Seeds of War: Netanyahu Sharpening Plowshares Into Swords

Netanyahu-speech-3-3-jpg

“Unlike Iran, Israel refuses to allow inspections at all, refuses to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has hundreds of nuclear weapons, has advanced delivery systems.” Noam Chomsky

There is one thing the United States and Israel share in common when it comes to weapons of mass destruction and war, hypocrisy.  This is not to mention the hypocrisy of conservative Christian and conservative Jewish politicians within America and Israel.  Blind patriotism and radical Zionism are as big of threats to America and Israel as Islamic extremism.  This is not blatant America and Israel bashing, this is just calling the facts as they are.

Let us look at the last decade and America’s and Israel’s warmongering.  Let us look at the militarization of both Nation’s police forces.  Let us look at the rise of the police state in both Nations.  Let us look at the hard-right turn of our political systems.  The constant fear-mongering of the ruling class and love of war.  A never-ending war on terror.  An all too common hatred of Islam, immigrants, and minorities in society.  Preaching peace while dropping bombs in wars of choice, calling for human rights while abusing human rights at home, and enriching the wealthy while starving the poor.  Enacting sanctions that are meant to punish regimes but end up hurting the everyday people of those Nations instead.  These are not actions of peaceful Nations; but the actions of hypocrites, bullies, selfish and violent people.

Make no mistake collapsing a Nations economy leading to poverty, disease, and death is a violent action.  Starving children to punish a regime is as cruel as it is foolish.  Causing people to die years prematurely because of causing a deep recession is nothing short of inhumane.  Making troubled and impoverished young men even more desperate and resentful of the West will surely lead to even more extremism, crime, and terrorism.  Sanctions I have come to really turn against them.  All we need to do is look at Cuba to see who is really hurt by sanctions and how regimes still hold onto power.

Make no mistake I love America, I support the right of Israel to exist and defend themselves, I support the US/Israel alliance, and I am a strong critic of the Iranian regime.  I however am not in favor of continuing sanctions against Iran or further escalating tensions between the two Nations.  All the sanctions have primarily done is hurt everyday Iranian men, women, and children while the regime has if anything only strengthened its position in the Middle East and world stage.

I have little faith in the Iranian regime and see them as nothing less than a hostile force to peace in the world.  A regime that can support butchers like Bashar al-Assad, thugs like Hezbollah, finance terror operations around the world, and grossly violate human rights is clearly an enemy to people across the globe.  We clearly need to continue cutting off such aid and supplies to such regimes, organizations, and individuals, along with pushing strongly for human rights and punishing abuses.  However imposing sanctions that will hurt the Iranian people is something we should not support.  Neither should we support military action against Iran because such would lead to a war that would dwarf the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against ISIS combined.  I believe military action against Iran could easily trigger a war in the region that could devolve into something we have not seen since WWII.

The hawks in America and Israel are speaking out of both sides of their mouth as Prime Minister Netanyahu did in his speech.  On one hand they say how the sanctions “are working” and more sanctions will work even more.  That the regime is beginning to feel the sting of the sanctions and is being weakened by them.  That America and Israel have the upper hand and Iran will eventually be forced to seeing things our way.  On the other hand they say Iran is more powerful than ever, more dangerous than ever, and looking to wipe Israel off the face of the map.  That Iran is playing games and buying time.  It seems to change from day-to-day depending on which news program they are on or which question they are asked.

Iran can not be weak and strong at the same time.  The regime can not be dying and thriving simultaneously.  The sanctions can not be working and failing at the same time.  The regime can not be moving towards our direction and against us in the same negotiations.  The regime can not be looking to make concessions towards peace and plotting war within the same breath.  You can not be for war and peace in the same moment.  The neo-cons within Israel and the United States need to make up their minds about Iran because this double talk is driving me crazy.

