Saddam's Death, 114 (march 2018)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 113: febr 2018 and Page 115: march 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.

"...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)

Erdogan: Turkish companies are among the firms
that provide the most employment in Algeria.
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 28-2-2018

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (on Monday 26-2) embarked on a five-day, four-country trip to Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal and Mali.
Accompanied by a group of 200 businesspeople, Erdoğan is scheduled to attend three business forums, the first of which was held yesterday in Algeria.
Speaking at the Turkey-Algerian Business Forum, President Erdoğan elaborated on Turkey's economic performance over the past 15 years as well as Turkish-Algerian economic ties. Erdogan said that Turkish companies are among the firms that provide the most employment in Algeria. With more investments the employment contribution would be higher.
Recalling that seven agreements were signed between Turkish and Algerian ministers on Monday, Erdoğan said it was urgent to hold a Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting.
Turkey and Algeria's foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Turkey's Foreign Ministry Diplomacy Academy and the Algerian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic and International Relations Institute.
Another memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation in agriculture was signed by the two countries' agriculture ministers. The culture ministers of both countries signed a cooperation protocol to utilize common cultural heritage between Turkey and Algeria.

Algeria & The enemies of secularism
By Marissa B. Goldfaden, Inquiries Journal, 2011, Vol. 3 No. 04

Following a successful war of liberation in 1962, Algeria successfully gained independence from France and an authoritarian social regime took power.
The success of this government lasted into the 1980s, when Algeria's oil reserves began to decline. This was perhaps the most significant factor that led to the rise of Islamism in Algeria.
According to Sheri Berman, "The economic difficulties of the mid to late 1980s coincided with the large scale rise of Islamism...
The riots of October 1988 marked the end of Algeria's one party rule, as the government formally liberalized in 1989, allowing for competition between political parties.
This political opening was exploited by Islamists, who quickly formed the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). When the FIS dominated the parliamentary elections of 1991, the government suspended the elections.
Violence quickly gave way to a civil war that lasted throughout the 1990s, leaving an estimated 100,000 Algerians dead."

In the West the separation of church and state is often taken for granted. However, this is not a universal norm, particularly where a religion contains the governing tenets usually found elsewhere -- for example, in a country's constitution.
According to A. Hadenius, the Islamists' inability to build a democratic political order is essentially due to their denial of popular sovereignty, and to their belief that the seat of power is eternally occupied by the notion of God.
Furthermore, Hadenius argues that democracy consists of two aspects,
1) the first of which is political and relates to the choice of leaders by the electorate,
2) the second concerns the liberalization of society (equality of the sexes, freedom of speech, autonomy of the individual, religious tolerance).
All Islamists reject the second aspect of democracy, but they are divided on the first.
Some scholars argue that what makes Islam incompatible with democracy is not the religion in itself, but the interpretation given to it by individuals who seek to divinize politics, thus allowing only those who follow the 'true path' to participate in the contest for power.

In April 2004, Algeria elected its president in "free and fair" elections. Ali Benhadjar, a former Islamist leader, refused to take part in the elections on the grounds that none of the candidates for president agreed to meet a list of the Islamists demands.
Mr. Benhadjar insists that a secular minority stands in the way of Algerian Muslims' Islamic program.
While an Islamist-led government would not suspend the democratic process, he explained, areas deemed sacred would become untouchable -- Shariah justice, for one...

NO to economic development! Islamism in syria, 2011-2018

Sergey Lavrov: "Never in the history of humanity
did the deliberate destruction of states benefit ordinary people"
TASS Russian News Agency, February 28, 2018

Russia will continue rendering assistance to the Syrian army to help stamp out the terrorist threat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
Russia’s top diplomat made this statement while speaking in Geneva at a high-level segment of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament.

"We consider it inadmissible to divide terrorists into ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ especially when this is done depending on the goals or the sources of financing declared by the extremists,’ Lavrov said.
"Russia will continue to persistently fight the nefarious practice of such double standards, even by rendering assistance to the Syrian army in finally rooting out the terror threat," Russia’s top diplomat promised.
What also captures attention is "the demonstrative unpreparedness of some Council members under the pretext of the freedom of speech to clearly denounce international terrorism in any of its forms and manifestations," Russia’s foreign minister said.

Russia’s top diplomat described as extremely dangerous attempts to use human rights violations to justify military adventures aimed at regime change and recalled Pope Francis’ remarks who said that it is impossible to fight evil with another evil.
"Whatever attitude to [Iraq’s former President] Saddam Hussein and [former Libyan leader] Muammar Gaddafi may be, let those who toppled them answer a simple question, namely, did the illegal intervention alleviate people’s suffering, did it protect the most important of human rights - the right to life? The answer is obvious," Lavrov pointed out.
"Never in the history of humanity did the deliberate destruction of states benefit ordinary people," he stressed.
"On the contrary, it always brought humanitarian disasters to civilians. That was also the cause for unprecedented waves of illegal migration that swept Europe, an unprecedented upsurge of terrorism, persecution of Christians and members of other religions.".

Israeli Bill Criminalizes Criticism of the Military
Bill paving the way for annexation of the West Bank approved
Palestine Chronicle, February 27, 2018

The Israeli Knesset has approved the first reading of a bill proposed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, that would ban organizations critical of the country’s military.
Bennet’s primary target is the group known as Breaking the Silence. The organization of veteran Israeli combatants who speak out against the brutal nature of the occupation has become a major thorn for the government.
Addressing the bill, Bennett said: “Breaking the Silence has long ago crossed the line of legitimate discourse when it chose a path of slander and lies against IDF soldiers on the international stage.” Another Israeli lawmaker Shuli Mualem accused Breaking the Silence of seeking to “undermine” the regime and its army soldiers.
In their response to the bill, the group accused Bennett of promoting “occupation education” and trying to “crush every democratic value on the altar of the settlement movement.” The anti-occupation group further emphasized that “the only way to stop us is to end the occupation.”

A separate bill paving the way for annexation of the West Bank was also approved. Israeli lawmakers agreed to expand the jurisdiction of Israeli courts over “Area C” of the West Bank.
The Bill was tabled by another right-wing Israeli minister, Ayelet Shake

Danny Dalon to Abbas: "You are the problem", 20-2-2018

US senators in bid to end support for Saudi in Yemen war
Al-Jazeera, 1-3-2018

US lawmakers have submitted a draft resolution calling for an end to US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's war. The draft resolution is being pushed forward by Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy.
The bill intends to exploit a powerful but rarely activated provision in a 1973 law - the War Powers Act - that gives Congress the authority to over-rule the president and withdraw troops if the former believes the conflict is not authorised.

"We believe that, as Congress has not declared war or authorised military force in this conflict, the US involvement in Yemen is unconstitutional and unauthorised and US military support of the Saudi coalition must end," Sanders said.
Sanders stressed that under the US Constitution, Congress is the only authority that can declare war, alluding to divisions in the US government between congressional power and the president's role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
A similar bid to end US support for the war in Yemen was launched in November 2017 in a draft resolution sponsored by Congressman Ro Khanna. And while the resolution was passed, it was not implemented.
"Many Americans are unaware that the people of Yemen are suffering today from a devastating civil war with Saudi Arabia and their allies on one side and Houthi rebels on the other," said Sanders.
"Many Americans are also not aware that US forces have been actively involved in support of the Saudis in this war, providing intelligence and aerial refuelling of planes, whose bombs have killed thousands of people and made this crisis far worse."

Yemen has been torn apart by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels, allied with troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured large expanses of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia launched a massive aerial campaign against the rebels in March 2015, aimed at restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Since then, the US has been helping the Saudi-led coalition with weaponry and logistical support.
According to the United Nations, the war has killed more than 10,000 people and injured more than 40,000 to date. The UN has also said the country is facing the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world".
Due to a crippling Saudi air and sea blockade on the country, more than three quarters of the population - some 22 million people - need humanitarian assistance, while 11 million require dire help in order to survive.

Read also: Are America’s Wars Just and Moral?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, 25-7-2017
Saudi war on Yemen may put 4.5 million Yemeni children out of school
Press TV, Mon Apr 17, 2017
Donald Trump & Saudi Arabia
By Juan Cole | March 15, 2017
Arab League, dominated by Saudi Arabia & Qatar
Fighting Iran, No support for the Palestinians
Dina Ezzat , Monday 5 Sep 2016
The Rich Against The Poor
The Hypocrisy of the West's Alliance With Saudi Arabia

Sputnik News, 26-8-2016

Flashback 2003: President Bashar al-Assad
There are cultural and intellectual methods to fight terrorism

President Bashar al-Assad received the senior correspondent of the Italian 'Corriere Della Sera' newspaper Antonio Ferari and gave him an interview.
On whether there is a fear that Syria becomes the next target of a military action after the war on Iraq the President said: "I do not think that the US has interest in repeating its mistake in Iraq."
Asked what he will tell President George Bush if a meeting takes place with him, President Bashar said: "I will tell the truth and point out the mistake in his proposals... I would also say that the US administration is under accusation and not Syria."

On the prospects of 'the road map to peace' and whether the President believes in it in the first place, the President said: "Where does it exist?
If it has been there, it is only in a conference or in the media. We didn't see it effective and we don't think that it will be such... The current Israeli government is a war government which has no interest in achieving peace..."

On the definition of terrorism, the President said: "It is not an army, but mind and thoughts. This is the problem of fighting terrorism.
There are cultural and intellectual methods to fight ignorance, poverty, wars, racism, etc.. All these are methods to fight terrorism. At the last stage comes security cooperation among countries.." (Interview Syria Times 30-9-03)

Info: The road map is an internationally devised peace plan, drawn up by the US, the UN, the EU and Russia - with Israeli and Palestinian consultation - that seeks a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That means setting up an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the two occupied territories, alongside Israel.

