We greet you from the People's Palace in the Syrian capital of Damascus. We are honored to meet President Bashar al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Mr. President, welcome on Addounia TV.
President al-Assad: Welcome to you and to Addounia TV.
Question: Mr. President, allow me to discuss during today's meeting the most important issues ... we start with the situation on the ground… of course, Aleppo… what is the situation in Aleppo; how do you view it?
President al-Assad: We cannot separate the situation in Aleppo from the situation in Syria.... They have a will to destroy the country. They started with Daraa, moved to Homs and Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Lattakia; to all provinces. They try to move from one place to another. The importance is in the difference in scale or weight of the city in the Syrian context, but if we take into account the scale of the complex battles waged by the armed forces on the technical, tactical and strategic levels, then they are among the most complex types of battles, yet the armed forces achieve great successes in this regard... Everyone hopes that the achievement or the resolution to be within weeks or days and hours. This is illogical; we're involved in a regional and global battle, so time is needed to resolve it.
Question: Mr. President, many ask what is the position of the Syrian state towards neighboring countries, particularly since some countries facilitate, train, finance and arm in all manners which may constitute a violation of the Syrian state, the security of Syria and the safety of Syrian citizens?
President al-Assad: We have to distinguish between what we as Syria and as Syrian people and as a country want from these countries. Do we seek a relation or a dispute with the country or with the people?
Question: Mr. President, there are those among the opposition who talk and ask why the Syrian forces and the Syrian army are inside Syrian cities, while not a single bullet has been fired in the Golan for nearly forty years.
President al-Assad: The task of the army and armed forces in all countries of the world is to protect the homeland. Protecting the homeland doesn't only mean protecting it from outside, but from within as well; any enemy that comes from any place.
Question: Mr. President, there are those who say that the popular movement in Syria remained peaceful for four or five months and became armed after it was oppressed by the state.
President al-Assad: No, this explanation is inaccurate for a simple reason; if they were unarmed then what explains that in the first week of turbulence and events there were a number of martyrs among security and police forces?
Many people were misled in the beginning, thinking that what is happening is a state of excitement a wave of The Arab spring that will affect Syria, that these youths are excitable, that there are no gunmen, that the state is fabricating, all the these things we used to hear. For us as a state, the lack of public understanding was a problem. What helped the state in the resolution in recent months was the clarity of the picture for the larger part of the Syrian population.... There's a change in the public mood towards what is happening and towards the gunmen as they discovered that what is happening isn't a revolution nor a spring; they are rather terrorist acts in the full meaning of the word...
Question: Mr. President, the issue of defections is one of the things that concerned Syrian society lately as well... They said that if these people hadn't seen something dark in Syria's future and that the state isn't stable and isn't strong, then they wouldn't have abandoned fortune, power and positions to the unknown.
President al-Assad: Regardless of the names, and assuming that the future is dark, is this a reason to leave the country? What is this limited proposition, it is an accusation of being unpatriotic.
Question: Your Excellency... the Syrians ask: why us? Why are we being targeted with this enormous amount of resources aimed at Syria?
President al-Assad: We are paying the price of different stances, some of them related to the principled polices linked to the Syrian rights, our stance on the resistance and our relation with Iran which means with this axes that is not liked by the West.
Question: Mr. President, Was anything demanded to be done by your side .. during the openness and interest stage which was practiced on Syria between 2008 and 2010..?
President al-Assad: Yes, they clearly and continuously asked us to move away from Iran... How could we move away from it. In principle, rejecting or inverting on a side or faithful country, this is unacceptable. In terms of interest, a country which changed the Israeli Embassy into a Palestinian one and stood with the Palestinian right...
Question: Syria has and still encounters all forms of sanctions.. They say that through economic pressure, or through making Syria collapse economically they might achieve their political goals.
President al-Assad: This kind of sanctions will undoubtedly affect Syria, but it will affect with specific degrees. This depends on how we could we adapt with these conditions. Look to Iran, it progresses forwards in light of severe sanctions throughout many decades. We have capability to adapt with them as we are a productive state, we are not an importer country in principle, we are a productive state from agriculture, crafts into small industries, but we have to reformulate our economy in a way that suits with this new condition, in this case we can make achievement.
Question: Mr. President, You called for dialogue... How the State deals with the call for dialogue since the convening of the conference last year?
President al-Assad: This is a very long story... There was a national opposition which wanted to put aside all its interests and visions which we differ on to put the interest of the Homeland first. Subsequently in the political process, some of them entered elections, others participated in the People's Assembly and the government.
Question: Your Excellency, the Syrians want to know where they are heading, Where are we going? What next? What do you say to the Syrians, Your Excellency?
President al-Assad: In short, the fate of Syria is in the hands of the Syrians, NOT in the hands of anybody else; and once we eliminate terrorism, we will have no problem, even the conspirator would return and change. ..
The Arab Homeland
Question: Part of the Syrian people say that they no longer believe in pan-Arabism. They say we should put “Syria first”.. Does His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad still believe in pan-Arabism and what is called “Arab action”?
President al-Assad: First, I repeat what I said in one of my speeches, that “Syria first” is self-evident. .. But this does not contradict with what comes second, which is the city, the larger homeland and the Arab world to which we belong. ...
Maliki renews Syrian peoples' right
Iraqi regimes have always wielded excessive power from the centre. Saddam’s totalitarian rule is but a further extension, albeit to a horrifying scale, of the authoritarianism and dictatorship of previous regimes. The Iraqi constitution has sought to remedy this through adopting federalism. However, grave danger can come from misunderstanding how federalism is meant to work.
Thus, we at the Islamic Dawa Party:1. Support the Iraqi Constitution’s adoption of a federal structure to power sharing in Iraq
2. Work to encourage the establishment of several federal regions in the south and centre of the country, based on geography and not on ethnicity or sect
3. Reject calls to divide Iraq into three Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni regions, and regard any attempts to work along such lines as seriously undermining the unity of the Iraqi people
4. Work to maintain a cohesive central government, which can coordinate the needs of the different regions in Iraq, and respond effectively to challenges that face the nation as whole, including the fight against terrorism and the process of reconstruction
We at the Islamic Dawa party:1. Denounce all forms of terrorism and work to establish peace and security for all the citizens of Iraq
2. Comply with the Iraqi constitution that states: "Terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and 'takfireen' are banned, as is the Saddamist Baath Party".
3. Empower the police and the military to crackdown on terrorism and crimes such as fraud and drug-trafficking.
4. Seek to develop and advance the military and police institutions primarily on the basis of loyalty to Iraq's national interests and its citizens. Military and police recruitment must be based on morality and honesty of the new Iraqi soldiers or police. Policies of racial and religious discrimination inside the military and police institutions that were practiced by Saddam's regime will be banned.
5. Cleanse the government institutions and offices from elements of corruption and bribery.
6. Put an end to the flow of terrorists and drug-trafficking by securing borders with neighbouring countries.
7. Ensure a fair hearing to anyone accused of terrorist activities and those financing them.
We the sons of Mesopotamia, land of the prophets, resting place of the holy imams, the leaders of civilization and the creators of the alphabet, the cradle of arithmetic: on our land, the first law put in place by mankind was written; in our nation, the most noble era of justice in the politics of nations was laid down; on our soil, the followers of the prophet and the saints prayed, the philosophers and the scientists theorised and the writers and poets created...
Terrorism and “takfir” (declaring someone an infidel) did not divert us from moving forward to build a nation of law.
Sectarianism and racism did not stop us from marching together to strengthen our national unity, set ways to peacefully transfer power, adopt a manner to fairly distribute wealth and give equal opportunity to all.
We the people of Iraq, newly arisen from our disasters and looking with confidence to the future through a democratic, federal, republican system, are determined - men and women, old and young - to respect the rule of law, reject the policy of aggression, pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their cares, the children and their affairs, spread the culture of diversity and defuse terrorism...
Rights and freedoms in Egypt's new constitution
Israeli Democracy, Fact or Fiction?
British Extremists Fighting in Syria
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that what is happening in Syria is a massive conspiracy and an aggression using barbaric tools whose elements are obvious, stressing that Syria is facing a terrorist, Wahabi and Takfiri mentality and an extremist culture in various guises and under various names.
Minister al-Zoubi stressed that there won't be dialogue as long as the terrorists have weapons because the dialogue should be held in peaceful and stable circumstances.
He said that some opposition sides don't want to hold dialogue because they have no political project or program...
"...Whoever wants to present their opinion can do so through political dialogue and clear opinion, and by the opposition, I mean the national opposition which rejects foreign interference..." Minister al-Zoubi said.
On the role of Europe in Syria, al-Zoubi said that the European role is dependent on the US role, adding that "Europe's role is a shadow of the US role and had been so for decades; the USA dominates the European decisions."
Twenty years ago, Harvard University’s Joseph Nye famously defined soft power as the ability to get others to “want what you want,” which he contrasted with the ability to compel others via “hard” military and economic assets. ...
Hillary notes that the rise of Tehran’s regional influence over the last decade has little to do with hard power. Rather, as Hillary points out, Iran’s rise is fundamentally about soft power.
“We always think of Iran as a military dictatorship, but the Iranian message is clear: they want free and fair elections” in countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq. “The Iranian message and belief is — if a country has free and fair elections, it will pursue independent policies that are in that country’s national interest. The Iranian belief is that if they pursue independent policies, they will inevitably be unenthusiastic about pursuing U.S. or Western policies.”
Hillary argues that Tehran can apply this approach even in Syria. ... Iranian policymakers are willing to roll the dice on elections in Syria because, first of all, they judge (correctly) that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to retain the support of at least half of Syrian society. Thus, it is not at all clear that he would lose an election. But Hillary underscores that, even if Assad were to leave office as part of a democratic transition, “a free and fairly elected successor to Assad would not be interested in strategic cooperation with the U.S. and would not be interested in aligning itself with Israel. That would be completely against the views and histories of the people.”
On the other side of the Middle East’s geopolitical and sectarian divide, Saudi Arabia is pursuing a very different strategy, in Syria and elsewhere in the region. The Saudi strategy emphasizes the funding and training of fundamentalist Sunni groups ideologically aligned with Al-Qa’ida—groups that, in contrast to mainstream Sunni Islamists “who are not interested in killing other Muslims,” take a strongly anti-Shi’a stance.
This is, of course, the strategy that Saudi Arabia followed when it joined with the United States to fund largely Pashtun cadres among the mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan—and then fueled the rise of the Taliban during the 1990s, after the Soviet withdrawal. ...
Hillary elaborates on the point: The Saudis want to convince others in the region that “the Iranians don’t stand for Muslim causes, beliefs, independence or nationalism. The Saudis want others in the region to see the Iranians as Shiite, Persian, non-Arab, non-Sunni, and that what the Iranians are doing has nothing to do with democracy or freedom...
But polls and other objective indicators suggest that regional publics are not buying the Saudi message.
In Hillary’s reading, dealing with the contrast between the Iranian and Saudi approaches to Syria will be crucial to Lakhdar Brahimi’s chances of success in stabilizing the conflict there. ...
When challenged with an assertion that neither the Assad government nor the opposition is willing to talk, Hillary pushes back by observing that, just as the Islamic Republic supports a political solution in Syria, President Assad has been willing to talk with opponents since virtually the beginning of unrest back in March 2011. Furthermore, she underscores that it is largely the external Syrian opposition that has demanded Assad’s ouster up front; the internal opposition has not insisted on that.
Moscow, Sep 4 (IANS) Russia has strongly condemned the alleged threat by an armed Syrian opposition on attacking civilian airports in Syria, saying such actions were no different from terrorists.
Moscow was deeply concerned over the statement of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that the international airports of Damascus and Aleppo were taken as "military targets" and civilian aircraft using them would be shot down, Xinhua quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement.
"We believe these threats are unacceptable. They are a flagrant violation of international law, in particular the Chicago Convention of 1944 on international civil aviation," said the ministry.
