December 11, 2014

BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China Combined) is an Acronym First Used in a Goldman Sachs Report from 2003, Which Speculated That by 2050 These Four Economies Would Be Wealthier Than Most of the Current Major Economic Powers

Brazil, Russia, India and China

BRIC - an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. The general consensus is that the term was first prominently used in a Goldman Sachs report from 2003, which speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers.

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The BRIC thesis posits that China and India will become the world's dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. It's important to note that the Goldman Sachs thesis isn't that these countries are a political alliance (like the European Union) or a formal trading association - but they have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc. BRIC is now also used as a more generic marketing term to refer to these four emerging economies.

Due to lower labor and production costs, many companies also cite BRIC as a source of foreign expansion opportunity.

APEC Economist: India and China Key
China, India, Russia and Brazil currently have the world's largest cash reserves and at the G-20 summit in November 2008 they demanded a greater say in world economic and political forums.

Joe Biden: Russia, India, China - "The Real War"
According to Biden, the wars of the Bush administration were the wrong ones, and the Obama administration will unchain the real war: the war to confront the emergence of Russia, India and China. The war, the real war, will have to be waged in Afghanistan/Pakistan - exactly the area where it will be more disruptive for the feared Russia-India-China challenge.

Obama and the World Crisis: Western Drive Toward World Domination
By the end of the Bush administration, Obama, in his presidential campaign, was calling for escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan, possibly intended by the script writers as a flanking movement to cut off Russia from Iran. This appears to be the start of the final Western assault on South Asia - Pakistan in particular is now high on the list of U.S. targets, with Obama saying he will send in U.S. forces whenever warranted.

The Cost of Hegemony Is Beyond Reach
The U.S. government has managed to start a new cold war with Russia.

September 22, 2014

U.S. Launches Airstrikes on Syria

"The strategy for the Iraq war is now making itself known. By using 9/11 as a pretext to invade Afghanistan, Iran is flanked on the east side. By using the Desert Storm protocols and UN Resolution 1441, among others, the excuse to invade and occupy Iraq is brought forward because Saddam is not disarming, we are told. By taking Iraq, the U.S. forces then flank Iran to the West. Having troops stationed in Turkey is a key part of this plan, for then Iran is flanked to the North, which is why so much pressure is being applied to Turkey to allow our troops there. Although we cannot be sure which incidents will be used to bring war with Iran, we can be sure something will transpire to make is necessary to invade Iran, and most likely Syria would be next. Syria is also isolated in all directions. With Israel the main benefactor in the Middle East, this strategy will totally rearrange the Middle Eastern landscape and set the stage for the appointment of the 10 puppet kings of Revelation chapter 17, which have no 'kingdom yet' but will with the beast for 42 months... If we are reading the book of Habakkuk correctly, not only do we win the Iraq war, it is over rapidly and with few casualties on our side; however, there may be massive casualties of Iraqi civilians and military. We then use this stronghold to further buildup our Middle East military might for the strikes on Iran and Syria, and then eventually every Arab state in the region. This may take some time, and it is difficult to assess that part of it, because Habakkuk does not tell us how long this conquest of the Middle East is. We only know that it happens, and that it sets the stage for the demise of the United States and the rise of the "antichrist" powers in America. It is this war that sets the stage for the removal of Babylon-America by nuclear strike at a later time." - Steward C. Best, March 2003, The Strategy for Taking the Middle East

Middle East Map 

US Airstrikes Against ISIS Targets Under Way in Syria

PHOTO: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12, 2014.
Airstrikes against up to 20 ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) targets are under way in Syria, according to Pentagon officials. The operation marks the first time the U.S. has launched strikes in Syria, a new front in the battle against the terror group.
"I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL [ISIS] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said. "Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time. The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief." 
Several Arab nations are involved in the ongoing U.S.-led operation, a defense official said. A diplomatic source identified the nations as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. 
Another U.S. official said the Arab nations will be dropping bombs, not just providing support. Up to 20 locations have been targeted in the operation, many of the sites in Raqqa, the official said. 

Last week Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress that the U.S. military's plan for potential action in Syria included "targeted actions against ISIL [ISIS] safe havens in Syria, including its command and control, logistics capabilities and infrastructure." Other officials had said before that surveillance aircraft have been flying over Syria for weeks gathering information on potential ISIS targets such as training camps, command and control areas, warehouses, and supply routes. 

In a national address on Sept. 10, President Obama said the first part of his strategy to counter ISIS was to “conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists.”
“Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL [ISIS] in Syria as well as Iraq,” Obama said. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
PHOTO: Iraq Syria Map - ABC News
PHOTO: Iraq Syria Map - ABC News

The stealth F-22 Raptor took part in the mission, a U.S. defense official said, marking the first time the pricey, controversial aircraft has been used in a combat operation. 

In recent weeks, a self-described ISIS militant is believed to have killed two Americans on camera, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well a British aid worker. The group is suspected of holding at least two more Americans and has publicly threatened a second Briton. 

As of earlier today the U.S. had launched nearly 200 strikes against ISIS in Iraq. 

On Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told ABC News’ “This Week” that America would not conduct airstrikes in Syria alone. But already Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that some 40 countries, including a number of Arab nations, have offered various levels of support to the anti-ISIS effort. France announced last week it would join in airstrikes in the battle against ISIS.

March 30, 2014

Five Reasons Not to Attack Iran

Five Reasons Not to Attack Iran

Iran would likely be a far more formidable adversary than any the United States has faced in decades. The U.S. should be very wary about launching military strikes.

By Adam B. Lowther, The Diplomat
January 09, 2012

With U.S. President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announcing that major cuts are coming to the Defense Department, hawks seeking to stop nuclear weapons development by Iran by any means necessary will soon have less “means” to call upon. With the Army set to shrink by approximately 80,000 soldiers, and a broad swath of cuts set to affect every service, “Operation Iranian Freedom” may be far less likely than many hawks had previously hoped.

The diminished prospect for a military confrontation with Iran is particularly bad news for some considering that Secretary Panetta just last month suggested that Iran could – although it was unlikely – have a nuclear weapon before 2012 is over.

Yet while few outside the Iranian regime see a nuclear Iran as desirable, any decision that could lead to war between the United States and the Islamic Republic deserves considerable discussion before the American people. Simply beating the war drums so loudly as to drown out the voices of any opposition is a poor substitute for real debate.

Five points deserve particular consideration as decision makers consider the United States’ option. They are particularly important as the 2012 election gets closer and calls for a military solution increase.

First, Iran possesses what is likely the most capable military the United States has faced in decades. Iran is no Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Afghanistan or Iraq. In all of these examples, the U.S. military defeated an adversary incapable of competing with superior American land, naval, and air forces. The Iranian military is far more competent and capable, and after watching the war in Iraq for a decade has a good understanding of U.S. tactics and strategy.

