Saddam's Death, page 12
aanval op holistisch eenheidsdenken

Babel is de anarchistische Moeder

Babel, stad van Marduk (de rechtvaardige)
herbouwd door de Pan-Arabist Saddam Hussein
Adieu BlairSeven is explodingww.rense.comJustin Raimondo





Babylon

An ancient Semitic city in the Euphrates valley, which after 2250 B.C., as the capital of Babylonia, became a center of world commerce and of the arts and sciences, its life marked by luxury and magnificence. The city in which they built the Tower of Babel, its location coincides approximately with that of the modern city of Baghdad - now the center of a vast agricultural community. The Babylonians attached great importance to the motions of the planets, accurately fixed their orbits and worked out tables of the phases of the Moon, whereby eclipses could be correctly predicted. Their great astrological work, "The Illumination of Bel," was compiled within the period of 2100-1900 B.C..
Babylon is generally conceded to have been the cradle of astrology. It was overthrown in 539 A.D., by Xerxes, the Persian. (www.astrologyweekly.com/)


Amerika: de vrijheid om hypocriet te mogen zijn

Dat principes in het Westen geen rol spelen bewijzen de foto's waarop de Amerikaanse (ex) minister van defensie DONALD RUMSFIELD te zien is met twee Irakese leiders die elkaars tegenpolen zijn.
Saddam Hussein (foto hiernaast) was de man van de op geestelijke en materiele vernieuwing gerichte Arabische eenheidsgedachte (het Baathisme, een aan traditionele Arabische waarden gekoppelde sociaal-democratische vernieuwingsbeweging met holistische trekjes).
In de jaren 80 voerde hij een door het Westen gesteunde oorlog die als een van de door ons al belangrijk ervaren doelen had de uitbreiding van de door KHOMEINI in gang gezette Islamitische Revolutie tegen te gaan.
De voorstanders van die Islamitische revolutie zochten hun toevlucht in IRAN, van waaruit zij via guerilla-acties probeerden het seculiere bewind van Saddam Hussein te ondermijnen. Ondanks het feit dat IRAN werd uitgeroepen tot een van 'de machten van het kwaad' besloot de regering BUSH vriendschappelijke banden aan te knopen met de religieuze partijen die men in de jaren 80 wilde bestrijden met de bedoeling het nieuwe kwaad dat Saddam Hussein geworden was te vervangen door het mindere kwaad van het religieuze fundamentalisme, waarschijnlijk vanuit de neoliberale grondgedachte dat diegene die de economie en de geldhandel controleert de echte baas is in een land.

Op de foto hieronder zien we hoe RUMSFIELD zich kameraadschappelijk opstelt naast Al-Jafaari - die in de jaren zeventig en tachtig als lid van de fundamentalistische AL-DAWAD-partij Khomeinist was.
Nu we in Irak onze 'vrijheid' gebracht hebben is Al-Jafaari plotsklaps onze grote vriend die 'een dam vormt tegen het gevaarlijke Baathisme van Saddam Hussein', dat met wortel en tak uitgeroeid dient te worden, en het spreekt dan ook vanzelf dat op een Stalinistische wijze de geschiedenis herschreven wordt om ons duidelijk te maken dat de religieuze Islamisten de goeden zijn en de seculier-socialistische Saddammisten de slechten.
Kern van het leugenverhaal is dat Saddam Hussein de vijand van 'de sjiieten' was en dat hij alles deed om ze te onderdrukken, een vorm van bedrog die je als eerlijk mens behoort te bestrijden - hetgeen dus nooit zal gebeuren in een wereld waarin de RUMSFIELDS van deze wereld ons voortdurend inprenten dat alleen hij overleeft die vroom, schijnheilig en principeloos is. (23-6-2005)

Over AL-DAWAD:

The Al-DAWAD-movement in Iraq had until the early 1980's been civil in nature. After the Revolution in Iran, it also adopted a militant strategy, which carried out acts of defiance and guerrilla actions against key government targets. Famously, there was an assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein in August 1979 and Tariq Aziz, deputy minister, April 1980. The government responded with increased repression and started to expel large numbers of Shi'ites - over 53,000 between 1980 and 1982 alone- into the Bakhtiar region of Iran. Al-Dawa members were persecuted and many voluntarily left Iraq. The Dawa leadership settled in Teheran.
Saddam Hussein also offered his usual carrot. Many Shi'ites were offered access to good government posts as well as the Party structure itself. By 1987 over 33% of the Ba'ath leadership was Shi'ite. The principal areas of Shi'ite revolt such as Najaf, Karbala and Saddam City (now Sadr City) were the object of renovations and infrastructural improvements in the form of greater access to running water, electricity and paved roads for their population... (newnations.com)

Over politiek holisme

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. (Veterans for peace 1997)

Terugblik: Baghdad Burning
verslag van een vrouw die moest vluchten uit 'bevrijd' Irak
Monday, October 22, 2007

Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance. The mountain distracts me, as it does many Iraqis- especially those from Baghdad. Northern Iraq is full of mountains, but the rest of Iraq is quite flat. At night, Qasiyoun blends into the black sky and the only indication of its presence is a multitude of little, glimmering spots of light- houses and restaurants built right up there on the mountain. Every time I take a picture, I try to work Qasiyoun into it- I try to position the person so that Qasiyoun is in the background. The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.

It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it. Walking down the streets of Damascus, you can hear the Iraqi accent everywhere. There are areas like Geramana and Qudsiya that are packed full of Iraqi refugees. Syrians are few and far between in these areas. Even the public schools in the areas are full of Iraqi children. A cousin of mine is now attending a school in Qudsiya and his class is composed of 26 Iraqi children, and 5 Syrian children. It’s beyond belief sometimes.

I read about refugees on the Internet daily… in the newspapers… hear about them on TV. I hear about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongings in bags instead of suitcases and they don’t have cell phones or Internet access, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own... especially their own.
We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting. The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by Peshmerga and the family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.
The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too... Welcome to the building.”

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.

Bill of Rights
By Alma Hassoun & Nadia Muhanna
Syria Today Magazine - augustus 2011

With the escalation of the unrest in Syria and the accompanying surge in political dialogue, there has been a resurgence of discussion about the concept of citizenship.
In his book Guide to Citizenship, Hassan Abbas, a Syrian researcher, wrote that it is not enough to define citizenship as acquiring a nationality and enjoying the civil and political rights it offers. The definition includes active participation in public life.
"Freedom is the legal status quo of the citizen meaning that a citizen is free to choose between becoming an active citizen who participates in public life or...being a passive one," Abbas wrote.

"Citizenship means the right of citizens to participate in all aspects of life," Adel, a young theater critic who asked to remain anonymous, told Syria Today. He explained that the concept combines rights and duties, but that in Syria, duties trump rights. Until recently, broader duties and rights as citizens went ignored, he argued, because people were more concerned with their everyday struggles. ...
Lawyers interviewed by Syria Today argued that deficiencies in ensuring citizens' rights in Syria come from flaws in the constitution, where the state defines its idea of citizenship and organises the relationship between the government and citizens. Others said that the constitution guarantees adequate rights to citizens; however, the problem lies in many laws which are, in fact, unconstitutional.
In his speech last month, President Bashar al-Assad said that the new media, parties and electoral laws will allow "citizens to participate in making decisions, monitor and denounce" activities of the state. Making this change, Assad said, might require revising the constitution or issuing a new one.

Contradictory rulings

To implement citizens' rights, as outlined in the Syrian constitution, articles from the very same constitution must be changed and effectively applied. People's political and civil rights can be found in the first chapter of the constitution titled "Basic Principles". It grants all citizens personal freedom, equality before the law, participation in the political, economic, social and cultural life of society, the freedom of faith, the right (and duty) to work, free obligatory education, the right of free and open expression, freedom of the press and the right to demonstrate peacefully.
However, articles like number 8 – which grants the ruling Ba'ath party a monopoly on political power in the country – contradict and effectively negate the right of citizens to participate in political life.

Nazih Maalouf, a lawyer and former judge and the manager of Syria Court, a legal website that covers human rights and other legal issues in Syria, said the constitution includes many contradictory articles. For example, it states that all Syrians have equal rights and opportunities, but another article says that the country's president must be Muslim and that legislation must be based on Islamic jurisprudence. ...
Another measure that contradicts the notion of universal equality came in with the constitution of 1961, which was drafted following a military coup that ended three years of union between Egypt and Syria, when the Syrian republic was first defined as Arab. This remained unchanged.
"Limiting citizenship to Syrian Arabs is unacceptable," Maalouf declared. "A citizen must be any person who lives in this land and has specific rights and duties. Equality and people's general liberties must be established by the constitution regardless of their religion or ethnicity."

"Individual liberties must be addressed by the constitution and should not be governed by laws because laws are subject to change, according to who is in power and are easy to play around with," Maalouf explained. "The constitution is obligatory and is not easily changed." (Syria Today 2011)

Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria
Syria DayPress News 5-10-2011

Members of the UN Security Council have voted on a draft resolution on Syria on Tuesday. The resolution was not passed with nine votes in favor, two against, and four abstentions, with Russia and China voting against the proposed resolution. In order for the resolution to be adopted, nine of the 15 Security Council members had to support it, with none of the veto-wielding members voting against.

Many Security Council members do not want Syria to turn into another Libya. Russia and China cast a veto on resolution, as its text left the door open for further sanctions. Russia repeatedly said that it would not support any text in a resolution that would leave the door open for sanctions, so Britain, France, Germany and Portugal dropped the word ‘sanctions’ from their draft resolution.
The US, Turkey, and other countries had independently imposed sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But all this time Russia was spearheading more negotiations, and rejected resolution drafts put forward by other UN members.


UN role is to ease tension in Syria: FM
China Daily, 6-10-2011

BEIJING - China said on Wednesday relevant actions taken by the UN Security Council should be conducive to easing the tension in Syria.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu made the remarks after Russia and China, permanent members of the UN Security Council, on Tuesday vetoed a draft resolution, which meant to strongly condemn "the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities" and threatened punitive measures against the Middle East country.
"We hope relevant actions of the UN Security Council should help ease the tension in Syria, promote political dialogues to defuse differences, and maintain peace and stability in the Middle East," Ma said in a statement. The draft resolution "put pressure blindly on Syria and threatened sanctions", Ma said. "The draft resolution will not help ease Syria's situation."

National Committee for Preparing Draft Constitution
SANA, 16 oktober 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday issued presidential decision No. 33 on forming the national committee for preparing a draft constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic to be issued later according to the constitutional principles.
According to the decree, the Committee must complete its mission within a period not exceeding four months from the date of issuing the decree and it has the right to consult whoever it finds appropriate to accomplish the mission.

Nizar Skeif, Committee member, said forming the committee is a strategic decision in Syria's history at the political, economic and social levels. He added that the constitution is the main law to which three strategic concepts are tied: the state, the authority and the people, indicating that the decision will lead to a qualitative leap in the history of Syria.
Member of the Committee, Qadri Jamil, ''The committee will lay down the draft constitution which, when changed, will signal the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It will be the third Syrian constitution after independence, that's why it should take into consideration the structural changes in society.''
Member of the Committee Kinda al-Shammat said the decision on forming the committee for preparing a draft constitution is one of the most important reforms in Syria, adding that it comes as part of the package of reforms issued recently, including the laws of parties, local administration and elections. Al-Shammat stressed the importance of preserving the achievements of the Syrian women, adding that the draft constitution will be put to public referendum for the Syrian people to have their say

This is the Way the Iraq War Ends,
with Bangs and Wimpers
Juan Cole, 16-10-2001

The Associated Press is reporting that its sources in the Obama administration are admitting that all US troops will have to leave Iraq by 31 December, in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated between George W. Bush and the Iraqi parliament. The US embassy in Baghdad announced the US Air Force has now handed responsibility for Iraq’s air space over to the Iraqis. ...

