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)
Jabotinsky & Zionist morality
Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
"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)
“I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair
and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking.” Saddam Hussein, farewell letter 2006
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
Ahmed Maher: Rules Of Law Are Universal
If we are going to fight terrorism, we have to fight it in all of its forms, whoever the perpetrators are, and in a way compatible with international law. These are the lessons that have to be learned, the most important of which is that double-standards don't work. They're in the interest of no one.
If you have a rule of law you apply it to everybody, then you have a safer world. If you have a rule of law that you apply according to your whims, or according to whether A or B is your friend, or you dislike C, or you don't sympathise with E, then you will create chaos. We have learned that rules of law are universal. (Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, Al-Ahram Weekly, sept. 2002)
Vladmir Putin: The 21st century world is globalized and interdependent. Therefore, no state or group of countries can unilaterally tackle major international problems and any attempts to build a separate “oasis of stability and security” are doomed to failure. In order to meet numerous challenges and threats we have to stop trying to impose development models on other countries. This approach has repeatedly proven its ineffectiveness. It does not just fail to facilitate conflict resolution, but leads to instability and chaos in international affairs. Today, it is especially important to consolidate the international community’s efforts to ensure equal and indivisible security, as well as to resolve disputes trough the application of international law and with the central coordinating role of the UN. (Itar-TASS, 13-7-2014)
Edward Said: "No common purpose"
Underlying most of the findings in the much cited 2002 UNDP Arab Human Development Report is the extraordinary lack of coordination between Arab countries....
It's always the same thing, factionalism, disunity, the absence of a common purpose for which in the end ordinary people pay the price in suffering, blood and endless destruction. Even on the level of social structure, it is almost a commonplace that Arabs as a group fight among themselves more than they do for a common purpose.
We are individualists, it is said by way of justification, ignoring the fact that such disunity and internal disorganisation in the end damages our very existence as a people. (Al-Ahram Weekly 2002)
Saddam Hussein: "Life requires dealing with progressive ideas and methods"
Those who are incapable of innovation are the people who imitate and copy others, and in our society there are two types of imitators: One type that imitates the old and they are the reactionaries and right-wingers, and another type that copies from the new, and borrow the experiences and solutions of other nations...
But we have the capacity to innovate and to produce creative and advanced solutions, and life requires dealing with progressive ideas and methods. The problems of our modern society, that we have to deal with, are profoundly different from the problems that were faced during the early Islamic era… (speech by Saddam Hussein, 8/11/1977)
Damascus, SANA-Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Armed Forces Gen. Imad Jassem al-Freij, who is the caretaker Defense Minister, said the dirty war waged against Syria is one of the toughest wars known in history. The war against Syria is one of the toughest because it is a composite war where traditional war is intertwined with guerilla war and urban warfare, al-Freij explained, adding that it is a military, economic, political, diplomatic, technological and intelligence war, all at once.
Al-Freij, whose comments came in an interview with the Syrian TV on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the Syrian army foundation, said that the anniversary this year comes as the Syrian army and people are fighting a fierce war against terrorism.
This is an occasion to draw lessons from the values of the Syrian army, which are an incentive for more determination and will in the face of terrorism until security and stability are restored, he added.
The Syrian army is a full-fledged school in patriotism, heroism and sacrifice, al-Freij affirmed, saying that the army, since its inception, has defended the Arab causes and championed the rights of the Arab nation.
The reasons and factors behind the Syrian army steadfastness are many, al-Freij said, putting it down primarily to the nature of the Syrian army which “comes from the ranks of the people.”
What he described as a “creative integration” between the people and army and their loyalty to their leadership has yielded a “qualitative steadfastness” that was not possible for great armies. Chief among the factors of success is the “clear insight” of President Bashar al-Assad since day one, and his foreknowledge of what was being planned which, the defense minister added, has allowed the Syrian leadership a margin for maneuver and making the sound decisions.
Al-Freij urged everyone who “strayed from the right path” to return to their common sense and take advantage of President al-Assad’s call for the errant citizens to mend their ways. “Ending up in the traitors’ camp bequeaths nothing but disgrace and humiliation,” he added.
“He who thinks that what remained of the gangs of killing and criminality can do what a three-year-war failed to is self-delusional,” al-Freij said, proclaiming victory in the strategic war that was won thanks to the Syrian army.
Preachers and muezzins (those who call the faithful to prayer) will not be allowed to work until they undergo security screening, according to directives issued by the Interior Ministry. Many government bodies will also participate in the new screening amid efforts to boost standards and quality among preachers at large mosques, where Friday prayers are held.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs put forth several requirements when employing preachers. Applicants should be university degree holders in Islamic sciences and have comprehensive knowledge of prayers and acts of worship. They should also know how to draft and deliver Friday sermons and pass tests drafted by a committee of scholars.
In another development, the Council of Senior Scholars has introduced a first-of-its-kind interactive platform between council members and citizens in a bid to counter extremism.
Council members will communicate with citizens via lectures, seminars and scientific workshops to combat rhetoric adopted by foreign terror groups to lure vulnerable youth into fighting abroad.
“Terrorism has taken on new dimensions,” said Fahd Al-Majed, the council’s secretary-general. “Groups that claim they are protecting Islam are, in fact, wreaking havoc in the Arab World. These groups commit acts that have nothing to do with Islam, distorting the image of Islam and Muslims and playing into the hands of this religion’s enemies, while our brethren in Palestine are being subjected to state terrorism before our very eyes...”
“The council joins in the king’s call and reiterates that groups or individuals found guilty of financing or supporting terrorist groups will be punishable uder the law...”
Former US president Jimmy Carter has called on the United States and EU to recognize Hamas as "not just a military but also a political force" in an op-ed written for Foreign Policy on Monday. "Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor - one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people - can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons," Carter writes.
In his op-ed, the former president accuses Israel of "deliberate attacks on civilians," saying these are war crimes.
"There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe," he writes. Carter pledges his support to the Palestinian unity government, calling it "one of the most encouraging developments in recent years."
Carter also urges the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution "recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege."
With its most recent Gaza war the country has turned a page, exposing Americans and the world to a new and far more fascist Israel than was evident in past decades. One could compile a lengthy list of indicators, few of which have been much explored in the American press but which are fairly widely reported in Israel and on the Internet.
The Israeli peace camp has nearly disappeared... Of equal significance is that it no longer safe in Israel to oppose government policy by peaceful demonstration...
And then listen to Israel’s politicians. There is Ayelet Shaked, whose open call for genocide against Palestinians provoked one British-Israeli citizen to contemplate burning her Israeli passport... But what is one to make of Moshe Feiglin, not a marginal Israeli figure but deputy speaker of the Knesset, a top player in Israel’s ruling Likud Party? He recently called for Gazans to resettled in concentration camps, and all of Hamas and its supporters to be “annihilated.” All societies have their hate groups and extremists, but nowhere in the democratic world are they nearer to the center of power than Israel. In the 1980s Meir Kahane had a small following in Israel, but his pro-ethnic cleansing party was made illegal. Now Kahanists are in the center of the country’s ruling ideology.
The Israeli turn towards fascism was explored in Max Blumenthal’s superbly reported book Goliath, which the Israel lobby loathed and tried to dismiss without ever answering effectively...
This now is Israel, a country whose military relishes unfair fights against poorly armed militias, where imposing collective punishment of innocents is the main point, whose elected politicians pine openly for concentration camps and genocide.
"Israel has become a country where right-wing leaders like Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi Netanyahu are sacrificing democracy on the altar of their power politics; where the loyal opposition largely and passively stands aside and watches the organized assault on civil liberties; where state-funded Orthodox rabbis publish books that provide instructions on how and when to kill Gentiles; where half of Jewish youth declare their refusal to sit in a classroom with an Arab; and where mob violence targets Palestinians and African asylum seekers scapegoated by leading government officials as demographic threats.' (Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel)
What are Americans to do about it? Here perception of the new reality lags but is beginning, ever so slowly, to catch up. Many have noted the polls in which older Americans and Republicans still support Israel in overwhelming numbers. The young, more open in their sources of news, do not. Nor do Democrats.
The American polity will change... But even a changed opinion will have to confront a terribly difficult problem: how to treat Israel, hyper-nationalistic, loaded with nuclear weapons, deeply racist, persuaded that any opposition to it is derived from anti-Semitism, feeling that the Holocaust gives it license to do whatever it wants and that the normal rules of international conduct will never apply to it.
It won’t be an easy matter to solve.
Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative.
Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism.
Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. ... They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them.
Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There are very few intellectuals or writers who have the tenacity and courage to confront this reality. This is what makes Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” one of the most fearless and honest books ever written about Israel.
“Goliath” is made up of numerous vignettes, some only a few pages long, that methodically build a picture of Israel, like pieces fit into a puzzle. ...
- Blumenthal cites a survey of Jewish Israeli attitudes on the Gaza bombing, known as Operation Cast Lead. The survey, by Daniel Bar-Tal, a political psychologist from Tel Aviv University, concluded that the public’s “consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians, and insensitivity to their suffering.” Bar-Tal tells Blumenthal “these attitudes are the product of indoctrination.” And Blumenthal sets out to chronicle the poison of this indoctrination and what it has spawned in Israeli society. ...
- “In Israel you have three systems of laws,” the Israeli Arab politician Ahmed Tibi observes in the Blumenthal book.
* “One is democracy for 80 percent of the population. It is democracy for Jews. I call it an ethnocracy or you could call it a Judocracy.
** The second is racial discrimination for 20 percent of the population, the Israeli Arabs.
*** The third is apartheid for the population in the West Bank and Gaza. This includes two sets of governments, one for the Palestinians and one for the settlers. Inside Israel there is not yet apartheid but we are being pushed there with new laws.” ...
” David Landau, the former editor-in-chief of Haaretz, has called on Israelis to boycott the Knesset “to stand against the wave of fascism that has engulfed the Zionist project.” And Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, says: “Israel’s very existence is threatened by fascism.”...
- Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called “the conscience of Israel,” warned that if Israel did not separate church and state it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult.
In interviews with international media Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pressed Israel's case on defending citizens from Hamas' terror attacks. By fighting Hamas, the leading edge of Islamist terrorism, Israel is defending not only itself, but the entire Western world....
Speaking to German network ZDF, Netanyahu said “Hamas is part of a movement, an Islamist movement that wants to reconstruct an Islamic dominion without human rights, without plurality, women as chattel, no rights for minorities, for gays, you name it. They either don’t exist or they should be executed.
This kind of unforgiving creed has anti-Semitism as part of its horrible doctrine. And that, when we see that spreading in parts of Europe, we‘re grateful when we see strong leaders like Angela Merkel, and some others in Europe, stand up forcefully against this anti-Semitism. I think that’s, we need support for Israel, but also the fight against anti-Semitism, and the liberal values that we all share. Support for the liberal values that we all share."
Jabotinsky & Zionist morality
Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
Hanan Ashrawi: "A systematic campaign to blame the victim"
"No nation can accept being imprisoned, being besieged by land, by air, by sea and deprived of the most basic requirements of a decent life: freedom of movement, clean water. For seven years they have been under a brutal and lethal Israeli siege ... You shell them and you bomb them; you destroy homes, you destroy whole neighborhoods. You obliterate, annihilate, whole families, and then you come and say that this is self defence?" (YouTube Video 21-7-2014)
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip signaled Monday that the Islamic militant group will not agree to an unconditional cease-fire with Israel, saying that the aim of the current battle is to break a 7-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Ismail Haniyeh's comments came as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry headed to Cairo for the highest-level cease-fire efforts since Israel-Hamas fighting erupted July 8.
Last week, Egypt called for an unconditional cease-fire, to be followed by talks on easing the closure of Gaza. Israel accepted the proposal at the time, but Hamas rejected it, saying it wants guarantees first on lifting the closure.
The blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas overran Gaza in 2007. Over the past year, Egypt has further tightened restrictions, driving Hamas into a deep financial crisis.
Haniyeh said in a televised speech Monday that "we cannot go back, we cannot go back to the silent death" of the blockade. He said all of Gaza's 1.7 million residents shared this demand. "Gaza has decided to end the blockade by its blood and by its courage," he said. "This siege, this unjust siege, must be lifted."
The blockade of the Gaza Strip refers to a land, air, and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip by Egypt and Israel from 2007 to present (July 2014).
The blockade was criticized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Human Rights Council and other human rights organizations. It has been officially supported by United States administrations. In June 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the humanitarian needs in the Hamas-controlled area must be met along with legitimate Israeli security concerns...