For example, Iran's regular navy is adept at littoral combat and may be capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz for sufficient duration to wreak economic havoc. The recent naval exercises by the Iranian navy illustrate a clear strategy that would seek to close the strait while attempting to sink American combat vessels that enter the area. This would result in a significant loss of commercial shipping and cause the price of oil to skyrocket.

If it comes to war, the proliferation of advanced air defense systems to countries like Iran may give it one of the best integrated anti-aircraft defense systems the United States faces in combat. They may be capable of inflicting casualties on American airpower not seen since Vietnam. And with a declining bomber force, losses could be unacceptable.

Unlike Iraq, Iran’s regular Army and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps won’t lay down their arms at the first sight of U.S. ground troops. They, more than any other element of the regime, watched Afghanistan and Iraq for lessons on how to defeat the Americans.

Second, the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS), Iran’s espionage service, is among the most competent in the world. Over the past thirty years, MOIS agents have successfully hunted down and assassinated dissidents, former officials of the Shah's government, and real or perceived threats to the regime. MOIS is still capable of carrying out assassinations, espionage, and other kinetic attacks against government and civilian targets. The spy service is also likely to have covert agents in the United States.

While information is incomplete, there’s reason to believe that Manssor Arbabsiar, the Iranian who allegedly attempted to hire the Zeta drug cartel to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on American soil, was tied to MOIS. While the effort failed, it demonstrates the lengths to which MOIS will likely go.

MOIS has also been known to target Iranian expatriates, imprisoning their family members and causing bodily harm. A small number of the 1-1.5 million Iranian-Americans may very well become targets of such tactics.

Third, Iranian-backed Hezbollah is more capable of conducting terrorist attacks than al-Qaeda ever was. With three decades of experience fighting the Israelis in Lebanon and northern Israel, suspected ties to Latin American drug cartels, and a global network, Hezbollah is an international network that is able to conduct large-scale attacks against the United States and its interests abroad.

In fact, Hezbollah cells are believed to be active in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere, making the organization more than a hypothetical threat. With the U.S. Marine Barracks bombing (Beirut,1983), Argentine Israelite Mutual Association bombing (Buenos Aires,1994), Khobar Towers bombing (Saudi Arabia,1996), and many other attacks under their belts, Hezbollah has a history of global terrorism. Should the U.S. military attack Iran, Hezbollah is likely to launch a series of terrorist counter-attacks that will not be as readily thwarted as those of al-Qaeda.

Fourth, Iran’s cyber capabilities are impressive and growing. An attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is likely to prompt a sustained cyber-attack unlike any we have seen. It will likely target critical data in the public and private sector and seek to wreak havoc, shut down systems, and destroy data.

Fifth, after a decade of intense combat operations, the United States military deserves a rest from war. Afghanistan and Iraq have taken their toll on America's fighting men and women, their families, and the equipment they rely on. A “limited attack” on Iran will likely escalate into a wider war, making it difficult for the military to rest and refit.

When considering whether to use military force against Iran it’s important to understand that there is an asymmetry of interests at stake. The Iranian regime sees itself as fighting for its very survival. The stakes are considerably lower for the United States.

Even a focused strike against Iran's nuclear facilities will elicit a response well in excess of the United States' “limited” objectives. While a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and troop reductions in Afghanistan – Iran’s western and northern neighbors – may cause the Iranian leadership to slow the development of a “Shi’a bomb,” a strategic attack by the United States will only strengthen their resolve and solidify the regime’s worst fears.

While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s bellicose statements make good political theatre, there is rarely much behind them. To suggest that Ahmadinejad is all bark and no bite is not far from the truth. The fact is that the Iranian regime is more risk averse than many give it credit for. Regime survival is of paramount concern and greatly explains why the regime acts as it does. Pushing the regime to the edge may turn empty threats into reality and will certainly undermine any effort by President Barack Obama to save defense dollars.

In the end, Iran may prove less capable than I’ve described, and a military conflict with Iran may be less costly in blood and treasure than suspected. However, weighing all options before resorting to military conflict is critical to reaching the best solution.

For the United States, determining what a nuclear weapons-free Iran is worth is critical. Had the American people understood the costs of Iraq before the war began, it’s unlikely they would have given their consent. Given the current economic woes of the country, that cannot happen again.  
        
Dr. Adam B. Lowther is a member of the faculty at the U.S. Air Force's Air University. The views expressed are those of the author.

November 30, 2012

Israel Says Peace Will Not Come Through UN; The Next Stop for Palestinians Could Be Global Court

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor says the only way to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians is through agreements between the parties, not through the United Nations. Speaking Thursday before a General Assembly vote that would grant the Palestinians nonmember state observer status at the U.N., Prosor said the U.N. can't break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and land of Israel. He accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of ignoring history. - The Associated Press, November 29, 2012

US urges Palestinians, Israel to resume peace talks

Reuters 
November 30, 2012

Hamas's leader in exile Khaled Meshaal said on Monday Israel must take the first step if it wants a truce in the conflict in Gaza.

UNITED NATIONS - The United States called on the Palestinians and Israelis on Thursday to resume peace talks after the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution that implicitly recognised a Palestinian state.
"The United States calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks, without preconditions, on all the issues that divide them and we pledge that the United States will be there to support the parties vigorously in such efforts," US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said.  
"The United States will continue to urge all parties to avoid any further provocative actions in the region, in New York or elsewhere," she said after voting against the resolution.

Analysis: The next stop for Palestinians could be global courts

Reuters
November 30, 2012

The U.N. General Assembly's overwhelming vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member state offers little prospect for greater clout in world politics but it could make a difference in the international courts.

The formal recognition of statehood, even without full U.N. membership, could be enough for the Palestinians to achieve membership at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), where member states have the power to refer for investigation alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity.

With its upgraded status at the U.N., the Palestinians may now seek to apply to the ICC for membership and authority to file war-crimes charges against the Israeli government and its officials.

That threat of so-called "lawfare" has already prevented some Israeli civilian and military leaders from traveling abroad out of fear they'd be arrested as war criminals.
"Israelis are afraid of being hauled to The Hague," said Robert Malley, the Middle East program director for the International Crisis Group.
The Palestinians have long planned to use non-membership statehood at the U.N., once obtained, as a way to enter the ICC. One Palestinian negotiator, in talking to the International Crisis Group, called the strategy a "legal or diplomatic intifada" against Israel.

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations in September he specifically accused Israel of committing war crimes.Israeli officials have said the country's armed forces strictly adhere to international law and argue the true aim of Palestinians' accusations is to isolate Israel.

Last spring, the ICC's former chief prosecutor turned down a 2009 Palestinian request for prosecution of Israel's actions in the 2008-2009 Gaza war with Hamas, specifically noting that Palestine was only a U.N. observer entity.

