MKs urge Netanyahu to tell Obama:
Back to the Future
We won't give up Temple Mount, Israeli rabbis tell Obama
Religious Zionist rabbis and educators issued a petition directed at the Israeli and American leaders, stating that the Jewish ownership of the holy site preceded the existence of Islam.
" Excavations in Jerusalem [...] undermined the fantasies about the glorious past [and] failed to find any traces of an important tenth-century kingdom, the presumed time of David and Solomon. No vestige was ever found of monumental structures, walls or grand palaces, and the pottery found there was scanty and quite simple" (Shlomo Sand, Invention of the Jewish people)
Ben Gurion ignored scientific evidence when it faulted the story of the Bible that recounted "the promise of the Land of Canaan to the seed of Abraham and Sarah.
Ben Gurion's efforts prevailed throughout Israel as the Bible became the national textbook and "the creation of a common 'ethnic' origin for the religious communities scattered throughout the world, and (a means to) self-persuasion in the claiming of proprietary rights over the country" (Sand 111).
Unfortunately for Ben Gurion's protestation to the contrary, archeological and scientific evidence demonstrates that the genocide at Canaan never occurred, the Exodus never happened and the kingdoms of David and Solomon were and are but myths....
Ben Gurion's lies and deceptions have insulated Israel from censure for stealing the land of Palestine from its rightful indigenous population. As Sand puts it, "The book (Bible) was transferred from the shelf of theological tracts to the history section, and adherents of Jewish nationalism began to read it as if it were reliable testimony to processes and events".
William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy and The Chronicles Of Nefaria. He can be reached at: www.drwilliamacook.com
Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready to joint work with Saudi Arabia to find mutually acceptable solutions to crisis situations in the Middle East and Riyadh is also interested in expanded cooperation with Russia, Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, said in an interview with the Russian View magazine published on Monday.
"Russia and Saudi Arabia maintain close dialogue on the most pressing issues of the regional agenda on a regular basis," he said.
"Taking in consideration the role played by the Kingdom in the Arab and Muslim world, it would be extremely difficult to ensure lasting peace in the hotspots of the region without involving Saudi Arabia in the international efforts to settle the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East."
"Moscow has repeatedly stated that it remains ready and open to working together with Saudi Arabian colleagues on searching mutually acceptable ways to settle the Syrian crisis, stopping violence in Yemen and stabilizing the situation in Iraq, Libya and Palestine," the Russian diplomat noted.
"We know that the Saudi Arabia shares this commitment. The Kingdom appreciates our principled and unswerving position on Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We share views on many issues of the way the international relations system should develop."
"To our opinion, a vital point is that this time the Saudi side displays an interest in deepening its cooperation with Russia without demanding that we should ‘adjust’ our policy in the Middle East, as it used to do in the most recent years," Bogdanov said. "We expect that the new positive approaches of the Saudi partners will be supported by practical steps. As far as we are concerned, we are prepared to do our own part of the process."
"There are definitely prerequisites for joint political work. For one, our unequivocal support of the Arab Peace Initiative put forward by the Saudi leadership in 2002," he underscored.
According to Bogdanov, Moscow thinks it is too early to speak about cardinal improvement of the situation in the Middle East, nonetheless the progress that has been achieved is to be consolidated.
"To consolidate the progress that has been achieved so far, we need thorough and earnest cooperation which requires close coordination among all the stakeholders."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that the upcoming Syria talks should not be based on demands for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Speaking at a press conference in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Monday, Lavrov said that such an approach was “simplistic” and that the summit should be instead focused on agreeing delegates for the Syrian opposition and which groups should be considered as extremists.
He noted that Russia had already shared its “list of terrorist organizations" with its partners on Syria, and that during the upcoming rounds of talks, scheduled for the weekend, Moscow expects the drawing up of a “unified list, so that there are no issues about who is striking whom and who is supporting whom."
Lavrov also called for wider participation in the talks, saying that following this weekend’s summit, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League should be included.
Al-Jaafari : we faced political obstinacy and ignorance|
Syrian Arab News Agency, December 14, 2012
NEW YORK, SANA_ Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that it is paradoxical that the issuance of 6 press statements to condemn terrorist bombings carried out by the al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra were hindered at the UN Security Council...
He went on to say that "Since October 2011, Jabhat al-Nusra announced its responsibility for carrying out 600 attacks, including more than 40 suicide attacks and other attacks using weapons and explosive devices, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, Daraa, Homs, Idleb and in Deir Ezzor.
"From the beginning of the crisis, Syria tried hard to draw the attention of the member states to the presence of armed terrorist intervention in its internal affairs, but we faced political obstinacy and ignorance of issues related to the political geography and huge media falsification which made the senior officials of this organization deny the reality and reach wrong conclusions about the situation in Syria", al-Jaafari said.
President al-Assad: "They have assassinated the qualified and intellectuals|
to spread their ignorance on our minds" - Syrian Arab News Agency, 6-1-2013
... They have killed civilians; they have assassinated the qualified and intellectuals to spread their ignorance on our minds; they sabotaged the infrastructure built with the people's money to make suffering pervade into our lives; they prevented children from their schools to devastate the future of the country and express their wildness and they cut off electricity, communications and fuel supply, leaving the elderly and children suffering from the cold weather without medicine to emphasize their savagery. ...
Because takfiri thought is alien to our country, they had to import it from abroad …Thus, takfiris, terrorists, Qaeda members calling themselves Jihadis streamed from everywhere to command the combat operations on the ground...
It is not a matter of loyalists against opposition, nor an army vis-à-vis gangs and criminals… We are in a state of war in the full sense of the word… We are repelling a fierce outside aggression in a new disguise, which is more lethal and dangerous than a traditional war...
"Who talks only about the political solution and turns the blind eye to these facts is either an ignorant of the facts or a coward who immolates his country and citizens to the criminals and those who support them, the matter which we will not allow, "
Muammar Gaddafi: "Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right.|
Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him." (The Green Book, Part Three, Chapter Eight)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly seeking US recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights due to the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu allegedly wanted a “different thinking” regarding the issue during talks with Barack Obama.
The possibility of the Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights in 1981 being recognized was raised during Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Obama, according to Haaretz sources close to the discussions. The publication mentioned that Netanyahu believes the absence of a functioning Syrian government “allows for different thinking” concerning the future status of the strategically important area...
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War, which created an armistice line under Israeli military control. Syria unsuccessfully tried to retake the Golan Heights during the 1973 War. An armistice was concluded in 1974 resulting in a UN observer force being deployed along the ceasefire line.
In 1981 Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights, a move that is not recognized internationally. Over the last three and a half decades, Israel has built more than 30 Jewish settlements in the area. Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Israel has carried out a number of military operations as fighting reached the Golan ceasefire lines.
Netanyahu’s former ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, earlier this week, urged Netanyahu “to ask for American recognition of full Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights through a presidential declaration and accompanying letter,” the Times of Israel states.
“Syria as we knew it has ceased to exist,” Oren claimed, stressing that Israeli recognition would result in the “stabilization and rehabilitation of the area.”
In July, Netanyahu’s former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser also urged the Israelis to seize the “historic opportunity” and seek international recognition of its presence on the Golan.
“Forty years on, in light of Syria’s collapse, Islamic State’s takeover of huge areas in the Middle East and the ‘rotten compromise’ expected with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the achievement that Israel needs and can attain is to update the international stance, and ratify and upgrade the US stance on the Golan,” Hauser wrote in an article published in Haaretz.
Flashback: UN Renews Demand that Israel Rescind Its Decision
to Annex Occupied Golan, Comply with UNSC Resolution 497
SANA, Nov 16, 2012
The United Nations renewed its demand that Israel comply with the international legitimacy resolutions, particularly the UN Security Council Resolution No. 497 which considers Israel's decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan as "null and void and without international legal effect".
