The Gods Are Going Against the Chosen People — Mammon Against Israel, Mars Against the Pentagon

Yves here. John Helmer makes a critically important point in this article: that Israel is facing a long war with Hamas, and it will sustain crippling economic damage. Helmer describes considerable economic damage Israel is already suffering, yet has gone largely unreported.

This impact also means Hamas and its allies in The Resistance don’t need to escalate to bleed Israel. Various commentators, starting with Alexander Mercouris and Alex Christoforu, have pointed out that the US military buildup in theater goes beyond what is necessary for the professed purpose of deterrence. The drumbeat of US official statements against Iran suggest that it is the intended target. For instance:

Mind you, not everyone agrees that the US is out to find an excuse for waging war (see Scott Ritter, for instance, who views it as threat display). One reason to think the trajectory might not be that grim is the numerous warnings by military experts as to how punishingly difficult a clearing operation will be. Importantly, the din from naysayers includes a new article in the premier US foreign policy magazine, Foreign Affairs. And in a recent post, we pointed out that piece didn’t even (much) factor in the additional hurdle of the extensive tunnel network in Gaza.

But if the US really wants to take on Iran, it needs a provocation. Will Iran provide one? Will poorly-controlled proxies provide one? Or will the US and Israel present one, which like the beheaded babies, is a fabrication?

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

The Palestinian strategy against Israel is aimed at destroying Israel’s capacity to survive in its present state in a long war.

This means attacking the invincibility of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and theur so-called Iron Dome defence; this began with the cross-border offensive on October 7, and continues with daily drone and artillery attacks on targets inside Israel, as well as resistance to IDF incursions in Gaza.

The plan also means exposing the weakness of the state’s infrastructure and economy; extending the battlefield across all of Israel’s territory – the ports, power plants and electricity grid, communications, and financial markets —  making the cost of occupation of the Arab territories unendurable. In a long war, two of Israel’s leading exports earning more than 40% of the state’s trade —  diamonds and tourism — face ruin.*

“The Israelis cannot withstand one year of fighting in a war,” Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein told his general staff in 1983 during a discussion of planning for a regional war of the Arabs against Israel.** In the forty years since then, the evolution of military technology and tactics has expanded  the power of small national liberation armies like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, of proxy principals like Iran, and of the strategic balancing role of Russia and China. Their combination now has shortened the Zionist state’s endurance in a long war, and that of  its proxy principal, the US.

The Israelis and the Jewish diaspora comprehend this reluctantly. For them,  the short war must be correspondingly shorter. This means the genocide of at least a million Palestinians in lives and displacement.

The war to do that has now become an international war – and this is a war the US cannot sustain. As a Pentagon insider said publicly this week, “because there are so many draws on the logistics and support infrastructure of the Pentagon, we’re not prepared to go in in a concerted way. What we are seeing right now is death by a thousand cuts. Our adversaries know we are stretched so they are going to make us stretch even more, so we can respond even less.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, acknowledged the point in Moscow on Thursday: US naval, air force,  and marine reinforcements deployed around Israel and Gaza are “American tactics to strengthen their own security (this is how it should be interpreted) at someone else’s expense.” They are backfiring on Washington’s capacity to defend US forces in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and in land bases in Syria, Iraq and Jordan.  “On the contrary,” Zakharova added, the US military deployment “will further rock the situation in the Middle East, create additional tension that can spill out beyond the region.”

Zakharova’s warning came in the Moscow afternoon. By then Russian Foreign Ministry officials had held meetings with a Hamas delegation, and officials from Iran, Egypt,  and Kuwait. Across the city at the same time, President Vladimir Putin held telephone talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Kremlin communiqué reported: “Russia and Turkiye have practically overlapping positions.”

Israeli and US-led media censorship and propaganda are concealing the breadth of impact of   the Palestine warfighting plan, and the deepening military and economic weaknesses of the Israeli state.

The longer the war continues, the plainer the evidence is on the battlefield that the single-state scheme of Israel and the US is no longer possible. Whether Israel and the US can be compelled to withdraw to the 1967 borders and a new Palestinian state created with partition, demilitarisation, and international security guarantees – the basis of the Russian position announced again on Thursday in Moscow — remains to be fought over.

In this long war, the gods do not favour the Chosen People.

Following with precision the battlefield action is impossible in the Israeli and Anglo-American press.  Reporting of operations, and of Israeli and US casualties, is being suppressed entirely or delayed for days, if not weeks.

According to this NBC television report, broadcast on October 24, there were at least 24 US combat casualties following drone attacks on or about October 18 at the Al-Tanf base in Syria and the Al-Asad base in Iraq.    Reporting of naval action in the Red Sea, when the USS Carney reportedly engaged Houthi missiles over several hours, has been changing since the initial news flashes of October 19.  Read more here.  In a new report of October 24, Israeli and US casualties in a joint raid inside Gaza were revealed: “in the last 24 hours or so, some of our Special Ops forces and Israeli Special Ops forces went into Gaza to reconnoiter, to plan for where they might want to go to free hostages and make an impact, and they were shot to pieces and took heavy losses, as I understand it. I think that is where we are headed and I don't see that as a win for Israel in any way, shape, or form. And I certainly think it is very dangerous for us”.  In current reporting by Al Mayadeen, daily strikes against US bases in Iraq and northeastern Syria are documented

Tracking the electric war and infrastructure strikes by Hamas and Hezbollah is also difficult. They commenced with cyber attacks on Israel’s electricity generation plants and power grids;   these have been followed by missile and drone strikes.   “The ground has been laid for attacks on the Israeli grid,” a US military source claims. “I believe drones will come first, then missiles. We may even see commando raids.”

