Corbyn’s Labour has a clear lead in the opinion polls, and the arrival of a Corbyn-led Labour government after the next election would probably herald a sea-change in the UK’s relationship with Palestine-Israel.
This prospect has sent a shiver or two down the spines of Israel’s Zionist supporters in the UK.
The most recent controversy with regard to this issue stems from Corbyn’s opposition, via a Facebook post, to the removal in 2012 of an anti-money-power mural (showing the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and Morgans) in the East End of London, on the grounds that this was censorship of an artist.
The UK Board of Jewish Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council organized a protest against antisemitism in Labour outside parliament last week, and claimed Corbyn “personifies” the “problems and dangers” of “left-wing antisemitism”.
The Zionist strategy here has been evident for a long time: when dealing with anti-Zionists such as Corbyn, do everything to blur the line between anti-Zionism (which has become increasingly acceptable in the mainstream as a result of Zionist Israel’s systematically brutal treatment of the Palestinians), and antisemitism (which, given what Jews have had to suffer in their long history, is categorically unacceptable).
Many are maligned routinely as antisemites because they oppose Israel’s repellent treatment of the Palestinians – if time after time, principled pro-Palestinians such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, let alone Corbyn, are deemed antisemitic by virtue of their insistence on Palestinian legal rights vis-à-vis Israel, then there will be more than a few, some of whom may in truth alas be antisemites, who will be inclined to laugh-off this imputation of antisemitism.
Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Land Day March in Gaza
Namık Kemal, the Enlightenment and the future of the Muslim world
Ibrahim Tatlises - Anam
In a video, İbrahim Tatlıses, famous Turkish fantasy music singer, is sitting between president Erdoğan and chief of staff Akar and sings an old song “Yaylalar” which is a national anthem in Turkey for all those doing their military service.
Egypt's National Elections Authority (NEA) has declared Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi the winner of the nation's 2018 presidential elections, securing a second four-year term after winning 21,835,378 votes or 97.08 percent of valid votes.
At a press conference in Cairo on Monday, the NEA said that 24,254,152 citizens voted in the elections at home and abroad, out of near 59 million eligible voters, representing a turnout of 41.5 percent.
In his first speech after winning a second term as Egypt's president on Monday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi vowed to work for all Egyptians without any discrimination.
"I promise to work for all Egyptians without discrimination. Those who renewed their confidence in me [with their votes] are not different from those who did otherwise. Egypt includes all, as long as a difference in opinion doesn't spoil a nation's cause," President El-Sisi stated in the televised speech after winning a sweeping 97% of the votes.
He added that "common grounds were greater and more welcoming than fixed ideologies or narrow interests."
El-Sisi hinted that working on more collaborative grounds would be a priority in his upcoming term.
"My confidence in the intelligence of the Egyptian nation was without doubt," he said...
Los Angeles — Saudi Arabia is pushing back on Iranian moves to spread extremist ideology, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, said in a wide-ranging interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic.
"We’ve done this in Africa, Asia, in Malaysia, in Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon. We don’t know if the regime will collapse or not—it’s not the target, but if it collapses, great, it’s their problem," the Crown Prince said in the interview published on Monday.
"Iran is trying to build an empire based on evil ideology, which is contrary to the UN principles," he said, describing Iran as the main part of a triangle to spread evil ideology.
Explaining the triangle of evil, Crown Prince Muhammad said that the first angle of this triangle is the Iranian regime that wants to spread their extremist ideology, their extremist Shiite ideology. The second part of the triangle is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is another extremist organization. They want to use the democratic system to rule countries and build shadow caliphates everywhere. Then they would transform into a real Muslim empire.
And the other part is the terrorists — al-Qaeda, Daesh -- that want to do everything with force.
This triangle is promoting an idea that God and Islam are not asking us to promote. Their idea is totally against the principles of the United Nations, and the idea of different nations having laws that represent their needs.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen—all of these countries are defending the idea that independent nations should focus on their own interests, in building good relations on the foundation of UN principles.
The evil triangle doesn’t want to do that.
The Crown Prince said, "Islam is a religion of peace. This is the translation of Islam. God, in Islam, gives us two responsibilities: The first is to believe, to do good things, and not bad things. If we do bad things, God will judge us on Judgment Day.
"Our second duty as Muslims is to spread the word of God. Islam, in this context, was not about conquering, it was about peacefully spreading the word."
Building good relations on the foundation of UN principles?
1. Turki al-Faisal & MKO regime change group - 2. Fabius frustrated as efforts fail to topple Assad
3. Saudi cleric Oraifi: "I see them as dead bodies" - 4,5,6. Saudi backed terror group Jaish al-Islam
Damascus, SANA- Thousands of civilians returned homes in the villages and towns of eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside after the Syrian Arab Army restored security and stability to them and eradicated the Takfiri terrorist organizations from them.
A military source said Tuesday that the number of those who returned homes in eastern Ghouta reached more than 40,000 persons so far. The return of the locals to all villages and towns which were liberated by the army from terrorism continues, the source added.
Meanwhile, SANA’s reporters said that the engineering units continue to comb the villages and towns of eastern Ghouta for dismantling the mines and explosives which were planted by terrorists in the houses, streets and main squares.
The army units, in cooperation with the police units, are working on providing all facilitations and aid needed for the return of the locals to their homes.
Damascus Countryside Police Command reactivated the work of the police units in Jisrin, Erbin and Harasta in eastern Ghouta and deployed regular patrols to enhance security and safety and to protect the popular and private properties in them.
The reporters said that the workshops continue removing the debris, opening the streets and rehabilitating the health and services centers and the schools to receive students.
On Monday, Damascus Countryside Education Directorate announced the return of more than 12,000 students to their schools in eastern Ghouta and the makeshift centers.
The Syrian government launched several airstrikes Sunday on the rebel-held eastern Qalamoun area, northeast of Damascus, according to local activists. The airstrikes came as negotiations are underway between local councils of the main towns in eastern Qalamoun, and representatives from the Syrian government and the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria.
“The rebels and local councils are trying to spare the populated towns from a fate similar to the one of eastern Ghouta, they seek to let people stay in their homes and avoid large-scale destruction of the area,” Abdullah Abdul Karim, a journalist based in Syria told VOA.
During the meeting, the Russian and Syrian government delegations called on the rebels to hand over their weapons to the Syrian government, settlement for the fighters, or the withdrawal from the region, or face war.
