Saddam's Death, 110 (january 2018)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 109: dec 2017-part 1 and Page 111: jan 2018 - part 2
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Trump & the Pisces Messiah - 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 - Trump's move on Jerusalem (2017)
Abbas & Trump's "slap of the century"
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

According to the Qur’an, arrogance is a sin

"You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, "We are Christians." That is because [..] they are not arrogant." Quran Al-Maidah, 5-82

“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)

The year of national feelings and critical thinking
Amina Khairy, Al-Ahram Weekly, 2017/2018

The rise of Islamism in Egypt thrived on closing the doors to thinking, let alone critical thinking.
According to Utrecht University in the Netherlands researcher Sander Mens in a piece entitled “Egypt between the State and Islam” published in 2015, “three-quarters of the Egyptian population is below the age of 25. Unemployment is very common, thus creating a large group of people with no reliable income. It is in these kinds of vulnerable socio-economic groups that religiosity usually blooms, as people seek an anchor or an assurance in their existence.”
“More often than not, they also rely on patronage and charity.... The incapacity (and unwillingness) of the state to provide welfare for this growing number of marginalised people creates a vacuum where large charitable organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood can easily settle and provide welfare from a religious standpoint...”

From an Islamist, or rather from a Muslim Brotherhood, standpoint, controversy in life is best avoided. Questions beginning with “why” are abhorred. Unanimity among the ulama (religious scholars) suffices. It is the duty of the non-ulama to follow it.
A third commandment left by Brotherhood ideologue Sayed Qotb says “do not build up argumentation, as it leads to suspicion.”
However, it is safe to say that 2017 has been the year of suspicion in the positive sense of the word. Critical thinkers are by nature sceptical, something which drives minds to work harder.
This past year has witnessed signs of a move towards critical thinking among many Egyptians, particularly those who can see for themselves the thunderous failure of mindless thinking and are now more open to questioning and evidence.
Over the years, many Egyptians have found themselves including religious figures in the list of untouchable religious notions. Ordinary human beings have acquired saint-like status, and those who dared to question, challenge or even declare dislike for some of these notions were regarded as having “contempt” for religion itself.
However, this past year witnessed a mini-exodus from the divinisation of religious figures.

There has also been a rising trend towards greater national feeling. Almost seven decades of the rise and fall, adoption and rejection, harmony and incongruity of nationalism have culminated this past year.
From Arab nationalism to the semi-Islamist, pro-Western, half-African and three-quarter Pharaonic nationalism that began under late president Anwar Al-Sadat to the loss of belonging and the vacuum of identity filled by Political Islam under former president Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians have been juggling with their identity.
2017 saw real questions and proper discussions being held, albeit sometimes behind closed doors, regarding Egyptian identity. There is a feeling, especially among the cultural elite, that it is acceptable to feel Egyptian while at the same time being Muslim or Christian and Arab without being carried away by draining conflicts.
It is acceptable to feel African and not be a stranger to the continent by emphasising Pharaonic history.

Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests
By Moon Of Alabama, 30-12-2017

Yesterday and today saw some small protests in Iran. They are probably the first stage of a large "regime change" operation run by the U.S. and Israel with the help of Iranian terrorist group.
Hundreds took to the streets of Iran’s second largest city of Mashad on Thursday to protest over high prices, shouting slogans against the government. Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators in Mashad in northwest Iran, one of the holiest places in Shia Islam, chanting “death to (President Hassan) Rouhani” and “death to the dictator”.
The semi-official ILNA news agency and social media reported demonstrations in other cities in Razavi Khorasan Province, including Neyshabour and Kashmar.
Protests against the (neo-)liberal economic policies of the Rohani government in Iran are justified. Official unemployment in Iran is above 12% and there is hardly any economic growth.
The people in the streets are not the only ones who are dissatisfied with this: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has repeatedly criticized the government’s economic record, said on Wednesday that the nation was struggling with “high prices, inflation and recession”, and asked officials to resolve the problems with determination.

On Thursday and today the slogans of some protesters turned the call for economic relief into a call for regime change.
My hunch is that the usual suspects are behind these protests. Note that these started in several cities at the same time. This was not some spontaneous local uproar in one city but had some form of coordination. [..]
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, saluted the people of Kermanshah and other cities who rose up today chanting “death or freedom”, “death to Rouhani”, “death to the dictator”, and “political prisoners must be freed”, and protested against high prices, poverty and corruption.
She said, “Yesterday Mashhad, today Kermanshah, and tomorrow throughout Iran; this uprising has tolled the death knell for the overthrow of the totally corrupt dictatorship of the mullahs, and is the rise of democracy, justice and popular sovereignty.

If this is the "regime change" operation I presume, the protests will soon get bigger. When the people need money a few thousand dollars are enough to create a large crowd. Small groups will riot while hiding within the larger protests of maybe genuinely concerned people.
The "western" media will engage with their usual pseudo liberal humanism and concern trolling. When the police in Iran tries to arrest those rioters who are raising havoc the media will scream "brutality". Some "martyr" will be created and iconified. Rumors of censorship and suppression will be raised, fake news will come from everywhere and hundreds of sock puppet Twitter and Facebook accounts will suddenly be "Iranian" and breathlessly report "from the scene" of their Langley offices.

Tunne Kelam, Member of the European Parliament
"Time to face the realities of the Iranian dictatorship", 30-12-2017

It is remarkable that Iranian citizens perceive the connection between Tehran's continued military expansion in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and their dramatically worsening living standards at home.
Today, it is time for the EU to face the realities of the Iranian dictatorship that has brought misery to its citizens, continues jailing and hanging them on record scale, is engaged in military expansion all over the Middle East, boosts its ballistic missile program and collaborates closely with the North Korean dictator. Western clinging to desperate belief in "reformed" and "moderate" dictators is nothing less than appeasement.

The term "axis of evil" was first used by U.S. President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, and often repeated throughout his presidency, to describe governments that his administration accused of sponsoring terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction.
Iran, Iraq, and North Korea were portrayed by Bush during the State of the Union as building nuclear weapons. The notion of such an axis was used to pinpoint these common enemies of the United States and rally the American populace in support of the War on Terror.

Members of European Parliament, calling for Regime Change

Flashback: Senator McCain to MEK (Iranian militant opposition group)
You Are an Example to Everyone in the World
Iran News Update, 15 April 2017

Senator John McCain, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Maryam Rajavi the president elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Maryam Rajavi expressed her gratitude to senator McCain for his unsparing efforts in support of the MEK (People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran).
She said, "Today, there's a general accord within the region on the clerical regime's damaging role and there's little question that the non secular fascism ruling Iran is the prime source of war, coercion and crisis within the region."
"Regime change isn't solely the necessity for ending brutal violations of human rights in Iran but to establish peace and tranquility within the region," she added. "As long as the clerical regime is in power, it'd not quit export of terrorism and fundamentalism."

Senator McCain said he believed that the Iranian regime, Bashar Assad and Daesh were all reticulated and indivisible entities. McCain stressed on the necessity to oust Bashar Assad and to confront the Iranian regime's damaging role in Syria and Iraq.

john mccain, totally in love with a right-wing war-messiah, visiting:
libya: belhadj (ex-al-qaeda) - syria: fsa & al-qaeda leaders - iraq kurdistan: barzani

Iranian FM Criticizes France For Allowing MKO's Activities
FARS News Agency (Iran), 2-7-2017

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced Iran's regret that the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) has been given the permission to carry out its activities in France.
Zarif reiterated that the MKO’s terrorist nature is not hidden to anybody, and said that all regional and European countries are aware of the group's acts of terror.
The Iranian foreign minister said that Iran is aware that Saudi Arabia has been colluding with the MKO and providing the terrorist group with financial support since the Iraqi imposed war on Iran in the 1980s.
"The Al Saud regime has decided to publicize its cooperation with the terrorist group since last year by attending its meetings," Zarif added.
On Saturday, the MKO terrorist group held a meeting in Paris, which was attended by some of the former US, European and Saudi officials, including former Saudi spy chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who also delivered a speech.
On July 9, 2016, Paris hosted another annual meeting organized by the MKO terrorist group, which was also attended by Faisal.

Rouhani: 'Criticism different to violence'
Middle East Online, 1-1-2018

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani addressed the nation first on Sunday night, breaking his silence over the biggest test for the regime since mass demonstrations in 2009.
"The people are absolutely free in expressing their criticisms and even protests," he said in a message on the state broadcaster. "But criticism is different to violence and destroying public property."
The protests began as demonstrations against economic conditions in second city Mashhad on Thursday but quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole, with thousands marching in towns across Iran to chants of "Death to the dictator".
Rouhani sought a conciliatory tone on Sunday, saying that government bodies "should provide space for legal criticism and protest" and calling for greater transparency and a more balanced media.
US President Donald Trump, a fierce critic of Tehran, said the "big protests" showed people "were getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism".
He accused Iran of "numerous violations of human rights", adding it "has now closed down the internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!"

Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to mend the economy and ease social tensions, but high living costs and a 12 percent unemployment rate have left many feeling that progress is too slow.
"We have no problem bigger than unemployment. Our economy needs an operation. We must all stand together," Rouhani said on Monday.
The authorities have blamed external forces for fomenting violence, saying the majority of social media reports were emanating from regional rival Saudi Arabia or exile groups based in Europe.

Netanyahu: "I will not stay silent"
wishes success to Iran protesters
Reuters, 1-1-2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Iranian anti-government protesters on Monday...
“I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
“Brave Iranians are pouring into the streets. They seek freedom. They seek justice. They seek the basic liberties that have been denied them for decades.
Iran’s cruel regime wastes tens of billions of dollars spreading hate,” he said in remarks that echoed similar praise from U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted by state media as apparently blaming Iran’s arch enemies, the United States and Israel, for provoking unrest.
Netanyahu said Rouhani’s suggestion that Israel was involved was “not only false -- it’s laughable”. Netanyahu added that more Western countries should condemn Tehran for trying to put down the protests.
“Sadly many European governments watch in silence as young heroic Iranians are beaten in the streets. That’s just not right.
And I, for one, will not stay silent,” he said.

