Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Iran Rebuffs U.S. Talks: Rouhani Says Europe Most Save Nuke Deal

As Iran rebuffs US talks, Rouhani says Europe must save nuke deal

Iranian officials reacted skeptically on Tuesday to US President Donald Trump’s comments that he’s willing to negotiate with Tehran, with the country’s president saying it was up to Europe to save the nuclear deal after Washington’s “illegal” withdrawal.
Officials said if Trump wants talks, he needs to rejoin the international nuclear deal he unilaterally pulled out of earlier this year.
Trump on Monday said he’d meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “anytime” if the Iranian leader were willing.

In his first public remarks after the comment, Rouhani did not mention Trump at all but instead stressed the need for the other nations involved in the nuclear deal to forge ahead with their pledges of trying to salvage it.
“Now, after the US illegal withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the ball is in Europe’s court in the limited time that has been left,” he said, according to Iranian state-run media.
“Today we are at a very critical point in history regarding the nuclear deal, and Europe’s transparent measures to compensate for the United States’ unlawful withdrawal from it are very important for the Iranian nation,” he said after talks with new British Ambassador Rob Macaire.
In addition to Britain, China, Germany, France, Russia and the European Union are negotiating with Iran on preserving the deal.
Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency quoted political adviser Hamid Aboutalebi as saying that for talks to happen, the US needs to rejoin the deal.
“Those who believe in dialogue as a method of resolving disputes in civilized societies should be committed to the means,” he said.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Tuesday that talks with the US at this time would amount to a “humiliation.”
“If Trump had not withdrawn from [the] nuclear deal and had not imposed sanctions on Iran, there would be no problem with negotiations with America,” Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of parliament, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“But negotiating with the Americans would be a humiliation now,” he said.

Incendiary Balloons Land In Beersheba For First Time

A cluster of incendiary balloons landed in the city of Beersheba for the first time on Monday evening, after hundreds of balloons and kites of this kind have been launched from Gaza into Israeli communities located close to the border over the past few months causing fires that have wreaked havoc on the land.

Police sappers were called to Ringelblum Street over a report of suspicious balloons. The sappers closed the street, told bystanders to move away from the area and neutralized the threat before reopening the street.

“These are balloons that have a suspicious item attached – in most cases an inflammatory item – and any such item should be treated as a suspicious object with a high level of risk,” the police spokesman said. “In such cases, it is necessary to report to the police station’s 100 call center and to move away from the scene until the operations of the police sappers have ended.”

“Israel Police is responsible for public safety and security,” the spokesman stressed.

Earlier this month, two balloons with flammable material attached were found in a the yard of a family home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, marking the first time the phenomenon had reached the capital, though police suspected they had not been launched from Gaza.

MSM Exposes True Nature In Refusing To Defend Assange

In Refusing To Defend Assange, Mainstream Media Exposes Its True Nature

Last Tuesday a top lawyer for the New York Times named David McCraw warned a room full of judges that the prosecution of Julian Assange for WikiLeaks publications would set a very dangerous precedent which would end up hurting mainstream news media outlets like NYT, the Washington Post, and other outlets which publish secret government documents.
“I think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,” McCraw said. “From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”
Do you know where I read about this? Not in the New York Times.

“Curiously, as of this writing, McCraw’s words have found no mention in the Times itself,” activist Ray McGovern wrote for the alternative media outlet Consortium News. “In recent years, the newspaper has shown a marked proclivity to avoid printing anything that might risk its front row seat at the government trough.”

So let’s unpack that a bit. It is now public knowledge that the Ecuadorian government is actively seeking to turn Assange over to be arrested by the British government. This was initially reported by RT, then independently confirmed by The Intercept, and is today full mainstream public knowledge being reported by mainstream outlets like CNN. It is also public knowledge that Assange’s asylum was granted by the Ecuadorian government due to a feared attempt to extradite him to the United States and prosecute him for WikiLeaks publications. Everyone from President Donald Trump to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ranking House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff to Democratic members of the US Senate have made public statements clearly indicating that there is a US government interest in getting Assange out of the shelter of political asylum and into prison.

