Miscalculations in Israel Could Pave Way to Wider War

Following a number of foreign-policy miscalculations, Israel and its allies in the Trump administration could be setting us up for more trouble in the Middle East, warns Alastair Crooke in this analysis.

President Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Sept. 18, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

By Alastair Crooke

Last week, Israeli political leaders were rolling with guffaws and ribbing each other in delight as Vice-President Mike Pence proved that, as a Christian Zionist, he was more Zionist than the Zionists in the Knesset (minus, of course, its evicted Arab members – see here). But one might wonder what the more sober Israeli security echelon figures were thinking as they listened to Pence’s Knesset speech, which was rife with Biblical references and declarations of his “admiration for the People of the Book.”

Perhaps they were speculating how far they might be able to go in influencing Pence and his boss, Donald Trump, to wield U.S. military power to advance Israeli interests.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, via the Trump family go-betweens – Jared Kushner, and the Trump family lawyers – has certainly had an impact in Washington. The Middle East landscape has changed considerably over the last year as a consequence, but the nature of that change is what is at issue. How many of these changes have actually benefited Israel’s – or the U.S.’s – security interests?

When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) began his coup last June, ultimately resulting in this 31-year-old assuming absolute power, President Trump characteristically took full credit. “We’ve put our man on top!” he bragged to his friends, according to Michael Wolff in his book, Fire and Fury.  Yes, Trump was right – partly.

“Our man” came out on top, but it was Netanyahu, working the levers behind the scenes, and Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ)’s “man” in Washington, United Arab Emeriates Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba, who did the heavy lifting in order to change the U.S.’s settled preference for Prince bin Naif, as Successor to the Throne.  And it was MbZ, in the first place, who had advised MbS that it was Israeli support that was both the necessary, and the sufficient condition, for him to become Crown Prince.  Netanyahu (and Israel) cannot escape some responsibility for the condition in which the kingdom now finds itself.

Are the more sober-minded Israelis now still congratulating themselves with enthusiasm for their “new man at the top”?  One has some doubts, as Saudi Arabia transforms into a ticking bomb of internal, family, and tribal hatreds – and as the peripheral Emirates wonder what is to become of them in this new era of Saudi hyper foreign policy activity; or what might be their futures, were this Saudi “bomb” somehow to self-detonate. (“Not pretty” is likely to be their conclusion.)

And, for the second major aspect to Israel’s influence on the Trump administration, one has to look no further than the Kurds: Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, just before Masoud Barzani’s independence referendum, that “Israel and countries of the West, have a major interest in the establishment of the State of Kurdistan.”  She added, “I think that the time has come for the U.S. to support the process.”

(Netanyahu supported the Kurdish bid too, and reportedly, urged Barzani to press on, despite the opposition amongst the Kurds themselves, and from all the surrounding neighbouring states).  That ploy did not work out too well.

First came the Barzani fiasco, with his initiative squashed within 24 hours, and now we have Plan B: a Kurdish “statelet” in northern Syria. And that too is now unravelling.

Israel, having failed to get the buffer zones it sought along the Golan armistice line, or on the Syrian-Iraqi frontier; and having failed to keep the Iraqi-Syrian border closed, prevailed upon a receptive U.S. administration to implant a Kurdish wedge in north-eastern Syria. This was an outcome intended to keep Syria weak (the oil and gas assets being denied to the Central Government, and the Syrian state divided, and at odds with itself), and to keep open the connectivity of the Syrian mini “state project” to the Kurdish population of northern Iraq.

The Israeli “project” with the Kurds is a longstanding one, and very much “hands on.” It was most clearly formalized in the so-called Oded Yinon plan which was published in 1982, and which advocated the fragmentation of the Middle East, in terms of a logic of sectarian division. So, when Minister Shaked advocated for a Kurdish state, saying that it would be integral to Israeli efforts to “reshape” the Middle East, it is highly likely that she had the Yinon plan in mind, which advocated an Iraq fragmented into separate states.

