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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

Kerry’s Anger as Assad Poised to Win; the U.S. Still Serves Israel and Saudi Arabia

By Michael S. Rozeff

October 15, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Lew Rockwell"-  The headline reads “John Kerry calls for war crimes investigation of Russia and Syria over Aleppo attacks”. John Kerry is angry that the Syrian army is about to take eastern Aleppo. He’s angry because the U.S. has no viable force to stop this. He’s angry because Assad is still in power. He’s angry that Assad has allies in Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. He’s angry that the chemical rap didn’t stick on Assad. He’s angry that the U.S. didn’t launch a massive air attack on Syria’s infrastructure and military in 2013. He’s angry that no viable force of “moderate” rebels exists. He’s taking his anger out on Russia.

Kerry attacks Russia with phony charges because his other options are so unpalatable. He acts as if attacking a city to win a war has suddenly become a war crime, today, in 2016, in Aleppo. He acts as if it was not a crime for Saudi Arabia to attack Yemen, for NATO to attack Libya and for the U.S. to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. He acts as if the moral designation of acts of war has changed drastically from the time that the U.S. mercilessly bombed Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This was a mere 45 years ago. Does the turning of a calendar page into the 21st century mean that an act of war that was always in mankind’s arsenal of killing suddenly has become a war crime? If so, then the U.S. stands in the docket too.

Kerry is so angry and frustrated that he launches a propaganda salvo to obtain what he cannot win on the battlefield. He attacks Russia and Syria on grounds that apply to Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in the 21st century. Is this also blindness? Is it also confidence that the American public and media will not call him on this because he’s gotten a free pass up to now? Is it that in the lame duck presidency, he feels free to express his frustration and lash out at convenient objects?

Kerry wants Russia and Syria not to attack the jihadists lodged in eastern Aleppo, but these jihadists are associated with al-Qaeda and ISIL and/or similar Islamic fundamentalist armed groups.

Kerry is mighty confused. The U.S. signed onto a U.N. resolution just 10 months ago that called for attacks like these. Kerry is cited in that document saying “the test now was to defeat the terrorists and put Syria on the road to the political transition envisioned in the Geneva Communique.” The document itself “Reiterates its call in resolution 2249 (2015) for Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups,…”

Kerry’s confusion has a simple source. He wants Assad out of power and the only forces capable of bringing this about are jihadist forces whom he also wants out of the game. He has to choose one or the other. He is choosing to support the jihadists, also commonly called terrorists. This choice has been in effect for years. The U.S. sold arms to Saudi Arabia and they supplied them to the jihadists. Jihadists were recruited from many nations beyond Syria’s borders. Turkey participated.

Because of Kerry’s choice and the previous role of the U.S. government in cutting the jihadists a lot of slack, knowing full well what arms they were getting that were made in America, theAmerican attack on Syrian forces on August 15, 2016, takes on a sinister look. It looks intentional. It looks like a rogue Pentagon in action. It’s the Pentagon that publicly resisted coordinating with the Russians against terrorists. It’s the Pentagon that has suddenly bombed bridges on the Euphrates. It is now military and neocon think tank people who are suggesting that the U.S. bomb the airplane runways of the Syrian air force. It is all of these and Kerry who are renewing their outcries against Russia.

This is all because eastern Aleppo is about to fall to the Syrian forces. That victory will release forces for ongoing offensives in other parts of the country. The U.S. has no other options to prevent an Assad victory or at least safe options that do not directly confront Russia and make unmitigated and undeclared war against Syria.

In contemporary America, a president can with impunity send special forces into Syria uninvited and drop bombs too on Syrian territory while no established social or political institution challenges the constitutionality of it. The next president, whether Clinton or Trump. can be expected to expand the U.S. participation in this war. This is one reason why the Assad coalition forces are seeking to win as much as possible now. Voices are also being raised again in favor of a partition of Syria.

The U.S. has sought in vain to locate or train or build up moderate forces. If Assad had resigned or been driven from power, who would have taken his place? The U.S. strategists continually have pipe dreams of installing a viable puppet government supported by a force that will maintain order. But do these so-called experts expect the jihadists who have definite ideas about an Islamic government and who do the fighting to lay down their arms or otherwise turn into a docile force loyal to an American-inspired and assisted government? This didn’t work in Vietnam. It didn’t work in Iraq. It failed in Iran, although it took several decades to fail. It hasn’t worked in Afghanistan.

