Paul Klee Girl in Mourning 1939
Douglas Macgregor: We Are On the Brink of Total War
Netanyahu declaring invasion: "You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible"
1 Samuel 15:3
"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" pic.twitter.com/5QF9PkGhjJ
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 28, 2023
Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1980's: 'We have the US Senate, the Congress and a record strong Jewish lobby on our side. We have a huge influence over them, America won't force us into anything' pic.twitter.com/zQXUEEyae0
— DD Geopolitics (@DD_Geopolitics) October 25, 2023
Bibi needs a war to save himself, and Biden needs a ceasefire…
The Biden administration is becoming increasingly edgy about the crisis in Gaza and what the objectives are for the Netanyahu war camp. Most of all, it’s worried that it is being carefully coaxed into a war between Israel and Iran which even the hapless U.S. president knows is not somewhere he wants to go, regardless of how far he is away from his re-election campaign. Netanyahu, for his part, is not even sure himself if he actually wants to launch a ground offensive and a number of top analysts are even predicting that he even won’t go ahead with it, given what’s at stake and the history of such initiatives in the past. Politically, he is not at all in a good place right now and the attack on October 7th in many ways, while buying him time in office and allowing him freedom from corruption investigations, is a double-edged sword which will dismember him when Israelis’ patience runs out. Most blame him for the attacks and kidnappings in the first place so he has a limited amount of political bandwidth to work with.
His strategy seems to be more about playing it cool and letting time take its toll. Even though he doesn’t have too much time himself, Biden has much less. The stranglehold that Netanyahu has on Biden tightens each day, when it is clear that Biden doesn’t have the patent ability to invoke a ceasefire and do what most U.S. presidents should do: behave like a superpower. This, apparently will have to be left to the two real superpowers who tend to do more and talk less: China and Russia. For the moment both Biden and Netanyahu are both waiting for a miracle to happen which allows for a ceasefire to happen without Netanyahu losing face. Biden could simply insist that Netanyahu stops the campaign and then at least Bibi could say to the world “this is what the U.S. has asked us to do”. But even in this setup, there would be a price to pay for Biden and his administration elsewhere.
As more and more Iranian militias build up on the Syrian-Israel border and the narrative heats up between Hezbollah and Israel, everyone in fact is looking for a stroke of luck to throw the entire gruesome slaughter out of sync. Biden could do this. He could be bold and courageous and show real élan on the world stage. But that’s just not what he does. Despite being an old school neocon and being a huge advocate for NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, these days he has lost his mojo. He simply doesn’t know what he wants with Israel, a country which he always professed to being a great supporter of, but whose present administration is not where Biden wants U.S. foreign policy to be. Many experts question what actually is at the heart of the U.S.-Israel relationship and the 3bn dollars it hands to Israel each year in military aid? For a long time, it was the special relationship that Israel cherished while it, Israel, acted on behalf of the U.S. in the region and was there just in case Arab countries lost their way in their token allegiance to U.S. hegemony. At the very least it was an outpost.
Hamas has called on the millions of Palestinians in the diaspora, as well as the whole Arab world and all lands of Islam, to unite. Slowly but surely, a pattern may be discerned: could the Arab world – and great swathes of Islam – be on the verge of significantly uniting to avenge their own “century of humiliation” – much as the Chinese did after WWII with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping? Beijing, via its sophisticated diplomacy, is certainly hinting at it to key players, even before the ground-breaking, Russia-China brokered Iran-Saudi rapprochement was struck earlier this year. That by itself won’t thwart the perpetual US neocon obsession to bomb critical infrastructure in Iran. Worth less than zero when it comes to military science, these neocons ignore how Iranian retaliation would – accurately – target each and every US base in Iraq and Syria, with the Persian Gulf an open case.
Peerless Russian military analyst Andrei Martyanov has shown what could happen to those expensive American iron bathtubs in the Eastern Mediterranean in case of an Israeli-threatened attack on Iran. Moreover, there are at least 1,000 US troops in northern Syria stealing the country’s oil – which would also become an instant target. Ali Fadavi, IRGC’s deputy commander-in-chief, cut to the chase: “We have technologies in the military field that no one knows about, and the Americans will know about them when we use them.” Cue to Iranian hypersonic Fattah missiles – cousins to the Khinzal and the DF-27 – traveling at Mach 15, and able to reach any target in Israel in 400 seconds. And add to it sophisticated Russian electronic warfare (EW). As confirmed in Moscow six months ago, when it comes to military interconnection, the Iranians told the Russians at the same table, “whatever you need, just ask.”