Likud: "The time has come to express our biblical right to the land"
By David Halbfinger, New York Times, 1-1-2018

"Likud-led governments negotiated in bad faith. This turned the much-vaunted peace process into a charade." Avi Shlaim, 12-9-2013

An emboldened Israeli right wing is moving quickly in the new year to make it far more difficult to create a Palestinian state, signaling its intention to doom hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict.
The actions have come on multiple fronts, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party for the first time has urged the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and the nation’s top legal officers pressed to extend Israeli law into occupied territory.
Coming on the heels of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of decades-old United States policy and international consensus, the moves showed that the Israeli right senses a new opening to pursue its goal of a single state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.
We are telling the world that it doesn’t matter what the nations of the world say,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told more than 1,000 members of Likud’s central committee on Sunday. “The time has come to express our biblical right to the land.”

But Palestinians and Israeli supporters of a two-state solution said the moves revealed the true colors of the country’s ascendant right wing.
We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the U.S. administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said . “Rather, its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”

Mr. Netanyahu has publicly said that he supports a two-state solution even as his government has expanded settlements on the occupied West Bank. But Mr. Trump’s support has tilted the scales, leading members of Mr. Netanyahu’s government to conclude that Israel can take a stronger position without fear of forceful foreign intercession.
Arguably the most provocative, though least substantive, of the flurry of Israeli actions was a nonbinding but unanimous vote on Sunday by the central committee of Mr. Netanyahu’s party, Likud, to support the “free construction and application of Israeli law and sovereignty in all liberated areas” in the West Bank.
Mr. Seidemann, of Terrestrial Jerusalem, said that measures applying Israeli law to Israelis living in the occupied territories would formally set up a democratic system for Israelis while leaving Palestinians subject to military rule. “That narrows the comfort zone between Israel and the a-word rather dramatically,” he said, referring to apartheid.

Rouhani Calls on Macron to Take Stance
on Terrorists Operating against Iran from Paris
Al Manar News, 3-1-2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to demand action against a terrorist Iranian opposition group he accused of fomenting ongoing protests.
We criticize the fact that a terrorist group has a base in France and acts against the Iranian people… and we await action from the French government against this terrorist group,” Rouhani told Macron in a phone call, according to Iranian people.
He was referring to an exiled Iranian opposition group based in Paris and called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, according to reports.

The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, PMOI or MKO) is an Iranian political–militant organization in exile that advocates the violent overthrow of the current regime in Iran, while claiming itself as the replacing government in exile.
According to a 2009 report published by the Brookings Institution, the organization appears to be undemocratic and lacking popularity but maintains an operational presence in Iran, acting as a proxy against Tehran.
It is designated as a terrorist organization by Iran and Iraq, and was considered a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom and the European Union until 2008 and 2009 respectively, and by Canada and the United States until 2012.

The organization has built a cult of personality around its leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi.

Flashback: Nasr al-Hariri to head Syrian opposition delegation
Al Arabiya English Saturday, 25 November 2017

The [Saudi-backed, anti-Iran] opposition on Friday chose Nasr al-Hariri as head of its delegation in the next round of UN-backed negotiations in Geneva.

Hariri & "The Evil Regime in Iran"

Grand Gathering of Iranians for Free Iran,
Nasr Al-Hariri, YouTube Vid, Paris, 1st July 2017

Nasr al-Hariri: "The life of the Iranian regime is over"
National Council of resistance of Iran, Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Dr. Nasr al-Hariri, a top official in the opposition Syrian National Coalition, in an interview with Simay-e Azadi (Iran opposition satellite television, INTV) which was broadcast this week said:
My message to the gathering of the Iranian Resistance, which is scheduled to be held on July 9th in Paris, is that this opportunity is a golden opportunity for a national uprising against the regime.
Now that the regime has entered into a war of attrition in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and a number of other countries, it is a good time to activate coordinated efforts among the resistances of all of these countries to cooperate with the Iranian Resistance.
Moreover, it must be said that the life of this regime which kills its own people and drags them into a meaningless war is over!”

Turkey's foreign ministry warned against violence and provocations
Daily Sabah (Turkey), January 2, 2018

Turkey's foreign ministry warned against violence and provocations in Iran, expressing hope that there will be no foreign intervention in the country.
In a statement released Tuesday, the foreign ministry said that Turkey is concerned about the protests in Iran, which turned violent and that the protection of peace and stability in the country is important.
It said Iran is a friend and brotherly country to Turkey, which attributes great importance for the preservation of social peace and stability.
"In this context, we believe the statement of President Hassan Rouhani [of Iran] that people have a right to peaceful protest but the law should not be violated and that public property should not be harmed should be taken into account, and violence and provocation should be avoided.
"We wish for peace in the country to be ensured, as soon as possible, and that common sense would prevail to prevent the escalation of the incidents, and that provocative rhetoric and external interventions would be avoided."
Meanwhile on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the phone regarding the latest developments in protests.

Amir-Abdollahian: US-Israel-Saudi triangle unable to break will of Iranian people
Mehr News, Wed 3 January 2018

Iranian Parliament's General Director for International Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, reacting to the recent protests across the country and foreign interventions, said the triangle of US-Israel-Saudi Arabia will never succeed in breaking the will and spirit of the Iranian nation.
He made the remarks in a tweet on Wednesday, adding “Mr. Trump! Iran is that powerful and dignified country which eliminated the US-backed ISIL terrorism in the region with the help of its allies.”
Iran is the cradle of democracy and security, not a place for turmoil, terror and division,” he stressed.
The Iranian official’s remarks were in reaction to the support of US, Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia for the escalation of violence and unrest in Iran following six days of public protests in a number of cities over mostly economic issues.

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.“ Rumi

Iranian protest ebbs with failure to stage strike
DEBKAfile, Jan 3, 2018

The nationwide strike which the anti-government demonstrators scheduled for Tuesday, Day Six of their protest, failed to come off for lack of an identified leader to get it off the ground. No work stoppages occurred in any of the big or small towns across the country and the markets were as busy as usual.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources note that the protest movement is running out of steam – not least also because of its failure to attract essential support from the most powerful classes of society, the intelligentsia, the middle class, the bazaar merchants and the students. By Tuesday night, therefore, the number of rallies had declined by a third and participation by almost half.

Many of the protesters took fright from the menacing words they heard from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday. He accused “foreign intelligence agents” of providing the protesters with “cash, arms and intelligence.” This raised the specter of being arrested for treason and collaboration with enemy agents, charges that carry the death sentence.
The regime also showed gaining confidence in its ability to weather the upheaval by the way it was handled, DEBKAfile reports.
No shooting or violent crackdowns. Instead, after three days, the demonstrators were still free to reach their rallying-points in the town centers, but when they arrived, they met thousands of regime loyalists and police reinforcements waiting quietly there and were often outnumbered.
DEBKAfile’s sources stress if the movement fails to bring masses out to the streets after Friday prayers (jan 5), it will continue to fade away...

The days of the Iranian regime are numbered
By Mike Pence, Vice-President US, Washington Post, 3-1-2018

In the wake of the demonstrations and the regime’s brutal attempts to suppress them, President Barack Obama repeatedly failed to express America’s solidarity with the Iranian protesters. The last administration’s refusal to act ultimately emboldened Iran’s tyrannical rulers to crack down on the dissent...
Today, the Iranian people are rising up to demand freedom and opportunity, and under President Trump, the United States is standing with them. We will not be silent.
Months before the protests started in Iran, the president predicted that the days of the Iranian regime were numbered.
Speaking at the United Nations in September, he said, “The good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most.”
These words now ring truer than ever. Where his predecessor [Barack Obana] stayed silent, Trump swiftly offered the Iranian people America’s unwavering support. He has also committed to provide assistance in the days ahead.
More broadly, the president declined to certify the previous administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, which flooded the regime’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars in cash — money that it could use to repress its own people and support terrorism across the wider world.
We have already issued new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the president is weighing additional actions to punish the regime for its belligerent behavior and assault on its own citizens.

Unfortunately, many of our European partners, as well as the United Nations, have thus far failed to forcefully speak out on the crisis in Iran. It’s time for them to stand up.
The president and I call on leaders of freedom-loving nations across the world to condemn Iran’s unelected dictators and defend the Iranian people’s unalienable right to chart their own future and determine their own destiny.

Palestinians Say Won't Be 'Blackmailed' after Trump Threat
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 3-1-2018

Palestinian leaders said Wednesday they will not be "blackmailed" after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid worth more than $300 million annually, his latest provocative move that could upturn years of careful diplomacy.
Relations between Trump's White House and the Palestinians were already tense after the US president's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last month.
The December 6 announcement concerning the disputed city led Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to say the United States could no longer play any role in the Middle East peace process.
Trump's threat in a tweet on Tuesday to try to force the Palestinians into negotiations led to further outrage, though Israeli ministers lauded the move.

"We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect," Trump tweeted. "With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

Abbas's spokesman said they were not against negotiations, but that talks should be "based on international laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital".
"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions," Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement that "we will not be blackmailed".
"President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice," she said. "Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!"

Israel considering death penalty…
but only for Palestinian prisoners
Middle East Monitor, January 4, 2018

The Israeli Knesset approved on Wednesday a first reading of the death penalty bill which would allow the authorities to execute Palestinian prisoners accused of taking part in “operations against Israeli targets...”
The bill was proposed by the right-wing leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennet; it was approved by a vote of 52 to 49 but needs a second and third reading before it becomes law.
Extremist Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Moldovan-born Defence Minister, endorsed the bill, which he said would increase Israel’s deterrence effect. In televised comments last week, Lieberman said that the law would specifically target Palestinians convicted of attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Last year, at a rally following the death of three Israeli police officers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for the death penalty for Palestinians, whom he described as “terrorists with blood on their hands.”

Israel applies civilian law to illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians, however, face military courts and military law.
The proposed death penalty would only be applicable in military courts. In the already unlikely event of an Israeli being convicted for killing a Palestinian, the accused would never face the death penalty.

