Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation... Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken.... It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)
"Nasser, as the activist leader of Pan-Arabism, became an idealized model for Saddam Hussein. At age 20, inspired by Nasser, Saddam joined the Arab Ba'th socialist Party in Iraq and quickly impressed party officials with his dedication. Two years later, in 1956, apparently emulating Nasser, Iraqi Army General Qassem led a coup which ousted the monarchy. But unlike Nasser, Qassem did not pursue the path of socialism and turned against the Ba'th party. ... Saddam went to Egypt to study law, rising to leadership ranks in the Egyptian Ba'th Party. He returned to Iraq after 1963 when Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ths and was elected to the National Command. Michel Aflaq, the ideological father of the Ba'th party, admired young Hussein, declaring the Iraqi Ba'th party the finest in the world.... (Dr. Jerrold M. Post)
"Gamal Abdel-Nasser continues to inhabit Egypt because, like Bonaparte, he is the representative of an age of certain national glory, despite the mistakes and the military debacle. But there is more to it than this. Above all, he symbolises for Egyptians the expression of their independent national will. It is this that remains. It is in this that we must seek our project for the future" (Liberating Nasser's legacy, Al-Ahram Weekly 2000)
The ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, Christians and minorities has created a new breed of Iraqis – the Neo-Baathists or Neo-Saddamists.
Although we may have disagreed with it previously, we defend Baathism because under Baathism we were protected – Baathism is secular, left-wing and socialist which is how Iraqi society should be.
Under Baathism there was no ethnic cleansing or targeting of Arab Sunnis, we lived side-by-side in peace with our Shiite, Christian, Sabaean, Yazidi, Kurdish brothers and sisters.
Anbar has become a symbol for Neo-Baathism with many Anbaris still holding the previous Iraqi flag with the 3 stars and the Kufi font.... The 3 stars on the previous Iraqi flag represent: Baathism: Unity, Freedom and Socialism. (Sarah Chronicle 5-5-2013)
Saddam began rebuilding the ruins of ancient Babylon. Saddam put up a large mural of himself next to Nebuchadrezzar at the entrance to the ruins. And echoing Nebuchadrezzar's practice, Saddam had his own name inscribed on the bricks used in the reconstruction. The inscriptions are reported to read: "This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq"
An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C.. Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare. In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview o the local newspaper al-Thawra, in which he claimed that his opponents have “used up all their tools” and failed to overthrow his regime.
Interviewer: Mr President. You first stated that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution... What made you say that it was not a revolution from the inception?
President Assad: From a historical perspective, any genuine revolution is purely internal and cannot be linked externally by any means, as manifested by the Russian, French and even the Iranian revolutions. Real revolutions are intrinsic, spontaneous, and are led by intellectual and ideological elites. What occurred in Syria since the outset of the crisis was flagrant external interference. There were attempts to hide this, but it has become absolutely clear.
Secondly, the real revolution of 1963 was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. ...
Revolutions are about building countries and societies, not about destroying them; so how can we call what is happening in Syria a revolution? Attempts to package the events on the ground as a part of a revolution have been futile from the beginning. ....
Flashback 2012: Bashar al-Assad:
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.
President al-Assad Receives
Copy of the New Draft Constitution SANA, 13-2-2012
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)
DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday issued Decree No. 85 for 2012 stipulating for setting Sunday / 26/2/2012 / as a date for referendum on the draft Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The following are some of the main issues included in the constitution's text:
- The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state of absolute sovereignty that cannot be divided and no part of its land can be abandoned. Syria is a part of the Arab world.
- The political system of the state is based on political pluralism and power is practiced democratically through voting.
- Society in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on solidarity and respecting the principles of social justice, freedom and equality, in addition to preserving the humanitarian dignity of every individual.
- Freedom is a sacred right. The State guarantees the citizens' personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security.
- Citizens have equal rights and duties. Discrimination due to gender, origin, language, religion or belief is prohibited.
- The State guarantees the equality of opportunity principle among the citizens and every citizen has the right to contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life in accordance with the regulating law.
- Citizens should respect the constitution and the rules.
- Private life is respected and protected by the law.
- Freedom of belief is secured by the law.
- Every citizen has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. - The rule of the law is the basis of power in the State.
- The president is to be elected directly by the people.
- The judicial authority is independent and the Higher Judicial Council guarantees the independence of the judiciary.
With a voter turnout of 57.4% and 89.4% voting in favour, the new constitution was adopted. President Al-Assad signed the new constitution into force on 27 February 2012. (Wikipedia)
The crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has intensified, with the government formally listing the group as a terrorist organization and accusing it of being behind a recent suicide attack that killed 16 people.
The new categorization gives the government new powers to detain any member of ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s regime by charging them with belonging to a terrorist group. Anyone found to be promoting or financing the group can also be charged.
"All of Egypt…was terrified by the ugly crime that the Muslim Brotherhood group committed by blowing up the building of the Dakahlyia security directorate,” an emailed statement from the interim government’s cabinet office said, according to Reuters. "The cabinet decided to declare the Muslim Brotherhood group a terrorist organization,” the statement continues.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the attack, the Egyptian government accused the group of being responsible. It also vowed to seek justice for the perpetrators. Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi described the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in an official statement on Wednesday. In response to being listed as a terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood vowed to continue its protests. "The protests will continue, certainly," Ibrahim Munir, a member of the group's executive council who is in exile in London, told AFP. He called the move “illegitimate" and “an attempt to frame the Brotherhood.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes Western politicians have started to realize that overthrowing Assad’s government might lead to a worsening of the Syrian crisis. This shift in the attitude is due to the rise of jihadists in Syria and the threat of the country turning into a caliphate, he said in an interview with RT.
“The attitudes are changing in Western countries, they are becoming more realistic in their approach towards settling the Syrian crisis,” said Lavrov. “The threat of terrorism in Syria, the threat of jihadists coming to power, the threat of creating a caliphate with extremist rules, the threat of violating the rights of minorities, or even depriving them of life, are the main problems.” He also said “understanding that changing the regime is not the way to solve this problem” but a way to “facilitate the arrival of jihadists to power." ...
What worries Sergey Lavrov is that his “Western colleagues are trying to “flirt” with the so-called Islamic front”, which has been struggling for influence with the Free Syrian Army. Lavrov believes the Islamic front could be ideologically close to such Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups as Al-Nusra.
Lavrov also said comments from some Western leaders that Assad doesn’t represent anybody in his country were premature. “ A large part of the population is for Assad for various reasons, not just because he enjoys the love of the people, but because big groups of people depend on him, and not only minorities, even the Sunni,” said Lavrov, adding that many are afraid of being deprived of their business should there be a violent change of power.
The minister believes a country is free to choose its own way of democratic development in line with its history and values and based on international law. Lavrov is strongly opposed to attempts by a group of countries to try and impose their own set of “ambiguous values” on others. This is not democracy, but democratizing, which leads to societies growing destabilized, he contended.
“That happened when the Americans invaded Iraq; that happened when NATO, in violation of the UN Security Council mandate, bombed Libya; that is happening in some other countries of the region, where interference from abroad is taking place....”
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and visiting French President Francois Hollande discussed at length key regional issues, including Syria, Iran and Lebanon, at Khuraim Gardens on Sunday. Hollande [..] also met with former Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri and Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba in Riyadh.
Renewing his call for an immediate solution to the Syrian crisis, Hollande said there could not be a solution with Assad staying in power. “The participation of the opposition in the proposed peace conference in Switzerland on Jan. 22 is desirable.”
Hollande said: “France and Saudi Arabia share a pledge to work for peace, security and stability in the Middle East.” This pledge is evident from Hollande’s meeting with Hariri, a staunch critic of the Syrian regime.
The meeting is important, as it comes amid heightened tensions in Lebanon following the killing of Hariri’s close aide, ex-minister Mohammad Chatah, on Friday.
“France and Saudi Arabia will extend support to Lebanon,” he added. He said Paris shouldered its way into negotiations with Iran, demanding a better deal and warning that the Tehran government needed “careful monitoring.”
Saad-eddine Rafiq Al-Hariri ( born 18 April 1970) is a Saudi-Lebanese billionaire who served as the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 2009 until 2011. He is the second son of Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2005. Hariri was prime minister from 9 November 2009 until the collapse of his cabinet on 12 January 2011 and has also been the leader of the Movement of the Future party since 2005. He is seen as a "weak figurehead" of the March 14 movement.
Hariri holds dual citizenship, Lebanese and Saudi Arabian. On 12 December 2012, Syria issued an arrest warrants against Hariri, Future bloc deputy Okab Sakr and Free Syrian Army official Louay Meqdad in regard to the allegations of arming and providing financial support for Syrian opposition groups. (Wikipedia info)
BEIRUT: Lebanon and Syria engaged in a judicial war Wednesday with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a “monster,” a day after Damascus issued arrest warrants for him and a member of his Future parliamentary bloc over allegations of arming and funding Syrian rebels...
Hariri scoffed at the Syrian arrest warrants issued against him, Future bloc MP Oqab Saqr and rebel Free Syrian Army official Louay Meqdad.
“It is ironic for a monster to become a human being who advocates justice and issues sentences. Bashar Assad has all the characteristics of a monster,” Hariri said in a statement released by his office.
He added that Syria’s beleaguered president has lost “his moral, humanitarian and political prerogatives” to rule: “He [Assad] is wanted and he will sooner or later stand to face justice [wanted] by the Syrian people...
Commenting on the Syrian arrest warrants, Hezbollah official and Nabatieh MP Mohammad Raad told reporters after meeting former President Emile Lahoud: “This is an internal Syrian affair in which we do not interfere.”
Speaking to reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, the Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali said he had appointed Rashad Salameh, a former Kataeb official, to file suit against “anyone who participated, incited, funded and sent arms [to Syrian rebels] and were actual accomplices in shedding the blood of Syrians.”
"My message to the French Parliamentarians is:
go back to the principles of the French Revolution
that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality. Bashar al-Assad, 3-9-2012
The French Revolution brought about great changes in the society and government of France. The revolution, which lasted from 1789 to 1799, also had far-reaching effects on the rest of Europe. It introduced democratic ideals to France but did not make the nation a democracy. However, it ended supreme rule by French kings and strengthened the middle class. After the revolution began, no European kings, nobles, or other privileged groups could ever again take their powers for granted or ignore the ideals of liberty and equality.... The new ideas about government challenged France's absolute monarchy. Under this system, the king had almost unlimited authority. He governed by divine right--that is, the monarch's right to rule was thought to come from God. There were checks on the king, but these came mainly from a few groups of aristocrats in the parlements (high courts). (Source)
BAGHDAD — Black-clad Sunni militants of Al Qaeda destroyed the Falluja Police Headquarters and mayor’s office, planted their flag atop other government buildings and decreed the western Iraqi city to be their new independent state on Friday in an escalating threat to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, whose forces were struggling to retake control late into the night.
Falluja and Ramadi were major battlegrounds during the war in Iraq. Both towns formed focal points of the armed Sunni Arab insurgency against the American-led military presence.
In 2004, Falluja was the site of one of the biggest battles of the war as international forces struggled to wrest it from insurgent control. Dozens of allied soldiers were killed and hundreds wounded over eight days of sustained street-to-street combat.
Ramadi was also rocked by regular insurgent violence. In 2006, American officials recorded as many as 25 violent episodes every day in Ramadi. Violence in both towns was largely tamed in 2007 when groups of local Sunni Arab leaders, some former militants themselves, organized into “Awakening Councils” that worked with American forces to turn their communities against violent jihadist extremism.
Mohamed al-Isawi, the head of the Falluja police, said in a telephone interview that he was gathering men in an area north of Falluja, as a staging ground for what he hoped would be a decisive battle to retake full control of the city. But Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters still appeared to have the upper hand, witnesses and others reached by telephone said...
The group’s fighters cut power lines in Falluja late in the day and ordered residents not to use their backup generators. In one area of Falluja, a militant said over a mosque loudspeaker: “We are God’s rule on Earth! No one can defeat God’s will!”
