The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)sanctioned four individuals and six entities connected to the regime of Bashar al-Assad on November 25 for helping to transfer Syrian government funds to the Islamic State (IS), and for assisting in Russia-connected schemes to help the Assad regime evade the international sanctions imposed on it. While the sanctions freeze all assets of the individuals and entities that are under U.S. control and ban Americans from transactions with them, the most significant effect of these sanctions is political: the revelation of details about how Assad strengthens the Islamist terrorists he claims to oppose to discredit and destroy the rebellion against his regime.
GAZA (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority on Monday urged the Egyptian authorities to allow humanitarian cases to leave the blockaded Gaza Strip, saying the Rafah crossing has now been closed to such cases more than 100 straight days.The PA committee for crossings and borders said in a statement that the crossing had only been open for 19 non-consecutive days this year.It was last opened for three days at the beginning of September and again for one day later that month so as to allow Palestinians to take part in the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca.However, the PA committee said that no humanitarian cases were allowed to leave the beleaguered coastal enclave through that period.The border crossing was last open to Palestinians seeking medical treatment on Aug. 21, concluding a period of four days during which 2,579 humanitarian cases were able to leave.Iyad al-Buzm, a spokesperson for Gaza’s Hamas-run interior ministry, said at the time that some 17,000 Palestinians still urgently needed to leave the territory, either as humanitarian cases or to continue their studies abroad.Al-Buzm had previously referred to the situation as a “human catastrophe,” warning that the continued closure of the Rafah crossing threatened the lives of hundreds of patients in urgent need of operations.The Rafah crossing is the primary lifeline to the outside world for Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, but has been severely restricted by the Egyptian authorities over the past year, largely due to a militant insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula.The Egyptian government has in the past accused Hamas of assisting the insurgency, although Hamas strongly denies the allegations.Egypt has done little to alleviate Israel’s eight-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has severely restricted imports and exports into the territory and denied Gazans’ freedom of movement.Earlier this month, there were rumors that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi had agreed during a meeting in Cairo on a mechanism to open the Rafah crossing more regularly.However, Gaza’s de facto leaders Hamas — which effectively controls the Palestinian end of the border crossing — criticized the rumored deal as a “unilateral arrangement” that “ignored the reality on the ground.”Hamas has suffered poor relations with the Egyptian government ever since the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood, with whom they were closely allied, was thrown out of power in July 2013.
(Source / 30.11.2015)
Israeli soldiers fatally shot, on Sunday at night, a Palestinian teen in Ein al-Louza neighborhood, in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
Medical sources said the slain Palestinian has been identified as Ayman Sameeh al-Abbassi, 17 years of age, and that he was shot with a live round in his chest.
Clashes took place in different parts of the town, including Ras al-Amoud and Ein al-Louza, while the soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. Many Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The soldiers also invaded Ein al-Louza Specialized Medical Center, and detained the medical staff in addition to inspecting the ID cards of many residents in the center.
They attempted to snatch the body of the slain Palestinian from the center, but the residents prevented them, and took him to his family home.
The army also invaded the residential building of Sami Rajabi, and searched several apartments, in addition to surrounding the al-Makassed and Augusta Victoria Hospitals, before searching all cars entering or leaving them.
Despite Israeli military restrictions, the funeral of al-‘Abbassi was held at midnight, with the participation of hundreds of Palestinians.
The residents marched from his home towards the graveyard in Sweih neighborhood, while carrying Palestinian flags and chanting for the liberation of Palestine, and the release of all detainees.
(Source / 30.11.2015)
Upon his release Zawahra went straight to his brother’s grave-site before going home with his family
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities released Palestinian prisoner and former hunger striker Ghassan Zawahra on Monday, his family told Ma’an.Zawahra was released to his family in Aida refugee camp, near the northern entrance of Bethlehem city in the southern occupied West Bank after being held for 18 months under administrative detention, an Israeli policy that allows detainees to be held without charge or trial for renewable six month periods, indefinitely.
On Oct. 13, Israeli forces shot and killed Zawahra’s younger brother, Mutaz, during clashes near their home. Upon his release Zawahra went straight to his brother’s grave-site before going home with his family.Zawahra had previously served a total of 12 years in Israeli prison.The controversial policy of administrative detention, or internment without charge or trial, has been highly criticized by international bodies.There are currently at least 450 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails under administrative detention, according to documentation by prisoners’ rights group Addameer.According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the majority of prisoners who go on hunger strike are Palestinians in administrative detention.