“The fact that Israel lacks a constitution allows its prime ministers to enact legislation that serves the interests of their respective racist governments,” explained Mohammed Dahleh, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs.
“Israel refuses to adopt a constitution. This also allows it to create laws — or modify them — to suit its expansionist tendencies.”
According to international lawyer Yasser Al-Amouri, the proposed Israeli law violates basic international legal tenets.
“The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is not criminal in nature but nationalist,” he pointed out. “This means Israel cannot sentence Palestinian prisoners to death under the provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.”

Special session of the UN Security Council
Russia: US after killing Iran Deal
IRNA, New York, Jan 6, 2018

Washington's attempt to call for a special session of the UN Security Council on recent developments in Iran is aimed at undermining the Iran Deal not rallying support for the Iranian protesters, said Russia's representative to the UN.
Today, we are witnessing again that how the United States is manipulating the UN Security Council, said Vasily Nebenzya during the UNSC special session held on the request of Washington Friday evening to allegedly deal with recent protests in Iran.
The US administration continues to ignore the UN role in promoting peace and security and everybody is aware that today's session is in contradiction to the existence of the UNSC, Nebenzya said.
'The United States is abusing the platform of the Security Council,' he said.
The problem is that there is an allergy of some kind to Iran and this makes it difficult for others to see the clear image of the country and some even remain to be illusionary about the country, he said.

Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations then touched on the recent street demonstrations in Iran, which were staged mostly to protest bad economic conditions, and emphasized that it is due to Iran to address its domestic issues. 'Let Iran deal with its own problems,' he said.
'The real reason for convening today is not protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather a veiled attempt to continue to undermine the Iranian nuclear agreement,' Nebenzya said.
He added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed Iran's commitment to the nuclear deal between Tehran and the world powers, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
But the United States continue to put more and more restrictions on Iran, he said.
Do you have any leverages other than sanctions, the Russian envoy asked, wondering why Americans do not come to the table of negotiations.
Nebenzya called on the UNSC members to instead of wasting the world body's energy, let it use all focus on addressing the crises in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

Syrians demand expulsion of militants from Damascus outskirts
Press TV, Sat Jan 6, 2018

Hundreds of people have staged a protest on the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, to express their frustration with the presence of anti-Damascus militants in the region as government forces gain more ground there.
The residents of Beit Sahem, Yalda and Babbila took to the streets on Friday, demanding that armed groups leave their towns, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.
According to local sources, the demonstrators also called for reconciliations with the Syrian government that consolidate regional security and stability.

The protesters stressed their commitment to Syria’s national unity, noting that terrorism has brought nothing but destruction and devastation to their homeland.

Members of the Jaysh al-Ababil militnat group opened fire to disperse the participants at Friday’s rally, the local sources said.
Under increasing battlefield pressure, members of the al-Nusra Front terrorist outfit lately agreed to surrender Syria’s southwestern areas and move to Idlib Province.
The US and its allies have been supporting the militants fighting to topple the Syrian government since an armed conflict erupted in Syria in 2011. Recently, the anti-Damascus elements have suffered heavy blows at the hands of the Syrian and allied forces.

anti-assad-islamists in aleppo, supported by 'the friends of syria'

Syrian Prime Minister chairs a work meeting in Aleppo
to boost reconstruction process
Syrian Arab News Agency, 6 January 2018

A work meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imad Khamis, was held Friday at Aleppo Governorate building to discuss the strategic goals and plans to develop the economic and tourist sectors, infrastructures and transportation in the city.
Participants in the meeting stressed the necessity of developing the tourist sector in Aleppo through a new urban project, preserving the unique feature the old city of Aleppo and re-building it according to the historical quality of the buildings.
They also underlined importance of paying attention to the environmental improvement, protecting groves and maintaining an active and frugal transportation, including the establishment of a metro and tramway network.

Khamis stressed the importance of integration, partnership and cooperation between the governmental team and all economic and popular bodies, institutions, organizations, unions and figures in supporting the developmental process in Aleppo province.
The government delegation comprises 16 ministers and started on Friday a work visit to Aleppo, to inspect the economic and services situation in the province.

Hakkı Uygur: Economic hardships, intra-state rivalry reasons behind unrest
Ali Ünal, Daily Sabah (Turkey), 7-1-2018

Speaking to Daily Sabah, Hakkı Uygur, the deputy chair of the Center for Iranian Studies in Ankara, pointed to economic hardships, rivalries in domestic politics and the foreign pressure that has been mounting on Iran as the main reasons that led to political unrest in the country.
Uygur highlighted that the Iranian economy has been going downhill for the last two years, and the people's expectation of economic relief with the nuclear deal was shattered when U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office.
The Iran expert stressed that the Trump administration has prioritized Iran since they believe that the previous administration allowed Iran to expand. Therefore, to prevent its further expansion, the U.S. and Israel would continue to problematize Iran he contended.
Trump's tweets supporting the protests have also fed arguments concerning foreign meddling in the protests.
In addition to the economic hardships, the political rivalries in politics have caused uneasiness in society. Uygur said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is struggling with the ensuing problems of the rivalry between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Hassan Rouhani.

- Daily Sabah: What is your take on the protests in Iran? Why did these protests take place?
-- Hakkı Uygur: There is a significant rivalry and conflict between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Hassan Rouhani. These kinds of rivalries and conflicts have always been a part of Iran's political scene; however, when Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intervenes, these discussions and conflicts used to end immediately.
Yet, recently when Khamenei called both Judiciary head Sadeq Larijani and Ahmadinejad to cease their conflicts, Ahmadinejad did not heed his call. No one could even imagine Ahmadinejad not heeding Khamenei's call in the past couple of years. Still, it took place nowadays. In short, there is a conflict in Iranian politics, and Supreme Leader Khamenei is losing control. This is one way to interpret the current situation in Iran.
There is also an economic aspect; Iran has been suffering from an economic crisis in the past three or four years because of the sanctions. The very anti-U.S. Khamenei approving the government to ratify the nuclear deal was because of these economic conditions. Iran's oil-based economy was going through hard times due to decreasing oil prices and embargoes.
There were expectations that Iran would be relieved economically with the ratification of the nuclear deal during the Obama era; Iran was anticipating the return of funds that were blocked and the subsidence of the embargo.
However, this deal became obsolete in practice with the election of Trump and the economic relief that was promised to Iranian citizens was not realized.

Trump's pressure on Iran also discouraged those who wanted to deal with Iran.
Interestingly, China started to freeze the assets of Iranians living in China two months ago. In general, China is the last country to follow these trends. Normally, it would try to protect Iran as long as it could and cut ties when the costs surpass the benefits. Yet, China's initiative indicates that Trump is about to crack down on Iran, and other countries do not want to take risks.
I believe the Halkbank and Reza Zarrab-Hakan Atilla trials could be interpreted as a part of these developments. The U.S. is trying to intimidate other countries through these trials, demonstrating that it will punish any country that deals with Iran without U.S. approval, even if they are NATO allies.

The economy is on the verge of collapse, living costs are expensive; the Iranian parliament approved a 50 percent rise in oil prices, while this means a more than 100 percent increase for the people themselves. This is because they lack a transparent economy...
Recently, Rouhani made a speech in parliament. He said that a quarter of Iran's economy is controlled by six groups that he was unable to interfere with. He indicated that he had to talk with the Supreme Leader to interfere with these groups. Nevertheless, he was unable to interfere with these groups because of internal pressure. How could you enact reforms in such a country?

-- DS: Beside economic reasons, some are claiming that the most recent protests are the reflection of the internal power struggle between reformists and conservatives. How do you evaluate this allegation?
-- Hakkı Uygur: In Iran, neither conservatives nor reformists are on the streets. Ethnic minorities are also not on the street. Some people who affiliate themselves with these movements may be on the streets, but not in mass. That's my point.
None of the prominent conservative and reformist figures have announced their support for the ongoing protests. Some might allege that they are not able to do so because of the harsh conditions in Iran. Yet, this is simply not true; during the 2009 protests, certain figures of the Iranian state were openly supporting the protests. Today, no one is supporting the protests...
The Iranian state is clear about the ongoing protests; they believe it is being supported by foreign powers..

Act 2 of Trump clampdown on Iran:
Re-imposing sanctions lifted under nuclear accord
DebkaFile, Jan 6, 2018

On the heels of the first protests to hit the Iranian regime, Washington will turn the screw by negating financial benefits afforded by the nuclear deal. To this end, President Donald Trump will use the deadlines he faces as of next week for certifying the Iranian nuclear deal and approving sanctions waivers. This intent was indicated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an AP interview Friday, Jan. 5.

Since the president had demanded that the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran be either “fixed or cancelled,” Tillerson said the administration was working with lawmakers on legislation for making it more acceptable to the president.
Last October, Trump reluctantly waived sanctions for another three months. However, since sanctions relief was not incorporated in the nuclear deal, which Iran signed with six world nations three years ago, the US may set them aside without being accused of non-compliance. The US may therefore certify the framework while emptying it of the economic benefits the Obama administration granted, which funneled hundreds of billions of dollars to the Iranian treasury.
This is what Tillerson meant by “fixing” rather than “cancelling” the nuclear accord...
These steps are components of the drawn-out, staged war of attrition the Trump administration has begun orchestrating against 'the revolutionary Shiite regime in Tehran' for the year of 2018.

Iran ready for all nuclear deal scenarios: Deputy FM
IRNA , Tehran, Jan 8, 2018

Iran is prepared for all possible scenarios regarding the nuclear agreement, said the deputy foreign minister of Iran in the Second Tehran Security Conference on Monday.
'In case the JCPOA [in full: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is cancelled, the region will suffer the most,' said Abbas Araqchi at the panel on security in West Asia.
Araqchi said that the JCPOA was a successful experience adding that it is, de facto, the only experience of peaceful solving of a 10-year crisis in the contemporary time through negotiations.
The biggest lesson of the JCPOA is that 'we should still have hope in diplomatic solutions for big problems,' said Araqchi. 'Issues like Daesh and countering the occupiers cannot be solved through negotiation.'
Araqchi also said that the JCPOA should be a pattern for win-win talks; the US should be committed to it because killing the deal will not create a better region for the people.
'The US tried to destroy the JCPOA in the past year and may destroy it in the coming days; the world should be ready for that.'
'If the Europeans are interested in keeping the JCPOA, they should take some special steps to encourage the European companies and banks to cooperate with Iran,' Araqchi added.

