This post was published at TheRealNews
At least two rioters have been killed during clashes with the Israeli army along the border of the Gaza strip on Friday. And of course, the media didn’t hesitate to blame their deaths on President Trump…
So, post #Trump‘s announcement on #Jerusalem, we’ve had one anti-Semitic attack in the Netherlands, and a Palestinian has been shot dead near Gaza, with thousands injured. More of the same to come…
– Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) December 8, 2017
Disturbances and demonstrations broke out in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip on Friday after Hamas, the terrorist organization that until recently exercised unilateral conrol over the Gaza Strip, called for Palestinians to rise up in a third Intifada against the Israelis while also declaring Friday a “Day of Rage following Trump’s Wednesday decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered the State Department to begin preparations to move the US embassy there. While most of Israel’s administrative services are based in West Jerusalem, most embassies and foreign diplomats are based in Tel Aviv.
While Trump’s decision sparked outrage among leaders of the Muslim world and even drew a rebuke from the UN Security Council, the president pointed out in a late-night tweet that every former US president since at least Bill Clinton has promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.
Trying to figure out what on earth is happening in the Middle East appears to have gotten a lot harder. Perhaps (because) it’s become more dangerous too. There are so many players, and connections between players, involved now that even making one of those schematic representations would never get it right. Too many unknown unknowns.
A short and incomplete list of the actors: Sunni, Shiite, Saudi Arabia, US, Russia, Turkey, ISIS, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kurds, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, Qatar, Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Houthis, perhaps even Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan. I know I know, add your favorites.
So what have we got, or what do we know we’ve got?
We seem to have the US lining up with Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. Broadly. But that’s just a -pun intended- crude start.
Putin has been getting closer to the Saudis because of the OPEC production cuts, trying to jack up the price of oil. Which ironically has now been achieved on the heels of the arrests of 11 princes and scores of other wealthy and powerful in the kingdom. But Putin also recently signed a $30 billion oil -infrastructure- deal with Iran. And he’s been cuddling up to Israel as well.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.
While Trump’s just announced decision to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to unwind Obama’s landmark deal, was widely leaked previously even though few can point to what terms of the agreement Iran has violated, one aspect of Trump’s Iran statement was unclear: whether he would designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or IRGC, the elite wing of Iran’s army, a terrorist organization – a move which Iran vowed would prompt “decisive , crushing” retaliation.
Trump did just that, and the new, sweeping sanctions on the IRGC could affect conflicts in Iraq and Syria, where Tehran and Washington both support warring parties that oppose the Islamic State militant group.
This is what the Treasury’s OFAC unit posted on its sanctions website moments ago:
Treasury Designates the IRGC under Terrorism Authority and Targets IRGC and Military Supporters under Counter-Proliferation Authority WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) pursuant to the global terrorism Executive Order (E. O.) 13224 and consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. OFAC designated the IRGC today for its activities in support of the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which was designated pursuant to E. O. 13224 on October 25, 2007, for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban. The IRGC has provided material support to the IRGC-QF, including by providing training, personnel, and military equipment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.
Qatar has been known for years as a small peninsula nation that punches far above its weight. Its immense oil wealth and enormous influence, through its English- and Arabic-language Al Jazeera channels, have given it diplomatic clout across the Arab world. Its soft power has been felt in negotiations in Darfur, Tripoli, Sanaa and elsewhere. Everywhere it has been either admired or envied.
Now Qatar is on its back feet, fighting off criticism from all sides. Qatar’s candidate to run UNESCO is now almost certain to lose; a few months earlier, he was the frontrunner. Activists are pressing FIFA to bar Qatar from hosting the World Cup. Pressure is mounting to close the U. S. air base in Qatar; U. S. Air Force general Charles Wald, who opened the base in 2001, is now, in retirement, publicly calling for its closure. A coalition of thirty-four thousand predominantly African American churches protested Qatar in Washington, DC, on June 28, citing Qatar’s persecution of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities. (Qatar bans crosses on the outside of churches and bars public prayer by Christians, even though there may be more Christians in the country than the three hundred thousand native Qataris.) The protest, outside Qatar’s embassy at Twenty-Fifth and M Streets, is the first-ever public demonstration against Qatar in Washington. It won’t be the last.
Even more dramatically, Qatar’s neighbors and allies have turned against it. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed their air and sea ports to Qatar’s planes and ships. The Arab-language media is full of venom directed at Qatar. Now it is either pitied or feared. What happened? Qatar was found to be funding the enemies of America and its Arab allies. Washington policymakers are concerned that Qatar has funded, according to the U. S. State department, Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria as well as elements of ISIS – the very groups America is bombing in its campaign to liberate northern Iraq. It also supports Hamas, which both the United States and EU have designated as a terrorist organization. Bahrain believes that Qatar is supporting armed opposition groups against its royal family. The Saudis fault Qatar’s financial support to the Yemen-based Houthi rebels (opposed to the Saudi regime) as well as Qatar’s backing for violent opposition groups in the Saudi province of Al Qatif, which is mostly Shia.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 2, 2017.