Washington hawks had wanted to keep 25,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely. The Obama administration had decided by this September that that goal was unrealistic, and decided to seek a small contingent of 3,000 or so. But there would be no point in having them in Iraq if they could not fight when necessary, and for that activity they would have needed a new SOFA or a legislated extraterritoriality. They got neither, and so the US has to go. ...

The US will leave behind a failed state. A determined guerrilla insurgency based in the Sunni Arab community (though not necessarily widely supported by the latter) continues to hit Baghdad, as it did on Wednesday in a series of attacks that targeted police and killed 25.
Even though Iraq has a severe shortfall in electricity, its previous minister of electricity did nothing to ensure the building of new power plants, and he goes out of office with charges of embezzlement flying about his head. ... Iraq should be making a lot of money from its petroleum, but you can’t see where it is benefiting the people. ...
There are severe tensions between the Kurds in the north and the Arab government in Baghdad. The inhabitants of Khaniqin in the province of Diyala, who are mostly Kurds, are defying PM Nouri al-Maliki by painting Kurdistan flags on their houses. ...

The US keeps fretting over Iranian influence in Iraq, but that is silly. If you didn’t want Iranian Shiite influence in Iraq you shouldn’t have overthrown the Sunni Saddam Hussein and seated the Shiite fundamentalists as a controlling interest in Parliament. Now that Washington has put the Iraqi Shiites in power, it should expect at least moments of great cooperation with Tehran. ....
And so that is the way the war ends ... In the background, the bombs are still going off and the country is riven by ethnic disputes. The US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Dreams that turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and tragic.


Only “Success” in Iraq Is That US Troops Are Leaving
by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis, October 23rd, 2011

Sold variously as a preemptive war of self-defense and an altruistic, humanitarian war of liberation, the 2003 invasion of Iraq tore apart a society that had already been wrecked by a decade of brutal U.S. sanctions that denied Iraqis everything from clean water to basic medical supplies, an embargo that left roughly a half-million children under the age of five dead – a catastrophic human toll that President Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the world was “worth it.”

The U.S. invasion of Iraq itself resulted in the violent deaths of no less than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, according to the most conservative estimate. A 2006 study by the British medical journal Lancet found that up to that point there had been more than 650,000 “excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war,” factoring in the lack of medical supplies and the civil war the invasion set off. Polling firm Opinion Research Business estimated in 2008 “that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens” died as a result of the conflict. ...
More than 4,400 U.S. soldiers also needlessly died in a war based on lies, from bogus tales of Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda to claims about non-existent weapons of mass destruction that were easily debunkable at the time – had anyone in a position of power been interested in doing so. ...
More than 4.7 million Iraqis were forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, with 2 million forced to leave the country entirely. Many Iraqi women, three million of whom are now widows according to their government, were forced into lives of prostitution...

It might be comforting to think an immoral invasion can have a happy, heroic ending, but that’s a dangerous delusion. As Americans, we should wish nothing but the best for the people of Iraq – but we should also acknowledge that, if the country finds peace and prosperity, it will be in spite of what the U.S. government did to their country, not because of it. (dissidentvoice.org 2011)


Muammar Gaddafi killed
convoy bombed by drone flown by pilot in Las Vegas
By Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 20 Oct 2011

Col Muammar Gaddafi’s convoy was bombed by an American Predator drone and then attacked by French jets before the deposed dictator was killed by rebel fighters, defence sources disclosed.
Gaddafi had been under surveillance by Nato forces for the past week after an intelligence breakthrough allowed them to pinpoint his location. An American drone and an array of Nato eavesdropping aircraft had been trained on his Sirte stronghold to ensure he could not escape.
MI6 agents and CIA officers on the ground were also providing intelligence and it is believed that Gaddafi was given a code name in the same way that US forces used the name Geronimo during the operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

“US Predators and French drones have been staking out the centre of Sirte for several weeks trying to monitor what’s going on on the battlefield,” said an intelligence source. “They built up a normal pattern of life picture so that when something unusual happened this morning such as a large group of vehicles gathering together, that came across as highly unusual activity and the decision was taken to follow them and prosecute an attack.”

The Predator drone, flown out of Sicily and controlled via satellite from a base outside Las Vegas, struck the convoy with a number of Hellfire anti-tank missiles. Moments later French jets, most likely Rafales, swept in, targeting the vehicles with 500lb Paveway bombs or highly accurate £600,000 AASM munitions.


Libya’s NTC Announces Islamic ‘Liberation’
by Jason Ditz, 23-10-2011

In a series of speech and celebrations that were careful to avoid direct mention of the dubious method of execution of their predecessor, Libya’s National Transitional Council ushered in their new regime with an announcement of the “liberation” of Libya from Moammar Gadhafi. To choruses of Allahu Akbar they sought to make it clear the liberation came with a decidedly Islamic flavor, including promises to center the new legal system around Sharia law. ...

Even with NTC chair Mustafa Abdul-Jalil vowing the new government’s legal system would center around Sharia, Libya is far from stable. That’s because the NTC was an alliance of disparate interests brought together by a common enemy, and with him gone the already splintered faction looks prepared to rip itself apart, with regional rivalries and religious differences serving as the lines of demarcation. Even the promise of Sharia is a vague one, as it could mean very different things to the different groups in the NTC. Abdul-Jalil’s promise to ban the charging of interest and to legalize polygamy were the only specifics given. Libya is increasingly not one nation, but many. (antiwar.com 2011)


The End of History
By Paul Craig Roberts, 23-10-2011

Now that the CIA's proxy army has murdered Gadhafi, what next for Libya?
If Washington's plans succeed, Libya will become another American puppet state. Most of the cities, towns, and infrastructure have been destroyed by air strikes by the air forces of the US and Washington's NATO puppets. US and European firms will now get juicy contracts, financed by US taxpayers, to rebuild Libya.
The new real estate will be carefully allocated to lubricate a new ruling class picked by Washington. This will put Libya firmly under Washington's thumb. With Libya conquered, AFRICOM will start on the other African countries where China has energy and mineral investments. ...

Washington has revived the Great Power Game and is vying with China. Whereas China brings Africa investment and gifts of infrastructure, Washington sends troops, bombs and military bases. Sooner or later Washington's aggressiveness toward China and Russia is going to explode in our faces. ...
Meanwhile, lost in their oblivion, conservatives will continue to bemoan the ruination of the country by homosexual marriage, abortion, and "the liberal media." Liberal organizations committed to civil liberty, such as the ACLU, will continue to rank a woman's right to an abortion with defense of the US Constitution. Amnesty International will assist Washington in demonizing its next target for military attack while turning a blind eye to the war crimes of President Obama. ...

In the few opening years of the 21st century, Washington has destroyed the US Constitution, the separation of powers, international law, the accountability of government, and has sacrificed every moral principle to achieving hegemony over the world. This ambitious agenda is being attempted while simultaneously Washington removed all regulation over Wall Street, the home of massive greed, permitting Wall Street's short-term horizon to wreck the US economy, thus destroying the economic basis for Washington's assault on the world.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

First Lady Mrs. Asma Al-Assad
Champress - Sunday 23-10-2011

Belangrijkste kenmerk van Islamfundamentalisme is vrouwonvriendelijkheid. Het woord 'vrouw' is in feite een scheldwoord. Een vrouw gebruik je en je laat nooit toe dat zij de als superieur beschouwde mannelijkheid van de moslimman aantast. Vrouwenhaat leidt ertoe dat vrouwen worden gezien als huissloofjes, fokdieren en werkpaarden. Vandaar dat hier een berichtje wordt geplaatst, waarin de FIRST LADY van de Arabische staat Syrie centraal staat.

Mrs. Asma al-Assad has recently [] visited a school in Shubat village of Tartous countryside. The aim was to meet the students of the school and be briefed on their conditions.
Mrs. Asma's visit came after she had read online articles written by the school's students of level 9 about what they may ask President Bashar al-Assad to do to them if they meet him. The school manager Mohammad Na'eem said that Mrs. Asma spent an hour and a half talking to the school students of all levels and asked them about the new curricula. She also met the students of level 9 at their classroom accompanied by the teacher only. She stressed to them that she read what they wrote and discussed with them several issues mentioned in the articles.


NTC attacks women’s rights
By Derek Ford, 29-10-2011

On Oct. 23, as Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the NATO-backed National Transition Council, was officially declaring Libya "liberated" he also announced that Libyan law will now be in accordance with sharia. While sharia law can be interpreted in various ways, Jalil singled out Libyan laws on divorce and marriage in his speech: "The law of divorce and marriage … This law is contrary to sharia and it is stopped."
Previously in Libya, women were allowed to marry and divorce freely and polygamy was outlawed. After divorce, women left marriages with their previous assets, the family home and generally all joint assets. These practices will now be abolished and polygamy and secret marriages will be legalized.
This may be the first of many laws to turn back the clock on women’s rights in Libya. Under Moammar Gaddafi’s government, women were highly educated and well-represented in all occupations, including positions in the government. (Uruknet 2011)

National Committee for Preparing Draft Constitution
Focuses on Its Main Principles
SANA, 2-11-2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) - The second meeting of the national committee tasked with preparing the draft constitution, held on Tuesday, focused on the new constitution's main principles.
The committee's official spokesman Dr. Sam Delleh said the committee will have a deep and open discussion on the main principles of the new constitution, adding that the different political affiliations of the committee's members will help in reaching a modern form of the constitution for a more modern state with a more developed political system.
He added that the new constitution's main principles or what will be called "the ruling principles" will deal with the nature of the political and constitutional system and whether it will be a parliamentary, presidential or semi-presidential one, in addition to other issues related to the main concepts stemmed from the movement in Syria over the past 40 years in all the political, economic and social fields of life.

The committee will discuss the idea of the state of law, the principle of pluralism, the nature of the electoral system, the alternation of power, the principle of the separation of powers, indiscrimination, women's rights, the independency of justice and other principles that constitute an essential part of preparing a new constitution for the country. "Everything in the constitution is amendable and subject to review," said Delleh.

Regarding the 8th article of the constitution, Delleh said that this article has been recently the most controversial, but after the issuance of the political parties' law, it became obvious that it won't remain the same; meaning it will either be cancelled or reviewed toward reaching a pluralist political system.

(Article 8 of the constitution defines the Baath Party as the "leading party in the society and the state," and presents the National Progressive Front as the only framework for legal political party participation for citizens. Wikipedia Info)


VS zet bijdrage aan Unesco stop
NOS, 31 okt 2011

De Verenigde Staten geven geen geld meer aan Unesco. Dat gebeurt uit onvrede over het besluit om de Palestijnen tot de VN-cultuurorganisatie toe te laten. De VS, een trouwe bondgenoot van Israël, stemde tegen het lidmaatschap van Palestina. Volgens minister Clinton van Buitenlandse Zaken is het de regering verboden om organisaties te steunen die de Palestijnse staat als lid accepteren.
Washington is goed voor zo'n 20 procent van het budget van Unesco. Volgende maand zou er 60 miljoen dollar worden overgemaakt, maar dat gaat nu niet door. Unesco vreest voor de financiële gezondheid van de organisatie.
Ook Nederland stemde tegen toelating van de Palestijnen. In Parijs stemden vanmiddag 107 leden vóór, 52 landen onthielden zich en 14 stemden tegen.

Israël gaat bouw Joodse nederzettingen versnellen
Reuters, 2-11-2011

De Israëlische beslissing om zo snel mogelijk werk te maken van de bouw van Joodse nederzettingen in de Westbank en Oost-Jeruzalem komt enkele dagen nadat Palestina lid geworden is van de Unesco.
Voor Israël is die toetreding onaanvaardbaar. Volgens Yigal Palmor, woordvoerder van het Israëlische ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, komt de Israëlische beslissing omtrent de nederzettingen er om de druk op de Palestijnen te verhogen. "De weg naar een oplossing is via de onderhandelingstafel", zo werd gesteld.

