Recent events have further hampered debate. “The window has closed since the Arab spring... The king “has laid down the line” by instructing religious scholars to denounce the group...
Abdelulaziz al-Qassim, a Saudi political analyst, said the authorities had called on the clerical establishment to “condemn this phenomenon of Isis and mobilise against it” rather than undergo any revisions that would distance them from extremism.
But Turki al-Hamad, a well-known Saudi liberal, argues that the clerics are ill-suited to the task. Writing in the London-based al-Arab newspaper recently, he said: “How can [our scholars] respond [to] Isis . . . and all the other parasites which have sprung up on the margin of Islam, when its germs grew among us and within our homes and it was us who nurtured its thought and rhetoric until it grew?”
Mr Qassim and others point to a tendency within the Saudi establishment to blame the rise of Isis on the Muslim Brotherhood... Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates supported the overthrow of the Brotherhood in Egypt last year, and Riyadh banned the organisation earlier this year...
General Jonathan Shaw: Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Rouhani: "Our mistake is that we want to scrap out some parts of science"
The Categorical Imperative
In the ethics of the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, founder of critical philosophy, a moral law is unconditional or absolute for all agents, the validity or claim of which does not depend on any ulterior motive or end. For Kant there was only one such categorical imperative, which he formulated in various ways.
I would like to find out, at a minimum, what ‘book’ grants the Jewish State the right to uproot an entire nation in the name of a Jewish homecoming? Is there a book that permits the Jews to turn a city into an open-air prison? Is there a book that legitimates reducing Gaza into a pile of rubble?
I am afraid that the answer is affirmative. There is more than one such book. But these books aren’t exactly philosophical texts. These books are the prime Judaic texts.
The Talmud and The Old Testament are suffocated by Goy hatred and stories of Jews and their God pouring their ‘wrath on the Goyim.’ Rabbinical Judaism has historically been very careful in the way it treated some of those vile and barbaric Judaic verses and teachings. But Israel and Zionism draw inspiration from those genocidal verses, and the outcome is evident in the shattered urban landscape of Gaza.
Unlike the very few Jews who actually contributed to humanity by means of self-reflection (such as Jesus, Spinoza and Marx), Kasher prefers pointing at Hamas...
Back in the 18th century, in a remarkable attempt to formulate an anthropocentric, ethical requirement that was justified by means of reason, Immanuel Kant presented the Categorical Imperative:
Let’s examine Kasher’s thoughts in the light of Kant’s imperative.
If the IDF operated ethically in Gaza, as Kasher foolishly suggests, then every military force should be expected to follow the ‘IDF universal law:’ flatten entire cities, uproot nations, murder innocent civilians and so on.
Kasher further asks, “Does the presence of large numbers of non-combatants in the vicinity of a building that is directly involved in terrorist assaults on Israelis render that building immune to Israeli attack?”
Kasher continues, “The answer is, and must be, no. Israel cannot forfeit its ability to protect its citizens against attacks simply because terrorists hide behind non-combatants. If it did so, it would be giving up any right to self-defense.”
Consciously or not, the banal Israeli so-called ‘philosopher’ evinces the complete opposite of philosophical, ethical or universal principled thinking.
Instead, he provides a glimpse into Jewish tribal ethno-centrism in which ‘goodness’ is defined solely by Jewish interests.
In a total dismissal of international conventions and of ethical judgment, Kasher blurs the crucial distinction between ‘civilians’ and ‘combatants’ and between the innocent and the actor.
The verdict is obvious. That Israel repeatedly behaves unethically goes without saying, but reading Kasher reveals that the Jewish State also lacks the notion of an ethical horizon. Even its academic authority on the subject is totally incompetent.
Egypt's public universities are bracing for the new academic semester starting Saturday as Islamist anti-government groups call for an "intense revolutionary movement" on campus.
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), that deems former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster a "coup," announced a new round of protests — dubbed "Students are the Knights of the Revolution" — while public universities are setting to work to prevent another tumultuous year.
"The university campus is a field of the flaming revolutionary fields. Students are the knights of your revolution ... Let us launch a strong and intense revolutionary movement to protect the gains of the students' struggle over the past year," NASL said in a statement.
Police have arrested several students in different governorate nationwide over the past few days, including 14 of the "Students Against the Coup" movement, according to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
Cairo University President Gaber Nassar has banned politically-affiliated groups on campus and has already frozen the activities of the student groups of the Constitution Party, the Strong Egypt Party and the Salafist Nour Party on campus.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the lead group of NASL and from which Morsi hails, has been deemed a terrorist organisation and banned by the government, while its political wing — the Freedom and Justice Party — was dissolved.
In Al-Azhar University dorms, also the site of bloody clashes last year, students now have to sign a form in which they commit to not participating in "any political activities at the university dorms."
Egyptian campuses saw a chaotic 2013-2014 academic year with recurrent protests and clashes following the popular military-led ouster of Morsi in July 2013.
Egypt passed a protest law in November 2013 stipulating that the interior ministry must be notified in advance of a protest's location, time, cause, and the names of its participants, in addition to their full contact information. The law also gives the ministry power to prohibit any protest or change its time and location. The Ministry of Higher Education has signed a deal with a private security company to guard at least nine public universities....
Traditional Islam’s most important underlying principle, in terms of epistemology and theories about religion and human beings, is the limited scope of human reason or the human mind.
The human mind is incapable of understanding human beings’ true rights. The innate incapacity and congenital faultiness of the human mind in assessing what is more and what is less important to human life is the foundation and source of the other principles of this historical thought system.
Among these other principles, which are based on reason’s faultiness, is the idea that the human mind is seriously limited in its capacity to have an all-embracing grasp of what does or does not constitute justice. The logical implication of this principle is that justice and injustice can only be identified in practice through the sacred words of the Lawgiver.
When the human mind is incapable of recognizing whether a ruling is just or not, justice is per force that which the Lawgiver identifies as just and injustice is, likewise, that which the Lawgiver identifies as unjust.
The second principle that follows from the mind’s faultiness is the inability to legislate for this-worldly life. The faulty human mind is not qualified to make laws. In view of human beings’ inability to have an all-embracing grasp of true human needs and true human felicity, and because human beings are swayed by their appetites and carnal desires, human laws lead to social feuds and conflict. In order to establish peace and calm, the only place to turn to is to the laws of God, i.e., the Shari’a, and the divine Lawgiver, i.e., God.
Thirdly, in view of the fact that Shari’a precepts have been formulated by All-Knowing God and human laws are products of faulty and limited human minds, it is self-evident that divine duties and Shari’a precepts are superior to human laws (including the conventions on human rights). This superiority is on such a scale that there is never any need to put it to the test, because the human mind’s innate faultiness disqualifies it as an arbiter in this field, and the superiority is a necessary consequence of the acceptance of God’s eloquent wisdom.
2. The notion of human rights.
The notion of human rights is based on a belief in the relative competence of the human mind or human reason to understand needs, interests and harms.
Self-justifying critical reason is the foundation of modernity, and the notion of human rights is one of its products. From this perspective, human minds are capable of identifying and formulating human rights.
Collective human reason undertakes this identification and formulation, and it does not consider its achievement to be definitive and immutable. Human rights conventions are a product of the latest experiences of the collective reason of contemporary human beings. And such reason holds that if these principles of human rights are respected, all human beings will enjoy greater peace and justice.
This thought system maintains that human reason is capable of discovering what does and what does not constitute justice and that collective human reason can assess the justice or injustice of human relations and laws. On this basis, human beings are capable of formulating just laws for governing their societies and their environments. Human rights conventions are examples of international laws created by the collective reason of contemporary human beings.
3. Intellectual Islam
Since the time when Muslims have had to take a stance on modernity and its trappings, including human rights and democracy they have witnessed the birth and development of a new movement.
This movement is known as intellectual Islam or Islamic modernism. And whilst remaining committed to the eternal message of God’s revelation, it believes that, in historical Islam, the sacred message has been mixed with the customs and conventions of the age when revelation was made; that all of traditional Islam’s problems in the modern age emanate from the customary part of traditional Islam; and that the sacred message can still be defended with great pride.
The main duty of insightful religious experts and Ulama is to extract the sacred message again and to push aside the sediment of time-bound customs.
More than 98 per cent of the Verses of the holy Qur’an concern matters of faith, morality and worship, and only about two per cent have been devoted to the fiqh of social transactions.
In traditional Islam, the fourth part, i.e., the fiqh of social transactions has gained indescribable importance, to the point where it has overshadowed the parts of religion that relate to faith, morality and worship...
The main difference between the modern reading and the traditional reading is over the fourth part; i.e., the fiqh of social transactions.
Modernist Islam does not deny the need for Islamic law and jurisprudence (Shari’a and fiqh), but it is a critic of historical Islamic law and traditional jurisprudence, and it disagrees with the stances adopted by faqīhs in the past on numerous precepts.
The distinguishing feature of the modern age is the blossoming of reason. Critical reason does not recognize any red lines and has begun questioning everything, even things that were unquestionable in the past.
Contemporary human beings have grasped many things that were shrouded in mystery in the past. This does not mean that modern human beings know everything and that nothing remains unknown to them; on the contrary, as the scope of their knowledge has increased, so has their recognition of the extent and depth of their ignorance. They ask courageous questions and offer modest answers.
No religious scholars can consider themselves unneedful of new rational studies such as methods of analysing meaning, methods of interpreting texts (hermeneutics), the philosophy of religion, modern theology, the sociology of religion, the psychology of religion, the methodology of history, philosophy, law, ethics, etc.
Objections and criticism cannot be foreclosed by simply saying that all the social transactions precepts are in the service of God and closed for discussion, or by appealing to hidden interests and harms.
Contemporary human beings are certain that owning slaves is unjust, irrational and reprehensible. They do not consider just and rational discrimination on the basis of religion or gender. They consider it unfair and irrational that faqīhs and clerics should have special rights in the public sphere. They declare any limitation on freedom of religion to be a constriction of innate human rights.
Mohsen Kadivar is a philosopher, theologian and an Iranian dissident who has been in exile since 2008, and visiting professor of Islamic studies at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina, US).
"There's no future for us if the Lord does not help us."
There's suffering and concern in Louis Raphael I Sako's words. The concern of a pastor who sees that his flock is in danger and the suffering of a child of the Chaldean Church who sees Christianity's age-long history quickly heading towards oblivion. A history that has irrigated the lands between Mesopotamia's two rivers for millennia.
And it is not just the Islamic State's bloodthirsty jihadists he is concerned about.
- What can be done to stop your people's suffering? What is your task now?
- "The priority now is to offer comfort to those who are suffering and afraid, to help everyone and above all to encourage people to persevere and remain steadfast in their faith, without leaving their land... Those who leave must be aware that the West is not a promised land, let alone Paradise."
- Armed groups passing themselves off as "Christian militia" have been forming, in order to fight the Islamic State's jihadists. What is your view on this?
- "To any politician, Christians included, who ask me, I always say: if some Christians want to help defend and fight for the liberation of land conquered by the jihadists, then they should join the Kurdish or the Iraqi national army. Creating "Christian militia" groups which identify themselves in ethnic-religious terms is not only illegal, but madness and pure suicide.
- The US have begun an armed intervention with the "coalition". Something similar has already happened in Iraq.
- "All this looks to me like a dirty political game. Bombing these jihadists will not make them disappear, that's for sure. Many innocent individuals risk being killed.
Infrastructures are destroyed and will remain destroyed. The Americans have already done this: they destroyed the country and did not rebuild it.
The most serious part of it all is that now everyone is saying the war is going to go on for years. This sends out two different and very dangerous messages simultaneously.
The message to jihadists is: don't worry, you have plenty of time to get organised, get more money together and enlist more paid militants. The message to the refugees is: this situation's going to go on for years, the only future you have is away from here, away from your homes. It's best if you leave if you can.
If we are to really get rid of extremist groups once and for all, we have to work on education and training and come up with plans that show how false and monstrous this bloodthirsty ideology really is."
- Meanwhile, some in the West have made stereotypical references to a clash of civilizations, portraying Muslims as enemies of the Western civilization.
- "The reality is that all the West is motivated by is money and power. For years, this entity that calls itself the Islamic State has been kept going with money and weapons that come from the West's so-called "friends".
With their secret services they can find out anything they want about each and every one of us, whenever they want. How is it possible that they don't know where weapons pass through or to whom they are selling oil to today?
The US took action when two poor Americans were beheaded. But what about all those Syrians, Iraqis, Christians and Muslims they killed before then?"
Patriarch Sako, 1-7-2014: The Americans made a lot of mistakes. The current situation is their fault. Why replace a regime by something even worse?
This is what happened after 2003. The Americans deposed a dictator. But under Saddam Hussein at least we had security and work. And what do we have now? Confusion, anarchy and chaos. The same thing has happened in Libya and Syria.
If you want to change the situation here you have to educate the people in the schools, media and mosques in matters of freedom, democracy and the construction of their own country. It is impossible to install a democracy on the Western pattern here.
Under the old regime prior to 2003 we had no denominational problems. We were all Iraqis. Now we talk about Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Arabs and Kurds...
Perhaps in the present context we need in the Middle East a strong leader who is at the same time just and not only looking out for his family or tribe.
