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Total number of comments: 1877 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • Will Bolton and MEK pull an Iraq War-like Chalabi-type Scam on Iran?
    • ".....MEK is headed by Maryam Rajavi, who has met with various Washington policymakers. Bolton has spoken at eight MEK rallies...."

      The MEK and Rajavi have been prominent since the 1970s when they opposed the Shah's rule in Iran and were considered to be a Marxist-Islamic cult.

      The U.S. State Department had designated MEK as a foreign terror organization, however they enlisted prominent Americans as paid lobbyists - such as Rudy Giuliani - and got that designation lifted.

      The U.S. intelligence community gave MEK operatives training in signal communications at a U.S. Army base.

      MEK agents within Iran were suspected in involvement with targeting Iranian nuclear scientists.

      MEK has documented close ties to the Israeli government.

      Some links:

      link to alternet.org

      link to guardian.com

      link to unitedwithisrael.org

      link to iran-interlink.org

      wwww.tehrantimes.com/news/422581/Israel-envoy-MBS-Rajavi-meet-in-France-sources

  • Iraq on Syria Strikes: We've seen this Movie and it doesn't End Well
    • @John O'Dwyer:

      I stand corrected.

      It was the 1985 Rome and Vienna airport terror attacks that were aided and abetted by Libya that the Reagan administration used as a partial basis for the 1986 Libya raid

    • It has gone unnoticed that the Syria airstrikes occurred on April 15th, the 32nd anniversary of Pres. Reagan's unilateral decision to bomb Libya - without any type of Congressional approval - from an RAF base in England. Two F-111 pilots died in the Libya raid and 60 Libyans were casualties.

      Libya lodged a protest with the United Nations and the General Assembly condemned the USAF action as in violation of international law. Subsequently, the United States resolved legal claims by the victims of that raid as part of a global settlement between the U.S. government and Libya that included payment of compensation for victims of alleged Libyan complicity in the Lockerbie aircraft bombing. That settlement included the re-establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the governments of the U.S. and Libya.

      Reagan received widespread acclaim for authorizing the Libya air attack - however a key difference with that raid was that it was in response to the Lockerbie terror bombing in which numerous U.S. citizens died and a subsequent bombing at a German discotheque that killed an American U.S. Army sergeant.

      In the instant case, there had been no claim by the Trump administration that U.S. citizens were being endangered by the use of poison gas in Syria. It is a key distinction which places the recent airstrikes on very tenuous legal grounds.

      I really do not see the polling of U.S. or British public as very relevant - rather the inquiry should be whether violations of the U.S. Constitution or British law were committed so as to render the bombings impeachable offenses.

  • Reality Show violence in the Age of Trump: Striking Syria
    • ".........I don't get your reference to the Steel Seizure Case, so tell me what I'm missing....."

      The Steel Seizure Case contained not only the oft-cited concurring opinion of Justice Jackson but also the concurring opinion of Felix Frankfurter regarding historical Congressional acquiescence as a gloss on executive power.

      One of the reasons President Truman's actions were invalidated by the Court in the Steel Seizure Case was clear Congressional intent in the Taft-Hartley Act that forbade the very conduct Truman undertook.

      In the case at issue, the War Powers Act of 1973 delineates situations in which the chief executive may proceed militarily without initial Congressional approval - and Trump's unilateral bombing of Syria fits none of these. Reagan's authorizing the Libyan attack had a history of four Americans killed in the 1985 Rome and Vienna terror attacks and the immediate killing of a U.S. Army non-commissioned officer at a Berlin dance hall in a second terror attack - the situation was arguably authorized by the War Powers Act due to apparent Libyan complicity in ongoing terror attacks directed at Americans. Here, there was no asserted basis that American lives were being endangered in Syria due to alleged poison gas attacks - hence the third prong of Jackson's concurrence invalidates Trump's conduct.

      Many constitutional scholars have opined that Truman's authorization of U.S. forces in Korea was unconstitutional as a United Nations Security Council resolution cannot serve as the legal basis to circumvent the constitutional power of Congress to declare war.

    • "It was not authorized by Congress.........."

      This has not gone unnoticed by U.S. House members.

      Young GOP Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, who is libertarian in political orientation and an Arab-American, opined:

      "These offensive strikes against Syria are unconstitutional, illegal and reckless. the next speaker of the House must reclaim congressional war powers as prescribed in Article I of the Constitution. Speaker Ryan has abdicated his most important responsibilities."

      If one examines the Steel Seizure Case in which the U.S . Supreme Court limited the presidential power of Harry Truman without Congressional approval, it is clear that there is a reasonable argument that Trump has overstepped the range of his independent authority in authorizing the recent missile strikes in Syria - he could be impeached for this and a number of Republican Congressional leaders would agree with Rep. Amash on this point.

  • Top 5 Lessons from the History of America's Defeats
    • Following WWII, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his Minister of Economics Ludwig Erhard engineered the German Economic Miracle that brought low inflation and industrial expansion to West Germans.

      One of the factors cited by experts in economics for this post-war success that the Allies forbade Germany from becoming a military power anew, only requiring them to pay for Allied occupation expenses. The concept of imperialism was erased from German politics after WWII.

      Today Germany serves as economic juggernaut for the free world. Automaker Daimler-Benz purchased Chrysler Corporation at one point and German companies have significant Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. in not only the manufacturing sector but also commercial real estate.

      Post-WWII Japan likewise renounced her imperialistic ambitions and has become economically powerful partly due to having only a token national defense structure. Japan, via international banking houses after the Second World War, entered the steel industry and became a worldwide leader in automotive manufacturing as well as electronics and medical research.

      Germany and Japan's post-war economic success is directly traceable to their forced isolationism.

      America and the former Soviet Union, on the other hand, dug themselves into huge financial holes by engaging in massive national defense spending and occupying foreign countries. Korean and Vietnam Wars, the nuclear arms race, creation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact alliances, covert and overt intelligence operations have drained trillions of dollars from the respective economies of the U.S. and the former Soviet republics.

      Today Russia is in economic shambles and America's survives only with trillions of dollars of Foreign Direct Investment from other countries having economic success - such as Saudi Arabia with $10 trillion sunk in prime real estate, blue-chip stocks and other quality investments. China and Japan finance almost half of the U.S. national debt - which is a by-product of their shrewdness in generating large amounts of surplus revenues in their national treasuries and banking systems.

      America has a huge foreign trade deficit and has had such a deficit problem for decades. This is despite the fact billions are allocated each year by the U.S.for foreign aid to countries tin which the "return" is dubious at best.

      America needs to give thanks to Germany, Saudi Arabia, China and Japan for being able to prop up the U.S. economy and save it from disaster.

  • Why Trump can't reverse Syrian regime dirty win in Ghouta & why Iran is Gloating
    • Some perceive the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) - which controls Rojava, is Kurdish-dominated and helped eradicate ISIS in that region, but has adopted a direct democratic and federal form of government stressing equality of the sexes and of ethnic groups - as a model of governance that the Syrian people should aspire to:

      link to nytimes.com

      link to washingtoninstitute.org

      Most Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have opposed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - the military wing of the SDC - however some FSA brigades have allied themselves with the largely Kurdish units that comprise the SDF.

  • Trump on Syria Chem Attack: Putin responsible for supporting "Animal Assad"
    • Latest reports from a Syrian doctor's association that 150 are confirmed dead in Douma from poison gas.

      It is suspected a "cocktail" of chlorine and sarin was used.

      The poison gas was delivered by helicopter via "barrel bombs" and one was dropped on the roof of Douma's hospital, killing six, and another was dropped on an apartment building, killing a number of women and children.

