Zeidan said that there is nothing under the state’s control and that the army does not take orders from the state. “When you look at the salaries, there is an army, but when we call upon it, it is not there”, he explained.
The former Prime Minister revealed that the GNC constantly interfered in his government’s affairs, behind his back and even spied on his government...
The GNC went out of its way to make the government look weak Zeidan insisted, including taking executive powers which were supposed to belong to the government, not the legislature. They all wanted to rule Libya, he explained.
Zeidan questions the sanity of the Grand Mufti
Zeidan accused the Grand Mufti of making “irresponsible” and “conflicting” statements that caused problems for the state. He insisted that he should not interfere in politics and criticized his partisan support for one political bloc and therefore insisted that he should resign.
With regards to the security situation in Benghazi, Zeidan blamed the various parties (the local council, the regular army and the militias) for not being able to co-ordinate and work together.
In conclusion, Zeidan called upon Libya’s political elite to give up their ideologies and politics. This was not the time, he added, this is the time for compromise for the sake of building Libya, he pleaded.
Destruction of church in Yabroud, 21-3-2014
President al-Assad: Targeting teachers and schools
Moussa: Sisi will declare nomination for presidency within few days
Russia, the West, and ‘Moral Equivalence’
St Petersburg, January 27, 2014: Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Motherland monument at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, and laid flowers at the Border Stone monument at the Nevsky Pyatachok military history memorial complex. The President also met with Great Patriotic War veterans who took part in the battle for Leningrad and with people who lived through the siege... (President of Russia website)
Russians commonly refer to Mother Russia as a personification of their nation. Many Russians around the world refer to Russia as their motherland.
The event will bring together representatives of public organizations from more than 20 countries, as well as statesmen, youth leaders and experts from Russia, and from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and European Union.
Before the opening ceremony, the participants will visit the city's Piskaryovskoye Cemetery and lay wreaths to the Motherland memorial.
The conference aims to work out ways of preventing the revival of Nazism and fascism in all their manifestations, the organizers said.
The idea of holding the conference was initiated by the Center of National Glory Foundation and by the European Jewish Congress with assistance from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Global Economy and International Relations, the Foundation of St. Andrew the First Called, and the Youth Time organization.
"The presence of Chechen fighters in Syria is linked to al-Qaeda and its branches in Syria," said strategy analyst Maj. Gen. Yahya Mohammed Ali, who is retired from the Egyptian army. "Since they began arriving, they joined ISIL, JAN and other battalions and factions" that subscribe to the ideology of al-Qaeda.
However, the on-going dispute between ISIL and JAN and other concerns drove a number of Chechen mujahideen to break away and form independent fighting factions and battalions of their own while retaining full co-ordination with al-Qaeda groups...
Chech magazine Tyden reported that many of the Chechen fighters in Syria belong to the Caucasus Emirate, an umbrella group that seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Caucasus.
Maj. Gen. Wael Abdul Muttalib, researcher at the Cairo-based Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, said the leaders of Chechen militias in the Caucasus "view fighting in Syria as a great opportunity to train their fighters and use the combat experience". "The Chechen presence in Syria has gone beyond participation in the fighting and turned it into an opportunity to train young [Chechens] for a limited period of time, after which they return to the Caucasus area," he said.
Strategy analyst Ali said that Chechen fighters have committed atrocities, most linked to the actions of al-Qaeda as a whole.
"Chechen fighters are known for their fierceness in battle, which has reached a level of criminality and commitment of what could be classified as war crimes," he added. "Among their most notable military engagements was their role in the Aleppo airport battle and their subsequent elimination of surrendered fighters by beheading."
"Although the Chechen groups are independent, or claim to be independent, from other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, they take part in military operations with both ISIL and JAN according to the geographical area they are in," relief activist al-Ahmed said.
These fighters, therefore, are involved in the same war crimes attributed to ISIL and JAN, and have imposed the same pressures on civilians in terms of sharia law and punishment, he said.
"The Syrian people were thrust into the internal wars between these armed groups, and were forced to live in an atmosphere alien to their own lifestyle which is known for its religious and moral tolerance," he added.
WASHINGTON—The State Department today announced that it was “deeply troubled” by the recent violence in the historically Armenian populated city of Kessab, Syria, but failed to condemn Turkey’s role in facilitating the attacks by the al-Qaeda affiliated extremist forces, that have forced the Armenian and civilian populations to evacuate the region.
“In a statement followed by an question and answer session during the daily State Department press briefing earlier today, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf began, “We are deeply troubled by recent fighting and violence that is endangering the Armenian community in Kasab, Syria and has forced many to flee. There are far too many innocent civilians suffering as a result of the war. All civilians, as well as their places of worship, must be protected.” Harf continued to note, ” We have long had concerns about the threat posed by violent extremists and this latest threat to the Armenian community in Syria only underscores this further.”
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) sent a strongly worded letter to calling on President Obama to direct his Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, and his Ambassador to the United Nations to demand that Turkey halt the cross-border attacks on Kessab that have forced the immediate civilian evacuation of the area and led to the looting of properties and the desecration of churches.
Located in the northwestern corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, Kessab had, until very recently, evaded major battles in the Syrian conflict. The local Armenian population had increased in recently years with the city serving as safe-haven for those fleeing from the war-torn cities of Yacubiye, Rakka and Aleppo. On the morning of March 21st, extremist foreign fighters launched a vicious attack on Kessab civilians, forcing them to flee their homes...
Iraq is devastated, Lebanon is worn out, Yemen is collapsing, Sudan is split, Libya is ruins, Palestine is history and Syria is dying and the Gulf states are feeling the tremor approaching … all eyes are on Egypt now. Welcome to the new Middle East … welcome to the aftermath of designed chaos and fake democracy, or the so called Arab Spring.
Welcome to a new kind of warfare where any target state gets hit by what seems like homemade drones of turmoil and violence, where in fact the whole thing is a foreign orchestration...
Arab states, like dominos, have been falling one after another. In a sea of violence and fragmentation they have fallen and were left to sink and hit dark bottom.
Arab states are tumbling down not by invading foreign armies like what happened in Iraq a decade ago, but this time by cunningly and remotely triggering all the hot buttons/spots that will ultimately lead to instability, sectarian violence and civil war.
We live in dangerous times beset with conspiracies and false flag operations that intend to transform any target state into a failing and crumbling down state.
Those who will manage to challenge the conspiracies and fight back won’t do it by blindly following the stupid rules of western democracy – a democratic puppet vs. a republican puppet- but they will make history by breaking the damn rules.
Vladimir Putin, aware of the western conspiracy, fought back with absolute courage and determination and so did General Al Sissi in Egypt. They both broke the rules as they stood against the US/EU plot to destabilize Russia and Egypt.
The clueless and clumsy Morsi, backed by Washington and Tel Aviv, was setting up the stage so that Egypt would join the chaotic circus of the new Middle East. Had the MB been given more time in power, Egypt would have followed Syria in line. ‘Syria, here we come’ said Morsi in his last and most stupid speech at Nasser stadium days before he was ousted. Here we come, simply meant that Morsi was opening the door for flocks of Egyptian Mujahideen to join their Muslim brothers/terrorists in the Syrian war.
The call for Jihad itself, if you happened to know anything about Jihad, is a totally undemocratic call. It is simply a call for chaos and violence to prevail. A call, if answered, would demolish the pillars of any given civil society- as the case in Syria. It is a call that would come out from the mouth of an ignorant tribal chieftain not a clever statesman.
MB is nothing but a blight in the Egyptian contemporary socio-political fabric and wiping it off requires a leader with a vision.
The people of Egypt crave for a leader- a patriot with a charisma and a vision whose most important credential for the office is his unconditional commitment for the country’s security, stability and progress....
Now the Egyptian nation is witnessing the born of a new star in that long list of honor and glory, namely Abdel Fatah Al Sissi.
Abdel Fattah Al Sissi is the savior of Egypt from the perils of the fundamentalist and terrorist group of (MB) and the one who has put the new (chaotic) Middle East plan for the country to a halt.
Rebel leader Jamal Maarouf, touted as the West’s last hope to stem the tide of extreme jihadist groups in Syria, has said he will not fight against al-Qa’ida, and openly admits to battling alongside them....
The admission could have significant implications for Western involvement in the Syrian conflict...
ISIL-message, dec 2013
Maarouf’s importance to the Western-backed opposition-in-exile – the Syrian Opposition Coalition – was clear to see in February, when its leader, Ahmad al-Jarba, paid a rare visit to the front line under the protection of Maarouf’s brigades. He was also among the few commanders that attended the failed Geneva II conference in January, in an attempt to grant the political opposition greater legitimacy among Syrians, who have largely dismissed the body as unrepresentative of the Syrian people.
According to Dr Amr al-Azm, a member of the Syrian opposition, he is simply one of the last men standing for the moderates. “He does have an unsavoury reputation, but it’s a bit better than a lot of the other war lords out there. The rest are either dead, given up or completely bad and have gone over to the dark side,” he said.
Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra ("The Support Front for the People of Levant") is a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in Syria and Lebanon. The group announced its creation on 23 January 2012. Since then it has been described as "the most aggressive and successful" or "one of the most effective rebel forces" in Syria. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. (Wikipedia info)
RIYADH — The Special Penal Court on Wednesday awarded death sentence to a top Al-Qaeda ideologue in the Kingdom. The ideologue, who was not named in the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report, was arrested from a resort in Abha. Bombs and a submachine gun were found in his possession.
According to the charges leveled against him, the ideologue considered it permissible to kill security men and considered the state as that of infidels.
Other charges against him included praising terror operations in Al-Olayya, Al-Khobar and in eastern Riyadh and describing them as a holy war. He also wrote several publications on Takfiri theories, carrying out blasts, sabotage and evil deeds in the Kingdom
The defendant opposed the verdict while the prosecution sounded satisfied. The same court issued verdicts against 15 defendants who were found guilty of participating in a cell led by the condemned Al-Qaeda ideologue. Charges against them include incitement against the ruler and disobeying him by traveling to regions of turmoil to participate in fighting there.
The army of Islam
Saudi-Arabia's two wars
The Guardian, 7-11-2013
"There are two wars in Syria," said Mustafa Alani, an analyst for the Saudi-backed Gulf Research Centre. "One against the Syrian regime and one against al-Qaida. Saudi Arabia is fighting both."