“We declare Falluja as an Islamic state, and we call on you to be on our side!” one fighter shouted to the crowd, according to witness accounts.
Referring to Mr. Maliki’s government and its Shiite ally Iran, the fighter shouted, “We are here to defend you from the army of Maliki and the Iranian Safavids!” The Safavid dynasty ruled present-day Iran and Iraq hundreds of years ago.
For the Qaeda militants in Iraq, who are fighting under the same name as the most extremist Sunni rebels in Syria, the gains they have made in Anbar appear to be a significant step toward realizing the long-held goal of transforming Iraq and Syria into one battlefield for the same cause: establishing a Sunni Islamist state.
Dr. Hafidh al-Dulaimi, the head of “the Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah citizens” reported the following destruction inflicted on Fallujah as a result of the American attack in November 2004:
- 7000 houses totally destroyed, or nearly totally destroyed, homes in all districts of Fallujah. – 8400 stores, workshops, clinics, warehouses, etc.. destroyed.
- 65 mosques and religious sanctuaries have been either totally demolished and leveled to the ground or whose minarets and inner halls have been demolished.
- 59 kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and technical colleges have been destroyed.
- 13 government buildings leveled to the ground.
- Destruction of the two electricity substations, the three water purification plants, the two railroad stations and heavy damages to the sewage and rain drainage subsystems throughout the city.
- The total destruction of a bridge to the West of the city.
- The death of 100,000 domestic and wild animals due to chemical and/or gaseous munitions.
- The burning and destruction of four libraries that housed hundreds perhaps thousands of ancient Islamic manuscripts and books.
- The targeted destruction (which appears to be intentional) of the historical nearby site at Saqlawia and the castle of Abu al-Abbas al-Safah.
In 2010 it was reported that an academic study had shown "a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s." since 2004. In addition, the report said the types of cancer were "similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionising radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout", and an 18% fall in the male birth ratio (to 850 per 1000 female births, compared to the usual 1050) was similar to that seen after the Hiroshima bombing. (Wikipedia)
Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham tried to blame President Obama for the al-Qaeda presence in Falluja, saying that he had been wrong to withdraw all US troops from Iraq in December of 2011.
It is really rich that these two should try to blame Obama for the problem that they caused. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2002 and the Iraqi government would not have allowed such a thing.
McCain and Graham decided to invade Iraq with no justification in international law, overthrow its government, dissolve its army, fire most Sunni Arabs from their jobs, and dissolve most of the state-owned industries, creating massive unemployment. What did they expect to happen?
McCain and Graham are wrong on this matter for the following reasons:
1. The Iraqi parliament rejected a Status of Forces Agreement with the US... Without a SOFA, as Sen. McCain knows very well, US troops could not engage in combat without risking being brought to Iraqi courts and charged with war crimes.
The only way Obama could have kept troops in Iraq would have been to invade the country all over again, abolish parliament and install a puppet government that would invite the US to stay...
2. Sen. McCain has never comprehended that the Iraqis did not want US troops in their country. Many Iraqis who don’t even like Sunni extremists would be perfectly happy to join them in fighting US troops were they again to be on the ground in Iraq... A US troop presence in a place like Iraq is radicalizing and destabilizing, not a solution to the problems.
The two wanted also a direct US intervention in Syria.... There is no prospect that the US could intervene effectively in Syria. Even if it could, do they want to put the Syrian rebels in power in Damascus? Do they even realize that one major rebel group in Syria is — you guessed it– the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the same “al-Qaeda affiliate” they want to sent troops in to fight in Falluja!
McCain in Israel - McCain in Libya
Some people think war is the answer to every problem. It isn’t even the answer to most problems.
By the time McCain ran for president in 2000, he was the one arguing in debates for a more robust military presence in humanitarian crises, while George W. Bush forswore “nation building” and vowed a more “humble” foreign policy.
During that campaign, McCain introduced the closest thing he had found to a doctrine for foreign intervention: the “rogue-state rollback,” under which he proposed arming and training internal forces that might ultimately overthrow menacing regimes in countries like Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
McCain’s more ambitious view of American power made him a natural ally of neoconservative thinkers like William Kristol, the editor of the fledgling Weekly Standard (now a New York Times columnist), and Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Empowered during the Reagan era, the neocons were largely shoved aside during the ’90s by the more isolationist, anti-Clinton voices who dominated Republican politics. By the time McCain expanded his circle of influence to include Kristol and other neocons in the late ’90s, they had rallied around a single unifying cause: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
In 1998, McCain was one of the sponsors of the Iraq Liberation Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton, which officially changed American policy from containing Hussein to deposing him, and he became a leading figure in the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a lobbying group founded by Randy Scheunemann, who is now his chief foreign policy adviser. McCain met with Ahmad Chalabi, the smooth Iraqi dissident who was a favorite of the neocons, and supported him publicly.
After the terrorist attacks of 2001 and the sudden elevation of Al Qaeda as a defining national security threat, McCain never had any doubt that Iraq, with its supposed capability to unleash or share weapons of mass destruction, posed an existential threat to the United States.
Reading his statements from the time, there is no indication that he ever judged the invasion of Iraq by the standard he had used earlier in his career — whether it had the potential to become another Vietnam. Instead, as American troops swarmed Baghdad, McCain repeatedly compared Hussein to Adolf Hitler and predicted that the occupation of Iraq would be remembered in much the same way that history celebrated the liberation and rebuilding of Europe and Japan.
A US-brokered deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not in Israel's immediate plans, according to one MK.
MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home), Head of the Lobby for the Land of Israel in the Knesset, related to Arutz Sheva on Saturday night that the current government will not allow United States Secretary of State John Kerry to dictate terms of a peace deal.
The reason: the Referendum Bill - passed in July - which would require a national vote on any deal proposed between Israel and the PA.
Struk was one of the initiators of the bill. "I'm one of three sponsors of this bill, along with caucus chairman MK Yariv Levin, and Chairman of Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked," she explained, "and [as such], I must reiterate that a peace deal will not be passed through the government just by a positive referendum vote alone."
The MK explained that the referendum vote, necessary to pass a deal, is not the only cog turning the gears of the political system. "To get to a referendum vote, a deal must pass two prior hurdles, the government and the Knesset."
"Currently there is no chance that Kerry's agreement will be passed under the current government and I say this based on conversations with ministers. And even if the deal does, G-d forbid, get passed through the current government, the deal would still need to pass through a referendum vote - approved by those same ministers," Struk elaborated...
"And though some would say that the Prime Minister can replace the coalition of the government and create another government that will support the agreement as did [Ariel] Sharon, the Likud members [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's party] have played a key role in this government, and a coalition change could not occur without their approval," she explained.
Struk also reiterated to Arutz Sheva the importance of the organized visit by 15 MKs to the Jordan Valley Thursday, commending them on their dedication to preserving Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria...
"There is a very clear statement here that there is no possibility at all for the Prime Minister to adopt Kerry's proposals," Struk stated. "We have a bipartisan wall extending deep into the ruling party preventing a deal. Here is a very clear statement that the Jordan Valley will remain forever under the sovereignty of Israel." "We objected vehemently to Oslo, as it cut the lands of Israel into pieces and handed them over for terrorism," Struk stated. "There is no chance that Binyamin Netanyahu will bring Israel to Oslo again...."
The Jewish Home is a nationalist and religious Zionist political party in Israel, formed as the successor party to Mafdal. Its political views are right-wing and some Western-media have characterized it as "far-right". For the 19th Knesset Elections, The Jewish Home and Tkuma parties merged their lists under the leadership of the chairman of The Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett; Uri Bank and his Moledet party supported the merger. The party has ministers in the cabinet of Israel. (Wikipedia info)
For years opinion polls have consistently shown that a strong majority of Israelis and Palestinians supports a two-state solution. A survey published last week, conducted by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, found that 63% of Israelis and 53% of Palestinians still do. There is also a majority in the Knesset that would support a two-state solution.
Yet, what is obvious to the prime minister and to the foreign minister, to a majority of Israelis and to a majority of Knesset lawmakers is not, apparently, obvious to an increasingly vocal group of high-ranking Likud MKs and deputy ministers calling to either annex Area C, which makes up about 60% of the West Bank, or annex the entire West Bank...
Meanwhile, Likud ministers have refrained from publicly supporting Kerry’s and Netanyahu’s efforts, though they were willing to vote last week in favor of a bill calling to annex the Jordan Valley.
President Shimon Peres is reportedly furious over a Ministerial Committee for Legislation vote last Sunday in favor of a bill to annex the Jordan Valley...
In particular, Yedioth Aharonoth reports, Peres is incensed over how right-wing members of the Committee were able to pass the bill. Governmental ministers who spoke with the President in closed conversations about the bill revealed his sharp criticism.
"What is this good for?" fumed Peres, hinting that media coverage of the bill presents Israel to the world in a similar light as unstable regimes and banana republics.
"What are we, some sort of province? They should not have let a bill like that pass," pronounced Peres. "How do we look to the world, when (US Secretary of State John) Kerry is going out of his way to bring a peace agreement?"
In the closed conversations, Peres reportedly gave the impression that he felt the bill should have been overturned, if for nothing else to avoid the damage to Israel's image. While chances that the bill will become law appear slim, Peres apparently feels that the very announcement of such a bill passing in the ministerial committee harms Kerry's efforts.
Netanyahu: "We are not foreigners in Jerusalem, Beit El [a West Bank settlement] or Hebron."
Demands that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state have become a major stumbling block in John Kerry’s search for a settlement to the Middle East’s most enduring conflict.
As the US secretary of state continued a frantic diplomatic quest on Sunday that some have dubbed “mission impossible”, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Palestinians’ refusal to formally acknowledge the country’s Jewish character had become the key topic in his discussions with Mr Kerry.
Palestinian officials admitted that Mr Kerry has pressed the issue with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, who has so far refused to bend.
“The Americans have made it very clear that [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] is their position,” one Palestinian official told The Daily Telegraph. “They talk about it in meetings with our side and make an issue out of it. We have made it very clear that we are not going to sign any agreement that recognises Israel as a Jewish state.” The Palestinian leader believes the rights of Israel’s approximately 1.5 million Arab citizens would be undermined if he concedes the point. It would also weaken the claims of around 5 million refugees and their descendants claiming a “right of return” to homes that are now in Israel, Palestinians argue. Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, officially recognised Israel before signing the Oslo accords in1993 in a letter to Yitzhak Rabin, the then Israeli prime minister, but did not mention its status as a Jewish state.
Mr Netanyahu - who was reported to have launched an angry tirade cf complaints to Mr Kerry when the pair met last Thursday - linked the issue to what he said was a campaign of Palestinian incitement against Israel.
“The Palestinians are continuing their campaign of inciting hatred, as we have seen in the last few days with their refusal to recognise Israel as a state for the Jewish people,” he told Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “This is the main issue that we’re discussing with [Mr Kerry]. We are not foreigners in Jerusalem, Beit El [a West Bank settlement] or Hebron. I reiterate that, in my view, this is the root of both the conflict and the incitement - the non-recognition of this basic fact.”
News reports continue to suggest that one of the primary roadblocks to any agreement in the current round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is the understandable Palestinian refusal to accept the Israeli demand that Palestine explicitly recognize Israel as a or the "Jewish State".
This is a legally and intellectually bizarre demand clearly intended to make any agreement impossible while facilitating Israel's post-failure public relations campaign to assign to the occupied Palestinians responsibility for Israel's latest success in producing failure.
Palestinian acceptance of this Israeli demand would constitute explicit Palestinian acquiescence in permanent second-class status for Palestinian citizens of Israel and in the liquidation of the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees, as well as implicit Palestinian acceptance that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was morally justified, which in turn would require conceding that Palestinians are sub-humans not entitled to fundamental human rights. No Palestinian leadership could accept this demand and survive. Israelis know that. That is why the demand is being made.
The State of Palestine could and should reiterate that Israel's self-identification is a matter for Israelis (not Palestinians) to decide and then publicly announce that... All states are free to determine and embellish their "official names" as they please....