      The use of helicopters would clearly implicate the Assad regime in the poison gas use.

    • "......[o]nly yesterday, the former British ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford in an interview........warned against jumping to a conclusion before all the facts are known, and he pointed the finger at the Army of Islam for the atrocity.............."

      Peter Ford is affiliated with a pro-Assad lobby group in the U.K., so his credibility is questionable:

      link to telegraph.co.uk

  • #MeToo? Ahed Tamimi’s lawyer accuses Israeli interrogators of sexual harassment
  • Rights groups slam Israeli 'crimes' in Gaza, say 'shooting unarmed civilians illegal'
    • The B'tselem press release on 3/29/2018 confirmed media reports that the IDF planned to shoot anyone touching or coming within 300 meters of the fence separating Gaza from Israel.

      The systematic use of deadly force upon unarmed peaceful demonstrators in Gazan territory constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity in direct violation of international law and subjects complicit military officials of Israel to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if the Israeli government is unwilling to undertake the appropriate corrective action.

      There have been no reports of any injured IDF personnel nor any claim that the demonstrators breached the security fence separating Gaza from Israel.

      There were isolated instances of rock throwing, burning of tires, and use of Molotov cocktails - only the last of these warrant the legal use of deadly force and then only when the target presents a current threat to kill or maim another.

  • Trump: "US out of Syria 'Very Soon'"-- Quip or Policy Reversal?
    • "It is time that the United States, guided by our strategic interests and moral convictions, lead a global effort to end this conflict once and for all." - Dissent Channel memo signed by 51 career mid-level U.S. State Department diplomats in June of 2016.

      The Dissent Channel was created by Secretary of State William P. Rogers in 1971 to give opposing viewpoints in the State Department a chance to be heard and considered.

      The above quotation is the final line of a memo relative to the Syrian Civil War and was issued one month before government offensives and rebel counter-offensive operations occurred during the siege of Aleppo that many expert observers felt was a major turning point in the war.

      The memo urged the Obama administration to initiate limited air strikes against the Assad regime as leverage to push them to the bargaining table to force a peaceful solution to promote U.S. strategic interests and stop the ongoing carnage by Assad against his own civilian populace:

      link to foreignpolicy.com

      link to nytimes.com

      At the time this memo was publicized it brought a ray of hope to Syrian exiles in the United States that the Obama administration would heed the learned expertise of its top staffers who were signatories on the Dissent Channel document and would cause the administration to reverse course on abysmal string of foreign policy failures in the region:

      link to newrepublic.com

      The logic being among the most skilled in the Syria situation that failure of America to initiate such military action would signal to the Baathists in Damascus that they had the green light to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity. And, indeed, in 2017 an independent watchdog group concluded the existence of a sarin poison gas attack by the Syrian Arab Army against Syrian civilians:

      link to cnn.com

      In 2018, the Assad regime continued to commit horrific war crimes in East Ghouta - including indiscriminate use of chlorine gas and air strikes against civilian targets as well as interference with the U.N. and other organizations seeking to deliver needed food, medical supplies and evacuation of injured civilians for treatment:

      http://www.ghouta.com

      The Trump administration via Ambassador Nikki Haley did little other that express her disapproval of the actions of the Assad regime and Russia over the human rights violations committed in East Ghouta in 2018.

      Had the Dissent Channel been heeded in 2016, the entire course of the Syrain Civil War would likely have been altered for the better of all. Instead the current death toll has risen to 500,000, per the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, and 12 million displaced Syrians with no end in sight.

      Both the Obama and Trump administrations bear responsibility for this ongoing debacle and human suffering.

  • Trump Happy, Bolton Sad? Syrian Regime claims 90% of E. Ghouta as 105k civilians Flee
    • War coming to an end?

      The Daraa and Quneitra governorates are still under rebel control and repulsed an offensive from the Syrian Arab Army, Russia and Hezbollah last summer and have recaptured key areas. Their supply lines are intact and the populace ardently supporting the rebels.

      Rojava is under the control of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Council - with U.S. Army Ranger troops present.

      There are other pockets of armed resistance against the Baathists all over the Syrian nation.

      Idlib province remains under rebel control.

      Absent a peace pact between Assad and these rebel holdouts, the civil war will drag on for years.

    • I agree.

      However John Bolton will definitely have an opinion on the matter.

      His appointment may signal a direction toward greater involvement in the Syria Civil War by the U.S.

  • Syria: A Market bombing kills 38 and Explains why Government won Syria War
    • The question of whether the 2011 uprising was worth the results it created was addressed by Syria's top dissident leaders and the response varied from "yes" to "ambivalent".

      Yassin Al-Haj Saleh has authored "The Impossible Revolution" a study of the civil disobedience that led to civil war and this has become a critically acclaimed definitive work on the subject. He spent 16 years as a political prisoner in Syria and blames Russia, the U.S. and Assad's regime and his ISIS and other Islamic extremist allies for the carnage:

      link to hurstpublishers.com

      The consensus is that popular demonstrations were justified that the demonstrators that opposed the Assad regime cannot be blamed as they had no other recourse to fight a tyrannical system.

      The fault for the failure of the revolution has been opined as multifactorial but includes the inability of the opposition to create a cohesive and effective presence in both the international community by way of foreign relations and leadership for the domestic movement.

      The U.S. government abetted the uprising and funneled arms to the Syrian opposition forces - and then abandoned them. Russia, on the other hand, used the civil war to re-establish itself as a superpower in the region.

      Some views on the subject:

      link to carnegie-mec.org

    • The civil war was going well as of late 2013 when the major rebel force was the Free Syrian Army whose organizing principle was provide a rebel force for Syrian soldiers and officers who were opposed to firing on Syrian anti-government demonstrators. This rebellion commenced in 2011 in the Daraa governorate.

      Initially the key Islamic extremist force in Syria was the Al-Nusra Front - who owed their allegiance to al-Qaeda. Later a number of Salafist-oriented brigades of the Free Syrian Army split off to fight under the Islamic Front umbrella group. Next came the Islamic State of Iraq organization to come into Syria and fight practically every rebel group in the country - and supply oil to the Assad regime.

      As the "face" of the rebel movement became less secular and more extremist in orientation, they lost significant support among segments of the Syrian population - including Christians.

      Assad and his wife appeared in churches at Christmas in Damascus - although many Christians within Syria disliked his rule - he was nevertheless seen as a lesser of two evils among Christians as the prospect of Salafist rule over Damascus became dangerously close to fruition several years ago.

  • On Seeing America’s Wars Whole: Six Questions for the New York Times
    • Good article, however regarding Syria, it needs to be pointed out that there are likely far more Americans than the 2,000-4,000 special forces U.S. Army soldiers as there have been stories of U.S. contractor personnel that are in Syria - similar to the Russian mercenaries that U.S. forces recently bombed:

      link to businessinsider.com

  • Thousands flee E. Ghouta as Regime Army Advances, Rebels ask for Talks
    • The rebels at this point have no capability to carry out offensive operations in East Ghouta.

      A rebel counter-offensive was reported against the Syrian Arab Army in Hamouriyah in East Ghouta but it did not succeed - however the rebel forces can and still are maintaining style hit-an-run attacks against Assad's troops and have been inflicting heavy casualties against the Syrian Arab Army.

      Underground tunnels have been the lifeline of the rebels and it is unclear whether these supply tunnels have been cutoff from rebel forces.

      There has been visual proof via photos of barrel bombs being dropped by helicopter over East Ghouta.