Saudi Arabia has long called publicly for arming the anti-Assad rebels and has bridled at US caution. Syrian, Arab and western sources say the intensifying Saudi effort is focused on Jaysh al-Islam (the Army of Islam or JAI), created in late September by a union of 43 Syrian groups.
Army of Islam, 29-9-2013
The JAI is led by Zahran Alloush, the son of a Saudi-based religious scholar named sheikh Abdullah Mohammed Alloush and formerly head of Liwa al-Islam, one of the most effective rebel fighting forces in the Damascus area. Alloush recently held talks with Bandar along with Saudi businessmen who are financing individual rebel brigades under the JAI's banner. Other discreet coordinating meetings in Turkey have involved the Qatari foreign minister, Khaled al-Attiyeh, and the US envoy to Syria, Robert Ford.
The appearance of an "Army of Muhammad" – with its equally obvious Islamic resonance – appears to be part of the same or related effort proposed by Syrian Sunni clerics to unite disparate rebel groups into a 100,000-strong force by March 2015.
"The Saudis are saying that if you don't join the fight against Assad you will end up with a much bigger jihadi problem," said Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies...
Alani, echoing official Saudi views, warned of the risk from an emboldened al-Qaida unless more moderate forces prevailed in Syria. "Al-Qaida is getting stronger," he said.
"The Saudi leadership should be careful what it creates in Syria," Yezid Sayegh of the Carnegie Foundation warned in a recent commentary. "Muhammad's Army may eventually come home to Mecca."
The plan appears to have been discussed, at least in general outline, by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, who met French President François Hollande on September 13. This resulted in an agreement “to step up international support for the democratic opposition to allow it to cope with attacks from the regime.” A high-level Saudi delegation visited Paris a month later to negotiate contracts for arming and equipping both the Free Syrian Army and the new national army. (ISN 5-11-2013)
The leadership of the Army of Islam sees all the combat organizations, including those associated with al-Qaeda, as partners in jihad and does not rule out a possible alliance with them. At present, the Army of Islam’s leadership is trying to put together an ideological platform that will set forth its vision for the future of Syria. Syria is becoming more and more Islamic as it moves between the pole of the Muslim Brotherhood, which aims to gradually implement Sharia law, and that of Jabhat al-Nusra, which is already implementing and enforcing it. At present, there are no indications in the rebel camp of organizations that have what the West might view as a liberal-democratic ideology. (Jerusalem center of public affairs, 2013)
Damascus, (SANA) Syria slammed French Foreign Ministry's statement on ongoing events in Kasab city, saying it is characteristic of France's rash and aggressive anti-Syria policies.
Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said the recently-issued French Foreign Ministry's statement on unfolding events in Kasab area is an attempt to cover up the acts of armed terrorist groups that have targeted, with Turkish support and firepower, several areas in Lattakia northern countryside and committed grave violations against peaceful civilians there, prompting them to flee to neighboring areas.
The source expressed bewilderment at the French government's condemnation of what it called ''bombarding Kasab" and leveling unfair accusations against Syrian government, when it should have denounced the acts of terrorist groups there that are directly aided and abetted by the Turkish government.
It is a matter of regret that French government continues to rob the heritage of the French people which is built on the principles of freedom, fraternity and equality, and its disrespect for the UN Charter, international law, the ethical values of political work and the interests of the Syrian and French populations,'' the ministry concluded.
Buyers of the new issue of the weekly Die Zeit on Thursday will almost certainly read a warmongering comment by its co-editor Josef Joffe. Like no other, Joffe embodies the moral decline of the German media. Together with Stefan Kornelius of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he is one of the German journalists who have agitated most aggressively against Russia during the Ukraine crisis, demanding tougher action against the Putin regime.
Russia is a “neo-imperialist aggressor”, which after the “foray” against the Crimea is on the verge of “realigning” other parts of Eastern Europe, he says....
In the current issue of Die Zeit, Joffe pretentiously asserts that Russian President Vladimir Putin had rescinded the “future of liberal democracy” and the end of history “after the [Berlin] Wall came down 25 years ago”, as proclaimed by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama.
Joffe writes: “That is how it actually looked at that time, at least in Europe. Unified, brought into the international community and reconciled, it had turned into an ‘Empire of Peace’: Never again war, never again conquest; conciliation instead of exclusion, economic rather than military force. The old European dream of ‘eternal peace’ (Kant) had been fulfilled. Vladimir Putin has cold-bloodedly torn us from this reverie”.
Joffe’s historical sketch stands reality on its head. In reality, the capitalist triumphalism about the end of history after the dissolution of the Soviet Union did not herald the dawn of a new era of peace and prosperity, but the beginning of a never-ending series of imperialist robberies by the US and its European allies...
How ruthless does one have to be to describe as “eternal peace” these wars of aggression which run contrary to international law, which destroy whole countries and bring about hundreds of thousands of deaths?
No term in the Israeli-Palestinians political lexicon has been so abused or so denuded of meaning as the “peace process”. It was set up after the Oslo Accords in 1993, to settle the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians by peaceful negotiations, but has led nowhere.
Yet it is still ongoing, its latest manifestation launched in August 2013, when US Secretary of State John Kerry put forward an ambitious plan to resolve all the major issues that have bedevilled the conflict within the space of nine months. The result he envisaged was a “final-status agreement” over borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees, which when resolved, would supposedly end the conflict for good...
Yet Israel’s policy has been the exact opposite. In December 2013, Israeli ministers voted eight to three to annex the Jordan valley, and from the start of this year, West Bank settlements were set to be expanded by 2,553 new housing units. A law preventing the Israeli prime minister from discussing the status of Jerusalem or the refugee issue at the peace talks without prior majority approval from the Israeli parliament, was proposed in January.
Kerry’s task is impossible to realize. This is not, as is often misleadingly asserted, because the issues are complex or because “painful compromises” are needed from both sides. The issues, in fact, are so embarrassingly simple it is an insult to the intelligence to have to set them down.
In plain English, one side has stolen land and resources belonging to the other and refuses to give them up. The thief is supported by powerful external agencies, while the losing side has no equivalent support.
In this situation, it would be normal to call on an independent force or arbiter to compel the thief to return the stolen goods, and “compromise” would not be applicable. But in the peace process as configured by those on the side of the thief, there is no independent agency, only an “arbiter” whose starting point is one of total commitment to the thief’s welfare... That, in essence, is where the problem lies for Kerry and his predecessors.
Since Israel long ago won the battle to keep 80 percent of Palestine, the area behind the 1967 border and referred to as “Israel proper”, it is the 20 percent that remains which Israel is fighting to keep. Kerry’s negotiations are concerned with how to divide that 20 percent in Israel’s favor while giving the Palestinians something too....
Kerry’s plan contains many of the features of previous peace proposals. None of them answers to international law, Palestinian rights or elemental justice. As a Haaretz article candidly put it on January 6, to succeed, Kerry’s plan demands no less than a total and abject Palestinian surrender to Israeli and US diktat...
To this sorry state of affairs has now been added an explicit US threat, that if the Palestinians reject the Kerry peace plan, they will face a political and economic blockade. All US and European aid will stop and they will be isolated.
The Americans knew well that peace under the current circumstances is simply not attainable. The Israeli government’s coalition is adamantly anti-Arab, anti-peace and anti any kind of agreement that would fall short from endorsing the Israeli apartheid-like occupation...
It is implausible that the Americans were unaware of Israel’s lack of interest in the whole undertaking. For one, Israeli extremists like Naftali Bennett – Israel’s minister of economy and the head of the rightwing political party the Jewish Home – are constantly reminding the US through unconstrained insults that Israel is simply not interested in peacemaking efforts. The Americans persist, however, for reasons that are hardly related to peace or justice...
Kerry’s ambitious peace agenda was no more than a rehash of everything that Israel tried to impose by force or diplomacy, and Palestinians had consistently rejected...
Israel would maintain the occupation under any other name, except that the PA would be allowed a level of autonomy over Palestinian population centers. It is hard to understand how Kerry’s proposal is any different from the current reality on the ground...
Now that Kerry’s deadline of a ‘framework agreement’ is quickly approaching, all parties must be preparing for all possibilities. Ultimately, the Americans are keen on maintaining the peace process charade; the Palestinian Authority is desperate to survive; and Israel needs to expand settlements unhindered by a Palestinian uprising or unnecessary international attention. But will they succeed?
Obama's Rejected Peace Proposal 2011
Mr Obama said on Thursday that territorial lines in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, combined with land-swaps, should be the basis for talks on a peace deal with the Palestinians.... Mr Netanyahu bluntly told Mr Obama that his vision for the borders of a future Palestinian state would leave the Jewish state with an "indefensible" frontier. "While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines because these lines are indefensible," he said. "They do not take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years." (ABC News 26-5-2011)
Facts on the ground: As housing minister in the early 1990s, Ariel Sharon presided over a huge drive to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. While some Israeli politicians were coy about the true purpose of the policy, Mr Sharon openly proclaimed it as an at tempt to create facts on the ground and make territorial compromises with the Palestinians - or the establishment of a Palestinian state - more difficult. (The Guardian 3-10-2000)
As multiple episodes demonstrate, a belief that elite immunity is both necessary and justified became the prevailing ethos in the nation’s most influential circles. In countless instances over recent years, prominent political and media figures have insisted that serious crimes by the most powerful should be overlooked— either in the name of the common good, or in the name of a warped conception of fairness according to which those with the greatest power are the most entitled to deference and understanding. This is what makes the contemporary form of American lawlessness new and unprecedented. (salon.com)
The breakdown in talks was touched off at the end of March, as Israel balked at releasing a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners, as agreed to at the start of talks in July 2013. Ramallah responded by applying to join 15 international bodies, many of which are related to the UN...
In what was reportedly a very unpleasant meeting Wednesday night, Israel’s chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, was said to have demanded of her Palestinian counterpart, Saeb Erekat, that Abbas rescind the applications to the 15 treaties...
Palestinian and Israeli media outlets quoted Abbas as saying, “I would rather become a martyr” than rescind the applications he signed on Tuesday to join 15 UN and other international treaties and conventions. Instead, the Palestinians reportedly issued a long list of new preconditions for resuming talks — demands that Israeli officials privately dismissed immediately.