The same applies vice-versa, because the mutual enemy is one and the same. The heart of the matter in any Russian-Iran strategy is the Strait of Hormuz, through which transits at least 20 percent of the world’s oil (nearly 17 million barrels a day) plus 18 percent of liquified natural gas (LNG), which amounts to at least 3.5 billion cubic feet a day. Iran is able to block the Strait of Hormuz in a flash. For starters, that would be some sort of poetic justice retribution for Israel aiming to gobble up, illegally, all the multibillion-dollar natural gas discovered offshore Gaza: this is, incidentally, one of the absolutely key reasons for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Yet the real deal will be to bring down the Wall Street-engineered $618 trillion derivative structure, as confirmed for years by analysts at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, as well as independent Persian Gulf energy traders.
So when push comes to shove – and way beyond the defense of Palestine and in a scenario of Total War – not only Russia-Iran but key players of the Arab world about to become members of BRICS 11 – such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE – do have what it takes to bring down the US financial system anytime they choose. As an old school Deep State higher up, now in business in Central Europe, stresses: “The Islamic nations have the economic advantage. They can blow up the international financial system by cutting off the oil. They do not have to fire a single shot. Iran and Saudi Arabia are allying together. The 2008 crisis took 29 trillion dollars to solve but this one, should it happen, could not be solved even with 100 trillion dollars of fiat instruments.” As Persian Gulf traders told me, one possible scenario is OPEC starting to sanction Europe, first from Kuwait and then spreading from one OPEC country to another and to all countries that are treating the Muslim world as enemies and war fodder.
“.. this one, I think, should get a gold star for its most hypocritical reasoning in history.”
As Islamic resistance continues to grow amid the ongoing bombardment and siege of Gaza by Tel Aviv, and especially if the Israeli military proceeds with a ground assault on the enclave, the world could witness a regional escalation “the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite a long time,” Christopher Helali, an independent investigative journalist, told Sputnik. Furthermore, as hawkish politicians in the US sign off on covert attempts to use the latest Palestine-Israel conflagration to “put the squeeze on Iran”, the pundit added, this further “raises the specter” that Tehran, for Israel – a US non-NATO ally – “remains the main target, even though they talk about Hamas.” Chris Helali pointed to the recent Israeli incursion, using tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other military vehicles, into northern Gaza as signaling that there are preparations for a larger ground assault.
Taking stock of the spiraling death toll in Gaza, pounded by Israeli retaliatory strikes since Hamas’ surprise attack earlier in October, the analyst said: “I think that the longer this goes on, the more Palestinians are arrested, killed, and wounded, and the more families are affected by this, I think we could definitely see an escalation in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.” The Israeli military, which has so far held off from a much-touted ground offensive on Gaza, recently said it had conducted a raid with tanks into the northern part of the enclave in preparation for the next stage of fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also confirmed that a ground incursion was coming, reiterating that the goal is to destroy Hamas’ military and governance capabilities.
Chris Helali mentioned Netanyahu’s speech, which echoed the rhetoric of other Israeli officials, trying to liken Hamas to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh to justify the pummeling that Gaza was receiving. Emphasizing that Israel was doing so to try to “rebuild the international coalition that helped to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, in Iraq and elsewhere,” the analyst nevertheless voiced the opinion that Tel Aviv would need to “tread very carefully, given all the destruction they’ve brought.” “It looks like Armageddon,” Chris Helali said, referring to the current situation in Gaza. President Joe Biden, who rushed to dramatically beef up the US presence in the Middle East after the situation escalated by sending two carrier strike groups along with thousands of Marines and more warplanes to the region, responded to a reporter’s question about the Palestinian death count, saying that at the White House: “What they say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed… I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
“How reprehensible it is that the president would say something like this, and that many so-called independent media personalities and mainstream media outlets are toeing this line, that somehow these numbers are inflated. This is as reprehensible as when people deny the numbers of the Holocaust… the fact that somehow one Israeli life is worth more than a Palestinian life – an ongoing theme that we’ve seen throughout the decades – is horrific for me… It shows this double standard, this level of hypocrisy,” Helali said. “Anyone with eyes can look at what the Israelis have done to Gaza. They have flattened it… Hospitals are blown up, churches… I mean, the idea that they’re lying about these deaths, when you can see it very clearly with your own eyes, it’s the height of cynicism,” agreed Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. The hypocrisy is “astonishing,” he said, adding: “This is always astonishing in every administration. But this one, I think, should get a gold star for its most hypocritical reasoning in history.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to sign the order on beginning of a wide-scale ground operation in the Gaza Strip out of fear of losing trust of the people, should the operation fail, the New York Times reported citing sources in the Israeli government. According to two sources, who were present during meetings of the emergency cabinet, Netanyahu “outraged senior officers by refusing to sign the plan” of the. His refusal, the sources note, was partially motivated by the Prime Minister’s desire to obtain a unanimous approval of this step from the emergency cabinet, established jointly with the opposition after the October 7 attacks.