Putin: The man who rejected the model of a “Unipolar” World Order.
Mike Whitney, UNZ REview, February 28, 2018

It is essential to provide conditions for creative labor and economic growth at a pace that would put an end to the division of the world into permanent winners and permanent losers.
The rules of the game should give the developing economies at least a chance to catch up with those we know as developed economies. We should work to level out the pace of economic development, and brace up backward countries and regions so as to make the fruit of economic growth and technological progress accessible to all. Particularly, this would help to put an end to poverty, one of the worst contemporary problems.”
Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

Putin wants to end poverty? Putin wants to stimulate economic growth in developing countries?
Putin wants to change the system that divides the world into “permanent winners and losers”? But, how can that be, after all, [the Western media tell us that] Putin is bad, Putin is a “KGB thug”, Putin is the “new Hitler”?
American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he’s also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution. Here’s what he said at the annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club:
“Another priority is global healthcare…. All people in the world, not only the elite, should have the right to healthy, long and full lives. This is a noble goal. In short, we should build the foundation for the future world today by investing in all priority areas of human development.”
How many “liberal” politicians in the US would support a recommendation like Putin’s? Not very many...

Putin is not the ghoulish caricature the media makes him out to be nor does he hate America, that’s just more propaganda from the corporate echo-chamber.
The truth is Putin has been good for Russia, good for regional stability, and good for global security. He pulled the Russian Federation back from the brink of annihilation in 2000, and has had the country moving in a positive direction ever since..”
Since Putin took office in 2000, workers have seen across-the-board increase in wages, benefits, healthcare and pensions. Poverty and unemployment have been reduced by more than half while foreign investment has experienced steady growth. Onerous IMF loans have been repaid in full, capital flight has all-but ceased, hundreds in billions in reserves have been accumulated, personal and corporate taxes have been slashed, and technology has experienced an unprecedented renaissance.
The notorious Russian oligarchs still have a stranglehold on many privately-owned industries, but their grip has begun to loosen and the “kleptocracy has begun to fade.”

The only place where people have a negative view of Putin is in the United States and EU, the two locations where he is relentlessly savaged by the media and excoriated by the political class.
The attacks on Putin began sometime in 2006 during Putin’s second term when it became apparent that Russia was going to resist the looting and exploitation the US requires of its vassal states.
This is when the powerful Council on Foreign Relations funded a report titled “Russia’s Wrong Direction” that suggested that Russia’s increasingly independent foreign policy and insistence that it control its own vast oil and natural gas resources meant that “the very idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ no longer seems realistic.”
That’s right, Russia was thrown under the bus because they wanted to control their own oil and their own destiny...
What Washington really despises about Putin is that he has refused to comply with their diktats and has openly rejected their model of a “unipolar” world order.
As he said at the annual Security Conference at Munich in 2007: “The unipolar world refers to a world in which there is one master, one sovereign; one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making.
At the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”

Flashback: Putin slams ‘policies of exceptionalism and impunity’
Russia Today, 28 Sep, 2015

The export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions has continued, but has unleashed poverty and violence instead of the triumph of democracy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing the UN General Assembly.
Attempts to push for changes in other countries based on ideological preferences have led to “tragic consequences and degradation rather than progress.” “We should all remember what our past has taught us,” Putin said. “We, for instance, remember examples from the history of the Soviet Union.”
It seems however that some are not learning from others’ mistakes, but keep repeating them, he said, adding that “the export of so-called ‘democratic’ revolutions continues.”
“I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: Do you realize now what you have done?”
“But I am afraid the question will hang in the air, because policies based on self-confidence and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.”

Putin boasts of new Russian nuclear weapons
AP|Ahram online, Thursday 1 Mar 2018

Russia has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can’t be intercepted, President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday, marking a technological breakthrough that could dramatically increase Russia’s military capability, boost the Kremlin’s global position and also raise Western concerns about a potential renewed arms race in the 21st century.
Speaking in a state-of-the-nation speech, Putin said the weapons include a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and new hypersonic missile that have no equivalent elsewhere in the world.
He said the creation of the new weapons has made NATO’s U.S.-led missile defense “useless,” and means an effective end to what he described as Western efforts to stymie Russia’s development.
“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: all what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened,” he said. “You have failed to contain Russia.”
The announcement comes as Putin is set to easily win another six-year presidential term in the March 18 election.

Putin says aims to halve 'unacceptable' Russian poverty rate in 6 years
AFP|Ahram online, Saturday 3 Mar 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he aims to cut his country's "unacceptable" poverty rate in half over the next six years, in a state of the nation address on Thursday.
"(We should) at least halve the poverty rate in the next six years," Putin said, adding that 20 million Russians currently live below the poverty line compared to 42 million in 2000.
Putin, who has led the country for the last 18 years, focused on domestic issues in the speech, saying that the coming years will be "decisive" for Russia.
"The well-being of Russia and the well-being of our citizens must be the foundation of everything, and it is in this area that we must make a breakthrough," Putin said.
He called for a technological push to improve Russia's living standards and economy. "Lagging behind in technology is the main threat and our main enemy," Putin said.
"To move forward and dynamically develop, we need to expand liberties in all spheres," he added.

Russian embassy: US administration statements demonstrate a cynical attitude
TASS Russian News Agency, 2-3-2018

"The international community cannot tolerate barbaric terrorist groups and must strengthen its efforts to defeat terrorism and extremism in all its forms," White House Statement, 26-11-2017

Claims made by representatives of the US administration about the intention to hold Moscow responsible for chemical weapons being allegedly employed by Damascus demonstrate a cynical attitude, Russia’s embassy in the United States said in a statement on Thursday (march 1).
"The sweeping propaganda campaign waged by Washington, blaming Russia for failing to fulfill its obligations in Syria, suggests that it is not care for civilian Syrians, but a cold-blooded political premeditation that is behind it: to keep an enclave of extremists by all means in the suburb of the Syrian capital," the embassy said.
Meanwhile, Washington "continues to make ungrounded claims that Damascus uses chemical agents, as an instrument of anti-Syria geopolitical engineering," the diplomatic mission said.
"The latest statements made by representatives of the administration about the intention to hold Russia responsible for chemical weapons being allegedly employed by Damascus demonstrate a particularly cynical attitude. This comes as the administration itself admits there is no evidence regarding the issue. There has never been any," the statement said.
Russia’s embassy has also warned the US against the temptation to use false reports "as a pretext for missile attacks on Syrian government facilities."

The UN Security Council last Saturday voted for a resolution demanding all [moderate] parties to the conflict in Syria should terminate hostilities at least for 30 days for providing relief aid to the population. All fifteen members of the UN Security Council, including Russia, supported the resolution. The truce will not apply to military operations against the group Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.

In Syria, who is trapping who?
Strategic Culture Editorial, 2-3-2018

"Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers
in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices." Donald Trump 15-8-2016

In more than seven years of war in Syria, we have seen many times how Western governments and news media shamelessly invert reality.
The same was seen this week over the grim fighting around Eastern Ghouta, the suburb near the capital, Damascus, where 400,000 people are said to be trapped. But who is trapping who?
US and European media breathlessly claim that Eastern Ghouta is under siege from Syrian “regime forces” allied with Russia. This description is posing things upside down.
The district was taken over nearly six years ago by foreign-backed extremists, like Jaysh al Islam, Ahrar al Sham, and Al Nusra Front.... It is these illegally armed insurgents who are holding the civilian population under siege in a reign of terror.
The same situation, and Western inversion of reality, has been seen before, most notably regarding Syria’s second city of Aleppo.

The Syrian and Russian forces liberated that city at the end of 2016, and since then life for the residents there has fortunately returned to the normal peaceful, pluralist coexistence which prevailed before the foreign-backed terror goons took over.

Costs of conflicts in the Middle East
Hussein Suleiman, Al-Ahram Weekly, 3-3-2018

Over the past few years, civil and proxy wars in the Middle East have taken a heavy toll on the economies of several countries in the region.
Armed conflicts have caused severe damage to the physical infrastructure and output capacity of the war-torn countries, and a generation of children and young adults is now growing up with inadequate levels of education or healthcare due to displacement and the destruction of public services.
These things will have long-term negative effects on human capital and the future economic prospects of the war-ravaged countries.

muslim brotherhood: "we will bring back islam to syria"

In Syria, the war that started in mid-March 2011 caused direct physical damage to infrastructure and productive assets amounting to an estimated $68 billion from 2011 until 2016.
Syrian GDP contracted by 16 per cent annually from 2011 to 2015 and by four per cent in 2016, meaning an accumulated loss of three times Syrian GDP in 2010 before the war started.
This loss of assets and output has coincided with the loss of three million jobs, which has raised the unemployment rate to 66 per cent of the workforce. As a result, 85.2 per cent of Syrians have fallen below the poverty line during the armed conflict and now lack basic needs.
The conflict has forcibly displaced 11.5 million people, nearly half the country’s population, leaving 2.8 million children not going to school. It is estimated that the Syrian economy has lost during the war years some $10.5 to $16.5 billion in human capital due to loss in school years alone.

'arab spring' in yemen: militant groups, islamists, al-qaeda, armed tribes

In Yemen, the costs of the physical damage that has taken place since the outbreak of the war in 2015 could reach some $15 billion.
Because of the decline in oil production that has taken place in addition to the damaged assets due to the war, Yemeni GDP contracted by 28.1 per cent in 2015 and by 4.2 per cent in 2016 as nearly 35 per cent of the country’s service enterprises, 29 per cent of its industrial enterprises, and 20 per cent of its commercial enterprises have suspended their operations.
The war in Yemen has also internally displaced 2.5 million people and has left nearly 21.2 million, about 80 per cent of the Yemeni population, in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, with 14.4 million of them suffering from chronic food insecurity.
Besides the specific vulnerability of children to shortages of basic needs, nearly half the school-age population in Yemen, about 3.4 million children, are now out of school because of the war, and this will have a long-term negative impact on human capital and economic productivity in the country.

2011, arab spring in libya - hillary clinton: 'we came, we saw, he died..."

In Libya, the reliance of the country’s centralised economy on oil revenues has meant that the armed conflict in the country has nearly shut down the economy at times by disrupting oil production and exports through damage to the relevant assets or suspending their operations.
Libyan crude oil production thus declined from 1.5 million barrels per day in 2010 to 390,000 barrels per day in 2016, and lost revenues due to sluggish oil exports amounted to nearly $100 billion over three years. This has impacted the provision of basic needs and has left some 2.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with one million children suffering from acute malnutrition.