Rouhani: People are right to say
'see us, listen to us, and respond to our demands'
Mehr News, Mon 8 January 2018

In a meeting with economy minister and ministry deputies on Monday, President Hassan Rouhani said that people have the right to demonstrate against the government, warning against enemies' plots to put country in turmoil.
According to the Iranian president official website, Rouhani described serving religion, revolution, country and people as the responsibility of all the authorities and said "we have a great nation. Authorities are not infallible and all authorities can be criticised and if this criticism is accompanied by hope, will and right solution, it will be very fruitful".
Stating that the root cause of the problems is the distance between us, as authorities, and the young generation, Dr Rouhani added "one cannot impose [an old-fashioned] lifestyle on future generations".
People are right to say 'see us, listen to us, and respond to our demands', he continued...

Dr Rouhani also added "to solve problems, individuals and the status quo should be criticized, rather than negation," saying: "Authorities are not infallible and all authorities can be criticised and if this criticism is accompanied by hope, will and correct solution, it will be very fruitful."
The "Culture of Waiting" [for Imam Mahdi's reappearance] means rising against injustice and having hope of a better future, said Rouhani adding: "Criticism is useful; but if it is accompanied by hope, will and the right solution."
He also went on to say "it is a misleading and insulting point of view that people's demands are only limited to economic issues."
People have economic, political, cultural and social demands, he continued, saying "if we fully accept that people are everything, the problems will be solved. If we talk with people transparently, our problems will be solved."
He said that "the path of economic engagement of people should be facilitated; the first step is cultural development."
Stating that the most important part of the economy is the re-distribution of revenues, such as taxes and zakat, the President said "in our budget bill, we have anticipated some notes on the elimination of absolute poverty; the Majlis and its members should not retreat for any reason."
He also said "it is the responsibility of the parliament to complete, help, and reform; not change the nature and purpose of the budget bill," adding that problems like employment and poverty cannot be resolved through slogans. "Everyone should go to the glass room so that people can know and judge them..."
It is an honour for the government to defend people's right to have access to information, the president added, saying "the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) must echo the nation's opinions, not a single faction."

Stating that unrest leads to escape of capital and damages the employment process, he said "banks must be fully connected to the capital market." The President also went on to say "development of buildings and administrative sectors freezes banks' capital. Banks should release funds for helping the economy."
"Paying taxes must become a public culture, even if it is minimal," Rouhani continued saying.
"The culture of insurance must be developed so that people's lives suffer less from incidents," he said, adding: "Insurers should not think about high profits; insurance should be competitive in the interests of people."
Stressing that choosing services is the right of the people and no individual or institution must interfere in it, he said "people should be informed about who receives budget from public resources".
"With transparency, criticism is heard better and corruption and problems will be eliminated," the President emphazised.

The Lion and the Sun, or The Sunny Spirit of the Mahdi

You cann't bring a person back to life,
but you can revive his Spirit...
That's wat spirituality is all about.

Contrary to what anti- Islamic iranian nationalists say, the old standard of Iran, the Lion and Sun, does actually have an Islamic background. The Lion stands for Ali, the sword it is holding is the zulfiqar, and the sun represents the light of God.
Also contrary to what the Islamic republic sais, the emblem is not a symbol of Pahlavi regime , secularism, corruption, or foreign influence.
The standard was in use in Iran way before the Pahlavis even came to power.. It was first used as far back as the Safavids and became the flag of the Qajar dynasty. It was also used by the Mughals in India and some of the Turkic states.
So should Iran bring back this emblem as its coat of arms? if not the actual flag itself. It has alot of historical value and is a matter of national pride , and in my opinion, is a very powerful and unique symbol of Iran. (

Persian Zoroastrism was a Fire-religion (Aries, Leo, Sagitarius)

The Mahdi - horoscope based on Sjia-birth-data

The lion and sun symbol is based largely on astronomical and astrological configurations: the ancient sign of the sun in the house of Leo, which itself is traced backed to Babylonian astrology and Near Eastern traditions.
The motif has many historical meanings. First, it was only an astrological and zodiacal symbol. Under Safavid and the first Qajar kings, it became more associated with Shia Islam.

Imam Mahdi (AS), savior of humanity, is the only son of Imam Hassan Askari (AS) the 11th Imam, who was born on the dawn of 15th of Shaaban 255 A.H. (869 C.E.) in Samarra, Iraq. He became the God-appointed Imam when his father was martyred in 260/874. Imam Mahdi (AS) went into occultation (disappearance) at the same time. He will reappear when Allah wills. (Shia-Info)

The Ocean of Light

Mohammed refers to him as "Master of the World," "Master of Time," "God's President," and "God speaking and advising."
He says that he can be recognized by these signs: "His hair will be profuse. His forehead will be large and concave. His nose will be small, with a slight bump at the bridge. His front teeth will be spaced apart. He will have a mole on his cheek. He will not have a beard but will be clean shaven.
His clothing will be like a flame. He will wear two robes, one an under robe. The color of his face will be sometimes yellow like gold, sometimes very dark and sometimes shining like the moon.
His body will be small. His legs will be like those of a young girl.
All the teachings of all the religions of the world will be in his heart from birth. All the science and knowledge of the world from the beginning of time will be in his heart. All things which you ask from God, the Master of the World will give you...

From the Bihar Al Anwar (Ocean of Light) a compilation of discourses by the Prophet Mohammed and some of the Shia Islam Imam's. It was compiled in the 17th century by Mohammed Baqir Majlisi, a famous early Shia scholar.

Astrology: MAHDI - Sun in house 1
Any person with Sun in the 1st house strives towards inner authenticity and they should never submerge their individuality to please others. This placement suggests there is a strong determination to choose one's own course in life, and the energy of the Sun, needs to radiate out of the personality.

MAHDI - LEO rising sign
Leo Rising is usually of sunny disposition, although they usually speak their mind. They can be extremely stubborn, and it can be challenging for them to break bad habits or behaviors. Their innate tenacity is one of their greatest assets, though. Even when everyone else is tired out and ready to give up, Leo Ascendant is still ready to inspire everyone to keep up the good work. Leo Rising is full of energy and enthusiasm. Leo-people are FUN-loving people. Once they are excited about something, they're ready to jump right in.

MAHDI - Uranus in 1st House
Those born with Uranus in the 1st house can be described as having unusual and unconventional qualities. Since the first house represents our physical appearance as well as our personality, there may be something non-conformist about the way these people dress or behave.
The individual is viewed as a rebel, reformer, or highly unusual in their manners, appearance and attitude. Sometimes these people enjoy being different and unpredictable. Uranus here likes to do what they please regardless of customs and norms.
The individual really wants to make a difference in the world, make progress and great changes. Uranus in this position can sometimes be disruptive, and they like to shake, rebel and shock others. The individual always wants to shatter other people’s expectations.
Uranus is associated with new discoveries, risk taking and scientific or occult exploration. Uranus in the 1st house wants to be autonomous, independent and freedom orientated....

Leo-Aquarius-people: Barack Obama, Carl Jung, J.K Rowling, Henry Moore..

Protests against rising prices and tax increases
spread to around 10 towns across Tunisia
Middle East Eye, Tuesday 9 January 2018

One person was killed on Monday during clashes between security forces and protesters in a Tunisian town, the government said, as demonstrations over rising prices and tax hikes spread in the North African country. The protest turned violent when security forces tried stopping some youths from burning down a government building, witnesses said. Five people were wounded and taken to a hospital, state news agency TAP said.
Protests against rising prices and tax increases spread to around 10 towns across Tunisia. Police fired tear gas and clashed with hundreds of people protesting against unemployment, high prices and new taxes, residents said.
Dozens of protesters, mainly belonging to the “Fech Nestannew” campaign (“What are we waiting for” in Arabic), demonstrated against increased consumer in prices on Bourguiba Avenue in the capital Tunis on Sunday, January 7

Tunisia, widely seen as the only democratic success among nations where "Arab Spring" revolts took place in 2011, is suffering increasing economic hardship. The dinar hit a record low on Monday on trade deficit data and other factors.
On 1 January, the government raised the price of gasoil and some goods as well taxes on cars, phone calls, internet services, hotel accommodation and other items, part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign lenders.
The economy has been in crisis since a 2011 uprising unseated the previous government and two major militant attacks in 2015 hit the tourism sector, which comprises eight percent of GDP and is a key source of foreign revenue.

Europe and Iran to discuss nuclear deal amid US pullout threat
Middle East Eye, Tuesday 9 January 2018

The EU has called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for a meeting on Thursday in Brussels with his French, British and German counterparts in efforts to preserve the hard-fought deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
The meeting between Zarif and the three European parties to the landmark 2015 agreement comes after Iran warned the world on Monday to prepare for the withdrawal of the United States.
Iran signed the accord with six world powers, agreeing to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions, but US President Donald Trump has condemned the deal and threatened to pull out.
Trump has kept the unrest in Iran in the global spotlight by tweeting his support for protesters almost daily since demonstrations began in late December, although he has stopped short of calling for regime change.

Calm Prevails over Iran
FARS News Agency, 10-1-2018

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Deputy Police Chief and Spokesman Brigadier General Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi announced that calm has restored to all parts of the country following the recent riots and unrest.
He underlined that the police forces reacted to the recent protests and unrest with deterrent weapons and practiced self-restraint to calm the situation.
Montazer al-Mahdi expressed pleasure that the people with economic grievances withheld their presence in the street protests to leave alone those who were damaging public properties and were turning the protest rallies into riots and unrest.