The resolution demanded Israel immediately to rescind its decision to annex the Golan. .. Israel is also demanded to stop imposing the Israeli nationality and the Israeli ID cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Golan and to halt its suppressive measures taken against the Golanese.
161 countries voted in favor of the draft resolution. 35 countries contributed in presenting it which confirms the big international support to the issue of Syria's full restoration of the occupied Syria Golan to the June 4, 1967 line.
The Israeli occupation of the Syrian and Palestinian territories led to displacing of about half a million Syrian Citizens from the Golan, to which they have not been hitherto able to return, and of about a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees living in Syria who were deprived of the right to return to Palestine. (golan67.net)
Syrian government forces received intelligence on terrorist positions around the besieged Kweires airbase from opposition sources, which helped them lift the two-year blockade, the Russian Defense Ministry has revealed.
“This airfield had been surrounded by ISIS [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist group] for two years,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian defense ministry, said in a daily briefing. “Intelligence on the locations of the terrorist fire positions and support points around Kweires was provided by the Syrian opposition and cleared by the communication center in Baghdad.”
Russia has been calling on moderate opposition forces in Syria to strike a truce with the government and fight together with it against the common terrorist threat.
Lifting the siege on the airbase in Aleppo provinces has been one of the biggest victories for Damascus since Russia started providing air support for Syrian government forces.
Konashenkov reported that over the past two days Russian airplanes have conducted 85 combat sorties and attacked 277 targets in Syria. The airstrikes were conducted in the provinces Aleppo, Damascus, Latakia, Hama, Homs and Idlib, he said.
The general said intelligence from the opposition also helped the Russian air force to deliver a series of strikes around the city of Hama and prevented a planned offensive operation of the enemy. The opposition also provided data to help target a big weapons depot of the Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, near the village Mheen in the Homs province, Konashenkov revealed.
Iran’s president said on Wednesday that any resolution of the Syrian conflict must focus on the need for strong government in Damascus, and not only on the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.
It is “not a question of a person, it is a question of security and stability,” Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said in an interview with French media, according to the France 2 television channel - though he did not mention Assad by name.
“We must all make efforts to eradicate terrorism in Syria and ensure that peace and stability return,” he said in the interview, also broadcast on Europe 1 radio.
“What country has managed to fight terrorism without a strong state to fight terrorism”, said Rowhani. “We must first of all, in Syria, eradicate terrorism. It is the first priority... We must create security so that the people can come home.”
As for who should run the country, “it is all in the hands of the Syrians. It is for them to decide who is their leader,” said Rowhani.
Aleppo - Syria
Rowhani’s comments come ahead of a new round of international talks on Syria in Vienna on Saturday.
The talks will bring together around 20 countries and international bodies to try to agree on a roadmap for peace that would include a ceasefire between Assad’s forces and some opposition groups.
While this country is great with its people and commitment to liberty, we see our liberties being eroded and infringed upon by a “security driven ideologies” that engaged us in reckless wars based on lies from Vietnam to Iraq.
America’s strength is in the loyalty and commitments of its citizens to a free country, a country not ruled by a criminal alliance between Wall Street and Washington, or an alliance between Washington and Tel Aviv.
We need to go back to the basic principles that made this country a great country, with Main Street as its backbone, heart and soul. We need to bring the troops home to help rebuild the deteriorating infrastructure, rather than destroy what is left of the infrastructure of many countries where we are engaged in wars and targeted killings.
We must recognize the sad truth that since WWII when we fought to liberate tens of millions in Europe we have not engaged in a single morally justified war...
We went to war in Vietnam based on lies by the president of the United States and we went to war in Iraq with the same lies by the president of the United States… that does not speak well of our political leadership.
Our Congress was hyped for war with incitement from certain lobbies with loyalties to foreign nation, and incitement by our not so trustworthy media and it was total disaster by any and all means.
While our senators like Hillary Clinton who voted for the wars were talking and praising our fighting men and women and taking photo opportunities with soon to be dispatched soldiers, and taking pictures next to F-15s, no one bothered to go down the streets to visit our Veterans hospitals to see if they are ready to meet the needs of injured and maimed veterans by the tens of thousands...
One has to wonder what $3 trillion wasted on wars could have done for this nation… maybe the day will come when those leaders who take us to war on false premises and lies can stand trial for murder and fraud.
Happy Veterans Day.
Congressman Donald Rumsfeld sent a letter to Robert F. Kennedy on behalf of the Zionists and status of AZC FARA registration on 07/15/1963. It appears Rumsfeld has been working on behalf of Israel and the Zionists his entire career... (target freedom usa, 10-12-2014)
Kennedy & The Lobby|
Voltaire Net, 2-5-2013
At the time when he was still a young journalist covering the United Nations inaugural conference, John Kennedy was troubled by Israel’s ability to buy politicians, up to and including the President himself.
By recognizing the State of Israel on May 15, 1948, despite the unanimous disapproval of his government, President Harry Truman not only gained a place in biblical history ("Truman’s historic act of recognition will remain forever inscribed in golden letters in the 4000-year history of the Jewish people”, declared the Israeli ambassador), he also pocketed two million dollars to revitalize his re-election campaign. "That’s why our recognition of Israel was rushed through so fast,” Kennedy told his friend novelist and essayist Gore Vidal.
In 1960, John Kennedy himself received a financial aid offer from the Israeli lobby for his presidential campaign. He decoded Abraham Feinberg’s proposal for his journalist friend Charles Bartlett in the following terms: "We know your campaign is in trouble. We’re willing to pay your bills if you’ll let us have control of your Middle East policy."
Bartlett recalls Kennedy’s promise that "if he ever did get to be President, he was going to do something about it." Between 1962 and 1963, he submitted seven campaign finance reform bills but all were defeated by the influential groups they sought to restrain.
MK Benny Begin (Likud) on Thursday said he did not see any possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians on the horizon.
Speaking at the Haaretz Peace Conference, Begin said the Arab-Israeli conflict has no solution, because neither the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) nor Hamas will accept an agreement that includes recognition of Jewish sovereignty in any part of what they consider to be "Palestine".
"The Palestinians never waived their right to the land,” Begin stressed. He added that the PLO cannot sign an agreement that includes a waiver of the right of return and acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the Jewish people over the land of Israel.
"If someone thinks he can impose an agreement on the PLO, that is not possible. A change in the situation requires a change in the Arab leadership. Without an agreement we have to either leave [the disputed areas] or stay in them..."
The Holy Land & the unholy people
"They must teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is unholy. They must show the people how to tell the difference between what is clean and what is unclean." Ezekiel 44
Jimmy Carter: "An enormous wall snakes through populated areas of what is left of the West Bank, constructed on wide swaths of bulldozed trees and property of Arab families, obviously designed to acquire more territory and to protect the Israeli colonies already built.
Combined with this wall, Israeli control of the Jordan River Valley will completely enclose Palestinians in their shrunken and divided territory. Gaza is surrounded by a similar barrier with only two openings, still controlled by Israel." (Wikipedia info)
US President Barack Obama’s former Middle East envoy Martin Indyk claimed at Haaretz's Peace Conference on Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, back in 1996 during his first term in office, was ready to give up on the Golan Heights for "peace." "Every Israeli leader, (Yitzhak) Rabin, (Ehud) Barak and also Netanyahu supported a complete withdrawal from the Golan, if it brought peace," claimed Indyk.
Addressing the Israeli public, Indyk said, "you are not a victim. The leaders of Israel convince you that you the public are a victim in order to create a lack of hope. I tell you: don't accept the assumption that you will live on your swords forever." ...