In September, the new ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said a General Assembly vote could make the difference.
"What we have also done is to leave the door open and to say that if this -- if Palestine is able to pass over that (statehood) hurdle, of course, under the General Assembly, then we will revisit what the ICC can do," Bensouda said during a talk in New York.
The Hague-based ICC is the one international venue where individuals can be criminally charged. All 117 countries that ratified the Rome Statute, which created the court, are bound to turn over suspects.

The United States and Israel have not joined the Rome Statute, but that would not prevent the Palestinians from pursing cases under the treaty. ICC arrest warrants and rulings carry geopolitical weight even when they can't be enforced. An indictment of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi last year helped mobilize international support for the rebels who opposed him.

Of course, if the Palestinians enter the legal battlefield, they, too, risk being accused and prosecuted in the venues where they'd try to target Israelis.

There is no guarantee for either side that the ICC prosecutor would follow through on charges. The ICC has procedural obstacles that could head off any prosecution there.

Some commentators argue that, like lawyers in any legal fight, both the Palestinians and Israelis have exaggerated the stakes in what's more of a political and public-relations drama.
"The concern that something dramatic would change is overblown," said Rosa Brooks, a professor of international law at Georgetown University who has also served in policy roles at the State and Defense departments.
And it's important to remember that the ICC is a political organization as much as a legal one -- cases are initiated by member governments and the U.N. Security Council -- so geopolitical considerations can trump a strictly legal case.

Israel says U.N. vote won't hasten Palestinian state

Reuters
November 30, 2012

A U.N. General Assembly vote on Thursday recognizing a Palestinian state will do nothing to make it a reality, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Israel had fiercely opposed the Palestinian bid to become a "non-member state" at the United Nations, but had been unable to prevent wide international support for the initiative, notably among its European allies.
"This is a meaningless resolution that won't change anything on the ground. No Palestinian state will arise without an arrangement ensuring the security of Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office shortly before the U.N. vote was to be held.
Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of violating agreements with Israel by going to the U.N. unilaterally.
"Israel will act accordingly," Netanyahu said. "The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is through direct negotiations without preconditions, not unilateral decisions at the U.N."
Peace talks collapsed in 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building on territory Palestinians seek for a state.

The Israeli leader used unusually strong language to denounce a speech to the General Assembly by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - who had singled out an Israeli offensive in Gaza last week in which at least 170 Palestinians were killed. Six Israelis died in rocket fire from Gaza.

Abbas's comments were "hostile and poisonous", and full of "false propaganda", a statement released by Netanyahu's office said. "These are not the words of a man who wants peace."

Israel had mounted an intensive campaign, supported by the United States, to dissuade European governments from backing the Palestinian move in the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly, long sympathetic to the Palestinians.

The vote took place on a date burned into collective memory - the Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 for Resolution 181 to partition British-ruled Palestine into two states, one Arab, one Jewish. Arab rulers rejected it and, after bitter fighting, Israel alone was recognized as a state six months later.
"No matter how many hands are raised against us," Netanyahu said during a visit to a museum in Jerusalem ahead of the U.N. vote, "there is no power on earth that will cause me to compromise on Israel's security."
Israel, which has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967, says a Palestinian state must be the product of direct negotiations and a peace deal that imposes security measures and charts borders that pose no danger to Israelis.

PUNITIVE MEASURES?

Netanyahu, while hinting Israel may seek to retaliate, made no specific mention of punitive measures, in a shift in tone after eight days of fighting around the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu is running for re-election in a January 22 national ballot and has been accused by critics of harming Israel's international standing through his Palestinian policies.

Israeli officials said Israel will wait and see what the Palestinians do after the vote, which will allow them access to the International Criminal Court where they could seek action against Israel for alleged war crimes.
The Palestinians have signaled they are no hurry to join the ICC, and pledged in their draft resolution to relaunch the peace process immediately after the vote. Recognition by the General Assembly falls short of the legal weight of a similar move by the U.N. Security Council. A U.S. veto on that body ensures that Palestinians have little immediate prospect there.

Just two weeks ago, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the U.N. Assembly's approval of the Palestinian resolution would "elicit an extreme response from us".

Another member of Netanyahu's right-wing cabinet, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, said three years ago that Israeli counter-measures could include annexing some of the 120 settlements in the West Bank.

But in the past week, Israeli officials have retreated from such talk, retrenching after European countries, which had been largely supportive of Israel's November 14-21 Gaza offensive, started showing their backing for Abbas's U.N. move.

Israel is now threatening only one measure: the withholding of $200 million from the monthly transfers of duties that Israel collects on the Palestinian Authority's behalf. It says it will cover the PA's debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.

The deduction, equal to two months' worth of Palestinian tax receipts, would be painful for Abbas's cash-strapped government in Ramallah. But it would stop short of a formal suspension of transfers vital to the economy in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has previously frozen payments to the PA during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions, provoking strong international criticism, such as when the U.N. cultural body UNESCO granted the Palestinians full membership a year ago.

UN Vote for Palestine is Far More Than Symbolic - It Could Give Palestinians Leverage in Future Border Talks; Netanyahu Rejects the 1967 Borders

Palestinians Hope to Gain Leverage from UN Bid

The Associated Press
November 28, 2012

The expected U.N. vote Thursday to recognize a state of Palestine will be far more than symbolic — it could give the Palestinians leverage in future border talks with Israel and open the way for possible war crimes charges against the Jewish state.

The Palestinians want the 193-member General Assembly to accept "Palestine," on the lands Israel occupied in 1967, as a non-member observer state. They anticipate broad support.

For Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the U.N. bid is a last-ditch attempt to stay relevant as a leader after years of failed peace talks with Israel, at a time when his Islamic militant Hamas rivals are gaining ground.

The U.S. and Israel have tried to block the quest for U.N. recognition of Palestine, saying it's an attempt to bypass Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that broke down four years ago.

The U.S. deputy secretary of state, William Burns, met with Abbas in New York on Wednesday, asking Abbas again to drop the idea and promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013, said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat. Abbas told Burns it was too late.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said U.N. recognition of an independent Palestine won't help to reach a lasting two-state peace agreement and stressed that the "path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York."

Israel, meanwhile, appeared to back away from threats of drastic measures if the Palestinians get U.N. approval, with officials suggesting the government would take steps only if the Palestinians use their new status to act against Israel.

The Palestinians say they need U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967, to be able to resume negotiations with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's predecessors accepted the 1967 lines as a basis for border talks, with modifications to be negotiated, including land swaps that would enable Israel to annex some of the largest Jewish settlements. Those talks did not produce a deal, and the sides remained apart on other key issues.

Netanyahu rejects the 1967 lines as starting point while pressing ahead with settlement construction, leaving Abbas little incentive to resume negotiations. Israel goes to elections in January, and polls indicate Netanyahu has a strong chance of winning.

Israel argues that Abbas is trying to dictate the outcome of border talks by going to the U.N., though the recognition request presented to the world body calls for a quick resumption of negotiations on all core issues of the conflict, including borders.