The international community can not remain indifferent to the attempts of extremist elements and terrorists to further destabilise the situation in the SAR, and especially to the repressive actions against ethno-confessional minorities, particularly Christians. We stand for the immediate cease-fire by unexceptionally all parties and for switching the conflict to political track based upon the existing consensus basis of Syrian settlement - K. Annan’s plan and Geneva agreements. There is no alternative to that.
For years it seems impregnable, then suddenly the citadel collapses....
When Desmond Tutu wrote that Tony Blair should be treading the path to The Hague, he de-normalised what Blair has done. Tutu broke the protocol of power – the implicit accord between those who flit from one grand meeting to another – and named his crime.
The offence is known by two names in international law: the crime of aggression and a crime against peace. It is defined by the Nuremberg principles as the "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression". This means a war fought for a purpose other than self-defence: in other words outwith articles 33 and 51 of the UN Charter.
That the invasion of Iraq falls into this category looks indisputable. Blair's cabinet ministers knew it, and told him so. His attorney general warned that there were just three ways in which it could be legally justified: "self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UN security council authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case." Blair tried and failed to obtain the third.
His foreign secretary, Jack Straw, told Blair that for the war to be legal, "i) there must be an armed attack upon a state or such an attack must be imminent; ii) the use of force must be necessary and other means to reverse/avert the attack must be unavailable; iii) the acts in self-defence must be proportionate and strictly confined to the object of stopping the attack." None of these conditions were met. The Cabinet Office told him: "A legal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to law officers' advice, none currently exists."
Without legal justification, the attack on Iraq was an act of mass murder. It caused the deaths of between 100,000 and a million people... That Blair and his ministers still saunter among us, gathering money wherever they go, is a withering indictment of a one-sided system of international justice: a system whose hypocrisies Tutu has exposed....
The justification, attempted by Blair this weekend, is that there was a moral case for invading Iraq. Yes, there was one. There was also a moral case for not invading Iraq, and this case was stronger.
Foreign Secretary William Hague to the British House of Commons stated that more "death and suffering" would be required to convince Russia and other nations to change their positions on Syria.
This might answer the question as to why the United States, UK, France, NATO members including Turkey, and the despotic Gulf State autocracies have made such vigorous efforts to fund, arm, and support foreign terrorists...
It is their hope to create such staggering amounts of Western-subsidized "death and suffering" that the world begs for Western military intervention and regime change.
Hague however, faced criticism from the Labour Party's Peter Hain who accused Hague of an "obsession with regime change" that amounted to a "catastrophic and monumental failure of Western policy."
The premise Hague and his counterparts .. have upheld that Western support for terrorists operating in Syria is based on humanitarian concerns. ... At most, and much closer to reality, however, Western intervention is instead, naked military aggression...
"Our socialist vision is of a Britain that stands for
justice, freedom and morality both at home and abroad."
In 1996 then-UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, in reference to years of U.S.-led economic sanctions against Iraq, “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” To which Ambassador Albright responded, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”
That remark caused no public outcry. In fact, in January the following year Albright was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as President Clinton’s secretary of state. ...
Apparently no member of the committee asked her about her statement on 60 Minutes. Albright was confirmed.
Why bring this up now? Albright has just published her memoirs, Madam Secretary, in which she clarifies her statement. Here’s what she writes:
I must have been crazy; I should have answered the question by reframing it and pointing out the inherent flaws in the premise behind it. Saddam Hussein could have prevented any child from suffering simply by meeting his obligations.... As soon as I had spoken, I wished for the power to freeze time and take back those words. My reply had been a terrible mistake, hasty, clumsy and wrong. Nothing matters more than the lives of innocent people. I had fallen into the trap and said something I simply did not mean. That was no one’s fault but my own. (p. 275)
When one reviews the facts, it is clear that Albright’s explanation is woefully inadequate. First, it contains an apparent contradiction. She says food and medicine were not embargoed, but then she says Saddam Hussein could have avoided the suffering “simply by meeting his obligations.” Does that mean more food would have been available had Hussein done what the U.S. government wanted? If so, weren’t American officials at least partly responsible for the harm done to the Iraqi people? ...
Two UN humanitarian coordinators quit over the sanctions. As one of them, Denis Halliday, said when he left in 1998, “I’ve been using the word ‘genocide’ because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I’m afraid I have no other view.”
Sheldon Richman, author of “‘Ancient History’: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East since World War II and the Folly of Intervention.”.
Washington has a long history of supporting foreign thugs to advance perceived geopolitical interests. Sometimes horrible choices must be made, such as allying with Joseph Stalin against Adolf Hitler. In most cases, however, the interests being advanced are not worth the moral price of underwriting brutal repression....
Attempting to forcibly reform, or even overthrow, repressive regimes seems satisfying morally. But the outcome is not necessarily positive. It is far easier to blow up a society than put it back together. In Iraq at least 200,000 civilian likely have died after America's ill-considered invasion.
In 2006 the U.S. government pressed for elections in the Palestinian territories, which propelled Hamas to power in the Gaza Strip. Washington then refused to recognize the result, adding hypocrisy to stupidity.
Abrupt changes of regime are more likely to result in violence and repression. While Washington should not oppose democratic movements even if they seem less likely to promote its geopolitical interests, the U.S. government should not actively spur revolution....
The world in which Washington can simply tell everyone else what to do is illusory. ... Better for the U.S. government to advocate respect for human rights and democracy and then shut up. The less said by Washington about what the U.S. government desires, the better.
This article appeared in China Daily on August 31, 2012.
The Obama administration should back off from Syria and respect the concerns of China and Russia. US officials in particular need to mute the shrill rhetoric directed against their fellow permanent members of the UN Security Council. Above all, Washington needs to realize that hostile, bullying comments cause needless tensions in relations with those countries.
That outcome is especially unfortunate, since the bilateral relationship with China is perhaps the most important one of all for the US. It would be folly to let disagreements over Syrian policy do lasting damage to ties with China, but that is where the Obama administration seems to be headed.
HOMS, (SANA)- Governor of Homs Ahmad Munir Mohammad on Tuesday discussed the humanitarian, health and services conditions in Homs province with a UN delegation headed by Chief of Mission of Assessing Humanitarian Needs, Ben Parker.
Mohammad briefed the delegation on the current conditions in Homs city and the destruction caused by terrorists, noting that the terrorists didn't even spare schools and used them for their crimes.
He noted that Syrians – and particularly the people of Homs – received displaced people from Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq and shared their resources with them, hosting them in their homes, not in camps, and today the Syrians are rewarded with sanctions, murder and destruction.
For his part, Parker said that they are working to assess the security the situation in Homs, and that a permanent office will be established in Homs city to deal with humanitarian issues with the help of a team from the Red Crescent.
Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance...
The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it. Walking down the streets of Damascus, you can hear the Iraqi accent everywhere....
"Riverbend and her blogging peers represent an uncensored real-time account of war, politics, and the perils of neo-imperialism." Alexandra Izabela Jerome
Non-Islamist political forces are showing signs of being troubled by Islamists' domination - and this monopoly could be harmful for Egypt. This needs urgent action by non-Islamist forces to avoid the uncertain future of democracy in Egypt. If this does not happen soon, it will be more difficult to tackle this unhealthy political environment in the future and then put the country on the path of democracy and prosperity. ...
The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists control almost all key positions in Egyptian politics.
The main reason for Islamists' domination is the weakness of non-Islamist political forces. In most democratic countries, such as those of the European Union, the presence of strong, different political forces is the safeguard for democracy. ...
One cannot change the fact that the Egyptian president is Islamist. So the practical reaction of the non-Islamist political forces to Islamist’s domination should be to strengthen their grassroots base in order to be ready for the coming elections...
Islamists do need other forces to build a prosperous and democratic country. It is a responsibility of the non-Islamist camps to get over their divisions and become a real force on the Egyptian political scene. ...
Building a strong Egypt through active and effective political forces, especially the non-Islamist ones, will enable Egypt to regain its historical position in the region.
CAIRO — Egypt's president says Syrian leader Bashar Assad must learn from "recent history" and step down before it is too late.
Mohammed Morsi's reference to "recent history" appeared to allude to the fate of authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen that have been overthrown by Arab Spring uprisings.
Morsi spoke Wednesday at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
Amos Yadlin is Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and former Head of Military Intelligence of the Israeli Defence Forces
The recommended model, built on the lessons of Iraq, is a Western aerial campaign that paves the way for regime change, as it did in Kosovo and in Libya. There are no "boots on the ground", at least initially (and should that become necessary, Turkish forces should be assigned to this mission).
The suggested strategy in Syria is to use gradual steps to convince Assad that an international campaign is a credible option: from moving aircraft carriers to the region and Turkish ground forces to the border, to reconnaissance sorties, no-fly zones, and humanitarian corridors.
The Syrian defensive capability is not dramatically greater than Iraq's of 1991 or 2003, which already included advanced Russian systems. As the Syrian military has been preoccupied with internal uprisings over the past year and a half, it is likely that its capabilities have even eroded.
Those who call for passivity in Syria claim that since there is no consensus among members of the UN Security Council and no explicit Arab League request, there is no legitimacy for foreign military intervention. These arguments ignore the moral obligation - the "Responsibility to Protect" principle - endorsed by the West. ...
In any case, no Russian, Chinese, or Arab opposition justifies passivity while Assad's regime continues to slaughter the Syrian people. ...
On a related note, military intervention also enables Western powers to cope with the potential use of chemical weapons – by the regime against the rebels, or by terror organisations against Western targets. ...
Finally, action in Syria might support the international campaign against Iran. ...
Acting in Syria, could weaken, if not break, the nexus between Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Palestinian terror organisations, and therefore likely contain Iranian influence in the Levant.
A gradual military intervention along the lines of the Libyan model of a Western aerial campaign seems the most effective response to the Syrian crisis.
According to its own records, NATO launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were civilian targets. These included missiles with uranium warheads. Look at the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the UICEF report on the children killed, “most [of them] under the age of ten.” Like the destruction of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, these crimes were not news, because news as disinformation is a fully integrated weapon of attack.
In Anglo-American scholarship, influential theorists known as “liberal realists” have long taught that liberal imperialists – a term they never use – are the world’s peacebrokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified “failed states” (nations difficult to exploit) and “rogue states” (nations resistant to western dominance).
Whether or not the regime is a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevant. The same is true of those contracted to do the dirty work.
In the Middle East, from Nasser’s time to Syria today, western liberalism’s collaborators have been Islamists, lately al-Qaeda, while long discredited notions of democracy and human rights serve as rhetorical cover for conquest, “as required.” Plus ca change… (ClearingHouse 2012)
Three of the Senate’s most hawkish members visited Iraq on Wednesday to threaten Baghdad with damaged relations with Washington if it continues to allow Iran to send weapons to the Syrian government over Iraqi airspace.
Sens. John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham sat with the Iraqi foreign minister and other officials to pressure them to block Iran from making weapons deliveries to the embattled Syrian regime over Iraqi airspace. But Iraqi officials came back demanding evidence of this accusation.
Even as the US sent three of its most belligerent war hawks to Baghdad to get Iraq to stop being complicit in alleged arming of the Assad regime, Washington continues to be complicit in sending arms into Syria as well – except to the criminal rebel militias instead of the regime.
What gives the US and its allies the right to send aid and weapons to the Syrian opposition, while such actions are prohibited for Iraq or Iran, is not clear. The same hypocrisy holds in almost every case of international relations. What is acceptable and just for America, is cruel and nefarious for its enemies.
MOSCOW, (SANA)_Russia's President Vladimir Putin said that some sides are using extremists to achieve their goals in Syria, calling upon all Western countries to reevaluate their position on the Syrian crisis.
In an interview with RT TV, Putin said "There are sides who want to use extremist members of al-Qaeda or other extremist organizations to achieve their own goals in Syria, which is a very dangerous and short-sighted policy that leads to bad consequences."
"It always happens that when someone wants to reach a certain end, he spares no means for that, and they are trying to use all means to reach their end… This is what happened after the Soviet forces entered Afghanistan when our current partners supported the movement there and founded al-Qaeda that later dealt a blow to the US," said Putin.
The Russian president urged the West to re-evaluate its position on Syria. "Why would Russia alone re-evaluate its stance? We treat everyone with equal respect. Maybe our partners in the negotiation process should re-evaluate their position", he said.
