All three also have the tools to check the other two and hold them to their defined purpose. Our constitutional system of checks and balances has long been recognized as the key to our unique constitutional democracy.
Alexander Hamilton understood the inherent challenge for our courts in this organization of government. As he explained in Federalist Paper No. 78, the judiciary is in “continual jeopardy of being overpowered, awed or influenced by its co-ordinate branches.”
Judicial independence is critical to sustaining our democratic form of government established by the U.S. Constitution and developed through history.
Ibn Khaldun has a Message for Civilized People
Throughout history many nations have suffered a physical defeat,
Jawad Abu Hatab: "The Syrian revolution government
According to the U.S. Department of State, "Ahrar al-Sham is not a designated foreign terrorist organization.
GENEVA (Reuters) - President Bashar al-Assad and his family have no role in the future of Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday ahead of peace talks aiming at a political transition scheduled to resume next month.
Tillerson said that the Trump administration backed the Geneva peace talks as the only way to end the more than six-year-old war and move to a political transition and elections.
He was speaking after holding talks with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who announced that stalled peace talks between the Syrian government and still-to-be-united opposition would resume in Geneva on Nov. 28.
“The United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government.” “It is our view and I have said this many times as well that we do not believe that there is a future for the Assad regime and Assad family. The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end. The only issue is how that should that be brought about.”
Tillerson called his discussions with de Mistura “fruitful” and said the United States will “continue our efforts to de-escalate the violence in Syria”.
He said the only reason Assad’s forces had succeeded in turning the tide in the war against Islamic State and other militants was “air support they have received from Russia”.
“I do not see Syria as a triumph for Iran. I see Iran as a hanger-on. I don’t think that Iran should be given credit for the defeat of ISIS (Islamic State) In Syria. Rather I think they have taken advantage of the situation.
Jeffrey Goldberg 2009: "I recently asked one of Netanyahu's advisers to gauge for me the depth of his anxiety about Iran. His answer: Think Amalek.” (New York Times)
In Judaism, the Amalekites came to represent the archetypal enemy of the Jews. In Jewish folklore the Amalekites are considered to be the symbol of evil. This concept has been used by some Hassidic rabbis (particularly the Baal Shem Tov) to represent atheism or the rejection of God. Nur Masalha, Elliot Horowitz and Josef Stern suggest that Amalekites have come to represent an "eternally irreconcilable enemy" that wants to murder Jews, and that Jews in post-biblical times sometimes associate contemporary enemies with Haman or Amalekites, and that some Jews believe that pre-emptive violence is acceptable against such enemies. (Wikipedia)
Firebrand Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan tweeted against Hizbullah on Thursday, commenting on the sanctions that were approved overnight by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“In order to rein in the 'terrorist militia party', those who work and cooperate with it politically, economically and journalistically should be punished,” al-Sabhan said.
“Serious efforts must be exerted to clip its wings domestically and externally and to confront it with force,” the minister added.
Al-Sabhan has taken to Twitter to blast Hizbullah several times in recent months. (Naharnet 26-10-2017)
Arab Center Washington (ACW), and the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) announced the result of its survey carried out a month-long in eight Arab countries about President Donald Trump and the US foreign policy.
The polling, done between Sept. 14th and Oct. 13th, 2017, surveyed a randomly selected sample of 3,200 respondents in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, with an average of 400 respondents from each country.
Speaking at a conference in Washington, Tamara Kharroub, assistant executive director of ACW said that there is a strong negative impression of US foreign policy in the region.
She emphasized the survey shows anti-American sentiment in the Arab world targets US foreign policies in the region, and not the US as a country or its population.
"Overall, 61% of Arabs surveyed have a negative or somewhat negative attitude toward US policy in the Arab world, in contrast to only 25% who expressed negative or somewhat negative views of the American people," Kharroub added.
When asked about President Donald Trump's policy and whether he seemed anti-Muslim or Islamophobic, the majority of Arab respondents (58%) had a negative view of him while 56% viewed Trump as indeed anti-Muslim.
The survey also demonstrated that only 17% of respondents believe that Trump's presidency has improved US policy toward the Arab world, most of whom were in Saudi Arabia (24%), Egypt (22%), and Kuwait (22%).
“The majority believed that Trump has negatively impacted US policy in the Arab world.”
Russia on Friday criticised a United Nations report which blamed a sarin gas attack in Syria on Bashar al-Assad's regime, with a deputy foreign minister saying it contained inconsistencies and unverified evidence.
"Even the first cursory read shows that many inconsistencies, logical discrepancies, using doubtful witness accounts and unverified evidence... all of this is still (in the report)," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency.
Ryabkov said other nations were seeking to use the report to "resolve their own strategic geopolitical issues in Syria".
Russia would analyse the findings and publish a response soon, he added.
Political developments and violent conflicts in the Middle East tend to go hand-in-hand with corresponding trends in public discourse. As such, it is no unimportant development that an obsolete concept, moderate Islam, is making a comeback.
The Middle East is now home to the emergence of a new trend, as the United States in cooperation with Israel, Egypt and the Gulf countries seek to lay the ideological groundwork for an impending fight against Shiite militias, that have been [so they say] an active component of Iranian expansionism.
Yusuf Qaradawi: father of the Turkey-Qatar-NATO supported 'Arab' spring
CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently added that Iran's ties to al-Qaida are an open secret. Add to the mix recent statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has been calling on the Shiite militias in Iraq to go home, and you get the full picture that the chatter about moderate Islam is nothing but an ideological instrument to contain Iran.
Flashback: "Why are they establishing Al-Qaeda on coasts near Europe?"
Saad Hariri & Ahmad al-Jarba
The speech provoked many parties in Lebanon, especially Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and his political allies.
Rouhani may be right in saying no decisive actions can be taken without Tehran’s consent. But its victories have paved the way for the imminent rise of a monster similar to Daesh.
Tehran’s victory leads us to a fate that is more miserable than the one faced with Daesh.
A monster will be born amid destroyed cities and camps of hunger and disease.