Authored by Maria Polizoidou via The Gatestone Institute,
If even the partial information that Efthimios (Makis) Yiannousakis revealed during the interviews is true, the upper echelons of Greek society have good reason to want to silence him. The true culprit, however, is the “deep state” and its links to Iran, through the drug trade. It is an open secret by now that heroin revenues are used by Middle East regimes to fund terrorist and other questionable organizations, such as ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The case of the Noor 1 illustrates one of the ways that both the drugs themselves and terrorist operations are exported to Europe. The possible direct and indirect involvement of figures at the highest levels of Greek society makes it nearly impossible for the government alone to get to the bottom of the case, and protect key witnesses from bodily harm. It needs help now, preferably from the U. S. Justice Department and security agencies. The complete dismantling of the drug-terrorism circuit is not only a pressing issue for Greece. It is an international security imperative. New details surrounding a three-year-old drug-smuggling case in Greece are causing a political storm that could have global implications.
In June 2014, the Greek Coast Guard uncovered and seized 986 kilograms of heroin stashed in a warehouse in a suburb of Athens, and another 1,133 kilograms in two other locations, claiming that the more than two tons of drugs — valued at $30 million — had been smuggled on a tanker, the “Noor 1,” from the “territorial waters between Oman and Pakistan.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.
Qatar’s foreign minister on June 19 said his country wouldn’t bargain away what it sees as its sovereign rights and called on the Saudi alliance to conduct negotiations in a ‘civilized way,’ after first lifting the blockade. He said Qataris were united behind their emir, and called Al-Jazeera and foreign policy as internal affairs not open to negotiation.
The boycotting nations demanded that Qatar stop all funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt, Bahrain, the U.S. and other countries, and hand over any individuals wanted in these countries.
Qatar gas wealth enabled it to develop foreign policies that came to irritate its neighbors. It backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and armed factions opposed by the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia in Libya and Syria. Gas also paid for Al-Jazeera, which at various times has embarrassed or angered most Middle Eastern governments.
The channel has supported dissidents against Arab dictators. Over the years, it enraged Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian leaders who have often stopped its transmissions and kicked out its staff.
‘Qatar may not fully comply with the list, but it has to take these demands into consideration and finally make a move toward reviewing its foreign policy and the editorial line of the main media outlet, Al-Jazeera,’ Nader said.
This post was published at bloomberg
Iran vowed to take revenge for Islamic State attacks in its capital on Wednesday and hinted that it may hold Saudi Arabia responsible, risking an escalation of the feud that’s divided the oil-rich Gulf region into increasingly hostile camps.
Islamic State said it carried out the suicide-bomb and gun attacks that killed at least 12 people at Iran’s parliament and the shrine of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a site of political and religious importance for Iran’s Shiite Muslim population. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps promised retribution for the ‘innocent blood spilled’ in the first such strike by the jihadists in Iran. And, the Guards said, Iranians won’t fail to note that the violence came soon after U.S. President Donald Trump met with ‘leaders of a reactionary government in the region which supports terrorists’ — an apparent reference to the Saudis.
The contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the region’s main Sunni power, has helped fuel wars in Syria and Yemen. It spread to the heart of the Gulf this week as the Saudis led a drive to isolate Qatar, blaming their neighbor for ties with Iran and militant groups, and closing its land border. Trump, who endorsed the Saudi pressure while other U.S. officials appealed for calm, visited the kingdom last month and joined King Salman in calling for a united front against Iran and jihadism.
‘Today’s attack adds to cross-Gulf tensions that already had been elevated by the Trump trip — in which anti-Iranism was a principal theme — and by the Iran angle in the actions taken against Qatar,’ said Paul Pillar, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington and former CIA officer.
Saudi and Iranian leaders blame each other for sponsoring militant groups. The Saudis point to Iranian support for Hezbollah and Hamas, while Iran says Saudi preachers and financial support aided the rise of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
This post was published at bloomberg
Yesterday’s news that Saudi Arabia has issued an ultimatum to Qatar, listing ten demands among which that Qatar end all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, has prompted a dramatic response by the small Gulf nation, and according to a just released report by Arabic CNN (and confirmed locally) US officials have said they have observed increased Qatari military activity as the country placed its forces “on the highest state of alert” over fears of an imminent military incursion.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.
What’s going down in the Middle East right now is the perfect example of a black swan event. Out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Yemen, and the Maldives cut off diplomatic relations with the nation of Qatar several days ago. Saudi Arabia and the UAE (who are leading the charge against Qatar) have since placed a naval blockade on Qatar, and have cut air and land links with the nation as well.