Putin underscored the importance of halting violence by all sides and coming to the negotiation table, "We fully understand the importance of change, but it does not mean it has to be bloody." ...
He said the events in the Middle East and North Africa are unfolding in an uncivilized way.., expressing deep concern over the future developments there.
DAMASCUS, (SANA)_Foreign and Expatriates Ministry condemned the statements of the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during an Arab foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo, considering them a flagrant interference in the Syrian affairs and outright infringement of the Syrians' right to determine their own future.
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry said that Morsi unequivocally showed that he reflected the views of a group that is detached from the mutual history of the Syrian and Egyptian people [...] expressing trust that the brotherly Egyptian people are capable of restoring Egypt's role on the Arab arena in a way that redresses the balance that is currently missing in the joint Arab action.
For half a century the United States and many of its allies saw what I call the “Islamic right” as convenient partners in the Cold War. *** In the decades before 9/11, hard-core activists and organizations among Muslim fundamentalists on the far right were often viewed as allies for two reasons, because they were seen a fierce anti-communists and because they opposed secular nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh. ***
By the end of the 1950s, rather than allying itself with the secular forces of progress in the Middle East and the Arab world, the United States found itself in league with Saudi Arabia’s Islamist legions.
Choosing Saudi Arabia over Nasser’s Egypt was probably the single biggest mistake the United States has ever made in the Middle East.
A second big mistake … occurred in the 1970s, when, at the height of the Cold War and the struggle for control of the Middle East, the United States either supported or acquiesced in the rapid growth of Islamic right in countries from Egypt to Afghanistan. In Egypt, Anwar Sadat brought the Muslim Brotherhood back to Egypt. In Syria, the United States, Israel, and Jordan supported the Muslim Brotherhood in a civil war against Syria. And … Israel quietly backed Ahmed Yassin and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to the establishment of Hamas.
Still another major mistake was the fantasy that Islam would penetrate the USSR and unravel the Soviet Union in Asia. It led to America’s support for the jihadists in Afghanistan.... The Afghan jihad spawned civil war in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, gave rise to the Taliban, and got Osama bin Laden started on building Al Qaeda.
Would the Islamic right have existed without U.S. support? Of course. ... But there is no question that the virulence of the movement that we now confront — and which confronts many of the countries in the region, too, from Algeria to India and beyond—would have been significantly less had the United States made other choices...
(More info: Sleeping with the devil, by Washingtonsblog)
The United States must immediately end all —and I mean all— support for the Syrian rebels. It should abandon them to their fate, whatever that might be. It should avoid getting involved, just as it abandoned Eastern European anti-Soviet rebellions in 1956 and 1968, just as it cut off Kurdish anti-Saddam separatists in the early 1970s and Shiite anti-Saddam rebels in 1991. And just as it didn’t intervene, thank goodness, in the 2009 Green Movement uprising in Iran.
What’s happening in Syria has transformed, inch by inch, from an Arab Spring–type rebellion against an autocrat, à la Tunisia and Egypt, into a full-fledged civil war. In that war, one side is amply backed by Iran, Russia and, it now appears, Iraq. And the other side is supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Arab Persian Gulf kleptocracies.
Note any pattern? Yes, Sunni vs. Shiite. The United States is now engaged nearly completely in a sectarian, region-wide conflict pitting anti-American, Shiite powers and their allies against a Sunni bloc, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
In Syria, the opposition is heavily influenced by, if not dominated by, the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni militants, including a smattering of Al Qaeda types. And it’s now getting the full-throated support of the Egyptian president, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, too.
As David Ignatius points out, the war in Syria is nearly identical to the 1980s US-backed jihad against the Soviet-backed government, and we know how that turned out: a thirty-years’ war, 1 million dead and a shattered nation that won’t recover for a generation or two. ...
Are Americans so uninvolved in foreign policy these days that they’ll ignore or, worse, support, another American-led intervention overseas, after debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq? Seems so.
If the United States wants to speak out on behalf of the Syrian rebels, as it did with the Green Movement in Iran in 2009, fine. But otherwise, hands off.
The Syrian people do know that the USA and the Zionist entity are the mastermind for the ongoing aggression against Syria, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Fayssal al-Mikdad declared. ...
He blasted vehemently the two speeches delivered by Egyptian president, Mohamad Morsi, whether before the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM Summit in Tehran or before Arabs' Foreign Ministers in Cairo, as 'very far from the reality' and as a 'flagrant interference in the domestic affairs of Syria'...
Al-Mikdad voiced Syria's welcome to the appointment of the international envoy, Lakhdar Ibrahimi, to Syria, as Syria did with Kofi Annan, the former UN envoy, his 6-point plan, and with UNSMIS mission, declaring that Syria would talk, with an open heart and a sincere desire, with Ibrahimi, and would listen to his advice and views, and would cooperate in establishing UN Office in Damascus to follow up and enable Ibrahimi to be in the picture of the ongoing in Syria. ...
The Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister blasted the League of Arab States decision to cut the Syrian Satellite TV's transmission by Arab-Sat and Nile-Sat as a 'moral degradation' in violation of the international declaration of human rights, and of all international values, asserting that the western 'no comment' on such a suppression of freedom proves but the hypocrisy and lies practiced and made by the west.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2012, the movement has 120 members and 17 observer countries. WIKIPEDIA
Iran chaired, hosted and led the recently rejuvenated Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Teheran, attended by delegates from 120 countries, including 31 heads of state and 29 foreign secretaries of state. Even the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, notorious mouthpiece of Washington , felt obligated to address, a forum attended by two-thirds of the member countries of the UN, despite State Department and Israeli objections...
The entire US-Israeli-EU diplomatic and propaganda effort to isolate and stigmatize Iran, especially over the past decade, was shredded.
NAM Resolutions: Iran versus Washington – Israel
The centerpiece of US and Israeli strategic policy has been to claim that Iran ’s nuclear program including the enrichment of uranium, are a threat to world peace and in particular to Israel and the Gulf states.
The NAM meeting repudiated that position, affirming Iran ’s right to develop a peaceful nuclear program including the enrichment of uranium. NAM rejected western sanctions against Iran and other countries. In fact many of the leading members, including India, brought delegations of business executives in pursuit of new economic contracts.
NAM declared its support for a nuclear free Middle East and called for an independent Palestinian state based on 1969 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, in total repudiation of Washington ’s unconditional support of the nuclear armed Jewish state.
NAM rejected Egyptian Prime Minister Morsi’s proposal to support the Western backed armed mercenaries invading Syria, major blow to Washington’s effort to secure international support for regime change.
Western Propaganda Media: Self Serving Diversions
The resounding diplomatic successes of the Iranian hosts of the NAM meeting were countered by a mass media blitz directed at diverting attention to relatively marginal events.
The Financial and New York Times, the BBC and the Washington Post featured a speech by Egyptian Prime Minister Morsi calling for NAM support for the Western backed armed mercenaries invading Syria. The media omitted mentioning that no delegation took up his proposal. NAM not only ignored Morsi but unanimously approved a resolution opposing western intervention and affirming the right of self-determination, clearly applicable to the case of Syria.
Overall the mass media deliberately ignored or underplayed the resolutions, dialogue and democratic procedures of the NAM meeting...
The hidden, obvious, peculiar, fatal,
omnipresent bias of American mainstream media
concerning US foreign policy
by William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal 1-9-2012
There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? ...
Can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Fidel or Raul Castro of Cuba, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Rafael Correa of Ecuador (even before the current Assange matter), or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past, like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti?
Who in the mainstream media supports Hamas of Gaza? Or Hezbollah of Lebanon? Who in the mainstream media is outspokenly critical of Israel’s domestic or foreign policies? And keeps his/her job? ....
Long before the Soviet Union broke up, a group of Russian writers touring the United States were astonished to find, after reading the newspapers and watching television, that almost all the opinions on all the vital issues were the same. “In our country,” said one of them, “to get that result we have a dictatorship. We imprison people. We tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. How do you do it? What’s the secret?”
He pointed out that the role of the Arab League in its current composition cannot be positive [...] ,since the League was the one to make the crisis an international issue and went to the Security Council without justification.
Makdessi went on to clarify that there has never been an Egyptian initiative; rather there was talk and intent, but those were blown away by the speech made by Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Tehran, because the basis on any initiative's success is not taking sides, while Mursi picked a side and hijacked a forum to interfere in Syria's affairs.
The Arab Leaque & The Arab Homeland - Wikipedia Info
The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland while respecting the sovereignty of the individual member states. ...
Governance of the Arab League has been based on the duality of supra-national institutions and the sovereignty of the member states.
Preservation of individual statehood derived its strengths from the natural preference of ruling elites to maintain their power and independence in decision making.
Moreover, the fear of the richer that the poorer may share their wealth in the name of Arab nationalism, the feuds among Arab rulers, and the influence of external powers that might oppose Arab unity can be seen as obstacles towards a deeper integration of the league.
"At the annual Arab summit Moammar Gadhafi criticised Arab countries for doing nothing while the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president.
...In his speech, the Libyan leader also criticised Arab disunity and inaction on the region's multiple crises.
'Where is the Arabs' dignity, their future, their very existence? Everything has disappeared,' he said.
'Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us.'
Gaddafi also mocked a plan by the Arab League to start Arab cooperation on a joint nuclear programme.
'How can we do that? We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy.'"
PARIS– Special Representative of the Russian President for the Middle East affairs, Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Bogdanov, affirmed on Monday that the former UN envoy to Syria Kofi Annan's plan and the Geneva Conference decisions should be the base on which a solution to the crisis in Syria is built.
He noted that he met with Syrian opposition figures in Paris and held consultations with French officials that touched upon the current situation in Syria and means of finding a political settlement to the crisis.
Bogdanov said that the Syrian Government and some opposition groups agreed initially on Geneva statement.
He considered that any precondition to start dialogue is "unrealistic", pointing out that no one can impose a president on the Syrian people according to foreign will.
TEHRAN,(MNA) – Iran on Monday sent its deputy foreign minister to Cairo to participate in a “contact group” meeting that sought ways to calm the 18-month crisis in Syria.
Delegations from Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia “will meet today… in a bid to confront the deteriorating situation in Syria and put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and an end to the bloodshed through a political process,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The ministry stated that Cairo would seek agreement on several points, including stopping violence, ensuring Syria’s territorial unity, rejecting any foreign military intervention, and launching a political process to achieve the Syrian people’s “aspirations for democracy, freedom, and dignity.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in an interview with Al-Alam News Network published on Monday, “Iran will use this opportunity to provide its views, in addition to those of the other countries to this group.” ...
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs ... told ISNA on Sunday that Tehran backed Morsi’s contact group proposal.
“Iran in general backs the political ideas proposed by Mr. Morsi as a rational political solution,” Amir-Abdollahian said. However, he stated, “We expect Mr. Morsi… (to) reflect more before making some comments.” Morsi “should not take sides” and should “deal with the Syrian issue realistically,” Amir-Abdollahian added.
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, a center of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, late on Tuesday evening, killing one U.S. consular official. The building was evacuated.
The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.
"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters.
In neighboring Egypt, demonstrators had torn down an American flag and burned it during the protest. Some tried to raise a black flag with the words "There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger", a Reuters witness said.
The crowd of around 2,000 protesters in Cairo was a mixture of Islamists and teenage soccer fans known for fighting police...
How cruel people can be when they flare up together! What a crushing flood that has no mercy for anyone in its way! It does not heed one’s cry or lend one a hand when one is in dire need of help. On the contrary, it flings one about heedlessly.
The individual’s tyranny is the easiest kind of tyranny. He is only one among many, who can get rid of him when they wish. He could even be liquidated somehow by somebody unimportant. But the tyranny of the masses is the cruellest kind of tyranny.
Who can stand against the crushing current and the blind engulfing power?! How I love the liberated masses on the march! They are unfettered, with no master, singing and merry after their terrible ordeals! On the other hand how I fear and apprehend them!
I love the masses as much as I love my father. Similarly, I fear them no less than I fear him.