Israel’s seaports are also under constant attack. Ashkelon, which is closest in range to Gaza, has been closed. Eilat may have been the target of the Houthi missile strike which was engaged last week by the USS Carney. Ashdod, which accounts for about 40% of incoming and outgoing Israeli seaborne trade, and Tel Aviv port have been targeted.    The result is a tenfold surge in war risk insurance for vessels and cargoes, and the curtailment of international vessel movement in and out of the Israeli ports;  there are reports that shipping is down 30% in Ashdod compared to the pre-war volume.  Evergreen, the Taiwanese container shipping company, declared force majeure for Ashdod on October 17, diverted one vessel to Haifa, and halted future shipping into both ports.   “We advise evaluating each port visit in Israel on a case by case basis and implementing appropriate precautions in ship contingency plans,” recommends a  maritime industry alert bulletin.

Chevron’s offshore Tamar gas field has been shut down.  The source produces 70% of the gas required to fuel Israel’s electricity generation needs. Not a single Anglo-American media source has noticed that Israel is at risk of losing its principal energy source to drone or missile attack.  “After what the Americans and Germans did to blow up the Nordstream pipelines,” comments a Moscow industry source, “what is holding Hamas back from hitting Tamar, or Hezbollah from the other Israeli gas fields?”

Left: Chevron’s Tamar gas production platform is located at sea 24 kilometres west of Ashkelon.  Right: click to enlarge map of Israel’s offshore gas sources.  

A Moscow source comments that “in Israel, the US and the UK will be able to bring in supplies without a very big risk of US ships being attacked. The risk is to the ports and bases, not to supplies from the Med[iterranean]. The Greek and Cyprus bases will come in very useful. Israel will not face severe logistical issues as long as it is on the offensive. If its settlements start getting cut off, encircled or penetrated then it is a different matter.”

The indirect economic impacts of the war have also not been calculated or discussed in the mainstream media or international business newspapers. The leading export revenue earners are diamonds at above $9 billion per annum, and tourism which had been peaking at $8.5 billion in 2019. Counted together, diamonds and tourism amount to more than 40% of the state’s export earnings.

The Covid-19 pandemic and worldwide travel restrictions cut Israel’s tourism revenue fourfold, and this had been recovering over 2022 and the tourist season this year. This has now stopped, although for the time being Hamas rocket launches on Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv have been intercepted.

October 12, 2023 -- source:



Israel’s high-tech machine exports and pharmaceuticals may also be affected if electricity supply, internet networks, and transportation are damaged.

The cumulative effect will be the outcome which the international ratings agencies have been warning the international banks and financial markets to prepare for. “In our view,” Fitch reported to clients on October 17, “the combination of Israel’s dynamic, high-value added economy, the record of resilience to regional conflict, [and] preparedness for military confrontations…make it unlikely a relatively short conflict largely confined to Gaza will affect Israel’s rating…. the risk that other actors hostile to Israel, such as Iran and Hezbollah, could join the conflict at scale has risen significantly…a major escalation could result in negative rating action. This could take the form of a wider and longer conflict, resulting in a sustained fiscal drain, both from higher spending and lower tax collection, as well as loss of human and material capital and severe economic disruption.”

How short,  and also how long,  Israel’s warfighting plan will take depends on American and international acceptance, not only of the genocide intended for the Palestinians of Gaza, but of the Novichok-type chemical warfare planned by the IDF and the Pentagon for the Hamas tunnel system in Gaza City. After several years in which the US and UK have fabricated claims that Syria and Russia were using prohibited gas warfare weapons, the Israelis have reportedly persuaded the US to participate in the tunnel attack operation.  The Pentagon is denying the reports.


Russian and US military sources are already confirming the logistical supply problems facing Israeli and US forces at present, when the war is just three weeks long. Greek sources are reporting the Souda Bay, Crete, base has already reached its capacity for incoming US navy and air force supply and support operations; the spillover is facing growing Greek protest at the Elefsina air base near Athens.

A Cyprus source says the movement of US and British aircraft into and out of the Dekhelia and Akrotiri airbases is accelerating, and there is an air and seaborne shuttle between the Cypriot ports of Larnaca and Limassol and the USS Gerald Ford carrier group at sea to the southwest of the island.

The lengthening of the supply lines required to support the USS Eisenhower carrier group in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf  and the shore bases needed to support it are politically sensitive already; and the risks of Houthi and other attacks, along with domestic Arab crowd protests, will intensify for these bases in the Arab sheikhdoms the longer the war against Israel reveals Arab and Iranian warfighting skill and resistance.

Converting these gains into a negotiating framework for Israeli-American retreat is the task Russian officials are attempting in silent coordination with the Chinese, and in semi-open negotiations in Moscow this week. In its first move outside the region since the war began, Hamas has visited Moscow for negotiations, led by US-educated Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzouq.

Left: Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzouq;  centre: Husam Badran; right, Ali Bagheri Kyani.