"Even when Abu Mazen (PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas) keeps all his obligations, they still say there is no partner."
"You have the ability to turn the other side into a partner," he stated. "Abu Mazen will be a partner, if Israel will be ready to evacuate the settlements. The settlements are the problem."
"The construction in the settlements that continues daily prevents the possibility to return these territories in a future deal. It is impossible to speak about two states while controlling the ground, and thereby continuing the occupation."
Flashback: "That what is sacred in the world is man" General Mufti of the Syrian Arabic Republic, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun
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".
Sheikh Hassoun ("I am Sunni in practice, Shiite in allegiance. My roots are Salafi, and my purity is Sufi.") was born in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in 1949.
Multiple "terror" attacks in Paris increased the pressure on some 20 countries and organizations meeting in Vienna on Saturday to overcome deep divisions and help end Syria's horrific civil war.
Witnesses said that the gunmen who killed at least 120 people in Friday's wave of attacks shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is greatest") and blamed France's military intervention in Syria against Islamic State (IS) extremists.
The Vienna talks, involving key players Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as Russia, come however as rebels suffer a number of setbacks in Syria and Iraq, with Russian strikes helping President Bashar Assad's regime regain territory.
Arriving in the Austrian capital, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the "heinous" attacks in Paris are in "violation and contravention of all ethics, morals and religions". "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long called for more intensified international efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and shapes," he said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Friday met with Jubeir as well as the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Steffan de Mistura, had warned before heading to the talks that a quick breakthrough was unlikely. "I cannot say... that we are on the threshold of a comprehensive agreement, no," Kerry had said on Thursday. "The walls of mistrust within Syria, within the region, within the international community are thick and they are high."
At the last Syria talks on October 30, the participants urged the United Nations to broker a peace deal between the regime and opposition to clear the way for a new constitution and U.N.-supervised elections.
Building on that, this round of talks in the Austrian capital will try to agree on a roadmap for peace that would include a ceasefire between Assad's forces and some opposition groups.
On the ground, widespread fighting was raging in Syria and Iraq and further afield, with IS claiming a twin bomb attack in Beirut on Thursday that killed 44 and wounded least 239.
Within Syria, Assad's army scored an important victory Thursday by capturing Al-Hader, a former opposition bastion largely controlled by Al-Qaida affiliate Al-Nusra Front and other Islamists.
In Iraq, Kurdish peshmerga forces and Yazidi minority fighters, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, liberated the town of Sinjar and cut a key IS supply line, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani said Friday.
French President Francois Hollande says the attacks in Paris that have killed 128 people were "an act of war" organised from abroad by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group with internal help.
"France will not show any pity against the barbaric acts by ISIL. All measures to protect our compatriots and our territory are being taken within the framework of the state of emergency," he said. "During this so grave and serious indecisive period for our country I call upon unity and calmness."
Shortly after Hollande's televised address, ISIL said in a statement that its fighters strapped with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns carried out the attacks in various locations which had been carefully studied.
In a video, ISIL called on Muslims to attack France. "As long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace. You will even fear travelling to the market," said a bearded Arabic-speaking man, flanked by others.
Flashback 2012: "Why are they establishing
Bernard-Henri Levy: What Was Done in Libya|
Can Be Done in Syria - July 27, 2012
Syria is in a civil war, being fought in the shadows of a Shia-Sunni religious confrontation, and an Iranian-Saudi/Qatari regional struggle.
The U.S. reportedly is involved in arming the Sunni rebels, among whom Islamic fundamentalists are an increasing presence (a familiar story, to those who remember the mujahedeen in Afghanistan). Israel continues its undercover war against Iran. I find it hard to believe that the United States, or almost anyone else, can benefit from all this...
We, the West, overthrew Saddam by violence. We overthrew Gaddafi by violence. We are trying to overthrow Assad by violence... What has been the result of these interventions? A hell on earth, one that grows wider and more virulent year after year.
Without the American crime of aggressive war against Iraq — which, by the measurements used by Western governments themselves, left more than a million innocent people dead — there would be no ISIS, no “Al Qaeda in Iraq.”
Without the Saudi and Western funding and arming of an amalgam of extremist Sunni groups across the Middle East, used as proxies to strike at Iran and its allies, there would be no ISIS.
Let’s go back further. Without the direct, extensive and deliberate creation by the United States and its Saudi ally of a world-wide movement of armed Sunni extremists during the Carter and Reagan administrations (in order to draw the Soviets into a quagmire in Afghanistan), there would have been no “War on Terror” — and no terrorist attacks in Paris tonight.
Again, let’s be as clear as possible: the hellish world we live in today is the result of deliberate policies and actions undertaken by the United States and its allies over the past decades...
Muammar Gaddafi 27.12.2008:
Damascus, SANA, President Bashar al-Assad received on Saturday a French delegation, including a number of parliamentarians, intellectuals, and media men, headed by member of the French National Assembly Thierry Mariani.
President al-Assad affirmed that the terrorist attacks which targeted Paris couldn’t be separated from those that took place in Beirut, and what has been happening in Syria since 5 years and in other regions, adding “terrorism is one field in the world and terrorist organizations don’t recognize borders.”
“Wrong polices adopted by western states, particularly France, towards events in the region, and its ignorance of the support of a number of its allies to terrorists are reasons behind the expansion of terrorism,” President al-Assad said, pointing out to the importance of adopting new polices and taking active procedures to stop support for terrorists logistically or politically in order to overcome terrorism.
For their part, members of the visiting delegation underlined that the terrorist attacks in France yesterday proved that there is no state which would be safe from terrorism, expressing belief in the importance of unifying efforts of regional and international sides to combat it and stop this phenomenon which poses threat to the peoples of the region and world.
French parliamentary delegation visits injured soldiers
In a speech to press after the meeting, President al-Assad said in response to a question about his reaction on what happened in Paris on Friday “We offer condolences to families of the victims… we are much close to understand such situation as we have suffered from this form of terrorism for 5 years.”
Moscow Boys Choir/Cathedral Choir - Let my prayer rise up
I have called to You, Oh Lord, Hear me when I cry. Let my prayer rise before You like incense.
And keep watch, Oh Lord, Over the words of my mouth; And keep watch, Oh Lord, Over the door of my soul.
Let my prayer rise before You like incense.
“I would like to express our deepest condolences to you personally and to the people of France in connection with the death of a large number of peaceful citizens in an unprecedented series of terrorist acts in Paris.
This tragedy is additional proof of the barbaric nature of terrorism that is posing a challenge to human civilisation. It is obvious that to counter this evil effectively the entire international community needs to truly join efforts. (Kremlin 14-11-2015)
Syria and Iran: the great game
In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, defense minister Moshe Ya'alon urges European lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow countries to battle terrorism more effectively.
"The Europeans understand that there is a threat, but they have not taken the measures they could have – for example changing the legislation to allow listening in on potential terrorists," Ya'alon told Army Radio.
"The balance between security and human rights in Europe has so far tipped in favor of human rights, but there is no longer a choice," he continued. "From now on the balance must be weighted on the side of security in order to defend democracy."
"We are all in the same boat when it comes to the fight against terrorism and the defense of Western civilization," Ya'alon added.
Basem Ra’ad is a professor at Al-Quds University in occupied East Jerusalem. For the past two decades, he has been researching the ancient past of Palestine. June 2010, Pluto Press published the fruit of his long years of writing and research, 'Hidden Histories: Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean'. Jonathan Scott spoke with him about his work.
- Jonathan Scott: One of the main points of your book is that the blueprint for Israel’s conquest of Palestine and its oppression of the Palestinians is the Old Testament Bible. In Western secular society many will surely disagree...