      In areas where the Syrian Arab Army is under control, Baathist security forces are reportedly separating adult males from their families and taking them into custody.

      Those residents of East Ghouta who are leaving are saying they have no food - they are not in any large part cheering the Syrian Arab Army as liberators and many residents have stated they prefer to stay and face death as opposed to Assad's rule.

  • How Trump is losing in Syria & why Haley is Posturing
    • "...dissident Syrian political groups will probably have to cut a deal with the brutal Assad regime."

      It is doubtful this will happen - although some observers have speculated a "Balkanization" will occur in Syria with certain provinces spinning off as independent states as in the former Yugoslav republic.

      My guess is that there will likely be rebel strongholds that are well-supplied by the West which will continue to fight on indefinitely. The Daraa and Quneitra governorates in the south will likely follow this path - although the Rojava area may continue to be allowed as an autonomous region under the Syrian Democratic Council - but still part of the Syrian Baathist sovereignty.

  • Top 4 myths about Electric Cars & why they should not Discourage You
  • Syria’s war at home is giving way to dangerous proxy conflicts
    • Deanna Lynn, a 44-year-old former University of Michigan student and schoolteacher originally from Sterling Heights, Michigan who has lived and raised a family in East Ghouta while married to a Free Syrian Army soldier, has recently granted interviews to the BBC and NBC networks regarding the Russian planes that have attacked the enclave that she has lived in since the war began and discounted the stories that Salafist extremists control East Ghouta:

      link to ghouta.com

  • Tower of Jello: The Struggle of Russia and UAE over Tillerson's helming of State Department
    • "But will the American people..........just shrug?"

      They already have with respect to a prior president.

      In 1998, Bill Clinton was impeached, but in 1999 acquitted by U.S. Congress due helpful Democrats sitting in that legislative body despite having been charged with convincing proof of obstructing a judicial proceeding.

      However, a federal judge - Susan Webber Wright - later found that Clinton made intentionally false statements under oath in the Paula Jones sex harassment case - and she fined him $90,000.00 for contempt of court;

      Clinton also agreed to pay Paula Jones $850,000.00 to settle those sex harassment claims.

      The Arkansas State Bar - under a consent order - suspended Bill Clinton's law license in that state for five years due to unethical conduct in 2001 shortly before he finished his final term.

      Bill Clinton's lapses of judgment did not damage his standing among Americans - especially Democrats - to any great extent.

    • The U.S. intelligence community violated via Pres. George H.W. Bush in 1991 laws requiring disclosure to U.S. Congress of covert operations being conducted between the Bush administration and Boris Yeltsin.

      Yeltsin was given access by U.S. intelligence to highly-classified information in an attempt to break the 1991 military coup against Gorbachev and elevate Yeltsin to the leadership of Russia.

      By December 25, 1991 the USSR was dissolved and America helped Yeltsin later hold onto power in the 1996 elections.

      The actions of the Bush administration were blatantly illicit, however no one cared given the positive results.

      The fact Russia may now be using similar tactics to control the Trump White House cannot be surprising.

      Mueller's job will be to untangle the Gordian Knot and reveal the truth.

  • Ignoring White Supremacists, Trump Smears Immigrants as Terrorists
  • American Christian Zionism: The Deep Background and the Current Situation
    • Another link that explains some popular theories of Christian Zionism:

      link to gracethrufaith.com

    • An excellent article, however one major relevant issue needs to be addressed:

      The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple is one of the cornerstones of Christian Zionism - and this task is being carried out by an organization directed since 1989 by Rabbi Chaim Richman - it is known as the Temple Institute:

      http://www.templeinstitute.org

      The construction of the Third Temple is one of the prerequisites of the Second Coming - and a large percentage of donations collected from around the world by the Temple Institute are from Christian Zionists.

      Palestinian Christians cite St. John for authority that the biblical New Jerusalem will have no temple:

      "And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." (Rev. 21:22)

      Pastor Hagee of Texas, cited in the above article, makes it clear that he is of the opinion that the demolition of nearby Islamic holy sites will be necessary for the construction of the Third Temple and this shall precipitate a cataclysmic war.

      A current majority of American Jews do not support the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple - nor do most Jewish adherents in Israel - however several influential Knesset members have recently expressed support for such construction.

  • UN Security Council calls for 30-Day Ceasefire in Syria's East Ghouta
    • A child in East Ghouta died Sunday in a suspected chlorine gas attack:

      link to globalnews.ca

      One recalls the "red line" of Pres. Obama being drawn and the chemical attack in 2013 by the Syrian Arab Army that killed hundreds in East Ghouta.

      Assad even after supposedly destroying chemical weapons stockpiles upon agreement, still had his forces use poison gas against civilians in various locations within Syria despite warnings from President Obama and the international community.

      One may also recall the air strike ordered by Pres. Trump last year at a Syrian military base after a deadly poison gas attack targeted civilians - it has not deterred the Assad regime from continuing to commit war crimes against his own people using chemical weapons.

      Obviously the Baathists in Damascus are not reluctant to anger the U.S. government or the United Nations Security Council by their deployment of outlawed chemical weapons such as chlorine gas against civilians.

  • Ahed Tamimi: father speaks of his pride as Palestinian activist prepares for trial
    • An interesting point is that there is a 15-year maximum prison term penalty for criminal defendants who show disrespect for an IDF military tribunal and judges have been very liberal in finding such disrespect and sending those defendants - often minors - to prison for that maximum term when such disrespect is found.

      It will be interesting if Ms. Tamimi chooses to disrespect the tribunal as some others have - and risk a new charge.

      The irony here is that IDF harassment of West Bank Palestinian children has gone on for decades through the military tribunal system without any major media coverage until now - and Ms. Tamimi's case is relatively mild in comparison to other victims.

  • The Age of Total War in Syria
    • "While Bashar al-Assad's father was a ruthless man with considerable blood on his hands, there's no indication that his Western-educated opthalmologist son shares any of Haffez's(sic) bloodlust........"

      Human Rights Watch in its 2018 report on the situation in Syria has stated:

      "Violence in Syria has continued amid ongoing international efforts to implement a ceasefire in talks brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran and in parallel talks sponsored by the United Nations. Government forces and their allies carried out deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Incommunicado detention and torture remain rampant..........."

      An Amnesty International researcher recently published a similar report:

      "For six years the international community has stood by as the Syrian government has committed crimes against humanity and war crimes with total impunity........."

      Here is a link to the full HRW report:

      link to hrw.org

      One independent study of the Syrian Civil War found that 76% of civilian deaths were attributable to the actions of the Baathist government.

      Opponents of the Assad regime cannot be lumped into a monolithic category of "neocon holdovers".

  • Israel: Netanyahu's Top Allies Arrested in Ongoing Corruption Probe
    • MK Yair Lapid, a possible successor to PM Netanyahu , has called for a caretaker government to take over.

      Polls show that Lapid's party - in a potential coalition with the centrist Kulanu Party - would be elected if elections were held now.

  • Jews Must Stand Up for Ahed Tamimi: Sarah Silverman
    • The reason that the IDF is targeting her AND she is being prosecuted so vigorously - with MK Naftali Bennett calling for a "life sentence" is due to the Tamimi clan's penchant for opposing Israeli occupation.

      It is also subject to speculation whether or not the shooting of her cousin Musab was linked as retaliatory to Ahed's assaultive conduct.

