The plan was to cap off Romney’s Israel trip with another round of sanctions against Iran which he would promote at a major photo op while bashing Syria in the process. This was to be achieved via yet another law, this time H. R. 1905 named by AIPAC as The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012.
Congressman Ron Paul rose to speak in strong opposition to H.R. 1905 on 8/1/12 labeling it a “declaration of war against Iran even though Iran has no nuclear weapons program”. And so it is. H.R. 1905 sponsor and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) was almost giddy as she promised to deliver Florida to Romney and gushed:
The letter is signed by the following AIPAC supporters of Romney: Howard Kohr, Executive Director, Marvin Feuer, Director, Policy & Government Affairs, and Brad Gordon, Director of Special Campaigns.
Learning what the Israeli lobby was attempting from its contacts at AIPAC, Obama campaign strategists moved fast and decided to have their candidate use his constitutional powers and undercut the Romney strategists toute de suite. Obama did and angered AIPAC and Republican leaders in Congress before the lopsided House vote on 7/12/12 when the White House quickly invited supporters of Israel to a media event at which the President issued an Executive Order which he explained included “ Two major actions to further isolate and penalize Iran for its refusal to live up to its international obligations regarding its nuclear program and to hold accountable financial institutions that knowingly provide financial services to Iranian banks.”
As a result of pre-empting AIPAC’s H.R. 1905, and despite ‘feel good’ further action by Congress on H.R. 1905, the Obama campaign says they gutted the AIPAC/Republican/Romney scheme while once more assuring Israel and its lobby of Obama’s willingness to use all his Constitutional powers on Israel’s behalf and to target its “existential threat” Iran.
According to two congressional insiders, the quick witted maneuver by the Obama campaign is a key reason their candidate currently leads in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania while reminding the media that no presidential candidate since 1960 has won the White House without carrying two of these three states.
Meanwhile, Romney operatives are seeking alternative ways to convince Israel to maintain its support and cash for his campaign during the next nine weeks of what “Slick Jimmy” is calling, “American Democracy at work.”
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Israel’s possible reaction to the ongoing deterioration in Syria
One hour before sunrise, the heat was already scorching. In the late summer, there was no hope of a relieving rain. Yet, fast flowing air cooled the motorbikes, making the trip sufferable. Half hidden in its morning gloom, the City of Damascus could already be seen. On each motorbike there were two men dressed up in a mishmash of colors and shapes, vaguely fitting Middle Eastern décor rules. They could be Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptians, or even Israelis; yet they all were of similar size, as if this had been a parameter in their selection. Some of them had a keffiyeh scarf tied around their neck. An unusual knot apparently holding the garment was placed on the left side of the neck, identifying them as team leaders. One of them had the knot on the right side; this meant he was the commander of the entire operation. At this point they moved in “operational silence;” they couldn’t communicate even with the two large IDF intelligence bases behind them, on the Golan Heights. Yet, the dramatic caravan was being filmed from there right now. In their eyes, Damascus was practically part of Israel. Yet, there was no need to say anything. Everything had been planned down to the smallest detail. On the agreed junction, the four teams separated. To a casual watcher, everything would have seemed almost normal, except for the odd packages some of the motorbikes carried. Elongated black bundles were carefully balanced, one on each side of these vehicles. The metal front-end resembled hollow-point projectiles; yet, they had elaborate fasteners surrounding their front end. The casual watcher would nod his head in appreciation, and immediately dismiss his early-morning foolishness. You don’t put fasteners on a missile head. Well, except if you plan to fire it horizontally.
The soldiers approaching Damascus were professionals. They didn’t care about politics. They didn’t care about good and evil. They had been instructed to assassinate by their commanders and they would do that, no matter what. Yet, due to the nature of the target, they had no choice but to understand the political considerations.
For a long time, Israel and Syria had peaceful relations. Formally at war, they respected their borders, fastidiously keeping an enforced quiet along them. This situation changed after the beginning of the Arab Spring in early 2011. Since then, Western regimes and their allies have been openly attempting to achieve regime change in Damascus. On November 20, 2011, Russia blamed the West for creating and seeking provocations in Syria. Moreover, evidence has emerged for the US-backing for regime change in Syria. In mid-April 2011, WikiLeaks revealed that the US had funded $6 million to a London-based opposition group Movement for Justice and Development since 2006 to operate the Barada TV satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria. Many other testimonies exist, including a violent Israeli provocation. On June 5, 2011, Naksa Day, the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War, was commemorated. The events included demonstrations on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, mainly near the destroyed city of Quneitra and near the Druze village of Majdal Shams. Syria said on Monday that 23 people were killed in the rally. Official Syrian news agency SANA quoted Health Minister Wael al-Halki as saying the death toll included a woman and a child, adding that another 350 people suffered gunshot wounds. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said live Israeli fire had caused casualties and UN monitors were seeking to confirm facts. The IDF said that since all the casualties were on the Syrian side of the border it was unable to provide an exact count, but didn’t deny its shooting. The Syrian president allowed Syrian citizens to be massacred by a formal enemy and took no action; part of the ongoing internal violence against the al-Assad regime may be attributed to this failure.
