Saddam's Death 13
aanval op holistisch eenheidsdenken
Babylon, city of Marduk
rebuild by Saddam Hussein
An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C.. Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)
Over politiek holisme
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. (Veterans for peace 1997)
Terugblik: Baghdad Burning
verslag van een vrouw die moest vluchten uit 'bevrijd' Irak
Monday, October 22, 2007
Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance.
The mountain distracts me, as it does many Iraqis- especially those from Baghdad. Northern Iraq is full of mountains, but the rest of Iraq is quite flat. At night, Qasiyoun blends into the black sky and the only indication of its presence is a multitude of little, glimmering spots of light- houses and restaurants built right up there on the mountain. Every time I take a picture, I try to work Qasiyoun into it- I try to position the person so that Qasiyoun is in the background.
The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it. Walking down the streets of Damascus, you can hear the Iraqi accent everywhere. There are areas like Geramana and Qudsiya that are packed full of Iraqi refugees. Syrians are few and far between in these areas. Even the public schools in the areas are full of Iraqi children. A cousin of mine is now attending a school in Qudsiya and his class is composed of 26 Iraqi children, and 5 Syrian children. It’s beyond belief sometimes.
I read about refugees on the Internet daily… in the newspapers… hear about them on TV. I hear about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongings in bags instead of suitcases and they don’t have cell phones or Internet access, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own... especially their own.
We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting. The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by Peshmerga and the family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.
The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too... Welcome to the building.”
I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.
External conspiring is no longer a secret because what is being plotted in the pal talk rooms has started to be clearly revealed before the eyes of the people. It is not possible anymore to deceive others except for those who do not want to listen or see; as the tears shed by the dealers of freedom and democracy for our own victims can no longer conceal the role they played in the bloodshed which they tried to use for their own purposes. At the beginning of the crisis, it was not easy to explain what happened. Emotional reactions and the absence of rationality were surpassing the facts. But now, the fog has lifted, and it is no longer possible for the regional and international parties which wanted to destabilize Syria to forge the facts and the events. Now the masks have fallen off the faces of those parties, and we have become more capable of deconstructing the virtual environment which they have created to push Syrians towards illusion and then make them fall.
That virtual environment was created to lead to a psychological and moral defeat which would eventually lead to the actual defeat. That unprecedented media attack was meant to lead us to a state of fear, and this fear, which could paralyze the will, would lead to defeat.
Over sixty T.V. channels in the world are devoted to work against Syria. Some of them are devoted to working against the Syrian domestic situation, and some others are working to distort the image of Syria abroad. There are tens of internet websites, and tens of newspapers and different media channels, which means that we are talking about hundreds of media networks. Their aim was to push us to a state of self-collapse in order to save their efforts in waging many battles; and they failed in doing so, yet they did not give in.
One of their attempts which you are aware of is what they did with me personally in my interview with the American news channel. Usually I do not watch myself on T.V whether in an interview or a speech. That time I watched the interview and I was about to believe what I myself was presented to have said. If they were capable of convincing me of the lie, how can they not convince others! Fortunately, we had an original version of the interview, and they did what they did because they thought that we did not have an original version which we can present to the citizens to compare with their version. Had that not been the case, no one would have ever believed the professional fabrication which they did even if I talk now for hours and try to tell you I did not say what was misrepresented on that news channel. .....
Arab Countries Are Not the Same in Their Policies towards Syria
Here comes the foreign role after they failed in all attempts.... When we say foreign, it usually comes to our minds that it is the foreign outside. Unfortunately, this foreign outside has become a mix of Arab and foreign, and sometimes, in many cases, this Arab part is more hostile and worse than the foreign one. I do not want to generalize; the image is not that bleak because Arab countries are not the same in their policies. There are countries which tried during this stage to play a morally objective role towards what is happening in Syria. In contrast, there are countries that basically do not care about what is happening in general. I mean they stand on the fence in most cases, and there are countries that carry out what they are asked to do. What is strange is that some Arab officials are with us in heart and against us in politics. When we ask for clarifications, it is said or the official says I am with you, but there are external pressures.....
Why they started the Arab initiative? The same countries that claim concern for the Syrian people were initially advising us to reform. Of course, these countries do not have the least knowledge of democracy and have no heritage in this area, but they were thinking that we will not be moving towards reform and there will be a title for these countries to use internationally that there is a conflict inside Syria between a state that does not want reform and the people who want reform, freedom or the like. When we started reform, this thing was confusing for them, thus they shifted to the issue of the Arab League or the Arab initiative....
The public reaction was outrage, indignation and surprise; why did not the Arabs stand with Syria rather than standing against Syria? I ask a question: when did they stand with Syria?! I will not go back far in the past, but let us just talk about the past few years. Let us start by the war on Iraq, after the invasion, when Syria was threatened with bombing and invasion. Who stood with Syria in 2005 when they exploited the assassination of Hariri? Who stood alongside Syria in 2006? Who supported our positions against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2008? Who supported us in the IAEA in relation to the alleged nuclear file? Arab states vote against us. These facts may be unknown to many citizens. That is why we need to explain everything in these junctures and situations.
Recently, Arab states voted against Syria with regard to the Human Rights issue. In contrast, some non-Arab countries stand with Syria. That is why we should not be surprised. I mean we should not be surprised with the Arab League status because it is just a reflection of the Arab situation. The Arab League is a mirror of our situation. ...
Has the Arab league actually gained independence for its states, and consequently for itself? Has it ever implemented its decisions and removed the dust off its files and achieved only a fragment of the aspirations of the Arab peoples? Or has it contributed directly to sowing the seeds of sedition and disunity? Has it respected its charter and defended its member states whose land, or the rights of whose peoples, have been violated? Has it returned one olive tree uprooted by Israel or prevented the demolition of one Palestinian house in occupied Arab Palestine? Has it been able to prevent the partition of Sudan or prevent the killing of over a million Iraqis or feed a single starved Somali? ....
We have been trying for years to activate the Israel-boycott office; and we have been receiving excuses of the type that this is no longer acceptable; but, within a few weeks, they activate a boycott against Syria. This means that their objective is replacing Syria with Israel. This is only a pattern; and we are not naïve. We have known this Arab condition for a very long time. We have not clung to illusions. ...
The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity
The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. ...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness. Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ... The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.
The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform
The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform, and they have not come out, haven’t broken the law, haven’t killed. This is the largest part of the Syrian people, it is the part which wants reform. For us, reform is the natural context. That is why we announced a phased reform in the year 2000. In my swear-in speech I talked about modernization and development. ....
The important law is the law of fighting corruption. It is the only law which has been delayed for several months. The first reason is related to the fact that this law is very important and has many aspects. Therefore, I asked the government to extensively consider it in collaboration with various bodies and parties. It was put on the internet and there were many posts and useful ideas. The government finished this and sent it to the Syrian Presidency which sent it back recently to the government. It is a good law which includes very important points and a point related to the inspecting authority. ...
The other pillar in reform is the Constitution. The decree that provides for establishing a committee to draft the constitution was issued. This committee was given a deadline of four months and I think that it has become in its final stages. This constitution will focus on a fundamental and essential point which is the multi-party system and political pluralism. They were talking only about article eight, but we said that the entire Constitution should be amended because there is a correlation among articles. The Constitution will focus on the fact that the people is the source of authority, especially during elections, the dedication of the institutions' role, the freedoms of the citizens and other things and basic principles. ...
The Constitution is not the state's Constitution; it is an issue related to every Syrian citizen. Therefore, we will resort to a referendum after the committee finishes its work and presents the Constitution which will be put through constitutional channels to reach a referendum. The referendum on the Constitution could be done at the beginning of March.
Some of those believe they are revolutionaries
In cases of war or confrontation, states rearrange their priorities. Our utmost priority now, which is unparalleled by any other priority, is the restoration of the security we have enjoyed for decades, and which has characterized our country, not only in the region but throughout the world. This will only happen by striking the murderous terrorists hard. There is no compromise with terrorism, no compromise with those who use arms to cause chaos and division, no compromise with those who terrorize civilians, no compromise with those who conspire with foreigners against their country and against their people.
The battle against terrorism will not be the battle of the state or state institutions alone. It is the battle of all of us. ...
Some of those really believe that they are revolutionaries. All right, let’s see what they have done and what are their attributes. Would a real revolutionary steal a car or rob a house or a facility? Can the revolutionary be a thief? For us, the image of the revolutionary is a bright, idealistic untainted one with something very special about it. Those people have assassinated innocent people in and out of the state system. Can a revolutionary be characterized by cowardice and treachery? They prevented the schools from carrying out their tasks and functions in society. They did the same in universities. Can a revolutionary be against education? ...
Until the end of 2011, the number of martyrs among teachers and university professors was about 30 and over a thousand schools have been vandalized, burned or destroyed.
On your behalf, I salute all the teachers, councilors, administrators and caretakers in schools. Can a revolution be against education, against national unity? Can revolutionaries use language which calls for the disintegration of society? ...
This is not a revolution. Can a revolutionary work for the enemy – a revolutionary and a traitor at the same time? This is impossible. Can revolutionaries be without honor, moral values or religious principles? Have we had real revolutionaries, in the sense we know, you and I and the whole people would have moved with them. This is a fact.
The psychological war
A great part of the psychological war is launched now against Syria. When they failed in the sectarian issue, they also failed in the national issue. They failed in all the issues which have a political aspect. Then they moved to the economic aspect. ....
They are trying to depict Syria as an isolated country, trying to stress this over and over again. But our points of strength lie in our strategic position. If they want to besiege Syria, they will end up besieging a whole region. As for our relations with the West, they talk about an international community. This international community is a group of big colonial countries which view the whole world as an arena full of slaves who serve their interests.
For us, the West is important and we cannot deny this truth. But the West today is not like the West a decade ago. The world is changing and there are emerging powers. There are alternatives. ....
The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change, which means that we have to turn to the East. We, as a state, started this procedure several years ago, and my visits during the recent years fell under that initiative in one way or another. ..
Whatever Happened to Al Jazeera?
by RAMZY BAROUD, 14-1-2012
Al Jazeera Arabic channel [..] has failed to maintain its independence, and is growingly covering the upheaval in the Arab world from the narrow political prism of its host country (Qatar).
In Al Jazeera’s early days in the mid and late 1990s, the channel took on taboo subjects and proudly challenged the status quo. This continued with Al Jazeera’s coverage of Afghanistan and the Iraq war, when mainstream western media were disowning their own proclaimed standards of objectivity and treating Iraqis like dispensable beings underserving of even a body count.
In recent months, however, Al Jazeera has begun to change course. It has deviated from its journalistic responsibilities in Libya, and is now completely losing the plot with Syria. The channel is in urgent need to revisit its own code of ethics, and to fulfill its promise of treating its audience “with due respect and address every issue or story with due attention to present a clear, factual and accurate picture.” (CounterPunch 2012)
Time is running out for the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Monday.
"We think that time, in some ways, is running out for the two-state solution, unless we can push forward now, because otherwise the facts on the ground will make it more and more difficult, which is why the settlement issue remains so important," Cameron said after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
An act of deliberate vandalism
Earlier, Britain's deputy prime minister accused Israel Monday of carrying out "deliberate vandalism" by continuing to build settlements on land the Palestinians hope will form part of a future state. In an escalation of Britain's previous condemnations of Israeli construction, Nick Clegg warned that continued settlement building was jeopardizing prospects for a peace deal.
"Once you've placed physical facts on the ground that makes it impossible to deliver something that everyone has for years agreed is the ultimate destination... it is an act of deliberate vandalism to the basic premise on which negotiations have taken place for years and years and years," Clegg said, referring to settlement construction. "The continued existence of illegal settlements risks making facts on the ground such that a two-state solution becomes unviable," Clegg said.
Flashback: Ariel Sharon 2002
If an agreement on ending the conflict with the Palestinians is not possible and if a peace agreement with the Syrians is dangerous, what alternative are you proposing? What hope?
"From the strategic point of view, I think that it's possible that in another 10 or 15 years the Arab world will have less ability to strike at Israel than it has today. That is because Israel will be a country with a flourishing economy, whereas the Arab world may be on the decline. True, there is no guarantee of this, but it is definitely possible that because of technological and environmental developments, the price of oil will fall and the Arab states will find themselves in a crisis situation, while Israel will be strengthened. The conclusion is that time is not working against us and therefore it is important to achieve solutions that will take place across a lengthy period.
"But if you ask me what hope I am offering to the Israeli public, I propose setting a series of national goals: bringing a million Jews within 12 years, so that by 2020 the majority of the Jewish people will be living in Israel; developing the Negev, which is the last reserve available for Jewish settlement; and renewing education according to Zionist principles, which will restore the sense of the justice of the struggle and the feeling that we have a full right to this land, ideas which have been very much eroded in recent years."