    • Context is needed to show the Ahed Tamimi story in light of other recent events involving her West Bank extended family:

      Ahlam Tamimi, the aunt of Ahed, in 2017 was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List in connection with alleged complicity in the 2001 Sbarro pizza parlor bombing in Jerusalem which killed two Americans, amongst others:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      Ahlam Tamimi had served 10 years in an Israel prison following her conviction by an Israeli military tribunal in which she contested the jurisdiction of that tribunal and stated her only regret is that more were not killed in that bombing. She was pardoned by the Israeli president and released from custody as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

      The Jordanian court system refused to extradite her to the U.S.after she moved to the Kingdom following her release; the U.S. Dept. of Justice had sought extradition on an arrest warrant issued by a U.S. District Court.

      Musab Tamimi, Ahed's cousin, was shot in throat and killed by an IDF soldier while demonstrating while unarmed in the West Bank this January:

      link to imemc.org

      link to carbonated.tv

      IDF personnel subsequently defaced a death notice poster relative to Musab Tamimi:

      link to haaretz.com

      link to richardedmondson.net

  • Russian campaign Interference looks like ISIL in Polarizing Techniques
    • When the Chinese were investigated for allegedly improper donations to the DNC in 1996 to influence the U.S. presidential election nobody in the media seemed to notice or care:

      link to washingtonpost.com

      link to nationalreview.com

    • "......is nothing compared to what the US has done in other countries....."

      Recall the CIA stealing the elections in Italy in 1949 for the Christian Democrats.

    • One Green Party of Michigan official told me that for every three votes Green Party nominees receive the rule of thumb is that two are siphoned off from the Democrats and one from the Republican Party nominees.

      Ralph Nader stopped running for president under the Green Party ticket after many pointed out that his Florida candidacy in 2000 drew so many votes from Albert Gore that he likely swayed the presidency over to G.W. Bush - who won Florida by only a few hundred votes.

    • The parallels of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler have been discussed by many.

      One noteworthy is the fact that Hitler had very little support by German newspapers during his rise to power and relied upon populism. Trump's most noteworthy news endorsements were from the National Enquirer, the neo-Nazi periodical Stormfront, and a Las Vegas news journal owned by Sheldon Adelson.

      Among the very first war criminals hanged at Nuremberg in 1946 was Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Sturmer, a newspaper that promoted Nazism.

      Another was the fact Hitler was involved in a controversial suspected abusive sexual relationship with Geli Raubal, which led to her suicide in 1931 and many suspected that it would destroy Hitler's political career - it did not. Trump likewise has been hit with numerous sexual harassment allegations that have not prevented him from being elected and retaining his office.

      Both Hitler and Trump have had their loyalty to their government under attack. When Hitler was convicted of leading the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich there were some who called for the death penalty be imposed - but Hitler received a short prison term. Trump has been suspected of being a stooge for the Russian government - although this speculation is unproven - and his administration remains under close FBI scrutiny as he serves out his term.

      Trump - like Hitler - is a successful demagogue who skillfully manipulated the masses into electing him in 2016 and whose support is largely intact amongst his "constituency".

    • Re Trump campaign in Michigan:

      Trump's campaign was brilliantly led by Ronna Romney McDaniel (GOP state chair), Scott Hagerstrom (Trump Mich. campaign vice-chair) and Lena Epstein (Trump Women's Mich. vice-chair).

      The Trump national campaign one week before Election Day called Ms.Romney-McDaniel congratulated her that their projections would be that Trump would prevail in the Wolverine State by 8,000 votes statewide. This was while "expert" polling groups predicted Clinton would win Michigan by 5-7 percentage points. In the next seven days Trump would personally visit Michigan and campaign heavily.

      Trump actually campaigned in Detroit, shaking hands with minority residents - in addition to the Metro Detroit suburbs, where he aggressively courted blue-collar ethnic voters.

      The state GOP established liaisons with ethnic communities skillfully - one demographic segment - Chaldeans rallied around Trump. An estimated 20,000 Chaldean-Americans became newly-registered to vote in Michigan following a registration drive and "Chaldeans for Trump" helped Trump in Michigan due to his hard line on Muslims.

      Jewish-Americans in Metro Detroit in 2016 were, in significant part, upset at the Obama administration and local Democratic congressional leaders support for the Iranian nuclear agreement and the GOP capitalized on this sentiment.

      Republican activists organized prayer vigils in Metro Detroit churches for Trump the day before the election and Election Day.

      Governor Rick Snyder did not endorse Trump's candidacy at any time and Lt. Governor Brian Calley withdrew his endorsement of Trump after sex harassment allegations surfaced. The conservative paper Detroit News endorsed the Libertarian Party nominee instead of Trump.

      On Election Day, Trump won Michigan by 10,000 votes - becoming the first GOP presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988 - who at one point resided in Michigan - to win the state.

      Ronna Romney-McDaniel was later voted the RNC chair, Scott Hagerstrom was appointed the vice-chairmanship of the Michigan GOP, and Lena Epstein is now the front-runner to fill a U.S. House vacancy created by the retiring David Trott. This was resulting from their roles in the "Michigan Miracle" in winning Michigan for Trump in 2016.

      Only three U.S. presidents since FDR have been described as "charismatic": JFK, Reagan and Obama - Trump is now the fourth. Michigan GOP activists are enamored with his election and with his first real accomplishment - the tax cut legislation.

  • The Boomerang Effect: How Netanyahu Made Israel a Partisan US Issue, and Lost
    • A key irony here is that most Palestinian-Americans are Republican in orientation.

      The only Palestinian-American in U.S. Congress is Justin Amash - a GOP member - of western Michigan, who is libertarian in his political orientation.

  • What Does Netanyahu Corruption Case tell us about Trump's Fate?
    • 38% of Israelis polled felt the police recommendations against the prime minister were politically motivated and only 49% felt those recommendations to indict were meritorious.

      MK Stav Shaffir, the young J-14 movement leader who has been loudly opposing and investigating public corruption as a Knesset member - and supporting a two-state solution with Palestinians - has taken flak from conservative Israelis over her righteous positions.

      That said, he Yitzhaki files show that Israeli police intelligence agents maintain investigative files on all 120 Knesset members - regardless of any suspicion of criminal activity - so the potential for law enforcement abuses exist.

  • Syria: War is over at the Center, but Powers nibbling at Edges
    • East Ghouta is currently in a humanitarian crisis with civilians starving and being bombed indiscriminately.

      The shellings by Salafist rebels from East Ghouta into Damascus have likewise killed innocent civilians and likely constitute war crimes by those rebels with Saudi-supplied weaponry - however there exists no corresponding right by the Baathists to counter the shelling of Damascus with their own war crimes.

      Attempts by the U.N. to deliver humanitarian aid to East Ghouta have been blocked by the Assad regime. This is deplorable.

    • "The one exception here is East Ghouta........the regime is hitting them so hard............"

      East Ghouta is only a few miles from Damascus and has between 300,000 to 400,000 residents.

      It is a strategic location for the Salafist rebels that occupy it since they are able to fire deadly rocket and artillery attacks into Damascus - which has damaged morale for the Baathist regime and made Assad government appear weak and ineffectual.

      East Ghouta has been under siege for 52 months - which is the longest siege in the history of modern warfare, compared by observers to Sarajevo during the 1990s and Leningrad during WWII.

      The situation in East Ghouta has been described as "hellish" with severe malnutrition of children, rampant medical emergencies hampered by an inability to evacuate, chlorine gas attacks and air strikes by government warplanes:

      http://www.ghouta.com

      The Salafist militants there are entirely surrounded and have been since 2013, with their supplies coming via underground tunnels.

      The Assad government is suspected of committing serious war crimes in East Ghouta by virtue of the poison gas attacks and the indiscriminate military bombardments of civilians.