About 350 thousand civilians live in the area, including many displaced from Homs by fighting between the Syrian governments and ISIS. Others are refugees who recently left eastern Ghouta.
Eastern Qalamoun has been under rebel control since 2013. A number of rebel factions are present in the area, including the Syrian Liberation Front and Ahrar al-Sham.
Eastern Qalamoun is the last stronghold for the Faylaq Al Rahman and Jaish Al Islam rebel groups, after their evacuation from eastern Ghouta.
The forces of Martyr Ahmed Al Abdo rebel group are also based in Qalamoun, al-Tanf area. That is close to the Jordanian border and a U.S. military base.
As of 2017, the Martyr Ahmed Al Abdo rebel group claimed to have 2,000 fighters, including 500 defected soldiers and 30 officers from the Syrian Armed Forces. The head of the group is the "joint command council", led by Captain Ahmed Tamer.|
Fighters in the group typically operate in groups of 10. Its main equipment are Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Hilux gun trucks mounted with various weaponry including autocannons, heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, and multiple rocket launchers. It also operate at least 1 T-62 and 2 T-55s.
The group received BGM-71 TOW missiles as one of the first rebel groups to do so in May 2014 and is also in possession of Chinese HJ-8 and Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missiles paid by Qatar and supplied from Sudan.
TOWs are guided missiles that are capable of thoroughly damaging or destroying tanks, armored carriers, and other vehicles that the Assad regime might send into the field. And, unlike other projectiles used against armored targets, such as RPGs, TOW missiles can be used from a considerable distance.
Jeremy Bender, Business Insider, 2015:
13th Division (Forqat 13), 101st Division Infantry (Forqat 101 Masha'a), Knights of Justice Brigade (Liwa' Fursan al-Haqq), Falcons of the Mountain Brigade (Liwa' Suqour al-Jabal), Grouping of the Falcons of Al-Ghab (Tajamuu Suqour al-Ghab), 1st Coastal Division (Forqat Awwal al-Sahli), Gathering of Dignity (Tajammu al-Izza'), Central Division (Al-Forqat al-Wasti), 46th Division (Forqat 46), Sultan Murad Brigade (Liwa' Sultan Murad), Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki), Mujahideen Army/Army of Holy Warriors (Jaish al-Mujahideen), Revolutionaries of al-Sham Brigades (Kata'eb Thuwar al-Sham), 1st Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal), Ahmed al-Abdo Martyrs' Force (Quwwat al-Shaheed Ahmad al-Abdo), Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman), Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa' Shuhadah al-Islam), Yarmouk Army (Jaish al-Yarmouk), Lions of Sunnah Division (Forqat Usood al-Sunnah), the 18th March Division (Forqat 18 Adhar), Southern Tawhid Brigade (Liwa' Tawhid al-Junoub), Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza), 1 st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa'a), Syria Revolutionaries Front - Southern Sector (Jabhat Thuwar Souriya), The First Corps (Faylaq al-Awwal), The Dawn of Unity Division (Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid), Salah al-Din Division (Forqat Salah al-Din), Omari Brigades (Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari), Unity Battalions of Horan Brigade (Liwa' Tawhid Kata'eb Horan), Youth of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa' Shabbab al-Sunnah), Moataz Billah Brigade (Liwa' Moataz Billah), Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham), Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam), Supporters of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa' Ansar al-Sunnah), Horan Column Division (Forqat Amoud Horan), Emigrants and Supporters Brigade (Liwa' Muhajireen wal Ansar), Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan, United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda), 69 th Special Forces Division (Forqat 69 Quwwat al-Khassa), 11 th Special Forces Division (Forqat 11 Quwwat al-Khassa), Partisans of Islam Front (Jabhat Ansar al-Islam), Al-Furqan Brigades (Alwiyat al-Furqan)
The last rebel-held pocket in eastern Ghouta is poised to surrender after Jaish Al Islam, the largest rebel group controlling the pocket of Douma, reached an agreement with the Russian-backed Syrian regime.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based Syrian war monitor, said that Jaish Al Islam and the Syrian government agreed on a settlement to secure those who wish to stay in Douma, allow the evacuation of those who want to leave, surrender heavy artillery to the Syrian regime and allow police to be deployed in the city.
The Observatory said some 1,300 civilians and fighters are expected to leave the besieged pocket and that the first group has already left the city and will be heading to northern Syria.
Turkey, Iran, Russia said they are determined to "speed up their efforts to ensure calm on the ground" in Syria and protect civilians in "de-escalation zones," a joint statement posted after the trilateral meeting said Wednesday.
In the joint news conference after the meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey is aware of its responsibilities in Syria and fulfills them with utmost care.
"Turkey secured and cleared of terrorists a 4,000-square meter area in Syria during operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch," he said.
The president noted that adopting an equal distance from all terrorist groups is crucial for maintaining Syria's territorial integrity, adding:
"It is very important to exclude all terror groups threatening not only Syria, but all surrounding countries, primarily Turkey, and the region as a whole," while he highlighted that it is crucial for all actors to acknowledge that Daesh and PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists serve the same purpose and cannot contribute to lasting peace in the wartorn country.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country believes the Syrian crisis has no military solution, adding that safeguarding the independence of Syria is a priority for Tehran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, said that it is crucial to avoid politicizing the humanitarian aid issue in Syria.
All wars end with winners and losers. The seventeen years we have just lived through in the "Greater Middle East" is no exception. Yet, while Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi have been eliminated and Syria is winning, the only real losers are the Arab people.
The 130 states and international organizations that participated in the "Friends of Syria" meetings will never admit failure, they will continue to perpetrate their abuses in other theaters of operation. In other words: their war will soon be over in this region, but it will resume elsewhere.
sirte (libya) - homs (syria) - mosul (iraq)
Under President Trump’s leadership, the US Armed Forces have gradually ceased to support the jihadists and have begun to withdraw from the battlefield. This does not mean they have become philanthropic overnight, but simply realistic...
In the spirit of the 1941 Atlantic Charter in which London and Washington agreed to jointly control the oceans and world trade, the United States is now preparing to sabotage the trade of its Chinese rival...
Now that Beijing has decided to move its goods through Turkey instead of Syria and through Belarus instead of Ukraine, we should expect "disorders" to erupt in these two countries.