The NYT claims that Netanyahu’s refusal indicates disagreements within the cabinet, with some ministers considering a less ambitious invasion plan, which includes several operations covering a small portion of the enclave instead of a single wide-scale one. Analysts say that the Prime Minister is unwilling to approve the action plan out of concerns that he will be blamed for the operation’s potential failure amid the falling public trust. On October 25, Axios reported citing US officials that Netanyahu is skeptical about the armed forces’ command plans and intends to postpone the beginning of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip. According to Axios sources, the Prime Minister needs time to listen to different points of view and to provide the negotiators with more options to liberate hostages while the army prepares for the operation.
On October 24, the Times of Israel said that the Israeli ground operation in Gaza may be postponed for a long term or even not take place at all. Meanwhile, the IDF reported full readiness for a ground operation after over 550 rocket strikes, carried out within 16 days. According to CNN, Washington pressured Israel, urging it to postpone the operation and to release the hostages held in the enclave. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC that the Jewish state must make an independent decision in this regard, and the US can only advise.
“..ground operations in Gaza will continue “until new orders are given.”
Who gives the orders?
The Israeli military has launched the “second stage” of war against Hamas militants in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address on Saturday night, while warning citizens to prepare for a long struggle ahead. “In the initial weeks of the war, we launched massive airstrikes that dealt a severe blow to the enemy… We eliminated many terrorists,” the PM said in his address to the Israelis. In three weeks of Israeli air raids, the death toll in Gaza has exceeded 8,000 people, “half of whom are children,” the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave told AFP early Sunday. It remains unclear how many of the casualties were actual combatants.
“However, we are only at the beginning of the road. The battle within the Gaza Strip will be difficult and long,” Netanyahu warned, while stressing that “this is our second War of Independence. This is our mission, our purpose in life, and together we will prevail.” The IDF’s expansion of its operation comes almost three weeks after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on the Jewish state, hammering Israeli towns and cities with rockets and raiding settlements near the Gaza border. Around 1,400 Israelis have been killed since the war began, and over 200 taken hostage, according to Israeli officials. “Last night, additional ground forces entered Gaza, marking the beginning of the second stage of the war, whose goal is to destroy the military and political capabilities of Hamas and to bring our kidnapped citizens back,” Netanyahu declared.
Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza with airstrikes throughout Friday and Saturday nights, as ground troops and armor were launched in a significant incursion into the Palestinian enclave. It is unclear, however, whether the ongoing “expanded” ground operations will be followed by a larger invasion. There are concerns that a full-scale invasion may result in heavy Israeli casualties and trigger an escalation with other regional players, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also said on Saturday that Israel has “moved on to a new phase in the war,” and said that ground operations in Gaza will continue “until new orders are given.”
“..the US veto showed “that their task includes supporting Israel in any of its actions..”
Destroying the Gaza Strip or expelling 2 mln residents from the Palestinian enclave risks causing a crisis that may last decades, if not ages, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told BelTA in an interview. “If Gaza is destroyed or if 2 mln people are expelled from there <…>, this would cause a crisis for decades, if not ages,” Lavrov said as he urged humanitarian efforts to rescue the Gaza population. According to Russia’s top diplomat, the resolution at the United Nations Security Council drafted by Russia jointly with China and Arab countries was aimed at achieving exactly these goals, as he referred to the provision of food and thermal power to people in Gaza. However, the US veto showed “that their task includes supporting Israel in any of its actions,” Lavrov lamented.
Tensions in the Middle East flared up again on October 7 when Hamas militants launched a surprise incursion into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian movement described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel declared a total siege of Gaza and started carrying out strikes on the Palestinian enclave, as well as on certain areas in Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also taking place in the West Bank.