The New York Times is aware of this, and as evidenced by McCraw’s comments it is also aware of the dangerous precedent that such a prosecution would set for all news media publications. 
The New York Times editorial staff are aware that the US government prosecuting a publisher for publishing important documents that had been hidden from the public would make it impossible for the Times to publish the same kind of material without fear of the same legal repercussions. It is aware that the maneuvers being taken against Assange present a very real existential threat to the possibility of real journalism and holding power to account.
You might think, therefore, that we’d be seeing a flood of analyses and op-eds from the New York Times aggressively condemning any movement toward the prosecution of Julian Assange. You might expect all media outlets in America to be constantly sounding the alarm about this, especially since the threat is coming from the Trump administration, which outlets like the New York Timesare always eager to circulate dire warnings about. You might expect every talking head on CNN and NBC to be ominously citing Assange as the clearest and most egregious case yet of Trump’s infamous “war on the free press”. Leaving aside the issues of morality, compassion and human rights that come with Assange’s case, you might think that if for no other reason than sheer unenlightened self interest they’d be loudly and aggressively defending him.

And yet, they don’t. And the fact that they don’t shows us what they really are.

Theoretically, journalism is meant to help create an informed populace and hold power to account. That’s why it’s the only profession explicitly named in the United States Constitution, and why freedom of the press has enjoyed such constitutional protections throughout US history. The press today is failing to protect Julian Assange because it has no intention of creating an informed populace or holding power to account.

This is not to suggest the existence of some grand, secret conspiracy among US journalists. It’s just a simple fact that plutocrats own most of the US news media and hire the people who run it, which has naturally created an environment where the best way to advance one’s career is to remain perpetually inoffensive to the establishment upon which plutocrats have built their respective empires.

This is why you see ambitious reporters on Twitter falling all over themselves to be the first with a pithy line that advances establishment agendas whenever breaking news presents an opportunity to do so; they are aware that their social media presence is being assessed by potential employers and allies for establishment loyalism. This also why so many of those aspiring journalists attack Assange and WikiLeaks whenever possible.

Mass media outlets in America and around the world have fully discredited themselves with their failure to defend a publisher who actually holds power to account and brings facts into the light of truth to create an informed populace. Every day that goes by where they don’t unequivocally condemn any attempt to prosecute Assange is another day in the pile of evidence that corporate media outlets serve power and not truth. Their silence is a tacit admission that they are nothing other than stenographers and propagandists for the most powerful forces on earth.

Most Israeli Jews Back Large-Scale Gaza Offensive If Ceasefire Fails

Most Israeli Jews back large-scale Gaza offensive if ceasefire fails

Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis think Israel should launch a large-scale military offensive in the Gaza Strip if its Hamas rulers do not abide by the latest ceasefire agreement, a poll released Tuesday found.
The results, published by the Israel Democracy Institute as part of its monthly Peace Index, also found that Arab and Jewish Israelis were divided on whether the Syrian regime’s recent military advances were a positive development for the Jewish state.
According to the poll, 61 percent of Jewish Israelis think the IDF should launch a military operation in Gaza if the cross-border arson attacks from the Hamas-run coastal enclave continue.

Support for an extensive military offensive was higher among respondents who identified as right-wing, with 75% supporting the move.
In contrast, 69% of Arab Israelis opposed a large-scale Israeli military response to the recent flare-up in violence in the coastal enclave, with only 16% indicating support for it.
The poll comes amid months of near-weekly violent border protests and ongoing cross-border arson attacks organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The kites and balloons carrying incendiary devices launched into Israeli territory have burned thousands of acres of farmland and caused millions of shekels in damage.

The confrontations have at times spiraled into military exchanges, with Palestinians firing dozens of rockets at southern Israeli towns and the army launching air strikes on Hamas positions in Gaza.
Israeli politicians and IDF officials have repeatedly warned Hamas that the continued violence could see a large-scale military response. Earlier in July, the IDF was reportedly instructed to prepare for an offensive in Gaza if the cross-border arson attacks continued.
After an IDF solider was killed by sniper fire along the Gaza border earlier this month, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters. Hamas said three of the four people killed in the strikes were their fighters.
The ruling terror group later declared an unofficial ceasefire, though sporadic violence has continued along the border.
Over the weekend, the United Nations envoy for Middle East peace met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and other officials in a bid to calm the violent flare-up.
Nickolay Mladenov is reportedly pushing a ceasefire proposal in cooperation with Egypt and other Arab states, according to the Haaretz daily.
Mladenov’s arrangement would see Israel remove recent restrictions on the Kerem Shalom crossing for goods into Gaza, and the sides agreeing to a ceasefire which would include the cessation of airborne arson attacks, Haaretz said, citing Egyptian media.