Thousands of Syrian and Iraqi Christians have lost their homes, but not their faith, due to conflicts in the Middle East. Death threats for practicing their faith have caused many to flee. Today, those Christians who stay in the area where the early disciples built the first church, need to know they are not alone... (cradleofchristianity.org)
Russia is the only great power to have emerged victorious from the Middle East conflict, thereby achieving the goal set by Catherine the Great to gain access to the Mediterranean and save the cradle of Christianity, the bedrock of Russian culture.
Moscow is now expected to enlarge the Eurasian Economic Union, to which Syria applied to join in 2015. At that time, its membership had been suspended at the request of Armenia, reluctant to introduce a state at war into the common economic space, but now the order of things has changed.
It is very likely that the world will be divided in two, not by an iron curtain, but by the will of the Western powers, who are already in the process of separating the banking systems and will soon try to do the same with the Internet. On the one side, it should be based on NATO and, on the other, no longer on the Warsaw Pact but on the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
In a pendulum movement, the West - the former "free world" – has morphed into a set of coercive and falsely consensual societies. The European Union is endowed with a bigger and more oppressive bureaucracy than that of the Soviet Union.
And Russia becomes once again the champion of International Law.
Catherine the Great (Reigned: 1762-1796)
At the time of Catherine's accession, Russia was still regarded as a distant provincial wilderness by many Europeans.
BEIJING, April 4 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday unveiled a list of products worth 50 billion U.S. dollars imported from the United States that will be subject to higher tariffs, including soybeans, automobiles, aircraft and chemical products.
The decision was made by the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, involving a possible additional tariff of 25 percent on 106 items of products under 14 categories, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on its website.
The move was taken after the U.S. administration announced a proposed list of products subject to additional tariffs, which covers Chinese exports worth 50 billion dollars with a suggested tariff rate of 25 percent.
"The date of implementation will depend on when the U.S. government imposes the tariffs on Chinese products," the MOF said.
"Disregarding serious representations by China, the United States announced tariff proposals that are completely unfounded, a typical unilateralist and protectionist practice that China strongly condemns and firmly opposes," the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on its website.
The U.S. move was "an evident violation of rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO)," the MOC said. Its measures "severely infringed on the legitimate rights and interests that China enjoys in accordance with the WTO rules, and threatened China's economic interests and security," the MOC said....
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said here on Thursday that "the answer to today's problems is not protectionism, is not isolationism."
"I am a strong believer in multilateralism to address global problems. There is no way global problems can be addressed on a country by country basis.
Global problems need to have global answers and global answers can only be implemented through multilateral frameworks." the UN chief made the remarks when he was asked to comment on the trade conflict between China and the United States.
In an interviews with Chinese reporters before his trip to China for the annual Boao Forum, Guterres said "the international framework that governs global trade is of extreme important with the World Trade Organization at its center." "I am a true believer in free trade," he said, adding that free trade is a very important contributor to global prosperity.
Globalization has brought enormous benefits. For example, economic growth and trade have been increased, poverty has been reduced, life expectancy of people has been increased and there are much broader middle-class families.
However, there are also losers in globalisation. Inequalities have increased, and many people are left behind. So we need to make efforts to improve things, not to reject globalization but to improve it, the UN chief said.
Improve things, not to reject globalization is the objective of Agenda 2030, and the objective of the WTO, Guterres said.
"I am very happy that China has been totally committed to the Agenda 2030, not only at the Chinese level but also in cooperation with other countries, especially the developing world," Guterres said.
UN Agenda 2030: Declaration
-- 1. We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 25-27 September 2015 as the Organization celebrates its seventieth anniversary, have decided today on new global Sustainable Development Goals.
US democracy is being degraded as Washington is using all means to maintain its global hegemony, even those measures that harm the American people, Moscow has said, reacting to the new round of anti-Russian sanctions.
“The American democracy is clearly being degraded. [Its only] desire is to ensure by all means that US global hegemony remains, including pressuring countries that conduct an independent line and speak [with] their own voice, unlike Washington’s NATO allies,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Moscow said the new US restrictions will be faced with “a firm response,” urging Washington to “swiftly give up on the illusion that one can communicate with [Russia] using the language of sanctions.”
“Politicians in Washington have reached such a level of absurdity that they are trying to target our companies that have long maintained business ties with the US and have thousands of jobs depending on them. In other words, they strike ordinary Americans, their own voters, and destroy economic cooperation in a self-defeating manner,” the statement reads.
The Foreign Ministry pointed out that US authorities were rapidly “renouncing what they themselves used to hail as fundamental ‘American values.’”
Earlier on Friday, the US Treasury announced more anti-Russian sanctions, with 24 high-profile businessmen and politicians, as well as 14 companies being added to the existing blacklist.
According to Washington, Moscow is to be punished for “a range of malign activity around the globe,” including its reunification with Crimea, involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, support of President Bashar Assad in Syria, as well as “attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted the trilateral leaders' summit in Ankara on April 4 to find a lasting solution to the seven-year Syrian war.
Attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the summit held promise but also put forth the challenges to end the Syrian war.
It is no secret that the Syrian war has become a stage for global power games in the Middle East. With United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia, the main stakeholders have different views and priorities on how to end the war.
There are two eventual goals shared by all – eliminating Daesh and maintaining Syria's territorial integrity. But these two goals also lend themselves to different interpretations and, at times, serve different purposes.
The U.S. administration says destroying Daesh is the main goal of its mission in Syria, but it has taken on different meanings over time. The evolution is from fighting Daesh to countering Iran and Russia in Syria...
Turki Al-Faisal (Saudi Arabia): "Fighting ISIS is fighting Assad" (16-3-2015)
It is becoming increasingly clear in recent months that the U.S. wants to stay in eastern Syria as a counter force to Iran – a policy supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
U.S. President Donald Trump said it when he mentioned that if the Gulf countries want the U.S. to stay in Syria, they must pay for it. Clearly, the issue is not about Daesh anymore, but about creating a new power balance in Syria and beyond.
The fight against Daesh is a secondary goal now, and the U.S. military has a problem finding justification to stay in Syria within U.S. law, which allows the military to operate in foreign lands only to fight against terrorism.
The joint statement by the leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia on April 4 mentioned the need to end the fight in Syria and referred to the Astana talks "as the only effective international initiative that had helped reduce violence across Syria."
It stressed the importance of working under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 and the peace talks in Geneva. It emphasized the three countries' commitment to the "sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria."
This is a reference to the structure of a future Syrian government as non-sectarian, non-fractional, inclusive, democratic and pluralistic.
The statement also has a reference to the PYD and YPG without mentioning their names. The countries "rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground on the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas."