Netanyahu did indeed give a grand speech of a statesman and ally that is sure to have a paragraph in the history books.  He did indeed spark a lot of controversy and publicity.  He even unfortunately helped strengthen the GOP Congress.  What he did not do is lay out a plan for peace or success.  He did the same thing as the Republicans in Congress; reject an agreement before it has even been finalized without offering any workable solutions of his own.  His answer to any agreement with Iran has been and will continue to be NO!  That is unless Iran gives Israel everything they want while they get little to nothing in return.  Again the same games the GOP plays with the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.  My way or the highway, your either with me or against me, all or nothing, do or die!  That is a recipe for war and conflict and is a completely opposite approach of what is needed in negotiations and agreements.

Mr. Netanyahu may be anxious to take a hard-line approach against Iran and start an armed conflict with them but most Americans have no such appetite.  I need not remind him we are currently preoccupied with fighting armed extremist in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and in various places around the Middle East.  Not to mention trying to undermine a ruthless dictator in Syria and negotiate peace in Ukraine while offering aid to help defend them from heavily armed pro-Russian separatist.  Our military is spread thin and the budget is only narrowing.  Americans are way past war fatigue and are approaching war exhaustion.  We are lifting far more than our fair share, meanwhile Netanyahu talks.

The Obama administration has done more to defend the security of Israel than any administration in history all things considered yet the perception by the GOP in America and the Likud Party in Israel seems to be President Obama is somehow anti-Israel.  Just because your sometimes critical of a friend’s actions and words does not mean you’re not friends.  In fact in my experience your best friends are often the ones who tell you like it is and remind you to be your best self.  The fact remains the US and Israel are strong allies and while our interest may overlap often it does not mean our interest are the same.  There are times, like Israel’s brutal response to Gaza rockets where Israel engaged in human rights abuses, the issue of maltreatment of Palestinians, and expansion of Israeli settlements where the US has been critical of and at odds with Israel but at the end of the day we still maintained the friendship and alliance.  There are times where our interest does not overlap and occasionally is in opposition to the other’s interest, this is just the nature of friendships and alliances.

Rather than seeking to impose more sanctions on Iran the US and Israel should be reducing their weapons of mass destruction stockpiles namely their nuclear arsenals.  Then we will have some moral credibility to expect such in others.  Rather than seeking conflict with Iran we should be using our influence to encourage Iran to improve their human rights record and turn away from conflict while we do the same simultaneously.  We should be offering the carrot instead of threatening or beating nations we disagree with the stick.  We should be striving towards peace not war, towards compassion not cruelty, towards agreements not conflicts.

Prime Minister Netanyahu must stop making plowshares into swords if he truly wants peace in Israel. He needs to not see every disagreement between the US and Israel as some kind of personal insult or as a sign the US does not stand with Israel.  He would be wise to stop the fear-mongering and this the world is against Israel and the Jewish people talking points.  He should stop seeing all of Israel’s neighbors as an existential threat to Israel.  He must stand up to the hard-right and hawks in his own party.  He lastly needs to realize an agreement with Iran where talks and monitoring continue is better than Iran quitting talking and shutting out the world or starting an armed conflict with Israel.  It’s his and Israel’s choice at the end of the day, but this is my suggestions.

There was far too much fear in the Prime Minister’s speech and no workable solutions to Iran’s nuclear ambitions that I heard him speak.  It was a 30 seconds to midnight kind of speech.  It was obviously given to undermine the administration’s effort for an agreement with Iran by convincing Congress not to sign off on it before an agreement has even been finalized.  It was quite clear he or his speech writers were pandering to an American audience by touching on themes that would play well here.  It was quite a remarkable speech in its oration but substantively it did not offer much.  Strong on rhetoric and verbal flourishes but short on substance.  What we heard is Israel is not really open to negotiations with Iran and I believe is looking to draw the United States into conflict against Iran.  I believe Benjamin Netanyahu came here to sow the seeds of war within the heart of Congress.  History I believe will look back at this speech as the beginnings of a major conflict with Iran that has the potential to be far more terrible than most can imagine.  Whatever the case I fear only regression from any progress that has thus far been made and a much worse outcome than before the speech.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers – NYTimes.com

Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers – NYTimes.com.

