Saddam's Death, 105 (november 2017)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 104: oct 2017 and Page 106: nov 2017, part 2
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Two Messiah's - Kennedy Speech 1961 - Eisenhower's Social Gospel
"I Have, I Rule and I will Destroy" - Iran & the dialogue of civilizations
Netanyahu & Infantilization of Israel
Jesus & Pophet Muhammed: "Be a stranger in the world" - Ideological Warfare Center
Jewish fundamentalism in the State of Palestine - Palestinian Martyrs and Jewish Heroes
The Balfour Declaration
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)

"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries.
What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."

Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002

"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003

A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.

"That is the issue that will continue in this country... It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle.
The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings." Abraham Lincoln (October 15, 1858 Debate at Alton, Illinois)

"Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!" Abraham Lincoln (February 22, 1842 Temperance Address)

"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon

“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)

"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...."
"For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy.
Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)

Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu

"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)

Zoroastrian takes center stage on Iran’s political scene
The suspension of an elected Zoroastrian city council member stirs heated debate.
Saeid Jafari, Al-Monitor, November 2, 2017

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

was a defender of Secularism (the separation of religion from state) and Humanism

"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)
You are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9)

2. The GNOSTIC Jesus was the enemy of Ignorance
(during the first centuries Christianity was Gnosticism)

The heart of the human problem for the Gnostic is ignorance, sometimes called “sleep,” “intoxication,” or “blindness.” Jesus redeems man from such ignorance.
Jesus is a dispenser of wisdom, not the crucified and resurrected Lord.
In the Valentinian system “there is no need whatsoever for guilt, for repentance from so-called sin, neither is there a need for a blind belief in vicarious salvation by way of the death of Jesus.”
Rather, Jesus is savior in the sense of being a “spiritual maker of wholeness” who cures us of our sickness of ignorance. (The Gnostic Jesus)

Iranian Messianism:
Iran will embrace the Spirit of Jesus

Iranian Shiites believe that at the end of times, the 12th Imam, Mahdi, a 9th century prophet, will reappear with Jesus Christ at his side..
In the picture the Chief of Staff ofIslam Republic of Iran, Major General Sayyid Hassan Firouzabadi is seen while kissing the book called "The Prophet Jesus and Hazrat Mahdi Will Come This Century" as an expression of his appreciation.

The Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, Major General Sayyid Hassan Firouzabadi, who is known with his closeness to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, noted "Today’s world is enthusiastic for a justice-dispersing Saviour [Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh)] and the emergence of the rule of justice..." (Read more: Saddam's Death, page 67)

Jesus: a Spiritual (Gnostic?) Leader
Qur’anic Passages about Jesus
Believe in the prophets and make no difference between us and them

2:87 We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and we strengthened him with the holy spirit
2:136 We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord:
We make no difference between one and another of them...

4 :171 O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers.

9:31 They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah...; yet they were commanded to worship but One God: there is no god but He...

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

Speaking the language of the heart in an age of lost meaning
Ibrahim Kalin, Daily Sabah, 4-11-2017

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.
Thales of Miletus concluded that water was the beginning of all things and the first of all elements and most potent because of its mastery over the rest.
In the Qur’an the ideas of mercy and water, especially rain, are inseparable
Water is a cleansing, healing, psychic, and loving element. It is the feeling of friendship and love that pours over us when we are with our family, friends and loved ones. Love is the underlying reason for all magic. Water is love. Water rules the Soul...
Water is a feminine element, it also the element of emotion and subconscious, of purification, intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. It is psychic ability; water can be used as a means of scrying or as an object for meditation.

WATER, honored by the 'FIRE-people'

One of the earliest of the Great Mothers, Anahita was the ancient Persian Goddess of water...
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).

Avesta - ABAN YASHT ("Hymn to the Waters").
From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898.

Ahura Mazda spake unto Spitama Zarathushtra, saying: 'Offer up a sacrifice, O Spitama Zarathushtra! unto this spring of mine, Ardvi Sura Anahita, the wide-expanding and health-giving, who hates the Daevas and obeys the laws of Ahura, who is worthy of sacrifice in the material world, worthy of prayer in the material world; the life-increasing and holy, the herd-increasing and holy, the fold-increasing and holy, the wealth-increasing and holy, the country-increasing and holy...

'Offer up a sacrifice, O Spitama Zarathushtra! unto this spring of mine, Ardvi Sura Anahita....
'Whom four horses carry, all white, of one and the same color, of the same blood, tall, crushing down the hates of all haters, of the Daevas and men, of the Yatus and Pairikas, of the oppressors, of the blind and of the deaf.

Ardvi Sura Anahita to Zarathustra: "O pure, holy Spitama! this is the sacrifice wherewith thou shalt worship me, this is the sacrifice wherewith thou shalt worship and forward me, from the time when the sun is rising to the time when the sun is setting.
'"Of this libation of mine thou shalt drink, thou who art an Athravan, who hast asked and learnt the revealed law, who art wise, clever, and the Word incarnate.
"Of this libation of mine let no foe drink, no man fever-sick, no liar, no coward, no jealous one...
'"I do not accept those libations that are drunk in my honor by the blind, by the deaf, by the wicked, by the destroyers, by the niggards...., nor any of those stamped with those characters which have no strength for the holy Word...

Zoroastrian Temple in Iran: Fire (Mithra) and Water (Anahita)

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.
It was this same king who put the name of Anahita directly after that of Ahuramazda (Wisdom) and before that of Mithra (Fire) – a clear sign of her importance. The inscription left by Artaxerxes II at Susa confirms this: “By the will of Ahuramazda, Anahita and Mithra, I built this palace”.

"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)

Rumi: "Come, come, whoever you are,
It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair..."
Daily Sabah, Turkey, 14-10-2016

Rumi, was born on September 20, 1207 in Balkh, which was part of the Persian empire.

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.
These tensions throughout the Muslim world must be confronted with a new and more realistic approach. Today serious and significant debates are taking place in many parts of the Muslim world.
Obviously there is a confrontation between Muslim intellectuals and the conservative elements of their societies.

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.
The prevalent perception that the extremist ideology is the only correct one has misguided the Muslim youth for too long.
Muslim societies need enlightened scholars who can interpret the old and introduce the new to serve Islamic ideals...

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.

Ancient Persian temple could rewrite religious history
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 6-11-2017

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Persian temple from the fifth century B.C. in Turkey's northern Amasya province that could rewrite the history of the region.
Istanbul University Archaeology Professor Şevket Dönmez said discoveries at the ancient Persian Oluz Höyük settlement in Toklucak village have the potential to change long-held notions of religion and culture in Anatolia.
In 11 seasons of excavations, the team uncovered thousands of artifacts, as well as temple structure.
"In this settlement from the fifth century B.C., we discovered a temple complex which is related to a fire culture, more precisely to the early Zoroastrian religion, or to the very original religious life of Anatolian people," Dönmez told Anadolu Agency.
Zoroastrianism, one of the world's oldest extant religions, is believed to have originated from the prophet Zoroaster in present-day Iran.
The discovery of a temple for fire worship suggests the religion may have had roots in Anatolia, as well.
"[With this discovery] Anatolia has entered the sacred geography of today's Zoroastrians," said Dönmez.
Describing the temple, Dönmez said it includes a holy room for burning fires and other stone-paved areas with many goods used in worship practices. "They built a massive religion system here," added Dönmez.
Excavations at Oluz Höyük started in 2007, after the site was first discovered during surface research near Tokluca village in 1999.

Russian Army meets with Islamist commanders in northern Homs
By Chris Tomson, Al-Masdar News, 06/11/2017

In an unexpected turn of events, a Russian delegation arrived in rebel-held northern Homs on Monday to negotiate with local Islamist groups over the possibility of reopening the M5 Highway which runs vertically through the rebel pocket.
The meeting took place at the crossing into Dart Kabeera town; new revelations confirm that five Islamist commanders from various rebel factions attended the talks although the outcome of the negotiation is yet to be revealed.
Footage of the meeting shows heavily armed Russian bodyguards entering the rebel stronghold while Syrian militants armed with AK-47’s allowed the reconciliation delegation to pass safely by.
Amid a wider bid to mend ties with rebel forces in the Homs pocket and reinforce the de-escalation agreement, the Russian Army hopes to establish checkpoints along the M5 Highway to allow trade to flow more easily between the cities of Hama and Homs.
It has not yet transpired what terms Islamist commanders want in return; however, speculations indicate that they wish for a no-fly zone to be inforced over northern Homs.
Regardless, the large presence of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) fighters is said to be the main obstacle to negotiations as the Russian Army wishes to exclude the Al-Qaeda aligned group from any coming deal.

