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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

Mainstream Media’s Propaganda War on Syria and Russia: What You Really Need to Know.

By Joe Clifford

Contemplate a war with a nation that has 7000 thermonuclear weapons.

October 12, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - If you rely on mainstream corporate media (MSM) as your news source, you are totally in the dark on issues such as Syria and Russia, because MSM has lost its way, and now serves as a mouthpiece for government positions. It is a neocon controlled propaganda machine, and its role has been reduced to that of a parrot.

That said, if you dig deeper and use reputable sources, you get a dramatically different perspective. Do you know why the Syrian cease fire between Russia and the US failed? It failed for two reasons: First, the deal required the US to separate the jihadists from the “moderates”, and tell the Russians who the “moderates” are, and where are they are, so Russia could continue to pound ISIS and not bomb “moderates”.  The Russians, as well as everyone else, save for MSM know full well, there are no “moderates”, and ultimately the US refused to separate the moderates from the jihadists because it is impossible.  MSM does not tell you the main objective of the US and its neocon drivers, has, all along, been the overthrow of Assad by any means, including using jihadist child beheaders to further their goal.  We have not conducted a serious war on the “terrorists”, but in many cases we have armed them and assisted them in different ways, such as “accidentally” dropping them arms and supplies. The second reason for the failure of the cease fire was the US attack on the Syrian military base which killed 83 Syrian soldiers allowing Jihadist terrorists to immediately overrun that base. This, in the eyes of many, was no “accident”, for the battle lines at that camp had been unchanged for over one year.  US drones circled the area daily, and the US uses sophisticated guidance assisted bombs that can be exactingly precise.  This was not another of the many “accidental “bombings. An excuse the US has hidden behind on many occasions. It appears this was intentional. Either Obama knew of this, or he was defied and overruled by someone who gave the order to bomb the base, as a way of sabotaging the “cease fire”.  It is common knowledge, not in MSM, but in informed circles, that there are those pushing hard to create an escalation of events with Russia, and using any means possible to overthrow Assad.

The neocons, and war party leaders like Clinton, are calling for a no fly zone. But MSM did not report the ominous warnings of General Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who appeared before Congress and was asked about the possibility of a no fly zone. His tone was ominous as he said: “For now, for us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia,” “That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”

Contemplate a war with a nation that has 7000 thermonuclear weapons. No one in their right mind would want this, yet if you read reliable sources, you see just how close we are to this holocaust. MSM, is of course, completely silent on the impending catastrophe while discussing the latest in the Kardashian family and name calling between Clinton and Trump.

Basic questions never asked by MSM, need answers. What gives the US the right to decide who should rule or not rule Syria? (Hint -None.) What legal right does the US have to bomb Syria? (Hint-None.) Russia, on the other hand, was the only power invited by the government of Syria to help fight ISIS.

Dr Nabil Antaki, a doctor based in the Syrian government held western sectors of Aleppo said in a recent interview: “From our perspective the Russian intervention was extremely beneficial and they have the full support of the Syrian people which contradicts the western narrative.  The west accuses Russia of targeting not only the terrorist groups but also the “moderate rebels”. Russia has been very successful in bombing the Islamic State groups so the West is trying to slow their progress by claiming they are targeting the non-terrorist groups and accusing Russia of aiding Bashar instead of targeting DAESH.” 

If Assad is the devil incarnate, as preached by MSM, how does MSM or the US government, now one in the same, justify the following?

A British poll, done by ORB International, finds that 82% of Syrians blame the U.S. for ISIS.

Early 2012, a poll showed 55 percent of Syrians wanted their President to stay.

Internal NATO study (dated June 2013), shows 70% of Syrians support President Bashar al-Assad

In 2014, Assad won a landslide victory (88%) in the country’s first multi-party Presidential election.

A poll in July 2015, showed 47% of Syrians thought Assad had a positive influence on matters in Syria.

And only 9% of the US public has any confidence in our own US Congress, and both Clinton and Trump are more distrusted by the US public, than Assad is by Syrians.

If the neocon effort to overthrow Assad is successful, then what? Does Syria become another Iraq or Libya, another land of anarchy? Is it coincidental that anarchy follows US interference?

You have not been told Aleppo is divided into two parts, western Aleppo, (1.75 million) is controlled by the Syrian government, but East Aleppo (250,000) is controlled by “terrorists”? Thousands of East Aleppo residents fled to West Aleppo seeking protection of the Syrian government. Russia is bombing East Aleppo. If the Syrian government can take East Aleppo it will pretty much signal the end of the terrorist invasion of Syria, and Assad will remain in power, which is anathema to the neocons.  So a Syrian and Russian victory over the terrorists and jihadists would be a defeat for those in the US who want the end of Assad. Since East Aleppo is the stronghold of Al Nusra, formerly called Al-Qaida, why would the US introduce a resolution to prevent Russians and Syrians from bombing the terrorist stronghold? Russia vetoed the UN resolution and argued the US is trying to protect the terrorist stronghold from Russian and Syrian bombs.

What is the US doing in Syria anyway? What legal right does the US have to be in Syria? What did we do in Iraq? What did we do in Libya? One might suspect we are the instrument of anarchy in the world.

Joe Clifford lives in Rhode Island. His articles deal almost exclusively with American Foreign policy

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