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Here’s why Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US are not going to invade Iran

Is the Arab League fanning the flames of war or merely blowing smoke?

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Members of the Arab League have met in Cairo at the behest of the Saudi regime, to discuss the supposed “threat of Iran”. The meeting featured all the crude, undiplomatic and nonfactual language about Iran that one has come to expect from American, Israeli and Saudi Arabian spokesmen.

Highlights from the meeting included a statement from the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir who stated,

“We will not stand idly by in the face of Iran’s aggression….Showing leniency toward Iran will not leave any Arab capital safe from those ballistic missiles….

Iran created agents in the region, such as the Houthi and Hezbollah militias, in total disregard for all international principles”.

These meritless statements are almost identical to that which is frequently said by the US White House and Tel Aviv. In this sense, there was nothing novel about the meeting. What was remarkable was how hastily the meeting was organised as if to demonstrate Saudi’s commitment to its “clear and present danger” narrative about Iran.

Furthermore, a statement was released at the Arab League meeting, saying that there are no immediate plans to go to war with Iran but that at the same time, such plans have not been ruled out.

To quickly sum-up just how ridiculous the statements made during the Arab League meeting were

1. Iran’s missile programme is perfectly legal and is not covered by the JCPOA. The UN has said this many times.

2. Iran is currently at war with zero nations while Saudi is at war with Yemen causing one of the largest humanitarian disasters in the 21st century. Saudi Arabia has also been exposed as a major source of terrorist sponsorship, including in Iraq, Syria, Libya and beyond.

3. Iran has come to the legal assistance of Syria and Iraq in fighting terrorists groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda, while Saudi Arabia has known links to ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Of course, for the states with an obscene anti-Iranian agenda, none of this has ever mattered.

What does matter to the rest of the world though is whether the threats from the Arab league, indicated a short and/or medium-term readiness for war against Iran?

The short answer is, they almost certainly do not.

The Arab League today is a shadow of its former self. With the Syrian Arab Republic’s membership suspended, Qatar facing a boycott from proponent members, Iraq having better relations with Iran than most Arab states and Lebanon being deprived of its Prime Minister due to Saudi political meddling, the Arab League is hardly a united body of strong nations. It has declined so much so, that it is increasingly little more than a Saudi and GCC dominated organisation which is used in attempts to gain some form of broader international legitimacy for Riyadh’s often ridiculous foreign policy statements.

However, Riyadh’s ability to unite the Arab world over any matter, let alone an act of war, amounts little. Syria, Iraq and due to its multi-confessional history, Lebanon, would never go to war against Iran. In fact, the Iraqi armed forces, Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah and other volunteers from Lebanon would almost certainly fight with Iran, during the course of any Saudi led military action against Tehran.

Qatar, whose armed forces are small as it is, would never join any military ‘crusade’ led by its Saudi opponent and the fact remains that Doha’s slowly expanding relations with Iran have been one of the reasons for the Saudi led boycott of Qatar. Libya can no longer be called a functional state, while further into the Maghreb, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are far removed from Iran issue, in spite of their Arab league membership. Saudi’s GCC allies, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and to a lesser degree Oman, simply have little to offer in respect of any military coalition.

The biggest question mark which remains, is Egypt. Egypt is the largest country in the Arab world and likewise, boasts the biggest Army in the Arab world.

In order to even approach effectiveness, Egypt would have to join any would be anti-Iranian Arab League coalition. As to whether Egypt would join, one can objectively say that the incentives for not joining, far outweigh those that might compel Egypt to enter into a war pact with Saudi Arabia, against Iran.

Ever since secular rule was restored to Egypt in 2013, after US backed regime change against former President Hosni Mubarak briefly brought the once again illegal Muslim Brotherhood to power, Egypt has been in a position wherein promoting internal stability has been far more important than international outreach. Furthermore, while the Egyptian government is disproportionately dependant on Saudi cash injections in order to stay afloat, Cairo continues to show surprising amounts of foreign policy independence at times.

Egypt recently expressed disapproval of US attempts to extend a UN mandate for investigating “chemical weapons” in Syria. Egypt has further made strong statements in favour of Syria’s territorial unity, backed up by remarks that only a political solution can bring peace to Syria. This language is very similar to that used by Russian diplomats which should come as no surprise, as the foreign ministries of Egypt and Russia have a very good relationship. Furthermore, when it comes to Egypt’s most pressing international issue, that of terrorists in neighbouring Libya, Russia appears far more inclined to support the Cairo backed Libyan National Army than the fledgling Government of National Accord which is supported by the US and EU.

Furthermore, Egypt recently rejected calls from Riyadh to economically sanction the Lebanese party Hezbollah, in a move which shows a clear divergence from Saudi policies on Hezbollah.