Netanyahu: I will discuss Iran's aggression with Trump
Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, 4/03/2018

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening left for Washington, where he will address the AIPAC policy conference and meet with President Donald Trump.
"Tonight I am leaving on an important visit to the U.S. where I will meet with President Donald Trump and address the annual AIPAC Policy Conference,” he said before taking off.
“In the conversation with the President I will thank him on behalf of the Israeli people for moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, in honor of the State of Israel's 70th Independence Day,” continued Netanyahu.

netanyahu: "right wingers & religious extremists are the messengers of god"

First and foremost, I with discuss Iran with the President ahead of the decision on the nuclear program. We will discuss Iranian aggression in our region in general and regarding the Iranian nuclear program in particular. I will also discuss with the President about advancing the peace process.”
Advancing these issues is important for Israel and for the security of the entire world," the prime minister said.

Iran to help boost Aleppo power supply
Press TV, Mon Mar 5, 2018

A Syrian official says power supply in the northern city of Aleppo will see a rise this year as Iran is helping the country repair its infrastructure, which has been devastated by seven years of foreign-backed militancy.
Mohammed al-Saleh, the director general of the state-owned Aleppo power company, attributed the boost in power supply to “new capacity being installed by Iran worth 110 million euros. The five power generation plants are part of a deal signed last year under which Iran will help repair Syria’s power grid in Aleppo City, which the Syrian military and its allies liberated in late 2016.
Saleh noted that all of Aleppo’s pre-war power generation capacity - amounting to 1,000 Megawatts - had been destroyed in the crisis that broke out in March 2011.
Saleh also said that the electrical power system in the areas which were held by the Takfiri militants are completely destroyed, noting that the government aims to restore electricity to those areas this year.
There is cooperation from our Iranian and Russian friends in the power sector,” he added.

Western states, some of which have backed the anti-Assad opposition, have said they will not help rebuild Syria until a political transition is in place.
While Assad continues to recover territory from rebels, the main highway linking Aleppo to other government-held cities such as Hama, Homs, Latakia and Damascus still runs through territory held by insurgents, rendering it insecure.
That forced the government last year to extend new power lines out into the desert along a circuitous but secure government-held road to Aleppo. "More than 170 towers were put up along the road," Saleh said.
He also said that state engineers were fixing the power grid in Kurdish districts of Aleppo city that were recently restored to state control after Kurdish militias withdrew.

Syrian Arab Army takes control of a third of Syria's eastern Ghouta
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 5-3-2018

Syrian regime and allied forces pushed deeper into eastern Ghouta on Monday and have now retaken a third of the opposition-held enclave, a monitor said.
Syria's Central Military Media, which claimed the regime had secured 36 percent of the enclave, says troops are continuing their advance from the east and are only 3 kilometers, or 1.8 miles, from meeting troops advancing from the west, which would achieve the partitioning of eastern Ghouta into two parts.
A 46-truck international aid convoy of the United Nations and key aid agencies crossed a final Syrian army checkpoint Monday and began to enter eastern Ghouta.
Ali al-Za'tari, a senior United Nations official with the convoy, told Reuters it would take "many hours" to offload the aid in the enclave and that it might be "well after nightfall" before it could leave eastern Ghouta. The delivery will be the first to the region in nearly three weeks.
The U.N.'s office for humanitarian affairs and the World Food Program says Monday's convoy to the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta will consist of 46 truckloads of health and nutrition supplies, along with food for 27,500 people in need. U.N. officials had said lack of approvals and consensus among the warring parties, as well as the limited duration of a daily, five-hour Russian-ordered humanitarian pause, had made aid delivery impossible.
The Russian military said Monday that Syrian opposition groups had promised to let civilians leave their eastern Ghouta enclave near Damascus in exchange for humanitarian aid, Interfax news agency reported.
Earlier, Russia introduced a daily ceasefire in the severely bombed area but the military said that Syrian opposition had prevented local residents from leaving.

AIPAC speakers praise Saudi Arabia and UAE leadership
"Iran is our common enemy" "Israel will lead the Middle East"
Al-Jazeera, 5-3-2018

Washington, DC - The chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in the US has urged the pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC, to support Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the leadership of the United Arab Emirates.
Stephen Greenberg told the annual conference, under way here in the US capital, on Monday that he visited both countries and was encouraged by the leaders of the UAE for their "tolerance" and "commitment to fight terrorism".
Danny Ayalon, former Israeli deputy foreign minister, who also spoke at the conference, told Al Jazeera that he has "good relations with Saudi leaders" and that Israel has a lot in common with the Arab Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, especially in countering Iran's rising power in the region. "Iran is our common enemy," he said.

Using his main address, Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel's Labour Party, declared that Israel must separate itself from the Palestinians by establishing a demilitarised Palestinian state on parts of the occupied Palestinians territories in the West Bank and Gaza.
Gabbay, who is running for election to be the next prime minster of Israel, said Palestinians must first meet several conditions before Israel should consider agreeing to their demands of having their independent state.
Echoing one of AIPAC's signature lobbying efforts this year, Gabbay said the Palestinian National Authority must first stop its economic support of families of Palestinian imprisoned and detained by Israel for their activism against the Israeli occupation...
On the issue of the illegal settlements that Israel is building in the occupied territories, Gabbay's views did not vary from the standard line of the current Likud-led government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gabbay's only objection on the Israeli settlement project inside the occupied territories was over "hill-top posts" that were built by enterprising Jewish settlers without government sanction.
“We must stop building caravans on hilltops and glorifying these settlements because they do not provide any security value to Israel. We must double down on economic corporation.
I believe that peace will ensure the long-term security of Israel and with this peace, Israel will not just be a part of the Middle East but will lead the Middle East.”

Mike Pence: We will not let ISIS defeat be a victory for Iran
DebkaFile, March 6, 2018

US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday evening conveyed a message from President Donald Trump in his address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington: “American stands with Israel, Today, tomorrow and always.”
He went on to say that while progress has been made in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, “We will not allow the defeat of ISIS to become a victory for Iran.”
Pence continued: Iran “aids and abets terrorist groups that sit on Israel’s doorstep,” and added: “Unless the nuclear deal is fixed within the coming months, the United States will withdraw from the deal immediately.”
The vice president stressed: “The US will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
The next speaker, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, declared that Jerusalem would for ever be the capital of the state of Israel. Sometime in the future, the day will come when the whole world recognizes that fact," the US envoy added.
Haley then said she intends to return to Israel for the planned opening of the new American embassy in Jerusalem.
"I hope to be there and join our great ambassador, David Friedman, on the day when we open our brand new American embassy in Jerusalem," she said...

She then went on to criticize a decision by the administration of former President Barack Obama not only to not veto but also abstain on UN Security Council resolution 2334 in 2016, which determined the Israeli settlements in the West Bank were illegal, calling it "a shameful day for the United States"...

As US and Israel move right, settlers reassess relationship with AIPAC
By Jacob Magid, Times of Israel, 7-3-2018

The past year has given rise to a US administration that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, refrained from condemning any particular settlement project approved for construction in the West Bank, and withheld millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians.
In this post-Obama climate, settlers leaders have identified an opportunity to advance their agenda, successfully lobbying the Israeli government to advance three times as many housing projects in the settlements as in the year prior, and making their strongest legislative push yet for applying Israeli sovereignty over all Jewish communities beyond the Green Line.
As 18,000 pro-Israel supporters converged on Washington for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference this week, settler leaders too focused their attention on the US capital.

On Monday afternoon, the Yesha settlement umbrella group held an event on the conference’s sidelines on “Combating the de-legitimization of Israel through the embrace of Judea and Samaria.”
Joining senior Yesha and US officials at the session were Israeli ministers Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, Tzachi Hanegbi and Yuval Steinitz, in addition to Likud MK Sharren Haskel and Israel’s consul general in New York Dani Dayan (a former Yesha chief himself).
One after the other, the event’s twelve speakers took to the podium to reiterate — to rousing applause — the same message: that the West Bank is an inseparable part of Israel.
Hebron Jewish community spokesman Yishai Fleisher, who emceed the event, said it was part of an “education campaign” aimed at American Jewry and AIPAC members in particular....

While that may be true, Howard Kohr’s opening night address calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state suggested that significant gaps remain between AIPAC and settler leaders on the conflict’s most central issue.

AIPAC CEO: Israel’s security cannot be assured
until she is at peace with all her neighbors
David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, 5-3-2018

American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s chief executive officer, Howard Kohr, expressed strong support for the establishment of a Palestinian state during his address to the organization’s 2018 conference in Washington DC Sunday night, warning that the Jewish state will never live securely “until she is at peace with all her neighbors”.
“The absence of a constructive peace process is nothing to celebrate. Israel’s security cannot be fully assured and her promise cannot be fully realized until she is at peace with all her neighbors.”

Howard Kohr: There will never be peace with anti-Zionists
The Iranian regime is the puppet master of terror
Policy Conference, 4-3-2018

Israel and America's enemies continue to plot and scheme.
We know who they are. They have taken Americans hostage, they've murdered Marines and airmen sleeping in their barracks, they've mined our troops, our ships, they've placed IEDs at the feet of our troops, they've bombed our embassies, and they supported terror throughout the world against us and our friends.
The regime in Iran has left a bloody trail over four decades, and behind every outrage, we hear the echoes of the chance into Tehran, "Death to America. Death to Israel."
This is their aim. And for years the Iranian regime has pursued the most fearsome weapons on the planet. By all accounts, Iran will do whatever it can, wherever it can, whenever it can to threaten its neighbors in the world.
It resists inspections of its military site, it persists in its ballistic missile program, it still seeks the ability to achieve a nuclear weapons capability.
Against this threat, the United States and the rest of the civilized world must stand strong and hold the Iranian regime accountable because with enemies like the Iranian regime, success will not come through short-term efforts or temporary resolve.
The things we feared the Iranian regime would do with more money, they have done; the blood they threatened to shed, they have shed; the power they threatened to seek, the seized.
When we last met here, the Assad regime and its Iranian allies were waging war in Syria on those who stood against them. Today, much of Syria is destroyed. The Syrian people have been scattered and murdered....
And in all of this human misery we see the signature of the Iranian regime. And now that it dominates Syria, it is better able to turn its full attention to Israel.
The Iranian regime is the puppet master of terror and has outfitted its proxies to do this work.
To Israel's north in Lebanon, Hezbollah forces are preparing for the next war. They are armed by Iran with ever-more accurate and numerous missiles and rockets pointed at every city in town in Israel. To Israel's south in Gaza, Hamas is rebuilding its terror tunnels.
These are ruthless enemies. They take Israelis hostages; they hold the bodies of Israelis for ransom; they even take their own people hostage. They hide their weapons in schools, hospitals, mosques and homes. They're digging in for a struggle which is designed by the Iranian regime to make the people of Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza suffer the most.