In his speech to university students this week, Bashar al Assad spoke of a conspiracy against Syria. Use another word if you like, but of course there is one. The foot soldiers in the campaign to bring down the Syrian government are the armed men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and the random armed gangs. None of them could maintain their violent campaign without outside support. Short of open armed intervention from the outside, they cannot overthrow the Syrian government. All they can do is keep killing and causing chaos in the hope that it will eventually collapse. Their sponsors are the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian National Council, assorted 'activists' in exile, some closely linked to the British Foreign Office and the US State Department, and every salafist across the region. Reform is not the issue. Their agendas vary but converge at one point: their determination to destroy the Baathist government. For the US, Britain and France – 'the west' – the destruction of a government and a political party that has long got in their way is the issue. For Saudi Arabia, the issue is confronting Iran and containing Shiism across the region. For the Muslim Brotherhood, the issue is revenge for Hafez al Assad's repression of their revolt in 1982, the destruction of a secular government and the installation of a sharia-based substitute which they expect to dominate. For both the Muslim Brotherhood and the salafists the issue is also the destruction of the Alawis as a socio-political force in Syria. ....
Relying on the unverified accusations of 'activists' or suspect sources outside Syria, the media has played a critical role in the development of a false narrative. Last week the Guardian hit a new low point with the accusation by of a London-based ‘activist’ that the Syrian security forces are packing detainees into container ships and dumping them at sea. It had no evidence for this claim, but then this is how the Guardian has been ‘reporting’ this crisis throughout. When Damascus was bombed, both the Guardian and the BBC led with the claim that these bombings were the work of the government - according to activists. They had no evidence for this accusation either, literally made while Syrians were still washing the blood off the streets and picking up the body parts of the civilians who had been killed. When the Arab League issued an interim statement on the work of its monitors in Syria, it called for an end to the violence by the state and by armed gangs. On its web page, the BBC reported only that it called on the Syrian government to end the violence. ....
There is no question that Syria needs to reform but anyone who thinks that the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are campaigning against Syria for the cause of reform is living in a dream world. Every wild accusation made by activists and dutifully reported by the media is grist to their mill. They don't want the violence to end. They want it continue until the Syrian government is destroyed.... In their grey suits and pastel ties, these people are as crazy as any fascist in a brown uniform.
Jeremy Salt teaches the history of the modern Middle East in the Department of Political science, Bilkent University, Ankara. He previously taught at Bogazici (Bosporus) University in Istanbul and the University of Melbourne.
Syria became independent on April 17, 1946. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Syria endured a succession of military coups in 1949, the rise of the Ba'ath Party, and unification of the country with Egypt in the United Arab Republic in 1958. The UAR lasted for three years and broke apart in 1961, when a group of army officers seized power and declared Syria independent again. A further succession of coups ensued until a secretive military committee, which included a number of disgruntled Alawi officers, including Hafez al-Assad and Salah Jadid, helped the Ba'ath Party take power in 1963.
In 1966, Alawi-oriented military officers successfully rebelled and expelled the old Ba'ath that had looked to the Christian Michel Aflaq and the Sunni Muslim Salah al-Din al-Bitar for leadership. They promoted Zaki al-Arsuzi as the "Socrates" of their reconstituted Ba'ath Party.
Alawis are self-described Shi'i Muslims, and have been called Shia by other sources including the highly influential Lebanese Shia cleric Musa al-Sadr of Lebanon. Sunni scholars such as Ibn Kathir, on the other hand, have historically categorized Alawis as pagans in their religious works and documents. At least one source has compared them to Baha'is, Babis, Bektashis, Ahmadis, and "similar groups that have arisen within the Muslim community", and declared that "it has always been the consensus of the Muslim Ulama, both Sunni and Shi'i, that the Nusayri Alawi are kuffar unbelievers and mushrikun polytheists." However the prominent Sunni Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, issued a fatwah recognizing them as part of the Muslim community in the interest of Arab nationalism.
Egypt’s Islamist political parties secured nearly three-quarters of the seats in parliament in the country’s first full set of elections since ousting Hosni Mubarak, according to final results released Saturday.
A coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood won 47 percent, or 235 seats in the 498-seat parliament. The ultraconservative Al-Nour Party was second with 25 percent, or 125 seats. The liberals who instigated the protest movement that ousted Mubarak failed to organize and connect with Egyptian voters.
The Islamist victories in parliament portend a restrictive and religious-based government which will have to compete with the current military rulers, the Supreme Council of Armed Services (SCAF), who have hinted at maintaining their grip on power despite the elections. (antiwar.com 2012)
In a press conference held on Tuesday, Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Walid al-Moallem said that Russia will not approve foreign interference in Syria's affairs ....
"When we received the report of the Arab observer mission, we deduced that its content will not satisfy some Arabs who are implementing the stages of the plan against Syria which was agreed upon abroad," he said...
"We thought that maybe they'd be ashamed of themselves and that they would deal with the report objectively… but what expected happened and they bypassed it despite it being the only item on the council's agenda, presenting a political draft decision that they know in advance that that we will not accept because it violates the sovereignty of Syria and constitutes blatant interference in its internal affairs," al-Moallem said...
He said that the new stage of the plan is summoning internationalization to sanction the League's decisions...
Al-Moallem pointed out that the observers' report affirmed the presence of armed groups carrying out vandalism against public and private establishments and attacking law-enforcement forces and civilians, adding that the report also denounced the media campaign against the mission's work and the exaggeration of what is happening in Syria systematically, with the report affirming that the French journalist was murdered by the so-called "Free Army militia." ...
In response to a question on whether the Arab decisions constitute an attempt to hijack the Syrian reform agenda, al-Moallem said "they never practiced democracy and aren't used to it," pointing out that a new constitution will be put to referendum in Syria soon, and that their countries don't have a constitution as modern as the one being prepared in Syria. ...
"Throughout history, Syria has been a torch teaching them Arabism and Islam, and we will teach them democracy and pluralism… ", al-Moallem said....
On the Qatari role and why Syria hasn't closed the Qatari Embassy in Damascus, al-Moallem said that the Qataris were the ones to withdraw their embassy, noting that the primary task of Syria's Embassy in Doha is to handle the affairs of the Syrians working in Qatar whose numbers exceed 50,000.
Regarding the Russian stance on the current development, al-Moallem pointed out that he talked with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and felt that the Russian stance was warm, stressing that no-one can question the Russian-Syrian relations because of their historic components and roots, adding "Russia will not agree on the foreign interference in Syria's internal affairs and this is a red line."
On relations with Iran, the Minister said that Syrian-Iranian relations are strong and deep-rooted for two reasons: one is Iran's stance regarding the Palestinian issue, and the second is the fact that these relations serve the interests of the two nations, adding "we sensed Iran's support to Syria during this crisis in a time when some Arabs are conspiring against us."
BENGHAZI, Libya — As Libya’s interim government struggles to bring security, stability and democracy to the country, a burgeoning protest movement is rocking the fragile nation, venting grudges and challenging the legitimacy of the ruling authorities.
“In Benghazi, we were very lucky — we did not suffer as they did in the west of Libya,” said Zahi el-Meghrabi, a professor of politics in Benghazi, referring to months of fighting between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists that left thousands dead. “The transitional council had support, but the honeymoon did not last.”
Now, people are frustrated by the confusing ways the government makes decisions and issues legislation, Meghrabi said. Meghrabi said that many were unhappy with an interim constitution announced by the transitional council in August, complaining that there had not been sufficient consultation with civil society groups and lawyers.
Women’s rights activists calling for more
A draft of the legislation that will guide elections set for the summer, unveiled early this month, was also unpopular, with women’s rights activists calling for more than its proposed 10 percent quota for women in a new government and others criticizing clauses that would bar people with dual citizenship from running for office.
TRIPOLI (UPI) -- Protests are mounting against the council [..], with one critic calling the National Transitional Council "a monster."
Those unhappy with the regime include Libyans still loyal to the slain leader, those who say the NTC is not moving fast enough to establish a democracy and those who fear the Muslim Brotherhood is gaining too much power, The Washington Times reported.
"The Libyan people have identified the NTC as the root of all problems in Libya," said Mohamed Benrasali, a spokesman for the Misrata city council. "The NTC has become a monster and a corrupt one at that due to the lack of transparency. And, ultimately, these protests may lead to the fall of the government."
The Arab League decided to extend its "monitoring mission" in Syria. However, some Arab League nations under U.S. diplomatic control are clamoring for blood. These countries — virtual sock puppets of U.S. foreign policy — want to declare the Arab League monitoring mission "a failure,” so that military intervention — in the form of a no fly zone — can be used for regime change.
The United States appears to be using a strategy in Syria that it has perfected over the years, having succeeded most recently in Libya: arming small paramilitary groups loyal to U.S. interests that claim to speak for the native population; these militants then attack the targeted government the U.S. would like to see overthrown — including terrorist bombings — and when the attacked government defends itself, the U.S. cries "genocide" or "mass murder,” while calling for foreign military intervention.
This is the strategy that the U.S. is using to channel the Arab Spring into the bloody dead end of foreign military intervention.
For example, the U.S. media and government are fanatically giving the impression that, in Syria, the native population would like foreign militarily intervention to overthrow their authoritarian president, Bashar Assad. But facts are stubborn things.
After spinning these lies, The New York Times was forced to admit, in several articles, that there have been massive rallies in Syria in support of the Syrian government. ...
This was further confirmed by a poll funded by the anti-Syrian Qatar Foundation, preformed by the Doha Debates:
"According to the latest opinion poll commissioned by The Doha Debates, Syrians are more supportive of their president with 55% not wanting him to resign. One of the main reasons given by those wanting the president to stay in power was fear for the future of the country. (Doha Debates, 2-1-2012)".
From the beginning, something went wrong in Libya. Some would also say that all went wrong in Libya. But it still seems that mass media is not willing to report about the truth in Libya, as also they are not willing to report about the truth of events about Libya. ...
The war against Libya was based on lies, as already the initiated attack on Iraq. That the former Libyan leader Gaddafi wasn`t very popular in the West, is no secret. But that many Libyans, despite his reign, were able to live in prosperity and had no worries was not mentioned.
The country Libya is in ruins now. The prosperity of the so-called Gaddafi-era is over.
Whether the questionable Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) will be able to disarm the militias and integrate them into an official army is just as questionable as the formation of a structure of the executive, judiciary and legislature within Libya. So far, the members of the dubious National Transitional Council failed in almost everything.
The frustration of the Libyan people is increasing. Thus, the security situation is still precarious.
The country is being taken over, by using ideology and demography and thanks to our general indifference, by a camp comprising three population groups: Haredi Orthodoxy, religious nationalism and rightist-religious traditionalism. This religious, fundamentalist camp shares similar ideology, shows contempt for democracy and individual rights, discriminates against women, hates seculars (known as “wicked” in Jewish Law) and despises anyone who isn’t Jewish.
According to all available data, including Central Bureau of Statistic’ polls, this camp already comprises some 25% of Israel’s adult population (citizens aged 20 and above.) This group’s natural growth rate is the highest in the Western world and its population doubles itself every 25 years. Almost 50% of Jewish children and youths in Israel today belong to this Ortho-Fascist camp and are being educated at its institutions and in line with its spirit.
The phrase “Ortho-Fascist” is not a derogatory term, but rather, a factual description of this camp’s views: A combination of a radical-religious worldview and a religious-fascist worldview that sees Israel itself as an apparatus of special holiness. This is the place where, according to the camp’s leader, Rabbi Kook, God’s seat touches the world. ....
Start fighting, seculars, at once. Otherwise, you are certain to lose your country. Start fighting because the only alternative is a foreign passport, a plane ticket, and the hope that you will recognize the right moment to leave.
The Western-backed overthrow of [..] Moammar Gadhafi likely provided huge stocks of heavy weapons to terrorist groups and criminal organizations operating in the Sahel region of North Africa, the United Nations confirmed January 26 in a report. Among the groups benefiting from the arms are al-Qaeda and the deadly Islamic terror organization Boko Haram, which is currently on a killing spree in Nigeria.
The UN report explained that "due to the Libyan upheaval ... governments in the region are faced with the return of millions of economic migrants, the smuggling of weapons from Libyan stockpiles, terrorist activities, youth unemployment, trafficking in drugs and human beings, and a surge in criminality," the international body summarized in a press release on its findings.
But the international body carefully ignored its own obvious role in creating the tragedy. The UN, of course, first called for the "no-fly zone" over Libya and all measures necessary to "protect civilians" in March of last year. Western powers including the U.S. government promptly interpreted the international resolution as a green light for military strikes and eventually regime change....
The UN investigation, which focused on the effects of the Libyan war on the Sahel region of Northern Africa, found that national governments ruling countries such as Chad, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, and others were having trouble dealing with the surge of arms. "The governments of the countries visited indicated that, in spite of efforts to control their borders, large quantities of weapons and ammunition from Libyan stockpiles were smuggled into the Sahel region," the report explained.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council on January 26 that the surge in weapons and other problems linked to the Libyan war were exerting pressure on the already-struggling regimes in the area. Terrorist groups and criminal organizations, meanwhile, were using and distributing military weapons smuggled out of Libya. And other arms stockpiles are likely still hidden in the desert for future use....
