My recent interview with Tasnim.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US Senate failed in its latest bid to block the controversial sale of $8.1bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia due to the influence of the powerful Israeli lobby in the United States, an American political analyst said.
“…Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also allies of Israel, which is extraordinarily powerful in the United States as well. The (US) President has a very close relationship with Israel, and the Israel lobby essentially controls much of the US Congress. The American petroleum industry and other US business interests also maintain massive holdings in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. For these reasons, the President vetoed the resolutions, and the resolutions did not receive enough support in the Senate to override the veto,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of attackthesystem.com, told Tasnim.
Although she gets into the Z-question in this one.
Press TV. Listen here.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the Middle East is yet another attempt by the United States to shore up support for anti-Iran projects it has long been running with help from its “Zionist and Saudi” allies in the region, an American analyst says.
Pompeo will fly to the Middle East on Tuesday, stopping first in Kuwait before heading to Israel and Lebanon.
Keith Preston, director of Attackthesystem.com, said Washington was trying to strengthen the alliance between the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel — what he referred to as the “Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi” alliance– in order to push back against Iran, which is the main force keeping them from taking full control of the region.
Saudi Arabia and some other Arab governments in the Persian Gulf region “have a common objective in opposing the influence of Iran in the region.”
“Obviously Iran is the primary bulwark against the greater Israel, against Israeli expansionism and of course, the (Persian) Gulf states have wanted to expand the region a well and at this point they see Iran as the primary obstacle to that,” he added.
That is how those countries have been running all sorts of plots such as financing Daesh and other Takfiri groups to take out Syria, their other rival in the region, the analyst argued.
“So once again, there is a convergence between the interests of the Gulf monarchies, between the Israelis and between the Americans in trying to eliminate any kind of political autonomy that nay Middle Eastern nation might have,” he added.
The reason, according to Preston, is “because the Americans, the Saudis and Israeli have been largely successful in destroying many other nations in the region.”
Pompeo made a similar trip to the region in January to try to forge a unified Arab front against Iran, a dream that has brought together even Saudi Arabia and Israel.
PressTV-Pompeo to push anti-Iran message in Mideast next weekUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will start a five-day tour of the Middle East next week, where he will discuss security issues in the region.
Pompeo’s main objective in the tour was laying the groundwork for the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a concept similar to an Arab NATO. Trump first floated the idea of forging MESA during his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017.
The US hosted an anti-Iran summit last month in Warsaw, Poland. However, US efforts to build pressure against Iran faced a setback after ministers from several European Union members opted out of the summit.
Press TV. Listen here.
A growing number of Americans are becoming aware of the destructive influence of the Israeli and Saudi lobby in the United States, which has led to anti-Muslim sentiment in some sectors of the country, an American analyst in Virginia says.
“More and more people in the United States are becoming increasingly critical of American foreign policy and these policies involving constant wars to overthrow the governments of other countries,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“Also, more and more Americans are becoming aware of the role that the Israeli lobby has over American foreign policy and over the American government … and more people are becoming aware of the influence that the Saudi Arabians have over the American government, particularly after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Preston told Press TV on Sunday.
“So what seems to be happening is that there are various elements in the United States that are aligned with Israel and that are aligned with Saudi Arabia and ironically they’re trying to fan the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment to justify the kind of imperialist foreign policy paradigm that the United State has traditionally adhered to,” he added.
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has condemned Republicans for linking her to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, saying it’s “no wonder” she is on the “hit list” of a domestic terrorist.
Recently, a poster linking the Muslim lawmaker to the 9/11 attack was reportedly hung in West Virginia’s state legislature by Republican lawmakers.
Omar, is a Democrat member of the US House of Representatives who represents Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in the lower chamber of Congress. Along with Rashida Tlaib, she was one of the first two Muslim women elected to the lower chamber of Congress and the first woman of color elected from Minnesota.
Some pro-Israel US politicians have accused Omar of anti-Semitic comments because she has been a staunch critic of Israel and its anti-Muslim policies in the Middle East. She has also repeatedly slammed the main Israeli lobby in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Speaking on Wednesday night at an event in Washington, DC with fellow Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Omar dismissed anti-Semitic charges against her, saying everything they say about Israel is interpreted as anti-Semitic because they are Muslim.
Press TV. Listen here.