The actual moderate forces in Syria are those of the government, of Assad. He has been a strong man. That’s what has suited the Syrian society, which is divided, even if it was unpopular to many and had elements that the U.S. State Department found objectionable. Various groups in Syria had scope to live together even though the political system didn’t allow serious dissent or political association that threatened the stability of the arrangement. The repression of the population was preferable to what has been going on now for 5 years, which is an internationalized war whose aim is to get rid of Assad and balkanize the country. Partition of Syria is the objective of both Israel and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. supports it as one of the several possible outcomes because it plays into the U.S. animus against Iran and its support of both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

U.S. support of Israel and Saudi Arabia has never had a reasonable basis in terms of American interests. Such support has brought us nothing but grief, death and trouble, including 9/11, the U.S.S. Cole, war dead, war disabled, veteran suicides, enormous debts, wasted taxes, a loss of freedoms at home, loss of privacy, homegrown terrorism, increased fear, increased inconveniences, the growth of jihadist radicalism, perpetual war and serious inroads of an American police state.

Now this same support of Israel and Saudi Arabia has brought us into a confrontation with Russia in a country (Syria) where we have no interests. We have Kerry lambasting Russia for things that are a consequence of what the U.S. itself has done. We have sanctions on Russia. We have a notable deterioration in U.S.- Russian Federation relations including the nuclear area and plutonium destruction. What positive do we and the world get out of this? Really we get nothing positive. It’s all negative.

America is asleep, paying little or no attention to the mayhem and negatives of the unquestioning support of Israel by the U.S. government. What attention that is paid is to criticize any notable voice that points to the negatives associated with supporting Israel so blindly and so fully. People in high positions or public figures who might be critical or make trenchant criticisms of the U.S.-Israel connection do not do so for fear of being labeled as anti-Semitic or otherwise harming their livelihood. Anti-Semitism exists but it is hardly such an important or widespread factor that it is to be found in every person who criticizes the Israeli government under Netanyahu or who criticizes U.S. policies with respect to Israel. In my opinion, the suppression of open debate about U.S. support of Israel and about Israel’s domestic policies and about its treatment of Palestinians actually increases irrational and hateful anti-Jewish sentiments. The virulence actually may rise among groups already disposed to it when it appears that the U.S. government is the servant of Israeli interests and not American interests.

For a sample of how the U.S. serves Israel and Saudi Arabia, see this document of the U.S. State Department. Click on the link that appears to see the short memorandum. I will not analyze this document in the detail it deserves. As a sample of how the State Department or components thereof think, it shows that we are in very big trouble. The thinking contained in this is very poor. It is so wrong in so much of what it says that it would take another long blog to lay this out clearly.

For example, it says “Libya was an easier case. But other than the laudable purpose of saving Libyan civilians from likely attacks by Qaddafi’s regime, the Libyan operation had no long-lasting consequences for the region.” This is simply an incredible statement. The purpose (or purposes in the case of France) was anything but laudable. The aims were not to save anything Libyan, civilians or material. The consequences have been bad for that entire region of Africa, for Libya and for Syria to as arms were shipped from Libya to Syria.

The memo paints a picture of how to intervene and win, i.e., displace Assad. It opines “The resulting regime in Syria will see the United States as a friend, not an enemy.” This idea is downright ridiculous. It imagines a democratic core within Syria ready, able and willing to take over once Assad is gone. It takes no recognition of what might transpire instead. It doesn’t acknowledge the social equilibrium that produced a strongman ruling system in the first place. It doesn’t recognize the society’s divisions, the aspirations of certain groups within and how they conflict. It doesn’t recognize how order has been maintained. This kind of statement is a naive pipe dream.

It goes on to argue that “Hezbollah in Lebanon would be cut off from its Iranian sponsor since Syria would no longer be a transit point for Iranian training, assistance, and missiles.” This is part of the support for Israel that motivates the document’s approval for removing Assad. But whoever wrote this is clueless, not realizing that any new government in Syria would very likely establish relations with Iran on a friendly basis and even allow accommodation for Hezbollah. The fact of being neighbors and having many ties makes this likely. It is very unlikely that a new regime will do the bidding of the U.S. and turn Iran into an antagonist, or alternatively suddenly become a friend and supporter of Israel.

More directly on Israel, Iran is painted as the feared enemy that’s aspiring to a nuclear bomb capacity: “Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted.”

This document begins with “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.” Right off the bat, it identifies the aim as being for Israel to maintain a nuclear monopoly. Overthrowing Assad is the suggested means of attaining this objective.

Where are American interests in this memo? Where are the interests of the peoples of the countries affected, the Libyans and the Syrians? Where are the interests of Palestinians?

A new broom sweeps clean. We Americans need a new broom to sweep Washington clean. It needs to be a very big broom. The place is filthy, benighted, corrupt, devilish, incompetent, and blind. It’s working from extremely slanted premises and worldviews. The results are moronic. The thinking in one area after another is stale and unimaginative, bureaucratic, uninspiring, phony, and tired. These views have been iterated and reiterated across this land and become the conventional views of the media and the silent masses occupied with their daily lives. What does inspire some emotion is the very thing that shouldn’t, which is demonizing Putin and Russia. Anti-Russian editorials everywhere mimic Obama’s own anti-Russian rhetoric. Trump is not that broom. Clinton is not that broom. The current Pope is not that broom. No human being is that broom.

Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.

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