‘Saudi Arabia is a loose cannon supported by the United States and in cahoots with Israel’

'Saudi Arabia is a loose cannon supported by the United States and in cahoots with Israel'

By  Anna O’Leary

In an interview with Muslimpress.com, a political commentator, Anna O’Leary, speaks about the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Israel to undermine Iran, and she goes on to expose the Saudis’ support of an anti-Iran terrorist organization. Here’s the full text of the interview:

MP: A Saudi official has attended an annual meeting of an anti-Iran terrorist group in Paris. What’s your take on this?

Anna O’Leary: After decades of hidden coordination to confront a strong Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia no longer feel the need to hide their friendship. A common purpose has moved them closer. Their shared objective for the past thirty-six years, since the fall of Shah of Iran, has been to create a weaker Iran. The presence of Saudi Arabia’s former Chief of Intelligence at an MKO meeting, followed by a visit to Israel by a former Saudi military intelligence officer, Gen. Anwar Eshki, shows they will use any means to weaken Iran.

MP: Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal pledged to stand by the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) and supported its efforts against the Iranian establishment. How do you analyze this?

Anna O’Leary: It is a public admission of a decades-old relationship between the Saudis and the MKO. The terrorist group sided with Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war on Iran in the 1980s. In my position with National Commercial Bank, the royal bankers, I travelled to Baghdad with a Saudi delegation during the eight-year war. It is a fact that the Saudis bankrolled that war and that the Americans supplied Iraq with satellite intelligence of Iranian troop movement.

MP: Do you see the Saudi hostility against Iran reaching a new high? How?

Anna O’Leary: Iran is a peaceful nation and has never started a war during the past 200 years. Saudi Arabia is a loose cannon supported by the United States and in cahoots with Israel. It is an explosive cocktail.

MP: What measures has the Saudi regime taken in order to fight Iran’s influence in the region and in the world?

Anna O’Leary: Saudi Arabia has made public its close ties with Israel and the MKO terrorist group. At home their ties to Israel will undermine any legitimacy they have to rule in the kingdom, and worldwide their ties to a terrorist organisation will undermine their legitimacy to rule. We are most likely witnessing the beginning of the end of Al Saud rule.

MP: Iranian Foreign Ministry said the kingdom is using terrorists as a tool to advance its objectives against Muslim countries. What’s your take on this?

Anna O’Leary: Saudi Arabia used terrorists to advance their purpose in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. As Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are a tool of the Americans they will be pushed to cooperate with Israel and engage in wars with all of Israel’s neighbours. Along the way Al Saud will be eliminated. There is no honour among thieves.

(Source / 29.07.2016)

SouthFront: Syrian Army begins evacuation of rebel-held eastern Aleppo

After unprecedented government gains in the city of Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) established a checkpoint on the Castello road, calling on insurgents in the besieged eastern part of Aleppo to give up their weapons in return for amnesty.

Meanwhile, the SAA also set up two demilitarized checkpoints in central Aleppo, thus granting civilians in eastern Aleppo an opportunity to evacuate prior to clashes reaching their districts.

Supplies have also been allowed into besieged eastern districts as the SAA attempts to win the hearts and minds of Aleppo.

Between 100,000 and 250,000 are believed to live in eastern Aleppo. Once these residents leave, the SAA is expected to launch a large-scale offensive to retake Aleppo city entirely.

Our partners from www.SouthFront.org have more on the story:

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Israeli forces storm Palestinian village

Israeli occupation forces stormed at dawn yesterday the village of Kafr Ein near Ramallah and al-Bireh.
At least six Israeli military vehicles stormed the village and “wandered provocatively” its quarters and streets, where Israeli occupation soldiers checked the identities of some citizens, Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) quoted a Palestinian security source as saying.
No arrests were reported.
A number of settlers stormed under the protection of the occupation forces this morning the village of Bathan north-east of Nablus.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Yousef Adeis, yesterday condemned the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision to deport a number Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Guards and interfere with their work on a daily basis.
He urged in a press release the Arab and Islamic world to take a serious action to end the abuses practice against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, its Guards and Al-Quds City, adding that the Israeli occupation forces target them through the multiplication of arrests and deportations.
The IOA through different temple organisations have stepped up Al Aqsa’s storming while increasing internal and external media campaigns to intensify the raids, perform Talmudic rituals and prayers, he added.
Meanwhile, more than 200 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip travelled to occupied East Jerusalem to attend Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Palestinian liaison officials.
The officials told Ma’an that 250 Palestinian worshippers, all above the age of 50, travelled to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing between the besieged enclave and Israel to attend prayers, before immediately returning to the Gaza Strip.
The number of Palestinians permitted to worship at Al-Aqsa was reduced by Israel last week, as Israeli authorities have typically permitted 300 elderly Palestinians from the small Palestinian territory to travel to Al-Aqsa every Friday, according to Ma’an News Agency.