'Fire Cloud' Looms Over California, Wildfires So Strong, They Are Creating Their Own Weather Systems

Ominous 'Fire Cloud' Looms Over California Hellscape As Exhausted Firefighters Battle Fatigue

As California battles its 7th most destructive wildfire in state history, Mendocino County resident Dylan Duarte captured a giant mushroom cloud rising above hills in the distance. 
Known as a pyrocumulus cloud, the ominous red weather formations usually occur over volcanic eruptions or forest fires when intensely heated air triggers an upward motion that pushes smoke and water vapor to rapidly rise. They can develop their own weather patters, including thunderstorms with severe winds which then further fan the flames. 

Other fire-related weather phenomenon was captured by fleeing residents, such as this "fire tornado" in Nevada County, CA. 
There are currently 16 active fires burning across California, sending smoke eastward. 

The deadliest of the blazes is the Carr fire, which has killed six people including two firefighters, and destroyed at least 1,236 structures. Over 2,500 structures remain threatened - while the Mendocino Complex fires threaten over 12,000 structures. 
The carr fire has burned nearly 110,000 acres and is around 27% contained. Evacuation orders have been lifted for Douglas County and portions of Happy Valley, Redding and Shasta Lake City according to officials. 
Meanwhile, firefighters hailing from 16 states are fighting against fatigue as they battle the infernos. 

Meanwhile, the air quality in Redding has dropped to dangerous levels, as officials warn the public to stay indoors and wear a mask outside. 

Other fires across the state
Several other fires continue to rage across California, including the Ferguson fire which has consumed more than 57,000 acres near Yosemite National Park leading to the closure of the Yosemite Valley, as well as the Cranston fire burning in the San Jacinto mountains east of Los Angeles which has burned over 13,000 acres and is 57% contained. 
The cause of the blaze has been attributed to arson. Cal Fire officials arrested Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula for allegedly setting multiple fires in southwestern Riverside County on July 25, 2018.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation orders for the communities of Pine Cove, Fern Valley, Cedar Glen, and portions of Idyllwild outside of the fire perimeter. -Accuweather
"Good work was done on the northeast portion of the fire where the biggest threat to the community persists," officials said Monday.

As more than a dozen major fires roar across the state of California, some of 
them have burned so fiercely that they're creating their own weather systems.
Massive pyrocumulus clouds have formed over the Carr, Ferguson, Cranston
 and Mendocino Complex fires burning in four different parts of the state
 (Shasta County, near Yosemite, Riverside County, and Mendocino
 County, respectively).
The so-called "fire clouds" form over volcanic eruptions or forest fires when
 an intense heating of the air triggers an upward motion, pushing smoke
 and water vapor to rapidly rise. These foreboding clouds can develop
 their own weather, even producing thunderstorms with severe winds, 
which fan the flames and help the wildfires spread.
One "fire-induced vortex" in Redding caused damage that made it look
 like a tornado ripped through the city, downing trees and blowing off

The Ferguson Fire on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, which has
 burned more than 56,000 acres and resulted in two deaths, was 30
 percent contained. The Cranston Fire in Southern California was
 57 percent contained after burning more than 13,000 acres.
For the most part, pyrocumulus clouds and the weather patterns
 they create make it harder for firefighters to extinguish wildfires.
 But, as Oustide Online reports, in rare circumstances the 
towering clouds can accumulate enough moisture to produce rain,
 which can help put out the fires from which they formed.