(Source / 30.11.2015)
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continue to hold the bodies of 40 male and female Palestinians, including children, who were killed by IOF gunfire over the past two months.
Mohammed Mahmoud, a lawyer for the families of martyrs, told the Palestinian Information Center that there is no Israeli law prohibiting the delivery of martyrs’ bodies to their families, stressing that it is only a political issue, linked to the Israeli political level.
He pointed out that “the issue of the detention of 40 Palestinian bodies is a contentious issue between the ministers of the Israeli government; the internal security minister not only insists on detaining the bodies, but also demands the deportation of Palestinian families of martyrs to the Gaza Strip as punishment to the martyrs and their families, while the Israeli war minister Moshe Ya’alon rejects this, and says that he supports handing the bodies over to the families, we do not know if this contradiction is real or is a distribution of roles “.
Mahmoud confirms that their efforts regarding this issue are still “in the context of correspondence with the Attorney Generals of Israel and the Israeli police, but we did not go to the Supreme Court, so as to prevent any precedents or consequences.”
A humanitarian issue
Lawyer and Jerusalem Affairs Adviser for the Palestinian Presidency, Ahmed Rwaidy, told the PIC that the issue “we are facing is a humanitarian issue in the first place.”
He called on the families of the martyrs, international humanitarian institutions, and the Palestinian leadership to pressure Israel to deliver the bodies of the martyrs to their families.
Rwaidy explained that the official Palestinian action was on various levels; the political level through communication with consuls and international missions, in order to put a political pressure on the Israeli government to release the bodies to end this humanitarian issue.
Rwaidy added that among a group of files that have been handed to the US Secretary of State John Kerry during the meeting with president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, a full file on that issue.
He pointed out that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) want to take revenge on the martyrs’ families.
Rwaidy continues: “It was agreed with the martyrs’ families on the need to conduct autopsy on the martyrs’ bodies when delivered to the Palestinians so as to document the findings, and investigate the causes of the crime; as some of them were killed for no reason according to witnesses, photographs and video excerpts”.
With regard to the legal level, Rwaidy said that there is a group of lawyers who follow up on the issue with families, and provide what is necessary on the legal aspect, but all these efforts were met with rejection by the Attorney General of Israel. Rwaidy opined that the Israeli security services do not refuse to hand over the bodies, but members of the Israeli cabinet insist on this inhumane punishment.
Rwaidy said that discussions were underway with international legal and human rights organizations to agree on international action against these Israeli practices at the international level, especially as this issue is of a human dimension and an issue of human rights.
The role of the masses
For his part, the lawyer Mohammed Alyan, one of those in charge of a national campaign to restore the bodies of the martyrs and the father of martyr Bahaa Alyan, said: “We have tried and still try to reclaim the bodies of the martyrs by sending petitions to the Israeli prosecution but the answer was that the detention of the martyrs’ bodies is a political decision.”
He added: “we called on the Palestinian Authority to exert pressure on the political level, but unfortunately no action has been carried out so far … so our sole solution now is to activate the masses.”
Alyan has posted on his page on the social networking site Facebook: “If the judiciary solution does not yield its fruits, and in the light of the silence on the political level, perhaps the hashtag #restoration_of_martyrs’_bodies, might be of benefit.”
Martyr Hassan Manasra’s uncle said: “This is painful for us and for other martyrs’ families… we believe that the right place of martyrs’ bodies is graves not refrigerators.”
Martyr Thaer Abu Ghazaleh’s grandfather said: “by this practice the Israeli occupation authorities are punishing both the dead and the living … Why didn’t they release the body of our martyrs? What’s the use of detaining dead bodies? Don’t they know that the detention of martyrs’ bodies angers the people of the martyrs and leads to results contrary to what they want ?!”.
(Source / 30.11.2015)
A Palestinian bedouin woman stands next to her destroyed tent in the village of Atouf in the Jordan Valley
Israeli authorities on Monday confiscated 10 tents donated to Palestinians in the Jordan Valley by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Israeli rights group B’Tselem said.
“This morning, Nov. 30, 2015, Civil Administration and military personnel arrived at al-Hadidiya in the northern Jordan Valley and confiscated ten tents donated to residents by the ICRC and the local council, after the Israeli authorities demolished their homes last week,” the group said.
“The families are without shelter at the moment.”
Four of the tents served as housing for the 19 Palestinian villagers, including six children, while a further six were reserved in case of future demolitions.
Last Wednesday, Israeli military forces destroyed an access road to the village and destroyed housing, storage facilities, and livestock pens, leaving the families homeless.