But again (in spite of the Barzani fiasco), there was overreach: Moscow and Damascus offered the Kurds a compromise that would allow for a measure of autonomy, but insisted on the preservation of state sovereignty over all of Syria. The Kurds forcefully declined (apparently believing that Washington had their backs). And U.S. Centcom overreached: they gave the Kurds advanced anti-tank weapons, and man-portable surface to air missiles, too.

Of course the Turks “got it.”  Such weapons in the hands of the Kurds change the whole strategic balance.  Such weapons have nothing to do with pushing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to agree a modified constitution for Syria. That narrative is quite implausible. This weaponizing was about empowering the Kurds à la Oded Yinon: not just in Syria and Iraq, but as a ploy to weaken and fracture Turkey as well: No wonder the Kurds of Afrin were so full of themselves.  Senior Turkish commentators, such as Ibrahim Karagul (a leading commentator who is close to Erdogan) were unsurprisingly plain in identifying Israel’s hand in wanting Turkey’s state fragmentation.

So, what has been achieved?  Ankara now is profoundly (and perhaps irrevocably) disenchanted with Washington. Damascus is quietly sorting out Idlib (now depleted by armed opposition groups, commandeered by Turkey to assist in Afrin). Pressure on Assad is relieved; and Turkey has shifted more deeply into the Russian-Iran-Iraq axis. Washington is now ruing the Turkish anger, but what did they expect?

The writing was on the wall at the May 19 press conference held by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford, and Special Envoy to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk, in which they attempted to smooth over frayed relations with Ankara regarding disputes regarding Washington’s support for the Kurds.

But then came Netanyahu’s third major input into U.S. policy: encouraging President Trump to ditch the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal.

Pence stated that Trump will refuse to sign the U.S. nuclear sanctions waiver this May. But as Washington now rues the Turkish reaction to its Kurdish initiative; so Israel may yet come to rue the loss of the JCPOA. Does the Israeli leadership seriously believe that Lilliputian MbS, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are going to Gulliverise Iran and its allies? And does the Israeli armed forces truly trust the U.S. to have its back completely, if it comes to regional war?

And finally, there is the “deal of the century”: sending VP Pence to threaten Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinians with withdrawal of funding completes the picture of an Israel hoeing in an extremely narrow, and highly partisan, Zionist seam of American (and global) support — a seam consisting of Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law), David Friedman (Trump’s specialist in bankruptcy), and Jason Gleenblatt (a real estate lawyer, and the former chief legal officer working for Trump’s various companies).

Even Haim Saban, the strongly pro-Zionist founder of the U.S. Brookings’ Saban Center described the team to Kushner last month as “a bunch of Orthodox Jews who have no idea about anything.”

“The team has an entrepreneur — you — a real-estate lawyer, a bankruptcy lawyer. I don’t know how you’ve lasted eight months in this line-up. There’s not a Middle East macher in this group,” Saban said, using the Yiddish word for bigwig.

Kushner responded that while the team was “not conventional” it was “perfectly qualified,” defending Friedman’s reputation as “one of the most brilliant bankruptcy lawyers and a close friend of mine, and the President.”

Haim Saban noted that indeed, the situation in the Middle East, never had been so “bankrupt.”

Perhaps Netanyahu may come to reflect that, in mining this very narrow seam, he has placed Israel in a precarious place.  He may rejoice at the Palestinians’ present humiliation by Trump and Pence, but as the Israeli PM catalyzes American foreign policy in ways that are deeply antagonistic to the region as a whole (not just Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, but to treaty partners, Jordan and Egypt, too), come the next crisis, Israel may find itself friendless and alone. Even Gulf States are re-positioning – hedging, if you prefer – in the face of the deep uncertainty in Saudi Arabia.

America today is deeply polarized, with each side reflexively rejecting the views (on both domestic and foreign policies) of the other. Even within the wider seam of cultural nationalism that is apparent in America and Europe today, Trump’s rather narrow Middle East team line-up, is not even representative of ‘Alt-Right’ culture in general, which ultimately forms Trump’s base. The evidence — for all the Alt-Right’s insistence on a common Judeo-Christian basis – is that those identifying with the Alt-Right view their culture more narrowly. Rather, the unqualified support that Israel believes it now enjoys, may prove to be highly ephemeral.