Last week, a number of peaceful protests began in several areas across the country, with the participants calling on authorities to address their economic issues.
However, the economic protests in a number of Iranian towns in the past few days turned into riots each comprised of a few hundred protesters after the peaceful gatherings were overshadowed when armed elements and vandals showed up among ordinary protesters and began to launch attacks on public property, police stations and religious sites.
The original protesters soon left the streets upon calls by the authorities so security forces could deal with the rioters and sporadic violence, which continued in some towns and cities for several days.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli attended at a big meeting with elite economists and top entrepreneurs at the hall of the ministry in Tehran on Wednesday, january 10. (Mehr News)

Syria: Al-Nusra Retreats from More Regions in Southeastern Idlib
FARS News Agency, 10-1-2018

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops beat the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) back from four more regions in Southeastern Idlib as the terrorist group has been withdrawing from a number of villages and towns in recent days, field sources confirmed on Wednesday.
The sources said that the army men captured the villages of al-Adeliyeh, Tal al-Aowja, Rasm al-Ward and Marijab Jamlan after heavy fighting with Al-Nusra gunmen and their militant allies.
The sources said that a large number of Al-Nusra terrorists have been killed or wounded and a large volume of their military equipment has been destroyed in the army operation to liberate Abu al-Dhohour airbase in Southeastern Idlib in recent days.
Battlefield sources reported on Tuesday that the army men pushed Al-Nusra back from the village of al-Khariba and closed off the road connecting Abu al-Dhohour to the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman.
They added that the army's artillery and missile units targeted the Al-Nusra movements near Abu al-Dhohour and inflicted major losses on them.

Turkey: FM Çavuşoğlu urges Russia and Iran to fulfill responsibilities in Syria
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 10-1-2018

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged Iran and Russia to realize duties as guarantor states in Syria and stop Assad regime violations against the moderate opposition forces in Idlib.
Speaking on Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk, Çavuşoğlu said that Russia and Iran have no excuses for attacks by the regime, noting that violations cannot happen without the support of the two countries.
Çavuşoğlu said that they were expecting some ceasefire violations, but the latest situation went beyond the limits.
The violations taking place in besieged areas, including Idlib, where some terrorists were able to enter, especially pose threats to civilians, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that it is not logical to completely shell besieged areas.
"If there is a terrorist organization in a region, its location needs to be determined through field work and intelligence sources, and careful operations can be carried out against them accordingly" he said, adding that what is currently happening in Idlib is unacceptable as civilians and moderate opposition forces are being attacked on the pretext that the Nusra Front and other terrorists are located there....
The foreign minister also noted that they plan to hold a meeting on Syria with like-minded countries in Turkey, following the summit that will be held in Russia's Black Sea city of Sochi. He highlighted once again that attacks by the Assad regime need to be stopped immediately in order to get results in Sochi.

Flashback: The Turkish intervention in Idlib does not solve
the issue of Hayat Tahrir Al Sham’s dominance
Hassan Hassan, The national (UAE), October 11, 2017

De-escalation zones are designed to exclude Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, and only apply to non-jihadi rebel groups.
Also, the Russian-sponsored process is envisioned as a way to temporarily de-escalate the conflict, rather than a way for the opposition to build political and governance structures.
But events since the weekend speak of different dynamics at play. In the space of two days, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham turned from being the subject of an imminent military campaign to practically being a partner, in a zone that Russia and Iran want to be free of the former Al Qaeda franchise.
The breakthrough for the opposition’s interim government, even though not directly related to the de-escalation zone in Idlib, is relevant to the Turkish campaign in the north west.
For more than a year, the interim government pleaded to the armed groups in Idlib, including Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, to allow it to relocate to their areas.
As The National reported in June, Jawad Abu Hatab, the body’s chief, presented the jihadi group with an offer that would give it and other jihadi and Islamist groups control of the police and the courts in exchange for allowing his government to operate from Idlib.

Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham ("Organization for the Liberation of the Levant" or "Levant Liberation Committee"), commonly referred to as Tahrir al-Sham and abbreviated HTS, also known as al-Qaeda in Syria], is an active Salafist jihadist militant group involved in the Syrian Civil War.
The group was formed on 28 January 2017 as a merger between Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra Front), the Ansar al-Din Front, Jaysh al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haqq, and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement.
Hashim al-Sheikh, also known as Abu Jabir, who had previously been the head of the now-rival Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, was named its new leader.
After the announcement, additional groups and individuals joined. The merger is currently led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and former Ahrar al-Sham leaders, although the High Command consists of leaders from other groups. Currently, a number of analysts and media outlets still continue to refer to this group by its previous names, al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Despite the merger, Tahrir al-Sham has been accused to be working as al-Qaeda's Syrian branch on a covert level. However, Tahrir al-Sham has officially denied being part of al-Qaeda and said in a statement that the group is "fully independent and doesn't represent any foreign body or organization". Some analysts reported that the goal of forming Tahrir al-Sham was to unite all groups with al-Qaeda's extreme ideology under one banner, and to obtain as many weapons as possible. They also reported that many of the former Jabhat Fateh al-Sham fighters still answered to al-Qaeda... Russia claims that Tahrir al-Sham shares al-Nusra Front's goal of turning Syria into an Islamic emirate run by al-Qaeda,

Chris Tomson, Al-Masdar News, 11/03/2017:
US declares newly merged Syrian jihadist group a terrorist organization

DAMASCUS, SYRIA – On Friday, the United States officially declared the newly formed Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) a terrorist group in a written statement. The jihadist coalition consists of Jabhat al-Nusra and some opposition groups that formerly enjoyed US support, including Harakat Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki.
The US State Department stressed that the main leader of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham is Abu Mohammad Al-Julani, commander-in-chief of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), and therefore HTS should still be regarded as the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
This terrorist designation comes as a major blow to the armed Syrian Opposition as Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham is considered the single largest rebel faction in all of Syria.

Iran-Hamas reconciliation in the works, Amit Center says
By Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, 11-1-2018

There are growing signs of a rapprochement between Tehran and Hamas after approximately three years of difficulties caused by Hamas’s reservations regarding the Islamic Republic’s support for the Assad regime, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center says.
This “rapprochement has been manifested by an increasing number of visits by Hamas delegations to Iran and by public statements from senior Hamas figures about” the importance of Iranian military support, the center said in a report late on Tuesday

"Every time we realize that the Muslim Brotherhood have not abandoned their hypocrisy. Their main concern remains power and ruling rather than religion or the interests of the country..." President Bashar al-Assad, 6-7-2013

During the Syrian civil war, Hamas, which is Sunni [Muslim Brotherhood], and Iran, which is Shi’ite, have found themselves rooting for opposite sides in the conflict, making it difficult to cooperate.
However, as it became clear the Bashar Assad’s regime, aligned with Tehran, was going to defeat the Sunni side [Salafists-Muslim Brotherhood] Hamas supports, Iran and the Palestinian movement started to warm up to each other again.
The report said that “until recently Hamas had kept its public statements about Iranian support vague, especially military support. However, in recent months” that has changed.
For Hamas, Iranian military support is particularly important now as tensions increase with Israel “over the sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory in the wake of Trump’s declaration and Israel’s destruction of attack tunnels,” said the report.
“The declaration of Donald Trump of America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel provided Iran with another opportunity to emphasize its support for the Palestinians...,” according to the center.
It noted that “Following Trump’s declaration, Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, spoke to senior figures in the military wings of both Hamas and the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and expressed Iran’s readiness to support them in every way possible...
Despite the warming relations between Hamas and Iran, Ehrlich said that he had seen no signs of any reconciliation between Hamas and the Assad regime.
Before the civil war, there had been at times strong relations between the sides, and even Hamas offices in Syria.

Flashback - Qaradawi: "[Political] Islam will prevail"
Ma'an News Agency, May 10 2013

Influential Muslim cleric Yousuf al-Qaradawi on Friday called on the Palestinian resistance to hold onto its arms in a sermon at a Gaza City mosque. Egyptian-born al-Qaradawi, who is a citizen of Qatar and close to the Muslim Brotherhood, was heading of a delegation of 50 clerics from 14 countries. During a meeting Thursday with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, al-Qaradawi warned that nobody has the right to cede "any part of Palestine."

“I advise all the people of Gaza to be patient and continue to build their country, and continue resistance,” the sheikh told worshipers at al-Omari Mosque. “We will not give up on the resistance, and we will not give up our arms”. “Palestine was never Jewish,” he said. “Palestine is Arab and Muslim and will remain Arab and Muslim, and Islam will prevail.”

Al-Qaradawi, head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, is a controversial religious figure in the West and has millions of supporters — mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood. He hosts a popular show on Al-Jazeera television and he backed the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Al-Qaradawi was refused a French visa last year on the grounds of being anti-Jewish. He was banned from entering Britain in 2008 and has been banned from the United States since 1999.

Western Jihad: Muslim Brotherhood prioritizes strengthening
the foundations of Brotherhood across the Arab world
By Seyyed Morteza Nematzadeh, Taghrib News 4-12-2012

"Whoever among them is able to shoot him with a bullet and to free us from his evil, to free Libya and its great people from the evil of this man and from the danger of him, let him do so!" Sheikk Yusuf Qaradawi - fatwa against Muammar Gaddafi

It seems that the US is trying to change its political strategy in the region, something it can follow through its two regional allies, Qatar and Turkey.
Qatar and Turkey, two US allies, have built good bridges with Egypt tightening the ties with Muslim Brotherhood.

- Qatar, providing financial aids for Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and particularly through Sheykh Yusuf Qardawi, Egyptian cleric residing in Qatar and a former member of Muslim Brotherhood, has claimed an important place for itself.
- Turkey also, due to the organizational relations between Justice and Development Party (JDP), founded in 2001, and Muslim Brotherhood, has an important stance for Muslim Brotherhood. This is while Turkey has recently decided to finance Egypt with an amount of two billion dollars aid.
Therefore at the moment the triangle of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar practically make the nucleus of a new axis in the region which on the one hand has its ties with the US through Qatar and Turkey and on the other hand it maintains its relations with some Arab governments like Tunisia and Maghreb as well as the political parties in other Arab countries.