Flashback 2011: Muslims determined to liberate the occupied territories
Mehr News, 24-8-2011

TEHRAN, Aug. 24 (MNA) -- Muslim nations are now more determined than ever in their efforts to liberate all of the occupied territories, including occupied holy Qods [Jerusalem], according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.
Mehmanparast made the remarks in an interview with IRNA on Wednesday, two days ahead of International Qods Day, which will be observed on August 26.
International Qods Day is a day of solidarity with Palestine observed on the last Friday of the .. month of Ramadan.

Anti-Zionist demonstrations are held on Qods Day all over the world, especially in Iran, where the event was inaugurated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The late Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Islamic Republic, made the proposal to establish an international day of solidarity with Palestinians in August of that year.

Washington & The Axis Of Evil
Brian Cloughley, Strategic Culture, 7-3-2018

For almost forty years, since the overthrow of the corrupt CIA-backed monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Washington has been on the warpath against the mullahs in Tehran.
There wasn’t much to choose, comfort-wise between the Shah and his successor, the intensely religious Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but morally there was a chasm.
The Shah was deeply unpopular and in the late 1970s there were mass demonstrations against him and the country dissolved into chaos. He had to go, and the only possible replacement was the Ayatollah who was living in exile in France, having escaped from the persecution of the Shah’s dreaded secret police, the Savak, in the 1960s.
Two weeks after the Shah fled from Iran, the Ayatollah returned to Iran on 1 February 1979 in triumph and to a level of acclaim not shared by all its citizens.

In 2002 the appalling President George W Bush, the man who took his country into its disastrous wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, conjured up the phrase the axis of evil, and put the world on notice that America would overcome any country that opposed it.
His speech was dramatic and he declared that “North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens”... Then he said that “Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade” and a few months later he invaded Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, which didn’t exist.
Then Bush announced that “Iran aggressively pursues weapons of mass destruction and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom” which was formal warning to Iran that it was definitely on the target list, because “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

Since the era of the Bush wars, the world has certainly known no peace. Washington’s Military Industrial Complex has flourished while its soldiers died for nothing but profit.
The present US campaign against Iran is aimed at destroying the country economically and thus encouraging a violent revolution.
In January Donald Trump tweeted that “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”

Brian Cloughley is a British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan.

Hassan Rouhani: 'Iran Is No Threat to Anyone'
Sputnik News, 7-3-2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to the Israeli prime minister’s attack at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, saying that the Israeli regime is in no position to call Iran a threat to the Middle East.
Addressing a Wednesday cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic is a threat to no one and that it seeks stability and security in the entire region.
Netanyahu claimed that Iran threatened Israel by "building an aggressive empire" and that it should be stopped, otherwise "darkness" would "descend" on the Middle East.
Rouhani dismissed Netanyahu's "Iranophobic" remarks, pointing out that Iran "has never occupied any country" and "never bombarded… neighbors or piled up pressure on regional nations."
Not only has Iran never driven people from their own lands, but it has welcomed refugees, Rouhani stressed, adding that Israel wasn't in the position to claim it was intimidated by Iran.
"Those who have, over the past 70 years, created tension, launched wars and caused destruction in the region and have committed genocide and caused [the] Sabra and Shatila [massacre] are in no position to portray Iran as a threat," Rouhani said, referring to the massacre of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in southern Lebanon in 1982.
The president reassured listeners that the Islamic Republic seeks progress and prosperity for all regional countries and that the development of the country's missile program was aimed at guaranteeing peace and security.
"Our weapons are meant to promote peace, strengthen stability and security and to prevent others from thinking about invading our country.

US Coalition Asks for Pause in Hostilities in Northwest Syria
Rikar Hussein, Voice of America, 6-3-2018

The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State (IS) is asking for a pause in fighting in Northwest Syria where the Turkish government and its allied Free-Syrian-Army militias are fighting Kurdish forces in the town of Afrin.
“We call on all parties to take measures to de-escalate violence, avoid endangering civilians, and maintain focus on the fight against Daesh,” U.S. Army Col. Thomas Veale, a spokesperson for the coalition told VOA, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Veale’s comments come on the heels of the Pentagon’s announcement Monday that the Turkish offensive in Afrin has led to an “operational pause” in eastern Syria where the Kurdish YPG fighters are fighting against IS. It said Kurdish fighters have started shifting attention to northwest Syria to repel the Turkish attacks.
The [US-backed] SDF on Tuesday said it was deploying around 1,700 members from frontlines against IS in the middle Euphrates river valley to Afrin in an effort to defend against the ongoing Turkish offensive in the region.
“Today we regretfully make a difficult decision of moving our fighters from the east of the Euphrates and the rural areas of Deir al-Zour, who are stationed in the face of terrorist threats, to the frontlines of Afrin,” Abu Omar al-Idlibi, an SDF commander, said in a press conference.
“We would not have taken this decision if it was not for the failure of the international community to restrain the Turkish aggression,” al-Idlibi added.
The Turkish air and ground operation, code-named Operation Olive Branch, started in January against the YPG.
Ankara says the operation is to protect its borders from the group, which has gained control over large swaths of land across northern Syria. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization, alleging the group is an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for decades.
Washington has repeatedly asked Turkey to show restraint and has warned that the assault on Afrin could hinder the efforts to drive IS completely out of Syria.

Russian FM: Counter-terrorism operation in Ghouta does not breach UN resolutions
Syrian Arab News Agency, 7-3-2018

syrian arab army 2017

Counter-terrorism operation which is carried out by Syrian Arab Army in Eastern Ghouta does not violate international resolutions, the Russian Foreign Ministry affirmed.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said that in response to the daily shelling by the terrorists positioned in eastern Ghouta on Damascus areas, the Syrian Arab Army carried out a wide-scale military operation to eliminate the terrorists who threaten the safety of the civilians there.
Russia sees that the counter-terrorism operation doesn’t contradict the provisions of UN Security Council’s resolution no. 2401, Zakharova clarified.
Zakharova indicated that it is clear that the 2nd paragraph of the resolution affirms that the cessation of hostilities doesn’t include military operations against the terrorist organizations, such as Daesh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, and other terrorist groups.
The Russian diplomat reiterated that the Syrian Government is strictly committed to the humanitarian truce, but the terrorists in Eastern Ghouta attempt to foil it on daily basis.

Syrian Arab Army & pro-Assad forces cut eastern Ghouta in half
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 7-3-2018

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday pro-Assad forces have effectively cut the opposition-held eastern Ghouta enclave in half.
The Britain-based war monitor said the forces had brought the strip of territory linking the north and south of eastern Ghouta within firing range, effectively bisecting the densely populated area on the outskirts of Damascus.
"Regime forces control more than 50 percent of Ghouta," said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring organization.
The symbolic mark was reached "after forces retook Al-Ashaari and Beit Sawa towns as well as farmland in the center and north of eastern Ghouta," he told AFP.
After attacking mostly from the air -- in a campaign that involved Russian warplanes and saw regime aircraft using barrel bombs -- pro-regime forces launched a ground offensive.
Regime forces have yet to take on the two main towns of Douma and Hammuriyeh or any of the most populated areas of the enclave on the capital Damascus' outskirts.

Al-Nusra Suppresses Popular Protests for
Expulsion of Terrorists from Eastern Ghouta
Fars News Agency, Tehran, 9-3-2018

The Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) opened fire at people after civilians in Eastern Ghouta poured into the streets and called for expulsion of the terrorists from their regions, local sources reported on Friday.
The sources said that the Al-Nusra suppressed another popular uprising in Eastern Ghouta after local residents protested vastly against the terrorists' occupation of their region, adding that terrorists continued to block the exit path of civilians from Eastern Ghouta through the humanitarian corridor at the al-Wafedeen camp.
The sources went on to say that people in Hamouriyeh region held a fresh wave of demonstration and called on the Syrian Army troops to enter Ramousiyeh and also called for expulsion of the terrorists, but Al-Nusra opened fire at them.
In the meantime, civilians in Kafr Batna, another Eastern Ghouta settlement, took to the streets in support for the army and against the terrorists, the sources said. The sources further said that Kafr Batna residents were holding Syrian flags and some placards calling on the army to enter the region.

Hundreds of forces called "ISIL Hunters", trained by Russia, were sent on Thursday to Eastern Ghouta of Damascus to continue military operation in the region along with the Syrian army.
At least 700 special forces were sent to the frontlines of clashes against the ISIL in Eastern Ghouta. Damascus has also dispatched new military equipment to be used in military operations in the region.
The ISIL Hunters, trained by Russia, had earlier participated in operations against the terrorists in Palmyra and Deir Ezzur and helped the army in the liberation of many regions.
A military source said that the Syrian army was attempting to split Ghouta into two parts in coming days.
He added that the army reached areas near the town of Douma after liberation of Beit Sawa and Mesraba and seeks to separate Douma in Northern Ghouta from Harasta in the West to tighten noose on the terrorists.

Jihadists to be Evacuated from Syria's Ghouta
by Naharnet Newsdesk, 9-3-2018

A first group of jihadists is to be evacuated from the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the target of a devastating regime assault, a powerful Islamist rebel group announced Friday.
Syrian state television, meanwhile, aired footage of a bus carrying "fighters" out of the enclave through a humanitarian corridor, without giving their number or affiliation.
“Certain representatives of illegal armed groups have intensified attempts to get in touch with the Syrian government forces and the Russian Center for Reconciliation with the aim of discussing their separation from the banned terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra,” Major General Yury Yevtushenko, the head of the Reconciliation Center in Syria, said in a statement on Friday.
No provocations followed the exit of militants, the general said, adding that those who have surrendered will be transported to Idlib, while negotiations continue regarding the surrender of other militants.
The news of militants’ surrender coincided with a statement by the Jaysh Al-Islam group, which allegedly agreed to release Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) fighters from their prisons and send them towards Idlib as well.
Fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group made up mostly of al-Qaida's ex-affiliate al-Nusra Front, are to be evacuated to the northern province of Idlib, Jaish al-Islam rebel group said in a statement.
It said the initiative was "based on consultations between Jaish al-Islam and the United Nations, and a number of international actors." "It has been agreed that they be moved to Idlib at their request," Jaish al-Islam said.
Despite two weeks of air strikes and artillery bombardment, the main rebel groups have so far rejected Russian-brokered offers to evacuate civilians or any of their own fighters.
The main groups had said on February 27 they would be willing to expel jihadist fighters from the enclave as soon as a U.N. ceasefire took effect. The main forces are Islamist groups -- Jaish al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman and Ahrar al-Sham.