If formalizing the status of Israel as a "Jewish State" were a genuine concern of the Israeli government or a deeply felt need of the Israeli people, and not simply a cynical gambit to achieve and excuse failure in negotiations, and if the Israeli government wished to proclaim this status officially to the world, the road is open and nothing is stopping Israel from achieving this on its own. ...
If the Israeli government does not dare to proclaim its state officially "Jewish", how can it demand that those whose country has been conquered and colonized, and whose people have been dispossessed and dispersed, to make the State of Israel possible do so on its behalf?
John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.
U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as: «Government of the people, by the people, for the people»
Democracy is by far the most challenging form of government - both for politicians and for the people. The term democracy comes from the Greek language and means "rule by the (simple) people". The theory of modern democracy was not formulated until the Age of Enlightment (17th/18th centuries), when philosophers defined the essential elements of democracy: separation of powers, basic civil rights / human rights, religious liberty and separation of church and state.
Often democracy is defined opposite to other types of government:
- Monarchy: Government by a single ruler (king/queen, emperor)
- Aristocracy: Government by noblemen (hereditary)
- Oligarchy: Government by few persons
- Theocracy: "Government by God" (in reality this means government by religious leaders)
- Dictatorship: Government by people, that have seized power by force (often: military dictatorship)
Today, the majority of democratic countries in the world are republics, i.e. officials are elected. Some well-established democratic countries in Europe, however, (the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and the Scandinavian countries) are constitutional monarchies, i.e. a king or queen is head of state while the constitution guarantees nevertheless all basic rights as in any democratic republic and sets clear limits to duties and competences of the monarch. Such a king can be regarded as a stabilizing factor rather than as a danger for a democracy. (source: democray-building)
The Israel Democracy Index 2013
Jewish? Democratic? Jewish and Democratic?
Israel's Dual Identity – A sizeable majority of Jews (74.8%) believe that the State of Israel can be both Jewish and democratic. Only a third of Arab respondents share this view.
Jewish or Democratic? – Roughly one-third (32.3% ) of the Jewish respondents think the Jewish component of Israel's definition as a Jewish and democratic state is more important, while 29.2% attach greater importance to the democratic component. The percentage of respondents who prefer the combined definition “Jewish and democratic” has declined steadily in recent years, reaching 37% this year.
Halakha vs. Democracy? – The share of Jewish respondents who would choose democratic principles over Jewish religious law (halakha) in the event of conflict between the two (42.7%) clearly outstrips those who would favor Jewish law in such a situation (28.2%). (Israel Democracy Institute)
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is adding a fifth demand to his negotiations with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas: That the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” For Netanyahu’s demand to make any sense, he first has to define “Jewish.”
“Jewish” has a number of possible meanings. It can mean “those recognized by Talmudic law as members of the Jewish ‘race’ via maternal descent.” The latter is the legal definition of Jewishness in Israeli law itself, and for this reason we must presume that it is what Netanyahu has in mind...
Who is a Jew
If a Jew need not live in Israel, need not speak Hebrew, need not be committed to formal communal relations with other Jews, need not believe in the God of Israel and His Torah, and does not necessarily have to be the child of a Jewish mother, who then, is a Jew?
According to Jewish law, a child born to a Jewish mother or an adult who has converted to Judaism is considered a Jew; one does not have to reaffirm their Jewishness or practice any of the laws of the Torah to be Jewish.
According to Reform Judaism, a person is a Jew if they were born to either a Jewish mother or a Jewish father. Also, Reform Judaism stresses the importance of being raised Jewish; if a child is born to Jewish parents and was not raised Jewish then the child is not considered Jewish.
According to the Orthodox movement, the father’s religion and whether the person practices is immaterial. No affirmation or upbringing is needed, as long as the mother was Jewish. (jewish virtual library)
It is important to note that being a Jew has nothing to do with what you believe or what you do. A person born to non-Jewish parents who has not undergone the formal process of conversion but who believes everything that Orthodox Jews believe and observes every law and custom of Judaism is still a non-Jew, even in the eyes of the most liberal movements of Judaism, and a person born to a Jewish mother who is an atheist and never practices the Jewish religion is still a Jew, even in the eyes of the ultra-Orthodox. In this sense, Judaism is more like a nationality than like other religions...
This has been established since the earliest days of Judaism. In the Torah, you will see many references to "the strangers who dwell among you" or "righteous proselytes" or "righteous strangers." These are various classifications of non-Jews who lived among Jews, adopting some or all of the beliefs and practices of Judaism without going through the formal process of conversion and becoming Jews. Once a person has converted to Judaism, he is not referred to by any special term; he is as much a Jew as anyone born Jewish. (judaism 101)
The Torah is the absolute truth
Historically, Judaism has held that a Jew is anyone born to a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism in a halakhic manner (that is, according to Jewish law). A halakhic conversion usually means that one is converting out of personal conviction -- he or she believes the Torah to be the absolute truth -- and has studied Jewish laws and traditions. (source)
A person born to a Jewish mother who is an atheist
and never practices the Jewish religion is also a Jew...!
Juan Cole: Sec. Kerry should simply slap Netanyahu down over this new demand, which is illogical and unreasonable and above all sinister. if Netanyahu won’t accept a two-state solution, then he or his children or grandchildren will likely have to accept a one-state solution. Kerry is trying to do him a favor, and if someone doesn’t want your favor, you don’t humiliate yourself to deliver it.
The Knesset rejected the so-called “two-state solution bill,” which would prohibit the government from unilaterally annexing land.
The bill, proposed by Yechiel Hilik Bar (Labor), would have allowed only land in the West Bank or Gaza to be annexed as part of a peace treaty leading to two states.
“You are reaching a moment of truth, in which you have to look in the mirror of history and realize that we need to separate from the Palestinians,” opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) said to the coalition. “If you don’t take this opportunity now, history will judge you, because we will become an isolated, binational state....”
Despite Herzog’s warnings, the bill was voted down with 44 opposed, including MKs from Hatnua and Yesh Atid, and 25 in favor.
Bar focused on criticizing Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: “Brother, stop fantasizing,” Bar said. “You act like you own Zionism and nationalism...but you are destroying Zionism.”
The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations "have only brought us terror," Naftali Bennett said at an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference (7-1-14). He further warned that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state under any future peace deal will lead to terror....
Bennett turned to recent international pressure on Israel to accept a diplomatic plan that that would not be optimal for Israel saying "we will never give up on Jerusalem. We won't accept a deal based on the sixty-seven lines." The Bayit Yehudi leader said his factions would not be part of a government that makes decisions to withdraw from land. (JP 7-1-2014)
Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ofir Akunis responded to Bar’s proposal... “Why do you have such passion to give away parts of our homeland?”, Akunis asked Bar.
Mehdi Jomaa, Tunisia’s newly appointed PM:
"The new government will be composed of
competent and independent figures" Tunis Times, 10-1-2014
Tunis – Mr. Mehdi Jomaa, Tunisia’s newly appointed PM, delivered a public address on national television today after a meeting with Interim President Mr. Moncef Marzouki. Mr. Jomaa, the independent figure chosen to take the premiership of the government, has now two weeks to roll-out the new government line-up.
“I have met with Mr. President Moncef Marzouki and he tasked me to forming the new government in respect to the road-map agreement and in accordance to the interim law for public authorities.” said Mr. Jomaa in the opening of his speech.
The Tunisian Islamist-led government stepped down from power after months of political deadlock caused by the murder of two secular opposition leaders.
Ennahdha, the moderate Islamist party and the most prominent political block in the parliament, agreed to formation of a care-taker government tasked with assisting the country in its phase final of the transitional process.
The resignation of Laaraydh comes after the election of the ISIE members. ISIE, the Superior Independent Elections Instance, will be organizing and supervising Tunisia’s next legislative and presidential elections once the constitution is finished. The National Constituent Assembly, Tunisia’s parliament is voting on the constitution’s articles one by one separately.
“The new government will be composed of competent and independent figures. After making several contacts, I believe that I formed my vision for the next government. I have also began contacting future candidates. The law gives me 2 weeks to form the government … but I will my best efforts to accomplish my task in a shorter time.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a defiant message to Israel's leadership and US mediators Saturday, telling cheering supporters that the Palestinians "won't kneel" and won't drop demands for a capital in east Jerusalem.
On Saturday, Abbas spoke to several hundred Palestinians activists from Jerusalem whom he had invited to his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"I say, listen, listen, the Palestinian people won't kneel, and we tell the world, listen, listen the Palestinian people won't kneel," he said at one point, drawing chants of "Abu Mazen, Abu Mazen." "Without east Jerusalem as a capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace between us and Israel," Abbas said.
Abbas also reiterated that he will not recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Netanyahu has raised such a demand, and there is growing expectation that it will be included in Kerry's proposal.
"We will not recognize it," Abbas said. "We will not accept and it's our right not to recognize the Jewish state."
Abbas has argued that the Palestinians have already recognized the state of Israel and that there is no need to do more. He has also said recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would harm the rights of Israel's nearly 2 million Arab citizens.
Abbas aides have said they fear Kerry will settle for a vague reference to Palestinian "aspirations" in the city, without referring to east Jerusalem as a capital.
Former prime minister Ariel Sharon died at 85,
eight years after stroke left him comatose; Sharon will be laid to rest at his family ranch in Negev.
Ynet's senior military analyst Ron Ben Yishai speaks of Ariel Sharon, a military and political commander he knew, and says Sharon was not a warmonger, but rather Ben Gurion's true disciple, only interested in Israel's survival.
According to Ben-Yishai, Sharon's "legacy is firstly the survival of the Jewish nation, of the Jewish people in their own homeland; he is a true follower of Ben Gurion. When I say that Israel's survival was the only consideration I mean everything was secondary or third rate to this consideration."
But Sharon was more than that: "The second item in his legacy is that if you say something you do it. He was a pragmatist and doer as both commander and politician..."
"He was a pragmatist, he evacuated 7000 Israelis from the Gaza Strip.., this was an example of his relentless pragmatism. Like Ben Gurion in his time, when he realized that the survival of 7000 settlers among 1.5 million Palestinians is an impossible mission he immediate decided: OK, lets get out of there and keep the West Bank."
1977 - Change of policy
Israel's settlement policy in the occupied territories changed in 1977 with the coming to power of Begin.
Whereas Labor's policies had been guided primarily by security concerns, Begin espoused a deep ideological attachment to the territories. He viewed the Jewish right of settlement in the occupied territories as fulfilling biblical prophecy and therefore not a matter for either the Arabs or the international community to accept or reject.
Begin's messianic designs on the territories were supported by the rapid growth of religious nationalist groups, such as Gush Emunim, which established settlements in heavily populated Arab areas.
Begin's policies toward the occupied territories became increasingly annexationist following the Likud victory in the 1981 parliamentary elections. He viewed the Likud's margin of victory as a mandate to pursue a more aggressive policy in the territories. After the election, he appointed the hawkish Ariel Sharon as minister of defense, replacing the more moderate Ezer Weizman, who had resigned in protest against Begin's settlement policy.
In November 1981, Sharon installed a civilian administration in the West Bank headed by Menachem Milson. Milson immediately set out to stifle rapidly growing Palestinian nationalist sentiments; he deposed pro-PLO mayors, dissolved the mayors' National Guidance Committee, and shut two Arab newspapers and Bir Zeit University.
While Milson was working to quell Palestinian nationalism in the territories, the Begin regime accelerated the pace of settlements by providing low-interest mortgages and other economic benefits to prospective settlers. This action induced a number of secular Jews, who were not part of Gush Emunim, to settle in the territories, further consolidating Israel's hold on the area. Moreover, Israel established large military bases and extensive road, electricity, and water networks in the occupied territories.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon lashed into US Secretary of State John Kerry and savaged US-led peace talks with the Palestinians in private conversations, according to a Tuesday report in a major Israeli daily.
The unsourced report in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper recounts Ya’alon lambasting a framework agreement with the Palestinians as “not worth the paper it is printed on” and something that won’t provide security for Israel. The report quotes Ya’alon calling Kerry an “obsessive” and “messianic” in his efforts to coax the two sides into a peace agreement. Ya’alon said Kerry has “nothing to teach” Israel about the Palestinians.