Russia may keep its bases in Syria after terrorists defeated
Al-Masdar News, 07/11/2017

The Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides cooperates with National Reconciliation Committees to assist refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return back home. (

The Russian military has said its military operation in Syria is coming to a conclusion as more than 90 percent of the territory of the war-torn country had been freed from terrorists.
The scale of withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria after the defeat of Daesh terrorists will depend on the situation, but both Russian military bases will most likely stay in the country, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik.
Syromolotov added that Daesh still controls some 10 percent of the territory it used to control, while the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front, a terrorist group banned in Russia) is still active, and the fight against it continues.
Apart from that, there are numerous separate groups in Syria that sometimes fight under the flags of larger organizations, and sometimes act on their own, the deputy foreign minister added.
“Sometimes, very unexpected actors join the fight, ones that were not represented on the field, and then they appeared and the situation changes drastically,” Syromolotov explained.
He added that the elections in Iraqi Kurdistan, both presidential and parliamentary, set for July 2018, could also affect further development of the situation in the region. “Therefore it is pointless right now to guarantee [something] and set time frames,” Syromolotov concluded.
Russia has two bases in Syria, namely the Hmeimim airbase and the naval facility in Tartus. Apart from them, the Reconciliation Center of the Russian Defense Ministry is also working in Syria.

Bashar al-Assad: Pan-Arabism must become civilized concept
and social practice that bolster belonging and identity
Syrian Aran News Agency, 7 November 2017

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad received a number of Arab writers and intellectual figures who participated in the “Arab Reality after 100 Years of the Balfour Declaration” conference which was hosted in Damascus during the past couple of days.
Discussions during the meeting touched on the aspects of the terrorist war against Syria, specifically the aspect relating to issues of identity and belonging which are among the most dangerous aspects of this war as they pose an existential threat to the entire Arab nation.

President al-Assad stressed that what is happening in Syria currently is an extension in one way or another for the attempts of intellectual and ideological invasion and distorting the concept of identity that have been targeting the Arab nation for over a hundred years.
He affirmed the necessity of adhering to the true identity of the region which is based on preserving the culturally-harmonious diversity.
President al-Assad underlined the role of intellectual figures in making sure that pan-Arabism doesn’t remain limited to politics, party theories, and dialogue among select groups; rather it must become a civilized concept and a social practice that bolster the concepts of belonging and identity among youths and future generations.

Pan-Arabism or Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification of the countries of North Africa and West Asia from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, referred to as the Arab world.

Its popularity was at its height during the 1950s and 1960s. Advocates of pan-Arabism have often espoused socialist principles and strongly opposed Western political involvement in the Arab world.
Pan-Arabism was first pressed by Sharif Hussein ibn Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, who sought independence for the Mashreq Arabs from the Ottoman Empire, and the establishment of a unified Arab state in the Mashreq.
In 1915 and 1916, the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence resulted in an agreement between the United Kingdom and the Sharif that if the Mashreq Arabs revolted successfully against the Ottomans, the United Kingdom would support claims for Mashreq Arab independence.
In 1916, however, the Sykes-Picot Agreement between the United Kingdom and France determined that parts of the Mashreq would be divided between those powers rather than forming part of an independent Arab state.
When the Ottoman Empire surrendered in 1918, the United Kingdom refused to keep to the letter of its arrangements with Hussein, and the two nations assumed guardianship of Mesapotamia, Lebanon, Palestine and what became modern Syria.

A more formalized pan-Arab ideology than that of Hussein was first espoused in the 1930s, notably by Syrian thinkers such as Constantin Zureiq, Sati' al-Husri, Zaki al-Arsuzi and Michel Aflaq.
Although pan-Arabism began at the time of World War I, Egypt (the most populous and arguably most important Arabic-speaking country) was not interested in pan-Arabism prior to the 1950s. Under Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, pan-Arabism dominated politics in the 1950s and 1960s.
The current Syrian government is and the former government of Iraq was led by rival factions of the Ba'ath Party, which continues to espouse pan-Arabism and is organised in several other countries. (Wikipedia info)

Flashback 2011 - Georgetown University Professor:
AL decision will lead to division in Syria

The decision made by the Arab League (AL) to suspend Syria will lead to division in Syria and across the Arab world, a political analyst tells Press TV.
Professor Daoud Khairallah of Georgetown University, Washington, said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday that the Arab League is seeking to “create more discord within Syria, encouraging certain parts against others.”
The Arab organization wants to “promote some kind of confessional sectarian strife inside the Syrian society,” Khairallah added.
On Saturday, the Arab League announced the suspension of Syria and called for sanctions to be imposed on the country.

The decision of the Arab League is basically against the charter and is in violation of the express provisions of the charter,” Khairallah said.
“Article 8 of the charter of the Arab League prohibits any member country from interfering in the internal affairs [of other member states] especially with respect to regime change or form of government change,” the political analyst further explained.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Chairman of the Arab-International Center for Communication, M'aen Bashshour, indicated that the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers brings to the mind similar scenes during the attack against Iraq and the aggression against Lebanon in 2006 and the Zionist aggression against Gaza, in addition to the period shortly before dividing Sudan, and particularly when the AL provided an umbrella to the NATO aggression against Libya under the pretext of protecting the civilians.
Professor Jamal al-Rifai from the Cairo-based Ein Shams University stressed that the conspiracy hatched against Syria is very tightened and aims at undermining the last fortress of pan-Arabism in the region. (ChamPress 13-11-2011)

Arab Nationalisme & Humanism
Scott Morrison, in: Islam, Socialism and Arabism

An essential aspect of Arab nationalism is its humanism. Well-being and the development of human capacities are central.
Michel Aflaq, the chief ideologue of earlier Arab socialist and pan-Arabist parties in the 1940s and 1950s compares nationalism to the ‘soil’ or ‘theatre’ of humanity; humanism is rooted in the idea of the Arab mission. Humanism is, on his view, part and parcel of Arab nationalism:
“Humanism is not a social or political condition that can be achieved materially in history, but a spirit, direction, ideals that take root in the constitution of the peoples and nations, colour their cultures and orient their conduct and morals. Humanism, therefore, accompanies nationalism and is not its follower.”
Aflaq sought to distance Arab nationalism from the western origins of nationalism, and the bloody forms that nationalism often took there. “The similarity between us and the West is in fact very remote or non-existent…Our nationalist movement…started as the most humane response to the oppression of man by man […], to the human condition as a whole. This nationalism has emerged ripened by all the sufferings sustained by us as if we sustained them on behalf of all the peoples of the earth.”

The end of humanism & the Triumph of Kitsch, or:
The Haunting of Aflaq’s Tomb in Iraq
Aron Lund, Carnegie Endowment, March 10, 2014

In 2003 the Iraqi capital fell to the invading U.S. Army. Central Baghdad was sealed off and turned into the Green Zone, a heavily securitized area for government offices and foreign forces, catered to by an anthill of foreign and Iraqi contractors.
The mausoleum of Aflaq, who had dedicated his life to expelling Western forces from the Arab world, ended up inside the Green Zone.
An American civilian contractor visited it in 2006 and found that it had been put to use in unintended ways:
When you look inside, and before you get to the headstone, you pass a foosball table. Weights and a bench press are adjacent to the tomb. The US military has converted the interior to a rec room.
A dusty chandelier is attached to the ceiling, which is decorated with a sort of faux-mosaic. The walls have been covered with wood, for reasons that are not immediately evident. Perhaps to allow for bookshelves? Two stairs lead down from either side of the grave to cramped, makeshift barracks constructed with plywood. There are dozens of soldiers who live beneath Aflaq’s grave.
To have his mausoleum turned into a gym for occupying U.S. soldiers would seem bad enough an afterlife for the man who dedicated his life to radical Arab nationalism. But as it turned out, this was only the beginning of Aflaq’s postmortem tribulations.
A few years later, as the U.S. presence in Iraq drew to an end, the Aflaq mausoleum was turned into a shopping mall.
Journalists from the U.S. military magazine Stars & Stripes passed by in 2010 and noted that Aflaq’s grave now hosted a supermarket stuffed with kitsch goods, “selling pirated DVDs, jogging suits and miniature carpets emblazoned with the words ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ to U.S. soldiers and security guards from Peru and Uganda.”
Whatever deeper meaning one might find in this, it was hardly the epitaph that Aflaq hoped for.