America's troubling support for oil-rich Islamist regimes
By BRAHMA CHELLANEY,
Japan Times Online 8-11-2011

The Green Book When Libya's interim government announced the "liberation" of the country Oct. 23, it declared that a system based on the Islamic Sharia, including polygamy, will replace the secular dictatorship that Moammar Gadhafi ran for 42 years.
"We, as a Muslim nation, have taken Islamic Sharia as the source of legislation; therefore, any law that contradicts the principles of Islam is legally nullified," declared interim leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil.
Swapping one evil for another may seem a cruel political comedown after seven months of relentless NATO airstrikes in the name of promoting democracy in Libya — an air war, with special-forces support, that enabled the ragtag rebel militias to triumph but left a vast trail of death and destruction.
The Western powers that militarily effected the regime change in Libya have made little effort to stop its new rulers from establishing a theocratic system founded on Islamic jurisprudence.
For the United States, Britain and France, such a political turn is an unavoidable price to pay to have their own men in power. The Islamist embrace indeed helps protect the credibility of men who otherwise may be seen as foreign puppets in their society.
This is the same reason why these powers have condoned the rulers of the oil sheikdoms for their long-standing alliance with radical clerics.
For example, the U.S.-backed House of Saud not only practices the century-old political tradition of Wahhabi Islam — the source of modern Islamic fundamentalism — but also exports this fringe form of Islam, with the result that the more liberal Islamic traditions elsewhere are being gradually snuffed out. ...

The plain fact is that the U.S.-led regional strategy, far from being forward-looking, is driven by narrowly defined geopolitical interests. The imperative to have pliant regimes in oil-rich countries trumps other considerations and concerns, including political repression and the costs that women pay in Islamist-oriented states.
As a result, the U.S. still props up the Wahhabist monarchs in the Arab world, even as the relatively secular Arab states — Syria, Libya and Iraq — have fallen victim to U.S.-sponsored regime change or sanctions. The absence of oil resources in another more-secular Arab state — Egypt — made its long-standing ruler, Hosni Mubarak, dispensable for U.S. policy when he came under a popular siege domestically.
With the U.S. support they enjoy, the most-tyrannical regimes — the oil monarchies — have been able to ride out the Arab Spring, emerging virtually unscathed. ...

Paradoxically, the U.S. practice of propping up malleable but Islamist rulers in the Middle East creates a street-level situation not only laden with strong anti-U.S. sentiment but also support for more authentically Islamist and independent forces. ... This trend, in turn, encourages U.S. policy to back rulers that espouse Islamist beliefs as the legitimating credo of their hold on power. ...

Let's be clear: The global fight against terrorism can succeed only by ensuring that states do not contribute in any way to the rise of virulent Islamic fundamentalism extolling violence as a sanctified religious tool....
Will Libya become another jihadist haven?

Brahma Chellaney is author of "Asian Juggernaut" (Harper, 2010) and "Water: Asia's New Battleground" (Georgetown University Press, 2011).


Georgetown University Professor:
'AL decision will lead to division in Syria'

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

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

Chairman of the Arab-International Center for Communication, M'aen Bashshour condemned the decision of the Arab League (AL) against Syria, stressing that it contradicts with the AL Charter and the Arab work plan on which Syria agreed.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Bashshour indicated that the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers brings to the mind similar scenes during the attack against Iraq and the aggression against Lebanon in 2006 and the Zionist aggression against Gaza, in addition to the period shortly before dividing Sudan, and particularly when the AL provided an umbrella to the NATO aggression against Libya under the pretext of protecting the civilians.

Professor Jamal al-Rifai from the Cairo-based Ein Shams University stressed that the conspiracy hatched against Syria is very tightened and aims at undermining the last fortress of pan-Arabism in the region. (ChamPress 13-11-2011)


Syria and Iran: the great game
Alastair Crooke
guardian.co.uk, 4 November 2011

This summer a senior Saudi official told John Hannah, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, that from the outset of the upheaval in Syria, the king has believed that regime change would be highly beneficial to Saudi interests: "The king knows that other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria."
This is today's "great game" – losing Syria. And this is how it is played: set up a hurried transitional council as sole representative of the Syrian people, irrespective of whether it has any real legs inside Syria; feed in armed insurgents from neighbouring states; impose sanctions that will hurt the middle classes; mount a media campaign to denigrate any Syrian efforts at reform; try to instigate divisions within the army and the elite; and ultimately President Assad will fall – so its initiators insist.

It is already no "game", as the many killed by both sides attests to. The radical armed elements being used in Syria as auxiliaries to depose Assad run counter to the prospect of any outcome emerging within the western paradigm. ...
Today Europe looks the other way, refusing to consider who Syria's combat-experienced insurgents taking such a toll of Syrian security forces truly are, because losing Assad and confronting Iran plays so well, particularly at a time of domestic difficulty.
Fortunately, the tactics in Syria, in spite of heavy investment, seem to be failing. Most people in the region believe that if Syria is pushed further into civil conflict the result will be sectarian violence in Lebanon, Iraq and more widely too.

Syria's opposition council, put together by Turkey, France and Qatar, is caught out by the fact that the Syrian security structures have remained near rock solid through seven months – defections have been negligible – and Assad's popular support base are intact. Only external intervention could change that equation, but for the opposition to call for it would be political suicide, and they know it....
The external opposition continues to fudge its stance on external intervention, and with good reason: the internal opposition rejects it. This is the flaw to the model – for the majority in Syria deeply oppose external intervention, fearing civil conflict. ...

Europe and the US think it is OK to "use" precisely those Islamists (including al-Qaida) who absolutely do not believe in western-style democracy in order to bring it about. But then, why not just look the other way and gain the benefit of the public enjoying Assad's kicking? (The Guardian 2011)


Foreign Sides Aggravate Situation in Syria
to Justify Interference, SANA, 18-11-2011

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Thursday that foreign sides are trying to aggravate the situation in Syria to justify interference in its internal affairs.
After talks in Moscow within the framework of the Permanent Council of Russia-EU Partnership conference, Lavrov said some foreign sides are escalating tension in Syria to justify their interference in the internal affairs of Syria. Lavrov stressed that Russia supported the Arab League initiative's call for ending violence by all sides and sending Arab observers to Syria as well as starting dialogue.
"If some opposition representatives, with support from some foreign countries, declare that dialogue can begin only after the regime goes, then the Arab League initiative becomes worthless and meaningless," Lavrov said.

After talks with European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, Lavrov pointed out to the steps made by the Syrian Government to solve the internal crisis, including the parties law, local administration law, elections law and constitutional reforms, adding that the Syrian opposition should not ignore these steps.

GOPers Promise you War on Iran & Torture & Poverty
Posted on 11/14/2011 by Juan Cole

Saturday’s Republican debate, sponsored by CBS and the National Journal, revealed a Republican field that is promising war on Iran and a revival of the use of torture, as well as horrible relations with the new governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. According to Herman Cain, they have gotten “out of hand,” and he and Gingrich want to deal with them by supporting a muscular Christianity...
Dear Herman Cain: In revolutions, things typically get “out of hand.”

The only adults in the room were John Huntsman and Ron Paul, who have no realistic chance of being the standard-bearer. They denounced water-boarding as torture and generally punctured the warmongering of the others. But it is shameful that potential US presidents are even talking about torturing people and launching wars of aggression. (Juan Cole Website 14-11-2011)


Return of the War Party?
by
Patrick J. Buchanan, November 15, 2011

Is a vote for the Republican Party in 2012 a vote for war?
Is a vote for Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich a vote for yet another unfunded war of choice, this time with a nation, Iran, three times as large and populous as Iraq?
Mitt says that if elected he will move carriers into the Persian Gulf and “prepare for war.” Newt is even more hawkish. America should continue “taking out” Iran’s nuclear scientists — i.e., assassinating them — but military action will probably be needed.
Newt is talking up uber-hawk John Bolton for secretary of state.
Rick Santorum has already called for U.S.-Israeli strikes: “Either we’re going to stop them … or take the long-term consequences of having a nuclear Iran trying to wipe out the state of Israel.”
But if Iran represents, as Bibi Netanyahu is forever reminding us, an “existential threat,” why does not Israel itself, with hundreds of nuclear weapons, deal with it?
Bibi’s inaction speaks louder than Bibi’s words.
He wants the Americans to do it. ... (antiwar.com 2011)

NATO powers are keen to demonize Assad’s government
By Paul Joseph Watson on November 18, 2011

Russia has stepped up efforts to defend Syria in recent days, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov keen to frame the violence in the country as a civil war in defiance of claims by western powers that President Bashar al-Assad has overseen a bloody crackdown on innocent protesters.
As we saw prior to the attack on Libya, which was also framed as a “humanitarian intervention,” NATO powers are keen to demonize Assad’s government by characterizing attacks by his forces as atrocities while largely ignoring similar attacks by opposition forces, such as this week’s raid on a Syrian air force intelligence complex that killed or wounded 20 security police.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner rejects Russia’s claim that Syria is in a civil war, stating, “We believe it’s very much the Assad regime carrying out a campaign of violence, intimidation, and repression against innocent protesters.”
Of course, we heard similar rhetoric even as NATO-backed Al-Qaeda rebels were commandeerng fighter jets and firing rocket-propelled grenades in Libya, actions also undertaken by “innocent protesters,” we were told at the time.

Given that the western press has proven adept at manufacturing lies to justify military interventions, whether the actions of Assad’s regime represent genuine atrocities or legitimate conduct in the midst of a civil war remains unclear. Some have claimed the abuses are being embellished, while both former CIA agent Robert Baer and ex-MI6 officer Alastair Crooke point out that the Syrian people definitely want change, but not in the form of a NATO “humanitarian” assault. (Truthseeker 2011)


President al-Assad: “Syria will not bow down”
ChamPress 20-11-2011

LONDON- President Bashar al-Assad has stressed that Syria“will not bow down” to foreign pressure, accusing the Arab League of creating a Pretext for western military intervention. "I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it," President al-Assad told The Sunday Times.
President al-Assad accused the Arab League of creating a pretext for Western military intervention... "It's been done to show that there's a problem between the Arabs, thus providing Western countries with a pretext to conduct a military intervention against Syria," he said. "If they are logical, rational and realistic, they shouldn't do it because the repercussions are very dire. Military intervention will destabilize the region as a whole, and all countries will be affected," he said. The league's decision last week to suspend Syria was "irrelevant", he added.

The President went on to say that the only way to end unrest is to "search for the armed people, chase the armed gangs, prevent the entry of arms and weapons from neighbouring countries, prevent sabotage and enforce law and order." ....
Asked whether the security forces had been too aggressive, President al-Assad told the British daily that there are mistakes committed by some individuals, but he insisited that "We, as a state, do not have a policy to be cruel with citizens. "The important thing is to look for the wrongdoers and hold them responsible for their actions."


Who Won the Iraq War?
Eric S. Margolis, American Conservative 21-11-2011

In October, 2002 I wrote in the first issue of The American Conservative an analysis of the impending Iraq War entitled “The Road to Folly.” I observed, “A war that fails to achieve clear political objectives is merely an exercise in violence and futility.” Having covered 14 conflicts as a war correspondent, I’ve seen a lot of violence and futility.
The White House launched a thunderous, utterly shameless propaganda campaign about phony threats to America and the world from President Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. And on cue, U.S. forces invaded Iraq in March 2003.
In America, the “bodyguard of lies” that Churchill said accompanies every war swelled into an army of liars. The Bush administration’s neoconservatives played a leading role in engineering the Iraq conflict. Media acted as megaphones for the war party. Thanks to the drumbeat of lies and insinuations, over 80 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.
A few observers who dared critique George W. Bush’s rush to war, this writer included, were denounced as “un-American,” “traitors,” or Saddam apologists...
Invading Iraq would be a disaster for all concerned, I predicted, except for Israel, which would see a potential nuclear rival and the most technologically advanced Arab nation crushed by U.S. power. Iran would also cheer the ruin of the hated Saddam, who had invaded the Islamic Republic with the support of the U.S. and its Arab oil allies....