“All that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace,” the paper quotes him saying.
Ya’alon, considered a defense hawk, has publicly expressed skepticism over plans for Israel to pull out of the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley.
Speaking privately, Ya’alon said the American security plan, which calls for advanced electronic surveillance in the West Bank area instead of an Israeli military presence, will “ensure that Ben Gurion airport and Netanya become a missile target,” which only “our continued presence in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan River” will prevent, according to the report. He also hammered into Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying his continued rule of the West Bank was only thanks to Israel.
“The moment we leave Judea and Samaria he’s finished,” he’s quoted saying. “In practical terms for the last few months we’ve been holding talks not with the Palestinians, but with the Americans.”
Ya'alon was born as Moshe Smilansky (24-6-1950) and grew up in Kiryat Haim, a working class suburb of Haifa. He was active in the Labor Zionist youth movement "HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed" and joined a Nahal group named Ya'alon, a name he later adopted.
On 17 November 2008, Ya'alon announced that he was joining Likud. He entered the Knesset as Likud won 27 seats. Upon the formation of the Netanyahu government, he was appointed Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs. In March 2013, he replaced Ehud Barak as Defense Minister. (Wikipedia)
Flashback 23-5-2011: Interview Haaretz:
'No one in the security cabinet believes it is possible to reach a solution with Abbas'
"There is no doubt that relations with the United States have always been important, especially at this time. But differences of opinion have developed on the Palestinian issue in light of Obama's speech. The president divided the process into two phases; the worst part is that, according to the order set by President Obama, we first have to give up all the territory and return to the 1967 lines. This is a new and precedent-setting statement. This order of affairs is first and foremost suited to the Palestinians' interests. That is why it is good that the prime minister made it clear that those borders are not defensible. In his speech, Obama in effect demanded of us to give up the territorial card without the substantive questions that are important to us - such as recognition of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people - are solved."...
We don't have a partner on the other side, while they are continuing to educate the young generation to deny the attachment between the Jewish people and this land, and that is being done by Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]...
- According to this analysis, it is impossible to progress with Abbas.
"Yes. There's not a minister in the security cabinet who believes it's possible to reach a solution to the conflict with Abu Mazen in the foreseeable future. Therefore we have to get used to the idea that we are in crisis-management mode and that we aren't going to solve it. It has been going on for 20 years and it might continue for another 100 years."
True, the defense minister's choice of the words "obsessive" and "messianic" to describe the American secretary of state may not be graceful, but these statements include something refreshing and much more important than manners – a direct and sincere dialogue with the citizens of Israel.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, so it seems, has almost completely adopted the Palestinian stance, and that is the background for the harsh statements made by Ya'alon in private conversations with sources in the United States.
The outline of the agreement they are suggesting may end in a security disaster for Israel, but if we insist on our vital interests they will see us as responsible for the talks' failure. And if this is the situation, it's no wonder that the defense minister is furious.
The defense minister argues that in practice there are no negotiations taking place right now, because Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as the Jewish nation state, refuses to give up on the right of return and refuses to sign an agreement which will bring all claims to an end. This truth may be painful, but someone has to say it – and that's what Ya'alon did....
In addition, it's no secret that Netanyahu thinks the exact same thing. But Ya'alon, as opposed to Netanyahu, is unwilling to be part of the bluff under which the talks with the American secretary of state are being held.
The harsh statements voiced by Ya'alon brought back memories of two prime ministers who were not afraid to voice their opinion about the American administration leaders in public – Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir...
Yitzhak Shamir: All of the land of Israel is ours.
The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It's that simple.
If history remembers me at all, in any way, I hope it will be as a man who loved the Land of Israel and watched over it in every way he could, all his life.
Menachem Begin: Israel will not transfer Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District to any foreign sovereign authority, [because] of the historic right of our nation to this land, [and] the needs of our national security, which demand a capability to defend our State and the lives of our citizens." The western part of the Land of Israel is entirely under our control and it shall not be partitioned anymore. No part of this land shall be given over to a foreign administration, to foreign sovereignty.
Ron Prosor, Israel's envoy to the United Nations condemned the UN over its declaration of its International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.
"The UN is used as a tool in the service of Palestinian propaganda. Instead of trying to end the campaign of Palestinian incitement against Israel, the UN provides a stage for Palestinian productions for the media," Prosor said.
"While the Palestinians seek UN solidarity, they continue to educate an entire generation to hate Israel and deny the connection between the Jewish people to their homeland," he added...
Earlier Thursday, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon launched the beginning of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinians.
“This will be a critical year for achieving the two-state solution, bringing an end to the occupation that started in 1967, and securing an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine living in peace and security with the State of Israel where each recognizes the other’s legitimate rights,” Ban said in a statement.
On November 26, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution A/68/12 that calls on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (UNISPAL) to “organize activities to be held during the year.” In the same week, the General Assembly passed six resolutions concerning Israel and marked the one-year anniversary of the recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.
UNISPAL has not yet announced the program of events for this year, but said on its website that the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinians will promote “international awareness... of the obstacles to the ongoing peace process... including the settlements, Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza, and the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Amira Hass: Palestinian ghettos were always the plan
Right-wing politician Naftali Bennett’s plan to annex Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank is just the logical next step in Israel’s historic effort to ghettoize the Palestinians. When Habayit Hayehudi party leader and rising political star Naftali Bennett calls for annexing Area C, the part of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civil control, he is following the logic of every single Israeli government: maximize the territory, minimize the Arabs.
Bennett can propose annexation because every governing coalition since the Six-Day War – whether it was led by the Likud or Labor… laid the spiritual and policy groundwork for him.…
The aim – unfolded with the advent of time – has been to concentrate the Palestinians in reserves, after most of their land had been robbed of them. And if they desert and move abroad, it’s of their own free will…
This is the real Israeli historical compromise. It is not with the Palestinians, but with the dictates of reality and among the various Zionist ideological currents. (Haaretz 20-1-2013)
The ghettoization of the Palestinians under Israeli citizenship is situated within the Zionist nation building project which is an on-going process, an unfinished and contentious process of social formation of a colonial settler society within capitalist development.
This story is not yet finished. Since borders remain unresolved Israeli leaders are able to set the conditions de facto for Israel to expand territorially by illegally occupying and annexing more Palestinian land, removing native Palestinians from these lands, settling Jewish Israeli citizen-settlers on these lands, and proletarianizing and ghettoizing those Palestinians within the areas under their control.
The Palestinian enclaves in Israel and the expansion of segregated locales in the occupied territories are a contemporary example of ghettoization of a subordinated people-class.
Eyptians will go to polls on 14-15 January to vote in a national referendum on a new constitution.
The vote marks the first time Egyptians have gone to the ballot box since Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was removed from office on 3 July.
On 30 June 2013, Egyptians turned out in their millions to demand the removal from power of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement, and the implementation of a new political roadmap.
Gamal Zahran, a political science professor at Suez Canal University, agrees that the first stage of the roadmap – drafting a new constitution – has been completed successfully. "This was achieved in spite of a very hostile press campaign from the West and violent street protests by the Brotherhood," says Zahran...
He says most political factions joined the 50-member constitution-drafting committee, which will contribute to the charter's smooth endorsement. "This is in sharp contrast to last time when Egyptians were left sharply divided after the Islamist-drafted constitution passed by a thin majority," adds Zahran.
Leaders of most liberal and leftist political parties support the new constitution, holding public rallies in recent days to mobilise their members for a yes vote. More significantly, the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party, which backed the 2012 constitution, is also backing its replacement.
"I think Nour's active participation in drafting the new constitution and drumming up public support for it has largely isolated the Brotherhood and helped create a kind of national consensus ahead of the vote," says Zahran.
Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour said Sunday that "the adoption of this new constitution," amended from the 2012 Constitution, "will pave the road towards serious steps on the path to democracy."
Mansour praised the draft constitution scheduled to be put to a national referendum 14 and 15 January, stating that Islamic Sharia law is the basis of the draft constitution's legislation.
He continued his praise by saying the new draft respects all other religions and maintains the rights and freedoms of everyone.
"Let’s go [vote] the day after tomorrow, as we [took to] the streets on 25 January 2011, 30 June, 3 July and 26 July 2013 to fulfill our revolution the way we wanted it, with a constitution that fulfills the first step to a civil modern democratic state," Mansour said.
To all loyal revolutionary men and women of Egypt...
Do not listen to the speeches of the generals and their proverbial paid priests. The blood of Egyptians is still dripping from their mouths.
Voting "Yes" will bring Egypt more grief and crises. Voting "No" – with coup authorities' systematic fraud – means "Yes". A complete boycott is the only way. The door is still open for the undecided to return to the ranks of the patriotic people, at this vital and defining moment.
The Alliance appreciates and praises the resilience and steadfastness of all revolutionary men and women of Egypt. A great spirit of positive response is witnessed across all parts of this dear homeland, for the call to a full boycott.
This is a good sign, which should strengthen all revolutionary men and women everywhere, as they steel their resolve to move forward on the path of the Revolution, committed to peaceful defiance and resistance until they achieve a complete victory for the January 25 Revolution, as well as its gains and goals.
Down with the referendum of blood, death and treason. Down with the junta's judiciary and coup commanders.
Long live Egypt and its proud patriotic people.
The Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance
Cairo: January 12, 2014
CAIRO: Egyptians lined up in numbers to vote on a new constitution many said they had not read but would approve anyway in support of the army’s ouster of President Muhammad Mursi.
The referendum has been billed by authorities as the first in a series of polls that will restore elected government by the end of the year. For many, it has also become a vote of confidence for army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, the man who overthrew Mursi in July and is now mulling a presidential bid.
“I am voting because it is not only my civic duty, but also to prove that what happened was not a coup,” said Omar, 24, referring to the July 3 ouster of Mursi by the army.
“The referendum is the end of the Muslim Brotherhood. We say yes to the future and no to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Galal Zaky, a bread vendor owner.
Wafaa Louis Tawadros, a Coptic Christian, said: “The (Muslim) Brotherhood wanted to divide us.”
Sissi, in his trademark sunglasses and flanked by officers and adoring voters, visited a polling station in Cairo. “Work hard. We need the referendum to be completely secured,” he told soldiers guarding the school. “The people must prove to dark terrorism that they fear nothing,” he said after voting.
The Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC) announced Saturday that the newly drafted national charter was approved by 98.1 percent of voters.
SEC head Nabil Salib says 38.6 percent (20,613,677) of registered voters cast ballots in last week's referendum on the draft constitution, surpassing the 32% turnout of 2012 constitutional referendum. The number of 'yes' voters according to Salib was 19,985,389 (98.1%).
Presidential advisor for constitutional affairs Ali Saleh said shortly after the results were announced that the newly-approved charter was put in effect immediately. The newly-approved constitution replaces the one drafted in 2012 by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.
2012 referendum which took place under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood:
Turnout 2012: 16232017 (32%) - Yes: 64%.
To all young revolutionary men and women of Egypt...
Once again, the Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance appreciates and praises your vital role in the patriotic boycott of the false vote on the putschists' charter. The murderous traitors are deeply perturbed, because they know you are the mainstay of the Revolution and its raging fire that burns on, and will do until the military coup and junta rule are defeated.
The Alliance acknowledges and salutes your majestic millions that turned-out all day long Friday – the beginning of a great new Revolution, with broader and more popular support, at a truly critical stage. Several new segments of society have joined the positive boycott by the revolutionary will, in spite of brutal repression and terror practices by coup forces, and despite the regrettable numbers of dead, wounded and abducted anti-coup protesters that prove coup authorities are losing their nerve seeing that the masses of the Egyptian people boycotted their sham referendum.
The National Alliance values the thundering, yet controlled and peaceful resistance, and sees victory approaching ahead, through non-violent defiance and peaceful civil action. The Alliance holds military coup authorities and the murderous junta responsible for the consequences of their malicious actions and decisions. They are persistently pushing the situation into a dark abyss of uncontrollable violence and destruction, in a country where people in every city, town and street seek revenge and demand retribution for loved ones.
