The agreement was signed by Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, who is the newly elected president of the coalition, and Georges Sabra, head of the Syrian National Council (SNC), which is the main member of the new coalition.
Prominent dissident Riad Seif, who had tabled an initiative to unite the opposition, and female opposition figure Suhair al-Atassi, were elected as vice presidents of the coalition.
Khatib had served in the past as the imam of the central Umayyad mosque in the Syrian capital before he was banned from leading prayers. He was arrested in 2011 and in 2012 over supporting the uprising before he left the country.
Atassi comes from the central flashpoint city of Homs, and belongs to a family that has been active in the secular opposition. She is not a member of the SNC.
...Ruling out any dialogue with the Damascus regime..
The SNC had come under intense Arab and Western pressure to accept the unity plan amid growing frustration among other groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
Qatar said on Sunday that the new Syrian opposition should be recognized as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Muslim Brotherhood 2012
|Egyptian Clerics 1-3-2012|
"It Is an Obligation to Kill Bashar Al-Assad"
Salah Abdel Maqsoud (Born: 1958) Minister of information, former Morsi presidential campaign spokesman. Has been a journalist since 1979, working on several Islamist magazines including Egyptian Dawa, al-Bashir (1985), The Banner of Islam (1987 and 1994), and Harvest of Thought (1992).
In August 2012, Abdel Maqsoud was appointed minister of information, a move that riled non-Islamist journalists and supporters of press freedom. Political activist Hazem Abdel Azim called him a “Brotherhood fanatic” and “Ikhwani to the core,” and some suspected that his relationship with powerful MB deputy supreme guide Khairat al-Shater had played a key role in his appointment.
AMMAN: Thousands of protesters chanted the Arab Spring slogan “the people want the downfall of the regime” in Jordan’s capital on Friday, as demonstrations against rising prices gather force in a country so far spared the brunt of Middle East unrest.
The mainly urban Muslim Brotherhood joined protests that have erupted in the last few days, raising the spectre of lasting instability in the kingdom, a staunch US ally with the longest border with Israel.
“Go down Abdullah, go down,” the main crowd of about 4,000 protesters chanted as police, some in riot gear, largely stayed away from crowd. ... The Brotherhood’s decision to back Friday’s demonstration adds the voice of the country’s best-organised opposition movement to the protests, although top Brotherhood figures did not appear in person.
“King Abdullah should take note of the situation by going back on the decision to raise prices. The Jordanian people are unable to shoulder more burdens,” Brotherhood leader Sheikh Hamam Said said in a statement ahead of the protests.
The slogan “the people want the downfall of the regime” has emerged as the main chant of Arab Spring demonstrations that toppled autocrats from Tunisia to Yemen, in many cases bringing to power elected religious groups allied to the Brotherhood. ...
Abdullah accepted constitutional changes in August that devolved some of his powers to parliament and paved the way for a prime minister emerging from a parliamentary majority rather than one handpicked by him. However, urban politicians say he has been too slow to adopt reforms...
For weeks now, the mantra among conservatives and right-wingers in the US is that the Obama administration's Middle East policy now consists of kissing the feet of the MB. Even admitting Obama and his advisers do know how to deal with the MB (which is far from given), results of the wackiest kind should be expected.
The MB is in power in Egypt; very well positioned to soon take power in US ally Jordan; now leading the remixed opposition bag in Syria; and totally supported all over by Qatar. On top of it, Hamas is essentially the MB in power in Gaza.
The remixed Syrian opposition council is a joint US-Qatar operation. Obama himself, in his first press conference after being re-elected, said he wanted an opposition "committed to a democratic Syria, an inclusive Syria, a moderate Syria". This is not exactly on the agenda in Doha - not to mention Riyadh.
What would have been Obama's reaction when he learned that Free Syrian Army gangs totally dismiss the new Syrian National Council - whose leader Moaz al-Khatib, by the way, believes Facebook is an evil US/Israeli plot? The gangs have proclaimed they want "a fair Islamic state". Translation; screw Qatar and the US, we want to go the medieval Saudi way.
The announcement by the United Kingdom’s foreign minister William Hague of the UK’s decision to recognize the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people is a risky move.
The problem is not just that this risky move takes place at a moment when violence in Gaza escalates and the announced truce fails. The problem is that the hasty summary recognition of radical Syrian opposition reflects the main dichotomy of the Western governments’ attitude to the processes taking place in the Middle East.
How long can the West – willingly or unwillingly – help the Moslem Brotherhood in some countries of the region (Syria and Egypt), while opposing it in some others (in Gaza and the West Bank in the first place)?
The dislocation of the armed Syrian opposition is a reflection of the conflict between the various States which are trying to "change the regime" in Damascus.
We should pay particular attention to the Syrian National Council (SNC), also known as the Istanbul Council, since it was instituted there. This council is guided with an iron hand by the French DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), and financed by Qatar. The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) represent those local civilians who support armed action. Finally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is principally managed by Turkey, unites most of the combatants, including the Al-Qaida brigades. 80% of these units recognise the Takfirist Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour as their spiritual leader. He is based in Saudi Arabia.
Liberals, leftists, nationalists, Muslims, Christians, trade unions, professionals, movie stars, lawyers and judges united on Tuesday throughout Egypt to deploy a whole range of protest techniques against last Thursday’s Executive Order of President Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, which put him above all judicial authority. ..
The crowd at the downtown Tahrir Square was estimated by some newspapers at 200,000, among the largest demonstrations held since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011. It is worrisome that many in the crowd have started to demand ‘the fall of the regime’ and the ‘departure of Morsi.’ Since he is an elected leader, it would be undemocratic for him to be unseated by crowd action...
Among the demands of the protesters was that the Constituent Assembly writing the constitution be reconstituted. It had begun with 100 members, but 22 have withdrawn, along with 7 reserve members, and the remaining 78 are disproportionately loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, raising fears that the constitution will be overly religious in character.
Morsi’s claim of extra-judicial power struck many Egyptians as a creeping dictatorship, and there are fears that the Brotherhood was plotting to bring back the dissolved parliament of fall, 2011, which was dominated by members of the Brotherhood party, Freedom and Justice, and by hard line Salafi fundamentalists. With the presidency and parliament and an established principle that both were beyond the authority of the judiciary, the Brotherhood could hope to rule Egypt as a virtual one-party state, succeeding the one-party dominance of Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic party.
Hundreds of thousands of people waving Egyptian flags and hoisting large pictures of the president are demonstrating across Egypt today in support of him and Islamic law.
The rally, organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, is seen as a test of strength for Islamists seeking to counteract large opposition protests held this past week. The Islamists argue that the liberals, who are still laboring to create a cohesive opposition nearly two years after the uprising that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, do not represent the vast majority of Egyptians.
The Brotherhood and harder-line Islamists won nearly 75% of the seats in last winter's parliamentary election. But liberals highlight the fact that President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood's political party, won only 25% of votes in the first round of presidential elections. He went on to win the runoff by just over 50%, after a divisive race against a former regime figure.