Keep in mind that Qatar is a fairly small nation, surrounded by larger neighbors that are basically threatening to completely cut them off from the rest of the world if they don’t comply with their demands, which are to cut ties with Iran, as well as radical organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The blockade is so serious, that the residents of Qatar have been stripping grocery stores bare in anticipation of food shortages.
And on top of that, Saudi Arabia has just issued an ultimatum to Qatar, with conditions that the nation must comply with over the next 24 hours if they want diplomatic relations to normalize. According to a journalist with Al-Jazeera, the demands include the following:
This post was published at shtfplan on June 7th, 2017.
Shortly after imposing a naval blockade in the immediate aftermath of the Qatar diplomatic crisis, one which left the small Gulf nation not only politically isolated and with severed ties to its neighbors but potentially locked out of maritime trade and crippling its oil and LNG exports, on Tuesday SkyNews Arabia reported that Saudi Arabia has given Qatar a 24 hours ultimatum, starting tonight, to fulfill 10 conditions that have been conveyed to Kuwait, which is currently involved in the role of a mediator between Saudi and Qatar.
According to media report, among the key demands by Saudi Arabia is that Qatar end all ties Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 6, 2017.
Saturday on “Justice”, Judge Jeanine Pirro responded to President Obama’s order that US intelligence agencies investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, and submit the results of their studies to him before he leaves office in January.
“Seriously? Why Now?” Pirro said, ” You have been watching the release of information from WikiLeaks for months. You have watched teh release of Hillary Clintons emails [and ] John Podesta’s emails, and the disturbing information contained therein.”
Pirro said Obama’s order is an attempt to prevent President-elect Donald Trump from experiencing a smooth transition of power, due to the president’s inability to process the New York businessman’s electoral victory.
“Why are you so obsessed with Russia? You, who cut a deal and were made a fool of by… Iran– you know the one that funds Hezbollah and Hamas and whose people yell ‘Death to America’.”
Pirro noted Hillary too has blamed Moscow for interfering in the election, and said leading Democrats’ narratives have been part of an effort to “build a wall” to prevent Trump from “making America great again”.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2016.
This is being done at the behest of Hamas-linked CAIR. Is Assemblymember Bill Quirk aware that Hamas-linked CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case – so named by the Justice Department? CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. (Ahmad denies this, but the original reporter stands by her story.) A California chapter distributed a poster telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI, and a Florida chapter distributed pamphlets with the same message. CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has been proposed or implemented and has beendeclared a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2016.
Late last month in “ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: ‘Raqqa’s Rockefellers’, Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection’, we highlighted a report from Al-Araby al-Jadeed which implicates Israel in Islamic State’s lucrate illegal oil trade.
You’re encouraged to read the entire article, but summing up, the contention is that ISIS crude is transported through Turkey to the port of Ceyhan and from there, it makes its way to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Al-Araby al-Jadeed goes on to quote ‘a European official at an international oil company,’ as saying that “Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel.’
But the connection between Israel and ISIS doesn’t end there. Earlier this year, Islamic State released a video threatening to bring down Hamas in Gaza. As Reuters noted at the time, ‘Islamic State insurgents threatened to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organisation that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.’Here’s the clip:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/04/2015.
Even before any major world powers were willing to go public (so to speak) with their involvement in Syria’s five-year, bloody civil war, it was difficult to keep track of the myriad rebel factions, militant groups, and jihadists battling the Assad regime for control of the country.
In a testament to just how confusing (not to mention terrifying) the situation had become by the time Iran began to mull asking the Russians for help, in April, 18,000 civilians ended up trapped in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus where al-Nusra, ISIS, Hamas, the FSA, and the Assad regime were all fighting each other simultaneously in what UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon called ‘the worst circle of hell.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/01/2015.
Earlier this month, conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt embarrassed Donald Trump on air with a series of questions about Mid-East foreign policy issues that included quizzing the GOP frontrunner on the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah as well as asking Trump to explain the significance of Iranian power brokers breaking UN travel bans to help coordinate the Syrian war effort with The Kremlin.
Trump clearly didn’t know it, but he had a great opportunity for a GOP-voter-friendly soundbite.
What he should have said, if he wanted to bolster his position with Republican primary voters who might be a bit concerned about his foreign policy credentials was something along the lines of this: “Hamas and Hezbollah are both threats to our ally Israel and when we see things like broken UN travel bans by important Iranians it means the Obama administration has weakened Washington’s position vis-a-vis Iran by signing a bad nuclear deal.”
Of course Hewitt knew Trump wouldn’t be able to answer the questions and so to be fair to the Teflon Don, it was most assuredly a media ‘gotcha’ moment, but what it did underscore is the extent to which Trump is strong on overarching foreign policy themes (‘America is weak, our leaders are losers, our deals are terrible’) and short on specifics, even when the opportunity to support his contentions literally falls into his lap.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/29/2015.