A Fact-Finding Mission for the UN Human Rights Council chaired by a former judge of the International Criminal Court found that the blockade constituted collective punishment of the population of Gaza and was therefore unlawful. (Wikipedia info)
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal demanded Israel lift its blockade of Gaza and warned that Palestinians cannot coexist with their neighbors while their land is occupied, in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Asked by veteran interviewer Charlie Rose whether he could foresee living beside Israelis in peace, Meshaal said only a future Palestinian state could decide whether to recognize the Jewish state. “We are not fanatics, we are not fundamentalists. We are not actually fighting the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers,” he said. “I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and the Arabs and non-Arabs,” he said. “However, I do not coexist with the occupiers.”
Pressed on whether Palestinians could recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state, Meshaal reiterated Hamas' position -- the group does not recognize Israel.
“When we have a Palestinian state then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies. You cannot actually ask me about the future. I answered you,” he said. “But Palestinian people can have their say when they have their own state without occupation.”
What Meshal is really saying is that if Fatah honors its commitments, there are free and fair elections, and the General Assembly approves a Palestinian state, then Hamas will have no reason to turn to violence. To me, this is a patently self-evident pragmatic approach. Even former Mossad directors like Ephraim Halevy understand it too. But not the Bibistas.... Hamas is currently showing pragmatic realism. Bibi is showing the same old losing cards. And Obama’s showing nothing. Where are you, Mr. President? Stop basking in the glow of being Osama-killer and get down to brass tacks. Show some leadership. If Obama allows the mid-term elections to dictate the same-old approach to Hamas for fear of appearing soft on terror and hostile to a Likudist Israeli government, he’ll have lost yet another opportunity to play a leadership role in making peace.
The vast majority of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel over the past month were made in Gaza using civilian materials, a senior Israeli military official said Thursday. "The vast majority of those launched were homemade, only a small minority were Fajr 5 made by Iran".
The Gaza manufacturers of these rockets used "water pipes" of different diameters for the bodies of the rockets, filling them with explosives made from materials such as products used in agriculture, the official said.
Hamas had adapted to manufacturing its own weapons after Egypt had cracked down on smuggling through tunnels in the Rafah area into the Palestinian enclave.
Men from outside Gaza had in the past taught locals how to build the weapons, while some Gazans went to other countries in the region, including Syria and Iran, to acquire knowledge in the field, the Israeli official said, estimating some 150 people in Gaza were directly involved in producing projectiles.
“I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but not a single drop of blood spilled in Gaza really brought us any closer to something better,” says Knesset member Dov Khenin from the Hadash Party in summarizing Israel's Operation Protective Edge. Though an absolute majority of Israelis supported the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip, Khenin sees it as just another round of futile bloodshed.
"I have no expectations from the Netanyahu government when it comes to diplomatic issues or socioeconomic issues. It is a far-right government, and it is leading us to a combination of clear Thatcherist economic policies while intensifying construction in the settlements."
Hadash is a Jewish and Arab
socialist political party in Israel
It currently has four members in the 120-seat Knesset. The party supports evacuation of all Israeli settlements, a complete withdrawal by Israel from all territories occupied as a result of the Six-Day War, and the establishment of a Palestinian state in those territories. It also supports the right of return or compensation for Palestinian refugees. In addition to issues of peace and security, Hadash is also known for being active on social and environmental issues.
Hadash defines itself as a non-Zionist party, originally in keeping with Marxist opposition to nationalism. It calls for recognition of Palestinian Arabs as a national minority within Israel. Hadash shifted to a more Arab nationalist appeal after running on a joint list with Ta'al in 2003. (Wikipedia info)
Hadash – (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) was established in 1977. The aim of its founders was simple: to unite most of the supporters for peace, equality, democracy and workers' rights, Jews and Arabs, in order to create a political alternative to the government's policy of occupation and exploitation.
The basic principles of Hadash as a broad leftist movement included the unique demand for the evacuation of all the territories which were occupied in June 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel – a claim that other movements began supporting only in later years. The principles stressed subjects such as workers' rights, social justice, opposition to privatization, democratic liberties and human rights, equality for the Arab minority, ethnic groups, women, the protection of the environment and the disarmament of mass destruction weapons.
Hadash always sustained the Jewish-Arab partnership and has never traded its principles.
Hadash demonstrators were the first to use slogans which later had a wide public acclaim, such as "Bread, Work", "Israel, Palestine, two countries for two peoples", "There is no democracy without equality", "The people demand social justice", and "Bibi, resign, health is worth more"...
The struggle which Hadash is conducting against the System which raises the banner of force and not that of negotiation, which drives about two million Israelis below the poverty line, and which prefers profit over welfare - is long and difficult, and requires much devotion and consistency.
Hadash is proud of its devoted members, Arabs and Jews, men and women.
Damascus, SANA – Caretaker Minister of Higher Education Malek Ali said Thursday that Syria will come out of the crisis victorious thanks to its people who believe in science and knowledge as a basis for building a modern state, referring to the importance of applying theoretical science on the ground to help reconstruct and build new Syria that is immune against the dark mentality.
During a graduation ceremony for 250 students at the International University for Science and Technology at Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus, the Minister pointed out that public and private universities work hard to graduate youth carders in all fields. “The Ministry of Higher Education will give licenses to new 10 private universities,” the Minister said.
For his part, University Rector Faisal Abbas called on the new graduates to use the knowledge and science that they acquired to build a strong and coherent society.
”The university provides all needed materials to students during their study and after their graduation to develop the country in all fields,” the rector said.
President Bashar Al-Assad outlined in his recent landmark inauguration speech that the enemies of Syria continue to support terrorism, that tried to destroy all aspects of life within it.
The killing, which targeted Syrians from all walks of life without discrimination or exception was concurrent with the systematic destruction of our infrastructure, which took decades to build and consumed the efforts, money, sweat and blood of generations of Syrians.
President Al-Assad added that there is no doubt that this widespread destruction, which has affected the entire nation, has also affected every individual, particularly in terms of people’s livelihood.
Since the greatest damage to our economy was inflicted on the vital material structures of economic growth and sustainability, our economic recovery should start from the same point by focusing on rebuilding these material structures: the buildings, houses, factories, roads, and all other forms of infrastructure that was destroyed or sabotaged.
This in itself is a very wide sector that will benefit the different strata of society without exception, and will influence positively and strongly the other economic sectors, which will not recover fully without a comprehensive reconstruction, President Al-Assad underscored.
"Let our race against time be in favour of building not destruction; and let us continue to prove, as we have done during the past three years, that the will of Syrians is many folds stronger than the will and acts of terrorists and traitors. "
On September 29, 2013, the largest rebel army was formed in Syria by combining around 50 Islamist groups under the umbrella of the "Army of Islam", led by Zahran Alloush, who was leading the Islam Battalion prior to his new position. This supposedly "moderate rebel" by US standards wants to re-establish an Omayyad-like Caliphate in Syria and to "crush the heads of the Magi", a term that Wahhabi extremists use in reference to Iranians/Persians and to Shiites. He also called for like-minded jihadists to flock from all over the world into Syria to help him achieve his objective.
There is no doubt that the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or self-declared ‘the Islamic State’ is a threat to the Middle East and perhaps the entire world.
Let’s take a look at the birth of the Takrifi group. The group, in its original form, was composed of and supported by a variety of terrorist organizations including the Mujahideen Shura Council, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah and Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura.
ISIL grew significantly as an organization owing to its participation in the Syrian war and the strength of its notorious leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In the ongoing Syrian conflict, the Al-Qaeda offshoot has a large presence in the Syrian provinces of Raqqah, Idlib and Aleppo.
ISIL is known for its harsh interpretation of Wahhabism and its brutal violence, which is directed at several religions, Shia Islam and Christianity in particular. The UN Security Council has condemned ISIL attacks, saying the terrorist group posed a threat not only to Iraq and Syria but to “regional peace, security and stability”. In Syria, certain Western and Arab countries supported ISIL and other terrorist groups to remove President Bashar al-Assad, but today they have realized that the policy was wrong since their support for the terrorist group expanded its presence in other countries including Iraq and Lebanon... It is a fact that the states which funnel dollars to the terrorists, wreaking havoc in Iraq, Syria and other places, will become their next target.
Aleppo, Syria – Several brigades and battalions with so-called “moderate Islamic thoughts” established the Islamic Front in northern Syria (al-Sham, the Suqur al-Sham Brigades, the Army of Islam, al-Tawheed Brigade, al-Haqq Brigade, the Battalions of Ansar al-Sham, and the Kurdish Islamic Front). The Front mainly operates in Aleppo, Idlib, Damascus countryside and some western Syrian areas.
In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Islam Alloush, spokesman of the Islamic Front, talked about the latest developments among the Front’s rebels and their military operations against the pro-Assad army and militants of the Islamic State (IS), beside the current phase of the Syrian rebellion.
Alloush first talked about the “right track” of “the Syrian revolution” where “it was obvious from the very beginning that it will liberate people from slavery and injustice practised by al-Assad regime”.
Regarding the recent battles between rebels and Syrian army in Damascus suburbs, Alloush stressed that the rebels of the Islamic Front achieved considerable advance last week. “We aim to proceed and progress to bring down al-Assad regime in Syria, and Damascus is our ultimate target,” Allosh said.
Addressing the General Staff of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), spokesman of the Islamic Front said: “They (FSA General Staff) are good when they serve the interests of Syrians. They should avoid deviance from the revolutionary track not to become a tool in hands of regional and international powers.”
Concluding his interview with ARA News, spokesman of the Islamic Front rebel body referred to the difficulty of getting funds for their long-term battles against the Assad regime..
US-Syria envoy Robert Ford: "If there is not tight cooperation between the different armed groups that are fighting the regime, the regime is going to be successful in surviving." John Kerry: "Meeting with the Islamic Front is possible as part of efforts to broaden opposition representation at the Geneva peace talks.." (Reuters 18-12-2013) Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an American NGO that works directly with several Syrian opposition groups: "The United States must pragmatically engage with the Islamic Front.." "The Islamic Front works with al-Qaeda out of convenience..." “Alienating the Islamic Front puts the U.S. at risk of losing any leverage or influence within the armed opposition.” (Daily Beast 3-12-2013)
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried on the state news agency that dialogue with the Islamic Front contradicted U.S. and international commitments to combat terrorism.
Professor Ze'ev Sternhell, long known for his sharp criticism – bordering on incitement, many on the right say – said that he was frightened by the gang” of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (both of Jewish Home).
Sternhell made the comment in what appeared to be a leading question by a reporter from the radical-left Haaretz newspaper, who asked “is there something that frightens you in the political system?”
“They are the most dangerous people,” he said. “[Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is a little less frightening, because he does not have the religious fervor the other two have.”
Bennett and Ariel, he said, “along with the right wing of the Likud are truly dangerous people because they do not understand what democracy is. They do not understand what human rights are. They truly hate the Arabs, and there is no way for them to coexist with them. They have things in common with Marie Le Pen,” the right-wing French leader accused of racism, xenophobia, and fascism. “In some ways Le Pen is to the left of them. “If Prime Minister Netanyahu really wants to get into the history books, he must disband this coalition and the Likud and build a new centrist government based on support from the left. And he should not be ashamed to garner Arab MKs to support this coalition,” he added.
Ariel Sharon caused the biggest upheaval in Israeli politics in nearly three decades by resigning as leader of the ruling Likud party yesterday, saying that Likud is unfit to run the country. The prime minister announced the launch of a new party, National Responsibility.
Mr Sharon said that in leaving the party he had helped found he was putting the good of the country ahead of his personal political interests: "After great hesitation I decided to leave the Likud. The Likud in its current format cannot lead Israel to its national aims... Remaining in the Likud means a waste of time in political fighting," he said.
"The task in front of us is to create a base for a peace agreement in which will we will create the permanent borders of the state while demanding the cessation of terror. " Mr Sharon said that National Responsibility would be committed to the US-led "road map" to peace. Uzi Landau, a contender for the Likud leadership, said he believed that Mr Sharon intended to surrender West Bank settlements, and the party would fight to stop him.
With ''The Founding Myths of Israel,'' Zeev Sternhell has written two books in one. His opening pages and the epilogue are a polemical pamphlet about the future of Israel.
Sternhell, Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, argues that Israel must give up its commitments to Zionism, to being a ''Jewish state,'' and become the state of all its citizens. This is to be achieved by abolishing every trace of special status for Jews and their religious and cultural heritage.
They didn't create universal socialism
Sternhell argues that the founders of socialist Zionism in Israel, whose leading political figure was David Ben-Gurion, committed the original sin of being much more nationalist than socialist. They regarded the Jewish settlers in Palestine before World War I as an elite that was to lead in creating a Jewish majority in the land. Sternhell is upset, page after page, that [socialist Zionists] did not come to Palestine to transcend Jewish nationalism and create universal socialism....