Among supporters of the rally, which also calls for Islamic law, are the Gamaa Islamaiyya – a fundamentalist group that fought an insurrection against the government in the 1990s – and the Salafi Nour Party, seen as more conservative than the Brotherhood.
Michel Suleiman (president of Lebanon) repeated on Saturday his call on political powers to return to the national dialogue. He also demanded the adoption of a “modern parliamentary electoral law that reflects the spirit of the constitution.”
“We will not allow the constitution to be harmed and we will work hard to hold the parliamentary elections on time,” he stressed before the crowd.
Suleiman lamented the current political state in Lebanon that “has marginalized every noble political act and the role of the youths.”
“The Lebanese are divided behind their leaders,” he noted. Narrow-mindedness is the greatest crime that can be committed against man, he declared.
Addressing the youths, he said: “Don't sacrifice yourselves and Lebanon for the sake of others.” “Time will not remain our ally forever. We must rise above personal interests and return to dialogue.”
"Whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free us from his evil, to free Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and from the danger of him, let him do so!" Sheikk Yusuf Qaradawi - fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi
- Qatar, providing financial aids for Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and particularly through Sheykh Yusuf Qardawi, Egyptian cleric residing in Qatar and a former member of Muslim Brotherhood, has claimed an important place for itself.
Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar, is said to have invested a sum of $ 18 billion in Egypt supporting its banks with an amount of two billion dollars to aid its national currency besides the money he has specialized for the President to spend based on his own decisions.
- Turkey also, due to the organizational relations between Justice and Development Party (JDP), founded in 2001, and Muslim Brotherhood, has an important stance for Muslim Brotherhood. This is while Turkey has recently decided to finance Egypt with an amount of two billion dollars aid.
Therefore at the moment the triangle of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar practically make the nucleus of a new axis in the region which on the one hand has its ties with the US through Qatar and Turkey and on the other hand it maintains its relations with some Arab governments like Tunisia and Maghreb as well as the political parties in other Arab countries.
It means that it is not the American Islam which tries to influence the region but a revolutionary Islam with Brotherhood features. This type of Islam tries not only to reduce its differences with the US but also tries to find common interests out of which one might be hindering the growth of resistance and also the role of Iran in the region!
In other words the US might approve the empowerment of Muslim Brotherhood governments in some Arab countries instead of recognition of the US interests in the region.
But what happens to the disagreements of Muslim Brotherhood with the Zionist regime? Although Muslim Brotherhood stresses its opposition and confrontation with the Zionist regime and counts defending the Palestinians as its principle, it does not believe in prioritization of the issue.
[The Muslim Brotherhood] prioritizes strengthening the foundations of Brotherhood across the Arab world...
The Centrality of Imperial Law
While force and violence, especially through overt and covert military intervention, have always been an essential part of empire-building, it does not operate in a legal vacuum: Judicial institutions, rulings and legal precedents precede, accompany and follow the process of empire building.
The legality of imperial activity is based largely on the imperial state’s judicial system and its own legal experts. Their legal theories and opinions are always presented as over-ruling international law as well as the laws of the countries targeted for imperial intervention.
Imperial law supersedes international law simply because imperial law is backed by brute force; it possesses imperial/colonial air, ground and naval armed forces to ensure the supremacy of imperial law. In contrast, international law lacks an effective enforcement mechanism.
Moreover, international law, to the extent that it is effective, is applied only to the weaker powers and to regimes designated by the imperial powers as ‘violators’. The very judicial processes, including the appointment of judges and prosecutors who interpret international law, investigate international crime and arrest, sentence and punish ‘guilty’ parties are under to the influence of the reigning imperial powers. In other words, the application and jurisdiction of international law is selective and subject to constraints imposed by the configurations of imperial and national power.
International law, at best, can provide a ‘moral’ judgment, a not insignificant basis for strengthening the political claims of countries, regimes and people...
The Uses of Imperial Law
Empire-building throughout history is the result of conquest – the use or threat of superior military force. The US global empire is no exception. ...
While empires arose through the direct or indirect use of unbridled force, the maintenance and consolidation of empires requires a legal framework. ...
Imperial legal pronouncements, whether issued directly by executive, judicial, military or administrative bodies, are deemed the ‘supreme law of the universe’, superior to international law and protocols fashioned by non-imperial authorities and legal experts.
This does not imply that imperial rulers totally discard international law: they just apply it selectively to their adversaries, especially against independent nations and rulers, in order to justify imperial intervention and aggression...
Egypt President Mohamed Morsi has invited all political forces to hold dialogue...
"I call on everyone to hold dialogue on 8 December in an effort to work things out with love, the rule of law and determination," he said Thursday in a televised address. ...
On the bloody confrontations, Morsi repeated the Muslim Brotherhood's stance that some of the violence was stirred up by "paid thugs."
"Violence is not the solution," he asserted. "Wisdom, rationality, peace must be used to solve the current situation." "Investigations and confessions have shown that some of those arrested have connections to political forces. Other armed assailants were paid," he added. ...
On possible compromises, Morsi said that Article 6 of his contentious constitutional declaration, which stipulates that "the President may take the necessary actions and measures to protect the country and the goals of the revolution," might be eliminated.
"I am not insisting on keeping Article 6 of the declaration if dialogue with political partners leads to that," he said.
US President Barack Obama called Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi to express his anxiety about the violence that broke out in front of the presidential palace in Cairo’s Heliopolis district and elsewhere in the country, which left 7 dead and over 700 wounded (according to the latest revised count). Obama called for national dialogue and peaceful methods.
The number two man in the ruling Freedom and Justice Party (the civil arm of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood), Essam el-Arian, boarded a plane for Washington for consultations with the Obama administration.
"All say they want the Islamic Sharia"
"No one in Egypt—not a Copt, a liberal, a leftist, no one—dares say they are against Islam and the application of Sharia: all say they want the Islamic Sharia [applied]. And when referendum time comes, whoever says 'we do not want Sharia' will expose their hidden intentions." Dr. Essam el-Erian, Vice President of the "Freedom and Justice" party, 15-11-2011.
The Freedom and Justice Party elected former speaker of parliament Saad el-Katatny as its new leader. He replaces Mohammed Morsi who resigned the position this summer after being elected president of Egypt. Katatny, who is considered to be aligned with the more conservative faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, triumphed over rival Essam el-Erian by 67 percent. Erian was viewed as more willing to compromise with liberals and leftists.
In his acceptance speech, Katatny called his victory “only a first step” towards the FJP’s many goals, the main one being to establish Shariah law in Egypt. Ahram reports: “The Muslim Brotherhood established the party to represent the Brotherhood’s political project, which, in the end, will be a wise government that will institute Islamic Sharia Law,” he asserted. He went on to say that the party would extend its hands to all of Egypt’s diverse political forces. (The Blaze 21-10-2012)
In a severe blow to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Studies Academy of the prestigious al-Azhar Seminary (the closest thing Sunni Islam has to a Vatican) issued a statement calling for Morsi to shelve his draft constitution and his plans for a national referendum on it in only a week and a half.