Russian military demand Failaq al-Rahman leaders
to separate from Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria
TASS Russian News Agency, March 11, 2018

Officers of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria have demanded the leaders of the Failaq al-Rahman group waste no time to separate from the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra to ensure withdrawal of that organization’s militants from Eastern Ghouta, the center’s spokesman, Vladimir Zolotukhin, said on Sunday.
"Officers had a working meeting with the leaders of the illegal armed groups to demand immediate separation from the outlawed terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra.
The sides discussed issues of withdrawal of Jabhat al-Nusra groups from Eastern Ghouta to Idlib and the future of Failaq al-Rahman members," he said.
According to Zolotukhin, the situation in Eastern Ghouta remains difficult and tense. Over the past day, seven 120mm mines were fired by militants from Eastern Ghouta at Damascus’ residential quarters and its suburbs.
The spokesman also said that officers of the Russian center were holding talks with administration officials of a number of Eastern Ghouta neighborhoods on possible medical and other assistance to civilians, their unimpeded and safe evacuation via the humanitarian corridor near the settlement of al-Wafidin.
Apart from that, in his words, officers of the Russian reconciliation center, UN mediators and leaders of the Syrian opposition Jaysh al-Islam illegal armed group held talks to agree aspects of the withdrawal of the second group of militants from the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone.

Syrian army deepens division of besieged eastern Ghouta
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 11-3-12208

Syrian government forces on Sunday strengthened their strike to cut the eastern Ghouta enclave outside Damascus into two, dealing a major setback to the opposition...
The advance cuts off the towns of Douma and Harasta from the rest of the enclave, according to the Central Military Media outlet. Douma is eastern Ghouta's largest settlement.
In Douma, residents and local authorities are now considering evacuating the town, said local council member Iyad Abdelaziz.
"The idea of leaving was refused outright, at first, but now with the regime advances and the siege that's been tightened, there are negotiations about something along those lines," Abdelaziz relayed to The Associated Press by voice note.
The eastern Ghouta enclave has now been split in two, with one side measuring 27 square kilometers (10 square miles) and the other 22 (8 square miles).

Israel Shamir: A way to end the suffering

Undoubtedly civilians have suffered in the Syrian war; however, there is a way to end their suffering. The rebels could lay down their arms and join the political process, like everybody else.
There are plenty of Americans unhappy with the Trump regime, but they do not shell Washington DC; they hope for a better and different outcome at the next elections. Their example can be emulated by the Syrian rebels, and then, the civilians won’t suffer.
If that’s too much to ask for, they can let the civilians leave; and fight to the bitter end. But no, they do not let the civilians out; instead, they produce reports of civilians suffering and wait for the Mounties to ride in and save them. (UNZ Review, 11-3-2018)

Syrian Army snatches two-thirds of militant-held areas in east Damascus
By Andrew Illingworth, Al-Masdar News, 12/03/2018

Two weeks after the Syrian Army kicked-off its operation to clear armed rebel groups from Damascus’ East Ghouta region, government forces have seized about two-thirds (conservative estimates say 60 percent) of all areas controlled by militant factions prior to the offensive.
In the process of doing this, the Syrian Army has split the once mighty and seemingly impregnable insurgent pocket east of the country’s capital into three isolated areas under the control of different groups.
The city of Douma, under the control of Jaysh al-Islam, is currently witnessing Russian-brokered talks aimed at encouraging rebels evacuate to other parts of Syria (either Daraa or northern Aleppo) and organizing the release of hostages among which there are captured Syrian troops and civilians.
At Harasta, under the control of Ahrar al-Sham, Syrian Army negotiation authorities are in talks with the community’s elders to organize the evacuation of jihadist militants from the town.
In the towns of the southern East Ghouta pocket (jointly-held by Faylaq al-Rahman and Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham), the Syrian Army has – following the very recent seizure of Aftris – ceased operations for the time being to allow for the safe withdrawal of civilians and surrendering insurgent fighters into government-controlled areas.

Iraq’s Shi’ite Militias Are Inducted Into Military
Iraq PM grants PMF fighters rights as military members
Jason Ditz,, March 8, 2018

Just two months ahead of national elections, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi has moved to formalize the transition away from power independent Shi’ite militias operating as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and has issued a decree formally inducting all of the PMF into the Iraqi military.
This was considered a top priority for Abadi, who wanted to separate the militias from politics by convincing political figures to distance themselves from independent militias, which many have agreed to do.
Under the plan, the militia fighters will be placed under direct defense ministry control, being given access to military colleges, and getting equivalent salaries to other members of the Iraqi military, which is expected to be a substantial pay raise for many.

At the same time, the decree places them under the same laws of military services as the actual military, a move Sunni groups are likely to cheer, as it would seemingly mean an end to the militias operating above the law, a fact which has often meant these militias were carrying out revenge attacks against Sunni towns that had previously been under ISIS control

Naftali Bennet: "After the era of Netanyahu,
I intend to be the prime minister of Israel."
Susan Glasser, Politico interview, 8-3-2018

Israel is not the epicenter of the Middle East problems.... Israel is a remarkable state. A lighthouse within the storm. We can’t determine how long this tsunami will go on. Will it be 50 years, 10 years, 200 years? We just don’t know.
But we don’t get depressed about it. We continue building our amazing country... You know, saving lives all around the world with our technologies, with our intelligence; just doing good. And therefore, I’m very optimistic.
We’ll unfortunately have to continue fending off our enemies, such as Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everyone I just mentioned is literally on our border. Literally....
We’re smack in the middle of the most difficult location on earth, but it’s actually fortunate for the free world that we’re there because we’re fighting Iran...
We’re fighting Iran on the Syrian border. Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and the Sinai. And we’re doing the tough work for the free world. And by doing it, sort of stopping this tsunami from reaching the rest of the world. And we’re proud of it, but at the same time, leading very good lives.

We’re way, way stronger than all of our enemies combined... Look, the big picture is the following: I’ve coined a term, the “octopus doctrine.”
Essentially, we’ve got Iran, the head of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon through its proxies. And in the south, in Gaza, through Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.
And I guess what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our energy on stemming Iran with diplomatic, economic, and other means because they’ve been immune to date. We’ve been fighting their arms, but not their head. And it’s been sort of this asymmetric situation. We’ve got a problem.
Iran wants to export terror and chaos. They’re bad guys....

Any peace that would have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no chance.
And by taking Jerusalem off the table, you know, it’s showing the other side a tough reality, but it is reality. And sort of by hiding this big elephant in the room for so many years, we knew that there’s no chance for peace.
But the Palestinians, over the past 50 years, had a very simple strategy. Time was on their side, so they’ll just wait. What Donald Trump actually has done is reverse that vector, that trend, and suddenly, the Palestinians realize that time is not necessarily on their side, and maybe they should start moving.
Jerusalem is Jerusalem. So when you say Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, it has to mean the ancient city.
That’s really at the crux of all of this. The ancient city, the four quarters. And once that part is off the table, you know, everyone knows what Jerusalem means. It’s the ancient city. It’s the Mount of Olives. It’s the city of David. And then there’s other areas which are more in the periphery...

What we would want to do [in the West Bank] is apply Israeli law on the Israeli-controlled areas. I, in fact, was the guy who initiated the famous plan six years ago. It’s called the “Bennett plan”.
President Trump yesterday was asked, “What happens if the Palestinians don’t come to the table?” He gave a very simple answer. He said, “Well, there won’t be peace.”
I found that a very interesting answer. That’s correct. You know, we’d love them to come to the table. It doesn’t seem it’s going to happen...

After the era of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel.
I’ve got a lot of work to do, because for many reasons, it’s very tough from my current position to reach that... If he steps down, I absolutely intend to contend and become the next prime minister...
Israelis want someone who can run the country well. I think that it’s time for someone who can pose an example on the values and the way we conduct ourselves. So I would want to be a leader by example, and also to run the country well.

Badawi brothers paint mural, depicting
Assumption of Mary at Syriac Catholic Church in Aleppo
Syrian Arab News Agency, 10 March 2018

The Assumption of Mary mural currently being painted on the dome of the Syriac Catholic Church in al-Aziziyeh neighborhood in Aleppo, a church which had been damaged by terrorists and underwent renovations, is a massive artistic undertaking by the unique creative talents of brothers Bashir and Nemat Badawi.
The mural is being painted on an area of around 700 square meters on the church’s dome, which is over 43 meters high, with the artists working on scaffolds set up under the entirety of the dome.
Nemat Badawi said that the mural depicts the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven, with both decorative and aesthetic elements that have spiritual significance.

The Quran has many passages concerning the Virgin Mary.
The Quran has verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying, Oh Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.

Mary is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: Thou shalt be the most blessed of women in Paradise, after Mary.
In a variant of the text Fatima is made to say; I surpass all the women, except Mary.