Use Israel to cut off Ukraine.
Republicans are inclined to place Israel’s needs above those of Ukraine for a number of reasons, as per Professor David Woodard, Clemson University political scientist and former political consultant for Republican congressmen. “The US was the first nation to recognize Israel as a nation-state in 1948 and both parties have supported it,” Woodard told Sputnik. “Two Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush conducted successful Middle East military campaigns and it was always said that the operations were to ‘protect the state of Israel.’ The Democrats have a painful memory of the Iranian Rescue Mission by the US when Jimmy Carter was president to rescue American hostages as a failed policy. Conservatives have closer ties to the Judeo-Christian legacy than the secular Democrats. The GOP candidates have a natural conservative allegiance to Israel, it goes very deep.”
In addition to that, the Ukraine war “presents a problem the longer it continues,” according to the political scientist. The Kiev regime’s summer offensive has failed to meet the West’s expectations with the Ukrainians making zero progress on the ground and sustaining tremendous losses in terms of both manpower and equipment. The continuation of Kiev’s counteroffensive attempt in the fall has yet to show any results either. Moreover, the Biden administration has recently acknowledged that it expects Russia to make new tactical gains on the ground in the near future. Given Ukraine’s inability to show progress, funding may become more controversial, per the political scientist. “American history shows that protracted wars are costly for presidents and their party,” explained Woodard.
“Abraham Lincoln had to have a Union victory in Atlanta to survive the 1864 election to a second term. Truman in Korea and Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam found that as military losses mount over time, the public becomes weary and they stepped aside for the next election. George W. Bush is the latest president to endure such criticism over time, so much so that he was hamstrung to act. If the fall military campaign is successful, I suspect that the US will stay involved, but you should remember that the Tet Offensive (1968) in Vietnam turned American public opinion against the war.” 53% of American respondents to say that sending US troops to fight in Vietnam was a mistake, with just 35% believing that it wasn’t in August 1968. Earlier, in March 1968, then US President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek a second term. US historians agree that the Tet Offensive was the beginning of the end of Washington’s Vietnam military adventure.
Likewise, an October Ipsos poll concerning Washington’s aid to Kiev indicated that US public support for arming Ukraine is continuing to decline. Currently, around 52% of Democrats support arming Ukraine, down from 61% in May. The majority of Republicans are opposed to sending weapons to Kiev, with the number of those supporting aid to Ukraine falling from 39% in May to 35%. On top of that, 56% of Republicans and 34% of Democrats believe that Ukraine’s problems “are none of our business and we should not interfere.” Still, Woodard believes that the White House won’t cut Ukraine’s aid abruptly: Team Biden does not want to look weak and susceptible to the GOP’s pressure. “For a time the US will try to fund both [Ukraine and Israel], but only for a short time. The withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Biden administration was a catastrophe for the president, he doesn’t want to be seen as being weak after that incident and cutting from Kiev would be a public relations disaster,” the political scientist concluded.
“It is not clear who has authority for ground links in Gaza, but do we know that no terminal has requested a connection in that area..”
Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said that he will provide satellite internet access to “internationally recognized aid organizations” in Gaza via his Starlink network. Phone and internet lines went down in the enclave after a heavy Israeli bombardment on Friday. Musk made his announcement on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, stating that SpaceX’s Starlink division would “support connectivity” with the besieged strip. There are apparently a number of Starlink terminals in Gaza, but in a separate post on Saturday, Musk said that none of these devices had attempted to communicate with the satellite network. “It is not clear who has authority for ground links in Gaza, but do we know that no terminal has requested a connection in that area,” he wrote on X.
Internet and cell phone services stopped working in Gaza on Friday night after a wave of Israeli airstrikes. Gaza’s largest telecommunications operator, Paltel, announced that its infrastructure had been totally destroyed in the bombing, which preceded the deployment of Israeli ground troops to the enclave. “The intense bombing in the last hour caused the destruction of all remaining international routes linking Gaza to the outside world,” the company said. The outage left news organizations and aid groups unable to reach their workers, with the UN children’s agency and Doctors Without Borders both reporting no contact from their employees. RT Arabic was also temporarily unable to contact its correspondents and photographers in Gaza.
Musk’s announcement marks the second time that he has deployed Starlink to a combat zone. Shortly after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the tech tycoon announced that he would deliver Starlink terminals to the Ukrainian side and pay for their upkeep. However, he fell out of favor with Kiev when he barred the Ukrainian military from using the network to guide drone strikes on Russian ships in the Black Sea. “If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” he explained last month. The Pentagon has since announced a deal to lease Starlink satellites for military use.