Meanwhile, inside Libya, the bloody battles are still raging on. Competing militias, Gadhafi loyalists, and assorted armed factions are all vying for power in what some experts worry could easily become a second civil war. (UrukNet 2012)
When we invaded and occupied Iraq, we didn’t just militarily defeat Iraq’s armed forces – we dismantled their army, and their police force, along with all the other institutions that held the country together. The educational system was destroyed, and not reconstituted. The infrastructure was pulverized, and never restored. Even the physical hallmarks of a civilized society – roads, bridges, electrical plants, water facilities, museums, schools – were bombed out of existence or else left to fall into disrepair. Along with that, the spiritual and psychological infrastructure that enables a society to function – the bonds of trust, allegiance, and custom – was dissolved, leaving Iraqis to fend for themselves in a war of all against all.
Oh, but our intentions were good – weren’t they? In retrospect, one has to wonder. Of course, anyone can proclaim their intentions to be anything they like, but the trick is to peel away the rhetoric and observe what is actually going on – and what actually did go on was and is a horror show. What we are witnessing in post-Saddam Iraq is the erasure of an entire country. We can say, with confidence: We came, we saw, we atomized.
We came, we saw, we atomized.
And we are repeating the pattern elsewhere in the region: in Libya, for example, the result is very similar to what we witness in Iraq. Western relief agencies are fleeing, human rights groups are pointing to widespread torture and repression, and Gadhafi loyalists are making a comeback. In Egypt, too, our support for the “Arab Spring” has ushered in a military dictatorship and the promise of more chaos to come. In Syria, we are supporting rebels who are conducting a terrorist campaign against the regime, and the future of the country is looking very … Iraqi.
In short, the effects of US actions in the region amount to a reverse Midas touch: everything we touch turns to lead. (antiwar.com 2012)
Americans in 2002 believed themselves on top of the world, capable of anything. They took progress for granted. A leading neo-conservative of the time said, “We have something called the Agency for International Development, in the hope that someday Somalia might look like Norway.” That’s what the New Middle East was all about.
One decade, more than a trillion American dollars and uncounted thousands of lives later, the Afghan War continues, and the Iraq War, nominally over, but with 6,000 American officials and their bodyguards left in the country, is not really over at all. A third American war against a Muslim society, Iran, is seriously likely.
The same time Washington conducts and enlarges this military involvement in the non-Western world, the American public, and again, many of its foreign policy experts and political leaders, have decided that the United States is in decline, its social coherence, its sense of unity and purpose lost, divided as never before by economic class and a newly felt and newly expressed hatred between the one percent monopolizing its wealth and the excluded 99 percent.
The American and Western economies are badly weakened by a global recession and potential depression, wrought by Wall Street.
This is no illusion, nor is the widespread conviction that the American government and its electoral system suffer a crisis of function, accountability, competence and venomous political conflict.
Russia and China have vetoed the UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria pointing to the existence of armed groups involved in terrorist acts including the killing of civilians. These armed groups have been involved since the outset of the "protest movement" in Daraa, southern Syria, in March 2011.
The statement of Russia's envoy to the UN Viktor Churkin remains within the realm of international diplomacy. It does not mention who is behind these armed groups and the fact that NATO is supporting an armed insurrection.
"Churkin said that resolution's Western co-sponsors had not included key proposals such as isolating the Syrian opposition from violent extremist groups or a call to arms for other states to use their influence to prevent such alliances". (Russia Today, February 4, 2012)
Ironically, Russia's decision to veto the resolution is consistent with the report of the Arab League's Observer Mission to Syria, which confirms the existence of an "Armed Entity".
Unexpectedly, however, neither Washington nor the Arab League, which commissioned the Observer Mission to Syria in the first place, have accepted the interim report presented by the AL Mission.
Why? Because the Mission --integrated by independent observers from Arab League countries-- provides a balanced and objective assessment of what is happening on the ground inside Syria. It does not serve as a mouthpiece for Washington and the governments of Arab states. It points to the existence of an "Armed Entity"; it acknowledges that "armed opposition groups" including the Syria Free Army are involved in criminal and terrorist acts.
"In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the Government to respond with further violence. In the end, innocent citizens pay the price for those actions with life and limb. ...
While the Mission does not identify the foreign powers behind "the armed entity", its report dispels the mainstream media lies and fabrications, used by Washington to push for "regime change" in Syria.
The AL Mission report also intimates that political pressure was exerted by officials of Arab League states to unreservedly support Washington's political stance. Moreover, the Mission was also pressured into upholding the lies and fabrications of the mainstream media, which have been used to demonize the government of Bashar al Assad:
"Some observers reneged on their duties and broke the oath they had taken. They made contact with officials from their countries and gave them exaggerated accounts of events. Those officials consequently developed a bleak and unfounded picture of the situation."
Syria at UN blames “Parties who do not want Good for Syria & its People”
In a speech during the UN Security Council meeting, Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari affirmed that Syria is a victim of a crisis triggered by parties who do not want good for Syria and its people, and that these are providing money and weapons to terrorist groups perpetrating murder, abduction and vandalism.
Syria`s Ambassador at UN Dr. al-Jaafari stressed that Syria will not wait for lessons in democracy and human rights from countries that deal with these concepts in the same way that they deal with opportunist sales and purchases in stock markets, adding that Syria will become stable and safe as it always has and will remain a country of tolerance and openness to all its children. (Syria DayPress, 5-2-2012)
International Law Principles
MOSCOW- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said that the responsibility for stopping bloodshed in Syria and settling the conflict peacefully through dialogue lies with the Syrian opposition and its proponents. In a statement during his visit to Colombia, Rybakov added that Western countries which are instigating the Syrian opposition to create chaos and are supplying it with weapons are in fact involved together with the opposition in aggravating the situation.
He stressed that Russia doesn't agree with the western countries on the so-called 'humanitarian intervention', adding that the western attempts in this regards violate the international law principles.
He stressed that the western draft resolution wasn't balanced, highlighting that the draft was an international attempt to dictate a regime change in a sovereign country.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said "If our foreign partners don't realize this, we will be obliged to use more effective means to help them get back to reality."
Rybakov added that the responsibility for stopping bloodshed in Syria and settling the conflict peacefully through dialogue lies with the Syrian opposition and its proponents.
He said that Russia proposed to be a mediator through calling upon all Syrian sides to meet in Moscow. (ChamPress, Syria, 10-2-2012)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is almost certain to win a presidential election in March, warned the West not to meddle in the affairs of Syria, or those of Russia.
Russia's lower house of parliament adopted a statement on Friday condemning the West for "intervening in other states' affairs and imposing outside decisions on them".
Some lawmakers in the assembly, which is controlled by Putin's ruling party, called for firmer resistance to the West.
"There is criticism in the Duma that Russia's position on Syria is not strong enough. They say Russia should press its point harder," Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs, told Reuters. (Jerusalem Post, 10-12-2012)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's reaction to evidence of vote fraud in Russia's parliamentary elections of last December 4th hammered one more nail in the coffin of President Barack Obama's reset of relations with Moscow. If President Obama had stuck to his guns on the reset, he would have justified in dramatic fashion his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize - deemed premature by many -and entered the 2012 presidential campaign able to argue plausibly that he was one of America's great foreign policy presidents.
He was poised to complete the work, started by Reagan and Gorbachev, of bringing about a definitive settlement of the Cold War -- and, indeed, of the European civil war that broke out in 1914 -- by forging a new pan-European entente from Lisbon to Vladivostok and including North America.
But the bipartisan US foreign policy elite had other ideas. Why settle for entente when there is a world to be won? They want nothing less than global strategic dominance, or benevolent global hegemony, or empire, or whatever you choose to call it. ....
Washington's Russia policy is badly out of whack. It is rooted in a plethora of false narratives about the meaning of Russian developments, some of which stem from ignorance, some from a desire to give moral justification to its single-minded quest for global dominance.
These include: Russia is a defeated power (it is not); Yeltsin fomented democracy (he did the opposite), while Putin seeks to restore Soviet great power status (he seeks nothing of the kind; his aims are confined to stability on Russia's borders so as to develop internally); what Washington says and does is important to Russians (it is not.)
If you have no intention of talking seriously to Russia, of offering it strategic partnership, to say nothing of friendship, because all you really want is to absorb it into your globe-girdling hive of compliant states, then there is no need to get any of this right.
But in view of America’s declining economic fortunes (total US indebtedness is as large as its Gross Domestic Product; its military and foreign budget of some $1 trillion per year is as large as its yearly federal budget deficit,) the US may be approaching a time when it has to start getting reality right.
America’s elite may have to ditch their grandiose ambitions for global hegemony sooner than they think, so now is a good time as any to get it right about Russia and its enduring strategic importance. (YetNet 2012)
DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a copy of the new draft constitution from the head of the National Committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic, during a meeting with the Committee's members.
The Committee's members stressed their determination [..] to prepare an integrated formula of a constitution that guarantees the dignity of the Syrian citizen and secures his basic rights.
They reiterated their keenness on a constitution that allows to turn Syria into an example to follow in terms of public freedoms and political plurality in a way to lay the foundation for a new stage that will enrich Syria's cultural history.
President al-Assad expressed appreciation of the Committee members' efforts to carry out this national task, calling upon them to shoulder their responsibility as a Committee charged with preparing the draft constitution to explain its articles to the citizens with all possible means so that the citizen is the one to have the final decision to approve the constitution. ...
On October, 16th, 2011, President al-Assad issued a presidential decision to form a national committee to prepare a draft constitution for Syria... (R. Raslan/H. Said)
Ali Ahmad Said Asbar (known by his pseudonym Adonis) is a famous Syrian poet. With more than twenty books in Arabic language and all his awards and prizes, Adunis is described as one of the most famous living poets of the Arab world...
Adonis, gave an interview about the situation in Syria and his answers sure surprise some Western citizens a lot.
In this interview about the chaos and situation in Syria, the Syrian poet made it quite clear that he doesn`t support the so-called Syrian opposition. Adonis (Adunis) gave a description why he is no supporter of the Syrian opposition and in the end very skeptical considering the so-called “Arab Spring”. ...
The rebellion of the youth throughout the Arab world was truly something extraordinary for the Syrian poet Adonis. As the youth has organized everything and how the youth has articulated, impressed him the most. It is, so Adunis, the Arab youth, which has made possible this “spring” in the Arab world, and it is the first time that Arabs do not imitate the West.
But the Syrian poet also sees the shadow side of this story. Adonis said in this interview, that unfortunately, this Arab youth doesn`t determine the reality. There are the fundamentalists, the very intensive religious people, who lead the current situation with the help of foreign powers. ...
Considering the takeover of the “Arab spring” by radical Islamists, religious fanatics and fundamentalists, the Syrian poet said that the Arab youth has one voice, one anger and one will, but that this youth is clearly divided. The Arab youth has no ideology and is weak. In the Arab world, so Adonis, are only the fundamentalists seriously organized....
[He] also said that if you don`t separate between religion and state and if you do not give women full and equal rights and if you still rely on the laws of Sharia, you only replace one tyranny with another. The military dictatorship, so Adonis, controls the mind, but the religious dictatorship controls the mind, the body language and the everyday life. ...
We should never forget, so Adonis, that there is already a country based on religion in this region: Israel. We don`t need another religious regime in this region. ...
The West, so Adonis, does not really care about the Arab world. They want to break the “axis of evil” – Iran-Hezbollah-Syria. Adonis agrees but not with this way to destroy a nation, a country and a whole civilization for it.
Afterwards the Syrian poet Adonis was asked about the Muslim Brotherhood and the moderate Islam which this brotherhood should represent. Adonis answered that there is no moderate Islam. Moderate Muslims, yes, but a moderate Islam? No – in the opinion of the Syrian poet.
If the West needs a moderate Islam, the West should begin in Saudi Arabia. He is, so Adunis, against the American policy and also against the West policy towards the Arab world. He is not able to follow their logic...
After one year after the beginning of the so-called Arab spring, Adonis has the stance that the Arab world is lost. The interviewer cannot understand this and asked again that it is very surprising that the greatest living Arab poet says that the Arab world is lost, just a year after the start of the so-called “Arab Awakening / Spring”.
The Syrian poet Adonis has just one final answer: Better lost than to be confronted with radical religious dictatorships.
I burn my inheritance, I say:
"My land is virgin, and no graves in my youth."
I transcend both God and Satan
(my path goes beyond the paths of God and Satan).
I go across in my book,
in the procession of the luminous thunderbolt,
the procession of the green thunderbolt,
"After me there's no Paradise, no Fall,"
and abolishing the language of sin.
At times, Adonis's poetry is both revolutionary and anarchic; at other times, it approaches the mystical. His mysticism derives essentially from the writings of the Sufi poets. Here he aspires to reveal the underlying unity between the contradictory aspects of man's existence and the fundamental similarity of the outwardly dissimilar elements of the universe. But although his poetry appears to be polarized between the mystical and the revolutionary, it often dissolves these two poles into a single harmonized vision, which gives his work its distinctive character.
DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday / 26/2/2012 / as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:
- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. - The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.
What drives you to speak out against Western governments but apparently lend your support to governments, like those in Iran, Russia and Syria now, that have been accused of serious human rights abuses?"
Lizzie Phelan: This is a deceitful question and epitomises the manipulative approach of the world’s powerful media, such as newspapers like the NYT.