'Hayy ibn Yaqdhan' and the Path of Truth
İbrahim Kalın, Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 9, 2018

Ibn Tufayl (1116 to 1185), one of the luminaries of Andalusian Islam, is best known for his philosophical tale "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan," literally meaning "Alive, Son of Awake."
According to the story, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan was found on an island as a baby and raised by gazelles. One day, a man named Absal from a neighboring island shows up on Hayy's island and the two begin to talk about nature, morality and God. To his astonishment, Absal realizes that Hayy had discovered all the truths by himself that were taught by his revealed religion.
The rapid popularity and enduring influence of Hayy's story is related to what it has to say about humanity, how our ideas come about and how we arrive at such notions as causality, religion, morality and God. It presents a fresh look on the relationship between common sense, observation, experience and abstract reasoning.
How Hayy arrives at his conceptual thinking is particularly important for the 17th century discussions on reason, experience and the notion of innate ideas. In contrast to Descartes, Hayy appears to have no innate ideas and develops his abstract and universal concepts about the universe and morality based on observation and reasoning.
A summary of the tale, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society on July 17, 1671, underlies this point: "The design is to shew, How from Contemplation of the things here below, Man by the right use of his Reason may raise himself into the knowledge of higher things […] then to the knowledge of Natural things, of Moral, of Divine, etc.,"

Ibn Tufayl was neither a Deist, Quaker nor an empiricist. True, he has given much ammunition to European intellectuals to defend their varying theses on reason and observation. His own work, however, seeks to confirm one of the enduring themes of the Islamic intellectual tradition that reason and faith complement rather than contradict each other.
As a philosopher, doctor and public figure with connections to Sufism, Ibn Tufayl holds that the right use of reason untainted by desire and greed leads to the discovery of natural and religious truths, because the source of all existence and knowledge whether of humanity or nature is one and the same.
His story also underlies the importance of personal experience in reaching the truth of things – a point that can be taken in a primarily philosophical or Sufi manner. Either way, a person who sets upon the path of truth has to know that this is a personal journey and requires serious preparation.

Ibn-Tufayl (Abubacer) & The Failure of Orthodox Tradition

"The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together,
and a child will lead them." Isaiah 11:6

One of his decisive contributions to Islamic philosophy and literature was Hayy Ibn Yaqzan (‘The Living One, Son of the Vigilant’).
This remarkable book is distinctive for being the first instance of a ‘state of nature’ scenario, of a sort more familiar, to Westerners, from Thomas Hobbes and Robinson Crusoe.
Hayy Ibn Yaqzan tells the story of a young man, Hayy, born supernaturally on a island without any other human company or society. Raised by a doe, with only his own experience and native reason, Hayy gradually generates a vast knowledge – of the natural world, then of theology and cosmology – until he gradually achieves a profound mystical union with God.
The story is remarkable for its implication that a person could attain a genuine and profound union with God without the aid of scripture, tradition, or religious instruction.

But Ibn-Tufayl adds a further twist to his story.
Hayy’s island is visited by a pious religious adept, Asal, who quickly recognizes his spiritual accomplishments and persuades him to visit his home country – a thinly disguised Islamic society.
To Hayy’s alarm, the people are morally and spiritually corrupt: the use of images and allegories disguises religious truths, and the love of material goods is openly tolerated.
Hayy’s efforts to instruct them fail and in the end generate resentment, and so he retreats back to his island, publicly recanting his teachings, judging that any higher religious instruction could only backfire.
Depending on how one reads the story, Ibn-Tufayl is subtly arguing that human reason, unguided by revelation, scripture, and tradition, is sufficient in itself to achieve a life of authentic devotion to Allah.
More provocatively, Ibn-Tufayl is using Hayy to criticize the corrupt moral and religious tendencies of the Islamic society of which he was a member. Read in this way, the story of Hayy Ibn Yaqzam teaches not only that the tradition is not essential to a life of faith, but that it might even be an obstacle to it. (The Deviant Philosopher)

Deviant philosophy includes philosophies developed outside the intellectual lineage of the Western canon... . It includes philosophical perspectives occluded by this canon and its contemporary inheritors.
Orthodoxy = strict observance to religious rules and laws, written by religious leaders.

Flashback - Putin and the New Russia
By William Pfaff, 1-4-2015

Russia and the United States are engaged in a profound ideological confrontation — one that isn’t widely understood in Western Europe or even at the White House...
The Russian president claims that his real political ambition is to restore to Russia the culture, religion and historical mission of its past...
He wishes to remake the “New Russia” that existed at the end of the Romanoff era.

He has restored the Orthodox Church to the primacy it then occupied, and interestingly enough has distributed among his senior officials the works of Christian philosophers of the pre-revolutionary period (and later, of those in exile), including Nicholas Berdyaev, Vladimir Solovyov and Ivan Ilyin...
Putin has denied that he wishes to impose a religio-ideological state doctrine in the place of Marxism... He wishes to see a sovereign democracy that is “qualitative” rather than arithmetical or quantitative...
It is a response to what Putin views as the decadent and “anthropocentric,” or egoistic and materialistic, modern West...

Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (18 March 1874 – 24 March 1948) was a Russian Christian universalist mystic (personalist) and Christian anarchist political philosopher.
In Berdyaev's view, the only way of escape from the many forms of slavery (spiritual, economic, political) lies in the fuller realization of personality, as he defines it.
Berdyaev turned to religious views and played a large part in the renaissance of religious and philosophical thought in Russian intellectual life early in the 20th century. In 1922 he and a number of other intellectuals were expelled from the USSR.

Berdjajew quotes

* "Hostile to the principle of person is every single-planed world-outlook, for which the nature of man is comprised solely by its belonging to the social plane of being, i.e. man possesses no dimension of depth."
* "Person is not definable as a part in relation to any sort of whole. Person is an whole, it is a totality, it is integral, it bears within itself the universal, and it cannot be part of any sort of the general, whether of the world or of society.."
"Person is created by God and in this is its highest merit, and the source of its independence and freedom. That which is born in the generative process and formed in the social process is merely the individual, in which person needs to be realised."
At the basis of a social world-concept of personalism lies not the idea of equality nor the idea of justice, but rather the dignity of every human person, which should receive the possibility to realise itself.

Ludovico Einaudi to perform in Tehran
Mehr News, Sun 11 March 2018

Critically-acclaimed composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi is coming to Tehran for the very first time to perform his heartfelt and emotionally-charged music on the Iranian stage.

Following the unprecedented performances of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and German electronic band Schiller on the Iranian stage, music lovers in Tehran will now be treated to another memorable performance..
Known for his film scores for ‘This is England’, ‘I’m Still Here’, and ‘Doctor Zhivago’, Einaudi will perform two shows at the Ministry of Interior Hall in Tehran on April 25 and 26. He will be accompanied by a five-man orchestra, as well as a sound, light and backliner technician.

His setlist for Tehran shows include “Night”, “Elements”, “Experience”, and “Fly”.

The album 'ELEMENTS' (released october 2015) takes inspiration from elements of nature, with each track evolving from a small gesture or motif, evoking a journey through fragmented thoughts and feelings.
Einaudi says: "I saw new frontiers — on the edge between what I knew and what I didn't know — that I had long wanted to explore: creation myths, the periodic table, Euclid's geometry, Kandinsky's writings, the matter of sound and of colour, the stems of wild grass in a meadow, the shapes of the landscape…"
On 22 September 2012 Einaudi performed a project called "The Elements" at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome as a tribute to his mentor, Luciano Berio, inspired by the four classical elements of air, water, earth, and fire.
The track "Four Dimensions" from the 2015 album was for the most part, recorded live from the 2012 project's performance.'

Islam & The Four Elements

the four elements in dubai

The number four contains a universal symbolism reflecting the order of the universe – the four cardinal directions and the four elements. Islam invested this ancient symbolism with a rigorous spiritual vision. The Ka’ba, literally ‘cube’, sums up this symbolism perfectly.
Most important element is Water: In the Qur’an the ideas of mercy and water, especially rain, are inseparable, and with them the idea of the revelation which means literally a “sending down”; both the revelation and the rain are “sent down” by the All Merciful and rain is described throughout the Qur’an as a “mercy” and as “life-giving". (Water & the Language of the Heart)

A 4-day exhibition of Iran's ecotourism and handicrafts kicked off
at Milad Tower in Tehran on Monday, March 12, 2018 (FARS News Agency)

Ali Shariati: Tawheed & Holism

Ali Shariati: "What I have in mind (when I use the term Yawheed) is a world-view.
So what I intend by the world view of Tawheed is perceiving the entire universe as a unity, instead of dividing it into this world and the thereafter, the physical and the metaphysical, substance and meaning, matter and spirit.
It means percieving the whole of existence as a single form, a single, living and concious organism, possessing one will, intelligence, feeling and aim....
There are many people who believe in Tawheed, but only as a "religious-philosophical" theory: God is one, not more than one - that is all..
But I understand Tawheed as a world-view, just as I see shirk (polytheism) also from the same standpoint, that is, a world-view that regards the universe as an incoherent combination, full of division, contradiction and incongruity, possessing conflicting and independent poles, diverging movements, and disparate and disconnected essences, desires, caluculations, criteria, aims and wills...

Oh Magog! Apocalyptic Christianity Returns to U.S. Foreign Policy
By John Feffer, Foreign Policy, March 1, 2018.

You might remember the Gog and Magog story from 2003, when George W. Bush was making plans to invade Iraq and assembling a “coalition of the willing.”
French President Jacques Chirac was quite unwilling, so Bush went to great lengths to break down his resistance.
As part of this wooing of Chirac, Bush referred to the Biblical prophecies regarding Gog and Magog that suggested to some evangelicals that the end times were approaching in the Middle East.
Chirac had to consult a theologian to find out what Bush was going on about. Gog, Chirac was told, is the leader of Magog, and Magog is the enemy. A war involving Gog and Magog would basically trigger the apocalypse.

The U.S. role in the realization of God’s plans on Earth has been a leitmotif of American foreign policy since the days of John Winthrop and his assertion of the new colony in the Massachusetts Bay as the future “city on the hill.” It is a foundation stone of American exceptionalism.
But the application of Biblical prophecy to the geopolitics of the Middle East is something more recent.
The publication of Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth in 1970 brought the wild predictions of end-times fundamentalists to the mass market. Issued by Bantam Books...
Some years after Lindsey’s success, the Left Behind books brought the end-times narrative to a whole new generation. This version of Gog and Magog also centered on Israel, but identified the United Nations as the villain.

The current U.S. president would seem an even less likely crusader against Gog than was the eternal fratboy, George W. Bush. Yet the evangelical community rallied around Trump in force in the 2016 election..
Donald Trump has become a major champion of Israel. He has even announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the country.
For run-of-the-mill, right-wing evangelicals, Trump’s decision is just plain good geopolitics: They believe that Israel is a force for good in the world, and anything that Washington does on its behalf helps both the United States and Christianity in general.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the instrument of God when he blockades Gazans, encourages illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and otherwise defeats any two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump is Netanyahu’s fanboy, so Trump too is God’s instrument.