The errors of judgment are obvious to Washington establishment figures, who see the consequence in mixed messages emanating from the administration and in the erosion of the unitary state into rebellious departmental fiefdoms, which the White House seems unable to control (see here on Turkey).

The Middle East (and the wider world), just skirted serious conflict in 2017, but we may not be so lucky in 2018. Trump is regarded as Israel’s “best friend,” but is that really so?  Israel’s future seems much less secure one year after he assumed office. The landscape has darkened. Israel misjudged Syria; it misjudged its Syrian proxies; and (probably) will find that it has misjudged MbS – and now, a further miscalculation, this time with Turkey.

It may misjudge Iran next.

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32 comments for “Miscalculations in Israel Could Pave Way to Wider War

  1. Richard Steven Hack
    January 31, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    It might also misjudge Russia, which so far has not been interested in stirring up any conflict with Israel. If Israel and the US keep pushing in Syria, and then Iran, they may find that Russia has more national interests in keeping those countries intact than they expected.

  2. Maisoon
    January 31, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Mr Crooke
    As an Arab I find it infuriating that all analysts talk about is how all these wars and coups benefit the ‘national interests of America or Israel. I would ask, what about the INTERESTS of the People they are slaughtering in order to expand their self serving interests.
    All these wars Mr Crooke are WARS for Eretz Israel of which the Oded Yinon Plan is an integral part.
    Israel and the Settlers squatting there do not belong to the Middle East. The majority of them are not indigenous to the Middle East but are immigrant NON SEMITIC Settlers who have turned occupied Palestine into an imperialist Military Colony, violating the sanctity of the Holy Land, contaminating it with their presence, their militarism and their evil religious and political ideologies.
    What has unfolded in the Middle East due to Oded Yinon is the HOLOCAUST of the Arab world, indeed the Islamic world as this is as much a war against Islam as it is against Arabs, when you take into account the slow holocaust in Afghanistan and the Western instigated Terrorist attacks on Pakistan, to weaken it and thus strengthen the Israeli Ally, Modi’s Hindu India which shares its hatred for Muslims with its benefactor, Israel that after all helped India build its Nuclear Arsenal, and trains its Military and Police Forces.
    This is all about world domination by the Eretz Israeli Judaic Empire- yes, I DARE use that word instead of Zionist because after all Israel declares itself a ‘Jewish’ State with Jerusalem as the eternal capital of their racist Jewish State- not Zionist but Jewish.
    Pence and his Evangelical Jewish Christian Followers believe they are forcing God’s Hand with their Rapture wetdream for Armageddon and the return of Christ [pbuh] Problem here is that neither he, nor America, nor Israel, nor the Jews can dictate to God when Jesus Christ returns- that is solely God’s privilege, God’s decision and it is astounding how Pence thinks the price of hundreds of thousands od dead Arabs and Muslims is worth paying for his twisted Christian Messianic beliefs. Christ however would declare to Pence NOT IN MY NAME.
    In an ideal world I would say, leave the Arab and Islamic world-get out from our nations- have you Westerners/Europeans not done enough killing, enough suffering, enough harm to our people, traumatising our future generations, that is if they survive our endless bloody inhuman wars.

    The Israeli Occupied West has Holocausted our Nation- and I use that word under its true Greek definition [not the word hijacked by Jewry who contemptuously believe they have a monopoly on]- massive death and destruction and great loss of life especially by Fire – your Burnt Offering to your satanic gods. Millions have perished all over the world not only the Middle East, but in Africa, Asia, Latin America, African Slaves, Native Indians etc…
    .
    An Australian researcher who is himself Jewish, Gideon Polya has estimated that since 9/11, around 30 million Arabs/Muslims have died when you combine the deaths in these bloody Colonialist wars under the false pretence of War on terror which has in reality always been their WAR OF TERROR creating their new Human WMDS- their very own terrorists- Al Qaeda, Taliban ,ISIS, DAESH, AL NUSRA, BOKO HARAM, AL SHABAAB- all these PHONY Muslims groups that you all call ‘Islamists’ a word which is itself an Israeli creation constructed from ISLAM and Terrorists so the association would always be made that all Muslims are Terrorists. Any one who denies that Israel and USA created all these Terrorist groups, who they recruited, armed and trained, is not speaking the truth but is deceiving the world Community just as these Warmongers have been successfully doing through their control and dominance of the Media that is nothing but political propaganda that has no journalistic integrity or honesty left.