It's not clear if negotiations could resume even if Obama, freed from the constraints of his re-election campaign, can turn his attention to the Mideast conflict.

Abbas aides have given conflicting accounts of whether Abbas, once armed with global backing for the 1967 borders, will return to negotiations without an Israeli settlement freeze. About half a million Israelis have settled on war-won land.

A construction stop is unlikely, even more so after hawks in Netanyahu's Likud Party scored major gains in primaries this week.

Israel has said it is willing to resume talks without preconditions.

Government spokesman Mark Regev affirmed the position on Wednesday. Regev said that by going to the U.N., the Palestinians violate "both the spirit and the word of signed agreements to solve issues through negotiations."

Palestinian officials countered that their historic U.N. bid is meant to salvage a peace deal they say is being sabotaged by Israeli settlement expansion. 
"It is a last-ditch effort because we believe the two-state solution is in jeopardy as a result of these actions," Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, told reporters in Ramallah on Wednesday.
The Palestinians expect that at least two-thirds of the 193 member states in the General Assembly will support them on Thursday, including a number of European countries, among them France, Spain, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland.

Those opposed or abstaining include the U.S., Israel, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia. Ashrawi urged the U.S. to at least abstain, saying that voting no "would be seen as being really pathetic by the rest of the world" and hurt American interests in the Middle East.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that "in the long term, this region can only find peace through negotiations to resolve the Middle East conflict," but she did not say whether her country would abstain or vote against.
"Nothing will really be gained either by unilateral Palestinian initiatives at the United Nations which aim for recognition nor by Israel's continued building of settlements," she said.
The vote comes at an important time domestically for Abbas. His Hamas rivals, who control Gaza, have gained popularity after holding their own during an Israeli offensive there earlier this month, aimed at stopping frequent Gaza rocket fire on Israel.

During the Gaza offensive, Abbas was sidelined in his compound in the West Bank, underscoring international concerns that the deadlock in peace efforts is weakening Palestinian pragmatists. Hamas, which seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, argues that negotiations with Israel are a waste of time, but Hamas leaders have come out in support of the U.N. bid in recent days.

Other than creating leverage in negotiations, U.N. recognition would also allow the Palestinians to seek membership in U.N. agencies and international bodies, for example making them eligible for loans from the International Monetary Fund.

Perhaps most significantly, it could open the door to a new attempt to join the International Criminal Court and seek an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel in the occupied territories.

Abbas' self-rule government, the Palestinian Authority, unilaterally recognized the court's jurisdiction in 2009 and pressed prosecutors to open an investigation into Israel's previous Gaza offensive. Prosecutors noted at the time that the court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, is only open to states. Israel has not signed the statute and does not recognize the court's jurisdiction.

Ashrawi on Wednesday avoided explicit threats to take Israel to court, but suggested it's an option. 
"If Israel refrains from settlement activities ... there is no immediate pressing need to go," she said, adding that this could change if "Israel persists in its violations."
Israel would respond "forcefully" if the Palestinians try to pursue war crimes charges against Israel at the ICC, said an Israeli government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss policy considerations.
If the Palestinians use their upgraded international status "as a tool to confront Israel in the international arena, there will be a response," he said.
Until then, he said, Israel will be bound by its obligations to the Palestinians under existing peace agreements, but won't necessarily go beyond them. Earlier there was talk of Israel retaliating by canceling partial peace accords dating back to the 1990s.

In the West Bank, the view of Abbas' quest for recognition was mixed. Many were bitter, saying they've heard too many promises that statehood is near and don't believe a nod from the U.N. will make a difference.
"Nothing will come of it," said Arwa Abu Helo, a 23-year-old student in Ramallah. "It's just a way of misleading the public."
Yousef Mohammed, a bank teller, said Abbas was trying to "gain the spotlight after Hamas said it won in Gaza."

Hurriyeh Abdel Karim, 65, said she was willing to give Abbas a chance. "If he succeeds, maybe our life improves," she said.

November 29, 2012

Palestinians Win Implicit U.N. Recognition of Sovereign State

U.N. General Assembly Votes to Grant Palestine 'Non-member State' U.N. Observer Status

November 29, 2012

Reuters - The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution today to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations from "entity" to "non-member state," implicitly recognizing a Palestinian state. There were 138 votes in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions.

UN vote is a boost to Palestinian statehood hopes

November 29, 2012

AP - The expected admission of Palestine as a nonmember state in the United Nations is far more than a symbolic vote. For the Palestinians, the move gives them an important boost of international legitimacy in their quest for independence. For Israel and its key ally, the United States, it is a diplomatic setback with potentially grave implications.

Here is a look at how key players are affected by the vote on November 29th:

PALESTINIANS:

The vote benefits the Palestinians on many levels. Domestically, it gives embattled President Mahmoud Abbas a boost in his rivalry with the Hamas militant group. As peace efforts have flagged, Abbas has steadily lost popularity with the Palestinian public, while Hamas is riding high after battling Israel during an eight-day flare-up in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip this month.

Internationally, it puts Abbas and the Palestinian agenda back at center stage. The vote grants Abbas an overwhelming international endorsement for his key position: establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. With Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu opposed to a pullback to the 1967 lines, this should strengthen Abbas' hand if peace talks resume.

It also opens the door to the Palestinians joining U.N. agencies, most critically the International Criminal Court, where they could use their newfound status to press for war crimes charges against Israel for military operations and construction of Jewish settlements on occupied territories. On the downside, the vote does not change the situation on the ground — a point Israelis have repeatedly stressed in an effort to blunt any appearance of defeat.

ISRAEL:

The vote amounts to a massive international show of displeasure with Israel, particularly over its continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. While Israel is used to lopsided U.N. resolutions against it, even key allies are expected to abandon it this time around. Germany, Italy, France and Australia are among the Israeli allies expected to abstain or vote with the Palestinians.

Moving forward, the resolution could weaken Israeli claims to keeping parts of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the section of the holy city claimed by both sides for their capitals. After four years of deadlock in peace efforts, the world seems to be laying the blame on Israel. If opinion polls are correct and Netanyahu, backed by hard-line, pro-settler allies, cruises to victory in upcoming parliamentary elections, he could find himself facing stiff international pressure to make concessions to get peace talks back on track.

US:

The expected vote appears to reflect the world's frustration over President Barack Obama's failure to get Israel and the Palestinians to start talking. During his first term, Obama initially spoke out strongly against Israeli settlements and even coaxed Netanyahu into a partial freeze on settlement construction. But after that freeze expired, Netanyahu rejected Obama's calls to extend it and Obama dropped the matter.

The mixed messages ended up alienating both Israel and the Palestinians, leaving peace efforts in tatters. After failing to persuade the Palestinians to abandon their push at the U.N., Obama will likely face international pressure to make another diplomatic push in the region.

