Middle East in the Vortex of the US “Election” | New Eastern Outlook

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16-11-20 10:31:00,

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the gumption natural to him, sent his “warm congratulations” to Joe Biden on his, as the Israeli World Israel News wrote, “alleged victory in the US elections,” despite the fact that President Donald Trump has not accepted the elections by democratic means. Similar loyal feelings towards the USA were expressed by Israel’s allegedly independent President Reuven Rivlin and Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. In their messages, the “great love” of the vassal for his new American overlord simply ran absolute high.

However, decidedly different emotions have now overcome Israel, whose residents accepted the change of presidents in Washington with a great concern. And this is not surprising, since everyone has repeatedly noted the sharply pro-Israeli nature of the policy pursued by Donald Trump, as well as of his close relatives, some of whom are Hasideans, and of the entire Administration of the former President.

Immediately following his election in 2016, Donald Trump announced his unconditional support for Israel and a year later initiated the US Embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after the city was recognized as the capital of the Jewish state.   Other steps soon followed, both symbolic and tangible. The American President recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, sought to hold the Palestinian National Authority “liable for its support of terrorism,” and pulled the USA out of a promising, but, according to Israelis, disastrous, Iranian deal in 2015.  It is equally important that, while the President’s ambition to mediate a “final deal” between Israel and the Palestinians failed because of the latter’s refusal to make peace, his Administration has moved into more productive efforts. Unlike Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry, who actually gave the Palestinians the veto power for getting relationship between the Arab world and Israel back on track, Donald Trump initiated the conclusion of agreements to smooth relations with the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Sudan, which, as he promised, must be followed by others. In such circumstances, it is not surprising that the majority of Israelis were in favor of Donald Trump being re-elected. But if, as it appears at the moment, they supported the losing side in the election, hysteria on consequent effect would be counterproductive and,

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Middle East: Elation in Washington, Indignation in the West Bank | New Eastern Outlook

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29-09-20 07:18:00,

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Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, signing a peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain in Washington in the presence of US President Donald Trump, ecstatically made the demagogic announcement: “This day is a turning point in history. This heralds a new dawn for peace.” And, no less bombastically, the American President stated: “We are here today to change the course of history.”

It is true, though, that the “new dawn for peace” was first marked by two missiles launched from the Palestinian Gaza Strip, followed by a retaliatory strike from Israeli military personnel, and then 13 missiles from the Palestinians; this forced dozens of thousands of panicked Israelis to seek refuge in bomb shelters out of fear.  Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim declared that the missiles were in response to an attack by the Israeli Defense Forces.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu, after successfully signing the peace accords with two Arab countries, proclaimed that the artillery barrage from the Gaza Strip was not something unexpected. But, if Bibi knew full well that there would be an angry reaction from the Palestinians beforehand, he is also well aware that his actions as of late are hardly leading to any kind of equitable solution for the long-standing, complex problem involving the Arabs in Palestine. And, apparently, nobody will have to count on the “political dawn” occurring in the Middle East that Washington spoke about – this is all simple, nickel-and-dime, soapbox oratory.

Incidentally, the Israeli Prime Minster did not have the official authority to sign the peace accords with the United Arab Emirates, reports Arutz Sheva.  According to the media network, only Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabriel Ashkenazi, who stayed back in Israel, had the right to do that, while Benjamin Netanyahu headed off to Washington for the signing ceremony.  It further specified that the deal will be ratified, and then enter into force, only after it receives approval from the Israeli government.

It is worth noting that analyzing the signed agreements reveals the fact that their wording is very vague and abstruse. The agreement between the UAE and Israel urges both countries to continue “their efforts to achieve an equitable, far-reaching, realistic, and long-lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”   The agreement between Bahrain and Israel states that the countries will continue to work towards “achieving an equitable,

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U.S. is in Middle East ‘to protect Israel’ not for oil, Trump says – Mondoweiss

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27-09-20 12:12:00,

Four days ago, Donald Trump said the U.S. isn’t involved in the Middle East for oil, but because we “want to protect Israel.” The comments have gone all but unreported in the mainstream press.

Trump made the comment during a rally in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 8, when he was bragging about America’s energy independence, which he said Joe Biden would undermine if he gets the White House (minute 47):

I like being energy independent, don’t you? I’m sure that most of you noticed when you go to fill up your tank in your car, oftentimes it’s below two dollars. You say how the hell did this happen? Thank you President Trump! Look at your electric bills and everything else– these guys, your electric would go up four, five, six times. The Green New Deal it’s called the Green New Nightmare. While I’m president, America will remain the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. We will remain energy independent. It should be for many many years to come. The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East. You know there was a time we needed desperately oil, we don’t need that anymore. We have more than they do, isn’t that nice? After years of rebuilding other countries, we are finally building our country.