The Israel-lobby’s strong influence on the US government has started to fade as a result of recent changes in the American public’s view of the Tel Aviv regime, an American political analyst says.
Keith Preston, director of Attackthesystem.com, argued that the frustration amid American with Washington’s unconditional support for Tel Aviv was growing among American people and politicians.
“Well, it’s certainly true that Israel has a very very powerful grip over the American government,” Preston told Press TV on Sunday, adding that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) maintained the most influence the policy-making process in the US.
The analyst said the influence of the pro-Israel lobby was best seen when Donald Trump and other 2016 US presidential election hopefuls attended events by AIPAC to reassure the powerful interest group of their commitment to protect Israeli interests.
However, the political landscape in the US has seen some changes with regards to Israel and although politicians remained strong allies of the regime more people were turning against it.
“While Americans have generally been very very pro-Israel; that is starting to decline somewhat,” Preston argued. “I think more and more people for example in the United States are getting tired of American constantly being at war in the Middle East in large part because of the influence of the Israeli lobby over American foreign policy.”
Another notable change, he said, was the growing population of ethnic and religious minorities in the US, who “correctly see Palestinians as an oppressed people.”
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who became the first Muslim members of the House of Representatives in January, have been outspoken about their criticism of Israel’s crimes against the people of Palestine.
Press TV. Listen here.
The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia are looking for ways to challenge Iran’s influence and Washington’s campaign of sanctions against Tehran helps them fulfill that objective, an American analyst says.
Keith Preston, director of Attackthesystem.com, said the sanctions were designed to put Iranian people under pressure and force the Islamic Republic to abandon its fundamental values.
He made the remarks in reaction to claims by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that economic bans were aimed at giving the Iranian people a chance to have better lives.
“The sanctions on Iran have this ultimate goal: creating an outcome where the Iranian people can have better lives than they have today,” Pompeo told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
On November 5, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced the re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran’s banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off its oil sales and crucial exports. The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Preston told Press TV on Friday that a lot of ordinary Americans had no idea what the conflict between the United States and Iran was all about and that Pompeo’s rhetoric amounts to “propaganda for public consumption.”
He said the sanctions were in no way intended to improve the Iranian people’s lives, and instead, “they were holding Iranian people hostage for the purpose of influencing or trying to influence the Iranian government.”
The real issues between the United States and Iran are rooted in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which “removed a puppet government of the United States” and replaced it with a political system that resisted Washington’s policies instead, he continued.
“The reason that the United States has such a deep-seeded grudge against Iran is because of that,” the analyst further explained. “It’s because of the fact that Iran was a nation that defied the American empire.”
This, he argued, set an “example” that Washington didn’t want other nations to follow.
The second reason was the state of relations between Israel and the United States, Preston added.
“The fact that Israel regards Iran as one of its most important regional competitors in the area also intensifies the hostility of the United States towards Iran,” he said.
Preston said Saudi Arabia also had similar tendencies to weaken Iran and used its “influence” on the American foreign policy to make sure the sanctions remained in place.
Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have been helping the US form an Arab front against Iran—which is in many ways similar to the NATO military alliance.
In the past, I have tended to think of Rand Paul as a toady and a sellout, or at least as too moderate. But perhaps I was premature.
By Alison Weir
he Free Beacon reports that “pro-Israel groups in America are mobilizing against Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) for blocking the continuation of U.S. aid to Israel.”
Paul has placed a “block” on legislation to give Israel $38 billion over the next 10 years – $23,000 per every Jewish Israeli family of four. This is the largest military aid package in U.S. history and amounts to $7,230 per minute to Israel, or $120 per second. A stack of $38 billion dollar bills would reach ten times beyond the international space station.
A block is a legislative procedure in which a senator calls on the floor leader not to move forward with a bill and indicates that the senator may filibuster against it.
Press TV. Listen here.
US President Donald Trump’s remarks on Saudi Arabia’s importance for Israel prove right longtime speculation about Riyadh’s secret alliance with Tel Aviv, American political analyst Keith Preston says.
Faced with international pressure to hold Riyadh responsible for murdering dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump has argued that punishing the kingdom hurts the US more as it would alienate the key Middle East ally and jeopardize billions of dollars in arms sales.
But the biggest reason, as he told reporters on Thursday, was the risk that losing Saudi Arabia’s services would pose to Israel.
“Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump said after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with military personnel from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.