    But when I see the bloodshed unfolding throughout the Middle East [with shameful help from the Arab Traitors the West in fact installed as our Rulers like the Jewish House of Saud] with ALL the Weapons from the West, I ask JUST WHO REALLY is the TERRORIST, the WAR CRIMINALS here??

    We live in a sad tragic world dominated by liars, hypocrites and blood thirsty warmongers funded by Banksters and Corporations who are more than happy to see millions die as long as Eretz Israel rules our GOD GIVEN WORLD.
    Man’s inhumanity Man.Ugly, obscene, cruel, barbaric with no mercy, no compassion for their fellow man as these Barbarians in Tel Aviv falsely believe that their religion tells them the world belongs to them, that Gentile Humans were created to serve them as taught by the late Rabbis Ovadia Yousef.. They falsely believe as they blaspheme against God, that they are the ‘light unto the world’ when all they have done is bring death destruction, suffering upon is and brought evil darkness that is so satanic which is where our world is being steered to, devoid of morality or true religious ethics and principles.
    And these very same Helpers of Satan brag and boast about their religious achievements which they call ‘National and Security Interests when all it is and always has been is an IMPERIALIST Colonialist Agenda and the Middle East is bearing the brunt of their Brutality and Inhumanity

  3. January 30, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    incisive, multi-angled analysis. Thank you sir.

  4. Erica Stuart
    January 30, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    You have it Mr. Crooke, right on the dot. It was finally presented to the public with facts.

  5. Mark Thomason
    January 30, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Encouraging Israeli excess is hardly necessary to their bad behavior, but certainly harmful to their prospect for a future.

    Israel is rapidly painting itself into a corner. It may already have done so. If there is any path out it is closing rapidly.

    They are as strong as was South Africa’s military, complete with its own nukes and local production of heavy weapons, and deep mobilization of strong reserves. That did not save South Africa, and it does not address the real danger to Israel either.

  6. joun
    January 29, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    “for all the Alt-Right’s insistence on a common Judeo-Christian basis” lol oh my gosh you’re naive.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm

      What the devil are you talking about? Here is the remark in context.

      The evidence — for all the Alt-Right’s insistence on a common Judeo-Christian basis – is that those identifying with the Alt-Right view their culture more narrowly. Rather, the unqualified support that Israel believes it now enjoys, may prove to be highly ephemeral.

      Note that word “ephemeral”. Author Cooke has clearly begun to see the same signs as I have – the rightwingnuts sense Armageddon is just around the corner, and are coming to believe that it’s safe to stop coddling Jews and start thinking about some more appropriate End-Time activities. Headlines:

      America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars

      h**p://russia-insider.com/en/americas-jews-are-driving-americas-wars/ri20965

      What’s Wrong with Liberal Jews?

      That headline is nearly subliminal – a lot of people are going to skip over the “Liberal” part.

      h**p://russia-insider.com/en/whats-wrong-liberal-jews/ri22241

      It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo

      The author of that one modified it to add an “excellent discussion” of it by a neo-Nazi named Richard Spencer.

      h**p://russia-insider.com/en/its-time-drop-jew-taboo/ri22186

      From the Crooks and Liars site is some information about the new Nazi:

      Watch this segment, where Spencer is quoted as asking whether “Jews are people or instead soulless golems?”

      h**ps://crooksandliars.com/2016/11/neo-nazi-richard-spencer-are-jews-people

      Christian Fundamentalists “love” Israel, but in their hearts they hate Jews. I’m beginning to see articles like those I’ve linked assuring them that it’s OK to despise Jews. OK to do other things to the “soulless golem” servants of Satan. First:

      Christians! Kick a Khrist Killer.

      Next:

      Christians! Kill a K*ke for Khrist.