Zakharova confirmed the start of the talks with Hamas on Thursday.  She said: “I can also say and confirm that representatives of the relevant Palestinian movement are in Moscow. As for contacts, we will inform you additionally.”  She has also disclosed that since the war began, nine thousand Russian passport holders have returned to Russia from Israel; and that at least fifteen Russian passport holders among the Hamas hostages have been killed in the IDF airstrikes.

At the same time as Marzouq’s meetings, Husam Badran issued a statement to the Russian state news medium, Sputnik. “Russia,” Badran said, “is able to play an important role in ending the war between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and delivering aid to the Palestinian exclave. Hamas values Russia’s role on the international stage, especially use of veto in the UN Security Council against the United States. But Russia can play a greater role in ending the aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip and applying international pressure to deliver urgent aid to our people in the Gaza Strip.”

What Hamas means by “greater role” for Russia has not been disclosed publicly yet.  It is known that Hamas is willing to negotiate the release of “non-military” hostages, including Israelis holding Russian passports, through Iran.    This is conditional on the IDF lifting its siege on Gaza and allowing sufficient supplies into all parts of the territory.

The “military hostages” are being held in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. There are more than 6,000 of the latter; there may be fewer than 200 hostages in Gaza, as up to 50 have been killed by Israeli bombing.

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the talks with Hamas is less revealing. According to the Sputnik release, “Russia has discussed release of hostages and evacuation of Russians from the Gaza Strip during a meeting with a delegation of Hamas in Moscow on Thursday.”  A member of the political office of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, Abu Marzouq, is in Moscow. Contacts took place with him in continuation of the Russian line for the immediate release of foreign hostages located in the Gaza Strip, and issues related to ensuring the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens from the territory of the Palestinian enclave were also discussed.”

At the same time on Thursday – unnoticed and unreported by the western media – Russian officials held several negotiating sessions with an Iranian emissary, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kyani. In three separate Foreign Ministry releases, meeting communiqués were issued for Kyani’s meetings with deputy ministers Mikhail Bogdanov,   Sergei Ryabkov,  and Mikhail Galuzin.  “The need for the cessation of hostilities in and around the Gaza Strip and the prompt provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected Palestinian population was confirmed,” Bogdanov’s communiqué said. “It was stated that Moscow and Tehran are determined to continue close coordination of efforts in the interests of stabilizing the situation in the Middle East.”

It is unclear if the talks also included the Hamas officials in a three-party format. During the day there were also Foreign Ministry negotiations in Moscow with Kuwaiti and Egyptian officials.

At the Kremlin it has been announced that President Putin spoke with Turkish President Erdogan to discuss the war. According to the Kremlin release, “the presidents reviewed the active efforts undertaken by Russia at the UN Security Council, as well as the corresponding political and diplomatic steps taken by Turkiye to stop the bloodshed and ensure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. It was emphasised that Russia and Turkiye have practically overlapping positions, focused on implementing the well-known two-state solution, which provides for the creation of an independent Palestine coexisting with Israel in peace and security.”

In her briefing for the press, Zakharova dismissed the US moves so far. “We do not consider the US presence in the Middle East as contributing to the stability of the situation in the region. Exactly the opposite. Washington’s earlier attempts to monopolise the Middle East settlement process, ignoring the true causes of the protracted conflict, have largely led to the current catastrophic consequences…This situation has an absolutely clear and understandable road, a ‘road map’ for settlement. It is not simple, but complex, painful, but leading to the solution of the issue, not its aggravation.”

“Of course, no air defence systems, arms supplies, materiel injections into some ‘security complexes’ will help resolve this situation. Today’s lesson must be learned. How many Americans have deployed there (their bases, experts, satellites), nothing has worked to prevent a bloody scenario, of which both Palestinians and Israelis are victims.”

[*]   With support from Israel and influential Jewish diamantaires in New York and Tel Aviv, a scheme of sanctions is being prepared by the US Government to stop Russian raw diamonds, produced by Alrosa, from being sold into the Belgian, Israeli, and US markets. The Russian goods are to be tagged “blood diamonds” because of the war in the Ukraine. However, now that Israel is destroying the Palestinian population of Gaza, the “blood” tag can be applied to the Israeli diamond cutting industry and to the Jewish diamond trade abroad. Support for the anti-Russian sanction, and also for the IDF operations against the Palestinians can be found in news reports. “Rapaport stands with Israel”, the publication and its owner Martin Rapaport declared on October 26, “and has undertaken all the necessary effort and costs for the October Single Stone Auction to help the Israeli market continue to conduct business as best as possible during this difficult time. Rapaport believes that continuing to do business in Israel during the war is a victory over the brutal Hamas terrorists, and will help Israel win the war.”   In another editorial for the diamond trade, Rapaport proposes “to boycott Iran and all other supporters of the Hamas terrorist organization.” Rapaport also cites religious authority for liquidation. “In the words of G-d (Exodus 17:14): ‘I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’May the words of G-d be done, here and now.”  Quietly, Russia’s state diamond interests dictate a strategy for protecting against this double-edged Israeli policy.

[**] Saddam Hussein is quoted in the chapter on US plots against him in Iraq – see The Jackals’ Wedding: American Power, Arab Revolt, Ch. 6.