Iran triumphed over Daesh, Hezbollah won in Lebanon, Bashar Assad won in Syria and the PMU won in Iraq. Are there more favorable conditions for the imminent rise of a violent group?
The West has not learned what this sectarian victory over Daesh will mean, and has not realized that it will not remain immune against this colossal imbalance.
Diana Moukalled: Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television (majority owner: Saad al-Hariri). She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine. She is one of the 'Experts' at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Since the Daesh terror group has been driven back in Syria into a small pocket of territory in the middle Euphrates River Valley between the cities of Deir ez-Zor and Abu Kamal, the communication between the US and Russian forces in Syria got a new level of intensity.
"As the pro-regime forces and our partner force the Syrian Democratic Forces started to move closer to one another, there’s no question that the level of deconfliction had to increase," Colonel Ryan Dillon (coalition spokesman) said in a phone interview from Baghdad, adding that the lines of communication between the two sides "are often used multiple times throughout the day."
Ryan Dillon commented on the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, which is currently controlled by the Free Syrian Army and other opposition forces, who are fighting against government troops. Dillon said the coalition was monitoring developments in the area, as fighting there could spill into areas where the Daesh terror group has been defeated.
"Our partners the Syrian Democratic Forces and the civilian councils that have been established are not negatively impacted, but that is not something that the coalition is not actively involved in, the whole situation in Idlib," he said.
The Spokesperson for the Operation Inherent Resolve stressed that the US coalition was neither coordinating with Russian forces nor operating in the area of Idlib.
"We are not. So the organization that I represent is strictly focused on the defeat and fighting ISIS [Daesh] so all of the things that are happening in Idlib with al-Nusra and HTS that is not the coalition who is in that area," Dillon said, referring to the terrorists groups of Nusra Front and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
As for the devastation to Raqqa's infrastructure, Dillon said people tend to forget that the city was ravaged by war waged by multiple parties over a period of more than five years. In June, a United Nations investigator warned that US coalition bombings in Raqqa were causing "staggering loss of civilian life."
Ryan Dillon said that US coalition was preparing a new offensive, targeting the Syrian town of Abu Kemal, a district close to the Iraqi border, where it believes to defeat the largest remaining stronghold of Daesh.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) had set a six-month deadline for negotiations to resolve the country’s crisis but if they fail, it would move on Tripoli. Speaking in Al-Abyar on Wednesday at a press conference, the LNA’s spokesman, Colonel Ahmed Mismari, claimed that the army was now preparing to go to the capital and that people there were happy to welcome it.
“We have a strategy to end this crisis,” he said at the conference at which attendance was limited to the military.
The army would not allow the present chaos in Tripoli to continue, he added. Having defeated terrorism in Benghazi, the west of the country was now an LNA operational area and preparations were being made for what he called “the next phase”.
The next battle, he said, would be “the decisive battle for the Libyan army”.
Suggesting that nothing was expected from the current political dialogue, he accused the negotiators from the House of Representatives and the State Council who have been meeting in Tunis of protracting the crisis. They were sitting in hotels talking about the crisis while Libyans suffered, he said.
There were also those who were happily prolonging the crisis for personal gain, he claimed, accusing them of betraying the country. As a result, foreign powers such as Qatar as well as criminals and terrorists had been able to exploit the situation.
Foreign countries were trying to extend their control and influence over Libya through puppets in Libya, he said.
Mismari laid stress on cooperating with what was described as neighbouring countries and other Arab armed forces, as well as with Europe, to devise a long-term strategy to crush terrorism...
The neighbouring and Arab countries he was referring to are thought to be Egypt and the UAE.
British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn refuses to attend celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and will boycott an official dinner with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu left for Britain this week and will participate in the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration together with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Sunday Times reported that the Israeli ambassador to London, Mark Regev, had been informed of the refusal to participate in the event.
"Those who oppose the historic declaration are extremists who do not recognize Israel's right to exist and are very similar to terrorist groups such as Hamas," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
The Labor leader's refusal to participate in the event is not surprising.
Only two years ago Corbyn described the Balfour Declaration as "a confused text that our governments have not really liked over the years, and also representatives of the Jewish community in Britain would prefer it be buried and not be publicized."
Last year Prime Minister May published an article rejecting Palestinian Arab demands to renounce the Balfour Declaration.
Balfour declaration, November 2nd, 1917:
Dear Lord Rothschild,
Palestinians were not consulted by the British
Palestine was occupied by the British Empire at the end of World War I and ruled by London until 1948.
Abbas at the UN General Assembly: Britain gave our land to another people
By the end of this coming year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration, and 70 years since Al-Nakba of the Palestinian people, and 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
We ask Britain to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities for the consequences of this Declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people..
The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration: a Zionist project
Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an American lawyer and associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Jewish immigrant parents from Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), who raised him in a secular home.
"When Louis Brandeis embraced Zionism, he legitimized the American call for a Jewish homeland in Palestine."
Chaim Azriel Weizmann (27 November 1874 – 9 November 1952) was a Zionist leader and Israeli statesman who served as President of the Zionist Organization. Weizmann convinced the United States government to recognize the newly formed state of Israel.
Herbert Louis Samuel (6 November 1870 – 5 February 1963), was a British Liberal politician who was the party leader from 1931 to 1935. He was the first nominally-practising Jew, although a personal atheist, to serve as a Cabinet minister and to become the leader of a major British political party.
Herbert Samuel is generally seen as an impartial administrator. However, in his book "Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians" Sahar Huneidi contests this claim, arguing that most of the measures Samuel took during his time in Palestine were designed to prepare the ground not simply for the "Jewish national home" promised in both the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate of Palestine, but a Jewish state.
An Israeli parliamentarian has expressed his support for formal apartheid, backing the annexation of the entire West Bank but without its Palestinian inhabitants being granted the right to vote.
Miki Zohar (Likud), who is chair of the Knesset’s Special Committee for Distributive Justice and Social Equality, expressed his views in an interview with Haaretz newspaper.