He implies that if these men and women had come to Palestine declaring their desire to create a socialist society, events would have gone much more peacefully. The Jewish pioneers would have been received with warmth and openness.... He believes that the the Arab-Jewish conflict was created by uncompromising Jewish nationalism, which in turn evoked Arab anger.
Therefore the way to end the conflict is to put an end to the national, Jewish, Zionist state. Israel must become a liberal, secular state.
In an interview published Sunday by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic, former secretary and possible presidential candidate backs Netanyahu’s West Bank security demands, she also urged an “overarching” US strategy to confront Islamic terrorism, equating this struggle to the one the US waged against communism.
Asked if the Israeli response was disproportionate, she replied: “Israel was attacked by rockets from Gaza. Israel has a right to defend itself..."
"We see this enormous international reaction against Israel. This reaction is uncalled for and unfair.” She said anti-Semitism was a factor in the unfair international reaction against Israel...
She said the conflict was “so effectively stage-managed by Hamas, and always has been. What you see is largely what Hamas invites and permits Western journalists to report on from Gaza. It’s the old PR problem that Israel has. Yes, there are substantive, deep levels of antagonism or anti-Semitism towards Israel, because it’s a powerful state, a really effective military. And Hamas paints itself as the defender of the rights of the Palestinians to have their own state.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Hamas initiated this conflict and wanted to do so in order to leverage its position, having been shut out by the Egyptians post-Morsi, having been shunned by the Gulf, having been pulled into a technocratic government with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority that might have caused better governance and a greater willingness on the part of the people of Gaza to move away from tolerating Hamas in their midst. So the ultimate responsibility has to rest on Hamas and the decisions it made.”
In Goldberg’s assessment, “Clinton seemed to take an indirect shot at administration critics of Netanyahu, who has argued that the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East means that Israel cannot, in the foreseeable future, withdraw its forces from much of the West Bank.”
Said Clinton: “So what I tell people is, yeah, if I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security [on the West Bank]..."
She also stressed that she “would not put Hamas in the category of people we could work with. I don’t think that is realistic because its whole reason for being is resistance against Israel, destruction of Israel, and Hamas is married to very nasty tactics and ideologies, including virulent anti-Semitism...."
Obama's Women Advisers
Pushed War Against Libya
Robert Dreyfuss March 19, 2011
We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it.
Far from it. Unless President Obama’s better instincts manage to reign in his warrior women—and happily, there’s a chance of that—the United States could find itself engaged in open war in Libya, and soon. The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration.... (The Nation)
WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has been quietly consulting with the Islamic opposition in Syria.
Senior U.S. officials have been meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood as well as its lobbyists in the United States. They said the two sides have convened several times over the last three months to discuss the Brotherhood's role after the ouster of President Bashar Assad. The Reform Party in Syria has protested the administration's meetings with the Brotherhood. RPS, regarded as one of the most pro-Western elements in the Syrian opposition, said Washington was signaling its endorsement of the Brotherhood's goal to make Syria into an Islamic state rather than a democracy that would foster its large minority community of Alawites, Christians and Kurds.
"This ill-advised policy of the U.S. State Department will have dire consequences, not only for the future of Syria, but also through an immediate increase in violence..." On Sept. 24, the council, regarded as a lobbyist for the Brotherhood, held a meeting in Anaheim, Calif. to discuss a post-Assad Syria. The session was addressed by U.S. special envoy Frederic Hof, responsible for U.S. policy on Damascus.
Hassan Firouzabadi: "Why are they establishing
Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"
TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, says that the United States’ efforts to establish Al-Qaeda branches in Syria and Lebanon will create a greater threat for Europe than nuclear weapons.
Firouzabadi warned that a great strategic threat is taking shape in the southeast Mediterranean.
“The global arrogance (forces of imperialism) which created Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and then received serious blows from them and today claims it is at war with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic country of Pakistan has closed its eyes to” its previous mistakes, “and now it is establishing Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon,” he opined.
Firouzabadi, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Iran’s National Defense University, said U.S. strategists should explain this paradox, namely if the United States is fighting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and occupied Afghanistan, “why are they again establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?” ...
“It is necessary that the United Nations, the Security Council, the secretary general of the United Nations, and the (UN) Human Rights Council prevent this new disaster (from occurring) in the world.” (Teheran Times, 12-6-2012)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday warned against the conflict in Syria descending into sectarian warfare because of “proxies or terrorist fighters” being sent to join the fight, forgetting that this is actually US policy.
Washington has been using proxy rebel militias, many of whom have ties to terrorist groups, to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad for months now...
The US has been sending non-lethal aid, like communications gear and intelligence assistance, to the rebel militias in Syria, while the CIA is facilitating the delivery of weapons from Gulf Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar... Many of the rebels have come from foreign countries like Iraq and have ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda...
“The evidence is mounting that Syria has become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda,” reports the New York Times.
Clinton’s inability to see that her own government’s policies have already been integral in accomplishing precisely what she warns against illustrates her ideological penchant for US interventionism.
This 'Arab Spring' Thing
"A Neo-Con ideological construct"
By Gerald A. Perreira, 30-10-2012
Regardless of the amount of damage control, lies and spin that comes out of Washington, nothing can clean up the mess they have gotten themselves into with their so-called Arab Spring – a construct straight out of their warped imaginations...
Following the hijacking of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and the subsuming of unrest across the region into a 'one size fits all', using that key phrase – 'Arab Spring', the Empire was on a roll. It was then that they committed their worst blunder... They handed the most progressive and prosperous country in all of Africa on a platter to a conglomerate of religious deviants (Salafi Islamists). Their plan was to use these Salafi Islamists to get rid of Qaddafi and destroy the Libyan Jamahiriya.... And they did use them, to achieve this objective, but the Salafis, who have had a long and tedious love-hate relationship with white supremacists/imperialists, were also using NATO. They were too busy using the Islamists to see that in fact, it was the Islamists who were using them - the US and NATO – a scenario that is currently being replayed in Syria...
The Islamist groups in Libya were in existence long before the concept of Al Qaeda emerged. That is why Qaddafi was able to warn the world of the danger of these Islamist groups and their ideology...
While many were full of zeal and excitement when these groups seemed to be giving the US what it finally deserved, Qaddafi knew that this was not Islam, but rather reactionary ideas and tyranny in the name of Islam and that it could take us nowhere.
"President Obama doesn't understand the reality," according to "associates" of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke after the meeting between the two leaders. You can't blame him: It really is impossible to understand this reality. It's impossible to understand why a country and a people continue to refuse to do the right thing, something that could have been done a long while back, and prefer to continue to bang their heads against the wall until blood flows, with absolutely no logic, literally amok, like someone who has gone insane....
President Obama, here is the reality: The reality is that in the prime minister's own reality show, he is "the leader of a persecuted people" and he likes being "the leader of a persecuted people." That is why no reality in the world has ever convinced our leaders to stop being a persecuted nation...
But it's not only you, Mr. President. Nine years ago, the 22 Arab League countries submitted a proposal for ending the conflict with the Palestinians and for full normalization with them.
The leaders of the people that insist on being persecuted chose not to confuse themselves with the fact that 22 Arab countries were recognizing Israel and accepting its right to exist in peace alongside them. That is why our leaders simply ignored it.
The reality, Mr. President, is that change - thanks to which you were elected, and in which you believe - is the thing that Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular fear most.
The reality is that the State of Israel has become accustomed to the present situation and does not recognize itself without it. Israel has existed longer with the occupation than without it; it has existed for most of its years with no border and is deathly afraid of change. The reality is that Netanyahu never wanted or thought to initiate change. He wants settlements, he wants occupation, he wants the situation as it is and sees no problem with it.
And now, Netanyahu prefers confrontation. Confrontation with you, confrontation with the Palestinians, confrontation with anyone he sees as coming out against the persecuted people.
The Arab League members unanimously endorsed the peace initiative on March 27,2002. It consists of a comprehensive proposal to end the entire Arab–Israeli conflict. It provides in a relevant part:
(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194. (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In return the Arab states will do the following: (a) Consider the Arab–Israeli conflict over, sign a peace agreement with Israel, and achieve peace for all states in the region; (b) Establish normal relations with Israel within the framework of this comprehensive peace.
Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia made a speech to the Arab League on the day of its adoption saying that:
"In spite of all that has happened and what still may happen, the primary issue in the heart and mind of every person in our Arab Islamic nation is the restoration of legitimate rights in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.... We believe in peace when it is based on justice and equity, and when it brings an end to conflict. Only within the context of true peace can normal relations flourish between the people of the region..."
Flashback - November 16, 2008
Barack Obama links Israel peace plan to 1967 borders deal
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv and Sarah Baxter
Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.
The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.
On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser.
The Arab peace plan received a boost last week when President Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate and leading Israeli dove, commended the initiative at a Saudi-sponsored United Nations conference in New York.
Peres was loudly applauded for telling King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who was behind the original initiative: “I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people.” (TimesOnline 2008)
Airstrikes in Gaza - 27 December 2008
Statemen issued in response to Israel's attack in Gaza by Professor Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories:
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
Those violations include: Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants. Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians...
Netanyahu: The Era of Weakness is about to End
"A Likud government led by me will restore security to the people of Israel, will restore pride and determination to our policies. We will stand decisively for a united Jerusalem and defensible borders in every diplomatic arena. We will not agree to have a single refugee from 1948 enter the sovereign state of Israel, not to Ashkelon, not to Jaffa, not to Acre, or any other place".
"The era of weakness is about to end, and it will me my friends and I in the Likud who put an end to it and restore security to the people of Israel", Netanyahu concluded. (Likud campaign website, December 18, 2008)
The United Nations named William Schabas to chair an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes by both sides during Operation Protective Edge.
Schabas, a Canadian professor of international criminal and human rights law and the President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, has previously stated he would've liked to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "within the dock of the International Criminal Court."
In a law journal article he wrote in December 2010, Schabas wrote that Netanyahu could be considered “the single individual most likely to threaten the survival of Israel.”
The commission was welcomed by Hamas but condemned by Israel.
"Hamas welcomes the decision to form an investigation committee into the war crimes committed by the occupation (Israel) against Gaza and it urges that it begin work as soon as possible," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza. Israel's foreign ministry recalled that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously called the Human Rights Council a "kangaroo court".
"Already, with the decision on July 23 to establish the committee, the prime minister and the foreign minister declared that the Human Rights Council had long ago turned into the 'terrorist rights council' and a kangaroo court, whose 'investigations' are pre-determined," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement.
The situation in the occupied Gaza Strip is critical for the civilians living there and requires your urgent attention... This is the third serious escalation of hostilities in my six years as High Commissioner. As we saw during the two previous crises in 2009 and 2012, it is innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip, including children, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities, who are suffering the most...
The current conflict and destruction comes at a time when Gaza is still recovering from repeated escalations of hostilities with Israel. The crippling effects of the Israeli blockade and other measures linked to the Israeli occupation of Gaza suppress the ability of the people to go about their daily lives and prevent them from rebuilding their lives and communities after repeated military operations. I reiterate my numerous calls for this blockade to be lifted once and for all.
This latest assault has wreaked further damage to Gaza’s water and sanitation facilities. Fuel and medicine are in critically short supply, and electricity is reduced to a few hours a day, affecting ordinary households as well as compromising the ability of hospitals to treat the many injured, and to care for the most vulnerable people.
The current situation in Gaza has overshadowed the backdrop of heightened tensions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
On 12 June, three Israeli teenagers went missing near Hebron, and were subsequently found murdered. Since then, more than 1,200 Palestinians have reportedly been arrested with some placed in administrative detention; Israel has carried out extensive operations where homes and offices have been raided and property damaged; the Israeli authorities have also resumed a policy of carrying out punitive house demolitions, and nine Palestinians have been killed in incidents involving Israeli security forces, raising serious concerns of excessive use of force, especially in the context of demonstrations against the military operation in Gaza. The killings of all four teenage boys were abhorrent and those responsible must be brought to justice. However, only those responsible for these criminal acts can legitimately be punished. Individuals may not be punished for offences they have not personally committed or be made subject to collective penalties.
Israel holds obligations as an Occupying Power. For Palestinians in Gaza and in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the current reality is not just one of repeated conflict but also one of protracted occupation, with insecurity and a constant daily struggle for human rights, in particular the right to self-determination.
In Gaza, the blockade and Access Restricted Areas continue to undermine the human rights of the population. In the West Bank, ever expanding illegal Israeli settlements; settler violence; demolitions of Palestinian homes; the Wall and its associated regime; excessive use of force; and large scale detentions of Palestinians are some of the ongoing, routine abuses and human rights violations committed against the occupied population.