Israel’s Civil Administration destroyed the families’ homes in 2011, but they had since been rebuilt.
“Using the excuse of enforcing building laws, Israel is pursuing a policy designed to reduce the number of Palestinians living in Area C, by making their lives there intolerable,” B’Tselem said.
“This government policy, which has been systematically implemented for years, constitutes the forcible transfer of protected persons inside the occupied territory — whether directly by demolishing their homes or indirectly by creating unlivable conditions.”
(Source / 30.11.2015)
Several sources have confirmed rumours that Israel have purchased most of its oil supplies from ISIS militants who stole it from Syria via tanker truck convoys.
As reported by an earlier Financial Times report, Israel has bought as much as three-quarters of its oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, which accounts for 19 million barrels of oil over the course of three months.
American Everyman reports:
In a carefully detailed article, Al-Araby lays out the entire process from start to finish, showing how ISIS™ supposedly steals the oil from Conoco oil fields in Syria and then transports them down to Iraqi Kurdistan where the oil is purchased illegally and refined to some small degree so they can get around import regulations in Turkey. The oil is put in tanker trucks labeled as legitimate oil from the Iraqi Kurdistan region and sold to black market buyers in Turkey. The article explains how one of the biggest buyers of that stolen oil just happens to be an Israeli-Greek duel citizen named Uncle Farid.
IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.
It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby‘s investigation…
Al-Araby has obtained information about how IS smuggles oil from a colonel in the Iraqi Intelligence Services who we are keeping anonymous for his security.
The information was verified by Kurdish security officials, employees at the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, and an official at one of three oil companies that deal in IS-smuggled oil.
The Iraqi colonel, who along with US investigators is working on a way to stop terrorist finance streams, told al-Araby about the stages that the smuggled oil goes through from the points of extraction in Iraqi oil fields to its destination – notably including the port of Ashdod, Israel…
Once in Turkey, the lorries continue to the town of Silopi, where the oil is delivered to a person who goes by the aliases of Dr Farid, Hajji Farid and Uncle Farid.
Uncle Farid is an Israeli-Greek dual national in his fifties. (Al-Araby)
If the Kurds are really in Syria and Iraq fighting ISIS™, why are they allowing the flow of this stolen oil to cross areas they control to be processed and sold in tankers bearing the seal of Iraqi Kurdistan?
For that matter, why are the fanatical Muslims selling their stolen oil to the Jewish state at such low, low prices?
Could it have anything to do with the fact that Israel has been a huge supporter of the corrupt Barzani dictatorship in Iraqi Kurdistan for years?
News published in the Financial Times on Sunday that Israel imports most of its oil from Iraq’s Kurdish areas came as no shock to those following the secretive Israel-Kurd relationship.
“The news is not so surprising, as it has been going on for some time,” Prof. Ofra Bengio, editor of the book Kurdish Awakening: Nation-Building in a Fragmented Homeland, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday…
Bengio pointed out that the Kurdish religious affairs ministry recently made an unusual move by including a Jewish representative in its work, adding that the timing was interesting…
“The Kurds must take Israel as model for their democracy, the only one in the region,” he said, noting that it could be of use when the Kurds gain independence. (JP)
Could it have anything to do with the fact that Israel and the neocons here in the states are busy trying to create something called Greater Kurdistan (did you notice the title of that book?) and they need the unregulated revenues from the stolen oil to carry on their latest dirty war?
Let us note, by the way, that as from now, the Regional Kurdish Government of Iraq is a dictatorship. Its President, Massoud Barzani, who is a Mossad agent set up by the United Kingdom and the United States, has been hanging onto power since the end of his mandate in June 2013 …
… The parties in the conflict will not announce that they are making war in order to create an Israeli colonial state, thus creating a pincer situation to the disadvantage of the resistant Arab states, but as soon as it becomes necessary, they will declare that they are fighting for an independent « Kurdistan » – a grotesque position since the territory concerned has never in history belonged to Kurdistan, and that the Kurds are in the minority here (less than 30 % of the population). (Voltaire)
Though his work on this subject is good, Thierry does make a few omissions in his article, the most obvious being that he states that the oil tankers seen stealing Syrian oil end up crossing into Turkey. The mistake is he omits a rather important part of the process, which, detailed above, shows that the stolen oil heads first to Iraqi Kurdistan where it is semi-refined in order to allow it to pass Turkish regulatory requirements and then transferred to official Iraqi Kurdistan Government marked tankers. That last step in the process makes the stolen oil impossible to delineate from legal oil reserves extracted from the Kurdistan region.
That omission aside, it’s a good read.