  • Russia warns Israel on Syria strikes, danger to Russian Troops
    • Iran has a Jewish population of only about 11,000.

      There is only one Iranian Jew serving in the Iranian parliament and his presence is only due to the requirement of the Iranian constitution mandating one Jewish delegate sitting in that legislative body.

  • Russia-aided Syria shoots down Israeli F-16 after downing of Iranian Drone
    • The pilot and navigator were evacuated to a hospital in Haifa and interviewed about the incident, as reported in the Jerusalem Post.

      The navigator was lightly wounded, however the pilot was seriously wounded and in critical condition until he stabilized. According to those interviews, the F-16 was damaged by shrapnel from a missile and the crew of the jet could have been killed by the force of the blast alone from the anti-aircraft missile.

      One news account has said the jet actually crashed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights with smiling Syrians taking photos of the wreckage near a Jewish settlement.

      There were celebrations in Damascus over the F-16 downing with Syrian Arab Army soldiers handing out candy to passersby in the Syrian capital.

      The Israeli Air Force had - according to air defense experts - sustained a damaged F-35 jet last October due to a missile attack from Syria. This has been disputed by Israel, however.

    • The Israeli government has been forming relationships with Syrian rebels - Salafists and Free Syrian Army - in both the Quneitra and Daraa governorates in the last few years in attempting to create a buffer zone between the Syrian Arab Army and the Israel-occcupied Golan Heights:

      link to theintercept.com

      Syrian rebel forces south of Damascus have benefitted from the Israel Air Force (IAF) strikes in the region. Opposition forces today reported that a Syrian government airfield tower was damaged in an air attack near Damascus and an arms depot in that area was also bombed by the IAF.

    • Ilan Gilon, a member of the Israeli Knesset was one of several Knesset members who have publicly accused PM Netanyahu of initiating the aerial attacks on Iranian interests within Syria to divert attention from Israeli prosecuting officials who are expected to publish recommendations in the upcoming week relative to the criminal corruption investigation that has been pending against Netanyahu.

      The expected results of that corruption probe is predicted to cause public demonstrations by Israelis seeking his resignation.

  • Syria: Deir al-Zor attack on US Troops, allies, Shows their Vulnerability
    • The question is who is a "service person"?

      Nicole Mansfield was killed in action by the Syrian Arab Army and was ID'd by her State of Michigan Driver's License. There has been speculation as to how she got there and why she joined the al-Nusra Front.

      When Eric Harroun, a former U.S. Army serviceman, served with an al-Nusra unit and later returned to the U.S. to face a federal indictment, his father stated to the press that he "knew for a fact" his son worked for the CIA while in Syria.

      There are American "volunteers" fighting with the YPG and, also, an estimated 750 British subjects fighting in Syria.

      There are indications that the CIA has operatives that the Trump administration has believed are MIA and caused the U.S. to send an emissary to Damascus to meet with the Syrian government's intelligence chief, Ali Mamlouk, per a Reuters article.

      What Americans are actually fighting in Syria with the sponsorship of the U.S. government and where are they?

    • Another important milestone - if it does occur is Americans and Russians fighting each other.

      It occurred when the USSR had surface-to-air missile batteries in Hanoi in 1972 shoot down U.S. Air Force bombers and their airmen manning those batteries had sustained casualties. Eleven Soviet armed forces personnel were killed in action in North Vietnam.

  • Russia Mounts intensive Syria Air Campaign in Response to Downed Jet
    • A U.N. investigator is looking into reports of recent chlorine gas deployment in Idlib and East Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army and describing the putative conduct as constituting war crimes.

      The Russian pilot, Roman Filipov, reportedly blew himself up with a hand grenade after engaging in a gun battle with rebels in Idlib province. His body was repatriated for burial in Russia.

    • The Central Intelligence Agency had successfully defeated the USSR in Afghanistan by supplying Afghan rebels in the 1980s with the Stinger anti-aircraft missile - as well as anti-tank rockets. After the Marxist government in Kabul fell, the Americans realized that they had a problem and initiated Operation MIAS in which the CIA created a 10 million-dollar fund to buy back those Stingers from Afghan rebel warlords.

      The bottom line is that the only way the Syrian Arab Army and its allied forces can be defeated is with substantial quantities of anti-aircraft and and anti-tank missiles in rebel hands. The Free Syrian Army has received TOW anti-tank missiles and to the extent they may have been supplied Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, this will enhance their chances at defeating the Baathists on the battlefield - despite the potential danger of those weapons being eventually used against U.S. interests.

      Hezbollah's effective deterrent against Israel Defense Forces incursions that has existed since the 2006 Second Lebanon War has been largely due to their ability to successsfully deploy both anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile batteries - as well as Chinese-developed Silkworm guided naval missiles - during fighting in that war.

      Israel has been known to give assistance to al-Nusra Front rebels in Syria - but there has been no confirmation of Israel supplying that al-Qaeda affiliate with Stingers.

  • In blow to Trump, Syrian Kurds call on al-Assad to Save them from Turkey
    • The Free Syrian Army's Turkey-headquartered political arm, the Syrian National Coalition, while making the decision to avoid the Sochi Conference, has had an emissary recently meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

      Meanwhile, the Syrian-American Council recently financed a visit by four Free Syrian Army delegates to Washington D.C. - where they were rebuffed in their attempts to meet with the Trump administration. Whether this was an intentional slight or a mere scheduling difficulty remains to be seen, however that FSA delegation did meet with members of U.S. Congress as well as the top U.S. State Department official responsible for Syria to salvage their trip to the nation's capital.

      What seems odd are that the pro-democracy Syrian rebels are seeking increasing help from Russia for advancement of their interests but are being largely ignored by the Trump administration.

    • The U.S. recognizes the Syrian National Coalition based in Turkey as the Syrian government-in-exile and who hold Syria's seat in the Arab League as well as form the political wing of the Free Syrian Army, but the U.S. also supports the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces whose political wing is the Syrian Democratic Council based in Rojava.

    • The U.S. is caught in an enviable dilemma:

      (A) they needed the YPG to eradicate ISIS and cannot abandon the YPG, despite the Kurdish opposition to Turkish government forces;

      (B) they owe an allegiance to Turkey by virtue of NATO membership and the U.S. alliance with the YPG undermines the NATO treaty alliance obligations owed by the U.S.;

      (C) the U.S. owes some degree of allegiance to the Free Syrian Army whom they spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars arming and training - and who now are chiefly allied with Turkey;

      (D) the U.S cannot support the YPG to the extent that they, the YPG, become cozy with the Baathists in Damascus;

      (E) further complicating matters is that the Assad regime's Syrian Arab Army in Damascus - and Hezbollah -are fighting the al-Qaeda affililiate al-Nusra Front and rolling up battlefield victories against this group that has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terror organization and has invited hundreds of battle-hardened veteran al-Qaeda foreign fighters into Syria under as part of the organization known as Khorasan.

      The U.S. is currently a de facto ally of Hezbollah, the Assad regime and the Russians in eradicating ISIS and has U.S. Army Rangers embedded with the Marxist-oriented YPG who oppose a NATO ally - Turkey.

      Some observers have opined that the U.S. best extricate itself from this conflict and leave the remaining actors to go their own separate ways. Turkish forces have already killed Russian pilots; it may just be a matter of time before an American servicemen kills a Turkish or Russian soldier or vise versa and ignite an international incident.

  • Turkey launches Land invasion of Syria, Calls France opposition "Terrorism"
    • The U.S. Air Force has for a number of years had F-16 Falcons deployed at Incirlik.

      Turkey has attacked ISIS using the F-16 previously.