They want zero info coming out.
Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Kahri has vowed that “Israel will use all means at its disposal to fight” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s planned provision of Starlink internet access to Gaza. “Hamas will use it for terrorist activities,” Kahri claimed in a post on X (formerly Twitter), adding that “there is no doubt about it, we know it, and Musk knows it.” In response, the tech billionaire said he is “not so naive,” explaining how the proposed scheme would work, while promising to “do a security check with both the US and Israeli governments before turning on even a single terminal.” “Per my post, no Starlink terminal has attempted to connect from Gaza. If one does, we will take extraordinary measures to confirm that it is used *only* for purely humanitarian reasons,” Musk said.
Earlier on Saturday, Musk said that he would open the Starlink satellite network to “internationally recognized aid organizations” working in Gaza, after a wave of Israeli airstrikes severed the enclave’s last phone and internet connections with the outside world. Internet and cell phone services stopped working in Gaza on Friday night after a wave of Israeli airstrikes. The outage left news organizations and aid groups unable to reach their workers, with the UN children’s agency UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross and Red Crescent all reporting no contact from their employees. RT Arabic was also temporarily unable to contact its correspondents and photographers in Gaza.
Musk’s plan would mark the second time that he has deployed Starlink to a combat zone. Shortly after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the tech tycoon supplied Kiev with Starlink terminals. However, he fell out of favor when he barred the Ukrainian military from using the network to guide drone strikes on Russian ships in the Black Sea.
He’s waking up. Israel withdrew envoys in reaction.
Türkiye will present evidence of Israeli war crimes in Gaza to the world, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a rally on Saturday. While Erdogan initially positioned himself as a potential mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians, he has since sided with the “freedom fighters” in Hamas.Israel’s operation in Gaza is “not defense, but an open, vicious massacre,” Erdogan told thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Istanbul. “Israel has been openly committing war crimes for exactly 22 days, but Western leaders have not even called for a ceasefire,” he declared, adding that Türkiye is gathering information to “present Israel to the world as a war criminal.”
More than 7,000 Palestinians, including nearly 3,000 children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since the current conflict began, according to the latest figures from the Gaza Health Ministry. Israeli forces dramatically ramped up their bombardment of the strip on Friday night, before sending troops and tanks into the strip. The Israeli air campaign began immediately after Hamas fighters raided Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza border on October 7, killing around 1,400 people and capturing around 250 hostages. Within days of the attack, Erdogan announced that he was “ready for all kinds of mediation, including prisoner exchange, if the parties request it.” Erdogan called on both sides to show restraint, but in the weeks that followed, his focus shifted almost exclusively to Israel.
The Turkish president declared that Israel’s siege of Gaza – which prevented food, water, medicine, and electricity from reaching the enclave – was “against the laws of war,” and accused Israel last week of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians.In a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday, he said that “Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a group of freedom fighters, ‘mujahideen’ [holy warriors] waging a battle to protect its lands and people.” Erdogan also said that he had canceled plans to visit Israel over the bombardment of Gaza.
Wonder where the info comes from.
Several thousand US troops have taken part in Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, the Iran-based Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday. The Pentagon has recently announced plans to significantly reinforce its military presence in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas conflict and tensions with Iran. According to the agency’s security sources, Israel’s assault on Gaza involved three divisions and several brigades and was also underpinned by 5,000 US military personnel. The outlet, however, did not provide any details about which troops took part in the offensive or what functions they performed. Tasmin said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attempted to enter the enclave from several areas in the north, west, and southwest “to split the Gaza Strip into two or three sections and cut off the connection among the Palestinian resistance forces before launching the next stage of the war.”
The agency did not specify what results the Israeli military had achieved so far. However, Hamas said on Saturday that it had managed to thwart Israel’s assault, claiming to have repelled it with heavy losses. Meanwhile, the IDF stated that it was “advancing through the stages of the war” in Gaza, with fighting still ongoing. It noted that no soldiers had been injured in the “expanded” ground operations. After Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, the US military scrambled to reinforce its presence in the region. The Pentagon has sent two aircraft carriers with supporting vessels to the area, as well as “activated the deployment” of THAAD and Patriot air defense systems.