This is an important outcome and confirms that Tehran and Moscow share Ankara's concerns over the PYD and YPG in Syria...
Ankara's firm position is right because it separates a terrorist network that seeks to create de facto conditions on the ground to carve out a separatist statelate in Syria from Kurds and other members of Syrian society.
Flashback: Saudi Prince Al-Faisal:
“The claims of Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman show the fact that he had studied neither history nor geography,” said Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Foreign Ministry on Friday.
“An Islamic country with pompous claims had degraded itself to the level of Zionist occupiers,” said Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Ghasemi made the remarks on Friday in response to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman's allegations in an interview with the London-based Times paper.
“The ambition of the Saudi Crown Prince has no limitation and is turning out to be a chronic disease,” the spokesman added.
“Due to the war inside the House of Saud, he is making any ridiculous and shameful remarks to gain the support of the US and the Zionist regime of Israel and is paying billions of dollar from people’s properties,” Ghasemi said.
“The neophyte prince has closed his eyes on the historic realities and the crimes of the Zionist regime for seven decades", he said
“His claims indicate the fact that he had studied neither history nor geography and does not know even the aspiration of Saudi people and freedom seekers in the world,” he said.
“Saudi Prince,” Ghasemi added, “does not understand the oppression against Palestinians and does not differentiate friend and enemy.”
“All recent conspiracies in the Islamic countries, creating and nurturing terrorist and extremist groups like ISIL have been designed and implemented to drive wedge in the Islamic World and to undermine Palestinians’ aspirations and to safeguard the usurper and fabricated regime of Israel,” he reiterated.
“This will be recorded as a great disgrace for Saudi Arabia in the course of developments in the Islamic world,” he said.
The Syrian government has denied allegations of having used chemical weapons in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, saying it doesn't need such measures to stop the terrorists.
The Russian Defense Ministry has also denied reports of an alleged chemical bomb being dropped on Douma, suggesting that a number of Western states as well as NGOs like the White Helmets have turned to such claims in order to undermine the evacuation of Jaish al-Islam terrorists from the area.
"We strongly deny these claims and announce our readiness to send Russian experts in radiation, chemical and biological defense to Douma after its liberation from terrorists to gather evidence, which would prove that the allegations on the chemical weapons use were staged," said Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, commander of the Russian Center for Syria reconciliation.
According to the statement, issued by the Syrian authorities on the state-run SANA news agency, such claims have been made by terrorists and are aimed at hindering Syrian forces, which have made “a swift and determined advance” and do not need such measures to deter the terrorists.
"The chemical fabrications, which did not serve the terrorists and their sponsors in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, will not serve them today either, as the Syrian state is determined to end terrorism in every square inch of Syrian territory," read the statement...
Last month, Damascus reported that several foreign experts were working on staging a chemical attack, which would be carried out with the help of the infamous White Helmets and would be covered by mainstream media. The same warning was issued by the Russian Center for Syria reconciliation in January.
The Syrian government has consistently denied all claims of chemical weapons use, arguing that the country’s stockpiles had been destroyed, which has been confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Israeli officials on Sunday called on the international community to intervene in Syria, where rebel forces said the regime killed dozens in an alleged chemical attack in Douma and a series of airstrikes over the weekend.
Speaking to Army Radio, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the security cabinet and the ruling Likud party, urged US and international military action.
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid on Sunday condemned the attack: "The world cannot stand by while the Assad regime and its allies carry out these brutal attacks. Words aren’t enough, the international community must take action,” he wrote on Twitter.
Leader of Israel’s opposition Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay also urged the international community to act against Syria, singling out Russia for backing the regime and berating the US for remaining “silent.”
“The international community cannot turn a blind eye to the horrific use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria. These atrocities should be stopped!” tweeted Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni.
“What can be said?” Yehudah Glick, of the ruling Likud party, tweeted. “The world must do everything to stop the Assad regime. The man has no limits.”
Syrian Government forces resumed their offensive on Jaish-al-Islam-held Douma on Friday afternoon after a 10-day truce collapsed over disagreement regarding evacuation of opposition fighters.
The violence resumed days after hundreds of opposition fighters and their relatives left Douma toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.
Damascus countryside, SANA - “Jaish al-Islam” terrorists are repeating the crimes committed by Jabhat al-Nusra and Failaq al-Rahman terrorist organizations by using the locals in Douma as human shields, in order to stop the advance of the Syrian Arab Army units towards the terrorists’ hideouts inside Douma city, a similar scenario to what had happened in the towns and villages of Eastern Ghouta.
A military source said in statement to SANA that Jaish al-Islam terrorists are preventing civilians from leaving Douma city as they opened fire on the demonstrators who took to the streets to demand the terrorists to leave the city and release the abductees.
The source said that 33,345 persons exited Douma since March 5th, as the army units secured the evacuation of the thousands of civilians via al-Wafideen Camp safe corridor and transported them to temporary housing centers.
2,963 terrorists from Jaish al-Islam and their families exited the city over the past week, according to the “Douma agreement” before the terrorists obstructed it due to internal differences among them.
Jaish al-Islam terrorists are also attempting to exploit the thousands of abductees held in the terrorists’ prisons for years in Douma city, with the aim of using them as a trump card in order to escape retribution.
Over the last months the Syrian army secured 90% of 'rebel' enclave in east-Ghouta right next to the Syrian capital Damascus. Only the town of Douma, held by the Saudi financed Salafist Takfiris of Jaish al-Isalm, was left in enemy hands.
Negotiations about an evacuation of the terrorist were ongoing. At one point last week the hard core leaders of Jaish al-Islam pulled their negotiators back from the talks...
Jaish al-Islam wanted to essentially stay in place and keep all its weapons. The Russian negotiators did not agree with this. On Friday the negotiations failed.
Barrages of missiles and grenades from Douma hit Damascus. The 'rebel' supporting Syrian Observatory reported of several killed in Damascus and dozens of wounded. The Syrian army hit back with intensive air strikes and artillery fire on Douma.
Two years ago Jaish al-Islam admitted that it used chemical weapons against a Kurdish suburb of Aleppo. Just two days ago the Russian military command said that it detected 'rebel' preparations for new false flag gas attacks.
Now the terrorists and their supporters claim that a new "chemical weapon attack" happened and blame the Syrian government. A video of the alleged gas attack aftermath shows a basement with some 30 dead children between two and 10 years old. They seem to have suffocated, probably from carbon monoxyd. Astonishingly there are no dead women or men - only children under 10.