Trump doesn’t care about Assad. What Trump does care about, however, is Iran.
The administration wants to keep U.S. troops in Syria to block Iran from expanding its influence in the country. Add to that the various indications that the Trump administration is gearing up for a direct confrontation with Iran, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for Gog and Magog.
Trump is not a religious man. He can’t quote the Bible properly, and he has the most tenuous connection to the Church of any modern president. Don’t expect him to quote Gog and Magog in his conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
But Trump is itching for a fight. He wants to shake things up. With evangelicals and right-wing Likudniks forming a significant core of support, he is already fulfilling the Middle East agenda of the apocalyptics.
And, unfortunately, there’s more to come...

The Right Has Risen
‘Trump’s election heralds coming of Messiah’
By Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post, November 10, 2016

Shas chairman and Interior Minister Arye Deri said that Donald Trump’s election could herald the coming of the Messiah, due to the blow he expects the next president will strike against the “non-Orthodox Jewish hold on the US government.”
“There is no doubt that one can give thanks to God that all those who have damned the [Jewish] covenant and would wipe out Judaism, thinking they could take control over the Land of Israel here and lead reforms in order to cause destruction received their blow,” Deri said during an address to the local religious council of Ashdod.
They understand that this power has disappeared and we can continue, God willing, to strengthen traditional religion and Judaism, transmitted down to us from generation to generation.”
Trump’s election, he added, presages the coming of the Messianic Age..
Senior United Torah Judaism leader MK Moshe Gafni was of similar mind, predicting that Reform and Conservative influence in Israel would now wane.
“The Right has risen, along with more conservative stances...”

In a book, published in France in March 2009, Jacques Chirac recounts that George W. Bush appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him:
Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”
This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion.
Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

For the benefit of Chirac, Thomas Romer, a professor of theology, dutifully penned a page on Gog and Magog: "They occur in Genesis, and in particular in two very obscure chapters in Ezekiel." That’s a particularly baffling book, the theologian says: "It speculates on the future in a cryptic code that is intended for insiders."
The outlines are clear, though: "In chapters 38 and 39, a global army is formed to fight a final battle in Israel. That battle is ordained by God, in order to rid the world of His enemies, and thus herald in a new age."
According to Romer, George W. Bush is not the first to have looked for an incarnation of Gog and Magog on earth. Ronald Reagan believed that the Cold War and the existence of the atomic bomb were making the prophecy of Ezekiel a possible reality.

Turkey Moving Closer to Gog-Magog Alliance?
Tzippe Barrow, CBN News (Christian Perspective), 2-3-2018

There's been plenty written about the fulfillment of end-time prophecies in the days in which we're living.
The changes that have taken place in Turkey over the past decade and a half could possibly indicate the latest piece of the puzzle falling into place.
Before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ascent to power, Turkey and Israel enjoyed a close working relationship, from tourism to trade to the military and beyond. That began to change when Erdogan was elected prime minister in 2003.
Over time, he became increasingly open about his plan to reshape Turkey into an Islamic state. He wasn't subtle and indeed was quick to oppress and/or arrest anyone who opposed him. One incident followed another. CBN News reported on many of them.
While trying to keep an open door with NATO and possible membership in the EU, Erdogan gravitated toward Islamic leaders in Iran, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere... He criticized Israel at every opportunity and praised Islamic endeavors.

Erdogan's latest move against the Kurdish population in Afrin in northern Syria – and his use of brutal jihadists to attack other Kurdish civilians in the area – is moving Turkey toward the coalition of nations that will attack Israel (Ezekiel 38-39).
More than 2,700 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel listed Turkey in the Gog-Magog alliance, which includes Russia (Magog), Iran (Persia), Sudan (Cush), Libya (Put); and Turkey (Gomer).
Anti-Semitism is part and parcel of Islamic ideology as described in the Koran and the hadiths. Since his ascension to power nearly 15 years ago, Erdogan has not hidden his hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people.
Turkey's growing friendship with the Gog-Magog alliance is indisputable evidence of the coming fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
The best part of this frightening scenario is God's intervention on behalf of His covenant land and people.

Syria: Afrin city encircled in Operation Olive Branch
Daily Sabah (Turkey), 12-3-2018

The Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have encircled Afrin town center as of March 12, while the number of terrorists "neutralized" has risen to 3,393 since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish military said Tuesday.
The Turkish military uses the term "neutralized" in reference to terrorists captured dead or alive, or those who surrender during the operations. However, the term is usually used for the terrorists who have been killed in the operations.
Operation Olive Branch was launched by Turkey on Jan. 20 to remove the PKK/PYD/YPG/KCK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

Will the Kurds ever learn?
Moon of Alabama, 11-3-2018

The Turkish proxy Takfiris have nearly encircled the Kurdish held city of Afrin. The water supply to the city is cut off. It will fall within a few day.
This is the direct result of gigantic miscalculations by the YPG Kurds who controlled the Afrin area. They had a clear offer from the Syrian and Russian government: Hand over the administration to the legitimate Syrian government and the Syrian army will come and defend your land. They rejected that offer multiple times.
They thought they could withstand an attack by a numerical superior enemy which has abundant air and artillery support. Hizbullah can do that but the Kurds are not Hizbullah. Their defense network was mediocre with bunkers easily visible from the air and ground and without any water supply and other necessities. These medieval fortifications were built over years but fell within hours. There was apparently no second line to fall back to.
The tactical military abilities the YPG Kurds have shown were rather amateurish. The announced reinforcements from east Syria made no difference. Now their 'canton' is lost... Meanwhile the U.S. is on the verge of giving away the Kurdish held Manbij to the Turks.

In 2016 the Kurdish PKK attempted to hold onto 'autonomous' city-centers in eastern Turkey. The Turkish army simply shelled those areas into rubble. There insurrection ended with a catastrophic loss of Kurdish fighters.
The Kurdish attempts to expand their lands in Iraq by stealing the oil fields of Kirkuk were thoroughly defeated. Now Afrin is lost too.
Why does anyone believe that the Kurds deserve their own state? Their leaders are corrupt and have zero statesmanship. They hang onto illusory aims and ignore the realities of life. Will the Kurds ever learn?

Flashback: Assad hands control of Syria’s Kurdish areas to PKK
By Roy Gutman - McClatchy News, July 26, 2012

President Bashar Assad, facing a growing rebel presence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its commercial hub, has turned control of parts of northern Syria over to militant Kurds who Turkey has long branded as terrorists, prompting concern that Istanbul might see the development as a reason to send troops across its border with Syria.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would not accept an entity in northern Syria governed by the Iraq-based Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has long waged a guerrilla war against Turkey, and its Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party. He said the two groups had built a “structure in northern Syria” that for Turkey means “a structure of terror.”
“It is impossible for us to look favorably at such a structure,” he said in an interview with a private television channel.
He warned that if Syrian Kurdish militants mount a terror operation or some other form of cross-border provocation against Turkey, “then intervening would be our most natural right.”
Turkey fears that a Syrian Kurdish state run by the PKK will radicalize its own restive Kurds, who comprise 12 million, or one-sixth, of its 74 million population. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Syrian Kurdish fighters have taken part in PKK raids inside Turkey over the years.

Assad withdrew forces from six predominantly Kurdish towns and handed control to the Kurdish militants in what appears to be an effort to bolster his defenses at Aleppo...
Assad also reportedly has pulled forces from the Idlib region of northeastern Syria and moved them to Aleppo.

Islamists seek influence in Syria
Zeina Karam, Lee Keath, AP, 21-3-2012

The gunmen in eastern Syria, wielding grenade launchers and assault rifles, announced on the Internet they were forming the "God is Great" Brigade and joining the country’s rebellion.
They swore allegiance to the Free Syrian Army and vowed to topple President Bashar Assad.
They wrapped their proclamation in hard-line Islamic language, declaring their fight to be a jihad, or holy war, and urging others to do the same.
The groups diverge from violent jihadi movements to political moderates like the Muslim Brotherhood, which has already used the Arab Spring revolutions to vault to power in Tunisia and Egypt elections.
Their growing influence is seeding divisions within an already fractured opposition.
A week ago, several prominent figures quit the Syrian National Council, the body of exiles that has tried to emerge as the opposition’s political leadership. They complained the fundamentalist Brotherhood dominates the group.
An Islamic militant group, the Al-Nusra Front, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing that killed 27 people in Damascus over the weekend.

Trump fires Rex Tillerson as secretary of state
BBC News, 13-3-2018

US President Donald Trump has sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo.
Thanking Mr Tillerson for his service on Twitter, Mr Trump said the new state secretary would do "a fantastic job". Mr Tillerson, a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, was only appointed to the job just over a year ago.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, Mr Trump said his differences with Mr Tillerson came down to personal "chemistry".
"We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things," said the president. "When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's terrible. I guess he thought it was OK.
The Department of State said Mr Tillerson had not spoken to the president and was "unaware of the reason" for his firing. Under Secretary Steve Goldstein said: "The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security."

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo is probably bad news for Iran
HollyEllyatt, CNBC, 13-3-2018

The appointment of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state following President Donald Trump's shock firing of Rex Tillerson could spell more bad news for Iran.
Pompeo, named as his pick for secretary of state by Trump on Tuesday shortly after he announced Tillerson's departure on Twitter, has taken a notoriously tough stance on Iran in the past in his erstwhile role as director of the CIA.
Not only has Pompeo likened Iran to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group, calling the country a "thuggish police state" in a speech in October, he has also promised to constrain Iran's investment environment and "roll back" its 2015 nuclear deal.
Showing his disdain for the internationally-brokered agreement, Pompeo said in October that the U.S. intelligence community and Treasury Department could make it harder for Tehran to meddle in regional affairs by exposing Iranian businesses that have ties to the nation's elite security force.
The comment came shortly after Trump refused to certify the nuclear deal, marking the beginning of a campaign to toughen the terms of the agreement and rein in Iranian activities not addressed by the accord.
In November 2016, when Pompeo was appointed to lead the CIA, he warned that Tehran is "intent of destroying America" and called the nuclear deal "disastrous." He added that he was looking forward to "rolling back" the agreement.
Trump has been a vociferous critic of the deal since his election, saying that Iran had not stuck to it, although he has so far stopped short of tearing up or renegotiating the agreement. Iran has said it would not accept any changes to the deal.