HAMAS:

The Islamic militant group, which rules the Gaza Strip, has been emboldened by the performance of its forces in fighting against Israel this month and its growing acceptance among the new Islamist rulers rising in the fast-changing Middle East. Since capturing Gaza from Abbas in 2007, both sides have largely resisted attempts to reconcile.

Thursday's vote is an important reminder that Abbas is still the main address for the international community, and could put pressure on Hamas to reconcile. Perhaps sensing this changing constellation, Hamas lined up behind Abbas' U.N. bid, after earlier criticizing it.

Abbas urges U.N. to issue "birth certificate" for Palestine

November 29, 2012

Reuters - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday urged the U.N. General Assembly to grant de facto recognition to a sovereign state of Palestine by upgrading the U.N. observer status of the Palestinian Authority from "entity" to "non-member state."

"Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel," Abbas told the 193-nation assembly after receiving a standing ovation.

"The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine," he said.
The assembly is expected to approve a resolution shortly that implicitly recognizes Palestinian statehood, despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinians by withholding funds for the West Bank government.

The move would lift the Palestinian Authority's U.N. observer status from "entity" to "non-member state," like the Vatican. It is expected to pass easily in the 193-nation General Assembly. At least 15 European states plan to vote for it.

Israel, the United States and a handful of other members are set to vote against what they see as a largely symbolic and counterproductive move by the Palestinians, which takes place on the anniversary of the assembly's adoption of resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is in New York, but did not address the assembly. Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor spoke after Abbas, reiterating the Jewish state's desire for peace with Palestinians, but opposing the resolution.
"It doesn't enhance peace," Prosor said ahead of the vote on the resolution. "It pushes it backwards."
"No decision by the U.N. can break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel," he said.
Granting Palestinians the title of "non-member observer state" falls short of full U.N. membership - something the Palestinians failed to achieve last year. But it would allow them access to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other international bodies, should they choose to join them.
"The ICC issue is what the Israelis are really worried about," a U.N. official said on condition of anonymity. "They know this whole process isn't really symbolic, except for that."
ISRAEL TONES DOWN THREATS

Abbas has been leading the campaign to win support for the resolution, which follows an eight-day conflict this month between Israel and Islamists in the Gaza Strip, who are pledged to Israel's destruction and oppose a negotiated peace.

The U.S. State Department made a last-ditch effort to get Abbas to reconsider, but the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, refused to turn back.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated to reporters in Washington on Wednesday the U.S. view that "the path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York."

The U.S. State Department has repeatedly warned that the U.N. status change could lead to a reduction of U.S. economic support for the Palestinians. The Israelis have also warned they might take significant deductions out of monthly transfers of duties that Israel collects on the Palestinians' behalf.

Despite its fierce opposition, Israel seems concerned not to find itself diplomatically isolated. It has recently toned down threats of retaliation in the face of wide international support for the initiative, notably among its European allies.

But U.N. diplomats say Israel's reaction might not be so measured if the Palestinians seek ICC action against Israel on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity or other crimes the court would have jurisdiction over.

The European Union, a key donor for the Palestinians, has made clear it will not curtail aid after Thursday's vote.

Flag-waving Palestinians thronged the squares of the West Bank and Gaza Strip before Thursday's vote. In a rare show of unity, Abbas's Islamist rivals, Hamas, who have ruled Gaza since a brief civil war in 2007, let backers of the president's Fatah movement hold demonstrations.

Peace talks have been stalled for two years, mainly over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have expanded despite being deemed illegal by most of the world. There are 4.3 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

In the draft resolution, the Palestinians have pledged to relaunch the peace process immediately following the U.N. vote.

With strong support from the developing world that makes up the majority of U.N. members, it is virtually assured of securing more than the requisite simple majority. Palestinian officials hope for more than 130 yes votes.

Abbas has focused on securing as many votes as possible from Europe, and his efforts appear to have paid off.

Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland all pledged to support the resolution. Britain said it was prepared to vote yes, but only if the Palestinians fulfilled certain conditions.

The fiercely pro-Israel Czech Republic was planning to vote against the move, dashing European hopes of avoiding any no votes that would create a three-way split on the continent into supporters, abstainers and opponents.

It was unclear whether some of the many undecided Europeans would join the Czechs. Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Estonia and Lithuania plan to abstain.

Palestinians are Certain to Win U.N. Recognition as a State

Palestinians certain to win recognition as a state

The Associated Press
November 29, 2012

The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state Thursday but success could exact a high price: Israel and the United States warn it could delay hopes of achieving an independent Palestinian state through peace talks with Israel.

The United States, Israel's closest ally, mounted an aggressive campaign to head off the General Assembly vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly declared Thursday that the Palestinians would have to back down from long-held positions if they ever hope to gain independence.

Ahead of Thursday's vote, thousands of Palestinians from rival factions celebrated in the streets of the West Bank. Although the initiative will not immediately bring about independence, the Palestinians view it as a historic step in their quest for global recognition.

In a last-ditch move Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made a personal appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if Abbas abandoned the effort to seek statehood. The Palestinian leader refused, said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat.

With most of the 193 General Assembly member states sympathetic to the Palestinians, the vote is certain to succeed. Several key countries, including France, have recently announced they would support the move to elevate the Palestinians from the status of U.N. observer to nonmember observer state. However, a country's vote in favor of the status change does not automatically imply its individual recognition of a Palestine state, something that must be done bilaterally.

The Palestinians say they need U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967, to be able to resume negotiations with Israel. They say global recognition of the 1967 lines as the borders of Palestine is meant to salvage a peace deal, not sabotage it, as Israel claims.

The non-member observer state status could also open the way for possible war crimes charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.

Netanyahu warned the Palestinians Thursday that they would not win their hoped-for state until they recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, declare an end to their conflict with the Jewish state and agree to security arrangements that protect Israel.
"The resolution in the U.N. today won't change anything on the ground," Netanyahu declared. "It won't advance the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather, put it further off."
While Israel argues that Abbas is trying to dictate the outcome of border talks by going to the U.N., the recognition request presented to the world body in fact calls for a quick resumption of negotiations on all core issues of the conflict, including borders.

Netanyahu's predecessors accepted the 1967 lines as a basis for border talks. Netanyahu has rejected the idea, while pressing ahead with Jewish settlement building on war-won land, giving Abbas little incentive to negotiate.

For Abbas, the U.N. bid is crucial if he wants to maintain his leadership and relevance, especially following the recent conflict between his Hamas rivals in Gaza and Israel. The conflict saw the Islamic militant group claim victory and raise its standing in the Arab world, while Abbas' Fatah movement was sidelined and marginalized.

