Israeli Officials Blame Historic Wildfires on Palestinians

Yesterday Israeli firefighters have completely extinguished large forest fires which ravaged the country for the past week.

Over 6,900 acres caught fire in Israel over the past five days, a conflagration the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Israel in decades.

Hundreds of people were injured, and tens of thousands fled from their homes. Palestinian communities with Israeli citizenship living in Israel were impacted by the flames as well

The Israeli government appears to have made political use of the fires, which they blamed on arson. 35 suspects were arrested on suspicion of arson, most of them Palestinians.

Among the people detained is a Palestinian man who posted a satirical post in Facebook criticizing alleged arsonists.

A very hot and dry autumn has contributed to fire all over the Middle East region and no evidence has been found to substantiate the allegation of arson in the most affected city of Haifa.

Yet the Israeli minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, claimed that the fires were a result of politically motivated arson and vowed to demolish the homes of Palestinian arsonists.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also threatened to revoke the residency of non-Jewish arsonists.

Assad Forces Advance in Aleppo

The forces of Syrian President Bashar el-Assad have conquered large parts of eastern Aleppo today, one of the last holdouts of the rebels in Syria.

Rebel forces, dominated by Jabhat Fatah Al Sham and Ahrar Al Sham, have lost territorial contiguity as a result of the attack.

Syrian forces, aided by massive Russian intervention, have bombed targets in eastern Aleppo over the past months, causing massive damage to civilian infrastructure and killing thousands.

As Assad reinforces his control over Syria by removing one of the last pockets of resistance in the north of the country, other rebel groups continue to fight against the regime.

In a separate incident, ISIS soldiers opened fire on an Israeli outpost in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan, followed by an Israeli air force bombing of ISIS targets inside Syria.

Cubans Mourn the Death of Fidel Castro

The Cuban government declared nine days of mourning in honor of Fidel Castro, who died last Friday, November 25th at the age of 90.

Castro’s cremated remains will be taken on a five-day tour of the country beginning on Wednesday. They will be laid to rest in Santiago de Cuba, the symbolic birthplace of the Cuban Revolution.

Fidel Castro governed Cuba for a total of 47 years as prime minister in 1959-1976 and as president in 1976-2006, among the longest of any leader in history, until he had to retire due to health reasons. His brother, Raul Castro, took his place as president in 2006.

Over the weekend, condolences and praise for Cuba’s long-time leader came in from heads of state from all around the world. Most of the statements highlighted Castro’s role as a global leader of independence and liberation movements and as an agent of international solidarity with the world’s poor.

In the past 20 years, Cuba provided free medical care for the poor by sending Cuban doctors abroad and allowing people to receive free medical treatment in Cuba.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Castro also provided material support to revolutionary movements around the world, including supporting the People’s Movement for Liberation in Angola, which helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.

The US subjected Cuba to decades of terrorism, an attempted invasion, funding of “opposition” organizations, endless assassination attempts against Castro and a decades long crushing embargo – which is still in effect – all in the name of overthrowing the government and reversing the 1959 revolution.

All these actions not only failed, but they ultimately heightened Castro’s image as an anti-imperialist and revolutionary figure who managed to thwart and outlast eleven separate US presidents.

Trump Claims He Lost Popular Vote From “Illegal Voting”; Experts Claim The Election Was Stolen From Democratic Party

President-elect Donald Trump is claiming that “illegal voting” cost him the popular vote in the US presidential election.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton currently leads Donald Trump by 2 million votes, a number which is expected to rise to at least 2.5 million as more ballots are counted. (The Presidency is awarded to the candidate who wins the majority of ‘electoral college votes,’ not the popular vote.)

Election lawyer and international election observer, Robert Fitrakis, told the Real News last week that there is clear evidence of manipulation and fraud within the US electoral system. Fitrakis and his colleague Harvey Wasserman argue that the evidence clearly shows that votes have been “stripped” and “flipped” away from the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and possibly the Green and Libertarian candidates, to favour Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

Fitrakis also claims there is also clear evidence of the Democratic primaries being stolen from Bernie Sanders with the same method.

Wisconsin is currently undergoing a vote recount spurred by the efforts of Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein.

The “War on Terror” is Expanded to Somalia

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Obama Administration has officially expanded its war against Al Qaeda to include Somalia’s Al Shabab.

The U.S. has conducted covert military operations as well as air strikes in Somalia for many years.

However, this will result in the loosening of any previous restrictions set by the administration on the use of air strikes under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

The AUMF was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 14, 2001. The law granted authority to the president to target those whom the President determined had “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 or otherwise harboured those who did.

Al Shabab, which came into power following the destruction of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), did not exist in 2001, and no connection has been proven between the country of Somalia and the attacks of September 11.

The ICU, a grassroots collective of tribal leaders and militias that imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law, brought stability to the war stricken country. The stability was short lived however, once the ICU was destroyed by CIA directed assassinations, the arming of local war lords and the US backed Ethiopian invasion in December 2006.

Kenya, also backed by the US and UK, invaded Somalia in October 2011, ostensibly to root out the Al Shabab militant group.  Five years later, Kenya has yet to withdraw its forces.