On July 25, 2014, the United States Congress published a letter addressed to Navi Pillay and signed by over one-hundred members in which the signatories asserted that the Human Rights Council "cannot be taken seriously as a human rights organization" over their handling of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
We learn from this that G-d commanded Moses to avenge the honor of the Jewish people, and Moses, in turn, told the Jewish people to avenge G-d's honor - making Jewish honor and G-d's honor one and the same. The Jewish people represent G-d in this world.
When the Jews are being attacked with rocks or missiles, it is not just against the Jewish people, but also against the Master of the Universe and a desecration of G-d's Holy Name. When the Jewish people take revenge against their enemies, they sanctify G-d's name through the act of vengeance; it is the revenge of G-d himself.
The Torah tells us that Moses' anger was kindled when he saw that women were left alive, and he said: How is it possible that those who led the Jewish people to sin are still alive? The command then went out to immediately to put to death all the women of Midian who were capable of sexual relationships. But surely, you may ask, weren't there some women who were innocent, who did not participate in this sin?
We see here the authentic Jewish answer to those questions during warfare against enemies: There are no innocents when it comes to fighting the enemies of the Jewish people.
"Hashem spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan to the land of Cana'an you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you….
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, those of them that you leave shall be as pins in your eyes and as thorns in your sides and they shall harass you upon the land in which you dwell."
This important warning given over to the Jewish people at the entrance to the Land of Israel was reinforced by Joshua while the Jews were crossing the Jordan River...
Joshua said the following to them: "Know why you are entering the Land of Israel: It is to conquer and remove the nations that live in the Land. If you do so - fine, and if not, then the water of the Jordan will come and wash over you and me together!"
Yes, this was the most important message that Joshua just had to tell the Jewish people at this time, the mitzvah of warfare: We must remove the nations before us, and if not, we will not be able to survive in the Land.
The Rambam lists three different types of obligatory wars, in which all are required to go out and do battle:
1) fighting against the arch-enemy Amalek; 2) fighting the seven nations that lived in the Land of Israel; and 3) troubles which befall the Jewish people, as he explains, when the nations come to wage war against us. Certainly all agree that the wars that Israel fights today are in this category and are obligatory wars, in which we are commanded to go out to war.
Levi Chazen is the Director of the English Division of Yeshivat HaRa´ayon HaYehudi in Jerusalem.
References to genocide and extermination and other devastatingly violent language are no longer “claims” levied by Israeli critics, but a loud and daily self-indictment made by the Israelis themselves.
The Israelis are losing control of their decades-long hasbara, a propaganda scheme so carefully knitted and implemented, many the world over were fooled by it.
Palestinians, those in Gaza in particular, were never blind to Israel’s genocidal intentions. They assembled their resistance with the full knowledge that a fight for their very survival awaited.
Israel’s so-called Protective Edge is the final proof of Israel’s unabashed face, that of genocide. It carried it out, this time paying little attention to the fact that the whole world was watching.
Trending Twitter hashtags which began with #GazaUnderAttack, then #GazaResists, quickly morphed to #GazaHolocaust. The latter was used by many that never thought they would dare make such comparisons.
Israel is seeing a growing and unprecedented violent backlash against its political left due to the conflict in the Gaza Strip, a prominent Israeli peace activist, Maya Wind, told RIA Novosti.
“We are seeing a backlash now. Israeli activists have not been attacked for many years, but now we are seeing many instances of attacks against those who have been protesting against the war. Armed thugs, mobs of right-wing Jewish activists, are walking around and people are being beaten severely and needing hospital treatment.”
Wind said internal tension in Israel remained. Online discussions often resulted in right-wing groups attacking the critics of the Israeli policy, including Israeli celebrities and high-society representatives.
“Those people have lost contracts, they have been banned, they have been targeted with boycotts and big public campaigns wages against them, both private and public figures. This phenomenon is something we have never seen in Israel before and it’s very troubling,” she added.
“The Israeli state is becoming more defensive, not open to any criticism or introspection about what we are doing with Palestinians. The only discourse that exists is how best to rule over the Palestinians and to control them. There is no viable discourse in any mainstream forum about whether we should have the right at all to rule them. That is not even up for discussion.”
Israeli public opinion has overwhelmingly supported Operation Protective Edge, which was launched over a month ago to end indiscriminate rocket fire from Gazan terrorists against Israeli civilians. A poll carried out by The Israel Democracy Institute last month said 95 percent of Israeli Jews believed the offensive was just.
Only a few fringe groups from the Israeli left have voiced opposition to the operation, including radical Haaretz journalist Gidon Levy, who accused air force pilots of perpetrating "the cruelest (and) most despicable deeds", despite going through great pains to avoid civilian casualties.
Haaretz itself has suffered as a result of Levy's pieces [..] and hundreds of readers have cancelled their subscriptions. The paper hired Levy bodyguards after people stopped in the street to insult him and government whip Yariv Levin denounced him as a liar, a "mouthpiece of the enemy" who should be put on trial for treason. "I have never faced such aggressive reaction, never," Levy told AFP in his cramped office at Haaretz in Tel Aviv, away from the coffee shops where he fears being insulted.
"Disconnected from reality, the majority of Israelis pursue their regular way of life... All international opposition to the occupation is read as the “delegitimizing” of Israel and as a provocation to the country’s very existence. The world’s seven billion people – most of whom are against the occupation – are wrong, and six million Israeli Jews – most of whom support the occupation – are right. That’s the reality in the eyes of the average Israeli..." Gideon Levy, Haaretz 4-7-2014
"My biggest struggle is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us… So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard.” Gideon Levy, independent.co 24-9-2010
The more things are intelligent, moderate, measured and proven,
the less they reverberate - Haaretz 7-6-2011
There is no longer any serious intellectual discussion in the Israeli media today," says Prof. Moshe Zuckermann, an intellectual historian at Tel Aviv University. "The discourse has degenerated, and is now completely vacuous." "Nobody tries to examine the political, ideological or social aspects. Nobody asks why something happens and what it says about our fate."
"We are living in a world that is violent - verbally, mentally and militarily," Translator, poet and publisher Rafi Weichert says. "The more things are intelligent, moderate, measured and proven, the less they reverberate. The more extreme, provocative, metaphorical, laden with historical imagery and bloody they are, the more they are heard. We keep expecting more and more blood and extreme language." In this world, people of values have been pushed to the margins. The people of values are no longer on the front line. This is part of the violence and lack of culture in the discourse.
On the evening of 4 November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords. Rabin had been attending a mass rally at the Kings of Israel Square (now Rabin Square) in Tel Aviv, held in support of the Oslo Accords. When the rally ended, Rabin walked down the city hall steps towards the open door of his car, at which point Amir fired three shots at Rabin with a semi-automatic pistol. (Wikipedia info)
Saturday night's left-wing rally at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square attracted thousands of people, but fewer than the number who attended a demonstration showing solidarity with the people of Southern Israel in the same square just two days before.
Right-wing politicians noted that the Left once was able to bring 400,000 people to a rally in Tel Aviv. But now an event sponsored by 10 organizations could not even fill the square.
“The Left has become an endangered species,” said former deputy defense minister Danny Danon (Likud). “We saw it with the small number who came. I have noticed how frustrated people on the Left have become now that the public has realized we are not to blame for the lack of peace.”
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) slammed author David Grossman for his criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu... Erdan accused Grossman of adopting the narrative of Hamas. He mocked him of suggesting that peace could be made with the terrorist organization.
“Of course, Hamas is just as peace-seeking as Al-Qaida and Isis,” Erdan said sarcastically. The Labor Party responded Sunday to criticism at the rally for not attending the event, which was co-sponsored by the Meretz and Hadash parties...
Labor faction chairman Eitan Cabel said: “We want support from people who voted in the last election for Yesh Atid, Kadima, and [Justice Minister Tzipi] Livni's party. We could not receive those votes had we been at the demonstration yesterday."
General Mufti of the Syrian Arabic Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun stressed that "really there are no separate cultures, there is but one single culture" in the world, namely "the culture of mankind"...
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".
(European parlement, 15-1-2008)
Tehran, SANA – Speaker of the Iranian Shura Council Ali Larijani said that the US is trying to exonerate itself from the obnoxious crimes perpetrated in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq through sending aid planes and attacking terrorists in Iraq...”
During the Council’s session held Sunday, Larijani added that the “The hostile policies adopted by the West.., particularly by the US, along with the practices of the ignorant extremist groups in the region have caused a chaos in the Islamic world.”
Larijani criticized the policy of double standards adopted by the US towards the phenomenon of terrorism in the region
He said: “Displacing the Christians and destroying religious sites in Syria has not been an important issue for the US, and the bloodshed and crimes perpetrated by terrorist groups against the Syrian people haven’t hurt the feelings of the US President while now he sends several warplanes to bomb terrorists in Iraq …”
"If the US is a defender of human rights, why it has kept silent towards the crimes of the Zionist entity against the Palestinians and the crimes of terrorist groups against the Syrian people and their crimes against the Iraqi people?"
He indicated that the Syrian people have remained steadfast in face of pressures and terrorist operations for more than 40 months in a time when the US has been continually supporting the terrorist organizations.
Four Saudi men who travelled abroad to fight in Syria’s civil war have been sentenced by a special Criminal Court to prison, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
“The accused were proven to have quit their obedience to the ruler by traveling abroad to fight,” said the SPA report, adding that the men were sentenced to terms ranging between four months and two years and 10 months. Their crimes included forgery of travel documents and money laundering, the report said. King Abdullah decreed in February that citizens involved in fighting overseas faced up to 20 years in prison, a move meant to prevent the radicalization of young people.
Two of those convicted were said to have fought in Syria before becoming disillusioned with the conflict and surrendering to Saudi authorities. The other two had traveled to Yemen with the intention of then going to Syria, other reports say.
The kingdom has called on citizens fighting in Syria, Iraq and Yemen to return home, describing them as “misled” in official statements.
Iraq's prime minister said he would sue the president Monday in a desperate bid to cling to his job, deploying security forces across Baghdad even as violence raged in the north.
A defiant Nuri al-Maliki made his shock announcement after three days of US strikes against jihadist militants in the north of Iraq and in spite of mounting calls for him to step aside.
"Today I will file a formal complaint to the federal court against the president," Maliki said in an address broadcast on the stroke of midnight on state television. He alleged that Iraq's, Kurdish veteran Fuad Masum, had violated the constitution twice, essentially by failing to designate him as the prime minister. The 64-year-old premier had pledged in a 2011 AFP interview he would not seek a third term but he has since changed his mind despite flagging support from nearly all his erstwhile allies: the United States, Iran, Shiite clerics and even his Dawa party.
Atheel Al-Nujaifi, 26-6-2014: "We are trapped between ISIS and the Shiite militias. It is if they are saying to us - the moderates who want to live in peace, you have no place in this new order. Support must be provided for the moderates, for the people who can fight both ISIS and the extremist Shiite militias."
"There is a huge security presence, police and army, especially around the Green Zone," the highly-protected district that houses Iraq's key institutions, a high-ranking police officer said. He said the deployment started at around 10:30 pm (1930 GMT), just 90 minutes before Maliki gave his speech.
"Several streets have been closed... as well as some key bridges," said an official at the interior ministry. "It's all linked to the political situation."
In his brief address, Maliki said Iraq was facing a "dangerous" situation and urged "the sons of Iraq" to be on alert.
The National Coalition (Watania) called political forces to "accelerate the formation of a government of national unity to save the country and develop a roadmap to achieve national reconciliation and establish security and stability, particularly the involvement of all Iraqis in building the country in accordance with the principle of citizenship, except for terrorists, murderers and thieves of public money"
April 2014 the Coalition headed bij Ayad Allawi presented its electoral program under the slogan "civil state - national reconciliation - a real development". The program includes: achieve security, stability, development of the security services and the abolition of the irregular armed entities, as well as building the security services and the armed forces on the basis of loyalty to the homeland and exclude the militias... (National Iraqi News)
Militias in Iraq (Wikipedia): Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad states that "the existence of private militias" has loomed as "a persistent problem."
Brett H. McGurk, Director for Iraq, from the National Security Council has stated, "The Iraqi constitution makes clear that militias are illegal and the new government platform pledges to demobilize militias as one of its principal goals....[The] private militias...purport to enforce religious law through illegal courts. "
U.S. Senator Dennis Falcone has said, "Sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis is being fueled by the private militias.. U.S. Senator John Warner has urged the White House to prod Nouri al-Maliki to empower the Iraqi army to subdue the militias: "It is their job to subdue and get rid of these private militias"
Iraq's president has asked Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's main Shia coalition nominee for prime minister, to form a government.