“When we say to the Palestinians, ‘We are giving you a state, let’s make peace’ – it’s deceiving them,” Zohar told the paper. “No one is going to give them a state, not the left either.
I am saying: Let’s cut this problem off before it begins and stop with the lies. We’ll tell them: ‘Guys, no state, live here with us, prosper, earn a living, educate your children’.”
Asked whether he meant that Palestinians in an annexed West Bank would not vote in the Knesset elections, Zohar replied in the affirmative.
“We must always maintain control over the mechanisms of the state, as the Jewish people that received this country by right and not by an act of charity.”
According to Zohar, such views are “not extreme” but “realistic”.
He continued: “In my opinion, he [the Palestinian] doesn’t have the right to national identity, because he does not own the land of this country.” “I want him as a resident by virtue of my own sense of fairness – because he was born here and lives here, I will not tell him to leave.
I’m sorry to say this, but they have one conspicuous liability: They weren’t born Jews.”
Wikipedia: "Miki Zohar (born 28 March 1980) opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, stating that every member of Likud is against it. He also supports the annexation of the West Bank and cancellation of the Oslo Accords.
Zohar is an advocate for observing Shabbat: "As people who were born Jewish, we should be committed to Jewish tradition that says we rest on Shabbat and that a wedding is between people of different genders, so I can't say changing that is OK. At the same time, I am a liberal person and I think we should live and let live. I don't judge anyone. However, the traditions of the nation need to stay Jewish, the way it commanded to us thousands of years ago."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left for Britain to attend an event marking the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration.
Before boarding the plane at Ben Gurion Airport, Netanyahu said: "I look forward to my visit to London. We’re going to mark a very important centenary – 100 years for the declaration of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the right of the Jewish people for their national home in this land. I very much appreciate this gesture by the Prime Minister of Britain and the Government of Great Britain.
“The Palestinians say that the Balfour Declaration was a tragedy. It wasn’t a tragedy. What has been tragic is their refusal to accept this 100 years later.
I hope they change their mind, because if they do they can move forward finally to making peace between our two peoples.
Netanyahu also said that “In my meeting with Prime Minister May, I intend to raise concrete suggestions on how to deal with the failed aspects of the Iran nuclear agreement.”
A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media.
The top Qatari official is no less than former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who oversaw Syria operations on behalf of Qatar until 2013 (also as foreign minister).
In an interview with Qatari TV Wednesday, bin Jaber al-Thani revealed that his country, alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, began shipping weapons to jihadists from the very moment events "first started" (in 2011).
Al-Thani even likened the covert operation to "hunting prey" - the prey being President Assad and his supporters - "prey" which he admits got away (as Assad is still in power).
Al-Thani explained that Qatar continued its financing of armed insurgents in Syria while other countries eventually wound down large-scale support, which is why he lashed out at the US and the Saudis, who initially "were with us in the same trench."
Below is the key section of Wednesday's interview:
"When the events first started in Syria I went to Saudi Arabia and met with King Abdullah...
He [Abdullah] said we are behind you. You go ahead with this plan and we will coordinate but you should be in charge.
I won’t get into details but we have full documents and anything that was sent [to Syria] would go to Turkey and was in coordination with the US forces and everything was distributed via the Turks and the US forces.
There may have been mistakes and support was given to the wrong faction...
Maybe there was a relationship with Nusra, its possible but I myself don’t know about this… we were fighting over the prey ["al-sayda"] and now the prey is gone and we are still fighting... and now Bashar is still there. You [US and Saudi Arabia] were with us in the same trench...
Regime Change, or: Hunters, In Need Of A Prey
By Mark Landler, New York Times, June 16, 2016
Flashback: Hamad Bin Jaber al-Thani:
A senior Russian diplomat says humanitarian issues will top the agenda of the second day of the intra-Syrian talks, mediated by Iran, Russia and Turkey, in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday after attending the first day of the seventh round of the discussions, Alexander Lavrentyev, Russia’s special envoy to the Astana peace process, said Moscow has been doing everything in its power to help the Syrian government and opposition groups strengthen mutual trust.
“We take up the measures to build trust between the conflicting sides, to resolve the problem of humanitarian mine clearing, and to adopt a document on the forcibly held persons and exchange of bodies of the dead,” he said.
The seventh round of the Astana talks began on Monday (october 30) with the participation of representatives from the Damascus government and opposition as well as the three guarantor states, the United Nations, Jordan and the United States.
The discussions have brought representatives from Syria’s warring sides to the negotiating table in a bid to end the foreign-backed militancy in the Arab country, which broke out in March 2011.
Six rounds of the negotiations took place on January 23-24, February 15-16, March 14-15, May 3-4, July 4-5 and September 14-15.
The fourth round of the Astana discussions in May resulted in an agreement on four de-escalation zones across Syria, which cover the provinces of Idlib and Homs as well as the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus and Syria’s southern border with Jordan.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Lavrentyev noted that a potential congress of the Syrian government, opposition and all ethnic groups had been proposed.
Alexander Lavrentyev, Russia’s special envoy on Syria
He also mentioned that Damascus was ready to support political efforts aimed at reaching national reconciliation as well as possible amendments to Syria’s constitution.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani discussed the latest domestic and international developments in a meeting in Tehran, and weigh up plans to facilitate the process of investment in the country.
Speaking to reporters after the gathering, President Rouhani said they have discussed the ways to boost unity and solidarity among the three branches.
In the meeting, “good decisions have been made to better attract investment, particularly by the Iranian entrepreneurs abroad,” the president added, saying all investors and entrepreneurs should be able to enjoy the economic opportunities in Iran.
He also touched on the negotiations about the regional developments, saying the three branches of power share views on the approaches to settle the regional conflicts.
President Rouhani also noted that they have decided to hold such trilateral meetings more frequently.
The three plus One branches of power in Iran
-- 1. The constitution of 1979 saw the president as the head of the executive branche but at the same time as the coordinator of the three branches of the state: The executive, the judicial, and the legislativ.