Your good work will enable the peaceful January 25 Revolution to reclaim its gains and achieve its goals. Do not let coup commanders and collaborators rest or relax – until the homeland is ultimately victorious. The harbingers of victory are on the horizon, thanks to God and to your great efforts and peaceful struggle.
The Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance
Cairo: January 17, 2014
(Reuters) - Syria's main political opposition group in exile agreed on Saturday to attend internationally sponsored peace talks, and said for the first time three rebel fighting forces also wanted to take part.
National Coalition spokesman Louay Safi told Reuters the Soldiers of the Levant, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and the Mujahideen Army all wanted "to have some representation within the delegation" at the talks in Montreux.
Rebel brigades had previously rejected Geneva - demanding the removal of Assad before talks. Their support is seen as critical if any deals have any chance of being rolled out. All three are established forces, through restrictions on journalists in Syria makes it impossible to give independent estimates of their size.
A fourth fighting group, the Islamic Front - thought to be bigger than the other three combined - was still deciding whether to attend, Safi added. Al Qaeda-linked rebels, increasingly involved in the fighting, have shown no interest in a political process.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomed the participation of the opposition groups.
"I look forward to the opposition's expedited formation of a delegation that broadly represents the diversity of the Syrian opposition, including women," he said in a statement. Syrian officials have announced a delegation to attend the January 22 talks, though they dispute the invitation letter's focus on setting up a transitional authority, saying the priority is "to continue to fight terrorism" - a phrase they use to describe Assad's battle with increasingly radical rebels.
Damascus, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad said that the Syrian society, that has been known for its amity and tolerance for centuries, will never accept the wahabi and takfiri mentality, adding that this dangerous mentality does not only threaten Syria but also all of the region’s countries.
The remarks came during President al-Assad’s meeting with a delegation of the Anglican Church comprising clergymen from USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Lebanon and Syria, headed by Amgad Beblawi, Mission Coordinator for the Middle East at Presbyterian Church in the USA.
President al-Assad said that one of the main problems regarding the western, and particularly the US, approach in dealing with the region’s issues is that most of their leaders are far from comprehending the reality and nature of the region and the interests of its peoples.
President al-Assad stressed that the majority of the western leaders are working to achieve their narrow interests which are far from the interests of their peoples and countries.
Moscow, (SANA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomed the decision of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to direct an official invitation to Iran to attend the international conference on Syria "Geneva 2".
In a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart Borge Brende in Moscow on Monday, Lavrov stressed that Tehran's presence is important for resolving the crisis in Syria as this is an issue affecting the entire region.
The Minister said that some sides' rejection of Iran's participation shows these sides' lack of interest in resolving the crisis in a just manner.
Lavrov noted that some parties that were invited to conference are known for funding the armed opposition in Syria directly, including extremists, yet the Syrian government agreed to hold talks with those parties. He voiced surprise over the Doha Coalition which backed down from participating in the conference and insisted on withdrawing Iran's invitation first, describing this position as quarrelsome and characteristic of the coalition, which had been making different conditions and demands from the beginning, adding that one must not forget that the Doha Coalition was formed by external funders.
Lavrov pointed out that the Montreux meeting will open the conference and will consist of symbolic discussion in which participants will pose their views on ending the crisis, with actual direct talks to begin later.
Facing growing US anger, the United Nations has done a complete about-face on yesterday’s invitation for Iran to attend the Geneva talks. The UN has now officially uninvited Iran.
Russia had been pushing for Iran’s inclusion in the talks for months, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered the last second invitation more or less out of the blue yesterday, leading to furious US State Department reactions and a threat from what few Syria rebels were planning to attend in the first place to withdraw if Iran wasn’t uninvited by 2 pm today.
The UN, apparently unwilling to live with the egg that’s plainly on their face after the past 24 hours, followed up their uninvitation with an feigned condemnation of Iran for refusing to endorse the US calls for regime change in Syria.
Iran had never suggested they were going to accept the US calls in the first place, and that was a chief reason the US opposed their invitation, insisting that the only people who could attend the talks were those who had accepted regime change as the goal, and also the Syrian government itself and Russia, who both oppose the plan.
The talks are not expected to accomplish much of anything, with the US and friends insisting the goal is regime change and the Assad government suggesting that maybe the growing takeover of al-Qaeda was also worth discussing
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the upcoming international talks about the Syrian crisis will resemble “hypocrisy” without Iran's participation.
"Among the countries also invited [to the Geneva conference] are Australia, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and many others. So if there is no Iran in this list… I think the peace talks will resemble hypocrisy," Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart Borge Brende on Monday.
"The situation is unhealthy, I think. From the very beginning we have underlined that it is necessary to invite to this conference all countries, without any exclusion, that influence the situation on the ground so to speak,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Lavrov pointed out that calls for changing the regime in Syria represent a misinterpretation of Geneva-1 Communique, noting that the opposition coalition has been formed abroad by immigrants who have their own interests, as the coalition is financed by foreign funders.
The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that the Syrians should determine their future on their own without foreign interference.
The Geneva-1 Communique
Action Group members agreed on the following ‘Principles and Guide-lines on a Syrian-led transition’. Any political settlement must deliver to the people of Syria a transition that:
Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in Syria. A transitional governing body can be implemented in a climate of safety for all, stability and calm.
The transitional governing body would exercise full executive powers. It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.
• It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country. All groups and segments of society in Syria must be enabled to participate in a National Dialogue process.
• On this basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval.
• Once the new constitutional order is established, it is necessary to prepare for and conduct free and fair multi-party elections for the new institutions and offices that have been established.
• Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition. (www.un.org)
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed regret over the UN’s retraction of its invitation to Iran to take part in the Geneva II conference, saying that the move undermined the dignity and status of Ban Ki-moon as the UN chief.
“Mr. Ban Ki-moon contacted me several times last week and I stated to him explicitly that we don’t accept any preconditions for participating in the meeting,” Zarif told reporters on Tuesday morning before leaving Ashgabat where he held meetings with the Turkmen officials.
“We regret that Mr. Ban Ki-moon has withdrawn his offer (to Iran to take part in the Geneva II conference) and believe that such an attitude is not appropriate for the status and dignity of the Secretary-General,” he added.
Ban Ki-moon sent a letter to Iran on Monday to invite the country to the Geneva II peace conference on Syria. .. The invitation enraged the US, Britain and the main Syrian opposition body, which warned it would not turn up in the Swiss town of Montreux unless Iran conceded on the issue of a transitional government – a central pillar of western-backed attempts to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The US said the UN must take back its invitation.
UN: problems and negative developments.
Double standard in foreign policy; international legal nihilism; belittling of the role of the United Nations, authoritative intergovernmental institutions; Russophobia; and the direct intervention by Western countries in the internal affairs of sovereign states with the use of modern technologies such as the Internet and social networks in order to support and encourage the pseudo-legitimate theory of "color revolutions." (Moscow Times, 6-9-2012)
Damascus, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Monday met with the official delegation tasked with participating in international conference on Syria which will be held in Geneva on January 22nd 2014.
President al-Assad provided the delegation with his directives, first among which is rising to level of the representation of the people's pains and hopes by preserving Syria's sovereignty as always, preventing and rejecting any foreign interference no matter its form and context, and accepting no relinquishing of the well-known Syrian national standards, most important of which being preserving the country and the people and placing their interest above any other consideration.
President al-Assad asserted that anything reached in Geneva will not succeed if the Syrian people don't accept it, and that any political solutions requires first and foremost the complete cessation of terrorism and pressuring the countries which support and sponsor it to comply with international conventions, laws and norms which incriminate anyone who provides any form of assistance to terrorism and terrorist organizations.
For their part, the delegation members said that they will go to Geneva bearing the aspirations of the Syrian people and the directives of President al-Assad to begin a political dialogue as a first step to an inter-Syrian dialogue on Syrian territory.
The delegation which will participate in the Geneva conference consists of Walid al-Moallem who heads the delegation, Omran al-Zoubi and Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban who are the deputy heads of delegation, Dr. Fayssal Mikdad, Hussam Eddin Alla, Bashar al-Jaafari, Ahmad Farouk Arnous, Luna al-Shebl, and Usama Ali.
Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian from Washington, has joined Press TV’s Debate to discuss the prospects of peace in Syria regarding the talks in Montreux.
Press TV: We know that John Kerry and the US, is against Assad, we know that they want him out of power but did not he go overboard in just going on and on? I mean he at one point said that 130,000 people that have been killed is Assad’s fault and his security apparatus’. That is just not the way to set for diplomatic stage to try to resolve this very important crisis. Is it?
Tarpley: I think that the only terms for the unfortunate Secretary Kerry are power, paranoia, hysteria, the rejection of any reality...
The Obama administration has come to this primarily because of the diplomatic finesse and capability of Putin, Lavrov along with Iran and some other countries. They really have no alternative but to come there but then they make these embarrassing statements, I think this is really lamentable.
The other thing I would say, Ban Ki-moon should resign. This comedy that we had of Ban Ki-moon in a moment of lucidity extending an invitation to Iran, which was perfectly justified, and then being forced to take this back, the strings connecting the puppet Ban Ki-moon to the state department have become much too visible...
The United Nations risks going the way of the League of Nations unless Ban Ki-moon is taken out of the picture.
Press TV: Webster Griffin Tarpley terrorism has been a focus that has been presented by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Why is it not given the weight that it should be given, at this conference?
Tarpley: The question of terrorism, I think, the speech by Muallem is something that everybody should actually read. .. What he points to, first of all, is that this is the ideology that comes from people like Khutba, the infamous enemy of President Nasser in Egypt, it has to do with the Wahhabis of course, and he talks even about Saudi Arabia. He obviously turned to the Saudi delegation and the US delegation and said: I am sitting in the same room with the people who have cynically sent these killers into my country, sent them arms, sent them money, given them diplomatic cover and now you are here at a peace conference.
He said, in effect you have sent us monsters in human form who are drunk on the ideology of Wahhabism.
Press TV: Webster Griffin Tarpley what do you think about that comment made by Geoffrey Alderman? Forget about this Syria conference that is being held in Montreux and then in Geneva and then have these countries work together in terms of having Iran and Saudi Arabia perhaps trying to resolve this crisis and to have some kind of a roadmap put in place?
Tarpley: Here in the US we have that statements right? We had Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA, we had Ryan Crocker from the state department saying that Assad is the lesser evil...
You could say, look now that Kerry has made these stupid remarks, he has satisfied AIPAC, he has satisfied the Saudis, he has made these bombast statements. Now let us get down to real business and the real business would have to be, it is time to dump those terrorists in Syria....
The other thing is that this guy Jarba, at the conference, who does he represent? He does not represent anything. The Nusra, he does not represent them, the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and Sham, he does not represent them. He does not represent the Islamic Front. Even these Syrian National Council people have now quitted. So Jarba is sitting there without visible means of support. He is the Syrian National Coalition but he represents virtually nobody. So I do not see how that side of it is going to work.
The only possible solution here is that the death squads, the terrorist rebels in Syria, are basically shown the exit. Get rid of them, cut off their support.
Walid al-Moallem: "My delegation and I carry the hope of a nation for the years to come – the right of every child to safely go to school again, the right of women to leave their homes without fear of being kidnapped, killed or raped; the dream of our youth to fulfill their vast potential; the return of security so that every man can leave his family safe in the knowledge that he will return.
Finally, today, the moment of truth; the truth that many have systematically tried to bury in a series of campaigns of misinformation, deception and fabrication leading to killing and terror. A truth that refused to be buried, a truth clear for all to see – the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic representing the Syrian people, the government, the state, the Army and the President - Bashar al-Assad.
Walid Moallem, Syria’s minister of foreign affairs
"We are not in an age of colonization" Al-Monitor, 22-1-2014
Al-Monitor: Let me ask about the armed groups. You, today in your speech, accused some of the regional powers as being behind some of these armed Islamic terrorist groups in Syria, and as I understand it there are two major factions fighting in areas not controlled by the government: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, or the al-Qaeda-affiliated groups on the one hand, and then there is the Islamic Front, which is affiliated with the Free Syrian Army and the coalition, according to reports. How do you assess the state of play on the battlefield and who is behind these groups?