  • Syria: Turkey Begins Military Operation against US-Allied Kurds in Afrin
    • The irony here is that the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army may soon be fighting the Pentagon-backed YPG.

      The other irony is that ISIS had supplied Turkish commercial purchasers with oil shipments sold at a discount and, also, there were suspicions that Turkish intelligence agencies were assisting ISIS due to the fact ISIS was battling the Kurds in Rojava.

  • Russia accuses US of destabilizing Syria with Kurdish-Turkish Clash
    • Two salient events were "game changers" in the civil war:

      In late 2013, the Free Syrian Army was close to severing the Latakia-to-Damascus supply corridor when the U.S. cut off arms shipments to the FSA, resulting in the Baathist forces winning several subsequent battlefield victories that ensured the viability of that vital supply corridor to allow the government in Damascus to survive. At the Geneva II Conference several months later, the Assad regime's emissary smugly refused to discuss any substantive issues, much to the consternation of the chief mediator.

      The second major turning point was the Russian intervention, which gave Assad the added military boost - especially overwhelming air power - that was needed to maintain offensive operations in key rebel-controlled areas.

      The re-capture of Aleppo - Syria's most populous municipality - by the Syrian Arab Army with significant Russian support was a decisive military and psychological defeat for the rebels.

      Bashaar Assad is now emerging as a national hero in some circles within Syria and his face is now appearing on Syrian monetary currency in recognition of his status as an honored leader who has survived and now has largely prevailed in a civil war that has gone on for six years.

      That said, the Free Syrian Army and other rebel forces - some Salafist in orientation still control large segments of Syrian territory where the populace is vehemently anti-Baathist. The Daraa Governorate south of Damascus is an example where the FSA repulsed a vigorous military offensive by the Syrian Arab Army despite both Russian and Hezbollah support given to the Baathists.

    • "What a mess."

      I recall during media coverage of the Vietnam War, U.S. Army doctors would be shown to go into villages and provide treatment to injured Vietnamese children.

      I also remember the American servicemen who evacuated thousands of Vietnamese children during Operation Babylift on orders of President Ford as Saigon was falling.

      In Syria, the salient images of children are lurid. The photo of the body of a toddler, Alan Kurdi, washing up on a beach, won several photojournalist awards. The picture of a father holding the bodies his two twin infant sons killed in a poison gas attack was published shortly before President Trump ordered a missile attack of a nearby Syrian army base.

      Unlike Vietnam, the U.S. government has given little to help Syrian children victimized by the war.

    • The American public will likely never know for years - if ever - how deep U.S. involvement was in fomenting dissent and arming Syrian rebels against the Assad regime as well as having operatives within Syria.

      The covert operation labeled Operation Timber Sycamore - which has never been declassified - was revealed through the fine investigative reporting of the New York Times.

      We know it was encouraged by PM Netanyahu and that Israel was one of the "partners" of the operation based near Amman, Jordan that sought the toppling of the Baathist regime in Damascus. We know that Israel gave support in various ways to the al-Nusra Front and bombed arms depots within Syria in air strikes.

      It appears that Operation Timber Sycamore was largely funded by Saudi Arabia but organized by the U.S.

      Some of the more controversial allegations about U.S. conduct in Syria:

      (A) the U.S. State Department funneled several million dollars through the Los Angeles-based NGO known as Democracy Council to "promote democracy" in Syria (i.e. transmit media broadcasts from dissidents to foment anti-Assad demonstrations);

      (B) per the Washington Post, had CIA undercover officers in Damascus carry out the car bomb killing of Hezbollah intelligence chief Imad Moughnieh in Damascus in 2008 in a joint U.S.-Israeli covert operation reportedly personally approved by President Bush shortly before his second term ended;

      (C) the U.S. via inadequate oversight, allowed substantial arms shipments administered by Jordanian intelligence services earmarked for the Syrian rebels to be pilfered by Jordanian agents and resold on the black market;

      (D) The Central Intelligence Agency had "contractor" personnel within Syria and the Trump administration recently - per a Reuters article - had to send an envoy to Syria to meet with the regimes Baathist intelligence chief in Damascus to discuss the fate of missing CIA operatives - who are these operatives, what were they doing inside Syria, and how many remain missing?

      There needs to be a Congressional investigation initiated on the foreign policy failures of the Obama administration as to Syria.

    • Susan Rice overruled John Brennan - with President Obama's support - in shifting the focus of the U.S. State Department and intelligence community from toppling Assad from power in Damascus - to defeating ISIS.

      By allying U.S. forces with Kurdish factions in Rojava, the Obama administration made several foreign policy blunders:

      (A) they sent U.S. Army Rangers into combat zones wearing the Red Star symbol associated with Marxism on shoulder patches to commemorate their alliance with the ideologically leftist Kurdish units - until Pentagon officials realized how foolish this appeared and ordered those patches removed;

      (B) the joining of forces with Kurds in Rojava infuriated Turkish leaders as the Kurds have in the past fought a guerilla war against the Turkish government - a member of NATO - and the Turkish authorities have imprisoned many Kurdish nationalists who supported insurrection against Turkey;

      (C) the Baathist government in Damascus largely avoided armed conflict with ISIS in the preceding years and focused their military assaults on the Free Syrian Army and non-ISIS Salafist brigades that also were fighting ISIS - meaning that American-led attacks on ISIS benefitted the Assad regime by freeing up Syrian Arab Army resources to ramp up military pressure against U.S.-backed Syrian rebel forces;

      (D) causing serious rifts within the U.S. State Department as many staffers openly felt that the U.S. should be applying military pressure to defeat the Baathist regime in Damascus - who have armed Hezbollah and committed, via the regime's security forces, human rights violations on a massive scale within Syria;

      (E) the policy decision of the Obama administration entailed the unpopular move of placing "boots on the ground" of the U.S Armed Forces in a combat zone.

      Certainly there is much to cheer about the demise of ISIS within Syria - but the corresponding cost in further empowering President Assad cannot be overlooked nor can the fact that we have committed our nation's servicemen in a nation embroiled in a civil war - as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Nearly a year after Trump bombed Syria, al-Assad and Russia extend control
    • ".....we are seeing pictures of ........people celebrating Christmas."

      Syrian Christians - for the most part Eastern Orthodox - have generally been a key bloc of support for the Assad regime. President Assad and his wife have visited churches during Christmas festivities.

      Syrian Christians have seen the Baathists as protecting their free exercise of their religion and view Salafist rebels as endangering their existence if the Baathists lost power to rebel forces.

      That said, most Syrian Christians disapprove of Assad's repressive internal policies and there are, in fact, substantial numbers who have openly supported the Free Syrian Army trying to overthrow the Baathists in Damascus.

    • "So Israel and the U.S. got their behinds kicked...."

      Israels interests have been advanced by the civil war in several ways.

      Firstly, the conflict has pinned down Hezbollah to an extent that it cannot focus on Israel as the primary foe to risk an actual conflict with the Zionist state.

      Secondly, Hezbollah has lost over 1,000 fighters killed in action during the civil war and is using war materiel that could otherwise be deployed against Israel in a future conflict.

      Thirdly, Syrian rebels, particularly the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front fighters, have debriefed Israeli security personnel during gratuitous medical treatment rendered in Israel on events occurring within Syria that have intelligence value.

      Fourthly, the Syrian rebels have essentially neutralized the Syrian Arab Army as an external threat to Israel due the vast military resources that must be expended by the Syrian government to fight rebel forces.

      The State of Israel is not sustaining any serious military losses or financial depletions due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War - the conflict has been a plus to their interests.