Russia, which has observers on the ground, rejects any claims of Syrian government involvement in the incident.
The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the latest reports about a chemical attack that allegedly affected dozens of civilians in the militant-controlled town of Douma. It said the reports were another example of a “continuous series of fake news about the use of chlorine and other chemical agents by the government forces.”
Flashback - RT, 7 april 2016: The Jaysh al-Islam militant group fighting government forces in Syria has admitted to using “forbidden” weapons against Kurdish militia in Aleppo.
The group’s statement comes after reports of chemical gas being used in shelling Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsood district. The hardline Islamist group did not not specify what substances were used, but claimed that it will punish those responsible.
The group’s statement reads: “During the clashes one of the Jaysh al-Islam brigade leaders used [weapons] forbidden in this kind of confrontations.”
The group claims that the brigade commander in question was summoned to a military court, where it was decided he is to be held accountable...
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:00 P.M.) – The Syrian government approved a request made by the last rebel faction in East Ghouta pocket for a ceasefire and resumption of talks, a Syrian official source said.
The call made by Jaysh al-Islam comes after a whole-night offensive launched by the Syrian Army against the militants’ positions whereby the government troops managed to fully liberate al-Riyhan town to the east, along with other territories to the west and southern outskirts of the rebel-held city.
Having lost its most fortified defense lines in less than 24 hours of battles, Jaysh al-Islam; the largest insurgent group in the whole East Ghouta enclave, does realize that their chances to withstand the Army’s assault equal zero.
According to an official reports, the rebel faction will most likely accept the terms of agreement as stipulated by the Syrian government i.e. evacuation to the country’s north, handing over heavy weapons and release of detainees.
The latest military onslaught was primarily launched – according to Syrian officials – with the objective to secure the prisoners detained by Jaysh al-Islam for years.
The Syrian State’s approval to negotiate is based on ending the bloodshed of civilians in Douma, liberating all abductees and evacuating “Jaish al-Islam” terrorists to Jarablus.
damascus - aleppo - lattakia
Christian denominations in Syria, who follow Julain calendar, on Sunday celebrated Easter, the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.|
Prayers and masses were performed at churches in celebration of Easter. The Easter sermons emphasized the meaning of Easter in terms of peace and love and called for backing the Syrian Arab army in its fight against terrorism until final victory. (SANA, 8-4-2018)
A child could see through the fake “chemical attack” supposedly launched by Bashar al-Assad just as his troops defeated the jihadists and Trump said he wanted out of Syria.
But our President can’t, which raises the question: is he as stupid or stupider than George W. Bush? Or is he crazy? The bad news is: possibly both. And no, there is no good news.
It was 6 in the morning this Sunday when Donald Trumpsent out this tweet:
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…”
We are expected to believe that the Assad regime committed a horrific atrocity against mostly women and children at the very moment when Syrian forces have decisively defeated the Islamist rebels and Trump declared he wanted US troops out of Syria.
Days before this fake attack, the Russian Defense Ministry warned that a false flag provocation was in the making.
“Big price,” eh? The person paying that price is going to be Trump himself – his presidency is doomed...
The foreign policy he seemed to be promising, summed up in the slogan “America First,” was and is the right path for this country – but life is not about policies divorced from individuals...
He isn’t living up to his campaign promises... The “deplorables” are in open rebellion against this new turn..
He’s a coward. He refuses to confront the War Party head on, despite his campaign trail rhetoric...
So here’s the question: is he stupid, like George W. Bush, or is he crazy in the tradition of, say, Richard M. Nixon?
-- The case for stupidity is fairly strong: after all, where’s the evidence that Assad launched a chemical attack? Like the series of fake “attacks” touted by the jihadist rebels over the years, this one lacks verification – but that doesn’t bother the War Party. Since when do they need evidence...?
-- The case for craziness – a real mental affliction – is even stronger, in my opinion. When President Obama was confronted with the same phony “attacks,” as reported by jihadist “activists” and “medics,” Trump urged him to stay out of it.
Yet now that’s he’s in the Oval Office, he’s doing what he urged Obama not to do. This is the classic behavior pattern of a schizoid nutjob with multiple personalities..
It’s “The Three Faces of the Donald,” and the big question is which one will emerge today?
Damascus Countryside, SANA- The process of freeing the abductees and evacuating “ Jaish al-Islam” terrorists from Douma is continued in the implementation of the agreement that was reached on Sunday.
The agreement stipulates for liberating all the abductees in Douma and evacuating all the terrorists and their families to Jarablos. The first batch of the abductees held by “Jaish al-Islam” terrorists in Douma was liberated on Sunday evening.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – Militants and their families boarded a bus that left the Syrian city of Douma, on Monday, to be evacuated via the Muhayam al-Wafedin checkpoint.
Following talks between the Russian Reconciliation Centre and leaders of the militant group Jaysh al-Islam, military actions have been frozen in Douma and the al-Wafedin checkpoint has been reopened to enable the withdrawal of evacuees from the city.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, 100 buses have arrived to evacuate militants and their family members from Douma.
The evacuation came a day after the Syrian government and Jaysh al-Islam reportedly reached a new agreement on the ceasefire, the disarmament of the group and the resumption of the operation to withdraw militants from Douma.
Damascus, SANA – Residents of Damascus city are finally breathing a sigh of relief after years of pain, suffering and the loss of loved ones due to the mortar and rocket shells fired by terrorist groups located in the Eastern Ghouta targeting innocent civilians and neighborhoods in the capital.
No more casualties, fears or tears as the Syrian Arab army continues to establish control over areas held by armed terrorist groups in the Eastern Ghouta, following the agreement reached yesterday which provided for releasing abductees in Douma in exchange for the exit of terrorists of the so-called Jaish al-Islam to Jarablos.
“We have been waiting for this moment so long...,” said one of the citizens, expressing hope that Syria would finally triumph over terrorism.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:45 P.M.) – The Russian military has found no evidence that chemical weapons were used by any party in the east Damascus district city of Douma according the Russian Ministry of Defence.
A statement by the Russian MoD claims that the reported site of the alleged chemical attack in Douma was assessed by military specialists and that no trace of any chemical weapons usage was found.
The specialists inspected the location where the purported attack took place. However, no evidence has been found to prove such claim. They also inspected Douma's hospital and found no patients with chemical poisoning symptoms.
