Monday, July 24, 2017

Macron Expected To Propose A New Middle East Peace Plan: Interested In 'Ensuring The Safety And Security' Of Israel





France to propose new peace plan



France is expected to propose a new plan for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), an official in Paris said Saturday night.

The comments came ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to France, where he will mark the 75th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup, where more than 13,000 Jews were arrested and sent to extermination camps.

Netanyahu is also expected to meet one-on-one with French President Emmanuel Macron.
A French official said on Saturday night that Macron is interested in being a significant factor in the attempts to renew talks between Israel and the PA, and that the French are working on their own peace plan.

Macron's predecessor, Francois Hollande, initiated an international peace conference in which representatives of dozens of countries urged the two sides to commit to a two-state solution.

It is unclear whether Macron's initiative is a continuation of Hollande's initiative, which Israel rejected.

"Macron will explain to Netanyahu that France is interested in ensuring the safety and security of Israel, but will express dissatisfaction with settlement construction," the French official said on Saturday night.

The official added that the Iranian issue will also be a central point of the talks between Netanyahu and the French president, and added that Macron will declare that his country does not tolerate Iranian extremism whatsoever.










The news hits headlines. The Washington Post (WP) reports that President Trump has decided to discontinue the CIA’s covert program to arm and train «moderate» Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, according to US officials. 

The program was authorized by  Trump’s predecessor in 2013. The move is described by media as a major concession to Russia. But is it really a concession or a big policy change?

At first glance, the plans to oust the Assad government in Syria are shelved and there is nothing left but airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militants and the Defense Department run train-and-equip program to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by Kurds. With the de-escalation zones coming into effect, the US is gradually reducing its involvement in the Syrian cauldron. But a deeper look into the matter leads to quite different conclusions.

The suspension of the CIA program is much ado about nothing, it was inefficient anyway. In fact, it does not change anything because the Pentagon program is in place. The US is not curtailing its involvement. To the contrary, it is increasing its military presence in Syria, and also in Iraq, by leaps and bounds.


The Turkish Anadolu Agency published a report on July 17 detailing the military facilities' whereabouts and, in some instances, the number of special operations forces working there. It said two airfields and eight military outposts in Kobani, Manbij and Rumeilan, among others, are being used to support the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). One post in Ayn Issah town in northern Raqqa governorate housed around 200 US soldiers and 75 French special forces troops.


US-made armored vehicles, including MRAP, M-ATVs, and up-armored bulldozers have recently reinforced the forces in the area of Qamishli - a city in northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey. Guardian armored trucks and US up-armored Humvees are included in the coalition aid to the SDF, and according to the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2018 request for funds for train-and-equip program for Syrian partner forces, armored bulldozers are also included in aid to «vetted» Syrian groups, Military Times reports.



US, British, and Jordanian troops, equipped with tanks and helicopters, have been reportedly positioned in a long strip region across the border zones of Syria's southern provinces of Dara'a and Suwayda, from Tel Shahab rural area, just a few hundred meters from the Jordanian border, to al-Nasib Border Crossing and Khirbet Awad village. Their presence has also been reported near Ramtha, a Jordanian city, located in the far northwest of the Arab country close to the Syrian border. There are no IS militants in that area, so the forces’ mission is to keep away the Syrian government and pro-Iranian forces.

The administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new «temporary» facilities in Iraq and Syria. That’s what its recent policy statement says. The president wants Congress to extend existing authorities that only cover the «repair and renovation» of facilities to also encompass «temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection».

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of who currently commands Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve and the XVIII Airborne Corps, said the campaign is now expected to expand into the Euphrates River Valley after Iraqi forces retook Mosul

The general acknowledged that a continued US military force presence in the region could include the use of temporary facilities set up on an ad hoc basis, such as those proposed by the administration, but would mostly draw upon existing bases. Little by little, the bird is making a nest in Syria.