Foreign Secretary William Hague today condemned an attack on the US consulate in Libya in which the ambassador is believed to have died. ...
Mr Hague said: "There is no justification for such an attack and the appalling death of an US official. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and all his colleagues at the State Department.
"It is essential that the Libyan authorities take urgent action to improve security, particularly in Benghazi, and identify those responsible for such attacks.
"The UK stands ready to assist the Libyan authorities in any way we can and to support their efforts to continue the path towards a stable and secure Libya that fulfils the aspirations of the Libyan people."
Many are ready to party about the political demise of ... Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi as rebel troops move into Tripoli. I am not partying. Here's why not.
The NATO intervention in March 2011 was done without due diligence as to who it is in Benghazi that it was helping.
To this day, their identity is a mystery. Chances are good that Islamist forces are hiding behind more benign elements, waiting for the right moment to pounce, as roughly happened in Iran in 1978-79, when Islamists did not make clear their strength nor their program until the shah was well disposed of. Should that be the case in Libya today, then .. Qaddafi will prove to be better than his successors...
I hope I am wrong and the rebels are modern and liberal....
I fear that Western forces will have brought civilization's worst enemies to power.
US ambassador Chris Stevens had hailed the Libyan revolt that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi...
Stevens had served as envoy to the Libyan rebels from the early weeks of the February 2011 revolt, in which NATO aircraft helped rebels overthrow the 40-year-old regime and eventually capture and kill Gaddafi.
"I was thrilled to watch the Libyan people stand up and demand their rights," Stevens said in a video introduction released by the State Department shortly after he was appointed ambassador in May 2012.
"Now I'm excited to return to Libya to continue the great work we've started, building a solid partnership between the United States and Libya to help you, the Libyan people, achieve your goals."
During Gaddafi's reign an Islamist demonstration of the kind that erupted Tuesday night would have been unthinkable...
Syria’s first Lady, Asma al-Assad has met the Syrian Scientific Olympic team who won their certificates of appreciation in Asian Scientific Olympics and the world of mathematics and physics for 2012.
During the meeting, Lady Asma has expressed her appreciation of the results that the Olympics team has been able to achieve this year despite the difficult circumstances that Syria goes through.
Mrs. Asma al-Assad confirmed that the achieved results at the international level are presented by the upgrading of the scientific level of the Syrian Olympics scientific team, as well as the accuracy in the preparation... taking advantage of Science in uprising a generation with analytical and logical concepts, who’s able to judge matters in a scientific advanced way via a sophisticated creative way of thought away from the traditionalism. (breaking news 12-9-2012)
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations said that Moscow was not successful in pushing the UN Security Council (UNSC) to adopt a draft statement condemning the terrorist attacks in Aleppo city.
On 9 September, Baghdad and a number of other cities in Iraq were shattered by a wave of terrorist acts... More than 90 people fell victims of the acts of violence, most of them officers of the national security services. Over 300 people, including civilians, were injured.
On the same day a series of terrorist attacks swept through Aleppo, the second largest city of Syria, inflicting harm on civilians and civil infrastructure.... The death toll as a result of the terrorist attacks reached 47, over a hundred people were injured.
On 10 September, following the standard UN Security Council practice, the Russian delegation circulated two draft UN SC Press Statements, condemning in strongest terms the terrorist acts committed in Iraq and Syria and expressing condolences to the victims of the acts and to their families. ...
We express our gratitude to our partners in the Security Council for the adoption of the UN SC Press Statement on terrorist attacks in Iraq.
At the same time we are perplexed by the fact that due to a non-constructive approach taken by some of its members the UN Security Council failed to adopt a Press Statement on terrorist attacks in Syria.
The motivation used that the terrorist acts in Syria ‘should not be taken out of the general context of violence in the country’, in effect constitutes a departure from the principle, reaffirmed by the UN Security Council members on numerous occasions, that there can be no justification for terrorism. Such attitude encourages terrorism...
In truth, responsibility may [..] be traced back, directly or indirectly, to those in London, Paris, Brussels and Washington who launched last year's Nato intervention in Libya with insouciant disregard for the consequences.
It was clear then, or should have been, that toppling Muammar Gaddafi was the easy bit. Preventing an Iraq-style implosion, or some form of Afghan anarchy, would be much harder.
Yet this is exactly what Stevens's death may presage. Once again, the western powers have started a fire they cannot extinguish. A year after David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy jointly travelled to Libya to lay claim to a liberator's bogus laurels, the Libyan revolution they fanned and fuelled is in danger of degenerating into a chaotic, violent free-for-all.
Do not be misled by the fig leaf of this summer's national assembly polls. Post-Gaddafi Libya lacks viable national political leadership, a constitution, functioning institutions, and most importantly, security.
Nationwide parliamentary elections are still a year away. The east-west divide is as problematic as ever. Political factions fight over the bones of the former regime, symbolised by the forthcoming trials of Gaddafi's son, Saif, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi.
Effective central control, meanwhile, is largely absent. And into this vacuum have stepped armed groups – whether politically, religiously or financially inspired matters little – all claiming sectional suzerainty over the multitude of fractured fiefdoms that was, until Nato barged in, a unified state.
“It would be an enormous mistake to see what has happened in Libya as a mass, liberal democratic uprising. The narrative has to be strained to work in most countries, but in Libya, it breaks down completely.
As we have pointed out, the Libyan uprising consisted of a cluster of tribes and personalities, some within the Libyan government, some within the army and many others longtime opponents of the regime, all of whom saw an opportunity at this particular moment….
United perhaps only by their opposition to Gaddafi, these people hold no common ideology and certainly do not all advocate Western-style democracy. Rather, they saw an opportunity to take greater power, and they tried to seize it... (Dissident Voice 2011)
UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi today arrived in Damascus, where he will hold talks with the Government, representatives of the opposition and members of civil society.
On Monday, Mr. Brahimi had reiterated his commitment to the Syrian people during his visit to Cairo, Egypt, where he met with Arab League officials before heading to Syria.
“I do know it is a very difficult task, but I believe it is not my right to refuse and to try my best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people,” Mr. Brahimi said.
Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country's two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
No One Disagrees with Need to Stop Bloodshed
and Restore Harmony Among People in Syria, SANA, 13-9-2012
DAMASCUS, SANA_ The UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said no one disagrees with the need to stop the bloodshed and restore harmony among the people in Syria.
In a statement upon arrival in Damascus International Airport on Thursday, Brahimi added " We came to Syria for consultation with the brotherly Syrians… There is a crisis and I think it is deteriorating."
The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the recent killing of a Syrian journalist, and voiced grave concern over the death of three Eritrean media workers who had been kept in a prison camp for over a decade.
The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said she was “appalled” at the killing of Musab Mohamed Said Al-Oudaallah, who is reported to have been killed in his home in the Syrian capital of Damascus on 22 August.
“Once again, I call on all those fighting in Syria to respect the civilian status of reporters and the basic human right of freedom of expression,” she stated in a news release.
Journalists must be able to perform their duties and keep the public informed without fearing for their lives.
In a meeting with Lebanon’s Speaker of Parliament, a United Nations senior official today welcomed security developments in the country while emphasizing the need for political stability in a time of regional turmoil.
“I have ... congratulated the Lebanese Government and the security authorities on steps recently taken to address threats to Lebanon’s security and stability,” the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, said in a statement following his meeting with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
The ongoing violence in neighbouring Syria has fuelled sectarian tensions across Lebanon and prompted concerns that the country could plunge back into the internecine violence it endured during its 15 year civil war, which ended in 1990.
Nabih Berri: Born in Bo, Sierra Leone to Lebanese Shi'a parents.
Berri went to school in Tebnine and Ain Ebel in southern Lebanon and later studied at the Makassed and the Ecole de la Sagesse in Beirut.
He obtained a law degree in 1963 from the Lebanese University, where he had served as the student body president, and became a lawyer at the Court of Appeals.
During the 1960s, he joined the Arab Nationalist Movement.
The Speaker of the Parliament, who by custom must be a Shi'a Muslim, is now elected to a four-year term. He forms part of a "troika" together with the President (required to be a Maronite Christian) and the Prime Minister (a Sunni Muslim).
DUBAI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on all Muslims to back the rebels in Syria...
Speaking on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Zawahri criticised Muslim governments in the Middle East and in Asia for failing to pursue the cause of political Islam. He chastised the new leadership in Egypt in particular for sticking to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel and Pakistan, which he described as a "government for sale and an army for rent".
Zawahri said the United States was propping up Assad because it feared the rise of another Islamist regime to threaten its ally Israel.
"Supporting jihad in Syria to establish a Muslim state is a basic step towards Jerusalem, and thus America is giving the secular Baathist regime one chance after another for fear that a government is established in Syria that would threaten Israel," he said. ...
In 1995 I wrote, “Iraq would have been a natural ally of the West like Turkey in fighting the rising Islamic fundamentalist states — a vital fact if these countries become a big threat to world peace. It was primarily Iraq who helped the West stem the rise of Islamic fundamentalists by waging the war with Iran.” But under the influence of neocons, the US administrations, especially, the Bush, Jr.’s administration committed the blunder mistake of getting rid of Saddam Hussein from Iraq.
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Syria were [..] countries where Christians felt safe. Although ruled by dictators, they were secular. Instead of taking out Saddam, the U.S. could have taken his help fighting a bigger evil — al-Qaeda. ...
In our 1995 article, we wrote, “Iraq would have been a natural ally of the West like Turkey in fighting the rising Islamic fundamentalist states — a vital fact if these countries become a big threat to world peace. ...
According to a 2004 report by Charles A. Duelfer, the CIA’s chief weapons inspector, in Saddam Hussein’s view the U.S. and Iraq should have been close allies. He could have helped curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and he offered to become America’s “best friend in the region, bar none.” This report was based on a variety of sources, including interrogations of Hussein himself.
According to a document found with Saddam Hussein when he was captured, he warned his Iraqi supporters to be wary of joining forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq to battle American troops. The document appeared to be a directive, written after he lost power, from Mr. Hussein to leaders of the Iraqi resistance, counseling caution against getting too close to Islamic jihadiis and other foreign Arabs coming into the country, according to American officials.
Officials familiar with the document said Mr. Hussein apparently believed that foreign Arabs, eager for a holy war against the West, had an agenda different from the Baathists’...
"He who stands up against injustice, should himself refrain from causing injustice to others, and should remember that speaking of justice will be meaningless if capital is allowed rule beyond its limits or influence the process of decision-making.
Political and legal justice remains meaningless without social and economic justice. The fight against the wolves and the corruptors will not succeed, if they have contacts and partners inside the corridors of government and the palaces of the Sultan.
All of this, in order to be achieved, requires the establishment and protection of justice. Authority must have its sward while power must have its own mind, eyes and good conscience."
on the occasion of the 34th anniversay of the 17-30 july revolution
In color psychology white is the color of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn't stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive.
White contains an equal balance of all the colors of the spectrum, representing both the positive and negative aspects of all colors. Its basic feature is equality, implying fairness and impartiality, neutrality and independence.
White is totally reflective, awakening openness, growth and creativity. You can't hide behind it as it amplifies everything in its way.
White is a color of protection and encouragement, offering a sense of peace and calm, comfort and hope, helping alleviate emotional upsets. It creates a sense of order and efficiency, a great help if you need to declutter your life.
Many people use white as a recall of their youth and innocence. It reminds them of a time when their lives were easier and less complicated.
A Fountain Of Life"The civil society which we aspire to establish is based on our collective identity whose attainment requires the continuous and ceaseless endeavours of intellectuals and thinkers. It is not a treasure that can be unearthed overnight, rather, it is a fountain of life and morality from whose constant effusion we will benefit.
Seyyed Mohammad Khatami
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran 2003
"The Innocence of Muslims," the film that is believed to have instigated deadly riots in Egypt and Libya, was made by two Southern California Christians with dark records.
The filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who has served time for creating fake bank accounts with stolen Social Security numbers.