Here you are asking me this question because the west’s major powers and media criminalised Muammar Gaddafi, Iran etc by accusing them of abusing human rights. So you are trying to put me into this trap by saying that if I support Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran I also support abuses against human rights.
Factually speaking Libya was a paradise for human rights and Muammar Gaddafi was due to receive a human rights award prior to the NATO onslaught. And of course Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa and much of the region, including a much higher standard of living than Saudi Arabia which hardly ever is in the spotlight in the mainstream western press.
Nonetheless, you wouldn’t dream of implying that a journalist who works for the Sun or the Guardian in Britain, both of which take a position of supporting one way or another the Conservative party or the Labour Party, of supporting abuses on human rights because they work for papers which support parties that have committed some of the greatest injustices known to man throughout history all across the world and up until this present day. Injustices which far outstrip any injustices that have occurred at the hands of any leader of a developing country.
So why the two-faces? This is all part of the prejudice in western media that western civilisation is superior to anything else and therefore those responsible for the injustices committed by the west need not be held accountable, and anyone who speaks out against that should have their name dragged through the mud. ...
But to respond to your question directly, as I have stated, what I support is respect for international law, and the most important principle in international law, and one of the main stated aims for the body that was set up to uphold international law, the now redundant UN, is respect for the sovereignty of nations and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. Recent history shows that the root of the greatest injustices known to man is the violation of these principles and so anyone who violates these principles is a criminal and should be treated as such, and anyone who is a victim of such violations should be defended.
Now not only these principles, but all relevant international laws and norms were violated in the case of Libya and the west’s treatment of Muammar Gaddafi, and this has been well documented. The same violations are playing out against the Syrian government.
How is it that one can moralise about human rights, but not give a second’s thought to the fact that a senior member of the US government, Hilary Clinton called for the death of another head of state, Muammar Gaddafi, just two days before he was assassinated. I hope I don’t need to tell you that that was entirely illegal and abhorrent.
I am wholly against such violations, just as anybody who believes in international law and justice would be, and therefore I will support the right of anyone to defend themselves against this violation by any means necessary.
I have been accused by some of being a mouthpiece for the Libyan government but now the truth is coming out, we know that the essence of the former Libyan government’s analysis has been proved correct, whilst almost everything reported by the mainstream Western media has been proved wrong:
The rebellion WAS indeed armed from the very first day of the uprising (this was confirmed in Amnesty’s in-depth report from late last year) - not a peaceful movement
The rebels WERE working hand in glove with Western intelligence agencies to facilitate a NATO blitzkrieg
The NTC ARE disunited and incapable of governing the country.
The rebels DO have a racist, even genocidal, policy towards sub-Saharan African migrants and the third of the Libyan population is dark skinned
Gaddafi’s government WERE NOT conducting aerial attacks against protesters or mass rape (or indeed ANY rape, according to Amnesty)
There HAD NOT been 10,000 people killed in Benghazi by Gaddafi’s government during the uprising (as the NTC claimed), but 110 (Amnesty figures again) killed on both sides prior to NATO’s attack. Etc...
On every major issue, the Gaddafi government’s analysis and figures have been proven far far closer to the truth than the NTC’s and the western media’s initial and unequivocal position. So ANY journalist telling the truth about these issues would have "sounded like a mouthpiece of the regime", because the government’s analysis was essentially correct, and has now been proven correct.
Lizzie Phelan 2012
(Irish independent journalist. She was PressTV correspondent in Tripoli during the assault of NATO.)
Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.
The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation. ...
... Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth. The long struggle and sacrifices of our people for the sake of its independence, progress and national unity has paved the way for building the strong state and promoting cohesion between the people and their Syrian Arab army which is the main guarantor and protector of the homeland’s sovereignty, security, stability and territorial integrity; thus, forming the solid foundation of the people's struggle for liberating all occupied territories. ...
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law. ....
... All of this is attainable through a system of fundamental principles that enshrines independence, sovereignty and the rule of the people based on election, political and party pluralism and the protection of national unity, cultural diversity, public freedoms, human rights, social justice, equality, equal opportunities, citizenship and the rule of law, where the society and the citizen are the objective and purpose for which every national effort is dedicated. Preserving the dignity of the society and the citizen is an indicator of the civilization of the country and the prestige of the state.
Sleutelwoorden: Arab Nation, Arab identity, Zionist enemy, Colonial domination, Rule of law, protection of national unity, dignity of the society and the citizen, political and party pluralism.
Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda.
Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights to free condoms.
The western media demonizes those at whom Washington points a finger. The lies pour forth to justify Washington’s naked aggression: the Taliban are conflated with al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, Gaddafi is a terrorist and, even worse, fortified his troops with Viagra in order to commit mass rape against Libyan women.
President Obama and members of Congress along with Tel Aviv continue to assert that Iran is making a nuclear weapon despite public contradiction by the US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimate. ...
At the moment the american Ministry of Truth is splitting its time between lying about Iran and lying about Syria. ...
The idea that the US is a democracy when it most definitely does not have a free watchdog press is laughable. But the media is not laughing. It is lying. Just like the government, every time the US mainstream media opens its mouth or writes one word, it is lying. Indeed, its corporate masters pay its employees to tell lies. That is their job. Tell the truth, and you are history....
What the Ministry of Truth calls “peaceful protesters brutalized by Assad’s military” are in fact rebels armed and financed by Washington. Washington has fomented a civil war. Washington claims its intention is to rescue the oppressed and abused Syrian people from Assad, just as Washington rescued the oppressed and abused Libyan people from Gaddafi. Today “liberated” Libya is a shell of its former self terrorized by clashing militias. Thanks to Obama, another country has been destroyed....
One might think that, if Washington and its Ministry of Truth really wanted democracy in Syria, Washington would get behind the gesture of good will by the ruling party and endorse the referendum. But Washington does not want a democratic Syrian government. Washington wants a puppet state. ...
Here is Obama’s response to Assad’s move toward democracy: “It’s actually quite laughable – it makes a mockery of the Syrian revolution,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. ...
The US has no independent print and TV media. It has presstitutes who are paid for the lies that they tell. The US government in its pursuit of its immoral aims has attained the status of the most corrupt government in human history. Yet Obama speaks as if Washington is the font of human morality.
The US government does not represent americans. It represents a few special interests and a foreign power. US citizens simply don’t count, and certainly Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Somalians, Yemenis, and Pakistanis don’t count. Washington regards truth, justice, and mercy as laughable values. Money, power, hegemony are all that count for Washington, the city upon the hill, the light unto nations, the example for the world.
(Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.
The only document Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has [.] presented to the Palestinians during the recent peace talks in Amman is a list of 21 topics for discussion in negotiations on a final-status agreement...
Dr. Mohammad Shtayeh, a senior member of the Palestinian delegation to the talks in Jordan and one of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' close advisers, told Haaretz on Thursday that the Israeli delegation has submitted no position or offer. "We are still waiting for one. What the Israelis did was to present a list of parameters that look more like a plan to consolidate the current reality of Bantustans than ending the Israeli occupation," he said.
Shtayeh said the Palestinian position presented in Amman is in keeping with international law and has been submitted to the members of the Quartet.
According to the Israeli document, which Haaretz has obtained, Israel's sole condition before final-status talks start is Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish people's state. Abbas has rejected this demand several times.
"This was added as part of a sham grocery list of 21 topics Netanyahu refers to as 'a comprehensive document' for negotiations," said Shtayeh of the demand to recognize Israel as the Jewish people's state. "We have recognized Israel 24 years ago on the 1967 borders just as other countries like the U.S. and Micronesia have."
The Palestinians believe this demand conceals Israel's intention "to prejudice the rights of the Palestinian refugees who have been waiting for over 60 years for justice and reparations... Acceptance of this demand would also mean prejudicing the rights of over 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel," he said.
The document does not mention the Palestinian position, supported by U.S. President Barack Obama and the Quartet, that the basis for negotiations should be the 1967 borders and consensual land swaps.
Applying the Israeli parameters would mean annexing 46 percent of the West Bank to Israel, with no compensation to the Palestinians...
People in Syria are heading to the polling stations across the country to cast their ballots in a national referendum on a new constitution.
The polls opened at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) on Sunday.
The new national charter would drop the Article 8 in the existing charter and will pave the way for multi-party parliamentary elections within three months.
Earlier this month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unveiled the proposed constitution as part of his reform efforts.
More than 14 million people over the age of 18 are eligible to vote in Sunday's referendum at the 13,835 polling stations across the country.
China and Russia, which have both vetoed resolutions against Syria at the UN Security Council, have expressed support for the process.
DAMASCUS- Syria’s Interior Ministry announced Monday the results of the referendum on the new draft resolution of Syria, with 89.4% of voters agreeing to it.
In a press conference, Minister of Interior Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar said that that 8,376,447 citizens voted in the referendum on the new draft constitution, which constitutes 57.4% of the 14,589,954 eligible voters, with 7,490,319 (89.4% of voters) agreeing to it while 753,208 (9% of voters) didn't agree. (Syria Daypress 28-2-2012)
Israel does not have a written constitution, even though according to the Proclamation of Independence a constituent assembly should have prepared a constitution by October 1, 1948. The delay in the preparation of a constitution resulted primarily from problems that emerged against the background of the alleged clash between a secular constitution and the Halacha (the Jewish religious law).
Despite what the Proclamation of Independence of the State of Israel states regarding the preparation of a constitution by the Constituent Assembly, Israel has no written constitution in the formal sense...
The debate in the First Knesset on the issue of the constitution even before the establishment of the state, the National Council Executive set up a committee, headed by MK Zerah Warhaftig (Mizrahi), to deal with the issue of the constitution. However, already in this committee it became apparent that the work of preparing a constitution would not be easy.
The arguments in favor of a constitution: The main arguments in favor of a constitution were: the fact that the founders of the state favored the preparation of a constitution and the explicit declaration to this effect in the Proclamation of Independence; the need for a document that would bind all the state institutions, including the legislature, and would serve as the basis for the rules by which the state functions; the need to respect resolution 181 of the United Nations General Assembly of November 29, 1947, which dealt with the plan for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and and Arab state. The resolution called for the preparation of a democratic constitution by a Constituent Assembly, which was to include instructions relating to the preservation of the basic rights of the state's citizens; the fact that most states have constitutions; the educational and cultural value that is embodied in a constitution, to the light of which the younger generation can be educated and which serves as the state's visiting card; the value of a constitution in advancing the "melting pot" process; and the value of a constitution as an expression of the revolution that took place in the life of the Jewish people.
The arguments against a constitution: Only a minority of the Jewish people is in Israel, and the state does not have the right to adopt a constitution that will bind the millions that have not yet arrived; because of the nature and special problems of the state, it is difficult to reach a consensus regarding the spiritual principles which are to shape the image of the people and the essence of its life, and the debate about the constitution could lead to a cultural war between the religious and secular communities; the State of Israel is in the midst of a continuous process of change and crystallization, and this does not go together with a rigid constitution.
Firstly, the Rabbinate has become the “military wing” of the haredi community. Through it, the haredim abuse the rest of the population. Through the Rabbinate they force Israel’s citizens to get married, divorce, convert and set their clocks the haredi way. And as we know, depriving human beings of freedom provokes fury. Hence, one needs great chutzpa to force people to behave in ways they don’t wish to adopt.
Will a religious person agree to eat pork of desecrate the Shabbat? Heaven forbid. Then why would the religious community force others to adopt customs that others view as a big no-no?
Secondly, the Rabbinate is perceived as a corrupt body that produces nothing but jobs for its close associates. In fact, it is a sort of closed off elite that mostly takes care of the people it cares about; a body meant to feed only one sector – the haredim. The best proof of this is that the haredi rabbis and kashrut supervisors who took the Rabbinate hostage don’t even recognize the kosher certificates they issue. It’s only an income source for them.
The National-Religious Jews are kept out. Reform Jews are out, Conservative Jews are out, and anyone who doesn’t have the beard and hat required by the clique is out. And what about women? Don’t even mention that. What kind of theocracy has been created within our democracy? Where else will you find a job that is paid by the public and is good for life, like the city rabbi position? And why do we need two chief rabbis, at an exorbitant cost?
Thirdly, there’s the issue of the economic situation and market conditions. After all, social workers, doctors and police officers are employed under disgraceful terms, yet their jobs are perceived as much more vital than the abstract, spiritual work done by the rabbis. ....
The coercion, the costs, the hunger for power, and the translation of Judaism into money all prompt open hostility towards the Rabbinate and Judaism. The solution can apparently be found in the American model. It is precisely the separation of religion and State in the US that boosted the status of religion.
Russia is part of the greater world whether we are talking about the economy, media coverage or cultural development. We do not wish to and cannot isolate ourselves. We hope that our openness will result in a higher standard of living for Russia plus a more diverse culture and a general level of trust, something that is becoming increasingly scarce.
However, we intend to be consistent in proceeding from our own interests and goals rather than decisions dictated by someone else. Russia is only respected and considered when it is strong and stands firmly on its own feet. Russia has generally always enjoyed the privilege of conducting an independent foreign policy and this is what it will continue to do....
