Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he is not scared of war with Israel

 Elijahjm.wordpress.com reports: This clash has triggered the mobilisation of the Syrian army and its allies in Syria and in Lebanon, the Lebanese Hezbollah.  The speed of the Syrian reaction was due to a prior decision taken at highest level among all allies operating on Syrian territory. These consider a possible confrontation may be inevitable if Israel has decided to respond and declare war. The violation of Syrian sovereignty is no longer an option open to Israel and the Israeli jets will no longer be able to carry out their usual promenades over the Levant without consequences.

 Moreover, it is also clear that Russia – despite all that is said in the media – is aware of the Syrian decision to confront Israel. Moscow is supplying Syria with anti-aircraft missiles, its forces dominates the air space over the Syrian Army’s controlled territory, and has the radar capability to see and monitor any Israeli aircraft flying over Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Russia is also informed when the Syrian army repeatedly fires missiles and confronts the Israeli air force in the sky over Syria or in the border areas.

 It is not in the interests of Russia to see war break out in Syria where its forces are present on the ground and in the Mediterranean. Russia considers it has the right to intervene because its official presence on Syrian territory is at the request of and in agreement with the Damascus government. In its role as a superpower, it is in its interest to stop the tension on the Syrian border and show it has the power to impose peace on would-be belligerents.

 It is also in Moscow’s interests to push Syria to react to Israel’s violations, even at the cost of downing an Israeli jet- especially when Russia accuses Washington of supplying the Faylaq al-Sham militants (al-Qaeda’s allies in northern Syria city of Idlib and its surroundings) with the anti-aircraft missiles which downed the Russian jet over Idlib and to the murder of its pilot who refused to surrender to the militants and jihadists.

 All of this took place one day after the liberation of the entire area from the “Islamic State” (ISIS) group in rural Aleppo, Homs and Idlib, with over 1200 square kilometres returned to government control. This freed over fifteen thousand officers and soldiers from the Syrian army and special units which were engaged there to move to another front, the one against Israel if necessary, with al-Qaeda as the only remaining threat to the Syrian state.

 This shows that the government of Damascus – which lived in a state of war for more than six years – is ready to fight its battle with Israel and begin now. The Lebanese Second War in 2006 proved that air force power does not give superiority and does not finish off the opponent, Hezbollah, whose militants continued firing missiles and rockets consistently throughout the 33 days of war. The thousands of missiles delivered to Syria from Russia and Iran in the last years represent a major threat to Israel in the event of war, invalidating its air superiority.

 Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also said that the new front will extend from Naqoura (south of Lebanon) to the occupied Golan Heights (south of Syria) and that tens of thousands of friendly forces from neighbouring countries and others from farther afield will participate in the next war. This means that Hezbollah, which has put all its forces in Lebanon and Syria on full alert in preparation for any Israeli response, is ready for war the moment Tel Aviv escalates.

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LIGHTER SIDE

 

Political Cartoons by Tom Stiglich

ALERT ALERT

 Judge Orders Mueller To Prove  Russia Meddled In Election 

Judge Dabney L. Friedrich

A Washington federal judge on Thursday ordered special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to clarify election meddling claims lodged against a Russian company operated by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Bloomberg.

Concord Management and Consulting, LLC. – one of three businesses indicted by Mueller in February along with 13 individuals for election meddling, surprised the special counsel in April when they actually showed up in court to fight the charges. Mueller’s team tried to delay Concord from entering the case, arguing that thee Russian company not been properly served, however Judge Dabney Friedrich denied the request – effectively telling prosecutors ‘well, they’re here.’

Concord was accused in the indictment of supporting the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian ‘troll farm’ accused of trying to influence the 2016 US election.

On Thursday, Judge Freidrich asked Mueller’s prosecutors if she should assume they aren’t accusing Concord of violating US laws applicable to election expenditures and failure to register as a foreign agent.

Concord has asked Dabney to throw out the charges – claiming that Mueller’s office fabricated a crime, and that there is no law against interfering in elections.

According to the judge’s request for clarification, the Justice Department has argued that it doesn’t have to show that Concord had a legal duty to report its expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Rather, the allegation is that the company knowingly engaged in deceptive acts that precluded the FEC, or the Justice Department, from ascertaining whether they had broken the law. -Bloomberg

On Monday, Friedrich raised questions over whether the special counsel’s office could prove a key element of their case – saying that it was “hard to see” how allegations of Russian influence were intended to interfere with US government operations vs. simply “confusing voters,” reports law.com.

During a 90-minute hearing, Friedrich questioned prosecutor Jonathan Kravis about how the government would be able to show the Russian defendants were aware of the Justice Department and FEC’s functions and then deliberately sought to skirt them.

“You still have to show knowledge of the agencies and what they do. How do you do that?” Friedrich asked.

Kravis, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, argued that the government needed only to show that Concord Management and the other defendants were generally aware that the U.S. government “regulates and monitors” foreign participation in American politics. That awareness, Kravis said, could be inferred from the Russians’ alleged creation of fake social media accounts that appeared to be run by U.S. citizens and “computer infrastructure” intended to mask the Russian origin of the influence operation.

“That is deception that is directed at a higher level,” Kravis said. Kravis appeared in court with Michael Dreeben, a top Justice Department appellate lawyer on detail to the special counsel’s office. -law.com

Concord pleaded not guilty in May. Their attorney, Eric Dubelier – a partner at Reed Smith, has described the election meddling charges as “make believe,” arguing on Monday that Mueller’s indictment against Concord “doesn’t charge a crime.”

“There is no statute of interfering with an election. There just isn’t,” said Dubelier, who added that Mueller’s office alleged a “made-up crime to fit the facts they have.”

Dubelier added that the case against Concord Management is the first in US history “where anyone has ever been charged with defrauding the Justice Department” through their failure to register under FARA.

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