These preconditions, according to the Ma’an news agency, included a demand for official Israeli agreement to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital; the release of 1,200 Palestinian prisoners, including convicted terrorist chiefs Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat; a building freeze in East Jerusalem and the West Bank; granting Israeli citizenship to 15,000 Palestinians under a family reunification program; the termination of Israel’s security blockade of Gaza; permission to bar the IDF from entering Area A (areas under full Palestinian control) to arrest or kill terror operatives; and increased Palestinian control in Area C (areas under full Israeli control).
Israel is considering retaliatory measures against the Palestinians in response to their renewed drive for international recognition, Israeli media reported on Friday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon have asked the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the West Bank, General Yoav Mordechai, to draw up a range of options, Haaretz reported.
Haaretz said the options under consideration included withholding tax revenues levied by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
Israel briefly imposed the same financially crippling measure in December 2012 to punish the Palestinians' successful drive for observer state status at the United Nations, over its own strong opposition and that of Washington.
Other options under consideration include tightening the restrictions imposed on Palestinian activities in the more than 60 percent of the West Bank which is under the control of the IDF, Haaretz said.
Don't argue with opponents of the Jewish State
There are some Jewish supporters of Israel who have realistic policy differences with the Israeli government. They legitimately have the best interests of Israel at heart, and so those who disagree with them should argue with and debate them.
There are some Jews who are outright opponents of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. They are hostile to the Zionist enterprise, and they simply need to be opposed not analyzed. It is not worthwhile to engage with them...
But there are also some Jews whose differences with Israel have more to do with their own psychology than with Israel’s policies. They are worth thinking about.
Empathy erodes the Jewish Self
These Jews either question or oppose Israelis actions for a deeply personal reason, a psychological one. They are moral narcissists. Their overriding desire is to believe they are moral. It is that belief that makes them feel good.
In part, they share what normal narcissists have: A self-preoccupation. But normal narcissists have a lack of empathy. Moral narcissists have a complete empathy (for example, an empathy for Palestinian Arabs) that is so expansive that it erodes their Jewish self....
Epstein presumes that at Sinai, a revelation of God’s will to the Jewish people took place, electing them to carry out God’s will and to serve as God’s messengers by fulfilling several missions — not the least of which is supporting Israel. (book review)
Moral narcissists have a desire for and profound need for moral purity in an impure world. They eschew military power because such power hurts others, because they see power itself as inherently evil or the instrument to enable evil to rule.
They are therefore unsurprisingly unhappy with Israel’s application of such power. They feel guilty that Jews aren’t victims but victors... They rarely if ever acknowledge Israel’s amazing successes...
These moral narcissists are living in a strange moral universe. Their misplaced idealism leads them to have a naïve and simplistic sense of morality. They believe that if they struggle to understand the Palestinian point of view, to support the political efforts of the Palestinians, the Palestinians will in turn embrace them and stop fighting the Israelis.
They don’t want to see the Middle East for the Hobbesian world it is. In their world there are the morally pure and everyone else is under suspicion... For them, Israel compromises their moral purity, and that is unacceptable to them.
Useful idiots, used to indermine the Jewish State (i.e. Self)
They are hurting Israel, and they deserve to be called out for it... They are not evil. They are wrong. They are not the enemy. They are the misguided.
It is cruel to call these people what they are, but the danger they cause requires it. They are useful idiots, not fully aware that they serve the cause of those who oppose Israel’s existence. Those opponents use these Jews to undermine the Jewish state.
Lawrence J. Epstein served as an advisor on the Middle East for two members of the United States Congress.
Gilad Atzmon: The Wandering Who?
A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics
Jewish identity is tied up with some of the most difficult and contentious issues of today. The purpose in this book is to open many of these issues up for discussion.
Since Israel defines itself openly as the ‘Jewish State’, we should ask what the notions of ’Judaism’, ‘Jewishness’, ‘Jewish culture’ and ‘Jewish ideology’ stand for.
Gilad examines the tribal aspects embedded in Jewish secular discourse, both Zionist and anti Zionist; the ‘holocaust religion’; the meaning of ‘history’ and ‘time’ within the Jewish political discourse; the anti-Gentile ideologies entangled within different forms of secular Jewish political discourse and even within the Jewish left.
He questions what it is that leads Diaspora Jews to identify themselves with Israel and affiliate with its politics. The devastating state of our world affairs raises an immediate demand for a conceptual shift in our intellectual and philosophical attitude towards politics, identity politics and history.
- "A pioneering work that deserves to be read and Gilad Atzmon is brave to write this book!" Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo
- “Gilad's escape from spiritual claustrophobia towards a free and open humanitarianism is fearless.” Robert Wyatt
- The Wandering Who is a philosophical masterpiece that liberates us from the zionist superstitions that enslave us.” Greg Felton
- "A brilliant, courageous study as well as critical reflection on Jewish ethnocentrism." Rainlore's World of Music
Gilad Atzmon, Interview 7-4-2014:
"I have no doubt that my ideas are becoming increasingly popular and reach new circles. Yet, often people who claim to follow my thought process appear not to understand where I come from or what I try to achieve. I am not a political person nor am I an activist. I am an artist and a thinker and I believe that my intellectual responsibility is to reinstate the spirit of Athens, which is the ability to think freely, to seek truth, to ask questions, to make judgments, to think ethically and to revise our thoughts as we progress.
As such, I am an opponent of Jerusalem, the attempt to reduce the universe into a set of binaries, by means of castrating laws that defy the natural aspiration for freedom, always in the name of one form of correctness or another." (www.gilad.co.uk)
"A believer who insists other believers must follow his or his group's subjective standards before they can live a life pleasing to God is a "legalist."
"All Pharisees act as if they essentially have a monopoly on God's word, the knowledge of God's will, sound doctrine, and truth." (From liberty to legalism)
One of the best speeches at the National Summit to Reassess the Special Relationship between the U.S. and Israel last month was by Allan Brownfeld. Here are extended excerpts. –Ed.
We all know that Zionism has distorted American policy in the Middle East. At the same time, it has had a terribly negative impact upon Jewish life in the United States and throughout the world. And it is important to remember that, historically, Zionism was a minority view within Judaism, particularly in America.
The organization whose journal I edit, the American Council for Judaism, was established in 1942 and it was established primarily because the established Jewish organizations, which had previously opposed the concept of Jewish nationalism, had changed course. So the Council was organized to maintain this older view that, first, Judaism is a religion, not a nationality, that American Jews are American by nationality and Jews by religion, just as other people are Protestant, Catholic, or Muslim...
It is my opinion that what has happened to American Judaism has completely corrupted its religious nature. What we are witnessing today, synagogues flying Israeli flags, programs urging American Jews to immigrate to Israel, their real homeland, is a form of idolatry, making the sovereign state of Israel the object of worship, rather than God.
In 1999, the Union for Reformed Judaism adopted a resolution saying Israel is central to our religion. Israel, not God...
In Israel itself, there is a growth of racism, there is a growth of religious extremism. The book The King’s Torah was a bestseller. This is a book that said Jews and non-Jews are basically different in nature, Jews are much closer to God than non-Jews...
We understand there’s religious extremism in many parts of the world. My point is why don’t American Jews say a word about this? Not a word of criticism of the racism and extremism growing in Israel. It has distorted Jewish values. It has distorted American Jewish life.
Now, I’m not a pessimist because, as I said earlier, I believe that the position I represent represents a silent majority of American Jews, not those who are members of AIPAC or the American Jewish Committee....
Among young people, there’s a great belief in freedom of speech, in freedom of debate, and a desire that moral values, treating each individual with human dignity, be applied everywhere...
For as long as the word has been used to describe a type of political theory and practice, philosophers have been quibbling over precisely what liberalism is. As one would expect after more than two hundred years, suggestions abound. However there is general agreement on at least one point: its core doctrines are universalistic; they apply to human beings generally.
Liberal practice has often fallen short of that ideal – relegating some individuals to subordinate positions according to their gender, race, ethnicity, social or economic class, and so on.
“Zionism” designates the Jewish national and cultural movement that was born in Europe late in the nineteenth century and that evolved and flourished subsequently... In its early years, Zionism, like liberalism, was a contested ideal. And, as within the liberal fold, there was ample quibbling over what it involved. But, at the doctrinal level, there was always a crucial difference. Liberalism is universalistic, Zionism is not; its ideals pertain to Jews only, not to people generally.
There is therefore something oxymoronic in the very idea of liberal Zionism.
A liberal Zionist is committed to the idea that Israel should be a Jewish state, and also to the idea that it should support the basic rights and liberties that define liberal politics. However much these commitments are at odds...
How can liberal Zionists be both liberal and Zionist? It is a dilemma.
If they won’t give up on Zionism and if they are determined to remain true to liberalism as well, then, in view of demographic realities that are morally and politically impossible to change, there is no choice but to accede to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories currently under occupation. This entails ratcheting down the dream of incorporating Judea and Samaria into the state of Israel.
Of course, some Zionists will say that God is on their side, but there is no reasoning with people like that. Plainly, such views are not worth taking seriously. Neither is the view that the Holocaust gives Zionists carte blanche to do what they please in Palestine....
Warning that the peace process was on the edge of collapse, an Israeli official close to the talks said that even US Secretary of State John Kerry, its tireless sponsor, was cooling off.
“The way it’s looking now, the talks as they were several weeks ago are no longer relevant,” the source told Israeli news website Ynet. “Israel is preparing to return to routine dealings with the Palestinians as they were before the negotiations started nine months ago.
“We are noticing a real coolness in the way the Americans are treating (the peace process), and it’s obvious that today’s Kerry is not the same Kerry from a few weeks ago,” the official added.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said earlier Sunday that it was up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “stand tall,” and agree to negotiate based on the 1967 borders.
“I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel to have a crash, it’s absolutely not in our interest to have a crash, it’s not in the interest of the US,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 on Sunday, adding that the sides were “trying to save” the peace talks.
“Does [Netanyahu] want to go the path of punishment, showing them who’s strong or not, or does he want to make history by going the path of [the] two-state solution?” Erekat asked, referring to media reports that Israel would impose sanctions on the Palestinians should talks fall apart...
Yasser Abed Rabbo, general secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee, blamed the latest talks crisis on Israel, which “wants to extend the negotiations for ever” as it creates “more facts on the ground.”