- Basem Ra’ad: Because many people in the West still cannot see the uses the West has made of that same Old Testament model and how invested it is in the recent progress of Western civilization and the colonizing projects that have benefited the West, especially the US.
Western civilization, a fairly recent construct, includes not only ownership of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, but also the Bible and the models in it. Zionism has been exploiting this construct...
Even the most liberal, unconsciously or even consciously, consider the Judeo-Christian model as part of their “tradition.” Despite all the archaeological findings and other evidence that negate the Bible’s historicity, the public mind still accepts the Bible as history, which gives uncanny legitimacy to a great injustice.
- JS: There is a tragic dimension to your work, what you call “Palestinian self-colonization,” yet you have some optimism about being able to reverse it.
- BR: Self-colonization is more dangerous than colonization itself, when one accepts or believes what the colonizer wants and what works against one’s national and existential interests.
I believe working toward a regional cultural identity can help to overcome self-colonization, but ideological and national systems on both sides tend to resist that. And this self-colonization becomes more drastic because of the relative success of Zionism in appropriating the ancient past, exploiting the religious tradition, and adding and formalizing even more falsifications.
- JS: What’s the worst falsification?
- BR: The most basic falsification is that the Palestinians that exist on the land are “Arabs,” with the emphasis on a meaning of “Arab” determined by various western biasing factors that give the impression of them as nomadic or as descendants from the Muslim conquest in the 7th century CE.
This is the cornerstone of the Zionist claim system, which then gives present “Jews,” who are confused with ancient “Hebrews,” “Israelites” and ancient Jews, prior possession.
It is also one of the self-colonizing elements in the thinking of some Palestinians and Arabs. One needs to dismantle the myth of this Zionist claim system, and affirm the continuity of the population over millennia and their farming-village character regardless of the shifts in religious affiliation.
- JS: You reject the idea that American novelists Herman Melville and Mark Twain were friends of Zionism; in fact you claim them for anti-Zionism.
- BR: Both Melville and Twain were two of the severest critics of sacred geography and of the missionaries, and so how could they have been Zionists? Mocking sacred geographers, those who sentimentalized and appropriated Palestine as “the Holy Land,” is the main target of Twain’s Innocents Abroad and Melville’s Clarel.
We should not fall into the trap of assuming that if the Zionists misuse some writers we should believe that and so dislike them. Our task instead should be to retrieve them and their integrity and greatness from the clasps of Zionist abuse.
Both writers saw in Palestine the model on which the US national myth was built, that of the “Promised Land,” whose original people (the American “Indians”) have to be exterminated and replaced by those chosen by Yahweh. It is a model they rejected and deconstructed.
Melville and Twain were truly the first anti-Zionists in the West, though perhaps not in the sense that we understand it today. They were against fundamentalism and monomania, against self-centered obsessions, against the use and abuse of religion to serve self-interested, colonial ambitions.
VIENNA — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Saturday that his country would continue to support Syrian rebels if President Bashar Al-Assad could not be removed through a political process.
“We will support the political process that will result in (Assad) leaving, or we will continue to support the Syrian opposition in order to remove him by force.”
Russia, the United States and powers from Europe and the Middle East outlined a plan on Saturday for a political process in Syria leading to elections within two years. In a joint statement, the countries involved in the talks laid out a plan including formal talks between the government and opposition by Jan. 1. The statement did not make clear how those groups would be chosen, but said they should follow principles such as committing to Syria’s “non-sectarian character” and keeping state institutions intact.
The participants pledged to “take all possible steps” to ensure that they and those they support adhere to a ceasefire in Syria.
Saudi Arabia under cleric pressure
Saudi Arabia under cleric pressure to defend Syria rebels from Russia
Sunni clerics are mounting increasingly vociferous calls for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to take action on behalf of Syrian rebel groups targeted by Russian air strikes. The Muslim Brotherhood and a group of 55 Saudi clerics this week called for jihad against the Russians in Syria.
Russia Today, 9-10-2015
US President Barack Obama’s business-like meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit at the weekend belies a spate of bellicose comments made by the Pentagon towards Moscow. So, who is in control: Obama or the generals?
The two leaders held an earnest 35-minute face-to-face discussion on the opening day of the G20 conference in Antalya...
Obama’s meeting with Putin was described by the White House as “constructive”. The American president even appeared to welcome Russian airstrikes against terror groups fighting the Syrian government, most prominently Islamic State (IS) jihadists, also known as ISIL.
“As the diplomacy continues, President Obama welcomed efforts by all nations to confront the terrorist group ISIL and noted the importance of Russia’s military efforts in Syria focusing on the group,” said a White House spokesman.
That’s quite a contrast in substance and tone from a speech made by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter only a week before.
In a blustering tirade, Carter labeled Russia a “global threat” in a speech at the Reagan Library in California. He denounced Russia for “nuclear saber-rattling” and “aggression” in Europe and he slammed Putin’s military operation in Syria as “throwing gasoline” on a fire, which, he said, would lead to more terrorism across the Middle East.
Carter may have said, in passing, that the US did not want a “hot war” with Russia, but his overall thrust was one of unalloyed belligerence towards Moscow.
This is by no means the first time that a schism has become apparent in Washington with regard to Russia.
Back in July, Obama and Kerry both issued embarrassing repudiations of the Pentagon’s hawkish line on Russia. That was after General Joseph F Dunford in his nomination to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that Russia posed “an existential threat to the United States.”
“If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,” Dunford said. “And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”
Kerry’s spokesman at the State Department, Mark Toner, immediately scotched that belligerent view, saying: “The secretary [Kerry] doesn’t agree with the assessment that Russia is an existential threat to the United States, quite frankly.”
That’s not to say Obama and Kerry, and their respective teams, have become all dovish...
Nevertheless, there appears to be an unmistakable divergence opening up in Washington, with, at the extreme, the Pentagon, CIA and hotheads in Congress like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who want to “shoot down Russian fighter jets” in Syria.
The contradiction in US foreign policy is perhaps most acutely seen in Syria.
John Kerry vows that he is trying to end the carnage in Syria through political talks in Vienna. But the signs are that the covert warmongers in the CIA are intent on fuelling more conflict in Syria, even if that means triggering an all-out confrontation with Russia.
The Times of Israel, referring to the "pro-Israel" community's dislike of former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, opined that "If there was ever an anti-Chuck Hagel as a candidate for U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter might be it."
During his brief Senate confirmation hearings in early 2015, Carter struck a hardline stance on many foreign policy issues. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was inclined to provide "defensive arms" to Ukraine and that he would "absolutely" resist pressure to hasten the closure of Guantanamo Bay. He also said he would push for halting the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan if the situation there deteriorated and he claimed that Iran was equally as threatening as the Islamic State (or ISIS)
"We all look forward to having you as our partner," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said during the confirmation hearing. (Right Web. 26-2-2015)
The formation of an international counter-terrorism coalition is still possible, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"I think that this is not only possible but necessary," Putin told reporters. He said cooperation should be both at the political level and between special services.
The Russian leader said he had called for the coalition’s formation in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September. "The tragic events that followed only confirmed that we are right," Putin stressed.
"Life develops very quickly and teaches us lessons. It seems that now everybody has come to realize that struggle is possible only if we join efforts," Putin stressed.
He called attention to the fact that the foreign ministers were now working together on compiling the lists of terrorist organizations. According to Putin, the aim of fighting terrorism is to reach a political settlement in Syria.
According to the president, it is to be decided who terrorists and political opponents in Syria are, in order to create conditions for settling crisis. Russia is ready to support the fight of armed Syrian opposition against Islamic State to help the future settlement, he added.