GENEVA — Speaking in English and using PowerPoint, Iran’s foreign minister outlined a proposal to representatives of the big powers on Tuesday that would constrain his country’s nuclear program in return for a right to enrich uranium and an easing of the sanctions that have been battering the Iranian economy.

After the discussions, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, and his team met for about an hour at the United Nations headquarters here with the American delegation, led by Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official. The substance was not disclosed, but the meeting itself was unusual.

The proposal presented by the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at negotiations on Iran’s disputed nuclear program, called for “an end to an unnecessary crisis and a start for new horizons,” according to Iranian officials.

In a possible sign that the negotiations have turned serious after years of delay and obfuscations, a senior State Department official suggested that the discussions had been workmanlike.

“For the first time, we had very detailed technical discussions, which carried on this afternoon,” said the State Department official, who declined to be identified under the diplomatic protocol for talking to the news media. “We will continue the discussions tomorrow.”

Michael Mann, a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign policy official and the lead negotiator in the talks with Iran, said earlier in the day that the Iranian proposal had been “very useful.”

Mr. Zarif presented the proposal during the first morning session of the talks with the P5-plus-1 countries, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.

The two-day talks are the first formal negotiations between those countries and Iran since the election of Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, who took office in August and has pledged to reach an agreement on the nuclear program in an effort to end the country’s prolonged economic isolation.

Iranian officials said they wanted the details of Iran’s proposal to remain confidential for the time being. But the Iranian Students’ News Agency, ISNA, quoted Mr. Araqchi as saying…

Read More Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers – NYTimes.com.

Bashar al-Assad Lied Throughout The Charlie Rose Interview

I hope the American people were not fooled!

BLOOD BROTHERS

The man lied throughout from beginning to end.  People who have not been following the crises closely and don’t have most of the facts about Syria may easily be misled.  I have been at this for two years now I have heard similar lies and propaganda before.  I swear this man could have been the best lawyer or salesman in Syria that is how smooth of a talker and liar he is.  Let me attempt to clear up some of his lies.

First Bashar al-Assad did order a chemical weapons attack and it did kill over 1400 people including over 400 children, not the rebel forces as he said.

Secondly the rebels are not in the vast majority of cases Al-Qaeda or extremist only about 20% of the opposition consist of Al-Qaeda and other extremist elements.

Third Bashar al-Assad does not have the popular support of the Syrian people, his support is primarily centered in central Damascus and among the minority Alawite and Christian Sects.  Though of course not all Alawites or Christians are supporters the majority have maintained their support of the regime.  Most of this support is only because of their fears largely fueled by SANA, Syrian State Television, that the rebel forces are terrorist and want to take over and kill all the Alawite and Christians.  All dictators have done this Hitler, Stalin, Gaddafi told their supporters lies that the opposition would have no mercy on and kill all the people if they were allowed to take over.  Dictators more than anything want to convince the people they tyrannize over that they are essential in their survival and well-being.

Fourth the overwhelming majority of the opposition is Syrians not foreign fighters as he tried to suggest.

Fifth Bashar al-Assad has held on so long not because of domestic support as he maintains but because of support from Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.  Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah have their hands not just stained but dripping in the blood of the Syrian Children.  There weapons, money, and supplies have fueled the Syrian Arab Army and other Syrian units massacre campaigns.  Yes Russian weapons given to them by Russia have killed thousands of Syrian Children.  How do you sleep at night Putin?

Sixth an US attack on the Syrian government would not be supporting Al-Qaeda it would be supporting the Syrian people.