One of the things liberals don’t like about the draft constitution is that it puts a lot of law and practice under Islamic law, and then appoints the al-Azhar Seminary to interpret Islamic law as it applies to the constitution. It would be as though the US Constitution acknowledged that some prohibitions, such as murder, are biblical and then gave the authority to define murder to the Southern Baptist Convention.
But the very body that the Brotherhood wants to give a formal position in the interpretation of the constitution is now saying that the constitution is flawed and should be revised before being voted on....
That al-Azhar has now publicly reprimanded Morsi makes it clear that the fault lines are much more complex than just secular versus fundamentalist.
Liberals and leftists want Morsi to rescind his Nov. 22 declaration that his decrees are immune from judicial review, and his decision last Saturday to take a hastily-finished, fundamentalist-tinged constitution to a national referendum on December 15. Morsi insists on continuing with both.
Others reacted even more angrily. Dissidents set fire to three Muslim Brotherhood or Freedom and Justice Party offices in Cairo, including the main one in the Muqattam Hills overlooking the capital. ... In Zahra al-Maadi, another office was attacked and looted. And a third was set afire at Kitkat Square at the entryway to the fundamentalist stronghold of Imbaba. Kitkat is a flashpoint because there are houseboats along the Nile there with a long tradition of nightlife activities, which the Brotherhood wishes to prohibit, so people’s livelihoods and philosophy of life are at stake. Maadi is upscale and full of people who hate the Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood today Friday at Al-Azhar mosque held the funeral of two of their members who died in Wednesday night clashes by the presidential palace.
After Friday prayers, Muslim Brotherhood members broke into chants, “we sacrifice our lives for Islam” and chaos prevailed.
Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie’ took the Imam’s microphone and calmed people down reminding them that this is unappropriate conduct in a mosque. ...
Funeral prayers were then held and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers carried out the two coffins, chanting “Islamic not a liberal state” and “Media lies; all martyrs are from the Muslim Brotherhood.”
In the beginning of the 20th century, it entered into alliances with Egypt’s minor parties against the Wafd, who ruled the country and represented the people’s desire for independence and the drafting of a Constitution.
During that time, the Muslim Brotherhood for the most part remained on the sidelines, only to be called onto the playing field when the country’s opposition parties could no longer bear to live under the rule of the Wafd, and found themselves unable to seize power by themselves.
In this context, the Free Officer’s Movement led by Gamal Abdel Nasser called on the Muslim Brotherhood to support them in their quest to liquidate their political opposition and dissolve the country’s judiciary. However as soon as the Muslim Brotherhood decided to betray the latter’s ‘revolution’, the two sides broke ranks, and the Muslim Brotherhood was sidelined once again.
Anwar Sadat later made use of the Brotherhood in the same way, calling on them to aid him in his struggle against leftists and resurgent Nasserists. However no sooner had the two succeeded before they were once again at each other’s throats; the Brotherhood initially being successful in assassinating Sadat, being thwarted shortly after by Hosni Mubarak’s vicious campaign of repression.
The scenario was repeated a third time after the 25 January revolution, which saw the rise of political Islam as the inevitable alternative to what had become a corrupt regime. ...
The Muslim Brotherhood is an extremist Sunni organisation, whose ideology is rooted in the writings of Sayyid Qutb, Al-Mawdudi and Ibn Timia, whose underpinnings are not shared by other sects of Sunni Islam.
The Brotherhood’s ideology is one that promotes conservative social norms that run contrary to the lifestyle enjoyed by many in Egypt’s upper and middle classes. Ironically, it is these elements of society who are most likely to share the Muslim Brotherhood’s desire to preserve the status quo and seek to maintain a reactionary, repressive regime.
What about the recent developments in Egypt, known as “the smart kid of the Muslim world"? Is that all the Muslim Brothers can do with their century-old experience after waiting so long to take the helm of the country, suffering many sorrows and going through many ordeals in the interim?
Didn't the Muslim Brothers obtain any useful experience during their 100 year struggle against exclusion from the system in order to realize that other groups, too, are entitled to life and respect for lifestyle and deserve to have their share in political power?
Didn't Mohammed Morsi obtain any democratic experience and etiquette while he was working as an academic in the US, where democracy has improved even at the micro levels? Apparently he didn't, because he issued a decree that would make him immune to judicial review in a manner that is unimaginable in a democratic country governed by rule of law, only six months after he was elected as president.
How quickly Morsi forgot the fact that he could only secure 25.5 percent of the general vote in the elections where he stood as the candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), established by the Muslim Brothers, in the first round of the elections held in early 2012.
He must also have forgotten the fact that he could secure a vote that was only a few notches above his rival in the second round. Otherwise, he wouldn't have issued that infamous and ominous decree on grounds that it would serve as a barrier against the judiciary's efforts to undermine the constitution drafting process.
What's done is done with this decree and Egypt's already troubled democratization process had derailed into chaos. The anti-democratic, illegal and illegitimate nature of Morsi's decree was evidenced by the fact that six of his 17 advisers resigned from office.
What gleans from this process is that you cannot conciliate democracy with the mentality of conquest. Nothing is achieved by the conquering of certain institutions or political power; rather, the real test of democracy starts at that point.
Senior clerics across the Arab world have issued fatwas stating that jihad against the Syrian regime is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim, and even permitting to kill Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Some of the clerics also called to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is fighting Assad's regime.* Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed...
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia, the United States and the UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi agreed on that Geneva statement should be the basis for any move towards the crisis in Syria.
"We agreed on adopting Geneva statement as the basis for any joint action and we had consensus with the Americans and Brahimi in this regard," Lavrov told a news conference after his return from Dublin.
Lavrov said that Russia and the US realize their responsibilities towards the international stability, adding that Brahimi stressed the ability of Moscow and Washington to propose an initiative on practical means to implement what has been agreed on in Geneva, taking into account that Brahimi depends on the fact that Russia and the US can support him in looking for what can contribute to implementing Geneva statement during his talks with the Syrian government and opposition.
The Russian Foreign Minister indicated that the Russian and the U.S. sides agreed on a meeting between their experts and Brahimi in the next few days to hold intensive deliberations based on Geneva statement and the real situation in Syria to exchange opinions on reaching a settlement.
The UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi affirmed that Russia and the US will search for a constructive resolution to the crisis in Syria.
"We didn't take any important decisions.. we agreed that the situation is bad.. we also agreed that we should continue working together to see how we could find constructive means to put this problem under control," Reuters quoted Brahimi as saying following a meeting with Lavrov and Clinton.