The project for Greater Kurdistan (as I have taken to call it) has been around for a while. Here’s a map showing the “new Middle East” as published in the Armed Forces Journal back in 2006 when Condi Rice was talking about the project. Notice how much of Turkey and Syria “Free Kurdistan” occupies?
Back in Sept. of 2014, an article titled “Why Not Kurdistan?” explains the project in a little more updated detail complete with a more ambitious map:
To this end, Kurds argue that their nation is overdue. The Kurdish diaspora, over Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey, feel, perhaps rightly, oppressed and nationless. The Kurds have seen what they view to have been broken promises in the reformation of Iraq. Processes that presumably would eventually lead to a fully sovereign state have been delayed or not implemented at all. (Shaun Terry)
Then in Jan. of 2015, Foreign Policy magazine began pushing the same Greater Kurdistan idea: what they happened to call Great Kurdistan. They wrote it would be the next nation to be built.
The 30 million Kurds of the Middle East don’t only live in Iraq, of course. But all of them are feeling the tremors of change. Iran, which has a significant Kurdish minority of its own, is strengthening its ties with the KRG, which it views as a vital ally in the fight against IS. In Syria, the civil war has enabledKurds to set up wide-ranging self-administration in the northeast of the country — thus eroding the border between Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, who now travel back and forth across the line without visas. And in Turkey, home to the region’s largest Kurdish minority, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has abandoned long-held policies aimed at the suppression of a distinct Kurdish identity and is conducting peace talks with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), responsible for a decade-long insurgency in eastern Turkey.
All of this means that the Kurds, who enjoy the unenviable status of the world’slargest nation without a state, now find themselves on the verge of establishing their first viable national homeland. (Foreign Policy)
In Feb. of 2015, The Economist quoted one of the Barzani clan saying the Greater Kurdistan project would be complete in 2 years.
For the birth of an independent Kurdistan, the omens have never been so propitious. “We have waited long enough,” says Sirwan Barzani, a grandson of Mustafa Barzani (1903-79), the Kurds’ legendary leader whose descendants are in the vanguard of today’s fledgling state. “It has been a hundred years since we were divided between the four devils,” he says, referring to the regional carve-up of Kurdish lands after the first world war between the rump of Ottoman Turkey, Iran, Syria (then run by France) and Mesopotamia (run by Britain, and soon to become Iraq). “We will be independent within two years.” (The Economist Feb. 2015)
That same month, neocons David Petraeus and Dov Zakheim attended a forum here in the states which seems to have been laying the groundwork for the nation building exercise.
It seems the plan was a “go” and everyone was jumping on board, even the “libertarian” Rand Paul who’s ideology is supposed to mean he is opposed to nation building as a general rule.
“I would draw new lines for Kurdistan and I would promise them a country,” (Rand Paul)
But why then? Why the rush to bust off a piece of Syria and Turkey and hand it over to the Mossad assets, the Barzani clan? Why did Greater Kurdistan suddenly rise to the top of Obama’s to-do list at that particular moment?
This might be a clue:
The Turkish Stream is a working name of the proposed natural gas pipelinefrom the Russian Federation to Turkey across the Black Sea. The proposal was announced by Russian president Vladimir Putin on 1 December 2014, during his state visit to Turkey. The proposed pipeline should replace the cancelled South Stream project. According to Gazprom, the project does not have an official name yet. (Wiki)
So in Dec. of 2014, Putin met with Erdogan and announced plans to build a massive pipeline transporting Russian LNG from the Russian Federation to the Black Sea and from there to energy starved markets in Europe.
This project replaced the proposed South Stream project which was put on hold thanks to the Obama/Soros regime change operation in Ukraine.
This may have been the final straw for the West concerning Erdogan who had recently rejected taking out another loan from the IMF.
So let’s fast-forward a couple months.
Russia begins targeting those oil tanker convoys heading to Iraqi Kurdistan to be switched out to Kurdistan Regional Government marked tankers and shuttled over to Turkey to be purchased by the Israeli-Greek black market dealer and eventually shipped over to Israel.
Russia, while targeting our CIA destabilization “moderates” in Syria, makes the mistake of letting the US know in advance of their targets and more importantly, the flight paths of their fighters operating inside Syria.
“We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don’t control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners.’ (Zero Hedge)
It would seem the US then transferred that information over to the Turkish military, who by the way, just happens to be more than a little upset at the current government since they reduced the military’s influence in the government of the country.
As of late, there have been a number of reports which suggest the Turkish military is reasserting itself into the realm of politics in the country in a big way. Take for examplethis al-Monitor article written in Oct. of 2015.