The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity
Bashar al-Assad, speech 10-1-2012

The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam.
Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. ...
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage...
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions.
It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness.
Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. ...
The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic.
It is a condition of civilization.

A World Power Arose...
The words MK Edelstein would add to the Balfour Declaration
Arutz Sheva, 8-11-2017

Oxford dictionary, definition of might is right:
"Those who are powerful can do what they wish unchallenged,
even if their action is in fact unjustified.
He believed that might was right and woe betide anyone who stood in his way

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) took part in the festive Knesset session marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
"The Balfour Declaration was the first time in modern history that a world power arose and told the truth: The Land of Israel is the ancient and sole homeland of the Jewish people, and they have the unshakable right to rebuild their national home," said Edelstein.
"If I had the right today to add a few words to the 67 words written in the Balfour Declaration and give it a current and personal touch, I would add:
'On the 100th anniversary of the declaration, the State of Israel must declare and even commit itself to all its citizens to strive for peace between its neighbors and to cultivate its entire population without giving up parts of the homeland ...
The State of Israel must fortify its borders and continue the momentum of construction throughout the country, including the north, the south, the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria," Edelstein concluded.

The Balfour Declaration

US Threatens to Pull Out of UNHRC Unless It Ends Criticism of Israel
Palestine Chronicle, November 7, 2017

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned the UN Human Rights Council that the US is ready to pull out of the inter-governmental body unless it changes its attitude towards Israel.
Speaking over the weekend at the annual Washington conference of the Israeli American Council, Haley once again struck out at the UN over its alleged bias against Israel.
Haley told the applauding audience that the US is ready to pull out unless the UN institute reforms including removing Israel as a permanent item on its agenda.
The former governor of South Carolina reiterated longstanding US demands on the Human Rights Council to remove Item Seven, which requires a report on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”, every time the Council meets.

Haley also revealed that the US delegation was working to block the publication of a list compiled by the UN of companies doing business in illegal settlement.
Last month the UN announced that it was planning to blacklist companies that violate international law by doing business in occupied Palestinian territories.
Up to 190 companies (130 Israeli and 60 international) received threatening letters from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

The Language Of The Heart

Away in a manger no crib for a bed,
The little lord jesus laid down his sweet head
The stars in the bright sky
looked down where he lay...

What can I give Him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him..., I give my heart.

'Unjust misconceptions lead to
under-appreciation of women's role in Egypt'
Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 Nov 2017

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi expressed in a speech on Wednesday his appreciation for the role of Egyptian women, highlighting that some unjust societal misconceptions have led to under-appreciation of women's role in maintaining the family and raising the youth, and thus should be corrected.
El--Sisi gave the speech during a seminar on women's role in society, which was held on the sidelines of the World Youth forum that is taking place in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Shiekh from 4 to 10 November.
The president also said that empowering women is not only dependent upon their appointment in leading political roles, and called for more efforts to be exerted in media, educational, and religious institutions to highlight the great role women play in Egyptian society.
"Real men should appreciate the role of women and their sacrifices in defending our nation," El-Sisi said, calling upon youth participants in the forum to take a bow in honor of women's role.

Thanks to calls and initiatives for gender equality in Egypt over the past several decades, women have gained significant representation in political life. However, their social roles are still undermined by ultra-conservative and anti-liberal currents due to culturally inherited misconceptions.
Article 11 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution states that "the state shall ensure the achievement of equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution."

Flashback - Shahindokht Molaverdi: "Iranian women are
the most educated and emancipated in the Middle East"
Giulia Mazza, Asia News 13-2-2015

Shahindokht Molaverdi (Iranian vice president) spoke to AsiaNews about the status of women in her country. Iranian women are in a better position than those of other Islamic nations of the area in terms of education, university enrolment and health. In Iran, efforts are being made to boost women's participation and representation in politics and the economy.
During the press briefing, she noted that Iran's female population stands out in the education field. "There is no comparison with other Muslim countries in the region in terms of education, university enrolment and percentage of graduates. At present, 60 per cent of university students are women. Half of all educated people are women."
Such a good literacy level also has positive effects on health. "Women's well-being is better than in other countries," Ms Molaverdi told AsiaNews.
However, "When it comes to participation in the economy, the journey is still long," the vice president explained. "The same goes for income. For the same job, women earn less than men."
One of the most important points of the current government's programme "is to increase the presence of women in politics and decision-making positions," she said. "Our goal is to give women access to the economic and policies resources they are entitled to and deserve.

Jila Shariatpanahi, a physicist on Iran's nuclear programme between 1975 and 1987, has studied Islamic texts closely and says their interpretation, not the actual words, is to blame:
"I have reached the conclusion that we need to present new interpretations of Islamic texts. If we have this there won't be this much discrimination imposed on women on religious grounds," she said.
"Traditionalists exist in all societies and one of their characteristics is that they fear change, and fear what could replace them," said Somayeh Tahmasebi, head of the women's section of "The List of Hope", a coalition backing Rouhani.

Khaled Batarfi (Jeddah, Saoedi-Arabië ): Let's Go Back

"I ask we go back 1400 years, to the time of the Prophet, when women could ride and drive, trade and fight, judge and rule in legislation and government.
Men, then, didn’t feel bad about it.
Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) worked for his merchant wife, Khadeja, and told his companions to consult his other wife, Aesha, in their religious affairs. Women argued with him and his Caliphs in public.
When women were right, great men like the second Caliph, Omar, admitted their mistakes and revised laws accordingly. As for fight, we owe a great woman warrior the life of our Prophet. She was the one who defended him in the battle of Ohud when most men ran away.
How come after fourteen centuries of progress we still don’t have women ministers, ulemas, or even Shoura members?"

women in assad's syria

Surah Al Ahzab (The Clans 28-29):
The discourse contained in vv. 28-35 consists of two parts.
In the first part, Allah has given a notice to the wives of the Holy Prophet, who were being impatient of the straitened circumstances, to the effect:
"Choose between the world and its adornments, and Allah, His Prophet and the Hereafter.
If you seek the former, you should say so openly: you will not be kept back in hardship even for a day, but will be sent off gracefully.
But if you seek the latter, you should cooperate with Allah and His messenger and bear patiently." (

Stay away from FETÖ terrorists, PM Yıldırım tells US Muslims
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 8-11-2017

There is no difference between Daesh and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Thursday, adding that both terror groups flout the sacred values of Islam.
Both terrorist groups have threatened the peace in Muslim countries, Yıldırım told a crowd in a speech at the Diyanet Center of America (DCA), also known as the Turkish-American Community Center and Mosque Complex in Lanham, Maryland.
The Turkish premier decried how FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen, who is still living in the U.S.: "The leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization is no cleric, he is a bloody terrorist," Yıldırım said.
He warned Muslims living in the U.S. to "stay away from schools and cultural centers affiliated with the FETÖ network."
"Don't take FETÖ supporters among you and don't allow them to mislead you," he added.

Ankara has been seeking the extradition of Fetullah Gülen from the U.S. since last year's attempted coup.
Yıldırım is expected to discuss the extradition issue with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday at the White House, and to press for quicker action on the issue.

Flashback: Meet Fethullah Gülen, the World’s Top Public Intellectual
Foreign Policy, 4-8-2008

When Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine asked readers to vote for the world’s top public intellectual, one man won in a landslide: Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, an inspirational leader to millions of followers around the world and persona non grata to many in his native Turkey, where some consider him a threat to the country’s secular order.
In a rare interview, Gülen speaks to FP about terrorism, political ambitions, and why his movement is so misunderstood.

-- Foreign Policy: How do you feel about being named the worlds top public intellectual?
-- Fethullah Glen: I have never imagined being or wished to be chosen as something important in the world. I have always tried to be a humble servant of God and a humble member of humanity.
The Koran says that humanity has been created to recognize and worship God and, as a dimension of this worship, to improve the world in strict avoidance of corruption and bloodshed.
It requires treating all things and beings with deep compassion. This is my philosophy, which obliges me to remain aloof from all worldly titles and ranks.

-- FP: Do you harbor any political ambitions?
-- FG: I have never had, nor will I ever have, any [political] ambitions. The only thing on which I have always set my heart is being able to gain Gods good pleasure and, therefore, trying to make him known correctly and loved by humanity.