The Russian military denounced the White Helmets, opposition-linked first responders who reported the attack and the death toll. It called them "shameless rebel accomplices," saying they made false allegations to derail a local truce.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, confirmed that no proof has been yet found to condemn the Syrian government of a chemical attack in the rebel bastion.
On Saturday afternoon, Islamist rebels in Douma accused Syrian government forces of attacking the city’s residents with chemical weapons; the claim has since gained traction in the Western world with the US and French heads of state now threatening a possible counter-strike in response to the supposed attack.
Russia has warned the US and its allies against “fishing in murky waters” of the Middle East, causing further chaos there. The US shouldn’t assume it has friends, only countries unable to disagree, Russia UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia said.
The US and its allies have failed to understand the warning of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words at the 2015 UN General Assembly, ambassador Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday.
“Do you now understand what you have done?” Nebenzia repeated Putin’s question about the West’s reckless geopolitical games in the Middle East. “No, you do not.”
“Everywhere you go, everything you touch, you leave behind only chaos. You try to fish in those murky waters, but the only thing you catch is mutants,” Nebenzia went on to say.
After challenging the narrative of a chemical attack in the suburban Damascus city of Douma as “fake news” – as no evidence was found of the alleged attack or the victims, after Syrian and Russian troops inspected the area liberated from Army of Islam militants – Nebenzia turned to the remarks made earlier by his US counterpart, Nikki Haley, who said that US and Russia “will never be friends.”
“We’re not particularly keen to be friends with you,” the Russian envoy replied. “We’re not begging you for friendship. We want normal, civilized relations – which you arrogantly refuse, disregarding basic courtesy.”
“You are misguided to think you have friends,” Nebenzia cautioned. “Your so-called friends are just those who can’t say no to you. This is your only criteria for friendship.”
What did we accomplish? "Everything we touch turns to lead. "
Russia is prepared to provide security guarantees to OPCW experts to investigate the alleged chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Douma, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.
"Any references to security concerns [for OPCW experts] are unlikely to be serious. Douma has been completely freed from militants and is controlled by government troops. The Russian military police has been deployed to the area," Lavrov said. "If security guarantees for OPCW inspectors are required, such guarantees will be provided."
According to him, Moscow invited OPCW experts to make a visit to Douma in order to figure out what had happened there. "We have not received a response yet," Lavrov said.
"We have heard statements from The Hague that they have launched an investigation into the Douma incident," the Russian top diplomat said.
"However, the use of chemical weapons has not been confirmed yet. Members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and Russian representatives to the relevant agencies visited the site of the alleged attack in Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons," he added.
"We cannot take the results of remote investigations for granted anymore," Lavrov went on to say. "This is what happened in Khan Shaykhun, when a remote investigation resulted in a flimsy report containing expressions such as ‘highly possible’ and ‘highly likely’," he noted.
"We know the true price of such expressions and will never again take them for granted," the Russian foreign minister concluded.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has retaliated to the US President's latest tweets, claiming relations with Moscow were worse than during the Cold War, and threatening a direct strike on Assad forces following an alleged chemical attack in Douma.
"Smart missiles must strike terrorists, not the legitimate government that has been fighting international terrorism on its territory for several years," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova when she took to Facebook to respond to Donald Trump's latest tweets on a possible military strike on Syria.
The harsh remarks from Moscow follow the US president's tweets calling for Russia to "get ready" for "nice and new and smart" American missiles in Syria.
The threatening tweet was followed by another publication, with Trump urging Russia to end what he called an "arms race":
"Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War. There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?" Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 april 2018
Earlier in the day, Yevgeny Serebrennikov, first deputy chairman of the Russian upper house's Defense Committee, had warned that Russia will respond immediately if its servicemen in Syria get hit by potential US strikes.
The United Nations Security Council has voted against Russia’s draft resolution favoring a fact-finding mission by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Syria; while Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and Ethiopia supported the draft, the US, France, the UK and Poland voted against. Other members of the UNSC abstained from voting.The US had offered the first resolution, which aimed to blame Syria for the incident, but this was vetoed by Russia.
Flashback 2002: Rumsfeld's Crazy Foreign Policy Team
To understand American policy, it is worth probing the character of the policy makers who design Rumsfeld's foreign policy. The three architects of American foreign policy are Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.
Former MP George Galloway has called on the US cabinet to impeach Donald Trump, labeling him a “man child” and questioning the American president’s sanity after he promised to launch “smart” missiles at Syria.
Trump took to his Twitter account to warn Russia to “get ready” as missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” at its ally, Syria. Trump’s comments come following a pledge made by Moscow's envoy to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, who said that the Russian military reserves the right to shoot down missiles and destroy launch sites in the event of US aggression against Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
Galloway spoke to RT exclusively about the latest threats from Trump:
“First of all the tweet from President Trump is undoubtedly the most disturbing statement ever made by any US president and calls into question the very sanity of the person issued it,” Galloway said. [...] “Of course it is a provocation but it couldn't be more deadly in its potentialities. It is certainly causing widespread terror in international public opinion.”
Galloway went on to urge Washington officials to take matters into their own hands and impeach the out-of-control president.
The Syrian government army has taken full control over the city of Douma that was held by the Jaysh al-Islam group and now all of Eastern Ghouta is under the control of the government forces, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing parties in Syria Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko said on Thursday.
"Today marked a landmark event in Syria’s history. The state flag was hoisted on the Douma building which signaled [Damascus’] control over this settlement and, hence, over all of Eastern Ghouta," he said.
According to Yevtushenko, Russian military police units will be deployed in Douma following its liberation from the terrorists to maintain law and order during its transitional period to come under control of Syria’s legitimate government.
The Russian reconciliation center said earlier that it was wrapping up the evacuation of militants and their families from Douma. Yevtushenko said on Wednesday about 4,000 militants and their family members had left the city during the past day, surrendering more than 400 pieces of weaponry, including large-caliber machine-guns, grenade launchers, sniper and assault rifles.
Since late February, more than 41,000 people have left Douma, and more than 165,000 have fled from Eastern Ghouta. As many as 250 hostages held by militants have been released.
A UN report published today states that thousands of incidents of human rights violations are carried out by state-affiliated militias in Libya. The report details the scale and horror of unlawful detention and human rights violations.
It states that armed groups in Libya, including those affiliated with the State, hold thousands of people in prolonged arbitrary and unlawful detention, and submit them to torture and other human rights violations and abuses. It says that arbitrary detention will also be detrimental to any Libyan stabilization, peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
The report says that the endemic human rights abuses in custody in Libya require urgent action by the Libyan authorities, with support from the international community.