      The End-Timers are nuts. Religious fanatics. They’ll do these things in a heartbeat if their preachers give them the signal. Israel is playing a cynical and deadly game with the lives of innocent Jews throughout the world. Blameless people stand to get hurt on account of the cesspool little nation. Innocent people are at risk of getting killed because of Israel.

      THAT is what I believe the author was talking about when he spoke of the short-term love affair of the Christian Nazis with Israel. They’re just biding their time….

      • Brendan
        January 30, 2018 at 6:36 am

        By the way, Bellingcat’s second-in-command tried to fabricate a connection between Consortium News and those anti-semitism articles. Aric Toler wants people to believe that Russia Insider is part of Consortium News, just because RI republished a CN article.
        https://twitter.com/AricToler/status/953254608104771585/

  7. incontinent reader
    January 29, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Re: “Israel, having failed to get the buffer zones it sought along the Golan armistice line, or on the Syrian-Iraqi frontier; and having failed to keep the Iraqi-Syrian border closed, prevailed upon a receptive U.S. administration to implant a Kurdish wedge in north-eastern Syria” I’m not so sure they haven’t been creating a buffer zone in stages. See, for example: https://theintercept.com/2018/01/23/israel-syria-safe-buffer-zone-golan-heights/ (published 1/23/18)

  8. Tom Welsh
    January 29, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, via the Trump family go-betweens – Jared Kushner, and the Trump family lawyers – has certainly had an impact in Washington”.

    Why isn’t that “collusion with a foreign power”?

    I only ask because I want to know.

    • Skip Scott
      January 30, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Of course it’s collusion with a foreign power. But it’s Israel. Israel owns the MSM and controls our government, so nothing is said.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Netanyahu isn’t Russian.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    January 29, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    How many of our fellow Americans would you believe have even ever heard of the Oded Yinon Plan? I will tell you this, that in my walk of life no one I ever meet seems to have ever heard of the infamous Israeli disaster the Yinon Plan. With taking that into consideration, should we blame our MSM corporate owned infotainment industry? I say, yes.

    The saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’, well when it comes to having even a tiny grasp of the world’s geopolitical game, ‘you are what you read’. Keeping the American people in the dark, is seriously undermining our National Security. Why? Because the American is being kept dumbed up and in the dark, and because of this uninformed American our American leadership goes sailing along undetected from public scrutiny.

    If America comes to a violent end, I will be the first to blame the compliant MSM for their pushing the propaganda narratives which got America to this complicated place. It’s time to end the hegemony project, and time to join the rest of the world in to our building a new 21st Century infrastructure, as to lift the human condition and not bomb mankind into the ‘Stone Age’…thank you very much Curtis Lemay.

    • Bashir
      January 29, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Oded Yinon plan is failing since Syria didn’t work and Trump wants to destroy ISIS more then bow down to everything Netanyahu says to him.Israel most likely will focus on the start of a US vs Iran War which is highly likely since his war hawk generals and neocon advisers will push the narrative he needs a war to win another term in office.

      • Sam F
        January 29, 2018 at 8:30 pm

        Trump must know that much of his base supported him because he promised to end the Mideast wars, and so far he has been all bluster and minor strikes. But he seems to have little control over the military and secret agencies that start wars with false flag incidents, or the mass media that push for wars. The zionists control both, and are pushing for another foolish and illegal war for their private gain.

      • Joe Tedesky
        January 29, 2018 at 10:11 pm

        I read on PressTV today to how Bibi was taking a trip to Moscow to play nice to Putin, but the article stated to how Putin has already commented on Russia’s commitment to Iran, and Syria, oh and Hezbollah….hmmm not what Bibi is going to want to hear.

        You are right, all these strategies of war being played out by the U.S., Israel, and the Saudi’s are bad reactions to Russia’s sudden Middle East superiority. Keep in mind, how China is gobbling up resources, and funding OBOR, while the U.S. is recruiting future terrorist, all under the ‘Clean Break Strategy’ mindset. (A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm).