"Part of the armed opposition believes it is possible to begin, with Russia’s support, an active military campaign against the Islamic State. We are ready to provide such air support," he said. "If that happens, there may emerge a solid basis for further political settlement efforts."
Putin also said that Russia had established contacts with part of the irreconcilable armed opposition in Syria "in the field". These opposition groups asked Russia to refrain from attacking areas they control.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined the need for a change in the western countries' approach towards the terrorists fighting the Syrian government and a stop of their logistical and financial support for the militants.
"The western countries and their regional allies need to have a firm determination to put an end to the terrorists' flow into Syria," Amir Abdollahian said on Monday.
He called for serious international determination to fight against the terrorist groups, and said, "Holding elections in Syria needs preparations, including putting an end to the war in the Muslim country, controlling borders and differentiating opposition groups from terrorist groups."
Amir Abdollahian reiterated that Iran has repeatedly announced that the Vienna talks were not supposed to make a decision about Syria’s fate on behalf of the Syrian nation. "The meeting should have helped countries supporting terrorists modify their approach," he said.
He underlined that holding democratic elections in Syria is an effective solution to over four-and-a-half years of conflict in the Arab country.
Amir Abdollahian pointed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the “legal president” of Syria, and stressed that a political process should not decide whether he can contest the upcoming elections. He emphasized that it is up to Assad to decide if he would run in the elections, saying “it is the Syrian people that should make a decision whether to elect him or not.”
"Surely those who divide the religion into sects and identify themselves as a sect,
O Muhammad, you have nothing to do with them." Surah 6. Al-An'am, Ayah 159
When the Arab Spring broke out in 2011, Saudi Arabia headed it off by pumping $130 billion into the economy, raising wages, improving services, and providing jobs for its growing population.
Saudi Arabia has one of the youngest populations in the Middle East, many of whom are unemployed and poorly educated. Some 25 percent of the population lives in poverty. Money keeps the lid on, but — even with the heavy-handed repression that characterizes Saudi political life — for how long?
Meanwhile they’re racking up bills with ill-advised foreign interventions. In March, the kingdom intervened in Yemen’s civil conflict, launching an air war, a naval blockade, and partial ground campaign on the pretense that Iran was behind one of the war’s factions — a conclusion not even the Americans agree with.
Again, the Saudis miscalculated, even though one of their major allies, Pakistan, warned them they were headed for trouble. In part, the kingdom’s hubris was fed by the illusion that U.S. support would make it a short war. The Americans are arming the Saudis, supplying them with bombing targets, backing up the naval blockade, and refueling their warplanes in mid-air.
But six months down the line the conflict has turned into a stalemate. The war has killed 5,000 people (including over 500 children), flattened cities, and alienated much of the local population. It’s also generated a horrendous food and medical crisis and created opportunities for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda to seize territory in southern Yemen. Efforts by the UN to investigate the possibility of war crimes were blocked by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
As the Saudis are finding out, war is a very expensive business — a burden they could meet under normal circumstances, but not when the price of the kingdom’s only commodity, oil, is plummeting.
Nor is Yemen the only war that the Saudis are involved in. Riyadh, along with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are underwriting many of the groups trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
When anti-government demonstrations broke out there in 2011, the Saudis — along with the Americans and the Turks — calculated that Assad could be toppled in a few months.
But that was magical thinking. A lot of Syrians — particularly minorities like Shiites, Christians, and Druze — were far more afraid of the Islamists from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State than they were of their own government. So the war has dragged on for four years and has now killed close to 250,000 people.
Once again, the Saudis miscalculated, though in this case they were hardly alone. The Syrian government turned out to be more resilient than it appeared. And Riyadh’s bottom line that Assad had to go just ended up bringing Iran and Russia into the picture, checkmating any direct intervention by the anti-Assad coalition.
The war has also generated a flood of refugees, deeply alarming the European Union, which finally seems to be listening to Moscow’s point about the consequences of overthrowing governments without a plan for who takes over. There’s nothing like millions of refugees headed in your direction to cause some serious re-thinking of strategic goals.
The Saudis goal of isolating Iran, meanwhile, is rapidly collapsing...
Iran is breaking out of its isolation. With its large, well-educated population, strong industrial base, and plentiful energy resources, it’s poised to play a major regional, if not international, role. Turkey is in the midst of a political upheaval, and there’s growing opposition among Turks to Ankara’s meddling in the Syrian civil war.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is impaled on its own policies, both foreign and domestic. “The expensive social contract between the Royal family and Saudi citizens will get more difficult, and eventually impossible to sustain if oil prices don’t recover,” Meghan L. O’Sullivan, director of the Geopolitics of Energy project at Harvard, told the New York Times.
Russian A321 plane was blown up by homemade explosive device equivalent up to one kg of TNT, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov said. "It can be unambiguously said that this is a terrorist act," Bortnikov said.
According to him, the traces of a foreign-made explosive were found in the airliner debris and the passengers’ belongings.
"In the estimates of our specialists, a self-made explosive device with its power of up to 1 kilogram in TNT equivalent went off aboard the airliner, due to which the plane broke up in the air and this explains the spread of the plane's fuselage parts over a large distance," the Federal Security Service chief said.
The FSB takes measures to find those involved in the terrorist attack on board the Russian airliner in Sinai, the service’s public relations center told TASS. "FSB and law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation are taking measures to detect the people involved in the crime," it said.
The Federal Security Service appeals to the Russian and the international community for assistance in search for the terrorists.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian security services to concentrate on search for those involved in the terrorist act on board the A321 airliner in Egypt.
An A321 passenger jet of Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier (flight 9268) bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. It fell down 100 kilometers south of the administrative center of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members.
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. Alistair Crooke, 4-11-2011
The United States and its coalition seem to be sparing the Islamic State organisation so that while it weakens Syrian President Bashar Assad, it can never take power in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Vesti.doc programme on Rossiya-1 television on Tuesday.
"The problem around the U.S.-led coalition is that despite the fact that they declared its goal in fighting exclusively the Islamic State and other terrorists and pledged not to take any action against the Syrian army, analysis of the strikes delivered by the United States and its coalition at terrorist positions over the past year drives us to a conclusion that these were selective, I would say sparing, strikes and in the majority of cases spared those Islamic State groups that were capable of pressing the Syrian army," he said.
"It looks like a cat that wants to eat a fish but doesn’t want to wet its feet. They want the Islamic State to weaken Assad as soon as possible to force him to step down this or that way but they don’t want to see Islamic State strong enough to take power." "Our opinion of the developments after the anti-terrorist operation was launched in August 2014 is based on what we see and we see next to no concrete results but for the expansion of the Islamic State over this time," Lavrov said. "We noted tactical successes when a couple of cities were recaptured in Iraq."
Lavrov stressed that Russia is waging consistent and resolute fight against all those who profess and preach terrorist ideology.
Russia responded to the request of the legitimate Syrian government for military assistance to the Syrian army by airstrikes to stop an offensive action of Islamic State.
"We are doing this consistently and we are not dividing terrorists into those who could help solve some tactical tasks in the hope to end with them later, but are striking out at all who one way or another practice and preach terrorist ideology," the foreign minister said.
FBI: Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code
International terrorism" means activities with the following characteristics:
Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life....
Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion;
or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, and kidnapping
(Website Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Democratic societies require the free exchange of ideas among a populace willing and able to make informed judgments about them. But if we fail to engage in the rational examination of ideas and seek instead to work our will through vilification and personal attack, the democratic process is subverted....
Public discourse becomes more focused on the acquisition of power and less on the pursuit of truth, more enamored of sensationalism and less attentive to the deeper issues of our times, more interested in personalities and less in the plausibility of the policies these persons advocate. Emotionalism usurps reason; cant and prejudice prosper — and democracy suffers a dearth of meaningful social dialogue.