“Israel always implements unilateral steps,” he told Voice of Palestine radio, saying the Palestinians were already being punished by Israel.
The Israelis surely don’t want a two-state solution to materialise. “Their goal is to circumvent the talks’ objectives and to thwart the peace process,” says journalist Raghida Dargham. “They are prepared to hold the Palestinian side responsible and to mobilise American public opinion to support them in their condemnation campaign.”
It is clear that Mr Netanyahu and his government are preparing themselves for a blaming phase that will follow the end of the peace talks.
For the Israelis, peace talks were a convenient pretext to buy more time. Unlike the other side, they had nothing to lose and, as it turned out, they didn’t lose a thing. On the contrary, Israel went ahead with its territorial expansion plans and its settlement-building projects undeterred.
For his part, Zein El Abidin Al Rakabi wrote in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat about his indignation at Mr Kerry’s statement holding both parties accountable for the gridlock.
“This is a grave injustice,” he remarked. “The Americans have asked both parties to make sizeable or painful concessions – which in itself was unfair. In truth, Palestinians have made so many concessions short of giving up altogether on their basic rights.” (The National, 7-4-2014)
Damascus, (SANA) President Bashar al-Assad, Regional Secretary General of Al-Baath Arab Socialist Party, met on Monday the party's leaderships in Daraa, Sweida and Quneitra provinces.
During the meeting, President al-Assad said "when we are strong inside, all that is external remains external" stressing that there are two phenomena that the al-Baath Party must work to change within society: extremism and lack of awareness.
The President said that al-Baath Party was targeted with attempts to sully its image since the beginning of the crisis because it constitutes an essential base in national work, adding "We must think inside the party about the aspects affected by the crisis resulting in flaws in them." He affirmed that the strength of any party not only lies in the number of its members, but also the scale of the people who support it.
President al-Assad asserted that the reconciliation process will continue because the main concern is ending bloodshed and stopping the destruction of infrastructure, underlining the very important role of al-Baath Party in reconciliations and the vital role played in them by party members each within their own areas.
He also affirmed that the project of political Islam has failed, stressing that political work and religious work should not be mixed up.
(Reuters) - The United Nations has been forced to cut the size of food parcels for those left hungry by Syria's civil war by a fifth because of a shortage of funds from donors... Donor countries pledged $2.3 billion for aid agencies helping Syria at a conference in Kuwait in January, but only $1.1 billion has been received so far..., U.N. officials said.
As the humanitarian crisis within Syria intensifies, its neighbors are also groaning under the strain of an exodus of refugees that now totals around 3 million, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.
"We know that this tragedy, together with the tragedy of the people displaced inside the country, 6.5 million, now shows that almost half of the Syrian population is displaced."
Some 2.6 million Syrian refugees have registered in neighboring countries, while hundreds of thousands more have crossed borders but not requested international assistance. Guterres pointed to the huge burden this was imposing on Syria's neighbors. In Lebanon, the more than a million registered refugees are equal to almost a quarter of the resident population.
"Let us not forget that in Jordan, in Lebanon and other countries, we have more and more people unemployed, we have more and more people with lower salaries because of the competition in the labor market, we have prices rising, rents rising - and that the Syria crisis is having a dramatic impact on the economies and the societies of the neighboring countries," Guterres said.
New York, (SANA) Syria’s Permanent Representative to UN Bashar al-Jaafari stressed the existence of a close offensive alliance among Turkish, Israeli, Qatari and Saudi authorities for sending takfiri terrorist to Syria to commit terrorist acts against Syrian people.
In a press conference following U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s briefing at the UN Security Council on situation in Syria on Tuesday, al-Jaafari dismissed Pillay’s accusations on Syrian government’s violations of human rights as “false and lacking credibility” because Pillay hand not visited Syria during 3-year of crisis.
He accused UN High Commissioner as “biased” and that she has become a part of an orchestra led by some influential members in the Council for accusing Syrian government and putting further pressure on it.
The UN High Commissioner ignored the issue of takfiri groups that committed massacres and crimes against innocent civilians in Syria..., Al-Jaafari said. Ge added that Pillay didn’t touch upon significant information unveiled by the US writer Seymour Hersh on direct involvement of Turkish government in the use of chemical weapon in Damascus Countryside in 2013.
" In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over.” (Seymour Hersh on Orama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels, 8-4-2014)
Bashar al-Jaafari criticized the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with US military officials, calling on Ki-moon to prove the peaceful nature of the UN through settling the crises peacefully.
“The Syrian government entered the Geneva talks on the basis of that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria but a political one led by the Syrians themselves...,” al-Jaafari said. He called for the need that the influential countries to stop their support to the armed terrorist groups and their violation of the Syrian sovereignty.
Professor Alfred de Zayas:
"When we are talking about Syria, we should bear in mind why the United Nations were founded in the first place. We learn from the preamble that the objective of the UN is to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to protect people from conflicts and to solve conflicts peacefully. The principles and aims are made very clear in the UN Charter. This includes the policy of non-intervention. But what was at stake here was a conversion, a revolution, a corruption of the United Nations.
The transformation of an organization of peace, a peace-promoting and peace-keeping organization into an organization engaging in «Regime-Change» this is totally against meaning and spirit of the UN Charter."
The UN functions as a moderator for dialogue. We have all bodies for a reasonable and peaceful settlement of differences between states, such as the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Security Council and the General Assembly in the USA. These are all arenas where differences between states may be articulated without engaging in violence. Article II para 4 of the UN charter is a legal proposition; it rules that the use of violence is prohibited, even the threat or aggressive gesture. (currentconcerns.ch)
Alfred de Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights and international law, a retired high-ranking United Nations official, a peace activist, and since 2012 the United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (also known as Special Rapporteur), appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is currently a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. (Wikipedia info)
The Geneva 2 Conference failed, first, because the United States decided to support the Saudi position rather than honor their signature on the Geneva 1 communiqué and, secondly, because it was chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi was not an impartial broker but served Washington instead of seeking peace.
On the advice of Russia, Syria had accepted that the special envoy of Ban Ki-moon would chair the sessions. Moscow hoped at the time that Washington would keep its promises. Damascus remembered that twenty-five years earlier, at Taif, Brahimi had not been an opponent of Syria. However, the vote by the U.S. Congress granting funding to Al-Qaeda at a secret meeting, the lack of legitimacy and authority of the delegation of the Syrian opposition, the cancellation of the UN invitation to Iran on the eve of the conference and the keynote speech by Secretary of State John Kerry heaping all the responsibility on Syria, not to mention the hurdles put by the European Union to physically prevent the Syrian delegation from travelling to Switzerland, showed that Moscow had either miscalculated or been deceived.
The Montreux session was exclusively designed to put Syria in the dock...
Flashback 2012: New UN Syria envoy tells regime change is needed
Associated Press, By HAMZA HENDAWI, September 1, 2012
BEIRUT (AP) — The U.N.'s new envoy to Syria told President Bashar Assad's regime on Saturday that change is both "urgent" and "necessary" and that it must meet the "legitimate" demands of the Syrian people, words that will not win the seasoned Algerian diplomat and international trouble shooter any friends in Damascus.
On his first day on the job, Lakhdar Brahimi also called on both sides to end violence in Syria, but said Assad's government bears more responsibility than anyone else to halt the bloodshed....
His comments, made in New York, came as activists said rebels captured an air defense facility in the east of the country near the border with Iraq. The battle for control of Syria's largest city Aleppo meanwhile intensified...
"I call on parties inside Syria to halt the fighting. Undoubtedly, this call is primarily directed to the government...", Brahimi told al-Arabiya television in an interview.
H. N: All the countries which were sponsoring the Opposition in Syria were not ready to consider a political solution. Never! Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt (in its previous position) never considered that. Now I will go to the far countries, the Europeans, and the Americans. No one was ready to go for a political solution. Lately, the Arab League talked about a political solution. That came after a military flop. The world went to Geneva II due to their failure in the field. From the very beginning, they did not need a political solution.
I still remember these debates. The story was not President Bashar Assad in person only. They were talking about the entire regime. It was required that the regime be toppled then they would talk. What did it mean that it was required that the regime be toppled? Where to they want to take Syria? In fact, what does the Turkish want Syria to become? Where to the Qataris and the Saudis want to take Syria as far the great considerations, the considerations of the region, and the strategic considerations are concerned? Thus you must usher the issue from this perspective.
We usher this issue from this fixed point: Syria's position, stance, and influence in the region and the great battle taking place in the region. They came to change this situation. They do not come to make democracy or justice or to confront corruption. All of this war, this funding, these weapons, and this speech are to change Syria's stance and position and indeed to topple President Bashar Assad, being the head of this regime and the President of the Republic. Debates focused and targeted the entire regime. At one stage even and following one year, they saw that things are militarily difficult. Well, they were not desperate but they found that things are difficult.
Question: What about the offers that were made to President Assad?
H.N: Yes, I know that serious offers were made to President Bashar Assad to the effect of changing this political trend, cutting diplomatic ties with Iran and the resistance movements in the region, and getting ready to undergo a true and comprehensive settlement with the Israelis. Then there would be no problem..
2004 - George Bush & Sayyid Abdul Aziz al-Hakim: born in 1953, the son of Grand Ayatollah Muhsin Al-Hakim. He played a leading role in the Safar Intifada in 1977 and was imprisoned in 1972, 1977 and 1979. He went into exile in Iran in 1980, where he was a founding member in 1982 of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and headed their military wing, the Badr Organization.
Though most Iraqis hope the country will hold together, others worry that the centrifugal forces of escalating violence and religious strife will lead to the balkanization of the nation.
"The forces of disintegration ... are much more powerful than the forces of unity," says Saad Eskander, a political scientist and director of Iraq's national archives in Baghdad...
A breakup of Iraq would hold major ramifications for the Middle East and beyond. It would recalibrate the balance of power between the region's powerful Sunni Gulf states, still hostile to Iraq's Shiite-led government, and set in motion a wider struggle for control of Iraq's weaker components and its huge oil fields. More than that, it could serve as a trigger for a wider redrawing of borders across a region already undergoing volatile change. Tribal and ethnic rivalries unleashed by the Arab Spring are pulling at awkward and often artificial boundaries drawn by colonial powers a century ago – from Syria to Libya to Yemen.