Yet, Syria is not Libya. In the second year of the revolt, al-Assad still holds power. At a certain point, a personal attack on him was decided by the Western powers. In the July 18, 2012, explosion at the National Security Headquarters in Damascus, four high-ranking government ministers were killed. It was just a matter of time until Israel attempted to end the war by killing the president. Thinking himself back in Entebbe, Netanyahu eventually signed the order.
On December 15, 2010, the Lebanese Army announced that it had dismantled two Israeli espionage sites watching Beirut from Jabel Snin and Jabel Baruch. Two weeks before that, Lebanon filed a formal complaint at the UN Security Council against Israel after the existence of the devices was exposed by the Hezbollah. The devices included watching equipment and signals sending and receiving communications gear; it could be activated from afar. It was hidden under fake rocks in a mountainous area. Readers of The Cross of Bethlehem could finally find a collateral corroboration of my description there of “Kingfisher,” a spinoff from Sayeret Matkal. This is a special commando unit specializing in the placement of electronic beamers, cameras and other espionage equipment beyond the Israeli borders. “Beamer” is an electronic device used for guiding certain type of bombs to a target. Riding 500cc motorbikes, which can be attached to Cobra helicopters, it is active in Lebanon and Syria. The later has never released information on the beamers in its territory. Despite the danger in the placement of this equipment Israel favors this method since it saves costly flights; the lives of the soldiers involved are of secondary concern.
Kingfisher and Sayeret Matkal routinely cross the border near Quneitra in order to perform similar activities within Syria. That’s one of the reasons for the extraordinary size of an IDF intelligence unit at Tel Avital (the antennas atop the extinct volcano in the picture); that’s also the reason for other similar bases in the area, which can be clearly seen from the ground. Israel doesn’t want citizens in the area, these can become witnesses to the routine violations of the Syrian territory by Israel. In the events described in this article, Kingfisher and Sayeret Matkal would have been the first choices of the General Command. The first is too small for such an operation; the latter would have provided highly-trained support members to the operation.
The Odd Package
The odd bombs alongside the motorbikes had not been developed by Israel. They had been adapted from GBU-28 Bunker Buster provided to Israel by the USA since 2009. Israel’s policy of technological adaptations is a direct result of a decision taken by the Director General of the Ministry of Defense Shimon Peres (currently Israel’s president) in 1958. The isotope research unit of the Weizmann Institute was where the first efforts of Israel to develop nuclear technologies took place, disguised as pure science research. Then, the Negev Nuclear Research Center was created and with it a conflict: How should the research be performed? Where: Rehovot or Dimona? Who would get the prestige, resources and salaries? The solution of the problem was unexpected. Instead of developing the technologies from zero—as the Weizmann Institute proposed—Peres decided to appropriate as much as possible from other sources, letting the scientists just adapt the technologies to the specific needs defined by the Israeli Administration. He claimed the state was too small and poor to develop the whole range of technologies needed. Since then, the Mossad and Israeli industries are occupied day and night in getting technologies from abroad, while the scientists in Dimona, Rehovot, and other academic powerhouses, are busy adapting them.
Certain developments require massive installations and significant additional research. Others just need minor adaptations in order to enable them to successfully interface with other technological gadgets in their new environment. In the latter category enter many items used by commando units and Mossad agents. For them, the IDF has a unit mockingly called the Mr. Q. Unit, after the James Bond’s movies; Mr. Q. prepared Bond’s gadgets. Located in Ramat Gan—within Gush Dan, Tel Aviv’s Metropolitan Area—it can modify everything, including a bunker-buster device to operate horizontally. Instead of the kinetic energy used by these weapons to initiate the bunker perforation process, it used an ingenious series of directional charges. After all, the National Security Headquarters in Damascus were just buildings.
The IDF General Command knew this was a risky operation. The odds that such a large force could arrive at Damascus unseen were slim. Their only chance was if the Syrian command was so busy elsewhere that it wouldn’t have an opportunity to respond on time. Accordingly, the IDF began a series of carefully planned clashes with the Syrian army. The border between Israel and Lebanon is based on the 1949 Armistice Agreement. Israel had several times ignited tensions there along an area known as the Shabaa Farms on the former border between Lebanon and Syria. This time, an IDF platoon openly entered the area and erected a tiny military base. In two days, the area became the site of a bitter fight between the armies. In addition, IDF fighters flew repeatedly over Syrian territory, though not in the Damascus area. The Syrian air force was directed in such a way to other areas of the country. In parallel, some of the forces that had entered overland were not part of the operation, but a decoy. They would attack the Presidential Palace half an hour before the beginning of the real attack.