Wildfires Rage Across Europe

Wildfires rage across Europe as countries battle intense heat wave

As a scorching heat wave engulfs large parts of Europe this summer, fires have torn through dozens of countries across the European Union. From Germany to France to Sweden, countries in Western Europe are set for another intense heat wave this week with temperatures soaring above 90 degrees. As firefighters continue to battle treacherous blazes that have killed scores of people, here’s a look at what some European countries face as wildfires continue to scorch large swaths of land.


More than 80 people died in a wildfire that swept through the seaside coastal town of Mati. Authorities suspect the cause of the fire was arson.
The country is going through an unspeakable tragedy,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on July 24.
The fire was the deadliest in a decade. About 200 firefighters were battling the blaze in Mati. Confused tourists and residents were forced to flee to the sea to escape the fast-moving blaze. Amid the chaos, some people got trapped on dead-end roads or cliffs and weren’t able to get away.
Tsipras declared three days of national mourning to honor those who died.


As an unusual heat wave continues to engulf Sweden, with temperatures reaching above 90 degrees just north of the Arctic Circle, at least 40 wildfires are burning across the country — home to more than 9 million people and an amazing array of wildlife.

heatwave and deadly wildfires europe, heatwave europe, wildfire europe, wildfire europe risk

Some fires were sparked by thunderstorms, with an estimated 62,000 acres burned so far. Italian planes and Norwegian helicopters have been fighting the fast-moving flames, and more help from other European countries, including France and Germany, is on the way. However, strong winds will continue to push the fire.


Firefighters are still battling several wildfires in Finland as meteorologists with the Finnish Meteorological Institute warn that there’s a high risk more blazes could ignite in the southern and central regions, where there was a brief reprieve because of rain and subsiding winds. Over the next five days, dry, warm weather — with the chance of winds — is forecast.
Fires have scorched forested areas in Lapland, a northern province near the border with Russia. Dozens of people were evacuated from summer cottages in the south.


Dry terrain in the Scandinavian country created ample fuel for the fires. Firefighters have been battling wildfires in various parts of Norway since May. The fires, now mostly under control, became deadly when in late July, a firefighter died battling a blaze in southern Norway. Earlier this year, the country experienced record heat.
It is extremely dry in the countryside and the forest fire index is sky-high,” Mathias Drange, the head of the firefighting response unit, told local media in May. “In this case the alarm was fortunately raised in good time so we have a good chance of controlling the fire.
Although fires have been contained, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s website said there was “very high” risk of forest fire in various parts of the country.


Wildfires have scorched more than 1,600 acres since July 17. Officials requested foreign assistance about a week later to fight the large forest fires. The extreme heat has made it difficult for
Warm weather is expected to continue and resources to battle the flames are stretched thin. “Most of the affected areas are not accessible by ground capabilities and aerial firefighting is the only option.
These wildfires are going to grow larger this week and new ones are going to start and spread as Europe is being engulfed by an unprecedented heat wave this week again.

Building A Russian Bogeyman

Last week, we considered how the Bush and Obama administrations worked in tandem – wittingly or unwittingly, but I’m betting on the former – to move forward with the construction of a US missile defense system smack on Russia’s border following the attacks of 9/11 and Bush’s decision to scrap the ABM Treaty with Moscow.
That aggressive move will go down in the (non-American) history books as the primary reason for the return of Cold War-era atmosphere between Washington and Moscow. Currently, with the mainstream news cycle top-heavy with 24/7 ‘Russiagate’ baloney, many people have understandably forgotten that it was during the Obama administration when US-Russia relations really hit rock bottom. And it had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s home computer getting allegedly compromised by some Russia hackers.