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Israeli forces injure two Palestinians in Gaza during clashes near Israeli border

Gaza clash

GAZA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians with live fire during clashes east of Gaza City on Friday in the besieged Gaza Strip.The Palesitnian Ministry of Health Spokesman in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Ma’an that two Palesitnians in their twenties were shot with live fire in their feet, and were taken to the hospital in what al-Qidra reported as “moderate condition.”

Regarding the clashes, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “during a violent threat adjacent to the security fence, dozens of palestinians reached the buffer zone and attempted damage security fence,” referring to Israel’s heavily guarded eastern border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Upon ongoing clashes and Israeli soldiers’ alleged attempts to warn the protesters, the spokesperson said that “in order to prevent the threat of infiltration, forces fired towards the main instigators.”
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have crowded near the borders with Israel nearly every Friday to show solidarity with what Palestinians in Gaza have termed the “Jerusalem Intifada” taking place in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since the unrest spread in October, the majority shot dead during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border.
More than 1,500 Gazans have been injured by Israeli forces since the start of 2015, the vast majority during clashes that broke out with the Israeli military during protests since October, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
(Source / 29.07.2016)

Experts unite to say that it is an ‘abuse’ to invoke ‘self-defence’ in response to terrorism

Syrians leave damaged buildings after Syrian and Russian warplanes targeted Salhiyn neighborhood, in Aleppo, Syria on July 21, 2016.

Syrians leave damaged buildings after Syrian and Russian warplanes targeted Salhiyn neighborhood, in Aleppo, Syria on July 21, 2016

A collective open letter has been signed by many professors of international law and legal researchers. Entitled “A plea against the abusive invocation of self-defence as a response to terrorism” it has been circulating on the internet for a few weeks.

Among the signatories, of which there are more than 230 professors and almost 50 assistants/researchers (see the list available here as at 25 July; it is updated regularly by the Centre de Droit International de l´Université Libre de Bruxelles), there are distinguished members of the international law community as well younger practitioners. The objective of this collective initiative is to challenge the invocation of the legal argument of self-defence by several states in the context of the so called “war” against Daesh.

As is well known, the UN Charter has been extremely clear on the unique exception to the prohibition of the use of force since its adoption in 1945 — self-defence — and military operations authorised by Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter. However, since 9/11, interpretations made by the United States and its allies have been made to give legal support for unilateral military operations in the territory of a state without the previous consent of its authorities. In a recent note published on the website of the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), we read that: “Particularly since 9/11, several States have supported a broad reading of the right to use force in self-defence, as allowing them to intervene militarily against terrorists whenever and wherever they may be. A consequence of that conception is that any State could be targeted irrespective of whether that State has ‘sent’ the irregular (in this case terrorist) group to carry out a military action or has been ‘substantially involved’ in such an action.”

The use of force in self-defence must be exercised in conformity with the conditions laid down in international law, and particularly the UN Charter. On this very particular point, it must be recalled that France presented to the Security Council a quite surprising draft resolution after the Paris attacks of 13 November last year (see the full text here of the “blue version” circulated among UN delegations) which avoided any reference to the Charter in its operative paragraphs; it is possibly a great “première” of French diplomacy at the United Nations and was analysed in a short note. Resolution 2249 was used a few weeks later in a British parliamentary debate to justify air strikes in Syria, without major clarifications (see this modest note about this).