As one can see, there are multiple signs that the United States is increasing war preparations in the region. One of the missions is to prepare for a possible conflict with Iran. Another is strengthening the bargaining position at the talks on de-escalation zones in Syria and the talks on crisis management in Geneva. Any scenario can ignite a spark to light a fire.
Russia and the US could put aside all the differences and launch bilateral confidential talks on Syria. An open, honest conversation protected from any leaks to media could help to prevent the worst form happening. Moscow could act as a mediator between the Astana group and the US-led coalition. The mutually agreed proposals could then be submitted to other pertinent actors for discussion and approval. But the refusal to return Russian diplomatic compounds shows the US is not ready for a dialogue. Looks like Washington prefers to balance on the brink of war in the region in an effort to boost its influence and make the situation unfold the way it wants. 








On July 7, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price announced that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, will be taking over as head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Fitzgerald has an extensive resume relative to her position, which includes more than 30 years as a practicing physician. She also happens to be a Major in the U.S. Air Force, having served at both the Wurtsmith Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) Base in Michigan and at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.

Why is this last point relevant? Because many people don’t realize that the CDC in many ways functions as a branch of the United States military. The agency itself isn’t officially designated as such, of course. But a good number of its medical officers, which now include among their ranks Dr. Fitzgerald, are members of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). And this agency is officially designated as one of the seven U.S. uniformed services, along with the Army, the Navy, and Dr. Fitzgerald’s branch, the Air Force.


If you’ve ever seen CDC officials on television, perhaps you noticed that they wear strange uniforms resembling those worn by service members in the military. This is no coincidence, indicating that these individuals are members of a “uniformed service” – in this case, PHS. It also shows that they provide support services to the military in addition to their functional roles as public health authorities, which means they essentially have two jobs.
What this means in a practical sense on a day-to-day basis isn’t entirely clear. But it does indicate that the CDC doesn’t exactly function as a civilian agency as most people think it does. At the very least, it operates in partnership, or as some kind of hybrid, with the military-industrial complex. These CDC officials who are also PHS officers are appointed and paid by the U.S. military, it’s important to note, and the public isn’t necessarily told where they came from or why they now work at the CDC.

This is concerning because not only does military medicine have a much different set of priorities than civilian medicine, but it also has a history of human rights abuses involving medical experimentation. 

Will she turn out to be another Poul Thorsen, the now-shamed former CDC vaccine researcher who was exposed for producing fake vaccine “science” in defense of the controversial MMR vaccine? Will she rely on the CDC’s other distorted positions regarding vaccines and pharmaceuticals to push Americans to accept more of them during the next manufactured “pandemic?” Do we even know what her views are on any of these important subjects?

We do know her credentials, and that she oversaw the state of Georgia’s 18 public health districts and its 159 county health departments. We also know that she chaired Georgia’s “Ebola Response Team” back in 2015, reportedly overseeing the transfer of Ebola-infected individuals to Emory University Hospital. She also coordinated a statewide push for Georgia residents to receive both Ebola and flu vaccines, suggesting that she would take similar action on a national scale in the event of another reported disease outbreak, fake or otherwise.











Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke on Sunday about his decision to sever ties with Israel until it reverses its decision to place metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, saying that his decision includes the security coordination with the Jewish state. "We announced an unequivocal stance, especially regarding the security coordination," Abbas said. 

"This decision is not at all easy, but the Israelis ought to know that they are going to be the ones who will ultimately lose, because we do a lot to defend their security and ours. We are convinced that terror must be fought everywhere, but the magnometers must be removed," the PA president continued. 

Speaking at a convention of scientists in Ramallah, Abbas reiterated: "We will not allow the electronic gates to continue [to be placed] there. Sovereignty is our full right, and we need to supervise Al-Aksa and stand guard at its gates. There is no right to place these magnometers," he charged. 

Amid the ongoing tensions surrounding the security situation at the Temple Mount, police have placed security cameras at the Lion’s Gate on the eastern side of the Old City where most Muslim worshipers enter to pray at the site.


The closed-circuit TV cameras on scaffolding at the Lion’s Gate now compliment the metal detectors that were placed there last week to secure the Temple Mount from firearms, after three Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli police officers there earlier this month.
 
The cameras are reportedly able to detect whether or not individuals are armed with guns, knives or other weapons as they approach, allowing security personnel to identify and detain them before they have a chance to attack.
 

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, rejected even this solution however, saying no security option would be accepted.

“All the religious authorities in Jerusalem are opposed to new Israeli security measures at al-Aksa mosque,” Hussein told Channel 10.




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