Flashback: The devils game - The US & 'the Islamic right'
Robert Dreyfuss 2005
For half a century the United States and many of its allies saw what I call the “Islamic right” as convenient partners in the Cold War.
Muslim fundamentalists on the far right were often viewed as allies for two reasons, because they were seen a fierce anti-communists and because they opposed secular nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh.
By the end of the 1950s, rather than allying itself with the secular forces of progress in the Middle East and the Arab world, the United States found itself in league with Saudi Arabia’s Islamist legions.
Choosing Saudi Arabia over Nasser’s Egypt was probably the single biggest mistake the United States has ever made in the Middle East.
A second big mistake … occurred in the 1970s, when, at the height of the Cold War and the struggle for control of the Middle East, the United States either supported or acquiesced in the rapid growth of Islamic right in countries from Egypt to Afghanistan.
In Egypt, Anwar Sadat brought the Muslim Brotherhood back to Egypt. In Syria, the United States, Israel, and Jordan supported the Muslim Brotherhood in a civil war against Syria. And … Israel quietly backed Ahmed Yassin and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to the establishment of Hamas....
Would the Islamic right have existed without U.S. support? Of course. ... But there is no question that the virulence of the movement that we now confront would have been significantly less had the United States made other choices...
Syria's main opposition bloc - The National Coalition - failed to agree on a prime minister during a weekend summit in Turkey, participants said, the latest setback for a coalition long beset by internal divisions.
A member of the National Coalition who declined to be named said the biggest dispute at the Istanbul meeting centered around a split between the favored candidates of vital funders Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The official said that out of 13 hopefuls the two frontrunners were former agriculture minister Walid al-Zohbi -- seen as being close to Riyadh -- and Ahmad Tohme, the provisional head of the coalition who is reportedly backed by Doha.
"Qatar made clear that its financial support to the coalition would end if Tohme was not re-elected," another participant told AFP. Tohme, who is close to Syria's influential Muslim Brotherhood, headed the coalition for 10 months before being relieved of his duties at the bloc's previous general assembly.
The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the most vocal Arab detractors of the regime of President Bashar Assad, has plagued Syria's political opposition since its inception in 2012.
The National Coalition is recognized by scores of states and organizations as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people. But it has been accused by rebels and activists of being "disconnected" from reality on the ground, as well as of corruption and subservience to its backers in Riyadh and Doha.
Flashback: SNC received blessing of Qaradawi
by Patrick S. Poole, 25 Jul 2012
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have complete control of the SNC -- as testified to in multiple media reports, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. From annihilation at home 30 years ago ... the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against Bashar Assad.
The SNC leadership traveled to Doha, Qatar, back in February to receive the blessing of Yusef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood.
Yusef Al Qaradawi
Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood
in the Arab nation, WorldTribune, 14-9-2012
The Gulf Cooperation Council was said to have been examining the growth of Brotherhood-aligned groups in the six member states over the last year. GCC sources said the UAE as well as other GCC states were dismayed by U.S. support of the new Brotherhood-led regime in Egypt....
Qatar has been the only GCC state to have embraced the Brotherhood. The sources cited significant Qatari military aid to the rebels in Libya and Syria as well as a relatively free hand granted to a top Brotherhood cleric, Sheik Yusef Al Qaradawi.
Qaradawi: "I refuse to fight ISIS"
Shafaq News, Sunday, 14 September 2014
The head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, expressed his refusal for the United States fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization despite disagreeing with them in thought and means.
Qaradawi wrote on his account at "Twitter" that "America is not driven by the values of Islam, but their own interests, even if blood was spilled." "I do not accept America that is not driven by the values of Islam..." "It is a disappointment for a person to fight his friend and befriends the enemy."
While issues of everyday concern to families are on the agenda at the extraordinary Synod on the Family, one participant has come to Rome with a very sinister tale to tell.
It's the plight of tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian families who fled for their lives to escape from Islamic State militants. Few think they will ever return home. That's according to Archbishop Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Syriac Catholic Church.
"The situation is disastrous for our communities in northern Iraq," says Patriarch Younan. "Our people in northern Iraq, especially the Syriac Catholic people," he says, "have been really hit by the ...fanaticism, jihadism of the so-called Islamic State."
Islamic State militants have swept through large swathes of Iraqi territory, threatening Christians and other minorities to convert to their extreme brand of Islam, pay a special tax or die.
Patriarch Younan explains that Syriac Catholics were the largest Christian community caught up in the jihadi violence: "over 70,000 Syriac Catholics have been uprooted. And that means over two-thirds, if not three quarters of our numbers in all Iraq - they have been displaced and they have nowhere to go..."
Aleppo before - Aleppo & the FSA 2012 - Homs before
The other community of our Syriac Catholics, he adds, used to live in Syria: "between 35,000 - 40,000 of Syriac Catholics were in the fourth diocese in Syria. Now (they) also are facing a...dangerous threat to... survival there. The largest two dioceses were Homs and Aleppo and those two dioceses have been very badly hit."
Archbishop Younan, whose Patriarchate is based in Beirut, enjoys cordial relations with Muslim religious leaders in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region. Asked how education plays a part in the jihadi scenario, he says "It's quite normal that we ask our brethren of Muslim religion to be careful about their religious speeches in mosques or in their schools. And this is something which is very, very important...
In Lebanon for instance, when we meet with the Muslim sheikhs, either Sunni or Shiites, we keep... discussing this topic very often..."
- Lebanon has been often cited as a model for coexistence between people of different faiths.
- "This is right!" exclaims the Patriarch. "This is quite a model for the whole region. And thanks God you have equality of rights for all citizens in Lebanon..."
The Lebanese Constitution
- All Lebanese shall be equal before the Law. They shall equally enjoy civil and political rights and shall equally be bound by public obligations and duties without any distinction.
- Individual liberty is guaranteed and protected by Law. No one may be arrested, imprisoned, or kept in custody except according to the provisions of the Law. No offense may be established or penalty imposed except by Law.
- There shall be absolute freedom of conscience. The state in rendering homage to the Most High shall respect all religions and creeds and shall guarantee, under its protection, the free exercise of all religious rites provided that public order is not disturbed. It shall also guarantee that the personal status and religious interests of the population, to whatever religious sect they belong, shall be respected.
- Every Lebanese shall have the right to hold public office, no preference being made except on the basis of merit and competence, according to the conditions established by Law.
During the first half of the 20th century, my father abandoned Talmudic school, permanently stopped going to synagogue, and regularly expressed his aversion to rabbis. At this point in my own life, in the early 21st century, I feel in turn a moral obligation to break definitively with tribal Judeocentrism.
Earlier I mistakenly believed that the Yiddish culture of the family I grew up in was the embodiment of Jewish culture. A little later I identified as part of an oppressed and rejected minority. I stubbornly remained a Jew who had accepted this identity on account of persecutions and murderers, crimes and their victims.
Now, having painfully become aware that I have undergone an adherence to Israel, been assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters, and have appeared in the world as one of the exclusive club of the elect and their acolytes, I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.
Although the state of Israel is not disposed to transform my official nationality from “Jew” to “Israeli”, I dare to hope that [the world] will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew.
By my refusal to be a Jew, I represent a species in the course of disappearing. I know that by insisting that only my historical past was Jewish, while my everyday present (for better or worse) is Israeli, and finally that my future and that of my children (at least the future I wish for) must be guided by universal, open and generous principles, I run counter to the dominant fashion, which is oriented towards ethnocentrism.
I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing and, because of this, feel in no way obliged to apologise.
This essay was first published in Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012)
I consider myself a cult survivor. I was raised in the cult of Atheist-Zionism-Posing-as-Judaism. I stated this to a few select friends several years ago, and they thought it was funny. But I'm serious...
During my childhood, Zionism and Israel were held up on a pedestal. They were central to our existence, our identity, our raison d'être. They were our sub-cultural equivalent of "Mom and apple pie". I grew up convinced that they were perfect and beyond reproach. There was simply nothing in my environment to indicate otherwise. Finding out that I had been lied to all my life, and that I had been supporting something that I would never have supported had I been told anything resembling the truth, has been absolutely shattering. ....
I began to look for a Jewish place of worship where I would be comfortable. Orthodox Judaism was out of the question because of its multitudes of laws and the endless debate and analysis about them..
I investigated Reconstructionist Judaism but found that they were worshipping Jewish tribal identity and Israel much the same as in my Reform synagogue.
Finally and reluctantly I began looking outside Judaism. The "New Thought" movement, consisting of various types of churches and centres, has worked nicely for me for many years. I'm a member of the Congregation of Universal Wisdom, which does not offer religious services... I enjoy the focus on One God without tribalism...
I made the decision to stop calling myself a Jew, to simply leave the cult. I respect the Jewish activists who speak about the crimes of Zionism as antithetical to "Jewish values", but I've had quite enough of "Jewish values", and embrace only universal values.
I find I have little patience for those who advocate for a "two state solution" or for any solution that calls for continued Jewish exclusivity in any part of historic Palestine.
For me it's simple: One God, one human race, equality, justice.
MPs including the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, have voted to recognise Palestine as a state in a symbolic move that will unnerve Israel by suggesting that it is losing a wider battle for public opinion in Britain. The vote of 274 to 12, a majority of 262, on a backbench motion has no practical impact on British government policy and ministers were instructed not to vote.
In possibly the single most important contribution in an emotional debate, Richard Ottaway, the Conservative chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, said the recent annexation of West Bank land by the Israeli government had angered him like nothing else in politics.
The Conservative MP said he had been a supporter of the state of Israel before he became a Tory and had close family connections with the generation that formed the Israeli state.
He told MPs: “Looking back over the past 20 years, I realise now Israel has slowly been drifting away from world public opinion. The annexation of the 950 acres of the West Bank just a few months ago has outraged me more than anything else in my political life. It has made me look a fool and that is something I deeply resent.” ... He said, “such is my anger with the behaviour of Israel in recent months that I will not be opposing this motion. I have to say to the government of Israel: if it is losing people like me, it is going to be losing a lot of people.”
The former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said the vote was not simply a gesture, because if it were, the Israeli government would not be as worried by the vote. The Israeli government, he said, wants the recognition of the Palestinian state only at the successful conclusion of any negotiations. But Straw said “such an approach would give the Israelis a veto over whether a Palestinian state should exist”.
A vote for recognition would add to the pressure on the Israeli government, he said. “The only thing that the Israeli government, in my view, in its present demeanour under Bibi Netanyahu understands is pressure.”
Tobias Ellwood, the Middle East minister, said the UK government was a “staunch supporter” of Israel’s right to defend itself, but settlement-building made “it hard for Israel’s friends to make the case that Israel is committed to peace”. ... He added: “The UK will bilaterally recognise a Palestinian state when we judge that it can best help bring about peace.”
Efforts to destroy the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is not enough, said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday, adding that the Assad regime should also be targeted. Erdoğan also said that Turkey would continue the fight against ISIS but was careful not to fall into traps and had demands from the U.S., including a no-fly zone and a safe zone.
In an address from Istanbul's Marmara University, Erdoğan reiterated the necessity of forming a no-fly zone and a safe zone in Syria, along with continuing the U.S.-led international airstrikes on ISIS targets in northern Syria.
"Syria has many Kobanis. What will happen to Aleppo, Latakia, Turkmens and other people after saving Kobani? The Assad regime should be the target for a real solution in Syria," Erdoğan said. "A no-fly zone and a safe zone should be built so we can be able to place the Syrians inside our country at these safe havens," he said.
"Also, the moderates should be trained and equipped either in Turkey or inside those safe zones so they can be able to conduct their war against the regime."
He criticized the PKK's claims that the Turkish government was doing nothing to halt the advance of ISIS in Kobani, which sparked last week's protests in which 34 people died.
He noted that "Turkey is the only country that can provide peace in the region. Turkey is the hope of Middle Eastern people. Turkey can remove the barriers between Middle Easterners, not by changing physical borders, but by instilling hope and trust," he said.
150-10-2014: Echoing his demands that a no-fly zone and safe zone are a must for Turkey to join a military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which controls large tracts of land in the region, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that Turkey will not enter into an "adventure" in Syria unless the international community does what is necessary.
Underscoring that the Bashar Assad regime must be ousted to ensure permanent peace and stability in the region, Davutoğlu said that Turkey does not support one-dimensional action plans and called for broader policies in the region.
David Ignatius: A proxy war creates Syrian chaos
By U-T, San Diego, Oct. 3, 2014
Outside efforts to arm and train the Syrian rebels began more than two years ago in Istanbul, where a “military operations center” was created, first in a hotel near the airport.
A leading figure was a Qatari operative who had helped arm the Libyan rebels who deposed Moammar Gadhafi. Working with the Qataris were senior figures representing Turkish and Saudi intelligence.
But unity within the Istanbul operations room frayed when the Turks and Qataris began to support Islamist fighters they thought would be more aggressive. These jihadists did emerge as braver, bolder fighters — and their success was a magnet for more support.
The Turks and Qataris insist they didn’t intentionally support the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra or the Islamic State. But weapons and money sent to more moderate Islamist brigades made their way to these terrorist groups, and the Turks and Qataris turned a blind eye.
“The operations room was chaos,” recalls one Arab intelligence source. He says he warned a Qatari officer, who answered: “I will send weapons to al-Qaeda if it will help” topple Assad. This determination to remove Assad by any means necessary proved dangerous.
