The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Archive for September 2013

Westgate: Israel Shopping with the Enemy in Nairobi?

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 1, 2013

Does anyone else find it suspicious that al-Shabab was able to hire a shop in an Israeli-owned Kenyan shopping mall in order to stockpile weapons and ammunition for an attack that is likely to deepen Israel’s already intimate ties with the country known as its “forward base in Africa“?

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

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Kerry’s Opposition to UN Questioning of Assad’s Culpability for the Gassing

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By Stephen J. Sniegoski
The Passionate Attachment
September 22, 2013

To those of a skeptical mind who would want evidence for the alleged culpability of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the August 21 poisonous gas attack, the first part of a Washington Times article (September 19), “Kerry tells U.N. to focus on ridding Syria of chemical weapons, not on sarin attack,” is very revealing.

Supposedly, evidence that can be tested is the basis for modern science. As philosopher Karl Popper maintains, scientific theories must be falsifiable. (The nineteenth-century American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, who is often considered the father of the philosophical school of Pragmatism, referred to this approach, which was central to his philosophy, as fallibilism.)

However, Secretary of State John Kerry wants to prevent any move toward a scientific approach from taking place at the UN. So far, while claiming that there is “no doubt” that Assad was to blame, Kerry has yet to provide any actual evidence that could be tested.

As the “Washington Times” article states: “Mr. Kerry called on the international body to avoid getting bogged down next week in a debate questioning American evidence about the regime’s role in last month’s chemical attack on a Damascus suburb.

“We really don’t have time today to pretend that anyone can have their own set of facts,” the secretary of state said in a shot at Russia, which, while working with the U.S. on the deal to secure Syria’s weapons, has continued to claim that it was Syrian rebels — not forces aligned with Mr. Assad — who carried out the chemical attack.”

This article didn’t deal with the significance of Kerry’s position and moved on to other issues in Syria.

It is significant, however, to note a news story appearing in “The Times of Israel” with the headline “Israeli intelligence seen as central to US case against Syria” (August 27).

Now since the Israeli government has sought a US attack on Syria, and intelligence indicating Assad’s use of chemical weapons would obviously facilitate such a military endeavor, there is no reason to give any credence to this Israeli information. After all, Israel provided bogus intelligence on Saddam’s alleged WMD.

In contrast to the American faith-based arguments that assume Assad’s guilt, Russia gave the UN a 100-page report in July blaming Syrian rebels for an earlier sarin attack in Aleppo, which included a detailed scientific analysis of samples that Russian technicians purportedly collected at the site of the attack.

Kerry is essentially trying to put the culpability of Assad for the gassing in the category of those issues the certitude of which one is not allowed to question, and that to do so would constitute “hate” (in this case, alleged support for all Assad’s brutal actions), thus barring one from mainstream venues. That does not mean the American version is necessarily wrong, but it certainly leads one with a skeptical mind, but little ambition to be successful in the American mainstream, to wonder.

Now if Assad is not going wildly about and gassing masses of people and only possesses stockpiles of chemical weapons, there is no more reason that he give them up than Israel, which also allegedly possesses chemical weapons along with its nuclear arsenal. (Israel does not publicly acknowledge its possession of either chemical or nuclear weaponry, and the US government does not publicly acknowledge Israel’s possession of these weapons either.)

If the goal really were to make the Middle East free from horrific weapons, as America now pontificates, then an effort would be made to have all the countries in the region give up these weapons and undergo inspections. As it is, with the elimination of weapons solely from Israel’s enemies, the purpose would appear to be simply to solidify Israeli military dominance in the region. Hitler, too, wanted to disarm his enemies.

Stephen J. Sniegoski is the author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel. He contributed this article to The Passionate Attachment.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

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Israel’s latest Syria ‘game-changer’ — ‘The al-Qaeda-Assad alliance’

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 21, 2013

In a highly speculative September 12 report entitled “Game-Changer: Signs of the al-Qaeda-Assad Alliance,” PJ Media’s Washington editor Bridget Johnson attempts to turn conventional wisdom about the current Syria debate on its head by asserting that “al-Qaeda is working not against Bashar al-Assad but in concert with the dictator.”

In support of this rather tendentious claim, Johnson cites a “student dissident” named Ahed Al Hendi whom she says fled Syria five years ago after imprisonment and torture by the Assad regime. According to Al Hendi, Damascus was secretly collaborating with Al-Qaeda during the Iraq War even as it sought to convince the U.S. that it was serious about fighting terrorism. That covert alliance persists to this day, asserts Johnson:

Assad appears OK with losing a building now and then by a car bomb — bombings that never hit too close to his home and that come with ample warning anyway. Al-Qaeda units, meanwhile, get left alone by Assad’s forces. “They never touch them,” Al Hendi said.