The report said that “Men, women and children across Libya are arbitrarily detained or unlawfully deprived of their liberty based on their tribal or family links and perceived political affiliations,” the report by the UN Human Rights Office says. “Victims have little or no recourse to judicial remedy or reparations, while members of armed groups enjoy total impunity.”
It continued that it ‘‘lays bare not only the appalling abuses and violations experienced by Libyans deprived of their liberty, but the sheer horror and arbitrariness of such detentions, both for the victims and their families,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
Since renewed hostilities broke out in 2014, armed groups on all sides have rounded up suspected opponents, critics, activists, medical professionals, journalists and politicians, the report says. Hostage-taking for prisoner exchanges or ransom is also common.
Those detained arbitrarily or unlawfully also include people held in relation to the 2011 armed conflict – many without charge, trial or sentence for over six years.
“Rather than reining in armed groups and integrating their members under State command and control structures, successive Libyan governments have increasingly relied on them for law enforcement, including arrests and detention; paid them salaries; and provided them with equipment and uniforms,” the report says. As a result, their power has grown unchecked and they have remained free of effective government oversight.
Armed groups routinely deny people any contact with the outside world when they are first detained. “Distraught families search for their detained family members, travel to known detention facilities, plead for the help of acquaintances with connections to armed groups, security or intelligence bodies, and exchange information with other families of detainees or missing persons,” the report highlights.
“The widespread prolonged arbitrary and unlawful detention and endemic human rights abuses in custody in Libya require urgent action by the Libyan authorities, with support from the international community,” the report says.
The first four chemical weapons experts from the OPCW have arrived in Syria on a fact-finding mission (FFM) into the April 7 Douma incident, while Western leaders continue to blame the government for the alleged attack.
"We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances," said Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s envoy to the UN in New York, adding that a second team is due to arrive on Friday.
The Damascus suburb of Douma was recaptured by the government this week, so experts from the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are expected to have easier access than on previous occasions when the alleged attacks happened in areas of ongoing fighting or those controlled by radical Islamists.
Syria and Russia both requested an FFM team to be dispatched after opposition groups claimed that the Syrian army executed a chemical weapons attack there, alleging there were scores of deaths and hundreds of casualties.
Both countries have claimed that the incident was “staged” with the purpose of galvanizing Western rebel backers after the US earlier announced that it was planning to pull out of Syria, and they say that there may not have been any chemical use at all.
In a television interview on Thursday,French President Emmanuel Macron said, “that chemical weapons were used [in Douma] at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad,” but he did not disclose the nature of the evidence.
A day earlier, the US said that it was “still assessing intelligence” and that it was “confident” that Damascus was involved.
“In my opinion, it’s time to eliminate Assad.” After cutting off what he described as “the snake’s tail,” then “we’ll be able to get to its head, which sits in Tehran.” Yoav Gallant, 16-5-2017
On the other hand, Israel, which is alongside with Saudi Arabia, the main Iranian competitor in the region openly supports a US military action against Syria.
Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a former commander of the Israeli Defense Forces Southern Command, publicly vowed to assassinate the Syrian president arguing that “Assad is the angel of death, and the world would be better without him...”
The UK and France are following the course of the US administration.
President Ronald Reagan once said we should never go to war unless there were no other reasonable alternatives and then only as a very last resort.
We have had too many leaders who never went to war themselves, such as the new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, who seem far too eager for others to go to war so these chicken-hawks can feel more important or think of themselves as modern day Winston Churchills.
Now we seem to be rushing into another war in Syria. I am thankful that conservatives like Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan are questioning this new rush to war.
As Pat Buchanan wrote, President Trump is being "goaded into war," and that Congress should "debate our objectives in this new war and how many new casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East."
Tucker Carlson said we need to ask some skeptical questions now at least in part because Secretary Mattis said in February that we have absolutely no proof that Assad used the chemical weapons he was accused of using last year.
He added there is no real proof Assad did the chemical attacks this time because such an attack would really help only the rebels fighting Assad, and they also have chemical weapons, rebels who have been described as Islamic terrorists but who we are supporting.
Mr. Carlson pointed out that Assad had no reason or incentive to use chemical weapons in a civil war his government had basically already won.
President Trump was elected in large part because he promised to get us out of these unnecessary wars in the Middle East.
At some point, with a $21 trillion national debt, we have to realize there are limits to American power. We do not need nor can we afford to get into another trillion dollar war in the Middle East without first making sure it is absolutely in America’s interest to do so and that it will not make the Middle East even more messed up and chaotic than it already is.
Egypt's interior minister warns of plot to 'defame Egypt'
Reports on unproven allegations of a chemical attack in Douma, the Syria city formerly occupied by the Army of Islam insurgent group, invariably rely on a key source: The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).
Together with the White Helmets, SAMS has been cited by the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN and virtually every Western media organization reporting on the incident. In Douma, SAMS staff have claimed that they treated more than 500 people for symptoms “indicative of exposure to a chemical agent.”
The group also played a central role in shaping the narrative of a sarin attack in Al Qaeda-controlled Khan Sheikhoun in April, 2017, providing biomedical samples to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which violated its stated protocol by accepting evidence without a verifiable chain of custody.
That incident prompted the launching of 57 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base by the American military. Almost exactly a year later, a strikingly similar event is said to have tripped the “red line” again, and is likely to trigger a more robust assault by the US and its allies.
SAMS claims to be a “non-political, non-profit medical organization”, but scant published material is available on the organization’s origins as an exile arm of the Islamist-oriented Syrian opposition, its involvement in sophisticated influence operations from the Turkish-Syrian border, or its close relationship to neoconservative elements in Washington and Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria
SAMS is not merely a group of Syrian doctors tending to the wounded in war torn areas, nor can it be considered an objective source on chemical attacks and other atrocities.
The organization is a USAID-funded lobbying powerhouse that functions with a single-minded determination to stimulate a US-led war of regime change that will place [anti-Iranian] Islamists in power in Damascus.
SAMS was founded in 1998 by members of the Syrian American exile community, which is concentrated in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Prior to the 2011 armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, the group led several medical delegations to Syria, presumably cooperating with the government to gain access.
A former member of SAMS approached me to complain that the armed revolt prompted a takeover of the organization’s board of directors by sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood. She said she and other secular and Christian members resigned from the group as it transformed into what she described as “Al Qaeda’s MASH unit.”