Syria will never use chemical weapons against its own people, Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired US Army Colonel who was Chief of Staff to Colin Powell told RT. Instead, the reality is that US is “preparing the ground to intervene in Syria.” An act which would lead to a conflict “that would take at least a decade to settle – and there aren't going to be too many victors at the end of that decade, just losers,” Wilkerson says, as Washington's ultimate aim is to overthrow the Iranian leadership.
RT: What is the answer then for Syria? Isn't some intervention justified on humanitarian grounds? In fact, that justification was given for the intervention in Libya. In fact many say that is what brought the conflict to an end, disposed of colonel Gaddafi and ended the loss of innocent lives. Can you apply the same to Syria?
LW: Well, I would differ with that resolution in Libya. Libya still has enormous problems. We have a disconcerted Mali. We have the government being overthrown in Mali, we have Al-Qaeda operating in the North of Mali – all of that is partially a result of what we did in Libya. So, I would be very hesitant to classify Libya as a success.
Syria and Iran would be classified even less as a success in my view. What you would have there [.] is a long-term occupation, increasing insurgency, increasing civil war-like fighting and so worth.
The answer in Syria, I think, as lamentable as the casualties are, is to let the Syrians settle the situation for the Syrians. There are a lot of Iranians on the ground fighting with Assad's forces, advising with Assad's forces. And since that is taking place, it makes better sense for us to take on Syria because we're going to encounter the Iranians in Syria if we go into Syria. But this is not the time to be doing this.
RT: Do you think rebels could dispose of Assad?
LW: I don't know [...], I did not think he would last through 2012, and he is apparently going to do that. He may hang on to several factions in Syria that are powerful and still with him, but I still think the best resolution for Syria is a resolution brought about by the majority of the Syrian people.
There should be no outside assistance, and that goes for Iran too. Iran should get its people out of Syria and let Syria handle its problems by itself.
The Gulf island state Bahrain is a special case in the context of the uprisings of the Arab spring. King Hamad Al Khalifa is seen by western governments as a valued ally who plays host to the US Fifth Fleet and is close to Saudi Arabia, the regional powerhouse and the Middle East's biggest oil exporter. But his Sunni dynasty rules over a restive Shia majority. The government in Manama often blames Iran for fomenting unrest, though there is no evidence of direct involvement. The opposition, dominated by the al-Wefaq movement, says it wants democratic rights and is not pursuing a sectarian Shia agenda, though its supporters are under-represented and face discrimination in all walks of life. (Guardian 19-6-2012)
Spokesperson of the Armed Forces Ahmed Mohamed Ali stated Saturday that national dialogue is the best way to reach consensus for the good of the country, asserting that the army will not allow violence to continue.
"The Armed Forces are always on the side of the people. We support the call for national dialogue, to reach a consensus that unites all segments of the nation," read the statement published on the spokesperson Ali's Facebook page. ...
Ali added that polarisation would only lead the country down "a dark tunnel that will have disastrous results." "The Armed Forces have always ensured the security and safety of the nation and its people, and will continue to do so," added Ali.
In response to the Armed Forces statement, Abdel-Khalq Al-Sherif, a senior official in the Muslim Brotherhood, told Reuters that the statement was balanced and is a "step in helping to end a political crisis that did not take sides."
The constitutional referendum will be held on its previously specified date of 15 December and the constitutional declaration issued by President Mohamed Morsy on 22 November has been largely canceled , Mohamed Selim al-Awa announced in a press conference following the conclusion of a "national dialogue" meeting on Saturday night.
According to the new declaration, if a majority of Egyptians vote no to the draft constitution, then a new Constituent Assembly will be elected in three months, and will have six months to draft a new one.
The new declaration, Awa said, would not remove judicial oversight of Morsy's decisions, but the president is still tasked with protecting the revolution and its causes, and his appointment of the new Prosecutor General Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah will stand.
In the original declaration, Morsy also stated that Mubarak regime figures would be retried for the deaths of protesters nearly two years ago in the 25 January uprising.
SKY NEWS Interviewing jihadists arrested in Syria
Absent from the group is Colonel Riad al-Asaad, founder of the Syrian Free Army and Brigadier Mustafa al-Sheikh, a senior officer known for his opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Security officials from the United States, Britain, France, the Gulf and Jordan have been attending the talks..
Flashback: Syrian Rebel Leader Mustafa al-Sheikh Says Victory Against Assad Not in Sight
by Mike Giglio, The Daily Beast Jul 26, 2012
A lack of coordination and material support has defined the FSA effort since it began. So too have its calls for international assistance—in particular, weapons. Sheikh said his forces were ill-matched against the well-armed Assad regime, and that the FSA also remained a poorly organized group, at least in terms of chain of command. “Everyone works on his own,” he said. “We are not a collective group.”
As the uprising drags on, Sheikh said, these problems are paving the way for an alarming development—the arrival of al Qaeda and other jihadist groups into the armed struggle against Assad. “They are getting bigger and bigger. And day by day they have more powerful positions inside,” he said. “The situation is very dangerous.”
Sheikh is the first senior opposition figure to voice concerns that al Qaeda and other jihadist fighters are operating inside Syria. Some outside analysts have made the case for months, even as opposition leaders have insisted that there is no evidence to support the claims....
Jordan has nearly doubled military patrols along its 370-kilomere border with Syria in order to stem the rising influx of local and foreign jihadists.
In October, the government announced that it had foiled an Al Qaeda attack targeting diplomatic sites and shopping centres in Amman using weapons and explosives smuggled from Syria.
In a blog post on his Facebook page, Dr. Rafiq Habib, former Presidential Adviser and Vice-Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said that demonstration is a form of expression of an opinion, “Violence, on the other hand, is an attempt to impose opinion, create chaos and undermine democracy”.
Dr. Habib pointed that the recurrence of violence in demonstrations means that a certain faction no longer sees a way to achieve its objectives, visions or choices, except by aggravating crisis situations, and creating of a state of chaos, confusion and violence.
"Confrontation cannot be a way to express opinion, but a means to impose a fait accompli, which destroys the whole notion of democracy."
He further emphasized that any faction that gives cover to violence, confrontation or chaos scenarios will ultimately be the loser, after inflicting heavy losses on the whole country.
"Those who reject the new constitution, and seek to prevent the forthcoming referendum, are fully aware that they cannot convince the majority of people of their point-of-view. This is why they want to impose their opinion. Indeed, those who are dissatisfied with their role and performance in the political arena now, have to work among the people, in order to achieve what they want in a democratic way.
"By contrast, those who imagine they can impose their opinion through rioting, vandalism and violence, will lose the opportunity to expand their popular base."
During the 2011–2012 Syrian uprising, a new constitution was put to a referendum. Amongst other changes,
it abolished the old article 8 which entrenched the power of the Ba'ath party. The new article 8 reads: "The political system is based on the principle of political pluralism, and rule is only obtained and exercised democratically through voting.";
in a new article 88, it introduced presidential elections and limited the term of office for the president to seven years with a maximum of one re-election.
The referendum resulted in the adoption of the new constitution, which came into force on 27 February 2012. (Wikipedia Info)
Flashback: 89% vote in favor of new Syrian Constitution
Russia Today, 27 February, 2012
Syria’s Interior Minister has announced that 89 per cent of those who took part in the referendum have voted in favor of a new constitution. ... Interior Minister Ibrahim al-Shaar announced the results of the referendum at a press conference on Monday.
According to the minister, out of 14,580,000 Syrians eligible to vote some 8,376,000, or about 57 per cent, actually came to the polling stations and voted...
Al-Shaar said that the opposition groups tried to hamper the vote in some troubled areas like Homs and Idlib. Armed rebels did not allow some people to get to the polling stations he said. Russia’s Foreign Ministry considers the results of the referendum in Syria to be evidence of the wide public support for the government's course of reforms.
"The referendum has confirmed that the course for changes is supported by the people,” the ministry’s statement said. “The influence of those opposition groups that called for boycotting the referendum is restricted and gives them no exclusive right to speak on behalf of the Syrian people ."
Syrian Constitution - Article 8
1. The political system of the state shall be based on the principle of political pluralism, and exercising power democratically through the ballot box;
2. Licensed political parties and constituencies shall contribute to the national political life, and shall respect the principles of national sovereignty and democracy;
3. The law shall regulate the provisions and procedures related to the formation of political parties;
4. Carrying out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color may not be undertaken;
5. Public office or public money may not be exploited for a political, electoral or party interest.
Article 9: As a national heritage that promotes national unity in the framework of territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Constitution shall guarantee the protection of cultural diversity of the Syrian society with all its components and the multiplicity of its tributaries. (Voltaire network - Syrian Constitution)
GULF countries have been urged to beware of the rise of Islamist political parties in the Mideast.
Chairman of the Jeddah-based Gulf Research Centre, Dr Abdulaziz Sager, warned it signalled a spread of extremism.
He added terrorist groups were now using Yemen as a base from which to conduct operations and called on the GCC to intervene: "They are using Yemen as a platform to launch their operations," he said. "The GCC governments should look into this issue seriously."
"On the other hand, we see the rise of Islamist parties in the region - which is a signal for GCC governments to be careful."
Islamists have already claimed a foothold in Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia, where the Muslim Brotherhood has swept to power on the back of the so-called Arab Spring.
As Qatar’s Christian population grows, so does its comfort level with Christmas, it appears. The holiday is less than three weeks away, and many residents agree that Doha is feeling particularly festive this year.
Many stores across town are treating shoppers to twinkling lights and sparkly decorations, and hotels are offering tree lighting ceremonies, photo opportunities with Santa Claus and elaborate feasts.
|Christmas in Syria 2009|
Youssef Qaradawi is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds.
From the Christian West to the Islamic Middle East, atheists face discrimination and persecution including execution, life in prison, the revocation of citizenship and the denial of education and medical services, a new report has revealed.
A 69-page study titled ‘Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Nonreligious’ has been released by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). ...
The report cited discriminatory laws that deny atheists the “right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship [and] restrict their right to marry.”
Other laws include “obstructing access to public education, prohibiting them from holding public office, preventing them from working for the state, criminalizing their criticism of religion, and executing them for leaving the religion of their parents.”
The report argues that atheists in Islamic countries – such as Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan – face some of the worst discrimination, including capital punishment. ...
The publication of atheist or humanist views is strictly prohibited under blasphemy laws in countries like Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia, the report said. In most of these countries citizens are required to register as participants of an officially recognized religion – usually Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Without this registration, citizens are not allowed to receive medical services, drive, attend university or travel aboard, forcing non-believers to lie.
The report emphasizes that non-believers are discriminated against even in North American and European nations. In the US, “atheists and the non-religious are made to feel like lesser Americans, or non-Americans.”
And in at least seven US states, “constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.”
Heiner Bielefedt, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, welcomed the report’s publication and expressed concern over the lack of awareness that international human rights protections apply as much to atheists and religious skeptics as to other groups.
Turning to education, Dr Hassoun said, "Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator".
If we want peace, starting for example with Palestine and Israel, he suggested that rather than building walls, "let us build bridges of peace".
He also argued that "we must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis", adding "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me".
(European parlement, 15-1-2008)
Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun: I see myself as the grand mufti of all 23 million Syrians, not just Muslims, but also Christians and even atheists. I am a man of dialogue. Who knows, maybe an agnostic will convince me with better arguments one day, and I'll become a non-believer. And if I'm enthusiastic about the opposition's political platform, I also might change sides. (Der Spiegel, 8-11-2011)
|Tehran 2009: "I like him to get to know |
other cultures and ideas"
Answer: Bismihi Ta`ala 1) a. There is no objection in sending them greeting cards upon the advent of this occasion. Yet, it should be done in such a fashion that you encourage them to adhere to the true teachings of the Prophet Jesus (a.s.) by helping and supporting those in need, living a righteous life, etc. b. There is no objection in celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Jesus (a.s.). But putting up and decorating a Christmas tree would promote a fallacious ideology and result in imitating their culture. c. There is no objection to that in itself as long as it does not lead to corruption. (Fatwa's from 'leaders office')
Like all Jews, the Pharisees believed that the Law was revealed to Moses by God and that, insofar as they were part of the covenant made with the generation of the exodus, all Jews were obliged to obey the Law (see Sir 10:19; 19:20). The Pharisees differed from other Jewish religious groups, however, in that they held to the authority of the "tradition of the elders," which consisted of ancient customs, expansions and clarifications of the written Law and legal rulings by individuals or courts...
Jesus opposes the Pharisaic oral law, not only because he does not believe that it should be accepted as an authoritative supplement to the written Law ("Their teachings are but rules taught by men") , but also because he thinks that the oral law has actually promotes disobedience to the written Law.
Jesus criticizes the scribes and Pharisees for laying heavy burdens on people, but doing nothing to alleviate the burden: "They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them" (Matt 23:4). This is probably a reference to the burdensome nature of the Pharisaic oral tradition, or "tradition of the elders."
Jesus warns against the teaching of the Pharisees, which, in part, is probably motivated by his rejection of the "tradition of the elders," the Pharisaic oral tradition.
Jesus calls the Pharisees "blind guides." This refers to the Pharisees' role as teachers, and implies a rejection of the Pharisaic institution of the "tradition of the elders."
In a series of woes Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their hypocrisy of being observant with respect to insignificant religious details but neglecting what is of real significance. He also criticizes them for their hypocritical enjoyment of the social benefits derived from their reputation for being more righteous than the non-Pharisaic Jew..
Jesus summarizes the Law and the prophets in one principle: "Do to others as you would want them to do to you." In Jesus' view, this ethical principle epitomizes human moral obligation. It is clear that preference is given to what we would call the "moral law," because to do to others as you would like them do to you excludes any ritual obligation.
In addition, it reduces all the various (so-called) moral laws in the Law to be an expression of one fundamental law. It should be noted that Jesus' summary of the Law as love towards God and others is not unique. R. Hillel, a Pharisee from the first century CE, is said to have taught that the Law can be summed up in the injunction "Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor".
President Mohamed Morsi should listen to “at least half of the Egyptian people” and postpone the constitutional referendum until there is a national consensus, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei has said.
Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday evening, ElBaradei said the Egyptian opposition considered the whole constitution-drafting process “illegitimate.” ...
“You cannot adopt a constitution which at least 50 per cent of the Egyptian people oppose, that defies its basic rights and freedoms and tries to have a new dictator in the making.” ...
“We are at a cross in the road,” ElBaradei said. “Either we will have a country that is civil, which respects women’s rights, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, children’s rights, and a balance of power, or we will have a new dictatorship with a religious flavour.”
When asked by Amanpour why the opposition was attacking a democratically elected president, ElBaradei said it was not contesting his position but his policies.
“Being a freely elected president does not mean that you can make yourself a dictator with supreme powers,” he said, referring to Morsi’s November constitutional decree which put his decisions above judicial review.
He also criticised Article 4 of the draft constitution for giving “veto powers” to religious institutions over Egypt’s legislative process. The article says “Al-Azhar ulema are to be consulted in matters pertaining to Islamic law.” “That is not really the making of a democratic, free and civil state,” ElBaradei said. “On the face of it, it looks fine ... 99 per cent of lawyers here, the legal community is completely opposed to [the draft constitution]. It violates basic human rights values, universal values. It is not that we are fighting for the sake of fight, it is not that we are sore losers.”
ElBaradei also stressed that at least 70 per cent of the Egyptian people are neither Salafists nor members of the Muslim Brotherhood and urged President Morsi to listen to his people.
“It is a question of going forward, catching up with the 21st century or going back to the dark ages,” he said.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared that the US officially recognizes the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the sole “legitimate representative” of its country’s people.
“We’ve made a decision that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime,” Obama said...
“Obviously, with that recognition comes responsibilities,” Obama said in an interview Tuesday with ABC News. “To make sure that they organize themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women’s rights and minority rights.”
The Obama administration’s announcement came immediately after the State Department’s decision to officially designate one of Syria’s foremost rebel groups, Jabhat al-Nusra, a group tied to hundreds of suicide bombings and al-Qaeda in Iraq, as a terrorist organization.
That decision was met with ardent backlash from more than 100 rebel groups on the ground inside Syria, who signed a petition expressing solidarity with al-Nusra and promoting the slogan “No to American intervention, for we are all Jabhat al-Nusra.”
So as the US announced its recognition of a detached, pro-Western, unrepresentative exile group as the legitimate leader of the Syrian people, the great bulk of the actual Syrian opposition – both armed and civilian – threw their support behind a notorious jihadist group with ties to the same fighters that battled US troops in Iraq
The al-Nusra Front aims to lead a holy war against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, which they hold responsible for crimes against rebels in Homs. The organization encourages all Syrians to take part in the war against the government.
The group has also referred to the USA and Israel as enemies of Islam and has attacked the religious beliefs of non-Sunnis in Syria, including the Alawites. Individuals within the front have also claimed that they do not wish to massacre religious minorities, and that the more hardline rhetoric comes from the foreign jihadist elements within the front who have been radicalised through fighting abroad. (Wikipedia)
The recognition of the coalition by the US is likely to indemnify the hostilities in Syria, believes Conn Hallinan, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy in Focus.
“It opens the door for a much more direct intervention into the civil war in Syria. It will mean that the heavy weapons will come in. Potentially you could end up with a no-fly zone. Really, it's pretty much an open declaration of war against the Assad regime,” he told RT.
Critics contend the coalition and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which supports the opposition body, are closely connected with Islamists. The FSA’s newly elected joint command is estimated to be composed mostly of Muslim Brotherhood-linked commanders and excludes the most senior officers who defected from Assad’s more secular military.
“People here in Washington don’t seem to understand… If you do like the government in Cairo, then you will love the government that comes to power in Damascus. You will see a Sunni Muslim Islamist government, a Muslim Brotherhood-style government...” retired US Army Colonel and military author Douglas Macgregor told RT.
Under Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned but tolerated. It only gradually and cautiously joined the 2011 revolt, which was driven by Internet-savvy youths before snowballing.
Mursi won a mandate with 51 percent of the vote in elections in June this year, but part of that support came from liberals who simply sought to block his chief rival, Mubarak’s former prime minister Ahmad Shafiq, from winning. Now those same liberals are ranged against Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
"For me, it’s the United States that annoys me. It wants to create a buffer zone against Iran and the Shiites, so it supports the (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood. But I don’t want any part of their geopolitical games,” said Karine, a young Egyptian Christian working for the United Nations in Cairo. (Al-Arabiya 12-12-2012)
The National Salvation Front, a coalition of liberal, leftist and nationalist forces, called on all Egyptians Wednesday to vote ‘no’ in Saturday’s referendum on Egypt's draft constitution, provided certain preconditions are fulfilled.
The NSF, which is headed up by opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei as well as former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, held a meeting Wednesday morning to agree on whether they would boycott the polls or vote against the draft national charter.
The constitution, the coalition say, neglects social and economic needs, does not reflect the aspirations of the Egyptian people and will enforce a "presidential dictatorship."
“We hoped that the Egyptian president would cancel the referendum or at least postpone it but it seems that this is not an option now that voting has already started abroad, so we have decided to call on all Egyptians to vote against the constitution,” said Hussein Abdel-Ghani, spokesman of the NSF. ...
Many political parties and revolutionary groups opposing the referendum have already started campaigning for a ‘no’ vote, including 6 April Youth Movement and former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh's party Strong Egypt.
Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, senior Advisor of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei in Muslim world affairs, said when the language of extremism commands then the problems intensify..., reported Taqrib News Agency (TNA).
He referred to the importance of proximity among Muslims and said,” Proximity becomes more important when the excommunication and extremism spread among the people.”
The scholar said, “When the language of extremism dominates, the problems of the Muslim world intensify because extremism ruins everything.”
He added,” The clash among Islamic denominations is a clash of the right and the wrong rather than a clash of the belief and non-belief. “ and warned against intensification of such disputes because that will be the dispute among followers of the same religion which is the present problem of the Muslim world.
He expressed regret that the extremists ignore the major commonalities among Islamic denominations and highlight the minor differences and noted,” Once the spirit of rationality and dialogue dominates the relation among Muslims, then Islamic nation will survive its present critical situation.”
"Excommunication blocks rational behavior during dialogues; therefore, there will be no space for fraternity and unity.” "That is when the sides move towards rejection, elimination or violation of each other’s rights, even the right to live.” Mohammad Ali Taskhiri, 13-11-2012
The Libyan city of Misrata, scene of the bloodiest fighting during the revolution that toppled Colonel Gaddafi last year, is facing an acute crisis of psychiatric care for former fighters traumatised by the conflict and frustrated by the aftermath. ...
Some who have lived through the fighting also share a deep sense of depression and disillusionment at the lack of change they feel in the post-Gaddafi Libya.
At the Al Wazrak Medical Centre in Misrata one former fighter has come to see Dr Isa Asalini, the sole psychiatrist, who has just arrived from Tripoli. The fighter, Ahmed (not his real name), who was studying at law college with a part-time job before the revolution, is suffering from acute depression. This is the first time he has been to discuss his condition with a doctor....
"I lost many friends during the fighting," he says. "Many guys died. Many lost body parts, became amputees, or lost their sight."
Talk to Ahmed for a few minutes and the profound sense of disillusion he has regarding the revolution and its achievements is unmistakable. He cuts a harrowing figure in the clinic.
"In general I feel always sad and unable to sleep well. Mostly I feel isolated from the community, not like before.
"I feel that those people who died in the war died for nothing. For sure they are martyrs according to our religion, but I think they died for nothing and that's what drove me to depression. For me personally, I feel my life was better before the revolution."
"Before the revolution I had ambitions but now I'm really depressed and I don't have the ambitions I had before. Nothing is stable in the country."
"I feel it will take a long time for the country to get stable again and this drives me to depression, and sometimes to think about killing myself to get rid of that feeling."
"The question that keeps coming to my mind, is 'What did we gain?' I feel we gained nothing, but I can't say that in public because some katiba [brigade] may harm me or my family or even arrest me."
"I fought hard during the revolution, from Tripoli Street in Misrata to Bab al Aziziya [Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli] and Sirte," he says.
"I lost my business, I lost my friends and now I don't have anything left. My dreams are completely broken."
After Gaddafi, Libya splits into disparate militia zones. The rebel strongholds of Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan have become increasingly independent of Tripoli's new regime. The Observer, Sunday 10 June 2012."
Libya will be in trouble. At best, the former rebel cities will go their own way, creating administrative gridlock for the country and an economic nightmare.
ARRAKESH, Morocco: The head of the Syrian National Coalition has been invited for talks in Washington following US recognition of the opposition bloc as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, a senior US envoy said on Wednesday.
"We have extended an invitation to (Ahmed) Moaz al-Khatib and the Coalition leadership to visit Washington at the earliest opportunity," Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said in Morocco, where he was attending a meeting of the Friends of Syria group.
Our revolution is a peaceful revolution from its beginning to its end and it is the regime alone that bears the moral and legal responsibility; for it is the regime that forced our people to resort to armed resistance to defend themselves, their families, their property and their religion.
In dozens of cities flowers were carried during demonstrations by thousands of young men and women. They carried flowers and cold water to give to members of the security forces to ask for their right, to simply express themselves. This monstrous regime responded with arrests, jail and torture and then proceeded to destroy the physical, social and economic structure of the country after destroying its intellectual and moral fabric for the past fifty years.
We salute the struggle of this great people, men, women and children and we salute their legendary courage in the face of oppression and destruction as we stand with respect in memory of the souls of our martyrs. We also salute with loyalty all of the fighters of the Free Syrian Army who defend the revolution in the face of tyranny....
In the name of all of our absent brothers in Syria, I extend my thanks to the government of Qatar and its people, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E..
I thank our partners in civilization and history, our Turkish brothers as well as our brothers in Libya, Jordan and Egypt.
MOSCOW, (SANA) - The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, renewed the Russian stance towards Syria, saying his country's stance is firm as it has always been and does not change.
"Russia did not sleep so as to wake up later. Our stance is firm and remains the way it has always been and doesn't change," Lukashevich told a press conference in Moscow in response to statements made by the U.S. State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland.
While reviewing a report on the Russian Foreign Ministry work in 2012, the Russian diplomat expressed Moscow's readiness to help get Syria out of the crisis "which reached a deadlock."
Lukashevich highlighted in this context the statements made by the Russian President's Envoy to the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, in which the latter reiterated Russia's firm stance on the crisis in Syria based on the Geneva Statement.
NEW YORK, SANA_ Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari stressed Syria's deep belief in the importance of coordinating humanitarian efforts to convey humanitarian aid to the affected citizens in urgent circumstances in terms of the UN General Assembly resolution no 46/182 which outlines a framework for humanitarian assistance and a set of guiding principles for the work of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
He added that the Syrian government, throughout the current crisis, spared no efforts to provide urgent aid to its citizens and formed a committee to follow up on the humanitarian situation of the affected citizens whether to provide food and health aid, compensate for the damage caused by the armed terrorist groups' acts or to rehabilitate the infrastructure to resume providing social and healthcare services. ...
The whole story about the so-called “revolution in Syria”, the “Arab Spring in Syria”, is a cruel organized crime and bares the real misanthropic policy of the Western governments, including their good allies, the totalitarian dictatorships in the Gulf.
The abominable machinations of Western governments and the blind radical religious rage of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are mainly involved because of economic interests and the blended ugly sectarianism, are the real crimes of current history.
And still, the Western people buy the propaganda of their media and governments because they do not know it better and due to the fact that they are growing up with the beliefs that their media is something like a “free press” that would only publish the truth (mainly).
This is aggravated by the fact that the leaders of these so-called democratic countries still maintain the Fata Morgana of democratic policies in these countries and that they would be committed to things like international law, human rights and the base of democracy.
The Western aggregation of interests, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, is performing state terrorism and the destabilization of a secular and sovereign country in the Middle East. Probably the one and only real secular country of the Arab world...
Syrian Constitution says NO to the Muslim Brotherhood, seen as an Islamist party that wants to destroy the secular state.
Syrian Constitution, Article 8-4: Carrying out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color may not be undertaken.
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Mouaz Al-Khatib, the leader of Syria's opposition coalition, urged the United States on Wednesday to reconsider its decision to designate the militant Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group, saying religion was a legitimate motive for Syrian rebels.
"The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed," Mouaz Alkhatib told a "Friends of Syria" meeting in Morocco, where Western and Arab states granted full recognition to the coalition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The United States designated the Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) as a foreign terrorist organisation and said it was trying to hijack the revolt on behalf of al Qaeda in Iraq.
The decision to blacklist al-Nusra, an important fighting force in the uprising, has already triggered criticism from the powerful Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. A senior Brotherhood official said it was wrong and hasty.
"They are seen as (a group that) can be relied on to defend the country and the civilians against the regular army and Assad's gangs," Brotherhood deputy leader Farouq Tayfour told Reuters on Tuesday.
Alkhatib said it was "no shame" if Syrian rebels were driven by religious motives to topple Assad. "Religion that does not liberate its people, and does not eliminate repression, is not authentic religion," he said.
"The fact that the military movement is Islamic in its colour is generally positive. Jihad in the path of God has long been a fundamental motivator for human rights."
arour & fsa-leaders, 2011
King Abdullah II of Jordan fears that the Arab Spring may soon grip his country.