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    1. Jake Dee

      I always liked Proverbs 16:7

      When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

      Very little room for creative interpretations in that one

  1. Freethinker

    If the US has delivered blank cheques to Israel in bulk like toilet paper until now, why would they care about economic damage …..US taxpayers/money printers will just bail them out as usual. Do the various militia that may wish to attack Usraeli targets really have the ability to do anything significant? Also, if the US wanted to fabricate a reason to attack Iran, surely they could do this in Syria without involving Israel, similar things have happened before. How much of this escalatory drama in Israel is Netanyahu staging a play for his domestic audience to hang onto power so he can stay out of jail? (Not that I doubt Usraeli desire to exterminate gaza)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Commenting without having read a post in full is a violation of our written site Policies. It also can, as you have here, misinform readers. It is also disrespectful to the post author.

      The economic damage, as you could even infer from the headline, is to Israel, not the US.

      We take violations of this sort seriously.

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        I took it to mean if Israel’s tourism revenue is down $6 billion, the US would just tack on $6 billion to the aid package to Israel. Support their government like the US supports Ukraine’s. I like the Hawaiian’s idea of renaming Lahaina, Ukraine. Maybe East Palestine should rename itself Israel. In addition to getting some funds, it would be sort of a dark inside joke too.

        1. Freethinker

          @Ghost in the Machine …..that is indeed what I meant, adjust the aid to the required amount, I must have not been clear enough, sometimes when you write something, you don’t realise it could be interpreted another way. Ukraine is a good comparison as you say.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          The US was not donating to make up for GDP losses but to support the Ukraine government budget. Two completely different categories. How will giving $ make up for losses of jobs in hotels, restaurants, the diamond trade, the shipping industry?

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            where there’s a will….

            USA could just hand out pallets of cash to all and sundry.
            deficits dont matter, i have on good authority(sic)…and neither do contradictions, it seems.

            and why not fund healthcare in rump ukraine, as well?
            gotta support the freedom fighters, no?

            and then theres all that infrastructure to replace,,,water, sewer, electrical, roads and rail…cant have them making do….and think of the Contracts!(holy, holy)
            maybe biden should run for president of Ukraine.
            i hear there might be an election next year, after all…


            1. Paris

              Didn’t I read somewhere JP Morgan was already lining up first in queue for the reconstruction of Ukraine? Lots and lots of money to be made I guess.

      2. Freethinker

        I only meant the US could simply make up the budgetary difference in their annual aid package to Israel. The rest of my comment was just questions going through my mind after reading the article, based on cross-referencing with others I had read before, both here & elsewhere. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t attempting to inform other readers, being no authority on these matters, just an interested reader & certainly meant no offence to any authors. I understand if you delete my comments, re: rules.

      3. Insouciant Iowan

        Damage to Israel’s economy is likely, as pointed out above, to be mitigated by additional, larger infusions of US aid. In for a penny in for a pound.
        Thus, the US economy will be stressed even more than at present owing to subsidies of Israel in addition to those to Ukraine.

  2. Andy

    I have noticed two things:

    The changes in military technology (drones, etc.) mean that Israel now has no Strategic Depth and can’t get any.

    When Israel started it’s bombing campaign against Gaza it took the Sucker’s Move.

      1. Jake Dee

        There is some strategic depth there but submarines can’t stay underwater forever. They need fuel, supplies and repairs etc. it’s unlikely that they will be able to get all that through Djibouti, Cylde in Scotland or Norfolk Virginnia.
        I guess that their nuclear weapons will be the last thing that Israel lets go of but their cost has to be enormous.

  3. Louis Fyne

    —–Just back from Israel, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) calls for “striking” Iran —

    This is the problem with DC….ok, the USA bombs Iran. Then what?

    Iran is too big of a country for the entirety of (for argument’s sake) NATO to invade—even assuming NATO can magically beam 500,000 troops into Iraq or Pakistan or Azerbaijan.

    We are governed by idiots

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Coons is Biden’s Senate pet. This is phallic symbolism. Biden is days away from being carted in an F350 from the Executive mansion to the West Wing, so Putin will know Biden is all man.

    2. Aurelien

      This is the point, I think. The US is in no position to fight a war against Iran, and would lose if it tried to do so. The belief that it can, or should, is a combination of ignorance, arrogance and stupidity. This is why I don’t think there was ever a “plan” (as opposed to a fantasy) to fight a war with Iran. If there had been a plan, the US would not have been so comically unprepared. As I said in my last essay (coughs modestly) it’s essential to distinguish between strategies and plans, which have coherent sets of interrelated steps, and just wishes and fantasies.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I agree with what you say but with one caveat. Wishes and fantasies are what the Neocons are all about who have no reverse gear, when things blow up they double down, and who also believe in infinite resources while dismissing industrial capacity as being too mundane.

        1. doug

          Yes, “We make our own reality” or something to that effect, Karl Rove….and I think he actually believed that.

        2. Es s Cetera

          At the moment it would appear this tendency is proving to be to the advantage of their enemies. Whether it’s a strategy or a plan or neither, what we’re witnessing is a bit of a Judo move.

      2. vao

        If there had been a plan, the US would not have been so comically unprepared.

        Large militaries, especially in the USA, prepare plans for all major, and many minor contingencies. I bet there is actually a plan — or even several plans — for a war against Iran. I also suspect that those plans are grounded on a number of (reasonable) assumptions such as:

        1) pre-positioning of ammunition, fuel, spare parts, logistic infrastructure and personnel;
        2) availability of spear-heading units (e.g. carrier groups, bombing squadrons) properly re-fitted and not committed to other fronts;
        3) commitment of allies, especially Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, to support the offensive and secure its perimeter;
        4) having enough equipment, shells, missiles, and bullets for the war.