“The Islamist groups got bigger and stronger, and the FSA day by day got weaker,” recalls the Arab intelligence source.
The Saudi effort was run until late 2013 by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at that time head of Saudi intelligence. Bandar was enthusiastic but undisciplined, adding to the chaos. Pushed by the U.S., the Saudis in February replaced Bandar and gave oversight of the Syria effort to Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef. The program was less chaotic, but no more effective in checking the rise of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State.
Who are the 'Moderate Syrian Rebels'
by Ben Reynolds, CounterPunch 4-10-2014
There are at the moment only three rebel organizations with considerable manpower, equipment, and territory inside Syria: ISIS, Jabhat-al Nusra, and the Islamic Front.
ISIS has an estimated 20,000 to 31,500 fighters in Syria and Iraq, and controls large areas of eastern Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra is al-Qaeda’s official branch fighting in the Syrian civil war, and boasts around 5,000 to 6,000 fighters. The Islamic Front is an umbrella organization of Islamist brigades supported by Saudi Arabia, and probably consists of around 40,000 to 50,000 combatants. Together these forces account for almost all of the estimated 100,000 fighters of the Syrian opposition.
The Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council, the vaunted bulwarks of the moderate opposition, only really exist in hotel lobbies and the minds of Western diplomats.
The Islamic Front (supported by Saudi Arabia) rejects the concepts of representative democracy and secularism, instead seeking to establish an Islamic state ruled by a Majlis-ash-Shura and implementing sharia.
Goals & principles:
- The Syrian revolution's ultimate political goal is to overthrow the current regime with all its symbols and foundations
- The regime, along with all the parties supporting them (such as the mercenaries from Iran, Iraq, and Hezbollah) are military targets for the revolution. There will be no political solution.
Jabhat al-Nusra ("The Support Front for the People of Al-Sham") is a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria and Lebanon. This resistance group is generally made up of Sunni Islamist mujahideen. Its goal is to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, create a Pan-Islamic state under Sharia, and a caliphate. The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Turkey.
Syria categorically rejects the establishment of buffer zones in any part of its territories under whatever pretext and rejects any intervention of foreign forces in its land.
The Foreign Ministry made it clear in a statement on Wednesday that Syria will take in consultation with its friends all the necessary measures to preserve its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The statement, which SANA got a copy of, slammed Turkey’s attempts seeking the creation of a buffer zone inside Syria as “a gross violation” of the principles, goals and Charter of the UN and the rules of the international law which call for respecting the national sovereignty of countries and not intervening in their internal affairs.
Those attempts, the statement said, are also an infraction of the Security Council’s resolutions in relation with combating terrorism and draining its sources, citing particularly resolutions 1373, 2170 and 2178.
The Ministry lashed out at the Turkish government for having been, since the outset of the crisis in Syria, systematically carrying out everything that could disrupt Syria’s stability and jeopardize its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Turkey’s government, the Ministry added, has provided all forms of political, military and logistic support to the armed terrorist groups whose members have come to Syria from over 83 countries, including shelter, training, funds and arms as well as access into the Syrian territories.
The Turkish government’s violations, the Ministry said, demand that the international community, and particularly the Security Council, move quickly to terminate these violations “which pose a threat to the regional and international security and peace.”
ISTANBUL — The Western-backed group that sees itself as a government-in-exile opposed to President Bashar Assad has re-elected its leader, a decision that reasserted the influence of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood over the beleaguered body.
Some members of the exiled Syrian National Coalition had wanted to elect a leader based on the ground in rebel-held areas of Syria, but the group instead voted to reappoint Ahmed Toumeh who was fired from the post in July with many members unhappy about the coalition's lack of progress.
|Qaradawi: All Muslim Nations |
Must Give Allegiance To Turkey
"The Caliphate must be established in Istanbul"
A Syrian adviser to the opposition who is close to the talks said: "Toumeh has the support of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Turks and Qataris which had put him in a good spot. But [the vote] didn't happen smoothly."
More than 40 of the 109 members of the Coalition, including Saudi-backed President Hadi Al Bahra did not vote, many in objection to Muslim Brotherhood influence...
At the outset of protests in 2011, the Brotherhood refrained from participation. Its first official statement in support of the uprising was issued at the end of April, and it called openly for the Assad regime to be toppled.
In October 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood participated in the establishment of the Syrian National Council in Istanbul, which brought together different factions of the Syrian opposition... Despite good relations between Turkey and the Syrian regime in the past, the Turkish government is now viewed as the Brotherhood’s greatest ally in the crisis. (Source: CarnegieEndowment.org)
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt accuse Turkey and Qatar of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in the region. Turkey and Qatar are known as the two staunchest supporters of the MB, while other regional countries see the MB as a threat, especially after its role in the Arab Spring. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi designated the MB as a terrorist organization last year. (TodayZaman 7-9-2014)
WASHINGTON — John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.
“At this point, there is no formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.
For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with al Qaida loyalists...
This time, Allen said, the United States and its allies will work to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it’s tied to “a credible field force” that will have undergone an intense vetting process.
“It’s not going to happen immediately,” Allen said. “We’re working to establish the training sites now, and we’ll ultimately go through a vetting process and beginning to bring the trainers and the fighters in to begin to build that force out.” The Syrian arena is important, Allen said, but to the U.S., “the emergency in Iraq right now is foremost in our thinking.”
Ahmad Tomeh, who was just re-elected prime minister of the Syrian opposition's interim government, told McClatchy that Allen met six leaders of the political opposition during his trip to Istanbul last week, but had no talks with any of the ground commanders, including the vetted, trained commanders the U.S. has been supporting. They asked for increased help, Tomeh said, but got no commitment.
Damascus, SANA – The Higher Committee for Relief held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss means for protecting women and children, as part of the humanitarian response plan signed by the Syrian government and UN organizations.
Social Affairs Minister Kinda al-Shammat stressed the need for an effective system for protecting women and children and addressing their needs in light of the repercussions of the crisis, asserting the need to protect vulnerable groups from all forms of violence and exploitation.
She said that a social protection unit will be established at the Ministry by the end of 2014 with the goal of addressing this issue in cooperation with civil society and UN organizations operating in Syria.
The Minister asserted the need to document violations against women and children, particularly those committed by terrorist organizations, and providing care for victims, as well as curbing all forms of violence, human trafficking, children recruitment for combat, and violence based on social type.
New York, SANA Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al Jaafari pointed out that for three years, members of the Salafist-Wahhabi terrorist organizations have committed gang rapes against thousands of Syrian women, and these organizations sought with full support of Arab, regional and international governments to eliminate the existence of the Syrian woman as a human being, changing her into a method for entertaining terrorists and imposing their dark ideology on them.
He clarified that this obscurantist ideology has imposed restrictions on women inside their families, in the way they dress, in education and within their society through Sharia court verdicts that contradict with the level of Constitution-ensured dignity and freedom the Syrian women were enjoying throughout the past decades...
Al-Jaafari said that the Syrian women have paid the price of the terrorist attack against Syria, particularly due to the close-minded ideas of the takfiri ideology and the fatwas which humiliate women and deprive them of their rights, achievements and their active role in the Syrian society.
He referred to the fatwa of the so-called Jihad al-Nikah or Jihad marriage which Syria has warned the UN about its danger for several times and called upon the UN bodies to take prompt and serious measures to stop this shameful phenomenon and to account those who issue and promote this fatwa.
Al-Qaida's Yemen-based franchise urged Muslims worldwide to support Islamic State group jihadists in Syria and Iraq in the face of attacks by a U.S.-led military coalition.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, classified by the United States as the network's deadliest franchise, "prohibits taking part in the fight against" IS, which controls swathes of both Iraq and Syria, AQAP said in a statement posted on jihadist forums.
"We urge all mujahedeen (Muslim fighters) to set aside their differences and inter-factional fighting and move instead against the crusade targeting all" jihadists, it added. "We also urge all Muslims to back their brethren, with their souls, money and tongues, against the crusaders."
AQAP urged "whoever can weaken the Americans to weaken them militarily, economically, and media-wise."
"This is a campaign against Islam" that has brought together "crusaders (Christians), majus (a pejorative term for Iranians), and traitor apostate leaders," it said.
"The global coalition has carried out a ferocious campaign against mujahedeen in Iraq and Syria, especially against our Islamic State brothers, which they bombed and killed," said AQAP. "When the enemies found the airstrikes to be useless... they are now speaking of a ground offensive," the group said.
Despite its own break with IS, Al-Qaida's Syrian franchise, Al-Nusra Front, has said the air strikes constitute a "war against Islam" and threatened to attack the worldwide interests of participating nations.
In an online tirade, Yemeni (Salafi) cleric Abdul Majeed Al Raimi aligned himself on ISIL’ June statement, when Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, spokesman for the group said:
“The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph's authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas … Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day." (yemenpost.net 25-7-2014)
Three years after Western military intervention helped topple Col Muammar Gaddafi, many believe Libya is rapidly turning into a failed state. There are two rival governments, and the parliament elected in June has been forced to flee from hostile militias - to a grey concrete 1970s hotel near the Egyptian border.
They've been chosen to rule a vast country that holds Africa's biggest oil reserves. But three years after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya's new members of parliament can't get on with the job. They're trapped in a grey hotel in a remote port 1,000km (620 miles) from the capital, Tripoli - fighting a lonely battle, they believe, against the forces of militant Islamism.
Tobruk, a town of about 120,000 people on the far-eastern edge of Libya, is now one of the last toeholds of the internationally-recognised authorities. Militias attacked Tripoli in July, forcing the newly-elected parliament to flee... Within Libya they control none of the three key cities:
- In Tripoli, the old parliament - the General National Congress - has continued to sit. It's even appointed its own rival government.
- Benghazi, the second city and headquarters of the 2011 Revolution, is largely in the hands of Islamist fighters, some with links to al-Qaeda. There are daily assassinations of officials, journalists and social activists.
- Misrata, the third city and main port, is also loyal to the Tripoli authorities. Its militias keep them in power.
Meanwhile Derna, the next town along the coast from Tobruk, has declared itself an Islamic caliphate. It's a no-go zone for any government official.
It's all a far cry from the triumph of the revolution three years ago, when Gaddafi was eventually overthrown after a Western-led bombing campaign to protect the revolutionaries.
The French and British leaders, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, were cheered by jubilant crowds when they visited Benghazi in September 2011."You showed the courage of lions - and we salute your courage," Cameron said.
But those lions - Libya's revolutionary militias - failed to disband. Since then, they've wrought havoc in the country, regularly besieging parliament, occupying ministries, once even kidnapping the prime minister.
Some militias fight largely for the interests of their own town or region. But some are allied to Islamist political groups including the Muslim Brotherhood.
In Benghazi there are two forces now. Some are Ansar al-Sharia - and some are revolutionaries from 2011. They fought together then, and they're fighting together now.
"Everybody sang the values of the revolution, but no-one ever sat down and discussed what these values were, and I think this is where we lost a trick," the new MP Salah Sohbi says.
"Some countries backed the Muslim Brotherhood because they thought these guys are OK, they're Islamists but they are moderate Islamists who have shown a clear distance from the Jihadists. And that is where the mistake happened."
The United States joined Britain, France, Germany and Italy on Saturday in calling for an "immediate" end to long-running violence there between government forces and militias. The countries also said in a joint statement that they were ready to use individual sanctions against hostile actors who "threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya or obstruct or undermine the political process."
"The governments of France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States strongly condemn the ongoing violence in Libya and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities," their joint statement read.
"We consider that Libya's security challenges and the fight against terrorist organizations can only be sustainably addressed by regular armed forces under the control of a central authority which is accountable to a democratic and inclusive parliament," the statement added.
It said the powers "fully support" United Nations special representative Bernardino Leon, and "urge all parties to cooperate with his efforts."
"We agree that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis," the statement added, saying the powers were "particularly dismayed" that parties had failed to respect calls for a ceasefire.
Calling for a united front from the international community, the powers said they "strongly encourage all partners to refrain from actions which might exacerbate current divisions in order to let Libyans address the current crisis within the framework of U.N.-facilitated talks."
Green became the national color of Libya under Gaddafi. It symbolized the predominant religion of Islam as well as Gaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory” as expounded in his Green Book, his book of political writings, published in 1975.
"Nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations. Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin. Minorities, which are one of the main political problems in the world, are the outcome. They are nations whose nationalism has been destroyed and which are thus torn apart."
True, the Americans didn’t create Iraqi sectarianism. The latter always brewed beneath the surface. However, sectarianism and other manifestations of identity politics in Iraq were always overpowered by a dominant sense of Iraqi nationalism, which was violently destroyed and ripped apart by US firepower starting March 2003.
To destroy sectarian identities prevalent in the Middle East region today, the rules would have to be redesigned, not by Paul Bremer type figures, but through the creation of new political horizons, where fledgling democracies are permitted to operate in safe environments, and where national identities are reanimated to meet the common priorities of the Arab peoples.
Qatar’s Emir returned from Saudi Arabia following the latest high-level meeting between the heads of the quarreling Gulf nations.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s one-day visit to Jeddah was at least the third time leaders of the neighboring nations have met privately since Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain and the UAE, withdrew their ambassadors from Doha in March.
The diplomatic move was widely interpreted as a show of displeasure over Qatar’s ongoing support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and the UAE both view as a threat to their authority.