Flashback 2014: Bashar Hafez al-Assad wins post of President of Syria
Flashback 2012: Bashar al-Assad : "Those who have promoted
- Question: Mr. President, thanks for the opportunity of talking to you. Let’s start from Paris. How did you react to the news coming from Paris?
- President Assad: We can start by saying it’s a horrible crime, and at the same time it’s a sad event when you hear about innocents being killed without any reason and for nothing... We feel for the French as we feel for the Lebanese a few days before that, and for the Russians regarding the airplane that’s been shot down over Sinai, and for the Yemenis maybe, but does the world, especially the West, feel for those people, or only for the French?
Do they feel for the Syrians that have been suffering for five years from the same kind of terrorism? We cannot politicize feeling, feeling is not about the nationality, it’s about the human in general.
- Question: Well, the last weekend there have been two very important meetings talking about the situation in Syria, in Vienna and in Antalya. Most countries are talking about the transition in Syria. There are different positions, but basically most of the countries agree with the idea of elections in 18 months. But they also say that in the meantime, basically, you should leave. What’s your position about that?
- President al-Assad: The main part of Vienna statement is that everything regarding the political process is about what the Syrians are going to agree upon. In the statement there is nothing regarding the president. The most important part is that we’re going to sit with each other then we’re going to put our schedule and our plan as Syrians.
- Question: Years ago you said that you couldn’t consider as an opposition those who are fighting. Did you change your mind?
- President Assad: We can apply that to your country; you don’t accept any opposition that are holding machineguns in your country. That’s the case in every other country. Whoever holds a machinegun and terrorizes people and destroys private or public properties or kills innocents and whoever is a terrorist, he’s not opposition.
Opposition is a political term. Opposition could be defined not through your own opinion; it could be defined only through the elections, through the ballot box.
- Question: So what do you consider opposition at the moment? Political opposition?
- President Assad: I mean, ask the Syrians who they consider opposition. If they elect them, they are the real opposition. So that’s why I said we can define, we can give definition to this after the elections.
- Question: Now in Europe, in Italy, we see so many Syrians coming, Syrian refugees, they are refugees. What would you like to tell these fleeing people?
- President Assad: Of course I would say everyone who leaves this country, is a loss to Syria. We feel the suffering, because every refugee in Syria has a long story of suffering within Syria, and that’s what we should deal with by asking the question “why did they leave?”
For many reasons. The first one, the direct threat by terrorists. The second one is the influence of terrorists in destroying many of the infrastructure and affecting the livelihood of those people. But the third one, which is as important as the influence of terrorists, is the Western embargo on Syria.
The embargo influence of the West and the terrorist influence has put those people between the devil and the deep blue sea.
- Question: Don’t you feel in any way responsible for what has happened to your people?
President Assad: The only thing that we did since the beginning of the crisis is fighting terrorism and supporting dialogue. What else can we do? Does anyone oppose the dialogue? Does anyone oppose fighting terrorism?
If you want to talk about the details, and about propaganda in the West, we shouldn’t waste our time. It’s just propaganda, because the problem from the very beginning with the West is that they don’t need this president, they want this government to fail and collapse, so they can change it. Everybody knows that.
The whole Western game is regime-change, regardless of the meaning of regime; we don’t have a regime, we have a state, but I’m talking about their concept and their principle. So, you can blame whoever you want, but the main blame is on the West...
- Question: Mr. President, before the end of this interview, let me ask you one more question. How do you see your future? Do you consider the more important the future of Syria, or you staying in power?
- President Assad: If you want to put them against each other, it’s like saying “if the president is here, the future of Syria is bad. If the president leaves, the future of Syria is good.” That’s the Western propaganda.
Actually, that’s not the case within Syria. Within Syria, you have people who support that president, you have people who don’t support that president, so when my future is good for Syria, if the Syrian people want me as president, the future will be good. If the Syrian people don’t want me, and I want to cling to power, this is where for me being as president is bad.
It’s very simple. We don’t have to follow the Western propaganda, because it’s disconnected from reality.
Flashback 2013 - Al-Bouti: "Islam calls for rationality and science"
Sheikh Al-Bouti: Ikrâh in religion is not allowed
They aim gaining power quickly to force (ikrâh) people to accept and apply the norms and values of Islam, while ikrâh in religion is not allowed. (“Ikrâh” means to force someone to do something which they do not want to do)
21-3-2013: Sunni cleric Ramadan al-Bouti killed
A suicide attack inside Damascus mosque kills Sunni cleric Dr Mohammed al-Bouti, leaving at least 42 dead and 84 wounded. Dr Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, Imam of Damascus' historic Ummayyad Mosque, was killed in the explosion in the Iman Mosque in the central Mezzeh district.
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said: "We know that in the past years, he [Bouti] has been a prominent cleric against the Muslim Brotherhood movement, so for the regime, his death is a loss."
Egyptian media outraged by Qaradawi meeting with Saudi ambassador .
Republican candidates support Netanyahu with rising levels of ferocity -- exemplified by Marco Rubio's statement in last week's debate that President Obama "treats the Prime Minister of Israel with less respect than the Ayatollah of Iran."
Leading Republican presidential candidates prefer enabling Netanyahu to facing the consequences to Israel of a binational state.
After calling Obama's criticism of Netanyahu's settlement policies "deplorable", Marco Rubio paradoxically opines that, as of now, "I don't think the conditions exist for a Palestinian state." Ted Cruz says blithely, "I trust the leaders of Israel to determine whether they want a two-state solution or a one-state solution."
Most remarkably, Ben Carson suggests shipping the several million Palestinians on the West Bank to Egypt -- oblivious to both the geopolitical consequences and the darkly ironic resonance of proposing to expel an entire people based on their ethnicity. Thus Republicans continue to drown statesmanship and reason in the acid bath of political calculation.
The GOP-Netanyahu alliance explains why the administration has expressly given up hope of meaningful negotiations for the remainder of Obama's term -- Netanyahu can simply run out the clock while hoping for a Republican president. And even were he of a different character, he is mortgaged to a right-wing coalition, emboldened by Republicans, which will never agree to a Palestinian state.
This reality is far from subtle. The ultra-orthodox head of Netanyahu's Foreign Ministry insists that Israel inherited the West Bank from God: "This land is ours. All of it Is ours."
His minister for public security argues for annexation. His education minister, Naftali Bennett, expressly disowns Netanyahu's soothing words for President Obama, calling for the absorption of 60 percent of the West Bank, and proclaiming that "[t]he era of a Palestinian state is coming to a close."
Israel's ambassador to the UN comes perilously close to echoing Dr. Carson, stating that Israel should "gain sovereignty over the majority of the [West Bank]..." with "the minimum number of Palestinians " possible.
A cynical appropriation of the massacre in Paris to justify right-wing policies
In this spirit, Netanyahu and his allies seized on the horrific massacre in Paris to justify their policies on the West Bank.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed the empathy and revulsion common to so many: "Our people are deeply shocked and angered, but mostly saddened by these events aimed at hitting civil life in the wonderful city of Paris."
But Netanyahu could not resist tainting sympathy with exploitation. "It is time," he proclaimed, "for states to condemn terrorism against us..." "Not the [occupation of the West Bank] territories, not the settlements or any other factor -- it is the will to destroy us that keeps the conflict alive and motivates murderous aggression against us."
It is wholly right to condemn without reserve the violence on the West Bank, whether the victims of fanaticism be Israeli or Palestinian; badly wrong to wrench this violence out of its historic context -- let alone by using scores of dead Parisians, as did Netanyahu, to claim that his coalition's policies bear no relationship whatsoever to the conditions which breed this ongoing tragedy.