Despite the current security challenges in Iraq and around the region, Ali al-Musawi, press adviser to Mr. Maliki, believes that the country "is further from falling apart than at any time before." Maliki and his advisers see the battle in Fallujah, the provincial capital of Ramadi, and the nearby city of Garma as an existential struggle, fueled by Sunni-controlled countries in the region that have never accepted a Shiite-led government in their midst...
"They will always compromise," says Mr. Eskander, the political scientist, of the Kurdish parties. "After almost 19 years, they learned the game of compromise. There was a civil war in the early part of the '90s. They drew a lesson: Everyone loses when they fight with each other.... What is the alternative – to be under the control of Turkey or Iran? They have only Baghdad."
Maliki benefits from the support of outside powers as well. "Maliki will stay – supported by the Americans and the Iranians. Internally, he has power over the armed forces."
But many politicians accuse Maliki of using the armed forces to pursue political goals, and many Sunnis see his actions as an effort to punish a city that has opposed his government.
"What he is doing is very dangerous," says one official, a Shiite, who requested anonymity in referring to military action in Anbar. "You will destroy their cities, their villages. You will remove their dignity. They will not forgive you – these are tribal people."
"You Westerners do not realize that an Arab can do without everything except his dignity. If you touch his dignity he will be as ferocious as a lion." (Iraq 2001)
"Iraq is gone. There is nothing left here," says a hotel worker who once worked for an American company and has applied to immigrate to the US.
Iraq's Christian community has been hit particularly hard. Canon Andrew White, who has served the Anglican community at St. George's Church in Baghdad since before the war, says more than 1,000 of his parishioners have been killed in the past five years. Two years ago, Christians were being specifically targeted. Now, says Mr. White, "they're killing everybody."
In the space of a decade, corruption has become endemic, from bribes demanded for routine government paperwork to kickbacks on multibillion-dollar arms deals. Students even routinely buy university degrees...
"There is an urban elite that is doing quite well, but because of the internal displacement that is continuing to occur in the country, many people have lost everything," says Marie-Hélène Bricknell, the World Bank's special representative to Iraq. "You have a growing number of people that are not seeing any improvement in the quality of life – in fact, there is a deterioration."
Many of those who remain in Iraq remember a country where all Iraqis once coexisted. They hope the country doesn't break apart. They just want it to return to some sense of normalcy.
The Jordanian ambassador to Libya has been kidnapped Tuesday morning after masked gunmen attacked his car and shot his driver, a spokesman for Libya's foreign ministry said.
It is the latest incident in which Libyan leaders and foreign diplomats have been targeted in the increasingly lawless North African country, three years after NATO-backed rebels ousted Muammer Qaddafi.
"The Jordanian ambassador was kidnapped this morning. His convoy was attacked by a group of hooded men on board two civilian cars," ministry spokesman Said Lassoued told Agence France-Presse. The driver survived the attack and was in hospital, Lassoued said. He suffered gunshot wounds during the kidnapping.
The government in Amman confirmed the kidnapping. "Jordan has initial information that the Jordanian ambassador in Libya, Fawaz Aytan, was kidnapped," foreign ministry spokeswoman Sabah Rafie said, adding that it was investigating.
The abduction comes two days after Libya's prime minister Abdullah al-Thani stepped down, saying he and his family had been the victims of a "traitorous" armed attack the previous day.
Flashback 2012: A philosopher led the West into war
Next to Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, leader of the Libyan rebels, the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy looks as out of place as a well-dressed philosopher with long, wavy hair can look in a war zone. The Libyan looks skeptical. He has no idea who this man is... Another man asks impatiently: "Do you have a letter from the international community?"
"Give me five minutes!" Lévy replies. Then he continues in English: "Since my arrival, I have recognized that we can provide you with three things," which he then proceeds to list: First, a no-fly zone, and second, the bombardment of the airports in Sabha and Sirt, and of then Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's bunker in Tripoli. Third, Lévy says, Gadhafi can no longer be accepted as Libya's representative internationally, which Abdul-Jalil and his Transitional Council will do in the future.
Abdul-Jalil listens motionlessly. Lévy is improvising the speech of his life. "Now, I have a friend -- in France," he says. "Who is Mr. Sarkozy. I'm not a partisan of Sarkozy, but we are friends. Personal friends. We will take the plane tomorrow, we are in Paris Monday morning and President Sarkozy will receive you and with all the others -- or your representatives -- at Palais de l'Élysée. This is the first step toward recognition. France will be the first country to officially receive the head of your council."
Things went very quickly after that. The Libyans came to the Elysée Palace, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé was furious because he was only told about the meeting afterwards. France recognized the Transitional Council as Libya's government and convinced the Americans and the British to follow suit.
On March 19, hardly 48 hours after the United Nations Security Council had adopted its resolution on Libya, French jets attacked Gadhafi's tanks. A philosopher in a white Dior shirt had led the West into war.... (Spiegel 4-4-2012)
"We were dealing with one of the worst enemies of Israel"Bernard-Henri Lévy: "What I did during those few months, I’ve done for many reasons. First as French...“ “I did it for reasons even more important” , he said: “the belief in the universality of human rights (…). I am among those who have always been tempted to stand in support of victims.”
There is another reason which little has been said, but on which I have yet many extended: that public, which has never let go is that I was Jewish..."
”I would not have done if I had not been Jewish,“ he said. ”What I have done all these months, I did as a Jew. And like all Jews of the world, I was worried . Despite the legitimate anxiety is an uprising to be welcomed with favor, we were dealing with one of the worst enemies of Israel. “ (RTL France 2012)
Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni abruptly quits his post a week after the parliament tasked him with forming a new cabinet.
On Sunday, al-Thinni announced on the interim government's website that his decision was related to an armed attack on his family in a residential neighborhood in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Al-Thinni said the Saturday night attack has terrorized people and put the lives of some at risk.
The top interim official also said that he had made his decision "to protect the interests of the country and so as not to drag different sides into fighting when there can be no winner." Al-Thinni, however, added that he will stay as caretaker until a new premier is appointed.
The country’s defense minister under ousted premier Ali Zeidan received a temporary mandate after the country’s head of state Zeidan was sacked last month.
Nearly three years after the fall of Gaddafi, the country is still grappling with rising insecurity. The former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.
Thousands of angry Libyan demonstrators have recently taken to the streets in different cities to protest against lack of security across the North African country.
Saudi Arabia, rattled by regional turmoil that has destabilised the Middle East, is intensifying a crackdown on domestic dissent, raising fears that a more open space for public debate that emerged in recent years is under threat.
Sunni Islamists, Shi'ite Muslims, liberal reformers, atheists and human rights advocates have all been targeted through a series of arrests and new laws in what one activist has described as an "undeclared state of emergency".
Social media, and what analysts describe as King Abdullah's efforts to foster a more open atmosphere since the turn of the century, have given Saudis greater scope than ever before to criticise the authorities and discuss topics once seen as taboo.
However, since the 2011 Arab uprisings, the world's No. 1 oil exporter, has taken a far harsher line against many forms of dissent, jailing liberal reformers and religious critics on charges ranging from sedition to jeopardising state security.
Riyadh's long-ruling dynasty remains firmly in control of the country... But it believes it is under attack as never before, say analysts with close ties to the kingdom's elite, and sees Syria's civil war and Egypt's political crisis as posing a domestic threat as well as a foreign policy challenge.
Responding to these perceived threats, Saudi Arabia has passed a set of laws that banned citizens from fighting abroad, donating money to any faction in Syria or sympathising with militant ideologies.
Meanwhile, a new law defines terrorist crimes as any act that "disturbs public order, shakes the security of society, or subjects its national unity to danger, or obstructs the primary system of rule or harms the reputation of the state".
"We don't want things to influence our unity. So if something is going to make our society unstable or disunite our society, we will pay a lot of attention to it," said a senior Interior Ministry official interviewed by Reuters in February.
Amplifying Saudi worries about Syria and Egypt, the kingdom's rulers feel surrounded by chaos: Iraq is still torn by sectarian violence while political turmoil casts a shadow over two of the kingdom's other neighbours, Yemen and Bahrain.
Gulf foreign ministers agreed a deal Thursday to end months of unprecedented tension between Qatar and other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council over the Muslim Brotherhood.
At an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh, the ministers agreed that the policies of GCC member states should not undermine the "interests, security and stability" of each other, a statement said. Such policies must also not affect the "sovereignty" of a member state.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar last month, accusing it of meddling in their internal affairs and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qaradawi - Cairo, november 2012
Tensions rose because Doha supported Egypt's Islamist president Mohamed Morsi while most Gulf countries hailed his overthrow last July.
Tensions that had been simmering for months peaked in early February when Abu Dhabi summoned Doha's ambassador to protest against "insults" to the UAE by Egypt-born cleric Yusef al-Qaradawi, a Qatari citizen.
The coverage of the influential Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, seen by critics as biased in favour of the Brotherhood, has also increased tensions between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.
A wide range of activities were launched by the Syrians across the country, each representing a different manifestation of the Syrians feelings of pride and dignity in commemoration of Independence Day.
Independence Day, also called Evacuation Day, is a national day commemorating the evacuation of the last French soldier and the end of the French mandate of Syria on April 17, 1946.
The Syrians’ emotions of pride and glory are at their best as this year’s celebrations of Independence Day coincide with sweeping victories gained by the Syrian Arab Army members as they are relentlessly crushing terrorist groups all around the country.
The armed forces organized military parades and drills, as well as sport activities on the occasion. Military units' commanders delivered speeches on the occasion, affirming that the Evacuation Day is an ever-present source of inspiration that prods the Syrian army on to make further sacrifices for the dignity of the homeland.
The anniversary this year coincides with a blatant aggression launched by neo-colonial countries in a desperate attempt to divide Syria along ethnic and confessional lines, the commanders said. They stressed that the Syrian people who kicked colonizers out continue to stand fast in the face of terrorism by virtue of their national unity and support to the Syrian leadership.
Three years into Syria's civil war a growing number of Jordanian jihadists are coming home, some disillusioned by infighting within rebel ranks, others seeking a break from a draining and largely inconclusive conflict.