The nature of those private discussions has not been disclosed, but Qatar appeared to make several concessions in the aftermath of the summit, namely expelling seven Brotherhood members from the Gulf state.
The government has also recently introduced new rules on local charities that send money abroad. That move has been interpreted as a response to criticism that Qatar was turning a blind eye to individuals raising money for armed groups fighting in Syria.
These efforts, however, have failed to fully satisfy Saudi Arabia, according to one account of this week’s meeting.
“In the meeting, (Sheikh) Tamim basically wanted to tell the King that Qatar has met all the conditions that the King asked for and this should be enough to bring a formal end to the rift…”
The source told Reuters that Saudi Arabia’s leaders remained unconvinced that Qatar has cut off funding for armed groups such as al-Nusra Front.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has also faced its share of criticism for reportedly financing or allowing its citizens to raise funds for similarly violent organizations in the region.
In a television interview late last month, the Emir told CNN that he did not accept anyone funding “certain movements” in Iraq and Syria, where Qatar recently supported an aerial bombing campaign against ISIL targets. However, he also said that Qatar does not always agree with other nations over which groups should be deemed terrorist organizations.
Fifteen alleged members of the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham Islamist organizations are facing the death penalty in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
All 15 have been charged with belonging to foreign terrorist organizations and collecting funds for them. Some of them also have been accused of illegally manufacturing explosives, possessing firearms and launching an extremist website.
The trial began in Abu Dhabi last month, though four of the suspects are wanted and undergoing trail in absentia. Nine suspects are citizens of the UAE, the rest of them are immigrants from Syria and the Comoros.
According to the prosecution, some of the suspects have been trained in al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham camps to fight government forces in Syria, while others provided extremists with logistical support, recruited new members in the UAE and raised funds for the Islamist groups. Members of the cell were crossing into Syria from Turkey and delivering goods, including 14,000 automobile engines, via the same route, the media outlets reported.
One of the world’s most prolific terrorist financiers Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nuaymi has finally been banned from doing business in Britain.
The British move comes 10 months after U.S. authorities added al- Nuayami to a list of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” and accused him of providing financial support to groups including al-Qaida and Somalia-based al Shabaab.
The US Treasury said he was 'considered among the most prominent "Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi extremists" and "reportedly oversaw the transfer of over 2 million US dollars per month to al -Qaida in Iraq for a period of time".
Five more suspects from Qatar alone who are subject to American sanctions are not banned in Britain, meaning that they are potentially free to use British banks and do business in the UK. (Al-Alam 20-10-2014)
The Police Command of Anbar Province called the officers of the former Iraqi Army to join it.
A statement by Anbar Police Commander General Kadhim al-Fahdawi, quoted him as saying “Anbar Police Command is ready to receive the officers of the former Iraq Army who want to join it regardless their military ranks.”
Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed that he found in his American counterpart John Kerry a tendency to look for common positive points between the two countries despite of the strained bilateral relations.
He has considered that bilateral relations are currently seized and have reached in some other cases a dead end because most of the suggestions made by the Americans contribute primarily to the achievement of their own interests.
As for the situation in the middle east, Russian foreign minister has said:” currently, terrorist organizations affect the world. These organizations have proliferated after the aggression on Iraq in 2003 when this country had been bombarded and occupied without a resolution from the security council.
Democracy was declared victorious when Iraq was being divided. After that, Americans dealt with Libya in the same way, then they moved to Syria where they are trying to apply the same scenario. With all these so called victories, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra front, and the Islamic State organization came to birth.
Lavrov pointed out that the USA always tries to use international relations to serve its own interests and tries to punish those countries that disagree with it.
Simultaneously, the USA asks countries to respect democratic principles. However, when it comes to the implementations of those principles as international relations, international law, and making international decisions democratically are concerned, Americans become less excited.
Economic sanctions and human rights are essentially at odds, and it is extremely misguided to believe that sanctions will help improvements in human rights in the targeted countries. Instead, they are more likely to lead to deterioration in the lived experience of the vast majority of sanctioned peoples.
Economic sanctions run contrary to the spirit of human rights because they explicitly and implicitly expose the ordinary citizen of the sanctioned country to considerable suffering. The scale and gravity of the suffering amounts to collective punishment.
Collective punishment is the punishment of a group of people for the actions of one or more other individuals or groups. The punished group may have no connection to or control over the actions of the individuals or groups whose actions have led to them being punished. (Islamic Human Rights Commission
The United States is the undisputed sanctions champion of the world.
US sanctions have been imposed for a wide range of objectives, including those of foreign policy, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, the war against narcotics and environmental protection.
Unilateral sanctions are attractive to US politicians because they offer what appears to be a relatively cost-free way of doing something about a problem without using military force or taking other steps.
US unilateral sanctions have been controversial with other countries because of their extraterritorial attempts to govern the actions of non-US companies and individuals in third countries. The vast majority of other countries believe that such sanctions interfere with their sovereign rights as independent states.
During the 1990s, the UN General Assembly adopted numerous resolutions requesting the elimination of unilateral extraterritorial economic laws in general.
In particular, the assembly adopted Resolution 53/4 on 14 October 1998 urging the termination of the US embargo on Cuba and the repealing of other unilateral extraterritorial economic laws in general to conform with obligations under the UN Charter and international law. The resolution was approved by a vote of 157 to 2 (the United States and Israel against), with 12 abstentions.
On 9 November 1999, the assembly adopted virtually the same resolution again (Res. 54/21), this time by a vote of 155 to 2 (the United States and Israel against), with 8 abstentions.
While these resolutions do not have the binding nature of Security Council resolutions, they demonstrate an international consensus against such US unilateral extraterritorial measures.
Let us hope that the sanctions reform movement succeeds in making the United States less sanctions-happy and in putting US sanctions on a firmer footing within international law.
"Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of..." "Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him." Gaddafi - Green Book
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.
After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped...
The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.
America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA’s headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996...
Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.
Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.
Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa....
For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans.
Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.
One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women.
Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights.
Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal.
Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.
Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.
Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.
Garikai Chengu is a research scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Revolution and Women in Iraq
by Saddam Hussein, 1981
Education of women is not restricted in our country to the primary stages, nor has women's employment been restricted to minor responsibilities. Iraq's five universities include a large proportion of female students and a number of women have acquired high qualifications in medicine and engineering. Some women are now teaching in the universities. Women in Iraq have also reached high positions in the government and become ministers and directors general. ...
The complete emancipation of women from the ties which held them back in the past, during the ages of despotism and ignorance, is a basic aim of the Party and the Revolution. Women make up one half of society.
Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated. Strengthening the economic status of women through both legal rights and social conventions is part of the liberation process.
Strengthening and expanding the conditions which prohibit polygamy is also part of that process. The same can be said about limiting divorce with additional restrictions and wider and stricter conditions. The expansion of education and the provision of equal opportunities for men and women is another move in that direction.
More important than anything is the liberation of women through active work and sincere participation in the reconstruction of society...
Antifeminist acts and ideas should be extensively condemned by men as well as by women in every section of our people.
The Revolution and Women in Iraq was published in 1981 by the Translation and Foreign Languages Publishing House-Baghdad.
The Nato ordered indictment of Muammar Gadaffi by the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the Nato attack on Libya in 2011 echoed the indictment of President Milosevic by International Criminal Tribunal For Yugoslavia, during the Nato attack on Yugoslavia in 1999.
Both men ended up dead as a direct consequence. The indictments of these two men, had only one purpose, to serve as propaganda to justify Nato’s aggression and the elimination of governments that refused to bend the knee.
The international criminal justice machine has become a weapon of total war, used not to prosecute the criminals who conduct these wars, but to persecute the leaders of the countries who resist.
Milosevic and Gaddafi are not the only victims of this criminalised international legal structure. The list is long: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq,
President Charles Taylor of Liberia, Prime Minister Jean Kambanda of Rwanda, President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, President Bashir of Sudan and
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
The charges against them trumped up, created out of whole cloth. Recently there was talk in the western press of charges against President Putin. We all see how absurd and surreal the game has become...
It seems to me that international justice worthy of the name cannot exist without an international order that is democratic; a world order in which the sovereignty and equality of nations is fundamental.
Law and its legal structures reflect the social, economic and political relations of a society. To rebuild the legal architecture of international justice so that it is fair, impartial and universal we first have to change the fundamental economic, social and power relations that are its foundation. Without this mankind will continue down the path of reaction and war...
In 2000, “the imperial military and ideological apparatus for direct intervention was firmly in place.”
9/11 seemed godsend. The objectives of the planned serial wars were defined as the following:
First, “destroying regimes and states (that) have opposed Israel’s annexation of Palestine.” Secondly, “deposing regimes which promoted independent nationalist policies, opposing or threatening the Gulf puppet monarchist regimes and supporting anti-imperialist, secular or nationalist-Islamic movements around the world.”
Petras calls Obama “the Master of Deceit.” He’s polar opposite what supporters want. .. He’s a con man (a person who swindles others by means of a confidence game). He is “the perfect incarnation of Melville’s Confidence Man. He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as he packs you off to war.” He spurns human need. He ignores rule of law principles.
According to the author, under the Obama presidency, “a new ‘cast’ of embedded Zionists has emerged to target Iran and prepare the US for a new war on Israel’s behalf”. After Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the UN General Assembly in September and his visit to the White House, 345 members of the US Congress signed a letter, in which they demanded from President Obama to remain tough with Iran. Netanyahu had raised the same demand from President Obama. It’s the first time that US Members of Congress publicly oppose their own president while supporting the demands of a foreign government!
According to Petras the Obama Empire builders “have relied on a wider variety of interventions than their predecessor under George W. Bush”. The Obama administration has shown more restraint in direct interventions and relies more on its “imperial European allies”.
For an aggressive continuation of Empire building, the current administration lacks domestic support, writes the author. The most serious obstacle, however, to effectively adapting to the current international realities “is the influential Israel-linked Zionist Power Configuration embedded in Congress, the Administration and the mass media.
Zionists are deeply committed to pushing the US into more wars for Israel. Despite the “Zionist Power Configuration” (ZPC), Petras comes to the conclusion that the Obama Administration is less inclined to start large-scale military interventions and listens more to public opinion.
The author argues that the loss of trust between the power elite and the majority of the American people is one of the leading factors influencing US foreign policy... Only 9 per cent have a positive view of the US Congress. The public’s rejection of President Obama’s militarist approach hindered the US empire’s determination for new wars.
Despite this war-weariness, the war-mongering US Congress in close cooperation with the Zionist lobby pushes for a military confrontation with Iran, even though the negotiations between Iran and the five UN Security Council members plus Germany are heading in the right direction.
Although the geopolitical analysis of James Petras’ newest book is convincing in many aspects, his focus on the Zionist Power Configuration and a subservient US Congress does not show the whole picture of US imperial interests. The domestic power configurations are more complex.
Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog “between the lines”.
Melville's The Confidence-Man uses the Mississippi River as a metaphor for those broader aspects of American and human identity that unify the otherwise disparate characters. Melville also employs the river's fluidity as a reflection and backdrop of the shifting identities of his "confidence man."
The novel is written as cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, dealing with themes of sincerity, identity, morality, religiosity, economic materialism, irony, and cynicism. Many critics have placed The Confidence-Man alongside Melville's Moby-Dick and "Bartleby, the Scrivener" as a precursor to 20th-century literary preoccupations with nihilism, existentialism, and absurdism. (Wikipedia info)
What will the impacts of al-Ebadi’s presence in Iran be following the measures taken by Iran in some regions of Iraq to fight against ISIS and the statements made by Saudi and US officials about Iran’s intervention in Iraq?
There is no doubt that Iran’s support and consultations to the Iraqis was an important element in breaking the Amerli siege. The people and government of Iraq needed support and necessary consultations and Iran helped the popular forces and the Iraqi army in this regard.
If Iran had not supported them, ISIS and the terrorists affiliated to foreign intelligence services would have committed another catastrophe and genocide in Amerli. I believe that if this massacre had happened in Amerli, Iraq’s domestic situation would have become uncontrollable and people’s revenge could not be controlled...
If a country accuses Iran of intervening, it is only a propaganda game which has been going on against Iran since years ago. But these countries know well that Iran’s measures against terrorism are to their own benefit as well. ISIS has certain plans for Saudi Arabia and the US in the future and Iran’s support of the Iraqis in their fight against terrorism is certainly in others’ interests as well.
What are the impacts of the closeness of relations between Iran and Iraq and the repeated visits made by high-ranking officials of the two countries on Iraq’s domestic situation?
Constant consultations and direct talks at different levels between the two countries are a strategic necessity in the relations between Iran and Iraq. There are different political, security and economic points both in bilateral relations and regional issues which must constantly be discussed between the two countries.
Different Iraqi groups, whether official or unofficial, have always visited Iran and used Iran’s experience and views. The people of Iraq certainly need help under the present sensitive conditions and Iran, with its high popular and governmental capacities, will help them in all aspects. The reason is that the destiny of Iran and Iraq is tied together and if the Iraqis are damaged by the present developments, the Iranians will suffer damages as well.
Right now, Iran is an island of stability with a lot of power and is not hesitant to support the Iraqis. Other countries will also be encouraged to pursue Iran’s approach because the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria has become a global principle now.
