For the first time in Israel’s history, a sitting prime minister has been indicted. Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest serving PM, has been charged with one count of bribery, three counts of fraud, and breach of trust.

Investigation into Netanyahu began in 2016 and includes exchanging favors with media owners for favorable coverage and offering a bribe to an attorney general if he would sweep a case against Netanyahu’s wife under the rug.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu claimed the investigation was an “attempted coup.”

Already in political crisis, the corruption charges throw even more confusion into Israel’s political turmoil. 

After two elections, Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing majority. A third election will be held in 11 months if a governing majority cannot be formed in three weeks. 

This political stalemate comes after a week of heightened tensions in the area.

As reported in the Trends Journal last week, Israeli planes dropped bombs on the residence of Palestinian leader Baha Abu al-Ata, killing al-Ata and his wife and injuring four of their children.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement confirming that the U.S., in direct violation of a UN resolution against occupation, now considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be legitimate, generating immediate condemnation from not only Palestinian spokespersons but also the EU and the UN.

Given the strong support from the new U.S. position, which directly ignores the 1978 State Department legal opinion that the West Bank settlements were not in compliance with international law, a number of Israeli settler groups and conservative politicians called for more annexation of the region.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamad Shtayyeh, stated, “The bias of the Trump administration towards the most extreme in Israel blinds it from seeing the basic principles of international law and consensus.”

This issue is directly connected to Netanyahu’s attempt to gain support among factions who favor a more extensive annexation of Palestinian land.

“When all else fails, they take you to war.” – Gerald Celente

For over two years, Gerald Celente has been stating the importance of a U.S./Israel/Saudi Arabia alliance against Iran. 

In addition to the political drama surrounding the corruption charges against Netanyahu and the dramatic statement from U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo that the U.S. sees Israeli settlements in the West Bank as legitimate, last Wednesday, Israel carried out a series of airstrikes against Iranian military in Syria.

The Israeli military said the attacks were in response to the launch of four rockets the day prior from Syrian territory across the border into Israel, which were intercepted by Israel’s defense system.  None of the attacking missiles hit the ground.

The retaliatory strike by Israel killed 21 people. 

A top military official said Israel was now “changing the rule,” explaining that any attack coming from the Syrian side of its border, no matter how small, will now result in a much more severe response from Israel.

Iran denied the attacks and Syria claims the Israeli strikes on Syria were launched from “Lebanese and Palestinian territories.”

More U.S. troops to “deter” Iran

In a related story to the consistent buildup of U.S./Israeli/Saudi Arabian pressure on Iran, the U.S. will send some 3,000 ground troops to Saudi Arabia. Last Tuesday, the Trump administration informed Congress the purpose was to “protect U.S. interests and enhance force protection in the region against hostile action by Iran and its proxy forces.”

The commander of American forces in the Middle East said in a recent interview that Iran is most likely planning a major attack in the region.

He offered no proof.

Referring to Iran, U.S. Commander General Kenneth F. McKenzie stated, “It’s the trajectory and the direction that they’re on… the attack on the oil fields in Saudi was stunning in the depth of its audaciousness.” 

The attack he mentions is the drone attack last September for which the U.S. has offered no conclusive proof it was carried out by Iran and which Iran has categorically denied.

The general pointed out that despite the U.S. having deployed 14,000 additional troops to the region since spring, this would not deter Iran from initiating a major offensive.

General McKenzie said he was anticipating an attack from Iran as a result of the pressure they are feeling from the severe economic boycott the U.S. has levied against Iran after the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action/JPCOA).

Referring to the coalition the U.S. has formed with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Emirates, Britain, Australia, and Albania to guard the straits of Hormuz, General McKenzie said, “Unfortunately, sometimes the Iranian regime has proved itself to be the bully in the neighborhood… And the only way to stand up to a bully is to do it together.”

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: As noted in previous issues of the Trends Journal, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against Syria since civil war there broke out in 2011. 

As for Iran being the “bully in the neighborhood,” it should be noted that the United States is illegally based in Syria, and Israel illegally has been bombing Syria for years. On the other hand, Iran (and Russia) were invited into Syria by its ruling government. 

TREND FORECAST: Tensions across the Middle East will intensify, with high probabilities of a military confrontation between Iran and the U.S/Israel/Saudi alliance. 

When war breaks out, oil prices, now in the $62 per barrel range for Brent Crude, will spike to over $100 per barrel. With the global economy already in slow down mode and equity markets overvalued, rapidly rising oil prices will greatly worsen economic conditions and put severe downward pressure on global equity markets. 

Gold prices will also sharply rise, as investors seek safe-haven assets to protect against failing markets, economies, and currencies. 

It should be noted that given the constant barrage of pro-Israel/Saudi and anti-Iranian political and media bias, the majority of the U.S. public will, as they have done with the Afghan and Iraq wars, support this war effort.

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