Advisor to the film, Steve Klein, is part of the Church of Kaweah, which is located at a compound near Sequoia National Park and has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC
Church at Kaweah Spreads Hateful, Militant Christian Views
By Leah Nelson 2012
In a 22-acre compound at the southern edge of Sequoia National Park in California, a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists is preparing for war. ... At the head of the Church at Kaweah is Pastor Warren Mark Campbell...
The tiny church has been well outside the mainstream since the early 1990s, when founding pastor Warren Lee Campbell (father of the current pastor) bought into the notion that churches should shun all government regulation and answer solely to God. Since then, the church has become increasingly radical, ramping up its paramilitary activities and forging alliances with an array of figures revered on the radical right [..] whose goal is to turn America into a theocracy based on the Old Testament...
In January 2011, at the invitation of Covenant Community Church in Whitehall, Mont., Pastor Warren Mark Campbell addressed an audience of 200 — including 30 state officials — at the Montana State Capitol. Politics, he told them, is a “holy calling, not a secular calling. You have an obligation to rule and serve in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Another frequent guest of the Church at Kaweah is Pastor John Weaver... Last July, Weaver conducted weapons training at a conference sponsored by the neo-Confederate League of the South....
“Divine providence always arranges the time for fighting,” Weaver told the attendees. “You must remember, God is the god of war.”...
Over the past year, Johnson and the church militia have developed a relationship with Steve Klein, a longtime religious-right activist who brags about having led a “hunter killer” team as a Marine in Vietnam. ...
Klein, based in Hemet, Calif., has been active in extremist movements for decades. In 1977, he founded Courageous Christians United...
Efforts to rehabilitate Syrian schools ahead of the academic year are underway despite the ongoing violence across the country, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today.
Addressing a media briefing in Geneva, a UNICEF spokesperson, Marixie Mercado, reported that according to Syrian Government estimates some 2,072 schools – out of 22,000 across the country – have been damaged or destroyed, and over 600 are occupied by displaced persons.
She also noted that UNICEF had completed repairs in 64 schools in Deraa, Rural Damascus and Lattakia, while another 100 schools would be rehabilitated within the coming days and weeks.
Ms. Mercado said that it was “extremely important” that children returned to school as a way of providing stability and respite from the conflict.
Top officials of the United Nations said today that education could tackle the roots of conflict by promoting an understanding of common humanity...
“Through education, we teach children not to hate. Through education, we raise leaders who act with wisdom and compassion. Through education, we establish a true, lasting culture of peace,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said...
The UN chief stated that it was obvious that the absence of peace caused suffering, citing not only the civilian toll in open conflicts such as that in Syria, but also the deadly effects of discrimination, xenophobia, terrorism and human rights abuses around the world. ...
“To fundamentally tackle the roots of conflict, we need to promote an understanding of our common humanity,” he said, adding that education is paramount for that purpose.
Addressing the same gathering, General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser stressed that it was not enough to prevent war to ensure peace, and advocated for active efforts to promote a culture of peace through education that champions non-violence and justice in all areas.
“The youth of today deserve a radically different education – one that does not glorify war but educates for peace,” he said.
“The cause of peace needs to be understood not only in the passive sense of the absence of war, but also in the constructive sense of creating conditions for equality and social justice.”
From David Remnick in the New Yorker: "It is hard to overestimate the risks that Benjamin Netanyahu poses to the future of his own country. As Prime Minister, he has done more than any other political figure to embolden and elevate the reactionary forces in Israel, to eliminate the dwindling possibility of a just settlement with the Palestinians, and to isolate his country on the world diplomatic stage."
Last month, Mofaz accused Netanyahu of waging “an extensive and relentless PR campaign with the sole objective of preparing the ground for a premature military adventure.”
“Mr. prime minister,” he continued, “you’re creating panic. You are trying to frighten us and terrify us. And in truth – we are scared: scared by your lack of judgment, scared that you both lead and don’t lead, scare that you are executing a dangerous and irresponsible policy.”
At this point, Netanyahu seems to have gone rogue, with even his loyal Defense Minister Ehud Barak dialing back the war rhetoric considerably.
New York Times' former executive editor, Bill Keller wrote that even if Iran develops nuclear weapons, they would not necessarily pose a significant threat to Israel, let alone to the United States. The Iranians are not insane. In fact the Middle East leader who behaves most irrationally is Netanyahu himself.
Keller suggested what many Israelis say privately: this whole Iran scare is not about nukes per, but about the fear that a nuclear Iran jeopardizes Israel’s geostrategic supremacy. Bibi fears that he would lose his ability to do whatever he wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants.
Bomb Gaza. Bomb Lebanon. Bomb relief ships. Bomb whatever.
It is all about regional hegemony....
DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad affirmed Syria's full commitment to cooperate with any sincere efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria as long as they were neutral and independent.
President al-Assad's stress came during his meeting on Saturday with the UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and the accompanying delegation.
"The success of the political work is linked with exerting pressure on the countries which are funding and training the terrorists and allowing smuggling of weapons into Syria to stop such acts," President al-Assad added.
For his part, Brahimi stressed that the basis of his work is the interest and aspirations of the Syrian people, saying he will work with complete independence and based on his main reference of Kofi Annan's plan and Geneva statement.
Education, or learning, is not necessarily that methodized curriculum and
those classified subjects in text books which youth are forced to learn during
specified hours while sitting on rows of desks. This type of education, nowprevailing all over the world, is against human freedom.
Compulsory education, of which countries of the world boast whenever they are able to force it on their youth, is one of the methods which suppresses freedom. It is a compulsory obliteration of a human being's talents as well as a forcible direction of a human being's choices. It is an act of dictatorship damaging to freedom because it deprives man of free choice,creativity and brilliance.
To force a human being to learn according to a set curriculum is a dictatorial act.
To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act.
Compulsory and methodized education is in fact a forced stultification of the masses. All countries which set courses of education in terms of formal curricula and force pupils to learn them, coerce their citizens.
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.
This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn
their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the
contrary, it means that society should provide all types of education, giving
people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn.
This requires a sufficient number of schools for all types of education. Insufficient schools restrict man's freedom of choice forcing him to learn the subjects available, while depriving him of natural right of choice because of the lack of availability of other subjects. ...
Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right.
Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.
"The U.S. administration came into Iraq: it divided the Iraqi people according to religion, according to their sect, according to their ethnicity. It’s divide and conquer. And now the women are the biggest loser in all of this..."
"Now, by the constitution, there are articles that refer us to the Islamic sharia, when this was not in action in the times of the previous regime.
Under Islamic sharia, women are worth half a man legally and one-quarter of a man socially in a marriage. And we still suffer under this.... (Yanar Mohammed)
Yanar Mohammed, whilst not being anti-religion, is a strong believer in secular government. Indeed, Yanar claims that women's equality ‘can only be achieved through secular government because an Islamic government would hurt women’s rights’. WIKIPEDIA
Education of women is not restricted in our country to the primary stages, nor has women's employment been restricted to minor responsibilities. Iraq's five universities include a large proportion of female students and a number of women have acquired high qualifications in medicine and engineering. Some women are now teaching in the universities. Women in Iraq have also reached high positions in the government and become ministers and directors general. ...
The complete emancipation of women from the ties which held them back in the past, during the ages of despotism and ignorance, is a basic aim of the Party and the Revolution. Women make up one half of society.
Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated. (Chapter 1)
Strengthening the economic status of women through both legal rights and social conventions is part of the liberation process.
Strengthening and expanding the conditions which prohibit polygamy is also part of that process. The same can be said about limiting divorce with additional restrictions and wider and stricter conditions.
The expansion of education and the provision of equal opportunities for men and women is another move in that direction. More important than anything is the liberation of women through active work and sincere participation in the reconstruction of society...
Antifeminist acts and ideas should be extensively condemned by men as well as by women in every section of our people. (Chapter 4).
The Revolution and Women in Iraq was published in 1981 by the Translation and Foreign Languages Publishing House-Baghdad.
"For the people who havn't read `Zabiba and the king` It might come as a surprise, but Saddam always believed in feminism and emancipation of the women." Rusty Shackleford
DAMASCUS, (SANA) - Minister of Education, Hazwan al-Wazz, said that the Ministry is working to complete preparations in the areas where armed terrorist groups prevent students from going to school.
The Minister's statements came during a tour of a number of schools in Damascus Countryside with the aim of inspecting the province's preparations for the current study year.
The Minister reviewed the difficulties hindering the educational process in some areas of Deir Ezzor and Aleppo, adding that the Ministry will spare no effort to get the study year started in these areas.
Over 5 million students and more than 385,000 teachers and administrative employees headed to schools Sunday morning on the first day of the 2012-2013 study season.
DAMASCUS- A number of parties and national figures on Sunday launched a call upon all the opposition forces and parties inside and outside the country for holding a comprehensive national conference for the opposition.
"This initiative is an attempt at rejecting monopolizing the representation of the Syrian opposition," stressed the statement...
The participants agreed on rejecting all forms of armed conflict and putting allegiance to the homeland above everything else...
Answering the journalists' questions following the meeting, Qadri Jamil, member of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, said this initiative "reflects the new political sphere in Syria that is based on political and party pluralism and on the non-monopoly of the Syrian people's will by any party."
He stressed the importance of the Syrian people's unanimity on the weapon of the Syrian Arab Army as being the only legitimate weapon in the country.
Jamil was a member of the committee that drafted amendments to the Constitution of Syria in response to the 2011 Syrian uprising. The amendments were approved in the Syrian constitutional referendum, 2012 and allowed multiparty elections in Syria.
Jamil was elected as an independent but leads the People's Will Party, which is the legal name of the National Committee for the Unity of Syrian Communists.
He has stated that "The slogan 'the overthrow of the regime' is unpractical, unrealistic and useless", and has advocated a "complete change in the regime ... under the leadership of the President".
In the first government formed after the elections at 23 June 2012, Jamil was appointed as a Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs; Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection. WIKIPEDIA info
QJ: We know what we want, and we have a comprehensive programme to solve the country’s major economic and social problems. Not only a short-term one for getting out of the crisis, but also a long-term one for the first day after the crisis ends.
What about those who call for dismantling of the security state, for instance?
QJ: The dissolving of Article Eight in itself means the dismantling of the security state. Since the Ba’ath Party is not the leader of the state and the society under the new constitution, all state agencies are now under the government’s leadership. This in itself is a big step forward, because for the first time since 1972, we will have a government which governs.
But the new constitution, whose drafting committee you were a member of, gives the president extensive powers, including dissolving parliament and taking over its legislative powers according to Article 111. How can you try to implement any reforms under such a system?
QJ: All presidential systems are like that. The only problem in our constitution is the relation between the legislative authority and its powers and the executive authority. If this is solved, our constitution would conform to the standards of constitutions of countries described as democratic.
The Arab Spring has changed the political scene in the Middle East. Most striking is the re-touching of the image of a radical organisation such as the Muslim Brotherhood to that of a potential “civil” form for future governance in the region. One might argue: “As other ideologies have not achieved well-being for Arabs, why don’t we try Islamism?” When it comes to Syria, the Egyptian presidential election and the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise within the “Egyptian Spring” have enforced such arguments...
However, before any judgment can be made, a few points related to both the general history of the Brotherhood and its history within Syria must be reviewed. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, a fundamentalist Egyptian schoolteacher who advocated violent jihad and the replacement of secular governments with a worldwide totalitarian caliphate governed under strict Islamic sharia law.
"We will not stop at this point [i.e., “freeing Egypt from secularism and modernity”], but will pursue this evil force to its own lands, invade its Western heartland, and struggle to overcome it..." Hasan al-Banna
The Muslim Brotherhood is known for its supposed hostility to US policies and Israel. What is not well-known is that the spread of the movement in Arab countries was facilitated by the CIA during the Cold War era as part of the famous “strategy of containment”, the anti-Soviet, anti-communist initiative adopted by Eisenhower’s administration which lasted until the late eighties. Over these decades, the Muslim Brotherhood turned into a “Trojan horse” within countries allied with the Soviet Union.
