AROUND THE WORLD: Israel Bombs Syrian Capital, Damascus on Christmas Day as Turkish Invasion Looms

On the 25th of December, Israeli warplanes struck Damascus during Christmas celebrations allegedly targeting Hezbollah senior figures and strongholds in the city. It has been reported that Syrian government air defences destroyed 14 of the 16 missiles fired by the Israeli Air Force during the strikes.

The aggressive strikes come as US president Trump has announced that his administration will pull troops out of Syria. The decision comes as Trump has harked back to his anti interventionist campaign rhetoric as part of his “America First” plans. The resolution has already led to defence secretary James Mattis’ resignation as United States foreign policy has seen a seemingly remarkable change of pace compared to the last 50 years of hawkish interventionist foreign policy.

With the US withdrawal also comes a loss of support for the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) whom US forces have been assisting against the so-called Islamic State. It has thus also led to the emboldening of Erdogan’s Turkey whose military have long since wished to displace and attack the Syrian Kurds whom they see as connected to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a group who have participated in a decades long guerrilla conflict against the Turkish government.

The bombing of Damascus can be seen as a play by Israel to take a leading role in Syrian civil war as the US pulls out. The hawkish display of power is no surprise to anyone who knows Israels interventionist military history which includes the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The conflict saw Israel topple leftist pro Palestinian forces and attempt to remove Syrian influence from Lebanon. It also helped lead to the creation of Hezbollah, the very same force Israel now seeks to combat in Syria.

Hezbollah have taken a large role in the war on the side of the Assad government. Its a relationship that goes back to the Lebanese civil war where Hezbollah and Baathist backed militias fought the Israeli backed rightist Phalange for control of the nation. Hezbollah is a commanding military presence, as shown during its strategic victory against the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon war. Its intervention on behalf of Assad cannot be emphasised enough with regards to the continued survival of the Syrian Arab Socialist Baath Party. It has recently played a leading role against rebel forces near the occupied Golan Heights during the Beit Jinn offensive and spearheaded the capture of Abu Kamal from the so-called Islamic State.

The withdrawal of the US from the region and the display of Hezbollah military prowess had no doubt worried Israel. The events reminisce in the happenings of the Lebanese civil war where America similarly withdrew for the conflict, after a suicide bombing killed 241 US troops, and Hezbollah gained a decisive edge in the closing chapters of the 15 year war. Now, Hezbollah has yet again proven itself decisive as the Assad government asserts itself day after day.

Israel meanwhile has been in somewhat of a crisis over the last few months. Its reputation has once again been tainted after a series of shootings of Palestinians during Gaza border protests earlier this year. A corruption scandal has emerged against Israel’s long running rightist PM Benjamin Netanyahu and a tactical victory by Gazan armed factions last month has directly led to the collapse of the Likud led right wing governing coalition. With fresh elections around the corner, the Netanyahu administration has no doubt attempted to claw back some legitimacy with these recent strikes on the Syrian capital.

The situation in Syria remains unstable. With the US withdrawal, a Turkish invasion against YPG militants in the north now looms and a deal seems to be on the horizon between Kurdish and Baathist forces. A more determined Israeli intervention into the conflict will unquestionably have untold consequences for the future of the region.

2018 has been a disgraceful new low for the mainstream media

The editors and journalists of the mainstream media need to take a long hard look at themselves. The coverage of politics we have had to endure this year politics is probably the worst it has been in my lifetime.

Today’s headlines see Jeremy Corbyn condemned for visiting a Jewish group to attend the Seder event, a ritual service held on Passover, “with Jewish members of his local community”.

The reason, the group is not a mainstream Jewish group and has been critical of the actions of Israel. The story is frankly ridiculous. Corbyn attempts to connect with the Jewish community but is criticised, by mainly non-Jews, for meeting the wrong type of Jews.

The whole antisemitism debate has been covered poorly, without scale or background. There has been no mention in the mainstream media of the Labour Leader’s excellent record on standing up to racism, yet they were willing to ask ‘If Jeremy Corbyn was a racist’ due to his comments on a Facebook page on an antisemitic mural.

That was last week, but the coverage has dragged on and on which has led to the suppression of important stories for cheap political gain. No one in the mainstream media is innocent, from the Guardian to the Mail we have seen story after story about Corbyn’s mistake. This onslaught of media outrage suggests that the Labour Party is a hotbed for antisemitism and specifically an issue on the left. However, the statistical evidence demonstrates that Labour Party members are less antisemitic than their Conservative counterparts and that most antisemitism is found on the far right. Additionally, the continuing negative coverage has been criticised by many in the Jewish community who are appalled by those willing to weaponise antisemitism for political gain.

 

However, the issues I have with this biased coverage is two-fold. This is because the mainstream media is not only exploiting the hurt and pain of the past, but it is also providing a smoke screen for other important issues. For example, the killing of 16 unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday. Those killed were among thousands of Palestinians who were protesting Israel’s oppressive policies along the border when members of the IDF started firing live ammunition into the crowds. Worse still was that the reports describe the events as ‘clashes’ between protesters and the IDF. These were not clashes, but rather indiscriminate acts of aggression from soldiers who turned their guns on an oppressed people fighting for their existence.

The Prime Minister refused to condemn Israel for its actions. I would encourage all citizens to write to their MPs about this attack on Palestinians, as I have today. Whilst the Prime Minister didn’t speak out, Jeremy Corbyn, yet again, confronted the senseless aggression by condemning the actions as “appalling” and demanding justice.

The media is clearly biased against Corbyn, but in case there was any doubt, statistical analysis has revealed that up to 75% of the coverage misrepresents him. However, it is important to remember that it is not Corbyn that they truly hate, but rather the centuries old movement that he has reinvigorated. In other words, his success in fighting for the many will be at the expense of the few who have for too long misinformed and oppressed the masses.

We live in dark days for traditional journalism, which is why those reading should help and support independent media.

Other stories have been missed, including Google’s continued tax avoidance, reports on poor results of Grammar schools and any real investigation into Cambridge Analytica. All stories that the Conservative Party would rather you didn’t see.

The media is biased against Corbyn, that’s not my opinion that’s a statical fact. 75% of coverage misrepresent him. He’s an anti-establishment man, in an establishment game.

I hope the mainstream media improve, it will put me out of business but I still hope they return to sanity. Short of a Charlie Skinner esc character returning there is another option. The independent media, but they need financial help to succeed.