In a departure from previous opposition, the Hamas militant group, which rules the Gaza Strip, said it wouldn't interfere with the U.N. bid, and its supporters joined some of the celebrations Thursday.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, some in a crowd of several thousand raised green Hamas flags, while in the city of Ramallah, senior figures of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two militant groups normally opposed to Abbas, addressed the crowd.
"It's the right step in the right direction," Nasser al-Shaer, a former deputy prime minister from Hamas, said of the U.N. bid.
The Palestinians chose the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" for the vote. Before it takes place, there will be a morning of speeches by supporters focusing on the rights of the Palestinians. Abbas is scheduled to speak at that meeting, and again in the afternoon when he will present the case for Palestinian statehood in the General Assembly.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday that the U.N. vote will not fulfill the goal of independent Palestinian and Israeli states living side by side in peace, which the U.S. strongly supports because that requires direct negotiations.
"We need an environment conducive to that," she told reporters in Washington. "And we've urged both parties to refrain from actions that might in any way make a return to meaningful negotiations that focus on getting to a resolution more difficult."
The U.S. Congress has threatened financial sanctions if the Palestinians improve their status at the United Nations.

Ahead of the vote, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch filed an amendment to a defense bill Wednesday that would eliminate funding for the United Nations if the General Assembly changes Palestine's status.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said that by going to the U.N., the Palestinians violate "both the spirit and the word of signed agreements to solve issues through negotiations," which broke down four years ago.

But Israeli officials appeared to back away from threats of drastic measures if the Palestinians get U.N. approval, with officials suggesting the government would take steps only if the Palestinians use their new status to act against Israel.

Regev, meanwhile, affirmed that Israel is willing to resume talks without preconditions.

U.N. diplomats said they will be listening closely to Abbas' speech to the General Assembly on Thursday afternoon before the vote to see if he makes an offer of fresh negotiations with no strings, which could lead to new talks. The Palestinians have been demanding a freeze on Israeli settlements as a precondition.

As a sign of the importance Israel attaches to the vote, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman flew to New York and was scheduled to meet Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before the vote.

Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly and the resolution to raise the Palestinian status from an observer to a nonmember observer state only requires a majority vote for approval. To date, 132 countries — over two-thirds of the U.N. member states — have recognized the state of Palestine.

The Palestinians have been courting Western nations, especially the Europeans, seen as critical to enhancing their international standing. A number have announced they will vote "yes" including France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland. Those opposed or abstaining include the U.S., Israel, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia.

The Palestinians turned to the General Assembly after the United States announced it would veto their bid last fall for full U.N. membership until there is a peace deal with Israel.

Following last year's move by the Palestinians to join the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO, the U.S. withheld funds from the organization, which amount to 22 percent of its budget. The U.S. also withheld money from the Palestinians.

Read More...

September 9, 2012

How Wall Street & London Manufacture Tragedy to Sell War & Regime Change

Atrocities Made to Order

By Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer
May 29, 2012

In the wake of the Houla massacre in Syria, and evidence exposing the West’s initial narrative of Syrian troops “shelling to death” around 100 people to be categorically false, people are struggling to understand just what happened. The Guardian has chosen to post unverified witness accounts produced by the Free Syrian Army, seemingly custom tailored to refute evidence brought by Russia to the UN Security Council. The BBC has admitted that only “most” of the accounts they’ve received implicated what they “believe” were Syrian troops, or pro-government militias – and by doing so, imply that some did not and have told a different account.

As the window of opportunity closes for the West to exploit the bloodshed at Houla, the Western media is increasingly backpedaling, retracting, and being caught in a crossfire of their own lies and propagandizing. BBC was caught initially using years’ old photos from Iraq for their Houla coverage, while papers and networks across the board have had to adjust their narratives entirely as each new piece of verified evidence emerges.

What is known is that Syrian troops were engaged with armed militants of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) in and around Houla. Syrian troops, as they have been doing throughout the conflict, were using artillery and tanks to target heavily fortified rebel positions from a distance. During or shortly after this exchange, militants began entering homes and killing families with knives and small arms fire. The FSA and Syrian opposition claim the militants were pro-government militias while the government claims they were foreign-backed Al Qaeda terrorists, known to be operating throughout the country. What they weren’t, by all accounts, were Syrian troops.

A recent “editorial” out of the Globe and Mail claims that Russia’s position that opposition forces were involved in the massacre is “laughable.” However, this is divorced from not only reality, but also from a complete understanding of modern 4th generation warfare. From Venezuela to Thailand, Western backed opposition groups have triggered unrest and used it as cover to pick off members of their own movement, to then blame on the targeted government and compound any given conflict until a critical mass is reached, and a targeted government is toppled.

A Historical Example: Bangkok, Thailand 2010

Wall Street-backed former-Thai Prime Minsiter Thaksin Shinawatra, a close associate of the Bush family with connections ranging from before, during, and after his term in office, was ousted from power in 2006 by nationalist forces for abuses of power. Thaksin had worked as a Carlyle Group adviser, sent Thai troops to aid in Bush’s invasion of Iraq, attempted to implement a free trade agreement with Wall Street’s Fortune 500 without parliamentary approval, hosted CIA torture facilities, and prosecuted a “war on drugs” that saw some 2,500 Thais extra-legally executed in the streets, most of whom were later determined to have nothing to do with the drug trade.

Since his ousting in 2006, he has received support from a myriad of prominent US lobbying firms including fellow Carlyle member James Baker and Baker Botts, Bush administration warmonger Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, and Neo-Conservative PNAC signatory Kenneth Adelman of Edelman.

With this backing, Thaksin has led an increasingly violent bid to return to power through a “red” color revolution constituting of a large political machine operating in Thailand’s northeast provinces and a personality cult called the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).

In April of 2010, Thaksin mobilized thousands of UDD members to paralyze Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in retaliation to a court seizure of billions of his ill-gotten assets. On the night of April 10, 2010, when riot troops moved in to disperse the protesters, militants clad in black opened fire on Thai troops.

Page 62 of Human Rights Watch’s “Descent into Chaos (.pdf)” report stated:

“As the army attempted to move on the camp, they were confronted by well-armed men who fired M16 and AK-47 assault rifles at them, particularly at the Khok Wua intersection on Rajdamnoen Road. They also fired grenades from M79s and threw M67 hand grenades at the soldiers. News footage and videos taken by protesters and tourists show several soldiers lying unconscious and bleeding on the ground, as well as armed men operating with a high degree of coordination and military skills.”

HRW, an otherwise dubious organization, only conceded to this a full year after the events unfolded and only in the face of irrefutable photographic and video evidence captured and broadcasted by both professional and amateurs local and foreign journalists. This included videos and photos of militants armed with both AK-47′s and M-16′s. Previously, Thaksin’s Western backers and his opposition leaders had tried to blame all deaths resulting from the M-16′s 5.56mm rounds squarely on the Thai military, including the high-profile death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto. With proof that opposition militants were also firing 5.56mm rounds, this political leverage was negated.

However, the most chilling aspect of the April 10, 2010 violence was an incident involving the premeditated murder of a pro-Thaksin protester by Thaksin’s own mercenaries – recorded on tape and extensively photographed, then shamelessly and relentlessly used as propaganda to this very day. The incident took place on April 10, 2010, the same night Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto was killed, and gives us immense insight into how Western-backed unrest will take advantage of chaos it itself creates to then purposefully kill both protesters and government troops to escalate tensions and violence while undermining the legitimacy of a targeted government.