Since the attack on the National Security Headquarters, Bashar al-Assad had made this complex his headquarters. If he were a naval officer, this could be blamed on the odd belief of such officers that bombs don’t fall twice on the same spot (this is the origin of a naval defensive tactic that places a ship on the exact spot where a bomb hit). However, Bashar al-Assad had made his decision as a symbol of his power and also for practical reasons. The area was much better protected than the Presidential Palace. That is why Kingfisher had brought the strangely adapted bunker buster.
Many of the weapons favored by Israel feature odd directional characteristics. Until 2006, the fact that Merkava tanks were heavily defended on their sides, but poorly so at their top and bottom was a national secret. That year, the knowledge leaked and the incursions of Israeli tanks into Gaza were easily blocked by regular landmines. On the other hand, strike forces favor entering from the side by breaking walls. This makes defense from inside a very complex task. The most famous instance was the 2004 Arafat’s Siege at the Palestinian Authority Mukata Complex in Ramallah. The IDF was ready to act against Arafat from across a 3m thick wall, though this attack didn’t materialize.
In Damascus, Israel wanted to breach an entrance to the complex. It didn’t have accurate intelligence regarding the exact position of Bashar al-Assad, but this mattered little. They had enough bombs to open any obstructive wall along the way, and Bashar was an easy target. Like his father, he was very tall, and had a narrow, elongated head. He could be recognized immediately.
The soldiers entered the compound finding little resistance. The early attack on the palace had caused mayhem. The corridors resembled the models they had studied at home. Then, along one of them, the first soldier saw the target’s back. Without questioning his orders, without considering good and evil, he raised a small hand weapon and fired a soft-point bullet.
Uri Gnorant of the Israeli Bureau of Land Redemption was eager to see me. “I’m glad you’re here,” he said. “You reporters talk about how little we do for Palestinians. This is a chance to set the record straight. When it comes to environmental protection and conservation, no one could possibly do more than we do.
“Take water, for example. We have reduced Palestinian water consumption to less than a third of what it was in 1967. Nowhere in the world can boast such an accomplishment. Even the Israelis themselves cannot match it. Villages like Beit Furik and Beit Dajan, with a combined population of around 15,000 get by on only 12 tanker loads of water per day during the summer, and sometimes less, supplemented by some filthy ground water for their vegetable gardens. You can’t do better than that.
“Or fire prevention. You remember the terrible Carmel forest fire that we had in 2010? You never see anything like that in Palestinian areas, and this is because we removed a lot of the trees as a preventive measure. Some people say that the Carmel fire was due to the dead non-native European trees that we planted to hide hundreds of Palestinian villages that we destroyed in 1948, and that Palestinian olive and other fruit trees don’t have the same problem. Let me assure you that olive trees also burn, as our settlers have amply demonstrated. The solution is for them to be removed, which is the policy that we have put in place and are diligently pursuing.
“Our protection of the Palestinian marine environment in Gaza is also unmatched. Over the last twenty years, we have progressively put larger and larger areas under protection from fishing, so that now the area available for fishing is less than a fifth of what it used to be, and most of the fish are not in that area, anyway. We can assure you that there will be no overfishing in Palestinian waters!
“There are many other ways that we protect the environment that is exposed to Palestinian abuse. For example, Palestinian women have gathered wild herbs like thyme and sesame for thousands of years on the hills and in the valleys of what used to be called Palestine. We have put a stop to that and made it illegal, so as to protect these plants from further exploitation.
“We also can’t have grazing animals like sheep and goats eating up the natural herbs and grasses in the pastures. If Palestinians want fresh meat, let them buy their feed from Israeli merchants like nature intended, or get frozen meat from New Zealand, which we are happy to sell to the humanitarian organizations that keep Palestinians alive.
“As we know, however, human activity inevitably damages the environment in one way or another, no matter what policies we put in place. Our long term policy is therefore to eliminate as many of the Palestinian people as possible from as many places as possible that are under Israeli control, and also to expand the areas under Israeli control for the same reason.