In the event, Iraq, a nation of only 24 million, was shattered by U.S. military power. The war laid waste to large parts of this formerly advanced nation, already ravaged by a 12-year U.S.-led economic embargo and daily bombing. ...
The overthrow of Saddam’s Sunni-led regime opened a religious-ethnic Pandora’s Box in Iraq, an artificial state created by Imperial Britain out of Sunni, Shia, Jews, and Kurds to encompass its newly discovered Mesopotamian oil fields.
In a supremely idiotic act, American proconsul Paul Bremer fired all Baath Party military and civilian officials, gutting Iraq’s organs of government. ...
Sunni resistance was broken by ethnic cleansing: the unleashing of Shia death squads that inflicted untold barbarities on Sunnis, creating four million refugees, half of them driven abroad. Millions of dollars in American bribes temporarily bought off other Sunni fighters....
Iranian-backed Shia militias gained ascendency in Baghdad. Rigged elections produced a compliant Shia regime, allowing Washington to trumpet the arrival of democracy in Iraq—the same kind of “democracy” it long nurtured in Mubarak’s Egypt. Up north, U.S. and Israeli-backed Kurds established a virtually independent oil state that infuriated Washington’s ally Turkey. ...
The original plan to dominate Iraq’s oil and set up bases there to rule the Mideast has so far failed, and at titanic cost. As we look back on this epic folly and again hear calls for war against Iran, we remember the famed words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, “one more such victory and we are lost.”

Eric S. Margolis is the author of American Raj: Liberation or Domination?


Libya Cabinet Nixes Islamists
Can NTC Rule Without One of Its Largest Factions?
Jason Ditz, 22-11-2011

In a move that will settle once and for all how Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) will handle the growing split between its faction of Islamists and its faction of former Gadhafi loyalists, Prime Minister ElKeib unveiled his new cabinet today.
The cabinet, incredibly, cut the Islamist faction, which controls virtually the entire NTC-loyal fighting force, out of the government. The cabinet is entirely made up of old Gadhafi loyalists, with the occasional tribal leader thrown in for good measure.
The most notable snubbing was military leader [.] Abdulhakim Belhaj (former head of the Libyan Islamist fighting Group), who had been assumed to be a shoe-in for the Defense Ministry portfolio. Belhaj was not only not given that, but is not in the cabinet at all.
The move is being spun initially as an effort to placate Western interests who are having a hard time wrapping their heads around replacing Gadhafi with a number of Islamist leaders. In reality, however, it may be the first shot fired in a new civil war in post-Gadhafi Libya. (antiwar.com 2011)


John F. Kennedy Opposed Israel’s Power
Bob Johnson, 21-11-2011

Tomorrow, November 22, 2011 is the 48th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. One part of JFK’s character which will not be covered by the mass media is his courageous opposition to the power Israel enjoys over the United States of America.
In the thought provoking book, They Dare to Speak Out by Paul Findley we read on page 114 that during Kennedy’s campaign for president in 1960 he had a meeting with some prominent Jews.
Kennedy was very insulted when one of the Jews said they knew Kennedy’s campaign was in financial difficulty and that he and his Jewish friends would “help and help significantly” John Kennedy’s campaign if, as president, Kennedy “would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years.”
It was this meeting that made JFK want to work for a law that would have the U.S. Treasury pay a set and equal amount for all politicians running for president who secured a to be determined percentage of signatures of people supporting their campaign. He saw this as the only way to prevent the nightmare of today, which has not only the President, but the overwhelming majority of people in Congress bought and paid for by the very powerful Israeli lobby.
Israel’s lobby is so strong that hardly any politician will disobey their orders regarding U.S. Middle East foreign policy. And that includes starting wars, such as the war in Iraq, which benefit Israel and harm America and the rest of the world. (Veterans Today 2011)


The Roads To War And Economic Collapse
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, 24-11-2011

November 23, 2011: The day before the Thanksgiving holiday brought three extraordinary news items. One was the report on the Republican presidential campaign debate. One was the Russian President’s statement about his country’s response to Washington’s missile bases surrounding his country. And one was the failure of a German government bond auction. As the presstitute media will not inform us of what any of this means, let me try.

With the exception of Ron Paul, the only candidate in either party qualified to be the president of the US, the rest of the Republican candidates are even worst than Obama, a president who had the country behind him but sold out the American people to the special interests.
No newly elected president in memory, neither John F. Kennedy nor Ronald Reagan, had the extraordinary response to his election as Barak Obama. A record-breaking number of people braved the cold to witness his swearing in ceremony. The mall was filled with Americans who could not see the ceremony except as televised on giant screens.
Obama had convinced the electorate that he would end the wars, stop the violation of law by the US government, end the regime of illegal torture, close the torture prison of Guantanamo, and attend to the real needs of the American people rather than stuff the pockets of the military/security complex with taxpayers’ money.

Once in office, Obama renewed and extended the Bush/Cheney/neoconservative wars.
He validated the Bush regime’s assaults on the US Constitution. He left Wall Street in charge of US economic policy, he absolved the Bush regime of its crimes, and he assigned to the American people the financial cost necessary to preserve the economic welfare of the mega-rich.

One would think such a totally failed president would be easy to defeat. Given an historic opportunity, the Republican Party has put before the electorate the most amazingly stupid and vile collection of prospects, with the exception of Ron Paul who does not have the party’s support, that Americans have ever seen.
In the November 22 presidential “debate,” the candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, revealed themselves as a collection of ignorant warmongers who support the police state. (CounterPunch 2011)

Arab League to Discuss Sanctions on Syria
Unless it Signs Legal Protocol
M. Ismael, SANA, 25-11-2011

The Arab League Council on the Foreign Ministers' Level in Cairo called on the Syrian government on Thursday to sign [.] the protocol on the legal status and the AL monitors' mission adopted by the Council in its extraordinary session on November 16th.
In an unprecedented procedure, the Council decided to call on the AL Economic and Social Council to convene on Saturday to consider imposing economic sanctions on Syria in case the Syrian government doesn't sign the protocol. The sanctions include stopping air flights, trade exchanges and monetary dealings with the Syrian government and freezing its assets, which harms the interests of the Syrian people.

The Council called on the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to hold a dialogue conference as stipulated by the Arab plan to move to a national unity government in order to run the transitional stage, which the Syrian people considered a flagrant interference in their internal affairs.
The Council also decided to inform the UN Secretary General to take the necessary measures to support the Arab League efforts in case Syria doesn't sign the protocol, which is a call for foreign interference in the Syrian internal affairs.


Invasions from the Nile to the Euphrates and Beyond
Felicity Arbuthno, 25-11-2011

As the US and UK lead towards more illegal overthrows, invasions and destruction in Iran and Syria, a political pattern of manipulation and disinformation has become an art form.
Libya, under Colonel Gaddafi, with highest (UN) Human Development Index in Africa, and living standard which drew immigrants from across the region, has been air brushed out and replaced with a “mad dog” – and a liberating lynching. Oil, spoils and reconstruction contracts, though, are being divvied out apace.
Iraq, formerly described in UN Reports as approaching “First World” standards, also much in ruins, shattered infrastructure trumpeted as due to “thirty years of neglect.” No mention of over fifteen years of decimating embargo and bombings, culminating in “Shock and Awe.” ...
Now President Assad of Syria is being subject to the same build up – or taking down – with calls for a Libya-style “no fly zone.” Being an independent-minded Arab leader certainly comes with a health warning.
On 20th November, Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak commented: “And it’s clear to me that what happened a few weeks ago to Qaddafi… and what happened ultimately to Saddam Hussein, now might await him.”

In December 2000, six months into Bashar Al-Assad’s tenure, he wrote of a “cultural revolution” the new President was implementing, entitling the piece “A Modern-Day Attaturk.”
Decades old bureaucratic laws were scrapped, a 25% wage increase was instituted. ... Freedom of speech was “marginally” restored and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, jailed since 1982, perceived a threat to the regime’s existence, were released. ... Before becoming President, Bashar had opened the country up to internet and mobile ‘phone use....

In the myriad political games, arm twisting, manipulation and propaganda, it should be remembered that President Assad is Regional Secretary of the Arab Ba’ath Party. With Saddam Hussein gone and the concept of a Pan-Arab state now outlawed in Iraq, Syria is the remaining symbol of America’s nemesis, but a concept close to many Arab hearts.
The fathers of the vision of Pan-Arab national ideals combined with socialism, [.] were Damascus born Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar, who formed the Ba’ath Party in the early 1940s. The commitment included freeing the Arab world of Western colonialism. Arguably, the overthrow of the last bastion of this ideal on the road through Damascus would be a powerful Crusaders “victory.”

Echoing Foreign Minister Hague, [.] Obama has vowed that the US will: “continue to work with our friends and allies to pressure the Al Assad regime and support the Syrian people as they pursue the dignity and transition to democracy they deserve.” (dissidentvoice 2011)

(Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books)


Arab League approves sanctions against Syria
Pravda, 28-11-2011

The Arab League's overwhelming approval of sanctions against Syria has dealt a significant blow to the regional standing of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Sunday's vote in Cairo marks the first time in the league's 66-year history that it has imposed punitive economic and political sanctions on any of its 22 members.
Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, says the move also is unprecedented because of Syria's status within the regional bloc. "This is one of the six founding members of the Arab League, and a Syria which has always championed Pan-Arabism," he says. "So to exclude Syria in effect from the Arab nation through this way I think will have probably the biggest effect on the situation.", says Voice of America.

For the Arab League, an organization long ridiculed as toothless, it was the second time since the Arab Spring protests began that it had acted against a member country to protect a threatened populace. But while the group invited international military intervention in Libya in March, this time its leaders made clear that sanctions were intended to avoid it.
The action capped a momentous week in a region that has been pummeled by a year of historic change. President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in Yemen, Libya formed a new government, Morocco elected one and Egyptians prepared to vote in their first post-revolutionary elections on Monday, reports New York Times.


Syria's constitution
ChamPress 28-11-2011

DAMASCUS– The national committee tasked with preparing the draft constitution of Syria on Monday discussed forming part of the first draft of the constitution.
The committee's official spokesman, Dr. Sam Delleh, said that a big part of the draft was finished and discussed by the committee, adding that the draft will be finished before the end of this week.
He pointed out that the basic principles in forming the first part were the principle of the national sovereignty and that the people are the source of all authorities, adding that the draft includes articles to insure the sovereignty of the state and the national unity.
He stressed that the draft is connected with the principle of political multiplicity as all parties are equal and distinguished only by the results of the general elections.
He underscored that the principle of separating the legislative, executive and judiciary authorities was also ratified.
Dr. Delleh pointed out that devoting the principle of the rule of law and protecting the rights and freedom of citizens is reached by establishing a higher constitutional court. ...
He concluded that the committee had viewed and studied most of the constitutions in the Arab countries in addition to the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL).

Attempts to put down the Islamic uprisings
occurring in the region are futile
Tehran Times, 28-11-2011

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that the perseverance of the Islamic system has been inspiring people around the world. He made the remarks in an address to thousands of basijis (volunteer forces) from across the country during a meeting held in Tehran on Sunday to commemorate Basij Week, which started on November 21 and ends on November 27.

Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed the West’s allegations that Iran provoked the popular uprisings in the Arab world, noting, “The Islamic Republic does not need to do such things because the survival, perseverance, and honesty of the Islamic system is by itself inspiring and is guiding nations.” The hegemonistic powers are incensed at the potential of the Islamic system to serve as a model for other countries, he stated.
He added, “Today the slogans of the people of Egypt and Tunisia are being repeated in New York and California, and the people of Egypt and Tunisia unequivocally call Hezbollah and Hamas… their models. And everyone knows that these groups learned the lesson of resistance and shattering the idols of hegemony from the first teacher of the new human era, namely the basiji Imam of the Iranian nation and the patient and strong nation (of Iran).” “These realities illustrate that the thought and the culture of the Iranian nation has… become a model,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei also stated, “Those who were familiar with the inspiring nature of the Islamic Revolution had been awaiting such an auspicious uprising for 30 years, and the world’s hegemons had also been trembling at the thought of the emergence of uprisings inspired by the Islamic Revolution and had been living in fear. But now the Islamic Republic has become the main hub of the awakening movement of nations, and this very fact has enraged the enemies.” ....
The Western powers’ attempts to put down and derail the Islamic uprisings occurring in the region are futile, Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding, “The movement of awareness and Islamic awakening, which has now taken shape in the Arab region, and the movements being witnessed in the United States and Europe are a prelude to great changes that the world will witness in the future.”


West uses term ‘Arab spring’ to downplay role of Islam
Mehr News, 3-12-2011

TEHRAN, Dec. 3 (MNA) – Former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati says the use of the term ‘Arab spring’ is an attempt by the West to liken uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa to ‘color revolutions’ in East European countries. By using such a term the Westerners have been seeking to deny the significant role of “Islam” in inspiring revolutions in the Muslim Arab countries, Velayati said. ...
Western countries seek to convey this view that “Muslim nations have got rid of Hosni Mubarak and Bin Ali ….to embrace Western approaches,” Velayati told the Mehr News Agency. They refuse to acknowledge the fact that the uprisings in Arab countries are inspired by Islam because it contravenes with their approach, explained Velayati, the senior foreign policy advisor to the Supreme Leader.

“If Muslim nations who have risen up (against dictatorship) accept Arab spring they will have no alternative other than following the Westerners; however, the reality is that regional nations have cried Allahu Akbar (God is great), attended Friday prayers, and then joined demonstrations,” he stated.

The Syrian National Council
By: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The Arab League coupled with a proxy group called the "Syrian National Council" (SNC) that is the creation of a tactical alliance between the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Washington, NATO, Israel, and the Persian Gulf’s petro-monarchs is being used within the framework of false pretences of humanitarianism for a plan to oust President Bashar Al-Assad from power and install a new client government in Damascus.

Libya was suspended from the Arab League before NATO started its war. The League was used to give cover to the Pentagon and NATO for their war and regime change agenda against Qaddafi. It is Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that have helped hijack the League. The GCC is comprised of the Gulf petro-sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. None of these countries are model states, let alone democracies. Their foreign-installed leaders have betrayed the Palestinians, helped attack Iraq, support Israel against Lebanon, demolished Libya, and now they conspire against Syria and its regional allies.
In a blatant act of hypocrisy, the unelected despots of these petro-sheikhdoms have announced that Qaddafi’s regime was “illegitimate” and now are making similar statements about Syria. ...

The Syrian National Coordination Committee versus the "Syrian National Council"

The mainstream media, such as the BBC and Al Jazeera, in the NATO countries and Arab monarchies are willing to print, publish, or broadcast anything that will degrade Syria and support regime change through sectarian, unprofessional, false, and inflammatory reporting. They are not to be trusted in regards to the facts on the ground in Syria.
The mainstream media in the NATO countries and the GCC continuously play with words, provide no verified reports, and cite recently created foreign-based groups as their sources. Amongst these group is the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which ironically endorses Saudi rulers while it claims to espouse democratic ideals.

Protests demanding reforms and democratization have taken place in Syria. Other protests against corruption and linked subsidy price changes also have taken place, but not on the scale and magnitude that NATO and the GCC portray. Initially there was a forceful crackdown that coincided with attacks by armed groups that had taken advantage of the protests. The problem was compounded by unidentified attackers who attacked both Syrian civilians and Syrian security forces that ignited instability.
As tensions built, this all became further complicated by internal fighting amongst the elite families that form the oligarchies in Damascus. The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has also tried to capitalize and armed wings of it, with help from foreigners, have tried to stroke the flames of violence to topple President Bashar Al-Assad.

The situation in Syria is complicated, because there are several competing trends of opposition. This includes the opposition forces in Syria, which range from government lackeys to individuals that genuinely want reform. Aside from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, what most of the internal opposition has in common is that they are against violence, any form of foreign intervention, and want reform instead of regime change. It is this opposition that forms the Syrian National Coordination Committee (SNCC), which critics calls a regime appendage.
Outside of Syria, Washington and its allies have done everything to co-opt the SNCC or silence the voices of the SNCC and other internal opposition forces that are against foreign intervention and the use of violence. When a delegation of the SNCC arrived in Cairo to hold talks with the Arab League, it was immediately attacked and beaten by a mixed crowd of "SNC" supporters that were waiting for them. The Arab League too has opted to recognize the "SNC", which is not popular internally in Syria.
In reality, the "SNC" is controlled by the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and several Salafist groups. Some of the people listed as "SNC" members were also not consulted before they were added and play no real role in the organization. In this regard, the Muslim Brotherhood is being promoted as the alternative to President Bashar Al-Assad by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the GCC. ...

Before NATO’s war in North Africa, the Transitional Council in Libya was begging for military intervention by the U.S., Britain, France, and NATO. Likewise, the "SNC" and the individuals who form it have been begging for NATO military intervention against Syria. ... (ChamPress, 30-11-2011)


U.S. sends ambassador Robert Ford back
to Syria after six week absence
Cami McCormick, 6-12-2011

The Obama administration is sending Ambassador Robert Ford back to Damascus after a six week hiatus amid concerns for his safety. The U.S. envoy to Syria was recalled in October after the State Department accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching a "smear campaign" against Ford. He drew wrath from the government for his visits with opposition figures and his convoy was recently pelted with tomatoes.
Still, with reporters barred from the country, the Obama administration insisted he was their "eyes and ears". In a statement issued today, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, "we believe his presence in the country is among the most effective ways to send the message that the United States stands with the people of Syria"
Ford's return to Syria comes on the same day Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met in Geneva with Syrian exiles, members of the so-called Syrian National Council and called for a new regime of tolerance. Clinton said she looked forward to hearing their ideas on how a democratic transition would proceed.

"Obviously a democratic transition includes more than removing the Assad regime," she said. ... The United States has been working for months to get a better of idea of who is behind Syria's fractured opposition movement.
France's ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevalier, returned to Damascus Monday after he was pulled last month, the French embassy in Washington said. (UrukNet Irak)


Barbara Walters' Interview With
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
UrukNet, 7-12-2011

Walters: You have said often that you don't see yourself doing this job for life. You've said you're doing it for your country. With all the turmoil in your country is it perhaps better for Syria that you no longer remain its leader?

Assad: I don't have problem. For me Syria as a project, project of success, if you don't succeed you don't have to stay in that position and that success again depends on the public support without public support you cannot, whether you are elected or not. It's not about the election, now it's about public support. This is the most important thing. So when I feel that the public support declined, I won't be here even if they say, if they ask or not I shouldn't be here if there is no public support.

Walters: OK.

Assad: That's conclusive.

Walters: So you are still having protests and now your military is involved and there are armed people on the other side there is turmoil in your country but you are saying that in general you have the support of your people?

Assad: Yeah but let's wait for the elections to be, to be clear.

Walters: That's too, no but that's, that's, this is 2011 we are talking this can't go on for two years.

Assad: No, no, no I am talking now about these next elections now we are going to have the parliamentary elections.

Walters: And...

Assad: I belong to the Bath Party we will see what the position of our party is because this is an indication it's important it's not only the person you are part of another party of another identity.

Walters: Yeah but your party is not going to want to give up power?

Assad: Yeah no to give up why to give up if the party has the right like the other party to compete and win the elections. But to see through the election do we still have support as a party, if yes well this is an option and if not they have another option.

Walters: And your parliamentary elections which are when in two months?

Assad: In three, two to three months.

Walters: And they will be open enough so that people can vote against it?

Assad: Of course. Anyone.

Walters: And that would be the end of the Bath Party and you as terms of leadership?

Assad: If the people said no to the Bath Party, if they lost you, can say this is the end.

Walters: Is there an opposition that they can go to?

Assad: We have opposition but it takes time to have strong opposition you have so many figures now if they unified themselves and go to the election you can have one strong election that depends on the tactic that they are going to adopt I cannot tell you they are going to be strong or not I don't know. And I don't know about how much among the people they have, how much support they have among the people I cannot tell you.

Assad: As I said, it's about personal mistakes. Not about policy. There was no policy of cracking down.

Walters: Who made them?

Assad: There was policy of facing the terrorists when you have militants; you have to face the militants. You don't allow in the United States to have militants, and remember what happened in Los Angeles in the '90s, when you send the army to the city, to face the terrorists. That the same.

Walters: Our protest, we don't kill people. And we have-- we have press seeing it all.

Assad: Yeah, but nobody knows yet who killed the people. Because-- when the same question who killed the 1,100 soldiers. If you don't know, if you don't know who killed those, you can't tell who killed the civilians.

Walters: The crackdown in the beginning, the brutality. Do you think it went too far?

Assad: I cannot tell you this, without the evidence. You ask me to tell you according to rumor, or to reports. It's not enough for me, as president. For me, when there is policy, I could say yes, or no, when there is individuals with concrete evidence, who committed mistake, I will say yes or no.

Walters: Did you give the order? For the crackdown?

Assad: No, we gave the order to implement the constitution, and the law. That's the order and that's the job of the president.

....................

Walters: Your wife was raised and went to school in England. It has been said that she is a force for moderation. I'd like to know, when you and she discuss things, um, what has she said about what's happening in your country?

Assad: We are used to live as one family in Syria, because Syria is small country. Whenever you have one crime, the whole country will hear about it. It's very safe country. Of course it's still the same pain, to feel-- we feel sorry about what's happening, but at the end-- the-- the, the discussion-- is always and I think everywhere in Syria is part-- what can we do to have to prevent more blood shedding in Syria.

Walters: Your wife has her own projects in the country.

Assad: Yes. Development project. Charity of course.

Walters: But do you discuss the situation?

Assad: Of course yes. That's what I said, part of the solution is how to make life better in different aspects. Development is part of the solution. It's not only about demonstrations and militants and terrorists and things like that.

Walters: Is your wife a source of support for you?

Assad: Of course, all my family.

Walters: Let me ask about the children. Because you have three young children, 9, 8 and 6.

Assad: Yes.

Walters: What have you told them about what's happening in this country?

Assad: The reality.

....................

Walters: How do you hope that you will be remembered?

Assad: By doing the best I can, can for, for this country. Whether you agree, or whether the people agree or don't, don't agree, but at-- at the end, I was not a puppet. I care a lot about being independent president for independent Syria. And do my best, according to my convictions. That's the most important thing. At the end, even if they disagree with you, they will respect you. (UrukNet 2011)

IRAQ: Overall violence down -
but attacks on minorities continue
BAGHDAD, 6 December 2011 (IRIN)

While overall violence is decreasing in Iraq, the level of attacks and intimidation of religious minorities remains high, leading to increased displacement, a new report says.
"There's a feeling that Iraq is slowly moving towards increased stability, but minorities are feeling that they are excluded from public life and that the new Iraq is not for them," said Chris Chapman, head of the conflict prevention programme at Minority Rights Group International, the London-based advocacy and research organization, which wrote the report. "They feel they are getting a message that Iraq is not their country and they are not welcome... It's for Sunnis, Shi'as, Kurds, but not for them." The report said "in some cases [the displacement is] decimating communities to the point that they risk disappearing altogether from their ancient homeland". ...