4. The president is not the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. According to Iran's Constitution, the 'Spiritual Leader' of Iran is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and controls the Islamic Republic's intelligence and security operations.
The term "trias politica" or "separation of powers" was coined by Baron de Montesquieu.
Russia has invited the Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria to its proposed congress of Syria’s rival parties in November, a senior Kurdish official said on Tuesday, as Moscow seeks to launch a new initiative to end the Syrian conflict.
“We are studying the issue and our stance has been positive so far,” Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the administration that governs Kurdish-led autonomous regions of Syria, told Reuters.
It would mark the first time Syria’s main Kurdish groups have been brought into peace talks. Although they now control at least a quarter of Syria, Kurdish authorities have so far been left out of international talks in line with Turkish wishes.
Turkey views Syrian Kurdish power as a national security threat along its border. Ankara considers the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK movement that has waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey.
Moscow has said the Syrian Congress on National Dialogue (which it will host on Nov. 18 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi), will focus on “compromise solutions” towards ending the conflict.
A spokesman for the (Turkey backed) Syrian opposition described the proposed congress as “really worrying”. It was unclear what the aims were and who would join, said Yahya al-Aridi. Aridi also said he feared the congress would be used as “fabricated” evidence of reconciliation...
Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, said Damascus was ready to take part in the congress and that the time was now more appropriate to join such talks after its military victories.
What Happened to the 'The Friends of Syria'?
Bashar al-Assad, october 2012
The Friends of Syria held three more meetings in 2012: in Istanbul, Paris, and finally Marrakech.
The coalition used each event to pledge more aid to the opposition and trot favored dissidents out in front of the cameras in the hopes of granting them international legitimacy.
In December 2012 in Marrakech, a record-breaking 114 international delegates called for Assad’s overthrow.
In 2012 and 2013, Syria slid from violent unrest into one of the cruelest civil wars of our time.
Turkey opened its territory to armed rebels in summer 2011 and made no real effort to keep foreign extremists out until years later, when the situation in northern Syria had spun out of control.
Qatar was said to have poured up to $3 billion into backing the uprising during its first two years. Its perennial rival, Saudi Arabia, naturally got in the game to muscle out the Qataris, boosting the power of the Syrian rebels even more.
The Friends of Syria empowered an insurgency that was chronically divided, comprising hundreds of little groups fighting for control of villages and checkpoints.
Insofar as there was competent leadership, it tended to be by sectarian Islamists, including a Syrian al Qaeda affiliate known as al-Nusra Front. Wherever the rebels won, state institutions collapsed and anarchy erupted, followed by an explosion of jihadist recruitment.
The Friends of Syria empowered an insurgency that was chronically divided. Washington did spend a lot of time—and a lot of money. The anti-Assad campaign quickly grew into “one of the costliest covert action programs” in CIA history; by 2015 its budgeted expenses approached $1 billion.
Yet by 2013, as the United States was deepening its involvement in the Syrian war, many of the other Friends of Syria wanted out.
Most other governments in Europe and elsewhere were unwilling to get their hands dirty on behalf of an opposition they didn’t like, trust, or believe in. They had been willing to call for Assad’s resignation from the sidelines, but wanted nothing to do with the jihadist-infested insurgency that now threatened his rule. So the Friends of Syria began to fall apart.
The December 2012 conference in Marrakech marked the end of the era of big meetings.
From then on, the anti-Assad campaign had to make do with a much smaller set of core supporters, including France, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
But even these rebel backers were unwilling to go the full mile and help Syria’s fragmented opposition wipe out the regime, which meant that their support for the insurgency succeeded only in prolonging the war.
Several Persian Gulf Arab states and the United States have pledged 100 million dollars to provide salaries and communications equipment for Syrian rebels fighting against the government.
The countries, led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, made the offer on Sunday at an Istanbul conference of the “Friends of Syria”, a grouping of some 70 Western and Arab countries, which Damascus calls the "enemies of Syria”.
The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said that rebels would be paid to fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Money will also be provided to soldiers who defect from the government's army, the SNC added.
Our revolution is a peaceful revolution from its beginning to its end and it is the regime alone that bears the moral and legal responsibility; for it is the regime that forced our people to resort to armed resistance to defend themselves...
In dozens of cities flowers were carried during demonstrations by thousands of young men and women. They carried flowers and cold water to give to members of the security forces to ask for their right, to simply express themselves...
We salute the struggle of this great people, men, women and children and we salute their legendary courage in the face of oppression and destruction...
In the name of all of our absent brothers in Syria, I extend my thanks to the government of Qatar and its people, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E..
I thank our partners in civilization and history, our Turkish brothers as well as our brothers in Libya, Jordan and Egypt.
nusra 'flower' flag - syrian muslim brotherhood
Marrakeck, Morocco, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Mouaz Al-Khatib, the leader of Syria's opposition coalition, urged the United States on Wednesday to reconsider its decision to designate the militant Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group, saying religion was a legitimate motive for Syrian rebels.
"The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed," Mouaz Alkhatib told a "Friends of Syria" meeting in Morocco, where Western and Arab states granted full recognition to the coalition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
"We might disagree with some parties and their ideas and their political and ideological vision. But we affirm that all the guns of the rebels are aimed at overthrowing the tyrannical criminal regime."
The decision to blacklist al-Nusra, an important fighting force in the uprising, has triggered criticism from the powerful Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. A senior Brotherhood official said it was wrong and hasty.
"The fact that the military movement is Islamic in its colour is generally positive. Jihad in the path of God has long been a fundamental motivator for human rights."
Syria's military and allied forces have completely recaptured Deir Az Zor city from ISIL, the armed group's last urban stronghold in the war-torn country.
Friday's announcement by state media came after the army and allied militias eliminated the last Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters from the eastern city that had been under a three-year siege.
"The armed forces, in cooperation with allied forces, liberated the city of Deir Az Zor completely from the clutches of the Daesh terrorist organisation," an unnamed military source was quoted as saying, using an Arab acronym for ISIL.