PJ Media’s spurious effort to persuade readers that Al-Qaeda is an ally rather than a foe of Assad makes a lot more sense, however, when you know that both the “conservative” American website and its seemingly objective Syrian source both have intimate ties to the country that has done most to induce Washington to use military force against Syria.

The effort to raise the $3.5 million in venture capital to start Pajamas Media [the original name for PJ Media] was led by Aubrey Chernick. A former trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank created by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Chernick provides funding for a broad spectrum of pro-Israel organizations from the supposedly liberal Anti-Defamation League to the extremist Islamophobia-promoting Jihad Watch.

Ahed Al Hendi is Arabic Program Manager for a organization called Cyberdissidents.org. As I wrote in a May 2011 piece entitled “Arab Dissidents’ Strange Bedfellows”:

CyberDissidents.org is a project launched in 2008 by the Jerusalem-based Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies “to research and focus attention on the online activities of democracy advocates and dissidents in the Middle East, in the hope of empowering them at home and raising awareness of their plight abroad.” Until its demise in 2009, the Adelson Institute was located at the Shalem Center, a controversial research institute associated with right wing Zionist causes.

While Israel and its media assets might like Americans to believe that Assad and al-Qaeda are allies, there is far more reason to suspect an al-Qaeda-Israeli alliance in Syria. As Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren recently admitted to the Jerusalem Post:

“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said.

This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm

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Syria and the ‘devious’ Israeli connection — Dr. Olmert doth protest too much, methinks

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 18, 2013

In a September 9 blog for The Huffington Post, Dr. Josef Olmert seizes on Professor Stephen Walt’s open letter to Congressman Joseph Kennnedy, urging him to oppose the use of military force against Syria, as an opportunity to attack Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis that the influential — not “demonic” as Olmert chooses to misrepresent it — Israel Lobby has managed to skew U.S. foreign policy from its national interest. Writes Olmert:

So, under these circumstances, I eagerly expected to read about the Israeli connection of the Syrian problem, as well as it being behind the President’s decision to attack in Syria. Nothing of the kind in the open letter, and for good reason. The Syrian conflict has nothing to do with Israel. So was the case in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring started, so it was in Libya, where the US intervened ” from behind,” so it was in Egypt, where the secular-liberal Tamarud movement agitates against the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty and the deposed Muhammad Morsi related to Jews as descendants of pigs and monkeys.

Well, Israel has not been involved in all these situations, as well as in Yemen, Bahrain etc. because the Arab Spring had nothing to do with the Arab-Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It has to do with poverty, corruption, authoritarianism and sectarianism — all are huge issues which are concerned with the very fabric of the Arab state system, with basic ills of Arab societies; in sum, with issues that are mostly the makings of the Arabs, ones which ought to be solved by them.

The Arab Spring has been a cataclysmic, formative event, the most important to have happened in the Middle East since the heydays of Nasserism, back in the 1950’s. Such a huge event and no Israel connection, so where is the big thesis of Walt and Mearsheimer? How is it connected to the Middle East circa 2013? Well, it is not.

Dr. Olmert’s denial of an Israeli connection to the so-called “Arab Spring” is undermined, however, by his own biography. Although omitted from his “full bio” page at the HuffPost, the adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina is a contributor to an “online community” known as Fikra Forum, “that aims to generate ideas to support Arab democrats in their struggle with authoritarians and extremists.” Notwithstanding the high-sounding self-description, the pro-democracy “Arab” forum is in fact a creation of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that was itself created by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful and best known organization in the Israel Lobby.

Among Olmert’s fellow Fikra Forum contributors is Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that lobbies Washington for military intervention on behalf of the Syrian opposition. As Moustafa’s Israeli Fikra co-contributor no doubt remembers, an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal by SETF’s recently resigned political director, “Doctor” Elizabeth O’Bagy, was touted by John McCain and John Kerry during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing to bolster the dubious case for intervention in support of the supposedly “moderate” rebels.

So who does the one-time advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and brother of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert think he’s fooling when he claims there’s no “ever devious” Israeli connection to the Syrian problem?

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Will Israeli-backed Syrian rebels target Israel in a false-flag attack to trigger foreign intervention?

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 16, 2013

In a memorable September 14 piece in Consortium News entitled “How War on Syria Lost Its Way,” ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern writes:

As the march toward war began meandering off in unexpected directions, I was lucky enough to observe, up-close and personal, the angry reaction of some of Israel’s top American supporters on Monday evening. That was after Russia drew Obama a new map for how to reach the desired destination of removing chemical weapons from Assad’s arsenal without going to war.