        We could blame it on not having enough of American boots on the ground, or we could regret hiring mercenaries to do our dirty work, but then where would the profit be in that? We should all ask, what does the U.S. & Israel get by saber rattling so much, over what would the U.S. & Israel acquire by going to war with Iran? Somewhere inside all those questions may just be an answer, but yes war with Iran seems to be inevitable.

        • Deniz
          January 29, 2018 at 11:09 pm

          I dont know, I am sure Trump and Bibi planned on using the Kurds as cannon fodder against Iran. Now what? Are they going to send in Israel and American boys into a meat-grinder war with Iran, who is not even a real threat, against a Russian – Iranian – Syrian – Perhaps Turkish alliance? The head choppers are not going to go against Erdogan and he probably owes Putin for access to Syria against the Kurds. You have to assume Putin thought about all of this and knows he has a stronger hand now.

          • Joe Tedesky
            January 30, 2018 at 2:30 am

            You make a good point. I will only add that the U.S. better think this over having nuclear warheads stored in Turkey. What a mess.

          • Deniz
            January 30, 2018 at 2:47 pm

            I find it a very remote possibility that Turkey would use nuclear weapons from Incirlik in a proxy war against the US, even if it were possible. Nobody wants to be in a war with the US, they are just trying to survive the US and Israel’s next adventure.

            Dont forget, Erdogan and Assad were friends, before 2011, when Obama and NATO, gave the directive to Erdogan that Assad must go and promised him control over the Turkic and Sunni regions for doing their bidding. Now, they rightly see the Kurdish threat to Turkey’s long-term survival, particularly because of the US-Israel-Kurd alliance.

  10. mike k
    January 29, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    The USA as blundering, ignorant giant. Give anyone a lot of power, and right away they think they are a genius. Their behavior tells another story however.

    • Sam F
      January 29, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Yes, it is remarkable how many of those in power forget their declared principles, perhaps because most do not really have principles, and are readily persuaded by the groupthink and social pressures of the manipulative personalities that accumulate in government. I am still fairly impressed by JFK and some of his team (RFK, McNamara, Stevenson), but of course they were all dumped soon after their principles were demonstrated.

      • Gregory Herr
        January 30, 2018 at 7:06 pm

        The inclusion of McNamara on this short list surprises me Sam. Ted Sorensen and Dag Hammarskjold (though not part of the government per se) are two names that I think well of from Kennedy’s tenure.

  11. Far
    January 29, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Interesting article. Thanks for that. The fact is that Israel is focused on a long-term project in order to push somehow a “balkanisation” of the region at all costs. For survival in a region surrounded by Arabs( actually not Jewish nations) Israel needs a stable population growth and consequently expansion, in territory and economy. A possible long-term rural and urban expansion plan can only take off if the neighbors are weakened and divided. Some institutes like AEI and NDI work together with innumerable scholarship holders and research centers to do research on such projects and deliver the required plans. The dangerous part of the plan is the infected/affected policy and administration of the USA which could affect the sovereignty of the USA regarding some subjects. It is neither rational nor legitimated to waste such a lot resources of the United states for dangerous ambitions of a third country.

    • Anon
      January 29, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      Israel does not need expansion for survival, it needs rather diplomacy, of which it is incapable because it is bullied by zionist tyrants. The zionists found that the once-persecuted Jews easily fell for the classical claims of foreign enemies used by tyrants to demand domestic power. Now their tyrants have created real foreign enemies to keep their own population in fear and maintain domestic power.

      Historical experience suggests that tyrants are not removed peacefully, and as with Rome, once they have made enemies of all who surround them, their empire is conquered by its victims. In modern times and on the smaller scale of the Mideast, that collapse will be quick and violent. They have made most of the US an enemy by destroying its democracy, using money to control mass media and elections. Once that is corrected, Israel will be alone and widely hated for its extreme selfishness and racism. What a disaster Israel has been for the Jews and everyone else. Its destruction will be a great gain for everyone else.