-- FP: Where does Islam fit in a Muslims political life?
-- FG: Islam as a religion focuses primarily on the immutable aspects of life and existence, whereas a political system concerns only social aspects of our worldly life.
Islams basic principles of belief, worship, morality, and behavior are not affected by changing times.
Islam does not propose a certain unchangeable form of government or attempt to shape it. Islam has never offered nor established a theocracy in its name.
Instead, Islam establishes fundamental principles that orient a governments general character. So, politics can be a factor neither in shaping Islam nor directing Muslims acts and attitudes in Islams name.

-- FP: Hundreds of schools have been opened around the world based on a model you pioneered, blending science and religion. How centrally controlled are the schools run by the Glenist movement?
-- FG: My only role in the opening of the schools has been to suggest and encourage opening them. But it is impossible for there to be a [central authority] controlling the schools. They are in more than 100 countries, and there must be many different companies that have opened and run them. Some of them may have closer relations or interactions. Some may be sharing their experiences with others.

-- FP: What is the most misunderstood thing about the Glenist movement?
-- FG: I cannot accept concepts such as Glenism or Glenist. I was only a writer and an official preacher among people. I can have no direct influence on any person or activity. It is inconceivable that I can exert pressure on anybody.
Some people think that I am a leader of a movement. Some think that there is a central organization responsible for all the institutions they wrongly think affiliated with me... A small minority in Turkey even accuses me of having political ambitions, when in fact I have been struggling with various illnesses for many years.

"To defeat terrorism, we must acknowledge that we are all human beings"

-- FP: You preach a moderate, tolerant Islam. What do you think causes terrorism?
-- FG: Islam abhors and absolutely condemns terrorism and any terrorist activity. I have repeatedly declared that it is impossible for a true Muslim to be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be regarded as a true Muslim. Terrorism is one of the cardinal sins that the Koran threatens with hellfire...
[Terrorism] is formed of certain fundamental problems, [including] ignorance, poverty, and fear of others. Some people take advantage of the young and foolish.
They are manipulated, abused, and even drugged to such an extent that they can be used as murderers on the pretext of some crazy ideals or goals.
To defeat terrorism, we must acknowledge that we are all human beings. It is not our choice to belong to a particular race or family.
We should be freed from fear of the other and enjoy diversity within democracy. I believe that dialogue and education are the most effective means to surpass our differences.

Syria: Al-Boukamal city declared fully liberated
Syrian Arab News Agency, 9 November 2017

Army units, in cooperation with the supporting and allied forces, on Thursday fully liberated al-Boukamal city, about 140 km southeast of Deir Ezzor, the last stronghold of ISIS terrorist organization in the Eastern area, the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said.
The liberation of the city is of great importance since it represents an announcement of the fall of ISIS terrorist organization project in the region, in general, and a collapse of the illusions of its sponsors and supporters to divide it,” the General Command said in a statement .
The statement stressed that liberation of al-Boukaml constitutes a strategic achievement and a base for eradicating remnants of the terrorist organizations with its various names along the Syrian territories.
The Command statement said that members of the engineering units immediately started to dismantle the explosive devices and mines planted by terrorists in the neighborhoods of the city, indicating that the army units are still pursuing ISIS terrorists who fled away in different directions to eliminate the rest of the terrorists’ dens in al-Badia (desert) after destroying their positions and equipment.
The Command indicated that the army established control over wide areas on the Syrian-Iraqi borders and ensured the security of the roads between the two brotherly countries.
The Army Command’s statement pledged that "our brave armed forces will ever remain the immune fortress of the homeland in facing terrorism [..] and defending the Syrian Arab Republic's territorial integrity and safety"...

Turkey commemorates Republic's founder Atatürk on 79th death anniversary
Dasily Sabah (Turkey), 10-11-2017

The 79th death anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish forces in the War of Liberation and the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was marked in ceremonies throughout the country.
As is the annual tradition, daily life stopped as sirens wailed throughout the country at 9:05 a.m., the time he passed away in 1938 at the age of 57, and people observed two minutes of silence.
Thousands of people flocked to the mausoleum of Atatürk in Ankara to commemorate the founding father of the Republic of Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, cabinet members, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chair Devlet Bahçeli and Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar also attended the commemoration ceremony at the mausoleum, known as Anıtkabir.
"We are once again remembering our first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk," Erdoğan wrote in a book of commemoration. "We are working day and night to bring Turkey to the level of contemporary civilization. May his soul rest in peace."

Atatürk was born in 1881 in Salonica, then part of the Ottoman Empire. His distinguished military career included repelling the Allied invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915 and then rallying Turkey to withstand the Allies' attempt to carve up Turkey after World War I in the War of Independence. As Turkey's first president, he transformed the country through a wide-ranging series of modernizing reforms.

Ataturk's secret relation with Rumi

Several mystic sects were prominent in the Ottoman Empire, including the Bektaşi, Halveti, Mevlevi, Rifai, Qadiri, Naqshbandi and Bayrami.
Of all of these, the Ottoman rulers were probably closest to the Mevlevis, undoubtedly from the time of Osman. It was the Mevlevi Sheik Edebali who girded him with a sword that became known as the Sword of Osman and every sultan after that had to be girded with it on his accession to the throne.
After the collapse of the empire, following defeat in World War I, the new Turkish government of Ataturk declared all sufi organizations in Turkey illegal in 1925.

There was a secret connection between Ataturk ("He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government.") and the Mevlevis, whose founder, Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi, taught “unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love.”
The day Rumi died, Dec. 17, 1273, is still celebrated throughout the world as his wedding day, that is, the day he was united with God. His followers are known for their whirling ceremony through which they attempt to reach union with the divine.
In spite of the Turkish ban on Sufi sects in 1925, the Mevlevis were not persecuted to the extent that other sects were, and republican founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is thought to have been responsible for this.
Ataturk admired Rumi and it was an open secret that he and the Medlevis met in each other’s homes and held their whirling ceremonies... By a decree of 6 April 1926 the Rumi mausoleum and the dervish lodge (Dergah) were to be turned into a museum.
In 1927 (march 2) Ataturk reopened the Mevlana Museum in Konya.

Konya: A city rooted in Mawlavi Sufism
Daily Sabah, Turkey, 14-10-2016

The Central Anatolian city of Konya attracts nearly 2 million tourists annually and is considered the birthplace of Islamic mysticism, with a history as deep as the spiritual doctrine of renowned Persian poet, Rumi.
The Sufi mystic is buried in a tomb in Konya, which is now a shrine and point of pilgrimage for millions of spiritualists and tourists alike every year. The Mevlana Museum, also known as the Green Dome or the Green Mausoleum, is the former residence of the Mawlavi Whirling Dervishes and the place where Rumi's tomb is located.
Even though this spiritual place is one of the few destinations around the city that you will feel the incredible energy that surrounds you immediately, we should all understand that it is not because of the museum itself, but because of Rumi's doctrine:
"Do not seek our tombs on this earth, our tombs are in the hearts of the enlightened."

Consumer capitalism & Escape from reality
İbrahim Kalın, Daily Sabah (Turkey), 10-11-2017

As new technological advancements enable us to create virtual worlds and alternate realities, we increasingly face the problem of escaping from reality and live in a fantasy world...
We like our own images on screens more than ourselves. New developments in artificial intelligence will further take us into unknown territories. Can we as human beings live in between these alternate worlds and still retain our humanity?
Creating alternative realities may not necessarily be a bad thing. This is what literature offers us in creative and enriching ways. Pointing to an ideal world may help us keep our hopes and standards high.
But the same thing can be a delusional way of running away from the reality that defines our human condition and compels us to take responsibility for our actions. ...

The 2017 movie "Ghost in the Shell," directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson, takes up the question of what happens when people use other humans as machines for their personal gains and corporate interests.
The film's lead character, Major Motoko Kusanagi (Johansson), is a cyber-enhanced soldier fighting the world's criminals. She is the first of her kind – a human soul, or ghost, with new enhancements and a robotic body, i.e., a shell. When she realizes that she has been lied to and turned into an AI thing against her own will, she begins to question everything.
Although simplistic at times, the movie raises important moral and philosophical questions. What happens when governments and big corporations begin to alter people's minds and souls to serve their interests?
In "Ghost in the Shell," some terrible things happen in the future dystopia. But we do not have to look far to see the disturbing fact that this is already happening.
Our current technologies and the profit-driven companies that own them are seeking to change people's perceptions, desires and tastes so that they become unquestioning servants of consumer capitalism.
They would feel good about themselves by spending more, by wanting more and by becoming something other than themselves.