Minister Naftali Bennett went one step further, callously suggesting that the mass murder in Paris was payback for Europe's failure to support the coalition's stance against a Palestinian homeland: "I said that if they wouldn't stand with us it will eventually reach them -- and now this happened." Such are the GOP's new best friends.
Richard North Patterson is the New York Times best-selling author of 22 novels, a former chairman of Common Cause, and a member of the Council On Foreign Relations.
Western expectations of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s imminent fall were misplaced, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Assad has public support. “All the forecasts made by our colleagues in the West and some other parties that the people would rise up and oust him never came true. This means one thing: Assad represents the interests of a significant part of Syrian society. So no peaceful solution can be found without his participation,” the top Russian diplomat said on Thursday in an interview with Radio Russia.
Earlier US President Barack Obama reiterated he does “not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power” and that he is not the legitimate leader of Syria.
baath party meeting - army meeting - moderate syrian clerics meeting
According to Lavrov, senior officials around the world are coming to realize the truth of Russia’s position on the issue and are beginning to distance themselves from Washington’s policies. Eradicating Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) should take precedence over all other issues, he added....
“I am certain that we must pass a UN Security Council resolution, which would state the need to act in accordance with Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and destroy ISIS. The same as we did after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001,” Lavrov said.
He added that Russia proposed a draft resolution to the UNSC that would call on all nations to join forces against IS in September, but it was opposed by other members of the security body.
“Our Western partners said they didn’t like that the resolution stated that anti-terrorist operations should be coordinated with the governments of the states, where such operations take place,” Lavrov said.
A meeting has been scheduled in Saudi Arabia to bring together moderate Syrian opposition groups, in an attempt to present them as a united front in future negotiations, Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent reported on Thursday.
The correspondent learned from an ambassador in New York that U.N. envoy to Syria, Staffan De Mistura “informed the members in closed session that there will be a meeting in KSA on Dec. 15 to unite the moderate Syrian opposition to present a united front in any negotiations with the Syrian government on a Transitional Governing body.”
World diplomats gathered in Vienna agreed on a fixed calendar for Syria that would see a transitional government in six months and elections in 18 months.
Meanwhile, the correspondent also said a meeting is expected in Jordan, to name and list which groups are considered “terrorists” in Syria.
Flashback 2012: |
Free Syria Army fighters
are to be paid by Saudi Arabia.
The Guardian, 22-6-2012
Saudi officials are preparing to pay the salaries of the Free Syria Army as a means of encouraging mass defections from the military and increasing pressure on the Assad regime, the Guardian has learned.
US senator Joe Lieberman ("No. 1 pro-Israel advocate" - Wikipedia) , who is actively supporting the Syrian opposition, discussed the issue of FSA salaries during a recent trip to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Working towards Saudi meeting
- Question: I don’t understand what happened. It seemed like Syria and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, used to have good relationships before the crisis, so what happened? It seems like all of a sudden, they just turned against Syria, or turned against you. How do you understand it?
- President Assad: Because the current President of Turkey, who was Prime Minister at that time, he’s Muslim Brotherhood in his heart, so when he saw that the Muslim Brotherhood took over in Tunisia and later in Libya then in Egypt, he thought that he could revive the Ottoman empire in the Arab world, but not under the Ottoman name; under the Islamic name.
So he thought that he could rule the world. The only obstacle was Syria. That’s why, for him as an ideological person, he forgot about everything, every plan we put in order to have good relations, prosperity, and so on, and he put his ideology first.
So, for him, the Muslim Brotherhood should take over in Syria and he will be the “Imam” of the Muslim Brotherhood in this region.
Yusuf Qaradawi - Muslim Brotherhood
- Question: And how about Saudi Arabia?
President Assad: Saudi Arabia is Wahabi anyway. Saudi Arabia never had, let’s say, warm relations with Syria, so we cannot say that they were in a good position then they changed.
It’s different from Turkey, completely different. Saudi Arabia is a mixture of two things: the Saudi family, and the Wahabi institution, for more than 200 years now, before the recent Saudi family, even the first Saudi family. So, there’s a link; the Saudi family will be committed towards what the Wahabi institution will ask for.
- Question: So, even if as you say that the IS is not going to stay, Turkey is going to be here, and Saudi Arabia is going to be here. How can you reconcile with these two countries?
- President Assad: For us, I mean as a politician, as a state, as a government, our main goal is to work for the sake of the people, so whatever is proposed to be good, we have to follow it. So, if those countries are ready to stop supporting terrorists, we don’t have any problem.
It’s not about living in the past; we look to the future. So, we have to work in order to reach that point. After that, the people, their interests, their feelings, will define what kind of relations we can have with those countries. But we cannot say that we’re not going to have this relation. At the end we have people; it’s not only about the government.
- Question: How about the Syrian people? Will they accept to move on with this country? After all, so many people have died in Syria and millions have been wounded.
- President Assad: Emotions are very, how to say...., they are inflamed. But at the end, I think, they will forget about what happened when they can see the bright future.
- Question: Do you have a master plan or a grand vision about the future of Syria? What sort of Syria would you like to see after the crisis? And what kind of role do you see yourself play in it?
- President Assad: If you want to talk about the future of Syria, it’s mainly the political system; parliamentarian, presidential, semi-presidential, federal, confederal, and so on.
But the most important thing, for us and for me, is that the constitution and the whole system and the country in general should be secular.
Secular doesn’t mean against religion. Secular means the freedom of religions. It’s the system that can include every religion’s followers, every sect, and every ethnicity under one umbrella, which is the Syrian umbrella. This is first. Second, I think the main concern is going to be the economy, the reconstruction, and this is going to be an important sector in rebuilding Syria.
- Question: Are you already working on the post-war reconstruction?
- President Assad: We already started, and we issued some laws regarding this, and the first area near Damascus is ready, and they started actually building the infrastructure a month ago. So, we already started, and we are working on, we are trying to make contact now with businessmen, especially in friendly governments and friendly countries...
- Question: How badly is the economy of Syria been damaged? Because you see the Syrian currency has devaluated by 70 or 80% in the past five years.
- President Assad: Actually, very badly, you are talking hundreds of billions of dollars of damage. 10% of the schools have been destroyed, 30% of the public hospitals have been destroyed, or let’s say, out of work. And infrastructure, electricity. This is the bad aspect of every war.
But at the same time, this is an opportunity where you can have prosperity after the war, because reconstruction is the most important sector in any economy, especially after the war...
Allowing Bashar Al-Assad and gangs, militias and allies to remain in power, coupled with the Russian intervention in Syria.. is the real cause of the terrorism that reached far beyond the Syrian border.
Ousting Assad is the only way to stop this terrorism.
We remind the world and all its super powers of the deep and painful wounds of Syria, which is hit hard by murderous Assad and his allies the Iranians and the Russians with all their strength, brutality and oppression.
Aleppo: The Forces of the Revolution
We urge the world community to cooperate with the forces of the revolution, if they really want to eliminate this terror.
Russia has a long-term plan to rebuild Syria after the terrorists there are defeated, which requires the involvement of other regional powers to ensure that the threat of terrorism is extinguished, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten [DWN] reported on Saturday.
"With new alliances with Iraq and Iran, Russia wants to break the dominance of Saudi Arabia, which through OPEC and its missionary Wahhabism plays a destructive role both economically and socially, in the Russian view."
The newspaper referred to an interview Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin gave the news channel Rossiya 24, in which the minister said that the rebuilding of Syria's economy will begin as soon as the Syrian army, with the assistance of the Russian air force, has liberated large tracts of land from the terrorists.