“If you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” he added. “So what does that mean, Israel is going to leave? You want Israel to leave? We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia.”
The President said the Saudis were “tremendously helpful” in the region as they also helped keep oil prices down.
Preston, chief editor of attackthesystem.com, said the remarks corroborated previous reports about growing ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“Trump is unusual for an American president in that he frequently goes off-script and says things that are unusually candid,” Preston told Press TV on Friday.
The analyst said while many people seemed to think that Riyadh and Tel Aviv were enemies, Trump’s statement proves that they are not.
Press TV. Listen here.
In a surprising change of tone, Israel has expressed readiness to reopen the Quneitra border crossing with Syria in the Golan Heights, now that the Arab country’s armed forces have purged militant groups from there.
“We are ready to open the crossing as it was before, and now the ball is in the Syrian court,” Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman told reporters as he toured the border area on Thursday.
Lieberman, who has a long history of hurling threats of doom and destruction against Syria and President Bashar al-Assad, added that Israel never wanted conflict with Syria and was ready to ensure a 1974 armistice agreement between the two sides is strictly observed.
“We said from the beginning that we have no interest in meddling in the … war within Syria and we have never intervened. What interests us is ensuring the security” of Israelis, Lieberman said.
The Golan Heights is a Syrian territory, which Tel Aviv has been occupying since 1967 and claims as its own territory despite international criticism.
In August, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) returned to the border between Syria and the occupied territories, four years after it was shuttered due to militant attacks.
By Bernard Avishai
New York Review of Books
“The two-state solution is over,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters, responding to Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Now is the time to transform the struggle for one state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.” As The New York Times subsequently reported, Erekat is hardly alone. The “over”-ness of “two states”—albeit with radical disagreements about the character of a hypothetical single state—has been claimed by ideological zealots, severe liberals, and exasperated peacemakers alike.
On the Palestinian side, one hears about the almost 700,000 Israeli settlers’ making annexation an established fact; on the Israeli side, about preventing recalcitrant Palestinian terrorists from firing missiles at Ben-Gurion Airport. For those of us living in Jerusalem, just speaking of two states, implying two capitals—but also, vaguely, some redivision of the city—invites skeptical, or pitying, stares from most Jews, as well as from Arabs, over a thousand of whom applied for Israeli citizenship in 2016.
As a I have long suspected.
William S. Lind
Those of us who supported President Trump in last year’s election because he promised a less interventionist foreign policy need to be aware of a rising danger. Neo-con influence in the Trump administration seems to be on the increase. Rumored high-level personnel changes could put neo-cons into key foreign policy positions. Just as their neo-con predecessors led President George W. Bush into the disastrous Iraq war, a gift that keeps on giving, so today’s neo-cons want a war with Iran.
The obvious question is, how could anyone be so stupid? War with Iran is a lose-lose proposition. If the Iranians defeat us, we lose. If we defeat them, we also lose because there is a high probability the Iranian state would disintegrate and Iran would become another stateless region. That would be a huge victory for our real enemies, Islamic non-state entities such as Al Qaeda and ISIS that wage Fourth Generation war.
The neo-cons refuse to see this because they are playing another game, a game driven by the misconceived interests of a foreign power. To put it bluntly, many influential neo-cons are part and parcel of Israel’s Likud party. Years ago, around the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, they helped Likud devise a strategy for Israel. That strategy called for the United States to destroy every Middle Eastern state that could be a threat to Israel. That was why the neo-cons pushed the Bush administration into war with Iraq.
The entire political class, from the most liberal Democrats to the most conservative Republicans, are the enemy.
By Ben Norton and Adam Johnson
All 100 members of the U.S. Senate sent a letter to the United Nations on April 27 that spread misleading pro-Israel myths. Included as signatories were the Senate’s two progressive leaders, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
AlterNet repeatedly contacted the offices of Sanders and Warren with a request for comment. Neither replied.
The 725-word letter does not mention Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian land, which marks its 50th anniversary this June. Nor does it acknowledge Israel’s illegal colonization of Palestinian territory through ever-expanding settlements.
Even the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, has agreed at the U.N. that Israel’s occupation and settlements are flagrant violations of international law. The senators’ letter glosses over this elementary fact, and does not even acknowledge the existence of the Palestinian people.
The bipartisan senatorial campaign against the U.N. was led by hard-right neoconservative Republican Marco Rubio and Reagan-Republican-turned-Democrat Christopher Coons.