Trump's Morphed From Spy Agency Critic to Fan, CIA's Pompeo Says
by Nafeesa Syeed, Bloomberg, 14-4-2017

Not long ago Donald Trump was describing U.S. “intelligence” agencies in mocking quote marks and comparing them to Nazi Germany for damaging leaks about him. As a presidential candidate, word was he barely wanted to sit still for top-secret briefings.
Not anymore, according to Trump’s CIA director.
Mike Pompeo paints a picture of his boss as an enthusiastic consumer of intelligence briefings, including top-secret assessments of threats posed by Syria, Russia and North Korea.

Pompeo is among the many top Trump administration officials who vehemently reject the president’s past pronouncements that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an admirably strong leader with whom the U.S. can make deals.
This is a man for whom veracity doesn’t translate into English,” Pompeo said of Putin.
Russia is “on their six or seventh story now” about what they allege happened in the Syrian chemical attack, “none of which have an ounce of truth to them,” he said.

Russia will not allow anyone to influence its foreign policy
TASS Russian News Agency, March 15, 2018

Moscow and other BRICS members will not allow anyone to influence their foreign policy and tell them who to make friends with, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, addressing a forum dubbed Russia the Land of Possibilities on Thursday.
"I am sure that countries such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and, naturally, Russia, have self-respect and will not allow anyone to determine their foreign policy priorities and prevent them from maintaining ties with their friends," he pointed out.
"As for our imperialistic ‘friends’ who cling to every opportunity to impede economic cooperation between BRICS countries, it is not the only area they are active in..."
"They are generally interested in destroying any associations that don’t dance to their tune," the Russian top diplomat added.

Syrian Army takes control of southern Damascus district despite ISIS attack
By Leith Aboufadel, Al-Masdar News, 13/03/2018

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has officially entered the Al-Qadam District in southern Damascus after a long absence due to the ongoing war.
According to a military source in Damascus, the rebel forces in Al-Qadam handed over their last positions to the Syrian Army, despite the fact they were under attack by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
ISIS was able to claim at least 30 percent of Al-Qadam, primarily the eastern neighborhoods, before the Syrian Army entered on Tuesday.
The Syrian Army now controls at least 70 percent of Al-Qadam, which is considered one of the largest districts in southern Damascus. In the coming hours, the Syrian Army will attempt to clear the Islamic State terrorists from the eastern neighborhoods of Al-Qadam, while they finalize preparations for their upcoming Yarmouk Camp offensive.
Al-Qadam borders the Yarmouk Camp from its western axis; this will be a launching point for the Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies.

During the Syrian Civil War, Yarmouk camp became the scene of intense fighting in 2012 between the Free Syrian Army and the PFLP-GC supported by Syrian Army government forces. The camp then was consequently taken over by various factions and was deprived of supplies, resulting in hunger, diseases and a high death rate, which caused many to leave. By the end of 2014, the camp population had gone down to just 20,000 residents.
In early April 2015, most of the Yarmouk camp was overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Daesh took control of al-Yarmouk refugee camp with the support of Jabhat An-Nusra fighters in the camp.

Dozens of civilians, including many sick or injured, were escorted out of militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta into government-controlled territory via al-Wafideen camp crossing point on Tuesday (14-3-2018). The Syrian Red Crescent helped the civilians make their way out of the embattled town... (Al-Masdar News)

Civilians evacuated from E. Ghouta during ceasefire
RT Russia, 15-3-2018

Some 900 civilians were safely evacuated from Eastern Ghouta during a humanitarian ceasefire, the Russian military has said. The cessation of hostilities also allowed much-needed aid to enter the besieged area.
More than 350 civilians were evacuated from Eastern Ghouta’s Hamuria on Thursday alone, according to Yury Yevtushenko, spokesman for the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria.
In recent days, the situation in Douma, the biggest town in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area, was “significantly stabilized,” according to the Russian military.
An earlier statement said the so-called humanitarian pause, which ensured a ceasefire between the warring parties and allowed aid to be provided to civilians, had held for three days in a row.
Russia’s Reconciliation Center sent two humanitarian convoys last week, delivering 318 tons of food and medicines to the town. On Friday, another convoy will bring additional aid to the embattled area.
The Russian Defense Ministry added that the ceasefire in Douma was extended for two more days, and civilians in need of medical treatment were being evacuated from the area.
Evacuees have provided accounts of how militants controlling Eastern Ghouta drove up food prices and imposed harsh punishments for even the slightest transgressions. This came as terrorist groups in the region continued to shell civilian areas of Damascus and fired at those who were trying to flee the enclave.

A-Masdar 15-3-2018: According to emerging reports from military-affiliated sources, thousands of civilians from the rebel-held district town of Hammuriyah in Damascus’ East Ghouta region have begun fleeing towards Syrian Army lines.
Sources claim that some 2,000 civilians from Hammuriyah, a key rebel stronghold in the heart of East Ghouta, are involved in the great flight towards government-held areas.
Following an assault on Hummuriyah by the Syrian Army that started on Wednesday, the town’s northern and eastern farmland areas as well as some points within the district itself have since come under government forces control.

A mass evacuation of civilians is underway at the Hamouriyah humanitarian corridor in Eastern Ghouta. Civilians have been fleeing militant-held territory, under the protection of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the Syrian Arab Army. The passage was established by Syrian forces, after the reported recapture of parts of Hamouriyah last night. (Al-Masdar News, 15-3-2018)

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday the number of people leaving a rebel pocket in eastern Ghouta to government territory had risen to 12,500.
Civilians are streaming out of the towns of Kafr Batna, Hammouriyeh, Jisreen and Saqba, said Rami AbdulRahman, director of the Britain-based war monitor. (Reuters Staff, 16-3-2018

Iran, Russia, Turkey Vow to Continue Supporting Syria in Anti-Terror Fight
FARS News Agency, 16-3-2018

The foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey issued a joint statement at the end of their meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on March 16, and agreed to continue their effective interaction on Syria.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Russian and Turkish counterparts; Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, respectively agreed to keep up the effective interaction that would have positive effect on the situation in Syria and the entire region and reduce the risk of ethnic and sectarian divide.
The three foreign ministers expressed their satisfaction with concrete contribution of the Astana process to improvement of the situation in Syria during the last year, and emphasized in this regard the success of their collective efforts in the fight against international terrorism, particularly the defeat of the ISIL in Syria and the creation of favorable conditions for the political settlement on the basis of the UN Security Council resolution 2254.

Joint Statement (Astana, 16 March 2018)
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey, as guarantors of the observance of the ceasefire regime in Syria...
Highlighted the current high level of tripartite coordination on implementing the provisions of the Joint Statement by Presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey of 22 November 2017 in Sochi;
Reaffirmed their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They also highlighted that none of the actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine these principles...
Reaffirmed their determination to continue their cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL as designated by the UN Security Council in Syria and to prevent their relocation to other countries and regions;
Underscored the necessity to assist the Syrians in restoring the unity of their country and in achieving a political solution of the ongoing conflict through an inclusive, free, fair and transparent Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process leading to a constitution enjoying the support of the Syrian people, and free and fair elections with the participation of all eligible Syrians under appropriate UN supervision;

Israel is making a ‘historic mistake,’
warns veteran Palestinian official
Roger Hercz, Middle East Monitor, March 15, 2018

"Perhaps Yithak Rabin came close to a solution towards the end of his life, when he declared on TV that “Arafat is my partner”. All his successors rejected it. They were not prepared to give up the settlements, but, on the contrary, enlarged them incessantly. They resisted every effort to fix a final border, since their kind of Zionism demands perpetual expansion. Therefore they saw in Arafat a dangerous enemy and tried to destroy him by all means, including an unprecedented campaign of demonization." ( Uri Avnery, 9-11-2004)

In a wide-ranging conversation about the Palestinians, peace and history, Ahmed Qurei says that he has no regrets regarding his attempts to create a whole new Middle East back in 1992. ”I am only sorry that it didn’t work out,” the 80-year old Palestinian known to everyone as Abu Alaa explains.
Without Abu Alaa, the world would not have seen the peace negotiations which later became known as the Oslo process.
Qurei, who soon afterwards became Prime Minister, had flown in complete secrecy to Norway to conduct the negotiations that eventually led to the peace accord which was signed on the White House lawn in 1993.

Today, 25 years later, Palestinians and Israelis are further away from peace than at any time since. No Palestinian state is on the horizon, but Abu Alaa, drawing on long lines of history back to the Crusades, offers advice to the Israelis.
He cannot see why Israel wouldn’t want to negotiate a permanent peace these days, especially, he says because Israel will not be strong forever...
Abu Alaa has no warm words to say about the upcoming “deal of the century”, US President Donald Trump’s expected peace plan. He says that the Palestinians will reject it outright, waving his right hand as if he is dismissing something meaningless.
“Without Jerusalem, we will never sign. Never....”

“I was born here in Abu Dis, and I used to walk into Jerusalem every day to go to school. My family were farmers; we used to have land all the way down to the Dead Sea, including where the settlement of Maale Adumim is today.” One day, he promises, the wall will be dismantled.
We never thought it would end up like this,” Abu Alaa points out.
Back in 1993, we were certain a Palestinian state was just a few years away. And from that moment onwards we expected to live, two states side by side, in peace and prosperity.”
“We were ready for a historic compromise with Israel..." “At one point, Uri Savir, the Israeli negotiator, gave me a list of 60 questions he wanted to be answered. I said I don’t intend to answer them, I am not under interrogation. ‘But this is from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,’ he said. OK, I said, I won’t answer them, but I will take the list to Yasser Arafat.”
When Arafat saw the list, he noted that the Palestinians now had direct communication with the Israeli leaders. “I will answer these,” said Arafat, and sat down with the questions, one by one. This, says Abu Alaa, was the historic breakthrough.

The Oslo peace process collapsed with the sudden assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli fundamentalist in 1995.

Rabin as Nazi.
Right Wing Protest in Israel.

On the evening of 4 November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a radical right-wing Orthodox Jew, who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Rabin had been attending a mass rally at the Kings of Israel Square (now Rabin Square) in Tel Aviv, held in support of the Oslo Accords.
When the rally ended, Rabin walked down the city hall steps towards the open door of his car, at which point Amir fired three shots at Rabin with a semi-automatic pistol. (Wikipedia info)

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