What are we running away from? What is missing in our lives so much so that we take refuge in artificial and virtual worlds that we know very well to be unreal and fictional?
I am not sure if we are ready to ask these questions to ourselves in a serious and honest way. If and when we do, the magic of this self-gratifying illusion will dissipate and we will perhaps face our naked humanity with its blessings and imperfections.
We may then realize that what defines our humanity does not lie in our ability to create machines better than us, but in treating the world of nature and our fellow people with intelligence, care and love.

Emotional Intelligence & Lessons in empathy

Daniel Goleman succeeds in making a powerful case for the importance of the relatively new concept of emotional intelligence.
According to New York Times psychology and brain science editor Goleman (Vital Lies, Simple Truths, not reviewed, etc.), despite "the lopsided scientific vision of an emotionally flat mental life," we think, act, and interact at least as much on the basis of our feelings as on rational grounds.
The extent to which we're knowledgeable and nuanced about our own and others' emotions constitutes "emotional literacy."
Goleman's primary good news is that children and adults can benefit from "emotional coaching": The brain's feeling mechanism, i.e., synapses between cells, can literally grow, even in the case of such long-term disorders as depression or obsessive- compulsive behavior.
Goleman takes us into a number of schools that have developed new curricula to teach children to be more aware of their emotions and to develop a wider repertoire to replace self-defeating, self-destructive, or antisocial behavior. (Kirkus Book Review)

Daniel Goleman: "I’ve heard from religious scholars within Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism that the concept of EI resonates with outlooks in their own faith" (Goleman website)

Purge is creating panic in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
David Hearst, Middle East Eye, Thursday 9 November 2017

Members of the royal family, government ministers and business tycoons were caught up in a sudden wave of arrests orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, under the banner of an anti-corruption drive.
People inside the royal court told MEE that the scale of the crackdown, which has brought new arrests each day, is much bigger than Saudi authorities have admitted, with more than 500 people detained and double that number questioned.
The purge, which follows an earlier roundup of Muslim clerics, writers, economists and public figures, is creating panic in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, particularly among those associated with the old regime of King Abdullah, who died in 2015, with power then passing to his half-brother, King Salman.
Many fear the primary purpose of the crackdown is a move by MBS to knock out all rivals both inside and outside the House of Saud before he replaces his 81-year-old father.

On Wednesday night, seven princes were released from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, where they had been held since Saturday. The top royals have been moved to the King’s palace, sources told MEE.
The crown prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who continues be under house arrest, has had his assets frozen, the Reuters news agency reported. Sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz have also been arrested and had their assets frozen. One of the most famous is Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington and confidant of former US President George W Bush.
Also among those arrested is Reem, the daughter of Al-Waleed bin Talal, the only woman to be targeted in the latest roundup.
To prevent others from fleeing, MbS has ordered a freeze on private bank accounts. The number of account closures and those banned from travel is many times the number of people who have been arrested, sources in Riyadh told MEE.

The purge against other members of the royal family is unprecedented in the kingdom’s modern history. Family unity, which guaranteed the stability of the state since its foundation, has been shattered.
The sons of all four key men in the House of Saud who comprised the core of the family through the last four decades have been targeted. They are the sons of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, King Abdullah, Prince Sultan and Prince Nayef.
This represents an unprecedented attack on the position and wealth of the pillars of al-Saud, including the three most prominent figures of the ruling Sudairi clan.

201 detained in anti-graft swoop
Saudi Gazette, 10-11-2017

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia said Thursday 201 people are being held for questioning in a massive anti-graft swoop on the elite, with at least $100 billion estimated to have been lost through corruption and embezzlement over several decades.
"A total of 208 individuals have been called in for questioning so far. Of those 208 individuals, seven have been released without charge," a statement issued from the office of the Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Muajab said.
"The potential scale of corrupt practices which have been uncovered is very large," the statement said.
"Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades."
The purge came just after an anti-graft commission headed by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, was established on Saturday.

Israel instructs diplomats to support Saudis
by Jonathan Cook, Al-Jazeera, 10-11-2017

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".

How it started: Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri Resigns
Al-Bawaba, November 4th, 2017

First pineapple farm opens in Gaza
Middle East Online, 10-11-2017

KHAN YUNIS - Pineapples are being harvested in the Gaza Strip for the first time as part of efforts to help the impoverished Palestinian territory work towards food self-sufficiency.
The fruit, for domestic sale, is grown in a 1,000 square metre greenhouse in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis as part of a project sponsored by the Dutch government.
Mussa al-Jadba, an agricultural engineer who supervised the project, said they had cultivated pineapples "for the first time in the temperate Gaza Strip after we have created the environment and climate for their growth."
Two hundred and fifty plants have so far reached maturity with up to 4,000 expected to bear fruit throughout this harvest.
The goal is to develop new crops to help Gazan farmers achieve self sufficiency, Jadba added.
"The Gaza Strip suffers fundamentally from salty water, which has encouraged the union to grow pineapples as they don't need much water," he added, referring to the agricultural union.
Gaza suffers from severe water pollution, with more than 95 percent of its groundwater unclean, leading to increased risk of serious diseases. The United Nations has warned the strip will be uninhabitable by 2020.
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza for a decade, citing security reasons.

Ariel Sharon: Zionism forces me to be a cruel man

A passion for classical music performances
has been thwarted by 'a necessary security presence'...

ariel sharon - the farmer who had to be a right wing (mercyless) zionist

The Temple?
No..: Land, Family, Farm

"He would prefer not to talk politics. He understands wheat and olive trees better than politics, he says, laughing. And later, when we are done, he will take me to see the flock, the pen and the old stud bull, Amnon, whose vigor is undiminished. In the meantime, though, the prime minister gets up from the table and gestures toward the hills of wheat through which he raced to victory in the February elections...
Those fields are the source of my strength, he says. In the most difficult times, they were what gave me strength. Land, family, farm. (Interview Ariel Sharon, Ha'aretz april 2001)

Ariel Sharon's farm, Sycamore Farm (Sycamore|Shikmim), is the largest private farm in Israel, a thousand acres near the desert town of Sederot, worked by laborer's from Thailand, (not Palestinians), and originally bought with the help of the Hollywood producer Meshulam Riklis.
Sharon feels his farm is physical evidence of Zionism in practice: "Zionism is physical. Farming the land, holding the land, is Zionism. It means that we defend ourselves and our land. (Jeffrey Goldberg, 2001)

Emma Brockes 2001: "I ask him, don't the Palestinians love the land too? "Yes," he says, "they love the land."
Does he respect that? "I respect it. In point of fact, they are wonderful farmers."
He says he had Arab friends as a child and that until recently, Arab employees at the farm. That had to stop because of the security risk...
The question of racism is not one he likes to discuss.
When I ask if people were right to call Zeevi a racist - he referred to Palestinians as "lice" and a "cancer" - Sharon becomes inarticulate with annoyance...
He answers a question about whether there are essential differences between Arabs and Jews - the cornerstone of any racist doctrine - by expounding the inability of Arabs to live democratically.
"Oh, they are different," he says of the two races. "Israel is a democracy. The only democracy in this part of the world.
I suggest that the Palestinians in the occupied territories don't see much democracy.
"They suffer heavy casualties, we suffer heavy casualties and there is one man, only one, to blame and that's Arafat..." (The Guardian, nov 2001)

Flashback 2005: Ariel Sharon alters political landscape by leaving Likud
"The Likud cannot lead Israel to its national aims"
The Guardian, Tuesday 22 November 2005

Ariel Sharon caused the biggest upheaval in Israeli politics in nearly three decades by resigning as leader of the ruling Likud party yesterday, saying that Likud is unfit to run the country. The prime minister announced the launch of a new party, National Responsibility.
Mr Sharon said that in leaving the party he had helped found he was putting the good of the country ahead of his personal political interests:
"After great hesitation I decided to leave the Likud. The Likud in its current format cannot lead Israel to its national aims...
Remaining in the Likud means a waste of time in political fighting," he said.
"The task in front of us is to create a base for a peace agreement in which will we will create the permanent borders of the state while demanding the cessation of terror. " Mr Sharon said that National Responsibility would be committed to the US-led "road map" to peace.

Uzi Landau, a contender for the Likud leadership, said he believed that Mr Sharon intended to surrender West Bank settlements, and the party would fight to stop him.