Our foreign policy objectives are strategic in nature and do not proceed from opportunistic considerations. They reflect Russia’s unique role on the world political map as well as its role in history and in the development of civilization....
We will strive to ensure a new world order, one that meets current geopolitical realities, and one that develops smoothly and without unnecessary upheaval.
As before, I believe that the major principles necessary for any feasible civilization include indivisible security for all states, the unacceptability of excessive use of force, and the unconditional observance of the basic standards of international law. The neglect of any of these principles can only lead to the destabilization of international relations. ...
The recent series of armed conflicts started under the pretext of humanitarian goals is undermining the time-honored principle of state sovereignty, creating a void in the moral and legal implications of international relations.
It is often said that human rights override state sovereignty. No doubt about this – crimes against humanity must be punished by the International Court. However, when state sovereignty is too easily violated in the name of this provision, when human rights are protected from the outside and on a selective basis, and when the same rights of a population are trampled underfoot in the process of such "protection," including the most basic and sacred right – the right to one’s life – these actions cannot be considered a noble mission but rather outright demagogy....
It is important for the United Nations and its Security Council to effectively counter the dictates of some countries and their arbitrary actions in the world arena. Nobody has the right to usurp the prerogatives and powers of the UN, particularly the use of force as regards sovereign nations.
The Arab Spring: lessons and conclusions
A year ago the world witnessed a new phenomenon – almost simultaneous demonstrations against authoritarian regimes in may Arab countries. The Arab Spring was initially perceived with a hope for positive change. People in Russia sympathized with those who were seeking democratic reform.
However, it soon became clear that events in many countries were not following a civilized scenario.
Instead of asserting democracy and protecting the rights of the minority, attempts were being made to depose an enemy and to stage a coup, which only resulted in the replacement of one dominant force with another even more aggressive dominant force.
Foreign interference in support of one side of a domestic conflict and the use of power in this interference gave developments a negative aura. A number of countries did away with the Libyan regime by using air power in the name of humanitarian support. The revolting slaughter of Muammar Gaddafi – not just medieval but primeval – was the incarnation of these actions.
No one should be allowed to use the Libyan scenario in Syria. The international community must work to achieve an inter-Syrian reconciliation. ...
Sadder but wiser, we are against the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions that may be interpreted as a signal to armed interference in the domestic developments of Syria. ...
In general, I cannot understand what causes the itch for military intervention. Why isn’t there the patience to develop a well-considered, balanced and cooperative approach...
Generally, the current developments in the Arab world are, in many ways, instructive. They show that a striving to introduce democracy by use of power can produce – and often does produce – contradictory results. They can produce forces that rise from the bottom, including religious extremists, who will strive to change the very direction of a country’s development and the secular nature of a government. ....
CAIRO — Egyptian lawmakers clashed over who should have the right to draft the country’s constitution, in a heated debate focused on the influence of Islamists on the crucial document and on how religiously conservative Egypt will be. ...
Islamists want the parliament they control to have a dominant voice and liberals, fearful of too much Islamic influence, prefer a panel of outside experts and activists....
The constitution debate centers on how much of a role conservative Islamists will have in writing the document and essentially how Islamic the country will be.
The new constitution is expected to curb presidential powers and give parliament more authority, a drastic change of Egypt’s political system and a gateway for Islamization of the country as long as Islamists keep their majority in parliament.
The more conservative Salafis want the constitution to be based solely on Islamic law, or Shariah. The Muslim Brotherhood shares many of the Salafists’ fundamental beliefs but has avoided going into specifics about the new constitution. It does not wish to alarm moderates or Western allies worried about Egypt turning into a theocracy...
Hilaasyassi Mikhail, from the Free Egyptians party, warned the Islamists of trying to hijack the constitution. “While democracy is the rule of the majority, it doesn’t mean to bow to the will of the majority ... the minority has similar rights,” said Mikhail. ...
Leftist Abu el-Ezz al-Hariri of the Popular Socialist Alliance criticized the whole process and said that the constitution should have come first before elections.
“The constitution should have been the first step to democracy,” he said, echoing the earlier “Constitution First” campaign by the liberal bloc last year..
Israel is not only failing its children in quality of education, it is also violating its international human rights obligations.
It has violated its obligation to educate haredi children, by allowing schools in their sector to exclude the core syllabus, and now, by introducing school trips to Hebron for all schools, it is violating the human rights to freedom of conscience of children whose views or those of their parents are opposed to Israel's settler-occupation of Hebron.
School trips to Hebron for all schools
The first human rights obligation of the State is to provide education which enables all persons to participate effectively in a free society, which is directed to the development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and which facilitates access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods.
This is the principle which is violated in the legislation to exempt certain schools from the obligation to teach a core syllabus. The core syllabus includes Bible and heritage studies, language and literature studies, mathematics and science studies and physical education. Without all of these, children are ill equipped to function fully as members of a modern society or economy.
The second principle of the State obligation to provide education is the freedom of parents to give their children an education according to their own beliefs. .. It is this freedom which is currently being violated by the minister of education. The trips to Hebron cannot be considered part of a core syllabus and, indeed, the minister admits as much as the trips are optional.
These trips clearly conflict with the beliefs of many parents in the school system. ... It can clearly be argued that educating children to accept the idea of settler occupation, although it is contrary to international humanitarian law which prohibits the transfer of civilians of the occupying state to occupied territory, is in itself a violation of the obligation to give children a human rights education.
On the face of it, it was a trivial incident. The .. president of the Supreme Court, who has reached the age limit of 70, was replaced ...
At the end of the ceremony, the national anthem was sung. The camera panned from face to face. For a moment, it framed the face of Justice Salim Jubran, an Arab citizen... He was standing respectfully, like everybody else, but his lips were not moving.
A country-wide uproar broke out. The right-wing parties were livid with rage. How dare he! An insult to the symbols of the state! He must be dismissed at once! Better still, deport him to a country whose anthem he would deign to sing!
Others treated the judge with respect. He did not violate his conscience! If he had sung the anthem, it would have been sheer hypocrisy...
The name of the anthem, Hatikvah, means “hope” in Hebrew. It was written in 1878 ... It was later adopted as the official anthem of the Zionist movement, then by the new Jewish community in Palestine and finally by the State of Israel... The words reflect the spirit of the time:
As long as in the heart within / A Jewish soul still yearns / And onwards towards the end of the East / An eye still gazes towards Zion.
Our hope is not yet lost / The hope of two thousand years / To be a free people in our land / The land of Zion and Jerusalem. ...
For an Arab Israeli, these words are an affront. His is not a “Jewish soul”, his eyes never gazed towards “the end of the East”, his homeland is not “Zion” (a hill in Jerusalem). The only words that could appeal to him are the “hope to be a free people” in his land.
How can an Arab citizen, no matter how loyal he be to the state, sing these words without being ashamed of himself? Justice Jubran may be a perfect human being, but a “Jewish soul” he has not.
More than a week later, the incident is still making waves in the media ... If the most senior Arab judge cannot sing the national anthem, what about the attitude of the rest of the 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel towards the “state symbols”, indeed, towards the “Jewish state” itself? ... What to do? The simplest answer is to change the anthem. ... Hatikvah can remain as the anthem of the Jewish people everywhere if they so wish. A new song will be the anthem of the State of Israel and all its citizens.
The real story behind the incident is, of course, the unresolved problem of Israel’s Arab minority. They are discriminated against in practically all spheres of life ... The Arabs quite rightly feel rejected and respond with alienation from the state. ...
This is a ticking time bomb, and some day it will explode, unless a real effort is made to allow an honest Arab citizen to feel like a real citizen of the Israeli state, and, yes, to sing a new national anthem.
From this inside look into the destabilization process of Syria, Professor James Petras, adduces that ’there is clear and overwhelming evidence that the uprising to overthrow President Assad is a violent power grab led by foreign-supported fighters who have killed and wounded thousands of Syrian soldiers, police and civilians, partisans of the government and its peaceful opposition.’ ...
The armed anti-Syrian forces reflect a variety of conflicting political perspectives united only by their common hatred of the independent secular, nationalist regime which has governed the complex, multi-ethnic Syrian society for decades.
An objective analysis of the political and social composition of the principle armed combatants in Syria refutes any claim that the uprising is in pursuit of democracy for the people of that country.
Authoritarian fundamentalist fighters form the backbone of the uprising. The Gulf States financing these brutal thugs are themselves absolutist monarchies. The West, after having foisted a brutal gangster regime on the people of Libya, can make no claim of ‘humanitarian intervention’.
The armed groups infiltrate towns and use population centers as shields from which they launch their attacks on government forces. In the process they force thousands of citizens from their homes, stores and offices which they use as military outposts. The destruction of the neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs is a classic case of armed gangs using civilians as shields and as propaganda fodder in demonizing the government.
These armed mercenaries have no national credibility with the mass of Syrian people. One of their main propaganda mills is located in the heart of London, the so-called “Syrian Human Rights Observatory” where it coordinates closely with British intelligence turning out lurid atrocity stories to whip up sentiment in favor of a NATO intervention. ...
The foreign origin of the weapons, propaganda machinery and mercenary fighters reveals the sinister imperial, ‘multi-national’ character of the conflict. Ultimately the violent uprising against the Syrian state represents a systematic imperialist campaign to overthrow an ally of Iran, Russia and China, even at the cost of destroying Syria’s economy and civil society, fragmenting the country and unleashing enduring sectarian wars of extermination against the Alevi and Christian minorities, as well as secular government supporters....
The horrific destruction of Iraq, followed by Libya’s post-war collapse provides a terrifying template of what is in store for the people of Syria: A precipitous collapse of their living standards, the fragmentation of their country, ethnic cleansing, rule by sectarian and fundamentalist gangs, and total insecurity of life and property... (Voltaire Network 2012)
The Security Council condemned in a press statement the terrorist bombings which took place in Damascus and Aleppo.
"The Security Council members condemn in the strongest of terms the terrorist attacks which happened in Damascus and Aleppo in March 17 and 18 and caused tens of deaths and injuries," said the Russia-proposed statement.
It added that the Security Council members express their deepest condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts. "The UNSC members reiterate that terrorism, with all its forms, represents one of the most dangerous threats on world peace and security… any terror acts wouldn't be justified regardless of their goals at any time and whatsoever the side that perpetrates it would be," the statement added.
It said that the Council member countries renew expression of their determination to combat all forms of terror in line with the UNSC responsibilities and the UN Charter.
The gunmen in eastern Syria, wielding grenade launchers and assault rifles, announced on the Internet they were forming the "God is Great" Brigade and joining the country’s rebellion. They swore allegiance to the Free Syrian Army and vowed to topple President Bashar Assad. But unlike many other rebel bands, they wrapped their proclamation in hard-line Islamic language, declaring their fight to be a jihad, or holy war, and urging others to do the same.
"To our fellow revolutionaries, don’t be afraid to declare jihad in the path of God. Seek victory from the One God. God is the greatest champion", the brigade’s spokesman said in the January video. "Instead of fighting for a faction, fight for your nation, and instead of fighting for your nation, fight for God."
The Islamists’ role complicates choices for the United States and other nations who say they want to help the opposition without empowering radicals.
The groups diverge from violent jihadi movements to political moderates like the Muslim Brotherhood, which has already used the Arab Spring revolutions to vault to power in Tunisia and Egypt elections.
Their growing influence is seeding divisions within an already fractured opposition. A week ago, several prominent figures quit the Syrian National Council, the body of exiles that has tried to emerge as the opposition’s political leadership. They complained the fundamentalist Brotherhood dominates the group.
An Islamic militant group, the Al-Nusra Front, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing that killed 27 people in Damascus over the weekend.
Jeffrey Feltman, The Ambassador of Vitriol
By Franklin Lamb, Al-Manar, 26-3-2012
Given Jeff’s domination of US Middle East Policy, he is still essentially US Ambassador to Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf, and much of the region, although other names appear from time to time on the local US Embassy doorplates...
... At a reception at the U.S. Capitol’s Cannon Office Building, Jeffrey Feltman, appearing before a gathering of the right wing pro-Israel-Saudi “Lebanese American Organization” was undiplomatically aggressive.
In fact Jeff unloaded vitriol on Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and anyone who even looked like they might support Resistance to US-Israel Middle East hegemony.
During his remarks, Jeff did not fail to repeat his trademark mantra of “no US interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon and full American government respect for the country’s independence, sovereignty and right to run their own affairs.”
Then he instructed Lebanese voters, in no uncertain terms, what he expected of them: “The Lebanese people must join together to tell Hezbollah and its allies that the Lebanese state will no longer be hijacked for an Iranian-Syrian agenda.”
Jeff called on Lebanese voters to organize immediately for the coming election and “to once again show the world how they can transcend fear and use the 2013 parliamentary elections to defeat the remnants of the Syrian occupation, the pillar of which is Hezbollah, and reject the apologists of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s butchery.”
Jeff also addressed the Syrian situation, saying, “no one outside of Syria has more of a stake in the correct outcome than the Lebanese.” ...