Fouad Massoum tasked Abadi, first deputy speaker of parliament, with the role during a brief ceremony broadcast live on television on Monday.
"The country is now in your hands," Massoum told Abadi, who moments earlier was selected as nominee for prime minister instead of incumbent Nouri al-Maliki by the Shia National Alliance parliamentary bloc. Maliki remains caretaker prime minister until Abadi can form a new government, which he has 30 days to do.
The official Facebook page for Maliki's State of Law coalition said Abadi's nomination had "no value," and a senior leader in the Dawa party, to which both Abadi and Maliki belong, said Abadi's nomination did not represent the group. "Haider al-Abadi was not nominated by the Dawa party, and he only represents himself," said Khodair al-Hozaei, who served as vice-president, under former President, Jalal Talabani.
News of Abadi's appointment has been welcomed by the US and the UN, with the latter's special representative in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, praising Massoum for fulfilling "his role".
In a televised speech late on Sunday, Maliki had declared that he would file a legal complaint against Masum, for committing a "clear consitution violation" by missing a deadline to ask the biggest bloc in parliament to nominate a prime minister.
Al-Abadi (born in Baghdad, 1952) is one of the leaders of the Islamic Dawa Party, the head of its political office and a spokesman for the party. The Dawa Party backed the Iranian Revolution and also Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Iran-Iraq War.
Al-Dawa party, in contrast to the other Shia Islamic Iraqi opposition parties, took a stance against the 2003 (US-UK) war. Ibrahim al-Jaafari was personally involved in ensuring that Al-Dawa participated in anti war protests across the UK in the run up to the 2003 Iraq war. (Wikipedia info)
Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi had been a close ally of Maliki. He has also served in a number of senior posts under the outgoing prime minister, including as minister of communications and, most recently, deputy speaker of parliament. The more moderate members of the Islamic Da’wa Party—itself a member of the Shi’ite-led Iraqi National Alliance—have backed Abadi over Maliki for the premiership.
Maliki, speaking on Monday, condemned Masoum’s decision to ask Abadi to form a new government, describing it as a “dangerous violation” and “mistake” during a Baghdad press conference.
Izzat Shahbandar, a former member of Maliki’s Islamic Da’wa Party and current head of the “Loyal to the Homeland” electoral coalition, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Iraqi National Alliance is responsible for this situation and the political crisis that is facing the country which has brought us to the brink of military coups, because it is divided against itself.”
“We must recognize the truth that nobody wants to acknowledge; the rule of political Islam in Iraq has failed. The Iraqi treasury is suffering from a lack of reserves, and the government is under threat of being unable to pay the salaries and pensions of more than six million civil servants over the next two months,” he added. “Instead of addressing the political, security and economic crises that Iraq is suffering from, they are carrying out coups and counter-coups against one another,” Shahbandar said.
Damascus, SANA – Members of the General Federation of Trade Unions’ Council discussed on Monday the state of public-sector companies and establishment in terms of production, union work, and plans.
At the closing meeting of the Council’s 18th session, which was attended by Prime Minister- designate Wael al-Halaqi, the members discussed a number of issues pertaining to services, industry, agriculture, economy, and labor, particularly issues that help strengthen national economy and the public sector.
Discussions focused on the construction sector, providing the needs for the textiles sector, workers’ housing, harbors, healthcare, combating corruption, curbing tax evasion, monitoring market prices, and employing the proper standards for selecting individuals for administrative posts.
Dr. al-Halqi said the will-be government is expected to work hard and meet aspirations of the citizens in the framework of partnership among national institutions.
“The new government will set off from administrating the crisis file to resume reconstruction after the achievements of the Army and restoration of security and stability in many areas,” al-Halqi added.
The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) is the sole national trade union center in Syria, it was founded in 1948. By a 1968 decree establishing a single-trade-union system, all trade unions in the country are required to be affiliated to the GFTU.
The union is closely linked with the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and the president of the GFTU, Shaaban Azzouz, is a member of the party. The GFTU is affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions and the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (Wikipedia info)
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) supports and encourages action of trade unions in every country to obtain the rights and demands of the workers, and to defend their interests.
The WFTU, as a class-oriented international trade union organisation, has as its prime objective the emancipation of the working people by means of struggle
• against all forms of exploitation of people;
• against colonialism, imperialism, domination, subservience, and expansionism in the economic, social, political and cultural spheres;
• for the elimination of racism, sexism and any other forms of discrimination;
• for the right to full employment and the guarantee of this right;
• for the abolition of forced bonded and child labour;
• for full and public organised social security coverage;
• for free and public organised vocational training and education for all workers;
• for the providence of means securing access to cultural and recreational activities to all workers and their families;
• for the protection of working environment;
• for the promotion of health and safety at work;
• for the achievement of social, economic and political democracy, respect for human rights, and the implementation of
the Universal Declaration of Trade Union Rights;
• for the promotion of internationalist solidarity, just and lasting peace, peaceful coexistence and mutually advantageous cooperation amongst all peoples and states.
Hamas announced its agreement on allowing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to take control of Gaza’s border crossings on Monday, clearing the way for indirect peace talks with the Israeli government to continue.
The demand was one of Israel’s main conditions at the indirect Palestinian–Israeli negotiations in Cairo in order to agree on an end to the Gaza crisis. Hamas also agreed to allow the PA to take charge of the reconstruction operation in Gaza after hostilities cease, in order to encourage Israel to lift its embargo of the territory, Hamas’s central objective.
Izzat Al-Rashq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and one of those present on its Cairo delegation, said the movement had no objections to the PA taking charge of the reconstruction of Gaza and implementing all agreements. He expressed Hamas’ readiness to hand over the supervision of the Rafah crossing to the PA, as well as the other border crossings on the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian delegation has discussed an action plan to reopen the border crossings, including the Rafah crossing. The plan will be presented later to the Egyptians and Israelis when talks resume on Tuesday.
Egyptian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that both the Palestinian and Israeli sides showed some flexibility in their positions, which promised a breakthrough in the negotiations.
The sources said the flexibility of the two sides was due to the pressure imposed on them by regional and international powers to agree to “compromises” in order to reach a final formula for the resolution of the crisis.
"We are the enemies of one another, I'm sad to say. We all hate one another. We deceive one another. We gloat at the misfortune of one another.., and we conspire against one another..." Gaddafi, addressing Arab League, 19-11-2011
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal called on Arab nations to stand “as one” behind the Palestinians.
Prince Saud issued a statement at the beginning of the OIC meeting, the second emergency meeting of the organization to be held this month.
“The [OIC] Executive Committee is holding its second meeting within one month for deliberations on how to respond to the flagrant Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip..."
“The whole world has followed up the horror and brutality of the Israeli occupation army, which is using the most powerful types of weapons to kill innocent civilians in their homes... What the world has seen in the war on Gaza of tragic images, unprecedented brutality and mass destruction goes beyond all limits of humanity,” the statement added.
Prince Saud called on Arabs to carry out their “collective responsibilities towards our Palestinian brothers who are subject to fierce attacks, targeting their existence and identity.”
“Israel has not hesitated and will not hesitate to go to any extreme without consideration for any regulation, law, legitimacy or humanity, to achieve its goals and objectives...."
Prince Saud urged Arab and Islamic nations “not to absolve ourselves of responsibility,” adding that Israel would not be able to carry out “aggression after aggression” if the Islamic nation was united.
Three weeks of fierce fighting between rival militias in Tripoli have come close to reducing Libya’s capital to an empty shell, as civilians continue to flee for their lives.
“Thousands of refugees have left their homes in Tripoli, which has turned into a ghost city,” a resident told Asharq Al-Awsat. “Businesses are closed and the very few that have not left yet are either in conflict zones, and thus cannot leave, or do not have the means to leave.”
An official estimate has put the number of displaced families at around 11,000, while more flee their homes as violence in and around the city continues to escalate.
The mass exodus of civilians has also coincided with an increase in prices of all commodities that is reducing many of the city’s families to penury.
Asharq Al-Awsat spoke to residents from the less affected parts of the city, who said they had no option but to try to live with the circumstances.
“Welcome to the world’s capital for lines,” one local man said. “This is the first time in Libya’s history that we become familiar with bread lines, this is not to mention lines for fuel and treatment as hospitals are empty of their medical staff.”
As with other commodities in Tripoli, fuel prices have soared as people have been forced to purchase supplies on the black market due to the long lines in front of gas stations.
Damascus Countryside, SANA – Following months of operations against terrorists who had entrenched themselves in the town, the Syrian Arab Army established control of al-Mleiha in Damascus Countryside on Thursday, August 14.
A statement issued by the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that Syrian Arab Army units, assisted by civil defense groups, managed to carry out the task of restoring security and stability to al-Mleiha and the surrounding farms in the Eastern Ghouta area....
The General Command said that with al-Mleiha under control, the Syrian Army has effectively closed the noose on the remaining pockets of terrorists in the Eastern Ghouta, and established a springboard from which these terrorists can be eliminated completely.
The General Command vowed to continue its diligent efforts to combat terrorism and rid Syria of its evil, urging all those who were misled into bearing arms against the state to turn themselves in and benefit from amnesty decrees.
A field commander in the Syrian Army told SANA’s correspondent that the army inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in terms of personnel and equipment, noting that terrorists were afraid of the idea of al-Mleiha slipping from their grasp because they viewed it as a gateway to enter Damascus through Jaramana and the capital’s southern areas.
He explained that the significance given to this town by terrorists resulted in it becoming a reservoir of terrorists from outside Syria, with Saudis, Tunisians, Algerians, Qataris, Joradnians, Yemenis, and others of foreign nationalities joining the ranks of the terrorist organizations operating there under names like “Al-Rahman Legion, Islam Army, Islamic Union of Ajnad al-Cham, and al-Qa’qa’a Brigade,” but foremost among these terrorist groups was the notorious Jabhat al-Nusra.
The field commander said that terrorist turned al-Mleiha into their first line of defense, barricading themselves in residential areas after they forced the locals to flee, littering its streets with landmines and IEDs, and digging a network of tunnels beneath it.
Political analyst Afif Dalla asserted that restoring security to al-Mleiha is of critical importance due to its strategic location in Eastern Ghouta...
He added that this achievement will have tremendous effects on the course of the battle in Damascus Countryside as their loss of al-Mleiha has had a devastating effect on the morale of terrorist organizations that have suffered consecutive defeats and are weakened by infighting and current international and regional political shifts.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has stepped aside, ending political deadlock in Baghdad as the government struggles against insurgents. He resigned on state TV to make way for Haider al-Abadi, who was asked by Iraq's president to form a government.
Appearing on state TV flanked by Mr Abadi and other politicians from the Shia Muslim majority, Mr Maliki spoke of the grave "terrorist" threat from IS before announcing his own exit.
"I announce before you today, to ease the movement of the political process and the formation of the new government, the withdrawal of my candidacy in favour of brother Doctor Haider al-Abadi," he said.
His eight years in office, Mr Maliki said, had been spent combating a mounting wave of terrorism and subversion. He insisted that he had stuck to the law and avoided violence even when he had come under personal attack but now, he said, he did not want to be the cause of the shedding of a single drop of blood.
His spokesman, Ali Mussawi, told AFP news agency that Mr Maliki was dropping his complaint against President Fuad Masum.
The resignation brought an end to eight years of often divisive rule, when Mr Maliki's government was accused of favouring the country's Shia majority.
Tribal leaders and clerics from Iraq’s Sunni-majority provinces who staged a revolt against outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government would be willing to join the new administration if certain conditions are met, a spokesman for the group told Reuters on Friday.
The new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, faces the daunting task of pacifying Anbar province, where Sunni frustrations with Maliki’s sectarian policies have pushed some members of the minority sect to join a raging insurgency led by Islamic State militants.
Sheikh Ali Hatem Suleiman, a key Sunni leader and head of the Dulaimi tribe which dominates Ramadi and the sprawling desert province of Anbar, said during a televised news conference on Friday that he would be willing to work with an Abadi government on condition that the rights of the Sunni community are safeguarded. The tribal leader added that there should be a dismantling of the scores of militias formed by Maliki.
The announcement comes after Iraq’s most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, threw his weight behind the new prime minister and said the transition was a rare opportunity to resolve political and security crises.
Underscoring the urgency of containing a sectarian conflict fueled by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, Sistani urged the military to hoist only Iraq’s flag to avoid factionalism.
The cleric called on lawmakers to meet “historical responsibility,” and cooperate with the Prime Minister designate Haidar al-Abadi to form a government.
New York, SANA – The Security Council on Friday evening adopted resolution no. 2170 on preventing the supporting, funding, and arming of the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra and preventing the flow of terrorists to Syria and Iraq.