Last week, it also said it had ordered more than 2,000 additional troops to prepare to deploy in support of Israel in its conflict with Hamas. On Thursday, it said that it would deploy 900 soldiers to the Middle East. US officials, however, insisted, that none of the troops would go to Israel, and are rather “intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster US force protection capabilities.” The decision to send reinforcements also came as the US conducted airstrikes on two facilities in eastern Syria allegedly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. US President Joe Biden said it was a response to recurring attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria. Tehran maintains that militant groups in those countries are acting independently.
“We are open for an immediate swap deal that would guarantee the release of all prisoners held in occupation prisons in return for the release of all hostages held by the resistance forc..”
There are 1000s of such prisoners.
The US Special Operations Command has denied media reports that alleged US forces have been involved in Israel’s ongoing ground operation in the Gaza Strip. “Definitely misinformation,” a US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesperson told Sputnik on Saturday. The spokesperson’s response came in light of reports by Iranian media that some 5,000 US military personnel were taking part in the Gaza ground expansion. It was also noted American troops had largely taken control of ongoing operations, and that Israeli officials had “lost trust in the management abilities and loyalty of a number of army personnel.” Iranian media further outlined that Israeli military were working to divide their offensive in the Gaza Strip into at least two zones before launching an all-out effort to clamp down on the militant Palestinian group Hamas.
It was earlier reported by US media that Israel kicked up its military operations in light of unfruitful talks to gain the release of hostages taken by Hamas. However, media reports elsewhere offered a much different picture, with some reporting that “significant progress” had been made in ongoing talks Hamas representatives have repeatedly voiced its openness to release hostages as part of a ceasefire exchange; in fact, Yahya Sinwar, the head of the Palestinian group’s political bureau in Gaza, said on Saturday that the group was open for an “immediate swap.” “We are open for an immediate swap deal that would guarantee the release of all prisoners held in occupation prisons in return for the release of all hostages held by the resistance force,” Yahya Sinwar said.
At present, more than 200 people – believed to be both soldiers and civilians – have been taken into the group’s custody and reportedly kept in underground passageways. Earlier concerns were raised that a potential move to flood Hamas’ tunnel system would claim the lives of said hostages.
“If the strategy is to continue to pour money there, €1.5 billion per month without any result, and we have to cut our own resources?”
Ukraine is “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told reporters on Friday following an EU summit in Brussels, raising doubts about the bloc’s unprecedented funding to Kiev. In particular, Fico questioned the wisdom of an additional €50 billion ($52.9 billion) earmarked for Ukraine in the EU’s proposed budget, asking rhetorically, “Did the financing of Ukraine change the outcome of this war? So let’s invest another 50 billion, and it doesn’t matter what happens?” The prime minister agreed to increase Slovakia’s contribution to the EU by about €400 million over the next four years, but only if the EU could promise it would not be stolen by Kiev. “Ukraine is among the most corrupt countries in the world and we are conditioning what is excessive financial support on guarantees that European money (including Slovak) not be embezzled,” Fico told assembled journalists.
Noting that the EU had no “peace plan” and that the leaders of several member countries had been “driven into a dead end” due to a lack of coherence on how to move forward, he said that a blank check to Ukraine would be a hard sell back home in Slovakia. “If the strategy is to continue to pour money there, €1.5 billion per month without any result, and we have to cut our own resources? After all, we have huge problems, and public money is in a difficult state,” Fico explained. In return for Slovakia’s increased contribution, Fico also required that there be no cuts to funds intended to support farmers, that the increased budget would be used to fight illegal immigration and increase EU competitiveness, that Slovak companies receive some of the contracts to rebuild Ukraine, and that the restoration of border infrastructure between the two nations be prioritized.
The Slovak PM is not the only EU leader who has balked at the bloc’s continuing efforts to bolster Kiev financially. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared at the summit on Friday that the strategy of sending billions in aid had failed. “The Ukrainians will not win on the battlefield,” he said, vowing not to endorse the budget revision allocating another €50 billion. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto earlier this week condemned what he described as the EU’s “war psychosis,” accusing Brussels of planning for four years of conflict with massive arms spending, including possible military investment in Ukraine, without any funding or effort put toward resolving hostilities.
An incredible instance of an octopus disguising itself as the head of a bigger marine creaturepic.twitter.com/QpGyF7URqG
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) October 27, 2023
— MÏT€$H PATEL⚡️ ∞/21M 🇸🇻🌋 13%'er (@Mitesh_Patel) October 28, 2023
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