        Now, the USA has not had any time for (1), the units (2) are busy on the shores of Syria or distracted by Russia, the allies (3) are unwilling and busy elsewhere anyway (in Palestine, Syria, Yemen), and as we know, (4) is a pipe dream — what has not been used up in Ukraine is being used up now in Israel, and the industrial capacity is simply not there NATO-wide for a production surge.

        No wonder that the USA look unprepared. Even if solid plans exist, the conditions for putting them in practice are not met.

      3. Librarian Guy

        Yesterday Garland Nixon had a brilliant piece on the US’s inability to project the force needed in the variety of theaters that they have opened up trying to be the world’s “indispensable” Unipolar Hegemon. Link is at


        About 20 minutes in he uses an analogy of a bulked up muscleman still facing multiple liabilities due to size, slowness, etc. I found it well worth my time.

  4. ThirtyOne

    “In the words of G-d’
    I’ve been seeing this modification lately. I must have missed the memo, what’s this about?

      1. ThirtyOne

        Thanks for the info!
        “may not be mentioned in such places [e.g., bathroom or place of filth] ”
        So, the entire internet then.

        1. wilroncanada

          I had friends in high school in the late 1950s who were Jewish. They spelled God as G-d and spoke the name the same way.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I believe that eliding the “o” in “God” is written accommodation to concerns to avoid “misuse of the Divine Name” (that name being, in original context, YHWH [this spelling elides the vowels, another accommodation]), one of the commands in the Exodus 20 Decalogue.

      I think this is a mark of Jewish piety. It might, in some contexts, be a form of virtue signaling.

      1. Rip Van Winkle

        A podcaster (finance, politics, current events) I’ve been following for about 15 years all of a sudden is making a big deal about this the last 2 months. Hmmm…?

      2. Candide

        It’s certainly a relief that the word “goodness” as in “Thank Goodness” can save us at least temporarily since the ban on ERASING children of G-d is, as comedian George Carlin points out is in his Ten Commandments piece, religions consider that “negotiable.”

  5. Mikel

    “The Israelis and the Jewish diaspora comprehend this reluctantly. For them, the short war must be correspondingly shorter. This means the genocide of at least a million Palestinians in lives and displacement.”

    Long or short war, it would mean that and it’s important to emphasize that the war is happening now.

    As for a strategy that implies the Palestinians are dealing with some kind of diaspora lacking in funds (!) that would let Israel fall into to financial ruin…I’d have to think on that a bit harder.

  6. The Rev Kev

    The longer this war goes on the worse it will get for Israel economically. S&P Global Ratings, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have all lowered Israel’s outlook to negative which is not good after only what, two weeks? Can Israel afford to have so much of their workforce in uniform for long? That alone has gotta be hurting the economy. From what I have seen, Israel’s military is set up for only short campaigns where they attack somebody for a few weeks and when ammo gets short, calls a halt to the fighting and then gets the US to restock their weapons for free. But they are still refusing to negotiate. Right now there is a Hamas delegation in Moscow and Russia is negotiating with them for the release of hostages. But when Israel got wind of this, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said-

    ‘Israel condemns the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow, which is an act of support of terrorism, and legitimizes the atrocities of Hamas terrorists,” Haiat added. “We call on the Russian government to expel the Hamas terrorists immediately.’

    So no negotiations, not even for those hostages who will be allowed to rot as far as Netanyahu is concerned. Been thinking why the US is stationing four carriers to this region and doing all this sabre-rattling and have come up with one theory. The political establishment realize that Biden is toast next November if for no other reason than the economy is going to hell, especially with this war. You have the neocons who are always there and transition from Presidency to Presidency like Hillary & Nuland under Obama, John Bolton & Mike Pompeo under Trump, and now Blinken & Nuland under Obama. This being the case, they may be thinking that now is the time to attack Iran, let Biden take the rap for any disasters as he is gone anyway, and then have the next set of Neocons ready for when the Republicans take over next January. This may be their only chance to attack Iran before factors change to much and it will no longer be possible.

    1. JonnyJames

      I agree: the “neocon” chickenhawk-warmongers are always around, no matter. Don’t forget Elliott Abrams under DT, he’s a real piece of work. As you say, these are all retreads from previous admins.
      Some seem to wishfully think that DT was somehow different. However, he bombed Syria, imposed sanctions on Russia, China, Venezuela etc. and: He had Iranian General Suleimani assassinated, however Iran was not provoked into a war at that time. Some don’t realize how significant that event was. Of course DT is one of the most hardcore racist Zionist, Israel-firster out there, and there are many.
      To me it is very sad that desperate people will engage is wishful thinking and fantasy because they want DT to be a savior or something.

      Of course any war with Iran will have to be from the air/sea and electronic. There is no way that the US could launch any significant ground invasion of Iran.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I make this same mistake, conflating Biden and Obama. Really, what’s the difference? Both tragically incompetent presidencies.

      and now Blinken & Nuland under Obama.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        The Obama presidency was very competent at achieving its real goals. We just have to admit to what those real goals really were.

        The Obama presidency very competently prevented the re-instatement of New Deal type reforms. The Obama presidency very competently immunised and impunified all the engineers of the Great Financial Crash. It made them even more rich and powerful. It helped destroy the possibly last chance for Newish Dealish democrats to reconquer and declintaminate the Democratic Party. It helped poison the well of even discussing health-care pay-for over the next several decades to come. Thanks to the Obama presidency, Obamacare will be the radioactive lead standard of health care provision in America for at least two more generations.