Up to a few months ago, Jordanian authorities were more discriminating with returning fighters, sometimes freeing "first-time offenders" who were deemed misguided after expressing regret for their actions. Now, every detained returnee is whisked straight to court, although none have been accused of plotting attacks in Jordan.
Charge sheets against defendants highlight Amman's continued pragmatic recognition of Assad's rule. Many are accused of committing "acts not authorised by the state that sour relations with legitimate Syrian authorities", and face jail terms of 2 1/2 to five years after speedy military trials with minimal legal safeguards, according to defence lawyers.
The returnees vary from youths, moved by video footage of indiscriminate shelling of population centers in rebel areas by Assad's forces, to others radicalized by hard-line Sunni Muslim clerics calling for holy war and an Islamic state.
"I allowed you to go, but don't come back," said a Jordanian judicial source, starkly summarizing the official attitude towards those who enter combat in Jordan's northern neighbor. "We turned a blind eye to you going, but if you return we will catch you and lock you up..."
In a reminder of Amman's jitters about the destabilizing effects of the Syrian war, Jordanian warplanes hit and destroyed several vehicles trying to cross the border from Syria on Wednesday...
Jordan's approach to militants fighting across the border sets it apart from Syria's other neighbors. Turkey, which openly supports the anti-Assad insurgency, allows rebels to move back and forth between parts of northern Syria they hold and Turkish territory.
The West should not treat Russia as a naughty schoolchild, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
“They should not treat Russia as a naughty schoolgirl who is being poked with a piece of paper on which she must tick off a report on her homework. It is impossible,” he told the Rossiya 1 TV channel. He added that Kremlin called the position of the West on Ukraine a “hypocrisy fair.”
“The international law has never seen a bigger hypocrisy, neither has Putin. Russia is a country which seeks dialogue with all world nations. Russia is a country which is interested in mutually beneficial cooperation and its goals are quite understandable - to raise the wellbeing of its people,” Peskov told.
“In this case, around the New Year we came to face, rephrasing world literature classics, not a 'vanity fair' but a 'hypocrisy fair'. What happened in Ukraine was an armed coup, which was promptly recognized as legitimate, and it was recognized as legitimate by the European Union and the United States,” he noted.
He reminded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken about such hypocrisy at a Munich security conference as far back as 2007. “In this speech, which had no shade of confrontation, he spoke about this, he warned the world community about such situations,” Peskov said. “Regrettably, the situation developed this way...
Vladimir Putin: "No one feels safe! Because no one can feel
that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them."
Courtesy Munich Conference on Security Policy, 12-2-2007
What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making. It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign...
And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.
Incidentally, Russia - we - are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.
I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today's world... The model is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.
Along with this, what is happening in today's world - and we just started to discuss this - is a tentative to introduce precisely this concept into international affairs, the concept of a unipolar world. And with which results?
Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension.
Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. And no less people perish in these conflicts - even more are dying than before. Significantly more, significantly more!
Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force - military force - in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate. And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasise this -- no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them....
I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe... What happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: "the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee". Where are these guarantees?
The stones and concrete blocks of the Berlin Wall have long been distributed as souvenirs. But we should not forget that the fall of the Berlin Wall was possible thanks to a historic choice - one that was also made by our people, the people of Russia - a choice in favour of democracy, freedom, openness and a sincere partnership with all the members of the big European family.
And now they are trying to impose new dividing lines and walls on us. These walls may be virtual but they are nevertheless dividing, ones that cut through our continent...
Having dismantled and sold to Turkey a thousand factories in Aleppo, then robbing the wheat silos from this rich Syrian plain, jihadists in recent months have attacked oil to the absolute silence of the international community. The “oil battalions” were formed for self-refinement, utilizing hurried techniques with mobile refining units. The stolen oil is the property of the Syrian people. It is plunder.
The only way to make enough profit was to embark on oil exports in quantity via tankers to Turkey, and particularly to the nearest refinery at Tüpras Batman (under investigation in Turkey for tax evasion). The oil is then transported to Europe. The oil is sold to Turkish mafia intermediaries at half of its world price... (Gates of Vienna, oct 2013)
Speaking to As-Safir, Deputy Minister of Oil Hassan Zainab said that putting an end to this trend is extremely difficult amid the chaos in northeastern Syria. Among the said difficulties are the daily gains smugglers and vandals are promised.
According to cross-information from the part of the government and the opposition, around 60,000 barrels of light oil are produced daily, and around 10,000 barrels are sold in the domestic market after being refined through local and primitive means. The rest is smuggled into one single market, Turkey.
According to Zainab, the price of one barrel of stolen oil is $10, which makes the total amount of smuggling per day stand at $500,000, an amount large enough to make any criminal risk his life to get a share. Many of the beneficiaries work with Turkish smugglers who have ties with Turkish intelligence agencies and the army. Therefore, they were able to create protection networks for the roads they take to transport crude oil to traders who buy the barrel for $30....
State estimates show that thousands of people have made large amounts of money through the plundering. This has taken place in regions where tribal affiliations are widespread and control is loose, making it easier for organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham to take control of oil fields.
Turkey has exclusively benefited from the EU decision issued last April that allows the opposition to “export stolen oil.” Smugglers were given international legal justification, even though these organizations boast about their extremist ideologies, which are drawn from al-Qaeda.
Alexei Pushkov, historian, journalist, and member of the United Russia Party, is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. EIR interviewed him April 8 in Strasbourg, France.
EIR: Tony Blair told the BBC he thought it was “terrible” that the West had not intervened militarily in Syria last Summer. You, Mr. Pushkov, talked many times about the dangers of such a military intervention. Do you think that those who wanted a “big war” around Syria are trying to achieve their goals now, around Ukraine?
Alexei Pushkov: I think that Mr. Blair and Mr. [Sen. John] McCain and all those who were upset about the intervention not starting in Syria, are proponents of the so-called regime-change doctrine. It is not about democracy; it is about changing the regime in countries where the neoconservative forces, to which Mr. Blair definitely belongs, think the government in power contradicts the interests of the Western world. And to oust those governments, people like Mr. Blair are ready to victimize as many lives of American or British soldiers as is needed.
I think that Mr. Blair is sincerely hated in his own country. There have even been attempts at public trials of Mr. Blair, and the reason is, that he made up completely the reasons for the war against Iraq. He cheated his own nation. His actions led to the death of about 1,000 British soldiers, and by all standards, people like Mr. Blair should be tried by an international court. Unfortunately, the fact is, that he is not [being tried], and he is calling for new wars—a war against Syria.
For the time being, this plan failed and so, I think, those forces who were behind a war against Syria, decided they could use the situation in the Maidan in Ukraine, to achieve a regime-change there. And it was achieved, actually, because we are under no illusion: There was a very strong Western presence on the Maidan. We have seen foreign ministers and members of Parliament from Western countries coming, and basically calling for the overthrow of the existing government, which was a legal government, elected by the population. And this is the reason why now the same politicians and the same political circles try to close their eyes to the right-wing and extremist forces in Ukraine, to the neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine, try to close their eyes to the illegal character of the Ukrainian authorities, and to the fact that it was definitely a coup d’état that was conducted in Ukraine...
Ukraine is part of the succession of regime changes which occurred in the last years around the world, starting with Serbia, and going through Iraq, Libya, and so on...
The new leaders of economic development, such as China, India, and some others, will be our important partners in our further economic development.
Unfortunately, the economic ties with the West may suffer because of political positions. That is probably not bound to happen with the Asian nations. The Asian nations do not try to dictate any kind of political conditions to Russia; they are not taking sanctions against us. They consider us as partners and not just a nation which should follow Western advice. And that is a big difference in dealing with the Easterners in comparison with dealing with the Westerners....
A big part of the political class of leading nations (and I mean, first of all, the United States) is blinded by geopolitical issues, and the desire to dominate in the world.
It is called “American leadership” but I think Mr. [Zbigniew] Brzezinski put it more correctly when he called it “American hegemony.”
I think that the goal of achieving American hegemony is a false goal. It’s also false for the United States, because it diverts its potential to something which may endanger the United States, much more than promote their case.
These false goals are something which is blinding the American political class. Not all of them: I know that in the American Congress, I would say, probably 10% of the Senators and Congressmen display a reasonable approach. But the majority is blinded by this issue...
“I congratulate Orthodox Christians and all Russians celebrating Easter on this wonderful holiday.
Easter celebrations fill the hearts of millions of people with love and joy, inspire them to do good deeds and serve to affirm enduring values and moral guidelines within society such as caring for one’s neighbours, mercy and compassion.
It is very important that today, the Russian Orthodox Church continues the great traditions of its responsible service, helping people find faith and reinforcing their life’s journey. It is closely involved in educating the young generation and strengthening the institution of family. It is doing a great deal to harmonise interethnic and interfaith relations.
I sincerely wish you health, success, and all the very best on this joyous, celebratory day.”
On Saturday night, the President attended the Easter service conducted by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
The victory of Truth
What does the Resurrection mean? The victory of Truth. As the great Russian philosopher, Vladimir Solovyov, put it: If Pilate, the high priests, and all the dark forces had turned out to be right, then life would be meaningless, for in that case evil would have defeated and shattered the most beautiful, the most pure, the sinless God-Man. But, as the New Testament tells us, death could not contain Him. Our spirit is powerless to halt the process of death and decay, but pure and deified spirit is capable of accomplishing the victory over the decaying forces of matter....
There is nothing accidental in history; there is nothing accidental in life. We reap what we sow. If today we weep over ruined churches, then we should weep no less for the past sins and mistakes of Christians, our spiritual and bodily ancestors... (Alexander Men, 2-5-1989, Russian orthodox website)
After the Revolution and, more specifically, the death of Vladimir Lenin, the prominent site of the cathedral was chosen by the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin as the site for a monument to socialism known as the Palace of the Soviets. This monument was to rise in modernistic, buttressed tiers to support a gigantic statue of Lenin perched on top of a dome with his arm raised in the air.
On 24 February 1930, the economic department of the OGPU sent a letter to the Chairman of the Central Executive Committee asking to remove the golden domes of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral... On 5 December 1931, by order of Stalin's minister Kaganovich, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was dynamited and reduced to rubble.
In February 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission from the Soviet Government to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. A temporary cornerstone was laid by the end of the year. The restorer Aleksey Denisov was called upon to design a replica of extraordinary accuracy.