“As you can see, our commitment to environmental protection of Palestinian land is unshakeable. ”
Settlers setting fire to Palestinian olive groves, ‘Urif, 26.5.2012, Raw footage
|FOR QUEEN (OF ZION)ELIZABETH,
WE WILL WAGE WAR
A better insight is needed on the activities and relationships of Al-Qa’ida and other Syrian and international Salafist jihadists that are now entering the country in increasing numbers. The floodgates are likely to open even further as international jihadists are emboldened by signs of significant opposition progress against the regime. Such elements have the support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and would undoubtedly have a role in Syria following the collapse of Assad. The scope of their involvement would need to be factored into intervention planning.
What military, political and security challenges would they then present in the country, to the region and to the West? Issues include the possibility of an Islamist-dominated or influenced regime inheriting sophisticated weaponry, including anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile systems and chemical and biological weapons that could be transferred into the hands of international terrorists. At the tactical level, intelligence would be needed to identify the most effective groups, and how best to support them. It would also be essential to know how they operate, and whether support might assist them to massacre rivals or carry out indiscriminate attacks against civilians, something we have already witnessed among Syrian opposition groups.
Military Options and Actions: Towards a “Soft Invasion”?
The top-of-the-range option, destruction of the Syrian armed forces through an Iraq-style ‘shock and awe’ invasion, could undoubtedly be achieved by a US-led coalition. As with all other forms of intervention, however, handling the aftermath would be far less predictable, and could draw coalition forces into a long-running and bloody quagmire. At present that option can be excluded as a realistic possibility. There is no doubt that the substantial neutralisation of Syria’s air defence infrastructure could be achieved by a US-led air operation. But it would require a major, sustained and extremely costly campaign including Special Forces deployed on the ground to assist targeting.The remaining intervention options fall broadly into three sometimes overlapping categories. The first category is military enforcement action to reduce or end the violence in Syria, to prevent Assad’s forces from attacking the civilian population by direct action. The second is seeking to bring about regime change by a combination of support for opposition forces and direct military action. The second category might apply in the aftermath of regime collapse. The objective would be to support a post-Assad government by helping to stabilise the country and protect the population against inter-factional violence and retribution. A stabilisation force would be deployed at the request of the new government. In any intervention scenario there might be a need to either destroy or secure Syria’s chemical weapons, if they were about to be used, transferred or otherwise made insecure. This would require such specialised and potentially substantial combat forces, it is likely to be a mission that only the US could execute. The third category is humanitarian relief: bringing in supplies and medical aid to besieged populations. This form of intervention, which would most likely be conducted under the auspices of the UN, would require aid agencies such as the International Red Crescent as well as armed military forces including air power, again perhaps based on a NATO coalition. Humanitarian relief might be needed before or after a change of regime.
Concrete US-NATO Military Actions
The Role of Special Forces
Advisers working alongside rebel commanders, perhaps accompanied by small units of Special Forces troops, could be tactically and strategically decisive, as it proved in both Afghanistan in 2001 and in Libya in 2011.
The Influx of Mercenary Jihadist Fighters
British and French Special Forces have been actively training members of the FSA, from a base in Turkey. Some reports indicate that training is also taking place in locations in Libya and Northern Lebanon. British MI6 operatives and UKSF (SAS/SBS) personnel have reportedly been training the rebels in urban warfare as well as supplying them with arms and equipment. US CIA operatives and special forces are believed to be providing communications assistance to the rebels.
More than 300 rebels have passed through a base just inside the Iraq border, while a command course is run in Saudi Arabia. Groups of 50 rebels at a time are being trained by two private security firms employing former Special Forces personnel.A former SAS member said: “Our role is purely instructional teaching tactics, techniques and procedures. If we can teach them how to take cover, to shoot and avoid being spotted by snipers it will hopefully help.”
The Role of Turkey and Israel
Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria.
Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border.
Confrontation with Russia
- A naval deployment in the Eastern Mediterranean, the military objective of which has not been clearly defined by allied forces:
- A greater influx of foreign fighters and death squads into Syria and the conduct of of carefully targeted terrorist attacks in coordination with US-NATO;
- An escalation in the deployment of allied special forces, including mercenaries from private security companies on contract to Western intelligence.
We have a warning for the Russian forces: if they will send any more weapons that kill our families and the Syrian people we will hit them hard inside Syria. Informers inside the regime are telling that us that there is a big weapons shipment arriving at Tartous in the next two weeks. We don’t want to attack the port, we are not terrorists, but if they keep acting like this we will have no choice.
Many of our men used to work in the port of Tartous and they know it well. We are watching very closely the movements of the Russians. We can easily destroy the port. If we hit the weapons stores with anti-tank missiles or another weapon it would trigger a devastating explosion. Or we can attack the ships directly.
Anticipating Russian action and counter action would have to be a major factor in any Western intervention plan. The Russians are certainly capable of bold and unexpected moves.