The GOP base does not favour giving more cash to Ukraine – will little or no prospect that it can prevail

“Tuesday’s local elections were a flashing warning light for Israel. The ultra-Orthodox parties, the religious Zionist groups, and the far-right, racist parties – organized in a few communities and scored gains that are disproportionate to the true size of the groups they represent. Conversely, the democratic camp [largely secular liberal Ashkenazi], which for nearly a year turned out weekly for giant demonstrations on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street and dozens of locations around the country, failed in most cases to translate the anger into electoral gains in local governments”.

“Another conclusion to draw from the elections” continues the Haaretz Editorial “is the growing similarity between the ruling Likud party and [Ben Gvir’s party] the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Supremacy). In Tel Aviv, the two parties ran together, in a move that was unimaginable in the pre-Benjamin Netanyahu Likud … We can learn from this that Likud is changing: Meir Kahane [a founder of the Jewish radical Right, and of Kach Party] defeated Ze’ev Jabotinsky; Jewish supremacy and forced population transfer replaced liberty”.

Put starkly, Israel is turning further to the Right.

Another warning sign: In a (virtually) uncontested primary in the U.S.,

“a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups had set a modest target of 10,000 uncommitted votes—Trump’s margin of victory in Michigan in 2016—to send a message that voter frustration over Biden’s backing of Israel’s military campaign could cost him in November … ‘Uncommitted’ however, blew past the 10,000 target and clocked in at nearly 101,400 votes – about 13% of the tally. Biden earned more than 80% of the vote, yet the number of uncommitted votes were enough to send two ‘uncommitted’ delegates to the Democratic Party’s national convention in August”.

“The biggest danger for the president here is not that too many people voted ‘uncommitted’”, said former Rep. Andy Levin (D., Mich.), who endorsed the effort. “The biggest danger is if he doesn’t get the message”. 

A third warning sign: With his plan for Gaza once military operations cease, Netanyahu has formally declared war on Biden and his campaign for re-election:

“Far from moving toward [the] two-state solution being promulgated by Biden, Netanyahu is calling for an increased and time-unlimited Israeli occupation not only of Gaza but also of the West Bank and all other areas of that which otherwise would constitute an independent Palestinian state. In effect, Netanyahu is calling for the total conquest by Israel of the remains of Palestine – the exact opposite of what Biden and the rest of the world are suggesting”.

Put plainly: Netanyahu is putting Biden “between the devil and the deep blue sea”. The former knows that Biden is heavily dependent on not only the Jewish vote, but even more importantly, on Jewish money for his potential re-election. Netanyahu seems to assess that he has the leeway safely to ignore Biden – and for the next eight months or so, to pursue his ambition unhindered: to seize control of ‘Greater Israel’ (up to the Litani River inside southern Lebanon) and to consolidate a Jewish Jerusalem.

Even Tom Friedman at the New York Times is showing signs of panic:

“It felt to me, at least, that the world was ready, initially, to accept that there were going to be significant civilian casualties if Israel was going to root out Hamas and recover its hostages … But now we have a toxic combination of thousands of civilian casualties and a Netanyahu peace plan that promises only endless occupation … So the whole Israel-Gaza operation is starting to look – to more and more people – like a human meat grinder whose only goal is to reduce the population so that Israel can control it more easily … And, I repeat, it is going to put the Biden administration in an increasingly untenable position”.

Panic is widening in respect to Ukraine too: In Europe, leaders were summoned at 24 hours’ notice to the Elysée Palace to hear President Macron warn EU states that the situation on the ground in Ukraine was so critical, and the stakes for Europe so high, that: “We’re at a critical point in the conflict where we need to take the initiative: We’re determined to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes”.

Macron underlined the growing doubts about America’s continuing support for Kiev and warned of a potential new Russian offensive and brutal attacks planned to “shock” Ukrainians and their allies. “We are convinced that Russia’s defeat is essential for the security and stability of Europe” … “Europe is at stake”.

Bluntly, Macron was grandstanding in order to prise the defence and security leadership of Europe away from Germany, which is busily building a U.S.-linked military axis in alliance with Poland, the Baltics and the European Commission President, former German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and to capture it for France.

In any event, Macron’s bid was ‘a bust’. His call faced immediate repudiation, both within France, and by other European leaders. None of Macron’s peer leaders agreed with him (except possibly the Dutch). Behind the Elysée precipitous ‘theatre’ however, there lurks a more serious objective – that of further centralising EU control through having a common EU defence procurement process.

To fund this European unified defence capacity, the Commission is looking to initiate unitary EU bond issuance and a centralised taxing mechanism (both of which are prohibited under EU Treaties). These are the unspoken projects behind the ‘scare’ narrative of Russian ‘intent’ to invade Europe.

Amidst this, in Europe, both desperation and the casting of ‘blame’ for the Ukraine debacle has begun in earnest: Chancellor Scholtz, in defending Berlin’s decision to not supply long-range Taurus missiles to Kiev, threw France and the UK ‘under the bus.’