Seventh most of Assad veiled threats are just that threats neither he nor the other pro Assad actors are foolish enough to attack our forces and military bases directly because they know the response would be absolutely fatal to their regimes.  Even if they were foolish enough to do so they would be attacked and killed before they had time to regret it.  In other words they would be hit before they even saw it coming.  Russia too, they may be allies but if they dared launched an attack against our forces in any strike they should expect the same as any other foe who attacked us.  Putin is arrogant but he is an intelligent man, he would not dare do something so foolish.  Therefore all this talk from Russia that they would back Assad militarily if there is strikes on Syria is simply empty threats.  Russia is not suicidal.  Now Hezbollah and the Assad regime that is another story, they may indeed respond, but most likely by attacking our allies and interest in the region not our forces and military bases directly.  Iran could respond but I highly doubt it.  They are trying to get sanctions against them lifted to bring back their economy, in the end they are not going to risk their economy and their own interest for Assad.  Of course Russia and Iran could theoretically respond but I don’t see either doing so.  Most likely any retaliatory response against our allies and interest in the region would come from the Assad regime and Hezbollah.

Eighth all this talk from Assad of such an attack destabilizing Syria and the region.  News Flash Assad it is already deeply destabilized and will continue to be destabilized rather we launch a strike or not.  If anything a strike in the long run will help stabilize Syria and the region faster by weakening the regime allowing the rebels to overthrow his regime sooner allowing the Syrian refugees to return home and rebuild.  There is no possible future in Syria of Assad staying, this war will wage on as long as Assad and his regime remain in power.  Assad will either leave soon or die later, the choice is up to him.

Ninth this excuse all war is brutal.  Yes Bashar all war is brutal but the US does not intentionally massacre unarmed civilians or gas children to death as your regime does.  As far as the extremist you gave reference to of committing war crimes against your soldiers it is indeed unacceptable and awful crimes but at least generally they are not committing war crimes against women and children as your regime is.  Their war crimes have overwhelmingly been focused against your military forces.  Meanwhile your side’s war crimes have routinely targeted unarmed civilians including targeting women and children.  You are not killing terrorist for the most part you are killing the Syrian people.

Tenth Assad is not protecting in any way the Syrian people, only his own regime and own interest.

The Final Chapter Of Assad (YouTube Video)

Video By: Alan Curtis Montgomery @ World Human Rights

Published on Sep 3, 2013

This is the final chapter of Assad. The use of chemical weapons against his own people on a large scale killing at least 1,429 people including 426 children was the start of the final chapter of Assad. For over forty years the Assads have ruled Syria with an iron fist and now their rule and kingdom will soon be taken away from them. Bashar al-Assad will soon reap what he has sewn and it will be his end as leader of Syria. This video contains graphic video clips and photos of the Sarin gas attack victims and may be upsetting to some viewers, viewer discretion is advised.

(Click The Gear Icon and change to 1080pHD or 720pHD for best quality)

A.C.M.

United States Senator John McCain Press Office

United States Senator John McCain :: Press Office

August 31, 2013

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on President Obama’s remarks on Syria:

“We believe President Obama is correct that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons requires a military response by the United States and our friends and allies. Since the President is now seeking Congressional support for this action, the Congress must act as soon as possible.

“However, we cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the President’s stated goal of Assad’s removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests. Anything short of this would be an inadequate response to the crimes against humanity that Assad and his forces are committing. And it would send the wrong signal to America’s friends and allies, the Syrian opposition, the Assad regime, Iran, and the world – all of whom are watching closely what actions America will take.”

 

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via United States Senator John McCain :: Press Office

Iran Threatens to ‘Burn Down Israel’ In If U.S. Strikes Syria | HEAVY

Iran Threatens to ‘Burn Down Israel’ In If U.S. Strikes Syria | HEAVY.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Getty)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Getty)

As the international community struggles to come up with a resolution to the current chemical weapons crisis in Syria, Iran has made its intentions clear. “Any attack on Syria would burn down Israel,” said Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces. “In case of a U.S. military strike against Syria, the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries will point toward the Zionist regime,” said Mansur Haqiqatpur, an influential member of Iranian Parliament. “A U.S. attack on Syria is not wise, particularly considering the issue that it would happen in a region that is like a powder keg, and Syria’s reaction to the air strike by the U.S. or NATO is unpredictable,” said Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker.