      • Piotr Berman
        January 30, 2018 at 8:44 pm

        Those “Zionist tyrants” could be American billionaires for whom Israel is a vanity project, analogous to comparing each other who gave more to Metropolitan Opera. They are financing Israeli political parties, perform auditions for American political candidates etc. And as they compete with each other, the list of “Israeli needs” was getting longer and longer — free reign for settlements one could understand (if not approve), but “taking care of Iran”? Kind of 2500 years too late for that.

    • Keir
      January 30, 2018 at 11:10 am

      I agree, since when was Israel’s stabilization plans (division and conquer of neighboring states) become worthy of American tax dollars?

  12. Zachary Smith
    January 29, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Israel misjudged Syria; it misjudged its Syrian proxies; and (probably) will find that it has misjudged MbS – and now, a further miscalculation, this time with Turkey.

    I have a growing belief that Israel is ruled by the regional equivalent of Donald Trump & Company.

    This was another in a string of amazingly good essays published here. If the author made a single mistake, I missed seeing it. Pence is a disaster beyond belief. Right-wing radio talk show guy who went on to the US Congress, then to Indiana as Governor, and now sitting one heartbeat from the White House. Trump is a lazy and ignorant and not-too-bright rich ***hole, but compared with Pence he really does shine as a “Stable Genius”.

    One of the blogs I read constantly refers to President Jared, and for all practical purposes that’s a fact so far as affairs in and around Holy Israel are concerned. A slumlord turned “diplomat” gangs up with some other right-wing Orthodox Jews and shapes US policy!

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan is about as unsympathetic a figure as you can find on the international scene, but the Trumpies have managed to turn him into a victim of their blunders. I’m quite sure the man wants to steal a large chunk of Northern Syria same as the Holy Hemorrhoid State wants to steal the well-watered parts of Southern Syria. But deliberately setting up a Kurdish nation right on Turkey’s border is a crazy scheme. Trump and his Generals don’t even try to use such brains as God might have gifted them.

    An indication of how good Mr. Cooke’s essay was can be found by comparing it with another one I found at Counterpunch. Though it is also of high quality and well worth reading, the author of that one somehow managed to write the entire thing without mentioning the word “Israel”. (He may have good reason, for the Zionists are vindictive and have a history of doing harm to those who vex them.)

    h**ps://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/29/washington-widens-the-war-in-syria-by-provoking-turkey/

    In a recent piece at The Saker site the author mentions in passing a reason why Russia isn’t willing to push the pissant state of Israel too hard.

    I don’t see the Israelis using nukes on Russian forces, however, that does in no way mean that the Russians when dealing with Israel should not consider the fact that Israel is a nuclear armed power ruled by racist megalomaniacs.

    The leper state is increasingly adopting trailer trash moralty, and when you add that to their craziness you’ve got a really bad situation.

    h**ps://thesaker.is/why-is-putin-allowing-israel-to-bomb-syria/

    • Joe
      January 29, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Comment good here nut with much experence on the ground in Turkey I disagree that the Turks want a piece of Syria. Perhaps but the real reason is that they will NEVER allow a seperatist Kurdish state…anywhere. You can take that to the bank.

  13. Deniz
    January 29, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    When it comes to playing dirty, hardball politics, Turkey wrote the book, they will run circles around the US, even Israel will have their hands full.

    • Joe
      January 29, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      I agree…as said by an experenced “cavliere” from Poland …Kanski…..” one Turk is worth five Jews”.

      • Piotr Berman
        January 30, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        Perhaps it is the reverse, but there are many more Turks. And this Administration is “strangely inept”, if they have a devious plan to arm their Kurdish pets to enable an independent state, then they should keep it under wraps while YPG is too weak. But could they get strong enough? A bolder action provokes a bolder reaction, and enraged Turkey can swamp Syrian Kurds, it is just a matter of sufficient domestic support.

        Now some predict that Kurds will try to make a show of valiant resistance and then they will throw themselves at the bosom of Mother Russia that can broker an autonomy deal — having good relations and influence with Damascus government AND Ankara, plus their contacts with YPG/SDF. This could lead to “and they lived happily ever after”, with USA and Israel not included among “them”.

    • Moi
      January 31, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Are you referring to the gay father of Turkey, Kemal “Ataturk?” Yeah, I wouldn’t trust him either.

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