Now, however, although the Brotherhood’s success in Egypt may have revived its dream of becoming a 'regional governance system', differences among its branches make that a long shot in practice. In Egypt, besides its failed assassination attempt on president Gamal Abdel Nasser and its successful assassination of his successor Anwar al-Sadat for signing a peace treaty with Israel, the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted more peaceful activities, focusing on educational systems and charity organisations and publically confronting the mainstream political system by providing local financial aid that attracted candidates. However, their story in Syria was entirely different.
The organisation entered Syria in 1936 thanks to Mustafa al-Siba’i, a pupil of Banna, who returned from Cairo after studying at Al-Azhar Mosque. The major shift took place in 1973, when the Vanguard Fighters, the Brotherhood’s armed wing, was established to change the Ba’athist secular government by force of arms and establish an Islamic state in Syria.
A violent rebellion conducted in Syria during the late 1970s and into the 1980s left bloody memories of doctors, academics, and army officers assassinated by Muslim Brothers, along with the massacres they carried out against civilians in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. ...
Such memories make this organisation much less appealing for Syrians
The attackers would eventually come to be identified as Islamist nationalists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood under the name of Islamic Jihad.
The group was subsequently found to have hatched the assassination plot with Al Gamaa al-Islamiyya, a Brotherhood offshoot that would , in the mid-1990s, develop ties with al-Qaeda..
Among the group’s leaders: Ayman al-Zawahiri, subsequently al-Qaeda’s Number 2. Zawahiri was tried and imprisoned for three years for his role ion the plot, then expelled from Egypt.
A lawyer, Ghoneim Farouq, filed a complaint, Sunday, to Egypt’s public prosecutor accusing controversial Salafist preacher Wagdi Ghoneim of offending President Mohamed Morsi.
In a video circulating social networks, the Salafist scholar condemned the president’s 6 September meeting with Egyptian artists, who he denounced as “promoters of immortality and prostitution.”
A radical Islamic cleric forced out of the United States is finding trouble in Egypt, after uploading a video calling the late head of the Coptic Church the "head of infidels."
Coptic Pope Shenouda III died Saturday after serving for decades as spiritual leader to Egypt's estimated 10 million Copts. Ghoneim attacked Shenouda by blaming him for inciting sectarian violence and calling all Copts "infidels."
Ghoneim has exhibited hostility toward other faiths in the past [..], while he lived in the United States. U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested Ghoneim in November 2004, citing "his past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations."
In January 2005 Ghoneim left the US for Qatar. He was given a ten year ban on re-entry to the country.
When the Muslim Brothers would chant their slogan:
"The Koran is our constitution",
he would respond:
"The New Testament is our constitution".
He used to say that Egypt was under Muslim occupation.
We should be happy that he died.
Let him go to Hell.
Pope Shenouda fell out with President Anwar Sadat, who in 1981 sent him into internal exile. He was allowed back to Cairo by President Hosni Mubarak four years later.
Pope Shenouda sought to protect his Christian community amid a Muslim population by striking a conservative tone and lending tacit support to President Mubarak's rule. (BBB world news 17-3-2012)
The Egyptian Conference Party was formed in Cairo on Monday with 25 political parties coming together under the leadership of former Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa.
"The initiative aims to magnifying the influence of the 25 parties, and give a voice to the people who support these parties," Moussa said.
Moussa, who came fifth in Egypt's post-revolution presidential election, added that one of the main concerns of the party was to promote "moderate options that represent the majority of Egyptians and to preserve the civil identity of Egypt."
Ayman Nour, the president of Ghad Al-Thawra Party, stressed that the Egyptian Conference Party was neither an alliance nor a temporary electoral coalition, but rather an permanent integration of parties.
"We oppose the hegemony of one current over political life in Egypt. The revolution erupted to establish a civil democratic system," Nour said.
Initiatives to counter the Islamist domination of political life in Egypt have long been on the agenda of liberals and advocates of a civil state.
We have learned that rules of law are universal.
Ahmed Maher, foreign minister
Al-Ahram Weekly 12-18 sept. 2002
Profile: Ahmed Maher 1935-2010
Ahmed Maher was pulled out of retirement to become Egypt's 71st foreign minister in 2001. Generally considered an outsider, he replaced Amr Moussa, who left Egypt's top diplomatic post to head the 22-nation Arab League as secretary general...
On policy, Mr Maher criticised Washington's calls for the replacement of Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein, maintaining the choice of the head of state was the affair of the countries concerned.
Before the US-led invasion of Iraq, he said military confrontation was the last thing the region needed. He warned that economies would be hit and that an atmosphere of violence would emerge that would affect everybody.
The pre-requisites for stable democratic systems are:
Taking society out of the political cultural realm of “heavenly dictates” to the “earthly individual human rights”. Basically, we have to separate State civil responsibilities from religious dogma.
Democracy needs a climate of freedom of speech, opinions, and expressions: Small minds can reduce rich texts into nothingness.
Forming a modern citizen: The experiences in the various political ideologies failed in the Arab World to forming a modern citizen: they identified the citizen as related to his religious affiliation or tribal membership. Practices and application of the better principles of the Baath ideology came very short to target in forming a secular citizen. (Adonis blog)
From birth to death, from circumcision to funeral, from the establishment of the state to the establishment of the last of the illegal outposts in the West Bank - we are operating in the shadow of the commandments of religion. We should be honest with ourselves and admit it already: The country is too religious.
It begins, of course, with the fact of our presence here. Among other things, it is based on theological reasoning. Abraham the Patriarch was here, so we are, too. He bought the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, so we, too, are in Palestinian Hebron. People who are entirely secular also cite religious and biblical explanations for the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. We can't even say whether Judaism is a religion or a nationality - and in any event, there is no other country in the Western world where religion has its holy iron grip on the state as it does in Israel.
Torah sages of various kinds make decisions on fateful political issues [..] and the lines outside their doors are growing, made up mostly of those who argue they are fervently secular. They are lying to themselves and to others. Expressions of racism and arrogance, too, based on the concept of the "chosen people", are uttered. And between you and me, who doesn't believe this (a little)?
The Western Wall is holy to everyone - who has not placed a note with a wish in its crevices? Most Israelis' reasoning for the continued occupation of "holy" East Jerusalem is also based on religious faith. ...
Israel is not what you thought. It's definitely not what we try to present to ourselves and the rest of the world.
“Theocracy” is defined by Webster as a “government … by the immediate direction or administration of God; hence, government … by priests or clergy as representatives of God.”
The term theocracy does not occur in the Old Testament. The idea, however, of the rule of God over His people permeates through its pages. In fact, when Flavius Josephus of the first century used the term initially, he intended it to denote exclusively the form of government described in the Old Testament. Josephus said, upon the analogy of aristocracy and democracy, “Our legislator [Moses]… ordered our government to be what I may call … a theocracy.”
Theocracy in Israel, as defined by Josephus, has survived all the vicissitudes of history. Accordingly, it may not be too much to say that the history of Israel is the history of theocracy. (Y. David Kim)
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is recognized by law as the supreme halakhic and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in Israel....
The Rabbinate has jurisdiction over many aspects of life of Jews in Israel. Its jurisdiction includes personal status issues, such as Jewish marriages and Jewish divorce, as well as Jewish burials, Conversion to Judaism, Kashrut and kosher certification, olim, supervision of Jewish holy sites, working with various mikvaot and yeshivot, and overseeing Israeli Rabbinical courts.
The Rabbinical courts are part of Israel's judicial system, and are managed by the Ministry of Religious Services. The courts have exclusive jurisdiction over marriage and divorce of Jews and have parallel competence with district courts in matters of personal status, alimony, child support, custody, and inheritance. Religious court verdicts are implemented and enforced—as for the civil court system—by the police, bailiff's office, and other agencies.
DAMASCUS- A Russian aircraft arrived in Damascus International Airport carrying on board 38 tons of food supplies in aid to the families affected due to the crisis in Syria.
Deputy Director of Emergencies Department at the Russian Ministry of Extraordinary Situations, Alexander Bogdanov, said the Russian government decided to send humanitarian aid to Syria out of the friendly relations between both countries.
Professor Guenter Meyer: So far, Israel and the US have been the main winners.
The government in Jerusalem has been able to rally significant support for its fight against Iran from Washington and the European capitals. This does not apply to the military intervention demanded by Netanyahu and Barak, but in respect to a significant increase in sanctions against Teheran which cause more and more serious problems for the economic development of Iran.
The US is profiting from the growing dependency of the GCC countries on military protection by US troops combined with record sales of weapons by arms manufacturers in the United States, where tens of thousands of new jobs are created and hundred thousands of old jobs are secured. (Asian Times: On Syria and way beyond, 21-9-2012)
The Persian Gulf arms race is accelerating amid the smoldering confrontation between Iran and the United States, with gulf monarchies re-examining their defense programs even though they've spent far in excess of $100 billion on arms since 2006.
The Gulf Cooperation Council states -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain -- are bolstering defense budgets to counter Iran and are being encouraged to do by the United States.
"Military spending is increasing across the gulf," the Middle East Economic Digest reported. "With the exception of Oman, the GCC states have all accelerated defense expenditure since 2006."
It's widely seen as a systematic long-term effort by the United States to keep its defense industry functioning at a time when the U.S. Department of Defense is drastically cutting its defense spending and reducing the size of the U.S. military to rescue the economy.
DAMASCUS, (SANA) – University students started their new academic year in the Syrian provinces on Sunday, September 23rd.
The number of new first-year students signed up for the academic year 2012-2013 reached 110,010 students, with a 10% increase compared to last year.
New students flocked to universities to familiarize themselves with their universities and follow up on registration paperwork, joining older students who missed the university life and others who are working to transfer from one department or faculty to another.
Some of the students voiced hope that the Higher Education Ministry would offer assistance to help students who want to transfer, while others hoped for more communication between professors and students.
Secretary of Damascus University, Dr. Abbas Sundouq, said that the university is fully prepared to receive the students and that it provided all possible facilitations in terms of registration, attendance and exams, in addition to preparations for accepting master's degrees students.
Sundouq noted that most of the faculties that were damaged by vandalism committed by terrorist groups are now fully rehabilitated and ready to receive their students. (SANA, 23-9-2012)
The fate of the People's Assembly – the lower house of Egypt's parliament – appeared to have been laid to rest on Saturday when the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) ruled in favour of an earlier decision by the High Constitutional Court (HCC) to dissolve the Islamist-led assembly.
While a majority of Islamist figures have vowed to contest the decision, liberal and leftist forces hailed the move.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), for its part, which had held almost half the seats in the assembly, slammed the verdict.
FJP lawyer Mohamed Abu-Baraka described Saturday's ruling as "a disaster in the history of the Egyptian judiciary."....
Amr Moussa, former liberal presidential candidate, stated that court rulings must be respected.
"Respect for the rule of law is a main principle that must be upheld to ensure stability in the political arena and respect for the state and people," Moussa asserted.
As head of the newly established Egyptian Conference Party, Moussa stressed the importance of uniting the country's secular forces so as to capture a larger share of parliamentary seats in upcoming polls.
Reform campaigner and founder of the new Constitution Party, Mohamed ElBaradei, also praised Saturday's court ruling.
"The verdict that confirmed the dissolution of parliament is a first step for those in power to understand that legislation is the main pillar for building the country," ElBaradei declared. "A balanced Constituent Assembly [tasked with drafting the new constitution] is the second step of that process."
Flashback: The Fate of Arab Democracy
Faced With Religious Conflicts
Raghida Dergham ("Huffington Post," April 27, 2012)
Separation of religion and state is no mere slogan in the face of "Islam is the Solution."
It is a national demand because it imposes on Islamist political parties to decide where their loyalty lies -- with religion or with the state.
The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate to the presidency, Mohammad Morsy, is accused of being a follower of the Salafist candidate who was excluded, Khairat El-Shater, because of his views and his approach, closer to Salafism in their extremism. Morsy slaps Egypt on both cheeks when he says that candidacy to the presidency of Egypt according to Muslim Sharia law bans women and non-Muslims from running as candidates. His supporters chant "the Quran is our constitution and the Sharia is our guide." ...