“Although, as Republicans and Democrats, we disagree on many issues, we are united in our desire to see the United Nations improve its treatment of Israel,” the senators wrote in the letter, which also demonizes the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
They claimed “member states and agencies are using the U.N.’s privileged platform to advance an anti-Israel agenda.”
U.N.’s Pro-Israel Bias
In reality, the evidence shows that the U.N. has a pro-Israel bias. Emails leaked from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demonstrate how the U.S. State Department successfully exerted pressure with the goal of “deferring” U.N. action on Israeli war crimes, as previously detailed in my report in Salon.
While the State Department conceded that the 2009 U.N. Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, known commonly as the Goldstone Report, was only “moderate,” it was still not pro-Israel enough for the U.S. Messages from top officials illustrate how the government pushed to water down the report, “reframing the debate” about the atrocities and “moving away from the U.N.”
Moreover, U.S. government cables released by WikiLeaks show how former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon worked with the U.S. and Israeli governments to weaken the 2009 U.N. report on the war crimes Israel had committed in its recent war in Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.
The idea that the United Nations was “singled out for special scrutiny” is conventional wisdom in U.S. political circles. Those who make this argument, as the senators do in the letter, point to Agenda Item 7, a standing agenda item on the U.N. Human Rights Council docket that debates Israeli human rights violations. Crucial context missing from this talking point is that the focus on Israel’s human rights record by less powerful U.N. bodies like the Human Rights Council is the logical byproduct of a U.N. Security Council—by far the most powerful and consequential U.N. body—doing nothing to curb Israel’s human rights abuses through the decades.
Press TV. Listen here.
Forces within the US government are using anti-Semitism as an excuse to cover up growing opposition among university students to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, says Virginia-based analyst Keith Preston.
Israeli researchers at Tel Aviv University said Sunday that anti-Semitic incidents on US college campuses, mostly in the form of insults and harassment of Jewish students, increased 45 percent in 2016.
Overall, the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose slightly last year, compared to 2015, increasing from 88 to 91, the report found.
The report comes following a recent wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the United States and in Canada.
Political scientists and academics have argued that supporters of Israel equate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism in a deliberate attempt to discredit critics and prevent legitimate criticism of Israel.
Preston, director of attackthesystem.com, told Press TV that there was “very limited evidence” of growing anti-Semitic sentiments on college campuses across the US and people who made such claims were providing a “dubious” explanation of what they consider anti-Semitism.
“What they seem to be objecting to is what they perceive as anti-Israel sentiments on campuses and I think they are probably right in the sense that there is a growing support among university students in the United States for the pro-Palestinian movement and for the movement to divest Israel and things of that nature,” the analyst said Sunday.
“This is markedly different from anti-Semitism,” he argued. “Anti-Semitism implies a carte blanche hostility or prejudice against Jewish people and that is not what the pro-Palestinian movement is about at all.”
Preston said there were even Jewish students promoting movements like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
“So, I think this is something of a smoke-screen argument that is being raised and claims that anti-Semitism is somehow growing on American campuses,” he said, concluding that such reports in fact show that opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestine is on the rise.
Press TV. Listen Here.
The United States has protected Israel from UN action and international criticism for decades, despite Tel Aviv’s violation of a broad range of international laws, and President-elect Donald Trump will maintain that cynical policy, an American political analyst in Virginia says.
“The United States has always been unremittingly aligned with Israel and when comes to the United Nations, rarely has the United States ever broken with Israel on any issues in the region, certainly when it comes to the Palestinian issue,” said Keith Preston, the chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“Donald Trump will be continuing what previous presidents have done,” Preston told Press TV on Thursday.
“It was predicted, even during the campaign, that Donald Trump will have a very pro-Israel position and he seems to be following up on that,” he added.
On Thursday, Trump urged the outgoing Obama administration to veto a UN Security Council draft resolution that calls for an immediate halt to illegal settlement building on the occupied Palestinian land.
“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” the incoming Republican president said in a statement.
“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” he said.
The UN resolution calls for “the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution,” stating that the activities are dangerously imperiling” and threatening the viability of any future Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank.
Last week, Trump nominated David Friedman, a hardline Zionist, as US ambassador to Israel, likely paving the way toward a controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.
Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Tel Aviv has defied international calls to stop the settlements expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.