"As long as the dark foundation of our nature, grim in its all-encompassing egoism, mad in its drive to make that egoism into reality, to devour everything and to define everything by itself, as long as that foundation is visible, as long as this truly original sin exists within us, we have no business here and there is no logical answer to our existence.
Imagine a group of people who are all blind, deaf and slightly demented and suddenly someone in the crowd asks, "What are we to do?"...
The only possible answer is "Look for a cure". Until you are cured, there is nothing you can do. And since you don't believe you are sick, there can be no cure." Vladimir Solovyov
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the US should take responsibility for those whom they put in power instead issuing ultimatums to Moscow.
All attempts to isolate Russia will lead to a dead end, he added. Speaking about the crisis situation in eastern Ukraine and Kiev’s crackdown on the Donetsk region, Lavrov also said that Kiev authorities don’t want or maybe cannot control the extremists who continue to control the situation in the country, said Russian FM Sergey Lavrov during a press-conference.
According to Lavrov, the Kiev authorities are still spinning out the implementation of constitutional reform in the country.
“Why were they waiting for so long to speak about the necessity of constitutional reform? Why are they spinning out the process?” he asked at the conference. “They did nothing to eliminate the deep crisis in the country,” he added. Lavrov stressed the necessity of restoring order in the crisis-torn country. By this he meant stopping extremism and religious intolerance, starting constitutional dialogue and disarming the illegal armed groups.
Hi, everybody. For millions of Americans, this time of year holds great meaning.
For me, and for countless other Christians, Holy Week and Easter are times for reflection and renewal. We remember the grace of an awesome God, who loves us so deeply that He gave us his only Son, so that we might live through Him....
We recommit ourselves to following His example, to love and serve one another, particularly “the least of these” among us, just as He loves every one of us.
The common thread of humanity that connects us all is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To remember, I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.
Whatever your faith, believer or nonbeliever, there’s no better time to rededicate ourselves to that universal mission...
Iran is planning to celebrate the classical medieval Persian poet and mystic Sa’adi National Day during various ceremonies in Shiraz.
Many Iranian and foreign literary scholars are to attend the commemoration ceremonies that will be held in the poet’s hometown Shiraz on April 20 and 21.
The mausoleum of the great poet in shiraz is to host the opening ceremony of the program on Sunday night. A number of officials along with many writers and Persian literature lovers will be attending the celebration. The National Sa’adi Day is annually celebrated on April 21 in different Iranian cities as well as several countries.
'If you have no sympathy for human pain,
the name of human you can not retain'
Mehr News Agency, 21-4-2014
1st of Ordibehesht (Iranian 2nd month of Solar Calendar) is named after Iranian poet of 13th century Saadi Shiraz. He is one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period.
Saadi is recognized for the quality of his writings for depth of his social and moral thoughts among Persian speaking and western countries. He was born in Shiraz, Iran and moved to other cities of other countries since he was a young poet. He started education in Baghdad and excelled in Islamic sciences, law, governance, history, Arabic literature, and Islamic theology.
His best known works are Bostan (The Orchard) and Gulistan (The Rose Garden). Bostan is entirely in verse and consists of stories aptly illustrating the standard virtues recommended to Muslims (justice, liberality, modesty, contentment) as well as of reflections on the behavior of dervishes and their ecstatic practices.
Saadi is well known for his aphorism, the most famous of which adorns the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the UN building in New York
JEDDAH — The 76th death anniversary of Sir Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal was observed with zest and zeal by various social and cultural organizations to pay homage to the Great Poet of the East.
Iqbal, who was born on November 9, 1877, also known as Allama (Scholar of Highest Rank), was a philosopher, poet, politician, and a social reformist. He is widely acclaimed to have inspired millions of Muslims to demand a separate homeland from the British Empire in India.
Iqbal’s literary works in Urdu and Persian are largely based on teachings of the Holy Quran. He propagated self-respect and self-realization and reiterated the need to revert to Islamic values.
Rohail Khan, chairman of Urdu Academy International (UAI), said:“Allama Iqbal encouraged the younger generation for fresh interpretation of Holy Quran and discover mutual harmonies that would enable Muslims to use modern science and technology to improve their existence."
The Qur’an in its simple, forceful manner emphasizes the individuality and uniqueness of man, and has, I think, a definite view of his destiny as a unity of life. Three things are perfectly clear from the Qur’an:
(i) That man is the chosen of God:
(ii) That man, with all his faults, is meant to be the representative of God on earth:
(iii) That man is the trustee of a free personality which he accepted at his peril
Iqbal in 'The Human Ego– His Freedom and Immortality'
Islam NOT a Messianistic movement
The kernel of the prophetic teaching is Magian. There is one God– be He called Yahweh, Ahuramazda, or Marduk-Baal– who is the principle of good, and all other deities are either impotent or evil. To this doctrine there attached itself the hope of a Messiah... It is the basic idea of Magian religion, for it contains implicitly the conception of the world-historical struggle between Good and Evil, with the power of Evil prevailing in the middle period, and the Good finally triumphant on the Day of Judgement.
If this view of the prophetic teaching is meant to apply to Islam it is obviously a misrepresentation. The point to note is that the Magians admitted the existence of false gods; only they did not turn to worship them. Islam denies the very existence of false gods.
No doubt, one important feature of Magian culture is a perpetual attitude of expectation, a constant looking forward to the coming of Zoroaster’s unborn sons, the Messiah, or the Paraclete of the fourth gospel... Ibn Khaldūn has fully criticized and, I believe, finally demolished the alleged revelational basis in Islam...
Iqbal in 'The spirit of Muslim culture'
Iqbal is the best articulated Muslim response to Modernity that the Islamic world has produced in the 20th century. His response has three dimensions:
* A creative engagement with the conceptual paradigm of modernism at a sophisticated philosophical level through his prose writings, mainly his 'The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam', which present his basic philosophic insights.
* His Urdu and Persian poetry which is the best embodiment of poetically mediated thought, squarely in the traditional continuity of Islamic literature and perhaps the finest flowering of wisdom poetry, or contemplative poetry or inspired poetry in the modern times.
* As a political activist/ social reformer― rising up to his social responsibility, his calling at a critical phase of history.
Damascus, SANA, President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday clergymen and scholars have pivotal role in consolidating true concepts against wrong terms, because the most dangerous attempts which target the region and Islamic world are the West attempts to strike ideology and faith in society through gradual change in terms.
President al-Assad said an example on the west's attempt to change the terms is to separate Arabism with its human and civilized concept, aiming at creating a state of destabilization on the social and political levels.
The President affirmed that the plague which hits the Islamic world is the plague of political Islam, adding that its collapse has returned Islam to its normal role, namely, Dawah (inviting for true Islam.)
President al-Assad said combating terrorism and extremism won’t be only through condemnation or refutation, but through consolidating principles of true Islam and innovating the religious mentality by using brain, logic and dialogue which is open to the other, based on conviction, not intimidation.
President al-Assad affirmed the need for establishing jurisprudence of the crisis in order to strengthen the common ideological bases in the face of fatwas of sedition which try to divide our societies.
Flashback 2012: "Jihad Against Assad Is A Duty"
Senior clerics across the Arab world have issued fatwas stating that jihad against the Syrian regime is a duty incumbent upon every Muslim, and even permitting to kill Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Some of the clerics also called to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is fighting Assad's regime.* Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, told Al-Jazeera that clerics across the Muslim world agree that Assad must be fought against and even killed...
* Preacher Safwat Hijazi said [..] that killing Assad is a fard 'ain (a duty incumbent upon every individual Muslim), and that whoever carries out this task will attain Paradise. ... He claimed that over 400 scholars had signed fatwas permitting Assad's killing. (In 2012, Safwat Hijazi launched MB Candidate Muhammad Mursi's Campaign)
* Hashem Islam, member of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, said at a March 15, 2012 conference in Cairo that Assad must be assassinated to stop the killing of Syrians, and that the FSA, which is fighting Assad's gangs, must be assisted with money and arms. .
* The imam of the Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas mosque, the largest in Syria's Idlib province, said in his March 2, 2012 Friday sermon: "O Muslims, Allah ordered you to fight [every] tyrant until he obeys the word of Allah... [The members of Assad's regime openly] publicize their hostility towards God..."
* Saudi preacher 'Aidh Al-Qarni said to Al-Arabiya TV that it is a duty to fight and kill Assad, because he is an infidel and his regime is an enemy of Islam. He added that "the Muslim religious scholars must assist the Syrian people against this treacherous regime..."
* The general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Himam Sa'id, likewise ruled that fighting the Assad regime is "a religious duty," and that "the Muslims must assist the FSA..." He called the FSA fighters "mujahideen" and said that their dead count as "martyrs."
* Saudi Mufti 'Abd Al-'Aziz Aal Sheikh said in a meeting with Kuwaiti clerics that supporting the FSA with money counts as jihad for the sake of Allah.
Saudi writer Ahmad Al-Saloum wrote, in an article posted on an oppositionist Syrian website, that the FSA must be supported in every way... "Jihad against the Nusayris [i.e., 'Alawis] is one of the most important religious duties in the eyes of Allah... Jihad against them is more important than jihad against the Jews or Christians..."
"What is happening now is that those whose voices are being heard are the armed Islamic groups. This is like when the land becomes arid and lacks useful plants; only the bad plants remain. These plants can be green and can exist, but despite their green color they are the expression of the failure of the soil, the well and the land. The armed Islamic groups are a real expression of the bankruptcy of the Arab nation and land, because resorting to metaphysics and senseless suicides and resorting to the obsolete doctrines expounded by the Salafiyah [an Islamic reform movement advocating a return to roots] is an expression of failure and ruin..."
Muammar Gaddafi, July 29, 1995
The Middle East matters. What is presently happening there, still represents the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st C. The region, including the wider area outside its conventional boundary – Pakistan, Afghanistan to the east and North Africa to the west – is in turmoil with no end in sight to the upheaval and any number of potential outcomes from the mildly optimistic to catastrophe.
At the root of the crisis lies a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam's true message. The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is de-stabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.
It is crucially important not to confuse the issue of religion and politics, with the question of religiosity. Many of those totally opposed to the Islamist ideology are absolutely devout Muslims. In fact it is often the most devout who take most exception to what they regard as the distortion of their faith by those who claim to be ardent Muslims whilst acting in a manner wholly in contradiction to the proper teaching of the Koran. Neither should this be seen in simplistic Sunni/Shia terms... The real battle is against both Sunni and Shia extremism...