Scholz said that to supply Taurus missiles would require the assistance of German troops on the ground: “as is done by the British and French, in terms of [missile] target-control and target-control assistance. German soldiers can at no point, and in no place, be linked with the targets that this [long-range] system reaches”, Scholz insisted.

Needless to say, his explicit admission of European troops already on the ground in Ukraine caused a ruckus in Europe. The fact long suspected, is now official.

Yet what is it that caused the wider Euro-hysteria (beyond Macron’s theatricals)?

Most likely two things: First, the rout of Ukrainian forces from Avdeevka, plus the sudden shock of realising that there are no real Ukrainian defensive lines behind Avdeevka – only a few of hamlets and then fields.

And second, the concomitant New York Times’ epic essay The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin by Adam Entous and Mitchell Schwirtz, describing a decade of CIA-Ukrainian cooperation, and reminding all that the U.S. might sever from Kiev quite soon (unless a spending bill is passed).

Adam Entous also co-authored the 2017 Washington Post piece entitled, Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault, which, as Matt Taibbi notes, told the cinematic tale of how John Brennan [then head of CIA] hand-delivered to Barack Obama an “intelligence bombshell” from a prized source “deep inside the Russian government.”

“The heart-racing narrative revealed how the CIA not only learned of Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a campaign to “damage” Hillary Clinton and “help elect her opponent, Donald Trump,” but safely delivered the hush-hush news for the President’s eyes only (before telling the entire world about it of course)”.

It was, of course, nonsense: The seeding narrative for the unfolding of Russiagate.

This new New York Times piece of revisionist narrative on Ukraine – full of questionable claims; puff for the CIA and for John Brennan’s role in particular – probably was understood by western Intel services as a ‘Dear John’ break-up letter, ahead of a coming divorce. The CIA was preparing to exit Ukraine.

As to be expected in any ‘Dear John’ missive, the text is framed to exonerate ‘the author’ of all blame and legal liabilities (for murder and assassination): “An un-subtle leitmotif runs through the text detailing civilized America continually begging Ukrainians to lay off atrocities”. 

As the partnership deepened “after 2016,” the Times reports, Ukrainians “began staging assassinations and other lethal operations, which violated the terms the White House thought the Ukrainians had agreed to.” Americans were “infuriated” and “threatened to cut off support”, but never did. (Taibbi notes).

It is not clear whether Speaker Johnson will hold the line in refusing to bring the foreign aid Bill to the floor of the House, providing $60 billion for Kiev; or if he will not prove able to persevere.

Yet the ‘writing is on the wall’, as Senate minority leader McConnell tartly observed, whilst announcing his coming retirement as Senate Leader: ‘Politics has shifted, I can see that’, he said.

The GOP base does not favour giving more cash to Ukraine – will little or no prospect that it can prevail.

The point here – clearly spooking European intelligence services – is that so much of what success Ukraine earlier has enjoyed derives from one key factor: western overmatch in ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). NATO weaponry has disappointed; NATO military doctrine has been slated by Ukrainian forces; but ISR has been key.

The New York Times essay is clear: “a discreet passageway descends to a subterranean bunker where teams of Ukrainian soldiers track Russian spy satellites and eavesdrop on conversations between Russian commanders …”. Are these ‘Ukrainian soldiers’ or NATO techies?

When the CIA does depart when the money is cut, it will not be just their staff that goes. The CIA will not leave sensitive kit and intercept equipment behind, to be overrun by Russian forces, and taken for forensic autopsy. Has this already happened? Were those secret bunkers perchance at Avdeeka? Are sensitive details about to leaked?

In any event, the European intelligence ‘assistance’ to Ukraine will largely be eviscerated by a CIA withdrawal of staff and equipment. In which case, what will be left for Europeans to do? They can fly airborne surveillance; they can use NATO satellites, but not ubiquitously.

And then, might angry, abandoned Ukrainians spin their own narratives? Ukrainian Intelligence Chief Kirill Budanov just punctured the western ‘Putin killed Navalny’ narrative: Asked about the death, Budanov said, “I may disappoint you, but we know he died from a blood clot. It’s more or less confirmed. This is not taken from the Internet”.

Budanov also knocked down other U.S. narratives: Last week Reuters cited six sources reporting that “Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles”. Budanov responded to this by saying the Iranian missiles “are not here” and such information “does not correspond with reality.” He also contradicted statements about Russia deploying North Korean missiles, another recent American story: “While a few North Korean missiles were utilized”, he said, “assertions of widespread use do not hold true.”

Here lies the crux to the New York Times piece: Fear of fallout from disgruntled Ukrainian officials. “Especially in an election year, any war of words between erstwhile allies could get ugly in a heartbeat”.

Biden be warned. Perhaps, however, it’s already too late?

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation