moonscape

Israel Punishes Media For Reporting Its Escalation In Palestine
Moon of Alabama, May 15 2021

Today is Nakba day which commemorates the violent expulsion of more than 700k Palestinians from their homes which began 74 years ago and is still continuing. Just yesterday Fares Akram. AP reporter in Gaza, wrote in a diary about his families expulsion and his life under colonist bombing:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — On Friday morning, a military airstrike smashed my family’s farm in the northern Gaza Strip into a jagged mass of metal and splintered trees. An Israeli bomb had slammed into the yard, carving a crater into the dirt and leaving rubble in its wake. The conflict, once again, hit home. The first Gaza war taught me that while our lush citrus grove might offer some breathing space from the congestion and difficulties of city life, it’s no refuge. A previous Israeli airstrike killed my father, Akram al-Ghoul, on Jan 3 2009. As fighting raged, he’d insisted on sleeping at the farm to tend to the cattle and chicken, and to nurture the trees. In all, six of my relatives, three close friends and several colleagues have died in the three bloody wars and countless battles between Israel and Hamas. Each time the violence erupts and I report as a journalist on the people who lost their homes, their children or their lives, the memories creep back. I always think, “That could be me.” When the thundering bombs, buzzing drones and pounding artillery refresh the pain and trigger the old fear, I seek refuge in work. The AP office is the only place in Gaza City I feel somewhat safe. The Israeli military has the coordinates of the high-rise, so it’s less likely a bomb will bring it crashing down.

Today Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss report:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the AP and other media outlets hours after another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children, on Saturday. The strike on the high-rise came nearly an hour after the military ordered people to evacuate the 12-story building, which also housed Al-Jazeera, other offices and residential apartments. The strike brought down the entire structure, which collapsed in a gigantic cloud of dust. There was no immediate explanation for why it was attacked.

This was the second high rise housing media studios, offices, telecommunication equipment as well as residential apartments that Israel destroyed in its current attack. Earlier today AP had accused the Israeli military of intentionally misinforming the media to trick the resistance in Gaza. (The trick did not work.) In a statement AP’s president condemned today’s strike and wrote:

The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.

Well, yes. The Israeli military will congratulate itself for achieving that aim. Two days ago I developed the idea that the resistance, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Ansar Allah in Yemen, may be planning more of the events than a superficial view reveals:

While the conflict was, without doubt, started by the colonial occupiers the course of the recent escalation seems to be managed by the resistance side. It may well be part of a larger plan. While I am still not sure that all of this is part of a plan, from Hizbullah’s speech, over unrest in Jerusalem, Gaza missiles, pogroms, to now missiles from Lebanon, it surely looks like a well-rehearsed and coordinated (re-)action of the resistance front.

Since then more events seem to fit into the picture. Yesterday and overnight anti-Arab violence and Palestinian protests within Israel continued as new unrest unfolded in the West Bank where the occupation army killed at least 10 Palestinians. Protesters in Jordan arrived at the border to the West Bank and tried to break through the border fence. Jordanian riot police held them back. At the Lebanese border to Israel protesters crossed over from Lebanon into a disputed area when Israeli forces fired at them. One Lebanese man was killed and another wounded. Such death usually trigger the eye-for-an-eye rule that governs the relation between Hizbullah and the Israeli army. Hizbullah could have used the incident to escalate but didn’t. Also yesterday Hizbullah’s Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem visited Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership in Lebanon. This is highly significant as Hamas had been on the wrong side of the war in Syria. David A Daoud translates what Naim Qassem said:

  1. Hezbollah delegation, headed by Qassem and which included Politburo members Mahmoud Qmati and Hajj Hassan Hoballah, met with PIJ Sec-Gen Ziad Nakhala; Hamas leadership in Lebanon Usama Hamdan, Ali Barakeh, Ahmad Abdulhadi; discussed latest developments on Palestinian front
  2. Qassem: We came on directions from Sec-Gen Hassan Nasrallah to meet PIJ, Hamas leadership to confirm that we are with them, and w/Palestinian resistance, and people who now confront the Israeli enemy
  3. Qassem: We know now we are in the phase of creating a new equation inside Palestine, which confirms the unity of the Palestinian lands, and the uprising (lit. movement) tying Jerusalem, the lands of ’48 (ie Israel), West Bank, and Gaza
  4. Qassem: this is happening evenly between these different parts of the Palestinian people, so the Israeli will understand that Palestinian people will not accept its occupation of any part of this land (i.e. entire land between Jordan River and Mediteranean)
  5. Let them understand Jerusalem is holy of holies of all palestinians, but also all peoples of the region, world, of lovers and supporters of the Resistance, who believe in always focusing on Palestine; they are all in one trench and camp
  6. Qassem: We can therefore say that today a new equation is being created in Palestine, and that question of Jerusalem today has assumed its full Palestinian dimension, in opposition to all normalization moves led by Israel, USA;
  7. Qassem: this is beginning of burial of normalization, with blood and sacrifices of martyrs.
  8. Qassem: Hezbollah is always with the Palestinian resistance, jihad of the Palestinian people, liberating Jerusalem; we are with them in material support, backing, solidarity in all paths; we will always carry out our duties as different stages and phases required
  9. Qassem: We therefore stress that what Palestinian people and their viable leadership are doing is object of support and backing; in the end, we believe resistance is only solution, there is none other, despite efforts of different forces
  10. Qassem: We don’t bet on America, or great powers, or those who talk about political settlements; we bet on the living Palestinian youths, who are actively moving; anyone w/Palestine today must be w/ the resistance; whoever isn’t w/Resistance isn’t w/Palestine
  11. Qassem: Palestine doesn’t need fervent speeches, it needs jihad, martyrdom, and sacrifices

The resistance is united but it is still not clear if Hizbullah will actively join the fight. It may not yet be the right time.

Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad prefer that #Hezbollah doesn’t get involved in the battle now and allows the world focus to remain on #Gaza. Any outside intervention, I was told, serves #Israel to play the victim and disperse the attention away from the main cause.

Today Hizbullah called on its supporters in south Lebanon to protest at the border to Israel. Any small conflict there could escalate towards war within just a few hours.

Turning The Clock Back To 2001: CIA, Others Prepare A New Resistance Against The Taliban
Moon of Alabama, May 15 2021

On Sep 9 2001 Ahmad Shah Massoud, the commander of an anti-Taliban front in north Afghanistan, was killed by two suicide bombers. Massoud, an ethnic Taijik, had fought against the Soviet occupation, then against rival warlords and finally against the Taliban. Massoud and the groups under his command controlled less than 10% of Afghanistan. They were financed by US, French and British secret services. (In the late 1990s Amrullah Saleh, Massoud’s intelligence chief, received CIA training.) After 9/11 the CIA and US special forces met with Massoud’s allies, gave them lots of money to hire more fighters and supported their march on Kabul with massive airstrikes. Two month later the Taliban gave up, went home or retreated to Pakistan. The US installed the various warlords and criminals who had fought under Massoud as the new government. That was a mistake. It had been the utter criminal behavior of those warlords that had led to public support for the rise of the Taliban in the first place. To install the warlords who looted the country as government guaranteed that the Taliban would come back.

By 2006 the Taliban were back. Since then they have regained control of more than half of Afghanistan. Despite the enormous amount of ‘western’ firepower the US and its allies applied they found no way to prevent the reestablishment of the Taliban’s rule. Finally President Trump negotiated a ceasefire with the Taliban that would allow a retreat from Afghanistan without taking further casualties. Yesterday the last US soldiers left Kandahar airport, once the largest US base in south Afghanistan:

The US has completed its withdrawal from Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan, once the second largest military base in the country for US forces, officials said Friday. Kandahar province was the birthplace of the Taliban and has in recent months seen intense clashes between the resurgent militants and Afghan forces. US airstrikes were launched from the base just last week to help Afghan forces push back a major Taliban offensive. Khoja Yaya Alawi, a spokesman for the Afghan army in Kandahar, said: “They have not officially handed over the base to us, but I can confirm they left the base on Wednesday.” Massoud Pashtun, the director of Kandahar Airport, added: “They have handed over all the facilities to Afghan forces.”

The retreat from Afghanistan does not sit well with the CIA and other secret services. They know that the Taliban will soon overwhelm the Afghan government and again rule the country. But they want to keep their foothold in Afghanistan to continue their meddling and to act against various presumed enemies be they Iran, Pakistan or China. There is also the drug business which makes for some nice off-the-books funding. They now think about turning the situation back to Sep 2001 and to have a do over:

Western spy agencies are evaluating and courting regional leaders outside the Afghan government who might be able to provide intelligence about terrorist threats long after US forces withdraw, according to current and former American, European and Afghan officials. Among the candidates being considered today for intelligence gathering is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the famed Afghan fighter who led fighters against the Soviets in the 1980s and then against the Taliban as head of the Northern Alliance the following decade. The son, Ahmad Massoud, 32, has spent the last few years trying to revive the work of his father by assembling a coalition of militias to defend Afghanistan’s north. Afghans, American and European officials say there is no formal cooperation between Mr Massoud and Western intelligence agencies, though some have held preliminary meetings. While there is broad agreement within the CIA and France’s DGSE that he could provide intelligence, opinions diverge on whether Mr Massoud, who is untested as a leader, would be able to command an effective resistance.

Why the hell do the ‘western’ secret services want an ‘effective resistance’ against Taliban rule in Afghanistan? Why can’t they, after more than 40 years, at least for once stop messing up that country? Massoud junior was educated in Iran and Britain:

After finishing his secondary school education in Iran, Massoud spent a year on a military course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In 2012, he commenced an undergraduate degree in War Studies at the King’s College, London where obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2015. He obtained his master’s degree in International Politics from the City, University of London in 2016.

Sandhurst and Kings College may give a good education when one prepares to be a high level poodle for the former empire. But it does not qualify to lead anyone in Afghanistan. Unlike his father Massoud junior has never fought in a war or even against a competing warlord. He has zero street cred. Still, some ‘western’ officials want to support Massoud in the new civil war he envisions:

Now, various allied governments and officials have different views of Mr. Massoud and the viability of his movement. The French, who were devoted supporters of his father, see his efforts as full of promise to mount a real resistance to Taliban control. David Martinon, the French ambassador to Kabul, said he has watched Mr Massoud closely over the last three years, and nominated him for a trip to Paris to meet with French leaders, including the president. Mr Martinon said: “He is smart, passionate and a man of integrity who has committed himself to his country.” Washington is more divided, and some government analysts do not think Mr Massoud would be able to build an effective coalition.

Despite that someone is secretly financing him:

In recent months, Mr Massoud’s rhetoric has grown tougher, lashing out at Ghani during a recent ceremony in Kabul, and his efforts to secure international support more aggressive. In addition to reaching out to the US, Britain and France, Mr Massoud has courted India, Iran and Russia, according to people familiar with his pursuits. Afghan intelligence documents suggest that Mr Massoud is purchasing weapons, through an intermediary, from Russia.

Have the ‘western’ services learned nothing during the last 20 years? What is the purpose of financing a resistance against the Taliban? What please is their desired end state for Afghanistan and is that even theoretically achievable? We may not like the way the Taliban will rule Afghanistan. But they have proven to be the only force that is able to create a somewhat stable and peaceful environment for the people in that country. Why can’t we just leave it at that?

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