Moallem: I know well that the Islamic Front is composed by Saudi Arabia. Jabhat al-Nusra is supported by Qatar. ISIS, which is the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, belongs to al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri.
Al-Monitor: And how do you see the battle between these forces?
Moallem: I can’t say who is winning or who is losing, because it is a battle between a group that hits and runs.
Al-Monitor: It has been said many times that the foundation of these talks and the Geneva communique is primarily about a political transition and not about terrorism. How do you think this appeal that you are making is received by the UN secretary-general, [the UN-Arab League Special Representative] Lakhdar Brahimi, Russia, others?
Moallem: With Russia, no problem, because the Russians themselves suffer from terrorism. From Ban Ki-moon, I met him and I explained to him why, in my opinion, this issue will pave the way for [a] political solution, because it will narrow the gap.
Al-Monitor: Secretary Kerry said in his remarks today that “we have to deal with reality here, we really do ... that means that Bashar al-Assad will not be a part of the transitional government.” What is your reaction to his remarks?
Moallem: Well, we are all in the 21st century, this means we are not in an age of colonization, we are not in the age of hegemony, we are in the 21st century. No country in the world can impose his will on other countries. Who will be the president, how will the government be according to his interests. This era is finished.
Al-Monitor: The past few days the media have been reporting on a study by some distinguished international lawyers that includes accusations of systematic torture by your government, including graphic photos, which were smuggled out by a photographer who said he worked for the security services. This report comes in the context of other reports about violations of human rights by the Syrian government. Could you respond to this charge and the broader issue of human rights?
Moallem: My information is that Qatar paid three lawyers in Britain to fabricate the whole story. The date is the opening of the conference. If they had these documents, why did they not show them before opening this conference? Why during the meeting of the conference? This is the first question mark.
Second question mark: If you want people to believe you, you make your lie very big. If we have 11,000 prisoners in Syria, I assure you this crisis is ended. This number is very much exaggerated...
Al-Monitor: But what about the charges themselves? I mean, the specifics of the case.
Participants of the Geneva-2 peaceful conference on Syria do not have the task of changing the regime in the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Everyone says that if we just set the task of regime change, as some are attempting to do, chaos will come to Syria. And more than enough chaos is there. But this could simply avalanche situational development and no one wants this. Everyone realizes that order should be maintained and no other methods, but preserving the current institutions, exist for this," Lavrov said in an interview with the News on Saturday program.
Moscow is pushing Syrians "so that they agree themselves," Lavrov said. "This could sound quite naive but no other way actually exists," the minister said.
"It is possible to influence the parties and to prompt them so that they sit at the negotiating table, not just 'serve' an act, and truly search for some compromises. It is impossible to put some scheme on the table, like, 'provision one - someone leaves, provision 2 - someone comes.' This is social engineering, which has never ended in anything good anywhere," Lavrov said.
"The issue of Syria's integrity and consistency concerns everyone, and at that, concerns us for a long time. Nothing is said in the Geneva communique that someone should leave - it states the necessity for Syrians themselves to accord a mutually acceptable composition and parameters of transition period. And it is emphasized there that, at that, it is necessary to preserve the institutions of Syrian society, including the army and security service," the Russian foreign minister said.
When asked how the opening of the conference proceeded, in particular due to the information on the fighting between Syrian governmental reporters and anti-Assad activists, Lavrov said: "No fight occurred there. I have not noticed communication either...
"Things proceed slowly, not as fast as we wanted, even amid the political will of Moscow and Washington," Lavrov said... ""This is just the first step," the minister said. "This dialog is to be expanded so that the process is truly representative."
Washington, DC – On December 12, 2013, the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development of the Group of the Friends of the Syrian People held its third plenary meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Dr. Osama Kadi, president of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, attended the meeting as head of the Syrian delegation. The Government of the Republic of Korea hosted the meeting.
In the co-chairs conclusions on the meeting, Working Group participants commended the Syrian Center for Political Strategic Studies for its work on Syria Transition Roadmap, an exhaustively researched document presenting a consensus opposition vision of the post-conflict political and economic transition in Syria. Additionally, the Working Group welcomed the formation of the Syrian Interim Government and the announcement of the Geneva Conference on Syria, scheduled for January 22, 2014.
The Syrian Expert House is an initiative launched by the Washington based Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies to analyze and study the transitional period in Syria. The Syrian Expert House is a combined group of approximately three hundred human rights activists, academics, judges, lawyers, doctors, opposition politicians, defected government officials, defected military officers, members of local revolutionary councils, and commanders of the armed opposition who are committed to holding periodic meetings to build a final vision of the transitional period.
Political reform. Taking over the presidency
The stepping down of the head of the current regime, President Bashar al-Assad, will mark the beginning of the transition in Syria.
Thus, the Political and Administrative Reform Working Group discussed several scenarios for the end of the crisis, after which an interim government would be formed on the basis of a political agreement based on the conflict’s resolution.
Security Sector Reform. Taking over the army
Regarding the challenges of building a new army in Syria, there were extensive discussions about its composition and the structuring of the general staff.
The various leaders and representatives of military units in the Free Syrian Army gave a briefing to the Syrian Expert House of the situation in the field in their fronts, which included a full explanation of the liberated and non-liberated areas, alongside a description of the fighting formations from the numbers, capabilities, and the formations’ names standpoints.
Some of the defected high-ranking officers made comments about the formation of the general staff and its framework. They demanded that all the battalions and brigades that are active on the ground coordinate with them in order to form the nucleus of a new army in the future.
August 2013: Syrian National Coalition
endorses 'Syria Transitional Roadmap'
Prominent leaders of the Syrian political opposition expressed their support for a report on the post-Assad transition Wednesday at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Farouk Tayfour vice president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, and George Sabra, president of the Syrian National Council, endorsed the report, which details the Syrian opposition’s comprehensive vision of the democratic transition in Syria.
At the press conference, Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, Executive Director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies and leader of the transitional justice working group, presented the final conclusions of the report, describing them as “representing the political common ground of the Syrian opposition on key issues.”
While speaking at the conference, National Coalition Vice President Farouk Tayfour declared that the report was “a great achievement for the Syrian people” and “a foundation for building a civil and democratic country in which pluralism prevails.”
Muhammad Farouq Tayfur was born in Hama 1945. As an architect, he worked in Saudi Arabia, but later on devoted his whole time to the Muslim Brotherhood. He held many leading positions in the Brotherhood. He is regarded to be one of the most powerful political figures in the Brotherhood. He is now Deputy Secretary General of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and vice president of the Syrian National Council. He is also co-vice-president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. )(source)
Ridha Fahmi, leading member of the Anti-Coup, Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance, denied false claims published recently about an initiative by the Alliance for reconciliation with the military council, according to reports attributed to Mohamed Abu-Samra, Secretary-General of the Islamic Party.
Fahmi told the Freedom and Justice Newspaper, "The Revolution has not authorized anyone to negotiate on its behalf. There is no place in the Alliance for anyone who goes negotiating with killers and criminals. The only way to stabilize the situation in Egypt is to achieve retribution, return fully to electoral and constitutional legitimacy, and cleanse this homeland of killers and corrupt officials.
"There is no room for any talk about initiatives or dialogues with killers and criminals in the military, interior ministry, junta judges, or media castrati who instigated the killing of innocent people."
Dr. Saad Fayyad: "The Alliance speaks and moves in tandem with the pulse of the revolutionary street... We assure that coup commanders and collaborators will be put on trial soon on charges of 'genocide'. They have no political future and no genuine popular support.
Indeed, death is easier and more acceptable to us than laying to waste the blood of our loved ones that watered the tree of liberty in Egypt.
The third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution has once again clearly demonstrated how wide is the gap between the Muslim Brotherhood-led Islamist camp and its opponents, three years after all political forces were once united against former president Hosni Mubarak....
Saturday's 2014 anniversary, which comes months after Morsi's 3 July ouster following nationwide protests against his rule, saw mass rallies in support of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the Brotherhood's arch-foe, as well as another round of deadly clashes that have continued for months between Brotherhood supporters and police forces as well as civilian opponents....
What added fuel to fire were the four bombings that took place the day before, 24 January, in different areas across Greater Cairo, leaving six dead. Fifteen more died that day in ensuing clashes between Brotherhood supporters and their opponents.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group whose name means Partisans of Jerusalem, has claimed responsibility for Friday's largest bomb attack at Cairo's central police headquarters...
Despite Friday's violence hundreds of thousands still headed the next day to Tahrir Square, Ittihadiya palace and around the country.... Egyptians flags were waved, but most prominent were banners and posters for El-Sisi, who has grown immensely popular since reading out the statement announcing the end of Morsi's rule.
Meanwhile, as expected, Brotherhood members and supporters held counter protests which resulted in deadly confrontations on the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. Ahmed Ban, a researcher specialised in Islamist groups, believes that they are not likely to change their approach...
He added: "Unfortunately, a political solution seems anything but possible these days. The Brotherhood with their continuous protests and refusal to be involved in negotiations have locked all doors."
"Also, the Brotherhood and the interim authorities have been constantly demonising each other for quite some time, which makes a peaceful solution nearly impossible."
Cynthia McKinney, a former African-American Congresswoman has edited a book, The Illegal War on Libya (Clarity Press, Atlanta 2012), on the illegal war on Libya fought by NATO members with the support of the Arab League and some despotic Arab regimes.
Those whom the Western powers and their fawning media wish to destroy must first be demonised. This was exactly what happened to Libya’s leader Muammar al Gaddafi.
Just before France, Great Britain and the U.S. started the war against Libya, Nikolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi and other Western politicians courted Gaddafi. When the Libyan leader visited Paris in 2007, he struck his tent in front of the guest house of the French government. His bizarre conduct and much more were accepted by Sarkozy in order to promote lucrative business with Libya. A few years later, he rewarded him with and his country with a bombing spree.,,,
The essays in McKinney’s anthology describe the horrors caused by the Western bombing campaign and the distorted picture of the events painted by mainstream media. Lizzie Phelan refers to a “full blown media war” and to the silence of Western journalists while Libya was “being bombed into extermination.” Although they witnessed these horrors, they found “all manner of justifications for their self and collective delusion.”
Their behavior reminded the author of the riddle: “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” The Western media pundits played down the horrendous crimes against the Libyan people by cartooning Gaddafi as a “mad dog.”
The book contains, inter alia, a scathing speech by Gaddafi, delivered at the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2009. A chronology of the NATO-led assault on Libya completes the book.
This book is a must-read. It gives its readers a premonition of things that are yet to come.
Flashback: The return of colonial theology
Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz, March 22, 2011
Once again the West is quoting Homer and dropping business and partnership with Muammar Gadhafi in favor of ratings, oil and especially the use of the machinery of war. The public likes this, until it has to pay in blood and money. After the graves are covered, the mood can change. In general, indifference - the progeny of the malls, reality TV and beach vacations - takes control. Something is rotten there. Not only the corruption of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi or French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Not only the dismantling of the welfare state, the disappearance of the left, but - in place of all this - the return of colonial theology.
It begins at home with the great hostility toward Arabs and Muslims, and now, with the help of Gadhafi's drugged image, another "no-fly zone," which has turned, with a great global wink, into a tremendous, high-tech shooting gallery....
For the blink of an eye, we thought Obama would change our lives, but the U.S. presidential election - the author Gore Vidal once said - is like vying to become manager at a big bank. The customers don't care who's in charge. (Haaretz 2011)
*Yitzhak Laor is an Israeli, poet and Journalist. He is an opponent of Israeli militarism, anti-zionist and author of Myths of Liberal Zionism
Tunisians finally have a new constitution laying the foundations for a new democracy.
The document is groundbreaking as one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world... It passed late Sunday by 200 votes out of 216.
"This constitution, without being perfect, is one of consensus," assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar said after the vote. "We had today a new rendezvous with history to build a democracy founded on rights and equality."