While violence in 2011 is slightly lower than in 2010, Chapman said, there have been several attacks on churches; an attack on a Turkmen political party; repeated attacks on members of the Shabak, Yezidi and Mandaean minorities, including kidnappings and murders, according to local NGOs; and continued targeting of shops providing goods or services deemed un-Islamic, including liquor stores owned by Christians and Yezidis, according to USCIRF.
"Attacks against minorities have had a profound effect by targeting their communities' social infrastructure, leaving victims and others fearful to carry on with their everyday lives," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its 2011 report on Iraq. Many minorities say they feel the goal of these attacks is to force them out of Iraq altogether. ...
"There is no doubt that minorities in Iraq are living in extremely bad conditions," Hanin Al-Qado, who heads Iraq's Minorities Council NGO, told IRIN. "They are awaiting a dark and uncertain future and they are concerned about that."

Marginalization

Fawzia Al-Attia, professor of sociology at the University of Baghdad, said political and ethnic wrangling since 2003 was behind the discrimination and marginalizing of minorities of Iraq.
"This problem did not exist in the past but after 2003, the political, religious and ethnic affiliations - as opposed to citizenship - have become main pillars in forming the government," Al-Attia said. "And that has led to competition and conflict, not only against minorities or among big sects but even among the same sects," she added. "Politicizing the tribe or the sect has become a culture in our society to get these gains."

Politicizing the tribe or the sect has become a culture in our society

The MRG's Chapman said prejudices and religious extremism had flared as a result of the conflict, partly because minorities have been associated with the multinational forces. "But part of it is simply that the conflict allowed tensions to blow up into all-out conflict between religious groupings. That has created divides which were kind of there before but had not been allowed to flare up to that extent." ...
The MRG report recommended that a number of legal and policy changes be made by involving all minority groups in the drafting of an anti-discrimination law. (UrukNet Irak)


U.S. in Talks to Rebuild Libyan Army
by John Glaser, 7-12-2011

The United States is involved in negotiations with Libya’s interim government over establishing a deal to help rebuild, train, arm, and equip a new national army for Libya. ...;
One aspect of this U.S. effort to develop Libya’s military is pure nation-building. Disparate bands of rival, independent militias now roam the country and clash with one another. ...
The other aspect important to national security planners in Washington is to secure for themselves another reliable client state that is dependent on its military welfare and thus subservient to U.S. interests, following a familiar model from throughout the region. (antiwar.com 2011)

Qatar's Delirious Ambitions
Sean Fenley, 9-12-2011

"Who is Qatar?" – Abdel-Rahman Shalgham, Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations

The totalitarian monarchy of Qatar, has been making quite a name for itself of late. It was one of the only Arab countries to provide air support in Libya, its customs officials — seemingly unprovoked — recently attacked a Russian ambassador, it cajoled the Arab League into voting for sanctions against Syria, and it plays host to Al Jazeera which has; increasingly, looked more and more, like a mouthpiece for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the West.
Although, Qatar would appear to be a Lilliputian micro-petrostate, it would seem to be one with Napoleonic delusions of grandeur.

The Emir of Qatar, who deposed his own father, took power at the early age of 44. Unlike his father, who preferred to use the kingdom’s resources to remain at the same level as the other sheikdoms in the region, the young Emir sought that Qatar should be known and acknowledged. In doing so the young Emir surrounded himself with a phalanx of Western technocratic advisers. Additionally, the Emir sought to become one of the world’s, most impish international and geopolitical actors.
In an article in May, the noted Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar, included Qatar among the "counterrevolution club" of Middle Eastern countries. Along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman it comprises the Gulf Cooperation Council; a deeply backward and anachronistic bloc of sheikdoms, profoundly tied (and some would say indentured) to the Western countries. In fact, the Obama White House played host to the Emir of Qatar, just this past April — ostensibly for its role, in the promotion of democratization.

The Emir exercises virtual total power, with few restraints on his grip. In Qatari courts the opinion of two women is equal to that of one man; and moreover, nearly about half of all Qatari judges are at-will employees, which limits their independence, considering that they can be dismissed promptly — in other words — at the drop of a hat. (UrukNet 2011)

"He sees his country as a strategic bridge between the United States and the Arab Peninsula."

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is one of the most affluent heads of state in the world thanks to the control he has over the oil and gas deposits of Qatar. The Emirate’s deposits of natural gas are the third largest in the world after those of Russia and Iran and the oil deposits are believed to contain 15 million barrels.
The Emir is considered to be progressive among Muslim leaders. In a break with the traditional role, his second wife Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned has been a visible advocate for education and children's causes.
Under his rule the Quatari government helped to fund the Al Jazeera news network, funding it by an emiri decree. In an analysis of Al Jazeera, Hugh Miles claimed that diplomats from other countries know that the Emir is the real power behind Al Jazeera but he also quotes a network spokesman denying 'countless times' this accusation. (WIKIPEDIA info)

Advocating democracy everywhere but in his own country.

The 58-year-old ruler, who attended the prestigious Sandhurst Military Academy in England and took the kingdom's reins in 1995 after a coup that ousted his father, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, is known as a globetrotting diplomat who made international headlines in 2008 when he met with Israeli minister Tzipi Livni as significant gesture in pursuing a dialogue with Israel.
Then there's the glamorous side of the emir's ultra-luxe lifestyle, epitomized by the widely circulated image in the London tabloids of his beautiful wife, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, wearing a pair of $960 white Chanel faux–fur boots with three-and-a-half-inch icicle heels during the couple's recent three-day stay in the Queen of England's residence last month, a bid to increase trade between the kingdoms. (ArtInfo)

"Inwoners van Qatar willen geen democratie omdat ze er schatrijk zijn. Die rijkdom dempt alle conflicten." Barack Obama 15-4-2011


Libya on the verge of chaos and civil war
Alexander Vatutin, 13-12-2011

Warnings from many experts are coming true: Libya is being pulled into a civil war. ... Libya that was united by one goal - to topple Gaddafi, is now on the verge of chaos. ....
Right after Libya’s National Transitional Council announced the country’s liberation on October 23, Gaddafi’s supporters carried out several attacks. But the opposition hasn’t clashed with one another till recently. Experts say that they’re fighting for the helm. The rebels’ common enemy, Gaddafi, is dead and thus they have a new pretext to start showing who is stronger and who’ll get access to the country’s oil riches.

The current situation is the moment of truth for those who pledged to get rid of the legacy of Gaddafi’s 40-yeard old reign. However, he somehow managed to hold the multi-tribal country and even simulate some kind of statehood. The rebels brought no new ideology, they’re simply carving up the power pie says expert in Oriental Studies Andrei Volodin:
"They’re divided into various factions that have no idea what unity and territorial integrity is. No foreign country would interfere into the conflict at this stage as the West is too weak. Moreover, this conflict was triggered by the West. Thus, if Libya falls apart, the US, France, the UK and other intruders will be responsible."

Experts are also skeptical about the NTC powers as it’s quite heterogeneous, comprising both liberals and radical Islamists who pursue their own aims, says Oriental researcher Sergei Demidenko:
"Libya is loose as a state and it will continue to get deeper into economic and political chaos. No democratic elections or Constitution would help as Libya’s society is split and hardly unifiable. As for the tribes, they are entering a new level of hostility and sometimes break all their laws and codes." (UrukNet 2011)


Post-American Iraq by the Numbers
Posted on 12/14/2011 by Juan Cole

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited Washington this week, in something of a commemoration of the withdrawal of all US troops from his country.
As the American War on Iraq draws to a close, the Neoconservatives have been trying one last time to depict one of the modern world’s great catastrophes, the Bush Administration invasion and occupation of Iraq, as a shining success story.
They even allege that the Arab uprisings of 2011 were inspired by Iraq.... In fact, virtually no one in the Arab world wants their country to look like Iraq...

If we examine some basic social statistics, the reasons for which American Iraq is not considered a model by other Arabs becomes blindingly obvious...

Population of Iraq: 30 million.

Number of Iraqis killed in attacks in November 2011: 187
Average monthly civilian deaths in Afghanistan War, first half of 2011: 243
Percentage of Iraqis who lived in slum conditions in 2000: 17
Percentage of Iraqis who live in slum conditions in 2011: 50
Number of the 30 million Iraqis living below the poverty line: 7 million.
Number of Iraqis who died of violence 2003-2011: 150,000 to 400,000.
Orphans in Iraq: 4.5 million.
Orphans living in the streets: 600,000.
Number of women, mainly widows, who are primary breadwinners in family: 2 million.
Iraqi refugees displaced by the American war to Syria: 1 million
Internally displaced [pdf] persons in Iraq: 1.3 million
Proportion of displaced persons who have returned home since 2008: 1/8
Rank of Iraq on Corruption Index among 182 countries: 175


Bashar Assad: 'Friendship with Russia'
Sergei Balmasov, Pravda 13-12-2011

Q: Until recently, you were considered a respectable leader in the West. Why do you think the situation has changed so much?"

A: "The current pressure on Syria from the West has not become something unexpected for us. In September 2001, US President George Bush launched a crusade against the countries that were running US-independent policies. The crusade was guised under the struggle against terror. Afghanistan became the first on the list, Iraq followed next. Clouds began to gather above Syria too, and the USA said that Syria was another link in the axis of evil (Iraq-Iran-North Korea).

"The changes became especially noticeable in 2003, soon after the US and its allies attacked Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein. Then US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Syria and demanded Syria should revise its ties with Russia. He said that Syria's policies with Russia must change by 180 degrees. We were told to terminate all agreements with Russia. They virtually told us to turn our back on Russia.

"They threatened to conduct aggression against my country otherwise. Powell stated that US troops had already been deployed in Iraq. He said that military hardware and combat aviation could be used against Syria. We did not succumb to the pressure and rejected the ultimatum suggestion. They started to put unprecedented pressure on Syria afterwards. We've been able to stand the pressure, and Russia has been helping us a lot here. We are very grateful to Russia for this assistance."

"The sitting US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and other US officials publicly expressed their support to Syria's radical opposition that struggles with guns in their hands. What can you say about the gunmen that operate on the Syrian territory?"

"Those who conduct the armed struggle can be divided into three categories. The first one of them is a small group of al-Qaeda network, which does not have any influence among the Syrians. The second one is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is also a small group, although they have a serious influence among the radicals. The majority of the radical opposition are the people who do not hold the membership in such organizations. However, they still remember the events of the past, especially the events in the beginning of the 1980s.

"The terrorists, who work against Syria, receive the support from the USA and several Arab countries of the Persian Gulf. I would like to pay special attention to the fact that the situation was similar about Russia's actions in Chechnya. The West and several Arab monarchies also supported the terrorists who struggled against the Russian troops. This is exactly the same that they are doing in Syria now.

"Spokesmen for the Syrian opposition, including those who stay in Moscow, claim that the official authorities supposedly contribute to the conflict because they refuse to legalize the Muslim Brotherhood. You announced the start of serious political reforms. You also said that you would hold the national elections. Does the Brotherhood have a chance to win legitimacy and get into the parliament?"

"In accordance with acting Constitution, Syria is a secular state. Therefore, no movement that acts under religious slogans and aims to split the Syrian society can hope for it. This goes for the Muslim Brotherhood too. This organization can not be legalized judging upon their ideology. It does not mean, though, that we cut those people from the opportunity to participate in the peaceful life of the country. We offer them to establish their own political party which would be based on secular principles so that the party could struggle for the seats in the parliament."


US seeks to exploit anti-Assad movement in Syria
Jean Shaoul , Axis of Logic 18-12-2011

According to a front-page in the Washington Post, for the past several years, the US State Department has secretly funded Syrian opposition parties, civil rights groups and a satellite TV channel in the name of “democracy building” as part of a wider US programme targeting the Middle East. The clear aim has been to replace the Assad regime with a pliant Washington-friendly government, made up of regime defectors and CIA operatives who would end Syria’s relations with Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine.
This is part of its wider policy of “rolling back” Syria, first outlined in 1996 by neo-cons later to serve in the Bush administration and the clique around soon-to-be Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in the document, “A Clean Break.” .....