Jeff’s pep rally for the coming Lebanese Parliamentary elections that will help determine the next Lebanese government which will affect US plans for the region, has set the tone and scaffolding for his team’s soon to be announced electoral platform. Organizing the campaign for the pro-US-Israel Saudi team will likely once again be supported by staffers at US Embassy Beirut and also worked on by Jeff’s State Department Bureau. (AxisOfLogic 2012)
Patrick Cockburn: Attempt to Topple Al-Assad Failed ChamPress Syria, 26-3-2012
Under the title, "The Attempt to Topple President Assad has Failed", the analyst Patrick Cockburn (Independent 25/3) concluded that "the year-long effort to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and his government has failed."
In his Sunday's opinion, the writer listed all foreign titles of political, economic, and military pressure before coming into an obvious reality: "It has not happened. Syria will not be like Libya." "The latest international action has been an EU travel ban on President Assad's family," Cockburn added.
He also stressed such ban shows the extent to which the US, EU and their allies in the Middle East are running out of options when it comes to dealing with Damascus."
The Irish journalist recalled UN Secretary-General's, Ban Ki-moon, last week statement in which he confirmed that "nobody is discussing military operations," reiterating that the so-called "Free Syrian Army" has been driven out of strongholds in the central city of Homs, Idlib province in the north and, most recently, Deir el-Zour, in the east."
"Their retreat may make it more difficult to bring guns across the Iraq border from the Anbar province," he added.
In an answer to the raised question on wrong al-Assad opponent's bets, "what went wrong for the advocates of regime change?" Cockburn answered "in general, they overplayed their hand and believed too much of their own propaganda."
Liberal and leftist parties have pulled out of a panel drafting Egypt's new constitution, accusing Islamists of monopolising the process to deliver its post-revolution charter.
"We announce our rejection of the way the constituent assembly was formed," Ahmed Said, the head of the liberal Free Egyptians party, told reporters.
Last week, the Islamist-dominated parliament voted for the panel to be made up of 50 lawmakers from the upper and lower houses of parliament, and 50 public figures. But liberals argued that such a high proportion of legislators gave Islamists -- who control nearly three quarters of parliament-- too much control of the constitution.
"We are talking about the constitution of Egypt, not one for a majority group," Said said during a news conference of key liberal and leftist parties. With the current make-up, "the constitution will be drafted by political Islam... We refuse to betray the trust of the people," he said.
Meanwhile, Cairo's Administrative Court on Tuesday began looking into the legitimacy of the constitutional panel after lawsuits were filed by several legal experts who argue that a constitution cannot be drafted by those whose role it will define.
Dozens of protesters outside the court chanted slogans against Islamist domination of the panel, saying: "The constitution is for all Egyptians."
Diversity to the world system
The International community should respect
Syria's sovereignty and the Syrians' choice
NEW DELHI- The BRICS group on Thursday started activities of its fourth summit in the Indian capital New Delhi. Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia, a member of the group, said in an opening address that Moscow reject foreign interference in Syria's internal affairs and supports the mission of the UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, adding that the armed groups' terrorism in Syria should be brought to an end.
The Russian President stressed his country's rejection of military intervention and the breach of the sovereignty of countries, noting that Russia is seeking to prevent using the Security Council to exert pressure on countries whose policy does not suit some sides.
The leaders of the BRICS countries, including besides Russia those of China, Brazil, India and South Africa, will discuss at their summit establishing an investment bank to provide funding for infrastructure and development projects, a project that was previously discussed under the name of the South-South Bank or the BRICS Bank.
Making up 40 percent of the world population and 18 percent of global gross domestic product, the BRICS group, which held its first summit in 2009, seeks to turn its emerging and growing economic power into a diplomatic power to give diversity to the world system. (ChamPress 29-3-2012)
The graveyard, 5 km south of Tikrit, contains the bodies of Saddam HusseinSaddam Hussein (born April 28, 1937, Tikrit), his two sons, his grandson, his brother Barzan, his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majeed.
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi dictator who was killed in 2006 is getting a new grave because his current burial spot draws too many visitors.
News reporter al-Arabija announced that delegates from the Iraqi province Salaheddin, Saddam Hussein’s home state, are in negotiation with the central government in Baghdad, looking for a solution to the growing problem.
After his execution, Hussein was buried in his home town Aoedja near Tikrit. It didn’t take long before the entire town was turned into a pilgrimage resort paying homage to the former Iraqi leader.
In the summer of 2009, the government forbid tour buses from traveling to Aoedja to visit the former president’s grave.
At that time there were even school trips organized to visit Saddam Hussein’s grave.Until a solution has been found, the former dictator’s grave will be shutdown and no one will be permitted access.
Born Again! George Galloway
Stuns Labor, Shakes Up Britain
by TARIQ ALI, 1-4-2012
George Galloway’s stunning electoral triumph in the Bradford by-election on Thursday 29th March has shaken the petrified world of English politics. ... The Bradford seat, a Labour fiefdom since 1973, was considered safe and the Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, had been planning a celebratory visit to the city till the news seeped through at 2 am. ...
Thousands of young people infected with apathy, contempt, despair and a disgust with mainstream politics were dynamised by the Respect campaign. Galloway is tireless on these occasions. Nobody else in the political fields comes even close to competing with him. Not simply because he is an effective orator though this skill should not be underestimated. It comes almost as a shock these days to a generation used to the bland untruths that are mouthed every day by government and opposition politicians. It was the political content of the campaign that galvanized the youth: Respect campaigners and their candidate stressed the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. Galloway demanded that Blair be tried as a war criminal, that British troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan without further delay. He lambasted the Government and the Labour Party for the ‘austerity measures’ targeting the less well off, the poor, the infirm and the new privatizations of education, health and the post office. It was all this that gave him a majority of 10,000.
British politics has been governed by the consensus established by Mrs. Thatcher during the locust decades of the 80’s and 90’s. Once New Labour accepted the basic tenets of Thatcherism (their model was the New Democrats embrace of Reaganism). These were the roots of the extreme centre that encompasses both centre-left and centre-right exercises power, promoting austerity measures that privilege the wealthy and backing wars and occupations abroad. ...
Respect is different. It puts forward a left social-democratic programme that challenges the status quo and is loud in its condemnation of imperial misdeeds. In other words it is not frightened by politics. (CounterPunch 2012)
It is fair to ask: What kind of humanitarianism is it that cares so deeply about a people that it destroys the forces of their government by aerial bombardment, deposes (and kills) their leader………
………and then loses interest in those same people once their country has descended into civil war?
Libya is in a terrible state. There is, effectively no government. Only tribal gangs killing each other, vying to establish local dominance.
Where are the TV news reports showing the carnage? Where are the outraged newspaper editorials?
In the liberal broadsheets those who still read them will, no doubt, soon be coming across the word ‘mistakes’.
But no one in the mainstream media will express doubt about our government’s motives. No one in the mainstream media will express doubt about our government’s good faith.
Is there anyone left in Britain still buying into the fraud of ‘humanitarianism’? With an I.Q. over 70?
Here is what this Libyan version of ‘humanitarianism’ was about:
We control the oil fields. There is no irritating Gaddafi around to to levy new taxes on the oil companies.
There is no irritating Gaddafi around to promote the (truly dangerous) idea of an African Central Bank that might organise effective resistance against western international banksters.
The western corporate/banking oligarchy has driven China from the North African oil fields...
We have released the gangs of our partner, Al Qaeda, to do as they please within the country thus creating safe havens for revolutionary Islamicists...
Already we hear that Libyan rebels like Belhadj are involved in the attacks taking place in Syria. Oh yes………………… Syria. One can understand that Syrians might be scared shitless. They have been told that David Cameron and William Hague are distressed by their suffering.
Hague has just been attending the ‘International Friends of the Syrian People’ conference in Istanbul……
Uh-o... The day this war-mongering creep expresses concern for my well-being is the day I start building a bomb shelter in my back garden.
Are those who lead the West's diplomacy aware of what is happening? Are they well-meaning fools, totally out of contact with reality? Do they really believe what they say? Or are they cynical, two-faced, conniving and downright evil?
We are speaking, yet again, of Catwoman Clinton and the Boy Wonder, Hague, two insults to international diplomacy.
How is it possible for Hillary "War Zone" Clinton and William Jefferson Hague to make comments such as "Assad has to go" and "The Syrian Government is not following the plan" when firstly a UN backed peace plan is in the process of implementation and secondly - and more importantly - the western-backed "innocent civilians" aka terrorists have not laid down their arms. ...
The UN backed peace plan calls on ALL sides in the conflict to lay down their weapons, which does not translate into the Syrian Government unilaterally pulling out of urban areas while the terrorists supplied by the FUKUS Axis (France, UK, US and Israel) run amok....
The only thing that is going to produce results is that the west stops arming the Syrian terrorists....
In fact, it appears that neither the West, nor the UNO, have a clue as to what is happening inside Syria or if they do, then they are studies in hypocrisy....
Have they no idea that Turkey is harbouring terrorists? Have they no idea of the destabilising actions of NATO bed-boys Qatar and Saudi Arabia? Have they no idea that if the Syrian government forces withdraw from the cities, the terrorists will pour in...? Who killed the 3,000 members of the Syrian security forces? Fairy godmothers? One day the history book will hold accountable those who perpetrated acts of skulduggery instead of diplomacy and those who spoke about democracy while siding with terrorists...
In October 2011, the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (Qaddafi) was “literally” executed (murdered) by armed rebels in his hometown of Sirte. The Pictures of cheering Libyans went around the world.
The images, which have shown all the Libyans who were against this so-called revolution, were restrained / blocked in the international mass media. The aim of the West was reached in Libya. The dangerous Arab dictator in power was eliminated, Muammar Gaddafi wasn’t controllable and he might have some dangerous ideas for the West. Now, the run on the oil fields of Libya begun.
In fact, many European and Western companies tried to profit from this Libyan revolution. Just like it also happening in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. There are just some differences between the situation in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.
While some are discussing about contracts, others are still fighting against each other in Libya. A positive revolution is hardly to feel. The “Libyan National Transitional Council” (NTC) is powerless. Six months after the assassination of the former Libyan leader Gaddafi, the so-called Libyan “National Transitional Council” (NTC) was still not able to disarm the militias and to care for peace and unity between the tribes in Libya.
In South Libya, for example, there is an armed confrontation between several Arab tribes, which were former supporters of Muammar Gaddafi, and the Tubu, a nomadic tribe, who have fought against Gaddafi. This struggle demanded over 140 dead and over 350 injured in recent days and it seems that Western mass media are ignoring this, also.
Not only in South Libya are fights, the whole country is in turmoil. They fight for their tribal region, for the increase of influence and power in Libya. Others fight as the resistance against the new Libyan “National Transitional Council”. Libya is still on the brink of civil war. The quiet phase under Muammar Gaddafi, who was able to held together the Libyan tribes, is over. ...
Western media cover the situation in Libya after the NATO bombing; they left their Western population in the dark about Libya. Meanwhile, Western media broadcast questionable reports about Libya, to justify the overthrow and the brutal end of Muammar Gaddafi (Qaddafi). Journalism? Propaganda... Western documentations are based on unconfirmed information, propaganda and the typical accusations, without being checked. They do this because there`s no one who openly acts against such broadcasts. Nobody`s able to. The storm of propaganda, brought in line, runs down everybody.
What a farce. Shame on you, so-called journalists.
Are atrocities inevitable when soldiers are being deployed multiple times to foreign countries where they are surrounded by hostile populations? Of course they are.
This is why the ultimate responsibility for the crimes of U.S. soldiers lies with those in power, for they’re the ones who make the war plans and give the orders to invade. When Donald Rumsfeld spoke obtusely of “shock and awe” in the run up to the Iraq War, he knew that it meant the suffering and death of many innocent civilians.
But the carnage visited upon Iraqi society by the U.S. military was considered “worth it” by the geopolitical strategists and imperial schemers in Washington. As H.L. Mencken said, “wars are not made by common folk, scratching for livings in the heat of the day; they are made by demagogues infesting palaces.” ...
The fact is that the U.S. military has historically used its massive firepower to intentionally kill large numbers of civilians. Most Americans, however, are either ignorant of this ugly truth or rationalize the carnage as an unavoidable consequence of waging just, necessary, and “good” wars.
John Tirman, author of the remarkable and thought-provoking The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars, calls this phenomenon “the collective autism” of the American people. He writes,
One of most remarkable aspects of American wars is how little we discuss the victims who are not Americans. The costs of the war to the populations and common soldiers of the “enemy” are rarely found in the narratives and dissections of conflict, and this habit is a durable feature of how we remember war. As a nation that has long thought itself as built on Christian ethics, even as an exceptionally compassionate people, this coldness is a puzzle. It is in fact more than a puzzle, for ignorance or indifference has consequences for the victims of American wars and for America itself.
As General Sherman infamously said, “War is hell.” So why do so many Americans support creating hell on earth? I suppose many still think that these wars are necessary to defend the country, and thus are beguiled by all the pro-war propaganda, patriotic symbolism, and flag waving.
But the truth is that most of America’s wars have been waged neither for purposes of defense nor for the promotion of freedom abroad, but for imperial conquest. This lust for wealth and power has driven U.S. foreign policy for more than a century, and millions of innocent civilians have been the victims of Washington’s imperial ambitions.