    • "...........[i]t is over where it matters but continues in key demographic pockets."

      This article does not mention - nor has the media focused on - the Daraa Governorate, which south of Damascus, in which one million Syrians reside in which a Syrian Arab Army offensive commencing in June of 2017 with Hezbollah, Iranian and Russian support was largely repulsed by the Free Syrian Army despite intense air strikes, napalm bombings, and artillery barrages by pro-Assad forces.

      The Israel Air Force conducted its own bombings in that governorate, killling pro-ISIS fighters, and targeting Hezbollah and Baathist regime arms depots.

      In December of 2017, FSA units scored victories against the Syrian Arab Army in the governorate, recapturing key facilities.

      The Free Syrian Army originated in Daraa in 2011 when Syrian Arab Army units turned their weapons against their own army in support of anti-Assad demonstrators who were being fired upon by army units loyal to the Baathist government.

      The rebels holding Daraa have broad popular support in that region due to prior mismanagement of water resources and security force abuses by the Baathist regime.

  • 16 yr old Ahed Tamimi indicted for slapping an Israeli soldier
    • Musab Tamimi, a cousin of Ahed Tamimi, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier while demonstrating near Ramallah on January 3, 2018.

      The killing received some media exposure within Israel and the Occupied Territories - but was largely ignored elsewhere.

    • Her criminal prosecution appears politically motivated due to her family connections.

      Her aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, served eleven years in Israeli prisons for complicity in the Ybarro Pizzeria bombing, which killed 16 Israelis, including eight children. She was later released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and moved to Jordan.

      The FBI attempted extradition on federal charges relative to two Americans who died in the Ybarro terror attack, however the judiciary in Jordan denied extradition due to the fact the Jordanian parliament never ratified the relevant treaty document. The Justice Department did not unseal its indictment until early 2017 - well after she left Israel and the West Bank.

  • Israeli Ruling Party Votes to Annex West Bank and Seize Last Palestinian Lands
    • Several points:

      (A) Likud holds only 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset;

      (B) Likud's ruling parliamentary coalition holds only a 66-54 majority in the Knesset;

      (C) only the Homeland Party of Naftali Bennett as a coalition partner of the Likud Party has voiced support for annexation of the West Bank into Israel;

      (D) Yisrael Beiteinu - led by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and a Likud coalition partner - has expressed support for the "Lieberman Plan" which calls for a two-state solution and Palestinian sovereignty over an expanded area of the West Bank;

      (E) none of the opposition parties in the current Knesset have expressed support for such annexation - and most opposition party leaders - such as Zehava Gal-On of the Meretz Party and Stav Shaffir of Labor - have vehemently advocated a two-state solution.

      While the Likud Party central committee vote is significant, the annexation by Israel of the West Bank is an idea that is very remote at this juncture - as cooler heads continue to prevail in Israeli politics.

  • Trump's disastrous Year in the Middle East: Syria
    • Donald Trump actually ended the largest covert operation that the Central Intelligence Agency managed since Operation Cyclone was initiated in Afghanistan during the Carter administration to effectuate regime change against the Soviet puppet government in Kabul.

      Operation Timber Sycamore involved the intelligence services of Britain, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Jordan, Turkey and Israel - as well as the Pentagon - to purchase and deliver thousands of tons of arms into Syria at a cost of billions of dollars to violently topple the Baathists in Damascus.

      The aftermath of this quashed operation - engineered by CIA director John Brennan who sold it to Obama in 2013 - is 100,000 dead and wounded Syrian Arab Army and security personnel, plus millions of displaced Syrians several hundred thousand dead Syrian civilians.

      In addition to sophisticated purchased weaponry falling into the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates after being distributed to FSA and other friendly forces, there have been allegations that CIA-supplied rebel units have used child soldiers and committed war crimes.

      Further, the CIA has reportedly paid "contractor" firms to deploy personnel to engage in combat operations against the Assad regime. Some of these CIA operatives are currently missing in action and were the subject of a visit to Damascus by a Trump administration official recently to the Syrian Baathist intelligence chief, as reported by Reuters.

      The Free Syrian Army is still very active and as late as a month ago scored victories in the Daraa Governorate south of Damascus against government forces and has significant popular support in that region, where the Baathists had been blamed for mismanagement of water resources and abuses by the Syrian security forces.

      The Obama administration needs to be blamed for the shortcomings of Timber Sycamore - however the abrupt stoppage of support to the rebels to the extent of handing Putin and Assad an undeserved victory in Syria.

      Whether Trump colluded with Putin in an improper manner as to the Syrian situation is open to speculation and needs to be examined by the Mueller probe.

      In any event, a Congressional investigation should also examine the role of both the Obama and Trump administrations for the Syrian fiasco...

      link to nytimes.com

  • Was Jesus a DACA Dreamer and Should he have been Deported/ Crucified?
    • The Religious right in America - particularly Christian Zionists - view Donald Trump as an instrumentality of God's will in the advancement of Israel's interests and the eventual construction of the Third Temple.

      Pastor John Hagee has recently granted an interview in which he claims he was promised by Trump in a meeting that he would move the American Embassy to Jerusalem unlike other recalcitrant U.S. presidents:

      link to z3news.com

      link to youtube.com

      Pastor Hagee is a New York Times Best Seller List author

  • The Mideast has a Militia Problem: Does Iraq's Ayatollah Sistani Have the Answer?
    • "....where do they get their funding and arms from."

      Answer: Iran, largely via assistance in arms, training, and funding from the al-Quds Force; multinational pharmaceutical companies also help, per allegations in recent federal lawsuit.

      Some links:

      link to cfr.org

      link to foxnews.com

      "......who allocates them land and property to to have a base etc....(?)"

      Answer: Iraqi militias, the Mahdi Army for example, administer their own police force and a court system imposing religious law as well as a social welfare network to support the population it controls.

  • Puerto Rico: On top of Everything Else, GOP Tax Bill is Racist
    • This is only partially accurate.

      Even though Puerto Rican residents were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 by an Act of Congress and were immediately subject to a military draft that year, Puerto Ricans do NOT vote in general presidential elections nor do they nominate Electors to the Electoral College.

      That said, both the Democratic and Republican party organizations hold primary elections for the purpose of sending delegates to the national party conventions every four years - so Puerto Ricans have a say in who is nominated from these parties.

  • Toward a Federal United States of Israel & Palestine?
    • The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has had a long history in the West Bank, even after militarily withdrawing from the region during the Six Day War in 1967.

      The Kingdom of Jordan up to 1988 administered the West Bank simultaneously while the Israel Defense Forces occupied it, making welfare benefits available to those residents until the State of Palestine was declared on November 15, 1988.

      West Bank Palestinians had received Jordanian passports and had unelected representatives hold seats in the Jordanian parliament. The declaration by the P.L.O. of statehood in 1988 supplanted Jordan administration of the West Bank.

      Today Jordanian dinars, along with Israeli shekels and U.S. dollars are the predominant currencies used by the public in the West Bank.

    • "This sort of arrangement, where there are two sovereign states, with an open border between them, and close co-operation economically and in other ways, is often called a confederation....."

      Agreed.

      America began as a confederation and eventually adopted its Constitution in 1787 which created a federal government which had very limited powers in certain areas such as taxing and spending, raising an army, coining money etc. but eventually expanded through constitutional amendment and judicial rulings into a powerful central government that exists today. The European Union is doing the same thing to its member states.

      Given the extensive distrust and acrimony between the Israeli government leadership and the Palestinian Authority, confederation is the best alternative as a starting point with a stronger federal governing body developing over time as the two sides ameliorate their relations toward eventual merger into a single state.