Throughout much of the Syrian conflict, SAMS operations have been overseen by Zaher Sahloul, an ardently anti-Iran operative dedicated to drumming up a war of regime change against the Syrian government.
Sahloul was a participant in a September 20, 2016 rally in New York dedicated to ramping up conflict with Iran, as well. The rally was organized by the exiled Iranian People’s MEK, a shadowy international organization dedicated to regime change in Iran that has been described as a “terrorist cult.” Neoconservative former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a recipient of MEK payments, was among the speakers.
Days later, the neoconservative columnist Eli Lake hailed Sahloul and his colleagues as “Syrian-Americans Who Stood Up to Iran.”
Max Blumental: “What certain groups — which are very partisan right-wing groups affiliated with the Republican Party in the US and the Conservative Party here — decided to do is to declare me an anti-Semite, that I actually hate Jews...”
“However I decide to observe Judaism is irrelevant, because in their view, you can disagree all you want with Moses, but you can’t disagree with King Bibi.”
Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Canada’s Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies: “Max Blumenthal represents the radical left’s extremist belief that Israel is the embodiment of all evil and has no right to exist...” (Times of Israel Info)
The United States, Britain and France are in the final stages of preparing a new bloodbath in the Middle East.
A US naval strike force, headed by aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, bombs are being loaded onto aircraft, and troops are on the move, as the imperialist powers prepare to launch a military aggression against Syria...
But imperialist war is propelled by more than soldiers and missiles: it is powered by lies.
For the past month, all the major US, British and French news outlets have been working overtime to peddle a series of lies, one after the other, to sell the public a re-hash of the “weapons of mass destruction” narrative used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The democratic conception of the free press centers around it being a so-called “fourth estate,” independent from and skeptical toward the claims of the political establishment. But in the frenzied war fever, the distinction between journalism and state propaganda has been obliterated.
While journalism seeks to question and probe; propaganda seeks to sensationalize, simplify and incite. Journalism sees all claims as suspect; propaganda treats the statements of the government as sacrosanct, and everything else as lies.
Last month, the press howled with indignation at what they called an attempt by Russia to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal on British soil.
When UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson declared that the Porton Down chemical weapons laboratory in Britain was “absolutely categorical” that Russia was behind the poisoning, the US media cheered his proclamation and the subsequent expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US and other countries. When the Skripals inconveniently recovered from one of the world’s most lethal poisons, the press simply buried the story and went on to the next lie....
Just two days after Porton Down exploded the Skripal narrative by publicly contradicting Johnson, the CIA-backed propaganda outfit known as the White Helmets released images of children lying motionless, crying, and being doused with water to substantiate claims by US-backed militia that the Syrian government had killed dozens of people in a chemical weapons attack...
News broadcasts all proclaimed their absolute certainty that the Assad government had carried out a chemical weapons attack.
The aim of the media war-mongers is to ensure maximum carnage.
On Wednesday, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens called for a “decapitation strike” to murder Syrian President Assad, declaring, “If we are serious about restoring an international norm against the use of chemical weapons, then the penalty for violating the norm must be severe.”
If Stephens had his way, Assad’s scalp would be nailed to the mantle of the White House next to that of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday that he discussed steps to take for the establishment of peace in Syria during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, adding that the situation is "calming down."
"Our dialogue continues, and will continue in the future," Erdoğan said, hinting at Turkey's role as a mediator in the process.
Speaking to journalists after attending the Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdoğan also underlined that Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch was only targeting terrorists in the region, saying that western countries need to stop considering it as an occupation attempt.
The president said that Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces would continue clearing the area in northwestern Syria's Afrin region, just like in Turkey's previously conducted Operation Euphrates Shield.
Touching upon the issue of chemical weapons, Erdoğan said that such weapons are based on different international laws, adding that their use should be examined.
Erdoğan said that both chemical and conventional weapons lead to major disasters and destruction, calling for coalition forces, especially Russia and the U.S., to be sensitive about this issue.
An apparent false flag chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7 has served as a pretext for the United States to threaten the Middle Eastern country with a missile strike.
The Russian Defense Ministry held a press briefing on what the Western narrative describes as an alleged chemical attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta.
Speaking at the briefing, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the ministry has enough evidence that the planned provocation with the use of chemical weapons was carried out in Syria's Douma on April 7.
He added that the United States and Western countries continue their "indiscriminate and unfounded accusations" against the legitimate Syrian government over the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in Eastern Ghouta.
"On April 7, a planned provocation was carried out in Douma with the aim of misleading the world community. The provocation's real purpose today is clear to everyone — to prod the United States to launch missile strikes against Syria," Konashenkov stressed.
According to him, the Russian Defense Ministry found those who took part in filming the mock-up chemical weapons attack in Douma. Those participants briefed the ministry on details of filming the clip.
Konashenkov said that direct participants of the process to film a video clip about the "consequences of a chemical attack" in Syria's Duma said the video was staged.
"We managed to find direct participants in the shooting of this video and interview them. Today we are presenting a live interview of these people.
unknown people ran into the hospital
Duma residents in detail told us how the filming was conducted, in what episodes they took part themselves and what they did," Konashenkov said.
The Russian military could see that these were the very people from the video.
According to Konashenkov, these were two medics working in a local hospital in the emergency department. They said that people in the hospital had no signs of poisoning with toxic agents.
"During the provision of first aid, unknown people ran into the hospital, some of them with video cameras, who started screaming, panicking and pouring everyone with water from hoses, shouting that everyone was poisoned with toxic agents. Patients… and their relatives in panic began to pour water on each other," the ministry spokesman said.
"The Russian Defense Ministry has other evidence indicating Britain's direct participation in organizing this provocation in Eastern Ghouta," Konashenkov noted. He added that between April 3 and April 6, London put pressure on representatives of the so-called White Helmets group in order to facilitate the implementation of the provocation.
The United States has proof at "a very high level of confidence" that the Assad regime carried out a chemical weapons attack in Syrian town of Douma but is still working to identify the mix of chemicals used, the State Department said Friday.
"We can say that the Syrian government was behind the attack," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a briefing. Asked if the U.S. had proof of that, she said, "Yes."
The White House said it was very confident that the Assad regime was behind the attack in Douma, adding that U.S. intelligence shows Russia's claim that the attack was faked was false.
"Our intelligence tells us otherwise. I can't go beyond that," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, when asked about Russia's claim.