The constitution enshrining freedom of religion and women's rights took two years to finish. Tunisian Islamists, leftists and liberals worked on a detailed roadmap for their political future.
The new constitution sets out to make the North African country of 11 million people a democracy, with a civil state whose laws are not based on Islamic law, unlike many other Arab constitutions. An entire chapter of the document, some 28 articles, is dedicated to protecting citizens' rights, including protection from torture, the right to due process, and freedom of worship. It guarantees equality between men and women before the law and the state commits itself to protecting women's rights.
Freedom of belief and conscience
Egyptian Brotherhood-cleric Safwat Higazi: "After the last show, I got a call from a young Syrian man, who asked me to issue a fatwa on whether it was permitted to kill Bashar [Al-Assad], and – if it was feasible – whether they should kill him or not. To tell you the truth, I answered that it was permissible. If they are able to kill that tyrant, they should kill him. His killing is sanctioned."
Egyptian Brotherhood-cleric Muhamad Abd Al-Maqsoud: "It is an obligation to kill him." "That ruler is a tyrant. Unfortunately, a false religion is being presented to people today. This tyrant, who should be proclaimed an infidel and toppled, is presented by those people as a ruler who should be followed. This happens everywhere, including in Egypt. I believe that if this man is killed, things may be resolved..."
One of the most hotly debated articles guarantees "freedom of belief and conscience," which would permit atheism and the practice of non-Abrahamic religions frowned upon in other Islamic countries. It also bans incitement to violence and declaring a Muslim an apostate — a fallen Muslim. In response, conservative lawmakers insisted that "attacks on the sacred" be forbidden, which many see as a threat to freedom of expression.
The moderate Islamist party Ennahda, which holds more than 40 percent of the seats in the assembly, backed down on putting a number of religious-inspired measures into the constitution in the face of wide opposition.
In the end, Ennahda made concessions to the opposition and stepped down in favor of a caretaker government to manage the rest of the transition, allowing the constitution to be completed. The willingness of Ennahda to negotiate stood in sharp contrast to the more overbearing approach of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt by the military in July and subsequent violent repression was a stern warning to Tunisia, said Yahyaoui of Bawsala, and it helped the various parties find a compromise. "Ennahda saw what happened to the Brotherhood and they didn't want to see the same scenario in Tunisia."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a personal plea to Israel saying he hoped the fighting between the two peoples had ended, and that now was the best time for a peace agreement.
"I'm telling the Israeli people that we're neighbors, we've fought many wars, and I pray to God that the wars between us have stopped," Abbas said in an interview with the Israeli think tank Institute for National Security Studies, which will be aired this week.
"We want peace with Israel. We want the people in Israel to live in security in its state and the Palestinian people will also live in its independent state."
"First of all, the vision of two states has to become reality, according to it the State of Israel will exist next to the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders in security and stability," he said.
"The second most important clause is that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state," Abbas said. "Jerusalem will be a city open to all the religions and there will be arrangements made between the two sides."
Abbas said regarding the potential-state's future borders that the IDF would not play a role in defending its boundaries.
The issue of refugees, the president said, must be dealt with according to the Arab Peace Initiative, which said that the predicament would be dealt with according to UN Resolution 194, saying that refugees could return home or be compensated.
"If these four topics (two states, East Jerusalem, borders and refugees) are fulfilled, I believe that there can be an acceptable, stable and legitimate solution."
In addition to the importance of the Israeli accomplishment of achieving peace with the Palestinians, Abbas said the deal would also bestow upon the country recognition by 57 Arab Muslim countries.
"There will be a complete recognition with full diplomatic ties with the State of Israel," he said. "I hope that the Israeli nation understands what the significance is of living in peace in the region between Mauritania and Indonesia in comparison to the current situation." ...
The Palestinian president said that the PA has an agreement with Hamas, where the terrorist organization allows negotiations with the intention of establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, as well as a non-violent popular resistance and a government of technocrats and democratic elections.
"We're signing an agreement in the name of the entire Palestinian nation – in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in the diaspora."
Flashback: The Arab Peace Initiative 2002
"Abdallah bin Abdul Aziz is offering Israel full peace, including political, economic and cultural normalization, in return for a full withdrawal from the territories. This is more than a mere license to exist in peace in the region and recognition of the existence of Israel.
This is the political horizon Saudi Arabia, in consultation with Egypt, Jordan and some of the Gulf countries, is willing to give Israel: Complete integration in the region; realization of the vision of the New Middle East; economic and cultural cooperation; falafel in Damascus and stalls in the international market of Dubai; an Israeli flag in Riyadh; programming engineers in Bahrain and gas from Qatar to Israel. This initiative offers Israel the fulfillment of supremely important interests, which are supposed to ease the pain of the concessions.
The importance of the initiative lies in the fact that it is Saudi Arabia that is putting it forward. It comes from the deepest heart of the Arab, and even more importantly, the Islamic world. Saudi Arabia did so, despite the fact that it has no war or border conflicts with Israel, and despite its increasingly growing ties with Iran. A Saudi seal of approval is an Islamic seal of approval, even if it does include Iran, and it is an Arab seal of approval." (Zvi Bar'el - Ha'aretz, 1-3-2002)
"I have great concern about America's credibility and I care about how America is perceived." - Prince Abdallah bin Abdul Aziz, 28-1-2002
A New Team In Israel
Saudi political commentator Khaled Al Maeena called the prince's initiative “very genuine ... It has the backing of all Arabs.” “But I believe Sharon is not competent to deal with such a serious (peace) initiative. It really requires a new team in Israel,” Maeena, who is also editor of the English-language Arab News, told AFP.
He said the initiative was capable of breaking the stalemate in the peace process and end the cycle of violence raging in the Middle East, but only if the Israelis showed “good intentions.”
These include practical steps to ease the blockade on Palestinians, halting the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians and the withdrawal from all Arab occupied territories, according to Maeena. The Israelis were trying to preempt the initiative by attempting to act as if it was a “bilateral affair with Saudi Arabia only” and not the whole Arab world, he added. (Jordan Times, Internet-edition, 28-2-2002)
A mass protest in Paris on Sunday against French President François Hollande turned into an anti-Jewish demonstration and ended in clashes between police and protesters.
Seemingly, Jewish organisations around the world are scared by the recent developments in France. Once again, they clearly failed to appreciate the growing mass fatigue of Shoah indoctrination and belligerent lobby politics.
However, I would contend that instead of whining about the “rise of anti-Semitism”, Jews better, once and for all, learn to ask why? Why the Jews again? Why are they hated? What is it in Jewish politics that evokes so much resentment? Why does it happen time after time?
It wasn’t easy for me to admit in my latest book that Jewish suffering is actually embedded in Jewish culture. In other words, Jews are actually destined to bring disasters on themselves.
Jewish politics and culture, unfortunately, is obnoxious, abusive, as well as racist, and supremacist to the bone. Jewish culture is set to infuriate the Goyim just because Jews are defined by negation – that chilling sensation of being hated.
Interestingly enough, early Zionism, was a promise to change it all. Herzl, Nordau, Borochov and Weizmann believed that a “homecoming project” would transform the Diaspora Jews into ethical new Israelites. They were sure that a settlement project would make the Jew lovable and respected.
But they were obviously wrong. Zionism was destined to crash. In spite of being driven by anti-Jewish sentiments, Zionism was quickly defeated by Jewishness (Jewish spirit, culture and ideology). It matured into a vile chauvinist amplification of every possible crude Jewish symptom it was initially supposed to eradicate.
Many Jews around the world are commemorating the Holocaust this week. But if I am correct, maybe the time is ripe for Jewish and Zionist organisations to draw the real and most important lesson from the Holocaust. Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger....
Geneva, (SANA delegate) - Member of Syria's official delegation to Geneva 2 conference Luna al-Shibl said that the delegation is open to all proposals presented during the conference and ready to discuss them, while the coalition delegation rejects what is being presented to it.
Al-Shibl told journalists in a statement that the official delegation didn't wait for the UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi to find common grounds, but it took the initiative many times to submit work papers, principles or even ideas to found a common ground.
She made it clear that the opposition delegation insists on starting dialogue about selected items of Geneva 1 communiqué, not through sequence, but the Syrian official delegation was determined to discuss the communiqué an item after an item sequentially starting from the first item and ending with the last one.
On US Ambassador Robert Ford's interference in the process of discussions and his meetings with the opposition-delegation, al-Shibl underlined that Syria doesn't allow any country to interfere in its affairs, wondering about how could Ford do all of that although the Syrian Arab Republic has told him that he is persona non grata since two years...: "Did he become a high commissioner to allow himself to send a letter to the Syrian people."
Luna al-Shibl: Info
Dubai Former Al Jazeera anchor Luna Al Shibl (born: 30-11-1974) replaced in 2012 Jihad Maqdisi as spokesperson for the Syrian foreign ministry.
Al Shibl had been working as media adviser to the Syrian regime previously. She has appeared on pro-Bashar Al Assad media and she harshly criticised Al Jazeera's coverage, accusing the channel of fabricating news.
Al Shibl is the wife of Ghassan Kulayb, also a former Al Jazeera journalist who now works for the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen news channel. Al Mayadeen, made up largely of Al Jazeera journalists who resigned following the start of the Arab Spring and the Syrian conflict, is headed by Gassan Bin Jiddo, former Beirut correspondent for Al Jazeera, and funded by an undisclosed group of businessmen.
Flashback 2010: Al-Jazeera Anchorwomen Quit Over Clothes and Makeup Issue
Editor-in-chief of the Arab TV network cites lack of 'decency'.
Five of the best-known anchorwomen on the Al-Jazeera Arabic-language network have resigned following a clash with their editor-in-chief over their choice of clothes and makeup.
The anchorwomen, Joumana Nammour, Lina Zahr al-Din, Jullinar Mousa, Luna al-Shibl and Nawfar Afli, have traditionally appeared on screen wearing Western-style business clothes as well as makeup and jewelry. Their heads have not been covered.
Their resignations came a few months after they complained about what they called “offensive remarks” made by Ayman Jaballah, the network’s deputy editor-in-chief. The remarks, according to the London Daily Mail, questioned the women’s ‘clothes and decency.’
The network, which is based in the tiny yet immensely rich nation of Qatar, in the Arabian Peninsula, has become known worldwide in the past decade for its insight and reports on the Arabic world. Since 2004, though, it has been banned from broadcasting in Iraq because of concerns that it has become a forum for Muslim extremists. (Betty Confidential, June 1, 2010)
May 2011: The secret of Al Jazeera’s Dark Room
Syrian anchorwoman Luba Al Shibl caused a stir upon her resignation from 'Al Jazeera' news channel, criticizing it for the way it has been handling ongoing events and accusing it of non-credibility.
Luna was featured on Syrian state-controlled Television where she accused 'Al Jazeera' of fabricating news about the events in Syria with the purpose of overthrowing Al Assad's regime..
She revealed during the show 'Leqaa Khass' the secret of what she referred to as the 'Black Room', which is the room where photographed reports about Syrian is made, and some say some of it is fabricated to serve some political agendas to overthrow the Syrian regime. Al Shibl claims the channel adopts a method which has become well-known by its staff, which is the reliance on broadcasting five pieces of false news for every true report. (arabia.msn 1-5-2011)
The resignation of Al Jazeera’s head Waddah Khanfar coincided with WikiLeaks-based reports of his currying editorial favor with Washington. After eight years as head of Al Jazeera, Waddah Khanfar submitted his resignation and left the network’s offices last Tuesday.
Khanfar, who came from a Muslim Brotherhood background, had broad experiences in journalism and media prior to taking the top post at Al Jazeera. After years working with the network, he managed to gain the trust of the Qatari Emir, who granted him full license at the channel. Khanfar was given a huge annual budget exceeding half a billion dollars (US).
Khanfar became so powerful, some joked that while at home, he would grab the remote control and ask his children, ‘Which regime do you want me to topple today?
An inside source at Al Jazeera believes that Khanfar committed numerous gaffes that made it easy for the Qatari authorities to remove him. His dismissal was further facilitated after a recently released WikiLeaks cable revealed that Khanfar was meeting with US intelligence officials on a regular basis.