        Obama also destroyed all hope of hope in the hearts and minds of at least a hundred million Americans, also for generations to come. And believe it or not, Obama has retained the worshipful devotion of millions upon millions of Black Americans, because he ” looks like them” and because he was so good at playing Black on TV.

        A very competent presidency if we admit to the fact of what it actually was installed to be very competent at achieving.

        1. JonnyJames

          I agree: The TBTF banks were protected from prosecution, and rewarded with public sector support, rather than going bankrupt. He oversaw the largest reduction of aggregate wealth of African Americans in modern history (mostly due to fraudulent foreclosures). Like his buddy Bill Clinton, he was more right-wing, authoritarian than his R counterpart at the time. Obama was not the lesser evil, he was the more effective evil (like Biden).

          We have a dilemma: don’t like the Ds? whadda we gonna do? vote R? It’s a cruel joke.
          The US is an oligarchy, there is no way to vote against the interests of the oligarchy. Elections Inc. are just profitable PR stunts

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            That may not always be true yet at the State and regionalocal levels.

            For example, a couple of elections ago here in Michigan, we got a ballot opportunity to vote for making recreational cannabis state-legal. I and others voted for it and now we have it.

            And I and others voted for Democrats in Michigan, including Whitmer again. And unless my memory is wrong, the Dem House/Senate voted to repeal Michigan’s Republican-installed ” Right To Work” law and Whitmer signed that repeal, so “Right To Work” is repealed in Michigan.

            If one thinks that difference is a difference which makes a difference, then voting led to a difference being made in Michigan.

            That offers no inherent comfort at the Federal Level, to be sure.

        2. Jason Boxman

          True. My characterize was incorrect. Obama normalized Bush’s criminality, provided retroactive immunity for warrantless wiretapping, assassinated an American citizen abroad, and the vast crimes committed against Americans by Wall Street and the banks, and that’s a very short list.

          At least for Biden we can say that shockingly he’s brought back anti-trust, continuing what Trump started in that area, but more effectively.

          Although starting WWIII is going to completely obviate any good Biden might otherwise have done, which is precious little enough.

    3. Susan the other

      This sets me off in all directions. Because I got the distinct feeling when Joe tossed in his goofy hat in2020, when Obama said cryptically: “Joe, you don’t have to do this,” that Joe was willing to be the goat. When you consider the state of his health, Joe has been downright heroic. Unfortunately for questionable causes. He has been a militarist and a war monger his entire career and all I could think at the time was that he was perfectly capable of getting us into WW3 to fulfill the dictate of the Wolfowitz doctrine. And that time was in short supply. Actually I think time ran out in 2008. I am hoping it is all a big stalemate, because we are just as vulnerable as Iran. North Korea can zap the west coast, so I conclude Iran can zap the east coast. And China can run circles around our production. And we don’t have a big brother. We probably don’t have a friend left besides the UK and Israel. So if we get hit… never mind. This is nuts.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Iran does not have nuclear weapons so far as I know, so Iran could only zap the East Coast with conventional warheads.

        Or chem-bio warheads, but that would be a self-risk to Iran.

        I suspect the Outside World would rather rope-a-dope the DC FedRegime rather than to have a War Of Armaggedon with it.

  7. Circa500bc

    The big strategic thinkers in the US (those with the agency to push the US into unwinnable quagmires) will have noticed a potential US proxy army has assembled near Gaza. They just need to manipulate Iran into striking both the old Eisenhower and Tel Aviv to get both publics on board, or a false flag as Yves mentioned. Send 25% of the Gaza force via the red sea and US marines. As bizarre as this scenario seems to me as I write it, there are war mongers in the US saying go to war with Iran. Do they have landing amphibious troops in mind? Trump said he came under extreme pressure to launch a massive strike on Iran. The pentagon had everything staged and Trump just needed to say yes. He said no at the last second. The will to war with Iran is strong in the US and bibi.

    1. Oh

      Trump said he came under extreme pressure to launch a massive strike on Iran. The pentagon had everything staged and Trump just needed to say yes. He said no at the last second. The will to war with Iran is strong in the US and bibi.

      Trump will say anything but I don’t believe that liar. I don’t believe any of the other liars in DC. It’s not like the warmongers (huge corporations that benefit) need the President to say yes. They go to war and the President agrees with them.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        And lest Trump take too much credit for resisting calls to launch a massive strike on Iran . . . if that even happened . . . let us not forget that it was Trump who cancelled Obama’s JCPOA with Iran . . . one of Obama’s few good accomplishments.

        If Trump had not cancelled it, then Biden himself would have had to cancel it and would he have dared to do so? As it is, Trump presented Biden a golden opportunity to pretend to want to re-instate it while actually keeping it cancelled by adding all kinds of ” Rambouillet dealbreakers” to it.

        So our current position with Iran is very much Trump’s legacy and Trump’s gift to the future.

  8. Camelotkidd

    Helmer has been on fire lately and his account of US and Israeli Special Forces taking heavy casualties just reconnoitering should give US planners pause in attacking Iran. But our foreign policy is made by the “crazies in the basement”.
    I still believe that the late Robert Parry had the best description of how they operate:
    “There is a “little-old-lady-who-swallowed-the-fly’ quality to neocon thinking. When one of their schemes goes bad, they simply move to a bigger, more dangerous scheme.

