress will not ratify the deal nor remove sanctions or that the new President, government and Congress will cancel the whole possible final deal.
  • There is also risk that Iran will continue to develop nuclear weapons and/or Israel will make air-strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities anyway.
  • There are now 12 sanctions in effect that target Iran’s energy O&G sector. And there are 20 sanctions that target the country’s financial sector, rendering it extremely challenging to conduct any transactions with Iran. The tentative deal neither outlines which specific sanctions will be removed first, nor the sequence in which they will be rescinded.
  • Even if a final accord is reached by June 30, it will take months before weapons inspectors arrive, assess and report on whether Iran is compliant with the accord. Consequently, it is very likely that this could delay the unleashing of Iranian oil into the global market for anywhere from six months to a year or more.

original (2)

Israeli reactions

Israel opposes the terms of the framework agreement, because it allows Iran to retain some infrastructure that could be used for producing nuclear arms if Iran chooses to violate the framework’s terms. In recent months, this issue has clouded U.S.-Israel relations. Israel will not accept an agreement that allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and it demands Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period,” Netanyahu said in what could be interpreted as a threat to act against Iran. (Source: VirtualJerusalem )

In Israel there is also other opinions about the Iran nuke deal. Ron Ben-Yishai, the senior military analyst for Israel’s most mainstream newspaper, Yedioth Aharonot, penned a column early Friday morning in which he said the deal was better than expected. Urging caution going forward, Ben-Yishai said that if the current framework reflects the final agreement, “even Israel could learn to live with it.” “We could not have achieved a better outcome even if Israel, the United States, and other countries had carried out military strikes on the nuclear sites in Iran,” Ben-Yishai.

Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid wrote that Israel will have a hard time fighting the agreement, the comprehensiveness of which caught many in Jerusalem by surprise. “In contrast to the messages conveyed in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at Congress, the Israeli government’s public position over the last two years and the Pavlovian response that came out of Jerusalem on Thursday night, the framework agreement is not a bad deal at all,” Ravid wrote.

 

There is Jews in Iran too

“We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless, bloodsucking Zionists.” (Ayatollah Khomeini )

The beginnings of Jewish history in Iran date back to late biblical times. Persian Jews have lived in the territories of today’s Iran for over 2,700 years, since the first Jewish diaspora when the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V conquered the (Northern) Kingdom of Israel (722 BC) and sent the Israelites (the Ten Lost Tribes) into captivity at Khorasan. In 586 BC, the Babylonians expelled large populations of Jews from Judea to the Babylonian captivity. Jews who migrated to ancient Persia mostly lived in their own communities. The Persian Jewish communities include the ancient (and until the mid-20th century still-extant) communities of Iran.

Yusef Abad synagogue Tehran

Yusef Abad synagogue Tehran

At the time of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, there were approximately 140,000–150,000 Jews living in Iran, the historical center of Persian Jewry. About 95% have since migrated, with the immigration accelerating after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the population dropped from 100,000 to about 40,000. Today the figure is some 8.000-25.000. There might be discrimination of Jews in Iran but on the other hand Jews in Iran are formally to be treated equally and free to practice their religion.

Iran’s Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority group by the government, and there is even a seat in the Iranian parliament reserved for the representative of the Iranian Jews. Maurice Motamed, a former Jewish Iranian parliamentarian states that in recent years, the Iranian government has allowed Jewish Iranians to visit their family members in Israel and that the government has also allowed those Iranians living in Israel to return to Iran for a visit. Today Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools; it has two kosher restaurants, an old-age home and a cemetery (Source and more e.g. Wiki )

 

My view

If the latest Iran nuke deal will realize and even implemented I think it will be a win-win solution for most of stakeholders with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia. This said especially when asked what is the alternative? From my perspective all alternatives – war, air-strike to facilities or more sanctions – are worse. Iran has spread its nuclear facilities across the country and underground so airstrikes probably don’t delay Iran’s nuclear programme more than planned deal. To Iran agreement lets continue its research and gives it the benefits of nuclear energy as well the benefits of nuclear medical research and gives good change to develop Iran’s economy with wider international cooperation.

 How-Israel-can-strike-Iran-

Appendix 1: Interpretation

Here is a link to the text of the agreement that was presented by the EU.

Here is the text published by the White House. There is different interpretation between these versions.

As was pointed by Iran’s foreign minister. 

Here the larger background and details on Wikipedia.

 

Appendix 2: My earlier articles about Iran nuke:

Iran Nuke Deal Enables The Détente

End Game Approaches on Nuclear Iran

Iran’s nuclear program at the crossroads

Read also:

Iranians And Israeli Instead Of Israel Vs. Iran

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: