Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation... Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken....
It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)
"Nasser, as the activist leader of Pan-Arabism, became an idealized model for Saddam Hussein. At age 20, inspired by Nasser, Saddam joined the Arab Ba'th socialist Party in Iraq and quickly impressed party officials with his dedication. Two years later, in 1956, apparently emulating Nasser, Iraqi Army General Qassem led a coup which ousted the monarchy. But unlike Nasser, Qassem did not pursue the path of socialism and turned against the Ba'th party. ... Saddam went to Egypt to study law, rising to leadership ranks in the Egyptian Ba'th Party. He returned to Iraq after 1963 when Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ths and was elected to the National Command. Michel Aflaq, the ideological father of the Ba'th party, admired young Hussein, declaring the Iraqi Ba'th party the finest in the world.... (Dr. Jerrold M. Post)
"Gamal Abdel-Nasser continues to inhabit Egypt because, like Bonaparte, he is the representative of an age of certain national glory, despite the mistakes and the military debacle. But there is more to it than this. Above all, he symbolises for Egyptians the expression of their independent national will. It is this that remains. It is in this that we must seek our project for the future" (Liberating Nasser's legacy, Al-Ahram Weekly 2000)
The ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, Christians and minorities has created a new breed of Iraqis – the Neo-Baathists or Neo-Saddamists.
Although we may have disagreed with it previously, we defend Baathism because under Baathism we were protected – Baathism is secular, left-wing and socialist which is how Iraqi society should be.
Under Baathism there was no ethnic cleansing or targeting of Arab Sunnis, we lived side-by-side in peace with our Shiite, Christian, Sabaean, Yazidi, Kurdish brothers and sisters.
Anbar has become a symbol for Neo-Baathism with many Anbaris still holding the previous Iraqi flag with the 3 stars and the Kufi font.... The 3 stars on the previous Iraqi flag represent: Baathism: Unity, Freedom and Socialism. (Sarah Chronicle 5-5-2013)
Saddam began rebuilding the ruins of ancient Babylon. Saddam put up a large mural of himself next to Nebuchadrezzar at the entrance to the ruins. And echoing Nebuchadrezzar's practice, Saddam had his own name inscribed on the bricks used in the reconstruction. The inscriptions are reported to read: "This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq"
An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C.. Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare. In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." Haile Selassie
“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.., until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation..., until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.., until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race...., until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained..." Haile Selassie 6-10-1963
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people … The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men.
No one can doubt that cooperation in the pursuit of knowledge must lead to freedom of the mind and of the soul...." John F.Kennedy, 23-3-1962
President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview o the local newspaper al-Thawra, in which he claimed that his opponents have “used up all their tools” and failed to overthrow his regime.
Interviewer: Mr President. You first stated that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution... What made you say that it was not a revolution from the inception?
President Assad: From a historical perspective, any genuine revolution is purely internal and cannot be linked externally by any means, as manifested by the Russian, French and even the Iranian revolutions. Real revolutions are intrinsic, spontaneous, and are led by intellectual and ideological elites. What occurred in Syria since the outset of the crisis was flagrant external interference. There were attempts to hide this, but it has become absolutely clear.
Secondly, the real revolution of 1963 was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. ...
Revolutions are about building countries and societies, not about destroying them; so how can we call what is happening in Syria a revolution? Attempts to package the events on the ground as a part of a revolution have been futile from the beginning. ....
DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday / 26/2/2012 / as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:
- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. - The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.
With a voter turnout of 57.4% and 89.4% voting in favour, the new constitution was adopted. President Al-Assad signed the new constitution into force on 27 February 2012. (Wikipedia)
JEDDAH — The 76th death anniversary of Sir Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal was observed with zest and zeal by various social and cultural organizations to pay homage to the Great Poet of the East.
Iqbal, who was born on November 9, 1877, also known as Allama (Scholar of Highest Rank), was a philosopher, poet, politician, and a social reformist. He is widely acclaimed to have inspired millions of Muslims to demand a separate homeland from the British Empire in India.
Iqbal’s literary works in Urdu and Persian are largely based on teachings of the Holy Quran. He propagated self-respect and self-realization and reiterated the need to revert to Islamic values.
Rohail Khan, chairman of Urdu Academy International (UAI), said:“Allama Iqbal encouraged the younger generation for fresh interpretation of Holy Quran and discover mutual harmonies that would enable Muslims to use modern science and technology to improve their existence."
The Qur’an in its simple, forceful manner emphasizes the individuality and uniqueness of man, and has, I think, a definite view of his destiny as a unity of life. Three things are perfectly clear from the Qur’an:
(i) That man is the chosen of God:
(ii) That man, with all his faults, is meant to be the representative of God on earth:
(iii) That man is the trustee of a free personality which he accepted at his peril Iqbal in 'The Human Ego– His Freedom and Immortality'
Islam NOT a Messianistic movement
The kernel of the prophetic teaching is Magian. There is one God– be He called Yahweh, Ahuramazda, or Marduk-Baal– who is the principle of good, and all other deities are either impotent or evil. To this doctrine there attached itself the hope of a Messiah... It is the basic idea of Magian religion, for it contains implicitly the conception of the world-historical struggle between Good and Evil, with the power of Evil prevailing in the middle period, and the Good finally triumphant on the Day of Judgement. If this view of the prophetic teaching is meant to apply to Islam it is obviously a misrepresentation. The point to note is that the Magians admitted the existence of false gods; only they did not turn to worship them. Islam denies the very existence of false gods.
No doubt, one important feature of Magian culture is a perpetual attitude of expectation, a constant looking forward to the coming of Zoroaster’s unborn sons, the Messiah, or the Paraclete of the fourth gospel... Ibn Khaldūn has fully criticized and, I believe, finally demolished the alleged revelational basis in Islam... Iqbal in 'The spirit of Muslim culture'
Iqbal is the best articulated Muslim response to Modernity that the Islamic world has produced in the 20th century. His response has three dimensions:
* A creative engagement with the conceptual paradigm of modernism at a sophisticated philosophical level through his prose writings, mainly his 'The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam', which present his basic philosophic insights.
* His Urdu and Persian poetry which is the best embodiment of poetically mediated thought, squarely in the traditional continuity of Islamic literature and perhaps the finest flowering of wisdom poetry, or contemplative poetry or inspired poetry in the modern times.
* As a political activist/ social reformer― rising up to his social responsibility, his calling at a critical phase of history.
Damascus, SANA, President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday clergymen and scholars have pivotal role in consolidating true concepts against wrong terms, because the most dangerous attempts which target the region and Islamic world are the West attempts to strike ideology and faith in society through gradual change in terms.
President al-Assad said an example on the west's attempt to change the terms is to separate Arabism with its human and civilized concept, aiming at creating a state of destabilization on the social and political levels.
The President affirmed that the plague which hits the Islamic world is the plague of political Islam, adding that its collapse has returned Islam to its normal role, namely, Dawah (inviting for true Islam.)
President al-Assad said combating terrorism and extremism won’t be only through condemnation or refutation, but through consolidating principles of true Islam and innovating the religious mentality by using brain, logic and dialogue which is open to the other, based on conviction, not intimidation.
President al-Assad affirmed the need for establishing jurisprudence of the crisis in order to strengthen the common ideological bases in the face of fatwas of sedition which try to divide our societies.
BEIRUT — Syrian regime tanks and artillery shelled rebel positions in the central old city district of Homs, according to rebe and anti-government activists, who said they believe that the last rebel bastion will be overwhelmed by government forces in the coming days.
One of the first Syrian cities to rise up against the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Homs often has been described by the rebels as the symbolic capital of the 3-year-old civil war.
Besieged for almost 700 days, the narrow streets and stone buildings of the old city continue to provide a haven to what rebels claim are nearly 1,000 Islamist fighters who rejected a United Nations-brokered truce earlier this year that allowed hundreds of civilians and rebels to flee the siege.
“If there is not a cease-fire, the old city will fall within days,” said Abu Rami al Homsi. Homsi, whose name is an alias, described many of the remaining rebels as starving... “The regime is trying to tempt starving fighters to surrender with promises of food and visits with their families,” he said. Dozens of fighters appeared willing to take the offer, he said.
The majority of the rebel fighters who remain in the old city appear to belong to al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, and its radical rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Despite fighting one another in eastern Syria, the groups remain battlefield allies in the western part of the country.
The Syrian government in recent weeks has consolidated control over several major population centers, including Homs and the eastern suburbs of Damascus, in advance of presidential elections now set for June 3. Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, remains split between rebel and regime control, while the provincial capital of Raqaa is the only large Syrian city under rebel control.
An American educated lawmaker has registered to become the second candidate in Syria’s presidential election, which has been branded a farce by opposition movements, AP reports.
The 54-year-old Sunni Muslim Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri, previously served as a minister in Bashar al-Assad’s government and leads the 'National Initiative For Adminstration and Change in Syria', an opposition group on borderline terms with the current regime.
Assad is anticipating a third term in power but has not yet officially announced his candidacy, nor has his regime explained how a democratic election will take place in the war torn country. The UN, Arab League and Syrian opposition have warned that the election will jeopardize peace efforts.
Speaker of the People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham confirmed in a session on Thursday that the Assembly received a notification from the Supreme Constitutional Court including that al-Nouri submitted a candidacy application to the Court on April 24, 2014 along with the enclosed documents required by Article 21 of the Court's Law. The application of al-Nouri was registered as the second in the Court's register.
Hassan al-Nouri was born in Damascus on February 9, 1960. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economy and Trade (Business Administration) from the University of Damascus in 1982. He got a PhD in General Management (Human Resources Development) from John F. Kennedy University in California.
Al-Nouri worked as Secretary of Damascus Chamber of Industry between 1997-2000. He was an MP from 1998-2003 and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs from 2000-2002. (SANA, 24-4-2014)
What would we stand for in this country? Do we stand for a better chance for all our people? Do we practice what we preach? And I agree what we preach is difficult to practice, but we do preach it and we must practice it.
The Communists do not practice what they preach and they preach a different doctrine. But we preach the best doctrine ever known, the equality of man, the Government gets consent from the governed, and that everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and we will maintain that position.
I came from Warm Springs, Ga., this morning, the house where Franklin Roosevelt died, and I come to Pittsburgh, Pa., and invoke his spirit. I think it is incumbent upon us to continue a long fight, which has gone on since this country began, which was divided from the beginning.
We are the heirs of Jefferson. We could not conserve and look backward if we tried. We must look forward. The Democratic Party is the party of progress...
The Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991 and the site is now a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
To understand how thoughtless the US latest ‘peace process’ drive has been, one only needs to consider some of the characters involved in this political theater. One particular character who stands out as a testament to the inherently futile exercise is Martin Indyk.
Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, was selected by Secretary of State John Kerry for the role of Special Envoy for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Under normal circumstances, Kerry’s selection may appear somewhat rational. Former ambassadors oftentimes possess the needed expertise to navigate challenging political landscapes in countries where they previously served. But these are not normal circumstances, and Indyk is hardly a diplomat in the strict use of the term....
Martin Indyk, the prospective harbinger of peace, worked for the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC in 1982. AIPAC is a rightwing outlet that has invested unlimited funds and energy to impede any just and peaceful resolution to the conflict. It has such a strong grip over US Congress to the extent that some have suggested that Capitol Hill has become, in a sense, an occupied territory by Israel and its allies. Indyk’s most important contribution to Israel, however, was the founding of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985, another Israeli lobby outlet that has done tremendous damage to the credibility of US foreign policy in the Middle East by using ‘intellectuals’ and ‘experts’ as mediums.
Writing in Mondoweiss last year, Max Blumenthal recalled some interesting statements made by Indyk at J Street’s first annual convention in Washington DC in 2009.... “I remembered stumbling into a huge auditorium to hear Indyk describe how he made ‘aliyah to Washington’ during the 1980’s to ensure that US policy remained slanted in Israel’s favor, and go on to blame Yasser Arafat for the failure of Camp David,” Blumenthal recalled....
These were not passing comments made by Indyk, but a reflection of the man’s undying commitment, not to peace, but to Israel, or, more accurately, to ‘peace’ as envisioned by Israel, which is the core of the ongoing crisis.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu never ceases to talk about peace, as does his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Even the Minister of Economy, Naftali Bennett, leader of the extremist party, The Jewish Home, who is known for his bellicose rhetoric, is an ardent advocate of peace. But it is not peace that is predicated on justice or that envisaged by international and humanitarian laws. It is specifically-tailored peace that would allow Israel to maintain an unmistakably racist agenda, and a colonial policy of land grabbing.
Unsurprisingly, this is the same kind of ‘peace’ that the Americans envision as well...
Indyk is not the only lobbyist-turned advocate for ‘peace.’ He is one of many. Dennis Ross, one of Washington’s essential political hawks for many years and a strong supporter of the disastrous Iraq war, served as a special Middle East coordinator under Bill Clinton, and was handpicked by President Barack Obama very early on to continue to the play the same role in the new administration. Aside from the diplomat’s strong links to neoconservatives, especially those involved in the now defunct pro-war group, the Project for the New American Century; he also served as a consultant to the same lobby club founded by Indyk, WINEP.
It was no coincident of course. WINEP, as other hawkish pro-Israeli groups, has served as an advocacy platform for Israel, and also fashioned Israeli styled ‘peace makers.’
Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story
This week the Fatah Party (secular Arab nationalist) of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas met in Gaza with members of the Hamas Party (fundamentalist Muslim), seeking a reconciliation and a government of national unity.
The two sides agreed that in 5 weeks a government of national unity will be appointed by Mahmoud Abbas. There will then be new elections for a president and parliament, to be held no later than 6 months after the new government is sworn in...
The “Gaza Agreement” of yesterday, Wednesday, consisted of 5 points: 1) The formation of a government of national unity, 2) the holding of elections, 3) the re-formation of the security forces, 4) implementing social reforms, and 5) the implementation of general liberties.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya announced the “end of the long political divorce” with a big smile.
Since Fateh has recognized Israel but Hamas has not, the US and the Israeli were upset by this attempt at national unity among the Palestinians, because any government of national unity would contain ministers from Hamas with whom their Israeli counterparts would not be willing to meet. A genuine government of national unity would be a death knell, they say, for the negotiations between Israel and Palestine, which anyway have collapsed... The US spokesperson said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a party that does not believe it has a right to exist. The hypocrisy and irony is thick. Israel doesn’t recognize the right of Palestine to exist.
As for the demand that Hamas renounce violence, likewise, Israel has not renounced violent aggression toward the Palestinians, something it and its settler surrogates engage in daily. The fact is that parties to negotiations are often engaged in violence against one another (hence the negotiations) and often don’t recognize each other’s legitimacy at the start.
What really dismays Washington and Tel Aviv is the prospect of having to deal with the whole Palestinian people... False flag tricks to separate the Palestinians again, which worked in 2007, are no doubt already in preparation. The sad thing is that they won’t even have to try very hard. The Palestinians, having been massively displaced and made stateless by the Israelis over several wars, are inevitably weak and divided. The US and Israel have long taken advantage of the victimization of the victims to further victimize them.
The United Nations special coordinator for the peace process Robert Serry said in a statement on Thursday that Abbas had promised the unity agreement would be implemented "on the basis of the PLO commitments," including "recognition of Israel, non-violence, and adherence to previous agreements." Serry said that he "welcomed" the national reconciliation agreement, stressing that it was the "only way to reunite the West Bank and Gaza under one legitimate Palestinian Authority."
The statement followed a meeting with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in which the UN "confirmed support for unity" on the basis of the Palestinians' "continued commitment to peace negotiations and to non-violent popular protests," which Abbas assured him would be a part of the unity deal.
Although Hamas has historically taken a strong stance against negotiations with Israel under present circumstances, it has previously said that it would be willing to accept a two-state solution on the 1967 borders.
Israel, however, considers the Palestinian political party -- which has controlled the Gaza Strip since clashes with Fatah a year after Hamas won elections over the entire Palestinian territories -- of being a "terrorist" organization.
Hanan Ashrawi: "I don't see why it is any of Netanyahu's or even
America's business to tell us who's acceptable and who's not." Ynetnews, 25 april 2014
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly assured UN representatives that the unity government with Hamas will adhere to the principles of non-violence and recognition of the State of Israel as agreed upon between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the Oslo Accords, a UN press release claimed.
The Palestinians further slammed Israel for its intervention in internal Palestinian politics, drawing a comparison between Hamas and hard-liner rightists in Netanyahu's government.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, shot back in an interview with the BBC, saying, "I don't see why it is any of Netanyahu's or even America's business to tell us who's acceptable and who's not in a pluralistic political system." "I can tell you I don't want to talk to Lieberman or we don't want to talk to Naftali Bennett; these are people who are either racist or settlers or who deny Palestinian rights or who treat us as a sub-human species or who want to take all of historical Palestine for greater Israel. These are people who are in the Israeli government coalition," said Ashrawi.
According to Ma'an News Agency Ashrawi furthre said that the "national reconciliation and negotiations are not mutually exclusive, but are rather mandatory steps in order to achieve a just and lasting peace based on international law."
She also said that, "terms of the national reconciliation agreement are clear: Palestine honors its commitments, respects international law and continues its popular nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation."
"We've been striving for national unity because it is the responsibility of any leadership to repair this lethal rift that has weakened the Palestinians," Ashrawi told the BBC.
Flashback 2003: Hanan Ashrawi and the Price of Dissent
by Antony Loewenstein, October 23, 2003
The Sydney Peace Foundation, associated with the University of Sydney, recently decided to award Dr Hanan Ashrawi its annual peace prize. What originally appeared to be an uncontroversial choice has developed into a full-blown battle between the Peace Foundation, elements of the Jewish lobby, the New South Wales premier, Bob Carr and the Jewish press. Since the announcement of the prize to Ashrawi, Jewish groups have begun a campaign to firstly discredit the high-profile winner... Attending the ceremony on November 6 would be, in the words of Gerald Steinberg, an associate professor of political studies at Bar Ilan University, "honouring war, murder and hatred, while debasing the concept of peace and reconciliation".
What infuriates the Zionist lobby is that Ashrawi has seen a succession of Israeli leaders unwilling to make peace and she's be unafraid of saying so. While the likes of Barak, Shamir and Netanyahu has come and gone, and each of them with a proud history of talking peace while expanding settlements and clamping down on the Occupied Territories, Ashrawi has outlived them all.
Amidst heckles and jeers Ashrawi testified to some of the brutal daily realities of living under an illegal military occupation. She spoke of her willingness to devote her life to peace and justice with Israelis and Jews:
"I've lived under military occupation most of my adult life. I have been repeatedly beaten up, shot at, interrogated, [and] even imprisoned. I have seen some of my best friends killed. My next-door neighbour's kid shot in the back. I've seen my daughter's childhood totally destroyed, living in fear, being tear-gassed, and living under curfew. I've seen houses demolished, crops destroyed, our infrastructure destroyed. And recently I've lived for weeks under curfew, a prisoner in my own home, without water, without electricity and often without a phone. I've lived under constant shelling -- I've seen the windows and doors of my home (my ancestral home) being blown away.
But I'm not saying this to tell you that I'm a victim -- no --I'm saying this to tell you that despite all these things, despite my living under captivity and seeing the worst horrors of violence, being on the receiving end of the last remaining colonial situation in the world, an occupation, I have never succumbed to hate. I have never allowed hate to take over, and I have never accepted any kind of revenge as a motivation."
Jimmy Carter writes, "Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land."
Carter criticizes Israel for building what he describes as an imprisonment wall through the West Bank. He accuses Israel of strangling the residents of Gaza where the poverty rate has reached 70 percent and where the malnutrition rate mirrors countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. And Carter is critical of Washington’s role. He writes, "The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories." (democracynow 2006
Annexation starts with words. Words convey ideas. Words implant concepts in the minds of their hearers and speakers. Once they are firmly established, everything else follows.
Recently I listened to a speech by a left-wing politician, and was disturbed when she spoke at length about her struggle for a “political settlement” with the Palestinians. When I remonstrated with her, she apologized. It was a slip of the tongue. She had not meant it that way. In Israeli politics, the word “peace” has become poison. “Political settlement” is the vogue term. It is meant to say the same. But of course, it doesn’t. “Peace” means much more than the formal end of warfare. It contains elements of reconciliation, of something spiritual. In Hebrew and Arabic, Shalom/Salaam include wellbeing, safety and serve as greetings. “Political settlement” means nothing but a document formulated by lawyers and signed by politicians.
The Bible enjoins us: “Seek peace and pursue it!” (Psalms, 34:14) It does not say “Seek a political settlement and pursue it.”
When the Israeli Left gives up the term Peace, this is not a tactical retreat. It is a rout. Peace is a vision, a political ideal, a religious commandment, an inspiring idea. Political Settlement is a subject for discussion.
'Judea and Samaria' means that the territory belongs to Israel.
Peace is not the only victim of semantic terrorism. Another is, of course, the West Bank.
All TV channels have long ago been ordered by the government not to use this term. Most journalists in the written media also march in step. They call it “Judea and Samaria”.
“Judea and Samaria” means that the territory belongs to Israel, even if official annexation may be delayed for political reasons. “West Bank” means that this is occupied territory.
In the 1993 Oslo Agreement [..] we recognized the PLO as the “representative of the Palestinian people”. But the Palestinian state was not mentioned, and until this very day our government abhors the terms “Palestinian state” or “State of Palestine”.
Even today the term “Palestinians” evokes conscious or unconscious rejection. Most commentators speak about a political settlement with “our neighbors” – by which they do not mean the Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians or Lebanese, but You Know Who.
So the fight goes on along the semantic front. For me, the really crucial part is the fight for the word Peace. We must reinstate it as the central word in our vocabulary. Clearly, loudly, proudly.
In a closed-room meeting of the Trilateral Commission last Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Israel is on the verge of becoming an Apartheid state, according to a recording obtained by The Daily Beast.
The remark will raise a firestorm of criticism from Palestine-deniers, who are if anything more blindered and fanatical than climate-change deniers. What is sad is that Kerry phrased it in the future tense. That cow was out of the barn a long time ago.
Israeli society inside 1967 borders is not broadly characterized by Apartheid conditions, though Palestinian-Israelis do labor under legal forms of discrimination... The most thorough comparison of the Apartheid system of racial segregation with Israeli practices can only be made of the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinians are ruled by Israel but kept stateless and without rights.
1. South Africa created Bantustans as a way of denaturalizing Blacks, ensuring that they could not vote for the national government and were assigned citizenship only in their weak Bantustan.
- Gaza and the West Bank function as Bantustans, as South African Blacks have no trouble recognizing... The West Bank has been segmented into 8 units. The Palestinians living in these occupied territories have no citizenship in any real state. They are stateless... They cannot vote for the Israeli government, but they are ultimately controlled by the Israeli military.
2. South Africa instituted a “pass” system to control the movement of Blacks.
- Israel instituted a “permit” system to control the movement of Palestinians. West Bank Palestinians cannot live outside the 8 designated areas without a permit.
3. In Apartheid South Africa, 80% of the land was set aside for white settlers.
- In the Palestinian West Bank, some 600,000 Israeli squatters have usurped significant amounts of land from Palestinians, for which they paid nothing to the original owners, and their squatter settlements are off-limits to Palestinians, who cannot live in them.
1977: The Likudniks - A change of policy
Likud is the major center-right party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had lost power. In addition, it was the first time in Israel that a right wing party won the plurality of the votes. (Wikipedia)
Israel's settlement policy in the occupied territories changed in 1977 with the coming to power of Begin. Whereas Labor's policies had been guided primarily by security concerns, Begin espoused a deep ideological attachment to the territories. He viewed the Jewish right of settlement in the occupied territories as fulfilling biblical prophecy and therefore not a matter for either the Arabs or the international community to accept or reject. Begin's messianic designs on the territories were supported by the rapid growth of religious nationalist groups, such as Gush Emunim, which established settlements in heavily populated Arab areas. Begin's policies toward the occupied territories became increasingly annexationist following the Likud victory in the 1981 parliamentary elections. He viewed the Likud's margin of victory, which was larger than in 1977, as a mandate to pursue a more aggressive policy in the territories. After the election, he appointed the hawkish Ariel Sharon as minister of defense... In November 1981, Sharon installed a civilian administration in the West Bank headed by Menachem Milson. Milson immediately set out to stifle rapidly growing Palestinian nationalist sentiments...
While Milson was working to quell Palestinian nationalism in the territories, the Begin regime accelerated the pace of settlements by providing low-interest mortgages and other economic benefits to prospective settlers. This action induced a number of secular Jews, who were not part of Gush Emunim, to settle in the territories, further consolidating Israel's hold on the area. Moreover, Israel established large military bases and extensive road, electricity, and water networks in the occupied territories. (Israel - a country study)
Likud members moved sharply to the Right on key issues.. The poll found that 78% of the members oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, 92% favor restarting construction in settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, and 95% oppose dividing Jerusalem. The poll indicated that respondents were ready to translate their beliefs into action. Two-thirds said they would not support ministers who backed transferring land to the Palestinians or forming a Palestinian state.. (Jerusalem Post, 8-4-2011)
"Likudniks are passionately opposed to a viable Palestinian state. It is this passionate opposition that has fueled the policies of the neo-cons in the United States across all other issues in the Middle East. If it were not for Likud, there would not have been a 9-11 and there would not have been a Bush pre-emptive war in Iraq. Some of you I consider friends, Jewish friends, will reject this hypothesis, and I can understand why. Lots of blood and treasure has gone down the drain because of the Likudniks mania for having all of the Transjordan under an Israeli flag." Jude Waniski 2004
Likudniks blast 'enemy of the Jews' Obama over settlement freeze (Ha'aretz , 29/11/2009). Rank-and-file Likudniks and lawmakers in the ruling Likud party lambasted the Obama administration at a gathering on Saturday, in response to Israel's decision to temporarily freeze construction in West Bank settlements.
"The Obama administration is an enemy of the Jews and the worst regime there ever was for the State of Israel," said Yossi Naim, the head of the Beit Aryeh regional council, at the Ra'ana meeting. "I announce to Obama: You won't be able to stop us."
The mayor of the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Ron Nahman, called Netanyahu's announcement of the settlement freeze a disgrace... Nahman repeatedly referred to the U.S. leader as "Hussein Obama," omitting his first name.
Damascus, (SANA) Bashar Hafez al-Assad has submitted an application to the Supreme Constitutional Court announcing his candidacy for President of the Republic.
Speaker of the People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham during a session held Monday, said that the Assembly received a notification from the Supreme Constitutional Court stating that Bashar Hafez al-Assad has submitted candidacy application to the Court.
After three years of bloody crisis in Syria and decades of installing presidents by “referendum,” Syria is heading to a multi-candidate presidential election for the first time since the mid-20th century.... Raed Haidar, a citizen, believes that holding elections is necessary because they are “a constitutional requirement.” He said, “Under the constitution, it is time to hold the presidential election, and therefore holding the election on time is absolutely necessary. …
Syria is still passing through [difficult times] to [overcome] its crisis, and nothing would help this except holding on to the constitution and re-imposing the state’s stature, legitimacy and authority.”
Haidar thinks holding the election on schedule will send a message to the world that “Syria is an independent sovereign state and that no one has the right to intervene in its internal affairs as long as there is a legitimate constitution in effect. …
The presidential election will not be the end of the crisis, of course, but it will reassure the nationalist public that things are moving in their proper context.”
Haidar thinks that Assad’s right to run for a new term is “constitutional.” He added, “[Assad] is being asked [to run] by his supporters, who consider him the country’s safety valve. Personally, I don’t see anyone more qualified to lead the country at this crucial stage, especially since he stood fast for three years in the face of the mightiest attack witnessed by Syria since independence.”
As NATO/GCC backed mercenaries and ultra-conservative Islamic militias battle the Government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Ba’ath Party is once more a phrase that is popping up in the Western mainstream media, mentioned in the kind of tones one would associate with when referring to Nazi Germany. But what exactly is the Ba’ath Party?
The Ba’ath Party began in Syria in April 1947, formed by the merging of Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar’s Arab Ba’ath Movement and Zaki al-Arsuzi’s Arab Ba’ath. The newly formed Party’s objectives were secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unification, as well as freedom from Western influence.
A united Arab people is an idea that is utterly intolerable to the colonialists of the West, who rely on division and playing indigenous peoples off against each other to get their way in the region, allowing the blood to flow while they go about their business. (Global Research 2013)
While NATO member states and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC ) persist in presenting Syria as a dictatorship, the country continues its reforms. On June 3, it will elect its President of the Republic, while the war continues to ravage a part of its territory. Damascus is doing everything possible to ensure that this election is democratic and blameless, while its attackers have instructed their media to minimize the coverage...
The dye is set: The Friends of Syria have instructed their media to minimize coverage of this election, if not to ignore it completely, and their jihadists to disrupt it. According to the "Friends of Syria", it is impossible to organize credible "elections in the middle of a conflict, only in areas controlled by the regime, with millions of Syrians deprived of their rights, displaced from their homes or in refugee camps"...
Though there are a lot of Syrians displaced inside the country, it would be interesting to know how many Syrians have fled the war abroad, even if they have all the opportunity to vote in their consulates. The United Nations ensure that out of 22 million citizens, there would be 3.2 million divided into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. But these figures are unverifiable...
There remain other conditions for eligibility: the constitution and the electoral code state that one must be a Syrian citizen over 40 years of age, not have dual foreign citizenship, have a clear criminal record, if you are married it must be to a Syrian and you must have the support of 35 parliamentarians, you must have resided in the country for at least 10 years and be Muslim.
These last two conditions are problematic: the presence in the country for at least 10 years is clearly intended to prevent exiled applications sponsored by foreign states. De facto, it prohibits the nomination of members of the National Coalition - some of which have never lived in Syria. The religious condition is the last remnant of a religious regime that survived the Baath party, including the reform of 2012... Aside from its absurdity it is a serious breach of the rights of of non-Muslim citizens. At the time of the Constitutional reform of February 2012, while the armed opposition was exclusively Islamic and NATO and the GCC were paying for defections, President al-Assad did not dare risk a possible conflict with the Muslim clergy on this subject. This project remains open-ended...
Finally, the new electoral law guaranteed the means of candidates. Each will have a substantial sum for a campaign and will enjoy equal access to national media. The Minister of Information has given specific instructions to that effect. This will be the first time Syrians can follow the campaigns of each candidate in newspapers, on radio and on television.
Definitely, if the new electoral code is implemented, the presidential election will be democratic, however imperfect since some voters will not be able to participate because of the jihadi occupation of certain territories and that Christians will not be allowed to run.
Iraq's former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, is hoping to oust the current government in this week's elections. He speaks to SPIEGEL about his belief that the Americans robbed him of power and about the country's escalating violence.
Allawi, the son of a Shiite businessman, joined the nationalist Baath party when he was a medical student, but in the 1970s, became an opponent of Saddam... Today, 11 years after Saddam's fall, violence, corruption and abuses of power still dominate daily life in Baghdad. Allawi blames Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for this chaos. Allawi says his "primary goal" for the parliamentary election on April 30 is to remove Maliki's religiously influenced government.
- SPIEGEL: Dr. Allawi, you are the head of the coalition of opposition parties known as the National List, and you are challenging Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the parliamentary election on April 30. Do you expect it to be a fair election?
- Allawi: No, not really. The number of atrocities used to intimidate the opposition has gone up again. And the politically devastating charge that I was a member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party is being dragged out again. This tactic is especially intended to sideline opposition candidates who are capable of capture a lot of votes....
Many Iraqis now recognize that things can't go on like this, that violence and religious extremism are destroying Iraq and that the country will break apart.
- SPIEGEL: Nevertheless, many Iraqis still want to see Maliki return as prime minister.
- Allawi: I'm not so sure about that. Maliki has lost an influential ally in cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who now publicly refers to the prime minister as a "tyrant." And religious scholar Ammar al-Hakim, who leads the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, also has a large following. It could turn into a neck-and-neck race.
- SPIEGEL: The coalition of parties you lead won the 2010 parliamentary election. But Maliki moved into the prime minister's palace because he was more politically tactful.
- Allawi: No, the fact that he came into office was the result of a bitter power struggle that had begun before those elections. Many of my allies and supporters were arrested, 16 were killed and about 500 were banned from politics for allegedly being Baath officials. All of this forced us onto the sidelines. But we will still win.
- SPIEGEL: With 91 seats in parliament, you captured two more seats than Maliki's faction, and yet Maliki got the mandate to form a government.
- Allawi: In 2010, President Jalal Talabani was under pressure from foreign powers. He even admitted it later on. That's why he never gave us the mandate to form a government within 45 days, despite the fact that this is stipulated in our constitution.
- SPIEGEL: Who is supposed to have exerted so much influence on the Iraqi president and the judges on the federal court?
- Allawi: Iran and the United States and some local adversaries.
SPIEGEL: Are you trying to tell us that your election victory spurred two long-time enemies, Tehran and Washington, to collaborate?
- Allawi: As far as the pressure from Iran goes, I can assure you that there was a very clear red line: Allawi and the Iraqi List were not to be allowed to come into power. Many regional leaders -- including Russia, Turkey, Kuwait and Qatar -- tried to reason with Iran in order to get it to shift its strategy, but they failed.
- SPIEGEL: Why would your fellow Shiites in Tehran have been interested in preventing you from becoming prime minister?
- Allawi: I have nothing against the Iranian leadership. In fact, I accommodated it often enough during my time as premier. But I am no proponent of a theocracy. I am a secularist... I am no proponent of radical Shi'ism. I also don't support any sectarian forces. And I'm against politicizing religion. That's why the Iranian leadership intervened in the outcome of our election at the time.
- SPIEGEL: On which side was the Syrian president at the time?
- Allawi: He called me and invited me to come to Damascus, along with a dozen members of parliament. He told me that he had tried to champion my coalition with the Iranians, but was unsuccessful. He also said that he had since heard, "from friends in Turkey and other countries," that America no longer supported my coalition, but rather, like Iran, stood behind Maliki....
- SPIEGEL: Are you ignoring the collaboration between the Sunni tribes and the al-Qaida terror network?
- Allawi: I was in the troubled Anbar Province, in the centers, like Fallujah, of the so-called uprising. Baathists and Sunni clerics joined me in fighting the terrorists. I can tell the difference between senseless terror and justifiable rebellion.
- SPIEGEL: But you also failed to achieve reconciliation.
- Allawi: Unfortunately, my successors in office have taken a different approach. The whole country is in turmoil. The security situation is getting worse every day, not just because of the terrorists' bombs, but also as a result of mass arrests. No one is safe anymore.
Flashback 9-5-2004: Secretary General of the Wifaq party and member of Iraqi Interim council - Dr. Iyad Alawi - has recently asserted to Al Bawaba that the internal security issues of Iraq should be handed over to the Iraqis as soon as possible for them to be dealt with more efficiently. "Dialogue [amongst Iraqis] would be more constructive if done between Iraqis rather than between Americans and Iraqis," Alawi explained. Alawi also explained how the US-led occupation’s biggest mistake was when they removed Ba'ath party members from all leading positions.
"The Coalition made a fatal mistake when it dismantled all government institutions. We advised then that they should only dismantle the Republican Guard and the more senior generals in the former Iraqi military as well as high ranking government officials - Iraq is not a small country that can be handled by tens of thousands of security personnel," Alawi explained. (Al Bawaba 9-5-04)
2004: President Assad received Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi
President Bashar al-Assad received Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Iyad Allawi. Talks dealt with mechanisms of activating the signed agreements between the two sides in various domains. President Al-Assad and Allawi stressed the joint "keenness on Iraq’s security and stability that positively affects the region in general and Syria and Iraq in particular." Both sides emphasized the importance of resuming the diplomatic relations suspended between the two countries since the beginning of the 1980s...
In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri, Allawi said: " Talks with President al-Assad dealt with important issues pertaining to Syria and Iraq’s joint security, causes of the region and with bilateral relations in all domains." (Syria Live 24-7-2004)
Damascus, SANA, in appreciation for the sanctity of their sacrifices, President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad received Tuesday parents of the only-son martyrs who passed away while defending Homeland although they are pardoned from carrying out any military duty according to Syrian laws.
During the meeting, President al-Assad affirmed what the Syrian people have been subjected to during this war showed states of patriotism at the Syrian citizen which is impossible to be seen in any other place.
"The citizens' willingness to offer the most precious issue they own to defend Syria and not allowing to sabotage it was one of the most important reasons behind steadfastness of the country in the face of most powerful powers which utilized, during this war, the dirtiest tools, starting from money to reach terrorism in order to achieve their targets in Syria," President al-Assad said.
President al-Assad affirmed that the martyrs and families' sacrifices are an object of appreciation by the whole Syrian people, adding "unless these sacrifices, Syria wouldn't remain."
For her part, Mrs. Asma al-Assad said the giving of the martyr's family is not less than the sacrifice of the martyr who passed away while the family remains to live the loss of their sons, adding the minimum thing that we should do is to support these families by all possible means.
Families of the martyrs underlined that Homeland is the basis and who has no home, has no dignity or values.
It is extremely rare for a Syrian dissident to speak openly with Israeli media, but Kamal Labwani, who has sought political asylum in Sweden, believes the Syrian uprising has shattered many Arab taboos, including the cultural Arab taboo on engaging Israel.
Labwani is angry both with the West and with the Arab world. Politically, Arab states — along with Western superpowers — have appointed corrupt Syrian expatriates to represent the opposition in exile, depriving it of all legitimacy with the broad Syrian public.
Discouraged by the opposition’s traditional allies, Labwani now believes Israel is the Syrians’ best hope. The Jewish state has both the military capacity to help the Syrian opposition and the strategic incentive to do so.
“Israel is able to change the international mood,” he said. “You have ties with all decision-making centers in neighboring countries, and could change opinions if you would be convinced to...”
“It is the moderate forces which are being eroded, while the extremist powers are growing stronger. Hezbollah is much stronger today, holding strategic weapons. Half the chemical weapons owned by the [Assad] regime were given to it. Areas which [Hezbollah] occupies today are either being inhabited by Iraqi Shiites or converted to Shiism … this is a great danger not just for me, but for you [Israel] as well.” A moral position by Israel is not enough. Israel must extend military assistance to Syrian forces fighting Assad, based on the internationally recognized “responsibility to protect,” he said.
Alternatively, he said, Israel could declare a no-fly zone in southern Syria, as NATO did in Libya in its bid to topple Muammar Gaddafi. Such a move would immediately cause a large segment of Syrian society to support peace and normalization with Israel.
Bernard-Henri Lévy, the philosopher who led the West into war
"I would not have done if I had not been Jewish".“ ”What I have done all these months, I did as a Jew. And like all Jews of the world, I was worried . Despite the legitimate anxiety is an uprising to be welcomed with favor, we were dealing with one of the worst enemies of Israel. “ (RTL France 2012)
Derna’s Abu Saleem Brigade has built a wall across one of the town’s university campuses in an effort to segregate male and female students.
The wall at Omar Mukhtar University’s Al-Fatiah campus was built with the consent of the university’s administrators and was a condition for Abu Saleem Brigade’s agreement to guard the premises, a Derna University Student told the Libya Herald.
The university’s management approached the Islamist militia asking it to protect its students and buildings earlier this month after a series of security breaches forced the university’s closure at the beginning of April.
The student said that the brigade had agreed to provide the security only if the wall as well as strict dress code for female students ordering the wearing of the abeya and the hijab were put in place.
A second wall is to be constructed at the university’s Shaih campus in the centre of the town for same purpose.
‘I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya…’
Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, took good care of women. Not only did he support them, he also believed in their abilities and emancipation, moreover in a society where being a woman is normally associated with getting the back seat.
Wearing heavy make-up and military fatigues, Gaddafi’s female bodyguards, better known as the Amazonian Guard, were synonymous with his presence. He paraded them as a symbol of his belief in women’s emancipation and their role in the defence of their country. He also had a team of female nurses led by his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska.
Central to Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution was the empowerment of women. His new regime made efforts to advance female emancipation. The new government encouraged women to participate in Libya’s political life and several cabinet posts were allocated to them. Women were also able to form associations.
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 lost my business, I lost my friends and now I don't have anything left. My dreams are completely broken."
On Wednesday, some 60 percent of more than 20 million eligible Iraqis went to the polls to choose new MPs for the country’s 328-seat legislative body, said Muqdad al-Shuraifi, a senior election commission member at a press conference in the capital Baghdad.
The election was held despite threats by al Qaeda-linked militants who had warned of ruining the election process.
Iraq has witnessed a surge in deadly attacks, including bombings and shootings, in recent months. Iraqis went to polls at a time when troops, backed by local Sunni tribesmen, are fighting al Qaeda-affiliated militants in the country’s western regions, including Anbar province.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry has said Takfiri militants have launched an open war in the Middle Eastern country and they want to push it into chaos.
Egypt's Justice Minister Neir Osman held a press conference on Wednesday to defend the death sentences issued by a Minya court...
"We do not accept any comment or remark to be issued regarding our courts' rulings," said Osman, adding that no one has the right to comment on court rulings or attack the judge that issued them until after the court's reasoning is published.
"The judges of Egypt are completely independent; they do not take orders from anyone, even from the justice minister," said Osman, insisting that he would not let the Egyptian judiciary be insulted or attacked. "The Egyptian state is being attacked by people from inside and outside. Those people do not want to it to move forward," said Osman.
On Monday, Minya's Criminal Court sentenced 683 defendants to death in connection to an attack on a police station in the nearby city of Adawa. The same court also confirmed the death sentences it handed to 37 people a month earlier for a similar style of attack on a police station in Matay. Both attacks occurred in the spate of violence following the bloody dispersal of two pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo last August.
Many international and Egyptian human rights organisations criticised the Minya court's verdicts...
Muslim Brotherhood's guide Badie sentenced to one year in jail
Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Wednesday 20 leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Wadi Al-Natroun Prison case, including the current head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, Saad El-Hossainy and Saad El-Katatni, to one year in jail for insulting the judiciary and judges during the trial.
Badie was already sentenced to death Monday by Minya Criminal Court in the Adawa Police Station case, where he was accused of killing a police officer and inciting violence, among other charges.
Egyptians are growing more certain every day that the supposed protectors of the homeland are in fact its muggers, and that the military coup regime and its tools and tentacles – repressive security authorities – are determined to commit even more crimes of genocide, with their militias' live bullets, illegitimate death sentences, and the absurd banning of legitimate organizations. The military-installed regime is desperately endeavoring to terrorize the people into accepting the crime of appointing the traitorous coup mastermind as President of Egypt, and to cover up the crimes of removing essential subsidies, spreading poverty and the dismantling of the justice system, in order to ultimately achieve the goal of destroying this country.
The coup regime's murderous madness will accelerate the putschists' downfall. This is the final stage for the falsehood. The battle of truth against it is cumulative. We will ultimately triumph.
The people's Revolution is the final arbitrator. It will cancel all the decisions and the verdicts of madness, and will bring to trial all the real murderers and thieves....
Let our revolutionary action continue, in rejection of the coup and the latest unjust verdicts and harsh sentences.
Muslim Brotherhood 2012: "The revolution is a gift from God"
"It Is an Obligation to Kill Bashar Al-Assad"
[May 2012] Muslim Brotherhood's presidential hopeful Mohamed Morsi visited the governorates of Beni Suef and Fayoum. Morsi was accompanied on his tour by Salafist figures Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud as well as Islamic scholar Safwat Hegazi and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie. Badie told the audience in Beni Suef that the revolution was a gift from God and the Egyptian people should pray and thank him for it.
He also urged the Egyptian people to work hard and serve Egypt and choose a man who will apply Sharia Law like Morsi promised to do. (Ahram Online, 17 May 2012)
Safwat Hegazi (born 1963) is an Egyptian imam and television preacher who is on the list of "Individuals banned from the UK for stirring-up hatred". The government of the United Kingdom declared that he is "considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by glorifying terrorist violence."
In 2009 he declared in a television interview that Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and the Baha'i Faith were not religions but were man-made. In 2012, Safwat Launched MB Candidate Muhammad Mursi's Campaign.
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.
In a meeting with a group from the National Population Council (NPC), Presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke about democracy, corruption, fair opportunity and investing manpower for an economic leap.
Speaking to a group of experts, he equated the rise in corruption with the vanishing of the middle class, which he said destroys accountability in state institutions and individuals.
"The middle class in society has suffered a great deal because of low incomes and their inability to fulfil their demands, which is what contributed to rising levels of corruption," El-Sisi said.
He said fighting corruption in the immediate future will depend on convincing people to forgo excess and that hard work and dedication are the basis of excellence.
"Corruption increased because of scarcity, deteriorating levels of education and culture and the detachment of religious speech from reality," he said. "Religion, in its wider sense, is inclusive … we should represent God in a good way through our deeds and words."
"Democracy in its right meaning means the people's will and their free choice," he said. "No one can pressure Egyptians or force a certain ideology on them."
Many Twitter account holders were surprised when they discovered the hypocrisy of a female Saudi university professor... The professor had been sending tweets for a long time condemning the government scholarship program, which sends students to universities around the world, and she had praised the sheikhs and scholars who spoke against the program.
However, recently, this same professor tweeted that her son had received a government scholarship to study abroad. She even asked her followers to wish her son the best of luck because she was so proud of him. But some of her followers, who were shocked by this hypocrisy, were mad at her for criticizing the scholarship program and then allowing her son to enroll in the program and win a scholarship.
There is nothing strange about this hypocrisy, which is rampant in Saudi society... Our schools do not teach us anything about thinking, logic and deduction. They instill in our minds a certain image and ask us to stick to it.
For example, we are taught in school that it is impermissible in Islam to listen to songs and to talk or intermingle with women. If someone does any of these impermissible things, they will be criticized by society. Extremists have imposed their ideas on individuals but have failed to make these individuals pious and righteous. They do not allow individuals to think and decide for themselves regarding the permissible and impermissible matters in our religion. That is why we have individuals who are full of contradictions.
We even have government officials who contradict themselves. When they travel abroad, they support modernization, development and democracy. But as soon as they return to the country, they shift back to their old mode and you never hear them talking about modernization, development or democracy.
How can we become a real society if the relationships between one member and another in our society are based on deception?
A civilised person is a person who has a moral and intellectual advancement, which includes being humane, reasonable and ethical towards other people or to oneself. This person respects and treats others well and also has has an open mind on how he or she views things. (www.ask.com)
Civility, if it is to exist in any meaningful way, must come from each individual. A nation cannot behave in an uncivilized manner without the support of its citizens, or their enabling through inaction. Until we hold our leaders accountable for their extraordinarily uncivilized behavior, a nation will continue to be an uncivilized nation in civilized clothing. (Bob Trowbridge)
“You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.” (Wendell Berry)
After a political storm erupted over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement of plans to promote legislation that will enshrine the country's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people, Arab citizens of Israel also expressed their indignation against the prime minister's intentions.
"This country is not only for Jews, but for all its citizens," actor Mohammad Bakri said. "The Jewish State was established only in 1948 and was a minority in a Palestinian state. They have no right to occupy the lands and expel Arab citizens. Such a racist decision should not be agreed to."
Arab-Israeli former soccer player Abbas Suan expressed his concern that implementing the legislation would damage coexistence efforts between Jews and Arabs.
"This kind of law hurts the Arab population and does injustice to us. No one would agree to such a proposal. I call on Netanyahu and any other person involved in politics to deal with more important things, such as how to live in peace, strengthen coexistence and not discuss racist laws simply to please the extreme-right."
MK Ahmad Tibi also responded strongly to the suggestion raised by the prime minister...
"No Basic Law of the Knesset or elsewhere will cancel the fact that this country is our national home , in which we were born and in which we survived after the Nakba, and in which we live in a constant struggle to be (treated as) equal citizens..."
Commenting on the Israeli demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Tibi added: "Only a national movement that is unsure of its righteousness makes demands every other day to recognize the country's Jewish nature, against the historical and national narrative of a different, Arab Palestinian, collective, that wishes to live together on the basis of civil and national equality."
Who is my neighbor?
When Hillel died in 10 A.D., the Shammites took over the Pharisee role within the Sanhedrin and became the primary religious influence in Judea, whereas in the Galilee region, where Jesus lived and was raised, the teachings of Hillel held sway.
With this in mind, the pharisees that opposed Jesus we often identified as Judeans (or were located in Jerusalem in Judea), whereas the ones sympathetic to Jesus or his followers (like Gamaliel, Hillel’s grandson) were Gallilean.
The animosity shown between the Shammites and the Hillelites are hard to understate, with comparisons to the classic Calvinist/Arminian debate holding similarities, with the Shammites holding to a strict fundamentalist view of scripture and practice and the Hillelites holding to a much more lenient, contextual view which emphasized the balance between love for God and love for your neighbor. In the debate of “who is my neighbor?”, Shammai taught that only God-fearing, observant Jews were ‘neighbors’ (thus, the only ones worthy of love). Hillel, on the other hand, taught that everyone – including one’s enemies – were ‘neighbors’, with the exception of the hated, apostate Samaritans. (Jesus as rabbi)
President Bashar Al-Assad is to face two challengers in Syria’s 3 June presidential election, the constitutional court said Sunday.
“The supreme constitutional court announces… the acceptance of candidacy bids registered by… Maher Abdel Hafiz Hajjar, Hassan Abdallah al-Nuri and Bashar Hafez al-Assad,” a court official said.
Twenty-three candidates had initially registered to run against Assad, but most did not meet election criteria to run for office. Both Hajjar and Nuri are largely unknown to the Syrian public.
Candidates whose bids were rejected have until 7 May to appeal the court’s decision, said Majed al-Khadra of the constitutional court, whose statement was carried by state television.
Bashar Hafez al-Assad, born Sept. 11, 1965, in Damascus, Syria. Leader of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Stepped into the role of heir apparent to the presidency after his older brother, Basil al-Assad, died in a car crash in 1994.
Trained as an ophthamologist in Damascus and London. Met Asma Akhras, a London-born Syrian who worked in investment banking, in the UK. Her parents are Sunni Muslims and of Syrian origin, hailing from the city of Homs. He married her just months after becoming president. They have three children. He is an Alawite, a mystic branch of Shia Islam.
Hajjar was born in Aleppo in 1968. He comes from a family well-known in religious teaching.
Hajjar obtained a diploma in Linguistic Studies from Aleppo University before he joined the Syrian Communist Party in 1984. He seceded from the party in 2000 and formed a temporary leadership for Aleppo’s communists.
In 2003, he formed, along with many communist leaders, the “National Committee for the Unity of Syrian Communists” and was one of its leaders until it changed its name to the “Popular Will Party”, when he became the Secretary of the Party’s Council.
He ran and failed in the 2007 People’s Assembly’ elections and officially opposed the results. During the crisis he ran again for the parliamentary elections in 2012 for Aleppo city within the list of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation and won and came second in the number of votes for independent candidates. (Syrian Observer)
Hassan al-Nouri was born in Damascus on February 9, 1960. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economy and Trade (Business Administration) from the University of Damascus in 1982. He got a PhD in General Management (Human Resources Development) from John F. Kennedy University in California.
Al-Nouri worked as Secretary of Damascus Chamber of Industry between 1997-2000. He was an MP from 1998-2003 and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs from 2000-2002. Nouri worked as Secretary of Damascus Chamber of Industry between 1997-2000. Nouri is the head of the National Initiative for Administration and Change in Syria. (SANA, 24-4-2014)
What would we stand for in this country? Do we stand for a better chance for all our people? Do we practice what we preach? And I agree what we preach is difficult to practice, but we do preach it and we must practice it.
We preach the best doctrine ever known, the equality of man, the Government gets consent from the governed, and that everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and we will maintain that position.
We are the heirs of Jefferson. We could not conserve and look backward if we tried. We must look forward. The Democratic Party is the party of progress...
The Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991 and the site is now a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
ABU DHABI (UAE) - Qatar is launching a new television station as a political counterweight to Al Jazeera amid concern the network has become too supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The new station is to be an Arabic-language news channel based in London and broadcasting across the Arab world. It is one of several new media ventures launched under the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who succeeded his father in June and is seeking to put his own stamp on the country’s vast soft power machine. The driving force behind the new station is Azmi Bishara, the Palestinian director of the Doha-based Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, and a close confidant of the emir. Mr Bishara is known to be “fairly anti-Brotherhood” and willing to criticise the group publicly, said Michael Stephens, deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies Qatar. “Bishara recommended that it be started. His own beliefs are that Qatar has been too close to the Ikhwan for too long.”
Since its launch in 1996 Al Jazeera has grown exponentially but its criticism of other Arabian Gulf countries and willingness to give voice to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, in line with Doha’s support for Islamists after the Arab Spring uprisings, has angered Qatar’s neighbours...
The new station will serve as a way for Qatar to not only boost its already sizeable media industry, but also allow Sheikh Tamim to step out of the shadow of his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and rebalance the country’s policies... “This channel is designed to correct the image of Qatar, not to assert its interests,” said Mr Stephens.
Azmi Bishara quotes
20-8-2012: "Looking at the states which presently support the Syrian revolution, or at least claim to, one can see countries which have never been democratic, and have in fact stood in the way of all of the other Arab revolutions. Doubtlessly, these states are doing so for an entirely different set of reasons: Syria’s foreign policy and the country’s long-standing support for the resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon. The use of sectarianism to fan the flames of the revolution are also here, deeply troubling: in our part of the world, sectarianism is not only disgusting, it is deadly.
2-10-2012: "The real threat to the establishment of Arab democracies lies in the willingness of a group of political forces to build alliances with imperialists or Zionist forces, which would form a threat to the national sovereignty — a necessary precondition for the rise of democracy.”
An adviser to the emir and the crown prince, Azmi Bishara has become something of a court intellectual in Doha. He is said to have been involved in the formation of the Syrian National Coalition, now the main opposition umbrella group, and to have been used to “test” opposition figures. He, too, had known Bashar al-Assad well, but then became an avid enthusiast of Arab revolts and the people’s thirst for democracy...
Following the pattern of the other Arab uprisings, Qatar’s instinct was to bet on the opposition. In January 2012, the emir told a US television network that Arab troops should be sent to Syria “to stop the killings”. Doha’s leaders were particularly emboldened by the revolt in Libya, where Qatar had played the lead Arab role in the Nato-led intervention. Although they knew that Assad’s downfall would not be as easy as Muammer Gaddafi’s, they expected western partners would eventually step in on the side of the opposition.
In the years before the Arab uprisings, Qatar had cultivated its role as a mediator, capable of talking to all sides on the divisions that polarised the Middle East. It hosted the US’s biggest military air base in the region, while maintaining cordial relations with Iran; it held contacts with Israel while simultaneously backing the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hizbollah. On Syria, Qatar soon emerged as one of the few angry voices at Arab summits, pushing for a tougher line.
Supporting the armed rebellion was the inevitable next stage of Qatar’s deepening involvement in Syria. By early 2012, as peaceful protests gave way to an armed opposition, Qatar was scouring around for light weaponry, buying arms in Libya and in eastern European states, and flying them to Turkey, where intelligence services helped deliver them across the border.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers, says that between April 2012 and March 2013, more than 70 military cargo flights from Qatar landed in Turkey.
As the conflict progressed, the Qataris worked through members of the exiled Muslim Brotherhood to identify rebel factions that should be supported. That is how they linked up with the Farouq brigades, one of the largest and more mainstream factions.
The Farouq Brigades emerged from the central city of Homs. Its beginnings are as a subunit of the Khalid bin Walid Brigade, a group of defectors from the Syrian Army that announced its formation in June 2011 and engaged in clashes with members of the Syrian security forces in Homs and Al-Rastan. During the second half of 2011, Farouq was active in Homs, particularly the Baba Amr neighborhood. It was led by a defector, Lieutenant Abdul Razaq Tlass.
In September 2012, a large number of Islamist rebel brigades, including the Farouq Brigades and the Suquor al-Sham formed the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, under the leadership of Suquor al-Sham commander Ahmed Abu Issa. Abu Issa claimed the new Front had more than 40,000 fighters and aimed to establish a state with an Islamic reference. In May 2013, the BBC used an estimate of 20,000 fighters.
While many of their fighters wear Jihadist-style black headbands and beards, it is unclear how much of this is genuine belief and how much is to secure additional funding from Islamist donors.
By November 2013, the Farouq Brigades was reported as having suffered a serious decline in strength and area of influence, with it having splintered into numerous smaller factions... (Wikipedia info)
Omar Farouq was a top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden and senior operative in Southeast Asia, where he set up training camps for al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups and plotted to attack embassies after the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks. He was detained by Indonesian authorities in 2002, transferred to US custody, and held at Bagram prison in Afghanistan. He escaped from Bagram in 2005... Farouq was killed in September 2006 in Basrah, Iraq. He had been sent to Iraq by al Qaeda's leadership cadre to direct al Qaeda in Iraq's operations against US and Coalition forces. (longwarjournal, 22-7-2012)