In a YouTube video (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) recorded by Thaksin propagandists, protesters can be seen facing off against troops to the left of the screen with other protesters seeking cover as fire is exchanged between militants and troops. In the center of the frame, a very conspicuous man is seen carrying a tall red flag with his attention fixated on men directing him into position. He moves in steps, almost as if posing for a picture with his attention focused on the men directing him. Behind him, with his hat turned backwards, appears to be a spotter shadowing the flagman’s moves and flashing a series of hand signals to the men on the left directing the flagman.



Images: Frames taken from the video with annotations describe the events that unfolded shortly before and directly after Thaksin mercenaries intentionally killed one of their own protesters. The final image eventually made it onto the cover of Thaksin propaganda magazine, “Voice of Taksin.” (click images to enlarge)

….

Men in the upper left of the screen can be seen waving the flagman into position as they tell other protesters to “get down” before a shot is fired taking off the top of the man’s skull. As protesters panic and run off camera, the spotter moving with the flagman calmly stands above the dead man and waves in a photographer who takes the infamous pictures that would soon be featured on the cover of Thaksin’s propaganda publication, the “Voice of Taksin.” It must be remembered that the video camera was fixated on this otherwise insignificant flagman the entire time leading up to the gruesome event, to specifically capture the entire, premeditated murder.

Image: A censored version of the very explicit “special” cover of Thaksin propaganda magazine, “Voice of Taksin,” featuring a man killed not even a minute ago. The flag he was conspicuously waving just moments before lays across his chest and was most likely handed to him to aid mercenary snipers in targeting him. The original cover with translations can be found here. (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC.) The editor of “Voice of Taksin” has since been arrested and imprisoned for his role in the 2010 violence – however Western “human rights” fronts including US-funded Prachatai maintain that he is a “political prisoner” and a “human rights activist.” Note: on the bottom of the magazine cover a “free” CD is offered featuring video of the gruesome staged murder of this unfortunate man.

….

This horrific, cold-blooded demonstration of the callous, murderous nature of these so-called “pro-democracy” movements sowing chaos from Tunisia to Thailand, and certainly including Syria, illustrates the full depths of depravity from which the global elite and their proxies operate. Behind the thin veneer of revolutionary “singing tomorrows” is a heartless, craven killing machine as eager to dispose of its most adamant supporters as it is inclined to eliminate its most reviled opponents. What was just described has played out not only repeatedly in Thailand, but all across North Africa and the Middle East as well as during previous attempts by the West to oust Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Back to Syria

The Free Syrian Army has been regularly engaging in armed combat with government troops and now more than ever, are better equipped with communication equipment, weapons, cash and logistical support from the West and the Gulf States. Just as Thaksin’s gunmen were able to draw Thai troops into a conflict used as cover to commit manufactured atrocities to be used as propaganda against the Thai government, militants in Syria have already demonstratively employed similar tactics. In 2011, “mystery gunmen” would regularly start firefights during protest rallies identical to the one in Bangkok, firing on both Syrian troops and protesters, with both sides describing elusive “rooftop snipers.”

Houla appears to simply be on a much larger scale, involving militants most likely not affiliated with local FSA fighters or the Syrian government, but foreign elements just as the Syrian government has claimed. Just as in Bangkok where protesters were taken as much by surprise as Thai troops at the arrival of Thaksin’s militants, FSA fighters, Houla residents, and Syrian troops all seem baffled as to who exactly committed the atrocities.

And amongst all the finger pointing, it is the politically-motivated haste by the US, UK, France, Israel, and the Muslim Brotherhood to condemn the massacre, baselessly blame the Syrian government, and cry in unison for military intervention that is by far the most incriminating evidence yet as to who was really behind the bloodbath. Cui Bono? To whose benefit? NATO and its Middle Eastern proxies have made it abundantly clear it was to their benefit.

Clearly there is the distinct possibility that a third party took advantage of a prolonged engagement between the FSA and government troops in Houla, to manufacture a very real atrocity. With so few facts in hand, it would be the height of irresponsibility to lay blame on anyone so squarely that punitive actions are leveled. So while the Globe and Mail berates Russia for suggesting that “the blame must be determined objectively,” it is by far, without debate, the most sensible course of action to take. If the West laments the distrust it now suffers, it has only itself, and its long history of running death squads in exactly this manner, to blame.

August 12, 2012

Antichrist Must Come First and Sit in the Temple Claiming to be God, Causing a Great Falling Away from the Christian Faith

The Amazing Parallels of End Time Scriptures (Excerpt)
By John Aggson Sr., Liberty To The Captives

AntiChrist will come before Christ returns and he will sit in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem claiming to be God. Why is it that people can never see the blindness and sin in their OWN GENERATION? Why can we look back to the past and see the sins of others in the Bible down through time, but do not even suspect that today, we are doing the same thing the Pharisees of old did? Why can we not see the “blindness” and “callousness” in our own hearts?

Many folks have gotten fed up over “arguing:” over this subject, and say that “they refuse to even discuss it anymore!” I have seen brethren almost come to blows and scream and yell at each other over this topic! The devil gets really angry when it is brought up, because it is exposing one of his GREATEST DECEITS THAT HE IS FOISTING UPON GOD’S UNSUSPECTING CHURCH IN THE END TIME! It is certainly wrong to get ANGRY over anything and get mad at each other, but it is not wrong to discuss such a serious and important matter as this!? Satan just loves that feint! That “cop out!” He knows that then every one will be afraid to bring the subject up after that for fear of starting a “hullabullo,” and will just not talk about it. Then folks go on teaching their perverted and distorted view to the flock of God’s Church! He is so clever! First of all, it is NOT a light thing, and will have very dramatic negative effects on God’s Church when things do not transpire as folks have been taught they will!

Most folks teaching this “pre-trib” view are doing it in ignorance; just “parroting” what they have been taught since they got saved, without having ever taken the time to study it all out carefully, and prayerfully. The Lord is very merciful, and understanding, and patient. He is trying to get folks to “see the light” on this, but it is very difficult. “As the branch bends, so grows the tree!?” And once a person is grounded deeply in this false belief system, it seems to be very hard to convince them otherwise, or to even get them to LOOK AT THE FACTS surrounding all this, and read Scriptures like the ones in this study.

Most will “stubbornly” cling to this false view, until it becomes apparent that it is wrong, and then they will say, “Oh WHY, didn’t we see this plain and simple truth laid out in the Scriptures?” “WHY couldn’t we see what Jesus warned SO CLEARLY of concerning all this?” Suddenly the “blinders” will be “ripped off” and they will clearly see; but too late to alter the effects of what it will cause on “the Body!” Those who are “strong” in the Lord will survive, but sadly, it will not go so good for those who “follow afar off; who will begin to question their FAITH, and the LORD, and to become very confused!” Many may just “give up!?”