It means that it is not the American Islam which tries to influence the region but a revolutionary Islam with Brotherhood features.
This type of Islam tries not only to reduce its differences with the US but also tries to find common interests out of which one might be hindering the growth of resistance and also the role of Iran in the region...

Arab leaders: "little more than properties on a Monopoly board"
Rami G. Khouri, Jordan Times, Jan 11, 2018

Of the many fascinating reports in Michael Wolff’s "Fire and Fury" book on the Donald Trump White House, perhaps most troubling for Americans and for the world were the new insights into how the United States today shapes its Middle East policies.
After spending the last three months in the US and interacting with numerous people and organisations that deal with Mideast issues, I see several problem categories in Trump’s Mideast actions.
The key ones are:
the adolescent and personalised nature of how pivotal officials engage with Middle Eastern leaders, based on personal chemistry more than studied national strategic realities;
Washington’s working to change Arab leaderships like trading Monopoly properties;
the massive sway that extremist, pro-ultranationalist Zionist American donors have in the White House;
the disdain that Trump and his associates seem to feel for Arab leaders and countries;
the exaggerated and dominant fears of Iran that shape US policies; and,
the presumptuous, mostly ignorance-based and unilateral decisions on critical issues such as the status of Jerusalem.

The quotes in the book are not a comprehensive overview of US policy making in the region or the world, to be sure, but the consistency and tone of the sentiments expressed by White House officials — especially former chief strategist and American White-ultranationalist Steve Bannon — reflect a manner of decision making in the most powerful office in the world that should frighten us all.
The bottom line for me is that major decisions on existential issues that impact the lives of 600 million people in the wider Middle East are being made largely on the basis of policy preferences among the Israeli and Saudi Arabian leaderships, and intermediated by mostly ignorant, and often very young and inexperienced American officials like Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The revelation that President Trump’s White House last year managed Middle Eastern issues mainly through the Israeli, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian leaderships, with an overarching desire to push back Iranian influence in the region, helps explain why the United States finds itself in confusing situations across the Middle East.
The main problem with the Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian combine as Washington’s preferred entry point into the Middle East is that these four countries’ leaders appear to be totally blind to the conditions, rights, sentiments, and aspirations of the 400 million people in Arab countries, and the other 200 million Middle Easterners in surrounding states.
US-backed Israeli, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian policies in the region are among the leading causes of the tensions and conflicts that plague us all, but they are not solely to blame, due to many other problematic policies by Arab, Iranian, Turkish, Russian, British, and other countries.

Last month’s decision by Washington to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital captures in one fell swoop everything that is wrong and destructive about the Trump approach...
I thought the most striking revelation in the book was the quote by Steve Bannon that Jordan should take control of the West Bank and Egypt of the Gaza Strip, saying the US should “let them deal with it — or sink trying”.
Such disdain towards two long-standing Arab allies of the US like Jordan and Egypt should be a red flag to all leaders in the region who might want to rely on the US as a consistent partner.
It should also be a warning sign to Arab leaders that they should wake up and figure out how to regain and exercise their own sovereignty, in order to ensure the well-being of their own citizens. Otherwise, they will wake up one day and realise that they have become little more than properties on a Monopoly board that adolescent airheads in the White House buy, sell, and discard at the whim of wild men in the US waving campaign donation checks.

Militant Group That Attacked Base in Syria Liquidated
Sputnik News, 12-1-2018

Russian artillery has destroyed a depot storing militants' drones located in the Idlib province.
The Russian Defense Ministry has announced that the group of militants that conducted a massive mortar attack targeting the Russian Hmeymim base in Syria on December 31 were eliminated in the course of a special operation.
"During the final stage of the operation, a group of Russian Special Operations Forces established the location of the subversive group of militants near the western border of the Idlib province.
Upon the terrorists' arrival at the facility where they were preparing to board to a minibus, the entire sabotage group was destroyed by a Krasnopol high-precision artillery shell," the Russian military said in a statement.
According to the Defense Ministry, the operation involved all the forces and means of a multi-level system of Russian military intelligence in Syria.
Separately, Russian military intelligence units have discovered and destroyed a depot in the Idlib province controlled by so-called "moderate opposition" used to store strike drones used to attack two Russian bases in Syria on January 6, the ministry added.
The Russian base in Syria was targeted by two attacks in less than a week, as the Hmeymim base came under mortar shelling on December 31 killing two servicemen, and was later attacked by drones on January 6.

Trump issues ultimatum to 'fix' Iran nuclear deal
Steve Holland, Reuters, 13-1-2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday (jan 12) gave the Iran nuclear deal a final reprieve but warned European allies and Congress they had to work with him to “fix the terrible flaws” of the pact or face U.S. withdrawal.
Trump said he would waive sanctions against Iran lifted as part of the deal but only as a “last chance” and would not do so again.
The ultimatum puts pressure on Europeans - key backers and parties to the 2015 international agreement – to satisfy Trump, who has called the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program “the worst ever.”
Trump wants the deal strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the international pact, warning: “No one should doubt my word.”
This is a last chance,” Trump said in a statement. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”
While Trump approved the sanctions waiver, the Treasury Department announced new, targeted sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran’s judiciary.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable and that Trump’s stance “amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement.”
Underscoring the difficulty now facing Europeans, a European diplomat, speaking under condition of anonymity, said: “It’s going to be complicated to save the deal after this.”
Trump laid out several conditions to keep the United States in the deal. Iran must allow “immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors,” he said, and that provisions preventing Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon must not expire.
Trump said U.S. law must tie long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs together, making any missile testing by Iran subject to “severe sanctions.”

A UN-sponsored reconciliation plan
The return of Baathism (Arab Nationalism) in Iraq
Salah Nasrawi, Ahram online, 13 Jan 2018

Nearly 15 years after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, his loyalists are showing signs that they are abandoning their endeavours to topple the country’s Shia-led government and are following a softly-softly approach to get involved once more in the country’s politics.
The United Nations, which is pushing to break the political stalemate in Iraq and end the turmoil that followed the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, is believed to be seeking to marshal support for the new approach by Saddam’s former ruling Baath Party apparatus.

Since the US-led invasion, the former Baath Party has been divided into several factions over positions on Iraq’s Shia-led government, but die-hard leaders such as Saddam’s deputy Ezzat Ibrahim Al-Douri have taken on prominent roles in the anti-government Sunni insurgency.
With the military campaign to drive IS militants from their last main strongholds now over, attention in Iraq is turning to post-IS stabilisation and putting an end to the country’s communal divisions. A series of media reports has recently suggested that at least one faction of the Baath Party is even thinking of participating in the country’s forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for May.
Al-Douri’s faction said it was now envisaging “an independent, democratic, pluralistic and strong Iraq.”
In a statement marking Iraqi Army Day, the party faction made no mention of its long-standing aim of restoring its rule to Iraq and ridding the country of the Iran-backed Shia-led government.
“Our party is in the forefront of the ranks of those wanting to achieve a comprehensive solution to Iraq’s crisis that will ensure the freedom of the people, security and stability, the protection of the dignity of citizens and an end to corruption,” the faction said.

Iraqi media have reported that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has drafted a new reconciliation plan that proposes easing restrictions on the former loyalists, including ending the de-Baathification laws imposed on the party after the US-led invasion.
The measures meet one of the main benchmarks that Iraqi Sunnis have demanded of the Shia-dominated government, with the aim of providing places in it for the Saddam-era ruling elite and former army officers.
Other demands include the release of Sunni prisoners in government jails and resuming the paying of pensions to senior officials and army and security officers from the Saddam era.
Under Iraq’s de-Baathification laws of 2003, thousands of party members from the defeated Iraqi army and government bureaucracy were stripped of employment and denied pensions, leaving many disgruntled and angry.
The UN plan also reportedly calls on the Iraqi government to ensure that Sunni grievances of marginalisation and exclusion are addressed and a way is found for the country’s various groups to live together in order to achieve reconciliation at both the community and national level.
UNAMI has not divulged details of the plan, but its head, Slovakian diplomat Ján Kubiš, told the UN Security Council on 9 November that the Iraqi government’s undertakings in the post-IS era should include building a peaceful and united Iraq.

The Baath Party’s new and conciliatory tone has also been manifested in public statements by its leaders and discussions they have joined in recent meetings abroad.
The discussions in France, Spain, Qatar, Tunisia, Turkey and Switzerland sponsored by NGOs or government agencies were meant to display a moderate image of the party.
Iraq’s Sunni Arab neighbours are believed to be backing efforts to rehabilitate the Baathists...
Al-Douri and many other Baath Party leaders in exile are reportedly receiving financial, logistical and political backing from some of the regional Sunni powerhouses.
Many of the country’s Shia groups have expressed reservations about the rehabilitation of the Baath Party which could resurface as a potential Sunni force that could threaten their power.

Al-Douri & The Naqshbandi Order

The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (JRTN) was originally composed mainly of groups wishing to restore the old order under the Ba'athist ideology.
It is a Sufi Islamic organization with Iraqi and Arab nationalist tendencies.
JRTN is linked to the "New Baath Party" led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, an adherent of the Naqshband Order. Since the JRTN is led by Saddam's former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, and contains many former Ba'athists, Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism, Ba'athism as well as Sufi Islamism and Sunni Islamism have all become an important part of its ideology.
The group has declared itself to be fighting to maintain Iraq's unity, along with its Arab and Islamic character. As such, the group can be seen as pursuing a nationalistic, as opposed to religious, line.
The group recognises a direct return to Baathist control is impossible; the group instead focuses on infiltrating former Baathists into positions of power to try to dominate a future nationalist government.
The group then wishes to portray itself, and the wider Baath party, as a technocratic alternative to a currently incompetent Islamist government that is incapable of delivering services. (Wikipedia)

Behind the word "Naqshband" stand two ideas: naqsh which means "engraving" and suggests engraving the name of Allah in the heart, and band which means "bond" and indicates the link between the individual and his Creator.
This means that the Naqshbandi follower has to practice his prayers and obligations according to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to keep the presence and love of Allah alive in his heart through a personal experience of the link between himself and his Lord. (sufimeditationcenter)

A return to Arab Nationalism

April 2015 Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who lives in hiding, released a rare audio recording just days before the alleged ISIS executions in which he slammed ISIS and called for a return to Arab nationalism.
The bitterest enemies of the nation are the followers of takfiri ideas because they do not recognize the Arab nation,” Al-Mada Press cited Douri as saying Sunday in a voice recording released by a pro-Baathist website.
“Many friends wrote to me [suggesting] that we [should] incline towards the ideas and the doctrine of those who want religious ideas that endanger Shiites and Sunnis to spread.”
I told them we would not turn away from progressive, emancipatory Arab nationalist ideas.”