The text of the global open letter (available here in French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic) considers, among other arguments, that: “Thus, numerous military interventions have been conducted in the name of self-defence, including against Al Qaeda, Daesh or affiliated groups. While some have downplayed these precedents on account of their exceptional nature, there is a serious risk of self-defence becoming an alibi, used systematically to justify the unilateral launching of military operations around the world. Without opposing the use of force against terrorist groups as a matter of principle — particularly in the current context of the fight against Daesh — we, international law professors and scholars, consider this invocation of self-defence to be problematic. In fact, international law provides for a range of measures to fight terrorism. Priority should be given to these measures before invoking self-defence.”

Furthermore, the signatories of this collective letter state: “…we consider that terrorism raises above all the challenge of prosecution and trial of individuals who commit acts of terrorism. A variety of legal tools are available in this respect. They relate first and foremost to police and judicial cooperation (chiefly through agencies such as INTERPOL or EUROPOL), aiming both at punishing those responsible for the crimes committed and preventing future occurrence of such crimes. Although there is certainly room for improvement, this cooperation has often proved effective in dismantling networks, thwarting attacks, and arresting the perpetrators of such attacks. By embracing from the outset the ‘war against terrorism’ and ‘self-defence’ paradigms and declaring a state of emergency, there is a serious risk of trivialising, neglecting, or ignoring ordinary peacetime legal processes.”

It must be noted that international law scholars and researchers around the world can sign this document until 31 July. The text recalls a certain number of very clear rules that the diplomats in New York know better than anyone — despite the ambiguous interpretations made by some of their colleagues, in particular since the beginning of air strikes in Syria, without the consent of its de facto authorities — On the extremely vague notion of an ‘unwilling or unable’ State, justifying, for some diplomats, military operations on its territory without its previous consent, I refer to this very recent article published in The Netherlands.

The collective document also states that: “…the maintenance of international peace and security rests first and foremost with the Security Council. The Council has qualified international terrorism as a threat to the peace on numerous occasions. Therefore, aside from cases of emergency leaving no time to seize the UN, it must remain the Security Council’s primary responsibility to decide, coordinate and supervise acts of collective security. Confining the task of the Council to adopting ambiguous resolutions of an essentially diplomatic nature, as was the case with the passing of resolution 2249 (2015) relating to the fight against Daesh, is an unfortunate practice. Instead, the role of the Council must be enhanced in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Charter, thereby ensuring a multilateral approach to security  /…/  However, the mere fact that, despite its efforts, a State is unable to put an end to terrorist activities on its territory is insufficient to justify bombing that State’s territory without its consent. Such an argument finds no support either in existing legal instruments or in the case law of the International Court of Justice. Accepting this argument entails a risk of grave abuse in that military action may henceforth be conducted against the will of a great number of States under the sole pretext that, in the intervening State’s view, they were not sufficiently effective in fighting terrorism.”

It must be noted that, in February, Canada’s new government decided to cease air strikes in Syria and Iraq. We read in this official note produced by the Canadian Armed Forces that: “ In accordance with Government of Canada direction, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ceased air strike operations in Iraq and Syria on 15 February 2016. From their first sortie on 30 October 2014 to 15 February 2016, the CF-188 Hornets conducted 1378 sorties resulting in 251 airstrikes (246 in Iraq and 5 in Syria), expended 606 munitions and achieved the following effects: 267 ISIL fighting positions, 102 ISIL equipment and vehicles, and, 30 ISIL Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factories and ISIL storage facilities.”

In 2015, a Canadian scholar concluded an extremely interesting article on air strikes in Syria and Iraq in the following terms: “However, there is a further legal hurdle for Canada to overcome. Unless Canada can attribute Daesh´ attacks in Iraq to Syria, then the question becomes whether Canada may lawfully target Daesh, as a non-state actor in Syria’s sovereign territory, using the ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine to prevent Daesh’ extraterritoriality attacks against Iraq. This justification moves significantly away from the Nicaragua, Congo and Israeli Wall cases’ requirement for attribution. There appears to be a lack of consensus on whether opinion juris and state practice have accepted the ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine as customary international law. There is no escaping the conclusion that Canada’s air strikes on Syria are on shaky, or at least shifting, legal ground.”

The signatories of the open letter, the number of whom is increasing daily, include scholars from different continents and of different ages; they conclude by reaffirming that: “The international legal order may not be reduced to an interventionist logic similar to that prevailing before the adoption of the United Nations Charter. The purpose of the Charter was to substitute a multilateral system grounded in cooperation and the enhanced role of law and institutions for unilateral military action. It would be tragic if, acting on emotion in the face of terrorism (understandable as this emotion may be), that purpose were lost.”