    If the Palestinians and Lebanon’s Hezbollah persist in annoying you and troubling Israel, you target their sponsors with “regime change” in Iraq, Syria and Iran. If your “regime change” in Iraq goes badly, you escalate the subversion of Syria and the bankrupting of Iran.

    Just when you think you’ve cornered President Barack Obama into a massive bombing campaign against Syria with a possible follow-on war against Iran Putin steps in to give Obama a peaceful path out, getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and Iran to agree to constraints on its nuclear program.

    So, this Obama-Putin collaboration has become your new threat. That means you take aim at Ukraine, knowing its sensitivity to Russia. You support an uprising against elected President Viktor Yanukovych, even though neo-Nazi militias are needed to accomplish the actual coup. You get the U.S. State Department to immediately recognize the coup regime although it disenfranchises many people of eastern and southern Ukraine, where Yanukovych had his political base.

    When Putin steps in to protect the interests of those ethnic Russian populations and supports the secession of Crimea (endorsed by 96 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum), your target shifts again. Though you’ve succeeded in your plan to drive a wedge between Obama and Putin, Putin’s resistance to your Ukraine plans makes him the next focus of regime change.”

    1. juno mas

      …the Russian brain-trust is overseeing the anti-US/Israel strategy in the ME. They are the experts. All the BRICS have been taking notes. As Col. McGregor has said, the US proletariat will be the loser in this contest.

  9. mrsyk

    Toga party! This season’s theme is Fifty Shades of Cray. Music performed by DJ Parliamentarian. It’s going to be “outrageous”! Please, no kente cloth.

  10. North Patagonia

    “But if the US really wants to take on Iran, it needs a provocation… Will the US and Israel present one, which like the beheaded babies, is a fabrication?
    The Israeli motto: “by way of deception thou shalt do war” is a very clear answer to your question, recalling their history and penchant for false flags and such.
    Putin and Erdogan would do well to pre-empt (as the former has done on many occasions in Ukraine), and call-out Israel early and often in order shape public perception prior to any false flag escalation attempts against Iran.

  11. Jason Boxman

    I know I’ve gotten a few drugs in the past that were made generic with an Israeli origin.

    Israel Exports of pharmaceutical products was US$3.18 Billion during 2022, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. Israel Exports of pharmaceutical products – data, historical chart and statistics – was last updated on October of 2023.


    In 2021, Israel exported $2.74B in Pharmaceutical products, making it the 25th largest exporter of Pharmaceutical products in the world. At the same year, Pharmaceutical products was the 7th most exported product in Israel. The main destination of Pharmaceutical products exports from Israel are: United States ($1.51B), United Kingdom ($418M), Palestine ($120M), Netherlands ($82.3M), and Germany ($79.4M).

    The fastest growing export markets for Pharmaceutical products of Israel between 2020 and 2021 were United Kingdom ($396M), Palestine ($25.3M), and Malta ($12.4M).


    Teva Pharmaceuticals

    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (also known as Teva Pharmaceuticals) is an Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. It specializes primarily in generic drugs, but other business interests include active pharmaceutical ingredients and, to a lesser extent, proprietary pharmaceuticals. Teva Pharmaceuticals was the largest generic drug manufacturer, when it was surpassed briefly by US-based Pfizer.[8] Teva regained its market leader position once Pfizer spun off its generic drug division in a merger with Mylan, forming the new company Viatris at the end of 2020. Overall, Teva is the 18th largest pharmaceutical company in the world.[9]

    So this might add some to shortages in the US as well, if Israel cannot manufacture or cannot export drugs that we import into the US.

    Buckle up. The 2020s are proving to be the most horrific in recent memory.

    1. NYMutza

      What you really should say is the Biden administration is proving to be the most horrific in recent memory.

      1. JonnyJames

        It has been one horrific event after another, the JB regime is just the latest in the downward trajectory the US has been on for a long time: “9/11” and the “sanctions” and war on Afghanistan and Iraq (based on a pack of bald-faced lies) that resulted in well over a million innocent people dead, US unconditional support of Israeli crimes, the Destruction of Libya, bombing Syria, funding terrorists, regime changes, supporting Nazis in Ukraine, “pivot to Asia” coming war on China, provoking Iran and Russia. Proxy war on Russia. etc. No matter who follows JB, things are not going to get better – unless something really drastic happens in domestic US politics (unlikely)

  12. David in Friday Harbor

    There is no “Grand Game” in play — only the madness and magical thinking of a greedy and selfish species which is eating itself alive after growing beyond the carrying capacity of our planet.

    The Israeli settler economy is unsustainable without both outside support from the U.S. and the E.U. and the genocide of the Palestinian majority in their midst. The American strategy appears to be to engage in a theater of saber-rattling to prevent international intervention in the Gaza genocide that is a prelude to the ethnic-cleansing of the West Bank.

    Ethnic-cleansings and genocides appear to be a feature of the anthropocene. Zakharova is correct that both the Israelis and the Palestinians are victims so long as the West plays their zero-sum single-state game. The question remains whether the rest of humanity are any better than the greedy lunatics in charge in Washington and Brussels — and can effectively isolate them from raw materials and manufactured goods in a way that doesn’t simply amplify their cravenness.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      as an american patriot…i WANT the rest of the world to cut us off.
      just stop doing business with us.
      stop taking our calls.
      turn their backs.
      this empire bullshit has gone on long enough.