According to him the new “axis” of Turkey, Egypt and Qatar may contribute to its expansion. It is not ruled out that amid the civil war in Syria and the deterioriation of the domestic situation the run-in scenario of the Arab Spring will be implemented in Jordan.
According to local media, it is the union of the Turkey-Egypt-Qatar axis with the Muslim Brotherhood which makes the King anxious. Abdullah II thinks that Ankara’s position on Syria is sectarian and is based on religious hatred of Sunnites of the Alawi regime of Bashar Assad. Qatar’s intensive activities with regard to Syria are also worrying him.
He thinks, there is a great possibility that Damascus will become part of the abovementioned axis if Assad’s regime falls. In this case Syria will be turned into an Islamist state...
The Jordan monarch does have reasons to worry. The prospects of a secular and stable regime in Syria are more than vague. If the Assad regime is overthrown violence will spread to the neighboring territories, chief editor of the “Russia in Global Politics” Fyodor Lukyanov says....
The Arab Spring has already affected Jordan. Only last month several people were killed in protest rallies. Mainly, the protesters demanded lower price on gasoline but there were also appeals to overthrow the King...
The local division of the Muslim Brotherhood is the king’s main headache. In late September they threatened to bring 50,000 people to the streets. In order to prevent rallies the king started talks with the Islamists....
However the tension of the situation in Jordan is just a new step towards the “controlled chaos” the strategy which is used by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Supported by the US these two countries are gradually implementing the reconstruction of the Big Middle East.
Voting Alert: Egypt constitutional referendum poll
* Total: "Yes": 4,595,311 (56.50 per cent)
"No": 3,536,838 (43.50 per cent)
* Final count in Cairo according to FJP:
"Yes": 950,532 (43.1 per cent)
"No": 1,256,248 (56.9 per cent)
Juan Cole, 16-12-2012: "56% is not a sufficient margin for the successful passage of a central organic law for a society. You could not at the moment even pass a statute in the US senate by that margin.
If Morsi and the Brotherhood were wise, they would recognize that they have polarized the country and would hold elections for a new constituent assembly.
What do ordinary Muslims understand by Modernity? Have they absorbed Western ideas, which may or may not be mythical? But which are in any case masculine, westernocentric, and seemingly oblivious of what women and other cultures might think? Is there an Islamic vision of Modernity? Or does the caricature serve as a straw man for both the West and the unsettling pace of Change and modernization in their indigenous societies?
Islamists and Traditionalists reject modernity, by which they mean Western secularism and the banishment of religious values from most aspects of daily life in what Mohammad Arkoun calls the mythical West. In this world view, reason and the Enlightenment have become the new devils, modern blasphemies because they dare to set Man up as equal to God. The original sin of modern Man is therefore to have rejected the sovereignty of God and put in its place the sovereignty of the Individual.
Most Muslims do not really think of Modernity in terms of a break with the Past. Modernity means new and better technology and an improved standard of living. But unlike in Western societies, it also means a renewal with the Past, a return to the original ethos of Islam, of Mecca and Medina...
This mind set has other subtle and important implications. Universal suffrage is welcomed, but not necessarily the idea that individual freedom or freedom of opinion are essential preconditions for the exercise of democracy. An Islamist would understand Hurriyat al-ra'y, or Freedom of Opinion, to mean the right to think what you like but only within the boundaries of what is permitted in Islam. ...
Islam as an ideology offers millions men and women a simple and effective ideology, what one scholar has called - the Shari'ah plus electricity. ...
The parallels with Marxism are many and obvious - a revolutionary vanguard, a mythologised version of History, a revolutionary break with the corrupt ways of the unbelievers, combined with blind faith, a simplified credo, hatred and demonization of all who refuse or deny the inevitable Sense of History, now given divine sanction...
Amr Diab performing Tamally Ma'ak,
Although "romantic" music will not be banned all together, it has been regulated to the early morning hours after 2 a.m., instead of playing in regular intervals between movies and TV shows. Other non-patriotic songs will also be excluded from broadcast because of the "sensitiveness of the political situation..."
President Barack Obama has chosen Senator John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as U.S. secretary of state, news networks CNN and ABC reported Saturday based on tips from unnamed sources.
CNN cited a Democratic source who had spoken to Kerry, while ABC mentioned unnamed sources. The White House has not confirmed the reports, according to AFP. ...
The announcement of Kerry’s nomination could come as early as mid-week, a source knowledgeable of the situation told Reuters...
The source told the news agency the White House is leaning toward unveiling Kerry’s nomination as part of a high-profile package that would include his pick for defense secretary.
Former Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel is the top candidate to take over the Pentagon and the White House’s vetting process for him is virtually complete, the source told Reuters.
While Obama is said to be generally comfortable with Hagel’s foreign policy views, there is some concern within the administration that his record of occasional criticism of Israel could create problems in the confirmation process.
* Chuck Hagel is currently a professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has also served as chairman of the Atlantic Council and co-chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board since 2009.
“It’s easy to get into war, not so easy to get out,” Hagel wrote in a 2009. Hagel is also known for favoring US talks with Iran, as has Obama. “Engagement is not surrender. It’s not appeasement.” Rather it is “an opportunity to better understand” others.
* John Kerry based his 2004 presidential campaign on opposition to the Iraq War.He and his running mate Senator John Edwards lost by 34 electoral votes. Kerry became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009.
In the photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, meets with U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass. at the Syrian presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009.
Syria has been a close ally of Iran and is believed to be a conduit in delivering Iranian missiles and other weapons to anti-Israel extremist groups.
"We should have no illusion that Syria will immediately end its ties to Iran," Kerry said, "but that shouldn't threaten us as long as their relationship ceases to destabilize the region."
It benefits Syria if Assad looks west for new relationships, Kerry said. "The sanctions can always be tightened again if Syria backtracks," he said.
Ticking off what he considered to be "causes for hope" for peace in the Middle East, the 2000 Democratic presidential candidate said the first has been a shift in Middle East geopolitics.
The rise of Iran, Kerry said, has created an unprecedented willingness among moderate Arab nations to work with Israel. "This realignment can help lay the groundwork for progress towards peace," he said.
There is a new reality, he said. "Moderate Arab countries and Israel alike are actually more worried about Iran than they are about each other."
Some Jews and supporters of Israel voiced major concerns about the possible nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to lead the Defense Department...
“Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite,” a senior Republican Senate aide told The Weekly Standard. The aide continued, “Hagel has made clear he believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy. This is the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is.”
The Times of Israel reported that “the nomination of Hagel would likely worry Israel supporters, who have criticized the former Republican senator for what they see as a chilly stance toward the Jewish state.”
A top Israel advocate told The Daily Beast that “the pro-Israel community will view the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel in an extremely negative light. His record is unique in its animus towards Israel.”