DWN also detailed some of Russia's strong economic links with Syria in the fields of oil and gas production, quoting Gissa Guchetl, the executive director of the Russian Union of Gas and Oil Industrialists, who told RIA Novosti in July that Russian oil and gas companies will seek to revive existing contracts worth $1.6 billion with Syria once the situation in the country becomes stable.
Dmitry Rogozin was born in Moscow in a family of a Soviet military scientist. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1986 with a degree in journalism and in 1988 graduated with another degree in economics. In 1996 he also got a PhD in philosophy.
On 23 December 2011 Dmitry Rogozin was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of defense and space industry.
On March 17, 2014, the next day after the Crimean status referendum, Rogozin became one of the first seven persons who were put by President Obama under executive sanctions. The sanctions freeze his assets in the US and ban him from entering the United States. He was also added to the Canadian and to the EU sanction list...
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — In a newly released ISIS propaganda video the extremist group threatens Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdistan region President Masoud Barzani.
In the 17 minute-long video, several Turkish ISIS members appear and speak. One of the militants is from Turkish Kurdistan and speaks in the Kurmanci Kurdish dialect.
The Turkish ISIS militants asked Turkish people to join the Islamic State. “The border that exists now is placed by the Jews. There is no good left in Turkey because they do not follow the Quran and Islamic principles,” the militants said in the video.
They also talked about Kurds, saying “the Kurds are stuck in their nationalist conflict and have become secularists,” while showing pictures of Barzani and Ocalan.
“Now the Kurds have become infidels and apostates living in the countries where the rule of Islam is missing,” the Kurdish militants said. He went on to implore Kurds to leave nationalism and gather under ISIS’ self-described caliphate.
In the video another Turkish militant appears and threatens Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), saying “they are liars, and secularists faking Islam.”
They attacked Erdogan, calling him an apostate, propping up Baghdad’s “Safavid” government. Safavid is a reference to Iran and its historical Safavid dynasty, which was instrumental in the growth of the Shiite sect of Islam considered heretical to ISIS.
The SAFAVID DYNASTY was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Persia (modern Iran) after the fall of the Sasanian Empire - following the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century A.D., and "is often considered the beginning of modern Persian history". The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safaviyya Sufi order, which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region.
Islamic philosophy flourished in the Safavid era in what scholars commonly refer to 'the School of Isfahan'. Mir Damad is considered the founder of this school.
The head of the main political Syrian opposition body urged the extremist al-Nusra Front armed group to break with al-Qaida after a string of international terror attacks.
"Over the past month the world has been surprised by several terrorist attacks, in Turkey, Lebanon, France and most recently Mali," National Coalition chief Khaled Khoja said. "The recent attack in Mali was claimed by al-Qaida, and in this context, I renew my call to al-Nusra to break its ties with al-Qaida," Khoja said in Turkey.
Khoja has in the past urged al-Nusra to break with al-Qaida, which officially embraced the group as its Syrian affiliate in April 2013. But his latest call comes amid renewed diplomacy for a peace deal in Syria and discussion over which parts of the armed opposition will be consulted and included in future talks.
Al-Nusra is part of a powerful alliance known as the Army of Conquest that captured Syria's northwestern province of Idlib earlier this year, and it has a strong presence in other parts of the country.
Al-Nusra is regarded as a partner by many factions in the opposition because it has focused on fighting Syrian troops rather than seeking to set up a "caliphate" like the one established by its rival IS.
Saudi Arabia is to host a meeting next month of Syrian armed and political opposition members to build a common platform for peace talks.
Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra is a jihadist paramilitary group of al-Qaeda formed late in 2011 during the Syrian Uprising.|
The group released their first public statement on 24 January 2012 in which they called for armed struggle against the Syrian government. The group claims responsibility for the 2012 Aleppo bombings, the January 2012 al-Midan bombing, the March 2012 Damascus bombings and the murder of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed .
-- Mouaz Al-Khatib, the leader of Syria's opposition coalition, urged the United States on Wednesday to reconsider its decision to designate the militant Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group, saying religion was a legitimate motive for Syrian rebels.
The August 2014 Libya Dawn coalition takeover of Tripoli marked an escalation of post-revolutionary conflict in Libya. It also marked the beginning of an increasing polarisation of the country’s media.
Now, more than a year later, the political turbulence and armed conflict has reached a stalemate and led to a power equilibrium where no single group seems able to gain complete control. Attempts to achieve compromise between conflicting parties have been marred by remarkable failure and the inability to reach a political solution that could end the violence is also holding back the development of the media sector alongside many other aspects of Libyan society.
The political deadlock has been particularly evident in the UN-brokered peace-talks lead by Bernadine Leon. Most recently, the conflicting parties were to agree in October on the formation of a unity government... That failed when the two rivalling governments both rejected the UN-brokered proposal despite proclaiming dialogue as the only way forward.
Leon has since been replaced by Martin Kobler, a veteran German diplomat who has been with UN missions in Congo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Opposition to a national state
Green became the national color of Libya under Gaddafi. It symbolized the predominant religion of Islam as well as Gaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory” as expounded in his Green Book, his book of political writings, published in 1975.
"Nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations. Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin. Minorities, which are one of the main political problems in the world, are the outcome. They are nations whose nationalism has been destroyed and which are thus torn apart."
In Benghazi, the ongoing battle between the contested General Haftar’s Operation Dignity and groups under the umbrella of the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, including for example Ansar al-Sharia, continues with seemingly no end in sight.
Like elsewhere, the presence of Islamic State also makes for devastation and headlines in Libya.
Much of the south has been affected by decreasing standards of living and growing levels of unemployment. The south-western region of Fezzan has been marred by the ongoing ethnic conflict between the Tebu and the Tuareq, particularly in the towns of Ubari and Ghat.
Four years after the overthrow and death of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s prospects are looking bleak. The only way out seems at the moment to be for the major stakeholders to pick up the pieces of whatever is left of the national dialogue process and work towards a compromise to establish a unified government.
The Islamist groups that launched Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) say its aims are to correct the path of the revolution and establish a stable, secure state. They say rebels who toppled Muammar Qaddafi have joined their operation to purge Libya of tribal and local armed factions, adding that it is not against any particular tribe or area.
The operation’s implicit aims are mainly:
• Defend the military presence of Islamist groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist movements in the east and their allies in Misrata.
• Obstruct the civil movement’s success in the last legislative elections in order to restore the General National Congress, which they consider the “only legitimate body.”
• Bolster political Islam in the region. Libya is Islamists’ last haven for political and military activity, after Brotherhood rule collapsed in Egypt and the Ennahda party handed over power in Tunisia.
TEHRAN (FNA) - Iran's Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a meeting with Iraqi President Fuad Masum in Tehran stressed the necessity for Baghdad to take a tough position against US officials statements about dividing Iraq.
"The Iraqi people, including the Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Arabs have been living beside each other without any problem for centuries but unfortunately, certain regional states and the aliens are seeking to magnify the differences and they should be confronted and any pretext for differences should be avoided," Ayatollah Khamenei said...
"The atmosphere shouldn’t move on in a way to give courage to the Americans to publically speak of Iraq's disintegration," he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei also underlined Iran's preparedness to transfer its experiences to Iraq in the scientific, technological and defensive fields as well as different services, and said, "Efforts should be made to further enhance the level of economic cooperation between the two countries."
Ayatollah Khamenei's warning remarks came after General Vincent Stewart, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, claimed in September that Iraq and Syria were unlikely to emerge intact from years of war and sectarian violence.
In Iraq, the Defense Intelligence Agency boss indicated that he believes it unlikely that a government in Baghdad could hold authority over the disparate regions within the country's official borders...
Also in the same month, CIA Director John Brennan echoed Stewart's idea that the borders of the Middle-Eastern countries have irreparably broken down as a result of war and sectarianism.