Thousands attend Fatah's Arafat memorial rally in Gaza
Elior Levy, YNet News, 11.11.2017

Tens of thousands of people congregated Saturday in the Gaza Strip for a Fatah show of force in honor of the 13th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat.
Unlike previous years, Hamas approved the mass rally, as a gesture of good will following the intra-Palestinian reconciliation agreement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech at the rally via satellite:
"We'll remain steadfast to the principles we adopted when we started on this road under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat, until a Palestinian country is created with east Jerusalem as its capital," Abbas declared.
"We'll continue executing the reconciliation agreement with the goal of achieving one state, one law and one legal security force.
Allowing the government to administer its duties will lessen the suffering in the Gaza Strip. No one cares for our people more than us. There will not be a (Palestinian) state without Gaza, or a state only in Gaza," the Palestinian president vowed.
The Palestinian Authority chairman further wished it to be known Palestinians desire the culture of peace and combating the region's terrorism, but reiterated that should the two-state solution collapse, the Palestinian leadership will take up a single-state solution with full equal rights for its entire citizenry.
"The two-state solution is in danger and if an agreement is off the table, we'll continue demanding equal rights for all of the residents of historic Palestine," Abbas said.

‘Haters & fools’: Trump lashes out at those rejecting good relations with Russia
RT Russia, 12 Nov, 2017

President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to reiterate his belief that “Russia can greatly help” the US in solving many pressing world issues, such as global terrorism and the North Korean crisis, blasting those who disagree with that assertion as “haters and fools.”
“When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump wrote, emphasizing, that “playing politics” instead of moving forward to resolve high-priority issues is “bad for our country.” "I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!"
Trump also said he had “good discussions” with President Vladimir Putin during their brief encounters at the APEC summit in Vietnam, where they, despite disagreements, managed to produce a joint statement on Syria. “Hope for his [Putin’s] help to solve, along with China the dangerous North Korea crisis. Progress being made,” Trump tweeted.

The persisting hysteria around Moscow’s alleged involvement in the US election is a “Democratic hit job,” preventing the two countries from engaging in any meaningful cooperation, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One earlier on Saturday.
The US president even hinted that Democrats are just jealous because they were not able to achieve a good relationship with Russia because they didn't have the talent to do it.
“Hillary tried it, and she failed. Nobody mentions that. They act like, you know - it's so terrible. She did that reset button; it was a joke. But she tried and she failed. Obama tried and he failed. Couldn't have it, because he didn't have chemistry. They didn't have the right chemistry,” the US leader said.

'Trump could never have won without Sheldon Adelson,'
says former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon
Hezki Baruch, Arutz Sheva, 13/11/2017

Former White House chief strategist and chief of Breitbart News Steve Bannon lauded President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel credentials, calling him the staunchest supporter of Israel in the White House since Ronald Reagan.
Speaking at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala in New York City, Bannon highlighted President Trump’s commitment to confronting Islamic terrorism, his decision to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, and his pledge to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Bannon argued that were it not for the support of a prominently American Jewish billionaire and Republican donor, Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump would not have succeeded in his presidential bid.
"That victory would not have come without one other person besides Donald Trump - Sheldon Adelson. It is not about resources. It is about counsel, guidance, and wisdom. You've gotta remember, folks, that we were down by double digits almost the entire time."
"And you know what most of the establishment Republicans do when things get tough - they cut and they run. Sheldon Adelson didn't cut and run.
Sheldon Adelson offered guidance and counsel and wisdom on how to get through it. And it was his guidance and his wisdom that helped to get us through."

Adelson 2013: "The U.S. should fire a nuclear weapon at Iran"
Philip Weiss, Monoweiss October 23, 2013

Last night in New York, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire supporter of Israel, said that the U.S. should fire a nuclear weapon at Iran rather than negotiate.
Adelson, an 80-year-old casino mogul and major supporter of Mitt Romney and other Republican political candidates, made the comments in a dialogue with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach during a conversation called “Will Jews Exist? Iran, Assimilation and the Threat to Israel and Jewish Survival.”

Andelson: What are we going to negotiate about? I would say ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ ou pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ And so there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul.
Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever. Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. ...

Boreach: A tremendous demonstration of American strength?
Andelson: The only thing they understand....
Adelson: “It’s the same thing with the Palestinians.” “Sixty-five years, they haven’t taken one millimeter step toward the Israelis, to accommodate the needs of the Israelis....”

Patrick Buchanan: Did We Vote for War? - november 18, 2014

On Nov. 13, the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page was given over to Mark Dubowitz and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).
Assuming nuclear talks with Iran conclude unsuccessfully by the Nov. 24 deadline, they write, we have four options.
Two involve continued or tougher sanctions. The other two are a preemptive war featuring U.S. air and missile strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, or a U.S. attack to bring down Bashar Assad’s regime.
“Taking Mr. Assad down would let Tehran know that America’s withdrawal from the Middle East and President Obama’s dreams of an entente with Iran are over.”...
Which raises a question: What is this FDD?

Answer: A War Party think tank that in 2011, according to Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss website and Eli Clifton of Salon, took in $19 million from five rabidly pro-Israel givers.
Home Depot’s Bernard Marcus gave $10.7 million, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer $3.6 million. Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas-Macau casino kingpin, chipped in $1.5 million.
Last week, Adelson and media mogul Haim Saban spoke of plans to dump hundreds of millions into the presidential campaigns of 2016.
This billionaires boys club wants to buy U.S. foreign policy and a U.S. war on Iran.
And the propagandists of FDD are paid to produce that war, in which they will not be doing the fighting and dying.
Is this what the Grand Old Party has to offer — endless war?

Netanyahu and the King of Vegas
by Uri Avnery, CounterPunch, July 24, 2015

Casino king Sheldon Adelson (Real Time Net Worth As of 7/25/15 $29 Billion) spent $100 million trying to put a Republican in the White House in 2012 and is already shaping up to be a power player in 2016. In February 2015, he signed on to support the candidacy of Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. (

Haaretz, 7-11-2012: Ehud Olmert accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of blatantly interfering in favor of Republican nominee Mitt Romney, adding that he did so in the name of Romney-backer Sheldon Adelson.
The emperor of the gambling world, the king of Las Vegas, the prince of Macao: Sheldon Adelson does not hide his support for Netanyahu...
He spends huge sums of money on a Hebrew daily newspaper that is distributed gratis to Israelis, whether they want it or not. It is now the largest-circulation paper in Israel, and devoted personally to Netanyahu and his wife. It has no other purpose.

What is he getting in return?
Adelson has bought Netanyahu for one single purpose: to place a stooge of his in the White House...
He has to select its candidate for the presidency, derail Hillary Clinton and win the elections.
To succeed in all these tasks, he has to mobilize the immense power of the pro-Israel lobby over the US Congress and destroy President Obama.

Netanyahu: [Westbank Settlement] Ariel will always remain part of Israel
By Herb Keinon, Jeruslam Post, 28-6-2017

Israel is building in Ariel, and it will always remain a part of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged in the settlement during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new medical center at Ariel University.
Netanyahu said the center, named after the donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, will attract the “best teachers and researchers, and will train generations of students who will add to Israel’s prestige in the world.”
Netanyahu praised Adelson for his numerous contributions to Jewish education around the world...
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, were questioned earlier this week by police regarding the ongoing investigation into Netanyahu’s contacts with Arnon Mozes, the publisher Yediot Aharonot.

The cornerstone-laying event took place amid reports that the relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson is not as close as it once was, and that the American billionaire is getting closer to Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett..
Like Netanyahu, Bennett praised Adelson. “Sheldon and Miri Adelson, you are investing in our present, but you are also investing in the future of the Jewish people, and the future of our education,” he said. “Thank you very much.”

"In 2010 Binyamin Netanyahu declared the Jewish city of Ariel “the capital of Samaria.”

Not the “Saudi peace initiative,” God forbid
Why Saudi Arabia turned Hariri into its hostage
Smadar Perry, YNet news, 13.11.2017

How does Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman stand to gain, if at all, from Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s tumultuous resignation? It depends which expert you believe and which media outlet you rely on.
There’s one thing all camps agree on: Hariri, who was summoned to the king’s palace in Riyadh twice in four days the week before his resignation, had no intention of stepping down.
The second time, he got off the plane straight into the arms of Saudi security guards. His and his escorts’ cell phones were confiscated and he was instantly disconnected from the wide world. He was seated in front of television cameras and the crown prince’s message box was shoved into his hands.
Moreover, those who peeked at the Lebanese prime minister’s schedule before and after the last flight can reach only one conclusion: A person who plans to quit and flee Lebanon does not fill his timetable with meetings with IMF and World Bank representatives, with the directors-general of his government’s water and economy ministries and with three ministers.