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Leaked EU report reveals indirect approval of colonial Israel


EU Foreign Relations chief Federica Mogherini has opposed the proposal that “known violent settlers and those calling for acts of violence” should be placed under EU visa bans

By Ramona Wadi

Once again, Israel is exerting a great deal of effort in order to prevent discussion of an EU paper among European institutions. The internal report, which was drafted in December 2015 and then endorsed by all EU member states, attributes the development of the Jerusalem Intifada (Uprising) to “Israel’s occupation”. It included reference to the living conditions of Palestinian citizens and the failure to implement the two-state paradigm.

The EU Observer, which has seen the 39-page report, has stated that the document is intended as a reference for EU foreign ministers and “for proposals put forward by the EU Foreign Service.”

While having a dearth of facts, the report is not lacking in the kind of contradictions that mark the constant cycle of condemnation and appeasement of Israel at the expense of withholding Palestinian narratives. The Jerusalem Post has deemed the EU document to be veering away from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israel and the rest of the world are facing the same terror threats. Rhetorically, the EU has distanced itself from Netanyahu’s sweeping statements that generalise every terrorist incident in order to normalise state violence against Palestinian resistance. Nevertheless, as on other occasions, the EU has devised its own strategies which uphold Israel’s narrative at a regional and international level.

The report is ambiguous in the extreme. “Some Palestinian perpetrators of individual attacks, “it explains, “have apparently been shot and killed in situations where they no longer pose a threat.” Despite Netanyahu himself publicly endorsing such extrajudicial killings, the EU has preferred to subjugate the facts to hypotheses through the use of terminology like “apparently”, “appeared” and “possibly amounting in certain cases to unlawful killings.” By not condemning such unlawful killing explicitly, the discourse suggests the EU’s tacit approval of Israeli state and settler violence. This is illustrated further in the report’s standard equivalence clause that “both sides” have indulged in “inflammatory rhetoric”, thus negating the fact that Palestinian resistance is a legitimate response to illegal Israeli colonial violence.

EU Foreign Relations chief Federica Mogherini has opposed the proposal that “known violent settlers and those calling for acts of violence” should be placed under EU visa bans. According to Mogherini: “There’s currently no question of sanctioning anybody. The question is rather how to motivate people to… restart peace talks.” Such leniency works in concordance with Israeli policy towards settler terrorists who are mostly shielded by the colonial state, enabling them to act with impunity.

Perhaps the most incriminating evidence of support for Israeli colonisation is the recommendation that the EU develops “further guidelines that differentiate between Israel and its illegal settlements,” according to the EU Observer. This distinction has been of interminable benefit to Israel and its implications are many, including the refusal to recognise the fact that Israel is a colonial entity and that its manifestation is contrary to the principles enshrined in international law. Referring to Israel as the “occupying power” without any reference to colonisation in effect absolves both Israel and the international community of accountability when it comes to recognising the Palestinian right to resistance and liberation. Unless this anomaly is rectified, all reports issued by the EU will be inherently biased towards Israel, regardless of the content. To treat colonial expansion as a recent phenomenon is a transgression of truth and an impediment to Palestinian struggle, although that is, after all, the apparent international intent behind such blatant deception.

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Sisi Warns against Dangers of Using Religion to Ignite Strife

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a statement following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a statement following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, November 26, 2014

Cairo-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned against the dangers of using religion as a tool to cause disunity, in what were seen as strongly-worded remarks by Egyptian authorities against those using religion to ignite sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians.

During his meeting with the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Pope Tawadros II at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace on Thursday, Sisi urged Egyptians to steer clear of efforts to cause a divide among Egyptians.

The meeting was attended by several officials from the Coptic Church.

A church source said that the talks were aimed at containing several crises that have recently taken a sectarian twist.

Church spokesperson Boulos Halim said that during the meeting, Sisi referred to “the challenges that Egypt currently faces,” adding that solving these problems will require a lot of patience and effort.

Tawadros in return, Halim said, reiterated the church’s commitment to achieving national unity.