For example, journalist and academic Halil Karaveli believes that the crisis environment in the country has returned the military to politics, and that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which has put an end to the solution process with the Kurds, has submitted to the armed services. Karaveli is a senior fellow with the Turkey Initiative at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center and managing editor of its publication, The Turkey Analyst. He thinks that the military now controls the AKP….
It is not a secret that the views of the AKP and the military don’t mesh on purging the pro-Gulenist elements said to have infiltrated the armed forces…
Also attracting attention now is how the military high command is refusing to send soldiers into inhabited locations, despite politicians’ demands. There are also other areas where the army can say no to Erdogan, such as the armed forces’ determination to stay out of politics without rupturing its realist position on Syria, its refusal to conduct a mass Gulenist purge in its ranks and its adherence to close relations with NATO and the United States. (al-Monitor)
That article goes a long way in explaining a couple of seemingly contradictory facts surrounding the recent downing of the Russian fighter in Syria.
According to that article, the military isn’t really taking orders from anyone, much less Erdogan as they develop a very close relationship with the United States and NATO to serve their own interests.
Also of note is the fact that the article states that pro-Gulen elements are infiltrating the military leadership and the rest of that leadership seems reluctant to purge them.
So… did Erdogan really give the order to down a Russian fighter jet on some trumped up charge or was it the pro-US, pro-NATO, pro-Gulen leadership of the surging Turkish military that did it?
Either way you look at it, the end result might just be the demolition of the Turkish Stream pipeline deal (and who’s interests does that serve?)
The question was looming whether Russia would be willing to jeopardize “Turkish Stream,” a natural gas pipeline intended to channel Russian Gas to Turkey and, thereon, to the Balkans. As a market in its own right, Turkey is the second-largest buyer of Russian gas after Germany according to Politico. The answer is yes.
On Thursday, the Russian Minister of development, Alexei Ulyukayev, said that Russia is cancelling Turkish Stream and is considering cancelling a contract for the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear reactor in Mersin province. (New Europe)
Many have asked if Erdogan did not approve of the downing of the Russian jet, why he wouldn’t come forward and say he had nothing to do with the decision and throw the military leadership of his country under the bus.
This article from al-Monitor seems to suggest such an act would be essentially a suicide note for Erdogan. If the military is poised to take charge and reluctant to weed out from it’s ranks the supporters of the neoliberal Gulen, for Erdogan to make such a pronouncement would be essentially an act of war against Turkey’s own military. That’s probably not a good idea. You can ask Morsi about that or the former elected president of Thailand.
When you consider all the contradictions taking place right now in Syria such as the Kurds fighting ISIS™ while buying and profiting off their stolen oil… the radical Islamic ISIS™ selling their stolen resources to the Jewish state… everyone forgetting to mention the fact that the stolen oil is transferred to official Kurdish Regional Government trucks… the United States failing to target those convoys for the entire year they’ve been fighting ISIS™… and the NATO supporting Turkish military being spoon fed specific information regarding the flight path of that Russian fighter before it took off yet somehow everyone blames Erdogan for the event …
When you consider all of that coupled with the timing of the burgeoning Greater Kurdistan project and the Russian/Turkish Turkish Stream pipeline deal (which has now been sunk by the pro-NATO pro-US Turkish military) you have to come to a very different conclusion than that the MSM and some complicit alternative websites would have you believe.
I’m sure it’s easier to regurgitate the current propaganda to others saying Erdogan did it because his son is buying all the ISIS™ oil but that explanation falls short on so many levels it’s almost as laughable as saying they attacked on 9/11 because “they hate us for our freedoms”
But if you take the time to dig into it, into the history which isn’t really that old or that well hidden, you just might find a more rational explanation for all of this and one that certainly dovetails perfectly with the rest of the Grand Chessboard project.
They said Assad was buying the oil and supporting ISIS™.
They said Erdogan was buying the oil and supporting ISIS™.
All while they continue to arrest folks in France for supporting ISIS™.
Pretty soon they’ll be taking down websites because they support ISIS™.
But who really supports what they call ISIS™? Who buys their stolen Syrian oil? Who profits from it? Who hides it in their tankers and who ships it to their nations? Who makes their videos? Who justifies bombing Syrian infrastructure by claiming they are attacking ISIS™?
And ultimately, who really runs Turkey and had a motive to shoot down the Turkish Stream pipeline deal?
When you look at it in that context, all those seeming contradictions start to make perfect sense, don’t they?
(Source / 30.11.2015)