The American Conservative’s Barbara Boland is the only reporter who seems to have picked up Trump’s remarks. No one else cares, evidently.

Do you remember all the arguments about Why are we engaged in so many conflicts in the Middle East? And why we are going to war in Iraq? And the mainstream default position is that it’s because of oil. Even though we lost concessions in Iraq.

These comments by Trump, the disrupter, tie into the long but shadowy pedigree of analysis from policymakers that we invaded Iraq to make Israel safer. Like the former head of the 911 Commission who said that the threat to Israel was the motivation for the war, but that was “the threat that dare not speak its name.” Or Colin Powell’s comment that we went into Iraq because the Secretary of Defense bought the neoconservative arguments of “the JINSA crowd,” referring to the Israel lobby group the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

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The Devastation Of The Middle Class: It Now Takes 53 Weeks Of Median Wages Every Year To Pay For Basic Needs

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19-08-20 08:10:00,

The stock market is back to all time highs, but for ordinary Americans the standard of living has not been worse in decades, if ever.

As Bank of America points out, while the recent covid shutdowns has thrown the economy into disarray with millions laid off and living on government stimulus checks, life for the vast majority of workers – i.e., those who comprise the country’s middle class – was already precarious before the pandemic, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Cost of Thriving Index.

Consider that in 1985 it took 30 weeks at the median wage to pay for big fixed costs like housing, health care, a car, and education; fast forward to today when it takes a mathematically impossible 53 weeks of a 52-week year to buy those things.

In other words, as BofA puts it,“‘thriving’ has become impossible for the average worker” and adds that  “it’s no wonder that the uncertainty of forecasts for future growth remains near record highs.”

Of course, it’s also why millions of Americans are desperately looking forward to another stimulus round, and then another, and another after that, for the simple reason that it was the government’s “pandemic relief” that boosted compensation to artificial, if “one-time” record highs.

The question is whether this “one-time” stimulus which many equate with Universal Basic Income, has become a permanent fixture of American life.

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US Middle East Wars Far from Over | New Eastern Outlook

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27-06-20 08:05:00,

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Despite what appears to be a terminal decline of US influence over the Middle East, Washington has no intentions of gracefully abandoning its aspirations of regional hegemony.

Air strikes carried out against Syria by Washington’s Israeli proxies, a mysterious explosion near Tehran, and the current Iraqi Prime Minister’s decision to round up leaders of Iranian-backed militias who helped defeat the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) unfolded in quick succession in an apparent coordinated campaign aimed at Iran and its allies.

The Washington DC-based Al Monitor in an article titled, “Suspected Israeli airstrikes hit various locations in Syria,” would claim:

Suspected Israeli airstrikes hit Syrian military and Iran-backed militia sites Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. There are differing reports on the casualties.

This morning’s aerial assault targeted Syrian military sites outside the central city of Hama.

Days later, under orders by Iraq’s new prime minister – Mustafa Al-Kadhimi – Iraqi security forces raided the headquarters of an Iranian-backed militia detaining several leaders.

Reuters in its article, “Iraqi forces raid Iran-backed militia base, detain commanders: government sources,” would claim:

Iraqi security forces raided a headquarters belonging to a powerful Iran-backed militia in southern Baghdad late on Thursday, seized rockets and detained three commanders of the group, two Iraqi government officials said.

The officials said the militia group targeted was the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, which U.S. officials have accused of firing rockets at bases hosting U.S. troops and other facilities in Iraq.

Iraq has been under significant pressure from the US to roll back growing ties with Iran and still hosts thousands of US troops illegally occupying its territory as well as a myriad of militant groups the US and its regional allies back either openly or covertly including Al Qaeda and ISIS itself.

More recently, a massive explosion took place just southeast of Iran’s capital, Tehran. While Iranian officials claim it was an accident at a civilian gas storage facility, pro-war elements across the West have insisted it was the result of an attack on a military complex located in the region.

Should it turn out to be an attack – US proxies – either Israel or US-backed terrorists operating inside Iran are most likely responsible representing a strategy laid out by US policymakers as early as 2009 in their own papers – particularly and explicitly in the Brookings Institution’s 2009 paper,

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