Washington first began to take an active interest in promoting Syrian dissidents in February 2005, after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister and billionaire businessman Rafiq Hariri.
The US and the major powers immediately attributed the assassination, without evidence, to Syria. It used the claim to insist on the removal of all Syrian forces from Lebanon, to establish a United Nations inquiry into the assassination, and to destabilise Syria.

Since the US lacked a credible pro-Washington opposition in Syria, Congress voted an undeclared sum of money to fund groups and invited them to Washington. It orchestrated the Damascus Declaration, the “pro-democracy” group named after the document of the same name, penned in October 2005 by Michel Kilo. Its guiding principles speak vaguely of “democracy” and “oppositional unity” in a manner that fitted neatly with Washington’s requirements, while making no mention of an economic platform to address widespread social grievances.
The group was a motley collection of Syria’s discredited and tiny political parties, including nominally “socialist” and “communist”, Arab Nationalist and Kurdish nationalist, Islamist groups, several human rights groups, single-issue associations, and individual activists and writers.
The Damascus Declaration was published just before the UN’s interim report on the Hariri assassination, to take advantage of the international media attention on Syria. The Bush administration sought to use the interim report, expected to implicate senior Syrian and Lebanese officials for the murder, to call for UN sanctions against Syria and threaten retaliation against Damascus for supposedly encouraging Iraqi insurgents. This, it hoped, would exacerbate the acute political crisis in Damascus created by its expulsion from Lebanon.

But Washington’s plans were thwarted by the failure of Israel’s military assault to eradicate Hezbollah as a military and political force from Lebanon. The Israeli defeat and the deeply compromised pro-Washington Lebanese government, which had supported Israel against Hezbollah, served to strengthen the Assad regime against its US-backed opponents, many of whom were imprisoned.

The Arab League Protocol
ChamPress, 20-12-2011

DAMASCUS - Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said that Syria and the Arab League General Secretariat signed the protocol of the Arab League observer mission, affirming that the decision to sign it was purely Syrian and based on the interests of the Syrian people.
In a press conference held Monday al-Moallem said that Syria wouldn't have signed the protocol regardless of the circumstances if no amendments were made to it, stressing that the signing the protocol is the start of cooperation between Syria and the Arab League as Syria wants a political solution to resolve the situation as soon as possible with the participation of the AL and its observers.

"Syrian sovereignty was preserved in the heart of the protocol," the Minister said, affirming that coordination with the Syrian government will take place via a national committee that will send reports to both sides which will be discussed before taking any other action according to the protocol and the Syrian amendments.
He affirmed that Syria welcomes every sincere Arab effort to resolve the crisis, and that it will deal with the observer mission seriously, professionally and objectively....
The Minister pointed out that some Arab sides want to internationalize the crisis in Syria, noting that those who wants the interest of the Syrian people do not impose economic sanctions on them and seek internationalization.


Twin suicide bombs shake Syrian capital
Teheran Times, 23 December 2011

Umayyad Mosque  24-12-2011 DAMASCUS (AFP): Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district Friday, targeting heavily guarded intelligence buildings and killing at least 40 people, Syrian authorities said.
The blasts came a day after an advance team of Arab League observers arrived in the country to monitor Syria's promise to end its crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad. Government officials took the observers to the scene of the explosions and said it backed their long-time claims that the turmoil is not a popular uprising but the work of terrorists.

“We said it from the beginning, this is terrorism. They are killing the army and civilians,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad told reporters outside the headquarters of the General Intelligence Agency, where bodies still littered the ground. ....
Alongside him, the head of the observer advance team Sameer Seif el-Yazal said, “We are here to see the facts on the ground... What we are seeing today is regretful; the important thing is for things to calm down.”


Libya’s NTC Has Yet to Deal With Militias
by John Glaser, December 27, 2011

The interim government in Libya has so far failed to deal with the issue of disparate groups of militias that remain organized in independent and defiant brigades throughout the country and who are now demanding top roles in government. ...
But many of these fighters have been demanding a much different role in the Libyan government. On Monday, representatives of the Union of Libyan Thwars (revolutionaries), which claims to represent 70 percent of these ex-rebels, demanded the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) grant them 40 percent of its seats.

The serious delinquency and war crimes committed by many of these groups has resulted in the NTC pushing back on these demands, urging the fighters to go back to the jobs and education they were committed to before the war. The U.S. role in bringing these factions to victory and power has yet to be acknowledged in the mainstream for the blunder that it is. (antiwar.com 2011)

How Israel Empowers Islamist Movements
by URI AVNERY, 30-12-2011

If Islamist movements come to power all over the region, they should express their debt of gratitude to their bete noire, Israel. Without the active or passive help of successive Israeli governments, they may not have been able to realize their dreams. That is true in Gaza, in Beirut, in Cairo and even in Tehran.

LET’S TAKE the example of Hamas. ....
The main enemy, as laid down by Shabak, was the dreadful PLO, led by that monster, Yasser Arafat. The PLO was a secular organization, with many prominent Christian members, aiming at a “nonsectarian” Palestinian state. They were the enemies of the Islamists, who were talking about a pan-Islamic Caliphate. Turning the Palestinians towards Islam, it was thought, would weaken the PLO and its main faction, Fatah. So everything was done to help the Islamic movement discreetly.
It was a very successful policy, and the Security people congratulated themselves on their cleverness, when something untoward happened. In December 1987, the first intifada broke out. The mainstream Islamists had to compete with more radical groupings. Within days, they transformed themselves into the Islamic Resistance Movement (acronym Hamas) and became the most dangerous foes of Israel. ....

Israel’s part in the rise of Hizbollah is less direct, but no less effective.
When Ariel Sharon rolled into Lebanon in 1982, his troops had to cross the mainly Shiite South. The Israeli soldiers were received as liberators. Liberators from the PLO, which had turned this area into a state within a state.
However, the Israelis outstayed their welcome. It took the Shiites just a few weeks to realize that they had no intention of leaving. So, for the first time in their history, they rebelled. The main political group, Amal (“hope”), started small armed actions. When the Israelis did not take the hint, operations multiplied and turned into a full-fledged guerrilla war.
To outflank Amal, Israel encouraged a small, more radical, rival: God’s Party, Hizbollah. ....

THE CASE of the Muslim Brotherhood is even more complex.
The organization was founded in 1928, twenty years before the State of Israel. Its members volunteered to fight us in 1948. They are passionately pan-Islamic, and the Palestinian plight is close to their hearts.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict worsened, the popularity of the Brothers grew. Since the 1967 war, in which Egypt lost Sinai, and even more after the separate peace agreement with Israel, they stoked the deep-seated resentment of the masses in Egypt and all over the Arab world. The assassination of Anwar al-Sadat was not of their doing, but they rejoiced.
Their opposition to the peace agreement with Israel was not only an Islamist, but also an authentic Egyptian reaction. Most Egyptians felt cheated and betrayed by Israel. ....
Had Israel made peace with the Palestinian people somewhere along the line, the Brotherhood would have lost much of its luster. As it is, they are emerging from the present democratic elections as the central force in Egyptian politics. ...

LET’S NOT forget the Islamic Republic of Iran. They owe us something, too. Quite a lot, actually.
In 1951, in the first democratic elections in an Islamic country in the region, Muhammad Mossadeq was elected Prime Minister. The Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had been installed by the British during World War II, was thrown out, and Mossadeq nationalized the country’s vital oil industry. Until then, the British had robbed the Iranian people, paying a pittance for the Black Gold.
Two years later, in a coup organized by the British MI6 and the American CIA, the Shah was brought back and returned the oil to the hated British and their partners. Israel had probably no part in the coup, but under the restored regime of the Shah, Israel prospered. Israelis made fortunes selling weapons to the Iranian army. Israeli Shabak agents trained the Shah’s dreaded secret police, Savak. .. The Shah helped to build and pay for a pipeline for Iranian oil from Eilat to Ashkelon. Israeli generals traveled through Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they helped the rebellion against Baghdad.
At the time, the Israeli leadership was cooperating with the South African apartheid regime in developing nuclear arms. The two offered the Shah partnership in the effort, so that Iran, too, would become a nuclear power.
Before that partnership became effective, the detested ruler was overthrown by the Islamic revolution of February 1979. Since then, the hatred of the Great Satan (the US) and the Little Satan (us) has played a major role in the propaganda of the Islamic regime. ...

Strange as it may appear, obscurantist religious fundamentalism seems to express the Zeitgeist. ... Perhaps some day a fundamentalist Israel will make peace with a fundamentalist Muslim world, under the auspices of a fundamentalist American president.

Unless we do something to stop the process before it is too late. (CounterPunch 2011)


New Year’s Address to the Nation
President of Russia,
December 31, 2011, 23:55 Moscow

Exactly 20 years ago we celebrated our first New Year in a country called Russia – a name celebrated for the illustrious deeds of our great ancestors, who over the centuries built up a huge and very strong power, a great country. It is our duty to preserve it and to build a progressive state, where all of us can live comfortably and do stimulating work.
"It is our duty to preserve it and to build a progressive state, where all of us can live comfortably and do stimulating work".

Yes, we are all different, but this is precisely where our strength lies, as well as in our ability to hear, understand and respect each other, to tackle challenges together and achieve success.

Dear friends,
The New Year is approaching. It’s time to open the champagne and make our wishes. Tonight I wish health and prosperity to you and your loved ones, for your lives to be full of love and all your dreams to come true.
Believe in yourself, and I believe in each one of you. We will succeed!

Happiness to all of you!

Our Innocents Abroad?
By Patrick J. Buchanan, January 3, 2012

Friday's lead stories in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal dealt with what both viewed as a national affront and outrage.
Egyptian soldiers, said the Post, "stormed the offices" of three U.S. "democracy-building organizations ... in a dramatic escalation of a crackdown by the military-led government that could imperil its relations with the United States."
The organizations: Freedom House, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.
Cairo contends that $65 million in "pro-democracy" funding that IRI, NDI and Freedom House received for use in Egypt constitutes "illegal foreign funding" to influence their elections.
"A Provocation in Egypt," raged the Post.

Yet this is not the first time U.S. "pro-democracy" groups have been charged with subverting regimes that fail to toe the Washington line. In December, Vladimir Putin claimed that hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from U.S. sources, was funneled into his country to influence the recent election, and that Hillary Clinton's denunciation of the results was a signal for anti-Putin demonstrators to take to Moscow's streets.
In December also, a top Chinese official charged U.S. Consul General Stephen Young in Hong Kong with trying to spread disorder. "Wherever (Young) goes, there is trouble and so-called color revolutions," said the pro-Communist Party Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po.

One need not be an acolyte of the Egyptian, Chinese or Russian regimes to wonder if, perhaps, based on history, they do not have a point.
Does the United States interfere in the internal affairs of nations to subvert regimes by using NGOs to funnel cash to the opposition to foment uprisings or affect elections? Are we using Cold War methods on countries with which we are not at war -- to advance our New World Order?

So it would seem. For, repeatedly, Freedom House, IRI and NDI have been identified as instigators of color-coded revolutions to replace autocrats with pro-American "democrats." ...
When one considers the long record of U.S. intervention in nations far from our borders, that an ex-chairman of Freedom House is the former CIA Director James Woolsey, that the longtime chairman of IRI is the compulsive interventionist John McCain, who has been trading insults with Putin, and that Kenneth Wollack, president of NDI, was once director of legislative affairs for the Israeli lobby AIPAC, it is hard to believe we are clean as a hound's tooth of the charges being leveled against us, no matter how suspect the source. ....