      …and yes, i realise that regular folks will suffer greatly if the above happens…but thats part of the process, too, no?
      i mean, thats been the game plan against russia since the ussr fell.
      as well as a whole bunch of backwater countries(where it was often successful, under the agreed criteria)
      and stated openly, more often than not:”make the iraqi people scream”…and then overthrow saddam…

      i want to live in a republic, not an empire.
      and if that means living in a republic of 20 acres, so be it.

      1. David in Friday Harbor

        I’m with you but my big concern is how that pesky Second Amendment plays out when stuff starts getting scarce and the lack of class solidarity (or even consciousness) amongst the Deplorables leads to a circular firing squad instead of a revolution…

        1. Synoia

          Well if the circular firing squad actually removed actors, we might see a change. Or things could get worse.

  13. Phenix

    I do not think that the Israeli public cares. They are making videos mocking the extermination of Palestinians in Gaza. We are witnessing the next Nabka.

    Gaza is dark. All cell and internet services are cut. Israel has escalated its bombing. I suspect that Israeli and US war planners are aware that power is cut and are waiting for Hamas to exhaust their fuell reserves. Once exhausted, the Israelis can use agents that are heavier than air and clear the tunnel systems.

  14. Alan Roxdale

    The Russian goods are to be tagged “blood diamonds” because of the war in the Ukraine. However, now that Israel is destroying the Palestinian population of Gaza, the “blood” tag can be applied to the Israeli diamond cutting industry and to the Jewish diamond trade abroad.

    That’s not how western economic sanctions work. They operate on a “we feel like it” basis. At best they are a historical descendant of the British embargo on Napolean’s empire, if that sophisticated.

  15. MichaelC

    Thank you you for posting this
    My takeaway from this is that there are non western grownups in the room who may box the Israeli and American Zionist bullies/crazies in to a corner where they will have to stand down b4 full genocide commences,
    The Hamas attacks on the port cities, barely reported, was the tell for me that there was a more strategic plan afoot to hit Israel where it would be hardest hit,
    their economic survival.

  16. michael99

    I had not seen any detailed reporting on the ongoing Hamas missile and drone attacks against Israel, in terms of targets and damage, and assumed they were mostly of the terrifying but not very damaging variety, but that is not the case at all according to Helmer’s report.

    A few excerpts from Helmer:

    Tracking the electric war and infrastructure strikes by Hamas and Hezbollah is also difficult. They commenced with cyber attacks on Israel’s electricity generation plants and power grids; these have been followed by missile and drone strikes. “The ground has been laid for attacks on the Israeli grid,” a US military source claims. “I believe drones will come first, then missiles. We may even see commando raids.”

    Israel’s seaports are also under constant attack. Ashkelon, which is closest in range to Gaza, has been closed. Eilat may have been the target of the Houthi missile strike which was engaged last week by the USS Carney. Ashdod, which accounts for about 40% of incoming and outgoing Israeli seaborne trade, and Tel Aviv port have been targeted. The result is a tenfold surge in war risk insurance for vessels and cargoes, and the curtailment of international vessel movement in and out of the Israeli ports;  there are reports that shipping is down 30% in Ashdod compared to the pre-war volume.

    Chevron’s offshore Tamar gas field has been shut down. The source produces 70% of the gas required to fuel Israel’s electricity generation needs. Not a single Anglo-American media source has noticed that Israel is at risk of losing its principal energy source to drone or missile attack.

    This puts the situation in a whole new light. I would think Israel has to put a stop to these aerial attacks ASAP. If they can’t knock these out via aerial attacks of their own, and are not willing to consider a ceasefire, they may feel compelled to go into Gaza, sooner rather than later.

    Also raises questions on the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system. And if Hamas is able to cause this much damage and disruption what could Hezbollah potentially do, with its much bigger stockpile of missiles and drones? That is something Israel and the US must consider if they are contemplating an attack on Iran.

    1. Jake Dee

      Very little information about the effectiveness of Hamas missiles strikes will be released through the MSM for obvious reasons.

  17. Not Qualified to Comment

    Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials –

    Later in the conversation, Gilbert recorded Goering’s observations that the common people can always be manipulated into supporting and fighting wars by their political leaders:

    We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

    “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

    “There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

    “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

  18. ISL

    How will US cash mitigate damage? Sure budget shortfall, but is US cash really going to end up in the hands of the hospitality workers with no customers and no jobs? Of course not – it will be used to purchase munitions from the US or disappear into Israeli (connected) think tank land. Same, who pays the port workers if trade drops precipitously? And the restaurants that used to serve those port workers lunch? And the car salesman who isn’t selling to the out-of-work hospitality workers?

    Please look at Afghanistan to see how helpful a flood of US cash is to an economy. It magnifies corruption and destroys productive industries in favor of financial mismanagement of the un-audited US cash flow.

  19. willow

    Israel’s irreparable economic losses will be from the best & brightest leaving Israel for US. Netanyahu’s shenanigans with Israel’s legal system was only (barely) tolerated because of his ability to ensure the safety of Israelis from Hamas (& Iranian proxies) violence. Now that this implicit promise has been found to have no backing, they will leave. Even if Netanyahu is able to extinguish Hamas without escalating things the damage has already been done from which there is no return.

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