      "One point on which I differ with you is the question of the border..........this would be an injustice."

      My reasoning in adopting the "Green Line" is that it reflects the reality of disparate bargaining power between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority - in other words, granting meaningful autonomy to Palestinian Arabs will require a price - that price being exacted from the Palestinian Authority will likely take the form of land concessions to Israel approximating the Green Line borders with certain land swaps to reflect practical demographic realities. Currently the Palestinian Authority is a quisling government owing its existence to Israel; at worst, it has been compared to the Judenrat of the Warsaw Ghetto.

      The economic damage to both sides has been staggering. The Israel Chamber of Commerce estimated that the Second Intifada cost Israel 25 to 35 billion dollars in losses. Social welfare program allocations in the Israeli government's budget have been scavenged to finance the ongoing occupation.

      The proportionate economic damage to Palestinians has been even more extensive, highlighted by massive unemployment and child malnutrition in Gaza.

      Ending the current occupation and implementation of an agreed-upon viable peace plan would likely increase the standard of living for citizens on both sides.

    • Several years ago, I authored the "Koroi Plan" which I had felt that if implemented would be an economic boon to both sides and would lead to a lessening of tensions between the factions. Key provisos included:

      (A) the West Bank and Gaza, along with Israel using pre-1967 "Green Line" borders would merge into a single economic union, as envisioned by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947, commonly referred to as the "Partition Plan" and there would be a single currency, no trade barriers and an otherwise completely integrated economy, akin to the European Union;

      (B) the West Bank and Gaza would merge into a single sovereign state with the Palestine National Council as its governing body and its own national security force, partially integrated with Israeli security forces into a joint body to administer Palestinian-controlled areas with the current hated "Civil Administration" dissolved and the also despised IDF military tribunals disbanded as they affected Palestinian Arabs;

      (C) a joint administration of Jerusalem by Israeli and Palestinian governments would occur;

      (D) there would be freedom of movement of both Israelis and Palestinians with residents having their choice of which state they wished to be citizens of, with both Israel and Palestine being fully sovereign and honoring a "right of return" to both Jews and Palestinian Arabs currently residing abroad - this scenario allaying fears that Israel would lose her "Jewish" character;

      (E) a joint Israeli-Palestinian body with very limited jurisdiction would administer binational matters, mostly dealing with security, commerce and other economic issues affecting both nations.

      This is a hybrid of the one-state and two-state solutions.

  • The Rapture of Dominionists: Now Evangelicals are Dictating US Mideast Policy
    • It is a major issue in both Christian and Jewish discussion as to whether the current State of Israel has any type of legitimacy as a Jewish nation of biblical or divine origin.

      The Roman Catholic Church rejects Christian Zionism as a false teaching and only in the last few years has recognized the State of Israel - only after Israel made concessions to the Palestinian Authority was this recognition granted.

      Pope John Paul II enraged then-PM Menachem Begin in late 1982 after receiving P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Vatican after Arafat and P.L.O. fighters were evacuated out of West Beirut following an Israel Defense Forces siege during the summer of 1982. The pope was photographed with Arafat, and Arafat was interviewed at the Vatican by 60 Minutes offering acceptance of a Palestinian state on any land occupied by Israel.

      John Paul II later blessed Arafat and his family after he acceded to the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority.

      The founding of the State of Israel in 1948 claimed no formal religious basis of its government and no constitution was adopted over arguments between religious and secular Jews over whether such a religious foundation should be incorporated into a proposed constitution.

      Today, ultraorthodox Jews in Israel do not believe the state has any legitimacy as a divine Jewish homeland since there is no messiah - but chose to reside there due to Jewish historical link to the land.

    • This is an excellent article that gives perspective into the worldview of Christian Zionists and why they play an important role in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel.

      While the Jewish-American vast influence via the "Israel Lobby" has been well-documented by scholars and reported on in the media, the concept of Christian Zionism and its vast political influence has been relatively esoteric and ignored by the mainstream media.

      Christian Zionists are prevalent in the evangelical churches in the U.S. - Baptist and Pentecostal denominations - whereas the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Christian Zionism is a false religious doctrine.

      Pastor John Hagee of Texas is perhaps one of America's most influential Christian Zionists and has been a personal friend to every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin. He fully believes that the Third Temple will be constructed and the Islamic religious sites at Temple Mount demolished to accommodate that construction - and that a vast cataclysmic war against Israel will result by enraged Muslims which - as Pastor Hagee believes - will usher in the Second Coming. Hagee's expounded upon beliefs reflect the mainstream thought of Christian Zionism among U.S. evangelicals.

      Hagee's voluminous published writings on Israel fully ignore the fact of human rights violations, land theft, and systemic discrimination against Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli government. Critics of Pastor Hagee have suggested that he - and the Christian Zionism movement in general - care little if anything about either Palestinian Arabs or Israeli Jewry - but have as their overarching primary concern the construction of the Third Temple in fulfillment of their interpretation of end times prophecy.

      Christian Zionist evangelicals form a key bloc within the Republican Party and its affiliated state party organizations, often holding key officer positions and having a significant percentage of the precinct delegate base in most states. It is largely via this base - and various advisory councils - that they have the ability to influence U.S. foreign policy in favor of Israel.

      Christian evangelicals were instrumental in electing Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980 and re-electing him in 1984. Donald Trump and the GOP leadership would be remiss to ignore their positions on Israel.

  • Massive worldwide Rallies Condemn US, Courtesy Trump Jerusalem Call
    • Agreed.

      However , President Trump was acting on the advice of an evangelical council that he owed a campaign promise to:

      link to thinkprogress.org

      link to breakingisraelnews.com

      link to onenewsnow.com

      Christian Zionism is the impetus behind the Trump announcement.

    • "In his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump seems to be badly misled by his pro-Israeli son-in-law Kushner and the latter's protege (Salman)..........."

      In fact, the genesis for declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital comes from an evangelical advisory council that counsels President Trump on religious matters important to America's evangelical leaders.

      Christian Zionism was the driving force to Trump's declaration - not Jewish-American pro-Israel political interests.

  • How Trump's Jerusalem Move Just Helped Iran Win the Mideast
    • Agreed as to much said the above article.

      What needs to be added is that the Trump action has emboldened right-wingers in the Israeli government to continue violating the civil rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank and weakened those Israelis who recently expressed the intent to seek a two-state solution - such as MK Stav Shaffir.

      It has also caused a "domino effect" as it has prompted governments in the Czech Republic and the Philippines to proceed toward moving their respective embassies to Jerusalem.

  • Another way Trump will get us Killed: to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
    • This is one further step toward an eventual takeover of Jerusalem by Israel and the eventual eradication of Muslim influences within the city.

      This would be eventually accomplished by the demolition of the al-Aqsa mosque - and this action has been bandied about by top leaders within Israel in recent years.

      PM Netanyahu raised this proposition in an secretly-taped discussion that was later leaked via Army Radio in which he told Likud Party activists that "we could easily destroy al-Aqsa" but had no inclination to.

      Likud Party MK Oren Hazan, currently serving as a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, has been more blunt about the topic of demolishing both al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, telling a group of student activists "when I have the opportunity to do it I will."

      Hazan recently was photographed with Donald Trump.

      The genesis of the idea of destroying the al-Aqsa compound and the Dome of the Rock is rooted in the concept of constructing the Third Temple on Temple Mount.

      Some links:

      link to timesofisrael.com we dont-want-to/

      link to electronicintifada.net

      link to mondoweiss.net

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