As Leon Trotsky believed in advancing world communist revolution, neocons and democratists believe we have some inherent right to intervene in nations that fail to share our views and values. But where did we acquire this right? (The American Cause 2012)


Yousef Ahmad: Syrians Reject the Negative and Unconstructive
Role of Hamad bin Jassem in Crisis in Syria, 9-1-2012

CAIRO, (SANA) – Syria's Permanent Representative at the Arab League and Ambassador in Cairo Yousef Ahmad said that the statements of the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister sheikh Hamad bin Jassem reflect his country's predetermined and biased stance regarding the crisis in Syria which doesn't suit its position as the chair of the Arab Ministerial Council and the Arab Ministerial Committee.

In response to in the Qatari Premier's press conference on Sunday evening following the meeting of the Arab Ministerial Committee, Ahmad said that Hamad placed himself and his country in an awkward position when he tried to speak on behalf of the Syrian people despite him knowing that the greater majority of the Syrian people reject external interference in Syria's affairs and the negative and unconstructive role played by Hamad bin Jassem personally and officially on behalf of Qatar. Ahmad elaborated that this role involves political and media escalation against Syria and coordinating stances with sides that seek to summon foreign interference in Syria's affairs even at the expense of Syrian blood... (SAN A 2012)

Central Judicial Committee Investigating Incidents in Syria
Discuss Work with Sub-committees, 09-1-2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- The Central Judicial Committee responsible for conducting investigations in incidents of civilian and military deaths and sabotage acts in Syria on Sunday discussed with heads of the judicial sub-committees in the governorates these committees' work and the results they reached, as well as the means of coordination between them and the Central Committee to guarantee the highest level of effectiveness in performance.
The Central Committee is charged with investigating incidents which claimed the lives of a number of citizens, civilian and military, and injured others in different parts of Syria and caused damages to public and private properties since March 15, 2011.

In a statement to SANA, judge Mohammad Deeb al-Muqatran, the head of the Central Committee, said the number of cases raised before the Committee and its sub-committees in the governorates reached 4076, that included injuries, material damages and deaths, noting that some of these cases were referred to the judicial bodies concerned. (SANA 2012)

Bashar al-Assad's speech
Uruknet, 10-1-2012

External Conspiring Is No Longer a Secret

External conspiring is no longer a secret because what is being plotted in the pal talk rooms has started to be clearly revealed before the eyes of the people. It is not possible anymore to deceive others except for those who do not want to listen or see; as the tears shed by the dealers of freedom and democracy for our own victims can no longer conceal the role they played in the bloodshed which they tried to use for their own purposes. At the beginning of the crisis, it was not easy to explain what happened. Emotional reactions and the absence of rationality were surpassing the facts. But now, the fog has lifted, and it is no longer possible for the regional and international parties which wanted to destabilize Syria to forge the facts and the events. Now the masks have fallen off the faces of those parties, and we have become more capable of deconstructing the virtual environment which they have created to push Syrians towards illusion and then make them fall.
That virtual environment was created to lead to a psychological and moral defeat which would eventually lead to the actual defeat. That unprecedented media attack was meant to lead us to a state of fear, and this fear, which could paralyze the will, would lead to defeat.

Over sixty T.V. channels in the world are devoted to work against Syria. Some of them are devoted to working against the Syrian domestic situation, and some others are working to distort the image of Syria abroad. There are tens of internet websites, and tens of newspapers and different media channels, which means that we are talking about hundreds of media networks. Their aim was to push us to a state of self-collapse in order to save their efforts in waging many battles; and they failed in doing so, yet they did not give in.
One of their attempts which you are aware of is what they did with me personally in my interview with the American news channel. Usually I do not watch myself on T.V whether in an interview or a speech. That time I watched the interview and I was about to believe what I myself was presented to have said. If they were capable of convincing me of the lie, how can they not convince others! Fortunately, we had an original version of the interview, and they did what they did because they thought that we did not have an original version which we can present to the citizens to compare with their version. Had that not been the case, no one would have ever believed the professional fabrication which they did even if I talk now for hours and try to tell you I did not say what was misrepresented on that news channel. .....

Arab Countries Are Not the Same in Their Policies towards Syria

Here comes the foreign role after they failed in all attempts.... When we say foreign, it usually comes to our minds that it is the foreign outside. Unfortunately, this foreign outside has become a mix of Arab and foreign, and sometimes, in many cases, this Arab part is more hostile and worse than the foreign one. I do not want to generalize; the image is not that bleak because Arab countries are not the same in their policies. There are countries which tried during this stage to play a morally objective role towards what is happening in Syria. In contrast, there are countries that basically do not care about what is happening in general. I mean they stand on the fence in most cases, and there are countries that carry out what they are asked to do. What is strange is that some Arab officials are with us in heart and against us in politics. When we ask for clarifications, it is said or the official says I am with you, but there are external pressures.....

Why they started the Arab initiative? The same countries that claim concern for the Syrian people were initially advising us to reform. Of course, these countries do not have the least knowledge of democracy and have no heritage in this area, but they were thinking that we will not be moving towards reform and there will be a title for these countries to use internationally that there is a conflict inside Syria between a state that does not want reform and the people who want reform, freedom or the like. When we started reform, this thing was confusing for them, thus they shifted to the issue of the Arab League or the Arab initiative....

The public reaction was outrage, indignation and surprise; why did not the Arabs stand with Syria rather than standing against Syria? I ask a question: when did they stand with Syria?! I will not go back far in the past, but let us just talk about the past few years. Let us start by the war on Iraq, after the invasion, when Syria was threatened with bombing and invasion. Who stood with Syria in 2005 when they exploited the assassination of Hariri? Who stood alongside Syria in 2006? Who supported our positions against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2008? Who supported us in the IAEA in relation to the alleged nuclear file? Arab states vote against us. These facts may be unknown to many citizens. That is why we need to explain everything in these junctures and situations. Recently, Arab states voted against Syria with regard to the Human Rights issue. In contrast, some non-Arab countries stand with Syria. That is why we should not be surprised. I mean we should not be surprised with the Arab League status because it is just a reflection of the Arab situation. The Arab League is a mirror of our situation. ...

Has the Arab league actually gained independence for its states, and consequently for itself? Has it ever implemented its decisions and removed the dust off its files and achieved only a fragment of the aspirations of the Arab peoples? Or has it contributed directly to sowing the seeds of sedition and disunity? Has it respected its charter and defended its member states whose land, or the rights of whose peoples, have been violated? Has it returned one olive tree uprooted by Israel or prevented the demolition of one Palestinian house in occupied Arab Palestine? Has it been able to prevent the partition of Sudan or prevent the killing of over a million Iraqis or feed a single starved Somali? ....
We have been trying for years to activate the Israel-boycott office; and we have been receiving excuses of the type that this is no longer acceptable; but, within a few weeks, they activate a boycott against Syria. This means that their objective is replacing Syria with Israel. This is only a pattern; and we are not naïve. We have known this Arab condition for a very long time. We have not clung to illusions. ...

The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity

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

The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform

The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform, and they have not come out, haven’t broken the law, haven’t killed. This is the largest part of the Syrian people, it is the part which wants reform. For us, reform is the natural context. That is why we announced a phased reform in the year 2000. In my swear-in speech I talked about modernization and development. ....

The important law is the law of fighting corruption. It is the only law which has been delayed for several months. The first reason is related to the fact that this law is very important and has many aspects. Therefore, I asked the government to extensively consider it in collaboration with various bodies and parties. It was put on the internet and there were many posts and useful ideas. The government finished this and sent it to the Syrian Presidency which sent it back recently to the government. It is a good law which includes very important points and a point related to the inspecting authority. ...

The other pillar in reform is the Constitution. The decree that provides for establishing a committee to draft the constitution was issued. This committee was given a deadline of four months and I think that it has become in its final stages. This constitution will focus on a fundamental and essential point which is the multi-party system and political pluralism. They were talking only about article eight, but we said that the entire Constitution should be amended because there is a correlation among articles. The Constitution will focus on the fact that the people is the source of authority, especially during elections, the dedication of the institutions' role, the freedoms of the citizens and other things and basic principles. ...
The Constitution is not the state's Constitution; it is an issue related to every Syrian citizen. Therefore, we will resort to a referendum after the committee finishes its work and presents the Constitution which will be put through constitutional channels to reach a referendum. The referendum on the Constitution could be done at the beginning of March.

Some of those believe they are revolutionaries

In cases of war or confrontation, states rearrange their priorities. Our utmost priority now, which is unparalleled by any other priority, is the restoration of the security we have enjoyed for decades, and which has characterized our country, not only in the region but throughout the world. This will only happen by striking the murderous terrorists hard. There is no compromise with terrorism, no compromise with those who use arms to cause chaos and division, no compromise with those who terrorize civilians, no compromise with those who conspire with foreigners against their country and against their people. The battle against terrorism will not be the battle of the state or state institutions alone. It is the battle of all of us. ...

Some of those really believe that they are revolutionaries. All right, let’s see what they have done and what are their attributes. Would a real revolutionary steal a car or rob a house or a facility? Can the revolutionary be a thief? For us, the image of the revolutionary is a bright, idealistic untainted one with something very special about it. Those people have assassinated innocent people in and out of the state system. Can a revolutionary be characterized by cowardice and treachery? They prevented the schools from carrying out their tasks and functions in society. They did the same in universities. Can a revolutionary be against education? ...
Until the end of 2011, the number of martyrs among teachers and university professors was about 30 and over a thousand schools have been vandalized, burned or destroyed.
On your behalf, I salute all the teachers, councilors, administrators and caretakers in schools. Can a revolution be against education, against national unity? Can revolutionaries use language which calls for the disintegration of society? ...
This is not a revolution. Can a revolutionary work for the enemy – a revolutionary and a traitor at the same time? This is impossible. Can revolutionaries be without honor, moral values or religious principles? Have we had real revolutionaries, in the sense we know, you and I and the whole people would have moved with them. This is a fact.

The psychological war

A great part of the psychological war is launched now against Syria. When they failed in the sectarian issue, they also failed in the national issue. They failed in all the issues which have a political aspect. Then they moved to the economic aspect. ....
They are trying to depict Syria as an isolated country, trying to stress this over and over again. But our points of strength lie in our strategic position. If they want to besiege Syria, they will end up besieging a whole region. As for our relations with the West, they talk about an international community. This international community is a group of big colonial countries which view the whole world as an arena full of slaves who serve their interests.

For us, the West is important and we cannot deny this truth. But the West today is not like the West a decade ago. The world is changing and there are emerging powers. There are alternatives. ....
The West is still colonial in one way or another. It is changing from an old colonizer to a modern colonizer and from a modern colonizer during the Sykes-Picot agreement to a contemporary colonizer. It has different forms and shapes but it will never change, which means that we have to turn to the East. We, as a state, started this procedure several years ago, and my visits during the recent years fell under that initiative in one way or another. ..


Whatever Happened to Al Jazeera?
by RAMZY BAROUD, 14-1-2012

Al Jazeera Arabic channel [..] has failed to maintain its independence, and is growingly covering the upheaval in the Arab world from the narrow political prism of its host country (Qatar).
In Al Jazeera’s early days in the mid and late 1990s, the channel took on taboo subjects and proudly challenged the status quo. This continued with Al Jazeera’s coverage of Afghanistan and the Iraq war, when mainstream western media were disowning their own proclaimed standards of objectivity and treating Iraqis like dispensable beings underserving of even a body count.
In recent months, however, Al Jazeera has begun to change course. It has deviated from its journalistic responsibilities in Libya, and is now completely losing the plot with Syria.
The channel is in urgent need to revisit its own code of ethics, and to fulfill its promise of treating its audience “with due respect and address every issue or story with due attention to present a clear, factual and accurate picture.” (CounterPunch 2012)

Ramzy Baroud is editor of PalestineChronicle.com.