US-Russia relations on Obama’s watch experienced their deepest deterioration since the days of the US-Soviet standoff. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, we can say that the 44th US president picked up almost seamlessly where Bush left off, and then some. Initially, however, it looked as though relations with Russia would improve as Obama announced he would “shelve” the Bush plan for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic. Then, the very same day, he performed a perfect flip-flop into the geopolitical pool, saying he would deploy a sea-based variety – which is every bit as lethal as the land version, as then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted – instead of a land-locked one.
It deserves mentioning that the fate of the New START Treaty (signed into force on April 8, 2010), the nuclear missile reduction treaty signed between Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, hung in the balance on mutual cooperation between the nuclear powers. Nevertheless, it became clear the Obama sweet talk was just a lot of candy-coated nothing.
What is truly audacious about the Obama administration’s moves is that it somehow believed Moscow would radically reduce its ballistic missile launch capabilities, as prescribed in the New START treaty, at the very same time the United States was building a mighty sword along the entire length of its Western border.
The Obama administration clearly underestimated Moscow, or overestimated Obama’s charm powers.
By the year 2011, after several years of failed negotiations to bring Russia onboard the system, Moscow’s patience was clearly over. During the G-8 Summit in France, Medvedev expressed frustration with the lack of progress on the missile defense system with the US.
“When we ask for the name of the countries that the shield is aimed at, we get silence,” he said. “When we ask if the country has missiles (that could target Europe), the answer is 'no.'”
“Now who has those types of missiles (that the missile defense system could counter)?”
“We do,” Medvedev explained. “So we can only think that this system is being aimed against us.”
As I wrote last week on these pages: “In March, Putin stunned the world, and certainly Washington’s hawks, by announcing in the annual Address to the Federal Assembly the introduction of advanced weapons systems – including those with hypersonic capabilities – designed to overcome any missile defense system in the world.
These major developments by Russia, which Putin emphasized was accomplished “without the benefit” of Soviet-era expertise, has fueled the narrative that “Putin’s Russia” is an aggressive nation with “imperial ambitions,” when in reality its goal was to form a bilateral pact with the United States and other Western states almost two decades ago post 9/11.
As far as ‘Russiagate’, the endless probe into the Trump administration for its alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, not a shred of incriminating evidence has ever been provided that would prove such a thing occurred. And when Putin offered to cooperate with Washington in determining exactly what happened, the offer was rebuffed.
In light of such a scenario, it is my opinion that the Democrats, fully aware – despite what the skewed media polls erringly told them – that Hillary Clinton stood no chance of beating the Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest, set about crafting the narrative of ‘Russian collusion’ in order to not only delegitimize Trump’s presidency, possibly depriving him of a second term in 2010, but to begin the process of severely curtailing the work of ‘alternative media,’ which are in fact greatly responsible for not only Trump’s victory at the polls, but for exposing the dirt on Clinton’s corrupt campaign.
These alternative media sites have been duly linked to Russia in one way or another as a means of silencing them. Thus, it is not only Russia that has been victimized by the lunacy of Russiagate; every single person who stands for the freedom of speech has suffered a major setback one way or another.
Part I of this story is available here.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Caroline Glick: The Threat That Iran Will Choose To Initiate War From Syria Continues To Rise

Caroline Glick: The Stakes in Syria Continue to Rise

The threat that Iran will choose to initiate a devastating war in the Middle East, from its perch in Syria, continues to rise.

Last Thursday, forces wearing Syrian military uniforms along the Syrian side of the border with Israel at Quneitra in the Golan Heights hoisted the Syrian flag at the border crossing. It was the first time the regime had asserted its control over the border zone since 2014.
The regime’s reconquest of southwestern Syria, along the borders with Jordan and Israel, in recent weeks has been accompanied by repeated penetration of Israeli territory by projectiles from Syria.

Last Tuesday, Israel shot down a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi 22 that crossed into its territory. Last Wednesday, so-called Islamic State (ISIS) forces in southern Syria shot two missiles into Israel that fell into the Sea of Galilee just a few dozen yards from beachgoers. The Israeli navy located one of the missiles, but is still looking for the other one, which reportedly failed to detonate.

Assad owes his survival to two outside powers: Iran and Russia. Iran has directed Assad’s war effort, including his mass killing from the outset of the war in 2011. Through its Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Hezbollah and Shiite militia proxies, Iran supplied the ground forces to secure Assad’s control of territory. Assad needed these forces because over the years, at least half of his armed forces deserted their posts. Today, Assad still lacks the manpower to hold the territories he is reclaiming. Iranian-controlled forces still comprise the bulwark of the “Syrian regime forces.”

As Iran supplied Assad with his army, Russia has served as his air force since 2015. Had Russian President Vladimir Putin not sent his bombers to Syria, Assad and his Iranian controllers would probably have lost the war. In exchange for saving him, Assad gave Putin the Khmeimim air base and the Tartus naval base.