The Council urged all UN member countries to take steps to prevent the flow of terrorists and bringing them to justice, in addition to address the issue of individuals who may be at risk of being recruited in order to prevent them from traveling to Syria and Iraq. The resolution prohibits the direct or indirect sale of weapons and related items to ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and individuals associated with them...
The Council voiced concern over the impact of the violent ideology and extremist acts of these two organizations on locals and on their role in causing sectarian tension.
In a statement during the Security Council session, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, said that this resolution is important and hotly-anticipated, particularly by Syria, due to the growing threat represented by ISI, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations which adopt violent and extremist ideals.
Al-Jaafari said that Syria had been fighting a grueling war against takfiri terrorist groups single-handedly on behalf of humanity, with the Syrian government making painstaking efforts to draw the UN members’ attention to the threat these organizations pose. He pointed out that a number of influential countries exerted great efforts to cover up the truth of what is happening in Syria, and these countries continued to support, arm, harbor, fund, and provide media cover for terrorist groups, trying to pass them off either as moderate armed opposition or jihadist opposition.
Al-Jaafari noted that the Syrian government sent the Security Council and other UN bodies hundreds of letters, documents, pictures, videos, and names related to the crimes committed by terrorist groups like ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front, and others, showing the horrifying acts of murder, torture, and terrorizing committed by these groups against innocent Syrian civilians, as well as the genocide-like attacks on certain parts of the Syrian and Iraqi societies, their methodical vandalism of infrastructure in Syria, and their theft and smuggling of petroleum which is sold abroad via Turkish and European brokers.
He said that all documents sent by Syria regarding this issue have been ignored deliberately, and that had they been considered and had the Security Council counterterrorism resolutions been applied, then the situation would not have reached the point it is at today.
In a press conference following the session, al-Jaafari pointed out that the West’s considerations have shifted because its own security is at risk...
Al-Jaafari said the new resolution is positive, even if it came too late.., adding that the resolution also overlooks the role of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in supporting, arming, funding, and sending terrorists to Syria.
He said that the resolution mainly seeks to justify the West’s behavior and policies in the region, with them claiming to fight terrorism when they actually don’t want a resolution that really combats terrorism; rather they want absolution from terrorism and to be seen as being against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
Iraq army seeks help of Saddam-era officials to combat ISIS
Iraqi army has learnt lessons from the fall of Mosul Asharq Al-Awsat, 16-8-2014
The Iraqi military is seeking the assistance of Saddam Hussein-era military officials in a bid to stem the advance of “terrorist” groups, particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which continues its advance in central and northern parts of the country.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat Iraqi Ministry of Defense adviser Lt. Gen. Thamer bin Sultan Al-Tikriti said former officials who served in the military establishment during the era of Saddam Hussein will be able to find a place in the present Iraqi army. They will be organized into military units affiliated with the Iraqi army to help eradicate ISIS and similar-minded groups, the official said.
This comes after Saddam-era military and political officials have been marginalized in post-Saddam Iraq, part of the controversial de-Ba’athification process instituted following the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Tikriti, who comes from Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, said that the security situation in Baghdad has improved following the US airstrikes against ISIS’s stronghold in the north of the country. US operations have created confusion among ISIS’s ranks, he maintained.
According to the official the Iraqi military has learned from its mistakes in Mosul but this does not mean that it is anymore powerful now. Nevertheless, Tikriti said that he is optimistic about the future of Iraq, pointing to the positive developments taking place on the political scene...
The retired US army general who served as Washington’s first occupation chief in Iraq said the country has functionally ceased to exist and urged the Obama administration to decisively support and arm the forces of Iraqi Kurdistan as a fallback. “The Iraq that we knew no longer exists,” Jay Garner told the Guardian.
Garner is a longtime supporter of Iraqi Kurds. In 1991, Garner led US humanitarian operations in Kurdistan following the first Gulf war.
Last Friday, Garner returned from his latest trip to Irbil, the capital of pro-US Iraqi Kurdistan, where he saw the autonomous region again hanging in the balance. Later that day, Navy F/A-18 fighter jets launched the first of the new US air strikes against Isis positions near the city... Garner also met with a brigade of the Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga.
He said the US needed to urgently supply the peshmerga with “heavy machine guns, anti-tank weapons. They need more modern RPGs [rocket propelled grenades], they need mortars and they need some light artillery, and they need mobility.”
"The havoc wrought by Isis has rendered Iraq permanently fractured, and US diplomacy – currently focused on aiding a new government in Baghdad – should stop trying to set the bones."
“There is not an Iraq,” he said. The “very best” Garner thinks the US could hope for in terms of a unitary Iraq “is a confederation, a federal system of Sunnis, Kurds, Shia. I think Iraq is now partitioned and we ought to accept that.” Should reintegration not work, he added, “I believe that we should support an independent Kurdistan.” “The priority right now,” Garner said, “is the survival of Kurdistan.”
US support for an independent Kurdistan “sounds nice, but it doesn’t work in reality,” said Derek Harvey, a former US military intelligence analyst with extensive experience in Iraq.
“Any such idea is ignoring the fact that you’re going to have continued irredentist claims and fighting that exacerbates the sectarian and governance situation in the region. It’s a recipe for continued spillover … Oil isn’t addressed, water isn’t addressed, access to trade isn’t addressed. There are just too many complicating factors,” Harvey said.
Flashback 2003 - Molly Ivins:
"A Crook, a Zionist and an Old Spy"
Oh good. It looks as though we're going to have as big a fight over postwar plans for Iraq as we did over the war itself. Just what we need, more of everybody being at everybody else's throat.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who seems prepared to run the world, favors one Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile-emigre group, as postwar leader. Chalabi is bitterly opposed by both the State Department and the CIA.
Chalabi has been in exile for four decades and, in 1992, he was convicted on multiple counts of embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars in Jordan after the failure of his bank there. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. He escaped from Jordan, reportedly in the trunk of a car, and wound up in London. Dick Cheney is also a Chalabi fan.
The Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz choice for "viceroy designate" of Iraq is Gen. Jay Garner, head of the Pentagon's Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. Garner is a retired military man with links to both the international arms industry and conservative (right-wing) Jewish lobby groups. After retiring from the Army, Garner became president of SY Coleman, a weapons contractor specializing in military defense technology (these include the Patriot missiles which have been widely deployed again in Iraq, and the Arrow defence system that has been sold to Israel)
The third member of the triumvirate that Rumsfeld & Co. want to run Iraq is former CIA chief James Woolsey, who said last week that Iraq is the opening of the "Fourth World War" (counting the Cold War as III) and that America's enemies include the religious rulers in Iran, and states like Syria...
So, we've got a crook, a Zionist and an old spy who thinks this is the beginning of WWIV set to run Iraq. How lucky can the Iraqis get? Is this what we thought we were fighting for? (www.dailycamera.com 2003)
Germany is opposed to the formation of an independent state by Iraq's Kurds, who are currently battling Islamic State jihadists with Western help, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday.
"An independent Kurdish state would further destabilize the region and trigger new tensions," he told the Bild newspaper in an interview. The aim, he added, "was to manage to preserve Iraq's territorial integrity".
Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, is already an autonomous region. Its fighters are being backed by U.S. air power and Western arms deliveries in the fight against Islamic State jihadists.
Steinmeier, who returned from the region on Saturday, welcomed the looming change of government in Baghdad as "maybe the last chance for the unity of the Iraqi state".
Nobel laureate Professor Yisrael (Robert) Aumann is not surprised by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decision to investigate "war crimes" accusations against Israel.
According to Aumann the decision stems not from a concern over "the occupation" or about any Israeli treatment of Arab residents of Gaza - rather, according to the Nobel prize winner, the source of the investigation is anti-Semitism, pure and simple.
Speaking to Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio), Aumann said foreign committees like that of the UNHRC "receive false information from Hamas and Israeli sources," such as the far-left New Israel Fund.
"Anti-Semitism exists... We've returned to Europe in the 19th, 18th and 17th centuries, dozens and hundreds of years. The cause of that is the hatred and jealousy over the success of the Jews...
Robert John Aumann (born June 8, 1930) is an Israeli-American mathematician. He is a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Aumann received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, sometimes referred to as "Nobel prize" for economics, for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis.
Israel National News' Low Quality of Rationality
A good rationale must be independent of emotions, personal feelings or any kind of instincts. Any process of evaluation or analysis, that may be called rational, is expected to be highly objective, logical and "mechanical".
If these minimum requirements are not satisfied i.e. if a person has been, even slightly, influenced by personal emotions, feelings, instincts or culturally specific, moral codes and norms, then the analysis may be termed irrational, due to the injection of subjective bias. (Wikipedia info)
Being an 'authority' is not the same as expressing 'rational, logical behavior'. Sometimes a speaker or writer may use fallacious reasoning to try to persuade the listener or reader, by means other than offering relevant evidence, that the conclusion is true. 'Fallacy' is an argument that uses poor reasoning.
People often use the logical fallacy of authority: A proposition is argued to be true because it is supported by experts or authorities. Everyone recognizes the person as an authority, therefore what he says must be true. This is widely accepted as a method of argument, but strictly speaking, it is a logical fallacy.
Yisrael (Robert) Aumann is simply throwing mud at people, an act of irrationality that is honored by other people because of the fact that he is a VIP (a very important man).
He's not an expert in International Law, but a mathematician who received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences.
If someone isn’t an authority on the subject about which they’re speaking, then that undermines the value of their testimony.
William A. Schabas, recently appointed to head the United National Human Rights Council’s commission of inquiry to investigate the Gaza conflict, is a Canadian academic in the field of international criminal and human rights law. He is a professor of international law, a senior lecturer at Middlesex University, and an internationally respected expert on human rights law, genocide, and the death penalty.
One of the fascinating dimensions of the battle between Israel and Palestine is how Israeli leaders and their American apologists keep changing their propaganda message aimed at generally ignorant Western audiences. The core, but always evolving, message that Zionists keep sending out is that Palestinians who challenge Israel are part and parcel of a larger universe of frightening figures that espouse criminal values, and represent a direct, mortal threat to Israel and all Western civilization.
The latest version of this fear-mongering campaign of lies and fantasy seeks to paint Hamas and others militant Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza as integral elements in the world of vicious actors and terrorists who are fighting in the name of Islam, such as the Salafist-takfiri extremists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, or the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Most people in the United States or other Western lands who hear these messages lack the knowledge to understand that Israel’s accusations are bold and ridiculous lies...
The problem with this latest twist of Zionist propaganda is that it tries to put into a single basket very different groups with totally unrelated inspirations, agendas and operating methods. It aims to tar Hamas, and also Hezbollah in Lebanon, with such extreme attributes that foreigners refuse to deal with them...
This strategy has actually worked for some time, as many Western powers have shunned dealing with Hamas or Hezbollah. Yet that pattern has started to break down in recent years, as foreign governments and civil society activists alike come to understand that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah essentially are locally anchored, state-based resistance groups that fight two battles at once:
They seek to reverse what they say is the Israeli occupation, colonization and subjugation of their countries, and they seek to create a more efficient, less corrupt domestic governance system that responds to the needs of all its citizens. (On balance, they have done much better at fighting Israel than at generating better domestic governance)...
More and more governments and observers around the world have realized that Hamas and Hezbollah have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or ISIS...
The Western ability to ignore Zionism’s wild men in favor of a more rational approach to the world was evident after the formation of the Palestinian national-unity government several months ago. The United States and the European Union among others accepted to engage with it...
Israel and its howlers in Washington will continue to try and lump nationalist resistance groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah with criminals such as Al-Qaeda and its offshoots, but the efficacy of such crude propaganda is steadily decreasing. This means we should be alert to the next set of exaggerations, diversions and lies that Israel and its Western hit men and women will use to prevent any rational accountability of Israeli actions.
Nearly every intelligent witness to the nearly seven decades of Israel’s alliance with the United States and Western Europe now understands that the affair is about to be over.
In 1948 and the years that immediately followed, the alliance was the salvation of Israel and an obligation upon Western Europe. This was because of what had been done to Europe’s Jews during the war, and not only by the Nazis.
The Arab nations’ attempt to destroy the U.N. creation of a Jewish national home at the expense of the Palestinians was also widely understood, and granted a certain international sympathy, but in 1948 the Arab states carried little political weight against the array of West European states and the United States...
Popular sympathy for Israel was widest among liberals in the United States and the European Left—which today is no longer the case.
Today in the United States the endorsement of Israel and financial support from the American Jewish community remain important but diminishing factors in American politics.