Bin Salman, however, had other plans. He knew that Oger, Hariri’s huge construction empire in Saudi Arabia was faltering due to a $9-billion debt, and he knew that a resignation would get Hariri in trouble with thousands of laborers, who are now threatening to sue their employer, who is no longer protected by immunity.
Bin Salman is also threatening to cut the aid to Lebanon, plunge the country into a deep economic crisis and convince US President Donald Trump to step up the sanctions against Hezbollah and against Iran.

The unconvincing wording of the resignation motives was intended for the American president’s ears.
The Saudi crown prince, who believes Trump is his ally, is sending his mouthpieces to vilify Iran, smear Hezbollah and strengthen the dialogue with Washington and with Israel.
Yes, no one will confirm it, but the dialogue is alive and kicking behind the scenes. We just have to pay attention to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's silence and to the recommendation that Israeli diplomats voice their support for the Saudi plan (not the “Saudi peace initiative,” God forbid) and be careful not to criticize Riyadh.

How it started: Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri Resigns

Flashback 2002
Prince of Peace

"Abdallah bin Abdul Aziz is offering Israel full peace, including political, economic and cultural normalization, in return for a full withdrawal from the territories. This is more than a mere license to exist in peace in the region and recognition of the existence of Israel...

The importance of the initiative lies in the fact that it is Saudi Arabia that is putting it forward. It comes from the deepest heart of the Arab, and even more importantly, the Islamic world... A Saudi seal of approval is an Islamic seal of approval, even if it does include Iran, and it is an Arab seal of approval." (Zvi Bar'el - Ha'aretz, 1-3-2002)

All of the 57 states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) expressed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative. (The Peaceplan)

It has the backing of all Arabs

Saudi political commentator Khaled Al Maeena called the prince's initiative “very genuine ... It has the backing of all Arabs.”
“But I believe Sharon is not competent to deal with such a serious (peace) initiative. It really requires a new team in Israel,” Maeena, who is also editor of the English-language Arab News, told AFP.
He said the initiative was capable of breaking the stalemate in the peace process and end the cycle of violence raging in the Middle East, but only if the Israelis showed “good intentions.”
The Israelis were trying to preempt the initiative by attempting to act as if it was a “bilateral affair with Saudi Arabia only” and not the whole Arab world, he added. (Jordan Times, Internet-edition, 28-2-2002)

Vladimir Putin: Societies between War and Peace

Israel welcomes Saudi mufti's anti-Hamas remarks
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 23-11-2017

An Israeli minister on Monday welcomed remarks by a mufti of Saudi Arabia that Palestinian resistance group Hamas is a terror organization.
"We congratulate Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia for his fatwa forbidding the fight against the Jews and forbidding to kill them," Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara wrote on his official Twitter account.
The minister also welcomed the mufti's remarks in which he considered Hamas a terror organization, adding "I invite the mufti to visit Israel; he will be welcomed with a high level of respect."
Earlier, the mufti said while answering a question on a television program that fighting against Israel was inappropriate and said Hamas was a "terror organization" in reply to a question regarding July's anger across the Israeli-occupied West Bank when Israel shut Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is venerated by Muslims and Jews, following a deadly shootout.
Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the Jewish state's "undivided and eternal capital" -- a move never recognized by the international community.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there as illegal.

Flashback: Saudi Grand Mufti: Iranians are children of Magi
Dhaka Tribune, September 06, 2016

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric said Iranians are “not Muslims”, after Iran’s spiritual leader launched a fresh tirade over the kingdom’s handling of the hajj pilgrimage.
“We must understand these are not Muslims, they are children of Magi and their hostility towards Muslims is an old one. Especially with the people of Sunna,” Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh told Makkah daily, referring to pre-Islamic beliefs in Iran and to the Sunnis who make up the main branch of Islam.
The grand mufti’s comments came a day after Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Muslim world should challenge Saudi management of Islam’s two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.

Riyadh and Tehran are at odds over a raft of regional issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen in which they support opposing sides.

The Magi & Jesus Christ

The Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings, were, in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.

The word magi is the plural of Latin magus, borrowed from Greek magos. Greek magos itself is derived from Old Persian maguŝ from the Avestan magâunô, i.e., the religious caste into which Zoroaster was born.
The term refers to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science.
The magi were monotheistic, believing in the existence of only one god (Ahura Mazda = "Wise God").
Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic, although Zoroastrianism was in fact strongly opposed to sorcery.
The three gifts they bore may represent the gifts of "Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds" - the ancient Zoroastrian motto.
We learn from the book of Daniel that the magi were among the highest-ranking officials in Babylon. (Wikipedia info)

Christianity is forbidden.

On 16-3-2012 Abdullah cited an Islamic hadith quoting the prophet Mohammed on his deathbed, who said, "there are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula," meaning only Islam can exist there.
Later the sheikh clarified his remark, saying that "Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it."
Other nations included in the Arabian Peninsula are Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Omar al Gharba (also Omar Raghba), a (Salafist) Free Syrian Army cleric.
The BBC News interviewed him in 2012.
In 2014 he became an Islamic State commander. He publicly smashed a statue of Our Lady.

In March 2012, Islamist militants went door to door in neighborhoods of Homs, expelling local Christians.
Of the more than 80,000 Christians who lived in Homs prior to the uprising, approximately 400 remain today.
In May 2012, Christian residents of Qusayr received an ominous warning: Either join the opposition against Bashar Assad or leave. Soon after, thousands of Christians fled the town.
Christians who have fled to Egypt or Jordan tell of harassment, fictitious marriage proposals designed to traffic their daughters, and curses and beatings for being Christians.
In September, the rebel Al-Nusra Front (an affiliate of Al-Qaeda) took control for several weeks of the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, northeast of Damascus, and desecrated all the churches. A grisly video has been posted online of the public beheading of a Syrian priest and two youths by Al-Nusra fighters.
Similar attacks on churches have been documented over the past month in Raqqa, Sadad and Tel Abyadh.
The most recent video out of Syria shows Islamist Sheikh Omar Raghba smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary in Yakubiya. (Jerusalem Post, 10-11-2013)

Gaddafi’s cousin: "We represent the majority of Libyans"
Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, 13-11-2017

CAIRO — In an opulent apartment near the Nile River Moammar Gaddafi lives on. A faded picture on one wall shows him as a young man lounging in a tent. In another, he’s dressed in military uniform and seated in a plane. Every week, a group of men who once supported him gather here to discuss Libya’s future and their own fates. Presiding over the meetings in Cairo is Gaddafi’s cousin, whose apartment this is.
“He inhabits the hearts of millions,” Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam said, glancing at one of the pictures.

gaddafi, supported by a majority of the tribes

Gaddafi’s overthrow and death six years ago reversed the fortunes of his clan and allies, who thrived under his patronage for more than four decades. Tens of thousands of his loyalists fled into exile when he was killed, many to neighboring Egypt. They have remained ever since, yearning for a role in shaping a new Libya.

As insecurity and violence grip Libya, Gaddaf al-Dam now senses an opening. He and his supporters are cultivating ties with influential tribes and former rivals disillusioned by the political inertia, seeking to undermine Libya’s weak Western-backed government.
They see opportunity in a new U.N. effort to bring peace, with possible elections next year. The release from jail this summer of Gaddafi’s most prominent son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, also gives them hope, though he remains in hiding.
“There won’t be peace without us,” said Gaddaf al-Dam, who bears a striking resemblance to his cousin. “We represent the majority of Libyans. And we want to set things right and correct the past.”
The “past” is the violent revolt, a chapter of the Arab Spring uprisings, and subsequent crackdown by Gaddafi that drew in international powers and NATO airstrikes in 2011. That led to Gaddafi’s ouster and to his death at the hands of militia fighters in the city of Sirte, his birthplace, that year in October.

Gaddaf al-Dam refers to the Libyan revolution as “the disaster.” He describes those who took up arms as traitors.
The revolution would have failed without foreign intervention, he said, and the eight-month “resistance” against NATO “proved the regime had the support of the people.”
“We are the real regime,” he said. “Those ruling now came on top of the missiles over Libya. Missiles do not create legitimacy.”
With Libya in turmoil, Gaddaf al-Dam said he is making inroads with powerful tribes, including some who opposed Gaddafi. Since the revolution, many have been marginalized by armed groups.
When you need to shape the country, you need to see the tribes,” said Ibrahim al-Ghoweil, a former ambassador during the Gaddafi regime. “They must be included. They must hear their voices. This is our culture.”
Gaddaf al-Dam chimed in: “If we had turned to the tribes, we would have never reached this point.”

