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The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.

In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Mr Obama in November’s election.

In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Mr Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.

In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.

The deal takes into account neither inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.

A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.

Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even The New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.

Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.

But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, ­Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.

Almost no one blames the US for Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own nuclear arsenal.

In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.

The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.

Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.

The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.

Some believe that Mr Obama signed the aid package to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Mr Netanyahu into making peace.

Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate unity to confound critics of the aid deal.

If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.

Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity.

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf

The US Road Map To Balkanize Syria

By Pepe Escobar

September 22, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "RT" - Forget about those endless meetings between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry; forget about Russia’s drive to prevent chaos from reigning in Syria; forget about the possibility of a real ceasefire being implemented and respected by US jihad proxies.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism - See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.H1NbQCac.dpuf

Forget about the Pentagon investigating what really happened around its bombing 'mistake' in Deir Ezzor.

The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos’s real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year.

As you scroll down the document, you will find page 291, section C, which reads (in caps, originally):


The DIA report is a formerly classified SECRET/NOFORN document, which made the rounds of virtually the whole alphabet soup of US intel, from CENTCOM to CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA and the State Department.

It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State.

It’s already in the public domain that by a
willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? - as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra).

It’s as clear as it gets; a “Salafist principality” is to be encouraged as a means to Divide and Rule over a fragmented Syria in perpetual chaos. Whether it’s established by Jabhat al-Nusra – aka “moderate rebels” in Beltway jargon – or al-Baghdadi’s “Califake” is just a pesky detail.

It gets curioser and curioser as Hasaka and Deir Ezzor are named in the DIA report – and directly targeted by the 'mistaken' Pentagon bombing. No wonder Pentagon chief Ash 'Empire of Whining' Carter took no prisoners to directly sabotage what Kerry had agreed on with Lavrov.

No one will ever see these connections established by US corporate media – as in, for instance, the neocon cabal ruling the Washington Post’s editorial pages. But the best of the blogosphere does not disappoint.

So what are Russia's options?

The crucial question is of course what will Russia do about it – beyond Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, being absolutely appalled by the recent drama queen performance of notorious batsh*t crazy Samantha Power


What will Moscow do about the fact that the whole nebulae described in the Beltway as “moderate rebels” – all of them issued from the Wahhabi ideological matrix - enjoys and will continue to enjoy, especially under Hillary 'Queen of War' Clinton, a CIA and/or Pentagon weaponized connection?

The DIA document spells it all out, in a stark link with all previous Divide and Rule schemes, from the Israeli Yinon plan to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) delirium.

In Pipelineistan terms, this continues to be about the Qatar to Turkey – via Syria – natural gas pipeline versus the proposed $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, for which there is already a memorandum of understanding.

Lavrov is too much of a stellar diplomat to leak it – but after Deir Ezzor, Moscow has definitive proof any possible ceasefire bargained with Washington will be smashed.

So never-ending GWOT once again metastasizes from fighting “evil” al-Qaeda to allowing al-Qaeda in Syria and its spin-off the “Califake” being allowed to carve up their privileged space in Syria.

Nothing substantial will happen before the November US presidential election – apart from similar Deir Ezzor 'mistakes' ordered by soon-to-be-unemployed Ash Carter.

Afterwards, all bets are off. For contractors feeding off the industrial-military-security-surveillance complex, Russia demonization will remain a historic” business opportunity. And just wait if The Three Harpies manage to get their tentacle hands on the Empire of Chaos.

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

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