Will these visits lead to the resolution of the Iraqi crisis or is it possible that some groups, particularly the Sunnis and also foreign forces, would react to this matter and take measures against the government?
Certainly, relations between Iran and Iraq have its own enemies, but the majority of the people of Iraq, whether Sunni, Kurd or Shiite, view Iran as a supportive country.
There might be some political differences but there is no deep animosity between both sides as it is propagated by the poisonous western and Arab news networks. The negative media atmosphere which is spread in the region against relations between Iran and Iraq by some elements related to Israel and the US and British intelligence services should not affect our analysis.
The majority of the Sunnis in the region trust Iran’s policies and have seen Iran’s honesty in its behavior and positions. They have seen Iran’s constant anti-Zionist and anti-US positions and know that the Iranians do not deal over the foundations and principles of its constitution which are inspired by Islamic and religious teachings...
There are still some connections between a part of the Iraqi society with Saddam and the US. This issue needs to be resolved. The Iraqi Ba’athists have always had special relations with the US and Britain and they pursue Israel’s plans in the region. This is a negative point which must be resolved.
They intend to destroy the relations between Iran and Iraq and even completely destroy Iraq’s wealth. But I believe that the relations between Iran and Iraq which have regional and international impacts and are deep will not be affected by the Ba’athists’ provocative actions.
Of course, they will pursue their killings and destructions and have used ISIS as a tool to create fear but they will not succeed and insecurities will return to their friends.
Some Arab states and the US follow the policy of using these elements in a period of time and ultimately bombarding them but these elements, particularly ISIS, will finally separate themselves from the Ba’athists and independently stage operations against their supporters.
The task of the Ba’athists is clear; they should take measures against Iran as they receive salaries from the Arab and western intelligence systems...
The strategies of the friends and the enemies of Iraq are clear. The US and its allies pursue the return of the Ba’athists to power and the weakening of the trend of democracy and keeping the Iraqis busy with their domestic problems.
Iraq has become a place for the intervention of the political and intelligence apparatus of the Arab and western states and in the end it is Israel which would benefit from it.
"No petit bourgeois politics"
Saddam Hussein and his ideologists sought to fuse a connection between the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations in Iraq to Arab nationalism by claiming that the Babylonians and ancient Assyrians are the ancestors of the Arabs. Thus, Saddam Hussein and his supporters claim that there is no conflict between Mesopotamian heritage and Arab nationalism.
Saddam Hussein based his political views and ideology upon the views of Michel Aflaq, Ba'athism's key founder. Saddam was also an avid reader of topics on moral and material forces in international politics. His government was critical of orthodox Marxism, opposing the orthodox Marxist concepts of class conflict, the dictatorship of the proletariat and atheism; it opposed Marxism–Leninism's claim that non-Marxist–Leninist parties are automatically bourgeois in nature, claiming that the Ba'ath Party was a popular revolutionary movement and the people rejected petit bourgeois politics. (Wikipedia info)
Asharq Al-Awsat spoke with Ahmad Tu’mah, leader of the Saudi-Qatari-Turkey-UAE-backed opposition.
A former dentist by profession and self-proclaimed “moderate Islamist,” Tu’mah began his political opposition work in the 1990s when former president Hafez Al-Assad was in power. Asharq Al-Awsat spoke to Tu’mah about the no-confidence vote and his subsequent reinstatement, the allegations linking him with Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, the government’s plans to move operations into northern Syria, and plans to form a “Syrian national army,” a standing army to replace the Assad regime’s forces.
Q: There are those currently in the Coalition who are threatening to walk out in protest over what they call the Muslim Brotherhood’s “intransigence,” and their allegedly supporting you...
AT: I assure you I have never been part of any political party throughout my entire life, and I have no special relationship with one party at the expense of other parties.
qatar - saudi arabia - turkey
Q: Is it true the “Qatar factor” was decisive in getting you re-elected as prime minister?
AT: As for all this talk about foreign influence, well, it eschews reason entirely, because friendly countries who support the Syrian revolution [and who are accused of interference], are constantly talking about how they stand at the same distance from everyone else; and when asked about their stance, they reiterate their non-interference in our affairs.
We are seeing from all our friends, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Turkey, positions which show they support the Syrian revolution [as a whole], and not just one person; and I have thanked all of them. During my re-election speech, I said that without the financial support offered by Qatar, the logistical support offered by our brothers from . . . Saudi Arabia, and [the support of] Turkey and the UAE, we would not have succeeded during this time of war...
Q: Where will you be working on the ground in Syria, especially in light of the gains being made by extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Al-Nusra Front?
AT: We have a vision that seeks to transform the Islamist brigades into a precursor to a [post-Assad Syrian] national army under the jurisdiction of the [opposition’s] Ministry of Defense. I hope that we can soon move the [opposition] ministries into Syria, as has already happened with some of them, where domestic administrations were formed in liberated areas.
After a safe zone is established it must be run by the interim Syrian government; this is what we are aiming for. I believe the establishment of a national army is more than necessary for safeguarding the revolution.
Q: What is the relationship between you and your government and the Islamic Front [a loose coalition of Islamist groups fighting Assad and ISIS and allied with the FSA]?
AT: We appreciate all the efforts of the brigades which are taking part in the fight against the [Assad] regime, whether they are affiliated with the FSA or not... We have asked all groups to abandon their different slogans and to join the Syrian national army [which the Coalition plans to form], which will form the core of Syria’s next [standing] army, and which various countries, such as Saudi Arabia—whom we thank—will help train and prepare...
Q: Do you think you will be able to shift operations to Syria soon, and is the creation of a safe zone a solution to the problems you have been having with regards to this?
AT: We plan to move operations into Syria within four months, and we are working in earnest to achieve this. As for the safe zone, our people have been demanding this for three years now... We are working on convincing all our allies to agree to the establishment of the safe zone... We hope this happens within the next four months.
The mission of Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science and technology through three mutually reinforcing principals top-notch quality education, advanced research, and thoroughly-permeated service to society.
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the country’s scientific advancements over the past decade and described the continuation of scientific progress as an actual need.
He went on to say that scientific progress should not be interrupted.
He noted that Iran has still not attained its rightful position in the area of science and stated that scientific progress should be accelerated through empowering the economy and knowledge-based enterprises.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he pointed to fluctuations in the international oil market and stated that reliance on oil revenues is like giving the economy to “the world’s major policy makers.”
He also said that all the country’s state bodies, including ministries, are responsible for making efforts to promote scientific progress.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan called on the Lebanese to hold onto the state and its constitutional institutions and rejected the use of religion as a cover to gain power.
“Our project is the unified state and the single army and coexistence,” Daryan said in a statement on the occasion of the Islamic New Year. He “urged the Legalese to hold onto their nation, state and constitutional institutions no matter how much efforts they exert.”
“Our religion today is in crisis because of divisions and the rise of extremism,” he said in his address to the Lebanese in general and the Muslims in particular. “Muslims today are fighting and killing each other,” he lamented.
The bickering parties “are using religion as a cover in their greed” for power, Daryan added.
He said the 1989 Taef agreement ended the civil war and the Lebanese established the state again. “But since 2005 we are seeing efforts to undermine the state, which has cost the Lebanese bloodshed,” Daryan said in his address.
He rejected the spread of chaos, asking “who is benefiting from the loss off Lebanon … and the emigration of the Lebanese?”
The Arab Leaque & The Arab Homeland - Wikipedia Info
The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland while respecting the sovereignty of the individual member states....
Governance of the Arab League has been based on the duality of supra-national institutions and the sovereignty of the member states.
Preservation of individual statehood derived its strengths from the natural preference of ruling elites to maintain their power and independence in decision making.
Moreover, the fear of the richer that the poorer may share their wealth in the name of Arab nationalism, the feuds among Arab rulers, and the influence of external powers that might oppose Arab unity can be seen as obstacles towards a deeper integration of the league.
Flashback: Gadhafi Criticizes the Arab League
"'Where is the Arabs' dignity?"
By Bridget Johnson, About.com
"At the annual Arab summit Moammar Gadhafi criticised Arab countries for doing nothing while the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president.
...In his speech, the Libyan leader also criticised Arab disunity and inaction on the region's multiple crises.
'Where is the Arabs' dignity, their future, their very existence? Everything has disappeared,' he said.
'Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us.'
Gaddafi also mocked a plan by the Arab League to start Arab cooperation on a joint nuclear programme.
'How can we do that? We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy.'"
Arab League Charter, Article VIII: "Each member-state shall respect the systems of government established in the other member-states and regard them as exclusive concerns of those states. Each shall pledge to abstain from any action calculated to change stablished systems of government."
Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the U.S. in a speech Friday, blaming the West for the conflict in Ukraine and weakening global and regional security. Putin argued that the U.S. has made the world a more dangerous place by imposing a “unilateral diktat” in international diplomacy.
Washington is trying to “remake the whole world” around its own interests. The "so-called" winners of the Cold War want a new world order that suits only them.
Putin dismissed recent accusations that Russia was trying to expand its power in the region. "Statements that Russia is trying to reinstate some sort of empire, that it is encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless," Putin told the group.
He said the risk of international conflicts was growing, but Moscow is not to blame. "We did not start this," Putin said.
Putin pointed to a growing threat of arms control treaties being violated and called for talks on internationally acceptable conditions for the use of force.
Putin criticized what he suggested was arbitrary foreign interference in internal affairs of other countries, listing a series of conflicts in which he faulted U.S. actions, including Iraq, Syria and Libya.
Putin asked whether Washington's policies had strengthened peace and democracy. "No," he declared. "The unilateral diktat and the imposing of schemes (on others) have exactly the opposite effect."
He also dismissed U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in annexing the Crimea peninsula and escalating fighting in Ukraine by helping pro-Russian separatists, suggesting they were not effective. "Russia will not be posturing, get offended, ask someone for anything. Russia is self-sufficient," he said.
Among a litany of accusations faulting their policies that have gone awry in several parts of the world, Putin said the United States and its allies have provided terrorists in Syria with direct funding and weapons, inciting inflow of mercenaries to that country.
“In Syria, just like in old times, the US and its allies began to provide militants with direct funding and weapons to incite filling of their ranks by mercenaries from different countries,” Putin said.
“By the way, I am constantly surprised that our Western partners make the same mistake over and over again. They once sponsored Islamist extremists that had fought in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. Taliban and al-Qaeda originated from these [extremist] movements,” he added.
The dominance of a uni-polar, lopsided world order is not bringing security and stability, the Russian president stated. “This rickety world order has proved inept in resolving international crises such as terrorism and drug-trafficking, and has led to the proliferation of neo-Nazism.”
Vladimir Putin, 3-12-2014:
Our country is going through a very complicated transformation process. This makes it even more important to have the basic values enshrined by our country’s Constitution.
It is very important that our entire society and each citizen knows that our country rests on stable and just legal principles. It is this – along with history and what we learn from our parents – that gives birth to the healthy spirit of patriotism that we have spoken about so often over recent times.
This patriotic spirit will be all the more solid and enduring the more a person realises and understands that he loves and feels pride in his homeland.
That is what patriotism is about after all love for one’s homeland. And this sense of love and pride comes too from knowing that your country looks after your basic interests, rights and freedoms.
Our Constitution enshrines these principles above all. They are at the Constitution’s foundation and give it not just legal but also immense and very important moral and ethical significance... (Meeting with students from Moscow law schools at the Law Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University)
Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad stressed that when the war against Syria started in 2011, some inside and outside the country lost the “compass” and they believed that what is taking place is an “Arab spring” that would bring democracy and freedom to the Arab citizens as some leaders and countries in the region and outside the region were driven by this novel which proved to be just an “illusion.”
In an article published by Lebanese al-Binaa Newspaper on Saturday, Mikdad wondered why the so-called “Arab Spring” has not reached the countries which are in dire need for democracy and for the realization of human rights such as Saudi Arabia...
Syria’s enemies have pumped money to sell mercenaries to kill the Syrians, and when they failed, they encouraged killers and criminals from all around the world to come to Syria through the regime of the “Muslim Brothers” in Turkey, yet they failed in achieving their goals again, and Erdogan, who is aspiring to become the “Ottoman Caliph” failed despite of the financial support and promises provided to him and to the terrorist organizations by the West, Mikdad said.
He pointed out that those who commit crimes or encourage others to perpetrate atrocities in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and in Libya or who support terrorists to commit crimes against the people and army in Egypt should be ashamed of what they are doing.
Mikdad added that Syria has informed all the bodies concerned that countering terrorism in and outside the country is its “top priority” while its second priority is achieving “local reconciliations” to stop terrorism and bloodshed, affirming that the Syrian government have exerted all possible efforts to find a framework for the political solution of the crisis.
If Islamist movements come to power all over the region, they should express their debt of gratitude to their bete noire, Israel. Without the active or passive help of successive Israeli governments, they may not have been able to realize their dreams. That is true in Gaza, in Beirut, in Cairo and even in Tehran.
LET’S TAKE the example of Hamas....
Israel’s part in the rise of Hizbollah is less direct, but no less effective.
THE CASE of the Muslim Brotherhood is even more complex.