They all agree that the best person to run their country is Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
At a news conference in Tunis last month, a lawyer for the Gaddafi family said Saif al-Islam was in good health and closely following developments in Libya. “He’s working on politics from his base in Libya, with the tribes, with the cities, with the decision-makers.”
“He’s not like his father,” said Noor Ibrahim, a young lawyer. Before Saif al-Islam joined his father in suppressing the rebellion, he supported political freedoms, free-market reforms and opportunities for Libya’s youth.

President al-Assad & the Reactionary Alliance
Damascus, SANA, 14-11-2017

Secularism is good for Islam

In this 2008 TV interview, Saudi anthropologist Saad Sowayan calmly demonstrates that secularism is not only good for Islam but also, actually, more consistent with its original spirit.

"The most serious crisis we faced was when a small group of society was able to influence the society and managed to control the theater, the public seats, loudspeakers and study platforms, and was able, for a while in direct and indirect ways, to control the education process, the cultural and media platforms...
Now it is no longer acceptable nor rational to hand over our future to this small group and allow it to be our guardian and impose all its old convictions on us.." Saad Sowayan, Al-Arabya, 28-10-2017

President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday received participants in the Arab Forum for Confronting the Reactionary Alliance.
Delivering a speech during the meeting, President al-Assad said that dealing with issues affecting the Arab nation and pan-Arabism requires serious work to clear up some concepts that targeted the nation, including attempts to undermine the relation between Arabism and Islam.
He said that there was a general view that the storm that affected several Arab states seeks to set the region back by centuries, but the main goal wasn’t destruction as what was destroyed can be rebuilt; rather the goal was undermining the Arab people’s sense of affiliation and belonging to their environment, geography, history, principles, and pan-Arabism.
He said that undermining pan-Arab affiliation means undermining the first line of defense against any attempts at a cultural or intellectual invasion that seeks to turn people into mere machines with no will that move according to plans made abroad.

He pointed out that some have accused Arabism of being secular or atheist, tying these three concepts together and telling the simple citizens that they have to choose between faith and atheism...
He noted that the first to spearhead this method were the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, who were planted by the English during the first half of the 20th century in Egypt and later moved to other areas, and throughout time they spearheaded everything that opposes the interests of the Arab people and pan-Arab affiliation.
President al-Assad said that there’s an organic connection between Arabism and Islam, and there is certainly no contradiction between them, stressing that it is wrong to believe that one can either be an Arab or a Muslim.
“Undermining this relation through Islamic extremism undermines Arabism. They diverted Islam and pushed it towards extremism. It separated itself from Arabism, and Islam and Arabism became weaker.

He went on to address another important point which is that pan-Arabism had been accused of being synonymous with backwardness, which is a hypothesis posed in the 19th century and early 20th century, particularly with the coming of the age of globalization, satellite channels and the internet..
This idea aims at having us all belong to the financial institutions that lead the world, which are practically centered in the United States, through which they lead politics, economy, and everything else,” President al-Assad said, adding that they tried to claim that Arabism is a passing fad, which is similar to what happened with the fall of the Soviet Union when they wanted to portray socialism and communism as backwards concepts.

The President said that if we want to improve the pan-Arab work and see results, this requires coming together and discuss various issues through dialogue, noting that in the past, proponents of pan-Arabism have not held dialogue with others; only with each other.
“I believe that the starting point begins with dialogue with other groups that went astray..."
“First, we have to address the group which is convinced about the contradiction between Islam and Arabism, we have to tell them that there is no contradiction between these two concepts, both flow into the other, both reinforce the other,” he said, stressing they cannot separate the Arabism of Prophet Mohammad from his religion, nor can they separate the religious context of the Quran from the Arabic language, so how can they separate Arabism from Islam?
It is necessary now to refute the ethnic concept. There are people who talk about federalism, nationalism, and federalism on national basis. We have to assert that the concept of Arabism is an inclusive civilized concept that includes everyone, which means that Arabism is greater than being ethnic, the cultural concept includes everyone, includes all ethnicities, religions, and sects...”
“As for linking Arabism to backwardness, we must be the leaders in supporting development ideas, and to have a program that suits this age and suits the interests of the peoples,” the President concluded.

Settlers are 'the local population'
Attorney-General OKs seizing Palestinian land for public settler use
Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, November 16, 2017

The state of Israel might change its interpretation of land seizure laws so that private Palestinian property in Area C of the West Bank could be expropriated for public use by Israelis, Attorney-General Mordechai Mandelblit indicated in a legal opinion released by his office.
The High Court of Justice and the state, including Mandelblit, have until recently held that private Palestinian property cannot be seized for the public good of settlers.
In an unusual move, the government hired private attorney Harel Arnon to present its position to the court. He argued that the process of eminent domain could be used to seize private Palestinian property for the public good of the settlers, because the settlers were considered to be the “local population.” It was a stance that Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran took when writing a legal opinion with regard to a court case last month.
In light of his statements, Mandelblit said there is room to make use of that understanding with regard to the construction of an access road on private Palestinian property for the West Bank outpost of Harsha, which the government plans to authorize. Mandelblit said he was still studying the matter, but that Joubran’s interpretation appeared in a limited way to be applicable, but at this point, only for this road.

"This is a perfect example of a bureaucracy of robbery," said attorney Michael Sfard who represented Left-wing group Peace Now in an High Court of Justice petition against the Harsha outpost.
"The AG's report [opinion] paves the ways to the commission of grave breaches of international law on a massive scale. It is disappointing to see how anorectic is the opinion in its reasoning.
No reference to the guiding principles the international community has adopted with regards to the nature of a regime of occupation; no consideration of the human rights of the occupied, unrepresented civilians who are the victims of the opinion. No ideals, no compassion," Sfard said.
Following Mandelblit's opinion, 'Justice' Minister Ayelet Shaked called this another step in realizing the rights of hundreds of thousands of Yeshan residents, and promised to continue to reexamine previous legal positions regarding the regulation of construction in Judea and Samaria.

Knesset declaration calls on US to demand Palestinians
recognize "right of self-determination for the Jewish People"
By Tamara Zieve, Jerusalem Post, November 17, 2017

A Knesset-congressional joint declaration called on the US administration to demand that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people as a precondition to future talks.
The declaration, signed by members of the congressional Israel Victory Caucus and the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus, declares that “the primary obstacle to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the near century of Palestinian rejectionism of the right of self-determination for the Jewish People”, and that, “only Palestinian acknowledgment of the Jewish People’s historic connection to the Land of Israel, and acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, will end the conflict.”
The Israel Victory Project is an initiative of the Philadelphia- based Middle East Forum.
The declaration was signed during a visit to Washington and New York by co-chairman of the Knesset Caucus Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) and caucus member Avraham Neguise (Likud).
“The central message that we have brought to the US is that the Palestinians need to move from rejectionism to recognition

The 'Jewish State' &
the connection to the Roman province Judea

* The name Judea had two different senses. Firstly, it meant the area surrounding Jerusalem, secondly it meant the whole area inhabited by Jews, which finally became a Roman province: Judea.

*Galileans were considered by Judeans to be largely ignorant of the fine points of jewish Law, in part because they retained their provincial identity and resisted the political, economic and cultural dominance of Judea.
By the time of Jesus, Galilee was a cultural crossroads with people from all around the Roman Empire. Many of Jesus' disagreements with the Pharisees (who were very concerned with upholding the Law) were typical of Galilean laxity toward the Law. Every one of his apostles was a Galilean. Not one apostles even came from Judea or Samaria.

* South of Galilee lived the Samaritans, a mixed population resulting from political transfers of population, whom the Jews did not consider to be real Jews. They were descendants of the Israelites of the northern kingdom who had intermarried with foreign settlers after the fall of the capital of the northern kingdom in 722 BC.
As a result of this racial intermarriage, they were no longer considered to be Jewish and were hated by most Jews.
The Samaritans regarded Mt. Gerizim as sacred. It is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the West Bank city of Nablus. The Samaritans regard it as having been the location chosen by Yahweh for a 'holy temple'. According to rabbinic literature, in order to convert to Judaism, a Samaritan must first and foremost renounce any belief in the sanctity of Mount Gerizim.

mount gerizim