Flashback 2003: SHOCK & AWE
U.S. War Commander Vows Historic Campaign

U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks, in his first comments on the U.S.-led war with Iraq, said Saturday that allied forces were encountering resistance from Saddam Hussein's troops but had not seen evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Franks, who runs the war from a command post in Qatar, also told a news briefing he had "no idea" where Saddam was or whether he was alive. The general declared the assault on Iraq would be one of "shock, surprise, flexibility," using munitions on a "scale never before seen."
The general had no clarification of reports that Saddam was injured or killed in bombardments on the night the war started.
"But interestingly," he said, "the way we're undertaking this military operation" would not change regardless of what happens to Saddam, because its intent was to bring down the Iraqi (Baath) regime — not just topple its president. (By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer 22-3-2003)

What the West destroyed...

Saddam's holistic worldview: "No petit bourgeois politics"

Saddam Hussein and his ideologists sought to fuse a connection between the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations in Iraq to Arab nationalism by claiming that the Babylonians and ancient Assyrians are the ancestors of the Arabs. Thus, Saddam Hussein and his supporters claim that there is no conflict between Mesopotamian heritage and Arab nationalism.
Saddam Hussein based his political views and ideology upon the views of MICHEL AFLAQ, Ba'athism's key founder.
Saddam was also an avid reader of topics on moral and material forces in international politics. His government was critical of orthodox Marxism, opposing the orthodox Marxist concepts of class conflict, the dictatorship of the proletariat and atheism; it opposed Marxism–Leninism's claim that non-Marxist–Leninist parties are automatically bourgeois in nature, claiming that the Ba'ath Party was a popular revolutionary movement and the people rejected petit bourgeois politics. (Wikipedia info)

Aflaq: Arab Nationalisme = Humanism

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 accompanies nationalism and is not its follower.” (Read more here)

Arab Writers Union expresses firm stance in support of unity of Syrian soil
Syrian Arab News Agency, 13 January 2018

Secretary General of the Arab Writers Union (AWU), Habib Al-Sayegh, highlighted the firm stance of the Union in support of the unity of Syrian soil and the resistance against attempts of undermining the national state as well as the right of the Syrian people to determine future of their country.
Delivering a speech at the opening of periodic meeting of the Permanent Bureau of the Arab Writers Union in Damascus on Saturday, al-Sayegh stressed the Union’s rejection of all forms of foreign meddling in the Syrian affairs.
He considered the Union’s meeting in Damascus as a message of solidarity with the Syrian writers and citizens.
Head of Arab Writers Union of in Syria, Nidal al-Saleh, said that “Damascus is the beating heart of Arabism,” adding that Damascus is defending all Arab causes.
Delegations from 15 Arab countries, in addition to Syria, participate in this meeting.

Habib Al-Sayegh: Emirati poet and writer born in Abu Dhabi in 1955, he received a Bachelor of Philosophy in 1977 and earned a master's degree in English linguistics and translation in 1998 from the University of London.
Working in journalism and culture, Habib Al-Sayegh presides over the Emirates Writers Union since 2009, he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Al-Kateb Al-Arabi magazine which is published by Emirates Writers Union since December 2015. Currently, He is Editor-in-Chief and adviser of Dar Al-Khaleej. Besides that, he writes a daily Column in the Gulf Newspaper from Sharjah.

Flashback: General Union of Arab Writers to get permanent headquarters
Gulf Today, September 21, 2017

Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has announced that he will undertake that a permanent headquarters be set up for the General Union of Arab Writers to serve as a venue for communication among Arab writers, host the federation’s cultural activities and support its cultural production.
A reserve deposit will also be allocated to support insolvent Arab writers and extend a helping hand to them to carry on their intellectual and cultural journey.
Sheikh Sultan stressed the importance of cultural activities and the need to support them and ensure their sustainability and progress, enabling them to face the fierce campaigns against the Arab nation and its culture.

Russia's Deputy FM: "The US demonstrate their preference
for the use of power to solve issues"
Sputnik news, 13-1-2018

Russia, as well as the European Union, remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, despite the recent US waiver of sanctions against the country.
Moscow would oppose any attempts to undermine the existing nuclear agreement between P5+1 countries and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated. "The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] cannot be amended and we will oppose any attempts to hamper it," Ryabkov said.
The minister went on by saying that Trump's move raises questions concerning his negotiability on international issues, adding that Moscow will insistently explain to Washington the viciousness of its sanction policy towards both Tehran and Pyongyang.
"We have a very negative stance on yesterday's decisions and statements announced by Washington, our worst expectations are coming true," Ryabkov said commenting on Trump's words, saying that the US thus demonstrate their preference for the use of power to solve issues...
"The prospect of the US withdrawal from the Iran deal will deliver a very serious blow to the whole system of international agreements and to the enhancing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime," Ryabkov said.
The minister called on the international community to consolidate efforts aimed at securing the Iranian nuclear deal.
"We think that in this context, the international community should double its efforts aimed at consolidation of the approach to the protection of the JCPOA shared by Russia, the Europeans and China in favor of its strict and full implementation by all the participants," Ryabkov said.

Trump names David Schenker new Middle East head at State Department
DEBKA file, Jan 12, 2018

David Schenker, a director at the Washington Institute for Near East policy, is to be assigned the top Middle East post at the State Department, as part of the ongoing shakeup ordered by President Donald Trump.
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that Schenker, a friend of Israel [..], is a former senior adviser to Donald Rumsfeld, when he served as defense secretary in the George W. Bush administration.
He is the second non-diplomat to receive a high State Department appointment since Trump entered the White House. As assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, he will follow Andrew Peek, a former military intelligence officer, who was named deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran.

Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been conducting a quiet revolution in the department to replace the professional diplomats who led former administration policies for appeasing Iran, promoting certain Arab and Muslim circles and antagonizing Israel.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spin-off the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is an influential beltway think tank whose members have advocated a host of hawkish, “pro-Israel” policies over the years.
It is considered a core member of the “Israel lobby,” a constellation of policy and advocacy groups devoted to pushing an Israel-centric U.S. agenda in the Middle East.
Many of WINEP’s current and former scholars have been closely associated with neoconservatism, and the organization has generally been supportive of the “war on terror” policies pushed by groups such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Right Web)

Flashback: US and EU must arm the Syrian rebels
"Anything short of Assad's defeat would be a setback for Washington
David Schenker. The Guardian, Thu 30 May 2013

Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah – have reinforced the regime. The European Union's decision to lift the arms embargo will not immediately reverse momentum in favor of the rebels, but it is an important first move away from the ambivalence that has characterized western policy toward the Syrian conflict for too long.
Until now, the EU and the US have done relatively little to suggest they really want the opposition to win...
In fact, more than a year ago, the EU and US essentially delegated the task of arming the opposition to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, states inclined, respectively, toward Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood. Consequently, many Islamist militias have ascended in Syria, some of which are affiliated with al-Qaida.
The end of the embargo paves the way for Europe to start providing weapons to vetted, non-Islamist rebel forces. Well resourced, these units will attract more followers, inflicting more damage on regime forces and acting as a serious counterweight to Islamist militias.
When Assad is eventually vanquished, the changed dynamic on the ground will better enable non-Islamist units to compete in the fight for Syria's future.
It's true that adding any more arms to the Syrian arena may, in the short-term, help the opposition needlessly kill more people. It's also true that some of these weapons could wind up in the hands of Islamists....
But anything short of Assad's defeat would be a setback not only for Syrians, but for Washington and its European allies.

Neocons in the Iraq War
An intellectual history of the neoconservative movement, 2008

Less than a year into Bush's term, the 9/11 incident and the anthrax mailings put the country into a state of hysterical fear. The neocon advisers capitalized on that hysteria by claiming that Saddam Hussein had connections to Islamic terrorism and the 9/11 attack. Also, they claimed he was developing nuclear and biological weapons for attacking the US and its allies. The only way to end the terrorist threat, the Bush administration said, was war against Saddam.
It is now known that a cabal of neocons, operating in the "Office of Special Plans" under the direction of Douglas Feith, had fabricated intelligence for consumption by Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush.
The intelligence they fabricated was completely wrong.
Saddam had no nuclear weapons, no biological weapons, no uranium from Niger, no connection to al Qaeda and no connection with the terrorists who attacked the US on 9/11.
Neocons with hands-on involvement in the cooking of intelligence ['fake news'] included William Luti, Abram Shulsky and David Schenker.

Donald Trump: "So much Fake News is being reported"
Saagar Enjeti, White House Correspondent, Daily Caller, 13-1-2018

President Donald Trump took aim at the media and author Micheal Wolff in a Saturday evening tweet.

" So much Fake News is being reported. They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong. They promote the Fake Book of a mentally deranged author, who knowingly writes false information. The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election!"
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2018

Trump has repeatedly derided Wolff’s book which portrays him as a chaotic leader in a White House full of aides who do not respect him or trust in his ability to his job. The book also includes incendiary quotes from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon targeting Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
Wolff’s book has ignited a firestorm of media speculation that Trump is mentally unstable and unfit for office.
The president responded to this speculation soon after the books publication by declaring he was “a very stable genius.”