The reason this matters so much is that this ideology is exported around the world. The Middle East is still the epicentre of thought and theology in Islam. For the last 40/50 years, there has been a steady stream of funding, proselytising, organising and promulgating coming out of the Middle East, pushing views of religion that are narrow minded and dangerous...
The reason that this ideology is dangerous is that its implementation is incompatible with the modern world – politically, socially, and economically. Why? Because the way the modern world works is through connectivity. Its essential nature is pluralist. It favours the open-minded. Modern economies work through creativity and connections. Democracy cannot function except as a way of thinking as well as voting. You put your view; you may lose; you try to win next time; or you win but you accept that you may lose next time.
That is not the way that the Islamist ideology works. It is not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. The ultimate goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable....
We have to elevate the issue of religious extremism to the top of the agenda. All over the world the challenge of defeating this ideology requires active and sustained engagement...
This is not a conventional war. It isn't a struggle between super powers or over territory. But it is real. It is fearsome in its impact. It is growing in its reach.
It is a battle about belief and about modernity.
Tony Blair & Saddam Hussein
"The security of the world could be attained if the leaders in the world become rational."
Saddam Hoessein, 15-9-2001
Belgium warns Blair over US relationship
Tony Blair got a fresh warning of trouble ahead from Europe yesterday when the Belgian foreign minister openly attacked him for "submissively" following the US lead on Iraq. Remarks by Louis Michel were shrugged off by British officials but found an echo in a wider Europe increasingly alarmed at signs of US determination to bring down Saddam Hussein.
Mr Michel told the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws: "Morally and politically we could take charge in the world. But the British are blocking that. They still don't understand that they could play a pioneer role in Europe instead of submissively following the US." (Ian Black in Brussels and Jon Henley in Paris, The Guardian 28-8-2002)
More than 150,000 march through London against Iraq invasion
Britons from all regions, ages and social backgrounds thronged central London Saturday, urging Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush not to invade Iraq.
"Tony Blair, shame, shame, no more killing in my name," went one chant.
"Don't be bullied by Bush," read one placard. "No war for oil. Stop the war machine," said another.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone said the wrong motivations were driving the confrontation with Iraq. "America retains its neocolonial hold on the oil producing regions of the world. It is a disgrace that once again Britain is running along like a little lapdog behind America's imperial interests," he told the crowd. (Audrey Woods, Associated Press Writer, 28-9-2002)
UN-ultimatum: Tony Blair held an emergency 'war Cabinet' meeting yesterday to finalise plans for military action against Iraq and demand that the United Nations comes to a decision on the vital second resolution against Saddam Hussein within 24 hours.
As Number 10 made clear that the chances of a diplomatic breakthrough in the Security Council were now 'bleak' and American bombers for the first time struck at targets in Iraq, the UN was given until tomorrow evening to come to a final choice on whether to back a second resolution or see America and Britain launch military action alone. (Kamal Ahmed, Observer 16-3-2003)
Baath Party dissolved (Daily Star 12-5-2003)
The US general who commanded the Iraq war issued a statement Sunday saying Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party “is dissolved,” ordering the political organization that ruled the country for 35 years to cease existence.
The message from General Tommy Franks, commander of coalition forces, was read over US-controlled Information Radio on Sunday afternoon. “The Iraqi Baath Socialist Party is dissolved,” Franks said in the statement, read in Arabic. The station is broadcast across Iraq on the AM band. The statement told Iraqi citizens to collect and turn in any materials they had relating to the party and its operations.
Annan dismisses claim that world is safer after Iraq
By Alan Crawford (Sunday Herald, 17-10-2004)
The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has dismissed George Bush and Tony Blair’s claims that the invasion of Iraq has made the world safer. In a interview with the ITV1 Jonathan Dimbleby programme, to be broadcast today, Annan said: “I cannot say the world is safer when you consider the violence around us, when you look around you and see the terrorist attacks around the world and you see what is going on in Iraq.”
We have turned Iraq into the most hellish place on Earth
Simon Jenkins, (The Guardian website) October 25, 2006
"This country has been turned by two of the most powerful and civilised nations on Earth into the most hellish place on Earth. Armies claiming to bring democracy and prosperity have brought bloodshed and a misery worse than under the most ruthless modern dictator. This must be the stupidest paradox in modern history... Blair speaks of staying until the job is finished. What job? The only job he can mean is his own."
David Cox: "Saddam: a tribute" (The Guardian 7-11-2006)
Three months ago, Tony Blair warned the world that an "arc of extremism" now stretches across the Middle East from Iran to Lebanon. This phenomenon, he suggested, threatens the survival of the very values on which western society is based. Yet, when Blair came to power, no such claim could have been made. Slap-bang in the middle of his currently awesome arc, lay a fortress of stability in the shape of Saddam's Iraq. The Middle Eastern oil that underpins our society, and therefore the values that our Prime Minister holds so dear, flowed freely into our refineries. Within Iraq itself, a secular state offered women opportunities unimaginable in nearby countries, and provided a standard of living far from unreasonable by the standard
BEIRUT — Syrian regime tanks and artillery shelled rebel positions in the central old city district of Homs, according to rebe and anti-government activists, who said they believe that the last rebel bastion will be overwhelmed by government forces in the coming days.
One of the first Syrian cities to rise up against the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Homs often has been described by the rebels as the symbolic capital of the 3-year-old civil war.
Besieged for almost 700 days, the narrow streets and stone buildings of the old city continue to provide a haven to what rebels claim are nearly 1,000 Islamist fighters who rejected a United Nations-brokered truce earlier this year that allowed hundreds of civilians and rebels to flee the siege.
“If there is not a cease-fire, the old city will fall within days,” said Abu Rami al Homsi. Homsi, whose name is an alias, described many of the remaining rebels as starving... “The regime is trying to tempt starving fighters to surrender with promises of food and visits with their families,” he said. Dozens of fighters appeared willing to take the offer, he said.
The majority of the rebel fighters who remain in the old city appear to belong to al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, and its radical rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Despite fighting one another in eastern Syria, the groups remain battlefield allies in the western part of the country.
The Syrian government in recent weeks has consolidated control over several major population centers, including Homs and the eastern suburbs of Damascus, in advance of presidential elections now set for June 3. Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, remains split between rebel and regime control, while the provincial capital of Raqaa is the only large Syrian city under rebel control.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- PLO and Hamas representatives announced an historic unity deal on Wednesday to bring to an end more than seven years of political division between the main Palestinian political parties.
Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced the end of years of Palestinian political division in a press conference in Gaza City, saying that the Hamas and PLO delegations had worked as "one team" throughout the reconciliation dialogue and had stressed the necessity of achieving results in this round of dialogue....
Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad said that neither side will accept the resumption of negotiations with Israel without clear guidelines, and that negotiations had stalled as a result of "Israel intransigence" and "American bias."
Earlier, Palestinian officials announced that they had agreed to form a unity government within five weeks that will be headed by either President Mahmoud Abbas or former Deputy Prime Minister of the 2006 unity government Nasser al-Din al-Shaer, who is a member of Hamas.
The division between the two Palestinian factions began in 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections....
Analysts expressed scepticism... “People have heard the same thing over and over again and each time the agreement had been broken by either Fatah or Hamas,” said Samir Awad, politics professor at Birzeit University in the West Bank. Analyst Hani al-Masri said: “This reconciliation has hardly any substance on the ground. It could collapse at any moment.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas must choose either peace with Israel or an alliance with Hamas, but he cannot have both, Israel’s PM has said. His comments come after the Palestinian Authority restarted talks on a unity government with Hamas....
“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “He has to choose: Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far he hasn’t done so.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments and said signing an agreement with Hamas was equivalent to "signing the termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
Furthermore Netanyahu said that the Authority continues to demand “additional conditions,” knowing that Israel cannot accept them. On Tuesday, (22-4) President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the conditions that Israel needs to fulfill for the continuation of peace talks. He called for the establishment of borders between Israel and Palestine, the release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners and a halt to the construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority has been pushing for these conditions since the restart in negotiations with Israel last July.
An American educated lawmaker has registered to become the second candidate in Syria’s presidential election, which has been branded a farce by opposition movements, AP reports.
The 54-year-old Sunni Muslim Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri, previously served as a minister in Bashar al-Assad’s government and leads the 'National Initiative For Adminstration and Change in Syria', an opposition group on borderline terms with the current regime.
Assad is anticipating a third term in power but has not yet officially announced his candidacy, nor has his regime explained how a democratic election will take place in the war torn country. The UN, Arab League and Syrian opposition have warned that the election will jeopardize peace efforts.
Speaker of the People's Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham confirmed in a session on Thursday that the Assembly received a notification from the Supreme Constitutional Court including that al-Nouri submitted a candidacy application to the Court on April 24, 2014 along with the enclosed documents required by Article 21 of the Court's Law. The application of al-Nouri was registered as the second in the Court's register.
Hassan al-Nouri was born in Damascus on February 9, 1960. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economy and Trade (Business Administration) from the University of Damascus in 1982. He got a PhD in General Management (Human Resources Development) from John F. Kennedy University in California.
Al-Nouri worked as Secretary of Damascus Chamber of Industry between 1997-2000. He was an MP from 1998-2003 and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs from 2000-2002. (SANA, 24-4-2014)
"We preach the best doctrine ever known, the equality of man"
Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy,
Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA, October 10, 1960
What would we stand for in this country? Do we stand for a better chance for all our people? Do we practice what we preach? And I agree what we preach is difficult to practice, but we do preach it and we must practice it.
The Communists do not practice what they preach and they preach a different doctrine. But we preach the best doctrine ever known, the equality of man, the Government gets consent from the governed, and that everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and we will maintain that position.
I came from Warm Springs, Ga., this morning, the house where Franklin Roosevelt died, and I come to Pittsburgh, Pa., and invoke his spirit. I think it is incumbent upon us to continue a long fight, which has gone on since this country began, which was divided from the beginning.
We are the heirs of Jefferson. We could not conserve and look backward if we tried. We must look forward. The Democratic Party is the party of progress...
The Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991 and the site is now a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.