Liberal sympathies have moved leftward, hostile to Israel, most significantly among younger Jews and the elites of the community, with growing sympathy for the Palestinian cause and the international divestment movement, which is hostile to the advance of Jewish colonization of what is legally Palestinian territory, and now, above all, in reaction to the ruthless methods of the Israeli government in suppressing Palestinian armed resistance in Gaza to the expropriation of Palestinian lands and property, and to demands for civil rights.
Internationally, the all but unlimited support given Israel in its foreign and domestic policies by the United States does growing harm to the American reputation in the world...
The alliance of the United States with Israel has become internationally seen as an alliance of international lawbreakers, which literally is true because of the indifference both demonstrate to the established norms and conventions of international justice.
It now is time to terminate the Israeli-American alliance. It has contributed to a profound corruption of both nations....
The time has arrived when the United States, in this administration or the next, can and should say to Israel that the time is overdue for it to conclude with the Palestinians a two-state settlement...
Washington should say to Israel’s leaders that Israel has a limited time to accomplish this settlement. If it is not done, within that period, the United States will terminate its military and political alliance with Israel.
Israel’s formal and informal agencies of influence and political action inside the United States will be allowed to function only if they are properly registered as the agencies of foreign governments, and their conduct made fully transparent.
This should preclude illusions harbored by such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, who on several recent occasions has threatened the White House that he can make Congress override the presidency because he controls Congress, thus calling into question the patriotism of America’s legislators.
Communications Minister and Security Cabinet Member Gilad Erdan (Likud) has appealed for Israelis to be patient and to allow the IDF time to complete Operation Protective Edge...
Speaking in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday morning, Erdan revealed that Israel did not yield to Hamas's demands during recent negotiations in Cairo. "Hamas did not receive a single one of its demands and so it appears they have resumed firing," he stated.
Echoing sentiments shared by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu late last week, Erdan said that Israel was not prepared to concede its position of strength by suddenly capitulating to Hamas demands. He also noted that the negotiations were not expected to have achieved any major achievements for Israel apart from a period of calm, and added that
"Israel is the stronger party, it is the party in control here, and so there wasn't much for Israel to receive apart from a long-term period of quiet. That is the achievement that we will receive, but in return we do not need to give anything more than humanitarian affairs."
"When will Hamas reach breaking point? There's no scientific formula," he continued. "At first Hamas wanted to come (to the table) with preconditions and at the end it came without preconditions - in the end it will reach the breaking point.
Flashback 2002 - Ariel Sharon: "They must be beaten"
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon brought an aggressive message to the Knesset yesterday, telling the plenum Israel is at war...
In a rare session with the press Sharon told reporters: "It won't be possible to reach an agreement with them before the Palestinians are hit hard. Now they have to be hit. If they aren't badly beaten, there won't be any negotiations. Only after they are beaten will we be able to conduct talks. I want an agreement, but first they have to be beaten so they get the thought out of their minds that they can impose an agreement on Israel that Israel does not want. They must be beaten: the Palestinian Authority, its forces, and the terrorists," he said, adding, "if they aren't beaten there won't be any political horizon." (By Yossi Verter and Gideon Alon, Ha'aretz, 5-3-2002)
"We cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say “no” and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy." Vladimir Jabotinsky (in "We and the Arabs")
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman implicitly criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, accusing him of surrendering the initiative to Hamas in the wake of the collapse of the latest cease-fire in the South.
In a Facebook post titled "Bring Hamas to submission," Liberman writes: "I hope that it is clear now that the policy of 'quiet will be met with quiet' means that Hamas is the one that takes the initiative..."
"Even if, Heaven forbid, [Meretz chief] Zehava Gal-On was prime minister and [Hadash MK] Dov Henin was defense minister, they, too, would ultimately order a wide-scale military operation to topple the Hamas regime," the foreign minister wrote.
"So when people speak seriously about the security of the citizens of Israel, one needs to understand that there is no other viable alternative but a determined Israeli campaign that leads to one thing – bringing Hamas to submission."
Gal-On's office issued a press release in response to Liberman's post, calling the foreign minister's claims "infantile."
"Liberman is trying to sell us the delusion of liquidating Hamas for years now," the Meretz chairperson said.
"Whoever calls for a more massive response and more assassinations in order to create deterrence and achieve a victory apparently has not learned the bloody lessons of the last month, during which 64 soldiers were killed on the Israeli side and 2,000 Palestinians were killed."
The only way to achieve peace in Israel is to create an Iron Wall, where the Arabs perceive it in their best interest to accept the State of Israel as a Jewish State.
That was the concept of Bismark who played the leading role in the unification of Germany in 1880. He said "there are no eternal friends or eternal enemies, there are eternal interests". The Israelis understand all this very well indeed. The successive American governments understand it less clearly. They, therefore, pressurize the successive Israeli governments to NEGOTIATE surrender of portions of their historic homeland for peace in order that they, the Americans, can include the peace in the list of their achievements. The USA is Israel’s greatest ally, without whom the State of Israel could NEVER have survived. Therefore the Israelis go to the negotiations knowing full well that what the Arabs want, Israel can never give them.
The negotiations drag on endlessly. The Israelis are able to buy time in this way. What have they done with this time that the Likud governments are buying? They are implementing the Iron Wall policy. In 1979 there were no Jews in Yehudah and Shomron (Palestinian Westbank). In a recent interview on CNN with Christian Amanpour, Israeli Minister Naphhtali Bennet stated that there are now 700,000 Jews in Yehudah and Shomron. If the Jewish population of Yehudah and Shomron can double with effluxtion of time and Yehudah and Shomron which is part of Israel's historic homeland is annexed to the State of Isreal as was the position with the Golan Heights, then the Arabs will be faced with the Iron Wall.
In an exclusive interview with Rudaw, the director of the Syrian state media called on the international community to unite against IS in the region, directly accusing Turkey and Saudi Arabia of funding the extremist factions.
- Rudaw: How is it that you have had no clear position so far about the jihadist attacks in Iraq?
- Omran al-Zoubi: Syria is at a great war against terror. This is a war against many terrorist groups, and in particular against the IS, the al-Nusra Front, the Islamic Front and some other extremist groups. Syria has been condemning the IS attacks and will continue to do so in the future. This is a genuine Syrian policy to confront terrorism.
Syria conflict 2013: Cleric Qaradawi
urges Sunnis to join rebels
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian Islamist based in Qatar, told a rally in Doha that every Sunni capable of fighting should support the rebels. Addressing a solidarity rally for Syria in Qatar's capital on Friday evening, Sheikh Qaradawi urged Sunnis throughout the region to follow suit and join the battle.
Our correspondent says the call was a clear sign of how rising sectarianism between Sunnis and Shia threatens to tear the region apart.
- Rudaw: Where is the Syrian government at the moment in its war against IS, and do you think the war will be widened?
- Omran al-Zoubi: This war, I think, will be extended and broadened. It will reach every capital in the world.... What happened to the region is exactly what Syria had long been warning everybody of.
Syria is still at war with terror in all ways possible, including military, intelligence, social, financial and cultural. We fight terror through uniting people and through the media, because we have to acknowledge that there is a media war going on, too. There are some media outlets and social media pages that report about attacks on Iraq and Kurdistan and Erbil and depict it as revolution and a just war. We have to put a stop to all this.
Neither we in Syria nor our brethren in Iraq and Erbil or elsewhere in Beirut and Amman, are able to confront terror single-handedly. No one can confront terror alone. There must be cooperation, genuine cooperation. We have to share intelligence and knowledge. We should also support each other financially, as thousands of families both in Syria and Iraq have been displaced. None of this is possible without our commitment to cooperation.
- Rudaw: The Syrian opposition criticizes President Obama for acting fast in defense of the Kurdistan Region, but not defending the opposition groups against Damascus.
- Omran al-Zoubi: We need to be frank now more than ever. We all know about the connections the Syrian Opposition enjoys abroad in Qatar and Istanbul. The Syrian Opposition has become an apron for the al-Nusra Front, which is a terrorist group. Why are they supporting this group?
Both IS and al-Nusra have common beliefs and grounds and are supported by the same side. This is why the Syrian Opposition is a non-nationalist front and is a failure. It shows their connection with terror groups. No one can hide their true identity for long. We have to be clear and identify problems. At the moment IS and other organizations have benefited from the West turning a blind eye. They have also been benefited by the financial support they are receiving from the Arab nations. We have shown evidence of that in the past and no one has paid attention. And now when things become clearer, the international community is complaining and says IS is a threat! We could have prevented this a year ago.
After the toppling of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt in July 2013 with a Saudi Arabia-supported coup the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria disintegrated within weeks, leaving the FSA merely an empty shell, especially in the northern sectors. Most of the FSA fighters joined more radical Islamist groups like al-Nusra or ISIL.(Turkey Daily News, june 2014)
- Rudaw: If the Kurdistan Region asks for your support against the IS, will you step in?
- Omran al-Zoubi: I honestly want to tell you, the Syrian government is ready principally for any kind of support to defeat the IS on the condition that the countries that supported IS are not part of the alliance. But also Syria should be supported against the IS... We have to confront IS on the principles of our common culture and civilization. This isn’t just a military issue, indeed.
As states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran find ferocious and battle-hardened Isis fighters on their borders, they are more likely to cooperate with each other and the US. In the words of Hillaire Belloc's poem, they're keeping "a-hold of Nurse, For fear of finding something worse." The coming together of old rivals and enemies in opposition to Isis is happening in Iraq, but not yet in Syria where the US, Europeans, Turks, Saudis and Qataris continue with their old bankrupt policy.
This is to get rid of or least weaken President Bashar al-Assad by backing a moderate military opposition that is supposedly going to fight both Mr Assad and Isis. Unfortunately, this group scarcely exists except as a propaganda slogan and a consumer of subsidies from the Gulf. Isis dominates the Syrian opposition and that domination grew greater last week as it captured the towns of Turkmen Bareh and Akhtarin, 30 miles from Aleppo. The Sunni rebellion in Syria may soon be an Isis controlled project as it already is in Iraq. Given that Syria is 60 per cent Sunni Arab, compared to 20 per cent in Iraq, it is easier for Isis to increase its strength there. Any attempt to counter-attack Isis that focuses solely on Iraq is likely to fail because the caliphate straddles the two countries' border.
The present US policy of leaving Mr Assad (backed by Hezbollah, Iran and Russia) to battle Isis alone poses high risks, says Anthony Cordesman, the national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He writes that US policy only works so long as the Assad forces do not lose territory and key cities to Isis and the caliphate "does not make major economic, military, political and religious gains".
He adds that the present stance of the US and its Arab allies assumes the existence of a moderate Sunni resistance not dominated by Isis. If Isis is able to maintain its "sanctuary" in eastern Syria, the caliphate will be able to reinforce its "capabilities in Iraq and steadily increase the threat to Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other neighbouring states". In practice, none of the conditions for a successful US policy in Syria have been met. Since Isis expanded its caliphate to cover almost all of eastern Syria, its neighbours have every reason to be frightened.
Washington and Damascus are "not on the same page" in the fight against their common enemy the Islamic State, whose militants have declared a "caliphate" straddling swathes of Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials said Monday. The United States has been battling IS insurgents just over the Syrian border in Iraq with a series of air strikes that began on August 8.
While acknowledging that Syria and the United States shared a common enemy, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the two have yet to share common ground. "I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here in terms of what we're doing," Harf said.
On Monday, Syrian warplanes bombed IS positions in the northern province of Raqa for a second day and warplanes targeted several IS-held positions in Aleppo province.
"It's a good thing when ISIS fighters are taken off the battlefield, period," Harf said, using another acronym by which the group is known. But "I'm not going to say that we share anything in common with the Syrian regime," she added.
On February 22nd, John McCain was in Lebanon. He met members of the Future Movement (the party of Saad Hariri) whom he charged to oversee the transfer of arms to Syria... Then, leaving Beirut, he inspected the Syrian border and the selected villages including Ersal, which were used as a basis to back mercenaries in the war to come. In May 2013, Senator John McCain made his way illegally to near Idleb in Syria via Turkey to meet with leaders of the "armed opposition". His trip was not made public until his return to Washington.
In photographs released at that time, one noticed the presence of Mohammad Nour, a spokesman for the Northern Storm Brigade (of the Al-Nosra Front, that is to say, al-Qaeda in Syria).
Asked about his proximity to al-Qaeda kidnappers, the Senator claimed not to know Mohammad Nour who would have invited himself into this photo. The object of his illegal trip to Syria was to meet the chiefs of staff of the Free Syrian Army.
According to him, the organization was composed "exclusively of Syrians" fighting for "their freedom" against the "Alouite dictatorship” (sic). Back from the surprise trip, John McCain claimed that all those responsible for the Free Syrian Army were "moderates who can be trusted" (sic).