LET’S NOT forget the Islamic Republic of Iran. They owe us something, too. Quite a lot, actually. "We don't need any external initiatives
Flashback: How Israel Empowers Islamist Movements
by URI AVNERY, 30-12-2011
The main enemy, as laid down by Shabak, was the dreadful PLO, led by that monster, Yasser Arafat. The PLO was a secular organization, with many prominent Christian members, aiming at a “nonsectarian” Palestinian state. They were the enemies of the Islamists, who were talking about a pan-Islamic Caliphate. Turning the Palestinians towards Islam, it was thought, would weaken the PLO and its main faction, Fatah. So everything was done to help the Islamic movement discreetly...
When Ariel Sharon rolled into Lebanon in 1982, his troops had to cross the mainly Shiite South. It took the Shiites just a few weeks to realize that they had no intention of leaving. So, for the first time in their history, they rebelled. The main political group, Amal (“hope”), started small armed actions. When the Israelis did not take the hint, operations multiplied and turned into a full-fledged guerrilla war.
To outflank Amal, Israel encouraged a small, more radical, rival: God’s Party, Hizbollah...
The organization was founded in 1928, twenty years before the State of Israel. Its members volunteered to fight us in 1948. They are passionately pan-Islamic, and the Palestinian plight is close to their hearts.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict worsened, the popularity of the Brothers grew. Since the 1967 war, in which Egypt lost Sinai, and even more after the separate peace agreement with Israel, they stoked the deep-seated resentment of the masses in Egypt and all over the Arab world. The assassination of Anwar al-Sadat was not of their doing, but they rejoiced...
Had Israel made peace with the Palestinian people somewhere along the line, the Brotherhood would have lost much of its luster...
In 1951, in the first democratic elections in an Islamic country in the region, Muhammad Mossadeq was elected Prime Minister. The Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had been installed by the British during World War II, was thrown out, and Mossadeq nationalized the country’s vital oil industry. Until then, the British had robbed the Iranian people, paying a pittance for the Black Gold.
Two years later, in a coup organized by the British MI6 and the American CIA, the Shah was brought back and returned the oil to the hated British and their partners. Israel had probably no part in the coup, but under the restored regime of the Shah, Israel prospered. Israelis made fortunes selling weapons to the Iranian army. Israeli Shabak agents trained the Shah’s dreaded secret police, Savak...
At the time, the Israeli leadership was cooperating with the South African apartheid regime in developing nuclear arms. The two offered the Shah partnership in the effort, so that Iran, too, would become a nuclear power.
Before that partnership became effective, the detested ruler was overthrown by the Islamic revolution of February 1979. Since then, the hatred of the Great Satan (the US) and the Little Satan (Israel) has played a major role in the propaganda of the Islamic regime... (CounterPunch 2011)
Muslim Brotherhood: The Arab Trojan Horse
By Eiad Wannous, Syria Today, august 2012
Syria, October 27, 2012
supporters of Jabhat al-Nusra
Nor any pagan national councils
In spite of them, we shall establish an Islamic state
Whose constitution is the Quran and the Sunnah Come on, men of proud Binnish
Let's purify our Levant from the filth of Alawites
Victory is coming with the help of the Lord of creation
We are certain of the Islamic Caliphate [establishment]"
If Islamist movements come to power all over the region, they should express their debt of gratitude to their bete noire, Israel. Without the active or passive help of successive Israeli governments, they may not have been able to realize their dreams. That is true in Gaza, in Beirut, in Cairo and even in Tehran.
LET’S TAKE the example of Hamas....
Israel’s part in the rise of Hizbollah is less direct, but no less effective.
THE CASE of the Muslim Brotherhood is even more complex.
LET’S NOT forget the Islamic Republic of Iran. They owe us something, too. Quite a lot, actually.
"We don't need any external initiatives
The spread of the movement in Arab countries was facilitated by the CIA during the Cold War era as part of the famous “strategy of containment”, the anti-Soviet, anti-communist initiative adopted by Eisenhower’s administration which lasted until the late eighties.
Over these decades, the Muslim Brotherhood turned into a “Trojan horse” within countries allied with the Soviet Union.
Now, however, although the Brotherhood’s success in Egypt may have revived its dream of becoming a 'regional governance system', differences among its branches make that a long shot in practice.
In Egypt, besides its failed assassination attempt on president Gamal Abdel Nasser the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted more peaceful activities, focusing on educational systems and charity organisations and publically confronting the mainstream political system by providing local financial aid that attracted candidates. However, their story in Syria was entirely different.
"We will not stop at this point [i.e., “freeing Egypt from secularism and modernity”], but will pursue this evil force to its own lands, invade its Western heartland, and struggle to overcome it..." Hasan al-Banna
The organisation entered Syria in 1936 thanks to Mustafa al-Siba’i, a pupil of Banna, who returned from Cairo after studying at Al-Azhar Mosque. The major shift took place in 1973, when the Vanguard Fighters, the Brotherhood’s armed wing, was established to change the Ba’athist secular government by force of arms and establish an Islamic state in Syria.
A violent rebellion conducted in Syria during the late 1970s and into the 1980s left bloody memories of doctors, academics, and army officers assassinated by Muslim Brothers, along with the massacres they carried out against civilians in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. ...
Such memories make this organisation much less appealing for Syrians
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has called on tribes and tribal elders to handover those they know to be extremists or face the consequences if they do not.
The message was delivered by Mohammed Al-Hejazi, the spokesman of Operation Dignity, which has been fighting under the auspices of the LNA.
“You must deliver your children who have participated in terrorist operations agains Libyans and conducted murders and assassinations,” he said yesterday. Hejazi explained that tribal leaders could then expect justice for their members. He added that if they did not respond then the elders themselves could be held accountable.
Hejazi said those who sought to flee the country would be picked up by authorities in neighbouring nations and handed over. “The world will help us arrest them and with modern techniques we will locate them,” he said.
Former Libyan army general Khalifa Hifter launched “Operation Dignity for Libya” on May 16 in Benghazi, promising to “cleanse the city of terrorists.” Since then, clashes have increased in frequency and intensity between Hifter’s forces and Islamist militias, with various armed factions throughout the country choosing sides in the conflict. (defenddemocracy.org 2014)
- The Washington Post: What is your strategy to win this battle?
- Khalifa Hifter: We have begun the offensive to eliminate the terrorist movement that is present in Libya. It must be eliminated...
- TWP: How long do you think this offensive will last?
- KH: They were operating in outside bases and we were able to overpower these bases but now they have gone into residential areas so we have to be very careful and the movement is slow because we have to hunt them as if you would hunt something that is among your parents — in other words, you have to be very careful not to hit civilians. It's going to take some time. We have many different types of weapons. We can't use heavy weapons because they are in areas that are restricted or full of residents.
- TWP: Is there any possibility of negotiation or is armed conflict the only way forward at this point?
- KH: We see that confrontation is the solution. What is the discussion? They are armed, I do not think talks will work with them.
These are criminals, international criminals from Europe and Asia and Africa. Unfortunately, we are not defending only Libya but we are now defending the entire world in this way because the escapists and killers they move from place to place. If we expel them from Libya they will go to another place, but if we are following them everywhere the situation will be different for all countries who fight terrorism.
- TWP: Why did you plan the operation?
- KH: We planned it after we saw people being slaughtered in the streets. Army soldiers and officers and police and others. They were taking over people's houses. They left no one, they kill judges, police, army, engineers, lawyers, everyone...
This is one operation. We are one unit, called the National Libyan Army that we have begun to establish and the operation that we proposed to fight back against terrorism in Libya is an operation of dignity. Operation Dignity.
- TWP: Any final words?
- KH: Yes, there is one message I would like to add, and it is that we are protecting Libya and our people, but we are protecting them from an enemy who is everyone’s enemy, the enemy of all free countries...
In recent years, the phrase “American exceptionalism,” at once resonant and ambiguous, has stolen into popular usage in electoral politics, in the mainstream media, and in academic writing with a profligacy that is hard to account for.
Is American exceptionalism a force for good? The question shouldn’t be hard to answer. To make an exception of yourself is as immoral a proceeding for a nation as it is for an individual.
When we say of a person “He thinks the rules don’t apply to him,” we mean that he is a danger to others and perhaps to himself.
People who act on such a belief don’t as a rule examine themselves deeply or write a history of the self to justify their understanding that they are unique...
Such people are monsters. Many land in asylums, more in prisons. But the category also encompasses a large number of high-functioning autistics: governors, generals, corporate heads, owners of professional sports teams.
Why is it immoral for a person to treat himself as an exception? The reason is plain: because morality, by definition, means a standard of right and wrong that applies to all persons without exception.
Joe Biden: "I am a Zionist"
Unconditional love of our country is the counterpart of unconditional detachment and even hostility toward other countries.
None of us is an exception, and no nation is. The sooner we come to live with this truth as a mundane reality without exceptions, the more grateful other nations will be to live in a world that includes us, among others.
Jabotinsky & Zionist morality
Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists...
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
During the last few centuries, European-American Judaism became more and more a religion imbued with a universal moral message. Jewish thinkers believed that it was the “mission” of the Jews to bring universal ethics to the nations of the world, seeing that as the real substance of Judaism.
Zionism came into being as a part of the nationalist revolution in Europe and as a reaction to its generally anti-Semitic character. It originated the theory that the Jews are a nation like other European nations, and that this nation must set up its own state in the country now called Palestine.
Not by accident did the teachings of Herzl arouse the violent and vocal opposition of almost all the great rabbis of his time, whether Hassidim or their opponents the Mitnagdim, whether orthodox or reformist.
But when the Zionist community in Palestine established a state, something happened to Judaism there. The connection with the territory, the soil, changed the face of the religion, as it did to all other parts of national life.
It is no exaggeration to claim that the Jewish religion in Israel underwent a mutation, which has become more and more extreme in recent years.
A religion with a universal message became a tribal cult. A religion of ethics became a religion of holy places. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a Jew of the old kind, defined the religion of the settlers as a pagan, idolatory cult. (Gush Shalom website, 18-9-2004)
Avnery was born as Helmut Ostermann on September 10, 1923, in Beckum, Westphalia...
In 1938, just before turning 15, he joined the Irgun underground (Irgun Tzwai Leumi - National Military Organization), in order to take part in the fight against the British colonial regime. He served for three years, but left the Irgun in protest against its anti-Arab and reactionary social attitudes and terrorist methods. Later he explained his attitude in a booklet entitled "Terrorism, the infantile disease of the Hebrew revolution" (1945).
In September 1947, on the eve of the Israeli-Palestinian war, Avnery published a booklet entitled "War or Peace in the Semitic Region", which called for a radically new approach: An alliance of the Hebrew and Arab national movements in order to liberate the common "Semitic Region" from imperialism and colonialism, and create a Semitic community and common market, as a part of the emerging third world.
Father Andrzej Halemba heads the Middle East Section of International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Earlier this month, he visited the displaced Christians of Iraq: "It is the most tragic thing that I have ever experienced," he said.
Atheel Al Nujaifi, governor-in-exile of Mosul
It is a very difficult situation. Without question, we are talking about genocide here. Genocide is not only when the people are killed, but also when the soul of a people is destroyed. And that is what is happening in Iraq now.
It is the most tragic thing that I have ever experienced. I have seen people who have been deeply wounded in their soul. In the various crises in this world I have often seen people who have lost everything. But in Iraq there are Christians who have had to leave everything and take flight three or four times. They can see no light at the end of the tunnel.
They are all very traumatized. Normally in such situations it is the women who pull everything together. But in Kurdistan I have seen women who are staring into nothingness and have closed in on themselves. Their tears have run dry. It is something that I have never seen anywhere else.
The men, by contrast, tend to aggressiveness. This has to do with the fact that they are no longer able to fulfil their previous role as the breadwinner and protector of their family. Now they have to beg for everything and they have no perspective.
- Do you have the impression that the Christians wish to leave Iraq?
- When one has lost all hope, one wishes to leave one's homeland. The majority do not wish to return to their homes. This is a bad sign for the future of Christianity in Iraq. The Christians feel that in Iraq they have been betrayed and abandoned, and they want to get out...
That is a bitter feeling, to have nobody on whom one can depend... The Christians are not being helped, either by the central Iraqi government or by the Kurdish regional government. So they feel like second-class citizens...
This is where we must take action and give the people hope. The people must once again believe in the future of their ancient and beautiful country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has agreed to allow the creation of a 30,000-strong force of volunteers from Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), following a meeting with expatriate tribal leaders from the province in the Jordanian capital Amman on Monday.
Abadi was in Amman for an official state visit to meet King Abdullah II of Jordan, but also met with Anbar tribal leaders currently residing in the city after being displaced when ISIS entered the province in the first months of 2014, occupying parts of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.
Sheikh Majid Al-Ali Al-Suleiman of the Dulaim tribe told Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Amman that following the meeting, which he described as “very positive,” Abadi had “agreed to allow 30,000 volunteer fighters from Anbar’s tribes [to officially join the fight against ISIS], with every tribe offering a specific portion out of the total, and for the government to train and arm them.”...
But the 30,000-strong force from Anbar may well prove controversial, with many in Iraq wary of the province’s residents, whom they allege have aided the Sunni extremist group’s control in the region.
"Only a just peace based on the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting...
America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens..." Obama Nobel Lecture, 10-12-2009
Meanwhile, less than one percent named the United States a partner-country, while 73% agreed that America was Russia’s number one enemy.
Besides the US, Ukraine (32%), the EU and Germany (10%) are believed to be among Russia’s rivals. Moreover, Italy, France and Japan were considered Russia’s partners by only one percent of the surveyed.