Deir Az Zor had been almost entirely controlled by ISIL since 2014. It is the main city of the oil-rich province of the same name.
The campaign to retake the city began in September when Syrian forces managed to break the three-year siege on the city by ISIL.
The forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad have been backed by Russian air raids since September 2015, helping to turn the tide in the war against ISIL and other armed groups.
A US-led international coalition, meanwhile, has provided air support to a Kurdish-Arab alliance, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), also fighting ISIL in Deir Az Zor.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war-monitor group, ISIL still controls about 40 percent of Deir Az Zor province.
Late on Friday (nov 3), Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's prime minister, announced the recapture of al-Qaim, the group's last stronghold in Iraq.
Iraqi forces took full control of the city on the Syrian border after seizing the last border crossing held by IS (ISIL or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group). They have been getting help from Sunni tribal fighters and the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), a Shia paramilitary force.
Many British people will not know of Sir Arthur James Balfour, an early 20th century foreign secretary. For 12 million Palestinians, his name is all too familiar.
On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration, the British government should take the opportunity to make things right.
At his desk in London, on 2 November 1917, Balfour signed a letter promising the land of Palestine to the Zionist Federation, a recently established political movement whose goal was the creation of a Jewish state.
He promised a land that was not his to promise, disregarding the political rights of those who already lived there.
For the Palestinian people – my people – the events this letter triggered have been as devastating as they have been far-reaching.
Palestine (the last item on the decolonisation agenda) and we, its people, who sought our inalienable right to self-determination, instead suffered our greatest catastrophe – in Arabic the Nakba.
In 1948 Zionist militias forcibly expelled more than 800,000 men, women and children from their homeland, perpetrating horrific massacres and destroying hundreds of villages in the process. I was 13 years old at the time of our expulsion from Safad. The occasion on which Israel celebrates its creation as a state, we Palestinians mark as the darkest day in our history.
The Balfour declaration is not something that can be forgotten. Today, Palestinians number more than 12 million, and are scattered throughout the world.
Some were forced out of their homeland in 1948, with more than 6 million still living in exile to this day. Those who managed to remain in their homes number roughly 1.75 million, and live within a system of institutionalised discrimination in what is now the state of Israel.
Approximately 2.9 million live in the West Bank under a draconian military occupation-turned-colonisation, with 300,000 of that number being the native inhabitants of Jerusalem, who have so far resisted policies to force them out of their city. Two million live in the Gaza Strip, an open prison subjected to regular destruction through the full force of Israel’s military apparatus.
'la palestine" (left) | netanyahu and his wife & the original balfour declaration (right)
The Balfour declaration is not something to be celebrated – certainly not while one of the peoples affected continues to suffer such injustice.
The creation of a homeland for one people resulted in the dispossession and continuing persecution of another – now a deep imbalance between occupier and occupied. The balance must be redressed, and Britain bears a great deal of responsibility in leading the way....
We have endorsed the two-state solution for the past 30 years, a solution that becomes increasingly impossible with every passing day.
As long as the state of Israel continues to be celebrated and rewarded, rather than held accountable to universal standards for its continued violations of international law, it will have no incentive to end the occupation.
Israel, and friends of Israel, must realise that the two-state solution may well disappear, but the Palestinian people will still be here.
We will continue to strive for our freedom, whether that freedom comes through the two-state solution or ultimately through equal rights for all those inhabiting historic Palestine.
The election of Sepanta Niknam, a Zoroastrian, as a city council member in the central Iranian town of Yazd has become the topic of hot debate on the country’s political stage.
While the Guardian Council says religious minorities cannot be representatives of Muslim-majority constituencies, the administration of President Hassan Rouhani and the parliament think otherwise.
It should be noted that Niknam has already served one full term as city councilor in Yazd from 2013-2017. However, following his re-election in the May 19 municipal polls, a defeated conservative candidate filed a complaint on the grounds of Niknam's religion, arguing that it was against Iran's constitution for a member of a religious minority to make decisions on behalf of the whole population of a Muslim-majority city.
The complaint prompted the Court of Administrative Justice to issue an order suspending Niknam’s membership to the city council, basing its decision on an earlier letter by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the ultra-conservative head of the Guardian Council, which is the clerical body that vets candidates for elections.
On April 15, about one month before Iran’s local and presidential elections, Jannati issued a directive demanding that non-Muslims be disqualified from running in the then-upcoming city and village council elections in localities where most of the population are Muslims...
Reformists strongly criticized the Guardian Council decision, calling it illegal. Many political figures asked that parliament step in and revoke Jannati’s order. Even parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, himself a Principlist, opposed the decision.
On Oct. 25, Shahindokht Molaverdi, the president’s special aide on citizens’ rights, said, “There is no legal prohibition against Sepanta Niknam’s membership of the Yazd City Council — neither from a citizen’s rights point of view nor in regard to any other law.”
Presidential adviser Hesamodin Ashna also criticized the measure on Oct. 26 through a post on his Telegram channel: “Those who base Sepanta’s suspension on Islamic laws [Sharia] or legal reasons are now faced with a difficult challenge.
They must clarify their position regarding the three-dimensional identity of the Islamic Republic of Iran: ‘Islamic, Republic, Iranian.’
The words and logic of some Guardian Council jurists, their legal and Sharia discussions have become too common. The quality and political approach adopted to deal with this phenomenon will determine the future of what [our] national identity means and the effectiveness of citizens’ rights in Iran.”
Prophet Jesus (Islamic Messenger) & Pharisaism
1. The NEW TESTAMENT Jesus
"If Jesus lived today, he would be a secular humanist and would reject Christianity, just as he "rejected" Judaism and inspired Christianity. Christianity was once the vehicle for the boldest and most honest thinking about reality, the brotherhood of man, and the human condition.." (A humanist Jesus)
Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him. (Mark 12:17)
2. The GNOSTIC Jesus was the enemy of Ignorance
The heart of the human problem for the Gnostic is ignorance, sometimes called “sleep,” “intoxication,” or “blindness.” Jesus redeems man from such ignorance.