While Egypt is compromised by its financial ties to Saudi Arabia, Egypt still seeks to balance out its old Arab Nationalist history as a fiercely independent and anti-imperialist nation with the modern realities of being far less influential than in the days of Nasser and the early days of Sadat.

Furthermore, in spite of its formal diplomatic ties with Israel, Cairo is all too aware that if the situation inside Egypt, especially in respect of the Sinai Peninsula were to become destabilised, Egypt could not afford to have its armed forces in distant Iran. This is especially true as Israel is ready to exploit any instability on Sinai to its own advantage. If anyone thinks that Israel somehow respects Egypt just because diplomatic relations were established, this view is, to put it mildly, delusional. Israel will exploit any country and any situation it can and Egypt is no exception. The same is true of Jordan, the only other country which has formal relations with Tel Aviv. Jordan, like Egypt is far more concerned with its own immediate neighbourhood than with Iran.

Israel’s designs on Gaza may indicate plans to invade Egypt

In this sense, in spite of whatever financial incentives Saudi might offer Egypt for backing military efforts against Iran, the preponderance of evidence would demonstrate that Egypt would refrain from actively participating.

When asked to consider the position of the Vatican in geo-political affairs, Josef Stalin is thought to have said, “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”.

In this sense, looking at the disunity in the Arab world, Iran could easily turn to Riyadh and say “how many divisions have you got”? The answer is not enough to seriously challenge Iran, while Iran certainly has enough divisions and enough regional allies to challenge and beat Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies.

Then there is the matter of Israel, the US and Turkey.

When it comes to antagonising regional powers that Tel Aviv doesn’t like, the Israeli regime’s military is all too happy to conduct strikes and even occupy territory. Israel occupied party of Egypt between 1967 and 1982 and part of Lebanon between 1982 and 2006. Israel continues to occupy Syria and military strikes from Israel against Syria have happened on and off for the last several decades.

Likewise, Israel attacked Iraq in 1981 in a short airstrike against a French built Iraqi nuclear reactor.

All of these actions have been illegal and Tel Aviv simply doesn’t care. Why should they care about Iran in this case? The answer is because Iran today is far more powerful than any of the aforementioned countries that Israel attacked and it also has many regional allies stretching from Iran itself to the borders of Israeli regime controlled territory.

Israel has not attacked Iran in the way it has so frivolously attacked parts of the Arab world. Israel has not done this because Tel Aviv knows Iran would strike back and so too would Iran’s allies in southern Lebanon. Furthermore, with Turkey becoming ever more distant with NATO, the west and Israel, all the while growing ever closer to its Eurasian partners, including neighbouring Iran, there is no guarantee that Turkey would remain neutral in such a conflict.

Turkey does not want any instability on its border with Iran. This is one of the reasons that both countries cooperated in the building of an anti-terrorist rampart on their borders. Turkey knows that any further regional instability would only hurt Turkey’s short term security prospects and its long time financial prospects. If Turkey even gave air support to Iran, the entire conflict would be ‘game over’ for the anti-Iranian powers, unless Israel decided to use its nuclear weapons.

As Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah recently stated, Israel prefers short blitzkrieg style conflicts that it can win rapidly at little material cost or bloodshed from its own side. History has shown such an analysis to be absolutely correct. Furthermore, as Israel’s last attempt to conduct such a war against Lebanon in 2006 failed, Israel has reverted to measures which from its perspective are more realistically “productive” such as short, illegal airstrikes against Syria and military manoeuvres intended as provocations against Lebanon.

Any war with Iran would be much more difficult for Israel to conduct. In many ways it would be impossible, short of Tel Aviv using its nuclear weapons in what Israel watchers know to be called the “Samson Option”.

Such extreme measures would likely be opposed even by the United States. While the Trump administration continues to turn up the volume on anti-Iranian rhetoric, many more level headed individuals in the Pentagon and State Department are totally opposed to war on Iran. These people know that the cost of such a war would be incredibly high and that the US might ultimately lose.

In this sense, with Israel too afraid to attack Iran and while still too restrained by the US to go nuclear, with the Pentagon generally opposed to direct military action against Iran and with Saudi Arabia incapable of pulling together a genuine Arab coalition capable of fighting against Iran, there is little chance that any nation short of one on a suicide mission, would attempt to declare war on Iran.

Much like any war on North Korea, a war on Iran would bring unparalleled destruction to the entire region, and no invading party’s victory would be assured. In other-words, Iran has more or less checkmated the situation, largely in its favour and all without firing a shot, while if anything gaining rather than losing allies.

The Arab League, Israel and the US can certainly blow smoke, but when it comes to attacking Iran directly, even these countries are not quite foolish enough to start that fire.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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