As a matter of fact, 82% of the respondents supported the idea that the criticism of foreign mass media towards Russia’s President Vladimir Putin could be considered as an attempt to destroy the country and to make it fall apart. 12% disagreed with the statement, while 6% remained unsure.
Eventually, 87% of the surveyed believe that foreign mass media criticize Russian government in order to undermine Russia, to make it weaker.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke with Saudi newspaper Okaz.
In the first two sections of the interview, El-Sisi told Okaz that "international forces" thought they could establish a new regional system to give them more influence – but failed. He also praised Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah.
Okaz asked El-Sisi why he wasn't worried about the upcoming polls bringing about "choices that can affect the future and heighten confrontations between the state and parliamentary authorities".
El-Sisi answered that he trusts the Egyptian people and their ability to choose people who represent them and have the country's interest at heart.
The president added that there's a segment of society that doesn't care for Egypt's interests – but that this segment was rejected by the Egyptian people in the 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2013 uprisings.
On Syria, El-Sisi said Egypt supports the continuity of a strong Syrian state. Egypt will also stand with the Syrian people for a better future and the prevalence of their will, he added.
On the future of Bashar Al-Assad as Syria's president, El-Sisi said the matter is left to the Syrian people, and if people want change, it is better that it be fulfilled through a balanced political solution.
Such a solution, he said, involves reaching a deal between the Syrian regime and opposition that will achieve change through the will of the majority of the people and needs for stability.
Tunisia's leading secular party Nidaa Tounes won 85 seats in the new 217-member parliament after Sunday's election, while Islamist party Ennahda secured 69 seats, according to results released by electoral authorities on Thursday.
Tunisians voted on Sunday in a parliamentary elections that was one of the last steps in the North African country's transition to democracy after the 2011 uprising against Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
By voting for Nidaa Tounes, Tunisians appeared to prefer the country's long-established elites over Ennahda, with some hoping for a return of what was a more orderly time before the revolution.
Ennahda, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the "Arab Spring" revolts, conceded defeat in the election...
Since Nidaa Tounes fell short of a majority, it would need the support of other parties to form a government.
Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Tunis, said that talks between Nidaa Tounes and other parties for formation of a coalition government have already begun.
"With these numbers, Nidaa Tounes doesn't need Ennahda to make a majority and form a government. It can go ahead with smaller parties which may be more ideologically closer to it, placing Ennahda in opposition for the next four years,' she said.
Call of Tunisia (Arabic: Nidā’ Tūnis, also called "Nidaa Tounes") is a secularist political party in Tunisia founded by the former prime minister Beji Caid el Sebsi after the post-revolution 2011 elections. It describes itself as a "modernist" party.
The party has patched together former members of ousted president Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally, secular leftists, progressive liberals and Destourians (followers of Tunisia's "founder" Habib Bourguiba).
In addition, the party has the support of many members of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) and the national employers' union, UTICA. They believe that Tunisia's secular forces have to unite to counter the dominance of the Islamist Ennahda Movement.(Wikipedia info)
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas hailed a decision by Sweden to officially recognize the state of Palestine...
"President Abbas welcomes Sweden's decision," Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP, saying the Palestinian leader described the move as "brave and historic".
Abu Rudeina claimed the move was linked to months of soaring tensions in occupied east Jerusalem, where Palestinians have clashed almost daily with Israeli police and where Israel has recently pushed ahead with plans to build another 3,600 settler homes, drawing international condemnation. "This decision comes as a response to Israeli measures in Jerusalem," he said.
Abbas called for other countries to follow Sweden's lead.
"All countries of the world that are still hesitant to recognize our right to an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, (should) follow Sweden’s lead," his spokesman quoted him as saying.
Sweden on Thursday officially recognized the state of Palestine, Stockholm's foreign minister said, less than a month after the government announced its intention to make the controversial move.
"Today the government takes the decision to recognize the state of Palestine," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement published in the Dagens Nyheter daily.
"It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians' right to self-determination," she said, adding that "we hope that this will show the way for others."
Sweden is the first EU member state in western Europe to recognize Palestine.
Paul Fussell defined chickenshit perfectly: “Chickenshit refers to behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige… insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances.
Chickenshit is so called — instead of horse — or bull — or elephant shit — because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously." (source)
Netanyahu addressed the comments in the Israeli parliament (the Knesset):
“I risked my life for my country, and I am not willing to make concessions that will endanger our country,” the Israeli leader said. “Our paramount interests, first and foremost security and the unity of Jerusalem, are not of vital importance to those same anonymous sources who attack us and me, personally,” he said. “I am being attacked personally only because I am defending the state of Israel.”
Frictions between the two administrations deepened this week over Israeli plans to speed up construction of about 1,000 homes in east Jerusalem.. The U.S. State Department called the plan “incompatible with the pursuit of peace.”
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank, from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it that year in a move that isn’t internationally recognized.
It has since ringed the Arab neighborhoods of the eastern sector with Jewish areas where about 300,000 Israelis live alongside a similar number of Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s hard line on settlement construction is welcomed by coalition partners who say Israel has the right to build in both east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Libya’s highest spiritual leader, the grand mufti Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, has been banned from entering the UK after it emerged he had been helping direct the Islamist-led takeover of Tripoli from England.
Ghariani fled the UK in August after the Guardian revealed that he was broadcasting to militants in Libya using an internet television station owned by a relative in Devon. The radical cleric used the website Tanasuh to celebrate the violent capture of Tripoli by Islamist militia force Libya Dawn, and to order a widening of the rebellion.
Home Office officials examined his broadcasts and issued a Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (Ralon) order excluding him from entering the UK.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases. But we are clear that those who seek to foster hatred or promote terrorism are not welcome in the United Kingdom. We will take action against those who represent a threat to our society or seek to subvert our shared values.”
Using the Arabic-language website, which is viewed thousands of times a day in Libya, the influential cleric broadcast directly to jihadi militants battling government forces in Tripoli. “I congratulate the revolutionaries in their victory, I give blessing to the martyrs,” he told his followers the day after Tripoli fell to Libya Dawn.
Libya has endured its worst violence since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, after Libya Dawn, an alliance of Islamist and Misrata forces, swept into the capital, set fire to buildings and arrested opponents, as the government fled to eastern parts of the country.
Ghariani has won both support and criticism in Libya for his calls for male and female students to be separated at universities, and for bans on Libyan women marrying foreigners and the import of lingerie.
Hero of the revolutionAl-Gharyani is considered by some a hero of the revolution, since early on in the uprising against Gadhafi he issued a fatwa or religious edict permitting war against his regime.
Under Gadhafi's 42-year rule, women had a mixed bag. Gadhafi often presented himself as a defender of women rights and at times made a point of defying strict interpretations of Shariah, since Islamists were among his main enemies. (7-3-2013)
Gaddafi’s odd love affair with women
The Observer, 27-10-2011 (Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi )
‘I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya…’
The world might remember him as a despot, dictator and murderer, but at least one virtue will stick out: that the slain Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, took good care of women. Not only did he support them, he also believed in their abilities and emancipation, moreover in a society where being a woman is normally associated with getting the back seat.
Wearing heavy make-up and military fatigues, Gaddafi’s female bodyguards, better known as the Amazonian Guard, were synonymous with his presence. He paraded them as a symbol of his belief in women’s emancipation and their role in the defence of their country. He also had a team of female nurses led by his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska.
Central to Gaddafi’s 1969 revolution was the empowerment of women. His new regime made efforts to advance female emancipation. The new government encouraged women to participate in Libya’s political life and several cabinet posts were allocated to them. Women were also able to form associations.
Flashback: Remove References to Democracy
and Religious Freedom From School Textbooks
By Penny Starr, CNS News, 19-10-2012
The Libya Herald reported that the “Fatwa Office”, presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.
The article also reports that the religious official asked for “clarification” as to why extracts of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah had been deleted. The Sunnah is the second book for Islam jurisprudence after the Quran, according to scholars.
The information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend. References to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted”. The Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”
Gaddafi: The Green Book
Part Three, Chapter Eight: EDUCATION
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.
Society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn...
Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Tuesday for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group to help rebels in Syria's second city Aleppo hold out against the Damascus regime.
Fabius said that the coalition should not battle IS to the exclusion of supporting rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's regime, which he said had deliberately fueled the jihadists' rise.
aleppo 2010 - 2011
"After Kobane, we must save Aleppo," Fabius said, referring to a Syrian border town where Washington has carried out dozens of air strikes with the support of Arab allies to help Kurdish forces ward off a weeks-long IS assault.
"The city is almost entirely encircled," Fabius wrote of the rebels in Aleppo. "The regime is seeking to destroy the resistance through cold and hunger," he said in an article published by The Washington Post, France's Le Figaro and pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.
aleppo 2011 - 2012
"Some 300,000 Aleppans are holding on, threatened with the same death and destruction that the regime has inflicted on Homs and the suburbs of Damascus."
"Assad and Daesh are two sides of the same barbaric coin," Fabius said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
"Assad largely created this monster by deliberately setting free the jihadists who fueled this terrorist movement
Fabius said France would not resign itself to the breakup of Syria and would work towards supporting moderate rebels in Aleppo and protecting its civilian population, without detailing how.
aleppo 2013 - 2014
His article echoed the words of French President Francois Hollande on Friday, who described Aleppo as "key" to the conflict.
Flashback 2012 - Griffin Tarpley:
Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian from Washington, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
"Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory
to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense
is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken."
Why such an epic explosion of violence? It feels strange to ask these questions of Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, one of President Bashar al-Assad’s close advisers and former translator to his father, Hafez.
Her office is spotless, flowers on the table, her female secretary preparing a morning round-up of the world’s press on the Middle East, the coffee hot and sweet.
“Right from the beginning of this crisis, I never truly felt that the issue was about President Assad,” she says. “It was about the weakening and destruction of Syria.
There has been so much destruction – of hospitals, schools, factories, government institutions, you name it.
I think the Americans take their battles against leaders and presidents – but only as a pretext to destroy countries. Saddam was not the real target –it was Iraq. And it’s the same for Libya now – America told everyone it was about Gaddafi. The real issue is about weakening the Arab armies, whoever they are. When the Americans invaded Iraq, what was the first thing they did? They dissolved the Iraqi army.”
“Now all Arab armies are targeted – and the purpose is to change the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Arab-Israeli conflict is the crux of all that is going on in the Middle East.
I am not saying these tactics will work. I am saying ‘they’ are targeting the Arab armies. The Egyptian army is very strong. It is a logical army that is defending its country. And then it received this huge attack in Sinai. It’s my opinion that the target is to eliminate the threat that Arab armies represent for the liberation of Gaza and the West Bank and Golan and to make Israel’s occupation easier and less costly.
This is a major dimension of the cause of the ‘Arab Spring’. In fact I call it an ‘Israeli Spring’.”
“I hope the new generation of Arab nationalists will help to create a new Arab identity, the emergence of a different reality, to be a real player in international politics."
Surely that is what the original Syrian Ba’ath party was supposed to be about...
Ba'athism calls for unification of the Arab world into a single state. Its motto, "Unity, Liberty, Socialism", refers to Arab unity, and freedom from non-Arab control and interference. (Wikipedia)
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç refused to respond to a statement delivered by Cemil Bayık, a founding member of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), during a cabinet meeting Monday night.
Speaking to media after the meeting, Arınç explained that a terrorist leader cannot address him.
In a comment in an Austrian newspaper on Monday, Bayık, who is one of the founding members of the KCK – an umbrella organization of the outlawed PKK – was quoted as saying that the PKK is suggesting a third power to observe the process, possibly the U.S. or an international delegation.
When asked how he would respond to Bayık's statement, Arınç rejected making any comments, saying he did not deem Bayık as a legitimate addressee.
Turkey trained defectors of the Syrian Army on its territory, and in July 2011 a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army under the supervision of Turkish military intelligence.In October 2011, Turkey began sheltering the Free Syrian Army, offering the group a safe zone and a base of operation.Together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey has also provided the rebels with arms and other military equipment. Beginning in May 2012, some Syrian opposition fighters began being armed and trained by the Turkish Intelligence. (Wikipedia info)
"When I was reading through the newspaper, I came across a sentence that read 'the leader of a terrorist organization, Cemil Bayık, said this and that.'
It is impossible to expect me, as the deputy prime minister, to respond to a statement delivered by a leader of a terrorist organization. Whatever such a person says, he is not my addressee. If I ever feel obliged to respond to such a statement from such a person, it would be a pity for the Turkish Republic," Arınç said.
Arınç also touched upon the significance of the continuation of the reconciliation process, saying the government has launched a project for preserving unity and brotherhood in the country.
Arınç also warned that, counting on the project, the Kurdish radicals should not feel free to get involved in vandalism and aggression.
"Our National Unity and Brotherhood Project could only expand if people [in eastern Turkey] refrain from terrorism and disorder. We show patience over the continuation of our project. We will carry out diligent work until the end and try to do our best. But putting on a show, insulting and threatening, is not our job, and nor is supporting illegal organizations." Arınç further added.
Syria strongly condemned the positions voiced by the French and Turkish presidents following their recent meeting in Paris which showed the level of complicity between them in conspiring against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria in blatant contradiction with the goals and principles of the UN Charter and international law.