In order to deal with the daunting problems now confronting them, Americans are going to have to come to terms with their country’s true history and admit that American political leaders and American soldiers have been guilty of ghastly crimes in pursuit of plunder and empire.
James K. Galbraith put it well: "The reality is that we are a country like any other, with good and evil people, the strong and the weak, noble and criminal acts, with truth often hidden under deception and propaganda."
Future of Freedom Foundation: Libertarianism is a political philosophy that holds that a person should be free to do whatever he wants in life, as long as his conduct is peaceful. Thus, as long a person doesn’t murder, rape, burglarize, defraud, trespass, steal, or inflict any other act of violence against another person’s life, liberty, or property, libertarians hold that the government should leave him alone.
In fact, libertarians believe that a primary purpose of government is to prosecute and punish anti-social individuals who initiate force against others.
Syrian National Council
By Jerry Dandridge, 4-4-2012
So much for mediation talks! The so-called “Friends Syria” have encouraged Assad`s opponents to continue the struggle. The armed rebels are going to receive about 100 million U.S. dollars.
The questionable “Friends of Syria” have confirmed their prospects for a “regime change” in Damascus. At a meeting in Istanbul on last Sunday, the self-appointed committee has recognized the “Syria National Council” (SNC) as a “legitimate representative of the Syrian people”, and has also agreed to support the committee financially, politically and logistically. ...
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, finally decreed: “The world will not hesitate, Assad must go”. (This all doesn`t sound like all sides really agree to the six-point plan from Kofi Annan for Syria…)
The dubious head of the “Syrian National Council” (SNC), who was “elected” by the Muslim Brotherhood for this office, Burhan Ghalioun, has announced in the Bosporus metropolis, that the fighters of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) will now receive a monthly salary for their fight against the regular Syrian army and its government in Damascus.
Molham Al-Drobi, a member of the “Syrian National Council” (SNC), has said to the New York Times, that the “Friends of Syria” have applied for 167 million U.S. dollars in humanitarian aid and about 100 million U.S. dollars to pay the fighters within Syria.
Hillary “AIPAC-darling” Clinton, the head of the U.S. State Department, has also confirmed for the first time, that the U.S. government already has provided equipment for satellite communications to the insurgents in Syria, so that the armed groups, also some al-Qaeda thugs, are able to evade “attacks of the Syrian regime” and are also able to keep in touch with the world. In other countries this is a clear declaration for a war.
As Hillary Clinton has also stated, this technology shall also help to infiltrate the regular Syrian army much better.
International Community and UNSC Should Take Measures
to Prevent Funding Terrorist Acts against Syria SANA, 06-4-2012
Syria addressed two identical letters to the President of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General on the terrorist acts perpetrated by armed groups which are backed by Arab and Western countries.
"The terrorist acts committed by the armed terrorist groups in Syria have increased during the last few days, particularly after reaching an understanding on Kofi Annan's plan," the letters stated. ...
The letters added that those who follow up the developments of the crisis in Syria note that the sides which stroked the crisis through unprecedented media instigation and providing arms and support to the terrorist groups did not admit the presence of gunmen until after the Arab monitors' mission proved their presence and their killing and sabotage acts.
"Therefore, the sides which denied this idea withdrew the Arab monitors, ended the work of the mission and rejected its report as it doesn’t serve Syria's enemies inside and outside the Arab League," they added.
The letters documented the number of civilian martyrs who fell in the terrorist attacks, in addition to the number of Army and law-enforcement martyrs which reached 2088 and more than 478 martyrs from the police.
The two letters documented the number of women and children martyred, in addition to those who were abducted or threatened with death...
The letters expressed surprise over the feigned concern of media and officials in certain countries for the Syrian people while they said no word regarding these crimes, not to mention decisions issued by international and regional institutions with the aim of distorting Syria's image, threatening its stability, independence and sovereignty and undermining its regional and international role.
The Holy Triumvirate — The United States, NATO, and the European Union — or an approved segment thereof, can usually get what they want. They wanted Saddam Hussein out, and soon he was swinging from a rope. They wanted the Taliban ousted from power, and, using overwhelming force, that was achieved rather quickly. They wanted Moammar Gaddafi’s rule to come to an end, and before very long he suffered a horrible death. ...
Next on their agenda: the removal of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. As with Gaddafi, the ground is being laid with continual news reports of Assad’s alleged barbarity, presented as both uncompromising and unprovoked. After months of this media onslaught who can doubt that what’s happening in Syria is yet another of those cherished Arab Spring “popular uprisings” against a “brutal dictator” who must be overthrown? And that the Assad government is overwhelmingly the cause of the violence.
"According to our concept, socialism, basically, is not based on taking the increase of the ownership of other people, it is not merely a distribution of the existing wealth, but it basically rests on justice, wealth, creation, and development. Therefore its basic duty is to stop any condition that may infringe upon the principle of equality among the sons and daughters of one nation." Saddam Hoessein
There is one thing certain about U.S. Pentagon strategy: it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. And using an old trick from Operation Desert Storm, establishing a humanitarian, NATO-protected no-fly salient in northern Iraq’s Kurdish area, appears to be the same strategy envisioned for northern Syria. There is much in common between the U.S.-led NATO planning for a northern Syria occupation zone and the no-fly zone established in 1992 for Iraq. Both NATO operations were and are intended to drive Arab Ba’ath Socialist regimes from power. In Iraq, the target was the Ba’ath Party headed by Saddam Hussein; in Syria, the target is, again, an Arab Ba’ath Party and the regime headed by Bashar Al Assad. ...
In northern Iraq, NATO protected a majority Kurdish population, allowing it to build up defensive and offensive paramilitary forces for the ultimate military operation that led, a little over a decade later, to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. There is also a significant Kurdish minority in northeastern Syria that will be an important NATO asset for the ultimate offensive operations that will bring NATO and Syrian rebels to the walls of Damascus.
The no-fly zone in northern Iraq was originally established for humanitarian purposes as part of Operation Provide Comfort, but it, along with a similar humanitarian zone in southern Iraq, were morphed by the United States and NATO into the more military-oriented Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch. ...
During Provide Comfort and Northern Watch, Turkey and the protected Kurdish zone in northern Iraq served as bases of operation for a group of shady Iraqi opposition groups and fronts, most notably the Iraqi National Congress of international con artist Ahmad Chalabi. Turkey is again the primary base of operation for rebel fronts, this time those representing the Syrian opposition, including the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council.
Like the Iraqi National Congress and its spin-offs, the Syrian National Council is comprised of Syrians who have not lived in Syria for quite some time and who have lived opulent life styles abroad, courtesy of regular payments from the coffers of the Central Intelligence Agency, Britain’s MI-6 Secret Intelligence Service, France’s Directorate General for External Security (DGSE), and neo-conservative groups tied to Zionist and far-right Lebanese Christian Phalangist interests in the United States.
Syrian opposition leaders like Farid Ghadry, the head of the Syrian Reform Party and who is also known to his U.S. defense contractor colleagues as “Frank” Ghadry, is a key player in the Syrian opposition movement in Turkey.
Ghadry has addressed the Knesset, is a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and supports all of Israel’s wars against Gaza, the Palestinians on the West Bank, and Lebanon.
Ghadry also, not surprisingly, holds Saudi citizenship. Ghadry’s links to Zionists and Wahhabi bankrollers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not unique. The connections between the causes of Zionism and Wahhabism [.] run deep.
The same scenario that was used in providing U.S. assistance to Kurdish rebels and Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress forces in northern Iraq is being played in northern Syria. (www.syrianews.cc 2012)
The BASP is socialist, believing in socialism as a need, emanating from the pan-Arab nationalism heart, because socialism is the most ideal system which permits the Arab people achieve their capabilities and fully open their genius, guaranteeing a steady growth of its moral and material product and close fraternity among its individuals.
... We say that rebuilding of the Arabs capabilities, under the internal and external circumstances around the Arab Nation, has become now an urgent issue, more than any time before. This needs a steadfast Arab stand against Zionism, and those who follow its orbit, in order to crystallize a pan-Arab national strategy for managing the Arab-Zionist conflict, taking into consideration all the needs of the steadfastness and resistance. (baath-party.org)
Al-Jaafari: Syria is Testing the Credibility
of those who Announced Support to Annan's Plan SANA 13-4-2012
Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari stressed Syria's commitment to making the mission of the UN Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, a success, adding "We have a great commitment to cooperation with Annan, and we expect the other sides to stick to their obligations according to Annan's plan."
He said that some policies in the region are disappointing because the plan of the UN Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, and ending violence have succeeded, adding that instigative propaganda won't be useful.
In a press conference on Thursday following a closed UN Security Council session, al-Jaafari said that Syria is testing the credibility of those who announced support to Annan's plan. "Because they are disappointed, they are still betting on every possibility to sabotage the plan," he added. ...
He said that Annan was right when he called on countries which have influence on the armed terrorist groups to stop their instigating campaigns. The Syrian Government is maintaining the highest degrees of self-control and it is committed to what has been agreed upon, al-Jaafari added.
On the current Turkish stances on Syria, al-Jaafari said that the Turkish Government's policies have become a part of the problem as it is facilitating the infiltration of gunmen through the borders to Syria and hosts armed groups on its ground.
He noted that the Turkish policies are considered a violation of Annan's plan, adding that Turkey has to reconsider its stances before asking the NATO to interfere because the regions needs stability and good neighborhood relations. ...
He added that the Syrian government sent an official letter to Annan informing him of its commitment to his plan on March 27th, but on April 1st, 71 countries met in Istanbul and instead of supporting Anna's plan, they agreed to fund the Turkey-based military opposition with $ 100 million, and this was a provocative act.
President Obama has informed the Iranians they have one “last chance” to avoid attack. They must suspend higher uranium enrichment, close down the Fordow enrichment facility, and “surrender” their stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity. Iranian officials respond matter-of-factly that such demands are “irrational.” ....
Seasoned U.S. analysts seem to agree with the Iranian assessment. Stephen M Walt writes in Foreign Policy, “For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the Obama administration is thinking about Iran… I’m puzzled.” Gary Sick, writing for CNN, predicts dire consequences of an attack on Iran and seems to question its wisdom. So why is Obama being so confrontational? So irrational?
Recall that Obama was elected in large part due to his opposition to the war in Iraq. In a 2002 speech he declared that he opposed “the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”
But he never really denounced the campaign of lies, or expressed moral indignation at the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the uprooting of millions, the spread of ethnic and sectarian conflicts following the U.S. attack Rather, he saw the war as a “strategic blunder.” Still, he was widely regarded as the “anti-war” candidate.
Once elected, however, he proved to be a virtual Bush clone in foreign affairs. He chose hawkish Hilary Clinton (who had strongly supported the attack on Iraq and defended her position until late in her campaign) as Secretary of State, to the applause of the neocons who correctly anticipated that she would provide continuity with their own regime-change policies.
On Iran, Obama made it clear from his very first post-election press conference that he would maintain a policy of confrontation. ... Exactly like George W. Bush, Obama has repeatedly stated that he leaves “no options off the table” including military force. ...
U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence officials agree that the Iranian leadership is rational and not reckless. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, recently told CNN that “the Iranian regime is a rational actor.”
Meir Dagan, another former Mossad chief (Halevy’s successor, from 2002 to 2009), recently told CBS, “The regime in Iran is a very rational regime… No doubt that the Iranian regime is maybe not exactly rational based on what I call Western-thinking, but no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions.” Dagan meanwhile calls an Israeli attack on Iran “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”
Still, the U.S. government headed by “hope” and “change” candidate Obama is telling Iran to submit to U.S. diktat while it has the chance, or get bombed. It is all, as the Iranian diplomats observe, irrational. (DissidentVoice 2012)
1. Instigating Fake Arab Springs, or post-modern coup d’états
Soon after being caught by surprise by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the counterrevolutionary forces headed by the United States embarked on damage control. A major strategy in pursuit of this objective has been to foment civil war and regime change in “unfriendly” places, and then portray them as part of the Arab Spring.
The scheme works like this: arm and train opposition groups within the “unfriendly” country, instigate violent rebellion with the help of covert mercenary forces under the guise of fighting for democracy; and when government forces attempt to quell the thus-nurtured armed insurrection, accuse them of human rights violations, and begin to embark openly and self-righteously on the path of regime change in the name of “responsibility to protect” the human rights. ...
It is now altogether common knowledge that contrary to the spontaneous, unarmed and peaceful protest demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, the rebellion in Libya was nurtured, armed and orchestrated largely from abroad. ....
It is likewise common knowledge that, like the rebellion in Libya, the insurgency in Syria has been neither spontaneous nor peaceful. From the outset it has been armed, trained and organized by the US and its allies. ...
2. Co-opting the Arab Spring (in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen)
When the Arab Spring broke out in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, the US and its allies initially tried to keep their proxy rulers Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and Abdullah Saleh in power as long as possible. Once the massive and persistent uprisings made the continued rule of these loyal autocrats untenable, however, the US and its allies changed tactics: reluctantly letting go of Mubarak, Ali and Saleh while trying to preserve the socioeconomic structures and the military regimes they had fostered during the long periods of their dictatorial rule.