Thursday’s meeting came several days after controversial remarks were made by Pope Tawadros, during which he said: “Until now the church has been able to pacify Copts … but it won’t be able to control their anger for long.”

Egypt witnessed one of the worst sectarian violence in 2013 when 46 churches in different governorates, 66 percent of which are located in Minya, were burned.

Minya also recently witnessed repeated sectarian tension, which has left many casualties, prompting Copts to accuse the Egyptian authorities of resorting to religious costums and not seeking to settle any confessional crisis legally.

The church source said that Christians in Egypt are making attempts to swiftly find a solution to sectarian strife and prepare a draft-law that criminalizes discrimination in accordance to the constitution.

The source stated the church has recently received a report on sectarian attacks, saying 37 incidents have taken place in Minya alone since 2013, in an average of one attack per month.

Halim also said that during Thursday’s meeting, the church delegation thanked Sisi for his intervention to achieve consensus on regulating the building of churches.

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Al-Saraya unveils new missile, warns of ending Jerusalem intifada

Saraya al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad Movement, unveiled Thursday evening a new missile named S350 which strikes accurate targets with a huge explosive force. It was demonstrated over a big truck in a ceremony organized by the Movement in Rafah city in the Gaza Strip.  A leader of the brigades’ military council warned of the attempts to abort the Jerusalem Intifada and affirmed his Movement’s adherence to armed resistance. For his part, Sheikh Nafeth Azzam, member of the Islamic Jihad’s political bureau, stressed the importance of armed resistance until liberation.

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Gaza fishermen continue to face arrests and boat confiscation at hands of besieging Israeli navy


Israeli occupation forces have continued the attack on Palestinian fishermen, arresting seven Palestinian fishermen and confiscating their boats on Wednesday 27 July.

Over 88 fishermen in Gaza have now been detained and arrested after coming under attack by Israeli gunboats off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies that 81 fishermen had been arrested by 22 July, before this week’s new flurry of fishing-boat confiscations and arrests.

On late Wednesday, Israeli naval forces targeted a Palestinian fishing boat with five fishermen on board: Muhammad Rafat Bakr, Khamis Awad Bakr, Muhammad Maher Bakr, Salim Abu Sadeq, and Muhammad Mahmoud Al-Louh. The five fishers were arrested and Israeli forces confiscated their boats. This followed the arrest of Muhammad Yasin Zayed and Tareq Abdel Bari al-Sultan on Wednesday morning, and the confiscation of their fishing boats.

As part of the Israeli naval blockade and siege of Gaza, Palestinian fishermen are restricted to a six nautical mile fishing area. Despite the fact that this restricted fishing area prevents them from reaching the most valuable and abundant fish and forces them into overfishing, undermining the ancient fishery of Gaza, fishermen and their boats routinely come under fire even inside the fishing zone.

Fishermen and their boats are frequently injured and damaged in these arrests, which often include firing on fishing boats by Israeli naval weaponry. Confiscated boats are difficult if not impossible to retrieve; while fishermen themselves are seldom detained for lengthy periods, they are interrogated, pressured to provide information on fellow Palestinians in Gaza, and then released from the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing, far from home and often deprived of their fishing boats and equipment.

The fishing economy in Gaza – which supports 70,000 Palestinians – has been nearly destroyed by the naval siege on Gaza and the attacks on Palestinian boats, causing expensive boat damage to small fishing families who cannot afford repairs and preventing Palestinian fishers from entering deep waters where mature fish are available. Fishers in Gaza have lost 85% of their income since 2006 and the tightening of the siege.


Samidoun protested in New York City against the ongoing attacks and arrests on Palestinian fishermen, and urges protests and actions to support the besieged fishers in Gaza, and raising the voice of Palestinian fishers to end the attacks and break the siege on Gaza.

(Source / 29.07.2016)

Houthi forces kill American mercenary in Yemen

The Houthi forces posted a video on Thursday, claiming their fighters killed an American mercenary that was fighting with the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen.

Filmed in an unknown location, the Houthi fighters displayed the U.S. passport, drivers license, and birth certificate of the alleged mercenary that was killed in Yemen.

The birth certificate, passport and drivers license belonged to a man named Tyler Nathaniel Caldwell, a U.S. citizen from the state of Florida.

(Source / 29.07.2016)