One longtime employee suggests that Qatar is in the process of changing its position on the Syrian uprising and Khanfar will be used as a scapegoat for the old policy.
Jan 12, 2012: Arab scholars and politicians are preparing
to launch a new initiative called the Sharq Forum.
The Forum is an independent global institution designed to implant the values of engagement, dialogue and democracy in Arab countries; and contribute to building a stable political future with economic prosperity.
It seeks to nurture political consciousness, exchange of expertise, set out priorities, and bolster understanding and collaboration between the Arab world and its environs. Wadah Khanfar, head of the Forum's preparatory committee, and former director of Al Jazeera said the new realities created by the Arab revolutions necessitate a comprehensive dialogue between the various constituencies on the Arab political and social landscape.
He added, the Forum would be a platform for this dialogue, leading to the presentation of initiatives and charting of priorities, which would help the countries and people of the region make the transition to political stability and economic prosperity.
Geneva, (SANA delegate) _ Syria's official delegation to Geneva 2 conference submitted a draft statement during Thursday's morning session, in presence of UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, on combating terrorism, but the coalition delegation rejected it.
The statement recalled Security Council resolutions, particularly UNSCR 1373 of 2001 and UNSCR 1267 of 1999 which stress the necessity of international cooperation to fight terrorism and confront it with all possible means because of the dangers it poses to international peace and security, stressing refrain from providing any form of explicit or implicit support, financing or administration to entities or individuals involved in terrorist acts, and taking measures to prevent such acts from taking place and refrain from providing them with safe havens.
The statement stressed "The importance of acting urgently to confront terrorist groups and eliminate them. This needs full cooperation and implementation in accordance with agreed mechanisms in order to achieve peace and security and restore calm and stability to all parts of the Syrian Arab Republic, act to prevent and stop funding, arming, training and sheltering terrorists and facilitating their influx into Syria, and calling on all countries of the world to help in that regard based on their international commitments, including stopping all acts of incitement and spreading takfiri thought and religious fanaticism in all its shapes and forms."
US: Work together with the Islamic Front
Geneva, (SANA delegate) -Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthina Shaaban reaffirmed that the Syrian official delegation participating in Geneva is strongly present as it will not accept whatever contradicts its convictions, principles and the Syrian people's interests, pointing out that Geneva1 Communique stipulates that nothing can be done but through both parties' agreement.
On the U.S. attempt of bringing the armed factions of 'the Islamic Front' and others to broaden the coalition and make them join the negotiation table, Shaaban, in a telephone call with Lebanese al-Manar TV, said : "That reflects their dubious relation with these sides that perpetrate acts of killing, mutilating kidnapping, in addition to sabotaging state institutions."
A statement posted online said Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Suqour al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, Liwa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Sham and the Kurdish Islamic Front had agreed to a "gradual merger". It said the new Islamic Front will be an "independent political, military and social formation" to topple the Assad regime and build an Islamic state. (BBC, 22-11-2013)
Islamic Front Charter
The terrrorists are brethren
First, the charter calls for an Islamic state and the implementation of sharia, though it does not define exactly what that means. The IF is firmly against secularism, human legislation (i.e., it believes that laws come from God, not from people), civil government, and a Kurdish breakaway state. ...
The IF's number-one goal is "the toppling of the regime," which includes "bringing an end its legislative, executive, and judicial authority along with its military and security institutions...
Lastly, the charter supports the presence of foreign fighters in the Syrian rebellion: "These are brethren who have supported us in the struggle, and their support is appreciated and they are thanked for it. We are required to ensure their safety." Therefore, the IF is unlikely to turn on these fighters or eject them from Syria when the conflict ends. (Washington Institute)
Geneva, (SANA delegate) - Head of Syria’s official delegation to Geneva 2 conference Walid al-Moallem said that talks with the coaltion delegation so-called "opposition" for this week in Geneva didn’t lead to tangible outcomes.
Al-Moallem said, at a press conference in Geneva that was for two reasons the non-seriousness and non-ripeness of the other side, its threat of blowing up the meetings many times, its stubbornness on one issue as if we come here for one hour to hand them over everything and return and this indicates the illusions they live.
He added that the second reason was the tense atmosphere through which the US wanted to cover Geneva meeting by its actual appearance and its flagrant intervention in the meeting particularly in directing the other side since the opening session..
Al-Moallem added that the official delegation came to Geneva open to everything and agreed on discussing anything, but the other side seems didn’t read Geneva 1 communique and has been programmed for one item.
He said that those who took the decision in the US to arm “the moderate opposition” are sitting on the Moon. They know that there is no moderate opposition, but terrorist organizations which destroy infrastructure in Syria and kill innocents, and if the US considers those as moderate, so our congratulations to it...
On the issue of the transitional body in the coming stage and whether there is Russian pressures on Syria in this regards, Al-Moallem said that the transitional body is in the heart of the Geneva communique but it is in the 8th, not the first, article of this communique, adding that “We have never said that we will not discuss this article. We are a country with a constitution, leadership, government and institutions and we are ready to discuss this article but first we must know the identity of the other side and whether it is Syrian or not”.
Responding to a question by SANA's delegate to Geneva on whether the coalition delegation made any commitments regarding the flow of terrorists from Turkey and Saudi Arabia to Syria, al-Moallem said "we sensed that this delegation and the ones behind it can't influence anyone on the ground… they said that they contacted the gunmen in Homs old city, and later we were surprised that one of those gunmen's leaders began threatening and disavowing this coalition, therefore the word "commitment" is too big for them."
On whether the Syrian official delegation sensed any reliable signs from the coalition delegation indicating it can contact, control or commit groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra or the Islamic Front to anything, al-Moallem said this is bigger than the coalition, as he read a statement two days ago on these groups' websites in which they disavowed the coalition and state that their goal is to establish an "Islamic caliphate state" and destroy Syria, adding "they can't even influence a group of five armed squads in Homs old city… and if they had influence, then that's a problem as well."
Answering a question by SANA's delegate to Geneva on the Syrian official delegation's evaluation of the coalition delegation, al-Moallem said "we were patient during this week and we were serious, but we also were aware that we were talking to them and to those who stand behind them, and we say to those who stand behind them that if they want a political solution, then we are ready."
Damascus, (SANA) – Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said that the coalition delegation of the so-called "opposition" came to Geneva with presuppositions based on incorrect data and on personal grudges against the state, not based on a political opposition program.
In an interview given to the Syrian TV on Saturday, al-Jaafari said that during the 8 days of talks in Geneva, the coalition did not present any political vision or program, nor did it show any sense of responsibility, as from the first moment they wanted to discuss the transitional governing body...
"The Syrian official delegation discovered during the talks that it was facing an opposition of political debauchery which acted as was asked of it, not a national opposition with a political program serving the Syrian people...".
"The other side did not make its own decisions in the negotiations room; it was receiving instructions from outside via paper clippings which came every five minutes carried by someone in a comical display," al-Jaafari said.
He pointed out that the Syrian official delegation began by testing the other side's readiness to be actually patriotic by addressing and specifying the priorities of patriotism such as Syria's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, rejecting foreign interference, and rejecting terrorism and violence.
"These points, which were supposed to represent common denominators before going in-depth, were rejected by the coalition delegation of the so-called opposition, showing the large rift between the two positions," he said....
"The most important gain made in the talks is that we exposed the defects of the other side in political terms," he said, noting that we kept telling Brahimi that decisions regarding vital issues affecting the Syrians' future will be made by the Syrians via referendum, and the other side heard that....
Al-Jaafari asserted that the coalition delegation wanted to undermine the talks or embarrass the Syrian official delegation via cheap provocation, lack of manners, or posing ludicrous ideas that would drive the Syrian official delegation to withdraw, but this backfired on them.
He said that Brahimi came to realize that the request of a wider representation of the opposition is a just demand, and that it's likely to see a different delegation in the second round of talks.
Al-Jaafari stressed that the United States was clear – through the comments of its President Barack Obama, State Secretary John Kerry, and Robert Ford – that it wanted to disrupt the meeting and that it's not pursuing a peaceful political solution; rather it wants to pressure the Syrian government...
Al-Jaafari concluded by calling on the United States to understand matters correctly, refrain from being reckless in its policies, and stop interfering in Syria's internal affairs.
Licensed Opposition Parties Stress Need for All National Opposition Forces
to Be Represented in Geneva Conference FARS News Agency, 5-2-2014
TEHRAN (FNA)- Licensed national opposition parties held a press conference at Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus, in which they said that the absence of internal opposition from Geneva 2 conference was a weak point and deficiency that should be remedied.
The parties said that certain sides' adoption of the Doha coalition as the sole representative of the opposition at the conference was the primary cause of the lack of results during the first stage of the conference, SANA reported.
They also called for immediate cessation of announced arming and funding of sides bearing arms regardless of their classification, saying that the US attitude towards arming and funding shows that it's not serious about resolving the crisis in Syria...
They noted that holding the Geneva 2 conference means that matters have reached a point where a political solution can be adopted and armed actions can be avoided...
Head of the National Youth Party for Justice and Development Perwin Ibrahim noted that only the opposition which carries out US agendas was invited to Geneva 2...
Head of the Syrian Democratic Party Ahmad Kousa said that the Doha coalition was the main reason for the failure of the talks in Geneva 2, stressing that leaving any side out of the Geneva talks makes no sense.
The aforementioned statement was signed by the People Party, Popular Will Party, Solidarity Party, Syria the Homeland Party, Democratic Vanguard Party, Syrian Democratic Party, National Youth Party for Justice and Development, Syrian National Youth Party, and Democratic Arab Solidarity Party.
- National Progressive Front: Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (political leader: Bashar al-Assad), Arab Socialist Movement, Arab Socialist Union Party of Syria, Syrian Communist Party (Khalid Bakdash faction), Syrian Communist Party (Yusuf Faisal faction), Social Democratic Unionists, Socialist Unionists, Democratic Socialist Unionist Party, Arabic Democratic Unionist Party, National Vow Movement
- Opposition parties in Syria: Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, People’s Will Party, National Democratic Solidarity Party (Al Tadamon National Democratic Party), Syrian Democratic Party (Al Tadamon Arab Democratic Party), National Development Party, Al-Ansar Party, Democratic Al-Taliyeh Party (Al Talia'a Democratic Party), Al-Shabab Reform Party (National Youth for Justice and Development), Syrian Al-Shabab Reform Party (Syrian National Youth Party), Syrian Reform and Justice Party, Syria Home (Souriya Al-Watan)
A former US Senator says that the failure of the recent Geneva II talks to find a political solution for the crisis in Syria was the United States’ fault.
“We have to appreciate that the failure of the talks was our responsibility. What we did was insist that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad leave office,” said former US Senator Mike Gravel in an interview with Press TV.
“And so it is our policy, the [US President Barack] Obama policy that there should be a change of leadership [in Syria]. Well, obviously the leadership is not going to negotiate its own demise,” he added.
The Syrian government rejected the demand that President Assad step down, arguing that the foreign-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), which was present in the Geneva II talks, does not represent the Syrian opposition.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba. Following the talks - which took place in Moscow and focused on the temporarily halted peace conference in Switzerland - Jarba confirmed to Russian media that the SNC will come to Geneva on February 10.
The Coalition has decided it must “follow the way of political settlement” of the Syrian conflict despite all odds during the first round of talks and the latest offensive from government forces on the ground, Jarba added.
The SNC leader said he believes that creating a transitional body is a top priority that will solve all other issues automatically.
“Formation of an interim government will solve all other disputable problems, including ceasefire and releases of the war prisoners,” Jarba assured, stating that the opposition has already prepared a list of candidates and expressed readiness “to be flexible and open for dialogue while discussing nominees.”
Jarba said the opposition refuses to discuss the problem of terrorism in Syria “while Assad is in power.” However, he told Russian journalists that the SNC does not recognize the Islamic Front - a major merger of Syrian rebel fighters formed in November - as a terrorist organization, and considers them “revolutionaries.”