This is something that should be brought out into the open and discussed above almost all else, after Salvation and other basics of the Faith! People say that it is just “causing division.” The TRUTH always causes division among those who resent hearing it! Jesus’s Words caused division. Paul’s words caused division, and Paul ARGUED with the Pharisees and “contended” and “disputed” with them for 3 years in the Book of Acts, before getting fed up with them and telling them he’d had it with them and was now going to the Gentiles! So it is not wrong to “contend” for the Truth!

Many Christians will support the antiChrist when he comes, thinking that he couldn’t possibly be the antiChrist or they would have been raptured out already!? He’s not coming with “horns and hoofs” and a “pitchfork!?” He will appear as “AN ANGEL OF LIGHT!” He will appear to be a very righteous and Godly man, a great man of peace, who will be championing the cause of Israel in the world courts, demanding that they be given the right to rebuild their temple, (which he plans to sit in and rule from) and that they should be given the right to re-start their animal sacrifices once again.

Folks will think he’s the greatest man of peace and friend of Israel to ever come along!? He’s going to fool nearly EVERYONE! DON’T YOU BE DECEIVED! Read these Scriptures again and pray over them, asking the Lord if these things are really the truth!? Satan is setting the entire church system up for the greatest “sucker punch” he’s ever given them; knocking their faith out by total surprise and shock, when things do not turn out the way folks have been taught! He’s lulled almost the entire church to sleep. Wake up and see what’s coming! He just LOVES this method of catching folks off guard by total surprise, and causing the greatest amount of fear possible in an instant! It causes such great confusion, and he is the “author of confusion.” He wants to totally KNOCK OUT THE CHURCH IN ONE PUNCH!!!

Like a great commanding general who studies out his war strategies long in advance, Satan sat back and looked over this “end time” scenario centuries ago. He knew he would have to put the Church to sleep to be able to catch them by surprise in this fashion. He began to enter the Church with false “sleepy” doctrines.

Pre-trib rapture teaching is part of Satan’s long term strategy to get the Church right where he wants us so he can wreak the most havoc and cause the greatest amount of confusion and damage possible when his man, the “beast” or “antiChrist” comes to power!? The Church will “rock and reel” under the fiery darts of the one who will “speak great words against the Most High,” and “wear out the Saints of the Most High;” who will “make war with the Saints and PREVAIL against them!?” And when the “guillotines begin to fall,” and people begin to lose their heads for refusing to deny their Faith in Jesus Christ, many may begin to “jump off the boat” like “scared men fleeing a sinking ship!?”

Instead of a “pre-tribulation rapture,” many are going to be “yanked” out of their beds in the middle of the night, by complete surprise; by “jackbooted” storm troopers, brandishing sub-machine guns, and dressed in black S.W.A.T. gear; and hauled off to PRISON CAMPS, that have already been set up all over America, under a program first designed by Lt. Colonel Oliver North, in the days of President Ronald Reagan, called “REX 84!” This was even exposed in Congress by Congressman Jack Brooks, who publicly challenged Oliver North about it and was told to “shut up” as it was a matter of national security! Although originally designed to “house” American gun-owners and patriots who refuse to go along with a “new world order” takeover — complete with a massive “gun confiscation program” — as well as other “dissidents;” this same program in the hands of a future administration may be used to lock up even other “Christian dissidents” who, although “peaceful” and non-violent, do not “believe” the way they are supposed to (ie: folks who dare to expose America and Israel’s sins!). Daniel the Prophet also spoke of this same event over and over; of a GREAT PERSECUTION of God’s Saints in the END TIME TRIBULATION PERIOD, under the TERRIFYING REIGN OF THE ANTICHRIST.

Many may support the antiChrist thinking he’s a good man, and not suspecting him at all because they have been taught they will be “raptured out” first before he comes!? Wake up America! YOU ARE the “MIGHTY AND THE HOLY PEOPLE!” spoken of by Daniel the prophet. The American churches are going to feel the main brunt of this persecution, along with the tiny nation of Israel!

The “indignation” spoken of by Daniel is “God’s indignation” against the nation of Israel for “trying to take their kingdom back in the flesh” without going through the proper “doorway” of JESUS CHRIST His Son, (as per John 10) and winning the world through His love, instead of considering themselves better than everyone else (God is no respecter of persons) and mowing them down with machine guns, bombs and bullets, to take back what they consider “rightfully theirs,” — but is NOT since the Lord drove them out 2,000 years ago. And also because they are willing to accept “one who comes in his own name” to get this great advantage and blessing, instead of having accepted Him who came “in the name of His Father,” Jesus Christ! This “indignation of God” is also against the duped American church system for “aiding and abbetting” them in this great end time “fiasco!”

Both the American church system and the modern nation of so-called “Israel” are going to be PURGED AND PURIFIED AND MADE WHITE HERE to get them straightened out on this issue! When they finally realize all this — under the antiChrist’s relentless attacks and his actual “winning” against them and subduing and destroying them — AND THEY REPENT (as per Zechariah 13), then the “Lord will come and fight against those nations that have come against them, and He will return in all His glory to fight for His people and deliver them from their STRONG OPPRESSOR!” (as per Zechariah 14).

This is another “great lie” that has entered the “corrupt and compromised American church system” that the Lord is going to expose before all, before the great day of His Coming! Jesus said in John chapters 8 & 10, to the Pharisees, that they were not going to be saved and blessed by God merely because they were “flesh sons of Abraham,” and that they had to go through “HIM, the ‘DOOR’, to get into the kingdom!?” Now, 2,000 years later the same bunch with the same mindset have returned to foist this same belief on the followers of Christ, and most have warmly received it with open arms, no questions asked, and would support them to the death, fighting to get their land back for them — thinking that they are “doing God service!?” But don’t worry! God is going to “straighten everyone out on this” before the Lord returns! It will be made very plain!

As both America and Israel “rock and reel” under the antiChrist’s future attacks, and coming terrorist attacks — and natural disasters like famines, earthquakes, weather related disasters, disease, and ill health — many will TURN HARD to the Lord and begin questioning, “why is all this coming upon us?”

Most Churches are turning their people into “MODERN PHARISEES” instead of loving followers of Christ, like the early disciples were. And then they are built on the false foundation of these other modern “comfortable” teachings that put them TOTALLY TO SLEEP, concerning the totally serious and sometimes “horrifying” end time events that are coming; and make them into “self-righteous judges” of today’s “wicked sinners” and “publicans and harlots,” who condemn folks to hell with their tongues, instead of loving them into the kingdom. The TRIBULATION is the time period in which the antiChrist tries to stamp out all other religions, and mainly Christianity; and to foist upon the world the worship of himself as God. During the tribulation, 1/3rd of everything is destroyed by the Lord’s “selective judgments,” while we are protected miraculously by the Lord right here on the earth.

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