These sentiments were further stressed by an unnamed senior Syrian official:

“If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a license for attacking Israel. If Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors. Thus, a US attack on Syria will herald frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in retaliation, but by extremist groups.”

Israel has been in close communication with the President Obama over the current situation regarding Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also made his intentions clear in the event of an attack on Israel.

“The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Western forces have begun to mass in the region, with four U.S. Navy destroyers being reported off Syria’s coast earlier this week, and seven more vessels moving into position today.

The new additions include five U.S. destroyers, one U.S. submarine, and one British submarine.

The Syrian population has begun to prepare for what seems like an imminent multi-day U.S.-led attack on Syrian infrastructure. People have started to stock up on supplies and leave areas that are likely to host missile strikes. It has also been reported that roughly 15,000 people have fled Syria and crossed into Lebanon in the last 24 hours alone.

via Iran Threatens to ‘Burn Down Israel’ In If U.S. Strikes Syria | HEAVY.

1,000 Syrian Pounds

Syria Bans Use of Foreign Currencies for Business Deals – NYTimes.com

Syria Bans Use of Foreign Currencies for Business Deals – NYTimes.com.

By
Published: August 4, 2013

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Sunday banned the use of foreign currencies in business transactions, part of the government’s effort to prop up the Syrian pound, which has plummeted to 200 pounds to the dollar from 47 to the dollar in March 2011.

SANA, the government-run news agency, said that people offering goods and services for foreign currencies without the government’s approval could be fined and sentenced to at least six months in jail. In cases involving deals valued at more than $5,000, the punishment could be up to 10 years of hard labor.

Syrians have grown increasingly desperate to move their money to foreign currencies as the civil war, now in its third year, ravages the economy. Currency exchange shops in central Damascus are often packed. Real estate and manufacturing deals are increasingly conducted in dollars. Even taxi drivers and others working in small, informal businesses often demand to be paid in foreign currencies.

Last month, the Central Bank was able to reverse a deeper plunge in the value of the pound, which briefly traded at more than 300 to the dollar, by selling off dollars at a deep discount to banks, said Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University who studies troubled currencies. The banks then sold the dollars to the public for a modest profit.

Smaller currency traders in Damascus said they were under pressure to follow the banks’ lead, but many refused to sell dollars so cheaply. Mr. Hanke said it was unclear whether the government could sustain such interventions as a long-term strategy. Still, the government’s move had enough impact on the market that the informal and official dollar rates converged, he said.

The government has increased salaries by more than 40 percent during the crisis, but since wages are demarcated in pounds, the raises have not offset the loss in buying power.

Syrian officials and government consultants have said that the country is handling all new import deals in the currencies of China, Iran and Russia, countries friendly to the government, and that those countries have provided credit lines to help the government pay salaries and import food, fuel and other necessities.

Businesspeople and currency traders say the government has gradually restricted business dealings during the crisis, rolling back some of the economic liberalization measures carried out in the early years of Mr. Assad’s tenure with policies like forbidding the pricing of goods in dollars. Those regulations were widely ignored, and the new decree tightens the rules and increases penalties.

On the diplomatic front, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, said Sunday that his country’s strong support for Mr. Assad would remain unchanged, SANA reported.

“No force in the world can shake the solid, strategic and historic relations that bind the two countries in friendship,” Mr. Rouhani told Syria’s prime minister, Wael al-Halqi, who was in Tehran for the Iranian president’s inauguration.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 5, 2013, on page A7 of the New York edition with the headline: Syria Bans Use of Foreign Money in Business Transactions.

via Syria Bans Use of Foreign Currencies for Business Deals – NYTimes.com.