"We think alike!" Trump’s fight for America's soul.
Jack Engelhard, Arutz Sheva (Voice of Right Wing Religious Zionism), 14/01/2018

Trump is a man at war. He’s a man in search of American Gothic. He wants to turn back the clock. Before it’s too late.
So yes, Trump did say, “Why are we having all these people from shit-hole countries come here?”
He denies the slur, but either way, there’s OMG delirium from sensitive Liberals and even a few ever so touchy Conservatives.
All of whom find only flaws in Trump but perfection in themselves…like Senator Dick Durbin putting on airs and feasting on Trump’s apparent snafu.

What’s the UN if not exactly that – a hellhole that near unanimously votes against the only Democracy in the Middle East, Israel, every Monday and Thursday?
Where exactly did Trump go wrong except for putting too much salt on the truth?
Democrats want to swarm America out of existence. That is no secret anymore. Democrats want to rule through the votes they see coming from those millions of infiltrators. Democrats want our Jewish/Christian values expunged.
No wonder of all the other nations of the world, Trump favors Israel. We think alike.
Democrats won’t be satisfied until America becomes a hellhole like the rest of the world.
Only a month ago, 128 nations at the UN voted to disgrace the United States for siding with Israel as regards Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration. Does anybody really want those shit-holes coming here?

Individual Freedom & the Survival of the Tribe
Jonathan Ofir (Israeli musician), Monoweiss, January 9, 2018

Breaking with Zionism can be a life-shattering experience.
In Israel, the Jewish-Israeli society is by and large Zionist – in degrees varying from the so-called ‘liberal-Zionist’ to the fundamentalist Zionist. There is not really, necessarily, much of a difference when one speaks of this breaking experience in one faction or the other. The thing with Zionism is, that its adherents basically see it as a kind of ‘essence of life’.

Raanan Gissin, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s top adviser and spokesman (2001-2006), says that Sharon — a secular Jew — has long been calling for more Jewish text study in the secular schools...
Teaching Jewish heritage isn’t only about building identity; at the risk of sounding racist, its about ensuring the survival of the tribe.” (Interview 2001)

The Zionist indoctrination teaches that it’s about ‘our very existence’. The ‘us’ is generally considered to be ‘the Jewish nation’ or ‘the Jewish people’, and hence the individual is seen as a small part in this.
As the survival of the whole also encompasses the individual, any breaking with Zionism is considered a kind of societal treachery, which endangers the strength and even survival of the ‘whole’.

Narratives challenging the factual veracity of the ‘survival’ notion, like pointing out the thriving Jewish existence elsewhere, is rather meaningless for Zionists.
Under the Zionist meta-narrative, this is all temporary. Jewish thriving is temporary, and simply awaits a point in time wherein the gentiles will again ‘turn on the Jews’, because that’s what happens “in each and every generation”, as the Passover chant goes.
And the Zionist answer to this supposedly perilous, eternal state of affairs, is a Jewish nation-state. So in the bigger paradigm, Zionists simply see the solution – the Jewish nation-state, as a survivalist solution.
They are therefore not inclined to see any ‘problems’ ensuing from it, such as human rights violations and challenging of international law, as more than mere obstacles or challenges facing this ‘special case’ – Israel...
In other words, Zionism renders the supposed values of ‘liberalism’ meaningless. It may well be that ‘liberal Zionists’ consider liberal values to be their highest goal, but when it comes down to the competition between Zionism and liberalism, Zionists will go Zionist...

Zionism renders the supposed values of ‘liberalism’ meaningless

So when a break occurs, it is a break that will inevitably lead one to reconsider the totality of the indoctrination and set of values one was brought up with. The breaking with Zionism becomes a core breaking by oneself with a whole value-system with which one was raised. One’s family and peers register that one’s distance is not merely ‘political;’ it is, inevitably, about one’s essential nature of being.
Zionists perceive this as a suggestion that they, the Zionists, are regarded as ‘others’ of lesser values, and instinctively register that regard as an offense, even throwing them back to the ‘anti-Semitic’ idea of Jews as lesser beings (even when it is a Jew breaking with Zionism). This is offensive to a Zionist’s whole being, on so many levels. They will inevitably feel a natural aversion to the person...
People who are in such a society – the one which upholds and enshrines Zionism – know all this instinctively. The price of breaking with Zionism can be high. It’s not only a breaking with society, it’s a breaking with one’s past. For most people, such a price is considered simply too high.

Read also: Why are Israeli children brainwashed to hate? (Monoweiss, 7-5-2017)

Mahmoud Abbas slams Trump over 'slap in the face of the century'
Al-Jazeera, 14-1-2018

Mahmoud Abbas has sharply criticised Donald Trump, saying the Palestinian Authority (PA) will never accept the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The PA president made his comments on Sunday at the start of a two-day central council meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah.
"Politically, Jerusalem is our capital; in our religion, it is our capital; geographically, it is our capital," said Abbas. "But it was removed from the map with a tweet from Mr Trump," he added.
"Now we say 'No' to Trump, we won't accept his plan - we say the 'deal of the century' is the slap in the face of the century," noted Abbas, referring to the US president's pledge to achieve the "ultimate deal" - peace in the Middle East.
The Palestinian leader also said that Israel had "ended" the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s with its actions, and also called the US ambassadors to the UN and to Israel - Nikki Haley and David Friedman - a "disgrace".
In his speech, Abbas criticised Hamas and Islamic Jihad for not attending the central council meeting. He said that this was a time where the Palestinians needed to get together because Jerusalem is the religious, cultural and political capital of Palestine.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was offered the Jerusalem-area Arab town of Abu Dis as the capital of a future "Palestinian state," PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday. Speaking at a meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council, Abbas said, "Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine...our future is in danger."
"What would you want if Jerusalem were to be lost? Would you want to make a state with Abu Dis as its capital?
That’s what they are offering us now. Abu Dis."

Abbas said he had refused the offer. "We won’t take orders from anyone," he said. "We will not accept it."
(Arutz Sheva, 15-1-2018)

Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of the YESHA Council, the official representative organization for the 450,000 Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria, released the following response to Abbas' speech:
"The corrupt Palestinian Authority was a creation of the Oslo-Accords. If the Oslo process is dead as suggested by Abbas - it would follow that the Palestinian Authority and its leadership are irrelevant.
It's time to find alternative Palestinian leaders and alternative peace plans.. (Arutz Sheva, 14-1-2018)

Flashback: The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas
is an old problem that needs a new solution...
Oded Revivi, LA Times, 3-5-2017

If the new Trump administration is serious about peace, it should be made clear to the Palestinian Authority that any efforts — official and unofficial — that intimidate, threaten or harm Palestinians who choose to engage in friendly relations with their Israeli neighbors are unacceptable and will harm their relationship with the United States.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel can be a catalyst and natural home for these types of meetings, which could be the harbingers of true peace.
My recent audience with Trump special envoy Jason Greenblatt in Jerusalem signified the administration’s breaking with decades of failed U.S policy, which ignored Israelis residing in Judea and Samaria and banned American diplomats from entering our communities.
Instead of ignoring us, the U.S. should empower those of us willing to sit together with Palestinians to improve lives on both sides.
The American public voted for Donald Trump with the hope that he would provide new solutions to old problems. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas is an old problem that needs a new solution...
We have advised the new Trump Administration that a total paradigm change will be needed to achieve long-term peace in our region,” Revivi added.
“The President would be ill-advised to prop-up a corrupt Palestinian Authority, whose billionaire dictator is unable to pay his own electricity bills, let alone run an independent state.”

The death of the "Palestinian issue".
Donald Trump decided to pull two foundational cards:
The Jerusalem card and the refugee card.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, 15-1-2018

"Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine," is an idea created after the Six Day War and further developed after the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993. Arafat turned it into a mantra, while official Israel – Shmon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Alon Liel and their cohorts – did nothing to stop him. They told us that the expression is meant for a Palestinian Arab audience, i.e. for "internal use" only.
"Millions of shahids are on the march to Jerusalem!!" Arafat shouted day and night, but they told us to ignore it, that these were empty words, merely a pipe dream.
The world, led by Europe, went along with this Palestinian house of cards, financing it with billions of dollars over the years in the hopes of turning it into a real concrete structure, simply ignoring reality.
The world did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and allowed Jerusalem to turn into another major bargaining chip in the "Peace talks".
The world perpetuated the "Palestinian refugee problem" despite the fact that not one refugee remains of all the others who existed in the 1940s. Even Germany, which absorbed and rehabilitated the Sudetenland residents expelled from Czechoslovakia, did not demand that the Arab world do the same and absorb the "Palestinian refugees".
That double standard is what perpetuated the Palestinian Arab refugee problem, turning it into a central bargaining chip in negotiations between Israel and its neighbors...

" the Palestinian problem is now seen by them as nothing more than a nuisance"

Donald Trump understood that the Palestinian structure is made of cards, left standing only because of the world's going along with European leadership, American liberal circles, the Arab states and a few Israelis suffering from burn-out.
Trump understood that the Palestinian ideological structure is full of holes and decided to pull two foundational cards out of the ephemeral structure: the Jerusalem card and the refugee card...
Trump pulled the refugee card from the house of cards by announcing that he would cease to fund, support and perpetuate it. That act is a thousand times worse than recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because the refugee issue has been capitalized on for seventy years, with billions of dollars poured into it, all going to waste.
Without adequate funding, the "refugees" are liable to spread out and be absorbed in the areas to which they move on, within the Arab world and outside it. The "refugee problem" and its threat to Israel might even disappear.
Abbas understands that his house of cards, lacking Jerusalem and refugees, is about to collapse and disappear... The feeling that he has lost his compass is what made him lose his temper and abandon the discretion that has always characterized his behavior, leading him to return to the depths of Arabic culture with an imprecation aimed at Trump –"May your house be destroyed."

Abbas does not have the Arab world standing behind him. Quite the contrary, the Iranian issue has pushed many Arab states closer to Israel and since the Arab nations are mired in a plethora of their own internal problems, the Palestinian problem is now seen by them as nothing more than a nuisance.
Abbas' speech this week, one in which he dug his own grave, symbolized the collapse, death and burial of the "Palestinian issue"..

Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.