Jesus: a Spiritual (Gnostic?) Leader
Paul (New Testament) versus Legalism|
John Piper (Bethlehem Baptist Church Minnesota)
When PAUL says in a NEW TESTAMENT verse that "all who rely on works of the law are under a curse," it reminds us of 1:7, 8, where he says, "There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ."
Evidently, Paul believed that there was a teaching among the churches of Galatia which was so destructive to people and so dishonoring to God that it merited a divine curse.
It was a teaching propagated not by secular humanists from Athens but by God-fearing Jewish "Christian" church members from Jerusalem.
The reason the book of Galatians has such a radical, life-changing message is that it pronounces a curse from God not on atheistic or agnostic outsiders but on professing Christians who try to serve God in a way that diminishes his grace and cultivates their own pride.
When verse 10 says that "those who rely on works of the law are under a curse," it means that they are without the Holy Spirit (Reason, Gnosis, Wisdom).
Read also: Be a stranger in the world
According to Ethnologue, an online resource on world languages, there are more than 7,000 living languages. All of them have the same goal and function: To communicate thoughts, meanings and feelings between humans.
But can speaking the same language always allow us to express our ideas properly?
There are instances where speaking the same language does not help overcome clashes and conflicts. This is where we need more than linguistic capability to reach the minds and hearts of our fellow human beings.
This is where Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi enters in when he says, "It is better to speak the same language of the heart than speaking the same tongue."
Meaningful thoughts, expressed through language, make sense when they reach not just the minds but also the hearts of our interlocutors. They have an effect on our souls and minds when communicated through the language of the heart.
Rumi believes that all human beings are endowed with the capacity to speak this language. As a matter of fact, the Islamic intellectual tradition holds that the heart is an epistemic organ as important as the mind and the intellect.
One of the costly mistakes of modern philosophy was to turn the human heart, the seat of blissful and realized knowledge, into a purely sentimental and psychological faculty.
The mind and the heart are not each other's enemy. To the contrary, they make up and complete the human self. Without one of them, the human person becomes unfinished and rough.
Mind or reason by itself cannot convey all of our thoughts and feelings because we are more than just "thinking machines."
We are also human beings who feel for others, who pray, who cry, who enjoy beautiful things, who think about the meaning of our existence on this transient world.
Water & The Language of The Heart
Water, is a great necessity, without it nothing can live.
Water & Air in Persia
She embodied the physical and metaphorical qualities of water, especially the fertilizing flow of water from the fountain in the stars; thus She ruled over all the waters – rivers, streams, lakes, and the sea, as well as the life-giving fluids of mankind, such as semen and mother’s milk.
Zoroaster was specifically commanded by his male god to honor Her.
Described as a beautiful maiden, who is strong, tall and pure, she is depicted as wearing a mantle embroidered with gold and as holding the baresma (sacred plant) in her hand.
She is the Goddess of all the waters upon the earth, her full title being Aredvi Sura Anahita which means moist, mighty and immaculate (pure), and she travels on her chariot pulled by four horses: Wind, Rain, Cloud and Sleet (Element Water & Element Air).
The earliest known records go back to Artaxerxes II who ruled over Persia from 404 till 358 BC and who was the first to make a statue of Anahita to be placed in temples at Babylon, Susa, Ecbatana, Persepolis, Damascus and even Sardes.
"Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the Mystery, unique and not to be judged." Rumi (from Fihi-Ma-Fihi or Discourses of Rumi)
Interiors of the Dubai Metro stations feature themes adopted from the four elements of nature: water, air, fire and earth. There are12 earth-themed stations, 13 water-themed stations, 11 air-themed stations and 11 fire-themed stations.
Read also: İbrahim Kalın, Body science and Soul-science
Rumi: "Come, come, whoever you are,
Rumi's writings may be enjoyed by everyone. We still yearn for the same spiritual balance that Rumi spoke about; we still ask the same questions about the meaning of life and death that Rumi addressed.
Rumi peace is the natural quest for a "whole person," and the human being's inclination to it arises from a natural universal order. In humankind's fight to root out conflict, violence and war, Rumi's holistic view of unconditional love may prove one of our best friends...
Islam today is challenged with critical problems within the Muslim world.
Islam is challenged to address the misguided and hostile youth and their negative attitudes, that can no longer be tolerated or ignored.
However, the moderate argument is not strong enough to influence change. What is needed at this stage is the acceptance of Muslim societies of modern ideas and global coexistence.
A renaissance of ijtihad is needed to address the distorted interpretations of Islamic values and principles.
In humankind's fight to root out conflict, violence and war, |
Rumi's holistic view of unconditional love
may prove one of our best friends.
Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam, supported by Saudi-Arabia
Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional arch foes.
While Riyadh supports the Syrian 'Islamist Revolution', Iran and Hezbollah are main backers of Syria's secular Bashar al-Assad regime.
Sabhan: "Sad over Lebanon’s situation due to Hezbollah"
Flashback: Al-Sabhan Calls for 'Toppling Hizbullah',
Sabhan: "What's an intellectual?"
Iran's foreign ministry said Hariri's resignation would lead to tension in Lebanon and the region.
In a statement published on the ministry's website, Bahram Qassemi, a spokesman, said: "The resigning Lebanese prime minister's repetition of the unrealistic and unfounded accusations of the Zionists, Saudis and Americans against Iran is an indication that this resignation is a new scenario for creating tension in Lebanon and the region.
"The sudden resignation of Mr Hariri and his statement in another country is not only surprising and regrettable but is also an indication of his playing a game designed by those who want ill for the region, and the winner of this game is not Arabic or Muslim countries but the Zionists."
Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi, reporting from Tehran, said: "The alliance between Hezbollah and Iran is no secret to anyone. It began and flourished in the 1980s when Lebanon was occupied by Israeli military forces.
"In more recent times, Hezbollah has been a key strategic partner for Iran in the conflict in Syria and is an important reason why Bashar al-Assad is still in power in Syria.