McGovern goes on to the describe the morose atmosphere that evening that permeated the studio of a key media facilitator of war:

After doing an interview on CNN International, I opened the studio door and almost knocked over a small fellow named Paul Wolfowitz, President George W. Bush’s former under-secretary of defense who in 2002-2003 had helped craft the fraudulent case for invading Iraq. And there standing next to him was former Sen. Joe Lieberman, the neocon from Connecticut who was a leading advocate for the Iraq War and pretty much every other potential war in the Middle East.

Finding myself in the same room with two gentlemen responsible for so much misery in the world, I fell back on my recent training in non-violence, as we watched Piers Morgan try earnestly to spin the day’s astounding events. On the tube earlier, Anderson Cooper sought counsel from Ari Fleischer, former spokesman for George W. Bush, and David Gergen, long-time White House PR guru.

Fleischer and Gergen were alternately downright furious over the Russian initiative to give peace a chance and disconsolate at seeing the prospect for U.S. military involvement in Syria disappear when we were oh so close. After some caustic and condescending outbursts, an almost surreally disconsolate mood set in. It looked like these fellas were not going to get their war.

Later remarks by Lieberman and Wolfowitz reflected a distinctly funereal atmosphere. I felt I had come to a wake with somberly dressed folks (no pastel ties this time) grieving for a recently, dearly-departed war.

Despite the unexpected setback for the proponents of war, the veteran intelligence analyst observes that “so many others in and around Syria have powerful incentives to reverse the progress made.” Warns the co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS):

One still has to wonder what might revive prospects for U.S. missile strikes. Some in the Middle East are worried about the possibility that radical jihadists among the Syrian rebels might try to derail peace talks by launching a chemical weapons attack against Israeli targets with the hope that the provocation will be blamed on the Assad regime and set off a rush to retaliate.

But given that “frustrated” Israeli officials share the Syrian rebels’ interest in resuming the drive toward a U.S. attack, isn’t there a reasonable probability that the country’s intelligence agents, operating in Syria under the guise of delivering humanitarian aid, would assist the jihadists in carrying out such a false-flag attack?

One suspects that Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman may have been mentally preparing people for such an event when he made the following disingenuous statement:

Israel has no interest, will or intention to take part in the Syrian civil war, but Assad must understand in the clearest way possible that if he and his regime do not leave us a choice and he attacks Israel or transfers chemical weapons to Hezbollah, Israel will respond in the harshest way possible, including toppling his regime.”

Similarly, a “dismayed” Prime Minister Netanyahu recently hinted that Obama’s last-minute resort to diplomacy would force Israel to take matters into its own hands. As the Times of Israel reported:

In remarks whose content and timing implied criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, and a concern that Israel could not depend on the US to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday declared that nations that use weapons of mass destruction must pay a price, and said that his own actions as leader of the Jewish state revolved around the conviction that ultimately Israel had no one to rely on but itself when facing enemy threats.

Speaking at an Israeli Navy graduation ceremony, Netanyahu cited a 2,000-year-old saying by the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” And he said this rule “is more relevant than ever these days in guiding me, in my key actions as prime minister.” Its practical application, he said, “is that Israel will always be able to protect itself, and will protect itself, with its own forces, against all threats.”

In light of Israel’s long record of pulling off false-flag terrorist attacks with impunity against both Jews and non-Jews around the world, a chemical weapons attack by Israeli-backed Syrian rebels targeting Israel is, in the words of Ray McGovern, “a threat that the cooler heads in the Obama administration should anticipate and be ready to head off.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 16, 2013 at 8:27 am

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A brief insight into the Israel Lobby’s non-transparent reinforcement of a ‘red line’ on Syria

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 16, 2013

Note the reference to a “red line” on chemical weapons use in this May 27 interview by CNN’s former AIPAC staffer with the AIPAC-created WINEP/Fikra Forum contributor who organized the visit of AIPAC’s leading Senate mouthpiece to the so-called “Free Syrian Army.”

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

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Naming the 800 pound gorilla behind the drive to war with Syria

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 13, 2013

Jean Bricmont and Diana Johnstone have written an absolutely must-read article on exactly who is behind the drive to war with Syria:

An American friend who knows Washington well recently told us that “everybody” there knows that, as far as the drive to war with Syria is concerned, it is Israel that directs U.S. policy. Why then, we replied, don’t opponents of war say it out loud, since, if the American public knew that, support for the war would collapse? Of course, we knew the answer to that question. They are afraid to say all they know, because if you blame the pro-Israel lobby, you are branded an anti-Semite in the media and your career is destroyed.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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