"Isn`t it better to propose a program that contains plans to deal with life`s problems from which non-Muslims also suffer? Jamal al-Ghaytani (27-4-2012)
Amr Moussa might be exactly what Egypt needs in a phase of transition from the former regime to a pluralistic, non-autocratic and non-vetocratic system, one that would not dictate in the name of religion and drag religion into politics and into the state. ...
He might also represent the space to breathe that would give the Egyptian people the opportunity to carefully examine whether they really want Islamist political parties to take hold of power, regardless of whether some of them behave erratically, while others display fanaticism, extremism, hatred and the exclusion of others.
BENGHAZI, Libya: Libya’s president ordered all of the country’s militias to come under government authority or disband...
Late Saturday, President Mohammed el-Megaref told reporters that the militias, which the weak central government has relied upon for providing security in neighborhoods and at state facilities since Qaddafi’s ouster, must fall under the authority of the national government or be disbanded.
He said a joint operations room in Benghazi will coordinate between the various authorized armed brigades and the army.
Armed groups operating outside the “legitimacy of the state” will be disbanded, and the military and police will take control over those militias’ barracks, he said.
In a statement published by the official LANA news agency, the military asked all armed groups using the army’s camps and outposts and barracks in Tripoli and other cities to hand them over. It warned that it will resort to force if the groups refuse.
The militias, which arose as people took up arms to fight Qaddafi’s regime, bristle with heavy weapons, pay little attention to national authorities and are accused by some of acting like gangs, carrying out killings.
Freedom of expression could be threatened under Egypt's new constitution, a group of leading intellectuals said Monday.
"This is a critical phase," Mohamed Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Writers Union, said at the conference. "Now that a new regime is stabilising, there is a risk that the new constitution will be formulated by only one section of society," he added, referring to Islamist political forces.
"Winning a parliamentary majority gave the [Islamists] some authority, but not the right to exclude others from writing the national charter," Salmawy argued.
"The draft constitution jeopardises Egypt's unity," said Bahieddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Centre for Human Rights. "It also compromises equality and goes so far as to exclude faiths other than Sunni Islam."
Salah Eissa said the Constituent Assembly had been "unresponsive" to the needs of journalists....
The group called on political parties, former presidential candidates, and civil and human rights organisations to take a firm stance against the assembly for the purpose of having a constitution that is truly "for all Egyptians."
A constitutional assembly of 100 thinkers, scholars, professionals and political and religious leaders dominated by Islamists is drawing up the constitution...
Analysts expect the new document to have a more Islamic flavor than its predecessor, including articles prohibiting criticism of God and establishing an institution to collect zakat, or charitable donations for the poor, while cancelling an article banning parties based on religion.
At the vanguard of this movement are the Salafis, who were kept out of politics under Mubarak... Their slogan was to "bring back sharia" - laws derived from Islam's Holy Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad - in the belief it would solve Egypt's moral and social ills.
"Egypt is entering a new age that will witness a confirmation of the reference to sharia law in constitutions and a better application of it," said independent Salafi scholar Mohamed Youssry Ibrahim....
"We don't have a problem with it ... because Egyptians are religious by nature," said Hussein Ibrahim, former head of the Brotherhood parliamentary bloc and a member of the assembly.
"We don't seek dramatic change," said Salafi ex-MP Younes Makhyoun. But he added: "After the revolution, Egyptians chose Islamists. Egyptians want Islam and the application of sharia. No one (opposes it) except TV personalities who have a loud voice and are trying to impose a different reality".
Ancient Egyptian Religion is recognized for its many gods, as many as 80 have been counted. These gods represented different qualities and importance.
Few Egyptians worshipped more than a small number of gods, but still recognized the qualities and importance of other gods.
The complexity refers to the fact that Egyptian religion never really was "a religion", but rather a universe of religions that often interacted, inspired each other, copied each other and often allowed one cult to dominate so that smaller cults disappeared or changed.
Never was a unified theology defined and imposed on the many cult centres. The closest we get is the "monotheism" of Akhenaten in the 14th century BCE, but this orientation proved to be short lived. (Source)
Quneitra, (SANA)-The Syrian liberated prisoner Sidqi al-Makt rejected to give an interview to the Qatari al-Jazeera English-spoken TV which went on Monday to the occupied Majdal Shams town to make the interview with al-Makt and prepare a special report on the occupied Syrian Golan.
"I rejected to interview al-Jazeera staff which is considered as a partner in the war against the Syrian people… it is the field arm of sedition in our homeland," al-Makt said in a statement to SANA Tuesday.
He added that al-Jazeera TV is carrying out the agendas of extremists to execute a conspiracy along with the US against the Arab nation interests and the way of resistance.
Sidqi al-Makt spent 27 years in Israeli prisons under the pretext of resisting the occupation. He was released on August 22nd, 2012.
After spending 27 years in Israeli prisons, Syrian Sidqi al-Makt from the occupied Golan Heights was released on Wednesday to a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Majdal Shams.
He hails from an activist family that lived through the seizure of the Golan in 1967 and experienced the area’s struggle which culminated in the Great Strike of 1982. Each member of the Makt family was at some point arrested by the Israelis for their role in the struggle against the occupation. ...
Sidqi Makt’s comrades in the resistance cell were his brother Bisher, Assem Mahmoud al-Wali, Saytan Nimr al-Wali, and Hayel Hussein Abu Zayd.
Makt’s sister, Nihal, campaigns for prisoner rights and has spent much of her life in demonstrations and sit-ins to shed light on the issue of political prisoners.
Majdal Shams is a Druze village in the northern part of the Golan Heights, in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon. Since the June 1967 Six-Day War, the village has been controlled by Israel, first under martial law, but since 1981 under Israeli civil law, and incorporated into the Israeli system of local councils.
The inhabitants of Majdal Shams are considered Syrian citizens by the Syrian authorities.... As Israel does not recognize their Syrian citizenship, they are defined in Israeli records as "residents of the Golan Heights." (WIKIPEDIA info)
Libya's new leadership, under huge pressure from the street, has taken steps to tackle militias, but critics warn its decision to only disband some armed groups is dangerous and may backfire.
In the wake of massive anti-militia protests and violence in the eastern city of Benghazi, the authorities ordered "illegitimate" brigades be broken up but also warned demonstrators against targeting "legitimate" ones.
That distinction has ruffled feathers in Benghazi where tens of thousands of people marched on Friday for the dissolution of all armed groups and the establishment of a professional army and police force.
"Since Mohammed al-Megaryef divided them into legitimate and illegitimate brigades, everyone has been able to claim they are legitimate," warns analyst Fathi al-Baaja, referring to the head of the General National Congress (GNC).
Baaja, a political science professor, says the danger of making such a distinction and not banning all brigades is that major armed groups might become the "military wings of political factions."
"We will have many armies inside the army and that will be very dangerous," Baaja adds, stressing that what the oil-rich country needs is a national army where people join as individuals, rather than as groups.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have long warned that militias have become a law unto themselves, detaining people and carrying out torture with impunity....
Brigade leaders and fighters, meanwhile, argue that if they step out of the picture there will be a security vacuum and insist it was they who fought Kadhafi, secured the elections, and are deployed when crises arise....
Ahmed Majbari, deputy of the revolutionary forces union, sums up a common view among ex-rebels who refuse to go home: "The army fought us on the front line and the police killed us on the streets. How can we come under them?"
Qatar has admitted for the first time that it sent hundreds of troops to support the Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's regime. The Gulf state had previously acknowledged only that its air force took part in Nato-led attacks.
The revelation came as Qatar hosted a conference on the post-Gaddafi era that was attended by the leader of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who described the Qataris as having planned the battles that paved the way for victory.
Qatar played a key role in galvanising Arab support for the UN security council resolution that mandated Nato to defend Libyan civilians in March. It also delivered weapons and ammunition on a large scale – without any clear legal basis.
The Qatari chief-of-staff, Major-General Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya, said: "We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region. Training and communications had been in Qatari hands. Qatar … supervised the rebels' plans because they are civilians and did not have enough military experience," AFP quoted him as saying. "We acted as the link between the rebels and Nato forces."
The emir of Qatar has called for an Arab intervention in Syria and a no-fly zone to protect refugees as President Bashar al-Assad's forces stepped up the battle for Aleppo.
Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, urged Arab action in the war-torn state because of the failure of the UN Security Council and other international efforts to end the 18-month-old conflict.
At the UN assembly, UN leader Ban Ki-moon called on the Security Council to "solidly and concretely" support the peace efforts of UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who has stated there will be no quick solution.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. ...
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.
Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges." Oslo, October 9, 2009
DAMASCUS, (SANA)- The conference of the opposition parties and forces for peaceful democratic change concluded its activities on Wednesday, issuing a closing statement calling for working to launch a unified opposition conference that doesn't exclude any side.
The statement said that the conference produced a number of documents and resolutions that represent a roadmap and the convening sides' viewpoints regarding comprehensive dialogue, a safe exit from the crisis, and peaceful, comprehensive democratic change.
A dissenting officer, Lt. Col. Khaled Abderahman al-Zamel, who abandoned the bearing of arms, said in a speech at the conference that he was the deputy head of the military council in the south for the so-called "free army."
He offered on behalf of himself and his colleagues the sincerest condolences to the families of military and civilian martyrs and wishes for recovery to the injured, saying that he and those who accompanied him to the conference had discovered after breaking away from the army and working with the armed groups that the Syrian crisis cannot be solved by bearing arms against fellow Syrians...
Al-Zamel said that he and his colleagues thought deep and hard about what is happening in Syria and decided to recant what they did and cooperate with the National Reconciliation Ministry to resolve their situation, placing themselves at the disposal of the army command.
He said that this is a first step in calling all other dissenting soldiers to return to the homeland and the army establishment...
Other representatives of different parties in Syria underlined that they don’t accept to kill the State and the Syrian society, destroy railways and the public institutions.
They said that all in Syria want change, but the Syrian State is the sponsor which gather all Syrians as the solution will not be other than Syrian.
Addressing the conference, the Russian Ambassador in Damascus, Azmatullah Kulmohammadov, stressed the necessity of finding solutions to the crisis in Syria through peaceful political means...
He said Russia attaches great importance to the mission of the UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi...
For his part, Sing Yao condemned in a speech in the name of the Chinese Embassy in Damascus the two terrorist bombings which took place in Damascus, stressing that China's stance towards the crisis in Syria is objective, just and responsible and based on protecting the main interests of the Syrian people.
Friends and Colleagues;
Today, I wish to share with you a few points about the changes that should take place.
Clearly, continuation of the current circumstances in the world is impossible. ...
It is no longer possible to inject thousands of billions of dollars of unreal wealth to the world economy simply by printing worthless paper assets, or transfer inflation as well as social and economic problems to others through creating sever budget deficits. The engine of unbridled capitalism with its unfair system of thought has reached the end of road and is unable to move...
The time has come to an end for those who define democracy and freedom and set standards whilst they themselves are the first who violate its fundamental principles.
It is not acceptable that the military budget of some governments exceeds far larger than those of the entire countries of the world. They export billions of dollars of arms every year, stockpile chemical and biological weapons, establish military bases or have military presence in other countries while accusing others of militarism, and mobilize all their resources in the world to impede scientific and technological progress of other nations under the pretext of countering arms proliferation.
Liberalism and capitalism that have alienated human beings from heavenly and moral values will never bring happiness for humanity because they are the main source of all misfortune wars, poverty and deprivation.
We have all seen that how the inequitable economic structures controlled by certain political interests have been used to plunder national wealth of countries for the benefit of a group of corrupt business giants. The present structures are incapable of reforming the present situation.
Rulers whose hearts do not beat for the love of humankind and who sacrificed the spirit of justice in their minds never offer the promise of peace and friendship to humanity. By the grace of God, Marxism is gone. It is now history. The expansionist Capitalism will certainly have the same fate. ...
All problems existing in our world today emanate from the fact that rulers have distanced themselves from human values, morality and the teachings of divine messengers. Regrettably, in the current international relations, selfishness and insatiable greed have taken the place of such humanitarian concepts as love, sacrifice, dignity, and justice. The belief in the One God has been replaced with selfishness.