Speaking from Beirut, Kamel Wazne, a Lebanese political analyst, told Al Jazeera: "This is a surprise coup by all measures. Everything was fine within the country.
"There is an election coming up. Everybody is talking about planning for of the economic future of the country, and a call came from Saudi Arabia and everything changed.
"This comes in light of imminent American sanctions against Lebanon, certain threats coming from Israel and escalation by the Saudis.
"I think the prime minister probably caved in to the demands of the Saudis and he declared his resignation from Saudi Arabia. This does not bode very well for the stability of Lebanon."
Saad-eddine Rafiq Al-Hariri ( born 18 April 1970) is a Saudi-Lebanese billionaire who served as the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 2009 until 2011.
In 2011, an official of the Future Movement warned that Shia Hezbollah "has all the characteristics of a terrorist party", and that Hezbollah is moving Lebanon toward the Iranian Shi'ite Islamic system of government.
On 12 December 2012, Syria issued an arrest warrants against Hariri, Future bloc deputy Okab Sakr and Free Syrian Army official Louay Meqdad in regard to the allegations of arming and providing financial support for Syrian opposition groups. (Wikipedia info)
Flashback 2012: Hariri calls Assad ‘monster,’ rejects warrants
Lebanese Army and other security services in the country denied Prime Minister Saad Hariri claims that there have been plans to assassinate him.
In a statement released by its Directorate of Orientation on Sunday, the Lebanese Army said: “Based on investigations, arrests and information there have been no plans to carry out assassination attacks in the country.”
Earlier on Saturday PM Hariri announced his resignation from Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, citing fears on his life.
Just two hours after his announcement, Saudi-owned TV network Al-Arabiyah, reported that the Lebanese security services had foiled an assassination attempt on Hariri. However, Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF), denied such claims also on Saturday, saying it “had no information on this”.
Al-Mayadin, a Lebanese news channel, quoted Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s General Security, as saying that he was not aware of any information about an assassination plot against political figures in Lebanon.
Gordon Brown has claimed the UK was “misled” over the Iraq war because the US defence department failed to pass on information casting doubt on Saddam Hussein’s destructive capability.
The former prime minister, who was chancellor when the decision to go to war in 2003 was made, said it was “astonishing” that top-secret US intelligence was not shared with Britain
He claimed that only after leaving office did he become aware of “crucial” papers held by the US Department of Defense and believes the course of history could have been different had the information been shared.
In his memoir My Life, Our Times, Brown said: “We now know from classified American documents that in the first days of September 2002 a report prepared by the US joint chiefs of staff’s director for intelligence landed on the desk of the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. “Commissioned by Rumsfeld to identify gaps in the US intelligence picture, it is now clear how forcibly this report challenged the official view."
“If I am right that somewhere within the American system the truth about Iraq’s lack of weapons was known, then we were not just misinformed but misled on the critical issue of WMDs."
“Given that Iraq had no usable chemical, biological or nuclear weapons that it could deploy and was not about to attack the coalition, then two tests of a just war were not met: war could not be justified as a last resort and invasion cannot now be seen as a proportionate response.”
Brown said that British intelligence which he and Blair saw in 2002 suggested a capability, if not a production programme, for weapons of mass destruction.
However, the top-secret US report is said to have conceded that knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear programme was based largely – perhaps 90 per cent – on analysis of imprecise intelligence.
Brown claimed the paper suggested that previous assessments relied “heavily on analytic assumptions” rather than hard evidence.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri during a meeting in Cairo that Egypt rejects attempts at foreign interference in Lebanon’s domestic affairs, Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.
The statement is the first by Egypt on the situation in Lebanon after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri announced his resignation on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia.
Rady said that the meeting included discussions on the latest developments in Lebanon’s domestic affairs, where Berri stressed the importance of reconciliation between Lebanon’s political powers, preserving the national interest and reaching political stability.
El-Sisi expressed Egypt’s support and its wish to see the preservation of peace and security in Lebanon, stressing the importance of averting internal tension as well as religious or doctrinal extremism.
The president added that he has confidence in the Lebanese factions’ ability to safeguard Lebanon.
“Only the people of Lebanon should be the ones to reach a political formulation that satisfies them and accomplishes the interests of the Lebanese nation,” the statement added.
Wikipedia info: Nabih Berri was always and is still a major supporter of the dialogue between all Lebanese parties, religions and sects.
During the last national dialogue session in May 2014, Speaker Nabih Berri stressed that "power-sharing between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon would not change under any circumstance," adding that he spoke on behalf of Shiites, Sunnis and the Druze.
Lebanese Justice Minister Salim Jreissati says Saad Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon’s prime minister from Saudi Arabia on Saturday, should return to the country and his resignation should be formally considered by President Michel Aoun.
Hariri reached an agreement with political factions in Lebanon in 2016 to become prime minister. But he said he was stepping down in an abrupt announcement broadcast from Riyadh on Saturday, in what has been widely seen as a move taken under Saudi pressure.
After a meeting of high-level officials chaired by President Aoun, Jreissati said on Monday that Hariri’s resignation “must be voluntary in every sense,” signaling that the Lebanese government regards the sudden move as involuntary.
Hariri’s resignation is also largely seen as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to undermine Hezbollah.
On Sunday, Hezbollah’s secretary general also said that Hariri’s resignation had not been voluntary. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah noted that the real reason for Hariri’s resignation had to be sought in Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi minister, Thamer al-Sabhan, has made upbeat remarks about Hariri’s resignation, saying Lebanon “will never be the same” after his resignation.
“Lebanon, after the resignation, will never be as it was before. We will not allow it — in any form — to be a platform for terrorism against our countries...” Sabhan reportedly tweeted on Monday.
Sabhan had been assigned as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iraq. Baghdad asked Riyadh to change him because he was interfering in Iraqi domestic affairs. Sabhan was then named the Saudi minister of state for Persian Gulf affairs.
Flashback: BAGHDAD 2016
A new crisis between Iraq and Saudi Arabia has emerged over Riyadh's ambassador to Baghdad Thamer al-Sabhan amid calls by the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to replace him.
Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Jamal said Aug. 28, 2016, “Saudi Ambassador Thamer al-Sabhan made several media statements that went beyond the bounds of diplomatic protocol and functions of any ambassador. Therefore, we believe that Sabhan is impeding the development of the bilateral relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”
He added, “The Iraqi government sent a request to the Saudi government to replace current Saudi Ambassador Thamer al-Sabhan." (Al-Monitor 2016)
Stunned Lebanese fear that Prime Minister Saad Hariri's surprise resignation last weekend — announced from Saudi Arabia in a pre-recorded message — was a "power play by the kingdom aimed at wrecking a delicate compromise with Hizbullah and taking a swipe at regional rival Iran."
The move has thrown Lebanon into turmoil, potentially dragging the small nation back into the regional fight for supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran — at a time when Iran and its allies are seen to have won the proxy war against Saudi-backed forces in neighboring Syria.
In Syria, Hizbullah and other Iranian-backed fighters allied with President Bashar Assad's forces have recaptured large areas and are working to secure a much-prized land corridor stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
By contrast, Saudi Arabia has been stuck in a fruitless war in Yemen against Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, and a Saudi bid to isolate Qatar has failed to achieve its goals.
Hariri's resignation could mean another long period without a government for Lebanon, at a time when its economy is struggling under a public debt that has reached more than $75 billion — 140 percent of its gross domestic product, a debt-to-GDP ratio that is among the highest in the world.
According to Lebanon's power-sharing deal, the president should be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shiite.
But given Hariri's wide support among Sunnis, it may be difficult for any Sunni politician to assume the post of prime minister without alienating the Sunni community.
And it will be impossible to form a Cabinet without Hizbullah, since the group and its allies enjoy wide support among both Shiites and Christians.
While the US was quick to endorse the allegation against Iran, despite a lack of evidence, neither they nor the European Union appear to be supportive of any Saudi chicanery against Lebanon, as both reaffirmed their support for the nation Wednesday.
US officials say they’re committed to a “stable, secure” Lebanon, while the European Union reaffirmed their support for the nation’s sovereignty.
Neither of these is in keeping with narratives coming out of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi threats, and a flurry of rumors based off of them, have seen Lebanon’s bond market crumble all week, with growing expectations that the Saudis, already in the process of invading Yemen, intend to do something to Lebanon as part of their proxy war against Iran.
Israel has instructed its overseas embassies to lobby their respective host countries in support of Saudi Arabia and its apparent efforts to destabilise Lebanon, a recently leaked diplomatic cable shows.
The cable appears to be the first formal confirmation of rumours that Israel and Saudi Arabia are colluding to stoke tensions in the region.
Sent by the Israeli foreign ministry and disclosed by Israel's Channel 10 news this week, the cable demanded that diplomats stress Iran and Hezbollah’s engagement in "regional subversion".
That closely echoes accusations Riyadh levelled against Tehran and the Lebanese faction in recent days.
The cable comes as Saudi Arabia has dramatically escalated its rhetoric against Iran and Hezbollah.
On Thursday, the Saudi foreign ministry told its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately after it accused Hezbollah earlier in the week of "declaring war" on the kingdom. That followed the resignation of Saad Hariri as Lebanon’s prime minister.
The leaked cable instructed Israeli diplomats "to stress that the Hariri resignation shows how dangerous Iran and Hezbollah are for Lebanon's security".
The diplomats were told to appeal to the "highest officials" in their host countries to press for Hezbollah’s expulsion from the Lebanese government.
"Hariri's resignation proves wrong the argument that Hezbollah participation in the government stabilises Lebanon," the cable says. It further called on Israeli diplomats to back Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen, emphasising that the missile directed at Riyadh required "more pressure on Iran and Hezbollah".
From the moment Saad al-Hariri's plane touched down in Saudi Arabia on Friday November 3, he was in for a surprise.
"When Hariri's plane landed in Riyadh, he got the message immediately that something was wrong," a Hariri source told Reuters news agency. "There was no one was waiting for him."
"From the moment he arrived they (Saudis) showed no respect for the man," another senior Lebanese political source said.
Hariri was summoned to the kingdom to meet King Salman in a phone call on Thursday night, November 2.
Before departing, he told his officials they would resume their discussions on Monday. He told his media team he would see them at the weekend in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, where he was due to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum.
Hariri went to his Riyadh home. His family made their fortune in Saudi Arabia and have long had properties there. The source close to Hariri said the Lebanese leader received a call from a Saudi protocol official on Saturday morning, who asked him to attend a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Hariri sources say Hariri believed he had convinced Saudi officials of the need to maintain an entente with Hezbollah for the sake of Lebanon's stability.
"What happened in those meetings, I believe, is that (Hariri) revealed his position on how to deal with Hezbollah in Lebanon: that confrontation would destabilise the country. I think they didn't like what they heard," said one of the sources, who was briefed on the meetings.
The source said Hariri told Thamer al-Sabhan not to "hold us responsible for something that is beyond my control or that of Lebanon". But Hariri underestimated the Saudi position on Hezbollah, the source said. "For the Saudis it is an existential battle. It's black and white. We in Lebanon are used to gray," the source said.
Sources close to Hariri said the Saudis were trying to orchestrate a change of leadership in Hariri's Future Movement by installing his elder brother Bahaa, who was overlooked for the top job when their father was killed. The two have been at odds for years.
In a statement, the Future Movement said it stood fully behind Hariri as its leader.
Hariri aide and Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk dismissed the idea Bahaa was being positioned to replace his brother: "We are not herds of sheep or a plot of land whose ownership can be moved from one person to another. In Lebanon things happen though elections not pledges of allegiances."
Black (Assad) & White (Islamists
Flashback: Thamer al-Sabhan said on Jan. 25, 2016 that he did not mean to interfere in the internal affairs of any state. Saudi Arabia does not accept any armed group outside the legitimacy of the state, whether it was Sunni or Shiite. (Al-Monitor, 11-2-2016)