An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry told SANA on Monday that the course followed by the French and Turkish governments regarding Syria and the myriad forms of support they provide to armed terrorist organizations in Syria – in blatant violation of the Security Council’s counterterrorism resolutions – are responsible for the crisis in Syria, the shedding of Syrian blood, and hindering counterterrorism efforts, and this requires that the international community condemn the hostile behavior of the French and Turkish governments.
Libya's supreme court invalidated the internationally recognized parliament, setting the stage for deepening political chaos in the violence-wracked North African nation.
The ruling, which cannot be appealed, prompted celebratory gunfire in the capital Tripoli where Islamist-led militias have been in control since August, an AFP correspondent reported.
The Tripoli court also nullified a constitutional amendment that led to elections on June 25, thereby invalidating the polls and all decisions that resulted from them.
The internationally supported government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani is sheltering in the remote eastern town of Tobruk near the Egyptian border and has almost no control over Libya's three main cities.
The supreme court had been asked by an Islamist lawmaker to rule on the constitutionality of the legislature that approved Thani's government, one of two rival administrations in the oil-flush country.
Abderrauf al-Manai, who with other Islamist lawmakers has boycotted the parliament's sessions in Tobruk, argued that the legislature was in breach of the constitution because it was sitting in neither Tripoli nor second city Benghazi.
He had also argued that the parliament had exceeded its authority in calling for foreign military intervention after the militia takeover of the capital.
Most lawmakers who are boycotting the internationally recognized parliament support Fajr Libya, an Islamist-led militia alliance that has formed a parallel government known for its Islamist sympathies.
Libya's elected parliament is dominated by anti-Islamists.
Israel’s decision to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, 30 October, is not just a gross violation of the religious rights of Palestinian Muslims...
The Noble Sanctuary located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is known as Haram al-Sharif in Arabic and is home to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It serves as much more than a religious role in Palestinian society because it is a unifying national force and symbol as well...
“Defending al-Aqsa” has been an unswerving rallying cry for Palestinians throughout the years. Several Palestinian uprisings were unleashed as a reaction to Israeli political or military plans to alter the status quo over the mosque. The Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 was one such uprising. It lasted for nearly five years, during which thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis were killed in clashes that were provoked by late Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon.
That context should be remembered if the current coverage of the very worrying situation in and around Jerusalem is to be meaningful in any way.
The war on the mosque, which is central to the spirituality of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, is not simply the work of a few Jewish extremists. It is part and parcel of an Israeli government agenda which has been crystalizing in recent years and months. Next month, for example, the Israeli Knesset will vote on a motion calling for the partitioning of al-Aqsa.
One of the leading advocates of that partition, at least in terms of a first step towards a complete takeover, is the Temple Mount Faithful organisation, headed by Yehuda Glick.
Founded by Gershon Salomon, Temple Mount Faithful Movement, according to its website, is dedicated to the “the vision of consecrating the Temple Mount to the Name of G‑d, to removing the Muslim shrines placed there as a symbol of Muslim conquest, to the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount, and the godly redemption of the People and the Land of Israel.”
Yehuda Glick, the well-funded US-Israeli “activist”, whose obsession with destroying al-Aqsa knows no bounds, and who has been frequenting the mosque in provocative visits under Israeli police cover for years, has been the face of the Israeli designs against al Aqsa.
The combination of right-wing politicians allied with religious zealots is now defining the Israeli attitude towards Palestinians, particularly in Jerusalem.
Powerful right-wingers want the government to enforce its “sovereignty” over the Muslim site, which is administered by Jordan per the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty of 1994. Israeli MP, Moshe Feiglin, is the man behind the move, but he is not alone.
Feiglin is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, and has strong backing within the party, the government and the Knesset. His supporters include Yehuda Glick, the American-born fanatic.
Flashback 2001/02: True Zionist Believers
"One thing Israel hasn’t done is honestly address the issues that cause the Palestinian attacks. Remember, anybody Israel decides to kill is automatically a “terrorist.” Israelis are as promiscuous in their use of “terrorist” as the Israeli lobby is in its use of “anti-Semite.”
But as to the question of withdrawing from the territory it captured in 1967, Israel has one answer: “No.”
As to the question of letting refugees return or be compensated for the property the Israeli government stole from them, Israel has had one answer: “No.” As for letting U.N. peacekeepers protect the Palestinians from Israeli violence, the answer is “No.” As for obeying more than 60 U.N. resolutions directing Israel to comply with international law, the answer is “No.”
So, will there ever be peace in Palestine? No. The Israelis can continue to murder, imprison, isolate, torture, impoverish, brutalize and harass the Palestinians for the next 50 years, and for the next 50 years Palestinians, generation after generation, will resist the occupation of their land by any means they can" (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 2001)
Israel's settler community, as well as its conservative and religious supporters, see the territory as part of the biblical land of Israel and have vowed to resist ceding control. The settlements are seen as essential for Israel's security -- as a first line of defense from the east.
Passionately motivated by the ideology of Zionism, the settlers view themselves as ordained by God and the Torah to reclaim ancient land, which they refer to not as the West Bank but by its biblical names: Judea and Sumaria.
These settlers will not willingly move off the land and let their dream of a "greater" Israel be destroyed. (The Settlers: True Zionist Believers, www.salon.com 2002)
The New Age of Ideology"The post-September 11 era in the US has heralded in a new age of ideology whose discourse and world views have served not only to accommodate such extremist views as those held by Sharon, but also to provide him with a platform and an influence that were unthinkable only a year ago.
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Chronicle 12-2-2002
Thus while the American President is busy devising a new Manichean universe of absolute good and absolute evil, pronouncing policy on the basis of a simplistic polarization of the world, and unilaterally defining the terms while categorizing state and non-state actors accordingly, Sharon’s Israel has maneuvered itself into a position of even greater power on the world stage provided explicitly by the US."
"President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” speech played directly into Sharon’s hand, simultaneously legitimizing “unilateralism” and the undermining of international law, while claiming exclusivity of values and the right to use unbridled (and accountable) force to achieve immediate ends.
Those, precisely, have been the hallmarks of Israeli policy all along. Add to that the perpetuation of the most brutal (and last remaining) military occupation in history “enjoying” the cover of impunity provided by its strategic alliance with the US, and you have a most alarming formula for lawlessness, radicalization, violence, and destabilization.
With the facile handing out of convenient labels, the dehumanization of the “other” is thereby rendered official, contributing to the subversion of the principle of equality before the law and to the suspension of communication (dialogue, negotiations) as a means of conflict resolution."
Rather than a bold initiative to end the Israeli occupation and establish the independent (and viable) Palestinian state in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338, the US is turning a blind eye to Sharon’s lethal brand of ideology as practiced through Apache gun ships, F 16’s, tanks and bulldozers, while compounding the oppression by demanding that the key to the Palestinian leadership’s legitimacy is through compliance with Israeli demands and priorities."
"The world is still paying for the mistakes of the post WW II and the cold war era with all its “-isms” and “the end justifies the means” approach.
Instead of the promise of an inclusive, interactive, and integrated global approach to human development and conflict resolution, the new ideology is threatening to impose an artificial construct of exclusivity and polarization, not only as a parallel to the past paradigm, but also as a source of tremendous injustice and conflict."
We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
Fifty prominent religious and political figures in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa province issued a joint statement on Wednesday condemning the terror attack which killed seven people earlier this week, warning that its perpetrators aimed to incite sectarian conflict in the Kingdom.
“Those who carried out this attack do not represent a specific [Islamic] sect or school of thought, rather these are adherents of a malicious satanic ideology,” said the statement which was signed by both Sunni and Shi’ite clerics.
“This crime aims to tear apart our national unity.. and, therefore, we must deny them [the perpetrators] the opportunity to take advantage of this by investing in our unity and national cohesion,” the statement added.
“Those who carried out this terrorist attack wanted to explode the national social fabric and incite sectarian fitna,” prominent Saudi Shi’ite religious figure Hassan Al-Saffar said.
“Fitna,” an Arabic term meaning “sedition” or “civil strife,” is often associated with particular religious connotations or conflicts between different religious groups or sects. “The best response to this crime would be to strengthen national cohesion,” he added.
Saudi Arabia has always extended a helping hand to Muslims all over the world, especially those being persecuted and oppressed. We welcome them and enable them to stay in our country when there is a need for this.
Among the people whom we have welcomed in the past were members of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt, Syria and Iraq who began coming to the Kingdom in the early 1950s. Many of the people we hosted found jobs in the Kingdom, especially in the field of education. They worked as teachers in schools and universities.
We even sought the help of some of them to draft some of our educational syllabuses because at that time we did not have the qualified national cadre to do this. This was a great opportunity for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood to put its fingerprints on our syllabus. These were the disciples of Sayyid Qutb, the famous extremist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt during the 1950s and 1960s.
We even welcomed Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Mohammed Qutb, who taught at Umm Al-Qura University when it was a branch of King Abdul Aziz University in Makkah. He lived among us for a long time until his recent death.
Sayyid Qutb (October 9, 1906 – August 29, 1966) was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamist theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s.
In July 1952, Egypt's pro-Western government was overthrown by the nationalist Free Officers Movement headed by Gamal Abdel Nasser. Both Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood welcomed the coup against the monarchist government — which they saw as un-Islamic and subservient to British imperialism...
Many members of the Brotherhood expected Nasser to establish an Islamic government. However, the cooperation between the Brotherhood and Free Officers which marked the revolution's success soon soured as it became clear the secular nationalist ideology of Nasserism was incompatible with the Islamism of the Brotherhood.(WIKIPEDIA info)
By narrating the above, I do not deny the existence of extremist Saudi teachers who have also influenced our educational curriculum. However, what really surprises me is that at this juncture, when we ferociously fight terrorism, we continue to recruit foreign teachers with extremist ideologies, especially in the higher education sector.
We open the doors wide for them to spread their devious thinking and fill the minds of our young men and women with their extremist ideologies.
The latest example is the Syrian female academic Eman Mustapha Al-Bugga who taught Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) and Islamic finance at Dammam University. She recently resigned to join the so-called Islamic State. We did not sack her; she left her job voluntarily. This woman is now spreading her devious ideology on social media and is calling upon others to follow her in joining IS...
We all know the influence that teachers have with students... This is why it is imperative that we carefully choose those who will teach our young men and women. We should not allow teachers with devious thoughts to influence the minds of our students with their extremism...
Qutb was the most influential advocate in modern times of jihad, or Islamic holy war, and the chief developer of doctrines that legitimise violent Muslim resistance to regimes that claim to be Muslim, but whose implementation of Islamic precepts is judged to be imperfect. Although Qutb is particularly popular in Saudi Arabia, his copious writings have been translated into most of the languages of the Islamic world. (The Guardian, 'Is this the man who inspired Bin Laden?' 1-11-2001)
It is an old strategy to present two grim alternatives and force people to choose the lesser of two evils. This was how the Muslim Brotherhood presented itself in Egypt, regionally and internationally through their international organisation.
They were the model of moderate, tolerant Islam, capable of restraining the hardliners. In assuming power, they would be in a position to serve regional and international interests by keeping the rank and file of extremist groups in check...
The Muslim Brothers have succeeded in marketing this notion in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world even among some liberal and leftist leaders who advocate accommodating the Muslim Brotherhood as a means to halt the violence and end terrorism...
In other words, we are to choose between the lesser of two evils: by embracing the Muslim Brothers we avert the dangers of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis and ISIS.
The line of argument ignores the well-known fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has always been the official sponsor of takfiri thought.
The ideas of Hassan Al-Banna, Sayed Qotb and other Brotherhood ideologues are brimming with intolerance, discrimination, hatred of the other (among fellow Muslims if they are Shia) and vilification of all who disagree with their thinking.
The Muslim Brotherhood version of Islam is a far cry in form and substance from moderate Islam as epitomised by the outlook and attitudes of Al-Azhar and by the ideas of famous Islamic scholars such as the illustrious reformist the Imam Mohamed Abdu.
This brings us to another pair to compare and contrast: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, self-proclaimed caliph over the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, newly elected president of Turkey seen by an Islamist current in Egypt and elsewhere in the region as the Muslim who most merits the caliphate.
So argues that Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, the Egyptian/Qatari Sheikh Youssef Al-Qaradawi who points out that Turkey was the seat of the caliphate.
The rise of the Muslim Brothers in most countries of the Arab region following the Arab Spring revolutions was to be the step that preceded Erdogan’s rise to that throne. Erdogan and his clique couched this in different terms to his friends in Washington and other Western capitals.
By means of the Muslim Brotherhood regimes in the Arab region he would be able to keep this region under control, curb the reach of the Iranian ogre, promote democratic transformation in a way that would not harm Western interests and that would draw Islamist extremists back from European countries...
Political and intellectual elites in the Arab region should bear in mind that the most important weapon in the propaganda and military arsenal of the countries that are targeting this region is the Islamist trend...
We conclude with the words of the eminent thinker, geographer and historian Gamal Hamdan: “Extremist Islamist groups are a recurrent plague that periodically infects the Islamic world... Political Islam is a manifestation of a psychological and mental illness… ”
To all who are running after the Erdogan sultanate or the Al-Baghdadi caliphate we will echo the cruel truth that Gamal Hamdan reached in his research: “The Islamic world is a geographic fact but it is a political myth.”