Some have taken the place of God and insist to impose their values and wishes on others. Lies have taken the place of honesty; hypocrisy has replaced integrity and selfishness has taken the place of sacrifice. Deception in interactions is called foresight and statesmanship; looting the wealth of other nations is called development efforts; occupation is introduced as a gift towards promotion of freedom and democracy, and defenseless nations are subjected to repression in the name of defending human rights.
After getting the go-ahead by a federal court last week, a group by the name of 'The American Freedom Defence Initiative' (AFDI), posted a controversial pro-Israel advert in ten subway stations in Brooklyn, New York City.
The advert reads: "In any war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilised man."
The quote is from a Russian-American philosopher and novelist. It is followed by the tag line "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad" set between two Stars of David.
Clearly, Israel is presented as civilisation against the anti-Israeli (Palestinian) "savage".
Pamela Geller, AFDI's executive director, told the American website TRANSPORTATIONNATION: "The organisation aggressively seeks to advance and defend the nation's Judeo-Christian moral foundation in courts all across the nation."
The Middle East peace process is currently at a standstill, with Israeli-Palestinian talks stalled, following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The crisis in Syria also figured prominently in President Morsy’s statement to the General Debate. Noting an Egyptian initiative on Syria, put forward in August and involving three other countries, the President said they would continue to work to end the suffering in Syria...
“I would like to emphasize that the initiative is open to all those who wish to positively contribute in resolving the Syrian crisis,” President Morsy said, adding that Egypt is also committed to supporting the mission of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, as well as efforts aimed at unifying Syrian opposition groups.
President Morsy also flagged Egypt's commitment to working with other Arab nations to reclaim its “rightful position” in the world.
“This Arab nation is an integral component of Egypt's vision of its national security, which extends from the Arab Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean, and is thriving with opportunities of cooperation and constructive engagement with the entire world,” he said.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Developments over the past year have confirmed what we have persistently drawn attention to and warned of: the catastrophic danger of the racist Israeli settlement of our country, Palestine.
During the past months, attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli settlers have become a daily reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the beginning of this year...
The escalation of settler attacks should not surprise anyone, for it is the inherent byproduct of the continuation of occupation and a government policy that deliberately fosters the settlements and settlers and deems their satisfaction to be an absolute priority....
Over the past year, since the convening of the General Assembly's previous session, Israel, the occupying Power, has persisted with its settlement campaign, focusing on Jerusalem and its environs. ...
The occupying Power has also continued its construction and expansion of settlements in different areas throughout the West Bank and continued its suffocating blockade as well as raids and attacks against our people in the Gaza Strip, who to this day continue to suffer from the disastrous impact of the destructive war of aggression committed against them years ago.
At the same time, the occupying Power continues to tighten the siege and impose severe restrictions on movement, preventing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from implementing vital infrastructure projects and providing services to its citizens, who are also being prevented from cultivating their land and deprived of water for irrigation. It is also obstructing the establishment of agricultural, industrial, tourism and housing projects by the private sector in vast areas of the Occupied Palestinian Authority, which are classified as areas subject to the absolute control of the occupation, which encompasses approximately 60% of the West Bank.
The occupying Power continues to deliberately demolish what the PNA is building, projects funded by donor brethren and friends, and destroying PNA projects involving the building of roads, simple homes for its citizens and agricultural facilities. ...
Israel's overall policy is ultimately leading to the weakening of the Palestinian National Authority, undermining its ability to carry out its functions and to implement its obligations, which threatens to undermine its very existence and threatens its collapse.
There can only be one understanding of the Israeli Government's actions in our homeland and of the positions it has presented to us regarding the substance of a permanent status agreement to end the conflict and achieve peace. That one understanding leads to one conclusion: that the Israeli Government rejects the two-State solution.
The recent years have actually witnessed the systematic acceleration and intensification of Israeli measures aimed at emptying the Oslo Accords of their meaning, while simultaneously building facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that are making the implementation of the Accords extremely difficult if not completely impossible.
Israel refuses to end the occupation and refuses to allow the Palestinian people to attain their rights and freedom and rejects the independence of the State of Palestine.
Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new Nakba.
In this context I call on Russia and the United States of America, the cosponsors of the peace conference, to help the peace process take bigger steps, by contributing to the process and helping to overcome all obstacles. I also call on Norway and Egypt as the first countries to have nurtured the Israeli- Palestinian peace to pursue this worthy initiative that took off from Oslo, to Washington to Cairo.
Oslo shall remain the bright name that accompanies the process of peace, the peace of the brave, as will the name of those countries sponsoring the multilateral talks.
Here I call on all the countries of the world especially the donor countries to speed up their contributions so that the Palestinian people may overcome their economic and social problems and proceed with reconstruction and the rebuilding of infrastructures. Peace cannot thrive, and the peace process cannot be consolidated in the absence of the necessary material conditions.
In his address to the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again accused Iran of getting closer to attain the ability to produce a nuclear bomb in the near future.
Press TV has conducted an interview with author and political scientist Kaveh Afrasiabi from Boston to shed more light on the issue.
Afrasiabi: I had the opportunity to listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech that finished just minutes ago and found it to be, frankly, another exercise in political escapism, because there was no mention of the rights of the Palestinians or Palestinian statehood.
Mr. Netanyahu portrays himself as the champion of human rights, which is really hilarious, and of course no mention of the international community’s desire for Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty that was echoed by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, just yesterday.
Press TV: It does not make that much sense does it, when Prime Minister Netanyahu comes in this case in a forum and organization of which he does not care about...? And of course I am talking about Israel throughout the years.
Afrasiabi: Exactly. The resolutions 242 and 338 have been in existence for decades and have [been] met by nothing except callous disregard by the state of Israel and its various political leaders including Mr. Netanyahu.
I was at the UN these past few days and had an occasion to speak with some UN officials, responsible for the relief efforts in Gaza and they have issued a report lately that indicates that Gaza will be uninhabitable very soon. I think that the international community is not blind to all of this...
Iran isn’t, contrary to what Netanyahu alleged, a year away from having a nuclear weapon. Iran can’t construct a nuclear weapon at all as long as it is being actively inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which it is...
So what is really driving all this noise about Iran? It is the Israeli right wing’s competition with the Palestinians. In the past few years, Israel has vastly expanded the number of Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in the West Bank:
Israeli squatters, backed by Netanyahu, are attempting to make a Palestinian state impossible. Netanyahu’s plan is to keep the Palestinians (some 12 million strong, 4 million of them in the Occupied Territories) stateless and without citizenship rights forever. People without a state have no institutions that would enforce their claims on property or on basic human rights, and so they are open to being treated, in a way, like slaves and constantly stolen from, as the Palestinians are.
Israel’s policy has long been to use its close relationship with the United States to domesticate or destroy any country in the region that gives hope to the Palestinians that they might one day get their own state.
The Israeli military, backed and resupplied by the US, beat Egypt and Jordan into accepting a separate peace. Lebanon’s economy was destroyed more than once. Netanyahu argued hard for a US war on Iraq, and the American Neocons who fomented that war began by writing a position paper for Netanyahu himself arguing for an invasion of Iraq...
Now, Iran is more or less the last man standing. Iran, and its unstable ally, Baathist Syria, are the only major Middle Eastern countries that strongly support the Palestinians, though admittedly more in speeches than practically. The rest have either given in (Egypt, Jordan) or de facto acquiesced in Israel expansionism into the West Bank...
Netanyahu wants to remove all hope from the Palestinians, so as to keep them permanently stateless and to ensure that their land is available for Israeli encroachment.
Jabotinsky was the main inspirational source for Begin... Anwar Sadat of Egypt failed to realise the overwhelming reluctance of Israelis to part with the iron wall. .. The 1979 treaty was an aberration and once it was signed Israel was fated to go back to the 'ideological precepts of Revisionist Zionism.'
Considering the theme of Iron Wall, Shlaim is particularly harsh on Binyamin Netanyahu's period in office which he describes, bluntly, as 'Back to the Iron Wall'. Shlaim argues that Jabotinsky inspired Netanyahu with a Manichaean vision of a never-ending conflict with the Arabs. Under Netanyahu, history was 'rewritten from a Revisionist perspective in order to demonstrate that it was not the Jews who usurped the land from the Arabs, but the Arabs who usurped it from the Jews.( The Iron Wall, Avi Shlaim, 1999)
The Prime Minister of Apartheid Israel just lectured the United Nations General Assembly! He spent most of his time nagging those present as if they were school children about Iran. He even insulted their intelligence by showing them a diagram of a "bomb" and drawing a red line on it (yes literally with an actual red marker)....
Netanyahu dismissed Mahmoud Abbas's speech with just one sentence "we won't solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN or unilateral declarations of statehood."
He dismissed all Palestinians and their rights by claiming they need to recognize a "Jewish state" then they could be allowed a vague but "demilitarized state".
Netanyahu's war mongering and idiotic speech merely confirmed the obvious conclusion about this rogue state: it is run by lunatics.
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine.He is author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle" and “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment”
At sidelines of General Assembly, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman tells counterparts from several countries there is no chance for peace as long as Abbas serves as Palestinian president. 'Iran's conduct in the international arena is barbaric,' he adds.
The foreign minister argued that Abbas was "the main and greatest obstacle to peace." He added that although Israel had saved the PA from collapsing just several days ago, Abbas had chosen to deliver a hateful and inflammatory speech against Israel – the type of speeches, he said, which are usually delivered by the leaders of Iran and Hamas.
He further claimed that Abbas had no interest or ability to properly manage the situation in the PA, and that all he was interested in was travelling around the world, inciting against Israel and blaming the Jewish state for all his problems.
Lieberman told the foreign ministers that the international community must renounce Abbas if it wished to advance a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Actor Juliano Mar said, “I believe Israel is on the road toward fascism. Lieberman represents this fatal process of a country that is losing its way. I myself have disengaged from all the Liebermans, and today I live in a refugee camp in Jenin, where I’m building a children’s theater. Lieberman’s entrance into the government has taken away my desire to return to the Israeli scene.”
Higher Arab Monitoring Committee Chairman Shawki Khatib said that Lieberman's joining the coalition sends a message of belittlement to the Arab population in Israel. "We think that a party whose flag is emblazoned with racism, whose platform is transferring the Arab population out of Israel, who is legitimized by the Israeli government, and is legitimized to be one of the decision makers of the coalition and part of the mainstream of the Israeli public, sends a message to the Arab population: Even though you are a million people with Israeli citizenship, we belittle you. That is why we give the okay to what is defined by both the Jewish public in Israel and by the world as racism," asserted Khatib.
Hadash party Chairman Mohammad Barakeh explained that the inclusion of Israel Our Home into the Olmert government is "a step [..] that is against democracy and gives legitimacy to the racist discourse coming out of the extreme right wing.
"Furthermore, giving Lieberman the strategic portfolio is a declaration of war against Iran and other countries in the region." (YNet News website)
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, today urged Member States to help bridge the divisions in the Security Council over the ongoing Syrian conflict and promote a return to an agreement outlining the steps for a peaceful transition in the Middle Eastern country. ...
Meeting in Geneva in June, the UN-backed Action Group agreed to a six-point peace plan calling for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.
The Group also agreed on a set of principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people, which includes the establishment of a transitional governing body that would exercise full executive powers and that would be made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups.
“We call upon all members of the Action Group to fully confirm the commitments that all of us have taken on in Geneva. This is the shortest way to stop the loss of human life,” Mr. Lavrov continued.
In his statement, he also warned those who opposed the implementation of the Geneva agreement that they take upon themselves “an enormous responsibility.”
“They insist on a ceasefire only by the government and encourage the opposition to intensify hostilities, but in fact they push Syria even deeper in the abyss of bloody internecine strife,” he said. ...
Speaking through an interpreter, Lavrov said arbitrary interpretation of principles such as the non-use or threat of force and the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, is threatening the world order.
"These are the key principles of the UN Charter which confers the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security on the Security Council. In advancing reform of the UN, it is necessary to preserve the capacity of the Security Council to perform these functions. Their erosion would deprive the international community of an essential mechanism for developing joint approaches to the settlement of crisis situations."