This outcome is deeply problematic for the U.S. and for Israel. Russia’s position in Syria has made it both the most powerful actor in Syria and a major power broker in the Middle East as a whole. So long as U.S. and Russian positions are unaligned, particularly in relation to Iran, Russia’s empowerment comes at America’s expense.

For Israel, Russia’s appearance in Syria ended the air superiority it has held since 1982. Once Putin stepped in, any thought of Israel helping to overthrow Assad disappeared.
Israel’s primary interest in the war has from the outset was to prevent Iran from transferring precision weapons to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon through Syria. Since it became clear that the Iranian-controlled Assad regime would defeat its opponents, Israel’s goal has been to end the Iranian presence in Syria altogether.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked avidly to forge an operational partnership with Putin in the hopes of diminishing Russia’s commitment to Iran generally, and to Iran’s control over the Syrian regime more specifically. To Putin’s credit, he has opted to avoid confrontation with Israel and to accept Israel’s right to attack his Iranian partners. But his strategic ties to Iran remain significant and present a major challenge to Israel and the U.S.

This is the case because Iran’s position in Syria poses a massive threat to Israel. Unlike the Syrian regime, which avoided direct conflict with Israel after Israel destroyed its air force in 1982, Iran is interested in a war with Israel.

Iran’s Hezbollah proxy army has exerted effective control over Lebanon since 2008. Hezbollah has 150,000 missiles pointing at Israel. Its forces have now gained massive combat experience through their participation in the war in Syria. Hezbollah also has effective control over the U.S.-armed and trained Lebanese Armed Forced, (LAF).

Iran’s control over the Syrian ground forces increases the prospect of war not only against Israel, but against U.S. forces in the Middle East and against Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s threats against oil shipments through the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and the Bab el Mandab at the mouth of the Red Sea – the two sea lanes that control all seabound oil shipments from the Middle East — cannot be seen in isolation from its presence in Syria. There is a possibility that Iran may choose to begin a major war against the U.S. and its allies by attacking Israel from Syria and Lebanon. Add to that the fact that Iran controls the Hamas regime in Gaza as well, and we are looking at the prospect of a war breaking out along any one of these Iranian-controlled fronts, which could easily become a regionwide war.

In response to the U.S.-Israel demand that all Iranian forces be removed from Syria, Lavrov offered to withdraw Iranian forces to a distance of 100 kilometers from the Israeli border. Netanyahu and Israel’s security leadership scoffed at the offer, pointing to the fact that Iranian, Hezbollah, and Shiite militia forces are all operating along the Israeli border in Syrian uniforms.
Netanyahu reinstated Israel’s demand that all Iranian forces and Iranian-controlled forces withdraw from Syria and added three new demands. He insisted on the closure of Syria’s borders with Iraq and Syria; the destruction of the Iranian precision-guided missile factories operating in Syria; and the removal of the surface-to-air missile batteries now protecting the missile factories. Lavrov in turn, rejected the Israeli demands.
It is not clear whether Russia is facilitating Iranian operations in Syria because the Russians cannot prevent them, or if Putin is simply waiting for an offer from the U.S. and Israel that he cannot refuse.

What is absolutely apparent is that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian interference on behalf of Trump in the 2016 elections — and the brutal onslaught against Trump by the media, the Democrats, and former Obama administration officials in the aftermath of his summit with Putin — make it impossible for the Trump administration to pursue a diplomatic course with Russia. This, despite the fact that such a move is critical to prevent war.
Israeli military officials assess that Assad and Iran will not rush into a conflict with Israel. And Russia has made clear that it will not support their operations against the Jewish state. But the danger lurks and grows with each passing day.
It is clear enough that given the enormous stakes in Syria, as events unfold, all U.S. and Israeli assets in relation to Iran/Syria – military, economic and diplomatic – should be deployed in a coordinated manner to eject Iran and its proxies from Syria while avoiding a major war.
It is a major setback that due to the Mueller probe, and the U.S. media’s mobilization on its behalf, America is blocked at this critical juncture from seeking a diplomatic accord with Russia that would contribute significantly to the achievement of this vital goal.