Thus, while losing three client dictators, the US and its allies have succeeded (so far) in preserving the three respective client states. ..
3. Nipping Nascent Arab Springs in the Bud
A third tactic to contain the Arab Spring has been the withering repression of peaceful pro-democracy movements in countries headed by U.S. proxy regimes in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other kingdoms in the Persian Gulf area before those movements grow “out of hand,” as they did in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Thus, in collaboration with its Western patrons, Saudi Arabia has over the past year cracked down viciously against peaceful protesters not only within its own borders but also in the neighboring country of Bahrain. ...
While the Saudi, Qatari and other Persian Gulf regimes have been playing the vanguard role in the US-Israeli axis of aggression against “unfriendly” regimes, NATO forces headed by the Pentagon have been busy behind the scene to train their “security” forces, to broker weapons sale to their repressive regimes, and to build ever more military basses in their territories.
4. Employment of the Divide and Conquer Tactic: Sunni vs. Shia
One of the tactics to crush the peaceful pro-democracy movements in the Arab-Muslim countries ruled by the US client regimes is to portray these movements as “sectarian” Shia insurgences. This age-old divide-and-rule tactic is most vigorously pursued in Bahrain, where the destruction of the Shia mosques is rightly viewed as part of the regime’s cynical policy of “humiliating the Shia” in order “to make them take revenge on Sunnis,” thereby hoping to prove that the uprising is a sectarian one.
In brief, the Arab Spring that started in Egypt and Tunisia in the early 2011 has been brutally derailed, distorted and contained by an all-out counter-offensive orchestrated by Western powers and their allies in the Greater Middle East, especially Israel, Turkey and the Arab League.
(Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.
A spokesman of Syrian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Syria is committed to facilitating the mission of UN observers.
In an interview with U.S. CBS network which was posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Jihad Makdissi stressed that it is in Syria’s interest to have observers on the ground to monitor the situation.
“From our side, we want the observers to be here as soon as possible… This is in Syria’s vital interest,” said Makdissi. “We need someone to monitor the violation,” he said, adding that “We don’t want the politicians and the decision makers to rely on YouTube or eye witnesses’ account. We need a proper mechanism, which is the observers.” “So from our side, we are committed to facilitating their task, ” the spokesman concluded.
A five-member advance team of UN observers arrived in Damascus to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire which was brokered by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan and went into effect Thursday. The team has met with Syrian officials to hammer out a protocol which regulates the work of the observers.
The head of the observer team to Syria, Moroccan Col. Ahmed Himmiche, said earlier in the day that the number of the observers has increased to seven and it would reach 30 within a couple of days, stressing that the observers’ task is to get engaged with Syrian officials and other parties. (Syria News 2012)
The UN Security Council (UNSC) has decided to send an observation mission of 300 (still unarmed) experts to Syria. In Syria, these experts have to observe the compliance of the ceasefire in this country of the Middle East.
Considering the last observer mission by the Arab League (AL) to Syria, it is questionable if this mission will deliver more efforts to bring the truth to daylight. The final report of the last observer mission by the Arab League (AL) to Syria was finally buried by Qatar, because it had included too much truth and was not one-sided.
Apart from the 30 men of the so-called “advance team”, none of the other observers has arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus until now. It`s hard to say what are the specific organizational problems. All one can always hear from the UN (United Nations) side is, in particular by Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan, that the stability of the ceasefire in Syria must be granted, before the mission will be sent to Syria.
But there are many forces in Syria which are not really interested in the truce. These forces will do everything and already do it, that the ceasefire is not really implemented. To violate this truce in Syria seems easy nowadays because the only side which gets blamed for violations of the ceasefire in the West will be the Syrian government. Nothing new, of course.
The one-sided coverage of the events in Syria is a farce since the beginning of this situation. There is a huge lack of journalism in Western editorial offices, which seem to benefit from this propaganda.... The West maintains its propaganda war against Syria, constantly uplifting the minority that wants to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad...
What is hardly reported outside of Syria is, that the armed “rebels”, which are still celebrated in the West, violate the ceasefire daily, and that a part of the Syrian population has begun to arm themselves to protect themselves, their families and their villages against the armed groups, because the regular Syrian army is not there and the armed groups of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) are a huge threat for every Syrian civilian. For Assad’s opponents, who have the support of foreign countries and thus the corresponding platforms, it is easy to break the ceasefire because the Syrian government will be blamed in the West.
It has to be clearly stated that the external opponents of the Syrian government and the Syrian President al-Assad have no real interest in the ceasefire and never cared about the Syrian population. These dubious people and questionable sides are better of if the peace plan by Kofi Annan will fail in Syria, because then they get further massive support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and also by the West, of course. ...
After AIPAC-Darling Hillary Clinton has made her demand that she wants to reach the implementation of actions by force against the Syrian government if the current Resolutions against Syria are not really implemented, Condoleezza Rice follows Hillary Clinton in no uncertain terms now. Both are AIPAC-Sisters at heart, of course. ... Condi Rice is just another war voice of the known warmongering governments and organizations. ...
Since the West is still not convinced about a military intervention in Syria, at least not officially, they try to achieve their dubious intentions with ever more sanctions against Syria. The more Syria gets destabilized, the easier is a regime change.
DAMASCUS, Information Minister Dr. Adnan Mahmoud said that the armed terrorist groups have committed more than 1,300 violations of the ceasefire which came into effect on April 12.
In a statement on Thursday, Mahmoud said that the armed terrorist groups have escalated the crimes of killing, massacres, explosions, kidnappings and assassinations against civilians and law-enforcement members.
Mahmoud said that ending violence requires objective and transparent monitoring and observing the sources of the armed terrorist groups' violations, with reserving the right to respond to any violation or attack.
"We are expecting Annan to exert genuine efforts with tangible results on the ground towards the terrorist groups and the countries providing them with funding and arms, and to obtain commitments from these countries to stop arming, training and funding them," said Mahmoud.
In late March, Hillary Clinton traveled to Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There she met with King Abdullah, the primus inter pares of the Arabian Peninsula. Shortly afterwards, she inaugurated the US-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum.
The GCC is the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab NATO, whose members include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Each of these is a monarchy, with the UAE disguising the royals behind a federation and with the Saudis ecstatic to proclaim the benefits of the royal bloodline. ...
It is the Gulf Arab royals who are eager to arm the rebels in Syria and to allow that country to bleed a slow death through an Afghanistan-type scenario. To make the largely peaceful Arab Spring uprisings into the mode of warfare suits the monarchs – it allows them to leverage their own interests and to eclipse the desires of ordinary people to fashion their own destiny.
In this way, the Gulf Arab royals are truly kin to American power... In Riyadh, Clinton and the GCC held the First Ministerial Meeting of the GCC-US Strategic Cooperation Forum. The enemies of the new alliance were Iran, Syria and the Somali Pirates. ...
As the US and the Arab NATO deepen their ties, a Saudi website (elaph.com) notes that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will announce the formation of an Arab Gulf Union... The AGU will welcome other Gulf Arab monarchies, but other than Bahrain, the others remain chary. This new Union will be a federation of the monarchies, allowing them to retain their feudal prejudices, but forcing them to coordinate their own Counter-Revolution with much more efficiency.
Vijay Prashad’s new book, Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, is published by AK Press.
The introduction of religious law would turn Israel into an equivalent of Iran, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huladi told Yedioth Ahronoth in a special interview published Friday. "A state based on Jewish law is a religious state; it's Iran," he said.
Huldai, a devout secular who made headlines last year when he vowed to introduce public transportation in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, said he is concerned about the implications of Israel's growing religiosity.
"Herzl did not speak of a Jewish state, but rather, about a state for Jews," he said. "A Jewish state would mean…Jewish law instead of democracy. If we'll have an ultra-Orthodox majority here, Israel will turn into a fundamentalist state like Saudi Arabia."
Israel is currently the only state in the world that funds an education system without having control over the curriculum, Huldai said, referring to haredi schools. This state of affair is a "disaster," he said. "We're producing a reality that is breaking us up from within," he said.
Talkbacks for this article
-4. Demographics cannot be argued with. The fate of Israel is already sealed. The religious nuts will continue to grow and as the threat increases the seculars will leave. This will be our downfall.
-5. Mr Mayor This A Unfair Comparison. First of All Israel Serves Ha Shem, Iran serves Evil. Your personal comment is self serving. Your are intitled to Your Oppinion, Israel is A Light Upon The World. For the balance there is Light and Dark, Iran represents All Darkness, Evil Encarnate, so there is A Differance.
-6. I am also secular and my advice to this gentleman. Why do you not apply to be the mayor of Berlin or London ?This is the Land of Israel.
-8. A Jewish state with a populace that is more committed to Jewish tradition (already beginning to happen according to polls) will be a better place for Jews as it will actually encourage them to be Jews and not Hebrew speaking atheist "Israelis" with Jewish grandparents. The idea that this mayor is comparing the Halacha of the Torah with the Sharia of the Iranian mullahs reflects the typical ignorance of a secular Israeli towards his own heritage.
13. Depressing future. I agree with #4 and the Mayor. Israel doesn't have a good future outlook at all.
-Ultra-Orthodox having the highest birth rate in the whole country (7-8 children in average)
-Israeli Arabs and Palestinians having a high birth rate too, while the secular birth rate is low
-a split-up government which is constantly struggling with each other
If demographics doesn't change and if the government doesn't do anything to integrate the Orthodox into the society, then Israel will have a very depressing future.
Saudi Arabia’s deputy foreign minister says Gulf Arab states must seek full integration of key affairs such as diplomacy and defense to counter perceived threats including Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Arab Spring spillover.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah’s comments highlight strong Saudi support for unity efforts among the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. The Western-allied bloc has increasingly discussed closer coordination to battle Arab Spring-inspired opposition and confront regional rival Iran. Last year, a Saudi-led military force came to the aid of Bahrain’s embattled monarchy against an ongoing uprising by the country’s Shiite majority.
The former US Middle East peace envoy, George Mitchell, has said that the Syrian president, Bashir al-Assad, could be tried as an alleged war criminal over the brutal crackdown on opponents of his rule.
Mitchell, who was the US special envoy for Middle East peace until last May, said Assad could be tried for war crimes in the same way as Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia who was this week found to have "aided and abetted" war crimes by a UN-backed tribunal in The Hague.
The retired US senator [..] called on Assad to step down and "permit a free, open choice of leadership".
He added that the international community should consider further sanctions against the Assad family and leading figures in his regime.
The peace negotiator's comments came as a Syrian government newspaper accused the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon of encouraging rebel attacks by focusing his criticism of violence on the government.
The bodies of 16 army and law enforcement members, who were killed by armed terrorist groups while serving their duty in Idleb, Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and Damascus Countryside, were escorted from Tishreen, Aleppo and Zahi Azrak Military Hospitals to their final resting place.
The martyrs are:
-Chief Warrant Officer Mohammad Salah Dwayya, from Lattakia.
-Chief Warrant Officer Adnan Mohammad Hamada, from Homs.
-Sergeant Major Maysam Ibrahim Mahmoud, from Lattakia.
-Sergeant Adnan Mohammad Mahmoud, from Tartous.
-Sergeant Bashar Abdul-Salam Halima, from Damascus Countryside.
-Corporal Ali Malek Mahfoud, from Tartous.
-Corporal Mohammad Saleh Shaaban, from Homs.
-Conscript Mohammad Khaled al-Alloush, from Hama.
-Conscript Ahmad Mohsen Ghalia, from Lattakia.
-Conscript Manhal Khaled Hmeidan, from Homs.
-Conscript Khalil Ali Al-Abd, from Deir Ezzor.
-Conscript Malla Jassem Hamashi, from Raqqa.
-Conscript Nawwaf Hussein El-Mohsen, from Hasaka.
-Policemen Alaa Youssef Saleh, from Lattakia.
-Policemen Ahmad Mohammad Akel, from Lattakia.
-Civilian Mohammad Qusai Malek, from Damascus countryside.
The families of the martyrs expressed trust that Syria will overcome the crisis thanks to the blood of martyrs, adding that the crimes perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups won't weaken the will of the Syrians.
Russian Foreign Ministry
Condemns Terrorist Acts in Syria
Russian Foreign Ministry condemned in a statement the series of terrorist acts in Syria and held the extremist Syrian opposition responsible for escalating violence in the country....
"The attempts of the extremist Syrian opposition to inflame the situation in the country and fuel violence even at the expense of the lives of innocent people raise serious concerns," said the statement.
It added that "the provocative goal behind these attempts is clear, which is to foil Annan's plan-based peaceful settlement in Syria that is being implemented and was unanimously approved by the Security Council and supported by the entire international community." ...
"Moscow firmly condemns these brutal acts that have claimed many victims as a result of the bombings which took place in Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia, Banias and Jableh and in three neighborhoods in Hama," said the statement.
It expressed Russia's deepest condolences to the victims' families and relatives and wishes for speedy recovery to the injured..." (SANA. 29-4-2012)