BAGHDAD, Iraq – As Iraq’s Kurds headed for Baghdad to negotiate their place in the next government, outgoing prime minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that anyone who does not support Iraq’s unity should not be in the new government.
“Nobody should be in the government if they do not support the unity of Iraq, if they are sectarian, or support militias, or if they are influenced by foreign agendas,” said Maliki during a weekly televised speech.
“Political stability is a must. We must avoid rivalry and delaying tactics in the new government,” said Maliki, whose successor was named even as he insisted on clinging for a third term.
Maliki’s speech came as delegates from the autonomous Kurdistan Region, which has furiously opposed Maliki and has announced plans for a referendum to separate from Iraq, were headed for Baghdad to negotiate ministerial posts in the new government.
Maliki said in his speech that negotiations for the new government are underway with all political blocs, led by the newly designated Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. “We welcome those who agree or disagree with us in the political process, but not those that work for foreign agendas.”
Sharif Shihada, Syrian MP and one of the most popular Assad defenders, talked to ARA News about the recent developments in Syria and expressed the view of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on several contemporary issues.
Regarding the regime’s position on the announcement of Caliphate by militants of the Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria and several Iraqi provinces, Shihada said: “The Syrian government does not recognize armed terrorist groups.”
“Terrorists of IS went too far with their ambitions, but the Syrian Arab Army will soon cleanse the Syrian territory from all terrorists...” "Assad’s forces have intensified their operations against the strongholds of IS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor “to liberate Syrians”....
“We do not differentiate between the so-called FSA (Free Syrian Army), Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic Front or Islamic State; they are all terrorists who try to control people’s lives by force under attractive banners such as freedom and in the name of Islam,” Shihada said.
According to Shihada, the pro-regime army defeated the FSA (the main armed opposition body). “The FSA does not exist anymore. Those who fight the Syrian regime at the moment are merely radical Islamists.”
Regarding the recently announced Auto-Administration by Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria’s Kurdish-majority areas, Shehada conveyed the Syrian regime’s point of view saying: “The Syrian government will not allow any autonomous entity on the Syrian land. Syrian Arab Republic will never allow any faction to establish a self-rule administration.” “People who try to live separately and independently from Syria are not welcomed and we do not recognize them...”
"We the countries of the ‘London 11’ Core Group of the Friends of Syria have agreed unanimously
to take further steps together, through a coordinated strategy, to: increase our support for the moderate
opposition National Coalition, its Supreme Military Council and associated moderate armed groups.. " US Department of State, 15-5-2014
TRIPOLI — A senior Arab League official has criticized the call by the House of Representatives for foreign intervention to stem fighting between Libyan militias. Arab countries should solve their problems without recourse to outsiders, said Fadel Mohammed Jawad, Arab League’s assistant secretary general for political affairs. At the most, he said, they should only turn to other Arab states for assistance.
Jawad, who had attended the HoR inaugural meeting last week, said in a statement Tuesday that the Arab League was following events in Libya “with great interest and concern”. The Arab League deeply regretted the death and destruction caused by rival militias.
Even though he had condemned the new parliament’s call for foreign help, Jawad hailed it as a “major political step for the political process in Libya”. He hoped the HoR, with the help of neighboring and other Arab countries, could establish peace in Libya.
The United Arab Emirates has toughened anti-terrorism laws, local media reported Thursday, as concerns mount worldwide about increasing violence being committed by radical Islamist groups. President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahayan "enacted federal law number seven of 2014 on terrorist crimes", the official WAM news agency said. "The law stipulates that those found guilty of attacking or threatening the President, the Vice-President or any of the Rulers of the Emirates and their family members, and those conspiring against the state and government will face capital punishment," the Khaleej Times daily reported...
The tougher penalties come amid regional and international fears about the rise of the radical Islamic State jihadists, who have seized territories in Syria and Iraq.
The UAE is following the lead of neighboring regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia. The ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom in February announced jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist groups" and fighting abroad. It also laid out tough sanctions for anyone backing such organisations.
President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that France had delivered weapons to rebels battling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad "a few months ago." "We cannot leave the only Syrians who are preparing a democracy ... without weapons," he said.
What is happening currently in Syria is "terrible," he said. "On one side, the state of Bashar al-Assad which continues to crush and massacre, on the other side the Islamic State, and, in the middle, those who were supposed to lay the ground for the future, caught in a pincer movement."
"So we should not stop the support that we have given to these rebels who are the only ones to take part in the democratic process," said the president.
Hollande said that France had shipped "material that conformed with European commitments" without offering further details. He added in that interview that the international community bore a "heavy responsibility" for what is happening in Syria, with its knock-on effects in Iraq. "If, two years ago, we had acted to ensure a transition, we wouldn't have had Islamic State.
Syria 2012: Omar Gharba, a Wahhabi cleric and 'moderate' member of the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA)
Virtually everyone agrees that the FSA is dominated by Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood and various other hardline Salafist groups known for violently seeking sharia law and strict enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic doctrine.
In December of 2012, Reuters, among numerous other establishment sources, reported that the Free Syrian Army had chosen a leader for its new “Islamist-dominated command.”
Despite official Western claims about the Free Syrian Army, even Reuters admitted that the make-up of the outfit was dominated by Islamists. “The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam,” the news service reported.
Incredibly, the supposed “army” was widely touted in the establishment press and among Western officials as the “moderate” alternative simply because known al-Qaeda fronts were not invited to participate in the meeting. Shortly after the selection of leaders, the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood demanded that the “international community” immediately “fulfill its obligations” and provide more weapons to the FSA.
To whom exactly would the weapons be provided, though, and for what purpose? According to a recent report by NBC News it is difficult to determine where the FSA’s sympathies lie, mostly because it is actually just an “army in name only.”
Unnamed American officials commenting for the article offered some insight into how the administration could claim that the rebellion is mostly composed of “moderates”: Only rebels fighting directly under al-Qaeda command are counted as “extremists.”
A "moderate" individual, by definition, is ABSOLUTELY NOT someone who would take-up arms against their fellow countrymen, intending to kill all men, women and children who get in their way. Obama and Bush could never have started, or maintained, these wars of terror without first destroying and rearranging all known human vocabulary.
If the nature of the Free Syrian Army’s name was ambiguous since its inception in 2011, it is clear today that it is nothing but a label for media consumption. In fact, it never constituted an umbrella group and it did not succeed in creating real leadership that would direct the activities of armed groups present on the ground.
Hundreds of groups claimed to be part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Announcing their FSA affiliation was a mere pathway to receiving foreign support. Funders – most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait’s Salafis – were keen on the Islamist identity of the groups receiving support without requiring them to announce it publicly.
In 2013, the picture became clearer. The Islamist discourse became public and most groups organized under the rubric of new fronts that are predominantly jihadist in nature. Groups that used to claim affiliation with the FSA united with hardline groups that never once raised the FSA flag. An example would be the Tawhid Brigade joining ranks with Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham Movement in creating the Islamic Front which became the third part in a tripartite alliance of opposition forces along with al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
If al-Nusra Front and ISIS’s extremist credentials are well-known, the Islamic Front is no less extreme, especially the Ahrar al-Sham Movement which can be described as the Syrian al-Qaeda.
President Barack Obama 28-5-2012: "By helping those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own future, we push back against the growing number of extremists who find safe-haven in the chaos." "I will work with Congress to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and a brutal dictator."
If the West in general and the United States of America in particular had not created extremists in the Pakistani Madrassah (religious schools), to whip up dissent among the Pashtun in Afghanistan, creating the religious fighters (Mujaheddin) to use against the Soviet-backed progressive Socialist governments in Kabul, which were addressing human rights, women's rights and children's rights, creating a socially progressive and inclusive State, there would be no Taliban today.
If the West in general and the United States of America and United Kingdom in particular had not destabilized Iraq, removing the (Baathist - Socialist) Government of Saddam Hussein, the country would not have imploded into what we see today...
If the West in general and the FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US) in particular had not destabilized Libya, removing the (Socialist) Jamahiriya Government of Muammar al-Qathafi, the country would not be living the nightmare it is living today, with rival gangs attacking each other, city fighting against city and a mosaic of fragmentation.
AMMAN — Jordan will on Sunday take part in an Arab foreign ministers meeting to be hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss the Syrian conflict and the rise of Islamic State jihadists, Egypt’s foreign ministry announced Saturday.
Along with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are to take part in the talks that will be held in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Agence France-Presse reported.
The meeting will address “the growing presence in Iraq and Syria of extremists, notably the Islamic State [IS]”, the ministry said in a statement.
Jordan is the largest host of Syrian refugees and a neighbour of Iraq. It has beefed up its military presence on the eastern border, in a move seen as a precaution after the rise of IS. Since declaring a “caliphate” in June, IS has conducted a lightning offensive, taking control of territory straddling Iraq and Syria.
Cairo, SANA – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that he will be taking part in a meeting with four other foreign ministers from Arab countries to seek a political solution for the crisis in Syria in light of the growing threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization.
A statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that this meeting comes in light of the deteriorating situation in the region and the growing influence of extremism movements and ISIS, which necessitates finding a political solution for the crisis in Syria to restore stability in it and establish suitable conditions for combating terrorism which is now a phenomenon that threatens regional security in an unprecedented manner.
Aleppo - Syria - 2012
Flashback: Syria and Iran: the great game
Alastair Crooke, guardian.co.uk, 4 November 2011
This summer a senior Saudi official told John Hannah, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, that from the outset of the upheaval in Syria, the king has believed that regime change would be highly beneficial to Saudi interests: "The king knows that other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria."
This is today's "great game" – losing Syria. And this is how it is played: set up a hurried transitional council as sole representative of the Syrian people, irrespective of whether it has any real legs inside Syria; feed in armed insurgents from neighbouring states; impose sanctions that will hurt the middle classes; mount a media campaign to denigrate any Syrian efforts at reform; try to instigate divisions within the army and the elite; and ultimately President Assad will fall – so its initiators insist.
It is already no "game", as the many killed by both sides attests to. The radical armed elements being used in Syria as auxiliaries to depose Assad run counter to the prospect of any outcome emerging within the western paradigm. ... Today Europe looks the other way, refusing to consider who Syria's combat-experienced insurgents taking such a toll of Syrian security forces truly are. Europe and the US think it is OK to "use" precisely those Islamists (including al-Qaida) who absolutely do not believe in western-style democracy in order to bring it about. But then, why not just look the other way and gain the benefit of the public enjoying Assad's kicking? (The Guardian 2011)
Meir Dagan: "Sunni regime good replacement for Assad"
Yoav Zitun, (YNetNews 21 juni 2011)
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan says Sunni regime good replacement for Assad, as it would hinder Hezbollah.
"They may not be lovers of Israel, but there is no doubt this would harm Hezbollah, weaken it, harm the strategic backing it receives from Syria, minimize the Iranian influence in the field, increase influence by Saudi Arabia and Gulf States on it, and increase chances it will open up to the West," Dagan said.
He added that the Iranian nuclear threat is not only a threat to Israel. "It is a central challenge for states that reside along the Persian Gulf, the free world, and the US," he told a Netanya College ceremony.
Mousa al-Omar: There's no such thing called FSA anymore.
They're all Islamist brigades - YouTube, 13-10-2013
Mousa al-Omar, a Syrian opposition newscaster for al-Ghad TV (Tomorrow TV) broadcasting from London, explains briefly how the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) became strong in Syria and shoots down idiotic conspiracy theories made by some in the Syrian opposition that ISIL is connected to Syrian or Iranian intelligence services. He also states that there's no such thing as the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) in Syria anymore. He confirms that all the fighting rebel forces on the ground are, in fact, Islamist brigades.
"Why did it become strong in our country, Syria? Because, in short, it buys weapons grom the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA). "You have a tank, PK machine gun, a DShk, or anything else, we [ISIIL] are ready to buy. Here you go!"
A tank for 10M, Dhsk for 2M, whatever it is, they [ISIL] can pay! They have plenty of dollars. You can get whatever you want. They have no problem. The FSA is two types: one that sells because it needs to pay its members a living and another that likes war loot and things like that..., which means it's corrupt, so it sells weapons for financial gain...
Some say they are Syrian intelligence, that they are coordinating with Assad's secret services. I've never seen a Syrian secret agent becoming a suicide bomber or martyrdom seeker. In other words, one that loads half a ton in a car and goes to blow himself up in a checkpoint.
Some say they are Iranian secret agents. How can they, ISIL, be as such when they detonated 500 booby-trapped cars within 6 months in Shiite areas in Iraq? How is that possible? The truth of the FSA is a big lie, i.e. the word "Free Syrian Army". There's no such thing called FSA anymore. They're all Islamist brigades. (Source: al-Ghad TV)